SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 228 April 2021
Founding Editor: Daya Varma (1929-2015)
Editors: Vinod Mubayi (New York) and Raza Mir (New Jersey).
Editorial Board: Ram Puniyani and Irfan Engineer (Mumbai); Pervez Hoodbhoy (Islamabad); Dolores Chew (Montreal); Vamsi Vakulabharanam (Amherst); Ajay Bhardwaj (Vancouver).
Circulation/website: Feroz Mehdi (On behalf of Alternatives, Montreal).

INDIA’S NEWS UPSTARTS CHALLENGED MODI. NEW RULES COULD TAME THEM

Mujib Mashal and Hari Kumar

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, has cultivated and cowed large parts of the country’s normally raucous news media in recent years as part of a broader campaign against dissent.

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FROM LIBERALISM TO SECULARISM, THE BATTLE FOR BENGAL HAS JUST BEGUN

Jawhar Sircar

Voters in Bengal feel quite amused when told that the next assembly elections are all done and dusted. But it is rather distressing to see how personal biases or received wisdom (tonnes of which is freely offloaded in the national capital) masquerading as profound political analysis. Despite what poll surveys tell us, a very tough battle lies ahead, not only for Mamata Banerjee but also for the liberal principles and secular ideologies that the people of the state have prided in.

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DELHI VIOLENCE UNMASKED: HOW RSS, BJP MEMBERS INVOKED HINDU IDENTITY TO MOBILISE HINDUTVA MOBS AT MAUJPUR

Sagar

In a six-month-long investigation, Sagar, a staff writer at The Caravan, scrutinised Facebook live broadcasts by members affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the Delhi violence of February 2020. In this series based on the investigation, The Caravan reports on the Hindutva mobilisation that preceded the violence, its political and communal nature, and the role played by the RSS, BJP and affiliated organisations such as the Bajrang Dal in fomenting hate against those protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019.

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PAKISTAN: MANUFACTURING SOLDIERS

Mahvish Ahmad

In a book that breaks new ground in scholarship on Pakistani militarism, Maria Rashid explores how the Pakistan Army manages emotions like grief, pride and fear among foot soldiers and their families.

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RESISTING A COUP: HOW CIVIL SOCIETY IS RESPONDING IN THE FACE OF ESCALATING VIOLENCE IN MYANMAR

On 1 February, the military seized control of Myanmar after detaining National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected leaders, claiming that recently held elections were neither free nor fair.

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EDITORIAL: IMPACT OF THE FARMERS AGITATION ON INDIA’S INTERNATIONAL IMAGE

Vinod Mubayi

India’s current image in most of the mainstream western media is that of an authoritarian state: a state unwilling to tolerate any dissent or criticism of its actions and policies; a state that harasses, persecutes, and imprisons critics who voice opinions or sentiments the government dubs as “sedition” – under a century-old law left over from the British colonial regime.

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STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH FARMERS OF INDIA

Centre d’études et de ressources sur l’Asie du Sud (CERAS) and South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)

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PAKISTAN INDIA PEOPLE’S FORUM FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY WELCOMES DGMOS CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT

Joint Statement released on 27th February 2021, New Delhi and Islamabad

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INDIA: DISASTER IN UTTARAKHAND IN THE HIMALAYAS – STATEMENT BY VIKALP SANGAM

South Asia Citizens Web, February 25, 2021

We, the Core Group members of the Vikalp Sangam, are completely shocked and anguished by the recent Uttarakhand tragedy. We do consider that the events of 7th February 2021 in the Rishi Ganga and Dhauli Ganga valleys in Uttarakhand are yet another grim reminder of the fact that Himalayas as an ecosystem are getting stressed and sick by the day. Climate Change and its impacts are no longer a matter of debate or contestations. It is here to stay.

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FIXING THE GAZE: THE MADAM CHIEF MINISTER POSTER AND THE GENEALOGY OF A NEW DALIT ASSERTION

Praveen Donthi

The month of January is marked by the birth and death anniversaries of Rohith Vemula. Five years ago, after he was pushed to take his own life at the University of Hyderabad—in what Dalits aptly described as an institutional murder—I reported on the defiant politics of Vemula and the Ambedkar Students’ Association that he was part of, and how they were trying to create a “universal language of discrimination” for the country’s marginalised.

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LIVING IN KARACHI’S KATCHI ABADIS

Muhammad Aqeel Awan  

Wandering outside the Bengali Para, Karachi-Malir, trying to find a street that would take us inside the Katchi Abadi (informal settlement), we met a young man in his early 20s, about 5.5 feet tall, of Bengali origin, standing still with his eyes stuck on a particular point in the sea.

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DROUGHT IS NOT SIMPLY A NATURAL CALAMITY, IT IS ALSO DRIVEN BY COMMERCIAL GREED

P. Sainath

As India witnesses its largest-ever farmers’ agitation, Landscapes of Loss: The Story of an Indian Drought, a new book by Kavitha Iyer, takes a close look at several of the deeper issues that have been afflicting the country’s farming community for decades now and brought it to this desperate pass.

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A PAKISTANI-AMERICAN TALE UPENDS EXPECTATIONS ONSCREEN AND IN LIFE

Sopan Deb

Iram Parveen Bilal’s newest feature, “I’ll Meet You There,” tells a novel story: A young Pakistani-American woman, Dua (played by Nikita Tewani), wants to pursue a career in dance, a path that would be frowned upon in Pakistan. Instead, her immigrant father, a Chicago police officer named Majeed, encourages her to follow her dream. At the same time, Majeed (Faran Tahir) is ordered to surveil a mosque — essentially to spy on his people, including his father, who has incidentally chosen now to visit from Pakistan.

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AN EXEMPLARY PROGRESSIVE: THE AESTHETIC EXPERIMENT OF SAHIR LUDHIANVI

(Excerpted from Ali Mir and Raza Mir’s 2006 book Anthems of Resistance: A Celebration of Progressive Urdu Poetry to mark Sahir’s Birth Centenary coming up on March 8, 2021)

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EDITORIAL: MOBOCRACY IN THE WORLD’S “OLDEST” AND “LARGEST” DEMOCRACIES

Vinod Mubayi

The invasion of the seat of government, the US Capitol, in the world’s oldest democracy on January 6, 2021 by violent, right-wing, white supremacist mobs owing allegiance to President Donald Trump, has focused attention on the role exercised by a democratically elected Leader who incites his followers to commit destructive acts. The proximate reason for the invasion was to stop the certification by Congress of the victory of Joe Biden over Trump in the November 2020 election.

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BUDGET 2021 IS A CHANCE TO UNDO THE COVID-INDUCED INEQUALITY THAT HAS SURGED ACROSS INDIA

Nikhil Dey

Ideally, the government should increase the work entitlement for MGNREGA to at least 150 days, double the budget and put in place an urban employment guarantee act.

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THE SEASON OF DISCONTENT: HOW HAS COVID-19 IMPACTED CIVIC MOBILISATION AND ORGANISING IN SOUTH ASIA?

Alizeh Kohari

The last public protest I attended was on 8 March 2020. Two weeks later, the world changed. It was already changing, of course – had already changed, perhaps – but we didn’t know yet how much or for how long.

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WHY THE INCARCERATION OF MUNAWAR FARUQUI SHOULD WORRY US

Arshad Alam, Sabrang India

The show hasn’t started. A stand-up comic, Munawar Faruqui, is rehearsing his lines in a café in Indore. A couple of his associates are also with him. A shadowy figure suddenly enters the hall and starts yelling at Faruqui. He alleges that Faruqui has made fun of Hindu deities and thereby hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.

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THE NEW KHALISTAN CONSPIRACY: THE GOVERNMENT IS PLAYING THE SAME GAME THAT ONCE LED PUNJAB TO DISASTER

Hartosh Singh Bal

There is a familiar pattern to the right wing’s spin on the events of 26 January: condemning the farmers who reached the centre of Delhi, labeling them “extremists,” “Khalistani,” or simply “anti-national.”

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LETTER TO CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA

20 January 2021

New Delhi,

To

The Honourable Chief Justice of India,

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TIME FOR LEFT TO RE-IMAGINE CLASS, POPULISM

Subhoranjan Dasgupta

The Bengal elections are knocking at the door. How will the parties, the Trinamul Congress (TMC) and the CPM in particular, respond? Can they form a united front by combining the crucial populist currents in their favour? Eminent political scientist Ranabir Samaddar, founder of the Calcutta Research Group explores these questions in a dialogue.

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PAKISTAN’S ONE-PERCENT

Shahrukh Khan

A review of Rosita Armytage’s Big Capital in an Unequal World: The Micropolitics of Wealth in Pakistan.

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A REPUBLIC OF PROTEST

Mukulika Banerjee

The culture of the farmers’ protest is an extraordinary tableau that tells us what republican values look like.

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INSAF BULLETIN WISHES ITS READERS A VERY HAPPY 2021!

EDITORIAL: LOVE JIHAD: ILLEGALITY DESCENDS INTO CRIMINALITY

Vinod Mubayi

The “love jihad” law passed by the UP legislature late November 2020 essentially criminalizes marriage between persons of different religious faiths, more specifically between Muslim men and Hindu women; the former are accused of luring the latter by false promises in to marriage and converting them to Islam. This piece of legislation, if it can at all be called a “law” is so blatantly unconstitutional that even the cowed courts of India’s current judicial system are likely to reject it. But what may have been regarded as another example of insanity perpetrated by the Yogi regime has swiftly morphed into outright criminality.

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THE DISSENTING AND DEFIANT CITIZEN IS INDIAN OF THE YEAR

Sidharth Bhatia, The Wire

In an environment where dissidence is considered an act of rebellion, even sedition, where people are thrown into jail for standing up for rights, and where even a cartoon or a joke can get the politicians riled up, some Indians have let it be known that they will not get cowed down. Especially when it comes to matters of dignity and livelihood.

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THE GLOBAL ANGLE TO THE FARMER PROTESTS

Utsa Patnaik

The farmers’ movement for the repeal of the three farm laws which affect them closely but have been rammed through without consulting them, has now entered its second month.

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A MONTH ON, FARMERS REMAIN RESOLUTE OVER REPEAL OF FARM LAWS

Pawanjot Kaur

Mohali: The farmers’ ‘Dilli Chalo’ movement will complete a month on December 26, 2020. What started at the village block level, mainly in Punjab, has panned out across the country and Indian embassies, and foreign parliaments.

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LOVE IN THE TIME OF LOCKDOWN: HOW PAKISTANI WOMEN CONTINUE TO CHALLENGE PATRIARCHAL NORMS

Sehyr Mirza 

It’s the month of April during lockdown in Pakistan. The usually bustling Mall Road of Lahore is barren. On her way back from the office, Irum takes an Uber ride to the eerily quiet Pak Tea House. She waits outside the silent cafes and shops. Her eyes gaze upon an empty road: only a handful of commuters and a few passers-by are in sight. The liveliness of the city might have been a tale from another era.

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J&K: HOW AND WHY THE DDC POLLS RESULTS ‘MARGINALISED’ THE BJP

Shakir Mir, The Wire

Srinagar: District Development Councils (DDCs) tend to have very little political power. Yet the BJP-ruled Centre conducted the recent DDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir on a scale quite out of proportion to their diminutive profile.

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HOW CAN A GARMENT BE CHEAPER THAN A SANDWICH?

Imran Amed, The New York Times

This year the world has had to confront two monumental challenges: Covid-19 and the economic catastrophe the disease has caused. Both have taken a heavy toll on economically vulnerable workers, who already had to contend with low wages and few social protections. Their plight has exposed the rampant inequality pervading many corners of the globalized world, including the fashion industry.

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THE EDIT WARS: HOW WIKIPEDIA EARNED THE IRE OF THE HINDU RIGHT

Nishant Kauntia, The Caravan Magazine

“It might be awkward, but please don’t scroll past this.” In July this year, the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation launched a donation campaign in India. A banner pinned at the top of every Wikipedia article noted that fewer than two percent of users made donations and that, if those who saw the banner would contribute Rs 150 each, the online encyclopedia “could keep thriving for years.”

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BOOK REVIEW: A NEW SOCIOLOGY AWAITS US

Dipankar Gupta

Classes of Labour: Work and Life in a Central Indian Steel Town by Jonathan P Parry (in collaboration with Ajay T G), New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2019; pp xxx + 702 (biblio+index), ?1,850.

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HAS MODI FINALLY MET HIS MATCH IN INDIA’S FARMERS?

Ravinder Kaur

The government’s hopes of turning India into the world’s workshop for global corporations are being strongly resisted

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FARM LAWS: PUBLIC PERCEPTION IS IN FAVOR OF FARMERS, CENTRE CANNOT BE IN DENIAL

 

The farmers’ movement has reached a stage where it no longer deals with the sectional interests of farmers alone but has deeply affected all sections of Indian society.

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EDITORIAL 1: SUPREME JOKE

Vinod Mubayi

Medieval courts used to have a court jester who was allowed to lampoon the nobility or even poke fun at the ruling monarch as a way of blowing off steam; his antics were permitted ostensibly on the grounds that what he said was a joke and not to be taken seriously thereby allowing the targets of his barbs to save face. The Indian legal and judicial system does not seem to be able to display a comparable liberality towards comedians. The Attorney General has sanctioned prosecution of the comedian Kunal Kamra for daring to label the Supreme Court of India a Supreme Joke.

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EDITORIAL 2: BIHAR ELECTION – LESSONS FOR THE LEFT

Vinod Mubayi

After disappointing performances in the past several years, the recently concluded state elections in Bihar provided a partial resurgence of the Left led by the CPI(ML) Liberation group that won 12 of the 19 seats it was allotted by the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Coalition or MGB) of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, and the Left.

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ARTICLE 32: RIGHTS FOR ALL OR FOR A FAVOURED FEW?

M. Sridhar Acharyulu

When the law becomes a weapon of oppression rather than an equalising force, democracy is in danger. Article 32 deals with the ‘Right to Constitutional Remedies’, and affirms the right of an individual to move the Supreme Court (SC) by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred in Part III of the constitution.

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INDIA’S HUNGER PANGS

EPW Editorial

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020, which ranks India 94 among 107 nations, has once again brought to the fore the government’s failure to provide adequate food to a substantial segment of the population despite rising stocks of cereals.

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DILLI CHALO MARCH HAS SHATTERED THE MIASMA OF HINDUTVA’S POWER AND ARROGANCE

Amandeep Sandhu

THE PROTESTORS on the #DilliChalo march are motivated by Fundamental Rights as enshrined in the Constitution, Article 19. Namely, freedom of speech and expression; freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms; freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India. They sought to reach the capital of the nation.

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THE ASSASSIN STATE KEEPS ON KILLING – DOES ANYONE CARE?

Vinod Mubayi

The latest victim of the Assassin State’s long list of terror killings stretching back many decades is an Iranian physicist, Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

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SAFEGUARDING FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Madan Bhimrao Lokur

In recent times, the right to speech, expression and the right to protest have been constantly undermined. An attack on these rights runs contrary to the spirit of civilised democracy. We need to exercise these rights within the Constitution’s conditions and the government is duty-bound to provide these conditions.

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CPI(M) DISAGREES WITH PROPOSAL TO GO SOFT ON TMC

Shubhadeep Choudhury

Left Front convener Biman Bose on Sunday said the CPI-ML (Liberation) stance of treating the BJP as enemy number one in West Bengal was not acceptable to CPI-M.

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PAKISTAN: ANATOMY OF A POLITICAL MOMENT

Sarah Eleazar and Sher Ali Khan

What kind of freedom is this?

You are deaf to our voices.

What KIND of freedom IS this?

Our young men keep getting killed.

What KIND of freedom IS this?

– ‘Da Sang Azadi Da’ by Shaukat Aziz

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EDITORIAL: PLUMBING THE MORAL DEPTHS

Vinod Mubayi

How low can the country go? To what moral depths can the “world’s largest democracy” descend? These questions emerge naturally in the aftermath of two horrific events: the rape and killing of a young Dalit woman in Hathras, UP and its cover up by the state police as well as the arrest of an 83-year old priest Father Stan Swamy on charges so preposterous they strain credulity.

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BJP’S ‘FREE COVID VACCINE FOR VOTES’ OFFER FOR BIHAR RAISES CONCERNS OF HEALTH POLICY, ETHICS

Vasudevan Mukunth and Siddharth Varadarajan

The first item on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto in Bihar, ahead of the assembly polls set to kick off there next week, is that if the party is elected to power in the state, it will arrange for free COVID-19 vaccines. It is hard to overstate how appalling this promise is, assuming it will be fulfilled.

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ADITYANATH ALWAYS FLAUNTED HIS BIGOTRY, NOW HIS WAR ON MINORITIES IS IN FULL SWING

Harsh Mander and Amitanshu Verma

What is going on in Uttar Pradesh? The constitution of India, at least in principle, still applies to the state. No emergency has been imposed.

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MALNUTRITION AND FOOD SECURITY IN INDIA IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

Vasanthi Raman

The Prime Minister’s pronouncements on the occasion of World Food Day commemorated the setting up of the Food and Agricultural Organization on October 16, 1945 and hailed not only the achievements of the food agencies of the UN, but also India’s supposed role in its achievements.

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STAN SWAMY HAS STOOD WITH THE OPPRESSED. THE STATE CONSIDERS HIM AN ENEMY

Harsh Mander 

The true character of a state is perhaps best exposed by its choice of enemies. In its latest strike, the entire might of the state has converged on an 83-year-old Jesuit priest, who has devoted his life to struggling with the most oppressed among the Indian people — the Adivasis — against corporate and state power. The government leaves no doubt about who it despises and fears. And who it stands with.

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BECOMING KAMALA DEVI HARRIS: WHEN BRAHMIN AND BLACK IDENTITIES CONVERGE

Radhika Parameswaran and Pallavi Rao

Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden’s nomination of Kamala Devi Harris for vice president has brought international attention to a political figure fusing Indian American and African American identities.

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TIME TO STAND UP AGAINST FASCISM IS NOW

Arundhati Roy

The most rotten part of this country is the mainstream media. This is the most tragic part of this country, the most shameful part of this country.

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INDIA’S HUNGER PANGS

EPW Editorial

The NDA government’s record in controlling hunger is dismal despite rising stocks of cereal.

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BASMATI BATTLE: PAKISTAN FIGHTS INDIAN BID FOR EU RECOGNITION OF RICE

Daniel Boffey 

A new ingredient has been added to the boiling pot that is the relationship between India and Pakistan: basmati rice. Pakistan’s government has vowed to “vehemently” oppose an application by India for the long-grain aromatic rice to be recognised by the EU as being grown exclusively in specific regions of the Indian subcontinent.

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THE DISCOLOURATION OF “GREEN GROWTH” IN PAKISTAN

Sara Abraham

Pakistan’s weakened Left discourse over the last few decades has meant that numerous areas of social and ecological life, such as the life of women, or the natural environment, have fallen into the hands of well-heeled members of civil society.

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BOOK REVIEW: PIONEER OF MARXIST SOCIAL HISTORY

Pavel Tomar

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History by Richard J Evans, London: Little Brown, 2019; pp xiii + 785, ?954 (hardcover).

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EDITORIAL: INDIA’S MARCH TO A POLICE STATE INTENSIFIES

Vinod Mubayi

Last month’s editorial focused on how India, often billed as the world’s largest democracy, was marching towards an authoritarian police state. It was argued that while the formal institutions of democracy such as the constitution, the courts and the legislature remain, their content is being systematically hollowed out to make them mere shells without substance.

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DELHI POLICE

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Delhi’s Police’s investigation against students and activists in connection with the Delhi riots is pushing the Indian state into a long dark night of tyranny. The riots are a serious matter. All perpetrators must be credibly identified and subject to the law. But instead, we are witnessing a project designed to crush civil society. If our freedom is to be saved, we need to understand what is at stake in what is happening in Delhi.

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HOW POLITICAL MASTERS ARE ORCHESTRATING DELHI POLICE IN RIOTS CASE

Julio Ribeiro

I wrote a letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner that went ‘viral’ — a term my grand-children and their friends often use. I write letters at the drop of a hat but none turned ‘viral’. This one, obviously because it touched raw nerves, did! Since a leading daily wrote an editorial on what I said in the letter, my grandchildren have started reading editorials, an advice of an old man that they had ignored earlier.

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MY ENCOUNTERS WITH SWAMI AGNIVESH

Irfan Engineer

It is very saddening news that Swami Agnivesh is no more amongst us. Swamiji enriched our understanding of Hindu Vedic religion in particular and all religions in general. He remained a critic of all religions and advocated for spirituality.

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REST IN POWER, JEAN CHAPMAN

It is with deep sadness and a sense of loss that we at SAWCC (South Asian Women’s Community Centre) mourn the death of Jean Chapman, our sister in struggle. Jean passed away peacefully on September 21, 2020 at home in the arms of her husband Paul Wilkinson and with her beloved poodle, Noah, by her side.  Jean joined SAWCC in 1985 and was a life member. 

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PAKISTAN’S FIRST CLIMATE PRISONERS: BABA JAN AND AFFECTEES OF THE ATTABAD DISASTER

Tabitha Spence

Baba Jan has spent years of his life in prison, framed along with Iftikhar Karbalayi and 10 others, for terrorism and the murder of a young man and his father. Eyewitnesses say that Afzal and Sher Ullah Baig were shot and killed by police while demonstrating for unpaid compensation promised to victims of the landslide and floods that destroyed villages in the Gojal Valley in January 2010.  

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SILENCE IN SWAT: MEMORY, MILITANCY AND THE MILITARY IN SWAT VALLEY

Hurmat Ali Shah

Swat Valley used to be green. Now the green looks dull and grey. The people living here are tired. They forget. And when personal histories, and personal and collective geographies are marred with memories of violence, isn’t short-term memory loss the natural answer? Who has the courage to confront memory amidst the rhythm of the everyday, lay it to rest, and more painfully, make sense of all the killings and the aftermath – that is, a military regimenting a whole population for the crime of being conquered by a militant group?

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NO TYRANT CAN ENDURE: ON THE ARREST OF UMAR KHALID

Shuddhabrata Sengupta

On the night of 13 September, as the calendar turned, news came in that Umar Khalid, an activist, had been arrested after several hours of interrogation at the office of the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, in Lodhi Colony. Khalid, a PhD scholar in the Adivasi history of Jharkhand from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, was detained for his alleged role in a conspiracy, which the Delhi Police claimed instigated the violence that ripped through northeast Delhi in the last week of February.

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INDIANS GET JUST ONE WEEK TO REVIEW CRUCIAL HEALTH DATA POLICY. THE CENTRE’S RUSH IS UNDEMOCRATIC

Ipsita Chakravarty & Vijayta Lalwani

The policy covers the collection and storage of data on an individual’s medical history, finances, genetics, sex life, caste, religion and political beliefs.

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THE WORLD’S “LARGEST DEMOCRACY” MARCHING TO A POLICE STATE

Vinod Mubayi

Evidence keeps mounting daily of India’s descent into a police state where the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution: free speech, freedom to express opinions against the policies of the government, are being honored more in the breach than in the observance. Two examples of this suffice.

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A PASSIONATE TEACHER AND ACTIVIST: ILINA SEN (1951–2020)

Gabriele Dietrich

Ilina Sen, teacher, author and activist has left behind a rich legacy of work and warmth that will continue to inspire women’s and human rights activists and students.

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THE SHADOW OF HAREN PANDYA’S CASE LIES LONG OVER JUSTICE ARUN MISHRA

Prem Shankar Jha

To say that the Supreme Court’s verdict of contempt of court against Prashant Bhushan has shocked civil society in India would be an understatement. There has been an outpouring of dismay and anger in which even attorney general K.K. Venugopal has joined. Most of the protest has focussed on the blow that punishing Bhushan will deal to civil liberties, notably the freedom to express an opinion,  the freedom to differ and the freedom to criticise – without which democracy cannot survive.

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ILINA AS WE KNEW HER: A TRIBUTE FROM WSS

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) deeply mourns the passing away of Ilina Sen on August 9 in Kolkata. Ilina, 69, was a feminist activist, teacher, researcher and writer passionately involved with the women’s movement in India.

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INDIA’S COVID DEATHS COULD BE AMONG THE HIGHEST IN THE WORLD

(The Wire, August 25, 2020)

Two community physicians with a deep interest in public health, who have earlier published their findings in The Hindu, have said India could be under-reporting its COVID-19 death toll by a factor of 5.29.

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HOW KAMALA HARRIS’S FAMILY IN INDIA HELPED SHAPE HER VALUES

Jeffrey Gettleman and Suhasini Raj

CHENNAI, India — One of Senator Kamala Harris’s brightest childhood memories was walking down the beach hand in hand with her Indian grandfather.

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THE MYTH OF MAINSTREAM

Chhetria Patrakar

Every other day or so, it seems, news from India confirms our worst fears about the state of journalism and free speech in the country.

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CISCO CASE SHOWS INDIANS STILL TAKE CASTE WHERE THEY GO

Subhash Gatade

What happens to caste when Indians migrate to Western countries? Do their feelings of being born superior or inferior, their belief in the purity-pollution ethic, just melt away? The “model minority” has tried to avoid a conversation on this issue but it returns to haunt them time and again. Now the American state of California is at the centre of yet another caste controversy.

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‘LET NOT DESPAIR IMPRISON OUR WORDS’: REMEMBERING ALI SARDAR JAFRI, 20 YEARS ON

Raza Naeem

Har cheez bhula di jaayegi

Yaadon ke haseen butkhane se

Har cheez utha di jaayegi

Phir koi nahin yeh poochhega

Sardar kahan hai mehfil mein

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SATIRE: THERE IS INDEED A JIHADI CONSPIRACY AND THE NATION WANTS TO KNOW WHAT MODI WILL DO ABOUT IT

Harish Khare

It is indeed baffling that so many democratic, liberal, progressive, or just plain decent, voices should be upset over a ‘nationalist’ news channel wanting to air an exposé about an unholy conspiracy to “infiltrate Muslims” into government services.

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EDITORIAL: TRUMP, BOLSONARO, MODI: THREE HORSEMEN OF THE COVID PANDEMIC APOCALYPSE

Vinod Mubayi

The countries that Trump, Bolsonaro and Modi, respectively, rule, are currently #1, 2, and 3 in the total number of coronavirus infections. Credible projections by some scientists suggest that India is poised to become #1 within a few months. Whether that happens or not, it is more than likely the US, Brazil, and India will continue to remain on the equivalent of the Olympic medal stand with respect to the ranking for the worst performance in controlling the pandemic for the foreseeable future.

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A STRONG VOICE AGAINST HINDUTVA IN GREATER VANCOUVER LOST

Gurpreet Singh 

The news of Chinmoy Banerjee’s death has greatly saddened the South Asian community in BC. 

80-year-old scholar and activist of Indian heritage, Chin Daa, as we affectionately called him, was not keeping well for the past several days. 

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GLOBAL DIALOGUE FOR SYSTEMIC CHANGE

We are living in an unprecedented global crisis that requires a deep reflection, rethinking and dialogue among activists, organizations and social movements around the world. Critical strategies are essential, to deal with the current crises and to shape what comes next.

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TAGORE STREET, TEL AVIV: AGAINST NORMALIZING BANGLADESHI—ISRAELI RELATIONS

Kamal M. Ali

The normalization of the Israeli apartheid-state by liberal Bangladeshis calls for a revival of revolutionary solidarities and a South Asian politics that champions the Palestinian cause.

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UP POLICE AFFIDAVIT ON VIKAS DUBEY ENCOUNTER PUTS SUPREME COURT BETWEEN ROCK AND HARD PLACE

Siddharth Varadarajan

In an interview to The Wire, Justice Deepak Gupta – who retired as a judge of the Supreme Court in May this year – had this to say about the killing of the gangster Vikas Dubey by the Uttar Pradesh police: “indications are that this was not an encounter, he did not run away, he was killed… But police made up such a shoddy story, it seems they don’t even give a damn whether people think that we killed him or not.”

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US CITIES OPPOSE INDIA’S DISCRIMINATORY CITIZENSHIP ACT

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella organization of progressive South Asian groups across the United States, in coordination with the local San Francisco community, today welcomed the resolution passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors denouncing India’s draconian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

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HAGIA SOPHIA: HERITAGE OF ENTIRE HUMANITY

Irfan Engineer

The re-conversion of Hagia Sophia from a patriarchal cathedral built by Justinian I in 537 CE to Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in 1453 after the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmet II and into a museum of the same name by Kemal Ataturk in 1934 and again into a mosque of the same name on 24th July 2020 has thrown up quite a controversy. The reconversion of the Christian-Muslim monument in 21st Century that was a museum for nearly a century signifies the global rise and growing strength of the right wing politicians from all religions that misuse religion for their political ends and stoke religio-cultural wars. The conversion should be condemned in the strongest possible words. The Museum was a great tourist attraction.

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CONDEMN THE ARBITRARY ARREST OF PROF. HANY BABU!

The Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) condemns the arrest of Professor Hany Babu MT at Mumbai by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case.

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CASTE ON THE STREETS: DHAKA’S STREET CLEANERS, MANY OF THEM DALITS, FACED A GRIM FUTURE EVEN BEFORE THE PANDEMIC

Shah Tazrian Ashrafi

Bangladesh confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on 8 March 2020. In the span of a little over a hundred days, the number of positive cases crossed the 100,000 mark with more than 1300 dead. The country imposed a nationwide lockdown on 26 March and extended it several times. As the lockdown was lifted on 31 May, the number of cases began to surge.

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IMPACTS OF COVID-19 ON LABOUR

EPW Editorial

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have severely affected the labour market. In India, the pandemic and the prolonged lockdowns have led to a reduction or complete loss of their livelihoods, which has disproportionately affected the migrants and the working poor. Others, such as health workers and those in essential services, have experienced a huge increase in workloads and schedules amidst the onslaught of the pandemic.

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EDITORIAL: BLACK LIVES MATTER IN THE US: DO MUSLIM/DALIT/MIGRANT WORKER/DISSIDENT LIVES MATTER IN INDIA?

Vinod Mubayi

The unprecedented outrage spurred by the murder of George Floyd by a racist policeman in Minneapolis has led to a situation where systemic change in the way state oppression of the minorities operates in the US is on the agenda. Battered by the pandemic, African-Americans finally revolted at yet another murder of a black man by a white cop and the familiar, despicably brutal manner in which it was carried out: strangulation.

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REVOKE THE AUCTION OF 41 COAL BLOCKS FOR COMMERCIAL MINING

National Alliance of People’s Movements

24th June, 2020: National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) condemns the diabolical design of the current regime, led by the Prime Minister to ‘virtually auction’ 41 coal blocks for commercial mining in the bio-diverse rich, adivasi heartlands of Central and Eastern India. Opening up of these areas to profit-making domestic and foreign corporate mining entities will irreversibly jeopardize the pristine forest lands, increase environmental pollution and public health risk in Covid times and destroy the habitats of a major chunk of the adivasi population and wild-life.

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NEPAL FAMILIES FACE HUNGER, SKIP MEALS AS PANDEMIC HITS REMITTANCES

Gopal Sharma

Shiba Kala Limbu grimaced as she recalled how she went hungry in order to feed her five-year-old daughter after the coronavirus pandemic cost her husband his job as a mason in the Gulf state of Qatar.

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STAY HOME, STAY SAFE: INTERROGATING VIOLENCE IN THE DOMESTIC SPHERE

Rukmini Sen

The first social distancing advisory, which was released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 16 March 2020, advised students to stay at home and laid down guidelines for instituting work-from-home wherever feasible. With the exception of essential travel, movement for everything else was stopped. However, while India was getting ready to prepare for a lockdown wherein all members of the household would be locked inside their respective homes for most of the time, there was no discussion on the implications this would have on the well-being of the everyday lives of women.

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WITH INDIA’S TIKTOK BAN, THE WORLD’S DIGITAL WALLS GROW HIGHER

Raymond Zhong and Kai Schultz

The global internet is fracturing. And people like Anusmita Dutta are paying the price.

Ms. Dutta, 24, joined TikTok three years ago and now has more than 350,000 followers on the video app. From her home in Kolkata, in eastern India, she records funny skits, monologues, slice-of-life sketches — all stuff, she says, that people can easily relate to. She also finds videos from every corner of the earth using the app’s Discover feature.

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PAKISTAN’S LOCKDOWN ENDED A MONTH AGO. NOW HOSPITAL SIGNS READ ‘FULL.’

Zia ur-Rehman, Salman Masood and Maria Abi-Habib

Pakistanis stricken by the coronavirus are being turned away from hospitals that have simply closed their gates and put up signs reading “full house.” Doctors and nurses are falling ill at alarming rates, and are also coming under physical assault from desperate and angry families.

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DELHI RIOTS NEITHER DESIGNED BY MODI GOVT, NOR ISLAMIC CONSPIRACY. IT IS FAR MORE DANGEROUS

Yogendra Yadav

Has the Narendra Modi regime normalised violence in a way that could hurt the Prime Minister himself? Has he created a Frankenstein monster that he cannot destroy?

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IS THIS THE THEATRE OF THE ABSURD? INDIA NEEDS A PARADIGM SHIFT TOWARDS CHINA

KP Fabian

It is obvious, painfully obvious that India’s policy towards its big neighbor China has not been much of a success. Before we figure out a new policy frame work, we need to bear in mind that in the ongoing stand-off at the border, India has faulted diplomatically and militarily apart from permitting China to control, or almost control, the narrative as far as the international public is concerned.

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LAWLESS LAWMAKING IN A COVID-19 WORLD

Alok Prasanna Kumar

India’s management of the COVID-19 global pandemic has been marked by excessive centralisation, lawless lawmaking and non-consultative decision-making processes at the union government level. This has created an atmosphere of confusion in the management of the disease, leading to India becoming one of the global hotspots and cases fast spiralling out of the control of local authorities.

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WHEN INDIA PUT INDIANS IN CAMPS

Uttaran Das Gupta

Review of ‘The Deoliwallahs: The True Story of the 1962 Chinese-Indian Internment ‘ by Joy Ma and Dilip D’Souza. Pan Macmillan India, January 2020.

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EDITORIAL: CRIMINALIZING DISSENT, THROWING MIGRANT WORKERS TO THE DOGS AND ABOLISHING DECADES OLD LABOR LAWS: WHERE IS INDIA HEADED?

Vinod Mubayi

At a time when the pandemic infection in India seems to be rising rapidly, the regime’s acts of cruelty, there is simply no other word for them, that consist of acts of both commission and omission, seem bewildering. Are they the expressions of a government that is both uncaring and incompetent, whose minions are content with projecting the image of an omnipotent, omniscient leader, a divine guru beyond human criticism? Or are they instead the actions of a would-be dictatorial government bent on crushing any manifestation of opposition in its march to Hindu Rashtra? Considering both the utterances and silences of the government’s spokespersons on various issues, it appears to be a combination of both, depending on the issue.

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LETTER TO THE ILO ON THE UNILATERAL SUSPENSION OF LABOUR LAWS BY THE GOVERNMENT IN INDIA

25.05.2020

Mr Guy Ryder

Director General, International Labour Organisation

Geneva

Dear Sir,

This joint representation is the follow up with more concrete details on our complaint / representation to you dated 14th May 2020.

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AS THE FIRST YEAR OF MODI 2.0 ENDS, IT’S CLEAR THAT DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN QUARANTINED

Siddharth Varadarajan

To understand what Narendra Modi has done to India in the first year of his second term as prime minister, I want you to consider the contrasting fate of two young people, Amulya Leona and Anurag Thakur.

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ON THE CORONAVIRUS, PAKISTAN’S GOVERNMENT IS MISSING IN ACTION

Neha Maqsood

During a televised broadcast on March 22, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his hesitancy in imposing a nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, explaining that such a move would have devastating economic consequences for the poor.

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A PANDEMIC OF PERSECUTION IN BANGLADESH

Ali Riaz

Workers from the garment sector block a road as they protest to demand the payment of due wages during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 24, 2020.

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WHY ACTIVISTS WANT PRISONS DECONGESTED

Subhash Gatade

Late in March, Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor from Iran, who is at present detained by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), had warned about the “inhumane” conditions at the ICE facility that could turn it into a hot spot of Covid-19 fatalities.

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SEWER CLEANERS WANTED IN PAKISTAN: ONLY CHRISTIANS NEED APPLY

Zia ur-Rehman and Maria Abi-Habib

Before Jamshed Eric plunges deep below Karachi’s streets to clean out clogged sewers with his bare hands, he says a little prayer to Jesus to keep him safe.

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HOW MODI FAILED THE PANDEMIC TEST

Hartosh Singh Bal

India has been under a lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus for two months. On March 25, the first day of the lockdown, India had 618 confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

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A HISTORY OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN INDIA

Mahendra Prasad Singh

(Review of Political Parties, Party Manifestos and Elections in India, 1909–2014 edited by R K Tiwari, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2019; pp xxi + 309, ?1,495).

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CHINA-INDIA BORDER: WHY TENSIONS ARE RISING BETWEEN THE NEIGHBOURS

Anbarasan Ethirajan and Vikas Pandey

The armies of the world’s two most populous nations are locked in a tense face-off high in the Himalayas, which has the potential to escalate as they seek to further their strategic goals.

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THE KALAPANI IMBROGLIO: HAS INDIA PUSHED NEPAL TOO FAR?

Tapan Bose

Popular sentiment against what is viewed as Indian encroachment in Kalapani and Susta has led to recurrent protests in Nepal which have largely been ignored by the Indian media.

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EDITORIAL: CLASS, CASTE AND COMMUNAL VIRUS AND THE DEMONIZATION OF DISSENT IN THE AGE OF CORONA

Vinod Mubayi

As the novel coronavirus started to ravage through India, specific acts of the Modi-Shah regime ruling the country unleashed and intensified other socio-political viruses that are decidedly not novel. In fact, one may claim with confidence that these old viruses have been omnipresent in the minds of the actors, agents, and facilitators of the BJP regime, lurking in the background waiting to be uncovered when opportunity presents itself.

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WHAT THE WORLD CAN LEARN FROM KERALA ABOUT HOW TO FIGHT COVID-19



Sonia Faleiro

The sun had already set on March 7 when Nooh Pullichalil Bava received the call. “I have bad news,” his boss warned. On February 29, a family of three had arrived in the Indian state of Kerala from Italy, where they lived. The trio skipped a voluntary screening for covid-19 at the airport and took a taxi 125 miles (200 kilometers) to their home in the town of Ranni. When they started developing symptoms soon afterward, they didn’t alert the hospital. Now, a whole week after taking off from Venice, all three—a middle-­aged man and woman and their adult son—had tested positive for the virus, and so had two of their elderly relatives.

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AMARTYA SEN ON THE WIRE, THE POLICE AND BEYOND

Amartya Sen

Steps to undermine democracy in India are becoming increasingly common. The police action by the Uttar Pradesh government – ruled by the same political party that runs the Central government – against The Wire and its founding editor, Siddharth Varadarajan, shows how far-reaching the destructive stabs at democracy have become in India.

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CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN: THE SEVEN AND A HALF THINGS THAT MODI SAID AND DID NOT SAY

Shuddhabrata Sengupta

A terse but timely message to stop indulging in profiling Muslims as ‘carriers’ of COVID-19 or as ‘bio-terrorists’ from the prime minister could have gone a long way in controlling the baser instincts of his followers.

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MONTREAL TEACH-IN: COMMUNITIES OF STRUGGLE DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN — ORGANIZED BY FEMMES DE DIVERSES ORIGINES/WOMEN OF DIVERSE ORIGINS



On Saturday 18th April 2020 at 11am the Montreal-based organization Femmes de diverses origines/Women of Diverse Origins which includes among its members the South Asian Women’s Community Centre, organized the first of a series of teach-in.

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26TH APRIL, 2020 PUCL STATEMENT – LIFT TOTAL LOCKDOWN AND CONTINUE ONLY IN SELECT PLACES

April 25th, 2020 marks the end of the first month of India’s gigantic, country-wide lockdown to counter and check the spread of the COVID -19 – Corona virus. As the Prime Minister gets down to discuss on 27th April, 2020, with the CMs of all the states of India, about whether to continue fully or partially with the biggest ever global shutdown of this size, it is an apt occasion for citizen’s to review progress and point out key concerns, to both the Prime Minister of India, as also all the Chief Ministers.  

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GENDERING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: WOMEN LOCKED AND DOWN



Madhuri Dixit and Dilip Chavan

The COVID-19 crisis has affected Indian women differently. Due to the lack of autonomy and gender insensitive nature of the state’s response to the corona crisis, women are perceived as second class citizens. While the lockdown is not qualitatively a new experience for the women, even in critical times as it does not change boundaries or the nature of the public and the private spheres for them. Rather, it overburdens them, bereaves them of agency, and compromises their safety.

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IN KASHMIR, RESISTANCE IS MAINSTREAM



Samreen Mushtaq and Mudasir Amin

“I am free today,” claimed Farooq Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir and a prominent ‘pro-India’ politician from the valley, addressing reporters outside his Gupkar residence in Srinagar on 13 March 2020. This was over seven months after he was placed under house arrest following the de-operationalisation of Article 370 by India on 5 August 2019. Abdullah, an octogenarian, was later formally arrested and booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), often referred to as a ‘lawless law’, which allows for up to two years of detention without trial.

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REDEFINING CITIZENSHIP IN PAKISTAN

Hurmat Ali Shah


Over the past two years, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) has defined an alternative future for Pakistan. It has also contributed to the state’s anxiety about its own discursive and political power. The Pakistani state has used all the tools in its arsenal, ranging from censorship to arrests and intimidation. The country’s military in particular has been accused by the PTM of abductions and extrajudicial killings, and has opened fire on the peaceful PTM protesters.

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: USCIRF REPORT DOWNGRADES INDIA FOR ‘VIOLATIONS’

Shubhajit Roy

This is the first time since 2004 — which was in the backdrop of the Gujarat riots of 2002 — that USCIRF has recommended that India be designated as a “Country of Particular Concern”.

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EDITORIAL: FORCED EXODUS: THOUSANDS LIKELY TO DIE FROM STARVATION RATHER THAN THE VIRUS

Vinod Mubayi

Prime Minister Modi is fond of claiming to have executed surgical strikes against the enemies of the country, viz. Pakistan. Whatever damage they may have done to the enemy is unclear, but his strikes on the Indian population disguised as moral lectures have inflicted more significant damage. While they were applauded as masterstrokes by the lapdog media, their consequences for the country have been considerably less pleasant. In December 2016, he suddenly demonetized the currency, rendering 86% of Indian banknotes worthless overnight. He justified this by claiming it would curb the twin evils of black money and terrorism and usher in a virtuous digital age of cashless transactions. There seems to have been no planning in advance for this momentous act and little thought given to what would happen. Three and a half years later, the economy is still trying to recover from the consequences of this disastrous action.

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GROUND REPORT: CHAOS AT ANAND VIHAR AS BUSES PREPARE TO TAKE MIGRANT WORKERS HOME

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta and Anuj Srivas

New Delhi: At the Anand Vihar Bus Terminal and its immediate surrounding areas on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, the mass evacuation of thousands of daily-wage labourers and migrant workers is underway.

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CAN INDIANS TRUST THEIR JUDGES AND LAWS?

Sumanta Banerjee

The two common utterances regularly heard during arguments in Indian courts are – “I have faith in the judicial process” (by the prosecuted), and “The law will take its own course” (by the prosecution). But both these two assertions need to be questioned, given the experiences of Indian citizens in their confrontation with certain types of judges on the one hand, and sufferance from laws on the other, like oppressive colonial Acts from the British era which are still on our statute book, and newer draconian Acts that continue to be promulgated in today’s India.

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PETITION REQUEST

Dear friends,

Please sign the Global Solidarity Statement for Dr. Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha by clicking here: https://indiacivilwatch.org/petitions/global-solidarity-statement-for-dr-anand-teltumbde-and-gautam-navlakha/

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HOW THE CORPORATE-HINDUTVA AXIS IS ASSAULTING INDIA’S FEDERALISM

Prabhat Patnaik

The anti-colonial struggle saw the emergence of a pan-Indian national consciousness that was superimposed upon a pre-existing “nationality” consciousness based on linguistic regions. The pan-Indian national consciousness, in other words, was superimposed upon a Bengali or Gujarati or Tamil or Odiya consciousness; and the anti-colonial struggle saw the flourishing of both kinds of consciousness.

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‘OUR SITUATION IS APOCALYPTIC’: BANGLADESH GARMENT WORKERS FACE RUIN

Elizabeth Paton

The empty, echoing shopping malls of Western cities are a testament to the biggest crisis borne by global clothing and retail industries in over a generation. But the impact of the coronavirus on retail is a two-part devastation, as the daily flow of thousands of orders placed by Western retailers to supplier factories in South Asia has suddenly slammed to a halt.

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GOD WILL PROTECT US’: CORONAVIRUS SPREADS THROUGH AN ALREADY STRUGGLING PAKISTAN

Zia ur-Rehman, Maria Abi-Habib and Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud

KARACHI, Pakistan — Doctors are refusing to show up for work. Clerics are refusing to close their mosques. And despite orders to stay at home, children continue to pack streets across Pakistan to play cricket, their parents unwilling to quarantine them in crowded homes.

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FOR INDIA’S LABORERS, CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN IS AN ORDER TO STARVE

Maria Abi-Habib and Sameer Yasir

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a lockdown of India’s 1.3 billion citizens to fight the spread of coronavirus, urging people to distance themselves socially and work from home.

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[NON-SOUTH ASIA ANALYSIS]: SIX POINTS ON CLASS

Michael Zweig

1. We need to change the understanding of class in the United States, going from the division of “rich and poor” to the division of “worker and capitalist.”

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EDITORIAL: AFTER LOSING DELHI ELECTION, BJP WREAKING VENGEANCE ON CITY’S MINORITIES: WHERE IS AAP?

Vinod Mubayi

The rout of the BJP in the Delhi election, while very welcome, should not blind one to the fact that the real political struggle is taking place in the streets not in the electoral arena. This struggle is directly related to the secular nature of the Indian state and the future existence of India’s minorities, especially Indian Muslims. Over the last few decades, and particularly the last six years, RSS/BJP propaganda has created a mindset among the Hindu majority, especially the politically influential upper classes/castes, that has put the secular character of the Indian state in severe doubt, despite all that is enshrined in the Constitution. Without this mindset, it is inconceivable that a blatantly majoritarian and unconstitutional law like the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) would have cleared both houses of Parliament. But every action has its reaction and the public anger manifested in almost all parts of the country in the last two months is evidence of the fact that defeating the nefarious CAA/NRC (National Register of Citizens)/NPR (National Population Register) triad of the BJP is the most urgent political issue in India today.

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THERE WILL BE NO SAFE ANCHOR UNTIL ‘WE, THE PEOPLE’ ARE ABLE TO DECISIVELY OVERTURN CURRENT PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY

Sugata Bose

Homage has been paid to the chairman of the drafting committee of our Constitution by our political class in a plenitude of platitudes without applying the creative and critical faculties that were Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar’s hallmark. India was extremely fortunate that as stringent a critic of mainstream nationalism as Ambedkar placed his intellectual prowess at the service of the nation for five crucial years from December 9, 1946 to October 12, 1951.

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INDIA IS STEADILY CREEPING FROM DEMOCRACY TO SOME FORM OF THUGOCRACY

Pranab Bardhan

Contrary to expectation in many quarters five years back, the current regime has proved itself rather inept and incompetent in economic policy matters, partly because of over-centralisation of power with dependence on loyal mediocrities for policy advice, and partly because for a long time, it believed in its own hype and was in denial.

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THE DELHI RIOTS OF 2020: A DIRECT PRODUCT OF BJP RELIGIOUS POLARISATION

The Wire

More than 48 hours after violence broke out in parts of the national capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally broken his silence on the Delhi riots. At least 24 people have now lost their lives, with the latest reports saying that the body of a man who works with the Intelligence Bureau was found in a drain in North East Delhi’s Chandbagh.

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“WHICH IS THAT APPROPRIATE STAGE? AFTER THE CITY HAS BURNT DOWN?” SAYS HIGH COURT JUDGE MURALIDHAR

The Delhi high court on Wednesday asked the Delhi Police to ‘take a conscious decision with respect to the registration of FIRs’ against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Kapil Mishra, and others, who made alleged hate speeches that may have incited violence in the national capital.

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THE BJP HAS WILFULLY LET DELHI BURN

For three days, northeast Delhi has been in the grip of armed vigilantes mobilised by Hindutva politicians to attack and terrorise those protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Given the nature of the mobs and their leaders, the violence quickly lost any pretence of a ‘political’ motive and descended into crude, generalised communal violence against Muslims.

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LETTER FROM WORLD PARLIAMENTARIANS TO NARENDRA MODI

(Courtesy Irfan Engineer)

The Most Honorable Narendra Modi

Prime Minister of the Republic of India

Office of the Prime Minister

New Delhi, India

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MOB LYNCHING IN 2019- CONTINUING EXPRESSION OF HEGEMONY

Irfan Engineer, Neha Dabhade, Suraj Nair

Tabrez Ansari, a 24 years old youth in Jharkhand, accused of a bike theft pleaded for his life even as he chanted “Jai Shri Ram” demanded by the mob that brutally lynched him. 25 years old Mohammad Barkat Aalam while returning home from namaz was assaulted and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” because he was wearing a skull cap.

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GANDHI’S KILLER EVOKES ADMIRATION AS NEVER BEFORE

Sameer Yasin

MEERUT, India — Under the shade of a banyan tree, a group of worshipers recite Sanskrit mantras. A couple men step forward and light a fire. Then they start walking, hands folded, as if in a trance, toward a statue.

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A BLOW TO THE HEAD MAKES AN INSTANT HERO IN INDIA

Jeffrey Gettleman and Hari Kumar

Aishe Ghosh, a young woman who was set upon at a campus demonstration, has become an icon in India’s growing protest movement.

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WHO IS AFRAID OF PAKISTAN’S AURAT MARCH?

Afiya Shehrbano Zia

Pakistan’s women are marching against patriarchy, but what is their destination and who is standing in their way? The Aurat March of 2019 faced severe backlash from both conservative as well as like-minded quarters, on account of some hard-hitting slogans and jabs raised against prevalent masculinist social norms. These have brought to the fore some paradoxes within feminist politics, which merit resolution for the sake of the emergence of stronger feminist politics in Pakistan.

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INDIA TODAY: TEETERING BETWEEN DEMOCRACY AND FASCISM

Vinod Mubayi

EDITORAL

India today is poised precariously between democracy and fascism. While the formal institutions of democracy, elections, legislatures, courts and so on continue to function their core is being systematically hollowed out by the ruling BJP and fascist measures are being implemented assiduously in India’s largest state, UP, where cops are acting against the Muslim minority exactly like Nazi thugs did against German Jews in the 1930s.

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CITIZENSHIP TANGLE

Shoaib Daniyal

Surveys for the National Population Register begin in two months. There is still no clarity on the final questions that will be asked as part of the exercise to draw up a list of all residents of India.

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‘THIS POLITICAL REGIME IS DESTROYING THE UNIVERSITY’

Sucharita Sen

Professor Sucharita Sen, of the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), teaches geography and was one of the people involved in organising a peace assembly on January 5, the day masked intruders attacked teachers and students with lethal weapons like iron rods. While many faculty members were roughed up, she was the only one who sustained deep head injuries.

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WHY THE CAA+NPR+NRC IS A TOXIC COCKTAIL FOR EVERYONE

CJP Team

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), combined with the proposed National Population Register (NPR), which is the first step to a nationwide NRC (National Register of Citizens), is likely to be disastrous, not just for Muslims, but also all other Indians as can be seen in the following point-wise analysis:

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EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION ON INDIA’S CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019

– having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

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KEEPING JOURNALISM ALIVE IN KASHMIR

Majid Maqbool

For over five months now, hundreds of journalists in Kashmir have had to wait in long queues every day in a couple of cramped rooms in Srinagar to get a few minutes of access to the internet. Reporters, newspaper designers, freelance journalists, photojournalists, and video journalists have had to stand in lines at the Media Facilitation Centre – set up by the central government in the premises of the Department of Information and Public Relations – and rely on a dozen computers with internet access to file their stories, make pages, and communicate with their editors.

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CITIZENSHIP AS PARTICIPATION: MUSLIM WOMEN PROTESTORS OF SHAHEEN BAGH

The peaceful indefinite sit-in by Muslim women at Shaheen Bagh has become the epicentre of nationwide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act–National Population Register–National Register of Citizens, as the protestors have brought to the fore a protest performative that is to be comprehended beyond the physical protest site.

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BEHIND CAMPUS ATTACK IN INDIA, SOME SEE A FAR-RIGHT AGENDA

Kai Schultz and Suhasini Raj

NEW DELHI — For decades, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party and its affiliates have struggled to control one of India’s most fertile ideological recruiting grounds: university campuses.

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EDITORIALS: IS THE TIME FOR BJP’S FASCIST TAMASHAS OVER?

Vinod Mubayi

 

The unprecedented countrywide protests against the CAA and NRC are the opening salvos in what is bound to be a long struggle against BJP’s fascist governance over the last 5 years. It is encouraging that many of the protests are being led by students and youth, which augurs well for the vitality of the opposition to the Sangh Parivar’s agenda in the next few years. Read more…

INDIA NEEDS A PROPER REFUGEE LAW, NOT A CAA SUFFUSED WITH DISCRIMINATORY INTENT

Rajeev Dhawan

 

Perhaps, the most interesting comment on India’s Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) was made by two Pakistani Hindus who protested that the CAA will worsen their lives instead of helping them. There are many minorities who prefer to live in Pakistan as their home and watan. Read more…

INDIA: INTIMATIONS OF AN ENDING

Arundhati Roy

 

While protest reverberates on the streets of Chile, Catalonia, Bolivia, Britain, France, Iraq, Lebanon, and Hong Kong, and a new generation rages against what has been done to their planet, I hope you will forgive me for speaking about a place where the street has been taken over by something quite different. Read more…

WHY I WILL NOT REGISTER WITH THE NRC

Sidharth Bhatia

 

This might be a futile act of personal defiance that could have perilous consequences, but think about it: what if millions of people stay out of the exercise? Read more…

BY PROTESTING A LAW THAT DIVIDES AND DISCRIMINATES, WE ARE FORGING NEW MAPS OF BELONGING

Chitra Padmanabhan

 

The CAA, which treats the modern-day equivalents of people like Badshah Khan as ‘illegal immigrants’, and the ‘all-India NRC’ which jeopardises the status of millions of Indians have energised a new moment of dissent. Read more…

THE RAM JANMABHOOMI-BABRI MASJID IMBROGLIO

Rakesh Shukla

 

On 9 November 2019, the Supreme Court of India held that the disputed Ayodhya site should be handed over to the Hindus in its entirety and directed the central government to construct a Ram temple on the site. The decision comes nearly 27 years after the destruction of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 by karsevaks, and more than a century of contestation. Read more…

VIOLENCE AS PARENTHESIS

Gopal Guru

 

The response of the central government and its supporters to the protests that were organised against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) has brought into focus the complex nature of violence. In the current context of the protests, there seems to be a few points that we need to take into consideration. The government, in its attempts to underscore the social importance of peace, seeks to condemn the act of violence. Read more…

STATEMENT BY MONTREAL ACADEMIC COMMUNITY AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY IN INDIA, CAA, NRC

We, the members of the Montreal academic community, stand in solidarity with students exercising their fundamental right to dissent and protest across India. Read more…

SOLIDARITY WITH PROTESTS IN INDIA FOR THE CONSTITUTION & FOR SECULARISM

Sunday 22nd December, Montreal

 

For a democratic, secular and inclusive India!! Read more…

EDITORIAL: AYODHYA VERDICT: MAJORITARIANISM MEETS THE MARKET

Vinod Mubayi

 

In retrospect, the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment on Ayodhya, despite its tortured logic, flawed reasoning and reliance on faith as a basis for resolution of legal claims, may come to be viewed in future as upholding a semblance of justice compared to what the Supreme Court ruled almost a decade later. Read more…

SAVARKAR

Kannan Srinivasan

 

Given that Savarkar’s portrait in Parliament is ritually garlanded, that Prime Minister Modi and the entire Sangh Parivar hold him in such reverence, clearly he is of great relevance today. I discuss Savarkar’s decision to turn from nationalist patriot terrorist to anti Muslim; his pathological focus on Muslims as the outsiders inside, who were foreign to India and must therefore be driven out or even as his hero Hitler had to the Jews, exterminated; the question of whether this could be called fascism. I conclude by seeing in Hindutva representation in the Congress Party. Read more…

“A LITTLE BRIEF AUTHORITY”: CHIEF JUSTICE RANJAN GOGOI AND THE RISE OF THE EXECUTIVE COURT

Gautam Bhatia

 

Ranjan Gogoi is no longer the Chief Justice of India.

 

There is much to write about today. But this post will follow precedent (unlike some of the major judgments delivered during the ex-Chief Justice’s tenure) and – like last year – focus on the law. Read more…

NOW THAT TITLE SUIT IS RESOLVED, CAN WE TALK ABOUT BABRI MASJID DEMOLITION CASE?

Mahtab Alam

 

On April 17 2017, in an extraordinary order concerning the Babri Masjid demolition case, the Supreme Court of India directed a sessions court in Lucknow to hold daily hearings and deliver a judgment within two years. Read more…

AYODHYA JUDGEMENT UNJUST: AN ASSAULT ON THE SECULAR FABRIC OF THE CONSTITUTION

National Association for Peoples’ Movements
13th Nov, 2019: The National Alliance of People’s Movements condemns the ‘unanimous’ verdict by the 5-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya matter. The judgement, instead of holding accountable before law all those who criminally demolished the 450 year old Babri Masjid has rewarded the violators. The judgement legitimizes majoritarianism and mobocracy and strikes at the very secular fabric of our Constitution. Full of contradictions, the verdict only pays sermons to the values of equality and fraternity, but ends up violating these very principles in its relief. Read more…

INDIA: INTIMATIONS OF AN ENDING

Arundhati Roy
While protest reverberates on the streets of Chile, Catalonia, Britain, France, Iraq, Lebanon, and Hong Kong, and a new generation rages against what has been done to their planet, I hope you will forgive me for speaking about a place where the street has been taken over by something quite different. Read more…

SRI LANKAN CRITICS FEAR A CRACKDOWN IS UNDERWAY, AND SOME FLEE

Maria Abi-Habib and Sameer Yasir
Fears of a potential crackdown on critics of the newly returned Rajapaksa political dynasty in Sri Lanka are rising just days after the election, as officials and journalists who investigated the Rajapaksas for human rights abuses and corruption began trying to flee the country, officials said. Read more…

EDITORIAL: KASHMIR – THREE MONTHS LATER

Editors

 

For the vast majority of the people of Kashmir, the agony continues with no end in sight. Dribs and drabs of the reduction of oppressive measures, like restoration of landline telephones that few people have, treated by the credulous Indian media as restoration of normalcy, cut little ice with the local populace; they are akin to the rolls of toilet paper that Trump tossed out to hungry and ailing Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. For many of the thousands arrested and even those subsequently released, their plight is becoming truly Orwellian. Read more…

TERM MOB LYNCHING COMES FROM BIBLE, SAYS MOHAN BHAGWAT

Vidya (India Today)

 

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat on Tuesday said that some incidents of violence such as lynchings were actually being branded to defame India, Hindu society and create fear among some communities. Read more…

HOW HATE WORKS

Rakesh Shukla

 

Commenting on the performance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Gujarat State Assembly elections in December 2017, where the incumbent party had barely managed a majority, journalist Revati Laul writes in her book The Anatomy of Hate, “In Gujarat, it seemed as if there was no more room for the hate to grow.” In the context of the massive victory for the BJP in the 2019 general elections – in Gujarat alone, the BJP won all 26 parliamentary seats – it is ironic to read Laul’s assessment – that they had gone “as far as they could”. Read more…

EU MPS IN KASHMIR – A DIPLOMATIC BLUNDER?

Seema Mustafa

 

NEW DELHI: Kashmir has indeed become a Pandora’s box that either the only very stupid or the very callous could open. And follow the decision not with acts of wisdom but the very opposite as is evident in the much touted visit of 23 European Union Parliamentarians to the Valley. That too after Indian MPs have not been allowed to take a step outside of the Srinagar airport, and requests by American Senators for such permission has been turned down. Not to speak of the United Nations and the foreign media. Read more…

IN PAKISTAN, FISHING VILLAGES ARE LOSING THEIR LIVELIHOODS AS THE INDUS DRIES UP

Akhtar Hafeez

 

The province of Sindh is grappling with an acute water shortage, a crisis which the government hopes to address through the construction of more dams along the Indus river. While fundraising for these megastructures continues in Pakistan, fisherman and delta communities along the river fear the worst, as they are transported back to 1991 when the Water Apportionment Accord between the country’s four provinces was inked – and when the fate of the fishing community was sealed. Read more…

SRI LANKA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: PAST IN THE PRESENT

R.K. Radhakrishnan

 

There were quite a few visitors at the world’s emptiest airport, the Chinese-built Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, just over 200 kilometres south of Colombo, on October 12, just like every other day. No scheduled commercial aircraft has operated from the airport for the past three years. The visitors, all local Sinhalese Sri Lankans, were there to experience the airport, built at a cost of over $200 million. Read more…

MANDATE FOR A STRONG OPPOSITION

EPW Editorial on Elections in Maharashtra and Haryana

 

Arrogance of power can be undermined by the reassertion of social contradictions.

 

The results of the assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana have punctured the myth of the invincibility of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Inflated claims made by its leaders regarding the huge number of seats have fallen flat as its tally has come down from the 2014 assembly results, and forming the government on its own has been reduced to a pipe dream. Read more…

HARD TIMES HAVE PAKISTANI HINDUS LOOKING TO INDIA, WHERE SOME FIND ONLY DISAPPOINTMENT

Maria Abi-Habib

 

JODHPUR, India — By the time an angry Muslim mob stormed the local Hindu school and ransacked an adjacent temple a few weeks ago, many members of Pakistan’s dwindling Hindu minority had already been wondering whether it was worth trying to stay in a country where they felt increasingly unsafe. Read more…

INDIAN ECONOMY HEADING TOWARDS DISASTER, ABHIJIT BANERJEE SAID DAYS BEFORE WINNING NOBEL

Remya Nair

 

New Delhi: India is “barreling down” the path to disaster with its decision to cut taxes for the rich and making unnecessary public investments that could “explode government debt”, economist Abhijit Banerjee said, days before being awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. Read more…

NUCLEAR DANGERS OF THE NAVAL KIND

Zia Mian, M V Ramana And A H Nayyar

 

 

In 2019, a new set of nuclear dangers emerged for Southasia. The growing danger was underscored during the military crisis between India and Pakistan in February 2019, when India put one or more of its nuclear submarines on “operational deployment mode.” During the crisis, the Pakistani Navy claimed to intercept an Indian submarine. No one has confirmed if this interception involved an Indian submarine carrying nuclear weapons. With India and Pakistan on an accelerated programme of acquiring and developing nuclear submarines, Southasia needs to pay urgent attention to the risks of nuclear accidents at sea. Read more…

EDITORIAL: LOCKDOWN DRAGS ON IN J&K

 

Vinod Mubayi

 

At the time of writing (September 25), Jammu & Kashmir remains in a locked down condition. There is no internet or mobile phone service over most of the state, there is an unending curfew for many inhabitants of major towns like Srinagar, the schools are largely closed, and thousands of political and business leaders in jail for no reason apart from the whims of the central government, i.e. the wishes of Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Shah, and National Security Adviser Doval, and the repressive security apparatus at their control. J&K, especially the Valley, is beginning to resemble a vast open-air jail on the lines of Gaza. Read more…

THOUSANDS PROTESTED OUTSIDE UNGA IN NEW YORK DURING NARENDRA MODI’S SPEECH

Though Modi has visited the United States six times since 2014, this is the first time his presence in the US has been met with such vociferous protests. Read more…

WHY WE, AS HINDU AMERICANS, ARE OPPOSED TO MODI’S UNDECLARED EMERGENCY

Raju Rajagopal and Sunita Viswanath

 

“Democracy, beloved husband of Truth, loving father of Liberty, brother of Faith, Hope and Justice, expired on June 26.” – Times of India classified advertisement, inserted surreptitiously just as the 1975 Emergency went into effect. Read more…

WOMEN’S VOICE: FACT FINDING REPORT ON KASHMIR

 

 

[Kindly note. To protect the identity of the people we met, all names in the Report have been changed. We have not named the villages we visited for the very same reason] Read more…

INDIA, PAKISTAN, KASHMIR: TAKING THE WAR OPTION OFF THE TABLE

Zia Mian, Abdul H. Nayyar, Sandeep Pandey, M. V. Ramana

 

On September 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York. This appearance will come at a time of great concern about the increasingly hostile relationship between their two countries. Read more…

JNUTA STRONGLY CONDEMNS HARASSMENT OF DR HANY BABU

JNUTA strongly condemns the illegal raid conducted by Pune Police at the Noida residence of Dr Hany Babu of the English Department, University of Delhi on September 10, 2019, allegedly in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. Read more…

THE SCRAPPING OF ARTICLES 370 AND 35A – THE STAND OF THE RADICAL SOCIALISTS GROUP

We, the Radical Socialists Group, resolutely and unequivocally oppose and condemn the effective abrogation of the fundamental meaning and purpose of Article 370 and the overturning of Article 35A. This was carried out through anti-democratic, unconstitutional legal manoeuvrings and accompanied by the deliberate armed intimidation of the people of Kashmir. What has taken place is dishonest and a fraud on both the letter and spirit of the relevant Constitutional provisions. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: NARRATING AN EPIC LIFE

Venu Madhav Govindu

 

Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914–1948 by Ramachandra Guha, Gurgaon: Penguin Allen Lane, 2018; pp xx + 1129, ? 999.

 

Ever since he came to dominate Indian public life a century ago, M K Gandhi has been a source of endless interest and fascination. He played a fundamental role in India’s freedom movement, and in turn, enabled the demise of the idea of empire. Read more…

TALL CLAIMS OF INDIA’S ‘GREAT CIVILISATION’ ARE HUMBUG

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

 

Two kids, who happened to be born in the Valmiki community, became victims of a deep rooted caste hatred which the caste Hindus have been nurturing since centuries. What was the fault of these kids? That they were Dalits, and that, too, of the community which is ‘supposed’ to keep the street, houses, ‘clean’. A community which has kept India clean, and carried the dirt of the caste Hindus for centuries, is not allowed to live a life with dignity. Most of the Valmiki bastis are out of sight for India’s politicians and officials. Not even the activists go to their place. Read more…

KASHMIR SWITCHED OFF

Basharat Ali, Iqbal Sonaullah And Mudasir Amin

 

It is the afternoon of 15 August 2019. We sit numb in our rented apartment in Delhi. While mainstream Indian media busies itself digging the wounds of Kashmir, barely any news has been allowed to escape the mountains since 5 August 2019. Read more…

RSS AGENDA, MAJORITARIANISM AND MODI’S FOOLS – PERFECT RECIPE FOR A CREEPING FASCISM

Vinod Mubayi

 

Modi, Shah and the rest of the BJP have made no secret of their desire to implement the RSS agenda after winning a second term by a large majority in the national elections last May. The main components of the RSS agenda include: a Uniform Civil Code, construction of a grand temple to Lord Ram at the site of the Babri mosque, destroyed by Hindutva vigilantes in 1992, in the town of Ayodhya, and the abolition of Article 370 of the Indian constitution that conferred a special status on the state of Jammu and Kashmir when it acceded to India. Progress is being made on fulfilling this agenda after six years of BJP rule. Read more…

MONTREALERS PROTEST ON 15TH AUGUST

Over 50 people, Montrealers of Indian origin along with friends and supporters gathered at Norman Bethune Square to mark this 73rd anniversary of India’s Independence in the darkest days of the country since 1947. Read more…

AMIT SHAH’S ‘HISTORY’

A.G. Noorani

 

The Sangh Parivar’s hatred of Jawaharlal Nehru is perfectly understandable. At the Partition of India he stood by Gandhi and bravely fought back the rising surge of hate fostered by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). The RSS supremo M.S. Golwalkar’s plans to exterminate Muslims were detected, as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, Rajeshwar Dayal, revealed in his memoirs, A Life in Our Time. Had he been arrested, as Dayal suggested, Gandhi’s life would have been spared. Read more…

ACCIDENTS, INJURIES, PANIC: SUDDEN NRC NOTICES PUSH ASSAMESE TO BRINK OF DESPERATION

Gaurav Das

 

Inside the surgical ward of the state-run Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Kabeluddin Rahman was sitting with his four-year-old daughter Kulsum on his lap. Visible on Kulsum’s small face were patches of bitumen, a material used for repairing roads. Read more…

THE SILENCE IS THE LOUDEST SOUND

Arundhati Roy

 

As India celebrates her 73rd year of independence from British rule, ragged children thread their way through traffic in Delhi, selling outsized national flags and souvenirs that say, “Mera Bharat Mahan.” My India is Great. Quite honestly, it’s hard to feel that way right now, because it looks very much as though our government has gone rogue. Read more…

KASHMIR: MODI’S DRACONIAN MEASURES WILL BE FOUGHT BY THE WORKING CLASS OF THE ENTIRE REGION

Adam Pal

 

Draconian measures by the Modi government regarding Kashmir have sent shockwaves across the whole region. On 5 August, the 70-year status of the disputed Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked by a presidential order. The existing constitutional arrangement was also revoked suddenly without any democratic process. Read more…

SPECIAL EDITION ON KASHMIR

WILL THE SUPREME COURT ALLOW BJP’S CONSTITUTIONAL COUP D’ETAT IN J&K TO STAND?

Editors

 

The INSAF Bulletin is published typically at the beginning of the month, but given the unrest in Kashmir that has blindsided many of us and represents a huge challenge to Indian democracy as well as prospects for peace in South Asia, we felt it appropriate to bring out a special issue on the topic. The articles in this bulletin pertain exclusively to the Kashmir problem, which was triggered by a unilateral and undemocratic action by the BJP government announced in Parliament by Home Minister Amit Shah on August 5, 2019. These actions included stripping Jammu and Kashmir of statehood, cutting internet communication, mobile and landline telephones across the state, abolishing article 370 that granted protection to Kashmiris, ratcheting up police and paramilitary forces in the region and arresting a wide swath of elected politicians who represented the population. Read more…

CONSTITUTION TORN TO SHREDS AS RSS INDULGES ARTICLE 370 FANTASY IN KASHMIR

Siddharth Varadarajan

 

Not only has Amit Shah stripped Article 370 of its essence, he has abolished the entire state as well, replacing it with two ‘Bantustans’ in which key decisions on issues like law and order and land will be taken from New Delhi. Read more…

AND KASHMIRIS SHALL IMMEDIATELY CEASE TO EXIST

Mohamad Junaid

 

The Indian government’s measures to bring Kashmir under direct rule by New Delhi attempts to erase the Kashmiri political identity and will inflame an already simmering resistance. Read more…

LAWS OF OCCUPATION

Asad Rahim Khan

 

“WHEN I think of India, I think of many things,” Jawaharlal Nehru wrote once. “Of … some mountain valley in Kashmir in the spring, covered with new flowers, and with a brook bubbling and gurgling through it.” In words that take on a new meaning today, Nehru concluded, “We make and preserve the pictures of our choice.” It suited India’s first prime minister, a Kashmiri Pandit, to preserve that picture, even if it meant occupation. Read more…

J&K SPECIAL STATUS: HOW THE MODI GOVERNMENT USED ARTICLE 370 TO KILL ARTICLE 370

Sruthisagar Yamunan

 

Scrapping Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was an election promise of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Article grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, which basically meant laws enacted by Parliament could not be enforced in the state without the approval of its government. Read more…

ARTICLE 370 OF THE CONSTITUTION: A GENESIS

Jai Shankar Agarwala

 

A brief history of why Article 370 of the Constitution was framed in a certain manner and the importance of the text of the Article from the viewpoint of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Read more…

INDIA REVOKES KASHMIR’S SPECIAL STATUS, RAISING FEARS OF UNREST

Jeffrey Gettleman and Sameer Yasir

 

NEW DELHI — The Indian government said on Monday that it was revoking a constitutional provision that had for decades given a unique degree of autonomy to Kashmir, a disputed mountainous region along the India-Pakistan border. Read more…

WHAT IS ARTICLE 370, AND WHY DOES IT MATTER IN KASHMIR?

Vindu Goel

 

Kashmir, a mountainous valley that borders Pakistan and India, has been a center of conflict between the two nuclear-armed countries since the 1947 partition of British India. Read more…

INDIA REVOKES OCCUPIED KASHMIR’S SPECIAL AUTONOMY THROUGH RUSHED PRESIDENTIAL DECREE

(Unsigned report from Dawn)

 

With an indefinite security lockdown in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) and elected representatives under house arrest, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order on Monday. Read more…

BJP WANTS TO REVOKE ARTICLE 370, IRONICALLY SARDAR PATEL WAS ITS ARCHITECT

Srinath Raghavan

 

Until late 1947, Patel was open to Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan if Pakistanis would tell Nizam of Hyderabad to join India. Read more…

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE A TERRORIST!

G. Sampath

 

I’ve spent the last few weeks reading about life in prison. I must say it’s time well spent. Advance preparation always helps. Tomorrow I could be carted off to jail. So could you. Read more…

THE ARTICLE 370 AMENDMENTS: KEY LEGAL ISSUES

Gautam Bhatia

 

In this post, I will attempt to break down the constitutional changes to Article 370, and highlight some key legal issues surrounding them. In essence, to understand what has happened today, there are three important documents. Read more…

KASHMIR: MODI’S ‘BANGLADESH MOMENT’?

Satya Sagar

 

If any confirmation was needed Narendra Modi is determined to cast himself as a carbon copy of Indira Gandhi- albeit one with a venomous, communal edge – you need not look further than his latest Kashmir gamble. Read more…

CURRENT PARADIGM SHIFT IN J&K IS IN TUNE WITH THE STEADY CENTRALISATION OF THE STATE SINCE 2014

Christophe Jaffrelot |

 

The two trends — obliteration of cultural differences and state centralisation — that are well illustrated by the way J&K has been dealt with, may impact policies vis-à-vis other states and other domains. For instance, Hindi may be promoted at the expense of linguistic diversity more decisively. Read more…

AUGUST 7: NATIONAL PROTEST DAY AGAINST ABROGATION OF ARTICLE 370

Sabrangindia

 

Move an “assault on India’s Constitution, democracy and federalism” Read more…

EDITORIAL: INDIA ON THE EVE OF 73rd YEAR OF INDEPENDENCE

Vinod Mubayi

 

On the eve of its 73rd birthday, India offers glimpses of a society repudiating the promise made at its birth of a secular state with freedom and liberty for all that respected the ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity of the country. While the formal trappings of constitutional democracy exist, majoritarian politics based largely on a nakedly political use of religious identity is hollowing out the core elements of democracy; the pace has accelerated after the April-May 2019 election led to a second term for Modi and the BJP with an enhanced majority in Parliament. Read more…

BUDGET: MORE OF THE DISMAL SAME

Prabhat Patnaik

 

The most obvious exogenous element that could have been introduced to break out of this pro-cyclicality is a wealth tax, at least on the billionaires of the country, whose wealth is estimated at present to be around Rs 560 lakh crore. Read more…

ONE BUFFALO, THAT’S ALL IT TAKES TO MAKE US BUTCHERS OF FELLOW CITIZENS

Dev Raj

 

Police say: In the early hours of Friday, July 19, three men from Paigambarpur village — Naushad Qureshi, 40, Raju Nat, 40, and Videsh Nat, 20 — were lynched in Pithauri Nandlal Tola, 10km away, in Saran district, 95km northwest of Patna. Read more…

A NEW CAST — BY ELEVATING D RAJA TO THE POST OF GENERAL SECRETARY, CPI MAKES HISTORY

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

 

The elevation of D Raja to General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) is a historic step. Raja is not only a well-known national communist leader but also a Dalit leader who rose to the status of a seasoned communist, theoretician and inspirational figure. Ever since the pro and anti-Mandal movements changed the course of Indian politics, Raja has been the only communist leader from within the left parties to negotiate between Dalit-Bahujans and communists as a authentic voice. Read more…

FROM ACHHUT KANYA IN 1936 TO ARTICLE 15, HOW INDIAN CINEMA HAS DEALT WITH CASTE

Seema Chishti

 

Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit (1939) is a rendition of a poem on racism in a time when lynching of Black men was common in America. More recently, rapper Kanye West used it in his album Yeezus (2013), the haunting lyrics speaking of strung-up bodies of Blacks lynched for acting above or outside their station and breaking the harsh code of the times: Southern trees bear a strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Read more…

MOB LYNCHING AND THE INDIAN STATE

Irfan Engineer

 

Please see video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcr8QTPM9Io&feature=youtu.be

ARUNDHATI ROY ON INDIA’S ELECTIONS: “A MOCKERY OF WHAT DEMOCRACY IS SUPPOSED TO BE”

Interview by Samuel Earle in The New Republic

 

“In India,” Arundhati Roy wrote in 2002, “if you are a butcher or a genocidist who happens to be a politician, you have every reason to be optimistic.” Roy was referring to Narendra Modi, the then-chief minister of Gujarat who had been implicated in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state that killed at least 1,000 people. Read more…

ARUN KUMAR ROY: AN INDOMITABLE MARXIST IDEOLOGUE WHO BEACONED THE JHARKHAND MOVEMENT

Saurav Kumar

 

21st July brought a big shocker to the Indian politics at whole and Indian Left in particular in the form of the loss of a veteran communist leader, Arun Kumar Roy alias A.K.Roy and famously known as “Rai Da” among the masses of Jharkhand. His reminiscence in the minds of millions is imbibed firstly as someone who throttled the fight against oppressors who tried capturing rights of the people of Jharkhand. Read more…

LETTER FROM KARACHI: FOR A PLACE IN THE SHADE

Kevin Shi
In Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, the sun is an ever-present force, sometimes making it hard to even be outside. Every summer, the city suffers from heat waves causing dozens if not hundreds of deaths each year. Residents and medical personnel recall shocking scenes during the heat wave of 2015, when temperatures rose beyond 45ºC and over 1300 people died as a result. The city’s biggest morgue had to turn away bodies and cemeteries ran out of space to bury the dead. Read more…

50 PEOPLE DIED CLEANING SEWERS IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2019

The Wire Staff

 

Data collated by the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) reveals that at least 50 persons have died cleaning sewers in the first six months of 2019 alone. Read more…

INDIA: 49 INTELLECTUALS WRITE TO PM MODI, CONDEMNS LYNCHING OF MINORITIES

Telesur

 

“About 90% of those attacks were reported after May 2014 when your government assumed power nationally,” the signatories wrote. Read more…

MIYAH POETRY: HOW DO BESIEGED COMMUNITIES RESPOND?

Ram Puniyani

 

A FIR was registered against 10 Assamese poets (July 10, 2019). These poets mostly Muslims; have been pioneers and are leading lights of what has come to be known as Miyah Poetry. One sample, by the initiator of this trend; Hafiz Ahmed goes like this: Read more…

MAN AND THE MOVEMENT – RAJA DHALE’S WORDS AND WORK STIRRED SLEEPING SOULS, GAVE EXPRESSION TO SIMMERING DALIT ANGER

Suraj Yengde

 

Raja Dhale died on July 16 in Mumbai due to a heart attack, his family reported. He was 78 years old. Read more…

MY FRIEND, FIROZ ASHRAF

Vrijendra

 

In the late evening of June 8, 2019, Firoz Ashraf died in a freak accident outside his home in Jogeshwari when he was crossing the road. It is more than a month since he died, and many memorial meetings have been held to mourn his death, to celebrate his life, to remember him and to try to find out who will and how would fit in the large void he has left behind in so many, especially, young lives of so many Muslim girls for whom he was, to use an old but apt cliché, a saviour! In the last one month, I have also thought about him more than ever. Read more…

BITING MY TONGUE: WHAT HINDI KEEPS HIDDEN

Sagar
I was born into Hindi, and brought up in it. It was the language of my parents and siblings, my cousins and friends, all our neighbours in the Dalit ghetto in the small town in Bihar where I spent my childhood. It is still the only language I use with them. I studied for ten years in a Hindi-medium school that followed the curriculum of the Bihar state board. Read more…

EDITORIAL: HECKLING IN PARLIAMENT, LYNCHINGS IN THE STREETS: INDIA’S NEW GOVERNMENT HITS THE GROUND RUNNING

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

On the 19th of June 2019, India’s 17th parliament was sworn in by the speaker of the Lok Sabha. Muslims and Dalit leaders who took the oath were taunted incessantly by members of the ruling BJP in a naked act of intimidation. Troubled times could not have been announced more presciently. Read more…

HOW THE NATIONALISM OF INDIA’S ANTI-COLONIAL STRUGGLE DIFFERS FROM HINDUTVA AND WHY IT MATTERS TODAY

Prabhat Patnaik

 

The concept of nationalism that informed India’s anti-colonial struggle was a unique and unprecedented idea. There were at least three ways in which it was the very opposite of the concept of nationalism developed in Europe in the wake of the Westphalian peace treaties in the 17th century. Read more…

POPULISM PLUS

Partha Chatterjee

 

The Narendra Modi triumph has been built on two projects: one, the representation of Modi as the unquestioned populist leader who could be trusted to defend the nation’s security, and two, the long-term project of a nationalism defined by the Hindu majority. Read more…

WHAT DID INDIA REALLY VOTE FOR?

Vamsi Vakulabharanam and Sripad Motiram

 

The recently concluded election produced a puzzling outcome. During the tenure of the National Democratic Alliance government (NDA-II), the Indian economy significantly under-performed, heightening the distress of millions of farmers, raising unemployment and increasing the insecurity of workers in the informal sector. Read more…

MODI WON POWER, NOT THE BATTLE OF IDEAS

Amartya Sen

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has led his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a major victory in the country’s general elections, winning more than 300 of the 543 parliamentary seats and five more years to run the country. Read more…

MOB LYNCHING AND THE INDIAN STATE

Irfan Engineer

 

Please see video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcr8QTPM9Io&feature=youtu.be Read more…

THE SPECTRE OF FOREIGNNESS

Harsh Mander

 

Extending the concept of foreigners tribunals from Assam to rest of India will result in an upheaval that will stir memories of Partition. Read more…

OF MANGOES, MOSQUES AND MUSLIMS : A TALE OF UNCHEYGAON, MY VILLAGE

Syed Areesh Ahmad

 

Politics is writ large on the landscape of Uncheygaon whether people talk about it or not. It is there in the graveyards that the Akhilesh government built, or the toilets, the izzat ghars, that the Modi government constructed. But I sensed that there has been a general apathy regarding politics in the muslim community of the village since the rise of Modi. Read more…

AUTHORITIES MUST ENSURE SAFETY OF DR. PUNIYANI, WHO HAS BEEN A STRONG SECULAR VOICE AND CRUSADER FOR COMMUNAL HARMONY

Courtesy SACW

 

Civil Society strongly condemns the criminal intimidation and threats made to noted scholar and ant-communalism activist Dr. Ram Puniyani and demand speedy and thorough investigation into the crime. Read more…

TO SANJIV BHATT, A MAN WHO DISPLAYED THE HIGHEST COURAGE

Harsh Mander

 

Dear Sanjiv,

 

I don’t know whether you will get to read this letter, and if so when. Possibly your indomitable life partner Shweta Bhatt will carry a copy to you when she goes next to meet you in prison. But she has, at this moment, so much to fight and cope with, she may well forget the trivial matter of this letter. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW:  LABOUR IN THE INDIAN ECONOMY

Jayan Jose Thomas

 

Labour and Development: Essays in Honour of Professor T S Papola edited by K P Kannan, Rajendra P Mamgain and Preet Rustagi, New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2017; pp 722, ? 1,495 (hardcover). Read more…

EDITORIAL: THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME

Vinod Mubayi

 

In the wake of the recently concluded 2019 elections India has been dubbed a “majoritarian democracy”. In the near future, it is very likely that more emphasis will be placed on “majoritarian” and less on democracy. The essence of Indian democracy so far has consisted of adherence, no matter how flawed in practice, to the liberal, secular Indian constitution with its promise of equal rights for all, including minorities. Read more…

LET NOT TRUTHS REMAIN TONGUELESS

Badri Raina

 

Athens feared the cloutless Socrates,

Because he said what he had to say;

He drank the hemlock cheerfully,

And Athens is known by him today. Read more…

VIJAYI MODI? YES. VIJAYI BHARAT? NOT ON YOUR LIFE

Siddharth Varadarajan

 

The election results show Modi has overcome his poor track record in office, but the fact that he has done so with a heady cocktail of communalism and nationalism, obscene amounts of money, unstinting media support and pliant institutions is bad news for Indian democracy. Read more…

THE NEW INDIAN ELECTION: FREE BUT NOT FAIR

Mukulika Banerjee

 

This 2019 national election in India is nothing like the one before it in 2014. There is something fundamentally different about it, even though it is superficially familiar. The vocabulary is the same, but the grammar has changed. Read more…

ECHOES OF PAKISTAN IN INDIAN POLLS

Pervez Hoodbhoy

 

It was once common wisdom that India had succeeded in developing a viable form of Westminster-style parliamentary democracy whereas Pakistan had failed. Pakistan has indeed suffered a succession of military governments interspersed with periods of nominally civilian rule; as such, it is not a model worthy of emulation. But the rise of Hindutva politics has taken away the starkness of earlier comparisons. Read more…

DEMOCRACY AS MAJORITARIANISM

Subhash Gatade

 

Subhash Gatade’s Hinduta’s Second Coming deals with the question of normalisation of majoritarianism which India is currently witnessing. The book is divided into three sections. Read more…

A SAVAGE SUMMER, A MERCILESS DROUGHT

Harsh Mander

 

After a long, harrowing drought, you wait with aching, desperate hope for the monsoon rains. You expect it will quench your parched arid fields, it will heal your land, feed your starving cattle, your skinny children, and restore them all to life. But when its time comes, you stare at the sky and find that there are no rain clouds, only a pitiless burning sun. You slowly realise with foreboding that there will be no life-giving rain, that you need to brace and fortify yourself, to endure an even longer, more savage summer, and a merciless drought. Read more…

WHY THE BJP’S HINDUTVA EXPERIMENT FAILED IN KERALA

Anoop Sadanandan

 

This election cycle, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kerala followed the standard protocol to replicate the Hindutva experiment that had catalysed the party’s rapid rise in the north. By the book, the party pivoted its campaign on a temple issue. Read more…

A COLLECTIVE MADNESS: WHAT MODI’S VICTORY SAYS ABOUT TODAY’S INDIA

Namit Arora

 

In Varanasi recently, I took an auto-rickshaw from Godowlia to Assi Ghat. Like everyone else in town, the driver and I began talking politics. The 2019 general election was a week away and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seeking reelection from Varanasi. The driver was an ardent Modi fan and would hear no criticism of him. Read more…

EXPLAINING NARENDRA MODI’S GLOBAL IMAGE VICTORY

Arjun Appadorai

 

It is highly likely that Narendra Modi will be handed another term as prime minister on May 23, even if the Bharatiya Janata Party takes a few losses here and there. If, by some unlikely chance, he loses, he has already established a global presence as a bold, imaginative and popular leader, a tribute to the democratic voice of India’s people. Read more…

MORE THAN EVMS, IT IS ‘THE HINDU MIND’ WHICH HAS BEEN EFFECTIVELY RIGGED

Apoorvanand

 

Modi has become confident that the Hindu mind has been vulgarised and become so spiritually hollow that even a crudity like his Kedarnath yatra can pass off as a religious expedition. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: MAKING ECONOMICS MORE ACCESSIBLE

Rahul De

 

Economics of Real-Life: A New Exposition by C T Kurien, New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2018; pp 249, ? 995 (hardcover). Read more…

INSAF Bulletin strongly condemns the suicide bombings in Sri Lanka that took the lives of hundreds of innocent people, mainly Christians celebrating Easter and offers its sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

EDITORIAL: ELECTION CHICANERY, AND INDO-PAK PEACE – SOME REFLECTIONS

Vinod Mubayi

 

Two phases of the more than month long Indian elections are over with several still to come before the results are finally declared late next month. Read more…

BEYOND ELECTORAL BONDS

EPW Editorial

 

Electoral reforms should look beyond “anonymity of donors” to make a real difference. Read more…

OPINION: ON BALAKOT AND AFTER, REAL MYSTERY IS HOW THE INDIAN RESPONSE HAS BEEN TOUTED AS A TRIUMPH

Girish Shahane

 

We desperately need details countering the international narrative that is building steadily claiming that the Balakot mission was a failure. Read more…

THE CONTINUING CRUCIFIXION OF AMARTYA SEN

Santosh Paul

 

An article has surfaced under the title ‘Strange Saga of Amartya Sen and the Rothschilds’ by the author Arvind Kumar. The title is obviously meant to conjure up the latent anti-Semitic sentiment against a time tested goblin – the Jewish global financial conspiracy. This harangue is published in an online newspaper called Sunday Guardian. Read more…

THE MASSACRE THAT LED TO THE END OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE

Gyan Prakash

 

The events at Jallianwala Bagh, in the Indian city of Amritsar, marked the beginning of the resistance against colonial governance. Read more…

THE GOVERNANCE DASHBOARD: THE BJP REGIME AND ITS PROMISES

Vamsi Vakulabharanam and Sripad Motiram

 

The current regime has failed to deliver on its promises of development and clean government. Read more…

THE TRUE STATE OF DEVELOPMENT

Rahul Menon

 

A Quantum Leap in the Wrong Direction? edited by Rohit Azad, Shouvik Chakraborty, Srinivasan Ramani and Dipa Sinha, Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2019; pp 315, 495. Read more…

PAKISTAN TO RELEASE 360 INDIAN PRISONERS AS TENSIONS EASE

Syed Raza Hassan

 

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan will release 360 Indian prisoners this month, the foreign office said on Friday, as the nuclear-armed neighbours scale back from a confrontation that prompted world powers to urge restraint. Read more…

IN DETAIL: ACCESS TO FACILITIES FOR WOMEN EXPERIENCING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Shireen J Jejeebhoy and  K G Santhya

 

In India, 29% of women aged 15–49 have experienced marital violence. Although crisis centres, known as helplines, exist to support those who experience violence, little is known about the experiences of women who use these services. Read more…

EDITORIAL: MAJORITARIANISM – MALADY OF OUR TIME

Vinod Mubayi

 

The recent release of all the accused Hindutva terrorists by Indian courts in the Samjhauta Express bombing case that killed 68 persons including 44 Pakistani citizens, following the fizzling out of similar prosecutions in the bombings of Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid or Malegaon’s Idgah shows quite convincingly that  under its present political dispensation, India is unable (or unwilling) to procure justice for the victims of violent acts when these are committed by actors owing allegiance to Hindutva ideals. Read more…

ATTACK ON PROFESSOR RAM PUNIYANI

Editors’ Note: The noted secular humanist Dr Ram Puniyani, who is also a contributing editor of Insaf Bulletin, was harassed at his residence in Mumbai on March 9 by three men claiming to be from the CID. The statement below protesting this treatment and the suspicious circumstances in which it occurred while asking the Mumbai police to investigate it, was signed by many eminent Indians. Insaf Bulletin adds its voice to theirs. Read more…

APPEAL TO NON-BJP OPPOSITION PARTIES REGARDING 2019 ELECTIONS

The coming 2019 may prove to be a watershed in India’s political history, as were the 1977 elections forty-two years ago. In 1977, elections were held after a declared Emergency, during which the Constitution was suspended, political activity disallowed and opposition leaders and activists imprisoned. The success of non-Congress parties in those elections strengthened the electoral system in Indian democracy. Since then all ruling parties losing elections have demitted office gracefully, rather than attempting to subvert the popular mandate. Read more…

IN UTTAR PRADESH, LAW IS MISUSED TO TARGET MINORITIES

Christophe Jaffrelot, Syed H A Rizvi

 

Patterns of communal violence are changing in Uttar Pradesh. As Sudha Pai and Sajjan Kumar had shown in Everyday Communalism: Riots in Contemporary Uttar Pradesh (OUP, 2018) after the 2004 BJP defeat, which former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, partly attributed to the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Hindutva forces have opted for a new modus operandi. Read more…

WHO ARE THE FREE RIDERS OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY?

EPW Editorial

 

The NDA’s refusal to engage in argumentative politics results in the violation of democratic norms. Read more…

BANGLADESH: INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND PROTESTING

Sushmita S Preetha

 

In December 2018 and January 2019, workers from Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) industry went on spontaneous mass protests and strikes around major industrial belts in Dhaka. They were agitating against what they deemed insufficient wage increases, announced by a government-appointed wage board in September 2018, that would go into effect three months later. Garment-factory owners and the Bangladesh government responded with a tried and tested strategy: repression and attack. Read more…

LEFT-LIBERALS DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND RIGHT-WING POPULISM – AND HAVE NO EFFECTIVE WAY TO COUNTER IT

Ajaz Ashraf

 

Populism succeeds because of a nation’s social psychology, which the left-liberal rarely takes into account. Read more…

INDIA, PAKISTAN BEGIN TALKS ON KARTARPUR CORRIDOR AMID CHILL OVER PULWAMA ATTACK

PTI

 

Attari (Amritsar): A meeting between officials of India and Pakistan to finalise the modalities for setting up of a corridor linking the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in the Pakistani town of Kartarpur with Gurdaspur district in Punjab commenced here on Thursday, officials said. Read more…

PAKISTAN: AURAT MARCH AND ITS DISCONTENTS

Neelum Hussain

 

Mainstream Pakistan is shocked by the slogans of Aurat March. A nation that is characterised by its free use of sexual abuse that not only targets women with explicit reference to their sexual body parts, but does so with impunity, is shocked by women’s demand for bodily integrity and safety. Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: CAPITALISM, SOCIALISM, AND THE TRANSITION FROM ONE TO THE OTHER

Rohini Hensman

 

Socialism and Commodity Production: Essay in Marx Revival by Paresh Chattopadhyay, Leiden, and Boston: Brill, 2018. Read more…

EDITORIAL: PULWAMA POSTURINGS

Vinod Mubayi

 

In a time of hyper-nationalism, reason and rational thinking go out the window to be replaced by chest thumping, calls for surgical strikes and revenge. The Pulwama episode reveals these features in gory detail. Indian TV anchors screaming like demented hyenas smelling blood if a guest dares to offer the mildest critique of the Government’s policies in Kashmir. Lynch mobs roaming the streets in many states outside Kashmir threatening and intimidating students of Kashmiri origin and forcing them out of their schools, colleges and hostels. Read more…

PEACE NOT WAR — HIGH ALERT/ YOUR PARTICIPATION IS URGENTLY NEEDED!

The following is the text of a petition urging for peace. It is followed by the links that may be used to sign on. Read more…

PULWAMA AND AFTER

Venkitesh Ramakrishnan

 

“If we are to defeat terrorism, it is our duty, and indeed our interest, to try to understand this deadly phenomenon, and carefully to examine what works, and what does not, in fighting it,” said Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace laureate and Secretary General at the time of the United Nations, at “Fighting Terrorism for Humanity: A Conference on the Roots of Evil” on September 22, 2003. Read more…

COVERING UP THE RAFALE TRAIL

EPW Editorial

 

In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha general election, the Rafale issue has galvanised the opposition parties, which are seeking to force Anil Ambani and the government to take responsibility for the irregularities surrounding the deal. On the other hand, spokespersons of the government are making every effort to disentangle it from these irregularities. However, recent revelations have embroiled the government further in the controversy, which reeks of corruption and malfeasance. Read more…

DECLARATION: MAHARASHTRA STATE CONVENTION OF WORKERS: DEFEAT THE ANTI-WORKER MODI GOVERNMENT

The Kamgar Sangathana Samyukta Kruti Samiti, Maharashtra, is  holding today the Maharashtra State Convention of Workers in continuation of the chain of its consistent agitation programmes – three day mahapadav at Delhi on 9th-10th-11th November , 2017 , January 6th  2018 Nashik convention and campaign, and the historic two day All India Strike on 8th, 9th January 2019. Read more…

WE NEED UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME AS JOBS SHRINK

Aakar Patel

 

The government’s announcement of a scheme to give small farmers Rs 6,000 cash per year is seen as a brilliant move that will reap political benefit in May. The scheme, announced in the budget, comes after two other developments. First, a report that the government has suppressed which says that unemployment is at its highest in more than 45 years. Second, that the Congress president Rahul Gandhi is talking of a minimum income guarantee. Read more…

LAW VERSUS FAITH, FEMALE ACTIVISTS VERSUS MALE DEVOTEES AND OTHER STRANGE CREATURES AT SABARIMALA

Nivedita Menon

 

The three images below teach us how society is transformed – by the courage and determination of the oppressed and marginalized; by tears of rage, and by stony cold resistance in the face of violent retaliation by entrenched power.  It is not that these pioneers were fearless, but that they acted despite their fear. Read more…

INDIAN AUTHORITIES FAILED TO STOP ‘COW VIGILANTE’ VIOLENCE: REPORT

Helen Regan and Swati Gupta

 

Cow vigilante crimes in India have been ignored or covered up by the authorities, according to a new report. Read more…

EDITORIAL: CLASSISM, CASTEISM, SEMI-FASCISM AND THE POLITICAL USE OF RELIGION

Vinod Mubayi

 

Classism

At its inception, Modi’s regime bragged about the Gujarat model of economic development that, in its view, would transform the Indian economy. Mesmerized by the advertising glitz of the BJP, supported to the hilt financially by all the leading lights of Indian capitalism, the Ambanis and the Adanis, the Indian middle class succumbed to Modi’s rhetoric and rewarded his party with an unprecedented victory in the national elections. Read more…

‘I AM DEVASTATED BY THE PROSPECT OF IMMINENT ARREST’

Anand Teltumbde

 

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to quash the first information report filed by the Pune Police against civil rights activist and respected author Anand Teltumbde in connection with the violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018. Read more…

WHO’S AFRAID OF ANAND TELTUMBDE?

N. Balmurli

 

Dr. Anand Teltumbde has demonstrated tremendous courage in departing from the hero-worshipping style of approaching the historical personalities, which is so rampant and so universal in our country. Read more…

THE 10% RESERVATION IS A CYNICAL FRAUD ON THE CONSTITUTION

Partha Chatterjee

 

Barely two days after it sprang the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill on an unsuspecting Indian nation, the government managed to get it passed, virtually unanimously, in both houses of parliament. Days later, it was signed into constitutional law. Read more…

THE MALIGN INCOMPETENCE OF THE BRITISH RULING CLASS

Pankaj Mishra

 

With Brexit, the chumocrats who drew borders from India to Ireland are getting a taste of their own medicine. Read more…

NEW SOCIALIST INITIATIVE’S (NSI) STATEMENT ON THE PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE AGAINST THE CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT BILL 

New Socialist Initiative stands in solidarity with the people of Assam, Tripura and the other North Eastern states in their heroic struggle against the communally motivated Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). It was only because of the resistance of the people that the government couldn’t table the Bill for voting in the Rajya Sabha after surreptitiously passing it in the Lok Sabha. Read more…

STATEMENT REFUTING FALSE ALLEGATIONS ON APSC AND IN SOLIDARITY WITH DR. ANAND TELTUMBDE

Karthik Navayan Battula

 

We pledge our strong support and solidarity to Prof. Anand Teltumbde who is facing an imminent threat of arrest in connection with the Bhima Koregaon incident on January 1, 2018, an event he has not even attended. Read more…

THE GROUND BENEATH OUR FEET HAS MOVED TO THE RIGHT

Nissim Mannathukkaren

 

Hate has become mainstream. This can only change when democracy is no longer equated with majoritarianism. Read more…

POLITICS OF CONTEMPT?

EPW Editorial

 

Members of the BJP have been losing their grip on the 2019 election as well as on their tongues. Read more…

PAKISTAN’S MISSING #METOO MOVEMENT

Hafsa Khawaja

 

As the #MeToo movement gathers momentum across various parts of the world, Pakistan remains largely unaffected by it. Far from making waves, the social-media-driven movement has hardly made ripples in the country. Read more…

OBITUARY: Mrinal Sen, One Of India’s Leading Directors, Dies At 95

Neil Genzlinger

 

Mrinal Sen, one of India’s leading filmmakers and a central figure in the movement known as parallel cinema, a socially conscious alternative to splashy Bollywood films, died on Dec. 30 at his home in Kolkata, India. He was 95. Read more…

EDITORIAL: INSAF TURNS 200

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

The results of the 5 state elections in India declared yesterday brought to mind a line from Faiz: “Roshan kahin bahar ke imkaan hue to hain” (Some possibilities of spring have emerged). Only possibilities, mind you. Bigger, sterner tests lie ahead. Read more…

ALARM BELLS FOR BJP: CONGRESS TAKES BIG STRIDES, MODI MAGIC WANING BUT STILL FORMIDABLE FOR 2019 POLLS

Nalin Mehta

 

In an election bookended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Congress “ki kaun si vidhwa hai” jibe on the one hand and Rahul Gandhi’s “chaukidar chor hai” slogan on the other, there are larger portents for the 2019 general election. Read more…

RAFALE CONTROVERSY: SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT AMONGST WORST EVER?

Sukla Sen

 

Judgement Sparks Controversy

 

The judgement delivered by the Supreme Court on December 14th, has already attracted a hell lot of controversy. Read more…

ALTERNATIVE SECULAR GOVT TO BE FORMED AT CENTRE POST 2019 LOK SABHA POLLS: SITARAM YECHURY

PTI

 

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury Monday claimed that a secular, alternative government will be formed at the Centre after the general elections in 2019. 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…

LETTER FROM AMERICA: HINDUTVA IN CHICAGO

Slok Gyawali

 

Were it not for the statuette of a cow outside the adjoining Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse, it would be impossible to distinguish the Westin Hotel in Lombard from other high-rises across Chicago’s suburban sprawl. Read more…

SABARIMALA PROTEST

O B Roopesh

 

On 28 September 2018, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on women’s entry (between the ages of 10 and 50) to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala. Women’s entry was banned in 1991 by the Kerala High Court (S Mahendran v The Secretary, Travancore 1991). Read more…

INDEFINITE STRIKE BY BIHAR’S ASHA WORKERS IS ANOTHER REMINDER THAT THEY ARE OVERWORKED, UNDERPAID

Kavita Krishnan

 

Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHA workers in Bihar went on an indefinite strike from December 1 with a 12-point charter of demands. Bihar has 93,687 ASHA workers – the second highest contingent of the one million ASHA workers in India. Read more…

WHAT IS MISSING IN THE #METOO MOVEMENT?

Ditilekha Sharma

 

How can we talk about sexual harassment in the context of a sex-negative atmosphere where conversations around sex and sexuality are considered taboo? Read more…

PAKISTAN’S ‘GOOD’ AND ‘BAD’ FEMINISMS

Amna Chaudhry

 

Transgressing Boundaries, an art installation by Karachi-based artist Nisha Pinjani, depicts several women in various positions all tied together by their hair. A thick black braid grows out of each woman’s head and proceeds to get in every woman’s way. Read more…

INDIA’S DANGEROUS NEW CURRICULUM

Alex Traub

 

From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, the Mughal Empire did much to create modern-day India. It consolidated the country into a sovereign political unit, established a secular tradition in law and administration, and built monuments such as the Taj Mahal. Read more…

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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