Days after passing a resolution at its general body meeting criticising the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s decision to support Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for President, the Jawaharlal Nehru University unit of the Students’ Federation of India has said in a pamphlet that it could not defend such unconvincing political decisions or remain silent on acts like the recent murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party leader T. P. Chandrasekharan in Kerala, in which several CPI (M) functionaries have been arrested so far. The SFI national leadership has thus far remained silent on these issues.
NB: The SFI members who decided to uphold their political judgement and conscience by condemning the murder of T. P. Chandrasekharan deserve the support and appreciation of all democrats. It shows they understand that the culture of brutality is destructive of the most basic principles of socialism. This news comes alongside the condemnation of the 'annihilation line' by Sabyasachi Panda, a senior Maoist leader in Odisha. For decades the relation between socialism and democracy - and the parallel issue of violence - has remained the most crucial issue in Left politics. I hope the younger generation of socialist activists will try and reach across partisan barriers, and evolve more humane, inclusive and democratic practices in their work. I urge readers to peruse the excellent essay by Paul Zacharia (Conduct of a Perfect Murder, link above) as well as my recent EPW article, A Hard Rain Falling - as contributions to a dialogue on the corrosive problem of vigilantism in Indian politics: Dilip