The Partition of India: Three Outstanding Questions – Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy

Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy, eminent physicist, author, public intellectual and a forceful voice for reason, science and democracy will be delivering the 19th Democracy Dialogues lecture on Sunday, October 9th, 2022 at 6 PM (IST)

The Partition of India: Three Outstanding Questions 

Seventy five years after the communal storm of 1947 countless important questions still remain. From among them I will concentrate upon three which are particularly important in understanding the past but which, in addition, continue to influence current trajectories.

  1. How, when, and why did the two-nation theory emerge? 
  1. Why is Pakistan a praetorian state but India is not? 
  2. Was Partition preventable and had it not happened what might have been the consequences? 

Speaker: 

Pervez Hoodbhoy is a nuclear physicist, a frequent commentator on Pakistani television channels, founder-director of The Black Hole in Islamabad, and an author. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT and taught physics at Quaid-e-Azam University for 47 years.  

The lecture will be held on zoom and for security reasons the link will be shared individually only closer to the event. Please write to us at democracydialogues@gmail.com if you want to join the lecture online.

It will also be live streamed at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

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

In solidarity with the Iranian people fighting for democracy and justice: Ayesha Kidwai & Nivedita Menon

This post is jointly written by AYESHA KIDWAI AND NIVEDITA MENON

On this international day of solidarity with the Iranian people, two feminists from India send you our greetings, in complete awe of your courage, your creativity, your solidarity with one another, your relentless resistance in the face of cruel and brutal repression.

Watching the panel discussion on Jadaliyya on the ongoing struggle of the Iranian people against the authoritarian regime, we were struck by the complexity of the arguments being made. The struggle is not against Islam, and it is not about hijab everywhere and at all times. What we are witnessing in Iran is reflected all over the world wherever there is resistance to the gendered ways in which all states control populations – whether by compulsory conscription in wars the people have no interest in, or by making the hijab central to the reason of state – in Iran by compulsory veiling, in France and in India by compulsory unveiling of the Muslim woman; or in the USA by denying autonomy over their bodies to women by criminalizing abortion. Continue reading In solidarity with the Iranian people fighting for democracy and justice: Ayesha Kidwai & Nivedita Menon

Feminist reflections on the brave women of Iran: Ayesha Kidwai

Guest post by AYESHA KIDWAI

Women in Iran cast off their hijabs and occupy the streets.

Looking at these women in this photo, I think of what feelings they struggle with at this moment.

How many emotions populate this picture? Courage, triumph, feelings of being exposed, fear, the sense of a point of no-return being crossed…

But one knows they have found the one thing that will carry them beyond this moment—the long, deep embrace of sisterhood.

Inquilab Zindabad is not only said with clenched fists, it’s said with interlinked arms and bodies curved into each other. Continue reading Feminist reflections on the brave women of Iran: Ayesha Kidwai

Why no Admissions this year in Central Universities? JNUTA statement

Did you even know this? That there have been no admissions this academic session so far, to any Central University,  as the results of the new UGC mandated centralized Common Universities Entrance Test (CUET) are yet to be announced as late as September 2022, when the academic session was to have begun in July/August. The UGC Chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar (who ran JNU to the ground in his extended tenure) has tweeted that results for the Undergraduate courses will be announced latest by September 15th. The exams for Postgraduate  courses were conducted only this month!

And I dare you to find a single news item that reports the CUET as the large scale massive failure it is. At best you get bland information such as that undergraduate admissions are about to begin in Deli University this month and that classes are expected to begin on October 20th.  No questioning of why there has been a three month delay already and even now everything is only “expected”!

And again earlier this month, as late as September 2022, the National Testing Agency informed Central Universities it will be unable to conduct the Common Test for the Ph.D programme, and the universities will, at this point, START the process of conducting these exams themselves.

The first time in India admissions to universities were severely delayed was due to the Covid virus in 2020-21, but different universities had different processes and could accomplish admissions by the end of the year. In the last year too there was delay, but as universities were still holding different entrance text exams,   universities differed in when they managed to complete admissions in 2021. This academic year, however, when there are no pandemic induced closure of any university, the situation is the worst ever, due entirely to a targeted human endeavour to destroy India’s public university system, by imposing an unmanageable, centralised examination that lakhs and lakhs of students all over the country must take for admission into universities.

That this disaster for public universities and for two generations of students is not making  the news, let alone the headlines, says much about the state of the media in India today.  That nobody will be held accountable for this national disaster is almost unbelievable except that  we have had to to believe so many unbelievable developments in our unfortunate country since 2014, that perhaps the destruction of public universities seems minor in comparison?

Please take a look at the detailed critique provided by the JNUTA.

Continue reading Why no Admissions this year in Central Universities? JNUTA statement

हिंदी में अंतर्राष्ट्रीयवाद – साहित्य और शीत युद्ध :प्रोफेसर फ़्रंचेस्का ओर्सीनी

Prof Fransesca Orisini, who has taught Hindi and Indian literature at SOAS, London, will be delivering the Seventh Lecture in the Sandhan Vyakhyanmala Series on Sunday, 18 th September, 6 PM ( IST).

She will be speaking on  हिंदी में अंतर्राष्ट्रीयवाद – साहित्य और शीत युद्ध ( Hindi Internationalism – Literature and Cold War

 Time: Sep 18, 2022 06:00 PM (IST) India

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Organised by :NEW SOCIALIST INITIATIVE ( NSI) Hindi Pradesh 


संधान व्याख्यानमाला : सातवां वक्तव्य 
विषय : हिंदी में अंतर्राष्ट्रीयवाद – साहित्य और शीतयुद्ध  

आज़ादी के बाद के दो दशक पत्रकारिता के लिए स्वर्णिम युग माना जाता है – हिंदी  और दूसरी भाषाओं में । ये वे दशक भी थे जब उपनिवेशवाद को खतम करने वाली हवा ज़ोरों से चलने लगी थी, और साथ साथ शीत युद्ध का प्रभाव भी दुनिया के हर कोने में महसूस होने लगा। तब साहित्य को बड़ी गम्भीरता से लिया जाता था। एक ख़ास क़िस्म के साहित्य के प्रचार, प्रसार और अनुवाद में बड़े पैमाने के प्रोग्राम स्थापित करके बहुत बड़ी रक़म खर्च की गयी  । मोनिका पोपेस्कु की हाल की किताब का शीर्षक लिया जाए तो शीतयुद्ध और उपनिवेशवाद से आज़ादी पाने के संघर्ष कलम की नोक पर (At Penpoint, २०२०) चलाए गए। साहित्य पर शीतयुद्ध के प्रभाव को लेकर ज़्यादातर काम अमेरिका, सोवियत  रूस और साम्यवादी चीन के प्रचार-प्रसार योजनाओं पर हुआ है । मेरा ध्यान हिंदी पत्रकारिता पर रहेगा, और विशेष तौर पर हिंदी की कहानी पत्रकारिता, जिनका पाठक-वर्ग न केवल साहित्यिक बिरादरी थी बल्कि सामान्य पाठक भी उसमें शामिल थे । क्या १९५० और १९६० के दशकों की हिंदी पत्रिकाओं में कोई अंतर्राष्ट्रीय चेतना नज़र आती है? क्या कहानी और सारिका जैसी लोकप्रिय पत्रिकाएँ भी शीतयुद्ध में भाग लेते दिखाई देती हैं ? क्या उनमें शीतयुद्ध और उपनिवेशवाद से मुक्ति पाने के संघर्षों की झलक मिलती है ? कहानी-पत्रिकाएँ पाठकों के मन में दुनिया की कल्पना कैसे गढ़ती हैं ? (एक ऐसी कल्पना, जो राजनीति से जुड़ी हो पर सिर्फ़ राजनीति से नहीं ।) और जो दुनिया पत्रिकाएँ–जो हर हफ़्ते या हर महीने सिलसिलेवार छपती तो हैं मगर जिनको पढ़ने के बाद रद्दी के हवाले किया जाता है—गढ़ती हैं, वह दुनिया पाठकों के मन में कहाँ तक अंकित रहती है? क्या पत्रिकाएँ भी अंतर्राष्ट्रीय सम्बन्धों को बनाने में सक्रिय होती हैं ? इन सवालों का जवाब देने की कोशिश करते हुए यह प्रस्तुति हिंदी के एक कम जाने माने पहलू पर रोशनी डालेगी।  


फ़्रंचेस्का ओर्सीनी SOAS, लंदन विश्वविद्यालय में हिंदी और भारतीय साहित्य की प्रोफ़ेसर रही है। उनकी लिखी हुई और सम्पादित किताबों में हिंदी का लोकवृत्त (The Hindi Public Sphere: Language and literature in the age of nationalism, 1920-1940, 2002), Love in South Asia (2006), Print and Pleasure (2009), Before the Divide (2010), After Timur Left (2014, with Samira Sheikh), Tellings and Texts (2015, with Katherine Schofield), Hinglish Live (2022, with Ravikant) और The Form of Ideology and the Ideology of Form: Cold War, Decolonisation, and Third World Print Cultures, with Neelam Srivastava and Laetitia Zecchini) शामिल हैं। 

SL Govt – Stop Labeling Student Protestors and Activists as Terrorists! South Asian Feminists

Statement released by feminists from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Fiji, Malaysia and India, August 27, 2022

We are a group of feminists writing to call urgent attention to the extra-constitutional attempts of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to suppress dissent. Lacking a popular mandate, hunting down student protestors and activists, including a LGBTIQ activist has become a central strategy of the political élite to retain power. The latest move by the GoSL is to brand three student leaders and the student union they represent, the Inter University Student Federation (IUSF), as ‘terrorists’.

Wasantha Mudalige, Convenor of IUSF, Galwewa Siridhamma thero, Convenor of the Inter-University Bhikkhu Federation, and Hashan Jeewantha, a student activist, were among the 20 arrested on August 18, 2022, for participating in a peaceful protest led by the student movement. All three of them are prominent student leaders who have been at the forefront of struggles for socio-economic justice in Sri Lanka, particularly against numerous ongoing attempts to dismantle free education. Continue reading SL Govt – Stop Labeling Student Protestors and Activists as Terrorists! South Asian Feminists

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

Where Are We – 75 Years after Independence : Prof Aditya Mukherjee

 Eminent scholar of Modern Indian History Prof Aditya Mukherjee, ( Retd.) Centre for Historical Studies, JNU who is also editor of the ‘Sage Series in Modern Indian History’ will deliver the next (18 th) Lecture in the Democracy Dialogues series organised by New Socialist Initiative.

He will be speaking on ‘Where Are We : 75 Years After Independence.’ on Sunday, 28 th August 2022 at 6 PM (IST).

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The programme will also be live streamed at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi . 

Theme :

Where Are We : 75 Years after Independence

“As we celebrate 75 Years of India’s independence, it is time to reflect on the extent to which the Indian nation-state has lived up to the vision of the Indian national movement and the spirit of the new Constitution. The core ideas behind this vision envisaged that Independent India would be sovereign, democratic, secular republic that will have a pro-poor orientation and would be based on reason rather than blind faith and obscurantism.

With the recent changes in the governmental power at the Centre and in many states where forces following precepts of the Right – forces which had remained outside the spectrum of the national movement – have become dominant resulting in a grave threat to the core components of the Idea of India. There is a reason why the world is no longer accepting India as a full democracy and is, instead, being variously describing it as a “partially free democracy”, a “flawed democracy” and even as an “electoral autocracy”.

In this lecture we will trace the course of developments that has led India to this predicament and will outline future prospects for overcoming the challenges.”

About the Speaker :

Prof Aditya Mukherjee has been associated with Centre for Historical Studies, JNU for the last more than four decades.
He has been Editor of the Series, ‘Sage Series in Modern Indian  History’ published by SAGE publications, and a member of Scientific Committee, International Review of Sociology, Rome, since 2011 and Regional Editor, International Journal of AsianStudies, Tokyo (Cambridge University Press)
He has been Visiting Professor at  Duke University, USA ; was a Visiting Fellow at Institute of Advanced Study, Lancaster University, UK ; Fellow at Institute of Advanced Study, Nantes, France ; Visiting Fellow , Institute of Advanced Study, Sao Paulo, Brazil ; Visiting Professor, La Sapienza, University of Rome at various periods during his long career.
He is author / co-author of many books : India’s Struggle for Independence, which has gone into 80 reprints ; India After Independence, 1947 – 2000 ; Imperialism, Nationalism and the Making of the Indian Capitalist Class 1927-1947 ; India Since Independence, Penguin, More than 35 reprints till 2016.7 ; RSS, School Texts and The Murder of Mahatma Gandhi: The Hindu Communal  Project , (co-author),

When ‘With the Survivor ‘ Rings Hollow: Observations on the Rage over the Civic Chandran Case

The internet frenzy over the Civic Chandran case has reached a new zenith over the two highly problematic — deeply elitist, sexist, logically and empirically flawed — anticipatory bail orders issued to the accused by the Sessions Court. There was a strange silence about the first one which was stuffed with elitist statements, and an even stranger pause over the blatantly sexist and conservative order before the active condemnation of the latter began to be voiced over the internet. Even stranger, because there is far more tolerance of elitism among the internet woke-folk than of conservative sexist understandings of the appropriate clothing for women’s bodies in Kerala. The three-day break from expressions of outrage did not, and still does not make sense.

Continue reading When ‘With the Survivor ‘ Rings Hollow: Observations on the Rage over the Civic Chandran Case

The anxiety of the Bengali bhadralok and the modern woman: Why does the body matter?

Guest Post by PANCHALI RAY

A few months back, an impressive essay in one of the leading newspapers cited macro data to argue that the rapid decline of women’s labour force participation stemmed from their disproportionate household responsibilities. Widely shared on social media, intellectuals and activists lamented Indian men’s lack of participation in social reproduction and care work, which compelled women to drop out of the labour market. However, gender blind methodology or macro scale data collection often leads to ironing out of nuances. Thus, what the authors missed (or the data collectors), was patriarchy in the public sphere, which more often than not, pushed women back into their homes: lack of opportunities and occupational mobility, gender-based occupational segregation, gender wage gap, lack of infrastructure (access to creche, toilets), sexual harassment, and the incredible policing of women’s bodies and lives.

Nothing proves this  more than the recent case of a professor being forced to resign from a premium university in Kolkata over bikini-clad photos she posted on her private Instagram account. Continue reading The anxiety of the Bengali bhadralok and the modern woman: Why does the body matter?

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

The flag is ours! Azadi bhi!

Students, journalists, writers, poets in jail on trumped up, false charges

Three potent symbols  – the Azadi slogan, the Constitution and the National Flag – have formed the core of the battle against Hindu Rashtra and capitalist expropriation over the last decade. Continue reading The flag is ours! Azadi bhi!

Debating Strategy for the New Phase of Janatha Aragalaya: MAYA JOHN

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

[This article is based on the discussions with activists of the Janatha Aragalaya and concerned Sri Lankan citizens. It is a humble contribution towards ongoing debates within the movement. As the French proverb goes: “De choc des opinions jaillit la vérité” – Truth arises from a conflict of opinions. – MJ]

With the deepening crisis of the world capitalist system, we see social upheavals erupting in one country after another. Most recently, Sri Lanka, a relatively small island country in South Asia that is enveloped by a staged debt crisis, has amply revealed circumstances which are infused with revolutionary possibilities. Resembling dark clouds that announce the gathering of a storm, Sri Lanka has shown how rapidly a revolutionary situation can develop.

Heading the floundering ruling establishment, and harbouring perpetual dismissiveness of the swelling discontent, the ruling family of Rajapaksas expectedly attracted massive public ire. Fighting hunger, spiralling inflation, long queues for fuel and rations, crumbling medical facilities, loss of employment, frequent and long power outages, angered citizens came to see the Rajapaksas as well as other mainstream politicians as creators and perpetuators of the grave crisis. Importantly, the distrust of the people has not been limited to individual politicians and ruling cliques whose moral right to govern is being openly challenged, but is a latent distrust for the system itself. At present, majority of the public rightfully views all established parties with deep suspicion and hostility. The majority perceives the rise to power of President Ranil Wickremesinghe as an epitome of the rot in the political system. They see his government as an illegitimate one.

Continue reading Debating Strategy for the New Phase of Janatha Aragalaya: MAYA JOHN

Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 3

 

 In the light of the above history it seems no surprise at all that mainstream feminists in Kerala do not seem to need a critique of the punitive state at all. Nor are they really troubled by the withdrawal of the welfare state or its perversion, even in matters that crucially affect women and children. Being moored in it, even the withdrawal of the welfare state from even support services to child-victims of sexual violence (citing ‘convenience’ which turned to be ‘convenience’ for the government alone), and the stuffing of crucial committees dealing with the welfare of and justice to women and children with dubious candidates with nepotistic connections – has rarely excited significant united protest from Kerala’s mainstream feminists.

Indeed, in a recent case of baby-abduction in which the infant born to Anupama Chandran, the daughter of a local CPM leader, in her relationship with Ajith, a dalit man, was trafficked with the active connivance of child welfare officials, this feminist mainstream was mostly silent; many prominent voices in it were rallied against the aggrieved mother; some of them even participated in the unspeakable cyber-lynching of the couple, spreading rumours and making unfounded accusations. Though the large numbers of young sexual violence victims belong to the oppressed castes, and though the Anupama-Ajith case was plainly one of caste hostility and violence, these features did not trigger animated responses from the feminist mainstream. These tepid or hostile responses are in sharp contrast to the manner in which sexual harassment campaigns are conducted. Continue reading Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 3

Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am Not With the Mob — 2

II

In the 1980s, when the first feminist articulations began to be heard in Kerala, left-leaning feminists often sought to maintain a critical distance from the state, emphasizing its inherently patriarchal nature. This was not surprising as feminists of that generation had radical-Marxist roots or strong connections with it. Radical Marxism in that generation was clearly suspicious of the state – quite unlike the mainstream left.

Continue reading Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am Not With the Mob — 2

Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 1

I have never been a carceral feminist anytime in my life. Right now, there is a massive tide of abuse and misrepresentation of non-carceral feminism in Kerala, so much so that any suggestion of solutions to the problem of sexual harassment outside the framework of the state is immediately dubbed anti-woman and anti-feminist. Carceral feminists are so warped, they seem to be totally unseeing of the fact that the debate has always been about the significance of the state and its instruments in the generally agreed-upon goal of gender justice, and not really about who is the true, or truer feminist. Indeed, this is strongly reminiscent of the mass attack on the sex worker activist Nalini Jameela years back and the anti-carceral feminists who were prepared to hear her out and stand with her. I remain a non-carceral feminist, rejecting the binary between carceral and anti-carceral feminism. I refuse the insistence that proportional punishment is irrelevant in dealing with sexual misconduct. I refuse to see ‘Men’ — I will not buy the idea that all male bodies share the same privilege and power and hence must be dealt with in the same way. I write the following in this spirit. If I am banished from the feminist mainstream for this, so be it.

Continue reading Carceral Feminism and the Punitive State: Why I am not with the Mob — 1

भारतीय फ़ासीवाद और प्रतिरोध की संभावना : आशुतोष कुमार

Leading Critic Ashutosh Kumar, Editor ‘Aalochana’ , who teaches at Department of Hindi, Delhi University will be delivering the sixth lecture in the ‘Sandhan Vyakhyanmala Series’ ( in Hindi) on Saturday,13 th August,  2022, at 6 PM (IST).

He will be speaking on ‘ भारतीय फ़ासीवाद और प्रतिरोध की संभावना’ ( Indian Fascism and Possibility of Resistance) 

This online lecture would be held on zoom and will also be shared on facebook as well : :facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89995508417?pwd=QWdlMVVjNElaUXEyQURZd2dFVTNrUT09

Meeting ID: 899 9550 8417
Passcode: 336956

Organised by :NEW SOCIALIST INITIATIVE ( NSI) Hindi Pradesh 

संधान व्याख्यानमाला : छठा वक्तव्य 

विषय : भारतीय फ़ासीवाद : प्रतिरोध की संभावना 

वक्ता : अग्रणी लेखक एवं संपादक ‘आलोचना’

आशुतोष कुमार 

हिंदी विभाग, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय 

शनिवार, 13 अगस्त, शाम 6 बजे 

सारांश :

भारतीय फ़ासीवादऔर प्रतिरोध की संभावना 

कुछ  प्रश्न:
क्या भारत की वर्तमान परिस्थिति को फासीवाद के रूप में चिन्हित किया जा सकता है? अथवा क्या इसे केवल सांप्रदायिक ध्रुवीकरण , धार्मिक कट्टरता और रूढ़िवाद की राजनीति के रूप में देखा जाना चाहिए? यह सवाल महत्वपूर्ण इसलिए है किस के जवाब पर इस परिस्थिति से मुकाबला करने की रणनीति निर्भर करती है।

अगर यह फासीवाद है तो इसके उद्भव और वर्तमान शक्ति-सम्पन्नता के आधारभूत कारण क्या हैं? क्या यह केवल वैश्विक वित्तीय पूंजीवाद के संकट की अभिव्यक्ति है, जैसा कि प्रभात पटनायक जैसे अर्थशास्त्री समझते हैं?

 क्या भारतीय फ़ासीवाद जैसी किसी अवधारणा के बारे में सोचा जा सकता है? या यह सिर्फ एक वैश्विक प्रवृत्ति है ?

अगर यह फ़ासीवाद नहीं है तो क्या यह पश्चिम और पश्चिमपरस्त राजनेताओं और बौद्धिकों द्वारा अन्यायपूर्ण ढंग से दबाए गए हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद का उभार है, जैसा कि के भट्टाचार्जी जैसे सावरकरी टिप्पणीकार दावा करते हैं?

क्या यह संघ के बढ़ते लोकतंत्रीकरण के चलते उसके नेतृत्व में वंचित- उत्पीड़ित जन समुदाय द्वारा किया गया सत्ता परिवर्तन है, जिसने कुलीन वर्गों की कीमत पर अकुलीनों को शक्तिशाली बनाया है? जैसा कि अभय कुमार दुबे और बद्री नारायण जैसे सामाजिक लेखक संकेत करते हैं?

 क्या वर्तमान सत्ता संतुलन को बदला जा सकता है? इसे कौन कर सकता है और कैसे?

कुछ बातें

फ़ासीवाद का सबसे बड़ा लक्षण कार्यपालिका,विधायिका और न्यायपालिका के एक गठबंधन के रूप में काम करने की प्रवृत्ति है। लोकतंत्र में इन तीनों के अलगाव और इनकी स्वायत्तता पर इसलिए जोर दिया जाता है कि कोई एक समूह राजसत्ता का दुरुपयोग न कर सके। तीनों निकाय एक दूसरे पर नजर रखने और एक दूसरे को नियंत्रित करने का कार्य करें। इस व्यवस्था के बिना एक व्यक्ति और एक गुट की निरंकुश तानाशाही से बचना नामुमकिन है।

अयोध्या-विवाद से लेकर गुलबर्ग सोसाइटी जनसंहार  और छतीसगढ़ जनसंहार तक के मामलों में हमने सुप्रीम कोर्ट को संविधान-प्रदत्त नागरिक अधिकारों और न्याय की अवधारणा के विरूद्ध राज्य के बहुमतवादी फ़ैसलों के पक्ष में खड़े होते देखा है. हाल ही में सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने धन-शोधन निवारण अधिनियम के अन्यायपूर्ण प्रावधानों के खिलाफ दी गई याचिका पर राज्य के पक्ष में फैसला दिया है. सीएए और धारा 370 के निर्मूलीकरण जैसे मामलों में चुप्पी साधकर भी उसने नागरिक अधिकारों के विरुद्ध राजकीय निरंकुशता का समर्थन किया है.

नाज़ी जर्मनी में ग्लाइसेशतुंग या समेकन के नाजी कानूनों के जरिए इसी तरह राज्य के सभी निकायों को सकेन्द्रित और एकात्म बनाया था.  हिटलर की तरह मुसोलिनी ने भी ‘राष्ट्र-राज्य सर्वोपरि’ के सिद्धांत के तहत न्यायपालिका को पालतू बनाने का काम किया था. भारत में भी हमने गृह मंत्री अमित शाह को सबरीमाला  मामले में  सुप्रीम कोर्ट को चेतावनी देते देखा है.

भारत में फ़ासीवाद के सभी जाने पहचाने लक्षण प्रबल रूप से दिखाई दे रहे हैं। एक व्यक्ति की तानाशाही और व्यक्ति पूजा का व्यापक प्रचार। मुख्य धार्मिक अल्पसंख्यक समूह के विरुद्ध नफरत, हिंसा और अपमान का अटूट सिलसिला। अल्पसंख्यकों के खिलाफ अधिकतम हिंसा के पक्ष में जनता के व्यापक हिस्सों का जुनून। विपक्ष की बढ़ती हुई असहायता। स्वतंत्र आवाजों का क्रूर दमन। दमन के कानूनी और ग़ैरकानूनी रूपों का विस्तार। मजदूरों और किसानों के अधिकारों में जबरदस्त कटौती। आदिवासियों, दलितों और स्त्रियों के सम्मान के संघर्षों का पीछे ढकेला जाना। शिक्षा पर भगवा नियंत्रण। छात्रों के लोकतांत्रिक अधिकारों का विलोपन। फ़ासीवादी प्रचार के लिए साहित्य, चित्रकला, मूर्तिकला, सिनेमा और दीगर कला-विधाओं के नियंत्रण और विरूपण को राज्य की ओर से दिया जा रहा संरक्षण और प्रोत्साहन।

अभी भी कुछ लोग भारत में फासीवादी निज़ाम से सिर्फ इसलिए इंकार करते हैं कि इस देश में गैस चैंबर  स्थापित नहीं किए गए हैं। उन्हें समझना चाहिए कि भारतीय फ़ासीवाद ने फ़ासीवाद अतीत से बहुत कुछ सीखा है। उसने समझ लिया है कि भारत जैसे विशाल और विविधतापूर्ण  देश में  भौतिक गैस चैंबर से कहीं अधिक असरदार और स्थायी  व्यवस्था है देश के भीतर सामाजिक और  मनोवैज्ञानिक गैस चैम्बरों का विस्तार।

लगभग समूचे देश को एक ऐसे सांस्कृतिक गैस चेंबर में बदल दिया गया है, जिसमें एक व्यक्ति और एक विचारधारा की गुलामी से इनकार करने वाले स्वतंत्रचेता जन अपने जीवित होने का कोई मतलब ही ना निकाल सकें।

यूरोप की लोकतांत्रिक परम्पराओं के कारण फ़ासीवादी राज्य की स्थापना के लिए कानूनी बदलावों की जरूरत थी. भारत में ‘भक्ति-परम्परा‘ की जड़ें बहुत गहरी हैं. शर्तहीन-समर्पण का संस्कार प्रबल रहा है. क्या यह भी एक कारण है कि भारत में यूएपीए और अफ्स्पा जैसे कुछ विशेष कानूनों के अलावा व्यापक कानूनी बदलावों की जरूरत नहीं पड़ी है?

फ़ासीवाद की मुख्य जीवनी शक्ति नफ़रत की भावना है। हमारे देश में वर्ण व्यवस्था और जाति प्रथा के कारण अपने ही जैसे दूसरे मनुष्यों से तीव्र नफरत का संस्कार हजारों वर्षों से फलता फूलता रहा है। वोट तंत्र ने इस नफरत को उसकी चरम सीमा तक पहुंचा दिया है। क्या भारतीय फ़ासीवाद नफरत के इस चारों ओर फैले खौलते हुए समंदर से उपजे घन-घमंड के रूप में ख़ुद को जनमानस में स्थापित कर चुका है?

इस बातचीत में मैं ऐसे ही कुछ सवालों के जरिए यह देखने की कोशिश करूंगा कि क्या हम ‘भारतीय फासीवाद’ की कोई व्यवस्थित  सैद्धांतिकी निर्मित करने के करीब पहुँच गए हैं. ऐसी किसी संभावित सैद्धांतिकी की रूपरेखा  क्या होगी और इस उद्यम से हम अपने किन सवालों के जवाब हासिल करने की उम्मीद कर सकते हैं. 

Burning Questions before the Sri Lankan People’s Movement: Maya John

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

[This article is based on a talk delivered at the online session organised by International Solidarity with the People’s Movement in Sri Lanka on a 23.07.2022]

The people’s movement in Sri Lanka has entered into a deadlock with the ‘(s)election’ of Ranil Wickremesinghe as President. Within hours of him assuming office, a mid-night crackdown on the Galle Face protest camp was unleashed. Only cowards attack in the dead of the night as they have much to hide during the day. Despite brutal state repression, the people’s movement shows a resilient commitment to continue. This resilience stems from a simple fact: the people are fighting against Wickremesinghe for the same reason why they were fighting against his predecessor.

Continue reading Burning Questions before the Sri Lankan People’s Movement: Maya John

DISSENT, DEBATE, CREATE

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