तुम्हारा ही प्रतिरूप है


वह कहीं का नहीं है क्योंकि वह सब जगह है
वह कहीं का नहीं है इसीलिए वह सब जगह है
वह ऊपर और नीचे दोनों जगह अपनी टांगें जमाए हुए है
उसका यही योग श्रृंखलाओं में बांधे हुए है तुमको और उनको

उसकी विद्युत गति तुम्हें उसकी अगति और रूढ़िता लगती है
उसके चाल और पहनावे को ही देखते हो तुम
और उनमें तुम्हें असामंजस्य दिखता है
उसके परिष्कृत भोंडेपन में वैमनस्य दिखता है
उसे देख वैमनस्य जगता है

मगर वही है जो नीचे की आकांक्षाओं की घातकता को जानता है
और वही है जो उसको अपने में भर लेता है
एक मिसाइल की तरह एक ही छलांग में सीमा पार उसे छोड़ देता है
और कभी सीमा के अंदर भी इसकी जरूरत होती है

दूर विस्फोट का हल्का असर तुम पर भी पड़ता ही होगा
और तुम दुबक जाते हो
ध्यान नहीं है तुम्हें
तुम्हारी बौद्धिकता की गगनचुम्बी इमारतों की नींव अब भी नीचे ज़मीन के अंदर ही होती है
उसने तुम्हें बचाया है

उसने तुम्हें बचाया है
क्योंकि उसको तुम्हीं से प्यार है
वह तुममें से एक होना चाहता है
वह तुम्हारे भय और नीचे उभरते आक्रोश का औसत है
वह औसत आदमी की दबी आकांक्षाओं की मूर्ति है
वह तुम्हारा ही प्रतिरूप है
पहचानो उसे!

उत्साह


यानिस रित्सोस

जिस तरह चीज़े धीरे-धीरे खाली हो गयी हैं,
उसके पास करने को कुछ नहीं है। वह अकेला बैठता है,
अपने हाथों को देखता, नाख़ून – अजनबी लगते हैं –
बारबार अपनी ठुड्डी छूता है, कोई और ठुड्डी
लगती है, बिलकुल ही अजनबी,
इतनी नितांत और स्वभावतः अजनबी कि उसे खुद
इसके नएपन में मजा आने लगा है।

Nobel to Abhijit Banerjee: who celebrates and why


The Nobel prize to Abhijit Banerjee seems to have given a fresh lease of life to the embattled identities of JNUites and Bengali intellectuals, even for many leftists who are caught up in dystopic existentialism, and hence are unable to see beyond immediacies. The general secretary of the biggest communist party in India said:

He again twits:

Another erudite general secretary of a radical communist party twitted:

However, Banerjee himself is busy dissociating himself from any political tag quite vocally and finds himself to be a mere surgeon who will cut into anything that comes on his table (or a mere plumber who will make this table!)- it is not about right and left. In fact, he has been working with all sorts of governments. Just because he was a JNUite or he criticised the Modi government’s particular policies, he is being celebrated by the anti-Modi forces, whether rightist, leftist or centrist. Of course, the Modi ministers themselves are becoming jittery at the wake of the deepening economic crisis, and are losing sanity by disowning people like Manmohan Singh, Banerjee & co (a point made by none other than Parakala Prabhakar, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s husband). And leftists too caught up in the cycle of reaction along with official rightists have lost all tactfulness.

Politically, the awarding of the Nobel prize in economics this year is a recognition by bourgeois (finance capital) internationalism and its agencies that rightist neoliberal etatist minimalism that has emerged globally, if left to itself, will not be able to contain and sublimate the growing discontentment in societies towards serving the bourgeois interests. As a result, the states might collapse or will start going beyond policing usurping the domain of the economic. The global corporate social responsibility (CSR) institutions must take over the task through the networks of NGOs throughout the globe and palliate the soaring social injuries, while productivising them for the benefit of capitalist expansion.

Abhijit Banerjee and his colleagues have been at the forefront of creating a model of treating poverty as a disease. They have been involved with states and corporate institutions in this regard for a very long time. And, we know, a disease is not just itself, it is a great industrial opportunity too (the booming hospital and pharmaceutical industries are clear examples). The Nobel laureates of this year have shown through randomized controlled trials how to dynamically customise strategies to recognise symptoms and provide palliatives or incentives to integrate the poor in the mainstream network of commodity market and finance. This capitalist inclusiveness is what Negri called differential inclusion. It is undoubtedly an effective tactic to encourage capitalist accumulation from below within a post-fordist neoliberal frame that allows heterogeneity in entrepreneurial forms (by including pakodawallahs, chaiwallahs etc), while networking them through finance.

Whether we recognise it or not, demonetisation and GST in India have at least created the digitised infrastructure to put such an effort in place. As Marxists we know, this will never be able to save capitalism from crisis, but it may have the impact of deferring the collapse.

So, comrades, is this a cause enough to celebrate?

The Banking Crisis


Your sweat measured
Barrelled at the banks of the market
To be thrown in the deluge
In the hope of a golden axe golden tears

But the giving spirit
Suffers Midas’ gluttony
Stands immobile
Amidst waves
Lashing the isle of liberty.

बीमारी सच बोलने की


वे हैं तो सब कुछ मुमकिन है
क्योंकि इन सब के बाद भी वे हैं
और तुम सोचते हो उनको नंगा
और अपने आपको बालक

जो कि तुम बिलकुल हो अबोध
अपने ख्यालों की दुनिया की
सच्चाई को ही सच्चाई मानते
और पनचक्की पर वार करते हो

ये बीमारी सच बोलने की
बेवकूफी है कि तुम्हें कौन सुनेगा
जो सुनते हैं वे जानते हैं
वे तुम्हीं हो अपने आपको सुनते

मगर यह सच उनका नहीं है
जिन्हें तुम सुनाना चाहते हो
बताना चाहते हो सच्चा सच
आंकड़ों में ढूंढ़ते हो जिन्हें

वे अपना सच अपनी रोज़
की थकान में गुज़ार देते हैं
तुम्हारे आँकड़े उस कशमकश
के नतीजों को मापते हैं

मशीनों से पसीनों की जूझ
व उनके गंध तक नहीं पहुँचते
जहाँ खून और तेल के मिलाप से
अजीब सा नशा फैल जाता है

होली ही होली है


गिरा है खून उस तरफ
इस तरफ रंगीनी है
घरों में मातम है
दिलों में संगीनी है
वहाँ की खून की होली
इन्हें रंगोली है

समय का पहिया है
आज ये है
तो कल वो है
आज भीड़ इनकी
तो कल उनकी
टोली है

हर रोज़ कहीं दिवाली है
जो नहीं तो फिर
होली है

२७/०९/१९

Lynching in Ancient India? The Case of Charvaka


The poor Charvaka who had thus remonstrated was unceremoniously lynched by the Brahmin mob, for which act of ‘social gracefulness’ all the Brahmins in the mob were duly compensated by the king with regards and gifts. The whole episode serves as a fine metaphor for what has apparently gone on relentlessly in our society for quite a long time. As loyal traditionalists, large numbers of the contemporary defenders of the so called Dharma perpetuate the crime in a more complex form today. And that does not apply solely to our own India either, because other parts of the globe are not free from such horrendous deeds against the lowly in society.G. Ramakrishna

The most systematic “lynching” (or mob violence against an individual or individuals) in the mythologised history of India was that of India’s materialist philosopher Charvaka, as he was not just killed, but was demonised and his ideas distorted for generations. Charvaka was physically eliminated by a mob of servile brahmins because he could speak truth to power (so much for being called a “sweet talker” – a Charvaka!). The description of this is given in Mahabharata.

When the celebrations for the Pandavas’ victory and Yudhishthir’s coronation were going on and the brahmins stood silently after paying their obeisance (निःशब्दे च स्थिते तत्र ततो विप्रजने पुनः), Charvaka came forward and started addressing on their behalf, of course, without taking any permission. He accused Yudhishthir of fratricide and thus unfit to live:

इमे प्राहुर्द्विजाः सर्वे समारोप्य वचो मयि।
धिग्भवन्तं कुनृपतिं ज्ञातिघातिनमस्तु वै।।
किं तेन स्याद्धि कौन्तेय कृत्वेमं ज्ञातिसंक्षयम्।
घातयित्वा गुरूंश्चैव मृतं श्रेयो न जीवितम्।।

His fearless statement stunned everybody. Yudhishthir and the Brahmins were speechless, afraid and ashamed:

ततस्ते ब्राह्मणाः सर्वे स च राजा युधिष्ठिरः।
व्रीडिताः परमोद्विग्नस्तूष्णीमासन्विशांपते।।

Regaining some crowd spirit, these Brahmins started accusing Charvaka of being a demon and a friend of Duryodhana. Eventually, they killed him with their anger.

ततस्ते ब्राह्मणाः सर्वे हुंकारैः क्रोधमूर्च्छिताः।
निर्भर्त्सयन्तः शुचयो निजघ्नुः पापराक्षसम्।।
स पपात विनिर्दग्धस्तेजसा ब्रह्मवादिनाम्।
महेन्द्राशनिनिर्दग्धः पादपोऽङ्कुरवानिव।।

Since Yudhishthir was quite evidently moved by the incident, a whole section is devoted where Lord Krishna consoles him, while demonizing Charvaka and justifying the act as preordained.

स एष निहतः शेते ब्रह्मदण्डेन राक्षसः।
चार्वाको नृपतिश्रेष्ठ मा शुचो भरतर्षभ।।

See Mahabharata (Pancham Khand): Shanti Parva, 38.22-27, 39.2-11, Gita Press.

But besides this physical murder, the brahminical tradition in Indian philosophy left no stone unturned to erase Charvaka’s philosophical contributions. However, they could never succeed in this. His philosophy true to its name, Lokayata, survived in the unconscious of the Indian mind throughout history, sometimes peeping through the heterodoxy and many a times in theologised discourses themselves (Marx has noted the case of Duns Scotus who “made theology itself preach materialism”). The evidence is of course a continuous endeavour by social and political hegemonies to exorcise the demonic spirit of Charvaka, even in our times.

Note:
The most interesting thing about ancient epics and Puranic texts is that due to their being collective products and having undergone continuous modifications, various layers of history (or, rather, histories) have found place in them as inconsistencies and contradictions. Their double entendre, which does obscure real history as a succession of episodes, of “what happened”, but they might provide a nuanced understanding of internally related contradictory conditions – the material and the psychic, the real and the possible. Perhaps, you need a textual archaeology, extensive philological and hermeneutic exercises, to uncover them. The positivist historiographies, many times presented as Marxism, disengages with these texts by their servility towards positive facts or evidence. However, for Marx (and even for Kosambi), history was never simply a chronology.