Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Art & the October Revolution

Rahul Vaidya

"The Streets are our brushes, the Squares our palettes"-Vladimir Mayakovski

The October Revolution in 1917, USSR and its fall in 1991 have all become part of a history which seems far too distant. The world has changed beyond recognition over past couple of decades with financial globalization, technological advance of internet and social networks, fundamentalist terror and rising far-Right forces, especially in the wake of financial crisis that broke out in 2008. The all pervading sense of euphoria around the dictum ‘There is no alternative’ to liberal capitalism after fall of USSR has been replaced by a fear that the only alternative would be ‘end of the world’ in climatic or terrorist catastrophe. And ironically, this dystopian fear sums up the state of our ideological universe. Fredric Jameson hence had once remarked ‘it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism’ which points to a resigned, cynical and almost fatalist acceptance of capitalist mode of production. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

‘Demonetization’: Beyond the Hype

Surajit Mazumdar

Much hype has surrounded the dramatic announcement by the PM on 8th November that the existing Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes would cease to be legal tender within a few hours of that announcement. Statements such as “A historic step to fight corruption, black money, terrorism and counterfeit currency” or the “boldest decision in the financial history of independent India” are representative of the way the measure has been sought to be described by the ruling regime and its support brigade. Any criticism of the move has been met by taunts suggesting that it is nothing but attempts to sabotage the all-out war against corruption, black money and terrorism launched by the Modi Government. The daily reports in the media about serpentine queues, non-functioning ATMs and cashless bank branches, disruption of trade are dismissed as temporary inconveniences which all ‘patriotic’ Indians are ‘cheerfully’ bearing (even though they appear to be extremely frustrated).