The Poverty of Politics and Pre-Requisites of an Anti-Hindutva Front: Moggallan Bharti

Guest post by MOGGALLAN BHARTI

Going by the track record of past four years of Narendra Modi’s government, the only definitive political narrative today is that of the ruling party, characterized by its brand ideological vehemence/ aggression and paralleled by corresponding ideological ennui in the opposition camp. The fact that there is an astronomical rise in hate crimes against Muslims, Dalits, Women and other minorities, silently supported by large numbers of people, underlines the  onset of an ideology, conceptualized by the caste Hindus and institutionalized as Rashtriya SwayamSevak Sangh (RSS).

The electoral success of BJP – the political wing of RSS – only points to a reality which is the logical outcome of the political processes, wherein the Hindu right has been handled with the customary albatross of secularism around all of our necks – defying the social reality of India. In a predominantly caste society, secularism tends to obfuscates real social cleavages and gives preeminence to an idea shaped by the literate elites. That is not to say there is something inherently misplaced with the idea of secularism in this country. Certainly not! On the contrary, it is the dishonesty and the utter insincerity of the India’s political class for whom the politics of secularism remains a mere means to claim political power. Nothing wrong with that too, as long as, this means was directed to its logical end of making an India actually secular. Alas, India’s attempt at constructing a sincere secular society have been halfhearted at its best and nonexistent at its worst, regardless of the secular nostalgia that some people – very sincere and honest people – find themselves attached to.

Continue reading “The Poverty of Politics and Pre-Requisites of an Anti-Hindutva Front: Moggallan Bharti”

University Teachers Forum Hyderabad Condemns the Raid at Prof Satyanarayana’s House

The following is a statement signed by 143 teachers of Hyderabad, released by the University Teachers’ Forum Hyderabad, condemning the police raid at the residence of Prof K. Satyanarayana recently.

We university teachers of Hyderabad hereby strongly register our protest against the arbitrary, ill-mannered raid on the residence of Dr. K. Satyanarayana, Professor of Cultural Studies and Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the EFL University on 28 August 2018.

Early in the morning of 28 August, a police team from Maharashtra accompanied by some Telangana policemen and women, forced themselves into the apartment residence of Prof. Satyanarayana and his wife Pavana without showing them any authorizing document and proceeded to ransack and vandalise the entire flat for over eight hours.

The document that they eventually produced authorized the search ostensibly to find Mr. Varavara Rao, who had already been house-arrested at his own flat by another team. There was no mention of any charges against Prof. Satyanarayana himself. In violation of all rules and conventions, this document was in Marathi, was never presented at the time of entering the residence, and no explanation was offered as to the purpose of their raid. The team left having turned the entire flat upside down taking with them three laptops, a tablet and hard drive apart from some books and papers. Prof. Satyanarayana’s accumulation of research done over 30 years is now in danger of being completely destroyed.

An internationally renowned scholar of Cultural Studies and a pioneering author and editor in the field of Dalit Studies, Satyanarayana co-edited the two-volume anthology of New Dalit Writings from South India: No Alphabet in Sight (vol 1) and Steel Nibs are Sprouting (vol 2), Exercises of Freedom, as well as the volume of Dalit Studies, the first effort of its kind.

He has been a Dalit scholar and has devoted his entire time as an academic to the pursuit of knowledge and research into issues affecting dalits.

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Beneath the glitter – Looking at The Asian Games : Praveen Verma

Guest post by PRAVEEN VERMA

Hima Das

Does it amaze you when you hear the stories of poverty and success in same sentence? Does it amaze us when we hear the stories of some of the best sports-persons and the hardship they have dealt with before and throughout their careers? Does it amaze us when we hear about the sorry state of affairs of sports facilities and some athletes still coming up with great performances? Does it amaze that most of these athletes come from rural India and mostly where they have much economic and social constraints, where work and employment is still precarious? Does it alarm when one get to know that some of these phenomenal sports-persons come from the areas which are still dealing with the issues of hunger, high rate of unemployment, major gender gap? Areas where women coming out and trying to make cut into sports are still taboo? How often does one hear about women from marginal sections (Dalit/Backward caste/tribal) becoming a sportsperson?

Some stories of these kinds make usual snippets in many Hindi newspapers around big sports events. Though, these stories, which are posed as individual heroic one and less of a critical approach to see the working of sports administration, are meant to be sensational and don’t do justice to the entire sports affairs in India. Continue reading “Beneath the glitter – Looking at The Asian Games : Praveen Verma”

Statement Demanding Immediate Release of Writers, Activists and Human Rights Defenders: IIT Kanpur Alumni and Others

We, a group of alumni of IIT Kanpur and others as students, researchers, faculty, staff and other community members affiliated with the same institute strongly condemn the arrest of IIT Kanpur alumna Sudha Bharadwaj (Integrated MSc., Mathematics, 1979-1984) and other activists namely, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Varavara Rao, and the raiding of houses of Anand Teltumbde, K. Satyanarayana and Stan Swamy among many others. These arrests seem to be a mere sequel in an ongoing attempt to intimidate and arrest activists, eminent writers, professors, journalists, and human rights defenders around the country.

Sudha Bhardwaj has a public record of dedicating herself to the most marginalized through her work spanning more than thirty years. She finished her integrated bachelors and masters program of Dept of Mathematics, IIT Kanpur, in 1984. Already socially conscious as a student, by 1986 she had moved to Chhattisgarh working with a workers’ organization and trade union in the mining-industrial belt of central Chhattisgarh. It is here she found her calling as a trade unionist, and later, as a lawyer. We have compiled a short biography of her long journey at https://goo.gl/J6F9kK – it is clear that she dedicated herself entirely to the most vulnerable and powerless, working through the rights and frameworks guaranteed in the Indian constitution. Continue reading “Statement Demanding Immediate Release of Writers, Activists and Human Rights Defenders: IIT Kanpur Alumni and Others”

Joint Statement Condemning Arrest of Activists and Public Intellectuals

Following is the final statement with the signatures as they were when it was closed for purposes of releasing to the media and sent to us by the initiators of the campaign.

We, the undersigned, are shocked by the serial raids across the country on the homes of activists and public intellectuals who are critical of the government and the ruling party at the Centre. The arrests of prominent activists and intellectuals Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and others, are nothing but an attempt by the government to strike terror among those who are fighting for justice for the marginalised. This is also an attempt by the BJP to invent a false enemy and engage in scaremongering in order to polarise the 2019 elections in its favour. Already, the government and the media houses close to the BJP have been trying to spin a false narrative of a Maoist conspiracy since June, 2018. Terms like “urban naxals” are invented in order to stifle any criticism of the government. We have learnt that the Delhi Police, after having arrested Sudha Bharadwaj, waited for Republic TV to arrive before taking her to the court. This simply shows that the arrests are incomplete without the accompanying sensationalist media propaganda to demonise activists, human rights defenders and intellectuals.

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WSS Statement Against Arrests of Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Varavara Rao

The following is a statement by WOMEN AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND STATE REPRESSION (WSS) against the raids on and arrests of activists and intellectuals in different cities.

WSS strongly condemns the arrests of its member Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj, and activists Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, and the raids at the homes of Father Stan Swamy, Dr. Anand Teltumbde, Prof. K. Satyanarayana, Pavana, Anala, Kurmanath, Kranti Tekula and others conducted by the Maharashtra police along with the state police of Telangana, Jharkhand, Goa and Delhi. These searches and arrests are a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the spine chilling revelations about Hindu Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti in connection to the assassinations and bomb terror which they have been masterminding.

Continue reading “WSS Statement Against Arrests of Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Varavara Rao”

‘अरबन फासिज्म’ की शुरुआत : वैभव सिंह

Guest post by VAIBHAV SINGH

रामचरित मानस में सुन्दर कांड में एक पंक्ति आती है, जो कही तो विभीषण के मुंह से गई है लेकिन वह आज के लोकतंत्र पर भी लागू होती है। चौपाई में विभीषण कहते हैं- ‘सुनहु पवनसुत रहनि हमारी। जिमि दसनन्हि महुं जीभ बिचारी।’ यानी विभीषण कहते हैं कि मैं ऐसे ही रहता हूं जैसे दांतों के बीच जीभ। प्रसंगांतर करके देखें तो भारतीय लोकतंत्र की हालत भी अब फासीवाद, सांप्रदायिकता व पूंजीवादी लोभ-लालच के जहरीले विषदंतों से घिरी जीभ जैसी नहीं हो गई है जिसे कोई भी काट लेना या आहत कर देना चाहता है?  गिरफ्तारियां, सर्चवारंट, नजरबंदी और मीडिया प्रोपगंडा हमारे देश की सर्वप्रमुख सचाई बन चुकी है और अब इस लोकतंत्र के भीतर सशक्त हो चुके अधिनायकवाद के लिए अब यही चीजें उसके शासन की वैधता का प्रमुख आधार बन गई हैं। जिस देश में हर वक्त मुठभेड़, गिरफ्तारी या देशद्रोहियों की खोज का सत्ता-प्रायोजित अभियान चल रहा हो, वहां लोकतंत्र के बारे में सोते-जागते चिंता न होना स्वाभाविक तौर पर संवेदनहीनता या फिर कमअक्ली का लक्षण माना जा सकता है। जैसे साइनबोर्ड पर किसी ने लिख कर टांग दिया है कि लोकतंत्र की अमुख तारीख को हत्या कर दी जाएगी, वह तारीख नजदीक आती जा रही है। ठीक रघुवीर सहाय की ‘रामदास’ कविता में रामदास की हत्या की तरह सभी को जैसे पता चल चुका है कि लोकतंत्र की हत्या हो जाएगी पर सब अपने-अपने काम में मसरूफ़ हैं। रघुवीर सहाय के शब्दों में-

निकल गली से तब हत्यारा/आया उसने नाम पुकारा/

हाथ तौलकर चाकू मारा/ छूटा लहू का फव्वारा/

कहा नहीं था उसने आखिर उसकी हत्या होगी।

Continue reading “‘अरबन फासिज्म’ की शुरुआत : वैभव सिंह”