India's Elections: The BJP's Defeat and the Rise of the Left - The Communist Parties Must Not Make Pacts With Bourgeois Parties

Last week's elections in India saw Congress defeat the BJP in spite of all pre-electoral forcasts that said a BJP victory was a foregone conclusion. They miscalculated because they ignored the real living conditions of hundreds of millions of India's poor. Even more significant was the record vote of the Left Front, which indicates a radicalisation of the working class. India is on the move.

In the western media whenever parliamentary elections loom in India we are treated to the same old condescending twaddle about the wonders of the "world's greatest democracy." The 2004 elections saw no deviation from this tradition. There was great enthusiasm for the numbers involved in the election and the new electronic machines used to cast votes. Here's what The Economist had to say in this vein: "They are vying for the favours of 670m voters, of whom, judging by the past few polls, some 60% will turn out, about ten percentage points more, for example, than in the 2000 American presidential election. There are over 700,000 polling stations, with 1,075,000 electronic voting machines."

However, this fawning over the wonders of India's democracy has now been replaced by shock and even panic at the surprise result of the election. The reactionary BJP has been defeated, and its programme of economic neo-liberalism (ie privatisation) has been rejected.

In advance of the election one could read everywhere that the result was a foregone conclusion - Vajpayee's BJP were a shoe-in. The editorial of The Hindu, on May 14, confirms this: "No pollster or party leader of any significance allowed for a verdict in which the Congress, not the Bharatiya Janata Party, would emerge as the single largest party in the 14th Lok Sabha.

"Nobody could foresee the Congress-led alliance ending up 30 seats ahead of the BJP-led combine. Nobody could predict the significant increase in the weight of the Left in national politics, with more than 60 seats in a 543-member Lok Sabha."

The BJP leaders were convinced they would win, that is why they called the elections early. The Economist shared this confidence in the result as, it seems, did the leaders of Congress who were equally sure the BJP would be re-elected,

"Congress, which ruled India for most of its first half-century of independence, and is still the only truly national party, has shed its traditional aversion to "pre-poll alliances" and has already shared seat allocations with a strong local coalition partner in four of the six biggest states, with a total of 169 seats (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu). It hopes for more than the 112 seats it won last time. But even party strategists say the maximum it can achieve is around 135." (The Economist, April 15th, 2004 - my emphasis)

This demonstrates how little the leaders of Congress understood the impact the economic liberalisation policies of the BJP were having on millions of Indian workers. In the end they won 145 seats, to become the biggest party in a hung parliament. 272 seats are needed for a majority.

From the Indian bourgeoisie's point of view there was worse news to come. Even more shocking than the result in general, was the success of the Communist Parties. The CPI won five and a half million votes taking 10 seats, while the CPI (M) won 22 million votes and 43 seats. The Left Front combined won a record 59 seats in the election.

This was not in the original script. The elections to the fourteenth Lok Sabha were called early, to take advantage of Vajpayee's perceived popularity and the economic boom which saw India's economy grow by 8 percent last year. However, being popular with foreign bankers, and economic growth predicated on squeezing the working class and widening the poverty gap into a chasm, did not prove to be vote winners.

All the opinion polls - conducted, one assumes, in the more metropolitan areas, and not in the slums - pointed to a BJP re-election. The economy had shown steady growth in the last few months, and the "disinvestment of government owned production units" (as they called privatisation) was continuing apace. The Forex Reserves of India stood at more than US$ 100 billion (the 7th largest in the world, and a record for India). The BJP was supposed to have been riding on the crest of a wave enjoying the benefits of the "feel-good factor". Ironically, it was precisely these 'achievements' that would prove to be the cause of their defeat.

Ordinarily, this result would be nothing more than a minor irritant for the bourgeoisie, after all Congress is a bourgeois party too - it has spent 45 years in office since independence. Far more disturbing for the Indian ruling class, and the foreign capitalists who have been investing in wringing profits out of the misery of the Indian masses, is the record result achieved by the left, and by the Communist Party and the Communist Party (Marxist), in particular. How is this shock result to be explained and what does it tell us about the situation unfolding inside India?

In the first place these election results are the consequence of years of IMF inspired economic liberalisation and privatisation policies pursued by the BJP government. The headlines in the economic press tell us that the economy grew at a rate of 8 percent last year. While this statistic is accurate, it tells us little on its own. Growth in the economy can mean more employment, higher wages and social reforms - particularly if the leaders of the workers' organisations fight for them. In this case growth was at the expense of the working class and the poor masses.

Nevertheless, the BJP leaders borrowed the slogan of the Indian tourist board, "Shining India", to associate itself with this economic development. After all, India was now a thriving economic power based on information technology, the stock market and outsourced call centres, according to Vajpayee and co.

Government figures proclaim that more than 100m people have been "rescued from poverty", the number of mobile phones has tripled in two years, the IT industry is booming, and a Confederation of Indian Industry delegation is lobbying Washington with the confident message that India is "moving slowly but steadily towards becoming a global power".

But this is not the India of most Indians' experience. The BJP has presided over a staggering economic polarisation of Indian society. The one million employed in the IT sector is dwarfed by the 40 million unemployed. Two-thirds of the population remain tied to agriculture for a living. The virtues of creeping globalisation mean nothing at all for the 35 percent who survive on less than one dollar a day, according to United Nations figures. In addition, last year's GDP growth was inflated by a good monsoon after two years of drought. The media usually forgets to mention this little fact.

The IT industry generates less than 2% of national income, fewer than 5% of Indians have access to any kind of phone, and more than 40% of adults are illiterate. Spending on universities rather than schools sees the country produce 2 million graduates a year and leaves more than half the country's women illiterate.

The propaganda of the BJP - presenting a vision of India as a software superpower - was palpably not true for most of the 387 million who voted let alone the hundreds of millions that did not. No one knows the size of India's much written about middle class, but most accept that two-thirds of the country's 1 billion people live in rural areas where electricity, running water and usable roads are luxuries not necessities. The 'digital divide' is such that the country, as investment bank Goldman Sachs observed, is home to "nearly a third of the world's software engineers and a quarter of the world's undernourished". The flourishing and the withered exist just a few feet apart.

The result is that India's upper classes live more opulently than the rich in America, while its poor are chained to poverty levels comparable to Africa's. In the British paper The Observer (02/05/04), Raekha Prasad paints a vivid picture of how the lives of India's wealthy few are being improved at the expense of the impoverished masses:

"Mohammed Ibrahim woke to Delhi's sun and waited for his life to collapse. He had known it was inevitable from the blaring megaphone driven past his door the day before. By 6am three generations of the rickshaw driver's family had ferried their possessions into the open. Just after 9am, six bulldozers crushed to rubble the two-room home he had built.

"With the machines, Ibrahim says, came more than 1,000 police officers carrying tear gas and batons. They destroyed his neighbours' houses too. Up to a third of a million people living in Delhi's biggest slum are being evicted under a government plan to transform the banks of the city's Yamuna river into a tourist and leisure centre…

"Most of the 150,000 people whose homes have been destroyed in the past fortnight earn around 2,000 rupees a month (£25) as domestic servants, rag pickers, construction workers and rickshaw drivers. They have no option but to live among clumps of rubble, facing police intimidation when they try to erect makeshift shelters.

"Slum clearances are central to the government's plan to make over the capital. Delhi is India's richest city, with a burgeoning and vocal middle class impatient for the trappings of a twenty-first-century consumer lifestyle…

"Temples, some dating back 30 years to when the first dwellers moved in, are all that's left of the Yamuna slum. Those still living among the rubble pull out plastic bags stuffed with their voting and ration cards, without which the poor are deprived of everything.

India's Tourism and Cultural Minister, Jagmohan, is spearheading the Yamuna evictions and talks of reviving the area. As the right-hand man of Indira Gandhi's son Sanjay, Jagmohan - who only uses his surname - gained notoriety in the 1970s for taking charge of slum clearance programmes during Indira Gandhi's 'Emergency', when India's democracy was suspended…

"In the midst of India's general election, activists argue that Jagmohan, a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will benefit from the timing. "Delhi goes to the polls this week and the majority of the slum dwellers are Muslims who traditionally support the opposition Congress party. Although contingencies for relocating evicted families were promised by the Government, relief agencies estimate that only a quarter have been moved.

"For a plot the size of a garden shed on Delhi's limits some 35km away from the slum, they must pay the equivalent of three months' wages. Unable to afford to travel such a long journey, many have lost their jobs.

"Jai Narayan Mahot is one of them. Standing in front of a brick pile that was once his home on the relocation site of Holambi Kalan, he is waiting to rebuild. His cigarette shop inside the slum was also destroyed. He will travel back to the banks of the river to vote for the Congress party.

'I want to defeat Jagmohan and the BJP for putting us here. They have done nothing for us,' he said. 'They're against the poor.'

This is as clear an illustration of why the BJP were defeated as you will hope to find. Millions are born, live and then die on the pavements of the Indian metropolitan cities. All this surrounded by apparent indifference. And yet the rulers of India have the cheek to claim that "India is shinning".

Of course slums must be cleared, this is an urgent task, but they must be cleared to make way for housing, schools and hospitals for the majority of India's population not leisure complexes for the rich and idle few. Is it not bad enough that these people have to live in shanty towns in the first place? Now even these desperate refuges are torn down so that the wealthy can have a place to relax, to gamble and to dine.

The real record of the BJP regime and the Indian bourgeoisie is not at all what the capitalist media presents. In terms of economic statistics, despite India's population amounting to 17% of the world, it has only 2% of world GDP, and just 1% of world trade. For all their talk of a prosperous middle class, only a handful have benefited from the recent boom, and at the expense of unendurable poverty for the vast majority.

For all the foreign press' praise for the 'biggest democracy in the world', the truth is that while the masses starve and the elite flourish, bourgeois politicians - from Congress as well as the BJP, look on with utter indifference. According to the former head of India's election commission J.M. Lundok "The politicians of India are a cancer for this country. None of them have any sympathy for the masses in their hearts." Corruption, nepotism, bribery and crime are rooted deep inside the life of Indian politics. The whole political super-structure is rotten to the core. Consider the words of former Indian cabinet secretary, TSR Subramanian. "Very few, if any, of the ministers had any interest in developmental matters or in the economic or social transformation of India. Genuine alleviation of poverty, and upliftment of the rural masses, was the last thing on their minds. Their only interest was their own future - aside from feathering the nest." This is only a manifestation of the profound socio-economic crisis that infects India. The name of the disease is capitalism. This is the root of the problem. The western media likes to blame corruption for the ills of Indian society, 'if corruption could be eradicated then all would be well.' This is true only in the sense that to clear away all that is rotten and corrupt requires the overthrow of capitalism and the transformation of society along socialist lines. The profit system and its ruling class, the foreign bankers, advisors and 'investors' cannot begin to tackle the problems facing Indian society. They have demonstrated that over decades - for much of that time with a Congress government in office.

For all the pompous claims of having developed Indian industry, more than 52% of the economy is now based on the service sector. 21% of industry has been closed down in the last few years. The official budget has hit a deficit of 10% of GDP. India is one of eight countries in the world where the public health budget accounts for less than 1% of GDP. About four-fifths of healthcare spending in India is effectively private medicine. This indifference to public health shows up in another statistic. India has more tuberculosis infections than any other country. Over 20,000 Indians catch TB each day and almost 450,000 of them die of it each year.

According to the government's planning commission, more than 40 million Indians are registered with employment exchanges, (millions don't bother to register because the pathetic state of the bureaucracy makes it largely pointless) and population projection suggest that 35 million new workers will join the labour force by 2007. That means India will need to create a staggering 75 million jobs over the next three years.

That is not going to happen. Since 1997 the public sector has eliminated 4.5 million jobs-or roughly 15% of its workforce. The private sector was supposed to make up the difference through rapid growth, but instead has slashed a million jobs of its own in the last seven years. The Congress pledge to create 10 million new jobs will solve nothing, even if they were to achieve it. Hemmed in by the profit system they will not.

India's infrastructure is in an appalling condition. More than half of India's population is deprived of electricity. Sixty three percent of rural household have no electric supply whatsoever, and those that do face long shut offs and load shedding. The list of such statistics can be added to at will. They demonstrate the inability of capitalism to provide even the bare bones of a civilised existence for the mass of the population, even at the height of a boom. The misery and impoverishment of Indian society is the best that capitalism has to offer.

Under these circumstances the song and dance made by the BJP about the 8.1% growth rate only piles insult upon injury for at least 750 million people. For this huge majority of the population the fast-growing economy is just a distant rumour. Not only have these much trumpeted growth rates not improved the lives of more than two thirds of the population, worse, this growth has been achieved at their expense.

Around 370 million voted in the elections, approximately the same number that lives on less than a dollar a day. Twice as many survive on less than two dollars a day. The population below the absolute and general poverty line will grow. The social and economic conditions facing the majority of Indian society are the only explanation for this election result, which much of the western media finds so inexplicable. More than that however, they constitute a finished recipe for unprecedented upheavals, and even revolutionary movements of the Indian proletariat in the next period.

This is the key to the future of India. It is not simply the existence of poverty amidst plenty that disturbs the bourgeoisie. What we are witnessing here is not just a polarisation between rich and poor, but a class divide. The Indian proletariat is immensely powerful, and has a tremendously revolutionary tradition. Once it begins to flex its muscles the earth will shake beneath the feet of the feeble Indian bourgeoisie. We saw evidence of this earlier in the year in the shape of a General Strike.

On February 24, an estimated 50 million people participated in a mighty nationwide general strike. They were demanding a review of the Supreme Court judgement on the right to strike and the reversal of the BJP government's economic policies. It is no accident that this latter was the key to their electoral defeat.

The strike was called by the central trade unions and industrial federations, and was total in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura - precisely where the Communist Parties secured their strongest vote. The militancy of the strikers in some areas went beyond the bounds of an ordinary industrial dispute. In Assam, Haryana, Orissa and Jharkhand it resulted in a semi-insurrectionary ("bandh-like") situation.

The strike demonstrated the vital importance of trade union unity for the struggles of the working class. The CITU, the All-India Trade Union Congress, the All- India Central Council of Trade Unions, the Trade Union Coordination Centre, the United Trade Union Centre and the UTUC (LS) backed the strike. The All-India Bank Employees Association, the All-India Insurance Employees Association, the All-India State Government Employees Federation and the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers also supported it.

The Indian bourgeoisie became increasingly nervous about the implications of a strike that, in essence, challenged its right to rule. The full weight of the state was brought to bear on the strikers. There were reports of police charges and large-scale arrests in Delhi, Haryana, Orissa, Pondicherry and elsewhere. The workers, however, refused to be intimidated.

The February general strike explodes the myth that governments can prevent strikes through anti-trade union laws. The Indian working class has asserted its right to strike in open defiance of the prohibition by the Supreme Court. What does this show? Its shows that once the working class is united and mobilised in struggle, no power on earth can stop it.

This magnificent strike shows the enormous revolutionary potential of the Indian working class, once it is mobilised for struggle. The massive response to the strike by the working class exposed the complete hollowness of the claims of the government that Indian capitalism has created prosperity for all. The election result now confirms this for anyone still in any doubt.

Vajpayee and his cronies boast that the Indian economy is doing very well. But this is a lie. A minority of the super-rich are doing very well indeed, and some sections of the middle class have obtained jobs in foreign companies that pay wages that may be considered reasonable by Indian standards but which are very low compared to workers in Europe, the USA or Japan. But the overwhelming majority of the people of India - the workers and peasants - have gained nothing. As a result the workers have taken general strike action, and the BJP have been defeated in the elections.

The February strike exposed the propaganda of Vajpayeee. AITUC general secretary, Gurudas Dasgupta, said: "The strike was to protest against the fraud being perpetrated by way of the feel good factor by the Government. If India is really shining, the response would not have been so massive." He charged the Congress with backing the NDA (the BJP led coalition) by not coming out with a clear alternative to the government's economic policies. "The struggle will continue, irrespective of whichever party comes to power, and till there is a total reversal of these policies," he said. These words must now be put into action to ensure that any attempt to continue with the economic attacks suffered by the working class under the old BJP regime are met with a massive mobilisation of the working class.

Only by seeing the election results in the context of social, political and economic developments in India can we begin to understand them. The industrial militancy demonstrated in the general strike has been expressed on the electoral front by the defeat of the reactionary BJP and by the record breaking results of the Communist Parties in these elections. These developments must be seen as two interconnected elements of a single process of mounting militancy on the part of the Indian working class.

The CPI(M), which has ruled the state of West Bengal since 1977, netted its largest-ever parliamentary tally and along with its allies now controls some 60 seats - 15% of India's 14th parliament. This growth in support for the CPI(M), now with 43 MPs, has caused apoplexy amongst the ranks of India's bourgeoisie. However, their experience with the leaders of this party would not seem to warrant such concern.

After all the party has been far from communist in power, banning strikes in the software industry in West Bengal, for example, where they have been in office for years. Nationally the left coalition led by the CPI(M) will now be considering entering a coalition with Sonia Gandhi - hiding behind the idea of keeping the BJP out no doubt - or just supporting the government from outside. The party leaders will be hungry for ministerial portfolios. They will claim to be using their influence to halt the privatisation process. The response of the Communist Parties should be: Let Congress put forward the necessary bills to halt privatisation, and CP MPs can vote for them without propping up the government. The CP leaders should have been fighting privatisation hand-in-hand with the trade unions for years, and now too they must prepare a campaign to fight any new attacks on the working class.

Congress will try to lean on the CP to form a government. This would mean ministries in the hands of Communists in "the world's greatest democracy". The prospect of communists taking national office in India, a first in itself, saw the Bombay stock exchange slide nearly 330 points to close at 5069. It was the worst one-day plunge in four years. The initial response of the bourgeoisie was one of horror:

"I shudder to think what would happen to the markets if the communists took control of any of the key economics ministries," said Siddarth Mathur, a strategist with the investment bank JP Morgan in Bombay.

Manmohan Singh, the most probable choice of Congress for the post of finance minister, rushed out to talk to reporters in an attempt to reassure panicked markets: "We are not pursuing privatisation as an ideology. What we want is to create a climate for enterprise."

The panic on the stock exchange did not reflect a fear of the leaders of the CPI(M) and their programme. The bourgeoisie are worried that, in the first place, to live up to their election pledges, and to lean on the CP, the new Congress government is likely to slow down the privatisation programme. They may even abolish the ministry responsible. This will all be for show. The Economist, after it recovered its breath, reassured investors:

"Bad for the credibility of almost every pundit and pollster; bad for political stability; even perhaps bad for economic reform… An unstable coalition government, relying on the support of the Communists, is unlikely to prove radical, and may be short-lived. But the presence of Mr Singh in Congress-as a senior economic policymaker, at any rate, if not in the top job-is one reason for guarded optimism that the election result will not mean the stalling of economic reform. It was Mr Singh, in fact, who launched the opening up and liberalisation of the economy in 1991. Congress's manifesto commits it to a policy of sustaining and even accelerating current rates of economic growth. That will not be possible without continued reform: cutting the fiscal deficit; continuing to foster competition; privatising more state-run enterprises."

Any illusions that ordinary workers may have in Congress will soon be dashed. The new government will not take much persuading by the IMF and co to return to the same disastrous economic programme as their predecessors. Nevertheless, in the short term the bourgeois will no doubt be annoyed that the gravy train might have to be slowed down at least temporarily. However it is not this that fills them with dread but the growth of the left and the rise of the CP. They will no doubt make their usual appeals to the leaders of the Communist Parties - especially the old 'you must prop up Congress or you will let the BJP back in.' The bourgeoisie will no doubt feel they have little to fear from the leaders of the Communist Parties, but what terrifies them is the mass of workers standing behind them. The election gain seen in the context of the general strike, clearly illustrates a growing mood of militancy and a sharpening class polarisation in Indian society.

The outcome of the election came as a surprise but, of course, the ruling class has nothing to fear from Congress - it is their party, a bourgeois party. In their previous 45 years in power they did not solve a single problem of the masses, and faithfully served the interests of the ruling class. The bourgeoisie cannot solve one of the problems of Indian society. Their politicians are corrupt and venal. Their government must not be propped up by the parties of the working class and the village poor. The Communist Parties must not enter into deals and pacts to prop up an anti-working class government.

Since the criminal partition of 1947 the bourgeoisies of India and Pakistan have repeatedly demonstrated their complete inability to take society forward. The Indian bourgeoisie once claimed to be secular, democratic and even "socialist". More recently we have seen the ugly face of reaction in the shape of the BJP. Despite the "moderate" speeches of Vajpayee, the BJP remains the face of open reaction. It was responsible for the ghastly anti-Moslem pogroms in Gujarat. Behind it stands the openly communalist Rashtriya Swamyamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the quasi-fascist Shiv Sena. This turn to the right politically coincided with the turn to brutal, imperialist inspired, neo-liberal, anti-working class economic policies. Both reflect the inability of the bourgeoisie to play any progressive role in Indian society.

In reality, however, the Congress is no better. It is a measure of its bankruptcy that it has to rely on Sonia Ghandi, who is not even Indian. After decades in power, Congress is split and in crisis. Both the BJP and Congress are reactionary anti-working class parties. What is needed is an independent class alternative.

The CPI and CPI (M) have a mass base among the workers and peasants of India. Even on the electoral front - which provides us with a far from complete picture - the CPs combined won 27.5 million votes. They must break with the bourgeoisie and begin a campaign of mass mobilizations. There must be no concession to the idea that opposing Congress will allow the BJP back in. This is not a question of the lesser of two evils. With such mass support in society the Communist Parties should be raising the need for a workers' and peasants' government. Such a campaign would receive the enthusiastic support of millions of workers, peasants, dalits and members of the oppressed nationalities. It would instantly cut the ground from beneath the feet of the communalists and reactionaries. If the working people of India were strong enough to defeat the British Raj, they are strong enough to defeat the Indian landlords and capitalists. What is required is strong and determined leadership!

Only the proletariat can show a way out of this terrible impasse by revolutionary means. The Indian working class is the most powerful in the region. It has very militant traditions, as was shown by the 50-million strong all-India general strike against the BJP government's privatisation plans in April 2003, and again in the magnificent general strike of February 24, 2004.

The workers of India cannot place their trust in the bourgeoisie. The workers' parties must not prop up their government of crooks. They cannot support either of the two groups of rival gangsters who have disputed for political power for so many years and have given nothing to the masses but pain and misery. Half a century is long enough to judge the historical potential of the Indian landlords and capitalists. They have been weighed, they have been measured and they have been found wanting. They have squandered the wealth of India and condemned its people to penury. They have transformed what should be a paradise into a hell on earth. They do not deserve to rule!

The working people are the crushing majority of India. They demonstrated their power in the general strike. They merely flexed their muscles and all India trembled. That shows the way forward!

The election success of the left too is another step forward in the growing radicalisation of the working class. The aim should not be to secure this or that ministerial portfolio within a capitalist government. For the Communist Parties this should not be the end of the matter but the beginning of a mass campaign of protest against unemployment, poverty, privatisation, and the entire rotten capitalist system.

A great responsibility rests upon the shoulders of the trade unions and workers' parties of India. It is necessary to set aside all divisions and work out a programme of action based on the most pressing needs of the workers, the peasants, the unemployed youth, the downtrodden women and the oppressed castes. It is necessary to unite the oppressed masses of all India - Hindus and Moslems, men and women, Kashmiris and Sikhs - against the common enemy - the landlords and capitalists.

The CPI (M) and CPI should join forces to organise a serious campaign of struggle together with the trade unions. The Communist parties and the workers organisations must unite in struggle not simply to keep out the BJP - and certainly not to maintain Congress in office - but to seize control of the fabulous wealth being squandered by the pampered few and organise it in the interests of society.

No pacts and coalitions with the bourgeois parties! For an independent programme of working class action! What is needed is a nationwide campaign of action for working-class demands, culminating in an all-Indian hartal.

The bourgeoisie promised to abolish the caste system. They have not. They promised to solve the agrarian problem. They have not. They promised to modernise the country. They have not. They promised that India would be independent yet today India is even more dependent on imperialism than it was before 1947. The rotten Indian bourgeoisie has revealed its total bankruptcy. It has forfeited the right to rule.

The future of India depends upon the ability of the proletariat to take power into its hands. Once that is done, the road would be open to find a solution to all the problems that torment the masses and create poverty in a land of plenty. The working class will sweep away all the accumulated muck of thousands of years. It will transform society from top to bottom and reconstruct it on entirely new, socialist lines.

Alongside their brothers and sisters across the Subcontinent, a workers' government in India will be able to reverse the abhorrent crime perpetrated by British imperialism - with the connivance of Jinnah and Nehru - in 1947. These monsters carved up the living body of an entire Subcontinent and created a bloody wound that has festered ever since.

The Balkanisation of the Subcontinent is the main reason why it is weak and dominated by world imperialism decades after the achievement of formal "independence". The working class cannot accept the existing frontiers that cut across all natural boundaries and divide people who speak the same languages and have shared a common history for thousands of years.

The proletarian revolution will not be constricted within the borders imposed by imperialism. The slogan of the Socialist Federation of the Subcontinent as the only way out for the peoples of the region must be emblazoned across the banner of the Indian working class. Uniting the tremendous productive potential of the whole Subcontinent under the democratic control of the working class is the only way to permanently improve the lives of all the peoples, firstly beyond the bare needs of civilisation, and then to their true stature.

For the vast majority India today is most definitely not 'shining,' but once the proletariat moves decisively to transform society and, with their brothers and sisters throughout the subcontinent, put an end to decaying and decrepit capitalism, the sun will dawn on a new world where the socialist federation of the subcontinent will shine like a beacon of the future to the masses of the whole world.