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Chatterjee's Lineages


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Chatterjee’s Lineages

ome comments regarding Rajan Gurukkal’s review essay on Partha Chatterjee’s Lineages of Political Societies (“A Text Self-Consciously Realist and Never Utopian”, EPW, 24 March 2012). When Chatterjee portrays political society arising at the disjuncture between civil and political society it raises some concerns, which I will explain in the light of my reading of Peter D Thomas’ The Gramscian Moment.

How does such an understanding work within the ambit of the newer interpretation of the concept of the “integral state”? Does Chatterjee give adequate attention to the international character of capital and its unifying elements? According to his understanding, does not the non-western colonial social formation represent a monolithic cultural essence, unlike capital, which genuinely has the predominance of such an aspect.

Thus it seems that Chatterjee presupposes an unchangeable cultural essence in the non-western countries. Does this position not constitute a denial of the dialectical interaction between the particular (national) and the universal (international), which was upheld by Gramsci in his polemics with the reductionist nationalism of Stalin and the romantic permanent revolution of Trotsky? The universal normative standard, discursively set by the west, is rearticulated in Indian concepts by Chatterjee when he delves into dharma and niti. This does seem to assert the essential universality of capital.

Further, he seems to discard the aggressiveness with which the capitalist state suppresses agrarian and nationalist struggles. Thus it appears that Chatterjee’s theory of electoral democracy, supposedly giving ample space for the political society for navigation and negotiation, is one-sided. I would argue that the engagement of the State as an internal agency to the peasants, providing care and food, fits with the notion of the passive revolution, rather than entrenching democracy. Thus it seems that

march 31, 2012

Chatterjee’s conception of a cleavage between civil and political society negates the concept of the integral state, where consent and coercion reinforce each other.

Joe M S

Dublin, Ireland

Solidarity with Koodankulam

he state government of Tamil Nadu has finally succumbed to pressure by the central government and decided to commission the operation of the two Russian built nuclear reactors in Koodankulam. It has carried out a major crackdown on the mass movement in and around Koodankulam in southern Tamil Nadu, outrageously slapping sedition charges – no less – on several people, and arresting close to 200 people in a pre-emptive show of intimidation and force.

Over the last six months in what has been the latest phase of a more than decade-long struggle, tens of thousands of residents in and around Koodan kulam have peacefully and non-violently demonstrated against the government’s nuclear power plans. They have demanded that their concerns over issues of safety, environmental hazards and procedural violations of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) be fully and properly addressed. That their livelihood and life concerns should have been so casually ignored by a government that has even resorted to allegations of “foreign manipulation” of what is an indigenous mass movement is extremely disturbing.

We strongly condemn the repression launched against the people of Koodankulam and southern Tamil Nadu and demand that those arrested be immediately released. If a willingness to exercise one’s democratic right of protest in peaceful and non-violent ways, or to criticise the pursuit of nuclear energy, or even to oppose government plans in this regard is to be deemed seditious and warrants being arrested, then we the undersigned also declare ourselves to be as guilty as our fellow

vol xlviI no 13

Economic & Political Weekly


citizens in Tamil Nadu. We stand in solidarity with them.

Admiral L Ramdas, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Justice Rajender Sachar, S P Shukla, Romila Thapar, Aruna Roy, Praful Bidwai, Jean Dreze, Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Ramchandra Guha, Justice P B Sawant, Justice B G Kolse-Patil, Binayak Sen, Ilina Sen, Lalita Ramdas, Shabnam Hashmi, Anuradha Chenoy, Surendra Gadekar, Vasanth Kannabiran, Ritu Menon, Pamela Philipose, Darryl D’Monte, Achin Vanaik

and others

Maoist Statement

he government – both at the centre and the state (Odisha) – has reduced adivasis into mere exhibition items in attempts to lure domestic and foreign tourists. On the other hand, they invite multinational capitalists to plunder natural and mineral resources in the adivasi heartland and repress voices of resistance by unleashing Operation Green Hunt on adivasis and the common mass. Although the government claims to have amended the so-called laws in February 2012 to put certain checks on tourists visiting adivasi areas, this has turned out to be a blatant lie. The power centres in Delhi and Shahid Nagar are sending tourists to adivasi areas to click naked pictures of the adivasis, and turning them into tourism-friendly commodities. This is an insult to the people.

Because of all these, we have arrested two Italian tourists (one of them is a tourism trader licensed by the state government):

  • (1) Bosusco Paolo, B, Pralesio 10, Condove, Italy.
  • (2) Clavdio Colangelo, via Di Frascati, 215, 00040 Rocca Di Papa, Italy.
  • By doing so we are exposing the real face of the government bereft of any shred of humanism that has taken adivasi areas as some tourism commodity, as though these places are habitats of apes and chimpanzees. We are requesting the common mass to raise their voice against turning adivasi areas into tourism commodities. Having arrested these two Italian culprits, we are also releasing two Odia slaves of theirs – Santosh and Kartik.

    If the government is serious about freeing these two visitors, central and state governments should as primary condition stop all repression and combing operations in Odisha by 18 March 2012, and come forward to discuss our demands with us. If this is not done, we cannot take this government into con fi dence; and we will not be responsible for the loss of lives of the two visitors, rather the government that is unleashing terror without heeding to our demands and the state machinery that is running an illegal tourism trade will be.

    Our demands are:

  • (1) The government should clearly announce that adivasis are not commodities of tourism.
  • (2) Stop repression in the name of Operation Green Hunt. Recall all police camps from remote areas, except from thanas. Create conducive space for dialogues with revolutionaries over people’s problems.
  • (3) Repeal the ban on the CPI(Maoist) and other mass organisations in Odisha.
  • (4) Arrest and try for murder the superintendent of police and other police employees involved in fake encounters and custodial deaths of Lalit Dehuri, Junesh Badaraita, Pradeep Majhi, and others and for rape in the gang rape case of Arati Majhi. Withdraw all charges against Arati Majhi and release her.
  • (5) Release Ashutosh, Kamalakanta Sethi, Sujata, Kishor Jena, Pratap, Manjulata, and all those arrested in connection to the attack on the Nayagarh Armoury.
  • (6) Stop slapping fresh false cases against and detaining in jail those who are acquitted by courts. In this context, release unconditionally Subhashree Das and Lalit from Rayagada along with all others rearrested or detained.
  • (7) Release Shatrughna Biswal, Uttam, Shekhar, Sudarshan Mandal, Ramesh Nayak, Lata, Bijal, Ratna along with all other innocent people from Rayagada, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Ganjam, Nayagarh, Sambalpur, Mayurbhanj, Kendujhar, and other districts who have been put behind bars in the name of being Maoists.
  • (8) Do not repeal “adivasi status” for Jhodia, Kanda Dora, Acha Kui, Gauda Kui, Kumbhar Kui, Saora, Odia Kandha, Khaira and other adivasi communities.
  • (9) Provide access to drinking water in villages in all parts of Odisha, irrigation to farmlands, free healthcare in all Panchayats, and free education facilities up to high school.
  • (10) Stop police repression on all antidisplacement mass movements such as anti-POSCO, anti-Vedanta, and the Kalinganagar movements. Release all antidisplacement leaders and activists such as Abhay Sahu, Narayan Reddy and others.
  • (11) Release Gananath Patra, the former Chairman of Daringbadi and Sonepur Sarpanch Swami, brother of Nachika Linga, and the two school students along with other leaders of mass movements and anti-repression movements. Stop slapping cases endlessly against people associated with Mandrabaju, Nedingpadar, Gudari, and Narayanpatna landrights movements. Withdraw all cases and release those who have been jailed in similar cases.
  • (12) Institute independent enquiries into state-sponsored dramas of issuing false statements under pressure and threatening during surrenders, and creating a covert campaign against the Revolution. Institute enquiry by independent bodies and take due action against the Kendujhar police for detaining Sangeet Pradhan for years after he surrendered and suffered a fracture in his hand due to police torture.
  • (13) Meet all the unfulfi lled demands placed during the arrest of the Malkangiri collector by the Maoists.
  • Sunil

    Secretary, Odisha State Organising Committee, CPI (Maoist)

    EPW Index An author-title index for EPW has been prepared for the years from 1968 to 2010. The PDFs of the Index have been uploaded, year-wise, on the EPW web site. Visitors can download the Index for all the years from the site. (The Index for a few years is yet to be prepared and will be uploaded when ready.) EPW would like to acknowledge the help of the staff of the library of the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, Mumbai, in preparing the index under a project supported by the RD Tata Trust.

    Economic & Political Weekly

    march 31, 2012 vol xlviI no 13

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