This is a guest post by SHIVNARAYAN RAJPUROHIT : A school teacher in Rayapuram village of Mehabubnagar district (Andhra Pradesh) summed up the sentiment of the village: “Without a sarpanch [an elected village-chief], this village is like a rudderless ship. The implementation of government schemes has gone from bad to worse. The government has appointed special officers, who hardly have any bonding with villagers in each panchayat.” Recently, the state government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) decided to conduct the panchayati elections in April-May 2013, which have been overdue since July-August 2011. What were the reasons for this postponement? Continue reading Making Mockery of Panchayati Elections : Shivnarayan Rajpurohit
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Scorched by Blind-spots – Prabhat Babu and the CPI(M): Andaleeb Mondal
Guest post by ANDALEEB MONDAL
[Recently Prabhat Patnaik published an article “Dial M for modernity” in The Telegraph, about what is right about the CPI(M). This piece is a response to that article. There are some very elliptical Bengal-specific references in the piece that have been retained as they add to the flavour. AN]
The CPI(M) regime is alive in West Bengal and Kerala. As the numbers go, it could hardly be more alive in Bengal, its throbbing vitality being underscored by a now-famous comparison of assembly seats between the CPI(M) led Left Front and the principal opposition – “Amra 235, ora 35” ( We are 235, they are 35).This famous phrase was uttered by a self-proclaimed progressive writer with supreme empathy for toiling masses, who incidentally is the nephew of another writer-poet whose progressive credentials and dedication to people’s causes resonated in Bengal and beyond, without having the honour of being propped up by state sponsorship. Of course I am being snide and I do not intend to embark on a comparative literary analysis. To look for evidence of continuity among them is absurd – the filial accident being least of the reasons. However, conjuring up continuities do serve some purpose, occasionally.
Times shape people vice versa and such mutual shaping has always happened – sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes vigorously. They do bear the imprint of past times and ethos and hence in the absence of observable points of radical change, one may fall into the trap of assuming a kind of “historical” continuity. This idea of continuity can obfuscate continuous drifts in time. In the life of political organizations and ideologies , such feigned continuities primarily have a three-pronged way of self-maintainance. Let me call them – rituals, manifestos and lastly, for lack of a better epithet, kula-devatas ( clan deities). This permeates most political formations in the Indian landscape – the present discussion is about the CPI(M). However, a semblance of similarity in these Three Great cliches can be kept up.
Continue reading Scorched by Blind-spots – Prabhat Babu and the CPI(M): Andaleeb Mondal