If you have links, prepare to leave them now

In other words, open thread. Back here tomorrow late afternoon. Happen you come across interesting stuff — or have thoughts to share, disagreements to voice, whatever — drop them off in the comments box. See you tomorrow, be well.

Martha Nussbaum on dissent

India, whose embrace of free speech is, historically, deeper and more foundational than that of the US, should rise up in protest against the very idea of punishing “seditious” speech, seeing the truth in the ideas that Freund, Tagore and Gandhi all stood for, in their different ways.

Read this now.

The art of living irresponsibly

An early front-runner in the annual WTF-ery Award stakes is Sri XXX Ravi Shankar, who says his organisation should be applauded for choosing such a polluted venue as the Yamuna for its birthday party.

Sandip Roy takes the whole exercise in self-aggrandisement apart with surgical skill.

The President of India has cancelled his attendance. And this just in:

Good on you, Mr Modi.

PS: Via Scroll, a first person account of the construction activities being carried out in connection with the festival.

Hub of treason bags President’s award

The news in brief:

Jawaharlal Nehru University has been named the winner of two of the three Visitor’s Awards President Pranab Mukherjee instituted last year, the laurels coming at a time some have dubbed the varsity a hub of treason.

The university took the prize in the “Innovation” and “Research” categories, while Assam’s Tezpur University was adjudged the “Best University”, according to an announcement by Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday.

And meanwhile:

That explains it, then.

Azaadi from life’s little indignities

It’s some kind of day for women, today. Cue conferences and high-minded speeches and selfie-with-bindis and all of that. Tomorrow, we can mothball all of that for another year, and go back to business as usual.

In the midst of all the high-minded speechifying, I found this little ‘listicle’ by Neha Dixit. Sample item:

My mother, a huge Shah Rukh Khan fan, wanted to watch Yes Bossin a theatre, in the late ’90s in Lucknow alone during daytime. She was refused a ticket. My father, who had no interest in films except some Sooraj Barjatya films, had to buy a single ticket on her behalf the next day, drop her at the cinema and assure the hall manager that she is watching the film alone and has her family’s approval for doing so.

Reservations in Parliament? Parity of wages? If we are even remotely serious about creating a better world for women, maybe it is these little indignities they are subjected to on a daily basis that deserves our most urgent attention.

A plague on both your houses

A worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS was pulled out of the autorickshaw he was driving in Kerala’s Kannur this morning by a group of men, who then attacked him with sharp weapons.

Huddled inside the autorickshaw and watching in fright were four children from class 1 and 2 who the RSS worker, AV Biju, drives every morning to school. Mr Biju was driving down the route that he usually takes, a short-cut between two main roads, when he was attacked.

It is barbaric (doubly so, given that that act of violence was perpetrated in full view of young children), it is horrific — and I don’t give a flying fuck.

Because who does?

Continue reading

JNU lecture series: Makarand Paranjape

The latest in the ongoing series:

Paranjape’s set up is pure gold:

I think one of the things that makes JNU, that makes us, important to the nation is precisely this platform, this stage, this alternative performative where we can actually demonstrate our ideas, our disagreements, how to think clearly in fact, rather than the other performative which I would say is mesmerizing. When Kanhaiya came out of jail and gave his talk, I was a convert, I was also swaying and dancing around with everyone, it was a great moment. But what I am going to do today is to emphasize this other performative, where we talk about ideas, we are objective, we are critical, we don’t get carried away, we are open-minded, we are able to interrogate and critique ourselves and not just mount attacks on people we disagree with, and indeed also check factually incorrect statements, you know, the sources of our ideas and so forth.

For once, the students found themselves vis a vis a professor who was saying things that militated against their worldview. Good. A little discomfort is good — it teaches you that there is more than one way of looking at anything.


And here, Soni Sori speaking to JNU students.

PS: Off blog till late evening.