Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Samman and the International Workers Day

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Countercurrents | May 01, 2019

Lal Bahadur Shastri had given the slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ (Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer). This was in recognition of their contribution for national security and food security in the country. The point that was however missed out was the issue of ‘Jai Samman’. Being a part of the working class working towards protecting national territory or providing food security to the nation, both of them were missing on ‘Samman’.Read More »

India: Kanhaiya Kumar Breathes Winds of Change in Begusarai

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The Wire | April 29, 2019

Begusarai goes to vote today in the fourth phase of the 17th Lok Sabha elections. This year, the constituency has been in the spotlight all because of one name – Kanhaiya Kumar.

For a long time, Begusarai’s politics has been dominated by money-power and muscle-power. Caste, religion and regional equations have largely determined how people vote. The stories which earlier used to undergird elections in Begusarai were centred around which criminal was contesting and how polling booths were being captured.Read More »

The 1919 Amritsar Violence, Through Saadat Hasan Manto’s Eyes

by Raza Naeem

The Wire | April 09, 2019

This is the first article in a two-part series on Manto’s writing on Jallianwala Bagh.

‘I am the trader of sighs
To versify blood is my mission
Remaining winds of the garden!
Gather your refuges…for
My fiery songs
Are about to cause an upheaval within depressed bosoms.’

Amritsar was a city of worshippers of freedom. A 100 years ago this month, the city witnessed the bloody tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh.

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For First Time Since 1993-94, India’s Male Workforce Is Getting Smaller: Report

The Wire | March 20, 2019

New Delhi: The National Sample Survey Office’s periodic labour force survey 2017-18 has reportedly found that the size of India’s male workforce – or men who are working – has reduced for the first time since 1993-94.

According to the Indian Express, the unreleased report says there are 28.6 crore employed men – a decline from 30.4 crore in 2011-12, when the last NSSO survey was conducted. This downward trend is even stronger in rural areas than in urban, the newspaper reported, with a 6.4% decline in the number of employed men in rural areas against 4.7% in urban.

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The People’s Winter of Kolkata: Little Magazines and Literature Festivals

by Abhishek Bhattacharyya

GroundXero | March 15, 2019

We were standing in a group and chatting in College Square. It was a not-so-cold winter evening in Kolkata, in mid-January. The ‘little magazine’ fair was being launched with a series of performances – from plays to poetry recitations to songs. We were discussing how there were many such ‘alternative’ cultural events lined up at this time of the year, from the present event to the upcoming film festival organised by the People’s Film Collective that overlapped partially with the fair, and the People’s Literary Festival subsequently in February. One comrade in the group, who was amongst the organisers of the little magazine event, joked – you see, everyone in Kolkata remembers the “people” suddenly in winter, no one cares for the rest of the year; if only Kolkata had more of a winter, we’d probably have seen a revolution by now!Read More »

The People’s Winter of Kolkata: Film Screenings, and more

by Abhishek Bhattacharyya

GroundXero | March 16, 2019

In the first part of this article I’d discussed a little magazine festival and the People’s Literary Festival, and in this one I turn to the People’s Film Festival – to report on a number of events this winter in Kolkata, that mobilised and laid claim to a figure of the people. Weaving a report of the festival with brief reviews of some movies screened there, and quickly contextualising them within both the People’s Film Collective’s overall project, and their location within a politics of the people in Kolkata, I look at how alternative cultural formations are often thriving here, albeit with limitations. To what extent and how might such alternative spaces be ritualistic? What can be the power of such ritual performances? And where might they be exceeding familiar bounds? These are some questions I carry over from the earlier piece.Read More »

‘Don’t Be a Fossil Fool’: Hundreds Skip School to Protest Climate Change in Delhi

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LiveWire | March 15, 2019

On Friday morning, more than 100 students from different parts of Delhi and Gurgaon donned their usual school uniforms.

But they didn’t go to school.

Instead, the students gathered at Delhi’s central park in Connaught Place to protest against the government’s inaction on climate change.Read More »