The Left fiasco in Tripura has raised endless questions. It seems like the Left has lost its relevance wherever it existed. The communist parties have asked for it, by letting them confine to two or three states and relishing in it, rather than growing to be pan-Indian parties.
Sadly, the Left has been wiped off the national politics. More saddening is the fact that the communist parties could do it to themselves in a country with so many poor people.
India always needed an elementary left ideology. That is on its way out now. The Left space is shrinking as the Left parties including the CPM weaken. The Left has become a party of white collar in Kerala. In Bengal, the main communist party has become an association of lazy people.
A communist party can preserve its organic identity only when it represents the poor. The Left in India does not represent the poor in the country’s heartland. The communist parties in India have lost their vitality.
Continuous rule is not a bad thing per se. But the party should have the strength to reinvent itself. An ability for soul-searching and course-correction is important for any political party. The communist parties could not redefine themselves in accordance with the changing times and newly available knowledge.
The communist parties have become outdated. They have become conservative in many aspects, including gender issues.
The Left parties in India do not speak for modernity. Their knowledge store has shrunk. They have no other motive other than to gain power and win elections at any cost. A great movement with lofty ideals has fallen. This is the tragedy of our times.
After gaining strength in the 1950s and 60s, the party went into the control of careerists. The party in Kerala was weakened by these elements and their rigours. It is a colonial arrogance to make oneself surrounded by a posse of police.
The party has forgotten who it stands for.
(Paul Zacharia is a Malayalam short-story writer, novelist and essayist. Excerpts from an interview to ‘Paper Capsule’ a news-based program aired by Radio Mango in the United Arab Emirates)