At Raiot, we remember the conviction that launched the RTI movement: hum jaanenge, hum jeeyenge; when we know, we survive. We are launching a new series this week, in which we reassess the history of the RTI in Meghalaya in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dilemmas it has posed for governance in both the state and the nation. For the next few weeks, we will tell you stories from 15 years of RTI activism: the successes, the failures, and what we learned through it all. The RTI Act was once called the sunshine law; may it serve now to illuminate these dark times.
Tag: Hindutva Fascism
Corona is deadly, but not a bloodthirsty oppressor.
A democracy that is not governed by a Constitution and one whose institutions have all been hollowed out can only ever become a majoritarian state. You can agree or disagree with a Constitution as a whole or in part—but to act as though it does not exist as this government is doing is to completely dismantle democracy. Perhaps this is the aim. This is our version of the Corona Virus. We are sick.
There’s no help on the horizon. No well-meaning foreign country. No UN…
What we need are people who are prepared to be unpopular. Who are prepared to put themselves in danger. Who are prepared to tell the truth. Brave journalists can do that, and they have. Brave lawyers can do that, and they have. And artists—beautiful, brilliant, brave writers, poets, musicians, painters and filmmakers can do that. That beauty is on our side. All of it.
We have work to do. And a world to win.
We must respond to the provocation of the fascists with sober strategic resistance, and build solidarity across different regions and communities. There is no reason to believe that the interests of the different vulnerable communities – be it small nationalities, religious minorities, tribals, dalits, refugees and migrants – cannot be addressed together. It is not necessary that they will have to be posited against each other. Through wider dialogue and conversations, such questions can be addressed adequately, as per the best democratic traditions of our country. Instead, what is being done by the RSS/BJP today is to play a cynical game of pitting one community against another, instrumentalising the grievances of one community to trample upon the rights of another, and naked State repression to control. Together, we will not let this game continue. What they fear most is the coming together of the oppressed and the subjugated. With empathy and solidarity with each other, we will defeat the evil designs of the Hindutva forces.
“I have never felt that my fiction and nonfiction were warring factions battling for suzerainty. They aren’t the same certainly, but trying to pin down the difference between them is actually harder than I imagined. Fact and fiction are not converse. One is not necessarily truer than the other, more factual than the other, or more real than the other. Or even, in my case, more widely read than the other. All I can say is that I feel the difference in my body when I’m writing.”
Conspiracy cases to quell dissent is now new to India’s political history. As a former judge wrote recently it was the British who, so cleverly, made it a crime in 1913 and used it widely.
Section 124A on Indian Penal Code on Sedition was introduced by the British colonial government in 1870 when it felt the need for a specific section to deal with the offence. It was one of the many draconian laws enacted to stifle any voices of dissent at that time. Mahatma Gandhi was prescient in recognising the fundamental threat it provided to democracy when he called it the ‘prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen.’
Yes, you heard it right. After a whole lot of brainstorming and deliberation we decided that all of you must refrain from using the category ‘Dalit’, for the official nomenclature is ‘Scheduled Caste’ and that must be used at all times, especially when communicating matters publicly. Not to say that we like you being Scheduled Caste either. Remember RohithVemula! Despite our best efforts in denying his Scheduled Caste identity, his being Dalit prevailed and eventually proved that he was a born scheduled caste. So we of course know that being a scheduled caste is a lot to deal with too, but being a Dalit is an entirely different story, which is increasingly becoming our everyday nightmare. Therefore, just don’t use this word anymore. Besides, scheduled castes – it’s quite a mouthful, so let’s say SC – an intrusion into our state of profound bliss and absolute peace, that continues to remind us that the state ought to make policies for your betterment, because you know the constitution! It’s difficult to make head or tail of this book, anyway.
“Whither is our democracy bound?”—It can be said that the present time is marked by a deterioration of circumstances in which such questions can be raised. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government and its fraternal organisations have defined democracy in their own terms. These organisations have also tried to define citizenship to suit their agenda by trying to determine who is an Indian and a patriot as well as who are anti-nationals. As a result, the fundamental ideas about free speech have also transformed. It has been seen that the ruling party and its fraternal organisations have given priority to those who are their ideological allies when it comes to appointing the heads of institutions of higher education and research in the country. A parallel may be drawn between the situation that prevails today and the curtailment of free speech during the emergency in the 1970s. During emergency, it was not possible for independent writers to publish articles or broadcast radio plays in government media unless they maintained the interests of Indira Gandhi and the Nehru-Gandhi family or promoted the twenty point programme and the five point programme introduced by Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi. Even private newspapers were censored or they succumbed to the iron grip of the government. The situation today is more or less the same if not worst.
Let us lynch, rape, kill them in peace;
build a temple of purebred-filth
on razed mosques and dargahs,
Surely, #NotinMyName as a name and event does in certain ways imply an assertion of one’s place in mainstream elitist spaces, this type of Naming is indeed veiled and nuanced but there is a problem to see this as entirely Brahminical and thus absolutely evil.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s act of denying exemption of censor for three films selected for the 10th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala has invited strong reactions from various corners. The festival, one of its kind in the country, is an avenue for documentary filmmakers to get a wide audience for their films. It is particularly an important platform for independent filmmakers. What is common to these three films—In the Shade of Fallen Chinar, Directed by Fazil N.C. and Shawn Sebastian; The Unbearable Being of Lightness, directed by P.N. Ramachandra; and March March March, directed by Kathu Lukose—is that they deal with issues related to contemporary politics.
Those who have not been around academic circles, have not heard of General Dyer, not watched The Namesake, nor confused Partha Chatterjee with his namesake, might be wondering what the fuss about Professor Partha Chatterjee is about. Parthada recently referred to the justification of using a human shield by the Indian Army in Kashmir as the General Dyer moment of the independent Indian state’s army.
Cutting across political lines, the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly today unanimously resolved to demand the Centre to withdraw its recent notification on regulating of livestock markets which will impact the economy and food culture of the state.
I stand with NDTV but that is not enough. To defend constitutional values and freedoms, we have to stand together and lend support to poor adivasis in Chattisgarh, to journalists who report from far flung corners of India without the support of a parent organisation and for whom the Editor’s guild will issue no statement, to lawyers hounded out of Bastar for whom the Bar Council of India will issue no statement, to Kashmiris whom we vilify on a daily basis…
Late Prof. G. G. Swell, MP from Shillong, speaking in the Indian Parliament on Beef eating North East and BJP’s divisive cow politics
ORIGINAL NAMAMI BRAHMAPUTRA THEME SONG finally leaked by Mr. India from Haflong
Could you ever have been
a human being
in this country,
just a boy
with his share of
And could your mother
have been a mother after all,
your brother, a brother?