Articles by: Subhash Gatade

Faith as Nuisance, Sound as Pollution

Faith as Nuisance, Sound as Pollution

Is “God” really deaf, that you need to call out so loud to communicate your prayers? In his time Kabir, the great 15th-century poet-saint, raised this question in his own inimitable style. One can only imagine the ire of both Hindus and Muslims that he must have invited, yet that did not deter him from questioning their rites and practices. He continued to expose the society he lived in. Now his poser about noise being an integral part of religion has received a fresh lease[Read More…]

May 28, 2020 India
Community-Based Mapping of Covid: Nothing Official About it

Community-Based Mapping of Covid: Nothing Official About it

No doubt the clarification that India will not map Covid-19 infections on the basis of religion has many heaving sighs of relief. But will the peace last? “Move for community-based mapping of coronavirus?” a recent news item in a prestigious daily asked, getting tongues wagging about “closed-door meetings at the highest level”, though no “official” decision had been taken in them. The Ministry of Health declared that any such news is “baseless, incorrect and[Read More…]

May 19, 2020 India
Operation Eklavya in Action at Premier Institutes

Operation Eklavya in Action at Premier Institutes

It was exactly 13 years back that the Thorat Committee, constituted in September 2006 to enquire into allegations of differential treatment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students at the premier medical institute, AIIMS—was released. The first of its kind in independent India, this three-member committee led by then chairman of the University Grants Commission, Sukhdeo Thorat, had looked deeply[Read More…]

May 7, 2020 Annihilate Caste
The Many Debts We Owe to Lenin

The Many Debts We Owe to Lenin

‘The workers’ and peasants’ government… calls upon all the belligerent peoples and their government to start immediate negotiations for a just, democratic peace. By a just or democratic peace, for which the overwhelming majority of the working class and other working people of all the belligerent countries, exhausted, tormented and racked by the war are craving [we mean] an immediate[Read More…]

April 30, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Brutalising Labourers, Jailing Dissidents

Brutalising Labourers, Jailing Dissidents

A medical emergency is no pretext to impose a political emergency. How many policemen in civil clothes are required to deliver a mere summons to an editor of a web journal 700-k away in an age of email and WhatsApp? The recent action of the Uttar Pradesh police, where it sent a posse of 7-8 policemen, in civil clothes, in[Read More…]

April 19, 2020 Human Rights
Mainstream Myths Versus Scientific Collaboration

Mainstream Myths Versus Scientific Collaboration

The rediscovery of scientific collaboration across borders is a welcome development. Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. Marie Curie. Does the 5G network have any link to the novel coronavirus outbreak?” Well, any sane person on this part of Earth[Read More…]

April 12, 2020 World
After COVID-19, We All Should Be Cuba

After COVID-19, We All Should Be Cuba

Rare are those photographs which can be declared iconic right after they are taken, without awaiting the approval of the connoisseurs, critics or people. It is an ordinary-looking photo, of a large team of people, dressed in white robes, disembarking from a plane and being welcomed by someone wearing a white coat too. Take a closer look at the frame[Read More…]

April 8, 2020 World
Weaponising Idiocy: Milk-Drinking Ganesha to Taali Bajao

Weaponising Idiocy: Milk-Drinking Ganesha to Taali Bajao

Yad ihasti tad anyatra, yan nehasti na tat kavcit. ‘Whatever is here might be elsewhere, but what is not here could ever be found’.—The Mahabharata, 1.56.33, from Meera Nanda’s The God Market: How Globalisation is Making India More Hindu, Random House 2009. It was the fag end of the 1st decade of the 21st century when the historian Rink Shenkman wrote his marvellous book, Just how[Read More…]

March 27, 2020 India
Desirable Deaths, Malignant Neglect

Desirable Deaths, Malignant Neglect

 Bella Ciao! Bella Ciao! A song which traces its origins to the struggles of working women (rice-weeders) in 19th-century Northern Italy, and which later became an anthem of anti-fascist struggles there, recently made a comeback on the streets of Rome. Well, there was no mass gathering, obviously, but you could hear people’s voices sing not only Bella Ciao from windows and balconies but many[Read More…]

March 22, 2020 World
Not Just Doreswamy, India’s Idea of Independence is Being Debased

Not Just Doreswamy, India’s Idea of Independence is Being Debased

“Though this be madness yet there is method in it.” Hamlet, William Shakespeare. The saffron brigade’s ever-readiness to stigmatise people holding differing opinions and dissenting voices reached a new low recently. Perhaps it was the saddest day in post-independence India when a Karnataka BJP legislator hurled abuses of being a ‘Pak agent’ and ‘fake freedom-fighter at 102-year-old freedom fighter, H[Read More…]

March 14, 2020 India
Savarkar and the Cracks in Hindutva Legacy

Savarkar and the Cracks in Hindutva Legacy

This ‘Veer’ is a divisive figure within the RSS-BJP, tough for even the Sangh parivar to paper over. The Savarkar Sahitya Sammelan, which was organised with much fanfare in the national capital, proved to be rather a tame affair. With the talk of Savarkar being posthumously honoured with the Bharat Ratna in the air, the two-day gathering was considered important.[Read More…]

March 3, 2020 India
Why Modi and Sangh Parivar Want to ‘Disremember’ Golwalkar

Why Modi and Sangh Parivar Want to ‘Disremember’ Golwalkar

PM Modi didn’t mention former RSS chief Golwalkar on his recent 114th birth anniversary. The idea is to implement his ‘essence’ in private while not mentioning him in public. The 114th birth anniversary of Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar went unnoticed. Barring a stray article by a second-rung leader of the saffron party in a national daily, none from the top hierarchy deemed it[Read More…]

February 25, 2020 India
Why Pakistan’s Islamists Don’t Want India’s CAA Repealed

Why Pakistan’s Islamists Don’t Want India’s CAA Repealed

Seattle City Council, one of the most powerful city councils in the United States, recently made history. It became the world’s first elected body to pass a resolution asking the Indian government to repeal the CAA, stop the National Register of Citizens and uphold the Indian Constitution. It also sought ratification of United Nations treaties on refugees. The said resolution[Read More…]

February 10, 2020 India
Why BJP’s Subjugation of Gandhi’s Legacy Hit a Roadblock at Shaheen Bagh

Why BJP’s Subjugation of Gandhi’s Legacy Hit a Roadblock at Shaheen Bagh

‘Death ends all enmity’ (Marnanti Vairani) goes a maxim in Hinduism. The story also goes that when Ravana was on death bed, Ram had even asked Laxman to go to him and learn something which no other person except a great scholar like him could teach him, declaring that though he has been forced to punish him for his terrible crime, ‘you are[Read More…]

February 5, 2020 India
How Hindutva Terror Outfits Hide in Plain Sight

How Hindutva Terror Outfits Hide in Plain Sight

The arrest of yet another alleged bomb-maker with right-wing links should lead to action at last. ‘When Crimes shoot up, they become invisible. When pain becomes unbearable, cries are no longer heard.’ —Bertolt Brecht Can the provocations of a cabinet minister, who openly raises controversial slogans, be considered a “breach of peace” or are they merely attempts to “gauge people’s mood”,[Read More…]

January 29, 2020 India
Hindutva: Get Egg on Your Face and Say ‘I am Loving it’

Hindutva: Get Egg on Your Face and Say ‘I am Loving it’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to further his deeply-sectarian and divisive agenda at Belur Math, global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekananda, has backfired. His controversial defence of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 at the historic math in which he invoked Vivekananda himself has enraged a broad spectrum of people and formations. The CAA is, of[Read More…]

January 20, 2020 India
Your Government Wants Revenge From You

Your Government Wants Revenge From You

Uttar Pradesh is dealing with CAA as it dealt with crime: encounters. Seventy-six year old advocate Mohammad Shoaib fought to have innocents branded as terrorists under repressive laws released, and risked multiple assaults by right-wing lawyers as he took these cases through various courts in Uttar Pradesh. His contemporary, former police officer SR Darapuri became a human rights activist and writer after he retired.[Read More…]

December 29, 2019 India
Welcome to Hindu Rashtra via CAB !

Welcome to Hindu Rashtra via CAB !

Dharshini, aged 34 years, one of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living at a camp in Tamil Nadu’s Gummidipundi, is really disappointed these days. (https://www.news18.com/news/india/fear-of-deportation-looming-large-sri-lankan-tamil-refugees-play-wait-and-watch-in-hope-of-indian-citizenship-2419791.html). She was hoping against hope that the government would finally decide to grant citizenship rights to her and her family members after waiting for all these years. Somebody had told her that the government is[Read More…]

December 17, 2019 India
Untouchability Walls keep rising and falling in Tamil Nadu

Untouchability Walls keep rising and falling in Tamil Nadu

BR Ambedkar wrote in Annihilation of Caste that “…the world owes much to rebels who would dare to argue in the face of the pontiff and insist that he is not infallible. I do not care about the credit which every progressive society must give to its rebels. I shall be satisfied if I make the Hindus realize that they are the[Read More…]

December 12, 2019 Annihilate Caste
Talking Faiz : ‘In This Hour of Madness’

Talking Faiz : ‘In This Hour of Madness’

Academician, writer and social activist Zaheer Ali in Conversation with SubhashGatade about his latest book ‘Romancing With Revolution : Life and Works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’ (Aakar Books, Delhi, 2019) and why Faiz is ‘ extremely relevant in today’s India’ This is the hour of madness, this too the hour of chain and noose You may hold the cage in[Read More…]

November 30, 2019 Book Review
Ayodhya: Can a Dispute Reach Closure if it Still Causes Pain?

Ayodhya: Can a Dispute Reach Closure if it Still Causes Pain?

Coexistence between social groups was a social reality and a primary tenet of Indian life, long before the word secular was included in its Constitution in 1976. Now that a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court has delivered a “historic” judgement on the Babri Masjid dispute, there is a sense of disquiet. This is not just on account of the[Read More…]

November 18, 2019 India
Exit Azad! Enter Savarkar!!

Exit Azad! Enter Savarkar!!

Last year, a statue of freedom fighter and first education minister of independent India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, was destroyed by Hindutva mobs at Kankinara in North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. At the time, there were communal flare-ups in many districts of the state in the aftermath of aggressive Ram Navami marches, the first of their kind in the[Read More…]

November 11, 2019 India
Politainment: Why Hindutva Brigade Spews Lies

Politainment: Why Hindutva Brigade Spews Lies

History is witness that Buddhism, which originated in the Indian subcontinent, posed a challenge to brahmanical Hinduism. It is also recorded history that Buddhism was completely wiped out of this region centuries later, through means violent and non-violent. But the Hindutva supremacists, compelled by their desire and fantasy to re-shape national identity, want India’s past to match their views on[Read More…]

November 7, 2019 India
Goodbye, Tipu Sultan

Goodbye, Tipu Sultan

Ghatam Bhindyat, Patam Chhindyat, Kuryat Rasbharohanam Yenken Prakaren, Prasidho Purusho Bhavet Break earthen pots, tear clothes, ride a donkey: Men try to achieve popularity by any means. It was 2006 and DH Shankarmurthy, a nondescript swayamsevak, was handling the higher education ministry in the HD Kumarswamy-led coalition government suddenly hit the national headlines. The trigger was his unusual demand to[Read More…]

November 3, 2019 India
Panaji: BJP President Amit Shah address BJP supporters in Panaji, Goa on Saturday. PTI Photo(PTI8_20_2016_000228A)

History as Storytelling

No commentator even asked why the home minister—a graduate in bio-chemistry who has also worked as a stockbroker and in co-operative banks [Sheela Bhatt, “What Amit Shah’s fall really means”, July 28, 2010]—was found the most apt person to inaugurate a two-day seminar on a subject of history at Banaras Hindu University where he shared his pearls of wisdom. His emphasis was that[Read More…]

October 29, 2019 India
Savarkar, India’s ’Ratna’ of a Different Kind!

Savarkar, India’s ’Ratna’ of a Different Kind!

BJP’s poll promise of Bharat Ratna for Savarkar, who inspired a wide spectrum of fanatic individuals and violent organisations, shows the moral vacuousness of the Hindutva project It was in the wee hours of dawn of the 21st century that renowned scholar and historian, Eric Hobsbawm, had talked about the process of  “destroying the past” to “modify” it or how[Read More…]

October 18, 2019 India
Will Lynching in Bharat Be Called Vaddh?

Will Lynching in Bharat Be Called Vaddh?

The speech by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat on its foundation day (Dusshera) has now become an event, watched with interest. The speech itself has a long tradition within the organisation, which all its affiliated (anushangik) bodies look upon as a guiding light. This year was no different. Donning the Sangh’s uniform, the top echelons of its organisations[Read More…]

October 11, 2019 India
As Brazil’s Far Right rises, army man Ustra (who died in 2015), who tortured hundreds, is becoming a cult figure of a kind. Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

India’s Answer to Brazil’s Ustra

The popularity of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which present female role models before young readers, has proved rather phenomenal. Within a span of three years, it has been published in 47 languages around the world and has sold more than a million copies. The plan to render a Turkish version has met with a big roadblock. A board for[Read More…]

October 10, 2019 World
New India – New Father of Nation?

New India – New Father of Nation?

Amruta Fadnavis – wife of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis – found herself at the centre of controversy two weeks back. Her birthday greetings to PM Modi – whom she wished ‘Father of Our Country @narendramodiji a very Happy Birthday -…’ – on her twitter evoked reaction from twitterati. Her ‘height of ignorance’,  was pointed out and her attempt was[Read More…]

September 30, 2019 India
Humko Savarkarich Mangta

Humko Savarkarich Mangta

Jinnah propounded his two-nation theory in 1939—exactly two years after Savarkar presented it. Who could have been the best prime minister of independent India? Nehru or (Vallabhbhai) Patel? For more than last five years, we have been a witness to this manufactured debate—courtesy Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has tried all the tricks in its kitty to create a false[Read More…]

September 24, 2019 India
There is no God And You Can Say so

There is no God And You Can Say so

A simple query sometimes occasions judicial intervention: Does the right to freedom of expression apply merely to believers? On September 6, the Madras High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation filed by M Deivanayagam raising such a question. The petitioner wanted the atheistic inscriptions placed under the statue of Periyar, father of the Dravidian movement, installed in Tiruchirappalli, to be[Read More…]

September 16, 2019 India
Lynchistan

Lynchistan

Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. The word lynching conjures up images of a dark period in the history of the United States of America. Between 1877 and 1950, white supremacist gangs murdered 4,000 African Americans, while[Read More…]

September 13, 2019 India
A War For Scientists to Join

A War For Scientists to Join

Scientists have barely offered resistance to pseudoscience. This must change—IIT students show how. Surely India’s scientific community must be waking up to the realisation that their silence is detrimental to scientific development and allows many varieties of mischief to breed. In a rare show of gumption, students of the elite engineering institute, IIT Bombay, have slammed the recent decision to invite the Human Resources[Read More…]

September 8, 2019 India
Who Needs Romila Thapar’s CV?

Who Needs Romila Thapar’s CV?

…an historian who is indefatigable in the pursuit of knowledge and prolific in its publication, and who is above all a devoted partisan of the truth. … The early history of the country has been illuminated by Professor Thapar, whom I now present, more than by almost any other scholar. An historian of that period who seriously wishes to refute[Read More…]

September 3, 2019 India
Books About Wars in Your Country

Books About Wars in Your Country

A brief history of books, resistance, the police and politicians. It is humanly impossible for even the most learned judge to have read every book referred to in their court. For a brief while this week, the judge conducting the trial of activist Vernon Gonsalves, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon incident of 2018, became an example of this. That[Read More…]

August 31, 2019 India
AAP, Article 370 and a Blind Alley

AAP, Article 370 and a Blind Alley

“He came, he saw and he concurred“ – Caption of a RK Laxman cartoon in early 90 s AAP’s stand on article 370 has confused and disheartened many. For its workers the party has opened itself to attacks by its adversaries because of its support to stripping of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir and thus weakening its own plank for[Read More…]

August 25, 2019 India
In Kashmir Health Professionals Speak Truth to Power

In Kashmir Health Professionals Speak Truth to Power

These are strange times. A state can just get ‘obliterated’ from the map of the nation. Constitutional propriety is set aside to deprive millions of citizens of their basic human rights while a significant section of the rest of the country ‘rejoices’ over it all. A large section of the media has abandoned its role as watchdog of democracy but[Read More…]

August 22, 2019 India
A Crime of ‘Pure’ Indifference

A Crime of ‘Pure’ Indifference

The ethic that dehumanises dalits continues 72 years after the country’s Independence. ‘What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty,[Read More…]

August 17, 2019 Annihilate Caste
Official Myths on J&K Busted

Official Myths on J&K Busted

Economist and activist Jean Dreze, who has co-authored books with Nobel laureates, such as Amartya Sen and Angus Deaton, was in the headlines for a placard he carried to a protest rally in Delhi earlier this week. His placard challenged the government’s most critical justification for its controversial move to scrap Article 35A and read down Article 370 in Jammu[Read More…]

August 13, 2019 India
Gujarat Text Book Tweaks Ambedkar’s Iconic Slogan — Educate, Organise, Agitate

Gujarat Text Book Tweaks Ambedkar’s Iconic Slogan — Educate, Organise, Agitate

Is tweaking of Babasaheb’s iconic slogan — Educate, Organise, Agitate — by the Gujarat government part of a pan-India phenomenon in the saffron camp? Does anyone still remember the ‘re-editing’ of Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi during National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-I period when demands were raised that it should to be scrapped and the original collected works should to be reinstated so that readers/scholars[Read More…]

August 8, 2019 India
When RSS To Start Sainik School

When RSS To Start Sainik School

Rare are the occasions when the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) — which could be said to be the biggest organisation of Hindu men — moves beyond its founder member Dr Hedgewar to build memorials. Whatever might be the consideration behind it, but it came as a little surprise that the RSS has decided to start a school in the memory[Read More…]

August 4, 2019 India
Modinama: Issues That Did Not Matter

Modinama: Issues That Did Not Matter

Preface: Modi 2. The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear (Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks, 1930). Narendra Damodardas Modi, the man who began his political journey as a Pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has been re-elected Prime Minister[Read More…]

August 1, 2019 India
Even Germany Should Wonder Why Lindner Visited RSS

Even Germany Should Wonder Why Lindner Visited RSS

The German envoy’s visit to the Nagpur headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has worrying implications for both India and Germany. Silence on what transpired at the meet can only make matters worse. ‘…The burden of National Socialist crimes accompanies Germany to this day. Immediately after the war ended in 1945, and in following decades, confronting the crimes committed under National[Read More…]

July 25, 2019 India
Will India Remember Dadri’s Akhlaq, as Germany Recalls Victims of Nazi Barbarism?

Will India Remember Dadri’s Akhlaq, as Germany Recalls Victims of Nazi Barbarism?

Hier Wohnte Bernhard Marx JB 1897 Deportiert 20.07.1942 Minsk Ermordet 24.07.1942 ‘Here lived Bernhard Marx Year of Birth 1897 Deported 20.07.1942 Minsk Assassinated 24.07.1942’ It was while walking past a desolate street in Bonn that we stumbled upon some brass plates on which the names of the members of a family were engraved. The name Bernhard, supposedly the head of[Read More…]

July 18, 2019 Communal Harmony
Modi 3 :Majoritarianism Normalised ?

Modi 3 :Majoritarianism Normalised ?

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” – Gramsci A journalist friends’ prophesy has finally come true. The day India launched ‘surgical strikes’ across the border supposedly to avenge the Pulwama terror attack, this friend immediately sent a message[Read More…]

May 25, 2019 India
Rainbow Social Coalition – To What End?

Rainbow Social Coalition – To What End?

USS passe rani hai, iss passe Gandhi!” (“On that side is the Queen, on this is Gandhi) (https://indianexpress.com/elections/patiala-dharamvira-gandhi-aap-elections-2019-bjp-congress-5726029/) Nawan Punjab Party’s candidate ex MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi’s election campaign and the way he projected his appeal as ‘battle against the royals’ had rightly evoked interest in a section of the media as well as pro-people circles.(https://www.newsclick.in/electoral-mobilisation-vehicle-rainbow-social-coalition) It is of interest[Read More…]

May 23, 2019 India
Dear Hitler

Dear Hitler

Why does Hitler’s legacy in India greatly differs from that in the West. More removed from the traumas associated with World War II and the Holocaust  ( An extract from ‘Hindutva’s Second Coming’ by SubhashGatade, www.mediahouse.online) ……………………………………………………………………. ..An innocent question sometimes comes up with very troubling answer(s). J’admire( I admire)… a simple exercise given to students to know from them[Read More…]

May 8, 2019 India
Democracy as Majoritarianism

Democracy as Majoritarianism

“We can never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal,’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did was ‘illegal.’ It was ‘illegal’ to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, but I am sure that if I lived in Germany during that time I would have comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal… we[Read More…]

May 2, 2019 Book Review
‘Patriotism’ Made Easy in Times of ‘WhatsApp Elections’

‘Patriotism’ Made Easy in Times of ‘WhatsApp Elections’

A WhatsApp-sponsored report, prepared in partnership with Queen Mary University, has raised the alarm that the 2019 elections in India, which already has cleavages on lines of caste, race, gender, religion, would be a fertile ground for damaging fake news. There was a time when ‘Good Morning’ messages were causing much “pain” to internet giants? It was the beginning of[Read More…]

March 7, 2019 India
‘Mother To Indians’ Kasturba, Bose Vs Hindu Sangathanists

‘Mother To Indians’ Kasturba, Bose Vs Hindu Sangathanists

“Kasturba Gandhi is no more. She died at the age of 74 in British jail….I salute this great woman who was like a mother to Indians ….Kasturba was an inspiration for millions of Indian girls with whom she lived and met during the freedom struggle of our motherland. She was party to the many travails and tribulations of life with[Read More…]

February 28, 2019 India
Will MIT Show Swamy the Door like Harvard Did?

Will MIT Show Swamy the Door like Harvard Did?

A campaign is gathering steam against MIT inviting BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for a conference on February 16. ‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides — on many sides,” – Donald Trump on Charlottesville violence   The year was 2017 when the Charlottesville violence happened, when White Supremacists –[Read More…]

February 12, 2019 India
And Somewhere There Are Engineers…

And Somewhere There Are Engineers…

A conversation with youngsters – who are by nature bubbling with energy , fired with idealism and suffused with innumerable questions – is a thing which everyone with grey hair looks forward to. For someone like me it is an added gift this morning that after exactly a gap of forty years this writer is with students of engineering helping[Read More…]

February 11, 2019 Life/Philosophy
Gandhi’s Assassination Was Much More Than Just a Murder

Gandhi’s Assassination Was Much More Than Just a Murder

Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on January 30, 1948, was a culmination of a vicious campaign launched by Hindu communal groups in post-Independence India. It is far too early to dismiss the possibility of a future Hindu State in India. However, the possibility does not appear a strong one. The secular state has far more than an even chance of survival in[Read More…]

January 31, 2019 India
My Friend Anand

My Friend Anand

It is rather difficult to begin when you know that within a few days or weeks, one of your close friends could be behind bars under one of the most draconian laws crafted by this Republic. The world knows him as Anand Teltumbde, but for me he has always been Anand. Merely four months ago, we were together in a[Read More…]

January 23, 2019 Human Rights
APCO to Kotler – The Artificial Glossing of Modi’s Image

APCO to Kotler – The Artificial Glossing of Modi’s Image

Narendra Modi, the present incumbent to the Prime Minister’s chair, had a little break the other day for an award ceremony. Well, little different from the usual award ceremonies — where the Prime Minister presents awards and gives some pep talk, here Modi himself was presented with the ’First-ever Philip Kotler Award’. Perhaps looking at Modi’s much-publicised workaholic nature (if[Read More…]

January 18, 2019 India
50 Years Later, the Shadow of Keezhvenmani Continues to Hover Over our Republic

50 Years Later, the Shadow of Keezhvenmani Continues to Hover Over our Republic

December 25, 1968, termed as ‘Black Thursday’, saw the first mass crime against Dalits in independent India, who were fighting for respectable wages under the leadership of the Communist Party. P Srinivasan, a veteran village functionary who cremates the dead had, in an interview done few years ago, described the darkening early morning on December 26, 1968, when the bodies began[Read More…]

December 27, 2018 Human Rights
Goodbye Vaccines, Welcome Gomutra

Goodbye Vaccines, Welcome Gomutra

Qazi Zainus Sajidin, the city Qazi of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, has an added responsibility these days. Anyone who listens to his sermons, gets a surprise when nearing the end of his takreer (speech), he underlines the importance of vaccinations and how a timely dose can save the lives of children. Qazisaab is not the only cleric in the region who has[Read More…]

December 23, 2018 India
IIT-Madras, a Modern Day Brahmin enclave?

IIT-Madras, a Modern Day Brahmin enclave?

The institute’s recent order, now withdrawn, of separate entrance for non-vegetarians is just a part of the overall policing and push for vegetarianism after the Modi government’s ascent. Nagesh (name changed), a bright student at the Indian Institute of Technology- Madras, who hails from a very poor economic background, had a shock of his life when he was entering the[Read More…]

December 18, 2018 Annihilate Caste
Sacred Cows, Disposable Humans

Sacred Cows, Disposable Humans

“It is a curious people. With them, all life seems to be sacred except human life.” – Mark Twain on Indians A single quote sometimes remains the sole memory of a leader. Giriraj Kishor, VHP leader, can be considered a classic example to demonstrate this who had rather (in)famously said “Cow is considered more sacred than human beings in Puranas[Read More…]

December 8, 2018 India
Ideas as Crime in a Majoritarian Democracy

Ideas as Crime in a Majoritarian Democracy

To such a degree has Religion fuelled conflict, complicated politics, retarded social development and impaired human relations across the world, that one is often tempted to propose that Religion is innately an enemy of Humanity, if not indeed of itself a crime against Humanity … it is time that the world adopted a position that refuses to countenance Religion as[Read More…]

December 3, 2018 Life/Philosophy
Who Killed Haren Pandya?

Who Killed Haren Pandya?

In Act 3, scene 4, Macbeth causes chaos at a celebratory banquet at his castle when he suddenly starts to behave very oddly. Everything starts quite normally. The guests are greeted and they all sit down ready for the meal. One man is absent: Macbeth’s old friend, Banquo. The reason why he is absent is very simple – Macbeth has[Read More…]

November 10, 2018 India
Time to Dump Blasphemy Laws

Time to Dump Blasphemy Laws

Mera azm itna bulund hae, Parae sholon se dar nahin. Mujhe dar hae tu atish e gul se hae, Ye kahin chaman ko jala na dein (my confidence in self is strong, I’m unafraid of foreign flames I’m scared those sparks may ignite, that in the blossom’s bosom lay ) — Shakeel Badayuni’s couplet which was very dear to Salman Taseer who was assassinated by[Read More…]

November 5, 2018 Communal Harmony
Love Patriarchy, Hail Hindu Rashtra !

Love Patriarchy, Hail Hindu Rashtra !

From Hindu Code Bill to Sabarimala via Roop Kanwar ’s Sati — keeping women subjugated under the cloak of tradition It was mid-eighties when a eighteen year old Roop Kanwar’s burning on the pyre of her husband – under controversial circumstances – had made national headlines. There was national outrage over the incident because more than 150 years after the[Read More…]

October 27, 2018 Patriarchy
Bharatiya Janata Party or Bharatiya Jumla Party !

Bharatiya Janata Party or Bharatiya Jumla Party !

Review of ‘Truth in Fetters : Broken Promises and Shattered Unity’ “Change is in the air”! A retired academic who had his last assignment as Vice Chancellor of a leading university said to me the other day, while we were discussing the contemporary political scenario. Frankly admitting that he had supported Modi’s candidature then and had even discreetly campaigned for[Read More…]

October 23, 2018 Book Review
Death of the University, Indian Style!

Death of the University, Indian Style!

Are public colleges/universities being  left to die at the cost of private universities in the US? A cursory glance at the case study of Yale University, which also includes other Ivy League universities – namely, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Brown etc. – done by a young scholar serves as an eye-opener Describing how Yale ‘..[s]its on a mountain of money, and yet receives[Read More…]

October 22, 2018 India
“Selfless Patriot” : Whether the Real Shyama Prasad Mukherjee would ever Stand Up ?

“Selfless Patriot” : Whether the Real Shyama Prasad Mukherjee would ever Stand Up ?

 “It has been said with good reason that the Jana Sangh resulted from a combination of a partyless leader, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, and a leaderless party, the RSS”. (The Jana Sangh: A Biography of an Indian Political Party, by Craig Baxter p. 54) 1. In Search of the “Selfless Patriot” Untimely deaths of political leaders – whose career is just[Read More…]

July 9, 2018 Communal Harmony
The Monks Who Spew Hate

The Monks Who Spew Hate

Why Jailing of Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Did Not Become A News In This Part of Asia “Ordered disorder, planned caprice, And dehumanised humanity…” – Brecht (The Exception and the Rule) (Quoted in http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/04/29/the-mad-men-of-dambulla/) “I have done my duty towards the country,” Gnanasara told reporters as he boarded the bus taking him to prison. “Why should I regret?” (https://in.reuters.com/article/sri-lanka-monk-sentence/sri-lanka-jails-extremist-buddhist-monk-for-six-months-over-threats-to-woman-idINKBN1JA1BW) I Rarely[Read More…]

June 28, 2018 South Asia
The Man Who Once Sold Tea Later ‘Sold’ Dreams

The Man Who Once Sold Tea Later ‘Sold’ Dreams

This is not the story of a man who once sold tea and later ‘sold’ dreams to a people and managed to reach top echleons of power in the biggest democracy in the world. This is not the story of this man and his rise from the margins of a organisation which is called the biggest cultural organisation in the[Read More…]

June 23, 2018 India
Saints in Schools?

Saints in Schools?

“..I am afraid I have no faith in astrology and certainly I should not like to fix up national programmes in accordance with the dictates of astrologers…” Jawaharlal Nehru (In a letter to Rajendra Prasad, who had objected to January 26, 1950 as the date for inaugurating the republic on astrological grounds. Page 77, Volume 2, Jawaharlal Nehru, A Biography, OUP,[Read More…]

June 17, 2018 India
Burn Wood! Reduce Pollution!!

Burn Wood! Reduce Pollution!!

Does burning wood helps reduce pollution? Well, a school goer who has to read environmental studies these days would yell a resounding ‘no’. If one wants to go deeper, one can come across guidelines issued by the central pollution control board itself to avoid wood burning. Just a while back, when there was a dip in the air quality of[Read More…]

March 20, 2018 Environmental Protection
Image Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

The Art of Coercion !

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is in the news again. (Of course, once again for entirely wrong reasons) A few days back while talking to a news channel he had shared the dark prophecy that India could become Syria if the mandir issue was not resolved soon. “If the court rules against a temple, there will be bloodshed. Do you think the Hindu majority will[Read More…]

March 12, 2018 Communal Harmony
Time to ‘Militarise Hindus, Hinduise Nation’

Time to ‘Militarise Hindus, Hinduise Nation’

Would it be possible to imagine that leader of any organisation openly declaring that her/his people/activists have the ability to prepare an “army” in three days , can be deployed on the front within three days, questions the ability of the security forces for quick operations, and does not face any legal hassles ? A lesser mortal would have been[Read More…]

February 18, 2018 Communal Harmony
 In Conversation With Hasan Abdullah,The Author of The Evolution of Ghalib

 In Conversation With Hasan Abdullah,The Author of The Evolution of Ghalib

Ghalib has fascinated generations of people and they have tried to understand/interpret his poetry in their own way. For any such individual it is really difficult to recollect when and how Ghalib entered her/his life and ensconced himself comfortably in one’s heart. This wanderer still faintly remembers how many of Ghalib’sshers were part of common parlance even in an area[Read More…]

January 31, 2018 Arts/Literature
Nehru, Ambedkar And Challenge  Of Majoritarianism

Nehru, Ambedkar And Challenge  Of Majoritarianism

  The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.[Read More…]

January 22, 2018 Communal Harmony
How Not to Hollow Out the Constitution Bit by Bit

How Not to Hollow Out the Constitution Bit by Bit

It is not just BJP minister Anantkumar Hegde. Here is a look at some past attempts of the RSS-BJP to tinker with the Constitution. “Line wahan se shuru hoti hai jahan ham khade rehte hain” (The queue starts from the point where we stand). Remember that 70s Bollywood film where teh then bad boy of Hindi cinema (Shatrughan Sinha) barges into[Read More…]

December 29, 2017 India
In Search Of An Icon

In Search Of An Icon

  “… A Hero of Our Time, gentlemen, is in fact a portrait, but not of an individual; it is the aggregate of the vices of our whole generation in their fullest expression.” ‘(From Foreword to Á Hero of Our Time, Lermontov’ quoted in Albert Camus novel ‘The Fall’) Shambhu Lal Raigar is a new hero of our times. It[Read More…]

December 21, 2017 Communal Harmony
Taj Mahal As Tej Mahal Once Again “There Is A Bee In The Bonnett”

Taj Mahal As Tej Mahal Once Again “There Is A Bee In The Bonnett”

It was probably late sixties or early seventies – when a gentleman called P N Oak started appearing in Marathi magazines peddling his weird theories about well known monuments in and outside India. An article which made lot of news then was centred around Taj Mahal where it was claimed that it was ‘Tejo Maha Aalay’ or hindu god Shiva’s[Read More…]

October 20, 2017 India
Deendayal Upadhyaya : ‘BJP’s Gandhi’ !

Deendayal Upadhyaya : ‘BJP’s Gandhi’ !

  (Note : This article would appear in the coming issue of ‘Think India Quarterly’) ..Kovind acknowledged that “the key to India’s success is its diversity” and “our diversity is the core that makes us so unique” and ended his speech with a call to build an egalitarian society as “envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi and Deendayal Upadhyayaji”… The Congress took[Read More…]

October 13, 2017 India
A Law Against Superstition ?

A Law Against Superstition ?

  These are really ‘bure din‘ for the spiritual gurus of India. While the likes of Ram Rahim, AsaramBapus and Rampal are cooling their heels behind bars for their not so spiritual acts, Sant Swami BhimanandJiMaharajChitrakoot Wale who is also known as “Ichadaari Baba” among his followers has also joined them for running a high profile sex racket. It was[Read More…]

September 16, 2017 India
Two Minute Silence For Bhiku Daji Bhilare

Two Minute Silence For Bhiku Daji Bhilare

  Death of a freedom fighter normally evokes mixed emotions. For a section of people – whose number is diminishing fast – it is a moment of nostalgia when idealism was in air and sacrificing oneself for the cause of emancipation of humanity was looked at with respect, whereas for a larger section which is being intoxicated with glories of[Read More…]

August 5, 2017 India
Promoting Superstition: Everything Official About It !

Promoting Superstition: Everything Official About It !

  Bhupendra Singh Chudasama, Education minister of Gujarat and his colleague AtmaramParamar, who handles the Social Justice Ministry, were in the news sometime back- albeit for wrong reasons. A video went viral which showed them participating in a felicitation ceremony of exorcists in Botad. They were also seen watching how a  couple of the exorcists were beating themselves with metal[Read More…]

July 6, 2017 India
Who ‘Loves’ Mob Violence ? Unfolding Hindu Rashtra In Slow Motion

Who ‘Loves’ Mob Violence ? Unfolding Hindu Rashtra In Slow Motion

  Jaipur — Rajasthan State Commission for Minorities has sought a factual report on a video that went viral on Thursday showing four Sikh men purportedly beaten up by local residents of Chainpura in Ajmer district.The 51-second video shows four members of Sikh community being abused and thrashed by a mob as people witnessing the incident filmed the entire episode…..three[Read More…]

June 5, 2017 India
Photo Courtesy : https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org

How Cow Vigilantes Are Being Projected As ‘Modern Day Freedom Fighters.’

Cow vigilantes attacked six people, including a 9-year-old girl in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday and fled away with their flock. The vigilantes beat up the nomad community blue and black and the minor girl has suffered multiple fractures when the community was en route to Talwara area… (http://www.timesnow.tv/india/video/cow-vigilantes-attack-6-including-9-year-old-in-jammu/59745) In yet another chilling instance of self-styled[Read More…]

April 26, 2017 India
Talk Bhima or Bhim, Walk Manu

Talk Bhima or Bhim, Walk Manu

  ..nothing to eat nothing to wear boundless is the anguish who indeed can bear to see such misery among the world’s creatures let my soul be condemned to hell but let the Universe be redeemed. – Bhima Bhoi,   [Source: BiswamoyPati in Religion and social ‘subversion’, Re-examining colonial Orissa (EPW, July/2010).,BidyutMohanty in Orissa famine of 1866 Demographic and economic[Read More…]

April 19, 2017 India
POSCO Withdraws: The Victory No One is Celebrating

POSCO Withdraws: The Victory No One is Celebrating

  Big news – at times – go completely unnoticed. (Thanks to the mediatised times we are passing through) And thus it did not appear surprising that the decision by Posco, the South Korean steelmaker, the fourth biggest in the world, to exit the proposed 12 million-tonnes a year steel plant in Odisha did not cause much flutter. Yes, newspapers[Read More…]

March 28, 2017 Globalisation
Deendayal in Government Schools: Neglecting Education, Indoctrinating Exclusion

Deendayal in Government Schools: Neglecting Education, Indoctrinating Exclusion

  “DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA is to the BJP [BharatiyaJanata Party] what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was to Congress” opined R. Balashankar, former editor of the RashtriyaSwayamsewakSangh’s (RSS) organ Organiser and now a member of the BJP’s central committee, on Prasikhshan Maha Abhiyan (The Indian Express,; September 24, 2016). Cows inhale, exhale oxygen, says Rajasthan education minister VasudevDevnani (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/cows-inhale-exhale-oxygen-says-rajasthan-education-minister-vasudev-devnani/articleshow/56612529.cms)   Rajaram (name changed)[Read More…]

March 13, 2017 Communal Harmony
Radhika Vemula on Bhim Auto

Radhika Vemula on Bhim Auto

..The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote.  To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of star dust.  In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living. ..My birth is my fatal accident.[Read More…]

March 9, 2017 Annihilate Caste
Dalit Uprising And After: Why Hindutva Would Not Be The Same Again

Dalit Uprising And After: Why Hindutva Would Not Be The Same Again

  When I was born I was not a child I was a dream, a dream of revolt that my mother, oppressed for thousands of years , dreamt. Still it is untouched in my eyes Covered with wrinkles of thousand years, her face her eyes, two lakes overflowing with tears have watered my body….. – SahilParmar* Well known Gujarati poet[Read More…]

August 25, 2016 Annihilate Caste