• The Idea of India

    When the ‘fascist’ Narendra Modi was coming close to becoming India’s Prime Minister, intellectuals told us that he would be a threat to the very idea of an inclusive and democratic India.  Amartya Sen declared that he cannot be part of an India which has Modi as its PM.  Modi is now PM, but nowhere […]

  • Excerpt from “Whither Maoists?”

    “The sheen of Maoist political ideology seems to be wearing off . . . do we have an instance where Maoists have stopped mining operations in affected areas or have taken up the cause of the tribals for higher wages or better living and working conditions for them?  If they have done so sometimes, the […]

  • ‘The Dangers are Great, the Possibilities Immense’

    It is always easy to criticize and dismiss an argument in its weakest formulation. Attacking the policies of the security-centric Indian state establishment, particularly the Home Minister, today does not need much daring. So let us instead take the benign, almost humanist utterance of the Prime Minister in his address to state police chiefs in September 2009: don’t forget, he said, that the Maoist movement has support among the poorest of the poor in the country. Those on the left opposing the impending armed state offensive often invoke this quote from the PM to buttress their point about how these are really poor people, innocent civilians and ordinary villagers who will suffer if the offensive is undertaken

  • ‘The Dangers Are Great, the Possibilities Immense’1: The Ongoing Political Struggle in India

    “What made Spence dangerous to the bourgeoisie was not that he was a proletarian nor that he had ideas opposed to private property but that he was both.” — Peter Linebaugh.2 ‘Poorest of the Poor’ and Politics It is always easy to criticize and dismiss an argument in its weakest formulation.  Attacking the policies of […]

  • Lalgarh and the Radicalisation of Resistance: From ‘Ordinary Civilians’ to Political Subjects?

    One image stands out from the Lalgarh resistance.  Chattradhar Mahato, the most visible leader of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), distributing food to ordinary villagers — not as a high-up leader doing charity but as one among them.  Is this the ‘new’ image of the Maoist?  But maybe Mahato is not a Maoist […]