Category Archives: Frontiers

Do gods and saints weep?

The star of fortune has risen for Malayali women, not in this world but in the next. Catholics in Kerala celebrated the canonization of Sr. Alphonsa, a young nun from Kudamaloor in Kottayam district, who passed away after a life of intense bodily suffering and prayer in 1946, as a ray of hope in hard times. Becoming a nun and leading a life of asceticism were never easy choices. That too, for a eligible, beautiful young woman in early 20th century Kerala, born in a small village, whose guardians were determined to see her respectably married. Given to excruciatingly difficult forms of prayer even as a child, Alphonsa resisted her maternal aunt’s plans dramatically by trying to disfigure herself. She jumped into a smouldering ash-pit; badly burned, she climbed out. The family was so taken aback that they gave in to her desire to become a nun. Continue reading Do gods and saints weep?

The Chanakyans

The other sometimes amuses, sometimes provokes:

Sam, the primary principle, implies the use of rationalization but if this technique does not work then the second implement is Kam i.e. bribery. If this does not produce the desired result, then the tertiary principle is Dand or the vehement use of violence. If all three fail then the last machination is Bheet or sowing seeds of dissension and discord. Continue reading The Chanakyans

Foreboding

Five years ago, in an article called “Srinagar, Four Years Later,” Suvir Kaul wrote:

A Ram Mandir is being built at the site of the ancient sun temple at Martand (Mattan). This is not simply an addition to what is already there – it is a deliberate refashioning of Kashmiri Hindu worship to obey the dictates of Hindutva practice. But worst of all are the excessive displays put on ostensibly for the benefit of the Amarnath yatris, but which actually function as a warning to local Kashmiris: all along the route past Pahalgam, and to some extent on the Baltal route, banners and wall-slogans sponsored by the CRPF and the BSF (and occasionally, the Jammu and Kashmir police) welcome the yatris. These units also make available tea and snacks, and announce them as prasad. There is no constitutional separation of temple and state to be found here – the yatris, and those who guard them, are equally, and aggressively, Hindu. [Link]

Statement on Taslima Nasreen

Public Statement by Forum For The Protection of Free Speech and Expression

At a time when India is projecting itself on the
world’s stage as a modern democracy, while it hosts
international literary festivals and book fairs, the
Government of India, most mainstream political parties
and their armed squads are mounting a concerted
assault on peoples’ right to Free Speech.

It is a matter of abiding shame that even as some of
the world’s best-known writers were attending the
Jaipur literary festival and prestigious publishers
were doing business at the World Book fair in Delhi,
the exiled Bengali writer Taslima Nasrin was (and is)
being held in custody by the Government of India in an
undisclosed location somewhere in or around Delhi in
conditions that amount to house arrest. Contrary to
misleading press reports stating that her visa has
been extended, her visa expires on the 18th of
February, after which she is liable to be deported or
remain confined as an illegal alien. Continue reading Statement on Taslima Nasreen

Why Hindol Sengupta needn’t fear Mayawati

hindol-senguptamayawati

Baba Hindol and Behen Maya

Please read this very important post on the CNN IBN website’s otherwise dull blog section. It has been written by Hindol Sengupta who covers fashion and suchlike for them. His point is that he can’t relate to Mayawati, and finds it ironic that the “backbone of the knowledge, entreneurial [sic] economy” should be a “non-vote bank”. He says that his class of people, his ‘type’ – People Like Us, to use a cliche – “rejoice every time Manmohan Singh takes stage” but alas, even he couldn’t win a Lok Sabha election from South Delhi.

The reason why I think it is an important post is that unlike most other PLUs, Sengupta makes no claim to ‘objectivity’. When Youth for Equality / United Students / other ‘anti-reservationists’ oppose reservations, and speak about Dalits/OBCs, they claim to be doing so with a claim to ‘objectivity’, that is, they do not admit that the viewpoint(s) they are putting forward are of a certain section of society that is influential in shaping public opinion despite being in a minority.

Sengupta admits not only his discomfiture with a democratically elected Mayawati but also that his discomfiture stems from his background, from who he is. He describes himself and his ilk as “middle-class, educated, metro-bred, Christian-education raised, young.” That would abbreviate into MEMCRY, but let’s just use the word ‘yuppie’.

It is quite extraordinary and laudatory for a yuppie to admit his distance from the political rise of the ‘low-class, neo-literate, village-bred, government school-raised, middle aged’. Such an admission is a rarity, and it is exactly what the ‘anti-anti-reservationists’ want the ‘anti-reservationists’ to admit. Continue reading Why Hindol Sengupta needn’t fear Mayawati