Can there be newer ways of thinking about Hindu-Muslim relationships in South Asia?

Can there be newer ways of thinking about Hindu-Muslim relationships in South Asia?

“The hermetically cloistered figures of rosary-fondling Sufis and sabre-rattling ghazis, (saints and warriors) even when yoked to the cause of good pluralistic politics, produce bad history. And I say this because, faced as we are with an insistence on a Manichean clash between Islam and Hinduism in India’s medieval past, historians need to fashion newer…

Interview with Malayalam writer K P Ramanunni who atoned for the Kathua rape

Interview with Malayalam writer K P Ramanunni who atoned for the Kathua rape

Sreelakshmi(SL): Recently, you performed the shayana pradakshinam (prostration), an atonement ritual, the Kadalayi Sree Krishna temple in, Kerala for the 8 year old girl from Kathua who was raped and murdered. According to a report in The Hindu, some right-wing groups opposed this move. What is it that led you to perform the ritual? KP Ramanunni…

Memories and re-imaginings of 1947

Memories and re-imaginings of 1947

Vishwajyoti Ghosh’s graphic anthology This Side,That Side: Restorying Partition1 exemplifies a new take on the event and its aftermath, encompassing second and third generation memories and re-imaginings of 1947, from vantage points across the subcontinent. Indeed, the collaborative dimension that came to the fore with writers and artists from three countries (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) participating…

Crossing Borders: Part II

Crossing Borders: Part II

This is the second part of a two part essay on an eyewitness account of visiting Palestine. We have changed the name of the author to protect her identity. Read the first part here. Jerusalem In the old city of Jerusalem, entire families live in one room tenements. Israeli occupying forces have installed cameras around…

Crossing Borders: Part I

Crossing Borders: Part I

This is the first part of a two part essay on an eyewitness account of visiting Palestine. We have changed the name of the author to protect her identity. Arriving, Tel Aviv After I land in Tel Aviv, things start moving really quickly. The anxiety at passport control is quickly replaced by an odd sadness….

Touchstone of Aesthetics

Touchstone of Aesthetics

  Recently, I came across a rather strange proposition. A Dalit author argued that Savitribai Phule could not be the symbol of Dalit literature but that instead Achootanand Harihar’s wife deserved the honour. Contrast this laughable contention with Babasaheb Ambedkar describing Buddha, Kabir and Jotiba Phule as his ideals – none of whom were Dalits….

Women of Bhalaswa: Stories Beyond Waste

Women of Bhalaswa: Stories Beyond Waste

This year on 8 March, the International Women’s Day, Chintan, an environmental research and action group, started a photo series, “Women of Bhalaswa,” documenting the stories of women living in Bhalaswa, an area with one of Delhi’s three landfills. The project aimed to highlight the experiences and struggles of women living in the area. Here…

A Person Like You

A Person Like You

Prologue: A Person Like You How do you react when something like a police encounter happens in your locality, and a few doors down, two men are killed – two of your neighbours, who have been labelled terrorists. Imagine, for a moment, that this happened not in Imphal or Srinagar, where such occurrences are not…

“Ruling classes and castes use reservations as a prop to inflict more violence upon dalits”: Anand Teltumbde

“Ruling classes and castes use reservations as a prop to inflict more violence upon dalits”: Anand Teltumbde

Anand Teltumbde's latest book of essays, Republic of Caste, brought out by Navayana, is one of the most important additions to the understanding of caste. Here, the author discusses some of the major concerns of the book with Souradeep Roy, member of the editorial collective of  the Indian Cultural Forum.   Souradeep Roy (SR): You…

Psychiatrists Unravel the Psychological Toll of Partition

Psychiatrists Unravel the Psychological Toll of Partition

Collated and edited by psychiatrists, the book thus tries to bring together the issues of partitioning and dividing the human experience, and its impact on the cultural life, including medical and psychological health. The contributors include social scientists, literary critics and psychiatrists, who try to engage in this debate at various levels. This diversity of…

“Is the Left ready to receive a new Ambedkarite wound?”: Soumyabrata Choudhury

“Is the Left ready to receive a new Ambedkarite wound?”: Soumyabrata Choudhury

In this discussion on Soumyabrata Choudhury’s Ambedkar and Other Immortals: An Untouchable Research Programme, Souradeep Roy asks what kind of influence Choudhury’s time at the Jawaharlal Nehru University has had in the writing of the book. In this section, they also Choudhury also asks if the Left, which has had a very active and living…

Countdown to Ayodhya

Countdown to Ayodhya

Babri Masjid: 25 Years On was published as a Special Issue by the Indian Journal of Secularism in 2017 to commemorate 25 years of the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The book has multiple narratives — eye-witness accounts, essays on the political events that led upto the demolition, the riots that followed, and how different sections of…

“Ambedkar broke any prevailing consensus on nationhood”: Soumyabrata Choudhury

“Ambedkar broke any prevailing consensus on nationhood”: Soumyabrata Choudhury

In our latest interview for the series Writers Talk Politics, we talk to Soumyabrata Choudhury on his book, Ambedkar and Other Immortals: An Untouchable Research Programme, published by Navayana. In this part of the interview, Choudhury explains how Ambedkar questions a national consensus around any entity called ‘India’ on the basis of caste.   Watch…

#MayDay: The Gendered Proletariat

#MayDay: The Gendered Proletariat

Prostitution and the Feminist Debate A sex worker, as we know her today, is defined by work. She is socially useful reproductive labour: a gendered proletariat. The prostitute is neither a factory labourer nor a female wage worker to be termed as a proletariat; nor is she a domestic maid working at home. She is…

Caste in Music

Caste in Music

  A Karnatik music class is not a place for musical exchange alone. It is a cultural space, a caste-specific cultural space. From the way students are expected to dress to the pictures that decorate the walls, the environment informs you of what is the norm. Girls almost always had to be dressed in salwar-kameez or…

Political Parties Have Looked at Slum Dwellers as Vote Bank: Narasimhamurthy

Political Parties Have Looked at Slum Dwellers as Vote Bank: Narasimhamurthy

The Slum Janandolana, Karnataka (SJK-Movement of Slum Dwellers, Karnataka) is organising slum dwellers to fight for their rights and against the oppression by the state and bureaucracy for a decade now. Newsclick and Indian Cultural Forum spoke to Narasimhamurthy, state convenor, SJK, about the approach of the political parties in the state towards the demands of slum…

ബാബായ്ക്ക് ഒരു കത്ത്

ബാബായ്ക്ക് ഒരു കത്ത്

നമ്മുടെ കുതിരകളെല്ലാം വീട്ടില്‍ തിരിച്ചെത്തിയോ, ബാബാ?   കിളരമുള്ള പുല്‍പ്പടര്‍പ്പുകള്‍ക്കിടയ്ക്കു ആ ദുര്‍ഭൂതങ്ങള്‍ എന്നെ പിച്ചിച്ചീന്തിയപ്പോള്‍ അവ മാത്രമേ കൂടെ കരയാന്‍ ഉണ്ടായുള്ളൂ. കുന്നിന്‍പുറത്തെ നീലപ്പൂക്കള്‍ കണ്ണടച്ചു നിന്നു, ആറ്റുവഞ്ചികള്‍ തല കുനിച്ചു, നീരുറവകള്‍ എന്റെ ചോര പോലെ കലങ്ങിയുറഞ്ഞു പോയി.   ചന്ദ്രനെ മുതുകിലേറ്റി വരുന്ന വെളുത്ത കുതിരകളെ സ്വപ്നം കാണുന്ന മയക്കത്തില്‍, അവരെന്നെ അവരുടെ ദേവതയ്ക്കു കുരുതി കൊടുക്കാന്‍ കൊണ്ടുപോവുകയാണെന്ന് ഞാന്‍ കരുതിയതേയില്ല, ബാബാ.   പാതി മയക്കത്തില്‍ ഞാന്‍ ഇബ്ബിലീസുകളുടെ ഇരുണ്ട പൊട്ടിച്ചിരികളും കുതിരക്കുട്ടികളുടെ നിലാവു…

The Spark in Their Words

The Spark in Their Words

Basava, Kalburgi. Neither was an atheist; but both believed in, and practised, a radical form of religion. Their words—indeed, their lives—were texts that challenged the powerful status quo. If the reformer and poet Basava were alive today, we would call him an activist, or even a radical. Back in the twelfth century, when he spearheaded…

“I don’t want people to see The Slave Genesis as an anthropological film”: Aneez K Mapila

“I don’t want people to see The Slave Genesis as an anthropological film”: Aneez K Mapila

Malayalam documentary filmaker Aneez K Mappila won the National Film Award for the Best Anthropological Documentary Film in 65th National Awards, Government of India for his documentary The Slave Genesis. The Indian Cultural Forum talked to the director on his experience while working with the Paniya tribes.     Sreelakshmi (SL): As a person not…

A New Ambedkarite Wound

A New Ambedkarite Wound

This is a short extract from the introduction to the book Ambedkar and Other Immortals: An Untouchable Research Programme (Navayana, 2018). Choudhury, here, reignites the debate over the appropriation of Ambedkar. Amidst rising echoes for Ambedkar-Marx, Ambedkar-Marx-Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar-Marx-Gandhi-Bhagat Singh, he provocatively asks us to think of Ambedkar's singular exceptionality. "[T]he question", he says, "is…

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: “I want to revive the connections between Africa and Asia”

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: “I want to revive the connections between Africa and Asia”

This is the first part of a conversation between Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and Sudhanva Deshpande. The writer was in Delhi for the ILF Samanvay Translations Series-2018, organised in collaboration with Seagull Books, at the Indian Habitat Centre. In this conversation with Deshpande, actor and publisher, he talks of the presence of India in his novels;…

Na Turk, Na Hindu: Shared Languages in North India

Na Turk, Na Hindu: Shared Languages in North India

  Modern language ideologies firmly believe that languages ‘belong’ to specific communities, be they ethnic, regional, or religious.These imagined communities, according to Benedict Anderson (1991), get simultaneously projected into the past, present, and the future. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the slogan ‘Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan’ projected Hindi (in the Nagari script) as the language…

Students of the Centre for English Studies, JNU, release a statement in support of their former chairperson, Udaya Kumar

Students of the Centre for English Studies, JNU, release a statement in support of their former chairperson, Udaya Kumar

The Indian Cultural Forum has been closely following the developments at the Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. We interviewed Dr Saitya Brata Das after he was denied his promotion to Professorship despite the support of the then Chairperson, Professor Udaya Kumar, and his adequate qualifications. Now, we learn that Dr Udaya Kumar, along…

यहीं कहीं रहेंगे केदारनाथ सिंह

यहीं कहीं रहेंगे केदारनाथ सिंह

हिन्दी कविता की एक महत्वपूर्ण पीढी तेज़ी से विदा हो रही है. यह दृश्य  दुखद और  डरावना  है जहां ऐसे बहुत कम कवि बचे हैं जिनसे कविता का विवेक और प्रकाश  पाया जा सके. पिछले वर्ष कुंवर नारायण, चंद्रकांत देवताले, दूधनाथ सिंह, और अब केदारनाथ सिंह. केदार जी रक्तचाप, मधुमेह या हृदयाघात जैसी व्याधियों  से…

Lingayat Religion Status: From an Egalitarian Philosophy to a Political Tool

Lingayat Religion Status: From an Egalitarian Philosophy to a Political Tool

The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government of Karnataka has decided to extend the religious minority status for the Lingayat community, after persistent demands. Who are the Lingayats? And who are the Veershaivas? Why a separate religion? And, what, if any, impact will this have on the upcoming Assembly elections? Yogesh S from Indian Cultural Forum and Newsclick spoke to Shivsundar, a…

Memories of Amma

Memories of Amma

  This is an excerpt from an essay that Kalpana Karunakaran wrote on her mother, Mythily Sivaraman. The essay was written for a book of recollections by several people who knew Mythily.  Growing up as Mythily's daughter meant discovering, early on, that my mother was different from anyone else I knew; it meant being part of a…

Politics, Culture, and the Political Economy of Everyday Communalism in Eastern Uttar Pradesh

Politics, Culture, and the Political Economy of Everyday Communalism in Eastern Uttar Pradesh

Despite the strong presence after independence of the left and socialist forces in this region, including Mau and Gorakhpur, the eastern districts have experienced the rise of right-wing Hindu forces beginning from the colonial period. This is evident from the role played by the Gita Press Gorakhpur, which was originally established to publish low-cost editions…

“भारतीय मीडिया और सिनेमा ‘कास्ट घेटो’ हैं”

“भारतीय मीडिया और सिनेमा ‘कास्ट घेटो’ हैं”

न्यूज़क्लिक और इन्डियन कल्चरल फ़ोरम ने युवा फ़िल्मकार सोमनाथ वाघमारे से भीमा कोरेगाँव पर बनी उनकी फिल्म तथा भारतीय मीडिया जगत के विषय में बात कीI सोमनाथ ने बताया कि भारतीय सिनेमा और मीडिया में तथाकथित उच्च जातियों का वर्चस्व रहा है और अभी भी बरक़रार हैI इसलिए समाज के हाशिये पर खड़े तबकों का इनमें…

Amidst the Prasar Bharati-Smriti Irani imgroblio, listen to Mahatma Gandhi’s only speech delivered at Broadcasting House in 1947

Amidst the Prasar Bharati-Smriti Irani imgroblio, listen to Mahatma Gandhi’s only speech delivered at Broadcasting House in 1947

Recently, several reports were published highlighting the rift between Prasar Bharati and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, now helmed by Smriti Irani. While the debates surrounding the issue have, largely, focussed on the legality of the move,  it is important to understand the vision with which Prasar Bharati was set up, which was, in fact, to…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

“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…

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…

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…

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”…

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…

#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…

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…

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…

“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…

“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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

#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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

#OurGauri: My Salaam to Gauri…

#OurGauri: My Salaam to Gauri…

  They killed Gauri madame. They ended up killing Gauri madame. They have permanently taken away our Gauri madame from us. No matter how many times I say this to myself, my mind is not ready to believe this truth. We are all on the street. We are doing everything that we can think of….

The Classmate

The Classmate

      “I haven't slept for twenty days. I stay awake through the night…because of the dream. The minute I fall asleep. The dream begins. In it…”He released his hold on my hand and grew serious. Basavegowda was not the type easily given to fear or tears. But he was shaken by what was…

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…

#OurGauri: Why Did They Kill Gauri?

#OurGauri: Why Did They Kill Gauri?

  P. Lankesh introduced me to Kannada literature. I can never forget him or his family. The article titled “Nanna e jana ondagabeku” (My people should be united), written by Lankesh in the 1980s, helped me take my first step in literature. “Weren’t we always united?”; “Who were responsible for breaking this unity?” was my…

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…”  

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…

With Dwijen Bandyopadhyay’s Passing, the Cultural Left in Bengal Loses One of its Most Treasured Thespians

With Dwijen Bandyopadhyay’s Passing, the Cultural Left in Bengal Loses One of its Most Treasured Thespians

While several obituaries have flown in after Tom Alter died on 29 September, 2017, the death of another veteran actor and director, whose work, too, has primarily been in theatre, received little attention. Dwijen Bandyopadhyay, director of the theatre group Samstab, passed away amidst Pujo festivities on 27 September 2017. He was 68. A known…

Protesting the Assassination of Gauri Lankesh

Protesting the Assassination of Gauri Lankesh

  The Indian Cultural Forum participated in the protest march organised by the All India Coordinated Mobilisations For Justice For Gauri Lankesh. Four hundred people from different parts of Karnataka participated in this march.  The ICF Team spoke to lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan, and Mr. Vasu, one of the columnists in Gauri Lankesh Patrike. They promise…

#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…

History is an Unending Dialogue between the Past and the Present

History is an Unending Dialogue between the Past and the Present

Ramin Jahanbegloo, in his introduction to this book of conversations, says, "When… we study Professor Thapar's analyses of early India, we do not have a sense of historiography as a positivistic science, but that of history as an unending dialogue between the past and the present. As a result, this continuous process of interaction between…

Independent Publishing in India: Tara Books

Independent Publishing in India: Tara Books

Tara Books is a collective of writers, artists and designers that publishes illustrated books for children and adults. Their visual books span a range of genres: children’s literature, social and art pedagogy, popular culture, photography, and art. Tara Books is “committed to returning the senses back to the physical book in an age busy writing…

Protest for Rohingyas in Delhi

Protest for Rohingyas in Delhi

A protest meeting was called on 13 September 2017, to protest the Government of India's decision to deport the Rohingya refugees and the ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Maynmar. The protest meeting was supposed to be held in front of the Maynmar embassy but was changed to Teen Murti in the last minute because the…

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…

They Sang through the Dark Times: Nakul Singh Sawhney’s Latest Documentary Savitri’s Sisters

They Sang through the Dark Times: Nakul Singh Sawhney’s Latest Documentary Savitri’s Sisters

With Savitri’s Sisters, filmmaker Nakul Singh Sawhney takes the camera back to women. His camera follows two women from the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikaar Manch – Laxmiben and Madhuben. He shoots the film during the Azaadi Kooch yatra, a journey that began to mark the one-year anniversary of the Una protests.  In its intent, the film…

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…

Indira Jaising: “It’s tragic that there were no women in the SC Bench that delivered the Triple Talaq Judgement”

Indira Jaising: “It’s tragic that there were no women in the SC Bench that delivered the Triple Talaq Judgement”

Shivangi Misra from the Lawyers Collective in conversation with the former Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising on the Supreme Court judgement that anulled instant triple talaq. In the first part of the interview, they discuss the long tradition of cases that preceded the judgement, and then move on to discuss the judgement in detail.    Also see:…

On Literary Activism

On Literary Activism

In December 2014, Amit Chaudhuri, novelist, essayist, and Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia, decided to add to the activities of UEA in India by starting a series of symposiums and conversations that would inhabit and aim to create a space different from both the "academic conference" and the "literary festival"'….

Remembering Sova Sen, Legendary Actress of Political Theatre in Bengal

Remembering Sova Sen, Legendary Actress of Political Theatre in Bengal

Sova Sen, the legendary actress of Bengali theatre and cinema, passed away five days ago, on 13 August. Sen joined the political theatre of Bengal after she passed out from Bethune College. With these excerpts from Himani Banerji's essay, based on her interviews with Sen, we begin a series of tributes which critically evalute Sen's contribution to the political theatre…

On Dalit Autobiographies

On Dalit Autobiographies

The kind of experiences which are narrated in Dalit autobiographies have had no models before. One of the first points that strikes the readers of Akkarmashi by Sharankumar Limbale is the dehumanising impact of caste oppression in Hindu society. His autobiography documents his struggles against poverty, deprivation, discrimination and caste violence. His family rarely enjoys…

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…

Fearless Godavari Parulekar Led the Warli Tribes in the Freedom Movement

Fearless Godavari Parulekar Led the Warli Tribes in the Freedom Movement

  When we hear the phrase “freedom fighter”, we often imagine a male freedom fighter. But nearly half of the freedom fighters involved in the struggle for Independence were women who participated in equal numbers, and strove fearlessly to attain freedom from the British colonisers.  The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has compiled a list…

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…

“I resemble everyone/ but myself”: Revisiting A K Ramanujan and the Controversy Over “Three Hundred Ramanayas”

“I resemble everyone/ but myself”: Revisiting A K Ramanujan and the Controversy Over “Three Hundred Ramanayas”

Poet, folklorist, essayist, and translator, A K Ramanujan, died on 13 July, twenty four years ago. A multilingual writer, Ramanujan worked tirelessly in translation after translation to draw our attention to folktales, oral stories, and literatures from classical Tamil, a language that is older than Sanskrit. In 2008, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), took offence…

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…

Independent Publishing in India: Thema

Independent Publishing in India: Thema

WIth this conversation, we begin a series of interviews on independent publishing in India. Set up in the late 1980s, Thema is an independent publishing house based in Calcutta. Here, Samik Bandyopadhyay and Sudeshna Banerjee of Thema, talk to Souradeep Roy. Since their motto is "publishing for change", they discuss ways in which books can bring about change….

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…

On the Attack on Minorities, Shabnam Hashmi says “Nothing surprises me. It is only the beginning.”

On the Attack on Minorities, Shabnam Hashmi says “Nothing surprises me. It is only the beginning.”

Well-known human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi recently returned the National Minority Rights Award in protest against mob lynching. Her protest comes in the wake of 16-year-old Junaid's murder in broad daylight. Hashmi has said that the National Commission for Minorities, which conferred the award on her in 2008, has lost all its credibility. ICF interviewed…

Desecrations in Goa

Desecrations in Goa

Image courtesy: Facebook page, oHeraldoGoa.   Since early July, Goans have woken to the shock of daily headlines reporting desecrations, mainly of Catholic religious sites, apart from two idols inside a Krishna temple including that of a nandi. Many wayside crosses in villages have been knocked down. The latest was a vicious attack on the…

ईद मुबारक कहूँ किसे?

ईद मुबारक कहूँ किसे?

    राजधानी दिल्ली से अब एक लंबे अरसे से   कोई ट्रेन मथुरा नहीं जाती.    मथुरा की कल-कल बहती यमुना ने तो घोर अँधेरे में क्रूर हत्यारे को अँधेरे में रखकर नवजात कन्हैयाको   नदी पार कराई थी.   गोकुल में बाल गोपाल मोर के गीतों का पंख सिर पर बाँधकर गायों के झुंड…

From Godhra to Una

From Godhra to Una

  "My birth is my fatal accident."                       — Rohith Vemula Are suffering and oppression mere accidents of birth? If so, resistance must also be an accident of birth. Harsh Mander has titled his recent book Fatal Accidents of Birth: Stories of Suffering, Oppression and Resistance after the powerful phrase from Rohit Vemula's suicide note….

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…

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…

#NotInMyName #NoMoreLynching

#NotInMyName #NoMoreLynching

    Today, 28 June 2017, our citizens have planned simultaneous protests across the country and in some other parts of the world. Some of the protests are also scheduled for June 29th and July 1st, 2017. The protests are against the countrywide targeted lynchings. Most recently, 16-year-old Junaid was lynched on 23 June 2017…

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…

Achhe Din Roundup: The Week that Was

Achhe Din Roundup: The Week that Was

1. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting denied three documentaries permission to be screened at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala. The films are on Rohith Vemula, unrest in Kashmir, and protests in JNU.   2. In Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, activist Zaffar Hussein was beaten to death by civic officials because he objected…