ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Sumanta BanerjeeSubscribe to Sumanta Banerjee

End of a Phase: Time for Reinventing the Left

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the CPI(Maoist) have, in their respective journeys, reached a blind alley. The impasse is not peculiar to the Indian situation. It reflects the worldwide crisis of Marxism, and is rooted to the historical experience of the international communist movement, in general, over the last century or so. It will take a long time to restore the bruised moral values which are based on respect and struggle for the freedom of the individual - values that are inherent in Marxist humanism.

The Pathology of India's Security Forces

Will liberal humanists care to look at the track record of India's paramilitary forces and their brutalisation by the State which has turned them into robots conditioned to press the trigger at anyone dissenting against the State's policies? These guns make no distinction between the Gandhians and the Maoists, between the peaceful anti-steel plant agitation in Kalinganagar and the armed resistance of forest dwellers in Chhattisgarh, between non-violent and violent movements. If the ruling powers continue to ignore popular grievances and shrink the space for democratic protest through peaceful avenues, the democratic urge will then take the form of violent resistance against the paramilitary forces which have been deployed against them.

Gyaneshwari Express Sabotage - II

Even a week after the destruction of the Gyaneshwari Express on 28 May, none among the important CPI(Maoist) leaders and spokespersons – Ganpathi, Kishenji, Ramanna, Azad, among others – has as yet officially come out with a public statement denying their role (or owning up).

Mediating between Violence and Non-violence in the Discourse of Protest

As long as the present generation of the powerful, whether the rulers in Washington or in New Delhi, persists with the practice of depending on its armed infrastructure to lord over the political space and establish hegemony over civil society, and fails to learn that such a policy invariably escalates a cycle of violence, the language of discourse in the relationship of the powerful and the powerless will be dominated by violence. In India today, how can there be a non-violent resolution of the major confl icts that are plaguing our society?

Washing Dirty Bengali Dhuti in Public

What does one make of the present generation of time-serving Bengali intellectuals, quack literati and their culturally half-baked political patrons? The most prominent specimen of the latter is Mamata Banerjee, whose rise in West Bengal politics is a sign of the bankruptcy of the traditional Bengali left, as well as the political cul-de-sac that the intelligentsia are facing. As for the latter, it is a combination of naivety among a few, a knee-jerk support for an opposition political leader by some, and a calculated bid by others to make hay under her patronage, that has paved the way for Mamata's success in the Bengali cultural scene.

Critiquing the Programme of Action of the Maoists

A response to the Communist Party of India (Maoist) comment (19 September 2009) on Sumanta Banerjee's earlier article (2 May 2009), raising larger questions on the CPI(Maoist) strategies and tactics.

Two Parallel Narratives

The case of the Sri Ram Sene leader Pramod Muthalik, who is facing some 40 criminal cases in Karnataka, epitomises the Indian state's pussyfooting in dealing with Hindu religious extremists, while that of the Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy typifies the same state's trampling down on dissenters upholding the cause of the poorer classes. In parallel, the confrontation between the morality of those who govern the Indian state and that of their Maoist opponents can best be encapsulated in a recapitulation of the careers of Union Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram and the Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy.

Deja vu at the Celebration of Massacres

Terrorists of both the Hindu and Islamic varieties continue to celebrate their acts of massacre, thanks to the patronage they receive from their respective states.

Beyond the Debacle

The present plight of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) reflects the crisis of a social-democratic party, its initial success in the power game of bourgeois parliamentary politics going to its head, and making it gradually move away from its original support base among the poor. But all is not lost, for the CPI(M) is not the sole repository of the leftist cause. There are other movements anchored more steadfastly in the values of social justice and equitable distribution of resources. The leaders of these popular movements will have to recognise and negotiate with the armed Maoist insurgents who have carved out a base among vast sections of the tribal and dalit poor in swathes stretching from the forests of Dandakaranya in the west to Jangalmahal in the east, Lalgarh being their latest signpost.


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