A memory from Chaplin’s life: Chaplin and Chairman Mao

Akhar Bandyopadhyay

chaplin and mao.jpg

I am going to share an episode from Chaplin’s life involving Chairman Mao.

Let me first tell the ‘background’ in brief before that. Chaplin met Chou En-lai during the Korean Crisis on an invitation from the Chinese Embassy itself. Chaplin met him with a heart full of admiration for the Chinese people working towards building Socialism. Chaplin was not a communist, as we all know. But he dreamt of an ideal free and just society just like Chairman Mao did!

Here is what Chaplin shared with us, the readers, in his great autobiography:

“Chou En-lai that night told us a touching story of Mao-Tse-tung’s triumphant entry into Peking. There were a million Chinese present to welcome him. A large platform, fifteen feet high, had been built at the end of the vast square, and as he mounted the steps from the back of the top of his head appeared and a roar of welcome surged up from a million throats, increasing and increasing as the lone figure came fully into view. And when Mao Tse-tung, the conqueror [?] of China, saw that vast multitude, he stood for a moment, then suddenly covered his face with both hands and wept.”

(Taken from Chaplin’s My Autobiography, p. 471, Penguin Books)

The above quoted passage highlights the immense popularity gained by Chairman Mao in the hearts of the toiling people of China. He gained this popularity not through any authoritarian measures, but by befriending the proletariat and the peasantry. He was able to become a true communist by following the one of the essential communist principles mentioned by himself:

“Every Communist working in the mass movements should be a friend of the masses and not a boss over them, an indefatigable teacher and not a bureaucratic politician.”

(Taken from Mao Tse-tung’s The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War)

And then again, in another paragraph in the autobiography, Chaplin clarified his position by saying:

“I toasted the future of China and said that although I was not a Communist I wholeheartedly joined in their hope and desire for a better life for the Chinese people, and for all people.”

(Taken from Chaplin’s My Autobiography, p. 472, Penguin Books)

Today is 26th December, 2016. It is the 123rd birth anniversary of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, the tall leader of the suffering humanity. It is really great, at least for a declared socialist like me, to remember him, his wonderful legacy, his fierce fight against all sorts of imperialism, through millions of passages like this, all written by the lovers of humanity!

I wish a very happy birthday to this great man who, in the same tradition of Marx-Engels-Lenin, was able to remove the contradiction between theory and practice.

Long live the Revolution!

Down with Imperialism! 


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