Tag Archives: Commonwealth Games

“Nobody Can Stop The Revolution”

Over the weekend, a number of journalists received the following statement from Ganapathy; General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). In the text, Ganapathy clarifies the Maoist stance on a broad range of topics – particularly Kashmir, the Commonwealth Games, the Ayodhya Verdict, Mamta Bannerjee in Bengal, Obama and the North East.

However, the fact that the questions are posed by an obviously sympathetic “interviewer” and our inability to send any follow-up questions means that, I personally, treat this as a policy document rather than an “interview”. To get a quick newsy sum-up, you could read my report for The Hindu.

I felt it would be interesting for our readers to go through this text to get a sense of “What Maoists Want”.  As a reporter, I am only too aware of how Maoist politics is severely under-reported as opposed to their military tactics.

As neither the Maoists, nor Mr Ganapathy are currently in a position to defend their views on Kafila; I have disabled comments on this post. Afzal’s acerbic (and spot on) comment has changed my mind. Have allowed comments on this piece.Hopefully, this document shall serve as a reference point for further discussions on the Maoist movement.

Continue reading “Nobody Can Stop The Revolution”

After the Games: Alok Rai


Guest post by ALOK RAI

I had imagined that there would be time after the Games. Kalmadi and his cronies would have to hang, of course, but it could have been done in a measured fashion. Now, it appears that there is no time to lose. The Shameless One has actually said something about bidding for the Olympics! And with the promise of enough money in the trough, we can expect the pigs to grunt their approval too – just like they did the last time. But in the name of all the people who have been uprooted, and had their livelihoods destroyed; the students who have been thrown out of their hostels; the long-suffering citizenry of Delhi that is currently undergoing the final stage of the insult and humiliation that has been heaped on them over the past year in the name of the Games, I say, enough! Hang the bastards, now!

But I should clarify quickly. I am not so naïve as to be outraged by the corruption. It is the stupidity I am particularly offended by. After all, corruption is only one half of the story. And, frankly, the corruption is hardly surprising. Corruption, to my lay understanding, is the whole point of these large “public” enterprises – it enables the crooks-in-power to get their hands on the money that has been gouged from the poor. That is exactly what everyone expects – the poor victims, the crooked beneficiaries. But surely the stupidity is gratuitous?

Continue reading After the Games: Alok Rai

No to social apartheid! JNU students protest today against CWG ‘view cutters’


AP photo by Manish Swarup
AP photo by Manish Swarup


Latest Indian addition to the English language: View cutter.
The government and civic agencies in association with the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) had identified several sites central to hosting the Games where view cutters were put up to conceal the eyesores as well as for security reasons.
A government official said one of the purposes to put up the view cutters was to screen the beggars who crowd major religious and historical landmarks.
The plan is to relocate the destitute to parks and surround the place with slick banners and paraphernalia sporting Games mascot Shera and other logos, the official said.
Protest March today, 13th of October, 4 p.m. from Ganga Dhabha to the slum dwellings at the Priya crossway. 


Leaflet issued by the joint protest committee, JNU

Friends, CWG 2010 is now almost coming to an end. The whole country has been in a celebratory frenzy for the last two weeks. The government has made the successful completion of these games an issue of “National pride”. They have left no stones unturned to impress the whole world. The same government which claims to have no money when it comes to the issues of drought, health and education has wasted thousands of crores on just the opening ceremony. It is distressing to see that while we are counting medals won by India, we have completely forgotten that there is a vast section of people who instead of benefitting are adversely affected during our blind celebration of this “colonial hangover”.

Continue reading No to social apartheid! JNU students protest today against CWG ‘view cutters’

Jats rock, caste shocks

This post is dedicated to a Facebook friend who, when I asked her her caste, replied: “Now, now, now! In any case, with the brouhaha surrounding the census, what’s the proper form these days? Mention of caste in or out?”

I woke up to this headline in The Indian Express today. My reaction was to wonder what many others’ reaction would have been? Those who argue that reservation and ‘caste census’ and such measures serve to solidify caste identities rather than weaken them – I wonder what they would make of this headline?  Continue reading Jats rock, caste shocks

To Delhi

I had used Baudelaire for the post pasted below because on the day  I sat to write about the CWG, nothing I wrote made any sense or captured my frustration other than the poem. Yet, as an email I got this morning reminded me, I have partially substituted one injustice with another. Since good critiques are so wonderfully rare and this one voiced so well, I cite the email below (with permission) as an amendment to my own post since my agreement with its charges are complete:

“Dear Gautam,
I was disappointed to read your post on Kafila , the one where you posted an extract from Baudelaire [http://kafila.org/2010/09/25/to-delhi/]. It is very tiring to read of woman / the feminine as characterized by caprice and associated with luxury + cruelty.
Even if it is Delhi , the city, that one is supposed to read as the woman, unfeeling, capricious, this still ties up with the discourse around women as the consumers of luxury goods, thus responsible for the exploitation resulting from the production / trade of these goods. [Off the top of my head – look at Pope’s Rape of the Lock , Gray’s goldfish-enamoured cat, and the sequel to Love Story – Oliver’s Story with the woman who works for the sweatshop-patronising firm]. I don’t see how the sexism in this piece can be excused or explained away. And to quote it without atleast pointing out the problems in it?

Also, isn’t caprice a problem in itself? Aren’t you disappointed in the reporting that characterizes the Commonweath expenditure as resulting from the caprice of a few in power? Without exploring the systems, structures of thinking/ideology that make such expenditure possible in the first place? Without connecting this, the commonwealth-exploitation, to the histories of similar exploitation?

Yes, it is possible to see that you were highlighting injustice and class – but –
the piece ends up valourizing a man who feels what – pity? guilt? A little shame. Shame is so comfortable – he can occupy moral high ground, diss the woman, use the services of the cafe, and do nothing after that.

I hope your work goes okay.
Best wishes,

The original post:

“Oh!  You want to know why I hate you today.

Continue reading To Delhi

The Banality of Shame

BANAL: everyday, ordinary, commonplace

SHAME: the  painful  feeling  arising  from  the  consciousness  of  something  dishonourable done  by  oneself  or another


Jana gana mana adhinayaka jaya he

An auto-rickshaw and a street hawker’s pushcart as showpieces in the Commonwealth Games Village dining hall

* MCD to raze dhabas on Games route: It doesn’t matter if you are running your business legally or illegally. If your shops fall on the route of a Games event, chances are that you will have to shut shop. A shop and taxi stand in front of Bal Bhawan — which have been running for 20 years — were demolished by MCD on Saturday and the civic agency is planning to raze all dhabas  functioning along the stretch in the coming days even as the dhaba owners claim that they have been paying rent to MCD.

Continue reading The Banality of Shame

University Community for Democracy on relay hunger-strike against CWG evictions

We have had an earlier post on the University Community for Democracy which was formed in the wake of the arbitrary and authoritarian eviction of students from the hostels of Delhi University for the Commonwealth Games, but which raises wider questions about the “reckless logic by which the city is being re-made”.

This is their latest press release, followed by their letter to the National Commission for Women.

University Community for Democracy


The University Community for Democracy is initiating a RELAY HUNGER STRIKE FROM  9 AM TO 9 PM, 12TH AUGUST THURSDAY ONWARDS at the Arts Faculty Main gate, North Campus. Each day there will be five people (teachers, students and researchers) who will be on a hunger strike, as well as many others who will sit in solidarity.

The University Community for Democracy has been challenging a number of decisions taken by both Delhi University and the government with regard to the commonwealth games for over a month now. The Forum is deeply concerned by the gross violations of rights that the city has witnessed in the name of the Games and condemns the irresponsible manner in which Delhi is being prepared for this mega- event.

Continue reading University Community for Democracy on relay hunger-strike against CWG evictions

Down with Students’ Eviction from College Hostels!: University Community for Democracy

A Guest Post sent to us by BONOJIT HUSSAIN and NAINA MANJREKAR

[This is a leaflet issued by the University Community for Democracy which has come up in the wake of the arbitrary and authoritarian eviction of students from the hostels of Delhi University for the Commonwealth Games. Initially starting off as a facebook discussion among students, the anger has now snowballed into a movement that seeks to go beyond the immediate question of evictions. – AN]
Down with eviction of students from College Hostels!
Onwards to students self-activity!!
University Community for Democracy poster

The current administration of Delhi University has attempted to reshape the University through a series of sinister agendas – be it the introduction of semester system, the European Studies Programme or the biometric identification system. All of them have shared one thing in common: the thwarting of democratic debate on proposals for change, and the routine violation of regulatory protocols.

The latest episode has been the eviction of students (2,000 students according to reports) from a number of hostels in Delhi University in order to make them available for the Commonwealth Games. Hostels are being renovated and beautified for the officials and visitors of the Games, while students are scrambling around for their own accommodation. The students, like the 40,000 families on the Yamuna bank, are now among the many that have been displaced in the name of national glory. What comes into question is the fact that the University has agreed to avail of 20 crores of rupees from the Commonwealth Games project without taking any cognisance of how and where such resources are generated. It has thus become an accomplice in the larger process of reckless corporatisation that the whole city is undergoing in the bid of becoming a “global city”.

Levelling the playing field before the Commonwealth Games

Ahead of the Commonwealth games, the capital city of the country with aspirations towards being anointed First Side-Kick to the only super-power left in the world, is busy cleaning up. Beggars, protesters, poor-looking people in general, out, out, all out.

Pholpata, her child and a friend inside a mobile court in a mini-bus, caught begging and brought before a magistrate who will decide whether to jail them for a year or release them. [The Independent on Sunday]

Also, see Partha Banerjee’s post on this in his blog
The Real Slumdog Story: India’s Ghastly Commonwealth Cleanup.

Meanwhile, of course, the labourers working day and night to complete the endless amounts of construction required to host an event of this magnitude, are “working and living in highly dangerous and deplorable conditions;  earning less than the stipulated minimum wage;  with no access to basic sanitation and health facilities;  and, lacking safety equipment”, found a Committee appointed by the Delhi High Court.

Continuing the saga of national triumph, below, we have AKHIL KATYAL and SHALINI SHARMA on the forced evictions of protesters from Jantar Mantar.

The Delhi State Government and New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) seem to have a particularly limited vision of a beautiful city. In the run up to the Commonwealth Games, Delhi is seeing a massive beautification drive which is really about an intolerant attitude towards democratic dissent and towards the urban poor. It is an idea of beauty that deals with urban protest or poverty simply by excising it from view.

Continue reading Levelling the playing field before the Commonwealth Games