India: Saffron symbolism in red bastion

by Arup Kumar Baisya

Frontier | March 11, 2018

The episodic event of demolition of Lenin’s statue has been reenacted from erstwhile USSR, the holy land of leftism to the state of Tripura, a small hinterland of Indian nation. People of the state consciously or unconsciously acquiesced with this onslaught on the symbol of left politics. Symbol always represents content. When the content of working class politics is nullified, the people cannot bear its imagery in their hearts and minds. This is what has happened in Tripura. The rejuvenated fascist forces with diabolically opposite content have replaced the decadent left in power. This was not the case in West Bengal where TMC snatched power from Left Front through an arduous struggle for the rights of the people. TMC grasped some of the content of the left without internalizing these ideologically. The content and ideology in two different continuums are creating inner conflict within the TMC formations. In Tripura, the victor is waving aloft the symbol of fascist ideology for the entire nation to see. Almost fifty years ago, Indian nation saw the flag of the revolutionary toiling masses from Naxalbari, a small village of North Bengal and this time the flag of the counter-revolution completing its full circle is visible from Belonia, a small town of Tripura. This is a shift from village to town. This also marks the beginning of the end of second round. The fascists know this and this explains their aggressive posturing on left’s dethronement. The hinterland may raise another red flag with symbol of Lenin’s image at the core when the fascists are losing ground in mainland. But to surmise this to happen, the deviations in left’s journey need to be identified and make the people aware of these deviations for rectifications. The left practitioners should not pretend that they are the repository of all knowledge and should follow the Marxist tenet of learning from the masses. This is one of the major follies of the Indian left practitioners that they never articulate their mistakes in public domain. The conspiratorial secrecy eats up the vital of the functioning of the party. How one can expect communist overture from the present CPIM ‘Bengali Bhadralok’ leaderships who criticizes Mamata Govt for promoting Kamtapuri language and alleged minority fundamentalism, even after the sudden fall from their cherished citadel of power in Tripura.Read More »

India: The Saffron Surge?

A Frontier Editorial | Vol. 49, No.37, Mar 19 – 25, 2017

By demolishing the predictions of all pre-poll surveys, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls by a thumping majority. It tried hard to win the polls and had a robust organisation. Their efforts have paid ample dividends.

The BJP supporters and ideologues have taken this opportunity to go on claiming that the poll results are a reflection of the endorsement of Modi’s ‘demonetaisation’ and ‘pro-poor’ measures. They called it a referendum on demonetisation which it was not. Those who witnessed the harassments of common money-using people in the wake of demonetisation can easily understand the falsity of this claim. And there is no evidence that Narendra Modi, after becoming the Prime Minister, has formulated a single policy that is directly in favour of the poor. His promise of creating 20 million jobs a year has also turned out to be a damp squib. His professed sympathy for Muslim women is dictated more by hatred of the Muslim community by the concern for his ‘Muslim sisters’. Remember the Israt Jahan case. Also remember that no Muslim woman was fielded as a BJP candidate. By not including any Muslim, man or woman, in its list of candidates, the BJP made it clear that it was not eager to reach out to the Muslim community. The tears about Muslim women were meant only to intensify communal polarisation.Read More »

India: Behind The Saffron Surge – Some Black & White facts

by Sandeep Banerjee

Frontier | 26 March, 2017

Apropos to your Editorial “The Saffron Surge?” in Frontier, Vol. 49, No. 37, Mar 19 – 25, 2017, I would like to place some supplementary points for perusal of the Editors and readers of this esteemed magazine.

14.05 crores of voters, 22.3 crores population… well, one may assume number of available workforce of able bodied population (excluding those above 60 or 65 years) above the age of 18 years or more, to be 12-13 crores. Those are all 2017 figures for Uttar Pradesh. And now the number of unemployed is more than 1 crore! Every 1 out of every 8 would like to work and earn but there is no job opening.  It was reported in more than one national daily in perhaps January 2017. While doing caste, religious and other arithmetic, many poll wizards did not give the unemployment issue due importance. A connected issue, somehow connected ‘from above’ by the media, is – development is the mantra of the age and it will eradicate unemployment, poverty etc problems. So, unemployment created a ‘demand’ of development. Added up, these two, i.e. unemployment and development took up the ‘main attention’ of more than a third of the population; 36% voted one of these two (in CSDS survey [1]) as no: 1 problem. And who doesn’t know that Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra stand for good employment prospect to migrant population of India, including those from Uttar Pradesh; and hence, for the migrant and would-be migrant populace, BJP with its development slogan and actualities of some states, albeit some ‘scars and bloodstains’, may mean ‘business’… this idea might as well worked for BJP in UP.Read More »