Category: Politics

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

March 26, 2016 /

I reached the protest site after the initial violence had taken place. Large number of students were staging a protest inside the premises of VC’s guesthouse.The students demanded the sacking of VC Appa Rao for his involvement in the institutional murder of Rohit Vemula. Earlier that morning Appa Rao resumed the post after ensuring support from the state and ABVP.The students were provoked by ABVP students who were already stationed in support of the VC because of which violence escalated and chaos prevailed.