If you are in Thiruvananthapuram, please do join us at one o’clock at noon in front of the Kairali-Sree theatre complex at Thampanoor, the main venue of IFFK.
We do believe that the rising tide of fascism in Kerala, the creeping fear of the sheer violence of fascist goons, can be combated only through love, humor, and moral courage. The victory of Hindutva right wing forces in the national scene seems to have emboldened them in Kerala. They are attempting to import here the instruments of terror that they brazenly unleash on people in the states which have become laboratories of their hate-politics. We will not let their evil grow; we will fight it with love.
We will use as an instrument of self-defense precisely all that which fascist forces deny us in this society. We will reclaim that ultimate symbol of tender and intimate human contact, the Kiss; we will kiss against fascism.
And each of us has different, but interconnected reasons, for kissing against fascism.
Guest Post by RINA RAMDEV AND DEBADITYA BHATTACHARYA
For daring to elope and marry outside the dictates of caste-community honour codes, a young Delhi University undergraduate came to a brutal death at the hands of her family. The incident since then has become part of public discourse, thanks to our newspaper-educated sensibilities. But the ‘popular’ set of responses that this event has generated from our newsreaderly selves is worth some reviewing. While there has been a large-scale condemnation of this incident from ‘civilized’ quarters of the media-enlightened, the most commonly employed terms of this debate have veered around an imagination of a ‘civilizational modernity’ versus an ‘aggressive-savage primitivism’. Are we still in the Dark Ages, most have asked. Is not ‘love marriage’ a civilizational mandate of the age of the modern, others have comfortably posed and then gone on to conclude that the fact that we – as a ‘society’, metropolitan-converts in this case – have not yet made our peace with a civil code of morality relegates us to a ‘rustic-primitive mindset’. The muse of Indian judicial processes and imaginations of penal justice – ah! the “collective conscience” – has spoken thus and gone back to catching up on Ramzaadas and terror attacks on national ‘honour’. And just while we were conveniently conceding to the relative insignificance of an undergraduate girl’s ‘honour’ compared to the prime-time rhetorical spectres of ‘national honour’ in Jammu & Kashmir, a leading English daily attempted to bring back a few ‘dark’ images from Bhawna Yadav’s past. Read more…
The Chennai based Forum Against Manual Scavenging, (FAMS) can be contacted at email@example.com. We have tried to create some awareness on this issue especially among student community (with the assistance of some of the Professors/Faculty based in Chennai) in which we were guided by Safai Karamchari Andolan, Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front, Janodayam Social Education Centre, Republic Trade Union of India, Red Flag Union of Tamil Nadu and other similar organizations (in and outside Chennai) struggling on this issue which are led primarily by the Dalit Women from the community itself.
A documentary, ‘Sahar se Pehle’ (Before the Dawn) on sanitation workers in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in Delhi was made by some students of the university. The JNUSU has been consistently raising the issue of abysmally bad condition of sanitation workers in JNU for quite some years now. Earlier in 2012, JNUSU had also participated in a signature campaign against manual scavenging (signed by the then JNUSU President). The documentary shows the manual scavenging is still prevalent in the premier university even after the ban on manual scavenging by the Delhi government (sanitation is a State subject according to the Constitution of India) and after the enactment of “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.”
This documentary was also selected for the Canadian Labour International Film Festival, 2014, and was available online on YouTube and other sites from February 2014, but was not widely circulated on mainstream media or social media. We also came to know about it only a fortnight ago because the write-up attached to it does not explicitly mention manual scavenging.
The JNU student community has started a campaign called Stop Manual Scavenging in JNU, with the message “Use hashtag #StopMSinJNU to SPEAK OUT against the inhuman practices of manual scavenging and hazardous cleaning in #JNU.” Read more…
Demolition Drive in Vadodara, 2014: Kathyayini Dash, Rushabh Vishawakarma, Hussain Sabu, Bhagwati Prasad Suryavanshi
Guest post by KATHYAYINI DASH, RUSHABH VISHAWAKARMA, HUSSAIN SABU & BHAGWATI PRASAD SURYAVANSHI
In Tarsali, 10 kilometers from Vadodara
Note from authors:
We are a group of friends and students from MS University, Baroda. One of us, Rushabh, lives in Kalyannagar which has partly been demolished and this house too is slated for demolition. We have written this to bring to the surface what demolition and displacement means, from the perspective of those who live in places like Kalyannagar, which cannot even be called a ‘slum’. We could see first hand what happened during the demolition because our friend lived there. We all have spent happy times at Kalyannagar, Rushabh’s home. We felt we owe it to these memories to at least record these events. You can visit us at BarodaBeat.
Development they say…
They say by 2015, not one jhopdi will be seen…Vadodara’s landscape would be studded with flyovers, high rise buildings, malls, clean pothole-free roads. There will be no stench of garbage, leave alone the sight of it.
The recent floods in Vadodara set off an alarm, urging the quick setting up of “river-front projects” which included the demolition and re-location of slum dwellings near the river which were so awfully affected during the floods.
They say, “this is not fair. They sure need help; first priority in fact. They have to be the first to be taken into consideration before going on to people who have it all: a raised plinth level, a well cemented house, resources to recover the losses incurred in the floods. The jhopdiwaale, well, they have nothing at all, don’t they? Already low on the economic scale, they have no resources to recover the losses incurred during the floods, they don’t even have pakka houses to resist the floods. And on top of it all, they have houses built along the river itself. Poor things, where else would they build their houses. But then, these houses shouldn’t be there in the first place isn’t it? Because this is government land, and they don’t have the right to live there. What good is it anyway?” they say. “It is near the river, there is always a dangerous risk of the river flooding and them and their houses drowning,” they say. Read more…
ചുംബനസമരങ്ങളുടെ പശ്ചാത്തലത്തിൽ ഉയർന്നുവന്നിരുക്കുന്ന ധർമ്മസങ്കടങ്ങളും ആശയസംഘട്ടനങ്ങളുമാണ് എന്നെ ഈ കത്തെഴുകാൻ പ്രേരിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്. Read more…
My arguments supporting young people in some recent debates, notably, the ones around the International Film Festival of Kerala and the ongoing Kiss protests, have apparently irritated a number of people, especially friends who belong to my own generation. From more than one source (hardly ever directly, though) I hear that they grumble that I am biased towards the young. That, apparently, is the latest fad. And Devika, it appears to them, has a tendency to support fads. Read more…