At #YMCA #Mumbai for #CSSS's panel discussion on the book "#BabriMasjid, 25 years on..."
.@irfanen begins by describing how the book came about. A little bit of analysis, not so much about whether it is #RamJanmbhoomi. The various authors. But important to look back, understand how we got to Narendra Modi as PM.

After 25 years, Babri pops up mostly at election time
"All kinds of things are happening, yet there is dream of hope." People of India have always given the message that we are not going to believe your "politics of memory" every time elections come. More so now, with the semifinal results.
.@irfanen reads Prof. Upendra Baxi quoting #AghaShahidAli. "Your history gets in the way of my memory...."
Hands over the mic with that quote. Prof. Shama Dalwai is next - "lsupposed to write about her experiences as an activist during the '92-'93 riots. "What I understood is that communalism is the symptom of a sick and fragmented society".
Not just in 1992, but also in Gujarat in 2002, came to conclusion that communalism is not merely a problem that one can say I am not communal, I am secular is enough.
Reminds audience that when Mandal Commission was introduced, then Ayodhya came up, and Advani said, if it's Mandal we will take up Kamandal. It is power, in all aspects, class, caste, gender, etc. Communalism is a political response to attacks upon upper class, upper caste power.
When such power is attacked, someone comes up with arguments like Muslims are outsiders. Tackling communalism requires tackling the whole of the politics (of class, caste, gender).
Talks of own family, spread across religions and children discovering Muslim identity in school. Speaks of experience with Swadhar, centre at China Bhatti, where they heard of an impending riot on Dec. 31, 1992. First riot ended about six days after Dec. 6.
Attack planned upon Muslims who were returning for Jumma Namaz from Qureshi Nagar. Activists planned a human chain near the masjid, as a Gandhian response. Informed the police of the same. Joint Commissioner Pasricha joined them. Only 10-12 Muslims came for namaaz.
They were followed by 800-1,000 people shouting slogans and threats of rape. The human chain consisted only of women activists. But no one reacted. Shiv Sena leaders were also called by the police. They were asked to disperse the mob. The namazis also quietly left after namaaz
Takeaway: we need to have some or the other strategy to ensure that the State reacts, offers a response to communal rioting. Same strategy may not work everywhere. In Gujarat, Ehsan Jafri was killed at his own house. "There has to be an intervention on the part of all of us!"
"I want to interact with all of you on what we should do" when the state won't intervene. How to make strategies to control communalism, the kind of understanding required to deal with mobs.
Sushma Deshpande, "theatre activist", is the next speaker. She was in Delhi back in 1992, and there was theatre going on - Krishna-like figure sitting in a rather supposedly going to Ramjanmabhoomi.
The Congress govt at the centre under Narasimha Rao did not take necessary action, only Bihar govt and UP govt after the demolition, took steps. The demolition established that this sort of thing could be done, that it was "sanskaar".
Similar incident happened at Bhandarkar institute in Pune; now incidents like this have become common. There is emotion by people talking about this past.
Talks about her experience performing Savitrabai (Phule). Went to Hyderabad to conduct a theatre workshop exclusively for Muslim women. First day evening itself, a "young boy full of anger" came and said that his sister would not perform.
He was partly angry, partly afraid that his sister would go out. The activists then went and met families to encourage them to send their girls to come for the workshop. Later, when doing voice exercises, there was confusion and discussion over using "om" in teaching projection
Talks about receiving a letter from the girls later thanking her for the workshop.

Talks about a kar sewak in the family who brought back a brick from the Masjid, and the kind of fear associated with that experience. A fear that anything can happen anytime and it can burn you.
Talks about performing Savitrabai and Jotiba who wrote much against religiosity.

After Babri, people started talking about religion more openly, even within theatre community. More mentions of dharam. But there are groups speaking strongly against the happenings in society.
Concludes by quoting Jotiba's poem "Akhand" in Marathi (jokes that @ramuprintweek can provide English version).
Back to @irfanen who mentions the traditions we take inspiration from: Phule, Tukaram, Ambedkar, Baba Fareed, Bulleh Shah, etc. that keep us strongly secular in spirit, and the need to remember this. Mentions and thanks other authors also present today.
Authors, editors and chief guest unveil copies of the book - wrapped in a collage of newspaper stories from Dec. 6, 1992!
Over to @jaffrelotc for a presentation: the limitations of democratic representation in India.
Reminisces the 10-year commemoration of #Gujarat2002 to underline the need for remembering and reminiscing. Says there should be not just a 25-year event, a 30-year event. Facts can be erased, massively, if the State wants that. When the State won't remember, citizens must.
Also, activists must organize and network, especially given how police and vigilantes alike are trying to shut down voices.

Talks of own obsession to get facts right. Paucity of data afflicting India today. Traditional sources for data or statistics are vanishing.
E.g., the NSSO survey is postponed. Talks of compiling databases through his team. Says his presentation will have data, tables, etc. showing how massively underrepresented in India - in so many spheres of the public apparatus.
Muslims were "never there" in the police, in the judiciary. But they were there in the legislative assemblies, but are now declining even there.

If you remove J&K, Muslims comprise only 3% of IPS officers on average. (percentage of Muslims in India: 10-14%)
(10% in 1951, 14% today.)

Among IAS officers (data for 1978-2016 only), in some years you have ZERO muslims in the batches. Maximum was in '95 batch: 8%.
Moves to focus on Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

In 1980, 49 Muslims MPs out of 542 (9%).

In 2014, 20 MPs out of 543 (3.7%). First time the ruling party had no Muslim representation in the Lok Sabha. BJP went to Rajya Sabha to find representation.
The new development of some Shia leaders aligning with the BJP in Lucknow needs to be discussed. Sectarian angle requires understanding.

Who gives LS tickets to Muslims? NOT Congress (5.7%). Congress is following the BJP.

Largest is RJD (20%).
Coming to MLAs, #UttarPradesh is most alarming in terms of decline in representation. The Bisht admin. has only 2 Muslim MLAs, lowest ever.

Counterpoint: Maharashtra, where irrespective of who's in power, representation hardly varies. Still hugely underrepresented.
Likewise Gujarat, where Muslim MLAs only get elected from constituencies where only Muslims can get elected. Representation has been around 3% while Muslims form 9% of state popn.

MP had 2% Muslim representation under Digvijay Singh, fell to 0.5% under Shivraj.
MP's latest assembly has the same low representation.

Rajasthan changes with administration - with INC in power, representation is 6%, but with BJP in power, falls to 1% - but not a big difference. Conclusion: Congress needs to do much more in terms of giving tickets to Muslim
Bengal is only state where Muslim representation in legislative assembly has INCREASED over time. (Will try to share the slide later).

It is not that Muslims DO NOT want to participate. Muslims stand as independents (e.g., 400 candidates in Maharashtra in 2014)
Overwhelming conclusion: Muslims are not being given tickets at all, let alone proportional to their population.

Why does it matter?

Muslim MPs asked 23% of all questions about Muslims in LS question hour.

So who speaks for the Muslims in Lok Sabha?
3.7% of the MPs in Lok Sabha are Muslims; they ask 23% of the questions about Muslims. The lower the representation, the less minorities get spoken about. Concludes.
Can't stay for the Q and A but will share more data if I get the presentation. Thanks for all the likes and RTs!

Good night and good luck!
I'd be remiss if I didn't include a link for the book of the evening. Please do buy a copy if you can.

Babri Masjid, 25 Years On amazon.in/dp/B0786JVC3P/…
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Raghu /godavar /#DestroyTheAadhaar /#UrbanNaxal
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!


This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!