Articles by our colleagues

Look Within

The real challenge is not external. The Indian state and the J&K government would do well to first acknowledge the mistakes committed in the past and engaging with the people of Kashmir to find a way forward.

There have been five attacks by militants in the Kashmir valley since February, killing at least 23 security men. These attacks and the 24 June killings of eight unarmed army men by militants have once again raised the bogey of the return of insurgency to the Kashmir valley. This has resulted in a widespread conclusion  that in no time at all militancy will be back in the valley; the situation has even been compared to the situation in the mid 1990s.

This is based mostly on wild speculation, such as the withdrawal of Americans troops in March 2014 from Afghanistan, which, it is claimed by hawks and defence analysts alike, will give a free hand to the ISI-Pakistani military establishment to pursue its anti-India and jehadi agenda.

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A History Lesson

The death of Khalid Mujahid in police custody, and communal clashes in UP, underscore the urgent need for Akhilesh Yadav-led SP to halt the growing alienation and anger amongst Muslims. May 23, 2013, outlookindia.com

The death of Khalid Mujahid in the custody of Uttar Pradesh police has once again reinforced the perception that the Akhilesh Yadav led-Samajwadi Party has failed to provide security to Muslims in UP. Mujahid was one of the accused of the 2007 serial bomb blasts in UP. His death triggered a knee-jerk response by the Yadav government, which suspended the nine cops escorting him from Faizabad to Lucknow Jail; a total of 42 police officers, including former DGP Vikram Singh, ADG Brijlal and others who were on duty during the time of Khalid’s arrest, have been booked. The UP government has also requested the central government to institute a CBI inquiry about the incident. Within days of that, Mohd Saleem, a  lawyer associated with the legal defence of Mujahid was brutally attacked in the Faizabad court premises by fellow lawyers who had earlier passed a writ against defending those accused of terrorism.

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Desperate posturing

Narendra Modi’s prime-ministerial candidature hurt Nitish Kumar the most: whether he breaks the alliance with the BJP over it or remains an NDA partner. 26 April 2013, Outlookindia.com

The acrimonious spat between the JD(U) and the BJP over Narendra Modi’s candidature for prime-ministership is just a symptom of a far deeper political crisis that the JD(U) is facing. Being a seasoned politician, Nitish Kumar is well aware of the fact that amongst all the major political parties in Bihar, the JD(U) stands to lose the most in either case, that is, if it breaks the alliance with the BJP over the Narendra Modi issue or continues to remain an NDA partner with Modi as a PM candidate.

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Politics of faith

Review of Saba Naqvi book In Good Faith, Telegraph, Feb 2013

Liminal or shared religious traditions in India are often celebrated as those cultural practices that have been subversive of religious orthodoxy and politics. Senior political journalist Saba Naqvi, in her book, In Good Faith, reinforces this argument by extensively documenting more than thirty such syncretic religious spaces across the country.

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FROM CRISIS TO OPPORTUNITY

An article on violence in Bodoland by our colleague Jamal Kidwai in Telegraph

To stop the cycle of violence in Bodoland, old issues must be addressed,
The widespread violence in Bodoland that began more than 10 days ago has, until now, left more than 50 people dead and created a massive displacement of over 2.5 lakh people. Such violence has occurred several times in the past, but what is most disturbing this time is the huge number of refugees requiring housing and civic amenities in refugee camps. More important, the result of this conflict is ghettoization, the transfer of the population on communal lines. Fearing more attacks and looking for shelter, the Bodos are moving towards the Bodo- majority district of Kokrajhar and the Muslims are heading towards the Dhubri district, where they are considered a majority. The conflict has raised several very complex issues. Both the government and civil society groups need to formulate these concerns with clarity, for it is only then that long-term answers will be found to make Bodoland secure and peaceful for all ethnicities and communities living in the region.

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THE RETURN OF THE DEAD

Telegraphindia,Tuesday , June 5 , 2012

The killing of the Ranvir Sena chief shows how Bihar continues to be haunted by violence,
writes Jamal Kidwai

The brutal gunning down of the chief of the banned Ranvir Sena, Brahmeshwar Singh ‘Mukhiya’, in broad daylight in Ara on June 1 is being seen as linked to the April 2012 acquittal of 23 Bathani Tola massacre convicts by the Patna high court. The Mukhiya — one of the main accused among them — spent nine years in jail and was also an accused in 21 other massacres. But he was acquitted in 16 of these and had got bail in the remaining six.

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A house divided for Mrs and Mr

An article on Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill in the Tribun

A house divided for Mrs and Mr
Are women recognised as equal actors inside the institution of marriage? Success of the new Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, which ensures half a share for woman in her husband's residential property depends on how this question is answered by other institutions and the society in general.

By Jamal Kidwai
 
The Union Cabinet has made some significant amendments to the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill. The most radical being that in case of divorce, the women will get half a share in her husband's residential property, regardless of whether the property was acquired before or during the marriage. The spirit behind this amendment is to empower and encourage women, by giving them financial security, to seek divorce when they are in an unhappy marriage or a marriage which is abusive and violent. This is truly a progressive amendment and should be welcomed not only by womens groups but all people who are progressive and liberal.

Having said that, our past experience shows that when it comes to empowerment and protection of minorities like women, dalits, tribals and Muslims, laws in themselves are not enough. This is because of several reasons.

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Family chronicles

Family Chronicles: An article by Jamal Kidwai in the April 2012 issue of SEMINAR

The tragedy of the Partition can be revisited from many prisms. The most common is the brutal violence and displacement that shaped the formation of India and Pakistan. In this article I will not address that aspect; instead I want to try and sketch an anecdotal history by dwelling on incidents in my family which, in their own manner, invoke the tragedy of the Partition. These incidents, sometimes comic and at other times tragic, show how the Partition created new and largely artificial identities relating to notions of citizenship, culture, kinship, family and politics. It also shows how our understanding of these concepts became expressive, on the one hand, of a kind of common sense and, on the other, left these same concepts unresolved and unexamined.

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