Roy Baboo Is Dead, Long Live the Revolution


Exactly 65 years ago on January 26, 1954, just 10 minutes before midnight, a Communist who also theorised the Radical Humanism died in Dehradun making it global news.  

That Bengali Baboo personally knew most of the revolutionaries of the stormy period of two World Wars when new ideas swept the world to change the old imperialistic order.  

Rubbing shoulders with with V.I. Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leo Trotsky and Sat Yat-Sen. He was M.N. Roy. Had Roy Baboo been alive today, he would have revolted against The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 passed by the Lok Sabha to exclude Muslims from its purview.

See the strange coincidence, the bill was passed at a juncture when India is going to celebrate the 69th Republic Day. Incidentally, this is the 65th death anniversary of Roy Baboo who always talked of global citizenship rather than narrowing it to religion, country, caste, creed and community.

The present era that we call the brave new world certainly is not the time to suit Roy Babu who was born in the age of reason. Apparently, the reasoning has lost its relevance in the present era otherwise the Muslims would not have been excluded from this bill.

We do not know whether Roy Babu would have looked eye to eye with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the US President Donald Trump, but he certainly would have opposed division of mankind from mankind whether through The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 or the wall in the US-Mexico border.

The Mexican border certainly matter Roy Babu much as he founded the Communist Party of Mexico in 1919. Incidentally, he also was the founder of Communist Party of India.

Roy Baboo is dead. Long live M.N. Roy.

At a juncture when nationalistic narcissism is gaining ground in various parts of the world led primarily by USA to divide the world, Roy Baboo’s isms can really work as magic. We really need him today to redefine the Communism for this ism is not yet dead.  

Roy believed in freedom of individual which now is eroding sharply due to growth in the tendency of dictatorial regimes be it India or elsewhere in the world including USA. His socio-political worldview was not at all complicated. It was simple, workable. He believed science should be the base of socio-political philosophy not religion.

In this conflict-torn India, the Radical Humanism perhaps can awaken the masses of the pseudo politicians cutting across ideological barriers. We find during the poll-time, all politicians turn to visit temples to woo the majority.

Though they talk of secularism, they perform puja at the temples before the elections. After the election, however, all their Bhatki for Hindu deities suddenly vanish. Even the leaders of most secular political parties during the just concluded assembly polls did not visit mosques as they wanted to woo the majority, not the minority.

Minority, they know, are left with no alternative but to vote non-Hinduvadi political parties. So what is the use of going to Dargaas or mosques? Perhaps, majority Hindus as voters, now have grown more important for electoral victories.

Interestingly enough, M.N. Roy whom the national leaders in India have forgotten, continues to remain a subject of research in different parts of the world including USA, much to the discomfiture of Donald Trump. Even today, after 65 years of his death, Roy and his Radical Humanism continue to remain a matter of interest the world over.

Just imagine, he was an Indian yet he founded the communist party in Mexico. What was the use for an Indian to find a political party in a foreign land? Here, his concept of Global Citizenship works. Back home, we find the political leaders are maginalizing their own people for electoral gain.

What a difference between a statesman like Roy and self-seeking politicians of India? I am sure as many of our politicians do not even know M.N. Roy let aside his Radical Humanism.

Last year in September, the nation really had something to wonder about as the RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat said during a lecture, to quote him verbatim, “M.N. Roy, the proponent of Radical Humanism and a communist leader, stressed that superficial changes in society are not of any good. If we need to bring change in society, we need to go to a common indivual and bring change in his thought.” Bhagwat also praised Roy.

This, undoubtedly, marks the beginning of a new chapter on Roy Baboo as no other leaders nowadays are remembering him. It was a different thing that Lenin himself had “invited” to attend the 2nd World Congress of Communists in Moscow in 1920. 

Mohan Bhagwat’s unexpected praise for Roy Baboo virtually co-insides with “Swerving to Solitude: Letters to Mama” of Keki N. Daruwalla. The figuring of M.N. Roy in the book really brings Roy Baboo out of India’s political history’s mortuary.

This novel, in fact, can be the best concluding words about the forgotten Roy Baboo. The novel says Seema, wife of the Prime Minister’s Secretary, suddenly discovers a sheaf of letters of her dead mother. Those letters spoke of her mother’s feeling for “M” (M.N. Roy), the Communist leader. Seema’s Mama struggled to keep alive her feelings for “M” even after he got disenchanted with Communism.

But the Mama, subsequently, got confused and disenchanted with Communism. But Seema grows as a revolutionary, a Communist. Does it convey any hidden meaning at the 65th death anniversary of a revolutionary juxtaposing with the 70th Republic Day of India?

Image credit: Wikipedia


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