All posts by apoorvanand

Wisdom of Ganesh Gaitonde: Satya Sagar

Guest Post by SATYA SAGAR

Note: Ganesh Gaitonde is a fictional character from the Netflix series Sacred Games, but that does not make him any less real than anyone else on the planet.

Warning: Profanity ahead. Get parental advice before proceeding.

Somewhere on a yacht in choppy waters off the western Indian coast I met Ganesh Gaitonde, noted[1]political analyst, role model for the youth and public intellectual for a free-wheeling interview.

We discussed a wide range of extremely important issues confronting Indian society today from the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi at the Ambani household to what PC (not Chidambaram) said when NJ farted in her dreams. Some trivial themes like climate change, nuclear war and crisis of Indian spirituality were also touched upon – but you can skip those portions if they bore you to death.

Ganesh Gaitonde (GG): Stop calling me ‘Gaitondeji’, you #^^$%&&&. You guys kept chanting ‘Gandhiji’ for seven decades while screwing everything he stood for. So, cut this ‘ji’ crap. I am just Ganesh – nothing more, nothing less.

Me: Gaitondeji…

Me: Ok, I apologize Ganesh. Now, even before we get into important national and social issues, can you explain why every other word you utter is always an obscenity? Continue reading Wisdom of Ganesh Gaitonde: Satya Sagar

Kashmir: The Violence in Silence

Guest Post By Maknoon Wani

“I need a toy and a new dress for Eid.”

Requests and tantrums like these are heard around Eid in every Kashmiri household but not this time. It was the 8th day of the government imposed military siege. On 5 August, 2019 the central government unilaterally scrapped the special status(autonomy, imagine that being called special status) of the only Muslim majority state in the union. Thousands were arrested to muzzle any dissent coming out of the agitated population. But seven year old Aairah was worried about her Eid shopping, which was never going to happen. 

How does it happen in the 21st century? How are millions of people house arrested and excommunicated within a few hours? Why are people celebrating a siege? How does this sell as normalcy? I spent many sleepless nights contemplating or rather trying to absorb the sheer cruelty of this situation. A group of students from my college invited me to a cake cutting ceremony which was organized to celebrate this decision. Maybe, their intentions were not so bad but did social convention dictate that a person be invited for the celebration of his misery? The shameless chest-thumping is a spectacle but an indifferent people is a tragedy. 

While I was suffering from this sense of loss and fear, people were celebrating and opining about Kashmir like they knew everything. I was told how good this decision is and how I should be happy. Kashmir, which went incommunicado days ago, was said to be normal. Reports from the foreign press regarding protests in Kashmir were refuted and labelled as western propaganda. Saner voices went more anti-national and pro-government channels got busy in peddling more lies. I, for one, went silent for a few days. Everyone was high on something. Some were planning to buy a plot in Kashmir while others were fantasying about white-skinned Kashmiri girls. History was forgotten, conveniently twisted and occasionally ignored to justify this daylight betrayal. A radicalized population is dangerous but trying to reason with an intoxicated population is foolishness. After all these days, I thought this silence must not be interpreted as normalcy and more importantly-peace.

What is happening in Kashmir and to Kashmiris is violence. Why aren’t the children going to schools and why are their playgrounds surrounded with barbed wires? Why aren’t mobile phones working? What is forcing Kashmiris to be silent? Is the mere presence of half a million armed forces not a form of violence? I have to ask these questions because no one else is. As I try to imagine the green meadows of my hometown, I am not able to block that intruding fear of not seeing my family again. The meadows might turn red forever. I see people celebrating this decision like an act of revenge; humanity might be dead forever. The claims of ushering in development and peace have fallen flat but then who wants the truth? A country which cheers the suspension of civil liberties can not be expected to be empathetic towards anyone. The silent mourners will lose fear one day, and this gloom will spread. It is only a matter of time when the monster reaches every door. 

It has been more than 20 days of this extraordinary blackout. We have seen only a few Kashmiri voices in the Indian media. A population needs to be amnesic to forget traumas like this. How can they tire us so much to make us forget our identity. We have survived three mass uprisings. Seven million Kashmiris right now are silently shouldering the coffin of the Indian democracy. The rot has started to reek, but the masks of ignorance have kept people safe. A few hundred landlines have been made operational, and this has been projected as normalcy. Senior anchors are posting videos and pictures(of normalcy) which can put North Korean propaganda to shame. When no one is being allowed to visit Kashmir, not even the Indian opposition leaders, then how can the situation be called normal. 

Recently, JK Governor, Satyapal Malik said, “If there’s no phone for ten days, so be it.” Surprisingly, he could only count ten days on the 20th day of the communication blackout. This is symbolic of the systematic dehumanization of the Kashmiris by the Indian administration. I wish to tell every Indian politician that your collective failure and greed for votes has assured Kashmiris that nothing good can be expected of this country. Our land has once again been prioritized over our lives. This is naked oppression and it is out in the open. However, this silence is not peace. It is the harbinger of burning resentment. We aren’t so small to be devoured by anyone. Our silence is deafening but not to the dead ears.  

( Maknoon Wani is a student of journalism and is in Delhi presently)

रवीश कुमार: हिंदुस्तान का दुखता हुआ दिल

यह बिरले होता है कि ख़बरनवीस ख़ुद ख़बर बन जाए।पिछले तीन रोज़ से एक ख़बरची ही ख़बर है: रवीश कुमार।

याद आती है कोई 18 साल पहले रवीश से एक मुलाक़ात। “ दिक्कत यह हुई है टेलिविज़न की दुनिया में कि जिसे ख़बर दिखाने का काम है, वह सोच बैठा है कि लोग समाचार नहीं, उसे देखने टी वी खोलते हैं।” रवीश ने कहा। उस वक़्त वे रिपोर्टिंग का काम कर रहे थे। हमने महात्मा गांधी अंतरराष्ट्रीय विश्वविद्यालय में अपने संघर्ष को लेकर उनसे रिपोर्टिंग का अनुरोध किया था। रिपोर्ट बनी।लेकिन रवीश ने कहा, “ माफ़ कीजिए, कमज़ोर रिपोर्ट है!” कोई रिपोर्टर यह कहे,तब भी यह सोचना भी मुश्किल था,आज तो है ही।

Continue reading रवीश कुमार: हिंदुस्तान का दुखता हुआ दिल

DIsmantling of JNu

20 September is close. Birthday of Chandrashekhar. The young left leader who was murdered in Siwan in 1997. Before he went there he was in the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Known to generations of the university as the President of its students’union. We organise an annual  memorial lecture in his name at Patna . This year we had decided to invite a Professor from his university to deliver the lecture. She said a cautious yes as she was not sure if she would be given leave for it. For the last three years the teachers of the JNU have seen their leave application rejected, not only for popular lectures like the one above but also for seminars organised by their professional bodies or peers. But we insisted that she should try. So, we wrote a formal invitation letter to her, without mentioning the significance of the lecture. I apologised to Chandrashekhar for my cowardice. He would have smiled and called it an act of Brechtian cunning, defeating the vicious enemy non-violently.

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About Menstrual Rights: Astha Savyasachi

Guest post by Astha Savyasachi

Humankind, right in the beginning, came face to face with menstruation. So, by now we as a society should have learnt to deal with it. But as we all know that it remains a problem for most of us. When we say this we don’t deny that we have successfully made it less of discomfort for a section of the people. 

It should not lead us to forget we are still far behind as a society to realize that the female body deserves and requires medical assistance to sustain the bodily changes [mostly hormonal] and mineral losses during the entire menstrual cycle. The politicians thumping their chests and taking oaths to protect Bharat Mata are yet to realize that the existing and breathing women also are entitled to human rights and need to be paid a lot more attention than the mere national personification of India [that too notinclusive of everyone in the geographical boundaries of India] in the image of a woman that is Bharat Mata . The irony is that the goddesses enjoy privileges and the existent women are devoid of even basic rights.

Continue reading About Menstrual Rights: Astha Savyasachi

“वन्दे मातरम” जय नहीं, क्षय का नारा है

जब संसद में सरकार का कोई मंत्री कहे कि “वन्दे मातरम” न कहने वाले को भारत में रहने का हक़ नहीं है, तो उसे संसद में और बाहर जवाब देना ही पड़ेगा कि भारत में रहने की शर्त “वन्दे मातरम” का जाप या नारा नहीं है।नहीं हो सकता। भारत में रहने के लिए आप मुझे “जन गण मन” गाने को भी बाध्य नहीं कर सकते। आप मुझे किसी झंडे को सलाम करने को मजबूर नहीं कर सकते।

गाँधी का दिसंबर,1947 की एक प्रार्थना सभा का वक्तव्य याद कर लें हम जिसमें वे कहते हैं कि आप मेरे सर बंदूक लगाकर मुझे गीता पढ़ने के लिए भी बाध्य नहीं कर सकते।

यह तो कहने की ज़रूरत भी नहीं कि आप मुझे “जयश्री राम” या “भारत माता की जय” बोलने का हुक्म नहीं दे सकते। अगर आप ऐसा करते हैं तो आप अपराध कर रहे हैं। आप मेरी स्वायत्तता और मेरी गरिमा का अतिक्रमण कर रहे हैं। यह भारत के संविधान और क़ानून के मुताबिक़ जुर्म है।सज़ा मुझे नहीं आपको होनी चाहिए। लेकिन यह तभी होगा जब भारत का पुलिस और प्रशासन और न्याय तंत्र भारत के संविधान के मुताबिक़ काम करे। आज के भारत को देखते हुए इसकी पूरी गारंटी करना संभव नहीं है। अगर सबसे बड़ी अदालत सिनेमा घर में राष्ट्र गीत बजाने और सबको सावधान खड़े होने का हुक्म दे सकती है तो प्रशासन और पुलिस पर शक लाज़िमी है।
Continue reading “वन्दे मातरम” जय नहीं, क्षय का नारा है

Tabrez is dead, India lives

My friends from Jharkhand sent me a video of a man – to be exact, a Muslim – being lynched. I avoided opening it. Then a message followed – that the man being beaten up on camera has now died. They were at the police station and were meeting senior officers later. I decided to watch the video.

It is a long clip: ten minutes and 49 seconds. In it, you see a man – a young man – tied to a pole. He is half bent. You can see that he is writhing in pain. His head is unsteady and his legs twisted. There is darkness around him, but there is also some light – from the mobiles being flashed at him, to keep him in focus. There are sounds. Human sounds. Abuses. People moving. You can see eyes. Again, human eyes.

A stick is swung in the air and then you see a hand catching it. The man cries out loud. You cannot see if he has been hit or has cried out anticipating a beating. The camera is brought closer to the face. The man is asked to look into the camera. The crowd is moving around, you can sense some excitement in the air. He is asked his name. Continue reading Tabrez is dead, India lives