As a staunch critic of the western brand of modernity, Ashis Nandy has garnered immense fame and repute in the academic circles of social sciences. In his scholarly writings, he has unapologetically criticizes the elite political class for the growing socio-political and economic ills as they are hooked to the secular rationality of the West and undermines the ethical/spiritual goods of the religious society.
Much is being written these days, especially in the context of West Bengal, about what is wrong with the CPI (M). For a Party that has been in power in the state for more than three decades, this is hardly surprising. But if a Party has been in power in a state for more than three decades, then something must also be right with it. Besides, no matter what the outcome of the forthcoming Assembly elections, it would still be the case that almost half of the electorate in the two most intellectually-advanced states in India, West Bengal and Kerala, would have voted in them for CPI (M)-led formations. What explains this, and also the fact that, notwithstanding all its omissions and commissions, the CPI (M) still continues to attract some of the finest young minds of the country?
How does the critique of modernity (as it is found in some of the alternative radical strains in the Enlightenment ranging from seventeenth century dissenters against the newly emerging orthodox elements of modernity to Gandhi in our own country's emerging modernity) square with the ideals of economic and social justice in the broad Leftist tradition owing chiefly to Marx? Pragoti presents a selection of articles from a seminar in Hyderabad in January 2009 on 'Radical Enlightenment and the Socialist Alternative'.