Category Archives: Global politics

Kya aap White ribbon mein shraddha aur imaan rakhte hain?

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.

The hopeless and the hopeful.OSSW’07 Day 5

day 5

The hopeful: But this is a good start. If we can have this every year or twice in a year, we can get some people thinking about the idea and maybe this will catch on, who knows.

So let us give it a try, eh? (Sounds good for me)

The hopeless: Borders have been drawn in blood. Mighty presumptuous or stupidly naive of us to ask for a ‘United India’. One should think of peaceful co-existence, rather than dominate and swallow the neighbour under the thinly veiled pretext of ‘Unity’.

The One State Solution Week was created in order so that voices from Bangladesh,India and Pakistan could share common concerns about a shared history of violence, religious intolerance and colonialisation, in the hope that strong peace keeping ties between the three ‘nations’ will make a stronger lobby for peace and security in the world at large.

The idea is to draw from a pool of writings and and create a platform where these voices can come together, in the form of a web-site or a wikipedia entry.The writings need to be about what you, with your locusts stand I feel about the idea.If you can draw from historical, political, literary or artistic discourses, or better still create your own artistic material, then it would be great.

For non-bloggers:Send your write-ups (original and not longer than 1500 words).Send them in at

For bloggers: Blog your thoughts.Please keep them original, concise and crisp.Tag them OSSW’07 so that your post will be traceable.

One State Solution Week: Political Term Update

Placebo: The placebo effect occurs when a patient takes an inert substance (“a sugar pill”) in conjunction with the suggestion from an authority figure that the pill will aid in healing and the patient’s condition improves.

The Placebo effect can be used in order to describe various political conditions. It is exemplified best in the ways in which democracy functions. When the public asks for answers to a certain important problem, they are given an entirely unrelated solution and made to believe that this is the cure when, in fact, it is not.

No long drawn utopia.
Only practical Solutions to grevious illnesses.

The One State Solution Week.

The One State Solution Week asks for a One State Solution to the rising religious intolerance and the Nuclear Arms Race in the subcontinent of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.We want a future where all religions will prevail and grow and learn from each other, and where politics will for once focus on governing on the basis of well-being for one and all.

Lead us ,bring us together, listen to our woes and give us our due.Lets get back to the basics.Food, land water,air, mutual respect, education.

More debate here, and here.

Anti-Racist Developing-World Muslim Feminist for the International Week for Blogging Against Racism(whew!)


This week is the International Week for blogging against Racism. And I’m joining the long tradition of speaking truth to power.

Living with labels makes you feel their histories each time you interact with someone. Indian, Black, Muslim, woman… So to put it really simply, this is my identification with all people of colour. The reason we all need to stand up against Racism (read the Angry Black Woman’s post here).

“The US and the USSR are the most powerful countries in the world

But only 1/8th of the world’s population

African people are also 1/8th of the world’s population

Of that 1/4 th is Nigerian,

½ the world’s population is Asian,

½ of that is Chinese

There are 22 nations in the Middle East.

Most people in the world are Yellow, Black, Poor, Female, Non-Christian and do not speak English.

By the year 2000 the 20 largest cities in the world will have one thing in common.

None of them will be in Europe, none in the United States.”

Audre Lorde(January1st 1989), as quoted in the book ‘Feminism Without Borders’ by Chandra Talpade Mohanty.

To understand one’s place in the world right now it is very important to understand and break white privilege. Both personally, and politically.

Working with bodies and the body, I encounter and try to deal with the affects of oppression and violence on people. And post-colonial women share with Black women the history of being oppressed doubly, by male power both at home and in the public domain by the coloniser. For post-colonial minority women, power acted at the level of the public domain by a majority ruler, and at the domestic level by a minority male.* (This isn’t to simplify either of our histories, but to cite a common ground for coming together and drawing from each other’s struggles.)

So to form a contemporary consciousness that is independent and capable of forming agency within itself, an individual who is a post-colonial minority woman would need to overcome and redefine herself as independent of oppression at the domestic, local, national and global level. That means overcoming patriarchal and majority consciousness, and transcribing a self that draws from a painful historical legacy but is not bound by it. Being Muslim this is a very complicated and interesting place to be.

Getting at the root of one’s oppression means training your body to recover from its binding memories. Being a part of a community that has been looked at as other, whose history has been carved out of violence and genocide, and has been written largely by a dominantly different consciousness, the individual wakes up to find herself cast in moulds even before she knows them, or perceives choices. And these moulds are reinforced at the level of the home, at the level of the local milieu by being in a minority and at the global level by being a post-colonial (or sub-altern).Close your eyes and imagine what it could be like to black and woman in America, or, to be Muslim and Indian in India.

Recovering from one’s history therefore would mean, lets say for a Muslim woman in Gujarat, at the immediate level of survival threatened by a majority hegemonic state government, from sexual violence engendered by majority male violence, from sexual and domestic violence at home brought about by an oppressed male, and from a historical and political denial, unacknowledgement and indifference by the (democratic post-colonial) nation state. In their everyday this means countering prejudice, objectification, poverty, and lack of opportunity among other gruesome and perhaps unnamed ills.

Recovering from one’s physical and psychological oppression is paramount to envisaging a future. And the processes that bring this about can be multiple. In Lars Von Triers’s Manderlay, a young white American finds herself in an all Black Southern village, which has just lost the White Family that owned it and its people. She takes over the responsibility of setting things right and when she goes to the wisest man in Manderlay she finds that he , for the lack of creative and better alternatives for being advocates a return to the order of the older days. He also shows her a book of classification which the masters used to configure the slaves. Everyone was put under a neat bracket, like ‘pleasing n*****’, or thinking n*****’ and these were stereotypes created in conjunction with behavior patterns that the slaves had adopted in order to cope or deal with the oppression.

While working with structure is difficult for an emancipatory politics that seeks to liberate and not stultify, such a politics should devise itself based on internal peace, radical substitutes and personalised means of coping. There are no easy answers. Social Change is slow, but in driving it, initiators and catalysts need to be both sensitive and critical of individual strengths and resistances, being aware of all the forces that s/he is dealing with.

It is easy to white-wash differences under an evasive frame-work of emancipation, and we must be wary of the variations of force that tug at the lives of young people, and women. Race, class, religion, nationality, disability, indigenousness… are real and plausible differences that contain powerful histories of struggle within themselves. To be blind about difference is like living from hand to mouth, expecting an emancipation that is out of tune with the past and out of place in an individual’s context, and hard to live by in the everyday. We need a small steady, constant battering and reconstruction of structure within and outside ourselves, and we must never stop thinking big.

And very necessary in this process is participation in debates about issues that affect our lives, be they climate change or abortion or the decisions that our countries are taking in the nuclear weapons race. All of us need to stand up and take charge of our foreign policies from within our governments, giving democracy its due as a diverse and united people, Blacks, Muslims, all coloured people, women, people with disabilities…Only participation in the larger public sphere can lead to a responsible emancipation.

Let’s hold hands across the globe and stand up for honesty, peace, and demand for responsible, true, transparent and non-hypocritical democracies.

*or a more detailed account of the post-colonial woman’s history as a body, see Martha Nussbaum’s paper called ‘Body of the Nation’.

Icon by rilina