Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bengali communists

Juha Rudanko, a journalist from Finland, has written to me asking for an interview on communism in West Bengal.

Here are his questions.

Could you briefly outline your view of the most important phases of the emergence of the CPI(M)and its development to what it is today? What is the source of the CPI's support? Why has it stayed in power for so long? How have the CPI's policies changed over time? How much support does the party have today?

How does communist rule affect people's day-to-day lives? I guess the most obvious practical way is the frequent strikes, but are there others? Does the CPI(M)'s rule in West Bengal make people's lives somehow different from those in other parts of India? Could you give practical examples I could use to illustrate this?

In your blog, you write that the CPI(M) has no concern for the common citizen of Bengal, but only for the party's short-term interest. What does that mean in practice? Could you give examples?

You also write that the party rather than the state institutions runs everything. How does that work in practice? Are there parallels with other communist societies? What do you mean by "an insidious privatisation of public space, and criminalisation of life and politics"?

You write that "perhaps the worst oppression on the people is in the state of the primary education system and the public healthcare system – which in turn are in this state because of the extortionary activities of the CPI(M)." Could you please explain what you mean? How has the CPI(M) failed in provision of primary education and public healthcare?

Juha Rudanko's article in the Finnish magazine Kumppani is accessible here (pdf, 4 MB).


Anonymous said...

Well, I for one am looking forward to your answers :)

Ya Haqq!

Nila-kantha-chandra said...

I could have given some quick answers, but given that this is a subject I am intensely engaged with - i.e. Calcutta, West Bengal and the CPI(M) - this became a real opus in my mind. I finally wrote a 13 page note in response and sent it to Juha. I can email that to anyone interested. My email is given in the profile section.

B.B.Mandal said...

Dear Rama,
I am interested to read every page that you wrote on this issue.I have recommended your BLOG as a must-read to many friends/batchmates scattered all over the world. Please send your reply to Rudanko to my mail: