In response to Nirmalangshu Mukherji's write-up - "Politics of The Padayatra-1"

Anjan Basu

In his comments on the Shanti Padayatra currently passing through India's Adivasi heartland, Nirmalangshu Mukherji extols the 'power of non-violence' in a country daily devastated by the most brutal violence that the politically and economically empowered visit upon India's most marginalised, disempowered communities. Well, non-violence is a laudable enough creed, especially in the land of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and one can have no quarrel with Mukherji preaching it in India or elsewhere, never mind the fact that, by idolising non-violence, one only helps reinforce the hegemony of the exploiting classes/ groups in an unequal society. But maybe Mukherji is prepared to overlook this 'minor' problem in today's India where the more serious issue seems to him to be that ''armchair, elite Maoist propagandists such as Gautam Navlakha, Arundhati Roy, Varvara Rao, Sumanta Bannerji, Nandini Sundar etc.." are fiercely promoting the Moaist cause. This is quite extraordinary. Since I have not yet had the good fortune of reading Mukherji's book which, as he does not forget to remind us here, 'fully documents' how 'the Maoists have degenerated into an anti-democratic mafia', I will only confine myself to one observation here: that Mukherji's narrative so closely resembles the Pune Police's case against 'Maoist propagandists' that it will gladden the cockles of many hearts inside the country's current ruling dispensation. The government indeed, is in serious need of some heavy intellectual artillery of this variety, and Mukherji's intervention will, hopefully, address that need in some measure. Maybe Mukherji's book will be cited by the prosecution in the activists' case, too.

Oct 14, 2018

Anjan Basu [email protected]

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