Devolution or Disintegration

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By Kalpana Kannabiran. This article is an English translation of the article in Telegu that appeared in Varta and in Bengali weekly tabloid ARUNODOY, Silchar.

At he time when the movement for the State of   Telangana reaches its peak, and even as the leaders of this movement craft the contours of this state that is one step towards liberating the people of this region from a history of economic, political and cultural oppression, it is important to think about which way we would like to go. As somebody who believes in Telangana statehood, not as part of a general argument about the efficacy of smaller states alone, but as indispensable to the dignity of the region, I raise these questions with the aim of pushing for a greater democratization of the movement. There are unresolved issues that need to be addressed and there are leaders of integrity, with a radical vision and political astuteness like Kondandram and Ratnamala, who have the capacity to take difficult questions on board and turn them into strengths.
One pillar for the demand for a separate Telangana is the fact of economic hegemony and the appropriation of the assets in Telangana by the ruling classes and business interests in Andhra. Indeed what sets the Telangana movement apart is the fact that it is led by persons with a proven commitment to civil liberties and human rights. This is in stark contrast to the Samaikya Andhra movement. This however, is only the starting point. Having a leadership with a socialist vision in a region, which has seen the worst forms of feudalism and continues to grapple with the worst forms of caste discrimination and exploitation of adivasi communities, it becomes imperative to outline the economic contours of the new state. This is even more important because the power of the movement today, although the result of years of silent work and campaigning in each district by civil libertarians committed to the cause, is within the grasp of mainstream politicians of different hues who see in the new state unlimited political opportunity. It is of course necessary to broaden the base and create inclusive platforms by converting political opportunism into a commitment to justice. But what will be the non-negotiables in that platform, apart from the demand for a separate state?

Musings in Ideology : Part-2

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     National Question & Communist International
                      written by Arup Baishya; getting published on PRAGYAN

            One important & practical aspect of modern human civilization is the question of nationality. It was even implicit in the French revolution when the institution of ‘associated labour’ was discovered in communes of the workers. Karl Marx wrote “The Second Empire had been the jubilee of cosmopolitan blackleggism, the rakes of all countries rushing in at its call for a share in its orgies and in the plunder of the French people. Even at this moment, the right hand of Thiers is Ganessco, the foul Wallachian, and his left hand is Markovsky, the Russian spy. The Commune admitted all foreigners to the honor of dying for an immortal cause. Between the foreign war lost by their treason, and the civil war fomented by their conspiracy with the foreign invader, the bourgeoisie had found the time to display their patriotism by organizing police hunts upon the Germans in France.

Musings in Ideology : Part I

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An Introductory note 
 written by : Arup Baisya; getting published on PRAGYAN
                   The title of this write-up has been borrowed from the book of Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, the doyen and the great thinker of modern Indian philosophy. In his book he commented, “With the progress of science becoming ever more spectacular, the forces wanting to frustrate its basic aspiration – maiming it and mutilating it – are becoming all the more menacing. This tends to perplex the scientific community itself. Absorbed as the scientists are in their detailed research they feel bewildered. Why for example should so much of scientific knowledge threaten the world with an impending doom, with no more of any scope for science itself?”1  Here comes the question of ideology. The scientific knowledge bereft of a constructive ideological commitment may cause havoc. Everything that is solid melts into the air under the modern technological era and in that case the ideology having no well defined continuum is something airy and cannot be grasped and cherished by the people. If that is so, the human civilization is destined to doom. But that is not the case. Humanity always clasped an ideology. The plain truth is that everything is ‘soaked in ideology’ whether we realize it or not. Istvan Meszaros in his book ‘Power Of Ideology’ pointed out, “to believe that one can get rid of ideology in our contemporary world  - or indeed in the foreseeable future – is no more realistic than the idea of Marx’s ‘valiant fellow’ who thought that men were drowned in water because they were possessed with the idea of gravity.”2 He rightly opined that the Ideologies are epochally circumscribed in twofold sense. First, in that the conflictual orientation of the various forms of practical social consciousness remains their prominent features for as long as societies are divided into classes. And second, that the specific character of the fundamental social conflict which leaves the indelible mark on the contending ideologies in different historical periods arises from the epochally – not on a short-term basis – changing character of society’s productive and distributive practices and from the corresponding need to subject to radical questioning of the continued imposition of the formerly viable mode of socioeconomic and cultural intercourse as it becomes increasingly undermined in the course historical development.3

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