Tuesday, March 23, 2010

23-March, A Day for Challenging Beliefs and Faith

The day 23 March has great importance in history and today again proved its importance in Indian History. This day is famous because it is the birthday of great Socialist thinker Ram Monahar Lohia. This day is also famous because in the colonial period, Bhagat Singh, a leftist freedom fighter, was hung by British rulers along with his two other comrades. Today, this day becomes significant because Kanu Sanyal, one of the premier left-wing terrorist (they say revolutionary) thinkers committed suicide by hanging himself in his home.

Twenty-three-March is a symbolic day as it is commonly associated with events having connections with socialism and other leftist activities. The day 23 March is associated with two other hangings; one was imposed and the other was a suicide. But moreover, it made me think about the reason that made the socialist like Kanu Sanyal follow the path of suicide. As per their concept and consciousness, the leftists always act as most optimistic in their ideology and also in their activities. The socialists or communists or Marxists are not like the French Existentialist writer Albert Camus in that they will think the reason why people are not committing suicide even though they face a meaningless lifestyle in their day-to-day lives.

In the seventies, Kanu Sanyal and Charu Majumdar were the two names who gave a new turn to Indian politics, though never they had entered into any level of Indian government. In fact, they spent most of their years in prison. But they brought the name of a small village ‘Naxalbari’ into the Indian mainstream, which has still been existing as Naxal activities or has been synonymous with Maoist activities. The Naxal movement of seventies only affected Kolkata and few villages of West Bengal or Andhra Pradesh. It had little effect on either Orissa or in Bihar (now known as Jharkhand). Now, Naxal or Maoist activities have spread from Nepal to Maharashtra, including more than seven states of India.

In the seventies, the Naxals announced that power would generate from the barrel rather than from the ballot box. They adopted the violent methods of Bakunin’s or Mao Tse-tung’s anarchist class struggle. Bakunin was buried into ignorance and Mao Tse-tung’s Redbook was exiled from his beloved country of China. Still it remained in South Asia with the goal of establishing a new form of “State,” which after the end of cold war, became itself an insignificant one.

Naxal is now synonymous with terrorism, what in the seventies neither Charu nor Kanu thought any day. In later times, Kanu Sanyal kept himself away from the leftist government and so-called contemporary Maoist activities. And at last, he was found hung in his room in his village near Naxalbari.

Away from the political observer’s guessing and remarks, what made me to think more about the actual cause of Kanu Sanyal’s committing suicide that it is the fate of any faith or belief that lacks the capability to bind any people permanently for a lifetime, even lacking its control over its creator.

Going back to history, in 543 BC, on a full-moon day of May (the month of Baisakha in the Hindu Calendar), on his deathbed, Buddha uttered his last words, “All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting.”

The realisations of Buddha and Albert Camus (in Myth of Sisyphus) and Kanu Sanyal are the same, even though they represent different ways. Are they nihilistic in their approach? As a social thinker, will anyone be an optimistic one? It is a great question, a great crisis and still for me, it seems like an unsolved puzzle. The suicide of Kanu Sanyal makes us think of this crisis of all beliefs and faiths again and again.