[An edited version of this post has been published in Scroll.in with a more extensive set of links. I recommend reading it here.]
Sudhir Chaudhary of Zee News has been spewing venom at students and teachers of JNU for some time now, and I have been informed by concerned friends that over the last two days there has been a concerted campaign against me personally. Since I do not watch “news” on a channel that brazenly doctors videos and seems ignorant of minimum levels of journalistic ethics, I am relying on links sent to me by well wishers.
Last evening I believe a clip from a video made in 2014 was circulated, in which I am heard saying that Hinduism is the world’s most violent religion, because its very foundation is the caste system.
I am told that Sudhir Chaudhary challenged me to prove the video was doctored. I am certainly not going to engage with an alleged criminal extortionist (more about his pleasant antecedents in a bit), but here let me say that the clip I have seen circulating on twitter which I assume is the one on Zee, is not doctored, but it is massively decontextualized. I post below the link to the entire event – which was not a classroom lecture, but a political meeting organized by a student group in 2014 after the Kiss of Love protest was attacked in Delhi by Sanghis.
In Part I of this post I will deal with that video, and in Part II with Sudhir Chaudhury and IBN7. Continue reading Look who’s calling us anti-national! The pleasant antecedents of Sudhir Chaudhary and journalistic ethics of IBN 7
Guest Post By SATYA SAGAR
Trust Markandeya Katju to rush in where angels fear to tread – casually disparaging the legacy of E.V.Ramaswamy Naicker or ‘Periyar’, founder of the Dravidian movement and arguably one of the greatest social reformers in modern India.
According to former Justice Katju, in a recent post on his Facebook page, “Periyar ( E.V. Ramaswamy) was objectively a British agent, who preached caste hatred, particularly against Brahmins”
It is perhaps a fitting tribute to the revolutionary character of Periyar that, four decades after his death, he is still reviled by upper-caste Hindus of India,of both the Establishment and ‘anti-Establishment’ variety. And Markandeya Katju is not the only ‘secular, progressive’ intellectual in this country to have such contempt for or very little knowledge of Periyar and his work. Continue reading Periyar – Brahminism’s Nightmare: Satya Sagar
( To be published in the coming issue of ‘Critique’ a magazine published by ‘New Socialist Initiative’s Delhi University team )
The Jew as well as the Christian, the Hindu no less than the Muslim ‘fundamentalist’ plies an ideology of superior difference. Each confronts an inferior and threatening Other . Each engages in the politics of exclusion. Hence each poses a menace to the minority communities within its boundary…For the Muslim militants the Other are the Jews, occasionally Christians and, in South Asia, the Hindus, Christians, and Ahmedis. I know of no religio-political formation today which does not have a demonized, therefore threatened, Other.
The Other is always an active negation. All such movements mobilize hatred, and often harness unusual organizational effort to do so. ..
The cult of violence and proliferation of enemies are inherent in ideologies of difference. All express their hate for the Other by organized violence. All legitimize their violence with references to religion and history. In nearly all instances the enemy multiplies. At first, the Indian Parivar had the Muslim Other for target. It has now turned on Christians.
Profile of the Religious Right – Eqbal Ahmad (1999)
Masks and the Man
Child’s fantasies are endless and unimaginable.
It will wear a mask of a tiger and start ‘scaring’ it’s near and dear ones with a growl and the very next moment would imagine itself to be flying in the air with the mask of a Spiderman. Have you ever noticed any adult -may be completely stranger to the kid – getting annoyed with such tantrums of a child. Definitely not.
What will happen if you tomorrow discover the same group of adults or similar physically grown-up people moving on the streets or herding together wearing similar masks or identical masks? You will have sincere doubts about their mental faculties and if possible, would love to advise them that they consult the nearest psychiatrist. Continue reading 1933 of 2014 ? : Time to break New Grounds in Confronting Communal Fascism
We received two brief submissions separately sent by two women, reflecting on incidents in their childhood or youth that returned to haunt them more recently. Rethinking, reworking their own sense of self, they present before us questions both timely and urgent.
AYSHWARIA SEKHER looks back on her ignorance of caste, PRANETA JHA revisits a childhood game that taught her about sexual violence.
I was seventeen, and an undergraduate when I met this friend at hostel. She was from a southern district of Tamilnadu almost near Kanyakumari. I was always amused by her southern dialect and teased her immensely, for it was very different from what I was used to speaking, being a northerner. She lived next door at hostel, so we got into conversations every time we bumped into each other. One evening she was sweeping her room and cleaning it. I stopped by to see the way she swept so I could bully her. As I observed I did realise that she was so much better than me at it and did it with ease. As we got talking, she revealed that she always did it at her home, and it was not a task for her.
Ignorantly I enquired why they did not have a help at home, which according to me was something that every household possessed. She looked at me, and brushed aside the question plainly, saying simply that they just didn’t have any help. I pestered with the question giving her no space. She stopped sweeping and rested her hand against the wall and said that people would not come to her house to work. I was amazed at why people would not go to a home for work. So my cross questions persisted and she had no choice but to answer.
Continue reading Learning gender, learning caste: two reflections
‘Turn in any direction you like, caste is the monster that crosses your path. You cannot have political reform, you cannot have economic reforms unless you kill the monster.’
Annihilation of Caste, Ambedkar
‘If Lenin was born in India , he would not have even let the idea of revolution come to his mind before he had completely buried casteism and untouchability’
The Indian left today presents a very contradictory picture. As opposed to many left formations/movements in different parts of the world which witnessed decline/3reverses after the Soviet collapse, it has been able to sustain itself and at places even expand itself. Yes, the movement is far from united, there are ruptures and divisions at various levels, which at times even prove deadly, but if one is able to look at the cumulative impact of what is known as left and contrast it with many other countries, situation does not appear that bleak.
It’s sustenance and continuation amongst heavy odds, does not mean that it is not beset with challenges. The challenge of outlining its emancipatory vision of social transformation for 21 st century, devising innovative strategies of mobilisation and rejuvenating itself organisationally still remains. It also needs to reboot itself to address few important issues which are of key importance for any radical restructuring of Indian society and state. Undoubtedly, its failure on this count has cost it heavily. Question of dalit emancipation or the whole struggle for annihilation of caste forms one such core issues which demand serious attention. Continue reading Cast Away Caste – Breaking New Ground …
As a follow up to the earlier piece, here is a translation of excerpts from Periyar’s speech on the constitution soon after it was framed.
Here there is a need for a note on how we can read these historic documents. This is not a call to burn the constitution (Figuratively maybe a little bit but not literally. That would be a waste of paper. We’d rather recycle it en masse as a symbolic gesture! ). The purpose is to break down into details, this ‘nation’ that we often use as a default construct. We know it has a history and a not so long one. We also know that it has been contested by many from its very inception. Independence day should also be observed as ‘partition into india and pakistan day’ for starters. There have always been challenges ranging from debates over secession of regional kings when independence was declared, to demands for a separate nation that always existed and continue to do so. Continue reading Periyar on the Constitution
It is hard to introduce E.V.R.Periyar. A good sign of the fact that his thoughts are broad based and radical is the way in which they can be used in different contexts. With each context, the description of the person also changes. For the purposes of this piece one may say, ‘he was a radical thinker who sought to question many aspects of the ‘nation’ that are taken for granted such as democracy, freedom, unity, integrity and so on’. This critique took many shapes and forms throughout his career based on his position in tamilnadu and the particularities of that history. In 1972, he reflects on the nation as it is today. And disheartening for us and even to him as he wrote these words, he stands by what he said the moment india got ‘independence’ in 1947. Continue reading Periyar on ‘independence’