Tag Archives: AK Ramanujan

लोकतंत्र का अंतिम क्षण

कैमरा बार बार जा कर उसी क्षण पर टिकता था.मेरी बेटी ने विचलित होकर कहा, “चैनल बदल दो, अच्छा नहीं लग रहा.” लेकिन चैनल उस थप्पड़ की आवाज़ न सुना पाने की लाचारी की भरपाई उस दृश्य को दुहरा-दुहरा कर कर रहे थे. उन्हें सोलह साल की मेरी नवयुवती बेटी की तड़प क्योंकर सुनाई दे? चैनल बदलते अधीर दर्शक इस दृश्य से वंचित न रह जायें, इस चिंता के मारे उसे हथौड़े की तरह बार-बार बजाया गया.

यह हमला था. लेकिन हिंदी में हमला कहने पर हिंसा का बोध अधिक होता है,सो अखबारों ने ‘केजरी को थप्पड़’,‘पहले माला फिर थप्पड़’, ‘केजरीवाल को फिर थप्पड़’ जैसे शीर्षक लगाए. भाषा का अध्ययन करने वाले जानते हैं कि शब्दों के चयन के पीछे की मंशा उनका अर्थ तय करती है. ‘थप्पड़’ कहने से हिंसा की गंभीरता कम होती है और हिंसा के शिकार की कमजोरी ज़्यादा उजागर होती है. थप्पड़ से किसी की जान नहीं जाती, उसकी निष्कवचता अधिक प्रकट होती है. उसमें किसी योजना की जगह एक प्रकार की स्वतःस्फूर्तता का तत्व होता है. कहा जा सकता है कि थप्पड़ मारने वाले की मंशा सिर्फ नाराजगी का इजहार था.अंग्रेज़ी में भी ‘स्लैप’ शब्द का ही इस्तेमाल किया गया, यह भी लिखा गया, “केजरीवाल स्लैप्ड अगेन”. इसमें हमला करने वाले से ज़्यादा हमले के शिकार की ही गलती नज़र आती है, मानो उसे मार खाने की आदत सी पड़ गई हो. आदतन मार खाने वाला सहानुभूति की जगह हास्य का पात्र बन जाता है. Continue reading लोकतंत्र का अंतिम क्षण

The Embarrassed Modern Hindu (Upper Caste Man)

Perhaps the clearest statement on what exactly it is in Wendy Doniger’s work that bothers some people – and who these people are – is outlined in Jakob De Roover’s empathetic account of the imagined ‘Hindu boy with intellectual inclinations’ born in the 1950’s.  This boy grows up going to the temple, hearing stories about Bhima’s strength, Krishna’s appetite, Durvasa’s temper. If you were this boy,

Perhaps you rejoice when Rama rescues Sita, feel afraid when Kali fights demons, or cry when Drona demands Ekalavya’s thumb as gurudakshina.

The boy goes to school and learns about caste discrimination in Hinduism (that he had to go to school to learn about caste discrimination establishes his own caste position very clearly).  This makes

You feel bad about your “backward religion” and ashamed about “the massive injustice of caste.”

But

You sense that it misrepresents you and your traditions—it distorts your practices, your people, and your experience…Everywhere you turn, people just reproduce the same story about Hinduism and caste as the worst thing that ever happened to humanity: politicians, activists, teachers, professors, newspapers, television shows… Continue reading The Embarrassed Modern Hindu (Upper Caste Man)

Oxford University Members Demand that OUP-India Stand by Ramanujan Essay

Shahid Amin has earlier written about the role of the Oxford University Press (India) in the censorship of AK Ramanjuan’s essay on the Ramayana. This press release, signed by a group of Indian scholars at Oxford University, comes to us via Agrima Bhasin.

Press Statement
Oxford, England
Date: 30 November 2011

A petition by members of Oxford University has condemned Oxford University Press (OUP) India’s unflattering role and its deafening silence on the controversy surrounding Delhi University’s recent decision to drop A.K. Ramanujan’s essay (Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation). This petition has gained the abounding support of Oxford intelligentsia across 15 departments and 20 constituent colleges. Signatories include distinguished faculty members, senior academics and students.

In 2008 OUP India unceremoniously decided to stop publication of the only two books (Paula Richman’s Many Ramayanas and Vinay Dharwadker’s The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan) containing Ramanujan’s essay. This happened to coincide with legal proceedings instituted inter alia against OUP India by fringe religious and cultural groups. OUP India’s prolonged subsequent silence on this matter lent widespread credence to the contention that OUP India caved in to external pressure thereby compromising its stated goals of “…[furthering] excellence in research, scholarship… by publishing worldwide.”

Continue reading Oxford University Members Demand that OUP-India Stand by Ramanujan Essay

An act of Academic Compromise

The Delhi University academic council’s decision to drop A.K. Ramanujan’s essay, ‘Three Hundred Ramayanas’, from the prescribed readings for BA (honours) history and BA (programme) students, brings back memories of Bombay University’s move to remove Rohinton Mistry’s novel Such a Long Journey from the syllabus. The victimisation of art-historian Shivaji Pannikkar by Baroda’s Maharaja Sayajirao University is another long and painful story. The many, many cases of books and plays being proscribed by various governments form the general climate in which our universities operate. Continue reading An act of Academic Compromise