ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dilemmas of the Indian Left

This refers to the article by Supriya RoyChowdhury entitled ‘The Intellectual-Left Stand-off’ (March 31). The author has adequately highlighted the tension between the intellectual left and the political left in India in general, and West Bengal in particular. Apparently this tension has always persisted between the two not only in India but all over the world due to a variety of historical and political reasons. The political developments and events preceding the Nandigram killings are only a manifestation of this problem. In this context, it is pertinent to examine the reasons for tension between the political left and the intellectual left in India.

The rift between the intellectual left and the political left has widened and become more apparent since the left support extended to the United Progressive Alliance government from the outside in a hung Parliament. The political left has come to realise that in public life political actors do not necessarily take rational or just decisions but are sometimes compelled to choose a lesser evil keeping in mind one’s long-term political goals. The record of the political left in advancing progressive causes remains very mixed; in effect, they are hardly able to prevail over their dominant coalition partners. But the intellectual left perceives every deviation or aberration from ideological precept as compromising the interests of the left’s traditional mass base.

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