Category Archives: Debates

बहुध्रुवीयता – तानाशाही का मूलमंत्र : कविता कृष्णन

Guest post by KAVITA KRISHNAN

[यह लेख The India Forum में अंग्रेज़ी में छपा और उसके हिंदी अनुवाद का एक संक्षिप्त संस्करण सत्य हिंदी में छपा. यहाँ हिंदी में लेख को पूरा (बिना काट-छांट के) पढ़ा जा सकता है. हिंदी अनुवाद के लिए डॉ कविता नंदन सूर्य (सम्पादक, www.debateonline.in) को शुक्रिया.]

बहुध्रुवीयता अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संबंधों की वामपंथी समझ को दिशा देने वाला कम्पास है. भारत और वैश्विक वामपंथ की सभी धाराओं ने लम्बे समय से साम्राज्यवादी अमेरिकी वर्चस्व वाली ‘एकध्रुवीय’ दुनिया की अवधारणा के खिलाफ ‘बहुध्रुवीय’ विश्व की वकालत की है.

दूसरी ओर, ‘बहुध्रुवीयता’ वैश्विक फासीवाद और तानाशाही की साझी भाषा का मूल आधार बन गई है. यह निरंकुश शासकों के लिए एकजुटता का ऐसा आह्वान है, जो लोकतंत्र पर उनके हमले को साम्राज्यवाद के खिलाफ जंग की शक्ल में पेश करती है.  अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संबंधों के साम्राज्यवाद-विरोधी लोकतंत्रीकरण के नाम पर बहुध्रुवीयता को वैश्विक वामपंथ के गुंजायमान समर्थन ने, निरंकुशता का भेस बदलने और उसे वैधता दिलाने के लिए ‘बहुध्रुवीयता’ के इस्तेमाल को असीमित शक्ति प्रदान कर दी है.

राष्ट्र राज्यों के आतंरिक अथवा आपसी राजनैतिक टकरावों पर रुख तय करने लिए कितने आधार उपलब्ध हैं? इस प्रश्न के जवाब में वामपन्थ सिर्फ़ दो विकल्पों – या तो “बहुध्रुवीयता” या “एकध्रुवीयता” – को प्रस्तुत करती है. अगर आपने “बहुध्रुवीयता” को अपना मूल आधार नहीं बनाया तो वामपन्थ मानेगी कि आप ज़रूर अमेरिका/नाटो की दादागिरी वाले “एकध्रुवीयता” के पक्ष में हैं. पर   “बहुध्रुवीयता” या “एकध्रुवीयता” के बीच यह कल्पित बाईनरी हमेशा भ्रामक थी. लेकिन आज “बहुध्रुवीयता” बनाम  “एकध्रुवीयता” के बीच संघर्ष की मनगढ़ंत कहानी भ्रामक ही नहीं, खतरनाक है क्योंकि इस कहानी में फासीवादी और तानाशाह नेताओं को “बहुध्रुवीयता” बनाए रखने वाले नायकों का पात्र दिया गया है.

Continue reading बहुध्रुवीयता – तानाशाही का मूलमंत्र : कविता कृष्णन

An Open Letter to the National Leadership of the AIDWA : Struggle in Unity for Equality, or Struggle in Unity against Impunity?

To the National Leadership which is currently participating in the 13th National Conference of the AIDWA in Thiruvananthapuram.

Dear sisters in struggle

I write to you from Kerala, where the CPM is currently in power for a second time, a rare achievement indeed, in a state where power changes hands usually in each election. I know that most of you hail from places where the CPM is very far from power. I know the difference that makes to activism.

Continue reading An Open Letter to the National Leadership of the AIDWA : Struggle in Unity for Equality, or Struggle in Unity against Impunity?

भारतीयता, स्वाधीनता आंदोलन और वैज्ञानिक चेतना : गौहर रज़ा

The next lecture ( 8 th one) in the ‘Sandhan Vyakhyanmala Series initiated by New Socialist Initiative ( Hindi Pradesh) will be delivered by Gauhar Raza, Former Chief Scientist, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Documentary Filmmaker on Social Issues, Civil Rights Activist and a  Poet 

He will be speaking on ‘Indian Identity, Freedom Movement and Scientific Temper’ ( भारतीयता, स्वाधीनता आंदोलन और वैज्ञानिक चेतना) on Saturday, 10 th December, 2022  6 PM ( IST). 

Time: Dec 10, 2022 06:00 PM India

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82717708928?pwd=SW1qMnRaVVpWbHVzZjdJb3lZK2dwUT09

Meeting ID: 827 1770 8928
Passcode: 101822

The lecture will also be live streamed on www.facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

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संधान व्याख्यानमाला : आठवां वक्तव्य 

विषय :  भारतीयता, स्वाधीनता आंदोलन और वैज्ञानिक चेतना

वक्ता :  गौहर रज़ा , पूर्व मुख्य वैज्ञानिक , कौन्सिल ऑफ़ साइंटिफिक एंड इंडस्ट्रियल रिसर्च , डॉक्युमेंटरी  फिल्म निर्माता , सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता और कवि  

शनिवार , 10  दिसंबर , शाम 6 बजे   
आयोजक :न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनिशिएटिव ( हिंदी प्रदेश )

आयोजक : न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनिशिएटिव ( हिंदी प्रदेश ) 

विषय : ‘ भारतीयता, स्वाधीनता आंदोलन और वैज्ञानिक चेतना

देश के पहले प्रधानमंत्री जवाहरलाल नेहरू ने देश के सामने दो बड़े सवाल रखे थे, पहला था ‘वैज्ञानिक चेतना’ का और दूसरा था ‘भारत माता कौन है’ यानी हमारी भारतीय पहचान का क्या अर्थ है.  इन दोनों सवालों पर आज फिर एक बार नज़र डालने की जरूरत है. आज एक तरफ़ तो  वैज्ञानिक चेतना पर बड़ा हमला है और दूसरी तरफ़ ‘सामूहिक भारतीय पहचान’ को बदलने की व्यापक कोशिश ने सामाजिक ढांचे को छिन्न भिन्न करने का ख़तरा खड़ा कर दिया है. 

ये व्याख्यान जंग-ए-आज़ादी के दौरान ब्रिटिश राज्य के दमन के ख़िलाफ़ गाढ़ी गयी ‘हिंदुस्तानी पहचान’ से जुड़े कुछ सवालों पर नज़र डालने की कोशिश करेगा. इस पहचान का गारा वैज्ञानिक चेतना से तैयार किया गया था, पर ये भी याद रखना चाहिए कि देश में वैज्ञानिक चेतना के खिलाफ़ शक्तियां हमेशा ही सक्रिय रही हैं, खास तौर से हिंदी पट्टी में. 2014 के बाद से इन शक्तियों की ताक़त बढ़ी है और साथ ही वैज्ञानिक चेतना और भारतीय पहचान पर हमले भी. 

A Few Remarks On The Absence of Scientific Temper in the Land of Bose, Raman, and Salam

Guest Post by Ravi Sinha

[I must begin with a “thank you” to the Indian Diaspora of Washington DC* and to Razi Saheb for letting me say a few words here. It is an honour for me to share the dais, even if virtually, with Gauhar Raza and Pervez Hoodbhoy. I was stressed about Razi Saheb being a stern time-keeper. So, I decided to jot down what I have to say. But the flip side is that I did not know at the time of preparing these notes what Gauhar and Pervez would say. Please bear with me if what I say turns out to be redundant in the light of what has already been said, or if it appears tangential to the concerns of the organizers or of the other two speakers.]

Let me first get some elementary considerations out of the way. The title refers to the land of Bose, Raman and Salam, which might betray an assumption that a scientist is guaranteed to possess scientific temper and he is influential enough to leave an imprint on the society. In an ideal world, perhaps, that ought to be the case. But even scientists do not live in an ideal world.

Take the example of Sir Isaac Newton, the greatest icon of science, whose genius did put its final and authoritative seal on the Scientific Revolution. Running away from plague in Cambridge to his native village, the young and solitary scholar single-handedly laid the foundation of modern science. He accomplished this during a mere 18 months of his anni mirabiles of 1665-66 when he formulated his laws of motion and his theory of gravitation. In addition, he also invented calculus during the same months. But, after that, he devoted a large part of his long life to the practice of alchemy and to the theological labours of interpreting the Bible. He denounced what he thought were corruptions of Christianity – such as trinitarianism – and adopted a radically puritanical version of Arianism that considered the Bible as an exact Revelation about the future. Nothing in Newton was of normal proportions – neither his scientific genius nor his rigid dogmatism and confident superstitions.

If you think I am being unfair to Newton – after all he could only be a product of his times – you are already conceding part of the point I am driving at. But let me cite a few examples from more recent times before I try to peep into the relationship between Science and Scientific Temper. Pascual Jordan, a pioneer of Quantum Mechanics, was an active Nazi who continued to hold his fascist views even after his rehabilitation in post-war Germany. Physics Nobel laureates Philipp Lenard and Johannes Stark too were active Nazis and confirmed anti-Semites. A little earlier, the great mathematician, Emmy Noether, had been prevented from becoming a faculty in the mathematics department of the University of Gottingen just because she was a woman. An exasperated David Hilbert famously said, “I do not see that the sex of the candidate is an argument against her admission as a privatdozent. After all, we are a university, not a bathhouse.” And a scientist friend of mine reminded me the other day that our own Sir C V Raman, one in the title of this program, was opposed to a woman being admitted as a Ph.D. student, because, in his views, women were unfit to do science.

I am not here to withhold the certificate of scientific temper from being awarded to eminent scientists. My purpose is to examine whether lack of scientific temper comes in the way of doing good science. Pervez Hoodbhoy wrote a book some thirty years ago. The book is called “Islam and Science”, and the subtitle is “Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality”. In the book he cites a telling example. Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam – the same Salam who too is in the title of this program – came up with one of the greatest physical theories of 20th century – the unified quantum theory of electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force. They invented this theory independently of each other and shared the Nobel Prize for it. Weinberg was an avowed atheist; Salam was self-confessedly a believer. Salam wrote the foreword to Pervez’s book in which he concurs with the author that being a believer made no difference, one way or the other, to his coming up with the theory. There you have it from the horse’s mouth. What, then, is the relationship between science and scientific temper?

The scientist does not live by science alone. Even a scientist’s mind is not entirely colonised by Scientific Reason. I do not know if, like the brain, the mind too has two separate but interconnected lobes. But allow me to use a simple-minded metaphor. Scientific temper, it seems to me, has something to do with the rational side of the mind trying to influence the emotional side. This may give rise to a reasonable and cultivated individual, but it can also result in disaster. With the rational side meddling too much with the emotional side, it may give rise to a rather childish adult, if not a veritable Dr Strangelove.

Scientific temper is a tricky business. It involves a very intricate game between Reason and Culture. Neither side of the game we understand very well. There are those who think that Reason is transparent, whereas Culture harbours dark corners. The opposing side points out that this is a false picture. It labours to show that Reason has murky origins – it did not result from an immaculate conception. And, it is not at all self-aware – it does not know that it is inextricably entangled in structures of power.

Which side is more important for a successful and at the same time a meaningful life? Which side should sit in judgement? It is a debate that is hard to settle. There are funny episodes, for example, of scientists sitting in judgment over poetry. Paul Dirac, one of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th century once told J R Oppenheimer, another great scientist and a polymath, “I don’t see how you can work on physics and write poetry at the same time. In science, you want to say something nobody knew before, in words everyone can understand. In poetry, you are bound to say something that everybody knows already, in words that nobody can understand.” The judgements of poets about science, on the other hand, are usually not so funny. They are often much darker – prone to denouncing the supposed soullessness of science or mocking it as one mocks the childishness of a grown-up.

With this much as a background, let me now come to the topic of the day. I do agree with the assertion that scientific temper is largely missing from the societies and cultures that form a distinct civilisation on the subcontinent. But, I am less surprised that it is missing despite scientists likes of Bose, Raman and Salam. I am more surprised that it is missing despite someone like Jawaharlal Nehru. To my mind, Nehru was the best and the wisest proponent of the desirability of scientific temper. Let me quote a passage from The Discovery of India even if it consumes a precious minute,

“Science deals with the domain of positive knowledge but the temper which it should produce goes beyond that domain. The ultimate purposes of man may be said to be to gain knowledge, to realize truth, to appreciate goodness and beauty. The scientific method of objective inquiry is not applicable to all these, and much that is vital in life seems to lie beyond its scope – the sensitiveness to art and poetry, the emotion that beauty produces, the inner recognition of goodness. The botanist and the zoologist may never experience the charm and beauty of nature; the sociologist may be wholly lacking in love for humanity. But even when we visit the mountain tops where philosophy dwells and high emotions fill us, or gaze at the immensity beyond, that approach and temper are still necessary.”

I might also add that the Indian Constitution is the only Constitution in the world which prescribes developing “scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform” as a fundamental duty of every citizen.

All this, however, may sound too philosophical and too idealistic. How can one be sure that scientific temper really matters to a society or a civilisation? I think history has provided a very real example. Let me dwell on it for a minute.

Pervez’s book that I have already mentioned opens with a parable of “a team of Martian anthropologists visiting Earth sometime between the 9th and 13th centuries”. They find that “the civilization with greatest promise is the Islamic civilization with its Bait-ul-Hikmah, astronomical observatories, hospitals and schools”. Then they visit again towards the end of 20th century and find that “their earlier prediction had turned out to be wrong. The part of humanity which once seemed to offer the greatest promise now appears inescapably trapped in a state of frozen medievalism, rejecting the new and clinging desperately to the old. On the other hand, the former retrogrades have climbed the evolutionary ladder and are now aiming for the stars. Was this stunning reversal of roles, ask the visitors, the mere misfortune of one and the good fortune of the other? Was it due to invasions and military defeats? Or was it the result of a fundamental shift in outlook and attitudes?”

With minor variations the parable may apply equally well to the fate of the subcontinent. If the Martians were to visit here sometime during the 17th century, they would be dazzled by the Navratnas (nine jewels) in Akbar’s court and they would marvel at the fact that the subcontinent accounted for nearly one third of the total world production. However, on their second visit at the turn of the millennium, they would be equally disappointed with this civilisation.

Perhaps the real question to ask is: why and how did the West pull ahead? That may shed easy light on why everyone else got left behind. The answer is obvious, but, like the case of the elephant in the room, there have been reasons for ignoring the obvious. Looking for deeper causalities behind the long trajectories of history may no longer be the intellectual flavour of the day. After all, this is the era of suspicions about grand narratives. We who got left behind can derive satisfaction from the all-round denunciations of colonialism and imperialism and attribute all that we suffer from to their crimes. We may rejoice that those in the high chairs of western academia are raising an intellectual storm against science and modernity which, supposedly, have been nothing but handmaidens of capitalism, colonialism and imperialism. The postcolonial theorist may continue to uncover sinister doings of the long dead colonialism. But someday we will have to ask – what is in it for us on the subcontinent? These critics are definitely making the western societies better, more cultivated, more democratic and more multicultural. But they already had science and modernity; they had already pulled ahead. How should we find our path out of poverty and superstition? What kind of future should we visualize for ourselves?

Explanations about why and how did the West pull ahead fill entire libraries. But, in some ways, the answer is too obvious: West did it with the help of science and modernity. Of course, both were born along with capitalism and colonialism. But one should not throw the baby with the bathwater. It is truly astonishing that there exist high theories declaring that all claims of science about universal truths, objectivity and uniqueness of scientific method are false; that all cultures and communities in all ages had equally valid claims to knowledge and method. In India a simple way has been found to support such theories – all one has to do is to claim that everything that modern science has accomplished, and will ever accomplish, is already there in the Vedas.

In any case, West did not accomplish the miracle of Great Divergence only through capitalism and industrial revolution. Enlightenment and Modernity played an equally important role. I have already referred to the complex interaction between Science and Culture. In 18th century Western Europe this imparted an added acceleration to history. And it took nearly two centuries after the advent of modern science for scientific temper to seep into western culture. Enlightenment was the name given to this process of seeping in.

Enlightenment and Modernity cannot just be imported or imitated. This is because of the fact that science is one but cultures are many. All cultures must find their own ways to imbibe science and animate modernity. Among those who were left behind, there have been a few successful examples of catching up with the West. Soviet Union used to be one such example but it collapsed. Russia, in any case, was too close to the European civilisation to count as a distinctive example. In the East, Japan earlier and China now have been such examples. What has stopped the subcontinent from being another such example?

This too is an enormous subject and an extraordinarily complex one. It is said that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. But let me rush in nevertheless. Among many millennial historical processes that have gone into the making a distinct civilisation on the subcontinent, one is special and unique. Elements of it may be found in other lands but on the subcontinent it has played role like no other place on the planet. This, in my opinion, has been the single largest obstacle to scientific temper seeping into our culture. Let me conclude by pointing a finger at it.

I am alluding to the fact that nearly all religions on the subcontinent took, in varying degrees, a mystical-devotional form, comprising of numerous sects led by gurus, pirs, mahatmas and other god-men – all engaged in the task of paving a plebeian road for a direct access to God without the mediation of priests or books or other intermediaries. On the Hindu side it emerged in the South as the Bhakti Movement and spread to the North in the second millennium. On the Muslim side it made its way through Afghanistan to the north-west of India and spread through sufis, dervishes and pirs. The phenomenon also gave rise to a new religion – Sikhism. It is this phenomenon of Bhakti, Sufism, Sikhism and assorted mystical-devotional movements that is at the heart of a distinct civilisation on the subcontinent.

This phenomenon has been judged favourably by nearly everyone. It has won praises from the religious and the non-religious, from traditionalists and modernists, from the right-wing as well as the left-wing. Nearly everyone prefers heterodoxy to orthodoxy. There is no denying that in many ways it has contributed positively to the culture and civilization on the subcontinent. And yet, there is a very large negative fall-out that has been largely ignored.

This phenomenon triggers processes that obstruct the advance of scientific temper and modernity. It encourages blind faith at the cost of a genuine sense of wonder; prevents religiosity from turning genuinely spiritual and becoming philosophical; prevents the philosophical from becoming reasoned; prevents Reason from seeping into Culture. It has been the principal vehicle of unreason, blind faith and superstition in our part of the world. George Orwell once said, “Saints should always be judged guilty until proven innocent”. An ironical meaning has been added to Orwell by today’s India where god-men do not lose followers even after being convicted as rapists and murderers.

Even Nehru fails to grapple with the civilizational consequences of Bhakti Movement. He harbours contradictions. He admires Vivekanand, Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Einstein – all at the same time. He was a great man – a visionary, a leader, a thinker, a statesman. Like Whitman he could perhaps say, “I am large, I contain multitudes”. He failed because the weight of the past was too heavy. He could not speak bare truths because he had to carry his people along. That is why, sometimes, you need to listen to small men too. They can speak the bare truth as they are spared the onerous task of carrying Nehru’s burden.

This is where I will stop.

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Dr Ravi Sinha, Theoretical Physicist, Activist, Scholar, associated with Progressive Movements and Writer

[* The Indian Diaspora Washington DC Metro, USA organised an online panel discussion on the theme ‘Absence of Scientific Temper in the Lands of Scientists Raman, Bose, Abdus Salaam on 19 th November 2022.

Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy, Eminent Physicist, Prominent Public Intellectual, Civil Rights Activist, Author, Columnist from Pakistan ; Dr Ravi Sinha, Theoretical Physicist, Activist, Scholar, associated with Progressive Movements and Writer ; Mr Gauhar Raza, Former Chief Scientist, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Civil Rights Activist, Poet, Documentary Filmmaker both from India shared their ideas at the programme which was followed by discussion.

Prof Razi Raziuddin, Scientist, Founder, Indian Diaspora, Washington DC Metro, USA shared welcoming remarks. ]

The Two-Nation Theory, Partition and the Consequences – Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed

 Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University and a leading authority on the Politics of South Asia and an eminent author will deliver next lecture (21 st one) in the Democracy Dialogues Series, organised by New Socialist Initiative

He will be speaking on ‘The Two-Nation Theory, Partition and the Consequences’ on Sunday, 27 th November 6 PM (IST) 

The lecture will also be live streamed at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Topic : 

The Two-Nation Theory, Partition and the Consequences

1.    The Two-Nation Theory as an Idea and an Argument: The talk will contextualize the origins of the Two-Nation Theory in the background of pre-colonial and British colonial rule and analyse it in relation to competing ideas of a One-Nation Theory as well as the vaguer ideas of multiple nationalities deriving from language, ethnicity and religion. This section will also deal with British policy regarding such competing ideas of group identity and nation and nationalism. This will cover the period 1857 – 1932. However, most attention will be given to the 1928 Motilal Nehru Report (which a section of Muslims including one faction of the Muslim League was willing to accept) and Jinnah’s 14 points.

 2.      The Two-Nation Theory and the demand for Partition: The Government of India Act 1935, the election speeches and manifestos, election results and the Muslim League’s deployment of communalism as political strategy to demand partition on behalf of Muslims. The stands of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, the Communist Party of India, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Jamiat Ulema e Hind and other Islamist, regional and working-class parties of Muslims and the Sikhs of Punjab.

 3.      British policy on the future of India: from unwillingness to grant India freedom to retaining influence and control through defence treaty to finally deciding in favour of partition. The Cabinet Mission Plan, Wavell’s schemes to transfer power as an award, The British military’s transformation from opposition to support for partition; 3 June Partition Plan, the partitions of Bengal and Punjab, the 18 July 1947 Indian Independence Act.

 4.      The Partition as a flawed exercise in the transfer of power which claimed at least one million Hindu, Muslim and Sikh lives, caused the biggest migration in history (14 – 15 million) and bequeathed bitter disputes over the sharing of colonial assets, territory and claims to princely states. In this regard, the

 5.      The Partition as a referent for nation-building: while agreeing finally to the partition of India on a religious basis India held steadfastly to nation-building on a secular, liberal-democratic, inclusive and pluralist basis. The Indian constitution came to represent such a view of nation and nation-building. On the other hand, since Pakistan had been won in the name of Islam its nation-building was based on distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims and generating different formulae of differential rights. More importantly, it brought to light the deep divisions among Muslims based on sect, sub-sect and ethno-linguistic criteria.

 6.      The Partition and settling of disputes between India and Pakistan: The two-nation theory continued to define and determine relations between India and Pakistan resulting in wars, terrorism and zero-sum games in international forums.

 7.      The Partition as a historical, political, ideological and intellectual phenomenon: An Evaluation

About the Speaker :

Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed

Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University; Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. Published several books with special focus on the politics of South Asia discussed in context of regional and international relations

Latest publications, Jinnah: His Successes, Failures and Role in History,  New Delhi: Penguin Viking, 2020 won the English Non-Fiction Book Award for 2021 at the Valley of Words Literary Festival, Dehradu, India; Jinnah: His Successes, Failures and Role in History, Vanguard Books, Lahore 2021;

Pakistan: The Garrison State, Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947-2011), Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2013;

The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012- It won the Best Non-Fiction Book Prize at the 2013 Karachi Literature Festival and the 2013 UBL-Jang Groups Best Non-Fiction Book Prize at Lahore and the Best Book on Punjab Award from Punjabi Parchar at the Vaisakhi Mela in Lahore, 2016

He is working on a new book, The Partitions of India, Punjab and Bengal: Who What and Why

He is the Editor-in-Chief of the “Liberal Arts & Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ)” and also regularly writes columns in several Pakistani newspapers

Stop the Slander: Solidarity Statement Against Attempts to Tarnish Activists in the Anti-Adani Seaport Struggle at Vizhinjam

The other day, the citizens of Kerala witnessed an extraordinary coming -together of CPM and BJP leaders in Thiruvananthapuram — in support of the Adani sea port, against the fisher community of the Thiruvananthapuram coast.

Continue reading Stop the Slander: Solidarity Statement Against Attempts to Tarnish Activists in the Anti-Adani Seaport Struggle at Vizhinjam

The Partition of India: Three Outstanding Questions – Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy

Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy, eminent physicist, author, public intellectual and a forceful voice for reason, science and democracy will be delivering the 19th Democracy Dialogues lecture on Sunday, October 9th, 2022 at 6 PM (IST)

The Partition of India: Three Outstanding Questions 

Seventy five years after the communal storm of 1947 countless important questions still remain. From among them I will concentrate upon three which are particularly important in understanding the past but which, in addition, continue to influence current trajectories.

  1. How, when, and why did the two-nation theory emerge? 
  1. Why is Pakistan a praetorian state but India is not? 
  2. Was Partition preventable and had it not happened what might have been the consequences? 

Speaker: 

Pervez Hoodbhoy is a nuclear physicist, a frequent commentator on Pakistani television channels, founder-director of The Black Hole in Islamabad, and an author. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT and taught physics at Quaid-e-Azam University for 47 years.  

The lecture will be held on zoom and for security reasons the link will be shared individually only closer to the event. Please write to us at democracydialogues@gmail.com if you want to join the lecture online.

It will also be live streamed at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Where Are We – 75 Years after Independence : Prof Aditya Mukherjee

 Eminent scholar of Modern Indian History Prof Aditya Mukherjee, ( Retd.) Centre for Historical Studies, JNU who is also editor of the ‘Sage Series in Modern Indian History’ will deliver the next (18 th) Lecture in the Democracy Dialogues series organised by New Socialist Initiative.

He will be speaking on ‘Where Are We : 75 Years After Independence.’ on Sunday, 28 th August 2022 at 6 PM (IST).

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81606280893?pwd=U3daWGVYSFV6MFIyMzROVDJ0Qm40Zz09

Meeting ID: 816 0628 0893
Passcode: 356973

The programme will also be live streamed at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi . 

Theme :

Where Are We : 75 Years after Independence

“As we celebrate 75 Years of India’s independence, it is time to reflect on the extent to which the Indian nation-state has lived up to the vision of the Indian national movement and the spirit of the new Constitution. The core ideas behind this vision envisaged that Independent India would be sovereign, democratic, secular republic that will have a pro-poor orientation and would be based on reason rather than blind faith and obscurantism.

With the recent changes in the governmental power at the Centre and in many states where forces following precepts of the Right – forces which had remained outside the spectrum of the national movement – have become dominant resulting in a grave threat to the core components of the Idea of India. There is a reason why the world is no longer accepting India as a full democracy and is, instead, being variously describing it as a “partially free democracy”, a “flawed democracy” and even as an “electoral autocracy”.

In this lecture we will trace the course of developments that has led India to this predicament and will outline future prospects for overcoming the challenges.”

About the Speaker :

Prof Aditya Mukherjee has been associated with Centre for Historical Studies, JNU for the last more than four decades.
He has been Editor of the Series, ‘Sage Series in Modern Indian  History’ published by SAGE publications, and a member of Scientific Committee, International Review of Sociology, Rome, since 2011 and Regional Editor, International Journal of AsianStudies, Tokyo (Cambridge University Press)
He has been Visiting Professor at  Duke University, USA ; was a Visiting Fellow at Institute of Advanced Study, Lancaster University, UK ; Fellow at Institute of Advanced Study, Nantes, France ; Visiting Fellow , Institute of Advanced Study, Sao Paulo, Brazil ; Visiting Professor, La Sapienza, University of Rome at various periods during his long career.
He is author / co-author of many books : India’s Struggle for Independence, which has gone into 80 reprints ; India After Independence, 1947 – 2000 ; Imperialism, Nationalism and the Making of the Indian Capitalist Class 1927-1947 ; India Since Independence, Penguin, More than 35 reprints till 2016.7 ; RSS, School Texts and The Murder of Mahatma Gandhi: The Hindu Communal  Project , (co-author),

When ‘With the Survivor ‘ Rings Hollow: Observations on the Rage over the Civic Chandran Case

The internet frenzy over the Civic Chandran case has reached a new zenith over the two highly problematic — deeply elitist, sexist, logically and empirically flawed — anticipatory bail orders issued to the accused by the Sessions Court. There was a strange silence about the first one which was stuffed with elitist statements, and an even stranger pause over the blatantly sexist and conservative order before the active condemnation of the latter began to be voiced over the internet. Even stranger, because there is far more tolerance of elitism among the internet woke-folk than of conservative sexist understandings of the appropriate clothing for women’s bodies in Kerala. The three-day break from expressions of outrage did not, and still does not make sense.

Continue reading When ‘With the Survivor ‘ Rings Hollow: Observations on the Rage over the Civic Chandran Case

Debating Strategy for the New Phase of Janatha Aragalaya: MAYA JOHN

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

[This article is based on the discussions with activists of the Janatha Aragalaya and concerned Sri Lankan citizens. It is a humble contribution towards ongoing debates within the movement. As the French proverb goes: “De choc des opinions jaillit la vérité” – Truth arises from a conflict of opinions. – MJ]

With the deepening crisis of the world capitalist system, we see social upheavals erupting in one country after another. Most recently, Sri Lanka, a relatively small island country in South Asia that is enveloped by a staged debt crisis, has amply revealed circumstances which are infused with revolutionary possibilities. Resembling dark clouds that announce the gathering of a storm, Sri Lanka has shown how rapidly a revolutionary situation can develop.

Heading the floundering ruling establishment, and harbouring perpetual dismissiveness of the swelling discontent, the ruling family of Rajapaksas expectedly attracted massive public ire. Fighting hunger, spiralling inflation, long queues for fuel and rations, crumbling medical facilities, loss of employment, frequent and long power outages, angered citizens came to see the Rajapaksas as well as other mainstream politicians as creators and perpetuators of the grave crisis. Importantly, the distrust of the people has not been limited to individual politicians and ruling cliques whose moral right to govern is being openly challenged, but is a latent distrust for the system itself. At present, majority of the public rightfully views all established parties with deep suspicion and hostility. The majority perceives the rise to power of President Ranil Wickremesinghe as an epitome of the rot in the political system. They see his government as an illegitimate one.

Continue reading Debating Strategy for the New Phase of Janatha Aragalaya: MAYA JOHN

Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 3

 

 In the light of the above history it seems no surprise at all that mainstream feminists in Kerala do not seem to need a critique of the punitive state at all. Nor are they really troubled by the withdrawal of the welfare state or its perversion, even in matters that crucially affect women and children. Being moored in it, even the withdrawal of the welfare state from even support services to child-victims of sexual violence (citing ‘convenience’ which turned to be ‘convenience’ for the government alone), and the stuffing of crucial committees dealing with the welfare of and justice to women and children with dubious candidates with nepotistic connections – has rarely excited significant united protest from Kerala’s mainstream feminists.

Indeed, in a recent case of baby-abduction in which the infant born to Anupama Chandran, the daughter of a local CPM leader, in her relationship with Ajith, a dalit man, was trafficked with the active connivance of child welfare officials, this feminist mainstream was mostly silent; many prominent voices in it were rallied against the aggrieved mother; some of them even participated in the unspeakable cyber-lynching of the couple, spreading rumours and making unfounded accusations. Though the large numbers of young sexual violence victims belong to the oppressed castes, and though the Anupama-Ajith case was plainly one of caste hostility and violence, these features did not trigger animated responses from the feminist mainstream. These tepid or hostile responses are in sharp contrast to the manner in which sexual harassment campaigns are conducted. Continue reading Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 3

Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am Not With the Mob — 2

II

In the 1980s, when the first feminist articulations began to be heard in Kerala, left-leaning feminists often sought to maintain a critical distance from the state, emphasizing its inherently patriarchal nature. This was not surprising as feminists of that generation had radical-Marxist roots or strong connections with it. Radical Marxism in that generation was clearly suspicious of the state – quite unlike the mainstream left.

Continue reading Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am Not With the Mob — 2

भारतीय फ़ासीवाद और प्रतिरोध की संभावना : आशुतोष कुमार

Leading Critic Ashutosh Kumar, Editor ‘Aalochana’ , who teaches at Department of Hindi, Delhi University will be delivering the sixth lecture in the ‘Sandhan Vyakhyanmala Series’ ( in Hindi) on Saturday,13 th August,  2022, at 6 PM (IST).

He will be speaking on ‘ भारतीय फ़ासीवाद और प्रतिरोध की संभावना’ ( Indian Fascism and Possibility of Resistance) 

This online lecture would be held on zoom and will also be shared on facebook as well : :facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89995508417?pwd=QWdlMVVjNElaUXEyQURZd2dFVTNrUT09

Meeting ID: 899 9550 8417
Passcode: 336956

Organised by :NEW SOCIALIST INITIATIVE ( NSI) Hindi Pradesh 

संधान व्याख्यानमाला : छठा वक्तव्य 

विषय : भारतीय फ़ासीवाद : प्रतिरोध की संभावना 

वक्ता : अग्रणी लेखक एवं संपादक ‘आलोचना’

आशुतोष कुमार 

हिंदी विभाग, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय 

शनिवार, 13 अगस्त, शाम 6 बजे 

सारांश :

भारतीय फ़ासीवादऔर प्रतिरोध की संभावना 

कुछ  प्रश्न:
क्या भारत की वर्तमान परिस्थिति को फासीवाद के रूप में चिन्हित किया जा सकता है? अथवा क्या इसे केवल सांप्रदायिक ध्रुवीकरण , धार्मिक कट्टरता और रूढ़िवाद की राजनीति के रूप में देखा जाना चाहिए? यह सवाल महत्वपूर्ण इसलिए है किस के जवाब पर इस परिस्थिति से मुकाबला करने की रणनीति निर्भर करती है।

अगर यह फासीवाद है तो इसके उद्भव और वर्तमान शक्ति-सम्पन्नता के आधारभूत कारण क्या हैं? क्या यह केवल वैश्विक वित्तीय पूंजीवाद के संकट की अभिव्यक्ति है, जैसा कि प्रभात पटनायक जैसे अर्थशास्त्री समझते हैं?

 क्या भारतीय फ़ासीवाद जैसी किसी अवधारणा के बारे में सोचा जा सकता है? या यह सिर्फ एक वैश्विक प्रवृत्ति है ?

अगर यह फ़ासीवाद नहीं है तो क्या यह पश्चिम और पश्चिमपरस्त राजनेताओं और बौद्धिकों द्वारा अन्यायपूर्ण ढंग से दबाए गए हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद का उभार है, जैसा कि के भट्टाचार्जी जैसे सावरकरी टिप्पणीकार दावा करते हैं?

क्या यह संघ के बढ़ते लोकतंत्रीकरण के चलते उसके नेतृत्व में वंचित- उत्पीड़ित जन समुदाय द्वारा किया गया सत्ता परिवर्तन है, जिसने कुलीन वर्गों की कीमत पर अकुलीनों को शक्तिशाली बनाया है? जैसा कि अभय कुमार दुबे और बद्री नारायण जैसे सामाजिक लेखक संकेत करते हैं?

 क्या वर्तमान सत्ता संतुलन को बदला जा सकता है? इसे कौन कर सकता है और कैसे?

कुछ बातें

फ़ासीवाद का सबसे बड़ा लक्षण कार्यपालिका,विधायिका और न्यायपालिका के एक गठबंधन के रूप में काम करने की प्रवृत्ति है। लोकतंत्र में इन तीनों के अलगाव और इनकी स्वायत्तता पर इसलिए जोर दिया जाता है कि कोई एक समूह राजसत्ता का दुरुपयोग न कर सके। तीनों निकाय एक दूसरे पर नजर रखने और एक दूसरे को नियंत्रित करने का कार्य करें। इस व्यवस्था के बिना एक व्यक्ति और एक गुट की निरंकुश तानाशाही से बचना नामुमकिन है।

अयोध्या-विवाद से लेकर गुलबर्ग सोसाइटी जनसंहार  और छतीसगढ़ जनसंहार तक के मामलों में हमने सुप्रीम कोर्ट को संविधान-प्रदत्त नागरिक अधिकारों और न्याय की अवधारणा के विरूद्ध राज्य के बहुमतवादी फ़ैसलों के पक्ष में खड़े होते देखा है. हाल ही में सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने धन-शोधन निवारण अधिनियम के अन्यायपूर्ण प्रावधानों के खिलाफ दी गई याचिका पर राज्य के पक्ष में फैसला दिया है. सीएए और धारा 370 के निर्मूलीकरण जैसे मामलों में चुप्पी साधकर भी उसने नागरिक अधिकारों के विरुद्ध राजकीय निरंकुशता का समर्थन किया है.

नाज़ी जर्मनी में ग्लाइसेशतुंग या समेकन के नाजी कानूनों के जरिए इसी तरह राज्य के सभी निकायों को सकेन्द्रित और एकात्म बनाया था.  हिटलर की तरह मुसोलिनी ने भी ‘राष्ट्र-राज्य सर्वोपरि’ के सिद्धांत के तहत न्यायपालिका को पालतू बनाने का काम किया था. भारत में भी हमने गृह मंत्री अमित शाह को सबरीमाला  मामले में  सुप्रीम कोर्ट को चेतावनी देते देखा है.

भारत में फ़ासीवाद के सभी जाने पहचाने लक्षण प्रबल रूप से दिखाई दे रहे हैं। एक व्यक्ति की तानाशाही और व्यक्ति पूजा का व्यापक प्रचार। मुख्य धार्मिक अल्पसंख्यक समूह के विरुद्ध नफरत, हिंसा और अपमान का अटूट सिलसिला। अल्पसंख्यकों के खिलाफ अधिकतम हिंसा के पक्ष में जनता के व्यापक हिस्सों का जुनून। विपक्ष की बढ़ती हुई असहायता। स्वतंत्र आवाजों का क्रूर दमन। दमन के कानूनी और ग़ैरकानूनी रूपों का विस्तार। मजदूरों और किसानों के अधिकारों में जबरदस्त कटौती। आदिवासियों, दलितों और स्त्रियों के सम्मान के संघर्षों का पीछे ढकेला जाना। शिक्षा पर भगवा नियंत्रण। छात्रों के लोकतांत्रिक अधिकारों का विलोपन। फ़ासीवादी प्रचार के लिए साहित्य, चित्रकला, मूर्तिकला, सिनेमा और दीगर कला-विधाओं के नियंत्रण और विरूपण को राज्य की ओर से दिया जा रहा संरक्षण और प्रोत्साहन।

अभी भी कुछ लोग भारत में फासीवादी निज़ाम से सिर्फ इसलिए इंकार करते हैं कि इस देश में गैस चैंबर  स्थापित नहीं किए गए हैं। उन्हें समझना चाहिए कि भारतीय फ़ासीवाद ने फ़ासीवाद अतीत से बहुत कुछ सीखा है। उसने समझ लिया है कि भारत जैसे विशाल और विविधतापूर्ण  देश में  भौतिक गैस चैंबर से कहीं अधिक असरदार और स्थायी  व्यवस्था है देश के भीतर सामाजिक और  मनोवैज्ञानिक गैस चैम्बरों का विस्तार।

लगभग समूचे देश को एक ऐसे सांस्कृतिक गैस चेंबर में बदल दिया गया है, जिसमें एक व्यक्ति और एक विचारधारा की गुलामी से इनकार करने वाले स्वतंत्रचेता जन अपने जीवित होने का कोई मतलब ही ना निकाल सकें।

यूरोप की लोकतांत्रिक परम्पराओं के कारण फ़ासीवादी राज्य की स्थापना के लिए कानूनी बदलावों की जरूरत थी. भारत में ‘भक्ति-परम्परा‘ की जड़ें बहुत गहरी हैं. शर्तहीन-समर्पण का संस्कार प्रबल रहा है. क्या यह भी एक कारण है कि भारत में यूएपीए और अफ्स्पा जैसे कुछ विशेष कानूनों के अलावा व्यापक कानूनी बदलावों की जरूरत नहीं पड़ी है?

फ़ासीवाद की मुख्य जीवनी शक्ति नफ़रत की भावना है। हमारे देश में वर्ण व्यवस्था और जाति प्रथा के कारण अपने ही जैसे दूसरे मनुष्यों से तीव्र नफरत का संस्कार हजारों वर्षों से फलता फूलता रहा है। वोट तंत्र ने इस नफरत को उसकी चरम सीमा तक पहुंचा दिया है। क्या भारतीय फ़ासीवाद नफरत के इस चारों ओर फैले खौलते हुए समंदर से उपजे घन-घमंड के रूप में ख़ुद को जनमानस में स्थापित कर चुका है?

इस बातचीत में मैं ऐसे ही कुछ सवालों के जरिए यह देखने की कोशिश करूंगा कि क्या हम ‘भारतीय फासीवाद’ की कोई व्यवस्थित  सैद्धांतिकी निर्मित करने के करीब पहुँच गए हैं. ऐसी किसी संभावित सैद्धांतिकी की रूपरेखा  क्या होगी और इस उद्यम से हम अपने किन सवालों के जवाब हासिल करने की उम्मीद कर सकते हैं. 

 The Role of Individuals in resisting the Majoritarian State – Aakar Patel

Eminent author and rights activist Aakar Patel will be delivering the 17 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series, organised by New Socialist Initiative, at 6 PM (IST), Sunday, 3 rd July, 2022.

He will speak on ‘The role of individuals in resisting the majoritarian state’. You can also watch it live at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

About the Speaker :

Aakar Patel is a syndicated columnist, author and rights activist and is Chair, Amnesty International India

He has edited English and Gujarati newspapers. His translation of Saadat Hasan Manto’s Why I Write was published in 2014 ( Tranquebar). His study of majoritarianism in India ‘ Our Hindu Rashtra : What It Is. How We Got There came out in 2020 ( Westland) and his next book which seeks to explain data and facts on India’s performance under Narendra Modi, titled ‘Price of ‘The Modi Years‘ was published in 2021 ( Westland). His forthcoming book is on protest and participation by citizens

Abstract :

The role of individuals in resisting the majoritarian state.

India is going through a transformational period when many feel constitutional values have been undermined, an oligopoly has been handed control over large parts of the economy and the secular and pluralist basis of the nation are being eroded. 

What can the individual do in these circumstances? A talk on the ways of meaningful resistance

Why Google News Does Not Want To Talk Caste ?

The Google episode shows the right-wing vision of unity is exclusionary. But this vision is increasingly being challenged in the United States and beyond.

On 9 May 1916, a young BR Ambedkar presented a paper at Colombia University in the United States titled Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development. He referred to caste as a “local problem, but one capable of much wider mischief”. He wrote, “…if Hindus migrate to other regions on earth, Indian caste would become a world problem.”

More than a century later, as one of the biggest corporations, Google, battles allegations of caste discrimination in the United States, the predictive value of Ambedkar’s words is evident. Recently, Google News cancelled a scheduled talk by Thenmozhi Soundararajan, the founder and executive director of Equality Labs, after many Google employees (of Indian origin or Indians) opposed it. The discussion was supposed to mark Dalit Equality Month, celebrated every April to mark the month Ambedkar, the first law minister of independent India and its leading anti-caste activist, was born. Equality Labs is a leading non-profit group in the United States that advocates Dalit rights. According to its 2016 survey, a third of Hindu students in the United States reported experiencing caste discrimination.

Thenmozhi was subjected to an organised campaign led by a section of Google employees, who called her “Hindu-phobic” and “anti-Hindu”. The name-calling went on in emails her opponents sent to company bosses and documents they posted on a mailing list that thousands of Indian employees access.

( Read the full article here)

No End to ‘Tamas’ ( Darkness) Around ?

One can imagine that if the plan to provoke riots before Eid in Ayodhya would have been successful, how it could have easily spilled over to the other parts of the country.

Image for representational purpose. Credit: Hindustan Times

It was the early 1970s when Bhisham Sahni, the legendary Hindi writer had penned the novel Tamas. It looks at the Hindu-Muslim riots in India in the backdrop of the Partition. Its central character is Nathu, who is Dalit and does the work of removing hides from dead animals. A local politician persuades Nathu to kill a pig; the act is later used to foment a riot in the city.

It has been more than 40 years since the novel was written, but it still resonates with today’s India as it throws light on the ‘fault lines’ of Indian society and shows the ease with which they can be weaponised.

A fortnight back, a similar attempt to provoke a riot was made in Ayodhya using a similar technique; however, prompt action by the district police averted a riot there.

( Read the full article here)

Politics of Cultural Nationalism, People’s Opinion and Hindi Intellectual : Virendra Yadav

Leading Writer and Critic Virendra Yadav will be delivering the fifth lecture in the ‘Sandhan Vyakhyanmala Series’ ( in Hindi) on Saturday,14 th May,  2022, at 6 PM (IST).

He will be speaking on ‘सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद की राजनीति , जनमानस और हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी’ ( Politics of Cultural Nationalism, People’s Opinion and Hindi Intellectual)

This online lecture would be held on zoom and will also be shared on facebook as well : :facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84131408337?pwd=ZUp6eWg5WGdYVVY1ZkdzQ3ZzRnhoQT09

Meeting ID: 841 3140 8337
Passcode: 692956

Organised by :

NEW SOCIALIST INITIATIVE ( NSI) Hindi Pradesh

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संधान व्याख्यानमाला – पांचवा वक्तव्य

विषय : सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद की राजनीति , जनमानस और हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी 

वक्ता : अग्रणी लेखक एवं आलोचक वीरेंद्र यादव 

शनिवार, 14 मई , शाम 6 बजे 

सारांश :

1- ‘सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद’ मात्र एक राजनीतिक व्यूहरचना न होकर एक ऐसी अवधारणा है जिसकी गहरी जड़े पारम्परिक रूप से  हिंदू जनमानस में  मौजूद हैं।
2- 1857 से लेकर 1947 तक विस्तृत ‘स्वाधीनता’ विमर्श में इस हिन्दू मन की शिनाख्त की जा सकती है।
3- स्वाधीनता आंदोलन इस हिन्दू मन से मुठभेड़ की नीति न अपनाकर मौन सहकार की व्यावहारिकता की राह पर ही चला।
4- हिंदी क्षेत्र में तर्क, ज्ञान  व  वैज्ञानिक चिंतन की धारा भारतीय समाज की वास्तविकताओं में कम अवस्थित थीं, उनकी प्रेरणा के मूल में पश्चिमी आधुनिकता व वैश्विक प्रेरणा अधिक थी।
5- हिंदी क्षेत्र व समाज में ज़मीनी स्तर व हाशिये के समाज के बीच से जो तार्किक, अंधविश्वास विरोधी व विज्ञान सम्मत सुधारवादी प्रयास हुए उन्हें मुख्यधारा के चिंतन-विचार में शामिल नहीं किया गया।
6- ध्यान देने की बात है कथित ‘हिंदी नवजागरण’ विभेदकारी वर्ण-जातिगत सामाजिक संरचना की अनदेखी कर प्रभुत्ववादी मुहावरे में ही विमर्शकारी रहा।
7- संविधान सम्मत धर्मनिरपेक्ष आधुनिक भारत की परियोजना में    भारतीय समाज की धर्म व जाति की दरारों के जड़मूल से उच्छेदन को प्रभावी ढंग से शामिल नहीं किया जा सका।
8-सारी आधुनिकता के बावजूद हिंदी बुद्धिजीवियों का वृहत्तर संवर्ग वर्ण और वर्ग से मुक्त होकर   जनबुद्धिजीवी की भूमिका न अपना सका।
9- सामाजिक न्याय की अवधारणा का मन में स्वीकार भाव न होना, हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी की एक बड़ी बाधा है।
10- ‘सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद’ का प्रतिविमर्श रचने के हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी के उपकरण वही रहे जो हिंदू बुद्धिजीवियों के।
11- हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी के सवर्णवादी अवचेतन से उपजा दुचित्तापन ‘सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद’ का प्रतिविमर्श रचने में एक बड़ी बाधा है।

आयोजक : न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनिशिएटिव NSI  ( हिंदी प्रदेश)

‘पृथ्वी के असंख्य घाव’  गिनता अकेला आदमी

Image courtesy -https://www.inc.com/


…..यह हमारी सोच की एक अनपहचानी सीमा है
नहीं समझते हम
कि अकेला आदमी जब सचमुच अकेला होता है
तो वह गिन रहा होता है
पृथ्वी के असंख्य घाव
और उनके विरेचन के लिए
कोई अभूतपूर्व लेप तैयार कर रहा होता है।
(अकेला आदमी – विमलेश त्रिपाठी)

कालजयी रचनाएं समय स्थान की सीमाओं को लांघ कर किस तरह आप को अपनी लगने लगती हैं, इसको बयां करना मुश्किल है।

हान्स क्रिश्चन एंडरसन (2 अप्रैल 1805- 4 अगस्त 1875) महान डैनिश लेखक – जिन्होंने नाटकों, यात्रा वृत्तांतों , उपन्यासों और कविताओं के रूप में प्रचुर लेखन किया – अपनी परिकथाओं के लिए दुनिया भर में जाने जाते हैं। उनकी परिकथाएं नौ खंडों में प्रकाशित हुई हैं और दुनिया की 125 जुबां में अनूदित भी हुई हैं।

उनकी एक ऐसी अदभुत रचना है ‘राजा के नए कपड़े’ – जिसे हम ‘निर्वस्त्र राजा’ के तौर पर अधिक जानते हैं।

जब जब किसी मुल्क में अधिनायकवाद की हवाएं चलने लगती हैं, और लोगों पर अधिनायक की अजेयता का जादू सर चढ़ कर बोलने लगता है और उसके खिलाफ बोलना भी कुफ्र में शुमार किया जाने लगता है, यह कहानी नए सिरेसे मौजूं हो जाती है।

विशाल जुलूस में निर्वस्त्र निकल पड़ा राजा, जो कथित तौर पर जादूई वस्त्र पहना है – जिन्हें देख कर अधिकतर लोग खूप गुणगान किए जा रहे हैं – और उसकी सच्चाई को बतानेवाले उस नन्हे बच्चे का रूपक आज भी मन को मोहित करता रहता है।

एक संवेदनशील, न्यायप्रिय व्यक्ति को अन्दर ही अन्दर ताकत देता रहता है।

ऐसी ही एक अन्य रचना है ‘Enemy of the People ’ (जनता का दुश्मन,1882 ) जिस नाटक की रचना नॉर्वे के महान नाटककार हेनरिक इब्सेन (20 मार्च 1928 –  23 मई 1906 )ने की थी। बताया जाता है कि शेक्सपीयर के बाद दुनिया भर में इन्हीं के नाटक आज भी खेले जाते हैं। नाटक का प्रमुख सन्देश यही है कि एक व्यक्ति, जो अकेला खड़ा रहता है, वह जनता की भीड़ से अधिक ‘‘सही’’ होता है। अपने दौर की उस धारणा को कि समुदाय/समाज बहुत महान संस्था है और जिस पर भरोसा किया जाना चाहिए उसी को वह चुनौती देता है।

(Read the complete article here)

How Did UP Decide : Identities, Interests and Politics – Prof Zoya Hasan

Prof Zoya Hasan, Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Distinguished Faculty, Council for Social Development, New Delhi, will be delivering a Special lecture  in the Democracy Dialogues Series, organised by New Socialist Initiative, at 6 PM, (IST) Sunday, 24 th April, 2022.

She will be speaking on ‘‘How did UP Decide: Identities, Interests and Politics”

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81240964790?pwd=OEd1OU00ejA5d1ZxYWlMRzFaOGNkdz09

Meeting ID: 812 4096 4790
Passcode: 975399

Facebook Live on – http://fb.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Abstract

How did UP Decide: Identities, Interests and Politics

Uttar Pradesh has just seen an intensely contested assembly election which resulted in a second straight victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party in this politically crucial state. This momentous outcome is the subject of intense debate among analysts and indeed the public at large. There was a premise this time, particularly in UP, that communal polarisation wasn’t working because of acute economic discontent which could trigger electoral change. However, the large-scale discontent over many economic issues, including jobs, did not translate into a decision to vote out the government. Many analysts have attributed BJP’s reelection to welfare measures and free rations to the poor during the lockdown. This cannot explain BJP’s persistent success which extends beyond this election. The welfarist argument ignores the compelling logic of long term communalism and the systematic construction of the Hindu vote in UP politics since the time of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement centered in UP and the communal campaigns in the last five years, its impact is reflected in the election results.This construction of the Hindu vote also trumped the caste-based politics of the regional Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party through a mobilization of upper caste and  non-dominant backward and lower caste communities. Communal polarization and identity politics is the keystone of their strategy and the decisive factor driving electoral choices. 

जीत भाजपा की नहीं निराशावाद की है : राजेंद्र चौधरी

Guest post by RAJINDER CHAUDHARY

इच्छा और आशा में अंतर होता है. विशेष तौर पर किसान आन्दोलन के आलोक में, बहुत से लोगों की तरह मैं भी चाहता था कि भाजपा हारे और मुझे इस की थोड़ी आशा भी थी परन्तु कोई विशेष आस नहीं थी. भाजपा की जीत मेरे लिए दुखदायी है परन्तु अनपेक्षित नहीं है. चुनाव परिणामों की समीक्षा के तौर पर बहुत कुछ लिखा-कहा गया है परन्तु एक महत्वपूर्ण पक्ष का ज़िक्र कम हुआ है. 

क्या उत्तरप्रदेश, जिस का कम से कम एक हिस्सा किसान आन्दोलन के सक्रिय केन्द्रों में शामिल था, में भाजपा की जीत से यह साबित हो जाता है कि भारतीय मतदाता हिन्दुत्ववादी हो गया है? ऐसा बिलकुल नहीं है. भाजपा को उतर प्रदेश में कुल पंजीकृत मतदाताओं के 25% ने ही वोट दिया है. भाजपा के वोट अनुपात में जिस बढ़ोतरी की चर्चा हो रही है वह असल में वोट डालने वालों में से भाजपा के पक्ष में वोट डालने वालों के अनुपात की  बढ़ोतरी है. ग़ैर-भाजपा वोटर के वोट ही न देने से और भाजपा वोटर के पहले की तरह वोट देने मात्र से भाजपा के समर्थन में बढ़ोतरी दिखाई देती है. वास्तविकता यह है कि 10 में से लगभग 4 पंजीकृत वोटर तो इतने निराश हैं कि वे वोट डालने ही नहीं गए (वोट न डालने वालों का एक छोटा हिस्सा निश्चित तौर पर ऐसा होगा जो किसी अन्य कारण जैसे शहर से बाहर होने के कारण या अन्य व्यस्तता के चलते वोट नहीं डाल पाया होगा परन्तु यह हिस्सा बहुत छोटा ही होने की संभावना है). 2017 में भी कुल पंजीकृत वोटरों में से भी लगभग इतने ही प्रतिशत वोटरों ने भाजपा के पक्ष में वोट डाला था. यानी बहुमत अभी भी हिन्दू वादी नहीं है, उत्तर प्रदेश में भी नहीं. 

Continue reading जीत भाजपा की नहीं निराशावाद की है : राजेंद्र चौधरी

Challenges to India’s Democracy : Prof Zoya Hasan

Prof Zoya Hasan, Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Distinguished Faculty, Council for Social Development, New Delhi, will be delivering the 16 th lecture  in the Democracy Dialogues Series, organised by New Socialist Initiative, at 6 PM, (IST) Sunday, 27 th March, 2022.

She will be speaking on ‘Challenges to India’s Democracy

Prof Zoya Hasan has written and edited many books on state, political parties, ethnicity, gender and minorities in India and society in north India and has been a visiting Professor to the Universities of Zurich, Edinburgh and Maison des Sciences de L’Homme, Paris.

Her most recent publications include Forging Identities : Gender, Communities And The State In India ( edited) ,  Agitation to Legislation – Negotiating Equity and Justice in India ,   Congress after Indira: Policy, Power and Political Change (1984–2009), Politics of Inclusion: Castes, Minorities and Affirmative Action, (2009) and a collection of essays titled Democracy and the Crisis of Inequality

Abstract

Challenges to India’s Democracy

The 75th anniversary of Indian Independence is a landmark event in the history of our democracy. It is for this reason a significant moment to assess the state of India’s democracy. As the largest democracy in the non-western world, India is a success story. Its success, however, has primarily been recognized as an electoral democracy, with regular free and fair elections registering high voter participation, and also peaceful transfer of power. Elections certainly are a climactic moment of the democratic process but by no means the only important one. Politics between elections is central for understanding the challenges facing Indian democracy, and it is important, therefore, to contextualize democracy.

Three years since the Bhartiya Janata Party government was re-elected has seen the consolidation of the process begun in 2014 – the establishment of a Hindu state. This process has been facilitated by the combination of majoritarianism and authoritarianism which has resulted in democracy becoming thinner, not accidentally, but deliberately. This does raise certain questions about the relationship between Hindu nationalism and democracy which seems to weaken the idea of democracy moderated by institutions. 

This paper tries to make sense of these shifts through a thematic exploration of the trajectory of Indian democracy since 2014 focusing on three overlapping developments -the consolidation of a majoritarian brand of politics, the decline of independent institutions and the shrinking space for political dissent and protests -which has undermined democracy. Each of these issues distinct and significant in its own right when taken together constitutes a major risk to Indian democracy. However, public protests in the last few years have emerged as a major bulwark against authoritarian rule and the erosion of democratic dissent. For the Opposition it’s a moment of reckoning but there are signs of churning among the Opposition as well.