The Unapologetic Indian Muslim: Sabiha Farhat

Guest Post by SABIHA FARHAT

These are tough times for muslims in India.  But now that I look back and shed my ‘liberal’ prejudices – muslims were never acceptable as ‘who they were’ in Indian society.  I had always blamed my mother for not giving me proper lunch box to carry to school.  But the truth is that even in class 5, no student ate from my tiffin and gradually I started going to the play field in recess rather than enjoying a meal under the big Peepal tree.  After that I took tiffin only when I prepared it myself, that was class 11 & 12.  But even then the girls would hardly eat from my lunch box.  We did sit together but no one touched my food.  Was I the Untouchable?

Continue reading “The Unapologetic Indian Muslim: Sabiha Farhat”

Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?

My friend Guddi has a great story about a Gujjar wedding she attended recently in Ghaziabad. It was a typically chaotic event, marked accurately by the swirling crowds around the dinner stalls. If Gujjar weddings are chaotic and the dinner doubly so, the scene around the tandoor is triply compounded chaos. Barely concealed competition amongst overmuscled Gujjar men in overtight pants for that precious hot roti ensures that none but the most Hobbesian men remain, circling the tandoor like hungry wolves, periodically thrusting their plate forward like fencing champions and shouting obscenities at the harried servers. In such a heart-stopping scenario, a young server had as Guddi recounts, figured out the formula to keep everybody from killing each other (or him). As soon as the roti would be pulled out of the tandoor, seductively golden brown and sizzling, this man would hold it high up with his tongs so everybody could see, then in an elaborate dance-like ritual, touch each of the empty extended plates in front of him with the roti, and finally, in a mysterious but authoritative decision, place it respectfully on a randomly selected plate. Repeat with every single roti that emerged from the tandoor. A hushed silence followed by nervous laughter followed every such flourish.

Continue reading “Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?”

National Call to Join Three-Day Dharna in Jaipur to Demand Justice Regarding the Lynching of Pehlu Khan

In a unique instance of a united initiative, a number of organizations in Rajasthan have come together to protest the lynching of Pehlu Khan and to demand justice in the matter. A large demonstration was recently held in Jaipur, following which many organizations of different political persuasions have come together to call for a three-day national dharna outside the Rajasthan State Assembly from 24-26 April 2017. The organizations which have issued the appeal published below include: Rajasthan Nagrik Manch, PUCL, CPI (M), CPI, NFIW, AIDWA, WRG, Vividha, National Muslim Women’s Welfare Society, BGVS, MKSS, Suchna Evam Rozgar Adhikar Manch, JIH, Dr. Ambedkar Vichar Manch, CDR, AIDMAM, Welfare Party of India, Jan Vichar Manch, Samajwadi Party, JD (U), SIO, SFI, Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh, HRLN, Samta Gyan Vigyan Manch, All India Kisan Sabha, NAPM, WRG, Vividha, SDPI, RUWA, Zari Workers Union and others.

JAIPUR CHALO!! JAIPUR CHALO!!

NATIONAL CALL TO JOIN THE DHARNA IN JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN

DEMANDING JUSTICE IN THE MATTER OF LYNCHING OF PEHLU KHAN AT BEHROR, ALWAR

Friends,

As you are aware that 55 year old Pehlu Khan a dairy farmer from Nuh, Mewat district in Haryana was lynched by a group of so called Gaurakshaks on NH 8 at Behror, Rajasthan, when he was returning with four others, including his 2 sons, in 2 pick up trucks, after buying a few cows (along with the documents) from the fair in Hatwara, near Jaipur city. At about 6.30pm on the 1st of April, their vehicles were stopped and they were pulled out of their vehicles and beaten up brutally by a mob and later Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries on the 3rd of April at Kailash hospital in Behror. Azmat who was critically injured was harassed by the police in the name of investigations, that he too was not given proper treatment and even today he remains seriously sick and in a state of trauma.

Continue reading “National Call to Join Three-Day Dharna in Jaipur to Demand Justice Regarding the Lynching of Pehlu Khan”

Remembering M. Rasheed – A Grandchild’s Political Farewell: Bobby Kunhu

Guest post by BOBBY KUNHU

Rasheed, a political activist, award winning journalist and activist was one of the founders of the Trotskyite movement in India and the RSP in Kerala. He passed away on the 6th of January, 2017

M. Rasheed

It is very unusual for a grandchild to write public obituaries for grandparents – but Comrade M. Rasheed was a person of unusual politics and his death definitely warrants an unusual response requiring the obituary also to be unusual. Given that the significance of Comrade Rasheed’s life was his unwavering integrity to ideals that he fell into the bad books of his father and walked out of the political party he co-founded, given that he never shied from expressing his opinion on anyone – it would only be right in writing this as a critique of the human being he was – and I am sure he would not have expected anything less from me. Continue reading “Remembering M. Rasheed – A Grandchild’s Political Farewell: Bobby Kunhu”

Caste Based Feudal Oppression in the Feudal Badlands of Bihar: Vikas Bajpai & Ish Mishra

Guest Post by Vikas Bajpai and Ish Mishra (on behalf of ‘Janhastakshep’)

A Report on the Ghastly Beating up of Two Youth of Extremely Backward Castes by Kurmi Landlords in Nauva Village of Kochas Block of Rohtas District in Bihar.

Prelude

On the 29th of January an incident happened in Nauva village of Kochas block of Rohtas district in south Bihar which reportedly involved two youth of extremely backward castes and the Kurmi landlords (belonging to the dominant among ‘Other Backward Castes’).  Janhastakshep came to know of the incident through a short video of the incident that was brought to our attention by some activists of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) who have proactively taken up this issue in Rohtas.

In the video we could see two youth who had been stripped naked, with their hands tied behind their back being beaten up mercilessly. It was also reported to us that these youth were branded on various parts of their bodies with hot iron rods. The video looked scary and on first impression made the video of beating up of Dalit youth in Una town of Gujarat for having committed the crime of skinning a dead cow; appear much milder in comparison. Judging the seriousness of the issue Janhastakshep decided to send a team for investigation of the case. A two member team comprising of Prof Ish Mishra of Hindu College, Delhi University and Dr Vikas Bajpai of the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health at Jawaharlal Nehru University, left for Sasaram (district headquarter of Rohtas) on the 16th of February, 2017.

This report seeks to go into the details and analysis of the case with a hope that the larger issues involved there in shall ultimately see the light of the day and would be deliberated upon in the society.

Continue reading “Caste Based Feudal Oppression in the Feudal Badlands of Bihar: Vikas Bajpai & Ish Mishra”

Slimes Group Vice-Chairman Ameer Jain accused of molesting SOI employee Aaj Faker Shah? Breaking Faking News: Shehla Rashid

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”

Longing for the Future – Two Days with Penkoottu and AMTU at Kozhikode, Kerala

Kozhikode, Hotel Alakapuri, 4-5 March, 2017.

Kozhikode has always upturned my feelings about the male gaze. It is of course a cheerful, bustling, place, full of fabulously good-looking people of all genders. The cheeriness has a certain effortlessly defiant quality – already evident when you look out of the window as the train from the south pulls into the railway station, and see bright, healthy, merrily-swaying wild flowers raise their heads undefeated by the ferocious summer sun– wild sunflowers in hundreds, magnificent vines of kulamariyan flowers ( literally, ‘over-the-top’ flowers, but known here also, interestingly enough, as Antigone vines), creepers happily, constantly, and untiringly winding over  little piles of rubbish and covering them with short-lived if emphatic trumpets of mauve, lavender, red, yellow, and white.  You pass this eternal artwork-in-progress of the flowers and vines and city trash and enter Kozhikode, but realise that it actually tells you a bit about the men there only when you meet them. Continue reading “Longing for the Future – Two Days with Penkoottu and AMTU at Kozhikode, Kerala”