ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Of Neighbours and Enemies

fortitude to act according to one's convictions and willingness to stake one's life for the sake of the felt cause are the criteria, the Left continue to provide the shiniest examples of patriotism in Punjab. And yet, the battles they are waging appear to be increasingly forlorn, increasingly bereft of context. Something has obviously gone grievously wrong in the prognostications in Punjab. Bases developed by the left through struggles and sacrifices spanning over three or more generations are all but obliterated. It would be dangerous self-delusion to attribute the continuous series of setbacks to conspirators at work. Conspirators arc always at work, it would be ahistorical if they were not. Could it not be that in Punjab the ideology got compromised, and the emphasis placed on the restoration of peace through the agency of the forces of law and order was a palpable error? Let the Director- General of Police first soften up through his fire power, we will then move in and spread the message of communal harmony and united mass action against the forces of feudalism and reaction: true, this is a caricature of the adopted tactical line, scores of ideologue-activists have, in the recent period, been victims of insensate murder squad, organised by the terrorists, the courage and heroism of these activists defy description. Yet, the general impression created is that the overall Left position in effect is basically not much different from that of the governor given to quoting Rabindra- nath Tagore. How does one explain the fact that, barely a week before the Barnala government was shoved out, the highest decision-making body of the most important Leftist formation in the country thought it fit to issue a public statement taking the side of the Director-General of Police in the controversy between him and Barnala's ministers regarding how much of a free hand he, the Director-General of Police, was entitled to have? A crucial line was crossed, and the decision-makers in the Left chose to fall in with the gun-toting enforcers of lawless law against democratically elected ministers. A week later, the same decision-making body had to issue another statement condemning the dismissal of Barnala and the clamping of President's rule in Punjab. Did it have any leg to stand upon? There can of course be no compromise with terrorists in Punjab; does it however mean supporting counter-terror to the hilt?

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