Showing posts from April, 2016

SAHMAT Statement Against the Attack on Bipan Chandra's Book

SAHMAT  Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust  29, Feroze Shah Road,New Delhi-110001  Telephone- 23381276/ 23070787  Date 30.4.2016  In recent days it seems to have become a habit of some latter-day “nationalists” to raise divisive or non-substantial issues to parade their patriotism. The most recent example of this is the attack on a major history of our National Movement authored by the distinguished historian Professor Bipan Chandra and his colleagues, titled India’s Struggle for Independence, published 28 years ago in 1988. The objection is that Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades have been described there as “revolutionary terrorists”. The critics, however, forget that this was really a term the martyrs had practically used for themselves. The Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, to which Bhagat Singh and his colleagues belonged, said in its Manifesto (1929): “We have been taken to task for our terrorist policy. No doubt, the revolutionaries think and r…

Bipan Chandra’s Views on Bhagat Singh in India’s Struggle for Independence: Rejoinder by the Co-authors


The Ambedkar-Congress Relationship

Mani Shankar Aiyar
The Sangh Parivar passionately cherishes our Hindu heritage as the foundation of India's nationhood. Ambedkar, on the other hand, was of the firm conviction that it was precisely that heritage which was the ruin of the nation. 
"You must tell the Hindus," he said, "that what is wrong with them is their religion." Caste divisions and the caste hierarchy were woven into the warp and woof of the Hindu way of life. In consequence, "the ideal Hindu must be like a rat living in his own hole". What is more, "Hindus observe caste not because they are inhuman or wrong-headed" but precisely because "they are deeply religious." He, therefore, had "no hesitation in saying that such a religion must be destroyed". (These quotations are from his most celebrated tract, Annihilation of Caste).
He loathed Hindutva and all it stood for. He more seriously engaged with Gandhi. The two profoundly disagreed. Where Gandhi held…

The Forgotten Women of 1857

RANA SAFVI  THE WIRE, 07/04/2016
Not just Begum Hazrat Mahal and Rani Lakshmibai but dozens of women participated in active fighting against the British. Their stories are largely unrecorded.
April 7 marks the 137th death anniversary of Begum Hazrat Mahal, a woman who has gone down in history for her valour and courage in standing up to the might of the British forces in India’s first war of independence in 1857. This is as good a time as any to remember not the begum but also all the other women who sacrificed their lives in 1857 – many of whom are unknown and unheralded.
When we talk about women’s roles in 1857 we immediately think of Rani Lakshmibai and Begum Hazrat Mahal. But were these the only women who contributed to the struggle?  There were women from the depressed classes (called dalit veeranganas by scholars), there were numerous bhatiyarins, or innkeepers, in whose inns plots were hatched by the rebels, aided by performers and courtesans who passed on news and information an…