The Hindu Right is analogous to Right-wing regimes elsewhere.
As Brazil’s Far Right rises, army man Ustra (who died in 2015), who tortured hundreds, is becoming a cult figure of a kind. Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
The popularity of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which present female role models before young readers, has proved rather phenomenal. Within a span of three years, it has been published in 47 languages around the world and has sold more than a million copies.
The plan to render a Turkish version has met with a big roadblock. A board for the protection of minors from obscene publications of the Turkish government has found them offensive. It recently ruled that these books should be partially banned and treated like pornography.
The reason—they could have a ‘detrimental influence’ on young minds.
It is beyond comprehension what “negative impact” a book that promotes equality can have on impressionable minds, other than the fact that they take the idea seriously and extend it to other arenas of life. Erdogan’s Turkey is no different from Right-wing regimes elsewhere that are very particular about what children should read or not.
Jair Bolsonaro, the controversial Far Right President of Brazil, who is also known as the Trump of the Tropics, was recently in the news for similar reasons.
The gradual erasure of the words ‘Babri Masjid’ from our everyday memory actually began in 1986, when the Hindu community was granted the exclusive right to worship there. This happened without any regard ownership disputes the and illegal conversion of this mosque into a temple in 1949.
This story of the dispute itself is disputable. It is imperative to revisit three interesting moments, which no one talks of these days.
The 1949 moment
On the night of 23 December 1949, a group of local Hindus entered the mosque and installed the idols of Lord Ram inside it. Although the police filed an FIR in which the building is clearly defined as a functional mosque, the local administration took charge of the building, and without removing the idols from the mosque space, declared it a legally “disputed site”. Read the full article here
These are really ‘bure din‘ for the spiritual gurus of India.
While the likes of Ram Rahim, Asaram Bapus and Rampal are cooling their heels behind bars for their not so spiritual acts, Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale who is also known as “Ichadaari Baba” among his followers has also joined them for running a high profile sex racket.
Can an elected Panchayat deprive a section of its own people belonging to a minority community its constitutionally granted right to practise its religion – e.g. organise prayers or engage in religious propaganda and have sermons?
Or can it ever deprive them of their mandatory quota of grain under PDS (public distribution system) which is focused more on persons living below poverty line?
Anyone conversant with rudimentary understanding of law would reply in the negative. It appears that in Chattisgarh they do it differently. In fact, Sirisguda, Kunguda and many other villages in Jagdalpur and adjoining areas in the state are in the news for similar reasons. Continue reading Rip Van Winkle and Raman Singh Government→
Not very many people – living outside Gujarat – know that Narendra Modi, the Parivar’s ‘PM in waiting’ also happens to be a ‘passionate writer, poet and a lover of culture..’ and how ‘[d]espite his busy, .. schedule, ..devotes time to ..writing, interacting with people on social media etc.’ (www.narendramodi.in) We are also told that he has been writing ‘since he was young.’
Coming back to Mr Modi’s writing skills recently I came across a series called ‘Modi and His Mentors’ (www.firstpost.com) where the would be PM of this country has talked about many of those people who impacted his life in very many ways. Continue reading Know Your NaMo→
( 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.
This is an excerpt fromConfluences: Forgotten Histories of East and West by ILIJA TROJANOW and RANJIT HOSKOTE(Yoda Press, 2012). In defiance of the current tide of national and cultural neo-tribalism, the authors argue that the lifeblood of culture is confluence. No culture has ever been pure, no tradition self-enclosed, no identity monolithic. Employing a variety of approaches, ranging from the essayistic to the poetic, from rigorous historical analysis to the playfulness of fiction, they follow the journeys of stories, ideas, people and songs, and trace the umbilical connections between Europe and Asia, Zoroastrianism and Christianity, Western revolutionary thought and the annihilatory politics of Jihad and Hindutva. In this particular section, titled ‘Travelling Back in Faith’, history is presented through the prism of science fiction:
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is a powerful organization founded on the belief that the Hindu religion is eternal and unvarying, that it has existed in India for thousands of years (the VHP’s chronological estimates vary between 8,000 and 50,000 years), and that its essence has never been affected by any foreign influence or borrowing. Hinduism is unique to India, and India is a uniquely Hindu country: such is the logic of the VHP. And yet, occasionally, the VHP is assailed by a sense of doubt. It is all very well to thunder at Muslims and Christians in self-congratulatory public meetings, its leaders say to themselves, but it would be nice to have some proof with which to fight off the scoffing scientists. And so, as documents recently made available to researchers reveal, the high command of the VHP decided to sponsor a time travel project, sending a fact-finder back to the glorious Vedic age to collect evidence of how the ancestors of the Hindus performed their rituals, worshipped their gods, and conceived of their relationship to the Divine. Continue reading When the Vishwa Hindu Parishad went time travelling: Ilija Trojanow and Ranjit Hoskote→
The police might have registered a case against Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia for his provocative speech in Bhokar town on January 22 but it’s nowhere close to arresting him. Mail Today had reported on Thursday that while the police had filed an FIR against Togadia for his speech, they will not arrest him until the state government gives a go ahead.
On Friday, Home Minister R. R. Patil said “It is the prerogative of the concerned investigation officer whether to arrest him or not. As government we don’t interfere in such matters.” Police officials from Nanded said they would be able to arrest Togadia only after the state allows it as it was a “political decision”
(Police can’t arrest Togadia, Mail Today, 9 th Feb 2013)
Mr Praveen Togadia, the international secretary general of VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) is sitting pretty. It has been more than a week that a FIR has been filed against him for his alleged hatespeech in Bhokar town but since then there has been no progress. Continue reading ‘Police Can’t Arrest Togadia’→
In a country where freedom of speech and expression is under assault every day, where scholars and cartoonists increasingly have to regularly face the law to defend their statements and works of art, where the government gives in to anyone and everyone demanding censorship, where the government conduct stealth censorship of online speech, finally comes a rare piece of good news.
For once the police is not asking to shut down an exhibition citing ‘law and order’ issues to appease protestors, but instead giving protection to the exhibition.
The Strange Trajectory of Investigations in Cases of Hindutva Terror
Many office bearers of RSS are also under scanner of the investigating agencies for their alleged involvement in the Samjhauta bomb blast. The NIA (National Investigating Agency) has already interrogated one amongst them. Many have been issued notices also…There are many workers of RSS from Malwanchal who are under scanner of the agency…According to informed sources a senior office bearer of the Kendriya Karyakarini (central executive) of RSS would also be questioned….Rakesh Dubey, a Vibhag Karyavah of RSS has confimed that he has received notice and is cooperating with the investigating agency.
..Seven suspected terrorists whose names find mention in the list prepared by NIA. They are Mehul alias Mafat Bhai, Bhavesh Patel, Suresh Nair, Mohan alias Ramesh Gohil, Jayantibhai Gohil aliast Ustad,. Sandeep Dange alias Parmanand, Ramji Kalasangra alias Ramchandra and Ashok alias Amit Hakla. (Bhaskar, 30 Dec 2012)
Mass movements or spontaneous outbursts of people on the streets to express their anger and anguish over the state of affairs in the country and outside have their own dynamic. While they are able to highlight/emphasise key concern(s) which inform their emergence, help us look at linkages with other issues and are able to raise many structural aspects which could have never received the attention earlier, it also happens that many other contemporary issues get relegated to the background. Continue reading Pawns In, Patrons Still Out!→
Sundays are days for doing nothing much. Often I sit in front of the television and surf and watch many, many movies until all the story lines start merging into one. It’s fun because it does not require you to think. If one switches on a news channel, the chances are that you will start to splutter like mustard seeds in oil, since there is so much to splutter about – Nirmala Venkatesh, a member of the central government’s National Commission for Women, was put in charge of a three-member panel to investigate the attack on the women at a pub in Mangalore at 4pm in the evening. The way she sees it, Venkatesh is supposed to have said, women have the right to enjoy themselves but should also recognize societal limits. As part of her inquiry, she said, she plans to meet with the attackers, the bar owner and the families of the young women to see whether their parents
allowed them to go out to pubs every night at midnight. “My personal advice: Women should be very careful,” she said. “I can’t just roam after midnight.”