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Saturday, December 20, 2014

प्रेम तथा जीवनसाथी चुनने का हक: स्त्राी सम्मान दिवस

           

दोस्तों,
कौन डरता है प्यार से?
यह सवाल पूछने का सबसे सही वक्त यही है जब एक ओर दक्षिणंथी ताकतें अपने सारे हथकंडे इस्तेमाल कर रही हैं कि किस तरह से प्यार करने के हक को, अपने जीवनसाथी को चुनने के हक को या अपनी यौनिकता को चुनने को चुनने के हक को छीन लिया जाए तो वहीं दूसरी ओर लगभग देश के हर कोने से खबरें आ रही हैं कि प्यार करने वालों ने इन धमकियों, नसीहतों को मानने से मना कर दिया है। और इसका विरोध करने के नित नए तरीके निकाल रहे हैं।

Friday, November 7, 2014

Of Money-in-the-Blood and Blood-Money


-Ravi Sinha
 
Recently, the Indian Prime Minister had occasion to report to the Japanese on his genealogy and haematic chemistry. Addressing a house-full of corporate honchos in Tokyo he declared, “I am a Gujarati, money is in my blood”. One does not know what percentage of Gujaratis would feel insulted by such a description. It can be asked, perhaps more meaningfully, if great civilizations are created by money-in-the-blood types and one may wonder if Gujarati greats such as Narsi Mehta, Narmad, Govardhan Ram or Gandhi, too, had money flowing in their blood.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Law and Patriarchy



-Stree Mukti Magazine

Law in any patriarchal society is also patriarchal by its very nature.  This ideological character of law is revealed in many ways – in the basic ideas of formal equality under law given the grossly unequal nature of society, in the language of law, in its institutions, in its implementation, and in its effects.  On the one had, a range of laws try to enforce formal equality in a substantially unequal society and on the other, there are laws that reinforce patriarchal notions of “weaker sex”, or gender roles such as motherhood and innocence.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rafeef Ziadah - Shades of Anger

 




Allow me to speak my arab tongue before they occupy my language as well
Allow me to speak my mother tongue before they colonize her memory as well

I am an arab woman of color and we come in all shades of anger

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Anonymous Womb: The ‘Construction’ of the Surrogate Mother in the Indian Media



 - Anindita Majumdar

Between the Indian media construction of the “horror story” where the surrogate mother is the exploited poor woman, and her image as the woman-in-need of financial help––there is the anonymous surrogate who is unable to tell her story. 



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Moving beyond Uniform Civil Code: A new approach in new millennium

Stree Mukti Sangthan organized its 15th workshop in Allahabad from 2nd October to 4th October, 2014. This year our open session was on “Moving beyond Uniform Civil Code: A new approach in new millennium” in Hindustani Academy, Allahabad on 2nd October. The speakers were Flavia Agnes, legal scholar and activist, Prof. Anupama Roy, JNU, Dr. Sudha Vasan, Prof. Sociology, DU and Anjali Sinha, stree mukti sangthan. 




Monday, September 22, 2014

Law’s Lesser Citizens and Transformative Politics


-Anupama Roy




The relationship between law and citizenship may perhaps be described as symbiotic. It is often argued that an important function of law is to create juridical persons. The transformation of subjects into juridical persons, that is, into citizens, is especially important if one recalls one of the lessons learnt from the experience of totalitarianism, where the first essential step ‘on the road of total domination was to kill the juridical person’.1 is that the creation of the legal citizen, does not necessarily make for equal citizenship, nor does it create a political community of full and equal citizens. Indeed, the dictum ‘equality before the law and equal protection of the law’, more often than not, is based on a notion of masked/ unmarked citizenship, which is premised on notions of procedural equality. The latter disregards socio-economic contexts, which ultimately determine how people experience themselves as citizens. In other words, legal citizenship, while important for recognition in law and by law of a person’s status as a citizen, requires a privileged status of dissociation, which is, not available in equal measure to all. The ideal condition of equality with which citizenship is associated, may actually remain elusive and fettered, as societies are marked by hierarchies of class, caste, sex, race and religion, rather than equality of status and belonging. These hierarchies constitute the multiple and intersecting axes that determine and condition people’s experiences of citizenship.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Sand-Carrier




-Nighat Gandhi

 In a more  amazing and less absurd world, thin boys wouldn't carry sand for a living and fat girls wouldn't be ashamed of their legs.

when she finally shot the ball into the basket for the first time in days, she couldn't help crying out: 'Oay! Yes! Yes! Yesssss!' She clapped and twirled. The others who never acknowledged her existence, joined in half-heartedly, half-surprised, half-snickering.
 A  boy at the construction site nearby was lifting a basket of sand and turned to stare at her.
In that moment his gaze met hers. She had never noticed him before on any of her mornings at the court. It was a cool morning, the last one in October, and Diwali, the one time when Mummy would perhaps not  yell at her for eating too many sweets, was just around the corner.
He was dark and thin. Very dark. Very thin. His sleeveless vest had holes and his shorts hadn't been washed in a long time. His thinness repelled her, filled her with envy. His stick-like legs, dust-coated and dark, plunged themselves deep into her shame-filled heart.  He was skinny but he moved nimbly, like a dancer, like a butterfly.
She, whose friends called her Fatty and said they were only joking, longed to be like him.  Not as dark as him, but as thin, because then they would stop calling her Fatty.
'Beta, no boy will want to marry you if you don't control your weight,' Mummy repeated this warning on most days and throughout  the long, tedious days of summer vacations when she often found herself lurking near the refrigerator in boredom or frozen anger.
Mummy would always catch her at the wrong moment. 'Are you looking inside the fridge again? For more gulab jamuns! Don't you feel  ashamed?'
The boys in salsa class were always reluctant to partner with her. 'I know it's because I'm fat,' she broke down before the instructor after class, and finally he said from now on he'll decide who'd partner with whom. She concentrated on her steps, ignoring the boy the instructor foisted on her. Mummy's words rang louder and louder: 'Beta, no boy will want to marry you if you don't watch your weight.'
She walked over to the sand pile where the skinny one stood. Next to him an old man was shoveling sand into baskets. A radio atop the sand pile was playing bhajans. The  skinny one had just returned and was waiting for the old man to fill his basket for the next round.
'Why are you working so early in the morning?' she addressed them.
'We have to lift 100 jhawwas before 8. The thekedar's orders,' the old man replied without lifting his head. 'The sooner we finish, the sooner we eat. We start again at 9 and go until 5.'
'Don't waste time talking! We have so much work,' the skinny one with stick-like, chocolaty legs reprimanded him.
The older man snapped. 'Who's wasting time? I haven't stopped working, have I?'
At this moment the writer ducked behind the bushes to make herself even more inconspicuous. She didn't want them to think she was pulling their strings or shaping the course of their story.
The  skinny one grew impatient. 'Hasn't she been watching us for weeks? Why does she have to bother us?' he muttered. 'I know what this is all about. It's her story.  We're trapped in a story. The story needs to go on. It's her fault for making the girl interrupt us,' he remarked disdainfully, steadying the filled basket on his head.
'Whose fault?' the old man asked.
'The writer, don't you know, who else?'
'Oh, the writer. The one hiding behind the bushes?'
'Yes!'
'I wouldn't worry about her.'

She tried to follow their conversation but she couldn't understand what the old man and the boy were talking about. All she wanted to  ask  was if she could try just once, try carrying just one of those  jhawwas, just like all the boys were doing, just to see if she could walk with a heavy load on her head, but she felt too afraid to try and too shy to ask.
Then as the skinny boy was returning with his empty basket, she grew bolder as his feet and his worn out slippers and his narrow chest and the large and small holes in his vest came in closer view. He wasn't much taller than her or much older. And though he was rude to her, his rudeness was of no consequence to her. His legs entranced her. She couldn't contain the longing for lean legs like his.  There was music in the way he and the basket moved, as if they were one, and she liked that very much. 
                As he started to walk towards the building with another load, she caught up with him. The firmness of his calves, his poverty, his neediness,  all of it emboldened her to speak. 'Listen, can we talk?'
'I have work to do. We have to carry 100 jhawwas, don't you know.'
'I know. This won't take long. Can we exchange legs? You take mine and I'll take yours.'
'Can't be done!'
'Why not? Anything's possible. All we need is the will.'
'Why should I? I don't know what it would be like to live with your legs.'
'I think you would like my legs. Look! Touch them! See how soft they are. You could turn them into muscle in no time because you walk so much every day. You need to give your old legs a rest. They look tired and worn out.'  The benefits  that would accrue to her through this exchange, she decided not to elaborate on.
The boy looked suspiciously at her. 'What if I don't like your legs?'
'Try them out for a week. If you don't like them, I'll take them back.'
'You're not trying to trick me, are you?'
'Do I look like the kind of person who would trick you? I'm only trying to help.'
'Will you bring me back my legs if I don't like yours?'
'I will. Promise.'
                 
                He agreed! She couldn't believe how easy it was to convince the poor and get what you wanted.  Watch me glide in salsa class! Under the large and leafy peepal they exchanged legs. The sun had climbed higher by then and the sky was losing its orange glow and it was time to head for school. She snapped on his legs to her hips and gladly parted with her own. She pranced to school, her borrowed legs hidden under her shalwar. 
                Back home, she buried herself in her room with  her  smelly old blankie, so ecstatic was she and in such a state of dreamy disbelief that after several hours, she still had to clutch her new legs and stroke them to believe they were hers. Their brownness was several shades darker than her own creamy skin. She sat on the toilet seat and soaped the legs lovingly and shaved the tough, black hairs. She pulled on her light skin-coloured tights to conceal their brownness. Afterwards, in front of the mirror in her room, she practiced her steps, lifting her skirt above her knees to show off her  shapely, newly acquired wealth with one hand, and balancing a bowl of warm, swimming-in-syrup gulab jamuns in the other.  
                There was no question of returning the legs now though she vaguely remembered she had promised the boy she would if he didn't like hers.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Live-in relations in India: The legal issues


-Anuja Agrawal





If one was to believe reports in the popular media, it would appear that western style non-marital live-in relations between heterosexual adults were becoming quite common in urban India. If this is indeed a newly emergent pattern it could well bring a new twist in the long standing academic and popular concern with love/arranged marriage. Unfortunately, there is as yet no large scale study available to allow us to gauge the nature and extent of such living arrangements in India. In this article I will focus upon a related issue that is also very prominent in the media reports.  These reports suggest that heterosexual live-in relations increasingly enjoy a legal sanction in India. Is it the case that there has been a new legal sanction accorded to such relations in India? If so, is this comparable to the legal status such relations enjoy in many western countries? What are the specific conditions which have led to a legal posturing on such relations and what does this reveal about legal status of women in marital and non-marital relations with men?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A feminist in post-feminist times……


-Sudha Vasan

Feminism is a belief in the right of all human beings to have political, social, and economic equality.

Who is a feminist? This is a question that seems to provoke a peculiar set of images in people’s minds; an image that is certainly unflattering and decidedly unfashionable. Over the last few months I asked various groups of young university students in Delhi University and JNU this question, and perhaps unsurprisingly, very few among these educated intelligent youth would admit to being feminist. Why?  Are so many of our youth really against the very idea equality stated above?  The answer seems to lie not in the death of feminism, but in the success of a hegemonic image of feminism that is antithetical to the very foundations of feminism.

I confirmed through a quick Google search that my experience among youth in the elite universities of Delhi was not unique or isolated.  Other feminists across the world have also commented on this trend.  The sixties were a time when feminism was a badge progressives wore with pride while struggling for a humane society.  Feminism set the terms of debate for society.  The seventies and eighties were times of recognition of the historic changes wrought through struggle.  The nineties brought the beginning of times that attempt to erase history.  A young woman from Yale writes, “I’m a feminist, and yet sometimes even I resent the word.” What is it that makes feminism such a bad word?  What do people imagine when you say you are a feminist?

Curiously, when people think of feminists, they think of fashion.  Feminists are prone to stereotyping at either extreme of the fashion spectrum  In India, some imagine feminists as “modern” and “western,” using both terms pejoratively; i.e. women who cut their hair short, and wear lipstick and western clothes. Others think of them as decidedly unfashionable – dowdy, no make-up or anti-fashion types.  A middle ground image clothes them in Fab-India fashions and ethnic jewelry. Fortunately, the  reality is more diverse and we find feminists in all three fashion categories and many more.

The other image feminism brings to mind is men and sex!   In defining oneself as feminist, one’s gender identification, sexual choices, and sexuality seem to matter significantly. Starting from the most banal, the predominant view of feminists is as women.  Is it really so impossible to imagine human beings – men, women, both, neither or irrelevant – as believing in the concept of equality.  Can fighting against discrimination and oppression be an essential characteristic of one gender? 

Some imagine feminists as over-sexed (given their support for free sex), and others imagine them as frustrated (since they are man-haters) or as homosexual.  It defies logic as to how any of these choices in themselves can make one feminist or un-feminist. Can one not have any or all of these characteristics and still be against gender-based oppression?  But the image that emerges most of all is one of a person who is opinionated, difficult and has no fun. This of course implies that we define fun as inherently vacuous and always sexist. While what gets labeled as humor in our popular culture often is sexist, is enjoyment really that limited? 

Women who receive the best of educational and career opportunities, the section that has perhaps benefited the most from the history of feminist struggles that have made space for women in these spheres, are often the most reluctant to define themselves as feminist.
For successful women in this competitive world, accepting feminism seems to suggest that you are a loser – that you see yourself as weak, that you are asking for special privileges because you are less capable.  A good example of how powerful hegemony is - intelligent and perceptive people still miss the point that being less powerful is a factor of structural, institutional and cultural impediments, not a comment on capabilities. This is precisely what feminism and the many other “isms” that people love to hate have shown us. 

Feminism seems to have fallen into the same post-modern trap of rejecting all “isms,” and living in a vacuum where nothing exists. So I think the simple question to ask oneself is this: Do I believe in the right of all human beings to have political, social, and economic equality? I am an optimist. I am certain that we will find many more feminists in these post-feminist times.







Monday, June 16, 2014

Commercial Surrogacy Is Inherently Unethical

Anant Phadke*

Surrogacy, especially commercial surrogacy has been gaining ground rapidly in India. Though some doctors and others have been presenting surrogacy, one of the Assisted Reproductive Technologies, as a benevolent gain of modern technology to the childless couples, I would argue that like prostitution, commercial surrogacy is inherently dehumanizing and unethical. Hence my proposition is - like the use of medical technology for sex-determination for sex-selection, commercial surrogacy too should be seen as misuse of medical technology.



This opposition to commercial surrogacy is not from a traditional, moralistic perspective of loyalty to the patriarchal institution of marriage. It is based on differentiating between humane versus commercial or patriarchal sexual, reproductive relations. To make such a distinction, one must answer the following question -
            " if commercialization of various physical and mental capacities is acceptable, if hiring out of teacher’s or doctor’s or mechanic’s capacity to render service to others is not considered a pathology, why should  hiring of sexual and reproductive capacity be considered a pathology?"



            I would like to point out that firstly, the Leftist tradition has made a thorough critique of commoditification of human capacities and has been striving for a society in which this commoditification does not occur anymore. Today, this ‘dream’ seems to be far away. But so is the dream of man-woman equality! Does it mean that we give up our egalitarian, libertarian, humane criteria to assess the existing reality? Secondly, even within the framework of commoditification of various human capacities and activities, we need to make distinction between -
            1) Human activities which are inherently intensely personal, intimate and humanely meaningful only in the context of a particular person/s (sexual relations, child-bearing)
             2) Most other human activities which are inherently social, whose rationale and purpose is not defined in the context of any specific person. For example participation in agricultural or industrial production or activities like teaching or activities like performing arts like dancing.

            Humane sexual relations including sexual intercourse is an activity whose content and purpose is identical for both the partners: co-enjoyment, mutual satisfaction of their certain human need. This co-enjoyment, mutual satisfaction occurs generally but not necessarily within the framework of love relationship. Dehumanization occurs when this purpose is changed into giving a sexual service to somebody or receiving it. This service can be due to duty or compulsion borne out of patriarchal or other hierarchical relations or in exchange of some payment or other material gain.

Child bearing is also a similar, intensely personal, intimate process and can be humane only in relation with specific individual with whom one is in love with. However, traditionally many a times it has been a patriarchal service rendered by the woman to her husband/his family. Now in today’s fully commercial, exploitative, patriarchal world, sometimes poor women hire out their reproductive system (not only the uterus) as a service to those infertile couples who are ready to pay for it. In the traditional family structure, even if the relations with the husband may not be humane, the baby stays with the mother who can enjoy rearing her baby. In commercial surrogacy the mother is deprived of this solace!  

Commercial surrogacy is the specific form of dehumanization resulting from the very logic of commercialization of ‘everything under the son’ and the logic of patriarchy. They together convert woman's sexuality and reproductive capacity into a commodity. Admittedly, it is a long way to go to overcome prostitution, ‘sex-wok’ as it has been there for ages. But that does not mean that newer additions of similar de-humanizations are to be accepted. It may be pointed out that if commercial surrogacy is accepted, there can not be an opposition to selling of babies by parents. 

            When a woman becomes pregnant out of choice, she is ready to undergo various health risks of pregnancy, discomforts, and restrictions for nine months as well as the risks and ordeal of labour only because she wants to undergo the experience and the joy of mothering. Commercial surrogacy converts this intimately personal process into an impersonal market relationship, in which a poor woman agrees to bear a child for somebody else to earn some money! Even if some women say that they are happy in rendering this service does not make it less dehumanizing just as slavery does not stop being inhuman just because some slaves see their salvation, pleasure in rendering slave service.
 It may be noted that commercial surrogacy is not allowed in many developed countries –Germany, France, Japan, Canada and so on and many states in the US. However couples from these countries come here to hire the reproductive capacities of poor women in India.
Like organ transplants, should surrogacy be allowed as a totally voluntary option with no financial/material incentive? No, at least not today when there is such gross inequality and patriarchy. Today when surrogacy occurs within a family, it is far more probable that there would be exploitation of the woman in some form.

Commercial surrogacy is certainly not a progressive step. Doctors should not use their capacities and new technologies for the purpose of such a dehumanising practice. We look forward to an era when this shameful service would wither away and when medical technology would be harnessed only to foster human dignity and happiness for all. Till this occurs, the minimum interests of the poor women who 'opt' for offering their bodies for surrogacy have to be protected. In this spirit, we can suggest specific improvements in the various provisions in the legislation. But there has to be a clear, unambiguous commitment to abolish surrogacy.   
**********




*  8, Ameya Ashish co-op. Hsg. Society, Kokan Express Hotel lane, Kothrud, Pune 411038,
 anant.phadke@gmail.com, 020 25460038, 09423531478

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pabnava to Natham : Whatever Happened to the Struggle for Annihilation of Caste !

- Subhash Gatade

..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 sick men of India, and that their sickness is causing danger to the health and happiness of other Indians.
B. R. AMBEDKAR, Annihilation of Caste,

I
Pabnava : Not Just the Name of a Village
Dalit residents of Pabnava, district Kaithal, Haryana would never be able to forget this year's birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. The intervening nights of April 13 and 14 would forever remain itched on their minds. They still shiver when they remember how a four hundred strong mob of the local landowning community called Ror Marathas, armed with spears, batons and other sharp edged weapons, attacked the basti and ransacked more than 200 houses and left 6 dalits injured. It was supposedly to avenge the 'dishonour' wrought on them by a dalit youth who had dared to marry one of 'their girls'.

Kshama Sawant: The Socialist City Council Member in the Belly of the Beast


- Josh Eidelson

On November 5, Seattle voters made Occupy activist and economics professor Kshama Sawant the first avowed socialist city council member in their city’s history – and the country’s first big city socialist council member in decades. The “Socialist Alternative” insurgent, has unseated four-term incumbent Richard Conlin, with the latest batch of mail-in ballots nearly tripling Sawant’s lead to 1,148 votes. 

The Sawant victory comes exactly 97 years after Seattle voters put their first outspoken radical into office, Seattle School Board member Anna Louise Strong. Strong would write about the Wobblies, oppose U.S. entry into World War I and eventually end her days in China, where she was on friendly terms with Mao Zedong.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Protest and a Candle Light March in Wake of Badayun Rape-Murder

Stree Mukti Sangathan organized a protest and later a Candle light march in wake of Badayun rape-murder at Subhash Chauraha,Civil Lines,Allahabad at 3:30 pm on 30th May, 2014.


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Sandhya Navodita( Progressive Writer's Association),Utpala Shukla (Ghareloo Kaamgar Mahilaa Sangathan),Imtiyaz (Nari Suraksha Samiti)Harish Pandey ji ,SadaShiv ji, Dr. S.P Singh and Subhaash Rathi ji were among the many others who attended and spoke about the need of the hour,"rape-culture",gender inequality in other spheres of life and its relation to rape and the complicated intersections of patriarchy and capitalism.Vibha Srivastava,from Delhi spoke about how not much has changed regarding women's safety on roads in Delhi,after the 16th Dec bus gang rape of Nirbhaya.She also emphasised that an equal society can not have TWO DIFFERENT SETS of " achchhe sanskars" for girls/boys or men/women. Richa Singh thanked the people who took out time to participate and urged the youth to come forward to make a violence free society. Dr. Alok Misraand Suchhit Kapoor extended their co-operation in spite of their absence /brief attendance.
A memorandum to the CM was signed by all present. 

Statement Against the Abduction, Rape and Killing of Two Sister's in Badayun, UP

Stree Mukti Sangathan strongly condemns the heinous crime perpetrated on two young women who were sisters from a Dalit family in Badayun, U.P. Once again two young lives have been sniffed out after being subjected to rape and brutal violence. The State and the government bear the principal responsibility but the story does not end there. The roots of such violence and brutality lie deep in our culture and social structure. We as Indians must hang our heads in shame that such incidents continue to happen in our land. But, more than that, we must resolve to fight for justice for the victims and punish the perpetrators of the crime. We must resolve to fight the longer fight to rid our society from violence against women and intensify our struggle for liberty and freedom.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Of Love, Stalking and Raanjhanaas in Bollywood


- Sumati

Of late, I have been thinking about it; what is love? What is it, really? What defines it, what constitutes it? In what form does it exist? In what form is it not allowed to exist in our society? Who has the liberty to fall in love and who does not?

A couple of days back, we got the distressing news of the separation of two lovers, Ilavarasan and Divya, in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, and ultimately the young man’s death. News of acid attacks on young girls by jilted lovers in towns across the country also continues to pour in regularly.

जोहरा सहगल उर्फ़ ज़िन्दगी जिंदादिली का नाम है

रुपाली सिन्हा

एक प्रसिद्द उक्ति है .ज़िन्दगी लम्बी नहीं बड़ी होनी चहिये। लेकिन जोहरा आपा के सन्दर्भ में कहें तो उनकी ज़िन्दगी जितनी लम्बी होती गयी है उतनी ही बड़ी भी होती गयी है. एक पूरी सदी में फैला उनका जीवन कई पीढ़ियों का दस्तावेज़ है. भारतीय रंगमंच और सिनेमा की जानी मानी शख्सियत जोहरा सहगल ने अपनी आत्मकथा श्करीब सेश् में अपनी ज़िन्दगी का जो दिलचस्प खाका खींचा है वह उनके समय के समकालीन सामाजिक सांस्कृतिक परिदृश्य के साथ-साथ इसकी बहुत सी परतों को उतार कर हमारे सामने रखती है. यह पुस्तक जोश से भरी कर्मठ और जुझारू महिला की दास्तान है जिसने ज़िन्दगी को अपनी शर्तों पर जिया उसे अपने हिसाब से गढा. ज़ाहिर है एक औरत के लिए यह सब आसान तो कतई नहीं रहा होगा। अभी भी उनमे जीने की चाह बरकरार है तभी तो वे लिखती हैं. क्या है ज़िन्दगी दिन बा दिन कमज़ोर होता शरीर,  चलने में होती लडखडाहट की वजह से मै लगभग रुक सी गयी हूँ, दाँत एक-एक करके साथ छोड़  रहे हैं, आँखों की रौशनी इतनी धीमी पड़ती जा रही है कि अक्सर लिखते वक्त मै पंक्तियाँ और शब्द देख नहीं पाती।   अगर मै धार्मिक होती तो यही समय था जब मै इश्वर पर विशवास करना शुरू करतीए लेकिन मै नहीं हूँ और इस बारे में बेइमान नहीं हो सकती. लेकिन उन लोगों से कोई नाराज़गी या दुश्मनी नहीं है जो किसी दैवी शक्ति के होने पर आस्था रखते हैंए अगर इससे उन्हें शांति मिलती है तो. आखिरकार धर्म एक खूँटी ही तो है जिस पर ज़रुरत के समय टेंगा जा सके. लेकिन मेरा विशवास है कि यह खूँटी, यह सहारा इंसान को अपने भीतर ही ढूँढना चाहिए। खुद से कहो कि तुममे तमाम मुसीबतों से पार पाने की ताक़त है और तुम पाओगे कि तुम्हारे अन्दर की ताक़त हर मुश्किल का सामना करने में मदद करेगी। जोहरा ने सच को जैसा देखा वैसा ही बोला। उनकी इस वस्तुपरक दृष्टि के कारण उनकी पुस्तक से एक ईमानदार और निष्पक्ष विवरण मिलता है जो उनके समय की एक तस्वीर है. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bourgeois Imagination and Freedom from Gender Crimes – Limits of a Social Category

- Sanjay Kumar

(This is an expanded version of the article that has appeared in Stree Mukti, February, 2014)

There is a reason crime fiction is one of the most popular genres in bourgeois societies. Nowhere else, except in the equally fictitious assumptions of the Neo-Classical economic theory, is a human being made to appear an isolated individual in her motives and abilities, as completely as in crime fiction. Borrowing from a famous Ibsen play, in crime fiction, ‘a criminal stands most alone at the moment of crime’. Only her/his motives and acts determine the crime. Bourgeois law also assumes the same about criminal guilt, though punishment is often given under the light of ‘mitigating circumstances’, which mostly is a back door for all kinds of class and social prejudices. Among the ideologies that inhabit a society’s discursive world there often is a dominant ideology which mainly reflects imperatives of the prevailing economic and political order. The feudal ideological world is dominated by notions of loyalty, honour, and community, all of which are the essential ideological glue, as well the felt reality of the hierarchical web of a feudal society. Bourgeois society is founded upon private property. Even though their consciousness is socially formed, its members see themselves as formed and ready prior to their social engagements. Their attributes appear to them as their own, inherent qualities. This gives a moral boost to the enjoyment of fruits of private property; that is the charm of bourgeois consciousness. In crime fiction, criminals as sole proprietors of their motives and abilities thrust themselves against social prohibitions in diabolically creative ways. That is its (hidden) charm.

Fighting Masculinities: In the Indian Society and Within the Left

Renu Singh
Women in the Left ranks have to fight on multiple fronts starting form families, society to our fellow comrades who are so busy trying to change the world but forget the need to change themselves in the process.

The 16th December rape incident with a 23 year old student has shaken up the whole nation and the manifest anger was seen in the national capital. People who would have never came out of their comfort zones, came out onto the streets and faced tear gas and police batons.

It was the first time when the gender issues became an issue of public debate in the mainstream. The so called "apolitical" people who claim to hate politics became the part of this very political issue. I got the chance to be part of the protests in various parts of Delhi including the sites of power such the as President House and the India Gate.

Let us become — proudly — bayghairat

by Pervez Hoodbhoy

(Article reproduced from The Express Tribune: http://tribune.com.pk/story/374879/let-us-become–proudly–bayghairat/)

Pakistan’s current and aspiring political leaders can rarely give a public speech these days without invoking ghairat (honour) in some shape or form. Rather than present plans for reducing unemployment or providing electricity, they talk about shame and honour. The ultimate insult ‘bayghairat’ (without honour) is sometimes hurled onto an opponent. Adrenalin levels shoot even higher when they speak of America and “breaking the chains of slavery”. The more morally and intellectually bankrupt a leader, the louder he thunders about qaumi ghairat (national honour).