Where Do the People Go?

Where Do the People Go? Courtesy: Tucson Citizen.

So, I begin a new year of my critical-thinking labor workshop. “Where Do the People Go” is my class title.

This year, my union leaders gave me a special responsibility to design and teach a special, politically-charged subject: immigration and immigrants. I shall do my best to do justice to their expectations.

But in spite of being as neutral and objective as possible — as the facilitator of this eight-month-long, weekly class, packed with videos, fact sheets and intense brainstorming by 1,500+ workers, apprentices and industry leaders — I must say that branding a class of people “illegal” and treating them as “criminal” only because of their immigration status is quite strange, if not stupid, or opportunistic.

Especially in this so-called Land of Immigrants, a country that takes pride in its immigrant history and diversity.

Today’s America has become xenophobic, and we do not think or read anymore.

We say we are against illegal immigrants. Yet, we have no problems using their cheap, slave-like labor — in cities and villages. We do not mind shopping at Wal-Mart, taking our cars to garages, dining at exotic restaurants, hosting conferences in hotels, or buy chicken, apples and grapes at supermarkets, where practically all these places use the labor of paperless people living in extreme poverty.

Nobody knows, or worse, cares to know, why poor men, women and children migrate, leaving their countries and familiar surroundings behind, and risking their lives.

It's not sentiment. It's the truth. Know it.

It’s not sentiment. It’s the truth. Know it.

I doubt anybody has ever heard of the morgue we once visited in Arizona where they bring in unidentified dead bodies of people trying to cross the Sonoran desert. Nobody connects the dots between global warfare, economic aggression, foreign policy and immigration. Few understand the long history of the U.S. and rich European nations, when it comes to slavery, racism and the ongoing saga of economic exploitation.

Nobody knows how IMF and World Bank drive more people out of their countries to find food for their families.

I do not want to take a side as the teacher in the classroom, but I do not mind showing my restrained passion for truth, equality and justice for the underprivileged, exploited immigrants.

After all, I have been one myself.

Sincerely, as always,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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P.S. — By the way, do watch this documentary. I just did. Powerful!

A Must-see.

A Must-see.

I was in high school.

In 1978, on 2nd April, my mother died of cancer. She was 42.

Every year, I remember this day, not to make it a tearful, sentimental journey, but to remember the beautiful years she was with us, and became an example of an ordinary, dignified, affectionate, and dedicated Bengali-Indian mother.

I’ve written about her untimely death, the economic and health reasons, and the impact of her death on me and our family (even some friends), both in English and Bengali, so I won’t repeat it here.

But two things resurface today: (1) you can celebrate life and the wonderful memories it brings even on an otherwise somber day; and (2) you can slowly come out of the perpetual sadness and feeling of guilt, and use your resilience to help others who are going through similar emotional suffering.

I’m no philosopher, but after 37 years of her passing, I’ve come to believe that death is truly an integral part of life, and being a Hindu, I’ve become a believer of good karma and its virtue, in this life and beyond.

She is not present with us physically, but her unending love and belief for my abilities to do something extraordinary made me what I am today.

But it is not anything extraordinary: mothers all over the world are doing the same thing, generation after generation. They are helping us to fight back against poverty, hopelessness and dark politics we go through, keeping the torch of hope and goodness alive.

Today, remembering my own mother, I salute all the mothers of our world: the world of the havenots.

Sincerely,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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A simple but healthy and delicious Indian vegetable curry. I made it at home in fifteen minutes.

A simple but healthy and delicious Indian vegetable curry. I made it at home in fifteen minutes.

I AM BOYCOTTING MCDONALDS FOR 10 YEARS.

A small, personal anniversary to celebrate.

Food, water and environment are critically important elements in our lives. Yet, most of us are either indifferent or ignorant about them. I’m talking about the two countries I’ve known all my life: USA and India. I’ve lived half of my life in each country. I’ve seen it all.

It is true that many activists in both countries are trying their best to create awareness, and challenging the Goliath corporations and media that are pushing junk food, plastic-bottled water, toxic drinks like Coke and Pepsi, and destroying the environment like crazy, by felling trees for newsprint, tissue paper and napkins, and also usurping massive amounts of public land. But these people fighting back against the giant and powerful status-quo are few and far between.

Slowly but surely, a new generation is growing up — in both India and USA — who neither know nor care to know about the slow-poisoning of our men, women, children, plants and animals to death. This is true. There is practically no awareness. These are not election issues.

Ten years ago, I quit eating at McDonalds, and I’m silently celebrating an important anniversary in my life. Since boycotting McDonalds (inspired by Super Size Me, a documentary Hollywood purposefully did not award for political reasons), I stopped eating at other chain food places such as Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell. I rarely drink plastic-bottled water, Coke or Pepsi, although I have not been able to completely stop it, mainly because in certain places and times, there is absolutely no alternative, particularly here in America. Otherwise, I would completely stop drinking them.

I decided to post a cover photo on my Facebook today — a photo my wife Mukti Banerjee (chef and instructor at Mukti’s Kitchen here in Brooklyn) took yesterday of my cooking an Indian vegetable curry from scratch — to symbolize the significance of this honest and sincere return to healthy food and drinks.

Not eating at the junk food places has drastically improved my health, and my family members, friends and colleagues noticed the happy change. I even smile these days, which almost disappeared over the past few years :-)

A Resounding NO.

A Resounding NO.

Jokes aside, it is an uphill battle, mainly because in both countries — the two biggest “democracies” (also known as open markets monopolized by corporations actively endorsed by political powers of major political parties) — there is a tyrannical, terrorist onslaught on healthy food, drinks and lifestyle, and corporate media in both countries are actively promoting this unhealthy, often deadly, lifestyle.

If the Holy Ganges is the most polluted river on earth, here in USA, nearly 70% of food is GMO pushed by Monsanto and such corporations. If the sky is absolutely, horrendously polluted in India because of the rampant, out-of-control, concrete jungle construction (also known as promoter companies), fast food, toxic drinks and over-dependence of drugs in life are sure recipe for death here in America. Ironically, for those young, enlightened people in America who are now challenging this corporate status-quo by practicing yoga, meditation, and eating healthy, home-cooked food (sometimes Indian food, fruits and vegetables), they should know that the new, young generation in India is doing just the opposite: they’re now digging more at McDonalds and KFC and gulping down more Coke, Pepsi, and plastic-bottled water.

When the enlightened West is looking toward the sage-old East for health and environment advice, the East is slowly sinking down to the abyss of a hopeless devastation.

Again, I do not believe that a lonely fight against anything can bring about anything significantly positive, but taking advantage of the social media, blogs and also word of mouth, we can perhaps join hands together, and bring about some collective, healthy change in our lives and environment.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing.

Sincerely,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Give them the green environment they deserve.

Give them the green environment they deserve.

Subroto, with my father (then 70), and his wife and two sons.

Subroto (in front of Tagore’s photo), my father, and Subroto’s wife and two sons. Photo taken in April 1994 at our North Calcutta mezzanine apartment.

My childhood friend Subroto in this photo I took in 1994, when we went back to India from America for the first time in nine years.

Subroto and I grew up together, like two brothers, since we were five years old. In 1999, he committed suicide, standing in front of a speeding local train in a Calcutta suburb. It was an auspicious Gandhi Birthday. October 2, 1999.

I was studying at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism at that time.

Tomorrow, in my ongoing Bengali memoir “Ghotikahini” (the tale of Ghotis, or West Bengalis), I will write a few things about him and some wasted, precious lives I’ve seen. Hope you read it.

I have titled tomorrow’s (March 20, 2015) Episode 19 as “Village Abu Gharib, District Kolkata.” The web link is here.

Comments welcome.

Sincerely,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Mahinur Begum, Rana Plaza victim. She survived. And she decided to speak out.

Mahinur Begum, Rana Plaza victim. She survived. And she decided to speak out.

I met Mahinur Begum, victim at Rana Plaza garment sweatshop disaster‏.

On April 24, 2012, Bangladesh Rana Plaza garment sweatshop collapse killed 1,200 workers.

One young woman survived. I met her last night. Mahinur Begum spoke at a U.N. women’s symposium via interpreter Kalpona Akter, strong, leading, torchbearer personality at the garment workers’ union. I was privileged to have met sister Kalpona finally, although we spoke on the phone and over email a number of times before.
Mahinur was 15 at that time when she was trapped in the massive rubble for 24 hours before pulled out live. She lost a toe (lucky her!). Now she is 18. She lost her father two months before Rana Plaza, and now she has a sick mother (with an apparent tumor in her belly — untreated) and two younger siblings to take care of. 
 
She is the only wage earner in the family, but now her trauma and health conditions forced her to sit unemployed. She has sporadic bleeding in her left ear, and her legs swell up if she stands for too long. 
 
The smile on her face may deceive you, but she tried very hard last night to conceal her tears, while talking to me. She said she could not go to school after 2nd grade, because she had to work. 
 
U.N. must be doing something good for the world, with their global, elite conferences and dinners (this is a joke, in case you don’t get it.) 
 
I am amazed to see the strength and resilience of these women. I am awed and humbled. 
 
The elite feminists in the Western world and Westernized East have no clue what life is really like in most places across the world. 
 
Anyway, this is not about my personal rant against privileged women (and their men). This is about small people like Mahinur Begum. Can you come forward, and help out? I have their contacts. 
 
Thank you for listening. 
 
Partha
 
Just back from India
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P.S. — Last morning, both Kalpona and Mahinur were arrested at a protest in front of Children’s Place here in NYC. They were completely nonviolent. Later, after two hours and charging them with criminal trespassing, the authorities released them. They will speak at Columbia University today, as planned. How Mahinur can hold up after yet another trauma remainst to be seen.
Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Rana Plaza collapsed, killing 1,200 poor workers. Wal-Mart, Gap, J. C. Penny,  H&M, Children's Place, Disney, Mango...all were there.

Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Rana Plaza collapsed, killing 1,200 poor workers. Wal-Mart, Gap, J. C. Penny, H&M, Children’s Place, Disney, Mango…all were there.

My new-found profession :-)

My new-found profession. Shaving father at home :-)

HOLDING ON TO NEW REALIZATIONS as much as possible, before they slip out into oblivion.

One of the biggest differences between living in USA and living in India is the presence/lack of personal, real-life conversation and this virtual conversation on social media. No matter how powerful your writing is and how real your feelings are, you simply cannot touch family and friends on Facebook and Twitter, or email or blog your smiles or tears.

Powerful USA, a country that takes pride in its individualistic lifestyle and keeps breaking down the real society in the name of democracy or freedom (which is so fake and superficial), has now colonized the privileged class in India, but it still has a very long way to go before it can take over the vast majority of poor Indians — Bengalis, Punjabis, Marathis, Tamils, Hindus, Muslims, atheists or tribals — and their life of togetherness.

And because I belong to that class, I feel so good to be in that environment of togetherness. It exudes love, care and respect, and you can feel it and touch it and smell it and eat it and drink it, in spite of the lovelessness and lack of care and disrespect and hurt that slowly sink in and destroy hope for humanity. It is not easy to describe it, and because my first language is not English, I have a hard time describe it, although I try.

I am writing my Bengali memoir now, and all of the above feelings come through, perhaps better illustrated there (and I’m looking for translators). But I translate my feelings constantly in English for the educated and privileged audience, who “matter more” with their economic, social and political powers.

I never use sexy language, and refuse to be a part of the corporate-media-driven, fake sensationalism and narcissism. I never “like” a post without reading it first. I never comment without thinking twice about it and its consequence.

I use social media in USA because there is no real-life society, except for my relatively small labor union and activism circles. If I had a real society like the one I just came back from, I would refuse Facebook altogether.

People tell me that I have made a difference in their lives and thinking process through my work, writing and teaching, and that’s blessing from some God I truly don’t know. But please know that this virtual medium is only stop gap for me.

I would rather be out there with you, holding your hand, looking in your eyes, and smiling together. Sharing together, knowing we’re actually listening. That is life. Do not destroy it, India. Do not destroy it, Bengal, Punjab. Do not let them destroy the society, America.

Individualism-only is not freedom or democracy. A real society is.

Hold on to it.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha

Back in Brooklyn, New York

My wife Mukti and me, along with cousins, having a fabulous lunch in the village of Rajpur, West Bengal.

My wife Mukti and me, along with cousins, having a fabulous lunch in the village of Rajpur, West Bengal. Aunt sitting in the corner, making sure we eat well.

 

AAP tu, Kejriwal?

Arvind Kejriwal is the new star in Indian politics. A very recent phenomenon.

I do want to write more, but this is only a brief observation, considering I’m leaving for India very soon, and don’t have a whole lot of time.

(Now, that’s a real complex sentence, but simple enough. Right? :-) )

Background:

In the important state election in India’s capital area Delhi, AAP or Aam Admi Party (in English, ordinary people’s party) just had a landslide victory. With their election symbol the broom, they completely swept the ruling BJP off the streets, even though the mighty, national, grassroots cadre-based BJP came to national powers in the country just nine months ago, and people had thought they were invincible.

Election factors that went favorably for AAP:

(1) The Gandhi Dynasty (now led by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi) had a massive debacle. It was apparent from the election results that even though BJP lost only one percent of their total votes compared to the hung-result elections one year ago (33 to 32 percent), Congress went down from 25% to a dismal 9% of the votes, and all of it went to AAP, giving them a total of 54% in the mostly triangular competitions — between Congress, BJP and AAP.

(2) BJP had a lot of infights, and the way they had to select an outsider candidate for the chief minister position did not go well either with the people or the party workers. Kiran Bedi, a strong-armed woman police officer until recently was a loud critic of BJP and was an ally of AAP’s anti-corruption platform. People did not like the sudden switch over. Party cadres did not like the imposition.

(3) BJP made a lot of promises before the last state elections and also the national elections, but did not keep any of them, including stemming the horrible violence on women, price rise, corruption, or black money. And their primitive, communal jargon: young India does not have much faith for it.

(4) Local issues that AAP fought for — such as free water and electricity for the residents of Delhi worked for AAP. Even though AAP never disclosed their economic policy as to how they’re going to fight back against the out-of-control price rise in India, or how they’re going to stop the neoliberal onslaught from IMF and World Bank.

Rupee, yes. Onion, yes. IMF, what??

Rupee, yes. Onion, yes. IMF, what??

(5) Most ordinary people, just like here in the U.S., do not understand how today’s economics are all global, and that you cannot address any of the national economic or political issues, without taking on their global interconnections. This massive ignorance, courtesy corporate media’s purposeful bypassing of these issues, worked for AAP too. Many otherwise smart voters voted for AAP out of ignorance and lack of political insight.

IMPLICATIONS of AAP’s VICTORY:

(1) The era of big-party politics is over in India. Old generation has lost faith in establishment parties (Congress, old left and now also in BJP — only the old-timers are hanging on), and the new Indian generation does not get history, ideology or grassroots movements. Sadly.

(2) If AAP is the new trend in Delhi, we’ll see varieties of AAP in other states, especially more affluent places. We might see something like it in prosperous Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra soon, unless BJP in Gujarat and Shiv Sena (an extreme right party) is Maharashtra resort to violence.

(3) In backward states, it’s going to be more caste politics, such as in hilly Uttarakhand, forested M.P., and economically backward Bihar and Assam and Orissa, and tribal Chhattisgarh. And the more prosperous areas in Uttar Pradesh (the California of India — the most populous state) might see AAP’s rise.

(4) In Southern States like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, more regional politics (AIADMK) will flourish.

(5) In Karnataka (and possibly also in Andhra Pradesh especially the richer, tech-savvy areas), we might see a version of AAP.

(6) In a now-falling-behind state like West Bengal (with a large Muslim population and shared borders with Bangladesh), social unrest and communal tension will rapidly rise. BJP, up and coming, will use Hindu politics and WB chief minister Mamata Banerjee will use Muslim politics. It is possible we’ll see a coalition between the communists (who have miserably lost power after being at the helm of affairs for thirty years) and Congress (a party that is now desperate to salvage some honor).

It is also possible West Bengal will see a rise in an independent, progressive politics-based youth and student coalition (I hope it happens).

India. IMF loves her.

India. IMF loves her.

(7) Basically, what is happening is that global, neoliberal economic and political forces have now deeply colonized India, and used the massive public frustration against price hikes, corruption and cronyism and communalism, and exploited ordinary people’s political ignorance on one hand and AAP-type platforms’ service-oriented, high-tech promises on the other.

(8) At the end of the day, IMF and World Bank thrive and their multinational corporations — courtesy the U.S. powers –flourish in India, and the institution known as the government and state falls.

(9) Immediate result: renewed privatization in the name of “economic reform,” complying with IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program, massive inflation and a total destruction of welfare and price subsidies for the poor. Labor unions perish. More income inequality USA style rises.

(10) Time-tested, public-sector services such as the Indian Railways may be going to be one of the first victims of a recharged privatization. And Indian national banks will fall. Water will sell out to Coke; farm lands will sell more to Monsanto.

(11) IMF, World Bank and global economic powers can now pressure the national BJP government to yield to the so-called “reform” more effectively, using the AAP landslide as a stick and a trump card. The national BJP government has already shown strong desire to abide by the neoliberal masters and their dictates.

The 99% miserably suffer, again. The 1% prosper even more than ever before.

People who have a global, bird’s eye view will be, and must be, deeply troubled by these developments.

Thank you for listening.

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

(And now, I leave for India. Delhi first.)

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New voter. New India. Colonized mind.

New voter. New India. Colonized mind. (Apologies, but do they get global politics?)

My mother's kitchen in North Calcutta.

My mother’s kitchen in North Calcutta. I go back to it.

Truly, sincerely, and honest to God, India and Bengal are pilgrimage to me.

I’ve been in USA for thirty years. More than half my life. I live here. I work here. This country has given me a lot. A lot.

Yet, every time I go back to that place, it gives me goosebumps.

I know that place is full of violence, corruption and devilish rulers who have destroyed the country beyond recognition, and gotten rich. But I also know that place is full of love, honesty, and gods and goddesses and angels who you have seen all your life, and discover every single day while you are there.

People — including friends and relatives — often tell me that I am harsh on these two countries I’ve known all my life (India and USA). Some (including closest friends and relatives) have grown this feeling in their hearts that we have left India for selfish gains, which to them was an act of treachery and betrayal. And then they believe in honesty that my crying for my motherland is therefore all phony and elitist, without knowing, touching or living through the reality.

Some others, here in the U.S., often wonder why do I talk about India so much even after being here for so long? Some question my love and passion to live and work here in the U.S. They say, “Make up your mind. You can’t be in both places at the same time. This is your country now. Make the best of it.”

Of course, some of it is true. But some of it is not.

Scottish Church School. My elementary education began here.

Scottish Church School. My elementary education began here.

Considering how much I have learned about India and Bengal, being away from India and Bengal, and how deep and divine that knowledge and insight is, it is purely God’s blessing.

Considering how much I have learned about America and the West, one lesson at a time — over thirty years — is simply mind boggling. Never thought in one life, I could do so much. That is God’s blessing too.

No question about it.

And then, of course, very few want to know what kind of extreme sadness, emotional void and economic suffering my family and I had to go through all these years as immigrants in a distant land with no money, language or relatives — to come to this point that we’re at now.

Nobody cares to know how much my family and I have learned together, in and out of universities, and how deep and enormous that knowledge is.

I am not blaming anybody for their ignorance. I am not pleading to the naysayers and negative thinkers.

My hope and beliefs and optimism are all out there — for those who have an open mind, who want to see us eye to eye, and want to know what we have to say. Anybody: students, teachers, factory workers, human rights activists, home makers…any and all of you. You come to me, and I am here for you. I love you, and I love the place that made me what I am today.

The Joy of a City. Rikshaw-wallas rest and read.

The Joy of a City. Rikshaw-wallas rest and read.

I am not being sentimental. We can love each other, as parents love their children, and sisters love their brothers, and in case of India and Bengal, as teachers love their students — to share knowledge and experience. In case of USA, the detached but very strong common feelings of solidarity across the working-class and rights and justice spectrum. These feelings across the world are so real, and so reassuring!

This brain-mind combination of human emotions and educated reasoning can do miracles. This collective passion for the country and society can save us from doom.

Thank you for being my friend, and thank you for being kind.

I leave for India and Bengal now.

But I shall come back to USA.

###

Plato and Aristotle, two of the greatest analytical thinkers.

Plato and Aristotle, two of the greatest analytical thinkers.

I have decided to write less these days. Because not too many people care to read too much. They do not have the time. Long pieces make people tired. Complex subjects make people switch over to something more interesting. Hollywood, Bollywood, MTV, ZTV, dance stars, football stars, cricket. You know the rest.

But I am just writing about this subject because this question is coming up more and more, even from people whom I had thought were my friends and well wishers.

I write about the Indian government and the people in power, and expose their wrongdoings and clandestine connections. People from India get angry and say that I am anti-India. They say, “Why do you hate India so much? Don’t you have any love for your motherland — the land you were born and brought up in?”

Some others say, “Why criticize India so much, while having a ‘Mercedes Lifestyle’ in America?” They say, “You fled India to have a good life, and now you blast India every time you have an opportunity.”

When I write something about USA and its people in power, and try to show their wrongdoings — whether their economic policies, foreign policies or war games — my American readers blast me. They say, “Why hate America so much, when this country has given you so much?”

And some angrier people say, “If you hate USA so much, go back to your India.”

Sometimes these are mild admonitions. Sometimes these are very harsh words. And once in a while, people are outright nasty and vulgar. Sometimes, being a real man with a real heart and mind, it’s not easy to deal with them.

So, my question to myself is, do I hate India? Do I hate America?

And in short, my answer is: No.

I never hate either of these two countries — the two countries I’ve lived in all my life. I have nothing but love and respect for these two lands that have kept me alive, nurtured me, and gave me opportunities to live, grow and prosper.

I have nothing but love and care and best wishes for India and USA.

Ram Mohan Ray, one of the greatest voices of dissent in India. He challenged religious orthodoxy.

Ram Mohan Ray, one of the greatest voices of dissent in India. He challenged religious orthodoxy.

All my issues are with the people who are in power in these two countries: the one percent. I have talked about their politics, and I have talked about their covert and overt actions. And I shall keep doing it, as long as I live.

That is dissent to the powerful. This is all I have: a voice of dissent. Educated, informed, critically-analyzed dissent.

And believe it or not, unlike what the one percent and their corporations and media and politicians tell you, dissent is a big part of democracy.

In fact, believe it or not, dissent is democracy.

As noted historian late Howard Zinn had said: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

Contrary to these critics who believe I hate India and I hate America, I am actually practicing that highest form of patriotism. And I am doing it nonviolently too. I am making my small circle of people think.

Just think about it.

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One of my favorite voices of dissent. Some people think he hates America.

One of my favorite voices of dissent. Some people think he hates America.

Once a rioter, now a bedfellow!!

Once a rioter, now a bedfellow!!

RSS, and Modi, and Obama? What the heck is this all about?

Wait. Don’t be so impatient. Let me explain.

RSS — (see below).

Modi — Current prime minister of India, who is RSS (see below). He was indicted a few years ago of inciting a bloody communal riot in the state of Gujarat, and the U.S. government had refused to give him a visa.

(Well…that was then. Now he is a “best friend” the U.S. government has.)

And Obama — we all know Obama. He is now about to visit India, and meet with Modi.

(He is leaving immediately, as a matter of fact.)

Happy? No? Well, let me explain more.

Q. (1) Do you know of RSS?

You do? What is it?

Really Simple Syndication? The computer stuff?

Naahh…wrong!!

I’m talking about RSS, or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Raash…Whaaat??

Wait. Let me explain.

Rashtriya means national, Swayamsevak means volunteer, Sangh means organization. These are all Sanskrit or Hindi or Bengali words.

So, this RSS I’m talking about is basically the National Volunteer Organization. It’s a powerful, grassroots organization in India. They have their branches in all big and many small cities, and numerous villages too. They have millions of volunteers across India and in many other countries too.

Q. (2) What do they do?

They organize Hindus.

Hum. So, what do they believe in?

They believe in India as a Hindu Rashtra, or Hindu nation. (Well, they also once believed in the assassination of Gandhi, and one of their ex-members actually killed Gandhi, but we’ll reserve that story for later. Does Obama know? He should.)

BTW, just to make sure everybody understands, I am a Hindu myself, and actually unlike many of my lefty friends, I am neither a communist nor a Hindu-basher. I identify quite well with my Hinduism.

Q. (3) How can we compare RSS with a similar organization in other countries?

In USA, you can perhaps compare them with the Christian Coalition or Tea Party. In Bangladesh, they are perhaps comparable to Jamat-e-Islami. In France, perhaps, Le Pen’s National Front.

Modi, a lifelong member of the militant RSS. This is a fact. And they are proud of it too.

Modi, a lifelong member of the militant RSS. This is a fact. And they are proud of it. (Modi, however, does not dawn those khaki half pants no mo.)

No? National Front is a political organization, and RSS is not? Okay. So, RSS has its political organization too. It’s called BJP, or Bharatiya Janata Party, or Indian People’s Party. They are now in power in India. And Modi is their elected leader.

Q. (4) What are the similarities for these various groups?

Basically, the similarities across these groups globally are: (1) Religious and racial supremacy; (2) Anti-immigrant politics; (3) Strong anti-socialism views; (4) Exclusionist nationalistic economy; (5) Anti-labor union; (6) Anti-gender-equality; and (7) Emphasis on military might. There are more, but we’ll stop for now.

Well, Narendra Modi is now very willing to be a close partner of the mighty U.S. economy, and U.S. of course is delighted that the Indian government is now even more willing than ever before to sell off its economy to U.S. corporations. India’s new finance minister Arun Jaitley, also a hardcore RSS member, has already slashed India’s already-dismal health care subsidies for the poor, and proposed sell-off of massive amounts of Indian land to foreign corporations. This is all, supposedly, to comply with IMF and World Bank dictates.

So, Modi, who was indicted of a bloody, communal riot in the state of Gujarat in 2002 (that saw a massive slaughter of poor Muslims), and thus denied a U.S. visa then, is now a very lovable, huggable, dear bedfellow.

I once wrote a book on RSS, BJP and their philosophies and politics and grassroots organizing. I wrote it from an insider point of view.

Hope you look it up.

Signing off for now (with a deep, frustrated sigh),

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Beware, and read that history book!

Beware, and read that history book!