I have no issues with anyone using dharnas as a political strategy, whether or not they are the Chief Minister. The “inconvenience” and “dignity of office” arguments being made by some also hold little truck with me. I write here then to mark my dissent on three specific fronts against the recently concluded AAP dharna from a different vantage point. As with all thoughts on things emergent, they are offered in the making with all their attendant uncertainties.
Arvind Kejriwal is the new Sachin Tendulkar. You throw him the most difficult googly and he sweeps it to add runs for his century. In 2011, he started a national anti-corruption movement with the specific aim of setting up an anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal. The movement’s public face and leader was Anna Hazare, a respected social leader, who like Gandhi, believes in fasting for politics. The critics said Anna is just a puppet and it’s Kejriwal’s movement, and that such sophistry showed Kejriwal (who takes oath as chief minister of Delhi tomorrow) had sinister motives.
Kejriwal’s critics said that fasting unto death was a blackmail strategy not suited to a democracy. Kejriwal can’t have a Lokpal just because he wants it. His popular support is just media hype. If he really wants a Lokpal, why doesn’t he form a political party and contest elections?
Kejriwal’s critics said he was supported by the RSS and the BJP, that he is a BJP stooge, that the Lokpal movement was a right-wing conspiracy to remove pristine, super-secular, people-loving, chosen-by-god Congress party from power. Continue reading Arvind Kejriwal, master-blaster
There is nothing novel about new parties upsetting the two-party binary. We have seen that happen through the process of Mandalisation in many states. But all those new parties have come up in the name of one or more identities caste, community, region. The BJP is the Brahmin-Bania party of Hindu nationalism. The BSP is the party of the Dalits, the JD(U) of the Kurmis, the BJD of Odisha. Many of these parties don’t have ambitions to rival the Congress or the BJP on the national stage.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is an exception in that its central ideology is good governance. This helps it escape identity politics. At the same time, the AAP embraces identity politics like everyone else does: its symbol, the broom, was from day one targeted at the Valmikis. Be it Muslims or Dalits or Brahmins, the AAP quietly takes note of identity politics and gives lip service, even as the party as a whole does not identify itself with any one community. The only other party which handles identity politics this way is the Congress. Continue reading Why AAP is the new Congress
Majma and Swaang are organizing JURRAT – A week long campaign on violence against women, from Dec 10-16.
On 16th December 2013 one year would have passed since the shameful, horrific and brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi. And yet this whole year, city after city and village after village has screamed ‘Rape’ ‘Gang Rape’ in the months after the much publicized and condemned Delhi-gang rape. Continue reading Jurrat – 10 to 16 December 2013, Delhi
By SHIVAM VIJ: The census counts ’urban agglomerations’, and the Census of India says that Mumbai is India’s largest urban agglomeration. This includes Mumbai’s suburbs. In counting Delhi, the suburbs are not added because They are separated by state boundaries. If you were to add suburbs of the ’National Capital Region’, Delhi’s population would be not 16 million but over 22 million, making it the world’s largest urban agglomeration after Tokyo. This bustling urban centre is made of its people. Today’s Delhi cannot be stereotyped as just the seat of power. There is more to Delhi than the endless roundabouts of Lutyens’ capital.
Delhi’s core – the Partition refugee Punjabi – is not xenophobic like the Marathi ’manoos’ of Mumbai. In fact Delhi today is what Bombay once was, India’s foremost cosmopolitan metropolis. It is the city of choice for people from across India to migrate to with dreams of riches.
A lot has been written about “the Delhi gang-rape”. 16 December 2012 started a conversation that doesn’t seem to end. This conversation has largely been about rape, not about Delhi.
Continue reading In Delhi’s defence
Guest post by Kishore
दिल्ली के उत्तर-पश्चिम में स्थित रोहिणी का इलाका लाखों मध्यम और निम्न मध्यम वर्ग परिवारों का बसेरा है. कुछ समय पहले यहाँ मेहनतकश मज़दूर वर्ग के नुमाइंदे भी झुग्गी-झोपडियों में रहा करते थे जिन्होने रोहिणी नाम के इस उपनगर को बसाया था. पर पिछले कुछ सालों में इन झुग्गियों को उजाड़ कर दिल्ली के बाहरी हिस्सों में पुनर्वासित किया गया है. ठीक गोरख पाण्डेय की कविता “स्वर्ग से विदाई” की तरह.
रोहिणी एक नियोजित उपनगर है जिसे दिल्ली विकास प्राधिकरण ने बसाया है. एक शहरी बस्ती की जरूरतों के हिसाब से हर एक चीज़ का ध्यान रखा गया है. थोड़ी थोड़ी दूर पर “सार्वजनिक” पार्कों की व्यवस्था की गयी है और हर एक-दो किलोमीटर पर एक बड़े “सार्वजनिक” पार्क की भी व्यवस्था है जिसे डिस्ट्रिक्ट पार्क कहते हैं. Continue reading सार्वजनिक जगहों पर सामूहिक कब्ज़े की संस्कृति : किशोर
This pamphlet, titled 1984, has been released by GAURI GILL
GAURI GILL writes: This pamphlet contains photographs of the ongoing impact of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom in New Delhi – taken by me for Tehelka magazine in 2005 (after the release of the Nanavati Commission report) and Outlook magazine in 2009 (to mark the 25th anniversary of the event); in Trilokpuri, Tilak Vihar and Garhi, as well as at protest rallies in the city. The captions that appear below them are as they were inscribed in the media then. Last month, I decided to ask some artist friends, who were living in Delhi at the time, or have since or prior, or see themselves as somehow participants of the city, to write a small comment alongside each photograph. It could be about the image or a more general observation related to the event; it could be abstract, poetic, personal, fictional, factual or nonsensically true in the way that were Toba Tek Singh’s seminal words on the partition. Continue reading 1984: Gauri Gill