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In solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub

December 1, 2015

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A Letter in solidarity with Library genesis and Sci-Hub

In Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s tale the Little Prince meets a businessman who accumulates stars with the sole purpose of being able to buy more stars. The Little Prince is perplexed. He owns only a flower, which he waters every day. Three volcanoes, which he cleans every week. “It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them,” he says, “but you are of no use to the stars that you own”.

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गयी भैंस पानी में…. : दाराब फ़ारूक़ी

November 30, 2015

Guest post by DARAB FAROOQUI

जी हाँ मैं भैंस हूँ और करीब 5000 साल से लगातार पानी में जा रही हूँ. जब भी किसी का कुछ भी बुरा हो रहा होता है तो हमेशा मुझे ही पानी में जाना पड़ता है. ना उस वक़्त मेरे नहाने की इच्छा होती और ना तैरने का मन. पर मुझे ना चाहते हुवे भी पानी में जाना पड़ता है.

तुम लोग कभी उस सफ़ेदमूही गाय को पानी में क्यों नहीं भेजते हो. और वैसे भी हम अल्पसंख्य हैं, हमसे कहीं ज्यादा गायें हैं भारत में. और शायद तुम्हे याद न हो, हमारे संविधान में सब बराबर हैं. पर इतना सब कुछ करने के बाद भी तुम लोगों ने हमें कभी अपना नहीं समझा. हमने क्या नहीं किया तुम्हारे लिये, तुम्हे अपने बच्चों का दूध दिया, तुम्हारे खेत जोते, तुम्हारे चूल्हे जलाये. कितने बलिदान दिए हमने पर तुम्हारे तो कान पर भैंस तक नहीं रेंगी.

सबसे पहला बटर पनीर किसके दूध का बना था? हमारे दूध का, पंजाब में हम ही हैं. और वो जो तुम हमेशा पंजाबी ढाबे पे खाने की रट लगाये रहते हो वहां जाके पूछना, उस खाने का स्वाद कहाँ से आता है? हमारे दूध के असली घी से. चले हैं बड़े गाय की पैरवी करने. कभी अच्छे वक़्त पर हमें याद मत करना. पर जब भी किसी का कुछ बुरा हो, चाहे हम सोती हों या जगती, चाहे हम खाती हों या पीती, हमें ही पानी में भेज देना. तुम्हारे बाप का राज है ना, सरकार तुम्हारी, तुम माई बाप हो, हम तो जानवर हैं. किसी ने सही कहा है जिसकी लाठी उसी की भैंस. Read more…

Free to question India’s imperfections: Laila Tyabji

November 28, 2015

LAILA TYABJI in The Business Standard

Never in my 68 years have I thought for even a milli-second of living anywhere else except India. Not even when, in the wake of the Ayodhya agitation, I received a stream of poisonous hate mails and a packet of turds (in a mithai box!!) I love the multilayered multiplicity of India, its synergies & paradoxes, its many diverging & converging cultural streams, its colour & chaos, the hit-and-miss judaad of past and present, malls and mandirs, East and West; its unexpected but inherent certainties…. In any case, good or bad, it is MY country.

So it feels strange to be told, when I critically question any aspect, that I should go live somewhere else – Pakistan for instance. I am utterly amazed that Aamir Khan’s confession of momentary vulnerability should be termed a “moral offence” by no less a person than MJ Akbar! I used to so admire the reasoned clarity of his writing.

I have always over-used adjectives. My English teacher would red-pencil an acerbic commentary. A rebuke I secretly courted was “oxymoron”. I loved its sound as well as its meaning – two adjectives contradicting each other.

These days I am being turned into an oxymoron myself! “Indian Muslim” is an identity increasingly open to suspicion by self-proclaimed ‘patriots’; one’s own patriotism needing constant justification plus a certificate that one doesn’t eat beef or critique the nation. That a well-known Sadhvi can dub Shahrukh Khan a Pakistani agent and not be arrested for libel, instead accruing a trail of approving social media comments, or the Culture Minister awards A P J Abdul Kalam the accolade of being a good man “despite being a Muslim” is not exactly a comfortable feeling. That someone can be lynched to death for having meat in his fridge is even more eery. Read more…

Chhota Bheem – Anachronisms, Prejudice & Xenophobia: Sivakumar Radhakrishnan

November 28, 2015


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The Chhota Bheem television series, highly popular among the nation’s children and also among many adults, is telecast daily in many Indian languages. The program is a long running show of many years and has its viewership in millions. Its popularity is evident from the fact that other children’s programs and advertisements are churned out from it.

The series evokes interest mainly by its plot, which is almost similar for every episode.  Also the plot is a simple one, where a cute city-state is ruled by a king, with his daughter, a princess of tender years. The king resides in a citadel atop a pretty hill.  The citizens are generally good natured.  A group of kids is shown playing in the countryside, of which the most smart and attractive is Chhota Bheem. He is assisted by a few other kids and a little talking monkey. Suddenly, evil people with sinister designs will start disturbing the peaceful city state of Dholakpur. The king will be found helpless in dealing them. At the right juncture, will enter the little Chhota Bheem and with his might, he will clear the evil elements from Dholakpur. Thus, Chhota Bheem saves the kingdom and the king at the right time. The citizens will celebrate him and continue to be happy thereafter. What could possibly be wrong with such a simple, evil-defeating, goodness-forging narrative?

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Silencing Caste, Sanitising Oppression – Understanding Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

November 28, 2015

The Hindu notions of purity and pollution, inextricably linked with the caste system and the practice of untouchability, underlie the unsanitary practices in Indian society. These beliefs perpetuate the oppression of the “polluted castes,” who are forced to undertake manual scavenging, unclog manholes and clean other people’s filth. The availability of cheap Dalit labour to do these dehumanising jobs can be cited as one of the reasons why development of toilet facilities and a modern garbage and sewage management system have been neglected so far. As long as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan attempts to delink the relationship between caste and sanitation, its lofty goal of cleaning India will remain unachievable.

(Read the full text here

Happy Constitution Day. Yet, India is where some are forced to eat cow dung

November 27, 2015

(First published in


Mujadpur, a village in Haryana’s Hisar district,  which has been in the news recently for what the government  lexicon calls ‘dalit atrocities’, involving murders and ‘suicides’.

Recently, it was hit by another such incident, albeit of a less fatal nature: Members of the Jat community thrashed a dalit man called Ramdhari and his family members and stuffed cow dung in his mouth. Reportedly, Ramdhari installed a statue of BR Ambedkar in his house and that provoked the upper caste Jats.

The irony of this cannot be emphasised enough.

One does not know whether in an area dominated by the Jats, Ramdhari’s perpetrators have been arrested under provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act (1989) or not.

Or has the incident been explained away in the light of some vague personal animosity, which is what happened when two children in Sunped were recently killed by throwing of inflammable material in their house by dominant castes.

As the nation begins another series of grand celebrations, this time to celebrate the contributions of BR Ambedkar, the plight of a dalit family for merely installing his statue stares at us in our eyes. It is symptomatic of the gap between the principles and values on which the Constitution is based and the situation on the ground.

Read the full text of the article here. 

നഹാസ് മാളയ്ക്കു മറുപടി

November 25, 2015

ആദരണീയ നഹാസ് മാള

താങ്കളുടെ മറുപടി വായിച്ചു, സന്തോഷമുണ്ട്. അത് കാഫിലയിൽ പോസ്റ്റ് ചെയ്യുന്നില്ല. മറിച്ച്, ആ കത്ത് ഉണർത്തിവിടുന്ന ചില ചിന്തകൾ പങ്കുവയ്ക്കാൻ ഈ ഇടം പ്രയോജനപ്പെടുത്തുന്നു. Read more…


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