This post is prompted by a discussion that followed some remarks I had made on social media regarding the way in which a certain common sense that we may call ‘Hindu Nationalist’, had come to dominate the sensibilities of even those intellectuals in the Hindi world who otherwise might stand opposed to the Hindu Right. ‘Decolonizing’ has lately become a banner of the Hindu Right and for many otherwise secular Hindi intellectuals too,an occasion for an often strident anti-West rhetoric. Such a common sense assumes, simply by default, that the only “authentic” position of critique of the West is one framed by Hindu/ Indian exceptionalism. Needless to say, as I have argued at length in my recent book (Decolonizing Theory), the narrative that structures the imaginative world of many such modern Hindus is already a narrative produced by colonialism.Continue reading Decolonizing Thought – Beyond Indian/ Hindu Exceptionalism
An upcoming conference in the USA titled Dismantling Hindutva is being attacked by the Hindu right-wing both in the US and India as “anti Hindu” and “racist”. See for example, this link and this and this.
This post is a letter sent to American Universities supporting the conference by US-based HINDUS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.
To: All universities and departments co-sponsoring the academic conference on Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) on September 10-12, 2021
Re: We are Hindus who support academic freedom and the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” conference on September 10-12, 2021
We are writing to you on behalf of Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), a two-year old advocacy organization that provides a platform for progressive Hindus to speak out in support of democratic freedoms and pluralism.
HfHR advocates for civil and human rights in South Asia and North America, rooted in the values of our faith: shanti (peace), nyaya (justice) and satya (truth). We provide a Hindu voice of resistance to all forms of bigotry and oppression based on one’s faith, color, caste, gender, or sexual orientation.
We also staunchly oppose the misappropriation of our Hindu faith by the ideology of Hindutva (also frequently referred to as Hindu supremacy, Hindu nationalism, etc.), whose foundational principle is to redefine over 200 million Muslim and Christian citizens of India as the ‘other,’ who do not legitimately belong and must therefore either accept second class citizenship or be displaced from their homeland. Continue reading Hindutva is not Hinduism: Hindus for Human Rights
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.
‘Sunped in Haryana and Natham in Tamil Nadu, separated from each other by hundreds of kilometers, populated by communities speaking different languages and cultures, find themselves connected because of this ‘Unity in Diversity’ of a different kind; being witness to atrocities on Dalits in very many ways.’
“The Smallest Coffins are the Heaviest”.
Sunped, a small village in Faridabad, Haryana, hit the national headlines recently once again, when a CBI court gave its verdict in case of the deaths of two Dalit children.
If memory does not fail you, one would recall that this village had witnessed the deaths of two children – two and a half year-old Vaibhav and ten-month-old Divya – who were burned alive and their parents Rekha and Jitender suffering burn injuries half a decade ago.
These deaths in a village which had a background of simmering conflict between dominant castes and Dalits, despite police protection provided to the ill-fated family, had caused tremendous uproar at the national level. Rallies and marches were held in different parts of the state and in the rest of India as well, demanding justice for the family. A callous statement by a Union Cabinet Minister about the incident where he argued that the government cannot be held responsible if “someone throws stones at a dog” had then added further fuel to the fire.
Perhaps to douse popular anger, the state government led by Manohar Lal Khattar had ordered a CBI enquiry into the case. It also took into custody eleven members of the dominant caste (namely Rajputs) from Sunped for their alleged involvement in these killings, based on a complaint by the victims.
The verdict by the CBI court in the case has landed the struggle for justice in this particular case into a black hole.
( Read the full article here)
In this guest post, RAHUL GOVIND gives us, by way of a review of Audrey Truschke’s book, a glimpse of the world of medieval Sanskrit and what they tell us about ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ identity in their own time.
Why Audrey Truschke’s The Language of History is essential reading for every Indian (and Pakistani and Bangladeshi)
There is the view that the medieval period of Indian history witnessed an all-consuming battle between Hindus (who were native to India) and Muslims (who came to India as conquerors). This originated as a typical colonial strategy of ‘divide and rule’ in the 19th century, but then transformed into a communal politics that ultimately led to Partition. In India today this very view is becoming a dominant one, where the medieval period is assumed to be nothing but the destruction of an ancient indigenous Sanskritic culture by invading Muslims.
This is a guest post by FULANA DETAIL
The post below is hard to read. It is written with a great deal of rage and pain and grief. It is a post about sexual violence. It is not explicit in any way. It does not describe sexual violence. It describes the feeling of being before the violence of masculinity. It describes the violence of the feeling of feeling. Which is why it is hard to read. You may wish to think carefully about whether you want to read further. Please consider this a trigger warning.
Today I performed an exorcism. I performed an exorcism of every image that floods the media of sexual violence, of rape and mutilation, of violation, of violence that should be undoable and unthinkable. I decided to think it. I let these images move through my mind and my body. I performed an exorcism for every woman, and everyone who believes herself woman, and lives woman, and every one who lives as not man. I performed an exorcism for everyone who is not a man. I performed an exorcism for every man who is not a man. I let image, upon image, upon image, upon image, upon image, upon image, flood my mind. I opened my mind as wide as I could, without filter and protection. Eventually I let my mind break at the seams, for many hours. I let my mind descend into terror. I let my mind touch madness. I let my mind become a not mind. And not by reaching atman or bhramaan believe you me. I let my mind become incoherent.Continue reading An Exorcism For Every Woman and A Curse on Every Man: Fulana Detail
A statement by WOMEN AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND STATE REPRESSION
हाथरस में एक दलित लड़की के साथ हुई बलात्कार की घटना व उसकी जघन्य हत्या के बाद, पीड़ित परिवार के साथ डॉक्टर राजकुमारी बंसल जिस निर्भीकता और साहस के साथ खड़ी हुईं उन पर देश भर की मीडिया ने जिस तरह की फर्ज़ी और झूठी खबरें चलाईं उसके विरोध में हम सभी सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता, प्रोफेशनल व तमाम संगठन, जो जातिगत और यौनिक हिंसा का विरोध करते हैं, डॉ. राजकुमारी बंसल के समर्थन में एकजुट हैं। उनकी निर्भीकता व मानवीय प्रयास के लिए हम उन्हें सलाम करते हैं।
विगत 24 अक्टूबर 2020 को मध्य प्रदेश महिला मंच, छत्तीसगढ़ महिला अधिकार मंच, एनएफआईडब्ल्यू (मध्य प्रदेश), नागरिक अधिकार मंच, डब्ल्यूएसएस (मध्य प्रदेश-छत्तीसगढ़) के प्रतिनिधियों ने डॉ. राजकुमारी बंसल से जबलपुर में उनके घर पर मुलाकात की।
India cannot take its syncretic tradition for granted. A culture of communal amity has to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Irony died a thousand deaths on Monday, 2 November, when 48-year-old non-violent activist Faisal Khan, a founder member of a revived Khudai Khidmatgar, was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police. The charge against him is that he spread disharmony and hurt religious sentiment, by offering namaz at a Krishna temple in Mathura. He and three other members of his organisation, whose name roughly translates to “servants of god”, have been charged by the police, though Faisal is the only one arrested so far.
Faisal was arrested at “Sabka Ghar”, a centre for communal harmony he has established near Ghaffar Manzil. People of all faiths can stay at this centre and celebrate festivals of all religions together. He had revived the historic Khudai Khidmatgar, an organisation established by the legendary Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Frontier Gandhi, whose role in the anti-colonial struggle has been documented in South Asia and the world.
Faisal himself is well-regarded for his deep knowledge of Hindu and Islamic religious traditions and scriptures, and it is for promoting harmony within India, and between India and Pakistan, that he is most recognised. He and his team have also provided relief to people devastated by communal riots or natural disasters.
( Read the complete article here)
Finally. Decades have passed in which we slumbered on eased by the magic mantra that women’s empowerment will emerge like a butterfly from the cocoon of women’s self-help groups, whispered in our ears by the state in Kerala. In the meantime, what we saw was often the opposite. Indeed, the more women became central to family sustenance and public care-giving in society, the deeper the misogyny penetrated, the wider it spread.Continue reading And Now, Pathetic patriarchy
Statement of solidarity from JU alumni
As alumni of Jadavpur University (JU), we condemn the casteist abuses hurled against a renowned professor of History at Jadavpur University, Dr. Maroona Murmu, because of her identity as an Adivasi.
The remarks were made in response to Dr. Murmu’s comment that an academic year was not more important than a student’s life and that in-person examination during the ongoing deadly coronavirus pandemic was not a good idea. This was admittedly a reasonable stand in face of the government’s decision to hold exams during the Covid-19 outbreak. In response, she received casteist abuses from an undergraduate student who called her out on social media as a “worthless, undeserving idiot” (“jogyotaheen opodartho” in Bengali). It questioned both her scholarly credibility and her right to speak out on any aspect of academic life (the security and well-being of students during a contagious disease outbreak, for instance). The student then went on to “remind” Dr. Murmu of her identity as an Adivasi Santhal and her inferior position in the caste hierarchy that made her unworthy of any consideration. This was followed by over 1800 trolls and rebukes. It is continuing. Continue reading Jadavpur alumni in solidarity with Dr. Maroona Murmu in face of casteist/racist violence in Indian academia
Guest post by AEJAZ AHMAD and IRSHAD RASHID
What does turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque mean for global political practice?
In an unusally brazen move Turkey’s top court recently ruled in favour of transforming Hagia Sophia, a museum of global tourist attraction, into a mosque. Originally a cathedral built in pre-Islamic Turkey but converted into a mosque when Ottomans invaded Constantinople in 1453, with the liquidation of the Ottoman Empire, Attaturk transformed it into a museum in 1934 as a secular gesture to herald what is called modern secular Turkey. This was more recently followed by transforming another historic Chora Church, that went exactly through the same iteration, into yet another mosque.
We are publishing below the following statement in support of and solidarity with Dr Maroona Murmu, signed by more than eighty faculty members of Presidency University, was issued yesterday.
We, the undersigned teachers of Presidency University, Kolkata, are shocked to know about the recent attacks on Dr. Maroona Murmu, Associate Professor of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
Dr. Murmu is an accomplished scholar, an activist, and an intellectual. She is an important voice of our time insofar as she regularly writes and speaks about the rights and plights of the Adivasi community. She is a unique personality to have graced the academia with her rare ability to combine scholarship with activism.
We are aware that the academic space in West Bengal, as elsewhere in the country, is, even today, predominantly Brahminical. Students and teachers hailing from SC, ST, and OBC communities regularly face discrimination due to their caste and tribal backgrounds. The suicides of Chuni Kotal, Rohith Vemula, and Payal Tadvi amply demonstrate the fatal consequences of such discrimination. As various instances from academic institutions from across the country suggest, not only students but teachers from such communities also face victimization regularly. We are also aware that only a tiny percentage of such instances of discrimination make it to the news.
Guest post by ARVIND KUMAR
अभय दुबे की पुस्तक हिन्दू एकता बनाम ज्ञान की राजनीति पर जारी बहस में एक योगदान।
दि प्रिंट में 8 जुलाई 2020 को योगेंद्र यादव का लेख ‘भारतीय सेक्युलरिज्म पर हिन्दी की यह किताब उदारवादियों की पोल खोल सकती थी मगर नज़रअंदाज़ कर दी गई है’, अभय दुबे की पुस्तक को केंद्र मे रखकर लिखा गया है. उन्होनें लिखा: “अगर अभय की किताब के तर्क उन सेकुलर बुद्धिजीवियों के कान तक टहलकर नहीं पहुंचे जिनके लिखत-पढ़त की उन्होंने आलोचना की है तो इसकी वजह को पहचान पाना मुश्किल नहीं. वजह वही है जिसे अभय ने अपनी किताब में रेखांकित किया है कि भारत के अँग्रेज़ीदाँ मध्यवर्ग की सेकुलर-लिबरल विचारधारा और देश के शेष समाज के बीच सोच समझ के धरातल पर एक खाई मौजूद है.” योगेंद्र के लेख के जवाब में, दि प्रिंट में ही 15 जुलाई को राजमोहन गांधी का लेख ‘भारत में धर्मनिरपेक्षता की विचारधारा पराजित नहीं हुई है, इसके पैरोकारों को आरएसएस पर दोष मढ़ना बंद करना होगा’ पढ़कर संतोष और असंतोष दोनों हुआ. संतोष इसलिए कि योगेंद्र के आग्रह पर बुद्धिजीवियों ने बहस को आगे बढ़ाने की पहल तो की. इसी कड़ी में 16 जुलाई 2020 को काफ़िला में छपा आदित्य निगम का लेख ‘डिसकोर्स ऑफ हिन्दू युनीटी इन द स्ट्र्गल अगेन्स्ट द राइट’ को भी देखा जा सकता है.
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.”
In a recent book Hindu Ekta Banaam Gyan ki Rajneeti [Hindu Unity versus the Politics of Knowledge] (Vani 2019), my colleague and friend Abhay Kumar Dubey raises some extremely important issues that have now become central to the struggle for a more just and inclusive India. The book is in Hindi and written in the highly provocative and combative style that characterizes most of Abhay’s writings but there is something profundly disturbing – and enlightening – about the key point that he has to make. In this brief piece I discuss it here for the benefit of the non-Hindi reader (which is not the same as ‘English-speaking’ or ‘English-educated’). However, those who understand Hindi and are interested can watch the 42-minute discussion between Abhay Dubey and myself (recorded in Janaury this year) for the Youtube book discussion channel Parakh run by Kamal Nayan Choubey. The video is embedded this post below.
The central concern of the book is with certain blindspots in what Abhay calls the ‘Centrist discourse’ [madhyamargi vimarsh] or interchangeably, ‘anti-majoritarian discourse’ [bahusankhyakvaad virodhi vimarsh] – which, for some reason, has been rendered as ‘secular ideology’ by Yogendra Yadav in a recent piece in The Print. (Yadav’s piece and Rajmohan Gandhi’s response in defense of ‘secular ideology’ can he read here and here). In keeping with Abhay’s usage, I will use the term ‘anti-majoritarian’ rather than ‘secular’ discourse for this specific configuration that emerges in the the 1990s, for as we will see, this is not a simple continuation of the secular discourse of the 1980s. For the earlier discursive formation, however, I will continue to use the term secular and we will see below how the two differ.
The blindspots that Abhay insistently and relentlessly draws the readers’ attention to, have to do with the very superficial and often hugely misleading understanding of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its deeper connections with the much longer and larger history of the project of forging ‘Hindu unity’.
[Inaugural Lecture of ‘Democracy Dialogues’ Series ( Webinar)
Organised by New Socialist Initiative, 12 th July 2020]
Join us on facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi for further updates
( Prof Suhas Palshikar, Chief Editor, Studies in Indian Politics and Co-director, Lokniti at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, delivered the inaugural lecture in the ‘Democracy Dialogues’ Series initiated by New Socialist Initiative.
In this lecture he attempted to trace the roots of the current moment of India’s democracy in the overall global journey of democracy, the extra-ordinarily ambitious and yet problematic foundational moment of Indian democracy and the many diversions India’s democracy has taken over time. He argued that unimaginative handling of the extra-ordinary ambition and Statist understanding of the ‘power-democracy’ dialectic formed the basis for easy distortions of democratic practice and that while populism and majoritarianism are the current challenges, they are by no means only special to the present and therefore, even as critique and course-correction of present political crisis is urgently required, a more long-term view of the trajectory of Indian democracy is necessary.
Here follows a detailed summary of his presentation prepared by Dr Sanjay Kumar)
How discrimination is integrated into the daily lives of the Indian diaspora still needs to be understood.
What happens to caste when Indians migrate to Western countries? Do their feelings of being born superior or inferior, their belief in the purity-pollution ethic, just melt away? The “model minority” has tried to avoid a conversation on this issue but it returns to haunt them time and again. Now the American state of California is at the centre of yet another caste controversy.
The last serious discussion around Indian-Americans and caste took place in 2015, when the California State Board of Education initiated a regular ten-year public review of the school curriculum framework. The conservative Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and the South Asian Histories for All Coalition (an interfaith, multi-racial, inter-caste coalition) clashed over HAF’s proposed interventions, which essentially sought to erase caste from the syllabus. The Coalition took the position that evidence and record of the injustices of caste and religious intolerance in South Asian must not be erased.
( Read the full article here)
भारतीयों के मन में व्याप्त दोहरापन यही है कि वह ऑस्ट्रेलिया में भारतीय छात्रों पर होने वाली ज़्यादतियों से उद्वेलित दिखते हैं, पर अपने यहां के संस्थानों में आए दिन दलित-आदिवासी या अल्पसंख्यक छात्रों के साथ होने वाली ज़्यादतियों को सहजबोध का हिस्सा मानकर चलते हैं.
‘जाति समस्या- सैद्धांतिक और व्यावहारिक तौर पर एक विकराल मामला है. व्यावहारिक तौर पर देखें तो वह एक ऐसी संस्था है जो प्रचंड परिणामों का संकेत देती है. वह एक स्थानीय समस्या है, लेकिन एक ऐसी समस्या जो बड़ी क्षति को जन्म दे सकती है. जब तक भारत में जाति अस्तित्व में है, हिंदुओं के लिए यह संभव नहीं होगा कि वह अंतरजातीय विवाह करें या बाहरी लोगों के साथ सामाजिक अंतर्क्रिया बढ़ाएं. और अगर हिंदू पृथ्वी के दूसरे हिस्सों में पहुंचते हैं, तो फिर भारतीय जाति विश्व समस्या बनेगी.’
– डॉ. बीआर आंबेडकर (1916)
वर्ष 1916 के मई महीने में कोलंबिया विश्वविद्यालय में मानव वंशशास्त्र विभाग में सेमिनार में डॉ. आंबेडकर ने ‘भारत में जाति- उनकी प्रणाली, उनका उद्गम और विकास’ (Castes In India- Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development) पर अपना पेपर पढ़ा था.
पेपर पढ़ते हुए उन्होंने इस बात की भविष्यवाणी की थी कि किस तरह एक दिन जाति विश्व समस्या भी बनेगी, उनके बोल थे, ‘अगर हिंदू दुनिया के दूसरे हिस्सों में पहुंचते हैं, तो फिर भारतीय जाति विश्व समस्या बनेगी.’
उनके इस वक्तव्य के 104 साल बाद उसी अमेरिका के कैलिफोर्निया से आई यह खबर इसी बात की ताईद करती है.
ध्यान रहे कैलीफोर्निया राज्य सरकार की तरफ से वहां की एक अग्रणी बहुदेशीय कंपनी सिस्को सिस्टम्स के खिलाफ दायर एक मुकदमे के बहाने यही बात नए सिरे से उजागर हुई है, जिसका फोकस वहां कार्यरत एक दलित इंजीनियर के साथ वहां तैनात दो कथित ऊंची जाति के इंजीनियर द्वारा जातिगत भेदभाव की घटना से है. Continue reading जातिगत भेदभाव को लेकर कब ख़त्म होगा भारतीयों का दोहरापन
MAYA ANGELOU recites her iconic poem Still I Rise, followed by the translation into Hindustani by NIVEDITA MENON below.
चाहे लिख दो मेरी कहानी,
झूठी, विकृत, कडवी सी,
चाहे कुचलो मिट्टी में,
उड़ जाऊंगी, धूल जैसी।
मेरी गुस्ताखी से हो नाराज़?
क्या इतना दुःख है दिल में?
मेरी चाल का यह गुरूर,
मानो तेल के कुँए बैठक में।
My earlier posts on the Kerala Left’s inability to forge an adequate and democratizing response to the ‘societal emergencies’ that have challenged Malayali society in the 21st century, and on the completely-unjustified attack on the body artist Rehana Fathima seem to have irritated, even angered, many supporters of the CPM on Facebook.
These people are not youngsters, a detail that is really important. Indeed, they largely belong to the upper-middle-class professional elite, indeed, perhaps among the best-off sections of Malayali society, which include medical professionals, male and female. Their responses reveal very interesting details about how the pandemic shapes our understanding of ‘useful expertise’: at this moment, we are told, just listen to medical professionals, and not just their views on issues pertaining to health, but also to ‘social health’. Many of these professionals believe that the brazen violence unleashed against Rehana Fathima’s family — her mother-in-law has been denied free dialysis simply because she is Rehana Fathima’s mother-in-law, and BSNL has ordered the eviction of the family on completely ridiculous grounds – is a minor diversion, an irritating, trivial one, compared to the task of controlling the pandemic on the ground, which of course, brings the medical professional (even when he/she works in Kerala’s private hospitals, which are surely not the epitome of altruism) to the centre of public discourse as the ‘hero’ that everyone should be eternally grateful to. And if such heroes tell you that Rehana Fathima is just a child-abusing publicity-seeker, then you have to just say yes. And, as as the artist Radha Gomathy put it, participate in the Break-the-Chain-and-Break-the-Family campaign — or punish Rehana’s supportive family for not being freakishly conservative, like good Malayali families.
Bolstering their claim to be the only ‘real experts’ to talk about Malayali society at the moment is their implicit understanding that medical professionals are somehow more ‘scientific’ than others. Yet I was amazed — indeed, alarmed — by the carelessness with which they dealt with empirical information and their easy abandonment of logic. The tendency to equate technical training with scientific is very strong in these Facebook debates, as also the idea that social science and history are some airy-fairy romance that lacks scientific basis.
I am mentioning these features not to put these people down — and I am also aware of, and grateful to, many other medical professionals who expressed unease at these acts of hubris. I wish only to flag what seems to me an emerging axis of power in post-pandemic Kerala. A form in which the state’s apparatus of biopower is projected insistently as the sole benevolent source of human sustenance that must engage us constantly; it is not that critical discourse should be abolished, but it must focus, and gently, on this pre-given object. In it, the biological body is the object on which the state builds its new protectionism; the only kind of body it is bound to protect. The ‘new expert’ wields power on it, and their technical interventions will henceforth be recognized as ‘scientific’ — and the significance of the gap between the two will be ignored. The suspension of neoliberal logic during the pandemic has indeed allowed the Left to behave, even think, like the left — this emerging protectionism seems to be actually riding on it.
It is not surprising at all then that for some of these experts, those of us who contested the purportedly ‘scientific claim’ that Rehana’s children will be necessarily harmed psychologically by the sight of their mother’s exposed torso, or the equally-shaky idea that they necessarily lack the psychological strength the resist the taunts of society, seem dangerous to society. Rehana’s use of the body is aimed at the long-term; it signals the possibility of seeing the body as the site of aesthetic play and creativity; its androgynous appearance and breaking of stereotypes about the maternal body make it defy gendered classification (so necessary for the state). Her husband deserves punishment because he had abandoned the role of Reformer-Husband so central to the twentieth-century reformist discourse. Our experts’ ‘scientific temperaments’ do not allow them to perceive the fact that the Reformer-Husband carried the burden of ushering his wife into (a gendered) modernity, while in twenty-first century Kerala, women no longer need such ushering — there is data that shows that more women than men complete their education and enter higher education; that they outperform men in most examinations and have entered most modern professions; that in marriages, the bride is now likely to be more educated than the groom. The family needs to be punished as a whole for allowing such explorations of the body.
I still repose faith in the democratizing possibilities that this window of time gives us, but that does not make me blind to this wilful shutting out of the long-term and the agency of citizens. It is as if future society may be imagined by citizens only with or after the state. The state sees a vague and uncertain future, and therefore all citizens should, therefore, limit themselves to the immediate and present. Nothing should be allowed to disrupt the Left’s hegemony-building through pandemic-control exercises. Even if that requires that we turn a blind eye to the fact that the refurbishing of this hegemony may not be antithetical to the further entrenchment of biopower and the reign of these new experts.
Guest Post by Aman Abhishek
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