Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

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Arundhati Roy explains why caste is central to the conflict between the State and its people

‘Since 1947, there has not been a single day where the Indian Army has not been deployed against its own people.’

After the introduction in Tamil, Arundhati Roy’s speech (in English) begins at :45 seconds into the video.

Writer Arundhati Roy doesn’t speak in public often, but she packs a punch when she does. The most recent occasion was the launch of a Tamil translation of BR Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste, which includes a detailed introduction and annotations by Roy.

The writer is currently facing criminal trial for contempt of court for an article she wrote about Dr Saibaba’s incarceration in 2015. Her speech covered topics ranging from civil rights movements across the world to situation in India today.

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Delhi University professor G N Saibaba returns to Nagpur jail

[Professor GN Saibaba has been ordered to return to prison in India, adding yet another political prisoner to the many hundreds of thousands of activists who have been imprisoned, often on the basis of  British colonial-occupation laws. — Frontlines ed.]
Saibaba expressed disappointment over the HC order.
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Social activists staged a protest in Nagpur Thursday, demanding Saibaba’s release on bail. (Source: Express Photos)

 “I DON’T feel like a victim but certainly feel I am being used and it is unfair,” said Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, responding to a question if he was a victim of a tussle between two benches of the Bombay High Court.

Saibaba, who was arrested last year for alleged Naxal links and was out on bail, arrived here on Friday evening by flight from Delhi to present himself before the central prison authorities following a Nagpur HC bench’s order two days ago cancelling his bail and asking him to surrender within 48 hours.

“Right from the beginning, I have been subjected to constant witchhunting and false framing. Without any evidence to justify the prosecution, I am being returned to incarceration,” Saibaba said in a statement to journalists. Continue reading

Artists in India Protest “Growing Intolerance” and “ideological Viciousness”

Tribune India,  November 6 2015

24 filmmakers, Arundhati Roy return their awards

24 filmmakers, Arundhati Roy return their awards

Arundhati Roy

Mumbai, November 5

Another 24 filmmakers, including Kundan Shah of “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” fame and Saeed Mirza who directed “Nukkad”, besides writer Arundhati Roy today returned their national awards over “growing intolerance”, voicing fears that the country’s robust democracy might be “coming apart” in the current atmosphere.

With this, at least 75 members of the intelligentsia have either returned national or literary awards, in an escalation of protests by writers, historians, filmmakers and scientists even as writer Nayantara Sahgal reiterated that “secularism was under threat” like never before. Sahgal was among the first to return the honours when she gave back the Sahitya Akademi award in October. Continue reading

Bihar, Jamui (India) — Maoists Launch Election Boycott

[Revolutionaries in India call for electoral boycott, expose the lack of content or substance in the government’s claims of “democratic reform.”  —  Frontlines ed.]

Days ahead of Bihar polls, Maoist posters surface in Jamui, police on alert

JAMUI: Days ahead of the first phase of election in Bihar, posters have surfaced in Jamui issuing a warning from the Maoists to boycott polls.

Days ahead of Bihar polls, Maoist posters surface in Jamui, police on alert

The posters that have surfaced in Jamui.

Majdoor, kisan, chhatra aur naujawan jaan gayee netaon ki chaal… humsab milkar karengay vote ka bahiskar (labourers, farmer, students and youth have understood the viewpoint of politicians and hence will boycott the poll),” read one of the posters which was found pasted on the wall of welcome-archway and Charka Patthar in Sono Block of Jamui district on Friday.

“Operation green-hunt ke naam par nirdosh janata kay saath maar-peet, hatya, jail aadi daman chalanay walay neta ka aaj vote bahiskar karen (let us stay away from the poll of the politicians who have subjected innocent people through coercion like assault, killing and jail in the name of operation green-hunt),” said another poster.

The posters, painted in bold red color and written in Hindi, were in the names of Communist Party of India (Maoist). Such posters had earlier surfaced in Boutha, Musharatand and other villages under Maheshwari panchayat in the district in the past fortnight. Continue reading

India: “Justice” System Produces Political Prisoners

Vira Sathidar, right, in a scene from “Court,” directed by Chaitanya Tamhane. Credit Zeitgeist Films

 The wheels of justice grind slowly and mercilessly in “Court,” Chaitanya Tamhane’s quiet, devastating critique of the antiquated Indian legal system. As it follows the case of Narayan Kamble (Vira Sathidar), a 65-year-old folk singer and social activist accused of inciting what is presumed to be the suicide of a sewer worker in Mumbai, the film conjures an absurdist nightmare of bureaucratic incompetence, indifference and social inequity.

Narayan is first seen teaching children Indian geography in a crowded Mumbai classroom, then hurrying to board a bus that takes him to an outdoor theater where he is introduced to a small crowd as “the people’s poet.” Backed by a troupe of musicians, he sings a forceful song urging everyone to rise up against “religious, racist, casteist and nationalist jungles.” Midway through, Narayan is arrested.

The remainder of the movie observes his protracted trial. A travesty of justice that another filmmaker might have directed as a farce, the work has a gravity, a measured pace and a detachment reminiscent of a Frederick Wiseman documentary — “Court,” however, is fictional. Continue reading

Indian Political Prisoner Kobad Ghandy ends hunger strike

June 6, 2015

Kobad Ghandy, arrested in 2009

Kobad Ghandy, the 68-year-old undertrial lodged in Tihar Jail here, called off his hunger strike on Friday soon after a court ordered the jail authorities to provide him easier access to basic facilities and adequate health care.

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Poetry is an Open Secret

Poetry is an open secret
That destroys the disquiet
Stirring in my heart.
It reaches in a trice
Those it is meant to reach.
Suddenly the ones who need to,
Will understand.
Rising in my thoughts,
It inspires movements.
The secret is,
My poetry was born
From the pangs of struggle.
Cover it if you must –
You will see it escape through
The spaces of your fingers,
Its vibrant, anguished notes
Snapping in anger,
Setting tears on fire
And flowing forth –
A river of blood-red syllables.

–Varavara Rao

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Varavara Rao is a communist, activist, naxalite sympathiser, renowned poet, journalist, literary critic, and public speaker from Telangana, India. He has been writing poetry for the last four decades.