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Remembering Nishith Bhattacharya, unsung revolutionary hero: Basu Acharya

March 20, 2015

Guest pots by BASU ACHARYA

The morning of February 15th this year was exceptionally grim. The sun looked pale, its rays mangled, as if somebody had scratched its face with a scalpel blade of tempered steel. Ramakrishna Naskar lane, an obscure by-lane in Beleghata area of Kolkata, was suddenly bustling with unusual activity. A number of people, quite a few in fact, irrespective of the nature of the red flags they carry, had gathered before a modest dwelling; assembled to bid adieu (with clenched fists and the ‘Internationale’ on their lips) to an old man, an octogenarian, wrapped in a crimson cloth with a crossed hammer and sickle in white. Prof. NB, our very own Nishith-da, Comrade Nishith Bhattacharya was no more. Leaving his mortal remains for the pyre to consume and his comrades to weep over, he had left for the final voyage—journey ‘to the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns’.

My association with Nishith-da dates back to the early years of the past decade when India, like many other ‘developing countries’ of the world, was passing through the initial days of the second information revolution. I, then an activist of a tiny student-youth organisation, met him on the book-fair ground at Maidan and asked scores of questions about Naxalbari and related topics. Most surprisingly, he, without a slightest mark of impatience on his face, answered each question with brutal accuracy and won my heart. From then onwards I was his admirer, also his disciple, who could even dispose of his own thumb—if asked. There are so many fond memories such as this, and as I scribble this piece, old thoughts crowd my mind and the panorama of our decade-long association appear before my eyes. But honestly speaking, it will be absolutely criminal if we limit a man of Nishith-da’s stature to any personal reminiscence. Rather, it is better to tell the story of his life and time in considerable length and as dispassionately as possible, for history should be impartial nay objective.

Read more…

Kill it Before it Hatches, Attack it Before it Grows – On State Sanctioned Vandalism against Contemporary Art in Kashmir: Syed Mujtaba Rizvi

March 20, 2015

Guest Post by Syed Mujtaba Rizvi

A Work of Art Vandalized at Gallerie One, Srinagar

A Work of Art Vandalized at Gallerie One, Srinagar

On the opening day of Gallerie One, I was in a conversation with Rajendra Tickoo, Masood Hussain, Shabbir Mirza, M A Mehboob, Shaiqa Mohi and several other senior artists from Jammu and Kashmir. The opening of the first ever centre for contemporary arts and research in Kashmir was a dream come true for all of them. They told me that they had waited all their lives for such an initiative and how several great artists had died with the dream of having an art gallery in Kashmir. They were all very excited. They shook my hand again and again and hugged me before and after. Read more…

#PadsAgainstSexism campaign at Jamia Milia, Delhi

March 19, 2015

padsagainstsexism-3

Sanitary pad with message against sexism on Jamia campus

19-year-old Elona Kastrati started the #PadsAgainstSexism campaign in her hometown of Karlsruhe, Germany.

“I thought about how society gets offended by a normal pad. I thought about it so much, the idea came to me to write quotes on them,” she says. So she did.

c5a546f0-cd6d-11e4-93da-f5c367e4b24e_Pads-Against-Sexism-Elona-

Read more…

On The Interrelationship between Bovine and Human Beings

March 16, 2015

”in our religious scriptures ( Puranas) life of a cow is more important than any number of people” ( Puranon me insaan se jyada gay ko mahtv diya jata hai)

- Giriraj Kishore, Vice President of VHP,

On the public lynching of five dalits, October 2002

BJP Haryana chief Ram Bilas Sharma has promised to treat cow slaughter as a crime as heinous as murder. If elected, he said at the manifesto release function…

 TNN | Oct 3, 2014, 05.06AM IST

There is a competition of sorts between BJP ruled states to fulfil what a Haryana leader said ‘ to fulfil Modiji’s dream’. Close on the heels of Maharashtra government’s getting clearance to ban cow slaughter, there is news in a section of the press that the government in Haryana would table a similar bill in the assembly.

Sharing few snippets of the bill and comparing it with punishment of other offences, a newspaper report tells us that if the offence is insult to modesty of women the maximum jail sentence would be one year or fine, if it is molestation then it would be two years or fine, for theft the maximum jail term would be three years, for assault it would be 3 months or fine,  and for causing grievous hurt it would be maximum seven years. (Times of India, 14 th March 2015) and if it is beef in any form then it would be punishable by upto ten years in jail. Read more…

Politicians Say the Darndest Things: The Ladies Finger

March 16, 2015

THE LADIES FINGER gives the finger to politicians and their charming attitudes towards women.

Yesterday in Parliament, Sharad Yadav, head of the Janata Dal (United) and member of the Rajya Sabha, tried to prove he was cool. During a debate on the Insurance Bill, he broke off to talk about south Indian women. What this had to do with the matter at hand is questionable, but here’s what the Indian Express reported from Parliament:

The women of the south are dark but they are… their bodies…”
At this point members sitting around him tried to bring him back to the topic at hand with cries of “Sharadji Bill”. But, Yadav was not finished yet and talked about the “dancing skills” of south India women.

Soon, Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien frantically waved at Yadav to stop.

Want to bet that when he spoke of “dancing skills”, this is what he had in mind?

sridevi-206x300

But it didn’t end there.

Read the rest of this devastating take down at The Ladies Finger.

AAP’s Divide & Rule: Satya Sagar

March 16, 2015

Guest post by Satya Sagar

While the Indian media goes ballistic over the possibility of a split in the Aam Aadmi Party and ardent supporters stand demoralised, for me this is probably the best news I have heard since the party’s historic win in the recent Delhi assembly elections. I love anything with ‘splittist tendencies’.

The reason is simple. For anyone even vaguely familiar with the nature of living systems, particularly microbial life (and this is a bacterial planet we live on) one of its fundamental characteristics is ‘divide and rule’. Let me explain in more detail, before Markandeya Katju accuses me of being a ‘British agent’.

Basically, anything that possesses life, propagates and spreads its influence only through the process of splitting itself repeatedly till it finds its true balance within the larger ecosystem. All of evolution is possible only because of the constant churning, that results in repeated mutation of basic genetic structures, from which the most durable and relevant ones survive.

Lifeless, inanimate objects on the other hand, by definition, do not possess any internal contradictions and can move around only when pushed by external forces. In political terms it is simple to understand this point – when was the last time the Congress, BJP or for that matter CPI or CPM split anywhere?  If there is no opinion at all, there can’t be a ‘difference of opinion’ too. Read more…

Goodbye Secularism ! Enter Theocracy !!

March 10, 2015

Understanding the yet unfolding ‘Dietary Fascism’

Image : Courtesy – bollypedia.in

To the question whether the Hindus ever ate beef, every Touchable Hindu, whether he is a Brahmin or a non-Brahmin, will say ‘no, never’. In a certain sense, he is right. From times no Hindu has eaten beef. If this is all that the Touchable Hindu wants to convey by his answer there need be no quarrel over it. But when the learned Brahmins argue that the Hindus not only never ate beef but they always held the cow to be sacred and were always opposed to the killing of the cow, it is impossible to accept their view…

B. R. Ambedkar 1

“Did the Hindus never eat Beef?” Dr Ambedkar has dealt with this specific issue holistically in his various writings and has also tried to link it with emergence of ‘untouchable’ castes.

At a time when the saffrons are keen to appropriate Ambedkar  – who had time and again cautioned his followers about the dangers of Hindu Raj 2 and appealed to them to fight the twin enemies of  Brahminism and Capitalism – and present him as someone who not only endorsed the Hindutva project but also opposed beef eating as cow was sacred to Hinduism, it would be opportune to pose this question afresh before them. Read more…

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