Foreground, left: a woman holding a sickle in one hand and a large red flag in the other, and wearing a green scarf over a yellow khadi; behind her, a man in a light orange khadi, a light blue turban, a beard, and raising his fist; in front of her are three ears of corn growing out of green stalks.
Background, center to right: two red farming tractors drawn as if moving up a slight incline, towards the right; one is partially behind the two human figures, and bears a small red flag; the other is fully visible, and bears a small green flag.
Above the two tractors is the text: Unite against corporate slavery of farmers.
On 12th December India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) passed the Citizen (Amendment) Act (CAA) into law. The series of protests that have erupted and brutal crackdown that has ensued has thrown the country into a state of flux. The highly controversial Citizen (Amendent) Act seeks to fundamentally amend the definition of illegal immigrants in India. Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi and Buddhist immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. Muslims are not included on the list.
Since 5th August 2019, the Indian government has shut down Kashmir in the most repressive and terrifying fashion possible. 48,000 Indian troops have been moved into the state, making it, with 70,000 Indian troops already posted there, the most densely militarized zone on Earth. These troops are now operating under a “shoot-to-kill” policy and hundreds of Kashmiri human rights activists, academics and business leaders have been arrested. Meanwhile, the Indian government has simultaneously imposed a media and communications blackout, cutting off the internet and thus preventing Kashmiris from being able to communicate their suffering in real time to the rest of the world. Pakistan too revoked state subject rule from Gilgit-Baltistan (part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir) in 1974, in a move similar to India’s current strategy. However, in doing so, there was no media black-out nor curfews imposed. India, on the other , has jailed all Kashmiri leadership, transferring them to jails in New Delhi, as well as, according to a magistrate speaking on condition of anonymity, arresting and detaining over 4,000 Kashmiri citizens since 5th August.
Politically engaged and youthful social movements of India’s marginalised and oppressed are coming together, under one umbrella, to demand social change with one voice. The situation on the ground has rattled India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The slogan Yuva Hunkaar expresses a powerful agenda and a call to action. Yuva (meaning “youth”), attached to the term Hunkaar (roar/shout out/loud call) expresses a forceful, clarion call for social change. It’s a roar to action on issues of systemic discrimination against India’s marginalised and oppressed.Continue Reading
On the 11th December, as many observers of Indian politics have long expected, Rahul Gandhi was confirmed as president of the Indian National Congress while out campaigning in Gujarat. He will be officially sworn in on the 16th December.
During the 2014 Indian election campaign, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Narendra Modi, successfully lampooned the Congress Party for its “anti-democratic dynastic culture”, deriding Rahul Gandhi as an “egoist prince”. The Congress, Modi claimed, was an orgy of decadence, corruption and unaccountability, that was out of touch with ‘the people’. This ruse appears to have chimed with the Indian electorate: the BJP stormed to victory with the Congress registering its worst ever performance. Continue Reading
Despite being considered one of the “seven wonders of the world”, the Taj Mahal was bizarrely absent from a tourism booklet produced this summer by the state government of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Completed between 1631 and 1648, the Taj Mahal is perhaps the finest existing example of Mughal architecture, considered ‘the jewel of Muslim art in India’, in 1983 it was designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
Its international prestige notwithstanding, a storm has been brewing around the famous monument: it has been the scene of regular protests and the focus of an increasingly prominent political campaign to marginalise its national and cultural significance.Continue Reading
Recent mainstream media coverage of the Rohingya crisisin Myanmarhas followed an all too familiar pattern of reporting on ethnic violence. The focus is on ethnic “passions” and unique “cultures”. Ethnic violence is framed as a remote and alien force that belongs to a bygone era.Continue Reading
Seldom has an incident in an Indian University received so much international coverage and solidarity as the ongoing confrontation in Jawaharlal Nehru University. 450 scholars, among who were names like Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar, as well as JNU alumni, signed a statement. 358 academics from Universities across California issued a letter in which they condemned the harassment of students for their political beliefs. The letter called the police crackdown on the students an “alibi for the incursion of an authoritarian regime onto the university campus”. Oxford University and the University of Chicago among others have sent in their support. Within India, solidarity actions developed in Delhi, Chennai, and various academic institutions, including notably Jadavpur University in Kolkata. And there have also been massive, unrelenting state and rightwing attacks, including physical violence.Continue Reading
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