Open Letter to the Board Members of the Sameeksha Trust


Following is the text of the open letter by members of the EPW Community addressed to Sameeksha Trust

As long-standing well-wishers and members of the intellectual community served by the EPW, we are appalled and dismayed by the recent events leading to the abrupt resignation of the Editor, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta.

We are distressed that the Board of the Sameeksha Trust has insisted that the Editor retract an article published in the journal, and is preparing to introduce new norms for the Board-Editor relationship and appoint a co-editor.  It is obvious that, taken together, these actions (mentioned by the Editor in interviews to the press and not denied in the statement issued by the Trust) would force any self-respecting editor to resign.  By failing to distinguish between internal issues of procedural propriety in Board-Editor relationship from the much larger question of the EPW’s public reputation for integrity, the Board of the Sameeksha Trust has dealt a strong blow to the journal’s credibility. Continue reading “Open Letter to the Board Members of the Sameeksha Trust”

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”

Losing the Soul’s Acid Tongue … Terrorist State, Unbowed Children at Kerala’s Puthvype

[The title is inspired by Balachandran Chullikkad’s searing poetry]

I have recently been asked about why I didn’t write anything about the anniversary of the CPM-led government of Kerala.  Have also been asked why I don’t write about politics in Kerala anymore. The answer to the first is easy and painless: governments are not organic things. You measure your kid’s height and weight and other things and think about how they have grown in their minds and hearts on their birthdays. There is nothing that proves that anniversaries are the best occasions to reflect on how governments have grown and thrived. The answer to the second question is more conflicted and excruciatingly painful: it is because we have no politics in Kerala, but plenty of anti-politics. therefore, what one needs to do is invest in the silent, unglamorous, unpopular,  long-haul intellectual and political labour that may preserve the possibilities of politics in the future, and that may even create internalities capable of courage and responsibility necessary for being political. Continue reading “Losing the Soul’s Acid Tongue … Terrorist State, Unbowed Children at Kerala’s Puthvype”

और इस बार नंबर आईआईएमसी का था : Rohin Kumar

Guest Post by ROHIN KUMAR

संस्थान के गेट पर सरस्वती की प्रतिमा थी ही. नारद पहले पत्रकार बताए जाते रहे हैं. अब बचा था हवन वो भी होने ही वाला है. आईआईएमसी मीडिया स्कैन नामक संस्था के साथ मिलकर ‘वर्तमान परिदृश्य में राष्ट्रीय पत्रकारिता’ पर सेमिनार आयोजित करने जा रहा है. इसकी शुरुआत हवन से होनी है. उसमें पांचजन्य के संपादक और बस्तर का खूंखार आईजी कल्लूरी आमंत्रित है. चौंकाने वाली बात है कि कल्लूरी जिसने सबसे ज्यादा आदिवासियों, पत्रकारों, सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं को तंग किया, उनपर फर्जी केस डाले वो ‘वंचित समाज के सवाल’ पर बोलने आ रहा है.

हमें इसकी सूचना दो दिन पहले मिली. सोशल मीडिया पर इसके पोस्टर रिलीज़ किये गए थे.

सबसे पहले हम छात्रों ने इसका सोशल मीडिया पर विरोध दर्ज किया. इसमें कई पूर्व छात्रों का हमें समर्थन भी प्राप्त हुआ. संस्थान में पढ़़ाने वाले शिक्षकों को फ़ोन किया, उनसे जानना चाहा कि आखिर उनकी इसपर कोई राय है?

जानकर हैरानी हुई कि उन्होंने छात्रों से बिलकुल डरे सहमे अंदाज़ में बात किया. इस बाबत जानकारी से इनकार कर दिया. फिर डिप्लोमेटिक जवाब देने शुरू किये- “चुंकि हमें कोई आधिकारिक सूचना इस कार्यक्रम के बारे में नहीं मिली है इसलिए मैं इसे फेक न्यूज़ मान रहा हूं.” इतना कहकर मीडिया एथिक्स पढ़ाने वाले टीचर ने कन्नी काट लिया.

Continue reading “और इस बार नंबर आईआईएमसी का था : Rohin Kumar”

The Elephant in the Room – Silence on Class Issues in Indian Politics : Sanjay Kumar

Guest Post by SANJAY KUMAR

Ramesh has been working as a daily wager in a Government of India office in Delhi for ten years. He is one of the army of peons, office assistants, security guards, gardeners, and cleaning staff which government offices, city municipalities, hospitals, schools and colleges of the metropolis employ regularly. He is a graduate, but gets the wage of an unskilled worker. He is among the fortunate ones who at least get government mandated minimum wage. Most private employers in the city violate the minimum wage act; either they pay less than the mandated amount, or make daily wagers work more than eight hours without any overtime.

Ramesh was pleasantly surprised this April when he noted a more than 30% increase in his wages. His daily wage that stood at Rs 360/ earlier was now Rs 513/. This was due to a Government of Delhi notification issued on 3rd March, 2017. The news was covered in the inner pages of some newspapers. Most TV news channels ignored it. Hence, it is not surprising that employees like Ramesh who are not associated with any organsiation of workers were not aware of this increase. Continue reading “The Elephant in the Room – Silence on Class Issues in Indian Politics : Sanjay Kumar”

Karl Marx in the Times of Climate Change

The Communist Manifesto had, as its object, the proclamation of the inevitable impending dissolution of modern bourgeois property. But in Russia we find, face-to-face with the rapidly flowering capitalist swindle and bourgeois property, just beginning to develop, more than half the land owned in common by the peasants. Now the question is: can the Russian obshchina, though greatly undermined, yet a form of primeval common ownership of land, pass directly to the higher form of Communist common ownership? Or, on the contrary, must it first pass through the same process of dissolution such as constitutes the historical evolution of the West?

The only answer to that possible today is this: If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development. [Marx and Engels, ‘Preface’ to the 1882 Russian Edition of The Communist Manifesto; all emphasis added]

The above passage, jointly signed by Marx and Engels, appears at the end of the 1882 ‘Preface’ to the Russian edition of The Communist Manifesto. It also appears, towards the end of a decade-long engagement with the Russian social formation and the social formation of many Eastern societies like India’s. The detailed notes, excerpts and commentaries compiled by Marx, published later as The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx, belong precisely to the end of this period, the years 1880-1882. Marx passed away the following year, in 1983. Continue reading “Karl Marx in the Times of Climate Change”

Thinking Labour in Contemporary India – For a Different May Day Agenda

Massive Chalo Una rally, image courtesy,

This May Day comes at a very crucial juncture in our history. Crucial, not simply because there is a belligerent Hindu Right government in power but also because it comes in the wake of the most unprecedented belligerence of the upper castes and their all-round violence, especially on the Dalit communities across the land. Last year we had witnessed the most shameful incident of violence in the flogging of four Dalit youth by the cow gangs of Hindutva, which was followed by massive protests by Dalits and joined in by other sections of people, including some of the Left forces, as well. The attack had to do with the very specific form/s of labour that Dalit communities have been made to traditionally perform in Hindu society, in this case, the work of disposing of carcasses of dead animals, skinning them and so on.  Continue reading “Thinking Labour in Contemporary India – For a Different May Day Agenda”