Tag Archives: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

Why Two Hundred Ordinary Hindus Did Not See A Dead Muslim Child On A Railway Station In North India

On 22 June 2017 fifteen-year old Hafiz Junaid was stabbed to death on a Mathura-bound train from New Delhi. He was traveling home for Eid with his brothers and two friends. A dispute over seats resulted in a group of men repeatedly assaulting and stabbing Junaid and his companions. The assailants flung their bodies onto the Asoti railway platform. A crowd gathered. At some point an ambulance was called and two bodies were taken away. Junaid is dead. His companions are in critical condition. While one person has been arrested the police investigations are running into a wall of social opacity since they have been unable to find a single eye-witness to the incident. Of the 200 hundred strong crowd that assembled on Asoti railway platform on Thursday evening, the police cannot find one person who can say what they saw. The police cannot find a witness because something very peculiar seems to have happened to those present at Junaid’s death. A report by Kaunain Sherrif M in the Indian Express provides specific details. When asked if he had seen anything that evening, Ram Sharan a corn-vendor whose daily shift coincides with the killing, Sharan said he was not present at the time of the incident. Two staffers who were sent to investigate by the station master were unavailable for comment. Neither the station-master, the post-master or the railway guards saw the event they were present at.

In this startling piece the journalist reports how the public lynching of a Muslim child becomes a social non-event in contemporary India. He shows the reconfiguring, and splitting, of a social field of vision. He reports all the ways in which people – Hindus- did not see the body of a dead – Muslim – child that lay in front of them. The Hindus on the Asoti railway platform managed to collectively not see a 15 year old Muslim boy being stabbed to death. Then they collectively, and without prior agreement, continued to not see what they had seen after the event. This is the uniquely terrifying aspect of this incident on which this report reflects: the totalising force of an unspoken, but collectively binding, agreement between Hindus to not see the dead body of a Muslim child. Hindus on this railway platform in a small station in north India instantly produced a stranger sociality, a common social bond between people who do not otherwise know each other. By mutual recognition between strangers, Hindus at this platform agreed to abide by a code of silence by which the death of a Muslim child can not be seen by 200 people in full public view on a railway platform in today’s India. Continue reading Why Two Hundred Ordinary Hindus Did Not See A Dead Muslim Child On A Railway Station In North India

Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?

My friend Guddi has a great story about a Gujjar wedding she attended recently in Ghaziabad. It was a typically chaotic event, marked accurately by the swirling crowds around the dinner stalls. If Gujjar weddings are chaotic and the dinner doubly so, the scene around the tandoor is triply compounded chaos. Barely concealed competition amongst overmuscled Gujjar men in overtight pants for that precious hot roti ensures that none but the most Hobbesian men remain, circling the tandoor like hungry wolves, periodically thrusting their plate forward like fencing champions and shouting obscenities at the harried servers. In such a heart-stopping scenario, a young server had as Guddi recounts, figured out the formula to keep everybody from killing each other (or him). As soon as the roti would be pulled out of the tandoor, seductively golden brown and sizzling, this man would hold it high up with his tongs so everybody could see, then in an elaborate dance-like ritual, touch each of the empty extended plates in front of him with the roti, and finally, in a mysterious but authoritative decision, place it respectfully on a randomly selected plate. Repeat with every single roti that emerged from the tandoor. A hushed silence followed by nervous laughter followed every such flourish.

Continue reading Who will get the hot roti in the Delhi assembly elections?

A Close Look at Certain Words Allegedly Shouted Recently in JNU and Their Impact on Our National Intelligence: Soumyabrata Choudhury

This is a guest post by Soumyabrata Choudhury

Polonius: “What is it you read, my lord?”

Hamlet in New Delhi, 2016: “India, Pakistan, security, sovereignty, nation, anti-national…words, words, words”

According to Sigmund Freud, when we dream, and when we suffer psychotic delusions, we treat words as pictures and things. A word’s meaning, in these conditions, becomes the shape of the word and its appearance is the same as feeling its physical impact, its blow. We cannot grasp anymore that a word refers to an object or idea outside in the world or that it can be used as a metaphor or an indirect analogy and image. We cannot even receive the rhetorical communication of words intended to persuade, exhort, transgress or insult. In each of these communications intended by an addresser we already feel physically, viscerally and as a consequence, mentally under the assault of the words of the addresser as if they are blows.

So in response we don’t persuade, exhort, transgress or insult back but instead, we curse (the upper limit of lucid  discourse in this state), punch, grab the addresser  by the throat, pull a knife or gun if we have any of these articles in our possession – or we cringe, weep, hold our heads in our hands and rock to and fro. Now it is very unlikely that in a real psychotic condition, we are able to invoke a particular law or clause of law in our favor, complain to the police and come up with a fluent image of language as justification for our actions. “We had no choice but to do what we did because the other(s) insulted our Mother India”. In a real psychotic condition, it is more likely we will be the ones to be taken away. Continue reading A Close Look at Certain Words Allegedly Shouted Recently in JNU and Their Impact on Our National Intelligence: Soumyabrata Choudhury

Muslims should Counter the Divisive ‘Love Jihad’ Campaign with Friendship Towards Secular Hindus: Kaleem Kawaja

This is a guest post by KALEEM KAWAJA

Abhee sub kuch nahin mita shaayad
Hindu-Muslim main pyaar baaqi hai
Ek Bhaayee kaa ek Bhaayee pur
Pyar ka kuch udhaar baaqi hai … 

Jawaid Badauni.

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Since the past one year, especially after the parliamentary elections were looming close, extremist RSS elements have become all the more aggressive all over the country, especially in the north, east and west. They have taken pains to circulate false news stories about Muslims in general, and Muslim youth in particular, as somehow prone to violence ,and conniving to entrap Hindu girls in romantic relationships with the sole object of securing their conversion to Islam. Regional vernacular newspapers have carried fabricated stories about Muslim youth turning to terrorism and planning bomb blasts in many Indian cities.

Since the past one year, especially after the parliamentary elections were looming close, extremist RSS elements have become all the more aggressive all over the country, especially in the north, east and west. They have taken pains to circulate false news stories about Muslims in general, and Muslim youth in particular, as somehow prone to violence ,and conniving to entrap Hindu girls in romantic relationships with the sole object of securing their conversion to Islam. Regional vernacular newspapers have carried fabricated stories about Muslim youth turning to terrorism and planning bomb blasts in many Indian cities. Continue reading Muslims should Counter the Divisive ‘Love Jihad’ Campaign with Friendship Towards Secular Hindus: Kaleem Kawaja

Elections, Propaganda and Education

The Aam Aadmi Party was reluctant to include the issue of the rights of the LGBT people in its Delhi manifesto due to strategic reasons. Explaining the absence, the party officials said that conservative voters might turn away from the party if they find it supporting the LGBT cause. The LGBTs also seem to ‘understand’ the constraints of the poor party. The election meetings could have served as a wonderful platform had the party decided to talk to the people about this issue, telling them why it is important for us to ensure liberty to individuals to decide about their bodies. It would have been an educational exercise. Given the fact that people are ready to listen to this new party and its ideas, this reluctance on its part to take up this role says a lot not only about it, but also about the health of our polity.

The AAP candidate challenging Rahul Gandhi is harping on the bad condition of the roads of Amethi and lack of electricity there. One wonders whether Rahul Gandhi, in his response, would have the courage of a now-forgotten former Congressman. Abdul Ghafoor, once Chief Minister of Bihar, was campaigning in Siwan in a Parliamentary election. At a meeting, voters started complaining about the bad condition of roads and sanitation. He told them bluntly that he was there to seek their approval for his candidature for the membership of the Parliament and they should not waste their votes on him if they expected him to fix these problems. The problems they cited were something a municipal councilor was supposed to look after. It is a different story that he lost the election. Continue reading Elections, Propaganda and Education

The BJP’s very own Stalin

Yashwant  Sinha is a worried man these days. He is apprehensive of his leader Narendra Modi being taken for a ride by the Congress party. He says that the Congress party is laying a trap for him, a trap of the binary of Communalism and Secularism and  fears that his upward looking Narendra Modi might fall in it. So, well  wisher that he is of Narendra Bhai, he wants to alert him: do not get  entangled in the conspiracy of the wily Congress. He appeals to Narendra Modi to stick to people’s issues and not let the political discourse  shift to the terrain of the Secularism  versus Communalism debate. Continue reading The BJP’s very own Stalin

Diabolic designs and demonic actions : Review by Anand Teltumbde

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Indian history is fraught with ruling-class intrigues, which tend to keep the lower classes in a perennial state of confusion. The very fact that this history comes to us in a mythologised form is itself the biggest intrigue, obscuring as it does information about how the vast, diverse masses of the Subcontinent lived through the millennia. Reading Indian history, thus, becomes an exercise in speculation. If it provides one kind of insight for one group, it is capable of being interpreted equally plausibly in the opposite way by another. What eventually reaches the people is a partisan viewpoint at best and bewilderment at worst – a condition under which the ruling classes thrive.

 In this context, two books by Subhash Gatade, a committed intellectual and leftist activist, are significant additions to the works of the fast-diminishing community of scholars who continue their work with unstinting commitment in these confusing times. Continue reading Diabolic designs and demonic actions : Review by Anand Teltumbde