RACISM & NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS | NEWS/COMMENTARY


The Trophies Of Operation Green Hunt – When rape is routine and there’s a paucity of condemning voices | Nandini Sundar
July 3, 2010, 10:44 am
Filed under: Indian Subcontinent
Security personnel with the body of a suspected female Maoist after the June 16 encounter in the Ranjha forests near Lalgarh

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Source: Outlook Magazine

5 July 2010

If the security forces can treat dead women like hunting trophies, not only trussing their bodies to poles, but taking pride in displaying their kill, is it surprising that their behaviour towards the living is so atrocious? After every deadly attack by the Maoists, ‘civil society actors’ are summoned by TV channels to condemn the incident, substituting moral indignation for news analysis. And yet, the same media is strangely silent on police or paramilitary atrocities against civilians. On June 9, The Hindu published stories of rapes in and around Chintalnar in Dantewada by special police officers (SPOs) of the Chhattisgarh government. To my knowledge, no one’s asked P. Chidambaram, Raman Singh or the Chhattisgarh DGP to condemn these incidents or even asked what they are going to do about it. These are people in positions of power, who are elected or paid to uphold the Constitution, and the ‘buck stops with them’, not with ordinary citizens.

If channels can run all-day programmes on justice for Ruchika Girhotra, why not for the adivasi girls who were raped and assaulted in and around Chintalnar between May 26-28? Is it because they are not middle class and their plight will not raise TRP ratings? Or because they are considered ‘collateral damage’ in the war between “India” and the “Maoists”—who, not being part of “India”, are presumably from outer space—that TV commentators advocate?

While rape is often described as a weapon of war, it is not uniformly practised, and indeed nothing distinguishes the two parties in a guerrilla war more than their attitude to rape. In her careful analysis of sexual violence during civil war, the political scientist Elizabeth Woods points out that while it was common in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, sexual assault was less frequent in El Salvador, Sri Lanka and Peru. In the latter cases, the vast majority of rapes were committed by the government or paramilitaries, this also being a primary reason why women were motivated to join the insurgents. The rebel armies Continue reading

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Arundhati Roy Interviewed by CNN-IBN on Maoists, Adivasis, the Indian Nation-State, and Violence
May 2, 2010, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Indian Subcontinent

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Walking With The Comrades | Arundhati Roy
March 23, 2010, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Indian Subcontinent

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Magazine | 29 March 2010

Source:  Outlook India

Last month, quietly, unannounced, Arundhati Roy decided to visit the forbidding and forbidden precincts of Central India’s Dandakaranya Forests, home to a melange of tribespeople many of whom have taken up arms to protect their people against state-backed marauders and exploiters. She recorded in considerable detail the first face-to-face journalistic “encounter” with armed guerillas, their families and comrades, for which she combed the forests for weeks at personal risk. This essay was published on Friday in Delhi’s Outlook magazine. Arundhati Roy made the pictures in this 20,000 word essay available exclusively to Dawn.

The terse, typewritten note slipped under my door in a sealed envelope confirmed my appointment with India’s Gravest Internal Security Threat. I’d been waiting for months to hear from them.

I had to be at the Ma Danteshwari mandir in Dantewara, Chhattisgarh, at any of four given times on two given days. That was to take care of bad weather, punctures, blockades, transport strikes and sheer bad luck. The note said: “Writer should have camera, tika and coconut. Meeter will have cap, Hindi Outlook magazine and bananas. Password: Namashkar Guruji.”

Namashkar Guruji. I wondered whether the Meeter and Greeter would be expecting a man. And whether I should get myself a moustache.

There are many ways to describe Dantewara. It’s an oxymoron. It’s a border town smack in the heart of India. It’s the epicenter of a war. It’s an upside down, inside out town.

In Dantewara the police Continue reading

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Sexual Violence and Sri Lankan State Sovereignty | Jessica Devi Chandrashekar
January 19, 2010, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Indian Subcontinent

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13 January 2010

Source: YU Free Press

What has taken place in Sri Lanka this year marks a historical turning point. The liberation struggle against the Sri Lankan occupation of the homeland of the Tamil people is at a stand still and has suffered a debilitating blow. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a group formed to fight for the rights, recognition, and freedom of the Tamil people and homeland (Tamil Eelam), had previously controlled areas of the North and East of the island now under occupation of the Sri Lankan state. The Sri Lankan state has moved hundreds of thousands of troops into the region and continues to hold 250, 000 Tamil people in concentration camps. Tamil people are terrorized and humiliated by the government as it proceeds to build settlements on Tamil owned land and take over the homes and businesses of people who fled the fighting in what can only be described as the violent colonization of Eelam.

Historically, the island that is now called Sri Lanka was Continue reading

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Partition And The Fantasy Of A Masculine State | Ashis Nandy
September 17, 2009, 7:08 am
Filed under: Indian Subcontinent

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29 August 2009

Source: Times of India

Human beings have lived with states for millennia. There were even republican states in ancient times. Nation states are new; they came into their own in 17th-century Europe. Today, all states are not nation states, but most states are. European ideas take strange forms outside Europe. In Asia and Africa, colonialism conflated the ideas of the state and the nation state. Thus, when the western-educated, middle-class leaders of India’s freedom movement fought for independence, they did not want only a state, but a European-style, centralised, modern nation state. Such a state, they thought, would be a magical cure for India’s backwardness. When the Muslim League demanded a separate homeland for Indian Muslims, its leaders too thought of a standard nation state.

However, a nation state requires a nation and an ideology of nationalism. Simple, old-fashioned, non-ideological patriotism is not enough for it. More so if it is a republican state, led by new, insecure, nervous political leaders worried about its diverse, ‘ungovernable’ citizens and psychologically not yet closely linked to the state.

That is why V D Savarkar, despite being an avowed atheist and dismissive towards Hinduism as a religion, had moved towards the idea of Hindutva, which redefined the Hindus as a nation and Hindutva as their national ideology. This was years before Muhammad Ali Jinnah spoke of Continue reading

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A Letter To ‘The Economist’
September 12, 2009, 6:43 am
Filed under: Indian Subcontinent, Uncategorized

Listening to grasshoppers Arundhati Roy

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25 August 2009

Source: Outlook India

To the Editor
The Economist

Dear Sir,

This is with regard to the review of my book Listening to Grasshoppers that appeared in The Economist. If this letter is long, ironically it is because the factual errors in the review are so many. In an attempt to highlight my “flawed reporting and incorrect analysis” the reviewer makes some extraordinary errors and leaps of logic:

1. “Ms Roy cites a massacre of perhaps 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, in which the state’s Hindu-nationalist government was allegedly complicit. Almost no senior official or Hinduist agitator has been prosecuted over the atrocity. And Narendra Modi, Gujarat’s chief minister then and now, is currently vying to take over the leadership of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, and one day India. Many of the country’s industrialists would approve of that; even Ratan Tata, the gentlemanly head of the vast Tata Group which prides itself on its ethical dealings, has praised Mr Modi’s business-friendly policies. Nothing annoys Ms Roy more.”

Mr Tata did not merely praise Modi’s business policies, he Continue reading

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Diary | Tariq Ali
August 29, 2009, 6:59 pm
Filed under: Indian Subcontinent

Local residents gathered near a warehouse of the World Food Program in Kanju near Pakistan's troubled valley of Swat, Pakistan on Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008. Suspected 'insurgents' set alight a warehouse containing cooking oil belonging to the World Food Program, police officer said. (AP Photo/Sherin Zada)

Local residents gathered near a warehouse of the World Food Program in Kanju near Pakistan's troubled valley of Swat, Pakistan on Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008. According to local police, suspected 'insurgents' set alight a warehouse containing cooking oil belonging to the World Food Program. (AP Photo/Sherin Zada)

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( Dated Piece | 23 July 2009 )

Source: London Review of Books

June is never a good month on the plains. It was 46ºC in Fortress Islamabad a fortnight ago. The hundreds of security guards manning roadblocks and barriers were wilting, sweat pouring down their faces as they waved cars and motorbikes through. The evening breeze brought no respite. It, too, was unpleasantly warm, and it was difficult not to sympathise with those who, defying the law, jumped into the Rawal Lake, the city’s main reservoir, in an attempt to cool down. Further south in Lahore it was even hotter, and there were demonstrations when the generator at Mangla that sporadically supplies the city with electricity collapsed completely.

As far as the political temperature goes there is never a good month in Pakistan. This is a country whose fate is no longer in its own hands. I have never known things so bad. The chief problems are the Continue reading

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