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…

Padmavati, Karni Sena and the crisis of Hinduism

By Saswat Pattanayak The outrage against Karni Sena is entirely misplaced. These hooligans will eventually be forgiven by their gods because they know not what they do. The real dangerous elements however are those who claim to know better, and yet fervently endorse Padmavati – whether as a fictional character, a historical figure, or as a movie script awaiting screening. In all shape, way, and form, Rani Padmini legacy is a textbook instance of Islamophobia. If the practice of Sati was/is justified by the Hindus as the chaste wife syndrome, the practice of Jauhar which Padmini was said to have…

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…

Sovereignty, Unity and The State Of Denial

Contradictions abound in the new political landscape. Like Savarkar’s divisive Hindutva excluded other religions, so does Modi’s prescription of Hinduism as the way of life for Indians. To reemphasise my point: Modi did not win the people’s mandate because he opposed divisive politics, but because he profited from it. Not because he spoke against identity politics but because it is the victory of the identity politics – specifically that of the Hindu identity. It is the victory of the idea of a Hindu nation.

Hindus, Muslims and Secular Traditions: Vande Mataram (Part II)

Vande Mataram debate has almost engulfed India these days. I would not claim it to be entirely of no consequence. And those who say that people should be left to sing what they want to, in the tradition of liberal democracy, in my view again, are continuing to enjoy a Hindu privilege. If for a moment, they would imagine how it feels to be member of a minority group being subjected to a song that was targeted against them, most of us would clearly understand the inherent pain. Muslims in India have been told from the beginning that they are…

Vande Mataram as a Hindu Hymn

There is no reason why Vande Mataram, the Indian national song, should be in controversy any longer. This song should be now scrapped and deleted from its current status. Ever since India’s ‘independence’, this song has created controversies, and for obvious reasons. However, just as the ‘secular’ leadership of India had tried to suppress the skeletons in its cupboard, the opportunistic media had also vociferously supported the need for the song to go on in its truncated form. And India, mostly kept ignorant about the damaging consequences of having such a song was lulled into believing that everything was well…

Madhusudan Das, Mahatma Gandhi and Manual Working Class

Gandhism and Leninism surely intersect at interesting crossroads. And they could be more pivotal than merely interesting. At the macro level they intersect at their common abhorrence towards militarism. At the micro level, they are one with the advocacy for community cooperatives. At both stages though, interests are similar: promote peace, for it is at this situation alone that cooperatives can exist. In every conceivable way, Gandhism and Leninism stressed on peace and cooperation because of their stress on workers’ welfare. The question which naturally arises then is, if Gandhi believed in social emancipation of working class who worked in…

Recalling this Independence Day

I celebrated the independence day fine. Well that’s the India’s freedom from the British Raj, I am referring to. August 15th midnight hours were the times of the “trysts with destiny” as Nehru proclaimed. And I am just going to reflect on the layers of destinies in store now. Switched on the television set to find if there was any anti-colonial flavor, any celebration of a multi-cultural society willing to adopt welfare socialist economy or a people nostalgic of huge dreams, broader visions. Of course it was a disaster. Instead all I could notice was the running advertorials on grand…

Rice Interview by Lehrer

Regress, progress, all of that. For the time being, the interview transcript which was awaited. Dr. Condoleezza Rice Interviewed by Jim Lehrer Q The President’s defense of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice today came at a critical time. A week ago, her chief deputy, Stephen Hadley, acknowledged he had been warned by the CIA in two separate memos that the Agency would not stand by information suggesting Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program. That claim made it into the President’s State of the Union speech, and CIA Director George Tenet took the…

Flagging off irrelevance

So much ado about nothing. As if flagging off buses across the border meant anything. Between India and Pakistan, the drama continues. The rightist power claims that this gesture solves the problems which persisted throughout the five decades of the existence of the countries as political democracies (or, whatever). The drama has reached a stage when its painfully funny. People are clearly missing from the pictures since the ministers are eager to credit themselves for this new era of friendship (or, whatever). Apparently, a bus would be flagged off at 6 a.m. IST from Lahore today. About the same time…