[Statement] In solidarity with students and faculty at JNU

The following statement has been signed by students and faculty from universities across the world. You may sign on by adding your name in the comments section.

In solidarity with the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU

We, the undersigned students and faculty members in art history, cinema studies, and other concerned academic departments across the world, are writing in protest against the recent removal of Prof. Kavita Singh from her position as Dean of the School of Arts and Aesthetics (SAA) at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. This represents a serious attack on academic freedom, a blatant disregard for due process, and a worrying precedent being set by the University’s Vice Chancellor to silence and repress reasoned, principled dissent and disagreement. As students and  scholars who have learned a great deal from Prof. Singh’s scholarship and benefited from the cutting-edge research fostered at SAA, we stand in solidarity with its students and faculty as they strike to protect the school’s autonomy from the brazenly undemocratic acts being carried out by the current Vice Chancellor.

Continue reading “[Statement] In solidarity with students and faculty at JNU”

[Statement]: Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) on the on-going conversation on “The List”

The following is a statement by WSS on the lists of sexual harassers being circulated on social media. We reproduce it here as part of the ongoing dialogue on the issue.

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) stands
firmly with the survivors who have faced sexual harassment at the hands of the
perpetrators on and off the list and, most importantly, extends solidarity in this
moment of unravelling narratives, disjointed arguments and personal struggles of
individuals voicing their experiences.

The last few weeks have seen lists of sexual harassers in academia and civil society published and circulated on social media, statements issued by groups of persons and individuals reflecting on the lists, and questions raised on the ways of dealing with such lists, perpetrators of harassment, and the mechanisms in place to address it.

Alongside the lists and statements, there has been a marked silence from some of the avenues that normally engage with sexual violence and harassment, both within and outside academia. While social media was abuzz with discussions and debates, now, once again, there is silence. As a collective standing against sexual violence and state repression, we recognise that institutional spaces can be fraught with sexual violence of varying kinds and, sometimes, despite systems and processes in place, the journey of seeking justice for each individual can be a long and lonely one. Continue reading “[Statement]: Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) on the on-going conversation on “The List””

Modi mocks ‘pessimists’, but RBI says a whole lot of Indians are pretty pessimistic about the economy

Last week, Prime Minister Modi gave an hour long speech denouncing ‘pessimists’ who refused to see the bright side of demonetisation and other transformations that his government’s able management had visited upon the economy.

We at Kafila, did a quick fact-check offering many reasons for pessimism, but as they say in Delhi – humari kya aukaat hai?

Now, a set of surveys by the Reserve Bank of India have concluded that 65% of the 5100 metropolitan households polled feel the economic situation has either worsened or stayed the same. It’s a small sample, but the results are revealing.  To quote :

Households’ current perceptions on the general economic situation remained in the pessimistic zone for four successive quarters, with the outlook worsening — RBI

For those you wondering – “four successive quarters” is a full year.

I would urge most readers to read the report in full, but here are some key takeaways:

Continue reading “Modi mocks ‘pessimists’, but RBI says a whole lot of Indians are pretty pessimistic about the economy”

Modi says the economy isn’t so bad; He’s right – it’s worse

by Samarth Bansal and Aman Sethi

On October 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered a robust defence of his government’s management of the economy, shortly after the Reserve Bank of India lowered its Gross Value Added (GVA) growth estimates for the current fiscal year from 7.3% to 6.7%.

Since then, the ruling party has been pains to push a positive narrative on the economy,  extent of emailing clips of the speech to journalists who write about the economy.

So, what is the current state of the economy? Here’s a reality check.

How many jobs has the economy created?

Modi said: “Upto March 2014, the subscriber base of the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) stood at 3.26 crore. Over the last three years, the numbers increased to 4.8 crore. Some people forget that this number can’t increased without a corresponding increase in employment.”

Reality Check: EPFO numbers have increased, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that total employment has increased. In July this year, this jump in EPFO subscribers was attributed to a government amnesty scheme which allowed firms to come clean on their actual staff strength without being penalized. In a detailed note, Mahesh Vyas, Managing Director and CEO of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), explained why using EPFO data as a proxy for job creation is “fraught with danger.”

Referring to the jump in the subscriber base, Vyas wrote: “This is not new employment. It is merely enrollment of employed persons into EPFO.”

Continue reading “Modi says the economy isn’t so bad; He’s right – it’s worse”

Feminists say ‘NO’ to recent rape judgments: There is nothing feeble about it

The following is a statement by feminist organisations . To add your name to the statement, please sign in the comments section.

In the wake of the protests following the 2012 Delhi gangrape, India had witnessed a welcome sharpening of understanding around sexual violence and consent. Legal reform recognized the principle of affirmative consent – i.e the principle that consent must be nothing short of an unequivocal positive ‘Yes’ (whether through words or gestures) to engage in a sexual act.

In public discourse and popular understanding too, the understanding that ‘No means No’ had been strengthened. Recent Court verdicts and orders have however dealt a deep blow to this hard-won progressive advance.In the wake of the protests following the 2012 Delhi gangrape, India had witnessed a welcome sharpening of understanding around sexual violence and consent. Legal reform recognized the principle of affirmative consent – i.e the principle that consent must be nothing short of an unequivocal positive ‘Yes’ (whether through words or gestures) to engage in a sexual act. In public discourse and popular understanding too, the understanding that ‘No means No’ had been strengthened. Recent Court verdicts and orders have however dealt a deep blow to this hard-won progressive advance.

Continue reading “Feminists say ‘NO’ to recent rape judgments: There is nothing feeble about it”

Everybody Loves A Good Riot

This here is a 360 video of Friday namaaz at the Rangrezi masjid in Lisad, a village where 13 Muslims were killed in the Muzaffarnagar Riots of 2013.

Play the video, and tilt your phone left, right, up or down to explore the mosque. If you are watching this on your computer, click on the screen and drag your mouse to look around this space.

I shot this video last week in Muzaffarnagar as part of “Everybody Loves A Good Riot” – an immersive multimedia project detailing western Uttar Pradesh’s “riot economy”. The story features 2 more 360 videos like the one above, as well as a text story to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Muzaffarnagar riots. Experience the full story here