Guest Post by Fahad Hashmi
[ Yesterday, the Supreme Court of India, dismissed the ‘review petition’ that had been filed with a plea to reverse the Supreme Court’s recent (December 2013) decision to uphold the constitutionality of Section 377 of the IPC. This decision effectively ‘re-criminalized’ Homosexuality in India and is a severe blow to human rights. Various religious groups, Hindu, Muslim and Christian had appealed to the Supreme Court to act against the rights and interests of homosexuals. In a sad instance of the erosion of secular and democratic values, the Supreme Court has endorsed their view. The Jamaat -e-Islami Hind, a right wing, muslim fundamentalist organization that claims to speak for Indian Muslims has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. This post by Fahad Hashmi attacks the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s position on homosexuality and challenges its claim to speak in the name of muslims and their faith. We see it as an important contribution to the ongoing discussion on section 377 on Kafila ]
“There was once…a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name.
In the north of the sad city stood mighty factories in which (so I’m told) sadness was actually manufactured, packaged and sent all over the world, which never seemed to get enough of it. Black smoke poured out of the chimneys of the sadness factories and hung over the city like bad news”.
(Haroun and Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie)
It is one of the ironies of democracies across the world that minorities of all shades are always in the crosshairs of majoritarianism. This minority-majority is a function of numbers and power though this is not a thorough definition since we have had seen altered power equation of this binary. The apartheid South Africa is a case in point. For stating the obvious the strength of a democracy is a function of safety and rights that minorities enjoy in it. However, minorities on the whole are always drawing majority’s fire. On the subcontinent one could see this happening in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and of course India is not an exception.
Continue reading Homophobia and Islamobphobia – The Jamaat e Islami Hind and the Supreme Court’s Decision on Section 377: Fahad Hashmi
Guest post by SUDEEP KS and BOBBY KUNHU
The magazine joins the Great Kerala Terrorist Hunt. This was sent as a rebuttal to Tehelka, but has not been published.
Kerala’s Radical Turn – cries the cover of the last issue of Tehelka (dated 9th October, 2010). The cover story by V K Shashikumar, that plays the familiar tunes of Islamophobia, hints at Tehelka‘s Populist Turn. It will be interesting to see where Tehelka goes from here, and what happens to its current reader base that distinguished the magazine from the likes of The Indian Express and The Times of India and India Today.
In the article, Here Come the Pious, Shashikumar lists some facts and his personal fears, on the eve of the Allahabad High Court judgment on the Babri Masjid land dispute. What is missing in the entire article is reason. The byline says that “A new Islamist body, the Popular Front of India, is causing alarm with its religious overdrive in the south.” After one goes through the article, however, what one gets is a glorified picture of the outfit. Whether the author likes it or not.
Continue reading Tehelka’s Populist Turn? Bobby Kunhu and Sudeep KS
Guest post by ANGANA CHATTERJI
First published on 25 September 2010 in Greater Kashmir
“Freedom” represents many things across rural and urban spaces in India-ruled Kashmir. These divergent meanings are steadfastly united in that freedom always signifies an end to India’s authoritarian governance.
In the administration of brutality, India, the postcolony, has proven itself coequal to its former colonial masters. Kashmir is not about “Kashmir.” Governing Kashmir is about India’s coming of age as a power, its ability to disburse violence, to manipulate and dominate. Kashmir is about nostalgia, about resources, and buffer zones. The possession of Kashmir by India renders an imaginary past real, emblematic of India’s triumphant unification as a nation-state. Controlling Kashmir requires that Kashmiri demands for justice be depicted as threatening to India’s integrity. India’s contrived enemy in Kashmir is a plausible one – the Muslim “Other,” India’s historically manufactured nemesis. Continue reading Kashmir: A Time for Freedom
This is a guest post by Naeem, an artist friend. The post is a cull from a conversation regarding the recent ban in Switzerland imposed on building minarets.
In a vote that displayed a widespread anxiety about Islam and undermined the country’s reputation for religious tolerance, the Swiss on Sunday overwhelmingly imposed a national ban on the construction of minarets, the prayer towers of mosques, in a referendum drawn up by the far right and opposed by the government. The referendum passed with 57.5 percent of the vote and in 22 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons.
Continue reading Minarett-Verbot
You have said everything there is to say, and felt everything there is to feel. You have shouted angrily or reflected seriously or stated in the calm tone of conviction that terrorists are as authoritarian as the states they target, that terrorists have no religion, that terrorists are cowards who target soft civilian populations. You have despaired at the carnage wreaked on a city sick and tired of having to be “resilient”; of having faced one disaster after the other – from floods to targeted attacks on specific communities to bomb blasts – and “emerged with its spirit intact”. Your heart has clenched painfully at the inconsolable tears of baby Moshe; at the blood-spattered, newly motherless one-year old Viraj in an exhausted Head Constable Salunkhe’s arms, entrusted to him by his father, a utensil seller wounded by bullets at CST. You have gazed numbly at the image of Maharashtra ATS Chief Hemant Karkare’s young son with drawn countenance bearing the ritual paraphernalia of his father’s cremation ceremonies. Despite yourself you felt a sudden glimmer of hope steal into you at the stony dignity in Kavita Karkare’s dry-eyed grief at her husband’s funeral, at her steadfast bindi and her coloured sari. You have hated yourself for being relieved that those you know in that poor torn city are safe, when hundreds you did not know were not.
In fear and foreboding the feeling has overcome you – “What lies ahead of us now?”
But after all of that, after all of the sorrow and the grieving, in the midst of absolute despair, when you start to think again – STOP. Continue reading Mumbai terror, the revolt of the elites and Life itself
Last week’s terror attacks on Bombay/Mumbai, for which there can be no justification whatsoever, have targetted railway stations, restaurants, hospitals, places of worship, streets and hotels. These are the places in which people gather. where the anonymous flux of urban life finds refuge and sustenance on an everyday basis. By attacking such sites, the tactics of the recent terror attack (like all its predecessors) echo the tropes of conventional warfare as it developed in the twentieth century. These tactics valued the objective of the escalation of terror and panic amongst civilians higher than they viewed the neutralization of strictly military or strategic targets. In a war without end, (which is one way of looking at the twentieth century and its legacy) panic is the key weapon and the most important objective.
Continue reading Thinking Through the Debris of Terror: After Bombay
Those two M’s recur, on this blog and elsewhere, in the heated discussions around the tragic, provocatove events that have unfolded this past week. I am reminded of this point Martha Nussbaum wrote after Obama won: Continue reading “Mindless,” “Muslims”