top of page

The Biden-Trump Debate and the State of the Left in USA, Pakistan and India - A Random Conversation


This is a conversation between a Tamil lady and myself after I had posted a news article from Dawn, the foremost english newspaper in Pakistan. The article started with a discussion of the debate between US presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump, touched upon India and its politics and then described the situation of the left in Pakistan. Here's a link to the article.



Me:

The big thing is apathy or the fact that none of the candidates is the favorite choice of the young or the liberal/left .. well trump probably has a few white superemacists and evangelicals locked in .. this article in Dawn talks about the situation in USA as well as India, Pakistan and the world at large ..

Tamil lady: 

The article aims at puritanical scenario. Utopia is never possible...the writer seems to be harboring some kind of hatred towards 70+ aged people....Sanders is old too. Plus he does not understand Indian politics as well....blindly believes communism as the ONLY left 🙂 very vague analysis....


Me:

A few thoughts regarding the Dawn article just to understand your comments ...

The writer is advocating the need for a transformative politics - which is something any progressive person would always work for. Indeed, it seemed to me that the writer would have been happy, though surprised, to have had a Bernie candidacy. And, he is even supportive of the small scale groups in Pakistan that are working on social change agendas.  How is all this Utopian?

Some kind of antipathy towards 70+, aged people. Are you being a bit facetious?

You stated the author does not understand Indian politics. What specifically was said in the brief para on India which demonstrated a lack of understanding?is it the observation that India is close to degenerating into a majoritarian tyranny. An observation that is hardly incorrect, and one which is increasingly being made by many objective, and concerned, Indians themselves. Clearly in the past you have seemed concerned about this issue under Modi’s leadership?

Tamil lady:

That article reminds me of the scenario created by Anna Hazare and co.,right before 2014 election. Giving false hope but not recognizing the real issues. Yes we all agree Modi is the most evil of all authoritarian (democratically elected) leaders in the world now. But the most vibrant and aggressive opposition for his policies is coming from the Dravidian movement in south India (Tamilnadu), not the communist parties in India. So to name them as the only Left in India shows his lack of knowledge on Indian politics🙂


Me:

Thank you for taking the time to respond .. I think the focus of the author initially was the American election and presidential candidates .. and he ends with the state of the small pakistani left parties with whom he is somewhat familiar .. then he mentioned india in the passing .. most ppl, including myself and the author have considered cpmi and CPI as leftists, the Aam Aadmi Party as liberal/left and the South Indian (including Tamil Nadu) parties as ethnic and nationalist with leftist tendencies and the Dravidian party as not mainstream left but caste based and leaning left (the poverty of our thoughts possibly). So it was both disconcerting and refreshing to have your comments ..

Tamil lady:

😄😄😄 Aam Aadmi is BJP team B.

CPI and CPM say they are leftist parties for name sake 🙂 unfortunately higher caste people have taken over these parties. They think they can bring socialism without addressing caste inequalities.


Me:

I informed myself about Anna Harare and kejral a little bit.


Tamil lady:

Dravidar kazhakam (DK)  and Dravida munnetra kazhagam (DMK) addressed the caste inequalities, introduced the first affirmative action in India, abolished public discrimination including in schools, public transportation.

Me:

Yes these are existential issues.


Tamil lady:

It's a joke that you call Dravidian parties caste based.


Me:

Obviously I need to inform myself more .. do these Dravidian parties have a program for everyone .. the entire society?

Tamil lady:

The head of DMK belongs to a caste where their ladies were supposed to be Devdasis.

That is how much progressive the Dravidian parties are.

You can get lot of books on Periyar, AnnaDurai on kindle.  If you read "ANNA speaks" you can understand the need of Dravidian parties.

It was Tamilnadu that fought against Hindi imposition on nonHindi speaking states. Now 50 years later other states are fighting against Hindi hegemony.


Me:

I do understand the need for parties that take on the issue of caste head on .. I’m extremely critical of dogmatism and elitism and have sometimes been called a traitor to the cause and worse .. a capitalist .. so I want to be real .. Marxist analysis is still a framework that helps me understand the world, the class society .. I will read Anna speaks.


Tamil lady:

Also, Amartya Sen's 'An uncertain glory, India and its contrdictions'.


Me:

Good .. please whatever you suggest .. I’ll try.


Tamil lady:



Me:

Read it .. still absorbing implications .. will need to update since his death in 2018 .. did Kararunanigadh leave followers and a plan for the future that they’re implementing.. is there now a party/organization that is inclusive of other minorities and enlightened people ..

I wonder if you’d be ok to share this convo


Tamil lady:

Yes, in 2019 elections, BJP and it's coalition party ADMK had lost miserably. DMK won all the parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu (TN) and Pondicherry except 1. Now they are the third largest party in the Indian parliament.   M.K.Stalin is the leader of the party now.


Me:

That’s good success!


Tamil lady:

In 1973 threatened by DMK's rise in Tamilnadu, IndiraGandhi with the help if Indian intelligence and communist Leader in TN split the DMK party and MG Ramachandran (famous actor in 1960s and Karunanidhi's close friend) started a new party ADMK. So, in TN, ADMK and DMK have been ruling TN, inspite of their rivalry, have adopted the social justice politics without fail.


Me:

Yes I read some of this in Wikipedia .. but you make it clearer.


Tamil lady:

In 2016 ADMK leader Jayalalitha's death gave BJP a chance to take over ADMK indirectly, controlling the leaders of that party. Now unfortunately, ADMK is controlled by BJP!

Me:

So the communists have a dubious role here?

Dark times?


Tamil lady:

😞😞😞😞

In 2016 elections communists wantedly formed a third coalition in the Tamilnadu state elections. Just to make sure DMK loses the election, ADMK won by 1% votes. Then ADMK leader died, Tamilnadu is suffering under the present clowns who are kissing the feet of Modi 😞😞 Tamilnadu has lost a lot because of their actions. In 2019 parliamentary elections, communists joined DMK coalition and won their 2 out of 3 Members of parliament from Tamil Nadu. We are hoping that the communists, congress and other parties will stand with DMK in the 2021 state elections!


Me:

Ok thanks for bringing it upto date with hope for the future! The heady days of the past are gone .. there’s more social and economic justice and progress that needs to be done and people still have some faith in dmk .. yet a significant number of ppl are confused/enamored with modi and his national model .. I’m just trying to figure out why Modi and his local allies are popular ...


Tamil lady:

Why certain people support Trump? 😂 likewise predominantly north Indians also support Modi😁


There is a show on Prime...."Paatal lok"....it explains the politics in North India...it shows a lot of things explicitly.


Me:

I was really asking about south India .. why does modi and his local allies have support in the south.


Tamil lady:

They don't have lot of support in the south except in Karnataka! They are really struggling in Tamil Nadu and Kerala for sure.


In Karnataka, religious polarization worked which never really worked in other South Indian states!


Me:

Thanks .. I should really let you go .. it’s late and I’m afraid I’ve taken advantage of your patience and time .. thank you again!


Tamil lady:

Thank you so much🙂




5 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page