In the world of numerous idiosyncrasies, there have been some additional individuals of exquisite smartness and leadership characteristics originating from revolutionary vehemence and progressive enthusiasm. One such great pioneer and a passionate nationalist was Vietnam’s President Ho Chi Minh who cultivated the appearance of a humble and benign individual, popularly known as “Uncle Ho”. He had an emblematic brilliance of a comet as an activist in national liberation and international communist movement. Ho Chi Minh encouraged his people to first combat with the Japanese, then the French colonial power, and last but not the least the US-backed South Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh and his critical people oriented policies and strategies resulted in Vietnam’s independence. Under his guidance and leadership, the people of Vietnam not only liberated their own country from the yolk of colonialism, but also wiped out the age-old feudal structure and thus liberated the people. This is unmatched in history.
Even today the countries take inspiration from his anti-imperial and anti-hegemonic thought when it comes to freedom of navigation and regional conflict, particularly in case of South China Sea. One needs to closely monitor his ideas in order to understand his role in strengthening the ties. Ho Chi Minh’s vision dealt with fundamental, comprehensive and profound aspects of the Vietnamese revolution including seeking ways to save the country and liberate the people; establishing or creating a social model associated with modern institutions; finding the way of development of the revolution; handling international relations and issues and developing the personality and dignity of Vietnamese so that they can cope with regional and global integration.
He admired the determination of predecessors to gain national independence, but he did not agree with their directions of national salvation. By understanding exactly the characteristics and trends of his times, Ho Chi Minh found a development path for the nation suiting the law of development of history- national independence and socialism. After understanding the characteristics of the new era, Ho Chi Minh worked actively to integrate the Vietnamese revolution with the world. He did not only serve socio-political purposes of the times – national independence and social progress – but also work for the rapid development of the world’s productive- forces. It was the appealing leadership of Ho Chi Minh that had its enchanted inspiration over the people of Vietnam, who were ready for any sacrifice with this optimism and confidence that after emancipation everybody would be able to share the fruits of liberation. The fact remains that after freedom the desires of the Vietnamese people were never contradicted.
In his mind, international cooperation was meant to eradicate poverty and backwardness and catch up with the world, and after all, he would link his country’s development strategies to important changes of the times. In the midst of 20th century statesmen, Ho Chi Minh was notable for his success in mixing communism with nationalism. All these were similar to the ideas and ideals of our Indian freedom fighters, taking into account socialist model of development, regional integration, autonomous foreign policy and independent path of development.
It was not just Minh as a person, but his ideals were also responsible for the robust ties between India and Vietnam. His ideals were in concurrence with that of Indian civilization as well as those imbibed during the Indian freedom movement. The anti-imperialism ideology was one of the most binding features of the relations between two countries.
President Ho has been a significant link in strengthening India-Vietnam ties. His exceptionally friendly and cordial relations withNehru laid the foundation of India-Vietnam relations. The traditionally close association with Vietnam has its historical roots in the common struggle for liberation from foreign rule and the national struggle for independence. Both the leaders in a joint statement had reaffirmed their faith in “Panchsheel”, the five principles of peaceful co-existence and said that the applications of these principles in international relations would help, to relax international strains and provide basis for peace and understanding among nations.
Ho Chi Minh was the focus of attention among the intellectuals and political activists throughout the latter half of the last century. During this time, he was greatly revered in West Bengal with a lot of commentaries written is his support in Bangla. His major works and his ‘Prison Diary’ were translated into many Indian languages and were highly appreciated by the readers.
Therefore, Minh’s role in bolstering the relations between the two countries remains decisive as both the nations shared commonality of ideology and shared vision for the world and international institutions. There would barely be any individual, who would be uninformed of Vietnam’s legendary Ho Chi Minh, who emancipated his nation from the yolk of then superpowers like France, Japan and the US. They were made to face not only defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese people but were in awe of their exemplary courage and military strategy.
(Niharika Saikia is a researcher at Centre for Vietnam Studies, New Delhi. Email: email@example.com)