Aam Aadmi Party and Politics of the Impossible

(Published in Kindle Magazine || December, 2013) Contrary to the revised emotions from electoral pundits and wild psephologists, Delhi elections have not ushered in any new kind of empowering politics for India. Poll results have merely sided with populism, the central tenet in the politics of hopelessness that pervades the country today. Aam Aadmi Party is the New Right – a nationalist party aimed at dislodging Congress and weakening the Left – using a milder, a more acceptable version of BJP politics, Saswat Pattanayak opines. The exaggerated climate of pessimism that may follow once Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) resorts to…

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Platoon of Leeches and the New Royal Parasite

By Saswat Pattanayak   BBC informed us: “Kate in Labour as the World Waits”, CNN’s Victoria Arbiter said Kate Middleton was “brilliant for delivering a boy”, Times of India updated Indian readers about “15 quirky facts” they “didn’t know about the royal baby”, while The Hindu kept up with the times as it ruptured, “It’s a boy! Kate gives birth to royal heir”. Not to mention, the famed liberal newspaper Guardian started worrying over the name with its headline, “Alexandra, Charlotte, George or James – all royal baby name bets are on.” There was perhaps not a single news establishment…

Socialist Realism

Communism is pure evil, It offers no freedom. On the other hand – Capitalism, is all about Choice and option.   And in our free world, We have inalienable rights. To choose life’s recourses – Between rotting public schools And swanky private elites.   We may pick universal healthcare, Or join the elite insurance systems. In pursuit of happyness –    We may select manual menial jobs Over executive positions.   Foods with pesticides, Or those organic produces. We eat or live how we like – The choice to dwell in slums Or to reside in ancestral palaces.    Between career…

The Market

  By Saswat Pattanayak Real man Farhan Akhtar prevents violence against women on behalf of the Delhi Police, Al Gore makes millions to save the planet from temperature gain, Amnesty International recruits Peter Gabriel to be their conscience, Aishwarya Rai counters Polio and HIV/AIDS, Unicef heralds Aamir Khan as the expert on child rights, and Narendra Modi hires Amitabh Bachchan to spread ‘Khushbu Gujarat Ki’. And we lesser mortals, legends in our own minds, emulate our stars and wait for our moment to go viral on Facebook and Youtube, while these corporations churn out billions in our name via offering…

Radical Roots of International Women’s Day!

“Ardent greetings to working women and women toilers throughout the world who are uniting in one common family of labour around the socialist proletariat. I wish them every success: 1) in strengthening the international ties of the workers of all countries and achieving the victory of the proletarian revolution; 2) in emancipating the backward sections of women toilers from intellectual and economic bondage to the bourgeoisie; 3) in uniting the peasant women around the proletariat—the leader of the revolution and of socialist construction; 4) in making the two sections of the oppressed masses, which are still unequal in status, a…

Our Rape, Their Rape

By Saswat Pattanayak The need is to change the entire language of rape. Not to just call it a rape, but as rape by men. Not simply that a Dalit woman was raped, but a Dalit woman was raped by a Hindu upper-caste man. Not just a woman was gang-raped, but six men raped a woman one by one by one by one by one by one. Not just Violence Against Women (VAW), but Violence Against Women By Men (VAWBM). Not just laws around gender discrimination or sexism, but specifically around men discriminating against women or laws to hold male…

Rape Culture and Capitalism: What is living and what is dead

By Saswat Pattanayak I understand many of us, Indians, are ashamed these days. And it is true that protests and placards do not educate the rapists. And that the students came out on the streets only because it is New Delhi. But we should not miss an important aspect of it all – most protesters clearly defying governmental bans are demonstrating an important tactic in the struggle for women’s rights anywhere in the world. This is a strategy that should not be discouraged, rather used everywhere – be it in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Orissa or Manipur. Or for that matter, in…

Misplaced Tears of a Militarist President, the Reactionary Pursuits of Gun Control, and Unquestioned Faith in Patriarchy Normative

By Saswat Pattanayak Most of those who just woke up to realities asked how could it happen here? The decent folks who would not kill a fly declared that the killer must be crazy. The believers in the good things to come prayed to God so that it never happens again and the innocent souls are blessed. The politically docile were as always moved by witnessing the President and his White House staff burdened to tears with grief. The good liberals who don’t shoot people whether or not they possess guns demanded that guns be controlled. And amidst all the…