Category Archives: Right watch

Sacred Cows, Disposable Humans

The Bulandshahr mob killings show that the Hindutva Supremacist world view, which has complete apathy and indifference toward human life and puts a four-legged animal on a pedestal, is on the ascendance.

mob lynching

“It is a curious people. With them, all life seems to be sacred except human life.”

– Mark Twain on Indians.

A single quote sometimes remains the sole memory of a leader.

Giriraj Kishor, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, can be considered a classic example to demonstrate the thought behind Mark Twain’s quote. Kishor had rather (in)famously said, “Cow is considered more sacred than human beings in the Puranas(Hindu scriptures)”. The occasion was a tragic one when five Dalits — who were carrying dead cows — were lynched by a vigilante mob in front of a police station (Dulina, Jhajjar in Haryana, October 2002) with many senior government officials turning mute spectators.

The spectacle-type killing was followed by another grotesque drama when police personnel, who by their inaction had connived with the crime, promptly sent the dead cows for examination, and filed cases against the dead Dalits over cow ‘slaughter’.

Kishor died few years ago but the worldview he represented, which has complete apathy and indifference towards human life and which puts a four-legged on the pedestal, is on the ascendance.

( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/sacred-cows-disposable-humans)

Ideas as Crime in a Majoritarian Democracy

idea as crime in democracy

Image Courtesy: Vappingo

To such a degree has Religion fuelled conflict, complicated politics, retarded social development and impaired human relations across the world, that one is often tempted to propose that Religion is innately an enemy of Humanity, if not indeed of itself a crime against Humanity … it is time that the world adopted a position that refuses to countenance Religion as an acceptable justification for, excuse or extenuation of – crimes against Humanity.

-Wole Soyinka

A modern critique of Sacred Books of any religion — which are worshipped by its followers — is an act which is full of dilemmas.

What should one say if they have references about burning of infidels, permitting a man to marry many women, instructing the rulers to cut somebody’s tongue or pour hot lead into somebody’s ears if s/he sings/listens to religious hymns, ordering a particular section of its devotees to be kept aloof even from places of worship or spotting a ‘divine figure’ engaged in abusing one’s own daughter or harassing women.

Should a critical intellectual just look the other way, pretending that s/he does not see, decide to keep quiet or rationalise such acts to further re-ensure her/his faith or say few things, albeit in a mild tone, that such acts do not match modern values?

And what should a modern state — which claims to be not based on faith — do in such a case? Facilitate flourishing of such critiques or allow faith merchants/fanatics of different shades to criminalise such acts taking recourse to its own statue books.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/ideas-crime-majoritarian-democracy)

An Open Letter to Brinda Karat about Rehana Fathima: Why are we being hunted in Kerala?

Dear Comrade

Last year, around this time, I wrote you an open letter about the plight of Hadiya Asokan who was being hunted down by the Hindutva groups for her choice of faith and partner while the CPM and its cyber force was either actively abetting the violence or watching passively. I wrote in joy, because you had taken a firm stand and despite angry howls of protest against you from your own party. However, this time, I write in sheer despair at your silence; not just yours, but of the AIDWA in Kerala in general, in the wake of the twisted machinations of the Hindutva forces around the Supreme Court’s order permitting the entry of women of menstruating ages to the Sabarimala temple. Continue reading An Open Letter to Brinda Karat about Rehana Fathima: Why are we being hunted in Kerala?

Under the Shadow of ‘Holy Book!’

Inching Towards Majoritarian Democracy

Image result for madhu dandavate

( Madhu Dandavate)

1.

These are times when the state of democracy is a cause of worry everywhere. With the emergence of populists, demagogues of various hues as custodians of the future of their countries, growing fascination for illiberal ideologies among masses in different parts of the world, the concern is not misplaced and it is apt that we are having this brainstorming where our focus would be on India itself.

‘Working Group on Alternative Strategies’ – which comprises of some of the finest public intellectuals and activists of our times – need to be thanked that they have been organising such seminars since last thirteen years and in this way commemorating the life and works of Prof Madhu Dandavate, a great Parliamentarian and Socialist ideologue. Continue reading Under the Shadow of ‘Holy Book!’

One month at an Indian Yoga Centre: Dhruv Ramnath

Guest post by DHRUV RAMNATH

“When you are in India, you must follow Modi. When you are in America, you must follow Trump,” said the semi-literate Odia instructor to a batch of 70-odd students at Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), a university which received crores from our prime minister not so long ago. 30 kms from Bangalore, its Vice-Chancellor, Dr. H. R. Nagendra (“Guruji” to his devotees), went further. “Thanks to Modi, we are now taking yoga to the world,” he said on the first day. Both the Odia speaker and Guruji told us to “have a smile on our face all the time”. Repeated so often whilst we performed our asanas, it became patently corny and destroyed any sense of feeling welcome and of enjoying a simple, one-hour class.
Continue reading One month at an Indian Yoga Centre: Dhruv Ramnath

Love Patriarchy, Hail Hindu Rashtra!

From Hindu Code Bill to Sabarimala via Roop Kanwar’s Sati — keeping women subjugated under the cloak of tradition
Sati System

It was the mid-1980s when a 18-year-old Roop Kanwar’s burning on the pyre of her husband — under controversial circumstances — had made national headlines. There was national outrage over the incident because more than 150 years after the banning of this custom — the practice of Sati, was seeing a revival of sorts. One can still recollect how thousands of women had come out on streets then in different parts of North India, glorifying the act in the name of tradition.

Women were ‘celebrating’ a woman’s self-immolation on the pyre of her husband and resisting state intervention which wanted to enforce her autonomy, her individuality!

This may sound strange today, but was true!

India, had its ‘Roop Kanwar moment’ — albeit a bit differently — once again recently when in  Kerala women came out in hundreds or thousands to resist the implementation of Supreme Court judgement that had removed the bar on women aged 10-15 or ‘menstruating women’s entry in the temple of Ayappa at Sabarimala’.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/love-patriarchy-hail-hindu-rashtra)

Bharatiya Janata Party or Bharatiya Jumla Party !

Review of ‘Truth in Fetters : Broken Promises and Shattered Unity’

Image result for media house ram puniyani truth in fetters

“Change is in the air”!

A retired academic who had his last assignment as Vice Chancellor of a leading university said to me the other day, while we were discussing the contemporary political scenario. Frankly admitting that he had supported Modi’s candidature then and had even discreetly campaigned for him, during 2014 elections, he said that what a ‘disaster’ it has been these last four and half years to our polity with him at the helm of affairs.

What surprised me more was that he was from Eastern UP and belonged to one of the dominant upper castes in the region. Continue reading Bharatiya Janata Party or Bharatiya Jumla Party !