On the Fidayeen attack in Peshawar

The news report in The Hindu this evening says this about the Fidayeen attack in Peshawar this morning:

Dressed in para-military Frontier Corps uniforms, the six Arabic-speaking terrorists entered the Army Public School…went from classroom to classroom shooting innocent children in one of the most gruesome terror attacks anywhere. Before the Taliban attackers were eliminated on Tuesday night, they had killed nearly 140 people, nearly all of them students except a female school teacher and a watchman.

The report further adds:

We targeted the school because army targets our families. We want them to feel our pain,” the Taliban said….All six militants died in the attack with four of them blowing themselves up…The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack….The Taliban spokesman claimed that its 6 suicide bombers attacked the army school, saying it was a revenge for the military’s operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal area close to Peshawar.

At the outset, it is very clear that this is a dastardly and heinous attack and deserves unequivocal condemnation and leaders across the world have condemned it unambiguously.

Look at it from the Taliban point of view.  The Taliban wanted to strike terror in the hearts of the military establishment and the people of Pakistan. As they have said, they wanted to spread the pain universally. One Malala escaped and was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize.  Now the Taliban have killed many Malalas.

There is also another aspect.  Wily Brandt of West Germany, Henry Kissinger of US, Menachem Begin, Shiman Peres and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel have all been given the Nobel Peace Prize and the world knows their accomplishments. But the Taliban or rather its earlier avatars have not been given the Nobel Peace for its contribution to world peace by bringing about the demise of the Soviet Union and the socialist block. This great error of misjudgement is something about which the Anglophile world has to ruminate.

It is said there is no effective defence against ‘suicide’ attackers determined to kill and be killed and they have their reason it is a reprisal for the Pakistan Army’s military operation against the Taliban in the tribal belt.  Whether they were tribesmen from the neighbourhood or recruits from the Islamic states of the Middle East it matters little; but they carry on the legacy of the mercenaries trained, funded and equipped by United States and Pakistan and unleashed against the fledgling republic in Afghanistan a few decades ago. Let it be said here that the Soviet forces had no business to be there in Afghanistan and the republican regime ought to have relied exclusively on their own strength like the Vietnamese did for nearly three decades against the US forces replacing the retreating French.  But all that happened in the cold war era, which had a different logic or not logic at all.

Even granting that you have secured yourself profusely against any prospect of the Frankensteins you have nursed, raised and let loose around the world will never try the skills you taught them against you as well.  Even when you have all the power and the ability to control the conflagrations you bring about, it is always the case of just more planning than something easily done. The saying ‘As you sow, so you reap’ holds well. The Pakistan’s Army has been in league with the Taliban and this arrangement suited the global superpower well so long as the tie-up was under its thumb but now things are beginning to unravel as the US-Israel alliance is something unbreakable and the US still needs to keep the fires burning in the Middle East.

For people in India, what is happening in Pakistan is not very welcome.  In fact what is taking place in Pakistan is a foretaste of what may come to pass in India sooner or later, if the current drift continues.  In India, we have our own Taliban. Our Taliban is the para military outfits of the Sangh Parivar.  Our Taliban is ensconced as the party in power through the ballot.  Our Taliban in power is spreading its tentacles to the nooks and corners of our country. Pakistan was and still is a subordinate ally of the global superpower.  India is very close to achieving such a status and we have taken the initial steps with the Indo-US nuclear deal.  So we are on the track to emulate Pakistan, notwithstanding the fact that our ‘democratic traditions’ are deeper and stronger than in Pakistan; because the logic and the compulsions of the neo-liberal regime we have put in place is such. This should give us the necessary spur for introspection rather than continuing to wallow in self-induced delusions of grandeur.

Notes on Indian History – Note 4

The first great wave of struggle 1905-1910¹:

In British India, the Province of Bengal comprised of what is today the states of Bihar, Jharkand, Orissa, the Chota Nagpur region extending into Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra in the Indian Union and the independent nation of Bangladesh.  Calcutta, then, was the capital of British India, which besides being the nerve centre of British rule was also the well-spring of a social reform movement, looking up to the British as a saviour of sorts, as also of nationalist fervour harbouring extremist tendencies looked upon with disfavor by the rulers. Governor General Curzon set the cat among pigeons by devising a plan to partition this Bengal Province ostensibly for convenience of administration but with the prime purpose of driving a wedge among the people on divisive lines.  Predictably the Muslim League supported the partitioning of Bengal with the Muslim intelligentsia swayed by the idea of creating a possible haven for them.  What is sauce for the goose is not always sauce for the gander.

The nationwide campaigns, organised against the 1905 Curzon plan to partition Bengal spearheaded by BG Tilak, BC Pal, Lajpat Rai and their associates, who were in favour of a stringent anti-British political line within the Indian National Congress; also propagated the idea of self-rule and economic independence. In a way, this agitation heralded the first attempt, after the 1857 sepoy rebellion, to confront the British colonial administration at the pan India level². Whereas the rebellion of 1857 saw the Hindu and Muslim rulers and their soldiers, belonging to different faiths, making common cause with the rebellious Indian sepoys of the British Army; such broad based unity was not discernible in this nationwide wave of struggle against the Bengal partition. There is a perception that these campaigns alienated the Muslim intelligentsia and contributed to Hindu-Muslim distrust and animosity, although the idea of swaraj and swadeshi did overshadow the anti-partition movement.  This is particularly true at least as far as the Bengal Province is concerned³. These initial thrusts failed to transform itself into a sustained national mass movement due to a combination of various factors such as:  fissures within the Indian National Congress itself, compounded by adverse propaganda by the Muslim League and the repression unleashed by the colonial rulers. The ebbing wave of swadeshi movement left behind a trail of individual and group acts of terrorism against individual officers of the colonial dispensation; and these violent attacks continued for almost a decade after 1908. This trajectory was broken by 1917 and from then on, the struggle for freedom matured into a mass movement involving all sections of the Indian people.

**

¹Rajni Palme Dutt writing on the freedom movement – these essays written in the late 1930s which are part of his book, ‘India Today’ (first published in 1940 and later in 1947) – observed that ‘the historical development of Indian nationalism is marked by three great waves of struggle, each at a successively higher level and each leaving its permanent marks on the movement and opening the way to a new phase’. (a) The first great wave of struggle 1905-1910 (b) The second great wave of struggle 1919-1922 and (c) The third great wave of struggle 1930-1934.  This is a convenient classification which has stood the test of time. For the later period we can add: (d) Congress ministries in British India, (e) Quit India Struggle (f) The Post-Second World War Upsurge (1946) and (g) Partition and Transfer of Power

²Despite the excessively compromising attitude of the moderate leadership of INC and vicious communal propaganda of Muslim League, the mass movement organised under the leadership of Tilak, Bipin Pal and other radical nationalists, though bound by its inherent limitations, achieved a significant success in the pre-war period

³Ashok Mitra traces the source of an insurmountable gulf between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the region to the revocation of the plan floated by Lord Curzon in 1905 to partition Bengal in face of stiff resistance from the Indian National Congress; which festered for many decades to come: ‘The reversal of the decision to partition the Bengal province put paid to such dreams (of the Muslim intelligentsia for a nest of their own). The resentment of the Muslim intelligentsia against the Hindus naturally swelled. They were, they felt, cheated of something which was almost within their grasp, and it was not the British, but the Hindus who cheated them. That was the genesis of an increasingly unbridgeable Hindu-Muslim divide in Bengal….The so-called Bengal Pact, negotiated by C.R. Das in 1922, did not meet any success, largely because the higher echelons of the Congress leadership were not interested. A final attempt to restore a semblance of communal harmony was made, jointly and severally, by A.K. Fazlul Haq and the brothers, Sarat Chandra and Subhas Chandra Bose, in the Thirties and in the early Forties. The Congress was once more not interested. The inevitable happened; the Muslim League turned into an irresistible force. To sum up, if the partition of 1905 was allowed to stand, there would have been no partition of either Bengal or India in 1947’. (Ashok Mitra)

* The formation of the Muslim League in 1906 and of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1914 paved the way for the institutionalisation of identity politics and the incorporation within it of the followers of respective religions. (KN Panicker)

**

The first INC session attended by MA Jinnah (AGN). MA Jinnah opposes a resolution for ‘the backwardly educated class’ in legislatures and local bodies, saying “the foundation upon which INC is based is that we are all equal; that there should be no reservation for any class or community’.(pg.2) (1906)

Muslim League founded under the leadership of Aga Khan, Nawab Salimulla of Dacca and Mohusin-ul-Mulk (1906)

Jinnah challenged the credentials (to represent Muslim community) of Aga Khan’ deputation to Minto at Simla (1st Oct) AGN (1906)

Indian Mussalman Association established at Calcutta. Jinnah joins the Association as one of the three Vice Presidents AGN (1907)

Disturbances in Rawalpindi (May 1907)

**

Notes on the history of Modern India – The lineages of British imperialism – Note 3

In Ancient India, as collective ownership of land gradually became the de facto prerogative of the dominant classes in the community, the system four-fold system of caste division, which could be termed as the ‘Indian version of slavery’, contributed to the dissolution of the tribal society. The persistence of the unique system of caste hierarchy in India has in a very considerable measure, contributed to the timeless and unchanging character of Indian society, which is the stuff of historical literature in the pre-colonial era. As a result this aspect is also stressed in the writings of British civilians delving in to Indian history.

The Orientalist-Romantic view of a golden age in ancient India is built on some dubious premise.  The state and society in ancient India can be summed up, in the words of Ravinder Kumar, thus: ‘Substantially self-regulating village communities, scattered over the face of the sub-continent, and characterized by relatively weak economic and cultural interaction with one another, constituted the distinctive feature of rural society over the centuries.’ The near stagnation prevailing in the production techniques and social organization of production, the gradual changes patterns of ‘distribution and redistribution of the peasants’ surplus produce’, the persistence of social and economic structures over long periods, the petrified manner of ownership of the means of production owing to the inability to change over to any better and newer mode of production; all these do not in any sense constitute the building blocks of a golden period. In this perceived golden age, it needs to be stressed here that the ideology and the supremacy of the dominant classes had all along been contested, in myriad ways but essentially through appeal to ‘reason’ in some form, throughout the entire course of the turbulent history of the Indian sub-continent; and this persisting strand of resistance is the quintessence of Indian history at all times.

This condition of ‘real stagnation of technologies and productivities’ continued in to the seventh century AD. The turbulence caused by the confluence of all these contradictions was rising into a crescendo, accentuating regional and dynastic wars; when, in the eighteenth century, the European powers, armed with their superior military prowess, ventured into the crisis-ridden scenario, in search of sources of raw material for their expanding factory production and markets for their finished products. The British, emerging as the leading colonial power in the region, established their supremacy over rival competing European powers in the Indian subcontinent and vigorously pursued the policy of redistributing the means of production in their favour, bringing about a transitory but retrograde resolution to the crisis engulfing the society and people of the Indian subcontinent.

The colonial possession of India immensely helped the British to emerge as the imperial power nonpareil. To put it in the words of DD Kosambi: ‘It was in England…that the bourgeoisie developed out of Indian gold, the unlimited profits of the Indian trade and later, Indian wars. The profits of Spain only strengthened reaction and moribund feudalism; Portugal hardly fared better in its Eastern trade; the Dutch did progress, but pressure of Spain and France by land and England by sea was fatal.  France was a hundred years too late with bourgeoisie revolution.’ With the result, the necessary conditions for the full flowering of imperialism fructified only in England.

The British subjugated India with the might of their sword, wielded by Indian soldiers officered by British men. Likewise they held India by the might of their boot, worn by Indian soldiers and again officered by Britishers.

Ambedkar, in his book  ‘What Congress and Gandhi did to the Untouchables’ published in 1946,  aptly divided British rule into three stages:

  • The period of doctrine of the sword: ‘The British conquered India by the sword and they will hold it by the sword.’
  • The period of doctrine: The alleged incapacity of Indians for parliamentary institutions being the sole reason for British government’s inability to grant self-rule.
  • The third or the present stage: The condition precedent laid down by the British government for India’s freedom is that Indians must produce a Constitution which has the concurrence of the important elements in the national life of the country.

These steps also signify the stages of ascent as well as descent of imperialist hegemony and dogged tenacity of the imperialist rulers to guard their own vital imperial interests in the best possible manner by suitably amending their tactics, in conformity with the ebb and flow of the Indian peoples’ struggle for freedom and exigencies of global concerns.

Notes on the history of Modern India – Note 2

The Background –

As regards ancient India we can briefly say that the society was dominated by the alliance of

Warrior class (the Ksatriyas) with the priestly class (Brahmins). The downgrading of manual labour and pursuit of the science of healing and medicine, the neglect of scientific enquiry and extolling of esoteric pursuits were essential aspects of the ideological constructs for this domination. What is more specific and of far reaching consequence is the fact that in the Indian sub-continent the caste formations, originally based on an elementary division of labour within the community, later came to be defined by birth, as collective ownership of land gradually became the de facto prerogative of the dominant classes in the community.

About pre-colonial India, it can be briefly said that changes in production techniques and social organization of production were long drawn and gradual; they did get modified over time but rarely led to any so far reaching changes as to usher in completely new mode of production or bring about necessary concomitant alterations in social and economic structures more compatible with such newer methods of production. There is a general consensus among historians that it would be appropriate to term the mode of production prevalent in pre-colonial India, particularly since the seventh century AD, as ‘Indian feudalism’, not as ‘feudal’ in the European sense of the term or even as ‘Asiatic mode’. (To give a very brief outline, the term ‘Asiatic mode’ should be understood as an in-process general theoretical construct, built up on the basis of data available to Marx in his time, to define the mode of production, where essentially land and water resources were common property of the community and collective interests held supremacy, as the ‘other’ mode of production quite different from what was prevailing then in Europe; and nothing more).

Further two aspects of the then prevailing milieu need to be emphasised.

a) The growth of commercial and usurious capital, but not manufacturing capital, in the pre-colonial society, was obviously too feeble to break the stranglehold of the caste-based feudal society.

b) Considering the nature and spread of the markets for the commodities produced and traded, the Bhakti movement need to be viewed as signifying the emergence of ‘proto-linguistic nationalities’ – not of “linguistic nationalities” or “regional communities of culture”.

Prabhat Patnaik has brought to our attention Paul Baran’s proposition ‘that even third world societies could have developed capitalism independently, if not spontaneously then at least in response to the emergence of capitalism in Europe; and observes that this assessment emerges in the writings Mao Zedong concerning the Chinese society of his times. Prabhat Patnaik goes on to add that: ‘From this it followed that colonialism, by thwarting possible independent capitalist development in third world societies and imposing on them an exploitative relationship for the benefit of metropolitan capitalism, played a largely negative historical role in these societies. On the other hand, if these societies were seen as being held in the grip of stagnation and stasis because of the nature of property relations prevalent in them, then the intrusion of colonialism, by breaking up the stability of the old order, could be seen as playing a certain positive role, even though the colonized people had to pay a heavy price for it.’

Further, according the Prabhat Patnaik, recognition of the positive and negative aspects in the destructive role of colonialism and its complex impact of on the Indian society is evident in the writings of Karl Marx, Rajni Palme Dutt and EMS Namboodripad; and this balanced assessment need not be construed as approving or welcoming colonialism in any sense. (A view with which I am in agreement on the basis of the strength of logic inherent therein).

In India, as elsewhere in the colonial world, from the early period of colonial rule, the elemental consciousness of anti-colonialism of the people came to be expressed in scattered, recurring revolts. These rebellions, spread across the sub-continent, were suppressed ruthlessly, but the anti-colonial resentment of the people rose to a crescendo in the uprising of 1857. The peasantry and the soldiers of the colonial army were the decisive elements in this uprising of 1857, which was led by the fading ruling elite, the feudal gentry, who were the natural leaders of the peasantry. This uprising was a more serious challenge to colonialism than all the earlier revolts; it lasted longer and was more widespread across the country, but failed to free the land and the people from the colonial yoke. The British rulers made their peace with the feudal gentry after the suppression of the 1857 uprising.

In British India, the raison d’etre of British rule was tribute extraction and transfer. The fiscal policies of the colonial masters, their exchange rate policy, changing patterns of trade and investment, their tariff policy, the accompanying de-industrialization, de-urbanization and commercialization of agriculture all contributed to continuous extraction and draining away of the wealth through taxation and corruption. All this has been well documented.

Thus, in the Indian sub-continent, the presence of substantial mercantile and manufacturing activity within the backward feudal economy since pre-colonial times and the very dynamics of colonialism super-imposing itself upon it set the stage for the emergence of indigenous capitalist class.  In this milieu the British colonial masters, with the experience of the 1857 rebellion behind them, were ready to pursue the subtler option of curbing dissent through providing channels of communication for the expression of grievances of the dominant classes. In 1885 the Indian National Congress (INC) was formed. The INC started off as a petitioning forum of elite and affluent classes and covered a tortuous path.

Notes on the history of Modern India – Note 1

Prologue:

The recording of history in all fairness should tell us how the events happened the way they did and why they happened so and ideally without the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’.  However, undeniably, all political or philosophical theories, ancient, whether modern or post-modern, currently dominant, subdued or extinct, of Western breed or indigenous based on our own traditions of reflections, being what they are, have their own ideological roots and class moorings. This is generally the case in spite of the usual claims of balanced and non-partisan rendering as the basic perspective underlying such recordings are seldom acknowledged openly. The renowned astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, had once commented in an altogether different context, very poignantly that “We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers”.  Simply put what this implies that, when we are dealing with very vital issues, there is a definite need to organize our questions more sharply and go about trying to find reasonably precise answers to them. In practice, leaving aside few exceptional cases, we rarely find this aspect being addressed to with as much scientific rigour and factual candour as possible or with the earnestness it deserves, in the academies, in political circles and also in the many research studies done so far. If indeed some of the very fundamental issues are taken up in raising some valid question, in the initial spurt of enthusiasm or as a smoke-screen for reiterating non-partisan approach, the momentum gets lost while probing the underlying causes; which is starkly evident particularly in the case of recorded history of our freedom struggle and the historical, political or writings on other aspects of independent India. So, the history as is generally handed down to us through various sources, barring some few rare exceptions can be considered at best as a mixture truths, half truths and sometimes even outrageous untruths; and ipso facto history as etched in the general consciousness of our people is also weighed down by these inputs. This is rarely surprising for history is part of the terrain of contest and confrontation in the undeclared but seldom acknowledged ‘war of position’ between the ideologies dominant and emerging classes in our society.  As the African proverb goes, truly, ‘Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.’

To dispel the possibility of being either overwhelmed by such induced distorted perceptions or just succumbing to the collective amnesia; we need to begin to asking probing questions and try to find the answers, peering through all the accumulated gloss to bring into relief some basic, rough-cut propositions, in a way like the images embedded within the stones that come into relief with just the touch of an expert sculptor’s tools working with his/her hands. With this end in view I propose to share with you some of my notes on the history of modern India.

At the outset, it needs to be stressed that the Indian sub-continent is one of the nodal points on planet Earth where the homo sapiens first began to gather in small groups of food gatherers and hunters, gradually resorting to shifting agriculture, domesticating animals, then moving on to settled agriculture, contemplating the rudiments of science, framing its grammar and thus gradually embarking upon the process, which we have now come to term as civilization.  The other nodal points of contemporaneous beginnings of human civilization and science are the regions, which now go by the nomenclature of China, Middle East-Africa and South America.  Alongside this continuing quest in pursuit of science and progress, the human race had to contend with wars of conquests, violent oppression and exploitation engendering conflicts among numerous tribes and also internecine strife within tribes. From all accounts, this is the perception we gain from the hitherto history of the human race.

We, the peoples of India, are heir to very complex evolution and history of the collective humanity at large.  India, as is often said, is a nation of continental proportions – a region of acculturation of original inhabitants, immigrants and invaders. We are also heir to the legacies of the sub-continent, in particular, which is a region of multiple hues in terms of its troubled history, diverse geography, where its people belonging to multi-racial ancestry have now evolved in to multi-ethnic, multi-national groups of communities, speaking a host of languages and dialects, reposing their faith in numerous religions and faiths, following customs handed down from ancient times as also those very modern.

What is more specific to India and its peoples is the fact that in our case the caste formations, originally based on an elementary division of labour within the community, later came to be defined by birth, as collective ownership gave way to private proprietorship in land.  With the intrusion of industrializing nations in search of colonies, the subsequent formations of classes based on private proprietary ownership of the means of production have been superimposed upon these erstwhile caste divisions. The emerging newer class divisions of the colonial era inexorably absorbed the underlying demarcations of castes of the bygone spewing yet newer forms of indelible divisions. The peoples of our country, as peoples elsewhere in other parts of the world, have all along been striving to unite around some common cause for their common good and this, in fact, is our defining element.

The trajectory of the struggles of the peoples of the Indian sub-continent over the ages and more particularly the struggles of the past few centuries or so hold many valuable lessons for us. All these form a rich patrimony for all of us as also for all other peoples across the world.  So when we indeed begin to analyze what our significant achievements are and what are our failures over the last few centuries, our assessment shall have much to do with how we analyze the history of our immediate past, or what we perceive as our goals and how we have gone about achieving those goals.

Bhagat Singh had a dream

Bhagat Singh and his friends nurtured a dream of building an impregnable united front of peoples of the sub-continent belonging to diverse religions, caste and creed for overthrowing British rule and building a democratic, secular, egalitarian new India. This aspect is clearly evident from the writings of Bhagat Singh as well as from the Manifestos of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha and the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA) which moved away from the romantic-religious premises of the numerous terrorist groups of those times.

On April 8, 1929 Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw some low powered bombs and leaflets protesting against the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill in the Central Assembly just after the house had passed the Trade Disputes Bill. After this act of defiance carried out with the objective of causing no injury to anyone but to ‘make the deaf hear’, the duo courted arrest.  On June 12, 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt were sentenced to transportation for life to the Andamans.  Thereafter, from April 1929, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were tried in the Saunders assassination case and this trial dragged on till March 23, 1931. It was on March 5, 1930 that Gandhi signed his pact with the Viceroy Lord Irwin, wherein no demand was made for the release of these revolutionaries.  In fact, no mention of this case was made at all and it appeared as if for both Gandhi and Irwin these gallant men were non-existent; although the very purpose of the pact was definitely to disperse the rising crescendo of opposition to British rule in the wake of the arrest and trial of Bhagat Singh. The following tumultuous incidents followed Gandhi’s signing of the Pact:

  • The Chittagong Armoury Raid – April 18, 1930
  • The Garhwal Regiment’s refusal to fire on Pathan brethren – April 23, 1930
  • The Solapur textile workers general strike on May 7, 1930 snowballed into a parallel government that ruled Solapur for 10 days and the British imposed Martial Law in Solapur on May 10 1930.

Against the background of these happenings, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were surreptitiously sent to the gallows on March 23, 1931.  In a fitting tribute to their contribution, it was P. Sitaramayya, the historian of the Congress, who wrote that, ‘at that moment Bhagat Singh…was as popular as Gandhi’.  Bhagat Singh meticulously converted their trial into a trial of the British regime. They used their arrest and the court as a platform to address the peoples and the political formations in India, to espouse their ideas and vision of a free India and to emphasize the need to relentlessly confront the British rulers.

The high point of our anti-colonial struggle was surely the martyrdom of these revolutionary patriots. There appears to be a consensus among scholars – who have researched our anti-colonial movement and the life and times of these martyrs – that Bhagat Singh and his companions were keen on setting an example before the masses, they wanted to mount the gallows when the popular mass upsurge was reaching a crescendo.  At the same time, it is also true that ‘Bhagat Singh steered clear of the tendency among many of the earlier revolutionaries to glorify death as their ultimate goal and reward in the cause of revolution’. It is said that Bhagat Singh wanted to die a free man – preferably shot by the British, ‘as a prisoner of war’ and not hanged – rather than live as a slave in enslaved India and he believed that his martyrdom would take the anti imperialist struggle in the Indian sub continent to a new and higher level. It is more likely that Bhagat Singh’s living presence could have made greater contribution to taking mass upsurge forward; in the sense that he would have been more useful to the revolution in the sub continent if he were alive – considering his clarity of thought, action, intellectual acumen and maturity at such a young age and such a crucial juncture.

Let us for a moment grant that Bhagat Singh individually saw no better alternative to martyrdom. It is then incumbent upon the national leadership to have done everything within the ambit of its power and influence to save Bhagat Singh and his friends. As it turned out nothing much was done to stop the British Government from going ahead their plans to hang these young men. Gandhi in fact went ahead and signed a pact with Lord Irwin.  It is natural to surmise then that Gandhi and the INC definitely erred gravely in acceding to the Pact with Irwin, when the trial of Bhagat Singh was in process, without insisting on their unconditional release. “Gandhi alone could have intervened effectively to save Bhagat Singh’s life. He did not… Later claims such as that ‘I brought all the persuasion at my command to bear upon him’ (the Viceroy) are belied by the record that came to light four decades later…”

Also, it is hardly put on record anywhere prominently that, in those months before the execution of Bhagat Singh, the left youth league demonstrations in Bombay, against the sentences meted out to Bhagat Singh, were always the target of violent attacks by non-violent Gandhian followers in the Congress.

Undoubtedly, Bhagat Singh and his associates were very critical of Gandhi’s undemocratic methods, his tendency to suddenly retreat from ongoing struggles without even reaching some compromise on some basic minimum demands.  Nevertheless they always recognized his role in mobilizing the masses. Gandhi was also equally critical about the methods of revolutionaries and in all probability ‘perceived them as a threat’, in so far as their activities and popularity encouraged the people to resort to means of struggle not amenable to Gandhi’s diktats.

At the Karachi Congress session held a week after the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, the Congress, in a resolution, disassociated itself from their ‘violent’ methods while admiring and mourning their sacrifice; but, during the debate, the sharpest attack on Gandhi-Irwin Pact came from Yusuf Meherali who denounced it as a betrayal.

The martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and his compatriots left its indelible imprint on the other resolution passed in the same Congress session. For the first time, in the course of the struggle for freedom, the Congress as the dominant political force was forced to spell out in very clear terms its vision of free India. It would be apposite to quote Prabhat Patnaik in this context:

It guaranteed basic civil rights of free speech, free press, freedom of assembly; equality before law irrespective of caste, creed or sex; “neutrality“ of the State with regard to all religions; elections on the basis of universal adult franchise; and free and compulsory primary education. In addition, it declared that “in order to end the exploitation of the masses, political freedom must include real economic freedom of the starving millions”, and set out a programme for achieving it.…The Karachi resolution, with its emendations, constituted, as it were, the implicit social contract upon which the modern Indian nation was founded, and which later informed the Indian Constitution.

The terms of this social contract enthused the common people drawn into the vortex of the freedom struggle, impelled by the all round misery of the pre-Second World War period; and also helped the Congress to consolidate its position as the political hegemon in the freedom struggle. It helped the Congress to capture power in the 1937 elections to the provincial assemblies, based on limited suffrage. The Congress built on these gains and continued the trend even after the transfer of power. In the post-independence period, the Congress reneged on the issue of ‘economic freedom’ and by default now all the other terms of the above social contract are under a veritable attack by the Sangh Parivar ensconced in the seats of power.

Ref.

Bhagat Singh – Liberation’s Blazing Star by PMS Grewal

Article ‘Promises to keep’ by Prabhat Patnaik

Lessons of Saffron Surge

Lessons of ‘Saffron Sunday’ – Lessons of Saffron Sunday Revised

When friends fall out truths emerge. As the Shiv Sena says, there is no clear mandate for any political party to rule Maharashtra, going by the results of the recent elections to the State Assembly. With a five cornered contest in the first-past-the-pole winner system and a 64% polling this is but natural. In such a scenario even the party with an absolute majority cannot boast of a definite mandate, not to speak of the single largest party. There was no wave in favour of the Sena or the BJP but only froth…well said. But for that matter, the froth was there during the parliamentary General Elections of 2014 too. When bubbles rule the economy, it is quite natural to find a surfeit of froth in the political sphere.

It needs to be said here that the BJP has a presence in many states across India; and even where it has no electoral clout it has its RSS shakas and the Sangh Parivar outfits in place, which is not the case in regard to the Sena. With such credentials the BJP and its current mascots, the Modi-Shah duo, have garnered the attention of the high and powerful within our national borders. Add to this the boundless affinity of the elites of India Incorporated, heading the Indian Diaspora in far off lands across the seas for the Modi-Shah duo. Evidently the Modi-Shah duo has by virtue of some extension of the same trend drawn the attention of the powers that be in the land of the mightiest power on Earth, the United States of America. Here is the catch.
In the given situation obtaining now, the Sena will have to willy nilly play second fiddle to the big brother BJP. For the global powers, any plan to balkanize India could have been a option in the era of Nehru dynasty’s rule; but they would rather prefer to deal with a single arbiter for the whole nation now. This status quo is likely to prevail till any of the following alternatives comes into play:

a) the BJP’s link up with international super power sours or becomes an inconvenient association to either party
b) the Shiv Sena spreads across most of the regions across India and assumes a larger role than the BJP at the national level
c) the BJP and its Parivar outfits are decimated at the pan India level or their dominance in national politics shrinks considerably
d) all of a sudden balkanization is again considered as the preferred option for India

All of the above outcomes appear to be a distant possibility at the current juncture. So, for the moment, the Sena is left with the option of either ploughing a lone furrow or continue as junior partner to the BJP at the regional level, a role which BJP had assumed itself vis-a-vis the Shiv Sena so far. The break up the BJP Shiv Sena alliance served as the necessary device for the BJP to the test the waters, when the going is good. For all purposes the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will be restored but definitely with a new set of rules of alliance quite different from the one which prevailed hitherto.

This On and Off dalliance between BJP and the Shiv Sena will surely be played out with each and every alliance partner of the BJP in the various states sooner or later; but with very much the same results. It is a moot question whether the allies of the BJP are wiser enough to see the writing on the wall.
For both the national and international players, undoubtedly, the Congress was no putty in their hands. Although, for the captains of industry and finance in India, the Congress, with all its idiosyncrasies of ‘socialistic pattern of society’ et all, was a safe bet for so long, the same does not hold true anymore. In any event, for the global powers the Congress, as a political organization, was a dicey one to handle. The assassinations of Indira Gandhi first and that of her son Rajiv Gandhi, subsequently, ushered in a sea change in perceptions across the board. Rajiv Gandhi was quite unlike his mother but his primary fault lay in the fact that he was very keen to settle bilateral issues with Sri Lanka, without external interference. At the present moment, the Congress strategy is unraveling and the Congress as a political organization is losing its relevance, while the controlling dynasty is faltering. Sonia Gandhi or her children have not been able to replicate the magic of the Nehru dynasty and rekindle the Congress magic of the bygone years; as Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi, in a limited way, after her have been able to do.

All these factors apart, the Sangh Parivar had been working within the under belly of the Congress. In fact the Hindu Mahasabha/RSS-Congress association has a long history. When, during the British rule, the Congress Ministries assumed office in the provinces in the 1930s, a number of those who became ministers were known for their Hindu Mahasabha/RSS connections. After Gandhi murder, many RSS men truly followed the advice of Vallabhbhai Patel to ‘join the Congress’; and after the ban on the RSS was lifted, the Congress continued to be safe haven for the Sangh Parivar persons.

With the weakening sway of the Congress in popular consciousness, the Sangh Parivar was quick to perceive that its moment of reckoning has come. The Sangh Parivar obtained a toe hold on power with the triumph of the JP led movement in 1977. However, only with the flowering of the Ram Janmabhoomi game, the Sangh Parivar displayed its true mettle and prowess to deploy massive forces for assault at the chosen locale, creating ripple effects of the standoff all across its trail in the wake of the concentration and dispersal of its forces; and then set itself the tasking of playing solo. The NDA led government of AB Vajpayee was the next step in the ascendency of Sangh Parivar.

By effectively thwarting the challenge of the left forces at every stage, right from the immediate post-Independence period to the scuttling of the UPA-I alliance by brokering the Nuke Deal with the US; while in a parallel move championing the cause of opening up of our economy and becoming the harbinger of the so-called ‘economic reform’ in the 1980s, the Congress has effectively handed over the mantle of its leadership to the Sangh Parivar on a platter. The old rake’s progress has come a full circle and the Congress party, the party that prides itself to have launched the Independence struggle and won the freedom for our country, itself stands atrophied now. The new rake on the block, the Sangh Parivar has taken over the baton from the Congress on a clear deck.

What a fall, my countrymen….

We have only heard so far the high decibel ranting that the communists are traitors to the nation; their loyalties are across the border, the socialist camp is their fatherland, they are in the pay of foreign masters etc. We are now witnessing the spectacle of the major political formations in our country vying with one another to consolidate the neo-liberal economic regime, following the diktats of the global super power, the G-7 ensemble and their premier institutions such as IMF, World Bank and the WTO, working contrary to the interests of the common people of our country.

The resolution of the Karachi Congress in the 1930s, at the high tide of our struggle for Independence marked the basic goals of our struggle for our freedom and these were enshrined in the Republican Constitution we gave to our in 1950. All those solemn undertakings are now being overturned by the minions of Sangh Parivar occupying the corridors of powers in the ‘passive counter-revolution’ of sorts now under way in our midst.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream

Martin Luther King’s dream

We have learned to fly the air as birds,

We have learned to swim the seas fish,

Yet we haven’t learned to walk the

Earth as brothers and sisters.    –

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream of putting an end to racial discrimination in the most advanced industrialized nation, the United States of America. King pursued his dream relentlessly. Vijay Prashad put it succinctly, when he said: ‘(Martin Luther King Jr.) achieved a series of monumental victories, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and around him, ready for action, stood a movement germinated by the vast stirrings of human freedom. The Civil Rights Movements’ masses did not rest on the laurels of their victories. Around King, they pivoted: one task had been attained, but others lay before them. Anyone who threatens the foundations of Property faces the wrath of Order. King was killed in 1968 for his transgressions.’ *

The 1960s were a period of reckless arms race, heightened cold war, and intensification of the war in Vietnam.  a confluence of circumstances not very conducive to building on the civil rights victories and taking forward the movement towards contestations on issues of economic justice.

The efforts of Martin Luther King and the mass movement he led were not altogether in vain. In the years following King’s assassination, Apartheid gradually yielded ground to multiculturalism opening the gates of opportunity for ‘the most talented amongst the populations of color’ and they ‘began to move into the hallways of money and power’.  However, the battle for economic justice was stalled. Vijay Prashad goes on to add that ‘What did not end of course was racism. That remains. When the economy tanked in 2007-08, the victims of the harshest asset stripping were African Americans and Latinos. They lost more than half their assets, which amounts to loss of a generation’s savings.

The threads of that stalled mass upsurge of the 1960s were taken up again in the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protest ‘formed by the myriad currents that make up the American Left’. This would surely not have been possible, without the  gains achieved in 1960s.Vijay Prashad is quick to point out that ‘the strength of this (OWS) movement resides in its diversity, in its realization that no single issue discounts any other issue’ and that the divisions of race, class as well as such others are all built on the many assorted inherited inequities, which cannot be annulled or superseded by goodwill or fiat but only through relentless struggle and eternal vigilance both within and outside the movement. ‘Multiculturalism has ended, but social and economic inequality is alive and well. The new politics must move beyond multiculturalism…and toward a much more profound challenge to the current, unsustainable order. It must breathe in the many currents of dissatisfaction, and breathe out a new radical imagination.’

What was impeded in the 1960s has been rendered possible in the current conjecture characterised by many salient features:

  • the deep economic crisis engulfing the advanced countries – which is evident from the recent meltdown in the US, where the massive corporate debts have got converted into sovereign debts to tide over the crisis;
  • the unquestioned military superiority of the US and the dominance of US dollar as the ruling international currency;
  • the collapse of the Soviet Union, the erstwhile challenger to the international hegemony of US;
  • the emergence of neo-liberal regimes in the countries of the South,
  • the spread of capitalism in mainland China
  • the collapse of the Apartheid regime in South Africa and the pursuit of alternative policies by erstwhile client regimes of the US in South America.

Evidently, ‘a minimum threshold value has been transcended bringing forth some positive transformations; and this transformation itself has been made possible by the fall-out of the Second World War, viz. the defeat of fascism and the process of decolonization.  However, the spread of globalization and the concomittant sway of neo-liberal framework has rekindled the dying embers of fascism once again and the specter of ‘recolonization’ without occupation looms large before us.  For the purpose of transcending the current threshold value more inputs will be necessary – like the mass actions for the pursuit of alternative policies counterposed to the regime of neo-liberal regime in every country in Afro-Asia and South America; and the democratization of the United Nations as an effective forum safeguarding national sovereignty and international peace.

Such a denouement will also help the process of strengthening and maturing the OWS movement in the US; and helping the trend towards achieving what Vijay Prashad delineates as the prognosis for the future:  ‘Out of OWS will germinate a series of demands, and over time these will get more and more concrete, closer to being intelligible to Order and Power….But the radical imagination requires more. It demands a few sharp victories, some that are simply symbolic, others that propose immediate reforms and yet others that are for the longer term.’*

Quite long ago, in an article titled ‘The function of leadership in a mass movement’, DD Kosambi posed the question: “To what extent ‘mere agitators’ determine the course of a revolution? Would it be possible to suppress all such upheavals by the judicious and timely execution of a few people? Or is change of nature inevitable?”** The fall out of Martin Luther King’s assassination answers this question squarely.  If this is so in the US can it be different in India.

Ref:

*          Vijay Prashad’s article ‘Zombie Capitalism’.

**’       Exasperating Essays’ – DD Kosambi

Mr Ass – the Achiever, the Performer

Prologue

The ass is generally known as a beast of burden and its name is often ascribed as adjective to persons of imbecile nature.  As with all common sense perceptions, this understanding is not entirely true.  The famed Marathi playwright PL Deshpande underscored this aspect when he said that our redoubtable ass is the epitome of moderation – stithapratingyatha – a quality extolled in Bhagwat Gita, by none other than our mythological hero Krishna. The ass is also not very docile and in its hard hind leg kick we can trace the origins of karate. It is worthwhile to read the following keeping in mind this opening remark.

I read the English translation of Krishan Chander’s short Urdu novel ‘Mr. Ass comes to town’, at a very impressionable age and it is etched in my memory even today. The novel set in the early 1960s, the period of Nehru’s dirigiste regime in India. Ours is a changeless society and so evidently the novel remains relevant even today as then.

For the benefit of people who have not read it, Krishan Chander’s novel is abstracted here below:

The ass, our hero, is owned by Dhannu, in Barabanki; and on account of some strange childhood karma the ass is addicted to reading newspapers. While carrying bricks at the construction site of the lawyer, Sayid sahib’s personal villa in Barabanki; it so happens that the ass keeps listening to Sayid sahib’s views on everything under the sun, manages to read everything from Shakespeare to PG Wodehouse at his library; and in the process becomes a scholar of sorts.

When the construction work comes to an end, Dhannu goes on a drinking spree, gives the ass a good beating and turns him out saying ‘I need an ass who can carry bricks…never an ass reading books and newspapers.’  The distraught ass reaches Sayid sahib’s villa, only to find that Sayid sahib, fearing for his life, has fled to Pakistan overnight. A gang of hooligans from the adjacent village has taken over the place, all the books thrown out of the house; and Ganda Singh, a fruit vendor from Lahore has occupied the house.  So, the ass begins his trek to Delhi.

On the way to Delhi, the Ass gives a ride to a Moslem carpenter, fleeing his village.  A gang of Hindu hooligans stab the carpenter to death and take the ass away. When they have to pass a Moslem hamlet the tables are turned, the Hindu holding the ass is stabbed, the ass taken over and allotted to a Maulvi. When the Maulvi ties the ass outside a mosque and goes to offer his prayers, the ass manages to free himself and flee.  The ass has made up his mind that in future he will not help anyone – a Hindu or a Moslem.

In Delhi, as the ass is grazing in the green lawns of the India Gate, a police sergeant finds that this ass can talk and drags it to the police station for investigation by his superiors.  The police hierarchy is left wondering whether the ass is a Pakistani spy, a Russian agent or in the worst case scenario a communist. In the end the ass is locked up in the cattle pen and after a week or so is auctioned away to Ramu, the washerman.

The life for the ass, with the washerman Ramu, goes on monotonously, without any book or newspapers to read, without the benefit of gaining any knowledge about what is going on in the world or what progress is being made in science, philosophy, art, culture, learning, as none of these things are of any great significance to the life of Ramu or that of most people in their neighbourhood. The ass makes no special effort to get away from Ramu, an honourable washerman. But tragedy strikes our ass once again. One afternoon, a crocodile seizes Ramu as he is washing clothes in the waters of Jamuna and drags away the screaming Ramu away into the deep waters.

Ramu’s young wife is harassed by Ramu’s customers and even the headman of the washermen’s district. When the ass tries to comfort her, she is startled and at the same time a little frightened. The ass manages to reassure her of his loyalty to the family and goes to meet the municipal authorities to plead for assistance to the destitute family of Ramu the washerman.

After meeting the people lower down in the hierarchy the ass goes on to meet the Chairman of the Municipal Committee.  The Chairman gets mixed up trying to assess the ass, his usefulness or nuisance value… Finally, as the papers on his table catch fire when the cigar hanging on his lip suddenly drops on the desk, the Chairman gets annoyed, calls up the Fire Brigade and orders the ass to be thrown out.

The ass leaves the Municipality Office, very discouraged and proceeds to the Housing and Rehabilitation Department. Here the annoyed Superintendent shows him the door saying “…here we give assistance only to refugees, to poor homeless people from Pakistan… You will have to go elsewhere.”

With renewed hope the ass makes his way to the Department of Labour and Industries. Here the ass interacts with two bureaucrats. After a long convoluted deliberation among themselves, the bureaucrats finally decide to accept the ass’s petition on behalf of Ramu’s widow and open a file for the case.  The ass is profusely grateful but his happiness is short-lived as the ass learns that it will take about ten years’ time for any decision on the file. It is only then that the most pertinent question props up – How did Ramu die?  When it is revealed that Ramu was killed by a crocodile, the ass is directed to take his plaint to the Department of Fisheries.

By now our ass is well acquainted with office procedures.  At the Department of Fisheries, the ass starts at the beginning – Window No.1 of Counter No.1 and moves on serially.  At each window/counter the patiently ass presents his case to the person  manning the counter….The ass is aghast at the way his simple case is misunderstood, misconstrued, misinterpreted in numerous ways.  Finally the ass comes to an Anglo Indian clerk and tells him about the crocodile….our ass is happy that the Anglo Indian clerk is taking notes about where the crocodile was sighted etc….only to find that the Anglo Indian has also misunderstood the case as a request for help to find and shoot the crocodile…. At last when Anglo Indian comprehends the true nature of the ass’ request, he cautions the ass saying “…in this day and age it is dangerous to show sympathy for others.”  The ass is persistent and wants to know who will help him. After weighing various options, the Anglo-Indian asks the ass to approach the Minister of Commerce.

As usual the ass dutifully follows the advice proffered, goes to the Minister of Commerce and informs him of Ramu’s death and his family’s misfortunes….The Minister says comforting words, shares the grief; and then at last whispers his parting words into the ass’s ears: “This is a Central question….Only the Prime Minister and nobody else will be able to solve it.”…. “Yes…you will have to meet Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and tell him about this case.”

Thereupon, the ass goes to Prime Minister’s house, incurs the gardener’s wrath but manages to meet Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru….This encounter is the most hilarious part… At the end of the meeting, the ass expresses his wish that Panditji should sit on his back and ride him…. The Panditji obliges…..Panditji rides the ass and dismounts before the assembled newsmen, who capture this scene in their cameras.

It is this much hyped meeting and photo shoot with Nehru that catapults the ass to national fame. The ass is now surrounded by news persons and taken to the Constitution Club for a news conference. All the leading newspapers of the world publish a report of the ass’s news conference…..Large crowds of people gather to have a look at the ass. Then the ass meets the wealthy businessman Seth and the socialite Lady Sare Gama Gao.

With the Seth, the ass parries questions regarding his conversations with Nehru, saying that they had talked about ‘Burmah shell, a two hundred and fifty million oil refinery project’ and many things else.  The ass is taken in a mammoth procession through the Chandni Chowk. The parents of our ass are brought in from Barabanki come to Delhi with Dhabbu to see their famous son. The wealthy Seth, with extended business interests, takes a liking for the ass.  The Seth proposes to our ass a partnership contract and also marriage with his daughter Rupwati; and provides him all hospitality, publicity coverage etc.

Lady Sare Gama Gao introduces the glitterati of Delhi to our ass and the ass is invited to the Wellington Club as a judge in the beauty contest, where he is swarmed by a crowd of beauties in bathing suits.  The ass delivers a matter of fact lecture at the Wellington Club and so the beauty contest comes to a sad end.  The ass runs away from the scene of disaster and barges into the academy of Literature and meets some celebrated authors. The ass, then, visits the Academy of Music and Dance. The encounters of the ass with the cultural elite here is quite interesting.

The Seth and his men catch up with the ass; the ass is taken to Seth’s residence and Rupwati quarrels with the ass. Rupwati asks the ass to sign the business contract with her father. The ass says that he is agreeable to sign but mentions that there is nothing like a ‘two hundred and fifty million’ worth business contract coming his way. “…you have never wanted to listen to the whole story.  There was never any question of a contract in which I was concerned”, says the ass.

The Seth is flabbergasted at this turn of events. The outraged Rupwati raises her cane…the father lifts his stick…Krishan Chander ends the novel with the following footnote:

STOP PRESS

The talking ass was very seriously injured last night.  Several of his bones and ribs were broken…there was no evidence of struggle…The police, who found him, had to drag him to the Animal Hospital.  The doctors there say that he is in a very dangerous condition and there is very little chance of his survival. Everything possible is being done to save his life. Our readers are requested to pray for him, so that he may yet recover and spend many more years in the service of mankind.

Epilogue

I am haunted by a feeling that Krishan Chander’s ass has indeed recovered and has bequeathed to us a variety of cross-breed descendents, endowed with our regional traits, everywhere across our country.  The progenies in their present incarnation are more worldly wise, obtrusive; but less honest than their famed predecessor.  What really made Krishan Chander’s ass catch the fascination of the cream of our national capital then was his tryst with Nehru.  Nehru is no more but we always have our substitutes ready. The most aspiring one from the tribe of our new generation of ass can meet President Obama or even John Kerry.  Once he manages to captivate them completely our new hero will have hitched his bandwagon to the ever rising star.

Roger Bannister, the sprint athlete famous for his 4 seconds run, in his new Autobiography, Two Tracks, likens his success on the track to the channeling the body’s energy, mental and physical (similar to the knack of riding a bicycle) into a few decisive moments on the track and adds that it also ‘involves a mental trick’…  ‘The secret is to lose for a moment one’s sense of proportion.  This process, in the greatest athlete, unleashes a will to win that remains locked away in his rivals.’ Taking the cue from here, what is necessary for the most ambitious ass is to ‘channel all the energy and lose his sense of proportion at the decisive moment…unleashing the will to win’; and he will soon arrive at his moment of ultimate triumph and crowning glory.

The social arena as a battle field

The Chakra Vyuha is a battle formation; and as the name itself suggests, it is a circular formation whereby you surround the enemy forces from all sides – a kind of trap laid for the opponent’s warriors where once the opponent gains entry his/her exit routes are sealed.  The opponent may be enticed to enter the trap, seeing this as a breach to be availed of, or he may find no other option; and skilled warriors foray into this formation to break through the enemy ranks.

I perceive the human society into which we are born as one big circle, encompassing various big and small circles of ‘Chakra Vyuha’ battle formations, not falling into some neatly formed concentric circles but overlapping and treading over one another more often.  The progress or regression within one or a combination of formations generally contributes to inspire or retard the flow many other formations. Within these formations, the tendency to go with the flow and revel in its successes as also the struggle against the dominant currents is ever present; where the collective defence of mores, privileges and commanding positions of the extant organization of society encounters individual as well as collective resistance in myriad forms. The individual encounters carry over into collective contestations and the collective may atrophy into individual ones. The realm of collective action is the arena where the issues of the extent of reform possible in the current context, the means and possibility of transcending the extant social organisation and the broad contours of a better organisation that is possible are raised and answered; whether such contestations are so recognised or not. The ebb and flow of these encounters are the stuff of historical writings.

As you are born into the ‘Chakra Vyuha’ so you learn to survive as also participate in the on-going struggle in the ‘Chakra Vyuha’ and there are many ways of survival and participation. While any survival strategy is surely conditioned by the class origins of the individual concerned, it is not necessarily limited to the visions of one’s class origins.

However, the terms of survival, struggle, dignity, and grace are all terms with some integral weights and relative resonance capable of multiple interpretations mediated through the experiences of myriad individuals or even collectives; although the varied experiences do fall within some common groove/strand given the major constellation of classes in our society.

In any case, the general struggle for survival manifests as the struggle of the opposites – you are either a part of the encircling forces, blocking any breach in your ranks, or you are a part of the forces striving to achieve a break through; or alternatively you have to keep switching between these two sides eternally, without any true purpose, which is also a variety of survival strategy.

You have to survive – though mere survival or even successful survival, by some measure, will leave you trapped within the circle – but only with your ability to conceive, plan, organize and execute the break through, which is surely not an individual but collective endeavour, you can prove your mettle as a rational and social human being, a part of the form the vast majority of humanity.

The process of learning to survive with dignity and grace naturally by implication goes hand in hand with every individual’s endeavour to comprehend the quintessential nature of the present social organisation of our times and linking up our own individual travails and struggle with the on-going collective struggle across the many formations to transcend the present for a better future. Such a realization is the minimum requisite for gearing up to break through the Chakra Vyuha.