Majma and Swaang are organizing JURRAT – A week long campaign on violence against women, from Dec 10-16.
On 16th December 2013 one year would have passed since the shameful, horrific and brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi. And yet this whole year, city after city and village after village has screamed ‘Rape’ ‘Gang Rape’ in the months after the much publicized and condemned Delhi-gang rape. Read more…
Over a year ago, I had written on Kafila about the (Ir)resistible rise of Arvind Kejriwal, a phenomenon thoroughly misread from the beginning to this moment, by free radicals and Left devotees of Congress-style politics. Taking the risk of saying ‘I-told-you-so’, some lessons need to be underlined, learnt from the political developments of the last three years. That post said – referring back to the days of the Anna Hazare movement (itself dubbed reactionary, casteist, even RSS-sponsored and fascist, by pundits of all hues) -
But here was the political class and the intelligentsia from Left to Right taking the protestors to task – asking them to tame their dissent and channel it through ‘proper channels’. Contest elections and let us see how much support you have, they challenged. Anna Hazare stuck to his guns, refusing the bait. Kejriwal however, seems to have decided to call their bluff. And much before the last hunger strike failed, his political mobilization started moving away from the single point agenda of the Lokpal Bill. Apparently taking up the challenge and moving towards the constitution of a political party, Kejriwal has entered the field in a manner that might even begin to pose an electoral challenge to ruling as well as opposition parties. How much of a challenge it will be we cannot say. However, one thing is quite clear: It will probably introduce an element of serious uncertainty in the coming elections, whenever they are held. Old formulas will cease to work. Equations are bound to change with new imponderables entering the scene.
Guest Post by Ravi Sinha
It is unusual for school students to be worrying about the “collective”. But, then, yours seems to be an unusual school. When I was here the last time, you were pondering the “continuum”. I find it truly remarkable. To grapple with issues and concepts that are deeply philosophical and at the same time of immense practical value – and doing so at a young age – is an ingredient that goes into the making of great civilizations. In a world that seems to revel in everything that is crass and commercial, and in a country that appears like a continent of cacophony and shallowness, this is not expected of you. You and your teachers must be congratulated for swimming against the tide.
Collective is something that falls between a collection and the composite. There is ample space between these two categories, and where exactly does a collective fall in this space depends on what kind of collective we are talking about. But let us first talk a bit about the endpoints of this space. Read more…
Prof. M. Abdul Salam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Calicut
Members of the Syndicate, University of Calicut
The University of Calicut has recently announced the institution of a ‘Golden Mother Award,’ with the stated objective of highlighting “the contribution of mothers to societal development and nation building and to provide exemplary models to youngsters.” Mothers in the age group of 50+ and who are actively contributing to their domains of service will be considered for awards in eighteen categories such as Art, Literature, Teaching, Social work, Politics, Administration, Media, Sports, Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, Engineering, Medicine, Research, Law and judiciary, Police and Banking, Nominations from educational institutions, trade unions, LSGIs, NGOs and other organizations or from individuals themselves are to be submitted to the Director, Centre for Women’s Studies at the University.
Firstly, this attempt to glorify motherhood is blatantly patriarchal, anti-woman, anti-democratic and a move that pulls society back to the mores of a traditional morality. It implies that a woman’s place is at home and that her principal responsibility (and hers alone) is giving birth to children and rearing them. It pays little heed to contemporary feminist critiques of motherhood as not primarily a biological destiny, one that is made problematic by conditions of poverty, deprivation and societal violence. In ignoring new forms of motherhood and parentage such as adoption, single mothers, and so on, it also upholds elitist, casteist, and patriarchal conceptions of family and womanhood. Read more…
Guest Post by RAHUL ROY
Nivedita Menon ends her commentary on the unfolding Tehelka sexual assault case in Kafila by asserting – “the time has come. It is now”. It should be, but is it? Are we witnessing the end game of an old Indian patriarchal sport called sexual assault? The sport is akin to another old game called the royal hunt that was an important part of elite political culture of South Asia. The rules of the sport were then as now heavily loaded in favour of the royal huntsman – weapons, support teams, timing, everything required for the thrill of a kill were with powerful men out to conquer. The expeditions however were not just about the kill. The sport was also a means of asserting authority over tracts of the wild and those that lived there and were by some misfortune not aware of prevailing authority structures. The royal hunt was an event to showcase to subjects the might, prowess and authority of the elite rulers. It was the stamping of power over human as well as animal kingdom. The royal huntsman could not but win. He could not but kill.
Meet Tarun Tejpal’s spin doctors
Unlike Justice (Retd.) Ashok Kumar Ganguly, Tarun Tejpal’s defenders cannot cry innocence given that Tejpal has confessed to his crime, albeit disputing the degree of it. He has even confessed having told his colleague that suffering the sexual assault was the “easiest way of keeping your job”. Even his two decades old comrade Shoma Choudhury is unable to defend him beyond saying that he has his versions. Nobody buys Tejpal’s ludicrous retractions.
This put Tejpal’s friends, fellow molesters and self-defeating secularists in a bind. Many of his friends have chosen silence, which is understandable. It is only human to recuse oneself from the difficult choice between principle and friendship. Though some like Arundhati Roy and Sankarshan Thakur have admirably chosen principle over personal association. But those who wanted to come out and actually defend Tejpal were at a loss for words. How do they defend a crime whose perpetrator has confessed to it? So they came up with a few sly defences which pretend to be nuances. Some like BG Verghese are writing as though they were ghostwriting Shoma Choudhury’s defence.
So let us lacerate these defences one by one.
‘Trial by media, lynch mob’
- Expresses Solidarity with the struggle of the Tehelka Journalist who raised her voice against Rape and Intimidation by the Ex-Editor Tarun Tejpal.
- Demands fair investigation and early charge sheet into the matter, from the Goa Police.
- Considers Six Day of Custodial interrogation of Tarun Tejpal granted by the Goa Judicial Magistrate Court unnecessary and invidious.
- Appeals that police custody and the case not become a tool in the hands of BJP administered Goa police to settle scores with Tejpal.