Revolution in South Asia

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Archive for October 8th, 2008

Brave New India: Arundhati Roy Interview, Part 1

Posted by irisbright on October 8, 2008

This interview originally appeared in Issue 61 Sept/Oct 2008of the International Socialist Review.

This is Part 1. Part 2 can be found here.

ARUNDHATI ROY is the author of The God of Small Things. She is known for courageously standing with the pooret people of India in their growing struggles with the state and international capitalism. Her latest books are The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile, with David Barsamian, and An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire.

DAVID BARSAMIAN interviewed her in New Delhi on December 29, 2007. David Barsamian is the producer of Alternative Radio, based in Boulder, Colorado.

All nations have ideas about themselves that are repeated without much scrutiny or examination: the United States—a beacon of freedom and liberty; India—the world’s largest democracy, dedicated to secularism.

India has done a better job than the United States in recent years. The myth about the U.S. being a beacon of liberty has been more or less discredited amongst people who are even vaguely informed. India, on the other hand, has managed to pull off almost a miraculous public relations coup. It really is the flavor of the decade, I think. It’s the sort of dream destination for world capital. All this done in the name of “India is not Afghanistan,” “India is not Pakistan,” “India is a secular democracy,” and so on.

India has among the highest number of custodial deaths in the world. It’s a country where 25 percent of its territory is out of control of the government. But the thing is that these areas are so dark, whether it’s Kashmir, whether it’s the northeastern states, whether it’s Chhattisgarh, whether it’s parts of Andhra Pradesh. There is so much going on here, but it’s just a diverse and varied place. So while there are killings going on, say, in Chhattisgarh, there’s a festival in Tamil Nadu or a cricket match between India and Australia in Adelaide. Where the light is shone is where the Sensex stock market is jumping and investments are coming in. And where the lights are switched off are the states where farmers are committing suicide—I think the figure is now 136,000—and the killing, in say, Kashmir, which is 68,000 to 80,000. We have laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which allows even noncommissioned officers to shoot on suspicion.

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Brave New India: Arundhati Roy Interview, Part 2

Posted by irisbright on October 8, 2008

This interview originally appeared in Issue 61 Sept/Oct 2008 of the International Socialist Review. This is Part 2. Part 1 can be found here.

Displaced tribal people hold a meeting with Naxalites.

Displaced tribal people hold a meeting with Naxalites.

You just mentioned Nandigram, which is a small village in West Bengal, a state that is ruled by the Communist Party (Marxist). In 2007 there were killings there. You went to Nandigram. Can you explain what happened and what is going on?

Nandigram is not a small village. Nandigram is a district that consists of many, many villages. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CP(M)], which is the main parliamentary Left, which is in coalition with the center right now, has been in power in West Bengal for thirty years unchallenged. I grew up in Kerala, which also has had a communist government, but it’s all the time in and out of power. When I went to Bengal, I realized the first thing you do is to question how in this tumultuous place can a party remain in power for thirty years unchallenged. There is something terribly wrong there. It’s difficult to explain. I’ll try and explain it simply, because obviously it has led to a lot of confusion in the world. This particular Communist Party (Marxist) has been sort of not calling itself that but has been at the level of organizing, say, the World Social Forum in India, saying “Another World Is Possible” and trying to align itself with all the various people’s movements that have existed in India for many years. The Communist Party (Marxist), except in Bengal and to some extent in Kerala, does not have any cadres anywhere else in India, so it was consciously trying to sort of associate itself with all these various people’s movements, which was why it was so big into the World Social Forum.

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New Book: Prachanda’s Life Underground

Posted by irisbright on October 8, 2008

Prachanda: The Unknown Revolutionary, available from Mandala Point Press.

From Wikipedia:

“Since 1996, Prachanda has become internationally known as the leader of CPN (M), presiding over its military and political wings. The first biography on Nepal’s Maoist Prime Minister—Prachanda: The Unknown Revolutionary—has been written by Indian journalist Anirban Roy, the Nepal Correspondent of Hindustan Times. Published by Mandala Book Point, Kathmandu, the book was released on September 19, 2008 by Chairman of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, Subhas Nembwang. The book—Prachanda: The Unknown Revolutionary—has brought to fore Prachanda’s 25 year-long underground life. It is an intimate chronicle of the personal life of the man who has captured the world’s imagination. The best-selling book is the fruit of talks with nearly 200 people who know the Maoist leader closely, ranging from his father, wife and children to comrades and politicians.”

From Mandala Point Press:

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Nepal: Maoist CC to Revolve Disputes via National Convention

Posted by Mike E on October 8, 2008

the following was published by Nepal news

Maoists to hold national conference on Nov 10


The central committee of the Maoists ended, Tuesday, after deciding to hold national conference on November 10.

“The central committee meeting ended and we have now decided to settle all the issues through the National Conference, which will be held on November 10,” Barsha Man Pun Ananta told Nepal FM.

Ananta said that the national conference will forge party’s future action plans and strategies.

At the CC meeting, Prime Minister and party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is said to have proposed to go for National Conference to settle debates on what sort of “People’s Republic” the party wants to establish, among others.

According to Ananta, party chairman will present a political document at the conference for discussion.

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