Tag Archives: Fascism

Fascism, the Revolt of the ‘Little Man’ and Life After Capitalism – Manifesto of Hope III

 

 

A representational image of a Hindutva demonstration, courtesy Sabrang.

[This the third instalment of a series on ‘Life After Capitalism – A Manifesto of Hope’. Earlier parts can be accessed Part I here and Part II here. Part IV can be accessed here.]

Yesterday was V. I. Lenin’s 150th birth anniversary and just the other day I read a report of a survey that claimed that 75 percent of Russians think the Soviet era was the best time in the country’s history. A great tribute to Lenin on this occasion, one would imagine, whatever may have been the reasons for socialism’s collapse. If you could put this response in Russia to nostalgia for a time gone by, it comes as an even bigger surpise that a recent poll in the United States of America, conducted by an outfit called YouGov and funded by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (a clearly anti-communist outfit) found that 70 percent of the millennials (between the age of 23 and 38 years in 2019) favoured socialism. Earlier in February 2019, Jochen Bittner, politcal editor of the German weekly Die Zeit wrote in the New York Times on ‘Why Socialism is Coming Back in Germany?’

Continue reading Fascism, the Revolt of the ‘Little Man’ and Life After Capitalism – Manifesto of Hope III

Buying into Demonetisation- the Popular Ideological Receptors of Creeping Fascism: Sanjay Kumar

Guest Post by SANJAY KUMAR

The withdrawal of eighty six percent of currency notes by the Modi government has been an administrative fiasco. It is clear that little economic thought, and only a political urge has gone into the exercise. Informal sector of the economy, which accounts for 80% of the employment and 40% of the national output, has suffered short to medium term damage. All cash dependent transactions, wages, wholesale and retail trade, agricultural purchase and sale, are at a crawl. Workers are not getting wages, factories are closing, mandis are empty. Crores of young and old working people are spending hours in queues at banks and ATMs to withdraw their own money now gone scarce.  Press reports count more than eighty deaths. Parliament of the country is in a limbo, because the prime minister thinks it below his worth to reply to charges by the opposition party MPs. While ordinary people are suffering, the Nero like rulers are trumpeting the arrival of the nirvana of a cash less economy as the answer to India’s economic ills.

Even while Mr Modi’s government is solely responsible for this needless and widespread suffering, it would be naive to expect an automatic popular backlash against it. The politics of the ruling party does not fit into the patronage or identity driven models of its competitors. Its closest template is fascist politics, which  is a very particular kind of authoritarianism. What distinguishes a fascist regime from other modern authoritarian regimes like military dictatorships is the popular support it is able to garner for its policies and depredations. This is achieved by carefully working upon popular anxieties, prejudices, desires and fears, and refashioning them as grounds for aggression against selected minorities, and a belief in an imminent deliverance under the personalised rule of a leader. Continue reading Buying into Demonetisation- the Popular Ideological Receptors of Creeping Fascism: Sanjay Kumar

On the Ongoing Debate in CPI(M): Dheeresh Saini

Guest Post by DHEERESH SAINI

“In India today, neither has fascism been established, nor are the conditions present — in political, economic and class terms — for a fascist regime to be established. There is no crisis that threatens a collapse of the capitalist system; the ruling classes of India face no threat to their class rule. No section of the ruling class is currently working for the overthrow of the bourgeois parliamentary system. What the ruling classes seek to do is to use forms of authoritarianism to serve their class interests,”

-Prakash Karat

When CPI(M) was under the stewardship of now deceased, voluntarily or forcefully retired leaders, young leaders-workers would say that when young leaders (who were actually middle aged then) like Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury take over, the party would zoom on to its real revolutionary track. Karat was always considered more principled and genuine between the two. Yechury has now succeeded Karat as the topmost leader. Meanwhile, the situation of the party that prided itself in waging nationwide struggle against the fascist forces went from bad to worse in West Bengal considered as its fort. In the present scenario, any party considered as progressive or secular, would be bound to face such situation. But it is disappointing to see CPI(M) hog the headlines, in such tough times, on account of constant tussle between its two stars considered most resplendent. Continue reading On the Ongoing Debate in CPI(M): Dheeresh Saini

The Left Non-debate on Fascism or How Not to Fight the Hindu Right

History never repeats itself. Neither as tragedy, nor as farce. Every historical situation is a singularity, a product of its conjuncture and the opening out of different possibilities – thus irreducible to any other. What becomes farcical is the attempt of historical actors to borrow their slogans, icons and ideas from specific pasts and their attempt to reenact them in conjunctures that are radically different. Indian communists, of course, have long had a penchant for re-enacting (or believing they are re-enacting) other histories and other revolutions. And yet, more often than not, they have simply operated on the margins, engaging in violent and heated debates, as if the course of history depended on how these debates were resolved – while other historical actors took centre-stage, actually steering the course of history.

For decades Indian communists debated the ‘class character of the Indian state’ and even though their descriptions of its effects often differed little (except for an emphasis here or an emphasis there), they themselves split many times over in trying to name the beast. They became one another’s bitterest enemies, throwing about labels like “revisionist”, “neo-revisionist”, “sectarian”, “adventurist” and so on. Ask the CPI, CPI(M) or CPI(ML) Liberation, who fought the 2015 Bihar elections together and are trying to come together on issues of common concern today, how invested they are in those characterizations and how relevant they find them for their joint activity today? The really honest answer would have to be that it is of no relevance, whatsoever,  whether the state is described as that of the national bourgeoisie, the bourgeois-landlord alliance or as a semi-feudal and semi-colonial one – especially where it concerns joint or common struggles. Indeed, many communists might cringe today if reminded of these characterizations over which not just barrels of ink but precious blood has been spilt in the past. And so it happened, that while communists occupied themselves with all this bloodletting, history passed them by. Not once or twice but repeatedly.

There is a sense of deja vu therefore, when the official Left (at least the CPI(M) and CPI) and many left intellectuals suddenly seem bent upon tearing each other to bits in simply trying to name the Modi/RSS/BJP phenomenon (hereafter referred to as Sanghism – a term I have explained elsewhere). It seems it is necessary to first “correctly” characterize the phenomenon before any fight can even be conceived – even though, I suspect, there will be little difference in the way the different protagonists actually describe it.

Kick-starting this great non-debate, former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat wrote in The Indian Express, a piece so befuddling that it left many people gasping: The Sanghist/ Modi dispensation, according to him, is “right -wing authoritarian” but not “fascist” and hence there is no need for broader resistance against it (my paraphrase of what is in fact a simple question of whether or not to have an electoral alliance with the Congress!) What was worse, he referred to what he called the “classic definition” (yes, definition!) of fascism, in order to make his point. What was simply a formulation made by Georgi Dimitrov and the Comintern in a specific context, is turned into a definition. Here is Karat’s “definition”: Fascism in power is “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.” From this definition, he then proceeds to make his deductions about present day India:

In India today, neither has fascism been established, nor are the conditions present — in political, economic and class terms — for a fascist regime to be established. There is no crisis that threatens a collapse of the capitalist system; the ruling classes of India face no threat to their class rule.

Every bit of this statement is an instance of formulaic thinking. As Jairus Banaji pointed out in a sharp riposte, calling Dimitrov’s formulation a “classic definition” is merely a way of suggesting that it was a code graven in stone, and therefore, not open to any critical scrutiny or examination. After all, how can you debate a definition? Banaji, in fact, made an important point in his response: fascism is not merely a conspiracy of finance capital but as later Marxists like Arthur Rosenberg and Wilhelm Reich repeatedly insisted, it was, above all, a mass movement. If one seriously ponders the implications of this claim, fascism’s relationship to capital – finance or otherwise – can hardly be seen as simple and straightforward any more. We will return to this point later. Continue reading The Left Non-debate on Fascism or How Not to Fight the Hindu Right

Cow Vigilantism as Terror : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by  New Socialist Initiative

Can the Saffron Establishment ever wash its hands of the growing menace?

(For Hindi version, click the link http://nsi-delhi.blogspot.in/2016/07/blog-post_26.html)

( Courtesy : Cartoonist Satish Acharya, https://www.facebook.com/cartoonistsatishacharya/)

Cow vigilantism which has received tremendous boost since the ascendance of BJP at the centre got its first fitting reply in Gujarat recently. The way in which a self-proclaimed Gau Rakshak Dal – owing allegiance to Shiv Sena – attacked a group of Dalits in Una (11 th July 2016) who were skinning a dead cow, publicly flogged them, led them to the police station charging them with cow slaughter and even circulated a video of the whole incident on social media to spread further terror, has caused tremendous uproar. Continue reading Cow Vigilantism as Terror : New Socialist Initiative

Does the Nation Really Even Want to Know? Shweta Radhakrishnan

This is a guest post by SHWETA RADHAKRISHNAN

I noticed yesterday, a tweet from Anupam Kher where he compared state action over the events of the last few weeks, as a kind of “pest control” – required, of course to keep the house clean. His exact tweet is – “Gharon mein pest control hota hai to cockroach, keede makode ityadi bahar nikalte hain. ghar saaf hota hai. waise hi aajkal desh ka pest control chal raha hai.”

The similarity of this thought to Hitler’s on ethnic cleansing hasn’t gone unnoticed (look at Rajdeep Sardesai’s tweet and this article – http://www.jantakareporter.com/india/anupam-kher-hitler-modi/38514) and I’m sure much more will be written about it in the days to come. Anupam Kher’s inability to develop a logical argument or even notice the illogicality of his own actions has never ceased to surprise me, but the casualness with which he endorses state violence is interesting. But mere tweeting is not sedition. Do I find this tweet distasteful, offensive and also legitimizing state and mob violence? Yes, I do. Am I worried by the sentiment expressed in this tweet? Yes, I am. Am I additionally worried because this is not a man, sitting in an obscure corner somewhere, just airing his views, but a well known personality whose words seem to garner some weird kind of legitimacy because of his status as a Hindi film actor? Yes, I am. Do I think he should be arrested? No. Continue reading Does the Nation Really Even Want to Know? Shweta Radhakrishnan

The Secular Stake- A Burden, or a Democratic Imperative? Sanjay Kumar

Guest Post by Sanjay Kumar

Mr Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of MIM recently remarked in a media conclave that ‘Muslims are not coolies of secularism’. The statement made perfect sense for his politics. He is the leader a party that aims to mobilise voters on the basis of them being Muslim. The unprecedented success of Hindutva under Mr Modi in recent elections has upset many old electoral calculations, and opened new opportunities. Mr Owaisi is smelling a chance for the MIM to expand beyond its turf in Hyderabad, to regions where non-BJP parties have been getting the major chunk of Muslim votes with the slogan of secularism, seen principally as the promise of protection from riots. For Mr Owaisi, the remark serves multiple purposes. Average Muslim citizens are deeply disillusioned with a political process that has resulted in the utter marginalisation of their community.  For such voters, the statement is intended to clearly distinguish his party from the so-called secular non-BJP parties. It is calibrated to raise a doubt in their mind, why should only Muslims be expected to vote for such parties, when significant sections of the Hindus have sided with the communal BJP? It is also a preemptive answer to his political competitors and ideological critics, who are likely to accuse him of being communal.

Otherwise too, the secular discourse in India has largely become a minorities’ affair. It is said to be under threat when minorities are attacked. It is claimed to be flourishing when minorities rights are protected. A corollary belief among major sections of the so called majority community is that India  could have as well been non-secular if there were no minorities in the country, or if they are put in their place as the RSS political programme demands. Continue reading The Secular Stake- A Burden, or a Democratic Imperative? Sanjay Kumar

Looking back – and forward – from Modi’s election: Shashank Kela

Guest post by SHASHANK KELA

So now the gloves are off. For the BJP, that is, whose victory in these elections gives India not only its most right-wing government, but, more to the point, a prime minister to the right of his party – more laissez faire, openly contemptuous of minorities, authoritarian in style. What the party, and Narendra Modi, will make of its – and his – comprehensive victory will soon be apparent, but the omens are far from good. Working in a coalition and under the supposedly moderate leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee, the BJP between 1998 and 2004 achieved quite a lot – not just in the cultural wars that are its forte, but also in terms of putting economic “reform” on steroids. Now that it is being advised by that distinguished dispenser of received opinion and tireless self promoter, Dr Jagdish Bhagwati – an economist whose ignorance of history and the methods through which economic development was actually achieved in almost every successful industrial economy from Great Britain in the 16th and 17th centuries to South Korea in the 20th (cue: protectionism and lots of effective government intervention) is stupendous even by the low standards of the discipline – all bets are off. Continue reading Looking back – and forward – from Modi’s election: Shashank Kela

Should only Minorities be Worried over Mr Modi? Sanjay Kumar

(Photo Courtesy : ibnlive.in.com)

Guest Post by SANJAY KUMAR

By stealth, wealth, and media barrage a phalanx of powerful interests is trying to create a public opinion favourable to Mr Narendra Modi. It appears the entire privilegenstia of the country, the super rich capitalists, professional elites, entrepreneurs of the religion, top bureaucracy, including retired army men and police, upper castes, media pundits, even NRI academics, are united in their enthusiasm for Mr Modi. From Ratan Tata to Ramdev, people have been told how the man is the only saviour of a country in crisis. What exactly do this bunch of rich and privileged, but discontented people hope from Mr Modi as PM is important for the future of the country. The moot point here is the difference between declared intentions and actual motives. Perhaps even more important is the response of Mr Modi’s political opponents, because that indicates the kind of resources the country can fall back upon when confronted with the reality of him in power. The moot point here is a lack of understanding of the significance of the usual, non-Modi type politics for ordinary Indians. The stakes are high indeed. Far from what the phalanx and its ideologues claim, it is actually this politics which is their target, and which they wish to change under Mr Modi.

The most prominent charge leveled by Mr Modi’s opponents is that he is communal and divisive, and will alienate minorities. From Mr Lalu Prasad to Prof Amartya Sen, that appears to be the chief misgiving. If the charge against Mr Modi is so framed, then by implication it also appears to be asserting that if there had been no Gujarat 2002, Mr Modi and the kind of politics his party represents will be as good or bad as any other party politics. Are minorities’ misgivings about Mr Modi’s the only fact that the rest of Indians should worry about? Is the hesitation of minorities about him the only legitimate concern that may stop the man from reaching the PMO? Continue reading Should only Minorities be Worried over Mr Modi? Sanjay Kumar

Modi-Fascism and the Rise of the Propaganda Machine

Almost every day, Modi takes off from Ahmedabad airport in an EMB-135BJ, an Embraer aircraft, for his rallies. The jet is owned by Karnavati Aviation, a group company of the Adani Group. “We record two movements of Modi’s aircraft daily. No matter where he goes to address rallies, he always comes back home,” said an air traffic control official.

Recently, Modi’s aircraft was denied permission to fly by DGCA in Delhi for over two hours, following which he lashed out at the central government for stalling his movement. Ever since, Modi has increased the use of choppers to cover smaller distances. “Mostly, politicians use chopper to reach places where bigger aircraft can’t reach,” said an ATC official.

Over the past few days, Modi flew in an Augusta AW-139 chopper, owned by the DLF Group, for his rallies in north India, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. ‘Fleet of 3 aircrafts ensures Modi is home every night after day’s campaigning’, Times of India, April 22, 2014

The Political Culture of Fascism

In an earlier post, I had joined issue with a section of liberal intellectuals, whose ‘liberalism’ was either rendering them too gullible or simply complicit in the formation of the Narendra Modi phenomenon – which I have no hesitation in referring to as the Indian edition of fascism. The gullibility or complicity of many of these intellectuals also manifests itself in the myopia that grips them when the talk about the impending challenge before democratic politics in India – a brief glimpse of which is provided in the quote above, that indicates the alliance, the power bloc that will rule, were Modi to come to power.

The Modi-formation is ‘fascism’, in the sense that it takes direct inspiration from the particular history that goes by that name, especially its Nazi episode and knows that even though it cannot replicate the conditions of its existence in India, it can nevertheless use its cardinal ideas. The exaltation of the Nation/ nation-state, the manic obsession with ‘national security’ to the extent of the destruction of democratic rights, identification and suppression of scapegoats – the Other (the Jew, the Muslim, the homosexual, and all kinds of ‘wayward’ sexualities – often, all rolled into one) and of course, the intellectuals, artistes and human rights activists. A key aspect of this political culture is the combination of violence with mass frenzy that is sought to be continuously whipped up and directed against the imagined enemies of the ‘Nation’. Continue reading Modi-Fascism and the Rise of the Propaganda Machine

The Pro-Establishment Intelligentsia and the Modi Phenomenon

For several months, I have been hearing Narendra Modi’s campaign speeches quite regularly, paying attention to his themes, rhetoric and imagery. As expected, he has vigorously attacked key political opponents — the Nehru-Gandhi family, Nitish Kumar, Mulayam Singh Yadav. But a systematic silence has also marked his campaign. Quite remarkably, Hindu nationalism has been absent from his speeches.

This is the opening paragraph from an article by an important US-based Indian political scientist, Ashutosh Varshney. This article, published in the Indian Express on 27 March 2014, under the caption “Modi the Moderate” has been now followed up by another piece in the same newspaper that somewhat modifies the earlier position, this time by “Hearing the Silence”. Strange that he did not hear the silence in the first instance, even after having listened to Modi’s speeches closely (‘paying attention to his rhetoric and imagery’). Not that he did not ‘hear the silence’ then. He did, but just two weeks ago, identified the silence as being about Hindu nationalism. In the second piece, the silence is apparently about  minority rights. How did he read the silence as one thing two weeks ago and as just the opposite two weeks down the line? What exactly was he reading?

Intellectuals generally take words very seriously. Words in their insularity, words in their most manifest meanings. But really, do words mean anything in and of themselves? One line of argument that derives from within the ancient Mimamsa tradition, for example, would argue that meaning lies in the way words are chosen, arranged and formed into sentences. There is something that happens in this process which Mimamsa scholars call ‘akanksha’ – or the expectation that this arrangement within a text generates in the reader of the text. The meaning that a text produces then, is a matter of a complex negotiations between the text and the reader – the bearer of akanksha. And since the reader is never one but many, the expectations that the text generates in different readers could arguably be many. Continue reading The Pro-Establishment Intelligentsia and the Modi Phenomenon

भाषा का फासीवाद

भाषा का कार्य न तो प्रगतिशील होता है और न प्रतिक्रियावादी, वह  फासिस्ट है: क्योंकि फासिज़्म अभिव्यक्ति पर पाबंदी नहीं लगाता, दरअसल वह बोलने को बाध्य करता है. रोलां बार्थ का यह वक्तव्य पहली नज़र में ऊटपटांग और हमारे अनुभवों के ठीक उलट जान पड़ता है. हम हमेशा से ही फासिज़्म को अभिव्यक्ति का शत्रु मानते आए हैं. लेकिन बार्थ के इस वक्तव्य पर गौर करने से, और हमारे आज के सन्दर्भ में खासकर, इसका अर्थ खुलने लगता है. इसके पहले कि हम आगे बात करें, यह भी समझ लेना ज़रूरी है कि बार्थ की खोज कुछ और थी. वे अर्थापन की नई विधि या पद्धति की तलाश में थे. अंततः उनकी खोज अर्थ से मुक्ति की थी, एक असंभव संधान लेकिन दिलचस्प: स्पष्टतः वह एक ऐसी दुनिया का स्वप्न देखता है जिसे अर्थ से मुक्ति हासिल होगी( जैसे किसी को अनिवार्य सैन्यसेवा से छूट मिली होती है). हम हिन्दुस्तानियों के लिए इसका पूरा अभिप्राय समझना कठिन  है लेकिन एक अमेरीकी या रूसी या इस्राइली के लिए नहीं. उन्हें पता है कि वयस्क होते ही राज्य उनको  सेना में भर्ती होने के लिए बाध्य कर सकता है. प्रसंगवश अनेक न्यूनताओं के बावजूद भारतीय लोकतंत्र के पक्ष में  यह बात भी है कि उसने अपने नागरिक को सैन्य पदावली में परिभाषित नहीं किया. भारतीय होने की शर्त या उसकी कीमत अपना सैन्यीकरण नहीं है. Continue reading भाषा का फासीवाद

Lies, Damn Lies and NaMo – Why I do not support Modi and why you shouldn’t either: M Akhil

ImageGuest Post by M AKHIL: Listen to the flourish. The stage is set, the side-kicks are in place and the sycophants are scampering tirelessly to welcome their emperor. Narendra Modi has started his journey to the high seat of Indraprastha.

Curiously enough, his current ride is being celebrated as a victory lap by his ardent supporters. A bit too quick, don’t you think? Especially for a man who was only a few years ago, in terrible danger of being convicted for one of the most gruesome state-sponsored genocides in the history of independent India. Of course, he hasn’t been convicted yet, but many of his ministers and close aides have been. Babu Bajrangi’s confessions on record must be more than enough proof for Modi’s culpability. 1 Alas! Facts get twisted in the most unimaginable ways as they threaten to blow away an edifice carefully built by a dominant plutocracy with immense help from the ‘State-Temple-Corporate Complex’. 2 Here, I shall attempt to bust the Modi bubble which is being ridiculously pumped up by the holy nexus, even as you are reading this. After all, the BJP is possibly the party with the highest following among Indian netizens and the online publicity team of the current supremo is meticulous. An alternative view will be stark, but hopefully it will serve as food for thought for those among us getting nauseated by the dominant narrative. Continue reading Lies, Damn Lies and NaMo – Why I do not support Modi and why you shouldn’t either: M Akhil

तार्किकता, भावुकता और फासिज्म

 28 फरवरी को याद करने पर अब कहा जाने लगा है कि यह नकारात्मक स्मृति है और इंसानी फितरत के मुताबिक़ हमें आगे बढ़ना  चाहिए. हिन्दुओं को, खासकर गुजराती हिन्दुओं, यह नागवार गुजरता है कि उन्हें  बार-बार 28 फरवरी , 2002 की याद दिलाई जाए. आखिर गुजरात में 2002 के बाद पूरा अमन है और वह विकास के मार्ग पर एक दृढसंकल्प मुख्यमंत्री के नेतृत्व में संकल्पपूर्वक बढ़ा जा रहा है और वहां के मुसलमान भी अब कुछ और बात करना चाहते हैं.

दरअसल भुलाने और आगे बढ़ जाने की शुरुआत 2002 में ही हो गई थी. 28 फ़रवरी से राज्य-संरक्षण में शुरू हुए मुसलमानों के कत्लेआम ने भारत के उद्योगपतियों के एक हिस्से को भी झकझोर दिया था. लेकिन कुछ समय बाद ही पूंजीवाद के तर्क ने मानवीयता की कमजोरी पर विजय पा ली और उन्होने नाराज़ मुख्यमंत्री से क्षमायाचना करके गुजरात की प्रगति में उन्हें हिस्सा लेने की इजाजत माँग ली  थी. सार्वजनिक रूप से उन्हें गांधी और पटेल से तुलनीय बताया जाना अब अटपटा भी नहीं लगता, बल्कि उलट कर कहा जा सकता है कि गांधी और पटेल में  ऐसे कई गुण नहीं थे जो गुजरात के ह्रदय-सम्राट में पाए जाते हैं , इसलिए यह तुलना वस्तुतः इन दोनों के प्रति पक्षपात है. पूंजीवाद के मूल अंतर्राष्ट्रीय चरित्र ने अंततः युरोपियन यूनियन को अपनी मानवीय हिचक को किनारे करके गुजराती यथार्थ को कबूल करते हुए कारोबारी नज़रिया अपनाने को प्रेरित किया. यह संभव नहीं था कि आर्थिक निवेश के ठोस आकर्षक आमंत्रण को   न्याय के अमूर्त आग्रह  के चलते ठुकरा दिया जाए. Continue reading तार्किकता, भावुकता और फासिज्म

Peaceful Protest Against Afzal Guru’s Execution at Jantar Mantar Broken Up by Right Wing Goons and Delhi Police

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A small group of citizens, mainly young people from different universities in Delhi, and people associated with civil rights groups and initiatives, had gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi this afternoon at 1:00 pm to express their protest against the execution by hanging of Afzal Guru at 8:00 am this morning in Tihar Prison.

The protest was dignified and entirely peaceful. It was interrupted suddenly when a large mob gathered and began heckling the protestors. I was present there, and I clearly heard this mob of young men hurl, unprintable abuses at the men and women who were peacefully protesting against the execution of Afzal Guru. Some of them wore saffron scarves that clearly identified them as being the storm troopers of the far right. They repeatedly chanted violent and incendiary slogans which included the following – “shoot them all”, “kill the traitors”. These alternated with patriotic chants. I have never seen a more nakedly bloodthirsty exhibition of the far right wing version of Indian nationalism on the streets of Delhi. The mob made threatening gestures and advanced towards the line of protestors. Continue reading Peaceful Protest Against Afzal Guru’s Execution at Jantar Mantar Broken Up by Right Wing Goons and Delhi Police

Shield of Barbarism by Nagarjun

Nagarjun was an avant-garde poet of Resistance in Hindi. His poem, in Tarun Bhartiya‘s translation along with the original, can be read as an obituary 42 years after it was written.

Bal Thackeray ! Bal Thackeray!

At his fascist gods’

Beck and call Thackeray

O be careful, here he comes Bal Thackeray

All agreeing, how shall we crawl Thackeray

Hide, don’t you dare look away

In smart Shiv Sena Uniform – making music hall Thackeray Continue reading Shield of Barbarism by Nagarjun

Ek Tha Tiger: Death and Bal K. Thackeray

We have reasons to be grateful that Bal K. Thackeray has died, a normal, natural death. Several of those whom he admired, didn’t. Adolf Hitler, the fellow ‘artist’ he often invoked, killed himself, his mistress and his dog. Indira Gandhi, and her son Sanjay, the mother and son firm of despots that Bal Thackeray endorsed, didn’t go gently into the night either. Sanjay Gandhi, the ‘bold young man’ whom Thackeray recognized as a fellow spirit came spiraling down in his own airplane, demonstrating that the indifferent sky does occasionally listen  to the prayers of the earth to alleviate its burden. Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv both fell to the forces that their own ruling dispensation had nurtured, Khalistani zealots and the LTTE.  Bal Thackeray was lucky to have lived as long as he did, sipping his lukewarm beer, spitting out his bile. Very lucky. As for us, we are fortunate that Thackeray did not get to go down as a Maratha martyr, just as a lapsed cartoonist, a would-be caudillo and a has-been demagogue. Continue reading Ek Tha Tiger: Death and Bal K. Thackeray