Category Archives: Right watch

Many Ramayanas and Hindutva Brigade

A lot of you must have seen the edit in today’s HT condemning the act of vandalism and the news of the arrest of three ABVP activists. You must have also seen reports in today’s newspapers about the demonstration yesterday in Delhi University of students and teachers demanding punishment to the guilty and reiterating the pledge that the text should not be expunged just because ABVP/BJP finds it objectionable. For those who want to look up, the text in question is A K Ramanujan’s Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation, also available in a volume edited by Paula Richman: Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia (OUP; 1991.)

Continue reading Many Ramayanas and Hindutva Brigade

Gangrape in Modirashtra: Sangh Parivar Stands Indicted

What is a Chief Minister supposed to do if victim of a gangrape and her batchmates – who have similarly faced assault at the hands of the rapists – and their parents come to meet him to seek strict action in the case which has rocked the entire state ?

Courtesy demands that the chief minister spares time and at least meet the victim and formally tell them that ‘no guilty would be spared’.But when it comes to Narendra Modi, all such courteous behaviour, it appears is just a waste of time. Continue reading Gangrape in Modirashtra: Sangh Parivar Stands Indicted

Terrorism’s ‘Tenkasi’ Moment

Tenkasi, called as Kashi of the South – supposedly for its Kashi Vishvnath temple, part of Tirunelveli district (Tamil Nadu) witnessed a pipe bomb attack on RSS office on 24 th January at 9 p.m.

Interestingly nobody was injured in the attack as no one was in the office at that time. As can be expected it led to tension in the area with Sangh Parivar organisations coming out on streets demanding action against ‘fundamentalist’ groups for spreading their tentacles.

It may be noted that the city had witnessed another explosion at Tenkasi New Bus Stand just before this attack where one person suffered minor injuries.

Continue reading Terrorism’s ‘Tenkasi’ Moment

Ignoramuses Unlimited?

Saffrons have once again demonstrated their idiocy in an ingenious manner.

If you find this to be an exaggeration, then perhaps you are not reading the newspapers properly. Perhaps it is high time that you get to know the recent controversy around a textbook brought out by the NDA government in Orissa. One can just imagine that if it would have been any other state ruled by the ‘pseudo secularists’ then by now a full scale violent agitation would have seen the light of the day with all the affiliated organisations of the Sangh Parivar, lending their support. Unfortunately it is not the case. And the person in charge of education department is none other than Mr Samir Dey, a hardcore RSS pracharak from his early days. Continue reading Ignoramuses Unlimited?

“Any Policeman Can Do This”

“Any policeman can do this”: for us ungrad students in Trivandrum, Kerala, in the 1980s, this was the cool way to refer to any really low-down, low-skill task. Partly it came from the defiant mood of that decade, when political action from marginalized social groups was taking shape and acquiring strength outside mainstream politics and the state. Partly it was rooted in our common feeling that the police force was essentially nothing but an arm of mainstream political forces.

Things, however, have changed in Kerala now. Civil society has changed. Economic inequality has skyrocketed since the 1980s. Kerala now has a substantial anti-political civil society obsessed with acquiring the golden key to consumer citizenship: skills to enter the global job market. The police force, too, has changed. It appears that the police, while still at the beck and call of ruling powers, are forging a new tie with this civil society. Nowhere is this more visible than in the recently reported incidents of civil social vigilantism under the eyes of compliant policemen. A few months back, in mid-2007, a gypsy woman was manhandled by a mob in a busy market in Edappal, in the northern district of Malappuram, and the police remained passive. Comparisons with “Bihar” (which the oh-so-socially-developed-Malayalee-middle class can scarcely endure) feel fast and thick and the government had to suspend the policemen guilty of negligence. Just the other day, a twenty year old man was accused of stealing a mobile phone and attacked by a mob in Trivandrum, and the police watched as he was forced to strip in public to prove his innocence. The phone was found later on someone else. Not that these mobs are anywhere close to consumer citizenship. But the objects which appeared stolen, the loss of which incited the mob to violence in these instances, are symbols of the new wealth of the Malayalee consumer citizen: a baby’s golden anklet, and a mobile phone. Thus the police have finally found their true allies: a thoroughly anti-political civil society paranoid about losing precious objects they have accumulated, who project the blame of such loss onto the outsider. Continue reading “Any Policeman Can Do This”

Ashis Nandy on Modi’s victory

radical Islam in India as this generationu003cbr />remembers with gratitude the handsomeu003cbr />contribution of Rajiv Gandhi and his cohorts tou003cbr />Sikh militancy.u003cbr />u003cbr />The secularist dogma of many fighting the sanghu003cbr />parivar has not helped matters. Even those whou003cbr />have benefited from secular lawyers and activistsu003cbr />relate to secular ideologies instrumentally. Theyu003cbr />neither understand them nor respect them. Theu003cbr />victims still derive solace from their religionsu003cbr />and, when under attack, they cling moreu003cbr />passionately to faith. Indeed, shallow ideologiesu003cbr />of secularism have simultaneously broken the backu003cbr />of Gandhism and discouraged the emergence ofu003cbr />figures like Ali Shariatis, Desmond Tutus and theu003cbr />Dalai Lama – persons who can give suffering a newu003cbr />voice audible to the poor and the powerless andu003cbr />make a creative intervention possible from withinu003cbr />worldviews accessible to the people.u003cbr />u003cbr />Finally, Gujarat’s spectacular development hasu003cbr />underwritten the de-civilising process. One ofu003cbr />the worst-kept secrets of our times is thatu003cbr />dramatic development almost always has anu003cbr />authoritarian tail. Post-World War II Asia toou003cbr />has had its love affair with developmentalu003cbr />despotism and the censorship, surveillance andu003cbr />thought control that go with it. The East Asianu003cbr />tigers have all been maneaters most of the time.u003cbr />Gujarat has now chosen to join the pack.u003cbr />Development in the state now justifies amorality,u003cbr />abridgement of freedom, and collapse of socialu003cbr />ethics.u003cbr />u003cbr />Is there life after Modi? Is it possible to looku003cbr />beyond the 35 years of rioting that began in 1969u003cbr />and ended in 2002? Prima facie, the answer isu003cbr />"no". We can only wait for a new generation thatu003cbr />will, out of sheer self-interest and tiredness,u003cbr />learn to live with each other. In the meanwhile,u003cbr />we have to wait patiently but not passively tou003cbr />keep values alive, hoping that at some point willu003cbr />”,1] );
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Future generations will as gratefully acknowledge the sangh parivar’s contribution to the growth of radical Islam in India as this generation remembers with gratitude the handsome contribution of Rajiv Gandhi and his cohorts to Sikh militancy. [The Times of India, 8 January]