The Indian radical grapples with globalisation

3 09 2012

There has been a major transformation in India over the last two decades – economic, political, social and cultural. Some of this has been a result of the liberalisation of the economy, a significant part of which has been the opening up to global capital. The Left in India, across organisations and ideologies, has viewed globalisation as a disaster for India. However, even a cursory glance at the actual history of globalisation in India will show that it has been as much about India reaching out to the world as the world coming to India.

This paper argues that the  Indian radical has been unable to come to terms with this phenomenon. He does not know how to define it, he does not know how to engage with it and he invariably falls back on understandings and explanations from another age which have little salience today. It is this last feature which brings out a streak of conservativeness in him.

This paper tries to identify the main features of the Indian radical’s fear of globalisation, the function of nationalism in this, the role which foreign goods and capital play in building this and the consequences for radical politics.

(This is not a fully developed position but rather an attempt to think through some ideas. Further, the text here is a rough draft which was used to make a presentation at the workshop on Spectacle of Globality organised by Ravinder Kaur and Thomas Blom Hansen at the University of Copenhagen on 29-30 August 2012. Please do not quote from this article without asking me.)

Read the rest of this entry »





The Politics of Culture (Book Review)

2 10 2011

Books:

G P Deshpande, The World of Ideas in Modern Marathi: Phule, Vinoba, Savarkar, Tulika, New Delhi, 2009, pp. 120. Rs. 240.

G P Deshpande, Talking the Political Culturally and Other Essays, Thema, Kolkata, 2009, pp. 127, Rs. 150. Read the rest of this entry »





The Corruption Carnival

27 09 2011

The Anna Hazare fronted anti-corruption movement has been successful in pushing the locus of Indian politics to the right. Will it also succeed in defeating the Congress led United Progressive Alliance in the next general elections and putting the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh backed Bharatiya Janata Party into power? That remains an open question. Read the rest of this entry »





On Freedom of the Press

28 10 2010

The question of the freedom of the press or, more generally, the freedom of thought and expression, has come increasingly into public debate in India. This perhaps is a global trend from what it appears to me, but in India hardly a month passes without some important issue taking centre stage in public debates around the question of freedom of thought and expression.

Whether it is protesting against a film, a book, a speech or public statement, a work of art, a newspaper report or even a question paper, there are demands for banning, censorship, prosecution (often followed by extra-judicial persecution) and punishment for those who are seen to be exceeding the limits of freedom of speech.  Read the rest of this entry »





How Not to Understand Muslim fundamentalism

2 06 2010

Mahmood Mamdani recently gave a talk at the University of Johannesburg, touching on the topics of free speech and bigotry in our contemporary world. He took the example of Mohammed cartoons to make this point. It is a well argued and seemingly persuasive thesis which you can read here at Kafila.

I found that I had some fundamental differences with it and decided to write them out here. Please do read him before you read my response. Read the rest of this entry »





Third Front: A Post-Mortem

9 06 2009

[What was the left doing with the natural allies of the Congress and the BJP?]

This is the draft I wrote for the editorial of the Economic and Political Weekly VOL 44 No. 22, June 05, 2009. The draft and the final edit may have many differences. Read the rest of this entry »





A Logical Defeat

4 06 2009

[Can the Left learn the proper lessons from its electoral rout?]

This is the draft I wrote, a finalised version of which was published as the editorial of the Economic and Political Weekly in the Vol XLIV No 21 issue dated May 29, 2009.

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Fascism with a Red Flag

2 05 2009

This is the draft I wrote for an EPW editorial published in the of 25 April – 2 May, 2009 edition. There are significant differences between this draft and the final edit.

Maoist attacks on the people’s right to vote is similar to the fascists’ attacks on democracy Read the rest of this entry »





Stalemate in Bengal?

23 03 2009

For the first time in close to three decades, the Left Front finds itself on the defensive in West Bengal in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

[This is the draft of the editorial I wrote on the political situation in West Bengal ahead of the 2009 Parliamentary elections in India. This was published in the march 21, 2009 vol xliv no 12 edition of the EPW.] Read the rest of this entry »





Reflections in the Aftermath of Nandigram

28 01 2009

This article was published in the 5 May, 2007 edition of the Economic and Political Weekly. This was a few weeks after the killing of 14 peasants by the West Bengal Police in Nandigram. At that time I had, for various reasons – didactic, political, tactical – decided not to publish it in my name. Today, the reasons for keeping this article anonymous are not as pressing and therefore I am “soft launching” it here. The EPW original is here. Read the rest of this entry »





India – US nuclear deal: a left critique

5 08 2008

The India-US nuclear deal, which faced stiff and unprecedented opposition inside the country was finally smuggled through the Indian Parliament by the ruling combine. It is quite interesting that the main opposition to this deal came from within the country and not from the international community. The passage of the deal, despite the stiff resistance from the Left in India, also marks a watershed of sorts in the political landscape of the country and will have implications well into the future. Read the rest of this entry »








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