Guest post by RAJINDER CHAUDHARY
एक छोटे से वाइरस ने तीन बाते दोबारा याद दिला दी हैं. सब से पहली तो यह कि इन्सान कुदरत का एक छोटा हिस्सा ही है. भले ही यह बहुत प्रभावी हिस्सा है; कुदरत को तोड़ मरोड़ सकता है, मरुस्थल को हराभरा कर सकता है. फिर भी यह कुदरत से ऊपर नहीं है, उस का मालिक नहीं है; यहे हरे भरे को मरुस्थल भी बना सकता है. कई वैज्ञानिकों के अनुसार घटते जंगलों और बढ़ती इंसानी बस्ती के चलते ही हमें करोना सरीखे वाइरस का इतना बड़ा डंक लगा है. भले ही आज सब का ध्यान करोना के कहर पर केन्द्रित है, और आशा है देर-सवेर उस का इलाज भी ढूंढ लेंगे, टीका बना लेंगे, पर जलवायु परिवर्तन और तेज़ी से ख़त्म होते पेट्रोल सरीखे नवीनीकरण-अयोग्य संसाधनों को भी न भूलें. यह भी न भूलें सारी वैज्ञानिक प्रगति के बावज़ूद प्रदूषण से बचने के लिए वाहनों पर सम-विषम का नियम लगा कर बनी हुई कार को चलाने पर रोक लगानी पड़ती है, संयम अपनाना पड़ता है. उद्योग और निर्माण गतिविधि पर रोक लगानी पड़ती है.
Continue reading करोना के कुछ ज़रूरी सबक़ : राजिंदर चौधरी
Guest post by MAYA JOHN
[This is the first part of a two-part series on ‘society at the time of Covid-19’]
‘An elephant was attacked by a house cat. Frustrated and trying to avoid the cat, the elephant accidentally jumps off a cliff in panic and dies.’ – Anonymous
‘The idea of the self-sufficient character of science (“science for science’s sake”) is naive: it confuses the subjective passions of the professional scientist, working in a system of profound division of labour, in conditions of a disjointed society, in which individual social functions are crystallised in a diversity of types, psychologies, passions …. The fetishising of science, as of other phenomena of social life, and the deification of the corresponding categories is a perverted ideological reflex of a society in which the division of labour has destroyed the visible connection between social function, separating them out in the consciousness of their agents as absolute and sovereign values.’ – Nikolai Bukharin, 1931
The specter of Covid-19 is haunting India and many other countries in the world. As the fear of the novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) grips India, and draconian state measures unleash havoc on the poor, it is imperative to trace back the clock so as to fully comprehend the underlying thrust of the current paranoia. Who have been carriers of the disease into India and what was done to identify and contain them? Whose paranoia is determining state policy? And are we possibly witnessing an ‘over-reaction’ shaped by the anxiety of upper classes? These questions imply the need, in class terms, for a closer scrutiny of the reasons behind the declaration of the pandemic.
Continue reading Knowability and Unknowabiility of COVID-19 – Is There ‘Class’ in the Coronavirus Panic? Maya John
This post written by VISHWAS SATGAR was first published in Daily Maverick
With the coronavirus, we are really trying to mitigate the revenge blow from nature. It’s a moment to be humble and realise our finitude in a wondrous and infinite natural order.
Covid-19 has pushed an already weak and crisis-ridden global economy over the edge. Massive value has been erased from crashing stock market prices. Many commentators are talking about the return of economic conditions similar to the great financial crash of 2007-2009. The most powerful countries in the world from China to the US have ground to a halt.
This pathogen, possibly from delicate creatures like a pangolin or a bat, has engendered the worst global pandemic since the Spanish flu (1918-1920), which killed 100-million people. Death rates are going up globally. Right-wing nationalists in Europe and the USA have been confused as this virus has jumped racist border regimes, and infected all populations. Citizens are no longer concerned about their racist messages, but rather about how to survive.
Continue reading Covid-19, the Climate Crisis and Lockdown – an opportunity to end the war with nature: Vishwas Satgar
‘It seems we are massively entering a quarantine of consumption where we will learn how to be happy just with a simple dress, rediscovering old favourites we own, reading a forgotten book and cooking up a storm to make life beautiful. The impact of the virus will be cultural and crucial to building an alternative and profoundly different world.’ – Li Edelkoort, trend forecaster and fashion advisor
As large parts of the world reel under the impact of a lockdown that has prompted several people to recall the great lockdowns during the early twentieth century Spanisht flu and even the 14th centry plague, my thoughts in fact strayed in another direction. With international and national air traffic down to the barest minimum, with arenas of conspicuous consumption shut down, zillions of cars of the roads and construction activity to a halt, I was suddenly struck by a not-so-crazy thought: with all the suffering that a lockdown necessarily entails for the poorer sections of the population in particular, there might still be a silver lining here. Perhaps the temperature of the earth will have come down a few notches by the time we are done with this crisis and what is more, it might initiate a different mode of being in the world. It might give the world an opportunity to see what is continuously being denied by climate-deniers (as Naomi Klein recorded, backed by huge funds from right-wing US based foundations and corporations). It might – it just might – reconnect us with what we have long left behind and have been longing for – a different pace of life where slow is beautiful, as it were.
Continue reading Corona Biopolitics and Life After Capitalism – A Manifesto of Hope I
[Beginning this week, ‘Parapolitics’ will be a fortnightly column appearing on the second and fourth Thursday of every month.]
We were never so helpless, never so bereft, never more in need of a platform of struggle. The need for a new political formation is acutely felt today as never before. And by a new formation I do not mean a party of the Left in any traditional sense but a different kind of left-wing formation that can act resolutely in defense of democracy.
Two developments of the past week – the crisis of Yes Bank and the defection of 22 Congress MLAs, led by Jyotiraditya Scindia, to the BJP – signal the deep crisis that we are in today. Reports suggest that each MLA was offered something like Rs 100 crore by the BJP to defect. These developments come close on the heels of a horrendous anti-Muslim carnage in Delhi where we have been witness to the the total collapse of all institutions. From the complete paralysis of the elected AAP government in the state and a Supreme Court that simply pretends not to see what’s going on, to a lapdog ‘media’ actively engaged in promoting violence – this collapse was perhaps never so evident in our history.
Continue reading The Need for a New Political Platform
Guest Post by National Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanisation (NCU)
The National Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanisation (NCU) unequivocally condemns the unconstitutional and anti-constitutional CAA-NPR-NRC being unilaterally imposed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. The NCU is a network of activists, researchers, urban practitioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, collectives and individuals who, for the past two years have been involved with issues of urban class and caste inequalities and is continually monitoring this acutely dangerous social condition in our cities. Therefore, are working for an alternative paradigm of urbanization. These inequalities are brought to light when basic rights such as the right to housing, participation in governance mechanisms, right to livelihood and most importantly, equal right to the city, are denied to the urban poor.
India has been going through tumultuous times. The massive inequities in Indian cities are best highlighted by a recent Oxfam report. Shockingly, just 63 billionaires have more money than the entire budget of the government of India. This disparity is mirrored in asset holdings in cities. The difference between the top 10 per cent and the bottom ten per cent is 50,000 times in Indian cities! This is further accentuated by the huge informality that exists in urban India-93 per cent.This exposes the extreme vulnerabilities faced by urban population. Continue reading CAA-NPR-NRC’s Impact on Urban Poor : National Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanisation (NCU)
കേരളത്തിലങ്ങോളമിങ്ങോളം നടക്കുന്ന സിഏഏ-എൻ ആർ സി വിരുദ്ധസമരങ്ങൾക്കിടയിൽ നമ്മുടെയെല്ലാം ഉള്ളുപൊള്ളയായ രാഷ്ട്രീയ അവബോധങ്ങളിലും സുഖസ്ഥലങ്ങളിലും നീറുപോലെ കടിച്ചുപറിക്കുന്ന ഒരു യാഥാർത്ഥ്യം — താഹയും അലനും സഹിക്കുന്ന അനീതി. യുഏപിഏ അറസ്റ്റുകൾ മുൻപ് മുസ്ലീംയുവാക്കളെ ഉന്നംവച്ചപ്പോൾ അവർ തീവ്രവാദികളാണെന്ന് – പലപ്പോഴും കാര്യമായ തെളിവൊന്നുമില്ലാതെ — വിശ്വസിച്ചു മനഃസാക്ഷിയെ നാം പാട്ടുപാടി ഉറക്കിയതാണ്. പക്ഷേ ഇന്നത് പറ്റുന്നില്ല, കാരണം ഈ ചെറുപ്പക്കാരെ നേരിട്ടറിയാവുന്ന പാർട്ടിവിശ്വാസികൾക്കെല്ലാം അറിയാം, അവർ നിരപരാധികളാണെന്ന്. Continue reading കേരളത്തിൽ ജനാധിപത്യത്തിൻ്റെ ഭാവിയും അരാഷ്ട്രീയതയുടെ പിണറായിശൈലിയും