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Articles by: Romi Mahajan

A Bowl of Ice Cream: A Tribute to Botham Jean

A Bowl of Ice Cream: A Tribute to Botham Jean

He was tired that night A long day; Work can grind And of course there’s more Smart, Black, numbers in his head He liked Ice Cream Soothed by the TV Feet up A long day; Home at last; refuge Young man; career ahead; ambitious What was tomorrow going to hold? Smooth, creamy, buttery Late night sweet snack A long day;[Read More…]

Kshama Sawant and Seattle: National Reverberations of a Critical Decision

Kshama Sawant and Seattle: National Reverberations of a Critical Decision

  In November, Seattleites will vote again on the constitution of their City Council. Few cities in the United States, likely, will witness the same level of intensity and acrimony regarding what many outside this particular city will no doubt deem “just a local” issue. Most closely watched will be the elections for Seattle’s District Three, in which Kshama Sawant[Read More…]

The Curious Mind of the Indian-American

The Curious Mind of the Indian-American

Indian-Americans have distinguished themselves in a variety of fields and have been lauded as one of the most successful diasporic groups in the United States. From captains of technology to corporate board members, from university administrators to hotel tycoons and hedge-fund managers, Indian-Americans have certainly made their mark in their adopted country. Recently, the emergence of Indian-Americans in the political[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled India
For Cars, Baubles and Beef

For Cars, Baubles and Beef

For cars, baubles, and beef We pledged our untrammeled allegiance For cars, baubles, and beef We declared an insidious war We held our flag up high We demanded full compliance For cars, baubles, and beef We punished all dissenters Here we are today Apocalypse here and now For cars, baubles, and beef We sacrificed our smiling children Progress is hard[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Arts/Literature
Out of Luck: The Corrosive Culture of Sports

Out of Luck: The Corrosive Culture of Sports

In an earlier article in Medium, I wrote about a corrosive sports culture that brings out peoples’ baser instincts- from applauding violence to replacing a plural view of humanity with elemental tribalism. In the piece, I also discussed sports-obsession as an example of the abdication of affirmative citizenship, given the time, money, and mental energy people spend on sports versus civic[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
In the Name of Family

In the Name of Family

In the name of family We destroy the same In the name of peace We build wastelands Imagine, please, imagine please do A little girl at your bosom Imagine, please, imagine please do A young boy laughing loud The warmth of embrace The exuberance of dawn The deep love and grace Forever now gone Joy knows no home Absolute and[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Arts/Literature
Dear Ilhan

Dear Ilhan

Dear oh dear Ilhan We see you in our sleep We see you when awake We hear you in all of our being There is nothing like a voice That wavers never at all There is nothing like the strength Of dignity withal Please don’t ever tire Your energies should never wane Stay vigilant dear Ilhan You bless us with[Read More…]

Clothing a Naked Emperor: The BJP’s Attacks on Gandhi and Nehru

Clothing a Naked Emperor: The BJP’s Attacks on Gandhi and Nehru

It is a measure of the greatness of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru that the BJP ideologues and their followers can’t stop referring to them, no matter how idiotically and venally they do so. To blame Nehru for everything – as is the wont if these demagogues – is to imbue him with the absolute power that indeed he never[Read More…]

Oh, Baltimore

Oh, Baltimore

Baltimore, Oh Baltimore You have things on your mind You have children to feed and trees to tend You have ties that strongly bind No fool, no demagogue, no trickster Could ever fool you deep No hateful and crude cad Should make you cringe or weep You rise when hate is strong Your daughters and sons see clear Baltimore, Oh[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Arts/Literature
Garnering Acquittal

Garnering Acquittal

A black father is gone A black husband is gone A black friend is gone A black human is gone He couldn’t breathe He said as much They cared enough To kill him Unsafe Even in your own skin Dead Leaving your kin Remorse is absent Like after stepping on an ant Go, go home Be with your loved ones[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Arts/Literature
Dear NRIs Do You Really Hate Dynasty? Want Fascism?

Dear NRIs Do You Really Hate Dynasty? Want Fascism?

If one is to believe their rhetoric, Conservative Indian-Americans– who overwhelmingly support the BJP — hate Congress for its dynastic politics. While it makes for a good sound bite, especially for the uninitiated, there is no evidence that in fact this group has anything but respect for dynasties- whether in India or in the United States. Their invocation of the[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled World
Yes, As We Speak

Yes, As We Speak

Yes, as we speak horrid things are happening Right under our very gaze Yes, as we speak brutality is sport And the children suffer as they have before Is the noise of violence that which defines us? Or is it the silence that lets the noise grow? Is there really a tale of Love in this mess? Or is the[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Arts/Literature
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them

How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them

Review of How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley Language creates, destroys, and maintains but not always in the fashion in which it was intended. When even well-intentioned people repeat a word or phrase too often, or use it in trivial or decontextualized ways, they create ironic and often portentous conditions. As with the stories of the[Read More…]

Truth Takes Time: Robert Caro’s “Working”

Truth Takes Time: Robert Caro’s “Working”

There is one way- and one way only- to read Robert Caro’s books. Of this, I am certain. For best results, gather provisions, find a nice room, lock yourself in, and turn off your cell phone. You must take all of these steps, not just a few. The reasons are: You must honor Caro’s dedication to political biography and investigative[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
A Thousand Year Reich?  Try Twelve.  Yes, 12!

A Thousand Year Reich?  Try Twelve.  Yes, 12!

All those people who support Nazism- in language and action- should remember that the Nazis lasted only 12 years and destroyed their own country, including presiding over the deaths of more than 10 Million Germans. The vile people who festoon their walls with swastikas, the kids who put up their stiff arms in Hitler salutes, the vandals who spray walls[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled World
Dreaming Again

Dreaming Again

Let’s take stock for a moment, as indeed we should. Seventy-one years ago, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by Naturam Godse, a member of the RSS. Godse thought that Gandhi was too soft to the Muslim population especially as regards Partition. With three bullets, Godse mowed down one of the greatest people in modern history, more responsible than any other individual[Read More…]

A Not-So-Splendid Caste:  The Hypocrisy of the Bono-rati

A Not-So-Splendid Caste:  The Hypocrisy of the Bono-rati

  On the advice of loved ones—and against my better instincts- I attended an event at Seattle University, October 27th, featuring noted author Khaled Hosseini.  He was accompanied by Razia Jan, founder of Razia’s Ray of Hope. On the surface, such an event would seem not only worthwhile but uplifting.  After all, both of the speakers are of Afghan origin,[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Imperialism
The Dead Black Male Body

The Dead Black Male Body

Racism reproduces itself in many ways- the use of imagery is one of the most powerful. This is not a profound thought and as such it should it be lost on anyone– even the most bilious and vile racists. In fact, these very people employ racist imagery with impunity because they know it has the desired effect. Some of us[Read More…]

When Crime Dons the Apparel of Innocence

When Crime Dons the Apparel of Innocence

  In The Rebel, Camus presciently wrote, “One the day when crime dons the apparel of innocence- through a curious transposition peculiar to our times–it is innocence that is called upon to justify itself.” Prescient indeed but also timeless. Ironically, Camus wrote that the transposition was “peculiar to our times” and it turned out, in fact, not to be peculiar[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled World
Hero Worshipping Murderers And The Stains Of History

Hero Worshipping Murderers And The Stains Of History

 In a previous piece in Countercurrents I once again lambasted Churchill, this time in the context of the recent movie The Darkest Hour and the Academy Award for the “Churchillian” Gary Oldman.   I bristled then as I do now that another hagiographical treatment was gifted to the notorious Imperialist and Racist.  I bristled too at other things of which the[Read More…]

Stealing Education?

Stealing Education?

Review of : Cutting School:  Privatization, Segregation, and The End of Public Education   Author:  Noliwe Rooks If you care about Race and Class and their intersection with Public Education in the United States, then you won’t be the same person after reading Cutting School. In this chronicle of the historical (and ongoing) assault on public education, Rooks introduces a brilliant[Read More…]

The World’s Darkest Hour:  The British Empire As Criminal Enterprise

The World’s Darkest Hour:  The British Empire As Criminal Enterprise

The day before the 90th Academy Awards, a friend from the academia called me with a suggestion.  He was adamant.  “You know that the Churchill Movie will win some awards and you should have an article ready to publish before the announcement,” he admonished.  I agreed but failed to produce it in time.  Strangely enough, I wrote a lot in[Read More…]

Photo by John Vetterli

Kicking Off 2018 With A Pledge

Dear Countercurrents family (present and future)— 2017 was a tough year all around. Hot and cold wars continue, the environment further degrades and Trumpism/Putinism/Modiism reigns. One can get depressed- forlorn even- by the array of monsters to fight. Humanity in many ways appears to be stepping backwards, embracing narrow and racist nationalism, further eroding the rights of women, reveling in[Read More…]

Who’s Really Tone Deaf?

Who’s Really Tone Deaf?

The recent controversy over Jimmy Choo’s advertisement that critics are calling tone-deaf has me wondering who indeed is above reproach here.  No doubt, such ads are incredibly demeaning to women and in the age when powerful men are being exposed as Emperors with, well, no clothes, this ad is in incredibly poor taste, but in our rush to brandish our[Read More…]

Harvey Weinstein: The Will To Power Is The Corrupting Force

Harvey Weinstein: The Will To Power Is The Corrupting Force

Lord Acton’s quip that “Power tends to corrupt….and absolute power corrupts absolutely” has passed into our political lexicon seamlessly and without question.  Though a fine sentiment, it misleads; in the common interpretation it suggests that powerful people are corrupt because of their power and not that they assumed power because they were willing at every turn to be corrupt.  The[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled World
Children As Fodder – Review of Class War: The Privatization of Childhood

Children As Fodder – Review of Class War: The Privatization of Childhood

For Americans with means, Parenting has become pathology. In Class War, Megan Erickson explains this phenomenon with a combination of economic and sociological analysis coupled with enormous empathy. Drawing on broad-ranging knowledge, Erickson identifies causes of parents’ legitimate stress of which much is rooted in the Education System which itself derives its spirit not from notions of Citizenship but of[Read More…]

I Want A Lawyer!

I Want A Lawyer!

Review of You Have the Right to Remain Innocent- James Duane, Little A, New York, 2016 Much has been written about US rates of incarceration and of the Police’s and Legal System’s machinations and conspiracy in denying justice in the United States. Both the statistics and individual stories are heart-rending and frustrating. Entire communities have been devastated by basic attacks[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Book Review
Be Judgmental Just Be Careful Who You Judge

Be Judgmental Just Be Careful Who You Judge

Tolerance is overrated. In order to appreciate this, some basics should be covered. First, tolerance is not kindness nor is intolerance hate. Second, tolerance as an unswerving philosophical principle leads in equal part to acts of decency and of savagery. Third, for most of its votaries, tolerance is simply a euphemism and cover for utter cowardice. Judgmentalism is underrated. “Live[Read More…]

Reminders of Hope

Reminders of Hope

  Dear Countercurrents readers, please excuse the personal nature of this short piece. We are in a world in which rightward drift has become a Hurricane gale.  The world round, racism, misogyny, obscurantism, violence, and demagoguery are on the rise.  Multiple theories exist to explain the rise of such base ideas, but irrespective of which theory is most compelling at[Read More…]

Embracing Malevolence Is Never The Answer

Embracing Malevolence Is Never The Answer

Open any newspaper or peruse any website and you’ll find at least one celebrity, one politician, or one pundit demanding that the rest of us “embrace” President Trump and his gang. Some suggest that we “give him a chance” and others say basically that “you guys lost so stuff it and deal with the new guy.” Others, true to the[Read More…]

India Diminished

India Diminished

Earlier in Countercurrents, I reviewed Shashi Tharoor’s An Era of Darkness– very favorably.  In that review, I mentioned other books, including Madhusree Mukherjee’s Churchill’s Secret War and Mike Davis’s magisterial Late Victorian Holocausts.  All three books break with the mythology of Pax Britannica and describe its body-count.  A wasteland indeed called peace.  A Pox not a Pax. I wrote the[Read More…]

Don’t Miss “The Speech” by Gary Younge

Don’t Miss “The Speech” by Gary Younge

Gary Younge’s The Speech– released in 2013 by Haymarket Books (updated edition)- is increasingly important in these early days of Trumplandia.  A real account of the lead up to, acceptance, and political trajectory of King’s famous 1963 “I Have a  Dream” speech, the book is a clear reminder of the power of rhetoric but also of the forces of “nullification”[Read More…]

Busting The Busts Of Churchill:  Why Reading “An Era Of Darkness” By Shashi Tharoor Is Necessary

Busting The Busts Of Churchill:  Why Reading “An Era Of Darkness” By Shashi Tharoor Is Necessary

 Writers are every now and again given a gift from the “news,” a nugget that serves to be an easy opening gambit.  The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, delivered a perfect one recently by installing a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office. One would indeed get this impression from the typical romantic (and racist) hagiographies that[Read More…]

Thank You Haymarket Books!

Thank You Haymarket Books!

A visit to the bookstore provokes in me two opposite emotions- euphoria and anxiety. I get euphoric by the thought that the production and ingestion of knowledge is still an important thing for some segment of society. Snippets, lies, and fake news are not the only “data” that exists. I get euphoric also by the tantalizing thought that if given[Read More…]

The 2017 Manifesto- We Need Journalists More Than EVER!

The 2017 Manifesto- We Need Journalists More Than EVER!

Dear Friends- I am sure we can all agree that we live in strange times. For most of us, education and intellectual progress were based on hard mental work, the exercise of logic, and the seeking of not only nuggets of truth but the interconnections between these nuggets. We understood the importance of knowledge; to put it in the modern[Read More…]

A Colorblind Society? Not So Fast!

A Colorblind Society? Not So Fast!

On four occasions in the last year, white acquaintances have extolled their children for being “colorblind,” for not even considering race when speaking of or interacting with other kids. In all four cases, the same “example” of this “post-racial” attitude was brought to the conversation: that when attempting to describe a fellow (minority) student, their children did not use the[Read More…]

new life

The “Optimist” Conundrum

  Since the election, a variety of attitudes towards the future have emerged of which one is particularly pernicious, though stemming from a place of decency and grace.  I call this attitude the “’Optimist’ Conundrum.”  For a host of liberals and even some Leftists, the election has brought a “wait and see” attitude in which “hoping for the best” has[Read More…]

Consumer Apathy And Fake News: The Shit Has Hit The Fan And Smeared The Walls

Consumer Apathy And Fake News: The Shit Has Hit The Fan And Smeared The Walls

  About a year ago, I wrote about the degradation of journalism inherent in the turn to digital; I emphasized not only the corporate greed for advertising revenue at the expense of real journalism but the consumer apathy and lack of desire to pay even small amounts of money for sensible content that helps us navigate the complex world.  The[Read More…]

Review Of Ralph Nader’s “Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think”

Review Of Ralph Nader’s “Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think”

Many people in the United States- almost all in fact- have benefitted from the work Ralph Nader has done in promoting the rights of consumers while blunting the power, avarice, and mono-maniacal stress on profits that define the corporate world. Just as most of us have benefitted, so few of us realize the kind of planning, work, determination, and desire[Read More…]

Illustration by CurvaBezier / iStock.

Me And Twitter: A Hate And Love Story

  Twitter’s recent travails in the market have created a very strange sensation in me- for once I actually like the company. Though I’m a marketer, I don’t really use Twitter.  I tried once- years ago- and found it to be too distracting. I also succumbed to the problem of Tweeting and “responding” for the sake of doing it.  I[Read More…]

Kaepernick Gate

Kaepernick Gate

  This article is not about Colin Kaepernick. It’s also not about other athletes who have joined him in expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo and the injustice inherent in it. No, this article is not about particular celebrities or individuals. Instead, it is about the depths to which we’ve fallen. We. Not them. We all. A young athlete-disgusted with[Read More…]

The Weak Constitutions Of The Privileged

The Weak Constitutions Of The Privileged

The privileged are hypocritical in large ways and small.  Working one’s way out of that hypocrisy is no mean-feat but it’s vital if we are to have a decent society to call our own. While I’m struck by the disregard the privileged have for the less-lucky, even more shocking perhaps is that they lambast others for reasons that more resemble[Read More…]