Free the Maruti Workers: Maruti Suzuki Workers Union


Guest Post by Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union

[This is a statement and an appeal by the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union condemning the unjust handing down of a life sentence to 13 workers of the Maruti Suzuki Manesar Factory for a ‘murder’ (of an HR Manager) that the prosecution could not prove that they had committed. Here too, the prosecution, and the judgement, relies on a chimera, ‘the reputation of make-in-india’ to justify a harsh punishment. Those who have watched this space will recognize that this recourse to figures of speech in the absence of evidence is a familiar move. It has happened before – to satisfy the hunger of a ‘collective conscience’ when a so-called ‘temple of democracy’ was attacked. This time it has been invoked to defend the ‘fake-in-India temple that houses the deity of a rising GDP’, which would of course otherwise be besieged by insurgent workers.

This text contains a hyperlink to a detailed reading and rebuttal of the prosecution’s arguments, which demonstrates how money and muscle power can always be an adequate replacement for legal acumen in the State of Haryana. Please do follow that link. For the further edification of our readers, we append a short video interview by Aman Sethi of the Hindustan Times of the special public prosecutor, which spins some imaginative legal theory and also radically updates our sense of class struggle. Please do have the patience to view that video. We promise that this will be rewarded. – Kafila Admin.]

Continue reading “Free the Maruti Workers: Maruti Suzuki Workers Union”

UAPA – A Video Dossier: Media Collective, Arun Ferreira &Vernon Gonsalves

Video by Media Collective, Article by Arun Ferreira and Vernon Fernandes

Fifty Years of Unreasonable Restrictions

Arun Ferreira & Vernon Gonsalves 

Soon after its adoption, the Constitution of India was amended in 1951. At the time several progressive judgements[i] by the Judiciary held that laws which curb fundamental rights are essentially unconstitutional and fundamental freedoms could only be curbed in the most extreme of cases. The First Amendment, countered this by amending Article 19 to add the word ‘reasonable’ before restrictions and to add ‘public order’ as being one more ground for abridging Fundamental Rights.

The evolution of UAPA[ii] has to be seen in the background of this gradual but steady constriction of Article 19 which guarantees the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly, association, etc. Continue reading “UAPA – A Video Dossier: Media Collective, Arun Ferreira &Vernon Gonsalves”

A Small Matter of Security – Holding the Guilty Accountable for What Happened in Ramjas College on the 22nd of February: Shafey Danish

This is a guest post by SHAFEY DANISH

Ramjas students and faculty held hostage inside campus by ABVP cadre

The violence that gripped Ramjas College on the 21st and 22nd of this month is now national news. We heard belligerent slogans by ABVP members of ‘chappal maro saalon ko’ (beat them with slippers), we saw students being chased on the campus, and we saw students being beaten up. All this culminated in a situation where students and teachers were held captive for over five hours within the campus premises. Let me emphasize that this violence was completely unprovoked.

On the 22nd of February, some of the students who were simply sitting with their friends were attacked. The police came and formed a cordon around them. Others joined the students in a gesture of solidarity. Teachers joined them to ensure that the students were not assaulted. The police cordon became their prison for the next five hours. And even then they were not safe.

They were repeatedly assaulted, threatened, and abused. All of this happened in front of their teachers and, more importantly, in front of the police, who, as is well known by now, did not do anything substantial. They could have maintained the cordon around the protesters, arrested those who were repeatedly carrying out the assaults, or – at the very least – prevented the attackers from coming back in (they had left for some time to attack the protest going on outside). But they did not. Whether this was because they were under pressure or because they were complicit is besides the point. The point is that students and teachers remained at the mercy of their attackers for over five hours.

But on the same day something far more ominous was also going on.

Continue reading “A Small Matter of Security – Holding the Guilty Accountable for What Happened in Ramjas College on the 22nd of February: Shafey Danish”

असहमतियाँ इस दौर में – प्रसंग जोधपुर विश्वविद्यालय : हिमांशु पंड्या


1-2 फरवरी को अंग्रेज़ी विभाग द्वारा आयोजित संगोष्ठी में प्रो. निवेदिता मेनन के व्याख्यान के बाद जयनारायण व्यास विश्वविद्यालय सुर्ख़ियों में है. विश्वविद्यालय में घट रहे विवाद को देखकर लग रहा है कि एक साल पहले की सारी कहानी ज्यों की त्यों दोहराई जा रही है. एक साल पहले उदयपुर में सुखाडिया विश्वविद्यालय में हुए व्याख्यान के बाद भी यही सब हुआ था. अफवाहें, तथ्यों का गलत सलत प्रस्तुतीकरण, मनगढ़ंत आरोप और तत्काल सजा. फ़र्क यह है कि इस बार हमले की तीव्रता और फैसले की हड़बड़ी ज्यादा है.

सबसे पहले उन बिन्दुओं पर चर्चा कर लें, जो आरोप की शक्ल में जोर जोर से दोहराए जा रहे हैं.

प्रो. मेनन के व्याख्यान पर मुख्य आरोप यह है कि उन्होंने देश का नक्शा ‘उल्टा’ दिखाकर राष्ट्र का अपमान किया. जिस बात को इतना बड़ा हौव्वा बनाकर पेश किया जा रहा है, वह एक सामान्य सा अकादमिक अभ्यास है, जो दुनिया भर में मान्य है. दुनिया गोल है और नक़्शे में उत्तर-दक्षिण-पूर्व-पश्चिम सिर्फ हमारी संकल्पनाएँ हैं. उत्तर आधुनिक विचारकों द्वारा पूर्व पश्चिम के द्वैत को बरसों पहले खारिज किया जा चुका है. उत्तर औपनिवेशिक इतिहास लेखन की एक सम्पूर्ण धारा है जो यूरोकेंद्रित इतिहास दृष्टि को खारिज करके नई सोच के साथ इतिहास को देखने की कोशिश करती आयी है. (और इस धारा में गैर मार्क्सवादी ही नहीं, दक्षिणपंथी रुझान वाले इतिहासकार भी शामिल हैं) इसी क्रम में नक्शों के यूरोकेंद्रित होने को चिह्नित करते हुए न मालूम कितने प्रयोग हुए हैं. आप एक लेख से इसकी झलक पा सकते हैं. (1) और तो और, आप चाहें तो उल्टा नक्शा अमेज़न पर जाकर खरीद भी सकते हैं. (2) सिर्फ उल्टा ही नहीं, ग्रीनविच रेखा की केन्द्रीय स्थिति (यानी यूरोप की केन्द्रीय स्थिति) को बदलकर या ध्रुवों के परिप्रेक्ष्य से दुनिया को देखकर या और भी अनेक तरीकों से भूगोलवेत्ता नक़्शे को बनाते और प्रदर्शित करते रहे हैं. उदाहरण के लिए यूनाइटेड नेशंस का लोगो जिस पद्धति का अनुसरण करता है वह सरल भाषा में ‘पोलर मैप’ कहा जा सकता है.

यू एन का लोगो

यू एन का लोगो

वैसे आपका नक्शा जैसा भी हो, जो चाहे उसे आयताकार फैला दे पर दुनिया गोल ही है और भारत के विश्वविद्यालय, मध्ययुगीन चर्च नहीं हैं.

सबसे मजेदार बात यह है कि जो विवादित चित्र प्रो. मेनन ने अपने व्याख्यान के दौरान दिखाया, वह NCERT की कक्षा 12 की किताब में एक दशक से है, अभी भी है और उसे देश भर के लाखों शिक्षक और विद्यार्थी रोज देखते हैं. और तो और एक साल पहले तक यही किताब हमारे अपने राजस्थान पाठ्य पुस्तक मंडल की किताब भी थी और इस तरह हमारे राज्य में भी लाखों शिक्षक-विद्यार्थी इस नक़्शे को देखते आये हैं. अंग्रेज़ी-हिन्दी दोनों पुस्तकों का पेज नं 150 देख लीजिये. अंग्रेज़ी वाला हमारे दोस्त ने उपलब्ध करवा दिया है. Continue reading “असहमतियाँ इस दौर में – प्रसंग जोधपुर विश्वविद्यालय : हिमांशु पंड्या”

Statement Against the Harassment of Dr Rajshree Ranawat


It is extremely disturbing that Dr. Rajashree Ranawat, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur, has been suspended by her university for having supposedly “disobeyed” the orders of the university.  The suspension letter does not mention which orders she has not obeyed.

It can therefore be concluded that Dr. Ranawat is being punished for having invited Prof. Nivedita Menon as a speaker in an academic conference which had academics and civil society workers from different disciplinary and ideological backgrounds participating in it. The conference was very successful with students and teachers interacting with outstation scholars in a free atmosphere. After its conclusion, a nasty campaign was launched by some newspapers that Prof Ranawat as organiser had provided a platform to a “controversial” person like Prof. Menon who used the occasion to malign the image of Indian soldiers, questioned the accession of Kashmir to India and insulted the integrity of India by inverting its map. Continue reading “Statement Against the Harassment of Dr Rajshree Ranawat”

CPM in Kerala = Caste-Gender Elitism Minus Cow

This is my Malayalam opinion piece for iemalayalam, on something despite the outcry against the CPM in the mess around Kerala Law Academy.  The public discussion has been, not unexpectedly, on the line of Kerala’s well-entrenched scandal journalism, which has a history of a hundred years, at least. This is a form of journalism that highlights the sexual lives – proper or improper – of powerful male politicians which accompanies the attack on their public failings directly or indirectly- a very highly successful tactic, hitherto, to undermine even the seemingly unassailable. When women began to figure in this kind of journalism as something more than just passive sexual objects, as active agents of corruption and manipulation – most markedly, in the controversy over the businesswoman Sarita Nair – scandal journalism worked by highlighting the huge contrast between their ‘feminine-respectable’ names, sartorial styles, behaviour, and so on, and the despicable manipulations they indulged in. This is the case also with much media discussion of the principal of the Kerala Law Academy, Lekshmi Nair.

However, this tactic is not only misogynist, it also lets the elite-femininity that she represents escape critique. This is a very contemporary form of respectable femininity that presents itself as essentially domestic, but wields delegated masculine power to vicious ends, and it is almost all-pervasive in disciplinary institutions in Kerala now. Not surprisingly perhaps, the CPM’s mishandling of the issue has not just shown how poorly committed the party is to women’s rights, but also how soft it is on this elite-feminine power.

The full essay, in Malayalam:


The Indian Newspaper Industry – Response to Times of India Editorial: JAC for Implementation of Majithia Wage Board

The following is a response by M J Pandey on behalf of the JOINT ACTION COMMITTEE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF MAJITHIA WAGE BOARD, to a Times of India editorial calling for “reasonable tax and labour policies”.

With reference to the unsigned editorial ‘Indian Newspaper industry: Red Ink splashed across the bottom line’ (Times of India, Jan 19, 2017), a case is being made out for concessions to the newspaper industry on the grounds that it is in the doldrums and is beleaguered by various burdens, including that of wage board wages, GST, DAVP, etc.

Without mentioning the recent illegal closure of six editions of The Hindustan Times as the obvious peg for this, the editorial seeks a range of concessions – from a part-discontinuance of the wage board for newspaper employees, to subsidies on advertising and tax.

Clearly, what the newspaper industry has lost in judicial review, it is now seeking to stealthily recoup through administrative fiat.

Under the fig leaf of “freedom of speech”, the editorial makes a number of indefensible propositions. However, we will confine ourselves to the empiricial terrain of the Wage Boards and wish to make the following points:

That a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam had on Feb 7, 2014 (ABP Pvt Ltd and Anr vs Union of India and Ors), upheld ‘the constitutional validity of the Act and the Amendment Act, 1974’ (referring to the Working Journalists Act, 1955) and rejected the contention of improper constitution of the Wage Boards, irregularity in the procedure adopted by the Majithia Wage Board and that Majithia Wage Boards had overlooked the relevant aspects and considered extraneous factors while drafting the recommendations.

Continue reading “The Indian Newspaper Industry – Response to Times of India Editorial: JAC for Implementation of Majithia Wage Board”