(Illustration: Saurabh Singh) WHEN INDIA WON freedom in 1947, communists were already in power across large swathes of Europe thanks to Joseph Stalin’s puritanical worldview and expansionist politics. Having steered World War II to a triumphant win at a huge cost along with the Allied Powers, the Soviet Union under his watch had the bandwidth … Continue reading The Indian Left may have shrunk politically, but it is still an intellectual force to reckon with
THE chief minister of Kerala had a reputation for being pithy. But he seems to have changed, showing an inclination to dwell at length on the policies of his coalition, which has secured another term in the recent Assembly election. This historic victory makes Pinarayi Vijayan the first chief minister of Kerala to return to … Continue reading ‘The relevance of the Left in India cannot be measured by poll victories alone’
Emboldened by its victory, the Kerala CPM will resist any bid by its central leadership to align with Congress anywhere Pinarayi Vijayan addressing after the election results, May 2, 2021 Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has made history by becoming the first incumbent in the state to return to power. The Left Democratic Front (LDF), … Continue reading Pinarayi Vijayan in the Driver’s Seat
ABBAS SIDDIQUI HAS changed. Abbas Siddiqui is changing. Abbas Siddiqui will change. These are the unlikely but general statements churned out by Left leaders in West Bengal, mostly privately, justifying their collaboration with a new and untested party floated on January 21st by this 34-year-old pirzada, a cleric, of the shrine of Furfura Sharif in West … Continue reading Can the Left in Bengal expect a rainmaker in Abbas Siddiqui, the brash cleric and its new ally?
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