Medha Patkar

Medha Patkar (Photo credit: Joe Athialy)



By Joe.M.S.


18 February, 2014


The Aam Admi Party (AAP) fiasco culminated with the resignation of Kejriwal , another media spectacle, which was like running away from the responsibility of tall promises they made, on flimsy grounds to portray them a martyrs. After this, the AAP has even declared publicly for the first time it’s economic policy, which is not against capitalism as such, but only against crony capitalism. Thus the appearance of the movement as radical for some ultra intellectuals and hopefuls, proved to be a mere displacement anticipating capitalistic economic determinism in the last instance, as Zizek would have put it.


It is astonishing, even at this juncture of neo liberal predatory capitalism, that there are takers for the theory that capitalism can exist with a human face and is susceptible to control, and that the so called developed western capitalism is dissociated from world ecological destruction and wars.


Meanwhile, intellectuals are working overtime to save the likes of Kumar Vishwas, by sophisticated media theories, to present him as a victim, turning a blind eye to their own feminism, indirectly trampling the rights of nurses and women.


In this context, the declaration of Medha Patkar and Soni Sori as candidates of AAP, in effect works as an exercise in revamping, to lend credibility to the sullied image of the party, after the allegedly xenophobic attack on African women. Though some Gandhian post-colonial intellectuals, are bending over backward, to defend the stand of AAP on this racist attack, the party has not yet come clean on this issue. Many progressive feminists and leftists intellectuals have raised doubts about the sincerity of AAP and their defence of their law minister. The AAP’s stand not to believe any other persons apart from their party members is strange to say the least. Some post ideological AAP defenders behave like old soviet Marxist party, which in their economic reductionism, relegated all other questions of language, gender and race to the side-lines. After all, just because of the fact that the allegations against Modi and 2G spectrum are made by corporate media does not mean than they have no substance. Thus the AAP stand that media is targeting them for their supposedly anti corporate politics does not hold good.


So one can say that, the action of Medha Patkar to allow her name to be associated with AAP as a candidate, not seems to be a right move. The fact that she is not only a living legend with impeccable records but the embodiment of world ecological movement may lend credence to a party like AAP, though however detached an attachment to the party she holds. The record of AAP on racial equality can be used even by anti progressive forces the world over to malign the ecological movements. This is especially so, when many rightist Paleoconservative forces are active . So what ever be the anti-Reliance corporate rhetoric of AAP, until they come clean on the alleged racist raid on Africans, it would have been better for a person of Medha’s stature to be a bit more cautious in her espousal of AAP’s cause. This is exclusively so when ecological politics remains the only hope for a rejuvenation of world left, when almost all existing left parties in the world are pro-development oriented. (See the stand of Communist party of India (Marxist) which even supports the right wing forces to oppose pro-ecological Gadgil report ). A time when Medha’s ecology should be guiding light of left politics over and above Marx, she should not be seen advocating soft capitalists like AAP.


When Kejriwal’s own past views on caste based reservations has been questioned from various quarters, the party’s suppression of dissenting women members and their rejection that there is not even an iota of truth in the complaint of African women, in the times of Justice Varma Committee report, is not in the least progressive. AAP defenders hope that they could easily pass their legislations to control corporates ( even if sincere it will only be a move to sanitise Indian capitalism and to make it like it’s western counterpart) and would be not facing any opposition is ridiculous. And their critique of every scepticism posed by the left in the past against limitations of parliamentary politics is meaningless. So it would be opportune for people like Medha to understand the complexities of the situation because racial equality should go hand in hand with ecology . Then only can a new progressive ecological politics garner the support of the subaltern all over the world.


Joe M S, is a social science teacher from Kerala. Worked in various places of India, now residing in Ireland.


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