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Tension prevailed on the Panjab University (PU) campus today as left-leaning Students For Society (SFS) activists staged a
Kerala's ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) today began its 12-hour strike as part of the nationwide agitation by oppositi
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today described as a "dangerous precedent" Prime Minister N
Comparing Islamic State (IS) terror group with the RSS, the Kerala unit of CPI(M) today alleged that both outfits were spr
The "Left-Unity" alliance today swept all four seats in the JNU students union election, defeating the RSS' student wing A
Senior CPI-ML (Liberation) leader Swapan Mukherjee, who played a major role in organising the party and its campaigns, die
The Communist Party of India (CPI) today said the erstwhile Left Front government in West Bengal made a "mistake" in the l
Government today accepted the advisory board recommendations that fixes the minimum wage at Rs 350 a day for non-agricultu
Six Left parties, including CPI and CPI(M), have decided to jointly contest the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.
The West Bengal Assembly today passed a resolution to change the name of the state from West Bengal to 'Bangla' in Bengali
Jaithirth Rao in the Indian Express joins issue with Amartya Sen's recent expressions of "closeness, attachment, even fondness, for the leftist parties in India’s polity":
Contemporary Indian leftists represent their own selfish party interests and their sense of misplaced historical determinism which is locked in a time-warp. They do not care for underprivileged citizens and certainly do not care to improve the lot of the poor. In Sen’s own paradigm, Indian leftists pursue purist, ideologically correct “Niti”. They have no concern for “Nyaya” or just consequences...
...The final nail in the coffin of leftist pretensions has been driven in by two recent data points. The Sachar Commission tells us that Muslim citizens in West Bengal are on every count worse off than their counterparts in most other states, not excluding much-maligned Gujarat. And West Bengal has been virtually the last state in implementation of the NREGA. So much for the Left’s concern for “Nyaya” for Muslim citizens or the rural poor!
Read the full piece: Set the record straight
I think Right and Left have always been a very inadequate description even of political activity.There is a lovely story about PC Joshi too. More here
...The right wing and the left wing, as many will know, were descriptions first defined by the way members sat in the French National Assembly of 1789-91: the nobles in the wing to the right, the common people to the left, of the president of the Assembly. In course of time, as parliamentary democracy unfolded, the left wing came to be referred to as “a group or party favouring radical, reforming or socialist views”, as the Oxford Dictionary succinctly tried to put it...
...But from all I can surmise from a distance, for many among the intelligentsia, the bonding with manush (human being), to use the more modern term for Tagore’s janagana (people), has not been lost.
I cannot make out how exactly today’s manush, in turn, relates to Calcutta’s intelligentsia. But one can see how the state’s political apparatchiki can take on the teachers, the doctors, the poets, the artists on the assumption that connections between such people and Manush have simply vanished.
...the Right-Left dichotomy is old and difficult to dislodge — but why not redefine Right and Wrong from the standpoint of social justice and responsibility, and in that light redefine Crime and Punishment in the Indian Penal Code? That may yet set the cat among the pigeons — of all colours.
Rudrangshu Mukherjee in the Telegraph:
In 1964, when the CPI split and the CPI(M) was born, the latter, at least in West Bengal, got the giant share of the party’s resources save the intellectual ones. The intellectual cream remained with the CPI. The CPI(M) was born under the sign of mediocrity. Its leadership promoted anti-intellectualism and the cult of mediocrity. This, it was assumed, would bring the CPI(M) closer to the people. Promode Dasgupta, the redoubtable head of the party apparatus in West Bengal, was the driving force behind this kind of thinking. Under his successor, Anil Biswas, this tendency was aggravated. Biswas personally controlled educational institutions and intellectual organizations. This brand of nepotism alienated real talent. Many came under the flag of the CPI(M) lured by the loaves and fishes of office, but numbers did not make for quality. The moral and intellectual high ground that communists had once enjoyed in West Bengal gradually came to be eroded. Today, the CPI(M) stares at a moral and intellectual vacuum....
...The transformation of society will never occur through the brutal use of State power and the deployment of terror through cadre. It demands a more sensitive handling by a leadership that is confident enough to be broadminded and open.
Read the full piece: Cult of Mediocrity. And staying with West Bengal, MJ Akbar has a word of caution:
Nature, and political nature, abhors a vacuum. The space vacated by the CPI(M) retreat is being visibly occupied: those who vote are with Mamata Banerjee; those who don't vote in rural Bengal are gravitating around the Maoists...Read the full piece: West Bengal: Next time, the volcano
...It would also be unwise to forget the game-changer of the 1960s, the riots. Violence is an infectious plague, and demographic tensions always have a fuse in the tail. Bengalis believe that they are not communal. No one is communal, except in that brief moment of madness when the civilized mind crumbles.
The drama of Bengal is full of actors making powerful speeches. We need a plot, very quickly.
After rubbishing the rationalisations from the Left for its defeat in West Bengal, the ever so redoubtable Dr Ashok Mitra, writing in the Telegraph has a provocative, almost Gandhian, suggestion for the Left Front government in West Bengal:
Does it not make more sense for the front ministry to remit office immediately, seeking forgiveness from the people for the hurt it has caused to their hopes and sentiments? Some of the front’s disaffected flock are likely to return to the fold following such a gesture. The lady too will have nothing to rail against any more. Should she, through New Delhi’s dispensation, attain her ambition to rule the state, the people would be provided an opportunity to assess objectively persons, parties and programmes.Read the full article in The Telegraph
As if as a continuation of Outlook's cover-story this week, MJ Akbar has probably the best reason why the Left would back Congress:
The Left’s priority now will be to break the alliance between Congress and Mamata Banerjee before the Bengal Assembly elections. The easiest way to do so is to support the Congress in Delhi. This would force Mamata to go towards the NDA.And then he throws in a loop too:
But what if the Congress decided to stick to its ally in Bengal and dared the Left to support the NDA if they could? That would throw some exciting loops into the game, would it not?More here
Why are the social pathologies and the decline of cultural, moral and aesthetic standards in Britain more far-reaching and alarming than similar processes in the United States? Theodore Dalrymple believes that the policies of the British welfare state are responsible as they leave:
"many people in contemporary Britain with very little of importance to decide for themselves. … They are educated by the state (at least nominally) … the state provides for them in old age and has made savings unnecessary … they are treated and cured by the state when they are ill; they are housed by the state if they cannot otherwise afford decent housing. Their choices concern only sex and shopping....
"No wonder the British have changed in character, their sturdy independence replaced by passivity, querulousness, or even, at the lower reaches of society, a sullen resentment that not enough has been … done for them. For those at the bottom, such money as they receive is, in effect pocket money, … reserved for the satisfaction of whims. As a result they are infantilized. If they behave irresponsibly — for example by abandoning their own children … — it is because both the rewards for behaving responsibly and the penalties for behaving irresponsibly have vanished..."