Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir


The so-called “October Revolution” of 1917 actually dates to November 7, getting its name because November 7 was designated October 25 in the Old Style Calendar. So this issue of INSAF is the closest to the centenary celebration. One of India’s leading commentators on the left has written an important article, reproduced below, that summarizes the impact of the Bolshevik revolution on India and the current status of the left in Indian politics.


Unfortunately, the current issue abounds with several stories that document the decline of the left in South Asia. We mark an year of Indian demonetization, which has now been seen in its true colors, a blatant shifting of wealth towards the rich. Ironically, the most corrupt act in the history of modern India (in terms of scale) was done in the name of removing corruption. Yet, the forces of the right in India and elsewhere in the region emerged unscathed from the chaos. The final article in this bulletin examines the decline of labor politics in Sri Lanka, while other articles take stock of the withering of CPM in Indian Bengal, the right-centric university agitations in Pakistan, and such. It would be easy to conclude that the left in South Asia is beleaguered.


But a steady stream of news outlines a variety of micro struggles that continue to keep hope alive. A Supreme Court verdict here, an optimist reading of election prospects there. We may not be ready for a leftward turn in the short term, but a roadblock in the way of the rightward drift is still welcome news! Whether women across the world begin to push back against sexual harassment, artistes protest the intimidation of filmmakers, the Trump family is mocked in India or Modi faces empty chairs in Gujarat, that’s all we got this time folks. Stay tuned for better news. In the meantime, let us remember that glorious moment a century ago, when the Bolsheviks suddenly turned utopia into possibility, however briefly.

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