All posts by Aditya Nigam

Still Life, Aflutter – Harold Bloom and an Old Incantation: Prasanta Chakravarty

Guest post by PRASANTA CHAKRAVARTY

Harold Bloom had made it clear many times that his investment in the Greek literary critic Dionysius Longinus, writing in the first century AD, was a way to address and revisit the fundamental encounter of the sublime in our living. Commentators have noticed a remarkable ‘agon’ being played out in Bloom’s career: between his idealizing enthusiasm in romantic-messianic visions and his equal investment in gnostic wisdom and stoic classicism. This agon, or contestation, was his way of addressing a certain space of the uncanny in dealing with art and literature, in contrast to the modernizers and tropologists who, he believed, rejected subjectivity itself as a fallacy. Not Bloom—who had always claimed that the ‘strong critic’ is a kind of poet. As he saw it, literary criticism is an ongoing tussle between the pathos of the heroic will and the ‘literalizers’ who deal in tropes and textual juggleries. But has he been successful in strictly distinguishing the daemonic from the analytic? Are the uncanny and surpassing moments entirely separable from the sensory and the figurative? 

Here is a singular song, penned and sung by Suman Chattopadhyay (now Kabir Suman) decades ago. Continue reading Still Life, Aflutter – Harold Bloom and an Old Incantation: Prasanta Chakravarty

एन आर सी और उससे जुड़े चंद सवाल : सबीहा फ़रहत

Guest post by SABIHA FARHAT

[भारतीय-हिन्दू मिथकों और परम्परा पर लंबे समय से लिखते आ रहे  बुद्धिजीवी श्री देवदत्त  पट्टनायक  अपनी एक ट्वीट में  एक लाजवाब  बात  कही . उनहोंने कहा कि जहाँ हिन्दू धर्मं  का मतलब  वसुधैव  कुटुम्बकम है , उसके  लिए  अगर  समूची वसुधा , सारी एक कुनबा  है , वहीँ  हिंदुत्व  का मतलब  सिर्फ़  एन आर सी  (यानी नागरिकों की राष्हैट्रीय फेहरिश्त ) है. बिलकुल दो शब्दों में  , बड़ी खूबसूरती  से पट्टनायक साहब ने इन दोनों  फलसफों के बीच का फर्क़ खोल कर सामने रख दिया  है. इस  संक्षिप्त लेख में   डाक्यूमेंट्री  फ़िल्मकार  और पत्रकार  सबीहा फ़रहत  उसी एन आर सी  से पैदा हुए  चंद सवाल उठा रही हैं.]

आजकल अमित शाह केवल एनआरसी पर स्टेटमेंट दे रहे हैं। “घुसपैठियों ” को बाहर फेंक देंगे और हिन्दू, सिख, बौद्ध, जैन, ईसाई, पारसी को नागरिकता दे देंगें। फिर चाहे उसके लिये संविधान को तक पर रख  कर सिटीज़नशिप ऐक्ट ही क्यों ना बदलना पड़े!

उनकी इस बात से साफ़ ज़ाहिर है कि देश के 16 करोड़ मुसलमान ही “घुसपैठिये” हैं। “दीमक” हैं और उन्हें देश से बाहर खदेड़ने की ज़रूरत है। लेकिन सिर्फ़ मुसलमान से इतनी नफ़रत क्यों? मुसलमान ने इस देश का क्या बिगाड़ा है? क्या उसने किसी की रोटी छीनी, किसी की नौकरी छीनी, किसी का बिज़नेस हड़प लिया। नहीं! क्योंकि अगर वो ऐसा करता तो आर्थिक तौर पर सबसे ज़्यादा कमज़ोर नहीं होता।

Continue reading एन आर सी और उससे जुड़े चंद सवाल : सबीहा फ़रहत

Education on Education – Reclamation, and Other Mediations: Sasheej Hegde

Guest Post by SASHEEJ HEGDE

A thought is a tremendous form of excitement. [Alfred N. Whitehead]

We are concerned with the imagination, and the vaguely functionalist remarks we noticed before are not the sketch of an explanation, but an aid to the imagination, to make a different practice a more familiar idea to us, and hence to make us more conscious of the practice we have.  Seen in this light, … [t]he imagined alternatives are not alternatives to us; they are alternatives for us, markers of how far we might go and still remain, within our world – a world leaving which would not mean that we saw something different, but just that we ceased to see. [Bernard Williams]

This is an extended essay working off two official documents, and public ones at that: one, the voluminous draft of the National Education Policy 2019 (henceforth Draft NEP) authored by the K. Kasturirangan-led Committee appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, (MHRD) Government of India and, second, the brief report on ‘Promoting and Improving the Quality of Research in Indian Universities/Colleges’ headed by P. Balaram under the auspices of the University Grants Commission (UGC) [accordingly, UGC-Balaram report].  My interest is as much with the former as with the latter; and, although they can be commented upon independent of each other, it is the combined resonance of these two policy suggestions that I am interested to examine (especially as they bear on the higher education [HE] space in India).

Continue reading Education on Education – Reclamation, and Other Mediations: Sasheej Hegde

Statement by Teachers and Academics in Support of Dr. Hany Babu

The following is a statement issues by teachers and academics in support of Dr Hany Babu, whose residence was raided early morning non 10 September by Pune Police

We, teachers and members of the academic community from across universities, are shocked to know of the illegal raid at the residence of Dr. Hany Babu, Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of Delhi on the morning of 10 September 2019. While the horrifying overreach of a search conducted without a warrant has become routine harassment for dissenting citizens, the attempt made by the Pune Police to forcefully detain Babu’s family for six hours and deprive them of any communication with lawyers or friends amounts to extreme duress. Finally, forcing Babu to change passwords and forfeit access to his email account and other personal online media clearly makes way for a possible planting of evidence, to concoct a case against an assumed ‘suspect’

Continue reading Statement by Teachers and Academics in Support of Dr. Hany Babu

Protest Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United Nations: Coalition Against Fascism in India

Statement by the US-based COALITION AGAINST FASCISM IN INDIA

cafiusa2019@gmail.com Twitter @Hum_CAFI_hai)

Protest on Friday, September 27th at 10:30 am

United Nations Plaza, New York City

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the United States at the end of September. He will attend the United Nations General Assembly Session on September 28.  Please join us to protest Modi’s visit. Modi’s government has been orchestrating a pogrom of hate and violence against Muslims and Dalits in India. His government has been cracking down on all forms of dissent and all those who question its politics of hate. Its economic policies have resulted in escalating poverty and thehighest unemployment rate in half a century. We call upon all anti-fascist, anti-racist,secular, and environmentalist groups in the United States to join us in protesting his visit and exposing the retrograde, near-fascist politics of Modi’s government.

Continue reading Protest Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United Nations: Coalition Against Fascism in India

Exclusion of 19 Lakh People Shows the Irrationality of #NRC Exercise: Joint Forum Against NRC

The Final NRC published today has excluded a whopping 19.06 lakh persons in Assam. The NRC process had shifted the burden of proof of citizenship on to the entire population of Assam, with people undergoing deep travails over the past four years to get their names included. In a poor country like ours and in a state which witnesses frequent floods, it is not unnatural that lakhs of people were unable to produce documents to prove that they or their ancestors were inhabitants of Assam before 24th March 1971. To rob people of their citizenship and rendering them stateless on the basis of this flawed process would be a gross violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

Continue reading Exclusion of 19 Lakh People Shows the Irrationality of #NRC Exercise: Joint Forum Against NRC

Nationalism and Politics – An Open Letter to Arvind Kejriwal

I write this open letter to you as a well wisher, and someone who has been seriously supportive of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) through all the ups and downs in the years since its formation.  Perhaps like many others, I too have high expectations of the experiment that AAP is and the new ground it has tried to break in terms of providing a government that has steadfastly kept the interests of the common person in mind while taking decisions.

But I also write this letter because I, like many others, have been perturbed by some developments which do not augur well for the future either of your party or of the country. The latter in any case, is set on a disastrous course, thanks to the current dispensation at the Centre. Let me also make it clear right away that I am not one of those who criticize AAP for ‘lacking a clear ideology’ and I in fact value the fact that on many critical issues, AAP has been able to resist the pressure to step into well trodden, familiar responses to specific situations and issues – especially well trodden among Leftists. But I do think that AAP needs to think a bit more seriously  about politics – which is not the same thing as ideology.

Continue reading Nationalism and Politics – An Open Letter to Arvind Kejriwal