Category Archives: Culture

Arming Children, Securing a Future?

By distributing knives to meritorious children, organisations like the Hindu Mahasabha, are trying to give religious legitimacy to what is essentially a political use of faith.

Hindu Mahasabha distributing knives to children

Image courtesy: Twitter

What does an organisation do when it wants to congratulate meritorious students who have excelled in exams?

Reward them with some gifts, say, books, and (if finances allow) give them scholarships or laptops to facilitate their further studies. Definitely not gift them knives.

Well, Pooja Shakuni Pandey, the national secretary of Hindu Mahasabha, who had been making news for controversial reasons for more than a year, exactly did this on Savarkar Jayanti. This mathematics professor made it clear that she was not much interested in how they study further or what they wanted to become. With this knife distribution programme, along with a copy of Bhagwad Gita, she wanted to ‘create Hindu soldiers out of these children’ and it was basically a “[s]tep to motivate Hindus and empower them, especially the younger generation, with knives to protect themselves.”

( Read the complete text here : https://www.newsclick.in/Hindu-Mahasabha-Distributing-Knives-Meritorious-Children-Political-Use-of-Religion)

Modi 2.0: Majoritarianism Normalised?

This election verdict will have vital ramifications for democracy’s onward journey for decades together, and silencing and further invisibilisation of religious minorities would be its logical outcome.

minorities in india

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”  — – Gramsci

A journalist friends’ prophesy has finally come true.

The day India launched ‘surgical strikes’ across the border supposedly to avenge the Pulwama terror attack, this friend immediately sent a message on a WhatsApp group that Narendra Modi has ensured himself a second term. He stood his ground despite few heated exchanges on the group from Left leaning friends.

In the coming days, this not so expected debacle of the secular camp and the surge of the Hindutva Supremacist camp in newer areas and communities would be further analysed/debated/discussed from various angles. It will be debated why despite the caution expressed by the likes of Amartya Sen, who had concluded how India has taken “a quantum jump in wrong direction since 2014”; how despite being cautioned by leading scholars, intellectuals, scientists of our times that the  very idea of India is at stake in the elections, the people in general did not pay any heed to their appeals and have resolved to continue the journey with a renewed frenzy in the same direction or have fully supposedly embraced this idea of ‘New India’ jettisoning the old one. Remember, not only has the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) been able to garner more seats than last time but its vote share has also increased more than 5%.

(Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/Minorities-India-Silenced-Modi-Reelection-BJP-Majoritarianism-RSS)

Cyclone Fani: Prejudice in Times of Natural Disasters

Caste discrimination, even while faced with a calamity, is a clear outcome of the brahminical ideology of purity and pollution that has permeated deep into Indian society.

Cyclone Fani: Prejudice in Times of Natural Disasters

Image Courtesy: Al Jazeera

“[U]ntouchability, is a kind of disease of the Hindus…it is a mental twist…. I do not know how my friend is going to untwist the twist which the Hindus have got for thousands of years unless they are all sent to some kind of hospital.’ Dr B.R.Ambedkar , 1954

Cyclone Fani is over.

Despite being one of the strongest cyclones to hit India in last two decades the manner in which the state most affected by it — Odisha — was successful in keeping loss of life and numbers of affected people to a minimum has earned it kudos even from its critics.

People are slowly trying to pick up threads to restart their lives

It is rather difficult to say whether it will be easy for dalit villagers of Baripada village — part of Patali panchayat — to do so, who had to endure callous and inhuman behaviour from their own village brethren, during the stormy winds. Around 85 of them from 25 families were denied entry to three shelters located within a radius of approximately four km by ‘upper caste’ people. Nandini (name changed) belonging to the Dom caste narrated how they had to ultimately take shelter beside an uprooted banyan tree, while it was raining heavily.

( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/cyclone-fani-prejudice-times-natural-disasters)

Dear Hitler

Why does Hitler’s legacy in India greatly differs from that in the West. More removed from the traumas associated with World War II and the Holocaust  

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..An innocent question sometimes comes up with very troubling answer(s).

J’admire ( I admire)… a simple exercise given to students to know from them whom they appreciate as a great historical figure or a hero, became a great learning experience for a teacher who taught French at a private school.

Writer and Journalist Dileep D’souza, who has authored many books, and writes on social-political causes shared the experience of his wife who posed the said question before them during a discussion. What she was expecting that they would mention Gandhi or Bhagat Singh or other luminaries of India’s struggle for freedom and progress but none of her predictions came true. There was a lone student whose choice was Mahatma Gandhi but nine out of 25 students in her class admired Hitler as hero or as a great historical figure. Continue reading Dear Hitler

संस्कृति की ज़मीन, बदलाव के बीज : रवि सिन्हा

Guest Post by Ravi Sinha
1.
मार्क ट्वेन ने कभी कहा था – धूम्रपान की आदत छोड़ने में मैं ख़ासा माहिर हूँ; यह काम मैंने हज़ारों बार किया है.सन्धान की यह केवल तीसरी शुरुआत है. वह भी काग़ज़ पर छप कर नहीं. अभी केवल वेब-पेज़ के रूप में. अतः यह दावा तो नहीं किया जा सकता कि हमलोग शुरुआत करने के विशेषज्ञ हो गए. बल्कि ये मनायें कि इस मामले में ट्वेन सरीखी महारत न हासिल हो. इरादा नयी शुरुआत का और हौसले दूर तक चलने के हों तो फिर से शुरू करने में कोई बुराई नहीं है.
हज़ारों साल पहले एक्लेसियास्टीज़ की किताब में कहा गया था – जो हो चुका है, वही फिर होगा. जो किया जा चुका है, वही फिर किया जायेगा. सूरज के तले कुछ भी नया नहीं है. लेकिन दूसरी तरफ़ हेराक्लिटस का कहना था – तुम एक ही नदी में दो बार पाँव नहीं रख सकते. पानी हर पल बदल चुका होता है. अगला पाँव नयी नदी में पड़ेगा.बुद्धिमानी शायद इसमें हो कि एक जेब में एक्लेसियास्टीज़ और दूसरी में हेराक्लिटस को रख कर चला जाय. एक कुछ बिल्कुल नया कर गुज़रने के घमण्ड को क़ाबू में रक्खेगा तो दूसरा नये का सामना करने की हिम्मत देगा. जो हो चुका है वही फिर होगा तो भी कुछ नया होगा. और, उम्मीद है, जो कहा जा चुका है वही फिर से कहा जाय तो भी कुछ नया कहा जायेगा और अर्थ कुछ नये निकलेंगें. समय की उसी नदी में आप दो बार पाँव नहीं रख सकते.
और, इस नदी में त्वरण है. समय के बदलने की रफ़्तार बदल चुकी है. पिछली एक सदी में जितना कुछ हुआ है, उतना पहले के हज़ार सालों में नहीं हुआ था. इन्सानी इतिहास का प्रवाह समय के उबड़-खाबड़ भूगोल से गुज़रा है. थोड़ी देर का समतल थके विजेताओं को उस असीम-अनन्त चरागाह की तरह दिखने लगता है जिसकी खोज में वे पाँच सौ या पाँच हज़ार साल पहले निकले थे. इतिहास के अन्त की घोषणाएँ होती हैं. लेकिन घोषणाओं की समाप्ति के पहले ही समय का समतल समाप्त होने लगता है. आगे कुछ के लिये ख़तरनाक ढलान है तो दूसरों के लिये कठिन चढ़ाई है.

Continue reading संस्कृति की ज़मीन, बदलाव के बीज : रवि सिन्हा

The Saderla story – courage in the face of violent prejudice: Manindra Agrawal

This is a guest post by MANINDRA AGRAWAL

This is the story of a young man who made it to the premier institution of IIT Kanpur against heavy odds, but was then let down by the system and people at the institute. Yet, he showed exemplary courage and stood up for his rights firmly but gently. The story also highlights the frailties of human nature and the vindictiveness that can mar human actions. It is a story that needs to be told.

Prologue

IIT Kanpur, like all other IITs, has very few faculty from reserved categories.​ ​An initiative was taken in August 2017 with an exclusive advertisement for faculty under various reserved categories. The applications received were sent to the respective departments for evaluation, and the shortlisted candidates were called for seminars. The protagonist of this story, Dr SS (I am using initials for the key players for convenience, all names are in the public domain), who is from a scheduled caste of Andhra Pradesh, was shortlisted in the Aerospace Engineering department. He did both his M.Tech and Ph.D from IIT Kanpur under Professor AKG, who happened to be the head of the department at the time. Continue reading The Saderla story – courage in the face of violent prejudice: Manindra Agrawal