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High Priest, Heretic

A forced mid-career recess, ironically, did the trick... ...it only made Buddhadeb wiser as a chief minister

High Priest, Heretic
Amit Kar/ Ganashakti
High Priest, Heretic
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Mao Zedong's successor, Deng Xiaoping, challenged thousands of pages of doctrine with a single sentence: He didn't care what the colour of the cat was as long as it caught mice. That revisionist Chinese cat set Marxist pigeons aflutter, particularly since it caught mice in unprecedented numbers. At about the same time, the dyed-in-red Russian cat, immobile and obese from a diet of moribund convictions, lost Europe and Central Asia.

Bengal's Marxists were blessed with the good luck of a decent excuse. They could not become midwives of socialism in one province, they argued, because India was a bourgeois state. Jyoti Basu, juggling with extraordinary dexterity between Stalin, democracy and the Bengali bhadralok, delivered a model he literally constructed along the way. The compromise had an interesting fallout. By the time the CPI(M) had won an extraordinary third consecutive term, the victory was attributed as much to his personal charisma as to the party's work among peasants and workers. When a Marxist minister calls Basu a Krishna, as the outspoken Subhas Chakraborty did last month, provoking a rebuke from the correct Basu, you know the party had come as close to idolatry as could be.

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