If the Left has to recover, it must reinvent itself

by Prabhat Patnaik

The Telegraph | July 10, 2019

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury (extreme right) campaigning for Lok Sabha Election 2019 in West Bengal. Today there is little to distinguish the Left from others.

I am often asked: why has the Left, so powerful less than a decade ago, suddenly got eclipsed? The question is pertinent. True, the eclipse of the Left is mainly in the electoral arena, and the Left’s strength has to be judged in much more than electoral terms. But in one respect at least, which I consider important, the Left has got eclipsed, and this relates to its ability to draw young people into its fold. It has always been able to draw some of the best and the brightest among the youth into its ranks; it still does, but not to the same extent. The hope that with Hindutva’s ascendancy, there would be an influx of students to the ranks of the Left, which appeared justified some months ago, has been belied for the moment.Read More »

Tea workers in West Bengal to hold united rally

Peoples Dispatch | July 31, 2019

The Joint Forum of trade unions in the tea sector in the Indian state of West Bengal have called for a “united peaceful rally” on August 1. The Forum announced the rally during a meeting last week and stated that the goal is to press their long-standing demands. They also sent a memorandum to the district and national level government authorities, including the Planter’s Association, an employers association.

According to workers, their main grievances include the violation of the Minimum Wage Act and the Food Security Act, as well as the absence of a provision for household land rights to landless workers in tea plantation areas. The residents of tea gardens face a host of problems in enrolling in government welfare projects and are deprived of a secure, dignified life.Read More »

“The walls are the publishers of the poor”: JNU fights back

Peoples Dispatch | July 25, 2019

In the latest attack against progressive campus politics in the New Delhi based Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the university administration’s forceful removed wall graffiti, a significant part of JNU’s political, academic and pedagogic discourse.Resisting the move, on Tuesday, July 23rd, students from across the progressive political spectrum went on a protest and pasted posters on the university walls, reiterating revolutionary Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano’s words, that “the walls are the publishers of the poor”.

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India: Reject Information, Eject Tribals From Forests

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Countercurrents | June 14, 2019

There is an easy way of denying rights or declaring a rightful tribal an encroacher : Just deny him the information within time.

There is an easy way of denying rights or declaring a rightful tribal an encroacher. Just deny him the information within time. He is evicted from the forest where he was dwelling for generations.

Delay the order of rejection of claim by sixty days, so that he cannot appeal within prescribed 60 days. Or don’t send summons or don’t deliver them to right persons. It is not the issue of denial of information sought under RTI Act.Read More »

Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Samman and the International Workers Day

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Countercurrents | May 01, 2019

Lal Bahadur Shastri had given the slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ (Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer). This was in recognition of their contribution for national security and food security in the country. The point that was however missed out was the issue of ‘Jai Samman’. Being a part of the working class working towards protecting national territory or providing food security to the nation, both of them were missing on ‘Samman’.Read More »

India: Kanhaiya Kumar Breathes Winds of Change in Begusarai

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The Wire | April 29, 2019

Begusarai goes to vote today in the fourth phase of the 17th Lok Sabha elections. This year, the constituency has been in the spotlight all because of one name – Kanhaiya Kumar.

For a long time, Begusarai’s politics has been dominated by money-power and muscle-power. Caste, religion and regional equations have largely determined how people vote. The stories which earlier used to undergird elections in Begusarai were centred around which criminal was contesting and how polling booths were being captured.Read More »

The 1919 Amritsar Violence, Through Saadat Hasan Manto’s Eyes

by Raza Naeem

The Wire | April 09, 2019

This is the first article in a two-part series on Manto’s writing on Jallianwala Bagh.

‘I am the trader of sighs
To versify blood is my mission
Remaining winds of the garden!
Gather your refuges…for
My fiery songs
Are about to cause an upheaval within depressed bosoms.’

Amritsar was a city of worshippers of freedom. A 100 years ago this month, the city witnessed the bloody tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh.

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