Guest post by Kishore
दिल्ली के उत्तर-पश्चिम में स्थित रोहिणी का इलाका लाखों मध्यम और निम्न मध्यम वर्ग परिवारों का बसेरा है. कुछ समय पहले यहाँ मेहनतकश मज़दूर वर्ग के नुमाइंदे भी झुग्गी-झोपडियों में रहा करते थे जिन्होने रोहिणी नाम के इस उपनगर को बसाया था. पर पिछले कुछ सालों में इन झुग्गियों को उजाड़ कर दिल्ली के बाहरी हिस्सों में पुनर्वासित किया गया है. ठीक गोरख पाण्डेय की कविता “स्वर्ग से विदाई” की तरह.
रोहिणी एक नियोजित उपनगर है जिसे दिल्ली विकास प्राधिकरण ने बसाया है. एक शहरी बस्ती की जरूरतों के हिसाब से हर एक चीज़ का ध्यान रखा गया है. थोड़ी थोड़ी दूर पर “सार्वजनिक” पार्कों की व्यवस्था की गयी है और हर एक-दो किलोमीटर पर एक बड़े “सार्वजनिक” पार्क की भी व्यवस्था है जिसे डिस्ट्रिक्ट पार्क कहते हैं. Continue reading सार्वजनिक जगहों पर सामूहिक कब्ज़े की संस्कृति : किशोर
Guest Post by Vivek Vellanki
The death of the young girl brought incommensurable grief for the ‘Indian’ people. A national angst ensued with divergent voices seeking divergent ends: justice, death penalty, fast track courts, end to patriarchy, chemical castration, and a long list that cannot be spelt out here. There was a glimmer of hope that the discursiveness would ensue a quintessentially democratic process of debate, discussion, and deliberation amongst the people. The Indian state with its long-standing reputation wouldn’t allow for that to happen. It had to continue on its pet peeve of Breaking the Collective! The people’s movement in Koodankulam, the anti-corruption movement, the movement for seperate Telangana are some of the many instances that remind us of this pet avocation of the Indian state being pursued in recent times, almost, vocationally. However cynical it may sound, amidst the entire candle lighting and sloganeering, we failed to realise that the protest in Delhi was happening on the terrain that the government decided, in a manner that it wished for it to play out, and was party to the people it wanted to see there. I wish to argue that the closing down of the metro stations has a relation to the nature of the protests at Jantar Mantar. Furthermore it concurs with the tactics of chocking people’s movements logistically and stifling the collective by pathologizing the everyday life of masses. The tragedy of this lies in the fact that such actions of the state have become so recurrent that they have entered our common sense and they present themselves as normal and logical responses. Albeit they have been rationalized by invoking a specious reference to law, order, and safety, there is a need to unpack such a rationalization. My attempt is to extract these actions from that location of common sense and present them for public scrutiny. Through this essay, I would like to draw the connections between the democratic protests happening in locations across the country and state action in dealing with them. In doing so, I hope to bring to notice how the Indian state uses its machinery to purge protests of their democratic tenor and eventually, at least, attempts to break the collective. Continue reading Breaking the Collective – Notes from Jantar Mantar & Koodankulam: Vivek Vellanki
Hobbling on the beach
I was born next to Elliot’s beach in Besant nagar in Chennai where I spent a large amount of my childhood and adolescence A small caveat about this area: Besant Nagar is considered one of the posh areas in Chennai. However, like many such places the combination of communities the class composition of this area is far more complex; large bungalows of film stars and the like co-exist with the Uroor slum. By co-exist of course, I don’t mean for a moment that they peacefully co-exist. They are next to one another (sort of) and there are many who are out there to change that. The slum has been destroyed by humans (more often) and natural disasters many a times. The latest being a bid by the government to build an elevated highway next to the ocean displacing the entire slum (again!). But that’s another story. (http://letsrob.org/home/)
The beach itself is an interesting space in my city, it is one of the few remaining public spaces that people can come and relax in without paying. But there are unsaid divisions within the beach. Having known this particular beach almost my whole life, I know that there are different unspoken, unmarked sections for the rich, the poor, the lovers, the lusters, the friends, the random teenagers who would have just met two minutes ago and aunty-uncle couples who have been married for time immemorial. Of course, the way these boundaries are drawn and where you find yourself changes according to a variety of factors.
After a fascinating flight journey (which will be another piece in the series), my first outing in Chennai few days after I reached home was to my beloved beach. Continue reading Disability and the City Part II
I broke my leg three weeks ago. I cannot walk till end September. But I hope to get around the city a little bit during that time and I hope to record that experience. This I hope will be a multi-part series and here is the context:
I will be getting around either in a wheel chair or with my walker where I will be hobbling on one leg. Otherwise, my appearance right now is a bit ragged as my hair isn’t getting combed every day, primarily because I am lazy but I look like I am from a relatively well off family. And I look fair enough to be a Brahmin (a dark one) but can’t tell for sure immediately. Oh, and I am a woman. Visibly so.
Continue reading Disability and the city Part I
This is a guest post by Naeem, an artist friend. The post is a cull from a conversation regarding the recent ban in Switzerland imposed on building minarets.
In a vote that displayed a widespread anxiety about Islam and undermined the country’s reputation for religious tolerance, the Swiss on Sunday overwhelmingly imposed a national ban on the construction of minarets, the prayer towers of mosques, in a referendum drawn up by the far right and opposed by the government. The referendum passed with 57.5 percent of the vote and in 22 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons.
Continue reading Minarett-Verbot