Category Archives: Right watch

Gramsci, the “Puranic” and Shekhar Gupta

 

Re-reading Antonio Gramsci lately, in preparation for a webinar organized by the Dean, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad on “Gandhi, Ambedkar, Gramsci”, I was struck by an aspect of his thought that I had not really understood in all its dimensions earlier. This aspect is directly related to the relationship between subalternity and the political party, a  lifelong preoccupation for him, linked in turn to the problem of “philosophy” and “thought”.  Some of the reflections here on this question were also sparked off also by some questions that were raised during the discussion.

Skhekhar Gupta on Taali-Thaali and Diya

It was while searching for something related to the Indian government’s handling of the Covid-19 situation, that I hit upon this astonishing article by Mr Shekhar Gupta, which is my peg for the discussion that  follows. It is an older article (4 April 2020), for I must confess I had stopped reading him long ago given the  sheer predictability of what he had to say. But here he seems to have surpassed himself. The title itself first caught my attention: “Poke fun at taali, thaali, diya and mombatti all you want. Modi couldn’t care less“. Shekhar Gupta was one of those who had, in the run up to the 2014 elections, come out with brass band to clear the way for Narendra Modi’s accession to power. But hadn’t he lately – so I had heard – started expressing some criticisms of the regime? Tavleen Sigh certainly had. So what is Gupta saying? Well for one thing, I realized that his deep fascination with the Modi persona continues unabated but that is something I can’t blame him for. We can’t determine what our taste-buds like, can we? I am also not surprised that Gupta’s tone regarding his imagined secular-liberal adversaries is one of derision. What struck me was that all that he is basically saying in the article is that Modi knows who he should speak to and he is able to read the popular mind, but this banality is presented as one great insight of all times!

Continue reading Gramsci, the “Puranic” and Shekhar Gupta

Discourse of Hindu Unity and Challenges in the Struggle Against the Right

 

In a recent book Hindu Ekta Banaam Gyan ki Rajneeti [Hindu Unity versus the Politics of Knowledge] (Vani 2019), my colleague and friend Abhay Kumar Dubey raises some extremely important issues that have now become central to the struggle for a more just and inclusive India. The book is in Hindi and written in the highly provocative and combative style that characterizes most of Abhay’s writings but there is something profundly disturbing – and enlightening – about the key point that  he has to make. In this brief piece I discuss it here for the benefit of the non-Hindi reader (which is not the same as ‘English-speaking’ or ‘English-educated’). However, those who understand Hindi and are interested can watch the 42-minute discussion between Abhay Dubey and myself (recorded in Janaury this year) for the Youtube book discussion channel Parakh run by Kamal Nayan Choubey. The video is embedded this post below.

The central concern of the book is with certain blindspots in what Abhay calls the ‘Centrist discourse’ [madhyamargi vimarsh] or interchangeably, ‘anti-majoritarian discourse’ [bahusankhyakvaad virodhi vimarsh] – which, for some reason, has been rendered as ‘secular ideology’ by Yogendra Yadav in a recent piece in The Print. (Yadav’s piece and Rajmohan Gandhi’s response in defense of ‘secular ideology’ can he read here and here). In keeping with Abhay’s usage, I will use the term ‘anti-majoritarian’ rather than ‘secular’ discourse for this specific configuration that emerges in the the 1990s, for as we will see, this is not a simple continuation of the secular discourse of the 1980s. For the earlier discursive formation, however, I will continue to use the term secular and we will see below how the two differ.

The blindspots that Abhay insistently and relentlessly draws the readers’ attention to, have to do with the very superficial and often hugely misleading understanding of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its deeper connections with the much longer and larger history of the project of forging ‘Hindu unity’.

Continue reading Discourse of Hindu Unity and Challenges in the Struggle Against the Right

सलाह: मुरीद बरघूती/अनुवाद: आयेशा किदवाई

You can read the English translation by Radwa Ashour, of Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti’s poem Counsel, below this translation into Hindustani by AYESHA KIDWAI

“La reproduction interdite” by Rene Magritte 1937.

सलाह 

हैरत ज़दा, असमंजस में,

उस ने हमें बुलवाया

और हम हाज़िर हुए.

उसकी संगेमरमर की बालकनी के तले खड़े हुए:

दुखी लग रहा था वो.

हाथ लरज़ रहे थे

जब से एक ज्योतिष ने उस से ये कह दिया था

किसी की सलाह नहीं लोगे, तो मौत पक्की है“. Continue reading सलाह: मुरीद बरघूती/अनुवाद: आयेशा किदवाई

बिहार चुनाव आते ही प्रतिबंधित रणवीर सेना को एक बार फिर कौन हवा दे रहा है?

रणवीर सेना, जिस पर बहुत पहले पाबंदी लगायी जा चुकी है, नए सिरे से सुर्खियों में है।

पिछले दिनों उसने अपने सोशल मीडिया पेज पर भीम आर्मी के बिहार प्रमुख गौरव सिराज और एक अन्य कार्यकर्ता वेद प्रकाश को खुलेआम धमकाया है। उसने अपने ‘सैनिकों’ को आदेश दिया है कि उन्हें ‘जिन्दा या मुर्दा’ गिरफ्तार करें। बताया जाता है कि इस युवा अम्बेडकरवादी ने ब्रह्मेश्वर मुखिया- जो रणवीर सेना के प्रमुख थे और 2012 में किसी हत्यारे गिरोह के हाथों मारे गए थे- के बारे में जो टिप्पणी की, वह रणवीर सेना के लोगों को नागवार गुजरी है।

प्रश्न उठता है कि इस तरह खुलेआम धमकाने के लिए, मारने पीटने की बात करने के लिए क्या ‘सेना’ पर कार्रवाई होगी? अगर इतिहास को गवाह मान लिया जाए तो इसकी संभावना बहुत कम दिखती है। Continue reading बिहार चुनाव आते ही प्रतिबंधित रणवीर सेना को एक बार फिर कौन हवा दे रहा है?

Shadow of Laxmanpur Bathe on Bihar Election

An unpredictable element has found a new lease of life thanks to the coming Assembly election.

Laxmanpur Bathe on Bihar Election

The outlawed Ranvir Sena—the private army of upper caste landlords of Bihar—is in the news again. It recently threatened the Bihar chief of the Bhim Army, Gaurav Siraj, and one of its activists, Ved Prakash, through a Facebook post. The so-called army has “ordered” its “sainiks” to “arrest” him dead or alive. The sena is apparently peeved over how the young dynamic leader of the Ambedkarite organisation has described Brahmeshwar Singh, their slain “Mukhiya” who was killed in 2012.

Will there be any action against those who have threatened the young leader? If history is any guide then there is little possibility of this.

Merely two years ago, Nawal Kishor Kumar, Editor Hindi, Forward Press was targeted by this “sena”. The aggrieved journalist had lodged a police complaint but there has been no progress in the investigation.

It is not that there is no law to punish such miscreants. Social media posts of the threatening kind relate to various offences under the Indian Penal Code, from criminal intimidation punishable under section 503 to section 505 related to creating mischief in public, to section 506 which awards punishment for criminal intimidation and section 153A which relates to penalties for promoting enmity between different groups and so on. In fact, based on its activities, the Ranvir Sena is also liable to be prosecuted under section 3 of the Bihar Control of Crimes Act, section 3 of the Arms Act and section 3 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.”

( Read the full text here)

पानी की फ़र्माबरदारी: मुरीद बरघूती /अनुवाद: आयेशा किदवाई

You can see the English translation of the original poem by the Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti , after this translation into Hindustani by AYESHA KIDWAI

कितनी कला, बारीक़ सोच, हिचकिचाहट, और क़ुरबानी की रातें,
कम या ज़्यादा कीमत अदा कर,
तुम्हें लगती हैं एक सरल सा
आला अविष्कार करने में?

एक तानाशाह बनाने में तुम्हें सिर्फ
एक बार ही घुटना टेकना है. Continue reading पानी की फ़र्माबरदारी: मुरीद बरघूती /अनुवाद: आयेशा किदवाई

महिला आन्दोलनकारियों की गिरफ्तारियां और भारत सरकार की पितृसत्ता : अमन अभिषेक

Guest Post by Aman Abhishek

Big Brother's Patriarchal Authoritarianism

गुलफीशा फ़ातिमा, सफुरा जरगर, देवांगना कलिता और नताशा नरवाल

दुनिया के जाने-माने प्रोफ़ेसर और पत्रकार डॉक्टर लेता होन्ग फ़िंचर अपनी किताब “बिट्रेइंग बिग ब्रदर: दी फेमनिस्ट अवेकनिंग इन चाइना” में लिखती हैं कि किस तरह चीनी सरकार के द्वारा मार्च 2015 में पांच कार्यकर्तायों की गिरफ्तारी ने चीनी नारीवादी आन्दोलन को एक नया मोड़ दे दिया | जिन पांच महिलाओं को गिरफ्तार किया गया था वे विश्वमहिला दिवस के मौके पर यौन उत्पीडन के खिलाफ बसों और ट्रेनों में पर्चे बाँट रही थी | परन्तु चीनी सरकार ने झगड़े उसकाने के आरोप लगाकर गिरफ्तारी कर ली | इसका परिणाम यह हुआ कि ये पांच महिलाएं “फेमस फाइव” यानी “पांच प्रसिद्ध” के नाम से जानी गई | इन गिरफ्तारियों ने चीनी नारीवादी आदोंलन को कमजोर करने के बजाए एक नयी उर्जा प्रदान की और गिरफ्तारियों के विरोध में बड़े पैमाने पर आन्दोलन शुरू हो गए|

अब भारत में हाल की परिस्थितियों पर गौर करें | दिसम्बर 2019 से मार्च 2020 तक देश के सैकड़ों सार्वजनिक स्थानों पर हजारों आन्दोलनकारियों ने, महिलाओं के नेतृत्व में, सीएए के विरोध में सशक्त और शांतिपूर्ण आन्दोलन किया और लगातार धरना चला | शाहीनबाग जैसे जगहों पर रात दिन धरने चले | देश भर के आन्दोलनकारी उसी सीएए का विरोध कर रहे थे जिसे संयुक्त्त राष्ट्र संघ और और अनेकों मानवाधिकार संगठनों ने मुस्लिम विरोधी और घोर पक्षपातपूर्ण करार दिया है| महिलाओं के नेतृत्व और भागीदारी की वजह से सीएए विरोधी आन्दोलन केवल नागरिकता के सवालों तक सीमित न रहकर भारतीय नारीवादी आन्दोलन के इतिहास में एक अहम कड़ी बन गया |

अप्रैल से भारत सरकार ने सीएए विरोधी आन्दोलन के महिला नेतृत्व की गिरफ्तारियां शुरू कर दी | इन महिलाओं की गिरफ्तारियों की वजह हिंसा भड़काने से लेकर आतंकवाद तक बताई गई | गिरफ्तार लोगों में शामिल गुलफीशा फ़ातिमा मुस्लिम समुदाय की नेता हैं, सफुरा जरगर जामिया मिलिया की छात्रा हैं तथा गिरफ्तारी के वक्त तीन माह से गर्भवती थी | देवांगना कलिता और नताशा नरवाल , पिंजड़ा तोड़ आन्दोलन की संस्थापक हैं (पिंजड़ा तोड़ समूह के कार्यकर्ताओं ने शैक्षणिक संस्थाओं में लैंगिक भेद-भाव और पितृसत्ता के खिलाफ आन्दोलन किया है) | यह गिरफ्तारियां एक वैश्विक महामारी के दौरान की गई है, जो इस महिलाओं की जिन्दगी के लिए घातक साबित हो सकता है | Continue reading महिला आन्दोलनकारियों की गिरफ्तारियां और भारत सरकार की पितृसत्ता : अमन अभिषेक

Treacherous Road to Make Manu History

Even today the attempt is to whitewash Manusmriti, not shun it. But all is not lost as the ripples of Black Lives Matter have reached Indian shores.

manusmiriti ambedkar hindutva

It was 1927, the second phase of the historic Mahad Satyagrah was on, and Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar led thousands of people in burning the Manusmriti, an act he compared with the French Revolution of 1789. Time and again, in speeches and writings, he categorically opposed the world-view of Manu, the legendary figure to whom are attributed the tenets of the Manusmriti, said to be dated to around 100 CE.

In the book written by scholar and activist Anand Teltumbde, Mahad: The Making of the First Dalit Revolt, published by Navayana in 2017, is recorded the resolution which was proposed by the social activist Gangadhar Sahasrabuddhe, and then read out at the Mahad Satyagrah. It states that the firm opinion of this conference is that the Manusmriti, “taking into consideration its verses which undermined the Shudra caste, thwarted their progress, and made their social, political and economic slavery permanent…is not worthy of becoming a religious or a sacred book. And in order to give expression to this opinion, this conference is performing the cremation rites of such a religious book which has been divisive of people and destroyer of humanity.”

Twenty three years later, Dr Ambedkar marked the promulgation of the Constitution of India as the “end of the rule by Manu”. And yet, 70 years thereafter, a significant section of Indians are still fascinated by Manu and have no qualms in venerating him. Even the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and large parts of Europe, in which statues of slave-owners and colonialists are being knocked down or disfigured, the Indian followers of Manu have no regrets about deifying him.

( Read the full article here)

Paradigms Lost, Past Continuous – Saraswati and some other rivers: Janaki Nair

Guest post by JANAKI NAIR

Maj General GD Bakshi (hereafter MGB) feels enough is enough. Having dealt with the Information Warfare and Psychological Operations in the Indian Army, he has now trained his guns on the internal enemy, abandoning the trenches of Jai Jawan for the far messier archaeologists’ hangout. In his battle dress – impeccable suits and ties– he wages war in the cause of snatching back History from historians, particularly Marxist Historians, Oxford and Harvard Historians, Colonial Historians, Tony Joseph, and above all JNU Historians who pose the Greatest Threat to the Continuity of our National Past. (Fortunately, he has not heard of Subaltern Historians, who have dared to polish up arguments instead of his shoes; or of feminist or Dalit historians, who impertinently ask whatever happened to the Vedic dasi).  While waging this war, he also hopes to win some minor battles on behalf of the Indian Taxpayer by shutting down JNU.

Then MGB had a second think: why waste a chance of planting a flag on a beautiful 1000-acre campus just because it was a Marxist redoubt? And what safer flag in these times of COVID than a Webinar in the JNU ether?  So MGB is ready to announce the Paradigm Shift in the study of the Saraswati Civilisation.  (For those who were reared on that disloyal diet of NCERT books, it refers to the Indus Valley Civilisation, or Harappan Culture).  This Paradigm Shift will fortunately not be as fickle as the Sutlej,  which changed its course mid-holocene. In fact, this Paradigm Shift does not rely much on historians or archaeologists,  but more on scientists – geologists, geneticists, accurate carbon dating physicists – who along with MGB, alone are capable of Total Objectivity, and know that only Good Things happened in the Indian past. Continue reading Paradigms Lost, Past Continuous – Saraswati and some other rivers: Janaki Nair

Can Rest of India ‘Do’ a Mallapuram ?

Ruins of an ancient Jain temple in Arimbra

Ruins of old Jain Style Temple at Arimbra 

Mallapuram, Kerala’s lone Muslim-majority district, made history recently.

The 5,000 mosques in the district would remain closed indefinitely.

Logic behind this decision is simple.

As the state is witnessing spike in Coronavirus infection recently, it was found more prudent to keep the doors closed for devotees. Panakkad Sayyed Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, a leading Islamic Scholar and Malappuram district president of the Indian Union Muslim League, shared this news with a section of the media.

Thus while the rest of the country is witnessing opening of places of worship under Unlock 1, Mallapuram has decided otherwise. Continue reading Can Rest of India ‘Do’ a Mallapuram ?

Truth Behind India’s Hierarchies of Pain

Perhaps celebrities know that talking about the plight of an animal—who died in a state not ruled by the ruling dispensation at the Centre—is a safe bet

Migrants

Migrants wait for a means of transport to travel to their native places during the fourth phase of the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, at Kundali Industrial Area in Sonipat. (Photo: PTI)

The killing of a pregnant elephant has caused national outrage. The elephant had strayed into a village in Palakkad, Kerala, and is said to have been fed a fruit stuffed with firecrackers, which exploded in its mouth. It is impossible to comprehend the tremendous suffering of the elephant, who died a painful death. It is also learnt that people in the region have in the past used incendiary materials to protect their crop from animals, particularly wild boar.

One person was arrested after the matter came to light and few others have been identified. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has promised “justice will prevail”, but one does not know if that includes legal action against the hatemongers—including a former cabinet minister who gave the incident a communal colour by claiming, incorrectly, that the incident occurred in Muslim-majority Malappuram. A sitting cabinet minister also retweeted this fake news, which further vitiated the atmosphere.

In a complaint to the Malappuram Police, a lawyer has urged the police chief to file an FIR against the former minister and others for a “derogatory” campaign against the district.

Now, many Indian celebrities, for example Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, have said that they are “appalled” by the incident. The chairman of India’s biggest corporate giant, Ratan Tata, has compared the “criminal act” with “meditated murder”. The celebrities, the anchors of 24/7 news channels and many other prominent figures are undeniably upset by the plight of the elephant. But do they also feel the same kind of outrage and disquiet over the communal overtones being imparted to it?

( Read the full article here)

Public Display of Faith Can Wait, Humanity Cannot

It is inevitable that the virus will spread anywhere people gather in numbers.

Faith in India

Representational Image

India went for the world’s toughest lockdown in March, when just about 500 Covid-19 cases had been reported. And it has started withdrawing the lockdown when India has become the seventh-worst pandemic-affected nation, with over 1.91 lakh infections and close to 5,500 deaths. India is registering giant spikes in active cases of Covid-19, but the home ministry has come out with a phased plan to unlock India. The current phase of re-opening will focus on the economy. It has been decided that malls, hotels, restaurants and places of worship will reopen from 8 June onwards.

Concerns over the economic downturn are understandable. The latest GDP data shows the slowest pace of growth in 11 years in the last quarter of 2019-20, and the economy has been hit hard by the Covid-inspired sudden and complete lockdown. But one fails to understand the decision to open religious places at such an early date.

It remains unanswered whether religious places are being thrown open to pre-empt Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, who has announced that her state would open all places of worship from 1 June. It is also not known whether this is being done, as BS Yediyurappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister, because devotees are insisting that religious sites be opened.

( Read the full article here )

‘National Populisms’, the Little Man and Big Men

 

Populismo – ISS Conference poster by Filipino artist Boy Dominguez, image courtesy future-agricultures.org

In an earlier post last month, I had discussed the global rise of the Right as related to the revolt of the ‘little man’ (a term I borrow from Wilhelm Reich) and his search for a ‘father-figure’ of authority. I had also argued in that post that the revolt of the little man in itself could not have led to the rise of the Right, were it not for  the ways in which Capital moved to appropriate and channelize that revolt against the Left and Left-of-Centre politics – and regimes that dominated the scene earlier. It is virtually impossible to understand this huge tectonic shift in the politics of the past few decades without understanding the conjunction of the little man and Capital – the Big Men – as it were. No less important, it is impossible to understand this shift without understanding the revolt of the liittle man in relation to the different structures of privilege that appear before us as culturally encoded power relations – as tradition, as ‘our way of doing things’, so to speak.

Continue reading ‘National Populisms’, the Little Man and Big Men

Part III – THE VIRUS, THE MUSLIM AND THE MIGRANT: Rewilding, pirate care and solidarity

THIS IS THE FINAL PART OF A THREE PART POST

India has been effectively under an RSS coup d’etat  since May 2019, after the  extremely dubious “sweeping victory” of the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. Since then, there has been a concerted and relentless onslaught on democracy from the twin forces of Hindu chaudhrahat and predatory capitalism, an assault accelerated under cover of the lockdown since March 2020.

Part I of this post discussed how the triumphant Hindu supremacist Indian state has been producing Hindu chaudhrahat,  both formally through law, as well as informally (by “stealth”), through the sabotaging of institutions.

Part II discussed the accelerated offensive by state-backed private capital; in all its old forms, of course, including treating human labour as just another resource for it to exploit, like coal or oil; but also in its more recent and dazzling avatar of data capitalism.

The lockdown only made sense if it was used as a breathing space (a sad, unintended pun), to prepare for contact-tracing and infrastructure to deal with the spike in infections that was bound to result upon the lockdown ending. It has instead been used by the current regime as a full blown political emergency. Civil liberties are effectively suspended and large scale arrests of anti-CAA protesters have been carried out. In addition, the mythology of the “Urban Naxal-Jihadi network” has been produced to continue the arrests of  academics, journalists and activists. This deranged script, concocted in RSS HQ, blends the twin projects of Hindu supremacism (“jihadi”) and predatory capital (“urban Maoist”) to effectively turn the lockdown into a lockup for opponents of these projects.

Meanwhile, since the actual pandemic is not the concern of the government, infections and deaths are on the rise, and once the lockdown is lifted we can expect much worse.(There are of course, non-BJP state governments that have done much better, and too much has been written about Kerala as an exemplar for me to add anything here.)

In the midst of the breathless rage and frustration of the moment, the millions of us who still resist both Hindu Rashtra and the depredations of capitalism, are connecting to ideas across the globe that dare to imagine other worlds.

How are we to combine, come together, connect to other stories the virus tells us, find our way to other lanes down which it leads us? How will we find and inhabit  those fissures and chinks in which green things can grow, and solidarities, and compassion and hope. Continue reading Part III – THE VIRUS, THE MUSLIM AND THE MIGRANT: Rewilding, pirate care and solidarity

SAB YAAD RAKHA JAEGA: Nationwide Protest against repression on anti-CAA activists and democratic voices of dissent

WhatsApp Image 2020-06-01 at 15.33.28

Guest Post by PEOPLE UNITED AGAINST REPRESSION ON ANTI CAA PROTESTERS

Over the past two months the Delhi Police has arrested Jamia students Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Asif Iqbal Tanha, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita along with activists Ishrat Jahan, Khalid Saifi, Gulfisha Fatima, Sharjeel Imam and hundreds of other Muslim youth. Some among them have been booked under the amended UAPA as a means of punishing the widespread protests against the CAA-NRC that emerged across the country in December last year. Most recently AMU students Farhan Zuberi and Ravish Ali Khan have been arrested by the UP police for participating in the anti-CAA protests. It is clear that the spate of arrests are far from over and new names of democratic activists are likely to be added to this already long list. Meanwhile those openly advocating violence against peaceful protesters such as Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur have gone scot-free. Continue reading SAB YAAD RAKHA JAEGA: Nationwide Protest against repression on anti-CAA activists and democratic voices of dissent

Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI) Stands with Anti-Racist Protests in the USA

As Indians and people of Indian origin in the United States, we stand in solidarity with Black communities and their allies who are protesting this racism, and demanding structural change.

The killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd have highlighted the systemic racism against African-Americans that is a continuation of the long history of the criminalization, dehumanization, and oppression of Black lives in the United States. From the economy to the electoral system, this society has been built on the simultaneous exploitation and marginalization of Black people. The COVID pandemic too shows how their lives continue to be the most vulnerable in our society today.

Continue reading Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI) Stands with Anti-Racist Protests in the USA

Statement against the arrest of Pinjra Tod Activists, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal: Students Against Fascism, Johns Hopkins University

Statement by Students Against Fascism, Johns Hopkins University, USA. Students Against Fascism is a group of international students at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), which aims to build solidarities against fascism across borders.

We have been deeply saddened by the recent arrests of Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, the founding members of the Feminist group, Pinjra Tod. At a time, when the entire country has been dealing with the pandemic of COVID-19 and the economic hardships of the lockdown, it is of extreme concern to see that the Indian state is selectively targeting the human rights activists who have been raising their voices against the pro-Hindutva fascist policies of the Indian state.

It is abundantly clear that these arrests are a part of the series of the crackdown on the activists, who have particularly been vocal against the CAA and anti-Muslim violence in north-east of Delhi, including Umar Khalid, being threatened with sedition charges alongside other protestors like Shifa-ur-Rahman, President of Jamia Alumni Association and Zafarul Khan, Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission. In connection with this, it is also extremely disturbing to see the arrest of student activists Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider and Asif Iqbal Tanha of Jamia Milia Islamia University and activists Gulfisha Fatima, Khalid Saifi and Ishrat Jahan, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. This arbitrary branding of students and activists, particularly Muslim and women student activists, as “terrorists”, instead of investigating into the anti-Muslim violence in north-east Delhi and bringing the perpetrators to justice indicates the deepening of authoritarian tendencies in the Indian state. Pinjra Tod’s Natasha and Devangana’s arrests are the latest examples of this dangerous trajectory. Continue reading Statement against the arrest of Pinjra Tod Activists, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal: Students Against Fascism, Johns Hopkins University

International Feminist Solidarity / Solidaridad Internacional Feminista – con feministas de la India/with Indian feminists Devangana Kalita and/y Natasha Narwal

Please read and sign below /por favor lea y firme abajo

We, the undersigned feminists, community activists and academics from around the world stand in solidarity with Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal who are being held as part of the Narendra Modi government’s brutal clampdown on dissent against the deeply discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The government is taking advantage of the dispersion caused by the COVID19 crisis.

Nosotras/xs las personas abajo firmantes, como feministas, activistas comunitarias y académicas de distintas partes del mundo, nos solidarizamos con Devangana Kalita y Natasha Narwal, detenidas como parte de la ola de represión contra el movimiento nacional de protesta por la naturaleza profundamente discriminatoria del Acta de Enmienda a la Ciudadanía (CAA en ingles) y del Registro Nacional de Ciudadanos (NRC) impulsados por gobierno Indio de Narendra Modi.

Devangana and Natasha are feminist activists and founding members of the Pinjra Tod -‘Break the cage’ collective (For more info: https://www.facebook.com/pinjratod)
made up of women students fighting for their rights. Devangana studies an MPhil at Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Natasha is a doctoral student at the Centre for Historical Studies, at the same university.

Crisis for the People, Opportunity for the Corporate-Government Nexus : NSI

Statement of New Socialist Initiative (NSI) on India’s ‘war against Covid 19’

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Today, India has emerged as a new epicentre for the novel corona virus in the Asia Pacific region.With 1,58,333 confirmed cases of Covid 19 and deaths of total of 4,531 people after contracting the virus, it has already crossed China’s Covid-19 numbers.

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New Socialist Initiative (NSI) feels that the grim news of steadily rising infections and fatalities reveal before everyone a worrying pattern but the government either seems to be oblivious of the situation or has decided to shut its eyes. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Union government has used incomplete national-level data to justify arbitrary policy decisions, defend its record and underplay the extent of Covid-19 crisis.

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Absence of transparency vis-a-vis data collection of Covid infection levels could be said to be the tip of the iceberg of what has gone wrong with India’s ‘war against Covid 19’.
The Prime Minister’s announcement of a 21-day countrywide lock down came with a mere four-hour notice. It was done without engaging in any collective decision-making process with states to honour and enhance the spirit of “cooperative federalism” between the Centre and the States. Continue reading Crisis for the People, Opportunity for the Corporate-Government Nexus : NSI

Statement against the wrongful arrest of students and the use of the pandemic as a political emergency: Faculty Feminist Collective JNU

We, members of Faculty Feminist Collective JNU, stand in solidarity with all wrongfully arrested students, and in particular with JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal who were arrested on 23rd May 2020 by the Delhi Police. We demand the immediate release of all those wrongfully accused of playing a role in the anti-Muslim pogrom in northeast Delhi in February 2020.

It is clear to us that this spate of arrests during the lockdown is an attempt by the government to punish the voices raised in peaceful protest against the unconstitutional CAA and proposed NPR and NRC, all of which are meant to destroy the very idea of India as a democracy.

While forces close to and constituting the current regime openly called for violence against Muslims in the days leading up to the horrific incidents of February 2020, their role has not been investigated. Instead a large number of arrests (according to media reports, 800 arrests), mostly of Muslims, has been carried out, supposedly for their responsibility for the violence in which the larger number of deaths and injuries have in fact been suffered by Muslims. Many of those arrested are students, including Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider and Asif Iqbal Tanha of Jamia Milia Islamiya. Earlier, JNU student Sharjeel Imam was arrested for sedition for a speech at an anti- CAA protest, and the draconian UAPA has been slapped on him as well.

Continue reading Statement against the wrongful arrest of students and the use of the pandemic as a political emergency: Faculty Feminist Collective JNU

असहमति के दमन के लिए मानवाधिकार-कर्मियों और लेखकों-पत्रकारों की गिरफ्तारियों का सिलसिला बंद करो! 

राजनीतिक उत्पीड़न और साम्प्रदायिक ध्रुवीकरण के लिए तालाबंदी के इस्तेमाल के ख़िलाफ़ सांस्कृतिक-सामाजिक संगठनों का संयुक्त आह्वान

महामारी से मुक्ति के लिए जनएकजुटता का निर्माण करो!

तालाबंदी के दौरान जेलबंदी

महामारी और तालाबंदी के इस दौर में समूचे देश का ध्यान एकजुट होकर बीमारी का मुक़ाबला करने पर केन्द्रित है.

लेकिन इसी समय देश के जाने माने बुद्धिजीवियों, स्वतंत्र पत्रकारों, हाल ही के सीएए-विरोधी आन्दोलन में सक्रिय रहे राजनीतिक कार्यकर्ताओं और अल्पसंख्यक समुदाय के युवाओं की ताबड़तोड़ गिरफ़्तारियों ने नागरिक समाज की चिंताएं बढ़ा दी हैं.

बुद्धिजीवियों और राजनैतिक कार्यकर्ताओं की गिरफ़्तारियां सरकारी काम में बाधा डालने (धरने पर बैठने) जैसे गोलमोल आरोपों में और  अधिकतर विवादास्पद यूएपीए क़ानून के तहत की जा रही हैं. यूएपीए कानून आतंकवाद से निपटने के लिए लाया गया था. यह विशेष क़ानून ‘विशेष परिस्थिति में’ संविधान  द्वारा नागरिकों को दिए गए मौलिक अधिकारों को परिसीमित करता है. जाहिर है, इस क़ानून का इस्तेमाल केवल उन्हीं मामलों में किया जाना चाहिए जिनका सम्बन्ध आतंकवाद की किसी वास्तविक परिस्थिति से हो. दूसरी तरह के मामलों में इसे लागू करना संविधान के साथ छल करना है. संविधान लोकतंत्र में राज्य की सत्ता के समक्ष नागरिक के जिस अधिकार की गारंटी करता है, उसे समाप्त कर लोकतंत्र को सर्वसत्तावाद में बदल देना है.

गिरफ्तारियों के लगातार जारी सिलसिले में सबसे ताज़ा नाम जेएनयू की दो छात्राओं, देवांगना  कलिता और नताशा नरवाल के हैं. दोनों शोध-छात्राएं प्रतिष्ठित नारीवादी आन्दोलन ‘पिंजरा तोड़’ की संस्थापक सदस्य भी हैं.  इन्हें पहले ज़ाफ़राबाद धरने में अहम भूमिका अदा करने के नाम पर 23 मई को गिरफ्तार किया गया. अगले ही दिन अदालत से जमानत मिल जाने पर तुरंत अपराध शाखा की स्पेशल ब्रांच द्वारा क़त्ल और दंगे जैसे आरोपों के तहत गिरफ़्तार कर लिया गया ताकि अदालत उन्हें पूछ-ताछ के लिए पुलिस कस्टडी में भेज दे. आख़िरकार उन्हें दो दिन की पुलिस कस्टडी में भेज दिया गया है. Continue reading असहमति के दमन के लिए मानवाधिकार-कर्मियों और लेखकों-पत्रकारों की गिरफ्तारियों का सिलसिला बंद करो!