By Baalu Kharel
Iremember my years in Cotton College, Guwahati when I was pursuing English honours after shifting to Arts from Science. The decision to shift to Arts did not go down well with my parents who wanted me to become a doctor. And why should they not? After all, I was very good in Biology and scored pretty well in that subject in my higher secondary fil. I remember when my higher secondary results came out, the first thing my father did was to tell me that I should be mentally ready to pursue medicine after cracking the medical entrance test. But that did not happen. I had made up my mind to pursue English honours.
At Cotton what I found interesting was politics. There were groups of students who would sit huddled and discuss politics. There was one group, I remember vividly, that called itself Young Marx privately. They were Marxists. Their favourite theme was Globalization; they were against it because they believed it was against the cause of the poor and the downtrodden. How can any sort of globalization help the cause of the poor, they would question, and debate on and on. Many found their discussion outdated because of the rapid advances made by different aspects of globalization. During those days it was fashioble to be in support of globalization. I too wanted to appear fashioble. Therefore, the choice for me was obvious: I had to ridicule that group that called itself a diehard follower of the Marxist ideals. However, one person in that group fascited me: Rupam. His parents used to work in the corporate world, both being MBAs. So, in that sense, he was brought up in that sort of culture, the corporate culture. His parents would visit the office club in the weekend and have parties there with a good deal of drinks. But he never accompanied them because he found it a waste of time. He thought people had better things to do in this world. So he would rather stay back home, read Marxist literature, ponder over it, and then the next day would discuss all with his friends in the group. He was an extremely intelligent boy. He was also into poetry, and his poetry was deeply influenced by Marxist poets. He also wrote newspaper articles. When his articles were published, his friends would call it a vindication of their stand against globalization and their support of the communist cause.
The other day, I met this man, Rupam, now a totally changed person. He is no longer a Marxist but a solid capitalist. He now ridicules the very idea called Marxism. I asked him if it was due to the decline of communism throughout the world. He paused for a while and said he did not support Marxism any more because he saw through the game: that Marxists are a pretentious people who have nothing to do with the cause of the poverty-striken lot and have more to do with things like semirs, conferences, group discussions etc just a fashion statement of kind. Fine. Then we parted.
Back home I wondered if that was really the case. Perhaps so, I would now infer. Otherwise there is no reason why the Left should be a spent force in India when the country is still home to such a huge poverty-striken population. Really so?
The Left would have the answer.