Past, Present and Future

'Frontier': Part of Intellectural Life

Amar Kant

The years of the seventies of the last century may be called a revolutionary period, though J V Stalin was no more. A victorious and jubilant Nikita Khrushchev reigning over the Soviet Union, smeared and vilified with packs of falsehoods, his former leader, J V Stalin, [Stalin was often addressed as "my father" by N Khrushchev], at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956, Mao Tse Tung was alive and his Cultural Revolution in China was in the news. Socialist revolutions were going on in many countries of the World including Colombia, Nicaragua, Peru, Chile etc in the continent of South America; Congo, Algeria, Zimbabwe etc. in the continent of Africa and Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Burma etc. in the continent of Asia. Leaders of many of these revolutionary movements in various countries such as Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Mosaddegh of Iran, Aidit of Indonesia, Salvador Allende of Chile were being overthrown and assassinated, ordered and assisted by the CIA of the USA. But Marxism was still marching ahead triumphantly on all the continents of the World and sailing over all the oceans of the Planet. Bhagat Singh's war cries, 'Long Live The Revolution'; 'Down With Imperialism' and 'Long Live The Scientific Socialism' were still heard reverberating all over the country and on the lips of every young and old of India. The youth in India, France in Europe and many other countries was astir.

It was sometimes during this decade that I happened to come across 'Frontier' which was being received by two of my sons as subscribers. They also had been regular contributors of 'Economic And Political Weekly'. The eldest one, Neeraj used to get 'SPUTNIK' published in the then Soviet Union. He was a student of science and so was impressed by the scientific advancement of the then Soviet Union in the sphere of SPACE and in this respect also USSR was far ahead of the imperialist USA. Earlier, she (USSR) had been the first to send a human being (Yuri Gagarin) to the surface of Moon leaving the USA shocked and far behind in the race for conquering the Space. The United States of America had by this time taken over the leadership of the Capitalist/ Imperialist World from Great Britain, another imperialist country that had ruled over the World and kept India enslaved for about 200 years.

In Chandigarh, I was in the habit of arranging seminars on Bhagat Singh's Martyrdom Day and his Birth Anniversary. A few other Socio-political organisations also used to hold meetings on some occasion or other. Sometimes, I would get an opportunity to speak on such occasions or ask questions from the distinguished speakers. 'Frontier' was always a part of my thoughts. As soon as, I would learn about the seminars and the topics being discussed there, I would start consulting 'Frontier'. The writings of 'Frontier', analysing the issues and problems facing the country as well as the World, would become part of my study and the same would be reflected in my talks given at such gatherings.

A good number of learned Marxist thinkers contributed their articles in 'Frontier', edifying the views and thoughts of its readers. Articles such as 'Rights and Wrongs of Armed Resistance' by Gautam Navlakha; 'Defining Democracy' by Satya Sagar; 'Revolution in South Asia' by Indra Mohan Sigdel', 'Basanta' used to be highly illuminating.

Publishing articles on and about revolutionary forces such as 'voices of Naxalbari' by Nazes Afroz and editorials such as 'Expecting The Unexpected' in its issue of May 6-12, 2018 ,' Frontier' has been always playing the role of a mouthpiece of Revolution and of Bhagat Singh's ideology of Scientific Socialism. It has been upholding Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and is a torch-bearer of the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin and the People's Republic of China of Mao Tse Tung. It is like 'Analytical Monthly Review', an independent socialist magazine published from New York, an edition of which is published in India by the Cornerstone Publications, Ramesh Dutta Sarani, Kharagpur, West Bengal. For a while, 'People's March', a monthly magazine, used to be available but no longer so. There are not many weeklies and monthlies of this type published in the country. 'Frontier' is one of the few exceptions.

The centenary of the 1917 October Revolution was observed in a befitting way all over the country in India. 'Frontier' was in the forefront in specifying the significance and importance of the Soviet Revolution. There was, however, one omission and that was J V Stalin's contribution in the October Revolution and more importantly in building the Soviet Union. It was through and through his foresight, determination and efforts, after V I Lenin, that the Soviet Union was built into the World's most powerful State, next only to the USA. His efforts in building Socialism in one country had to be appreciated. It was he who took the Russians on the hoe in 1917 to the Russians on the Moon in the 50's of the last century.

It is regretted that not only the bourgeois writers but even a few Marxist authors writing on the October Revolution in 'Frontier' mentioned J V Stalin in words such as "Stalinist Rule", implying he was a cruel ruler, citing his 'Purges' and 'Moscow Trials' of 1930's and is named sometimes with epithets such as 'despot'.

J V Stalin had two aims—one, building 'Socialism in One Country' that is a continuous and a long process and—second, 'protecting the Soviet Union and forestalling the expected invasions by the Fascist and Imperialist Powers'. Such writers also ignored his colossal and titanic Five Year Plans. With regard to 'Purges' and 'Moscow Trials' the following quotes are pertinent.

"A revolution is certainly the most authoritative thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon…. And if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries".—Frederich Engels.

"….the fight against capitalist society has become a hundred times more fierce and perilous because we are not always able to tell enemies from friends." (C W of Lenin, Vol.33, Page 287)

"The principal defendants had entered into a conspiracy among themselves, and into an agreement with Germany and Japan to aid these governments in a military attack upon the Soviet Union. They agreed to and actually did co-operate in plans to assassinate J V Stalin and Molotov, and to project a military uprising against the Kremlin which was to be led by General Tukhatchevsky, the second in command of the Red Army. In preparation for war they agreed to and actually did plan and direct the sabotaging of industries, the blowing up of chemical plants, the destruction of coal mines, the wrecking of transportation facilities, and other subversive activities..."—Joseph E Davies, USA's Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1936 to 1938 in his book Mission To Moscow.

"We do not have ready-made pure people, purged of all sins, people who would carry through a very complicated, difficult policy fraught with all kinds of unknowns… As long as the State exists, certain ills come with it; but neither survival nor progress can be achieved without the State. Unequal living standards, depending on what position you currently hold, a minister or... These things are all intertwined, and they should never be disregarded. As long as we have the State—and we will be living with it for many years to come -as long as we have money -and it is here to stay for some time -these are the fundamental factors that spawn all kinds of bad things, including bureaucracy, careerism, money-grubbing in every form, and, of course, cruelty… Testing for loyalty and reliability, you know, is very complicated. Herein lies the danger for a State, especially a dictatorship of the proletariat, any dictatorship—it requires harsh, unquestioning discipline"—(Page 255, 'Molotov Remembers—Conversations with Felix Chuev')

In time Stalin will be rehabilitated in history. There will be a Stalin museum in Moscow. Without fail! By popular demand. The role of Stalin was tremendous. I do not doubt that his name will rise again and duly win a glorious place in history. Stalin used to say, "Truth is protected by battalions of lies…"—(Page 215, 'Molotov Remembers…')

Millions of bourgeois technicians and experts, specially employed, in the army, factories and various parts of the administration, were the source of greatest danger along with the nearly 700,000 emigres in Europe who were lying in wait for attacking the Soviet Union at an opportune moment as the agents of World Capital. Fascist Powers led by Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy in the West and Imperialist Japan in the East, were readying themselves to invade the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin.

The Marxist writers, who denigrate Stalin as a totalitarian, do not understand correctly what is meant by the concept of 'The Dictatorship of the Proletariat' and are, therefore, not entitled to be called 'Marxists'. They try to judge the Soviet Union of J V Stalin through the prism of bourgeois democracy under which they are living. The more one studies the unimaginably difficult times, and the political developments within and outside the Soviet Union, the more one would find that all the ten fingers of J V Stalin were neat, clean and fine and no finger was polluted.

The old volumes of 'Frontier' since its inception should be kept micro-filmed. It would serve as the most useful and valuable source material for research scholars in the future and after going through its volumes, some Indian 'Howard Zinn' might write 'People's History of India' just as American Howard Zinn had written 'People's History of the United States of America'.

I had a wish lurking in my heart since I had started reading 'Frontier' to visit its office and meet Timir Basu, the Editor. Mr Bhakti Bhushan Mondal was a Minister in the United Front Government of West Bengal and he was also the President of the India-China Friendship Association. He had decided to hold a conference of the Association at Kolkata in the year 1994. I, along with some other senior members of the Association at Chandigarh, was invited by him. Being a Minister holding the port-folio of the Department of Co-operation, he was able to make excellent arrangements for the stay of all the invitees from the various states of the country. The occasion gave me the opportunity of visiting the office of the 'Frontier' and meet Timir Basu, sitting in his small battered office room of an old building. Timir Basu may not be remembering my visit as he didn't know me and we didn't talk much.

Scientific Socialist Revolution dreamt of by Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary colleagues in the 1930's was passionately cherished by the country's youth in the 70's and 80's of the last century. Many of them, on suspicion of being Maoists, were done away with by the country's ruling elites. Some of the talented film producers and directors such as Govind Nihalani and Manmohan Shetty; Sudhir Mishra and Pratish Nandy; Parkash Jha and Sunil Lulla; and Sanjay Kak of 'Red Ant Dream' had produced films on them and their movement. These film directors/producers are known and are famous more by these films than by their many other full-length films. These films include 'Hazaron Khawaishain Aisi', 'Chakarveuh', 'Hazar Chaurasi Ki Maa'. 'Hazar Chaurasi' [1084] was the number of a dead youngman's body lying in the mortuary. In this picture, Jaya Bhaduri's role as mother was the most impressive, natural and moving proving her to be a great actor. At the end, a young girl, her dead son's beloved, meets his mother telling her that she was going to the jungles to work amongst the tribals to fulfil the dream and mission of her dead lover.

There was a sense of frustration prevailing among some of the old revolutionaries, for they felt the revolution had passed by them and they would not see it now in their life-time and be a part of the same. A quote from 'Flipkart' in an article captioned, 'How Billionaires Celebrate Naxalbari 50', published in 'Frontier', stated, "He, Kanu Sanyal, was a recluse, totally disillusioned after the failure of the movement (Maoist) and eventually hanged himself". It was meant to show how Indian Billionaires Plus Business 'Flipkart' wished to present 'the Naxalbari 50'. Is there any truth in the above presentation of Flipkart ? Satnam, a young man from the city of Patiala in Punjab and a Maoist who spent two months with the guerillas in the jungles of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, had written a book 'Junglenama' in Punjabi language that was translated in English captioned, 'Junglenama Travels In A Maoist Guerilla Zone' by Vishav Bharti, a prominent journalist working with a national Daily in Chandigarh. Mr Satnam had also translated Howard Fast's novel, 'SPARTACUS' in Punjabi language. He was feeling frustrated and depressed due to the slow progress of the revolutionary movement in the country and had, it was stated, due to the same, committed suicide.

Further, I may add that both Neeraj and Shalley, now in America, holding fairly good posts, have lost interest in Marxism-Leninism and Maoism. They say studying books on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism depressed them. They have proved the saying quoted often by the bourgeoisie that "at the age of 20, if a young man is not a communist, he is not a wise person and if he continues to be a communist at the age of 40, he has no head".

Neeraj, however, had proved the bourgeoisie and 'Flipkart's' assertion wrong and truthless, thereby, has defeated them as he, now in his 60s, was re-reading the volumes of 'Capital' written by Karl Marx and a recent publication by Bernard D'Mello. So far as I am concerned, I may say that I was a Marxist at the age of 20; was a Marxist-Leninist at the age of 40 and now in 80s continue to be a believer in Marxism-Leninism. I have also proved the bourgeoisie wrong and the assertion of 'Flipkart' truthless, thereby, defeating them. The bourgeoisie would be shocked to see that the heads of Neeraj and my own, are intact on our bodies.

No revolutionary should need lose heart. They should continue to study the books on Marxism-Leninism and Maoism as well as the histories of all the revolutions especially those of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1799, the Paris Commune that lasted from March 28 to May 28, 1871, Russian Revolution 1905- lasting from January 22, 1905 to June 16, 1907, the Bolshevik October Revolution of 1917, the Chinese Communist Revolution having begun as a Civil War between Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai Shek and the Communists culminating in the victory of the Communists and the establishment of Democratic People's Republic of China led by Mao Tse Tung on October 1, 1949, the Victory of the Communists led by Ho Chi Minh in Viet Nam War, inflicting a mortal defeat on the most cruel imperialist Power of the World, the Communists' Victory led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevera in Cuba. In many of the countries, the revolutionaries led by the Communists had won, after suffering some setbacks and in some others they could not. They, however, had never lost heart and their struggles went on. There have been many pluses. The path of the Marxist revolutionaries is paved with thorns. The revolutionaries should remember the following words of Fidel Castro who was the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and its President from 1976 to 2008.

"Times, Will Come…."

"No matter what happens, other times will come. Right now, we're in the midst of a huge reactionary wave, later, a huge revolutionary wave, a huge progressive wave will come again. That Is For Certain. This is the reactionary high water mark. With or without us, another progressive, revolutionary wave will sweep the world. When I say "revolutionary", I am referring to goals and purposes, not to the form in which those ideas are propagated. Just as reactionary ideas now prevail and are very strong, the time will come when progressive, democratic ideas will prevail whether or not we are here."

The life of Bhagat Singh teaches us the same lesson of not losing faith in their cause and in their victory. His declaration, just a day before he was to be executed by the British Imperialists, is heartening and needs to be kept in mind. In one of his last writings that was a petition to the Governor of Punjab in which he requested the Governor not to execute them since they are war prisoners. The Lahore Conspiracy Case Special Tribunal had, in its judgment, accused Bhagat Singh and his colleagues, of waging war against King George of England and so they were war criminals. The appropriate punishment for war prisoners and criminals is, 'they should be gunned down by a firing squad'. He declared in his petition to the Governor:

'Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist so long as the Indian toiling masses and the country's natural resources are being exploited by a handful of parasites. They may be purely British Capitalists or mixed British and Indian or even purely Indian. They may be carrying on their insidious exploitation through mixed or even on purely Indian bureaucratic apparatus. All these things make no difference. No matter, if your Government tries and succeeds in winning over the leaders of the upper-strata of the Indian society through petty concessions and compromises and, thereby, cause a temporary demoralisation in the main body of the forces. No matter, if once again the Vanguard of the Indian Movement, the Revolutionary Party, finds itself deserted in the thick of the war. No matter, if the leaders to whom personally, we are much indebted for the sympathy and feelings they expressed for us, but, nevertheless, we cannot overlook the fact that they did become so callous as to ignore and not to make a mention in the peace negotiations of even the homeless, friendless and penniless female workers who are alleged to be belonging to the Vanguard and whom the leaders consider to be enemies of their utopian non-violent cult which has already become a thing of the past; the heroines who had ungrudgingly sacrificed or offered for sacrifice their sons, husbands, brothers and all that were nearest and dearest to them, including themselves, whom your Government has declared to be outlaws. No matter, if your agents stoop so low as to fabricate baseless calumnies against their spotless characters to damage their and their Party's reputation, The War Shall Continue…….

It may assume different shapes at different times. It may become now open, now hidden, now purely agitational, now fierce life and death struggle. The choice, of course, whether bloody or comparatively peaceful, which way it should adopt, rests with you. Choose whichever you like. But that War shall be incessantly waged without taking into consideration the Petty and the Meaningless Ethical Ideologies. It shall be waged ever with new vigour, greater audacity and unflinching determination till Socialist Republic is established and the present social order is completely replaced by a new social order, based on social prosperity and, thus, every sort of exploitation is put an end to and the humanity is ushered into the era of genuine and permanent peace. In the very near future, the final battle shall be fought and final settlement arrived at'.—Bhagat Singh

We, as subscribers and readers of 'Frontier', profoundly and wholeheartedly congratulate its editor, Timir Basu and all the members of his staff for continuously bringing out the Weekly, in spite of overwhelming financial odds.

Autumn Number 2018
Vol. 51, No.14 - 17, Oct 7 - Nov 3, 2018