a.nihil

India

Everybody loves a dead soldier

Dead soldiers are a political and emotional capital. People who wore a uniform for the necessity of a salary suddenly become martyrs for the sake of the “mother/fatherland”. They become a mythological cause for a government to hide behind, the veil of perfect excuse. On the 74th Independence Day yesterday, the Prime Minister Modi had this to say:

Those who challenge India’s sovereignty, be it Line of Control or Line of Actual Control, have been given a befitting reply in their own language. What India can do, world has seen it in Ladakh. Respect for India’s sovereignty is supreme for us.

What he does not mention is that the Chinese standoff is far from over. In the sectors where China has encroached upon Indian land, Indians have managed to do little. Though the Chinese side haven't released the number of dead on their side of the border, the Indian government and the Army had to account for the 20 dead soldiers at the Galwan Valley clash. The spin machine in Modi's right-wing, nationalist BJP government has taken advantage of the information opacity to say that the Chinese have been deterred by the Indian show of force. The temptation of using dead soldiers for political mileage is too good to pass in an environment which would otherwise call for more political scrutiny. India is facing the sheer brute force of COVID-19 coupled with a weak economy and increasingly receding democratic apparatus.

In the same speech PM Modi quotes:

“On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank the efforts of all corona-warriors. All those healthcare workers, doctors and nurses, who have worked tirelessly to serve the nation amid the pandemic. Many have even lost their lives. The nation salutes them.”

What this rhetoric does is that it transforms the administrative shortcomings of the government into the same martyrdom capital a dead soldier provides. This shifts the blame away from the government and instead fools the public into blind veneration. No rational person chooses to die from work. The incentive of being a healthcare worker or a soldier comes from the paychecks they bring and the societal privilege these occupations provide. This is not to mention that most soldiers choose to become one because there's no other form of livelihood that can be guaranteed from the places they come from. They are underpaid and overworked, an occupational privilege they share with the so called “corona warriors”.

What could have been a political disaster for a nationalist party that cannot secure its nation has now become the very strength. The more people that are killed through the pandemic and along the border with China, the more people would be willing to buy the hokey bullshit that Mr. Modi has to peddle. Aided by the media which have fallen for the Hindu propaganda over the past six years, the failings of Modi's government are easily forgiven and forgotten.

This masculine chest thumping is a worrying sign, the only independence the country is celebrating right now is the independence from common sense and empathy. India has devolved into a puppet state where the puppets are the people participating in the democracy. There is very little hope when the spilling of blood is seen as a sign of power than a crisis of morality.

#India #independence #nationalism

Greatness. Glory. Us, the people. India, the land of the ancient great. Superpower, $5 trillion economy. A land of beauty, color, mystique, good food and IT coolies that get the job done. India, shining and proud – a collective of people who lead and inspire the world. These are all PR terms that are supposed to evoke pride in who we are, the stamp of a passport on our souls. When this rosy idea of the country is challenged, through accounts of poverty, income inequality, rising authoritarian streaks it becomes a cause to be fought against.

India like most nations today suffers from jingoistic nationalism that is formed on thoughts and ideas that not everyone has access to. Let us examine the term “Migrant Laborers” which in itself is devoid of any moral or meaning. These are the masons, carpenters, pani-puri wallahs and load bearers that camouflage in the brick and concrete dust in countless constructions sites across the country, forming the backbone of the informal Indian economy that is 81% of the total workforce.

The word “laborer” itself serves a negative function in the Indian middle-class discourse – they are still seen as the low caste (regardless that according to the Article 14 of the Indian constitution, discrimination according to caste is illegal), overpopulating and not worthy of an equal status. A poor that brings down the name of the country through their lack of effort. The middle and the political class are far removed from what poverty means, it is “those” people that inhabit the corners of their eyes, almost polluting their line of sight. The millions of middle class Indians living abroad or even working cushy jobs in metro cities are not migrants workers, no. They are Indians. The migrant laborers are Indian but not really, they will be the soldiers for future wars if needed, but people they are not.

Here lies the problem with Modi government's response to the COVID-19 crisis. It was addressed to the middle-classes of India who had enough resources to survive the lockdown but the poor were left with nothing and nowhere to go. There was no aid for those who needed it the most. The rules issued by the Modi government by now seem arbitrary and without any scientific precedent:

From the limited information available in the public domain, it seems that the government was primarily advised by clinicians and academic epidemiologists with limited field training and skills. Policy makers apparently relied overwhelmingly on general administrative bureaucrats. The engagement with expert technocrats in the areas of epidemiology, public health, preventive medicine and social scientists was limited. – Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine & Indian Association of Epidemiologists

Taking into consideration even the survivorship bias and assuming that the government has acted quick, the current spike in cases just when the lockdown is supposed to end and the spate of the migrants still far away from their homes are still critical failures that could have been avoided with scientific consensus and proper planning. We can see the results in the laborers that were hosed with chemicals, left to struggle without food, shelter or security for weeks at an end in cities that they could never call home. Why weren’t the migrants first ferried to the villages when the cases were the lowest?

“If the situation is not handled in these 21 days, the country and your family could go back 21 years… Several families could get devastated for ever… This virus spreads like wildfire… There is no other method or way to escape Coronavirus (except social distancing)… Jaan hai to jahan hai… Carelessness of a few can put the entire country in jeopardy.” Modi, March 24th 2020

Modi in retrospect looked like he was making a political gamble, if the lockdown somehow managed to eliminate the virus from the populace, he would’ve been hailed as a hero furthering his curated god-like image. But that’s not how viruses work, there was sufficient literature evidence by around the third week of March that the virus is here to stay. By the end of May the mask of foolishness and image the government has been hiding behind for two months fall apart. Daily cases are reaching a new peak everyday and by all measures the lockdown can be touted as a failure. The spin from the official mouthpieces of the government focuses on the recovery rate and how the quick action to shut the country off has paid dividends because the hospitals now aren’t full. But who is to believe the statistics that come from governmental agencies? When the government itself is in denial of inadequate testing and community transmission (”it’s a question of semantics”). With an average of 7000+ cases in the last days of Lockdown 4.0 the government is in frantic need of good public posturing. With that burden we are presented with Unlock 1.0 which has the same function as the previous lockdowns, to boost the image of the government and not saving the people.

How can we as Indians harp on our glory and feel united when the disenfranchised have been exposed in such glaring light? The natural chest thumping that the BJP resorts to when provided with a problem is absent from the discourse. The party leadership will ignore the questions about the logic of the lockdown, the situation of migrant workers, inadequate testing because how can they bring themselves to explain that India is for them a land for the few? The Indians the BJP harps about are not walking in the streets with their humble belongings, they don’t have glamour of working in the cold battlefields of Kashmir or Siachen. The laborers have metaphors that those in the higher echelons in Indian society use for denigration and shame.

For a government that always likes to consider itself better off than Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, this is time to look and learn from countries that have handled the crisis better. Germany, South Korea and Taiwan have all handled the crisis with humility. They thought about their children, about their aged, their disadvantaged and their disenfranchised. It is not hard work, after all it is the job the government has been elected to do.

#lockdown #India #COVID19

and his pots, pans and candles.

Hail Modi

Narendra Modi hasn't seen much crisis since his coming to power than the ones he has created himself. Demonetization, the CAA-NRC fallout and the abrogation of the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution are a simulated reality for him, where he created response to the world he built. The COVID-19 crisis however is something out of his dictatorial territory, it has flummoxed him and his followers and the reaction and messaging is clear and fair. There has been no live press meets but only taped words of distant balm. The first time he addressed the nation on the 19th of March, his response to the situation looked more like a middle-aged Indian's knee jerk reaction with spiritualism, dharma and a loud ritual thrown into the mix. On paper his instructions read more like a recipe to a bhajan than a pandemic response.

The reaction to the “soft” voluntary lockdown on the 22nd of March and the we-will-bludgeon-you-to-death version unleashed two days later. Millions of daily wage laborers left broke and homeless had to fend for themselves before the government machinery woke up to repeat some numbers. They still are repeating those numbers, with more preference given to covering up the situation and giving a narrative than answering questions that matter. As is the case with the Chinese, the Indian culture also values social image more than the truth, not answering a question would equal to the problem not existing. Given that India's health spending is just over 1% of the GDP, the response shouldn't come as a surprise.

Mr. Modi plays out the crisis to his core base of exhausted high caste, middle-class uncles whose end value of education is reduced to a certificate and for whom there exists answer for every problem in “Indian culture”. His appeals for banging pots and pans, lighting lamps and dancing in the streets appeal to the emotional Indian, while the rational one flinches, her voice taken away and drowned in the sea of maniacs for whom devotion has taken the place of reason. This is a planned gimmick, a testing ground to see how servile the country's populace are. The people have obliged without raising a furor, for the first time it looks like the unity of the people is detrimental. A strange fear creeps in when does not comply, almost as if a mob would be waiting outside with torches, demanding compliance.

With an easy prey found in terms of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, the Modi government can shake off all future blame for the spread of the pandemic — it was the Muslims who did it, always. Not a word that the government didn't wake up almost until three weeks into March and then implemented a haphazard plan that looked good, not because of structure because of the emphasis. Mr. Modi's has shown time and again that he'd prefer using a nuclear bomb where simple mosquito spray will suffice, but it is not the end result he and his political force are after but the sheer spectacle of it. It is not to be forgotten that this man was facing severe opposition for his controversial anti-minority bill (read Muslim) and also presided over a brief pogrom in Delhi in February.

All these issues are clean from Mr. Modi and his party comrades hands now, the COVID 19 couldn't have come at a better time for them. In a country where information is scarce, the official narrative and all the theatrics are enough to substitute a cohesive response. We need to remind ourselves that Mr. Modi likes subtly comparing himself with Mahatma Gandhi. He is one indeed, a wolf under Gandhi's skin.

#India #Modi #COVID19

If you are thinking seriously of developing the social consciousness of the masses, if you believe that the middle class cannot come to power without the active participation of the illiterate and property-less majority of our people, then you should not dismiss the discontent of the workers and peasants as “simply economic”. No community is ever involved in any political movement unless urged on by economic motives. The patriotism of the “thinking portion” of our population originates in the clearly-defined consciousness which this class has of its own economic needs. If you want the masses to take an active part in the political movement, you will have to go down into the economics of their lives, find out their basic necessities, and arouse in them the consciousness of these necessities and how to go about winning them in the political struggle.

Why do the so-called “thinking” elements of our people take a more active part in the political movement than the “common” people? It is not because this class is specially created by God to monopolize the political destinies of the nation, but because as a class, it is more conscious of its own economic interests. And why? Not because of any natural superiority, but because they have more access to education. Some want industrial development, which will increase the amount of their profits; others want the doors to the higher government positions thrown open to them; still others want such a system of education as will enable them to earn more wages, etc. etc. Politics is based upon economic interests and necessities. Consequently, the political movement in which we want the masses of our people to take active part, must take into consideration the economic desires and necessities of the latter. That is all I have to say. If a party will be organized in India upon this principle, with an economic programme translated into political activities, backed up by direct action of the masses, there will be no further need to bother you with unwelcome heaps of literature.

A few concrete points. You seem to be very much concerned with the problem of Hindu-Muslim unity. This is the logical reaction of our old exclusively Hindu Nationalism, which was simply Pan-Hinduism when carried to its extreme conclusion, forming the antithesis of the aggressive Pan-Islamism. Now permit me to point out to you that, so long as you will endeavor to rear the structure of this much-needed Hindu-Muslim unity upon the thin surface of the “thinking portion” of our people exclusively, you may achieve mutual cordiality, but real unity will remain an unsolved problem. Here again, we must go down to the roots of things. It is upon the dynamics and not the statics of the question that we must base our calculations. The preachings and exhortations of well-meaning patriots have their subjective significance, but the main problem can be solved only by the development of objective forces. The unity of the various communities inhabiting India should not be regarded as a mere political exigency. This unity will be achieved only by a social readjustment taking place as a result of the growth of new economic forces.

The vertical divisions of our society can be eliminated only by the intensification of the horizontal division. That is to say, the divisions of caste, creed and religion will be replaced by class-cleavage, which divides society as a whole into two great, hostile camps, – that of the propertied exploiter and that of the expropriated and exploited working class. Such being the case, Hindu-Muslim and every other communal unity can and will be realized only through the gradual process of development of class-demarcation. There is no other way. You may hate it; you may try by all means to prevent it; but it will be in vain, since the natural and inevitable development of social forces cannot be set at nought by our desires. If you are courageous enough to get a firm grip on the economic foundations of our movement, the question of communal unity will not worry you so much; because then you will see how the pressure of economic forces is breaking down the ancient communal and religious prejudices and traditions.

A landlord is first of all a landlord, and a Hindu or Mussulman or anything else after that. He does not take any less rent from a tenant who is his co-religionist than from one who is not. The same holds true of employers of labour. Have you ever seen a Muslim or Hindu or Parsi employer paying. a higher scale of wages to his brothers in the faith? These are general laws of economics that hold good everywhere. One can take them a priori for granted, because they have been proved and are proven true wherever tested. One dare not say that they are applicable to some countries and inapplicable to others. We cannot seek to escape from the working of these economic laws by trying to believe that.

India is a special creation of Providence. Our communal unity will be realized through the economic development of the country, just as communal unity has been realized everywhere else. Sentimental propaganda is useless. Your “thinking portion of the people” will on the contrary, try to preserve our communal animosities, since by this way they can keep their hold on the situation. No my dear friend, we must determine our method of work, not according to the convenience and capability of our handful of intellectual aristocrats, but according to the economic interests of the overwhelming majority of our people. Just so long as we delude ourselves and others on the subject of superiority as measured by a university degree, just so long will we live in our heaven of intellectual isolation, happy perhaps, but condemned forever to our chains of slavery.

— M.N. Roy, 10.11.1922 (Source: Marxist Internet Archive)

#India #communalism #caste #religion

India's caste system is, of course, unique in the way all national institutions are unique. But it is far from the only caste system and it is not so different as is usually supposed. There were similar and contemporary systems in China, Korea, Japan, pre-Christian Igbo and Mande societies... And as for historical precedent, there are even more. Nor is India's system unique in surviving on a social level. If anything, it's unique because the government of India has taken such strident measures to counteract it in a democratic context. For example, Japan has a caste of untouchables and they are still discriminated against.

So the premise of your question is flawed. As is the idea that Islam, Christianity, and Sikhism couldn't affect the caste concept. While it didn't eliminate it completely, the way a Christian, Muslim, or Sikh experiences and conceives of the caste system is radically different than a Hindu. This is even true for Buddhists. And generally Sikhism and western Christianity is considered to have strong anti-caste sentiment and is attractive to certain castes as a result.

Why did it exist and with such elaboration? The British. (This is also why it's common even to religions that reject it: the British didn't exclude Christians or Muslims etc.)

The modern caste system was created by the British in 1881. Now, the British did not invent the concept of caste or that it was a system or invent any castes or ethnic groups. What they did do was conduct a census where every single person was categorized by caste, religion, and ethnicity. For the first time ever there was a coherent, India-wide system of castes with different ranks and laws applying to them. At least in British territory: the princely states could be more varied.

It's controversial if the British made any modifications to the census for political purposes or if they simply accurately reported what they were told. What is not controversial is that they prevented people from changing caste and created laws that applied by caste. This system, whereby there were different laws for different castes, persisted with modifications until 1948.

To transport it to an American context, imagine America is being colonized by Britain (again) except we're an alien people and they don't really understand us. (Okay, that's not so hard.) Now, you have racial, religious, work-based, and other conceptions of yourself. You may or may not believe you can leave some, all, or none of them. Their importance varies vastly depending on location and how they interplay. The system is complex and more than a little chaotic and it varies from state to state.

And the British don't understand it. So they send out a bunch of census takers. Alright, a census taker is knocking on your door. Now, what are you?

You're a mixed race Democrat living in Albany and working as a school teacher named Gloria van der Wafel? What races? White and black? Oh, well we've decided that if there's a mix you count as white. Also, from your name and the place you live you're obviously Dutch. And you're a member of the school teacher profession? Have you worked in it your entire life? Great, that makes things easier. Okay, I've got what I need. No, I don't need to know what your religion is: we've discovered there are no real differences among Americans due to religion. Silly you.

Anyway, here's what you are. Now, we've decided White Americans aren't very good at running things so you'll be forbidden from holding any kind of high office. However, you're a Dutch White American and we know the Dutch caste are really good at fighting so you can become a high ranking soldier if you join the army. Also, you and your children will put into the 'school teacher' class which will be allowed to teach school or do related work like being a secretary or coal mining. We've determined the skills and predilections of your profession make you ideally suited for that. And lastly, because you're a Democrat, you'll be paying a special Democrat tax. Also, you can't go to New York City anymore. But you can move to Buffalo or visit (but not move to) Boston.

Oh, and your neighbor has been determined to be of a criminal caste. Canadians, you know. Can't trust them. So we've arrested him and are currently rifling through his stuff to find evidence of his crimes. Don't worry, it won't happen to you. You're Dutch and the Dutch aren't predisposed to crime!

Toodles, spot of tea, what what. (And yes, they really did have things like that.)

Did the British invent the concepts like 'black' or 'white' or 'Dutch' or 'Canadian'? No. You would have articulated your own systems and rules before they showed up. Were there no laws or customs or beliefs about any of this before? No, there were. But despite that, the situation is rather different now, isn't it? And your place in society is now explicitly and entirely reliant on these classifications. Which are all unchangeable, by the way, and recorded in a very official looking office. And the rules are now made by the British, beyond your control. This was the effect of the British census and their use of it to rule India. And this was not particularly unusual, by the way. The British undertook similar measures in other societies. And more widely, the ossifying of social boundaries through censuses is a fairly common part of projects to make the population legible to central authority, even in non-colonial regimes.

So was there anything unique? Well, yes. Orientalism meant there was a far greater interest in the Indian caste system and the 'ancient wisdom' of their society. This made westerners far more aware of it than they are about caste in (say) Nigeria. But sociologically or in imperial terms? Not really, no.

From Society, and Politics in India from the 18th century to the Modern Age, the Making of the Raj, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of New India, The Peasant and the Raj, and Religion and Personal Law in India

u/Erusian

#India #caste #colonialism

Attacks on a indistinguished minority usually takes the rhetoric of a cockroach, pigs, rats and termites. These words show the status of this minority in the society and in the minds of the powerful who view them as sub-humans or even less, legitimizing violence against them. the Nazis used Untermensch while the killing fields of Rwanda saw “exterminate all cockroaches” radio broadcasted across the territory.

This tells us something about the oppressed and the fear and status they occupy in the oppressors head. Cockroaches, rats, termites and pigs are all scary and filthy beings. Most people do not want to have a contact with these organisms because of their irrational fear towards them. This means that these organisms hold a certain psychological power over the oppressors which can be used to their advantage.

Imagine a scenario where you are afraid of cockroaches. You hate them, deep inside your mind you want to exterminate them all. You think of nothing but the darkest thoughts for them but here's the catch, you do not see them that often. Your experience of the cockroach is built on slight interactions and group think. They are everywhere, but not around your eyes. You are seething with passive anger as you go with your day, there is no call for exterminating the cockroaches yet though the messaging is loud and clear — the world will be a better place only after all the cockroaches are killed. There is disease outside and crumbling infrastructure. Someone says that the infrastructure is decaying because the people are sick all the time. The causation is made. Then some more, it seeps around. Into politics, into education, into how people behave. Why? The infrastructure is corrupt, dead. It was always for whatever reasons. It can be institutional apathy but who wants to blame oneself for wrongs that can be attributed to someone else? The “infiltrators” start gaining more and more prominence and outcomes someone who connects the dots. It is the vile filth of the termites, cockroaches, pigs and rats that have contributed to this decay, look, we were a glorious civilization all the way back (we have no proofs because the vermin have digested them all!) until these “infiltrators” have come in caused us pain and disease.

These cockroaches are so because they cannot speak their needs. They are reduced in form and shape because they cannot assimilate in this society of humans because their needs are not legitimate in the human sense. When one speaks of these sub-humans (and accepts them), then the delegitimizing is complete. What powers do the cockroaches/vermin have, as the narrative is already prejudiced against them?

The psychological fear that they carry along with them is their biggest power. What they have in unity is what the people on the top fear the most, a tumbling mass of cockroaches and rats gnawing through. Their unision itself is a thing of horror as the narrative of infrastructural loss and disease cannot be forever harangued upon them. There will be repurcusions of course – a strong backlash coupled with violence, but how many of these insects have to be killed before one knows that it is too much? Other worlds start to take notice and the narrative falls flat on its face. The expelling of blood is a natural consequence but the narrative was the bigger enemy – to classify something one doesn't know as evil but one must recognize that they were part of the society very much so and they had particular functions that the people living on top cannot fathom.

This hate can seen through the lenses of poverty, generational discrimination and racism – the images of cockroaches and termites are not something that the cockroaches and termites have given themselves but it is in the eyes of the powerful who choose to disseminate these ideas against the general masses for escaping scrutiny and for their own good. The vilification once instituted cannot be satiated without direct confrontation but it is for every society to decide if such a narrative is necessary in the first place. This is a hierarchial system we all function in and the nature of hierarchy itself is to place things without power so that the powerful can amplify their own presence and give enough space for a mass to flex themselves. The consequence of multiple narratives are upon us but we choose not to learn either because of laziness or shortsightedness. Together, the underlings can constitute a larger terror to be fought against and creating enough doubt in going full on with the institutions of state power.

Changing these narratives would need an open mind. To welcome people inside without letting their terminology be the first filter. To not let politicians makes gambles on entire populace based on a single vote given by you. Knowing that all this has happened before and will happen after but your place in the world should not be on the basis of the same bigotry. Invite for a coffee, reach down and listen. All beings speak the same language as you do, drink some coffee or invite for a beer. One man's cockroach is another man's best friend, repeat not what the powerful say but know that choices are all of yours to make.

#racism #India

The protests happening around the implementation Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens pan-India are a joyous sight for Indians. The last six years the populace has remained largely complacent with the promises made by Modi and his cohorts but it looks like even the people are calling out B.S. on the openly anti-Muslim rhetoric pursued by the government in power.

The protests are being condemned because of the torching of public property and the pelting of stones against policemen, it is vital to remember that the mob has paid for the buses and policemen through their taxes and it is their right to exercise a protest in a form they deem fit. As for the policemen, it is an interesting development indeed that just a few weeks ago when the alleged rapist/murderers in the Disha case were “encountered” the police were elevated to the level of heroes. This shows the deficiencies in public memory and one must use it as a cause to vilify further against the Indian Police Force that remains corrupt and reliable as always. It is also worth to remember that the police are not there to propagate healthy protests but maintain the status quo as requested by whichever government that is in power.

The police do need some help in training themselves and is important that some stones get thrown at them. But the anger here is not towards the Government of India or its servants but towards the parent organization that fosters hate amongst people by dividing them along communal lines. The BJP is a relatively new entrant to the political field but the root of the problem is the RSS with its open “Hindu Rashtra” ideology that propels that BJP forward. Fighting against the BJP and the police will do little but pulling the mask off RSS is the need of the hour and the methods to do so are simple.

Order some ground beef and take along some cows. Gather all the people willing to eat a delicious beef biryani or beef fry and go the nearest RSS shakha, slaughter the cow and start cooking. If anyone comes close by attack with the raw beef and in more threatening times give the RSS a taste of its own medicine, Gaumutra and the eternal droppings of the Holy Cow. It is a joke that in modern India to stifle people one doesn't need guns or bombs but a simple cow and people hungry enough to slaughter it and eat.

The killing of the RSS must be done in a bottom-up fashion, inflaming the lower rungs and getting a response from the higher ranks and constant badgering at their ideals, their past and their plans for the future of the country. Their flags should be burned along with their books, their existence is both a grave threat to Hinduism and the other minority religions as they are a fascist organization hiding behind the iconography of the Hindu religion.

The chaddis need a good beating, team up and gang the next group you see. The only way to save the plurality of the Indian democracy is to remove the fascist and nepotistic elements and retain the essence that has been mandated in our constitution. The Congress is of no help either but that is a different question. Indians now have to fight for their freedom yet again, this time to be not fooled by organizations willing to exploit stagnant masculine anger diverted towards minority groups. The hydra has a thousand different heads and it is vital to rip its heart apart. Burn them down as you would burn your worst fears and protest till you go hungry, there is an abundance of cows for you to eat once the hydra is dead.

#CAAProtests #India #Hindutva #RSS

All four of the rape/murder accused in the Hyderabad rape case have been killed and that too at the scene of the crime. Four uneducated lorry drivers/cleaners who thought burning a body will absolve them of the crime. CCTVs, phone records and police investigation are alien things for them, even the flimsy Telugu film media should have been out of their reach to not consider better ways to hide their crimes. Why is this important? Hiding a crime shows that the intent was deliberate and the guilt+consequence of getting caught. Their crude morality at least allowed for the hiding from their crimes whereas in the 'encounter', the police do not have that operation of defense. They could kill and they did, the law does not matter. Nothing matters at all because it is state-sponsored anarchy and it has its own rewards.

What is rape? Let us not look at the word itself, as with all its weight and historical baggage it loses its meaning, Rape is the forcible sexual penetration of a person. In this case the killers tooks turns in raping the victim and in the process she died and they burned her body to hide the evidence. All this is hypothesis, we do not know if it is the rapists who killed the veterinarian doctor, it could've been a simple case of framed killers. There have been an umpteen number of cases where the accused were convicted of sexual crimes they did not commit, like the Ayesha Miran or the the Ryan International cases. We will never know because here the accused were 'encountered' before the court of law could examine the minutiae of the case.

Is this justice in a modern, democratic nation aiming to conquer the world and then Mars? The reactions of the public show that the legislative, the executive and the judiciary were all afraid of the consequences. Baying for the blood of the rapists (whoever they are. After the death of the accused and with no official sentence, we will never know who the official perpetrators of the crime are, just assumed suspects) the people and consequently the media have applied pressure on the political, police and judicial frameworks, which must've led to the collective shitting of pants in the backstages. Note that the second-in-command in the Telangana State called for a swift action against the accused and the Chief Minister of the State and the Prime Minister of the country have both been silent on the issue.

reality is just too complicated for anyone to understand, let alone for politicians to control. In response, those who aspire to power create simple narratives for the populace to buy into, in order to make sense of the world, and make it easier to control. In the process of creating this new 'map' the narrative bears little, or no resemblance to what is actually going on. Lies are built on lies, which are built on more lies. The delusion becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and the fakeness was accepted by everyone as real. This is Hypernormalisation.

Let us come to the issue of the Telangana Police. The man behind the press meet and hence the face of everything, Police Commissioner Sajjanar was previously also a part of an extrajudicial killing in 2008, for which he was hailed as a hero. And today, he's smiling before the media again, proud that he is getting away with it for the third time. And he will get away with it, he already escaped public scrutiny now, who cares about what the other institutions in the governmental framework think? The people have come out with flowers and appreciation all over crime scene and the social media. But it also shows the short-term thinking of the mob, they have already forgotten that the police apathy on the day of the veterinarian's kidnap where they assumed that she must have “eloped” with somebody. Before they woke up the deed has been done and in the posthumus responsibility towards their duty they shot dead the accused. This is a way of saving their skin but they have zero regard for the dead girl or the families of the rapists. The cops here are the worst killers as they show the duplicity of the people in power – their acts can do not go through the same scrutiny as the alleged criminal's and they get to roam around free in a society that is corrupt across various levels. Remember, the accused have been 'dealt' with quickly because they were poor, the rich live in their own universe.A question to consider is the number of politicians in the parliament accused of rape.

This mode of justice is appreciated by everyone, but it is also a quick fix. Opposing the judgement meted to them does not mean supporting the act of rape, the fact that this very argument was taken up says something about the people of this country. Though on one hand the attention that this act has put out on the general sexual violence that happens around the country it also shows that the people are ill equipped to handle such a moral dilemma. This deteriorating moral health can reflect upon other areas of living as well, such as the ossification of the discrimination against muslims as seen in the Citizenship Amendment Bill that has been tabled in the Parliament today. It seems like it is such a huge step between the rape of a woman, punishment and the ghettoization of a minority but the vision for us is here to see. We saw this happening several times over the past decade: where the quality of protests, the quality of debate we engaged in and the solutions we saught are are all the mistakes that have led us to this point.

As a nation we have not questioned all the little wrongs that have happened over the course of time. We raised our candles and black dots during the Nirbhaya rape case and demanded that the guilty be hanged, but we did not ask why these rapists committed that crime in the first place. We demand that Pakistan be blown to smithereens or that people should stand up for the national anthem before a leave-your-brain-at-home Bollywood movie titillates on screen. The discourse has become simplistic and we crave for solutions like they provide in the cinema. Our lives are too shallow to understand that as humans our lives are complex and issues have multiple dimensions which can only be understood in time. But no, shoot the culprit and move on. Tweet and sleep. This is what we have been reduced to, walled in our own echo chambers we have no way of escaping.

The government has escaped scrutiny, the judges need not deliver justice and the police have done their job. The biggest losers in all this is us, the people. We have been hoodwinked yet again and there is sadly no voice of reason amongst us. The need of the hour is focus on where this vacuity of morality comes from – which caused both the rape and the snap judgement. Giving the people a moral compass is an intagible effect that the State should work upon and so far its version of religion, ethics and propoganda do not seem to be working. This requires going back to the drawing board and working on the problems bottom-up, because in addresssing these problems lies the future of the country. Either for boom or for bust.

#rape #India #education #gender

There is a new rape in the country that has become a super-hit. A 26 year old woman was gangraped and killed in a 1.5 hour duration after which her body was burnt and left under a bridge. The police were slow to react to the initial complaint raised by the victim's family but by the time the news came out and became sensationalized, the police started sing praise to themselves at catching the culprits so quickly. The suspects, all between the ages of 20 and 26 are your not so educated, village bumbles who drink and drive lorries at high speed along the highways. It's the faceless mass that makes most of India, the shadow people we wish could be richer, better and earn our country more respect.

The reaction to the rape has raised some serious concerns. The health of the mob can be seen in the nature of dissent they put up and here they are nothing short of being barbaric. There are calls for open castration, public hanging or burning the suspected straight away, without giving any recourse for due judicial process. The second-in-command in the State legislature himself called for a quick hanging of the suspects, which shows that 'we the people' have failed somewhere in our lessons of restraint, justness and mental clarity. Between the famous Nirbhaya case and today, there have been thousands of rapes that have adorned the newspapers and public memory. Much has been talked about the safety of women in the society and there have been many publications in the “do not dress like a slut” school of thought. There have been angry calls for suspects to be hanged across the country and often there is a trivia snippet that comes up, stating how the glorious women loving nations of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the UAE treat their rapists to public deaths and chemical castrations.

This is a thirst for blood that we have seen elsewhere, in decimating internal enemies, the perceived outside enemies, religious detractors, inter-communal and inter community marriages..the list is endless, we all want to hang and kill these criminals. We want to police the women, know their locations and tell them not to go out because, hey, men will come and rape you and even if you are my sister or mother, what can be said of your character if you are raped at 9 in the night? Were you trying to elope with someone? What is a woman doing alone outside at 9 in the night? The woman should arm herself with pepper spray and krav maga skills. The reaction to this is now binary: control the women and kill the men, which seems to me a very patriarchal reaction to a problem that has become pervasive throughout the society not overnight but over decades of thoughtlessness and prejudice.

Marital rape in India is not a crime. A woman who is raped within the dimensions of a state sanctioned relationship then it is not a problem, because here the woman is the property of a man. Love marriages in India are a rarity and so are inter-communal marraiges. Marriages usually are alliances between families where it is the responsibility of the men in the family to marry a woman off – this liability also contributes to the skewed sex ratio and men favouring that happens all across India. Our movies have heroes overrepresented and women as sex dolls or mothers, our politics sees no independent women making their mark in the polls, wives, sisters and mistresses of other famous men finding their way through the electorate. It is the same country where menstruation is still a subject of taboo and let us not even talk about sex.

The reaction of the Indian public and in consequence the State always has been to call out for more policing and more separation of the sexes. Different schools, different places to sit in public transportation, different attitudes when it comes to sex and choosing partners and calling for more conservatism in the name of tradition – these are all part of the circular logic of patriarchy that makes the gender divide deeper in India. The logic is as follows, we cannot allow women more freedom because otherwise they will not be safe and so women should not expect more freedom. Online forums are full of people wanting to know of defenses for their sisters and girlfriends, some being happy about emigration and the others wondering which would be the best place to emigrate, This again is a very middle-class, upper caste discourse, the most disadvantaged do not have access to the language and tools of modern discourse, their silence is taken as their assent and the people who make the loudest noise have their voice heard.

It is not the women who have to take care but it is them men that have to be taught how to care. There is no sexual education and no information available about sexual consent. This is completely absent from public discourse, because women are at the end of the day the property of men. There are two routes for changing this – one, an organic women's movement that calls for greater emancipation and representation and two, regular education and re-education of sexual identities and sexualities in the public sphere. What the Hyderabad rape signifies is the inaccess to women – and inacess exists because women were not independent in the first place and men believe that it is their right to have their share of women. Also the reaction to the rape skews the fact that most of the perpetrators of rape happen to be someone known to the victim, which makes reporting these cases even harder and also the brutality of sexual trauma goes unnoticed as there no burnt bodies and Muslim men in the accused.

The second problem in the Hyderabad narrative is the call for instant killing of the accused. At this point no one knows what has happened and the trial is mostly being conducted through the traditional and social media. One part of the controversy that one of the main accused is Muslim can be put to rest. He is one of the four accused, all others who are Hindus by name. This is exactly proportional to the religious demographic of India, in essence they resemble India in their plurality of violence. At the end of the day, these accused are people. They have committed a crime which is not viable in a society but their motivations and intent to cause harm are all human. Why would someone be driven to do such a thing? How can we prevent these atrocities in the future are all questions to which these accused have the answer to, atleast in part. Policing further and increasing surveillance only stands as a sign that these people have succesfully managed to terrorize the society, which shows how shaky its roots have been in the first place.

Demanding for a public hanging/burning only makes such a behaviour acceptable in the minds of the populace. What the State can do, even mob justice can do and the institutionalizing violence only breeds more violence in other forms. Adherence to the law of the land and due process also spills in other aspects of living, but the call for violence is a problematic one as it shows that in the case of apocalyptic institutional failure, mob justice will involve public killings and burnings. Mahabubnagar, the district all the accused come from is one of the backward districts in the state of Telangana and according to the 2011 census has a literacy rate of 55%, with female literacy hovering around 44%. It is a rural district with little in the name of industry or employment opportunities. All the four worked with lorries as drivers or cleaners, meaning they would not have earned more than Rs.10000 ($140),, which is a pittance. They are not killers with intent but killers made possible by design, they are the shadow people we are all afraid of the – the poor, the uneducated and the ones for who modernity is still out of reach. Burning them, means burning the shadow people. Instead all efforts should be put in demonstrating that our tax money be used for education, for the upliftment of the rural poor than stigmatizing them further and driving them into cities where they do not belong.

The failure is not of the four accused but of the society as a whole. One might as well burn the society while they are at it, but to remember what the man who smiles on every Indian currency note once said, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

#HyderabadHorror #Rape #Gender #India

Friends! My comrades in the War of Liberation! Today I demand of you one thing, above all. I demand of you blood It is blood alone that can avenge the blood that the enemy has spilt. It is blood alone that can pay the price of freedom. Give me blood and I promise you freedom!

The above words were said by Subhash Chandra Bose in 1944 to his band of extremist followers called the Indian National Army (INA). He is the darling of the Hindu nationalists in India along with Bhagat Singh, Veer Sarvarkar and Chandrasekhara Azad. Recent myth making also puts hitherto unknown names on the list – Narasimha Reddy from Andhra, the faceless soldiers from the surgical strikes following the Uri attack in Kashmir, the team that put the Mars probe on the red planet.. all of whom are eulogized by Bollywood and lapped up by the latent consumers of media. This brings us to the question, why does India need heroes? Especially, why does India need to manufacture heroes in the presence of none and glorify a powerful masucline personality not averse to war and surprisingly well endowed by Sherlockian intellectual abilities?

This is in line with the idea of the Western male, the all powerful white man who has fought two world wars and is right now on top of the global hierarchical structure, controlling the economy and the politics of the world. Though this narrative is faltering in the West, for the postcolonial populace it still remains the same dream thanks to the signs of marketing and wealth shown through the diktats of Trump, the blitz of a Hollywood campaign and the deep advertising campaigns run by American/Western corporations in the subcontinent.

How can a poor nation fight against the Big Man sitting thousands of kilometers away and earn his respect? Being meek is a way of going forward but also how long can this subjugation go on? There should be a sphere of life where the Indian is better than the Western man (and he is already better than the African or the Asian. Latin America is too far away to exist and Arabs?) and here comes the idea of cultural superiority. The cultural superiority talks about the greatness of the vedic era and vedic philosophy – which is stripped completely out of its social context and espoused with superior religiosity. Hear an Indian talk about philosophy and boast about the impartiality of the said philosophy while also denigrating the Abrahamic religions for their inflexibility of ideas.

This cultural superiority however does not have a global audience. It is limited to an elite few even in the West, that is people who can be bothered. How can the perception of the country and its men, no matter how little, be changed in the lowest common denominator of population in the Western world? The fight in their heads in not won by reason but by the show of might. The optics of violence has a greater impact, think how overestimated the fears of ISIS was to what it actually was, but when the enemy is made to look strong, you take notice.

But how can one show might if they do not have any muscle? This is the same reason the Hindu right loves to hate Gandhi, he was too soft and called for non-violence and divided the country. How dare he do that before we could spill any blood and have it on our hands to show the future generations and keep them in a subconscious check? This is same reasoning used by the United States, subconscious warfare. If you have the courage to ruffle its feathers, the mighty eagle will swoop down and whoop your ass.

The psychology behind how this masculine aspect of the Indian government (and if extrapolated to the global context, then every government) functions is the same as how a high school bully functions. Brutalized perhaps in another aspect of life, the kid tries to show-off before his equals and underlings. Usually the fight with the bully can be broken with the simplest show of might but most of us are even scared to shake up the status-quo. And what does the bully keep on doing? Inventing myths and creating more auras of power around him while the truth might be different. The mob always believes that all that glisters is indeed gold.

For example, check the Balakot Air Strikes and the Surgical Strikes both instances in the past years where the Indian Government tried to paint the world red. Misleading information aside, the attacks have been celebrated and as linked above have been made into easily consumable Bollywood films – amplifying the chest thumping into the farthest reaches of the country. The self-congratulatory nature of the propaganda can also been seen it being awarded the 66th National Film Award by the BJP government, hence finishing the circular logic of 'we did great actions because the film shows we did great actions and the film is great because here's the awards it has received'. The Ballot Air Strikes also conveniently took place under complete media frenzy just before the national elections in April this year. The projected success indeed helped coverup all other BJPs shortcoming with the ailing economy, the effects of demonetization (which also conveniently happened before the Uttar Pradesh election season of 2016) and general lack of things to show.

The bully wants to destroy. The bully wants to have six-pack abs to deter any opposition and appear sexy in the big boy's club. The bully is just starting to realign his perception in the rest of the class and if you don't stop him now, it will be much harder to stop him later on. Notice that the bully is exclusively a 'he' and notice that all his actions are cosmetic. The blood thirst from before the independence of the country is not fulfilled yet and they dream of showing might to the world. What remains true for now is that India is a poor country with very little to show as of now. More on these issues later, coupled with tactics on how to confront this bully and examining if there is any way out of this mess.

Until next time, stay angry and stay informed. Sleep with an eye open and be sensitive to any word or action. They take you by the finger throw you down to the lurches. Beware.

#fasicsm #india #balakot #rightwinged #hindu