All posts by Aditya Nigam

Over 1100 Feminists Condemn Crackdown on Women Activists in Delhi

Issued on 3 May, 2020

Over 1,100  feminsts across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders

DENOUNCE false narratives that try to link anti-CAA protests with the violence in Delhi.

DENOUNCE false narratives that try to link anti-CAA protests with the violence in Delhi.

DEMAND an immediate stop to targeting of Muslim women activists
under the shadow of the Covid 19 lockdown.

SEEK ACTION against actual perpetrators of violence, not peaceful protestors.

STAND FIRM with the conscience keepers of the nation

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the brazenly malicious attacks, arrests and intimidation by the Delhi Police of Muslim women, students and activists, as well as other citizens who have spoken up against the unconstitutional moves of the present ruling dispensation. Media reports that about 800 + anti-CAA protesters have been detained or arrested since the Covid 19 lockdown, which means they have had little or no access to lawyers and legal aid, and their families given no information of their whereabouts for extended periods after they were in custody. The impunity with which the Delhi Police is carrying out this sweep under direct orders from the Home Ministry is facilitated by the reduced media, public and legal scrutiny under the lockdown.

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Remembering Marx in Lockdown Times – Beyond the “Corona” Paradigm: Maya John

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Karl Marx, the greatest intellectual of the millennium, it is best to steer clear of hero-worshipping. Instead, let us commemorate Marx’s ideas by re-enacting his way of knowing things. Much can be drawn from his writings wherein we can see Marx reinvigorating the revolutionary agenda at a time of deep despair and defeat. Reflecting and writing after the failed revolutions of 1848, Marx provided an introspective critique of unfolding conditions in his essay The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852). Closely examining the events of the successful coup and assumption of dictatorial powers by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte in republican France in 1851, Marx was the only contemporaneous political thinker to liken the ascendancy of Louis-Bonaparte to that of his uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte, who seized power in revolutionary France through the coup of 18 Brumaire (7 November 1799).

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Migrant Workers, COVID- 19 and our Collective Indifference: Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha and Mursed Alam

Guest post by ANINDYA SEKHAR PURAKAYASTHA and MURSED ALAM

Critical opinions described India as the ‘Republic of Hunger’or as the ‘Republic of Caste’ and now the post-Corona plight of countless migrant workers makes us want to describe it as the Republic of Indifference. Lakhs of migrant workers along with their family members are stuck at different corners of the country, unfed, mistreated and uncared. Recent images of migrant workers flocking to Bandra station in Maharashtra, with hopes of resumption of train services taking them home and the subsequent police action to disperse them was watched and commented by all of us. Most reactions were emotive and anguish ridden but that have little impact on the ground situation in which these migrants are forced to live during this lockdown. It is true that some NGOs and various philanthropic organizations and governmental aids have to a certain extent catered to their needs but their misery demands more than mere empathy or selective mercy. They need concrete action on the ground. It is astounding to see the Government of India announcing the lockdown on 25 March without having any concrete action plan for these countless migrant workers. This completely betrays the government`s indifference to their sufferings. As if we take them and their sufferings for granted. Earlier some migrants were packed off in over-crowded buses with no money and in Delhi migrant workers were stranded in a bus station in large numbers, rendering them more vulnerable to the infection threat. By all means the COVID 19 crisis has once again proved that they are the Rejects of India. They are mere numbers, and we club them under one official category of “Migrants”, they are not human beings, a mere category of the Reject, who are left out to fend for themselves. We, armchair intellectuals and the moneyed class securely ensconced in our comfort zone, guaranteed of our salaries and jobs, passed off social media comments. The self-appointed radical fringe among us called for the closure of all other activities like educational studies as migrants are suffering but all these predictable reactions boiled down to nothing when it comes to forcing the government to come down to the street and adopt concrete steps to mitigate the traumas of these suffering faces who are away from homes and family.

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Fascism, the Revolt of the ‘Little Man’ and Life After Capitalism – Manifesto of Hope III

 

 

A representational image of a Hindutva demonstration, courtesy Sabrang.

[This the third instalment of a series on ‘Life After Capitalism – A Manifesto of Hope’. Earlier parts can be accessed Part I here and Part II here. Part IV can be accessed here.]

Yesterday was V. I. Lenin’s 150th birth anniversary and just the other day I read a report of a survey that claimed that 75 percent of Russians think the Soviet era was the best time in the country’s history. A great tribute to Lenin on this occasion, one would imagine, whatever may have been the reasons for socialism’s collapse. If you could put this response in Russia to nostalgia for a time gone by, it comes as an even bigger surpise that a recent poll in the United States of America, conducted by an outfit called YouGov and funded by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (a clearly anti-communist outfit) found that 70 percent of the millennials (between the age of 23 and 38 years in 2019) favoured socialism. Earlier in February 2019, Jochen Bittner, politcal editor of the German weekly Die Zeit wrote in the New York Times on ‘Why Socialism is Coming Back in Germany?’

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मज़दूरों के नाम खुला पत्र: #MigrantLivesMatter

मज़दूरों के नाम खुला पत्र

प्रवासी माइग्रेंट शार्मिक सहयोग (माइग्रेंट वरकर्स सॉलिडैरिटी) :

सरकारों और पूंजीपतियों द्वारा कोरोना महामारी के दौरान लॉक डाउन में फंसे मजदूरों के साथ किए जा रहे अमानवीय, ज़बरजस्ती और दमनात्मक व्यवहार के ख़िलाफ़!

साथियों,

केंद्र सरकार द्वारा 19 अप्रैल को एक मानक संचालन प्रोटोकॉल (एसओपी) आदेश जारी करके राज्यों और केंद्र शासित प्रदेशों में फंसे श्रमिकों के आने जाने को लेकर उठाया गया कदम, श्रमिकों के अधिकारों पर कुठाराघात है।  आइए, हम सब मिलकर पूंजीपतियों और सरकरो के खिलाफ जो कोविड -19 महामारी के बहाने मज़दूरों का और ज्यादा शोषण करना चाहते हैं, का मिलकर प्रतिवाद करे ।

सरकार द्वारा जारी यह आदेश किस बारे में है? 19 अप्रैल को गृह मंत्रालय द्वारा जारी इस सर्कुलर के मुताबिक़ फैक्ट्रियों में उत्पादन जारी रखने के लिए, जो श्रमिक जहां है उसको उस राज्य में कहीं भी ले जाया जा सकता है। लेकिन मजदूरों को अपने घर वापस जाने की इजाजत नहीं है। इस आदेश का सीधा मतलब है कि हम मज़दूरों के पास सरकार के आदेशों का पालन करने के अलावा कोई चारा नहीं है। लेकिन पिछले अनुभव बताते हैं कि स्थानीय प्रशासन और पुलिस की मिलीभगत से मज़दूरों को जबरदस्ती काम करने के लिए मजबूर किया जाएगा। पहले से ही इस तरह की खबरें सामने आनी शुरू हो गई हैं। ऐसे में, क्या यह कहना गलत नहीं होगा कि भारत में कोरोना महामारी से निपटने के बहाने बंधुआ मजदूरी लागू करने की कोशिश की जा रही है? Continue reading मज़दूरों के नाम खुला पत्र: #MigrantLivesMatter

NLU Jodhpur alumni and students protest homophobic teaching materials

Current VI semester undergraduate students of the University pursuing the ‘Sociology – III Law and Society’ course, at the National Law University Jodhpur were sent outright homophobic content purportedly as essential reading (details of the readings are in the letter below). The material presented outdated notions of homosexuality. When the faculty member was challenged via email by a student, she said she had shared it to encourage debate and present one side of the prevailing views on homosexuality. However, the material was sent without providing any such context. The faculty committed that she would be sending updated material presenting sociological developments on the subject in the coming few days. However, instead of doing so, she delegated her responsibility to the student who had written to her, a move that can only be interpreted as reprisal.

The interim student body wrote to the Vice Chancellor on the issue. 150 alumni members also wrote to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and General Council of NLU-J asking for disciplinary action against the faculty member, an external resource person to teach the subject, and review of the course curriculum.

This is the letter

Dear Dr. Saxena and Members of the General Council,

We, the undersigned alumni of National Law University, Jodhpur, much to our consternation, have learnt that current VI semester undergraduate students of the University pursuing the ‘Sociology – III Law and Society’ course were sent outright homophobic content purportedly as essential reading by Dr. Asha Bhandari, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Member, Academic Council, on April 11, 2020. On a perusal of the content, it is evident that the material sent by Dr. Bhandari is unscientific, uncritical, based on outdated notions of homosexuality, perpetuates dangerous stereotypes, and legitimizes prejudice against the LGBTIQ community. As you would all agree, this is unacceptable in any institute of learning, much less in one that prides itself on being a premier national law school.

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Agony of COVID-19 and the Lockdown – Who is Afraid of ‘Class’? Maya John

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

This essay is the second part of a two-part series on Society in the Time of Covid 19. The first part appeared in Kafila on 5 April and can be read here.

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas…Karl Marx, The German Ideology (1845)

The Bolshevik slogans and ideas on the whole have been confirmed by history; but concretely things have worked out differently; they are more original, more peculiar, more variated than anyone could have expected. – V.I. Lenin, Letters on Tactics (1918)

रहिमन विपदा हू भली, जो थोरे दिन होय हित अनहित या जगत में, जान परत सब कोय

Crisis of a few days is better/ For it reveals who is friend and who is foe. – Khanzada Mirza Khan Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana, ‘Rahim’      (1556 – 1627)

Looking at what transpires each day of this epidemic coupled with lock-down, people appear to be plucked out of heterogeneous circumstances and placed in the homogenous time of “Corona”, putting all things in abeyance. The battered housewife whose alcoholic husband grows restless with every day; mourning relatives who’ve lost a loved one and struggle to make it to the last rites; the live-in ‘maids’ whose workday begins at the crack of dawn; the municipal worker who continues to de-clog our sewer lines to prevent the chance of reverse flow in our commodes; the young, newly-wed construction worker who’s anxious about his wife in the village; the tired nurse who fears she’s contracted the wretched infection; among many other circumstances of life are part of this moment, the epidemic-cum-lock-down. The coupling of epidemic and lock-down has created confusion for some people in terms of which of the two is deadlier. For many this is an unprecedented, exceptional time. But for others this moment is not new but rather a repetition of the similar course of life, with the addition of just another fear. Many are puzzled by how, among all the life-threatening contagious diseases and illnesses in circulation, “Corona” gained prominence.

Continue reading Agony of COVID-19 and the Lockdown – Who is Afraid of ‘Class’? Maya John