Category: Politics

December 6, 2016 /

Now her statues will come up all over the state, and for once I’m glad. In a few generations, all that will matter is that there is a woman’s statue as well, and that statue is not a mere kannagi who was venerated because she was a perfect wife, but of a woman who was a true and powerful leader of her own merit and her own making.

Read the PostRemembering Jayalalithaa

December 6, 2016 /

Business down by 50%. Only 3 out of 18 ATMs working.
If this is the state of things in a busy shopping area in Bengaluru, one of the biggest cities in India, and an IT hub to boot, just imagine the state of things in a rural area where most people do not have bank accounts and where internet penetration is very poor.
The worst is yet to come.

Read the PostDemonetization on Payday: A Photo Essay

December 3, 2016 /

Nobody likes to be a street-hawker forever. In fact, nobody wants to be a street-hawker to feed their children or even for themselves. Now, if the elites of Shillong can please tidy up their excessive garbage output to the Umshrypi and Wahumkhrah rivers, and bear with us so they can walk on the footpaths more comfortably, many dreams and lives can be shaped.

Read the PostMemoirs of a Hawker’s Son

December 1, 2016 /

Caste is not an internal problem, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this debate. It has to be acknowledged and exposed. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recommended that the UK invoke Section 9(5)(a) of the Equality Act ‘without further delay to ensure that caste-based discrimination is explicitly prohibited under law’ and for victims to have access to effective remedies”. In other words, the game is up. The government knows it, caste supremacists know it and human rights activists know it.

Read the PostCaste Discrimination and UK Law

November 30, 2016 /

Eat Dust is no work of fiction, although one is left wondering at the bizarreness of the truth behind the loot. It is a book however that passes on timeless lore, like the story of Paikdev’s spring. As Hartman takes us over hills that once stood in Goa, to the court room, and river side, and traces his own story from Kenya to Goa, one gets a rich context for what is actually, and incredibly, unraveling in Goa.

Read the PostEat Dust: Mining and Greed in Goa – a review

November 28, 2016 /

Most people (and like in other scenarios there are exceptions) who are very good at talking in meetings perform better in meetings, than elsewhere. They have invested time in these gatherings and have honed their skills to near perfection. I today, feel silly that I once used to be in awe of them. And the other that I have been a guilty of some of these traits and need to direly cut down on attending meetings.

Read the PostLet us have a MEETING

November 25, 2016 /

We, twenty five citizens of India, representing people’s movements, women’s organisations, trade unions, human rights organisations, youth organisations and individuals who are journalists, writers and filmmakers, from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha and Tamil Nadu, visited Kashmir from 11 to 20 November 2016 with the objective of understanding first-hand, from ordinary people and civil society, the situation of the peoples of the Kashmir Valley that has emerged over the past four-and-half months since the killing of three Hizbul Mujahideen militants, Burhan Wani, Sartaj Sheikh and Pervaiz Lashkari by the Indian Army and J&K Police on 8 July 2016.

Read the PostDon’t forget Kashmir

November 23, 2016 /

I was in my fourth grade in 1990, the year when Kashmir shut for 198 days, then for 207 days in 1991, 148 in 1992 and 139 in 1993, and so on. I grew up in all those tough long years. All my life I have lived here in Kashmir through the thick and thin of the situation. I grew up in curfews, crackdowns, identification parades; through the menace of the omnipresent bunkers and at the mercy of the fingers always ready on the triggers of SLRs. And throughout this time, I was educated to see, experience, understand and realise where the truth of the circumstances lay. All the young outstanding artists, doctors, engineers, lecturers, journalists and other achievers we have today have all grown up through the same troubled ’90s, the decade that saw the severest of curfews, shutdowns and crackdowns.

Read the PostSurvival & resistance in Kashmir

November 22, 2016 /

“More than black-money, demonetization appears to step one, for chasing the goals of enriching the rich and impoverishing the poor further. MODItization is already beginning to inflict terrible misery to India’s economic and social fabric. Its counter has to emerge from the very people, who have been scripted out for a terrible fate.”

Read the PostDemonetization or MODItization of the economy

November 18, 2016 /

We are a country of melodrama, fantastic mythology, grandiose narratives – this is the common thread that binds us all, for better or for worse. We thrive and revel in conflating relatively minor matters into something important and meaningful, and have a disdain for things that are not dramatic, grand or aspirational, even if critically important.

Read the PostClueless about Cashless

November 17, 2016 /

Demonetisation has placed disproportionate stress on exactly those who are least likely to be source of the problems the move aims to tackle. The ones least likely to hold black money, be involved in financing terrorists or printing fake currency are the hardest hit. Being part of an entirely cash-based economy, the poor are finding the hand-to-mouth cycle abruptly broken. A few hours spent in a bank’s queue may be a minor inconvenience and a patriotic service to the nation to the relatively well-off; to the construction worker, it amounts to a meal unearned, foregone.

Read the PostRobbing Hood Economics of Demonetisation

November 12, 2016 /

Mirza Waheed in his second novel “The Book of Gold Leaves” introduced, what might appear to foreign, non-contextual readers a fictitious creation but, a realistic character in Kashmir known as the zaal. Describing it, Mirza says it was a “beast of dust” which made frequent rounds of the streets and trapped people who stood nearby, whisking them away to interrogation camps and subsequent disappearance. It was an ensemble of terror, violence and state-sponsored brute force. Mirza’s description emanated from a reality and had actual instances of forces trapping civilians using every possible method at their disposal.

Read the PostIndia’s Zaal in Kashmir

November 12, 2016 /

Garga Chatterjee looks at what is wrong with the proposed amendments to the Citizenship Bill. BJP’s proposals are communally discriminatory and the issue of illegal migrants fleeing neighbouring nations due to human rights violations can be addressed by religion-blind, case-specific human rights abuse clauses. Anxieties around demographic changes and economic pressures are real and how this is not simply due to migrations across international borders but also migration across state borders. Expanding state government control of residency rights, property ownership, entry and settling rules is the need of the hour.

Read the PostOnly Hindus allowed

November 3, 2016 /

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in one of his recent chest-thumping speeches, compared the Indian forces with that of the Israeli ones. Modi’s comparison came within the context of Indian Army claiming to have carried out “surgical strikes” across the LOC and dismantling the launchpads used by the “Pakistani-sponsored militant groups to infiltrate across the De Facto border.” Now, if we bend-over backwards and accept the Indian claim while dismissing the scepticism that various international media agencies like CNN, BBC and Washingtonpost- establishments that usually spare no chance of portraying Pakistan as a virtually rogue state- expressed over these strikes, the question that still begs an answer is that, even from the Indian point of view, did this act induce any substantial change in the vexing political scenario of Kashmir?

Read the PostLearning from Israel

November 1, 2016 /

In recent weeks, as another cycle of protests dies down in J&K, there has been a surge in reports of incidents of looting, stone-pelting on civilian vehicles and, particularly, mysterious fires destroying schools and private property. No one knows who the perpetrators are…

Read the PostFire Thieves of Kashmir

October 27, 2016 /

In the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan campaign, cleaning starts with a photo shoot and people involved in it are worried about trying to get the best picture clicked while they are cleaning the already sanitized road with sanitized broom.

Read the PostTwo years of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan

October 10, 2016 /

The NEHUSU election this time around has been a very hotly debated issue. Previous years it was a low key affair with hardly any canvassing done and no one bothering to know the identity of the winners. But with so many students’ agitations in the recent past and the anti-student attitude of the administration this year’s election was a highly anticipated affair. In the heart of all this is Napoleon S. Mawphniang who contested from the group Mission 16-17 for the post of NEHUSU President. He won the election along with all the members of his group and will take charge of the student body for 2016-17 session. His is a remarkable victory because of the continuous harassment that he received from the administration for constantly questioning them. Even before the present election he was taking an active part in leading the students on various agitations in the campus. This interview was taken three days after his group had won the election.

Read the Post“This is a very historic moment for the student community in NEHU”

October 8, 2016 /

It was absolutely sickening to see Om Puri being roundly humiliated on Times Now on Monday evening. The abuse he has been subjected on social media to has been no less disgraceful.
Yes, it was insensitive for him to have said, “Did we force them to join the army? ” with reference to a specific instance and it looks even worse when a martyr’s father is inserted into the discourse. He apologised profusely but it was really just his construction that was awkward. For there was absolutely nothing illogical about the point he was making – which is that death is an occupational hazard in that job. For all those screeching from the rooftops about how that insults soldiers, perhaps try and detach yourself from your conditioning for just a couple of minutes?

Read the PostIndian Army is no holy cow

October 8, 2016 /

The future for Britain after Brexit does not look promising with further recession and job losses looking highly likely. All the xenophobia is not going to bring the economic benefits that many desired when they voted to Leave EU. Same fate awaits Meghalaya if it falls in the trap created by the Right. But unless the state abandons looking after the interest of the few, as is evidenced from its support to the coal lobby, the trap is looking like the future that awaits Meghalaya. When the minorities were first chased out of the state in the 1970s-1980s it was the resentment at their economic dominance that was the driving force behind the tensions. The same will be played out in the future as well. A day will come when very few minorities will be left to blame. But by then it will too late. The Right would have won and the state will be in ruins. Then we will be the minorities in other’s home having forced to migrate for earning a livelihood.

Read the PostBREXIT: Lessons for Meghalaya

October 3, 2016 /

Questions are being raised by many well-intentioned people, mostly on social media, about the overwhelming support for the immediate release of incarcerated human rights defender Khurram Parvez of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS)

Read the PostArresting Human Rights

October 1, 2016 /

There has a spurt of non-governmental organizations in the country. According to one estimate, India has more than 30 lakh NGO’s which is more than the number of schools in the whole country. These bodies are now performing the activities that the Government abdicated. But this is not a healthy scenario because at the end of the day they are not the mandated agencies and it encourages further outsourcing of development initiatives to private interest. This serves to weaken democracy because by virtue of being private initiatives the NGO’s are in principle not accountable to the public.

Read the PostOutsourcing Development : Solution or the Problem?

June 30, 2016 /

The lathi charge against the Kiang Nangbah College came right after the Terra Madre festival where crores of rupees have been invested. Here again we see the misplaced priorities of the Congress led government at the state. It is against these issues that students groups, civil society and organisation have become critical. The issues affecting the students are not only national but local.

Read the Post#OccupyUGC, Kiang Nangbah College, NEHU & Student Politics in Meghalaya

June 19, 2016 /

Kashmir’s blank political canvas seems to be generating more intrigue than the impending suspense created by the Game of Thrones’ Season Six poster. While the winter is yet to come to Westeros; Kashmir is already in the throes of it. Mufti Mohammad Saeed’s death has frozen the political landscape of Kashmir, and his political heir, Mehbooba Mufti, is in no hurry to thaw it back to life.

Read the PostJust a Kashmiri Winter

The North Eastern Regional Domestic Workers’ Movement (NERDWM) initially known as Domestic Workers’ Association was initiated in June 1, 2003 by the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), Shillong Province in Meghalaya in response to scores of violence and injustice perpetuated on domestic workers.

Read the PostOverview of the North Eastern Regional Domestic Workers’ Movement (NERDWM)

April 22, 2016 /

We have to acknowledge that the Dalits and other marginal groups have a more intense and nuanced understanding of the rules of Indian politics than the left-liberal intelligentsia. The latter’s pragmatism, we might say, has led to their failure in even understanding what constitutes Dalit politics.

Read the Post‘Dalit’ Politics and/as the Future of Politics

April 17, 2016 /

It is really considerate of you to write a letter to me and many others like me at the time when the valley is going back to a 2010 like situation or should I say like it has always been; on the edge? Your letter is like one of those scoopwhoop listicles that ask give readers reasons for things to do and things not to do.

Read the PostA Kashmiri woman schools Chetan Bhagat

April 12, 2016 /

In fact, one of the failures of politics within the ‘University of Ideas’ has been its inability, while pointing out the horrors of Indian nationalism in Kashmir, to demonstrate the problems of nationalism within the so-called mainland.

Read the PostLimits of University Dissent

April 11, 2016 /

I would contend that it is because of the legitimization of hierarchy by various canonical Islamic texts that the Muslims who arrived in India (Arabs, Afghans, Mongols, Turks, Persians, etc.) were not in the least bit surprised by caste: they were only too familiar with the hierarchies they found here. Rather, it could be argued, that they skilfully adapted to the caste order and even Islamized it.

Read the PostIn Defence of the Pasmanda (Backward & Dalit Muslim) Movement: Three Fragments

April 8, 2016 /

As the philosopher Walter Benjamin noted, in a context not entirely dissimilar to one we are living through, “even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins.” Rest assured, the casteist Hindu Right and the merit-wielding technocrats will not care whether the dead came draped in red or blue.

Read the PostAt this Moment, Solidarity is an Imperative, not a Choice

April 7, 2016 /

On the eve of 2016 Assembly elections, with utmost urgency and anxiety we want to present some issues before you. The Assembly Elections 2016 run the risk of ruining the age-old communal harmony and brotherhood of Assam and divide people along communal lines. BJP’s failure to get a stronghold in Assam, which is home to multiple ethnic groups have instigated its mother organization, RSS, to incite communal conflicts among various groups.

Read the PostStop BJP in Assam