‘लव जेहाद’ की असलियत – इतिहास के आईने में: चारू गुप्ता

Guest post by CHARU GUPTA

लव जेहाद आंदोलन स्त्रियों के नाम पर सांप्रदायिक लामबंदी की एक समकालीन कोशिश है. बतौर एक इतिहासकार मैं इसकी जड़ें औपनिवेशिक अतीत में भी देखती हूँ. जब भी सांप्रदायिक तनाव और दंगों का माहौल मज़बूत हुआ है, तब-तब इस तरह के मिथक गढ़े गए हैं और उनके इर्द गिर्द प्रचार हमारे सामने आये हैं. इन प्रचारों में मुस्लिम पुरुष को विशेष रूप से एक अपहरणकर्ता के रूप में पेश किया गया है और एक ‘कामुक’ मुस्लिम की तस्वीर गढ़ी गयी है.

मैंने 1920-30 के दशकों में उत्तर प्रदेश में साम्प्रदायिकता और यौनिकता के बीच उभर रहे रिश्ते पर काम किया है. उस दौर में लव जेहाद शब्द का इस्तेमाल नहीं हुआ था लेकिन उस समय में भी कई हिंदू संगठनों — आर्य समाज, हिंदू महासभा आदि –- के एक बड़े हिस्से ने ‘मुस्लिम गुंडों’ द्वारा हिंदू महिलाओं के अपहरण और धर्म परिवर्तन की अनेकोँ कहानियां प्रचारित कीं. उन्होंने कई प्रकार के भड़काऊ और लफ्फाज़ी भरे वक्तव्य दिए जिनमें मुसलमानों द्वारा हिंदू महिलाओं पर अत्याचार और व्यभिचार की अनगिनत कहानियां गढ़ी गईं. इन वक्तव्यों का ऐसा सैलाब आया कि मुसलमानों द्वारा हिंदू महिलाओं के साथ बलात्कार, आक्रामक व्यवहार, अपहरण, बहलाना-फुसलाना, धर्मान्तरण और जबरन मुसलमान पुरुषों से हिंदू महिलाओं की शादियों की कहानियों की एक लंबी सूची बनती गई. अंतरधार्मिक विवाह, प्रेम, एक स्त्री का अपनी मर्जी से सहवास और धर्मान्तरण को भी सामूहिक रूप से अपहरण और जबरन धर्मान्तरण की श्रेणी में डाल दिया गया. Continue reading ‘लव जेहाद’ की असलियत – इतिहास के आईने में: चारू गुप्ता

A civil-war is on the doorstep of India: Interview with Kancha Ilaiah by Mahmood Kooria

This is a guest post by Mahmood Kooria

We are publishing an English translation of an important interview of the intellectual and academic Kancha Ilaiah, conducted by Mahmood Kooria for the Malayalam weekly Mathrubhumi. While what I see as Professor Ilaiah’s underestimation and perhaps misreading of the historic role of the Communists in Indian politics leaves me severely uncomfortable, especially when he exonerates the right from commensurate charges of elitism, his framing of Hindustva and Modi’s appeal within the great stream of caste in the subcontinent is brilliant and thought-provoking, as always. 

Kooria conducted the interview as well as translated it in to English. His introduction is as follows, “At a time when there was no any such discussion, in 2002 Professor Kancha Ilaiah predicted that Narendra Modi will be the prime-ministerial candidate of Baratiya Janata Party. It has come true and now Modi is in the office. At this point, I talked with him at Moulana Azad Urdu University Hyderabad where he chairs the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy. In the conversation, he talked about the future of Modi government and he predicted that a civil war is going to break out in India if Modi does not cater the needs of backward classes. A Malayalam-version of this interview was published in the Mathrubhumi Illustrated Weekly (August 24, 2014).”

Mahmood Kooria: Ten years ago you wrote that Modi will be the prime ministerial candidate of BJP. What would be your response as your prediction has come true?

Kancha Ilaiah: Well, at that time I was predicting that based on the Left parties’ indifference to understand the caste question. The caste question is not been seriously taken by the Left parties. And, after Mandal, the BJP and the RSS wings started looking at caste-question seriously because when Babari Masjid was demolished they mobilized a lot of backward classes. Though they oppose Mandal reservation, they wanted the backward classes to be part of the Hindu religion. Around 1994, a non-Brahmin called Rajju Bhaiya became the Sarsanghchalak of the RSS. Then he recruited a large number of backward classes, large number of youth, and he promoted the people like Narendra Modi, Uma Bharati at that time. Earlier, the first backward-class chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was a BJP man: Kalyan Sing. He was the chief minister in 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished.

The Sangh Pariwar was responding to the backward class demands more. But the Left or the Congress was not responding to the OBCs. The Congress was responding to the Dalits and Muslims. There was upper caste all the time on the top. So, when Narendra Modi became the chief minister and this whole atmosphere was created, I was writing a column in The Hindu. I thought that this seems to be cause/course of India, since the Hindu religion is surviving because of the backward classes. It is inevitable for the Hindutva organizations that they will have to project an OBC for the prime-ministership. But there was resistance from within itself. It is not that the Brahmins have given up the principle of varna-dharma. After that article came and of course after my writing Why I am not a Hindu itself, the backward classes even within RSS seemed to use that material for their advantage. The communists did not use or recognize it. The question of labour and caste which I have been consistently raising, which was also part of their theory, they did not care about. So the Communist Party remained tightly under the control of upper castes.

Continue reading A civil-war is on the doorstep of India: Interview with Kancha Ilaiah by Mahmood Kooria

The European Union And The Twin Civil Wars In Syria/Iraq: Peter Custers

Is this one of those rare occasions where policymakers self-critically correct a gigantic blunder? Or is it a cold turn-about guided by pure self-interest? On August the 15th, the Foreign Ministers of EU-countries gathered in Brussels and decided that each would henceforth be free to supply arms to Kurdish rebels fighting Sunni extremists of ISIS in the North of Iraq. Even Germany which in the past had been unwilling to furnish military supplies to warring parties  in ‘conflict zones’, is now ready to provide armoured vehicles and other hardware to the Kurds opposing ISIS’ advance. The decision of Europe’s Foreign Ministers may surprise some, for barely a year and four months ago, in April of 2013, the European Union had lifted a previously instituted ban on all imports of Syrian oil (1). Moreover, the lifting of this boycott was quite explicitly intended to facilitate the flow of oil from areas in the North-East of Syria, where Sunni extremist rebel organisations had established a strong foothold, if not overall predominance over the region’s oil fields (2). ISIS was not the only Sunni extremist organisation disputing control over Syrian oil fields. Yet there is little doubt but that the fateful decision the EU took last year has helped ISIS consolidate its hold over Syrian oil resources and prepare for a sweeping advance into areas with oil wells in the North of Iraq (3).  Continue reading The European Union And The Twin Civil Wars In Syria/Iraq: Peter Custers

The Wrongs In The Right To Education: Noyonika Bose

Guest Post by  NOYONIKA BOSE

In the winter of 2013 I had carried out a survey as part of an NGO CRY, Child Rights and You in 10 schools in the heavily populated slums of Rajabazar, an area in north Kolkata. The objective of the survey was to see whether the Right To Education (RTE) Act was being properly implemented in these schools.  The findings of the survey though not absolutely abysmal, were not positive either. However what I learnt is that it is not entirely the fault of these government and government aided schools that they were unable to provide their students with quality education. It has also to do with the basic structure of the RTE act which is peppered with several flaws. This article is a critique of the RTE and some possible solutions. Continue reading The Wrongs In The Right To Education: Noyonika Bose

Strange yet familiar – race politics in the USA

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Here is a link to Jon Stewart on race politics in the USA, in the context of the recent shooting by a white cop of a black unarmed teenager in Ferguson.

See any resemblances to our own fair country and the politics of caste, class, gender and community here? So familiar are the doubts expressed, questions raised, biases proudly stated, you could be pardoned for thinking it’s not the US of A, but Mera Bharat Mahan.  Continue reading Strange yet familiar – race politics in the USA

Reading the Debate on the Planning Commission

I find it hard to think through the current debate on the Planning Commission (PC) outside a few things. The first is a clear centralisation of power at and within the PMO which I cannot help but be alarmed by. It’s all well and good when the decisions are those you agree with and all to easy to forget what centralisation does in the hands of, let’s please not forget so easily, a man whose IMHO has no H.

Its faults are easy to list but the PC (when it worked) did remain a space for thinking through a centre-state relationship and a development vision outside the government. It was a moment of articulation of intent with an (albeit diminishing) ability to put some weight behind it. I can’t quite bring myself to defend it because of what it refused to become in the more recent years, and the fights it refused to fight, but the need for such an autonomous voice remains. I don’t believe this new body will be anything other than a rubber stamp for a deeply authoritative PMO. In that, I am cautious of what will come. And by cautious, I mostly mean afraid.

Continue reading Reading the Debate on the Planning Commission

If Gail Omvedt is Katherine Mayo, then Sugatha Kumari is …? Thoughts on Salman’s Predicaments

Salman Zalman is a young man from Kerala who has recently been arrested for an alleged act of disrespect towards the Indian National Anthem. As an observer in Kerala, I think young people like him who choose to get involved in public struggles for justice face a number of predicaments that were perhaps not so severe for my generation when we were young. For this reason, I do feel that members of my generation, those of us alive to public issues, need to be more open to the challenges that public-minded younger people face today. Continue reading If Gail Omvedt is Katherine Mayo, then Sugatha Kumari is …? Thoughts on Salman’s Predicaments