whence the title of Stendahl’s LenRouge et le Noir. With the onset ofnindustrialization the red flag becamenthe emblem of the first “socialistrevolutionaries,”npopping up in Parisnand Lyon during the textile workers’nriots of April 1834. Subsequently drivennunderground by a ferocious repression,nit reappeared in February 1848,nwhen the red blinds were torn fromnoverturned carriages and brandishednover the first barricades. On Februaryn24 it was behind a red banner that anfrenzied mob stormed Louis-Philippe’snTuileries Palace, and it was with the rednsilk and red velvet upholstery of itsnfurniture that the triumphant revolutionariesnundertook to fashion red buttonholenemblems and Phrygian bonnets.nThe red flag of revolutionary militancynhad finally come of age, at thenvery moment when Karl Marx, in ThenCommunist Manifesto, was proclaimingnthe forthcoming dictatorship of thenproletariat. As Proudhon, the wildeyednpropounder of the notion thatn”Property is Theft,” put it: “Keep, ifnyou will, the tricolor flag, the symbol ofnyour nationality, but remember thatnthe red flag is the sign of a revolutionnthat will be the last. The red flag is thenfederal standard of the human race.”nToday this symbolic transmutationnhas come full circle, and there is surelyna profound historical irony in the factnthat the red flag is now the symbol ofnthe triumphant proletariat, of the RednCzars of Muscovy. In Russia the wordnFor Immediate ServicenChroniclesnSUBSCRIBERSnTOLL FREE NUMBERn1-800-435-0715nILLINOIS RESIDENTSn1-800-892-0753n42/CHRONICLESnfor “red” (krassny) was always closelynassociated in popular fancy with “wonderful”n(prekrassny) — which is whynthe Beautiful Square (KrassnayanPloshchad) of prerevolutionary Russiancould become, in one of the greatestnsemantic travesties of all times, the RednSquare of the Soviet Caesars.nCurtis Cate is a historian andnbiographer who lives in Paris.nLetter From thenSubcontinentnby Marshall W. FishwicknPassage to IndianThough he never came here, WaltnWhitman knew India was more than ancountry: a subcontinent, madhouse ofnreligions, seedbed of civilizations, primordialnand immemorial. “Passage tonmore than India.”nHow to cope with this vital mess, thisnmessy multiplicity? These hundreds ofnmillions of people in hundreds of thousandsnof villages? I have learned fromneariier trips to try to avoid the cliches ofnthe tourist, moralist, or missionary. Butnhow can I see it through Indian eyes?nHow can I break the cake of custom?nSpring in India: tiny purple birds dartnbetween banks of flowers. Bicycles,nbells, birdsongs: everything moves, murmurs,nexplodes. The soil is soulsaturatedn. . . birth death rebirthnmerge. Wanton destruction and callousnneglect cannot dim the aura and thenmystery.nPrincess Ezra of Hyderabad—widownof the Nizam said to be the world’snrichest man—has a dinner party. ThenBegum of Oudh sits amidst hernDobermans and Persian carpets in annold ruin given to her as compensationnfor Lucknow.nA shadow-thin man with a long stickndrags himself forward on the dusty road.nBoth legs are twisted and deformed. Henplants the stick in the dirt, wraps anboneless foot around it, and inchesnforward. Is he going home? Will henever get there? Despite all the warningsn(begging is a highly organized crimensyndicate) I offer him money. He doesnnot stop but looks into my eyes andnsmiles: I have only seen such a smile innnnthe paintings of Fra Angelico.nIn this fourth year of drought, lookninstead at the abandoned cattle: herds ofn20,000 roaming the burnt-out areas ofnGujurat and Rajasthan. Or the beggars:nover 70 percent of all Indians have nonassured employment, and earn less thann$100 a year.nFew speak of this in New Delhi,ncelebrating the 40th anniversary of Indiannindependence. Festivities are climaxednby a giant Run for Freedom.nHow many runners? Estimates vary—nfrom 100,000 to 200,000. At the fore isnPrime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in flashynjogging clothes, surrounded by movienstars and cricket players. Then the joyfulnatmosphere changes: there is a free-forallnat the National Stadium where angrynrunners go on a rampage. The finishingnline banner is torn to shreds, bottles arenhurled, offices smashed, anti-organizernslogans shouted. The police move innwith lathis.nThere are other ominous signs. Terrorismngrips the Punjab; the TNV arenon a rampage in Tripura. Gurkhas runnamuck in Bengal; the JharkhandnMovement gains momentum in Bihar.nExtremists step up the struggle in Nagaland,nwhile rebels bitterly fight thengovernment in Manipur. Indian troopsnpour into Sri Lanka — will it be theirnVietnam? Elsewhere, observers report,nseparatist movements are taking shape.n”Why are we still grappling with thensame problems (deficits, poverty, inflation,nilliteracy, one-party politics) 40nyears after independence?” asks SrinivasenRaghaven. “We face a litany ofnunkept promises.”nIndia is falling apart. But then, Indianhas always been falling apart. Historynwas still blind when this great richnlandmass was overrun. Invaders keepncoming (Aryan, Mongol, Muslim,nGreek, Tartar, British, CIA) but Indianremains India. Somehow their warmthnand wisdom wrap around them like anblanket.nIn native eyes, the shifty look, thenbuilt-in insecurity; on every street thensystem breaking down. Some can pushnno more: beggars, melted away bynleprosy, bodies ending at the waist,ntrunks without limbs, hulks that crawlnand go bump in the night. Yet theynneither complain nor despair—theynendure. I enter the back country, thenpreindustrial world, determined to seenplaces sacred to the Lord Buddha, bornn