Guest post by HUZAIFA OMAIR SIDDIQI
It has often been broadcast that we live in a post-truth age. In fact we live in an age better envisioned as one of post-certainty, where everything and every fact is liable to be pronounced uncertain and doubtful. The problem with the mainstream liberal discourse is its inability to catch up to the inevitable demise of certainty in the political sphere. What was most certain, according to Descartes, was the being of one’s own ego. In this age of post-certainty, this is the last certainty which the liberal discourse still seems to stick to, in the name of ‘individual rights’, without ever understanding the real essence of the question of individuality.
Muhammad Iqbal was the public intellectual of the last century who made this question of individuality his very own guiding question. This guiding question, how does individuation happen, was part of his desire to formulate his basic question, how does the community of individuals come into being? Pratap Bhanu Mehta, in his opinion piece in The Indian Express has sought to diagnose the tragedy of Iqbal as one which in its sacrifice of the rights of the individual, attempted to pursue the consolidation of the truly spiritual community. Mehta, one of India’s finest public intellectuals, cannot be questioned within this paradigm of liberal thinking.
Continue reading Individuality and a Liberal Error – A Response to Pratap Mehta: Huzaifa Omair Siddiqi
Guest post by MILIND WANI
On January 7 a car bomb at a Libyan police camp in the town of Zilten killed 60 people and wounded 200 more. On January 11, bombs in three cities in Iraq, including Baghdad, killed over 130 people. On January 16, ISIS forces attacked the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor, killing Syrian army members as well as women and children. Death toll estimates range between 130 and 300 people. On February 1, a suicide bomber detonated a vest outside Afghanistan’s national police headquarters in Kabul, killing 20 and injuring 29. On February 8, ISIS executed approximately 300 activists, police, and military personnel in Mosul, Iraq. On February 21, ISIS detonated car bombs in two Syrian towns heavily populated with Shi’ite Muslims, killing between 140 and 270 people, and wounding over 300 more. In March this year, a car bomb detonated in a busy public square killed at least 37 people in the Turkish capital of Ankara. The same month, on a street filled with shops and cafes in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, a suicide bomber killed five people. On March 27, seventy-two people, including 29 children, were killed in a suicide bombing at the largest public park in Lahore, Pakistan. In May Baghdad attacks, at least 69 to 90 were killed in suicide attacks and car bombings in Iraq capital. On June 28, a trio of suicide bombings at an airport in Istanbul killed 45 and injured 200 more. On 3rd July 2016, coordinated bomb attacks were carried out in Baghdad, resulting in mass civilian casualties. A few minutes after midnight local time, a suicide truck bombing in the district of Karrada killed more than 300 people and injured hundreds more. This list is not exhaustive.
In the above backdrop of terror attacks in middle east by the ISIS or groups associated with it, that Pratap Bhanu Mehta should be impelled to write a passionate piece only after the horrendous truck rampage which left 84 dead in Nice says much about how even the most sympathetic of commentators have become party to selective amnesia. But if that was his only sin, one could just put it down to the times we live in where even the most informed ones are not free of ideological biases. However there is much that can be considered as problematic, either in terms of his analysis or the solutions he proposes or the stand he takes and would want us to take. Continue reading Whose Terror, Whose Powerlessness? Milind Wani
कुछ महीने पहले प्रतापभानु मेहता ने पूछा,’डेमॉगॉग को हिंदी में क्या कहेंगे?’ इतनी बार इस शब्द का प्रयोग किया है लेकिन इसका हिंदी प्रतिरूप खोजना सूझा नहीं। डेमॉगॉग कौन है बताया जा सकता है लेकिन क्या है,बताना इतना सरल नहीं। तुरत दिमाग में लफ्फाज कौंधा लेकिन उसका रिश्ता वाचालता से अधिक है। फिर एक और शब्द की ओर ध्यान दिलाया मित्र अरशद अजमल ने,शोलाबयानी। लगा कि यह अंगेज़ी के ‘रैबल राउज़र’ के काम के लिए अधिक उपयुक्त प्रतिरूप है। फादर कामिल बुल्के के और दूसरे शब्दकोशों में देखा तो पाया कि यह शब्द है ही नहीं। तो क्या फादर का कभी किसी डेमॉगॉग से पाला नहीं पड़ा था? Continue reading डेमॉगॉग का वक्त