[JAGANNATH SARKAR, who passed away in April, was among those who led the spectacular rise of CPI in Bihar in the 1960s and 1970s. He was among a handful of Bihar CPI leaders who envisioned the crisis in CPI in the mid-1970s. Today is his first birthday after he passed away – he was born on 25 September 1919. The piece below is an important document that gives a glimpse of the debate on new caste assertions in the CPI. It was written by Sarkar in 1998, following the National Council meeting of the CPI. It has been translated by Raj Ballabh from Hindi. – AN]
The National Council of the CPI accepted, if belatedly, in its review report of March 1998 that there has been a serious decline in the basic mass base of the party and its class-based mass base has fragmented on the basis of caste. It has accepted that the party could not face the deviation of ‘social justice’ in the form of ‘backward casteism’ in its theatricality, or indeed politically and practically; that the party could not maintain its distinct identity, as a party that was politically and practically different from the Laloo-led Janata Dal Government. What is more, the toxin of casteism began to show its effects within the party as well. Indeed, it is an issue of serious concern which should be analyzed in detail.