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Editors of Historical Materialism remember Praful Bidwai as an engaged open-minded intellectual

(Text of Email Message dated 11 July 2015)

The editors of Historical Materialism were shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Praful Bidwai. Praful was a keynote speaker at the HM Delhi conference and we were extremely pleased to have such an engaged, critical and open-minded intellectual involved with our event and our project of reinvigorating Marxist debate.

Praful will be missed by everyone committed to socialism, workers' rights and environmental justice. We share the grief of those who worked closely with him for an outstanding comrade.

Steve Edwards

For the editors of Historical Materialism

Some photos from the memorial meeting for Praful Bidwai in New Delhi on 8 July 2015

The below photos were taken by Mukul Dube

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Remembering Praful

I remember Praful from his pre-journalist days - the IIT days, the Magowa days - days when we were closest. This is a Praful who is not very well known and today I would like to speak about him.

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Praful was India’s best and bravest journalist from the left

Praful was an extraordinary human being, always deeply committed politically, starting with his days as a student at Bombay I.I.T. and also the least dogmatic and sectarian left-winger that either of us ever knew. He embodied the vision of an essentially modern Left, the Left as a secular, rationalist force, a champion of democracy in the modern world, and as opposed to the authoritarianism and repressiveness of ostensibly “leftwing” regimes as to capitalism’s wide-ranging subjugation of humanity and of nature. As someone who was thoroughly cosmopolitan and internationalist in his outlook, Praful was repelled by the espousal of nationalisms across the political spectrum.

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Announced: A memorial meeting for the journalist, Praful Bidwai (at IIC, New Delhi - July 8, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m)

Remembering Praful

a memorial meeting for the journalist, Praful Bidwai

• Reminiscences • Tributes • Music

Date and Time: July 8, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Venue: Multipurpose Hall Kamaladevi Block India International Centre 40 Max Mueller Marg New Delhi-110003

--Friends of Praful Bidwai

Bengal local poll results don’t bode well for the BJP, Left

The Trinamool Congress has pulled off a massive victory in West Bengal’s municipal elections by winning 71 of 92 civic bodies (up from 38 won in 2010). Its Kolkata win was even more crushing: 114 of 144 wards (95 in 2010). The entire opposition accuses TMC of rigging the elections—a charge that carries some credibility given the scale of TMC’s victory, huge winning margins of some candidates (e.g. 15,000-30,000 votes), and the party’s known reliance on muscle-power.

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Kejriwal’s winner-takes-all intolerance bodes ill for AAP

. . . there’s no long-term future for AAP unless it democratises itself and broadens its horizons beyond winning elections.

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Four years after Fukushima, India is flogging a nuclear dead horse

It’s a telling comment on the state of the Indian media that most of it blacked out the fourth anniversary of the still-continuing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, which fell on March 11. The same media reported breathlessly on the Indian government’s plans to triple domestic nuclear power-generation capacity by 2020-21, and on the “breakthrough” achieved on the nuclear liability issue during Barack Obama’s recent visit to India.

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Of Rape, Censorship & National Honour: Mera Bharat Mahan!

If the Indian government wanted to become the laughing stock of the world, it couldn’t have done so more instantly and effectively than by banning the BBC documentary India’s Daughter on Delhi’s December 2012 gang-rape. Not only was the film watched by millions the world over; it became a cause celebre for feminists, defenders of free expression and even progressive Hollywood actors.

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Aam Aadmi’s Self-Inflicted Wounds: Kejriwal must show vision

It may appear to be an unfortunate coincidence to many that serious dissension should break out in India’s political wunderkind, the Aam Aadmi Party, within a few weeks of its spectacular victory in the Delhi Assembly elections, which stopped the Narendra Modi juggernaut.

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'आप' की जीत से मजबूत होंगे वामदल?

ऐसा 25 साल में दूसरी बार हुआ जब एक उभरती हुई राजनीतिक शक्ति ने भारतीय जनता पार्टी का बढ़ता रथ रोका है.

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Beyond Congress’s Leadership Failure: An existential crisis

It’s a telling comment on the state of the Indian National Congress that a four-member committee it appointed four months ago to devise a strategy to rejuvenate the party and fight the Modi government has turned out a non-starter.

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Attacks on activists speak of pathological intolerance

t’s not easy being a public-spirited activist in India these days. If you’re a right-to-information campaigner, you run the risk of being physically eliminated, as has happened to more than 20 activists in recent years. If you’re a conscientious whistleblower, you could be victimised—like AIIMS vigilance officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi—or murdered, like Shanmugam Manjunath.

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Modi government cracks down on green NGOs

India’s new Modi government trains its guns on environmental activists.

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The juggernaut hasn’t only been halted, it has crashed

There isn’t just one big story in the Delhi election; there are two. The first is the staggering victory of the Aam Aadmi Party, which polled 54.3 percent of the vote, even higher than the Janata Party’s 52.6 percent in the landmark post-Emergency “wave” of 1977.

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Indian politics has a new moral force

''A stunning victory in Delhi’s state assembly for the anti-establishment Aam Aadmi party has brought Narendra Modi down to earth Aam Aadmi Party win election in Delhi''

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Did Obama Legitimize Extremist Violence With His Visit to India?

The president roped once-non-aligned India into a strategic alliance, but only by bolstering the Modi government, with its religious intolerance and pro-corporate policies.

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Europe In Islamophobia’s Grip?: The Charlie Hebdo murders

More than two weeks on, the debate on the barbaric killings of Charlie Hebdo journalists and the freedom of expression has become a conversation across time-zones and political, cultural and legal divides. This is probably the first time that such a debate is taking place in a world connected by Facebook, Twitter and U-Tube.

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Tribute to a brilliant writer-activist — Mike Marqusee

"Mike Marqusee (61), who died of cancer in London last week, was one of the finest products of the Anglo-American world’s “‘60s generation”, with a brilliant intellect and a passionate commitment to social justice and human values."

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Democracy Wins Big In Sri Lanka: Time for a new start

The people of Sri Lanka have made the cause of democracy proud by handing a humiliating defeat to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ending 10 years of authoritarian rule. Mr Rajapaksa called an early election, and lost to his former health minister Maithripala Sirisena-despite his last-minute attempts to rope Bollywood stars into his campaign and desperate appeals to vote for the "known devil".

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