Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Art & the October Revolution

Rahul Vaidya

"The Streets are our brushes, the Squares our palettes"-Vladimir Mayakovski

The October Revolution in 1917, USSR and its fall in 1991 have all become part of a history which seems far too distant. The world has changed beyond recognition over past couple of decades with financial globalization, technological advance of internet and social networks, fundamentalist terror and rising far-Right forces, especially in the wake of financial crisis that broke out in 2008. The all pervading sense of euphoria around the dictum ‘There is no alternative’ to liberal capitalism after fall of USSR has been replaced by a fear that the only alternative would be ‘end of the world’ in climatic or terrorist catastrophe. And ironically, this dystopian fear sums up the state of our ideological universe. Fredric Jameson hence had once remarked ‘it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism’ which points to a resigned, cynical and almost fatalist acceptance of capitalist mode of production. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

‘Demonetization’: Beyond the Hype

Surajit Mazumdar

Much hype has surrounded the dramatic announcement by the PM on 8th November that the existing Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes would cease to be legal tender within a few hours of that announcement. Statements such as “A historic step to fight corruption, black money, terrorism and counterfeit currency” or the “boldest decision in the financial history of independent India” are representative of the way the measure has been sought to be described by the ruling regime and its support brigade. Any criticism of the move has been met by taunts suggesting that it is nothing but attempts to sabotage the all-out war against corruption, black money and terrorism launched by the Modi Government. The daily reports in the media about serpentine queues, non-functioning ATMs and cashless bank branches, disruption of trade are dismissed as temporary inconveniences which all ‘patriotic’ Indians are ‘cheerfully’ bearing (even though they appear to be extremely frustrated).

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Secular Case for Common Civil Code

Abdul Rahman

The news regarding Muslim Personal Law Board and other Muslim organisations’ adamant stand on the issue of tripal talaq and BJP led union government’s attempt to push for Universal Civil Code (hereafter UCC)[1] has energised the debate on reforms in Muslim Personal laws verses UCC. A section of Muslim women along with Bhartiye Muslim Mahila Andolan (a secular organisation established by Muslim women in 2007) have decided to take the issue to the Supreme Court in the form of PIL. The government is in favour of abolishing the practice of tripal talaq too. However, RSS-BJP sees this opportunity to polarize the Hindus raising the issue of UCC. Secular left-liberal sections are divided on the issue as always. Present article tries to introduce secularist debates on the need and nature of UCC. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Whether it be Olympics or Anti-Corruption Marches, Race is a central question in Brazil!!!

Nitheesh Narayanan

Rafaela Silva won a gold medal in Judo for Brazil in the recently concluded Rio Olympics. It is through this Afro-Brazilian athlete that the hosts received their first gold medal in the 2016 Olympics. The success of Silva in Judo has been read as a befitting reply to what she had to face after being disqualified in the 2012 London Olympics following an illegal leg grab. She said, recollecting that event, ‘I was very sad because I lost the fight. So I walked to my room, I found all those insults in social media, they were criticizing me, calling me monkey, I got really, really upset, I thought about leaving Judo’. For many, especially those who are not from Latin American countries, who have heard of Silva’s experiences, wondered if racism actually existed in Brazil. There is this conception that the Latin American countries are free from racism. In almost all studies and briefings on racism, Latin America does not appear .But this is an erroneous understanding. Brazil, the most populous country in the region also has the largest number of African descendants of all Latin American states. In fact, Brazil has the largest African population in any country outside Africa. An analysis of the problem of racism in Brazil will shed a reality check on the prevalence of racism in Latin America.

Friday, October 7, 2016

On the Ongoing Maratha Agitations in Maharashtra

Suresh Sawant and Rahul Vaidya

The shocking Kopardi rape and murder case happened on July 13th in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Spontaneous protests over this brutal gangrape and murder however soon took a casteist turn. The word spread that victim belonged to Maratha community, Maharashtra's biggest and politically dominant community; and what is worse; the perpetrators belonged to the Dalit community. The dual narrative of honor of women as well as the caste fuelled the protests which have been spreading like a wildfire across Maharashtra. Already, there have been massive agitations at Ahmednagar, Osmanabad, Aurangabad, Jalgaon, Beed. Similar rallies have been planned in Latur, Parbhani, Solapur, Amravati and many other districts. The final rally will be held in Mumbai. These agitations have witnessed crowds over a lac at every location- with significant number of women participating.