Open letter to the Prime Minister of India on the Kathua and Unnao Rape Cases – The Full Text

To,

The Prime Minister of India,

Prime Minister’s Office, South Block,

Raisina Hill, New Delhi 110 001.

21 April 2018

Mr Prime Minister,

We are academics and independent scholars from India and abroad, writing to express solidarity with, and to endorse the sentiments expressed by, forty-nine retired civil servants in their open letter to you of April 16th 2018 (https://thewire.in/politics/narendra-modi-open-letter-kathua-unnao).

Along with these civil servants and countless other citizens of India and the world at large, we wish to express our deep anger and anguish over the events in Kathua and Unnao and the aftermath of these events; over the efforts, in both cases, of those administering the relevant States to protect the alleged perpetrators of these monstrous crimes; over the subsequent profoundly distasteful efforts of rationalisation, deflection and diversion that have been so much in evidence in the reactions of your party’s spokespersons in the media; and finally over your own prolonged (and by now familiar) silence that was broken only recently with wholly inadequate, platitudinous, and  non-specific assurances of justice for the victims. Continue reading “Open letter to the Prime Minister of India on the Kathua and Unnao Rape Cases – The Full Text”

മഹാനരകങ്ങൾക്കെതിരെ : ഏപ്രിൽ 23ൻെറ പ്രതിഷേധക്കൂട്ടയ്മയ്ക്കു വേണ്ടി ഒരു കുറിപ്പ്

 

കേന്ദ്രത്തിൽ മോഡിസർക്കാർ ഭരണത്തിൽ വന്നതിനു ശേഷം നരകത്തിൻറെ വാതായനങ്ങൾ ഒന്നൊന്നായി പിളരുകയും അവ നമ്മേ വിഴുങ്ങുകയും മഹാപാതകങ്ങൾക്ക് നിസ്സഹായരായ ദൃക് സാക്ഷികളാവുക എന്ന അപാരപരീക്ഷണത്തിനു നാം വിധേയരാവുകയും ചെയ്തിരിക്കുന്നു. നിരർബുദനരകവും അർബുദനരകവും പല വട്ടം നാം കടന്നിരിക്കുന്നു. മാട്ടിറച്ചിയുടെ പേരിലും പിറന്നു പോയ ജാതിയുടെയും മതത്തിൻറെയും പേരിൽ നിരപരാധികളായ മനുഷ്യർ ഇവിടങ്ങളിലേക്കു വലിച്ചെറിയപ്പെടുന്നത് അധികവും നിസ്സഹായരായി കണ്ടുനിൽക്കേണ്ട ദുര്യോഗം താങ്ങാവുന്നതിലും അധികമായിരിക്കുന്നു.  Continue reading “മഹാനരകങ്ങൾക്കെതിരെ : ഏപ്രിൽ 23ൻെറ പ്രതിഷേധക്കൂട്ടയ്മയ്ക്കു വേണ്ടി ഒരു കുറിപ്പ്”

कासगंज हिंसा- तिरंगे को हड़प जाएगा भगवा? वैभव सिंह

Guest post by VAIBHAV SINGH

kasganj-uttar-pradesh-violence, image courtesy ndtv

पूरे हिंदी क्षेत्र में और विशेषकर उत्तरप्रदेश में ऐसे बडे, छोटे और मंझोले किस्म के नेताओं की बड़ी फौज पैदा हो गई है जिसकी नेतागिरी केवल सांप्रदायिक नारे लगाने और समाज में सांप्रदायिकता फैलाने पर टिकी है। सार्वजनिक जीवन पर इन संकीर्ण सोच वाले हिंदुत्व नेताओं की निरंतर मजबूत होती पकड़ ने सांप्रदायिक हिंसा को ‘न्यू नार्मल’ के रूप में मान्यता दिला दी है। हिंदू धर्म को कलंकित करने में इस नए जमाने के हिंदुत्व की क्या भूमिका है, यह अब किसी से छिपा नहीं है। एक समय था जब समाज पर समाजवादी और गांधीवादी विचारों के प्रभाव के कारण सांप्रदायिकता का सामना करना अपेक्षाकृत कम मुश्किल काम था। पर इन विचारधाराओं का प्रभाव कम हो जाने से सांप्रदायिक नेताओं-समूहों का तेजी से विस्तार हो रहा है। एबीवीपी, विहिप, हिंदू युवावाहिनी और बजरंग दल जैसे संगठन सामाजिक-राजनीतिक जीवन के पूरे परिदृश्य पर हावी हो चुके हैं।अक्सर साधारण परिवारों के युवक इन संगठनों की चपेट में इसलिए आ जाते हैं क्योंकि सांप्रदायिक संगठन समाज सेवा के मुखौटे के भीतर रहकर अपना काम करते हैं। वे दिखावे के तौर पर ब्लड डोनेशन या स्वच्छता मिशन या फिर शहीदों के सम्मान जैसी गतिविधियां करते हैं पर उनका असल मकसद समाज में सांप्रदायिकता का विचारधारा का विस्तार करना होता है। मुस्लिमों में भी सांप्रदायिकता है, पर वे उस प्रकार से संगठित सांप्रदायिकता को व्यक्त नहीं कर रहे हैं। Continue reading “कासगंज हिंसा- तिरंगे को हड़प जाएगा भगवा? वैभव सिंह”

From Nangeli to Rima Kallingal: Who are fit to claim Nangeli’s Legacy?

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The recent reference to how the distribution of food in Malayali homes is often skewed against women by the actor Rima Kallingal in a recent talk has sparked off yet another round of attacks against feminists in Kerala. It is interesting to see how this seems to have brought together men of all political stripes and colours (may I say, from pro- and anti-Hadiya camps!). The attacks range from mild smirking to outright abuse, but are equally revealing of the fear of women’s feminist self-assertion. So even those men who supported Hadiya’s decision to choose her faith and community find it hard to swallow when women start laying bare the injustices of the ubiquitous patriarchal family, fearing that there may be an implicit choice in this criticism, to move away from the patriarchal family, and indeed, craft other non-patriarchal forms of intimate connection and commitment. After all, whatever be the community, the patriarchal family is acknowledged by patriarchal authorities everywhere as the foundation Continue reading “From Nangeli to Rima Kallingal: Who are fit to claim Nangeli’s Legacy?”

The Indian Constitution too was Demolished Along With Babri Masjid 25 Years Ago

Twenty five years ago, on 6 December 1992, the structure of Babri Masjid was brought down by a mob of vandals, presided over by the top leadership of the BJP/RSS/VHP, as the Congress government led by prime minister Narasimha Rao looked on benignly. As did the Supreme Court before which a commitment was made by the Kalyan Singh (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh – to the effect that nothing would be allowed to happen to the structure of the mosque.

Journalist Sajeda Momin, covering the demolition, recalls the scene thus,

I can still see the thousands of saffron-clad ‘kar sevaks’ clambering atop the 16th century mosque and pounding it with shovels, iron rods, pickaxes and anything they could lay their hands on. I can hear the screeching of Sadhvi Uma Bharti egging them on shouting “ek dhakka aur do, Babri Masjid tod do” through the microphones from atop the specially-built watchtower for the BJP/RSS/VHP leadership. I can visualize the three domes of the mosque collapsing inwards one by one at intervals of roughly an hour on that cold, wintery Sunday afternoon.

Everyone knew who were the dramatis personae at each level – and practically every bit of evidence that would ever have been required exists, captured in videos and photographs. Our present prime minister was said to be  one of the key organizers of the of the Rath Yatra that led up to the demolition and can be seen holding the microphone in his  hands in the photograph below.

Rath Yatra – precursor to the demolition, image courtesy Quora.com

Worse was to follow the demolition. The  demolition of the structure of the mosque was over that day but the process of the demolition of the Indian Constitution that had begun with what was called the ‘Ram janmabhoomi movement’ continued. By ‘Constitution’ I do not simply mean the book that embodies the law of the land but rather the very weave that came to constitute Indian society as a result of the new contract that the document called the Constitution embodied. Constitution, therefore in a triple sense. The document called the Constitution too was not merely a book of laws; it was rather, the only existing, largely agreed upon, vision of a modern India. It was a vision which was put in place through the long process of struggles, debates and contestations over the long decades of the anticolonial movement and finally given shape in, in the Constituent Assembly. There was nothing benign or innocuous about it – every bit of it had to be achieved through a fight. And yet, in the end, that was the document that embodied the vision of modern India. The only political current that stood far away from both the anticolonial struggle and had no role in the creation of this vision is the political force that rules India today.

The RSS and its numerous offshoots were neither fighting the British nor joining in the anti-caste and anti-untouchability struggles through the period since they came into existence in the mid-1920s. No wonder leaders of the Sangh combine think the anti-colonial/ national struggle was about cow-protection. That they neither subscribed to the anti-British agenda nor to the anti-caste agenda around which struggles of that period took shape, is not just a matter of historical record but is also visible in the way its leaders and ranks conduct their politics today. Every single step taken by the Sangh leaders is a step out of sync with the vision of the future spelt out by the social contract of modern India. That the Sangh attributes this vision to the Congress is an expression of its own illiteracy about the diverse forces in struggle throughout that period.

Even though it is conducted in the name of Hindus, there is nothing ‘Hindu’ about its agenda. Sangh and Sanghism is the name of a malignant political machine that seeks to destroy the very body of society in the name of an ancient past. That is the political machine we confront today. That is the political machine that we must fight today with all our vigour.

What’s in a Name? The Demolition of ‘Babri Masjid’, the Name and the Mosque: Hilal Ahmed

Babri-Masjid – Before the Demolition, image courtesy Tehelka.com

The gradual erasure of the words ‘Babri Masjid’ from our everyday memory actually began in 1986, when the Hindu community was granted the exclusive right to worship there. This happened without any regard ownership disputes the and illegal conversion of this mosque into a temple in 1949.

This story of the dispute itself is disputable. It is imperative to revisit three interesting moments, which no one talks of these days.

The 1949 moment

On the night of 23 December 1949, a group of local Hindus entered the mosque and installed the idols of Lord Ram inside it. Although the police filed an FIR in which the building is clearly defined as a functional mosque, the local administration took charge of the building, and without removing the idols from the mosque space, declared it a legally “disputed site”. Read the full article here

 

The Gates of Vaikuntam?

When Hadiya Shafin shouted to the crowd that she converted voluntarily, that Shafin was her chosen husband, and that she wished to spend her life with him, some leading rationalist liberal feminists in Kerala sniggered at her: be grateful for the Indian Constitution which allows you to make a choice. This statement hid a despicable insult to her choice of Islam, slyly implying that it would not permit her any choices.

Goodness knows where these puerile, vain, indurate minds live their everyday lives.  Maybe they are either still able to insulate themselves somehow from the onslaught of Hindutva violence, or find it useful to use the arms of this Hindutva hegemonised thuggish state to their narrow, shamefully narrow, ends.

Whatever, I could see no trace of the protective presence of the Indian Constitution when the Supreme Court heard Hadiya. I could see not the highest court of Justice of a vibrant democracy but I got a sense of how the Gates of Celestial Vaikuntam may look like:

Read more at : https://thewire.in/200701/hadiya-supreme-court-nia/