DAILY-WAGE LABOURER Kinker Chandra Das from Kaikala village of Hooghly district in West Bengal is tight-lipped about his political affinities. The middle-aged man treats the question of whom he would vote for in the 2019 election as though it is a brutal assault on his privacy. He raises his eyebrows in disbelief. He isn’t ready … Continue reading Will its Hindu revivalist past haunt West Bengal’s future?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT the Malayali male that attracts equal parts respect and scorn? Normally, expectations from Kerala, a state that enjoys high social indicators, some of which are on par with Nordic countries, are that it is a fairer and far more egalitarian society compared with the rest of India. The sex ratio, the … Continue reading Kerala’s Popular Culture Has Abetted Misogyny in Life and Politics
ON THE MORNING of 30 July 2016, within two months of him taking over as chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, accompanied by leaders Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and V Sivankutty, broke protocol and drove down to Mascot Hotel, a heritage building that once housed British officers during the First World War. There was no pilot jeep and no … Continue reading Violence Between the Left and the Right in Kerala Unabated Despite Secret Parleys
SPEAKING TO DELEGATES in Hyderabad on the fourth day of the six-day 22nd Party Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), its triennial summit, General Secretary Sitaram Yechury poked fun at what he called the ‘bourgeois media’ for their distorted portrayal of communists. He specifically named the Malayala Manorama, a Kerala daily, for carrying allegedly … Continue reading A Report From the 22nd Party Congress of CPM
Outside AKG Bhavan, the CPM’s headquarters in Delhi’s Gole Market area, barricades are in place with armed policemen on duty. India’s biggest Communist party in mainstream politics has been at the receiving end of violent protests in the past few years by rival political parties, especially Hindu nationalists, some of whom had barged in, fulminated … Continue reading Can the Indian Left Reinvent Itself?
LIKE MOST OF his puritanical predecessors in the Stalinist confines of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is a reluctant conversationalist. His interactions with the media are always guarded. He belongs to a generation of Marxists taught to be tight-lipped about the goings-on of the party apparatus, unlike the CPM’s … Continue reading When Pinarayi Vijayan Put Sitaram Yechury in His Place
WITHIN HOURS OF the March 11th victory in Uttar Pradesh, BJP President Amit Shah was contemplating his next moves. As he told his close associates, he wants the party to gain strength in 120 Lok Sabha constituencies across various states where the BJP is a marginal player. A few days later, while speculation was still … Continue reading BJP Begins the Battle for Tougher States
Emboldened by its emphatic win in Uttar Pradesh and stunning electoral gains elsewhere, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now looking to expand its spread in the south just as it did in new turfs such as the North East, especially in Kerala where the parent outfit, the RSS, has more than 5,600 shakhas, the … Continue reading BJP’s Next Target: Kerala
FOUR-YEAR-OLDS hate being woken up at 4.30 am and taken through morning ablutions by force, especially when they see most grown-ups in the joint family snoring away. But then a short walk that follows to a kalari session in the rain could lift your spirits. Petrichor is a feeling you experience long before you discover … Continue reading Marxism and Martial Arts
MANY YEARS AGO, when his intra-party rival VS Achuthanandan was Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, who was then the chief of the ruling CPM’s state unit, attended an all-party meeting to discuss the width of state highways. It was a departure of sorts for a party strongman to turn up at such a gathering, … Continue reading Pinarayi Vijayan: A Marxist in the Marketplace