শাশ্বতী সরকার Saswati Sarkar Profile picture
Politically bipartisan, Indian, Bangali, follow history, Hindu human & legal rights on Twitter,Tweets and Blogs are in personal capacity
প্রদীপ্ত মৈত্র (Pradipto Moitra) Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
2 Apr
Everyone would say that BJP-RSS won Bengal (I think it will) through a politics of religious polarization. True. But how could they polarize so easily? They barely had any org 5 years back. Communists took 20 years to win power even in coalition +
Never seen the question as to the why of the success of BJP-RSS’ politics of polarization across castes addressed. It is because religion is a major fault line in Indian society at a social and cultural level, not among elites but among middle class to below, far more than caste
Bengal is no exception. All those who spread reams of ink or bytes on how “secular” Bengalis are, both left, BJP-RSS, just do not know the Bengali society from a commoners’ point of view. They have not even talked with common people I suspect, or may even be lying.
Read 14 tweets
21 Mar
Several of the Abrahamic religions I am aware of prescribe starkly unequal of treatment of believers&disbelievers, both in this world and after death. So, God will punish u if u don’t believe in him. Philosophical question-How exactly is this equality of man in the eyes of God?
This is perhaps an early documentation of viewpoint discrimination,specifically viewpoint of believing in 1 particular concept of God. In contrast, Indic religions espouse the concept of Karma, deeds.Their belief-Karma applies regardless of which God u believe in.This is equality
It is historically documented how over time repeatedly heretics have been persecuted by practitioners of Abrahamic religions just for being heretics, that is, on account of divergence of their belief from what the texts espoused. Is this practiced equality ?
Read 4 tweets
18 Mar
Never ever speak to any media without maintaining your records. A thread on my experience with media. My first interaction with media. In 2013, a filmmaker contacted me to get my comments on a movie she was making on Modi & Hindus. I was interviewed on video+
Subsequently, the filmmaker sent me documents that I should sign so that she can use the video interview any manner she wants to. I demanded that I have the right to see how she uses my statements, that is after she uses it. She refused and I did not sign.
Second, Newslaundry contacted me 4 my comments on a hit piece they would write against me.I interacted only on email and insisted that they reproduce my statements in full.They agreed and complied grudgingly. In the piece,they mention grudgingly that she asked 2 be reproduced...
Read 4 tweets
17 Mar
Some facts on Sheikh Mujibur Rehman post 1971. Ramana Kalibari used to be a five century old temple in Dhaka.During 1971 Pakistani army committed mass atrocities in the temple, which included destruction of the temple, burning to death 50 cows in its cowshed, forcible conversion+
+ abduction of women & murder of men who took shelter in the temple + m. After Mujibur Rehman got power courtesy Indian army, he returned the land of the temple not to the original owners but to Bangladesh public works which removed the last vestiges of the temple from the land+
Hindus have now been granted permission to build the temple, not at the original site, but some distance away. Accounts here

tfipost.com/2017/09/durga-…

sanskritimagazine.com/history/destru…

swarajyamag.com/news-brief/whe…
Read 4 tweets
15 Mar
I normally do not dignify abusive handles with engagement. This is 1 such as evidenced thru his multiple abuses directed against me for challenging his concoction. Such abuses disqualify any one from civil engagement. But will make one exception, just 1 to counter. Thread:
Notice what I asked - evidence of usage in common parlance of a term he pedaled. This is best shown through literature, newspaper reports. Thus far he has shown none. But, of course, he has showered vile abuses at me for asking him to show.
What has he shown instead - a collection of papers written in the last ten years that mentions this term, and an English book written in 1943. The first paper in this collection cites this term from an English book on castes written in 1981. So, a secondary reference.
Read 15 tweets
13 Mar
Open Letter to Rutgers University Administrators. Not sure what the principal critique here is, is it the said Professor is mocking BJP-RSS, or mocking Hindus? The first aspect seems to dominate the piece. Nothing wrong with Profs using SM 4 their politics indiafacts.org.in/commentary/ope…
Completely confused by comments on how many Indians and of which religion support Biden vis a vis Trump. Both were Presidential candidates only a few months ago. Indian Americans can support whoever they wish, what’s the morality factor associated with their choices?
If the author wishes to argue that the Professor in question is biased against Hindus, he needs to stick just to that point. Bringing in BJP-RSS, Modi, Biden, Trump are pure distractions, and even harmful. This is conflating BJP—RSS & Modi with Hinduism which is plain wrong.
Read 4 tweets
13 Mar
As a point of principle, I oppose mass petitions of students demanding punishment for a Professor for her views. This is a recipe for mob justice and contrary to conducive environment for academic research. Views have to be countered through documentations & scholarly arguments.
The issue becomes more complicated when however the Professor in qsn have cautioned students of specific groups to be “safe” only because a speaker was giving a speech in her University campus, rather than educating them 2 debate him.This is a tacit call to cancel that speaker.
Those who have perpetrated the cancel culture themselves should be ready to be canceled themselves. One can’t encourage cancelation of speakers in her own campus and simultaneously claim academic freedom when a different mob campaigns to cancel her. Playing field has to be level
Read 7 tweets
12 Mar
This story reminded me of a personal memory, which I share below:
I had once fostered a dog from a shelter. The shelter sent him to a foster home, mine, because he was showing shelter-stress. The dog grew very attached to me in a day or even instantaneously. But he didn’t get along with my own dog and would start fights with him.
The foster dog was of a smaller size than my dog, but was more resourceful. So in the fights my dog would win hands down. I was thinking of adopting the foster dog for good, but another family really wanted him.Given the chemistry between the 2 dogs,I decided to let them have him
Read 7 tweets
11 Mar
Substantive questioning was lacking in @rahulkanwal ‘s & others’interviews of @PrashantKishor . Missing qsn: @MamataOfficial led the opposition 2 CAA which large sections of WB Hindus supported,how would it affect votes,particularly the vote of Matuas&other refugee descendants?
Next - Exit polls of 2019 LS show huge religious polarization in votes, check the data put out by Rajdeep Sardesai. About 60% of Hindus voted for BJP-RSS, 70% of Muslims voted for TMC. Such polarization was absent in 2014 LS polls. Why this rapid change happened?
Third- 2014 & 2019 LS Exit poll data shows that across castes Mamata has lost confidence of Hindus during this period. What has she done since 2019 LS to check and reverse this erosion?
Read 4 tweets
10 Mar
Watched a Bangla debate by Arnob Goswami.1) His Bangla is like Bengalis’, even the colloquial phrases. The usages tells me he has read Bangla as well. Many Bengalis in Assam had identified themselves as Assamese to avoid discrimination. Were his ancestors one of those?
2) The TMC & CPIM representative attending Goswami’s debate were out shouting and out arguing him. Bengalis have a long legacy of excellence in debate.
3) Bangla&Assamese are very close languages. W/o any prior training in Assamese I can read Assamese, understand 95% of what I read and follow Assamese conversations. Always wondered why Bengalis have been discriminated against in Assam on linguistic basis despite the proximity?
Read 4 tweets
1 Mar
Learned some history of mining in Eastern US over the weekend. Mine owners reigned supreme in the 19th century. They owned politicians and bankers and media. Media routinely vilified miners agitating for improvement in work conditions. What does this remind us of ?
This reminded me of today’s owners of big businesses, particularly big tech. Control over politicians, media and financial institutions, poor treatment of workers. History repeating itself.
I learned this history in a small but wealthy eating place. The owner shares local history he knows. My fellow diners were all wealthy. When I said this is also happening today, they all nodded. But moment I completed the sentence-happening under big business owners today-silence
Read 8 tweets
22 Feb
Ironically Kamlesh Tiwari is invoked to argue against FoE by those allied to one of the power centres today that is, BJP-RSS. I will argue next that no Kamlesh Tiwari would be persecuted in a society that associates a premium on FoE.
Kamlesh Tiwari was jailed under NSA for a post against the prophet of one particular religion. A society that values FoE would bar punitive actions against speech. So, NSA won’t apply and no jailing.
Next, Kamlesh Tiwari was assassinated because of the same post. In a society that values FoE, there would be an immediate extensive outrage which would force govt’s to act against actors of religious imperialism. A perfect case in point is France.
Read 7 tweets
22 Feb
An illustration of how censorship works. Let us say your platform to express your thoughts means something to you. Now, you know that that platform can be taken away if you express your thoughts against an entity.Then u self censor,which is the first step in slavery of the entity
This is how power perpetuates and more powerful gather more and more adherents because only the followers of the more powerful have access to something they value.
Political entities like BJP-RSS & Left, Cong and religious imperialists have the power to maintain platforms of individuals through power over big corporates. Means, only those pro XYZ will speak unfettered.
Read 7 tweets
22 Feb
Mamata is behaving as though she has taken leave of all her political senses. Once ED pays her Bhaipo visits, she says she is ready to go to jail singing Jai Bangla like Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. Playing right in2 BJP’s Whatsapp messaging that she wants WB to join Bangladesh !
Mamata could easily have said that she would happily go to jail singing Bande Mataram if she warned to talk about going to jail, which itself is redundant as no one threatened her with jail. Anyway looks like she is done for.
Meanwhile another joint political suicide is being committed by CPIM + Congress through their alliance with Abbas Siddiqui of Furfura Sharif. Effectively means that the anti Mamata vote of Hindus would go to BJP-RSS en masse.
Read 5 tweets
18 Feb
There is a big section of pro-BJP-RSS crowd who seek to stop demands for FoE in the name of Kamlesh Tiwari. This isn’t surprising because those on the side of power, which BJP-RSS has today, will not want FoE. FoE is a tool against power. A thread on their hypocrisy.
Kamlesh Tiwari was arrested under NSA because of his speech against a particular religion. How could NSA apply in this case? Because there is no First Amendment style law in India. 1st Amendment stops Govt 2 act against any form of speech or expression+
So Kamlesh Tiwari could be arrested and jailed only because there is no FoE in India. If there was FoE, the arrest could have been legally challenged on that ground.
Read 8 tweets
10 Feb
Mahua Moitra came up with another mostly banal and annoying speech in LS. I have no comments on her allegations on a CJI, that is between her and BJP-RSS. But the part on fascism charge on BJP-RSS is banal, cliche and unsubstantive +
There are 1000 of legitimate grave charges on BJP-RSS, but fascism is not one of them. They got a record breaking mandate twice in a row. In a transparent election. By calling them fascist, one is diminishing their voters, which is unacceptable.
Second, this Eurocentric frame of reference is the most offensive. When some one wants to describe a non-Democratic force, why doesn’t the Indian context count? British imperialism is relevant to India, so are Mughal e Azam, Nawab etc. How about using those to describe despots?
Read 6 tweets
8 Feb
What is Indic civilizational legacy on FoE? Sabitri debated with Yamraj, the God of death, won the debate and got her husband’s life back. Nachiketa questioned Yamraj. Draupadi debated the entire court when she was being humiliated, & eventually got her husbands free.
All these individuals were speaking “truth to power”, to the ultimate power, be it God of Death or be the monarch & his courtiers in a royal court. So that “truth to power” is intrinsic in Indic civilization.
In documented history, Shankaracharya rejuvenated Hinduism by defeating Buddhist scholars in debates in court after court.
Read 5 tweets
8 Feb
FoE has two pillars to rely upon - 1)laws protecting speech 2) social protection for speech.The laws invariably protect against Govt intrusion though there is no reason why such laws should apply on private companies, but they don’t today.Comparison between India & US wrt these:
US still has stronger laws on FoE. The First Amendment. Nothing remotely comparable in India. The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to define hate speech simply because of the subjectivity involved.
But the laws can take one only so far without social backing. In fact cultural ethos is any day a far stronger deterrent on free speech because social influence is pervasive while the Govt can sanction only so many. This is exactly where India today scores over US.
Read 16 tweets
7 Feb
I don’t know the farm law, so won’t venture in2 the debate that it is right or wrong.There is clearly strong Corp. backing of the law which should make us suspicious given Corporate history.But while one set of farmers oppose another set (in different states) support. So 2 sides+
+ What is in some ways amusing is the set of celebrities who have jumped to its support or opposition. Neither set has any connection to farmers, have not shown any interest in farmers’ issues earlier and have chosen sides nonetheless +
Tells us how celebrities are garnered for “causes” and how seriously one ought to take their endorsement or opposition. +
Read 9 tweets
6 Feb
The Democrat Party in US devises its India strategy based on the inputs it gets from global left units in India, which would be the Lutyens media. Why it gets India wrong each time and underachieves on its objectives vis a vis India. A short thread+
It’s no secret that President Obama + Secretary Hillary did not want Modi to become India’s PM. They continued the Bush era sanctions on Modi wrt visiting US and other interventions hoping that those would undermine Modi’s image in India. The outcome was the opposite.
The US sanctions on Modi actually boosted his image in India, or at the least did nothing 2 weaken him. Modi won the PM chair of world’s most populous democracy with a record mandate in 2014. While he was on US no visa list. This was a clear embarrassment for US foreign policy.
Read 13 tweets
5 Feb
independent.co.uk/news/world/asi… India threatens to jail Twitter employees for non compliance with orders to ban accounts and posts related to farmers agitation. A short thread on the hypocrisy of the reactions to this
After Twitter banned several posts&a/c in US including that of then President of US,it has no moral ground to complain when GoI threatens to act for refusing to replicate the act in India. If Twitter complains, it is essentially saying it has the sole right 2 decide who can post.
But Twitter can not claim any kind of sovereignty. It is a pvt company and subject to the laws of the land. It can contest GoI in a court in India, but that’s about it. From a principled POV, a nation state must be more powerful than a pvt company because its rulers are elected.
Read 7 tweets