When I started writing this blog, it was intended to be my platform to vent. It evolved as a space to express my views on current affairs, politics and society. As a sixteen year old who did not have other forums for discussion and debate, the blog became a healthy habit for me in 2011-2012. However, since I subsequently joined an Arts college with a Politics course, and since my involvement with Aam Aadmi Party grew, my need for a separate space for political discussion ceased to exist and with that, the blog posts stopped coming out. As I was exposed to academic weeklies like the EPW, magazines like Caravan and symposiums like Seminar, I realised that my writing on politics was more or less irrelevant. It’s not that I did not have opinions on various developments that took place this year – in fact, being an election year, I ought to have written a lot! I chose not to write because I thought that I was not contributing anything in terms on new ideas to the world of political writing. I had nothing new to offer to people in terms of opinions and views; nothing that was not already being expressed by full-time professional opinion piece writers and columnists. In the meanwhile, I did a few pieces for the independent media-critic website Newslaundry, which were mostly reporting jobs, with a couple of exceptions. They can be accessed here.
Over the last few months, Dalit issues, history and literature have attracted me a great deal. As a consequence of certain experiences in recent weeks, I and a couple of my fellow college students are undertaking a short study in this field. I can not reveal more about this at this point as details are still being worked out and also because I do not want to put in writing an idea that has still not taken a definite shape in my mind. The aim of this attempt at research is to bridge the gaps in understanding, that members of India’s upper castes have about problems and challenges faced by those belonging to the lower castes. On that note, I would recommend all to watch Anand Patwardhan’s film Jai Bhim Comrade. It is an excellent documentary that covers Dalit, Left movements in Maharashtra over the last fifteen years or so.
Coincidentally, St Xavier’s College’s Malhar Conclave this year has a panel discussion on Dalit issues. It was of particular delight to me when I found out yesterday that they have invited people like Kancha Ilaiah and Kabir Kala Manch’s Sheetal Sathe to discuss ‘The Invisibility of Caste’ on 14th August, 2014.
Mumbai University colleges, with a rare exception here and there, do not have a tradition of allowing political discussion/debate clubs on campus. In an attempt to change that, some of us in SIES College are trying to start a Politics and Current Affairs club that will meet once in a week or once in a fortnight to discuss issues and debate. We are starting this month with a screening of a political movie. I hope this experiment succeeds!
After the Lok Sabha election, the AAP is experiencing a massive churning phase; one of organisational restructuring and strategy rethinking. In Maharashtra, a new State Executive Committee has been appointed, of which I am also a member. Despite what some believe about the prospects of the party, I have great confidence in the long term impact of this political force, but I also think there is a long way to go.
As I said in the beginning of this post, I do not wish to write for the sake of writing and that it only makes sense to blog when I have something new to contribute. If things go as planned, I will have new ideas, new concepts to talk about – so you can expect this blog to be active again!