Month: April 2007

Beyond the Judiciary – Reservation as Reparation

By Saswat Pattanayak (Written for Radical Notes Thursday, 19 April 2007) “The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expressions of the dominant material relations, the dominant material relations grasped as ideas; hence of the relations which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance” (Marx and Engels). The recent Supreme Court of India decision imposing a stay on the implementation of the 27 percent reservation for the “other backward classes” (OBCs) in elite institutions is a desperate attempt to secure a few public institutions exclusively for the ‘meritorious’ few, whose merit rests on accumulated wealth, connections and opportunities. This is also an attempt to draw a limit to the concessions that a neoliberal regime can admit (for the sake of public legitimacy) against capitalism’s Malthusian values which it is supposed to protect. Already the ruling classes in India – the capitalists and their political and institutional henchmen have been troubled by the growing demand for affirmative action in the private sector. The SC decision comes as a relief for the …

Gun Control is the Key Question

Virginia Tech massacre is probably the biggest such incident in the US history. But if media reports continue to term it as only thus, it will turn out as even a bigger tragedy. School shootings are neither new nor infrequent in the US. In fact, hardly a year passes us by when we do not encounter the grim realities of gun trotting on campus areas. And yet, each time there are shootings, the prompt official methods turn out to be “offering prayers”. There is nothing wrong in offering prayers, and indeed when deep sorrows affect people collectively, all we seek for is healing. But once the hours pass us by, we must reflect back in order to repair and prevent the crisis from recurring. And even as all of us are still shocked over the tragedy, let not the crucial issues go unaddressed. Weapons of Mass Destruction: The truth is guns are the biggest weapons of mass destruction. They are like cigarettes. No matter how much we brand certain drugs to be injurious and no …

Tax Deduction Day: Together We Sink

Today will be remarkable for its deep venality and outright disgust. To add to the tragedy, not that many will mind it a wee bit. But as people will rush to finish filing taxes to meet tomorrow’s deadlines, it is perhaps a time to candidly examine the system of taxation that defines capitalism to a great extent. For whom the taxes toll? Instead of a banal question that wonders if taxation is a good thing or a bad thing (which is as debatable as ethics of don Imus), lets ask if it serves the purpose –and more importantly, whose purpose. Logically, the taxation system must be serving some purpose—else, we would not be having the IRS at the first place emerging as the biggest bureaucratic makeup in the country. Now the critical question is whose purpose is it serving. Surface answers are quite obvious: taxes serve the rich in a capitalist country. After all, the rich get richer, and the poor poorer as the economic gaps in the first world countries would indicate. But it …

Raindrops

Are these the April raindrops, Or my lingering heartbeats?   My naked windows glasses- Alive with transpirations Mired with perspirations Reflecting back, almost in derision Calling back, in much anticipation Halting path, amidst many a assumption   These sounds of cascading water On my swarded Astorian apartment Catch me off guard-this very moment   Immerse in me, in life– Even as I dwell in apprehension Succumb to intoxication Of increasing aspiration Drain in imagination Of the ongoing revolution   Will the rain just vanish all too soon Lambent lightning will too swoon   Life is measured in moments — not years Its prizes are not won in competition Nor in forms of pricey acquisition As I hear the raindrops in reverberation   Memories of Similipal, ere a score of monsoons Wise father, tall trees, and proud mountains   The source of wisdom– my admiration To repose faith in my fascination And give way to my adulation Sans preaching or imposition   Raindrops don’t just recline on my windows Nor merely thump on my bare chest …