'Facts Are Facts'

History Dramatises Truth

Sankar Ray

Jacob Djugashvili, the great grandson of Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili (Stalin) in an interview to Pravda on the 100th anniversary of Bolshevik Revolution (7 November 2017) divulged that his grandfather, Yakov developed a "relationship with Olga Pavlovna Golysheva" without having been officially married. "They then gave a birth to a son-Evgeniy-my father—Yakov, born in 1907". The latter was the only child of Stalin's first wife Ekaterina Semenovna Svanidze, who died of typhus much before the first birth anniversary of Yakov. Whether Stalin knew of his son's sexual relationship of his son sans marriage is not known, but Yakov was deprived of his father's affection. A dejected Yasha (as Stalin used to call him) once tried to shoot himself. Seeing him bleeding, his monstrous dad said 'He can't even shoot straight'. Within a month after the invasion of USSR (22 June 1941) by the Nazi army Yakov who joined the Red Army as a lieutenant was taken a prisoner and sent to a concentration camp where he ended his life in 1943. The Nazis offered to release him in exchange of a Nazi Marshall. But Stalin rejected the deal. Whether it was because of his contempt for POWs as 'malicious deserters' or personal chagrin towards 'Yasha' is a matter of guess.

History, for Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel whom Karl Marx always called as 'my master', despite differing with him while accepting his method, was "a slaughter house". Whether to endorse Hegel is an exclusive prerogative of historians, but history spares none. The latter are committed to reaching out to people as their scholastic pursuit apart, they are also driven by social commitment. Which is why the imperative of making history public is wholly accepted by the revered community of historians.

We have the right to modestly communicate with historians by referring to things that need greater focus. Consider Pashtun Pakistani leader, the late Abdul Wali Khan's reminiscences Facts Are Facts, The Untold Story of India's Partition, written originally in Pushto, but translated into Urdu by him and therefrom translated into English by the wellknown Indian social and women's rights activist, Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed (published in 1987, with a preface in English by Wali Khan). It was based on his study of 20 years of correspondence (1922-1942) between the Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India . He had access to 'certain top-secret and highly confidential documents had been placed in the India Office Library, London' and other London libraries, thanks to the British law making every document a public property after the lapse of a 30-year period. So Wali Khan could photocopy some 'highly confidential papers'.

The Pashtun political leader was of the view, 'Badshah Khan's politics, and the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement was a thorn in the British flesh'. But the colonial authorities had a nightmare - 'Soviet communism''. A secret report (1939) from the Viceroy Lord Linlithgo to the secretary of state, Leslie Hore-Belisha, quoted by Wali Khan, reads. "Having held detailed discussions with different Muslim groups such as the League, Wahabis, Khaksars, and other groups with special interest in Afghanistan and tribal areas, I have concluded that the differences between Hindus and Muslims have reached a point at which there is only one solution: partition". On the question of the Muslims creating a defensive position with the help of Russia; the report says: "Such aid is out of question. If once Bolshevik aid is accepted, Islamic principles will be submerged". The British ruling class had a sanguinary nightmare- Bolshevik infection among Muslims. The irony of history was that Hitler forced Stalin to build camaraderie with the Anglo-American bloc, and a breathing space to British colonisers.

"My study of twenty years of correspondence [from 1922-1942] between the Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India revealed that the earlier study I had made of books and diaries pertaining to the subject was futile. Every detail of the policy was clearly stated in these secret documents which I was now reading. The anti-USSR policy of the British was staring me in the face; all doubts and misgivings were thus removed. What caused me tremendous embarrassment was the account of incidents which revealed the character of the leaders of the country. The worst offenders by far were Muslim Leaguers. The allegations leveled against them by the Congress and or Badshah Khan were a fraction of what I found on record in these British documents. . This point is further clarified, "Muslims will not ask favour from the anti-God Bolshevik Russia," he added.

Let's begin with an interesting revelation. History persuades historians to proceed in their historiographic tasks even by rejecting many findings that they once adhere to as valid. But politicians generally and quite often lack such guts. The on-going celebration of the centenary of Bolshevik Revolution (for official Marxists or Leninists, Great October Socialist Revolution) exposes communist parties like the Communist Party of India, born as a subservient section of the now-defunct Communist International and its split outfits such as the CPI (Marxist) and variants of CPI (Marxist-Leninist), engrossed in eulogising the Bolshevik Revolution as a successful application of 'Marxism'.

These Marxists praise sky-high John Reed's Ten Days That Shook the World that remained a best-seller for decades after the death of Stalin who stopped sale of the book as it did not glorify him as Commissar of Nationalities. They have close to their chest another narrative eulogising Bolshevik regime under Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Albert Rhys Williams' Through the Russian Revolution. But these two books have paled into insignificance with the publication of dispassionate studies by Professor Alexander Rabinowitch of Indiana University, based on years of historio-graphic search and assay, unlike Reed's and Williams'. Rabinowitch's books, Prelude to Revolution: The Bolsheviks Come to Power and The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Bolshevik Rule in Petrograd deserve to be read with courage and the Cartesian Motto of 'Doubt Everything." In his talk at the Humboldt University in 2010, packed with Marx-scholars who insulate themselves from official Marxists who pay lip-service to the Cartesian motto that Marx adhered to unflinchingly, Rabinowitch stated poignantly on Russian history, literature, and current events. "These discussions sometimes erupted into lively arguments, but there were some matters about which everyone seemed agreed. Among these was that the October Revolution that had uprooted them was a military coup carried out by a tightly knit group of revolutionary fanatics led by Lenin, financed by the Germans, and devoid of significant popular support. Another was that everything that flowed from that revolution was an abomination and global threat".

Djugashvili differs. Referring to Russian and Soviet philosopher A A Zinoviev, who was banished from USSR in 1977 for anti-Soviet propaganda, he asserts, "[The] Revolution of 1917 year saved Russia from perishing, continued its history as a great nation, and preserved and multiplied its greatest achievements. To regard the Soviet period of Russian history as a black failure is a monstrous lie. Actually, that black failure has come only now. Nowadays in Russia, there has indeed been a complete breakdown of generations-[on a] political, civil, ideological, cultural, moral, and psychological [level]-There has never been an ideal power and never will, but rather, the ideal is an abstraction". But he too berates his great-grandfather by discovering a Napoleon in him. "The most ideal political figures in the history of mankind, in my opinion, were two people: Napoleon and Stalin. I call the 19th century the century of Napoleon and the 20th the century of Stalin". However, for Stalin was ahead of Lenin. "I put Stalin above Lenin; however, as a revolutionary, creator, and organiser of the Soviet state, Lenin is an epoch-making figure".

[I have drawn a collage of impressions that have nothing to do with my viewpoint on all this.]

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