My book Green and Saffron is just out. The book details and an interview are on the blog of Permanent Black. From the publishers’ notice:
This book examines contemporary environmental issues and movements in independent India on the one hand, and the development of Hindu conservative ideology and politics on the other. It includes the first thorough investigation of Anna Hazare’s movement in Maharashtra.
Mukul Sharma argues that these two social currents—environmental conservation and Hindu politics—have forged bonds which reveal the hijacking of environmentalism by conservative and retrograde worldviews. This, he says, constitutes a major aspect of hinterland political life which neither academics nor journalists have seriously analysed. Environmentalism and politics cannot be seen as separate from each other, for environmental issues are being defined in new ways by an anti-secular form of Hinduism. In turn, Hindu ideologues are gaining mileage for their ideology by espousing major environmental projects. Continue reading Green and Saffron: Hindu Nationalism and Indian Environmental Politics→
As you all might be aware around 15000+ people are gathering everyday for more than 4 days from 3 south Tamil Nadu districts as part of an indefinite hunger strike to stop the Koodamkulam Nuclear Plant.
More than 100 people are on indefinite fast and some people’s health are turing bad as well. They are more or less in a isolated situation within the village of Idinthakari near Koodamakulam. There is a huge battalion of Police waiting outside the village venue. The police is trying to block the free passage of people into the village. The state administration and central administration has neglected the protest till now. The non-violent protest needs to be sustained, but people are losing their patience. The leaders who are very few in number though exhausted after 4 days of sleepless nights are trying their level best. Continue reading Urgent Help Needed in Koodamkulam→
As I read it, neither Aditya, nor Partha nor Gyan seems to deny that the Anna Hazare movement is populist. The debate here seems to be about: what kind of populism is it? Aditya is saying that this populism can lead to progressive political consequences, ‘by the presence of an anti-institutional dimension, of a certain challenge to political normalization’, while Partha (and Gyan too if I read him correctly) seem to be arguing that this populism is not progressive even if sometimes anti-institutional. And here Aditya reads Laclau contra Partha: that populism may indeed be the royal road to the constitution of the political. Partha and Gyan maintain that this populism works with a notion of ‘we the people’ who are free from corruption defined against ‘they the corrupt enemy’ (the government and netas). This ‘we the people’ can very well gloss over all internal contradictions, social divides and heterogeneities – hence Gyan points out that Dalits and minorities will not be counted or simply assumed away.
Manesar is an emerging industrial hub roughly fifty kilometers from Delhi. Factories rise along the co-ordinates of a neat grid, overshadowed by the rocky Aravallis. The world is made here – cars, bikes, semiconductors, automotive parts, electronics, telecommunications equipment. Manesar has a little bit of everything. Even a bomb data analysis centre and a brain research lab and a military school and a heritage hotel. On a Maruti Swift, speeding down National Highway 8 towards Jaipur, you could make it to Manesar from Delhi, through Gurgaon, in less than an hour. Maruti’s ads are all about speed and control. Speed and control will cruise you to Manesar.
I have been trying to make sense of the Anna Hazare event. I agree that it was historical, but was it a tragedy, or a farce? The swift exchange between Partha Chatterjee (PC) and Aditya Nigam (AN) and their reference to Ernesto Laclau and ‘populism’ have given me a familiar frame to enter into the debate around the event. Here, I will concentrate on the question of populism and its normative status. However, unlike PC and AN, I have got nothing to offer to ‘the Left’ (Independent or Dependent), because I am not a leftist, rather one who likes sitting on the fence on a nice arm-chair and this piece will perhaps bear an imprint of that position. Also, apologies are due to the readers of Kafila as I have not read, just browsed through, the two pieces written by Shuddhabrata Sengupta, which have been wildly popular – if Facebook is an indicator – and have been referred to by both PC and AN. Therefore, I might be repeating what Sengupta has already said.
Sonia Gandhi Hinsak Hai Rahul Gandhi Napunsak Hai
(Sonia Gandhi is violent, Rahul Gandhi is impotent)
(placard displayed by a young man on Barakhamba road crossing, during anti-corruption march on 21st August, Delhi)
Rahul Bhaiyya! Why don’t you get married so that Bhabhi can take care of Sonia Aunty, and you do not have to spend so much (black) money to get her treated outside the country? (placard carried by a three year old girl child)
Manuvadi Krantikari Morcha supports Anna Hazare
(a banner heading for a group of 20-30 middle aged men)
Bihari Nahin Ham Jaat hain Ham Anna ke saath hain
(We are not Biharis we are Jaats, we are with Anna)
(shout of youth in open jeep in Darya Ganj, after the 21st Aug march)
The 13-day blockbuster— peddled as the second freedom struggle, panned as irresponsible blackmailing, and a lot in between — is over. Anna Hazare accepted honeyed coconut water from two little girls, introduced to the crowd as a dalit and a Muslim, and went on to recuperate in one of India’s most expensive hospitals, one branded after Hindu spiritual literature at that.
News TV is still fighting the vacuum by flogging the debate – so much so that seasoned correspondents are chasing a rather dismissive Dr Naresh Trehan to unravel the mystery of Anna’s endurance. Biker gangs have gone into a sulk and roads at India Gate are looking safer for traffic and women (which is not saying much in Delhi). What is more, India has started taking note that too many Indians have meanwhile drowned in floods. Continue reading Ten lessons of the fortnight that was: Jay Mazoomdar→