Tag Archives: Politics

Jangalnama- Travels in a Maoist Guerrilla Zone- a review

Jangalnama- Travels in a Maoist Guerrilla Zone by Satnam, translated by Vishav Bharti- a review.

‘In the light of a candle, drinking maté (a local drink) and eating a piece of bread and cheese, the man’s shrunken features stuck a mysterious, tragic note. In simple but expressive language, he told us about his three months in prison, his starving wife, and his children left in the care of a kindly neighbor, his fruitless pilgrimage in search of work and his comrades, who had mysteriously disappeared and were said to somewhere at the bottom of the sea’. These copper mines – ‘ spiced with the lives of poor unsung heroes of this battle, who die miserable deaths, when all they want is to earn is their daily bread’

- Che Guevara, describing the life of a working class couple in the copper mines of Chuquicamata. (The Motorcycle Diaries)

At the age of 23, Che undertook a journey on a motorcycle across South America and wrote a journal based on it. The journal was published in a book form titled The Motorcycle Diaries a decade or so back. Satnam’s Jangalnama could well be a sequel to that book, written in the context of the Red India, as the Maoist controlled belt has come to be known.

There are differences, of course. Che was young, fresh out of medical college. He rode a motorcycle and was essentially on an adventure tour during the course of which he got to see the underbelly of South America and about which he wrote so eloquently. This journey was part of his education in becoming a revolutionary soon after.
Continue reading

Links…

A very comprehensive essay on The Dreyfus Affair that split French opinion in the 1890s- 1900s.  (wikipedia link) and which in literature is most remembered for the references it finds in Proust’s works. I found the following observation to be quite insightful though it is tangential to the topic.

In any modernized country, the backward-looking party will always tend toward resentment and grievance. The key is to keep the conservatives feeling that they are an alternative party of modernity. (This was Disraeli’s great achievement, as it was, much later, de Gaulle’s.) When the conservative party comes to see itself as unfairly marginalized, it becomes a party of pure reaction…

Githa Hariharan has a fine column in The Telegraph where she writes about the ‘kitsch in everyday life‘:
Continue reading

What Hemant Hegde did not know about Hindutva

On Friday, Hindu radicals in the southern state of Karnataka stymied plans to erect a 20m (67ft) statue of the film star, on the grounds that he was a Christian. The move came amid a backlash against Western culture that has raised concerns that parts of India are at risk of being “Talebanised” by Hinduism’s far Right.

The Chaplin sculpture was being built at a cost of about 3.5 million rupees (£48,600) near the town of Udupi, the site of several Hindu temples. The structure was to form part of a film set, but work ground to a halt when Hindu activists chased the workers away and buried the building materials.

Hemant Hegde, the film-maker, told local reporters that he abandoned the project after being threatened by a mob of about 50 people, whose leader told him: “We will not allow you to construct a statue of a Christian actor.” Source

Mr. Hemant Hegde should have known that the Hindutva bandwagon don’t have no sense of humour. Charlie – humanist and communist- would have laughed at this episode, or he might have made this speech, if someone cared to listen.

Welcome, Barack Hope Obama

Listening to the first debate between presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, it was very evident that it was a contest between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The two disagreed on the approach towards taxation and the American economy, but on every foreign policy issue, Obama agreed wholeheartedly with McCain, except the war in Iraq, which has become a drain on US economy. The other thing that stuck out was, of course, the color of Obama’s skin. Continue reading

Has the Good Doctor finally found his feet?

When I look at the composition of the opportunistic group opposed to us, it is clear to me that the clash today is between two alternative visions of India’s future. The one vision represented by the UPA and our allies seeks to project India as a self confident and united nation moving forward to gain its rightful place in the comity of nations, making full use of the opportunities offered by a globalised world, operating on the frontiers of modern science and technology and using modern science and technology as important instruments of national economic and social development. The opposite vision is of a motley crowd opposed to us who have come together to share the spoils of office to promote their sectional, sectarian and parochial interests.

Manmohan Singh’s speech after the trust vote is quite eloquent, and reflects the mood of a combative person coming into his own, after all he has just won the trust vote by quite an impressive margin given the developments last few days. There is little to differ from the intentions of the words in the speech. It is the manner in which the whole showdown was conducted and the context in which the speech had to be made at all that is questionable and where the eloquence of the words fails ground reality.
Continue reading

Nuclear Deal and the Tragic End of an Experiment

Prakash Karat’s obduracy has finally been matched by that of Manmohan Singh. While some may claim that the latter has now matured into a politician, it is important to remember that Singh has always been a deft politician of the values that he represents- that of the neo- liberal Right. There is nothing new in this, except that he has now chosen to go break altogether with the Left, his firmest supporters for the past four years.

Continue reading