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An Open Letter to Comrade Prakash Karat.

Dear Comrade,

Hope this letter may find you in the pink of health and
good spirit.

I came to know that the central committee of CPI(M)is


convening on 3rd to 4th of Feb,2010 to discuss and give
final ratification to the “Rectification Document” of
the party ,which is to be implemented starting June
2010.The draft of the rectification document ,which
has been circulated to the lower committees ,is being
reported among the party members. It sounds good
that party is trying to rectify the ideological crises
and alien class values and habits that have
penetrated to the party and party members including
higher party functionaries, by implementing the
rectification campaign and prepare the party to
achieve the goal of people’s democratic revolution.
Hope you will discuss the content of this letter in
Central Committee Meeting.

In the rectification document which was adopted at


C.C meeting of October 29-31, 1996 but which was
put on backburner due to various reasons, has listed
out nine points for rectification, procedure for
rectification campaign, and guidelines for conduct of
leading party functionaries and elected
representatives (MP’s/MLA’s/Local Bodies Chairmen
etc), which is ratified by the Central Committee in
October 2009

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Among the guidelines for conduct of leading party
functionaries and elected representatives, the
rectification document explicitly says that, they
should not organize religious ceremonies or
personally conduct religious rituals (page 16, item 3
last lines). Pointing out that, being a member of the
party and a local committee member, I have tendered
my resignation from the local committee and the
preliminary membership of the party, because it has
created a conflict in my conscience. My religious
faith requires me to participate in its functions and
contradicts with the ideology the party is trying to
enforce. Since I have put faith above such ideology, I
had to resign from the party. This has initiated a wide
range of discussions in the media. And I am very
much thankful to you that you have responded to the
discussions and clarified the position of CPI (M)
regarding faith and religion in your write up
“CPI(M),Rectification and Religion’ (People’s
Democracy Vol. XXXIV, No.3 dated January 17,2010),
even though it showed the duplicity and confusion
over the position taken by the party.

Religion is a reality in the Indian context. More than


ninety nine percent (99.9 % as per 2001 Census) of
Indians believe in God and any one of the religions.
Only less than one percent (0.1%-2001 Census) may
be atheists. You stated CPI (M) is a party of atheists;
then you can see, the party could not exist in India as
a prominent force.
Religious rituals and ceremonies are part of religious
practices and these practices are part of our culture
and customs; just like hoisting the red flag, floral

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tribute to martyrs’ tomb, commemoration of martyrs,
torch rally etc conducted along with party functions.
Does the party forbid all those rituals and
ceremonies?
I believe that more than ninety nine percent of the
party members are believers and they like to perform
religious rituals unless it is forbidden by the party.
Does the party ready to conduct an internal
referendum on that as a part of rectification
campaign?
Unless the party contain the sentiments (religious
and spiritual) of its members, it would be difficult to
rally them to achieve the goal of people’s democratic
revolution. Religious faith and its practice, in no way
hinder the march forward. It would have been a
hindrance if the party has still resorted to violent
armed struggle as a means to achieve power, as most
of the religions are based on humanitarian values.
The party has abandoned the violent armed struggle
way long back to participate in parliamentary
democracy. Even the constitution of the party had
been amended to participate in electoral politics
(article XXA of party constitution).
Is the parliamentary democracy same as the
dictatorship of the proletariat envisioned by Marx?
The answer is obviously a “No”. So the Marxian
ideology had been Indianised to suit the Indian
political context.
So I am of the opinion that, it is high time that the
leaders of CPI (M) should reconsider its stand on faith
and religion and should mould it according to the
Indian cultural context. Let it be started with the
rectification campaign!

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In the article, you have clearly spelt out the Marxian
view of religion and quoted Marx and Lenin to
substantiate your arguments. You wrote, “Marxists
are atheists, i.e. they believe in no religion. But
Marxists understand the origin of religion and the
role it plays in society……………………..Therefore while
the CPI (M) upholds the materialistic outlook, it does
not ban people having religious faith from joining the
party. The only condition for membership is
acceptance of party program, the constitution, and
the willingness to work under party discipline in an
organizational unit of the party.” And part of the
article explaining about the rectification campaign
document, you wrote, “the party expects its leading
cadres to absorb the Marxist world outlook based on
dialectical materialism. By this, in the process of
being a Marxist, party members adopt the scientific
world outlook and shed religious belief.” That is, the
party members are not being asked to give up their
religious faith or practices. But the leading party
cadres such as leaders of state committee, district
committee, zonal/area committee etc are expected to
uphold progressive values in their personal and social
lives. They should not organize religious ceremonies
and personally conduct rituals. This means a religious
can not practice his faith. In other words, in order to
become a leading party functionary or a people’s
representative, one has to abandon his practice of
faith.
This is simply a double standard.

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This duplicity in attitude towards religious believers
can not be acceptable. The party wants religious
believers to stick posters, to shout slogans, to
conduct dharnas and hartals, and to become martyrs
but do not allow them to become leaders and
participate in decision making forum of the party.
This is sheer feudalistic attitude. By stating that,
General Secretary of CPI (M) has created a class
structure in the party which is trying hard to establish
a classless order in the society.
How a communist party can have double standards
for its members!!!??

Article 25 of Indian Constitution states,” Subject to


public order, morality and to the other provisions of
this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom
of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice
and propagate religion’.

By insisting that leading party functionaries should


refrain from practice of faith, the party is violating its
allegiance to Indian constitution as proclaimed in
Article XXA of the party constitution. Thus this
guideline for leading cadres of the party in the
rectification document is against Indian Constitution
and Party constitution.
By insisting that, unless you abandon the religious
practices, you should not be considered for party’s
leading posts or peoples representative post, will
amount to a coercive measure to abandon /convert
religious faith, which is an offense as per Indian Penal
Code section 153B (1) b.

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153 B (1)b states” Imputations, assertions prejudicial
to national Integration.

(1) Who ever, by words either spoken or written or by


signs or by visible representations or otherwise,-

(b) asserts, counsels, advises, propagate or


publishes that any class of persons , shall by reasons
of their being members of any religion, racial,
languages or regional groups or castes or community
be denied or deprived of their rights as citizen of
India, shall be punished with imprisonment which may
be extended to three years or with fine or with both”.

Atheism is not a religion, but it is a belief.


Ideology of Marxism forbids the intrusion of religion
in the matters of state and there should be
separation of state and religion
Then, Is the intrusion of atheism into the matter of
state not forbidden?

As response to my contention, Comrade Pinarayi


Vijayan, the secretary of CPI (M),Kerala State
Committee, has responded in the valedictory function
of DYFI, Kerala State conference that party would
give membership even to religious priests (Pathiris)
and even field as candidates in the elections. If the
religious priests (Pathiris) can continue his religious
rites and simultaneously he can be a party
functionary, then I warmly welcome that response
from the state secretary of the party.

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Will the central committee of CPI (M) duly consider
the above suggestion put forwarded by a state
secretary who is also a Politburo member?

If the party continues to accept the guidelines


regarding the religious faith and practice of religious
rituals and try to implement it in a lax way(as told by
Comrade Karat), as some members are permitted and
some are not, then it will be taken as an advantage,
not to implement all the directions strictly among all
the members. Then the very purpose of rectification
campaign will be a failure.

I think that without radical revision of the dialectical


materialism, CPI (M) can not honestly and sincerely
participate in parliamentary democracy. It is high
time to stop the duplicity and opportunism in words
and deeds of the party. If CPI(M) continue to follow
hypocritical ways, without being transparent and
straight forward, Party cannot attract followers in the
future in this fast changing World Scenario, in
contemporary Indian Society . There are reports that
CITU membership had declined, even though CITU
officials have denied such reports citing accounting
errors. There will be more fall outs in the communist
cadres in the future, as one can deceive a few at
sometimes, not all at all times.

Comrade Prakash Karat, Communist Party of India (M)


Central Committee or Politburo, should not hesitate
or fear to allow its members Religious Freedom. All
members, without any discrimination, should be

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allowed to engage in normal religious activities, in
fact, it should be protected to conduct such activities.

In this fast Changing World, Communist Parties are


allowing more and more religious freedom to its
members. China, Russia, Cuba, and Vietnam are
examples. In China, the largest communist country on
earth, the Communist Party of China(CPC) allows all
its members Religious Freedom and normal religious
activities in any one of the 5 ( Buddhism, Taoism,
Islam, Catholicism, & Protestantism ) officially
accepted and state registered religions, if such
activities do not disrupt public order, even though
CPC is officially Atheist based on Marxist-Maoist
Principle.

Comrade Prakash Karat, your counter part in The


People’s Republic of China, Comrade Hu Jintao, The
President, reiterated the commitment to Religious
Freedom. He made the following statement in a
meeting of the members of the Political Bureau of the
17th Central Committee on December 20, 2007. “We
shall fully carry out the Party’s Policy of Free
Religious Belief and manage all relevant affairs in line
with the law. The Party and government shall
encourage believers of all religions to keep their
patriotic tradition and contribute to the development
of Chinese Society.”

Communist Party of China enforces Constitution of


China, Article 36 and punishes any official who
violates the law.

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CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE”S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/constitution/constitution.htm
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Article36. “Citizens of the People's Republic of China


enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ,
public organization or individual may compel citizens
to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor
may they discriminate against citizens who believe in,
or do not believe in, any religion. The state protects
normal religious activities. No one may make use of
religion to engage in activities that disrupt public
order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with
the educational system of the state. Religious bodies
and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign
domination”.

According to the “Chinese Criminal Law “any official


who deny citizens of their right to religious belief and
normal religious activities against Article 36 can be
punished up to 2 years.

In a nut shell, majority of Communist Party Members


in the World are getting more and more Religious
Freedom, whereas Communist Party of India
(Marxist) Central Committee and Politburo where you
are the General Secretary is trying to restrict
Religious Freedom, A Basic Human Right, by means of
a Rectification Process

Dear Comrade Prakash Karat, I request you to retreat


from the Sections of Rectification Process which
hinders the Religious Freedom of the Party Members.

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With Regards,

Sincer
ely Yours,

New Delhi,
Dr.K.S.Manoj Ex. MP
1st February, 2010

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