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Images from Kiss of Love Gathering in Delhi: Ishan Tankha

November 12, 2014

Guest Post by ISHAN TANKHA

Every time my girlfriend puts her arms around me while we are out  on our terrace i end up first doing a quick scan of the windows that look down at us to see if we are visible to anyone, it’s almost  an instinctive reaction. Mind you, one that doesn’t win me much affection from her ,understandably! It’s not that I care but I do notice them looking, and it’s always disapproving. Unfortunately, It’s not just my neighbours.

After the ‘Kiss of Love ‘ protests in Kochi and Kolkota it was Delhi’s turn and the few hundred who turned up to stand up for their right to not be morally policed did a fantastic job countering the right wing hooligans, for whom showing love or affection to one of our choosing is ‘immoral’.  The police spent it’s time not allowing the peaceful protesters from marching to the RSS headquarters, their intended destination, pushing and shoving them.  While pleading with, instead of arresting those who threatened and abused with impunity.

It’s not over of course, if it’s not a skirt wearing girl being stopped from entering a building or a cafe being trashed, there will be another reason to collect and be heard.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll give my neighbours a matinee to gawk at.Meanwhile, here are some pictures I took at the Kiss of Love gathering in Jhandewalan, Delhi.

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Whither Social Movements? Exploring the Problematic and Action Strategy: Soumitra Ghosh

November 12, 2014

Guest post by SOUMITRA GHOSH

The context

One of the biggest and most visible problems plaguing the anti-capitalist social movements of today is the statist framework which conditions, shapes and governs their thoughts and actions. Thus the political praxis which should ideally be moored in a post-capitalist (hence post-state) vision of society, is seldom reached, and the movements are stuck in the morass of extremely limited actions informed by their purely normative and emotive thoughts about how the present society should function. The war-cry of justice is aired, millions take to the street demanding it, yet this ‘justice’ is rarely explained in terms of the real and the grounded. It is taken for granted that the state will be transformed from its overtly pro-capital avatar to a more radical one by this means or another because the movements want it to change: what is forgotten is that history has seen hundreds of experiments with such ‘changed’ states—each one of which failed in the long run, and led to a more coercive rule of capital.

Also, today’s social movements are non-violent and democratic, which in reality means that they prefer working within the framework of parliamentary democracy, and where that is absent, fight for it. Once again, the history of the institution of parliamentary democracy is forgotten: willy-nilly, it’s ignored that historically—more so going by today’s neo-liberal situation—such democracy is intrinsically linked with capitalist production systems and the hegemony of capital in both our societies and polities. Read more…

B Hridayakumari in My Garden: A Loving Memory

November 11, 2014

I cannot write the standard obituary. The obituary is expected to hold back grief in sedate, decorous ways, remember the departed person’s best qualities with quiet dignity, and forgive her less admirable aspects gracefully. When I try to write an obituary, I usually trip over my own grief and the terrible ache that the memories of the deceased one’s physical presence produce — the turn of the head, the peculiar contortion of lips forming a smile, the wave of a hand.(I cannot write obits for people I don’t feel for). To get away from that, I quickly turn to the personality, and here I find myself mired, completely unable to separate neatly those qualities that drew my admiration and those which I hated and hurt me. Far from sounding dignified, the obituary ends up structured quite like intensely physical mourning, only that it will be composed in words.

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Feed The Poor, Go To Jail

November 10, 2014

image : Courtesy eideard.com

Whether serving food to the homeless is a crime?

Ask Arnold Arbott, known as Chef Arbott, a 90 year old man from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who along-with two other members of a Church charity faces potential jail term for at least six months for the same ‘offence’. In fact his name finds prominent mention in the police records in the past week for breaking the new city ordinance which has come into effect recently which characterises his act as breach of law, according to reports.

Talking to a newsperson he said:

“These are the poorest of the poor. They have nothing. They don’t have a roof over their head. And who could turn them away?”

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‘Kiss of Love’ in Delhi, confronting the RSS: Vasundhara Jairath and Bonojit Hussain

November 10, 2014

Guest Post by Vasundhara Jairath and Bonojit Hussain 

In the first of its kind in India, youth in Kochi launched a campaign called ‘Kiss of Love’ to challenge the moral policing of the Hindu Right. While that protest was attacked by right wing thugs and suppressed by the police, this form of protest has since spread to different parts of the country like Hyderabad, Bombay and Calcutta. Today, the ‘Kiss of Love’ protest was held at nowhere short of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) head office in New Delhi. A few individuals took the initiative and gave a call for this protest on Facebook with the title, ‘Sanghi Gunde Hoshiyar, Tere Samne Karenge Pyaar’ (Sanghi thugs beware, we will love in front you). Read more…

This is What Frightens Them….

November 9, 2014
And the struggle continues, image courtesy Manorama online

And the struggle continues…Kochi, image courtesy Manorama online

“If conservative elements can capture our public spaces and impose their diktat on us, we will do the same in retaliation. Our university spaces, parks and roads are not free any more. We are reclaiming them now. We live in an age where a Dalit man is hacked to 40 pieces because he fell in love with a woman from a higher caste. This Kiss of Love campaign is a defiance of moral policing and a struggle to uphold the spirit of love in all its forms and for everyone,” said Zareen, a campaigner.
Kiss of love Delhi, image courtesy, DNA

Kiss of love Delhi, image courtesy, DNA

नौ नवंबर:एक और वर्षगाँठ

November 9, 2014

नौ नवंबर एक और वर्षगाँठ है.इस साल नौ नवंबर को अयोध्या में रामजन्मभूमि मंदिर के शिलान्यास के पचीस साल हो जाएँगे.यह मात्र एक मंदिर का नहीं,हिंदू राष्ट्र का शिलान्यास है,अशोक सिंघल ने शिलान्यास के बाद कहा था.1989 कई दृष्टियों से घटनापूर्ण वर्ष था.यूरोप में बर्लिन की दीवार का दरवाज़ा नौ नवंबर को ही खोल दिया गया जिससे पूर्वी और पश्चिमी जर्मनी के लोग आसानी से आ-जा सकें.यह बर्लिन की दीवार के ढहने की शुरुआत थी.राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के समर्थक जय दुबांशी ने लिखा,“इधर एक मंदिर खड़ा हो रहा था और उधर एक मंदिर ढह रहा था.” सिंघल और दुबांशी के वक्तव्यों में रामजन्म भूमि मंदिर अभियान के राजनीतिक प्रोजेक्ट को लेकर कोई दुविधा नहीं.यह एक दक्षिणपंथी,राष्ट्रवादी राजनीतिक परियोजना थी जो भारत में बहुसंख्यक हिन्दूवाद को संगठित किए बिना  फल-फूल नहीं सकती थी.

1989 के अक्टूबर के अंत में ही भागलपुर में भारत की एक और  भयानक साम्प्रदायिक हिंसा हुई.यह भी याद रखने की ज़रूरत है कि प्रधान मंत्री राजीव गाँधी ने भागलपुर पहुँचकर जब लापरवाही और हिंसा को जारी रखने के आरोप के कारण वहाँ के पुलिस उपाधीक्षक को निलंबित किया तो स्वयं पुलिस ने विद्रोह कर दिया और उनका घेराव कर लिया.यह घटना तत्कालीन भारत में सांप्रदायिक मानस के आक्रामक होने की सूचना देती है और प्रशासन की हर स्तर पर उसमें भागीदारी का एक प्रमाण भी है.भागलपुर की सांप्रदायिक हिंसा में राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ की भागीदारी के साफ प्रमाण हैं.याद रखने की ज़रूरत है कि यह रामशिला पूजन के समय ही भड़की हिंसा थी.न भूलें कि संघ ने दो  सौ हिंदू छात्रों के मारे जाने और छात्राओं के बलात्कार की अफवाह फैलाई थी जिससे उनके गाँव में हिंसा भड़काने में आसानी हुई.भागलपुर में अफवाहों के जरिए लोगों को भड़काकर मुस्लिम-विरोधी हिंसा भड़काने के संघ के तरीके को याद इसलिए रखना ज़रूरी है कि मुज़फ्फ़रनगर के गाँवों में फैली मुस्लिम विरोधी हिंसा को समझने में वह मददगार है.इसलिए भी कि कई विद्वानों ने मुज़फ्फ़रनगर को इस वजह से विलक्षण माना था कि यहाँ ग्रामीण क्षेत्र हिंसा में शामिल हुए. ऐसा करते वक्त वे भागलपुर को भूल ही गए थे. Read more…

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