Resist the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians: Radical Socialist

For more information on continuing Israeli attacks on Palestine, see Electronic Intifada  and What is happening in Sheikh Jarra.

Issued in 1981

Statement by Radical Socialist

Resist the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians! Oppose Zionism in the Streets! Fight for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

Radical Socialist holds that the very existence of Israel is the existence of a colonial-settler state. The centuries of violence on Jews was carried out, not by Arabs, not by Muslims, but first by the Romans, then by Christian Europeans. Within that, the UN in 1948 had given only a small area. Over the decades, a continuously aggressive Israel has expanded, has occupied territories originally identified for Palestinians. The Naqba has been a never ending process of ethnic cleansing. Protected by US imperialism, in the initial phases by the Soviet bureaucracy, and also by the military power it has built up, Israel has waged a permanent war on the Palestinians.

The current conflict must be viewed from that broader perspective. It is not a conflict between two more or less equal sides. It is not a case where Hamas is to be held as responsible, or even almost as responsible, as Israel. It is Israel that is fully responsible for the renewed bid at ethnic cleansing by pushing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem and elsewhere. With an ultra-right figure like Netanyahu, the failure to form a stable government after the last elections was adequate reason to stoke Zionist sentiments further. Continue reading Resist the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians: Radical Socialist

Why Federalism Must Become the Fulcrum Of Politics In Coming Days

MPs demonstrtate in parliament for states' GST dues
MPs demonstrtate in parliament for states’ GST dues, 17 September 2020, Photo: Twitter/@priyankac19, courtesy The Statesman

A shorter version of this article appeared in Bangla earlier in Sahomon.

The question of federalism and Centre-State relations has been on many people’s minds lately, given that the Centre in the Modi dispensation has been hell bent on usurping the powers of the states while slyly thrusting all responsibility on to their shoulders. As a matter of fact, it was precisely during the outbreak of Covid19, when there should have been maximum cooperation between the Centre and the States, that the strains started showing in a glaring manner. Very early on, it became clear that the Centre was intent upon using the pandemic to usurp more and more powers, while riding roughshod not only on the rights of ordinary citizens but also of the States. In dealing with the pandemic, not only were the mandatory  consultations with the States not held, they were in fact simply handed over decisions. The most dramatic of all these, of course, was the completely bizarre manner in which the Lockdown was declared last year, at just four hours notice. The huge tragedy that followed was totally avoidable had there been prior consultations and had the Prime Minister, just for one moment, behaved like one. As a matter of fact, the record of this government over the past seven years has been pretty consistent in this regard at least. Continue reading Why Federalism Must Become the Fulcrum Of Politics In Coming Days

Hany Babu needs urgent medical treatment, release him now: CJP’s plea to Maharashtra CM

To sign this petition, please go to this link.

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) is deeply worried about Professor Hany Babu’s health, in wake of news that he is suffering from a serious eye infection that could lead to loss of vision in one eye. According to his family, he has little or no vision in his left eye due to the swelling caused by the infection, which has spread to the cheek, ear and forehead. The family fears the worst if the swelling spreads to his brain. And yet jail authorities have failed to provide him proper medical care.

The 55-year-old professor is an accused in the alleged Elgar Parishad conspiracy behind the Bhima Koregaon violence. He is currently lodged in Taloja Central Prison, Maharashtra and has been complaining of an acute eye infection, pain, and gradual loss of vision since May 3, 2021.

Continue reading Hany Babu needs urgent medical treatment, release him now: CJP’s plea to Maharashtra CM

पितृसत्तात्मक हिंसा के प्रति शून्य सहिष्णुता की नीति अपना कर अपने संघर्षों को मज़बूत करें! – नारीवादी व महिला संगठनों के बयान

टिकरी बॉर्डर पर युवा महिला कार्यकर्त्ता के साथ यौन हिंसा और अपहरण पर सार्वजनिक बयान, 9 मई, 2021

बंगाल से आयी असोसियेशन फॉर प्रोटेक्शन ऑफ़ डेमोक्रेटिक राइट्स (एपीडीआर), श्रीरामपुर की 26 वर्षीय कार्यकर्त्ता के 30 अप्रैल 2021 को बहादुरगढ़, हरियाणा में हुए निधन पर हमें गहरा अफ़सोस है। यह युवती किसान आंदोलन से बेहद प्रेरित हुई और 2 से 11 अप्रैल को बंगाल में आन्दोलन का प्रचार कर रहे किसान सोशल आर्मी के साथ टिकरी बॉर्डर पर आंदोलन के प्रति अपना समर्थन दर्ज कराने आयी थी। उसे खोने का शोक मनाते हुए, हम टिकरी बॉर्डर पर उसके द्वारा बिताये चंद दिनों के दौरान उसके साथ हुए घटनाक्रम के बारे में सुन कर भी बेहद चिंतित और परेशान हैं।

Continue reading पितृसत्तात्मक हिंसा के प्रति शून्य सहिष्णुता की नीति अपना कर अपने संघर्षों को मज़बूत करें! – नारीवादी व महिला संगठनों के बयान

Strengthening our Struggles through Zero Tolerance to Patriarchal Violence: Statement by Women’s organizations

Public Statement on the Sexual Assault and Abduction of a Young Woman Activist at Tikri Border issued on 9 May 2021

We deeply mourn the death of a 26-year old activist from APDR (Sreerampur) in West Bengal, who passed away on 30th April, 2021 at Bahadurgarh in Haryana. She was deeply inspired by the farmers’ movement and had gone to express her solidarity at the Tikri border with the Kisan Social Army who had been campaigning around Bengal from 2nd April to 11th April, 2021. As we mourn her loss, we are also deeply troubled and concerned on hearing the events that had unfolded during her short stay at the Tikri border.

Continue reading Strengthening our Struggles through Zero Tolerance to Patriarchal Violence: Statement by Women’s organizations

Yogi Model of Fighting COVID Second Wave – Attacking People Rather Than Virus: Himanshu Shukla

Guest post by HIMANSHU SHUKLA

As India updated its COVID cases on April 30th, it became the first country to register over 4 lakh infection in a single day. This record breaking second-wave spike in the country opened the Pandora’s Box of the Modi-led central government’s claim of defeating the pandemic. The government patted itself for successfully defeating the virus and bringing normalcy in the country, without getting hit very hard like many other countries. The second wave of virus has showed up the naked picture of the hollow claims that the government made about their preparedness to tackle COVID.

India is now the epicentre of infection, accounting for 46% of world’s total cases and quarter of deaths. The ravaging crisis brought about cries for oxygen countrywide. Mass deaths due to unavailability of medical care is the new picture that India portrays of its incompetence in dealing with the second wave. The recent editorial of Lancet slammed Modi government, mentioning that the second wave is a ‘self inflicted national catastrophe’.

Continue reading Yogi Model of Fighting COVID Second Wave – Attacking People Rather Than Virus: Himanshu Shukla

That Monday will not come, Judge Sahib: Swarajbir

Posted below is the English translation of a Punjabi poem by SWARAJBIR, Editor of Punjabi Tribune, on the culpability of the state. The poem in the original Punjabi is at the end.

Mahavir Narwal breathed his last yesterday, of Covid. He was an active member of the CPI(M) and the father of Natasha Narwal, activist of Pinjra Tod, a feminist collective, who has been in jail for a year along with Debangana Kalita, another Pinjra Tod activist. Along with many others, Natasha was accused on the basis of no evidence, of having caused the violence in Delhi in January-February  2020, the violence that was in fact carefully planned and orchestrated by the forces that run this regime.

What all the activists jailed for the 2020 Delhi violence are guilty of, is the firm commitment to equal rights to citizenship in India, and unrelenting opposition to the regime’s continuing attempt to establish Hindu Rashtra, a project rejected by the vast masses of this country, and which we will resist and defeat through militant non-violent means.

When accounts are drawn up of this criminal regime, we will remember the disrespect to the Constitution repeatedly shown by different arms of the judiciary.  Natasha was refused bail on earlier occasions, and her latest plea for bail to meet her Covid-stricken father one last time, was scheduled to be heard today, Monday the 10th of May, the morning after Mahavir Narwal’s death.

Dear Kind Judge Sahib

Swarajbir

Kind Judge Sahib,
Mahavir Narwal is dead.
Yes Judge Sahib,
Natasha’s father
is no more in this world.

Kind Judge Sahib,
A day ago, this daughter
had come to your Court.
She had not said
“Don’t prosecute me”
She had not said
“Declare me innocent” Continue reading That Monday will not come, Judge Sahib: Swarajbir

triumphalist torturers: or, life in kerala is no breeze

[Buffeted by many kinds of emotions, unable to think straight, eyes and mind clouded again and again with tears and the most tenebrous, threatening emotional clouds — this state of mind has been constant in me since many months. I have not been able to compose myself enough to write political commentary in these tumultuous times on Kafila, as I have always done. Not just because of the disease. I increasingly feel as if I am on my last journey, a forbidding one on a narrow, winding, rough, path up a hill, walking without being able to look left or right, unable to turn or help companions falling on the way behind me. Like Yudhishtira, maybe, but without knowing what lies beyond this mountain path up there.

Continue reading triumphalist torturers: or, life in kerala is no breeze

Why no one is talking about indo-british trade deal ?

Guest Post : New Socialist Initiative NSI Facebook Page

Samuel Johnson famously said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” The two prime ministers in the photograph below would claim to be patriots both. The scoundrel part should be left to your judgment, but it is obvious that both of them cannot claim to be patriots at the same time.

These two prime ministers came up with a deal a couple of days ago that no one in India is talking about.  Even the Indian government, uncharacteristically, is not trumpeting about it. The UK government announced the day before yesterday that it sealed a deal with India in which Indians will make a one billion pound ($1.39 billion) investment in the UK creating 6500 British jobs. In addition India will open its market doors wider by reducing tariffs not only on British cars and British whisky but also on British apples and pears.

It looks curiouser than Alice’s Wonderland. India lost 7.25 million jobs in April alone. Actually tens of millions of Indian jobs have been lost during the pandemic and during the Modi misrule. And Indian moneybags facilitated by the Modi government are going to invest more than Rs 10 thousand crores in the UK creating highly paid British jobs! On top of that India will also hurt the interests of Indian producers of apples and pears (also of cars and whiskeys) by lowering tariffs on British goods. What is India gaining out of it?

But if you think about it, it is not so surprising. This is a government that spends tens of thousands of crores on a new central vista, a new parliament and a new house for the Prime Minister at a time when thousands are dying due to shortage of oxygen and of hospital beds. This is also a regime under which its favourite corporate houses have registered fattest profits ever during the worst humanitarian crisis that India is groaning under.

This Prime Minister not only helps corporate houses to amass mountains of wealth in an India where people are losing jobs, facing unimaginable hardships – many are on the verge of starvation; where cremations pyres are spilling on to the roads and burning 24×7. He also helps them take that money to safe houses on foreign shores – invest in rich countries and create jobs there. Can he qualify to be a patriot, even if one ignores Samuel Johnson’s reference to being a scoundrel? 

How anti-national this government and this Prime Minister can become? And why is this Indo-British deal not being talked about here in India?

covid-19 mismanagement : Can india ‘do’ a brazil ?

Brazil’s Parliamentary Enquiry is probing the way the Bolsonaro-led government handled the pandemic leading to the deaths of 4,00,000 Brazilians.

Covid mismangement

Jail Bolsonaro, the far right President of Brazil, is a worried man these days. The next round of elections for the post of President is merely a year away and there is a strong possibility that his bete noire Lula – former President of Brazil between 2003 and 2011 – can be in the ring to challenge him. The Supreme Court of Brazil has annulled Lula’s two bribery convictions, and if he plans the 75 year old charismatic Lula can give him a tough challenge.

The worrisome aspect is the unfolding Parliamentary Enquiry, which seeks to focus on the way the Brazil government handled the pandemic, what his critics call ‘disastrous and potentially criminal response to Covid that has killed 4,00,000 Brazilians and the nightmare still continues.

An indication of the fact that this enquiry is not going to be a formality can be gauged from the way one of its key members, Sen Humberto Costa, who was a former health minister, put it; he said, “It is a true health, economic, and political tragedy, and the main responsibility lies with the president,” and he believes there is enough evidence to conclude that Bolsonaro committed “crimes against humanity”. Costa is not alone in his assessment of Bolsonaro, many other analysts have also used similar label for him.

( Read the full text here)

Post-Election Musings -Federalism to the Fore: Nakul Singh Sawhney

Guest post by NAKUL SINGH SAWHNEY

Some observations and takeaways from State Assembly elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Assam in May 2021 – from an original Facebook post. The observations are in the form of informal reflections but they point towards certain developments that might open up new, anticipated spaces for the struggle for a democratic India.

Federalism: The Election verdicts of May 2, 2021, from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Kerala scream ‘federalism’. The election results are so vastly different in the State Assemblies and Lok Sabha. The election outcomes of Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana, West Bengal, Kerala are important examples of this phenomenon.

India is a country that naturally lends itself to federalism and greater state autonomy. While the Congress, by and large, didn’t allow for it, the BJP is hell-bent on a deeply centralized structure and crushing any aspiration for regional autonomy. If progressive forces don’t take up the question of federalism and state autonomy, then it runs the risk of slipping into the hands of crude chauvinists and xenophobes like Shiv Sena of yesteryears or secessionists like Khalistanis.

Continue reading Post-Election Musings -Federalism to the Fore: Nakul Singh Sawhney

Hey Ram ( Rajya) !

Teachers as Cannon Fodder During Covid 19 ?

covid 19 ram rajya

There is in every village a torch – the teacher; and an extinguisher – the priest.” -Victor Hugo

Hugo, the great French writer and activist, had famously described the role education or a teacher plays in a backward society, where education was still a preserve of the few.

Perhaps we Indians can associate with it more since this has been a society where education was denied to the vast majority of people for hundreds of years just because they were born into so-called unclean families. How the mere exposure to rudimentary education could transform someone like a Muktabai – a girl born to one of the depressed caste families – challenges these age-old denials with vehemence.

It can be said with a degree of certainty that Hugo would not have envisaged a situation when the Priest himself assumes power or where a monk himself becomes the ruler.

The biggest state within the Indian Union, namely Uttar Pradesh, with a population of more than 200 million people, provides a glimpse of this phenomenon unfolds in the field of education. The state is presently governed by monk-turned-politician Yogi Adityanath; a man who till he became Chief Minister was a member of Parliament and had the sole experience of running a religious mutt.

Reports mention that 135 teachers and teaching assistants died owing to their duties in Panchayat elections in the state. A teachers’ association said how right from the days of training teachers for election duty to the actual elections, thousands of teachers and teaching assistants had contracted COVID-19.The counting of votes for these elections will occur on May 2.

( Read the full article here)

Ominous Dark Clouds Over Bengal’s Skies…

A demonstration by the ‘No Vote to BJP’ campaign in Kolkata, (older image) courtesy The Telegraph

As close to 8.5 lakh voters spread over 35 Assembly constituencies go to vote today in the last phase of Bengal’s elections, the line from the famous jatra Nabab Siraj-Ud-Doula from which the title of this post is extracted, haunts. The original ‘jatra pala’, written by Sachin Sengupta was staged in 1938 had a dialogue that announced the dark clouds collecting at Bengal’s horizons. The lines ‘Banglar akashe aaj durjoger ghanaghata/ Taar shyamal prantore rakter alpona’ have since resounded in the many iterations of the play, over the decades. The figures of Siraj-Ud-Daula and the traitor Mir Jafar have generally become part of Bengal’s political vocabulary but this time round the sense of Bengal being under attack from ‘outsiders’ has been pervasive. Along with that other episode of political folklore – repeated attacks by the borgis or the plunderous cavalrymen of the Maratha Empire, on Bengal has been recalled often. The attacks by the borgis were followed, only a few years later, by the Battle of Plassey (Palashi), in which Siraj-Ud-Daula was defeated after Robert Clive bribed Mir Jafar, his army commander, to betray the Nawab. 

This time round too, it is widely believed, the aggression by ‘outsiders’ cannot and will not succeed but for the Mir Jafar’s who collaborate with the aggressors.

Continue reading Ominous Dark Clouds Over Bengal’s Skies…

Why ensuring dalit human rights is still a tough task in the 21 st century

‘Sunped in Haryana and Natham in Tamil Nadu, separated from each other by hundreds of kilometers, populated by communities speaking different languages and cultures, find themselves connected because of this ‘Unity in Diversity’ of a different kind; being witness to atrocities on Dalits in very many ways.’

Representational image. | Image Courtesy: Wall Street Journal

“The Smallest Coffins are the Heaviest”.

Sunped, a small village in Faridabad, Haryana, hit the national headlines recently once again, when a CBI court gave its verdict in case of the deaths of two Dalit children.

If memory does not fail you, one would recall that this village had witnessed the deaths of two children – two and a half year-old Vaibhav and ten-month-old Divya – who were burned alive and their parents Rekha and Jitender suffering burn injuries half a decade ago. 

These deaths in a village which had a background of simmering conflict between dominant castes and Dalits, despite police protection provided to the ill-fated family, had caused  tremendous uproar at the national level. Rallies and marches were held in different parts of the state and in the rest of India as well, demanding justice for the family. A callous statement by a Union Cabinet Minister about the incident where he argued that the government cannot be held responsible if “someone throws stones at a dog” had then added further fuel to the fire.

Perhaps to douse popular anger, the state government led by Manohar Lal Khattar had ordered a CBI enquiry into the case. It also took into custody eleven members of the dominant caste (namely Rajputs) from Sunped for their alleged involvement in these killings, based on a complaint by the victims.  

The verdict by the CBI court in the case has landed the struggle for justice in this particular case into a black hole. 

( Read the full article here)

What happens when faith overrides sense ?

The severity of the second wave and the government’s unpreparedness demonstrate the limits of ‘strong’ leadership and religion-based politics.

What Happens When Faith Overrides Sense?
Image : Courtesy PTI

It was 1527, and Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, wrote a letter advising a Lutheran leader what a believer should do during an epidemic. Europe was in the deadly grip of the bubonic plague at the time. It had killed thousands of people.

Extracts of his letter are relevant even today, especially the parts where Luther talks about what to do during an epidemic: “…Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.”

Tirath Singh Rawat, the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, perhaps does not know of this letter or its contents. Surprisingly, he does not even seem to recall the experiences from last year. In fact, much of what happened during the Covid epidemic seems lost on him. In 2020, public places of worship and religious gatherings became super-spreaders of the virus. That is why, for the first time, religious congregations were banned everywhere from Mecca to the Vatican to arrest the spread of the pandemic.

So, it is strange that Rawat cannot recall how believers took the back seat and ceded space to science during the first wave. Indeed, he has made a specious claim that faith in God will overcome the fear of the virus, in the context of the Kumbh Mela, a gathering where tens of lakhs of people gathered earlier this month.

( Read the full text here )

Sitalkuchi And After – A Flashback to CPI-M Rule in West Bengal

Graves of the four young men killed in Sitalkuchi, courtesy Newslaundry

As the news of the killings of four youth in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) came in on 10 April, reactions of horror and anger became evident all around. This reaction among politically informed sections was only natural, for anybody with a little bit of common intelligence will tell you that the BJP is making an all out bid to capture power in the state. And anyone who has watched the Modi-Shah duo in action over the past few years, does not need to be told what this means. It is always ‘Heads I win; Tails you lose’ with them. It doesn’t matter what dirty trick you have to play, all is fair in this game of capturing power with them. They will form the government, no matter who wins but first, every effort has to be made to ‘win’ by any means. And that means by ANY means, ranging from killing people by engineering violent communal incidents to buying off opposition parties’ winning legislators. Despite the full battery of BJP’s star campaigners ranging from Narendra Modi and Shah to Yogi Adityanath making repeated visits to the state, their rallies have seen very low turnout and in some instances meetings had to be cancelled. So the desperation is growing. The first four of the unprecedented eight rounds in the state’s elections were to be in the areas where TMC is relatively weak. But even in these areas the reports were not very encouraging for the BJP. Thus, every child in Bengal could see what these killings meant. Except the CPI-M that is.

Soon the story of the killings was being given a typically BJP IT Cell spin: a mob of Muslim TMC people surrounded the CISF and tried to snatch their rifles. This was followed by identical tweets by a range of people describing how they could not sleep all night because of the sounds of the explosion of bombs, suggesting that things had been going on all night – and the CISF action in the morning was therefore, only justified.

Seasoned CPI-M stalwarts on Twitter apparently neither saw those tweets or more likely, jumped at them to immediately amplify the BJP narrative of provocation by TMC (Muslim mob is often implied). It is certainly not possible that anybody with a little bit of common sense would not have immediately seen this copy paste job for what it was – a BJP IT Cell operation. The CPI-M leaders and their social media warriors went on, willfully, to reinforce the ‘provocation’ narrative that was being circulated by the BJP.

Meanwhile, many people including poll analysts and former bureaucrats started asking that if there really was an irate mob attacking the CISF party, where was the footage? Was there any video evidence? No such question crossed the CPI-M leaders’ minds and from all appearances, from Biman Bose to Mohd Salim (and the pathetic Sujan Chakrabarty) pushed ahead with not-so-subtle ways of relaying the BJP narrative and indeed, it was not difficult to discern that they were in fact, gloating.

Continue reading Sitalkuchi And After – A Flashback to CPI-M Rule in West Bengal

Living with the Virus ?

Whether people of the world will have to learn to live with the virus?

As India and many parts of the world seem to be engulfed by the second or third wave of the Coronavirus epidemic – which looks more dangerous – this idea is being pushed from different quarters.  Newspaper articles or surveys or studies have appeared in different publications which seem to be pushing this narrative.

Sample conclusions of a study done jointly by Emory and Penn State University which say “One year after its emergence, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become so widespread that there is little hope of elimination.” This appeared in an article in USA Today . A famous journal Nature also shared a survey which talked to Scientists and around 90 per cent of the Scientists polled talked of how Covid is likely to be endemic in pockets of the global population.(do)

Continue reading Living with the Virus ?

क्या हो बच्चे का धर्म ?

“Five minutes after your birth, they decide your name, nationality, religion, and sect, and you spend the rest of your life defending something you did not even choose.”

: Quote, unnamed

1.

आप कह सकते हैं कि पहली दफा मैं इस पहेली से तब रूबरू हुआ था या कह सकते हैं कि अधिक गंभीरता से सोचने लगा जब बंबई की इस ख़बर ने ध्यान खींचा था.

किस्सा थोड़ा पुराना लग सकता है अलबत्ता आज भी मौजूं.

मराठी परिवार में जनमी एक युवती और गुजराती परिवार में पले युवक ने- जिन्होंने अन्तरधर्मीय विवाह किया है और बम्बई में बसे थे- दरअसल यह तय किया कि वह अपनी नवजन्मी सन्तान के साथ किसी धर्म को चस्पां नहीं करेंगे. उनका मानना था कि बड़े होकर उनकी सन्तान जो चाहे वह फैसला कर ले, आस्तिकता का वरण कर ले, अज्ञेयवादी बन जाए या धर्म को मानने से इनकार कर दे, लेकिन उसकी अबोध उम्र में उस पर ऐसे किसी निर्णय को लादना गैरवाजिब होगा.

निश्चित ही अपने इस फैसले पर अमल करने में उनके सामने काफी बाधाएं आयीं. सन्तान का जन्म प्रमाणपत्र तैयार करने में अलग-अलग दफ्तरों के चक्कर काटने पड़े, एक अफसर ने तो युवती से पूछ लिया कि क्या तुम्हें अपने धर्म पर गर्व नहीं है ?  युवती ने तपाक से जवाब दिया कि भले ही वह धर्म को मानने वाले परिवार में जन्मी हो, लेकिन किसी भी रीति रिवाज को नहीं मानती और अहम बात यह है कि क्या एक जनतांत्रिक धर्मनिरपेक्ष देश में मां बाप यह फैसला नहीं ले सकते कि वह अपनी संतान को किसी धर्म से नत्थी नहीं करेंगे.

( Read the full text here)

Nandigram – An Introduction to Political Analysis

Nandigram 2007, Image courtesy Kolkata24x7

Mamata Banerjee recently stirred up a fresh new controversy by accusing her former party colleague Suvendu Adhikari, now adversary in the Nandigram Assembly seat as BJP candidate, of being complicit in the 14 March 2007 violence. Had it not been for the complicity of the ‘father-son duo’ (Suvendu and his father Sisir Adhikari, both in the BJP now), she claimed in the heat of the electoral campaign, the police could not have entered Nandigram. She also asked rhetorically how it came to be that these two were spared by the police? To my mind, the claims seem difficult to sustain, if only because, the CPI(M) was at the height of its power and would have had little to do with these Trinamool Congress leaders. Listening to her speak, it did seem that she was quite rattled. Who would not be – with Amit Shah and central government on one side, the aggressive BJP goons in the state, her erstwhile collaborators now on the BJP side and, to cap it all, the aggressive, misogynist, patriarchal campaign against her from the CPI(M)? One meme by people obviously linked to the CPM, for instance, portrayed her witch-like, with a haggard and wicked expression, which was counter-posed to the young beauteous CPI(M) candidate Meenakshi Mukherjee. The meme describes Meenakshi as the ‘beloved daughter of Bengal’, while Mamata is described as the ‘old hag spinster sister-in-law’. (After a lot of hue and cry, this meme was taken off though the page continues to be on Facebook).

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Freedom in the university and outside it: Atul Sood

Guest post by ATUL SOOD

Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman spoke online at a recent Distinguished Public Lecture at the Ashoka University (March 12, 2021), hosted by Arvind Subramaniam, Director, Ashoka Centre for Economic Policy. He spoke on “Is Labor-Intensive Exporting Still a Feasible Development Strategy?”

Kugman said that in this globalized world, for India to get into the market space vacated by the Chinese manufacturers, particularly for labour-intensive goods, it will have to be ready to do two things: First, make policy choices that are realistic and not ‘precocious’ and second, be ready to accept that rights and freedoms of labour, in particular will be sacrificed.  The wise counsel of Krugman was that India will have to be prepared to negotiate the space between rights/freedoms and share in the world market of course, up to the point where “labour is not getting killed”. Continue reading Freedom in the university and outside it: Atul Sood

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