Ram Guha delivered the Tarkunde Memorial Lecture at IIC yesterday. He said Indian liberalism was under threat from the RIght, the Left, and the Center!
From the Right, while competitive fundamentalism characterises most religions in India today, the Hindutva Right is most threatening because of the relative size of adherents of the Hindu faith.
From the Left, the Maoist threat, while over-stated by simplistic statistics such as "220 districts are Maoist-threatened", is highly noxious, and we must never forget that these are violent, totalitarian people.
(At the launch of Sudeep Chakraverti's book, Red Sun, Dilip Simeon had made the same point - and he spoke from the experience of having joined the first wave of Naxalites, in the late 60s. He said that a conversation such as the one we were having about Maoists would not be possible in Maoist territory)
Ram Guha recalled a visit to Dantewada, along with BG Verghese, who was also in the audience, when a villager told him, the Maoists do not have the guts to come into our village without arms.
In the Center, as defined by mainstream political parties, undemocratic, family enterprises.
In Indian politics today, he said, people go either with the Right, because of paranoia or fear; with the Center, because of weariness (there is no alternative) or opportunism; or with the Left, because of upper-middle class guilt
True liberals must work outside the party system, expecially in the current system.