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Whose Terror, Whose Powerlessness? Milind Wani

August 17, 2016


Guest post by MILIND WANI

On January 7 a car bomb at a Libyan police camp in the town of Zilten killed 60 people and wounded 200 more.  On January 11, bombs in three cities in Iraq, including Baghdad, killed over 130 people. On January 16, ISIS forces attacked the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor, killing Syrian army members as well as women and children. Death toll estimates range between 130 and 300 people.  On February 1, a suicide bomber detonated a vest outside Afghanistan’s national police headquarters in Kabul, killing 20 and injuring 29. On February 8, ISIS executed approximately 300 activists, police, and military personnel in Mosul, Iraq. On February 21, ISIS detonated car bombs in two Syrian towns heavily populated with Shi’ite Muslims, killing between 140 and 270 people, and wounding over 300 more. In March this year, a car bomb detonated in a busy public square killed at least 37 people in the Turkish capital of Ankara. The same month, on a street filled with shops and cafes in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, a suicide bomber killed five people. On March 27, seventy-two people, including 29 children, were killed in a suicide bombing at the largest public park in Lahore, Pakistan. In May Baghdad attacks, at least 69 to 90 were killed in suicide attacks and car bombings in Iraq capital. On June 28, a trio of suicide bombings at an airport in Istanbul killed 45 and injured 200 more. On 3rd July 2016, coordinated bomb attacks were carried out in Baghdad, resulting in mass civilian casualties. A few minutes after midnight local time, a suicide truck bombing in the district of Karrada killed more than 300 people and injured hundreds more. This list is not exhaustive.

In the above backdrop of terror attacks in middle east by the ISIS or groups associated with it, that Pratap Bhanu Mehta should be impelled to write a passionate piece only after the horrendous truck rampage which left 84 dead in Nice says much about how even the most sympathetic of commentators have become party to selective amnesia. But if that was his only sin, one could just put it down to the times we live in where even the most informed ones are not free of ideological biases. However there is much that can be considered as problematic, either in terms of his analysis or the solutions he proposes or the stand he takes and would want us to take. Read more…

Slow Rendering of an Ache & Mahesh Verma’s Translation : Prasanta Chakravarty

August 16, 2016

This is a guest post by PRASANTA CHAKRAVARTY


“If the translation of poetry is impossible, then the translation of poetry is a genuine art.”

~Nasos Vayenas, Eight Positions on the Translation of Poetry


Translation is an act in the wake of literature. Both the languages – source and target – are variations on literary themes, with neither having priority. But translation depends on an essential paradox: a collision between restlessness and poise, detachment and recreation. In the best translations of poetry this paradox turns into a synthesis that must remain unfinished. Read more…

Civil War in Hindu Society – Happy Independence Day!

August 15, 2016


Received August 15th evening

Violence broke out this morning on the highway.

We’ve been at Una Police Station since afternoon. The Una victim families, Balubai Sarvaiyya and others who feel threatened want police to escort them back to their villages after violence broke out on the highway today morning. Two cars have been burnt, vehicles are being stoned, roads are blocked. They also want police to put up a post in their villages. But the police is keeping mum. The families continue to agitate in whatever ways they can to express their anguish but the police is clearly indifferent. The Yatra came to an end today on a high note but how much has anything changed?

As Dalits march in hundreds of thousands in the Dalit Asmita Yatra from different places to Una, where four Dalits were flogged for skinning dead cattle, one contingent was physically attacked by ‘upper’ caste villagers at Samter village yesterday. A Bolero with 8 people inside was attacked, the vehicle was damaged and petrol was poured on the vehicle

(Video courtesy Dalit Camera)

Here is the route of this extraordinary journey covering 81 kilometers

Read more…

A Nation for Men: Kartik Maini

August 15, 2016

Guest Post by KARTIK MAINI

Members of the All Assam Photojournalist Association wear black sashes around their mouths to protest against the rape of a photo journalist by five men inside an abandoned textile mill in Mumbai, in the northeastern Indian city of Guwahati, Aug. 24, 2013. (Reuters)

Image courtesy VoA

Later this month, we are told, Textile Minister Smriti Irani will be celebrating the festival of Raksha Bandhan with soldiers in India’s highest, perhaps most brutal battleground: Siachen. As the armed forces begin to occupy a central motif in public discourse on patriotism and national honour; and dissent against the BJP gets overwhelmingly portrayed as national betrayal, honouring the supremely courageous men who protect their brothers and sisters on the nation-state’s fault lines is far from problematic. Indeed, in so far as the nation is performed through patriarchal violence, it is.

Employing the signifier of Raksha Bandhan as a promise of the nation’s cherished men to protect their sisters is not nearly as trivial as many consider – it captures the lived experience of nationalism, as also the phallocentric economy invariably implicit in the idea of nation.

Read more…

What exactly happened in Jamia Millia Islamia on 13th August? Jamia Millia Islamia Students

August 14, 2016

Guest Post by Jamia Millia Islamia Students

What exactly happened in Jamia Millia Islamia on 13th August?

The sequence of events:

Just two days before Independence Day, all the hostel residents were informed personally by the administrative authorities to be careful as there may be some raid by IB or CBI or Delhi Police. Students were instructed not to keep any non-resident student in the hostel.

While it is okay to instruct students not to keep any non-resident student in the hostel, what is problematic is the atmosphere of fear that was created among students. Many of the students were told to be careful regarding ‘KASHMIRI STUDENTS’ in particular.

The hostel authorities repeatedly instructed the students not to come out of their rooms and to be careful.

On the 13th of August, at around 3 p.m., two police constables in uniform and around 15-20 officials in plain clothes were seen sitting just outside the hostel gate. Two constables came inside the gate and started having conversation with the guards while around 10 officials were sitting in their cars inside the hostel campus.
Read more…

The Mahmood Farooqui Rape Conviction – A Landmark Verdict: J Devika & Nivedita Menon

August 14, 2016

This post is jointly written by J DEVIKA and NIVEDITA MENON

Bitter arguments rage within the community that we may term as broadly secular, leftist, even feminist, around the Farooqui judgement – in many ways, this judgement and the case itself, may be to Left politics in India with regard to sexual violence, what “Nandigram” was with regard to the question of land, agriculture and environmental costs of industrialization. That is, the dismantling of an older framework of ethics and politics and the painful emergence of what one hopes will be a new consensus on what constitutes rape, but more importantly, on what the harm of rape and sexual violence is.

The authors of this post have read the judgement and followed the case closely, and that is the basis of our analysis here.

We believe that the judgement and verdict in the Mahmood Farooqui rape case indicates an unmistakeable and important shift in the way in which rape is viewed in a courtroom.

“She was bitter against the accused for committing a sin and taking what was most precious to her i.e her control over her sexuality.”

Judgement in the Mahmood Farooqui rape case

This is a radical break from the dominant discourse on rape. It does not focus on loss of honour or physical hurt as the most deeply felt loss by a rape survivor. It recognises, instead, that “sin” of rape is that it robs a woman of what is most precious to her: control over her own sexuality. Read more…

Open Letter against Raids in Jamia Millia Islamia University Hostels: Protesting Students from Jamia Millia Islamia

August 14, 2016

Guest Post by Jamia Millia Islamia Students, Delhi

At the stroke of midnight Jamia Students are leading a massive protest against the administration at Jamia Millia Islamia university and while the concerned authorities are no where to be seen. The protests erupted following the intrusion of Delhi police personnals and some unknown people in plainclothes within the hostel premises. The proctor and the provost of Boys hostel who visited the protesting students stated that they had no information about any such “surprise raid” as it is being reported by a section of media. However, the same media reports are categorically mentioning that the Jamia administration says it was a routine exercise. The students who reside in the hostels are contradicting the administrations claim of being in no knowledge of the so-called “surprise raids” as they were warned by their care-takers that there will be a raid or search soon.

The proctor and the Provost along with other university officials came and assured the students that they are writing a letter to the DCP of Delhi police urging him to take cognisance of the matter and inquire into it. The students demand that the university officials shall call a press conference and tell the media that how without their permission the Delhi police entered the hostel premise. The students have vowed not to disperse from the main gate of the university as a mark of protest until the administration acts on the demands of the protesting students.

The students are articulating this incident with the larger attacks by the cohorts of this government and its various institutions upon universities and students. This incident has raised a plethora of question among students of the university. This institution on account of being a minority institution has been a target of this government and the party in power. Why only Jamia comes under the scanner? Why not such “surprise raids” in the premises of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Ambedkar University and scores of private institutions located in the NCR region? What makes Jamia, its hostel and students so suspicious elements that Delhi police needs to intrude into the premise without taking prior permission?
We students of Jamia Millia Islamia do not wish to be misquoted or misrepresented into the media therefore we take the onus upon ourselves to spread our word and request all democratic and progressive forces to stand with us. 
(A copy of this letter has been sent to Kafila, Wire, The Citizen and others)


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