Category Archives: Culture

Brutalising Labourers, Jailing Dissidents

A medical emergency is no pretext to impose a political emergency.

A medical emergency

How many policemen in civil clothes are required to deliver a mere summons to an editor of a web journal 700-k away in an age of email and WhatsApp? The recent action of the Uttar Pradesh police, where it sent a posse of 7-8 policemen, in civil clothes, in a black SUV with no number plates, to Siddharth Varadarajan’s residence in Delhi to deliver a summons has prompted this question.

Definitely the police did not bother to ponder over how Varadarajan, editor of The Wire, will present himself to the authorities during a lockdown which has brought trains, flights and even private transport to a standstill.

The manner in which the issue has unfolded has caused an international uproar with 3,500 jurists, scholars, actors, artists and writers condemning Uttar Pradesh Police’s actions against The Wire, and saying that a “medical emergency should not serve as the pretext for the imposition of a de facto political emergency.”

How Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s government will respond remains to be seen, but the story in The Wire on the Tablighi Jamaat, which also noted that “Indian believers” responded late to the viral epidemic obviously provoked the powers-that-be into action. The episode has brought into sharp focus the priorities of the government during the epidemic, which it is supposedly fighting a “war” against.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Brutalising-Labourers-Jailing-dissidents)

Mainstream Myths Versus Scientific Collaboration

The rediscovery of scientific collaboration across borders is a welcome development.

Fake News on COVID

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

– Marie Curie.

Does the 5G network have any link to the novel corona-virus outbreak?”

Well, any sane person on this part of Earth would readily laugh at this outrageous claim. But this claim has “gone mainstream” leading even to bomb attacks on phone masts. So one has to sit up and analyse.

No doubt, when “psychological states peak and people’s anxiety levels are high,” as one expert puts it, one can easily become prey to such conspiracy theories. And as right-wing or conservative ideas have growing legitimacy in society, things can get even worse. Remember how for a long time Iran’s theocracy was in denial about the Corona-virus threat?

India is no exception to such false claims. All sorts of home remedies are being offered as a definite cure to the disease. We saw Gomutra parties where cow urine was drunk, supposedly as protection from this highly-contagious disease which has taken more than 100,000 lives and infected more than 1.7 million. No doubt it is an arduous task for progressives to counter all the rubbish being peddled around the pandemic and prepare people to take proper care while pressurising the powers-that-be to make public health a priority.

Such struggles can be better fought if individual scientists or groups of scientists join hands to sensitise and educate people.

The recent launch of a pan-institutional CovidGyan website (https://covid-gyan.in/) which is a brainchild of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) is a welcome step in this direction. Other key members of this initiative include Vigyan Prasar, IndiaBioscience, and the Bangalore Life Science Cluster (BLiSC, which comprises InStem and C-CAMP, in addition to NCBS-TIFR).

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Mainstream-Myths-Versus-Scientific-Collaboration)

रोगाणु, दाग़ और हमारा ‘विशुद्ध’ समाज : वी. गीता

Guest post by V. GEETHA. Translated by RAJENDER SINGH NEGI

कोरोना के आने से पहले ही हममें रोगाणुओं को लेकर चिंता का भाव विद्यमान था. ज़रा उन फ़र्श, किचन काउंटर, कपड़ों, इत्यादि रोगाणुओं, दाग़, और तमाम क़िस्म के सूक्ष्म घुसपैठी जंतुओं से निजात दिलाने वाले विज्ञापनों को याद करें, जिनमे इन सभी को पर्याप्त और बड़ी चालाकी से दुष्ट क़रार दिया जाता रहा है. कोरोना ने हमें ख़ुद को विशुद्ध और साफ़-सुथरा रखने का पूर्णत: वाजिब कारण दे दिया है. हम चाहे ख़ुद को चारदीवारी के अंदर बंद कर लें, या, अन्यों को उसमें दाख़िल होने से रोकें, अंतत: इसका नतीजा वही निकलता है, कि हम अक्सर पहले से ही समाज में व्याप्त जातिगत, वर्ग-आधारित, नस्ल-भेदी और धार्मिक आधार पर बनाई गई सामाजिक मान्यताओं की दीवारें ही खड़ी कर रहे होते हैं.

तो फिर जिस जोश-खरोश से हमने संभावित संक्रामक माने जाने वाले लोगों पर नज़र रखने, उन्हें चिह्नित और वर्जित करने की क़वायद सर पर उठा रखी है उस पर अचरज नहीं करना चाहिए. इस वर्जना में सरेआम सड़कों पर धर-पकड़, शर्मिंदा किया जाना, घरों में ‘आईसोलेट’ किए गयों के नाम सार्वजनिक किया जाना, और मरीज़ों का ईलाज कर रहे डॉक्टरों और नर्सों का उनकी ही रिहाईशी कॉलोनियों में प्रवेश की निषेधआज्ञा लागू किया जाना भी शामिल है.

Continue reading रोगाणु, दाग़ और हमारा ‘विशुद्ध’ समाज : वी. गीता

Corona, Capitalism and Civilisation : Ravi Sinha

Guest Post by Ravi Sinha

“Who do you blame it on? For a while it was China, until the most favourite target for the Indians appeared on the scene – you know who. When it comes to the business of blaming, Indians (a large percentage of them) would have loved it if the virus had originated somewhere in the Middle East or in Pakistan.

But new viruses have always appeared in human history, some more deadly than others. This one is the newest such calamity. Sure enough, humanity will be found standing on the other side of this crisis. But, how shall we count the losses after this mayhem is over?

Continue reading Corona, Capitalism and Civilisation : Ravi Sinha

An Open Letter to the Kerala Governor Sri Arif Mohammad Khan About Our Fight Against the Virus, But Also About Our Resistance to CAA-NRC

Dear Sir

First of all, thank you for acknowledging, even praising,the efforts of the government of Kerala and the people to protect ourselves and humanity against the threat of the corona virus. It is true that Kerala’s efforts and achievements are being lauded the world over, but those voices are never going to make any impact on the supporters of the Sangh parivar in Kerala. But your views cannot be dismissed so easily as ‘Western’ or ‘leftist’ (though they may still murmur about your Muslim name). What has really riled me in the recent past is their systematic effort at downplaying Kerala’s achievements, heaping abuse on our effort to help migrant workers, and raising baseless allegations against those who are working to mitigate the crisis. So as a historian of modern Kerala, I am writing this to offer some insights into why we have been able to do this, in the hope that you may be able to see what they will never tell you — simply because they are so sadly blinded by hate. Continue reading An Open Letter to the Kerala Governor Sri Arif Mohammad Khan About Our Fight Against the Virus, But Also About Our Resistance to CAA-NRC

Srinarayanadharmam: Raghavan Thirumulpad (Part 2)

The third chapter is about precepts applicable to all human beings;  the aacharyan speaks here on the panchadharmas and the panchashuddhi. The panchadharmas are : nonviolence, truth, non-covetousness, the rejection of intoxicants,  and the avoidance of licentiousness. Dharmoyam Saarvavarnikah, say the earlier aachaaryas, mentioning nonviolence, truth, non-covetousness, celibacy, and frugality as the five crucial dharmas. The Yogasastra mentions these five as the panchayamas. Continue reading Srinarayanadharmam: Raghavan Thirumulpad (Part 2)