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

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The Left and the Third Front

Pritam Singh (EPW, 21 March 2009) has outlined the (significant) ideological differences of the left, lower caste and r egional parties in a concise manner, whilst attempting to point out how all these parties can possibly work together as a sustainable Third Front (TF) alliance and give the Indian voter a real good a lternative, for challenging the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

There is one aspect of the article where I would have liked Singh to emphasise more strongly – the left’s role in addressing the caste issue. The left has traditionally purported values of egalitarianism and class equality. While such values are of great relevance, caste oppression, in my opinion, is one of the most pervasive and volatile issues in India. In a so-called democratic country like India, the caste system is a most shameful, discriminatory and draconian custom. I strongly believe that there ought to be huge onus on the left to address the caste oppression issue head on, in a real explicit manner.

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