“Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity…. The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value….” – Benito Mussolini
This definition of fascism, given by Mussolini, fitsWest Bengal in light of the Nandigram dispute as perfectly as a tailored suit. In my opinion, fascism does not differ much from the ideological bent of communism that is so profoundly ingrained in the politics of the Bengal. They have worked on parallel lines in Singur and more recently, in Nandigram and the way the Communists of West Bengal have acted was certainly nothing unexpected. Once they are elected to power under the name of ‘democracy’, they operate under the tenets of communism and fascism and trivialize the interests of the populace. This has become quite a commonplace for the poor farmers who have to bear the brunt of it all. In the name of democracy, voters are intimidated during elections especially in the communist states. A very pertinent set of questions is struggling to catch our attention – Are we practicing democracy in its true element considering the Nandigram dispute? Is it justified to 14,000 acres of land away from its poor, downtrodden owners for setting up a chemical hub under the banner of Special Economic Zones in terms of true development –economic progress and welfare of the citizens, as professed by the government? Is it within the parameters of social justice? Whatever happened to “the government for the people, by the people and of the people”? I am strongly reminded of the pre-independence era, the visions of the poor farmers of those times in a clash with the police for their rights and freedom being evoked. Uncanny parallels can be drawn between the two seemingly disparate eras. Is it communism or is it tyranny of the uncivilized, the unlettered? Alternatively, to put into straight words, is it the violation of the basic human rights as stated in the Constitution of India? The civilians are killed for demanding the right to be the owner of their own land, to be able to keep their livelihood which is predominantly agrarian. On March 14, 2007, the mayhem that resulted from the clash between 3000 police officers and BUPC (Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee formed by the villagers amassing roughly 2000 villagers) claimed at least 14 lives. This was just the first thunder of the looming storm. The winds gathered terribly large and uncontrolled momentum and the parliament decided to discuss Nandigram with urgency following the big blow that came with the massacre in November 2007.
West Bengal should wake up from the dangerous slumber of single-track vision of communism and learn from examples of Russia and China. As the debate on Nandigram goes on, it is about time we sit up and roll back our sleeves to put the members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to trial.