Year: 2012

Rape Culture and Capitalism: What is living and what is dead

It is necessary to fight for women’s rights, but why should the drive stop at the borders? Those of us who refuse to adequately acknowledge the protest movement in Delhi by citing the relative silence in Gujarat and North-East also commit similar fallacies when we fail to protest against abuse of women elsewhere in the world.

Rape Culture, Capitalism and India

By Saswat Pattanayak Looks like, rape still continues to shock virtuous people in India. Or was it just this latest one? The one that took place in Delhi? Was it because the “izzat” of India’s capital city has now become the new concern? The honorable India has to be reclaimed in all “her” full glory where the goddesses are worshipped and women assaulted? Or is it that the unprecedented outrage in Indian society today owes to the fact that this rape was of the “more brutal” variety? Since most of us don’t do that kind of “iron rod” rapes. We are the gentler varieties? The very fact that instead of debating about the status of women in Indian class society, we are expressing disgust at an incident of rape says the extent to which we have surrendered ourselves to corporate media agenda-settings. Sure, the rape was gruesome and sure a woman was tortured and probably shall not survive. But the nonplussed manner in which the Indian society at large is responding to this incident underscores …

Misplaced Tears of a Militarist President, the Reactionary Pursuits of Gun Control, and Unquestioned Faith in Patriarchy Normative

By Saswat Pattanayak Amidst the debates surrounding gun control, most of those who just woke up to realities asked how could it happen here? The decent folks who would not kill a fly declared that the killer must be “crazy”. The believers in the good things to come prayed to God so that it never happens again and the innocent souls are blessed. The politically docile were as always moved by witnessing the President and his White House staff burdened to tears with grief. The good liberals who don’t shoot people whether or not they possess guns demanded that guns be controlled. And amidst all the mixed responses, good, bad and some outrightly evil, all of us are still intrigued by the difficult question that seeks an uneasy answer: why did that man kill those children? In all likelihood, such a question shall not be addressed earnestly by the powerful elites. Not because they do not know the answer already, but because the answer is all too obvious to them. And in attempting to answer …

On Einstein’s Acceptance of Communist Russia and Rejection of Zionist Israel

  By Saswat Pattanayak With the “God Letter” recently auctioned for over $3 million, the world has started taking a renewed interest in Albert Einstein’s core philosophies. In the most conservative estimate, he has been described as the father of modern physics; and by most liberal counts, the most intelligent human being in history. But despite tremendous biographical sketches, Einstein has remained largely unknown as an activist, or terribly misunderstood as a statesman. Many dimensions of his life have been deliberately suppressed, some grossly exaggerated, and quite a few entirely concocted with blatant lies. This is quite natural considering the ruling class elites have a stake in appropriation of his legacies – the United States which granted him residency has needed to use him for its Cold War propaganda, while Israel and the Jewish Diaspora have needed to tout him – the most famous Jew in history – as their torchbearer. The spiritual thinkers have cited him as irreverently religious, while the progressives have owned him up for his idealistic socialism. But this auctioned letter, …

Two Terrorists

(On their untimely deaths. One died too late and one, too early)  Bal, You were right about the god He took care of his subjects Rewarded those to Him closer Punished any whom to Him objects Must be sins driving them to deaths Who dared appeal for divine justice Fateful nights of communal clashes Died those lesser Hindus, Muslims  You, much loved,  lived on, lives on Immortalized by  Lata and Bachhan Honored with Tricolor, your body Even in death, rules over the  nation —— Kasab, Now that you are gone We can breathe again Lose in the dance of joy Seek ourselves in your death The unfinished business  Of ending terrorism  Find itself done  Now that you are gone   – Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet