Date of Birth
‘‘Historian Irfan Habib, a CPM member since 1953’’ was clearly written by someone who does not know that the CPI(M) came into being in 1964.
Mukul Dube, Delhi

Abusing Lenin
On the piece Abusing Lenin. I would like to comment:
The last book Bhagat Singh was reading when he was to be taken to gallows was a biography of Lenin. When the jail officers came in front of his cell and reminded him of the need to move out by knocking at the graded gate, he was still reading calmly, and asked ‘‘Wait a minute, a revolutionary is meeting another. Please don't disturb’’. After a few minutes he finished it or to the extent he thought needed, put it aside, got up and moved to gallows. This is a widely reported fact. The detractors and slanderers of Lenin in the name of glorifying Bhagat Singh better note this.
I Mallikarjuna Sharma, Hyderabad

"Kathua" and "Unnao"
[In solidarity with the retired civil servants who wrote a letter last week to Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding him responsible for the "terrible state of affairs" in Kathua and Unnao, over 600 academics from India and abroad, including Noam Chomsky and Lila Abu-Lughod have also written an open letter to the prime minister expressing their "deep anger and anguish" over these "monstrous crimes" and the effort by the state governments concerned to protect the alleged perpetrators.]
Here is the full text of the Letter :

The Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister's Office, South Block
Raisina Hill, New Delhi 1l0001
21 April 2018
Mr Prime Minister
We are academics and independent scholars from India and abroad, writing to express solidarity with, and to endorse the sentiments expressed by, forty-nine retired civil servants in their open letter to you of April 16th 2018.

Along with these civil servants and countless other citizens of India and the world at large, we wish to express our deep anger and anguish over the events in Kathua and Unnao and the aftermath of these events over the efforts, in both cases, of those administering the relevant States to protect the alleged perpetrators of these monstrous crimes; over the subsequent profoundly distasteful efforts of rationalisation, deflection and diversion that have been so much in evidence in the reactions of your party's spokespersons in the media and finally over your own prolonged (and by now familiar) silence that was broken only recently with wholly inadequate, platitudinous, and non-specific assurances of justice for the victims.

Kathua and Unnao are not isolated incidents. They are part of a pattern of repeated targeted attacks on minority religious communities, Dalits, tribals and women, in which rape and lynching have been employed as instruments of violence by gau rakshaks and others, in a sequence of events spread across Dadri in Uttar Pradesh  (2015). Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir (2015), Bijapur and Sukma in Chhattisgarh (2015-16), Harda in Madhya Pradesh (2016), Latehar in Jharkand (2016), Una in Gujarat (2016), Rohtak in Haryana (2017), Delhi (2017), Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh (2017), and now Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh (2018).

Many of these events have occurred in States with BJP Governments, and all of them after the BJP assumed power at the Centre. This is not to associate violence exclusively with your party and with State governments presided over by your party. But there is an undeniable association with the ruling dispensation.

There is little evidence, in government action, of an appreciation of the importance of providing assistance to vulnerable sections of the society—whether through promotional measures aimed at enabling tribals and nomads to have access to forest and common property rights, or through preventive measures aimed at discouraging blatant breaches of the rule of law. Even the Allahabad High Court on April 12th 2018 observed: "If this is the conduct of the police in the state, whom will a victim approach to register a complaint? If this is the stand you are repeatedly taking then we will be forced to observe in our order that law and order has collapsed in the state".

We send you this letter because it is our duty to do so; so that we are not guilty of silence; and so that callousness and cowardice might finally draw the line at the broken body of a little girl and the rape of a young woman.

Noam Chomsky, Lila Abu-Lughod, Arnab Acharya, Tapati Guha-Thakurata, Sushil Khanna and others

Dismantling of Lenin Statue
BJP and its allies have come to power in Tripura defeating the left front government in the Tripura Bidhan Sabha elections recently. This is not an anomaly in this sort of Parliamentary democracy. Attacking members of the defeated party, destroying their homes etc have also become part of their routine activities. But it isn't just CPI(M) party offices or workers who are being targeted. Bulldozers were used in Biloniya and subsequently in Sabrin to raze Lenin statues to the ground. BJP is a political party that is guided by RSS and affiliates all of whom are highly aware of who and what they are targeting to and the core reasons that lie behind it. They know that their real enemy isn't parliamentarians in the garb of Marxists; their real enemy is Marxism and Leninism. This is precisely the reason why BJP wants to attack Lenin and Leninism. Ironically enough this reveals nothing but their ineptitude. They think that they can wipe off Leninism by destroying statues! Lenin is not a mere statue. His statue represents the dream of liberation and the fighting spirit harboured by millions of working men and women, his statue represents the act of bringing home victory. Lenin is not a statue, Lenin is the embodiment of Marxism-Leninism, Lenin is the embodiment of victory. Fascist BJP wants to strangle that dream but they will never succeed in doing so. They don't even realise their incapability and that is why they can be seen rejoicing in an uncouth fashion after dismounting statues of Lenin. There's no point lamenting endlessly on this matter. The spirit of Leninism cannot be defeated by fascists, no matter how powerful they look ostensibly. The correct response to razing of Lenin statues can only be provided by Leninist praxis. Social democrats bury Leninism and construct Lenin statues; they want to reduce him to a lifeless idol. They have dropped the basic tools of actualising Leninism and instead focused their energies on idol worship. They simply do not have the capacity of safeguarding the dream of emancipation. There is only one way to strengthen the fight against BJP and the pseudo Leninists-- and that is through embracement of Leninism. This is why it is necessary to hit the streets in protest of the dismantling of Lenin statues. Protests need to spread across agricultural fields and factories alike. The arrogance showcased by the fascist BJP by destroying statues of Lenin must be responded to with the resonance of protests all over the country, keeping Leninism in the forefront.

Varvara Kao, Sabyasachi Deb, Krishna Bandyopadhay, Nemai Ghosh, Salil Biswas, Dr Swati Ghosh, Bidyut Bhowmik, Asim Giri, Kanchan Kurnar, Arun Ferera, Vernon Gonjalves, Rinchin, Dr Kaniska Chowdhury, Sitangshu Shekhar, Nilanjan Dutta, Avijnan Sarkar, Asok Bhowmik, Asok Chattopadhyay, Santipada Bandyopadhyay, Madhab Bandyopadhyay, Dr Nirmal Nag, Alokranjan Chakraborty, Arun Chakraborty, Tathagata Moulik, Siddheshwar Ghosh, Amit Bhattacharya, Guruprasad Kar, Kalyan Roy, Himadri Bandyopadhyay, Rajesh Dutta, Dr Subhajit Bhattacharya, Dr Siddhartha Gupta, Dr Santiranjan Mallik, Debasish Goswami, Bishan Rudra, Suman Kalyan Moulik, Tamal Saha, Subhasish Roy, Somsankar Roy, Ajay Basu, Mrinmoy Chakraborty, Othelo Haque, Swapan Sil, Atanu Majumder, Satarupa Sanyal, Ratan Khasnabish

Vol. 50, No.44, May 06 - 12, 2018