It could have been me: Rajamathangi S

Guest Post by RAJAMATHANGI S

I am one of the fortunate PhD scholars lucky enough to study in JNU. I am a Dalit woman.  My mother is my family’s main breadwinner and my father struggles as a daily wager. I have two siblings who are younger than me. My mother is a low paid private school teacher today because of the education, which her single mother provided to her. My maternal grandmother who became a widow at a young age, didn’t sit inside the house after her husband passed away, she works as a sanitation worker even today, a profession that is considered a taboo by her community people. It is the hard work of these two women that has helped me reach this position.

Because of my family situation my school education was scattered all over Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. I never studied in one school for more than two years. So one can understand how many types of schools and people I have experienced with. I started my schooling in a convent in Pondicherry. Then I went to three matriculation schools before I completed my 6th standard; after that because of my family’s economic condition I was put in Government and aided schools from class 7 till the completion of class 12. Irrespective of changing schools every alternate year I was good at my studies, I was always encouraged and motivated by my friends and by my teachers. I was always fortunate when it came to teachers: teachers stood by me in all my obstacles throughout my education wherever I went and JNU has been no exception to this.

Continue reading “It could have been me: Rajamathangi S”

Worship Cow, Despise Humanity!

How cow vigilantes are being projected as ‘modern day freedom fighters.’

cow vigilantes के लिए चित्र परिणाम

( Photo Courtesy : https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org)

Cow vigilantes attacked six people, including a 9-year-old girl in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday and fled away with their flock. The vigilantes beat up the nomad community blue and black and the minor girl has suffered multiple fractures when the community was en route to Talwara area…

(http://www.timesnow.tv/india/video/cow-vigilantes-attack-6-including-9-year-old-in-jammu/59745)

In yet another chilling instance of self-styled gau rakshaks targeting cattle traders — and mob mentality thriving undeterred — three men transporting buffaloes were attacked by “cow vigilantes” in south Delhi’s Kalkaji late Saturday, a Hindustan Times report said.

(http://www.dailyo.in/politics/cow-terror-spreads-to-delhi-the-new-normal-in-modis-new-india/story/1/16808.html)

“Cow protectionism was the spirit behind India’s freedom movement”(http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cow-protectionism-was-spirit-behind-freedom-movement-minister/article17831763.ece) The innocuous looking statement by Ms Nirmala Sitharaman on the floor of the house when she defended the shutting of illegal slaughter houses in UP had not raised any debate then. Continue reading “Worship Cow, Despise Humanity!”

Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?

My friend Guddi has a great story about a Gujjar wedding she attended recently in Ghaziabad. It was a typically chaotic event, marked accurately by the swirling crowds around the dinner stalls. If Gujjar weddings are chaotic and the dinner doubly so, the scene around the tandoor is triply compounded chaos. Barely concealed competition amongst overmuscled Gujjar men in overtight pants for that precious hot roti ensures that none but the most Hobbesian men remain, circling the tandoor like hungry wolves, periodically thrusting their plate forward like fencing champions and shouting obscenities at the harried servers. In such a heart-stopping scenario, a young server had as Guddi recounts, figured out the formula to keep everybody from killing each other (or him). As soon as the roti would be pulled out of the tandoor, seductively golden brown and sizzling, this man would hold it high up with his tongs so everybody could see, then in an elaborate dance-like ritual, touch each of the empty extended plates in front of him with the roti, and finally, in a mysterious but authoritative decision, place it respectfully on a randomly selected plate. Repeat with every single roti that emerged from the tandoor. A hushed silence followed by nervous laughter followed every such flourish.

Continue reading “Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?”

Statement of Solidarity with student protests in Panjab University, Chandigarh: Coordination of Student Forums of the five IITs

Statement by Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes’ Student Associations (COSTISA)

Image Courtesy Hindustan Times

On April 11 2017, Punjab University turned into a war zone. Tear gas, water cannons, lathis, belts and police boots were unleashed on unsuspecting students, along with the choicest of casteist and misogynist abuses. Hundreds of students were mercilessly attacked by Chandigarh police (Police even entered ladies’ hostels) for having the temerity to challenge the jaw dropping fee increase announced by the University (100-1100 percent, across various streams). The protests against fee hike were called by Panjab University Students’ Joint Action Committee, which includes student organizations such as Students for Society (SFS), NSUI, PUSU, SOI, AISA, PSU (Lalkaar). The peacefully protesting students demanded the roll back of fee hike by convening a meeting of the senate at the earliest. Their demand to meet the vice chancellor was met with the ferocious brutality of Chandigarh police.

Continue reading “Statement of Solidarity with student protests in Panjab University, Chandigarh: Coordination of Student Forums of the five IITs”

Ban self-styled vigilante groups in India – Petition

PETITION ON CHANGE.ORG

Parts of the petition are reproduced below. Follow the link given at the end to sign the petition.

Incidents of mob violence by vigilante groups have become alarmingly common in many parts of India. These groups have frequently committed serious crimes, including harassment, assault and murder…

In spite of these groups repeatedly committing atrocities against minorities, nothing substantial has been done to stop them. The Central and several State Governments have remained silent. In addition, the authorities have extended no support to the victims, predominantly Muslims and Dalits, who have lost their lives and livelihoods.

The recent debates in the Rajya Sabha and the intervention of the Supreme Court are a step towards improvement. An earlier criticism by the Prime Minister proved to be inefficient as the vigilantes continued to operate as before.

Clearly, greater social awareness and resistance is needed to combat vigilante groups. Through this petition, we express our support for the decision of the Supreme Court and demand

1. An immediate ban on vigilante groups irrespective of any cause that has brought them into existence.

2. Unconditional and unequivocal condemnation of vigilantism from the National and State Governments.

3. Social support and compensation for victims.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE.

National Call to Join Three-Day Dharna in Jaipur to Demand Justice Regarding the Lynching of Pehlu Khan

In a unique instance of a united initiative, a number of organizations in Rajasthan have come together to protest the lynching of Pehlu Khan and to demand justice in the matter. A large demonstration was recently held in Jaipur, following which many organizations of different political persuasions have come together to call for a three-day national dharna outside the Rajasthan State Assembly from 24-26 April 2017. The organizations which have issued the appeal published below include: Rajasthan Nagrik Manch, PUCL, CPI (M), CPI, NFIW, AIDWA, WRG, Vividha, National Muslim Women’s Welfare Society, BGVS, MKSS, Suchna Evam Rozgar Adhikar Manch, JIH, Dr. Ambedkar Vichar Manch, CDR, AIDMAM, Welfare Party of India, Jan Vichar Manch, Samajwadi Party, JD (U), SIO, SFI, Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh, HRLN, Samta Gyan Vigyan Manch, All India Kisan Sabha, NAPM, WRG, Vividha, SDPI, RUWA, Zari Workers Union and others.

JAIPUR CHALO!! JAIPUR CHALO!!

NATIONAL CALL TO JOIN THE DHARNA IN JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN

DEMANDING JUSTICE IN THE MATTER OF LYNCHING OF PEHLU KHAN AT BEHROR, ALWAR

Friends,

As you are aware that 55 year old Pehlu Khan a dairy farmer from Nuh, Mewat district in Haryana was lynched by a group of so called Gaurakshaks on NH 8 at Behror, Rajasthan, when he was returning with four others, including his 2 sons, in 2 pick up trucks, after buying a few cows (along with the documents) from the fair in Hatwara, near Jaipur city. At about 6.30pm on the 1st of April, their vehicles were stopped and they were pulled out of their vehicles and beaten up brutally by a mob and later Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries on the 3rd of April at Kailash hospital in Behror. Azmat who was critically injured was harassed by the police in the name of investigations, that he too was not given proper treatment and even today he remains seriously sick and in a state of trauma.

Continue reading “National Call to Join Three-Day Dharna in Jaipur to Demand Justice Regarding the Lynching of Pehlu Khan”

Beyond Defeatism – Political Parties and the Fight Against Hindutva

The following, necessarily brief, reflections have been sparked off by two recent posts on Kafila – one by Biju Mathew published on 16 April, and the other by CP Geevan, published today. These reflections should not be seen as a response to the positions taken by Biju and/ or Geevan; they are, in fact, more in the way of addressing the central question raised by Biju Mathew’s piece – that of despondency and pessimism that has followed the UP elections and more importantly, the stealthy manner in which Adityanath was installed as the chief minister in the state. Stealthy, because after all, it was amply clear even to the decision makers in BJP, from the very beginning that if they had entered the election campaign with Adityanath as the chief ministerial face, it might have yielded very different results. It was too  big a risk to be undertaken.The real stroke of Modi-fascist genius lay precisely in keeping not just the electorate but also the organizational machinery in the dark and turning it into an advantage.

As it happens, despite the sharpness of Geevan’s comments, my sense, on reading the two pieces, is that there isn’t really as great a divergence on most issues as might appear at first sight.

Continue reading “Beyond Defeatism – Political Parties and the Fight Against Hindutva”