A Fellow-Traveller of Soviet Foreign Policy-4
Shri D.G. Mohan Rao, a friend from Warrangal, who has been reading this series, writes: “There is confusion to know exactly what is Ekaki’s name to write about either Shri Nehru or Krishna Menon. Ekaki collected only the ‘yes’ quotations of him-Nehru. But Nehru tells sometimes ‘no’ also about communists. The theory and the way of collecting only ‘yes’ quotations in Nehru’s praise of communism does not underline the psychology in perfect way because there are so many other ‘no’ quotations also in Shri Nehru’s warnings against communists.”
Shri Mohan Rao has expressed a misgiving which must have arisen in many other minds. The myth that Pandit Nehru is our sole barrier against the communist flood which will otherwise inundate us, has been prevalent for such a long time in this country as well as abroad, and our press has been so tirelessly talking about his anti-communist role, that to many people it appears self-evident that he must have criticised the creed of Communism and its temple in the Soviet Union systematically and strongly. If, therefore, you inform these people that in the mountainous mass of verbiage which he has produced in his speeches and writings all along these thirty and more years, there has never been even a mild criticism of Communism or of the Soviet Union, they are most likely to dismiss you as a mad man.
It is true that in recent years Pandit Nehru has occasionally pointed out that much of Marxism is out of date due to developments that have taken place after Marx’s death. But that is quite in the line of orthodox communist thinking. Lenin, the hallowed theoretician of Communism, had stated quite clearly, and as early as 1916, that Marx had thought and written in an age when capitalism had not yet become “monopoly capitalism” and a “single chain of world imperialism”, and that, therefore, Marx’s strategy of creating (or predicting, if you please) the first proletarian revolutions in the metropolitan countries of Europe such as England, France and Germany was no more suited to the new stage in human history. The later-day theoreticians of Marxism-Leninism such as Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and Khrushchev, have also claimed that they have developed the original doctrine of Marx in the light of changing world conditions. Even a petty communist like S.A. Dange said the other day that much of Marx was already out of date.
As regards the Soviet Union, we have seen how Pandit Nehru has all along apologised for its outrageous aspects and praised those of its aspects which in his opinion are supposed to be beyond any blame. A man who could survive the shock of destalinisation and remain an ardent admirer of the Soviet Union which Stalin had created, cannot be expected to show any critical faculty when faced with that monolithic monster of modern materialism. The recent triumphs of what the communists describe as Soviet science such as the hydrogen bomb and the space rockets, have cleared his mind of whatever doubts he might have occasionally entertained about the Soviet Union’s sacred character in moments of extreme pressure from an outraged public opinion.
There are, of course, on record a few “strong” statements from Pandit Nehru in criticism of the Communist Party of India-statements which Minoo Masani’s publicity apparatus has been quite dishonestly displaying in order to deceive the devoted followers of the Prime Minister. But all these statements taken together boil down to two very petty and pointless polemics against the Communist Party. Firstly, Pandit Nehru has occasionally objected that communists do not relate their means to their ends and that, being hot-headed and impatient, they easily take resort to violence. Secondly, in his moments of exasperation against communist hooliganism during his mass meetings or his election campaigns for the Congress Party, he has hinted that communists are inspired from abroad and that they do not have their roots in the Indian soil.
Now, the charge that communists specialise in violence is absolutely spurious. If there is anything in which the communists specialise, it is in serving the Soviet Union which is their one and only Fatherland and source of inspiration. If the Soviet Union orders the communists to create violence in a particular country or all over the world, they can become a pack of wild wolves as they did during 1948-50 all over South-East Asia: But if the Soviet Union orders them to be sweet to a particular regime, they are quite capable of behaving like sheep as they did from 1942 to lane end of 1944 in their relations with the British Government of India.
Pandit Nehru’s complaint that communists often fad to relate their means to their ends sounds more fundamental to certain people who fancy themselves as “philosophically inclined”. But a clearer and closer analysis of this problem of ends and means will reveal to any logical mind that, at its best, it is no better than an endless exercise in the crudest type of casuistry. A choice regarding means appears to arise only so long as the end is defined “vaguely and generally”, to use one of Pandit Nehru’s favourite phrases. But as soon as the end, and the circumstances in which that end is to be achieved, are defined precisely and concretely, one’s sense of choice regarding means evaporates, and one is left with a single and straight road on which one may or may not have the guts to travel.
But the communist fraternity has never defined its aim “vaguely and generally”. If there is any word in human language to which communists are particularly addicted, it is the word ‘concrete’. Their definition of their goal is concrete, and their estimation of the circumstances in which they have to achieve that goal is also always concrete, no matter how technical and specialised the language in which they love to talk. Communists may be a pack of traitors but no one can accuse them of not being realists in the game of power politics. And it is quite another matter that the exigencies of Soviet foreign policy seldom allow the communist parties in non-communist countries to play their political game in a simple and straight manner.
In post-Gandhian India, an endless discussion about means and ends has acquired the proportions of a national epidemic. Quite a few of our politicians who either do not know what they want or who do not have the guts to struggle and fight for what they want, waste their entire time in spinning soap-bubbles about ends and means and, in the process, become monuments of self-righteous stupidity. Their only positive role is that they serve the communist cause by violently objecting against everyone who tries to expose the communist game and isolate the Communist Party of India. Their standard charge against anti-communists is that the latter are using “communist means” in a bid to stop the spread of Communism. But they fail to point out or demonstrate the other sort of means which can be employed to oppose the communist game.
We have to think seriously some day as to what is so monstrously wrong with communist means. In general, they have been using the standard methods of modern political warfare with a few minor additions of their own. And if anyone ever really wants to defeat the communists, he would have to turn most of these methods back on them. The true distinction between communists and anti-communists is that the two are aspiring for diametrically opposite ends. Communists want to turn every independent country into a satellite of the Soviet Union. Anti-communists, on the other hand, are proud patriots. It is the character of these ends that should distinguish the two, unless one believes that there is no difference between a buffalo and a bonafide Gandhian because both of them are vegetarians!
In the context of Pandit Nehru, however, even this philosophical exercise is not pertinent. We have seen how he distinguishes between “capitalist violence”, which he considers wasteful, and “communist violence”, which in his opinion serves the perfect purpose of bringing about a new and better world order. We have also seen how he has apologised for or justified every instance of Soviet violence at home and abroad. It is, therefore, not for him to raise an accusing finger against the Communist Party of India committing violence under orders from his dreamland, the Soviet Union.
And accusing the Communist Party of India of having no roots in the soil is like accusing a hare of having no horns on its head. No communist theoretician has ever claimed that communists care for normal nationalism or ordinary patriotism, both of which are for them symptoms of a “bourgeois disease”. Communists have always taken intense pride in what they describe as proletarian internationalism. Pandit Nehru can read with profit that small pamphlet, Patriotism and Internationalism, already referred to.
Or he can have read a speech which Comrade Georgi Dimitroff, General Secretary of the Comintern, delivered in 1935. Speaking to the May First Delegation of Foreign Workers visiting Moscow, he said: “When the reactionary Social Democratic leaders say and write -‘we do not want to receive orders from Moscow’, they only prove that they are against the State of the proletariat.... To every sincere worker in France or England, America or Australia, Germany or Spain, China or Japan, the Balkan countries or the Canary Islands-to every sincere worker, Moscow is his own Moscow, the Soviet Union is his own State. Our opponents very often set up a bowl about ‘orders from Moscow’. To receive orders from Moscow means salvation to the world proletariat.”1
A communist is a communist simply because he places the interests of the Soviet Union above even the most vital interests of the country which gave him birth and provided the wherewithal for his upbringing. The mere belief in Marxism-Leninism does not make anyone a communist. If a theoretical adherence to the Marxist-Leninist platform could create communists, then the overwhelming majority of socialists and leftists in general would fall in the communist camp. But we find that the various other socialists and leftists are quite often at daggers drawn with the communists. The, one criterion that divides them decisively is the question of loyalty to Moscow. To blame the Communist Party of India for its devotion to Moscow is like blaming an animal for breathing.
Apart from these petty and pointless criticisms of the Communist Party, I am not aware of any serious anti-communist utterances on the part of Pandit Nehru. If, however, Shri D.G. Mohan Rao or any other reader of this series is aware of any profounder pronouncements against Communism emanating from him, I shall heartily welcome the relevant references, withdraw my charge against him, and apologise for having sinned against an innocent man.
Incidentally, Shri Mohan Rao has also raised a standard but meaningless slogan of our present-day politics. He writes: “Therefore is it positive to think that Ekaki is writing only just before General Elections to create anti-atmosphere against Nehru while keeping silence till now? How people’s suspicion, thinking that this is a political stunt, will be cleared? This is the big psychology of the people now a days.”
The author of this series has always failed to understand certain words of everyday use in our politics, and the word ‘stunt’ is one of them. To a certain type of mind (or absence of mind), whenever a political party says something against its opponents, it is indulging in stunts. Now, winning the General Elections is quite a legitimate end as laid down in our Constitution. If someone wants to influence public opinion in a certain direction by opposing and exposing people who are opposed to that direction, it does not add up to anything more than a normal use of a democratic right. If an exercise of this democratic right is a stunt, then this series is surely a stunt. But at this point the word stunt ceases to have any meaning because there is no politician or party who is not doing so, every minute and every day.
Or, perhaps, Shri Mohan Rao means by the word ‘stunt’ what in everyday language we mean by the word ‘lie’. In that case, this series cannot be described as a ‘stunt’ by any stretch of imagination. If there are any stunts in our present-day political life, they are the speeches of Prime Minister Nehru who goes on raising the bogey of “communalism” and “reaction” whenever and wherever he sees genuine Indian nationalism raising its head and making its power felt in the political arena. If the most mendacious lies that the Prime Minister tells about the patriotic opposition parties, day in and day out, are not stunts, then this telling of the truth and nothing but the truth about Mm should not be taken as a stunt by any sober or serious man. And it is Shri Mohan Rao’s lack of information which leads him to believe that Pandit Nehru is being exposed as a communist only now. There have been repeated attempts on the part of informed people to warn the country against this Moscow patriot masquerading as a martyr in the cause of Indian freedom. A recent and excellent example is Shri C. Parameshwaran’s book, Nehru’s Foreign Policy X-Rayed, published as early as August 1954 when Pandit Nehru started preaching his Panchashila in the face of communist occupation of Tibet. Mr. Philip Spratt’s Blowing up India was a better and more authentic attempt in the middle of 1955.
But, unfortunately, our intelligentsia has been drugged with categories of communists thought so thoroughly that it is not prepared to accept any criticism of Pandit Nehru unless it comes from communist quarters. This intelligentsia could believe that Pandit Nehru was “the Chiang Kai-shek of India” and a “running dog of American imperialism” when Moscow and Peking said so during 1948-52. But if anybody points out that Pandit Nehru is a crypto-communist, his loyalty to the country becomes suspect. Courtier journalists like Prem Bhatia start seeing American agents and MacCarthies all around if anyone expresses doubts regarding even the Prime Minister’s foreign policy. And no popular paper or journal in this country is prepared to publish even a small letter from such “American agents”.
Even now it is not due to any reawakening on the part of our intelligentsia that this exposure has become possible. It is the shock of Red China’s outrages against Tibet and our own country that has made a certain section of our public opinion sit up and look deeper into the sources of these disasters. Top leaders like C. Rajagopalachariar knew all the time that Pandit Nehru is a communist. But it was the Chinese action which finally emboldened Rajaji to say that the Communist Party of India was functioning through the Congress Government of Pandit Nehru. Being a mature or practical politician, Rajaji had to take care of his reputation and wait for a proper opportunity in order to state the truth.
And now, to get back to our main story of Pandit Nehru’s unceasing solicitude for the interests of the Soviet Union, let us return to June 1938 when the Comintern network took him out once again for a guided tour of Europe. __He writes: “Subhash Bose was elected President of the next Congress session which was held at Haripura, and soon afterwards I decided to go to Europe. I wanted to see my daughter, but the real reason was to freshen my tired and puzzled mind.”2 The mind of this man is so constituted that it can get freshened or cleared only by trips to Europe! But to continue: “It was the Europe of 1938 with Mr. Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement in full swing and marching over the bodies of nations, betrayed and crushed, to the final scene that was staged at Munich. There I entered into this Europe of conflict by flying straight to Barcelona. There I remained for five days and watched the bombs fall nightly from the air. There I saw much else that impressed me powerfully; and there, in the midst of want and destruction and ever-impending disaster, I felt more at peace with myself than anywhere else in Europe. There was light there, the light of courage and determination and of doing something worthwhile.”3 So only a civil war created by Communism, such as he witnessed in Spain, could soothe his shattered nerves. Poor India at that time happened to be too non-violent to present him with such a spiritually satisfying spectacle.
In July 1938, he presided over a communist rally in London, the so-called Conference on Peace and Empire, organised by Krishna Menon’s India League and the London Federation of Peace Councils, a regular Red Front. In his presidential address, he said:
“In Europe and the West, where progressive groups have a longer history and different background, you have both advantages and disadvantages. But in Asia, where such groups have recently come into existence, the issue is often clouded by the nationalist issue, and one cannot think of it so easily in terms of internationalism, obviously because we have to think first of all in terms of national political feeling.
“Even so, these modern developments, and especially what has happened in Abyssinia, in Spain and in China, have now forced people to think in terms of internationalism. We find a remarkable change in some of these countries of Asia, for even though we were engrossed in our struggles, we began to think more and more of the social struggles in other pails of the world, and to feel more and more that they affected the entire world.”4
This was of course pure nonsense. There was no section in India or any other enslaved country of Asia at that time which bothered about international issues except in so much as they affected the immediate imperialist enemy. The Indian people in general were full of admiration for Hider and Mussolini and Fascism and Nazism because they were giving hard knocks to the national enemy - Britain. People swearing by “proletarian internationalism” could be found only on the fringes, unless it managed to rope in a popular leader like Pandit Nehru. Even such popular leaders had to function on false pretensions, that is, as champions of nationalism.
A few days later, he represented the Indian National Congress at another communist rally, this time in Paris. He said: “I have to convey to this great gathering the greetings and the assurances of full support in the cause of peace of the Indian National Congress representing the people of India. I do not speak on behalf of kings and queens or princes, but I do claim to speak for hundreds of millions of my countrymen. We have associated ourselves with this work of peace most willingly because of the vital urgency of the problem. Also because, in any event, our past background, and our civilisation, would have urged us to do so. For, the spirit of India for long ages past, like that of our great sister nation, China, has been a spirit of peace. Even in our national struggle for independence, we have always kept this ideal before us and adopted peaceful methods. So we gladly pledge ourselves to labour for peace.”5 And peace in the mind of Pandit Nehru as in the mind of any convinced communist has always meant that the Soviet Union and its hirelings should be allowed to slaughter whomsoever they will. Whenever someone tries to resist this sort of slaughter or refuses to approve of it, he immediately becomes a threat to peace!
Commenting on Mr. Chamberlain’s intended visit to Munich for meeting Hitler and Mussolini, he now wrote: “And yet, what of Czechoslovakia, what of democracy and freedom? Was there going to be another betrayal, the final murder of that nation? This sinister gathering of four at Munich was the prelude to the Four-Power-Pact of Fascism-cum-Imperialism to isolate Russia, to end Spain finally, and to crush all progressive elements? Mr. Chamberlain’s past record inevitably makes one think so.”6 He forgot to remember on mention that Czechoslovakia at that time had a mutual defence pact with the Soviet Union. It was certainly an inconvenient thought for him that Stalin had not raised even his little finger in support of a solemn treaty. Nor did he think it fit to mention that Czechoslovakia under his prototype, Benes, was being taken over by Soviet Russia. That was normal for him. He started weeping over Czechoslovakia’s fate only when Hitler defeated the Soviet game and took over Czechoslovakia for Germany. He did not say a word when the Soviet Union took over Czechoslovakia in 1948, and forced Benes to commit suicide.
After the Munich Agreement he wrote: “This act of gross betrayal and dishonour did not even bring peace, but has brought us to the threshold of war. Yet peace was to be had for the asking by building up a joint peace front between England, France, Russia and other Powers, which would have been too powerful for Nazi Germany to dare to challenge. The British Government refused to line up with Russia and made Hitler believe that he could deal with Czechoslovakia singly, with England and other Powers looking on. They ignored Russia in all their negotiations and worked in alliance with Hitler for the crushing of Czechoslovakia. They preferred the risk of making Hitler dominant in Europe to cooperation with Russia in the cause of peace. Their class feeling and hatred of the new order in Russia were so great that everything else was subordinated to it. They gladly agreed, at the bidding of Hitler, to the termination of the alliance between Russia and Czechoslovakia, and thus sought to isolate Russia. The next obvious step was a Four Power Pact between England, France, Germany, and Italy, and alliance between imperialism and fascism in order to make the world safe for reaction and for the crushing of the progressive elements all over the world.”7 How wild and vicious was this charge was proved next year when Stalin ganged up with Hitler for a joint rape of poor Poland and world peace. France and England were to prove that they had been only trying to salvage peace, even though their methods were half-hearted and self-defeating.
Pandit Nehru’s visit to Europe brought him still closer to the communist creed. On his return to India, therefore, he felt still more maladjusted with his own country and his colleagues in the Congress. He wrote: “I returned from Europe sad at heart with many illusions shattered… in India the old problems and conflicts continued and I had to face the old difficulty of how to fit in with my colleagues. It distressed me to see that on the eve of a world upheaval many Congressmen were wrapped up in these petty rivalries.”8
He could never understand or adjust himself with an organisation the policies and internal struggles of which were divorced from devotion to the Soviet Union. This became more than clear when he made common cause with the communists against Subhas Chandra Bose, President of the Indian National Congress in two successive sessions, Haripura and Tripuri. Bose had placed India’s struggle against British imperialism on top in his list of priorities. But Pandit Nehru’s interest in the struggle against British imperialism was only a byproduct of his solicitude for the Soviet Union, as we shall see later in this series.