Why does Hitler’s legacy in India greatly differs from that in the West. More removed from the traumas associated with World War II and the Holocaust
..An innocent question sometimes comes up with very troubling answer(s).
J’admire ( I admire)… a simple exercise given to students to know from them whom they appreciate as a great historical figure or a hero, became a great learning experience for a teacher who taught French at a private school.
Writer and Journalist Dileep D’souza, who has authored many books, and writes on social-political causes shared the experience of his wife who posed the said question before them during a discussion. What she was expecting that they would mention Gandhi or Bhagat Singh or other luminaries of India’s struggle for freedom and progress but none of her predictions came true. There was a lone student whose choice was Mahatma Gandhi but nine out of 25 students in her class admired Hitler as hero or as a great historical figure. Continue reading Dear Hitler
Guest post by HARSH MANDER
Eighty five years ago, on 23 March 1931, Bhagat Singh walked bravely, proudly to the gallows, his two young colleagues Rajguru and Sukhdev by his side. His lustre continues undimmed as an icon for succeeding generations, so that it is easy to forget he was only 23 years old. Subhash Bose spoke then of Bhagat Singh as a ‘symbol of the new awakening among youth’. Nehru saw in him ‘a spark that became a flame in a short time and spread from one end of the country to another dispelling the prevailing darkness everywhere’. His popularity rivalled that of Mahatma Gandhi.
In the decades after his passing, in times of public ferment, despair, confusion and anger, successive generations in India have found their own inheritors of young Bhagat Singh’s mantle, men and women embodying defiant youthful idealism and dissent, young people battling for social and economic equality, for true freedom, sparks that once again set aflame a beleaguered wearied country battling the darkness of the times.
Continue reading Bhagat Singh Then and Now: Harsh Mander
Guest Post by VIDHYA
On the 18th of March, Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch – a student organization in Delhi University and Aahwan: Ek Janwadi Sanskritik Muhim – a cultural organization, organized a talk and discussion with Prof. Chaman Lal on ‘The Life and Writings of Bhagat Singh’. Dr. Vikas Gupta of the History Department in DU introduced it and facilitated the discussion. This event was organized in the Main Gate of the Arts Faculty of DU after several attempts to book a venue inside Arts Faculty failed. We had hoped to organize a discussion on the life of a revolutionary and the relevance of his message today to the students of the university.
The talk was scheduled to begin at 12 pm. At the same time, another cultural organization, namely Sangwari, came to the area outside the Main Gate to perform a play (nukkad-natak) on the JNU issue. Though this play disrupted our talk, since they were not permitted to perform in the Law Faculty, we agreed and asked our speaker and discussant to wait till the end of the performance. Minutes into the play, the ABVP goons disrupted the performance. At first, it wasn’t clear if the fracas was part of the play or not. But as soon as we realized that 15 or so members of ABVP had taken over, all those who had gathered there intervened to stop the hooliganism of these goons. It is important to state here that during the entire time, around 60 to 70 police officers and constables were mute spectators. These ABVP goons started sloganeering and those performing the play dispersed when they realized that they would not be able to perform. Meanwhile, we were waiting to resume the talk by Prof. Chaman Lal.
Continue reading ABVP Attack on Prof Chaman Lal at event on Bhagat Singh: Vidhya
Guest Post by Ravi Sinha
Let me speak first of Rohith Chakravarthi Vemula. I never met him. I wish I had, although that would have made me hardly any worthier of speaking about him. Had I met him, I would have come to know that I shared with him a passion for science, nature and stars. I would like to think that he would have found in me, despite my being from another generation, a comrade-in-arms and a fellow campaigner for a better world. Perhaps I would have also recognized a few of the scars left over from a childhood spent in poverty. But, there, the similarities would have ended.
We were born in the same country but at two different locations in the social universe. Distances separating these locations are not traversable – reason enough for this universe to collapse. Instead collapsed this remarkable young man who longed to be “treated as a mind” – “a glorious thing made up of stardust” – and who did not wish to be “reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility…to a vote…to a number…to a thing”. He was crushed under the weight of a millennial civilization. His end was precipitated by the malignant political forces ready to use state power to banish all reason and every shred of freedom from modern institutions and public sphere. He may have chosen the mode and the time of his death but it was an instance of a death foretold. In choosing death he has challenged the powers-that-be in a manner and with a force that no demons of deception, no army of liars and no battery of ministers can defend against. Continue reading Before I Speak of the Stars…Ravi Sinha
क्या भगत सिंह और गांधी पर एक साथ बात की जा सकती है? परस्पर विरोधी विचारों और व्यक्तित्वों का ऐसा युग्म शायद ही मिले.एक को हिंसा का पक्षधर और दूसरे को हिंसा का घोर विरोधी माना जाता है.एक की छवि चिरयुवा की है,दूसरे की एक स्थिर वार्धक्य की. एक अधैर्य का प्रतीक माना जाता है,दूसरा धीरज की प्रतिमूर्ति.एक समाजवादी क्रान्ति का पैरोकार है तो दूसरा सह्य पूंजीवाद का वकील ठहराया गया है जिसके लिए उसने ट्रस्टीशिप की खूबसूरत आड़ ली.
असमानताएं यहीं खत्म नहीं होतीं.भगत सिंह ने औपचारिक शिक्षा न के बराबर ली, हालाँकि वे भयंकर अध्ययनशील थे,गांधी ने एक भले इंसान की तरह पूरी पढ़ाई की और फिर एक पेशेवर वकील की ज़िन्दगी बसर करने की कोशिश की. भगत सिंह अपनी पारिवारिक पृष्ठभूमि के कारण बचपन से ही ब्रिटिश साम्राज्य के घोर विरोधी थे.गांधी के जीवन के आरंभिक वर्ष ब्रिटिश साम्राज्य के वफादार के थे और वे उसकी बुनियादी अच्छाइयों में यकीन करते थे.भगत सिंह का ब्रिटिश हुकूमत के खिलाफ होना ही स्वाभाविक और तर्कसंगत था, गांधी कई संयोगों और दुर्घटनाओं के रास्ते इस नतीजे पर पहुंचे. Continue reading भगत सिंह और गांधी
कभी कभी हर समाज में ऐसे क्षण आते हैं जब उसे अपने अस्तित्व के तर्क की पड़ताल करनी पड़ती है. उस समय वह अपने किन बौद्धिक संसाधनों का प्रयोग करता है और किन स्रोतों से तर्क की सामग्री जुटाता है, यह काफी महत्वपूर्ण है.क्या एक समाज के रूप में भारत के लिए अभी ऐसा ही कोई क्षण उपस्थित हो गया है? एक ऐसा तबका है जो भारत नामक किसी एक सामाजिक इकाई के बौद्धिक औचित्य को ही नहीं मानता. उसकी बात जाने दें.भारत अभी भी अनेकानेक लोगों के लिए एक यथार्थ है जिसकी अपनी भावनात्मक और बौद्धिक वैधता है.वे उसे बार-बार समझने और अपने लिए आयत्त करने की कोशिश करते हैं.इस क्रम में वे किनकी ओर देखते हैं? Continue reading भगत सिंह और आज का नौजवान: अपूर्वानंद
“Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist so long as the Indian toiling masses and the natural resources are being exploited by a handful of parasites.” Those are not the words of a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), though the film has that too. These words are of Bhagat Singh, revolutionary freedom fighter who has today been appropriated by everybody for their own purposes.
The most remarkable thing about Sanjay Kak’s new film Red Ant Dream is Punjab. Occupying more than a third of the film, its use of the revolutionary sentiment in today’s Punjab takes forward the debate on the Maoist and other resistance movements in India. Instead of getting into the debates around the Maoist movement in central India, the film makes for a powerful document of the how and why the revolutionary ideal lives in India 2013. Continue reading Let us declare that a state of war exists