The Heavy Footsteps of Brahmanical Dandaneethi : The Hadiya Case

 

It appears that for women in India, the modern judiciary is fading and in its place, the terrifying face of Brahmanical Dandaneethi is emerging. A ten year old rape victim is denied abortion, women fleeing dowry harassment are to submit to the rule of local elders and leaders of ‘family welfare committees’, and now, in the Hadiya case, the judges declared that unmarried daughters should be under their parents according to ‘Indian tradition’.

Read more:   https://thewire.in/169543/hadiya-islam-conversion-supreme-court/

 

An Anthem for Kerala: Mojitopaattu

In these days in which Indo-Gangetic barbarians seethe with rage against Kerala and unleash all sorts of false propaganda about the state of affairs here, I have been thinking about my own love for and quarrels with this place. My relation to it has been largely critical, as a Malayali woman born and raised here who has endured, and continue to endure, much second-rate treatment. More than anyone else, I realize, it is Malayalis who have criticized Kerala.  Not surprising, then, is the fact that one of the most ardently-discussed themes in public politics here in the past decades has been the critique of the entrenched imagination of Kerala, and its exclusions. Not for nothing, too, have the struggles of marginalized people here demanded not just material gains, but the reimagining of Kerala in more expansive terms. And newer and newer groups of excluded people keep renewing it – most recently, the LGBTIQ+ people.

Our love for Kerala is a cursing, stumbling love – but love above all.

That’s why I think Anitha Thampi’s poem  Mojitopaattu (The Mohito Song) ought to be our anthem. Anitha is undoubtedly one of Kerala’s most perceptive poets of the present, capable of delving into the depths of the present cultural moment and surfacing with inscrutable yet pervasive feelings and moods and weaving these into words. Our crazy love of Kerala which cannot be but critical is brilliantly caught in this poem In it, this love comes alive as moonlight falling on this place which illuminates erratically, sways madly, and disappears without notice; this loving looks as hard and risky as a drunk’s faltering steps along a rough bylane through treacherous yet playful moonlight; this love eddies through the blood of two and a half generations and comes awake even as the whole world sleeps. Long before the Indo-Gangetic barbarians even noticed us have we felt this mad love, and it will take more than vituperative slander to kill it.

Below is my translation of Mojitopaattu – and I take Anitha’s suggestion that it a song, and a drunken one, seriously. I hope someone sets it to music and it becomes the anthem of crazy-lovers of Kerala.

 

 

Four-five sprigs fresh mint

Two spoons sugar
Juice of three limes
Vodka, two measures and a half 
Soda
Ice

Hey you, swayin’-shakin’-rollin’
 on night-time alley that’s runnin’
all o’er earth that’s green and shinin’
Banana-leaf-like, straight and gleamin’*
Hey sweet moonlight, 
who you be,
you be man or you be woman?

Hey you, fallin’ easy-loose-y
You for real, or just a feelin’?
Hey you singin’ , spreadin’-creepin’
Who you be to sunshine beamin’?

Hey you lurchin’, fallin’, stumblin’
on each an’ ev’ry greenly leafling  
Hey bright moonshine,  distilled-dried blood, bluish, 
two and a half generations bleedin’
Who be you?

You be me, or you be you?

*Kerala, that lies at the foot of mountains like a bright green banana leaf beside the sea.

( Anitha Thampi , ‘Mojitopattu’)

 

And here is the original, much more terse and controlled in its use of language, but a paattu all the same:

 

മൊഹീതോപ്പാട്ട്

നാലഞ്ച് തളിർപ്പുതിന

രണ്ടു സ്പൂൺ പഞ്ചസാര

മൂന്നു നാരങ്ങാ നീര്

രണ്ടര വോഡ്ക

സോഡ

ഐസ്

 

നാക്കിലമണ്ണിൻ∗

രാവൂടുവഴിയൂടെ

 

ആടിയാടിപ്പോകുന്ന പൂനിലാവേ നീ

ആണാണോ പെണ്ണാണോ?

അഴിഞ്ഞഴിഞ്ഞു തൂവുന്ന പൂനിലാവേ നീ

നേരാണോ പൊളിയാണോ?

പാടിപ്പാടിപ്പരക്കുന്ന പൂനിലാവേ നീ

വെയിലിൻറെ ആരാണോ?

 

പച്ചിലകൾ തോറും തപ്പിത്തടഞ്ഞു വീഴും

രണ്ടരത്തലമുറ നീലിച്ച വാറ്റുചോരപ്പൂന്തെളിനിലാവേ നീ

ഞാനാണോ നീയാണോ?

 

∗കേരളം

 

 

 

 

 

“No research please, we are college teachers” – On the HRD Ministry’s latest bright idea.

A version of this piece appeared yesterday in The Wire

“I would like to thank Huddersfield University for enabling me to have a sabbatical semester to work on this revised edition and for providing such a supportive environment. Thanks to many of the students on my Women, Power and Society module for their hard work and enthusiasm.”

That is the dedication in a book by British scholar and teacher Valerie Bryson – a text I often use for teaching at a college in Delhi University. Evidently, Bryson found her teaching and research lives complementing each other beautifully, as have thousands of university and college teachers who have had the luck to have what she calls a “supportive” professional and academic environment. What are the elements of this support? A sabbatical semester or year every once in a while, ready research facilities within the college premises or nearby, and an opportunity to formulate teaching courses that ally with your research focus. With these elements in place, both teaching and research benefit dramatically.

Until recently, college teachers in this country had the first two conditions. They were given in their entire careers – say from the age of 26 or 27 when one normally began teaching at a college to the age of 65 – three years of paid study leave to pursue or finish their PhDs (with the usual conditions and caveats including a strict bond that they signed with college promising to return the three years’ pay if the PhD remained incomplete, or if they resigned upon return to the institution) and a further two years of (until recently, paid and now invariably unpaid or “extraordinary”) leave to take a break from teaching and pursue a postdoctoral or visiting fellowship at a research institute.

Continue reading ““No research please, we are college teachers” – On the HRD Ministry’s latest bright idea.”

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”

A Day Against Kalluri at IIMC, Delhi: Bastar Solidarity Network Delhi Chapter

Guest Post by Bastar Solidarity Network Delhi Chapter

The democratic forces, organizations and the thinking minds of IIMC took part in a spirited protest today against the invitation extended to notorious ex-IG Kalluri by the IIMC administration to take part in a seminar. To start with, since last two days, there were several attempts on the part of the organizers to confuse/conceal Kalluri’s invitation. Immediately after the declaration of the protest, Kalluri’s name was dropped from the poster. There were also threats of counter-mobilisation by the BJP goons. But undeterred, as we reached the gates of IIMC at 11am, the site echoed with slogans of “Killer Kalluri Go Back”!

Continue reading “A Day Against Kalluri at IIMC, Delhi: Bastar Solidarity Network Delhi Chapter”

फर्ज़ी प्रमाण पत्र के सहारे दलित और आदिवासियों के अधिकार पर डाका

सांसद समेत अन्य लोग फर्ज़ी कागज़ातों के ज़रिये दलित और आदिवासियों के अधिकार छीन रहे हैं.

Indian tribal people sit at a relief camp in Dharbaguda, in the central state of Chhattisgarh, March 8, 2006. Violence in Chhattisgarh, one of India's poorest states, has mounted since the state government set up and started funding an anti-Maoist movement. Picture taken March 8, 2006. REUTERS/Kamal Kishore

(फोटो: कमल किशोर/रॉयटर्स)

मध्य प्रदेश के बैतूल से अनुसूचित जनजाति के लिए आरक्षित सीट से दूसरी बार चुनी गईं सांसद ज्योति धुर्वे की सदस्यता फिलवक़्त ख़तरे में पड़ती नज़र आ रही है.

पिछले दिनों मध्य प्रदेश सरकार की उच्चस्तरीय जांच कमेटी ने सघन जांच के बाद उनके द्वारा प्रस्तुत किए जाति प्रमाण पत्र को खारिज़ कर दिया.

ख़बरों के मुताबिक अपने जाति प्रमाण पत्र की कथित संदिग्धता के चलते धुर्वे तभी से विवादों में रही हैं जब 2009 में वह पहली दफ़ा वहां से सांसद चुनी गई थीं. यह आरोप लगाया गया था कि वह गैर आदिवासी समुदाय से संबद्ध हैं और उन्होंने फर्ज़ी जाति प्रमाण पत्र जमा किया है.

इस मसले को लेकर मध्य प्रदेश उच्च न्यायालय के सामने एक केस दायर किया गया है और अदालत के आदेश पर ही उपरोक्त जांच पूरी की गई है.

गौरतलब था कि जांच के दौरान पाया गया कि उनका जाति प्रमाण पत्र वर्ष 1984 में रायपुर से जारी हुआ था, मगर जब कमेटी ने इस बारे में कुछ और प्रमाणों की मांग की तो सांसद महोदया उन्हें कमेटी के सामने प्रस्तुत नहीं कर सकी.

कमेटी ने यह फैसला एकमत से लिया है और इसके बाद सांसद महोदया के ख़िलाफ़ कार्रवाई की मांग उठी है. विपक्ष का कहना है कि यह मसला 2009 से सुर्ख़ियों में रहने के बावजूद राजनीतिक दबाव के चलते इस पर फैसला नहीं लिया गया था.

बहरहाल, ज्योति धुर्वे के बहाने फिर एक बार फर्ज़ी जाति प्रमाण पत्रों का मसला चर्चा में आया है.

(Read the complete text here : http://thewirehindi.com/8059/how-our-leaders-and-other-people-snatching-the-rights-of-dalit-and-adivasi-by-fake-certificates/)

Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?

My friend Guddi has a great story about a Gujjar wedding she attended recently in Ghaziabad. It was a typically chaotic event, marked accurately by the swirling crowds around the dinner stalls. If Gujjar weddings are chaotic and the dinner doubly so, the scene around the tandoor is triply compounded chaos. Barely concealed competition amongst overmuscled Gujjar men in overtight pants for that precious hot roti ensures that none but the most Hobbesian men remain, circling the tandoor like hungry wolves, periodically thrusting their plate forward like fencing champions and shouting obscenities at the harried servers. In such a heart-stopping scenario, a young server had as Guddi recounts, figured out the formula to keep everybody from killing each other (or him). As soon as the roti would be pulled out of the tandoor, seductively golden brown and sizzling, this man would hold it high up with his tongs so everybody could see, then in an elaborate dance-like ritual, touch each of the empty extended plates in front of him with the roti, and finally, in a mysterious but authoritative decision, place it respectfully on a randomly selected plate. Repeat with every single roti that emerged from the tandoor. A hushed silence followed by nervous laughter followed every such flourish.

Continue reading “Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?”