Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The people of India have no problem with Jan Myrdal, a radical journalist, a researcher, a scholar. a socio-political analyzer, a progressive thinker, a maker of feature films and documentaries, an acclaimed author of living history, who has written more than thirty books including ‘India Waits’.
His latest book on this country, ‘Red Star Over India: Impressions, Reflections and Discussions when the Wretched of the Earth are Rising’ was released in Kolkata Book Fair this year.
This book is so well documented and well received that before completion of six months of its launching, it has reached the second edition.
The people of the country are eager to read this book as a result of which its translation is being published in Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Telugu and Tamil even as publishers in several other Indian languages are in the stage of contract for bringing out translations in their respective languages.
In fact, Myrdal was in India this January-February on a one-month conference visa given by the Government to release this book in Kolkata book fair and to attend and address various meetings and conferences in Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ludhiana and Delhi, which he did to the utmost happiness of his audiences.
Persons of extraordinary erudition were in the audiences, in the designated venues and beyond, and heard him discuss how corporate influence on government is precipitating war on the people.
If government of India has been leading the people into euphoria on the trajectory of globalization created by capitalism, he ably helped his audiences peer into the gloom that capitalism has given birth to, from which the people in general need be rescued.
A man in emancipatory journalism, his world outlook is against capitalism. And, in vox populi, he is a friend of the wretched of the earth.
Naturally, he is not welcome where a government is run by compradors. Compradors are everywhere always afraid of progressive persons. Because they fear progressive persons generate revolutions.
Let us understand revolution.
Man never lives for ever. But revolution never dies.
From time immemorial, people everywhere in the world have marched ahead by way of revolution. They have marched ahead overcoming every obstacle on their way to collective progress and have revolted against every power that they have found a hindrance to their forward march and by that they have brought in changes in the course of administration, which is why progress is always linked to revolution. But revolution is fueled by interaction. Interaction enhances knowledge and streamlines expression, which shapes the revolution and paves the path towards progress.
In the cause of progress, when knowledge plays the pivotal role, people’s ability to express themselves freely is the basic ingredient, as free expression is the only launcher of knowledge.
Therefore, every attempt to obstruct free expression is an attempt to obstruct acquisition, exchange and spread of knowledge, which the human society never countenances.
Wherever freedom in expression is curtailed, the administration that imposes this curtailment, runs out of credibility and ends, because of a matching revolution against stymieing of freedom in expression.
Freedom in expression includes in itself the freedom of the people to gather relevant information from every source they want and for this, essential is freedom to interact with knowledgeable persons not reluctant to share their experience.
So, people of my country have the right to be benefited by interaction with a journalist of world repute like Jan Myrdal, whose books on India are books of living history.
No responsible government would like to ban his future visits to India, as that would be denying the people to know their living history and to gather information relevant to their democracy, under the plea that he sides with revolution that the ultra left leads.
The government has not yet told the people what exactly is this revolution and against whom this revolution is meant and why the government is so very afraid of it and is waging a war against the people who support it. But the way so very big extra amounts of fund are being allocated to development of the areas under influence of the revolution led by the ultra left makes it clear that the revolution is meant against condition of undevelopment and the factors thereof. This suggests, unless the left would not have raised the revolution, the idea of development of the backward areas and the most wretched people living therein could perhaps not even have grown in the government.
So, if people were left undeveloped and the government was busy in developing the developed instead of developing the undeveloped, and the ultra left has forced the government to read the writings on the wall and pay attention to development of the neglected people, why must journalists like Jan Myrdal be denied visa to record this living history for the global community on the basis of interaction with the involved people? If he has said that the war waged by the government against the people is caused because of avarice of the rich and executed by the agents of the rich for the safety of the rich, he has just shared with the people a phenomenon experienced all over the world under the design of capitalism. It does not disadvantage our country.
So, the people of our country will not want a ban on Jan Myrdal’s future visits. If the ban would really be imposed, that would be viewed as an act of compradors in whose cocoon Indian democracy is being metamorphosed into plutocracy.