The reprehensible acts in Tripura by the Hindutva goons of razing statues of Lenin (1870-1924) who led the October Socialist Revolution in 1917 and was the only head of a state (USSR) who supported the Indian freedom struggle, should not surprise anybody.
We must know why a great liberator and unwavering supporter of India’s independence, Lenin is being targeted by the Hindutva goons. It is being done because Hindutva goons are genetically opposed to democratic-secular values. The pre-Independence Hindu Mahasabha (HMS) leaders brazenly opposed the Indian freedom struggle. They had aligned with the Muslim League (ML) against the Quit India Movement of 1942. When the whole of the Congress leadership was in jail and Indian masses were being massacred for carrying the tricolour, HMS led by Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar ran coalition governments with ML in Bengal, Sind and NWFP. Shamelessly, another Hindutva icon, Syama Prasad Mookerjee was the deputy CM in the Bengal ML ministry.
What many don’t know is that Lenin had written in support of Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s struggle. Historian Amaresh Mishra says, Tilak, in his paper Kesari, defended Praful Chaki and Khudiram Bose, two Bengali youths, who had thrown a bomb at the carriage of a British officer in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, and called for immediate Swaraj or self-rule. He was slapped with sedition charges and was exiled to Burma for six years in 1909.
Though Lenin was in exile, he had written “The most liberal and radical personalities of free Britain…become regular Genghis Khans when appointed to govern India and are capable of sanctioning every means of ‘pacifying’, the population in their charge, even to the extent of flogging political protestors! Blasting the “infamous sentence pronounced by the British jackals on the Indian democrat Tilak”, Lenin predicted that with the Indians having got a taste of political mass struggle, the ‘British regime in India is doomed’.”
Large number of revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Chandershekhar Azad, Ashfaqullah adopted socialism as their creed and died dreaming of independent India on the model of USSR. The slogan, Inquilab Zindabad, coined by Maulana Hasrat Mohani and popularised by Bhagat Singh and his comrades, was inspired by the Soviet revolution.
According to Lenin, “There is no end to the acts of violence and plunder which goes under the name of the British system of government in India…Nowhere in the world – with the exception, of course of Russia – will you find such abject mass poverty, such chronic starvation among the people. The most liberal and radical personalities of free Britain…become regular Genghis Khans when appointed to govern India and are capable of sanctioning every means of ‘pacifying’ the population in their charge, even to the extent of flogging political protestors!”
Nehru, Gandhi and Lenin
The 1917 Bolshevik revolution under Lenin became instant inspiration for the contemporary anti-colonial movements and their leadership. Jawaharlal Nehru and large number of first rank Congress leaders became fans of October Revolution and Lenin. Nehru, violating the White rulers’ ban on travel to USSR, managed to reach Moscow to join the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of October Revolution. His father, Motilal Nehru was with him.
Nehru, had written in his Discovery of India, “Soviet revolution has moved the human society forward by a great leap and sparked the fire that can never be extinguished. It laid the foundation of that new civilisation, towards which the world would move.”
Nehru wrote that “almost at the same time as the October Revolution led by the great Lenin, we in India began a new phase in our struggle for freedom. Our people for many years were engaged in this struggle with courage and patience. And although under the leadership of Gandhi we followed another path, we were influenced by the example of Lenin”.
Gandhi hated revolutions because these relied on violence. However, Gandhi regarded the first Russian Revolution of 1905, a precursor of the October Revolution, as “the greatest event of the present century” and “a great lesson to us”. He admitted that India was also switching to this “Russian remedy against tyranny”.
State patronage of Hindutva goons
When Hindutva goons decide to raze Lenin’s statues there is nothing like spontaneity. It is part of a well-thought Hindutva strategy. Demolition of Lenin’s statues manifests their hardened opposition to the glorious anti-colonial struggle. It was on February 25, 2018 that RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat asked RSS cadres to practice ‘hardline Hindutva’ and India witnessed the razing of Lenin’s statue in Tripura.
Our PM, who never misses a congratulatory tweet on the birthdays of world leaders and their family members, wrote no tweet on this issue. However, home minister Rajnath Singh, another senior RSS cadre, disclosed that the PM had condemned razing of Lenin’s statues in Tripura but remained silent on Governor of Tripura, Tathagata Roy’s support of the destruction. Even after red flagging by the PM, RSS/BJP leaders demanded razing of Periyar's statues in Tamil Nadu and it was done. In UP, ruled by PM’s favourite Yogi Adityanath, statues of Ambedkar were smashed.
All those who claim to share the great anti-colonial heritage of India must unite not to let the Hindutva criminals undo democratic-secular polity of India; the only one which survives out of more than 35 countries which were born after the World War II.