Guest Post by KAVITA PANJABI
Kavita Panjabi honours the memory of a South Asian feminist from Pakistan who effortlessly produced an ” ‘us’ across generations, contexts and movements”, an ‘us’ across “Kolkata, Dhaka and Delhi, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi.”
Just read about Tahira Mazhar Ali passing away, feeling really sad, hence this short piece.
I met her only thrice, and it was like I carried her within me all these years.
The first time was in 2001 at a seminar organized by ASR in Lahore on the 30th anniversary of the genocide in Bangladesh. She came up to chat after my presentation on the Mahila Atma Raksha Samity (MARS) and the Tebhaga women’s movement, excited. It had taken her on a nostalgia trip, and she said she remembered the MARS on a collection drive for the Bengal Famine in Lahore too; many, including she, had taken off the gold bangles they were wearing and contributed on the spot. Read more…
An open letter from students at National Law University
Abish Mathew, comedian of the AIB Roast fame, performed at NLU Delhi on the 22nd of March for our annual fest, Kairos. Early in the show, Matthew cracked a joke on domestic violence, at which point, two women students who found the jokes to be extremely misogynistic, walked out, showing him the middle finger. The audience reacted with some tittering, and Abish Mathew fumbled momentarily, before resuming. The audience asked him to carry on and to ignore the protesters. In the mean time, a group of female students marched into the auditorium holding placards reading “Get Out, Sexist Pig”, and also used expletives such as ‘fuck off’.
The auditorium erupted in shouts of “fuck you guys” and the protesters were booed and heckled by the audience members who demanded that the protestors either leave or move to the side. They eventually did move to the side of the auditorium, where they continued to hold their placards up and attempted to interrupt him. Abish was greeted by a standing ovation when he stated that he was an artist and recognized the right of the protesters, and subsequently when he ended his show by stating he had overstayed his welcome.
Dealing with ‘sexist pigs’? Reflections on the feminist protest against AIB’s Avish Mathew at National Law University, Delhi: A Statement
A statement from concerned students and teachers
What does one do sitting in the middle of an audience roaring with laughter at jokes that one might find downright humiliating? Laugh along, retire hurt, or ask people to stop? It’s a dilemma that many of us on the ‘wrong’ side of various lines of privilege (caste, class, gender, race) and those sensitive to these divisions often find ourselves in. Some students at the National Law University, Delhi seem to have been put in a similar situation when during their annual college fest, comedian Avish Mathew of AIB Roast fame would not stop amusing his audience with one offensive joke after another. They first decided to walk out and then came back with a placard saying, “Get out you sexist pig!”
Communist, Scientist, Activist and Dreamer Daya Varma (August 23, 1929 – March 22, 2015) : Harsh Kapoor
Guest Post by Harsh Kapoor
Dr. Daya Varma, life-long communist, scientist, activist, dreamer, pharmacologist, professor emeritus at McGill University, Montreal, passed away on 22 March 2015 in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada. Former member of the undivided Communist Party of India, founder of Indian People’s Association in North America (IPANA) and the International South Asia Forum, founding member of CERAS (Centre d’Étude et Ressources d’Asie Sud) and was on the board of of Alternatives, a progressive think tank in Canada, He also founded and edited the INSAF bulletin. Many in India remember how when the 1984 Bhopal Union Carbide industrial disaster struck,where thousands died, Dr. Varma spearheaded a study to monitor the effects of MIC on pregnant women whilst participating in activities aimed at supporting their compensation claims.
(Read the complete text here : http://www.sacw.net/article10894.html)
Guest Post by SIDDHARTH NARRAIN
It’s not often that India’s Supreme Court strikes down a law in its entirety as a violation of the free speech. But when it does, boy do you want to stand up and cheer. Before a packed courtroom, Justices Rohinton Nariman and G. Chelameswar, pronounced their judgment in Shreya Singhal & Ors. v. Union of India,, striking down, in its entirety, the controversial section 66A of the Information Technology Act in its entirety. The full text of the decision is not available yet. But Justice Nariman read out parts of the court decision, enough to give us a sense of what is to come.