Yes, we are also sad (and a bit stunned) at the unexpected turn of (political) fortunes but this is how unhinged the (upper-caste) warriors of the left have become.  

Dear Anand, with all due respect, there will be no loss of dignity for the Niyamgiri tribal folks if you play by proper Queen’s English rules (American English is of course evil). It will be a brave man who can even comprehend your prose (this is probably intentional) and a braver one who can put up a defense of any sorts in response. Requesting the good doctor to step forward please.

Really, it all seems like an epic caricature nightmare. If you can string together words like Fukushima, Koodankulam, Ambedkar, Manto, Bhagat Singh, Sanatan Dharma, Surpanakha (Lakshman cut off her nose in Ramayana)…. in random sequence then you too can become a folk hero.

This is the key (we hate to say paragraph) section and the key grievance: you neo-Hindus you fools, you dupes of the manuvadis….
whereas we have you, a
chaiwallah, claiming to be a Modh-Ghanchi from Gujarat, and it appears
there are some uses for your caste that the Knickers of Nagpur have,
just as the Brahmins of yore had for a Yadava, cowherd,and made him
chant ominous verses to justify birth-based inequality as a
prerequisite to the balance of universe,…..,
and today they
need you to have a chat with us over a cup of human blood, and, to
cover this barbarity, your friends have stitched you a garment called
democracy which is actually a janeu fashioned by the Brahmin tailors of

Tea-cup and cup of blood: the word play is done nicely. Modi is truly from the Ghanchi caste, and it was his DAD who was a chai-wallah, Modi used to help his dad by serving customers and washing dishes.

Gopal Krishna Gandhi gave the best possible response to these open expressions of bigotry:

When some spoke rashly and derisively of your having been a “chaiwala,” I felt sick to my stomach. What a wonderful thing it is, I said to myself, that one who has made and served chai for a living should be able to head the government of India. Far better bearing a pyala to many than being a chamcha to one. 

If such a comment was made against a Dalit, it would qualify for a non-bailable warrant under the SC/ST atrocities act. We are sympathetic to demands of free speech but here is the thing: why lower yourself by abusing his background? Is that really your best shot? This is how you will achieve paradise on earth??

And yes, if you dont like the “garment of democracy,” then why not suggest a better “living” alternative: North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Syria, take your pick. 

The charm of a democracy, even a deeply flawed one (such as India), lies in the claim that the people at the bottom have at least a fighting chance. Just the other day we had Nitish Kumar step down as Chief Minister of Bihar. The new CM Jitan Ram Majhi is a mahadalit. People who know these things (this includes you) know that maha-dalits have been abused by all other castes, including higher-caste dalits. While one swallow does not make a summer, it is indeed wonderful that within a few decades of independence, democracy has achieved this memorable milestone in a backward place like Bihar. And we will not stop here, we will continue to fight on behalf of all our fellow citizens.

what you claim as
your history basically begins with the history of caste and the history
of inequality in this part of the world

Are you sure that everything was very equal and fair in the Bhimbetka caves? People were sitting around the fire, drawing pictures, and singing Kumbaya, right?

We know inequality is a high crime and India suffers from this deeply. You can try to purge the concept of caste from your society (an admirable goal in and of itself), it is still likely that inequality will not change.

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a good example, right next door. Islam is without question the most progressive religion in the context of caste, every believer (and non-believer) is the same in front of Allah. So how do you explain the inequality that persists in that society? How do you explain Asia Bibi – who is in jail because some muslim ladies took offense because she offered them water it looks like a case of untouchability (the blasphemy was a bonus). If the most radical social engineering (as promised by Islam) cant help cure social divisions then what hope do we have for humanity?

Then you have the Maoists, another progressive band of brothers. The citation below is from Aakar Patel in Outlook (April 30, 2012). Not a single woman and only one tribal occupying the high table of the Maoist Central Committee. Why this inequality- are tribals not well grounded enough to speak for themselves?

The Maoist central committee members are: V. Subramaniam, A. Hargopal,
P.S. Mukherjee, M.R. Reddy, V.K. Arya, N.K. Rao, Kobad Gandhy, S. Singh,
N. Sanyal, P. Mishra, A. Bagchi, P. Bose, K. Sudarshan, A. Yadav,
Ramakrishna, B.P. Singh, M. Venugopal, Misir Besra and M.L. Rao
This is a list of caste Hindus and one Parsi. Of these 19,
only one—Besra—is a tribal.

In the history of earth which is close to five billion years, in which
the lineage of humans spans just five million years, what you claim as
your history basically begins with the history of caste and the history
of inequality in this part of the world,
and this is but a few
thousand years, in effect a speck in the gyre of time, and your version
of the history of this speck is just one speck among many billion
such, a speck that will be blown away by a change in the direction of
the breeze, a speck that is not even aware of the gyre it is part of…..

…..the gyre that has no beginning nor end, a gyre that knows that all its
futures are but a repetition of all its pasts, a repetition of
tragedies and farces, and you are a sad speck that does not know any of
this, a speck unaware of its own inconsequentiality, a speck that
thinks it is the world, a speck that thinks the world of itself, a
speck that has no sense of the larger universe it is part of, for your
history begins with the idea of a temple for a fabled god at a certain
place, a god who waged wars on the autochthonous people of this land,
helped deface a woman, beheaded a man who sought knowledge, a god who
defeated a valiant king by hiding behind a tree, who scorched his
beloved born of the earth in the fire of doubt,
your history begins and ends with the idea of a temple for such a
hollow god, your history that claims to be sanatan, timeless, is bound
by a paltry three, okay four, thousand years; you are an unending
nightmare in the apnoea of time’s sleep, you are a moment when time
holds its breath, and you mistake this to be a moment when time has
ceased to breathe….

…..but by the time time releases its breath, you will be
hurled into the black hole of timelessness, a hole of infinite density
where light itself becomes trapped and all objects become invisible,
for, after all, as Berger suggests, what we come to believe as time is a
field magnetised by eternity, and your speck is a temporality with
defeat written all over it, you are your defeat, please do not think of
yourself as a victor, your victory is your defeat;
you likely think of
this as an event, a historic event, but in the sweep of a few billion
years, what you represent is a moment that will fade even before we
begin to articulate the moment, for what you really seek to write on
the wall of time amounts to a scratch, a desecration, for these are
walls that carry traces of life……

…..led more than a million years ago by
the people of a place we today call Bhimbetka, with scenes in ochre and
white done some thirty thousand years ago by our forebears who began
lining the dots, a time when we ate the animal we prayed to, wore it as
cloth and also painted it; do rewrite all the history textbooks you
want to rewrite, raise the ugliest statue for your Iron Man, but these
will in no way pose a challenge to the place a few pot-shreds from
Mesopotamia and Arikamedu will have in history,
your script of animus
will be so easy to decipher unlike the signs left behind in Harappa,or
the Brahmi of Tamilakam……

……as for what you and your admirers call
development, nothing you have done can match what the people of
Mohenjo-Daro did to deal with their piss and shit, because you believe
that some humans are meant to carry the shit of other humans,
you think
it’s a divine calling; to realise how small you and your history are,
all you need to do is just see yourself in the backdrop of Qomolungma
and the Himalayas,
and these, let me tell you, are the youngest of
mountain ranges in the world, they were here long before your violent
gods, before caste, before the first ever jacarandas bloomed in Kumaon,
these Himalayas have emerged on this earth only as recently as sixty
million years ago…..

….and so much has happened before them and after them,
and they are all so indifferent to you, as are the poppies that bloom
in a range of reds this May in Satholi; it will soon become evident
that you are the beginning of the best imagination people born in this
crevice of time are, or will soon be, capable of; your absolute lack of
imagination will stir the best in us, the best poetry, the finest art,
the boldest theatre, the longest sentences, the most powerful songs, the longest taans to please Mallikarjun Mansur, the most haunting cinema, the finest fiction
that will crush you,
all these will be wrought now…..

…..each of us will
defeat you by being incomprehensible to you, for to be incomprehensible
to you all we need to do is speak the language of love, sing the
history of love, and you will not understand a syllable or a note, and
when we collect every syllable of love and compassion uttered in human
history your hoarse roar of hatred will be drowned out, we will defy
you by singing songs that have no beginning nor end, and by writing
lines that you will never comprehend, and, thus enraged, when you try
to cap these imaginations, try to ban our dreams, try to throw our
bodies into jail, our spirits will soar and make love, break every
taboo and breed in numbers your census-takers won’t be able to keep
pace with…..

….you will cause the spawning of a million Kabirs, a million Mantos, a million Ambedkars, a million Iqbals, Savitribais, Birsas,
Meeras, Bhagat Singhs, Valluvars, Ghalibs, Sido and Kanho Murmus,
and as One less hope/ becomes one more song we
will defeat you with Akhmatova and Pessoa, Iyothee Thass and
Jibanananda Das, Nainsukh and Malcolm X, Jangarh Shyam and Gramsci,
Namdeo Dhasal and Lal Ded, Buddha and Gaddar, Marx and Lal Singh Dil,
ah, yes, Dil, another chaiwallah, a teashop vendor, a Chamar from
Samrala, who held the most mischievous smile between his lips that also
held chain-smoked joints, Dil, who wrote, Chop off every tongue if you can/ But the words would have still been uttered,
a poet who died living the revolution for himself and dreaming of it
for others, a man who knew it was the same sun that warmed the Jat
households that also kissed the Chamar huts……..

…….whereas we have you, a
chaiwallah, claiming to be a Modh-Ghanchi from Gujarat, and it appears
there are some uses for your caste that the Knickers of Nagpur have,
just as the Brahmins of yore had for a Yadava, cowherd,and made him
chant ominous verses to justify birth-based inequality as a
prerequisite to the balance of universe, and justify the recourse to
mass murder over a property dispute between cousins, the charioteer who
plotted the killing of a warrior who was fixing his chariot wheel, a
god who killed a great archer by hurling a rock at him,
and today they
need you to have a chat with us over a cup of human blood, and, to
cover this barbarity, your friends have stitched you a garment called
democracy which is actually a janeu fashioned by the Brahmin tailors of

They say you won a majority with a huge number of votes, they use words like magic with
a total lack of imagination that might well make you believe you can
write poetry, but let me tell you this to your face, you do not have
the vote of any of the rivers that you may well interlink, not even the
Narmada and the Ganga, you do not have the vote of the forests, the
oaks, deodhars and pines of Kumaon, you do not have the vote of the
kurinji flowers that once every twelve summers, for millions of years,

have turned a section of the Western Ghats gregariously blue, giving
the Nilgiri  Hills its name……

…..you do not have the mandate of the urbanised langurs of
Jodhpur who wear no purple ink on their index fingers but whose
tongues are purplish black after gorging on jamuns, you do not have the
vote of the sparrows that have learned to survive by enclosing
themselves in the Bangalore airport and by feeding off the leftovers in
the restaurant, sparrows that have forgotten what a tree looks like,
you do not have the vote of thousands of tulsi plants the Brahmins grow
in their backyards, terraces and balconies, you do not have the votes
of the cows of India nor of its buffaloes, you do not even have the
vote of the lions of Gir in Gujarat, and the hilsa, that crazy fish
which travels up to eight hundred miles to spawn at the place of its
birth in freshwater did not vote for you….

……you do not have the vote of
the hills of Niyamgiri nor of the corals being ripped apart along the
monstrous reactors in Koodankulam,
you do not have the vote of the
thousands of cockroaches that hide in the wet corners of parliament and
plan to unleash terror, just as the vote of the millions of acorns it
takes to make for the varieties of oaks in the foothills of Himalayas
eludes you; the reserves of coal being hollowed out of Jharia’s earth,
the mines of uranium that have depleted Jaduguda, the radioactive
thorium glistening on the beach-sands of Kerala,
none of them even
knows of your existence…..

…..you do not have the vote of the un-censused
population of the harsinghars that makes Delhi’s pollution bearable
every winter, you do not have the vote of the dogs or the cats, you do
not have the peacocks behind you nor do you have the snakes, you do not
have the vote of the olive ridley turtles, bloody infiltrators that
sneak into this country through the eastern coast every winter, nor of
the Siberian cranes, harbingers of crossborder militancy, and the
rhinos of Kaziranga surely resent you for attributing their poaching to
some devious communal scheming, and you undoubtedly do not have the
vote of the carnivorous red ants of Bastar, and you do not have the
vote of the most ancient chinar in Chattergam, planted by some Sufi,
nor the vote of the raja mirchis of Kohima, you do not have the vote of
the stars, you do not have the vote of the constellations, you do not
have the vote of the milky way, you do not have the vote of the waning
moon, you do not have the vote of the sun that will rise unfailingly,
and, you do not have my vote.

So please run your minority government for five years, show us your
baddest face, and time which will outlive all time will say it has seen
worse; launch a pincer attack, sink one set of claws into Kashmir and
wage a low-intensity war with the Pakis for four years, and at the same
time, sink another set of claws into Dandakaranya and flush out the
Adivasis like rats, the corporates who sponsored you will fund these
wars, create crisis after crisis for the Muslims, Dalits, the poor, the

…..criminalise all love, fight internal and external enemies,
and in the fifth year launch a few full-scale wars, take us to the edge
of a nuclear disaster and starvation, watch the southern tip of the
subcontinent melt as a tsunami or a quake does to Koodankulam what it
did to Fukushima, then ride back to power sheerly on the strength of
the number of people you have caused to disappear,
and stretch yourself
for another three years, then maybe press the emergency button, by
when, like any speck of dirt you will be sucked into the widening gyre
that keeps turning and turning.

Link: http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?290785


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10 years ago

This piece could've been titled "History is on Our Side or Why the Left Keeps Losing". 6 years into the worst crisis of capitalism since the great depression, nationalists (left wing nationalisms exists but it is the Le Pen types who are winning not the Melenchon types) and neoliberals are winning elections (and taking power in other ways) from Australia to Japan to Europe to the Arab Spring (are we still calling it that? Or is it Arab Winter now?).

Leftists have long thought that capitalism's downfall was inevitable thanks to historical forces, that every event is a checkpoint to the inevitable socialist utopia. Maybe that's why the right keeps winning. The right don't assume history is on their side or that victory is inevitable. So they keep fighting. And in the economic sphere they've won; nobody wants communism, only different versions of capitalism (Zizek's classification: Neoliberal, Welfare, Populist and Authoritarian). And they still keep fighting, they won't give an inch to the Leftists. Even in the cultural sphere where the left's dominance seemed secure, the right doesn't give up (see the increasing restrictions on abortion in the US, the increasing anti-semitism in Europe though that's down to both the right & the left and the anti-gay rights activists who have found an icon in Putin).

S Anand will be waiting for history for a long time.

10 years ago

I tried to read this but honest to god I cant. My vehement disagreements with the content aside, it is just terribly written. At best an incoherent rant

Brown Pundits