All posts tagged: Saswat

Sahir Ludhianvi – Communist and a Poet

By Saswat Pattanayak It was more than a coincidence that Sahir Ludhianvi was born on an International Women’s Day. His concern and respect for women was as much personal as it was political. For him, no one – and nothing – was more important than his mother Sardar Begum. Resenting her husband’s feudal properties, his mother had left that household and raised Sahir on her own. And Sahir grew up as an organic revolutionary against landlords and burgeoning capitalism of that era. And more importantly, as a progressive poet deeply aware of the capitalistic exploitations of women and the working class. An avid reader of Marx, Sahir early on was influenced by Faiz and Josh – prominent communist poets of that era. His early compositions included “Jahaan Mazdoor Rehte Hai” [Where Workers Reside]. In 1937, Sahir joined All India Students Federation (AISF), affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI) – committed to anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles. He was expelled from both the colleges (in Ludhiana and Lahore) that he attended, due to his political …

Of Occupy Wall Street :: Democracy, Free Press, Police State & the American Liberty Myths

“We own half the world, oh say can you seeAnd the name for our profits is ‘Democracy’ So, like it or not, you will have to be free ‘Cause we’re the Cops of the World, boys We’re the Cops of the World…” – Comrade Phil Ochs (1940-1976) “State Police Keeps Press Away; Arrests and Assaults Peaceful People” This is the Democracy that brings the likes of Bush and Obama to power. The Democracy that lets Democrats and Republicans contend with each other to run the American imperialism. The Democracy which exemplifies itself as the freedom forum to force its way into rest of the world. The Democracy that thrives on individual liberty, and free press! And, when the rest of the world opposes the mammoth contradictions and brutalities of what the Democracy comprises, the Democracy then teaches the world a lesson. Across the world, the lesson comes in the form of lingering unforgiving wars where the Democracy annihilates the humanity that disregards its proclaimed superiority. And, nearer home, the Democracy manifests in its nakedness, in …

Occupy Wall Street: Challenges, Privileges & Futures

“One who tells the people revolutionary legends, 
and who amuses them with sensational stories, 
is as criminal as the geographer 
who would draw up false charts for navigators.” 
- HPO Lissagaray, “History of the Paris Commune of 1871” (1877) The challenges to Occupy Wall Street are many. Some even more critical than the very issues the protestors are fighting against. Whereas it claims to be the 99%, yet the movement practices the age-old privileges of class and race blindness. Similar to most white liberal movements, the OWS is hardly inclusive of the people of color. Although the spirit is radical and the intent is revolutionary, the movement itself suffers from a lack of critical understanding on how race and class intersect. In reality, 99% of people do not form a class in themselves. This is because the 99% of population comprise a significant amount of aspiring rich, a “middle class” category of people who have steadfastly refused to side with the poor working class whenever the latter has organized itself. In the US, this segment …

They Did Not Kill Just Gaddafi…

They could not annihilate Africa. So they killed Gaddafi. They could not devastate a collective aspiration for freedom from imperialism. So they killed Gadhafi. They could not forever shatter the promises of internationalism, socialism, Arab nationalism, and third world liberation. So they killed Gaddafi. They could not resolve the capitalistic contradictions in their home states, the Wall Street occupiers and the occupiers in London and Madrid, and in Paris. So they killed Gaddafi. They could not address the sheer crisis of masculinity their elected presidents and prime ministers struggled with, while their democratically elected leaders raped their interns and approved inmates being assaulted in their prison systems. So they killed Gaddafi. They could not justify their political assassinations of numerous heads of states who defied their atrocities, from Patrice Lumumba to Dr. Mohammad Najibullah, or of their murdering former allies that disagreed with them later from Saddam Hussain and Osama bin Laden to Anwar al-Awlaki – among hundreds of thousands others, without any due course of justice or legal recourses. So they killed Gaddafi. They …

SlutWalk Must Evolve Into WomanWalk!

SlutWalk has turned out to be a phenomenal movement on a global scale, aimed at challenging rape culture, rampant sexual violence, victim-blaming and slut-shaming in our society. Historically, in the garb of tradition, culture and mannerisms, men have conveniently imposed upon women certain moral standards that upholds patriarchy, reduces women into objects of either desire, lust, or procreation while at the same time stripping them off their intrinsic and equal human rights as individuals who can object to such strictures as and when necessary. In so many ways, a movement such as SlutWalk is a vociferous expression of the radical notion that women are human beings at equal footing with men in our vastly sexist world. Women must be able to wear what they want to wear (or, not wear), they must be able to consent to sexual advances when they want to engage in a sexual activity, and similarly, their wishes must be respected whenever they refuse to be touched. No matter if a woman is being “slutty” or being “serious”, when she says …