It was the period when the CPI made a controversy over People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nasir Madani's support for the Left Front candidate in the 2009 parliamentary elections in Ponnani Loksabha constituency.
A senior leader who had just finished a CPM leadership meeting at the time got curious and told his junior leader that many of the secularists among them were still harbouring racial and sectarian feelings.
The senior leader made this comment after the insiders of the Marxist party were unknowingly leaving communalism while dealing with several social issues in Kerala (An example being the senior leader V S Achuthanandan's comment doubting the glittering SSLC victory of Muslim children of Malappuram and fearing that it was a concerted effort to make Kerala, a Muslim majority region). He said this to dismiss the suspicions of ordinary Muslims.
While looking hopefully at the CPM's strong anti-fascist stance, when some CPM leaders who intervened in the social issues then later relentlessly raise communal, terrorist and extremist allegations which further become parodies of Hindutva and capitalism to the tune of communist totalitarianism, I remember what the comrade had said.
The same thing that came to my mind when I happened to listen to CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's comments warning the UDF and Kerala at the press conference held the other day.
'The secular ideology that Congress has always adopted is put to surrender in front of the Muslim League. Those inside Congress must scrutinize it. Oommen Chandy, Kunhalikutty, and KM Mani had led the UDF till now. Today, Ramesh Chennithala has handed over the UDF leadership to MM Hasan, Kunhalikutty and Ameer [meaning Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami]. The Congress leadership should consider the implications of this'', so went Kodiyeri's remarks. The latest news is that Sangh Parivar leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and spokesperson Tom Vadakkan have joined Kodiyeri to sing the chorus in Bihar.
The 'Jihadi' History of the Communist Party
It was during the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Communist Party of India, when the CPM Secretary's Govt claimed that the Communist Party of India was born in Tashkent on October 17, 1920. The CPI, however, claimed that on December 26, 1925, the date of its formation in Kanpur is the actual date of birth of the party. The dispute is still not over. According to CPI leader Binoy Viswam, there are some dangers in claiming that the Communist Party of India was born in Tashkent.
Whatever he may have implied, the story of the formation of the Communist Party in Tashkent is very scintillating. It is a wonderful experience to read the history of Indian communism by being in the Communist-ruled state which has been plagued by Maoist, Al Qaeda and terrorist poaching and clashes from the Kerala Police to the NIA during the Hijra movement of youths who migrated from Kerala to Yemen and Afghanistan for armed jihad. It is filled with stories of revolutionary extremism, underground adventures, guerrilla warfare, military training, arms smuggling, and tactical policies that conveniently glorified or overthrew British imperialism.
The first volume of the History of the Communist Movement of India, prepared by the Historical Commission appointed by the 17th Congress of the CPM, tells the story of the 'jihadists' and 'Muhajirs' who fuelled Indian communism. But in reality, many of the early communist organizers began their political careers as 'Khilafati's or Muhajirs. 18,000 Muhajirs left India to accelerate the struggle against British imperialism. The Muhajir movement was one of the earliest currents of the communist movement. '' (Volume I, p. 49).
When British imperialism tried to confront India's liberation fighters legally through the Rowlatt Act and physically through the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, a strong section of those who wanted freedom by any means accepted the invitation of Ghazi Amanullah Khan in Afghanistan and migrated for an effective armed jihad against British.
Shaukat Usmani, who became a communist leader from 'Khilafat', narrates this exciting story in his book 'Peshawar to Moscow: Leaves from an Indian Muhajireen's diary'. Although the Muhajirs who arrived in Afghanistan were housed in Jabal Sira, those who came to mobilize against British imperialism were not satisfied.
Osmani's team returned to Turkey after a tiring and difficult exodus. As the Tsar reign was overthrown in Soviet Russia and the triumph of the October Revolution, some of them stayed there, feeling that it was a safe soil to stay back. Russia then opened a military training school called 'Jundullah' (Allah's Army) for Osmani's Muhajir team in Tashkent. A few, including Osmani, were sent to their party college in Moscow to study ideology.
From Barkatullah to KT Jaleel
Maulvi Barkatullah Bhopali's 'Islam and Socialism' and 'Bolshevism and the Islamic Nation' were the textbooks which were used to teach Communist-Islamic interaction. In an interview with the Soviet newspaper Izvestia, Moulavi Barkatullah, one of the leading Muslim scholars who visited Moscow in 1919-20, openly stated the position of Muslim scholars of the time: "I am not a communist or a socialist, I am from Asia. My current political agenda is to oust the British. I am a staunch enemy of European capitalist domination in Asia. So, the Communists and I can come to a complete consensus for a common goal. "
Thus, at the very moment of celebrating the centenary of the founding of the party, which has been built on the principles of the Islamic State, International (Pan) Islam, Hijra, Jihad, and the Muslim intellectuals who followed it, who is the party secretary trying to crack up by terrorising these hypotheses?
According to Barkatullah Bhopali, organizations with a holistic and universal view of Islam stay ideologically aligned with the Left. The communists will understand that. Earlier, when the Jamaat-e-Islami voted for the Left, Pinarayi Vijayan, the then party secretary, used the line of praising it as an organization with a stance. Pinarayi also wrote a brilliant introduction to KT Jaleel's book 'Malabar Revolt: A Re-reading', which unveils the revolutionary political face of Islam. "Religion and faith are opposed when they make people reactionary. On the contrary, if religions are motivated to equip a nation for anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles, then that progressive nature of beliefs is to be lauded. It is this revolutionary and left-wing face of a religion that needs to be upheld in the present age when the economic and cultural dominance of the imperialist powers is being strengthened "(p. 203).
No one has mentioned the political revolutionary face of Islam in Malayalam beyond what is stated in the chapters describing the 'ideological ground of riots' and its position on 'what to say?'. None of this is unknown to the current secretary.
It is better to ask their own minister - who had preached all around for it–as to who dreamed of 'India's liberation through Islam'. And the memory of the party having gone around till the last assembly election, seeking votes of groupings whom they now dismissed as dangerous, may still live in the party secretary's mind. His remarks are in line with the joy of getting the party of KM Mani's son in his hands, as his dream of continuing to rule has gained momentum.
Khushwant Singh and CJ Thomas
Khushwant Singh has written the stories of the fall of Communists who miserably failed after miscalculating and chasing their dreams. The Communists rallied to support British imperialism during the imprisonment of Congress leaders during World War II between 1939 and 1945, hoping to seize power after independence. But when the Congress leaders were released from jail after the war, the people supported them. Khushwant writes that the Communists were kept at bay as renegades for helping the British.
While hearing the racist remarks of the Marxist party secretary who threatens the Congress and the UDF with" the tiger is coming" by highlighting only the Muslim leaders, the words of warning from the popular writer of Malayalam, C.J. Thomas sounded remarkable: "It does not take long for unscrupulous socialists to become fascists. That is exactly what is happening in India.
On the one hand, they become fascists themselves, and on the other hand, they push the government and the people into a fascist attitude. This is what our communists are doing. The people who have grown up in an atmosphere of religion and caste will have a spirit of blind obedience and empty denial. It is on that soil that our socialists cultivate their land. And the one that is sprouting up is Golwalkar's Communism'' (Dhikkariyude Kadhal page: 30).
(The article was originally published in Madhyamam Daily and it is Translated by Fathima Shareef)