ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From ‘Uprising’ to ‘Movement’

Populist radicalism with the demand for land is one register. Caste-based social antagonism is the other register. Following the Una uprising, the criss-crossing of these two registers defines the essence of the Dalit resistance in Gujarat today. Uprising/movement, Samiti/Manch are terms clarifying the nature of this criss-crossing.

The Idea of Democratic India

Patriots and Partisans by Ramachandra Guha (Delhi: Allen Lane), 2012; pp xvi + 334, Rs 699

Those Enemies of Freedom

Why does the political agency of the Muslims and other so-called marginalised groups, so often end up arrayed against the liberal values of secularism, freedom of speech and liberty? This article argues that the structure of politics in the Indian republic is such that any marginalised group wanting to exercise autonomous political agency beyond the paternalistic reform allowed by the state, will end up appearing sectarian and illiberal.

The Anti-Corruption Movement and Its False Divides

The "authoritarianism vs democracy" divide in the ongoing anti-corruption movement is a false one. It conceals the real unity of interests between the authoritarian upper middle class elitist agenda and the political class supposedly defending Indian democracy today. Where do the poor figure here?

Maoists and the Poor: Against Democracy?

Sections of the left do not want to intensify the political struggle of the poorest of the poor, but to - in one way or the other - revert to bourgeois "democracy", which is nothing but an instrument of class rule. The mantra seems to be to critique the present system without breaking with it in any fundamental way, and yet, condemn the Maoists as undemocratic.

Liberalism Betrayed?

Liberal democratic principles consider any form of mobilisation of the masses that is beyond the purview of the organs of the state to be illegal. Liberals also regard the masses as disinterested and "innocent"; it is claimed that radical parties such as the Nepali Maoists impose their will on the masses. Inevitably this conception of "innocent" masses and non-comprehension of radical mobilisation explain the surprise at the Maoist victory in Nepal. At the same time, does the participation of the Maoists in the liberal polity create the conditions for mass passivity and hence co-option within the same liberal framework?

Social Transformation and Political Power

To what extent is the Maoist project in Nepal headed towards a future proletarian state, which is what the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) claims in its party documents? Alternatively, is the project headed towards the formation of a radical left-nationalist, anti-imperialist state, fostering "economism"? The article first presents the main strands of social movement thinking, which are then critiqued for overlooking the question of political power and the deep structural unity between capital and the state. In contrast, it is subsequently pointed out, the Maoists have taken the question of political power as fundamental to their project of revolutionary social transformation. The paper argues that the Maoists' stated ideological objective of smashing the present state order and developing a new proletarian state does not seem to be adequately confirmed by the flow of their current practice. They seem unable to develop alernative organs of proletarian political power at the centre in order to consolidate the gains made in the base areas.

Democracy Contained

King Gyanendraâ??s proclamation of the restoration of the old parliament in Nepal is a ploy to stifle the process of free and autonomous self-reconstitution of Nepalese society. The political parties should have rejected this proclamation and carried forward the republican spirit of the pro-democracy movement.
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