[यह लेख The India Forum में अंग्रेज़ी में छपा और उसके हिंदी अनुवाद का एक संक्षिप्त संस्करण सत्य हिंदी में छपा. यहाँ हिंदी में लेख को पूरा (बिना काट-छांट के) पढ़ा जा सकता है. हिंदी अनुवाद के लिए डॉ कविता नंदन सूर्य (सम्पादक, www.debateonline.in) को शुक्रिया.]
बहुध्रुवीयता अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संबंधों की वामपंथी समझ को दिशा देने वाला कम्पास है. भारत और वैश्विक वामपंथ की सभी धाराओं ने लम्बे समय से साम्राज्यवादी अमेरिकी वर्चस्व वाली ‘एकध्रुवीय’ दुनिया की अवधारणा के खिलाफ ‘बहुध्रुवीय’ विश्व की वकालत की है.
दूसरी ओर, ‘बहुध्रुवीयता’ वैश्विक फासीवाद और तानाशाही की साझी भाषा का मूल आधार बन गई है. यह निरंकुश शासकों के लिए एकजुटता का ऐसा आह्वान है, जो लोकतंत्र पर उनके हमले को साम्राज्यवाद के खिलाफ जंग की शक्ल में पेश करती है. अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संबंधों के साम्राज्यवाद-विरोधी लोकतंत्रीकरण के नाम पर बहुध्रुवीयता को वैश्विक वामपंथ के गुंजायमान समर्थन ने, निरंकुशता का भेस बदलने और उसे वैधता दिलाने के लिए ‘बहुध्रुवीयता’ के इस्तेमाल को असीमित शक्ति प्रदान कर दी है.
राष्ट्र राज्यों के आतंरिक अथवा आपसी राजनैतिक टकरावों पर रुख तय करने लिए कितने आधार उपलब्ध हैं? इस प्रश्न के जवाब में वामपन्थ सिर्फ़ दो विकल्पों – या तो “बहुध्रुवीयता” या “एकध्रुवीयता” – को प्रस्तुत करती है. अगर आपने “बहुध्रुवीयता” को अपना मूल आधार नहीं बनाया तो वामपन्थ मानेगी कि आप ज़रूर अमेरिका/नाटो की दादागिरी वाले “एकध्रुवीयता” के पक्ष में हैं. पर “बहुध्रुवीयता” या “एकध्रुवीयता” के बीच यह कल्पित बाईनरी हमेशा भ्रामक थी. लेकिन आज “बहुध्रुवीयता” बनाम “एकध्रुवीयता” के बीच संघर्ष की मनगढ़ंत कहानी भ्रामक ही नहीं, खतरनाक है क्योंकि इस कहानी में फासीवादी और तानाशाह नेताओं को “बहुध्रुवीयता” बनाए रखने वाले नायकों का पात्र दिया गया है.
[Names and publications of cited authors are listed at the end of the essay.]
The sophists taught, rather publicly, the view that the summit of happiness is to combine the appearance of justice with actual injustice: Gregory McBrayer (2015), p 44
To speak of justice has always been to plunge into a metaphysical abyss, especially as the issue has been intractable since (at least) Plato’s most famous work, The Republic was written some twenty-five centuries ago. Not least has been the permanently contentious issue – named the theological-political problem by Leo Strauss – of whether we should live according to divine or human guidance. But to speak of justice in India is confront our deeply divided souls; and in the most horrendous cases, to stare evil in the eye.
If Mrs Indira Gandhi dreamt of a ‘committed bureaucracy,’ our current rulers appear to be bent upon the complete domestication of civil society by their ideological enterprise. This requires a committed judiciary too, for which aspiration clues are ample, because they conspire in broad daylight. It was inevitable that some members of the judiciary were and continue to be complicit in this totalitarian project. We should be grateful that there are men and women of courage and conscience within. One of them was named Judge Loya.
[Published below is the story of a long fight against harassment and for justice by someone who took his corporate job and the interests of his company seriously, little knowing what it could lead to. It gives a glimpse into the corporate culture even among what are known to be the best corporate entities. ]
There was a gentleman whose name propped up frequently inside the Tata Group headquarters “Bombay House”, but he was more known by his sobriquet – the “Phantom of Bombay House”. He was considered a recluse and shunned social get-togethers as far as possible. Not a soul has ever seen him inside the premises, yet he held an 18.4% stake in the Tata Group. The gentleman was none other than the Late Pallonji Mistry, the father of the previous Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry whose family owned around 18% share of the Group. Tata professionals including Ratanji himself, reportedly, looked up to him for professional support.
It is unfortunate, therefore, that during the stewardship of his son, the episodes described in this article could take place. Mr. Mistry personally may or may not have been aware but for some strange reason the Group chose to turn a blind eye to a series of sordid happenings and preferred to side with an individual whose criminal acts were proved beyond any reasonable shade of doubt.The individual concerned, Mr. Tarun Kumar Samant or Tarun Kumar Sawant, can arguably be described as the new Phantom of Bombay House after the demise of Mr. Pallonji Mistry.
We have been living through an unnatural and scary time in India. Those in power today are ideologically responsible for destroying the greatest achievement of India’s freedom struggle. The achievement is stable parliamentary democracy, one of the main conditions for whose existence and development is accommodation of dissent and transparency therein. The symptoms of this destruction are often horrendous.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 156 out of 182 seats in the recently held Gujarat Assembly elections. The pattern of state politics was completely reversed as BJP’s number of seats increased from 99 to 182 from 2017 to 2022 and Congress’s seats decreased from 77 to 17. But BJP’s strength in municipal and panchayat elections in Gujarat was decreasing.
Following is the text of an open letter sent by the Bisthapan Birodhi Jana Andolon Mancha, a coalition of people’s organizations, activists, journalists and citizens to the Governor of the Odisha. It was released in Bhubaneswar yesterday the 3rd of December 2022.
We as concerned citizens, social activists, political and human rights activists, environmentalists and journalists and the leaders of twelve mass organizations on behalf of Bisthapan Birodhi Jana Andolon Mancha, Odisha appeal for the protection of natural resources and an immediate end to the continuous forceful displacement of people from their lands and dwelling places.
We express our protest and dissent against the Odisha government’s Make-in-Odisha Conclave in Bhubaneswar. Inviting more investments in the name of development will uproot the lives and livelihoods of people dependent on these land, forests and coasts. We appeal to your conscience to intervene and prevent the exploration and exploitation of natural resources through unmindful and unwanted mining of bauxite, iron ore, chromite, coal, river sand, china clay and other resources in the name of development. People are struggling against all odds and hardships to protect the same for future generations even as they remain deprived of access to basic needs like education, health and nutritional food security.
[This article is based on the discussions with activists of the Janatha Aragalaya and concerned Sri Lankan citizens. It is a humble contribution towards ongoing debates within the movement. As the French proverb goes: “De choc des opinions jaillit la vérité” – Truth arises from a conflict of opinions. – MJ]
With the deepening crisis of the world capitalist system, we see social upheavals erupting in one country after another. Most recently, Sri Lanka, a relatively small island country in South Asia that is enveloped by a staged debt crisis, has amply revealed circumstances which are infused with revolutionary possibilities. Resembling dark clouds that announce the gathering of a storm, Sri Lanka has shown how rapidly a revolutionary situation can develop.
Heading the floundering ruling establishment, and harbouring perpetual dismissiveness of the swelling discontent, the ruling family of Rajapaksas expectedly attracted massive public ire. Fighting hunger, spiralling inflation, long queues for fuel and rations, crumbling medical facilities, loss of employment, frequent and long power outages, angered citizens came to see the Rajapaksas as well as other mainstream politicians as creators and perpetuators of the grave crisis. Importantly, the distrust of the people has not been limited to individual politicians and ruling cliques whose moral right to govern is being openly challenged, but is a latent distrust for the system itself. At present, majority of the public rightfully views all established parties with deep suspicion and hostility. The majority perceives the rise to power of President Ranil Wickremesinghe as an epitome of the rot in the political system. They see his government as an illegitimate one.
[This article is based on a talk delivered at the online session organised by International Solidarity with the People’s Movement in Sri Lanka on a 23.07.2022]
The people’s movement in Sri Lanka has entered into a deadlock with the ‘(s)election’ of Ranil Wickremesinghe as President. Within hours of him assuming office, a mid-night crackdown on the Galle Face protest camp was unleashed. Only cowards attack in the dead of the night as they have much to hide during the day. Despite brutal state repression, the people’s movement shows a resilient commitment to continue. This resilience stems from a simple fact: the people are fighting against Wickremesinghe for the same reason why they were fighting against his predecessor.
A powerful Sri Lankan people’s movement, Janatha Aragalaya, has shattered the legitimacy of the ruling establishment of the country and has come to pose a serious challenge to the imperialist powers that have been backing the corrupt regime. Functioning from the Colombo’s Galle Face and numerous other centres which have surfaced across towns and villages, the movement amply reveals that the Sri Lankan people are questioning the misuse of the popular mandate by the country’s ruling elites. One can easily glean that the people’s aspirations go beyond the simply dethroning a few powerful politicians.
This article by VISHWAS SATGAR was earlier published in the Daily Maverick, South Africa, Satgar has written for Kafila on earlier occasions.
Vladimir Putin’s regime, unlike Franco, Mussolini or Hitler, has a formidable nuclear arsenal. In this context, the contemporary world stands on the brink, facing extinction either through nuclear holocaust emanating from battle fields in Ukraine or worsening the climate crisis, while in our everyday lives prices for food and fossil fuels are skyrocketing.
Precariousness, uncertainty and complex risk have become the lived reality of deep globalisation in which markets for finance, energy, food and production have been integrated.
The fragility of this global economy was exposed in the “great financial crisis” (circa 2007-2009) from which the world economy has not recovered, by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and now by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These realities cannot be understood through simple memes, propagandistic binaries or abstract security concepts.
इच्छा और आशा में अंतर होता है. विशेष तौर पर किसान आन्दोलन के आलोक में, बहुत से लोगों की तरह मैं भी चाहता था कि भाजपा हारे और मुझे इस की थोड़ी आशा भी थी परन्तु कोई विशेष आस नहीं थी. भाजपा की जीत मेरे लिए दुखदायी है परन्तु अनपेक्षित नहीं है. चुनाव परिणामों की समीक्षा के तौर पर बहुत कुछ लिखा-कहा गया है परन्तु एक महत्वपूर्ण पक्ष का ज़िक्र कम हुआ है.
क्या उत्तरप्रदेश, जिस का कम से कम एक हिस्सा किसान आन्दोलन के सक्रिय केन्द्रों में शामिल था, में भाजपा की जीत से यह साबित हो जाता है कि भारतीय मतदाता हिन्दुत्ववादी हो गया है? ऐसा बिलकुल नहीं है. भाजपा को उतर प्रदेश में कुल पंजीकृत मतदाताओं के 25% ने ही वोट दिया है. भाजपा के वोट अनुपात में जिस बढ़ोतरी की चर्चा हो रही है वह असल में वोट डालने वालों में से भाजपा के पक्ष में वोट डालने वालों के अनुपात की बढ़ोतरी है. ग़ैर-भाजपा वोटर के वोट ही न देने से और भाजपा वोटर के पहले की तरह वोट देने मात्र से भाजपा के समर्थन में बढ़ोतरी दिखाई देती है. वास्तविकता यह है कि 10 में से लगभग 4 पंजीकृत वोटर तो इतने निराश हैं कि वे वोट डालने ही नहीं गए (वोट न डालने वालों का एक छोटा हिस्सा निश्चित तौर पर ऐसा होगा जो किसी अन्य कारण जैसे शहर से बाहर होने के कारण या अन्य व्यस्तता के चलते वोट नहीं डाल पाया होगा परन्तु यह हिस्सा बहुत छोटा ही होने की संभावना है). 2017 में भी कुल पंजीकृत वोटरों में से भी लगभग इतने ही प्रतिशत वोटरों ने भाजपा के पक्ष में वोट डाला था. यानी बहुमत अभी भी हिन्दू वादी नहीं है, उत्तर प्रदेश में भी नहीं.
We publish below a statement by Radical Socialist on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The statement minces no words in condemning the aggression as well as NATO but refuses to make the NATO the justification for Russia’s yearning for the lost empire.
1. We condemn Russia as an imperialist aggressor using the dreams of an old imperial epoch to justify expansionism, and are deeply concerned at this precedent that may later affect any other former Soviet republic.
2. As when the US invaded Iraq, we do not use the language of diplomacy, we do not seek UN intervention, but call for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the aggressors.
3. This demand does not date only to 2022. We demand the Russian withdraw from every inch of Ukrainian territory. That includes Crimea, and the provinces in Eastern Ukraine even as we recognise the justice of demands for greater cultural and political autonomy so that Ukraine becomes a more democratic and federal set-up. Crimea had its own Constitution in 1992 which gave it greater powers of self-governance with some powers delegated to Kiev. Unjustifiably, President Kuchma subsequently annulled this Constitution.
‘Leftists are Ascendant in Latin America as Key Elections Loom‘ announces a recent report in New York Times. And this report isn’t talking only of Leftist victories of the last two years but also of possible forthcoming ones in Brazil and Colombia, later this year. ‘Economic suffering, widening inequality, fervent anti-incumbent sentiment and mismanagement of Covid-19 have all fueled a pendulum swing away from the center-right and right-wing leaders who were dominant a few years ago’ underlines the report.
Close on the heels of the victory of Xiomara Castro as the first Left-wing, woman President in Honduras in the beginning of December 2021, came the news of the victory of Gabriel Boric in Chile (19 December). Unlike the socially conservative Left wing position of Peru’s Pedro Castillo, who stands opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, the Chilean victory, in particular, has been strongly backed by the feminist and queer movements. Honduras’ Xiomara Castro too has legalization of abortion as one of her election planks, which is significant since it is one the few countries that has a complete ban on abortion as of last year.
It is a time for rejoicing and celebration. It is a time for thanksgiving. For the victory of the farmers is not just theirs. Theirs was not just a struggle to protect their own livelihoods but also a valiant battle fought for all of us, so that we continue to get our food at affordable prices. It is a time for thanksgiving also because the movement has broken the hubris of an arrogant government that has absolutely no accountability whatsoever. It has given us some breathing space.
Even as this piece is being written, the victorious farmers camping at the Delhi borders for the last one year are preparing to leave for their homes. It has been a long haul for them in the course of which over 700 have died. It has been especially trying for the Punjab farmers who had started the stir months before they decided on their march to Delhi on 26 November 2020. Nobody had expected that the shifting of the venue to Delhi would end up being one long ordeal, continuing months on end, through the freezing winter, scorching Delhi heat and torrential rains. Not to mention an intransigent government that had already started the ground work for corporatization of agriculture and handing over parts of it to Adani and Ambani, even before the laws were formally promulgated.
What the farmers’ movement has achieved is nothing short of historic, even if the authoritarian government had not gone back on its intent for uncompromising implementation of the laws meant to reinforce major structural changes for facilitating corporate dominance of the farm sector. The inflexible approach of the government and the massive repression has claimed almost 700 lives since agitation began nearly one and half years back. Be it celebration or analysis, we must pay sincere homage and tributes to all those dead.
We are in the midst of a climate emergency – and this is no longer a secret. In fact, in November 2019, 11,000 scientists declared in a signed statement, in no uncertain terms that “planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.” “Scientists”, they said, “have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to ‘tell it like it is’.” They noted that even 40 years after the First Climate Conference attended by over 50 scientists (in Geneva in 1979) had agreed that there were alarming trends of climate change that made it necessary to act, the situation has only worsened. “Alarming trends” have since given way to a full-on emergency. Although the 2015 Paris Agreement arrived at in COP 21 is considered a paradigm shift in that it produced a legally binding international climate treaty (adopted by 196 parties), the change since then has not been significant.
As the decisive battle of 2024 draws closer by the day and restiveness grows, alignments and realignments will also become more apparent. The tragedy is that while the image of Narendra Modi and his regime has taken a severe beating, there is still no visible alternative in sight. As a matter of fact, the entire opposition seems to be going from one crisis to another. A few state parties do give some hope and the possibility of a federal front with chief ministers of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra and possibly, a couple of Congress chief ministers making common cause, does hold some promise in the short run. The point though is, whichever way one looks at it, there is little doubt that in any future permutation and combination, the Congress may not have a leading role to play but it will still have a significant presence. Its present state of dysfunction, therefore, is a matter of worry and concern for a very large number of people outside the normal periphery of Congress supporters and traditional voters. A party without a President and without a functioning Working Committee is not likely to instill hope in its ability to provide any kind of leadership in the near future.
This post is prompted by a discussion that followed some remarks I had made on social media regarding the way in which a certain common sense that we may call ‘Hindu Nationalist’, had come to dominate the sensibilities of even those intellectuals in the Hindi world who otherwise might stand opposed to the Hindu Right. ‘Decolonizing’ has lately become a banner of the Hindu Right and for many otherwise secular Hindi intellectuals too, an occasion for an often strident anti-West rhetoric. Such a common sense assumes, simply by default, that the only “authentic” position of critique of the West is one framed by Hindu/ Indian exceptionalism. Needless to say, as I have argued at length in my recent book (Decolonizing Theory), the narrative that structures the imaginative world of many such modern Hindus is already a narrative produced by colonialism.
[यह लेख पहले जनवादी लेखक संघ की पत्रिका नया पथ के जनवरी-मार्च २०२१ अंक में प्रकाशित हुआ था.आगामी 11-12 सितम्बर को अमेरिका में होने जा रहे Dismantling Global Hindutva सम्मलेन से उद्वेलित हिंदुत्व के प्रचारक अब इस सम्मलेन को रद्द कराने की मुहीम में उतर चुके हैं. उनका चालाकी भरा तर्क यह है कि यह सम्मलेन हिन्दू-विरोधी है. इस सन्दर्भ में यह दोहराना बेहद ज़रूरी है कि हिंदुत्व विस्तारवादी फौजी तसव्वुर से लैस एक राजनीतिक विचारतंत्र जो हिन्दुओं के नाम पर हिंसात्मक राजनीती करता है मगर इसका हिन्दू धर्म या जीवन शैली से कोई सम्बन्ध नहीं है. इस वजह से इस लेख को यहाँ साझा किया जा रहा है.]
“समस्त राजनीति का हिन्दूकरण करो और हिन्दूतंत्र का सैन्यीकरण करो – तब हमारे हिन्दू राष्ट्र (नेशन) का पुनरुत्थान होना तय है, उसी तरह जैसे अंधेरी रात के बाद सुबह का आना अनिवार्य होता है”। – विनायक दामोदर सावरकर, 25 मई 1941 को अपने 59 वें जन्मदिन पर हिंदुतन्त्र (हिन्दूडम) के नाम संदेश।
“हमारी भुजायें एक ओर अमेरिका तक फैली थीं – कोलंबस के अमेरिका ‘आविष्कार’ से बहुत पहले – तो दूसरी ओर चीन, जापान, कम्बोडिया, मलय, श्याम, इंडोनेशिया और समस्त दक्षिण-पूर्व एशिया तक फैली हुई थीं, और उत्तर में मंगोलिया और साइबेरिया तक। हमारा शक्तिशाली राजनीतिक साम्राज्य इन दक्षिण-पूर्व एशियाई क्षेत्रों तक फैला था और 1400 वर्षों तक जारी रहा, अकेले शैलेन्द्र साम्राज्य 700 वर्षों तक फलता फूलता रहा – और चीन के विस्तार के खिलाफ़ चट्टान की तरह खड़ा रहा”। – माधव सदाशिव गोलवालकर, राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के दूसरे सरसंघचालक, बँच ऑफ थॉट्स, विक्रम प्रकाशन, बंगलोर, 1968, पृ 9
हिन्दुत्व-विचारतंत्र के इन दो महारथियों की ये उक्तियाँ पढ़ने के बाद आइए अब एक उद्धरण उस शख़्स का देखें जिसे हिंदुत्ववादी हड़पने की पुरज़ोर कोशिश किया करते हैं। ये शख़्स और कोई नहीं स्वामी विवेकानंद हैं। मुलाहिज़ा फरमाएं :
[‘Parapolitics’ began on 16 January 2020 as a weekly column at the height of the anti-CAA movement. After eight weeks, it was made into a fortnightly column and now, eighteen months and 44 posts later, as I get involved with a study of Marxisms in the ‘Global South’, beginning with this post, this column will now appear once a month, on the second Saturday of every month.]
What happened at Jantar Mantar on 9 August – the anniversary of the Quit India movement – was not just violently anti-Muslim in the slogans raised; it was also symptomatic of the larger counter-revolutionary shift that has taken place in our politics. That Quit India or the ‘August revolution’ day was sought to be taken over as a final gesture of that grand victory that the Sangh Combine believes it has already won, is telling. It is telling also because it is a formation that studiously stayed away from the mainstream of the anticolonial struggle but now wants to take over that legacy and saffronize it. How the rally was organized and continued to be held despite the police claiming it had no permission to do so, does not remain so much of a mystery once you realize that the key organizers are Sangh/BJP leaders or parts of the larger network of terror associated with them. But that is another matter. It is important to recognize that incidents like these are but signs of a new stage in the ongoing counter-revolution where the Hindu Right is no longer content with claiming its own distinctiveness in opposing mainstream (Congress-led) nationalism but is out to make a determined bid to appropriate the entire legacy of that nationalism. The insistence, in recent times, on the national tricolour as a sign of its aggressive nationalism, is entirely of a piece with this attempt to occupy the mainstream.
This piece was originally published in Bangla in the Ananda Bazar Patrika and has been translated into English by Arundhati Ghosh
“Freedom – you are a room in the garden, the song of the koel, the sun drenched leaves of the old banyan tree, the page of my book of poetry where I can write as I wish.” Poet Shamsur Rahman wrote this immortal poem Freedom You during the war of the independence of Bangladesh. It could be said that this poem that arose from deep within Bangladesh’s struggle for liberation is a universal manifesto of freedom. Bangladesh has crossed its 50th year of independence. And in India we are standing at the threshold of our 75th. But where is that song of the koel, that book of poetry where one can write anything one wants? The rally of death that we are witnessing during this Covid-19 era has left the koel woeful, the leaves of the banyan devoid of its sparkle and the pages of our book of poems imprisoned under the UAPA or sedition laws or subjected to the surveillance of the snooping Pegasus vision of conspirators passing for ministers.
এক গুপ্তচর এসে পড়েছে আমাদের জীবনে, যে আমাদের সমস্ত গতিবিধি, কথোপকথনের ওপর নজর রাখছে। আজকে আর নতুন করে নিশ্চিত বলে দিতে হবে না, কে বা কারা এই গুপ্তচরবৃত্তি করেছে এবং তাঁদের এই গুপ্তচরবৃত্তির উদ্দেশ্যই বা কি ? কারণ, সংবাদপত্রের খবরের দৌলতে এই গুপ্তচরের নাম, কিভাবে কাজ করে তা মোটামুটি আজকে বেশীরভাগ মানুষের নখদর্পনে বা বলা ভালো মুঠোফোনের দর্পনে। মুঠোফোন বা মোবাইল ফোনের উল্লেখ করার কেন প্রয়োজন হলো? কারণ এবারের গুপ্তচর এসেছে অন্যভাবে, মোবাইল ফোনের মাধ্যমে । যে সামাজিক মাধ্যম নিয়ে আমরা এতো আত্মরতিতে ব্যস্ত সেই সামাজিক মাধ্যমও যে সরকারের অঙ্গুলিহেলন ছাড়া চলবে না, তার আভাস পাওয়া যাচ্ছে। যে প্রযুক্তি ব্যবহার করে আমরা কখনো কখনো আত্মতৃপ্তি লাভ করছি যে এই তো বেশ সরকারের বিরুদ্ধে কথা বলা হলো, সেই প্রযুক্তিই ব্যবহার করা হচ্ছে আমাদের প্রতিটি কথা শোনার জন্য এবং তা হচ্ছে এবং হয়ে চলেছে সেই মুঠোফোনের মধ্যে দিয়েই।