ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reimagining ‘New Democracy,’ Rethinking Radical Politics

Capitalism, especially Indian capitalism with its monstrous inequalities, has proved to be totally incompatible with democracy when the latter is understood in terms of its basic principles and aspirations—liberty, equality, and comradeship (fraternity is not the appropriate word now). But in transforming Indian society to ensure a better future for the Indian people, radical politics must preserve the kernel of the liberal–political tradition in the process of transcending that heritage. While keeping in place its historic legacy, “New Democracy” needs to be reimagined as part of a longer, truly democratic, human needs-based “political transition period” on the road to socialism.

India’s Rotten Democracy and the Maoist Movement

Storming the Gates of Heaven: The Maoist Movement in India—A Critical Study, 1972–2014 by Amit Bhattacharyya, Kolkata: Setu Prakashani, 2016; pp v + 557, 1,200.

The Burning Forest: India’s War in Bastar by Nandini Sundar, New Delhi: Juggernaut Books, 2016; pp xvi + 413, 699.

In Struggle, Education of the Educator

Welcoming C P Bhambri’s call to debate (10 August 2013) the propositions in the article “‘The Near and the Far’: Why Is India’s Liberal-Political Democracy Rotten?” (1 June 2013), the author of this article argues that expecting a peaceful mass movement aimed at carrying out a “revolution” is only daydreaming. A mass movement that has revolution as its ultimate goal will, almost inevitably, necessarily assume a violent form in the face of state repression. But cruelty and brutality must never be a part of the means of revolution. We educators need to be educated, and our best education can take place only in struggle, for correct knowledge is also a struggle, and can be a deep one at that.

On a Long March

Here is a review of Sanjay Kak’s new film, Red Ant Dream, which is about “those who live the revolutionary ideal in India”. In a sense, it covers a long march, from the times of Bhagat Singh to those of the Maoist revolutionary, Azad. The film, when the camera is in Bastar and in the Niyamgiri Hills, brings to us the culture of vitality over there, a way of life that is rooted in nature and in the struggles of the adivasis who are closest to nature, this culture blending with that of the Maoists who have brought to the adivasis memory and dreams of “far away insurrections and revolutions – Naxalbari, China, Russia, even the Paris Commune of 1871”.

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