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Oppose top capitalists’ control over India, not neo-liberal policies: Irfan Habib tells communists

Rather than opposing India’s neo-liberal policies, the communists should rail against the control that the top capitalists now exert over the entire country, noted Marxist historian Irfan Habib has said.

“It is not neo-liberal policies we should oppose. It is the top business capitalists controlling the entire country that we should oppose. Neo-liberal policies are only a product of the situation. India today is a capitalist state with some landlord elements. It is not the state that existed in early 1950s or early 1960s,” Habib said while delivering a speech on “Democracy, Secularism: Problems and Prospects” organised by the Communist Party of India-Marxist here on Thursday evening.

Known for his strong opposition to both Hindu and Islamic communalists, Habib accused the BJP government at the centre of being totally subservient to top capitalists.

“Opposition to the BJP is not simply an opposition to a wrong ideological position. It is opposition to complete subservience to the top elements of capital,” the 86-year-old said.

To buttress his point, Habib cited the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation move and the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax.

“You look at demonetisation, GST; they all attack small businesses, individual employers, contractors, etc. They don’t attack top businesses. In fact, they only serve the top businesses.

“If we are a communist party, party of socialism, our opposition must be directed towards this party which is totally subservient. It is not a question of neo-liberal policy, but a question of basic capitalist orientation,” said the Padma Bhushan awardee.

He called upon the Left to regain its lost ground and be “ideologically prepared” to oppose the Sangh Parivar-led “drive towards fascism”.

“To oppose the present rise towards fascism, we must be ideologically prepared. I am afraid we have weakened a lost. There was a time in the 1950s and 1960s that the Left certainly was prominent, though I wouldn’t say they dominated, in journalism, in books.

“We seem to have lost that battle, tactically. We must regain that ground.”

According to Habib, the major contradiction in India today is between the RSS-oriented drive towards fascism, and the interests of the common people, peasants and workers, democrats and small businessmen, as also the interests of intellectuals and believers in rationalism.

“We must unite all of them to oppose the drive to fascism”.

Habib opined that there were a number of similarities between the ideology of the Nazis and that of the RSS.

“Nazism talked of glorification of the German race, the supposition that Aryans were white people who came out of Germany, and that Germans invented most of the things, and that Jews, along with England and France were enemies of Germany.

“Does it not look like RSS ideology? They also claim ancient India invented everything, the aeroplane and so on . They say Aryans civilised the world. They claim Indus civilisation belongs to us, not to Dravidians. Do they not consider Muslims and others as sinners,” Habib asked.