By D. Raja
T he epoch-making events of November 1917 changed the course of humanity forever. The Revolution of 1917 had profound and far-reaching impact on world history. It not only marked the overthrow of the Czarist monarchy and the establishment of the Soviet Union, but it also ignited a wave of socialist and communist movements worldwide. The spread of revolutionary ideas inspired political and social change across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, leading to the emergence of new political ideologies and reshaping the global balance of power.
The Russian Revolution’s effects were felt in the form of the Cold War, the spread of communism, and the reconfiguration of international alliances, making it a pivotal event that shaped the course of 20thcentury world history. The Russian Revolution of 1917 and its subsequent Decree on Peace had a significant ideological impact on colonized countries around the world. The Bolsheviks’ call to end the imperialist wars and for the promotion of “peace without annexations or indemnities” resonated with many colonized peoples who were suffering under the yoke of imperial powers. The Revolution’s message of self-determination, anti-imperialism, and anti-colonialism inspired nationalist and independence movements in various colonies. It encouraged colonized populations to envision a future free from the exploitation and domination of their colonial rulers, ultimately contributing to the broader global shift towards decolonization and the dismantling of empires in the 20th century. The Russian Revolution served as an ideological catalyst for many colonized nations in their struggle for independence and self-rule.
In our times, the inhuman war imposed on Palestine has already claimed more than 11,000 innocent lives not even sparing schools and hospitals, women and children. When imperialism is trying hard to move support away from the just cause of Palestine, the importance of Decree on Peace increases further and has a bearing on our understanding of world order which promotes peace. In a shared world, conflict and war take a toll not only on the belligerents but on everyone. The path to a just and equitable world order is also a path to peace, harmony and prosperity for all and we will have to strive for that. India’s role should remain pivotal for a just world order and people will have to come together to check the deviations visible in our foreign policy and take it in a progressive direction. India’s vacillating stand on the issue and tacit support to the US-Israel nexus is neither good for the West Asian region nor for India’s standing in the Global South.
The Decree on Peace issued by V I Lenin can be the guide towards an egalitarian world order by shunning imperialist designs and further the spirit of cooperation. The decree’s call for self-determination and an end to imperialist wars still resonates with the aspirations of Palestinians. Imperialist mechanisms like the British Mandate for Palestine and the Balfour Declaration have laid the groundwork for the ongoing conflict and the ideals of equality as established by the Russian Revolution stand as a guide to world peace. The path to emancipation for Indian people must take care of Indian realities while having an international perspective. The biggest lesson of the Russian Revolution is how Lenin and Russian communists adopted the teachings of Marxism to the specifics of Russia. In case of India too, a one size fits all approach will be counterproductive as India has its own peculiarities and impediments to equality and emancipation.
In India, class exploitation, inequality, and the concentration of wealth remain pervasive challenges that shape the socioeconomic landscape. Despite economic growth, a large segment of the population continues to face exploitation as they grapple with unemployment, poverty, precarious work conditions and insufficient wages. Income inequality has widened, with the wealthiest accumulating substantial wealth while a substantial proportion of the population struggles to meet basic needs. The concentration of wealth in the hands of a few perpetuates a cycle of privilege, hindering access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities for the less privileged. Tackling these issues is crucial for India’s sustainable development and social cohesion, necessitating comprehensive policies and reforms to promote more equitable wealth distribution and reduce class disparities. These inequalities must be fought and removed to usher the country into a revolutionary society.
At the same time, caste inequality in India has deeply entrenched itself in the country’s social fabric, perpetuating a debilitating cycle of discrimination, oppression, and exclusion. This system, which assigns individuals to specific social strata by birth, has led to systemic disadvantages, with millions of marginalized individuals facing limited access to education, employment, and even basic human rights.
Caste-based discrimination has hindered social progress, fostering a climate where economic disparities persist, and social mobility remains a distant dream for many.
This disabling impact not only stunts the potential of millions but also hampers India’s overall development and social harmony, necessitating sustained efforts to address and rectify this deep-seated issue and strive for a more inclusive and equitable society. A sustained struggle against caste discrimination, the material conditions that promote caste inequalities and the mentality of Manusmriti being upheld by the RSS-BJP led right-wing are biggest enemies of equality in society. If India is to get rid of this demeaning cycle of discrimination, all these forces have to be defeated politically and ideologically.
Another impediment before emancipation of our country remains patriarchy. Patriarchy has exerted a profound and enduring impact on Indian society, influencing gender roles, power dynamics, and social norms. It has perpetuated the subordination of women, limiting their access to education, economic opportunities, and decision-making power. Women’s liberation movements, led by left forces primarily, have sought to challenge and dismantle these deeply entrenched patriarchal structures. Over the years, women’s movement has achieved significant progress in areas such as women’s education, legal rights and political representation. However, patriarchy’s influence remains deeply ingrained, leading to ongoing challenges such as gender-based violence, gender pay gaps, and gender bias in various spheres of life.
This process suffered a jolt with the patriarchal RSS-BJP’s capture of power as they try to push back historical progress and women to the domestic sphere alone. Despite these obstacles, the struggle for women’s liberation in India continues, with women advocating for gender equality, increased participation in leadership roles, and the dismantling of oppressive patriarchal norms to create a more inclusive and just society. Patriarchy and the structures that enable it should be defeated thoroughly for the consummation of Indian revolution by liberating half of our population from the clutches of domination and subservience.
At its face, the removal of class, caste, and gender inequalities in India remains a complex and multifaceted challenge. To achieve this ambitious goal of real emancipation of masses, concerted efforts are needed on multiple fronts. This involves addressing economic disparities through policies that promote equitable wealth distribution, educational opportunities and access to essential services.
Simultaneously, tackling deeply rooted caste-based discrimination requires social reforms, coupled with efforts to promote social inclusion to uplift marginalized communities. Gender equality necessitates comprehensive initiatives aimed at changing deeply ingrained social norms, enhancing women’s representation in various spheres, and implementing stringent measures against gender-based violence and discrimination.
Achieving this vision of a more just and equal India requires sustained commitment from all quarters, with an emphasis on policies, education, awareness, and social change to empowers individuals across class, caste, and gender lines. All forces that stand with cronyism, caste-based divisions and subjugation of women have to be fought and defeated unitedly in this struggle for true liberation of our country. The teachings of the Russian Revolution, which struck at the root of inequalities in Russia, continue to be a source of guidance in our endeavours. (IPA Service)