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Ab ki baar Modi ki haar!

April 22, 2014

Yesterday from about 3 pm, nobody could get into Kafila. All we could see was a notice that said WordPress had suspended the blog for ‘violating terms of service’. We wrote immediately to WordPress, who replied that they would get back to us.  No reply from them so far, but Kafila suddenly reappeared at about 9 pm last night.

On a possibly unrelated note, we have all been noticing the mysterious disappearance from cyber space of much anti-Modi content, sometimes even his own previous speeches that do not fit his currently projected persona. Hmm.

Anyway, we’re celebrating Kafila’s return with this rousing anthem, in solidarity with all of us out there – from Mumbai to Banaras to Kudankulam. We’re here, and here we’ll stay. To Pakistan – a friendly reassurance – don’t bother about preparing for the sudden influx of a billion illegal immigrants!

We’ll see the bubble burst. Hum dekhenge.



Courtesy Bombay ki Kahani, Mumbai ki Zubani

Lesser Citizens: Trapped in a Queer world of Dystopia: Indrani Kar, Shuvojit Moulik & Somya Tyagi

April 19, 2014

This is a guest post by Indrani Kar, Shuvojit Moulik & Somya Tyagi

Any dominant, mainstream model undoes the very idea of multiple modes of living and diversity which excludes the real demands of the minority groups and contributes to their social exclusion. Whereas everyone is entitled to equal and inalienable rights and opportunities set forth in the Preamble to the Constitution of India without distinction of any kind, such commitments are yet to be translated into action. Although Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees ‘Right to life and personal liberty’ to all, of which the Right to Healthcare forms an integral part, a large section of the society is still insensitive to the healthcare needs of the transgender community.


The transgender population faces grave misunderstanding, prejudice, harassment, ridicule, rejection and even exploitation at the hands of health service providers as they do not fit into the society’s prescribed, rigid gender roles. Though the transgender community is hardly a homogeneous entity and is considerably diverse in terms of gender identity and livelihoods, in public imagination such complex identities of gender ranging from hijra to transgender are all lumped into one category, which becomes extremely problematic. Unfortunately, government policies also seem to feed on these generalisations, making use of such umbrella terms rather than focus on the specific needs of different groups.

Read more…

द्वार पर नीरो !

April 19, 2014

नरम फासीवाद के सौंदर्यीकरण के वक्त़ में

(To be published in the next issue of ‘ Samakaleen Teesari Dunia’)


जनसंहार को अंजाम देने वाले लोग क्या बीमार मस्तिष्क और परपीड़क होते हैं।

अपनी बहुचर्चित किताब ‘आईशमैन इन जेरूसलेम: ए रिपोर्ट आन द बॅनालिटी आफ इविल’ में जर्मन-अमेरिकी दार्शनिक हाना अरेन्डट इस प्रश्न का जवाब देने की कोशिश करती हैं। एक नात्सी सैन्य अधिकारी एडॉल्फ आइशमैन जो हिटलर की हुकूमत में चली नस्लीय शुद्धिकरण की मुहिम के अग्रणी सूत्राधारों में से था, उस पर चले मुकदमे की चर्चा करते हुए वह बताती हैं कि किस तरह ऐसे घिनौने अपराधों को अंजाम देनेवाले अक्सर सामान्य, साधारण लोग होते हैं जो अपने काम को नौकरशाहाना दक्षता के साथ अंजाम देते हैं।

एक ऐसे समय में जबकि 2002 के स्याह दौर को – जब राज्य के कर्णधारों की अकर्मण्यता और संलिप्तता के चलते हजारों निरपराधों को जान से हाथ धोना पड़ा – और कुछ लाख लोग अपने मुल्क में ही शरणार्थी का जीवन जीने के लिए अभिशप्त हो चले हैं, को भुला देने की, उनका साफसुथराकरण करने की कोशिशें तेज हो चली हैं, और विकास का एक ऐसा शगूफा खड़ा किया जा रहा है जिसके तले असहज करनेवाले तमाम प्रश्न दफन हो जाएं तो इन सारे सवालों से रूबरू होने की जरूरत बनती है।

इसी पृष्ठभूमि में हम 2014 के चुनावों की आजाद भारत के इतिहास में अहमियत पर गौर कर सकते हैं और इस बात को समझ सकते हैं कि क्यों उसकी तुलना जर्मनी के 1933 के चुनावों से की जा रही है, जिसने हिटलर के आगमन का रास्ता सुगम किया था।

वजह साफ है कि आज़ादी के बाद पहली बार ऐसी घड़ी आयी है जब तमाम अनुदारवादी, संकीर्णमना, असमावेशी ताकतें – जिन्होंने हमेशा ही संविधान के बुनियादी मूल्यों की मुखालिफत की है- आज नयी वैधता हासिल कर जनता के एक हिस्से को अपनी ओर आकर्षित करने में कामयाब होती दिख रही हैं। और इस मुहिम की अगुआई वही शख्स कर रहा है जो खुद एक अकार्यक्षम मुख्यमंत्राी है जिसकी अकर्मण्यता या संलिप्तता के चलते उसका सूबा साम्प्रदायिक दावानल में झुलस गया था, और यह इल्जाम महज विपक्षी पार्टियों ने ही उसकी पार्टी के वरिष्ठतम नेता ने ही लगाया है कि वह कठिन समय में ‘राजधर्म’ निभाने में असफल रहा था। Read more…

Elections, Propaganda and Education

April 19, 2014

The Aam Aadmi Party was reluctant to include the issue of the rights of the LGBT people in its Delhi manifesto due to strategic reasons. Explaining the absence, the party officials said that conservative voters might turn away from the party if they find it supporting the LGBT cause. The LGBTs also seem to ‘understand’ the constraints of the poor party. The election meetings could have served as a wonderful platform had the party decided to talk to the people about this issue, telling them why it is important for us to ensure liberty to individuals to decide about their bodies. It would have been an educational exercise. Given the fact that people are ready to listen to this new party and its ideas, this reluctance on its part to take up this role says a lot not only about it, but also about the health of our polity.

The AAP candidate challenging Rahul Gandhi is harping on the bad condition of the roads of Amethi and lack of electricity there. One wonders whether Rahul Gandhi, in his response, would have the courage of a now-forgotten former Congressman. Abdul Ghafoor, once Chief Minister of Bihar, was campaigning in Siwan in a Parliamentary election. At a meeting, voters started complaining about the bad condition of roads and sanitation. He told them bluntly that he was there to seek their approval for his candidature for the membership of the Parliament and they should not waste their votes on him if they expected him to fix these problems. The problems they cited were something a municipal councilor was supposed to look after. It is a different story that he lost the election. Read more…

Is Arvind Kejriwal dangerous for India? Pran Kurup

April 18, 2014

Guest Post by PRAN KURUP

Who is more dangerous for India – Arvind Kejriwal or Narendra Modi? This is a question that India needs to answer. But a recent article titled ‘Arvind Kejriwal: The most dangerous man in India’ has ventured to supply a one-sided answer to this question. The title is as catchy as it is misleading if not subversive. The ensuing ‘analysis’ is sadly not borne out by facts but relies on obfuscation and rhetoric. The tragic outcome is that many pertinent facts have been buried beneath the rubble of unsubstantiated allegations and sinister accusations. On the whole the article is an anti-Kejriwal diatribe disguised as an intellectual treatise.

While conferring on Modi the respectable halo of a “firebrand Hindu nationalist”, the writer goes on to indulge in pure speculation and sweeping generalizations about Kejriwal and other AAP leaders.

Here are some samples:

“Kejriwal spent his time in office preening for the cameras.” Read more…

Pogrom Politics from 1984 to 2002: Sanjay Kumar

April 18, 2014

Guest post by SANJAY KUMAR

Delhi 1984 and Gujarat 2002 are among the darkest spots in India’s post independence history. Like all other communal killings in the country, they too were similar in the mechanics of their violence. Connivance of the top state authorities, active role of elected politicians, police and bureaucratic indifference, a cornered and hapless minority, and participation of ordinary folks in violence and looting, all elements of the process of communal killings almost reached the  point of perfection in these two pogroms. So much so, that they indeed were not contained, but played themselves out fully, till the time killers and looters got tired, or when nobody was left to be killed, and nothing remained to be burnt and looted. All those who talk, think, write or make claims about civilisation in India, should take a few moments off to come to terms with these two events. Victims of these pogroms too, like of other communal killings in the country, continue to wait for justice. Collusion of investigative agencies, protective shadow of state power and judicial lethargy has meant that prime movers behind these killings have remained beyond the arm of justice. In fact, particularly in these two cases, the political fortunes of parties involved in killings witnessed an unprecedented boom. Congress party under Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 returned with the largest ever national mandate to Lok Sabha; and the BJP under Narendra Modi has successfully decimated all political opposition in Gujarat, and is now eyeing central power under his leadership. Read more…

Why Modi will become PM of India: Uzair Belgami

April 17, 2014

Guest post by UZAIR BELGAMI

I have been reading around of late and was surprised to see that there are actually still some people who think there is still a chance that Narendra Modi will not become PM of this country in 2014. Hah! Must be those minorities, or those Secularists, or those Communists who are saying and thinking this – all are Pakistan-lovers, Leftists and anti-nationals. I felt it is necessary I deal with these people through this article, in order to deal the ‘final blow’ before the elections. Read more…


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