The Sangh’s obsession with vocabulary is not innocent.
The speech by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat on its foundation day (Dusshera) has now become an event, watched with interest. The speech itself has a long tradition within the organisation, which all its affiliated (anushangik) bodies look upon as a guiding light.
This year was no different. Donning the Sangh’s uniform, the top echelons of its organisations attended the event. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attended too, and wore the black cap and Sangh “uniform”.
Yet, the speech by Bhagwat itself had nothing seemingly strategic. Some analysts even felt that he could not show any new direction to the RSS and its affiliates; that it seemed to have made a weak defence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government that is ruling at the Centre and several states. “Have the tables turned on the Sangh Parivar?,’ The Wire asked, in its analysis of Bhagwat’s speech.
( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/Lynching-Bharat-Called-Vaddh)
Dear Student from CDS who pasted the posters criticising our collective effort to stand with JNU
I write in response to the views that you expressed on those posters. First of all, let me tell you how much I’d have appreciated if you expressed those views openly right from the beginning, so that we could have had a proper debate. I do wish we stopped scribbling comments on each others’ posters – this is an open campus, and surely, we don’t practice the Sangh Parivar’s intolerance of a contrary opinion. No one, I assure you, will harm you in any way, and I am sure all my fellow teachers, students, and non-teaching staff will join me in assuring you thus.
Continue reading Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa! : To A Student from CDS
Guest Post by RAM PUNIYANI
Text of the Dr Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial Lecture
I begin this lecture paying tribute to my very dear friend, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, with whom I had the rare privilege of working with for close to two decades. Dr. Engineer was a unique scholar-activist, totally committed to the dream and vision of a humane society that honours the values of diversity and where human rights for all are the defining point.
In this regard, he may have been among the first persons who realized the dangers of divisive communal politics. It was he who set the trend seeking the causal factors behind communal violence, doing his own meticulous investigation after such riots. He contributed massively to reforms that took place in the Bohra community, on the issues of secularism and finally, in the interpretation of Islam. We need to learn a lot from him in order to strive for a society that values peace, amity and compassion.
Where are we standing today? What are the major threats to Indian democracy, today, even more menacing with the coming of the Modi Government?
The factors contributing to his victory have been several. The unstinted support given to him by India’s corporate; the fanatical zeal of the RSS and its lakhs of volunteers; the role of a corporate controlled media; the false projection of the ‘Gujarat model of development’; and the polarization of society along religious lines
The promise of Achhe Din – Good Times – has vanished into thin air. Despite the steep fall in the prices of crude oil in the world, the overall ‘cost of living’ continues to going up. The promise that all the black money stacked abroad will be brought back within six months or so and that we would be surprised to see 15 lakh deposited in our accounts, has been forgotten. The pattern of (good?) governance is only visible in the centralization of power around one person, Modi. Gradually the cabinet system of governance is giving way to one man’s autocratic ways, with secretaries of Government departments reporting directly to the PM. Continue reading Indian Democracy and the Current Political Dispensation: Ram Puniyani
Close on the heels of the axing by Calicut Uniersity of a poem from an English textbook, for the alleged ‘terrorist links’ of the poet, comes the news of cancellation of a scheduled lecture of Dr. Amina Wadud , a US based Islamic scholar by the authorities of the Madras University.
Calicut University succumbed to the demand of the ‘Shiksha Bachao Andolan’ , one of the many outfits of the RSS pariva,r that the poem ‘ Ode to the Sea’ be removed from the textbook ‘ Literature and Contemporary Issues’ as its author Ibrahim al- Rubaish was a ‘terrorist’. It was also demanded that the persons responsible for the selection of the poem be identified to ‘uncover’ the network of the ‘sympathizers’ of terrorists in the board of studies and academic council of the university. Continue reading A Guantanamo of the Intellect
Ur-Fascism [Eternal Fascism] is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares” Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances – everyday, in every part of the world.
Politics in this part of South Asia unfolds itself in very many ways. We have before us a spectrum of regimes ranging from electoral democracies at one end to countries which could be said to be unambiguously authoritarian at the other, and some others with varying mixes of electoral democratic and authoritarian features ‘packed in between.’ Since early 1980s we have also been witness to an emergence of right-wing populist parties and movements throughout a growing number of these countries. Appealing to public anxieties in the wake of rapid economic change, these movements have succeeded in mobilizing and exploiting popular resentments against immigrants, minorities, and the political establishment.
The eighty seven plus year journey of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – loosely translated as ‘National Volunteer Corps’ – an organisation of Hindu males, working for Hindutva and which wants to usher into Hindu Rashtra can also be looked at in this context. Continue reading Communal Fascism in Action: Coopting the Dalits, Terrorising the Minorities
Indian history is fraught with ruling-class intrigues, which tend to keep the lower classes in a perennial state of confusion. The very fact that this history comes to us in a mythologised form is itself the biggest intrigue, obscuring as it does information about how the vast, diverse masses of the Subcontinent lived through the millennia. Reading Indian history, thus, becomes an exercise in speculation. If it provides one kind of insight for one group, it is capable of being interpreted equally plausibly in the opposite way by another. What eventually reaches the people is a partisan viewpoint at best and bewilderment at worst – a condition under which the ruling classes thrive.
In this context, two books by Subhash Gatade, a committed intellectual and leftist activist, are significant additions to the works of the fast-diminishing community of scholars who continue their work with unstinting commitment in these confusing times. Continue reading Diabolic designs and demonic actions : Review by Anand Teltumbde