Thursday, November 26, 2015

What a common Muslim thinks of ISIS Terror?

 Motiur Rahman Khan


Paris attack last week (November 13, 2015) came as a shocker for the Muslims of India, who are already living under watching eyes of their friends and neighbors for their ‘inherent qualities’ of eating beef, ‘love jihad’, ‘intolerant and violent nature’, ‘keeping more than one wife’ and ‘breeding like pigs—which ultimately led to increase in their population growth percentage which is more than that of Hindus’. This attack has further added suspicion and has created a trust-deficit among the communities. Many groups organized silent marches in support of Paris all over the country the same day. Everyone was almost more than ready to condemn the barbaric attack in whatever capacity and manner they could have done. Whereas some others, while standing with Parisians in this hour of grief, also questioned the selective pain for Paris as other cities in Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey also suffered such attacks within 36 hours of Paris attack. While all these activities were going on in public spaces, I wanted to understand the common Muslims’ perspective: what they discuss in tea shops, at barber’s place while waiting for their turn for a hairdo or after disassembling from a formal meeting for a protest against the attack. My methodology was just listening to these people without intervening into the discussion so that I may not, unnecessarily, inject my understanding of the events.  Here is what I gathered from the discussions:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Imagining New Individuality with Marx

Satyaki Roy


In the wake of industrial revolution with the advent of mechanisation, deep division of labour, commerce and exploitation the romantic revolt in the realm of thought was against fragmenting of the human self. The ‘whole man’ is fragmented into its usable parts, he is de-figured distorted and appended to the needs of machines, deformed and dwarfed as it suits for the production of commodities. European romantic mind was critical about this fragment of the whole man, where ‘he becomes nothing more than the imprint of his occupation or of his specialized knowledge.’ This was also the point of departure of young Marx who at the age of twenty-one writes in his doctoral thesis at Berlin University: “Thus when the universal sun has set, does the moth seek the lamp light of privacy!” The quest was to reinvent this ‘universal sun’, the fragment to be reintegrated with the societal existence; the lamp light of privacy that revolves forever inside his own skin has to be defeated by a new social dawn. Think of the cosmic ‘I’, the World Spirit who is the creator in Hegel’s philosophy passing through various stages of ‘estrangement’ and finally giving rise to an all-embracing self-consciousness. Marx’s one was the material obverse of this dialectical journey, the man deformed, dehumanized, fragmented, alienated, exploited and oppressed passes through various stages of struggle and reborn into a whole man. The struggle informed by the philosophy of praxis not only changes the objective world around but in that process changes the subject as well. But why this ‘universal sun’ has set and how to embrace the dawn of whole man was the passionate intellectual exercise of Marx through his entire life. Instead of conceiving a disconnect between 'young Marx' who appears to be more Hegelian and that of 'matured Marx' as seen to be built in structures one can see a continuity with varying focus.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

‘The Bolsheviks are coming’: the haunting of the Empire from London to Calcutta

Suchetana Chattopadhyay


That sinking feeling

At four o’clock in the afternoon on the last day of 1917, the British war cabinet met in Downing Street to consider the new Bolshevik regime’s peace proposals to Germany. Despite suspicions directed at both the Germans and the Bolsheviks, it was recognised in a climate of war fatigue that the latter sought a ‘Just Peace’. When the war cabinet reassembled the following day the tone had changed. The Bolsheviks, it was felt, had a programme of their own; inimical to British interests, they were probably advocating the cause of the enemy. This preliminary judgment on New Year’s Day 1918 would henceforth penetrate all such discussions, fuelled from the top and taken up by news agencies to manufacture public consent. Informed by prosaic considerations as well as xenophobic stereotyping, official perceptions and policies were supported and reinforced in the public sphere through networks of newspaper reports and informal rumours. The Bolsheviks were initially projected as Germany’s agents, and after the fall of Germany as its successor as public enemy. In fact, Britain’s rulers recognised, as contemporary records show, that the Bolsheviks were not a creation of the Germans, that the Kaiser Reich was interested in crushing them in the near future and that the Bolsheviks had not artificially fomented the mass upheavals in Russia. Rather, they had given a coherent political direction to the chaotic protests against the tsarist autocracy and a feeble provisional government.

Friday, November 6, 2015

What does 1917 represent in 2015?

Vijay Prashad


Coming soon is the centenary of the two Russian Revolutions of 1917 – the February Revolution that overthrew the Tsar’s regime and the October Revolution that set aside the dithering government of Alexander Kerensky. Lenin, who had returned to Russia from exile, saw that behind Kerensky’s government was “merely a screen for the counter revolutionary Cadets and the military clique, which is in power at present.” They had to be overthrown. That is what the Petrograd Soviet did.