Jayanth Jacob, Indian Express,
November 01, 2006
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 31 : He was once the Indian ultra-Left’s most celebrated ideologue. After an eventful innings of underground activism and failed parliamentary peregrination, former Kerala Naxalite K Venu has discovered the relevance of globalisation and market reforms.
In a scathing critique of Kerala’s development model on the eve of Kerala’s fiftieth anniversary on November 1, Venu, in an article in a leading Malayalam journal, mourns half a century wasted by the “pseudo-Left” state. He says not just the Communist parties, but even the Congress in Kerala is Left in its economic policies.
Talking to The Indian Express, Venu, in fact, goes a step ahead to praise an institution which is Kerala’s most fashionable punching bag. “The World Trade Orgainsation is more democratic than the UN. It meant democratisation of trade. All decisions are taken on the basis of consensus.”
Maintaining that the West Bengal Left is more “progressive and better-suited for development”, Venu writes that the Left stance against the machine has proved costly blighting the state’s development. “It’s natural that new jobs will be created in place of ones that were lost with the introduction of machines. But by blocking introduction of machines, the existing the ones too were lost,” he says.
“As a result we lost 50 long years,” says Venu, the tallest Naxalite leader in Kerala for years, before his faction parted ways and joined hands with K R Gowri’s new party in a failed experiment. “I am of the view that globalisation has to be seen in its perspective, and I am happy that the Left in Kerala is showing signs of change. But it’s too late,” Venu told The Indian Express.
In the article in Mathrubhoomi Weekly, he blames the Left for not having launched any major people’s movement after the land reforms. Trashing the Kerala model, Venu writes: “The government has to keep aside a lion’s share of its revenue earning for health and education, access to which was free and universal. But as the result of this, most of the government’s revenue earning had to be spent on this these two unproductive sectors. In the course of time, the government had the predicament of having no money to spend on productive fields such as agriculture and industry”.
He criticises Kerala’s double-standards on globalisation. “It was the new world economic order that helped many Keralites to lead a luxurious life due to the remittance (mostly from the Gulf). But, ironically Keralites have no qualms in criticising globalisation”. Among the staunch critics of economic liberalisation in 1991 were many prominent Congress leaders, and it was a major factor in Kerala society remaining a “pseudo Left one”, he adds.
Former Congress chief minister and Opposition leader Oommen Chandy is unimpressed. “There could be a few individuals who may have been against liberalisation in the Congress. But it was never the stand of the party to oppose it”. Chandy knows who to blame: “The Left was anti-machine, anti-computer for a very long long time. By the time they changed, the state had lost many precious years.”
CPM state general secretary Pinarayi Vijayan says he will react after reading the article . But CPI MP C K Chandrappan termed Venu observation as “absurd”. “Development is not all about computers. The Left was instrumental in ushering in land reforms and increasing the human development indices. It is wrong to say we are against investment, including FDI.”