Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Victory Against Work Place Sexual Harassment after a long Drawn Battle

Ms. Park who has worked for 14 years at a subsidiary company of Hyundai motors at Asan, Korea was dismissed from her job after she complained about sexual harassment in her workplace. Ms. Park in a remarkable effort to get justice went the distance that many others had not dared to go. She held a Sit-In protest of 197 days demanding for the punishment of the perpetrators and for her reinstatement. During those 197 days, she held Sit-In protest not only at the factory gate but also in front of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. While she was on the Sit-In protest, she was repeated assaulted by company hired guards at the both venues and as a result of the assaults she even had to spend four weeks in hospital.

In the support of Ms. Park’s resolute struggle against Sexual Harassment and violation of workers’ right, Korean Metal Workers Union and NGA:SF Korea (Network for Glocal Activism: School of Feminism) decided to initiate an international campaign which resulted in a press conference in front of the headquarters of Hyundai Motors on 25th November 2011.
Press Conference in front of Hyundai Headquarters

The press conference was supported by and the public statement issued was signed by New Socialist Initiative (Delhi Chapter, India), Stree Mukti Sangathan (India), Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights, Asian Pacific Workers Solidarity Links, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development (New York, USA), Sahgnnoksoo (Seattle, Washington, USA), Change to Win (USA), Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment-GABRIELA (USA), Center for Workers Education (India), Women Workers Lead (India), MAKABAYAN (The Philippines), Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (The Philippines), Workers Assistance Center (The Philippines), General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (Nepal), Qingdao Workers Hotline (China), Labour Action China (Hong Kong), Asian Monitor Resource Center (Hong Kong), National Free Trade Union (Sri Lanka), Thai Labour Campaign (Thailand), Serve the People Association (Taiwan), Salud Intergral para la Mujer (Mexico), Red Genero y Economia (Mexico), Migrant Workers Trade Union (Korea), International Metalworkers' Federation, International Union of Food, Building and Wood Workers' International, International Trade Union Confederation, Metal workers union (Slovakia), Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal (Indonesia), National Union of Metalworkers (South Africa), United Auto Workers, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. 

Letters of protests were also sent by various organizations to The Ministry of Employment and Labor, The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, The Hyundai Motors demanding reinstatement of Ms. Park and that the perpetrators be brought to book.

To mount more international pressure on Hyundai Motors and Korean Government a call for Global Action day was announced and demonstrations were held outside Hyundai Motors dealership in various countries on 2nd December 2011. In United States alone, from New York to Los Angeles, 75 demonstrations were held outside Hyundai motors dealership. Unfortunately, the Indian Trade Union centres did not pay heed to the global call for solidarity nor did Hyundai Motors Employee Union, India undertake any solidarity action.

Finally, after this long drawn battle by Ms. Park and the international solidarity campaign, The Ministry of Employment and Labor (Korea) was forced to intervene. 

The Ministry of Employment and Labor considered the mental trauma that Ms. Park underwent as an industrial accident. The ministry further decided that it would pay her medical expenses she incurred during her protest. It is the first time in the history of modern Korea that the victim's mental pain after sexual harassment on the factory floor shop has been regarded as an industrial accident. 

Hyundai Globis (the logistic wing of Hyndai Motor), Hyungjin Company (the sub-contractor of Hyundai Motors), Korea Metal Workers' Union and Ms. Park signed an agreement according to which Hyungjin Company has: 
  • To dismiss the offender by 31th January, 2012 and has to reinstate Ms. Park by 1st February, 2012.
  • To pay wages for the months that she was unfairly dismissed.
  • To prohibit any gendered disadvantages at the work place.
  • To prepare comprehensive measures to prevent recurrence of sexual harassment.
  • To set up the program to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Interview: Hindutva terror has had a long gestation period

- Vicky Nanjappa

His book Godse's Children -- Hindutva Terror In India is creating quite a storm. The author, Subhash Gatade, (a leading member of New Socialist Initative NSI) is an engineer by training and a freelance journalist and translator by choice. He has written extensively on issues of communalism and Dalit emancipation.

His book focuses mainly on the phenomenon of Hindutva terror and their perpetrators. While discussing his book he also goes on to say that the term Hindu terror should never be used and instead it be called as Hindutva terror.

In this interview with Vicky Nanjappa, Gatade, firstly, discusses why many cases remain unsolved and adds that the job of the investigating agency has been highly unsatisfactory; secondly, he stresses that only continuous vigil by people would ensure that the law of the land remains supreme; and, thirdly, warns that we should be wary of the majoritarian mindset which dominates what is known as civil society of our country.

Tell us a bit about your book and how it has been received?

The book mainly focuses on the phenomenon of Hindutva terror which has made its presence felt in the first decade of the 21st century.

It is underlined in the beginning that all sorts of terrorisms may it be by state actors or non-state actors (which includes jihadi terror/Islamist terror/fassadi terror as well) need to be questioned, challenged and ultimately eliminated. It is broadly divided into five sections.

The first part deals with the historical background of the case and makes it clear that Hindutva terror is not a recent phenomenon.

Starting from the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, at the hands of Nathuram Godse, it also brings forth hitherto less reported incidents involving Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activists in terror acts such as the Shikarpur bomb blast (Karachi, 1947, Economic and Political Weekly, July 8, 2006) which saw deaths of two pracharaks or the terror plot discussed by Rajeshwar Dayal, the first home secretary of United Province then in his autobiography (A Life of Our Times, Orient Longman, 1999) which exposed the sinister design of the RSS workers to organise a pogrom against Muslims in western Uttar Pradesh.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pakistan at the Cross-Road: Views from a Young Student from Across the Border

[This article was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]
- Saadullah Awan
In the address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on the 11th of August 1947,  Mohammad Ali Jinnah stated, “If we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor..”

Over the 64 years of the existence of the nation, the ominous statement has been forgotten in the archives of other religious, political and communitarian rhetoric of our politicians and leaders. It is not necessarily their fault. Who is the average Pakistani? Is he the middle-aged man toiling away on the vast land of his landlord in the scorching heat of the Sindh deserts, only to be paid a paltry sum? Is she the old Punjabi woman who washes the clothes and cleans the bathrooms of the upper middle class in the metropolis of Karachi for less than minimum wage? Or is he the Pathan truck driver transporting goods, driving alongside BMWs and Landcrusisers, and smoking hashish at the end of the day, to drown his miseries away?

The only common denominator about the masses in Pakistan, it seems, is the fact that they are mostly illerate and poor. Around 73% of the population lives on under 2 US Dollars a day and the literacy rate for men is a mere 67% while for females it is 42%. Another common denominator is religion: 97% of the population of 180 million is Muslim.

However it isn’t prudent to generalize the population on these lines. Most people in Pakistan base their loyalties not on being Pakistani but on ethnicity and religious sects they think they belong to.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


[This poem was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

- नरेश कुमार


सर्र-सर्र, पों पों पों, ढम-ढम;

सब नज़र आते हैं, सुनाई देते हैं सड़क पर;

लेकिन इन सब के साथ-साथ अक्सर होती है सड़क पर 

खटखट, खटखट, खटखट।

खटखट, अक्सर सुनाई नहीं देती 

और न ही इसे सुनने की ज़रूरत समझी गई है अभी तक।

खटखट, टोह सिर्फ़ रास्ते की नहीं लेती,

चो़ट महज़ सड़क या फुटपाथ पर नहीं पड़ती;

यह खटखट कोशिश है उन दरवाजों को खटखटाने की

जो अब तक खोले नहीं गये।

और इस कोशिश की गवाही इतिहास या समाजशास्त्र की किताबें नहीं बल्कि

खरोंचे लगी टाँगें या फूटा हुआ माथा दिया करते हैं।

ये निशान महज़ निशान नहीं है।

बल्कि सबूत हैं उन कोशिशों के

जो दरवाजों को बन्द रखने के लिए लगातार की जा रही है।

और बयान इस बात का कि खटखट हो रही है।

और ज़्यादा और तेज़।
नरेश कुमार दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के कमला नेहरु कॉलेज में इतिहास के प्राध्यापक हैं

The University and the Struggles of People with Disability

[This article was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

Dr. Nikhil Jain 

University is a place for creative learning. Introduction of several new market oriented courses has changed the meaning and objective of higher education. The recent change in the structure in the higher education through semesterisation and privatization has led to a tremendous shift in the teaching and learning process. The teaching pedagogy has been influenced by the growing need of the market. This has not only disturbed the autonomy of the universities but also has jeopardized the interests of the subaltern communities. The democratic norms and culture has totally been unsettled with this change. 

Apart from these mainstream issues, there exist several serious issues which still lie at the margins and go unnoticed. The question of accessibility is generally understood only with respect to people with disability. But it has an equal significance for others. For example the facility of ramp and lift does not only enable an Orthopedically Handicap but also supports the aged. Similarly, an audio archive at colleges not only supports a visually impaired person but also allows others to listen to important recorded lectures. The meaning of accessibility goes much deeper. It refers to the degree and nature of connectivity to a larger environment and the acquisition of resources by all. 

In Shera's Den

[This piece was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

- Rijul Kochhar 

There used to be a time in the University of Delhi when people possessing anything below even a shade of superhuman prowess had to ‘negotiate’ with daily existence. You had to be careful, of a number of worthies—of dilapidated structures and fast vehicles, of roguish sidewalks and earthly drains, of dark minds and nefarious designs. For the disabled then, venturing anywhere for anything really was a venture into the heart of an abyss. One didn’t know whether one would make it in and out with all body appendages intact; but hey, it was an existential game of Russian roulette: you had as good a chance as anybody else, and you knew that! The absence of facilities—footpaths, pavement, toilets, transport, recreation, access to libraries, etc.—was indeed a shame for everybody, but a shame that was cheerfully accepted, borne, and tempered by a genuine desire to help one another. Or, made bearable by the realism of the poverty of our claims, and its resultant apathy. It was an apathy slowly tempered, and it was of great use to us. There was, in this schema, no place for diabolical intent, or deceptive deliverance. 

But we did it happily then: there were hardly any appropriate structures to tread on, roll over, sit on, or admire; that sleek umbrage of a stadium didn’t exist in the very heart of the university grounds; fancy sidewalks — with Braille! — didn’t emerge the night before and promise the hoary land of equal opportunity. All you had were the trees, the good dust, the certainty of uncertainties, and a handful of kind folk in the university offices. You simply made peace with this that you had—a chance to sit in dignity in a classroom and listen to the sonorous rotations of a dangerously clinging old fan, or an even older ‘specialist’ of the field. You walked or rolled to where you had to get to; someone helped. If you were very lucky, you had a friend who lasted; if you were in vogue, you had a pack. 

Giving Real and Substantive Recognition to the Human Rights of Physically Challenged Individuals

[This article was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

- Dr. Sanjay Jain 

“Persons with disability (Hereinafter PWD) are human beings” is a statement of breathtaking banality. Normatively this statement may not be challenged but practically speaking, it reflects an ideal to be achieved rather than a statement of facts. Till recently, PWDs were considered to be a burden on a family, civil society and the state. Social consciousness rendered them invisible, as if human civilisation did not exist for them, resulting thereby in an absolute denial of their ‘right to be human’. The focus of this paper is to highlight this denial in the legal consciousness of our polity, and the peculiar nature of legal interventions in addressing the rights of the physically challenged. 

The peculiar nature of legal interventions 

By law, disability is thought to be worthy of legislative cognisance and compensation only if it is acquired by an able-bodied person, resulting in the loss of earning capacity or utility . This is evident from a close scrutiny of legislations like the Employees’ State Insurance Act 1948. Clearly, the medical model of disability was at the foundation of the all these legislations. According to the this model, the acquisition of disability constitutes a violation of rights of able-bodied persons and therefore disability per-se is not worthy of legislative action. The medical model focuses on the medical traits of the PWD’s specific impairments. This has the effect of locating the “problem” of disability within the person. The medical model encapsulates a broader and deeper social attitude – a tendency to view the disabled as a problem and therefore, as an object for clinical intervention. 

University Life: Of a Special Kind

- Vikant Maurya, an undergraduate student in St. Stephens College, in Conversation with Sanjay Kumar and Bonojit Hussain of Critique Collective

Vikant composing in Braille
As Vikant runs from room to room in Seva Kutir looking for chairs for us, it is clear that he is very familiar with every corner, turn and nook of the building. He tells us later that he lost vision very early, but even then as a child in his village in Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh he would run through village alleys, field paths, and to his family mango grove. Whiffs of air, sounds and smell created an enticing world, full of discovery and freedom. Perhaps it is the quietness of Seva Kutir and village life that sharpen his sixth sense, enabling him to fly. However, the life of a physically challenged undergraduate in one of the most sought after colleges of Delhi University is not always a run of joy. There are struggles, which at times come out in his poetry. 

Excerpts from an interview:

Question: Vikant, if you let your dreams fly for a moment, where do you think you will be in ten years from now? 
Vikant: Most likely I will be teaching in a college. History and Hindi are my strong subjects, I could be teaching either of these. 

On Rehabilitating Secularism

[This brief note was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

- Devika Narayan 

Just the other day a friend of mine walked around Nizamuddin greatly puzzled by what she saw. The eerie silence which reeks only of bad news was palpable. The shutters were all lowered to the ground and the roads were strangely empty. A local mosque had recently been mowed down by the municipality. She asked a young boy who stood near a shop when it would re-open. “Kal, Jab masjid phirse bana denge tab.” He replied. The poignant naiveté of his response is jarring. At the brink of dawn when young children search for rationales to comprehend the unexpected disruption of their lives a bulldozer is clearing away the remnants of what used to be the neighbourhood mosque. 

Such incidents unleash a volley of urgent questions. When was the last time we heard of a temple being mowed down by the state? Are we suggesting that all temples in this country are built on land legitimated by the law? Why would the state be more cautious and ‘sensitive to religious sentiment’ when the issue of bulldozing temples comes to the fore? What does this speak of the state of secularism in our society? 

Some Thoughts on the Pedagogy of Semester System at Delhi University

[This brief note was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

- Nandita Narain

Semesterised exams can work only if exams are set and evaluated internally (as in the USA, IIT's, JNU, where the numbers are small and the Universities are more or less residential). DU is more like the affiliating Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which have an annual exam system. In our case, especially given the great variation in standards, a lowest common denominator kind of Board exam every four months would only promote rote learning and dumb down the whole system. Neither would the best students have the time to go beyond the exam requirements, to explore, experiment, innovate, critique and learn to think independently, nor would students coming from weaker sections students have time to catch up and be able to face that Board exam. Everyone loses. 

In their tearing hurry to implement the semester system in all courses, which obviously allows no time for consultation and deliberation, the DU authorities have come up with the novel ‘solution’ of snipping syllabii in two! This, more than anything else, betrays a complete lack of understanding of the pedagogic process. Any serious teacher knows that the time taken to cover a syllabus is not linearly distributed. Concepts and foundations (many of which are often not even mentioned in syllabi and exams) take much longer than their applications. Besides, given the great diversity of faculty as well as student population, there can be no uniformity or agreement on the quantum of syllabus to be covered in the short period of three to four months.

Democracy Encountered at Batla House

[Note: This Report was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

- Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA) 

On 13th September 2008, serial blasts rocked Delhi in which about 20 people lost their lives and scores of others were injured. Less than a week after the blasts, a party of the Delhi Police Special Cell raided an apartment in the Muslim-dominated locality of Batla House and shot dead two young men, Atif Amin and Md. Sajid. It was later claimed that they were the masterminds of the Delhi blasts. An inspector of the Delhi Police was also shot at, and succumbed the same evening to his injuries. On the evening of the ‘encounter’, the Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal announced that the slain young men were key operatives of an Islamic terrorist group, called the Indian Mujahideen, and that with the ‘encounter’, the Delhi Police had cracked the conspiracy behind not only the Delhi blasts, but also several blasts which had rocked the country in 2007-08. A roommate was arrested from the site of the ‘encounter’. Several other arrests followed in the next two days. Typically, these were of boys who had either known the two killed, and who had dared to raise questions about the police theory on television channels.

What followed was a pernicious media circus of gigantic proportions. Azamgarh, from where the two slain youth hailed, was dubbed instantly the ‘epicentre of terror’, and Jamia Millia, the University abutting the Batla House locality and where Atif was enrolled as a student of M.A. labeled a ‘nursery of terror’. In the aftermath of the death of Inspector Sharma, few in the press were willing to question the police version—to raise questions was tantamount to dishonouring the martyrdom of a brave police officer. 

झूठ का सत्तातन्त्र व भरतीय राज्य

[Note: This short piece was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

संजय कुमार

बिनायक सेन व पीयुष गुहा की जमानत याचिका छत्तीसगढ़ उच्च न्यायालय ने फरवरी 10 2011 को रद्द कर दी। उनको व नारायण सान्याल को एक निचली अदालत ने देशद्रोही करार किया है तथाआजीवन कारावास की सजा सुनायी है। अखबारों व मीडिया में बिनायक सेन पर मुकदमे पर बहुत कुछ चर्चा हुई है। बिनायक सेन के समर्थन में प्रदर्शनों का सिलसिला भी पिछले लगभग तीन सालों से चलता रहा है। बिनायक सेन पर माओवादियों का समर्थक व सहायक होने का आरोप पीयूष गुहा द्वारा पुलिस को दी गयी कथित गवाही पर आधारित है, जिसमें उसने कहा था कि उसके पास से प्राप्त पत्र बिनायक सेन ने उसे दिये थे। क्योंकि पुलिस को दी गयी गवाही को सबूत के तौर पर इस्तेमाल नहीं किया जा सकता, इसलिये एक स्वतन्त्र गवाह अनिल कुमार भी न्यायालय के सामने प्रस्तुत किया गया। जज महोदय ने पीयुष गुहा द्वारा पुलिस को कथित दिये ब्यान को तो पूरी तवज्जो दी, लेकिन उसी के द्वारा एक मैजिस्ट्रेट के सामने दिये गये ब्यान को कोई महत्व नहीं दिया जिसमें उसने कहा था कि उसे छतीसगढ़ पुलिस ने रायपुर के एक होटल से जबरदस्ती उठा कर आंख पर पटटी बान्ध कर गैर कानूनी हिरासत में सात दिन रखा था। गुहा को कहा गया कि उसके पास इस दावे का कोई स्वतन्त्र गवाह नहीं है। जबकि पुलिस के पास अपने दावे के लिये अनिल कुमार नाम का गवाह था। अगर पुलिस के गवाह के कथनों तथा उसी पुलिस द्वारा सुप्रीम कोर्ट में दिये गये एक हल्फनामे में तालमेल नहीं बैठा कि गुहा को कहां से गिरफ्तार किया गया था, तो जज महोदय ने पुलिस की दलील को सहर्ष स्वीकार कर लिया कि यह भेद टाईप की गलती के कारण हो गया होगा। पुलिस के प्रति जज महोदय की दरियादिली एक और अहम सबूत को लेकर भी भरपूर दिखती है। पुलिस दावा कर रही है कि सेन के घर छापे के दौरान उसे माओवादियों की केन्द्रीय समिति द्वारा सेन को लिखा गया एक पत्र प्राप्त हुआ है। अव्वल तो इस पत्र पर हस्ताक्षर आदि का कोई सबूत नहीं है जिसके आधार पर यह माना जा सके कि यह पत्र माओवादियों की केन्द्रीय समिति ने ही जारी किया है। दूसरे, छापे के दौरान जब्त की गयी चीजों के पन्च नामे में इस पत्र का कोई जिक्र नहीं है। इस सम्दर्भ में जज महोदय ने पुलिस की दलील को आसानी से मान लिया कि शायद यह पत्र अन्य जब्त दस्तावेजों में दबा रहा होगा, इस लिये पंचनामे में नहीं दर्ज हुआ। सच को झूठ से अलग करने के लिये आवश्यक न्याय का तराजू छत्तीसगढ के जज वर्मा के हाथों में पुलिस की तरफ अधिक झुका प्रतीत होता है। तब यह किस प्रकार पुलिस या सेन के सच या झूठ में भेद कर सकता है, सोचने की बात है?

एक अमेरिकी युवक का परिप्रेक्ष्य: ‘मैडिसन में हम अपना मुस्तकबिल (भविष्य) देखते हैं’

[Note: This short piece was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]
साल्वाटोर काप्रिआनो

जब आप राजधानी में पहला कदम रखते हैं तो वहां के गलियारों और सभागारों में प्रस्फुटित होती प्रेरणा और एकजुटता की भावना से ओतप्रोत होने से बच नहीं सकते। जनता के सैलाब से रूबरू होना एक ऐसी उम्मीद जगाता है जिससे कई लोग परिचित नहीं हैं और तमाम लोग भूल गए हैं। पहली मंजिल पर स्थित गोलभवन में छात्रों की भारी तादाद है जो इस कब्जे को अमली जामा पहनाने में लगे हैं। उनके हाथों में एक लाउडस्पीकर भी है जिसका इस्तेमाल सभी पारी पारी से कर सकते हैं।

इस संघर्ष से एकाकार होकर छात्रों ने अहम भूमिका अदा की है, स्लीप ओवर सूची तैयार करने से लेकर, फूड डोनेशन्स संगठित करने, मेडिकल स्टाफ और राजधानी में ही सूचना केन्द्र को गठित करके इस कब्जे का आधार बनाने का उन्होंने काम किया है। जगह जगह पोस्टर्स भी लगाए गए हैं जैसे कि माॅल में लगे होते हैं या बिल्डिंगों में चिपके होते हैं, जो लोगों को वांछित गन्तव्य तक पहुंचने में मददगार होते हैं।

दूसरी मंजिल पर बूथ हैं जो सूचना देते हैं या मुफ्त साहित्य वितरित करते हैं और जहां पर खाने पीने की चीजों का स्टाॅक भी पड़ा है। उसी मंजिल पर चार्जिंग स्टेशन भी है जहां पर वे तमाम लोग एकत्रित हैं जो इस संघर्ष की ख़बरों को अपने ब्लाॅगों के माध्यम से दुनिया के हर कोने तक पहुंचा रहे हैं, वहां पर वे लोग भी हैं जो अपने इलैक्ट्रानिक उपकरणों को चार्ज करवाना चाहते हैं।

रात में, दूसरी मंजिल पर तमाम छात्रा और मजदूर लेटे मिलते हैं जिन्होंने यह तय किया है कि ‘‘किसी भी सूरत में किले को बचाना है’’ और इस बात को सुनिश्चित करना है कि इस बिल्डिंग से उनकी पकड़ ढीली ना हो।

Agitation at Film and Television Institute of India

[Note: This Reportage was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

Prateek Vats


Set up in 1961 with the aim of promoting good alternative cinema and setting new standards in film-making both aesthetically and technically, the Film and Television Institute of India has provided free space for thinking and learning to generations of would be film-makers. Over and above setting critical benchmarks for the film industry while nourishing it with highly professional and focused people, specialised in various aspects of film-making, FTII resonates in the halls of world cinema with its sensitive understanding of life and film as a post-industrial art practice. Along with the National Film Archives of India (NFAI), the Films Division and the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), it has played a crucial role in the creation, preservation and propagation of our cross cultural heritage through the medium of cinema.

Market forces, mounting over the past five decades, have plagued the Institute regularly. Almost in apology of FTII’s founding Nehruvian plan, various governments have, on more occasion than one, shown active interest to withdraw its support from the running of the Institute. Crisis is not a stranger to us. This could only happen once academic interests became slaves to a numb blindness and indifference parading in the name of marketability. Cynical opportunism and short-sightedness prefer instant lotteries to lasting values. Constant hikes in fee structure and the recent trend of launching exorbitantly priced short term, ‘industry oriented’ courses without any corresponding increase in the physical and intellectual infrastructure, are cases in point. In recent times, repeated attempts have been made to change/re-cast the independence, concerns, structure and functioning of the Institute. The crumbling globalised economy, its gambles and disasters have only pressed on harder to turn the Institute into a mere profit machine. We are witness today to a complete subversion of FTII, its cultural death imminent like most of its counterparts across the country. 

क्रिकेट का विश्व कप, भारतीय शासक वर्ग और जनता के लिए खेलों की उपेक्षा

[Note: This article was published in CRITIQUE, Vol-1, Issue-3. Critique is a Quarterly brought out by the Delhi University Chapter of New Socialist Initiative (NSI)]

-विद्याधर दाते

मैं उन गिनेचुने लोगों में बचा हूं जिन्हें विख्यात बल्लेबाज सी के नायडू से बात करने का मौका मिला था, जो अपने छक्कों के लिए मशहूर थे। एक क्रिकेट प्रेमी की तरह मैं बड़ा हुआ हूं और एक पत्राकार के तौर पर क्रिकेट मैचों को ‘कवर’ करने का काम मैंने 18 साल की उम्र से किया है, सुनिल गावसकर को मैंने तब देखा है जब वह अभी टेस्ट क्रिकेट में पहुंचे नहंी थे। लेकिन अब मैंने क्रिकेट को देखना बन्द किया है। आखिर मैं ऐसी बात क्यों कह रहा हूं जब कि विश्व कप को लेकर क्रिकेट का बुखार चढ़ा हुआ है।

लोग विश्व कप देखें और उसका आनन्द उठायें मगर मैं यहां कुछ बातों को रखना चाह रहा हूं। मैं एक घटना से शुरू करना चाह रहा हूं। मुंबई प्रेस क्लब ने 15 फरवरी को एक भव्य कार्यक्रम आयोजित किया जिसका मकसद था खेल पत्राकारिता में बेहतरी के लिए जनाब के एन प्रभु की स्मृति में रखे पुरस्कार दिए जाएं और प्रदीप शिन्दे की याद में अपराध रिपोर्टिंग के लिए पुरस्कार प्रदान किए जाएं। प्रभु लम्बे समय तक टाईम्स आफ इण्डिया के खेल सम्पादक थे और मैं उनका सहयोगी हुआ करता था।

क्रिकेट और अपराध दो बिल्कुल जुदा क्षेत्रा हैं। लेकिन मैच फिक्सिंग, बेटिंग, आईपीएल के अन्तर्गत क्रिकेटरों की नीलामी और हाल के तमाम सारे घपलों को देखते हुए अब ऐसा नहीं कहा जा सकता। अयाज मेनन जैसे एक पुराने क्रिकेट लेखक और क्रिकेट प्रतिष्ठान के समर्थक ने भी कार्यक्रम के दौरान कहा कि अब क्रिकेट पत्राकार को चार्टड अकौण्टसी और स्टाॅक एक्स्चेंज आदि के बारे में भी जानकारी होना आवश्यक है।

अन्य खेल पत्राकारों की तुलना में प्रभु की खासियत यह थी कि वह काफी पढ़े लिखे थे और सामाजिक तौर पर जागरूक थे। इसीलिए वह सी एल आर जेम्स -अश्वेत वेस्ट इण्डियन माक्र्सवादी इतिहासकार - की अहमियत जानते थे, जिन्होंने ‘बियांण्ड बाउण्डरी’ शीर्षक से एक मशहूर किताब लिखी थी। उनकी चर्चित पंक्ति थी -क्रिकेट के बारे में वो क्या जानते हैं जो सिर्फ क्रिकेट ही जानते हैं। इसका तात्पर्य था कि क्रिकेट अब एक खेल से अधिक कुछ था। किसी के लिए भी उस व्यापक हकीकत को जानना जरूरी था और महज खेल जानना ही काफी नहीं था।