Category Archives: Mirror Worlds

Remembering Chandu, Friend and Comrade: Kavita Krishnan

Chandrashekhar (Comrade Chandu)

Guest Post by Kavita Krishnan

It’s been twenty years since the assassin’s bullets took Chandu away from us, at 4 pm on 31 March 1997.

I still recall my sheer disbelief when a phone call from my party office at my hostel that evening informed me ‘Chandu has been killed.’ Chandrashekhar as well as youth leader Shyam Narayan Yadav had been shot dead while addressing a street corner meeting in Siwan – ironically at a Chowk named after JP – Jaiprakash Narayan, icon of the movement for democracy against the Emergency. A rickshaw puller Bhuteli Mian also fell to a stray bullet fired by the assassins – all known to be henchmen of the RJD MP and mafia don Mohd. Shahabuddin.

In the spring of 1997, as JNU began to burst into the riotous colours of amaltas and bougainvillea, Chandu bid us goodbye. He had served two terms as JNUSU President (I was Joint Secretary during his second stint) and had decided to return to his hometown Siwan, as a whole-time activist of the CPI(ML) Liberation. He had made the decision to be a whole-time activist a long time ago. Chandu’s friends know that for him, the decision to be an activist rather than pursue a salaried career was no ‘sacrifice.’ It was a decision to do what he loved doing and felt he owed to society.

Continue reading Remembering Chandu, Friend and Comrade: Kavita Krishnan

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

Looking ‘Right’, Talking ‘Liberal’ – The Twists and Turns of Makarand Paranjape: Anirban Bhattacharya

Guest Post by ANIRBAN BHATTACHARYA

[This missive to Makarand Paranjape, who is a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, comes in response to his recent op-ed piece in the Indian Express where he comments on the events at Ramjas College, Delhi University on the 21st of February and in their wake, in Delhi University, on the 22nd of February]

Mr. Makarand Paranjape. In your analysis of the post-Ramjas fallout in Delhi University in Indian Express on the 4th of March, one can see that you have donned a “liberal” cloak. But there were way too many holes in that cloak to go without a counter and hence this response.

Continue reading Looking ‘Right’, Talking ‘Liberal’ – The Twists and Turns of Makarand Paranjape: Anirban Bhattacharya

Sterilization Death Camps in Bilaspur: An Open Letter to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister by Concerned Citizens

[ This is a letter addressed to Raman Singh, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh by several concerned individuals and organizations regarding the impunity with which medical guidelines are put aside by professionals who enjoy the patronage and protection of the state government.]

We, the 138 undersigned individuals and organizations working across the country on health and women’s rights are shocked and dismayed that the case against surgeon Dr. R. K. Gupta has been dismissed by the Hon’ble High Court on grounds that “the alleged act committed by the petitioner was while acting in discharge of his official duty and admittedly no previous sanction was obtained before initiating prosecution case against him”.

The Anita Jha Judicial Enquiry Commission report has clearly pointed out that “It is evident from the facts that in the camps organized on 8.11.2014 and 10.11.2014 there was a breach in the important necessities hence the standard operating procedure were not followed. As a result of which the symptoms of infections were found in post operative female beneficiaries“. It further states that “On the background of deliberation of investigation point number 1 to 3, investigation committee has found following persons Guilty/responsible, functionary, during 08 and 10 November, 2014:- 4.1 For not following standard procedures and for medical negligence by immediate functionary Block Medical Officer, Takhatpur…………….and surgeon who conducted surgery in tubectomy camp at Sakri and Gaurella ( Surgeries were completed by the same surgeon in the both camps)”.

Continue reading Sterilization Death Camps in Bilaspur: An Open Letter to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister by Concerned Citizens

A Tale of Two and a Half Marches – Two for Azadi and a Half for Ghulami.

[Videos of song by Shehla Rashid and of speeches by Nivedita Menon, Kavita Krishnan, Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mevani, courtesy, Samim Asgor Ali]

February gives way to March and spring returns to Delhi. And what a spring it is. The right wing thugs of the ABVP choose the wrong time to attack, once again. They must really get themselves a better astrologer, or at least a better class of charlatan who can tell them if there ever is a right time to stage their goon show. I suspect there isn’t.

Spring in DU - Fight Back DU
Spring in DU – Fight Back DU

Continue reading A Tale of Two and a Half Marches – Two for Azadi and a Half for Ghulami.

Hard Ways of Lucidity – Thinking About the Crisis in the University: Prasanta Chakravarty

Guest Post by Prasanta Chakravarty

As I see it, university spaces are being assaulted at least from two sides; though it seems as if the two sides are antagonistic to each other, in practice they come dangerously close to each other. How and why is this happening, and what can be done about it?

Prasanta Chakravarty, immediately after being assaulted on February 22nd. Image from the India Today Website.
Prasanta Chakravarty, immediately after being assaulted on February 22nd. Image from the India Today Website.

Continue reading Hard Ways of Lucidity – Thinking About the Crisis in the University: Prasanta Chakravarty

Ex-ABVP Activists Reflect on How the ABVP Orchestrated 9th of February in JNU Last Year: Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal

Guest Post by JATIN GORAYA and PRADEEP NARWAL

ABVP ARE THE FOOT-SOLDIERS OF THIS FASCIST GOVERNMENT WHO ORCHESTRATED THE ATTACK ON JNU POST 9TH FEB LAST YEAR!

APPEAL TO EVERYONE TO REJECT AND ISOLATE THE KILLERS OF ROHITH AND THOSE WHO ORCHESTRATED THE #SHUTDOWNJNU CAMPAIGN!

As JNU is still recovering from the aftershocks of last year sangh parivar’s attack on our university post 9th of February we are again facing an unprecedented attack on our university – its democratic space, progressive admission policy, its inclusive character. The latter has been the heart and soul of JNU which the student movement has built over the last four decades. Last year’s attack was an attack on our right to dissent, to curb our democratic spaces and to implement the fascist Hindutva agenda on our universities. This year, in the name of “academic quality” and “excellence”, by reducing the seat intake & closing admission they want to ensure that none is able to access higher education in JNU.

We were members of ABVP previous to the events of Feb 9 last year, and we subsequently resigned because of our differences with this fascist, casteist, Brahmanical and patriarchal organisation. These differences, as we have earlier said, had been long standing ones. But after the orchestrated attack on JNU, we felt a limit had been crossed and we could no longer associate with ABVP. Continue reading Ex-ABVP Activists Reflect on How the ABVP Orchestrated 9th of February in JNU Last Year: Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal

In Solidarity with Adivasis in Bastar, Human Rights Defenders and Bela Bhatia in Bastar: Concerned Students in TISS, Mumbai

Guest Post by CONCERNED STUDENTS OF TATA INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, MUMBAI

We, the concerned students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai condemn the continuing state repression of adivasis and recent attack on human rights activist Bela Bhatia in Bastar, Chhattisgarh.

On the 23rd of January, 2017, a group of 30-odd men attacked Bela where they barged into her house in Parpa, near Jagdalpur violently and threatened to burn the building down if she did not leave immediately. The mob also attacked her landlords and their children, threatening them with dire consequences if Bela was not evicted immediately. Despite Bela’s assurances that she would leave, the mob continued to be belligerent, in the presence of the police, and the Sarpanch. The mob has been identified with the right-wing vigilante group Action Group for National Integrity (AGNI). Continue reading In Solidarity with Adivasis in Bastar, Human Rights Defenders and Bela Bhatia in Bastar: Concerned Students in TISS, Mumbai

On Indian Exceptionalism and Kashmir: Dia Da Costa

This is a guest post by Dia Da Costa

‘If Trump is elected, I will move to Canada,’ many Americans noted in passing, in jest, and then in all seriousness once the results were out.

If it has taken this election result to make people recognize the pervasive racism in the US, that is because of the success of US exceptionalism and its ability to deflect attention from its ongoing colonization of indigenous land, relentless imperialism, Islamophobia, and ongoing brutalities against black people in the aftermath of abolition and the civil rights movement. If it has taken this election result to make people really want to move to Canada, that too is because of the success of Canadian multicultural exceptionalism. Apparently, Canadian exceptionalism is still able to pass as not-as-racist by deflecting attention from its ongoing colonization of indigenous land, relentless participation in imperialism cloaked all too often as humanitarian development, growing Islamophobia, and its self-congratulatory representation of itself as having no history of slavery even as its anti-Black violence pervades cities and small towns alike.

For those of us who can recognize these forms of exceptionalism, I want to ask if we acknowledge Indian exceptionalism, and its specific relation to Kashmir? ‘If Trump is elected, I will move back to India’, I saw many Indians say on social media. If it has taken this US election result to make Indians really want to move back to India, that is not just because of the apparent success of US exceptionalism among Indians, who could see racism but could ultimately deal with, and even love life in the US. It is also because of Indian exceptionalism. To be sure, Indian exceptionalism is nurtured by the caste and class privilege that allows some Indians to declare that they will simply up and leave when the going gets tough (whether it is in India or in the US), or joke about the same.

But there is more to it. Indian exceptionalism is a state projected discourse turned commonsense perception of India as a complicated and diverse nation that is ultimately unified against all odds by the absolute commitment of its people to democracy. Whether we believe it at face value or we critique the many excesses of the Indian state, ultimately something draws us to this idea of India as the world’s largest democracy. Continue reading On Indian Exceptionalism and Kashmir: Dia Da Costa

Appeal to Join “JNU Chalo” on 15 Nov Marking One Month of Najeeb’s Disappearance: JNUSU

Guest Post by JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union)

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Friends, on 14th October night, Najeeb Ahmed, a student of M.Sc. Biotechnology, JNU was brutally assaulted and violently threatened by a group of ABVP students. From 15th October morning, Najeeb went missing from the campus. The disappearance of a student from a central university in the national capital after assault and intimidation of right wing lumpens is no doubt an ominous reflection of the dark times we are living in. For past four weeks, students, teachers, staff members of JNU, and citizens of Delhi have been coming out on the streets demanding institutional accountability to bring back Najeeb.

Continue reading Appeal to Join “JNU Chalo” on 15 Nov Marking One Month of Najeeb’s Disappearance: JNUSU

The Anatomy of a Disappearance: Shehla Rashid

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid. Videos by Haider Saif and Samim Asgor Ali

Students Gathering in a Vigil for Najeeb Ahmed at JNU

 

Think of the person closest to you, and the place that they hold in your daily life, the bittersweet memories that they create each day in your life, the daily fights and the moments of affection. At times, you fight and simply want to go away from one another, seeking a temporary calm from each other’s absence. You resolve never to call him/her again, or to speak to her/him anymore. However, by the time dusk falls, you realise the emptiness of your time without them, and you make a phone call, speaking reservedly, trying not to sound desperate or sappy. You tell them that you are coming home, and ask whether you need them to get anything- as if that were the reason for the phone call. This person could be you sister, your partner, or your best friend. Continue reading The Anatomy of a Disappearance: Shehla Rashid

The Cult of the Angry Pointed Finger, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Father

The recent order by the I&B Ministery to NDTV India to suspend broadcast for 24 hours drew a range of reactions from outrage to bewilderment. The supporters of the ruling party were of course triumphant – Subhash Chandra of Zoo, er sorry Zee News was so excited he wrote a whole article on this. But even outside the partisan responses, many well-meaning self-declared neutral janta declared that national security is not a matter to be trifled with, and that it was right for the government to admonish NDTV. Wait, ADMONISH?! Never mind that the government’s allegation of NDTV having compromised national security simply doesn’t survive a fact-check. Here is how the largest section of (English-speaking, online) popular opinion sees it.

This token punishment was good and important to show that someone is there who is monitoring the media who always thinks behind the mask of freedom of expression that they can do anything in the world. So it is important that the Government of the Day makes its presence felt otherwise there will more chaos and issues like the UPA government where everyone was going around like headless chicken and no one is bothered or cared if a Govt of Man Mohan Singh existed or NO. Even small timers like the Delhi CM AK and his Guru Anna were threatening and taking morcha in Ram leela Maidan every second day and doing expose every third day putting the Govt. of India on the back foot and in defensive mode running for shelter. Now Arvind Kejriwala and his team is running for shelter as every day a Delhi MLA is shown the door of the JAIL and Anna Hazare has been locked in a shell in his hometown watching the sunrise and the sunset. This means business, It is important that Govt of the India should show it exist otherwise human mentality is that then everyone shows that everyone exist and everyone is the BOSS. Cannot allow to happen like this MESS. PM Modi please keep it up and keep the heat on this reckless media, on AK and his gang, on others who are trying to show unnecessary activism and also the Judiciary, keep all the appointments on hold and let them slog day and night. Show who is the BOSS ! Show who is the BOSS !

Yes, Modi ji, show who is the BOSS!

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Continue reading The Cult of the Angry Pointed Finger, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Father

The Importance of Being Makarand Paranjape: Anirban Bhattacharya

Guest Post by ANIRBAN BHATTACHARYA

A few days back, drawing from Oscar Wilde’s classic, Makarand Paranjape wrote a piece titled The importance of being Narendra Modi. He urged his readers to ensure a second term for Modi saying “If Narendra Modi gets a second term, he will certainly change India in a lasting and significant way.” That he is going to change India, and is doing so already is not that far from truth, but the question is which way is this change taking us. Given the track record of Modi Ji(o) so far, the change is surely going to be for the worse. But this piece is not on Modi Ji(o). This one is on the Makarand Paranjapes of the world. Yes, they are not one. They are in fact a particular breed not new in history, and they have a particular role. Specifically, we would evaluate this role of theirs in the light of a recent piece of his on the gherao of the JNU VC.

Some would say that the piece was on the issue of Najeeb. But no, it wasn’t. Najeeb, a new student pursuing M.Sc in Bio-Tech living in Mahi-Mandavi hostel was publicly assaulted by identified ABVP goons in front of students as well as wardens on the night of 14th October. He was showered with dire consequences of which too there are multiple witnesses including again the hostel wardens. A vicious communal slur-campaign was set in motion by the sanghis writing “Muslims are terrorists” within the hostel premises. Amidst all of this and in the given context Najeeb “disappeared” on 15th October from his hostel. He had called his mother last, who, as it appears, had reached Anand Vihar and was on her way to meet her son in distress. But, by the time she was here, Najeeb went “missing” mysteriously and is yet to be found. After five days of entreating an unresponsive university administration to be proactive in creating conditions for Najee’s safe return, JNU students undertook an all night vigil on the 19th of October.

Continue reading The Importance of Being Makarand Paranjape: Anirban Bhattacharya

2 Weeks No #JusticeForNajeeb – A Few Thoughts on Yesterday’s March and the Way Forward: Shehla Rashid

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid.

Video and Photo Inputs from Naushad MK, Samim Asgor Ali and Amit Kumar

[ This post was written shortly after JNU students gathered in front of Vasant Vihar Police Station to articulate their concern and anger at the lax attitude taken so far by the Delhi Police and other concerned authorities in relation to the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed almost two weeks ago. In this text, (originally uploaded as a note on Facebook and then sent to us to be posted at Kafila) Shehla Rashid, thinks aloud about what has happened so far and looks ahead at the possible way forward for the students of JNU and their supporters to focus on making sure that Najeeb Ahmed, wherever he is, returns safe and sound to the JNU campus. We hope that it will be widely read, and discussed to evolve strategies for the evolving future of the campaign to give justice to Najeeb. Kafila]

Shehla Rashid and Others Being Confronted by Delhi Police at the Vasant Vihar Chakka Jam on Oc. 26, 2016

 

First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to all the students who joined the Chakka Jam at Vasant Vihar police station, where the ACP refused to even accept the paper with our demands and, instead, ordered a lathi-charge on us. Students marched as one and stayed together till the end, despite all differences, for one goal- justice for Najeeb, and his safe return to campus life. I salute this spirit of JNU students. Having said that, I must say that we need to do more. Students need to come out in even greater numbers, as the attack on us is of immense magnitude.

Continue reading 2 Weeks No #JusticeForNajeeb – A Few Thoughts on Yesterday’s March and the Way Forward: Shehla Rashid

The Twitter Gherao of Mamidala90 on the 10th Day of Najeeb Ahmed’s Disappearance from JNU: Shehla Rashid

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid

[ Between the 9th and 1oth day of the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed from the JNU campus, the JNU Vice Chancellor, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar decided to salvage his reputation on twitter, even as he squandered it on the grounds of the campus of the university he presides over. And so he let forth a volley of tweets, while sitting inside his office and his residence, even as he refused to meet or listen to the JNU students who have grown increasingly concerned and anxious at the university administrations callous laxity about the fate of Najeeb Ahmed, the missing students.

While students marched down the campus, forming a human chain that culminated at the gates of the VC’s residence near the university’s east gate, Mamidala90 (the handle with which the VC distinguishes himself in twitsville) began getting extremely active. While the students were peacefully assembled at the gates of the VC’s residence, very much not in ‘gherao’ or ‘blockade’ mode, Mamidala90 whined about being ‘blockaded’.

A Sample of Mamidala90's tweets while students gathered peacefully outside his residence. Is this what it felt like to hear Nero fiddle while Rome burnt?
A Sample of Mamidala90’s tweets while students gathered peacefully outside his residence. Is this what it felt like to hear Nero fiddle while Rome burnt?

Continue reading The Twitter Gherao of Mamidala90 on the 10th Day of Najeeb Ahmed’s Disappearance from JNU: Shehla Rashid

Indian and Pakistani citizens speak out against war

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Images from #ProfilesforPeace (Scroll.in)

This petition will be delivered to:

  • Prime Minister Of India Narendra Modi
  • Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif

We, the people of India and Pakistan, stand in solidarity with each other to speak out against war in any form because, in war, we are all losers regardless of who might appear to win.

We hope that the elected representatives of both countries will exercise restraint, and act with wisdom, in the interests of lasting peace in our region, which alone can ensure economic progress and political stability.

We urge our leaders to come up with creative diplomatic solutions instead of engaging in a violent display of military might that threatens to destroy precious human life and natural resources.

We are determined to end the hostility that has festered between our nations since 1947, so that we can collectively work on the challenges that our common to us: climate change, terrorism, and widespread social injustice.

We want India and Pakistan to make a joint commitment to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and our vision for a better future for the young people of this planet.

मज़ाक मज़ाक में : किशोर

Guest Post by Kishore
(Summary: Article is about recent  racial comments on a  actress  and channel’s response to it.Now a days there is increasing trend of serving any thing in the name of comedy. This article raises questions on comedy. Is purpose of comedy is just to make us laugh or it has any social resposibility)
 पिछले दिनों तानिष्ता चटर्जी के रंग पर की गयी टिप्पणी के बाद वह एक मशहूर कॉमेडी शो को बीच में छोड़ कर चली गयी. बाद में उन्होंने इस टिप्पणी को नस्लवादी करार दिया. दूसरी तरफ इस चैनल ने इस आरोप को गलत बताते हुए कहा है वह तो बस “रोस्ट” ( एक तरह की खिंचाई) कर रहे थे और रोस्ट करना उनके शो में व्यंग करने करने का तरीका है . साथ में यह भी कहा कि उन्हें पहले ही बता दिया गया था कि उन्हें “ रोस्ट” किया जाएगा. किसी के रंग पर उलटे सीधे व्यंग करना कैसी  खिंचाई है इसका कोई स्पष्टीकरण नहीं दिया गया.
इसके बाद मुझे ध्यान आया कि पिछले कुछ सालों में टेलीविजन पर कॉमेडी शो की बाढ़ सी आ गयी है जो खुद ही कुछ कह कर खुद ही हँसते है. इन शो में किसी का मजाक उड़ाना कॉमेडी समझा जाता और इनमे किसी स्थिति से हास्य पैदा करने का सामर्थ् नहीं है. इन शो में कई बार किसी व्यक्ति या समूह को नीचा दिखा कर मजाक उड़ाया जाता है. अगर मैं कॉमेडी को एक विधा समझता हूँ या मैं उस समुदाय से सम्बन्ध रखता हूँ तो इस व्यंग पर मुझे हंसी नहीं आएगी.
वैसे मुझ जैसे अज्ञानियो को इन जैसे कॉमेडी शो से ज्यादा हंसी ए इस पर दिखाए जाने वाले होरर शो पर आती है जो डराने के मकसद से बनाये जाते हैं. खैर यह दीगर बात हएै पर एक बात तो तय है कि यह शो  बहुत लोकप्रिय हुए हैं और इनको देखने वालों की संख्या लाखो में है. भले ही तानिष्ता को उनके व्यंग करने के तरीके पर एतराज हो पर लोग इस अंदाज को बहुत पसंद कर रहे हैं.
मुझे उन लोगों की बात भी याद आई जो, जो मन में आये वह कह देते हैं और फिर कहते हैं इस बात को इतनी संजीदगी से लेने की क्या जरूरत है , यह तो महज एक मजाक था. इसी तरह किसी खास समुदाय और औरतो को लेकर बहुत से चुटकले चलते हैं जिनमें बहुत खराब खराब बातें होती है, और लोग हँसते भी है . आलोचना करने  पर इतना कह  कर बात टाल देते हैं कि यह चुटकला ही तो है. आखिर हम लोग कब कॉमेडी को संजीदगी से लेना शुरू करेंगे.
कॉमेडी का एक साधारण सा नियम तो समझ आता है कि कॉमेडी में जो हंसी का पात्र बनता है या बनती है उसे खुद भी अपनी उस स्थिति पर वैसे ही हंसी आनी चाहिए जैसे  की किसी और को आ रही है.  अर्थार्थ हंसी उसके रंग रूप , आकार या नैन नक्श से निरपेक्ष उस कलाकार के हाव भाव या उस परिस्थिति से आनी चाहिए. यह स्पष्ट है कि हंसी का कारण रंग रूप , आकार या नैन नक्श नहीं है.
दूसरी बात कि हंसी का कारण किसी समुदाय विशेष के प्रति पूर्वाग्रह नहीं होना चाहिए. हम यह कह कर मुक्त  नहीं हो सकते कि यह तो एक मजाक है. वास्तविकता यह है कि इस तरह के मजाक पूर्वाग्रहों को मजबूती देते हैं. यकीन ना हो तो अपने आसपास नजर दौड़ा कर देख लो. क्या इन पूर्वाग्रहों के सुदृढ़ होने मैं इस तरह के मजाक का हाथ नहीं है? क्या औरतों और पत्नियों के प्रति होने वाले मजाक ने समाज में उनकी स्थिति को प्रभावित नहीं किया ?
इन शो में से अधिकतर शो में कलाकार अपने हाव भाव और बातों से हंसाया जाता है. अब कोई पूछ सकता है कि हाव भाव या बातों से हंसाने में बुराई क्या है. सभी महान हास्य कलाकार बातों और हाव भाव से ही तो हंसाते थे या हैं. तो यह शो उन हास्य शो या फिल्मों से अलग कैसे हुए?
अंतर है कि किन बातों या किस हाव भाव से हंसाया जा रहा है. उस बात की विषय वस्तु  क्या है. कोई हाव भाव या बात फूहड़ या अश्लील  भी हो सकती है और सौम्य  भी. अब प्रश्न यह उठता है कि यह कौन तय करेगा कि यह विषय वस्तु फूहड़ या अश्लील है या सौम्य? हर समाज में फूहड़ या सौम्य होने के कुछ मानदंड होते हैं और कॉमेडी शो कि विषय वस्तु भी उसी से तय होगी. पर यह कहने में मुझे एक खतरा दिख रहा है? जिस तरह से किसी भी चीज को अश्लील या अनैतिक बता कर उस पर हमले हो रहे और कलाकारों की अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता पर रोक लगाई जा रही  हैं उसमे इन शब्दों का प्रयोग बहुत संभल कर करना होगा.
मैं इस बात से आश्वस्त हूँ कि “ जाने भी दो यारों” नामक फिल्म में जो हास्य था वह उच्च कोटि का था और सौम्य था और जो मैं आजकल टी.वी. शो में देख रहा हूँ वह फूहड़ है. पर मैं यहाँ अपना तर्क गढ़ नहीं पा रहा कि क्या चीज “जाने भी दो यारों” को इन टी.वी. शो से अलग करती है. मेरा इस बात पे भी दृढ विशवास है  कि किसी के रंग रूप, नैन नक्श या किसी समुदाय के आधार मजाक उड़ाना गलत है . मैं पूरी तरह से इस शो के खिलाफ तानिष्ता का समर्थन करता हूँ.
बस मुझे बस इस बात पर संशय है कि किस आधार पर किसी बात को फूहड़ कहा जाएगा और किस आधार पर सौम्य?
(लेखक डेवलेपमेंट प्रोफेश्नल के रूप में  में कार्यरत हैं  और पिछले कई सालों से बाल अधिकारों के क्षेत्र में काम कर रहे हैं।)

A Fast That Ended in Hunger- Thoughts on Irom Sharmila and Hunger Strikes: Anirban Bhattacharya

Guest Post by Anirban Bhattacharya

Iram Sharmila Mural at ‘Freedom Square’ JNU. Art by Shijo Suleman and the Fearless Collective. Photograph by Rebecca John. Image, courtesy, ‘The Great Walls of India’ blog on Graffiti and Wall Art

We may have differences in our political approach as to the way and means of the struggle, but what must be stated at the outset is the fact that Irom Sharmila has certainly been an icon of resistance and inspiration in the struggle against AFSPA.

Her 16 year long hunger strike has been a grim reminder of the crimes against the Manipuri people – rape, torture, fake encounters and massacres – committed by the armed forces with impunity under such draconian Acts like AFSPA. But her abrupt decision to end her fast accompanied with her willingness to contest elections in the upcoming assembly elections have met with a mixture of shock, scepticism, disappointment, puzzlement and even anger amongst her people in Manipur and even her close associates. There also seems to be a resentment against her being in a relationship and her plan to marry. Such scrutiny/dragging of her personal life are, however, quite deplorable. But overall, the disappointment with the decision of Irom to quit fasting and contest elections is so strong that, after breaking her fast in the hospital, when she tried to go to a local activist’s shelter, the locals disapproved. She had to seek temporary shelter in an ISKCON temple along with her police guards and then was shifted to a police station and finally she was forced to retreat to the same hospital that housed her for last 16 years. Now, this is telling. But what does it tell? The answer to this question would take us away from criticisms about any particular individual, but to the evaluation of the very method of struggle that she had been a part of, its scope, effectivity and limitations.

Continue reading A Fast That Ended in Hunger- Thoughts on Irom Sharmila and Hunger Strikes: Anirban Bhattacharya

Free Khurram Parvez – An Open Letter to Civil Society: JKCCS

Guest Post by Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society on behalf of the signatories of the statement in support of Khurram Parvez

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Khurram Parve, Image, courtesy JKCCS

We, the undersigned, call for the immediate release of Khurram Parvez, a distinguished and courageous human rights defender, and write in support of the enclosed statements issued by Advocate Parvez Imroz

As we write this, Khurram Parvez has been remanded to preventive custody in a sub-jail in the highly militarized Kupwara District of Kashmir. He is expected to be produced before the court on 21 September 2016.

An executive magistrate in Srinagar issued the order against Khurram Parvez, invoking Sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (pertaining to detention for breach of peace and design to commit a cognizable offence).

The actions against Mr. Parvez are symptomatic of the escalated repression in Kashmir by institutions of state since July 8.

We note with horror that since July 2016, over 80 persons have been killed, over 11,000 persons have been injured, over 1,000 persons have been arrested and over 100 ambulances have been attacked. For 70 days now, curfew has been imposed in various parts of Kashmir. Continue reading Free Khurram Parvez – An Open Letter to Civil Society: JKCCS

No Country for Free Speech : Shiv Inder Singh

Guest Post by Shiv Inder Singh

freedom of expression के लिए चित्र परिणाम

(Photo courtesy : humanrightshouse.org)

In an open letter, Mr Shiv Inder Singh, an independent overseas journalist from Punjab, claims that he lost his job owing to his criticism of PM Modi’s government. 

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I am an independent journalist based in Punjab, India. I have been associated with the media industry for the past fifteen years. My work experience includes the time period of five years as an overseas’ contributor for Canada-based radio stations in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. In that capacity I have been giving daily news updates and political commentary on India at these radio channels.

I want to bring to your knowledge that the Vancouver-based Radio Red (93.1) FM for which I have been working since October 2014 has arbitrarily suspended my services due to political interference which amounts to trampling of freedom of expression. Continue reading No Country for Free Speech : Shiv Inder Singh