Ramachandra Guha, in a piece in the Telegraph, analyses a betrayal that Indian communists committed during the early days of Indian independence:
Indian communists are often chastized for not supporting the Quit India movement of 1942. But a far greater crime of which they were guilty is little talked about nowadays. This took place six years later, when the Communist Party of India fomented an insurrection to strangle the infant Indian state at birth.
Guha finds not just the communists but also the Indian intellectuals guilty:
In recounting these events, Indian intellectuals in general, and Indian historians in particular, are notoriously one-sided. When speaking of the RSS threat, they mince no words — as indeed they should not. But when speaking of the failed communist insurrection, they choose to focus instead on the “massive state repression”. But what was the Indian state supposed to do when faced with this armed challenge to its authority? Sit back and allow Ranadive and his men to move into power in New Delhi? The state reacted the only way it could. And its actions were legitimate; behind them was the support of the broad masses of the people. As it happened, the legitimacy of the state was tested and confirmed in the general elections of 1952, won resoundingly by Nehru’s Congress, and in which the now-reconciled Communist Party of India was also a contestant.
And, what is more, the ending of Guha’s piece is ominous:
The purpose of recounting these events from our first years of freedom is not simply to set the record straight. In fact, they have a strong contemporary resonance, which shall be the subject of my next column.
What is the contemporary resonance that he is talking about? I just can’t wait a fortnight to find out the answer.