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Changing its spots

india Updated: Oct 26, 2010 21:54 IST

Hindustan Times
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The Communist Party of India (Marxist) appears to be going through a new and refreshing change. No less than party supremo Prakash Karat has acknowledged that the organisation was still banking on concepts and theories from the 40s. Now this is a come up for the books for Mr Karat, who is known to stick to his views howsoever outdated they may be. Further, he went on to describe himself as the only non-scholar in a gathering if intellectuals at a conference at Cambridge University.

But we wonder how many lessons Mr Karat has learned from the past where he has singlehandedly seen the party go down the drain with his less than politically savvy moves. In saying that the party needs a makeover, Mr Karat seems to have got the wrong end of the stick once again. If he is serious about taking on the challenge of neo-liberal capitalism, the very scholarly Mr Karat needs to do a lot more about convincing people that the Left is a viable option to the parties that it has taken on today. Mr Karat has never been one to leave any stone unturned in criticising establishments. Indeed, criticising establishments is a part and parcel of the Left’s world view. And Mr Karat has never been one to shy away from this. And we applaud him for this. But he seems to have a singular ability to put his foot wrong whenever it comes to scoring a political goal.

But nevertheless, we have to say that we are with Mr Karat in his admission of the Left’s failures. However, we fail to understand his verbiage when it comes to expressions like “…its focus of exploitation is similar to primitive forms of exploitation.” Perhaps Mr Karat would like to explain all this to us, the simple folk who follow his words and deeds with rapt attention. The Marxist philosophy that theory is all is not quite working for the party, and maybe its leading personality should take a leaf from his mentor, Karl Marx who always believed that the ends justified the means. Or perhaps he would be better off with the other, equally famous Marx, Groucho.