Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gorby the Traitor and Battles in a Communist Wonderland

Achuthanandan calls Gorbachev a traitor, cautions against local Gorbys lurking around: news

I LIKE Gorby. He was the last general secretary of the Communist Party of Soviet Union (CPSU), and today neither the party nor the country exists on the face of mother earth.

In a way, Mikhail Gorbachev was a very unfortunate man. He was catapulted to the helm of a relic of party and a country that was terminally ill, and still he made heroic efforts to keep it going and even revitalise it. I have heard Jesus made Lazarus, the dead man, rise but inGorby's case he had no such miraculous powers and as a Communist with no belief in God, perhaps he had no illusions he could bring back the dead to life once again.

But the historic days in late eighties and early nineties are still fresh in my memory because along with Soviet Union, what was crashing down had been our own childhood hopes and illusions. We thought socialism was almost round the corner, that a world where no exploitation, class distinctions would become possible.

And what a socialism they had built up? When Gorby came to power after the death of a number of derelict old men who succeeded Brezhnev, he appears to have been nursing hopes that through his steps like glasnost and perestroika, he could still save the day. That was not to be, and looking back it was good the collapse came then as otherwise, the world would have been subjected to much more deadly and catastrophic experiences with a slow and even violent departure of a system that was dead in in its body and soul. With the collapse of all those countries, we had fewer tyrants left in the world.

So I was saying Gorby's fate was not his own making. It was kind of destiny that he was placed in the general secretary's post at the time of death and collapse. Perhaps we need to write the history of these times with a sense of detachment, with a balanced and historical perspective that time and distance will only provide us.

Yesterday, when I saw our own last of the Communist race in Kerala, comrade V S Achuthanandan, speak about Gorby the traitor I was thinking about this period and its lasting impressions. For us, who were young then, those experiences gave us a new world view, the need to think out of box, to face the uncertainties with no illusions and I think our generation was much less romantic about the empty slogans, frankly.

But those of Achuthanandan's generation seem to still live in the world of magical realism, which was not to be. He spoke yesterday about Gorby the traitor who drained even a country like Soviet Union, which I think is an unfortunate accusation against a man put in a hopeless situation in history.

But Achuthanandan was actually shadow-boxing. He was hitting out at his own comrades, party's state and perhaps national secretaries, who had put him in a difficult spot the other day. I feel sorry for him because it is possible his words could prove to be prophetic. ComradesPrakash Karat and Pinarayi Vijayan could be holding positions in a different communist party in times which remind us of that of Gorbry in 1991.

No comments: