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September 19, 2018

Tag: gandhi

February 6, 2016

Cloaks of activism

by viggy — Categories: social, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , Leave a comment

Communist, Anarchist, Feminist, Anti-castist, Free Knowledge Hacktivist, Free Speech Advocate, Democrat, Atheist, Anti-racist, LGBT Activist, environmentalist, anti-imperialist and so many other cloaks that a liberal can wear. Ofcourse there are the opposite cloaks for a conservative person also. Amongst so many cloaks, which is the best fit for a person. A person can either have choice of renting one of the cloak for sometime or be forced to choose one of these based on his/her circumstances. Can a boy really wear the cloak of feminism, can he really internalize what a girl has to go through just due to an accident of her being born as a girl? Can an upper-caste really wear the anti-castist cloak without having ever faced with any discrimination or having to be aware of his/her caste identity in a public place? Ofcourse they can rent these cloaks for sometime, lending their voices in support but they can never represent the truly oppressed or shape their movement.

Ambedkar’s commandments to the oppressed, ‘Educate, Agitate, Organize’ represents very well as the direction for the people from the oppressed community. However, for the people from the non-oppressed who would like to support the oppressed and stand with them, in my opinion, the commandment should be to support the leaders from the oppressed rather than taking the role of leader themselves. And this ofcourse is the most challenging aspect for such a person who has always been habituated to lead and direct the decision process.

These lines from the ‘Dalit Marxist Manifesto‘ beautifully present the behaviour of an upper-caste in the dalit movement. “Such attitude is part of growing up upper-caste in India, they just can’t imagine how to look at the world without them being at the center of it, they can’t look at a lower-caste person except from above. Being progressive, radical, revolutionary are not just products of only honest, idealist and painstaking study and analysis of the world but also a resurfacing of the old theme of Higher-hood now denied to them, or they live in denial of, adjusted on a new surface.”

Gandhi and Ambedkar’s tussle in various aspects represents this very well. Gandhi did wear the cloak of being an anti-castist but he could never internalize it and so much that he always gave much more priority to freedom struggle against the Britishers than fighting the caste system within his own society. For Ambedkar, the freedom struggle against Britishers had very little significance as compared to the freedom struggle against the castist society.

This tussle between various cloaks that a liberal wears will always exist. Hence you see the feminist not talking about caste as an issue or even feminist not talking about LGBT rights as much. The environmentalists may talk about Tribal rights but will not talk about farmer suicides. Communists talk about exploitations in work place with their friends in living rooms while asking their wives to prepare food for the comrades.

Ofcourse this does not undermine their contributions to their own activism. Gandhi’s contribution to freedom struggle cannot be challenged and we can only respect him for his sacrifices and appreciate his bravery. This discussion of cloaks is still limited to people who choose to act, where as there are millions who continue to choose to be naked and whose silence allows oppression to be continued. Hence this tussle in whatever way still leads to something better for the society as against doing nothing.

December 21, 2015

Gandhi, law and emotions

by viggy — Categories: social — Tags: , , , Leave a comment

Two strand of thoughts have been in my mind for last one week. One is the popular news about the juvenile who raped Jyoti Singh (Nirbhaya) who is being released after completing three years in jail as what is prescribed by the law. The second thought was about more than half a century ago, the hanging of Nathuram Godse.
In the first case, as always, I had opinion opposite to most people who were thirsty for blood, who wanted him to be jailed for more time, probably forever. Their simple case was that it was dangerous to release him. Why? What exactly did he do on that day of incident? How exactly had he been for last 3 years? All this did not matter. They wanted blood and this was an easy case. For me personally it was never about the boy. I dont know his name or anything much about him. What mattered to me more was the kind of society that we were developing where 17 year old boys were becoming rapists. What led him to that path? In some news channel, I heard that the boy was on roads for 7 years away from his home, that means right at age of 10, he had been working, doing odd jobs.

I am not sure what exactly made me think of the Nathuram Godse’s hanging. But I kept thinking of how we had let down Gandhi by hanging his assassin. Wouldnt he himself suggested not to harm him had Gandhi been alive? This seemed to be first incident where we could make use of Gandhi’s teaching without his presence and we as a nation, just chose to ignore it. Now, more than 65 years of his death, no doubt that we have been making a mockery of all his teachings. This line of thought stayed with me for sometime.

But when I was thinking of the case of juvenile’s release along with Godse’s hanging, there seemed to two contradictory line of thoughts. In case of the juvenile’s release, I was looking at it from rule of law perspective and how since he had spent the stipulated time as per law, he had all rights to be released. However, in case of Godse’s hanging, I was looking at it from Gandhi’s perspective. However, when we look at rule of law, then in case of Godse, he did have to present his case in front of a court which then gave the judgement that he should be hanged till death.

So even if Gandhi would have been alive, there would have been no reason to not hang Godse, as that was the law at that time. Ofcourse, would Gandhi have intervened to make amendments to law such that death sentence would be abolished? I dont know. One of the popular reason, lot of left leaning intellectuals do not like Gandhi as much is because of the role he played in case of Bhagat Singh, hanging. Many believe that had Gandhi taken the issue up with the British government as a priority and asserted pressure, they could have been forced to release him or atleast not hang him and maybe give him life imprisonment.

December 29, 2014

Dead person and a used tissue paper

by viggy — Categories: experience, God, social — Tags: , , , , , , Leave a comment

A dead person is as useless as a used tissue paper. Its existence has no consequence, and for the lack of proper word that I can think of, no respect. If you look at the way people treat a dead body in the name of the final rites, its shameful. A person who would have been a big bully would now be moved around like a sack of bag. Not only physically, even ideologically his/her ideas would be modified, distorted etc as wished and the dead person cant defend it.

How often have you heard this statement, “Aaj agar _____ Hote?”, “If he was alive, he would have …..?” Anyone would say this and there is no way the dead person can defend himself/herself.

We have two great examples for this. Gandhi and Che Guevara. With 100s of schemes tied to his name, lakhs of roads, auditoriums, etc Gandhi is used in this country by anyone and everyone. I am sure ‘If he was alive, he would have sat on Anshan in retaliation’. See I just did that. With Modi’s Cleanliness campaign to Congress’s MNREGA everybody has made use of him. On the ground, we have nationalists who hate him, call him names for supposedly being responsible for Partition. I do not have much idea about him but this seems to be an interesting debate about ‘Relevance of Gandhi in today’s world

Che’s picture is a very common picture to everyone, most seen in T Shirt prints. In a recent debate about Copyright, Copyleft and incentive to publishers, one of the speakers mentioned that ‘If copyright helped the original creators, Che would have been the richest person for his own image.’ It is appalling how his image is used/morphed/remixed into any design and again the poor revolutionary who went ahead and challenged some of the most powerful countries in his time is helpless and cannot defend himself now.

The Iron Man, Vallabhbhai Patel with the Statue of Unity also faces the same fate. Whether he himself would have agree to spend Rs. 2000 Crores on his statue in the name of Nation’s unity is an interesting question.

The more popular the person is, the more is the dilution and corruption of his/her ideology.

What is interesting is that Almighty GOD also faces the similar humiliation. Things that have been done and is being done in name of GOD is truly shameful? But the almighty not able to defend himself/herself, infact needing people to defend himself/herself makes one doubt his/her capabilities.