वैष्णवजन की खोज में : अपूर्वानंद

न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनिशिएटिव की तरफ से आयोजित ‘डेमोक्रेसी डायलॉग्स सीरीज ‘  का 12 वां व्याख्यान अग्रणी लेखक, स्तम्भकार, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय में हिंदी विभाग से सम्बद्ध  प्रोफेसर अपूर्वानंद 6 बजे शाम, रविवार, 28 नवम्बर 2021 को प्रस्तुत करेंगे। 

विषय : ‘वैष्णवजन की खोज में’ 


वैष्णवजन  की  कल्पना को राजनीतिक और सामाजिक पटल पर स्थापित करने का श्रेय गाँधी को है। इस बात पर  ध्यान जाना चाहिए  कि उपनिवेशवाद विरोधी आंदोलन में या राष्ट्र की स्वतंत्रता  के संघर्ष में गाँधी ने  वैष्णवजन को संभवतः इस आंदोलन के लिए  आदर्श आंदोलनकारी के रूप में पेश किया। वह कैसा जन है? पीर और पराई , इन दोनों से उसका रिश्ता क्या होगा? और क्यों  एक सच्चा जनतांत्रिक जन वैष्णवजन ही हो सकता है? हमारे संविधान की प्रस्तावना में हम भारत के लोग जिस यात्रा पर निकले हैं क्या वह इस  वैष्णवजनत्व की तलाश की यात्रा है?”

हिंदी तथा अंग्रेजी  अख़बारों तथा अन्य प्रकाशनों में  तथा  टीवी की चर्चाओं में अपनी निरंतर सशक्त उपस्थिति दर्ज करते रहने वाले प्रोफेसर अपूर्वानंद सार्वजनिक जीवन में न्याय, समता  और तार्किकता के पक्ष में अपने सक्रिय हस्तक्षेप के लिए जाने जाते हैं .

आप ने कई किताबें भी लिखी  हैं, जिनमें से कुछ के शीर्षक इस प्रकार हैं : ‘सुंदर का स्वप्न ‘ ( वाणी प्रकाशन, 2001 ) , ‘साहित्य का एकांत’ ( वाणी प्रकाशन , 2008 ), The Idea of University ( Context, 2018 ) , Education at the Crossroads ( Niyogi Books, 2018 )

व्याख्यान फेसबुक पर live होगा  : facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

अगर आप zoom पर जुड़ना चाहते हैं तो हमें democracydialogues@gmail.com पर लिखें 

Here Comes Papa!! In Kidnappers’ Own Kerala

GR Santhosh Kumar captured the crux of the unbelievable denigration of democracy by the ruling CPM leadership who are out to defend their local level leaders guilty of the grossest patriarchy that rivals any khap panchayat misogyny. The context is the ongoing struggle by a couple, Anupama Chandran and Ajithkumar, to find their baby who was abducted by her parents, both influential local-level leaders of the CPM, last year and given away illegally for adoption. The story of Anupama’s experience of unspeakable death threats, physical violence, cheating, exposure to health risk, forced confinement, denial of vital information and means of communication, casteist insults, and on and on strips off the claims of women’s empowerment which the left in Kerala has claimed for so long. On social media, thousands of left supporters have literally rubbished women’s rights and the Indian Constitutional morality itself, even as the AIDWA in Kerala has been largely struck dumb.

The cartoon is a spoof on Raja Ravi Varma’ famous mother-and-child painting ‘Here Comes Papa’ in which an aristocratic woman dressed in a way identifiable as ‘traditional’ holds her baby and points to it the unseen ‘papa’ . Though the cartoon is captioned ‘Know the pain of the adopting mother’, an obvious reference to the cry by CPM sympathisers on social media that the child need not be returned, and that the adopting mother was fitter, and though the protagonists here are Pinarayi Vijayan and Anupama’s father, Peroorkkada Jayachandran, who he has been defending, it has layers. Ajithkumar’s dalit status and his earlier marriage has, in the eyes of CPM supporters, rendered him unfit for fatherhood — of a child by the daughter of an influential CPM family. Papa, then, and Papa’s coming, continues to be our favourite obsession.

Historic Triumph of the Farmers’ Movement — A celebration tinged with grave apprehensions: C.P. Geevan

Guest post by C.P. GEEVAN

What the farmers’ movement has achieved is nothing short of historic, even if the authoritarian government had not gone back on its intent for uncompromising implementation of the laws meant to reinforce major structural changes for facilitating corporate dominance of the farm sector. The inflexible approach of the government and the massive repression has claimed almost 700 lives since agitation began nearly one and half years back. Be it celebration or analysis, we must pay sincere homage and tributes to all those dead.

Continue reading Historic Triumph of the Farmers’ Movement — A celebration tinged with grave apprehensions: C.P. Geevan

How Could You Allow This to Happen? Urvashi Butalia Writes to the Kerala Chief Minister

Dear Chief Minister


Throughout the terrible times we have seen these last two years, it is the news from Kerala that has helped so many of us to keep faith in governance – that a state can be honest, open, participatory, concerned for its people, focused on health, and not play politics, all of these have been remarkable and many of us, Keralites and non-Keralites alike, have drawn valuable lessons from the Kerala experience.

Continue reading How Could You Allow This to Happen? Urvashi Butalia Writes to the Kerala Chief Minister

Rise Above Traditional and Conservative Misogyny — Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala: Kalpana Kannabiran

Today morning we woke up to the news that the Child Welfare Committee has ordered that Anupama’s child must be brought to Kerala in five days for a DNA test.

However, the process is still overseen by the officials who directly connived to give the baby away for adoption. The family’s criminal acts are still under a very lax, lagging investigation. Anupama’s educational certificates are still in their possession and the police refuses to intervene to restore them to her.

Indeed, the evil that Prof Kannabiran identifies so excellently in this letter must still be fought, until justice is done. Just the return of the child to Kerala cannot replace justice. Anupama suffered tremendous domestic violence, deliberate endangerment, cheating, and illegal custody at the hands of her family. That cannot be papered over,

Continue reading Rise Above Traditional and Conservative Misogyny — Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala: Kalpana Kannabiran

Women’s Rights are Hard Won — An Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala : V Geetha

we are troubled that the state finds it hard to grant a woman the right to lead a life of her choice and to have custody over her child. These are hard won rights, and it has taken generations of struggle by women, many of whom are from your state, to secure both civil and legal acknowledgement for women’s rights to marriages of their choice, and for their right to motherhood, divorce, adoption and so on.

Continue reading Women’s Rights are Hard Won — An Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala : V Geetha

Let Good Sense Prevail — An Open Letter to the Kerala Chief Minister: Padmini Swaminathan

That the entire state machinery, ostensibly at the behest of parents who are important functionaries in the ruling party, has been deployed to not only keep the baby, mother and father apart but hem them in such a way that redressal will require untangling of very many complex issues that have deliberately been tied together, reveals the deep and destructive patriarchal underpinnings of the party and family.

Continue reading Let Good Sense Prevail — An Open Letter to the Kerala Chief Minister: Padmini Swaminathan

Do not let the injustice drag infinitely — Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala — Dr Gayatri Devi

Anupama has committed no crime. She got pregnant. She did not murder anyone. She did not rob a bank. She did not betray the nation. She committed no terroristic threats or acts. She is not a smuggler, a thief, a rapist, or a crook. She got pregnant. Getting pregnant is not a crime. She got pregnant and decided to keep her baby. This is not a crime.

Continue reading Do not let the injustice drag infinitely — Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala — Dr Gayatri Devi

Restore Faith in Kerala’s Progressive Legacy — Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala: Prof Mohan Rao

The strange case of ‘honour-baby-snatching”,: involving a local-level CPM leader in Thiruvananthapuram city, Peroorkkada Jayachandran is still haunting us despite every attempt by the CPM cyberwarriors to smother it. Mr Jayachandran still feels completely justified and hundreds of left supporters, including so-called progressive women, are ready to proclaim that this dastardly act is a ‘father’s right’. Mr Jayachandran’s nineteen year old daughter Anupama fell in love with a dalit man, a leader of the DYFI, got pregnant by him, and decided to keep the child. Anupama’s parents decided that there was loss of honour in this and proceeded to perpetrate unspeakable violence on the young woman, trying to force her to abort her baby, and finally by snatching away her baby days after it was born. They twisted the entire machinery of child protection and adoption and the police to give the child away without the consent of its parents.

Continue reading Restore Faith in Kerala’s Progressive Legacy — Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala: Prof Mohan Rao

COP(OUT)26, Climate Emergency and the Indian Left

Demonstration in Glasgow during COP26, image courtesy The Herald

We are in the midst of a climate emergency – and this is no longer a secret. In fact, in November 2019, 11,000 scientists declared in a signed statement, in no uncertain terms that “planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.” “Scientists”, they said, “have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to ‘tell it like it is’.” They noted that even 40 years after the First Climate Conference attended by over 50 scientists (in Geneva in 1979) had agreed that there were alarming trends of climate change that made it necessary to act, the situation has only worsened. “Alarming trends” have since given way to a full-on emergency. Although the 2015 Paris Agreement arrived at in COP 21 is considered a paradigm shift in that it produced a legally binding international climate treaty (adopted by 196 parties), the change since then has not been significant.

Continue reading COP(OUT)26, Climate Emergency and the Indian Left

साहित्य का विचार : अशोक वाजपेयी

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अभिवादन

हिन्दी इलाके को लेकर विचार-विमर्श के लिये “सन्धान व्याख्यानमाला” की शुरुआत इस शनिवार, 13 नवम्बर, को शाम 6 बजे प्रख्यात कवि और विचारक श्री अशोक वाजपेयी के व्याख्यान से हो रही है.

इस व्याख्यानमाला की शुरुआत के पीछे हमारी मंशा ये है कि हिन्दी में विचार, इतिहास, साहित्य, कला, संस्कृति और समाज-सिद्धान्त के गम्भीर विमर्श को बढ़ावा मिले. हिन्दी इलाक़े के सामाजिक-सांस्कृतिक विकास को लेकर हमारी चिन्ता पुरानी है. आज से बीस साल पहले हमारे कुछ अग्रज साथियों ने “सन्धान” नाम की पत्रिका की शुरुआत की थी जो अनेक कारणों से पाँच साल के बाद बन्द हो गयी थी. इधर हम हिंदी-विमर्श का यह सिलसिला फिर से शुरू कर रहे हैं. यह व्याख्यानमाला इस प्रयास का महत्वपूर्ण अंग होगी.

हममें से अधिकांश लोग “न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनिशिएटिव” नाम के प्रयास से भी जुड़े हैं. यह प्रयास अपने आप को सामान्य और व्यापक प्रगतिशील परिवार का अंग समझता है, हालाँकि यह किसी पार्टी या संगठन से नहीं जुड़ा है. इसका मानना है कि भारतीय और वैश्विक दोनों ही स्तरों पर वामपन्थी आन्दोलन को युगीन मसलों पर नए सिरे से विचार करने की और उस रौशनी में अपने आप को पुनर्गठित करने की आवश्यकता है. यह आवश्यकता दो बड़ी बातों से पैदा होती है. पहली यह कि पिछली सदी में वामपन्थ की सफलता मुख्यतः पिछड़े समाजों में सामन्ती और औपनिवेशिक शक्तियों के विरुद्ध मिली थी. आधुनिक लोकतान्त्रिक प्रणाली के अधीन चलने वाले पूँजीवाद के विरुद्ध सफल संघर्ष के उदहारण अभी भविष्य के गर्भ में हैं. दूसरी यह कि बीसवीं सदी का समाजवाद, अपनी उपलब्धियों के बावजूद, भविष्य के ऐसे समाजवाद का मॉडल नहीं बन सकता जो समृद्धि, बराबरी, लोकतन्त्र और व्यक्ति की आज़ादी के पैमानों पर अपने को वांछनीय और श्रेष्ठ साबित कर सके.

“सन्धान व्याख्यानमाला” का प्रस्ताव यूँ है कि हिन्दी सभ्यता-संस्कृति-समाज को लेकर हिंदी भाषा में विचार की अलग से आवश्यकता है. हिन्दी में विचार अनिवार्यतः साहित्य से जुड़ा है और हिन्दी मनीषा के निर्माण में साहित्यिक मनीषियों की अग्रणी भूमिका है. हम हिन्दी साहित्य-जगत के प्रचलित विमर्शों-विवादों से थोड़ा अलग हटकर साहित्य के बुनियादी मसलों से शुरुआत करना चाहते हैं. प्रगतिशील बिरादरी का हिस्सा होते हुए भी हम यह नहीं मानते कि साहित्य की भूमिका क्रान्तियों, आन्दोलनों और ऐतिहासिक शक्तियों के चारण मात्र की है. हम यह नहीं मानते कि साहित्यकार की प्रतिबद्धता साहित्य की उत्कृष्टता का एकमात्र पैमाना हो सकता है. हम अधिक बुनियादी सवालों से शुरू करना चाहते हैं, भले ही वे पुराने सुनायी पड़ें. मसलन, साहित्य कहाँ से आता है – ऐसा क्यों है कि मानव सभ्यता के सभी ज्ञात उदाहरणों में साहित्य न केवल पाया जाता है बल्कि ख़ासकर सभ्यताओं के शैशव काल में, और अनिवार्यतः बाद में भी, उन सभ्यताओं के निर्माण और विकास में महती भूमिका निभाता है. साहित्य के लोकमानस में पैठने की प्रक्रियाएँ और कालावधियाँ कैसे निर्धारित होती हैं? क्या शेक्सपियर के इंग्लिश लोकमानस में पैठने की प्रक्रिया वही है जो तुलसीदास के हिन्दी लोकमानस में पैठने की? निराला या मुक्तिबोध के लोकमानस में संश्लेष के रास्ते में क्या बाधाएँ हैं और उसकी क्या कालावधि होगी? इत्यादि. हमारा मानना है कि “जनपक्षधर बनाम कलावादी” तथा अन्य ऐसी बहसें साहित्य के अंतस्तल पर और उसकी युगीन भूमिका पर सम्यक प्रकाश नहीं डाल पातीं हैं. बुनियादी और दार्शनिक प्रश्न संस्कृतियों और सभ्यताओं पर विचार के लिए अनिवार्य हैं.

इस व्याख्यानमाला में हम विचार-वर्णक्रम के विविध आधुनिक एवं प्रगतिशील प्रतिनिधियों को आमन्त्रित करेंगे. ज़रूरी नहीं है कि वक्ताओं के विचार हमारे अपने विचारों से मेल खाते हों. हमारी मंशा गम्भीर विमर्श और बहस-मुबाहिसे की है.

प्रख्यात कवि और विचारक श्री अशोक वाजपेयी इस शृंखला के पहले वक्ता होंगे जिनका मानना है कि साहित्य की अपनी “स्वतन्त्र वैचारिक सत्ता होती है; उस विचार का सामान्यीकरण नहीं किया जा सकता; वह विचार अन्य विचारों से संवाद-द्वन्द्व में रहता है पर साहित्य को किसी बाहर से आये विचार का उपनिवेश बनने का प्रतिरोध करता है; साहित्य का विचार विविक्त नहीं, रागसिक्त विचार होता है.”

आप सभी इस शृंखला में भागीदारी और वैचारिक हस्तक्षेप के लिये आमन्त्रित हैं.

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The Anti Muslim Violence of Tripura: What the Government and Media did not want us to hear

Guest Post by Samriddhi Sakunia

“I am 44 years old and to date, I haven’t seen this level of violence in my life. There is nobody who is ready to take responsibility for whatever is happening here”, said Abdul Mannan, a businessman in Kailashahar, Tripura.

For 9 days anti-Muslim violence-ravaged Tripura, the Northeastern state of India. But neither the government nor the ‘mainstream’ media wanted to treat it with the seriousness it demanded. Muslims in different parts of Tripura have been facing communal violence by mobs led by the affiliates of the ruling party. The violence was and is being sought to be naturalized by calling it a response to the violence against Hindus in Bangladesh.

It all started on 21st October when a video surfaced over the internet where a mob in the militant Hindutva outfit, the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), with swords, stones, and sticks in their hands took out a rally against the killings of Hindus in Bangladesh. After that rally, Tripura saw massive violence against the Muslims in the State. Neither did such rallies nor did the violence against Muslims stop after 21st October. After the video went viral all over social media, reports started pouring about several mosques getting vandalized and a sense of fear gripped the Muslims in Tripura.

If you scan the pages of the mainstream newspapers or the TV coverage of that period it would appear that there was nothing wrong with Tripura. It shows however what is wrong with us, our media and the government.

Continue reading The Anti Muslim Violence of Tripura: What the Government and Media did not want us to hear

The Angry Young Woman and the Malayali (Progressive) Acchan -2 : The Second Season

I should be forgiven for this flippant-sounding title. But it is a living reality in Kerala that gender politics is increasingly reduced to soppy sentimental drama. Honestly, if there are CPM supporters out there, especially the Delhi-elite breed who call this title mere click-bait, I don’t give a flying fuck about what you think. You are not living this nightmare, we are.

Continue reading The Angry Young Woman and the Malayali (Progressive) Acchan -2 : The Second Season

Will India Survive as a Democracy ? : Ashutosh

The 11 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series organised by New Socialist Initiative was delivered by Ashutosh, TV anchor, columnist, author and co-founder of satyahindi.com at 6 PM ( IST), Sunday, 31 st October 2021.

Mr Ashutosh spoke on ‘Will India Survive as a Democracy ?’
A highly acclaimed journalist and TV News Anchor, a reputed Columnist, and a successful Author, Ashutosh was associated with AAP for a while but was soon disenchanted with this experiment and returned to journalism again with a new experiment in the form of satyahindi.com

He has many books to his credit,  Anna – 13 days that awakened India, (2012) ; The Crown prince, The Gladiator & The Hope — Battle for Change ; Mukhaute ka Rajdharm ( 2015). In his latest book Hindu Rashtra published in 2019, he  takes a hard look at the political reality of India and what its future may hold.

The lecture was live on facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Please write to us at democracydialogues@gmail.com if you are interested in attending the coming lectures.

Mission 2024, the Congress and Beyond

Representational image, courtesy Sabrang

As the decisive battle of 2024 draws closer by the day and restiveness grows, alignments and realignments will also become more apparent. The tragedy is that while the image of Narendra Modi and his regime has taken a severe beating, there is still no visible alternative in sight. As a matter of fact, the entire opposition seems to be going from one crisis to another. A few state parties do give some hope and the possibility of a federal front with chief ministers of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra and possibly, a couple of Congress chief ministers making common cause, does hold some promise in the short run. The point though is, whichever way one looks at it, there is little doubt that in any future permutation and combination, the Congress may not have a leading role to play but it will still have a significant presence. Its present state of dysfunction, therefore, is a matter of worry and concern for a very large number of people outside the normal periphery of Congress supporters and traditional voters. A party without a President and without a functioning Working Committee is not likely to instill hope in its ability to provide any kind of leadership in the near future.

Continue reading Mission 2024, the Congress and Beyond

Is Kanhaiya the moral spine Congress needs?

( First published in the Times of India website as https://rb.gy/uei9cb)

The news of Kanhaiya Kumar joining the Congress has surprised and shocked many of his admirers. Moving from a Communist party to a bourgeois party is seen as regression. Some view it as his attempt to ‘mainstream’ himself. The truth is that both are political parties which believe in parliamentary democracy.

Continue reading Is Kanhaiya the moral spine Congress needs?

Australia-UK-US nuclear deal and India’s role: Statement by Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) issued a statement against AUKUS,  a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, announced on 15 September 2021 for the Indo-Pacific region. Under the pact, the US and the UK will help Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

India is part of an older formation, “Quad” (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue)  between US, Australia, India and Japan, revived in 2017, the goal of which is to strengthen security relationships through non-military means. However, the formation of AUKUS throws doubt on Quad’s ability to stay independent of military initiatives, as two of Quad’s partners are now part of AUKUS. It seems that AUKUS could supplant the Quad as the most important strategic initiative in the region. These fears are dismissed by all the governments concerned, but there is no doubt among experts that AUKUS, the military initiative, will now take priority in terms of resources and time.

Expectations of and pressures on India from Quad partners US and Australia as a result of AUKUS, are also matters of great concern.

It is in this context that CNDP has issued the following statement.

CNDP Statement on AUKUS and Quad

The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), India expresses its deep concern at the U.S. agreement to sell nuclear submarines and Tomahawk missiles to Australia and also at the ongoing quadrilateral security dialogue of which India is a part.

We call attention to the absurdity of U.S. involvement in a security dialogue in the Asia- Pacific region. The United States has no legitimate security interests in this part of the globe and is simply looking to confront and thereby contain China, which it perceives as a threat to U.S. hegemony.

The United States finds itself unable to maintain its economic hegemony, which has been in steady decline. But U.S. military hegemony remains unchallenged and, for decades, the United States has accounted for 40% of world military expenditure. As a declining empire, the United States seeks confrontation where it is strongest:  by fostering a new arms race in the Asia-Pacific region. Continue reading Australia-UK-US nuclear deal and India’s role: Statement by Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

Drona Mindset Plays Havoc with Deserving Students

Modern-day Eklavyas are depriving students of their dues across the country. No government can compensate for robbing students from underprivileged backgrounds of their future.

Drona Mindset Plays Havoc with Deserving Students

In the 19th century, Chatra district in Jharkhand hosted the legendary Raja Rammohan Roy for a while. A memorial to Subedar Nadir Ali Khan and Jay Mangal Panday, martyred during the 1857 war of independence, is also here. Now, this district is in the news again, but for the wrong reasons.

A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in the state Assembly has detailed the embezzlement of around Rs. 85 crore, meant to fund the scholarship of students belonging to the backward classes. The siphoning went on from 2013-18, says the CAG report for 2018-19.

The modus operandi of the scammers was simple. The money was not transferred to the accounts of beneficiaries, as the state department for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, Minority and Backward Class Welfare says. Instead, it went into the bank accounts of other individuals.

The explanation offered by the concerned people was straightforward. They told the CAG that documents related to the transfer of Rs. 70 crore got destroyed in a fire. A significant portion of the Rs. 85 crore is yet to get recovered. The department never bothered to reconcile its accounts even after the fire incident.

( Read the full text here )

CATHOLIC WOMEN URGE BISHOPS TO FOSTER PEACE, NOT STRIFE

Guest Post By Jose Kavi, Matters India

New Delhi: A group of Catholic women says they are deeply concerned over a bishop’s controversial statement that now threatens communal harmony in India.

In a statement endorsed by 89 Catholic women from across India urges the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and its Kerala unit to take special steps to foster peace and avoid strife.

The September 16 statement bemoans that a Kerala bishop used unfortunately “Narcotic Jihad,” a term coined without foreseeing its dreadful consequences for various communities in the country.

The text:

A Statement by Concerned Catholic Women of India

We are living in trying times in India when divisive communal forces have become a serious threat to the secular and pluralistic social fabric of our great nation. The insecurities and vulnerabilities resulting from the deepening majority-minority divide between religious communities are increasingly unveiled and this leads to a growing fear of the ‘other’, whichever community the other may belong to.

It is against this highly volatile backdrop that we want to locate the current polemics triggered by the ‘Narcotic Jihad’ controversy in Kerala, which has fueled hate and mistrust between two religious communities that have a track record of peaceful coexistence in the state through the ages.

It is very unfortunate that the term “Narcotic Jihad” was coined and used by someone holding a responsible position in the Catholic Church leadership in Kerala without foreseeing the dreadful consequences of using such an expression.

While it is argued that Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt, the prelate of the diocese of Palai has used this expression as a precautionary measure to safeguard catholic youth from getting trapped by terrorist forces, the terminology deployed is extremely dangerous as it cuts deep into the core religious sensibilities of a community. The use of narcotics is a very serious crime in any part of the world and it is possible that there could be deeper links between the narcotic business and terrorism. If at all this is true, it is up to the government machinery to address it, not the bishops. To brand one particular community with the narcotic label and that too without substantiating evidence is an equally serious offence as it destroys the health and wellbeing of a society. Besides polarizing religious communities that have been coexisting thus far without major conflicts in this state, allegations of this nature have led to divisions even within the Christian community and its families.

Amidst this chaos, it is sad to see the Church becoming a puppet in the political games that are being played by those who want to draw mileage out of this tumultuous situation. As Pope Francis rightly states in Fratelli Tutti, “today, in many countries, hyperbole, extremism and polarization have become political tools.”(No.15).

We strongly object also to the term “Love Jihad” referring to the inter-religious marriages of Catholic women with Muslim partners. This term undermines a woman’s autonomy to choose her partner in life, as well as the freedom of the woman to change her faith if she so wishes. These freedoms are guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as by the Constitution of India. We demand that women be respected and treated as adults who can freely exercise their rights. Negating their freedom to choose their life partner or their faith violates their human dignity and deprives them of their personal agency. Using expressions like “Love Jihad” only serve to sow seeds of hate and divisiveness between communities and in the bargain and poison young minds.

These developments run counter to the CBCI Guidelines for Inter-religious Dialogue framed in 1977 and updated in 1989, which states: “We are committed to build up one nation out of many traditions.” In the ‘Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together’ jointly signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-AzharAhmad Al-Tayyeb at Abu Dhabi in 2019, it is clearly stated that “Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His [sic] wisdom, through which He [sic]created human beings.”

In spite of this call for unity and tolerance, we have failed to counteract the forces of communalism within the Church. Only dialogue with others can build a culture of LOVE, which is the only commandment that Christ has given us. It becomes imperative then that we as Church sow not the seeds of discord but of unity and peace in our country today.

We, the undersigned Catholic women, are deeply concerned about the Church becoming a counter-witness and so, we urge the ecclesiastical leadership in Kerala and at the national level to take immediate steps that will heal the wounds caused by this controversy. We hope that this crisis becomes for the Church a moment of grace to commit itself once again with renewed passion to the mission of the ‘Kin-dom of God’ founded on justice, truth and inclusive love as shown by Jesus Christ.

1. Ms Virginia Saldanha, Mumbai
2. Dr. Kochurani Abraham, Kerala
3. Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, Mumbai
4. Adv. Flavia Agnes Mumbai
5. Adv. Philo Thomas, Pune
6. Adv. Sr. Julie George SSpS, Mumbai
7. Dr. Annie Kunnath, Delhi
8. Dr. Maria GorettiGonsalves, Pune
9. Dr.Brinelle D’souza, Mumbai
10. Dr.Lidwin Dias, Mumbai
11. Dr. Maureen Lobo, Navi Mumbai
12. Dr. Sr. AnithaChettiar DHM, New Delhi
13. Dr. Sr. Hazel D’Lima DHM, Mumbai
14. Dr. Sr. Jacinta D’Souza DHM Mangalore
15. Ms Aloma Lobo Bangalore
16. Ms Anita Cheria, Bangalore
17. Ms Anita Manuel, Pune
18. Ms Anita Rodricks, Belgavi, Karnataka
19. Ms Annette D’Almeida CAP, Pune
20. Ms Annie Rose Trichy, Tamilnadu
21. Ms Assisa, Trichy, Tamil Nadu
22. Ms Assumpta Selvaraj, Karaikudi, Tamilnadu
23. Ms Beschi Trichy, Tamilnadu
24. Ms Buddy Ubale, Mumbai
25. Ms Cecilia Soares, Mumbai
26. Ms Christina Samy, Karur, Tamilnadu
27. Ms Coral D’Sylva, Mumbai
28. Ms Evelyn Williams, Pune
29. Ms Glory, Trichy, Tamil Nadu
30. Ms Jacintha W Rosario, Pune
31. Ms Jennifer Rebello, Pune
32. Ms Josephine Sagayam, Bangalore
33. Ms Judy Siqueira, Pune
34. Ms Lee Lobo, Bangalore
35. Ms LeelaD’Sa, Mumbai
36. Ms Lilly Thomas Palocaren, Thrissur, Kerala
37. Ms Manohari Doss , Madurai, Tamilnadu
38. Ms Marcia DCunha, Mumbai
39. Ms Maria Fernandes, Cuddalore, Tamilnadu
40. Ms Marina Colasco, Pune
41. Ms Marina D’Souza GSPG, Mumbai
42. Ms Olga Netto, Goa
43. Ms Philomena Machado DHM, New Delhi
44. Ms Rachael Alphonso, Mumbai
45. Ms Rajakumari Michael, Bangalore
46. Ms Raynah Braganza Passanha, Pune
47. Ms Reena Biju, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
48. Ms Rita Joseph, New Delhi
49. Ms Ritamma David, Madurai, Tamilnadu
50. Ms Sheela.P.L. Thrissur, Kerala
51. Ms Urusula Nathan Trichy, Tamil Nadu
52. Ms Yoesphin,Trichy,Tamilnadu
53. Prof. Dayana, Madurai, Tamilnadu
54. Sr. Alice SJC, Naragund, Karnataka
55. Sr. Anbarasi PBVM Chennai, Tamilnadu
56. Sr. Arpan Carvalho BS, Faridabad, Haryana
57. Sr. BasantiLakra SCN, Mokama, Bihar
58. Sr. Clare ICM, Chennai
59. Sr. Elsa PBVM, Chennai
60. Sr. Florine ICM, Patna, Bihar
61. Sr. Francoise Bosteels SDS, Bangalore
62. Sr. Jessin SJC, Naragund, Karnataka
63. Sr. Joel SCN, Chatra, Jharkhand
64. Sr. Jyoti SMMI, Chappra, Bihar
65. Sr. JyotishaKannamkal SND, Patna, Bihar
66. Sr. Leena SCN, Ranchi, Jharkhand
67. Sr. Lisa Pires PBVM, Goa
68. Sr. Lissy Joseph SCCG, Hyderabad
69. Sr. Lucy Kurien SCC, Maher, Pune
70. Sr. Maggie Allesu DHM, Mumbai
71. Sr. Malini Manjoly, Mokama, Bihar
72. Sr. Manju Kulapuram SCSC, Patna, Bihar
73. Sr. Mary James MCJ, Ahmadabad, Gujarat
74. Sr. Meena Dominic DHM, New Delhi
75. Sr. Meera RGS, Kerala
76. Sr. Mina Lalitha Barwa HM, Odisha
77. Sr. Mudita Sodder, RSCJ, Mumbai
78. Sr. Nancy Vaz, FDCC, Mumbai
79. Sr. Noella de Souza MCJ, Mumbai
80. Sr. Patricia D’Souza, RSCJ, Mumbai
81. Sr. Philomena D’Souza FMA, Bombay
82. Sr. Premila Dias FMM, Putney, London
83. Sr. Rita SCN, Trichy, Tamil Nadu
84. Sr. Rosaria RJM, Gujarat
85. Sr. Sabina RGS, Chennai
86. Sr. Shanti Fernades RSCJ, Pune
87. Sr. Shanti Picardo FC, Siliguri, W. Bengal
88. Sr. Suganthi, Palayamkottai, Tamil Nadu
89. Sr. Vimala Verghese RSCJ, Rishikesh

Continue reading CATHOLIC WOMEN URGE BISHOPS TO FOSTER PEACE, NOT STRIFE

Decolonizing Thought – Beyond Indian/ Hindu Exceptionalism

A Decolonization mural in Oakland, USA, photo HiMYSYeD, Oakland Wiki

This post is prompted by a discussion that followed some remarks I had made on social media regarding the way in which a certain common sense that we may call ‘Hindu Nationalist’, had come to dominate the sensibilities of even those intellectuals in the Hindi world who otherwise might stand opposed to the Hindu Right. ‘Decolonizing’ has lately become a banner of the Hindu Right and for many otherwise secular Hindi intellectuals too, an occasion for an often strident anti-West rhetoric. Such a common sense assumes, simply by default, that the only “authentic” position of critique of the West is one framed by Hindu/ Indian exceptionalism. Needless to say, as I have argued at length in my recent book (Decolonizing Theory), the narrative that structures the imaginative world of many such modern Hindus is already a narrative produced by colonialism.

Continue reading Decolonizing Thought – Beyond Indian/ Hindu Exceptionalism

Why BJP Wants Meat Banned in Mathura

The BJP is imposing harmful dietary restrictions and refusing to accept that more Indians want to consume meat, fish and eggs for their nutritional benefits.

Mathura
Representational use only

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In 1902, the prolific British writer HG Wells delivered a philosophical speech titled “The Discovery of the Future” at the Royal Institution in London. Wells is often remembered for his “predictions”, for example, the approximate date when the second world war would begin. In this speech, he envisioned something else with equally significant ramifications—the collapse of the capitalist system. Wells also anticipated that a world of peace and plenty would follow in its wake.

What if someone, following Wells example, attempts a similar extrapolation for India? If anybody could foresee such things, what would they find lies ahead for the “biggest democracy” in the world?

In the absence of Wells, perhaps present-day events can be a map or guide to the future. For example, during recent Janamashtmi celebrations, Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that his government would ban meat and liquor in Mathura city. He said the meat-sellers and liquor dealers of the area could switch to selling milk. According to his government, a meat and liquor ban would help combine “modern technology” with the cultural and spiritual heritage of the region.

( Read the full article here)

DISSENT, DEBATE, CREATE

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