Category Archives: Right watch

No Reason  to Bow Down to So-called Modi Storm, Time for Unity to Strike: Sankar Ray

Guest post by SANKAR RAY

We have been living through an unnatural and scary time in India. Those in power today are ideologically responsible for destroying the greatest achievement of India’s freedom struggle. The achievement is stable parliamentary democracy, one of the main conditions for whose existence and development is accommodation of dissent and transparency therein. The symptoms of this destruction are often horrendous.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 156 out of 182 seats in the recently held Gujarat Assembly elections. The pattern of state politics was completely reversed as BJP’s number of seats increased from 99 to 182 from 2017 to 2022 and Congress’s seats decreased from 77 to 17. But BJP’s strength in municipal and panchayat elections in Gujarat was decreasing.

Continue reading No Reason  to Bow Down to So-called Modi Storm, Time for Unity to Strike: Sankar Ray

Who are these ‘Hindus’? The Tragedy of Vizhinjam and the Despicable Cruelty of the Majority

The struggle against the ecologically-fatal Adani seaport being built at the seaside village of Vizhinjam in south Kerala is probably the first large-scale instance of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ in the history of this state. The state — the ruling government, the police, and judiciary — hold hands now in their effort to dispossess the large population of fisher people whose home this coast has been since centuries, for the convenience of predatory capital. As usual, the port-building commenced after massive ‘opinion-building’ exercises by all the major political parties among their supporters in the port-affected villages, promising them golden futures (now that the resources of the sea, which they had depended on for centuries, were robbed, in the course of some seventy years since the 20th century, through the commercialization of fisheries). Doing fieldwork in those areas around 2013, I remember how hard it was to even broach the topic without provoking massive, sometimes, violent, disagreements — it has divided the people completely and left the major social force there, the Latin Catholic Church, quite confused. Now, after 2018, the ecological destruction wrought by this foolish act of greed is nakedly evident for all with eyes to see; and most residents of the sea coast are convinced that in just a few years, the sea will take everything, including the houses built with sweat and tears, labouring for years abroad, even.

Continue reading Who are these ‘Hindus’? The Tragedy of Vizhinjam and the Despicable Cruelty of the Majority

The Two-Nation Theory, Partition and the Consequences – Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed

 Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University and a leading authority on the Politics of South Asia and an eminent author will deliver next lecture (21 st one) in the Democracy Dialogues Series, organised by New Socialist Initiative

He will be speaking on ‘The Two-Nation Theory, Partition and the Consequences’ on Sunday, 27 th November 6 PM (IST) 

The lecture will also be live streamed at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Topic : 

The Two-Nation Theory, Partition and the Consequences

1.    The Two-Nation Theory as an Idea and an Argument: The talk will contextualize the origins of the Two-Nation Theory in the background of pre-colonial and British colonial rule and analyse it in relation to competing ideas of a One-Nation Theory as well as the vaguer ideas of multiple nationalities deriving from language, ethnicity and religion. This section will also deal with British policy regarding such competing ideas of group identity and nation and nationalism. This will cover the period 1857 – 1932. However, most attention will be given to the 1928 Motilal Nehru Report (which a section of Muslims including one faction of the Muslim League was willing to accept) and Jinnah’s 14 points.

 2.      The Two-Nation Theory and the demand for Partition: The Government of India Act 1935, the election speeches and manifestos, election results and the Muslim League’s deployment of communalism as political strategy to demand partition on behalf of Muslims. The stands of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, the Communist Party of India, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Jamiat Ulema e Hind and other Islamist, regional and working-class parties of Muslims and the Sikhs of Punjab.

 3.      British policy on the future of India: from unwillingness to grant India freedom to retaining influence and control through defence treaty to finally deciding in favour of partition. The Cabinet Mission Plan, Wavell’s schemes to transfer power as an award, The British military’s transformation from opposition to support for partition; 3 June Partition Plan, the partitions of Bengal and Punjab, the 18 July 1947 Indian Independence Act.

 4.      The Partition as a flawed exercise in the transfer of power which claimed at least one million Hindu, Muslim and Sikh lives, caused the biggest migration in history (14 – 15 million) and bequeathed bitter disputes over the sharing of colonial assets, territory and claims to princely states. In this regard, the

 5.      The Partition as a referent for nation-building: while agreeing finally to the partition of India on a religious basis India held steadfastly to nation-building on a secular, liberal-democratic, inclusive and pluralist basis. The Indian constitution came to represent such a view of nation and nation-building. On the other hand, since Pakistan had been won in the name of Islam its nation-building was based on distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims and generating different formulae of differential rights. More importantly, it brought to light the deep divisions among Muslims based on sect, sub-sect and ethno-linguistic criteria.

 6.      The Partition and settling of disputes between India and Pakistan: The two-nation theory continued to define and determine relations between India and Pakistan resulting in wars, terrorism and zero-sum games in international forums.

 7.      The Partition as a historical, political, ideological and intellectual phenomenon: An Evaluation

About the Speaker :

Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed

Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University; Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. Published several books with special focus on the politics of South Asia discussed in context of regional and international relations

Latest publications, Jinnah: His Successes, Failures and Role in History,  New Delhi: Penguin Viking, 2020 won the English Non-Fiction Book Award for 2021 at the Valley of Words Literary Festival, Dehradu, India; Jinnah: His Successes, Failures and Role in History, Vanguard Books, Lahore 2021;

Pakistan: The Garrison State, Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947-2011), Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2013;

The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012- It won the Best Non-Fiction Book Prize at the 2013 Karachi Literature Festival and the 2013 UBL-Jang Groups Best Non-Fiction Book Prize at Lahore and the Best Book on Punjab Award from Punjabi Parchar at the Vaisakhi Mela in Lahore, 2016

He is working on a new book, The Partitions of India, Punjab and Bengal: Who What and Why

He is the Editor-in-Chief of the “Liberal Arts & Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ)” and also regularly writes columns in several Pakistani newspapers

Letter to Consul General, Iranian Consulate, Mumbai: Indian women’s organisations

The following letter, signed by over 300 individuals from different national and regional organisations was handed over at the  Iranian Consulate in Mumbai by six representatives on September 29, 2022.  It was received politely and acknowledged.

Mr. Abolfazi Mohammad Alikhani
Consul General,
Iran Consulate, Mumbai.

Sir,

We, women and women’s organization from India, are writing this letter to register our horror at the  brutal attacks on the women and citizens  of Iran as they protest the killing of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Gasht-e-Ershad. These brutal attacks have resulted in and continue to result in further deaths and imprisonments.

These brave women of Iran are demanding freedom from the Morality Police and the State imposing upon them what they must or must not wear and how to wear it; what they must and must not do, or act, or behave. They are rejecting this control. The men of Iran are giving full support and putting their bodies on the line alongside them. The resulting violent repression is heinous and inhuman.

We stand in solidarity with the women of Iran who came out in public to protest killing of Mahsa Amini and to voice their demands for  freedom, equality and autonomy. Continue reading Letter to Consul General, Iranian Consulate, Mumbai: Indian women’s organisations

In solidarity with the Iranian people fighting for democracy and justice: Ayesha Kidwai & Nivedita Menon

This post is jointly written by AYESHA KIDWAI AND NIVEDITA MENON

On this international day of solidarity with the Iranian people, two feminists from India send you our greetings, in complete awe of your courage, your creativity, your solidarity with one another, your relentless resistance in the face of cruel and brutal repression.

Watching the panel discussion on Jadaliyya on the ongoing struggle of the Iranian people against the authoritarian regime, we were struck by the complexity of the arguments being made. The struggle is not against Islam, and it is not about hijab everywhere and at all times. What we are witnessing in Iran is reflected all over the world wherever there is resistance to the gendered ways in which all states control populations – whether by compulsory conscription in wars the people have no interest in, or by making the hijab central to the reason of state – in Iran by compulsory veiling, in France and in India by compulsory unveiling of the Muslim woman; or in the USA by denying autonomy over their bodies to women by criminalizing abortion. Continue reading In solidarity with the Iranian people fighting for democracy and justice: Ayesha Kidwai & Nivedita Menon

Feminist reflections on the brave women of Iran: Ayesha Kidwai

Guest post by AYESHA KIDWAI

Women in Iran cast off their hijabs and occupy the streets.

Looking at these women in this photo, I think of what feelings they struggle with at this moment.

How many emotions populate this picture? Courage, triumph, feelings of being exposed, fear, the sense of a point of no-return being crossed…

But one knows they have found the one thing that will carry them beyond this moment—the long, deep embrace of sisterhood.

Inquilab Zindabad is not only said with clenched fists, it’s said with interlinked arms and bodies curved into each other. Continue reading Feminist reflections on the brave women of Iran: Ayesha Kidwai

Why remember Partition? And what to remember? Ayesha Kidwai

AYESHA KIDWAI reflects on the injustice done to Bilkis Bano on the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, by the release of the 11 convicted rapists (who raped her during the Gujarat carnage of 2002, and killed her 3 year-old daughter), by way of her translation of Krishn Chander’s short story written in 1948, entitled Ek Tawaif ka Khat, 

Our readers would remember that Ayesha has had translations posted here on Kafila earlier, some into Hindustani from English. Now you can visit her site to read all of her translations as and when she posts them there.

Here is the link to Ayesha Kidwai’s site.

Here we publish her preface and an extract from the translation. The whole story may be read on her site.

PREFACE BY AYESHA KIDWAI

There have been many in India and Pakistan (and what eventually became Bangladesh) who have always remembered the Partition of 1947. They remembered it as it the long Partition of India drew out, because they bore the marks of it on their bodies and in their families, they remembered it as they were in Parliament trying to build a state that would never face such a terrible event of rupture ever again; they remembered it even when they apparently appeared to forget it, because the only way to not let the events of terrifying trauma — of the looting, abduction, sexual violence, exile and murder— overshadow the present and the futures that had to be built. At every stage in the last 75 years, there have been people in both countries who have taken instruction from the horrors of the long Partition to interrogate what must not be done, what was must be changed, what must be erased.

Continue reading Why remember Partition? And what to remember? Ayesha Kidwai

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)