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Calcutta Diary

May Day is a paid holiday in Calcutta — and in West Bengal. In the afternoon, unending processions of the labouring classes converge on the maidan ; they are entertained to passionate speeches by the leaders, the brotherhood of the international proletariat is fullthroatedly proclaimed. But...

Calcutta Diary

The dialectics of ensuring home employment vis-à-vis outsourcing for higher profits is very much joined. Outsourcing is bad for the working class at both ends of the spectrum - in the developed as well as in the underdeveloped countries. The interests of organised labour are adversely affected by outsourcing everywhere, either immediately or with a time-lag.

Calcutta Diary

The Indian oligarchs have taken care of themselves. They are already integrated nationally. The next milestone is transit to international integration. But while our elites integrate with the rest of the world, our subaltern constituents - the nation's overwhelming majority - tear one another apart.

Calcutta Diary

The United States is a trapped elephant; it evokes, with every day, a little less fear and a little more contempt. Its capacity to dispense favours is markedly getting depleted.

Calcutta Diary

Irrespective of whether one applies the criterion of parliamentary or extra-parliamentary influence, Marxists and not revanchists of the Togadia-Singhal brand reflect the overwhelming vox populi in Nepal. A book recently published offers some clues as to why Nepal could escape India's fate.

Calcutta Diary

As economic circumstances worsen, ordinary people come under intense pressure. They have to ventilate their ire and anguish, they have no alternative but to march and organise meetings. They must attract general attention toward themselves and their problems. It is pointless to ask them to do so only after office hours, at dead of night or on Sundays; the rallies would then be purposeless, for they would fail to get attention. As members of society, those who are victims of â?? or at least consider themselves to be victims of â?? a grievous outrage would claim to have the democratic right to disturb the normal texture of civic living so as to make society aware where exactly the shoe pinches.

Calcutta Diary

Whether joining this side or that, we are a community of murderers. Those belonging to our team are described as heads of states; those lined up against us are a dirty bunch of despicable killers. Even so, a parenthetical doubt persists. Is imperial aggrandisement just funny? Or bestial cruelty?

Calcutta Diary

The political bosses would not like Kashmir to be dropped from the agenda. They have a vested interest in Kashmir, for they have a vested interest in defence and security outlays; commissions from contracts and purchases make the wherewithal of their good living. Is it though not time for revolt? Why cannot the powers-that-be be told that enough was enough, their daily perambulations are a hokum, a great confidence trick intended to cheat the common people, but the people will no longer be cheated?

Calcutta Diary

The curse of the empire will not leave us. The curse of the empire has rendered existence in Calcutta into a mournful colonial experience. Much worse, it has kept in bondage scholars and scholastic pretenders across the entire country even after more than half a century of formal political freedom. It is in any case a pretty long legacy. Charvaka, let us admit, was the last original thinker this land has produced.

Calcutta Diary

If the law pinches, just abolish the law. Indian politicians are about to do just that. Legislation is on the anvil to abolish the nasty provision requiring that those wanting to get elected to the Rajya Sabha from a particular state must be 'ordinarily resident' in that state. Once that happens, the states doing poorly would continue to fall behind, no 'pork barrels' to help them out; the members they would elect to the Rajya Sabha would belong to the species of carpet-baggers, without any sense of loyalty to the electing states, and no prick of conscience to bother them either.

Calcutta Diary

It is not that Subhas Mukhopadhyay did not receive enough of prizes and rewards when he was a card-carrying communist. He was a household name in Bengali left households, generations have been reared, and inspired, by his poetry and prose. But once bitten by the bug of disillusion, he got hopelessly disequilibrated. He migrated from faith into cynicism. He chose, particularly during the closing years, coarse company. It was a coarse funeral he received. It is a cruel thing to say, but he dug his own grave. It is a tragedy, but there it is.

Calcutta Diary

Unchanging India, and even the World Bank has now joined the troupe of excuse-mongers: India has been unable to reap the full advantages of liberalisation because of natural calamities that have befallen the country. Suppose some dull character were to ask whether the entire point of development was not to extricate the economy from the vicissitudes of nature, what answer would the mandarins, including the foreign ones, provide?

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