Pulling down the Vendome Column

28 03 2007


On this day (28 March), in 1871 the citizens of Paris proclaimed the first socialist government of this world. The Paris Commune, as it came to be called, was an epoch making effort by the workers and middle classes of Paris to build a new form of government which would be democratic, just and transcend the narrow walls of nationalism. Read the rest of this entry »

The Discipline of Spectator Sports

21 03 2007


As we recover from the dismal performances of India and Pakistan in the on-going cricket World Cup, it may be a good time for everyone to take another look at the role spectator sports play in our lives today. It is well known that cricket, the unassailable king among sports in the Subcontinent, rides on and sustains a multi-billion economy, provides super profits to those who own and administer its performances, and gives our people a distraction from the unhappy grind of their daily lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Are men and women equal? Part III (concluded)

14 03 2007


This column pointed out last week that ideologies and politics which deny the equality of men and women are growing stronger in today’s world despite women having gained unprecedented political rights and social acceptance for public activity. Read the rest of this entry »

Are men and women equal? Part II

7 03 2007


(The first part of this article can be seen here)

This column ended last week by arguing that women’s struggle for equality cannot be fought independent of the larger struggle for human equality. Does that imply that an independent women’s movement is not desirable? That it could actually be self-defeating in the longer run? Would celebrating the International Women’s Day (which falls tomorrow) split the unity required to struggle for human emancipation by disconnecting women’s issues from larger concerns? Read the rest of this entry »

Women’s Day, Lenin and a riot in Copenhagen

6 03 2007


Newspapers for the past few days have been carrying reports of riots and firefights between anarchist squatters and police in Copenhagen, Denmark over control of a 19th century building now called the Ungdomshuset or “youth house”. It appears that this municipal building was given to young people in the 1970s and since then has been the site for a vibrant “alternative” youth culture in Copenhagen.

The Guardian makes a brief mention of the fact that this building was constructed by the Danish labour movement in the last years of the 19th century and hosted Vladimir Lenin. We’ll come to that later, but what is most interesting, ironic even, for me is that two days before International Women’s Day the building where this idea was first conceived is being pulled down. Read the rest of this entry »

Religious Demography in India

3 03 2007


This is a review of Religious Demography of India, A.P. Joshi, M.D. Srinivas and J.K. Bajaj, Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai, 2003, pp. i-xxii + 358, Rs. 800.

I wrote it in October 2003 when I was working for The Hindu, but unfortunately, it never got published. The issue of “religious demography” remains as important today as ever and the carnards spread by Hindutva propagandists as vile as ever, therefore I am posting this review. Read the rest of this entry »