Response to Critics of AAS-in-Asia boycott: Ajantha Subramanian et al

Continuing the debate on the controversial Association of Asian Studies conference recently held in Delhi, to which Pakistani participants were denied visas by the Indian government, following which there was a call to boycott the conference.

Nandini Sundar wrote an article in The Wire which we re-posted on Kafila. This is a response to that article by Ajantha Subramanian, Suvir Kaul, Rupa Viswanath, Rebecca Karl, Ania Loomba and Nate Roberts, also in The Wire.

As signatories to the call for a boycott of the AAS-in-Asia conference in Delhi (July 4-8, 2018), we have been vocal critics of how the Association for Asian Studies – a membership-funded professional organisation based in the US for scholars of Asia around the world – has handled the government of India ban on Pakistani scholars (based on both nationality and descent). We now write because the debate that our call for action provoked raises important questions about location, ethics and nationalism when it comes to the right to protest. These questions are important in our age of escalating international exchange as well as national chauvinism.

Our critique has focused on the AAS, an organisation that was informed of the preemptive ban and which, in conjunction with Ashoka University, their private university partner in New Delhi, concealed it from the general membership – as well as the general public – for months. Although the organisation claims it did its part by putting the letter banning Pakistanis on its conference website, no one would find it unless they were looking for it. Knowledge of the ban only became public when The Wire broke the story on June 7, 2018.

Read the rest of this article here.

 

Fascinating Manu

It is easy to see the linkages between Manu, Nietzsche, Hitler and the worldview of Hindutva supremacism

RSS and Fascism

Manu and his ‘magnum opus’ Manusmriti keeps hogging headlines in the 21st century as well.

Thanks to the fascination it still holds among the Hindutva supremacists of various kinds even around seventy years after the promulgation of Constitution, which in the words of Dr Ambedkar, had “ended the rule by Manu”.

The latest to join the ‘mission glorification’ of Manusmritihappens to be another stalwart from the Hindutva brigade, called Sambhaji Bhide, the leader of Shivpratishthan Sangathan, who also happens to be an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. Addressing his followers known as dharkaris (believers of violence) – as opposed to varkaris(who go to Pandharpur from Pune on foot), he exhorted them to disseminate Hindu religion and form Hindu Nation. He also added how ‘Manusmriti was superior to the teachings of saints Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram’. 

( Read the full article here : https://newsclick.in/fascinating-manu)

Who feeds whom? Reflections on the Left responses to the Abhimanyu murder case

The recent murder of an SFI activist, Abhimanyu, at the Maharajah’s College, Ernakulam, allegedly by activists of another student organization, the Campus Front, has once again triggered a series of intense campaigns against the Popular Front of India (PFI), which is accused of having terror links, even with the ISIS. This last claim has become commonsense almost impossible to contest.

Continue reading “Who feeds whom? Reflections on the Left responses to the Abhimanyu murder case”

അഭിമന്യുവധം ഉയർത്തുന്ന കാതലായ പ്രശ്നം

സത്യം പറഞ്ഞാൽ അഭിമന്യു എന്ന വിദ്യാർത്ഥിയുടെ ഞെട്ടിക്കുന്ന കൊലപാതകത്തിനു ശേഷം ആ ചെറുപ്പക്കാരൻറെ മാതാവിൻറെ വിലാപം മാത്രമാണ് ഇപ്പോഴും മുഴങ്ങിക്കേൾക്കുന്നത്. ആ ശബ്ദം മനസ്സിൽ നിന്ന് മായുന്നതേയില്ല.

Continue reading “അഭിമന്യുവധം ഉയർത്തുന്ന കാതലായ പ്രശ്നം”

“Selfless Patriot” – In Search of the Real Shyama Prasad Mukherjee

Shyama Prasad

It has been said with good reason that the Jana Sangh resulted from a combination of a partyless leader, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, and a leaderless party, the RSS”.

(The Jana Sangh: A Biography of an Indian Political Party, by Craig Baxter p. 54) 

1.

In Search of the “Selfless Patriot”

An untimely death of a political leader — whose career is just blossoming — is always a loss to the party they belong to, the ideology they espouse, or the cause(s) they pursue. It also leaves the field open for political pundits of different shades to make all sorts of speculations, or to involve themselves in endless deliberations about what would have been the future of the formation if the said person hadn’t died.

The death of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (06 July 1901 – 23 June 1953), founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh (precursor to the BJP), at the relatively young age of 52 years, can be considered one such loss for the project he had undertaken. One cannot stop thinking about how the party he helped found after resigning from Hindu Mahasabha would have developed had he remained alive. His differences with the Hindu Mahasabha, which he even led in 1944, were political in nature, and stemmed from the considered opinion that it abandoned its exclusivist character.

However, to his legatees, who are always bothered very little by the nuances and niceties, he is a leader who provides them a fig leaf to counter the criticism that they had played no role in freedom struggle, or had no place in the comprehensive list of ‘makers of modern India’. Their ascension to the citadel of power has provided them with ample opportunity to project him as a key figure in the ‘Making of India’. (https://thewire.in/politics/search-syama-prasad-mookerjee-true-patriot)

In addition to that, by repeatedly claiming that ‘history failed to serve justice to Mukherjee,’ they are able to easily target Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, who played the key role in institutionalising democracy after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and early demise of Sardar Patel, and was aware that any leeway to Hindu Supremacist ideology would lead India into becoming a mirror image of Pakistan — a Hindu Pakistan.

( Read the full article here : https://newsclick.in/selfless-patriot)

Great Dance of Return in Gaza – Performing Palestinian Dabke in the Midst of Zionazi Attacks

This dance – the Palestinian Dabka – was performed amidst firing by Israeli Zionazis  on the 30th of June 2018. Remember the cowards stepped up their attack on Gaza as the holy month of Ramzan began. This video has all the ambient noises – of the firing of bullets and other war sounds and is therefore worth listening to. It has also gives you a sense of the extremely tense situation at the border.

To listen to the cleaner version, where you can hear the sound of the music more clearly, click here and listen to the second video.

 

Citizens’ Solidarity with Voices of Democracy – Against the Arrest of Five HR Activists

[This is a statement of solidarity endorsed and signed by over 200 intellectuals, artists, academicians, lawyers, journalists, and students in support of the five arrested in connection with Bhima-Koregaon case. In the 43rd year after Emergency was declared in this country, this statement was issued on June 25th 2018 condemning the arrest of such voices of democracy and demanding their immediate and unconditional release.]

We condemn the arrest of five human rights activists, professors and lawyers in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon clashes early this year. The alarming arrest of Advocate and General Secretary of Indian Association of Peoples’ Lawyers (IAPL) Surendra Gadling, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) Public Relations Secretary Rona Wilson, Head of English Department Professor Shoma Sen of Nagpur University and member of Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), cultural activist and founder of Republican Panthers Jaatiya Antachi Chalwal Sudhir Dhawale and anti-displacement activist and Prime Ministers Rural Development Fellow (PMRDF) Mahesh Raut is a clear manifestation of state terror to crush the voices of dissent in this country.

The intemperate use of sections of the IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on all five reveals legal over-reach and exposes the desperation to foist extraordinary and excessive charges on all five to ensure they remain in the clutches of the Fadnavis-Maharashtra government. All the arrested have consistently worked for the assertion of oppressed and marginalised communities against majoritarian forces, spoken out against Brahmanical patriarchy, upheld peoples’ rights to land, life and dignity, and have strived for the release of political prisoners.

Continue reading “Citizens’ Solidarity with Voices of Democracy – Against the Arrest of Five HR Activists”