This is a guest post by New Socialist Initiative
New Socialist Initiative stands in solidarity with the people of Assam, Tripura and the other North Eastern states in their heroic struggle against the communally motivated Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). It was only because of the resistance of the people that the government couldn’t table the Bill for voting in the Rajya Sabha after surreptitiously passing it in the Lok Sabha. This is in fact a victory for all the progressive and democratic forces of the country,who have been fighting to save and expand the secular character of the nation. While the danger still looms large and there is a strong possibility that the government may try to bring back the bill in the upcoming budget session, the mass resistance of the people has demonstrated very clearly that the evil designs of the fascists in power will not go unanswered and that the people will fight back with all their might. Continue reading Statement on the People’s Resistance against the Citizenship Amendment Bill : New Socialist Initiative
( Photo courtesy : The hoot)
(To be published in the special issue of ‘Janata’)
The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.
– Toward Freedom: The Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru (1936), pp. 240–241.
If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.
– Ambedkar, ‘Pakistan or Partition of India’, p. 358.
India’s slow ushering into a majoritarian democracy is a matter of concern for every such individual who still believes in pluralism, democracy, equality and a clear separation of religion and politics. The way people are being hounded for raising dissenting opinions, for eating food of their choice or entering into relationships of their own liking or celebrating festivals according to their own faith is unprecedented. The situation has reached such extremes that one can even be publicly lynched for belonging to one of the minority religions or for engaging in an activity which is considered to be ‘suspicious’ by the majority community.
No doubt there is no direct harm to the basic structure of the Constitution, its formal structure remains intact, de jure India does remain a democracy as well as a republic, but de facto democracy has slowly metamorphosed into majoritarianism and the sine qua non of a republic—that its citizens are supreme—is being watered down fast. It does not need underlining that this process has received tremendous boost with the ascent of Hindutva supremacist forces at the centrestage of Indian politics. Continue reading Nehru, Ambedkar and Challenge of Majoritarianism
It was probably late sixties or early seventies – when a gentleman called P N Oak started appearing in Marathi magazines peddling his weird theories about well known monuments in and outside India. An article which made lot of news then was centred around Taj Mahal where it was claimed that it was ‘Tejo Maha Aalay’ or hindu god Shiva’s abode. It tried to establish through various ‘explanations’ that a Shiva Temple was destroyed to build Taj Mahal and if we dig deep we can find ‘remnants’ of the earlier structure. Mr Vinay Katiyar’s latest advice to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that he “should go into the Taj Mahal and see the Hindu signs inside it” reminded one of P N Oak. Continue reading Taj Mahal as Tej Mahal – Once again “There is a Bee in the Bonnet”
On 22 June 2017 fifteen-year old Hafiz Junaid was stabbed to death on a Mathura-bound train from New Delhi. He was traveling home for Eid with his brothers and two friends. A dispute over seats resulted in a group of men repeatedly assaulting and stabbing Junaid and his companions. The assailants flung their bodies onto the Asoti railway platform. A crowd gathered. At some point an ambulance was called and two bodies were taken away. Junaid is dead. His companions are in critical condition. While one person has been arrested the police investigations are running into a wall of social opacity since they have been unable to find a single eye-witness to the incident. Of the 200 hundred strong crowd that assembled on Asoti railway platform on Thursday evening, the police cannot find one person who can say what they saw. The police cannot find a witness because something very peculiar seems to have happened to those present at Junaid’s death. A report by Kaunain Sherrif M in the Indian Express provides specific details. When asked if he had seen anything that evening, Ram Sharan a corn-vendor whose daily shift coincides with the killing, Sharan said he was not present at the time of the incident. Two staffers who were sent to investigate by the station master were unavailable for comment. Neither the station-master, the post-master or the railway guards saw the event they were present at.
In this startling piece the journalist reports how the public lynching of a Muslim child becomes a social non-event in contemporary India. He shows the reconfiguring, and splitting, of a social field of vision. He reports all the ways in which people – Hindus- did not see the body of a dead – Muslim – child that lay in front of them. The Hindus on the Asoti railway platform managed to collectively not see a 15 year old Muslim boy being stabbed to death. Then they collectively, and without prior agreement, continued to not see what they had seen after the event. This is the uniquely terrifying aspect of this incident on which this report reflects: the totalising force of an unspoken, but collectively binding, agreement between Hindus to not see the dead body of a Muslim child. Hindus on this railway platform in a small station in north India instantly produced a stranger sociality, a common social bond between people who do not otherwise know each other. By mutual recognition between strangers, Hindus at this platform agreed to abide by a code of silence by which the death of a Muslim child can not be seen by 200 people in full public view on a railway platform in today’s India. Continue reading Why Two Hundred Ordinary Hindus Did Not See A Dead Muslim Child On A Railway Station In North India
At some point during the Khalistan movement, I came across a brief news item about a constable of the Punjab Police killed by Delhi Police personnel. The two teams had completed their interrogation of a suspected militant. Whose job was it to clean up the blood? Disagreement, a scuffle, a killing.
Legitimized brutality; the stench of blood inflaming the senses; the knowledge of absolute power and absolute impunity.
All of India is that interrogation room now.
Hindu Rashtra is here.
Has there not been violence earlier in this land? Yes of course there has been. A full seven decades of an independent state’s violence against the people of the land declared to be India – against dispossessed peasants and tribal people, against industrial workers, against the people of Kashmir, and of the states of the North East; centuries of violence by savarna Hindu society against the Dalit-bahujan; misogynist, sexist violence against women, up to and including female foetuses in the womb; decades of coldly planned and executed communal violence by institutionalized systems of riot production coordinated by the organizations of the RSS – against Muslims, against Christians, and as a secondary force, against Sikhs in 1984.
What is unique about this conjuncture, then? Continue reading Eid in solidarity, united against Hindu Rashtra
Guest Post by Sanjay Kumar
(Photo Courtesy : Prokerala.com)
Mainstream politics over Rohith Vemula’s suicide is becoming hot and ugly. Although whisper campaigns against Rothith’s dalit identity were on since his suicide, the BJP’s central leadership had been relatively quiet after HRD minister’s rather shrieky ‘appeal’ to not play caste politics over his suicide. However, now it seems daggers are out. The party in power, whose two ministers are accused of creating conditions leading to Rohith’s suicide, has decided that Rohith’s non-dalit status is the dog it is going to beat to counter its anti-dalit image. Rohith’s mother is a Mala, a Scheduled Caste, who lives seperately from his father, a backward caste Vaddera. He got an SC certificate on the basis of showing that he grew up in his mother’s Mala household. BJP’s strategy may look petty, but it is based on the age-old great Hindu tradition which can not contenance any violation of the privileges of the patrilineal system. After all, marital rape does enjoy legal sanction in India to this day. Continue reading Missing the Forest for Trees – Caste System’s Shadow on Rohith’s Suicide : Sanjay Kumar
( Till 1992, 6 th December was remembered as ‘Parinirvan Divas’ of Dr Ambedkar, legendary son of the oppressed who had clearly recognised the true meaning of Hindutva and warned his followers about the dangers of Hindu Rashtra ; post 1992, 6 th December has an added meaning and it relates to the demolition of Babri Mosque undertaken by these very forces.
Apart from the fact that this event led to the biggest communal conflagaration at the national level post-independence, whose repercussions are still being felt and whose perpetrators are still roaming free, we should not forget that it was the first biggest attack on the principles of secularism and democracy, which has been a core value of the Constitution drafted under the Chairmanship of Dr Ambedkar.
What follows here is an edited version of the presentation made at Dept of Social Work, Delhi University, during their programme centred around 1 st Ambedkar Memorial Lecture)
“If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost.”
– Ambedkar, Pakistan or Partition of India, p. 358
‘Indians today are governed by two ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity whereas their social ideal embedded in their religion denies it to them’
Continue reading Ambedkar For Our Times!