SOMANATH CHATTERJEE: INDIVIDUAL VERSUS COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Loksabha Speaker Somanath Chatterjee has again said that in rejecting party line in the nuke deal with USA issue, he has acted in accordance with his conscience.

Everybody acts according to his or her conscience. Even a criminal acts according to dictates of his/her conscience and never finds any fault therein until censored by collective conscience of the society.

Individual conscience is questionable. Politicians know this better than any. Therefore they organize themselves into political parties based on collective wisdom of individual members of their respective classes, lest personally they may fail to act properly.

In critical conditions individuals tend to act as they like, often improperly, behind the curtain of their personal conscience. This adversely affects the common purpose.

In a political party free pursuit of personal conscience culminating in improper acts creates anarchy. Hence collective conscience whips the individual and in the floor of the Parliament or Assembly this whip is known as Party Whip, which, if dishonored, leads to termination of membership of the person concerned from the concerned House.

Speaker Somanath Chatterjee, honored as India’s best Parliamentarian after Indrajit Gupta of CPI, knows this and hence he knows that in Parliamentary party politics individual conscience is not allowed to dishonor the collective conscience of the party one belongs to.

Hence it is sad that he is harping on importance of his individual conscience vis-à-vis the collective conscience of CPM that had put him in the Speaker’s chair.

Communists had contributed their might of so many decades long organizational excellence to make him shine as the speaker of Indian Loksabha; but after becoming the speaker, he took so little a time to shun the communists.

Power. How baffling are its manners!

However, from this the communists should learn a lesion. Any alliance with class enemies leads only to loss of class commitment and weakens the struggle of the proletariat.

Communists everywhere, irrespective of the attire they ware, must appreciate that no sentinel of the working class should be allowed to act according to individual conscience to the detriment of collective conscience formulated by the collective leadership of the party they belong to.

Individual conscience militating against collective conscience is questionable conscience and is blatantly harmful to harmony amongst the peoples who dedicate themselves to the cause of the proletariat with a common commitment.

There should be no doubt over the basic truth that war against class enemies cannot be won by tolerating individual assertions against collective wisdom in an army of the working class, anywhere anytime.

So this can be safely said that the CPM has done the best thing by dismissing Chatterjee from the party, obviously holding his individual conscience as a questionable conscience.

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