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From Jadavpur to Everywhere #Hokkolorob – Let There be Clamour

September 21, 2014

More then one hundred thousand students and their friends (according to Kolkata Police estimates) defied the rain to walk in protest yesterday against the assault on Jadavpur University by Kolkata Police, backed by an insensitive University Vice Chancellor and a cynical State Government. There were students, ex students, professors, students from Presidency University, and many other colleges in Kolkata and the neighborhood, there were many ordinary citizens, some who had never been university students, and many who had stopped being university students a long time ago.

Read more…

Syrian Jihad spawned the Islamic State: Nauman Sadiq

September 21, 2014

Guest Post by NAUMAN SADIQ

Let me admit at the outset that Assad is an illegitimate tyrant who must abdicate his hereditary throne to the will of the people when the opportune moment arrives. But at the moment our primary concern shouldn’t be bringing democracy to Syria; at the moment our first and foremost priority should be reducing the level of violence in Syria. There are two parties to this conflict: the regime and the rebels (the majority of whom are takfiri jihadis). It is not possible for the regime to deescalate the conflict because it is holding a tiger by the tail. The regime is fighting a war of defense; and what is at stake in this war is its survival; not only its survival but the survival of its clan: the Alawite minority of 2.6 million people who comprise 12% population of Syria’s 22 million people.

The second party to the conflict is the rebels who are generously supported by the Gulf monarchies, Turkey (Sunni Muslims), Western powers and Israel. Don’t get alarmed and be dismissive of the possibility of an alliance [1] between the Sunni Muslims of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey and the Zionists of Israel. It is realpolitik: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. In fact the Western interest in this war is partly about Israel’s regional security[2] because the Shia axis comprising Iran-Syria-Hezbollah is an existential threat to Israel; and with each passing year the nature of this threat will enhance proportionally with the increased sophistication of Iranian missile program. During the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon, most of the rockets fired by Hezbollah into the Israeli territory missed their target; but according to some reports Iran and Hezbollah have already developed smarter missiles and with every passing year the threat of Hezbollah’s guided missiles so close to Israeli borders will keep on haunting the Israeli strategists’ dreams.  Read more…

Some Feminist Blogs from India

September 20, 2014

Please feel free to add to the list!

1. Ultra Violet. Indian Feminists Unplugged


Image – Sheba Chhachhi 


Ultra Violet. Indian Feminists Unplugged

2. The Ladies Finger

A post from The Ladies Finger: The Varied Social Life Of Hindustani Classical Music Before Respectability Took Over



3. Savari – adivasi bahujan and dalit women conversing


A post from Savari: Sanskritization or Appropriation : Caste and Gender in “Indian” Music and Dance


4. Feminists India

A post from Feminists India: Bhagana rape in the context of Dalit rights to common land


The Islam we do not like: Nandagopal R Menon

September 20, 2014


Some recent posts on Kafila have identified a “movement of sorts” in South Asian Islam - A Short Memoir On the Arabisation of Islam in India and The Sheepification of Bakistan

Named ‘Arabisation’, this is a “remarkably dispersed” and “subtle” movement most readily evident in certain changes in quotidian linguistic choices, for example, Khuda Hafiz and Ramazan has or is being replaced by Allah Hafiz and Ramadan. This linguistic shift from Farsi/Urdu to Arabic is taken to index a “great cultural battle” under way in South Asian Islam – one that attempts “to ‘correct’ Islam as Muslims in the subcontinent have understood, practiced and lived it, and instead replace it with an Islam which is uniform, seemingly universal and which need not have any affiliation with our cultural and local identities and beliefs”. That ‘Arabisation’ is not something innocuous or laudable is clear, for it “conveniently ignores” – or undermines? – Islam’s “age-old assimilation in the Indian sub-continent”. The following are some thoughts provoked on reading these posts. This is not meant as a coherent response to any of the posts, but just an unsystematic attempt to think through some of the assumptions that condition the creation of concepts like ‘Arabisation’ in public discourse.  Read more…

Notes from Jadavpur: Ahona Panda

September 19, 2014

Guest Post by Ahona Panda

About eight years ago, while lounging about doing nothing much in the campus of Jadavpur University where I was a student of the English department, I came across some callously etched graffiti:

Jodi prem na dile praane
Tobe Jadavpure pathanor ki mane?
(If you haven’t given this life some love–
What is the point of sending one to Jadavpur?)

Eight years on I cannot imagine the luxury of lounging about doing nothing much. One moves on in life after graduating from Jadavpur University. Meanwhile, in home and the world, the complete freedom (some will persist in calling this anarchy) of the JU campus has made it a legend somewhat like Dirty Harry: either worship and put it in on a pedestal, or condemn it thoroughly. The reputation of JU since the infamous 1970s has been as a hub of constantly bubbling anarchism, where Naxalites are hatching their next program of action, where ignorant armies like SFI and other anti-SFI groups clash by night.

Read more…

Happy to Disturb – RJ Sayan and The Jadavpur Police Station, Kolkata

September 19, 2014

The disgusting police violence and simple thuggery unleashed by the Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University at the behest of his masters in the Trinamool Congress Party and the West Bengal Government has resulted in a counter-offensive that features rage mixed with humour, mirth, music and creativity. Nothing can be more lethal for the zombies in power than the laughter and music of the young.

Here is a brilliant radio clip – produced by RJ Sayan (Meter Down, 104 FM, Kolkata).

Thanks to Debjani Dutta for the translations and the English subtitles in the video.

Long Years Ago We Made a Tryst, with…Mathematics

September 18, 2014

I thought it wasn’t that complicated. When you make a new nation, make sure everybody gets a place. A roughly equal place. When you undertake any development in that new nation, make sure the benefits equal the costs. These are easy equations, easy maths. Maa-tha-maa-tics, my school maths teacher would say portentously, full of meaning and threatening.

This summer, quietly, safe from the media’s attention, 17 more metres were added to the biggest dam of the Sardar Sarovar Project, a dam that was already 400-plus metres high. Being ‘weak at maths’, I hesitate to calculate the catchment area of this big big dam, only one of many big dams in the web of waterworks created by the Sardar Sarovar project. I am getting goosebumps writing these words – the Sardar Sarovar project. As I did way back in school, as a fifteen-year old with a mind like an occupation zone for textbooks. Nehru’s photo radiates in waves out from that mind, that iconic Bhakra Nangal photo with him pointing to something in the far distance. The blazing sun, the deep shadows, the monumental respectability of it all…now the photo is fused with a different, equally iconic image – that of Sunil Dutt’s youthful strides across a dam site in Hum Hindustani. Read more…


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