Youth prone to Leftism more than ever: India’s communist leader

  • Noor Zaheer suggests unity among communists to get rights back

LAHORE: Communist Party of India (CPI) member, writer and activist Noor Sajjad Zaheer pointing out an increased number of the young generation in the politics of the left wing said that the youth are raising questions about their future and about different projects which can affect the economic development.

“We are monitoring a big change in the youth federations as they are taking part in the movements of the leftist parties,” she said while addressing a talk on the contemporary challenges and struggle of the left in India at the Research and Publication Centre in collaboration with the Progressive Writers Association.

Noor Zaheer said that the membership of the youth federations witnessed increased by one and a half percent. This (increasing) trend will have an impact in the upcoming election,” she said. But she expressed concerns about possibilities of her country facing a ‘civil war-like situation’ if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) forms another government as a result of the 2019 elections.

Noor is the daughter of the late Syed Sajjad Zaheer (Nov 1905 – Sept 1973), who was an Urdu writer, Marxist ideologue, and revolutionary who worked in both Pakistan and India. In the pre-independence era, he was a leading member of the Communist Party of India. After the patrician of 1947, he moved along with his family to Pakistan and became a founding member of the Communist Party of Pakistan.

Noor Zaheer told the audience that the journalists who show the real face of the ruling party were facing false cases. “We have warned everybody to be ready for street fights at the end of April. We must remember that the protest is a way to show our concerns and the most effective way to get our rights,” she said. In India, “we have seen a massive campaign of farmers with the support of the general public,” she said.

To a question, she said that farmers from all over India were committing suicide due to poor strategies of the government. “Punjab, who supplies 42 percent of the food, also faced the same problem. The heartbreaking thing is that progressive writers, actors, activists and peace workers did not write enough about it,” she said. To another question, she criticised the BJP-led government for not giving enough freedom of expression.

“They (the government) make religion a commodity and sell it for a high price. They are avoiding those who are living in foreign countries after huge financial irregularities,” she said, adding that if the journalists report about that, they accuse them of not doing well for the country’s image. “If anyone wants democracy, secularism and economic development in India, they have to come forward and be united,” she said. “We have to keep the unity within ourselves. They are not even leaving the educational institutions and targeting them as well,” she said.

Answering questions, Noor Zaheer said the Jawaharlal Nehru University was giving an opportunity to its students to think and to ask questions that’s why the government in India was targeting this and other institutions of higher education. In India, she said that women especially young girls were demanding free society for their rights. “It is very difficult to survive in India as a communist but the only option to get success is unity and we have to be united for getting our rights,” she replied to a question.

To a question, she said that there was a need to revise both the communism and socialism. “We have to accept new realities,” she said. In the end, host Rashed Rahman said that many problems of the leftist parties of Pakistan and India are identical, though some differences still persist. “I will second the thought of Noor Zaheer as unity is the best option for getting success,” he said.