Category: Commentary

March 20, 2016 /

Ballad of a Hangman is a poem about a hangman who arrives in a town and executes the citizens one by one. As each citizen is executed, the others are afraid to object out of fear that they will be next. Finally there is nobody remaining in the town except the hangman and the narrator of the poem. The narrator is then executed by the hangman, as by then there is no one left who will defend him.

March 19, 2016 /

The Aadhaar Bill opens the door to mass surveillance. This danger needs to be seen in the light of recent attacks on the right to dissent. No other country, and certainly no democratic country, has ever held its own citizens hostage to such a powerful infrastructure of surveillance.

March 18, 2016 /

Delhi, for all its self-righteousness over us “regionals” and with its moody earnestness, wont fight our battles. The fact that solidarity in and from Delhi matters in the “national narrative” is part of the problem and not part of the solution. Delhi and its ideologies represent, what we in Bangla call, the ghost in the mustard.

March 16, 2016 /

Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani—he-who-must-not-be named, is present with us through a spectre of vital absence. All we know is that he has been taken into judicial custody on charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy and unlawful assembly in connection with an event held at the Press Club of India on February 9, 2016. No information or update about the extension of his remand, his bail options, his financial travails, the treatment meted out or questions asked of him in custody, the position or anxieties of his family and so on, have been forthcoming.

March 16, 2016 /

We do not need “outsider” organizations to come and perform charity puja. In our need for political allies and powerful friends we seem to forget that we have more in common with each other (Christian and non-Christian) than Right wing nut-jobs who seek to further widen the schism. This is as true for the Hindutva as it is for the Evangelical Fundamentalists.

March 12, 2016 /

the national/anti-national debate has some relevance to it only when the informed Indian citizenry, and particularly its progressive opinion makers, learn to be sensitive to the plight of its oppressed people; learn to treat the Dalits and other marginal communities with dignity, not as favour, but as their genuine human right; accept the Indian Muslims as a people, who do not always need to put up a ‘progressive’ stance; and allow the Kashmiris their legitimate right to determine their political future,

March 8, 2016 /

“Can Indian Feminist Movement be granted a pat on the back yet? Despite the hundreds of women marching on the streets more than a couple of times in the past few months, have they really found the space their voice demands in the social stratosphere yet? Or have we critically failed to uphold the voices of subalterns?”

March 4, 2016 /

To be brave you have to risk something. To be meaty, brilliant, and thorny you have to provide insights that don’t just voice what most of the people in the room would like to say, but that takes them to a different level of understanding or provokes them to investigate further. With great respect for Chris Rock’s career, I don’t think Oscar night he achieved either.

March 1, 2016 /

JNU as an event is multifaceted and has segregated the Indian community based on their perceptions towards Kashmir and the conflict. Sympathizers changed colours overnight. Those vouching for freedom, an ambivalent term in the present context, shut their mouth when the time to voice their opinions came. Those who spoke, tuned their views in such a manner as to avoid themselves being tagged as “anti-national”. They subdued ideologies to save their faces which they deemed to be of more significance than aligning with truth.”

February 29, 2016 /
February 28, 2016 /

Not only are your claims factually incorrect but they point to an utter lack of respect and sensitivity for the grieving family, friends, and students. You are clearly disconnected from the heart breaking grief of his friends palpable to anyone present that night or the accompanying anger knowing the injustice that led to this tragedy. Does it befit our honourable minister to implicate these very grieving people in the death of their beloved friend?

February 21, 2016 /

While the use of words like Azadi and plebiscite in multiple struggles across India can potentially create grounds for meaningful solidarity, Kashmiris have repeatedly witnessed that the appropriation of such terms rarely creates a space to debate the political status of Kashmir or resolve the longstanding issue through political means.

February 19, 2016 /

Perhaps this article is ill-timed. Perhaps in the current scenario with various Far Right groups actively seeking a Hindutva agenda it is not the best time to be writing things which they could use for their own benefit. This is particularly true after the recent maiden procession carried out by the RSS in Shillong which has evoked so much reaction.

February 11, 2016 /

“It takes a loud bang to make the deaf hear”, Bhagat Singh had famously said. After using violence, Bhagat Singh did not evade the site, rather handed himself to the British authorities and then would use courts to propagate his ideas. Maqbool Bhatt held a similar view. After he was imprisoned in Pakistan in the famous Ganga hijacking case, he wrote letters to his acquaintances and family wherein he professed that the act was aimed at falsifying claims of occupiers and superimposing truth upon them.

February 4, 2016 /

Before HIV funding oiled and co-opted “queer”, before it re-created and held in place caste hierarchies – Indian collective queer spaces were found in hamams, and bastis, and parks. It was found in villages where the only visible queer was the local (Dalitbahujan) transfemme community. She was the one that poor, Dalitbahujan queer femmes and trans men sought out and befriended and asked for help. Before the globalized repeal IPC-377 campaign cemented the meaning of what queer caste neutrality looks like – it was queer Dalitbahujans who were being beaten, tortured, raped and killed by the police, by the public and the state. While the sexuality rights consultancies and speaking engagements went to Savarna queers, it was Dalitbahujans who arrived in masses and protested police stations and courtrooms, and were lathi-charged, beaten and arrested.

February 2, 2016 /

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis argues that the nation-state is dead and democracy in the EU has been replaced by a toxic algorithmic depoliticisation that, if it is not confronted, will lead to depression, disintegration and possibly war. He calls for a launch of a pan-European movement to democratise Europe, to save it before it is too late.

January 28, 2016 /

Generations of Kashmiris have already answered the rhetorical question, “Hum kya chahte?” (What do we want?) with “Azadi”—freedom from India. If there is to be any possibility of reconciliation, it cannot be answered with another question: “What about Kashmiri Pandits?” This latter question can be—should be—part of the answer to another question, “Azadi ka matlab kya?” (What does azadi entail?) But for that to happen, the first question must be heard, and answered.