Category Archives: Politics

Karl Marx Replies to Comprador Intellectuals

NOT IN MY NAME – KARL MARX (See image below)

You are not what you wereAshok Mitra after 14th November, 2007:

buddha modi

[For all the stories that Sudhanva Deshpande has to tell – quoting what else but Ganashakti – we reproduce here the agonized remarks of another ‘pathological Left-hater’ (in SD’s words, that is what every CPM critic is!). Somewhere here, you might get a clue as to why the likes of Prabhat Patnaik ‘had to sign on the dotted line’ – on a statement drafted in AKG Bhavan. Has Patnaik made his ‘Lukacsian choice’? Our sympathies are with him. Read the full translated version of the original Bengali article here. – AN]

“Till death I would remain guilty to my conscience if I keep mum about the happenings of the last two weeks in West Bengal over Nandigram. One gets torn by pain too. Those against whom I am speaking have been my comrades at some time. The party whose leadership they are adorning has
been the centre of my dreams and works for last sixty years…”

Continue reading Karl Marx Replies to Comprador Intellectuals

Another Supreme Court

Even as our own dearly beloved Supreme Court repeatedly shows contempt of the people by handing over tribal lands to corporations and urban spaces to mall developers, the judges across the border seem to be on a radically different track. As is well known by now, the initial dismissal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhary by General Musharraf – an action that launched a million mutinies – was at least partly to punish him for his order preventing the sale of Pakistan Steel Mills to a private group.

As the democratic upsurge in Pakistan carries on unabated, here is a lesser known story, sent to me about a month ago by Nighat Said Khan (better known as Bunny) Women’s Action Forum activist. It is an eye-witness account of the hearing in June 2007, in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, on the appeal by the ‘she-couple’, as a story in Dawn dubbed them, seeking dismissal of a High Court decision sentencing them to three years’ imprisonment for perjury. Not only is the order by the Supreme Court exemplary for its commitment to individual rights, Bunny’s account highlights the extraordinary sensitivity and awareness shown by both the lawyer representing the couple, Babar Awan, and the judges hearing the case.

If this is Pakistan’s judiciary, no wonder the general is a little lost in his labyrinth…

Over to Nighat Said Khan.

Continue reading Another Supreme Court

All those who do not sleep tonight

Dear all, (apologies for cross posting on Reader List)

Sometimes I wonder whether, when I use the phrase ‘rentier cultural apparatchiki’ it actually describes faces, real people, or is it just an abstract category, that one deploys in anger and sadness.

Well, em, here are some faces, some names – people we meet, say hello to, read the books of, see the art of, watch the films of…

As the weather turns in Delhi, we will meet them more often, there will be soirees, readings, screenings, exhibition openings, so much fun in the winter whirlwind, and they will turn up – two by two, or one by one,
and in the silence between us will hang the heavy weight of the name of a place called Nandigram.

Read these names, read them carefully –

Irfan Habib, Prabhat Patnaik, Utsa Patnaik, Shireen Moosvi, Jayati Ghosh, Indira Chandrasekhar, Rajen Prasad, Arjun Dev, D.N. Jha, Vivan Sundaram, M.K. Raina, C.P. Chandrasekhar, and Saeed Mirza.

Continue reading All those who do not sleep tonight

Dhikkar Michhil: One Lakh March in Kolkata – Moinak Biswas

[We present below a participants’ account, by Moinak Biswas, of the massive and unprecedented Dhikkar Michhil [condemnation rally] in Kolkata, protesting the killings in Nandigram. We now know, notwithstanding the cold blooded claims of ‘liberation’, that the operation carried out there was no different from what any marauding army does – kill rape, rape, maim. And so, Kolkata rose up in spontaneous condemnation – AN]

kolkata rally

The organizers were obviously not prepared for size of the turn-out. That it would be big they must have known, as the outrage had reached a boiling point since the second offensive against Nandigram villagers started on the 6th. . But no one could have anticipated the multitudes that would render numbers obscure on the streets yesterday. The organizers didn’t even bring enough of those little badges which just said ‘Dhikkar’ (‘Shame!’). But then who were the organizers? Some familiar faces were using a loudspeaker to issue basic instructions – ‘Please do not carry organizational banners; do not shout slogans; our route will be.. .’ No one was leading. Many people did not know who gave the call for the rally; they still do not know. Continue reading Dhikkar Michhil: One Lakh March in Kolkata – Moinak Biswas

Nandigram Redux: Reading Sudhanva Deshpande

It is interesting to witness the spin doctoring of the CPI(M) come into play once again in the wake of the renewed violence in Nandigram, which in CPI(M) newspeak is now being called ‘a transition to peaceful conditions’ .

Recently, I have had the opportunity to read the seasoned voice of one of the leading ‘cultural’ lights of the Consolidated Promotors of India(Militant) in Delhi, Comrade Sudhanva Deshpande, on Nandigram Redux, on an extended posting made on,

I urge you all to read Sudhanva Deshpande’s text as a window into the amazing felicity with which the Consolidated Promotors of India (Militant) constructs the edifice of its positions.

In this posting, I intend to subject Comrade Deshpande’s text to some close reading. I am writing this in order to respond especially to the work that Aditya Nigam is doing in keeping the question of Nandigram alive on Kafila.I have relied extensively on reports, news and analysis on an excellent archive-blog – Sanhati – for a great deal of the material for this posting. Continue reading Nandigram Redux: Reading Sudhanva Deshpande

Soft Bhadralok Hindutva Under ‘Left’ Garb – VB Rawat

[We have received this guest piece from Vidya Bhushan Rawat, which looks at another pathology behind the ‘Left’ Front and its entrenchment in West Bengal politics. We are pleased to present this as it underlines a point seldom registered by self-proclaimed ‘Leftists’ and ‘secularists’: the saffron under the red colour of Indian marxism in general but especially of the CPM. The Sachar committee had recently only revealed what many had always suspected with regard to Muslims. With regard to the Dalits, analysts have been at pains to point out that West Bengal ranks far below even UP, in terms of ownership of land by Dalits. So much for its much touted land reforms. While publishing this piece, let us also underline, with the author that when, in the height of the anti-Islam hysteria during NDA rule, LK Advani’s Home Ministry proposed ‘bio-metric identification cards’ – to check the problem of ‘infiltration’ (!?), then too, Buddhadeb was its most enthusiastic supporter. It is actually interesting that when the ruling classes and parties under Indira Gandhi used to see CIA everywhere, the CPM too saw CIA; and then when the NDA started seeing ISI ‘under every bed as it were, CPM followed suit. Curious, would you say? Read on, for the real debate on the ‘Left’ should be here, which is not to say that we agree with every thing said here. – AN]

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Nandigram is burning and the Neros of the left front governments are watching it with great patience. Those who are up in arms against any displacement elsewhere remain mute spectators at the butchering of people in this ‘war zone’, as the governor of the state Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi mentioned in his statement. CPM and its leadership were prompt in condemning the governor for his remark as unconstitutional. If governor’s remark is out of the touch of Bengal’s reality then how can one justify the ‘call’ for ‘recapture’ of land by the top leadership of CPM? Continue reading Soft Bhadralok Hindutva Under ‘Left’ Garb – VB Rawat

Pakistan – Day two of underground life: Farooq Tariq

[We present below this first hand account from the leader of the Labour Party of Pakistan, on the morrow of the emergency proclaimed by Musharraf, that gives a sense of the situation on the  ground.]

By: Farooq Tariq, General Secretary, Labour Party Pakistan

lawyers protest
Today is my second day in underground life. On 3rd November 2007, when General Musharaf declared an emergency and suspended the constitution, I was in Toba Tek Singh, a city around four hours from Lahore. This was to attend a meeting for the preparations of the Labour Party of Pakistan fourth national conference. The conference was scheduled to be held on 9,10,11 November in the city. Posters for the welcome of the delegates were printed and an invitation card to invite supporters for the open session of the conference was ready as well.

The meeting was nearly ending when I heard the news that emergency is been declared. I decided immediately to travel to ahore. I was in contact with other party comrades on telephone and every one advised me not to go to my home. This was in the background of my three arrests in three months where I spent 23 days in jails and police stations. The Labour Party Pakistan has become a target for the military regime because of active participation in the advocate movement. Several comrades had been arrested during the movement.

Continue reading Pakistan – Day two of underground life: Farooq Tariq