The Indian government - in pursuance of its attack on the diversity of Indian culture - has decided to push for a ban on beef eating. This has come after a vicious series of murders of cow herders and traders - from vulnerable communities - that have gone largely unpunished. The climate of intolerance is now established by this government order.
But the ban on beef has not gone unchallenged. Across the opposition landscape has come a strong criticism of this policy. In the lead have been left-wing students who have come onto the streets to cook and eat beef in a festive atmosphere. The Chief Minister of Kerala - communist leader P. Vijayan - has once more been in the lead against the ban.
My very short report on the political context of the beef ban appears inAlternet, which you can read here. It ends with the words of the communist student leader from Kerala, M. Vijin, 'We will not allow this fascism to invade our kitchens'.
The cartoon above was done by Srirasa at the LeftWord Books' Socialist Writing Workshop in Chennai last week. This was his contribution to our discussion of the beef ban.
In Delhi, to celebrate the eighth anniversary of Newsclick, Teesta Setalvad and I joined Prabir Purkayastha and Rajat Nag to talk about the capitalist crisis and the rise of the right.
I talked about the global challenge of joblessness, the dystopia that it has produced, the terrain upon which the right has arisen and the difficulties this poses for the left. You can watch my initial remarks - seven minutes - here.
Teesta's remarks were mainly about the rise of the right in India - in line with the general sense of despair in Indian society. The beef ban is part of this social and political narrowness. Her remarks - six minutes - are here. I hope you have read Teesta's memoir, which we at LeftWord Books published (and which you could order here); we will release the Hindi edition very soon.
While in Delhi, I visited the Indian Writers' Forum to talk about the policy slate of neoliberalism and its cultural project. The 22 minute conversation can be viewed here.
At LeftWord, we are moving rapidly into the world of Hindi publishing. You will soon see - as I mentioned above - Teesta's memoir in a Hindi translation. We will also have a Hindi version of our book on Ambedkar and a series of short books in Hindi on Modi's India. In time, we hope to publish about ten books a year in Hindi - most of them reasonably priced and widely available in nicely produced formats. If you have any ideas for this part of our cultural project, please get in touch with us.