Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
The word lynching conjures up images of a dark period in the history of the United States of America. Between 1877 and 1950, white supremacist gangs murdered 4,000 African Americans, while the government and the police looked the other way. James Baldwin, whose essays Dark Days captures the unfolding violence, wrote, ‘A mob is not autonomous. It executes the real will of the people who rule the State’. In 1888, white supremacists lynched seven African American men for drinking from a well – which they had said was for ‘white’s only’. Baldwin recounts that story and writes, ‘The blood is on the hands of the state of Alabama which sent those mobs into the street to execute the will of the State’.
The lyrics quoted above are from the iconic song – Strange Fruit – written by the communist artist Abel Meeropol and sung by Billie Holiday. Continue reading Lynchistan
People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (P.A.D.S.) Statement on the murder of three young persons in Badaun and Pune
While introducing the Draft Constitution in the Constituent Assembly, Dr B. R. Ambedkar had observed, “Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.” The same continues to hold true sixty four years later. A few weeks ago the people of India participated in the largest-ever election of their representatives in a largely free and fair process. However, other events since then have revealed the shallowness of this democratic top-dressing along with the tyrannical side of our society and polity.
On 27 May two girls aged 12 and 14 from an oppressed caste family of Katra Sadatganj in Badaun district of UP were sexually assaulted and killed when out to answer nature’s call. The rapists, belonging to the local dominant caste, hung their bodies from a tree in a public display of their power.
On 2 June in Pune, twenty-eight year old Mohsin Shaikh, an information technology professional was beaten to death by a group of men belonging to an outfit called Hindu Rashtra Sena. The killers even celebrated their cruelty in messages declaring that the ‘the first wicket is down’.
Continue reading Statement on the Murder of Three Young Persons in Badaun and Pune: P.A.D.S.