It could have been me: Rajamathangi S

Guest Post by RAJAMATHANGI S

I am one of the fortunate PhD scholars lucky enough to study in JNU. I am a Dalit woman.  My mother is my family’s main breadwinner and my father struggles as a daily wager. I have two siblings who are younger than me. My mother is a low paid private school teacher today because of the education, which her single mother provided to her. My maternal grandmother who became a widow at a young age, didn’t sit inside the house after her husband passed away, she works as a sanitation worker even today, a profession that is considered a taboo by her community people. It is the hard work of these two women that has helped me reach this position.

Because of my family situation my school education was scattered all over Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. I never studied in one school for more than two years. So one can understand how many types of schools and people I have experienced with. I started my schooling in a convent in Pondicherry. Then I went to three matriculation schools before I completed my 6th standard; after that because of my family’s economic condition I was put in Government and aided schools from class 7 till the completion of class 12. Irrespective of changing schools every alternate year I was good at my studies, I was always encouraged and motivated by my friends and by my teachers. I was always fortunate when it came to teachers: teachers stood by me in all my obstacles throughout my education wherever I went and JNU has been no exception to this.

Continue reading “It could have been me: Rajamathangi S”

The Unapologetic Indian Muslim: Sabiha Farhat

Guest Post by SABIHA FARHAT

These are tough times for muslims in India.  But now that I look back and shed my ‘liberal’ prejudices – muslims were never acceptable as ‘who they were’ in Indian society.  I had always blamed my mother for not giving me proper lunch box to carry to school.  But the truth is that even in class 5, no student ate from my tiffin and gradually I started going to the play field in recess rather than enjoying a meal under the big Peepal tree.  After that I took tiffin only when I prepared it myself, that was class 11 & 12.  But even then the girls would hardly eat from my lunch box.  We did sit together but no one touched my food.  Was I the Untouchable?

Continue reading “The Unapologetic Indian Muslim: Sabiha Farhat”

New Politics of Our Times and Post-Capitalist Futures

An earlier version of this essay was published in Outlook magazine

“The young students are not interested in establishing that neoliberalism works – they’re trying to understand where markets fail and what to do about it, with an understanding that the failures are pervasive. That’s true of both micro and macroeconomics. I wouldn’t say it’s everywhere, but I’d say that it’s dominant.
“In policymaking circles I think it’s the same thing. Of course, there are people, say on the right in the United States who don’t recognise this. But even many of the people on the right would say markets don’t work very well, but their problem is governments are unable to correct it.”
Stiglitz went on to argue that one of the central tenets of the neoliberal ideology – the idea that markets function best when left alone and that an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth – has now been pretty much disproved. Read the full report by Will Martin here

One often hears over-zealous warriors of neoliberalism say of Leftists that they live in a time- warp; that the world has long changed and that the disappearance of state-socialism has finally proved that all their beliefs were little more than pipe-dreams. They talk as though history came to an end with the collapse of actually existing socialisms and the global ascendance of neoliberalism in the early 1990s. As though all thought came to an end; as if the distilled essence of everything that could ever be thought, or need be thought, was already encapsulated in the neoliberal dogma.

Continue reading “New Politics of Our Times and Post-Capitalist Futures”

Recalling ‘Aaj Bhi Khare Hain Talaab’: Raj Kaithwar

Guest post by RAJ KAITHWAR

As I began to type this review, I struggled to begin with the beginning: how do I present this lively work on ‘talaab’ which does justice to its contents. It was not an easy task. Finally, I decided to begin with the end: the thoughts which clouded over me as I ended reading the book ‘Aaj Bhi Khare Hai Talaab’. How do we see a ‘talaab’ or do we even see it? Why are the modern ways of water conservation failing or are the modern ways even inclined at conserving? Who will protect the societies and ecologies from the rising dangers or is protection even a concern? As I describe some of the accounts from ‘Aaj Bhi Khaare Hai Talaab’ I hope it arouses a curiosity strong enough in the reader to pick up the book and scan through its pages. Continue reading “Recalling ‘Aaj Bhi Khare Hain Talaab’: Raj Kaithwar”

Worship Cow, Despise Humanity!

How cow vigilantes are being projected as ‘modern day freedom fighters.’

cow vigilantes के लिए चित्र परिणाम

( Photo Courtesy : https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org)

Cow vigilantes attacked six people, including a 9-year-old girl in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday and fled away with their flock. The vigilantes beat up the nomad community blue and black and the minor girl has suffered multiple fractures when the community was en route to Talwara area…

(http://www.timesnow.tv/india/video/cow-vigilantes-attack-6-including-9-year-old-in-jammu/59745)

In yet another chilling instance of self-styled gau rakshaks targeting cattle traders — and mob mentality thriving undeterred — three men transporting buffaloes were attacked by “cow vigilantes” in south Delhi’s Kalkaji late Saturday, a Hindustan Times report said.

(http://www.dailyo.in/politics/cow-terror-spreads-to-delhi-the-new-normal-in-modis-new-india/story/1/16808.html)

“Cow protectionism was the spirit behind India’s freedom movement”(http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cow-protectionism-was-spirit-behind-freedom-movement-minister/article17831763.ece) The innocuous looking statement by Ms Nirmala Sitharaman on the floor of the house when she defended the shutting of illegal slaughter houses in UP had not raised any debate then. Continue reading “Worship Cow, Despise Humanity!”

Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?

My friend Guddi has a great story about a Gujjar wedding she attended recently in Ghaziabad. It was a typically chaotic event, marked accurately by the swirling crowds around the dinner stalls. If Gujjar weddings are chaotic and the dinner doubly so, the scene around the tandoor is triply compounded chaos. Barely concealed competition amongst overmuscled Gujjar men in overtight pants for that precious hot roti ensures that none but the most Hobbesian men remain, circling the tandoor like hungry wolves, periodically thrusting their plate forward like fencing champions and shouting obscenities at the harried servers. In such a heart-stopping scenario, a young server had as Guddi recounts, figured out the formula to keep everybody from killing each other (or him). As soon as the roti would be pulled out of the tandoor, seductively golden brown and sizzling, this man would hold it high up with his tongs so everybody could see, then in an elaborate dance-like ritual, touch each of the empty extended plates in front of him with the roti, and finally, in a mysterious but authoritative decision, place it respectfully on a randomly selected plate. Repeat with every single roti that emerged from the tandoor. A hushed silence followed by nervous laughter followed every such flourish.

Continue reading “Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?”

Statement of Solidarity with student protests in Panjab University, Chandigarh: Coordination of Student Forums of the five IITs

Statement by Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes’ Student Associations (COSTISA)

Image Courtesy Hindustan Times

On April 11 2017, Punjab University turned into a war zone. Tear gas, water cannons, lathis, belts and police boots were unleashed on unsuspecting students, along with the choicest of casteist and misogynist abuses. Hundreds of students were mercilessly attacked by Chandigarh police (Police even entered ladies’ hostels) for having the temerity to challenge the jaw dropping fee increase announced by the University (100-1100 percent, across various streams). The protests against fee hike were called by Panjab University Students’ Joint Action Committee, which includes student organizations such as Students for Society (SFS), NSUI, PUSU, SOI, AISA, PSU (Lalkaar). The peacefully protesting students demanded the roll back of fee hike by convening a meeting of the senate at the earliest. Their demand to meet the vice chancellor was met with the ferocious brutality of Chandigarh police.

Continue reading “Statement of Solidarity with student protests in Panjab University, Chandigarh: Coordination of Student Forums of the five IITs”