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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).