A Closer Look At “The Enemy of the People”

“With so much recent mainstream press evocation of Joseph Stalin and claims of “enemy of the people” comparisons to Donald Trump we thought it timely to share some recent thoughts on the subject from journalist, professor and writer Saswat Pattanayak. As an additional side note, and given what Pattanayak exposes about the nature and history of the association of a phrase, rather than with Stalin some of us would be more familiar with the play by Henrik Ibsen and further note that this is also where the late Dr. John Henrik Clarke got the inspiration for the spelling of his own middle name.” (Dr. Jared Ball, iMixWhatILike)

Brahminism, Patriarchy, Supreme Court And The Justice

By Saswat Pattanayak (Published in CounterCurrents) It is the patriarchal fixation with fathers and husbands as feudal heads of indian households where sanctities are attached to family units, that leads to normalization of corruption in a judicial system that is unsurprisingly spearheaded by the brahminical chiefs. No matter what the chief of the family does, it has to be a hush-hush affair and not be made public. Family becomes sacrosanct and the head of family remains above reproach. Brahminism which governs Indian society is founded upon the philosophy of unquestioned belief in the supreme authority, the highest caste, the sacred…

Donald Trump and the ritual of shock and awe in American duopoly

(Written for Kindle Magazine) By Saswat Pattanayak The shock and clamor surrounding Donald Trump’s ascension to power is entirely unwarranted. The sentimental protests, tearful mournings and fearful disbelief about how to make sense of Trump are self-serving exaggerations. Self-serving, because taking such positions merely distinguishes us from the nastiness that defines Trump. To the mortified, he is the indecency that is impossible to explain and he is the vice we have apparently fought all along. Trump is the worst of humanity, the enemy of the marginalized, the maniac who cannot be trusted with a nuclear button, the groper-in-chief who must…

Kanhaiya Kumar and Betrayal of Freedom Struggles

By Saswat Pattanayak Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest was unfortunate and so his release on bail is a great relief. But beyond that, to seek revolutionary potential in the hoopla surrounding it, is to miss the point entirely. Competing for authentic nationalism to legitimize an oppressive power structure is not what the Communists do. Quite the opposite. Sudden excitement and pronouncement of “victory” at the news of a judge granting Kumar’s bail is a betrayal of Kashmiri peoples’ struggles, given the specific contexts of denial of antinationalism on part of these students. It is as if the left-liberals of India were hoping…

Rohith Vemula: Indian Left and the Dalit Student Suicides

By Saswat Pattanayak (Written for CounterCurrents) Rohith Vemula did not just commit suicide – he was murdered. And this murder was not committed by the right-wing ABVP – it was conducted by the left-liberals. The “Dalit problem” citing which Rohith gave up his life, is not the creation of any fringe elements among communal Hindus – it is sustained by the liberal Hindus who tremendously profit from the status quo it provides. None of this is an exaggeration – these comprise a reality that must be confronted. The entire Hindu society, the Savarnas, are the perpetrators – no one among…

Eurocentrism as Terrorism

Contrary to what Žižek claims, egalitarianism and personal freedoms do not comprise Western legacy—their suppression in the name of colonialism does. One cannot rule over and plunder another country for decades, if not centuries, and then blame the “backwardness” on the ruled subjects.

Meritocratic Jury

(In the backdrop of Supreme Court of India’s bench comprising Justice Misra and Justice Pant citing national interest to scrap quota in higher education institutions)   Looks like you have the merit – Birthright of the nationalist. Wearing that Sacred Thread. Making a call to daddy’s old boys network every now & then. Misra uncles and Pant uncles And their colleague uncles. Uncle’s uncles. Bhagwat uncles. Generationally scholarly. Proud Indian Hindus. Feeling the national interests Merit runs in their veins. Your access not denied to the temples. Of gods and sacred texts. Interpreted by sacrosanct gatekeepers. High Court Jagannath Temple…

Modified

Modified – Dadri – Knock knock Who’s there? Your neighbor My neighbor who? Neighbor to trust – Godman – Knock knock Who’s there? Your Baba My Baba who? Baba, God, Man – Leader – Knock knock Who’s there? Your leader My leader who? Leader you can fear – Tolerance – Knock knock Who’s there? Your fan My fan who? Fanning a plane ticket – Patriot – Knock knock Who’s there? Your conscience My conscience who? Herr Herr Modi – Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet, 2015

Silent Majority

First they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Pakistani. Then they came for the women, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Feminist. Then they came for the Adivasis, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Naxalite. Then they came for the Dalits, and I did not speak out – Because I was not an Ambedkarite. Then they came for the rationalists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the…