Respected Leader Comrade Charu Mazumdar
[January 7, 1968, Published in Liberation April 1970]
The “three constantly read articles” by Chairman Mao Tse-tung – Serve the People, In Memory of Norman Bethune and The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains, have succinctly laid down the ideals, style of work and objectives of Communists. These three articles are invaluable and it is imperative for every Communist to study them.
First, all the activities of a Communist are directed towards one goal-serving the people. A Communist must necessarily be a revolutionary because he can serve the people only by making revolution. It is necessary to make revolution in order to serve the people. And revolution requires a Communist to be an internationalist at the same time. This internationalism is selfless internationalism. Further, a Communist knows that his task is by no means easy, so he must persevere in what he does, and try again and again to win success. To be a Communist one must have all these qualities. So, it is imperative for every Communist to acquire these qualities.
In addition to the above, the “three articles” teach us a number of things. I am referring here only to those which I have thought of. For example, in his article Serve the People Chairman Mao has discussed the question of life and death. The questions that rise naturally after reading this article are: What do I gain from this struggle? What do I want ? Am I ready to die for the interests of the people at this very moment ? These are questions of over-riding importance for anyone leading a petty bourgeois life. To die for the people is the noblest task before a man; it does not matter at all if he dies while doing a certain kind of work or other so long as he is doing it for the revolution.
Chairman Mao has taught us :”Wherever there is struggle there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence.” So, it will not do to fear death.
Chairman Mao has taught us: “If we have shortcommgs we are not afraid to have them pointed out and criticized, because we serve the people. Anyone, no matter who, may paint out our shortcomings. If he is right, we will correct them.” If what he proposes will benefit the people and serve the cause of revolution we willact upon it. Has not Chairman Mao taught us to accept criticism of our shortcomings from anyone, even if he is outside the Party? Chairman Mao also teaches us: “when anyone in your ranks who has done some useful work dies, be he soldier or cook, we should have a funeral ceremony and a memorial meeting in his honour.”
In his article In Memory of Norman Bethune Chairman Mao has discussed the question of internationalism. He has pointed out that there is no conflict whatsoever between the proletariat of an oppressed country and the proletariat of a country that oppresses other countries, and that unless the oppressed countries are liberated the oppressor countries can never win their own liberation. Because Dr. Bethune realized this, he crossed the seas and went to the liberated areas of China. What could he expect to gain from this? He was a leading surgeon in the capitalist world and could get everything for the asking. What made him give up all this and come to China? It is his political consciousness that made it possible for him to make such selfless sacrifice. Herein lies the significance of political consciousness.
Secondly, in this article Chairman Mao has pointed out the kind of work a Communist should choose for himself. Naturally, he chooses the heaviest tasks for himself and carries them out with utter selflessness. We must also remember that Dr. Bethune, a renowned surgeon as he was, gave his life in performing a so-called technical work, work which is despised by the petty bourgeois elements. Therefore, the lesson to be learned from Dr. Norman Bethune is: no work is small or insignificant. All work that serves the people is equally important.
In this article Chairman Mao has set the standards for being a Communist. Here he says that a devoted Communist is he who chooses for himself the heaviest tasks and fulfils them. Those who “swell with pride and brag about” the work that they do but choose the easier tasks for themselves are not good Communists.
In his article The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains Chairman ridicules the clevernes and wisdom of the petty bourgeoisie. Such cleverness is of no value. On the other hand, an “ignorant” peasant is able to find the correct way because of the experience gained by him through the ages. A petty bourgeois intellectual hates to do the samething repeatedly and considers such things extremely boring, whereas a peasant knows from his life’s experience that he must resolutely do the same thing repeatedly, and that even if he fails in most cases he is sure to win success by persisting in doing the thing.
These are the points that came to my mind after studying the three articles. It is possible that comrades will be able to find many more new and valuable truths in the articles after studying them. The practice of studying these three articles was absent in our Party. However, we must introduce it now. I hope these few words will help the young comrades to feel a new wave of enthusiasm for studying these three articles.