Category Archives: Violence-Conflict

बहुध्रुवीयता – तानाशाही का मूलमंत्र : कविता कृष्णन

Guest post by KAVITA KRISHNAN

[यह लेख The India Forum में अंग्रेज़ी में छपा और उसके हिंदी अनुवाद का एक संक्षिप्त संस्करण सत्य हिंदी में छपा. यहाँ हिंदी में लेख को पूरा (बिना काट-छांट के) पढ़ा जा सकता है. हिंदी अनुवाद के लिए डॉ कविता नंदन सूर्य (सम्पादक, www.debateonline.in) को शुक्रिया.]

बहुध्रुवीयता अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संबंधों की वामपंथी समझ को दिशा देने वाला कम्पास है. भारत और वैश्विक वामपंथ की सभी धाराओं ने लम्बे समय से साम्राज्यवादी अमेरिकी वर्चस्व वाली ‘एकध्रुवीय’ दुनिया की अवधारणा के खिलाफ ‘बहुध्रुवीय’ विश्व की वकालत की है.

दूसरी ओर, ‘बहुध्रुवीयता’ वैश्विक फासीवाद और तानाशाही की साझी भाषा का मूल आधार बन गई है. यह निरंकुश शासकों के लिए एकजुटता का ऐसा आह्वान है, जो लोकतंत्र पर उनके हमले को साम्राज्यवाद के खिलाफ जंग की शक्ल में पेश करती है.  अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संबंधों के साम्राज्यवाद-विरोधी लोकतंत्रीकरण के नाम पर बहुध्रुवीयता को वैश्विक वामपंथ के गुंजायमान समर्थन ने, निरंकुशता का भेस बदलने और उसे वैधता दिलाने के लिए ‘बहुध्रुवीयता’ के इस्तेमाल को असीमित शक्ति प्रदान कर दी है.

राष्ट्र राज्यों के आतंरिक अथवा आपसी राजनैतिक टकरावों पर रुख तय करने लिए कितने आधार उपलब्ध हैं? इस प्रश्न के जवाब में वामपन्थ सिर्फ़ दो विकल्पों – या तो “बहुध्रुवीयता” या “एकध्रुवीयता” – को प्रस्तुत करती है. अगर आपने “बहुध्रुवीयता” को अपना मूल आधार नहीं बनाया तो वामपन्थ मानेगी कि आप ज़रूर अमेरिका/नाटो की दादागिरी वाले “एकध्रुवीयता” के पक्ष में हैं. पर   “बहुध्रुवीयता” या “एकध्रुवीयता” के बीच यह कल्पित बाईनरी हमेशा भ्रामक थी. लेकिन आज “बहुध्रुवीयता” बनाम  “एकध्रुवीयता” के बीच संघर्ष की मनगढ़ंत कहानी भ्रामक ही नहीं, खतरनाक है क्योंकि इस कहानी में फासीवादी और तानाशाह नेताओं को “बहुध्रुवीयता” बनाए रखने वाले नायकों का पात्र दिया गया है.

Continue reading बहुध्रुवीयता – तानाशाही का मूलमंत्र : कविता कृष्णन

The Lady Vanishes – Justice and Law in Our Age: Dilip Simeon

Guest post by DILIP SIMEON

[Names and publications of cited authors are listed at the end of the essay.]

The sophists taught, rather publicly, the view that the summit of happiness is to combine the appearance of justice with actual injustice: Gregory McBrayer (2015), p 44

To speak of justice has always been to plunge into a metaphysical abyss, especially as the issue has been intractable since (at least) Plato’s most famous work, The Republic was written some twenty-five centuries ago. Not least has been the permanently contentious issue – named the theological-political problem by Leo Strauss – of whether we should live according to divine or human guidance. But to speak of justice in India is confront our deeply divided souls; and in the most horrendous cases, to stare evil in the eye.

If Mrs Indira Gandhi dreamt of a ‘committed bureaucracy,’ our current rulers appear to be bent upon the complete domestication of civil society by their ideological enterprise. This requires a committed judiciary too, for which aspiration clues are ample, because they conspire in broad daylight. It was inevitable that some members of the judiciary were and continue to be complicit in this totalitarian project. We should be grateful that there are men and women of courage and conscience within. One of them was named Judge Loya.

Continue reading The Lady Vanishes – Justice and Law in Our Age: Dilip Simeon

Police Violence against the Fisher People on the Kerala Coast: A People’s Account

Below, I share a write-up by Johnson Jament, an academic researcher from the coast of the Thiruvananthapuram district, where an intense struggle against the Adani Port Project has been unfolding. Arrayed on opposing sides are the fisher people who have inhabited the coast since the past 500 years (according to historical record) and more, whose livelihoods are at stake, and the Adani Port Project, supported by the combination of natural resource predators and the CPM-led government of Kerala. The leadership of the CPM (though not the ranks, or at least all of the ranks) can be quite fairly described as a ‘post-socialist oligarchy’, and hence their support of Adani Ports is pretty understandable. The battle has been equally one of wits too, with the Kerala government pulling out all their progressive aces, including the longtime literary-cultural acolytes of the CPM but also some of the (former) stars of Kerala’s oppositional civil society — notably, the poet and critic, K Satchidanandan! Questioned about his stance, this early teacher of Euro-Marxism of a whole generation claimed that the conflict was because of ‘binary thinking’ that supporters and opponents of the Port project both equally indulge in, forgetting notably, that something like ‘structural contradiction’ may be becoming evident in and through this struggle. Perceiving it, of course, is not indulging in binary thinking.

Continue reading Police Violence against the Fisher People on the Kerala Coast: A People’s Account

Questioning the Make-in-Odisha Conclave and the Current Development Model: People’s Movements Write to Governor

Following is the text of an open letter sent by the Bisthapan Birodhi Jana Andolon Mancha, a coalition of people’s organizations, activists, journalists and citizens to the Governor of the Odisha. It was released in Bhubaneswar yesterday the 3rd of December 2022.

Respected Sir,

We as concerned citizens, social activists, political and human rights activists, environmentalists and journalists and the leaders of twelve mass organizations on behalf of Bisthapan Birodhi Jana Andolon Mancha, Odisha appeal for the protection of natural resources and an immediate end to the continuous forceful displacement of people from their lands and dwelling places.

We express our protest and dissent against the Odisha government’s Make-in-Odisha Conclave in Bhubaneswar. Inviting more investments in the name of development will uproot the lives and livelihoods of people dependent on these land, forests and coasts. We appeal to your conscience to intervene and prevent the exploration and exploitation of natural resources through unmindful and unwanted mining of bauxite, iron ore, chromite, coal, river sand, china clay and other resources in the name of development. People are struggling against all odds and hardships to protect the same for future generations even as they remain deprived of access to basic needs like education, health and nutritional food security.

Continue reading Questioning the Make-in-Odisha Conclave and the Current Development Model: People’s Movements Write to Governor

Letter to Consul General, Iranian Consulate, Mumbai: Indian women’s organisations

The following letter, signed by over 300 individuals from different national and regional organisations was handed over at the  Iranian Consulate in Mumbai by six representatives on September 29, 2022.  It was received politely and acknowledged.

Mr. Abolfazi Mohammad Alikhani
Consul General,
Iran Consulate, Mumbai.

Sir,

We, women and women’s organization from India, are writing this letter to register our horror at the  brutal attacks on the women and citizens  of Iran as they protest the killing of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Gasht-e-Ershad. These brutal attacks have resulted in and continue to result in further deaths and imprisonments.

These brave women of Iran are demanding freedom from the Morality Police and the State imposing upon them what they must or must not wear and how to wear it; what they must and must not do, or act, or behave. They are rejecting this control. The men of Iran are giving full support and putting their bodies on the line alongside them. The resulting violent repression is heinous and inhuman.

We stand in solidarity with the women of Iran who came out in public to protest killing of Mahsa Amini and to voice their demands for  freedom, equality and autonomy. Continue reading Letter to Consul General, Iranian Consulate, Mumbai: Indian women’s organisations

Why remember Partition? And what to remember? Ayesha Kidwai

AYESHA KIDWAI reflects on the injustice done to Bilkis Bano on the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, by the release of the 11 convicted rapists (who raped her during the Gujarat carnage of 2002, and killed her 3 year-old daughter), by way of her translation of Krishn Chander’s short story written in 1948, entitled Ek Tawaif ka Khat, 

Our readers would remember that Ayesha has had translations posted here on Kafila earlier, some into Hindustani from English. Now you can visit her site to read all of her translations as and when she posts them there.

Here is the link to Ayesha Kidwai’s site.

Here we publish her preface and an extract from the translation. The whole story may be read on her site.

PREFACE BY AYESHA KIDWAI

There have been many in India and Pakistan (and what eventually became Bangladesh) who have always remembered the Partition of 1947. They remembered it as it the long Partition of India drew out, because they bore the marks of it on their bodies and in their families, they remembered it as they were in Parliament trying to build a state that would never face such a terrible event of rupture ever again; they remembered it even when they apparently appeared to forget it, because the only way to not let the events of terrifying trauma — of the looting, abduction, sexual violence, exile and murder— overshadow the present and the futures that had to be built. At every stage in the last 75 years, there have been people in both countries who have taken instruction from the horrors of the long Partition to interrogate what must not be done, what was must be changed, what must be erased.

Continue reading Why remember Partition? And what to remember? Ayesha Kidwai

The Gujarat Politics of Remission: People’s Union for Democratic rights

Image courtesy Times Now

Statement by People’s Union for Democratic Rights

The controversial garlanding of the recently released 11 individuals, by members allegedly belonging to the VHP on August 16, 2022, raises a pertinent question: why were these individuals released? Obviously, the fact that they had been in prison for well over the mandatory 14 years made them eligible for availing the remission policy of the state government.

It is a settled principle within remission policy that the pre-mature release of convicted prisoners must fulfil the goals of rehabilitative or reformative justice. For this reason, remission is not an automatic process available to all convicts who have served 14 years; instead, there are clear criteria for eligibility. While the report prepared by the state government’s committee formed after the Supreme Court’s judgment of May 2022 is not available, it is reasonable to ask how the 11 individuals fulfilled the criteria. Continue reading The Gujarat Politics of Remission: People’s Union for Democratic rights

गुजरात में हुए सामूहिक बलात्कार और हत्याओं के 11 दोषियों की समय से पहले रिहाई को तुरंत रद्द किया जाए!

For complete list of signatories and statement in English, see here.

न्याय के लिए बिलकिस बानो के 20 साल के संघर्ष  में हम उसके समर्थन में एकजुट हैं

हम मांग करते हैं कि सामूहिक बलात्कार और हत्या के 11 दोषियों की समय से पहले रिहाई को तुरंत रद्द किया जाए!

न्याय के लिए संघर्ष  कर रहे सभी बलात्कार पीड़ितों पर इसका अत्यघिक नकारात्मक और बुरा असर पड़ेगा !

हम भारत के सर्वोच्च न्यायलय से इस फैसले को जो कि न्याय पर एक गंभीर आघात है, को पलटने की मांग करते हैं

हम भारत के सभी नागरिकों को अपील करते हैं कि वे इस अन्याय के खिलाफ और बलात्कार पीड़ितों के समर्थन में खड़े हो

15 अगस्त 2022 की सुबह, 75वें स्वतंत्रता दिवस पर राष्ट्र को संबोधित करते हुए भारत के प्रधानमंत्री ने महिला अधिकार, गौरव और नारी-शक्ति के बारे में बात की। उसी दिन दोपहर में ‘बिलकिस बानो’, एक महिला जो उसी ‘नारी – शक्ति ’ की मिसाल के रुप में पिछले 17 साल से न्याय की लम्बी लड़ाई लड़ रही है, को पता चलता है कि वे लोग जिन्होंने उसके परिवार के लोगों को मार डाला, उसकी 3 साल की मासूम बच्ची का कत्ल किया, उसके साथ सामूहिक बलात्कार किया और फिर उसे मरने के लिए छोड़ दिया, वो सभी जेल से बाहर आ गए हैं और आज़ाद हो गए हैं। किसी ने उससे उसके विचार नहीं पूछे या उसकी सुरक्षा के बारे में जानने की कोशिश नहीं की। किसी ने उसे नोटिस भी नहीं भेजा, किसी ने नहीं पूछा कि एक सामूहिक बलात्कार की पीड़ा से निकली महिला को अपने बलात्कारियों की रिहाई के बारे में सुनकर कैसा मेहसूस हुआ। Continue reading गुजरात में हुए सामूहिक बलात्कार और हत्याओं के 11 दोषियों की समय से पहले रिहाई को तुरंत रद्द किया जाए!

Justice for Bilkis! Appeal to Supreme Court to restore faith in the justice system on 75th anniversary of Independence

FULL TEXT OF STATEMENT IN ENGLISH AND COMPLETE LIST OF SIGNATORIES AFTER THE SUMMARY BELOW.

FOR STATEMENT IN HINDI SEE HERE

20 years after horrific gang-rape and mass murders in Gujarat, about 6000 citizens speak out in support of Bilkis Bano’s continuing struggle for justice!

Demand the revocation of the premature release of 11 gang-rapists and mass murderers in Gujarat.

Appeal to the Supreme Court of India to undo this grave miscarriage of justice. Call upon citizens to stand with all victims of rape against such an injustice.

Coming together to express their shock and horror at the pre-mature release of 11 men convicted of gang-rape and mass murder, about 6000 ordinary citizens, grassroots workers, movements and organizations working for the rights of women, for human rights, peace, secularism, against caste oppression, for disability and queer rights and other peoples’ movements, activists, eminent writers, historians, scholars, filmmakers, journalists and former bureaucrats and many more, came together to say:

“On  the morning of August 15, 2022, in his Independence Day address to the nation the Prime Minister of India spoke of women’s rights, dignity and Nari Shakti. That very afternoon Bilkis Bano, a woman who embodied that ‘Nari Shakti’ in her long and daunting struggle for justice, learnt that the perpetrators who killed her family, murdered her 3 year old daughter, gang-raped and left her to die, had walked free.”

Continue reading Justice for Bilkis! Appeal to Supreme Court to restore faith in the justice system on 75th anniversary of Independence

Letter to UP Administration: Women’s groups, democratic rights organisations and concerned citizens

Statement by women’s groups, democratic rights organizations and individuals

Shri Ajay Singh Bisht, The Chief Minister, UP

Shri Avnish Kumar Awasthi, Secretary, Home, UP

Dr Devendra Singh Chauhan, DGP, UP

Shri Ajay Kumar SSP, UP Police

We, the undersigned women’s organisations, democratic rights groups and individuals, write to you to strongly condemn the attempts of the Uttar Pradesh police to take into custody civil society activists who have been active in the anti-CAA struggle on the false and completely unsubstantiated claim that they were “masterminds” of the protests that happened in different parts of the country on June 9-10, 2022.

These protests were followed by police action in which several people have been injured. The police have unleashed bulldozers to demolish the homes of activists in a brazen and illegal manner. Police have filed cases against a number of people and sought to detain them and members of their families. Instead of compensating those whose houses have been unjustifiably demolished, your administration continues to take the same illegal path of throttling dissent. Continue reading Letter to UP Administration: Women’s groups, democratic rights organisations and concerned citizens

US, Russia and Ukraine – The Death Trap beyond the New Cold War: Vishwas Satgar

This article by VISHWAS SATGAR was earlier published in the Daily Maverick, South Africa, Satgar has written for Kafila on earlier occasions.

Vladimir Putin’s regime, unlike Franco, Mussolini or Hitler, has a formidable nuclear arsenal. In this context, the contemporary world stands on the brink, facing extinction either through nuclear holocaust emanating from battle fields in Ukraine or worsening the climate crisis, while in our everyday lives prices for food and fossil fuels are skyrocketing.

Precariousness, uncertainty and complex risk have become the lived reality of deep globalisation in which markets for finance, energy, food and production have been integrated.

The fragility of this global economy was exposed in the “great financial crisis” (circa 2007-2009) from which the world economy has not recovered, by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and now by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These realities cannot be understood through simple memes, propagandistic binaries or abstract security concepts.

The full article can be read here.

Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Radical Socialist

We publish below a statement by Radical Socialist on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The statement minces no words in condemning the aggression as well as NATO but refuses to make the NATO the justification for Russia’s yearning for the lost empire.

1. We condemn Russia as an imperialist aggressor using the dreams of an old imperial epoch to justify expansionism, and are deeply concerned at this precedent  that may later affect any other former Soviet republic.

2. As when the US invaded Iraq, we do not use the language of diplomacy, we do not seek UN intervention, but call for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the aggressors.

3. This demand does not date only to 2022. We demand the Russian withdraw from every inch of Ukrainian territory. That includes Crimea, and the provinces in Eastern Ukraine even as we recognise the justice of demands for greater cultural and political autonomy so that Ukraine becomes a more democratic and federal set-up. Crimea had its own Constitution in 1992 which gave it greater powers of self-governance with some powers delegated to Kiev. Unjustifiably, President Kuchma subsequently annulled this Constitution.

Continue reading Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Radical Socialist

Australia-UK-US nuclear deal and India’s role: Statement by Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) issued a statement against AUKUS,  a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, announced on 15 September 2021 for the Indo-Pacific region. Under the pact, the US and the UK will help Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

India is part of an older formation, “Quad” (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue)  between US, Australia, India and Japan, revived in 2017, the goal of which is to strengthen security relationships through non-military means. However, the formation of AUKUS throws doubt on Quad’s ability to stay independent of military initiatives, as two of Quad’s partners are now part of AUKUS. It seems that AUKUS could supplant the Quad as the most important strategic initiative in the region. These fears are dismissed by all the governments concerned, but there is no doubt among experts that AUKUS, the military initiative, will now take priority in terms of resources and time.

Expectations of and pressures on India from Quad partners US and Australia as a result of AUKUS, are also matters of great concern.

It is in this context that CNDP has issued the following statement.

CNDP Statement on AUKUS and Quad

The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), India expresses its deep concern at the U.S. agreement to sell nuclear submarines and Tomahawk missiles to Australia and also at the ongoing quadrilateral security dialogue of which India is a part.

We call attention to the absurdity of U.S. involvement in a security dialogue in the Asia- Pacific region. The United States has no legitimate security interests in this part of the globe and is simply looking to confront and thereby contain China, which it perceives as a threat to U.S. hegemony.

The United States finds itself unable to maintain its economic hegemony, which has been in steady decline. But U.S. military hegemony remains unchallenged and, for decades, the United States has accounted for 40% of world military expenditure. As a declining empire, the United States seeks confrontation where it is strongest:  by fostering a new arms race in the Asia-Pacific region. Continue reading Australia-UK-US nuclear deal and India’s role: Statement by Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

किसे है बेनक़ाब होने का डर? हिंदुत्व बनाम हिन्दू ‘जीवन-शैली’

ये हिंदुत्व है हिन्दू धर्म नहीं! गुजरात के मुख्यमंत्री नरेन्द्र मोदी शस्त्र पूजा में मग्न. AFP PHOTO/ SAM PANTHAKY

[यह लेख पहले जनवादी लेखक संघ की पत्रिका नया पथ के जनवरी-मार्च २०२१ अंक में प्रकाशित हुआ था. आगामी 11-12 सितम्बर को अमेरिका में होने जा रहे Dismantling Global Hindutva सम्मलेन से उद्वेलित हिंदुत्व के प्रचारक अब इस सम्मलेन को रद्द कराने की मुहीम में उतर चुके हैं. उनका चालाकी भरा तर्क यह है कि यह सम्मलेन हिन्दू-विरोधी है. इस सन्दर्भ में यह दोहराना बेहद ज़रूरी है कि हिंदुत्व विस्तारवादी फौजी तसव्वुर से लैस एक राजनीतिक विचारतंत्र जो हिन्दुओं के नाम पर हिंसात्मक राजनीती करता है मगर इसका हिन्दू धर्म या जीवन शैली से कोई सम्बन्ध नहीं है. इस वजह से इस लेख को यहाँ साझा किया जा रहा है.]

“समस्त राजनीति का हिन्दूकरण करो और हिन्दूतंत्र का सैन्यीकरण करो – तब हमारे हिन्दू राष्ट्र (नेशन) का पुनरुत्थान होना तय है, उसी तरह जैसे अंधेरी रात के बाद सुबह का आना अनिवार्य होता है”। – विनायक दामोदर सावरकर, 25 मई 1941 को अपने 59 वें जन्मदिन पर हिंदुतन्त्र (हिन्दूडम) के नाम संदेश।

“हमारी भुजायें एक ओर अमेरिका तक फैली थीं – कोलंबस के अमेरिका ‘आविष्कार’ से बहुत पहले – तो दूसरी ओर चीन, जापान, कम्बोडिया, मलय, श्याम, इंडोनेशिया और समस्त दक्षिण-पूर्व एशिया तक फैली हुई थीं, और उत्तर में मंगोलिया और साइबेरिया तक। हमारा शक्तिशाली राजनीतिक साम्राज्य इन दक्षिण-पूर्व एशियाई क्षेत्रों तक फैला था और 1400 वर्षों तक जारी रहा, अकेले शैलेन्द्र साम्राज्य 700 वर्षों तक फलता फूलता रहा – और चीन के विस्तार के खिलाफ़ चट्टान की तरह खड़ा रहा”। – माधव सदाशिव गोलवालकर, राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के दूसरे सरसंघचालक, बँच ऑफ थॉट्स, विक्रम प्रकाशन, बंगलोर, 1968, पृ 9 

हिन्दुत्व-विचारतंत्र के इन दो महारथियों की ये उक्तियाँ पढ़ने के बाद आइए अब एक उद्धरण उस शख़्स का देखें जिसे हिंदुत्ववादी हड़पने की पुरज़ोर कोशिश किया करते हैं। ये शख़्स और कोई नहीं स्वामी विवेकानंद हैं। मुलाहिज़ा फरमाएं :

Continue reading किसे है बेनक़ाब होने का डर? हिंदुत्व बनाम हिन्दू ‘जीवन-शैली’

A Poem For Umar, Khalid Saifi and Other Political Prisoners: Nabiya Khan

Guest Post by NABIYA KHAN

Our valiant young activists, defenders of democracy, continue to be in prison for almost a year – some a bit more and some a bit less. All under entirely framed charges, while the actual perpetrators of violence continue to roam free, spreading hate. Celebrating the commitment and courage of these activists, here is an offering by Nabiya Khan, courtesy Karwan-e-Mohabbat. The Devanagari and Urdu texts follow after the video

Continue reading A Poem For Umar, Khalid Saifi and Other Political Prisoners: Nabiya Khan

An open letter demanding action on the online targeting of Muslim women

A statement signed by 900 individuals and groups

We, the undersigned women’s rights groups and concerned individuals are outraged by the reprehensible targeting of Muslim women on GitHub, a free web platform, where Twitter handles, and photographs of Muslim women were uploaded with the explicit aim of directing sexualised hate and harm at these women. More than 80 women were profiled, their images were sought to be “auctioned” by soliciting users to take their pick on the “deal of the day”, on the basis of their identity and for their views. This is a conspiracy to target women by creating a database of those Muslim women journalists, professionals and students who were actively raising a voice on social media against right wing Hindutva majoritarianism. The intention is to silence their political participation.

This attempt to de-humanise and sexualise Muslim women is a systemic act of intimidation and harm. This is not the first time this has happened. Before Eid, similar cyber violence against Muslim women was organized by stealing pictures of Pakistani women from their social media handles.

This is a targeted hate campaign against Muslim women in India and abroad amounts to sexual harassment, criminal intimidation, and cyber stalking. It violates their right to privacy, which is a travelling right, and it is an act of censorship. It puts their life and liberty at risk.

This is a targeted campaign to regulate their political speech and political participation in democracy as full and equal citizens of this country. It is part of the project to push Muslim women out of public spaces, offline and online, by causing them harm and censoring their speech. Having witnessed the leadership and power of Muslim women in the anti-citizenship amendment act (CAA) movement, right wing Hindutva men have used social media as a political tool to deny Muslim women their right to lead our collective fight for secularism, peace and citizenship. Continue reading An open letter demanding action on the online targeting of Muslim women

Stan Swamy’s Custodial Murder – Joining the Dots From Santhal Hul To the Pathalgadi Movement

Fr. Stanislaus Lourduswamy aka Stan Swamy, image by Sarah Modak, courtesy Article 14

There are just no words left to express the anger and helplessness that overcame hundreds and thousands of people like me when they heard of the custodial murder of an ailing, frail, octogenarian, Fr Stanislaus Lourduswamy, known to the world as Stan Swamy. The various issues that arise from the virtual judicial abdication of responsibility has been powerfully articulated by former Delhi High Court Chief Justice, AP Shah and one can hardly add to that. What is perhaps the most shocking is not that the judiciary abdicated in observing its duty of upholding the Constitutional rights of a citizen but that it seems to have lost even the minimum grace and human concern.

“Medical reports taken on record clearly showed that Fr Swamy had the degenerative Parkinson’s disease, and could not even do basic tasks, such as holding a spoon, writing, walking or bathing. Indeed, the court noted that he had a severe hearing problem, and was physically very weak. But even that did not move them. Every regular bail application that was filed by his lawyers was unequivocally rejected.” 

This is shocking beyond words – or used to be once upon a time. But as each day of this regime passes, our threshold of taking shock increases by leaps and bounds. Are we really surprized now, that while this was how they treated Stan Swamy, a goon who had just the other day openly called for mob violence and “shooting down anti-nationals” has now been promoted to the Central ministry?

Continue reading Stan Swamy’s Custodial Murder – Joining the Dots From Santhal Hul To the Pathalgadi Movement

Resist the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians: Radical Socialist

For more information on continuing Israeli attacks on Palestine, see Electronic Intifada  and What is happening in Sheikh Jarra.

Issued in 1981

Statement by Radical Socialist

Resist the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians! Oppose Zionism in the Streets! Fight for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

Radical Socialist holds that the very existence of Israel is the existence of a colonial-settler state. The centuries of violence on Jews was carried out, not by Arabs, not by Muslims, but first by the Romans, then by Christian Europeans. Within that, the UN in 1948 had given only a small area. Over the decades, a continuously aggressive Israel has expanded, has occupied territories originally identified for Palestinians. The Naqba has been a never ending process of ethnic cleansing. Protected by US imperialism, in the initial phases by the Soviet bureaucracy, and also by the military power it has built up, Israel has waged a permanent war on the Palestinians.

The current conflict must be viewed from that broader perspective. It is not a conflict between two more or less equal sides. It is not a case where Hamas is to be held as responsible, or even almost as responsible, as Israel. It is Israel that is fully responsible for the renewed bid at ethnic cleansing by pushing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem and elsewhere. With an ultra-right figure like Netanyahu, the failure to form a stable government after the last elections was adequate reason to stoke Zionist sentiments further. Continue reading Resist the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians: Radical Socialist

Ominous Dark Clouds Over Bengal’s Skies…

A demonstration by the ‘No Vote to BJP’ campaign in Kolkata, (older image) courtesy The Telegraph

As close to 8.5 lakh voters spread over 35 Assembly constituencies go to vote today in the last phase of Bengal’s elections, the line from the famous jatra Nabab Siraj-Ud-Doula from which the title of this post is extracted, haunts. The original ‘jatra pala’, written by Sachin Sengupta was staged in 1938 had a dialogue that announced the dark clouds collecting at Bengal’s horizons. The lines ‘Banglar akashe aaj durjoger ghanaghata/ Taar shyamal prantore rakter alpona’ have since resounded in the many iterations of the play, over the decades. The figures of Siraj-Ud-Daula and the traitor Mir Jafar have generally become part of Bengal’s political vocabulary but this time round the sense of Bengal being under attack from ‘outsiders’ has been pervasive. Along with that other episode of political folklore – repeated attacks by the borgis or the plunderous cavalrymen of the Maratha Empire, on Bengal has been recalled often. The attacks by the borgis were followed, only a few years later, by the Battle of Plassey (Palashi), in which Siraj-Ud-Daula was defeated after Robert Clive bribed Mir Jafar, his army commander, to betray the Nawab. 

This time round too, it is widely believed, the aggression by ‘outsiders’ cannot and will not succeed but for the Mir Jafar’s who collaborate with the aggressors.

Continue reading Ominous Dark Clouds Over Bengal’s Skies…

Sitalkuchi And After – A Flashback to CPI-M Rule in West Bengal

Graves of the four young men killed in Sitalkuchi, courtesy Newslaundry

As the news of the killings of four youth in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) came in on 10 April, reactions of horror and anger became evident all around. This reaction among politically informed sections was only natural, for anybody with a little bit of common intelligence will tell you that the BJP is making an all out bid to capture power in the state. And anyone who has watched the Modi-Shah duo in action over the past few years, does not need to be told what this means. It is always ‘Heads I win; Tails you lose’ with them. It doesn’t matter what dirty trick you have to play, all is fair in this game of capturing power with them. They will form the government, no matter who wins but first, every effort has to be made to ‘win’ by any means. And that means by ANY means, ranging from killing people by engineering violent communal incidents to buying off opposition parties’ winning legislators. Despite the full battery of BJP’s star campaigners ranging from Narendra Modi and Shah to Yogi Adityanath making repeated visits to the state, their rallies have seen very low turnout and in some instances meetings had to be cancelled. So the desperation is growing. The first four of the unprecedented eight rounds in the state’s elections were to be in the areas where TMC is relatively weak. But even in these areas the reports were not very encouraging for the BJP. Thus, every child in Bengal could see what these killings meant. Except the CPI-M that is.

Soon the story of the killings was being given a typically BJP IT Cell spin: a mob of Muslim TMC people surrounded the CISF and tried to snatch their rifles. This was followed by identical tweets by a range of people describing how they could not sleep all night because of the sounds of the explosion of bombs, suggesting that things had been going on all night – and the CISF action in the morning was therefore, only justified.

Seasoned CPI-M stalwarts on Twitter apparently neither saw those tweets or more likely, jumped at them to immediately amplify the BJP narrative of provocation by TMC (Muslim mob is often implied). It is certainly not possible that anybody with a little bit of common sense would not have immediately seen this copy paste job for what it was – a BJP IT Cell operation. The CPI-M leaders and their social media warriors went on, willfully, to reinforce the ‘provocation’ narrative that was being circulated by the BJP.

Meanwhile, many people including poll analysts and former bureaucrats started asking that if there really was an irate mob attacking the CISF party, where was the footage? Was there any video evidence? No such question crossed the CPI-M leaders’ minds and from all appearances, from Biman Bose to Mohd Salim (and the pathetic Sujan Chakrabarty) pushed ahead with not-so-subtle ways of relaying the BJP narrative and indeed, it was not difficult to discern that they were in fact, gloating.

Continue reading Sitalkuchi And After – A Flashback to CPI-M Rule in West Bengal

Hinduism, Hindu Way of Life and RSS Hindutva

 

 

Generic image of demonstration against mob lynching, courtesy ED Times

[In this column this time, I am reproducing a piece that I recently wrote at the request of some friends – as a popular pamphlet, meant primarily for election purposes. Therefore, while it draws on the work of experts in the field, it does not really address the academic reader.]

“Hinduize all politics and militarize Hindudom – And the resurrection of our Hindu Nation is bound to follow it as certainly as the Dawn follows the darkest hour of the Night!” – Hindutva’s founding ideologue Vinayak D. Savarkar’s message to Hindudom on his 59th birthday, 25 May 1941.

“Our arms stretched as far as America on the one side – that was long before Columbus ‘discovered’ America – and on the other side to China, Japan, Cambodia, Malay, Siam, Indonesia and all the South-East Asian countries and right up to Mongolia and Siberia in the North. Our powerful political empire too spread over these South-East areas and continued for 1,400 years, the Shailendra empire alone flourishing for over 700 years – standing as a powerful bulwark against Chinese expansion.” M. S. Golwalkar, [Second Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak  Sangh (RSS)], Bunch of Thoughts, Vikrama Prakashan, Bangalore 1968, p. 9.

“Emotions have more connection with the senses than with the faculty of reason; and therefore when principles are entirely lost sight of and emotions prevail, religions degenerate into fanaticism…They are no better than party politicsThe most horribly ignorant notions will be taken up, and for these ideas thousands will be ready to cut the throats of their brethren.” – Swami Vivekananda, “The Methods and Purpose of Religion”, The Definitive Vivekananda, Rupa, New Delhi, 2018, p. 211]

Hindutva is about Politics, Not about Religion

Continue reading Hinduism, Hindu Way of Life and RSS Hindutva