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The fence-sitter of Tamil Nadu politics: Superstar Rajinikanth


Keerthi Nathan

keerthi nathan 2020Tamil Nadu has a long history where Dravidian politics is associated with the Tamil cinema industry and they both go hand in hand because the Tamil film industry has produced three Chief Ministers. The trend started with M.Karunanidhi and CN Annadurai who were known for their acumen in script writing and continued the same zeal in delivering powerful scripts which propagated the ideological messages of Social Justice and Anti-Brahmanism (the movie Parasakthi was heavily based on this). These were also the core ideologies of the Dravidian movement in the state. Since then, there has been no stopping and the Dravidian movement further gave rise to two Chief Ministers who were film superstars (MGR & Jayalalithaa).

MGR’s career in politics was the ditto performance of his on screen persona i.e., being the savior of the poor and he carried along this image in his public life as well. He was known to be a generous person who had a cult like following among his followers especially the women voters. People saw the same persona which he portrayed on the screen in his real life as well and they wasted no time in associating themselves with his party, the AIADMK. After MGR, it was Jayalalithaa who carried on the baton and also succeeded in convincing the people that the AIADMK’s legacy shall always have the ideals of MGR.

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After a series of dismal performances, what is the future of Congress?


Keerthi Nathan

keerthi nathan 2020The Mahagatbandhan alliance comprising of RJD, Congress and the Left parties have given a tough fight to the ruling NDA in the recently held elections in Bihar. Although the RJD has increased its vote share tremendously since last the general election held last year, it is the Congress which has been consistently underperforming and has caused considerable damage to the overall tally of the Grand Alliance, bringing into question its credibility as a junior partner in an alliance.

During the run up to the Bihar elections, the RJD had entered into an electoral alliance with Congress and the Left parties which consisted of CPI(M), CPI(ML)L, CPI. The Congress was allotted 70 seats, while the RJD contested on 144 seats and the combined Left parties got a share of 29 seats with the CPI(ML)L bagging the highest of 19 seats. And when the election results were being declared yesterday, the Left parties had done reasonably well and the CPI(ML)L won 11 seats compared to that of the 3 seats it won in the 2015 Elections.

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Deifying the Migrant Mother and Kolkata’s erasure of Caste


Aatika Singh

aatika singhPallab Bhowmick, an artist, has come up with the concept of portraying Goddess Durga as a migrant mother for this year's Durga Pujo in Kolkata's Barisha club. The finely carved and aesthetically beautiful sculpture is being widely applauded for its progressive form and thought. However, this particular theme showcasing a migrant woman laborer isn't really about cultural resistance as many are saying but about deifying the marginalized into a binary of pure and polluted again. Any intervention that comes into Bengal's almost absent discourse on Caste is through an upper caste gaze that truly lacks the necessary empiricism to understand Dalit lives and their counter culture to the hegemonic Hindu upper caste Bengali culture. This happens more so in urban parts that have a history of erasure through a process of mobility which gives a very narrow focus to historical excavation of omnipresent structures like Caste.

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Casteism of the liberal defense of Arnab Goswami

 

Bobby Kunhu

On the morning when Arnab Goswami was arrested from his residence, and the right wing establishment including the Union Cabinet Ministers of the BJP led Government of India went on an overdrive protesting the arrest and claiming that this was political vendetta, attack on freedom of press and reminiscent of "emergency", it reminded me of a local proverb bandied around in Ponnani – which once upon a time had an epidemic of elephantiasis. The proverb goes that a person with two legs afflicted with elephantiasis hiding his legs in water teases a person afflicted with elephantiasis on one leg. It is particularly humorous since BJP governments in the centre and states they rule regularly resort to prosecuting journalists and media houses that are critical of the government. The union government goes a step forward and has set up a 200 member special cell within the I & B Ministry building headed by an Additional Director General to monitor media and tick off/warn erring media. And of course in the Reporters Sans Frontiers Freedom of Press index, India has a proud 142nd place out of 180 countries.

goswami arrest

 It is in the DNA of every State to dislike its critics – regardless of the kind of government or ideology of its rulers. And every government has harassed its critics at different levels universally. What differs is the levels of impunity and adherence to legal processes. And the anti-dissent DNA streak of the BJP government is not only strong, but also extremely violent. Why just journalists and media, the BJP has mastered the art of using state agencies to silence dissent or even inconvenience through various investigative and prosecutorial agencies that it has control over and no other government can match its technique. So, when in the morning, the BJP ministers rushed to protest the arrest of Goswami without sniffing their own backsides – like someone pointed out on Facebook, it didn't seem like a journalist was arrested, but rather a member of the BJP national executive was. But that was expected. Arnab Goswami fandom is either a bunch of English speaking brain dead savarna zombies or the political bosses he serves.

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All Ambedkarites of Vidarbha unite and support Atul Khobragade's Election

 

Dipankar Devesh Kamble

History of Ambedkarite Politics. The Ambedkarite politics of India had been a deciding factor in the electoral system. When Dr. Ambedkar established Independent Labour Party it proved as a potential counter to the then Indian National Congress in the Bombay Legislative Assembly. The Scheduled Caste Federation and Republican Party of India also made their presence felt in the Legislative Assemblies and the Parliament. The emergence of the Bahujan Samaj Party brought a fresh new air into Ambedkarite politics across India.

atul khobragade 2

In 2014 the political scenario in India changed. Not a single Ambedkarite Party candidate was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014. BSP which always had some presence in Lok Sabha failed to secure even a single seat in the Lok Sabha. This had lowered the morale of the Ambedkarite masses and specially the youth.

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Call for Litigation Associate

 

Criminal Justice & Police Accountability Project

The Criminal Justice & Police Accountability Project is a Bhopal-based research and litigation intervention working to build accountability against the unjust criminalisation of marginalised communities, and towards decarceration.

Poster - Call for Litigation Associate page-0001

CPAProject is hiring one full-time litigation associate. The position is based in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh (MP). The associate will contribute to the Project's litigation wing, handling pre-trial and trial work, and strategic litigation in the High Court and Supreme Court. This will involve providing legal representation on the ground and in police stations and appearances before Bhopal's Trial Court and the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. The associate will also contribute to the Project's research work. The associate will be expected to be strong-willed, resilient and eager to push the boundaries of an unrelenting system that is biased towards status quo.

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Call for Law Interns

 

Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project

Call for Law Interns

The Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project (CPAProject) is a research and litigation intervention working to build accountability against the unjust criminalisation of marginalised communities, and towards decarceration.

Call for Interns

We are looking for legal interns for remote internships from November 2020 to January 2021. The work will involve research on the disproportionate impact of criminal laws on marginalised communities and assisting with litigation before the High Court. We might consider applications for in person internships for those residing in Bhopal.

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