Tag Archives: Solidarity

Why Caste is the Crux and Hindutva’s Fall Imminent: Prathama Banerjee

Guest post by PRATHAMA BANERJEE

The return of BJP to power in 2014 was the return centre-stage of the caste question. Not that caste had gone away. Far from it.But our public life had been unmistakably altered by caste radicalism in the last few decades. 1990s onwards, powerful and triumphant dalit voices – intellectual, literary and political – transformed the nature of our democracy such that questions of caste injustice and caste assertion could no longer be circumvented, passed over, as it was done in earlier decades, by both reactionaries and progressives. Nor could the dalit and the low-caste subject be any longer portrayed as mere outcast or victim. She had come into her own as an autonomous and assertive political subject, sometimes even the ruler. Christophe Jaffrelot called this India’s silent revolution, and rightly so. What we see today with the rise (and imminent fall) of Hindutva nationalism is an attempt at a counter-revolution, nothing less.

The Counter-revolution – Targeting Dalits

The signs are easy to read. Right after Modi’s win began the so-called gharvapasi campaign of the Hindutvavadis, seeking to reconvert to Hinduism those who had earlier seceded in favour of Islam and Christianity. While the issue was pitched as an issue of religion, it was clear that at the heart of the matter was caste. Continue reading Why Caste is the Crux and Hindutva’s Fall Imminent: Prathama Banerjee

Note of Solidarity with the Students of Jadavpur University: Jagriti

Guest Post from Jagriti, Women’s Development Cell, Bharati College, Delhi University

(The authors of this post sent it to us at Kafila saying –  “…since we don’t have any direct mean of contacting them (Students of Jadavpur University), we wish to do so through, if possible, your website”. Accordingly, we are uploading this post to honour their wishes and their sense of solidarity)

Dear students of Jadavpur University (JU),

We, members of Jagriti, the Women’s Development Cell of Bharati College, University of Delhi, pledge our support to your struggle for gender justice and administrative and pedagogical accountability. We are deeply disturbed to receive news of administrative indifference to sexual harassment and of the consequent police brutality in JU campus. We unanimously and unequivocally condemn JU administration and the West Bengal police for ignoring students’ valid demands and for orchestrating violence onto students.

In iterating our support to you, we iterate also the belief that the entire administrative mechanism of JU failed to protect its own students. We hold the Vice-Chancellor (VC) and the Dean of Students responsible for not ensuring that the students’ demands were satisfactorily addressed; we also hold the Internal Complaints Committee responsible for letting what could have been only a campus-specific issue escalate into a major humanitarian and academic crisis. This incident is a lesson not just for JU but for educational institutions and workplaces globally to comprehensively commit themselves to gender justice and to accountability. University administrations are in anyway obliged to engage with their students in healthy and open dialogues on each and every issue that the students, persons whom the university is supposed to service, feel pertinent, and to do the complete opposite, to break down all communication and instead call armed police personnel to violently disperse students is totally unacceptable. JU has been known nationally as well as internationally as a hub of free and liberal thinking, and this shocking attempt to choke dissent out of it attracts our unstinting condemnation.

We support your demand for the non-extension of the tenure of Mr. Chakrabarti, the current interim VC. This issue is political, but it does not belong to any political party, and we commend your transcending political barriers in pursuance of your struggle against the JU administration. We commend your courage, strength and commitment to gender justice and to human rights, and offer our condolences for the losses which you have suffered these past few days. Through this note, we also appeal to the Governor of West Bengal to initiate a magisterial enquiry into the police brutality on JU campus, and have all officials, JU as well as police, who ordered this dismissed from service and tried in a court of law for gross dereliction of duty and for grievous injury to innocent lives.

Jagriti unanimously stands in solidarity with the complainant and the students of Jadavpur University.

This post was sent to us by Pallavi Rohatgi on behalf of Jagriti at Bharati College, Delhi University.

The Memory of Fifty Seven Seconds: After Watching an Israeli Missile Strike in the Gaza Strip on Al-Jazeera

A short fragment of video, fifty seven seconds long, taken from behind a window in a building in the Gaza Strip which was aired last night on Al Jazeera television brought home (once again) the sheer horror of the Israeli Defence Forces’ (IDF) brutal, ongoing offensive against the people of Palestine with devastating clarity.

Continue reading The Memory of Fifty Seven Seconds: After Watching an Israeli Missile Strike in the Gaza Strip on Al-Jazeera

Some thoughts on rape, sexual violence and protest – responding to responses: Devika Narayan

Guest Post by Devika Narayan

Rarely does a city experience the sort of upheaval that Delhi is witnessing.  Everyone is talking about it. Everyone has an opinion. It is impossible to walk down the street without overhearing snatches of conversation. Issues that usually find brief mention in some obscure corner of the newspaper are now being subject to analysis by every passer-by. A rickshaw driver refuses to take any money when he realises I am on my way to a protest. I remember the old man at a photocopy shop who had looked up and asked no one in particular: do you think she will die? The receptionist at the doctor’s clinic is distraught, providing waiting patients her explanation for the recent events. Men huddled around tiny fires littered across the foggy city carp on about the state of politics, the police and the government. Everyone is invested in this moment of reckoning.

An opportunity, in the most brutal manner, has been thrust upon us to challenge, critique and reconstruct unjust social relations. This is an opportunity to pledge our commitment to a vision of a gender just society. Unless we assert in powerful ways that women are autonomous beings and equal citizens it will not end. Continue reading Some thoughts on rape, sexual violence and protest – responding to responses: Devika Narayan

A Big Red River: Solidarity Meeting with Maruti-Suzuki Workers

(this video, courtesy, Pratyush, Correspondence Delhi)

A big red river streamed out of the gates of Kamla Nehru Park in Gurgaon last evening (17th October, 2011). Several thousands of workers (according to one estimate – one hundred thousand workers), from many factories in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt had occupied the park from 4:00 pm onwards to stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Maruti-Suzuki, Suzuki Powertrain and Suzuki Motorcycle India Limited workers. In an unprecedented demonstration of solidarity, permanent workers are on strike to demand justice and re-instatement of their contract worker colleagues. The atmosphere at the meeting was of celebration, workers who had been occupying three different factories for more than a week had been evicted by an administration that had brought out all the police and coercive power at its disposal. But yesterday’s gathering was like a reunion, the workers of the three ex-occupied factories, and their comrades in other plants throughout the Gurgaon-Manesar belt were meeting, like old and new friends, to taste the heady experience of peacable solidarity. Continue reading A Big Red River: Solidarity Meeting with Maruti-Suzuki Workers

The Tragedy of Politics in Sri Lanka

I am posting below an article that I wrote with Cenan Pirani.  The shorter version of this article is in Combat Law. The longer version below delves into the history of left politics in Sri Lanka and attempts at a political solution.  Another article by me reflecting some of these concerns and raising questions of solidarity titled ‘The Challenges of Solidarity’ was published in Red Pepper.

The Tragedy of Politics in Sri Lanka

By AHILAN KADIRGAMAR and CENAN PIRANI

In the last few months, the Sri Lankan security forces have managed to ruthlessly push the LTTE into a 40 square km strip of land in the North of the island, and along with the LTTE leadership and its cadres, a sizable civilian population, anywhere from seventy thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand, have also been cordoned off in this area.  As the security forces continue their offensives purporting to rid Sri Lanka of the LTTE, they also claim the lives of these civilians daily. Continue reading The Tragedy of Politics in Sri Lanka