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Mehbooba, Azaadi & Pratirodh (Resistance) Continues — Signs of the Times


I don’t believe in symbolic one -liners along the strain that a woman chief minister can do wonders for the women and men and children of the State. Women chief ministers in other states haven’t fared too well ; not reached out to any particular segment … I’m of the opinion that you could have a ruler from any community or segment or class but he or she ought to be absolutely unbiased and straightforward.

Like many others I feel saddened that Mehbooba Mufti decided to go along with the fascist forces. There is a sense of worry and apprehension in the Valley. To quote some of my young Kashmiri friends, ‘She has once again opened the doors for the BJP to enter the State. And this in itself will have far reaching consequences.’

Last year when the late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had decided to go ahead with the BJP-RSS, there was unease cum anger cum disgust in the Valley. This time there is not just all of that but also a feeling of utter hopelessness. Do not overlook basic backgrounders - in the last several months there’s been no trace of visible development in the Valley or any noticeable gesture that could make the Kashmiri feel that the alliance had carried forth positivity. Coupled with this, the fact that there have been surcharged communal attacks on the minorities in the country, with BJP- RSS brigades in the forefront. Also, apparent it is that RSS agendas are in full swing. More than subtle relays of the very shrinkage of the democratic space, of that freedom to talk and walk about freely. Ongoing hounding of academics and student leaders. Intrusions and interferences in the running of the educational institutions, universities and colleges. In fact, there are murmurs of the latest victim of these strategies is NIT Srinagar …

Yet, with these backgrounders in the backdrop or foreground, Mehbooba Mufti decided to go ahead with the BJP – RSS. Why?


Why do we jump at the word ’azaadi’! Its the most potent of words, relaying so very much, offloading an abundance of emotions. Azaadi can be from just about anyone or everyone ; be it from an oppressive government or an incompatible mate or even an erring meter reader! In fact, last evening whilst commuting by the Metro I was drawn to a three - liner advertisement displayed along the interiors of the coach. Put up by Kejriwal’sDillisarkarit went to say,’ghalat billon se azaadi /meter reader se azaadi /apnepaanikai bill ab aapkhudbanao’ (azaadi from faulty bills, azaadi from meter readers, make your water bills yourself)

 The very word azaadi has become fashionable to such an extent that women are started cooing azaadi from mismatched marriages. Divorce is no longer the apt word. Azaadi is the apt word. Rightly so, for it hits the very crux. And ah, yes, it connects …spreading out, from North to South. Last week a Chennai based friend called to say she is all set to get azaadi from her marriage and husband ; soon to join the ever expanding singletons club!

Today financially independent women are trying their level best to raise their voice …getting confident enough to say they want azaadi from their marriages and from their husbands! No, they are no longer hesitant in declaring their off - marriage status. In fact, whilst keying in, nostalgia hits - almost fifteen years back when I had decided to end my mismatched and with that incompatible marriage and opt for a divorce, there was the expected hue and cry …but I went ahead and ended the marriage. No, no regrets at all ; in fact, my only regret is that I should have ended my marriage right in the beginning but I wasn’t saddled with the required confidence to cry out azaadi from a hopeless marriage. But today even middle aged women are walking out of the harnessing powers of marriage ; not giving a damn to the hackneyed social pulls and pressures, hues and cries.

But why harp on just incompatible husbands ormarriages! More and more want azaadi from bad bosses, from office trappings, from the daily grind, from the polluting atmosphere, from bullying tactics, from the utter lies and deceit and bogus propaganda of this Modi government. Azaadi from it!

And to drag this word - Azaadi- out of the closets, put it centre-stage, we got to thank JNU’s Kanhaiya Kumar and his comrades. Thank you, for making us chant azaadi along with an abundance of salaams! Red or the not- so -red matters little. Salaams are salaams after all!


This week, on 8 April 2016, will see yet another round of resistance - Pratirodh - to the fascist rulers of the day. The venue will the New Delhi situated Mavalankar Hall (Constitution Club) where Krishna Sobti, Gauhar Raza, SiddharthVaradarajan, Vrinda Grover, Shoma Chaudhary, Harbans Mukhia, Kanchan Ilaiah, Rakesh Shukla (FTII) Shehla Rashid (JNU) Richa Singh (Allahabad University), Dontha Prasanth (University of Hyderabad) and several others will address the meet which starts off from 2.30 pm …

There is an urgent need to put up a strong and ongoing resistance. To quote the organizers -

“From intolerance to sedition, from suppressing dissent to misusing state machinery, the current tirade against intellect and ideas, against spaces of debate-discussion-dissent, against allowing universities to remain sites of plurality, free knowledge and expression undermining them as centres of intellectual pursuit and protest, a climate of nation- wide fear, stress and tension is being created. Democratic, legal and cultural processes are being usurped and misused to impose a parochial, majoritarian, uniform and exclusive view of India, its culture and tradition. We cannot allow this view, its strategies, its fearful implications to go unexamined and unchallenged since we love our country, its plural culture and tradition, its people and their tremendous possibilities, their past and struggles.”

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