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…

“VC Hatao, JNU Bachao” — Thousands March to Save Education

“VC Hatao, JNU Bachao” — Thousands March to Save Education

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union organised a massive march to MHRD on February 20. Students participated in thousands, demanding removal of Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar Mamidala. The students claim that the VC has been trying to systematically destroy the varsity. His policies, from seat cuts to decimation of reservations and deprivation points, scrapping GSCASH, and now…

What autonomy means: when the Sahitya Akademi published a anthology of Pakistani writers

What autonomy means: when the Sahitya Akademi published a anthology of Pakistani writers

U R Ananthamurthy was one of the first writes who endorsed the idea of Indian Writers' Forum. Here we publish an excerpt from his autobiography Suragi, translated by S R Ramakrishna. This is from the chapter "At the Sahitya Akademi and National Book Trust". Ananthamurthy was the President of the Sahitya Akademi — the national…

Rahman Abbas Speaks Up Against the Rape Threats Sent to Shehla Rashid

Rahman Abbas Speaks Up Against the Rape Threats Sent to Shehla Rashid

  Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union’s (JNUSU) Vice-President and well known student activist, Shehla Rashid was reportedly forced to deactivate her Facebook account after some Muslim youths issued multiple rape threats and sent hate messages to her. Rashid’s “crime” was to speak in support of the freedom to have an interfaith marriage; she raised…

Beyond the Confines of Religion: A Look at Karnataka’s Syncretic Legacy Through the Celebration of Rajappa Swami’s Urus

Beyond the Confines of Religion: A Look at Karnataka’s Syncretic Legacy Through the Celebration of Rajappa Swami’s Urus

I was in Gajendragada in Rona taluk to meet some friends. I passed through Nelajeri, a small village in Yalaburga Taluk. This region is known for its wheat, onions, pepper, and other things found in the rainfed regions of Karnataka. Most of the youth from the village work for a daily wage in the steel…

Dalit Anger: Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat Feel the Heat

Dalit Anger: Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat Feel the Heat

  Thousands of activists of the Bhim Army gathered in Saharanpur to demand the release of their chief Chandrashekhar ‘Azad’ from jail.   सहारनपुर में भीम आर्मी रैली शुरू हो रही है Posted by ChalChitra Abhiyaan on Samstag, 17. Februar 2018   The demand gathers new urgency in the face of Chandrashekhar’s recent statements to…

Thousands March in Shiksha Bachao Rally to Save India’s Future

Thousands March in Shiksha Bachao Rally to Save India’s Future

Over 8,000 teachers, students and karmacharis marched through the streets of Delhi demanding that public education be saved. Participating in the Shiksha Bachao Rally today, they marched from Mandi House to MHRD.  The Joint Rally of DUTA, DUCKU, DUSU and other students’ organizations was also joined by FEDCUTA and AIFUCTO. Teachers and students of AUD,…

K P Ramanunni explains why he donated his Sahitya Akademi prize money to Junaid’s family

K P Ramanunni explains why he donated his Sahitya Akademi prize money to Junaid’s family

Sahitya Akademi Award winner K P Ramanunni donated a part of his prize money to Junaid's family. The Malayalam novelist won the award for his book Daivathinte Pusthakam. Speaking to the Indian Cultural Forum, the writer explains why he chose to donate his prize money to the family of the16-year old teenager who was lynched by Hindu fanatics last year….

Having run out of items for its anti-India menu, OP India calls the Kerala Literature Festival 2018 anti-Indian

Having run out of items for its anti-India menu, OP India calls the Kerala Literature Festival 2018 anti-Indian

Having run out of items for its anti-India menu, OpIndia.com has called the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) 2018 anti-Indian. The article, which has been posted by a “mlessp” (we’re still googling to find out what that is) names Arundhati Roy, Ashis Nandy, Prakash Raj, Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose in interesting ways. Roy is a…

Harmony of the Hills

Harmony of the Hills

Baba Budan Giri is also known as the Babri of the south. This beautiful film explores the story and charts out the struggle of memory against forgetting. As the Babri Masjid issue is being heard by the Supreme Court, CJP looks at other, similar, cynical, politically motivated disputes that put the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement…

“He spoke truth to and about the Power”: P Sainath on John Reed

“He spoke truth to and about the Power”: P Sainath on John Reed

  LeftWord Books, recently published John Reed’s “stirring eyewitness account” of the Russian Revolution, Ten Days That Shook the World with an introduction by one of India’s finest journalists and public intellectuals P. Sainath. In Howard Zinn’s words, Reed “made history come alive for the readers of popular magazines and impoverished radical monthlies” through his journalistic…

A Critical Insider in Expat Journalism: Remembering V M Sathish

A Critical Insider in Expat Journalism: Remembering V M Sathish

  The unexpected demise of V.M. Sathish—a veteran Expat-journalist who spent a quarter century of reporting in the GCC countries—has left a deep vacuum in the domain of ‘human interest’ writings in the world of media. Sathish has a reputed track-record in Expat-journalism.  Beginning with the Indian Express  Group of newspapers in Mumbai, he held many positions…

Films Division’s decision to not screen In the Shade of Fallen Chinar at MIFF is censorship; let’s not call it by any other name

Films Division’s decision to not screen In the Shade of Fallen Chinar at MIFF is censorship; let’s not call it by any other name

So here’s the thing: one government body has censored another government body. On January 29, the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) did not screen In the Shade of Fallen Chinar, a 16 minute documentary on students at the University of Kashmir, directed by Shawn Sebastian and Fazil N.C.. The documentary was not screened despite the…

Narendra Modi Uvacha: What is the History of Karnataka for Modi?

Narendra Modi Uvacha: What is the History of Karnataka for Modi?

  On 4 February 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressed a large gathering during the concluding event of Parivartan Rally, in Bangalore. Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) 90-day long election campaign rally in Karnataka kicked off on 2 November 2017, with party president, Amit Shah, attending the flagging it off. While talking about the developments during…

Inciting Mutiny: Are Governments Complicit?

Inciting Mutiny: Are Governments Complicit?

  Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s blockbuster movie Padmavati raised the hackles of the Rajput community across several states, who vandalised the film sets and threatened further violence on the grounds that it distorted the history of Rajput Rani Padmini, and hurt their sentiments. Various persons threatened specific targetted violence like Mahipal Singh Makrana allegedly threatening to cut off…

Kumkum Sangari: “Padmavati is a fictional character, but the Hindu Right has fabricated fiction as well.”

Kumkum Sangari: “Padmavati is a  fictional character, but the Hindu Right has fabricated fiction as well.”

This is an excerpt from an inteview with Kumkum Sangari, one of the most important feminist scholars of our time. In conversation with Souradeep Roy, she explains that fictional characters too can be manipulated in a way to serve vested interests of a particular social group. Watch this space to see the entire interview. Also…

“Reduction in scholarship allocation for Dalit students a major concern, shows that Dalits, Adivasis continue to be ignored”: NCDHR

“Reduction in scholarship allocation for Dalit students a major concern, shows that Dalits, Adivasis continue to be ignored”: NCDHR

  The Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley received sharp criticism from the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) which pointed out that once again, the Budget had failed to live up to the expectations of the marginalised communities of India. In the Union Budget 2017-18, there was a fundamental shift made…

Githa Hariharan’s Response to Aniruddhan Vasudevan Declining the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation

Githa Hariharan’s Response to Aniruddhan Vasudevan Declining the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation

  Aniruddhan Vasudevan, who was a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation 2016, for his translation of Perumal Murugan’s novel, Madhorubhagan, has now written to the Akademi declining the award. Kongu Kalvi Valarchi Arakattalai, the same group that hounded author Perumal Murugan, also filed a petition in the Madras High Court against his…

Is Today’s India a Threat to Gandhi and Ambedkar’s Idea of a Secular Nation?

Is Today’s India a Threat to Gandhi and Ambedkar’s Idea of a Secular Nation?

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's death, his grandson Rajmohan Gandhi, historian and biographer, delivered a speech at Sevagram, Wardha highlighting the crisis that faces secularism in India today. In his speech he spoke of the many ways in which Gandhi and Ambedkar's ideas of India intersected and the urgent need…

Padmavat: Celebration of Patriarchy (Jauhar, Sati, et al), Right Up the Karni Sena Street

Padmavat: Celebration of Patriarchy (Jauhar, Sati, et al), Right Up the Karni Sena Street

  Let us forget all the violence angry members of the Karni Sena and other satellite right wing groups are creating against the release of Padmavat for a minute. Let us forget the lack of authenticity of historical documents, writings and poetry that point out that Padmavati is fiction, or, that, Allauddin Khilji lived between 1296 and…

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…

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…

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…

Easterine Kire: “Storytellers may get killed, but others will come to tell the tale”

Easterine Kire: “Storytellers may get killed, but others will come to tell the tale”

In our latest interview for the series Writers Talk Politics, Souradeep Roy talks to Easterine Kire, a novelist, poet, translator from Nagaland. They discuss her novel, Son of the Thundercloud which has won the Best Book (Fiction) award at the 2017 Tata Literature Live festival. Her latest novel is Don't Run, My Love, brought out…

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…

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…

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…

Netanyahu Battles for Survival in Israel: Will He Have to Cancel His January Visit to India?

Netanyahu Battles for Survival in Israel: Will He Have to Cancel His January Visit to India?

  India is worried. But of course,silently lest a whiff of the serious corruption charges threatening to dislodge Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu find their way into the Indian media and Parliament on the eve of his much touted visit to India. And queer the pitch that the Ministry of External Affairs has been carefully preparing…

“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…

The Ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is Both Hate-Ridden and Supremacist

The Ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is Both Hate-Ridden and Supremacist

    At a recent talk show by an international television channel, the former spokesperson of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and present general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Ram Madhav, firmly asserted that the ideology of the RSS was neither supremacist, nor dominant or aggressive. Leave alone fascist.[1]   Quoted on the…

Bengali Film Under Right Wing Attack for Using Names Ram and Sita

Bengali Film Under Right Wing Attack for Using Names Ram and Sita

  Meet filmmaker Ranjan Ghosh who trained at Subhah Ghai’s Whistling Woods and arrived in Kolkata to assist Aparna Sen for her film Iti Mrinalni, stepped into independent direction with his maiden film Hrid Majharey. His second film Rongberonger Korhi (Colour of Money) is now facing the wrath of a Hindu Right Wing organization Hindu Jagran Manch for using the names…

What Irked the Anger of Mammootty Fans Over Parvathy?

What Irked the Anger of Mammootty Fans Over Parvathy?

  For the past week, followers of Malayalam actor Mammootty have been busy pouring lewd and violent comments against the award-winning artist Parvathy TK, who pointed out the misogynistic trends in Malayalam mainstream movies. While talking in open forum at the recently concluded International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), Parvathy expressed her disappointment over derogatory…

Yogi Once Again Uses State’s Might, Orders Withdrawal of Case Against Himself

Yogi Once Again Uses State’s Might, Orders Withdrawal of Case Against Himself

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered the withdrawal of a case related to defying prohibitory orders against holding a meeting. This order was registered in 1995 against him and 14 others including a Union Minister and saffron party legislator from Sahajanwa in Gorakhpur. The…

“हम एक है तो करोडों है, वरना कु छ भी नहीं…”

“हम एक है तो करोडों है, वरना कु छ भी नहीं…”

Megha Pansare writes about Bhopal Jan Utsav in Sadhana, a Marathi weekly, of which Narendra Dhabolkar was the editor. In this detailed report on the three days long festival of diversity and resistence in Bhopal, Megha Pansare recollects her experience of participating in the festival. Read the original piece in Marathi by Megha Pansare here:   

How Ghalib Was Influenced by the Bhakti Movement

How Ghalib Was Influenced by the Bhakti Movement

On the occasion of Ghalib's 220th birth anniversary, Indian Cultural Forum brings to you an extract from the chapter, "Buddhist Thought and Shunyata", from the book Ghalib: Innovative Meanings and the Ingenious Mind, by Gopi Chand Narang, translated into English by Surinder Deol, and published by Oxford University Press. Sufi saints, bhaktas, and aulias have been using…

2017: A Year of Resistance

2017: A Year of Resistance

2017 was the year of increasingly diverse, yet more united struggles by working people of all sorts in India. In dozens of public sector units—ports, steel plants, coal mines, ordnance factories, banks, insurance companies, etc—workers went on strikes or protested against relentless govt. pressure to privatise national assets by handing them over to private industrialists….

On National and Cultural Independence

On National and Cultural Independence

The following is an excerpt from the chapter 'राष्ट्रवाद व सांस्कृतिक स्वातंत्र्य', by Makarand Sathe, from the book बदलता भारत अणि जनतेचा राष्ट्रवाद, edited by Dr Megha Pansare. The original, in Marathi, will be available soon on ICF. What is culture? Defining culture is almost impossible. Many people say that we can explain it, talk about it,…

Parivathana Rally of BJP in Karnataka Is to Spread Its Hindutva Ideology

Parivathana Rally of BJP in Karnataka Is to Spread Its Hindutva Ideology

The assembly election in Karnataka is around the corner. Amit Shah, the president of BJP, inaugurated Parivathana (“transformation”) rally, a campaign for the upcoming election in 2018, in Bengaluru on 3 November. Shah, while addressing the gathering, said, “This parivarthana (transformation) rally is not to change the CM [Chief Minister], not to change the government,…

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…

Did you know that Babasaheb Ambedkar burnt the Manusmriti on Christmas, in 1927?

Did you know that Babasaheb Ambedkar burnt the Manusmriti on Christmas, in 1927?

Ninety years ago, on December 25, 1927, huge strides were made in the movement for self-dignity of Dalits. Under the leadership of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, a small town/village, Mahad in Konkan, the coastal region of Maharashtra, made history.   Manusmurti Dahan Din. The day that the text of caste Hindus epitomizing hegemony, indignity and cruelty…

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…

UN General Assembly Rejects Trump’s Jerusalem Move With Resounding Majority

UN General Assembly Rejects Trump’s Jerusalem Move With Resounding Majority

In a development that signalises the growing isolation of the United States from the Israel-Palestine conflict, an overwhelming majority of United Nations members defied unprecedented threats by the US to declare President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as “null and void.” The resolution was passed at a UN General Assembly emergency meeting…

Read Amal, the Palestinian girl’s letter of solidarity to artists and writers who opposed Trump’s move to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel

Read  Amal, the Palestinian girl’s letter of solidarity to artists and writers who opposed Trump’s move to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel

On 11th December, 2017, one hundred artists wrote a letter rejecting Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which appeared in The Guardian on 12th December, 2017. This move by Trump is a belligerent show of power and it paves way for further colonisation and occupation of Jerusalem by Israel. Jerusalem is not under…

नये सिरे से सोचने को विवश करती किताब : चिंतन के जनसरोकार

नये सिरे से सोचने को विवश करती किताब : चिंतन के जनसरोकार

किसी किताब की यह सफलता होती है कि वह अपने पाठक को इतना उद्वेलित कर दे कि वह अपने परिवेश और जीवन के हर पहलू पर फिर से विचार करने को विवश हो जाय। ऐसे ही लेखों का संकलन है ‘चिंतन के जनसरोकार’। हिन्दी के  महत्वपूर्ण लेखक प्रेमकुमार मणि के प्रमुख लेखों का यह एक संकलन है।…

Weaving Despairs: The Challenges of the Handloom Sector in India

Weaving Despairs: The Challenges of the Handloom Sector in India

The handloom sector, which employs over 6.5 million families, is the second largest cluster of labourers, after the agriculture sector. However, the recent policy-level and economic developments and changes by the government have been inconsiderate towards the weaver's needs and basic requirements for survival. In order to discuss these ongoing crisis of the handloom sector,…

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…

History of Communal Violence in Karnataka and the Case of Communal Violence in Uttara Kannada in December 2017

History of Communal Violence in Karnataka and the Case of Communal Violence in Uttara Kannada in December 2017

In the backdrop of the mysterious death of Paresh Mesta in Honnavara town of Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district, members of Hindutva outfits have kept the district on a fore of communal violence. Rumours and lies around Mesta’s death that his dead body was found in a brutalised condition which later turned out to be false…

Statement by the Lawyers Collective on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016

Statement by the Lawyers Collective on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment’s decided to re-introduce the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 in it’s original form. 5 December 2017 On 19th November 2017, Shri Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (“MOSJE”) reportedly stated on the subject of The Transgender Persons (Protection of…

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…

The Indian Cultural Forum welcomes the Jharkhand government’s decision to lift the ban on Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book

The Indian Cultural Forum welcomes the Jharkhand government’s decision to lift the ban on Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book

The Indian Cultural Forum welcomes the Jharkhand government’s decision to not ban Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book of short stories, The Adivasi Will Not Dance. The Telegraph has quoted Sarayu Roy, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, saying that the ban on the book should be lifted soon. "He is a well-known author and a Sahitya Akademi Award…

Tribute

Tribute

A red stream of words cascaded along the screen announcing your untimely grim departure Your lifeless body splayed across the steps haunting every pair of eyes. I cannot help but wonder, Did you smell death lurking in the darkness of your porch Or did it spring upon you like the weather of Bangalore unpredictable and…

Letter to a Filmmaker

Letter to a Filmmaker

This is an epistolary response to the 2016 documentary, Ima Sabitri, by filmmaker Bobo Khuraijam. The film follows Ima Sabitri, a popular Manipuri stage actress, over the course of several months, and is a documentation of her life and her art. It was the opening film in the Indian Panorama section at the International Film Festival of…

Bird of Dusk : Insight Into the Spirit of Rituparno Ghosh

Bird of Dusk : Insight Into the Spirit of Rituparno Ghosh

  Rituparno Ghosh remains one of the most outstanding filmmakers Indian cinema has produced in recent times. Sangeeta Datta’s documentary on this director Bird of Dusk (Sandhyar Pakhi) takes us into a flashback into this unique journey of this brilliant filmmaker. This film is currently doing the rounds of film festivals with a wonderful opening Who is…

Database of Cow-Related Hate Crime Since 2010: 86% Of Those Killed are Muslim

Database of Cow-Related Hate Crime Since 2010: 86% Of Those Killed are Muslim

After the recent murder of a dairy trader by cow vigilantes on the Rajasthan-Haryana border, 11 deaths have been reported in 2017, the highest toll from cow-related hate crimes since 2010, from when IndiaSpend’s database records hate crimes. The database is being launched in a new, interactive format today.   Image courtesy Sabrang India[/caption]  …

Death of CBI Judge B H Loya: Statement by Concerned Citizens Demanding a Time-bound Public Enquiry Commission

Death of CBI Judge B H Loya: Statement by Concerned Citizens Demanding a Time-bound Public Enquiry Commission

We, the citizens of India, have been perturbed by the reports surrounding the death of CBI Judge B.H. Loya who was presiding over the trial of Sohrabuddin murder case. It is disturbing for us to note that other than multiple conflicting versions of the circumstances of Judge Loya’s death, there have been allegations of undue…

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: How Lenin Schooled His Dilly-Dallying Comrades

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: How Lenin Schooled His Dilly-Dallying Comrades

This is our eighth story for our #OctoberRevolutionSeries, a series we began in October 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 Professor Sobhanlal…

What Our Self-Declared Nationalists (Read the Hindu Right) Owe to British Historians for their Claims on Babri Masjid or Ram Temple

What Our Self-Declared Nationalists (Read the Hindu Right) Owe to British Historians for their Claims on Babri Masjid or Ram Temple

Like Padmavati, there is no historical evidence to suggest that there was Ram Temple at the site where Babri Masjid once stood. Today, on the 25th anniversary of the planned demolition of Babri Masjid, if we see the way the Padmavati controversy has raged over the last month, we will realise how little we have…

Bhopal Jan Utsav: A Festival of Hope and Solidarity Celebrating Reason and Diversity

Bhopal Jan Utsav: A Festival of Hope and Solidarity Celebrating Reason and Diversity

  The city of Bhopal witnessed a unique Festival — a festival of diversity, reason and resistance—between 26th and 28th of November. Named as Bhopal Utsav, it was organised by various progressive organisations, collectives and movements between. The festival brought together activists from diverse movements, cultural activists, science activists and thousands of people from all…

“Poetry is my refuge”: Perumal Murugan

“Poetry is my refuge”: Perumal Murugan

In the latest interview in our series #WritersTalkPolitics, Githa Hariharan talks to Perumal Murugan on the influence of folklore on his fiction; the complexities involved in writing about caste relations; and finally, on poetry. Poetry, Murugan says, gives him the refuge he needs whenever he needs to calm down. It is no coincidence that the first book after…

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: How Lenin Asked His Comrades to Take Their Shirts off and Declare Themselves a Communist Party

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: How Lenin Asked His Comrades to Take Their Shirts off and Declare Themselves a Communist Party

This is our seventh story for our #OctoberRevolutionSeries, a series we began in October 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…

After 30 Lynchings, Government to Withdraw the Ban on Sale of Cattle for slaughter

After 30 Lynchings, Government to Withdraw the Ban on Sale of Cattle for slaughter

  India’s farmers, through consistent protest and struggle, have finally got the central government to seriously contemplate the withdrawal of its notification banning the sale of cattle for slaughter. A date has reportedly not been fixed, but government sources informed the media that this notification issued by the Ministry of Environment will now be withdrawn….

Why Asking Bands to Not Perform in Israel is Not an Attack on Freedom of Speech and Expression

Why Asking Bands to Not Perform in Israel is Not an Attack on Freedom of Speech and Expression

On the 40th International Solidarity Day for the Palestinian People, Souradeep Roy of the Indian Cultural Forum and Apoorva Gautam of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, India (BDS India) explain why asking bands to not perform in Israel is not an attack on freedom of speech and expression. They take Roger Waters example and his performance…

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…

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: What has the October Revolution Done for Women in the West?

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: What has the October Revolution Done for Women in the West?

This is our sixth story for our #OctoberRevolutionSeries, a series we began in October 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…

प्रेम और दार्शनिकता का कवि

प्रेम और दार्शनिकता का कवि

हिंदी समाज में ऐसे लोग अब बहुत कम बचे रह गए हैं जो अपने व्यक्तित्व में सांस्कृतिक बहुलता और अपनी भाषा में सचाई, शराफत और नैतिकता की रौशनी लेकर चलते हों. कुंवर नारायण ऐसे ही मनुष्य और लेखक थे. उनके जाने से दुर्लभ गुणों वाले एक व्यक्ति का अवसान हो गया है और हिंदी कविता…

International Transgender Day of Remembrance: A Day to Mourn the Victims of, and Protest Transphobia

International Transgender Day of Remembrance: A Day to Mourn the Victims of, and Protest Transphobia

Image courtesy Gaylaxy 20 November is marked as International Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is a day to remember, mourn, and memorialise the victims of transphobia. The day was founded to commemorate the murder of Rita Hester a transgender woman in the USA. Now Transgender Day of Remembrance is commemorated across the world, reminding us…

How the Salwa Judum Looted and Killed Villagers in Kondasawali Village in Chattisgarh

How the Salwa Judum Looted and Killed Villagers in Kondasawali Village in Chattisgarh

In a letter dated 16 June 2017, The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directed the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (Chhattisgarh) to make further inquiries into a complaint it had received regarding the looting and burning of huts and the killing of seven persons of Kondasawali, a village in district Sukma of Chhattisgarh. Sometime during…

Condemnation of IB Ministry’s Decision to Withdraw the Films Approved by the Jury of Goa Film Festival

Condemnation of IB Ministry’s Decision to Withdraw the Films Approved by the Jury of Goa Film Festival

Dakshinayan Abhiyan Goa takes strong exception to the decision taken by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to exclude two films in the Panorama section by overriding the IFFI Jury’s prudent choice.  A gross violation of the right to Freedom of Expression, we consider this act as an attempt to suppress creativity.  As the festival is…

Mahapadav: Prominent Intellectuals Support Workers, Demand Action By PM

Mahapadav: Prominent Intellectuals Support Workers, Demand Action By PM

Over 50 well-known intellectuals, writers and artists have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that his government at the Centre intervenes to resolve their basic demands. Among those who endorsed the letter were writers Krishna Sobti, K. Satchidanandan and Githa Hariharan; classical dancer and activist Mallika Sarabhai; Bezwada Wilson of the…

In Times of “Bharat Mata”, Revisiting Mother India on the 60th Year of the Film’s Release

In Times of “Bharat Mata”, Revisiting Mother India on the 60th Year of the Film’s Release

Introduction Mother India (1957) completes sixty years this year. Produced and directed by Mehboob, famous for his social agenda films packaged with a lot of chutzpah, grandeur and melodrama, the film was assessed among the ten biggest hits in Indian cinema in the 20th century. Seventeen years into the 21st century and its memories remain…

Understanding the Marxism in Gandhi’s Fight Against Imperialism

Understanding the Marxism in Gandhi’s Fight Against Imperialism

Uday Mehta (UM): I think of you, especially in the essays that constitute this book, as doing a rather particular kind of philosophy. It is a very distinguished tradition of practitioners, including the late Richard Rorty, Bernard Williams, and Alasdair MacIntyre in the Anglo-American tradition; Michel Foucault, in the French tradition; Adorno and Walter Benjamin…

#FreedomToDraw: Cartoons of Nehru and Indira Gandhi by E P Unny, R K Laxman and K Shankar Pillai

#FreedomToDraw: Cartoons of Nehru and Indira Gandhi by E P Unny, R K Laxman and K Shankar Pillai

Cartoonist Bala was arrested from his residence in Chennai last Sunday, 5 November, 2017, for his cartoon that criticised the Tirunelveli Police Commissioner, the District Collector, and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, over the Tirunelveli immolation tragedy. In protest against this curbing of freedom of speech and expression, the Indian Cultural Forum has decided to come out…

The First Yuva Samvad: A Report

The First Yuva Samvad: A Report

  The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) organised a Yuva Samvad (A dialogue with the youth) from 3 to 6 November 2017. This three-day long congregation hosted youth activists, involved in various movements, from across the country. Youth activists from the Narmada Bachao Andolan, from farmers’ movements, representatives of people’s movements in Assam, trade…

University Grants Commission’s Decision Will Reduce the Number of Reserved Seats for Appointments in Universities

University Grants Commission’s Decision Will Reduce the Number of Reserved Seats for Appointments in Universities

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has taken a decision that may reduce the number of reserved seats for faculty appointments in universities. The decision, according to a report published in The Indian Express, is waiting for “concurrence” from the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The UGC took the decision after the Allahabad High Court cancelled…

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar: “I don’t like being labelled as an adivasi writer”

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar: “I don’t like being labelled as an adivasi writer”

In this latest interview for our series Writers Talk Politics, Souradeep Roy talks to Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, the writer and doctor, whose work includes a novel, The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey, and a collection of short stories, The Adivasi Will Not Dance. The Jharkhand government banned the latter book, calling it obscene. Shekhar, also…

Independent Publishing in India: Aainanagar

Independent Publishing in India: Aainanagar

In the latest on our series on independent publishing in India, we speak to Nandini Dhar, co-founder and co-editor of Aainagar. It calls itself an "online little magazine", and its name has come from a song by Lalon Fakir: আমার বাড়ির কাছে আরশিনগর, তাতে এক পড়শি বসত করে। আমি একদিনও না দেখিলেম তারে  (A neighbour dwells in the…

Are ‘Anti Nationals’ Traitors, Or Are Those Groups who Call Others ‘Anti-Nationals’ Traitors to the Idea of Independent India?

Are ‘Anti Nationals’ Traitors, Or Are Those Groups who Call Others ‘Anti-Nationals’ Traitors to the Idea of Independent India?

Krishan Chander’s Urdu novel, Ghaddaar, meaning ‘traitor’, begins with a delicately woven romance between an unmarried Muslim girl, and her married Hindu lover. But the world outside is being torn asunder and Krishan Chander shows how love, brotherhood and humanity swiftly turn into redundant emotions, as permanent lines are drawn between two nations. 'Traitor' is a word…

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…

Danish Husain: “It is not easy for theatre practitioners or writers to return awards they’ve earned after years of practicing their craft.”

Danish Husain: “It is not easy for theatre practitioners or writers to return awards they’ve earned after years of practicing their craft.”

In the latest interview for our series Theatre and Politics, Danish Husain speaks to Souradeep Roy on returning his Sankeet Natak Akademi award in 2015; the attack on Urdu; and his new work qissebaazi. Watch more from the series Theatre and Politics: “Censorship outside of the Censor Board is the problem in Maharashtra”: Rajeev Naik “It’s…

Watch: Perumal Murugan, T M Krishna, Shital Sathay and Sofia Ashraf Make a Music Video on Right to Privacy

Watch: Perumal Murugan, T M Krishna, Shital Sathay and Sofia Ashraf Make a Music Video on Right to Privacy

Privacy Matters. அகவுரிமை பாட்டு. मेरी निजता मेरा हक is a music video featuring Perumal Murugan, Shital Sathay, Sofia Ashraf & T M Krishna. This music video is inspired by the 24 August 2017 judgement of the Supreme Court of India on the Right to Privacy. The judgement reminds us of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing our right to choose what we wear,…

Narendra Nayak on the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Bill – “Something is better than nothing”

Narendra Nayak on the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Bill – “Something is better than nothing”

In this interview, produced by Newsclick and the Indian Writers' Forum, D. Raghunandan from the Delhi Science Forum talks to Narendra Nayak, President of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA), about the recently implemented Anti-Superstition Bill in Karnataka. Even though it is a diluted version of proposed bill which was initially proposed, Narendra Nayak…

How ‘Efficient Brainy’ Uses Superstition to Rob Money of Unsuspecting Parents

How ‘Efficient Brainy’ Uses Superstition to Rob Money of Unsuspecting Parents

Addressing the media persons during a press meet held at Hotel Woodlands, Mangaluru on Saturday evening at 5pm, Professor Narendra Nayak — President, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Mangaluru said, “An entity called “Smart Brainy” has been running a racket called as WBDP or whole brain development program in which they are allegedly balancing the…

Fireworks and Firearms: The Festival of Lights in the Mughal Court

Fireworks and Firearms: The Festival of Lights in the Mughal Court

The Mughal court became a site of cultural production in the early modern world. It was a curious confluence of "Islamicate" and "Indic" cultures. Like any other dynasty with the desire to rule, the Mughals, contrary to the present state-sponsored communal (mis)understanding, did not rupture the existing socio-cultural fabric of the land. Besides introducing Timurid and Mongoloid traditions,…

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: Studying György Lukács, Rosa Luxemburg and Nikolai Bukharin through Letters, Diaries and Notes

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: Studying György Lukács, Rosa Luxemburg and Nikolai Bukharin through Letters, Diaries and Notes

We continue our #OctoberRevolutionSeries with an interview with Professor Sobhanlal Datta Gupta, who has been reading the autobiographical writings of György Lukács, Rosa Luxemburg and Nikolai Bukharin. Their political writings have already been published, but Datta Gupta has been closely analysing their letters, diaries and notes. In a conversation with Sruti M D, he says that this…

“The idea of popular science is an authoritarian version”: Satyajit Rath

“The idea of popular science is an authoritarian version”: Satyajit Rath

How are science and culture related? Have we abandoned science and scientific temper for an overtly 'elite' politics? Satyajit Rath, in conversation with Githa Hariharan, explains about the significance of reclaiming scientific temper for the general public. Also see the first part of the interview: “Scientific temper is what elite politics denies in our humanness…”  

Art as a Political Act: Retelling Mahabharata Through its Peripheral Figures

Art as a Political Act: Retelling Mahabharata Through its Peripheral Figures

  Karthika Naïr was born in India, lives in Paris, and works as a dance producer and curator. She is the author of Bearings, a poetry collection; DESH: Memories, inherited, borrowed, invented, a dance diary; and The Honey Hunter/ Le Tigre de Miel, a children’s book illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet. Nair was the principal story writer and scriptwriter of…

#StopAdani : Protests in Australia Against Adani’s Venture of Carmichael Coal mine

#StopAdani : Protests in Australia Against Adani’s Venture of Carmichael Coal mine

    A venture of the Adani group in Australia has stirred up a controversy. The Adani group, founded and chaired by an Indian billionaire businessman, Gautam Adani has sought a loan of 900 Million dollars from Australia. Adani is accused of illegal dealings, bribery, environmental and social devastation; corruption, fraud and money laundering in…

The Killing of History

The Killing of History

 I have long been a fan of John Pilger’s work – it is well-researched, honest and powerful without being sensational. There is a dignity to his prose that I very much admire. In a lecture he gave at Columbia University, Pilger spoke of ‘censorship by omission’. In that lecture, Pilger pointed to the terrible omissions of Western…

Verses Of Resistance: How Certain Folk Literary Cultures Of Medieval Bengal Had Risen Against Brahminism

Verses Of Resistance: How Certain Folk Literary Cultures Of Medieval Bengal Had Risen Against Brahminism

  This was in the 13th century. 5 centuries had passed since the marauding Vedantic forces led by Adi Shankaracharya had torn into the sanghas, monasteries and stupas of the Buddhist. Meanwhile, General Vijay Sen had risen in coup from the barracks of the last Pala kings of Bengal to deal the final staggering blow to the last Buddhist dynasty of the subcontinent. The Brahmins had…

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…