September 10, 2014 at 6:56am
In 1962–63, when I (Kanshiram) got the opportunity to read Ambedkar’s book Annihilation of Caste I also felt that it was perhaps possible to eradicate casteism from society. But later, when I studied the caste system and its behaviour in depth, there was a gradual modification in my thoughts. I have not only gained knowledge about caste from the books but from my personal life as well. Those people who migrate in large numbers from their villages to big cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata take no possessions with them but their caste. They leave behind their small huts, land and cattle, etc. in the village and settle in slums, near sewers and railway tracks, with nothing else but their one and only possession—their caste. If people have so much affection for their caste then how can we think of annihilating it? That is why I have stopped thinking about the annihilation of caste.
— Goodreads | Bhupinder Singh (London, ON, Canada)’s review of Kanshiram: Leader of the Dalits
Anhey Gorhey Da Daan, Alms For a Blind Horse (2011)
Enlightened nations aren’t necessarily the ones where people are born with a deeper love of civil liberties. Enlightened nations tend to be the ones that can afford enlightenment, thanks to a certain level of affluence and security. And they got there, often enough, with a legacy of brute force and racial injustice.
— What Does It Mean to Compare Ferguson to Iraq? - The New Yorker
Perhaps the first instance of aerial bombing in the subcontinent took place in Punjab in April 1919, when the British attempted to crush demonstrations against draconian detention laws promulgated by the Rowlatt Act. A day after imperial troops opened fire on five thousand people in Jallianwalla Bagh, Amritsar, British planes dropped bombs on protestors in the city of Gujranwala and neighbouring villages. These acts of colonial violence had profound effects on the subcontinent. In their aftermath, Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood and Mohandas Gandhi mobilised his first civil disobedience movement in India. Today, these events are part of school textbooks across South Asia. At the time, they shaped the ways in which aerial bombardment was first discussed—ways that underlie contemporary conversations about drone warfare. Reports from the Hunter Commission (which was formed by the British government in October 1919 to investigate the “Punjab disturbances”), and from an independent Congress Committee (which boycotted the Hunter Commission and carried out its own investigation) contain a rare transcript and discussion of the interrogation of a British air force officer involved in the bombing of Gujranwala. Under questioning, the officer emphatically stated that, from two hundred feet above the ground, he could see “perfectly well” what he was doing. Despite this commanding perspective, however, he said he “could not discriminate between the innocent people and other people.” What’s more, he continued firing into streets and homes long after protestors had started fleeing; the purpose of “doing more damage,” he admitted, was to produce a “moral effect”—to not just disperse protestors, but also to induce such fear that people would not dare to congregate again. In other words, the “moral effect” required the use of excessive violence. The Hunter Commission repudiated this as a “doctrine of frightfulness” that could undermine the legitimacy of British rule, and the British almost never again used aerial bombing to quell anti-colonial mobilisations in the subcontinent (although they considered it during the Moplah rebellion in Malabar in 1921).
— Altitudes Of Imperialism | The Caravan - A Journal of Politics and Culture
August 5, 2014 at 8:07am
The likelihood that the events of the Komagata Maru helped sow the seeds of discontent among Indian sepoys in Singapore was greatly enhanced by the actions of individuals associated with a radical Indian nationalist movement known as Ghadar.
Ghadar activists did not just send literature from North America: they also sent people. The specific purpose of Ghadar agents was no less than to foment revolution in India and to overthrow colonial rule, using whatever means possible. Beginning in September and October 1914—just months before the Singapore Mutiny—Ghadarites left San Francisco for India and the Far East. Specific target areas included Hong Kong, the Malay States, Rangoon, and Singapore—each of which had Indian Army garrisons that Ghadarites were eager to penetrate….
In addition to appealing to Indian sepoys’ potential sense of exploitation as colonized Indians more generally, both the Germans and the Ghadarites made special efforts to appeal to Indian Muslims—especially after the Ottoman Empire’s entrance into the war on the side of Germany in November 1914. Indeed, Germans, Turks, and Ghadarites worked together in a self-conscious program of encouraging disloyalty among the Allies’ Muslim subjects—of which the largest population in the world was Indian
News spread through these propaganda channels that Kaiser Wilhelm had converted to Islam and that large segments of the German population had converted as well. That these or similar efforts had an impact on at least some men of the 5th Light Infantry can be gauged by several letters intercepted by the censor in the days surrounding the mutiny. As Lance Naik Fateh Mohammed wrote to his father in the Punjab: “The Germans have become Mohammedans. Haji Mahmood William Kaiser and his daughter has married the heir to the Turkish throne, who is to succeed after the Sultan. Many of the German subjects and army have embraced Mohammedism. Please God that the religion of the Germans (Mohammedism) may be promoted or raised on high.”
— Heather Streets-Salter in “The Local Was Global: The Singapore Mutiny of 1915” http://singaporemutiny.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/global-causes-of-the-singapore-mutiny-of-1915/
Remember Kammo, man is forgiven every sin. But no trespass by a woman is ever tolerated.
Chann Pardesee (1980)
(Source: dhrupad, via bhagyawati)
Uski Roti, a film made in 1969, and which still requires a language adequate to it. Possessing neither the column inches nor the language, I’ll put a few jottings down. The film (about a truck driver whose only reason for contact with his young wife is to collect his food or roti, and who also has a mistress) is indeed slow — or subjected to deliberate retardation. So slow, in fact, that there are times you feel you’re looking at a photo album. As with the album, both the images and the juxtapositions draw you in. An album’s narrative is implicit; its impact derives from the way clusters of similar-seeming pictures are arranged from page to page. In Uski Roti, disconcertingly, the near-still pictures move intermittently, with fast and slow movements. Stillness invokes the private rapture of confronting a photograph, as a memory is recognized or even engendered; movement, in the film, suggests contemporariness and, sometimes, Godard, as when the bus driver smokes, looks at a magazine, or the camera notices the cut-out of the cherub pasted to his windscreen, which hovers, is motionless, and travels simultaneously. Kaul takes from the short-story writer Mohan Rakesh (who’s his screenplay writer) some of the strange sophistication of the nayi kahani, bringing together, implausibly but beautifully, North Indian rural life with a luminous European-style symbolism. Kaul’s vision of this landscape, and especially of women’s faces, shows us that beauty, for him, is hardly ever timeless and organic: it is urbane, sophisticated and constructed. Both the landscape and the women, in Uski Roti, emanate intelligence.
— Amit Chaudhary http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140713/jsp/opinion/story_18604491.jsp#.U8YOdvmSxda
Chann Pardesee (1980)
So instead of crying wolf about leaving the country if Modi comes to power, it would be better to be here and go deeper into India. In blaming only the big media and corporate houses for the rise of Modi, the anti-Modi progressive camp displays its own dependence on the good will and supposed democratic sensibility or leanings of corporate India, the Congress and like entities—and one’s own bankruptcy and spinelessness.
— Saroj Giri http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?290061
There is a shift from “being to having”, and then from “having to appearing”. Social relationships become maintained through images and commodities. The IPL is a perfect example: the crowd attend to be seen, behaviour is altered to present a representation of the self.