for the last 60 years. This leftist intellectual cabal views everything
through the biased lens of what it claims is liberalism. These intellectuals
are not swayed either by facts or by reason. They have not been able to come
up with a single original idea in the last 60 years. No one can accuse our
leftist intellectuals of actually thinking for themselves. Only hypocrisy and
complete bankruptcy are found to hold sway among these so-called
intellectuals. I give below two examples of such hypocritical and bankrupt
leftist views. I have posted excerpts of two articles by "eminent"
intellectuals and my comments on these articles.
A question marked in red
Posted online in Indian Express: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 at 0000 hrs
This is a critique from the Left of the CPM's industrialisation policy in
Bengal. Is the violence, cadre brutality and lack of consent that runs through
this strategy the only way to develop? How do Singur and Nandigram serve the
As a lifelong Leftist, I am deeply shocked by recent events in the
countryside of West Bengal. On December 31, a group of us went to Singur,
spent the whole day there, visited 4 out of the 5 most affected villages which
border the land that has been taken over. We had conversations with at least
50-60 villagers. Almost all rushed to us and told us their complaints.
From this brief but not necessarily unrepresentative sample, three things
became very clear, because of which the West Bengal government's version
cannot be accepted. One, the land, far from being infertile or mono-cropped,
as has been stated repeatedly, is extremely fertile and multi-cropped. We saw
potatoes and vegetables already growing after the aman rice has been
harvested, some of them actually planted behind the now fenced-in area which
the peasants had lost. Two, there is no doubt that the vast bulk of the
villagers we met are opposed to the take-over of land and most are refusing
compensation. It should also be kept in mind that at best the consent of the
registered landholders as well as sharecroppers is being taken. But
agricultural production also involves sharecroppers who are not covered by
Operation Barga since they have come in later, as well as agricultural labour.
Under the government-announced scheme for compensation, such people are not
What the villagers repeatedly alleged was that along with the police, and it
seems more than the police, party activists, whom the villagers call 'cadres'
which has sadly become a term of abuse did the major part of the beating
up. Clearly, the whole thing had been done without consultation, with very
little transparency, and in a very undemocratic manner.
These mistakes, to put it mildly, are being repeated on a much bigger scale in
the Nandigram region. This has become far more serious because a much greater
area of land is being taken with the same lack of transparency, absence of
consent and massive brutality. Once again, one is hearing reports of CPM
cadres engaged in an offensive against peasants. What is happening at
Nandigram is a near civil war situation.
The West Bengal government seems determined to follow a particular path of
development involving major concessions both to big capitalists like the Tatas
and multinationals operating in SEZs. Yet the strange thing is that these,
particularly the latter, are things which Left parties and groups as well as
many others have been repeatedly and vehemently opposing. No less a person
than the CPM General Secretary in the course of last week made 2-3 statements
attacking SEZs. The CPM has been at the forefront of the struggles against
such developments in other parts of the country.
Surely there must be a search, at least, for paths of development that could
balance necessary industrial development with social concerns and transparency
and democratic values. Is this SEZ model that implies massive displacement and
distress really the only way? If the West Bengal government thinks so, then it
also has to accept that the inevitable consequences are going to be a
repetition of Nandigram across the state.
The first thing to strike a reader of this article by Professor Sarkar
is his shock at the brutality of the CPI(M) cadres. It reminds me of the
Casablanca police chief who was shocked to hear of gambling in his city.
Anyone who is familiar with the West Bengal political scene for the last 40
years knows that the path to CPI(M)'s rise to power is strewn with the blood
of the innocents. CPI(M)'s cadres even threw a 1 month old baby into fire in
the 1960s. Was Sarkar sleeping through such bloody episodes? His
conscience seems to wake up only when he is in disagreement with CPI(M).
Of course this kind of hypocritical behaviour is not surprising. Leftist
intellectuals have had lot of practice being hypocritical.
The next striking thing about this article is his inability to understand the
reasons for setting up industries in Singur and Nandigram. He even asks the
question, "How do Singur and Nandigram serve the people?". He does not notice
that the answer is right in his own article. He himself writes that, "It
should also be kept in mind that at best the consent of the registered
landholders as well as sharecroppers is being taken. But agricultural
production also involves sharecroppers who are not covered by Operation Barga since they have come in later, as well as agricultural labour". Sarkar
in his sojourn to Singur has himself seen the immense number of surplus labor
in the agriculture sector. In a densely populated country like India with a
still growing population, land reforms is not the end of things. We are not a
small Eurpoean country. Land reforms will give us only breathing room. It
should have immediately struck him that a huge number of labor-intensive
manufacturing plants are necessary in rural areas to soak up this surplus
agriculture labor. He finds out about this surplus labor. He actually sees
them. Yet, strangely, he does not see. He, in fact, questions the need for
manufacturing!! He seems to be completely bereft of new ideas or thinking.Then
again one can not expect original thinking from our leftist intellectuals.
They have had a lot of practice in not thinking for themselves.
What is so sad is that it is people like Sarkar who are teaching a new
generation of students in India. No wonder India has not produced original
thinkers in the last 60 years.
CHRISTOPHER AND HIS KIND
– The thrill of saying something vile
Posted online in Telegraph on line version; February 8, 2007
For an Indian, one of the most instructive things about the response of the
West to 9/11 is how swiftly large sections of its liberal establishment
circled their wagons against Muslims. Instructive because this manoeuvre
illustrates the extent to which Western democracies are based on majoritarian
assumptions, assumptions that override the liberal values that in easier times
are invoked as the distinguishing features of countries like Britain, France
and the United States of America. Even more interesting is the way in which
the case for the illiberal, coercive and even punitive treatment of Muslims is
made, the way in which the demonization of Muslims as a matter of public
policy is presented as a properly liberal project for all but soft-headed,
A short essay that illustrates this tendency perfectly is Christopher
Hitchens's review of Mark Steyn's book, America Alone: The End of the World As
We Know It which can be read online at this url: http://www.city-journal.org/
html/ 17_1_urbanities-steyn.html. Steyn is a hawkish right-winger who argues
in his book that the West, with the exception of the US, has surrendered to
the jihadist tendency within Islam. Europe, in particular, with its doctrines
of multiculturalism and its declining birth-rates, is doomed to be taken over
by fast-breeding immigrant Muslims who see its woolly tolerance for the
weakness that it really is.
Hitchens, who started his political life as a Trotskyist, decided after 9/11
that he had found a political project worthy of the rest of his life, namely,
unrelenting opposition to the menace of fundamentalist Islam for which he
coined a term, 'Islamofascism'. He supported the American invasion of Iraq for
many reasons, one of which was Saddam Hussein's alleged alliance with al
Hitchens likes Steyn's book, agrees with its main arguments, finds it
admirably tough-minded, and praises Steyn for his pioneering work in making
people aware of the menace of Islamism. For Hitchens, Steyn makes an '
immensely convincing case' for the imminent swamping of European civilization
by Muslim migrants who breed much faster than the local white population. This
quote from the book (chosen by Hitchens in his review) summarizes Steyn's
argument from demography: 'Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in
Europe since World War Two' In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian
Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while
Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic
age, you can't buck demography ' except through civil war. The Serbs figured
that out ' as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you can't
outbreed the enemy, cull 'em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosn-ia's
demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.'
Hitchens has a few reservations about Steyn's conclusions: it's a reductionist
explanation of the Bosnian violence because it doesn't account for Croation
irredentism, and Steyn makes a Muslim-European clash seem inevitable because
he mistakenly sees Muslims in Europe as a single monolithic community when, in
fact, immigrant Muslims are hugely various. But Hitchens's differences with
Steyn are minor ones: he agrees that Muslim birth-rates are a portent of
disaster because Islamists publicly proclaim their intention to take over
Europe by outbreeding the natives and these statements feed the paranoia of
far-right parties and their adherents. Hitchens is persuaded by Steyn's main
point that demography and liberal guilt (cultural masochism in Hitchens's
words) 'are handing a bloodless victory to the forces of Islamization'.
Western liberals who can't see this, argues Hitchens, are disabled by a knee-
jerk, politically-correct reflex: 'Any emphasis on the relative birth rates of
Muslims and non-Muslim populations falls on the liberal ear like an echo of
The problem with this is that the reason the liberal ear responds the way it
does is because Steyn, Hitchens's hero, explicitly makes a eugenic
prescription: 'The Serbs figured that out ' as other Continentals will in the
years ahead: if you can't outbreed the enemy, cull 'em (italics mine).'
To an Indian, this isn't language that even the Bharatiya Janata Party would
use in public. It's the rhetoric of explicitly fascist parties: the Vishwa
Hindu Parishad, the Shiv Sena, the Bajrang Dal. This ideological convergence
in the ideas of the muscular European liberal and the militant Hindu fascist
isn't an aberration.
The one real disagreement that Hitchens has with Steyn, is his dismissal of
Martin Amis as a Western surrender monkey rabbiting on about global warming,
when the main threat to the world is overheated Muslims. Hitchens defends
Amis's credentials as a liberal soldier in the war against Islamism by
offering the following quote from an interview with Amis in the London Times:
'There's a definite urge'don't you have it''to say, 'The Muslim community will
have to suffer until it gets its house in order.' What sort of suffering' Not
letting them travel. Deportation ' further down the road. Curtailing of
freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they're from the Middle East or
from Pakistan… Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and
they start getting tough with their children… They hate us for letting our
children have sex and take drugs ' well, they've got to stop their children
This little manifesto for persecuting Muslims is, for Hitchens, an admirable
ability to think outside the liberal box. With that 'Don't you have it'' Amis
is enjoying the thrill of saying something vile and simultaneously reassuring
other white, non-Muslim people that it's okay to think this way. But Hitchens
sees this as a sign of intellectual courage, a recognition that extraordinary
threats call for extraordinary responses.
Towards the end of the review, Hitchens offers the West a ten-point programme
for resisting Islamism. High on the list is this suggestion: 'A strong, open
alliance with India on all fronts, from the military to the political and
economic, backed by an extensive cultural exchange program, to demonstrate
solidarity with the other great multi-ethnic democracy under attack from
In Hitchens's bizarre world, the world's largest pluralist democracy, home to
the third-largest Muslim population in the world, would make common cause with
the likes of Amis and Steyn whose prescriptions for saving civilization
include systematic discrimination against Muslims, collective punishment,
deportation and strategic 'culling'. Hitchens argues that it's important for
liberals to stake out this rhetorical position because he doesn't want anti-
Islamism (his term for being anti-Muslim in a respectable way) to become the
monopoly of fascists. Muscular liberals like Amis and Hitchens would deny them
By a grotesque ideological sleight of hand, Hitchens would join the West to
this great 'multi-ethnic democracy' using arguments that are only used in
India by parties that would, if they could, create an ethnic, Hindu
supremacist state. This convergence is not an accident: by making prejudice
respectable, by short-circuiting due process, by presuming collective guilt
instead of affirming the presumption of individual innocence, Hitchens and
Amis have become what they pretend to pre-empt.
It's not a nice picture: Milosevic, Le Pen, Nick Griffin, Bal Thackeray,
Praveen Togadia, Narendra Modi, Mark Steyn, Martin Amis and Hitchens bringing
up the rear. [ ………. ]
A thread running through Kesavan's article is that he is opposed to any
raising of the very important issue of the higher birth rate of muslims
compared to non muslims. Kesavan, like other of Indian leftist intellectuals,
is worried about the demonisation of the muslim minority. He never asks the
reasons why non muslims are afraid of being swamped by the muslim minority. He
like other leftist intellectuals never shows any concerns for non muslim
minorities in muslim majority lands. He is worried about prejudice against
muslims while he shows no iota of concern about muslim prejudice against
non muslims. It is always a one-way road as far as muslim-non muslim relations
are concerned. It is amusing that while he has a long list of names of muslim
baiters, he does not find a single muslim name of nonmuslim baiters. This kind of
hypocrisy and inability to think seems to be a crucial requirement for joining
the ranks of leftist intellectuals.
These two examples encapsulate all that is wrong with the Indian left. The hypocrisy and the utter moral bankruptcy positively shine through. It is a sad thing to contemplate that these people have dictated the culture of the Indian republic for the last 60 years.
More posts by this author:
- Plight of East Bengali Hindus in the post 1950 period
- Strengths and weaknesses of ‘The God Delusion’
- Looming Danger
- Sri Jogendranath Mandal’s resignation letter to Khan
- The persian Sufi poet Hafiz
I did my school, college and parts of my University education in Kolkata. I got my M.Sc degree from Kolkata University. I went to USA in 1979 and got my M.S and Ph.D in Physics from University of Pittsburgh in 1984. I did my Post Doctorate in University of Southern California, Los Angeles and then worked as a Research Scientist in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Space Sciences Center of University of Southern California. My scientific work includes heavy ion-atom scattering, multiphoton ionization and heliosphere data analysis of Pioneer 10/111 and Voyager 1/2 deep space spacecaft and analysis of solar extreme ultraviolet data obtained from SOHO spacecraft. I have been a National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration (NASA) Principal Investigator from 2002 – 2007. I have been a member of a NASA awards committee to decide allocation of money to different scientists. I have also refereed scientific articles submitted to Journal of Geophysical Research and Astrophysical Journal.