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Don’t be complacent about communists, Jerry Rao warns in his book

M Ramesh | Updated on March 16, 2020 Published on March 16, 2020

The communists may be down as a political force, but it would be folly to take them lightly, says Jerry Rao, founder and former CEO of software company, Mphasis, in his book The Indian Conservative.

The book, which has heavy anti-Left overtones, says that while the communists may have suffered electoral setbacks, they have “a disproportionate influence in Indian academia, especially in the departments of humanities and the social sciences.”

In an obvious reference to JNU and the Delhi University (though both are mentioned by name elsewhere), Rao notes, “by many accounts, they (communists) routinely gang-up to deny appointments, tenure and promotions to conservatives.” Notably, he refers to himself as a conservative, often using the words “we conservatives”, in the book.

He goes on to observe that the communists are “at the forefront in the efforts to brainwash students into believing (that) the Indian state is an oppressive one. Their narratives regarding Kashmir, the North East, the tribals of central India, Dalits and Muslims are full of cockamamie exaggerations.”

Rao notes that “the Indian state is routinely portrayed by Marxists as a fascist and totalitarian entity” and that modern Hinduism is depicted as “nothing but an ongoing upper-caste, patriarchal conspiracy.”

Specifically, on calls for the liberation of Kashmir, Rao says that if Kashmir were to be separated from India, “the fate of Buddhists, the remnant minuscule Hindus, Ahmadiyyas, Shias and, for that matter, Kashmiri Sunni women, who would face Islamic restrictions, would end by being horrifying.”

Observing that every state in India has multiple minorities, Rao says that “it is crucial that we remind their gullible students in taxpayer-funded universities that under the instruction of Comrade Stalin, the communists of India supported the Partition and that their great Chairman Mao supported Yahya Khan’s genocide in Bangladesh.”

The communists, using their “fifth column implants” in the Planning Commission, ensured that India was “programmed for poverty” the book says. Further, the communists “do not subscribe to the India of the Indian state and would be happy with the dissolution of the Indian state and the complete fragmentation of the Indian culture.”

The Indian Conservative is non-political, but it is clear that the author identifies himself with the Hindu right. The book traces the history of Indian conservatism (making it clear that conservatism does not mean change-aversion), right from the very early days, how it was shaped during the British rule and then in the decades after Independence.

Arguing that in post-Independence India, the Mahalanobis-led communist thinking was not just part of the “prevailing zeitgeist”, Rao says that “these Leftists were, in their personal lives, trying to get the best deals (for themselves) they could.” He goes on to say that “they resembled the very people they opposed – the selfish individuals who were pursuing their private profits.”

On the Congress party, Rao again says it ought not to be written off, given that “it has considerable salience and contributes disproportionately to the intellectual dialogue in Indian politics.”

On social matters, the Congress “has tied itself up in some difficult knots”, Rao says. “The idea that a minority group can have a first claim on national resources is startling,” he says, in an obvious reference to a statement to that effect made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“The Congress ideologues seem to want to move to the position that we are nothing but a country of minorities,” says Rao. He wants the conservatives to support the pro-market caucus within the Congress, but observes that “the baneful influence of Left-wing academics” over Congress seems to make that difficult.

The Congress, Rao says, needs to be reminded that the “majority needs not only to be not ignored, but it also needs to be respected.”

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Published on March 16, 2020
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