Rehana Fatima and the Goons: A comment on the good-cop-bad-cop game that’s on in Kerala

Yesterday’s high drama at Sabarimala told us quite a lot about the games that politicians play in Kerala. Rehana Fatima, a young woman activist who decided to take the challenge (it is now a challenge, since the trekking path to the shrine is in effect controlled by Hindutva goons heaping verbal abuse, threatening open violence, and using children as shields) had to face not only the naked threats of the so-called bhakths and the vandalisation of her home at Kochi by the same elements, she had also to swallow the Kerala Minister Kadakampally Surendran’s jibe that Sabarimala was not a playground for ‘activists’! By saying so, he hinted that only ‘pure’, ‘untainted’ women believers who are apparently by definition not activists, can be helped by the Kerala Police to reach the shrine. So much for Pinarayi Vijayan’s evocation of Kerala’s legacy of enlightened Hinduism!

This is a piece I wrote in the TOI today on the issue.

 

 

 

 

സ്ത്രീവാശിയുടെ ആവശ്യകത :ശബരിമലപ്രശ്നം, സ്ത്രീകൾ, സാമൂഹ്യജനാധിപത്യം

അഭിനവ അച്ചിയാകാൻ എനിക്കു സമ്മതമില്ല. അതുകൊണ്ട് രാഹുൽ ഈശ്വറെ എന്തുവില കൊടുത്തും ഞാൻ എതിർത്തു തോൽപ്പിക്കും.

കുറേ സ്ത്രീകളെ തെരുവിൽ കൊണ്ടുവന്ന് ആചാരസംരക്ഷണത്തിൻറെ പേരിൽ സ്വന്തം താത്പര്യങ്ങൾക്കെതിരെ സംസാരിപ്പിക്കുക, അവരുടെ പൊതുജീവിതപരിചയമില്ലായ്മയുടെ ഫലങ്ങൾ കൊയ്തെടുക്കുക (പിണറായിയെ ജാതിത്തെറി വിളിച്ച ആ വിഡ്ഢിസ്ത്രീ തന്നെ ഉദാഹരണം), ബ്രാഹ്മണമൂല്യങ്ങൾ തങ്ങൾക്കു സമ്മാനിക്കുന്ന അപമാനഭാരത്തെ ആത്മീയസായൂജ്യമായി എണ്ണുന്ന അഭിനവ അച്ചി-സ്ഥാനത്തെ ഉത്തമസ്ത്രീത്വമായി ചിത്രീകരിക്കുക –ഇതൊക്കെയാണ് ശബരിമലപ്രശ്നത്തിൽ കേരളത്തിലെ ഹിന്ദുത്വശക്തികൾ ചെയ്തുകൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നത്. Continue reading “സ്ത്രീവാശിയുടെ ആവശ്യകത :ശബരിമലപ്രശ്നം, സ്ത്രീകൾ, സാമൂഹ്യജനാധിപത്യം”

നായർസമുദായാഭിമാനികളോട്: ശബരിമലപ്രശ്നം ഉയർത്തുന്ന ചില ചോദ്യങ്ങൾ

നായർ സർവീസ് സൊസൈറ്റി ശബരിമലപ്രശ്നത്തിൽ പുനഃപരിശോധനാഹർജി സമർപ്പിച്ച സ്ഥിതിയ്ക്ക് ആ പ്രസ്ഥാനത്തോട് നായർസമുദായത്തിൽ ജനിക്കാനിടയായ ഒരു സ്ത്രീയെന്ന നിലയ്ക്ക് എനിക്ക് ചില ചോദ്യങ്ങളുന്നയിക്കാനുണ്ട്. Continue reading “നായർസമുദായാഭിമാനികളോട്: ശബരിമലപ്രശ്നം ഉയർത്തുന്ന ചില ചോദ്യങ്ങൾ”

The BabriMasjid/Ayodhya Judgement of 2010 – Some questions for today

 


Babri Masjid before its demolition. It was still a mosque in 1992 when Hindutva mobs demolished it, and namaz was offered there until 1949 when under growing pressure from Hindutva forces, it was locked and made out of bounds for the public. However, Hindu puja was permitted there once a year.

This post is an analysis of the Allahabad High Court judgement of September 2010, on the BabriMasjid /Ayodhya issue. The final judgment ruled that the disputed land would be divided into three parts, one third going to the Hindu Maha Sabha which represented Ram Lalla, one third to Sunni Waqf Board and the rest to Nirmohi Akhada including Ram Chabutara and Sitaki Rasoi.

This essay was written at the time, and published in Economic and Political Weekly. Two of the key issues of this case arose in two of the recent judgments of the Supreme Court on other matters.

One, the status of ‘Next Friend’, which is central to the Ayodhya case, was brought up in the judgement on the Bhima- Koregaon Five. Regarding  the PIL filed by historian Romila Thapar and four other eminent persons challenging the alleged-unlawful arrest of these five activists,

the court assumed that the writ petition has now been pursued by the accused themselves and was of the opinion that the petition, at the instance of the next friend of the accused for an independent probe or a court-monitored investigation cannot be countenanced, much less as a PIL as the petitioners cannot be heard to ask for the reliefs which otherwise cannot be granted to the accused themselves.

Two, the status of the deity as a person in law came up centrally in the judgement on Sabarimala.

Apologies for posting this long piece, which is not a blog post but an analytical essay closely examining the 2010 judgement by Allahabad High Court. I have not updated it in any way, as that is the judgement that currently stands. The  case is currently in the Supreme Court.

The Ayodhya judgement: what next?

 Published in Economic and Political Weekly Vol 46 No. 31 July 30 – August 05, 2011

Since the Allahabad High Court judgement on the Ayodhya dispute was delivered on September 30, 2010, a substantial body of reflection upon it has emerged. Historians, political commentators, legal scholars and lawyers have all produced serious and engaged critiques of the judgement, pointing out flaws in reasoning and flaws in law. In an engagement with the debate so far, particularly with the critical voices, of which I am one, I hope here to develop a composite picture of the problems with the judgement, currently under appeal in the Supreme Court. And to ask, what are its weakest links?

Continue reading “The BabriMasjid/Ayodhya Judgement of 2010 – Some questions for today”

Do Not Ride the Tiger of Hindtuva: Sabarimala Entry and Hindutva Women

The Supreme Court judgment on women’s entry into Sabarimala has got Hindutva women in Kerala into a hand-wringing, hair-tearing frenzy, and that is to put it lightly. I say ‘Hindutva women’ deliberately, to refer to a sub-set of Hindu women, who (1) believe, like the RSS chief, that the Hindu(tva) lion is under threat from dogs (guess who the dogs are in this case) (2) identify craven submission to Hindutva commonsense about gender as ‘Indian tradition’ (3) are willing to sacrifice all public decency for the sake of upholding that common sense. Continue reading “Do Not Ride the Tiger of Hindtuva: Sabarimala Entry and Hindutva Women”

The Poverty of Politics and Pre-Requisites of an Anti-Hindutva Front: Moggallan Bharti

Guest post by MOGGALLAN BHARTI

Going by the track record of past four years of Narendra Modi’s government, the only definitive political narrative today is that of the ruling party, characterized by its brand ideological vehemence/ aggression and paralleled by corresponding ideological ennui in the opposition camp. The fact that there is an astronomical rise in hate crimes against Muslims, Dalits, Women and other minorities, silently supported by large numbers of people, underlines the  onset of an ideology, conceptualized by the caste Hindus and institutionalized as Rashtriya SwayamSevak Sangh (RSS).

The electoral success of BJP – the political wing of RSS – only points to a reality which is the logical outcome of the political processes, wherein the Hindu right has been handled with the customary albatross of secularism around all of our necks – defying the social reality of India. In a predominantly caste society, secularism tends to obfuscates real social cleavages and gives preeminence to an idea shaped by the literate elites. That is not to say there is something inherently misplaced with the idea of secularism in this country. Certainly not! On the contrary, it is the dishonesty and the utter insincerity of the India’s political class for whom the politics of secularism remains a mere means to claim political power. Nothing wrong with that too, as long as, this means was directed to its logical end of making an India actually secular. Alas, India’s attempt at constructing a sincere secular society have been halfhearted at its best and nonexistent at its worst, regardless of the secular nostalgia that some people – very sincere and honest people – find themselves attached to.

Continue reading “The Poverty of Politics and Pre-Requisites of an Anti-Hindutva Front: Moggallan Bharti”

Beware of Poisoning-Eating Maggots in Flood-Hit Kerala

In Malayalam, the usual way of referring to virulence that feeds on negative experience is paashaanathil krmi — or the maggot that is fattened by poison, instead of getting killed by it. Over the past few days, many of us have lived completely on the edge, bereft of sleep or ease, tossing about in a seemingly-unending nightmare, as the rain, floods, and landslides uproot not just our physical world, but the very culture of smugness and complacency that took over our deepest selves over the past twenty years or so. Continue reading “Beware of Poisoning-Eating Maggots in Flood-Hit Kerala”