Category Archives: Left watch

An Open Letter to the National Leadership of the AIDWA : Struggle in Unity for Equality, or Struggle in Unity against Impunity?

To the National Leadership which is currently participating in the 13th National Conference of the AIDWA in Thiruvananthapuram.

Dear sisters in struggle

I write to you from Kerala, where the CPM is currently in power for a second time, a rare achievement indeed, in a state where power changes hands usually in each election. I know that most of you hail from places where the CPM is very far from power. I know the difference that makes to activism.

Continue reading An Open Letter to the National Leadership of the AIDWA : Struggle in Unity for Equality, or Struggle in Unity against Impunity?

Police Violence against the Fisher People on the Kerala Coast: A People’s Account

Below, I share a write-up by Johnson Jament, an academic researcher from the coast of the Thiruvananthapuram district, where an intense struggle against the Adani Port Project has been unfolding. Arrayed on opposing sides are the fisher people who have inhabited the coast since the past 500 years (according to historical record) and more, whose livelihoods are at stake, and the Adani Port Project, supported by the combination of natural resource predators and the CPM-led government of Kerala. The leadership of the CPM (though not the ranks, or at least all of the ranks) can be quite fairly described as a ‘post-socialist oligarchy’, and hence their support of Adani Ports is pretty understandable. The battle has been equally one of wits too, with the Kerala government pulling out all their progressive aces, including the longtime literary-cultural acolytes of the CPM but also some of the (former) stars of Kerala’s oppositional civil society — notably, the poet and critic, K Satchidanandan! Questioned about his stance, this early teacher of Euro-Marxism of a whole generation claimed that the conflict was because of ‘binary thinking’ that supporters and opponents of the Port project both equally indulge in, forgetting notably, that something like ‘structural contradiction’ may be becoming evident in and through this struggle. Perceiving it, of course, is not indulging in binary thinking.

Continue reading Police Violence against the Fisher People on the Kerala Coast: A People’s Account

Who are these ‘Hindus’? The Tragedy of Vizhinjam and the Despicable Cruelty of the Majority

The struggle against the ecologically-fatal Adani seaport being built at the seaside village of Vizhinjam in south Kerala is probably the first large-scale instance of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ in the history of this state. The state — the ruling government, the police, and judiciary — hold hands now in their effort to dispossess the large population of fisher people whose home this coast has been since centuries, for the convenience of predatory capital. As usual, the port-building commenced after massive ‘opinion-building’ exercises by all the major political parties among their supporters in the port-affected villages, promising them golden futures (now that the resources of the sea, which they had depended on for centuries, were robbed, in the course of some seventy years since the 20th century, through the commercialization of fisheries). Doing fieldwork in those areas around 2013, I remember how hard it was to even broach the topic without provoking massive, sometimes, violent, disagreements — it has divided the people completely and left the major social force there, the Latin Catholic Church, quite confused. Now, after 2018, the ecological destruction wrought by this foolish act of greed is nakedly evident for all with eyes to see; and most residents of the sea coast are convinced that in just a few years, the sea will take everything, including the houses built with sweat and tears, labouring for years abroad, even.

Continue reading Who are these ‘Hindus’? The Tragedy of Vizhinjam and the Despicable Cruelty of the Majority

Stop the Slander: Solidarity Statement Against Attempts to Tarnish Activists in the Anti-Adani Seaport Struggle at Vizhinjam

The other day, the citizens of Kerala witnessed an extraordinary coming -together of CPM and BJP leaders in Thiruvananthapuram — in support of the Adani sea port, against the fisher community of the Thiruvananthapuram coast.

Continue reading Stop the Slander: Solidarity Statement Against Attempts to Tarnish Activists in the Anti-Adani Seaport Struggle at Vizhinjam

മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ — 5

ഉപസംഹാരം

ഫെമിനിസ്റ്റ് ദണ്ഡനീതി നിയമ ഉപകരണങ്ങൾ നിരോധിക്കണമെന്നോ അവ തീർത്തും അപ്രസക്തമാണെന്നോ അല്ല ഈ ലേഖനത്തിൽ ഞാൻ വാദിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളത്. നേരെ മറിച്ച് അവ ഉപയോഗിക്കുമ്പോൾ ജനാധിപത്യവും മനുഷ്യാവകാശങ്ങളും ലിംഗാനീതിയ്ക്കെതിരെയുള്ള പോരോട്ടങ്ങളുടെ സാധ്യതകൾ തന്നെയും അധികാരത്തിൻറെ മേൽ-കീഴറ്റങ്ങൾ കാണാനാകാത്തവിധം പിളർന്ന വായിലകപ്പെട്ടു പോകും വിധം അവരെ പുണരുന്നത് അങ്ങേയറ്റം അപകടകരമായിരിക്കും എന്ന മുന്നറിപ്പ് വായനക്കാരുടെ മുന്നിൽ വയ്ക്കാനാണ് എൻറെ ശ്രമം.

Continue reading മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ — 5

മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ –4

ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസവും നവബ്രാഹ്മണ പിതൃമേധാവിത്വവും

കേരളത്തിൽ ഇരുപതാം നൂറ്റാണ്ടിൽ രൂപമെടുത്ത ബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വത്തിന് സവിശേഷസ്വഭാവങ്ങളുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ഇരുപതാം നൂറ്റാണ്ടിൽ ഉയർന്നുവന്ന നവവരേണ്യസമുദായങ്ങളെ — നവോത്ഥാന വ്യവഹാരത്തിൻറെ വാഹകങ്ങളെ — പണിതെടുത്ത അടിസ്ഥാന അധികാര-കൂടങ്ങളിൽ ഒന്നായിരുന്നു നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം.

Continue reading മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ –4

മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ –3

സംരക്ഷക-അന്നദാതാ ഭരണകൂടവും ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസവും

കേരളത്തിലിന്ന് രാഷ്ട്രീയരംഗത്തും ഭരണരംഗത്തും (ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥകളല്ലാത്ത) സ്ത്രീകളുടെ പ്രാതിനിധ്യവും അധികാരവും ഇടതുഭരണത്തിനു കീഴിൽപോലും കുറവാണ്. ഇടതുരാഷ്ട്രീയക്കാരികൾക്കു പോലും സ്വന്തമായ രാഷ്ട്രീയസ്വാധീനവലയം ഉണ്ടാക്കാൻ അനുവാദം ഇല്ലെന്നതിന് തെളിവ് ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ സർക്കാർ തന്നെ തന്നിട്ടുമുണ്ട് — ശൈലജ ടീച്ചറെ മാറ്റി സർക്കാരിലെ ആൺ അധികാരികളെ തികച്ചും ആശ്രയിച്ചു മാത്രം നിലനില്പുള്ള മറ്റൊരു സ്ത്രീയെ അവരുടെ സ്ഥാനത്ത് പ്രതിഷ്ഠിച്ചതോടെ. പാർട്ടി അധികാരശ്രേണികളിൽ സ്ത്രീകൾ കുറയുകയും കീഴ്ത്തല-കാലാളുകളുടെ കൂട്ടത്തിൽ അവരുടെ സാന്നിദ്ധ്യം ഉയരുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നുണ്ട്. പൊതുവെ ഭരണനയതലത്തിൽ ഫെമിനിസ്റ്റ് സ്വാധീനം കുറഞ്ഞിട്ടുമുണ്ട് (മഹിളാ സമഖ്യയിലും കുടുംബശ്രീയിലും ഇതു പ്രകടമാണ്). എങ്കിലും സ്ത്രീശാക്തീകരണ സർക്കാരെന്ന പ്രതിച്ഛായ നിലനിർത്താൻ ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ സോഷ്യലിസ്റ്റ്- അനന്തര ദുഷ്പ്രഭുത്വത്തിൻറെ വാഹനമായ സിപിഎമ്മിനും അവർ നയിക്കുന്ന സർക്കാരിനും കഴിഞ്ഞിട്ടുണ്ട്.

Continue reading മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ –3

മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ — 2

മലയാളി ഫെമിനിസത്തിലെ ‘ദണ്ഡനീതിനിമിഷം’?

ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം (Carceral feminism) എന്ന സങ്കല്പനം ഇന്ന് ലോകഫെമിനിസ്റ്റ് ചർച്ചകളിൽ സുപരിചിതമാണ്. പോലീസ്, കോടതി, ശിക്ഷ, തടവ് മുതലാവയുൾപ്പെടുന്ന ഭരണകൂടശാഖയെ മുഖ്യമായും ആശ്രയിച്ചുകൊണ്ട് സ്ത്രീകൾക്കെതിരെയുള്ള എല്ലാത്തരം ഹിംസയും പരിഹരിക്കാമെന്ന വിശ്വാസത്തിൽ ഊന്നിനിൽക്കുന്ന ഫെമിനിസ്റ്റ് പ്രയോഗങ്ങളെയും ചിന്തയെയുമാണ് അത് സൂചിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്. പാശ്ചാത്യ ഫെമിനിസത്തിൽ ഏറെ പഴക്കമുണ്ടെങ്കിലും അത് 1980-90 ദശകങ്ങളിൽ അമേരിക്കൻ ഫെമിനിസത്തിലെ പ്രമുഖ ധാരയായി ഉയർന്നുവന്നു. ലൈംഗികത്തൊഴിലിനെപ്പറ്റിയുള്ള ചർച്ചകളിലാണ് സമീപകാലത്ത് അതിൻറെ പുനരുജ്ജീവിതരൂപം പ്രത്യക്ഷമായത്.

Continue reading മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ — 2

മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ — 1

സംശയത്തിൽ നിന്ന് സ്വീകാര്യതയിലേക്ക്

കേരളത്തിൽ ഫെമിനിസത്തിൻറെ രാഷ്ട്രീയപരിണാമത്തെ മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടത്തിൻറെ പശ്ചാത്തലത്തിൽ മനസ്സിലാക്കാനൊരു ശ്രമമാണ് ഈ എഴുത്ത്. ഫെമിനിസം എന്ന പേര് സ്വയം അവകാശപ്പെടുന്ന രാഷ്ട്രീയം ഇവിടെ 1980കളിലാണ് പൂർണമായ അർത്ഥത്തിൽ പ്രത്യക്ഷമാകുന്നത്.

Continue reading മാറുന്ന ഭരണകൂടം, നവബ്രാഹ്മണിക പിതൃമേധാവിത്വം, ദണ്ഡനീതി ഫെമിനിസം കേരളത്തിൽ — 1

When ‘With the Survivor ‘ Rings Hollow: Observations on the Rage over the Civic Chandran Case

The internet frenzy over the Civic Chandran case has reached a new zenith over the two highly problematic — deeply elitist, sexist, logically and empirically flawed — anticipatory bail orders issued to the accused by the Sessions Court. There was a strange silence about the first one which was stuffed with elitist statements, and an even stranger pause over the blatantly sexist and conservative order before the active condemnation of the latter began to be voiced over the internet. Even stranger, because there is far more tolerance of elitism among the internet woke-folk than of conservative sexist understandings of the appropriate clothing for women’s bodies in Kerala. The three-day break from expressions of outrage did not, and still does not make sense.

Continue reading When ‘With the Survivor ‘ Rings Hollow: Observations on the Rage over the Civic Chandran Case

Debating Strategy for the New Phase of Janatha Aragalaya: MAYA JOHN

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

[This article is based on the discussions with activists of the Janatha Aragalaya and concerned Sri Lankan citizens. It is a humble contribution towards ongoing debates within the movement. As the French proverb goes: “De choc des opinions jaillit la vérité” – Truth arises from a conflict of opinions. – MJ]

With the deepening crisis of the world capitalist system, we see social upheavals erupting in one country after another. Most recently, Sri Lanka, a relatively small island country in South Asia that is enveloped by a staged debt crisis, has amply revealed circumstances which are infused with revolutionary possibilities. Resembling dark clouds that announce the gathering of a storm, Sri Lanka has shown how rapidly a revolutionary situation can develop.

Heading the floundering ruling establishment, and harbouring perpetual dismissiveness of the swelling discontent, the ruling family of Rajapaksas expectedly attracted massive public ire. Fighting hunger, spiralling inflation, long queues for fuel and rations, crumbling medical facilities, loss of employment, frequent and long power outages, angered citizens came to see the Rajapaksas as well as other mainstream politicians as creators and perpetuators of the grave crisis. Importantly, the distrust of the people has not been limited to individual politicians and ruling cliques whose moral right to govern is being openly challenged, but is a latent distrust for the system itself. At present, majority of the public rightfully views all established parties with deep suspicion and hostility. The majority perceives the rise to power of President Ranil Wickremesinghe as an epitome of the rot in the political system. They see his government as an illegitimate one.

Continue reading Debating Strategy for the New Phase of Janatha Aragalaya: MAYA JOHN

Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 3

 

 In the light of the above history it seems no surprise at all that mainstream feminists in Kerala do not seem to need a critique of the punitive state at all. Nor are they really troubled by the withdrawal of the welfare state or its perversion, even in matters that crucially affect women and children. Being moored in it, even the withdrawal of the welfare state from even support services to child-victims of sexual violence (citing ‘convenience’ which turned to be ‘convenience’ for the government alone), and the stuffing of crucial committees dealing with the welfare of and justice to women and children with dubious candidates with nepotistic connections – has rarely excited significant united protest from Kerala’s mainstream feminists.

Indeed, in a recent case of baby-abduction in which the infant born to Anupama Chandran, the daughter of a local CPM leader, in her relationship with Ajith, a dalit man, was trafficked with the active connivance of child welfare officials, this feminist mainstream was mostly silent; many prominent voices in it were rallied against the aggrieved mother; some of them even participated in the unspeakable cyber-lynching of the couple, spreading rumours and making unfounded accusations. Though the large numbers of young sexual violence victims belong to the oppressed castes, and though the Anupama-Ajith case was plainly one of caste hostility and violence, these features did not trigger animated responses from the feminist mainstream. These tepid or hostile responses are in sharp contrast to the manner in which sexual harassment campaigns are conducted. Continue reading Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 3

Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am Not With the Mob — 2

II

In the 1980s, when the first feminist articulations began to be heard in Kerala, left-leaning feminists often sought to maintain a critical distance from the state, emphasizing its inherently patriarchal nature. This was not surprising as feminists of that generation had radical-Marxist roots or strong connections with it. Radical Marxism in that generation was clearly suspicious of the state – quite unlike the mainstream left.

Continue reading Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am Not With the Mob — 2

Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 1

I have never been a carceral feminist anytime in my life. Right now, there is a massive tide of abuse and misrepresentation of non-carceral feminism in Kerala, so much so that any suggestion of solutions to the problem of sexual harassment outside the framework of the state is immediately dubbed anti-woman and anti-feminist. Carceral feminists are so warped, they seem to be totally unseeing of the fact that the debate has always been about the significance of the state and its instruments in the generally agreed-upon goal of gender justice, and not really about who is the true, or truer feminist. Indeed, this is strongly reminiscent of the mass attack on the sex worker activist Nalini Jameela years back and the anti-carceral feminists who were prepared to hear her out and stand with her. I remain a non-carceral feminist, rejecting the binary between carceral and anti-carceral feminism. I refuse the insistence that proportional punishment is irrelevant in dealing with sexual misconduct. I refuse to see ‘Men’ — I will not buy the idea that all male bodies share the same privilege and power and hence must be dealt with in the same way. I write the following in this spirit. If I am banished from the feminist mainstream for this, so be it.

Continue reading Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 1

Electoral Politics and the Left

Guest Post by Dr Ravi Sinha

(Opening remarks in an ongoing discussion within New Socialist Initiative (NSI) on Left’s approach to Electoral Politics in Contemporary India)

The Speaker :

Ravi Sinha is an activist-scholar who has been associated with progressive movements for nearly four decades. Trained as a theoretical physicist, Dr. Ravi has a doctoral degree from MIT, Cambridge, USA. He worked as a physicist at University of Maryland, College Park, USA, at Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad and at Gujarat University, Ahmedabad before resigning from the job to devote himself full time to organizing and theorizing. He is the principal author of the book, Globalization of Capital, published in 1997, co-founder of the Hindi journal, Sandhan, and one of the founders and a leading member of New Socialist Initiative.

हिंदी की मार्क्सवादी बहसें – ‘विचारधारा’ से विचारधारा तक :संजीव कुमार

The second lecture in the ‘Sandhan Vyakhyanmala’ series  – initiated by New Socialist Initiative ( Hindi Pradesh) will be delivered by Sanjeev Kumar, Well known Critic and Deputy General Secretary of Janwadi Lekhak Sangh  on Saturday 15 th January 2022 at 6 PM (IST). He will be speaking on हिंदी की मार्क्सवादी बहसें : ‘विचारधारा’ से विचारधारा तक ( Hindi ke Marxwadi Bahasein : ‘Vichardhara’ se Vichardhara tak)
The focus of this lecture series – as you might be aware – is on  the Hindi belt, especially, on literature, culture, society and politics of the Hindi region where we intend to invite writers, scholars with a forward looking, progressive viewpoint to share their concerns. The inaugural lecture in the series was delivered by poet and thinker Ashok Vajpayi, where he spoke on ‘Thought and Literature”

सन्धान व्याख्यानमाला
दूसरा वक्तव्य
हिंदी की मार्क्सवादी बहसें : ‘विचारधारा’ से विचारधारा तक
वक्ता : श्री संजीव कुमार
आलोचक संयुक्त महासचिव, जनवादी लेखक संघ
15 जनवरी , शनिवार शाम 6 बजे

सारांश

क्या वजह है कि हिंदी में पिछली सदी के 40 और 50 के दशक में प्रगतिशीलों के बीच जितने मुद्दों पर मतभेद उभरे, उनमें वही मत संख्याबल से विजयी रहा (और कमोबेश अभी तक है) जो हिंदी लोकवृत्त की स्थापित मान्यताओं के प्रति पूरी तरह से अनालोचनात्मक था? क्या यह एक परिवर्तनकामी वैचारिकी का परचम लहरानेवालों के भीतर वर्चस्व की प्रदत्त व्यवस्था का पोषण करनेवाली विचारधारा की सुप्त मौजूदगी थी जो भक्ति आंदोलन की विभिन्न धाराओं के रिश्ते, कथित हिंदी नवजागरण में भारतेन्दु और उनके मंडल के योगदान, हिंदी-उर्दू और उनके इलाक़े की सभी भाषाओं के आपसी संबंध, साहित्य में यौन-नैतिकता जैसे तमाम मसायल पर सभी असहज करनेवालों सवालों को हाशिये पर धकेल रही थी? क्या प्रगतिशील और मार्क्सवादी होने में अपने ‘संस्कारों’ के साथ एक तकलीफ़देह लड़ाई लड़ने और उपलब्ध सहूलियतों-रियायतों का त्याग करने की जो अपेक्षा निहित होती है, यह उससे पल्ला छुड़ाना था? या कि यह प्रगतिशील आंदोलन को वर्चस्वशाली बनाने के लिए सबको अपने साथ ले चलने की एक कार्यनीतिक पहल थी जो कि शायद सफल भी रही?

एक आत्मावलोकन से शुरुआत करनेवाला यह पर्चा इन प्रश्नों की दिशा में एक प्रस्थान है।  

आयोजक 
न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनिशिएटिव ( हिंदी प्रदेश)

Peru, Honduras, Chile and Challenges before the Latin American New Left

Feminist demonstration in Santiago – a crucial factor in the Boric victory, image NACLA

A New Left Resurgence

Leftists are Ascendant in Latin America as Key Elections Loom‘ announces a recent report in New York Times. And this report isn’t talking only of Leftist victories of the last two years but also of possible forthcoming ones in Brazil and Colombia, later this year. ‘Economic suffering, widening inequality, fervent anti-incumbent sentiment and mismanagement of Covid-19 have all fueled a pendulum swing away from the center-right and right-wing leaders who were dominant a few years ago’ underlines the report.

Close on the heels of the victory of Xiomara Castro as the first Left-wing, woman President in Honduras in the beginning of December 2021, came the news of the victory of Gabriel Boric in Chile (19 December). Unlike the socially conservative Left wing position of Peru’s Pedro Castillo, who stands opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, the Chilean victory, in particular, has been strongly backed by the feminist and queer movements. Honduras’ Xiomara Castro too has legalization of abortion as one of her election planks, which is significant since it is one the few countries that has a complete ban on abortion as of last year.

Continue reading Peru, Honduras, Chile and Challenges before the Latin American New Left

Help Us Fight ‘Progressive ‘ Cyberlynching: An Appeal from Kerala

The infamous infant-snatching case in Kerala has opened up too many harsh truths about this society. It is not easy to express the pain in acknowledging it. After all, for many of us who have stuck back here with the intention of participating in what was once a fairly vibrant political life, this monstrosity that looms over all aspects of life, private and public (as so terrifyingly evident in the experience of Anupama Chandran) is a daunting sight. Not that there weren’t glimmers of it earlier, but the full menace has become visible only now.

Continue reading Help Us Fight ‘Progressive ‘ Cyberlynching: An Appeal from Kerala

Here Comes Papa!! In Kidnappers’ Own Kerala

GR Santhosh Kumar captured the crux of the unbelievable denigration of democracy by the ruling CPM leadership who are out to defend their local level leaders guilty of the grossest patriarchy that rivals any khap panchayat misogyny. The context is the ongoing struggle by a couple, Anupama Chandran and Ajithkumar, to find their baby who was abducted by her parents, both influential local-level leaders of the CPM, last year and given away illegally for adoption. The story of Anupama’s experience of unspeakable death threats, physical violence, cheating, exposure to health risk, forced confinement, denial of vital information and means of communication, casteist insults, and on and on strips off the claims of women’s empowerment which the left in Kerala has claimed for so long. On social media, thousands of left supporters have literally rubbished women’s rights and the Indian Constitutional morality itself, even as the AIDWA in Kerala has been largely struck dumb.

The cartoon is a spoof on Raja Ravi Varma’ famous mother-and-child painting ‘Here Comes Papa’ in which an aristocratic woman dressed in a way identifiable as ‘traditional’ holds her baby and points to it the unseen ‘papa’ . Though the cartoon is captioned ‘Know the pain of the adopting mother’, an obvious reference to the cry by CPM sympathisers on social media that the child need not be returned, and that the adopting mother was fitter, and though the protagonists here are Pinarayi Vijayan and Anupama’s father, Peroorkkada Jayachandran, who he has been defending, it has layers. Ajithkumar’s dalit status and his earlier marriage has, in the eyes of CPM supporters, rendered him unfit for fatherhood — of a child by the daughter of an influential CPM family. Papa, then, and Papa’s coming, continues to be our favourite obsession.

How Could You Allow This to Happen? Urvashi Butalia Writes to the Kerala Chief Minister

Dear Chief Minister


Throughout the terrible times we have seen these last two years, it is the news from Kerala that has helped so many of us to keep faith in governance – that a state can be honest, open, participatory, concerned for its people, focused on health, and not play politics, all of these have been remarkable and many of us, Keralites and non-Keralites alike, have drawn valuable lessons from the Kerala experience.

Continue reading How Could You Allow This to Happen? Urvashi Butalia Writes to the Kerala Chief Minister

Rise Above Traditional and Conservative Misogyny — Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala: Kalpana Kannabiran

Today morning we woke up to the news that the Child Welfare Committee has ordered that Anupama’s child must be brought to Kerala in five days for a DNA test.

However, the process is still overseen by the officials who directly connived to give the baby away for adoption. The family’s criminal acts are still under a very lax, lagging investigation. Anupama’s educational certificates are still in their possession and the police refuses to intervene to restore them to her.

Indeed, the evil that Prof Kannabiran identifies so excellently in this letter must still be fought, until justice is done. Just the return of the child to Kerala cannot replace justice. Anupama suffered tremendous domestic violence, deliberate endangerment, cheating, and illegal custody at the hands of her family. That cannot be papered over,

Continue reading Rise Above Traditional and Conservative Misogyny — Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala: Kalpana Kannabiran