We had reported earlier on the call for a convention to commemorate the anniversary of the historic Santhal Rebellion associated the immortal names of Sidhu and Kanu. The convention was organized by the recently constituted forum in West Bengal, Ekusher Dak – Call of 21 – which was formed in the run up to the recently held elections in the state. ’21’ of course, refers to the year 2021 when the elections were held and the initiative for a new/ different Left platform in the state was launched. But ’21’ also recalls the date 21 February 1952, the historic day of the Bhasha Andolan (the Language Movement) in what is now Bangladesh. It recalls the assertion of Bengali identity that overrides the religious divide that the BJP made every effort to exacerbate. The convention was held yesterday and really came like a whiff of fresh air. The film we embed below is a very short but powerful telling of the story of the revolt with graphics. Ekusher Daak Film Team – Arjun, Debalina, Maroona, Boro, Laboni, Malay, Mitali, Arundhati, Saikat, Baijayanta, and Swarnava -have produced the film. For those who would like to watch the proceedings of the Convention, the YouTube streaming link is here.
Guest Post : New Socialist Initiative NSI Facebook Page
Samuel Johnson famously said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” The two prime ministers in the photograph below would claim to be patriots both. The scoundrel part should be left to your judgment, but it is obvious that both of them cannot claim to be patriots at the same time.
These two prime ministers came up with a deal a couple of days ago that no one in India is talking about. Even the Indian government, uncharacteristically, is not trumpeting about it. The UK government announced the day before yesterday that it sealed a deal with India in which Indians will make a one billion pound ($1.39 billion) investment in the UK creating 6500 British jobs. In addition India will open its market doors wider by reducing tariffs not only on British cars and British whisky but also on British apples and pears.
It looks curiouser than Alice’s Wonderland. India lost 7.25 million jobs in April alone. Actually tens of millions of Indian jobs have been lost during the pandemic and during the Modi misrule. And Indian moneybags facilitated by the Modi government are going to invest more than Rs 10 thousand crores in the UK creating highly paid British jobs! On top of that India will also hurt the interests of Indian producers of apples and pears (also of cars and whiskeys) by lowering tariffs on British goods. What is India gaining out of it?
But if you think about it, it is not so surprising. This is a government that spends tens of thousands of crores on a new central vista, a new parliament and a new house for the Prime Minister at a time when thousands are dying due to shortage of oxygen and of hospital beds. This is also a regime under which its favourite corporate houses have registered fattest profits ever during the worst humanitarian crisis that India is groaning under.
This Prime Minister not only helps corporate houses to amass mountains of wealth in an India where people are losing jobs, facing unimaginable hardships – many are on the verge of starvation; where cremations pyres are spilling on to the roads and burning 24×7. He also helps them take that money to safe houses on foreign shores – invest in rich countries and create jobs there. Can he qualify to be a patriot, even if one ignores Samuel Johnson’s reference to being a scoundrel?
How anti-national this government and this Prime Minister can become? And why is this Indo-British deal not being talked about here in India?
This article by HILAL AHMED is the third and final contribution in the set of three reviews/ comments on Manan Ahmed Asif’s Loss of Hindustan. The first contribution by Dwaipayan Sen can be read here and the second by Dilip M. Menon can be accessed here.
A Political Reading
This is a provocative book in two different ways. It provokes us to interrogate the supposedly foundational propositions that constitute the very first article of the Indian Constitution: ‘India that is Bharat’. The book destabilizes the very language—the concepts, categories, frames—by which we are trained to envisage India as a historic entity and/or as a civilization.
The author does not merely engage in producing a deconstructionist version of India’s past. He, unlike others, incites us to imagine the unimaginable: the idea of Hindustan. The book introduces us to a rich archive of Persian scholarship and explores the ways in which Hindustan as a concept as well as a geo-political reality is erased to pave the way for a new intellectual imagination, India.
The Loss of Hindustan is also provocative in an overtly political sense. The book cannot be described as an intellectual-historical project. It raises a few powerful political questions especially in relation to the placing of modern history in postcolonial projects of nation building. Continue reading Loss of Hindustan – A Symposium III: Hilal Ahmed
This article by DILIP M. MENON is the second of the three pieces that comprise the symposium on Manan Ahmed Asif’s Loss of Hindustan. The first contribution by Dwaipayan Sen can be read here. The final contribution by Hilal Ahmed can be accessed here.
The Loss of Longing
“Nostalgia is not what it used to be.” – Simone Signoret
To look back these days evokes less anger or longing and more a sense of gazing on ruins. Like the Angel of History, so evocatively described by Benjamin, we are being blown with our backs to an unknown future, gazing at the relentless pile of wreckage that accumulates behind us. The idea of a nation that we once imagined together is buried somewhere in the debris, our residual idealism detects its gleam sometimes. This sense of melancholy propels different shades of politics, one of which does a fine combing through the rough texture of history to recover lost visions. The other seeks to resist the lure of the past and think exigently within the horizon of the present. A hard headed engagement with contemporary times comes rooted in the belief that there is no space of authenticity or of an archive of resistance awaiting us in the past: there is no ‘there’ there. However, the mode of thinking that informs the historical discipline requires us to look back, and see the filiations with the present as much as the future. The fact that we occupy a future past (that is to say, we live in a moment that was once imagined as a future, utopian or otherwise) can be an occasion for cynicism as much as a fillip for renewed action. Continue reading Loss of Hindustan – A Symposium II: Dilip M. Menon
Manan Ahmed Asif’s recent book Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India* has aroused considerable interest that goes beyond academic readers. Since the book deals with a matter that concerns not just our past but also how we imagine our future, we at Kafila decided to try out a symposium on it – on an experimental basis, since we do not generally carry book reviews as such. We will be serially publishing three reviews/ comments on the book, by DWAIPAYAN SEN, DILIP M. MENON and HILAL AHMED, over the next few days, in the hope of provoking some discussion. We also hope to get the author’s response to these contributions. This first piece is by DWAIPAYAN SEN. The second contribution by Dilip M. Menon can be read here. You can read the final piece by Hilal Ahmed here.
This book is the most recent addition to a growing tradition of precolonial history-writing that depicts India as a land of milk and honey before the coming of the colonial flood. Evidently, a European understanding of India as Hindu replaced an earlier, native understanding of India as Hindustan, rendered a home for all faiths. Such arguments are based on the close reading of Muhammad Qasim Firishta’s Tarikh-i Firishta, and its appropriation by scholar-administrators in the employ of the East India Company.
Guest post by VISHWAS SATGAR
At last, the Trump Presidency has crash landed and he is out of the White House. Now, we can all start dealing with ‘Trump trauma’ and shock. What did we live through over the past four years ? This is a planetary question. It is a question we are all grappling with because the world is now capitalist on a global scale and America is the leading power making that world. Post the Cold War we were all conscripted to be Americans and the ‘American Dream’ was declared the global dream. Even China bought into it in its own self interested and authoritarian way. They became so good at it that even Trump baulked. He wanted it back and declared : “Make America Great Again”. While we do not physically live in America, through the global media we are front-row spectators gazing into it, watching the theatrics of its leaders while grappling with its presence in our everyday lives. It has set the standards of ‘civilization’ by asserting a set of universals – democracy, progress, competition, individualism and free enterprise. These universals are the props of a mythic America, standing tall at the vanguard of the ‘free world’, and which reveals itself through the iconic hamburger, unthinking patriotism, voting in elections, the veneration of a masculine gun culture, Hollywood movies and mass consumption.
John Lewis ( 21 February 1940 – 17 July 2020)
Legendary Civil Rights leader John Lewis died on 17 th July 2020.
An analyst wrote ”Lewis, a titan of the civil rights movement, died on Friday at the age of 80, severing a vital link with the generation that rose in the 60s to resist the US’s version of racial apartheid. The news was met with a depth of grief normally reserved for former presidents. Lewis transcended party politics and was truly admired and beloved.”
A state trooper beats John Lewis (kneeling, right) with a club in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. Lewis sustained a fractured skull in the assault. Photograph: unknown/AP
A CNN documentary entitled John Lewis: Good Trouble, quotes him: “I tried to do what was right, fair and just. When I was growing up in rural Alabama, my mother always said, ‘Boy, don’t get in trouble … but I saw those signs that said ‘white’, ‘colored’, and I would say, ‘Why?’
“And she would say again, ‘Don’t get in trouble. You will be beaten. You will go to jail. You may not live. But … the words of Dr King and the actions of Rosa Parks inspired me to get in trouble. And I’ve been getting in trouble ever since. Good trouble. Necessary trouble.”
Guest Post by Umar Khalid
I went to Maharashtra as I along with other activists and intellectuals were invited to come there. I along with others was a guest there. And I would remember fondly the love and support that I received in Pune and Mumbai. I would remember the resilience and enthusiasm of the people I met and their resoluteness to fight Manuvaad and centuries old casteist tyranny. I would remember the immense inspiration that I felt, when we paid homage to Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule in Phule-wada, Pune. And, No I will not let two days of media trials by a few TV anchors, who are more of professional howlers, spoil these wonderful memories. I will not let their criminal cacophony and mindless vilification of me, Jignesh & others shadow my beautiful memories of Maharashtra.
The state of Maharashtra as well as the rest of the country is at a critical juncture today. On the one hand are forces in power who want to push our country back to many centuries and on the other are people who are resisting this Neo-Peshwahi, the casteist-communal-fascist regime of BJP-RSS. In my speech at Elgar Parishaad on 31st December 2017, I had said that the year 2018 is going to be a very challenging one. The last 3 and half years of the Modi Sarkar has exposed the BJP’s jumlas of Ache Din and Vikas as hollow, bitter and brutal lies.
As the General Elections of 2019 approach, BJP/RSS will now resort to creating civil strife amongst the people, polarising them on the basis of caste and religion and unleashing attacks on muslims and Dalits. The developments over the last few days vindicate me, a little too soon. Several regions of Maharashtra are in the midst of an acute agrarian distress. Both Marathas and Dalits are victims of this agrarian crisis that has been precipitated by the policies of both Modi and Fadnavis. The BJP/RSS regime has no resolution to offer to the farmers of Maharashtra. Therefore, unleashing attacks on Dalits through their hoodlums and portraying it as a caste clash between Dalits & Marathas will remain their only strategy. Continue reading Statement about the attacks on Dalits in Bhima Koregaon & the Subsequent developments in Maharashtra : Umar Khalid
In these days in which Indo-Gangetic barbarians seethe with rage against Kerala and unleash all sorts of false propaganda about the state of affairs here, I have been thinking about my own love for and quarrels with this place. My relation to it has been largely critical, as a Malayali woman born and raised here who has endured, and continue to endure, much second-rate treatment. More than anyone else, I realize, it is Malayalis who have criticized Kerala. Not surprising, then, is the fact that one of the most ardently-discussed themes in public politics here in the past decades has been the critique of the entrenched imagination of Kerala, and its exclusions. Not for nothing, too, have the struggles of marginalized people here demanded not just material gains, but the reimagining of Kerala in more expansive terms. And newer and newer groups of excluded people keep renewing it – most recently, the LGBTIQ+ people.
Our love for Kerala is a cursing, stumbling love – but love above all.
That’s why I think Anitha Thampi’s poem Mojitopaattu (The Mohito Song) ought to be our anthem. Anitha is undoubtedly one of Kerala’s most perceptive poets of the present, capable of delving into the depths of the present cultural moment and surfacing with inscrutable yet pervasive feelings and moods and weaving these into words. Our crazy love of Kerala which cannot be but critical is brilliantly caught in this poem. In it, this love comes alive as moonlight falling on this place which illuminates erratically, sways madly, and disappears without notice; this loving looks as hard and risky as a drunk’s faltering steps along a rough bylane through treacherous yet playful moonlight; this love eddies through the blood of two and a half generations and comes awake even as the whole world sleeps. Long before the Indo-Gangetic barbarians even noticed us have we felt this mad love, and it will take more than vituperative slander to kill it.
Below is my translation of Mojitopaattu – and I take Anitha’s suggestion that it a song, and a drunken one, seriously. I hope someone sets it to music and it becomes the anthem of crazy-lovers of Kerala.
Four-five sprigs fresh mint
Two spoons sugar
Juice of three limes
Vodka, two measures and a half
Hey you, swayin’-shakin’-rollin’
on night-time alley that’s runnin’
all o’er earth that’s green and shinin’
Banana-leaf-like, straight and gleamin’*
Hey sweet moonlight,
who you be,
you be man or you be woman?
Hey you, fallin’ easy-loose-y
You for real, or just a feelin’?
Hey you singin’ , spreadin’-creepin’
Who you be to sunshine beamin’?
Hey you lurchin’, fallin’, stumblin’
on each an’ ev’ry greenly leafling
Hey bright moonshine, distilled-dried blood, bluish,
two and a half generations bleedin’
Who be you?
You be me, or you be you?
*Kerala, that lies at the foot of mountains like a bright green banana leaf beside the sea.
( Anitha Thampi , ‘Mojitopattu’)
And here is the original, much more terse and controlled in its use of language, but a paattu all the same:
രണ്ടു സ്പൂൺ പഞ്ചസാര
മൂന്നു നാരങ്ങാ നീര്
ആടിയാടിപ്പോകുന്ന പൂനിലാവേ നീ
അഴിഞ്ഞഴിഞ്ഞു തൂവുന്ന പൂനിലാവേ നീ
പാടിപ്പാടിപ്പരക്കുന്ന പൂനിലാവേ നീ
പച്ചിലകൾ തോറും തപ്പിത്തടഞ്ഞു വീഴും
രണ്ടരത്തലമുറ നീലിച്ച വാറ്റുചോരപ്പൂന്തെളിനിലാവേ നീ
The recent incident of violence that led to the death of a police officer, DSP Ayub Pandith, was condemned by all kinds of people in Kashmir, as well as elsewhere. It prompted introspection, sadness and regret – like any tragedy of this nature should.
Yesterday two unarmed civilians, Tahira Begum, a forty three year old woman and a young man called Shahdab Ahmed Chopan of Brenty Batapora Village in Anantnag district in South Kashmir were killed along with two Kashmiri combatants (Bashir Ahmed Lashkari and another person who may or may not be called Abu Maz) in the course of a joint operation by the 19th Rasthriya Rifles of the Indian Army, CRPF and the Special Operations Group of Jammu & Kashmir police.
Guest Post by Sanjay Kak, for #Notinmyname / Statement from Not In My Name, Delhi
Last evening’s (June 28th) spirited protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, under the banner of Not In My Name, was an autonomous citizens protest against the recent spate of targeted lynchings of Muslims in India – the most recent of 16 year old Junaid, stabbed to death on 23 June 2017 in Delhi (NCR).
For an audience that was estimated to be 3500 strong, the torrential downpour at a little past 8 pm may have rained out a part of the programme. But something remarkable had already been achieved: the evening had washed away, even if temporarily, an almost overwhelming sense of despondency, of hopelessness, and of fear.
Since the Not In My Name protest had announced that the platform was not meant for political parties, and their banners and slogans, the stage saw the marked absence of the speeches (and faces) of routine protest meetings at Jantar Mantar. Rhetoric was displaced by feeling, and it was left to the poets and musicians to carry the sharp political messages of the day. On an evening that was often very emotional, the most difficult moments came when a group of young men from Junaid and Pehlu Khan’s extended families (and residents from their respective villages) came on stage and spoke to the audience.
When the call for a protest meeting went out last Sunday we were hoping that a few hundred people would gather to express their outrage at what is happening around us. For the attacks on Muslims are part of a pattern of incidents that targets Dalits, Adivasis, and other disadvantaged and minority groups across the country. In almost all these incidents the possibilities of justice seem remote, as the families of the victims are dragged into procedures they are ill-equipped to handle. Through all these heinous crimes the Government has maintained a silence, a gesture that is being read as the acquiescence of all Indians.
Not In My Name aimed to break that silence. But the scale and spirit of the protest meeting at Jantar Mantar became amplified many times over, as similar gatherings were spontaneously announced all over the country. As word spread through social media, groups in 19 other locations announced Not In My Name protests, and this phenomenal synergy inevitably drew media attention to all the events, and gave the protest a solidarity and scale that was truly unprecedented – there were at least 4 protests in cities abroad too. (And more protests have been announced for later this week…) The protest meeting ran on the shoulders of a group of volunteers who managed to put together everything in less than four days. No funds were received (or solicited) for the expenses from any political party, NGO, or institution. Instead volunteers worked the crowd and our donation boxes received everything – from Rs 10 coins to currency notes of Rs 2000, and everything in between.
The impact of the Not In My Name protest at Jantar Mantar yesterday only points to the importance of a focused politics to deal with the crisis this country seems to be enveloped by. Less than a day after the protests Prime Minister Modi broke his silence on the matter of lynchings. It could not have been a coincidence: speaking in Ahmedabad he said killing in the name of gau bhakti is unacceptable. But to protect the life of a 16 year old being brutalised in a train needs more than a tweet, and we all wait and watch.
This fight has just begun. In the days to come the exceptional solidarity attracted by the protest in New Delhi will have to become less exceptional, and more everyday.
Sanjay Kak is a filmmaker and writer based in Delhi.
The #NotinMyName protests, which began in a response to a Facebook post uploaded by Delhi filmmaker Saba Dewan, have since taken place in more than twelve cities in India, and also in the UK, USA and Pakistan. More protests, under the #NotinMyName tag, as well as independently of it are being planned by citizens groups, organizations and individuals in many places.
Tomorrow, July 2nd, 2017 will see a sit in at Jantar Mantar from 11 in the morning, at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi called by families, individuals and panchayats from Nuh, Ballabhgarh and Faridabad, they will be joined by students, activists and other individuals.
Guest Post by Bastar Solidarity Network Delhi Chapter
The democratic forces, organizations and the thinking minds of IIMC took part in a spirited protest today against the invitation extended to notorious ex-IG Kalluri by the IIMC administration to take part in a seminar. To start with, since last two days, there were several attempts on the part of the organizers to confuse/conceal Kalluri’s invitation. Immediately after the declaration of the protest, Kalluri’s name was dropped from the poster. There were also threats of counter-mobilisation by the BJP goons. But undeterred, as we reached the gates of IIMC at 11am, the site echoed with slogans of “Killer Kalluri Go Back”!
Guest Post by RAJIVE KUMAR
Towards the end of his presidency, Lyndon B Johnson, the 36th President of the United States of America, had been reduced to a figure of universal scorn and derision. His escalation of the Vietnam War to a point from which it became impossible to extricate the US ended up in becoming one of the defining human tragedies of twentieth century. This was war fought on the basis of pretexts that did not actually exist. The slur “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” which became an anthem of sorts for protestors eventually compelled him to forgo running for a second term in office in 1968. Those protesting against the war, those who eventually forced Lyndon Johnson to leave the political arena were Americans who were overcome with images of atrocities and the rising count of civilian deaths in a mindless war.
Everyone else’s father is in prison in Istanbul,
they want to hang everyone else’s son
in the middle of the road, in broad daylight
People there are willing to risk the gallows
so that everyone else’s son won’t be hanged
so that everyone else’s father won’t die
and bring home a loaf of bread and a kite.
People, good people,
Call out from the four corners of the world,
say stop it,
Don’t let the executioner tighten the rope
[ Nazim Hikmet, 1954 ]
Its best to stay as far aways as possible when two mafia dons meet to talk business. Especially when their deep state security detail has a disturbing tendency to shoot first and ask questions after. Today, Delhi’s roads are emptier than usual, even on a Sunday. And I am reading Nazim Hikmet, because a thug is coming to town.
अतिथि post: लखविन्दर
मारूति-सुजुकि मज़दूरों को उम्र कैद व अन्य नाजायज सजाओं के गुड़गांव अदालत के फैसले को घोर पूँजीपरस्त, पूरे मज़दूर वर्ग व मेहनतकश जनता पर बड़ा हमला मानते हुए पंजाब के मज़दूरों, किसानों, नौजवानों, छात्रों, सरकारी मुलाजिमों, जनवादी अधिकारों के पक्ष में आवाज उठाने वाले बुद्धिजीवियों व अन्य नागरिकों के संगठनों ने व्यापक स्तर पर आवाज़ बुलन्द की है। 4 और 5 अप्रैल को देश व्यापी प्रदर्शनों में पंजाब के जनसंगठनों ने भी व्यापक शमूलियत की है। विभिन्न संगठनों ने व्यापक स्तर पर पर्चा वितरण किया, फेसबुक, वट्सएप पर प्रचार मुहिम चलाई। अखबारों, सोशल मीडिया आदि से इन गतिविधियों की कुछ जानकारी प्राप्त हुई है।
5 अप्रैल को लुधियाना में लघु सचिवालय पर डीसी कार्यालय पर टेक्सटाईल-हौजऱी कामगार यूनियन, मोल्डर एण्ड स्टील वर्कर्ज यूनियनें, मज़दूर अधिकार संघर्ष अभियान, नौजवान भारत सभा, पी.एस.यू., एटक, सीटू, एस.एस.ए.-रमसा यूनियन, पेंडू मज़दूर यूनियन, डी.टी.एफ., रेलवे पेन्शनर्ज वेल्फेयर ऐसोसिएशन, जमहूरी अधिकार सभा, आँगनवाड़ी मिड डे मील आशा वर्कर्ज यूनियन, कामागाटा मारू यादगारी कमेटी, स्त्री मज़दूर संगठन, कारखाना मज़दूर यूनियन, पेंडू मज़दूर यूनियन (मशाल), कुल हिन्द निर्माण मज़दूर यूनियन आदि संगठनों के नेतृत्व में जोरदार प्रदर्शन हुआ और राष्ट्रपति के नाम माँग पत्र सौंपा गया जिसमें माँग की गई कि सभी मारूति-सुजुकि के सभी मज़दूरों को बिना शर्त रिहा किया जाए. उनपर नाजायज-झूठे मुकद्दमे रद्द हो, काम से निकाले गए सभी मज़दूरों को कम्पनी में वापिस लिया जाए।
लुधियाना में 5 अप्रैल के प्रदर्शन की तैयारी के लिए हिन्दी और पंजाबी पर्चा वितरण भी किया गया जिसके जरिए लोगों को मारूति-सुजुकि मज़दूरों के संघर्ष, उनके साथ हुए अन्याय, न्यायपालिका-सरकार-पुलिस के पूँजीपरस्त और मज़दूर विरोधी-जनविरोधी चरित्र से परिचित कराया गया और प्रदर्शन में पहुँचने की अपील की गई। लुधियाना में 16 मार्च को भी बिगुल मज़ूदर दस्ता, मोल्डर एण्ड स्टील वर्कर्ज यूनियनों, मज़दूर अधिकार संघर्ष अभियान, आदि संगठनों द्वारा रोषपूर्ण प्रदर्शन किया गया था।
जमहूरी अधिकार सभा, पंजाब द्वारा बठिण्डा व संगरूर में 4 अप्रैल, बरनाला में 8 अप्रैल को, लुधियाना में 1 अप्रैल को पिछले दिनों देश की अदालतों द्वारा हुए तीन जनविरोधी फैसलों मारूति-सुजुकि के मज़दूरों को उम्र कैद व अन्य सजाएँ, जनवादी अधिकारों के लिए आवाज उठाने वाले दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के प्रो. साईबाबा सहित अन्य बेगुनाह लोगों को उम्र कैद की सजाओं, और हिन्दुत्वी आतन्कवादी असीमानन्द को बरी करने के मुद्दों पर कन्वेंशनें, सेमिनार, प्रदर्शन, मीटिंगें आदि आयोजित किए गए जिनमें अन्य जनसंगठनों नें भी भागीदारी की। जमहूरी अधिकार सभा ने इन मुद्दों पर एक पर्चा भी प्रकाशित किया जो बड़े स्तर पर पंजाब में बाँटा गया।
पटियाला में 4 अप्रैल को मज़दूरों, छात्रों, किसानों के विभिन्न संगठनों द्वारा रोष प्रदर्शन किया गया। बिजली मुलाजिमों ने भी टेक्नीकल सर्विसज़ यूनियन के नेतृत्व में 4 अप्रैल को अनेकों जगहों पर प्रदर्शन किए। लहरा थरमल पलांट के ठेका मज़दूरों ने 4 अप्रैल को रोष रैली के जरिए मारूति-सुजुकि मज़दूरों के साथ एकजुटता जाहिर करते हुए उनके समर्थन में आवाज़ उठाई। मारूति-सुजुकि मज़दूरों के समर्थन में पंजाब में उठी आवाज़ की कड़ी में लोक मोर्चा पंजाब ने 8 अप्रैल को लम्बी (जिला बठिण्डा) में रैली और रोष प्रदर्शन किया। लम्बी में आर.एम.पी. चिकित्सकों द्वारा भी प्रदर्शन किया गया। अनेकों गाँवों में मज़दूर-किसान-नौजवान संगठनों ने अर्थी फूँक प्रदर्शन भी किए हैं। आप्रेशन ग्रीन हण्ट विरोधी जमहूरी फ्रण्ट, पंजाब ने मोगा में 12 अप्रैल को कान्फ्रेंस और प्रदर्शन आयोजित किया।
मारूति-सुजुकि मज़दूरों का जिस स्तर पर कम्पनी में शोषण हो रहा था और इसके खिलाफ़ उठी आवाज़ को जिस घृणित बर्बर ढंग से कुचलने की कोशिश की गई है उसके खिलाफ़ आवाज़ उठनी स्वाभाविक और लाजिमी थी। पंजाब के इंसाफपसंद लोगों का हक, सच, इंसाफ के लिए जुझारू संघर्षों का पुराना और शानदार इतिहास रहा है। अधिकारों के जूझ रहे मारूति-सुजुकि मज़दूरों का साथ वे हमेशा निभाते रहेंगे।
पूरे देश में मज़दूरों का देशी-विदेशी पूँजीपतियों द्वारा भयानक शोषण हो रहा है। जब मज़दूर आवाज़ उठाते हैं तो पूँजीपति और उनका सेवादार पूरा सरकारी तंत्र दमन के लिए टूट पड़ता है। ऐसा ही मारूति-सुजुकी, मानेसर (जिला गुडग़ांव, हरियाणा) के संघर्षरत
मज़दूरों के साथ हुआ है। एक बहुत बड़ी साजिश के तहत कत्ल, इरादा कत्ल जैसे पूरी तरह झूठे केसों में फँसाकर पहले तो 148 मज़दूरों को चार वर्ष से अधिक समय तक, बिना जमानत दिए, जेल में बन्द रखा गया और अब गुडग़ाँव की अदालत ने नाज़ायज ढंग से 13 मज़दूरों को उम्र कैद और चार को 5-5 वर्ष की कैद की कठोर सजा सुनाई है। 14 अन्य मज़दूरों को चार-चार साल की सजा सुनाई गई है लेकिन क्योंकि वे पहले ही लगभग साढे वर्ष जेल में रह चुके हैं इसलिए उन्हें रिहा कर दिया गया है। 117 मज़दूरों को, जिन्हें बाकी मज़दूरों के साथ इतने सालों तक जेलों में ठूँस कर रखा गया उन्हें बरी करना पड़ा है। सबूत तो बाकी मज़दूरों के खिलाफ़ भी नहीं है लेकिन फिर भी उन्हें जेल में बन्द रखने का बर्बर हुक्म सुनाया गया है।
जापानी कम्पनी मारूति-सुजुकि के खिलाफ़ मज़दूरों ने श्रम अधिकारों के उलण्घन, कमरतोड़ मेहनत करवाने, कम वेतन, लंच, चाय, आदि की ब्रेक के बाद एक मिनट के देरी के लिए भी आधे दिन का वेतन काटने, छुट्टी करने के लिए हजारों रूपए वेतन से काटने जैसे भारी जुर्माने लगाने, आदि के खिलाफ़ कुछ वर्ष पहले संघर्ष का बिगुल बजाया था। कम्पनी की दलाल तथाकथित मज़दूर यूनियन की जगह उन्होंने अपनी यूनियन बनाई। नई यूनियन के पंजीकरण में कम्पनी ने ढेरों रूकावटें खड़ी कीं। उस समय हरियाणा में कांग्रेस की सरकार के मुख्यमंत्री भूपेन्द्र हुड्डा ने सरेआम पूँजीपतियों की दलाली का प्रदर्शन करते हुए कहा था कि कारखाने में नई यूनियन नहीं बनने दी जाएगी। मज़दूरों ने लम्बी-लम्बी हड़तालें लड़ीं, अपने अथक संघर्ष से यूनियन का पंजीकरण कराके जीत हासिल की। मज़दूर संघर्ष कम्पनी और समूचे सरकारी तंत्र की आँख की किरकरी बना हुआ था। संघर्ष कुचलने के लिए साजिश रची गई। 18 जुलाई 2012 को कारखाने के भीतर पुलीस की हाजिरी में सैंकड़ों हथियारबन्द गुण्डों से मज़दूरों पर हमला करवाया गया। बड़ी संख्या मज़दूर जख्मी हुए। कारखाने में आग लगवा दी गई। एक मज़दूर पक्षधर मैनेजर की इस दौरान मौत हो गई। साजिश के तहत इसका दोष मज़दूरों पर मढ़ दिया गया। बड़े स्तर पर गिरफतारियाँ की गईं, यातनाएँ दी गईं। ढाई हज़ार मज़दूरों को गैरकानूनी रूप से नौकरी से निकाल दिया गया। 148 मज़दूरों को जेल में ठूँस दिया गया। जमानत की अर्जी पर पंजाब-हरियाणा हाईकोर्ट ने टिप्पणी की कि अगर जमानत दी गई तो भारत में विदेशी पूँजी का निवेश रुकेगा। जिन 13 मज़दूरों को उम्र कैद की सजा सुनाई गई है उनमें 12 लोग यूनियन नेतृत्व का हिस्सा थे। इससे इस झूठे मुकद्दमे का मकसद समझना मुश्किल नहीं है।
अदालत का फैसला कितना अन्यायपूर्ण है इसका अन्दाजा लगाने के लिए सिर्फ कुछ तथ्य ही काफ़ी हैं। कम्पनी में चप्पे-चप्पे पर कैमरे लगे हुए हैं लेकिन अदालत में कहा कि उसके पास 18 जुलाई काण्ड की कोई वीडियो है ही नहीं! कम्पनी के गवाहों के ब्यानों से साफ पता चल रहा था कि झूठ बोल रहे हैं। वो तो मज़दूरों को पहचान तक न सके। गुण्डों व उनका साथ देने वाले मैनेजरों व अन्य स्टाफ के मैंबरों से कहीं अधिक संख्या में मज़दूर जख्मी हुए थे। पोस्ट मार्टम में पाया गया कि मैनेजर अवनीश कुमार की मौत दम घुटने से हुई है न कि जलाए जाने से जिससे साफ़ है कि यह हत्या का मामला है ही नहीं। और भी बहुत सारे तथ्य स्पष्ट तौर मज़दूरों का बेगुनाह होना साबित कर रहे थे लेकिन इन्हें अदालत ने नजरान्दाज कर मज़दूरों को ही दोषी करार दे दिया क्योंकि पूँजी निवेश को बढ़ावा जो देना है! वास्तव में मारूति-सुजुकी घटनाक्रम के जरिए लुटेरे हुक्मरानों ने ऐलान किया है कि अगर कोई लूट-शोषण के खिलाफ़ बोलेगा वो कुचला जाएगा।
ये फैसला तब आया है जब असीमानन्द और अन्य संघी आतन्कवादियों के खिलाफ ठोस सबूत होने, असीमानन्द द्वारा जुर्म कबूल कर लेने के बावजूद भी बरी कर दिया जाता है। दंगे भड़काने वाले, बेगुनाहों का कत्लेआम करने वाले न सिर्फ आज़ाद घूम रहे हैं बल्कि मुख्य मंत्री, प्रधान मंत्री जैसे पदों पर पहुँच रहे हैं !
आज देशी-विदेशी कम्पनियों, लुटेरे धन्नासेठों को खुश करने के लिए सरकारें मज़दूरों से सारे श्रम अधिकार छीन रही हैं। न्यूनतम वेतन, फण्ड, बोनस, हादसों से सुरक्षा के इंतजाम तक लागू न करने वाले पूँजीपतियों पर कोई कार्रवाई नहीं होती, उन्हें कभी जेल में नहीं ठूँसा जाता। उलटा भाजपा, कांग्रेस से लेकर तमाम पार्टियों की सरकारें कानूनी श्रम अधिकारों में मज़दूर विरोधी बदलाव करके पूँजीपतियों को मज़दूरों की बर्बर लूट की और भी खुली छूट दे रही हैं। किसानों, छात्रों, नौजवानों, आदिवासियों, सरकारी कर्मचारियों के अधिकार कुचले जा रहे हैं। भोजन, स्वास्थ्य, शिक्षा, बिजली, पानी, आदि तमाम सरकारी सहूलतें छीनी जा रही हैं। इसके खिलाफ़ उठी हर आवाज को दबाने के लिए पूरा राज्य तंत्र अत्याधिक हमलावर हो चुका है। काले कानून बनाकर एकजुट संघर्ष के जनवादी अधिकार छीने जा रहे हैं। जनपक्षधर बुद्धिजीवियों, पत्रकारों, कलाकारों तक का दमन हो रहा है, जेलों में ठूँसा जा रहा है। जन एकजुटता को तोडऩे के लिए धर्म, जाति, क्षेत्र के नाम पर बाँटने की साजिशें पहले किसी भी समय से कहीं अधिक तेज़ हो चुकी हैं। जहाँ जनता को बाँटा न सके, जहाँ लोगों का ध्यान असल मुद्दों से भटकाया न जा सके, वहाँ जेल, लाठी, गोली से कुचला जा रहा है। यही मारूति-सुजुकी मज़दूरों के साथ हुआ है। लेकिन बर्बर हुक्मरानों को दीवार पर लिखा पढ़ लेना चाहिए। इतिसाह गवाह है- जेल, लाठी, गोली, बर्बर दमन जनता की अवाज़ न कभी दबी है न कभी देबेगी।
Guest Post by Kavita Krishnan
It’s been twenty years since the assassin’s bullets took Chandu away from us, at 4 pm on 31 March 1997.
I still recall my sheer disbelief when a phone call from my party office at my hostel that evening informed me ‘Chandu has been killed.’ Chandrashekhar as well as youth leader Shyam Narayan Yadav had been shot dead while addressing a street corner meeting in Siwan – ironically at a Chowk named after JP – Jaiprakash Narayan, icon of the movement for democracy against the Emergency. A rickshaw puller Bhuteli Mian also fell to a stray bullet fired by the assassins – all known to be henchmen of the RJD MP and mafia don Mohd. Shahabuddin.
In the spring of 1997, as JNU began to burst into the riotous colours of amaltas and bougainvillea, Chandu bid us goodbye. He had served two terms as JNUSU President (I was Joint Secretary during his second stint) and had decided to return to his hometown Siwan, as a whole-time activist of the CPI(ML) Liberation. He had made the decision to be a whole-time activist a long time ago. Chandu’s friends know that for him, the decision to be an activist rather than pursue a salaried career was no ‘sacrifice.’ It was a decision to do what he loved doing and felt he owed to society.
Guest Post by Shehla Rashid
Mar 21, Delhi: In a shocking revelation that has triggered panic amongst the media fraternity, renowned media tycoon, Ameer Jain, who is Vice-Chairman of the prestigious Parrot, Caveman & Co. Ltd, has been accused of sexual harassment by an employee of The Slimes of India newspaper, namely Aaj Faker Shah. Parrot, Caveman & Co. Ltd. (PCCL) is the group that owns Slimes of India, Slimes Now, Economic Slimes, Radio Tirchi, Movies Now and Then, Dhoom, Navbharat Slimes, Mumbai Broken Mirror and numerous other media outlets.
After the sexual harassment case filed by an employee of a major news magazine against its high profile editor some years ago, this is the most high-profile case of sexual harassment at the workplace in the media fraternity and is likely to result in a public spectacle, as the complainant, Aaj Faker Shah, has taken to Twitter to publicly make serious accusations of sexual assault against Jain. Normally, in cases of sexual harassment, the complainant must be accorded due anonymity. However, Shah reasons that he was forced to take this extreme step because the Slimes Group, in total violation of the norms prescribed by the Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act (2013), sat on his complaint, victimised him for speaking out against Jain and even threatened to sack him. This reflects the state of implementation of the Workplace Harassment Law, rules for which were notified in 2014. Continue reading Slimes Group Vice-Chairman Ameer Jain accused of molesting SOI employee Aaj Faker Shah? Breaking Faking News: Shehla Rashid
Guest Post by Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union
[This is a statement and an appeal by the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union condemning the unjust handing down of a life sentence to 13 workers of the Maruti Suzuki Manesar Factory for a ‘murder’ (of an HR Manager) that the prosecution could not prove that they had committed. Here too, the prosecution, and the judgement, relies on a chimera, ‘the reputation of make-in-india’ to justify a harsh punishment. Those who have watched this space will recognize that this recourse to figures of speech in the absence of evidence is a familiar move. It has happened before – to satisfy the hunger of a ‘collective conscience’ when a so-called ‘temple of democracy’ was attacked. This time it has been invoked to defend the ‘fake-in-India temple that houses the deity of a rising GDP’, which would of course otherwise be besieged by insurgent workers.
This text contains a hyperlink to a detailed reading and rebuttal of the prosecution’s arguments, which demonstrates how money and muscle power can always be an adequate replacement for legal acumen in the State of Haryana. Please do follow that link. For the further edification of our readers, we append a short video interview by Aman Sethi of the Hindustan Times of the special public prosecutor, which spins some imaginative legal theory and also radically updates our sense of class struggle. Please do have the patience to view that video. We promise that this will be rewarded. – Kafila Admin.]
Video by Media Collective, Article by Arun Ferreira and Vernon Fernandes
Fifty Years of Unreasonable Restrictions
Arun Ferreira & Vernon Gonsalves
Soon after its adoption, the Constitution of India was amended in 1951. At the time several progressive judgements[i] by the Judiciary held that laws which curb fundamental rights are essentially unconstitutional and fundamental freedoms could only be curbed in the most extreme of cases. The First Amendment, countered this by amending Article 19 to add the word ‘reasonable’ before restrictions and to add ‘public order’ as being one more ground for abridging Fundamental Rights.
The evolution of UAPA[ii] has to be seen in the background of this gradual but steady constriction of Article 19 which guarantees the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly, association, etc. Continue reading UAPA – A Video Dossier: Media Collective, Arun Ferreira &Vernon Gonsalves
[Videos of song by Shehla Rashid and of speeches by Nivedita Menon, Kavita Krishnan, Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mevani, courtesy, Samim Asgor Ali]
February gives way to March and spring returns to Delhi. And what a spring it is. The right wing thugs of the ABVP choose the wrong time to attack, once again. They must really get themselves a better astrologer, or at least a better class of charlatan who can tell them if there ever is a right time to stage their goon show. I suspect there isn’t.
Guest Post by CONCERNED STUDENTS OF TATA INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, MUMBAI
We, the concerned students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai condemn the continuing state repression of adivasis and recent attack on human rights activist Bela Bhatia in Bastar, Chhattisgarh.
On the 23rd of January, 2017, a group of 30-odd men attacked Bela where they barged into her house in Parpa, near Jagdalpur violently and threatened to burn the building down if she did not leave immediately. The mob also attacked her landlords and their children, threatening them with dire consequences if Bela was not evicted immediately. Despite Bela’s assurances that she would leave, the mob continued to be belligerent, in the presence of the police, and the Sarpanch. The mob has been identified with the right-wing vigilante group Action Group for National Integrity (AGNI). Continue reading In Solidarity with Adivasis in Bastar, Human Rights Defenders and Bela Bhatia in Bastar: Concerned Students in TISS, Mumbai