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Mobpublic vs. Counterpublic in Kerala

[with inputs from Baiju John]

Recent events in Kerala convince me that we need to think more closely about the ways in which our political public life is being slowly overwhelmed by something that is profoundly anti-public but somehow manages to resemble it — I’m tempted to call it the Mobpublic. I’m of course not referring to formal politics, where political parties and powerful communities continue to squabble without any serious difference in their programmes. Very little of either the political or the public survives in them; all one hears for most of the time are the tales of internal squabbling which is neither political (yes, despite all of V S Achuthanandan’s efforts to coopt oppositional civil social struggles) nor public. Perhaps the decline of the political is a condition for the rise of the mobpublic.

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