Category Archives: Sex

The Yogi and the Erotics of Violence: Jaya Sharma

Guest Post by JAYA SHARMA

This article that explores the enjoyment of violence, epsecially in the social media world, in the wake of the brutal violence perpetrated by the Yogi Adityanath regime in Uttar Pradesh. It should be read as a sequel to Jaya Sharma’s earlier article published in Kafila in June last year.

‘Maza aa gaya Yogiji mazaLathi aisi lagi ki maza aa gaya…’

Maza is a word used often in tweets in response to police attacks on CAA-NRC protestors in UP.  Unlike it’s staid, sanskritized counterpart anand, maza has a charge, a buzz and could translate into English as ‘thrill’.  ‘Thrilling Yogiji thrilling’… ‘The way the lathi struck…thrilling’.  I’ll return to such tweets to explore the following questions.

Might it be that there is an erotic charge to political violence?  Might it be that the erotic charge is not limited to those who perform the violence but also animates the millions who hear, see or read that such violence has been meted out?  Well beyond “not caring”, might it be that they “get off” on such violence?  Can the proactive, enthusiastic support for political violence be understood only in terms of “ordinary folk” being corrupted by evil leaders? Might we also need to see what within the collective psyche could be pushing them towards a terrible kind of enjoyment of such violence? Continue reading The Yogi and the Erotics of Violence: Jaya Sharma

‘Beheading’ Marxism, Unleashing Desire: Ghya Chang Fou and the Marxist Unconscious

Ghya Chang Fou is not a Chinese or East Asian word – it is the name of this new dark Bengali satirical film that had its world premiere this September (2018), at the Transart Communication Festival, Nove Zamky, Slovakia.  Below is the official trailer of the film, followed by my take on it – better not read as a review.

The quirky world of Ghya Chang Fou (Joyraj Bhattacharjee, 2017) is best seen and understood as a dream. For, a dream never really adheres to the conventions of linear realistic narrative, and characteristically, scrambles up time and space. Everything makes perfect sense while you are seeing it but do try interpreting your dreams through realist conventions, especially if you are a believer in any form of realism.

Continue reading ‘Beheading’ Marxism, Unleashing Desire: Ghya Chang Fou and the Marxist Unconscious

How to Deal with Male Chauvinist Piorge: Ten Tips

After the floods comes the pestilence. Even as the rest of us are focusing all our energies on making sure that epidemics and sheer psychological trauma aren’t going to bring our people devastated by floods to the brink of their endurance, here is a bizarre person, a certain P C George, MLA from Poonjar, Kerala, indulging in the worst kinds of patriarchal excess. At this time one would expect our elected representatives to be aiding and comforting people in their respective constituencies. Instead, we have this man spew unspeakable, stupid trash on the public. I do not want to reproduce it here; you can read for yourself.  I’d rather try to think of how we may deal collectively with those of his ilk. Continue reading How to Deal with Male Chauvinist Piorge: Ten Tips

In the wake of the AUD report

This post is not a statement from the Kafila collective, but my individual response to the news about the Ambedkar University report having found Lawrence Liang guilty of sexual harassment. This response will also address some of the comments that were posted on the Kafila statement posted yesterday.

We learnt from media reports that a duly constituted committee of AUD has found Lawrence Liang guilty of sexual harassment. We did not know about this earlier, as some characteristically self-righteous and ill informed twitterati assume we did. Those whose social concern and activism is limited to busy fingertips obviously have no idea about the processes that have been carefully put in place in sexual harassment policies in universities, which protect confidentiality primarily to protect the complainant. So the first we heard of the leaked AUD report was from the media. Lawrence’s own statement was then issued that says that he plans to appeal this decision. This statement too we saw in the media.

From enquiry to report to appealing the decision (which can be done by complainant or accused) – these are all established stages of due process that feminists have worked for decades to establish, from the Vishakha judgement of 1997 onwards. That judgement itself was a result of feminist intervention. I do not understand ‘due process’ as a technicality alone, nor do feminists in general who have worked with women and men complainants on this complicated issue, especially in a context of power in academic contexts. Continue reading In the wake of the AUD report

Thoughts on the Continuing Assault on Women’s Rights and Progressivist Gaslighting in Kerala

After the atrocious indifference and trivialisation of domestic violence displayed by the sneering alpha-male brigade of the CPM during the discussion of the Hadiya Case, nothing surprises me. However, it appears important to point out how such callousness is indeed becoming normalised here alarmingly. It seems that the gains of women’s movement which made violence against women at home something beyond an intimate private affair, a ‘family quarrel’, are being steadily depleted. Of course, we did see how so many smooth-talking liberal CPM-oriented or purportedly-rationalist young male intellectuals went ballistic at the mere suggestion that they are blind to the domestic violence in Hadiya’s imprisonment. Also intriguing was their persistent defense of the father’s right to keep an adult, mentally fit, educated daughter immobile and imprisoned because he feared for her safety. Continue reading Thoughts on the Continuing Assault on Women’s Rights and Progressivist Gaslighting in Kerala

Sexual Harassment in the Academia – What the Hitlist Misses: Debaditya Bhattacharya and Rina Ramdev

This is a GUEST POST by DEBADITYA BHATTACHARYA and  RINA RAMDEV

 

The past few years have not allowed us the respite to prepare for a fight. We were perpetually donning our war-gear – often forced without necessary ammunition into a battle that raged through parliaments and streets and colleges and colonies and our doorsteps. There was no time to strategise, no time to theorize, no time to bargain and no time to compose ourselves for the next day’s onslaughts. And yet, the onslaughts never abated. The mundane was coupled with the spectacular, the anti-national with the terrorist, the intellectual with the condom-user, the dissenter with the stone-pelter, and the everyday with the genocidal. Continue reading Sexual Harassment in the Academia – What the Hitlist Misses: Debaditya Bhattacharya and Rina Ramdev

From Feminazi to Savarna Rape Apologist in 24 hours

Two explanations before I begin.

First – I write this in my personal capacity. In this article I represent none of the other signatories to the statement that appealed for the crowd-sourced list of sexual offenders to be withdrawn, and for complaints to be followed through institutional mechanisms (henceforward referred to as Statement). I might still use the pronoun ‘we’ sometimes, please consider that a slippage; that collective identity is something developed over three decades in a movement, and I hope I never lose that habit. But this is my individually written post. Similarly, after the Statement, Kavita Krishnan has written on Scroll, Ayesha Kidwai on Facebook and Nandini Rao on  her blog, each expanding on some aspect or the other of our brief statement.

Second – the Statement was not and is not a ‘Kafila’ statement, it was simply posted on Kafila. Just as a statement posted on Wire is not a Wire statement or a statement on Scroll a Scroll statement, unless explicitly declared to be. Kafila is a collectively run blog with about 20 members, of which I am one of the founder members. Any member of the collective can post directly on Kafila without checking back with other members of the collective. We have often had robust debates among collective members taking opposing sides on a situation, and these debates have played out on Kafila in the past. Only one Kafila member is a signatory to the Statement, myself. I posted it on Kafila because it is a site which is my first site of preference, whether I am attacking the Hindu right or writing on feminist issues. I asked the other signatories if I could post it here, since I have to ask nobody nor approach anybody to post on Kafila.

Lawrence Liang is also a member of the Kafila collective. He does not ‘run’ Kafila (as has been alleged by many), no individual does. But it seems that in this new era of ‘radical’ politics, individual control and leadership of campaigns is assumed.  Further, Mahmood Farooqui too was a Kafila collective member. When a specific complaint of sexual abuse and rape was brought against him by a complainant anonymous to us, the Kafila collective suspended him immediately from Kafila publicly, pending investigation of the complaint. That was the only collective statement Kafila has issued in its ten years of functioning as a voluntary, non-funded blog.

Continue reading From Feminazi to Savarna Rape Apologist in 24 hours

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

Sanghis, Sex and University Students – What is it Really All About? Ayesha Kidwai

Guest Post by Ayesha Kidwai

[ The prurient fantasies contained in the ‘JNU Dossier’, produced by some right wing faculty members of JNU in or around October 2015, have been ‘outed’ by an excellent report by Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta in Wire.org. This comes exactly at the time when the JNU administration has shown its fangs by delivering a low blow by way of the measures outlined in the report of the ‘High Level Enquiry Committee’ appointed by the Vice Chancellor. An impartial examination of the HLEC document and the ‘Dossier’ in will reveal some startlingly resonant patterns. Clearly, the ‘Dossier’, which had been dismissed by the former Vice-Chanceller, Prof. Sopory, has been reincarnated at the express orders of the Nagpuri masters of the present dispensation. We are sharing below an excellent response to the ‘Dossier’ by Ayesha Kidwai, one of the professors – ‘named’ in the dossier. This is taken from Ayesha Kidwai’s status update on her Facebook Page.

For another take down of the ‘Dossier’ – see also – “Sex and sedition: What the JNU dossier tells us about the right-wing imagination” – in Scroll.in by Kavita Krishnan. Meanwhile, JNU Students have commenced on a ‘fast unto death’ in protest against the university administration’s senseless measures. Kafila]

Sanghi smut is in season again! For the authors of the Dirty Dossier, JNU nights are forever scented with musk, with couples draped on every bush, suitably fortified by free alcohol, thoughts of secession, and cash payments supplied by the Awesome Foursome. At its peak, the party can practically involve the whole university, because as per Shri Gyan Dev Ahuja’s estimates, the number of students frolicking this will be 7000 (3000 condom users X 2, plus 500 injectable walas X 2). (Assuming of course that the few hundred left over have gone to fieldwork, have exams, or are abstemious and/or abstinent in nature.)

Laugh as we may (and must) at these feverish imaginings, it’s also important to understand that the very notion of a free university challenges not only misogyny, but also the social apartheid produced by caste and exclusionary religion.

Continue reading Sanghis, Sex and University Students – What is it Really All About? Ayesha Kidwai

Response to Shantanu Guha Ray’s Mumbai Mirror Article on Tarun Tejpal: Anonymous

Guest post by ANONYMOUS

[The letter below was sent to the Mumbai Mirror by the woman journalist who has accused Tarun Tejpal of rape. The paper is yet to issue a clarification on Mr Guha Ray’s connection to the rape accused Mr Tejpal, or to carry this letter on its website, or paper. As per Indian Law the identity of a victim of sexual assault is protected. We are thus carrying the letter below without disclosing her identity]

To

The Editor

Mumbai Mirror

This is to draw your attention to the article printed in your newspaper titled “Rape Charges Against Tarun Tejpal: Over Two Years On, Trial Yet to Begin” dated March 21, 2016 by Shantanu Guha Ray.

Having long admired the Mumbai Mirror, I was disappointed to note the factual inconsistencies and biases evident in the article. To begin with, Mr Guha Ray, allegedly a senior journalist (and therefore, one hopes, familiar with at least a few journalistic tenets) fails to mention in his piece that he worked under the rape accused, Tarun Tejpal, for several years at Tehelka magazine, and was also the head of Tehelka’s sister venture, Financial World – indicating that he had significant financial interest the magazine.

Further, Mr Guha Ray mentions that the complainant in the case is “working on a book on the complicated matter of sexual harassment at the workplace” to be published by Harper Collins. As the complainant, I would like to clarify that I am not working on a book about office harassment, have never been contacted by Harper Collins, and that the only thing complicated about sexual harassment at the workplace is the management bending over backwards to protect abusive employers responsible for their pay cheques.

If any further evidence of Mr Guha’s bias and professional ineptitude was necessary, let me also point out that while he liberally quotes the rape accused as saying the case is “a matter of life and death for him”, he fails to even get the state prosecutor’s name right, and has never contacted me for an account of how the delay in an allegedly “fast track” and high profile rape case has affected my health or professional prospects.

A basic fact check, or a few phone calls to lawyers and editors in New Delhi would have alerted the journalist in question, as well as you to the fact that Mr Tejpal and his family have repeatedly screened sub-judice CCTV footage for anyone that asks to view it. In fact, no one except the police and Mr Tejpal’s defence even have access to this footage, so perhaps Mr Guha Ray can next train his newshound instincts to finding out how story after story defending Mr Tejpal based on this footage appeared in publications like Outlook, The Citizen and the Facebook page of Mr Anurag Kashyap.

Finally, Mr Guha would do well to remember that not only does this delay in proceedings give “some reprieve” to Mr Tejpal, but combined with his slanderous media campaign, it also affects every single witness in the case, and constantly delays the moment I can present my truth and evidence in court — a moment I have patiently waited for for over two years.

Warm regards,

XYZ

The Nation’s Orgiastic Fantasy and the Politics of ‘Nationalist’ Anger

The Mise en Scene

The Nationalist is angry. He wants to kill, maim and rape for his Mother’s honour. From the lawyer criminal who has a Rs 45 lakh fraud case against him to the extortionist television anchor – all are bellowing with rage. Another anchor, Mr Nation himself, whose publicly declared annual salary is Rs 5 crores, is suddenly choking with emotion at the death of the hapless army jawan, Hanumanthappa (who earned less than 120th of Mr Nation’s monthly salary and for whom the Nation never shed a tear till this collective arousal). Blood lust has taken over the land. In this scenario, the hysterical television anchor takes on the role of a lynch mob instigator and the cheer leader combined into one. He exhorts while the lynch-mob runs amok threatening, attacking and  demanding that all anti-nationals – students, teachers and intellectuals in general –  be shot, killed or sent to Pakistan. We have seen, as a consequence, all manner of angry nationalists offering prize money – Rs 5 lakhs for cutting Kanhaiya Kumar’s tongue and Rs 11 lakhs for killing him. More recently, he has been issued another death threat along with an ultimatum to leave Delhi by the end of March. Fellow Kafila-ite and feminist scholar Nivedita Menon has, for the last few weeks, been openly threatened with nationalist rape and more.

The Nation’s collective fantasy is orgiastic. And the current object of this collective fantasy is Jawaharlal Nehru University. Witness the BJP MLA who spends his free time (which is perhaps most of his time), not  only showering money on  dancing  girls, but even more, fantasizing about the orgy that he believes is JNU. According to The Indian Express:

In perhaps the most bizarre comments on the JNU controversy so far, BJP MLA from Ramgarh in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, Gyandev Ahuja, on Monday said that daily 50,000 pieces of bones, 3,000 used condoms, 500 used abortion injections, 10,000 cigarette “pieces”, among other things, are found at JNU, where girls and boys dance naked at cultural programmes.

Continue reading The Nation’s Orgiastic Fantasy and the Politics of ‘Nationalist’ Anger

Sex workers demand Azadi from ‘Goddess’ Durga: Veshya Anyay Mutki Parishad, Muskan and Sangram

Guest Post by Veshya Anyay Mutki Parishad, Muskan and Sangram

Dear Students of JNU,

Salute! Jai Bhim! Laal salam! We will win this war against sedition! March 3rd, International Sex Workers Rights Day, Zindabad!

We write from the sex worker’s rights movement to hail your struggle and to add to the discourse you have sparked. We would like to discuss why using the term sex worker in the alleged pamphlet in JNU on Mahishasura Martydom Day is a concept fraught with the Whore Stigma. The use of the politically correct sex worker instead of the commonly used `prostitute’ does not take away from the fact that it is used to depict an insalubrious deed. The use of this term has only led to more misunderstandings of the term itself.

Sex worker is the term used by the sex worker’s rights movement in order to claim dignity to the work adults do consensually by providing sexual services for money. The sex workers use this term to give dignity to those that exchange sexual services for money but the use here is to supposedly strip the `goddess’ in this instance, of any dignity. The term since then has taken a life of its own. From a politically correct term it is now being used to describe anti-nationals, anti-goddesses even anti- patriarchy! But the thinly veiled contempt for the sex worker is huge in every utterance, from the Hindu Goddess Durga to the `anti-national’ women students in JNU. Continue reading Sex workers demand Azadi from ‘Goddess’ Durga: Veshya Anyay Mutki Parishad, Muskan and Sangram

माँ भारती के वीर सपूतों की रेप फंतासियाँ

पेश हैं सोशल मीडिया से दो, फ़क़त दो, बानगियाँ उस नए संस्कारी राष्ट्रवादी नायक की जो  खुद को ‘माँ भारती’ का दीवाना सपूत बताता है. उसकी दीवानगी का आलम यह है कि वह अपनी माँ की खून की प्यास बुझाने के लिए किसी भी औरत से बलात्कार करने पर उतर आने को तैयार है. यह कौन माँ है इस पर तो हम थोड़ी देर में आयेंगे, पहले ज़रा इन सपूतों की करतूतों पर नज़र डाल लें.

Continue reading माँ भारती के वीर सपूतों की रेप फंतासियाँ

ज़ी न्यूज़ के पापों से घिन आ रही थी, प्रोड्यूसर विश्वदीपक ने दिया इस्तीफ़ा !

ज़ी न्यूज़ के पत्रकार विश्वदीपक ने ज़ी न्यूज़ से इस्तीफ़ा दे दिया. ज़ी न्यूज़ को लिखा उनका ख़त पढ़ने लायक़ है. मीडिया विजिल.कॉम  से साभार. An English translation of this piece is available at Scroll.in.

प्रिय ज़ी न्यूज़,

एक साल 4 महीने और 4 दिन बाद अब वक्त आ गया है कि मैं अब आपसे अलग हो जाऊं. हालांकि ऐसा पहले करना चाहिए था लेकिन अब भी नहीं किया तो खुद को कभी माफ़ नहीं कर सकूंगा.

आगे जो मैं कहने जा रहा हूं वो किसी भावावेश, गुस्से या खीझ का नतीज़ा नहीं है, बल्कि एक सुचिंतित बयान है. मैं पत्रकार होने से साथ-साथ उसी देश का एक नागरिक भी हूं जिसके नाम अंध ‘राष्ट्रवाद’ का ज़हर फैलाया जा रहा है और इस देश को गृहयुद्ध की तरफ धकेला जा रहा है. मेरा नागरिक दायित्व और पेशेवर जिम्मेदारी कहती है कि मैं इस ज़हर को फैलने से रोकूं. मैं जानता हूं कि मेरी कोशिश नाव के सहारे समुद्र पार करने जैसी है लेकिन फिर भी मैं शुरुआत करना चहता हूं. इसी सोच के तहत JNUSU अध्यक्ष कन्हैया कुमार के बहाने शुरू किए गए अंध राष्ट्रवादी अभियान और उसे बढ़ाने में हमारी भूमिका के विरोध में मैं अपने पद से इस्तीफा देता हूं. मैं चाहता हूं इसे बिना किसी वैयक्तिक द्वेष के स्वीकार किया जाए.

असल में बात व्यक्तिगत है भी नहीं. बात पेशेवर जिम्मेदारी की है. सामाजिक दायित्वबोध की है और आखिर में देशप्रेम की भी है. मुझे अफसोस के साथ कहना पड़ रहा है कि इन तीनों पैमानों पर एक संस्थान के तौर पर तुम तुमसे जुड़े होने के नाते एक पत्रकार के तौर पर मैं पिछले एक साल में कई बार फेल हुए.

मई 2014 के बाद से जब से श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी भारत के प्रधानमंत्री बने हैं, तब से कमोबेश देश के हर न्यूज़ रूम का सांप्रदायीकरण (Communalization) हुआ है लेकिन हमारे यहां स्थितियां और भी भयावह हैं. माफी चाहता हूं इस भारी भरकम शब्द के इस्तेमाल के लिए लेकिन इसके अलावा कोई और दूसरा शब्द नहीं है. आखिर ऐसा क्यों होता है कि ख़बरों को मोदी एंगल से जोड़कर लिखवाया जाता है ? ये सोचकर खबरें लिखवाई जाती हैं कि इससे मोदी सरकार के एजेंडे को कितना गति मिलेगी ?

Continue reading ज़ी न्यूज़ के पापों से घिन आ रही थी, प्रोड्यूसर विश्वदीपक ने दिया इस्तीफ़ा !

A test of dignity and democracy

Today, as the Supreme Court hears the curative petition on Section 377, it has an opportunity to remember its promise to be the last resort of the oppressed, to let dignity be the domain of all.

In 2015, a student at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru was blackmailed and threatened with being publicly outed for being gay. When he refused to pay extortion money, the private letters turned into notices pinned on noticeboards on campus. The words were sharp, relentless and inhumane: “I think it’s completely shameful, bad, immoral and disgusting. You should go kill yourself. Why do you think it’s illegal to be gay in India?”

Evading prejudice

For many queer people, this moment is familiar. It is one that many of us have faced or live in a constant fear of facing. In some ways, it is the latter that is worse. We live our lives anticipating prejudice. Even before it comes, we are constantly censoring, moving, and shaping our lives to evade it or, if we can’t, to survive it. Those of us who have the privilege of privacy scan rooms to find allies, weigh what to tell our doctors, measure out information in our offices, and seek safe spaces. Those without this privilege face a much more direct battle to be who they are: an unrelenting and legitimised public violence that falls on working class bodies in our streets, police stations and public spaces. The law is not the only force behind this violence, but it is an important one. “Why do you think,” the blackmailer asks, “it’s illegal to be gay in India?” When petitioners in the Naz Foundation case argued that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code played an important part in shrouding our lives in criminality and of legitimising violence, this letter was one of many that we wrote against in our heads. Continue reading A test of dignity and democracy