For a party worker in the rustic backyard of Thiruvananthapuram, near the Tamil Nadu border, even a booth-level CPM leader's diktat is his 'Das Kapital'.
Being active on social media, he possibly could have heard of the killing of SFI leader Dheeraj Rajendran in Idukki. But with politburo member M A Baby and district secretary Anavur Nagappan cheering, he would not have thought much about hundreds of CPM women performing mega 'thiruvathira' even before the young comrade's last rites were completed.
In the CPM, the leader is infallible. And the biggest of them all is Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the man who gave the CPM a historic second term in power in Kerala.
In fact, the mega 'thiruvathirakali' was a dance celebrating Vijayan, elevating him to mythical status. Whatever such a 'mythical' ruler utters could be the gospel truth for the local party workers.
On Friday, the Chief Minister delivered a nearly one-and-a-half-hour inaugural address at the CPM Thiruvananthapuram district conference at Parassala.
From this, the local party workers could have gathered two major historical insights. One, Communist China is the only country that has eradicated hunger in the world. Two, Fascist Hitler was defeated by Soviet Russia.
The Chief Minister said Chinese president Xi Jinping had declared that 19 crore people would be lifted out of hunger. “Now they have achieved this,” Vijayan said. He also revealed the source of his information. “This was made clear during the last Chinese Communist Party plenum,” he said.
It is a fact that Communist China is one of the 18 countries with the lowest hunger index in the world. However, among the countries with the least hungry people are free market economies like Brazil, monarchies like Kuwait, unabashedly capitalist economies like Latvia and also regimes that are neither autocratic nor democratic like Montenegro.
Vijayan sounded hugely impressed that China had openly conceded its weaknesses. "That they are bothered by inequality and corruption they themselves have conceded," he said. It was as if China had nothing to hide.
However, in the Global Freedom scores, China has the lowest score for Internet Freedom, lower than even dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Russia, Myanmar and Iran.
Vijayan was also silent about the Chinese incursion into Indian territory. Recently, China was found constructing a bridge in eastern Ladakh connecting the north and south banks of Pangong Tso lake to facilitate easy Chinese troop (People's Liberation Army) movement.
Even when the Galwan Valley clash took place on June 15, 2020, the deadliest Sino-Indian clash in nearly half a century that saw 20 Indian soldiers killed, the CPM behaved as a mother caught between two fighting sons.
“It is unfortunate that during the de-escalation process on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, a clash has taken place at Galwan valley,” a CPM press release in June 2020 said, sounding almost like a mother explaining to neighbours about the violent sounds heard from her house.
Determined not to take sides, the CPM employed even unverified rumours. “Both sides have reported casualties,” the release said. This CPM stand was inexplicable as China, at that point, had not mentioned any casualties on its side. It took another seven months (February 2021) for China to finally concede that five of its soldiers were also killed during the Galwan Valley clash.
The CPM has carried China in its DNA. One of the reasons for the formation of the CPM in 1964 was in adherence to the Chinese Communist Party's and Mao Zedong's 'mass line' as opposed to Soviet Russia's more centrist line.
The CPM identifies itself so much with China that CPM politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai, while inaugurating the CPM Kottayam district conference on January 13, said that India's anti-China policy was essentially targeted at the CPM.
Even then, there is nostalgia for Soviet Russia, too. Vijayan was so carried away by the idea of the Soviet Revolution that he made two over-the-top remarks. One, he said it was the Soviet Communist Party that brought the raging fascist Hitler to his knees.
This was partly true as the Soviet Union was one of the three mighty forces (the United States of America and Britain being the other two) that formed the Allied Power that eventually defeated Hitler. Vijayan was perhaps silent about the other two as they were the world's biggest capitalist powers.
Then he said it was the Soviet Union that “held aloft the flag of democracy”. This was an absurd claim as after the defeat of Hitler, Stalin went about colonising Poland and many countries in Eastern Europe.
The subsequent Solidarity movement in Poland that saw the overthrow of the Communist government and the secession of eastern European countries from the Soviet Union are also now part of history that Vijayan would prefer not to talk about.