Syndicated Hinduism

Syndicated Hinduism

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.   The first step towards the crystallisation of what we today call Hinduism was born in the consciousness of being the amorphous, subordinate, other. In a sense…

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…

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…

“Borders only become borders when cartographies come into existence” – Professor Romila Thapar

“Borders only become borders when cartographies come into existence” – Professor Romila Thapar

It wasn’t a surprise to see history lovers in Calcutta queue up on a Sunday morning to engage in a closed door rendezvous with Professor Romila Thapar. Professor Thapar, after years of inimitable research and fearless writing, needs no introduction. She certainly is a festering (and pestering!) eyesore of the Hindu Right, the fascist dispensation…

ईसाई और मुसलमानों से क्यों नफरत करते हैं स्वघोषित राष्ट्रवादी?

ईसाई और मुसलमानों से क्यों नफरत करते हैं स्वघोषित राष्ट्रवादी?

जब विजयी शासकों ने अपने जश्न की यशोगाथा लिखी और अपनी सत्ता का इतिहास लिखा, तो अपने शत्रुओं का भयानक चित्रण किया, उन्हें आदमखोर राक्षस, निशाचर, पशुओं के शरीर वाला और न जाने किन-किन विकृत नामों की उपाधियाँ दीं, फिर उन हत्याओं की स्मृतियों में उत्सव मनाये गये। आज अगर हम इन उत्सवों पर टिप्पणियां…

Let Christmas be

Let Christmas be

Image courtesy The Tribune India   Throughout the West, in both the Americas, Europe and Australia and in parts in other countries in Asia and Africa, there is no festival to beat Christmas; the shopping, the sales, the gifts exchanged, the family dinner with the father or grandfather carving the turkey (apologies to vegetarians), Santa…

Challenging Communalism, Challenging History – The Work of Romila Thapar

Challenging Communalism, Challenging History – The Work of Romila Thapar

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 The Indian Express The years after Independence saw a paradigm shift in history writing in India. Inspired by the ideals of nationalism, and the…

Ruth Vanita: “The courtesan in popular Hindi cinema has been a marginalised figure in cinema studies.”

Ruth Vanita: “The courtesan in popular Hindi cinema has been a marginalised figure in cinema studies.”

In the latest addition to our series on film and politics, we have Ruth Vanita, Professor at University of Montana. Souradeep Roy of the Indian Cultural Forum speaks to Vanita on her book, Dancing with the Nation, which has just been brought out by Speaking Tiger Books. Has the figure of the courtesan or the tawaif been a…

Invincibility Busted In Gujarat, Game Wide Open For 2019 in India

Invincibility Busted In Gujarat, Game Wide Open For 2019 in India

Image courtesy countercurrents.org   Gujarat’s much awaited results are out. The fraudsters sitting in the mega “slaughterhouses” have been exposed and myth related to invincibility is broken and perhaps shaken the Hindutva camp from inside. These results will have a huge impact on the psyche of our nation and the fraudsters will start building up…

Tragedy and Eclipse

Tragedy and Eclipse

This essay was first published in The Afternoon Despatch and Courier through the Associated Press Features on 18 December, 1992, nearly twenty five years ago in the aftermath of the planned demolition of Babri Masjid. The Indian Cultural Forum is grateful to the author for sending us the hard copy of the article in print and for…

The New India

The New India

Image courtesy The Indian Express The twenty-fifth anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid has reminded us once again that India is a bruised, battered and bleeding democracy. In the past three years, the country’s multi-cultural inheritance has been torn to shreds. Indians have been partitioned into Hindus and Others, and Hinduism has been…

Attack on Padmavati, Kancha Ilaiah Reminiscent of the Attack on Punjabi Writers

Attack on Padmavati, Kancha Ilaiah Reminiscent of the Attack on Punjabi Writers

While protests related to Padmavati are creating headlines everywhere, very little attention has been paid to what has been happening to Punjabi writers. Two Punjabi writers have been subjected to harassment at the hands of the state and private institutions recently. One of them is Sahitya Akademi award winning senior writer Baldev Singh Sadaknama, a…

From Sexual Violence to Justice: The Perils of Naturalising

From Sexual Violence to Justice: The Perils of Naturalising

                    The reports in the mainstream media of incidents of rape or sexual harassment occurring within spaces of higher education in India have been few and far between as compared to the almost daily reports of incidents of rape and gendered violence occurring across the country. It is universally acknowledged that the actual cases…

Terror in the Time of the Yogi-Modi Regime

Terror in the Time of the Yogi-Modi Regime

On 10 October, 2017, the editorial collective of the Indian Writers' Forum and NewsClick participated in a meeting organised by the Bhim Army Defence Committee to protest the atrocities committed against minorities, dalits and women in the state of Uttar Pradesh under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Hear the testimonies of all the speakers who have…

Last Days of the Mahatma

Last Days of the Mahatma

    … [I]n 1944, Nathuram Godse was arrested at Panchgani as he was hurrying towards Gandhiji carrying a knife. This statement has been made before the Justice Kapur Commission by the owner of Surati Lodge of Pune, Shri Manishankar Purohit. Shri B.D. Bhilare Guruji, ex-MLA of the Congress from Mahabaleshwar, who was present, has…

#OctoberRevolutionMonth: The Fight for The Party During the Ebb Of the Revolution

#OctoberRevolutionMonth: The Fight for The Party During the Ebb Of the Revolution

  Thus began a new period of remote and protracted emigration. While in distant Russia the proletarian party was persecuted with terror and driven far underground, the tsarist minister Stolypin ruled unchallenged, rearing forests of gallows (‘Stolypin’s neckties’) for the revolutionary workers in the towns, creating kulak households in the villages at the expense of…

Protect the Autonomy of GSCASH in JNU

Protect the Autonomy of GSCASH in JNU

  JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar has recently issued a circular stating that the university’s existing Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) be replaced by an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). The Registrar has also stated that the election to GSCASH be kept on hold until further notice. The letter is attached below:     Modelled…

McOnam Sadhya: Tinkering with Tradition

McOnam Sadhya: Tinkering with Tradition

                                         While the festival of Onam is inseparable from the legend of King Mahabali and Vamana, it is also a festival which marks the summer harvest. Onam is primarily a Hindu festival. Traditionally, the Christian communities of Kerala also celebrate Onam with much fanfare. It is touted as a cultural festival and…

A Commemorative Edition of Gauri Lankesh Patrike

A Commemorative Edition of Gauri Lankesh Patrike

  The Gauri Lankesh Patrike has brought out a special commemorative edition on September 12, 2017 to pay tribute to the committed, independent voice of the Patrike, led by Gauri Lankesh. A large number of journalists, writers, activists and other figures have contributed to this edition. The Indian Cultural Forum will publish English translations of…

रक्त

रक्त

    रक्त रक्त रक्त! हर वक्त वक्त वक्त!   खेतों में रक्त, सड़कों में रक्त वोटों में रक्त, कोर्टों में रक्त वर्णों का रक्त, वर्गों का रक्त इस देश का आधार है यह रक्त रक्त रक्त!   दुर्गा का रक्त, दरगाह का रक्त काली का रक्त, या अली का रक्त कलबुर्गी का रक्त, पनसारे…

ईरानी औरतों की कहानियां 

ईरानी औरतों की कहानियां 

    मेरे बालिग़ होने में थोडा वक्त है ईरानी फ़िल्मकार मर्ज़ियेह मेश्किनी ने एक दूसरे बहुत मशहूर फ़िल्मकार मोहसेन मखलमबाफ़ की स्क्रिप्ट के सहारे तीन लघु कथा फ़िल्मों के जरिये ईरानी समाज में औरतों की दुनिया को बहुत संजीदगी से समझने की कोशिश की है। इस कथा श्रृंखला का नाम है द डे आई…

The Image and the Individual: Hunger and Pain in the Making of the “Conscientious” Bengali Artist

The Image and the Individual: Hunger and Pain in the Making of the “Conscientious” Bengali Artist

Bergman, in his evocative essay titled “Film making”, gives a cinematic account of his childhood in his grandmother’s apartment in Uppsala, where he would sit under the large dining-room table, “listening” to the sunshine that filtered in through the gigantic windows. On the wall hung a large picture of Venice, and “as the sunlight moved…

Dental Hygiene is Very Important

Dental Hygiene is Very Important

      Baba once told me about a man  who he was friends with in the 80s. He lost all his teeth, Baba said, in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.  They just fell,  the minute gas entered his room  through a half open window. Just like that, all his teeth, anywhere between 28 and 32,…

One Bar, One Gown

One Bar, One Gown

    A tweet by senior advocate Ms. Indira Jaising took the shape of a “Gown Wapsi” movement on the eve of India’s 70th Independence Day. Three decades ago, Ms. Jaising had become the first woman to be designated senior advocate by the Bombay High Court. She has been a leader of the feminist movement…

दलित छवियों से क्यों डरते हैं वे?

दलित छवियों से क्यों डरते हैं वे?

    भारतीय सिनेमा में, चाहे वो कथा फिल्में हों या गैर कथा फ़िल्में, दलित समाज की अभिव्यक्तियाँ बहुत मामूली रही हैं। यह बात उसी तरह सच है जैसे हमारी सिनेमाई दुनिया मेंमहिलाओं और अल्पसंख्यकों की कहानियाँ भी बहुत कम हैं। भारी-भरकम संख्या वाले हिंदी सिनेमा में एम सथ्यू निर्देशित सिर्फ़ एक फ़िल्म गर्म हवा…

Destruction of the University

Destruction of the University

    The Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University recently remarked that he desires to install a tank in the University campus to instill love for the country. This has made one thing absolutely clear – the VC has no interest in the University, and therefore, he has no moral right to remain in the…

मैनुअल स्केवेंजिंग से हुई मौत – कहाँ है इंसाफ?

मैनुअल स्केवेंजिंग से हुई मौत – कहाँ है इंसाफ?

    ऐ, रहबरो मुल्कों कौम बता, ये किसका लहू है कौन मरा– इंकलाबी तेवर वाले मकबूल शायर साहिर लुधियांवी की ये नज्म अनगिनत वाकयों पर जनता के ऊपर होने वाले जुल्म, कत्लेआम की बानगी के तौर पर पेश की जाती रही। यहां पर जिन लोगों की हत्याओं की बात कर रहे हैं, उनका भी…

Warning: Dangerous Poet!

Warning: Dangerous Poet!

  Lucas Samaras, "Photo-Transformation", 1973/ Image Courtesy: metmuseum.org   In 2006, the Hindi translation of Paash’s famous poem "Sabh Ton Khatarnak" (The Most Dangerous) was included in the Class XI Hindi textbook. Now, in one of its periodic blows to education and culture, the RSS affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas has recommended that the NCERT (National…

Uncertainty in the Gunj

Uncertainty in the Gunj

    In July, the rain gods of Kolkata ease up. Their office hours display significant remarkable flexibility. The mortal, however, holds on dearly to Rousseau’s chains. Here certainty comes at a premium. For much like the future, in the subcontinent even history is uncertain. With this double whammy, the IT soldiers of Gen Y…

India’s Fascist Democracy

India’s Fascist Democracy

Jackson Pollock, Untitled, ca. 1943/ metmuseum.org On May 2, 2017, the present ruling dispensation eventually confirmed the suspicions of sceptics about India being a democracy. The Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, told a Supreme Court bench of Justices, A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, that citizens could not claim “absolute” right over their bodies. He waxed…

The Precarious Democracy

The Precarious Democracy

  Joan Miro, "Untitled", 1938 / metmuseum.org   That "one of the biggest democracies of the world", as we fondly say, is so utterly precarious and fragile is now visible more than ever before. Behind the endless advertisements on which the regime spends so much tax payers’ money, behind the spectacles that the regime is…

In the Name of Junaid?

In the Name of Junaid?

    “Why are you mourning Junaid’s death?” the boy next door was asking me.  Was he asking for an explanation of my act of mourning or a narration of Junaid’s death? I was perplexed.  Assuming it was the latter I directed his eyes to a headline in the newspaper. “Oh that recent train killing?”…

The Visuality of Lynching

The Visuality of Lynching

    Rarely do we see the optics of the periphery take over the centre or the mainstream. However, in the last two years, this is exactly what has been happening and it is mortifying. I am talking about the cases of lynching that are happening across the country on an everyday basis. What bothers…

In Dispute

In Dispute

  This is all about a small shrine in a cave on a hill known as Baba Budan Giri, after a Muslim saint belonging to the 17th century. The same shrine is also known as Dattatreya Peetha – literally ‘seat’ – is widely used for holy places and shrines; and as Guru Dattatreya Baba Budan Swamy…

ARE YOU HUMAN? 

ARE YOU HUMAN? 

  Image Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art   This morning a website asks me, before I can complete signing in:  ARE YOU HUMAN? If I am, I must be able to type accurately the words offered below, which in my case are: PLACE RAINS I am human so without blinking an eye and without…

Say NO to Hindu Terrorism

Say NO to Hindu Terrorism

    The outrage and the spontaneous protest following 16-year-old Junaid's death while traveling in a train with his cousins after Eid shopping is something one needs to understand in a clear perspective. It is precisely the misrule of the Modi government – and no other excuse would suffice to explain this and the heinous…

I Know Who is behind the Lynching

I Know Who is behind the Lynching

    Whenever politics and religion are mixed, it is obvious that those who live outside the game plan suffer the most. Indian right-wing politics was anti-secularism, anti-democracy and anti-Indian civilisation for decades; but after it came to power, these were not enough to maintain political supremacy. It was part of the right-wing agenda to…

जुनेद को मार दो

जुनेद को मार दो

    बहाना कुछ भी करो और जुनेद को मार डालो। बहाना कुछ भी हो,जगह कोई भी चलती ट्रेन हो,बस,सड़क,शौचालय या घर नाम कुछ भी हो अख़लाक़,कॉमरेड जफ़र हुसैन या जुनेद क्या फर्क पड़ता है मकसद तो एक है कि जुनेद को मार डालो! ज़रुरी नहीं कि हर बार तुम ही जुनेद को मारो तुम…

Writers Protest the Unmaking of India

Writers Protest the Unmaking of India

    Nayantara Sahgal "This is Hindutva's version of the Nazi 'final solution' for the Jews, but a cleverer version." The Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha were twin souls. Both wanted a divided India. Jinnah achieved his desire in 1947. The followers of Golwalkar and Savarkar are now busy fulfilling theirs. The massacre of Muslims…

Our House of Love

Our House of Love

    Once upon a time, Indians were taught to be proud of their country’s linguistic diversity, its long multicultural history, the great profusion of art and architecture, music and dance, painting and sculpture, theatre and poetry, science and mathematics, religion and philosophy – all manner of creativity that has manifested on the subcontinent from…

Who is the Dalit?

Who is the Dalit?

It is imperative now to think the political at a different level than has been done so far, to think the political beyond strategies, negotiations, and playing cards (caste card, gender card, minority card etc.). This means that to demand justice in the name of a repressed caste or a gender in itself cannot be…

Why Was Dalit JNU Professor Saitya Brata Das Denied Promotion by the VC?

Why Was Dalit JNU Professor Saitya Brata Das Denied Promotion by the VC?

Dr. Saitya Brata Das, Associate Professor of English at the Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, was recently denied promotion to Professorship by the JNU Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar Mamidala. Dr. Das has six books, three edited books of essays, and several published papers to his credit. He has also been teaching for over…

Newsworthy

Newsworthy

Image Courtesy: Tumblr A good bit of thought goes into framing the front page of a daily. One is confident that this, of all the scenarios imaginable in a media house, must be the case. Faith is of the essence. And with such faith can Her Bovinity be far behind? With the front page of…

“When will this plot be foiled?” Remembering the Revolutionary Somen Chanda on His Birth Anniversary

“When will this plot be foiled?” Remembering the Revolutionary Somen Chanda on His Birth Anniversary

In a telling passage from Somen Chanda’s story “Riot”, Ajoy, the protagonist Ashok’s younger brother, bitterly admonishes the latter for failing to identify with his militant “Hindu socialist” ideology. This period emerges in the wake of a gruesome riot that polarises the people of the town into two religious identities. In a bid to drive…