Raiot Posts

April 18, 2018 /

In the light of many citizens of Meghalaya being denied their pensions because of illegal insistence of Aadhaar by the Provident fund office, today the members of the Meghalaya Peoples Committee against Aadhar (MPCA) met the Assistant Commissioner Provident Fund at Shillong and submitted before him a petition urging the Employees Provident Fund Authority to withdraw or rescind notifications that make Aadhaar Mandatory.

April 18, 2018 /

If we could look back a little in Guwahati, we recall the incidents of 2012 G.S. road molestation, the news where girls wearing shorts were compared to monkeys in a local news channel in 2015, the photographs of two girls shared by a well known news reader when they were outside an alcohol shop in their traditional attires on the day of Saraswati puja early this year, as examples that are emblematic of the manner in which dominant, middle-class, male-dominated cultures portray independent women in Assam. The road from such views, to those that lead to tragic violence against women, is unfortunately well short and well-travelled. Distracting women with ideas that such violence can be done by only one class of people, belonging to a particular religion is misleading and dangerous because it deflects from the long struggles that needed for a gender just society.

April 11, 2018 /

There are nationalist, there are racists, there are right wingers and there are these so called ” KHASI SONS OF THE SOIL” whom we term as INTERNET KHLAWAIT. They are found in their natural habitats; Facebook, Whatsapp, twitter and sometimes, in you tube. They are always criticising everything that is not Khasi or written in Khasi along with other languages. Here are some of the traits of these INTERNET KHLAWAIT…

April 9, 2018 /

In response to Sunday’s events, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) in Kashmir gave a call for a solidarity march to Shopian on April 3. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who continues to be a part of the JRL along with senior leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, too hoped to march this time. The government had recently announced his release from a seven-year-long house detention after his resignation as the TeH chief. As Geelani slowly walked towards the gate of his party residence, he found it closed. Peeping out through a small window in the door, he asked the armed personnel stationed outside to open the gate. When they refused citing “orders” Geelani quipped: “Darwaaza kholo, tumhari jamhooriyat ka jinaza nikal raha hai…hindustan ki jamhooriyat ka… uska jinaaza nikal raha hai… Open the door, the funeral of your democracy is leaving… Of India’s democracy…here goes its funeral!”

April 8, 2018 /

I was twenty-four, fresh out of University and eager to put my skills to the test. My first teaching assignment was at a private college where my cousin, upon hearing about my incursion to the relative unknown, jokingly remarked, “There are colleges for First Class students, so there must be colleges for Third Class and Simple Pass students as well. If there aren’t any of the latter, you and I can establish one. We will have many takers. ” It was also the first time that I saw women in burqas

April 7, 2018 /

But of course it cannot be said that the fascists of any single nationality have a monopoly over the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of libraries. In 1943 the Nazis had ‘soaked each room of the Royal Society Library in Naples with gasoline and ignited them by throwing in hand grenades’, destroying about 200,000 books and manuscripts, ostensibly in retaliation for the shooting of a German soldier (Knuth, Libricide, p.53). More recently, in 2013, Islamist insurgents retreating from Timbuktu in Mali ‘set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless historic manuscripts’, according to the mayor of the town. The vast majority of those were in Arabic, others in Songhai, Tamashek and Bambara, showing just how much the self-styled protagonists of Islam (in this case, AQIM, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) care for the heritage of Islam itself.

April 7, 2018 /

Deep Choudhury’s debut venture Alifa is a story of a family’s struggle languishing in the margins. Young Alifa and her family lives in a hill overseeing the sprawling city of Guwahati. Her parents Ali and Fatima played by seasoned actors Baharul Islam and Jaya Seal work as daily wage labourers while she and her younger brother Faizal stay home or roam around in the wilderness. They go to the maktab and are waiting for a school to open in the vicinity to resume education. This family like many others living in the hill comprises of Muslims of East Bengal origin or ‘Miya’ Muslims. Hailing from Barpeta, they have lost their home and hearth to the Beki, a tributary of Brahmaputra.

April 5, 2018 /

Ramachandra Guha is among Indias’ most visible intellectuals, and his newspaper columns and television appearances mark him off from the more reticent world of academic historians. At 900 pages his new book India after Gandhi is not shy of claiming its own space on the bookshelf: from it’s title page, where it announces itself as “The History of the World’s Largest Democracy” (not A History, mind you, but The History); to it’s end papers, which tells us that the author’s entire career seems in retrospect to have been preparation for the writing of this book.

April 4, 2018 /

On March 29, 2018, Mahesh Hegde, the founder of the alt-right online news site Postcard News was arrested by the Karnataka police and several sections of the Indian Penal Code were cited to justify the police action. Within a matter of hours many users of social media posted in joy and glee that action was taken against a much-despised site that often peddled fake news and radical opinions that were invariably pro-government, pro-Hindutva, often Islamophobic and xenophobic.

April 3, 2018 /

Were women “freer” back in the 1970s in these countries? It depends how you measure it, of course. But the point is that miniskirts or lack thereof do not prove the existence of women’s freedom or civilization in a country. Their use to convince Trump to continue the occupation of Afghanistan reveals the continuing dangers of these facile equation of women’s dress with freedom as well as the weaponization of nostalgia.

April 2, 2018 /

The recent speech in Hindi by the Chief Minister of Manipur on 28th March at Madhavpur fair held at Porbandar, Gujarat claiming Manipur and the entire Northeast region as a part of the Brahmanical cosmological universe dragged out from obscurity and obsoleteness, an old debate which have been dumped in the darkest abyss by generations of historians so that it does not find light again. The Indian state has not been very successful in nationalizing this recalcitrant region and its population, and successive governments have used different strategies to bring the region under their firm control. With successive electoral gains in the region, the ruling party has been emboldened to go ahead their master plan of submerging the entire country under one national identity. The Madhavpur Mela, organized by Ministry of culture in Gujarat to celebrate another mythical claim that Lord Krishna married an Arunachali princess, is a grand and a very expensive affair to bring the region and its population under the hegemonic Hindu nation.

April 1, 2018 /

Easter is one of those times of year when even the most irregular churchgoer can feel impelled to don their Sunday best and attend a service. This joyful highpoint of the Christian calendar – and the darker-toned days of the Passion which precede it – may not nowadays have quite the same all-pervading presence in the secular consciousness as Christmas. But this time of year has captured the imagination of composers through the ages – not least because the Church was one of the few steady employment options available for composers for centuries. The result has been some of the best-loved, most enduring, and most ethereally transcendent pieces in the choral repertoire.

March 31, 2018 /

The quaint hillside house was larger than it had looked from the outside and the first room led to a wide hallway. She coughed mildly as she entered the aisle, her footsteps disturbing the dust that had settled undisturbed for a long time. The dust was now dancing in spirals in thin sunbeams that seemed to magically cut across her. Her backpack felt heavy, so she slid it off and left it on the ground. There were two broken windows on the west of this long hallway, or maybe it was large enough to be a room.

March 30, 2018 /

On 28th of March during the Madhavpur Fair held at Porbandar, Gujarat, the Chief Minister of Manipur, Nongthombam Biren unabashedly accepted the distorted lies about Manipur, its people and its history which has been long propagated by the Indian colonial discourse of dissolving Manipur in the Caste-Hindu fold forcefully. In an act of repeating the signing off of Manipur in 1949, Nongthombam Biren gave the above statements on the said day conflating facts with fiction, myths with history and thereby paving the way for Manipur’s fall and the loss of its identity.

March 30, 2018 /

Some Christians have a hard time reckoning with the reality of the crucifixion, and it is often glossed over in favor of the more dramatic (and positive) Resurrection on Sunday.  As solemn as Easter Sunday often is (at least in my family), it is usually easier for people to celebrate life than death. But the crucifixion is just as important as the resurrection.  They are two sides of the same Easter coin, and without a proper understanding of the crucifixion, we cannot hope to fully understand the resurrection.

March 27, 2018 /

One needs to constantly remind oneself of the impossibility of extrapolation especially when using few stories to stand in for the whole. For example, the reading of ‘Meitei women’ as ‘unique as they are deeply concerned about the society they live in and are involved in various social organizations,’ or ‘This little girl grew up, got married and like most Meitei women, got actively involved in social work.’ is remarkable in its lack of nuance and (mis) reading the parts for the whole.

March 26, 2018 /

On October 17, 2017, Meghalaya government issued a curious press release. It said that, that, “good numbers of AADHAAR CARDs are lying undelivered at Shillong GPO due to incomplete address of the addressee, given in the cover containing Aadhaar Card. The statement of Sr. Supiritendent of Post Offices, Meghalaya also made another shocking admission that, “most of the Aadhaar Card received at Shillong GPO do not have the complete address and simply mentioned the name of the person and address given as Shillong, hence it is difficult for the postman to deliver the same to the public.

March 26, 2018 /

I joined Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) as a PhD candidate in Modern Indian History in 2015. Except for a few months delay in getting hostel, the University was largely welcoming. There were of course protests and sloganeering on various national and local issues. I remember the Student Union was on a hunger strike for a new hostel to be constructed. While JNU was already known for its political culture, I found that inside campus many students were aloof to organizations of the campus and were busy in their academic or personal life.

March 19, 2018 /

The Tejas project was driven by ADA, one of the many agencies of the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization), which was created by Jawaharlal Nehru. Not only was DRDO tasked with overseeing the Tejas project, they also contributed to many of the modules used in it. I remember working with folks at the Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS), as they were working on a radar system for the Tejas – we were helping them understand the hydrodynamic impact of the radar on the aircraft. Other labs that played an important role were BEL, ADE, and ARDE. All these would not have existed without Nehru.

March 19, 2018 /

The feminization of the Indian man via the Khasi garment (traditionally worn by women) is used as a tool to ridicule and shame the ‘outsider.’ Yet, it is also a matter of the local tribal folks manipulating and exploiting the tourism industry, and the commodification of cultures and cultural materials, because hey, we can sell whatever the Indian tourist is willing to buy, and trust us, he would buy anything which exudes the aura of exotic tribalism. Often, this comes with a complete lack of knowledge or the complete lack of a desire to acquire knowledge of the various people and places he visits in Meghalaya. But wait, isn’t this just a probably unprecedented but almost natural repercussion of the grand endeavour called Meghalaya tourism?

March 18, 2018 /

When she took an afternoon nap, 
she was tigerish: “You sons of a vagina!” she 
would snarl, “you won’t even let me rest for a moment, 
sons of a fiend! Come here sons of a beast! If I 
get you I’ll lame you! I’ll maim you! …Sons 
of a louse! You feed on the flesh that breeds you! 
Make a noise again when I sleep and I’ll thrash you 
till you howl like a dog! You irresponsible nitwits! 
how will I play the numbers If I don’t get a good dream? 
How will I feed you, sons of a lowbred?

March 9, 2018 /

So how did Mr. Jemino Mawthoh lose his constituency? That is a worthwhile question that needs research and analysis for future planning. But maybe I am being optimistic that such a thing will come about. Mawthoh laments the fact that the UDP lost “four prestigious (Shillong) constituencies” to the Congress. So firstly, in the game of accruing numbers, Rambrai, Songsak, Amlarem is as “prestigious” as any Shillong constituency. Getting that into our heads will go a long way to ensuring victory. Numbers is what counts and numbers is what the UDP didn’t seem to be serious with. How many Garo candidates did they lend their full support and hard work behind? In all seriousness, it didn’t seem to have much of a tantalising appeal there even if they did. That is not the fault of the voters, it is the fault of the planners. The NPP (a fledgling party) had no problems calling people on board from across the state. Our cute little state parties don’t seem interested in the left hand side of the state. HSPDP, a party that is strongest in the West Khasi Hills can’t even cross over and get Garos on board. It is just a hop and a skip away!

March 7, 2018 /

“Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, speaking at a conference on Northeast made a few statements which did not go down well with many. At the conference “ North East Region of India—Bridging Gaps and Securing Borders” held in New Delhi’s DRDO Bhavan, the Army Chief commented that the region is bound to see migration which is being accentuated by India’s northern and western neighbours to destabilize the region and carry on a proxy war. And this is reflected in the growth of a party like All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) which grew much faster compared to parties like BJP and which allegedly enjoys the support of ‘illegal’ immigrants.”

March 6, 2018 /

What is the story behind the hung verdict of #Meghalaya #Elections 2018?
How there may have been more volatility than overall results suggest?
How the presence of a large number of turncoats contributed to the blurring of the lines between parties?
How did NOTA do?
While we wait for a resolution of the conundrum, data can reveal information on the outcome of this election, as well as on longer-term trends in Meghalaya electoral politics.

March 6, 2018 /

When no party gets a majority in an election there is unbridled enthusiasm among some legislators, individually or in small groups to help a party form the government. They cannot be faulted for this, elections are held to form a government, This leads to party hopping, the easiest way to create a majority when the electorates did not help is to put a majority in party in place.

March 3, 2018 /

Around 00:05 on February 19 2018, Indian armed forces shot dead Syed Habibullah after he allegedly “tried to enter the high security Air Force Station” in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district. The police spokesman said that the man, in his fifties, “appeared to be mentally challenged”—he was not wearing any footwear, had no winter clothing, and did not carry any identity card. Those who knew him told media-persons that “he used to roam from once place to another, not because he was mentally challenged but because he was distressed with extreme penury.” He was laid to rest in his native village of Soibug amidst pro-freedom slogans and clashes with the government forces.
 The name Habibullah translates as ‘the beloved of God.’

March 1, 2018 /

Black Panther, apart from its spectacular reconstruction of an “Afro-future, also encapsulates the reality of indigenous societies of North East India succinctly. I don’t think there is any other popular movie in recent times than Black Panther that has engaged with the questions of modernity and oppression. It may have its problems (after all it is a movie) but the message of Black Panther needs reflection.

February 28, 2018 /

After almost a year of rigmarolic churning of volcanic events – from vandalism, to criticism, to criticism of the vandalism and criticism, and finally full-throated endorsement – Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat seems to have reached a moment of critical enervation, triggering an intellectual sluggishness of monolithic and polar responses. The film, and its legal and extra-legal instances of censorships fomented such frenzied passions that almost all sides of the political spectrum, from the right to the center to the liberal-left to the left…

February 26, 2018 /

Ka sain pyrthei ha kine ki sngi bad taiew ha Meghalaya ka shongshit bha namar baka Jingjied Nongthawain (Legislator) sha ka Iing Dorbar Thawain (Legislative Assembly) ka lah jan bha. Ka ia kawang ktieh para kyrtong ka dei ka khubor kaba ngi iohsngew ne pule man ka sngi ha man ki rynsan election. Haba iaid haki lynti synkien, ha iew ha hat bad haki jaka paitbah ka khana sain pyrthei ka da khluit hi tar. Ym tang ha kine ki rynsan hynrei wat ha ki social media (internet) lyngba ka whatsapp, facebook, twitter bad kiwei kiwei ruh ka thnam bha. Dei ha kaba kum kine ki por ba ki seng sain pyrthei ki ioh ka lad ban pynpaw sha ka pyrthei ia ki jingangnud jong ki naka bynta u paitbah bad ka Ri hi baroh kawei. Ki rynsan iatai kiba dap daki juban lak jong ki kyrtong bad ki seng sain pyrthei kiba sngewbang bad shngiam bha bad ba lada theh um haka kriah I kumba kam hoit shuh. Hynrei sngewsih ba kine ki juban lak baroh kin jah noh tang da dep election.

February 24, 2018 /

Can anyone tell me what differentiates one political party from the rest in this election season? Except for the Right wing BJP (a big no no) everyone else sort of looks and sounds the same. The reason is because they all believe in the same economic order. They have no wish to change it. This is why if we want true economic justice and harmony to come about Meghalaya must turn towards SOCIALISM.

February 23, 2018 /

The students across the four campuses of Tata Institute of Social Sciences: Mumbai, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Tuljapur have been protesting since 20th of February, 2018 against Privatisation of Higher education. There has been a series of demands that the student body has put up since the last 8 months. However, in the absence of acknowledgement of the demands from the side of TISS administration, the students boycotted the classes since 21st of February 2018.

February 23, 2018 /

On a cold day, some 27 years ago, Juma Sheikh, chowkidar of the twin hamlets of Kunan and Poshpora, Kupwara district in Kashmir, approached tehsildar Sikandar Malik with a letter written in Urdu signed and supported by thumb prints of the villagers. In elaborate and formal language the letter detailed the horrific ordeal of sexual violence and torture that they had suffered on the intervening night of February 23 and 24 at the hands of 4 Rajputana Rifles that had come in for a cordon and search. The victims reportedly ranged from a 60 year old woman to a 14 year old girl and a pregnant woman nearing full term. The men were not spared. Herded outside in the snow to makeshift interrogation centres they were subjected to various forms of torture like having chilli powder rubbed on the genitals or subjected to electric shocks in their private parts.