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Sunday, May 24, 2009

"A Plea for Leninist Intolerance," by Slavoj Zizek :

"A Plea for Leninist Intolerance," by Slavoj Zizek :

Full: <http://criticalinquiry.uchicago.edu/issues/v28/v28n2.zizek.html>

"Fidelity to the democratic consensus means the acceptance of the
present liberal-parliamentary consensus, which precludes any serious
questioning of how this liberal-democratic order is complicit in the
phenomena it officially condemns and, of course, any serious attempt
to imagine a society whose sociopolitical order would be different.

"In short, it means say and write whatever you want on the condition
that what you do does not effectively question or disturb the
predominant political consensus. So everything is allowed, solicited
even, as a critical topic. [...]

"The problem is that all this occurs against the background of a
fundamental _Denkverbot_, a prohibition against thinking. Today's
liberal-democratic hegemony is sustained by a kind of unwritten
_Denkverbot_ similar to the infamous _Berufsverbot_ in Germany of the
late sixties; the moment one shows a minimal sign of engaging in
political projects that aim to seriously challenge the existing order,
the answer is immediately: "Benevolent as it is, this will necessarily
end in a new Gulag!"

"[...] The moment one seriously questions the existing liberal
consensus, one is accused of abandoning scientific objectivity for the
outdated ideological positions.

"This is the point that one cannot and should not concede: today,
actual freedom of thought must mean *the freedom to question the
predominant liberal-democratic postideological consensus--or it means

Full: <http://criticalinquiry.uchicago.edu/issues/v28/v28n2.zizek.html>

.Posted byVenu K.M

Monday, May 18, 2009

Judith Butler Interviewed

Judith Butler Interviewed
Full: <http://www.monthlyreview.org/mrzine/butler160509.html>

J.B.: Of course, if marriage exists, then homosexual marriage should
also exist; marriage should be extended to all couples irrespective of
their sexual orientation; if sexual orientation is an impediment, then
marriage is discriminatory.

For my part, I don't understand why it should be limited to two
people, this appears arbitrary to me and might potentially be
discriminatory; but I know this point of view is not very popular.
However, there are forms of sexual organisation that do not imply
monogamy, and types of relationship that do not imply marriage or the
desire for legal recognition -- even if they do seek cultural
acceptance. There are also communities made up of lovers, ex-lovers
and friends who look after the children, communities that constitute
complex kinship networks that do not fit the conjugal pattern.

I agree that the right to homosexual marriage runs the risk of
producing a conservative effect, of making marriage an act of
normalisation, and thereby presenting other very important forms of
intimacy and kinship as abnormal or even pathological.

But the question is: politically, what do we do with this?

I would say that every campaign in favour of homosexual
marriage ought also to be in favour of alternative families, the
alternative systems of kinship and personal association.

We need a movement that does not win rights for
some people at the expense of others. And imagining
this movement is not easy.

The demand for recognition by the state should go hand in hand with a
critical questioning: what do we need the state for? Although there
are times that we need it for some kinds of protection (immigration,
property, or children), should we allow it to define our

There are forms of relation that we value and that
cannot be recognised by the state, where the recognition of civil
society or the community is enough. We need a movement that remains
critical, that formulates these questions and keeps them open.

Posted by
Venu K.M

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bhumimalayalam(Malayalam Movie by T.V.Chandran)

Posted by
Venu K.M

T.V. Chandran is among the few Malayalam film makers who would never stop asking questions about the predicament of women in Kerala; pursuing many a dark alley of the past as well as the contemporary life where silent sufferings by women are accepted as naturally as life itself, Chandran undoubtedly raises disqueting posers in Bhumimalayalam too.
Actually the story line moves back and forth between the present and the past. Stories of six women in varying situations of extremely challenging moments of their lives are presented here.
An elderly mother and school teacher who witnesses the macabre scene of her son in his prime youth being killed by the hordes, representatives of hate politics never returns to the normal state of senses. Another young woman, the slain man's sister working in a far away place is no more able to work with dignity as her ostentatious employer tries to coerce her to yield to his sexual whims. Another young girl who is also employed in the factory meets the premature crash of her hopes pinned on a young man who had been awaited on his next leave from the military service to marry her. she loses her lover for ever, following an accident in which he gets killed along with his few colleagues. Here, marriage would obviously seem to liberate her from the status of a factory worker with meagure earning to that of a decent middle class housewife!
The fourth woman is an ambitious media woman in her youth. Though married to a man working far away in a gulf country, as individuals, both of them are expected to go by the patriarchal code of conduct of the Muslim household, in which her father in law would no longer accept her moving around with the camera as a media person. The husband is ultimately pressurised by the woman's in-laws to bid talaq on account her insistence to continue the job.
And we meet the fifth woman, who is an eminent sportsperson. Towards the beginning of the film , we see her practising jumps, dreaming for more and more heights of achievement . Alas, she eventually gets married to a business man; unbearable drabness creeps into her life. It becomes just like unending chores of cooking and cleaning, not just for the members of the family but also for the evening parties where her husband receives friends for drinking.
In the meanwhile, thanks to the efforts of her former school teacher and few sportslovers she gets an oportunity for undergoing fully sponsored and high level coaching in the branch of sports related to her field of excellence (long jump). After such a proposal being rebuffed by her husband, she ultimately breakes the marriage and escapes to her dream field of accomplishment!

As a film maker, Chandran has always been sort of the unique person with outspoken commitment toward a kind of 'dream left' . His idea of left is rooted firmly in the struggles of the working classes and landless peasants of Kerala, of course, belonging to a previous era.
Over the passage of time , living links to this tradition are nearly lacking thanks to the changed perceptions of politics and social life by the Left parties themselves. Nevertheless, Chandran doesn't want to cynically abandon his leitmotif of a dream left in the manner many of the Leftists as well as his counterparts in Malayalam cinema would do.
This can be seen as both as a strength and the weakness of T.V.Chandran's cinema. On the one side, it has the advantage of enlivening and maintaining the dreams of a society free from exploitation; on the other, it overlooks certain important structures of oppression and dominance. For example, representation of the relationship between a factory owner and his female labourer as sexually exploiting is too stereotypical; the very circumstances and settings in which the attempted rape figures in the film betrays lack of imagination and innovativeness and tendency to be influenced by cliches.
The scene in which husband of the sportswoman shouts at the gentlemen coming with proposals to offer her best training also is in bad taste. Even without shouting to the visitors saying that he would not allow his wife's legs to be publicly displayed , any 'decent' , softspoken and 'cultured' husband would have done the same thing! For the diehard defending of this kind of moral concerns, please don't blame the poor(drinking) businessman! Let's ask the male 'Leftists' instead, howmany of them would willingly send their wives for such a training that would help improve a housewife's/mother's excellence in sports!
This is where Chandran consciously or otherwise refuses to look beyond the structures of commercial production relations (where, undoubtedly are sexist biases operating) evenwhile he raises important issues of freedom of women. The normative assumptions about the standard family is kept intact and without being questioned here; as a result he seems to be desperately bound to place all the blame to the capitalist, or to a drinking and party-loving businessman.
This failure of acknowledging these factors (of oppressing of women) working from within is probably has become cause for his tendency in seeking fantastic escapes. The sportswoman's escape in this film is more a fantasy than a real one. The journalist woman who faces separation through talak, is also not backed by any identifiable social forces of change.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Arundhati Interviewed by the BBC Urdu

Posted by
Venu K.M

Please find the link to Arundhanti's interview with BBC in Urdu

Macabre Memories Still Haunt : Narendra Modi & The Politics of Hatred (Gujarat 2002)

Posted by
Venu K.M

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sukla Sen <suklasen@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, May 2, 2009 at 9:46 AM
Subject: [humanrights-movement:1493] Narendra "Killer" Modi: Some Glimmer of Hope!
To: humanrights-movement@googlegroups.com, chairnhrc@nic.in, covdnhrc@nic.in, NHRC <ionhrc@nic.in>, sukla.sen@gmail.com, insaaniyatlist@yahoogroups.com
, hope@topica.com, csdmumbai@yahoogroups.com

[The brazenness of this vile person is really astounding.

So is the pusillanimity of the "system"!

He goes about organising murder, loot, rape and arson of people of the state of which he is the Chief Minister - the people to whom he is supposed to provide the protection of the law and the state.

He further tells the victimised that they are fortunate that the awareness(!), that triggered and drove the carnage, has not yet adequately spread to the villages!

Not only does he deprive the relief camps housing the hundreds of thousands of hunted and terror-stricken, put up through incredibly courageous private efforts, of any state help as much as he can and keep these under most appalling conditions; he also calls these as a baby manufacturing factories!

He of course openly went about blocking all attempts at booking and punishing the foot soldiers of the carnage as much as he could.

When the state was found directly complicit in murdering one Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife, presumably after rape, and also Tulsi Prajapati – a friend of Shaikh; and a senior police officer, a close confidante of his, had to be put behind the bars at the intervention of the Supreme Court, he openly challenged the "system", in a widely televised public meeting, to hang him if it can!

Now, in full page newspaper advertisements, he calls the directive of the Supreme Court to the Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed at its instance under the impact of long drawn out brave struggles of the victims and human rights activists, to investigate his role in the gory bloodbath that he had presided over, a "conspiracy", and nothing less!]


Contempt petition against Modi

J. Venkatesan

Hearing next week, says Chief Justice

Court had asked SIT to probe complaint against Modi on post-Godhra riots

Modi alleged the order was passed in conspiracy with Minister Kapil Sibal

New Delhi: A contempt of court petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged remarks that the April 27 order asking the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into a complaint against Mr. Modi and others was passed in a mala fide manner in conspiracy with the Congress.

On Friday, Prashant Bhushan, amicus curiae in the petition filed by Jakia Nasim Ahesan, wife of the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri [who was killed during the Gujarat riots of 2002], made a ‘mention’ before a three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal for early listing of the contempt petition. The CJI told Mr. Bhushan that the matter would be listed next week.

On April 27, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and A.K. Ganguly had asked SIT to probe a complaint dated June 8, 2006 against Mr. Modi that he and his Cabinet colleagues orchestrated the post-Godhra communal riots in 2002 in connivance with police officials and senior bureaucrats, and submit its report in three months.

In the present contempt petition, Mr. Bhushan said Mr. Modi, while reacting to the Supreme Court order, had alleged that it was passed in conspiracy with Union Minister Kapil Sibal in the Congress-led government. He said it was clear that Mr. Modi had made very serious allegations against the Supreme Court which “are totally scandalous and unfounded and what is worse is that they have been made in order to derive political advantage in the elections.”

He said this technique of Mr. Modi making contemptuous statement and allegations was not new. In December 2007, the Supreme Court was forced to issue contempt notice to Mr. Modi for having made a public speech obliquely approving the extra judicial killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and seeking votes on that basis. This was done when the petition seeking action against police officers who were involved in the extra judicial killing of Sohrabuddin was pending before this court.

The petition said: “In these circumstances, it is imperative in the interest of justice that Mr. Modi be brought to book and held accountable for his grossly contemptuous action. If this is not done, he will be further encouraged to make any kind of wild allegations and statement against this court for his political ends.”

As amicus curiae appointed by the court “it is my duty to bring this matter to the notice of the court for appropriate directions,” Mr. Bhushan said. He sought a direction to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Mr. Modi for his alleged remarks.



Nemesis catches up with Modi

By Kuldip Nayar

Friday, 01 May, 2009 | 02:58 AM PST |

THERE is a saying that justice may be delayed but is not out of reach. The wheel of fortune has turned slowly to expose Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, the state where some 4,000 Muslims were killed seven years ago.

It has been an open secret that he and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members were involved in the pogrom, with the connivance of the state machinery, including the police.

Modi would say in defence: where is the proof? He would also say that what happened in Gujarat was in retaliation to the burning of pilgrims in a train at Godhra, near Ahmedabad. There are too many versions of this to solely hold the Muslims responsible. The dust was somewhat cleared by the Supreme Court of India when it appointed the Special Investigating Team (SIT) to probe the matter last year.

The complaint against Modi was that he and his cabinet colleagues orchestrated the post-Godhra communal riots in 2002 in connivance with police officials and senior bureaucrats. The complaint filed by advocate Sanjay Parikh on behalf of Jakia Nasim Ahesan Hussain Jafri, the widow of an ex-Congress MP who was killed by a mob allegedly at the instigation of Modi, the 'architect of a criminal conspiracy to subvert constitutional governance and the rule of law'.

SIT, a sort of tribunal, is presided over by a retired CBI director, R.K. Raghavan, who is widely respected. His probe, it is conceded, will be fair, just and independent. The BJP is uncomfortable. The Congress is overjoyed for apparent reasons. And the people feel jubilant that the perpetrators of Gujarat may be brought to book.

The state, much less Modi, expected such a turn of events in the investigation. A human rights activist, Teesta Setalvad, who has doggedly pursued the culprits in the Gujarat killings, had submitted a petition on behalf of Ms Jafri. The petition was filed as an FIR with the police in Ahmedabad to contend that the killings were pre-planned and that the authorities did little to protect the victims.

The police refused to register the FIR. She went to the court which took little notice of the lapse in legality. The matter came to the Supreme Court where the lawyer appearing on behalf of the state of Gujarat said that all the information, whether registered or not, could be sent to the SIT. It was bravado. But it has served the purpose of justice. The whole matter, including unregistered FIRs, is before the Raghavan tribunal. Modi is now in the dock. He would have to disprove his involvement before the SIT. Many skeletons are bound to come out of the closet. Since then many retired police officials have admitted the involvement of the government.

The immediate reaction of Modi has been that of silence. The BJP’s former foreign minister, Yashwant Sinha, in a TV interview, did not react to the Supreme Court’s order but praised Modi for his developmental work in the state. One cannot expect anything else. The party’s youthful brigade is at a loss to make comments because it has been vying with one another in its projection of Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate after L.K. Advani. They are all well-read, sensible persons. But their blind faith in Modi makes one wonder.

How can they or, for that matter, any sensible person think of putting Modi in any responsible position when there are charges of his involvement in the killing and the looting of Muslims in Gujarat? Whatever the BJP thinking, India is a pluralistic country, however, wanting in many ways. The party does not appreciate the secular temperament of the people.

But when the upper-middle class or the corporate leaders — there was a meeting of top industrialists in Ahmedabad to back Modi — throw to the wind the basic values of pluralism on which India’s democratic structure stands, they prefer pelf to principle. Sitting in their air-conditioned offices, they do not know how the mind of the nation ticks. Modi may be an efficient administrator but he has also the blood of at least 4,000 Muslims on his hands. To the unthinking corporate leaders, I can say only one thing: forgive them Lord for they know not what they are doing.

I was a Rajya Sabha member when the Gujarat carnage took place in 2002. It was devastating news. Nobody could find any reason to explain Modi’s role. The BJP criticised him in private, but dared not say anything in public lest the party should take disciplinary action. Before Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee visited Ahmedabad for the first time after the carnage, I told him that he should have dismissed Modi straightaway.

After not having done so, I said, Vajpayee should take Modi to task before the public whenever he visited the refugee camps and felt relieved when he did so. He lost his temper in many places and admonished Modi.

But the youthful brigade of the BJP which travelled with him from Ahmedabad to Goa brainwashed him so much that Vajpayee attacked Islam at the meeting he addressed. He hardly talked about the pitiable conditions in the camps he had seen or the tales of murder and rape he had heard. His entire speech was to run down Islam. It seemed that the party had taken over the prime minister, whatever his feelings or impressions.

Till today, the BJP has not apologised for the killings in Gujarat. The Congress has behaved better. It has not only apologised for the killing of 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi in broad daylight in 1984, but has also denied party tickets in the Lok Sabha elections to both Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, reportedly involved in the riots which took place at that time. The party has given rehabilitation grants to the uprooted and to the victims of 1984. The Modi government has not given even a single rupee to any Muslim for rehabilitation.

Whether the probe against Modi will affect polling in the current election is the question being asked increasingly. There is no doubt that the Supreme Court’s order will dent the BJP’s standing. However, it is difficult to assess the loss in terms of votes. Yet the damage to the party’s image will be immense. Other political parties have gone to town to attack the party. The tragedy is that neither Modi nor the BJP is willing to make amends. They should realise that Gujarat, like the demolition of the Babri mosque, is a millstone around their neck. They have to carry it for years to come.

The writer is a leading journalist based in Delhi.



Gujarat Carnage-Role of Narendra Modi

Ram Puniyani

In the worst ever communal carnage of this century, the post Godhra Gujarat violence, over 2000 innocents lost their lives. Most of the survivors not only lost their livelihood and shelter but also have been degraded to the status of second class citizens. Most of the perpetrators of violence, have not only gone scot-free; many of them had an upward political mobility. The efforts of the victims and human rights activists had yielded very few results and majority of the victims are grieving and living with the scars of their losses. In the whole process, the direction of Apex court to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the role of Modi, his cabinet colleagues and other top functionaries of state and those involved in violence, has come as a sigh of hope. The court gave the direction (April 27, 2002) in response to appeal by Jakia Ahsan Jafri, the widow of slain Congress MP, Ahsan Jafri. One complements the courage and doggedness of Jakia Jafri for all her efforts.

This comes in the backdrop of the arrest of Maya Kodnani, Modi’s cabinet colleague who instigated and led the carnage in Naroda Patia. Just to recall, Ahsan Jafri ex Congress MP had made frantic calls to all those concerned but the police help was not forthcoming to save him from the mob assembled by the VHP-Bajrang Dal and others, the lead players in Gujarat carnage. So far the official inquiry committees have not pointed its finger on the role of Modi, while the Human Rights Commission report (2002) pointed out that state machinery failed to protect the innocent people. Most of the citizen’s inquiry committees by human rights activists have pointed out about the role of state administration and Modi in particular in the violence. In the major such report of ‘Citizens tribunal’ headed by retired Justice Krishna Ayer and Justice P.B.Sawant, (Crime against Humanity), a Minister in Modi’s Government Haren Pandya gave description of the meeting which Modi had called on the evening of Godhra train accident. As per Pandya Modi instructed all the top state officials to let the Hindu anger not be curtailed in the aftermath of Godhra. Modi popularized the thesis that Godhra train was burnt in a pre planned manner by the international terrorism, in collusion with the ISI and local Muslims. Infamously, he announced that every action has an opposite reaction, meaning that now Hindus will take revenge and state should sit back and let the opposite reaction take its course.

Same Harem Pandya was murdered later and his father stated that his murder had taken place on the instance of Modi. While the carnage was on, the Central government, NDA led by BJP, kept watching and barring some stray noises by PM Vajpayee and Home Minister Advani, the carnage went on spilling the rivers of blood. Despite Modi’s claim that he controlled the violence in 72 hours, it took months for the din to settle. Modi’s acts of omission were more than obvious. Now as matters stand our legal system has lots of loopholes and most of the guilty are not punished. On the contrary, in the case of Gujarat, Modi ‘succeeded’ in splitting the Gujarat society along religious lines, and he took advantage of the communal divide by riding back to power and strengthened his vice like grip on the administration and state as a whole. And now, In Gujarat the matters are not seen as guilty versus innocents, they are seen as Hindu versus Muslim.

While on one hand Modi is being projected as the future Prime minister of India, not only by many captains of industry but also by the party sustaining on the fodder of communal divide, the BJP. While most of the people with plural values and concern for national integration are welcoming the direction of Apex court, the others doing electoral calculations point out that this investigation will enhance the standing of Modi. BJP spokesman also pointed out that this direction of Apex court will be helpful to the BJP in electoral arena. The nation is standing on a tragic point where the communal polarization brought in by communal violence and anti-minority propaganda has resulted in the loss of sensitivity of a section of society towards the miseries and travails of large part of our own country, our own nation.

In response to court directive, Modi asserted that he is ready to go to jail. This assertion is the outcome of his knowledge that in the polarzed state he will benefit despite his ciminal acts. The observation so far has been that Modi has shown no remorse for what happened in Gujarat, forget apologizing for the same. The path to power for the practitioners of divisive politics is through the rivers of blood, and they know it.

So should we press for justice or fall in the trap of electoral arithmetic? The point is if we loose our basic human morality, if we compromise on the issue of rule of law, what is the worth of values of Constitution? Tragedy is not that the nation is knowing the guilt of the ilk of Modi and is watching helplessly, the tragedy is that our justice delivery system has been eroded from bottom upwards, where justice is sacrificed at the drop of a hat. The communal mind set cultivated by divisive politics, the large section of state machinery being guided by considerations other than the values of constitution is a matter of deep concern.

It is because of this total communalization of state apparatus that the Supreme Court had to reprimand Modi, time and over again. It is because of this that the major cases were shifted out from Gujarat. It is the same place where Zahira Sheikh changed her versions times and over again, lured by the lucre offered to her by BJP workers.

Modi bloating his chest while sitting over the corpses of thousands, is a symptom of deeper rot which has set in the society. By now first the cases are not investigated properly due to communal considerations, then when the reports nail the culprits, many of them are not touched for political considerations. Rather than having remorse and anguish on what happened to say that this Apex court direction will benefit BJP, is the most immoral and base statement which only heartless inhuman characters can make.

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always want to defend peace, justice, peoples' right to love each other and live with dignity,struggles against parochial visions and hatred;instinctively a defender of socialist and democratic values