All posts by Nivedita Menon

Covid-19, the Climate Crisis and Lockdown – an opportunity to end the war with nature: Vishwas Satgar

This post written by VISHWAS SATGAR was first published in Daily Maverick

With the coronavirus, we are really trying to mitigate the revenge blow from nature. It’s a moment to be humble and realise our finitude in a wondrous and infinite natural order.

Covid-19 has pushed an already weak and crisis-ridden global economy over the edge. Massive value has been erased from crashing stock market prices. Many commentators are talking about the return of economic conditions similar to the great financial crash of 2007-2009. The most powerful countries in the world from China to the US have ground to a halt.

This pathogen, possibly from delicate creatures like a pangolin or a bat, has engendered the worst global pandemic since the Spanish flu (1918-1920), which killed 100-million people. Death rates are going up globally. Right-wing nationalists in Europe and the USA have been confused as this virus has jumped racist border regimes, and infected all populations. Citizens are no longer concerned about their racist messages, but rather about how to survive.

Continue reading Covid-19, the Climate Crisis and Lockdown – an opportunity to end the war with nature: Vishwas Satgar

An Inquiry in to the Anti-Muslim Violence in Northeast Delhi: Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum

Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum is a team of doctors that visited the area.

Members of the medical team [1] 

  1. Dr Vikas Bajpai – Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (Ph: 9717820427).
  2. Dr Harjit Bhatti – Former President, Resident Doctors Association, All India Institute of Medical Scientists (AIIMS) (Ph: 8586848479).
  3. Dr Sumitran – A consultant radiologist with a government hospital in Delhi.
  4. Five doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences

It took a 25 to 30 km drive from AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), to the violence affected areas of Northeast Delhi. We were visiting the area in the context of the massive communal violence, primarily directed against Muslims living in the area, in the wake of their resistance to the CAA Act passed recently by the parliament along with NRC-NPR which threaten to rob millions of Muslims of their Indian citizenship and render them illegal in their own country.

The effort to send this medical team was initiated in the context of massive scale of medical emergency that arose as a result of this violence. In this report, apart from reflecting on the medical suffering of the people, we shall also try to provide a snapshot of the violence that was unleashed and the role of the political-administrative machinery to address the same and its consequences, as were narrated to us by the people we met.

Continue reading An Inquiry in to the Anti-Muslim Violence in Northeast Delhi: Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum

Over one thousand women write to Chief Ministers opposing NPR

Given that the updation of the National Population Register (NPR) is scheduled to begin from April 1, 2020 along with house listing for the Census of India 2021, women rights activists released a letter at Delhi’s Press Club on March 17, 2020, that was sent to every Chief
Minister in the country by over one thousand individual signatories and 18 organizations. The signatories include activists, writers,
academics, lawyers, doctors, farmers, professionals, anganwadi workers and women from all walks of life from more than 20 states.

LETTER TO CMs from Women’s* Groups and individuals_

Dear Chief Minister,

 *Subject: NPR PRESENTS A CLEAR DANGER TO WOMEN.*
*DE-LINK NPR FROM CENSUS HOUSE LISTING.*

  1. *We write to you as Indian women [1] who are opposed to the proposed National Population Register (NPR) [2]*. Women constitute nearly 50% of India’s population, and this opposition is based on clear evidence from our own lives.
  2. Section 14 A of the Citizenship Act, the accompanying 2003 Rules, and official reports of the Ministry of Home Affairs, all provide for using NPR data to compile the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). The NRIC will be prepared by local registrars scrutinizing information of individuals in the Population Register and marking people as ‘Doubtful Citizens’.

Continue reading Over one thousand women write to Chief Ministers opposing NPR

Muslims held hostage by a criminal state apparatus in UP – a report on Sambhal

Sustained reportage by dogged and principled journalists and investigation by citizens’ groups have gradually begun to illuminate the terrible darkness around anti CAA protests in UP over December 2019. Every single one of these has exploded the narrative fostered by the UP government, police and compliant local media, of violent mobs destroying public property and attacking police.

We have all noted that massive marches against the CAA have taken place all over the country, but have “turned violent” only in BJP ruled states. The various reports that are now emerging, reveal the extent to which the UP police either acted as a violent mob itself, or used police informers or local RSS organizations to start stone pelting and other such acts to disrupt non-violent marches, and to provide an excuse for violent police action.

A public hearing on state action in UP will be held in Delhi on January 16th, 2020, bringing together all the information collected by different groups of people who have visited different parts of the state.

Here we present the report on Sambhal.

SAMBHAL

A team went to Sambhal from Karwan-e-Mohabbat on 2 January, 2020, consisting of Ayesha Kidwai, Farida Khan, Navsharan Singh, Nivedita Menon, Sandeep Yadav, Sumit Gupta, Tanika Sarkar and Varna Balakrishnan. Continue reading Muslims held hostage by a criminal state apparatus in UP – a report on Sambhal

Hope, solidarity and struggle in JNU: Women of Sabarmati

WOMEN OF SABARMATI WRITE:

The outpouring of solidarity and generosity on the JNU campus, since the attack of 5th January 2020 has been overwhelming.

Hostels have organised guerilla dhabas at Sabarmati. They have sung revolutionary songs while making pans of maggi and distributing jhal muri and peanuts.

Men from the hostel that distributed peanuts, worried about the mess of the peanut shells at our hostel entrance, even offered to sweep up the place, brooms at the ready.

Three women in the women’s wing in Sabarmati threw all the women in the hostel a party two nights ago.

During and after the events of the 5th, neighbours have become friends.

Our teachers have been coming to meet us every day. Some have brought bags full of snacks. Some have organised trauma sessions for us. Some have just held us.

And tonight Brahmaputra hostel organised a Sadbhavna mela for the campus. Free snack stalls all around, dholak music to dance to and a large Lohri bonfire.

As some of us women from Sabarmati were walking back towards Ganga dhaba tonight, discussing how this is the first time our hostel has no Lohri celebrations, the men from Kaveri stopped us to offer popcorn from their Lohri celebrations.

JNU was home, is home, and will remain home.

Wall of resistance at Brahmaputra

It’s We the People, not we the Citizens, of India!

Image courtesy News 18

People, Persons, Citizens

When the idea of citizenship is wielded like a deadly weapon to deprive people of basic rights rather than to empower them, it’s time to think about the basis of rights differently.  While in the Preamble to the Constitution, ‘we the people’ resolve to secure to all its ‘citizens’ justice, liberty, equality and fraternity; Article 14 of the Fundamental Rights ensures equality before the law to all “persons”, not only to citizens.

The people of a land precede the creation of “citizens”, and we the people of India must think seriously at this moment in our history, about how justice is to be secured to all persons, and whether citizenship is an emancipatory idea any longer.

Consider the revealing and tragic irony of one of the accused arrested for his alleged role in violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) , in East Delhi’s Seemapuri. Through his counsel, in a Delhi court, he claimed to be a juvenile, and to prove this, produced certificates from the madarsa at which he studies.

Delhi Police, however, claimed that these documents were insufficient to establish his age, and requested permission for a bone ossification test. The counsel of the accused argued that according to central government notifications, madarsa certificates are sufficient to prove age, but the Delhi court permitted police to carry out the ossification test.

Imagine the claim of such a person to  citizenship and to inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC)! Continue reading It’s We the People, not we the Citizens, of India!

Dayaar-E-Shauq Mera – Land of my Hopes: Faiz Ullah

As Jamia Teachers Association calls for a candelight vigil at India Gate TODAY at 5 pm (December 23, 2019), we are publishing an earlier Facebook post by FAIZ ULLAH on Jamia written soon after the police violence at the university during the anti-CAA protests there.

Dayaar-e-shauq mera is the anthem of Jamia Milia Islamia. Translation of the lyrics at this link.

FAIZ ULLAH writes:

Jamia Millia Islamia for me, and many like me who grew up in the small neighbourhoods around it, is not just a institution of higher education. It is our nursery, our playground, and where we came of age. My family moved from Bara Hindu Rao to Jamia Nagar area in the mid 1980s because my father thought living in the vicinity of an educational institution would be good for us. I am not very sure if the anti-Sikh violence of 1984 Delhi was a decisive reason for him to move us to a place he thought would be safe, but looking back I think he did kind of foresaw the shape of things.

Over the next couple of decades my elder brother studied History, My sister Social Work, and I, Mass Communication at Jamia. My niece will graduate this year from the same university in which her grandfather also enrolled for a while for his fourth degree – he had to drop out in the first year because he was already running a small primary school with my mother and practicing law on the side.

My brother was active in the students’ politics circles and served as the joint secretary of the university’s students’ union. This often translated into arguments between him and my father, not over his politics but that he would be too involved in it and would disappear for days without any information.

Continue reading Dayaar-E-Shauq Mera – Land of my Hopes: Faiz Ullah