Since the BJP-IPFT government has assumed power in Tripura dozens of CPI (M) offices have been vandalized and their cadre is being constantly attacked. The CPI (M) has claimed that more than 500 cadres have been attacked till now and more than 200 hundred offices have been vandalized. In this complete breakdown of law and order, supporters of BJP broke Vladimir Lenin’s statue in south Tripura . A video of this incident shows how the goons wearing saffron caps are breaking down the statue using a bulldozer and others are shouting “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.
But we should understand here that it is not just about a statue. What is the Sangh Parivar trying to prove by pulling down Lenin’s statue? They have already declared that this is an ideological war. But then the question arises: what is the symbolic influence of Lenin which BJP and the Sangh want to destroy? Another question which is being raised by some Sangh supporters is what is a foreign leader’s statue doing in India?
Let us first understand the symbolic significance of Lenin. Lenin is one of the biggest pillars of the ideology of socialism. He not only gave the ideology new dimensions but also played an important role in building the first socialist state of the world. Socialism in very basic language is an ideology which says that capital should not rule the world, it should be ruled by the common people and it also shows the path for achieving this goal. If we state this in even more simpler terms then socialism aims for an equal and just society ultimately moving towards a classless society. Here it should be added that even the preamble of Indian constitution states that “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens…..”
The ideology of socialism was formulated in a scientific way by Marx and Engels, and Lenin took the flame forward. Socialists believe that whenever there is a change in modes of production new classes emerge, but it does not put an end to the exploitation of one class by the other. Socialism showed the world which was divided on the lines of religion, race and delusions that it was actually constantly being divided into two classes - capitalist and the working class. The capitalists have control over means of production and the working class sell their labor to live a miserable life. The world is ruled by the capitalists because they control the means of production and the working class have to lead a miserable life because they don’t have any other option but to sell their labor at a minimal price. The world for the first time in history got to know that poverty is not because of sheer chance or ones past sins but it is a result of exploitation of workers by the capitalists. The solution to this problem was that the workers of the world have to be united and break the chains of this unfair system to establish a fair and just system.
This beautiful idea was developed by Lenin to apply in conditions of countries like Russia. He gave the teaching of how to make a vanguard party for which revolution would be the sole purpose. He explained to the masses what revolution would actually mean and showed how it could be achieved.
In his book “State and Revolution” Lenin explains how all the states which exist in the world are representatives of the ruling class – mostly capitalist in today’s world - and hence they are used as a tool for exploiting the working class. How if workers and peasants gain control over the means of production they can end this exploitation and build an egalitarian society. One of his great contributions was also that he explained what imperialism is. Lenin taught that when capitalism develops to a very advanced stage, it is no longer able to get enough profit from one country and it economically (and often physically) captures and starts ruling over other countries. This is called imperialism and he also explained how to defeat it by breaking it at its weakest link.
The historical importance of Lenin is so big because under his leadership a truly peoples’ state was established for the first time in the world. The people of Russia breaking the chains of oppression created a state, the USSR, which gave women economic and social rights and for the first time in history gave them voting rights. Apart from this it gave free health care, it achieved 100% literacy in a small period of time and made huge advances in the area of science and technology which included sending the first man in space. According to the famous economist Angus Maddison “Soviet economic growth per capita between 1913 and 1965 was the fastest in the world, of all the major or developed countries – faster, that is than in Japan”. Apart from this, Soviet Union became the first state in the world which made employment a fundamental right and ended unemployment till 1936.
After the Russian revolution it was the ideology of Marxism Leninism which inspired the Cuban, Vietnamese, North Korean and Chinese socialist revolutions.
For all those who ask the question that why have a statue of Lenin in India, the answer comes here. The taking down of the Tsarist regime in Russia inspired all the third world to break the shackles of colonialism which resulted in the liberation of India and other third world countries. Lenin had been a supporter of national liberation struggles and also extended his support for Indian independence.
Our country’s biggest revolutionary Bhagat Singh was also inspired by Lenin as is very evident from his writings. In his article “To young political workers” Bhagat Singh has urged the youth of India to learn from Lenin and to work for a socialist revolution. He writes “We require — to use the term so dear to Lenin — the "professional revolutionaries". The whole-time workers who have no other ambitions or life-work except the revolution. The greater the number of such workers organized into a party, the great the chances of your success.”
On 21st January 1931 Bhagat Singh and his comrades wrote a Telegram on Lenin’s Day which they read out in the court, it read “On Lenin Day, we send hearty greetings to those who are doing something for carrying forward the ideas of the great Lenin. We wish success to the great experiment Russia is carrying out. We join our voice to that of the international working class movement.” It is a historical fact that just before his death Bhagat Singh was reading Lenin’s Biography.
Apart from Bhagat Singh the Gadar revolutionaries and Chittagong revolutionaries also joined the socialist movement. Bhagat Singh’s comrades like Shiv Verma, Ajoy Ghosh and Yashpal all became important figures of the socialist movement. Not just socialists but when the Russian Revolution happened, even the radicals in the Congress like Bipin Chandrapal , Bal Gandhadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai welcomed the event and drew inspiration from it. The workers movement of India got a massive boost after the 1917 revolution and between 1919 and 1921 the country witnessed massive workers strikes. From Jawaharlal Nehru, Periyaar to Ravindranath Tagore all praised the Soviet Union when they visited the country in 1930s.
This is the answer to all those who ask what is the impact of Lenin on Indian freedom struggle. As far as the question of a foreign ideology is concerned, socialism shows the way ahead for ending poverty and exploitation which can be applied in all the countries but in different ways. Socialism is an international ideology because capitalism has been established across the world. The economic recession of 2008 this became evident as the crisis affected ever country on the globe. In these times of huge income inequality where we see 1% of people in India control 73% of the wealth the ideas of Lenin become even more important. Also, all those so called nationalists who are saying his is a foreign ideology, take lessons of nationalism from Hitler and Mussolini. One look at the texts of the “Guruji” of RSS Golwarkar shows that.
It is clear that the BJP and Sangh are scared of the ideas of Lenin and that is why they broke the statue. They along with the Congress represent the capitalist class which has the control over all resources of the country and are creating this income inequality. The Sangh Parivar knows that only the torch bearers of Leninism can demolish their rule of tyranny. In Lenin’s own words “fascism is the decay of capitalism” and hence they are scared. But they are forgetting that just breaking his statue can’t kill his ideas. Till there is exploitation in the world his ideas will keep on giving strength to the people who are fighting against exploitation. This reminds me of these lines of the revolutionary poet Pash “mai ghaas hun mai apke har kiye dhaare par ug jaunga” [I am grass, I will grow on all that you have ever done]