Against the De-politicization of Mental Health- Harassment is Not a Myth: Simple Rajrah

Guest post by SIMPLE RAJRAH

This article is written in response to the article Activism as a blue whale challenge by Manu Joseph that first appeared in Livemint.

“Our love is constructed. Our beliefs colored. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt”

Dalit Scholar Rohith Vemula, who was institutionally murdered.

Often academic interests die a quiet death due to crassly political reasons but they die yet again, due to non-recognition and to their relentless reduction to the apolitical. Much as there must be emphasis on seeking solutions to the troubles that humanity is facing, it cannot be ignored that reducing the ‘root’ cause of everything to the realm of ‘apolitical’ can be academically simplistic and politically dangerous.  And why must there be an obsession with relegating everything to the ‘apolitical’ domain? Why do journalists who continually work within political systems still consider depression to be something external to the sphere of politics? Why must there be academicians who discount historicity and complexity by equating violence with counter violence? And why, similarly, must there be politicians who condemn violence on ‘both sides’? Because, even a simple reading of the political should reveal its association with power, challenge its centralization, and more importantly the show up the invisibilization that generates hegemony.

Continue reading “Against the De-politicization of Mental Health- Harassment is Not a Myth: Simple Rajrah”

Sad at Killing of My Ambedkarite Elder Sister Gauri Lankesh, says Chandrashekhar of Bhim Army, as Govt Moves to Slap NSA on BA Activists

This is an amazing moment. From what we at the Committee for the Defense of Bhim Army have gathered, and from Chandrashekhar’s own letter from Saharanpur District Jail (see below), the administration is moving to slap charges under the National Security Act on Chandrashekhar and other activists. However, while expressing his resolve to fight on, Chandrashekhar also makes it clear in this letter (the facsimile and the text below) that he is equally concerned and saddened at the killing of Gauri Lankesh. He refers to her as his ‘Ambedkarite elder sister’ and pledges to carry forward the struggle to get her justice as well. This is how different dots in the struggle get connected. This is how new nodes of thinking and doing politics emerge. Right now, for us however, the struggle, for the legal defense of Chandrashekhar and other Bhim Army activists is paramount. They want to crush the movement in its infancy and we must ensure it can grow and carry on its struggle for liberation from the yoke of Hinduism and Hindutva.
It is worth placing on record here that when the formation of the Committtee for the Defense of Bhim Army was announced, Gauri had got it touch and expressed her wish to be on the Committee. Unfortunately, that was not to be. But we are sure that this is perhaps the best tribute we can offer to Gauri – carry on the fight for the defense of Bhim Army!
Chandrashekhar’s letter from jail
सभी साथियों व माताओं बहनों को जय भीम जय भारत, जय भीम आर्मी,
 एक आवश्यक बात आप सब से शेयर करनी है उत्तर प्रदेश के सहारनपुर जिले की जेल इस समय मेरा घर है. एक सूचना आई थी की काले अंग्रेजों की तानाशाह सरकार और उनके हाथ की कठपुतली बना जिला प्रशासन यह चाहता है कि मैं अपनी जमानत अर्जी ना डालू अगर मैं जमानत की अर्जी डलवाता हूं तो वो मेरे ऊपर रासुका लगा देंगे.
पहली बात तो मैं यह स्पष्ट कर दूं कि यह देश हमारा है इस देश के 85 % दलित पिछड़े मुस्लिम वह अल्पसंख्या लोग अपने ही देश में गुलाम अब नहीं रहेंगे हम इस देश के Rakshak भी है और शासक भी है 85 % लोग यहां के मूल निवासी है और दलितों का रक्षक दल चमार जाति की चमार रेजिमेंट इनका उदाहरण है हमने इस देश के लिए बलिदान दिया है काले अंग्रेज जो दलित विदेशी होने का दावा करते हैं वह भीम आर्मी के प्रभाव से डरकर मुझ पर रासुका लगाकर मुझे डराना चाहते हैं तो मैं उन्हें यह कहना चाहता हूं कि रासुका ही नहीं वह चाहे तो मुझे फांसी लगा दे तो भी वह मुझे झुका नहीं सकते.
मैं एक बार नहीं एक हजार बार भी अपनी कौम के लिए हंसते हंसते फांसी चढ़ना पसन्द करुगा और मान-सम्मान वे इस देश में अधिकारों की जो लड़ाई है उसे पीछे नहीं हटूंगा. आजाद न तो कभी झुका है और ना कभी झुक  कर कोई समझौता करेगा मुझे गर्व है कि मैं चमार जाति में पैदा हुआ जब तक लहू का आखरी करता रहेगा अपने लोगों की सुरक्षा अधिकार वह मान सम्मान के लिए संघर्ष जारी रहेगा ।।
अंबेडकरवादी बड़ी  बहन गौरी लंकेश की हत्या से दुखी हूं पर इनके जज्बे को सलाम उनकी शहादत बेकार नहीं जाएगी हम सब उनको न्याय दिलाकर रहेंगे वो कभी झुकी नहीं इसलिए बड़ी खुशी से आपको यह कहना चाहता हूं कि अगर कल मैं ना भी रहूं तो पीछे न हटना संघर्ष करना आपके संघर्ष से हमारे आने वाली पीढ़ियां इस देश की शासक होगी बाबा साहब ने कहा जीवन लंबा नहीं महान होना चाहिए गुलामी और सम्मान का एक दिन बड़ा होता है उन हजारों साल से ना झुका हु  ना झुका गा ना रुका हु ना रुकू गा और ना बिका हु ना बिकुगा आजाद जिया था आजाद मरूँगा  जय भीम नीला सलाम जय साहब कांशीराम ।
       आपका भाई बेटा दोस्त
*(एडवोकेट चंद्रशेखर आजाद रावण संस्थापक भीम आर्मी भारत मिशन)*

Literature and Silence: Prasanta Chakravarty

Guest post by PRASANTA CHAKRAVARTY

“Then is Now. The star you steer by is gone, its tremulous thread spun in the hurricane spider floss on my cheek.”
~ Basil Bunting, Briggflatts

 

“He who writes the work is set aside; he who has written it is dismissed. He who is dismissed, moreover, doesn’t know it. This ignorance preserves him.”
~Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature

 

“Blanchot is even greater waste of time than Proust,” Georges Poulet had famously remarked. Poulet was hinting at the grandeur of wasted time. A ruthless negativity, a rigorous retreat must take on all forms of reparation and facile optimism of human agency. Unconcern must be at the front and centre of our concern. The work of art is. Nothing more. The very idea of elucidation—to dwell upon the actual object that a writer has to offer us—is aesthetically vulgar and politically reactionary. A deep futility marks all perfection. A creation, like Eurydice when Orpheus looks at her, must disappear. The work is remote from itself. It is the incapacity to stop feeling what is not there to be felt.

All quests are echoes. Foreign to presence. Any presence. Quests grasp us rather. But they exclude the writer. He is stupefied. He is idled out of his own work—hence he must go back to work, tirelessly. The lucidity of his insomniac regression keeps on emerging infernally in what we call art. Write he must. But only and solely by being on the verge of his ruinous look back.

Continue reading “Literature and Silence: Prasanta Chakravarty”

हिंदुत्व और निजता का अधिकार : वैभव सिंह

Guest post by VAIBHAV SINGH

सुप्रीम कोर्ट के द्वारा निजता के अधिकार संबंधी फैसले ने निजी बनाम सार्वजनिक, व्यक्ति बनाम समाज, सरकार बनाम नागरिक के द्वैत को फिर बहस के केंद्र में ला दिया है।ऐसा समाज जहां गली-मोहल्लों व गांव-देहातों में निजी जानकारी छिपाने की कोई धारणा न तो रही है, न उसका सम्मान रहा है, उसी समाज में बड़े कारपोरेशन, सरकारी तंत्र व राज्य ने जब निजी जानकारियों का दुरुपयोग करना आरंभ किया तो गहरी प्रतिक्रिया हुई। इसका मनोवैज्ञानिक कारण यह है कि राज्य व बड़े कारपोरेशन्स समाज के लिए ‘बाहरी शक्ति’ के रूप में रहे हैं। वे पराए, अजनबी और अनजान तत्व हैं जो मनुष्य की निजी सूचना जुटा रहे हैं। उनके बाहरी शक्ति और विशाल संरचना होने के बोध ने निजी जानकारी के मुद्दें पर लोगों को उद्वेलित कर दिया। आधार कार्ड, सोशल साइट्स, सरकारी स्कीम आदि कई चीजें ऐसी रही हैं, जिनका सहारा लेकर नागरिकों की निजी जानकारियों मे बड़े पैमाने पर सेंध लगाई जा रही है और उन जानकारियों को निहित स्वार्थ वाले बेचेहरा व अज्ञात समूहों में शेयर किया जा रहा है। ऐसे माहौल में सुप्रीम कोर्ट का ‘राइट टु प्राइवेसी’ को स्वीकृति देते हुए यह कहना काफी मायने रखता है कि अनुच्छेद 21 के तहत जीने के अधिकार की सार्थकता तभी है जब व्यक्ति की गरिमा और निजता की भी रक्षा की जाए। व्यक्ति को यह पता हो कि उसकी निजी जानकारियां किसे, कब और क्यों दी जा रही हैं। कानून या राज्य के पास निजता को समाप्त करने के मकसद से देश का विकास, प्रशासनिक मजबूरी या डेटा-कलेक्शन की जरूरत का तर्क देने का विकल्प नहीं है।कोर्ट ने अपने फैसले में ‘सेक्सुअल ओरियंटेशन’ के बारे में टिप्पणी करते हुए इसे भी निजता के दायरे में रखा है। Continue reading “हिंदुत्व और निजता का अधिकार : वैभव सिंह”

Committee for the Defense of Bhim Army Formed Amidst Continuing Repression

Image courtesy Indian Express

Even as the state government’s repression on Bhim Army continues, most of its leaders still in jail and some forced to leave Saharanpur, a committee has been formed for the defense of Bhim Army. (For background information, please see the ‘Note on Bhim Army’, appended at the end of this post, which carries links to informative videos as well). A group of activists and committed lawyers have been following up the legal struggle practically at their own expense – which at the moment involves getting the arrested activists, including the founder-President Chandrashekhar out of bail as the topmost priority. Some of the activists have started getting bail many still remain, including just ordinary people simply picked up by the people and framed by the police as Bhim Army activists.

However, getting the jailed activists out on bail is simply the first step in a long battle. The deliberate campaign of vilification that has been going on about Bhim Army has tried to paint the organization as ‘antinational’ and ‘instigators of violence’ who apparently have ‘Naxalite’ connections. Even though none of this could be substantiated and thus brought by the police into their charges against the jailed activists, the campaign of demonization has nevertheless continued through some sections of the media. Needless to say, such misleading campaign is meant to incite popular feelings against such groups who have been working mainly for education and self respect among the Dalit population in their area. Such a campaign of vilification cannot but affect the chances of wining the legal battle as well. It also ends up driving people who may have initially been sympathetic to their cause by sowing doubts about them in the popular mind.

It is with this concern in mind that a large number of citizens from different walks of life have come together to form the Committee for the Defense of Bhim Army, in order to mobilize all possible support for the embattled activists.

The Committee for the Defense of Bhim Army has been constituted comprising the following members from different walks of life:

Coordinators: Pradeep Narwal and Sanjeev Mathur

Treasurers: Presenjit Gautam and Nakul Singh Sawhney

  1. Anand Teltumbde, Civil rights thinker and activist, Mumbai
  2. Jignesh Mewani, Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch
  3. Kancha Ilaiah, Political scientist, thinker and writer, Hyderabad
  4. Chandrabhan Prasad, Dalit thinker
  5. Radhika Ramaseshan, Senior journalist with Business Standard
  6. Harsh Mander, Human rights activist and Director, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi
  7. Syeda Hamid, Former member, Planning Commission
  8. Om Thanvi, Senior journalist, former editor, Jansatta
  9. Sambhaji Bhagat, Cultural activist, Maharashtra
  10. Meera Velayudhan, Academic, Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum
  11. Martin Macwan, Social activist, Gujarat
  12. Ratan Lal, Academic, Hindu College, Delhi University
  13. Sachin Mali, Cultural activist
  14. Sheetal Sathe, Cultural activist
  15. S.R Darapuri , Former IPS officer, social activist
  16. Colin Gonzalves, Lawyer
  17. Anand Patwardhan, Film maker
  18. Anil Chamadia, Journalist
  19. Subhash Gatade, Writer and social activist
  20. Akram Hassan, Social activist, Shamli
  21. Surender, Dalit youth activist, Delhi University
  22. N. Sukumar, Academic, Delhi University
  23. Rehana Adib, Social activist, Saharanpur
  24. Banojyotsna Lahiri, Academic and independent researcher
  25. Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, Actor
  26. Amar Singh, SC/ST Trade Union, Delhi University
  27. Dr. Mahesh Chandra, Bhim Army
  28. Sanjay Tegwal, Bhim Army
  29. Zakia Soman, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
  30. Presenjit Gautam, Jati Todo Manch, Ghaziabad
  31. Pradeep Narwal, Dalit youth activist, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  32. Saroj Giri, Academic, Delhi University
  33. Tushar Parmar, IRS
  34. Sanjeev Mathur, Journalist
  35. Nakul Singh Sawhney, Film maker
  36. Praveen Verma, Research scholar, Delhi University
  37. Aditya Nigam, Academic, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
  38. Amar Paswan, Ambedkarvadi Chhatra Sabha, Gorakhpur
  39. Dhirendra, Poorvanchal Sena
  40. Anil Yadav, Rihai Manch
  41. Sagar Raghunath, Chhatra Bharati activist
  42. Dr J.K. Gautam, Doctor
  43. Dr. Sushil Kumar Gautam, Dalit Youth Activist, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut
  44. Subhashini Ali, Social Activist
  45. Mohinder Singh, Professor, JNU
  46. Prashant Nihal, Social Activist (Bihar)
  47. Atul Meena, Research Scholar JNU

Continue reading “Committee for the Defense of Bhim Army Formed Amidst Continuing Repression”

When Charlatans Become Ideologues – The Real ‘Prisoners of the Binary’

Present day Hindus are probably the strongest opponents of Marxism. They are horrified at its doctrine of class-struggle. But they forget that India has been not merely the land of class struggle but she has been the land of class wars. – B. R. Ambedkar, Philosophy of Hinduism.

I often find myself in a bind over whether or not to respond to supposed RSS ideologues, given that they simply trade in lies and hatred with the supreme arrogance of ignorance. One such is the upcoming star on the RSS horizon, a gentleman called Rakesh Sinha, who like the rest of his pack (led by the supreme leader) is currently engaged in a cheap attack on the outgoing Vice-President, Hamid Ansari. His piece in the Indian Express today (linked above) is an  instance of a combination of all these things. So, why should one bother about such a character? Why take him and his discourse seriously? Well, someone had better respond because, because, for one thing they are in power, and are going to teach generations of students that valorous ‘Hindus’ like Maharana Pratap won all the wars, though by some magic, ‘Muslims’ continued to rule for about 8 centuries! For another, there are enough gullible types who really think these people ‘have a point of view’, which should be debated.

As we have repeatedly seen, their ‘having a point of view’ has nothing to do with debate. It is to be enforced by gangs of gorakshaks, anti-romeo squads, hoodlums deciding what will or will not be taught in universities and schools, what will be written, how people should dress and love – and when nothing works, ‘win’ a ‘debate’ like Arun Jaitley claimed they did, by simply arresting the opponents and slapping sedition charges on them. Given this, I do not really address, in person, the ideologue, Rakesh Sinha, who has now made it a fine art to pick up some phrases from the toolkit of what is understood as ‘postmodernism’ by many. Wasn’t it postmodernism, one can  hear them say, that said all viewpoints are equally valid and ‘everything goes’? Wasn’t it postmodernism that challenged the hegemony of Western thought, its logocentrism, its Rationalism (with a capital R) from within that very tradition? Wasn’t it postmodernism again, that by decentering West’s logocentrism, actually gave these RSS-type creatures the gumption to claim that their utterly unsubstantiated viewpoint about the past too was as valid as that of historians who struggled with evidence, painstakingly putting together texts, artefacts and procedures of dating in order to produce a plausible account of the past?

Continue reading “When Charlatans Become Ideologues – The Real ‘Prisoners of the Binary’”

No to ‘Geri Route’, Bekhauf Azadi/ Reclaim the Night in Chandigarh: Janaki Srinivasan

Guest post by JANAKI SRINIVASAN

Reclaim the Night

If you are a resident of Chandigarh and came across pictures of the Bekhauf Azaadi Reclaim the Night and the Streets march of August 11 in the newspapers, it is most likely that you assumed it to be just another routine protest.  Protests in ‘the city beautiful’ do tend to follow a standard template. A small number gather in the Sector 17 plaza, banners are held, a few speeches made, photographs taken and a brief news report gets generated for the inner pages of the city supplement. In a small city, finding a mention in the newspapers is no indicator of the importance of one cause or one protest over others. Over the past decade, the administration has ensured this indifference, by physically redirecting political rallies- any event with the potential for large numbers- away from both government offices and public spaces to the outer perimeter of a severely gridlined map. The ‘Rally Ground’ neighbours the crematorium and the garbage landfill. Yet just as Le Corbusier’s monotonous plan and strict guidelines have been subverted by its residents to infuse vitality and uniqueness to the city, the protest template too sees a rare upheaval. Continue reading “No to ‘Geri Route’, Bekhauf Azadi/ Reclaim the Night in Chandigarh: Janaki Srinivasan”