The dystopic reality of a Hindutva state

Harsh Mander


In a recent taunt against Muslims, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath railed against “people who say abba jaan”, falsely claiming that earlier governments provided them alone with subsidised rations while depriving others of the same. He wears his hatred of Muslims, his bigotry, intolerance of dissent, and impatience with constitutional niceties as badges of honour.

Read More

Where does all our hatred come from?

Harsh Mander


I am haunted by the lament of two young researchers from Assam, Suraj Gogoi and Nazimuddin Siddique. “We are shaken and frozen”, they say. “Is this the last sky?” The majority of the Indian people have become so inured to brutal public displays of hate violence that when we consume video images of lynching, gangrape and killing of Dalit women, and the flaunting of bigotry by our leaders, we just turn our faces away.

Read More

 

Remember the horrors of Partition, but also draw the right lessons from them

Harsh Mander


We must remember always what the politics of religious hate does to a people.

Read More

 

Timely and Timeless, Indrajit Roy’s ‘Politics of the Poor’ Tackles a Complex Social Role

Harsh Mander


One per cent of the world’s richest people own half the wealth of the world; while 80% of the people inhabiting the globe own 5% of this wealth.
In his lucidly argued and carefully researched book Politics of the Poor: Negotiating Democracy in Contemporary India (Cambridge University Press, 2018), political scientist Indrajit Roy observes that this sits awkwardly with the fact that more people live in democracies than ever before.

Read More

 

MThe ‘love jihad’ bogey in Kashmir is another attempt to deny women freedom of choice

Harsh Mander


A storm broke out in the valley of Kashmir recently because some adult Sikh Kashmiri women chose to marry Muslim men, and to convert to Islam. Sikh leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal from Punjab raged that these were criminal cases of “love jihad”.

Read More

 

Modi government’s partisan misuse of institutions has pushed the Indian republic to the brink

Harsh Mander


I turn to our beloved country of today. When I look around, I see the comprehensive betrayal of so many of the pledges and dreams of our freedom struggle and our Constitution. I witness these with troubled hearts, with often blindingly moist eyes, and sometimes – briefly, even the sinking of hope.

Read More

 

The UAPA Is One Of Many Modern-Day Avatars Of The Draconian, Colonial Rowlatt Act

Harsh Mander


More than a century later, descendants of this much-hated law are being widely weaponised by governments in free India, both to suppress the freedom to dissent and to stigmatise and indefinitely incarcerate dissenters and protestors without trial.

Read More

 

Will we learn anything from the mass pyres and floating bodies?

Harsh Mander

As the gravest health emergency to overwhelm the globe in a century continues to rage, the unbridled Covid-19 virus has laid bare the abject failure of India’s health system to secure even elementary levels of health-care for its people.

Read More

 

What does state’s treatment of pre-trial political prisoners tell us?

Harsh Mander

June 6 was a sombre milestone — the third anniversary of the incarceration of five rights activists in the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case. Eleven more were subsequently jailed for the same conspiracy. These 16 women and men — the BK-16 accused — are intellectuals, lawyers, a poet, professors, cultural and rights activists and an 84-year-old Jesuit priest, all with sterling records of service with India’s most oppressed peopl

Read More

 

After the fire in Delhi camp, Rohingya refugees say all they want is a place of safety

Harsh Mander & Oishika Neogi

“I opened my eyes and ran. I ran with nothing but my seven-month old wrapped around my scarf,” recalled a woman. Her tears had dried, and her eyes tiredly strayed over the ashes that was all that remained of the shanty that had been her home since 2013.

Read More

 

 

Like Natasha Narwal, I know the pain of losing a parent when in jail – and why the rules must change

Mohammad Aamir Khan

On the morning of May 10, I woke up to the news of the death of Mahavir Narwal, father of Delhi student activist Natasha Narwal who has been in prison for over a year now on charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Mahavir Narwal himself was a known activist and had been jailed during Emergency. He had tested positive for Covid-19 and had passed away the previous evening in a hospital in Rohtak.

Read More

 

 

The song of a caged bird: A tribute to Fr Stan Swamy

Harsh Mander

India as a humane democracy stood significantly diminished on the afternoon of July 6, when a staunch defender of Adivasi rights breathed his last breath in a hospital in Bandra, Mumbai. At the time of his death, the 84-year-old Jesuit priest Stanislaus Lourduswamy, popularly known as Father Stan Swamy, was still in judicial custody, charged under the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, with participating in a Maoist conspiracy to foment caste violence and assassinate India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Read More

Six months on, India’s protesting farmers are creating history

Harsh Mander

It has been six months since farmers from across Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh rose in an epic and mostly peaceful struggle against three farm laws rushed through hastily in Parliament last autumn by the Modi government.

Read More

Death all around, but seize fundamental right to be well

Natasha Badhwar

Keep your heart in a box for now. Protect it from shattering every day,” I wrote to a friend this week. A journalist on the frontline of reporting and analysing news, he has been struck by Covid-19 himself and is gearing up to return to work

Read More

Our silence against forces of hate has enabled this Covid crisis

Harsh Mander

With outrage, fear and grief, we witness burning pyres on pavements and mass graves of many whose lives a more caring and efficient government could have saved. Images haunt us of desperate families driving from hospital to hospital in vain search of beds as their loved ones die only because the state did not care or prepare.

Read More

A lesson in how to end the mass suffering unleashed by India’s first lockdown

Harsh Mander

A spectacularly uncaring, unaccountable state has abandoned Indians to their fate. Bodies are piling up, pyres burn late into the night, and corpses are buried in anonymous mass graves. Loved ones are choking to death because their governments failed to secure them oxygen. Vaccines have fallen short in a country that prides itself as the vaccine factory of the world.

Read More

Assam’s youngest legislator shows how elections can be won even with truth, love and poetry

Harsh Mander

This story demonstrates that even with flaws in the Indian democracy, it is still possible for a young person from an intensely marginalised community to fight and decisively win elections with empty pockets, equipped only with idealism and the Constitution, where your only capital is the trust that earned from selfless service of one’s people. This is the story of Ashraful Hussain.

Read More

Women farmers at the Delhi protest ask, ‘Why the farmers’ protests are a wake-up call for rest of us’

Natasha Badhwar

At a time when the state and administration have abdicated from people-centric governance and the judiciary as well as large sections of mainstream media seem to have forfeited their role to provide the checks and balances that keep democratic processes in balance, the farmers’ protest is like a shot in the arm of Indian democracy.

Read More

Women farmers at the Delhi protest ask, ‘What’s for us in these laws?’

Navsharan Singh

In the middle of December, farmers on Delhi’s Tikri border protesting the three new agriculture laws were joined by hundreds of women farmers from Punjab’s Malwa region. They came in 17 buses and 10 tractor trolleys, nearly 1,000 of them, to demand that the ‘‘black laws” be repealed.’

Read More

A day spent with farm protesters on the outskirts of Delhi

Natasha Badhwar

n the Tikri border, we walked nearly 4 km to reach the spot where many of the leaders of various farmers’ unions were camping. On the way, we passed groups of farmers who were cooking dinner or had wound up and were putting away utensils. Many of them invited us to share the meal with them.’

Read More

The smoke of conspiracies: The targeting of Professor Apoorvanand

Harsh Mander

Was there a conspiracy behind the communal conflagration in February in Northeast Delhi, which left more than 53 people dead, several hundred injured and vast properties gutted and looted?’

Read More

Gendering the Pandemic in the Prison

Pratiksha Baxi, Navsharan Singh

For women, prisons are built with stones of “patriarchal” law. It is time to campaign against incarcerated pregnancies and custodial childbirths as making for cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of women.’

Read More

The middle class should stop playing the victim now

Natasha Badhwar

The middle class in India is very angry with the middle class in India. We are also confused. As the lockdown unlocks in phases after over two months of uncertainty and consistent bad news, we are not quite sure what to feel. Are we finally safe from the coronavirus? A cursory glance at the news tells us that the infection rate in India is on the rise and it will peak in the next two months. It is more dangerous to step out for work and leisure now than it was before the lockdown started.

Read More

The 20 brave men and the TV-breaking patriots

Natasha Badhwar

Twenty Indian soldiers were clubbed to death and 76 injured by the Chinese army in Ladakh’s Galwan valley last week, but in a statement at the all-party meeting to discuss the violence on the India-China border, Prime Minister Modi’s concluding remarks were, “No one has intruded and nor is anyone intruding, nor has any post been captured by someone.”

Read More