Tag Archives: Meena Kandasamy

Resisting Culinary Fascism: Nabanipa Bhattacharjee


At the end of last month (March 2012) students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi under the banner of a recently formed group called the New Materialists (NM) organized a public meeting to debate the issue of (dis)allowing certain kinds of food – beef and pork in particular – on the campus. The group, as one of its members Suraj Beri said, intended to petition the university administration to allow the sale of beef and pork in the canteen(s), and fight for inclusion of the same in the hostels’ menus; it was a struggle, as the NM declared, against the Brahmanical dietary impositions on Dalits and other minority community students of JNU. In fact, Francis (JNU students of the 1990’s would remember the man from Kerala) who ran a canteen at the basement of the School of Social Sciences II did serve beef curry on Saturdays, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that there would be more than a mad rush for that. However, he was pressurised – by Hindu right wing groups and other similar forces – to stop the sale of the “forbidden” food, and the canteen was eventually closed down.

Continue reading Resisting Culinary Fascism: Nabanipa Bhattacharjee

NWMI Condemns The Violent Abuse Of Meena Kandasamy

[We at Kafila are absolutely horrified at the abuse directed at poet and activist Meena Kandasamy for expressing her views on twitter regarding the beef-eating festival at Osmania University. That supposedly ‘neutral’ educational institutions replicate upper-caste Hindu dietary taboos, is no surprise, nor that the ABVP reacted with its customary violence to that questions upper caste privilege. What is shocking is the attitude of the Vice Chancellor and the sexist, misogynist, violent speech directed at her on the web. It is telling that those who take such umbrage at the eating of cows, think nothing of advocating the public rape of women. Below is a statement issued by the The Network of Women in Media condemning the hate speech directed at her. We stand in solidarity with Meena Kandasamy.]

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), strongly condemns the violent and sexist abuse unleashed on poet, writer, activist and translator Meena Kandasamy, presumably in response to her posts on Twitter about the beef-eating festival at Osmania University, Hyderabad, on 15 April 2012 and the ensuing clashes between groups of students. Continue reading NWMI Condemns The Violent Abuse Of Meena Kandasamy

I Singe The Body Electric

Meena Kandasamy is the author of two compilations of poetry: Touch and Ms. Militancy. The following is an incredibly brave and extremely disturbing piece she published in Outlook last week. Her writing, and the violence this account describes, makes commentary shallow and inadequate. I was particularly shaken by the thought of a woman waking up, sipping coffee, watching television, participating the quotidian banalities of companionship with a man who could at any instant, for any reason, turn into a violent monster. This is the world we’ve built: rapists prowl the cities, abusive teachers stalk schools and universities; at home, violence breaks in waves.

As a bored housewife, I colour-code the domestic violence: fresh red welts on my skin, the black hue of blood clots, the fading violet of healed bruises. It appears that there is no escape from this unending cycle of abuse, remorse-filled apology and more abuse. One day, when I am whipped with a belt and cannot take it anymore, I threaten him with police action. He retorts that no man in uniform will respect me after reading a line of my verse. He challenges me to go to anyone anywhere. I have no friends in that small world—only his colleagues who think the world of him and his students who worship the earth on which he walks. I do not know whom to trust, even our neighbours could hand me back to him. In the middle of the night, I want to rush to a nearby convent, seek shelter. Would I be understood? Would it work out? How far can I run away in a city that does not speak my tongue, a city where young women in bars are beaten up?

Read the rest of Meena’s piece here,