FRACTURED FREEDOM ‘IS A CLASSIC IN ITS’ OWN RIGHT OR PATH BREAKING BUT HAS SERIOUS ABERRATIONS. HIGHLIGHTS ASPECT OF PSYCHOLOGY AND INHERENT WEAKNESSES WITHIN INDIAN COMMUNIST MOVEMENT. HOWEVER DOES NOT TOUCH UPON ROOTS OF MASS LINE AND FAILS TO DEFEND CITADELS OF COMMUNIST MOVEMENT LIKE MARX, LENIN AND MAO.
By Harsh Thakor
Without doubt Comrade Kobad Ghandy in book ‘Fractured Freedom” has taught us a lot about the weaknesses inherent in the Communist Movement, giving all of us a great insight into it. Most pertinently it taps on issue of the individual subconscious. Kobad Ghandy proves the spiritual essence of a revolutionary. In its own right the work is a classic and should be read by every progressive intellectual. He teaches us that even the Leninist party is not the be it all for revolutionary democracy to reach a pinnacle and how Socialist societies and armed movements neglected the spiritual aspect. In many ways Kobad reminds me of late Punjabi revolutionary writer Satnam and the Post-Maoist philosopher Joshua Moufawad Paul. I would still rate Ghandy far more progressive than many ideologues, as he aspires to create a more democratic party, taking the experiences of the Chinese Cultural Revolution as a standpoint. He is a more progressive critique of Stalinism. than many. In many ways Ghandy’s eclectic thinking today is a product of the loopholes prevailing within the Communist Movement. Past Socialist Societies neglected libertarianism but that should not be allowed to upset the tide of the organised movement. Both wish to incorporate post modernist ideas. Kobad is the by–product of the liberal influence within Maoism. His reflections are pertinent in how even Maoist cadre do not have sufficient political education who he encountered first hand in jails. I admire Kobad for giving such tacit support to the Caste question, treating it as an integral part of the Communist Revolutionary Movement. Above all he makes us all question whether a Leninist or Maoist party concept has to be developed further to create greater democracy. Ghandy is relevant when he narrates the psychology of individualism of workers who find escapist routes and bear the same culture or orientation of the oppressor classes. In day to day life I can recount thousands of time when I could witness ho psychology is influenced by the culture of individualism. At the airport I remember trolley retriever cueing for tips and involved in smuggling. In transport industry rickshaw drivers more than often over charge customers. We have to ask ourselves why so many industrial workers do not join the ranks of the organised movement and how even oppressed masses are swayed by Communal politics. Permanent workers don’t even side with contract workers.
The social media has completely entrapped the minds of youth today worth imperialist culture. His points make me probe into why so many cadres are lost to revolutionary organisations or the movement and the current that is obstructing any new roses to bloom. Ghandy is a crusader against mechanical approach to Marxism-Leninism. Personally I respect Kobad for imbibing Freudian ideas as study of human behaviour is an integral part of Marxism. Still at important junctures Sigmund Freud would have to be refuted when he claims Human relations are only about sex instinct. Kobad echoed the views of Che Guevera and in some of his writing s resurrected Che's vision of transforming the inner essence of man. Kobad's emphasis on the subconscious has vital importance as it penetrates the spiritual aspirations of the opressed. Kobad re-enforces my view that only 2 line struggle within a Communist party like that in the Cultural Revolution can save a socialist state or convert it into a Communistic one. He makes us question whether Leninist or Maoist proletarian dictatorship concept too had inherent shortcomings. I praise Ghandy as a crusader against fascism. I am most touched by his deep admiration for late wife Anuradha Ghandy. Ghandy does nor berate the Maoist movement on a whole but just points out its glaring weaknesses. He is critical of Jharkhand movement but still shows great admiration for work in Dandakaranya region. In his book he narrates how mass movements faced the wrath of state repression which led to collapse of the mass movements, with the revolutionaries getting cut off from the masses and either becoming victims of state repression or roving rebels. Where Kobad is eclectic in book ‘Fractured Freedom’ is when he brings everything back to the individual as the centre. Ghandy fails to highlight the aspect of the mass line.
To me he does not adequately defend the contribution of Karl Marx, VI Lenin or Mao Tsetung. On failure of Communism he praises China under Mao and achievements of the Cultural Revolution in China but shows scant respect for the concept of the Leninist party. Instead of defending the achievements of Socialist Russia till 1956 and China till 1976 Kobad instills sheer pessimism into a Communist cadre. I wish he spoke about Grover Furr's revelations of Russia under Joseph Stalin, whatever the gross errors of Stalin, and referred to the work of intellectuals in recent times in defending the Cultural Revolution. Ghandy also undermines concept of democratic centralism. Most significant some genuinely leftists\ cadre raised questions on his writings. He fails to foresee that the Cultural Revolution was the first attempt f its kind to combat revisionism within a Socialist Society and refer to why mistakes in mass line and rightist trends within the Peoples Liberation army were the main reasons. True there were excesses like the red guard depredations or attacks on intellectuals and artists in a most sectarian manner but the Western media completely stripped any credit to the achievements .He fails into delving into the root of the setback which laid in mistakes in implementing Leninism. Kobad patronises the New left or Post Modernist writers like Louis Althusser, Slavoj Izek and Alan Badiou .In my view Post modernism has to be refuted tooth and nail to defend the kernel of Leninism. Ghandy did not highlight the Demonstration sin Russia still glorifying leaders like Lenin and Stalin, particularly on 150th birthday of Lenin and 75th anniversary of Victory in World war 2,nor the demonstration sin Chin today upholding the goals of the Cultural Revolution. I would the other way and blame failure or setback in the Communist Movement in not properly grasping the teachings of Marx, Lenin or Mao, going to the extent of treating Maoism as a separate entity. I feel Ghandy missed out on the ideas of Carl Jung who was convinced every problem in essence was a spiritual one.
To be continued=>