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

Politics and Ideas of Rammanohar LohiaSubscribe to Politics and Ideas of Rammanohar Lohia

On Remembering Lohia

During his life, Rammanohar Lohia paid the price for three "sins" that the opinion-making class could never forgive him for - he attacked Nehru repeatedly at a time when Nehru was god-like, he led a vigorous and voluble campaign against English and he publicly questioned upper caste dominance and advocated caste-based affirmative action. No wonder Lohia was persona non grata to the upper-caste, English-speaking elite, from Congress supporters to communists. The Nehru-left dominance of Indian academia and media ensured that a caricature of Lohia became his dominant image. On the occasion of his birth centenary this year, there has been fortunately a renewed political curiosity about Lohia and there is some reason to hope that serious, meticulous and critical scholarship on his politics and ideas may indeed take off. This special issue on the thought and politics of Rammanohar Lohia is offered in this hope.

Understanding Capitalism through Lohia

Extending Lohia to our times, we can infer an important truth about capitalism. Capitalist development cannot take place without colonial or neocolonial exploitation. In the absence of external colonies or neocolonies, capitalism tries to create internal colonies, but they are not enough for full-fledged modern industrial development, which requires both exploitation of labour and the plunder and destruction of natural resources on a global scale. If internal colonial exploitation is fundamental to capitalism and unequal exchange in various forms is one of its important mechanisms, the Third World can be liberated only when it breaks away from the present system of international trade, exchange and finance and looks at ways of building an alternative society in all senses.
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