Category Archives: Debates

आई आई टी मद्रास – आधुनिक दौर का अग्रहरम !

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नागेश / बदला हुआ नाम/ – जो आई आई टी मद्रास में अध्ययनरत एक तेज विद्यार्थी है, तथा समाज के बेहद गरीब तबके से आता है – उसे उस दिन मेस में प्रवेश करते वक्त़ जिस अपमानजनक अनुभव से गुजरना पड़ा, वह नाकाबिले बयानात कहा जा सकता है। उसे अपने गांव की जातीय संरचना की तथा उससे जुड़े घृणित अनुभवों की याद आयी। दरअसल किसी ने उसे बाकायदा मेस में प्रवेश करते वक्त़ रोका और कहा कि अगर वह मांसाहारी है, तो दूसरे गेट से प्रवेश करे।

मेस के गेट पर बाकायदा एक पोस्टर लगा था, जिसे इस नये ‘निज़ाम’ की सूचना दी गयी थी। यहां तक कि अपने खाने की पसंदगी के हिसाब से हाथ धोने के बेसिन भी बांट दिए गए थे। ‘शाकाहारी’ और ‘मांसाहारी’। एक रिपोर्टर से बात करते हुए नागेश अपने गुस्से को काबू करने में असमर्थ दिख रहे थे। उन्होंने पूछा कि आखिर आई आई टी का प्रबंधन ऐसे भेदभावजनक आदेश को छात्रों से सलाह मशविरा किए बिना कैसे निकाल सकता है। Continue reading आई आई टी मद्रास – आधुनिक दौर का अग्रहरम !

IIT-Madras, a Modern Day Agraharam ?

The institute’s recent order, now withdrawn, of separate entrance for non-vegetarians is just a part of the overall policing and push for vegetarianism after the Modi government’s ascent.
IIT Madras
Image Courtesy: Catch News

 

Nagesh (name changed), a bright student at the Indian Institute of Technology- Madras, who hails from a very poor economic background, had a shock of his life when he was entering the hostel mess. Someone literally stopped him at the gate and asked him to enter the mess from the other door if he is not a vegetarian.

A notice was duly pasted at the entrance of the mess, informing everyone of this ‘new order’. Even separate basins were demarcated for the students’ cuisine choices. Talking to a reporter with rage in his eyes, Nagesh questioned how the IIT-Madras management could issue such a discriminatory order without even consulting the students.

As of now, the notices have been removed after taking into consideration the uproar this ‘untouchability of a different kind’ caused at the national level. management is now trying to save itself by putting the blame on the caterer. Anybody can guess that a caterer, who is basically a contractor serving food for a fixed period, cannot suddenly disturb the existing arrangements, divide the mess into two separate sections, and have the courage ‘instructing’ his customers to use separate gates.

Commenting on this episode, the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle – a student group within the institute- which brought this issue to national attention, says:

“Caste masquerades as something else in ‘modern’ society. In IIT Madras campus, it manifests itself as separate entrance, utensils, dining area and wash area in the mess for vegetarian and non-vegetarian students…:

( Read the rest of the article here : https://www.newsclick.in/iit-madras-modern-day-agraharam)

Continue reading IIT-Madras, a Modern Day Agraharam ?

Scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, It is Unconstitutional, Illegal and Immoral : 70 People’s Organizations of Assam

Guest Post by 70 People’s Organizations of Assam 

Image result for citizenship (amendment) bill 2016

( Photo Courtesy : AISA)

Protestors from various democratic organisations in Assam have began an indefinite dharna in Jantar Mantar from today 9 Dec. This includes KMSS and peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, AJYCP, Tai Ahom Satra Sontha, Asom Moran Sabha, All Asam Motok Sonmilon, All Asam Minority Students Union, and 70 other organizations of indigenous population of Assam, who are part of an umbrella platform against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. This Bill seeks to change the very definition of a Citizen of the country and include a religious dimension to it as part of the RSS’s ideological project. The effects of this Bill can be seen in starkly in Assam – which has been to fuel ethnic and religious anxieties and conflict. Protests against it has also taken unprecedented forms in recent months with participation of millions of indigenous people, including Assam bandhs, and so on.
Find below the text of the Leaflet issued by them. Please forward and Join in the Solidarity.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 15thJuly, 2016 [Bill No. 172 of 2016] has already caused deep anguish in the minds of the democratic India. A Joint Parliamentary Committee has also been constituted to examine this Bill. Despite wide-spread protests in Assam against the Bill, the BJP aggressively aims to pass the Bill in the coming Winter Session of the Parliament which will help to make their dream of the Hindurashtra a reality. 
 
*Why the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is unconstitutional, illegal, unethical and immoral?*
 
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to make fundamental alterations in the citizenship and immigration norms of India on the basis of religion. The Bill proposes to exclude ‘minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan’ – from the scope of the definition of being ‘illegal migrant’. The Bill further reduces the requirement of 11 years to acquire “citizenship by naturalization” to only six years of ordinary residence for such immigrants. The ‘Statement of objects and reasons’ of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 also makes it clear that the Bill intends to declare ‘illegal migrants’ as Indian citizens. Several Indian government notifications and orders have already enabled persons of these communities who had entered India till 31st December, 2014 to get shelter without valid documents. 
 
The Bill will change the philosophical premise on which Indian citizenship is granted. The principle on which Indian citizenship is granted is jus soli where citizenship of a person is determined by the place where a person is born. However,if the Bill passes, it will make a shift from jus soli to jus sanguinis, where a person acquires citizenship on the principle of blood, which our Constitution-makers consciously avoided. India’s Constitutional experts have opined that the Bill is unprecedented as never before has religion been specifically identified in the citizenship law as the ground for distinguishing between citizens and non-citizens. The ideas spelt out in the proposed Bill are against the ethos and spirit of the Indian Constitution. It will violate the spirit of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution and is also against the Articles 14, 15, 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution. 
 
An extra-ordinary and widespread peoples’ movement has now swept across Assam and the entire North-East India against the Bill. We, the people of Assam feel that the Bill will change Assam’s political, economic and social fabric forever. The Bill will violate the clause 6 (A) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, a special provision for Assam, which is a non-obstante clause. If the Bill passes, it will make the Assam Accord null and void. It will be a violation of the national promise. The people of Assam are afraid that the Bill will open ways to creating further insecurity and pressures in a region already over-burdened with large-scale demographic changes due to illegal migration. It will create religious basis for it, and fuel fresh rounds of ethnic and religious conflict.
 
*We, an umbrella platform of 70 ‘Jatiya’ (national) organizations of Assam, are on a hunger strike for an indefinite period in Delhi from 9th December, 2018 demanding the immediate scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 for the sake of the Indian Constitution, and its moral, legal and ethical values, and to protect Assam and her inhabitants from another long spell of social and political strife.*
 
*The Government of India plans to pass the Bill in this Winter Session of the Parliament. We appeal all political parties, organizations and individuals of India to be united to oppose this unconstitutional Bill. We sincerely believe that you will extend your support to us, and oppose the Bill to save our Constitution and democracy.*
 
contact: secretarykmss@gmail.com, 8638084494, 8826219749

 

 

 

 

 

पवित्र गाय, त्याज्य लोग !

..बुलंदशहर की घटनाएं इस बात की ताईद करती हैं कि  हिंदुत्व वर्चस्ववाद का यह नज़रिया जिसमें मानवीय जीवन के प्रति गहरी असम्वेदनशीलता और असम्पृक्तता  टपकती है और जो एक चतुष्पाद को पूजनीय बनाती है, आज उरूज पर है।..

( Photo Courtesy : indianculturalforum.in)

कभी कभी एक अदद वक्तव्य किसी नेता की एकमात्र निशानी बन कर रह जाती है। विश्व हिन्दू परिषद के नेता गिरिराज किशोर इसका क्लासिकीय उदाहरण कहे जा सकते हैं जिनका नाम लेने पर अक्सर उनका विवादित वक्तव्य ही लोगों की जुबां पर आ जाता है। याद है कि उन्होंने कहा था कि ‘‘पुराणों में गाय को मनुष्य से अधिक पवित्रा समझा गया है।’’

वह अवसर बेहद शोकाकुल करनेवाला था, जब उनका वह वक्तव्य आया था। दिल्ली से बमुश्किल पचास किलोमीटर दूर दुलीना नामक स्थान पर पांच दलितों की भीड़ द्वारा पीट पीट कर हत्या कर दी गयी थी Continue reading पवित्र गाय, त्याज्य लोग !

Sacred Cows, Disposable Humans

The Bulandshahr mob killings show that the Hindutva Supremacist world view, which has complete apathy and indifference toward human life and puts a four-legged animal on a pedestal, is on the ascendance.

mob lynching

“It is a curious people. With them, all life seems to be sacred except human life.”

– Mark Twain on Indians.

A single quote sometimes remains the sole memory of a leader.

Giriraj Kishor, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, can be considered a classic example to demonstrate the thought behind Mark Twain’s quote. Kishor had rather (in)famously said, “Cow is considered more sacred than human beings in the Puranas(Hindu scriptures)”. The occasion was a tragic one when five Dalits — who were carrying dead cows — were lynched by a vigilante mob in front of a police station (Dulina, Jhajjar in Haryana, October 2002) with many senior government officials turning mute spectators.

The spectacle-type killing was followed by another grotesque drama when police personnel, who by their inaction had connived with the crime, promptly sent the dead cows for examination, and filed cases against the dead Dalits over cow ‘slaughter’.

Kishor died few years ago but the worldview he represented, which has complete apathy and indifference towards human life and which puts a four-legged on the pedestal, is on the ascendance.

( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/sacred-cows-disposable-humans)

Of Angry Women and Insecure Men – Hindi cinema and the MeToo Age: Rama Srinivasan

Guest Post by RAMA SRINIVASAN

Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”
― Jane Austen, Persuasion

Austen’s words, a searing commentary on how patriarchy controls the narrative, remains relevant today despite tenacious efforts by women to wrest authorial control from men and narrate our own stories. Even as the struggle to find one’s voice and to be heard continues, we might also ask ourselves what we will be left with after we have successfully challenged male authority and supremacy in our stories, the idea of heroes and villains, of chaste wives and women of disreputable characters. In the moment of triumph, is there also a need of introspection? The MeToo movement, in India and elsewhere, opens our world(s) up to these and many other questions that do not have easy or ready answers. A standard reply, reproduced in several platforms when questions like ‘why now’ or ‘what next’ are raised is illuminating of the problem societies face when women tell stories: “For now, we should just listen to the women who want to speak up.” It not only represents the struggle to tell our stories on our own terms but also tell them without a fixed agenda or plan.

The current moment in Hindi cinema has been complementing these societal struggles, perhaps even foreshadowing the MeToo challenges to patriarchy by both wresting authorial power to tell stories of relatable people, especially of women, but also displacing plot devices and narrative arcs familiar to stories that end up reaffirming patriarchal authority. Continue reading Of Angry Women and Insecure Men – Hindi cinema and the MeToo Age: Rama Srinivasan

Ideas as Crime in a Majoritarian Democracy

idea as crime in democracy

Image Courtesy: Vappingo

To such a degree has Religion fuelled conflict, complicated politics, retarded social development and impaired human relations across the world, that one is often tempted to propose that Religion is innately an enemy of Humanity, if not indeed of itself a crime against Humanity … it is time that the world adopted a position that refuses to countenance Religion as an acceptable justification for, excuse or extenuation of – crimes against Humanity.

-Wole Soyinka

A modern critique of Sacred Books of any religion — which are worshipped by its followers — is an act which is full of dilemmas.

What should one say if they have references about burning of infidels, permitting a man to marry many women, instructing the rulers to cut somebody’s tongue or pour hot lead into somebody’s ears if s/he sings/listens to religious hymns, ordering a particular section of its devotees to be kept aloof even from places of worship or spotting a ‘divine figure’ engaged in abusing one’s own daughter or harassing women.

Should a critical intellectual just look the other way, pretending that s/he does not see, decide to keep quiet or rationalise such acts to further re-ensure her/his faith or say few things, albeit in a mild tone, that such acts do not match modern values?

And what should a modern state — which claims to be not based on faith — do in such a case? Facilitate flourishing of such critiques or allow faith merchants/fanatics of different shades to criminalise such acts taking recourse to its own statue books.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/ideas-crime-majoritarian-democracy)