From Feminazi to Savarna Rape Apologist in 24 hours

Two explanations before I begin.

First – I write this in my personal capacity. In this article I represent none of the other signatories to the statement that appealed for the crowd-sourced list of sexual offenders to be withdrawn, and for complaints to be followed through institutional mechanisms (henceforward referred to as Statement). I might still use the pronoun ‘we’ sometimes, please consider that a slippage; that collective identity is something developed over three decades in a movement, and I hope I never lose that habit. But this is my individually written post. Similarly, after the Statement, Kavita Krishnan has written on Scroll, Ayesha Kidwai on Facebook and Nandini Rao on  her blog, each expanding on some aspect or the other of our brief statement.

Second – the Statement was not and is not a ‘Kafila’ statement, it was simply posted on Kafila. Just as a statement posted on Wire is not a Wire statement or a statement on Scroll a Scroll statement, unless explicitly declared to be. Kafila is a collectively run blog with about 20 members, of which I am one of the founder members. Any member of the collective can post directly on Kafila without checking back with other members of the collective. We have often had robust debates among collective members taking opposing sides on a situation, and these debates have played out on Kafila in the past. Only one Kafila member is a signatory to the Statement, myself. I posted it on Kafila because it is a site which is my first site of preference, whether I am attacking the Hindu right or writing on feminist issues. I asked the other signatories if I could post it here, since I have to ask nobody nor approach anybody to post on Kafila.

Lawrence Liang is also a member of the Kafila collective. He does not ‘run’ Kafila (as has been alleged by many), no individual does. But it seems that in this new era of ‘radical’ politics, individual control and leadership of campaigns is assumed.  Further, Mahmood Farooqui too was a Kafila collective member. When a specific complaint of sexual abuse and rape was brought against him by a complainant anonymous to us, the Kafila collective suspended him immediately from Kafila publicly, pending investigation of the complaint. That was the only collective statement Kafila has issued in its ten years of functioning as a voluntary, non-funded blog.

Continue reading “From Feminazi to Savarna Rape Apologist in 24 hours”

Statement by feminists on Facebook campaign to “Name and Shame”

As feminists, we have been part of a long struggle to make visible sexual harassment at the workplace, and have worked with the movement to put in place systems of transparent and just procedures of accountability. We are dismayed by the initiative on Facebook, in which men are being listed and named as sexual harassers with no context or explanation. One or two names of men who have been already found guilty of sexual harassment by due process, are placed on par with unsubstantiated accusations. It worries us that anybody can be named anonymously, with lack of answerability. Where there are genuine complaints, there are institutions and procedures, which we should utilize. We too know the process is harsh and often tilted against the complainant. We remain committed to strengthening these processes. At the same time, abiding by the principles of natural justice, we remain committed to due process, which is fair and just.
This manner of naming can delegitimize the long struggle against sexual harassment, and make our task as feminists more difficult.
We appeal to those who are behind this initiative to withdraw it, and if they wish to pursue complaints, to follow due process, and to be assured that they will be supported by the larger feminist community in their fight for justice.

Ayesha Kidwai

Brinda Bose

Janaki Abraham

Janaki Nair

Kavita Krishnan

Madhu Mehra

Nandini Rao

Nivedita Menon

Pratiksha Baxi

Ranjani Mazumdar

Sabeena Gadihoke

Shikha Jhingan

Shohini Ghosh

Vrinda Grover

 

Violence against women – two patriarchal judgements: Gargi Mishra and Shreya Munoth

Guest post by GARGI MISHRA AND SHREYA MUNOTH 

Do a woman’s attire, appearance, sexual history or prior relationship with a perpetrator of sexual violence constitute a valid defence for a perpetrator of a sexual offence? Does the meaning of consent vary for educated women? The law, as it stands, doesn’t permit these factors to be taken into account while adjudicating crimes of violence against women nor does it prescribe varying standards. Unfortunately, however, deeply ingrained patriarchal mindsets rear their ugly heads ever so often flouting express statutory proscriptions, most recently demonstrated by two judgments delivered in the last fortnight dealing with rape.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court suspended the sentences of three students granted by the trial court for the rape of another student. The basis for this suspension, amongst others, was the victim’s “misadventures and experiments”, her “promiscuity” and the absence of brutal violence accompanying the sexual assault. Close on the heels of this, the Delhi High Court, on appeal, acquitted Mahmood Farooqui, a filmmaker, overturning the trial court’s verdict of finding him guilty of rape having performed forced oral sex on a visiting woman scholar.  While so doing, the Delhi High Court purposively misinterpreted the position of law on what constitutes consent and seems to have been largely influenced by the victim’s previous relationship with Farooqui, her being educated (a “woman of letters”), the supposed feebleness with which she said ‘no’ to the sexual act, and the fact of Farooqui’s bipolar disorder. Continue reading “Violence against women – two patriarchal judgements: Gargi Mishra and Shreya Munoth”

Are We Heading towards a Nuclear Winter? A Theoretical Framework: Rameez Raja

Guest post by RAMEEZ RAJA

The discovery of nuclear energy or radioactivity in 1930s and 1940s by the scientists in a sense murdered the true spirit of science. After the bombings by the United States over Japan in 1945, physicists and nuclear scientists practically got to know about the massive amount of energy a nuclear explosion can release. At around the same time, scientists started experimenting to harness nuclear energy for generating electricity as well. However, after the destruction caused by atomic explosions in Japan, Albert Einstein changed his stance towards using nuclear energy after witnessing the horrifying episode in human history. Along with him, many other nuclear scientists and bomb designers like Ted Taylor, John Gofman, Michio Kaku turned anti-nuclear activists after studying about the harmful effects nuclear radiation can cause.

Kennette Benedict, a senior advisor to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists argued that the three communities which benefit by supporting nuclear warheads are “weapons scientists and engineers, private military contractors, and the government nuclear weapon bureaucracy.” Some realists and neo-realists like Hans Morgenthau (Politics Among Nations), Kenneth Waltz (Theory of International Politics) and John Mearsheimer (The Tragedy of Great Power Politics) championed the deterrence theory for avoiding major wars. Surprisingly, the nuclear hawks feel proud of their nuclear achievements and development, despite the fact that nukes failed to provide them with total security and also that nuclear energy is not a cheap source for generating electricity as reported by physicist, M. V. Ramana in his book The Power of Promise.  Continue reading “Are We Heading towards a Nuclear Winter? A Theoretical Framework: Rameez Raja”

In the Forbidden Land of Iran – the past, survival and imperial nostalgia: Inshah Malik

Guest post by Inshah Malik
Iran is politically and economically isolated and in that isolation, to call it an experiment of nation building is misleading, but nevertheless, it is an on-going exercise. Under the crippling sanctions, the party is still on!

I don’t have the usual agenda to visit Iran. I’m not an intrepid western traveler barging into the forbidden land, to explore my political other. My two year journey within Iran is a certain sojourn necessitated by my consistent desire to unravel the personal and political meaning of my existence. As a Kashmiri scholar burdened by a political inheritance of the prolonged Kashmir conflict, I seek to unearth the connection between Kashmir and Iran. This connection, as I understand now, is not simply political, in that both places are Muslim dominated, but more spiritual. It is in the erasure and random references to Kashmir in Farsi through which I attempt to understand the crisis of a Muslim consciousness entwined with the political domination of an imperial world order.

I encounter Kashmir as a meaningful reference in the poetry of Iran’s national poet, Hafiz Continue reading “In the Forbidden Land of Iran – the past, survival and imperial nostalgia: Inshah Malik”

In Which Swaminathan Iyer McDonaldises the Tribals and Serves Other Junk Food : Shripad Dharmadhikary and Nandini Oza

Guest Post by SHRIPAD DHARMADHIKARY AND NANDINI OZA

Reposted from Manthan

What can one expect when one is faced with a blog by “India’s leading economic journalist” which is titled “Most of the ousted tribals are flourishing and loving it”? That there will be a large helping of fries on the side? That it will taste great but is really junk? In all of these expectations, one is not disappointed.

First, a little background. The leading economic journalist is Swaminathan Iyer, who along with a colleague carried out a survey of some tribals ousted by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam, comparing their situation with those left behind in the hilly areas near the river, and others in the hilly areas but near a mining project. On 10th Sept 2017, Iyer wrote a blog titled “Why many tribals don’t mind being ousted” based on his study. In a matter of just two days, Iyer has come out with a second blog based on the same study on the same topic. One wonders why. But then, again, one may not wonder, for the Sardar Sarovar has become an important topic with the Prime Minister scheduled to dedicate to the nation the dam on 17th Sept 2017.

The first blog was a classic case of misinterpretation of data, hiding the more important issues, and conclusions not supported by research findings, as we showed in our response. We showed that the tribals do mind being ousted. Now Iyer has written another blog on the matter, which skirts the issues we had raised in our response and omits some crucial survey findings given in the earlier blog, but still tries to show the Sardar Sarovar rehabilitation program as being successful.

Continue reading “In Which Swaminathan Iyer McDonaldises the Tribals and Serves Other Junk Food : Shripad Dharmadhikary and Nandini Oza”

Why tribals do mind being ousted by dams: Shripad Dharmadhikary and Nandini Oza

SHRIPAD DHARMADHIKARY and NANDINI OZA write a stinging response to Swaminathan Anklesaria Iyer’s unsupported claims in Times of India about how much tribals love being ousted for big dams. The newspaper did not care to publish this rebuttal so the authors posted this on Dharmadhikary’s blog and also in the comments section to Iyer’s article.

We reproduce Dharmadhikary and Oza’s original response in full below from Manthan.

However, here is an update from Shripad:

I put my comment in brief, within the allowed 3000 characters, yesterday in the Comments section. Today, it’s gone.

Then, a friend brought to my notice that Swaminathan has written a completely new version of the blog and put it out yesterday. Wonder if he is in the habit of writing different versions of the same blog within a matter of two days! https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Swaminomics/most-of-the-ousted-tribals-are-flourishing-and-loving-it-thank-you-activists/

Have yet to read the new version of his bog properly (am out since early morning), but it appears that he has rewritten it in a way that tries to skirt the response we had given. Now I am planning to write another response to the new blog….but can only do it tomorrow as busy with meetings today.

And now, Dharmadhikary and Oza’s original response in Manthan:

SA Iyers’s piece in Times of India dated 10 Sept 2017, “Why many tribals don’t mind being ousted by dams”, examining the condition of some of the oustees of Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam is a classic case of misinterpretation of data, hiding the more important issues, and conclusions not supported by research findings. Indeed, a proper reading of the article itself shows that unlike Iyer’s assertion, his own figures show that tribals do mind being ousted. Some important points are given below.

Iyer claims that their “surveys showed, unambiguously, the resettled villagers were better off than their former neighbours in semi-evacuated villages.” In support, among the figures given from their survey, they point out that comparing the resettled with their former neighbours who remain in the original areas, the access to drinking water was 45% against 33%, to PHCs was 37% versus 12% and to hospitals 14% versus 3%. Given that the oustees were resettled between 25-30 years ago, and that the Sardar Sardar project has poured in hundreds of crores of rupees for resettlement, these figures don’t speak of oustees being better off, but indeed, point to the pathetic case of the oustees.

Continue reading “Why tribals do mind being ousted by dams: Shripad Dharmadhikary and Nandini Oza”