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…

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…

An Ode to the Unfinished

like the unfinished manuscripts unsung songs leaderless movements incomplete news abridged classics discarded mixtapes dimmed lights celebrity kids burnt-out prodigies demonetized masses abandoned refugees rsvp’ed maybe postponed suicides depressed doctors temp on sick leave upper east side homeless professor with student loans yet another president palestinian dreams pretend plays criterion collections hawaiian sovereignty discovering god forgiving abortions cultural purities national boundaries racial features gendered restrooms leaked emails exiled pirates 50c raise in hourly wage a year of promises half empty or, half full a broken calendar that rarely matters anymore… or shall it – this coming year? – by Saswat…

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…

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…

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…