Before it gets too depressing and dark, let me wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2013.
What I've written below is not what you can call cheerful and happy. But it's completely honest and sincerely heartfelt. I hope you still read, comment and share if you think it's worth doing it.
In this brief note, I have tried to talk about some of the most important experiences I've had in 2012. I wrote about how unique this year has been for me. I am sharing these precious experiences with you. It may sound a little disorganized and it may also seem that I'm including too many things in one short package of thoughts. I hope you forgive me for it considering I write and work on several aspects of life — human rights, politics, economics, literature, music, movies and media — perhaps being overly ambitious.
Do I have any special expertise to take on so many areas? No, I don't. I have no special expertise and I have no formal education on either of them. Yet, I get involved with all, and more, only because even without any expertise or education, I simply cannot avoid getting involved. I get emotionally sucked in and cannot get out of it. Such has been the state of my mind for many years: in fact, it has been like it all my conscious life. Too emotional, too sensitive (and too stupid) — you might say.
I hope you also consider the fact that I live in two different worlds at the same time: USA and India, and it is not easy to deal with both worlds even in this day and age of globalization with overlapping problems, issues and concerns.
So, please read it — would you? I'd much like to keep in touch in the coming days and work together on our common cause.
I sincerely hope we do it.
My writing is not scholarly: I am not a scholar. I write and talk from my heart. I write and talk about my real-life experiences — from these two worlds. I invite you to visit my blog and read some of the one hundreds pieces I wrote in a year and half since I "launched" it. I'm including a few links in the note below.
In friendship, love, hope, dream and solidarity,
Brooklyn, New York
Blog link at
2012: End Note
By Partha Banerjee
The year 2012 has been unique for me. I've never had so many memorable events in my life — in a single year. I want to write it down before 2013 takes me over. I have a feeling 2013 is going to be even more memorable — both for me and the people who love me and take me seriously.
2012 has been a year of education for me. I've had insights that I consider revealing: they opened my eyes to new reality. I've come to believe certain things and disbelieve certain others — once and for all.
You could say I'm now truly getting old. You could say I'm hearing the footsteps of death. Hence, the ultimate, unshakable realization.
But I don't want to make this note long. And for heaven's sake, I do not want to make it sound sentimental. So, as they say it here in America: let's cut to the chase.
What is the best way to describe it all in one short, time-efficient, easy-to-read note? It's not easy. Let's do it this way. Simple and succinct — as much as possible: with a short heading on each realization followed by a short paragraph.
I invite my journalist and activist friends in particular — both in the U.S. and India — to help us create a meaningful discussion. We need your critical help.
Realization #1. Political systems in USA and India will not change in my lifetime.
Those who say it will change are either fooling us or fooling themselves. USA is a two-party plutocracy with a group of elite, arrogant, detached-from-reality, highly privileged, iron-walled people at the top who call the shots; in every four years, they organize a show called the elections where they use the vast majority of the ordinary people to validate the plutocracy. No serious change of power happens: policies and programs — both domestic and international — remain the same. Media — owned by corporate America — take a major role to keep the illusion that this is a democratic system where the ordinary people participate in a transparent, "best possible" political process and bring about a change in the power structure. This is anything but a democratic system. Ordinary, working men and women are only exploited and manipulated by the elite and powerful — to keep in power. Those who decide not to vote — more than half of the population in the U.S. — are never heard. In the U.S., election has become a corporate-media-dictated exercise driven by unthinkable amount of corporate money and practically no on-the-ground debate on serious issues affecting common people and families.
In India — the other country I've known all my life — the situation is exactly the same. There is no reason to repeat what I said above. In fact, in India, an open and democratic system was somewhat visible even in spite of all the terrible cacophony and chaos — even twenty or thirty years ago. Since the early 1990's, major economic and political changes at the behest of IMF and World Bank, India has rapidly transformed into a U.S.-variety, trickle-down plutocratic system — with an extremely corrupt, arrogant and violent group of people at the top. In India, votes and elected "leaders" are often bought and sold by big, black money and also along religion, caste, language or geography lines. IMF has now elected an Indian president, and the Gandhi Dynasty, a de-facto royalty, with its hand-picked politicians has sold Indian economy to global corporations exactly the same way operatives sold the country out to East India Company just before the British monarchy occupied India and colonized and sucked India dry for two hundred years.
If you are interested, you can read a couple of articles I published on this subject. The links are below. Just copy and paste the link on your browser.
Realization #2. Obama administration cannot or will not do anything either about the economic terror, war terror or gun terror.
Obama administration, contrary to what many people believe — both in the U.S. and in India — has failed to reign in either the big banks and financial institutions that destroyed the mighty U.S. economy, or gun fanatics and powerful lobbies such as the NRA. Obama's speeches and his Democratic Party's promises for hope and change since 2008 have proved to be false or hollow. In fact, other than the truth that the banks and financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs that looted the U.S. treasury with their billions of dollars of public-money bailouts, this administration has let the perpetrators off the hook even after scathing Congressional hearing by a rare brand of pro-people politicians both in the Democratic and Republican Party, implicating the executives of historic proportions of criminality.
Multinational, richest corporations rip off huge profits globally, while killing and enslaving poor people; yet, Monsanto, GE, Wal-Mart, Exxon, Disney or Apple are never charged with any criminal wrongdoing. Monsanto made thousands of farmers commit suicide in India in just a few years; Wal-Mart and Disney made hundreds of woman workers die of sweatshop infernos in Bangladesh. There are countless other examples of this global economic terror.
This administration is no different from the Clinton, Bush or Reagan administrations when the American politics took a 180-degree turn off the New Deal economy that FDR and some presidents following him implemented and made cornerstones of U.S. democracy. It does not matter who becomes the president in the next four or eight years or which of the two parties have majority in the Congress. This system will not change. Occupy Wall Street or such grassroots voices of dissent as well as the American labor movement (the progressive kind) — with help from corporate media's distortion of facts and undermining of dissenting voices — will be ruthlessly silenced.
The same will happen in the area of gun terror control. Even after the catastrophic event at the Connecticut elementary school that saw mass murder of twenty little children, we have not seen any mass outrage or drastic steps here in the U.S. Same will be the fate on the global warfare aspect of U.S. policy: in fact, new war drum beats against Syria, Iran and other "problem countries" are already on. We shall see NO war policy change in our lifetime.
I've written a number of articles to express my feelings about Obama — someone I so enthusiastically (and some say, stupidly) worked for in 2008. Here's a couple of those pieces.
Realization #3. India will see major violence and social anarchy will explode.
Corruption, violence on women and other vulnerable populations, extreme economic disparity and such major problems have reached an historic abyss in the Indian society. With help from IMF, World Bank and Wall Street, Indian political plutocracy has completely broken down any iota of equality and justice — solidifying political, economic and military power at the top. India is on the verge of total anarchy. People are becoming more violently divisive and angry at any signs of injustice: the most recent episode of gang rape of a young woman on a Delhi bus threw the country in turmoil. As I wrote in my blog, this exploding anger against the people in power is not just about the rape and violence on the woman and her male friend, but it is about how the ordinary people have reached a breaking point against the misrule and massive corruption at the top.
Here's my common-sense analysis on the above. You can visit the link at
Unfortunately, as the mass demonstration showed, Indian un-organized voice of dissent does not have leadership (and in a way, its structure and platform are similar to the ones with global dissenting movements such as Occupy Wall Street); neither does it have any well-laid-out programs, yet, to build pro-people movement away EITHER from the violent and corrupt Congress Party and its allies OR from the violent and fanatic BJP, Shiv Sena and their allies. In Bangladesh, a very similar situation prevails: here the ruling Awami League is the mirror image of Indian Congress Party and BNP and Jamat Islami mirror the BJP and Shiv Sena of India. In India, poor Muslims and "low castes" die more; in Bangladesh, it's the poor Hindus and "tribals" who get killed.
Indian mainstream media, with some small exceptions, will not permit any serious discussion promoting a true, third and alternative, peoples' front with Indian youth at the steering wheel. Thus, in the foreseeable future, any grassroots voice of dissent — away from the de-facto two-party Indian political system — will be crushed with violent military, paramilitary and police forces.
A fast-disappearing sense of society and collective sharing and compassion — elements that have made India, India for thousands of years — leaving little time and space for thinking and acting out of the rabid, Ayn Rand-variety individualist box will only help expedite destruction of the Indian socioeconomic system.
Thank you for taking your precious time to read through my note. I am truly sorry I could not bring some cheerful news for you. Maybe, if you have some, you can share them with me. I'd much like to cheer up.
I hope ordinary, working people both in the U.S. and India — especially young people — who are fighting back against the massive tyranny of this global Goliath will analyze the details of the scenarios I outlined above, and carefully come up with some pragmatic solutions nonviolently, with creation of an non-egocentric collective leadership.
I shall be there to help you whenever you need my help.
Just call me.
P.S. — Meanwhile, listen to my 2012 recording of Tagore songs. It's my personal refuge from war, violence and trauma. It's my small spirituality and soul searching. I want to share this precious experience with you as well. You can find my songs online at