The Lynching in West Bengal that didn’t Make too Many Headlines in 2017

The Lynching in West Bengal that didn’t Make too Many Headlines in 2017

Here is a ground report from Durgapur and Islampur. In June 2017, three Muslims were killed by a frenetic Hindu mob near the Chopra police station in Durgapur. They killed three Muslim men from Islampur: Mohammed Nasiruddin, Nasirul Haque and Mohammed Samiruddin. Along with Harsh Mander, John Dayal, and others from Karwaan-e-Mohabbat, we met Ashin…

गौरी

गौरी

(गौरी लंकेश यांच्या प्रथम स्मृती दिनानिमित्त) तू, तुझ्या प्रचंड दिव्यांचा झोत टाकत राहिलीस शांतपणे… शांतीसाठी, तुझ्या माझ्या नि इतरांच्या. मी माझी मूठ आवळतो तुझ्या दिव्यापाठीमागे. माहीत आहे… हिंसेचा पूर व्यवस्थित निर्माण केला जातोय. तुझी आर्तता, मृदुता, सहनशिलता, संयम होता भविष्यात येणाऱ्या अंधूक शक्यतांसाठी ; प्रकाशात परावर्तीत होण्याच्या झोक्यांचा तुला अदमास होता. तू, त्या स्वप्नांसाठी झटत…

My Sister, My Soulmate

My Sister, My Soulmate

Gauri Lankesh fearlessly spoke truth to power. She stood up against injustice and discrimination. She strived for communal harmony until her dying breath. On the occasion of Gauri Lankesh’s birth anniversary, we are publishing a heart breakingly beautiful tribute by her sister Kavita.     She raved, she ranted, Many times she burst out…. Uppercaste…

The First Ever People’s Literature Festival

The First Ever People’s Literature Festival

  The first Jan Sahitya Parv (People’s Literature Festival), organised by the Saajha Sanskritik Morcha, a joint cultural forum backed by Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML), and various other people’s organisations, took place in Jaipur on 24 and 25 January, 2018. The festival kicked off with a mashaal-juloos,…

Gauri Lankesh’s 56th Birth Anniversary Celebrated as “Gauri Day” in Bengaluru

Gauri Lankesh’s 56th Birth Anniversary Celebrated as “Gauri Day” in Bengaluru

  "Gauri Day", the commemoration of the 56th birth anniversary of journalist- activist Gauri Lankesh was organised in Bengaluru on Monday. Actor Prakash Raj, Freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, JNU student leaders – Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid, Umar Khalid, ‘Iron Lady’ Irom Sharmila, Gauri Lankesh's sister Kavita Lankesh were among…

अरुणा रॉय : कहानियों, नाटकों और गानों के ज़रिये करें जनवादी राजनीति का प्रचार

अरुणा रॉय : कहानियों, नाटकों और गानों के ज़रिये करें जनवादी राजनीति का प्रचार

जयपुर में आयोजित जन साहित्य पर्व में बात करते हुए सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता अरुणा रॉय ने इस सरकार द्वारा तर्कसंगत सोच पर हो रहे हमलों और उनके खतरों के बारे में बात की I उन्होंने बताया कि किस तरह संघ और उससे जुड़े लोग आम लोगों तक गलत धारणायें पहुँचा रहे हैं और उन्हें कला के…

Mumbai: Opposition Leaders Come Together for “Save the Constitution” Rally

Mumbai: Opposition Leaders Come Together for “Save the Constitution” Rally

On 26 January 2018, India’s 69th Republic Day, Sharad Pawar, president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), along with senior leaders of the left, led a march against the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led regime at the Centre. Opposition party leaders like D Raja (CPI), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Omar Abdullah, leader of opposition in the…

Padmaavat: Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Seeking Removal of Scenes from Film Filed by Advocate Ml Sharma

Padmaavat: Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Seeking Removal of Scenes from Film Filed by Advocate Ml Sharma

  A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra today dismissed a petition seeking the deletion of some of the scenes of controversial film Padmaavat which was released on January 25 by noting that censor board has already granted certificate and refused to go into the issue again. The petition was filed by Advocate…

70 Years: Gandhi’s Secularism Refuses to Let Him be Reduced to a Pair of Spectacles

70 Years: Gandhi’s Secularism Refuses to Let Him be Reduced to a Pair of Spectacles

  In the sustained communal offensive against the secular character of the Indian Constitution, the term "secular" is in serious danger of becoming a casualty. This is largely because the notion of "secularism", itself a modern concept which cannot be delinked from democratic principles and rights of citizenship, has often in this communal ideological onslaught been…

The JNU Files

The JNU Files

Ever since Jagadesh Kumar Mamidala was appointed in Jawaharlal Nehru University as the Vice Chancellor, the varsity’s democratic values and academic structures have been under constant attack. The students and teachers of the university accuses Kumar for imposing polices drafted by RSS and BJP to the curb the academic and democratic spaces, and ultimately privatise the university.  …

“We need Prime Minister to speak out, government to act and hate crime against minorities to be stopped”

“We need Prime Minister to speak out, government to act and hate crime against minorities to be stopped”

  We, retired civil servants belonging to different Services and batches, wish to register our deep concern at the continuing incidents of mindless violence in the country, especially those targeting the minorities, and the lackadaisical response of the law enforcement machinery to these attacks. The killing of Mohammed Afrazul, a migrant worker from West Bengal…

When Mobs Rule the State

When Mobs Rule the State

  Assertion of caste, regional, ethnic, religious and national identities are characteristic of new democracies, as groups previously lacking consciousness wake up to their identity and seek a place in the sun. The opening up of the power structure by the establishment of democratic institutions and the institution of elections helps mobilise there entities which…

Three Indian Science Academies Issue a Statement on Evolution

Three Indian Science Academies Issue a Statement on Evolution

  After a very long time the three premier Indian science academies, Indian Academy of Science (IASc), Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), have issued a joint statement; it is a response to the Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Satyapal Singh’s outright denial of Darwin’s theory of evolution…

BJP’s Unscientific Ideologies Will Result in Slow Death of Scientific Temper in Education

BJP’s Unscientific Ideologies Will Result in Slow Death of Scientific Temper in Education

Satyapal Singh, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, issued a statement claiming evolution never happened since no one saw an ape converting into a human. Such statements by our highest ranking ministers show the lack of rationality in BJP’s core ideologies. What can be the future of India’s science and technological development when our…

“The citizens are facing the worst time in the hands of right wing”: Raosaheb Kasbe

“The citizens are facing the worst time in the hands of right wing”: Raosaheb Kasbe

In a talk organised by the Mumbai Collective, eminent scholar Raosaheb Kasbe talks about the alarming instances of vigilantism, and the rise in violence and lynchings in the name of religion, that have increased over the past three years. He also  talks about the unscientific notions, like the study of ancient vedas, that are being propagated…

#NotoNetanyahu No to complicity with Israel’s Apartheid

#NotoNetanyahu No to complicity with Israel’s Apartheid

  In the coming week, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will tour different cities of India along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This visit comes at the beginning of a year that sees Israel globally ever more isolated and ever more aggressively advancing its ethnic cleansing and annexation of Palestinian land. To invite the leader…

Watch: “Draupadi” and “My First Love”

Watch: “Draupadi” and “My First Love”

Melizarani T. Selva is a spoken word poet, storyteller, and journalist from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. Watch T Selva perform her poem "Draupadi," a poem about the trials of being a woman, succinctly summed up in the line "A woman is not a woman until something happens to her." Continue watching to see her perform her poem "My First Love."  …

Meena Menon: “Our perceptions about Pakistan are coloured according to stereotypes”

Meena Menon: “Our perceptions about Pakistan are coloured according to stereotypes”

In this part of our interview with Meena Menon, author of Reporting Pakistan, we discuss reporting Pakistan in the Indian Media. She says, "Our perceptions about Pakistan are coloured according to stereotypes" Listen to the whole conversation here:  Part III       Also watch:  Meena Menon: “Is saying yes to the ruling government nationalism?” (Part I) Meena Menon: “Put…

Is The Censor Board Redundant Now? Why Are States Banning Padmavat Screening?

Is The Censor Board Redundant Now? Why Are States Banning Padmavat Screening?

  The manner in which several Indian states are banning the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavat even after the Central Board of Film Certification has passed it following the slight change in its title, it would appear that these states have themselves decided to become state censor boards unto themselves, rendering the decision of the CBFC…

Teachers and Social Activists Ask the Government to Enact the “Rohith Act”

Teachers and Social Activists Ask the Government to Enact the “Rohith Act”

  Urging the government to enact the "Rohith Act" and ensure scholarship for all students from marginalized sections, academic fraternity and social activists across the country stood together in memory of Rohith Vemula. The existing system which is based on caste-based structural inequality had pushed Rohith, a Dalit research scholar at the University of Hyderabad, to…

The Historian and the Epic

The Historian and the Epic

This essay has been extracted from The Historian and her Craft Collected Essays and Lectures of Romila Thapar recently published by the Oxford University Press and republished here with permission. Image courtesy Governance Now The historian’s interest in epic literature arises from the argument that epic literature generally documents a period which is prior to that of…

Modi-Bibi in Sabarmati: What the Media Won’t Tell You about Gandhi’s Views on Palestine and Israel

Modi-Bibi in Sabarmati: What the Media Won’t Tell You about Gandhi’s Views on Palestine and Israel

The mainstream media scrambled to outdo each other in its coverage of the 8km “roadshow” that culminated with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visiting, along with his wife Sara and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat. For the handful of those who missed out on classroom history lessons, Sabarmati Ashram…

Dalit Woman Set Ablaze in Karnataka

Dalit Woman Set Ablaze in Karnataka

Shantavva Harijan, a dalit woman from Shingatalooru village in Gadag district, was set ablaze on 14 January 2018. She succumbed to the burns on the same night. This writer spoke to Basvaraj Sulibhavi, a well known Kannada poet, activist, and publisher, about Shantavva’s murder and the protests that followed. Sulibhavi has been actively following the…

Informal Workers Narratives: “We too are human beings”

Informal Workers Narratives: “We too are human beings”

The informal workers narratives, hosted by Working Peoples' charter and WIEGO, brings together a panel of workers from different trades, including domestic workers, e-rickshaw drivers, waste-pickers, street vendors, home-based workers, Hamal and other workers, showcasing their life, their work, and their challenges. The conversation throws light on the role played by informal workers in making…

Besieging the Siege: Report from the Protest Against Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to India

Besieging the Siege: Report from the Protest Against Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to India

Yesterday noon, the usual perturbing quietness of central Delhi was broken by activists gathered together to protest the diplomatic visit of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, to India. Netanyahu’s visit is being portrayed, all across the mainstream media, as an “accomplishment” of the Modi regime. Netanyahu’s personal camaraderie with Modi, the elusive “agreements”…

No Aadhar No Food: Yet Another Starvation Death Reported from Jharkhand, Still Counting…

No Aadhar No Food: Yet Another Starvation Death Reported from Jharkhand, Still Counting…

  September 28, 2017: Santoshi Kumar, 11, Simdega district died of hunger. Her mother Koyli Devi said that the family was not receiving rations under the Public Distribution scheme for the past several months as their ration cards were not linked to Aadhar. October 21,2017: Baidyanath Das died at Jharia, Dhanbad district. His family said…

#NotoNetanyahu: Protest Against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s India Visit Held in Delhi

#NotoNetanyahu: Protest Against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s India Visit Held in Delhi

A protest march against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s India visit was organised in Delhi by the Left parties, the All India Peace and Solidarity Organization, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee, India. The march took place in the larger context of atrocities committed by Israeli government in Palestine and illegal occupation.    

#NotoNetanyahu: Land Day: The Palestinian Call for Land, Freedom and Equality

#NotoNetanyahu: Land Day: The Palestinian Call for Land, Freedom and Equality

On March 30, 1976, Palestinians protested against Israel's plans to occupy thousands of acres of Palestinian land in Galilee. Six Palestinians were gunned down by the Israeli army and police, and hundreds wounded in the confrontation. Since 1976, every year, Palestinians around the world commemorate March 30th as "Land Day" – a day to announce…

The Communist International and its Impact on Asia

The Communist International and its Impact on Asia

This is our ninth story for our #OctoberRevolutionSeries, a series we began in October 2017 to remember the centenary of the Russia Revolution. The first is an excerpt from Cecilia Bobrovskaya's memoirs; the second is from an essay by Prabir Purkayastha; the third is our inaugral bookend by Githa Hariharan on Sevtlana Alexievich's novel Second Hand Time; and the fourth is a conversation with…

Read the full text of the letter submitted by four Supreme Court Judges to the CJI

Read the full text of the letter submitted by four Supreme Court Judges to the CJI

Dear Chief Justice, It is with great anguish and concern that we have thought it proper to address this letter to you so as to highlight certain judicial orders passed by this Court which has adversely affected the overall functioning of the justice delivery system and the independence of the High Courts besides impacting the…

#NotoNetanyahu: We know Netanyahu and Modi love each other, but how much did the RSS love Zionism?

#NotoNetanyahu: We know Netanyahu and Modi love each other, but how much did the RSS love Zionism?

Benjamin Netanyahu is set to visit India next week. India and Israel are closer than ever before. In light of the Donald Trump's announcement that the United States of America (USA) will officially view Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Netanyahu’s visit becomes an even more open endorsement of Israel’s crimes against Palestine. This comes…

Bhima-Koregaon: Glimmerings of a Maratha-Dalit-Bahujan Alliance Against Fascism

Bhima-Koregaon: Glimmerings of a Maratha-Dalit-Bahujan Alliance Against Fascism

  The Dalits are angry again. Another incident of caste violence and atrocity was registered in Maharashtra. This time Dalits were protesting against the planned attack by the Hindutvadi rightwing groups on an event, organized to commemorate the "victory of Mahar’s" over the mighty Peshwas at the battle of Bhima-Koregaon in 1818. Further, the protest was not restricted…

JNU Vice Chancellor Hits Another Academic “Low”: Skype to Replace Viva Voice Examination in Research

JNU Vice Chancellor Hits Another Academic “Low”: Skype to Replace Viva Voice Examination in Research

  Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor M.Jagadesh Kumar has come out with yet another decision to whittle down the standards of excellence that the university had achieved over decades. He has now cancelled all mandatory public viva voce for research and directed the faculty to conduct this only on Skype. JNU Teachers Association has “rejected”…

“I am on a month’s lease of life. Justice or death, which will win?”: GN Saibaba

“I am on a month’s lease of life. Justice or death, which will win?”: GN Saibaba

  Professor GN Saibaba, who was given a life imprisonment for alleged ties to Maoists, continues to suffer in solitary confinement in prison despite absence of any credible evidence against him. Saibaba’s wife, Vasantha Kumari, addressed a press conference on Wednesday, held by the Delhi Chapter of Bastar Solidarity Network. She spoke about her recent…

Prof G N Saibaba Pens a Poem After Meeting His Mother in Jail

Prof G N Saibaba Pens a Poem After Meeting His Mother in Jail

    माँ, मेरे लिए मत रोना जब तुम मुझे देखने आयी तुम्हारा चेहरा मैं नहीं देख सका था फाइबर कांच की खिड़की से मेरी अशक्त देह की झलक यदि मिली होगी तुम्हें यक़ीन हो गया होगा कि मैं जीवित हूँ अब भी।   माँ, घर में मेरी गैर मौजूदगी पर मत रोना   जब…

Crime and Consent

Crime and Consent

  The significance of the Supreme Court order referring the constitutionality of Section 377 to a larger bench goes beyond LGBT rights. Current debates have focused on the decriminalisation of several laws and the legitimate role of criminal law in our legal system in matters of sexuality. Also central to the outcome is the role…

Simone de Beauvoir and the Left

Simone de Beauvoir and the Left

  Today marks the 110th birth anniversary of Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), the acclaimed French feminist theorist, who was born this day on January 9th. She is most known for her groundbreaking work, The Second Sex (1949) along with her book, Mandarins, which received France’s highest literary award in 1954.  Her phenomenal work on gender and her…

महिलाओं के मसीहा: मोदी और पैड-मैन

महिलाओं के मसीहा: मोदी और पैड-मैन

  आजकल खुद को महिलाओं का मसीहा कहलाने का चलन है. इसका सर्वश्रेष्ठ उदाहरण हैं हमारे प्रिय नेता प्रधान मंत्री मोदी जी, जो अपनी 56 इंच की छाती ठोंक कर दावा कर रहे हैं कि मुसलमान महिलाएं अब पुरुष अभिभावक के बिना हज पर जाने के लिए आज़ाद हैं. हालांकि सच्चाई यह है कि यह एक सुधारवादी बदलाव 2015 में…

How dalits such as Kusuma Dharmanna and Vagiri Amosu rejected the upper-caste nationalist movement

How dalits such as Kusuma Dharmanna and Vagiri Amosu rejected the upper-caste nationalist movement

Dalits started to appear as significant players in the colonial public sphere after 1900, and Kusuma Dharmanna stands out as one of the first to challenge the brand of nationalism advocated by caste Hindus. In rejoinder to a popular Brahman nationalist Garimella Satyanarayana, who preached swarajya (independence) and wrote songs rejecting British rule such as…

Watch: Battle of Bhima Koregaon: An Unending Journey

Watch: Battle of Bhima Koregaon: An Unending Journey

  Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani released in December 2015 to packed theatres. The movie, for the most part, glorified the Peshwa rule and completely left out the deeply discriminatory caste practices of the Peshwas. In response, Somnath Waghmare decided to make a documentary on the historic Bhima Koregaon battle. On 1 January 1818, a…

Dakshina Kannada Violence: BJP Resorting to Politics of Polarisation

Dakshina Kannada Violence: BJP Resorting to Politics of Polarisation

  In recent days, incidents of communal violence in Dakshina Kannada district are resulting in the tensed atmosphere across Karnataka. With assembly elections due in coming May, the ruling Congress leaders are arguing that the main opposition BJP party as resorting to religious polarisation tactics to garner the support of Hindu voters. On January 3,…

जाति धर्म की बंदिशों के बावजूद भी इन्सानियतं जिन्दा है

जाति धर्म की बंदिशों के बावजूद भी इन्सानियतं जिन्दा है

  दिन था शनिवार ३१ दिसंबर जब सभी नए वर्ष की इंतेजारी में थे. देवरिया जिले के बेल्हाम्मा गाँव के कुम्हार जाति के एक परिवार में महिला की मौत हो गयी. पति ज्यादातर शराब पीकर मस्त रहता और गाँव में एलान करता फिरता के इस गाँव के सारे मुसलमानों को यहाँ से भगा दूंगा ….

Chasing Shadows: The Question of Citizenship and Preparation of NRC in the State of Assam

Chasing Shadows: The Question of Citizenship and Preparation of NRC in the State of Assam

  Citizenship is conferred by the Constitution and it is the nexus between the individual and the State, defining civil and political rights and liabilities of individuals, the most important of which are the Fundamental rights and the right to vote and participate in all democratic process. Most importantly, it gives unrestricted rights of residence…

Television as Lynch Mob: District Magistrate Report on JNU Incident Raises Questions of Media Ethics

Television as Lynch Mob: District Magistrate Report on JNU Incident Raises Questions of Media Ethics

  Newspapers have reported that the Aam Admi Government has reportedly told its legal team to file a criminal case against three channels for airing doctored videos where the words, “Bandook”, “Sher ke bacche”, and “Hurriyat ke jawaan” were inserted (extraneously) into the videos to mislead the public. Even “Pakistan Zindabad” were telecast although they…

The Trans Bill and its Discontents – I

The Trans Bill and its Discontents – I

  This week the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill is up for vote in the Lok Sabha. The Bill has had a comparatively short but turbulent history. On the back of the National Legal Services Authority v UoI (NALSA) judgement and an Expert Committee Report by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (here) the Bill was first…

Revisiting Golwalkar on Koregaon with Raosaheb Kasbe

Revisiting Golwalkar on Koregaon with Raosaheb Kasbe

  Scholar Raosaheb Kasbe’s book Zot—translated from Marathi into English as Spotlight on the RSS—refers to Golwalkar’s “grief” on the Mahars fighting the Peshwas. At a time when Koregaon has become a battleground again, it is important to revisit the underpinnings of caste in every reading of this historical incident. This is what Raosaheb Kasbe has to…

कुछ अनोखे प्रेम पत्र

कुछ अनोखे प्रेम पत्र

  सावित्रीबाई फुले यकीनन भारत की पहली महिला शिक्षिका और मुक्तिदाता थीं जिन्हें इतिहास ने लगभग भुला दिया है, 176 साल पहले 1831 में उनका जन्म हुआ और 3 जनवरी उनका जन्मदिन है, विभिन्न जातियों की लड़कियों के लिए पहले विद्यालय की स्थापना भाईडेवाड़ा, पुणे (ब्राह्मणों का गढ़) में करने वाली, क्रांतिज्योति सावित्रीबाई, अनेक रूप…

Possible Communism

Possible Communism

Building Alternatives: The Story of India's Oldest Construction Workers' Union, by T M Thomas Isaac and Michelle Williams, was published by LeftWord Books in 2017 Misery greets the planet. Social inequality has reached unbelievable levels – where five individuals hold as much wealth as the bottom half of society. Climate change – driven by capitalist expansionism…

Understanding Bhima Koregaon Celebrations and the Subsequent Violence Unleashed Upon Dalits

Understanding Bhima Koregaon Celebrations and the Subsequent Violence Unleashed Upon Dalits

  Ambedkarites are agitated all over the country as the despicable attempts of the Hindutva affiliated organisations in Pune attacked the massive assembly of people who had come to pay their respect to 800 brave Mahar soldiers who with the help of British had defeated the then powerful army of the Peshwas which numbered around…

Dalit Leaders Say Bhima Koregaon Attack was “Pre-Planned”, Vow to Throw Out BJP-led “Peshwai Rule”

Dalit Leaders Say Bhima Koregaon Attack was “Pre-Planned”, Vow to Throw Out BJP-led “Peshwai Rule”

  Tension has gripped Maharashtra a day after a person was killed, 25 vehicles were torched and more than 100 vehicles were damaged in stone pelting after individuals allegedly with saffron flags attacked dalits and their vehicles in Pune district. Lakhs of people gather on January 1 in Bhima Koregaon village every year to mark…

Introspection 2017: Speak Up Against Intimidating Language of the Goons Masquerading as Political Activists

Introspection 2017: Speak Up Against Intimidating Language of the Goons Masquerading as Political Activists

  As another year is coming to an end, we witnessed huge turmoil everywhere. The intimidation to dissenters continued while political opponents were targeted as usual by the Hindutva groups. Mob lynching and cow terrorism aggravated all over the country and as the state remained subdued and muted, the goons with political patronage had a…

Censoring the Arts in 2017: Advent of the NOC!

Censoring the Arts in 2017: Advent of the NOC!

  Film-making is challenge in a multi-religious, multi-ethnic democracy. Particularly if offence-takers are indulged. But each year the propensity to take offence, or to pander to offence-taking, seems to scale new heights.  In 2017 the travails of film makers made news throughout the year. The impetus for film censorship ranged from preserving social mores to…