One State Solution.

Kya aap White ribbon mein shraddha aur imaan rakhte hain? November 15, 2007


Do you have faith in the White ribbon?

White Ribbon


Feminist, blogger and activist Anasuya Sengupta, in an essay called ‘Fundamentalisms of the Progressive wrote,

‘One of our campaigns was to wear a white ribbon for peace (the White Ribbon Campaign for Peace, India) – we used it both as a symbol and as a talking point, to begin conversations about violence of all kinds, including what we call ‘communalism’ in India (the rousing of hatred against particular communities). Initially, some of our friends scoffed at us, and wondered what an insignificant white ribbon could do, to change attitudes and animosities.

But the interesting thing was that there were so many people – both young and not so young – who were unable to be political in the same way as they saw ‘activists’; they felt this meant standing at street corners with banners, or going on rallies, or shouting slogans against the government. They found this too ‘political’ (in their understanding of the term), and yet they were deeply disturbed at the kinds of violence being perpetrated in the name of religion.

So for these people, wearing a ribbon was the beginning of a series of conversations they had with others, which began other processes of change, at least in terms of breaking the silence around violence.

And because it was something everyone could do – and have conversations at whatever level of politics and ideology each was comfortable with – it wasn’t intimidating in any way, and yet gave a sense of belonging to a community against violence, and speaking up for peace.’



Do you believe in pluralism and justice?

Are you Secular, liberal, free thinking?

Do you believe that all religion has in its essence ways of leading a soulful, integrated and fulfilled life?

Do you believe that religious extremism has done us no good?

Say No to religious bigotry.

White Ribbon

Wear a White Ribbon today.



Post Gujarat November 1, 2007

Dear fellow human-beings and women,

In the past few days we have seen a brave intercession in the country’s political sphere. In what is becoming an increasingly stifling atmosphere for diversity and difference, it’s time to take a backseat and readjust our gaze.

To speak for all women in India one needs to stifle some aspect of one’s identity so that your voice comes through and is easily translatable. But to speak today, I’m going to stop trying to stifle the angst that is keeping me so narrowly focused, or else, I would just buckle-up and abandon the fight. So I speak as a woman and as a Muslim.

After Gujarat 2002 the psyche of the nation was shocked beyond belief that it was actually possible that the fabric of the country’s humanism had eroded. Had 60 years of being citizens of a secular republic not had any effect on us?

If what we saw in Gujarat is the success of a laboratory experiment in Fascism then it is important to analyse with great care its philosophy and hypotheses. To know how the symptoms were bred and where the zeal came from, to look at both perpetrator and victim and the real difference between them.

What effect the massacres of Gujarat have had upon the women in Gujarat will show itself in time. Because implicit in the understanding of sexual violation and rape as a means of extermination is a thinking that is at its root the gravest danger to feminine life.

Can we talk about this easily? No. Because we are suffering from it. There is no tenderness in the act of disclosure. No safe vantage point where our grief will find utterance. We’ve buried ourselves with and in it in order to exist so as to safeguard some other means of being. We will try to reach it, point fingers at it and leverage it on other indirect causes but our loss is as clear as the silence and rebuttal after an outrage. Nothing that can be said carries with it any meaningful articulation when it comes to this. Where there should be pain, agitation, aching and remorse there is grim intolerance set in sullen eyes, all too willing to look away.

What distance or gap could separate a woman from another’s pain? It could only be the vindictiveness that makes one want someone else also to suffer and feel what you have been through. This only means that the difference between pain is just of degree. When inhumanity is bred, that process is one of pain. In cold blood. Wanting to put someone else through the endless road to doom that you are already walking. Because you have been bred, not to immunity but to the vice. Because you can see better but you don’t want to because you didn’t have any better. When one woman is violated, all women are at shame. And all men are to blame. And this makes the massacres of Gujarat a telling systemic register for the sexual ethics in our ‘nation’.

Hope is still a better vision of the world because one has the imagination for change. The deepest precipices are written over but the outcry needs to be addressed first.

We all have been wronged.

More from the Feminist Front in Ultra-Violet.

And if you disagree with what I have said, because you can feel, then, lets come together.




Where is the other in you? September 26, 2007

What you said about the One State Solution Week, 2007.


Two responses of ‘mainstream’ women.

‘I think the question – and therefore a possible ‘answer’ – can be phrased differently. What needs to help the violence in the sub-continent abate? What do we need to do for peace?


And one possible solution to that is not, I personally feel, a campaign against nations and nationalities because that can be historically difficult to comprehend and to change; it is to turn the issue of borders upside down, and to recognise that so much of nationhood is ‘imagined communities’ – different depending on who imagines, and what they imagine… In which case, we can be one state of mind… one state of imagined peace, of harmony, of non-violence. Some of us across the artificial, geographical borders of South Asia already do – to some extent – share this state of being. We share cultural habits of hospitality, social habits like films (!) and best of all, political beliefs in peace.


However, for the future, this imagined community needs to be louder, more visible, more powerful. It needs to express this vision of a shared sub-continent of peace. And pragmatically, it needs to push the fact that cooperation, rather than conflict, is better for trade, for finance, for security and ultimately, for the well-being of our people.’

Anasuya Sengupta, ‘One State of Mind‘.

One state solution is a very attractive idea but i don’t think it is feasible. I know I speak very bluntly and seculars don’t like my views. But I speak what I really feel; I don’t care for secular image/credentials.


Why this idea is not possible because
(1) Muslims cannot live peacefully with other communities.


(2)Hindus in pre-partition society were different, they were naive, they were ready to go to any extent to appease their Muslim ‘brothers’. It was easy for mahatmas to suppress feelings of those wounded refugees who had to leave their everything in Pakistan.
Now I don’t think Hindus can be fooled so easily.


(3)seculars (of course Hindus) will never try to understand the real nature of the problem so naturally whenever any communal problem arises they try to equate RSS with Muslim fanatics/terrorists, secondly they will always remember ‘Gujarat’ but will never dare to mention ‘Kashmir’. (See your mail in which you have done the same thing).
As long as these seculars exist in the society communal tension will always prevail.


If Muslims follow leaders like dr. APJ Abdul Kalam or Jinnah of 1920 then only Hindus should support One State Solution.’


Vedavati Jogi, in response to an initiatory mail.




*Please note: the graph is an artistic statement, and was not plotted with demographical data.Any dispute/protest is welcome.And the two responses are set-up by way of contrast, not comparision.


Blog for a One State Solution August 30, 2007

Filed under: India:Pakistan:Bangladesh,OSSW'07,racism,saffron — Big Momma @ 9:37 am
Tags: ,

‘Na jaane kaun si mitti vatan ki mitti thi’.( We never knew which soil was the soil of our land)

‘Hazaar Baar ruke’, from the film Mammo.

‘How many deaths will it take to be noticed that too many people have died?’

– Bob Dylan, Blowing in the Wind.

As long as there will India and Pakistan, this fight will never stop. Too many times has this been said.

More than 2000 people were killed, slaughtered, burnt in all the violence in 2002 in Gujarat. The mainstream in Gujarat is still in denial.

Millions of people died when the subcontinent was torn apart into Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Bomb blasts continue to claim innumerable lives. People from each side are hurt. The real reasons behind these blasts are still elusive. We all guess: terrorism, creating communal unrest…Perhaps all these are true.

For the Hindu, Muslim and Christian Sikh, Parsi and whatever person of faith caught in the middle it is just a matter of living with dignity, with the ability to practice your faith and go on with your life which matters.

For as long as these borders remain, our psyche will always be divided, although we are not divided in our history, culture and consciousness.

We need to do away with these borders, and let us start dreaming now. Because politicians are people and it is people who create opinion. It is people, us who can put an end to communal violence.

September 10 to September 16th ,2007 is the week to blog for a united India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Voices from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh coming together to say why and how a One State Solution is possible within this subcontinent.Whether and how one State can and should be created.

Here is what you have to do:

Blog about why you want or don’t want an undivided subcontinent.How you think that the creation of One State could solve problems of religious intolerance and security in the subcontinent. And how you think this is possible. What the future holds in store for an undivided subcontinent, what could be possible…

Let us create a coalition to take these voices far and wide. The One State Solution Week. September 10 to 16th, 2007.

This is a collaborative event. If you want to design posters, hand-outs, invites…the more the merrier…

Suggestions and queries welcome.

Let’s make it happen!

Dharm ke thekedaar: On the events in Baroda. May 13, 2007


Whose morality are you guarding?

I just got into Baroda and am writing this off handedly after hearing about the events at my ex-institution, the Faculty of Fine Art where I’ve been a student for a year. More importantly as someone who considers the city of
Baroda a place of work and much more.

What I’ve heard is amusing, alarming and taking its time to sink in. That as a woman and one of an identity that’s not Hindu, what I’ve been feeling and going through for so long has surfaced, that the undercurrents have shown themselves.

I would have said all this in more provocative language but I chose to restrain myself because I want to be able to say things clearly. Because my mind is equipped with an automatic censor that restricts every turn of phrase that could let out any evidence of sexuality. Because I want to be fair and true and because I’m working out of this harrowed,frustrated,carved tiny niche a language that will appease all of Us. Especially men. You guys are the first audience. It’s your appreciative twinkle of the eye I imagine as I write this. The rest of Us comes later, after I dealt with and stifled and commodified myself for You.

Sorry my fellow women folk, but we haven’t got any say in this. If that painting had objectionable content then no one is asking any of us for our opinion. No one will want to know if your or my religious sentiments are harmed.

So why should we participate in this debate? Why should I when my religion in its essence is iconoclastic, which often results in its adherents resorting to acts like the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas or in some cases destroying idols support this cause?

Being an Iconoclast means that the image itself has no value. But working with the visual medium I have to deal with representation and its other, non representation. I cannot however let interpreters judge for me what representation is best.

I could face a similar persecution tomorrow from Islamic adherents for any photograph or video I make. And the way to go is definitely not to anull each other’s claims to faith or religious and social practice as unfit or inadequate [I would term then as bigoted and not well aware of reason, and of the world outside, and they would call me an outsider and heretic].No one can or must mould her or himself to fit within the purview of a faith or religion, the process must be more open and nurturing for both the stream of belief or theism and the individual. But dialogue is not possible when one does not hurl labels at the other. It’s important to adopt them, even for yourself when you are entering a dialogic realm.

Moral or immoral are seperate but there must be a reasoning from each side as to why the other is so. For which you need to hear and see both sides. So that both the ‘moral’ and ‘immoral’ may benefit from each other.

This means that the image of Godess Saraswati is in the same boat as Bibi Mariam(May Allah’s blessings be with her) if you consider them as aniconic and ahistorical visual signs. But each representation carries meaning in its context and if I as an artist create an image that offends a certain group of people in their current context then I should think about whether or not the image I used offends the idea of divinity that is associated with that image for a group of people. But people created images and will continue to do so, it’s just the cultural context that is going to change. The war is then one of view-points and sensibilities.

The just way to go is for all people to judge individually and collectively how best they want to represent and be represented, if at all, within a collective conscience. And this judgement in the Indian context, if we believe in such a thing as a collective democratic and not irreligious but secular state has to be that of a well represented collective of sensibilities and stand-points.

In this case however, the images in question were not meant for public display and were made by a student, still under training. If the people who saw it were offended then they should have held the institution in question for the training that it imparts, after the process of evaluation. But sadly enough, the rule here is that of fascist sentiment.

So, when a censor in the name of religion (whose?) lands up at a college of art and demands that a young student be taken to custody, be declared a criminal for offending sentiments (whose?) and the acting Dean, of the institution(whose?) is suspended from duty for carrying out what seems to me a brave act, then I wonder, really, WHOSE state is this?

What is going on,

How long are we going to take this lying down and let an unjust and biased and bigoted polity decide for us what is permissible? Whether a work of culture is moral or immoral is the work of all of Us to decide.

And until you can get a fair ruling from each gender, each religion, and each age group do not consider that God (to me neither male nor female) is only yours to invoke and protect.

And lastly, Hinduism is not some pristine construct that is only your legacy. I am a Muslim but I draw from its culture as someone born living and thriving here. And I grieve for the loss of its tolerance. For the loss of tolerance in OUR culture.