Dining With The Cultured Hate Mongers

Should we criticise the organisers of the Jaipur Literature Festival for inviting two functionaries of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to this year’s edition of the annual festival? Murmurs in the literary circles seem to suggest that the organisers of JLF succumbed to pressure from the right wing. A mere look at the list of speakers and programmes makes it clear that there are a fair number of liberal and left-leaning individuals among the speakers. Why, even the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sita Ram Yechuri, is in that list. So a balance appears to have been struck. Continue reading “Dining With The Cultured Hate Mongers”

The Dwijitalisation of India: Satya Sagar

GUEST POST by Satya Sagar

For over a millennium one of the recurring debates among Indian philosophers was whether this world was real or a mere dream[1]. Paradoxically, those who preached most passionately that our senses mislead us and everything around was Maya or an illusion, went on to corner the largest chunk of material reality.

Behind the smokescreen of clever mythology, it was they, who grabbed the lion’s share of everything tangible over the centuries – from land, water, natural resources to hard political and social power. Worse still, using a mix of brute force and religious mumbo-jumbo, they consolidated the exploitation of those who work by those who merely cook up tall stories, through the nightmare of the caste system.

Today the politics of Maya is well and truly back in play with Narendra Modi’s ‘Mahayagna’ a.k.a. demonetisation promising a digital Moksha through the tapasya of a ‘war on black money’. Once again, as in India’s sordid past, the biggest losers of this devious push for a cashless economy are going to be those right at the bottom of the Indian caste hierarchy. Continue reading “The Dwijitalisation of India: Satya Sagar”

Economic Emergency – Notes From Sargana: Zaheeb Ajmal


Nothing remained normal after November 8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that evening that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes were to be ‘demonetised’ at the stroke of midnight (full announcement here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJYFE59rLhM). Not only were the high denomination notes held by people rendered worthless, but stringent limits were imposed on cash withdrawals. People were given time until December 30 to exchange their existing, now worthless, currency notes for newly-minted ones.

As everywhere else in the country, the announcement sent shockwaves across Sargana. People went into a tizzy to exchange their old high-denomination currency notes for new ones. Not only that, the limits on cash withdrawals meant that people began to worry about requisitioning cash for daily usage. Continue reading “Economic Emergency – Notes From Sargana: Zaheeb Ajmal”

Towards a One-Man Dictatorship: Santosh Rana


It is a rare sight in Indian Politics.  On 23rd November, 2016, the Members of Parliament from almost all the opposition parties united in New Delhi to register protest against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization policy.  To some, the atmosphere in the capital on that day brought back memories of the Emergency and the Bofors era.

This unique event took place under unique circumstances.  When all the democratic institutions of the country are being destroyed in order to establish one man’s undisputed control over Power, the event signified the first step towards a united resistance against these inauspicious developments.  Continue reading “Towards a One-Man Dictatorship: Santosh Rana”

The Sultan of Sophistry:Satya Sagar

GUEST POST by  Satya Sagar


It is early winter and a thick, grimy fog, black and white tinged with grey, hangs over Delhi much of the day. Morning visibility is bad, clears up a bit with a dull sun in the afternoon, before darkness descends again on the city.

A month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his demonetisation policy, the gloomy weather in the national capital describes quite well the mood of the people here. Sullen but not angry, worried but not yet panicked, uneasy about the future but focused for the present on solving daily problems.

And yet somewhere deep down there is a growing feeling that we are witnessing the twilight of the Indian Republic – at least as we have known it for over six decades- a sovereign, federal, democratic nation, which with all its flaws, stumbles along intact. Few fully understand the real implications of 86% of the Indian currency disappearing overnight but there is foreboding it is a sign of many more drastic events to come. Continue reading “The Sultan of Sophistry:Satya Sagar”

Death by Demonetisation: Satya Sagar


The abrupt demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes by the Narendra Modi regime is a drastic move that is staggering in its scale, ambition and repurcussions. The only other figures in modern history one can think of, devious or stupid enough to attempt something similar, are the likes of Marcos, Suharto, Idi Amin and Pol Pot.

For all its audacity however, the decision could go down also as the grandest of blunders made by anyone in Indian political history. Poorly planned and implemented it is likely to prove disastrous not only for the country’s economy but – ironically enough,– for the BJP’s own electoral fortunes.

The abolition of the two currency notes – that make up 86% of all cash in circulation in the Indian economy –  has affected almost every family in the second most populous nation on the planet.  The harassment of the common citizen – particularly from the ranks of the urban and rural poor- through denial of access to income, savings and livelihood will not be forgotten anytime soon. Continue reading “Death by Demonetisation: Satya Sagar”

Muktibodh’s Endless Journey


( Muktibodh was born on 13 November, 1917.This article is a tribute to him to mark the beginning of his birth-centenary)

It is a coincidence that November marks the beginning of the centenary of the Bolshevik revolution and also the Hindi poet Muktibodh. The fates of the two however have taken two divergent trajectories.

The life of the revolution turned out to be very short, it could not last out the century it was born. The poet on the other hand, though he died when he was not even 46, has seen his significance growing constantly.

Muktibodh was a Marxist and is considered to be a poet who longed for revolution. But the revolution demanded from its followers  to surrender themselves to the Party, which was absolute. They were expected to be a mere reflection of this absolute self. Muktibodh, on the other hand is interested in the life history of each soul. He seeks to create a community of selves in which each one will  be autonomous.  Continue reading “Muktibodh’s Endless Journey”