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Political Violence and the Left Author(s): K. V. R and Arun Source: Economic and Political

Political Violence and the Left Author(s): K. V. R and Arun Source: Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 24, No. 12 (Mar. 25, 1989), p. 590 Published by: Economic and Political Weekly Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4394535 Accessed: 05-04-2018 03:28 UTC

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Political Violence and

the Left

liberties. But, as ill-luck would have it, he

does not seem to realise that CPI(NI) has yet

to learn its lesson, even after the brutal murder of Hashmi. Right from 1969-70 when the Srikakulam Girijan peasants'

armed struggle began claiming 'encounter'

victims of the stature of Subbarao Panigrahi,

the poet-revolutionary, the CPI(M) has never

Whose Security? Whose Defence?

WE feel and have always felt that the so-

called 'defence' programmes of our countries

are not merely a menace to people of other

countries but also a threat to people within each country. Just maintaining these defence

programmes costs countless lives: where

money is desperately needed for health,

welfare, flood control and other life-saving

measures, all the money spent on 'defence' adds to the death toll. And there are plenty

of occasions when the 'security' forces of a country are used against their own people. Finally, incidents like the fire at the Ojhri ammunition dump near Islamabad, which killed hundreds and injured thousands, are always a possibility. If nuclear weapons had been involved, the outcome would have been

even more ghastly.

These lethal weapons and the armed

forces trained to use them are supposed to

protect us from internal disruption and

external aggression, or so we are told. But

is it really true that possession of weapons

and the readiness to use them reduces the

risk of conflict? If each of us went around

armed to the teeth and looking for enemies, would that reduce the risk of our being

attacked? Everything, all our experience,

points in the opposite direction. Our only security lies in ceasing to produce and

stockpile nuclear as well as conventional

weapons, ceasing to train people to use

them, teaching the people whose business is

killing some more useful profession.

Our real enemies are not ordinary people

of other countries or communities, but the

people who rule or want to rule us by force,

those who constantly wage a war to destroy'

the lives which we try to nurture. Our own

struggle is against the ignorance, prejudice and hatred which justifies wasting precious

resources on programmes of destruction; a

struggle for peace and friendship between

the peoples of our countries and all other


*Meena Dhanda (India), Pritam Singh

(India), Tlni Sandhu Bhargava (India),

Rajeev Bhargava (India), Jim White (UK),

C M Gorringe (UK), A Godfrey (UK),

M Guiry (UK), Mick Howes (UK), E Fer-

nando (Sri Lanka), Akshay Bakaya (India),

Yameema Mitha (Pakistan), Radha Kumar (India), A Chhachhi (India), N Endagama

(Sri Lanka), R E Kelly (UK), H Lacey (UK),

R T Horgan (UK), N Smith (UK),

S Mustafa (Pakistan), Tariq Abdullah

(Pakistan), Shaku Banaji (India); Rohini

Hensman (Sri Lanka), Jani De Silva (Sri Lanka), Tara Coomaraswamy (Sri Lanka),

Jagath Senaratne (Sri Lanka), Sepali Kot-

tegoda (Sri Lanka), L J Greenaway (UK),

G . P DESHPANDE's rejoinder 'Strange

Logic' (February 18) to this correspondent's 'Warning Signal' (January 14) pursues a

stranger logic,, if it is not altogether stranger

opened its mouth in condemnation of state

violence. On the contrary, it tried to gag

to logic. Deshpande does not question the

facts th4t in the case of political violence

referred to by me the victim was a Left activist and that he had been murdered

"with as much brutality" as the late Safdar Hashmi. He has also not questioned that

three CPI(M) supporters had been arrested

in connection with the murder and two

CPI(M) cadres had sought anticipatory bail

from the court.

Apart from the fact that Deshpande has

writers like myself who tried to pay homage

to a fellow-poet like Panigrahi. The hundreds and hundreds of police murders have failed

to evoke any response even from a civil liber- ties organisation sponsored by that party. At

a time when Vara Vara Rao is struggling to

be out of prison and when Gaddar and

Sanjeevi are forced to go underground for

much the same reason as had obliged Vara

Vara Rao to have his bail cancelled, the

sought the privilege of double standards for

CPI(M) maintains a stony silence, quite in

the CPI(M), the unstated premises of his 'logic' seem to be that (i) the two cases are

line with its support to the ruling Telugu Desam Party. In sharp contrast, the Revolu-

not comparable because the Calcutta victim

tionary Writers' Association and the All-

cannot boast of any admirer of the status

India League for Revolutionary Culture have

and standing of Deshpande that the late

not only denounced Hashmi's murder but

Hashmi luckily had, and (ii) it is not the

also participate4 in the campaign initiated

actual commission of a wrong or unjustified

by pro-CPI(M) cultural organisations in

action, but it is its public reference which

Andhra Pradesh.

is harmful to the progressive cause.


Deshpande may be of the opinion that public condemnation by persons of status like him will be sufficient to prevent repeti- tion of crimes like Hashmi's murder. This


correspondent, however, believes, to repeat,

that "the roused democratic and progressive emotions will be assisted to crystallise into

purposive action against a repetition of a

similar crime' if the Left ceases to be guilty

of the saine or similar lapses. This cor- respondent is not particularly worried if

Rajiv Gandhi or anyone else in the opposite

camp derives any short-term benefit from

publicising of the Left's lapses as he believes

in Lenin's advice that "We must not conceal

our mistakes from the enemy. Anyone who

is afraid of this is no revolutionary.'

Deshpande seems to be a firm believer in

his thought-reading powers. But his opinions

about this correspondent's opinions about

the communist parties or the Left movement

are not particularly material. This cor-

respondent, however, will continue to warn

against any contribution that the com-

munists and the Left may be wittingly or un-

demn in public. May we inform Deshpande

that in AP a prominent people's artist

wittingly making to the pervasive culture of

violence in the country and will continue to

appeal to the parties claiming to be Marxist

to view this phenomenon with. a sense of

utmost responsibility.





APROPOS the letter of G P Deshpande

(February 18), we wonder why Deshpande is

irked by your correspondent's note on Safdat

Hashmi's ghastly murder (January 14). Is it

not a fact that the CPI(M), which speaks of

civil liberties, proposed that communist revolutionaries should be deprived of their civil liberties and democratic rights? (Please do not construe that we do not condemn Hashmi's murder by Congress(I) goons. We

do condemn his murder). What is relevant

here is that it is time to expose the hypocrisy

of those who claim to be champions of civil liberties but do not hesitate to deprive others of the same in the state where they are in

power. Whether such people belong to the

CPI(M) or the communist revolutionaries,

we must expose their double game if they

indulge in the very activities which they con-

Gaddar has been forced to go underground

and Vara Vara Rao had to have his bail

cancelled for fear of fake encounters by the

NTR government's police and the CPI(M)

is hand-in-glove with this great 'left

democrat', NTR, in all his atrocities against people's movements and democratic


G P DESHPANDE's letter (February 18)

provides a strong plea for concerted action

in defence of democratic rights and civil

Revolutionary Writers'

Association. (Virasam)


Jill Howes (UK), Saleha Begum

(Bangladesh), R W Greenaway (Austra

Murad Banaji (India).

590 Economk a;nd Political Weekly Makwh 25, 189

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