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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 29, July 6, 2013

A Clarification

Sunday 7 July 2013, by Prabhat Patnaik


I have become aware, very belatedly alas, of a piece by Comrade Sailendra Nath Ghosh (Mainstream, April 16, 2011), which takes me to task for an article of mine “Why the Left Matters” (Mainstream, March 26, 2011). The only reason I can adduce for not reading Comrade Ghosh’s article when it was published is that I was myself located at the time in Thiruvananthapuram, working for the State Planning Board of the LDF Government in Kerala, and had at best sporadic access to journals from Delhi.

Comrade Ghosh’s critique of my piece, as well as that of the editor’s in an accompanying comment, accuses me of calling the UPA Government “fascist”. This is a misconception, which I suspect arises for the following reason.

In my article I kept using the term “communal-fascist” borrowed from Amartya Sen (to refer to the ideology and praxis of the Hindutva forces), instead of merely “fascist”, because the former term seemed to me more specific and apposite in our context. So when I was referring to the UPA as “non-communal-fascist” I meant it as “non-communal-fascist”, that is, as essentially non-fascist. Comrade Ghosh’s article and the editorial comment, however, interpreted my remark perhaps as “non-communal fascist”, that is, as essentially fascist (though non-communal). I am sorry for giving cause for such a misconception, but what is attributed to me is the precise opposite of what I meant.

Prabhat Patnaik


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