SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 200 December 2018
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)

EDITORIAL: INSAF TURNS 200

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

All milestones are social constructions, but it is good to report this one. We bring to you with pride the 200th issue of the INSAF Bulletin. When the bulletin started, the winds of war were on the horizon. The US invasion of Iraq was being readied, and India-Pakistan relations were on the brink of conflagrating into a direct attack after the Akshardam attacks of September 2002. Read more…

ELECTIONS AND BORDERS: INDIA’S REFUSAL TO TALK TO PAKISTAN HAS MUCH TO DO WITH BJP’S ELECTORAL NARRATIVE

Christophe Jaffrelot

 

Sometimes what has not happened needs to be explained as much as what has happened. External Affair Ministers of India and Pakistan, Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, did not meet on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly in New York in September. Why? Read more…

FAHMIDA RIAZ OBITUARY: SHE DWELT AMONG THE UNTRODDEN WAYS

Peerzada Salman

 

What were Fahmida Riaz’s accomplishments as a poet, as a novelist? Countless. Ironically, in her case, achievements in the literary world didn’t matter. That’s what she would tell anyone who, to her face, would speak highly of her creative output. Read more…

NATIONALISM A DRIVING FORCE BEHIND FAKE NEWS IN INDIA, RESEARCH SHOWS

A rising tide of nationalism in India is driving ordinary citizens to spread fake news, according to BBC research. Read more…

INDIA’S #METOO MOMENT

Laxmi Murthy

 

The recent wave of revelations about sexual harassment in the entertainment and news media industry in India, popularly called the #MeToo moment has made one thing clear: there’s a dearth of listening skills and empathy. There is anguish, there is pain, there is hurt and most of all, there is anger. The time has finally arrived to heed these voices, and with understanding. Read more…

DID JAWAHARLAL NEHRU EVER SAY “I AM ENGLISH BY EDUCATION, MUSLIM BY CULTURE AND HINDU BY ACCIDENT”?

Arjun Sidharth

 

A statement which is attributed to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru has circulated online for the past few years. According to this quote, Nehru had said, “I am English by education, Muslim by culture and Hindu merely by accident”. Among those who claimed that Nehru had said this include BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya who had tweeted this in 2015. Read more…

CROSSROADS IN SRI LANKAN HISTORY

Tamara Fernando

 

Histories of Sri Lanka have often concurred with nationalist sentiments which favour the majority ethno-linguistic group of the island, the Sinhalese Buddhists. The oft-cited A History of Sri Lanka (first published in 1981) by historian K M de Silva, for instance, begins by establishing “colonisers and settlers” of the island. Referencing the Mahavamsa – a fifth-century Pali chronicle which recounts a Buddhist monastic version of Sri Lankan history – the author concludes that existing sources “tend strongly to support the conclusion that Indo-Aryan settlement and colonisation preceded the arrival of Dravidian settlers by a few centuries”. Read more…

ARMY’S ROBUSTNESS IN AID OF CIVIL AUTHORITY: LESSONS FROM THE GUJARAT CARNAGE

Ali Ahmed

 

When the army is called in aid of civil authority, robust action taken by the army in a timely manner can prevent civil disturbance from exacting a strategic cost. The recent revelations on army inaction in the critical first 24 hours during the Gujarat carnage in 2002 are examined. Read more…

SETBACK FOR FREEDOM OF ACADEMIA

A G Noorani

 

The Aligarh Muslim University is very much a “central university”. The University Grants Commission seems not to have the faintest conception of academic freedom. Its fiat is shockingly archaic. Read more…

YES, SABARIMALA IS IN PERIL, BUT NOT THE WAY YOU THINK

Rajan Gurukkal

 

Misogyny In Malayalam

 

Sabarimala, named after Sabari, an epic vestal known for her austere penance to attain Lord Rama’s blessings, and now world-renowned for the Ayyappa temple perched on it, is a beautiful hillock of the Periyar Tiger Reserve on the Kerala side of the Western Ghats. Originally a cult spot of the local forest-dwellers’ protector deity, Ayyanar, it became a small shrine of Ayyappa around the 15th century. Read more…

THE AFTERLIFE OF THINGS IN A DELHI JUNKYARD: LIMINAL DEBRIS OF CONSUMER CULTURE

Sreedeep Bhattacharya

 

The trajectory of “things” that are declared obsolete is mapped to argue that a junkyard is not merely a repository of the redundant, but also a liminal space between waste and trash, as well as use and reuse. An exploration of a junkyard in the Mayapuri neighbourhood of Delhi reveals how value is extracted from waste, bypassing the imposed norms of planned obsolescence in order to induce life into the lifeless. A complex set of relationships between the imposed rules of obsolescence and actual practices of a junkyard are observed to argue that “waste” is not merely matter out of place or matter without place, but it is essentially matter on the move. Read more…

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