The individual and the collective

Abheek Barman writes

Over the years, Mumbai managed to redevelop its mill areas into bustling centres of trade, manufacturing and commerce. Bengal’s Left prefers to wait for decades before hawking off bits and pieces of the rust belt to property speculators and then go looking for farmland to set up industries, losing both worker and farmer along the way.

In 1930, the Soviet Union invited a unusually perceptive observer over for a guided tour. Instead of being impressed by what he saw, the visitor wrote: “It’s not clear to me whether they’ve understood the differences between individual and collective needs. In that respect they’re similar to fascists. They smother individual needs for the good of the collective. They forget that you can’t strengthen the collective by weakening the individual.” The visitor was Rabindranath Tagore. Bengal’s Left should listen.

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