Category Archives: Culture

Living with the Virus ?

Whether people of the world will have to learn to live with the virus?

As India and many parts of the world seem to be engulfed by the second or third wave of the Coronavirus epidemic – which looks more dangerous – this idea is being pushed from different quarters.  Newspaper articles or surveys or studies have appeared in different publications which seem to be pushing this narrative.

Sample conclusions of a study done jointly by Emory and Penn State University which say “One year after its emergence, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become so widespread that there is little hope of elimination.” This appeared in an article in USA Today . A famous journal Nature also shared a survey which talked to Scientists and around 90 per cent of the Scientists polled talked of how Covid is likely to be endemic in pockets of the global population.(do)

Continue reading Living with the Virus ?

क्या हो बच्चे का धर्म ?

“Five minutes after your birth, they decide your name, nationality, religion, and sect, and you spend the rest of your life defending something you did not even choose.”

: Quote, unnamed

1.

आप कह सकते हैं कि पहली दफा मैं इस पहेली से तब रूबरू हुआ था या कह सकते हैं कि अधिक गंभीरता से सोचने लगा जब बंबई की इस ख़बर ने ध्यान खींचा था.

किस्सा थोड़ा पुराना लग सकता है अलबत्ता आज भी मौजूं.

मराठी परिवार में जनमी एक युवती और गुजराती परिवार में पले युवक ने- जिन्होंने अन्तरधर्मीय विवाह किया है और बम्बई में बसे थे- दरअसल यह तय किया कि वह अपनी नवजन्मी सन्तान के साथ किसी धर्म को चस्पां नहीं करेंगे. उनका मानना था कि बड़े होकर उनकी सन्तान जो चाहे वह फैसला कर ले, आस्तिकता का वरण कर ले, अज्ञेयवादी बन जाए या धर्म को मानने से इनकार कर दे, लेकिन उसकी अबोध उम्र में उस पर ऐसे किसी निर्णय को लादना गैरवाजिब होगा.

निश्चित ही अपने इस फैसले पर अमल करने में उनके सामने काफी बाधाएं आयीं. सन्तान का जन्म प्रमाणपत्र तैयार करने में अलग-अलग दफ्तरों के चक्कर काटने पड़े, एक अफसर ने तो युवती से पूछ लिया कि क्या तुम्हें अपने धर्म पर गर्व नहीं है ?  युवती ने तपाक से जवाब दिया कि भले ही वह धर्म को मानने वाले परिवार में जन्मी हो, लेकिन किसी भी रीति रिवाज को नहीं मानती और अहम बात यह है कि क्या एक जनतांत्रिक धर्मनिरपेक्ष देश में मां बाप यह फैसला नहीं ले सकते कि वह अपनी संतान को किसी धर्म से नत्थी नहीं करेंगे.

( Read the full text here)

Exploring ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ Through Medieval Sanskrit Narratives: Rahul Govind

In this guest post, RAHUL GOVIND gives us, by way of a review of Audrey Truschke’s book, a glimpse of the world of medieval Sanskrit and what they tell us about ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ identity in their own time.

The Language of History – Audrey Truschke

Why Audrey Truschke’s The Language of History is essential reading for every Indian (and Pakistani and Bangladeshi)

There is the view that the medieval period of Indian history witnessed an all-consuming battle between Hindus (who were native to India) and Muslims (who came to India as conquerors).  This originated as a typical colonial strategy of ‘divide and rule’ in the 19th century, but then transformed into a communal politics that ultimately led to Partition. In India today this very view is becoming a dominant one, where the medieval period is assumed to be nothing but the destruction of an ancient indigenous Sanskritic culture by invading Muslims.

Continue reading Exploring ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ Through Medieval Sanskrit Narratives: Rahul Govind

Loss of Hindustan – A Symposium III: Hilal Ahmed

This article by HILAL AHMED is the third and final contribution in the set of three reviews/ comments on Manan Ahmed Asif’s Loss of Hindustan. The first contribution by Dwaipayan Sen can be read here and the second by Dilip M. Menon can be accessed here.

A Political Reading

Loss of Hindustan – Manan Ahmed Asif

This is a provocative book in two different ways. It provokes us to interrogate the supposedly foundational propositions that constitute the very first article of the Indian Constitution: ‘India that is Bharat’. The book destabilizes the very language—the concepts, categories, frames—by which we are trained to envisage India as a historic entity and/or as a civilization.

The author does not merely engage in producing a deconstructionist version of India’s past. He, unlike others, incites us to imagine the unimaginable: the idea of Hindustan. The book introduces us to a rich archive of Persian scholarship and explores the ways in which Hindustan as a concept as well as a geo-political reality is erased to pave the way for a new intellectual imagination, India.

The Loss of Hindustan is also provocative in an overtly political sense. The book cannot be described as an intellectual-historical project. It raises a few powerful political questions especially in relation to the placing of modern history in postcolonial projects of nation building. Continue reading Loss of Hindustan – A Symposium III: Hilal Ahmed

Loss of Hindustan – A Symposium II: Dilip M. Menon

This article by DILIP M. MENON is the second of the three pieces that comprise the symposium on Manan Ahmed Asif’s Loss of Hindustan. The first contribution by Dwaipayan Sen can be read here. The final contribution by Hilal Ahmed can be accessed here.

The Loss of Longing

Loss of Hindustan – Manan Ahmed Asif

“Nostalgia is not what it used to be.” – Simone Signoret

To look back these days evokes less anger or longing and more a sense of gazing on ruins. Like the Angel of History, so evocatively described by Benjamin, we are being blown with our backs to an unknown future, gazing at the relentless pile of wreckage that accumulates behind us. The idea of a nation that we once imagined together is buried somewhere in the debris, our residual idealism detects its gleam sometimes. This sense of melancholy propels different shades of politics, one of which does a fine combing through the rough texture of history to recover lost visions. The other seeks to resist the lure of the past and think exigently within the horizon of the present. A hard headed engagement with contemporary times comes rooted in the belief that there is no space of authenticity or of an archive of resistance awaiting us in the past: there is no ‘there’ there. However, the mode of thinking that informs the historical discipline requires us to look back, and see the filiations with the present as much as the future. The fact that we occupy a future past (that is to say, we live in a moment that was once imagined as a future, utopian or otherwise) can be an occasion for cynicism as much as a fillip for renewed action. Continue reading Loss of Hindustan – A Symposium II: Dilip M. Menon

Loss of Hindustan – A Symposium I: Dwaipayan Sen

Manan Ahmed Asif’s recent book Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India* has aroused considerable interest that goes beyond academic readers. Since the book deals with a matter that concerns not just our past but also how we imagine our future, we at Kafila decided to try out a symposium on it – on an experimental basis, since we do not generally carry book reviews as such. We will be serially publishing three reviews/ comments on the book, by DWAIPAYAN SEN, DILIP M. MENON and HILAL AHMED, over the next few days, in the hope of provoking some discussion. We also hope to get the author’s response to these contributions. This first piece is by DWAIPAYAN SEN. The second contribution by Dilip M. Menon can be read here. You can read the final piece by Hilal Ahmed here.

Loss of Hindustan – Manan Ahmed Asif

This book is the most recent addition to a growing tradition of precolonial history-writing that depicts India as a land of milk and honey before the coming of the colonial flood.  Evidently, a European understanding of India as Hindu replaced an earlier, native understanding of India as Hindustan, rendered a home for all faiths.  Such arguments are based on the close reading of Muhammad Qasim Firishta’s Tarikh-i Firishta, and its appropriation by scholar-administrators in the employ of the East India Company.

Continue reading Loss of Hindustan – A Symposium I: Dwaipayan Sen

In Search of the Tukde-Tukde Gang!

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE BOMB-MAKING FACTORIES IN WEST BENGAL?

amit shah

Image Courtesy: PTI

Are the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and its in-charge, Home Minister Amit Shah, at variance with each other? This question has acquired a new meaning as, within a year, there have been at least two occasions when the MHA has not supported Shah’s public claims on matters with a direct bearing on the internal security of the country.

Take the interview of Shah done by a news channel last October. He claimed in it that the law and order situation had “gone for a toss” in West Bengal. The state, he went to the extent of claiming, had “bomb-making factories” in “every district”. This explosive claim of the number two in the Union Cabinet was lapped by mainstream media and soon there were calls to impose President’s Rule in the state.

Four months later, it has become clear that the ministry Shah heads has not a clue about his claim. Continue reading In Search of the Tukde-Tukde Gang!

नरेंद्र मोदी स्टेडियम: आज़ादी के नायकों की जगह लेते ‘नए इंडिया’ के नेता

मोटेरा स्टेडियम का नाम बदलना दुनिया के इतिहास में- ख़ासकर उपनिवेशवाद के ख़िलाफ़ संघर्ष कर आज़ाद हुए मुल्कों में, ऐसा पहला उदाहरण है, जहां किसी स्वाधीनता सेनानी का नाम मिटाकर एक ऐसे सियासतदां का नाम लगाया गया हो, जिसका उसमें कोई भी योगदान नहीं रहा हो.

नरेंद्र मोदी स्टेडियम. फोटो: रॉयटर्स)

Courtesy – नरेंद्र मोदी स्टेडियम. फोटो: रॉयटर्स

क्रिकेट का खेल भारत का सबसे लोकप्रिय खेल है. पिछले दिनों यह खेल नहीं बल्कि इस खेल के लिए फिलवक्त मौजूद दुनिया का ‘सबसे बड़ा क्रिकेट स्टेडियम’ एक अलग वजह से सुर्खियों में आया.

मौका था अहमदाबाद के मोटेरा स्टेडियम- जिसे सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल स्टेडियम के तौर पर जाना जाता रहा है – के नए सिरे से उद्घाटन का, जो वर्ष 2015 में नवीनीकरण के लिए बंद किया गया था और अब नयी साजसज्जा एवं विस्तार के साथ खिलाड़ियों एवं दर्शकों के लिए तैयार था.

याद रहे कि पहले गुजरात स्टेडियम के तौर जाने जाते इस स्टेडियम का स्वाधीनता आंदोलन के महान नेता वल्लभभाई पटेल – जो आज़ादी के बाद देश के गृहमंत्री  भी थे- के तौर पर नामकरण किया गया था, जब तत्कालीन गुजरात सरकार ने स्टेडियम के लिए सौ एकड़ जमीन आवंटित की, जिसका निर्माण महज नौ महीनों में पूरा किया गया था. (1982)

दरअसल हुआ यह कि जिस दिन उसका उद्घाटन होना था, उस दिन अचानक लोगों को पता चला कि अब यह सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल स्टेडियम नहीं बल्कि ‘नरेंद्र मोदी स्टेडियम’ के तौर पर जाना जाएगा.

सबसे विचित्र बात यह थी कि इस नामकरण को बिल्कुल गोपनीय ढंग से किया गया. गोपनीयता इस कदर थी कि खुद समाचार एजेंसियों प्रेस ट्रस्ट आफ इंडिया या एएनआई आदि तक को पता नहीं था कि उसका नामकरण किया जाने वाला है.

जाहिर था कि पीटीआई या एएनआई जैसी संस्थाओं की सुबह की प्रेस विज्ञप्ति भी उसे सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल स्टेडियम के तौर पर संबोधित करती दिख रही थी. यह अलग बात है कि अगली प्रेस विज्ञप्ति में अचानक नरेंद्र मोदी स्टेडियम का जिक्र होने लगा.

अब जैसी कि उम्मीद की जा सकती है कि इस नामकरण- जो दरअसल नामांतरण था- पर तीखी प्रतिक्रिया हुई. न केवल इसे सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल के अपमान के तौर पर देखा गया बल्कि यह भी कहा गया कि एक पदेन प्रधानमंत्री का नाम देकर प्रस्तुत सरकार ने एक तरह से दुनिया में अपनी हंसी उड़ाने का ही काम किया है.

विपक्ष ने साफ कहा कि यह एक तरह से मोदी के पर्सनालिटी कल्ट को अधिक वैधता प्रदान करने का काम है. मिसालें पेश की गईं कि समूची दुनिया में भी ऐसी मिसालें बहुत गिनी-चुनी ही मिलती हैं, जो अधिनायकवादी मुल्कों में दिखती हैं.

( Read the full text here : http://thewirehindi.com/160559/renaming-of-motera-stadium/)

Mass Psychology of Neofascism – The rationale underlying political ‘irrationality’ : Dr Abhay Shukla

Dr Abhay Shukla, public health physician and health activist will be delivering  the 8 th lecture in the ‘Democracy Dialogues Lecture Series’  on ‘Mass Psychology of Neofascism : The rationale underlying political ‘irrationality’  organised by New Socialist Initiative on Sunday, 21 st February, 2021 at 6 PM (IST)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Mass Psychology of Neofascism – The rationale underlying political ‘irrationality’ : Dr Abhay Shukla

“No life that cannot be immortal” – Farewell Mourid Barghouti: Ayesha Kidwai

Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti passed away yesterday aged 77. AYESHA KIDWAI who met and came to know him during the term of a residential fellowship at the Rockefeller Institute, Bellagio, writes a farewell. Ayesha has also translated some of Mourid Barghouti’s poems into Hindustani on Kafila. Link to the translations is given below.

May be an image of one or more people and outdoors
Picture by Ayesha Kidwai

Late last night I was struck with concern for Mourid and how he was, and now I read that he passed away a few hours ago.

I hope you went without pain, my dear friend; the wry and generous bravery with which you loved should have given you that.

I hope that you got that moment, as you always sought in life, when you stepped out of the scene of your own passing and looked at it from afar and above. Only you would have found the one mourner or thing to mourn that sums up this grief that bores with such intensity into our souls.

Farewell, my friend, because when peace was never yours or Palestine’s, it is meaningless to wish for you to rest in peace.

I just hope that as you passed, you could think one final time of Radwa and Tamil and Palestine, and also once again the words of
your favourite poet Wislawa Szymborska.

Continue reading “No life that cannot be immortal” – Farewell Mourid Barghouti: Ayesha Kidwai

Hinduism, Hindu Way of Life and RSS Hindutva

 

 

Generic image of demonstration against mob lynching, courtesy ED Times

[In this column this time, I am reproducing a piece that I recently wrote at the request of some friends – as a popular pamphlet, meant primarily for election purposes. Therefore, while it draws on the work of experts in the field, it does not really address the academic reader.]

“Hinduize all politics and militarize Hindudom – And the resurrection of our Hindu Nation is bound to follow it as certainly as the Dawn follows the darkest hour of the Night!” – Hindutva’s founding ideologue Vinayak D. Savarkar’s message to Hindudom on his 59th birthday, 25 May 1941.

“Our arms stretched as far as America on the one side – that was long before Columbus ‘discovered’ America – and on the other side to China, Japan, Cambodia, Malay, Siam, Indonesia and all the South-East Asian countries and right up to Mongolia and Siberia in the North. Our powerful political empire too spread over these South-East areas and continued for 1,400 years, the Shailendra empire alone flourishing for over 700 years – standing as a powerful bulwark against Chinese expansion.” M. S. Golwalkar, [Second Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak  Sangh (RSS)], Bunch of Thoughts, Vikrama Prakashan, Bangalore 1968, p. 9.

“Emotions have more connection with the senses than with the faculty of reason; and therefore when principles are entirely lost sight of and emotions prevail, religions degenerate into fanaticism…They are no better than party politicsThe most horribly ignorant notions will be taken up, and for these ideas thousands will be ready to cut the throats of their brethren.” – Swami Vivekananda, “The Methods and Purpose of Religion”, The Definitive Vivekananda, Rupa, New Delhi, 2018, p. 211]

Hindutva is about Politics, Not about Religion

Continue reading Hinduism, Hindu Way of Life and RSS Hindutva

हमको डिक्टेटर मांगता!

(अक्सर लोग बातचीत में यह कहते पाये जाते हैं कि इस देश में सैनिक शासन लागू कर देना चाहिए. ऐसा कहते समय वे यह भूल जाते हैं कि उनके पड़ोसी देशों में यह सब होता रहा है और इसने उन देशों का जहाँ पीछे किया है वहीं लोगों के जीवन को भी संकट में जब-तब डाल दिया है. जिस देश ने अपने इतिहास का सबसे महान और बड़ा संघर्ष अहिंसा, लोकतंत्र और धर्मनिरपेक्षता जैसे विराट मानवीय मूल्यों से जीता हो. वहां हिटलर की बढ़ती लोकप्रियता चिंतित करती है.

क्यों हम हिटलर को पसंद करने लग गयें हैं, क्यों हम किसी तानाशाह की प्रतीक्षा कर रहें हैं ? जबकि यह भारत और मानवजाति के लिए किसी विभीषिका से कम नहीं होगा.

प्रस्तुत आलेख इसी परिघटना की पड़ताल करता है .)

( मुंबई के एक रेस्तरां का दृश्य, फोटो आभार REUTERS)

 

“History teaches, but it has no pupils.”

Antonio Gramsci, (१)

क भारतीय प्रकाशक को इस मसले पर वर्ष 2018 में आलोचना का शिकार होना पड़ा जब बच्चों के लिए तैयार की गयी एक किताब जिसका फोकस विश्व के नेताओं पर था ‘जिन्होंने अपने मुल्क और अपनी जनता की बेहतरी के लिए जिंदगी दी’ उसमें हिटलर को भी उसने शामिल किया.

जानकार लोग बता सकते हैं कि ऐसी घटनाएँ- कम-से-कम यहां अपवाद नहीं हैं. अपनी मौत के लगभग 75 साल बाद हिटलर भारत में बार-बार ‘नमूदार’ होता रहता है.

एक स्पैनिश फिल्म निर्माता अल्फ्रेडो डे ब्रागान्जा- जो एक स्वतंत्र फिल्म निर्माता रहे हैं- और जिन्होंने कुछ साल पहले भारत में रह कर काम किया था, उन्होंने भारत में हिटलर की अलग किस्म की ‘मौजूदगी’ को लेकर एक फोटो निबंध तैयार किया था जिसमें बहुत कम लिखित सामग्री थी. वह हिटलर की उपस्थिति को लेकर इस कदर विचलित थे कि अपने इस निबंध की शुरूआत में उन्होंने पूछ ही डाला:

‘भारत हिटलर-प्रेम के गिरफ्त में है. हालांकि आबादी का बड़ा हिस्सा यह नहीं जानता कि आखिर ऐसा क्यों हैं, वे अपने निजी एवं पेशागत चिन्ताओं से परे सोचना भी नहीं चाहते कि क्यों भारत हिटलर से प्रेम करता है? क्या किसी लॉबी का हित इसके पीछे है.’ (2)

आज भारत में आलम यह है कि  यहूदी विरोधी हिटलर की चर्चित रचना ‘माईन काम्फ’ (मेरा संघर्ष) को आप किसी किताब की दुकान में ‘डायरी ऑफ़ एन फ्रांक- जो उस यहूदी लड़की की आत्मकथा है जो खुद हिटलर की यहूदी विरोध की नीतियों का शिकार हुई थी, के बगल में देख सकते हैं.

हिटलर ने भारतीयों के बारे में काफी अपमानजनक टिप्पणियां की थीं और उसने भारत की आज़ादी के संग्राम का कतई समर्थन नहीं किया था. ‘डिअर हिटलर’ इस फिल्म पर- जिसमें यह दावा किया गया था कि ‘हिटलर भारत का दोस्त रहा है’ अपनी प्रतिक्रिया देते हुए एक लेखक ने हिटलर के चित्रांकन पर आश्चर्य प्रकट करते हुए तथा निराशा जताते हुए लिखा था :

“हिटलर ने कभी भी भारतीय स्वशासन की हिमायत नहीं की. उसने ब्रिटिश राजनेताओं को सलाह दी कि गांधी और आज़ादी के आन्दोलन के सैकड़ों नेताओं को वह गोली से उड़ा दे. बार-बार उसने ब्रिटिश साम्राज्यवाद के प्रति अपना समर्थन दोहराया. वह यही सोचता था कि वह (ब्रिटिश शासन) उतना सख्त नहीं रहा है. ‘अगर हम भारत पर कब्जा जमा लेते हैं’ उसने कभी धमकाया था, तब भारतीय लोग ‘अंग्रेजी शासन के अच्छे दिनों को याद करते फिरेंगे.’ (3)

( Read the full article here : https://samalochan.blogspot.com/2021/02/blog-post_3.html)

From Neo-liberalism to Neo-fascism : Prof Prabhat Patnaik

Eminent political economist and public intellectual, Prof Prabhat Patnaik, delivered the 7th Democracy Dialogues Series lecture on ‘From Neo-Liberalism to Neo-Fascism’ organised by the New Socialist Initiative on January 24, 2021, 6 PM IST

Facebook : facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Abstract:

FROM NEO-LIBERALISM TO NEO-FASCISM

There has of late been a sudden and rapid growth of neo-fascism all over the world. The neo-fascists are not yet in a position to capture power in many countries; and even where they do, they are not yet in a position to make the transition to a fascist State. But they contribute everywhere towards a fascification of the society and the polity. This emergence of neo-fascism is the culmination of the global pursuit of the neo-liberal trajectory, which greatly widened income and wealth inequalities in every country and led even to an absolute immiserization of vast masses of the working people in third world countries like India. For a while the hope was entertained that the people would become better off in due course as rapid growth continued. But with the onset of the global economic crisis, itself a result of the widened economic inequalities, such hopes have been belied. The corporate-financial oligarchy therefore has to find a new prop for itself and forms an alliance with neo-fascist elements to shift the discourse away from conditions of material life towards vilifying the “other”, typically a hapless religious and ethnic minority.

Invention of Merit and the ‘Millstone of Caste’: Mohan Rao

Guest post by MOHAN RAO

“And yet there must be deliverance for we are all otherwise convicted at birth.”

I want to thank Srivats and Anveshi for inviting to be part of a discussion about the book, Caste as Merit, by Ajantha Subramaniam.* I am not a scholar on these issues and I must confess this scares me sometimes, for I wonder if we can discuss these issues at all? Some friends actually advised me not to take part in this discussion, because I was, ineluctably,  going to be labelled as Brahmin, talking about a book written by a Brahmin in the US! In my own estimation though, I remain a nastika, a non-believer, out of Brahminical bounds.

I would like to begin by showing a lithograph – and a story.

Continue reading Invention of Merit and the ‘Millstone of Caste’: Mohan Rao

Mohan Bhagwat’s Divisive Mantra on Automatic Patriotism

It is a mischievous denigration of constitutional principles and values which declare every human equal and bar discrimination.

Mohan Bhagwat

“A Hindu is an automatic patriot and can never be an anti-national.” Remember the line? It is of Mohan Bhagwat, the Sangh supremo, who was at his best last week, at the launch of the book, Making of a Hindu Patriot: Background of Gandhiji’s Hind Swaraj. The book on Gandhi’s journey from Porbandar in Gujarat to England and South Africa and back to India, by JK Bajaj and MD Srinivas, was released by the Centre for Policy Studies.

In this book is the controversial claim that during 1893-94, Gandhi was pressurised to change his religion by both his Muslim employer and Christian colleagues in South Africa, which he refused. And by 1905, the book says, he became a devout Hindu.

Sure, everybody has a right to express their views, the authors and Mohan Bhagwat included, but the veracity of their claim still needs to be tested. As for the alleged pressure on Gandhi, the claim seems to come from out of the blue, and I would take it with a pinch of salt.

(Read the full article here )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Spectre of Evil…The world Since 1989 : Kumar Ketkar

 

The fifth lecture in the ‘Democracy Dialogues Series’ organised by New Socialist Initiative was delivered by Kumar Ketkar, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha at 6 PM (IST) on Sunday, 6 th December

Theme : The Spectre of Evil…The world Since 1989

Continue reading The Spectre of Evil…The world Since 1989 : Kumar Ketkar

How Can India Reinvigorate Phule’s Revolutionary Legacy ?

Remembering a colossus in the times of Hindutva.

Jyotirao phule.

Who will reinvigorate Phule’s legacy? This question stares us in the eye on 28 November, the 130th death anniversary of Jyotirao Phule, considered the “father of social revolution in India”. Phule largely remains relegated to the background—a result of selective amnesia and identity politics in modern India, where his path-breaking contributions, and those of his wife Savitribai and her fellow traveller Fatima Sheikh are rarely remembered.

They are credited with opening the first school for girls from the historically “untouchable” communities in Pune, which was once ruled by the Peshwas. This school created an upheaval in the Brahmin-dominated Maharashtra of yore, as a 14-year-old Muktabai, belonging to the formerly “untouchable” Mang caste, who studied in the school, wrote: “O learned Pandits, wind up the selfish prattle of your hollow wisdom and listen to what I say.” The student’s essay was published in 1855 in Dnyanodaya, a journal popular then. (From Women Writing in India, Edited by Susie Tharu and K Lalitha, Pandora.)

Jyotirao Phule was given the honorific of “Mahatma” a few years before he breathed his last in 1890, for a life spent engaging in tremendous innovation and creativity. He initiated his wife into writing and she later became an independent activist too—a rarity in those days. He opened the doors of his home for those considered the lowliest among the low. He came to the defence of scholar-activists, such as Pandita Rambai, when she embraced Christianity. So he fought against the conservative onslaught single-handedly. Many such instances in his life are worth emulating today.

( Read the full article here)

Jawaharlal Nehru and the Current Challenge to the Idea of India : Prof aditya mukherjee

 

 

 

The fourth lecture in the Democracy Dialogues series organised by New Socialist Initiative was  delivered by eminent scholar Prof Aditya Mukherjee, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU who is also editor of the ‘Sage Series in Modern Indian History’

Theme :
Jawaharlal Nehru and the Current Challenge to the Idea of India
Sunday, November 15, 2020
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Abstract :

In this talk I will look at how Jawaharlal Nehru tried to implement the vision of our national liberation struggle, which was reflected in our Constitution.  Critical elements of this vision were the creation  of a sovereign, secular, inclusive, democratic and pro-poor state. There was a consensus among the entire  Nationalist spectrum, from the Left to the Right on all these elements. While there was a consensus on the “pro-poor” aspect, from the early nationalists to Gandhiji to socialists and communists, there was no consensus on the idea of socialism, though a large and growing section was moving towards that objective. (The communalists and other loyalists who claimed to represent sectional interests, naturally did not share any aspect of this vision).

I will seek to outline how Nehru undertook the stupendous and in many respects historically unique task of creating a modern democratic nation state in a plural society, left deeply divided through the active collusion of the colonial state; of promoting modern industrialization within the parameters of democracy and sovereignty in a backward and colonially structured economy; of finding the balance between growth and equity in an impoverished, famine-ridden country; of empowering the people and yet expecting them to tighten their belt for the sake of the nation as a whole; of promoting the highest level of scientific education, a field left barren by colonialism; in short, of un-structuring colonialism and bringing in rapid economic development but doing it consensually, without the use of force, keeping what has been called the “Nehruvian consensus” intact in the critical formative years of the nation. I will also briefly discuss Nehru, who was deeply influenced by Marxism, tried to creatively move towards the socialist objective without compromising on the non-negotiable principle of democracy; though with limited success because of  a variety of reasons.

I shall end with reminding ourselves that, in these days of trying to erase Nehru’s memory altogether or to remember him in an unrecognisable demonised image created though false propaganda, much can be learnt from the legacy left behind by Nehru’s ideas and practice by those who wish to struggle to meet the current challenges to all the pillars of the Idea of India.
Sun, 15 Nov at 06:00 GMT+05:30
[https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtXBfoS5KZ78UFI_aYzROjUss8ZzhUKxy
This is the link of the playlist where you can find all the democracy dialogues video.]

 

 

The Tragic innocence of being faisal khan

India cannot take its syncretic tradition for granted. A culture of communal amity has to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Fasial.

Irony died a thousand deaths on Monday, 2 November, when 48-year-old non-violent activist Faisal Khan, a founder member of a revived Khudai Khidmatgar, was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police. The charge against him is that he spread disharmony and hurt religious sentiment, by offering namaz at a Krishna temple in Mathura. He and three other members of his organisation, whose name roughly translates to “servants of god”, have been charged by the police, though Faisal is the only one arrested so far.

Faisal was arrested at “Sabka Ghar”, a centre for communal harmony he has established near Ghaffar Manzil. People of all faiths can stay at this centre and celebrate festivals of all religions together. He had revived the historic Khudai Khidmatgar, an organisation established by the legendary Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Frontier Gandhi, whose role in the anti-colonial struggle has been documented in South Asia and the world.

Faisal himself is well-regarded for his deep knowledge of Hindu and Islamic religious traditions and scriptures, and it is for promoting harmony within India, and between India and Pakistan, that he is most recognised. He and his team have also provided relief to people devastated by communal riots or natural disasters.

( Read the complete article here)

Who is afraid of anuradha bhasin ?

Attacks on the media have become more “sophisticated”, such as stopping advertisements, which adds to the threat of violence.

Anuradha bhasin

In the first week of October came news from Jammu that the government-allotted apartment where Anuradha Bhasin, the executive editor of Kashmir Times has lived for twenty years, had been ransacked. The act was allegedly perpetrated by the relative of a former member of the Legislative Council. The intruders tried not to be photographed in the act by Bhasin, but later she published them and wrote on social media about how her “jewellery, silverware and other valuables” were taken by them in “connivance with the [Jammu and Kashmir] Estates Deptt and some police personnel”. Bhasin had not been served a show-cause notice to vacate the flat.

Soon after the office of her newspaper, located in the Press Enclave area in Srinagar, was also sealed, again without giving its legal owner or editor any reason. “Today, Estates Deptt locked our office without any due process of cancellation & eviction, same way as I was evicted from a flat in Jammu, where my belongings including valuables were handed over to ‘new allottee’,” Bhasin wrote.

One is suddenly reminded of the various storms the oldest and most-circulated newspaper published from Jammu and Kashmir has faced all these years. In 1983, some 200 Hindu right-wing lumpen, armed with batons and sharp weapons, barged into the offices of Kashmir Times in Jammu and attacked the editor at the time, Ved Bhasin. This attack followed a news report published by the then forty-year-old newspaper, which had apparently “hurt” their sentiments. The grand old man of English journalism, as Ved Bhasin was known in Jammu and Kashmir, survived the attack and continued his work with renewed vigour.

(Read the full article here)

Postcolonial Critiques of Modernity : Dr Ravi sinha

( New Socialist Initiative presents the 2nd Lecture* in the Series on Modernity, 18 th October 6 pm IST)

*Youtube Link to the first lecture : https://youtu.be/J5m7Z-I8jPg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Postcolonial Critiques of Modernity : Dr Ravi sinha