Praful left us on 23 June 2015. But we are thankful to him for leaving behind for us this wonderful intellectually stimulating book that traces not only the history of the Indian communist movement, but also suggests an alternative courageous strategy for the left in the coming future.
Divided into eight chapters and spanning 500-odd pages buttressed by voluminous endnotes The Phoenix Moment begins with the founding of the Communist Party of India in 1925 . . . Now, after almost a century of training itself not to think, and not to venture beyond narrow Parliamentary politics, can the Left undertake a bold and honest introspection with a potential for radical course correction?
Reinventing The Indian Left: A Review Of 'The Phoenix Moment: Challenges Confronting the Indian Left’ By Praful Bidwai (Satya Sagar) | countercurrents.org, 28 Feb 2016
‘The Phoenix Moment: Challenges Confronting the Indian Left’, written by the well-known journalist Praful Bidwai, is a fascinatingly detailed study of why the Indian Left both rose to dizzying heights in the past and crashed ignominiously in recent times. The last book he wrote before his untimely demise last year, it is brutally honest, meticulously researched and bitingly critical. It is also impressively broad in scope, analyzing the Left from not just the usual parameters of redistribution of wealth, public welfare and workers’ rights but also ecology, gender and caste.
When business is as usual, the dilemma of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and, by extension, of the parliamentary political parties that can broadly be categorised as the Left is to find a comprehensive resolution that captures the theory as well as the practice of doing the impossible — finding a way of straddling electoral politics with its continuous compromises and the ideology of an emancipating revolution.
The first half covers colonial and immediate post-colonial times, and the second explores Kerala and West Bengal, both ruled by the Left for long stretches of time.
Praful Bidwai’s posthumous book is a rich intellectual history of the Left, its contemporary fate and how it can fight back a neoliberal onslaught
Remembering Praful Bidwai on Human Rights Day - Video recording from a public discussion on 10 Dec 2015 in Bangalore
Video of Human Rights Day-Praful Bidwai book release and discussion in Bangalore at Aruppe Hall at St Joseph's college on 10 December 2015. The meeting was chaired by Cynthia Stephen and the panelists were Professor Lawrence Surendra, Dept of Economics, University of Mysore, Professor Sowmya Uma, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, National Law School of India University, Professor Suvrat Raju, Tata Instt of Fundamental Research, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader G.N. Nagaraj.
Praful Bidwai’s book, The Phoenix Moment: Challenges Confronting the Indian Left provides a comprehensive political history of the Indian Left
While Praful Bidwai’s critique of the Left is sympathetic at one level, it doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to addressing flaws that have dogged the communist movement in India
In this book, published posthumously, author pulls no punches in detailing the reasons for the "terminal decline" of the Left movement in India
(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.
For the editors of Historical Materialism http://www.historicalmaterialism.org
The below photos were taken by Mukul Dube
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.
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.
Announced: A memorial meeting for the journalist, Praful Bidwai (at IIC, New Delhi - July 8, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m)
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
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.
. . . there’s no long-term future for AAP unless it democratises itself and broadens its horizons beyond winning elections.
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.
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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