DD Kosambi

“Certain opponents of Marxism dismiss it as an outworn economic dogma based upon 19th century prejudices. Marxism never was a dogma. There is no reason why its formulation in the 19th century should make it obsolete and wrong, any more than the discoveries of Gauss, Faraday and Darwin, which have passed into the body of science… The defense generally given is that the Gita and the Upanishads are Indian; that foreign ideas like Marxism are objectionable. This is generally argued in English the foreign language common to educated Indians; and by persons who live under a mode of production (the bourgeois system forcibly introduced by the foreigner into India.) The objection, therefore seems less to the foreign origin than to the ideas themselves which might endanger class privilege. Marxism is said to be based upon violence, upon the class-war in which the very best people do not believe nowadays. They might as well proclaim that meteorology encourages storms by predicting them. No Marxist work contains incitement to war and specious arguments for senseless killing remotely comparable to those in the divine Gita”

 Exasperating Essays: Exercises in Dialectical Method (1957)

G. N. Saibaba’s Bail Cancelled, Contempt Notice Slapped On Arundhati Roy

Countercurrents.org – 24 December, 2015

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court cancelled the bail of Delhi University professor G. N. Saibaba and asked him to surrender before the police by 25th December. The Wheelchair-bound Saibaba who is over 90% disabled will celebrate Christmas in jail. A single judge bench of Justice Arun Choudhari also charged Author Arundhati Roy for criminal contempt for writing about Saibaba’s imprisonment and the court’s denial of bail in her article “Professor P.O.W.” in Outlook magazine in May. Arundhati Roy has to reply to the notice by January 25, 2016.

Prof. Saibaba was arrested by Maharashtra police in May 2015 for alleged Maoist links. On July 3, a two-judge bench of the Bombay High Court at Mumbai had granted Saibaba bail on reports that his health was deteriorated severely after 14 months in Nagpur jail. He has been paralysed from waist-downward since contracting polio in childhood. Since obtaining bail in July, Saibaba has been undergoing treatment at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre in New Delhi. He had an angioplasty in August.

The order canceling Saibaba’s bail says that there is sufficient material for the court to consider that the allegations made against Saibaba under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as true and thus, to cancel his bail order. It states that the Revolutionary Democratic Front of which Saibaba is a member, though not banned by the central government, “could be called as frontal organization of the CPI (Maoist)”.

The order cites several pages of Roy’s article and notes that the article had a “mala fide motive to interfere in the administration of justice”.

“Instead of challenging the orders passed by Sessions Court and the learned Single Judge of this Court, the author appears to have invented a novel idea of bashing the Central Government, the State Government, the Police machinery so also judiciary and that was, prima facie, with a mala fide motive to interfere in the administration of justice.

The language used by the author in her article against the Government and the police machinery is as nasty as it could be and one really wonders whether the same would befit to the prestigious awards the author is said to have won. Calling the Government and police as being “afraid” of the applicant, “abductor” and “thief” and the Magistrate from a “small town”, demonstrate the surly, rude and boorish attitude of the author in the most tolerant country like India…

…The author has even gone to the extent of scandalizing and questioning the credibility of the higher judiciary by giving examples of the orders of bail granted to “Babu Bajrangi”, “Maya Kodnani” and “Amit Shah”.

Does the author know that the grant of bail depends on the facts and evidence in each case and there cannot be any such comparison. Is it not the fact that the Central Government, the State Government, the police machinery and the armed forces are fighting for prevention of unlawful and terrorist activities in the country when the Naxal plague has taken a pincer grip.”

Arundhati Roy said she will respond to the order in court.

Mapping (by) the Indian Express on Maoists in India

This Ashutosh Bhardwaj article from Indian Express is at least five months old (its a general page, so no date), but is maybe worth a look since a few people recently have mentioned the Maoist struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. The continuities between then and today are convoluted, but they exist.

Plus there is this map, somehow visualising what is going on today can better displace relegation of Maoist struggles to the past. Talk of a reaffirmation of the party and direction towards work in urban areas has been about of late too:

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Five Maoists were arrested in the southern peninsula this month, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh said last week that incidents of Maoist violence were on the decline. How relevant is that claim? ASHUTOSH BHARDWAJ answers key questions on the activities of the CPI (Maoist), both in its forest strongholds and clandestine urban bases, and gives a status report on its operations.

Is the CPI (Maoist) on the decline?

Compared to the 2006-2010 period, attacks have been fewer in the last two-three years. But they remain entrenched in the forest zone across central India, and dominate a far wider territory in Dandakaranya now than they did in 2004, when the MCC and CPI (Maoist) merged. In Chhattisgarh, over 50,000 CRPF, BSF, ITBP and state police personnel are fighting the Maoists, but politicians and officials still cannot enter many areas. 2014 is considered among the calmest years in a decade, but it was also the year in which the CRPF suffered its second biggest casualty in a calendar year in Chhattisgarh.

According to Home Ministry figures, from 2008-14, 992 LWE cadres were killed, 13,657 were arrested, 2,608 surrendered. But the data does not distinguish between CPI (Maoist) and other groups, several of which are active in Jharkhand.

What is the Maoists’ urban network?

Underground cadres who operate from cities, sympathizers and supporters. Maoist documents stress on building a strong base in cities, and mention three kinds of urban mass organisations: secret, open and semi-open, and legal, the last including cover organisations and affiliated activists. The forest-based rebellion survives mostly on what Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao calls the “movement in urban areas”. From the urban network come logistics, moral and intellectual support, and the ideological argument for violence. The network is in several cities, and sympathisers occupy prominent positions. Central Committee member Malla Raji Reddy’s daughter Snehlata and son-in-law C Kasim live on the Osmania University campus in Hyderabad. Kasim teaches Telugu, Snehlata edits a journal on revolutionary politics. “We support the Maoist movement, the only path available for the poor and oppressed. There have been setbacks but the movement will go on,” says Kasim.

How does the CPI (Maoist) operate?

A mammoth hierarchical structure operates on a ‘need to know’ basis. At the top is a 20-member Central Committee headed by Muppala Laxmana Rao or Ganapathy. Other CC members include Nambala Keshava Rao or Ganganna who heads the Central Military Commission, military expert and Giridih resident Misir Besara, and Dalit Maharashtrian Milind Teltumbde whose brother is married to the sister of Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B R Ambedkar.

Under the CC are four regional bureaus, the most significant and active of which, the Central Regional Bureau, is headed by Katakam Sudarshan alias Anand. The CRB has three units: Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, North Telangana Special Zonal Committee and Andhra Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee. Slain leader Kishanji’s younger brother and CC member Mallojula Venugopal Rao or Bhupathi is in charge of the DKSZC, the headquarters of the CPI (Maoist), and home to some of the top leadership. CC member Akkiraju Haragopal, who led the talks with the YSR government in 2004, is in charge of AOBSZC. Its secretary is Modem Bala Krishna, also a CC member. CC member Pulluri Prasad Rao alias Chandanna heads the NTSZC. The North Regional Bureau comprises units in Delhi, Punjab, J&K, Himachal, Uttarakhand and UP, and is mostly defunct.

Zonal or state committees are divided into area committees, which form the Revolutionary People’s Council in villages. These have successfully replaced panchayats in many areas of Dandakaranya.

What is their military capacity?

Bastar has two major battalions, Jharkhand has a fledgling one. The South Bastar battalion, formed in 2009 and headed by Hidma, has the finest guerrillas and has carried out nearly all major attacks in recent years. The Abujhmaad battalion, headed by Ramdher, was formed in 2012 primarily to protect the top leadership soon after CRPF entered the area. Each battalion has formations of company, platoon and squad, but their numbers vary. Bombmaking capacity was hit after the head of the Technical Research Arms Manufacturing Unit Sadanala Ramkrishna was arrested in 2012. His aide Deepak Parghania, an award-winning technician from SAIL’s Bhilai plant, was arrested too. Units in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra manufacture artillery, rifle parts, pressure mines, rocket launchers.

Are there any fissures within?

Over the last decade, several senior cadres have questioned the preeminent focus on violence, to the exclusion of mass awakening, building bases in universities. Public executions in Jan Adalats have earned the wrath of tribals in many cases. “They are leading a necessary movement, but they need to review their violence,” surrendered CC member Lanka Papi Reddy has said. Former DKSZC spokesperson Gudsa Usendi alias Sukhdev has voiced reservations against highhandedness by cadres. Of late, the Maoists have issued several apologies for attacks.

Where has the state failed?

A democratic state functioning within the Constitution and law has a fundamental handicap in dealing with the challenge. There have been no killings in Andhra and Telangana of late, but teachers, writers and journalists in cities from Warangal to Guntur feed the movement many ways. Seminars in Hyderabad celebrated the 10th anniversary of the CPI (Maoist) last year. Spokesperson Azad lived in Delhi for years with his wife. There are enough disillusioned youth who are attracted to their ideology, and to the lure of the gun and romance of a forest life. In the end, the state must be able to demonstrate that the political system is not just for the moneyed, manipulative and powerful.

– See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-how-why-and-what-next-of-the-maoist-story/#comments

Virinder Kalra “Sacred and Secular Musics”

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 14.39.58‘writing a book about music may seem anachronistic given the state of crises that announced itself in explicit acts of violence and multiple human violations’

This is a book not to be missed. Sacred and Secular Musics explains with detail and nuance the contexts of emergence and understanding – and criticism of misunderstandings – of musics from the Punjab. Kirtans, Qawwali, folk and film tunes are given analytical and biographical treatment here – based upon extensive interviews and well-tuned listening practice. Virinder Kalra’s return from a combative engagement with musicological terrain reunites what has been torn apart by scholarship and politics.

A sonorous demolition of colonial era music orientalism is articulated as a necessary and ongoing project. Here it is informed by historical and archival work used as parallel anti-colonial movement against the drone routines of latter day musicology and its patterned responses in hierarchical mode. That surely ever so well-meaning contemporary music scholars repeat the platitudes and privileges of East India Company judgements is not just an error of disciplinary isolation or demarcation – a book on music is never only about music – here at last is one up front about the isomorphism of soundtrack and power. Get this book not so much to read your way into a better music history or to decolonise your record/mp3 collection’s exotic moments, but to recognise those moments as part of a wider dis-orientation through rhythm and poetry – which could perhaps be claimed as the sonic register of a wider Global South resistance, and not to be merely commercialised and packaged into some rote-learning documentary format.

‘despite increasing hardening physical borders and political sabre rattling. Perhaps only music is able, in the absence of cross-border transnational, political or social movements and institutions, to provide an example of another possibility of a refusal to endorse and promote the outcomes of colonial modernity. Even though, this is only a minor chord in the hugely amplified soundscape that is invested in the continuation of the boundaries between religions. It is one that is worth straining for and making the effort to hear’

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