People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 15

April 19, 2009


Intellectuals And Artists Appeal To Vote For Left

Irfan Habib

Professor Emeritus, Aligarh Muslim University

As India goes to polls to elect the country’s Parliament it is crucial for us to realize that the interests of all sections of our people, the poor, the workers, peasants, and the middle classes, will be served best by electing to Parliament the largest possible number of candidates of the CPI(M) and other Left parties. It was because of the efforts of the Left Parties that the ruling Congress was unable to implement many of its projected measures designed to favour big business at the cost of the people. The Left Parties have uncompromisingly fought against the Congress government’s increasing subservience to US imperialism and growing closeness to Israel. They have also unflinchingly stood up for secularism, women’s rights, affirmative action for minorities and protection of dalits’ interests. By voting firmly for the Left Front candidates, people will surely help to change the destiny of the whole country.”

Prabhat Patnaik

Vice Chairman, Kerala Planning Board

The formation of a modern Indian nation out of an extraordinarily disparate

population riven by millennia of caste, class, gender and other forms of oppression is a marvel of our time. It is a legacy of our prolonged anti-colonial struggle that was founded upon an implicit “social contract”, whose main elements were: electoral democracy based on universal adult franchise,

secularism, civil liberties, the end of caste and gender oppression, and the building of an egalitarian society. The BJP which unleashes pogroms against

minority communities threatens this contract and hence the integrity of this

nation. The Congress, though a secular force, violates this contract in a different way, as its economic policies produce some of the world’s top billionaires together with thousands of peasant suicides. The Left alone can defend this contract and hence this nation, because of its commitment to an anti-communal and anti-imperialist agenda. Please vote Left.”

Aijaz Ahmad

Literary Theorist and Political Commentator

Neoliberal policies were first implemented in India by a Congress Government. The BJP led NDA government greatly expanded those policies, with accelerated privatisation and deregulation. After Congress returned to power in 2004, heading the UPA, it deepened those same policies further. The result is jobless growth and credit-fed middle-class consumption. Even as GDP grows, wealth flies upward: more dollar billionaires at the top; thousands of peasant suicides at the heart of society. Had the Left not prevented it from further deregulating our financial system, we would be facing a crisis as sharp as that of the US or UK. Victory for either of these parties in the forthcoming elections promises more of the same — even worse, because their policies have made us much more vulnerable to havocs of the global recession. If we want to reverse these trends the Left has to be strengthened.”

I n t e l l e c t u a l s a n d

Saeed Mirza

Film Director

The role of the Left, both in the pre-independence and post-independence period, has been crucial in keeping the Indian society, polity and culture imbued with secular values.

At the present juncture any weakening of the Left will give a great fillip to the communal and retrograde forces. I appeal to all democratically minded people to support the Left in the elections to the 15th Lok Sabha.”

Jayati Ghosh

Economist, Jawaharlal Nehru University

These general elections are being held in the midst of economic slowdown, rapidly increasing unemployment and agrarian distress. I hope the elections bring into being a government that is not obsessed with protecting and subsidizing large capital, as the UPA government has been. Instead, we desperately need a central government that will focus on the needs of ordinary people - workers and peasants, students and the self-employed – and will act to bring them relief and improve their future. Similarly, I hope the voters reject the BJP’s politics of hate and fear, which actually sow the seeds of more violence and insecurity.

India is a complex and diverse country, and the electoral process reflects that diversity. We should not be afraid of heterogeneous political groupings, as long as they share the basic agenda of improving the lot of common people.”

Shamshad Hussain


The Left in India has been in the forefront of meeting the challenge of communal forces who have attacked the freedom of expression of artists and scholars in the name of cultural nationalism. Whenever artists have come under attack, the Left has unhesitatingly defended them. I appeal to all those who cherish artists’ freedom, to vote for the Left in the forth coming elections.”


Economist, Jawaharlal Nehru University

This is a moment of transformation globally and in India. The economic crisis poses new challenges but also offers an opportunity: to redirect development on to a more productive, egalitarian and environmentally-friendly trajectory. The Congress is in a state of denial, unwilling to recognise that the policies it has pursued in and outside power for the last two decades and more have been proved to be completely wrong. On the other hand, the BJP is attempting to divert attention from these pro-rich and socially-bankrupt policies by exploiting the unemployment resulting from it to fuel the divisive and communal politics it expects will restore it to power. That effort must be fought and scorched. We need a movement that can defeat both these forces, which must be intellectually and politically led by the Left parties.”

M.K. Raina

Theatre Director and Actor

The approaching elections to the Lok Sabha are crucial. They will determine the future course of development of our economic and foreign policy. The threat of the communal fascist forces is also very real as is evidenced in the recent incidents in Orissa and Karnataka. Another dangerous development of the last year has been the government’s foreign policy which is seeking to forge a strategic alliance with the United States. This makes us give up our non-aligned foreign policy. Our closeness to the United States and Israel makes us vulnerable to terrorism. In such a situation a progressive government which will work for the down trodden and pursue an independent foreign policy is the need of the hour.”

Moloyashree Hashmi

Theatre Artist, Jana Natya Manch

This is going to be a landmark election. We have seen the Congress for a long time, and unfortunately we have also had to bear the brunt of the BJP being in power for a while. It is clear as daylight that neither of these parties have any alternatives to offer. The world may be reeling under an unprecedented economic crisis, free market capitalism may be an object of ridicule all over, our own people may be facing massive wage cuts and job cuts, but as far as the Congress is concerned, it is business as usual. The BJP – well, what can you say about a party that peddles nothing but hatred and violence? I am sure the people of India will return a very large number of Left MPs, to give a new direction to Indian politics.”

Vijay Prashad

Professor of International Studies, Trinity College

Election after election in Latin America has brought the Left to power. A decade ago, the picture was different. The Liberal-Right ruled the roost, pushing themselves as the parties of Order and Efficiency, the local franchises of Globalization. But they were utterly discredited, shown up as the parties of Corruption and Brutality. The Left and the social movements bided their time, working to build the confidence of the people who suffered from dictatorships and neo-liberalism. The subordinated state revealed itself from Bolivia to Venezuela, from Cuba to El Salvador: the red tide swept Latin America. It is India’s turn. The financial crisis has discredited the Congress’ claim to being the Party of the Poor: the velvet glove of compassion is now off, as the Iron Fist of Class Domination reveals itself. The BJP has not even this velvet glove. Neither of these is a worthy choice. The Left alone stands for the Future. That is the message from Latin America.”

G P Deshpande

Playwright and Former Professor of Chinese Studies, JNU

“We are all close to yet another grand electoral battle. These are exciting times. But they are also difficult times. It is small wonder if we are a little uncertain if we cannot decide whom we should vote for. Whom do we really vote? Let us pause and think if there are people and political formations that have pursued consistent policies with the interests of the Indian people in view. It must be emphatically asserted that there are such formations. Are there any people or political formations who have tried their best to assert the inviolability of India’s economic and political sovereignty? Yes, there are. The nuke deal with the US has shown us who they are. There is no realistic alternative if you want Indian people’s interests and India’s integrity and sovereignty to be protected. Vote for the Left.”