Category Archives: Movements

In Imagination, in Resistance, in Solidarity and Rage – People’s Literary Festival in Kolkata: Tamoghna Halder

Guest post by TAMOGHNA HALDER

“It was the unlikeliest setting for a ‘literature festival’. A run-down auditorium with rickety chairs secured with rope. Noisy ceiling and pedestal fans. Battle scarred tables covered with threadbare cloth. But the first edition of the People’s Lit Fest, held in Kolkata, was designed to be just that – a radically different interpretation of literature and its role in modern India”

These were the opening lines of a report by Scroll.in, on the 1st edition of People’s Literary Festival, 2018. In less than a couple of weeks, the 2nd edition of People’s Literary Festival (henceforth, PLF) will commence, once again at that run-down auditorium with rickety chairs, namely ‘Sukanta Mancha’ in Kolkata. The present article hopes to shed some light on the reasons why those rickety chairs or the noisy fans are related to PLF, but before that, as a member of Bastar Solidarity Network (Kolkata Chapter), I feel compelled to explain why we even organize PLF in the first place.

Continue reading In Imagination, in Resistance, in Solidarity and Rage – People’s Literary Festival in Kolkata: Tamoghna Halder

Gandhi’s Assassination – Much More Than Just a Murder

Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination was a culmination of a vicious campaign launched by Hindu communal groups in post-independent India

Gandhi’s_Assassination_Much_More_Murder

File Photo : Modi – India’s New Mahatma

It is far too early to dismiss the possibility of a future Hindu State in India. However, the possibility does not appear a strong one. The secular state has far more than an even chance of survival in India”

(India as Secular State, 1963).

It was the early sixties when American political scientist Donald Eugene Smith commented about the “possibility of a Hindu state in India”.

Today, even to a layperson, the secular state in India seems to be standing on very weak foundations, and the possibility of a Hindu State is far stronger than it was more than half a century ago, in 1963.

Perhaps, a pertinent expression of this transformation of India is the metamorphosis we witness in the image of Nathuram Godse – the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi — and the growing trivialisation of his most despicable act for which he and his accomplice Narayan Apte were sent to gallows. (November 15, 1949)

No doubt the act itself was the first terrorist act in independent India but was it just that or much, much more.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/gandhis-assassination-was-much-more-just-murder)

Statement on the People’s Resistance against the Citizenship Amendment Bill : New Socialist Initiative

This is a guest post by New Socialist Initiative

New Socialist Initiative stands in solidarity with the people of Assam, Tripura and the other North Eastern states in their heroic struggle against the communally motivated Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). It was only because of the resistance of the people that the government couldn’t table the Bill for voting in the Rajya Sabha after surreptitiously passing it in the Lok Sabha. This is in fact a victory for all the progressive and democratic forces of the country,who have been fighting to save and expand the secular character of the nation. While the danger still looms large and there is a strong possibility that the government may try to bring back the bill in the upcoming budget session, the mass resistance of the people has demonstrated very clearly that the evil designs of the fascists in power will not go unanswered and that the people will fight back with all their might. Continue reading Statement on the People’s Resistance against the Citizenship Amendment Bill : New Socialist Initiative

हिंदी समाज में हीरा डोम की तलाश – स्मृतिलोप  से हट कर यथार्थ की ओर

( अकार, 51 – हिंदी समाज पर केंद्रित अंक में जल्द ही प्रकाशित)

‘देवताओं, मंदिरों और ऋषियों का यह देश ! इसलिए क्या यहां सबकुछ अमर है ? वर्ण अमर, जाति अमर, अस्पृश्यता अमर ! ..युग के बाद युग आए ! बड़े बड़े चक्रवर्ती आये ! ..दार्शनिक आए ! फिर भी   अस्पृश्यता  , विषमता अमर है ! ..यह सब कैसे हो गया ? किसी भी महाकवि, पंडित, दार्शनिक, सत्ताधारी सन्त की आंखों में यह अमानुषिक व्यवस्था चुभी क्यों नहीं ? ..बुद्धिजीवियों, संतों और सामर्थ्यवानों का यह अंधापन, यह संवेदनशून्यता दुनिया भर में खोजने पर भी नहीं मिलेगी ! इससे एक ही अर्थ निकलता है कि यह व्यवस्था बुद्धिजीवियों, सन्तों और राज करनेवालों को मंजूर थी ! यानी इस व्यवस्था को बनाने और उसे बनाये रखने में बुद्धिजीवियों और शासकों का हाथ है।

– बाबुराव बागुल /17 जनवरी 1930 –  26 मार्च 2008/

जानेमाने मराठी लेखक

1.

वर्ष 2014 में हिन्दी की प्रथम दलित कविता कही जानेवालीे एक कविता ‘अछूत की शिकायत’ 1 के सौ साल पूरे हुए। महावीर प्रसाद द्विवेदी द्वारा सम्पादित ‘सरस्वती’ पत्रिका के सितम्बर माह में प्रकाशित अंक में यह कविता छपी थी।

हीरा डोम द्वारा रचित इस कविता पर बहुत कुछ लिखा गया है, किस तरह यह कविता साहित्य में नयी जमीन तोड़ती है, धर्म, पूंजीवाद, सामाजिक गैरबराबरियों को वैधता प्रदान करती मौजूदा व्यवस्था को प्रश्नांकित करती है, ढेर सारी बातें लिखी गयी हैं। फिलवक्त़ न मैं इसकी तरफ आप का ध्यान दिलाना चाहता हूं, न इस बहस की तरफ कि क्या उसे प्रथम दलित कविता कहा जा सकता है या नहीं ! साहित्य के सुधी पाठक एवं प्रबुद्ध आलोचक इसके बारे में मुकम्मल राय दे सकते हैं। /इतनाही याद रखना जरूरी है कि पत्रिका में छपनेवाली रचनाओं के बारे में संपादक के तौर पर महावीर प्रसाद द्विवेदी काफी सख्त माने जाते थे। उनकी इस सख्ती का अन्दाज़ा इस बात से लगता है कि निराला – जो बाद में महाकवि के तौर पर सम्बोधित किए गए – उनकी चन्द कविताएं भी शुरूआत में उन्होंने लौटा दी थीं। लाजिम है कि हीरा डोम की इस कविता को प्रकाशित करने में भी उन्होंने अपने पैमानों को निश्चित ही ढीला नहीं किया होगा।/

कल्पना की जाए कि सरस्वती के अंक में अगर उपरोक्त कविता छपी नहीं होती तो हीरा डोम नामक वह शख्स ताउम्र लगभग गुमनामी में ही रहते। कोई नहीं जान पाता कि उत्पीड़ित समुदाय में एक ऐसे कवि ने जन्म लिया है, जिसकी रचनाओं में जमाने का दर्द टपकता है। Continue reading हिंदी समाज में हीरा डोम की तलाश – स्मृतिलोप  से हट कर यथार्थ की ओर

50 Years Later, Shadow of Keezhvenmani Continues to Hover Over our Republic

December 25, 1968, termed as ‘Black Thursday’, saw the first mass crime against Dalits in independent India, who were fighting for respectable wages under the leadership of the Communist Party.

50 Years Later, the Shadow Keezhvenmani Continues to Hover Over our Republic

Image for representational use only; Image Courtesy : Socialist India

P Srinivasan, a veteran village functionary who cremates the dead had, in an interview done few years ago, described the darkening early morning on December 26, 1968, when the bodies began arriving from Keezhvenmani, a non-descript village in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu.

The village functionary, called Vettiyan, who is nearing 60 now, still remembered the number: “There were 42 corpses in all, horribly burnt and mangled. The stench was awful,” Pointing towards the plot of land where they were cremated, he said “All of them were Dalits, burnt to death in a caste clash. I cremated them on these very grounds.”

Srinivasan, then 23-year-old, shared vivid details of that ‘Black Thursday’ in 1968, a day that has remained etched in his mind.

December 25, 2018, completes 50 years of that ‘Black Thursday in 1968’, which is remembered as the first massacre of Dalits in independent India. The Dalits were martyred while fighting for respectable wages under the leadership of the Communist Party. All of these landless peasants had started to organise themselves into a campaign for higher wages following the increase in agricultural production in the area.

(https://www.newsclick.in/50-years-later-shadow-keezhvenmani-continues-hover-over-our-republic)

Scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, It is Unconstitutional, Illegal and Immoral : 70 People’s Organizations of Assam

Guest Post by 70 People’s Organizations of Assam 

Image result for citizenship (amendment) bill 2016

( Photo Courtesy : AISA)

Protestors from various democratic organisations in Assam have began an indefinite dharna in Jantar Mantar from today 9 Dec. This includes KMSS and peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, AJYCP, Tai Ahom Satra Sontha, Asom Moran Sabha, All Asam Motok Sonmilon, All Asam Minority Students Union, and 70 other organizations of indigenous population of Assam, who are part of an umbrella platform against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. This Bill seeks to change the very definition of a Citizen of the country and include a religious dimension to it as part of the RSS’s ideological project. The effects of this Bill can be seen in starkly in Assam – which has been to fuel ethnic and religious anxieties and conflict. Protests against it has also taken unprecedented forms in recent months with participation of millions of indigenous people, including Assam bandhs, and so on.
Find below the text of the Leaflet issued by them. Please forward and Join in the Solidarity.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 15thJuly, 2016 [Bill No. 172 of 2016] has already caused deep anguish in the minds of the democratic India. A Joint Parliamentary Committee has also been constituted to examine this Bill. Despite wide-spread protests in Assam against the Bill, the BJP aggressively aims to pass the Bill in the coming Winter Session of the Parliament which will help to make their dream of the Hindurashtra a reality. 
 
*Why the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is unconstitutional, illegal, unethical and immoral?*
 
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to make fundamental alterations in the citizenship and immigration norms of India on the basis of religion. The Bill proposes to exclude ‘minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan’ – from the scope of the definition of being ‘illegal migrant’. The Bill further reduces the requirement of 11 years to acquire “citizenship by naturalization” to only six years of ordinary residence for such immigrants. The ‘Statement of objects and reasons’ of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 also makes it clear that the Bill intends to declare ‘illegal migrants’ as Indian citizens. Several Indian government notifications and orders have already enabled persons of these communities who had entered India till 31st December, 2014 to get shelter without valid documents. 
 
The Bill will change the philosophical premise on which Indian citizenship is granted. The principle on which Indian citizenship is granted is jus soli where citizenship of a person is determined by the place where a person is born. However,if the Bill passes, it will make a shift from jus soli to jus sanguinis, where a person acquires citizenship on the principle of blood, which our Constitution-makers consciously avoided. India’s Constitutional experts have opined that the Bill is unprecedented as never before has religion been specifically identified in the citizenship law as the ground for distinguishing between citizens and non-citizens. The ideas spelt out in the proposed Bill are against the ethos and spirit of the Indian Constitution. It will violate the spirit of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution and is also against the Articles 14, 15, 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution. 
 
An extra-ordinary and widespread peoples’ movement has now swept across Assam and the entire North-East India against the Bill. We, the people of Assam feel that the Bill will change Assam’s political, economic and social fabric forever. The Bill will violate the clause 6 (A) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, a special provision for Assam, which is a non-obstante clause. If the Bill passes, it will make the Assam Accord null and void. It will be a violation of the national promise. The people of Assam are afraid that the Bill will open ways to creating further insecurity and pressures in a region already over-burdened with large-scale demographic changes due to illegal migration. It will create religious basis for it, and fuel fresh rounds of ethnic and religious conflict.
 
*We, an umbrella platform of 70 ‘Jatiya’ (national) organizations of Assam, are on a hunger strike for an indefinite period in Delhi from 9th December, 2018 demanding the immediate scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 for the sake of the Indian Constitution, and its moral, legal and ethical values, and to protect Assam and her inhabitants from another long spell of social and political strife.*
 
*The Government of India plans to pass the Bill in this Winter Session of the Parliament. We appeal all political parties, organizations and individuals of India to be united to oppose this unconstitutional Bill. We sincerely believe that you will extend your support to us, and oppose the Bill to save our Constitution and democracy.*
 
contact: secretarykmss@gmail.com, 8638084494, 8826219749

 

 

 

 

 

The Kisan Charter – ‘Farmers are not just a residue from our past but integral to the future of India and the world’

Kisan Mukti March in Delhi, image courtesy New Indian Express
Till just the other day, they were committing suicide, while some of them were demonstrating in Jantar Mantar, Delhi, humiliating themselves by disrobing and eating rats, trying in vain to draw the attention of the political establishment to their plight.  And to pour salt on their wounds, BJP leaders were saying that committing suicide had become a fashion among farmers! Today they are out on the streets, demanding, among other things, that their own debts be written off, not of the powerful and predatory capitalists. (See the Charter of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee below). This is, in all probability, the sign of a decisive shift, for today the charter relseased by the Coordination Committee declares loud and clear that
Farmers are not just a residue from our past; farmers, agriculture and village India are integral to the future of India and the world.

Continue reading The Kisan Charter – ‘Farmers are not just a residue from our past but integral to the future of India and the world’