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