About LeftWriter

Aniket Alam 40

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Heretic, Friend, Marxist, Father, Historian, Non-vegetarian, Journalist, Husband, Iconoclast, Student, Environmentalist, Traitor, Gastronome, Critic, Petit-Bourgeois, Procrastinator, Feminist, Photographer, Son, Revolutionary, Pen-pusher, Blogger ……

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I was born in Calcutta in 1971. In chronological order, I have lived in Delhi, Shimla, Calcutta, York, Shimla, Delhi, London, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Delhi and now back in Hyderabad. I have visited Belgium, Canada, Haiti, Jamaica, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany (when it was West), Nepal, Bangladesh, United States and Switzerland.

I have worked with the International Labour Organisation, The Hindu newspaper, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Panos Network Foundation. At present I work as a Senior Assistant Editor of the Economic and Political Weekly.

I have a Doctorate for a thesis I wrote on British Rule in the Western Himalayas, which was published by Cambridge University Press India in 2007 as Becoming India: Western Himalayas under British Rule.

I have been an activist of the Students’ Federation of India since I was in class 10 (1986) when I joined it in Shimla. I continued my association with SFI when I came to do my graduation in Delhi University (1989-92) and during my years in JNU [1992-98] when I was doing my MA and PhD research. Now I am politically inactive but like to call myself a verbal warrior for the left.

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If at all I could distill the basic principles on which I live my (intellectual) life, it would be these -

*Dont be dogmatic,
*Dont make prophets out of humans,
*Your friends may be your worst enemies for learning new things while your enemies may teach you more,
*Educate yourself always, keep your mind open, never stop a new idea from blossoming,
*Always theorise,
*Learn from past mistakes.

The following lines from Che Guevara are like a talisman for me, I read them often to keep myself politically sane:

When asked whether or not we are Marxists, our position is the same as that of a physicist or a biologist when asked if he is a “Newtonian,” or if he is a “Pasteurian”.

There are truths so evident, so much a part of people’s knowledge, that it is now useless to discuss them. One ought to be “Marxist’ with the same naturalness with which one is “Newtonian” in physics, or “Pasteurian” in biology, considering that if facts determine new concepts, these new concepts will never divest themselves of that portion of truth possessed by the older concepts they have outdated. Such is the case, for example, of Einsteinian relativity or of Planck’s “quantum” theory with respect to the discoveries of Newton; they take nothing at all away from the greatness of the learned Englishman. Thanks to Newton, physics was able to advance until it had achieved new concepts of space. The learned Englishman provided the necessary stepping-stone for them.

Commandate Ernesto Che Guevara, Notes for the Study of the Ideology of the Cuban Revolution, October 1960.

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The photo on the banner is a testament in self-criticism of my own politics and ideological affiliations. It is a cropped image from a famous photo of Lenin addressing Bolshevik workers who are off to fight for the revolution on the frontlines on the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

In his brilliant novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera recounts the incident where a leading Politbureau member of the Czech Communist Party was expelled and shot for anti-party activities and his image was airbrushed from the iconic group photo of the politbureau which hung in all public places. In their haste to airbrush their ex-comrade off the photo, the censors forgot to airbrush his hat. So, Kundera writes, the new, politically correct photo of the politbureau had one hat more than the number of people visible in it. He ends that part of his novel with one of my favourite slogans

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting!

The image I have on my banner has a similar story. This photo became iconic in Bolshevik circles and spread far and wide all over the world. It showed Lenin in full flow, addressing the workers, who had picked up guns and were going to the frontline to fight the White forces with their lives. It was three days before the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution. On the side of the podium stood Leon Trotsky, the leader of the Red Army which was winning the war for the Revolution. About a decade later, when Trotsky fell out of favour with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, this image was doctored to extend the podium where Lenin stood and thus obliterating any visual image of Trotsky’s association with Lenin.

The image I have on my banner shows Lenin’s hands and Trotsky’s hat. It is a small and, perhaps silly, visual self-criticism of the petty, idiotic and ultimately tragic and fatal follies of communists and communist parties. I must add that for all its shortcoming and transgressions, I remain a convinced communist and deeply influenced by Marxism. I stand in solidarity with the communist project, which I own as my own, but which has so much to answer for. It is my way of reminding myself, and my comrades, of the great follies and tragedies enacted by us and the long path of self-criticism and self-correction we have to traverse.

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29 responses

26 03 2008
ali

You writing is great, your blog is great…but from your about page i cant configure from where you are… and what you do…
Please describe a bit more for ordinary people :)

12 09 2008
Ravishanker

Brilliant description, but I felt your voyage is with out a ship or captain![capitan].
Please find out a body for forwarding your ideology and politics for changing the society.

Other wise it can merely fall in to the famous quote
“THE PHILOSOPHERS HAVE ONLY INTERPRETED THE WORLD IN VARIOUS WAYS – THE POINT HOWEVER IS TO CHANGE IT”

12 01 2009
fiddleferme

You are an interesting writer and I love the details about yourself.

‘The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting!’
So true…we must not forget this.

Definitely worth following. All the best.

26 01 2009
Prashanth Perumal

I don’t actually agree with you on most issues, because Marxism is inherently against individual freedom and liberty, but I like the form of your writing without much jargon. Neither do I warrant your romance with Cuba. Good luck! :)

6 02 2009
KAPIL NAYAR

ABA kha hi, no news from your side for sooo so long, what is your ph, i am in mumbai,my number is 09967640224.

14 02 2009
yash

Indeed the reading was a beguiling one. Here we have a superlative stream of thought and I am quite glad that we have people who have the courage to move beyond the realms of mundane life and contemplate on issues which are often lost in this race of life. Really appreciate the reflection of thy passion in this creation of yours.

24 02 2009
sikha

enjoyed reading some of your posts….have begun late but will continue…..

5 03 2009
Salman Latif

Nice. I like your blog and your credentials are even persuasive for a serious considerations of the issues cited here.
BTW, I was just thinking something while going through that excerpt by Che Guevara. How about Marxism was that one step toward intellectual progress which humanity has taken, learnt from and moved on? ;)

7 04 2009
Vandana Katju

I’m a fan! You write very well.

13 08 2009
shweta

Really great to know this much about you,U have described yourself so vividly,simply awesome.Inspiration and knowledge both flow from your side ,you seem to take steps to make a better world,people like you are worth the admiration and respect.

18 11 2009
Meenakshi Sharma

Wow! I’d come by to say thank you and that I’d try to write something interesting. Now, I’m tongue-tied again :( How can you write so easily and well!

18 11 2009
Meenakshi Sharma
27 11 2009
chandrakanth

tum tho aisaaeech bolthai….mera chota dimaak ko samajh mein nai aataa kuch…..ooopar dekhein, kitte logaan bolthein…..achchaa lagtaa…go ahead/…ur friend

7 03 2010
Shaahul Hameed

Immmm…
Not only you and me. In every film, a HERO is a Communist, He will fight against bad capitalism, imperialism, and helping poors, save girl from who are teasing. He’s having many responsibility…..
Likewise everyone should be a HERO..
‘HERE’ marxist is ‘HERO’

10 03 2010
Sivashanmugam

Hello Aniket,
It is really a wonder to see you again. Hope you remember me! The SFI councillor from SLS in 1994-95.
I like to have your mobile number in order to have a talk. I too instituted the most infamous ‘Intellectual development foundation’ and you can find my works at http://analytical.wikia.com
Kindly mail your mobile number to

3 09 2010
Dr. Satinath Choudhary

I am impressed by your credentials! I would very much like to communicate with you. Please send me your email address.
Regards,
Satinath
satichou@gmail.com

7 09 2010
Sabyasachi Chatterjee

Aniket has been a dedicated exponent of contemporary international political science, most specifically, from the Indian Left point of view. Each article by him is rich enough to cogitate both critically & appreciably. I myself am a keen & regular reader of his views on his blog, few sites & in the EPW for last few years.

1 11 2010
mandeep

hi sir, i am reading about marxism, but i get confused, some times i don’t understand what marx is saying because he refers to works of previous intellectualls. please could u send me a list of books from where to exactly start.

4 01 2011
a rose cellar

mandeep, please start with two books. MARX BY PETER SINGER( A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION,OUP).
SOCIALISM BY MICHAEL NEWMAN( A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION, OUP).
these books are not expensive. after reading these books you can decide on your own.

1 04 2011
Anil Sharma

Just came across your blog. Interesting!
Your surname Alam, rings a bell. So do Shimla!!
Are you Prof. Javed Alam’s son?
Then born in Calcutta,(his wife, I know was Bengali), He was in Delhi in early seventies (With DU) , later again Delhi (with CSDS), after a stint at Shimla with H.P.U. Had heard he had gone to Hyderabad too.
So there appear to be just a few gaps to fill up.
I met him a couple of times, apart from seeing and hearing him at some seminars at PU (besides CSDS) during which I had met him with Narayan Kotvi, my friend and his former student. His wife and a son were also with him. This was in early 80’s.
So…….!!!!

6 04 2011
Syed Moiz

Just came across your blog, Your profile is very intresting. Expecting to get beneficial posts from you.

Regards

15 07 2011
Two Sisters | Lominosity

[...] revealing my age!). Ah, well, so the poem of this decade was written a few months back. My friend Aniket (leftwrite.wordpress.com) who is much more knowledgeable about verbal gymnastics, spent considerable [...]

2 09 2011
asdaasdasd

PING PING

15 09 2011
dom wielkopolska

Hi. Your website is great! I visited this page many time!

23 09 2011
Augustin

Just came across your blog. Interesting!
Your surname Alam, rings a bell. So do Shimla!!
Are you Prof. Javed Alam’s son?
Then born in Calcutta,(his wife, I know was Bengali), He was in Delhi in early seventies (With DU) , later again Delhi (with CSDS), after a stint at Shimla with H.P.U. Had heard he had gone to Hyderabad too.
So there appear to be just a few gaps to fill up.
I met him a couple of times, apart from seeing and hearing him at some seminars at PU (besides CSDS) during which I had met him with Narayan Kotvi, my friend and his former student. His wife and a son were also with him. This was in early 80’s.
So…….!!!!

+1

15 10 2011
ashmita shetty

hey,
Please mail me your contact details so that i can reach you…

19 10 2011
Pashtoon Afghan

Really great Mr. Left Writer got your ideas and work. Hope we all will have our people indulged in progressive politics against the conservatives, imperialists, religious extremists and terrorists, oppressive forces and exploiters of nations and people.

11 02 2014
khanna

Dear sir you are grate, I am impressed by your credentials! I would very much like to communicate with you. Please send me your email address.
Regards, khanna.tammina@gmail.com

1 05 2014
nakshatra

are you Javed alam’s son??

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