हर वर्ष इकतीस जुलाई को दिल्ली में ‘हंस’ पत्रिका की ओर से किसी एक विषय पर एक विचार-गोष्ठी का आयोजन किया जाता रहा है. बातचीत का स्तर जो हो, यह एक मौक़ा होता है तरह-तरह के लेखकों, पाठकों और साहित्यप्रेमियों के एक-दूसरे से मिलने का. कई लोग तो वहीं सालाना मुलाकातें करतें है. मेरी शिकायत हंस के इस कार्यक्रम से वही रही है जो दिल्ली में आमतौर पर होने वाले हिंदी साहित्य से जुड़े अन्य कार्यक्रमों से है: इंतजाम के हर स्तर पर लापरवाही और लद्धड़पन जो निमंत्रण पत्र में अशुद्धियों और असावधानी से लेकर कार्यक्रम स्थल पर अव्यवस्था, मंच संचालन में अक्षम्य बेतकल्लुफी तक फैल जाता है.प्रायः वक्ता भी बिना तैयारी के आते हैं और जैसे नुक्कड़ भाषण देकर तालियाँ बटोरना चाहते हैं.ऐसे हर कार्यक्रम से एक कसैला स्वाद लेकर आप लौटते हैं. श्रोताओं के समय, उनकी बुद्धि के प्रति यह अनादर परिष्कार के विचार का मानो शत्रु है. मैं हमेशा अपने युवा छात्र मित्रों को ऐसी जगहों पर देख कर निराशा से भर उठता हूँ : ये सब यहाँ से हमारे बारे में क्या ख्याल लेकर लौटेंगे?
यह भी हिंदी के कार्यक्रमों की विशेषता है कि जितना वे अपने विषय के कारण नहीं उतना आयोजन , आयोजक और प्रतिभागियों के चयन से सम्बद्ध इतर प्रसंगों के कारण चर्चा में बने रहते हैं. चटखारे लायक मसाला अगर उसमें नहीं है तो शायद ही मंच पर हुई ‘उबाऊ’ चर्चा को कोई याद रखे. अक्सर सुना जाता है कि फलां को तो बुलाया ही इसलिए गया था कि विवाद पैदा हो सके. विवाद अपने आप में उतनी भी नकारात्मक चीज़ नहीं अगर उससे कुछ विचार पैदा हो. लेकिन प्रायः विवाद और कुत्सा में अंतर करना हम भूल जाते हैं. विवाद में फिर भी मानसिक श्रम लगता है, कुत्सा में मस्तिष्क को हरकत में आने की जहमत नहीं मोल लेनी पड़ती. Continue reading आत्ममुग्ध क्रांतिकारिता और वरवर राव : अपूर्वानंद→
On a recent trip to the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, I visited a village called Bamhni. The Jan Swasthya Sahyog (JSS; People’s Health Collective, a rural hospital) of Ganiyari runs an outreach clinic there. Every Tuesday, one or two JSS doctors and a small team of health workers get into a Mahindra Bolero SUV in Ganiyari and drive an hour-and-a-half to reach Bamhni.
I spent much of the day with an even smaller JSS team that reaches out even beyond this outreach clinic. The area we were in is part of the Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary, which has existed since the mid-70s. As happens with several Indian wildlife reserves, this one has several villages located inside its boundaries. In 2009, Achanakmar was declared part of Project Tiger, the more stringent Indian effort to save that splendid animal. More stringent, that is, in the conditions it spells out for villages in designated sanctuaries. When Achanakmar joined Project Tiger, the residents of Bamhni and several other villages were told they would have to move out of the “core zone” of the sanctuary, so as to leave the tigers an area where they would be undisturbed. Continue reading What Development Means: Dilip D’Souza→
Last weekend, I attended a wonderful rally by the Adivasi Mahasabha in Raipur – some 10-15 busloads of people came from Dantewada and Bastar alone, while large numbers came from other parts of Chhattisgarh and even other states like Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal. The procession was flagged off by Dhurwa dancers while the rear end was brought up by Marias with their large dhols and bison horns. In between were thousands of militant marchers shouting slogans against militarization, demanding peace talks, the release of their arrested leaders, the implementation of the Supreme Court judgement on Salwa Judum, and all their constitutional rights with respect to land, forest and water. These were men and women who had lost everything to arson and loot by Salwa Judum, who had been interned in camps but managed to return home and pick up their ploughs again, who face the daily threat of arrests, beatings and encounters by the security forces, who have to negotiate with the Maoists everytime they wanted to access panchayat funds, who live a life on the razor edge of survival. And yet here they were, laughing, cheering and vowing to fight till the last breath, fight for their constitutional rights and in a constitutional way.
This remarkable struggle has been waged, not just over one weekend, but over years. Indeed, the Salwa Judum leaders themselves credit the CPI with the destruction of their movement – both through mass actions and through legal means.
Till very recently it was not possible to discuss Binayak Sen without referring to the corporate land grab and state repression in Chhattisgarh. Somehow Salwa Judum, the displacement of thousands of adivasis and the Maoist movement would come in the picture. Above all, what would come out is Sen’s work in the specific context of the suffering of the adivasis. Indeed soon after the bail order was granted, it came so naturally for Sen’s beaming wife to state that he will of course go back to resume his work in Chhattisgarh.
Upon his release from Raipur Central Jail on April 18 2011, Sen immediately called for a dialogue between the Maoists and the government and reminded us of so many other political prisoners languishing in the country’s jails. In the video showing Sen being greeted by his supporters after his release he enthusiastically joins in giving slogans saying, ‘Shankar Guha Niyogi Zindabad’. But the supporters soon after break into ‘Binayak Sen Zindabad’. You could immediately see this embarrassed look on his face, totally disapproving this iconisation.
Indeed, Sen seems very far off from celebrating his release as a major victory for democracy or a boost forIndia’s image as a modern democracy and so on. He seems really far off from the dominant discourse which seeks to cleanse the ‘Binayak Sen issue’ of the harsh realities of India’s dirty war, the inequality and the injustice towards the adivasis and their suffering. Continue reading Chronicle of a Bail Foretold: Saroj Giri→
So you’ve been following the Binayak Sen case. What now? What are the aspects and implications of the case to consider now that he is out on bail?
Here are a few that come to my mind. Your mileage may vary.
*The suspicious things Sen is supposed to have done. For example, you have heard often that Sen visited Narayan Sanyal in jail multiple times. Why, you ask. Whatever the reason, think of this: In 2006, before the first time (and indeed before each subsequent time), he wrote to the Raipur Jail Superintendent asking for permission to visit Sanyal. After this request made its way through the police bureaucracy, senior police officials in Raipur wrote to the same Superintendent saying “Central Jail Raipur mein bandi Narayan Sanyal se bhent karne ke liye Dr. Binayak Sen jaata hai to is karyalay ko koi aapatti nahin hai.” (“This department has no objection if Dr. Binayak Sen goes to meet Narayan Sanyal who is detained in Central
If the police had no objection to the visits “at the time”, why was this later an issue at all? Why have learned commenters made so much of this, hinting at dark things Sen must have been doing? One example, note how the author of the ‘report’ says “Admittedly, the meetings took place with prior permission from jail officials”, but has let stand the implication that there was something dark going on).
Dastangoi performed by Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain as part of Justice on Trial for the Free Binayak Sen Campaign, at the Alliance Francaise de Delhi on 6 April 2011. Video credit: Nicky Chandam.