End Repression in Kashmir: A Call from the civil society

 

We, the undersigned, are dismayed over the ongoing crisis in Kashmir. We have watched in horror and shock the repetitive cycle of state aggression leading to violence, deteriorating state of civil liberties, violation of fundamental rights and ever escalating loss of human life and dignity in Kashmir. In the last 115 days, we have lost over 100 lives in Kashmir.More than 15,000 civilians have been injured, out of which 4500 persons have suffered grievous injuries due to pellet-guns, 4664 have been injured by bullets.Over 8000 people have been arrested out of which 434 people have been detained under the Public Safety Act (toll as on October 30, 2016).

kashmir letter

The immediate response of the Indian state to the recent uprising in Kashmir was the imposition of curfew, which is continuing till date. A media gag where newspaper offices have been raided, copies confiscated and editors threatened with dire consequences, accompanied it. Journalists reporting the situation have been attacked, intimidated and threatened with violence by those supposedly responsible for protecting them. Most recently the government banned the publication of Kashmir Reader, a daily newspaper published from Srinagar.

Pursuant to this, a complete communication blockade was imposed and Internet services were cut down. Even voices outside Kashmir that spoke of the ongoing failure of state were targeted on social media, their posts deleted and accounts blocked. The means of communication and information flow from and into Kashmir are severely disrupted. Accompanying the communication blockade is an economic blockade in which the supply of food, medicines and other basic necessities are also affected, standing crops being burnt and orchards damaged.

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The Written World and Dalit Bahujan and Adivasi Women - SAVARI's Editor Sruthi Herbert

 

Gurinder Azad

SAVARI describes itself as: "We are adivasi, bahujan and dalit women. Here we share our thoughts about our lives and the society we live in, including conflicts with the self, family and community. These are perspectives from our history, and our dreams for the future. Here we are in conversations with each other, with the men from our communities, and others. Inspired by our foremothers, the free spirited, knowledge bearing, community healers of the Saura people, this space is named Savari"

sruthi video interview

As part of the Ambedkar Age series of interviews and conversations on contemporary socio-political issues which affect the Dalit Bahujans, Gurinder Azad produced and recorded an interview with Sruthi Herbert, one of the editors of SAVARI, titled 'The Written World and Dalit Bahujan and Adivasi Women -- SAVARI's editor Sruthi Herbert'. 

Kuffir, Contributing Editor of Round Table India (http://roundtableindia.co.in/), conducted this interview.

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It’s Pink, not black, white or grey!

 

Bobby Kunhu

The last time I critiqued a Bachchan starrer was without watching the movie, but this time the hype got me into the theatre to watch Pink. Truth be told, it was also way to spend time with a very close friend's family. I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the movie – I was angry, I cried – I had all emotions of a movie spectator watching a well crafted movie. But I walked out of the theatre with an uneasy feeling in the bottom of my stomach. I discussed this unease with my friend's daughters – I don't think they got what was gnawing me. The empathy with the raped woman and the anger with the rapist was complete – rightly so. 

Pinkmovieposter

Then what is it that has left a bad taste in my mouth?

But before we venture into the movie itself, a brief diversion is required on what rape is and how it is understood and most importantly politically used. Though patriarchy would be the best word to start this note, I am deliberately omitting the word both because it is a given and also because lot of anti-rape voices do not seem to understand the connotations of the word – thereby increasing the propensity and occurrence of rape. Regardless of who it happens to, rape is perhaps the most violent offence – for many – more violent than murder itself. The motif of raped people committing suicide is a regular feature in Indian cinema. The following revenge usually involves equal brutalities. In Abu Ghraib what caught the attention and anger of the general public was not the general torture but the sexual humiliation and sodomy that the prisoners were subject to. So, the question we need to ask what is it that makes penetration of a object into a non sexual orifice like the nose less violent in public perception than the penetration of an object into a sexual orifice. Or to paraphrase what makes a sexual offence more repugnant in public perception than an equally brutal and humiliating non sexual violent act?

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Caste and the order of experience: Sketching anti-caste in Akbarian philosophy

 

Abdul Ahad K

abdul ahadI am writing this note to delineate some conflicts I went through as an audience in a seminar conducted in Calicut University under the title, 'From Identity to Epistemology'. A Dalit friend who is an artist shared his story during the event.

"I am a Dalit. I realized that only in 1987 when I was denied a prize for my performance in school at a state-level cultural festival. I had many such experiences. I am an artist with no baggage of 'religion'. Till the age of 19, I grew up on the shores of Thanoor beach. The Muslim friends there used to abuse each other using my lower caste name 'Cheruman'. During the horrific demolition of Babri masjid, my family was attacked by Muslims, who took us to be Hindus. We were forced by the RSS goons in the locality to retaliate. Till the age of 7, we were looked after by a RSS shaka. As children, we played in their grounds. There are people who converted to Islam in my family. The vivid imageries of my pregnant sister who, to escape from the violent rioters rode a boat alone on the river diverging at the Arabian sea and later the description of the fish that surrounded her womb to protect her is all so alive with me".

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Celebrating Dhamma Chakra Anupravartan Day: An Urgency, with Reason

 

Prabuddha Council, JNU

 "Religion in the sense of morality must remain the governing principle of every society" – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

prabuddha bharat poster

Engendering violence of any kind, anywhere, is a great threat to humanity as well as the environment. Suffering pervades all and is causal to the deteriorating conditions of society. Hope seems to be dying and despair seems pervasive. However, human mind is capable of overcoming this suffering. To deal with these sufferings, we have developed varied mechanisms like society, science, politics, and religion etc. Those civilisations evolve which go in tandem with Transformation. In Buddhism, the Dhamma Chakra is the symbol of this 'transformation', and celebrating Dhamma Chakra Anupravartan is nothing but celebrating the transformation happening around us.

In the context of JNU, we see that there is a change in the social and political discourse. By the current unfolding of events nobody can deny that the Dhamma Chakra is turning. The manifestations of this happening 'Transformation' is evident firstly, in the very recent invocation and emergence of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as an overarching figure that compels us to consider the glaring fact of change in politics as well as in society. Secondly, by the penetrating influence of Dr. Ambedkar on the passionate spirit and contagious joy among his followers, followed by the strengthening of their moral stamina, by a striking political emergence in campus is also a big sign of this manifestation. Hence, this makes a strong reason for the celebration of Dhamma Chakra Anupravartan in JNU.

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Najeeb Ahmad missing: JNU bosses & police silent despite protests

 

Hisham Ul Wahab P

The ongoing protests in Jawaharlal Nehru University campus demanding a fast probe into the disappearance and return of Najeeb Ahmad, a muslim student of School of Biotechnology, and immediate judicial action against ABVP culprits made a huge outcry among the students and teachers of the campus. But the heinous silence and snail pace of moving procedural formalities of JNU administration gives cause for suspicion about its legitimacy, which has been in standstill in recent past. The series of protest programmes in the campus could not open the eyes of Sangh-minded administration and hostel wardens to the seriousness of the matter. Students came in large numbers to protect their colleague from the assaults of ABVP goons, at the time of physical violence and thereafter, and throughout these days amid anger and suspicion, to protect the academic spaces from the grip of Sangh Parivar Goondaism. The later events of hate mongering by ABVP against Muslims, comments like "Muslims are terrorists" and "Pakistani Mullas" could be seen in the common rooms and bathrooms of the hostel. JNUSU has been called for an immediate strike at the campus till the return of Najeeb and assurance of punishment and debarring against the culprits.

najeeb

According to the Delhi Police, a case under section 365 (kidnapping with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine a person) of IPC has been registered at the Vasant Kunj North police station on the basis of a complaint by his parents. At the peak of students' confrontation at the main gate of JNU on sunday night, the Proctor assured the JNUSU on filing a complaint in the same police station as soon as possible by the administration. Meanwhile students themselves came forward to submit their deposition in front of the Proctorial Committee on Monday since 11 AM. But throughout the day, the administration has not made any concrete attempt to file a complaint against the culprits. In meantime, they have come up with a press statement blaming Najeeb for the violence and declaring him as the "accused". Even after the meeting of JNUSU leaders with the Vice Chancellor, Jagdish Kumar, the administration relied mostly on the statements of Saurabh Sharma, former JNUSU Joint Secretary from ABVP.

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Project Heartland 2: Meet the men who started the Una movement

 

Pratik Parmar

Project Heartland captures the struggle of people from marginalised communities, mainly Dalits in Gujarat. It shows the courage and determination of Dalit women and men to assert for their rights despite all odds. By capturing these stories of struggle, Project Heartland wants these brave people to be known, recognised and be seen as inspiration to others. This video covers Episode 2 of the project: 

 

In this YouTube mini series, we shall bring out different stories from the heartland of Gujarat which nobody tells.

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