Marathwada: Reply to Dipankar Gupta
IT is a common rule, both in academic debate and for Communists engaging in polemics, to give full quotations and/or accurate citations from the person with whom one is debating, in order to guard against misrepresentation. Since Dipankar Gupta1 does not follow any such normal rules, I see no need to defend myself from his attacks. A number of articles, by myself and coauthored with Bharat Patankar, in the Social Scientist, the Economic and Political Weekly and the Frontier, make it clear whether or not I believe in class struggle.2 But Gupta's article does raise crucial issues about the analysis of the Marathwada events and the nature of the Dallt movement. So I would like to examine the implications of these and suggest an alternative approach. I shall use the term ^we" since most of what I have to say comes out of the position developed by myself and Bharat Patankar as well as from a number of discussions with other comrades and activists.3
The very terms Gupta uses to discuss Marathwada events are obscurantist and serve the ruling class interests. "Riots" is what they were called in the bourgeois press; Gupta goes even beyond this and talks about what happened as an ^uprising" and "a revolt". Riots are clashes between two groups of fighting people;
in Marathwada, Dalits were victims of attack and they did not fight back (and where they were ready to, as in Aurangabad city, such attacks did not take place). Uprisings and revolts are generally by oppressed people against their oppressors in some form or another; the very opposite happened in Marathwada. "Attacks" would be a mild term for what took place; "pogrom" might be a more accurate one.
Main Contradiction in Marathwada
A class analysis does indeed need to be given of the Marathwada attacks. But what in fact is the content of Gupta's analysis? It is that they were a result of competition among sections of