Communists were very late in recognizing the caste factor in the Indian context, in the place of Class. As a result of this failure, it lost much political mileage in due course of Indian political process. For over many decades communists were seen as perpetuators among the subaltern masses, without recognizing the caste factor in the Indian scenario and Class analysis was propagated. This dimension was criticized by many subalterns, like Dr B R Ambedkar, etc on various occasions.
After the subalterns became conscious of Caste factor instead of Class factor; their experience varied vastly in their personal lives. One such incident was shared with me by a Telangana Scheduled Tribes (ST) Doctorate Holder at University of Hyderabad (UoH). This ST Doctorate Holder was associated with the School of Humanities and was much inclined towards Communism since his childhood in the Telangana region. Telangana region is well known for Communist influence, but, such an influence got reduced over the years due to various reasons. Even the Naxalite influence is/was also exists in this region of Andhra Pradesh. The ST Doctorate Holder in the present context was a clear testimony to acknowledge how Communists attempted to perpetuate their sway among the subaltern masses by putting forward Class analysis, without recognizing the Caste factor in the Indian Context. Persons like the present one, started to slowly disassociate to a great extent with the Communists/Communist Movement, when they got convinced that Caste is the significant factor to be considered in the Indian scenario rather than Class. The Present ST Doctorate Holder was a leading person on the UoH; as a founder member of one of the Student organizations. As he had political inclination since childhood, he attempted to be successful on the Campus political scenario. He felt confident that he/his sections like SC/ST students can be successful on the Campus Student Politics, especially in the annual students’ Union elections. For this confidence, the prime reason/s was that he/his associates had Marxist background and had confidence on how to deal politically, like; how to organize and how to deal with issues…., etc. But, to his utter surprise once, a non-politically affiliated person from Reddy Community, who laced experienced came to the limelight on the Campus politics, that too on behalf one of the Communist organization and he was fielded to contest the election as President of the Students’ Union…solely on caste lines. This Reddy community person and the ST Doctorate Holder too hailed from the same region of Telangana (village/mandal, etc). The success of the Reddy person as President of the UoH Students’ Union utterly shocked the ST person. As a result of this incident the ST person once again in his personal life recognized the influence of the Caste factor in the Indian sceaniro, that too within the Communists!!!
(Based on the personal sharing of a ST Doctorate Holder at UoH)