Tag Archives: nationalism

Brutalising Labourers, Jailing Dissidents

A medical emergency is no pretext to impose a political emergency.

A medical emergency

How many policemen in civil clothes are required to deliver a mere summons to an editor of a web journal 700-k away in an age of email and WhatsApp? The recent action of the Uttar Pradesh police, where it sent a posse of 7-8 policemen, in civil clothes, in a black SUV with no number plates, to Siddharth Varadarajan’s residence in Delhi to deliver a summons has prompted this question.

Definitely the police did not bother to ponder over how Varadarajan, editor of The Wire, will present himself to the authorities during a lockdown which has brought trains, flights and even private transport to a standstill.

The manner in which the issue has unfolded has caused an international uproar with 3,500 jurists, scholars, actors, artists and writers condemning Uttar Pradesh Police’s actions against The Wire, and saying that a “medical emergency should not serve as the pretext for the imposition of a de facto political emergency.”

How Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s government will respond remains to be seen, but the story in The Wire on the Tablighi Jamaat, which also noted that “Indian believers” responded late to the viral epidemic obviously provoked the powers-that-be into action. The episode has brought into sharp focus the priorities of the government during the epidemic, which it is supposedly fighting a “war” against.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Brutalising-Labourers-Jailing-dissidents)

Modi 2.0: Majoritarianism Normalised?

This election verdict will have vital ramifications for democracy’s onward journey for decades together, and silencing and further invisibilisation of religious minorities would be its logical outcome.

minorities in india

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”  — – Gramsci

A journalist friends’ prophesy has finally come true.

The day India launched ‘surgical strikes’ across the border supposedly to avenge the Pulwama terror attack, this friend immediately sent a message on a WhatsApp group that Narendra Modi has ensured himself a second term. He stood his ground despite few heated exchanges on the group from Left leaning friends.

In the coming days, this not so expected debacle of the secular camp and the surge of the Hindutva Supremacist camp in newer areas and communities would be further analysed/debated/discussed from various angles. It will be debated why despite the caution expressed by the likes of Amartya Sen, who had concluded how India has taken “a quantum jump in wrong direction since 2014”; how despite being cautioned by leading scholars, intellectuals, scientists of our times that the  very idea of India is at stake in the elections, the people in general did not pay any heed to their appeals and have resolved to continue the journey with a renewed frenzy in the same direction or have fully supposedly embraced this idea of ‘New India’ jettisoning the old one. Remember, not only has the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) been able to garner more seats than last time but its vote share has also increased more than 5%.

(Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/Minorities-India-Silenced-Modi-Reelection-BJP-Majoritarianism-RSS)

One month at an Indian Yoga Centre: Dhruv Ramnath

Guest post by DHRUV RAMNATH

“When you are in India, you must follow Modi. When you are in America, you must follow Trump,” said the semi-literate Odia instructor to a batch of 70-odd students at Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), a university which received crores from our prime minister not so long ago. 30 kms from Bangalore, its Vice-Chancellor, Dr. H. R. Nagendra (“Guruji” to his devotees), went further. “Thanks to Modi, we are now taking yoga to the world,” he said on the first day. Both the Odia speaker and Guruji told us to “have a smile on our face all the time”. Repeated so often whilst we performed our asanas, it became patently corny and destroyed any sense of feeling welcome and of enjoying a simple, one-hour class.
Continue reading One month at an Indian Yoga Centre: Dhruv Ramnath

The Impossible Gandhian Project and its Limits – Remembering the Mahatma Today

Gandhi, Nehru and Azad, Wardha 1935, image courtesy Governance Now

Majboori ka naam Mahatma Gandhi (Roughly: Compulsion thy name is Mahatma Gandhi)

I have grown up hearing this expression and have often wondered about its meaning and at the almost proverbial status acquired by it. Whose majboori or compulsion was Gandhi really? Well, at one level, everybody’s, for practically every current within the anti-colonial struggle was uncomfortable with his presence and his leadership. Jawaharlal Nehru had even remarked once that after independence, his fads would have to be kept in check. All nationalists who fought for independence from colonial rule (as opposed to the pseudo-nationalists who tried to convert it into a cow-protection movement) had their gaze fixed on the state. They wanted control of that coveted instrument – that was the crux of their anticolonial struggle. There were others like BR Ambedkar, who too invested a lot in the state but realized that the state in the hands of the nationalists would be a disaster for his people. But no one among them (poet-thinkers like Tagore apart) was prepared to look beyond the state. And Gandhi’s disavowal of the state – and of politics as such – was something that no one could digest. More than anything else, that was what made him a majboori for this set of people who could only lay their hands on their object of desire as long as Gandhi was in the leadership – for he alone could move millions like no one among his contemporaries could.

But my hunch is that these were not the people who coined this expression. Gandhi was a bigger majboori for another set of people who were, ironically, equally disinterested in the state and its ‘capture’ – at least till recently. Yes, these were the different currents of the Hindutva Brigade (VD Savarkar of the Hindu Mahasabha and his followers and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). They had to tolerate Gandhi – that is exactly what their majboori meant – till they could finally eliminate him. And it was one Nathuram Godse, with connections to both Savarkar and the RSS, who eventually killed him. There were earlier attempts too on Gandhi’s life – all from upper caste Hindus (one lot being Chitpavan Brahmins). Continue reading The Impossible Gandhian Project and its Limits – Remembering the Mahatma Today

How Does Raazi Resolve The Tension Between Patriotism and Humanity? Kavita Krishnan

Guest Post by KAVITA KRISHNAN

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen Raazi, please don’t read this review because it contains spoilers.

Rabindranath Tagore, the composer of the poems that serve as the national anthems of India and Bangladesh, wrote an essay on nationalism in which he asserted, “it is my conviction that my countrymen will gain truly their India by fighting against that education which teaches them that a country is greater than the ideals of humanity.” In a letter to a friend, he wrote, “I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live.”

My concern, as I watched Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi, was about how the film handles its central tension – between the values of humanity and patriotism. Continue reading How Does Raazi Resolve The Tension Between Patriotism and Humanity? Kavita Krishnan

When Charlatans Become Ideologues – The Real ‘Prisoners of the Binary’

Present day Hindus are probably the strongest opponents of Marxism. They are horrified at its doctrine of class-struggle. But they forget that India has been not merely the land of class struggle but she has been the land of class wars. – B. R. Ambedkar, Philosophy of Hinduism.

I often find myself in a bind over whether or not to respond to supposed RSS ideologues, given that they simply trade in lies and hatred with the supreme arrogance of ignorance. One such is the upcoming star on the RSS horizon, a gentleman called Rakesh Sinha, who like the rest of his pack (led by the supreme leader) is currently engaged in a cheap attack on the outgoing Vice-President, Hamid Ansari. His piece in the Indian Express today (linked above) is an  instance of a combination of all these things. So, why should one bother about such a character? Why take him and his discourse seriously? Well, someone had better respond because, because, for one thing they are in power, and are going to teach generations of students that valorous ‘Hindus’ like Maharana Pratap won all the wars, though by some magic, ‘Muslims’ continued to rule for about 8 centuries! For another, there are enough gullible types who really think these people ‘have a point of view’, which should be debated.

As we have repeatedly seen, their ‘having a point of view’ has nothing to do with debate. It is to be enforced by gangs of gorakshaks, anti-romeo squads, hoodlums deciding what will or will not be taught in universities and schools, what will be written, how people should dress and love – and when nothing works, ‘win’ a ‘debate’ like Arun Jaitley claimed they did, by simply arresting the opponents and slapping sedition charges on them. Given this, I do not really address, in person, the ideologue, Rakesh Sinha, who has now made it a fine art to pick up some phrases from the toolkit of what is understood as ‘postmodernism’ by many. Wasn’t it postmodernism, one can  hear them say, that said all viewpoints are equally valid and ‘everything goes’? Wasn’t it postmodernism that challenged the hegemony of Western thought, its logocentrism, its Rationalism (with a capital R) from within that very tradition? Wasn’t it postmodernism again, that by decentering West’s logocentrism, actually gave these RSS-type creatures the gumption to claim that their utterly unsubstantiated viewpoint about the past too was as valid as that of historians who struggled with evidence, painstakingly putting together texts, artefacts and procedures of dating in order to produce a plausible account of the past?

Continue reading When Charlatans Become Ideologues – The Real ‘Prisoners of the Binary’

विश्वविद्यालय, अंध राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति : वैभव सिंह

Guest post by VAIBHAV SINGH

भारत खुद को भले किसी महान प्राचीन ज्ञान-परंपरा का वारिस समझता हो पर उसके विश्वविद्यालयों की दशा चंद चमकदार अपवादों के बावजूद खस्ताहाल है। उच्चशिक्षा की हालत किसी मरणासन्न नदी जैसी है जिसपर पुल तो बहुत बड़ा बन गया है पर पानी सूखता जा रहा है। भारत अपने साथ ही यह झूठ बोल रहा है कि वह ज्ञान या ज्ञानियों का आदर करता है, जबकि सचाई इसके विपरीत है। आधुनिक युग में भारत ने जितना ज्ञान की अवहेलना और अनादर किया है, उतना शायद ही किसी देश ने किया होगा। हर तिमाही-छमाही आने वाली रिपोर्ट्स हमें शर्मिंदा करती हैं कि संसार के सर्वोच्च 100 विश्वविद्यालयों में भारत के किसी विश्वविद्यालय को नहीं रखा जा सका। पूरा शिक्षा-जगत डिग्रियों की खरीदफरोख्त में लगे विचित्र किस्म के अराजक और अपराधिक सौदेबाजियों से भरे बाजार में बदलता जा रहा है। यहां अपराधी, दलाल और कलंकित नेता अपने काले धन व डिजिटल मनी की समन्वित ताकत लेकर उतर पड़े हैं और हर तरह की कीमत की एवज में कागजी शिक्षा बेचने लगे हैं। इस बाजार में ‘नालेज’ और ‘डिग्री’ का संबंध छिन्नभिन्न हो चुका है। कमाल की बात यह है कि यह स्थिति हमें चिंतित नहीं करती।

दूसरी ओर, उच्चशिक्षा अभी भी समाज की नब्बे फीसदी आबादी के लिए सपने सरीखी है। उच्चशिक्षा में जीईआर यानी दाखिले के अनुपात की गणना 18-23 आयुवर्ग के छात्रों को ध्यान में रखकर की जाती है और अभी भी भारत में केवल दस फीसदी लोग उच्चशिक्षा के संस्थानों के दरवाजे तक पहुंच पाते हैं। इसमें भी दलित व गरीब मुस्लिमों की हालत बेहद खराब है। दलितों में दो फीसदी से भी कम लोग उच्चशिक्षा प्राप्त कर पाते हैं तो मुस्लिमों में यह आंकड़ा केवल 2.1 फीसदी का है। भारत की ग्रामीण आबादी में केवल दो फीसदी लोग ही उच्च माध्यमिक शिक्षा के पार जा पाते हैं। ये आंकड़े भारत में उच्चशिक्षा की आम लोगों तक पहुंच की भयावह तस्वीर को प्रस्तुत करते हैं और दिखाते हैं कि हम जिन संस्थानों, बड़े कालेजों-विश्वविद्यालयों आदि को भारत के विकास के प्रमाण के रूप में पेश करने की इच्छा रखते हैं, वे देश की नब्बे फीसदी आबादी से बहुत दूर रहे हैं। Continue reading विश्वविद्यालय, अंध राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति : वैभव सिंह

No Flag Large Enough – Jubilation in India and Collateral Damage in Kashmir

The recent incident of violence that led to the death of a police officer, DSP Ayub Pandith, was condemned by all kinds of people in Kashmir, as well as elsewhere. It prompted introspection, sadness and regret – like any tragedy of this nature should.

Yesterday two unarmed civilians, Tahira Begum, a forty three year old woman and a young man called Shahdab Ahmed Chopan of Brenty Batapora Village in Anantnag district in South Kashmir were killed along with two Kashmiri combatants (Bashir Ahmed Lashkari and another person who may or may not be called Abu Maz) in the course of a joint operation by the 19th Rasthriya Rifles of the Indian Army, CRPF and the Special Operations Group of Jammu & Kashmir police.

Continue reading No Flag Large Enough – Jubilation in India and Collateral Damage in Kashmir

Students In Solidarity With Professor Nivedita Menon and Rajshree Ranawat – A Statement – UPDATED SIGNATORIES.

We, the undersigned, condemn the repeated attacks on Professor Nivedita Menon, the most recent of which being the police complaint lodged against her on the 3rd of February, 2017 (as also against Professor Rajshree Ranawat) for allegedly making ‘anti-national’ remarks during a seminar organised by the Department of English, Jai Narain Vyas University. This incident, we believe, is continuous with the spate of attacks that Professor Menon has had to face for taking an astute stand against the RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh (RSS), its student-wing the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), and the nefarious politics of Hindutva in general. We refuse the rationale of dissent against Hindutva as dissent against the nation, because our idea of the nation is not of the Hindu Rashtra but of secularism, democracy, and social justice. Both as a voice of dissent and a formidable scholar of politics, Professor Nivedita Menon is an inspirational figure. She is a consistent articulation of conscience and an abiding commitment to the ideals that our freedom fighters envisioned for our nation. It is our conviction that patriotism is not only love for the abstract entity of the nation but also for its people, regardless of class, caste, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or any other marker that is used to advantage or disadvantage groups. The ‘patriotism’ that the RSS and its henchmen claim to champion is hateful, divisive, and truly anti-national.

It is our concern as students, therefore, that the ABVP claims to speak for the student community. This petition is a rejection of that assertion, and a statement in solidarity with Professor Nivedita Menon. We hope for and demand the cessation of attacks on Professor Nivedita Menon and the protection of her inalienable freedom and right to oppose the politics of division and communalism. Continue reading Students In Solidarity With Professor Nivedita Menon and Rajshree Ranawat – A Statement – UPDATED SIGNATORIES.

Love Can’t Be Forced: Protest Against Sanghi Hubris at IFFK!

 

 I am hoping to protest at whichever venue of the International Film Festival of Kerala that I can manage to go to, wearing a printed badge saying ‘DEAR SUPREME COURT, NO LOVE CAN BE FORCED’. Yesterday, six people who did not stand up when the national anthem was played were arrested. Sanghi elements and overenthusiatic people who have picked up Modi’s style of projecting instant nationalism on the debris of Indian democracy have been heckling people who refused to comply with the SC’s order and filing complaints. Indeed, they took photos of people who didn’t stand up during the anthem. How come they have not insulted the national anthem according to their own standards since they too were expected to stand in attention?
 

Continue reading Love Can’t Be Forced: Protest Against Sanghi Hubris at IFFK!

Jana Gana Mana and the Danger of Passing Sentiment as Law

This originally appeared in The Wire

This is clearly the winter of Karan Johar’s discontent. Barely had the controversy over the illegal fine imposed on him by the Mahrashtra Navnirman Sena died down when the ghost of a controversy about his earlier film, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (K3G), has resurfaced in the form of the mind-boggling order from the Supreme Court making it mandatory for the national anthem to played in cinema halls before the screening of a film:

All the cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem.

Prior to the National Anthem is played or sung in the cinema hall on the screen, the entry and exit doors shall remain closed so that no one can create any kind of disturbance which will amount to disrespect to the National Anthem. After the National Anthem is played or sung, the doors can be opened.

When the National Anthem shall be played in the Cinema Halls, it shall be with the National Flag on the screen.

The national anthem is “the symbol of the Constitutional Patriotism and inherent national quality”, the judgment says. “It does not allow any different notion or the perception of individual rights, that have individually thought of have no space. (sic) The idea is constitutionally impermissible.”

Continue reading Jana Gana Mana and the Danger of Passing Sentiment as Law

Beyond pop nationalism – How neoliberalism affects the jawan: Ujithra Ponniah

Guest post by UJITHRA PONNIAH

‘7th Pay Commission: Modi government’s Diwali bonanza to armed forces! Indian soldiers to get 10% arrears’, on October 13, 2016 Zee News the current government’s pet broadcaster, tried to quell the rising disquiet within sections of the armed forces with the 7th pay commission recommendations[i]. The recommendations of the 7th pay commission headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur came into effect from the January 1st, 2016. The three military chiefs in an uncharacteristic move since then have written repeated letters to the government, expressing their rising unhappiness within the ranks only to be swiftly turned down. The last on the matter from the defence minister Manohar Parrikar is a promise of referring the anomalies to a higher panel, a black hole where many concerns in the past have also been lost. Along with the current serving military chiefs, 10 ex-chiefs have also written to the Prime Minister, only to be met with the selective silence that many in the country are well familiar with[ii]. So what are the military’s concerns with the current pay commission?[iii] They can be swiftly summarized around three points though the issues run deeper: an increasing disparity between the military and the civilian central government employees both in terms of pay and hike (for example a hardship allowance for an IAS officer posted in the north east is more than a soldier in Siachen); a downsizing of the disability pension in the military; and the clubbing of the military service pay (MSP) of junior commissioned officers (who rise from within the ranks of the jawans) and the jawans[iv].

Continue reading Beyond pop nationalism – How neoliberalism affects the jawan: Ujithra Ponniah

Ae Shareef Insanon – Sahir Ludhianvi Talks to Those Who Are Still Sane in India and Pakistan

Ae Shareef Insanon

(Sahir Ludhianvi)

khoon apna ho ya paraya ho,
nasl-e-adam ka khoon hai aakhir;

jang mashriq mein ho ya maghrib mein,
aman-e-alam ka khoon hai aakhir.

jang to khud hi ek maslaa hai,
jang kyaa maslon ka hal degi;

aag aur khoon aaj bakhshegi,
bhookh aur ehtiyaaj kal degi.

bartaree ke saboot ki khatir,
khoon bahana hi kya zaroori hai?

ghar ki tareeqiyan mitane ko,
ghar jalana hi kya zaroori hai?

Bomb gharon par giren ke sarhad par,
Rooh-e-taameer zakhm khati hai;

Khet apne jalein ke auron ke,
Zeest faaqon mein tilmilati hai.

Tank aage badhe ke peeche hate,
Kokh dharti ki baanjh hoti hai;

Fateh ka jashn ho ke haar ka soug,
Zindagi maiyaton pe roti hai.

Isliye ae shareef insanon,
jang taltee rahe to behtar hai;

aap aur ham sabhi ke aangan mein,
shama jalti rahe to behtar hai.

 

اے شريف انسانو !
(ساحر لدھيانوي)

خون اپنا ہو يا پرايا ہو
نسلِ آدم کا خون ہے آخر
جنگ مشرق ميں ہو کہ مغرب ميں
امنِ عالم کا خون ہے آخر
بم گھروں پر گريں کہ سرحد پر
روح تعمير زخم کھاتی ہے
کھيت اپنے جليں کہ اوروں کے
زيست فاقوں سے تلملاتی ہے
ٹينک آگے بڑھيں، کہ پيچھے ہٹيں
کوکھ دھرتی کی بانجھ ہوتی ہے
فتح کا جشن ہو کہ ہار کا سوگ
زندگی ميتوں پر روتی ہے
جنگ تو خود ہی ايک مسئلہ ہے
جنگ کيا مسئلوں کا حل دے گی
آگ اور خون آج بخشے گی
بھوک اور احتياج کل دے گی
اس ليے اے شريف انسانو !
جنگ ٹلتی رہے تو بہتر ہے
آپ اور ہم سبھی کے آنگن ميں
شمع جلتی رہے تو بہتر ہے
برتری کے ثبوت کی خاطر
خوں بہانا ہی کيا ضروری ہے
گھر کی تاريکياں مٹانے کو
گھر جلانا ہی کيا ضروری ہے
جنگ کے اور بھی تو ميدان ہيں
صرف ميدانِ کشت و خوں ہی نہيں
حاصلِ زندگی خِرد بھی ہے
حاصلِ زندگی جنوں ہی نہيں
آؤ اس تيرہ بخت دنيا ميں
فکر کی روشنی کو عام کريں
امن کو جن سے تقويت پہنچے
ايسی جنگوں کا اہتمام کريں
جنگ، وحشت سے، بربريت سے
امن، تہذيب و ارتقاء کے ليے
جنگ، مرگ آفريں سياست سے
امن، انسان کی بقاء کے لیے
جنگ، افلاس اور غلامی سے
امن، بہتر نظام کي خاطر
جنگ بھٹکي ہوئي قيادت سے
امن، بےبس عوام کي خاطر
جنگ، سرمائے کے تسلط سے
امن، جمہور کي خوشي کے ليے
جنگ، جنگوں کے فلسفے کے خلاف
امن، پُرامن زندگي کے ليے‘

 

Cow-Gangs of Akhand Bharat and the Dalit Revolt – Hindutva Unravels

As the cow-gangs of Hindutva go on a rampage and the the prime minister, Narendra Modi, adopts a posture of strategic silence, the country is rapidly being pushed to the brink of a civil war. This might sound a trifle far-fetched but classically, when large numbers of people begin to believe that there is no government for them, the time is not far when they will start making preparations for defending themselves. It started with the attacks on Muslims but soon enveloped the Dalits as it was bound to. The Una incident, which sparked off a veritable revolt, was followed up by subsequent attacks in Lucknow. The Progressive Dairy Farmers’ Association in Punjab, involving large number of Sikh farmers, has also been fighting continuing harassment and violence by cow-gangs of Hindutva in Punjab for some time now. The PDFA president has also stated that they might be forced to act in self-defense. The president Daljit Singh Gill, in fact, reportedly told mediapersons that “(I)f someone attacks the farmers, we will stop them now,” and “(I)f something goes wrong, it is the government’s responsibility.”

Even as the cow-gangs continue with their vigilantism unrestrained and unchecked, a large demonstration yesterday at Jantar Mantar by Samta Sainik Dal, actually sent out yet another signal. It spokespersons said in so many words that they were now prepared to take on the cow-gangs physically, if and where necessary.

Tracing SSD’s lineage back to Dr Ambedkar’s initiative in the 1924, the President of the organization openly blamed the ‘Manuvadi’ forces, in cahoots with the police and bureaucracy, backed by the government. He was candid that it is not the Sikhs or Muslims or Christians who are attacking the Dalits today but the Hindus who are doing it in the name of nationalism and that people were now in a mood to fight back unitedly together.

Not only is Modi’s deafening silence now coming to be seen as a sign of encouragement and complicity, with BJP leaders like Hyderabad MLA Raja Singh openly justifying the Una attack, and no action being taken against him by the party yet, it is clear that this vigilantism is endorsed by the highest quarters in the party. For those who may have missed seeing Raja Singh’s video, this is what he said:

“Jo Dalit gaye ke maas ko le ja raha tha, jo uski pitai hui hai, woh bohut hi achhi hui hai (Those Dalits who were taking the cow, the cow meat, those who were beaten, it was a very good thing to happen).

Continue reading Cow-Gangs of Akhand Bharat and the Dalit Revolt – Hindutva Unravels

The Difference between What They Tell Us and What We Know: Shehla Rashid

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid. Based on a Status Update on her Facebook Page.

They tell us that the military is meant for fighting the “terrorists”; But most of the time, it is the civilians who are killed.

They tell us that “special powers” for the army are necessary for national unity; But the army only teaches us how to hate India.

They say the University is anti-national because it wants to break India; But it’s the University that teaches us to love Indians.

Then, who is anti-national? Those who teach us how to hate India, or those who teach us how to love Indians?

Yes, we see the difference between India and Indians; India is at war with Indians throughout India.

I wish the Indian state could also see the difference between Kashmir, which it claims as its own, and Kashmiris who belong to no one; They claim to love Kashmir but hate and kill Kashmiris.

Continue reading The Difference between What They Tell Us and What We Know: Shehla Rashid

The Nation’s Orgiastic Fantasy and the Politics of ‘Nationalist’ Anger

The Mise en Scene

The Nationalist is angry. He wants to kill, maim and rape for his Mother’s honour. From the lawyer criminal who has a Rs 45 lakh fraud case against him to the extortionist television anchor – all are bellowing with rage. Another anchor, Mr Nation himself, whose publicly declared annual salary is Rs 5 crores, is suddenly choking with emotion at the death of the hapless army jawan, Hanumanthappa (who earned less than 120th of Mr Nation’s monthly salary and for whom the Nation never shed a tear till this collective arousal). Blood lust has taken over the land. In this scenario, the hysterical television anchor takes on the role of a lynch mob instigator and the cheer leader combined into one. He exhorts while the lynch-mob runs amok threatening, attacking and  demanding that all anti-nationals – students, teachers and intellectuals in general –  be shot, killed or sent to Pakistan. We have seen, as a consequence, all manner of angry nationalists offering prize money – Rs 5 lakhs for cutting Kanhaiya Kumar’s tongue and Rs 11 lakhs for killing him. More recently, he has been issued another death threat along with an ultimatum to leave Delhi by the end of March. Fellow Kafila-ite and feminist scholar Nivedita Menon has, for the last few weeks, been openly threatened with nationalist rape and more.

The Nation’s collective fantasy is orgiastic. And the current object of this collective fantasy is Jawaharlal Nehru University. Witness the BJP MLA who spends his free time (which is perhaps most of his time), not  only showering money on  dancing  girls, but even more, fantasizing about the orgy that he believes is JNU. According to The Indian Express:

In perhaps the most bizarre comments on the JNU controversy so far, BJP MLA from Ramgarh in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, Gyandev Ahuja, on Monday said that daily 50,000 pieces of bones, 3,000 used condoms, 500 used abortion injections, 10,000 cigarette “pieces”, among other things, are found at JNU, where girls and boys dance naked at cultural programmes.

Continue reading The Nation’s Orgiastic Fantasy and the Politics of ‘Nationalist’ Anger

क्या यही प्यार है? कहो, कहो ना…

chinnamastabharatmata

 

 

 

 

 

 

आजकल दर रोज़ हमें बताया जा रहा है कि हम देश से प्रेम करें, राष्ट्र से भक्ति. बड़े परेशान हैं आज के शासक हमं जैसों की करतूतों से. जोश में आ कर कुछ भी बड़बड़ा देते हैं : कभी आज़ादी की बात करते हैं, कभी काशमीर की. कभी जातिवाद से छुटकारा चाहीए, तो कभी पूँजीवाद से. ऐसा लगता है हम न भक्ति जानते हैं, ना प्रेम. तो चलीए, भक्ति ओर प्यार, राष्ट्र ओर देश: इन चारों संज्ञाओं का विश्लेषण कीया जाए.

पहला प्रस्ताव: भक्ति में मिला हुआ है डर; प्यार के साथ चलती है रज़ामंदी.

प्यार मासूम नहीं होता. बच्चे प्यार ज़रूर करते हैं, पर प्यार बड़ों का खेल है. प्यार करना जोखिम भरा काम है दोस्त. ख़तरे की खाई है प्यार. क्योंकि डर लगता है कि जिससे हम प्यार करते हैं, वह हम से फ़क़त दोस्ती जताना चाहता है. “Let’s just be friends.”है इस वाक्य से बड़कर कोई अनर्थ? किसी नौजवान से पूछिए जिसने काँपते हाँथों से Valentine’s card दीया, ओर वापस मिला,”Thanks.” हँसी तो फँसी नहीं, हँसी तो भंग आशाओं की शिखंडी कलेजी में घुसी. पर होता है दोस्त. होता है. क़बूल करना पड़ता है. रो कर, हस कर, दोस्तों के साथ मदहोश शाम में पुरानी फ़िल्मों के गाने बेसुरी आवाज़ में रेंक कर, सुन कर, सुना कर. जब बैंड बजती है तो गाना गाओ दोस्त. गोली मार कर प्यार तो करवाया नहीं जा सकता. Continue reading क्या यही प्यार है? कहो, कहो ना…

Does the Indian Constitution Speak for a Nation? Arvind Elangovan

Guest post by ARVIND ELANGOVAN

Like many others, I too have been anguished about the recent developments in JNU. Not only because the institution is my alma mater, but also because there has been a concerted effort now to frame the discourse in terms of nationalism and anti-nationalism. Sadly, in responding to the charge of anti-nationalism, defenders of free speech and other associated values of the integrity of the university are also participating in this discourse and arguing why dissent is not anti-national. While I agree with this latter point of view, I would like to join those voices that argue that the question of nationalism is irrelevant to the functioning of the state. The unity and integrity of India, understood in its territorial sense, is not strengthened by ideas of nationalism nor is it weakened by expressions of antinationalism.

In the context of the current debate about nations, nationalism, and anti-nationalism, an oft-evoked ally is the Indian constitution. Commentators across the board have praised the Indian constitution for either embodying an ‘idea of India,’ one that is noble and worthy, or praised the institutions that are sanctioned by the constitution, such as the Honorable High Courts and the Supreme Court. Strangely, across the ideological divides, it has become a commonplace perception that the nation as embodied in the Indian constitution has been violated, or at the very least not respected. Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum, it is believed that the Indian constitution expressly provides provisions to persecute individuals or groups for espousing ‘anti-national’ views. The belief among the latter group is that the constitution protects the idea of the nation, however it may be defined. This remarkable unity in such a divisive moment in Indian politics today is both a reason for pause and an invitation to at least cursorily reexamine the text and the history of this important document called the Indian constitution. Continue reading Does the Indian Constitution Speak for a Nation? Arvind Elangovan

Why Caste is the Crux and Hindutva’s Fall Imminent: Prathama Banerjee

Guest post by PRATHAMA BANERJEE

The return of BJP to power in 2014 was the return centre-stage of the caste question. Not that caste had gone away. Far from it.But our public life had been unmistakably altered by caste radicalism in the last few decades. 1990s onwards, powerful and triumphant dalit voices – intellectual, literary and political – transformed the nature of our democracy such that questions of caste injustice and caste assertion could no longer be circumvented, passed over, as it was done in earlier decades, by both reactionaries and progressives. Nor could the dalit and the low-caste subject be any longer portrayed as mere outcast or victim. She had come into her own as an autonomous and assertive political subject, sometimes even the ruler. Christophe Jaffrelot called this India’s silent revolution, and rightly so. What we see today with the rise (and imminent fall) of Hindutva nationalism is an attempt at a counter-revolution, nothing less.

The Counter-revolution – Targeting Dalits

The signs are easy to read. Right after Modi’s win began the so-called gharvapasi campaign of the Hindutvavadis, seeking to reconvert to Hinduism those who had earlier seceded in favour of Islam and Christianity. While the issue was pitched as an issue of religion, it was clear that at the heart of the matter was caste. Continue reading Why Caste is the Crux and Hindutva’s Fall Imminent: Prathama Banerjee

Vilification from the apolitical: The Dreyfus Affair and the case against JNU: Joyojeet Pal

This is a guest post by Joyojeet Pal

In 1894, a case of espionage broke out in France. Alfred Dreyfus, a young officer was arrested in connection with a letter suggesting a transfer of sensitive documents to the German attaché in Paris. Dreyfus was arrested for the crime, his family was intimidated and he was swiftly convicted despite weak evidence. After being publicly shamed as a traitor in a court-martial, he was sent to ‘Devil’s Island’ in French Guinea, a notorious penal colony. Within a couple of years of his conviction, a movement emerged to re-examine the facts of the case. Dreyfus would be eventually re-tried and re-convicted despite overwhelming evidence in his favour.

Dreyfus was Alsatian, Jewish, and a graduate of the elite École Polytechnique, one of the most competitive institutes in the country. Alsace had been lost by France following the Franco-Prussian war, the French were bitter about this, and Alsatians were often seen as a suspicious regional minority. The case that came to be known as the “Dreyfus Affair” in time became a landmark in modern French history because of the multilayered schisms in French society that it threw open.

Continue reading Vilification from the apolitical: The Dreyfus Affair and the case against JNU: Joyojeet Pal