Against the Yawning Jaws of Hell: Protest Against Hate on 23 April

After the Modi government came to power, citizens of this country have seen gate after gate of Hell — the Narakas — open relentlessly to suck them in mercilessly or condemn them to be helpless spectators to unspeakable acts of injustice and violence. We have by now crossed the Arbudanaraka and the Nirarbudanaraka many times; the ordeal of having to watch evil unfold in the attacks on people in the name of what they eat, how they love, what they speak, who they pray to, which caste they were born into, what gender was assigned to them at birth — the list is growing day by day. We seem to be reduced to waiting endlessly at the doorsteps of police stations, courts, morgues, nearly overpowered by the stench of power and majoritarian hubris, fighting to stay conscious, waiting for the dead, broken, defiled, or dismembered bodies of our kin, our friends, neighbours, people. For instance, can one ever forget how we stood in sheer anxiety outside the Supreme Court, truly like souls awaiting judgment at the gates of Vaikuntam, reduced to droplets of pure worry? Those of us who fought for Hadiya’s rights can hardly forget.

Continue reading “Against the Yawning Jaws of Hell: Protest Against Hate on 23 April”

PadMan, Patriarchy and the Poor Man’s Innovation: Tannistha Samantha and Mukta Gundi

This is a guest post by TANNISTHA SAMAMTHA and MUKTA GUNDI

 

With the success of “PadMan”, Akshay Kumar has established himself to be a bleeding-heart ‘feminist’. News channels are pouring praises for a film that introduces a ‘bold’ topic while regurgitating the crucial link between safe menstrual practices and women’s health. While the message is old (and important), the euphoria around it is new. Continue reading “PadMan, Patriarchy and the Poor Man’s Innovation: Tannistha Samantha and Mukta Gundi”

Adam, Eve, Art – Neither Belief Nor Unbelief: Prasanta Chakravarty

Guest post by PRASANTA CHAKRAVARTY

Stephen Greenblatt has struck upon a sheer and stupendous idea: to retell the tale of the first couple of the Christian world, Adam and Eve. The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve is a sweeping work with a remarkably ranging scholarship, galloping through centuries in minutes. The tone and the expanse of the book successfully hide the vertical depth of laborious research that has gone into bringing such an ambitious endeavour into culmination.  This is also a book of reliving an ancient art: the bare act of telling a story, holding up the full panoply of its rich narrative contours. The book jauntily speculates as much as it reveals. The very subject matter allows Greenblatt to do so. But there is yet another dimension to this project— a life-long, intense personal engagement with the idea of how conscious human intervention may have altered man’s relationship with whatever is cosmic, mythical and animistic. To that end it is also an ideological book that tells the story of Adam and Eve as it tries to grapple with our modern condition.

Continue reading “Adam, Eve, Art – Neither Belief Nor Unbelief: Prasanta Chakravarty”

कासगंज हिंसा- तिरंगे को हड़प जाएगा भगवा? वैभव सिंह

Guest post by VAIBHAV SINGH

kasganj-uttar-pradesh-violence, image courtesy ndtv

पूरे हिंदी क्षेत्र में और विशेषकर उत्तरप्रदेश में ऐसे बडे, छोटे और मंझोले किस्म के नेताओं की बड़ी फौज पैदा हो गई है जिसकी नेतागिरी केवल सांप्रदायिक नारे लगाने और समाज में सांप्रदायिकता फैलाने पर टिकी है। सार्वजनिक जीवन पर इन संकीर्ण सोच वाले हिंदुत्व नेताओं की निरंतर मजबूत होती पकड़ ने सांप्रदायिक हिंसा को ‘न्यू नार्मल’ के रूप में मान्यता दिला दी है। हिंदू धर्म को कलंकित करने में इस नए जमाने के हिंदुत्व की क्या भूमिका है, यह अब किसी से छिपा नहीं है। एक समय था जब समाज पर समाजवादी और गांधीवादी विचारों के प्रभाव के कारण सांप्रदायिकता का सामना करना अपेक्षाकृत कम मुश्किल काम था। पर इन विचारधाराओं का प्रभाव कम हो जाने से सांप्रदायिक नेताओं-समूहों का तेजी से विस्तार हो रहा है। एबीवीपी, विहिप, हिंदू युवावाहिनी और बजरंग दल जैसे संगठन सामाजिक-राजनीतिक जीवन के पूरे परिदृश्य पर हावी हो चुके हैं।अक्सर साधारण परिवारों के युवक इन संगठनों की चपेट में इसलिए आ जाते हैं क्योंकि सांप्रदायिक संगठन समाज सेवा के मुखौटे के भीतर रहकर अपना काम करते हैं। वे दिखावे के तौर पर ब्लड डोनेशन या स्वच्छता मिशन या फिर शहीदों के सम्मान जैसी गतिविधियां करते हैं पर उनका असल मकसद समाज में सांप्रदायिकता का विचारधारा का विस्तार करना होता है। मुस्लिमों में भी सांप्रदायिकता है, पर वे उस प्रकार से संगठित सांप्रदायिकता को व्यक्त नहीं कर रहे हैं। Continue reading “कासगंज हिंसा- तिरंगे को हड़प जाएगा भगवा? वैभव सिंह”

Statement about the attacks on Dalits in Bhima Koregaon & the Subsequent developments in Maharashtra : Umar Khalid

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”

Jignesh Mevani, The Meltdown of Modi-Men and Dadhichi’s Bones

[ This post is based on updates posted by me on my Facebook wall ]

Jignesh Mevani. Photograph by Siddharaj Solanki, HT (Hindustan Times) File Photo, accessed from the HT website

A great kerfuffle has ensued ever since the recently elected independent MLA from Vadgam, Gujarat and Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch activist Jignesh Mevani gave an interview in which he had some choice things to say about the Prime Minister and BJP leader Narendra Modi. Mr. Mevani made some positive and gentle suggestions, to the effect that because Mr. Modi has stopped being relevant, has not delivered on even one of the promises made by him, he should retire, proceed towards the Himalayas, and in the phrase that has caused the greatest commotion, ‘melt his bones’.

Predictably, Mr. Modi’s personal broadcasting service, known as Republic TV has kicked up the greatest fuss. Arnab Goswami has been especially indignant, and he was joined in his rage by BJP spokesperson, the orotund television commentator and historical photo-shop scam artist, Mr. Sambit Patra. Mr. Mevani offered a robust and dignified  refusal to apologize for what he said about Mr. Modi, when Republic TV demanded that he do so. Continue reading “Jignesh Mevani, The Meltdown of Modi-Men and Dadhichi’s Bones”

An open letter to Brinda Karat: why do female supporters of the Kerala CPIM spew such venom at Hadiya?

Dear Comrade

I can hardly describe the joy and relief I felt reading your piece on the Hadiya case in the Hindu yesterday. By now I am nearly deaf from the cacophony of misogyny, islamophobia, and sheer short-sighted rage that CPM supporters on Facebook are unleashing against this young woman.

Your voice of sanity, Comrade, is therefore a great restorative. If not for your writing, one could have well thought that the CPM was nothing more than a bunch of short sighted, power hungry, strategisers, whose total lack of ethics and values is covered up by a vapid, outdated rationalism and an equally problematic liberalism. You refuse to condemn Hadiya for choosing Islam. You acknowledge that she is brave. You unequivocally reject the father and other minions of patriarchy. You rightly criticise state patriarchy evident in the Supreme Court. Unlike many CPM supporters here, you have no illusions about the times we live in; you are clearly aware that the NIA is not something which will spare us if we stay good. Importantly, you put paid to the idea that the High Court judgement that sanctioned her illegal custody was justified — an idea assiduously nurtured by certain public figures allied with the CPM against religious Muslims. Comrade, thank you again for being so forthright and in the face of snarling islamophobes in your own ranks actually gunning for the voice you raised against her illegal custody long back.

Continue reading “An open letter to Brinda Karat: why do female supporters of the Kerala CPIM spew such venom at Hadiya?”