Category: English

August 22, 2022 /

Himanshu Kumar has refused to pay the exemplary cost of Rs 5 lakhs imposed on him saying it would imply that he had indeed given out a fake narrative. I met him in Mumbai on the penultimate day of the deadline for payment and he provided a comprehensive background to the events in Bastar surrounding the killings, why the adivasis had turned to him in their access to justice and the challenges India’s most marginalized citizens face when it comes to securing justice, especially when the perpetrators are state agencies.

June 1, 2022 /

Often accounts that appear as ‘small’ like strawberry in comparison to the ‘big’ stories of development such as dams sit uncomfortably in the grand scheme of intellectual pursuits. We feel that it is precisely such distinctions that lead to erasure of ‘small’ developments that stem from what appears as trivial initiatives. Social sciences is often attracted to big stories where there is comprehensive literature and research materials. Thereby, reinforcing dominant epistemological frameworks. After all, development models of centre-periphery in relation to studying Northeast India reduce everything else as marginal. Unless relationships and networks are incorporated into the development, remoteness, and progress model for the region, our research risks being dismissed.

February 2, 2022 /

It has now become a truism of modern secular historiography on India that there was an ‘early’ Savarkar and a ‘late’ Savarkar (much in the same way as intellectuals refer to early and late Marx!), and that the early Savarkar was secular, humanist, and a nationalist revolutionary who, only in his later years became the theoretician of Hindutva. His nationalist, secular credentials are based on his activities in Europe and his escape from a ship mid-sea, and more and more frequently now on his book, First War of National Independence, 1857’, written by him in 1907. That we happen to be celebrating the 150th anniversary of 1857 will doubtless add to Savarkar’s glory, particularly as it is easy to prove that the Indian National Congress to begin with, did not uphold 1857.

December 25, 2021 /

Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus were Palestinians whose land was under the foreign Roman Empire and were considered second class citizens with no rights. During the birth of Jesus, the Roman Government was highly exploitative and heavy taxes were levied on the subjects, especially on unorganized laborers like the fisher folks, masons and daily wage earners. The Government Officials, including the Jews et al, in Palestine would care less about the wellbeing of the “aam admi” or common people, rather they were self-centered and only served the need and greed of the Roman Rulers in order to promote and protect their own powers, positions and interests.

October 28, 2021 /

On the night of the twenty-third of October I was woken up by a rather agitated message which read: “I hear that Modi is meeting the Pope…It legitimises what is being done to minorities – Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs, and Dalits and women.” “The Holy Father should not meet him” a second message continued. These messages were referring to Prime Minister Modi’s now confirmed meeting with the Pope in Rome on the thirtieth of October, prior to the former’s participation at the G-20 meet in the same city.

October 24, 2021 /

Indian Constitution, one of the most sensitive in the world to the rights of its minorities, ensures that tribal communities in Northeast states like Nagaland and Mizoram are the sole owners of their land and resources. No act of the Indian Parliament can undo this right. There are however two ways in which that right can be undone: Their own State Assembly can pass legislation abdicating this right. The other alternative is communities or individual land owners can be persuaded to voluntarily sell or hand over their land to government, private companies or corporations for projects that come in the name of their ‘development’.

October 24, 2021 /

Ha kawei pat ka liang ka niam Khristan ruh ka hikai ba ka mynsiem ka long kaba kordor bad dei u Blei uba pyrsad mynsiem ym tang ha ki khun bynriew hynrei ha ka pyrthei-mariang baroh kawei. Ka jingpyrsad mynsiem ka wan na u Blei bad ha ka Kitab Jenesis 1:2 ngi pule- “…bad u Mysiem u Blei u khih halor ki um”. Kumjuh ruh ha ka kitab Esekiel, la їathuhkhana kumno ba u Blei u pyrsad mynsiem bad pynim biang ia ki shyieng kiba tyrkhong bad kiba їap (Esekiel 37). Ka Baibl bad ka jinghikai shong tynrai ka Balang Khristan ka kdew da kaba shai ba u Blei u ai ka jingim, ka mynsiem ha ki briew bad ki jingthaw jingpynlong baroh. Ka jingim, ka mynsiem kaba u Blei u ai ka long kaba kordor, kaba remdor bad ym don tyngka pliah, ym don spah, ym don kyrdan bad ym don bor ha ka pyrthei kaba lah ban їapeiῆ lymne ban ia pynleit-iapynwan bad ka. Ka jingim, ka mysiem ka long kaba kordor tam ha ka pyrthei bad ka Hima u Blei.

October 12, 2021 /

After learning that the broker Jokhim had arranged a “signal clear” for the transport of six bulls across the India-Bangladesh border, the cattle transporter Alibaba had no time to speak to anyone. Indian border commanders who had accepted Jokhim’s bribes had verbally granted a signal, which Jokhim relayed to Alibaba by rushing to his house. A signal clear comprises a precious two-to-three-hour window of opportunity during which Indian cattle workers such as Alibaba can cross the border to Bangladesh with their animals.“Signal clear,” Alibaba said to me, tying his cotton gamosa (towel) around his head as protection against the heat and the rain.

September 27, 2021 /

When I began reading anthropological literature I felt uneasy and troubled by the way in which it was written. It was greatly problematic and I stated to think how one should do it differently. One of the problems with tribal studies is the concept itself and how tribes are looked at in a colonial social structure. The idea of a tribe was represented as primitive, savages and inferior beings which continues even today. Anthropologists did try to do away with this idea but still categorised tribes as a type of society which has very little division of labour, absence of complexities and reading and writing. Anthropology looked at the kind of transformation taking place as if they are becoming peasants, caste or socially heterogeneous. In that whole process the erosion of identity occurred.

September 7, 2021 /

A lot of people have been calling me since yesterday to understand the Western Uttar Pradesh churning, specially in the context of Mahapanchayat at Muzaffarnagar on Fifth September. Given the absolute paucity of time in my life nowadays, I may not be able to to write a very detailed note.
However, here are some very quick observations:

August 26, 2021 /

Gail Omvedt’s journey in politics and thought was undertaken in and through several historical conjunctures, but she retained aspects of all her stopovers: in her view, these various sites of sojourn, whether feminist, Marxist, Phule-Ambedkarism, were united in their vision of utopia: a world that ought to be rendered real, in times to come, but for which one needs to labour in the present. While reason and analysis were central to divining the nature of this world-to-be, it yet had to be desired, longed for, and in this passionate wanting, lay the potential for political comradeship. And this is where the struggle against caste and patriarchy came together: for it was in the remaking of caste and gendered selves that the promise of utopia stood to be redeemed.

August 15, 2021 /

My father passed away almost 20 years ago but I remember him every day. I remember him as a loving and doting father, a jolly, generous, kind, often compulsive person, always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He would buy us gifts – clothes, toys and food whenever he felt like. I would always be so happy and glad just to be in his company.
He had many names and identities you might say. He was known by his Muslim name as Abrar Hussain, his nickname was Khuku and Johnky, his Christian name was Peter.

August 4, 2021 /

What connects the murder of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis to the imprisoning of Nodeep Kaur in New Delhi to the detaining of Ahed Tamimi by Israeli authorities to the house arrest of Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Kashmir? How do race, caste, policing and occupation interconnect across borders?

August 3, 2021 /

Almost all reviewers of Haseen Dillruba will concur that this is a heady tale of triangulated desire between three people — Rishabh Saxena aka Rishu (Vikrant Massey), the archetypal good-boy, loyal and dutiful husband; Rani Kashyap (Taapsee Pannu), the wife of Rishu, who is an avid consumer of erotic-crime thrillers and aspires to live a sexually adventurous and imaginative life that she regularly encounters in the pulp-fiction that she reads

July 22, 2021 /

A student trained in economics and political economy knows what to read on a reasonable and good budget. First, one needs to understand how best a government plans to use its resources and generate revenue. Secondly, what are the plans of the government for the expenditure of this revenue and resources? Thirdly, what are the long term projects and policies which can fundamentally infuse dynamism into the economy and general well-being of the people? Finally, if there is a gap between the government’s earnings and expenditure and which leads to borrowing, is the government in a position to pay back this loan in a reasonable manner.

July 19, 2021 /

Corona is both devastatingly resilient and deeply egalitarian. There is only one way out of this – beat it at its own game. We have to be more resilient and more egalitarian. More resilience will require more than vaccines; it will necessitate massive investment in healthcare where there is no paucity of drugs or oxygen or beds.

July 15, 2021 /

In the piece “How Hindi helped to build a bridge to Manipur language and culture” published on 12th July in The Hindu, the author of the said article/Op Ed piece Kuldeep Kumar, attempts to make a case for the prominence and historical importance of the Hindi and Devanagari script in Manipuri history and literature. The piece however is littered with factual and historical inaccuracies and worse, an extremely selective and distortive history masquerading as profound discovery.

In his recent opinion piece, Apoorvanand writes, in fact teaches, recently UAPA acquitted MLA Akhil Gogoi the meaning of justice, of law, of togetherness, of compassion, of equality with special emphasis on the preciousness and moral responsibility of freedom. Apoorvanand celebrates the release of Assamese activist Akhil Gogoi with his colleagues on June 17 and reiterates his conviction for support to any wrongfully punished opponents of the state saying ‘one who is at the receiving end must get ‘our’ support, irrespective of ‘their’ ideology. When Apoorvanand sanctions this moral support towards Akhil Gogoi and his comrades, probably one could not resist but to ponder- what moral ideological high ground is it anyway from where such bogus and idiosyncratic support in the name of preaching values can easily be unleashed?

June 30, 2021 /

Growing up on the outskirts of Bombay, there were four types of rice that we ate at home: two for daily meals—from the Public Distribution System (PDS) ration shops and later, the local kirana (grocery) shop; Basmati Rice for special occasions or for pulav; and the red boiled rice from Goa. Most often, I did not know their name. We ate what we could afford… Sometimes, we stretched a little too much for the long-grained Basmati on birthdays and feast days. There were ten such days in a year.

June 28, 2021 /

Colonial sovereignty travelled into the frontier hills of the north east frontier through law. Frontier law or its absence and frontier space or its elusiveness tell us a different story about the history of Khasi, Jaintiah, and Garo hills of north east India. This story is one of unfinished borders, and malleability of landscapes. What does belonging and land based identity show us when we begin to uncover the processes through which modern boundaries were established during the colonial period? Is the history of law the history of boundary making? What lies underneath landscapes and in between divided spaces that we encounter today as normalized in law ? And very broadly what does place based identity mean in view of spatial processes of law? This historically based essay will explore these questions and invites readers to critically rethink identities and boundaries.

June 17, 2021 /

The 2’nd wave of the Pandemic swept through the country leaving a trail of destruction everywhere; it was evident even in our tiny state, how the wave has ravaged through many unfortunate households. Yet here we are, still having to deal with people who think the virus isn’t real; and worse yet, people who know the virus is real but are spreading misinformation to the public, creating more confusion, and making it more difficult for people to come to the right conclusions.

June 9, 2021 /

It all started off with a supposed published writer (hooray!) Going off on a rant about how anyone can sing and make money while writers suffer in silence and abject poverty because they are unappreciated. Fortunately for me, I have very little published to boast as a writer so I’m good with being a rambler. That needled me though, since I have a problem with halo forging angels of light who use people as footstools to get a better view of greener pastures they cannot reach but can cry foul about. But I controlled myself.

June 6, 2021 /

On June 2, while the country continued to struggle, barely making sense of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a tiny, fantastical incident gave Indians a moment of respite. The Delhi High Court was hearing the suit filed by Actor Juhi Chawla, where she argued that installing 5G technology would seriously damage humans and all of Earth’s ecosystem. All was going well, till the hearing was disrupted by a man singing songs from her movies, ranging from – “meri banno ki aayegi baraat” to “ghoonghat ki aad se.” Many users took to Twitter to express the comedy just enacted out on the stage of the Court.

June 5, 2021 /

Assam has six detention centres housed within six different jails of the state. There is no dedicated detention centre yet and a new detention centre with a capacity of holding 3000 persons is coming up at Matia in Goalpara district of the state. The construction of such a nature and the exclusion of millions from the National Register of Citizens in Assam brings with it the possibility of a rapid increase in the number of persons who will get detained in the state.

Dear Dolly,
I am so glad I reached out to you after hearing your UCLA talk, and for your honest and generous response that unspooled into such a heartfelt conversation…

Dearest Mabel,
I like the idea of reflecting together via letters. For some reason I feel the format is perfect; sort of a very deep political and feminist conversation in a letter-writing genre.

May 25, 2021 /

When the Tejpal “progressive” veneer slips to display a Brahminical choti, accompanied by Brahminical angst at being oh so “up-pressed” by a young woman’s rape complaint, and that unique Brahminical monopoly over HURT.
TT’s brother MT whines that TT’s being charged with rape inside lift, traumatised him (MT) so much he doesn’t use lifts; go on dates etc, AND that he (MT) started keeping a ponytail. Puzzled? Don’t be, it’s good old brahmanism.