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

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Anti-Corruption Movement and the Left

The anti-corruption movement is by no means without conflict; there is enormous potential both for democratisation as well as for a right-ward shift. Neither trend is inevitable; which one emerges triumphant depends to a large extent on how the various sections of the broad Left respond.

“Middle-class”, “upper-caste Hindu”, “anti-politics”, “fascist” –these epithets are repeatedly applied to the anti-corruption movement by a section of left intellectuals despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Such criticism of the movement is a priori and ideological, and no mere evidence can plant a seed of doubt or introduce a moment of introspection. It arises from a deep constitutive unease about mass politics per se. “The People” are acceptable only once they have been tamed by academic discourse, pressed into the pages of history books and slotted into familiar and comforting theoretical frameworks handed down from histories of other places, other times, other movements – Jacobinism, fascism, anti-Mandal, Ram Janmabhoomi, even the Tea Party movement in the US.

Should we not address a movement in its own terms, in its own time and space, and allow for the faint possibility that it is not merely replicating something that has already, always, happened elsewhere?

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