My Cambridge speech was misreported: Karat


New Delhi: Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat Tuesday said some agencies (not IANS) had wrongly reported his speech at Cambridge.

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“Some agencies have attributed to me that I stated that we committed ‘a historical blunder’ in not recognising the role played by caste in politics and society. It is also alleged that I said that Communists are ‘stuck in the forties’ as far as their theory and practice is concerned.I wish to make it clear that these remarks attributed to me are neither correct nor accurate,” Karat said in a statement here.

Karat was referring to his speech at the Memorial Conference for Victor Kiernan in Cambridge.

“As far as caste is concerned what I said is as follows: ‘We should understand both in theory and practice how class structure in India is influenced by and integrated with structures of hierarchy, discrimination and oppression that are particular to Indian society reflected for instance in caste system.’ Stating that Communists recognise the role of caste in the socio-economic formations in India is far from saying what has been attributed to me,” Karat said.

“Secondly, contrary to saying that Communists are stuck in the forties, what I pointed out was and I quote from my written notes:

“The bulk of the support for the Communist Party even today comes from the movement areas and outlying region, where mainly in the 1941 to 1948 period the Communists succeeded in bringing together and leading the two main historical currents of people’s struggles — the struggle against the colonial power and the struggle of the rural masses for freedom from exploitation. Thus where the Communists brought the anti-imperialist and anti-landlord movements together and gave leadership to this united struggle, they gained mass support. Tebhaga (Bengal), North Malabar (Kerala), the tribal struggle (Tripura) the Telengana struggle are some instances.”

“I had concluded by saying that the agenda of the forties such as land reforms and struggle for land is still being pursued by the Communists.”

Some agencies (not IANS) had reported that Karat had admitted that the Communists were still stuck in the 1940s.