Someone asked me the other day why I did not write anything on JNU. Well my wish… 🙂 But then here it is…. Kanhaiya Kumar is a naturally born orator and his speech after on bail is going viral with folks. Especially his statement ‘We are not asking for freedom from India but freedom in India’ which is a Master quote filled with so much truth that we have seen more relevant in the recent past.
A friend of mine today raised a question on Facebook on something Kanhaiya said. Kanhaiya in his speech had quoted Lenin “Democracy is indispensable to socialism”. And my liberal rational friend’s question was “when did Lenin say that?” A question that also lingered in my mind when I heard that. Not because I am that well read, but did not for some reason resonate well for me.
Someone in that friend’s post argued that it is just a slip of tongue and why you rationalists hold that against him. Well without belittling the whole JNU effort and Kanhaiya Kumar and appreciating his fiery speech and all that he is doing to fight the growing hindu fascism in India I think it is not a slip of tongue, because in fact many believe Lenin said so, just like they believe many people said things they did say.
I checked online and while most point that Lenin said it. There is one that says it was said by Rosa Luxemburg, in her 1900 work “Problems of Socialism”. I have not read it to substantiate that. Again I would not blame Kanhaiya for quoting that as he would have also thought the same way others think. And the left parties in India are very good with their study classes to ingrain what is good for the party.
Well I still do not know if Lenin really said so. But Personally I am of the opinion that Lenin is not the right person to be quoted for upholding democracy. The problem in Lenin’s way of thinking like many others (now and before) in that line of thinking was that they look at Democracy in itself divided into two; I will call one ‘bourgeois democracy’ which they say should be fought and then a ‘Proletariat Democracy’ which one should defend even with violence and curtailing freedom. The individual and his freedom of speech or expression does not figure anywhere. That by itself is not a sustainable model of democracy because it is built on differentiation and not assimilation. And so I beg to defer here with those who cheer Kanhaiya.
Lenin, Stalin, USSR, China, Cuba or any other communist state in the world is not a symbol of the democracy that treats individual freedom, liberty and rational thinking at the helm. In fact it only distorts ones understanding of the concept of democracy. People can mix and match and play with words, but sorry Lenin is a poor example to quote for democracy.
Nevertheless Kanahiyah is a fantastic Orator as we all can see and it is good that BJP worked hard to give him primetime TV. Leaving that Lenin quote out what Kanaiyah and JNU is fighting for is worth fighting for. But I hear people calling him a national leader born. I think he is still a long way from being a national leader or a leader who can move the mass like Kejriwal was able to do in Delhi. He might become but I would give him time to grow and mature than making him a ‘socialhype’ now. But then students are the power hold of a country and JNU has a significant role to play in that because of the center stage they have taken in such struggles always. So all support to JNU.
That being said one of the striking thing I saw was how people supported Kanhaiya without his politics in it. They all broke straight through his politics. I saw people who are naturally against left politics supporting him and that has to do with something beyond party politics. This is a very refreshing things to see. But my take is Lenin or Lal Salam will not do any good here.
But what is important for the liberal and rational is to uphold Babasaheb as the rational sane voice of today and that is what will unite India for tomorrow. You should replace your Lenin and others with more concrete logical reasoning.
And then finally I will quote Babasaheb “The sovereignty of scriptures of all religions must come to an end if we want to have a united integrated modern India” again even if you refute that Babasaheb said this quote, I think that is one of the most important and relevant quotes for India today in all quadrants or all religions and all politics.