Category Archives: Debates

महिला आन्दोलनकारियों की गिरफ्तारियां और भारत सरकार की पितृसत्ता : अमन अभिषेक

Guest Post by Aman Abhishek

Big Brother's Patriarchal Authoritarianism

गुलफीशा फ़ातिमा, सफुरा जरगर, देवांगना कलिता और नताशा नरवाल

दुनिया के जाने-माने प्रोफ़ेसर और पत्रकार डॉक्टर लेता होन्ग फ़िंचर अपनी किताब “बिट्रेइंग बिग ब्रदर: दी फेमनिस्ट अवेकनिंग इन चाइना” में लिखती हैं कि किस तरह चीनी सरकार के द्वारा मार्च 2015 में पांच कार्यकर्तायों की गिरफ्तारी ने चीनी नारीवादी आन्दोलन को एक नया मोड़ दे दिया | जिन पांच महिलाओं को गिरफ्तार किया गया था वे विश्वमहिला दिवस के मौके पर यौन उत्पीडन के खिलाफ बसों और ट्रेनों में पर्चे बाँट रही थी | परन्तु चीनी सरकार ने झगड़े उसकाने के आरोप लगाकर गिरफ्तारी कर ली | इसका परिणाम यह हुआ कि ये पांच महिलाएं “फेमस फाइव” यानी “पांच प्रसिद्ध” के नाम से जानी गई | इन गिरफ्तारियों ने चीनी नारीवादी आदोंलन को कमजोर करने के बजाए एक नयी उर्जा प्रदान की और गिरफ्तारियों के विरोध में बड़े पैमाने पर आन्दोलन शुरू हो गए|

अब भारत में हाल की परिस्थितियों पर गौर करें | दिसम्बर 2019 से मार्च 2020 तक देश के सैकड़ों सार्वजनिक स्थानों पर हजारों आन्दोलनकारियों ने, महिलाओं के नेतृत्व में, सीएए के विरोध में सशक्त और शांतिपूर्ण आन्दोलन किया और लगातार धरना चला | शाहीनबाग जैसे जगहों पर रात दिन धरने चले | देश भर के आन्दोलनकारी उसी सीएए का विरोध कर रहे थे जिसे संयुक्त्त राष्ट्र संघ और और अनेकों मानवाधिकार संगठनों ने मुस्लिम विरोधी और घोर पक्षपातपूर्ण करार दिया है| महिलाओं के नेतृत्व और भागीदारी की वजह से सीएए विरोधी आन्दोलन केवल नागरिकता के सवालों तक सीमित न रहकर भारतीय नारीवादी आन्दोलन के इतिहास में एक अहम कड़ी बन गया |

अप्रैल से भारत सरकार ने सीएए विरोधी आन्दोलन के महिला नेतृत्व की गिरफ्तारियां शुरू कर दी | इन महिलाओं की गिरफ्तारियों की वजह हिंसा भड़काने से लेकर आतंकवाद तक बताई गई | गिरफ्तार लोगों में शामिल गुलफीशा फ़ातिमा मुस्लिम समुदाय की नेता हैं, सफुरा जरगर जामिया मिलिया की छात्रा हैं तथा गिरफ्तारी के वक्त तीन माह से गर्भवती थी | देवांगना कलिता और नताशा नरवाल , पिंजड़ा तोड़ आन्दोलन की संस्थापक हैं (पिंजड़ा तोड़ समूह के कार्यकर्ताओं ने शैक्षणिक संस्थाओं में लैंगिक भेद-भाव और पितृसत्ता के खिलाफ आन्दोलन किया है) | यह गिरफ्तारियां एक वैश्विक महामारी के दौरान की गई है, जो इस महिलाओं की जिन्दगी के लिए घातक साबित हो सकता है | Continue reading महिला आन्दोलनकारियों की गिरफ्तारियां और भारत सरकार की पितृसत्ता : अमन अभिषेक

An Appeal for an Artist: Buy Brushes for Rehana Fathima’s Son

I am making appeal here to all people who really care for children’s rights beyond the hypocrisies of the global child rights discourse.

A controversy is raging in Kerala over a video of body art posted by the body-activist Rehana Fathima in which her two children paint an image of a phoenix on the exposed torso of their mother. The children are not nude, they don’t look outside the frame. Rehana herself does not look out, nor is her body being displayed in any explicit sense. There is nothing pornographic; the video was not made for commercial purposes. However, the video has unleashed a storm of outrage and the bitter conservatism of both Right and Left-wing politics in Kerala now engulfs the family like a toxic fog.

Rehana has been subject to unimaginable violence online. She is no stranger to it; her insistent efforts to keep radical body politics alive in a society in which bodies are strictly subject to caste and religions communities and bound firmly within heternormative sexuality, patrilineal family-forms and marriages that insist of huge dowry payment to the groom have stirred all sort of insecurities, unconscious and otherwise, of the Malayali masculinist elite. During the conservative backlash against the Supreme Court’s verdict approving the entry of female devotees to the Sabarimala temple in 2018, Rehana Fathima (who claims that she had converted long back and is also known by the name Surya Gayatri) made an attempt to make the pilgrimage, resulting in her arrest and jailing. She was accused of obscenity for uploading a picture of herself in the pilgrim’s costume, but showing a little skin off her thigh.

In the present case, she is accused of corrupting her children by exposing them to her naked body and then making the video public. The first complaint was filed by a BJP functionary and then the Kerala State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights directed the police to file cases against her charging the provisions of the POCSO Act. Other cases against her have used the provisions of the IT Act and the Juvenile Justice Act.

The police raided her home — and seized the laptop and, appalling, her son’s cherished set of brushes and paints. This violence remains unnoticed. There has been much hand-wringing by hypocrites who claim that they are not offended by the art but because children have been involved. These people do not seem to notice the violence against this young boy.

Rehana’s 13 year old is serious about his art. He is not like the kids who parents force into art classes so that they can brag about it in their circle. He is not traumatised by the sight of his mother’s body, but by the loss of his brushes, taken away by the Kerala Police as ‘evidence’ of the ‘crime’! The investigation of alleged violation of child rights gets an auspicious start, I suppose, with the police committing precisely such violation.

I appeal to all of you who think this is injustice — irrespective of whether it is technically proper or not — to speak up. If you can, please contribute brushes. Or pay Rs 10.  The child’s father, Manoj K Sreedhar, is on Facebook.  The address is : Rujul manav (appu) c/o Rehana fathima Ernakulam 682036 Mob: manoj 9446767666.

 

J Devika.

Why does the Left in Kerala fear Rehana Fathima and not COVID- 19?

Before I start, a request:    Friends who are reading this, if you are close to Noam Chomsky, Amartya Sen, or Soumya Swaminathan, or the other left-liberals who appear in the Kerala government-sponsored talk series from outside Kerala, please do forward this to them? I hope to reach them.

 

The Left government in Kerala is gathering its international intellectual-activist support base to cash on its commendable  — ongoing — success in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is not new — it has always been part of the dominant Left’s hegemony-bolstering exercises, especially after the 1990s, when its unquestionable hegemony in Kerala began to face a series of challenges. It has also been forced to pay attention to the oppositional civil society which relentlessly questions the dominant Left’s fundamental understanding of social justice and forces it to take seriously such ideas as freedom, autonomy, as well as identities not reducible to class. Continue reading Why does the Left in Kerala fear Rehana Fathima and not COVID- 19?

Treacherous Road to Make Manu History

Even today the attempt is to whitewash Manusmriti, not shun it. But all is not lost as the ripples of Black Lives Matter have reached Indian shores.

manusmiriti ambedkar hindutva

It was 1927, the second phase of the historic Mahad Satyagrah was on, and Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar led thousands of people in burning the Manusmriti, an act he compared with the French Revolution of 1789. Time and again, in speeches and writings, he categorically opposed the world-view of Manu, the legendary figure to whom are attributed the tenets of the Manusmriti, said to be dated to around 100 CE.

In the book written by scholar and activist Anand Teltumbde, Mahad: The Making of the First Dalit Revolt, published by Navayana in 2017, is recorded the resolution which was proposed by the social activist Gangadhar Sahasrabuddhe, and then read out at the Mahad Satyagrah. It states that the firm opinion of this conference is that the Manusmriti, “taking into consideration its verses which undermined the Shudra caste, thwarted their progress, and made their social, political and economic slavery permanent…is not worthy of becoming a religious or a sacred book. And in order to give expression to this opinion, this conference is performing the cremation rites of such a religious book which has been divisive of people and destroyer of humanity.”

Twenty three years later, Dr Ambedkar marked the promulgation of the Constitution of India as the “end of the rule by Manu”. And yet, 70 years thereafter, a significant section of Indians are still fascinated by Manu and have no qualms in venerating him. Even the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and large parts of Europe, in which statues of slave-owners and colonialists are being knocked down or disfigured, the Indian followers of Manu have no regrets about deifying him.

( Read the full article here)

Crisis of Working Class Politics – Challenges for Rebuilding the Left

 

In this year of COVID19, the organized ‘working class’ movement completes a hundred years of its history. It was on October 31 1920, that the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), the first central trade union organization, came into being. This might be a good occasion to take stock – to look back into history from what can only be described as a very troubled and difficult present – and peer forward into the future.

Workers, the long trek
Workers – the long trek, Image courtesy, The Wire

The year of COVID19 reveals, among other things, the very fragile and unstable nature of this entity called ‘the working class’ in countries like India. The monstrous situation arising out of the pandemic only provides us the window to that long and endless process by which the ‘working class’ is constantly made and remade. In a very important sense, unlike the peasantry which has a far more stable existence (till, for the requirements of Capital, it is uprooted and thrown into urban labour markets), the working class is an inherently structurally unstable social group. Given that its fate is tied to the requirements, caprices and maneouvres of Capital, the working class is not given to us readymade, once and for all. For as long-term changes in industry and technology occur or capital takes flight in the face of worker militancy, the working class too undergoes changes.

Continue reading Crisis of Working Class Politics – Challenges for Rebuilding the Left

How Many Times Will India Deny Apartheid?

Darren Sammy has revealed he faced racism in India at a time when the world is battling racism. India needs to join this fight.

Darren Sammy has revealed he faced racism

Darren Sammy, the famous all-rounder from West Indies, is a legend. He has led his country team and is the only captain to have won two T20 World Cups, in 2012 and 2016. His achievements in the arena of cricket are not limited to his country. He played a singular role in reviving Pakistan’s cricket team and preparing it for international matches, which earned him an honorary citizenship.

And thus the revelation that he was subjected to racial taunts by his own teammates, during his tour to India in 2013 and 2014, while he played IPL matches, was a bolt from the blue. His admirers were naturally aghast when Sammy disclosed that his teammates at SunRisers Hyderabad used to address him with a pejorative term and collectively sneer at him.

On some occasions, Sammy said, he too would smile back at his gleeful teammates, for he had innocently believed that it was light-hearted banter, even though directed at him. Sammy was completely oblivious to the fact that they were targeting him with a racist invective and enjoying “jokes” that he could not comprehend at his expense.

No doubt many of those who subjected him to humiliation were big names in Indian cricket. Yet it did not cause any uproar in India when Sammy made the truth known to the world via an Instagram post. The 24/7 news channels, which are forever searching for sensational news, and the cricketing fraternity, were quiet. None came forward to denounce the humiliation of Sammy, nor was there a public apology from the offenders. Only Swara Bhaskar, the actress, who espouses social causes rather fearlessly, demanded an apology from his teammates.

( Read the full text here)

कोविड संक्रमण की चेन तोड़ने के लिए मलप्पुरम ने नई ज़मीन तोड़ी है

आज जब पूरे देश में धार्मिक स्थलों को खोला जा रहा है, तब बीते दिनों ‘सांप्रदायिक’ होने का इल्ज़ाम झेलने वाले केरल के मलप्पुरम ज़िले ने अपनी अलग राह चुनी है. कोरोना के बढ़ते मामलों के मद्देनज़र वहां की पांच हज़ार मस्जिदों को अनिश्चितकाल तक बंद रखने समेत कई धार्मिक स्थलों को न खोलने का फ़ैसला लिया गया है.

Minara masjid wears a deserted look on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramzan, amid unprecedented circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide lockdown, in Mumbai. PTI

लॉकडाउन के दौरान बंद एक मस्जिद. (फाइल फोटो: पीटीआई)

मलप्पुरम, केरल के एकमात्र मुस्लिम बहुल जिले, जहां उनकी आबादी 75 फीसदी है, ने एक इतिहास रचा. तय किया गया है कि जिले की 5,000 मस्जिदें अनिश्चितकाल के लिए बंद रहेंगी.

इस निर्णय के पीछे का तर्क समझने लायक है. क्योंकि राज्य में कोरोना वायरस संक्रमण के मामले बढ़ते दिख रहे हैं, इसलिए यह तय करना मुनासिब समझा गया कि उसके दरवाजे श्रद्धालुओं के लिए बंद ही रहें.

जाने-माने इस्लामिक विद्वान पनक्कड सययद सादिक अली शिहाब थंगल, जो इंडियन यूनियन मुस्लिम लीग के जिला अध्यक्ष हैं, उन्होंने इस खबर को मीडिया के एक हिस्से में साझा किया.

इस तरह जबकि बाकी मुल्क में प्रार्थनास्थल, धार्मिक स्थलों को खोला जा रहा है, मलप्पुरम ने अपनी अलग राह चुनी है.

इस बात पर जोर देना जरूरी है कि आठ मुस्लिम संप्रदायों (denomination) की उस बैठक में, जहां 9 जून के बाद प्रार्थनास्थलों को खोलने के सरकारी निर्णय पर विचार करना था, यह फैसला एकमत से लिया गया.

सभी इस बात पर सहमत थे कि उन्हें इस छूट का इस्तेमाल नहीं करना चाहिए. एक ऐसे वक्त में जबकि कोविड-19 के मामले सूबे में बढ़ रहे हों, मस्जिद कमेटियों और धार्मिक नेताओं ने यह जरूरत महसूस की कि उन्हें सतर्कता बरतनी चाहिए.

खबरें यह भी आ रही हैं कि न केवल मस्जिदें बल्कि इलाके के कई मंदिरों और चर्च ने भी उन्हें तत्काल खोलना नहीं तय किया है.

मिसाल के तौर पर, श्री कदमपुजा भगवती मंदिर जो मलप्पुरम में है तथा श्री तिरूनेल्ली मंदिर जो वायनाड में है, वह बंद रहेंगे.

नायर सर्विस सोसायटी से संबंधित मंदिर भी 30 जून तक नहीं खुलेंगे. एर्नाकुलम-अंगमाली आर्चडाओसिस ऑफ सिरो मलबार चर्च ने भी तय किया है कि उसके मातहत चर्च 30 जून तक बंद रहेंगे.

निस्संदेह इस बात को लेकर इलाके के लोगों में गहरा एहसास दिख रहा है कि राज्य ने जिन भी सावधानियों को बरतने की बात की हो, स्पेशल ऑपरेटिंग प्रोसिजर्स का ऐलान किया है, हकीकत में उन पर अमल करना नामुमकिन होगा लिहाजा कोविड-19 के समुदाय आधारित संक्रमण की संभावना बनी रहेगी.

( Read the full article here)

Paradigms Lost, Past Continuous – Saraswati and some other rivers: Janaki Nair

Guest post by JANAKI NAIR

Maj General GD Bakshi (hereafter MGB) feels enough is enough. Having dealt with the Information Warfare and Psychological Operations in the Indian Army, he has now trained his guns on the internal enemy, abandoning the trenches of Jai Jawan for the far messier archaeologists’ hangout. In his battle dress – impeccable suits and ties– he wages war in the cause of snatching back History from historians, particularly Marxist Historians, Oxford and Harvard Historians, Colonial Historians, Tony Joseph, and above all JNU Historians who pose the Greatest Threat to the Continuity of our National Past. (Fortunately, he has not heard of Subaltern Historians, who have dared to polish up arguments instead of his shoes; or of feminist or Dalit historians, who impertinently ask whatever happened to the Vedic dasi).  While waging this war, he also hopes to win some minor battles on behalf of the Indian Taxpayer by shutting down JNU.

Then MGB had a second think: why waste a chance of planting a flag on a beautiful 1000-acre campus just because it was a Marxist redoubt? And what safer flag in these times of COVID than a Webinar in the JNU ether?  So MGB is ready to announce the Paradigm Shift in the study of the Saraswati Civilisation.  (For those who were reared on that disloyal diet of NCERT books, it refers to the Indus Valley Civilisation, or Harappan Culture).  This Paradigm Shift will fortunately not be as fickle as the Sutlej,  which changed its course mid-holocene. In fact, this Paradigm Shift does not rely much on historians or archaeologists,  but more on scientists – geologists, geneticists, accurate carbon dating physicists – who along with MGB, alone are capable of Total Objectivity, and know that only Good Things happened in the Indian past. Continue reading Paradigms Lost, Past Continuous – Saraswati and some other rivers: Janaki Nair

Can Rest of India ‘Do’ a Mallapuram ?

Ruins of an ancient Jain temple in Arimbra

Ruins of old Jain Style Temple at Arimbra 

Mallapuram, Kerala’s lone Muslim-majority district, made history recently.

The 5,000 mosques in the district would remain closed indefinitely.

Logic behind this decision is simple.

As the state is witnessing spike in Coronavirus infection recently, it was found more prudent to keep the doors closed for devotees. Panakkad Sayyed Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, a leading Islamic Scholar and Malappuram district president of the Indian Union Muslim League, shared this news with a section of the media.

Thus while the rest of the country is witnessing opening of places of worship under Unlock 1, Mallapuram has decided otherwise. Continue reading Can Rest of India ‘Do’ a Mallapuram ?

Truth Behind India’s Hierarchies of Pain

Perhaps celebrities know that talking about the plight of an animal—who died in a state not ruled by the ruling dispensation at the Centre—is a safe bet

Migrants

Migrants wait for a means of transport to travel to their native places during the fourth phase of the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, at Kundali Industrial Area in Sonipat. (Photo: PTI)

The killing of a pregnant elephant has caused national outrage. The elephant had strayed into a village in Palakkad, Kerala, and is said to have been fed a fruit stuffed with firecrackers, which exploded in its mouth. It is impossible to comprehend the tremendous suffering of the elephant, who died a painful death. It is also learnt that people in the region have in the past used incendiary materials to protect their crop from animals, particularly wild boar.

One person was arrested after the matter came to light and few others have been identified. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has promised “justice will prevail”, but one does not know if that includes legal action against the hatemongers—including a former cabinet minister who gave the incident a communal colour by claiming, incorrectly, that the incident occurred in Muslim-majority Malappuram. A sitting cabinet minister also retweeted this fake news, which further vitiated the atmosphere.

In a complaint to the Malappuram Police, a lawyer has urged the police chief to file an FIR against the former minister and others for a “derogatory” campaign against the district.

Now, many Indian celebrities, for example Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, have said that they are “appalled” by the incident. The chairman of India’s biggest corporate giant, Ratan Tata, has compared the “criminal act” with “meditated murder”. The celebrities, the anchors of 24/7 news channels and many other prominent figures are undeniably upset by the plight of the elephant. But do they also feel the same kind of outrage and disquiet over the communal overtones being imparted to it?

( Read the full article here)

Public Display of Faith Can Wait, Humanity Cannot

It is inevitable that the virus will spread anywhere people gather in numbers.

Faith in India

Representational Image

India went for the world’s toughest lockdown in March, when just about 500 Covid-19 cases had been reported. And it has started withdrawing the lockdown when India has become the seventh-worst pandemic-affected nation, with over 1.91 lakh infections and close to 5,500 deaths. India is registering giant spikes in active cases of Covid-19, but the home ministry has come out with a phased plan to unlock India. The current phase of re-opening will focus on the economy. It has been decided that malls, hotels, restaurants and places of worship will reopen from 8 June onwards.

Concerns over the economic downturn are understandable. The latest GDP data shows the slowest pace of growth in 11 years in the last quarter of 2019-20, and the economy has been hit hard by the Covid-inspired sudden and complete lockdown. But one fails to understand the decision to open religious places at such an early date.

It remains unanswered whether religious places are being thrown open to pre-empt Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, who has announced that her state would open all places of worship from 1 June. It is also not known whether this is being done, as BS Yediyurappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister, because devotees are insisting that religious sites be opened.

( Read the full article here )

Online Education, the Latest Stage of Educational Apartheid: Maya John

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

Given the rampant social and economic inequalities in our society, education has been seen by majority of the common masses as a tool for moving up the social ladder. Their aspirations for higher segment jobs and status constitute the largest component of the growing demand for higher education.Nevertheless, the opinion of the dominant classes that the state cannot pay for the education of all has come to enjoy hegemonic status, resulting in the lack of adequate development of educational infrastructure to meet the rapidly growing demand.In response to the widening gap between the demand and supply for education, successive governments have pushed through measures that allow for greater penetration of private capital in higher education, and its corollary, the persistent decline in per capita government allocation of funds towards education. Consequently, private colleges and universities have mushroomed across the country. Likewise,the expansion of the open and distance learning (ODL) mode and mainstreaming of e-learning have been consistently projected by policy makers as credible alternative routes to accessing higher education when higher educational institutions (HEIs) are not within reasonable distance, or when students do not have the marks or financial condition to enroll in formal education.

Continue reading Online Education, the Latest Stage of Educational Apartheid: Maya John

‘National Populisms’, the Little Man and Big Men

 

Populismo – ISS Conference poster by Filipino artist Boy Dominguez, image courtesy future-agricultures.org

In an earlier post last month, I had discussed the global rise of the Right as related to the revolt of the ‘little man’ (a term I borrow from Wilhelm Reich) and his search for a ‘father-figure’ of authority. I had also argued in that post that the revolt of the little man in itself could not have led to the rise of the Right, were it not for  the ways in which Capital moved to appropriate and channelize that revolt against the Left and Left-of-Centre politics – and regimes that dominated the scene earlier. It is virtually impossible to understand this huge tectonic shift in the politics of the past few decades without understanding the conjunction of the little man and Capital – the Big Men – as it were. No less important, it is impossible to understand this shift without understanding the revolt of the liittle man in relation to the different structures of privilege that appear before us as culturally encoded power relations – as tradition, as ‘our way of doing things’, so to speak.

Continue reading ‘National Populisms’, the Little Man and Big Men

Part III – THE VIRUS, THE MUSLIM AND THE MIGRANT: Rewilding, pirate care and solidarity

THIS IS THE FINAL PART OF A THREE PART POST

India has been effectively under an RSS coup d’etat  since May 2019, after the  extremely dubious “sweeping victory” of the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. Since then, there has been a concerted and relentless onslaught on democracy from the twin forces of Hindu chaudhrahat and predatory capitalism, an assault accelerated under cover of the lockdown since March 2020.

Part I of this post discussed how the triumphant Hindu supremacist Indian state has been producing Hindu chaudhrahat,  both formally through law, as well as informally (by “stealth”), through the sabotaging of institutions.

Part II discussed the accelerated offensive by state-backed private capital; in all its old forms, of course, including treating human labour as just another resource for it to exploit, like coal or oil; but also in its more recent and dazzling avatar of data capitalism.

The lockdown only made sense if it was used as a breathing space (a sad, unintended pun), to prepare for contact-tracing and infrastructure to deal with the spike in infections that was bound to result upon the lockdown ending. It has instead been used by the current regime as a full blown political emergency. Civil liberties are effectively suspended and large scale arrests of anti-CAA protesters have been carried out. In addition, the mythology of the “Urban Naxal-Jihadi network” has been produced to continue the arrests of  academics, journalists and activists. This deranged script, concocted in RSS HQ, blends the twin projects of Hindu supremacism (“jihadi”) and predatory capital (“urban Maoist”) to effectively turn the lockdown into a lockup for opponents of these projects.

Meanwhile, since the actual pandemic is not the concern of the government, infections and deaths are on the rise, and once the lockdown is lifted we can expect much worse.(There are of course, non-BJP state governments that have done much better, and too much has been written about Kerala as an exemplar for me to add anything here.)

In the midst of the breathless rage and frustration of the moment, the millions of us who still resist both Hindu Rashtra and the depredations of capitalism, are connecting to ideas across the globe that dare to imagine other worlds.

How are we to combine, come together, connect to other stories the virus tells us, find our way to other lanes down which it leads us? How will we find and inhabit  those fissures and chinks in which green things can grow, and solidarities, and compassion and hope. Continue reading Part III – THE VIRUS, THE MUSLIM AND THE MIGRANT: Rewilding, pirate care and solidarity

SAB YAAD RAKHA JAEGA: Nationwide Protest against repression on anti-CAA activists and democratic voices of dissent

WhatsApp Image 2020-06-01 at 15.33.28

Guest Post by PEOPLE UNITED AGAINST REPRESSION ON ANTI CAA PROTESTERS

Over the past two months the Delhi Police has arrested Jamia students Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Asif Iqbal Tanha, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita along with activists Ishrat Jahan, Khalid Saifi, Gulfisha Fatima, Sharjeel Imam and hundreds of other Muslim youth. Some among them have been booked under the amended UAPA as a means of punishing the widespread protests against the CAA-NRC that emerged across the country in December last year. Most recently AMU students Farhan Zuberi and Ravish Ali Khan have been arrested by the UP police for participating in the anti-CAA protests. It is clear that the spate of arrests are far from over and new names of democratic activists are likely to be added to this already long list. Meanwhile those openly advocating violence against peaceful protesters such as Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur have gone scot-free. Continue reading SAB YAAD RAKHA JAEGA: Nationwide Protest against repression on anti-CAA activists and democratic voices of dissent

Crisis for the People, Opportunity for the Corporate-Government Nexus : NSI

Statement of New Socialist Initiative (NSI) on India’s ‘war against Covid 19’

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Today, India has emerged as a new epicentre for the novel corona virus in the Asia Pacific region.With 1,58,333 confirmed cases of Covid 19 and deaths of total of 4,531 people after contracting the virus, it has already crossed China’s Covid-19 numbers.

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New Socialist Initiative (NSI) feels that the grim news of steadily rising infections and fatalities reveal before everyone a worrying pattern but the government either seems to be oblivious of the situation or has decided to shut its eyes. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Union government has used incomplete national-level data to justify arbitrary policy decisions, defend its record and underplay the extent of Covid-19 crisis.

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Absence of transparency vis-a-vis data collection of Covid infection levels could be said to be the tip of the iceberg of what has gone wrong with India’s ‘war against Covid 19’.
The Prime Minister’s announcement of a 21-day countrywide lock down came with a mere four-hour notice. It was done without engaging in any collective decision-making process with states to honour and enhance the spirit of “cooperative federalism” between the Centre and the States. Continue reading Crisis for the People, Opportunity for the Corporate-Government Nexus : NSI

असहमति के दमन के लिए मानवाधिकार-कर्मियों और लेखकों-पत्रकारों की गिरफ्तारियों का सिलसिला बंद करो! 

राजनीतिक उत्पीड़न और साम्प्रदायिक ध्रुवीकरण के लिए तालाबंदी के इस्तेमाल के ख़िलाफ़ सांस्कृतिक-सामाजिक संगठनों का संयुक्त आह्वान

महामारी से मुक्ति के लिए जनएकजुटता का निर्माण करो!

तालाबंदी के दौरान जेलबंदी

महामारी और तालाबंदी के इस दौर में समूचे देश का ध्यान एकजुट होकर बीमारी का मुक़ाबला करने पर केन्द्रित है.

लेकिन इसी समय देश के जाने माने बुद्धिजीवियों, स्वतंत्र पत्रकारों, हाल ही के सीएए-विरोधी आन्दोलन में सक्रिय रहे राजनीतिक कार्यकर्ताओं और अल्पसंख्यक समुदाय के युवाओं की ताबड़तोड़ गिरफ़्तारियों ने नागरिक समाज की चिंताएं बढ़ा दी हैं.

बुद्धिजीवियों और राजनैतिक कार्यकर्ताओं की गिरफ़्तारियां सरकारी काम में बाधा डालने (धरने पर बैठने) जैसे गोलमोल आरोपों में और  अधिकतर विवादास्पद यूएपीए क़ानून के तहत की जा रही हैं. यूएपीए कानून आतंकवाद से निपटने के लिए लाया गया था. यह विशेष क़ानून ‘विशेष परिस्थिति में’ संविधान  द्वारा नागरिकों को दिए गए मौलिक अधिकारों को परिसीमित करता है. जाहिर है, इस क़ानून का इस्तेमाल केवल उन्हीं मामलों में किया जाना चाहिए जिनका सम्बन्ध आतंकवाद की किसी वास्तविक परिस्थिति से हो. दूसरी तरह के मामलों में इसे लागू करना संविधान के साथ छल करना है. संविधान लोकतंत्र में राज्य की सत्ता के समक्ष नागरिक के जिस अधिकार की गारंटी करता है, उसे समाप्त कर लोकतंत्र को सर्वसत्तावाद में बदल देना है.

गिरफ्तारियों के लगातार जारी सिलसिले में सबसे ताज़ा नाम जेएनयू की दो छात्राओं, देवांगना  कलिता और नताशा नरवाल के हैं. दोनों शोध-छात्राएं प्रतिष्ठित नारीवादी आन्दोलन ‘पिंजरा तोड़’ की संस्थापक सदस्य भी हैं.  इन्हें पहले ज़ाफ़राबाद धरने में अहम भूमिका अदा करने के नाम पर 23 मई को गिरफ्तार किया गया. अगले ही दिन अदालत से जमानत मिल जाने पर तुरंत अपराध शाखा की स्पेशल ब्रांच द्वारा क़त्ल और दंगे जैसे आरोपों के तहत गिरफ़्तार कर लिया गया ताकि अदालत उन्हें पूछ-ताछ के लिए पुलिस कस्टडी में भेज दे. आख़िरकार उन्हें दो दिन की पुलिस कस्टडी में भेज दिया गया है. Continue reading असहमति के दमन के लिए मानवाधिकार-कर्मियों और लेखकों-पत्रकारों की गिरफ्तारियों का सिलसिला बंद करो! 

प्रार्थना स्थलों पर लाउडस्पीकर पर प्रतिबंध

news on judiciary

कांकर पाथर जोरि कै मस्जिद लई बनाय.
ता चढि मुल्ला बांग दे क्या बहरा हुआ खुदाय

क्या अपने ‘खुदा’ को आवाज़ देने के लिए बांग देने की जरूरत पड़ती है ?

आज से छह सदी पहले ही कबीर ने यह सवाल पूछ कर अपने वक्त़ में धर्म के नाम पर जारी पाखंड को बेपर्दा किया था. पिछले दिनों यह मसला नए सिरे से उछला जब इलाहाबाद उच्च न्यायालय ने इस बारे में एक अहम फैसला सुनाया. अदालत ने कहा कि अज़ान अर्थात प्रार्थना के लिए आवाज़ देने की बात इस्लाम का हिस्सा है लेकिन वही बात लाउडस्पीकर के इस्तेमाल के बारे में नहीं कही जा सकती, लिहाजा रात 10 बजे से सुबह 6 बजे तक किसी भी ध्वनिवर्द्धक यंत्र का इस्तेमाल के इजाजत नहीं दी जा सकती.

अदालत के मुताबिक मुअज्जिन मस्जिद की मीनार से अपनी मानवीय आवाज़ में अज़ान दे सकता है और उसे महामारी रोकने के लिए राज्य द्वारा लगायी गयी पाबंदियों के तहत रोका नहीं जा सकता, अलबत्ता उसके लिए लाउडस्पीकर का इस्तेमाल वर्जित रहेगा.

ध्यान रहे कि अदालत यूपी पुलिस द्वारा जगह-जगह मनमाने ढंग से अज़ान पर लगायी गयी पाबंदी के खिलाफ दायर याचिका पर विचार कर रही थी. हाथरस, अलीगढ़ आदि स्थानों पर महामारी के कानूनों का हवाला देते हुए पुलिस वालों ने अज़ान देने पर ही पाबंदी लगायी थी, जिसके खिलाफ याचिकाकर्ताओं ने अदालत का दरवाज़ा खटखटाया था.

उम्मीद है कि अदालत के फैसले के मद्देनज़र यूपी पुलिस मनमाने तरीके से अज़ान पर नहीं रोक लगाएगी, निश्चित ही यह सुनिश्चित करेगी कि इसके लिए किसी ध्वनिवर्द्धक यंत्र का इस्तेमाल तो नहीं हो रहा है.

गौरतलब है कि अदालत ने संविधान के तहत प्रदत्त बुनियादी अधिकारों में शामिल आर्टिकल 19/1/ए का हवाला देते हुए जो इस बात को सुनिश्चित करता है कि‘किसी को भी यह अधिकार नहीं है कि वह अन्य लोगों को बन्दी श्रोता (captive listeners) बना दें’ यह निर्देश दिया.

निश्चित ही मस्जिदों में जहां बिना अनुमति के लाउडस्पीकरों के इस्तेमाल पर पाबंदी रहेगी, वही बात मंदिरों, गुरुद्धारों या अन्य धार्मिक स्थलों पर भी लागू रहेगी ताकि आरती के बहाने या गुरुबाणी सुनाने के बहाने इसी तरह लोगों को ‘बन्दी श्रोता’ मजबूरन न बनाया जाए. ( Read the full article here :https://hindi.theprint.in/opinion/allahabad-high-court-ban-loudspeakers-at-prayer-places-exposes-hypocrisy-in-the-name-of-faith/140765/)

The Ferocious Face of Class War – Rekindling the Revolutionary Imagination

 

Pyramid of Capitalist System, 1911 image from Industrial Worker (paperof Industrial Workers of the World)

Face of Class War in Contemporary India

It is time again to state one thing absolutely clearly. ‘Class struggle’ or ‘class warfare’ were not invented by Karl Marx, for he and his predecessors merely identified and named the beast. It is something that the rich and the powerful always did and continue to do as we speak. Look at the way the Indian lumpenbourgeoisie has bared its fangs, even as the country is reeling under the deadly impact of COVID 19; look at the way it is sharpening its knives, waiting for its opportunity to make a kill – and you will know what class war is all about. Look at them and it will be crystal clear that it is not the hapless migrant worker and the poor – or the peasant who silently commits suicide – who  indulge in this thing called class war, but they who prey on the weak and the dispossessed. They are once again preparing to make good their losses by yoking in workers as slaves, not allowing them to travel safely back to their homes, keeping them hostage to lumpencapital and ready with  their plans to make them work for 12 hours a day. There isn’t even a pretense – barring an Azim Premji here or an Asian Paints there – of recognizing workers as partners or stakeholders in business.

In a sense, ‘lumpencapitalism’ and the ‘lumpenbourgeoisie’ are the general form of Indian capital, pioneered by Dhirubhai Ambani and his Reliance Industries (interested readers can  read The Polyester Prince by Hamish McDonald) and its arrival with Gautam Adani whose recent rise to front ranks is generally understood to be linked to his closeness to the present regime. And in between, we have conglomerates like Sahara India, whose ‘primitive accumulation’ is alleged to have come almost entirely through chit fund theft.

Continue reading The Ferocious Face of Class War – Rekindling the Revolutionary Imagination

Covid-19 and the Idea of India: Manish Thakur and Nabanipa Bhattacharjee

Guest post by MANISH THAKUR and NABANIPA BHATTACHARJEE

Much has already been said and written about the plight of the migrants during the lockdown necessitated by the current Covid-19 outbreak in India. The visual images of their endless walk – which reminds us of the flight of Partition refugees – in their desperate bid to reach home in the scorching summer heat on almost empty stomachs with throats parched (women in tow with the children on men’s shoulders and their meagre belongings on the heads) is heart-wrenching to say the least. Whatever be the cause, it is a living testimony to the entrenched structures of poor governance that define our polity. It is also revealing of the class character of the Indian state, a term that has for long left the public discourse of our republic. One need not invoke Marx or be a communist to see the glaring contrast in the ways say, for instance, state functionaries conduct themselves at airports in Delhi or Kochi and railway stations at Barkakana in Jharkhand or Bapu Dham, Motihari in Bihar.

Continue reading Covid-19 and the Idea of India: Manish Thakur and Nabanipa Bhattacharjee

भारत की कोरोना नीति के चंद नुक्सानदेह पहलू: राजेन्द्र चौधरी

Guest post by RAJINDER CHAUDHARY

कोरोना से हमारा वास्ता अभी लम्बे समय तक चलने वाला है. काफिला पर छपे पिछले आलेखों में (यहाँ एवं यहाँ) में हम ने इस के सही और गलत, दोनों तरह के सबकों की चर्चा की थी पर भारत की करोना नीति की समीक्षा नहीं की थी.  आपदा और युद्ध काल में एक कहा-अनकहा दबाव रहता है कि सरकार को पूरा समर्थन दिया जाए और उस की आलोचना न की जाय पर कोरोना के मुकाबले के लिए भारत में अपनाई गई रणनीति की समीक्षा ज़रूरी है; यह समीक्षा लम्बे समय तक चलने वाली इस आपदा में रणनीति में सुधार का मौका दे सकती है. कोरोना से कैसे निपटना चाहिए इस में निश्चित तौर पर सब से बड़ी भूमिका तो कोरोना वायरस की प्रकृति की है- ये गर्मी में मरेगा या सर्दी में या नहीं ही मरेगा; बूढों को ज्यादा मारेगा या बच्चों को, इन तथ्यों का इस से निपटने की रणनीति तय करने में सब से बड़ी भूमिका है. इस लिए भारत में कोरोना की लड़ाई के मूल्यांकन से पहले हमें वायरस की प्रकृति के बारे में उपलब्ध जानकारी को रेखांकित करना होगा.

कोरोना वायरस के नए स्वरूप की बुनियादी प्रकृति

कोरोना किस्म के वायरस वैज्ञानिकों के लिए नए नहीं हैं. ये पहले भी उभरते रहे हैं और वैज्ञानिक इन का लगातार अध्ययन करते रहे हैं. परन्तु हाल में कोरोना किस्म के वायरस का एक नया स्वरूप सामने आया है, जिस से उत्पन्न होने वाली नयी बीमारी को कोविड नाम दिया गया है.  इस लिए कोरोना के इस नए वायरस के बारे में अभी सब कुछ पक्के तौर पर नहीं कहा जा सकता. अभी इस की पड़ताल चल रही है.  फिर भी दुनिया भर के वैज्ञानिकों के मिले जुले काम से और कोरोना के पहले से उपलब्ध वायरसों के जीवन चक्र को ध्यान में रखते हुए कुछ बाते काफी हद तक स्पष्ट हैं.  इन के बारे में आम तौर पर वैज्ञानिकों में सर्वानुमति है. हालाँकि विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन को सर्वज्ञानी तो नहीं माना जा सकता परन्तु काफी हद तक इस द्वारा प्रदत जानकारी पर भरोसा किया जा सकता है.

Continue reading भारत की कोरोना नीति के चंद नुक्सानदेह पहलू: राजेन्द्र चौधरी