Category Archives: Right watch

The Gujarat Politics of Remission: People’s Union for Democratic rights

Image courtesy Times Now

Statement by People’s Union for Democratic Rights

The controversial garlanding of the recently released 11 individuals, by members allegedly belonging to the VHP on August 16, 2022, raises a pertinent question: why were these individuals released? Obviously, the fact that they had been in prison for well over the mandatory 14 years made them eligible for availing the remission policy of the state government.

It is a settled principle within remission policy that the pre-mature release of convicted prisoners must fulfil the goals of rehabilitative or reformative justice. For this reason, remission is not an automatic process available to all convicts who have served 14 years; instead, there are clear criteria for eligibility. While the report prepared by the state government’s committee formed after the Supreme Court’s judgment of May 2022 is not available, it is reasonable to ask how the 11 individuals fulfilled the criteria. Continue reading The Gujarat Politics of Remission: People’s Union for Democratic rights

गुजरात में हुए सामूहिक बलात्कार और हत्याओं के 11 दोषियों की समय से पहले रिहाई को तुरंत रद्द किया जाए!

For complete list of signatories and statement in English, see here.

न्याय के लिए बिलकिस बानो के 20 साल के संघर्ष  में हम उसके समर्थन में एकजुट हैं

हम मांग करते हैं कि सामूहिक बलात्कार और हत्या के 11 दोषियों की समय से पहले रिहाई को तुरंत रद्द किया जाए!

न्याय के लिए संघर्ष  कर रहे सभी बलात्कार पीड़ितों पर इसका अत्यघिक नकारात्मक और बुरा असर पड़ेगा !

हम भारत के सर्वोच्च न्यायलय से इस फैसले को जो कि न्याय पर एक गंभीर आघात है, को पलटने की मांग करते हैं

हम भारत के सभी नागरिकों को अपील करते हैं कि वे इस अन्याय के खिलाफ और बलात्कार पीड़ितों के समर्थन में खड़े हो

15 अगस्त 2022 की सुबह, 75वें स्वतंत्रता दिवस पर राष्ट्र को संबोधित करते हुए भारत के प्रधानमंत्री ने महिला अधिकार, गौरव और नारी-शक्ति के बारे में बात की। उसी दिन दोपहर में ‘बिलकिस बानो’, एक महिला जो उसी ‘नारी – शक्ति ’ की मिसाल के रुप में पिछले 17 साल से न्याय की लम्बी लड़ाई लड़ रही है, को पता चलता है कि वे लोग जिन्होंने उसके परिवार के लोगों को मार डाला, उसकी 3 साल की मासूम बच्ची का कत्ल किया, उसके साथ सामूहिक बलात्कार किया और फिर उसे मरने के लिए छोड़ दिया, वो सभी जेल से बाहर आ गए हैं और आज़ाद हो गए हैं। किसी ने उससे उसके विचार नहीं पूछे या उसकी सुरक्षा के बारे में जानने की कोशिश नहीं की। किसी ने उसे नोटिस भी नहीं भेजा, किसी ने नहीं पूछा कि एक सामूहिक बलात्कार की पीड़ा से निकली महिला को अपने बलात्कारियों की रिहाई के बारे में सुनकर कैसा मेहसूस हुआ। Continue reading गुजरात में हुए सामूहिक बलात्कार और हत्याओं के 11 दोषियों की समय से पहले रिहाई को तुरंत रद्द किया जाए!

The flag is ours! Azadi bhi!

Students, journalists, writers, poets in jail on trumped up, false charges

Three potent symbols  – the Azadi slogan, the Constitution and the National Flag – have formed the core of the battle against Hindu Rashtra and capitalist expropriation over the last decade. Continue reading The flag is ours! Azadi bhi!

भारतीय फ़ासीवाद और प्रतिरोध की संभावना : आशुतोष कुमार

Leading Critic Ashutosh Kumar, Editor ‘Aalochana’ , who teaches at Department of Hindi, Delhi University will be delivering the sixth lecture in the ‘Sandhan Vyakhyanmala Series’ ( in Hindi) on Saturday,13 th August,  2022, at 6 PM (IST).

He will be speaking on ‘ भारतीय फ़ासीवाद और प्रतिरोध की संभावना’ ( Indian Fascism and Possibility of Resistance) 

This online lecture would be held on zoom and will also be shared on facebook as well : :facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89995508417?pwd=QWdlMVVjNElaUXEyQURZd2dFVTNrUT09

Meeting ID: 899 9550 8417
Passcode: 336956

Organised by :NEW SOCIALIST INITIATIVE ( NSI) Hindi Pradesh 

संधान व्याख्यानमाला : छठा वक्तव्य 

विषय : भारतीय फ़ासीवाद : प्रतिरोध की संभावना 

वक्ता : अग्रणी लेखक एवं संपादक ‘आलोचना’

आशुतोष कुमार 

हिंदी विभाग, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय 

शनिवार, 13 अगस्त, शाम 6 बजे 

सारांश :

भारतीय फ़ासीवादऔर प्रतिरोध की संभावना 

कुछ  प्रश्न:
क्या भारत की वर्तमान परिस्थिति को फासीवाद के रूप में चिन्हित किया जा सकता है? अथवा क्या इसे केवल सांप्रदायिक ध्रुवीकरण , धार्मिक कट्टरता और रूढ़िवाद की राजनीति के रूप में देखा जाना चाहिए? यह सवाल महत्वपूर्ण इसलिए है किस के जवाब पर इस परिस्थिति से मुकाबला करने की रणनीति निर्भर करती है।

अगर यह फासीवाद है तो इसके उद्भव और वर्तमान शक्ति-सम्पन्नता के आधारभूत कारण क्या हैं? क्या यह केवल वैश्विक वित्तीय पूंजीवाद के संकट की अभिव्यक्ति है, जैसा कि प्रभात पटनायक जैसे अर्थशास्त्री समझते हैं?

 क्या भारतीय फ़ासीवाद जैसी किसी अवधारणा के बारे में सोचा जा सकता है? या यह सिर्फ एक वैश्विक प्रवृत्ति है ?

अगर यह फ़ासीवाद नहीं है तो क्या यह पश्चिम और पश्चिमपरस्त राजनेताओं और बौद्धिकों द्वारा अन्यायपूर्ण ढंग से दबाए गए हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद का उभार है, जैसा कि के भट्टाचार्जी जैसे सावरकरी टिप्पणीकार दावा करते हैं?

क्या यह संघ के बढ़ते लोकतंत्रीकरण के चलते उसके नेतृत्व में वंचित- उत्पीड़ित जन समुदाय द्वारा किया गया सत्ता परिवर्तन है, जिसने कुलीन वर्गों की कीमत पर अकुलीनों को शक्तिशाली बनाया है? जैसा कि अभय कुमार दुबे और बद्री नारायण जैसे सामाजिक लेखक संकेत करते हैं?

 क्या वर्तमान सत्ता संतुलन को बदला जा सकता है? इसे कौन कर सकता है और कैसे?

कुछ बातें

फ़ासीवाद का सबसे बड़ा लक्षण कार्यपालिका,विधायिका और न्यायपालिका के एक गठबंधन के रूप में काम करने की प्रवृत्ति है। लोकतंत्र में इन तीनों के अलगाव और इनकी स्वायत्तता पर इसलिए जोर दिया जाता है कि कोई एक समूह राजसत्ता का दुरुपयोग न कर सके। तीनों निकाय एक दूसरे पर नजर रखने और एक दूसरे को नियंत्रित करने का कार्य करें। इस व्यवस्था के बिना एक व्यक्ति और एक गुट की निरंकुश तानाशाही से बचना नामुमकिन है।

अयोध्या-विवाद से लेकर गुलबर्ग सोसाइटी जनसंहार  और छतीसगढ़ जनसंहार तक के मामलों में हमने सुप्रीम कोर्ट को संविधान-प्रदत्त नागरिक अधिकारों और न्याय की अवधारणा के विरूद्ध राज्य के बहुमतवादी फ़ैसलों के पक्ष में खड़े होते देखा है. हाल ही में सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने धन-शोधन निवारण अधिनियम के अन्यायपूर्ण प्रावधानों के खिलाफ दी गई याचिका पर राज्य के पक्ष में फैसला दिया है. सीएए और धारा 370 के निर्मूलीकरण जैसे मामलों में चुप्पी साधकर भी उसने नागरिक अधिकारों के विरुद्ध राजकीय निरंकुशता का समर्थन किया है.

नाज़ी जर्मनी में ग्लाइसेशतुंग या समेकन के नाजी कानूनों के जरिए इसी तरह राज्य के सभी निकायों को सकेन्द्रित और एकात्म बनाया था.  हिटलर की तरह मुसोलिनी ने भी ‘राष्ट्र-राज्य सर्वोपरि’ के सिद्धांत के तहत न्यायपालिका को पालतू बनाने का काम किया था. भारत में भी हमने गृह मंत्री अमित शाह को सबरीमाला  मामले में  सुप्रीम कोर्ट को चेतावनी देते देखा है.

भारत में फ़ासीवाद के सभी जाने पहचाने लक्षण प्रबल रूप से दिखाई दे रहे हैं। एक व्यक्ति की तानाशाही और व्यक्ति पूजा का व्यापक प्रचार। मुख्य धार्मिक अल्पसंख्यक समूह के विरुद्ध नफरत, हिंसा और अपमान का अटूट सिलसिला। अल्पसंख्यकों के खिलाफ अधिकतम हिंसा के पक्ष में जनता के व्यापक हिस्सों का जुनून। विपक्ष की बढ़ती हुई असहायता। स्वतंत्र आवाजों का क्रूर दमन। दमन के कानूनी और ग़ैरकानूनी रूपों का विस्तार। मजदूरों और किसानों के अधिकारों में जबरदस्त कटौती। आदिवासियों, दलितों और स्त्रियों के सम्मान के संघर्षों का पीछे ढकेला जाना। शिक्षा पर भगवा नियंत्रण। छात्रों के लोकतांत्रिक अधिकारों का विलोपन। फ़ासीवादी प्रचार के लिए साहित्य, चित्रकला, मूर्तिकला, सिनेमा और दीगर कला-विधाओं के नियंत्रण और विरूपण को राज्य की ओर से दिया जा रहा संरक्षण और प्रोत्साहन।

अभी भी कुछ लोग भारत में फासीवादी निज़ाम से सिर्फ इसलिए इंकार करते हैं कि इस देश में गैस चैंबर  स्थापित नहीं किए गए हैं। उन्हें समझना चाहिए कि भारतीय फ़ासीवाद ने फ़ासीवाद अतीत से बहुत कुछ सीखा है। उसने समझ लिया है कि भारत जैसे विशाल और विविधतापूर्ण  देश में  भौतिक गैस चैंबर से कहीं अधिक असरदार और स्थायी  व्यवस्था है देश के भीतर सामाजिक और  मनोवैज्ञानिक गैस चैम्बरों का विस्तार।

लगभग समूचे देश को एक ऐसे सांस्कृतिक गैस चेंबर में बदल दिया गया है, जिसमें एक व्यक्ति और एक विचारधारा की गुलामी से इनकार करने वाले स्वतंत्रचेता जन अपने जीवित होने का कोई मतलब ही ना निकाल सकें।

यूरोप की लोकतांत्रिक परम्पराओं के कारण फ़ासीवादी राज्य की स्थापना के लिए कानूनी बदलावों की जरूरत थी. भारत में ‘भक्ति-परम्परा‘ की जड़ें बहुत गहरी हैं. शर्तहीन-समर्पण का संस्कार प्रबल रहा है. क्या यह भी एक कारण है कि भारत में यूएपीए और अफ्स्पा जैसे कुछ विशेष कानूनों के अलावा व्यापक कानूनी बदलावों की जरूरत नहीं पड़ी है?

फ़ासीवाद की मुख्य जीवनी शक्ति नफ़रत की भावना है। हमारे देश में वर्ण व्यवस्था और जाति प्रथा के कारण अपने ही जैसे दूसरे मनुष्यों से तीव्र नफरत का संस्कार हजारों वर्षों से फलता फूलता रहा है। वोट तंत्र ने इस नफरत को उसकी चरम सीमा तक पहुंचा दिया है। क्या भारतीय फ़ासीवाद नफरत के इस चारों ओर फैले खौलते हुए समंदर से उपजे घन-घमंड के रूप में ख़ुद को जनमानस में स्थापित कर चुका है?

इस बातचीत में मैं ऐसे ही कुछ सवालों के जरिए यह देखने की कोशिश करूंगा कि क्या हम ‘भारतीय फासीवाद’ की कोई व्यवस्थित  सैद्धांतिकी निर्मित करने के करीब पहुँच गए हैं. ऐसी किसी संभावित सैद्धांतिकी की रूपरेखा  क्या होगी और इस उद्यम से हम अपने किन सवालों के जवाब हासिल करने की उम्मीद कर सकते हैं. 

Burning Questions before the Sri Lankan People’s Movement: Maya John

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

[This article is based on a talk delivered at the online session organised by International Solidarity with the People’s Movement in Sri Lanka on a 23.07.2022]

The people’s movement in Sri Lanka has entered into a deadlock with the ‘(s)election’ of Ranil Wickremesinghe as President. Within hours of him assuming office, a mid-night crackdown on the Galle Face protest camp was unleashed. Only cowards attack in the dead of the night as they have much to hide during the day. Despite brutal state repression, the people’s movement shows a resilient commitment to continue. This resilience stems from a simple fact: the people are fighting against Wickremesinghe for the same reason why they were fighting against his predecessor.

Continue reading Burning Questions before the Sri Lankan People’s Movement: Maya John

Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India – Statement in Support of Teesta, Sreekumar & other Human Rights Defenders in India

260 prominent human rights activists, intellectuals, journalists, artists and community leaders from all over the world strongly condemned the arrest of eminent human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and R.B. Sreekumar , Sanjiv Bhatt (already in prison for over 18 months) as well as journalist and fact checker Mohammed Zubair in India. The newly launched broad-based alliance, Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India, had appealed for this show of solidarity. 

Statement in Support of Teesta, Sreekumar & other Human Rights Defenders in India

We the undersigned, concerned citizens of the world, and representing various human rights organizations, condemn the arrest of veteran human rights leader, Teesta Setalvad and other Human Rights Defenders. These are Prisoners of Conscience in India, and all such prisoners must be freed.

June 25, 2022 marked the 47th anniversary of the dark era of an Emergency in India, when a government hijacked the whole edifice of the state. The ruling party and its leader treated the state as their personal estate. It was the imposition of a highly concentrated apparatus of power on a fundamentally free and federal society, and the turning over of this centralized apparatus for personal vengeance and pursuit of raw political power. It was one fell swoop overtaking the whole country, spreading a psychosis of fear and terror. Continue reading Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India – Statement in Support of Teesta, Sreekumar & other Human Rights Defenders in India

Letter to Chief Minister of Karnataka: Concerned citizens

Letter to CM of Karnataka by by a group of concerned citizens based in Karnataka

June 24, 2022

To Shri Basavaraj Bommai,  Chief Minister of Karnataka

Sub: Concerns about peace and harmony within Karnataka and the urgent need to restore the state to a “sarva janangada shantiya thota

Respected Chief Minister,

We have been trying to secure an appointment with you through your office for over a month. We wished to present this letter to you in person. Since we have not succeeded in our efforts, we have decided to issue it as an open letter since we believe that it concerns matters of public importance. We consider it our duty as citizens to bring our concerns and suggestions to your attention. We hope you and the government you head will take due note of it.

The letter follows:

We are a group of concerned citizens from different walks of life based in Karnataka who, like lakhs of fellow citizens, are deeply disturbed by recent developments in the state that threaten to destroy the peace, diversity and pluralism for which Kannada Naadu has long been known and admired. We believe it is our duty to bring our concerns and suggestions to your attention for corrective action. Continue reading Letter to Chief Minister of Karnataka: Concerned citizens

 The Role of Individuals in resisting the Majoritarian State – Aakar Patel

Eminent author and rights activist Aakar Patel will be delivering the 17 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series, organised by New Socialist Initiative, at 6 PM (IST), Sunday, 3 rd July, 2022.

He will speak on ‘The role of individuals in resisting the majoritarian state’. You can also watch it live at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

About the Speaker :

Aakar Patel is a syndicated columnist, author and rights activist and is Chair, Amnesty International India

He has edited English and Gujarati newspapers. His translation of Saadat Hasan Manto’s Why I Write was published in 2014 ( Tranquebar). His study of majoritarianism in India ‘ Our Hindu Rashtra : What It Is. How We Got There came out in 2020 ( Westland) and his next book which seeks to explain data and facts on India’s performance under Narendra Modi, titled ‘Price of ‘The Modi Years‘ was published in 2021 ( Westland). His forthcoming book is on protest and participation by citizens

Abstract :

The role of individuals in resisting the majoritarian state.

India is going through a transformational period when many feel constitutional values have been undermined, an oligopoly has been handed control over large parts of the economy and the secular and pluralist basis of the nation are being eroded. 

What can the individual do in these circumstances? A talk on the ways of meaningful resistance

Letter to UP Administration: Women’s groups, democratic rights organisations and concerned citizens

Statement by women’s groups, democratic rights organizations and individuals

Shri Ajay Singh Bisht, The Chief Minister, UP

Shri Avnish Kumar Awasthi, Secretary, Home, UP

Dr Devendra Singh Chauhan, DGP, UP

Shri Ajay Kumar SSP, UP Police

We, the undersigned women’s organisations, democratic rights groups and individuals, write to you to strongly condemn the attempts of the Uttar Pradesh police to take into custody civil society activists who have been active in the anti-CAA struggle on the false and completely unsubstantiated claim that they were “masterminds” of the protests that happened in different parts of the country on June 9-10, 2022.

These protests were followed by police action in which several people have been injured. The police have unleashed bulldozers to demolish the homes of activists in a brazen and illegal manner. Police have filed cases against a number of people and sought to detain them and members of their families. Instead of compensating those whose houses have been unjustifiably demolished, your administration continues to take the same illegal path of throttling dissent. Continue reading Letter to UP Administration: Women’s groups, democratic rights organisations and concerned citizens

CCG Open Statement on the Sedition Provision in the Indian Penal Code

Statement by Constitutional Conduct Group

We are a group of former civil servants of the All India and Central Services who have worked with the Central and State Governments in the course of our careers. Our group has no affiliation with any political party, and we, as its members, believe in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India.

On May 11, 2022, a chorus of appreciation greeted the Supreme Court’s interim orders on a batch of cases which had challenged the constitutionality of the sedition provision contained in Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).  The Supreme Court’s order was an interim one, viz. to keep in abeyance this section and all related pending trials, appeals and proceedings until further orders.  While we would, like others, wish to applaud this decision of the Supreme Court, we feel that, at present, it deserves only a muted cheer.   Continue reading CCG Open Statement on the Sedition Provision in the Indian Penal Code

The Hindu deity as juristic person – A dangerous path, yet again: Rahul Govind

Guest post by RAHUL GOVIND

Gyan Vyapi Mosque and Kashi Vishwanath  Temple (Image courtesy Indian Express)

The present controversy over several religious sites threatens to tread yet again the path that led to the communal mobilization, riots and destruction of the Babri Masjid. The popular press also repeats several legal arguments without always analysing their import. In the present cases, just like in Ayodhya, a key point that we hear time and again is that when it comes to the Hindu deity’s property, such property is perpetual and therefore even if a temple was destroyed centuries ago, the legality of the Hindu deity’s property remains unimpeded, thereby becoming the basis of a reclamation. It is therefore important to understand the legal concept of the Hindu deity’s juristic personality. Continue reading The Hindu deity as juristic person – A dangerous path, yet again: Rahul Govind

No End to ‘Tamas’ ( Darkness) Around ?

One can imagine that if the plan to provoke riots before Eid in Ayodhya would have been successful, how it could have easily spilled over to the other parts of the country.

Image for representational purpose. Credit: Hindustan Times

It was the early 1970s when Bhisham Sahni, the legendary Hindi writer had penned the novel Tamas. It looks at the Hindu-Muslim riots in India in the backdrop of the Partition. Its central character is Nathu, who is Dalit and does the work of removing hides from dead animals. A local politician persuades Nathu to kill a pig; the act is later used to foment a riot in the city.

It has been more than 40 years since the novel was written, but it still resonates with today’s India as it throws light on the ‘fault lines’ of Indian society and shows the ease with which they can be weaponised.

A fortnight back, a similar attempt to provoke a riot was made in Ayodhya using a similar technique; however, prompt action by the district police averted a riot there.

( Read the full article here)

Academics and activists in solidarity with Dr Ravi Kant, Lucknow University

We, the undersigned academics and activists, express our deep concern regarding the public heckling, intimidation and abuse directed at Dr. Ravi Kant, Associate Professor of Hindi and well known Dalit intellectual, on the premises of Lucknow University by a mob allegedly comprising students of the university as well as outsiders. Highly divisive and incendiary slogans, which included threats to Dr Ravi Kant’s life, were raised, and the Dept of Hindi of the University was surrounded. Dr Ravi Kant was forced to take shelter in the University Proctor’s office for several hours. The ostensible reason for this protest were remarks that he made in a discussion in the well-known online channel Satya Hindi, about the Gyan Vapi Mosque in Varanasi, in which he cited a story about its origins narrated by Patabhi Sitaramaiya in his book ‘Feathers and Stones’. Dr Ravi Kant, while making this reference, was careful to emphasize that this narrative could only be called a ‘story’, as its author did not cite any source in support. Nevertheless, within less than twenty-four hours of these remarks, a maliciously edited extract of his comment was circulated online which, by the next morning, snowballed into a violent protest which has created a grave threat to Dr Ravi Kant’s safety.

Continue reading Academics and activists in solidarity with Dr Ravi Kant, Lucknow University

Politics of Cultural Nationalism, People’s Opinion and Hindi Intellectual : Virendra Yadav

Leading Writer and Critic Virendra Yadav will be delivering the fifth lecture in the ‘Sandhan Vyakhyanmala Series’ ( in Hindi) on Saturday,14 th May,  2022, at 6 PM (IST).

He will be speaking on ‘सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद की राजनीति , जनमानस और हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी’ ( Politics of Cultural Nationalism, People’s Opinion and Hindi Intellectual)

This online lecture would be held on zoom and will also be shared on facebook as well : :facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84131408337?pwd=ZUp6eWg5WGdYVVY1ZkdzQ3ZzRnhoQT09

Meeting ID: 841 3140 8337
Passcode: 692956

Organised by :

NEW SOCIALIST INITIATIVE ( NSI) Hindi Pradesh

——–

संधान व्याख्यानमाला – पांचवा वक्तव्य

विषय : सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद की राजनीति , जनमानस और हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी 

वक्ता : अग्रणी लेखक एवं आलोचक वीरेंद्र यादव 

शनिवार, 14 मई , शाम 6 बजे 

सारांश :

1- ‘सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद’ मात्र एक राजनीतिक व्यूहरचना न होकर एक ऐसी अवधारणा है जिसकी गहरी जड़े पारम्परिक रूप से  हिंदू जनमानस में  मौजूद हैं।
2- 1857 से लेकर 1947 तक विस्तृत ‘स्वाधीनता’ विमर्श में इस हिन्दू मन की शिनाख्त की जा सकती है।
3- स्वाधीनता आंदोलन इस हिन्दू मन से मुठभेड़ की नीति न अपनाकर मौन सहकार की व्यावहारिकता की राह पर ही चला।
4- हिंदी क्षेत्र में तर्क, ज्ञान  व  वैज्ञानिक चिंतन की धारा भारतीय समाज की वास्तविकताओं में कम अवस्थित थीं, उनकी प्रेरणा के मूल में पश्चिमी आधुनिकता व वैश्विक प्रेरणा अधिक थी।
5- हिंदी क्षेत्र व समाज में ज़मीनी स्तर व हाशिये के समाज के बीच से जो तार्किक, अंधविश्वास विरोधी व विज्ञान सम्मत सुधारवादी प्रयास हुए उन्हें मुख्यधारा के चिंतन-विचार में शामिल नहीं किया गया।
6- ध्यान देने की बात है कथित ‘हिंदी नवजागरण’ विभेदकारी वर्ण-जातिगत सामाजिक संरचना की अनदेखी कर प्रभुत्ववादी मुहावरे में ही विमर्शकारी रहा।
7- संविधान सम्मत धर्मनिरपेक्ष आधुनिक भारत की परियोजना में    भारतीय समाज की धर्म व जाति की दरारों के जड़मूल से उच्छेदन को प्रभावी ढंग से शामिल नहीं किया जा सका।
8-सारी आधुनिकता के बावजूद हिंदी बुद्धिजीवियों का वृहत्तर संवर्ग वर्ण और वर्ग से मुक्त होकर   जनबुद्धिजीवी की भूमिका न अपना सका।
9- सामाजिक न्याय की अवधारणा का मन में स्वीकार भाव न होना, हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी की एक बड़ी बाधा है।
10- ‘सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद’ का प्रतिविमर्श रचने के हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी के उपकरण वही रहे जो हिंदू बुद्धिजीवियों के।
11- हिंदी बुद्धिजीवी के सवर्णवादी अवचेतन से उपजा दुचित्तापन ‘सांस्कृतिक राष्ट्रवाद’ का प्रतिविमर्श रचने में एक बड़ी बाधा है।

आयोजक : न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनिशिएटिव NSI  ( हिंदी प्रदेश)

STOP UNLAWFUL DEMOLITIONS IN DELHI: Women’s groups, other groups, and concerned citizens of Delhi

Letter of Deep Distress and Concern to
THE LG OF DELHI, CM OF DELHI, COMMISSIONER, MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF DELHI

Stop Unlawful Demolitions in Delhi;
Compensate, Rehabilitate, Restore Livelihoods
of the Affected Immediately

We, the undersigned, wish to express our deep concern at the bulldozer-led demolitions carried out by various municipal corporations in Delhi. As is well known, the first round of demolitions was carried out by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Jahangirpuri resettlement colony on April 20, 2022, soon after the communal violence in the area just four days prior to that. The recent visits to and subsequent statement by the SDMC Mayor regarding areas earmarked for future demolition points to the real and present danger that the actions in Jahangirpuri and Kalyanpuri over the past week will be repeated in these areas that have already been named – Shaheen Bagh, Jasola, Sarita Vihar, Jaitpur and Madanpur Khadar.  It is deeply disturbing that demolitions in these areas have been put on hold only because the Delhi Police publicly asked for ten days’ notice in order to cooperate with the order. Massive presence of paramilitary forces in some of these areas as well as frequent processions of slogan shouting crowds led by BJP leaders are contributing to an overall climate of intimidation and terror.

It is appalling that the bulldozers hired by civic authorities are targeting temporary structures essential for livelihood such as handcarts and cycle carts, fruit stalls, gumtis, and wooden ‘shop’ tables. These structures are used all over the country by some of the poorest communities in the city – rickshaw pullers, fruit vendors, women running marginal and subsistence businesses, ragpickers, garbage sorters, vendors and hawkers. The brutality of the action to destroy the precious belongings of some of the poorest residents of the city is unprecedented in the history of Delhi. The affected are overwhelmingly unprotected informal economy workers who have already suffered sudden and severe destruction of their livelihoods during last two years of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.  Continue reading STOP UNLAWFUL DEMOLITIONS IN DELHI: Women’s groups, other groups, and concerned citizens of Delhi

Silence of the Powerful

Why the Corporate Czars are Silent over increasing attacks on Social Fabric and rising Communalism 

Celebrity actors and players share an interesting commonality in this part of South Asia.

Their moral compass normally veers towards the ‘righteousness’ of the rich, powerful and the influential.

Lynching of innocent people on the streets for their faith, social and governmental hounding of lovers belonging to different communities, call for genocide of religious minorities from public forums and similar hate filled acts, nothing normally impinges on their conscience.

Corporate elites are qualitatively no different.

Occasionally, there are feeble voices of disagreements also.

What Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – founder of India’s largest biopharmaceutical company Biocon – did was exactly this only. She expressed her indignation about growing religious divide in the country and underlined how it would be detrimental to India’s global leadership in ITBT ( Information Technology and Bio Technology)

Definitely her statement which was couched in ‘economic terms’ was very mild, but it did not stop attacks by right-wing trolls.

( Read the full article here)

 Secularism, Communalism and Indian Politics Today : Professor Achin Vanaik

The 15 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series will be delivered by Prof Achin Vanaik on Sunday, 27 th February at 6 PM (IST) 

He will be speaking on 

Secularism, Communalism and Indian Politics Today‘ 

Speaker 

Writer and Social Activist, Former Professor of Political Science at Delhi University Prof Achin Vanaik is a fellow of the Transnational Institute

He is author of numerous books including The Furies of Indian Communalism ( 1997) , The Painful Transition : Bourgeois Democracy in India ( 1990) , Hindutva Rising – Secular Claims, Communal Realities (2017), “Nationalist Dangers, Secular Failings:A Compass for an Indian Left”

Summary  : 

The presentation will start with a series of definitions of crucial concepts such as secular, secularization, secularism as well as distinguishing between religious fundamentalism, religious nationalism and communalism. This is important to get a handle on how the widespread Indian understanding of secularism as an ancient form of ‘tolerance’ is dangerously mistaken. Of course the rise of the political right and far-right is a global phenomenon in the last few decades giving rise to different forms of what can be called the ‘politics of cultural exclusivism’. So the first principle of explanation for this rise has also to be transnational. After this the question of the rise of the Sangh/BJP in the wider context of developments in India over time will be taken up. It is obvious that the Sangh/BJP is seeking to expand its existing power and influence i.e., to establish and expand its hegemony and this must be understood as well as what are the projects central to its efforts to establish a Hindu Rashtra or Nation. It should be obvious that its particular conception of how to secure a strong Indian nation/nationalism must be exposed and combated. The presentation will end with recognising that this is a long term struggle and how we must go about it.

New Socialist Initiative 

The psyche and the temptations of Hindu Rashtra: Jaya Sharma

Guest Post by JAYA SHARMA

How is it that even as Uttar Pradesh  goes to the polls, even as desperate youth go on a rampage to demand employment, their Chief Minister remains focused on evoking violent fantasies around the ‘M’ of the Mafia.  How is it that the facts of Kairana matter so little when Adityanath evokes the “Kashmir-like” Hindu exodus?  How is it that the CM’s followers on twitter express their adoration with descriptions of their “mazaa” – enjoyment – at the UP police lathi charge against anti-CAA protestors? [1]

The lethal absurdities of national politics that have liberals and progressives tied up in knots of despair do not belong to the territory of rationality. As we scramble to understand the appeal of Hindu nationalist leaders like Yogi Adityanath, in this article, I would like to draw your attention to the ‘psyche’ as a lens through which to understand the pull of ideologies embodied by such leaders. Might the lens of the psyche also help us consider whether followers of such hardline leaders are ‘zombies’ (as suggested by NDTV’s Ravish Kumar[i], whose fan I am, too) are not as different from us on the liberal or progressive end of the spectrum as we might want to believe?  Might it be, that the extent of difference between the progressive “us” and right-wing “them” is that they stand a much greater chance of enjoying that enviable and rare mix of safety and adventure so elusive in our lives?

Love, Sex Aur Politics

Walk with me for a moment into the territory of sex and love, another part of our lives where rationality seems to lose its grip. Continue reading The psyche and the temptations of Hindu Rashtra: Jaya Sharma

Doctored History : From Ancient Times till Today – Prof Irfan Habib

The 14 th Lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series  organised by New Socialist Initiative was delivered by Prof Irfan Habib, Famous Historian, Public Intellectual and Marxist Thinker, on Sunday  30 th January 2022 at 6 PM (IST).
Prof Habib spoke on ‘Doctored History : From Ancient Times till Today’


About the Speaker :

Prof Irfan Habib ( Professor of History at the Aligarh Muslim University, Retd) is a well-known historian and author of the The Agrarian System of Mughal India ( 1963), An Atlas of the Mughal Empire ( 1982), Essays in Indian History : Towards a Marxist Perception ( 1985) , The Economic History of Medieval India : A Survey ( 2001) ,  Medieval India : The Study of a Civilisation ( 2008), a multivolume study titled ‘People’s History of India’ etc and has edited many books

The lecture was live on facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi.

Please write to us at democracydialogues@gmail.com if you are interested in getting updates about coming lectures.

– New Socialist Initiative

p.s. Here is a playlist of  lectures in the series :

 : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtXBfoS5KZ78UFI_aYzROjUss8ZzhUKxy.

Why Hindutva Loves to hate Ashoka the Great

Ashokan lions adorn Indian currency and the Dharmachakra features in the tricolour. Neither symbol has any sanctity for the ideologues of the ruling dispensation.

ashoka

Thousands of kings and emperors shone for a brief moment in history, then quickly disappeared. But in ‘The Outline of History: The Whole Story of Man’, H.G. Wells writes, “Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day.” The famous British historian EH Carr also wrote, “What is history? It is a continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts, an unending dialogue between the present and the past.”

Yet, history is a continuous ‘us versus them’ for some individuals and outfits in India. Their interaction with the past typically degenerates into a vicious monologue aimed to vitiate the present and control the future. Nowhere is their vandalism of history more visible than what the Hindutva brigade is doing to the last great Mauryan ruler, Ashoka (304-232 BCE). Often compared with a medieval Mughal ruler—whom the Hindutvadis detest and distort in equal measure—they are now transforming the Ashokan period beyond recognition into a symbol of cruelty and bigotry.

Ashoka is widely known to have filled with remorse after the tremendous bloodshed in the battle of Kalinga. After that, he is known to have devoted his life to “conquest by Dhamma or right/moral life”. It is less known that Ashoka was among the earliest rulers to launch public utilities such as hospitals, encouraged tree-plantation, dug public wells and ordered the construction of rest houses along roads. His commitment to public reason is considered phenomenal, as he, two hundred years before Christ, organised the earliest open general meetings in the world.

( Read the full article here)

Jnanpith Award to Damodar Mauzo and Right-Wing Extremism

jananpith

The literary award must generate wider discussion in society on what plagues us. After all, the writer has always been outspoken against extremism.

This year’s Jnanpith Award for best literature has gone to Damodar Mauzo, the famous Konkani novelist and short story writer. The great Assamese poetic talent, Nilmani Phookan Jr, has also been awarded the Jnanpith for 2020. Hopefully, as we celebrate “their outstanding contribution towards literature,” our discussions will not remain confined to the literary domain.

In his acclaimed novel, ‘Karmelin’ (1980), Mauzo writes about the abuse of women who go to work as housemaids in the Middle East. This novel came long before everybody started talking about this issue. His story, ‘The Burger’, is about two school friends, Irene and Sharmila, and the guilt little Irene experiences over ‘polluting’ Sharmila with a beef burger. Another story describes how cow vigilantes intimidated a Dalit youth long before others talked about the phenomenon.

Maybe Mauzo could see beyond the immediate and obvious, which prompted his social and political actions on issues of concern to all of society. That social engagement allowed him to observe the dangers that lurked in our society in the form of the right-wing, and gave him courage to never shy away from boldly speaking out against them.

( Read the full story here)