Shri Ram Swarup Ji was undoubtedly one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century. His knowledge spectrum was immense and he covered almost every important aspect of Indian Knowledge Tradition as well as the threats that Hindu society faces from external enemies in a very small number of books. Most of his works are now available from Voice of India Publications, but some of his earliest short works on communism are no longer accessible in print and can only be accessed digitally. Nonetheless, these early works show deep insights into the mind that later gave on great gems like The Word as Revelation.
Very few know today that Shri Ram Swarup also wrote extensively on communism and the red menace to India and the world. Some of the first writings of Ram Swarup can be found under the publication house and society called the “Society for the Defence of Freedom in Asia”. These works show Shri Ram Swarup to be quite prescient in his perception of communism, its methodology, its mechanisms and its future in India and the world.
Perhaps Shri Ram Swarup was writing at an unfavourable time when India was head over heels in love with communism under the drunken leadership of Nehru who was ready to disbelieve his own eyes for the sake of his belief in communism.
The World War II had just ended and the world had lost all desire to fight communism except in a few circles in the U.S. It looked as if communism would become unstoppable and would soon take over India, for India was the last great Third World country not taken over by the Soviet Bloc. The Fall of China in 1950 was also very threatening.
A few lone writers were writing against communism in the West. Robert Conquest was a prominent name. The great age of Soviet dissidents like Shalamov, Solzhenitysn and Kravchenko hadn’t yet come. Some of them had just started writing while the others hadn’t even started. Even those who dared to write about the reality of the Soviet Union were hounded out of academia and discussion forums. Their voices at best were drowned in the communist propaganda.
The condition in India was even worse and the canards spread by Nehru and his sycophants painted a picture of Heaven on Earth about Soviet Union. It is in these adverse circumstances that Shri Ram Swarup wrote these penetrating books and tracts about Communism.
He started writing about the red menace as early as in 1955. In a tract titled Where are They?: Communists under Communism, he talks about the Great Purge of 1937-38 in Soviet Union and other communists countries in which Stalin managed to kill most of the Old Guard of the Bolshevik Party on trumped up charges and mock trials. These trials were reported in the West faithfully by the communist press. Though not many believed in this propaganda as the charade was too much, but there were hardly any first hand witnesses left who could tell the tale of exactly what happened. The dominant sense about the whole macabre thing was a sense of bewilderment.
But Shri Ram Swarup, writing as early as in 1955, was very clear about the agenda and the strategy of the communists. This is how he describes them:
“The communist strategy is simple. It consists in serial liquidation of “enemies”, constituted of all the non-communist opposition and the “non-proletarian” sector of population. Blackmail, vilification, character assassination is the characteristic methods used to achieve this end. Opponents are labelled, split off and played against one another. Communists fight the “conservatives” to the last socialists. Then the socialists themselves are divided and different splinters are picked off one by one. At the end, communists clamp down and put the lid on them all. Thus after the victims have “sufficiently weakened themselves in a struggle which is beyond their strength”, to use Lenin’s phrase, communists come at the top. Once the party is in power, the intra-party struggle becomes more acute; at any rate, it becomes more visible and open because it takes on a physical form. Physical liquidation takes the place of the older methods of elimination when democracy prevailed.” (Where Are They? 3-4)
In this tract, he explains how communism is an ideology so ruthless that except the Supreme Leader no one is really safe. It is not only the anti-communists who are killed, it is not only the other types of socialists who are killed, but ironically even the members of the ruling party, members of the Bolshevik Party itself were not safe from the totalitarian terror of Comrade Stalin. This was the norm, far from being an exception and Shri Ram Swarup shows this in the tract by giving a long list of various prominent communists killed by communists themselves, in not just Soviet Union but most other communist countries of Europe.
From the very beginning, Shri Ram Swarup was very clear that the only weapon against communism is truth. He talks of creating a truth fund and exposing the methods and propaganda of communism to general public.
While stressing on spreading truth Shri Ram Swarup was by no means impractical about the means of fighting powerful enemies. In a very surprising but refreshing tract written in 1955 Gandhism and Communism: Principles and Technique, Shri Ram Swarup talks about the definitions, theories and practices of the two ‘-isms’ most fashionable in the India of 1950s.
Shri Ram Swarup shows great respect for Gandhi in general in this tract but he is acutely aware of how Nehruvians and many communists were using to exploit the public sentiment that the word ‘Gandhism’ could generate and use it in the service of communism. Shri Ram Swarup sets about dispelling the notions about what Gandhism is and what it is not. Most prominently he tells us that Gandhism cannot be equated to any form of Marxism-Stalinism, something which the socialists of those days were very fond of claiming.
He tells us that divinity, religiosity and God is at the very centre of any Gandhian thought and this is pure anathema to communism or socialism. He also tells us not to get bogged in the fine distinctions between the words socialist, communist and leftist, and gives us the practical advice that the umbrella they use is one and to any proponent of Hindu dharma, all of these systems practically mean the same.
He exposes the hypocrisy of those ‘intellectuals’ who appealed in the name of Gandhism while opposing ‘capitalism’ and ‘blind industrialization’, but ignored him completely while praising Soviet Union or other communist countries. In this tract he debunks the hypocrisy of those closet socialists who go by the name of Gandhians.
In reality, many researchers today claim that he was a Gandhian and his views about economics were Gandhian. These claims do not hold any water if you study his entire corpus. Looking through his works one realizes that he does not fall for any intellectual fashion fad like Gandhism. He was extremely grounded in Indic Knowledge Tradition and took it as his criterion and anchor.
However, he was also very practical and used one fashion fad as a defense or a dike against another when it was convenient to do so. When communism was a menace to the whole world and especially to India under Nehru and Indira Gandhi, he used Gandhism as a dike to push off and criticize communism. As soon as the specter of communism was gone, he abandoned Gandhism as a dike.
Shri Ram Swarup Ji also used Gandhism as a dike for criticizing the greater evils of his time and irrefutably he considered communism to be one of the greatest evils of his time. He starts another such tract written in 1954 with these words:
“Today, we face a grave problem: the problem of a communist threat to our national freedom and cultural heritage, to the human spirit and mind themselves. The threat is not local, but universal; not to India alone, but to humanity the world over; not only to the institutions of private property and individual initiative, to the democratic values of liberty and civil rights, but to the deeper values and urges of mankind.” (Gandhism and Communism… 18)
In this tract too, he discusses how Gandhism is being distorted and misappropriated by socialists of all hues, but he also takes care to expose the untenable propositions in Gandhism. In very soft words he says that Gandhism is not a system, but a personality cult and without the personality it will not work. As soon as Gandhi dies, the personality cult will also be dead or will become redundant and obscure. Today we can see his words coming true.
He also warns against being neutral in the war between capitalism and communism. Fully knowing the limitations of the former, Shri Ram Swarup nevertheless saw communism as pure evil and said that being ‘neutral’ in such an important fight is nothing short of supporting evil and every Hindu should oppose communism with all the might he can. In this he also blames the Gandhians for being ‘neutral’ between capitalism and communism. He believed that India had a greater role to play in world affairs and it should present its spiritual view point in this war of worldviews and ideologies.
Shri Ram Swarup continues his unrelenting quest of telling us more and more about the true nature of communism. He reveals that the violence in communism is not incidental but institutional, employed for a very specific goal:
“Communist violence is not impulsive; it is organic, inherent, cultivated, calculated, planned. After it has captured power, it is sustained and institutionalized. Throughout its history it is not only externally directed, but also internally perfected. It operates not only through the world’s most massive armed strength; it also maintains a powerful fifth column throughout the world, utilizes ideology, exploits and sharpens conflicts among its victims, sells confusion and distrust and morally blackens its opponents. Communist violence is gross as well as subtle, open as well as hidden. It is a total, whole-time thing.” (Gandhism and Communism… 23-24)
Another confusion prevalent during those times in India was that since communism espoused atheism and some systems of Hindu darshan too sported what was called by some as ‘atheist’ in modern times, therefore communism should actually be acceptable to Indian society. Ram Swarup squarely dismisses these notions and tells us that the ‘atheism’ of communism is of an entirely different kind:
“But the new communist atheism is different. It is a state creed, politically organized, psychologically manipulated, and enforced with the help of the police. It involves roaring publishing business, millions of trained agitators, organization of social censure and praise, reward and punishment, large-scale indoctrination, complete suppression of any rival point of view. The high-pressured publicity of which the present technical civilization is capable is pushed in the service of inculcating atheism. Education, press, radio, film, all serve the same purpose. In the present-day Russia, a certain amount of piety and ritualism is allowed as a concession to world opinion among persons and groups who may choose to remain in the backwaters of life, but any living manifestation of divine life is at once reported to the police, and destroyed physically.” (Gandhism and Communism… 32)
In Foundations of Maoism, a longer work published in 1966 Shri Ram Swarup discusses the Chinese threat to India under the deadly ideology of communism. At that early stage, Shri Ram Swarup advocated creating zone of buffer states all around India to save it from Chinese advances. That we failed to listen to his advice is evident today when China is at all of our gates, on all sides.
In this tract he analyzes the delusions of Indian Maoists and Marxists who supported everything that their comrades did in China. Fed on the opium of communist terminology, their Indian fellow-travelers used to praise the ‘New Democracy’ of Mao Tse-tung. Ram Swarup was much wiser and he warns us that this New Democracy is democracy only in the name. It is actually a tool of communism and there is nothing democratic about it.
In this tract Shri Ram Swarup so thoroughly analyzes the character of Maoism, Chinese Communist Party and communism in general that it is worthy of reading even in 2020, when the archives have opened in Moscow and a lot of communist methodology in hindsight now seems clear. Though he focuses on Maoism and China in this case he does not forget that the ideology that governs China is the same that governed Soviet Union and that is why we should try to understand the ideology first:
“In communism, theory and practice go together. Theory enlightens practice; and practice tests, embodies and illustrates theory. Theory provides a background, a perspective, a frame of reference. Without understanding communist ideology, isolated communist slogans and tactics appear to be discrete, discontinuous and devious. But with a knowledge of communist theory, all communist zigzags, detours, contradictory slogans and programmes acquire a new significance and become part of a developing offensive.” (Foundations of Maoism xi)
Indian Maoists and Marxists were also in raptures over the ‘New Economy’ of China. The New Economy was nothing but a means of confiscation of private property by the ruling communist party of China. Shri Ram Swarup analyzes it and makes it very clear. He also busts the myth that China under Maoism had created food surplus. Needles to say, all these myths were the fodder for Indian Maoists and communists.
Shri Ram Swarup exposes the ‘New Culture’ of Maoist China where individuals were forced to confess to their ‘anti-communist thought crimes’ and ‘wrong ways of thinking’ in front of hundreds of people. It was a common strategy of communists in Soviet Union as well as China to make individuals confess for ideological crimes like ‘thinking in capitalist way’. The drive was titled ‘Change Brain Campaign’ in China. It was a psychological and sociological tool that Maoists deployed with ferocious efficiency.
Here we see how Shri Ram Swarup Ji is also attracting our attention towards the way in which the communists distort the very meaning of words and language. By twisting the meaning of these words they change the very thought process of the population. This is the first step in conquering people and controlling their thought process.
For example, the ‘left-liberals’ today shout the loudest about freedom of expression and thought. However, the ideology that they subscribe to has always proved to be the most ruthless in suppressing any freedom of thought and expression wherever the communists have come to power in the world. Shri Ram Swarup Ji takes the example of China:
“In New China, free speech has been completely abolished. Today, there is no such thing as feeling strongly and sincerely about a thing and writing or speaking about it. There are no more columnists writing from different angles according to their light or temptation on the basis of information derived from diverse sources. Now all news is state-owned and state-controlled. For example, within nine months of the ‘liberation’ of the Canton city, fourteen papers were ordered to stop publication. Finally out of eighteen newspapers, eight were taken over by the People’s Government, three took to the People’s Government, six were altogether suspended, one ‘voluntarily’ closed down.” (Foundations of Maoism 17)
Another important point that Shri Ram Swarup does not miss is the inveterate hostility of Maoists against the Confucian ethics. It was the Confucian ethics which dictated the daily life of the Chinese. It governed their rituals, customs and ways of thinking and looking at the world. Mao was sharp enough to realize that if communism had to take root in China, Confucian ethics had to be rooted out. Shri Ram Swarup points this out very prominently and tells us how communism is inherently and ideologically at odds with any indigenous and traditional system of ethics and morality.
“The New Culture is also opposed to the old culture for which China is admired throughout the world including India. According to Mao Tse-tung, “worship of Confucius, study of ancient classics, the practice of old rules of propriety and old thoughts represent old culture,” represent “slave ideology,” and therefore must be crushed.” (Foundations of Maoism 18)
Maoism was not at good terms with the spiritual systems like Taoism either. Shri Ram Swarup quips: “Maoism is fast replacing Taoism.” (Foundations of Maoism… 19)
He also tells about the communist mind manipulation techniques. One such technique was ‘Change Brain Campaign’ of China. In this, the communist party members would force common people to confess their imaginary thought out crimes in front of everyone to infuse a feeling of guilt in them in the presence of others and also in front of their own selves in their twisted selves. This also created an impression in society that everybody was prone to committing crimes against communism and that it was always under threat. These crimes were like ‘non-political mindedness’, ‘classless-mindedness’, ‘aloofness’, ‘idealism’, ‘reformism’, ‘technicalism’ etc.
Not neglecting the menace that Maoist China posed to India’s sovereignty and national integrity, Shri Ram Swarup exposes Nehruvian policy in India of serving Chinese needs first, ignoring even India’s interest. He says how when Tibet was invaded, Nehru and his cabal silenced the sane voices of Shri S. P. Mukherjee, Shri M. R. Masani, Shri N.G. Ranga etc.
Shri Ram Swarup exposes the true goals of Maoist China by indicating what it did to the native culture and people of not only Tibet but also Sinkiang. It is an evil force bent at human servitude. He does not shy away from saying that in the language of the Gita, “Maoism is an Asuric force.” (Foundations of Maoism… 57)
He warns us that China is pumping money into India for funding media persons and academicians to lobby for China in Indian political, academic and media space. Facing such a concerted attack against India’s society, polity and culture, we need to put up the best defenses that we can. But finally he said that fighting the Chinese menace militarily won’t be enough. Until the very ideology of communism is defeated, it can’t really be defeated. He made it clear that Maoism like Leninism or Stalinism believed in two pronged attack. While they strike you militarily from outside, they simultaneously try to erode the indigenous institutions from the inside by sponsoring spies and propagandists.
Expanding on Leninism and Stalinism, he tells us that they need ‘professional revolutionaries’ because it is an artificial system which no public would ever support on its own. He says that political and economic methods are not sufficient to fight Maoism or Leninism. One needs to fight the communist menace at the level of ideology. It has to be fought ideologically, doctrinally and organizationally. Decades after his advice, we still fail to listen to him attentively.
He did not miss the Maoist stirrings that were happening in West Bengal. Explaining the strategies and actions of the Communist Party in Bengal, he described the situation of riots in Bengal and how the police was helpless fodder against the miscreants. His descriptions have an uncanny similarity to the CAA riots that took place recently in India. He again and again recommended that we fight the communist menace ideologically and not just militarily or politically.
In a 1967 tract Red Start Over West Bengal and in some other articles published in 1966 he warns of the intimidating tactics of communists and how they gradually force individuals into ideological submission. Shri Ram Swarup Ji warned us even in those times that the problem with tackling the communist menace in Bengal is that the ruling party does not understand the nature of communism and that is why it will always lose against the communist tactics.
We can see that today the ruling party at the centre does not understand the dynamics of West Bengal. The only difference today is that Islamic fundamentalism has replaced communism as the major threat in Bengal, but it is primarily the ideological lack of understanding which is claimed by many scholars and observers to be the primary reason for the degradation of political and religious culture of Bengal today. Here are some prophetic words of Shri Ram Swarup:
“Bengal is no longer an easy going concern; it is a problem province. It also represents in miniature India of tomorrow of the present policies of unthinking drift continue.” (Foundations of Maoism 105)
In Red Star Over Bengal, he analyzes the character and behaviour of the communist government and as we read this tract we will feel as if we are reading the situation today in 2021. The character and activities of TMC in Bengal are not very different from the communist party earlier.
“It is an intensely political government and prefers to maintain a pre-election atmosphere of scare, noises and charges rather than to embark upon constructive nation-building tasks.” (Red Star Over Bengal 7)
Shri Swarup told us that the party kept dossiers on the prominent businessmen, social workers, leaders, academicians and journalists, to twist their arm whenever the occasion so arrived. The judicial system was also being subverted from within by appointing leftist judges and lawyers everywhere. The Islamist agenda was very much active even then, as the party was supportive of cutting off the rest of the north-east India from mainland India.
At last I would like to quote a few lines by him, warning us about communism:
“Communism is not an evil in the ordinary sense of the term like violating some social convention of monogamy or property. Its horror is deeper, more deadly than any physical pain. The whole spiritual evolution of man is at stake. Fashionable pacifism which is blind to this fact must be rejected.” (Gandhism and Communism… 38)
In Red Star Over Bengal too he warns about the ideological nature of the enemy of communism:
“It has to be remembered that the Communist Party seeks to capture power at all levels and in all forms. ultimately their struggle is ideological, total in nature and scope and comprises political, economic, social, psychological and military action, all interwoven into an effective offensive strategy.” (Red Star Over Bengal 17)
Though communism is dead in Soviet Union, it is very much alive here in the form of mercenary network of institutions selling their services to any bidder who has invested in anti-Hinduism or the destruction of Hindu culture and civilization. There is still time to heed Shri Ram Swarup Ji’s advice and fight the civilizational enemies of India and Sanatana Dharma like Islamism and Christian missionary forces ideologically and institutionally.
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