the leftovers

the left holds poverty in a vice-like grip. it has long let go of the poor, but it won't release poverty from its stranglehold. it's a magnificient obsession : this fascination with an idea that, paradoxically, it wishes to exterminate. it sits quite comfortably with other diametrically opposite ideas in the left's collective consciousness. ideas like a social security net for india's babus who probably lead a more protected existence than the gold in fort knox. like protecting the public sector, whose employees collectively have more sons and daughters living abroad than any other privileged class of people in india, from foreign predators.

for a class which vehemently opposed the acceptance of product patents by the indian government, the left doesn't think twice about smiting anyone who so much as toys with the idea of cashing in politically on the product that is poverty. the left wouldn't share with anyone even the patent on their unique theory on the process of poverty alleviation ( nobody else understands the dialectics, you see).

for the left it is essential that poverty thrive in order that it be heroically challenged and killed. in other words, poverty should be protected from those others who harbour any suspicious designs on its existence or nurse any ambitions of eliminating it through any means other than the ones the left endorses.

the fig leaf of poverty, which covers nothing but itself, is the raison d'etre of what's left over of the left in india. the self-righteousness, the self-proclaimed selflessness, the theatrical austerity, the never-slipping mask of seriousness which has become an armour to protect them from being thought of as less than serious,....these are the qualities one would normally associate with the indian left......no wonder, the poor take them very seriously, and look elsewhere for answers.

like the party that stands for the rights of x left-handed caste, for instance. or to other parties that at least acknowledge their existence and don't impersonally slot them into a catchall category called 'class x'.

consider this scenario : the right-handed representative of the left-left party strikes, on his party's behalf, a strategic alliance with the aforementioned left-handed party citing the historical necessity of defeating the right-right party headed by the right-handed imperialist stooge. the left-left party's right-handed candidate wins and goes to parliament. as soon as he gets there, he starts bullying the party in power to pass the bill reserving seats for women in parliament. so what does the leader of the left-handedwallahs do? his only agenda in getting to parliament was to get there. so now, what's this? seats for women? he looks around at his own brood, his brothers-in-left arms, his other kith and kin, and then he looks at his associates from other left-handed communities. and then he realizes that his election to parliament was no less a miracle than moses crossing the red sea. and that now the chances of any of his associates from the less privileged ( than his own) left-handed communities making it to parliament are as bright as pushing toothpaste back into a tube. and they wouldn't improve much even if all the men in those communities decided to become women ( members of only 150 of the 3000 major communities have ever made it to any elected assembly or parliament in independent india) . has he been done in by the left?

that's the feeling the poor get whenever they trust the left. like they did after the mills started closing down in mumbai and the seths never returned.

that's a feeling a lot of other unfortunate people get whenever they make the mistake of thinking that the left has their interests at heart.

poverty is the left's agenda, not the poor. for them it has crumbs of sympathy. to preempt the poverty that might strike the babus in the government and the public sector, it has plans.

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