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


‘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”