All posts by Aditya Nigam

‘The Best Form of Saying is Doing’ – Ravikumar on Che

Picture by Alberto Korda
This portrait of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, titled "Heroic Guerrilla", is the most reproduced image in the history of photography. Taken in 1960, at the highpoint of the Cuban revolution, by Alberto Korda, it hung for years in his studio before it became the iconic figure of the rebel.

[This is a guest post by well-known Tamil writer RAVIKUMAR on the occasion of Che Guevara’s 40th death anniversary on 9 October. The article was written on the 9th. ]

Ernesto Guevara de la Serna popularly known as ‘ Che’ was born on June 14, 1928 in Argentina. A doctor by profession he involved himself in revolutionary activities from his student days. He was with the political activists of Guatemala when the elected government of Jacob Arbenz was overthrown by a CIA backed coup in 1954. He escaped to Mexico where he met the exiled Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro. He joined with them in their struggle to liberate Cuba from the Batista regime.

Che was the name his Cuban companeros gave him. It is a popular form of address in Argentina. He sailed with the Cuban revolutionaries in the famous yacht ‘Granma’ as a doctor. Later he was promoted as commander. Che played an important role in the success of the Cuban revolution. He led a guerilla column in the final battle. Finally, Batista fled the country on January 1, 1959.

Continue reading ‘The Best Form of Saying is Doing’ – Ravikumar on Che

Graziano Transmissioni and the Cheer-Leaders of Capital

CLASS STRUGGLES IN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY INDIA

‘The chief executive officer of a Greater Noida-based gear manufacturing company [Graziano Transmissioni India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of an Italian TNC] was lynched to death inside factory premises on Monday, allegedly by a group of dismissed workers.’

‘“Around 125 dismissed workers armed with iron rods barged into the factory and went on rampage. They broke computers and machinery and smashed windowpanes. When Lalit tried to pacify them, they assaulted him with rods,” board of director Ramesh Jain told Hindustan Times.’ See report here

‘Companies in the area are known to employ contract labour in large numbers, though the law clearly states that such workers can be used only for non-core functions and not on the shop floor.’ says another report.

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They’d never had it so good. Through the 1990s and into the 2000s, the party had gone on. Continue reading Graziano Transmissioni and the Cheer-Leaders of Capital

Saluting a Lone Survivor: Manash Bhattacharjee

[This guest post by MANASH BHATTACHARJEE is a tribute to writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn. – AN]

Solzhenitsyn writes,
the paper is burning, his writing goes on,
a cruel dawn on a plain of bones.

– Octavio Paz

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) will write no more. He died of heart failure on Monday, the 4th of August, in his home near Moscow. On this occasion, one remembers his 1970 Nobel Prize speech, where Solzhenitsyn had described his terrifying and lonely escape from death and oblivion with poignant candour: Continue reading Saluting a Lone Survivor: Manash Bhattacharjee

The red mongoose in solemn procession: Samkutty Pattomkary

[This guest post by SAMKUTTY PATTOMKARY responds to the ongoing debate in Kafila on the Chengara issue. -AN]

Reading through the discussions on Chengara in kafila, some thoughts I felt I need to articulate as follows.

It comes out vividly through the Chengara struggle that a large section of people remain alienated from social and political powers in the so-called democratic society of Kerala. Why is it not possible for the ‘class proponents’ to see and engage themselves in working towards solving the issue politically? Continue reading The red mongoose in solemn procession: Samkutty Pattomkary

Mediotics, Industrialization and the Angel of History

[Being a sequel to ‘Singur, Mediotics and an NGO Called Indian Express‘]

“There is a painting by Klee called Angelus Novus. An angel is depicted there who looks as though he were about to distance himself from something which he is staring at. His eyes are opened wide, his mouth stands open and his wings are outstretched. The Angel of History must look just so. His face is turned towards the past. Where we see the appearance of a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet. He would like to pause for a moment…to awaken the dead and to piece together what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise, it has caught itself up in his wings and is so strong that the Angel can no longer close them. The storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the rubble-heap before him grows sky-high. That which we call progress, is this storm.” Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History.”

These prophetic words were written in 1920 1940, when modernity’s arrogant faith in Progress was still pretty much intact. The rubble-heap of Progress has since piled up like never before. The world is now engaged in battling the effects of modernity that threaten humanity’s very existence. We know, for instance, that global warming or climate change threatens to destroy human civilization itself. Who knows, perhaps, millions of years later, some future civilization might discover its remains submerged under the sea and wonder at the heights of the ‘Progress’ it had achieved. Little might it occur to them that it was Progress itself that took this civilization to the sea.

Continue reading Mediotics, Industrialization and the Angel of History

Singur, Mediotics and an NGO Called Indian Express

[Note: Television was often referred to as the the idiot-box. For very sound reasons. It produced idiocy on a regular basis. It still does. But in these days, this is no longer the monopoly of the televisual media. Newspapers too are doing pretty much the same. Let us call this specific form of media-generated idiocy, rampant among media persons, mediocy and the phenomenon, mediotics. Those affected by it will then be mediots.]

I know that someone will immediately step in to correct me to say that Indian Express is not an NGO. But if one looks at the completely illiterate use of the term made by the Indian media, then anything that is not ‘governmental’ is ‘non-governmental’ and can, hence, be called an NGO. Except that for the large mass of ignoramuses peopling the media i.e. mediots, this is a safe term to describe an animal that you cannot identify. Continue reading Singur, Mediotics and an NGO Called Indian Express

Qatl ki Raat – Watchout Tomorrow

Tonight is the Night of the Long Knives – or Qatl ki Raat as they say in Hindustani. Indeed, it is not the night of the long knives of Nazi vintage – for that was carried out by Hitler against his own SA (the Nazi paramilitary organization), in one desperate power struggle. This is our very own CPI-M’s equally desperate power struggle – but directed outwards towards the struggling Dalit families in Chengara. Continue reading Qatl ki Raat – Watchout Tomorrow