Tree Wants to be Calm
But Wind Will Not Stop !
-Jose Maria Sison
( Filipino Revolutionary and Poet)
Whether all the leading public intellectuals of our times have suddenly decided to go for a break – now that Kanhaiya Kumar is out of jail – or are thinking that the impending storm would peter away on its own. Anyone who has closely followed the public hounding of two of the finest human beings of our times – Prof Nivedita Menon and Gauhar Raza – and the silence which has followed with it ( barring a statement signed by many and few articles here and there on some webmagazines ) would understand what does that mean. While Prof Menon is being targetted because of airing of selective quotes from one of her lectures, Gauhar has been put under the scanner because of his participation in Indo-Pak mushaira. It is clear that one of his poems – focussing on the dangerous cocktail of religion and politics – which he recited there, has infuriated them. Continue reading Then They Came For ..
Guest Post by Karthik Venkatesh
Freedom at midnight put some people in a spot – those Muslims who chose to stay back in India and did not opt for Pakistan. Pakistan was always conceived as a nation that would be created in areas where Muslims were in a majority in undivided India i.e., the north-western portion and a part of the eastern portion. It was difficult to visualize how all of India’s Muslims would be accommodated there because the reality was that Muslims were and are found in every nook and corner in this country. How then was Pakistan going to fulfill its purpose? It clearly could not. Recognizing this and recognizing the danger to those Muslims who could not go to the ‘promised land’, many Muslim leaders opposed the creation of Pakistan. Muslims against Partition by Shamsul Islam (Pharos Media, 2015) is their story. It details how such leaders were in effect betrayed after having striving unreservedly for a united India. Continue reading Betrayal at Midnight – Review of ‘Muslims against Partition’ : Guest Post by Karthik Venkatesh
Mujadpur, a village in Haryana’s Hisar district, which has been in the news recently for what the government lexicon calls ‘dalit atrocities’, involving murders and ‘suicides’.
Recently, it was hit by another such incident, albeit of a less fatal nature: Members of the Jat community thrashed a dalit man called Ramdhari and his family members and stuffed cow dung in his mouth. Reportedly, Ramdhari installed a statue of BR Ambedkar in his house and that provoked the upper caste Jats.
The irony of this cannot be emphasised enough.
One does not know whether in an area dominated by the Jats, Ramdhari’s perpetrators have been arrested under provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act (1989) or not.
Or has the incident been explained away in the light of some vague personal animosity, which is what happened when two children in Sunped were recently killed by throwing of inflammable material in their house by dominant castes.
As the nation begins another series of grand celebrations, this time to celebrate the contributions of BR Ambedkar, the plight of a dalit family for merely installing his statue stares at us in our eyes. It is symptomatic of the gap between the principles and values on which the Constitution is based and the situation on the ground.
Read the full text of the article here.
Dear great-great granddaughter Sumathikutty
I am sure you never expected this missive. Yes, you may even think it impossible. But here am I, writing to you, from the other side of J Devika’s computer screen at which she is staring now, mouth open and goggle-eyed, right now. I don’t have to introduce myself – most Malayalees know me as Chandu Menon’s Soul-Daughter, and the Grand (Old) Lady of Modern Kerala (alas, some of the youngest know of Indulekha hair oil only!). Continue reading Girl, Get Back your Dignity NOW: Indulekha Writes to Sumathikkuttyamma
Guest post by Aman Verma
It is disheartening to see amongst supporters of Hindutva these days a silent acquiescence and at times even active support for extra-constitutional techniques being adopted by organizations like the RSS and its offshoots towards attaining the goal of Ram Rajya. An assessment is necessary of what would ultimately entail on the social, political and economic fronts if such a policy that envisages a supposedly ‘Hindu’ cultural and linguistic hegemony over cultures and languages represented by minority communities becomes reality. However, being a student of law what disturbs me more is the absence of any socio-political entity or civil society movement rooted in values of democracy that can effectively counter the impact of Hindutva organizations on the Indian social fabric. While the BJP has its RSS, every other political party claiming to be the upholder of secularism lacks its equivalent, or at the very least an effective social protégé.
Further, my personal interactions with supporters of BJP reveals that there is some deep sense of hurt and helplessness, part valid for the sake of argument, but for the most part carefully manufactured by Hindutva propaganda, which manifests itself in questions a friend recently put to me, “What are the other ways in which the Hindus can also claim their rights and send out a message that they have been too tolerant for too long?” and another which sounded like “How else to keep our dignity and identity alive in our land?”. These questions, based upon presumptions like those of “Hindu tolerance” of acts perpetrated by other communities supposedly only against Hindus and, protection of a completely vague concept of “Hindu identity” are clearly an outcome of a campaign strategy that relies upon upping the antics on the romantic-nationalist front.
Continue reading Hindutva: A Political Theory of Nationhood?: Aman Verma
A couple of weeks ago, filmmaker Anand Patwardhan was invited by the Editors’ Guild to deliver its annual lecture. Patwardhan’s speech, titled We or our Nationhood Redefined, was marked by his characteristically cool tone, systematically reassembling facts that have a tricky habit of leaking from national memory. Facts like the twentieth century’s worst genocidal dictator Adolf Hitler and his programme of racial cleansing has a respectable and massive following in India in the form of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. That the RSS has at least 50,000 branches across the country with over 40 million members, and runs a network of 18,000 schools across India. That one such child, recruited from the age of 8 from a relatively poor family, is Prime Minister Modi; and another is Party Chief Amit Shah. That just before the recent reshuffle, 5 Chief Ministers and 17 of the 23 Cabinet-level senior ministers were current or former RSS members. That the assassins of Gandhi are really the RSS, not the lone lunatic Godse who merely carried out what others dreamed about. That RSS’s poisonous communal agenda was roundly condemned by Sardar Patel, of whom PM Modi has promised to build the world’s tallest statue. Or more obscure but equally revealing facts, like the letter written by RSS chief Balasaheb Deoras from jail during Emergency, praising Indira Gandhi and especially her programme of sterilisation of Muslims. And those truly mind-boggling-in-their-irony facts, like the widespread involvement of the RSS in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, when the BJP cynically says “1984” every time somebody says “2002”.
On a day when the Nanavati Commission has termed the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat as a purely communal reaction to Godhra, and cleared then Chief Minister Modi’s government of any wrongdoing, or even inaction, it is critical we re-read Patwardhan’s speech, to remind ourselves exactly what we are up against if we believe in a non-communal, non-divided, heterogenous India. As Patwardhan put it, given the history of the RSS in this subcontinent, if a Modi didn’t exist, he would have to be invented. Read more.
Image Courtesy : http://www.truthofgujarat.com
It is now time for NaMo NaMo in BJP.
To quote a newspaper, Hindutva poster boy Narendra Modi has been declared candidate for Prime Minister’s post by the highest body of the Party.
As planned earlier there were celebrations at different party offices of the BJP spread over the country. It is a different matter that the party could not hide the fact that it was not a unanimous decision rather a majority decision. The ‘tallest leader’ or ‘mentor’ of the party L K Advani made his displeasure clear in a letter the very same day. And not only Advani till a day ago three members of the highest body – whose strength is 12 only – were vehemently opposing the proposal that the candidature be announced immediately and wanted it to be deferred till the assembly elections to five states were over. Two amongst them – Ms Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi – could be persuaded to join the anointment at the last moment only.
The comical part of the whole anointment has been the gentleman who had only a week ago declared that he would like to serve the state – where he was elected CM for the third time – till 2017, had no qualms in dropping all pretensions and rush to Delhi for the coronation. Continue reading NaMo NaMo or Namaste Sada Vatsale ..