Am I Doing Enough? Crisis, Activism and the Search for Meaning: Lata Mani

This is a guest post by LATA MANI

In the past fifteen years I have been developing what I describe as “contemplative cultural critique.” Such an effort at transcoding between secular and meditative understandings is not without difficulty and not without its limits. But it has led me to pose questions I might not otherwise have asked, and to think through them in ways that I would not have previously considered.

How might this approach contribute to reflecting on the political turmoil of the past eight weeks in India? This period has been marked by national focus on the penalization and criminalization of student dissent at Hyderabad Central University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. In the former case prolonged institutional harassment drove Rohith Vemula to take his life and in the latter it has led to the imprisonment of Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirbhan Bhattacharya on charges of sedition. In both instances a witch-hunt led by the media and the right-wing BJP government has created a hostile environment conducive neither to dialogue nor to a calm consideration of facts. These events, as P. Sainath has argued, extend to university campuses ideological, legal and political tactics long used against communities resisting “development” in rural India.[1] Continue reading “Am I Doing Enough? Crisis, Activism and the Search for Meaning: Lata Mani”

Living to tell the tale: Neerja Dasani

NEERJA DASANI on the Kabir Kala Manch, their life, art and the constant hurdles set before them by the State. Previously published in Literary Review section of The Hindu on January 5, 2014.

The art of irony is something that the members of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), who identify themselves not as a cultural troupe but as a political movement, are well-versed in. This could be because life for them has been a series of curious contradictions. Emerging from mohallas and bastis, their voices reverberated through the corridors of power, disturbing the slumber of those within. Finding democracy’s din too unsettling, its elected guardians branded KKM as anti-national. The resultant time spent either in jail or underground, strengthened their resolve instead of silencing them into submission.

Read the rest of the article here.

Open Letter to Markanday Katju, Chairperson, Press Council of India: Non-Publication of news on Workers March To Parliament

STATEMENT BY  SOME MEMBERS OF CATALYST STUDY CIRCLE

It is with dismay we, readers from Tamil Nadu, of esteemed English Daily Newspapers (print version) like The Hindu, The Times of India, New Indian Express, Deccan Chronicle etc., want to bring to your notice the lack of coverage of a news item. We have come to know through social networking sites that about 2 Lakh workers ‘March to Parliament’ by 11 central trade unions took place  on 12.12.13 (Video by Malavika VyawahareLabour Rally and Post by Venkat – Two Lakh Workers March to Parliament and March For a Minimum Living Wage – Post by Srinivasan Ramani). This has not been given any coverage on 13.12.13 in Tamil Nadu at least in Chennai based print version Edition.

To read the complete letter and endorse it click here.

Justice will prevail

Sometimes one needs to write pieces while breaking down into tears. That is the only way we can stay true to the fact that words are not enough to express our anguish and our disbelief but also our strength.

It isn’t surprising. In the land where the struggles of Soni Sori and Irom Sharmila not only continue but often go unnoticed, a regressive Supreme Court Judgment which sets the bar low for legality, constitutionality, justice and social morality isn’t out of the ordinary- all in a days work for some.

I spent the week articulating my loving critique of our movement. I thought we were past the idiosyncrasy of fighting an archaic law- one among the many scars of colonialism- being repeated with gusto by whom we can safely call the loony-right wing who claimed to represent all kinds of Gods and worse- many people. We all thought we could move on to fight the many fights that would give us the opportunity to fully shine bright in our creativity and vibrance. But here we are again- having to scream out loud the bare necessities of human existence to voices that have long forgotten the act of listening. Continue reading “Justice will prevail”

Will Logarani Be The Last Victim Of Violence Against Women? Cayathri. D

GUEST POST BY CAYATHRI D via Ground Views

All photographs by the author, or sent by the author (in the original post)

Around 5pm on 17 October 2013, within the Jaffna municipality, one of our friends (a male youth resident of Jaffna) came to our home (a few friends were gathered there) looking very disturbed.…

READ MORE HERE

The Monopoly of Knowledge: Rakshita Swamy

This is a Guest Post by RAKSHITA SWAMY

I recently was reading a PhD dissertation that was aiming to deconstruct the movement that eventually led to the passing of India’s historic Right to Information Act. The study involved unpacking recent agendas of good governance and placing the RTI Act in the center of this reform agenda. By attempting to stitch the narrative of the role played by different factors, the convergence of which led to the eventual passing of the Act, the author tried to compare one version of the narrative, with the other, thereby pronouncing a judgment on what actually may be the “truth”. It was while reading this particular piece of scholarly research, funded by one of the leading Universities of the world, that I was struck by the thought of what purpose we imagine academic research in the field of social science to actually serve. Does it serve to throw light on aspects that are not discussed enough? Or is it meant to pose one set of facts versus the other, and facilitate the reader in coming to a conclusion on what actually can be deemed as a fact. Can research emanating within the broad field of poverty alleviation, development and instrumentalities of governance ever seek to really influence policy making, or even public action? This essay makes a fledgling beginning in attempting to answer this question.   Continue reading “The Monopoly of Knowledge: Rakshita Swamy”