[Reader-list] Naxalite heroes

Asit asitreds asitredsalute at gmail.com
Wed Apr 30 14:27:25 IST 2008

dear freinds
i agree with marxist project is ending the status of workers as workers in
fact if i understand marx correctly he said that the working class has to
elevate him self to the position of ruling class, regarding
heroism,declassing etc ijust want to say that people make history
celebreties dont but what makes com anuradha important isthat she betrayed
her class and that was a descisive action as an individual.What is out
standing about comrade Anuradha is that in today's neo liberal world where
history has been pronounced dead where any action of transending capitalism
as a total system is ridiculed,when social reality is fragmented in to end
less creation of the other and innumerable contending identities fighting
for their space in the fashionable post modern world where mutlicultarilism
is the in thing. Internationalism and class solidarities are religated to
the musuem of history ultimately George Bush, Man Mohan Singh, Bill Gates
and Mukesh Ambani has the last laugh because the so caleed new social
movements in their anti universalism anti metanarrative of liberation have
localised struggles and fashinable micro narratives.Don't talk about
transcending capitalism be confined to your neighbourhood.
Comrade Anuradha Gandhi's ascetism and the declassing herself is far more
meaningful authentic and politically honest then selfstyled,highflying
gandhian leaders of the socalled new social movements where media
management,networking is the highiest political skill.
Marxist never moralised about lifestyle politics and overstress on the
notion of the sustainable life style, the frauadelance, deceit and shameless
contradiction of the managers of these Gandhian new social movements is
glaring while the leaders romaniticised grassroot activism  community life
simplicity intensinaly romanticising rural life  including fudeal culture
their  agents and managers  in the metro politian  centres lead a
comfortable  urban upper middle class life with a salary of a business
executive  their deception. Their decision is quite obvious in their most
unsustainable  high energy consuming  high tech officers and homes.Their
only job is too manage the media book auditoriums guest houses  sending
invitation and of course indulge in to the most apolitical socialising,
groupism and expending empires of their godfathers and godmothers of so
called new socialism.The pen ultimate political skill of these jokers is
event management and the media falls in for the celebrity factor and the TRP
rates.It is needless to say that the class background of the NGO event
managers and Jounalists specially the Jounalists of English newspapers and
electronic media are same.and both grow up with heavy doses of anti left
ideology.Capitalism never had a golden period then these apolitical,anti
ideology anti theory new social movements buffons.Any talk of anti
imperalism is old fashioned.One should endulge into fragmented depoliticised
technical discourses climate change, sex worker rights,governance( without a
discussion of the class nature of the state), empowerment, child labour ,
networking, watersed management, livelyhood generation, capacity
building,alternative lifestyles of course with high swining cocktail parties
deconstructing the technical dectails of the mega projects without it's
politics or historical discussion of development theory and de colonization
and of course colluding with grass root level state official to implement
reformist depoliticising programmes to legitimise the system the agenda of
counter revolution is clear.Here comrade Anuradha Gandhi made a big

On Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 5:33 AM, Shuddhabrata Sengupta <shuddha at gmail.com>

> ear Jesse Knutson,
> Thanks for your response.
> I found Jyoti Punwani's piece stimulating to read, not because it
> presented Anuradha Ghandy is a hero, but because it reminisced about
> a friend. I think that the concrete solidarity of friendship has a
> more capacious quality than the abstraction of heroism. As Bertholt
> Brecht once said, 'pity the people who need heroes'. I am suspicious
> of people who get called heroes and martyrs and would run a mile,
> especially from 'revolutionary' ones. But Punwani's evocation of the
> 'revolutionarily' insignificant details of Anuradha's personal life,
> as a friend, and her affection for her friend, made me take it
> seriously. It is possible to honour a friendship, even if you have
> nothing to do with the people who happen to be the friends in
> question, do not know them personally, and regardless of whether or
> not you agree with their views or choices.
> I am not quite sure that the conceptual foundations of a Marxist-
> Leninist-Maoist milieu and a liberal ngo are fundamentally different,
> both assume that the 'people' are some plastic entity, an object
> capable of being acted upon and shaped in the desired,
> 'revolutionary' or 'reformist' direction by an elite, (some of whom
> get called 'heroes') either through 'true' education (what is
> 'untrue' education?), or that higher power called, 'empowerment'
> ministered to them through the good offices, either of 'professional
> revolutionaries' or of 'trained social workers'. In either case,
> knowledge, consciousness, comes from a notional 'outside' and the
> 'people' once they are adequately filled with this knowledge, become
> the 'revolutionary' instruments of history (if they are the objects
> of the 'revolutionary' party's self confessed consciousness raising
> mission) , or the entitled subjects of a mid day meal, or an
> inoculation programme
> I am actually quite interested in the example that you invoke of the
> prince Siddharth, later known as the Buddha, because in the parable
> of his transformation -  the encounter of someone who has not
> suffered, with the reality of suffering (poverty, disease, senility,
> death - the four things that the prince encounters on his chariot
> ride) - this encounter - is not considered as something to be mocked
> but to be seen as a generative, productive situation.
> The anger and resentment of the poor for being poor does not take
> them (or anyone) outside their condition. But a prince's realization
> that the reality of suffering might have a relationship to his
> clinging to a world where there are princes and paupers does require
> him to make a choice about either being a prince, or not. In this
> specific case, the prince chooses not to remain a prince. This is not
> about constructing a hierarchy between the moral valence of being
> princes and paupers, but about knowing that the state of princehood
> and paupery are both obstacles, to emancipation. In one case, one
> chooses to reject the claims of the world, in the second, one is not
> in a position to reject the claims of the world, because one does not
> have a world to lose.  Proletarians lose their chains by gaining a
> world, princes lose their chains by losing their world.
> One might say, that for a proletarian, it is the decision to no
> longer act as a proletarian (as being bereft of estate) or to insist
> that she might have claim on the world is something that one might
> consider to be revolutionary. It is in some way, the mirror (obverse)
> of the princes act. The proletarian has to make a claim on the world
> that the prince must reject.  But for a revolutionary subjectivity to
> arise, both the prince and the proletarian must cease to be
> themselves. It means, that the poor must cease to be, or to identify
> themselves, to others, or to themselves, as 'the poor'. Maoism,
> glorifies the state of the poor as the poor. That is why Maoists and
> Gandhians get along so well. they both love the fact that the poor,
> are, well, poor. And their romanticization of poverty has a slightly
> aesthetic ardour. if the poor were to spend hard earned money on
> mobile phones or decent country liquor, Maoists and Gandhians would
> get their khadi (or striped cotton) knickers into a twist of moral
> indignation. Which is why, for instance, Maoists can claim that the
> worker or proletarian in North America, for instance is no longer a
> revolutionary subject. And that to be properly revolutionary in the
> Maoist sense one must bear at least some working resemblance to third
> world emacietedness. This means having and continuing to love having
> a sad, hard, life. Maoists and Gandhians love to make everyone, and
> themselves suffer. The portrait of Anuradha that Jyoti Punwani offers
> is interesting, because contrary to the standard Maoist script, it
> seems to suggest that Anuradha was not at all interested in
> professing, or advocating the vacancy of suffering. She had made a
> choice to live a certain life, not because it was a hard one,
> (although it may have been a hard one) but because it was necessary
> for her to do so in order to practice her politics. She did not
> moralize to those who did not share her choice.
> It is possible, hypothetically, that in other circumstances, a
> particular revolutionary, might decide or come to the realization in
> the course of their political work, that their task lies in the
> necessary elimination (through a precise and economical act of pre-
> meditated violence) of the CEO of a corporation. In order to achieve
> this aim, that individual, might have to live for a long time,
> 'undercover' in a highly elite social milieu, waiting for the right
> time, to make the right move. Let us assume that this requires this
> individual to live the life of a high society hostess. Would we then
> say, at some stage, that her decision to live the high life was an
> act of revolutionary sacrifice, and that she would be right in
> looking down, or that others would be justified in vicasiously (on
> her behalf, that is) looking down upon those others who chose not to
> do as she did, and who refused to take upon themselves the contagion
> of living the hard life of moving from a society dinner to a cocktail
> to the races, to another cocktail, waiting for the right moment to
> bring her revolver out of her handbag. I think we might all realize
> that to say such a thing would be absurd, maybe even a little
> pervese. I find it no less absurd when the practical political
> necessity of choosing a certain other kind of  life, as opposed to
> another, no matter who chooses it,  is cast in the mould of 'herosim'.
> In my view, a Marxist understanding would lie in rejecting the
> poverty of the poor as a moral ideal or example.  Poverty is not a
> state of grace. From what I remember of Marxism, the emancipation of
> the working class results in the end of workers as workers, not in
> making everyone a worker. This too is a certain kind of taking leave
> of the world a it is. This actually might require a renunciation of
> resentment. I have yet to see a Maoist politics that is capable of
> taking leave of resentment.
>  Class struggles may be caused by anger and resentment, but they
> cannot be fought with anger and resentment, because proletarians
> cannot afford to delude themselves that the transformation of
> material conditions and social relations can be achieved by the
> venting of anger against their so called 'betters'. That results in
> the replacement of one group of masters with another, and yesterday's
> bullied become tomorrow's bullies. It doesnt get rid of bullying, or
> of that obstinate thing called class, which is not a collection of
> 'bad rich people', but the expression of a social relationship. The
> difference between a Marxist, and a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
> understanding of practice might, I would suggest, consist in the
> understanding that one comes to the banal, everyday, long haul task
> of revolutionary practice, not with anger, but with patience, tact,
> humour and the understanding that the attempt to get rid of class is
> not the same thing as 'dipping one's hand', as the psycopathic
> beatitiude of Com. Charu Mazumdar once had it, 'in the blood of the
> class enemy'. Mind you, I have nothing against the tactical necessity
> of violence in self defence in situations of class conflict, but to
> celebrate the idea of 'dipping one's hand in the blood of the class
> enemy' as so much of the legacy of Maoism in India, does, is to play
> act in a macabre performance of a slightly sick fetish, not to pursue
> a serious politics. A few dead policemen do not make a revolution.
> thanks for the provocation to think aloud about these things
> regards,
> Shuddha
> On 29-Apr-08, at 11:40 AM, Jesse R. Knutson wrote:
> >
> > To respond to Shuddha whose mail is pasted below...Yes all one
> > has to agree with is that the only heroes, even
> > Naxalite ones, are the rich and that the only palatable mode
> > of politics is the asceticism of the nobility.  Punwani's
> > piece is nice, especially as it can actually convey something
> > partially meaningful
> > to its mindless and self-satisfied yuppy audience, but it also
> > smacks of age old conservative narrative strategies, like the
> > tale of the prince Buddha who could only really renounce the
> > world because he knew all its pleasures and privileges.  What
> > about another kind of story?..One about poor people who
> > receive true education and empowerment in a
> > Marxist-Leninist-Maoist milieu (and not in some liberal ngo),
> > people who reject instinctively the moralism and liberalism of
> > the Indian bourgeoisie whom they regard as cannibals in
> > practice.  What about people who turn on their betters
> > reversing the violence inflicted on them, teaching the rich
> > what it means to suffer and be humiliated...Well that would be
> > another story, not of bloated empty complacent 'conviction'
> > but of meaningful revolutionary practice, which is what
> > Anuradha Ghandy
> > actually strove to embody. In solidarity with her, J
> >
> >
> > Dear Sanjay,
> >
> > many thanks for forwarding the tribute to Anuradha Ghandy by
> > Jyoti
> > Punwani. One does not have to agree with Naxalism of any
> > variety to
> > be moved by the example of the kind of life that this text
> > points to.
> > What is important for me in it is that it suggests that the
> > strength
> > of one's convictions do not have to automatically translate into
> > making other people feel guilty about their life choices, or
> > about
> > patronizing them. The world would be a better and more
> > interesting
> > place if we had more people like Anuradha Ghandy in our midst.
> >
> > thanks,
> >
> > Shuddha
> > ---------------------------------------
> > Jesse Knutson
> > Ph.D. Candidate
> > Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University
> > of Chicago
> > ---------------------------------------
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> Shuddhabrata Sengupta
> The Sarai Programme at CSDS
> Raqs Media Collective
> shuddha at sarai.net
> www.sarai.net
> www.raqsmediacollective.net
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