The violence which wracked the western Indian state of Gujarat ten years ago has almost become a metaphor for a particular aspect of India’s contemporary reality. The metaphor is described differently, depending on whether one is a supporter of Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi or an opponent. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: Adivasi, Bharatiya Janata Party, Capitalism, Dalit, Democracy, Gujarat killings 2002, Hindutva, indian capitalists, KHAM, Muslim, Narendra Modi, Patidar
Categories : India, Mobilisation and Movements, Politics, Religion, Secularisation, Secularism
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 »
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Tags: Capitalism, Colonialism, Dalit, Democracy, GPD, Imperialism, Indian Nationalism, IPTA, Jyotiba Phule, Left politics, Maharashtra, Pakistan, patriarchy, regional history, Theatre, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Vinoba Bhave
Categories : Book Review, Colonialism, EPW, History, India, Marxism and Marxists, Mobilisation and Movements, Politics, Pop goes the Culture, Religion, Secularism, Secularisation
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 »
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Tags: Anna Hazare, Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Corruption, Democracy, India Against Corruption, Jan Lok Pal, Left politics, Parliamentary Democracy, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Team Anna, United Progressive Alliance
Categories : India, Media, Mobilisation and Movements, Politics
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 »
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Tags: bigotry, blasphemy, Colonialism, freedom of speech, Imperialism, Left politics, Mahmood Mamdani, Mohammed Cartoons, Muslim Fundamentalism, Taslima Nasreen
Categories : History, Mobilisation and Movements, Muslims and Islam, Politics, Religion, Secularisation, Secularism, War and Imperialism
How do we understand the inexplicable lack of popular anger over high food inflation in India? Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: Food Prices, Inflation, Left, Protests, UPA
Categories : Back-of-the-envelope Economics, India, Mobilisation and Movements, Politics
This paper, rather preliminary note towards a full paper, attempts to look at the troubled history of democracy (both as a concept as well as a practice) and parties claiming affiliation to Marxism-Leninism. It tries to understand the historical paradox of parties and movements influenced by Marxism being among the more important contributors to democratising our world, but States ruled by parties owing allegiance to Marxism denying democratic rights to their own citizens. It then tries to identify some of the reasons for this large democratic deficit.
But before I begin, two short points about the structure of the paper may be in order. First, I have been fairly hesitant to write on this topic. I can hardly lay any claim to expertise on theoretical debates among Marxists as well as on the details of the history of countries ruled by communist parties. That apart, I am also conscious of my weakness in political theory, specially that relating to democracy and related ideas of liberty and representation. Therefore, the stress will remain more on the historical experience rather than the theoretical arguments. Second, and following from my hesitation laid out above, this paper is basically structured around three writings by two Marxists: Karl Marx himself, and Rosa Luxemburg. You may say I am merely paraphrasing them, or you may say that they are the burqa I wear during this excursion into unfamiliar territory. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: Communist Party, Democracy, Karl Marx, Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Russian Revolution, Soviet Union, Universal Suffrage
Categories : History, Marxism and Marxists, Mobilisation and Movements, Politics
This is the draft version I wrote for the editorial of the Economic and Political Weekly, Vol XLIV No. 20, May16 2009.
[The official Indian delegation again blocked all mention of caste at the UN conference of Racism] Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: Caste, Dalit, Discrimination, Durban Review Conference, Racism, World Conference on Racism
Categories : EPW, Mobilisation and Movements, Politics