University Administration Trying to Precipitate Crisis: JNUTA

We are reproducing a statement issued by JNUTA on 19 February 2017, on the situation in the university and the administration’s attempts to create a crisis where there is none.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association is deeply distressed at the continuing impasse in the University. Pursuant to its appeal on 13 February to the Vice-Chancellor to initiate a dialogue with the students, JNUTA has through the last week requested a meeting with him to discuss the situation on campus, but has not even received the courtesy of a reply. It has also spoken daily to the students worried about their future and that of the university about the concerns that the teachers, staff, and officers have at restoring the smooth functioning of the University administration building. Continue reading “University Administration Trying to Precipitate Crisis: JNUTA”

Rain and Revulsion: Prasanta Chakravarty

This is a GUEST POST by Prasanta Chakravarty

“Slime is the agony of water.”

~ Jean Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness


The Birth of Revulsion – Pranabendu Dasgupta

No certainty where each would go —
Suddenly the descent of a cloudburst, rain.
We stood, each where we were,
And stared at one another.
It is not good to be so close
“Revulsion is born” – someone had said

“Revulsion, revulsion, revulsion.”
Then, lighting a cigarette, some man
Muttered abuse at another next to him.
Like an abstract painting, spiralling like a gyre,
In a wee space
We slowly fragmented, dispersed.
Had it not rained, though,
We would have stepped out together.
Perhaps to the cinema, tasting a woman’s
Half-exposed breast with the eye,
Then laughing out loud,
We could head for the maidan!
Someone maybe would sing; someone
Would say, “I am alive”.

But it rained.

(Krittibas, Sharad Sankhya,  1386)

 ঘৃণার জন্ম

প্রনবেন্দু দাশগুপ্ত

কোথায় কে যাবে ঠিক নেই —
হঠাৎ দুদ্দাড় ক ‘রে বৃষ্টি নেমে এলো।
যেখানে ছিলাম, ঠিক সেইখানে থেকে
আমরা পরস্পরের দিকে তাকিয়ে রইলাম।

এত কাছাকাছি থাকা খুব ভালো নয়।
” ঘৃণার জন্ম হয় ” –কে যেন বললো
” ঘৃণা, ঘৃণা, ঘৃণা। ”
তারপর সিগ্রেট ধরিয়ে, আরো একজন
খুব ফিশফিশ ক ‘রে
পাশের লোককে গাল দিলো।
বিমূর্ত ছবির মতো তালগোল পাকিয়ে পাকিয়ে
ছোট্ট জায়গা জূড়ে
আমরা ক্রমশ ভেঙে, ছড়িয়ে পড়লাম।

বৃষ্টি না নামলে কিন্তু
আমরা একসঙ্গে বেরিয়ে পড়তাম।
হয়তো সিনেমা গিয়ে,রমণীর আধ -খোলা স্তন
চোখ দিয়ে চেখে
তারপর, হো হো ক ‘রে হেসে
ময়দানের দিক যাওয়া যেতো !
কেউ হয়তো গান গাইতো ; কেউ হয়তো
বলতো “বেঁচে আছি “।

কিন্তু বৃষ্টি নেমেছিলো।।

(কৃত্তিবাস, শারদ সংখ্যা ১৩৮৬)

Continue reading “Rain and Revulsion: Prasanta Chakravarty”

‘नफरत के गुरूजी’

गोलवलकर के महिमामंडन से उठते प्रश्न

pov-bhagwat-in-betul-jail-where-golwalkar-was-imprisoned

संघ के सुप्रीमो जनाब मोहन भागवत की सूबा मध्य प्रदेश की बैतुल की यात्रा पिछले दिनों सूर्खियों में रही, जहां वह हिन्दू सम्मेलन को संबोधित करने पहुंचे थे। सूर्खियों की असली वजह रही बैतुल जेल की उनकी भेंट जहां वह उस बैरक में विशेष तौर पर गए, जहां संघ के सुप्रीमो गोलवलकर कुछ माह तक बन्द रहे।  इस यात्रा की चन्द तस्वीरें भी शाया हुई हैं। इसमें वह दीवार पर टंगी गोलवलकर की तस्वीर का अभिवादन करते दिखे हैं। फोटो यह भी उजागर करता है कि भागवत के अगल बगल जेल के अधिकारी बैठै हैं।

विपक्षी पार्टियों ने – खासकर कांग्रेस ने – इस बात पर भी सवाल उठाया था कि आखिर किस हैसियत से उन्हें जेल के अन्दर जाने दिया गया। उनके मुताबिक यह उस गोलवलकर को महिमामंडित करने का प्रयास  है, जिसे ‘एक प्रतिबंधित संगठन के सदस्य होने के नाते गिरफ्तार किया गया था। यह जेल मैनुअल का उल्लंघन भी है। केवल कैदी के ही परिजन एवं दोस्त ही जेल परिसर में जा सकते हैं और वह भी वहां जाने से पहले जेल प्रबंधन की अनुमति लेने जरूरी है।’

गौरतलब है कि संघ के तत्कालीन सुप्रीमो गोलवलकर की यह पहली तथा अंतिम गिरफतारी आज़ाद हिन्दोस्तां में गांधी हत्या के बाद हुई थी, जब संघ पर पाबन्दी लगायी गयी थी। प्रश्न उठता है कि आखिर गोलवलकर के इस कारावास प्रवास को महिमामंडित करके जनाब भागवत ने क्या संदेश देना चाहा।

( For full text of the article click here :https://hindi.sabrangindia.in/article/nafrat-ke-guruji-subhash-gathade

Longing for the World: A Memoir of Two Days at the Kochi Biennale

[Disclaimer: I am not an art critic, artist, or travelled in the world of art. This is just a memoir]

(I)

Fort Kochi, 9 Feb. 2017

Though I had already been to the biennale in January and had a roaring time, something kept urging me to go there again. That something, I believe, is my insatiable imagination – which has always had a life of its own as long as I can remember, needs to be fed all the time, and actually drives me crazy. But maybe I should be thankful: if I survive this loveless existence that is my life, it is because my imagination has always spirited me away even from the midst of the worst emotional violence and uproar. Social theorists who use trickster figures or such characters as Daedalus who give power the slip, or manipulate it to their own ends, are probably saying the same thing.

The only ‘Moral Science’ lesson I remember from school was from the fourth standard, about the invisible guardian angel who supposedly protected us from evil. What intrigued me was the suggestion that each of us had a special angel-companion of our own who was ever-present though invisible – quite a lovely idea to a lonely child who found it hard to blend and settle into her playmates’ world. For me that was the unseen power which transformed a boring class into a musical concert by playing music inside my head; wove words and images into tales there; scared me sometimes, but equally let me exorcise the fear; and led me to all sorts of nooks and corners in the house and the yard and showed me all sorts of things, almost a world that I, but no one else, could see.

I pulled myself out of the world of research that employed, that did not satisfy, my imagination, and went again to the biennale. Two golden days! No words exist to reveal how my heart sang at the prospect. And besides, I was going to stay with dear, beloved friends, people who lived steeped in imagination – unlike me, whose current existence involved the use of the imagination (though it can never be mastered fully for sure) in a self-conscious way. My friends who run a little homestay near Fort Kochi reach out to others with extraordinary warmth mainly because, I think, their world is so incredibly diverse – populated by not just all sorts of diverse human beings, (rich, poor, high, low, of different faiths and castes, related by marriage, friendship, acquaintance, country-cousinship, common humanity, vague feelings of familiarity and so on), but also by spirits, saints, gods, all of who are felt and reached. Continue reading “Longing for the World: A Memoir of Two Days at the Kochi Biennale”

CPM in Kerala = Caste-Gender Elitism Minus Cow

This is my Malayalam opinion piece for iemalayalam, on something despite the outcry against the CPM in the mess around Kerala Law Academy.  The public discussion has been, not unexpectedly, on the line of Kerala’s well-entrenched scandal journalism, which has a history of a hundred years, at least. This is a form of journalism that highlights the sexual lives – proper or improper – of powerful male politicians which accompanies the attack on their public failings directly or indirectly- a very highly successful tactic, hitherto, to undermine even the seemingly unassailable. When women began to figure in this kind of journalism as something more than just passive sexual objects, as active agents of corruption and manipulation – most markedly, in the controversy over the businesswoman Sarita Nair – scandal journalism worked by highlighting the huge contrast between their ‘feminine-respectable’ names, sartorial styles, behaviour, and so on, and the despicable manipulations they indulged in. This is the case also with much media discussion of the principal of the Kerala Law Academy, Lekshmi Nair.

However, this tactic is not only misogynist, it also lets the elite-femininity that she represents escape critique. This is a very contemporary form of respectable femininity that presents itself as essentially domestic, but wields delegated masculine power to vicious ends, and it is almost all-pervasive in disciplinary institutions in Kerala now. Not surprisingly perhaps, the CPM’s mishandling of the issue has not just shown how poorly committed the party is to women’s rights, but also how soft it is on this elite-feminine power.

The full essay, in Malayalam:

https://www.iemalayalam.com/opinion/cpm-j-devika-law-academy-lekshmi-nair-gender-caste-women/

 

Hindutva Fascists Ransack Janchetna Book Shop in Ludhiana

We are publishing below a statement issued by Anand Singh on behalf of Janchetna, Ludhiana

A group of Hindutva goons ransacked Janchetna — an institution dedicated to promote and propagate progressive literature — in Ludhiana on 2 January 2017. They also abused and misbehaved with the book shop manager Binny and manhandled other activists who came to her rescue. They even threatened to put the books on fire. More disturbing, however, was the fact that all this happened in the presence of police which remained a mute spectator to this fascist attack which lasted for two hours. Later, instead of arresting the goons, the police took the activists present there — Binny, Janchetna book shop manager, Lakhwinder , President of Textiles Hosiery Kamgar Union, Gurjeet (Samar), an activist of karkhana Mazdoor Union and Satbir Naujawan Bharat Sabha activists — into custody and sealed the shop. However, due to people’s pressure the activists were soon released and a demonstration of various mass organisations and trade unions compelled the police to let the book shop reopen.

Continue reading “Hindutva Fascists Ransack Janchetna Book Shop in Ludhiana”

Didi, I Want to Learn the Harmonium and Roam Around Freely: Samhita Barooah

Guest post by SAMHITA BAROOAH

During a visit to the Kishori Mandal at Apne Aap Women Worldwide’s Uttari Rampur Centre in Forbesganj I met some lovely girls. They stayed in the community near the red light area. They were eager to learn new things. They asked me my story of life, “Didi aapki kahani sunao? Aapne kaise yaha tak sangharsh kiya?” I was again very surprised to encounter the subversion of queries. I should have been the one to ask those questions to the girls, but they wanted to know more about me. Perceptual understanding is a perspective rooted in feminist standpoint theory which could apply to any context from the onlooker’s context. For the young girls from the Red Light Area in Forbesganj, I was trapped in some realities which connected me to them. That was why she asked me to share my story of struggle. When I said education enabled me to survive the world around me, they laughed and said that was not their story. They said, “For us we have to get married as soon as we are 18 years old but sometimes even earlier. We just want to enjoy our freedom now in this centre till we get married. After that we do not know what holds true for us.” As women whether we are in the Nat community of Bihar or we are in the liberated spaces of North East India, our identities get defined by our marriage, cultural practices and socialisation. Unbound freedom for women seems to be a misnomer which should be forbidden for women as the evolved souls say.

Continue reading “Didi, I Want to Learn the Harmonium and Roam Around Freely: Samhita Barooah”