In JNU, the Struggle to Define the University: Kartik Maini

Guest post by KARTIK MAINI

One day, the war will end, and I will return to my poetry

Contemporary India loves its army. For a civilisation that defines itself as intrinsically nonviolent, we do also love our wars.

On 23 July, 2017, Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar, students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and members of Veterans India – a collective of ex-servicemen, gathered to commemorate the Kargil Vijay Diwas. The impulse of the commemoration is two-fold – it is a celebration of the Indian army’s reclamation of Kargil from Pakistani encroachment, as also an occasion to mourn the war’s martyrs who sacrificed their lives in service of the nation. For a university, commemoration should involve a quiet moment of reflection on the enormous human costs of war.

Continue reading “In JNU, the Struggle to Define the University: Kartik Maini”

The Modi regime, its minions in the JNU administration and the brave struggle of whistle blower Prof Rajeev Kumar

The prime minister of India Narendra Modi’s cheap hindutvavaadi jibes in his farewell address to vice president Hamid Ansari were better suited to Republic TV or The Organiser, but under Modi’s regime, parliament is pretty much run like an RSS shakha, and Modi himself seems no different from Arnab Goswami.

Said Modi in parliament to the distinguished out-going vice president:

Aapke karyakaal ka bahut saara hissa West Asia se juda raha hai. Usi dayere mein zindagi ke bahut varsh aapke gaye, usi mahaul mein, usi soch mein, aise logon ke beech mein rahe. Wahan se retire hone ke baad bhi jyadatar kaam wohi raha aapka; Minorities Commission ho yah Aligarh Muslim University ho, zyadatar dayara aapka wohi raha.

Lekin yeh 10 saal puri tarah ek alaga zimma aapka sar mein aaya. Puri tarah ek ek pal samvidhan samvidhan samvidhan ke hi dayere mein chalana. Aur aapne usko bakhubi nibhaane ka bharpur prayaas kiya. Ho sakta hai kuch chatpatahat rahi hogi bhitar aapke andar bhi. Magar aaj ke baad shayad woh sankat bhi nahin rahega. Mukti ka anand bhi rahega aur apni mulbhut jo soch rahi hogi uske anusaar aapko karya karne ka, sochne ka, baat batane ka awsar bhi milega.

Continue reading “The Modi regime, its minions in the JNU administration and the brave struggle of whistle blower Prof Rajeev Kumar”

Baiting Desire – The Politics of Women’s Sexualities in Popular and Other Indian Cinemas: Brinda Bose

Guest Post by BRINDA BOSE

To return to questions about women’s imperiled sexual desires and freedoms that have been spilling around us in recent weeks – with a middle-aged ‘Rosie’ emerging as a blissful mascot of women’s ageless pleasures in a multiplex film – I had unexpected occasion on a long-haul flight recently, to watch a film in a completely different register, Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Tope (‘The Bait’, 2016, Bengali with English subtitles).

Tope had done the round of international film festivals last year, and I believe released in Indian theatres (mostly if not only in Bengal, I would think) in the early summer of 2017.

Continue reading “Baiting Desire – The Politics of Women’s Sexualities in Popular and Other Indian Cinemas: Brinda Bose”

हरियाणा की औरतें घूंघट को शान नहीं मानती: कशिश बदर

Guest post by KASHISH BADAR

हरियाणा सरकार को घू़ंघट पर कुछ बोलने से पहले इन महिलाओं की बात सुन लेनी चाहिए थी.

जब हरियाणा सरकार ने अपनी मासिक पत्रिका में एक घूँघट काढ़ी हुई औरत को राज्य की आन, बान और पहचान कहा तो मीडिया में इसका काफ़ी विरोध हुआ. फ़ेस्बुक पर लोगों का यह कहना था कि जब साक्षी मालिक, गीता फोगत, संतोष यादव और कल्पना चावला जैसी औरतें हरियाणा का नाम दुनिया भर में रौशन कर रही हैं, तब भी हरियाणा सरकार क्यूँ घूँघट वाली औरतों को ही अपनी शान समझती है. क्या उन औरतों की मेहनत, लगन और सफलता राज्य की शान नहीं है? क्या सिर्फ़ पुरुष खिलाड़ी ही राज्य को गर्व महसूस करवा सकते हैं?

स्वयं हरियाणा की औरतों के इस विषय पर विचार लेने मैं रेवाड़ी ज़िला गयी. वहाँ कुछ औरतों से घूँघट के और उनकी शान के विषय में बात की.

 

ममता यादव, सेंतिस साल की शादी शुदा औरत हैं.

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And THIS is how you deal with threats of defamation charges! The strange case(s) of Red FM and EPW

Red FM’s RJ Malishka features in a peppy video that went viral, mocking Mumbai’s Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the dismal lack of civic amenities and the havoc the rains can wreak in the city. In a lively parody of the popular Marathi folk song Sonu Tuza Mazyavar Bharosa Nahi Kay (Sonu, Don’t you Trust me?), she sang cheekily, Sonu, don’t you trust BMC?

Potholes, traffic jams, slow trains, all the woes of the Mumbaikar in the fabled rains of Western India.

But Shiv Sena which runs the BMC was not amused.  Continue reading “And THIS is how you deal with threats of defamation charges! The strange case(s) of Red FM and EPW”

#BreakTheSilence – Chennai against mob lynching: Madhura Balasubramaniam and Padmapriya Govindarajan

Guest Post by Madhura Balasubramaniam and Padmapriya Govindarajan 

On July 1, 2017 a gathering of citizens congregated at the Valluvar Kottam monument in Chennai, India, in solidarity with the spate of demonstrations across the nation condemning the rise in instances of mob lynching and violence that disproportionately targeted Dalit and Muslim citizens for beef consumption. The protests were triggered by the murder of 16 year old Junaid Khan by a train mob. Since July 28, peaceful citizen gatherings have joined a wave that attempts to call out government silence, and thereby perceived tacit complicity, regarding the actions ofGau Rakshaks and other vigilante mobs that engage in lynching with a strongly communal or casteist skew. They have been collectively termed as #NotInMyName protests, alluding to the argument that these murders occurred in the name of the cow and in the name of Hinduism. Continue reading “#BreakTheSilence – Chennai against mob lynching: Madhura Balasubramaniam and Padmapriya Govindarajan”

Bharat Mata and her unruly daughters

Bharat Mata’s daughter? But the Hindutvavadi motherland produces only sons – Hindu, savarna sons – to protect their mother’s ever fragile honour.

Let us begin these reflections with a moment from Nisha Pahuja’s disturbing film the World Before Her, which tracks two young women – Ruhi, a beauty pageant contestant and Prachi, a trainer with the Durga Vahini, women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

While Ruhi and her fellow participants emerge as conventional and pallid, Prachi is fierce and questioning, independent minded. But towards the end of the film, you realize that for both women (and not for Ruhi alone), this period of training was only a small window that gave them a brief glimpse of broader horizons. It was only a brief moment of excitement and hope, and what seemed like freedom, before real life – the real lives of real women – closed in on them.

Throughout the film, Prachi has been telling the film-maker that she will never get married, she will live her life as a Hindutva activist. She emphatically rejects the ordinary life of a wife and mother. But towards the end, her father declares quite explicitly that this is out of the question. She can never be a full time activist. Of course she must get married. She has a womb, do men have wombs? Her responsibility then, is to bring up children. Initially in this sequence, Prachi argues against him vehemently, verges on the insolent, but gradually she falls silent. Her expression, still rebellious, but devastated, resigned, signals to us her recognition that the daughter of the Hindu nation is only in training to be a mother. That is the highest ambition she can have.

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