[Anyone who is familiar with the writings and positions of various Kafila authors will see, we do not subscribe to or share many of the views expressed by Shivali Tukdeo in this essay. Several of us have our own fairly strong critiques of the processes of colonial and post-colonial knowledge formation which condemned a whole host of practices, and the lifeworlds in which they were located, as “andhvishwas”. However there is also a simultaneous extremely interesting history of efforts at the inculcation of a “rational temperament” that used emergent discourses of science and modernity to question traditional hierarchies of caste and so on. Maharashtra is an especially vibrant locale for such experiments and their location within long histories of oppressed caste mobilizations. Recent violent assertions by the Hindu Right on the grounds of “tradition”, as evidenced in the tragic murder of Dr. Dabholkar, further complicate the terrain within which these questions arise. So we are carrying this essay as an offering and opening to what we hope will be a spirited conversation around reason, science and faith of all varieties – andh, kana and trilochan. AS]
This is a guest post by SHIVALI TUKDEO
In what can only be termed as an ultimate irony and deep embarrassment, the Maharashtra police allegedly resorted to relying on planchet tricks of a self-claimed god-man to investigate the brutal murder of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, a rationalist and organiser of Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (ANS)—Committee against Eradication of Blind Faith[i]. The ‘supernatural intervention’ in this high-profile murder case is painfully damaging, no doubt; however, it is neither an isolated instance nor is it confined to the police department alone. As reportage in the aftermath of the case reveals, police departments routinely subscribe to such practices. Moreover, the widespread practice of offering prayers to Thirupathi before a space launch or the decision to conduct excavation based on a Sadhu’s dream aptly illustrate the powerful hold superstitions have. Such instances also point to the deep and long standing crisis in India’s education. Continue reading Towards a Rational Literacy – Education and Beyond: Shivali Tukdeo→
(An edited version of this Fact-Finding Report appeared in February issue of Samayantar)
गुजरात और मध्यप्रदेश की सीमा से लगे हुए महाराष्ट्र के धुले जिले में 6 जनवरी को होटल में पैसे के लेन-देन के आपसी विवाद को लेकर शुरू हुआ झगड़ा जल्द ही हिन्दू एवं मुस्लिम समुदाय के बीच पत्थर बाजी में तब्दील हो गया। इस हिंसा की परिणति पुलिस की गोली से मारे गए छः मुस्लिम नौजवानों (1) इमरान अली कमर अली (25) (2) असीम शेख नासिर (21) (3) सउद अहमद रईस पटेल (18) (4) हाफिज मो. आसीफ अब्दुल हलीम (22) (5) रिजवान हसन शाह (24) (6) युनुस अब्बास शाह (20) के रूप में हुई। लगभग 55 मुस्लिम नौजवानों, जिनमें से लगभग 40कोगोली लगी, पुलिस की हिंसा के शिकार हुए। 58ऐसे लोग हैं जिनके घर,वाहन, दुकान, ठेलागाड़ी को क्षतिग्रस्त किया गया। धुले में हुई इस साम्प्रदायिक हिंसा की खासियत यह है कि न तो पुलिस और न ही कोई साम्प्रदायिक संगठन झूठ बोल सकता है, क्योंकि धुले में लगभग 3 बजे के आसपास जब विवाद ने पत्थरबाजी का रूप ले लिया तब उसके बाद के ज्यादातर फुटेज वीडियोक्लिपिंग अथवा फोटोग्राफ के रूप में मौजूद हैं। धुले में हुई इस हिंसा की हकीकत जानने के लिए वर्धा के हिंदी विश्वविद्यालय के अध्यापक, छात्र, सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता एवं पुणे के स्वतंत्र पत्रकार ने 19-20 जनवरी को धुले जिले का दौरा किया। Continue reading राज्य हिंसा का एक और नमूना – धुले→
Update:If you’re on Twitter please help make #Ghalib trend @ Twitter India – Tweet his sher’s!
That is what it has come down to. DNA reports that according to Maharashtra police, a Ghalib couplet on a piece of paper is proof the Students Islamic Movement of India is into the business of mass violence:
Of the several affidavits — filed in court asking for the ban on the group to continue — accessed by DNA, one by inspector Shivajirao Tambare of Vijapur Naka, Solapur, cites a Ghalib verse — as part of evidence — to show how dangerous SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) is.
(Apologies for posting a mere press release, but it’s something important and yet I don’t think it will be ‘interesting’ enough for the ‘national’ media to pick up. This is not to take sides at all, because there are no sides to take.)
RASHTRIYA SAMAJ PAKSH
Rashtriya Samaj Paksh, Shiv Jayanti meeting attacked by Shiv Sainiks in Mumbai
The Shiv Sena once again proves that it is a Brahmanical party by attacking OBC’s
Mumbai – February 23, 2009
A meeting that was organized by the activists of the Kurla unit of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksh (RSP) was attacked by Shiv Sainiks. The SS storm troopers, numbering 50, unleashed their fury on the meeting, shouting slogans, attacking the people and throwing chairs. The very fact that the Shiv Sainiks attacked Shiv Jayanti celebrations organized by the OBC (Other Backward Caste) activists, namely the Dhangar community (Shepherds) has once again exposed the Manuwadi – Brahmanical character of the Shiv Sena. Continue reading SS Stormtroopers attack OBCs celebrating Shiv Jayanti→
The Juhu Versova beach is divided into two sections, guarded by two stray dogs and the bare dirty arses of bhaiyyas who step off their kholis to shit straight into the sea. The other side of the invisible divide is reserved for the civil society which comes to walk, exercise and meditate in the morning. Including well off bhaiyyas like ourselves.
Returning from the beach when I accosted the panwalla by calling him bhaiyya, three bystanders gave me a sharp look. I figured they were marathi manoos. Leaving the shop I tried to inject some pathos by saying that it has become so dangerous to call anyone bhaiyya these days. They did smile, all of them. But I detected a gleam of satisfaction in their expression.
In our continuing concern with the strange times that seem to have befallen our cities, lets not lose sight of the historic battle underway in the countryside. In the first instance of its kind, the referendum on the Maha-Mumbai Special Economic Zone being set up by Reliance has unambiguously returned the verdict of the farmers of Raigad- no SEZ in Pen! As Sanhati notes, the Tata’s 1500 crore investment in Singur sounds like loose change when compared to the one lakh crore that Reliance is planning to sink into 10,000 hectares. 22 villages in the Pen Tehsil voted against the acquisition of their lands at the paltry sum of 10 lakhs per acre. Unsurprisingly, Reliance Industries Limited has said the referendum is “not genuine”: