'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
This blog is a source for intellectual exploration. It includes a list of alternative resources and a source of free books. The placement of an article does not imply that I agree with it, merely that I found it thought-provoking. There are also poems and book reviews. Texts written by me are labelled. Readers are free to re-post anything they like.
Monday, March 14, 2016
Subhash Gatade - Then They Came For ..
Tree Wants to be Calm
But Wind Will Not Stop !
-Jose Maria Sison
( Filipino Revolutionary and Poet)
Whether all the
leading public intellectuals of our times have suddenly decided to go for a
break – now that Kanhaiya Kumar is out of jail – or are thinking that the
impending storm would peter away on its own. Anyone who has closely followed
the public hounding of two of the finest human beings of our times – Prof
Nivedita Menon and Gauhar Raza – and the silence which has followed with it (
barring a statement signed by many and few articles here and there on some
webmagazines ) would understand what does that mean.
While Prof Menon is being
targetted because of airing of selective quotes from one of her lectures,
Gauhar has been put under the scanner because of his participation in Indo-Pak
mushaira. It is clear that one of his poems – focussing on the dangerous
cocktail of religion and politics – which he recited there, has infuriated
Here also the same TV
channel is in focus which neither has any qualms in exhibiting its proximity
with the ruling establishment nor has ever faced any moral dilemma in
presenting doctored videos in painting JNU as a den of ‘anti-nationals’.
It is a dreary
scenario but as things are unfolding before us, in this neoliberal times, all
talk of media being a watchdog of democracy have started appearing
unbelievable. ( Let me emphasise that there are few noble exceptions also.)
Perhaps we seem to be entering a period where the boundaries between media and
the ruling elite have suddenly started appearing fuzzy or seem to be crumbling
to say the least.
Neither Prof Menon nor
Gauhar Raza need any introduction but looking at the fact that a conscious
attempt is on to pigeonhole them in a particular way and deny their work as
writers, scholars, activists, documentary makers it is important to state a few
Leading academic and
activist Prof Menon, teaches Political Thought at Jawaharlal Nehru University,
Delhi and her major publications include ‘Seeing Like a Feminist’, ‘Power and
Contestation: India since 1989 (co-authored with Aditya Nigam),’ ‘Recovering Subversion:
Feminist Politics Beyond The Law (2004)’, ‘Gender and Politics in India,’
(ed.). She has been an active commentator on the blog kafila.org, and has been
active with citizen’s forums in Delhi around secularism, worker’s and women’s
rights, sexuality and in opposition to the nuclear bomb.
profession and a Urdu poet by choice Gauhar is a long time social activist and
documentary filmmaker. Known for his films like ‘Jung-e-Azadi’ and ‘Inqilaab’ –
based on Bhagat Singh, Gauhar is working to popularize the understanding of
science among general public.
As any impartial
observer can see both of them ‘rightly suit’ the self-proclaimed ‘nationalist’
brigade who are ready to go to any extent to paint someone as ‘anti-national’.
Prof Menon belongs to JNU whereas Gauhar is married to Shabnam Hashmi, who has
been a leading voice of the anti-communal movement.
The storm troopers
presume that it is rather a smart way of sanitising their own past, especially
procrastination of their political forefathers before the Britishers during
anti-colonial struggle, and keeping themselves aloof from the mass upsurge
then. It is their rather naive understanding that by unleashing their muscle
power against such ‘anti-nationals’ they can even lay claim over the moral halo
of the real freedom fighters.
Commenting on this
targetting, an editorial in ‘The Tribune’ titled ‘The Enemy Within’ underlines
how the rightwing wants to shape discourse of the future. It says
The RSS’ annual
stock taking session has now revealed the primary reason for the serial framing
of secularists. Under the guise of demanding strict action in universities
against “anti-national” forces and “slogans calling for destruction of the
nation”, it wishes to close down the primary channel of creative and reasoned
opposition against its saffron agenda. The RSS has laid down its agenda in plain
The planned and
mischievous manner in which Prof Menon and Gauhar have been selectively
targeted – one by one – makes one thing very clear that anyone can become their
target if it suits them. Anyone who still retains the capacity to think independently
and is courageous enough to raise uncomfortable, incovenient questions before
them in whatever capacity need be prepared to face their wrath.
We need to understand
that you need not be a card holding Commie or an Islamist to attract their
undue attention. Golwalkar, the second
Supremo of RSS might have included Communists, Muslims and Christians in his
list of ‘internal enemies’, today when the proponents of Hindu Rashtra are
having a field day, your mere refusal to toe their line in academics or your
sticking to constitutional principles – may be as a government servant against
their machinations to the contrary – can invite their wrath.
It was not for nothing
that some time ago Ramchandra Guha has rightly said that the present
dispensation is the most ‘anti-intellectual government’ in post independence
times. And leading historian Sanjay Subramanyam in an interview with Sagarika
Ghose had commented on the worrying public discourse where.