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The Other Side of the Moon-E M Forster s India

The theme of E M Forster s "A Passage to India" has aroused controversy. According to some critics, the political background of the novel is deceptive and the novel is really concerned with metaphysical ideas. Others emphasise the political nature of the incidents and their repercussions; in this view, the novel is really about the struggle between British liberalism and Britain's imperial role in India, This paper suggests that both these approaches are incorrect and inadequate. Underneath the glow of imperial and native rhetoric, the author argues, Forster never disavowed colonialism' The novel represents the crisis of the liberal faith in which India is the echoing background and against which the liberal conscience reveals its hollowness.

Little Nationalism Turned Chauvinist

Little Nationalism Turned Chauvinist Hiren Gohain SANJIB KUMAR BARUAH (April 11) duly wins our admiration for his full- throated raptures at his own discoveries, but I see no reason to accept his qualification of my self-criticism as only 'half-hearted'. Since the point however is neither trivial nor personal, I feel bound to correct him here.

Little Nationalism Turned Chauvinist-A Comment

February 28, 1981 Little Nationalism Turned Chauvinist A Comment Hiren Gohain THERE can be little dispute about much of Amalendu Guha's sober and patient analysis of the Assam Movement But I have certain reservations and criticisms about the general direction of the argument. Such criticism does not follow from opportunism, but from a close observation in the field where time is ripe for a leftist initiative. Though Guha's article is an exception, one gets uneasy about the spate of statistics covering up a reluctance to face the issue squarely in many of the recent articles on Assam. Let me try therefore to give a plain account of the issues as they strike me.

ASSAM-Worse Times Ahead

ASSAM Worse Times Ahead Hiren Gohain ONE particular form of sport that has become rather popular of late in Assam is the karate. Apart from the usual spectacular stunts like brick-chopping and stick-breaking, there is a special reason for its current popularity; the Bruce Lee cult. The cult is characterised by a half-witted division of mankind into the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys', and in Assam this assumes the form of confrontation between the natives and the bongals, It is of course the divine right of the chauvinists here to trap and chastise the 'bad guys'

ASSAM-Tangle Jargonised

Sanjib Barua argues in his reply (May 17) to my rejoinder (April 19) that the peaceful processions and satyagrabas are the defining elements in the current movement in Assam. Supposing that he comes down from his lofty perch and looks a little closely at the Nazi movement in pro-war Germany, The monster rallies and processions were singularly disciplined, quite 'peaceful' and even aesthetically spectacular. But it is common knowledge today that those were the facade behind which a murderous witch-hunt of Jews, liberals and Communists was going on. I am not saying that the Assam movement is a carboncopy of that terrible blight upon civilisation. But it should at least instil in us a little scepticism regarding the propaganda accompanying the movement. 

Assam II: Tangled Theories

Sanjib K Barua in his rejoinder (EPW, March 15) to my article (EPW, February 23) not only deliberately twists and distorts my views to suit his peculiar argument but seems bent on rationalising the position of the Assamese elite, vanguard of the present chauvinist movement, with sleek sociological jargon.

ASSAM-Fall-Out of Underdevelopment

ASSAM Fall-Out of Underdevelopment Hiren Gohain IT is naturally difficult to supply irrefutable evidence of foreign complicity in the present agitation in Assam, though the circumstantial evidence is impressive. Besides, there is the danger of subjective bias. Our friends in the CPI think that the links forged by the movement witth the Mizos and the Nagas are sufficient evidence to establish the involvement of China, though in my opinion such a reading is far-fetched.

ASSAM-Cudgel of Chauvinism

It is the function of social science to penetrate the fog of ideology and discern the true shape and sequence of events. The recent disturbances in Assam have once again brought home this lesson to us. The agitation over the presence of so-called 'foreign nationals' has grown into a massive movement, bringing out into the streets hundreds of thousands of ordinary men and women passionately committed to defending Assam from an alleged 'silent invasion' by foreigners, sowing seeds of deep suspicion and mistrust among different communities who have been living as peaceable neighbours for generations, and causing outbreaks of mob violence in which hundreds have lost their lives and thousands have been uprooted from their homes.

Politics of a Plantation Economy

Politics of a Plantation Economy Hiren Gohain Planter Raj to Swaraj: Freedom Struggle and Electoral Politics in Assam, 1826-1947 by Amalendu Guha; Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, 1977; pp xvi + 392, Rs 45.


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