Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I have had too much

By M. L. Raina

Time was when being a dissident meant being someone who does not swallow myths and shibboleths wholesale. My gospel then was not Marx but a slim volume by the American philosopher Barry Denham whose book Man Against Myth I read with  religious zeal.

For me the time of dissidence is no more. I have reached a state of dissonance when everything sounds out of tune, out of rhythm for me.I have given up on hope, that overarching something that Ernst Bloch the  Marxist philosopher regarded as the mainstay of human endeavour.That hope is now overtaken by  the new mushroom cloud of despair hanging over all of us. A maverick East German poet Wolf Bierman,beset like me with the feelings of disconnectedness,wrote 'dreams that are still red/and not to be buried with our dead'. That was when he hoped that communism would survive. But when his hopes crumbled with the collapse of communism, he came out with: 'well, who preaches hope is a liar/ but he who kills hope/ is a pig/ and I do both and cry:/ please take what you need!/ too much would be unhealthy.'

But I have had too much already. Too much of the bullying by the working class who work at my home for money but would abide by their own union- ordained work practice (far from being the carriers of human liberation, as dewy-eyed Marxists believed, they continue to be parasites, the shirking, cheating malingerers who would think nothing of exploiting you just because you pay them a decent wage).

I have had too much of the contortionist Orwellianism of our politicians, our Singhs and Advanis, our Yechurys and Lalus. They would stoop to any level to give partisan covering to even terrible tragedies.The Maoist bandits who killed all those dozens yesterday couldn't have found better apologists than our self-anointed progressive intellectuals (the delphic oracle of the left Ms Roy once even called them Gandhians). Their refrain is: only landless Adivasis become Maoists. But we know Maoist think nothing of using Adivasis against the state,they even loot and plunder.

I have had too much of the bluster of our politicians lording it over our sports bodies,justifying the plunder of our fans as entertainment.the pity is no one sees the rot festering underneath the glitter, not the feuding leaders who unite only for pelf.

I have had too much of our Marxist ideologues buttressing rank casteists like Mulayam and Mayawati just because they are, to quote Yechury, 'secular'.
I have had too much of Modi- aiting by these false prophets of 'secularism'.

I have had too much of our secularists giving ideological support to Muslim communalism in Kashmir that parades itself as the voice of the people there.They even condone their philandering with Hafiz Saeeds and Imran Khans. Never heard a squeak from Tarigami against the Separatists?

In other words, I have had too much of myself believing all those lies and canards, hoping that some of them may perchance be true. But now, in Bierman's words, "I am sick...of all the political battles/ Tell me when will all this pain end?/ only when the new pain comes?".
May be I should adopt the Brechtian strategy and 'stay at ones post/ even if their fingers are at your throat/ you can help with your silence.'

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The highest destiny for identities is to be consecrated to their own transcendence

Editor’s Note

South Asian Ensemble 

Vol. 5 No. 1&2 Winter & Spring 2013

South Asia today is crawling with things that have appointed themselves as saviours and fosterers of identity cultures. This has not happened over a weekend but unfolded over a century and more. The accelerated globalization, as crafted by its neoliberal caretakers, has served to inflate the vanity of the crawling new armies of cultural occupation. It has augmented their local cunning by lending them the tools to forge new rationales. ‘We must be rooted in our soil,’ they mumble sinisterly, yet hopping from continent to continent. 

Yes, we must be rooted in our soil. But what is soil? What is its genesis? Can anyone slice it up between us and them and others? What brings fertility to the soil? And what brings upon it the curse of barrenness? 

To be rooted in the soil is to experience the withering away of any exclusively defined identity claims to intellectual, affective and cultural property rights. 

Soil absorbs, transforms and only so preserves what comes to and partakes of it. 

Soil knows no walls and respects no fences. 

Soil lies and rolls and flies and dissolves. 

Soil engenders and feeds and nurtures. 

Soil buries. 

Soil holds. 

Soil lets go. 

Soil does not advertise itself in the flower’s petals. 

This Winter-Spring number of South Asian Ensemble affirms yet again, in its many offerings, the paradox that to belong is to be free. That only the free can belong. 

As the varied literary offerings in these pages exemplify, the highest destiny for identities is to be consecrated to their own transcendence. 

Rajesh Sharma

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cricket And Capital

By Badri Raina

When we played cricket,
Indian Capitalism was still in its
Shamefaced early days,
Morally strangulated by unrewarding
Socialist ways. We spent what
Money we could muster
From parent and filibuster
Just to buy the cheapest bat or ball;
Hardly anyone ever thought
Of leg guards at all.
Off we went, regardless of weather,
And joyfully hurled or smashed some leather.
There were neither bookies nor bank accounts,
Nor the hang-dog looks of salivating mouths.
Since then, with Nehru’s demise, India
Has “come a long way” don’t we know;
As GDP soars could cricket remain below?
Yet still we pretend that corruption is bad,
When corruption has been our national goal, egad.
Not without corruption may Capital multiply,
Imagine how many cricket now does gainfully employ.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lawlessness is coming to be the destiny of India

By Rajesh Sharma

Lawlessness is coming to be the destiny of India. 

And it goes masked under lawfulness and propriety. 

As we fathom greater depths of venality and deceit, experts, specialists, technocrats, managers and ‘intellectuals’ are working overtime to produce effects of oh-so-much happening. A reactive hyperactivity, whose fountainhead is the media, is radiating from tv screens. 

Has not the media, whatever the intentions of those who are motivated nobly, come to function as a machine of distraction, consolation, vicarious rage? In short, the Bad Conscience of the Indian people?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Manmohan Singh’s ‘management’ of democracy is making democracy redundant

-         By  Rajesh Sharma

The Coalgate is getting murkier by the hour. 

After what reportedly transpired in the Supreme Court today on 8th May, the media is all aflutter with speculation. Will the Law Minister go? Should he? Will the deities up there ask him to exit? And the Railway Minister?

The PM is said to be supporting the continuation of the ministers.

Is he doing it on his own or under someone’s directions? It matters little. What matters is what his conduct means for India and its people. And for whatever is still left of democracy here. 

This is not a display of amazing political nerve by an I-am-no-politician. This is not a demonstration of loyalty towards party and colleagues. This is not some ascetic indifference to little storms in a tea cup. This is not courage of conviction.

This is a systematic destruction of the institutions on whose strength post-independence India has managed to survive. Silence, stone-walling, the brazenness to weather any storm – believing it too will blow over, these can undermine people’s trust in the efficacy of the institutions of democracy. These can undermine the confidence which institutions need in themselves in order to function.

Manmohan Singh’s ‘management’ of democracy is making democracy redundant.

Are we willing and prepared to live with its consequences?