Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I was a communist...

from age 13-17 when I was in school. My parents sent me to an expensive but very good(and to this day, I am glad I went there) private school in Ernakulam and all around me I saw a lot of snobbery among the students. This was also the time when on the hand, the Bofors controversy was raging and on the other, Hindu chauvinist BJP was going from strength to strength ( BJP leader, Advani's rath (chariot) was rolling in North India, leaving people dead and injured in its trail. The Times of India called the rath yatra (= chariot journey), blood yatra in an editorial). I placed my faith in the Communists(don't ask me how I reconciled my faith in Islam with being a communist, one of those childish thingies:-))). .

Then I went to college, to a sarkar (= government) college, the annual fees there was less than 10% of my school term fees (education in state owned schools is heavily subsidized in India). My classmates were from all kinds of backgrounds, so I happened to meet people who were working part-time to help their families financially. The Student Federation of India (the student wing of the Communist Party of India(Marxist) (CPI(M)) virtually ran the campus. Congress(i)'s student wing, Kerala Student Union (KSU) was "allowed" to participate in elections to the student union. Students who did not want to participate in strikes, but wanted to study were threatened. I decided that I was not a Communist.

I thought of this change in my political outlook when I came across an article by Ramachandra Guha at "India Together" today.

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