Author: Ravi Shanker Kapoor
Publisher: Vision/Orient paperbacks
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170943817
This work is the first critical study of the Indian Left. And while the author's criticism of the Left is scathing, he is equally unsparing of the Indian Right which, he holds, suffers from 'downright cerebral poverty.
Who are the Indian leftist? Why are communist leaders like Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Sitaram Yechury considered so important thought the Indian Left parties are numerically not very strong in Parliament? Why is it that the most extravagant claims of the Leftist pass off as gospel truth and their kinky theories as well-known facts? Where do the Leftists derive their authority from?
This study seeks to answer such questions and analyses why the influence of the Indian Left is disproportionately greater than its electoral strength. The author asserts that a purely political study will not help understand the tremendous intellectual hegemony of the Left; one has to look beyond politics.
He thus delves into art, culture, cinema, literature, academics and the media to map the pervasive influence the Indian Left wields. He probes into the antics and pranks of the aristocratic socialists, elitist Left-libbers, and pinkish teenybopper intellectuals: how they revel in controversies like the ones caused by Hussein's nude Saraswati and the movie Fire; how they manufacture consent and ostracize dissent; and how they collaborate with the Establishment, their professed radicalism notwithstanding.
Both the general reader and the academic will find the book equally stimulating and useful for the insights it contains. Kapoor combines erudition with reducibility and discernment with wit. The result is a book which is engaging and thought-provoking without being abstruse.
RAVI SHANKAR KAPOOR graduated from Delhi University. A journalist by vocation, he works with The Financial Express.