The True Bargain : How Dr. Ram Rahim Singh Insaan Defined His Time

[ Random notes made in the wake of the conviction of Dr. Baba Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan of Dera Saccha Sauda for the offense of rape in Panchkula, Haryana, with some attention paid to the testimonials of his close friends. ] Continue reading “The True Bargain : How Dr. Ram Rahim Singh Insaan Defined His Time”

Memories of a Machine, or the Machine of Memory?

 

Watching the much-debated ten-minute-film ‘Memories of a Machine’, which has been accused of justifying paedophilia, I remembered this woman:

I met her, a young woman professional working at Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram – where else, in these days, but in the queue in front of an ATM . In response to my grumbling, she told me that she had never experienced any kind of power in her whole life.  She had not even been affected by demonetisation much, she insisted. ‘True, I couldn’t pay the dhobi and the ironing-man, but those were minor inconveniences,’ she quipped cheerily, quite convinced, of course, that the predicament of these two people, definitely as much professionals’ as her, was none of her concern. Indeed, her constant effort was to cheer people in the queue with her don’t-worry-be-happy body-language with which she slipped and slid between acting and sounding like a grown woman and chirping and giggling like a teenager or child. She was attracted to the BJP, she said, because she needed some ‘philosophy’ in her life, to balance the heavy workload she carried in her workplace. As far I could see, her life was such that the philosophy-lesson she would find useful could have been obtained from something as commonplace as a treadmill – start slow, peak up, take regular dips, continue for a spell sufficiently long, stretch after the workout. In other words, her life seemed to be just one long workout, with no indication of when it would end or yield result. But just the feeling that she was on her way was enough to make her cheery to the point of being silly. Continue reading “Memories of a Machine, or the Machine of Memory?”

Adventures in Creepland: An Open Letter to the District Collector, Calicut, Kerala

This letter is jointly written by the signatories.

 

Dear Mr Prasanth Nair

We, the undersigned participants of the 7th Queer Pride March held on 12 August 2016 in Calicut, would like to bring to your attention the unforgivably irresponsible attitude of the Kozhikode police towards the rights of young people who identify themselves as queer, and their allies. In what should have been a completely joyous event, their attitude cast a dark shadow, for sure. Continue reading “Adventures in Creepland: An Open Letter to the District Collector, Calicut, Kerala”

The Mahmood Farooqui Rape Conviction – A Landmark Verdict: J Devika & Nivedita Menon

This post is jointly written by J DEVIKA and NIVEDITA MENON

Bitter arguments rage within the community that we may term as broadly secular, leftist, even feminist, around the Farooqui judgement – in many ways, this judgement and the case itself, may be to Left politics in India with regard to sexual violence, what “Nandigram” was with regard to the question of land, agriculture and environmental costs of industrialization. That is, the dismantling of an older framework of ethics and politics and the painful emergence of what one hopes will be a new consensus on what constitutes rape, but more importantly, on what the harm of rape and sexual violence is.

The authors of this post have read the judgement and followed the case closely, and that is the basis of our analysis here.

We believe that the judgement and verdict in the Mahmood Farooqui rape case indicates an unmistakeable and important shift in the way in which rape is viewed in a courtroom.

“She was bitter against the accused for committing a sin and taking what was most precious to her i.e her control over her sexuality.”

Judgement in the Mahmood Farooqui rape case

This is a radical break from the dominant discourse on rape. It does not focus on loss of honour or physical hurt as the most deeply felt loss by a rape survivor. It recognises, instead, that “sin” of rape is that it robs a woman of what is most precious to her: control over her own sexuality. Continue reading “The Mahmood Farooqui Rape Conviction – A Landmark Verdict: J Devika & Nivedita Menon”

Moral Police-Police!

 

The Kerala police has once more revealed how utterly unreconstructed it is since colonial times, in their brutal attack on transgender people in the city of Kochi. Stuck in 19th century Victorian morality on the one hand, and in the unabashed sense of power that only colonial authority can bequeath, these policemen thought it perfectly alright to use violence to correct what they perceive as a ‘moral problem’, sex work and that too, by transgendered persons. Continue reading “Moral Police-Police!”

What is wrong with setting up a Sex Offenders’ Registry? Shweta Goswami

Guest Post by SHWETA GOSWAMI

The NDA government seems to have started pushing forward the regressive proposal of the previous UPA government to set up a sex offenders’ registry in the country, on the lines of those maintained in some western countries including the U.S. and the U.K.

According to the proposal the details of sex offenders even below 18 years of age would be included in the database, which will be put up on the website of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).The government plans to publicize their photographs, addresses, PAN card details, Aadhaar card number, fingerprints and DNA samples through this registry.

The information on offenders to be collected for the Registry include those related to their jobs, professional licenses, information of schools, colleges, institutions with which they have been associated, vehicle information, date of birth and criminal history.

The details would be put up only after they have been convicted and completed their sentence in jail. The details will not be included if the cases are under trial and are in appeal in a higher court.

Failed logic of deterrence

Considered to be a handy tool for the law enforcement agencies, the offenders’ registry is being envisaged as a deterrence by the ministers in the government since it will instill fear in the minds of repeat sexual offenders and the public would benefit from it. My concern is, whom does the government want to deter? Individual offenders or men in general? (I say men, because I understand sexual violence as male violence and women offenders as an anomaly). If it is the individual offender, only a couple of offenders would make it to the list given the low conviction rate and the snail-paced judicial processes. Given the inconsistency between the rate of crime committed and the rate of conviction, I doubt if the registry would be of any help for the public to stay vigilant against sex offenders. Continue reading “What is wrong with setting up a Sex Offenders’ Registry? Shweta Goswami”

‘Radical’ Critics and KaBodyscapes

What does it mean to dissent in a world in which everyone claims to be a dissenter? What does it take to build a critical vantage-point, one that is not merely the easy pastime of fault-finding, when we all seem to already know what will be truly critical? Ever since the oppositional energy generated against Hindutva fascism in and through the Kiss of Love campaigns dissipated into the rival folds of the Human and the Anti-Human in Kerala, these questions have troubled me. The prospect of being sucked into one side of such a binary formation is terrifying enough to scare one away from  engaging with either side; but worse is the pain that follows the realization that the unique moment of hope – the hope that the diverse groups that populate the anti-Hindutva civil society may well be able to form a bond of trust, however tentative and fragile, more than merely strategic connections – is well and truly in the past. Both sides have indulged in belligerent and damaging caricaturing of each other’s positions, as if the annihilation of the other was the very condition of the survival of the one. Continue reading “‘Radical’ Critics and KaBodyscapes”