Category Archives: Bad ideas

Once Upon a Time There Was a Campus (and Why it is Still There) – A Fable: Hammersickle Rubberchappal


From the very title you can tell that it is a story with a happy end. It is also a true story.

Image courtesy Kevin Clancy Studio

Once upon a time there was a campus. In a slightly shabby postcolonial country. When they became post-colonial, they decided they needed somewhere to send their bright minds, so they could think, read, and learn to write. And since they were dusting themselves off after they had booted the colonisers out, they also knew that most people in that shabby country had nowhere they could send their kids to learn and grow because everyone lived in all kinds of faraway parts of the country, had no money, and had very difficult lives. Some enthusiastic, farsighted, and sensible people in their parliament decided to make this possible. They made the laws, they found the space, barren and brown, in a hot part of a sprawling northern town. Then they got the best minds from everywhere, to teach and to learn, so that together they could do their best to make everyone a citizen of a slightly less shabby postcolonial country.

For half a century, this campus flourished. It became green from brown, it had slightly rickety places for everyone to live in. There were many small and big places you could go for a hot meal. Yes, it cost the government some money, but not that much. There are people who say very tall buildings are phallic symbols. Interestingly though, the tallest building on the campus was the library. Slowly, the busy people on this campus took on the responsibility for how the shabby postcolonial country would think. Not everyone was happy, but all these people were so sincere and so committed and so good, that no one could really say they were wrong. They learned languages from all over so they could speak with the world, they learned about the past in history, about the present in sciences that were very talkative and social, and thought hopeful and sciencey thoughts about the future. Even the walls danced with poetry, purpose, and an abandon of colour.

Then came those years of frightening and radically evil people who began to take over entire countries. Not that this was entirely new, it had happened before. How that could happen again is being investigated to this day, but is dark matter for another story. And then this shabby postcolonial country fell to the same fate. Continue reading Once Upon a Time There Was a Campus (and Why it is Still There) – A Fable: Hammersickle Rubberchappal

Statement on the Arrest of a Survivor of Sexual Assault in Araria, Bihar: Ambedkar University Delhi Faculty Association


Ambedkar University Delhi Faculty Association (AUDFA is alarmed to hear of and strongly condemns the arrest of a survivor of gang rape along with two social workers (including former AUD student Tanmay Nivedita), at the office of the Judicial Magistrate (1st Class) in Araria, Bihar on 10 July 2020. The arrest was ordered during the course of recording of the survivors’ statement under section 164 CrPC in relation to a case of gang rape which took place just days earlier, on 6 July 2020.

It is further disturbing that the hon’ble court appears to have registered offence at the fact that the survivor sought the presence and support of two social workers prior to actually signing her statement under section 164 CrPC in the said case. The right of a survivor of sexual assault/rape to the presence of caregivers for psychological support is well established and is specifically noted in the Justice Verma Committee Report (2013, Appendix 8). Instead of recognising the right of the survivor to psychological support, the Judicial Magistrate, Araria District, thought it fit to order the arrest of the survivor and the two social workers under sections of the IPC, including 353 and 228, on grounds of “obstructing the work of public servants”.

The absence of sensitivity in dealing with cases of sexual assault, and the unfortunate use of power to discipline a survivor of gang rape for seeking psychological and social support at a time of deep trauma, lays bare the deeply worrisome reality of the functioning of the criminal justice system that survivors of sexual assault face on a regular basis. AUDFA unequivocally condemns these arrests and stands in solidarity with the arrested persons.

तुर्की – गैर धर्मनिरपेक्ष रास्ते पर : मुशर्रफ अली

Guest Post by Musharraf AliThe Hagia Sophia Court Judgment — What Lies Beneath?  

क़ुव्वत ऐ फ़िकरो अमल पहले फ़ना होता है
फिर किसी क़ौम की शौकत पे ज़वाल आता है


(किसी क़ौम के दबदबे या रौब में तब गिरावट आती है, जब उसकी सोचने-विचारने की ताक़त खत्म हो जाती है)

8 जुलाई 2020 को तुर्की के राष्ट्रपति तय्यप इरदुगान ने चर्च से मस्जिद फिर मस्जिद से म्यूजियम बना दी गयी ऐतिहासिक इमारत हय्या सोफ़िया को फिर से मस्जिद बनाने की घोषणा की इसके बाद 10 जुलाई को वहां के सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने इरदुगान के फैसले के पक्ष में फैसला दिया। इस घटना के बाद दुनिया भर के मुसलमानों में खुशी की लहर दौड़ गयी और पस्ती में डूबी हुई क़ौम को एक विजय का अहसास हुआ। इस घटना के बाद मैं इंटरनेट पर मुसलमानों की प्रतिक्रिया का अध्ययन करता रहा था। मैं इस तलाश में था कि इस घटना के विरोध में इसकी मज़्ज़मत में मुस्लिमो की तरफ़ से कोई तो आवाज़ सुनाई देगी लेकिन जहां तक इंटरनेट पर मैं ढूंढ पाया एक भी आवाज़ विरोध की नही मिल पायी जबकि समर्थन करती और खुशियां मनाती पोस्टें भरी पड़ी थी। मेरी नज़र में यह घटना वैसी ही है जैसी बाबरी मस्जिद ढहने की है और वहां के सुप्रीम कोर्ट का फैसला भी वैसा ही है जैसा नवम्बर 2019 में भारत के सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने बाबरी मस्जिद के संबंध में सुनाया। तुर्की में हय्या सोफिया को ढहाया नही गया लेकिन सांकेतिक रूप से माने तो यह ढहाने जैसा ही क़दम है। बाबरी मस्जिद, मंदिर तोड़कर बनाई गई अभी यह बात विवादित बनी हुई है लेकिन हय्या सोफिया 1453 से पहले चर्च था यह ऐतिहासिक रूप से प्रमाणित है। जब मुस्तफा कमाल अतातुर्क ने मस्जिद बना दिये गए चर्च को म्यूजियम में 1934 में बदला तब विवाद को समाप्त करने का उनका बहुत ही समझदारी भरा क़दम था मगर तुर्की राष्ट्रपति तय्यप इरदुगान ने कमाल अतातुर्क के सारे किये कराए पर अपने निजी स्वार्थ में पानी फेर दिया और दुनिया भर में मुसलमानों की जो खराब छवि बना दी गयी है उसको और खराब कर दिया। उनके इस काम से मुसलमानों की जो बुनियादी समस्याये हैं वो हल होने की जगह और बढ़ गईं। Continue reading तुर्की – गैर धर्मनिरपेक्ष रास्ते पर : मुशर्रफ अली

Break the Chain, Break the (Unconventional) Family?

My earlier posts on the Kerala Left’s inability to forge an adequate and democratizing response to the ‘societal emergencies’ that have challenged Malayali society in the 21st century, and on the completely-unjustified attack on the body artist Rehana Fathima seem to have irritated, even angered, many supporters of the CPM on Facebook.

These people are not youngsters, a detail that is really important. Indeed, they largely belong to the upper-middle-class professional elite, indeed, perhaps among the best-off sections of Malayali society, which include medical professionals, male and female. Their responses reveal very interesting details about how the pandemic shapes our understanding of ‘useful expertise’:  at this moment, we are told, just listen to medical professionals, and not just their views on issues pertaining to health, but also to ‘social health’.  Many of these professionals believe that the brazen violence unleashed against Rehana Fathima’s family — her mother-in-law has been denied free dialysis simply because she is Rehana Fathima’s mother-in-law, and BSNL has ordered the eviction of the family on completely ridiculous grounds – is a minor diversion, an irritating, trivial one, compared to the task of controlling the pandemic on the ground, which of course, brings the medical professional (even when he/she works in Kerala’s private hospitals, which are surely not the epitome of altruism) to the centre of public discourse as the ‘hero’ that everyone should be eternally grateful to. And if such heroes tell you that Rehana Fathima is just a child-abusing publicity-seeker, then you have to just say yes. And, as as the artist Radha Gomathy put it, participate in the Break-the-Chain-and-Break-the-Family campaign — or punish Rehana’s supportive family for not being freakishly conservative, like good Malayali families.

Bolstering their claim to be the only ‘real experts’ to talk about Malayali society at the moment is their implicit understanding that medical professionals are somehow more ‘scientific’ than others. Yet I was amazed — indeed, alarmed — by the carelessness with which they dealt with empirical information and their easy abandonment of logic.  The tendency to equate technical training with scientific is very strong in these Facebook debates, as also the idea that social science and history are some airy-fairy romance that lacks scientific basis.

I am mentioning these features not to put these people down — and I am also aware of, and grateful to, many other medical professionals who expressed unease at these acts of hubris. I wish only to flag what seems to me an emerging axis of power in post-pandemic Kerala. A form in which the state’s apparatus of biopower is projected insistently as the sole benevolent source of human sustenance that must engage us constantly; it is not that critical discourse should be abolished, but it must focus, and gently, on this pre-given object. In it, the biological body is the object on which the state builds its new protectionism; the only kind of body it is bound to protect. The ‘new expert’ wields power on it, and their technical interventions will henceforth be recognized as ‘scientific’  — and the significance of the gap between the two will be ignored. The suspension of neoliberal logic during the pandemic has indeed allowed the Left to behave, even think, like the left — this emerging protectionism seems to be actually riding on it.

It is not surprising at all then that for some of these experts, those of us who contested the purportedly ‘scientific claim’ that Rehana’s children will be necessarily harmed psychologically by the sight of their mother’s exposed torso, or the equally-shaky idea that they necessarily lack the psychological strength the resist the taunts of society, seem dangerous to society.  Rehana’s use of the body is aimed at the long-term; it signals the possibility of seeing the body as the site of aesthetic play and creativity; its androgynous appearance and breaking of stereotypes about the maternal body make it defy gendered classification (so necessary for the state). Her husband deserves punishment because he had abandoned the role of Reformer-Husband so central to the twentieth-century reformist discourse. Our experts’ ‘scientific temperaments’ do not allow them to perceive the fact that the Reformer-Husband carried the burden of ushering his wife into (a gendered) modernity, while in twenty-first century Kerala, women no longer need such ushering — there is data that shows that more women than men complete their education and enter higher education; that they outperform men in most examinations and have entered most modern professions; that in marriages, the bride is now likely to be more educated than the groom. The family needs to be punished as a whole for allowing such explorations of the body.

I still repose faith in the democratizing possibilities that this window of time gives us, but that does not make me blind to this wilful shutting out of the long-term and the agency of citizens. It is as if future society may be imagined by citizens only with or after the state. The state sees a vague and uncertain future, and therefore all citizens should, therefore, limit themselves to the immediate and present. Nothing should be allowed to disrupt the Left’s hegemony-building through pandemic-control exercises. Even if that requires that we turn a blind eye to the fact that the refurbishing of this hegemony may not be antithetical to the further entrenchment of biopower and the reign of these new experts.


मनु को इतिहास तक सीमित करने का सवाल बनाम मनुस्मृति को ‘सैनिटाइज़’ करने के षडयंत्र

कितने लोगों ने डॉ. अम्बेडकर की अगुवाई में छेड़े गए पहले ‘दलित विद्रोह’ अर्थात महाड़ सत्याग्रह (1927) के बारे में पढ़ा होगा और यह जाना होगा कि किस तरह उसके पहले चरण में (19-20 मार्च) को महाड़ नामक जगह पर स्थित चवदार तालाब पर हजारों की तादाद में लोग पहुंचे थे और उन्होंने वहां पानी पीया था। जानवरों को भी जिस तालाब पर पानी पीने से रोका नहीं जाता था, उस तालाब पर दलितों को मनाही थी और इसी मनाही के खिलाफ इस सत्याग्रह ने बग़ावत का बिगुल फूंका था।

सत्याग्रह के दूसरे चरण में (25 दिसम्बर 1927) में उसी महाड में डॉ. अम्बेडकर ने मनुस्म्रति का दहन किया था और उनकी इस कार्रवाई की तुलना फ्रेंच इन्कलाब (1789) से की थी। इस दहन के पहले जिस प्रस्ताव को गंगाधर सहस्त्रबुद्धे नामक डॉ. अम्बेडकर के सहयोगी ने पढ़ा था- जो खुद पुरोहित जाति से सम्बद्ध थे, उसके शब्द इस प्रकार थे: “यह सम्मेलन इस मत का मजबूत हिमायती है कि मनुस्‍मृति, अगर हम उसके उन तमाम श्लोकों को देखें जिन्होंने शूद्र जाति को कम करके आंका है, उनकी प्रगति को अवरुद्ध किया है, और उनकी सामाजिक, राजनीतिक और आर्थिक गुलामी को स्थायी बनाया है… ऐसी किताब नहीं है जो एक धार्मिक या पवित्र किताब समझी जाए। और इस राय को अभिव्यक्ति प्रदान करने के लिए, यह सम्मेलन ऐसी धार्मिक किताब के दहन की कार्रवाई को अंजाम दे रहा है जो लोगों का विभाजन करती है और इन्सानियत को तबाह करने वाली है।“ ( Page 351, Mahad The Making of the First Dalit Revolt, Anand Teltumbde, Navayana, 2017) Continue reading मनु को इतिहास तक सीमित करने का सवाल बनाम मनुस्मृति को ‘सैनिटाइज़’ करने के षडयंत्र

Kerala: People’s Planning Once Again, Please

For Kerala, the new millennium has been the century of development emergencies. The effects of climate change and rapid urbanization and globalization have had rapid and drastic visible state-wide impact on people’s lives here, much of which in the form of development emergencies like epidemics, devastating floods, landslides, and now, the pandemic (and if the worst health predictions for monsoon come true, the syndemic). In other words, the new millennium seems to be setting a host of challenges for Kerala’s  welfarism, which we seem to be meeting well for the time being at least. Continue reading Kerala: People’s Planning Once Again, Please

E-commerce platforms: Corona Warriors or Disaster Capitalists?



In 2007, in her book, ‘Shock Doctrine’, Naomi Klein argued that history is a chronicle of “shocks” – the shocks of wars, natural disasters, and economic crises, but more importantly, of their aftermath characterised by disaster capitalism, calculated, free-market “solutions” to crises that exploit and exacerbate existing inequalities. This is why Big-Tech-to-the-rescue in times of the virus does not strike the right chord. It started with the lockdown order issued by the central government on March 24 with the exemption for essential services and supplies getting extended to delivery of foods, pharma products and medical equipment through e-commerce channels. The upper classes had to be assured that their means of shopping would not be affected. Notably, the order issued no such explicit exemption on the movement of foodgrains through Food Corporation of India channels, integral to the Public Distribution System. The lockdown order was a candid admission that e-commerce companies have now become infrastructural utilities indispensable to India’s aspirational middle class.

Continue reading E-commerce platforms: Corona Warriors or Disaster Capitalists?

Balm in Troubling times – Raghavan Thirumulpad on Srinarayana Dharma

[The lockdown ought to work as a great leveler. For once, all who live in mortal bodies have been reminded of their inevitable mortality, of the absurd fragility of our existence on this planet. Even the living-gods who command a huge following have shut darshan. We have also been reminded that life on earth will not grind to a standstill if we go. Indeed, the signs are that it will thrive. 

But at the ground level, that is not happening. The better-off can see how, starkly, like never before, the privileges they enjoy, and given as they are to an amoral worship of consumption which inhibits their capacity for compassion, are more likely to shield this by resorting to any kind of ideology that justifies their privilege, probably eugenics or some kind of functionalist interpretation of caste oppressive practices. We are seeing how the poor are suffering for no fault of theirs at all. Indeed, the lockdown may help to normalize privilege even more, and render us all the more insensitive to the suffering of the working class poor. One reason why this happens is because we are already, as a society, afflicted by moral viruses — of religious bigotry, caste privilege, and ruthless capitalism. As a society, we are sick, and the pandemic is likely to exacerbate it

It must be this connection that made me turn to the work of Raghavan Thirumulpad, who was one of Kerala’s finest ayurvedic physicians, a multi-lingual scholar whose conception of individual and human wellness was inextricably related to the wellness of society and the natural world. I have long admired the ease with which he moved between theory and practice in ayurveda; but what really connected us as privileged-caste-born people who sought to become human  was that we found in Sreenarayana Guru a common refuge. For Thirumulpad, the Guru is not just a social reformer or preacher but a healer — a healer of society and individual, who drew upon Indian traditions to reinterpret a dharma adequate to the disease that afflicted society in his times.

Continue reading Balm in Troubling times – Raghavan Thirumulpad on Srinarayana Dharma

Not Just Doreswamy, India’s Idea of Independence is Being Debased

Trivialisation of the freedom struggle is in the Hindutva gene, which seeks a theocracy, not an independent republic.


“Though this be madness yet there is method in it.”

Hamlet, William Shakespeare.

The saffron brigade’s ever-readiness to stigmatise people holding differing opinions and dissenting voices reached a new low recently.

Perhaps it was the saddest day in post-independence India when a Karnataka BJP legislator hurled abuses of being a ‘Pak agent’ and ‘fake freedom-fighter at 102-year-old freedom fighter, H Doreswamy.

Sadly, not many outside the state would know that Harohalli Srinivasaiah Doreswamy, born on 10 April 1918 in the former princely state of Mysore, was first jailed in 1942 during the Quit India movement. He was associated with a group involved in making bombs and spent 14 months behind bars. After his release he continued with his mission and following Independence chose to work with slum-dwellers, the homeless and poor landless farmers, cobblers and porters. He kept himself aloof from holding political power.

In 1975, he challenged then prime minister Indira Gandhi when Emergency was declared, civil liberties were suspended and again faced jail under the draconian Defence of India Regulations Act. Despite old age, his enthusiasm for public causes remains undiminished. One issue closest to his heart remains getting the poor and the landless right to land.

Of late, he has been a prominent figure at protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and has been openly critical of the BJP-led central government’s policies.

The BJP legislator under question is Basangouda Patil Yatnal. When the issue was raised in the Karnataka Assembly, forget issuing an unconditional apology, Yatnal remained adamant. Not just that. He got the support of many of his colleagues. It would be asking too much for the government to take action; a reprimand or case against the legislator for his comments, though they violate the Constitution which considers disrespect to freedom movement a “violation of our fundamental duties”.

( Read the full article here :

Imagining an Antifascist Coalition Today


The debate on the meaning of AAP’s victory in Delhi and the Hindu idiom that its spokespersons have adopted continues as indeed on the implications of its refusal to play the electoral game in the way the BJP was intent on setting it up. But to keep our perspective right, we need to remember that this was just one stop on the long and arduous journey that still lies ahead. We also need to remember that AAP is only one of the forces and Delhi only one of the theatres of the anti-fascist struggle.

The lessons of the antifascist struggles in Germany or in Europe at large clearly are of no use in our battles here. At one level, we are all destined to repeat the grievous mistakes of the German communists (and the Comintern) for concentrating their main blow at the Social-Democrats, pronouncing them ‘social-fascists’ – till it was pretty late in the day and Nazism was already on the way to consolidating its power. In states other than Delhi, there are instances where this mindset can be seen to be in full operation. In Delhi, thankfully, this is not the scenario and most non-BJP political parties assess the situation differently, though an entirely negative stance towards AAP’s victory can be seen among many people. However, I do not intend to engage them in a debate in this post, having already stated my position on AAP’s victory quite categorically. Continue reading Imagining an Antifascist Coalition Today

How Hindutva Terror Outfits Hide in Plain Sight

The arrest of yet another alleged bomb-maker with right-wing links should lead to action at last.

The arrest of yet another alleged bomb

When Crimes shoot up, they become invisible.

When pain becomes unbearable, cries are no longer heard.’

—Bertolt Brecht

Can the provocations of a cabinet minister, who openly raises controversial slogans, be considered a “breach of peace” or are they merely attempts to “gauge people’s mood”, as the minister would have us believe? For more than a month, plenty of controversial slogans have been raised on the streets of India. People are being instigated to “kill the traitors to the country” by members of the ruling dispensation, who are issuing open threats in public as the masses are getting angrier against the CAA, NRC and the NPR.

As expected, till date, either no action has been taken by the law and order machinery or there is only an expectation of perfunctory action. This new normal is symptomatic of the rapid erosion of the rule of law in the country. A new normal wherein the chief minister of a state has no qualms in talking of taking “revenge” against protesters while his state’s police unleash unjustified violence on protesters and bystanders alike. Each of their tactics has, for this reason, received widespread condemnation. Even though the strong-arm tactics of the state are failing to pass the test of logic or reasonableness, there is still no change in the ruling dispensation’s attitude.

( Read the full article here :

Hindutva: Get Egg on Your Face and Say ‘I am Loving it’

Hindutva is being embarrassed by the very people it has wooed, by means fair and foul.

Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to further his deeply-sectarian and divisive agenda at Belur Math, global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekananda, has backfired. His controversial defence of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 at the historic math in which he invoked Vivekananda himself has enraged a broad spectrum of people and formations. The CAA is, of course, the most contentious piece of legislation independent India has ever had, and it has sparked protests across the country.

What is rather noticeable is that not only the Opposition parties, but monks associated with the mission have also expressed tremendous displeasure over the political content of the PM’s speech. They have said that they found it “deeply hurtful” and they criticised it for tarnishing the “sanctity of the place”.

The very fact that Swami Suvirananda, general secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, was constrained to say that “we could not have whispered into the Prime Minister’s ears to stop midway…” or his emphasising the inclusive nature of the “only organisation in the world, only order in the world” which has “monks from Hindu, Islam and Christian communities. We live like brothers of the same parents…” says something.

Nobody put it in as many words, but what perturbed people was how Narendra Modi’s speech complete erased Swami Vivekananda’s legacy. A great rift was evident between what Vivekananda had said in his historic speech at Chicago in 1892 and Modi’s espousal of a law passed by the government he heads, which creates a basis to discriminate on the basis of religion. Here is what Vivekananda had espoused before the world: “I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth….”

Well, as far as close watchers of the Hindutva Right are concerned, they would underline that there was nothing unusual in Modi’s rather desperate attempts to appropriate Vivekananda and to recast him in the Hindutva mould.

( Read the full article here :

Whatever Happened to Struggle Against Untouchability

Untouchability Walls keep rising and falling in Tamil Nadu.

Whatever Happened to Struggle

BR Ambedkar wrote in Annihilation of Caste that “…the world owes much to rebels who would dare to argue in the face of the pontiff and insist that he is not infallible. I do not care about the credit which every progressive society must give to its rebels. I shall be satisfied if I make the Hindus realize that they are the sick men of India, and that their sickness is causing danger to the health and happiness of other Indians.”

In 2008, Uthapuram, a village in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, had made national headlines. It was the year when the Karunanidhi-led DMK state government had taken the initiative to demolish a portion of a thirty-metre wall that had been raised by the dominant Pillaimar community, an OBC caste which had wanted to keep residents of the Devandra Kula Vellalar community, which falls under the Scheduled Caste category, out of the Mariamman temple.

Built in 1989, this wall had become a symbol of segregation based on caste and organisations like Tamil Nadu Anti Untouchability Front, along with other groups and individuals had been conducting agitations to end this discrimination. Finally, the DMK government was forced to take action.

This was perhaps the first time that the rest of India came to know about the prevalence of this pernicious practice in Tamil Nadu. The demolition of the wall was projected as a significant step to move towards caste annihilation.

The recent death of 17 dalits in Mettupalayam wall collapse, in which members of the arunthathiyar dalit caste lost their lives is a reminder of how our celebrations were premature. And that when it comes to caste and its attendant exclusions and discriminations, India still has miles to go.

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Ayodhya: Can a Dispute Reach Closure if it Still Causes Pain?

The dispute will linger until India learns coexistence from history.

Ayodhya: Can a Dispute Reach

Coexistence between social groups was a social reality and a primary tenet of Indian life, long before the word secular was included in its Constitution in 1976. Now that a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court has delivered a “historic” judgement on the Babri Masjid dispute, there is a sense of disquiet. This is not just on account of the asymmetries and silences in the judgement that many writers have pointed out. It is because the court has ruled that the forces who brought down the Babri Masjid are entitled to the land on which it stood. The question remains whether there can be any real closure in a dispute if the pain it has caused continues to linger.


Exit Azad! Enter Savarkar!!

Even at the breakneck pace at which its proponents are rewriting history in the Hindutva mould, its real past will habitually catch up with it.


Last year, a statue of freedom fighter and first education minister of independent India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, was destroyed by Hindutva mobs at Kankinara in North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. At the time, there were communal flare-ups in many districts of the state in the aftermath of aggressive Ram Navami marches, the first of their kind in the country.

The episode was immediately forgotten. Few would have had the premonition that the incident was was merely a precursor to the larger game-plan of the Hindutva right, to erase not just the legendary freedom fighter’s statute, but his name from history.

Now, for some reason, the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) has decided to organise a seminar on ‘Veer Damodar Savarkar: Life and Mission’ on 11 November, the birth anniversary of Maulana Azad, perhaps gives an indication of their intent. This particular date also has no apparent connection with Savarkar, who was born on 28 May 1883 and died on 26 February 1966.

Besides, just over a decade ago, 11 November was declared as National Education Day, to commemorate Azad and recall his contribution to policies and institutions that streamlined the educational needs of newly-independent India. It was a day to reflect on and discuss the country’s education system and its future.

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Politainment : Why Hindutva Brigade Spews Lies

Their fantasy is to control India’s fate by distorting historical events.


History is witness that Buddhism, which originated in the Indian subcontinent, posed a challenge to brahmanical Hinduism. It is also recorded history that Buddhism was completely wiped out of this region centuries later, through means violent and non-violent. But the Hindutva supremacists, compelled by their desire and fantasy to re-shape national identity, want India’s past to match their views on religion. And for them, India is a nation only of and for Hindus.

That is why, through repeated false statements on the subcontinent’s “history”, they are challenging and demolishing India’s past. That is their way of attacking its multicultural present. With the goal to establish Hindu dominance in all fields, they are starting backwards, with untrue claims about “time immemorial”. The recent fabrication of Badris University by a Union minister is a step in that direction.

The Minister of Human Resource Development, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, has said that the oldest university in the world was in Badrinath, a town in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The university was called “Badris”, the minister claimed in a lecture he delivered in Dehradun, a prominent city of Uttarakhand, last week. No such institution ever existed according to historical record, but Pokhriyal has insisted that will be “restored to its full glory”, presumably from funds taken from his ministry’s grants.

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Goodbye, Tipu Sultan

The Sangh Parivar has supported Tipu when it needed to.

Tipu Sultan

Ghatam Bhindyat, Patam Chhindyat, Kuryat Rasbharohanam

Yenken Prakaren, Prasidho Purusho Bhavet

(Break earthen pots, tear clothes, ride a donkey:

Men try to achieve popularity by any means.)

It was 2006 and DH Shankarmurthy, a nondescript swayamsevak, was handling the higher education ministry in the HD Kumarswamy-led coalition government suddenly hit the national headlines. The trigger was his unusual demand to recast history books in the mould of the Sangh Parivar. Especially his proposal to obliterate the great warrior Tipu Sultan’s name from the annals of Kannada history.

The proposal was based on the completely false pretext that Tipu did not give due importance to the Kannada language and promoted Persian language instead. Never mind that the Mysore state archaeological department holds in its possession more than thirty letters sent from Tipu to the shankaracharya of the Shringeri math, all written in Kannada.

Shankaramurthy wanted Tipu Sultan—who sacrificed his children to end the British rule—obliterated from Karnataka history on the spurious logic that the alleged neglect of Kannada language was reason enough. Even then, the demand had caused a national uproar cutting across party lines. At the time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal Secular (JD-S) were sharing power in the state. As a result, their plans fell flat. Much water has flown down the Kaveri, Godavari and every other Indian river and now a BJP-led government, holding power in the state of Karnataka and the centre has drawn up fresh plans to fulfill a task left unfinished.

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सावरकर को भारत रत्न देना आज़ादी के नायकों का अपमान है

क्या ऐसा शख़्स, जिसने अंग्रेज़ सरकार के पास माफ़ीनामे भेजे, जिन्ना से पहले धर्म के आधार पर राष्ट्र बांटने की बात कही, भारत छोड़ो आंदोलन के समय ब्रिटिश सेना में हिंदू युवाओं की भर्ती का अभियान चलाया, भारतीयों के दमन में अंग्रेज़ों का साथ दिया और देश की आज़ादी के अगुआ महात्मा गांधी की हत्या की साज़िश का सूत्रसंचालन किया, वह किसी भी मायने में भारत रत्न का हक़दार होना चाहिए?

Narendra Modi Savarkar Facebook

वक्त की निहाई अक्सर बड़ी बेरहम मालूम पड़ती है. अपने-अपने वक्त के शहंशाह, अपने-अपने जमाने के महान रणबांकुरे या आलिम सभी को आने वालों की सख्त टीका-टिप्पणियों से रूबरू होना पड़ा है.

बड़ी से बड़ी ऐतिहासिक घटनाएं- भले जिन्होंने समूचे समाज की दिशा बदलने में अहम भूमिका अदा की हो- या बड़ी से बड़ी ऐतिहासिक शख्सियतें- जिन्होंने धारा के विरुद्ध खड़ा होने का साहस कर उसे मोड़ दिया हो – कोई भी कितना भी बड़ा हो उसकी निर्मम आलोचना से बच नहीं पाया है.

यह अकारण ही नहीं कहा जाता कि आने वाली पीढ़ियां पुरानी पीढ़ियों के कंधों पर सवार होती हैं. जाहिर है वे ज्यादा दूर देख सकती हैं, पुरानी पीढ़ियों द्वारा संकलित, संशोधित ज्ञान उनकी अपनी धरोहर होता है, जिसे जज्ब कर वे आगे निकल जा सकती हैं.

समाज की विकास यात्रा को वैज्ञानिक ढंग से देखने वाले शख्स के लिए हो सकता है यह बात भले ही सामान्य मालूम पड़े, लेकिन समाज के व्यापक हिस्से में जिस तरह के अवैज्ञानिक, पश्चगामी चिंतन का बोलबाला रहता है, उसमें ऐसी कोई भी बात उसे आसानी से पच नहीं पाती.

घटनाओं और शख्सियतों का आदर्शीकरण करने की, उन्हें अपने दौर और अपने स्थान से काटकर सार्वभौमिक मानने की जो प्रवृत्ति समाज में विद्यमान रहती है, उसके चलते समाज का बड़ा हिस्सा ऐसी आलोचनाओं को बर्दाश्त नहीं कर पाता.

वैसे बात-बात पर आस्था पर हमला होने का बहाना बनाकर सड़कों पर उतरने वाली हुड़दंगी बजरंगी मानसिकता भले ही ऐसी प्रकट समीक्षा को रोकने की कोशिश करे, लेकिन इतिहास इस बात का साक्षी है कि कहीं प्रकट- तो कहीं प्रच्छन्न रूप से यह आलोचना निरंतर चलती ही रहती है और उन्हीं में नये विचारों के वाहक अंकुरित होते रहते हैं, जो फिर समाज को नये पथ पर ले जाते हैं.

फिलवक्त विनायक दामोदर सावरकर- जिन्हें उनके अनुयायी ‘स्वातंत्रयवीर’ नाम से पुकारते हैं, जो युवावस्था में ही ब्रिटिश विरोधी आंदोलन की तरफ आकर्षित हुए थे, जो बाद में कानून की पढ़ाई करने के लिए लंदन चले गए, जहां वह और रैडिकल राजनीतिक गतिविधियों में जुड़ते गए थे- इसी किस्म की पड़ताल के केंद्र में है.

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