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

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A Hard Rain Falling

Violence is the very grammar of exploitation and oppression related to class, caste, sex and race. It has always borne the tendency to break free of institutional constraints and become a force in itself. That is why bands of warriors are the most stable feature of class society. apitalism thrives on violence. Tragically however, the major communist currents in India today, instead of providing a wholesome alternative to violent reality, have become an indistinguishable feature of it.

He went to bed, turned on the BBC World News and switched it off again. Half-truths. Quarter-truths. What the world really knows about itself, it doesn’t dare say.

–John le Carre, in Our Kind of Traitor

A baleful feature of contemporary Indian politics is the subjugation of the mind to partisanship in the narrowest sense. All commentary appears as the standpoint of this or that party, and hence not worthy of conside­ration by anyone other than the faithful. Serious dialogue fades away, and all we do is hurl “positions” at one another. Communalism is identified with one party, casteism with another, corru­ption with a third. Conversation is redu­ced to sloganeering. We forget that the polity as a whole exhibits all these complex phenomena, regardless of which party commands power. And we also ignore the more far-reaching ­enquiry, into the acceptability of contro­lled mobs, private armies, vigilante groups and political assassination. These bloodthirsty practices are driven by community honour, party loyalty, caste pride or pragmatic realism. One way or another, they signify a return to a pre-political condition imbued by the dogma that might is right.

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