Initially, progressive people across the world, particularly communists, were planning to celebrate this event in a big way. But the pandemic situation, out of the blue, emerged as a mammoth obstacle to it, upsetting all prior planning.

Comrade V.I. Lenin, the prime architect of the Great October Revolution of 1917, is correctly regarded by all Communists as the true successor of Marx and Engels. Through this revolution, which was imminent in Russia owing to her presence as a focal point of all main contradictions due to a whole number of historical causes, he laid the foundation of 20th century socialism. But this could happen solely because he was able to comprehend the course of history as a result of his pursuance of the Marxist methodology—which is a proof that Leninism did not originate out of thin air. His theoretical contributions were deeply rooted in the theses of Marx and Engels, where all progressive advances of contemporary science were present in a highly concentrated form. But Comrade Lenin not only inherited and defended the essentials of scientific Socialism; he also contributed to its qualitative developments.

These developments, no doubt, were connected to the theoretical plane, though Lenin, as history reveals, was an unsurpassed tactician as well. The Russian Revolution was a triumph of Communism, which actually was a victory of its Leninist doctrine—which put forth a balanced combination of theory and tactics.

But Leninism is not merely a national phenomenon as many during Lenin’s time believed. It is an international tool that still holds relevance in formulating the path of social revolution.

Although, following his untimely death, Zinoviev coined the word "Leninism", the latter was unable to expound its international import. That Leninism, in fact, is a genuine successor to Marxism, was first established by none other than Comrade Joseph Stalin, albeit quite stiltedly. In his celebrated piece, The Foundations of Leninism, Stalin dealt with Lenin's analysis of monopoly capitalism and the question of finance capital. He also explained how Lenin's reading of the objective condition of post-Marx capitalism, i.e, the changes in the nature of the productive forces, unfolded the era of social revolution by taking capitalism's weakest link as the key point for a proletarian upheaval.

But accepting this as the only cardinal point of the Leninist creed is a mistake so often committed on the part of the revolutionaries. Apart from monopoly capitalism, the most important aspect of Lenin's contribution is his ideation and realisation of the concept of the vanguard party. Set out in What Is To be Done, especially while exploring the relationship between spontaneity and conscious effort, Lenin not only elaborated Marx's cursory pronouncement of a "distinct political party", he offered a clear cut understanding how to connect the science of Socialism with the struggles of the working class through the transference of class consciousness to the productive toiler from without.

His writings, such as The Development of Capitalism in Russia, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, The April Theses, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, The State and Revolution, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder are a few to mention as testaments of his valuable theoretical work that are still relevant today.

Lenin's treatment of Dialectics in his Philosophical Notebooks is yet another facet of his theoretical genius. The philosophical connotation of materialism, the understanding of the asymptomatic epistemological process, the relation between absolute truth and relative but objective truth, how 'created truth'—which is the product of human consciousness—also becomes objective truth, etc. are subjects dealt with in the Notebooks. Unfortunately, this aspect of Lenin remains out of discussion even today.

However, apart from all these, we, as Indians, remain indebted to Lenin for several other reasons as well. How can we forget what he and his Comrades did for us at the Stuttgart Congress of 1908, where the Indian delegation led by Madam Bhikaji Cama unfurled the first flag of independent India! It was staunch communists like Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg who stood by the cause of Indian independence.

The above incident is not a singular instance in this regard. Even prior to the Russian Revolution, Lenin had not only expressed his deep sympathy for the cause of Indian emancipation, he tried to analyse each and every incident happening on the Indian soil in the light of class struggle and anti-imperialist national liberation movement.

That India, irrespective of her social organisation of classes, was approaching towards a violent upheaval of the masses to overthrow the British yoke, was categorically mentioned by Lenin in the Bolshevik journal Proletary, when Bal Gangadhar Tilak was incarcerated by the British because of lending support to revolutionaries like Kshudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki for hurling bombs at the British near Muzaffarpur. Lenin wrote: “The infamous sentence pronounced by the British jackals on the Indian democrat Tilak—he was sentenced to a long term of exile, the question in the British House of Commons the other day revealing that the Indian jurors had declared for acquittal and that the verdict had been passed by the vote of the British jurors!—this revenge against a democrat by the lackeys of the money-bag evoked street demonstrations and a strike in Bombay. In India, too, the proletariat has already developed to conscious political mass struggle—and, that being the case, the Russian-style British regime in India is doomed!”

Lenin’s strong pronouncements against the heinous crimes of British colonialism at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, made him a household name among the educated section of the Indian society. This was just after one and a half years following the Great October Revolution in Russia. He was also in contact with different revolutionary groups fighting for Indian independence.

One such group was The Indian Revolutionary Association. On May 10, 1920, in reply to the resolution of the Assembly of Indian Revolutionaries held in Kabul on February 17, 1920. The Assembly’s resolution, which was addressed to Lenin, read as follows: “The Indian revolutionaries express their deep gratitude and their admiration of the great struggle carried on by Soviet Russia for the liberation of all oppressed classes and peoples, and especially for the liberation of India. Great thanks to Soviet Russia for her having heard the cries of agony from the 315,000,000 people suffering under the yoke of imperialism. The mass meeting accepts with joy the hand of friendship and help extended to oppressed India” (Pravda No. 108, May 20, 1920).

In his reply, Lenin said: “I am glad to hear that the principles of self-determination and the liberation of oppressed nations from exploitation by foreign and native capitalists, proclaimed by the Workers’ and Peasants’ Republic, have met with such a ready response among progressive Indians, who are waging a heroic fight for freedom. The working masses of Russia are following with unflagging attention the awakening of the Indian workers and peasants. The organisation and discipline of the working people and their perseverance and solidarity with the working people of the world are an earnest of ultimate success. We welcome the close alliance of Moslem and non-Moslem elements. We sincerely want to see this alliance extended to all the toilers of the East”.
The cannon roars of the October revolution actually made the reactionaries tremble world over. At one time, anarchism was the dominant ideology of Indian armed revolutionaries. But the establishment of an exploitation free state in Russia helped the Indian revolutionaries to flex their muscles and rejuvenate the cause of Indian Independence by taking class struggle as the key link. Revolutionaries like Virendranath Chattopadhyay, Manabendra Nath Roy, Dr. Bhupendra Nath Dutta were so much influenced by the revolution that they had even adopted the creed of scientific socialism as their ideological guiding star.

The establishment of the Communist International aka Comintern, Lenin’s working out of the theses on colonial question, and incorporation of Indian revolutionaries in its various committees prove how much he wanted the Indian as well as the Asiatic Revolution to succeed.

At the second Congress of the Comintern, held in 1920, Lenin charted out a roadmap for the Indian revolutionaries and those countries under colonial rule. He clearly pronounced that what India actually needed at that time was not a proletarian Revolution but a bourgeois democratic revolution owing to the presence of imperialism that affects the proliferation of the appendage country’s forces of production as a result of the metropolitan milocracy’s ties with feudalism for cheap labour, etc. Although MN Roy, the Indian delegate representing the Mexico Communist Party, objected to this view of Lenin’s and championed the cause of proletarian dictatorship, Lenin with extreme patience tried to convince him by trying to make him understand the importance of the democratic nature of revolution.

In this background CPI was formed in 1925. By overcoming its internal weaknesses since 1935, i.e., the period following the Meerut trials, the growth of the CPI was a direct result of the anti-imperialist line of Leninist cooperation of different class forces with the working class at the centre. The Dutt-Bradley Thesis, which was drafted in accordance with the line presented by George Dimitrov in the Seventh Congress of the Comintern, actually echoed the Leninist line in the epoch of fascist assault.

As Leninism is a science, it will be possible for a party of the working class to follow its essentials if it is continuously updated and applied by keeping in mind timely modifications. CPI from its inception in different period of time updated its Programme. The Party Programme adopted at Puducherry Congress is the latest in its efforts to define the present phase of Indian revolution and how to move forward.

Today when we are remembering Lenin and his contribution, the reactionary forces in the international arena are in upfront to scandalise him and trying to rewrite the history to undermine his historical contributions. India, too, is not out of that process. Toppling of Lenin's statue in Tripura and in other states are sad examples. To characterise Lenin as a terrorist is a main subject in RSS-BJP campaign materials.

Today, notwithstanding the pandemic, India is getting swept away by attacks of Hindutwa fascists—undermining the constitution and dividing the country on religious and casteist lines. Also in Post Covid-19 period there will be bigger challenges before the people of India. It is therefore imperative for a Communist Party to mobilise all progressive forces to bring together to fight this menace and prepare for upcoming struggles. It is true that combating these fascist forces warrants a people’s front or alliances. But unless this front or alliance is based on proper political objectives, strong organisation of workers, peasants, agricultural workers, revolutionary sections of the middle class, youth, students and secular intelligentsia as a core, it cannot ultimately render its service.

The CPI will do its best to contribute in formation of such front or alliances and that will be best way to pay our respect to Comrade Lenin. (IPA Service)