Category Archives: Bad ideas

An Open Letter to Brinda Karat about Rehana Fathima: Why are we being hunted in Kerala?

Dear Comrade

Last year, around this time, I wrote you an open letter about the plight of Hadiya Asokan who was being hunted down by the Hindutva groups for her choice of faith and partner while the CPM and its cyber force was either actively abetting the violence or watching passively. I wrote in joy, because you had taken a firm stand and despite angry howls of protest against you from your own party. However, this time, I write in sheer despair at your silence; not just yours, but of the AIDWA in Kerala in general, in the wake of the twisted machinations of the Hindutva forces around the Supreme Court’s order permitting the entry of women of menstruating ages to the Sabarimala temple. Continue reading An Open Letter to Brinda Karat about Rehana Fathima: Why are we being hunted in Kerala?

Under the Shadow of ‘Holy Book!’

Inching Towards Majoritarian Democracy

Image result for madhu dandavate

( Madhu Dandavate)


These are times when the state of democracy is a cause of worry everywhere. With the emergence of populists, demagogues of various hues as custodians of the future of their countries, growing fascination for illiberal ideologies among masses in different parts of the world, the concern is not misplaced and it is apt that we are having this brainstorming where our focus would be on India itself.

‘Working Group on Alternative Strategies’ – which comprises of some of the finest public intellectuals and activists of our times – need to be thanked that they have been organising such seminars since last thirteen years and in this way commemorating the life and works of Prof Madhu Dandavate, a great Parliamentarian and Socialist ideologue. Continue reading Under the Shadow of ‘Holy Book!’

Time to Dump Blasphemy Laws

Can the countries from this part of Asia walk in the footsteps of Ireland?
Blasphemy Laws

Mera azm itna bulund hae, Parae sholon se dar nahin.

Mujhe dar hae tu atish e gul se hae, Ye kahin chaman ko jala na dein

(my confidence in self is strong, I’m unafraid of foreign flames

I’m scared those sparks may ignite, that in the blossom’s bosom lay )

— Shakeel Badayuni’s couplet which was very dear to Salman Taseer who was assassinated by Islamists

Know Meilana, a 44-year-old ethnic Chinese Buddhist from Indonesia, whose conviction under Indonesia’s controversial blasphemy laws, caused an uproar in the country, merely few months ago. The only ‘offence’ registered against her was that this woman from Sumatra had merely complained about ‘the volume of adzan or call to prayer, from her local mosque’. Her complaint was considered ‘blasphemous’ and even triggered an anti-Chinese riot in which several Buddhist temples were burnt.

(Read the full article here :

‘आधार’ न बचा, न मरा, बचा केवल मदमस्त सफ़ेद हाथी : राजेन्द्र चौधरी


Aadhar for Hanumanji
Aadhar for Hanumanji, image courtesy Aaaj Tak

उच्चतम न्यायालय के बहुमत ने ‘आधार’ पर दिये गए हालिया फैसले में सरकारी योजनाओं, सब्सिडी इत्यादि का लाभ लेने के लिए आधार अनिवार्य करने के सरकारी फैसले को सही ठहराया है। इस के साथ ही आयकर दाता के लिए भी आधार अनिवार्य कर दिया है। इस के अलावा बाकी जगह इस के प्रयोग को अवैध ठहरा दिया है; अब न मोबाइल फोन और न बैंक खातों के लिए यह ज़रूरी रहेगा। न निजी कंपनियाँ इसे मांग या प्रयोग कर पाएँगी। यह सब अब बच्चा बच्चा जानता है। सवाल यह है कि इस परिस्थिति में अब आधार का क्या प्रयोजन बचा है?
सरकार ने अदालत में आधार को कर-चोरी, काले-धन और आतंकवाद के खिलाफ लड़ाई और राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा के लिए एक सशक्त हथियार के तौर पर प्रस्तुत किया है (बहुमत समेत तीनों फैसलों की एक संयुक्त फाइल का पृष्ठ 1095-6)। काले-धन के खिलाफ लड़ाई के लिए बैंक खातों और पैन को आधार से जोड़ना अनिवार्य किया गया था। आतंकवाद से लड़ने एवं राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा के लिए मोबाइल फोन के लिए आधार अनिवार्य किया गया था। अब जब बैंक खातों और मोबाइल फोन के लिए आधार अनिवार्य नहीं रहा, तो अब आधार इन दोनों उद्देश्यों की पूर्ति के लिए किसी काम का नहीं रहा। लोगों के छद्म नाम से कई-कई खाते चलते रहेंगे और काले धंधे का कारोबार जैसे अब तक चलता रहा है, वैसे ही चलता रहेगा। आयकर दाता के लिए आधार अनिवार्य करने से काले धंधे और काली कमाई पर कोई खास फर्क नहीं पड़ेगा। अदालत के आधार को वैध ठहराने वाले एक जज ने भी अपने फैसले में कहा है कि बैंक खाता और पैन कार्ड दोनों का लिंक होना ही प्रभावी होगा (अकेला पैन कार्ड नहीं; इस लिए उन्होने बैंक खातों के लिए भी आधार को वैध ठहराया है हालांकि अल्पमत होने के चलते उन के फैसले का यह अंश प्रभावी नहीं होगा (पृष्ठ 55 माननीय जज अशोक भूषण के फैसले का/पृष्ठ 1103 तीनों फैसलों की संयुक्त फाइल का)।
Continue reading ‘आधार’ न बचा, न मरा, बचा केवल मदमस्त सफ़ेद हाथी : राजेन्द्र चौधरी

Love Patriarchy, Hail Hindu Rashtra!

From Hindu Code Bill to Sabarimala via Roop Kanwar’s Sati — keeping women subjugated under the cloak of tradition
Sati System

It was the mid-1980s when a 18-year-old Roop Kanwar’s burning on the pyre of her husband — under controversial circumstances — had made national headlines. There was national outrage over the incident because more than 150 years after the banning of this custom — the practice of Sati, was seeing a revival of sorts. One can still recollect how thousands of women had come out on streets then in different parts of North India, glorifying the act in the name of tradition.

Women were ‘celebrating’ a woman’s self-immolation on the pyre of her husband and resisting state intervention which wanted to enforce her autonomy, her individuality!

This may sound strange today, but was true!

India, had its ‘Roop Kanwar moment’ — albeit a bit differently — once again recently when in  Kerala women came out in hundreds or thousands to resist the implementation of Supreme Court judgement that had removed the bar on women aged 10-15 or ‘menstruating women’s entry in the temple of Ayappa at Sabarimala’.

( Read the full article here :

Bharatiya Janata Party or Bharatiya Jumla Party !

Review of ‘Truth in Fetters : Broken Promises and Shattered Unity’

Image result for media house ram puniyani truth in fetters

“Change is in the air”!

A retired academic who had his last assignment as Vice Chancellor of a leading university said to me the other day, while we were discussing the contemporary political scenario. Frankly admitting that he had supported Modi’s candidature then and had even discreetly campaigned for him, during 2014 elections, he said that what a ‘disaster’ it has been these last four and half years to our polity with him at the helm of affairs.

What surprised me more was that he was from Eastern UP and belonged to one of the dominant upper castes in the region. Continue reading Bharatiya Janata Party or Bharatiya Jumla Party !

Now What? After the Betrayal of Women at Sabarimala

At the end of the five-day worship in the month of Tulam, it is clear that women have been betrayed. The right wing which promised not to violently stop women devotees did precisely that; their leader also hurled vicious insults are trans people. The dominant left which foamed Ayyankali and Sree Narayana Guru at the mouth ended up reinforcing the ‘good woman’/bad woman’ division, saying first that only the former would be allowed to proceed, made the term ‘activist’ into a code word for ‘bad woman’, and then finally threw up its hands saying that it was impossible to implement the court order. The government and the CPM had obviously not done enough to make sure that women would indeed enter the shrine. Clearly, they are reluctant to touch the savarna moral majority.  Continue reading Now What? After the Betrayal of Women at Sabarimala