Politics of India

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Ellen Watts

Such a fantastic panel, thanks so much to all of you. All of your talks taken together give us a lot to think about in terms of the varied structural and cultural ways that an ‘ideal citizen’ is constructed, and who benefits from this/who is excluded from it. Debasreeta – your work is really important for not just telling us who is excluded and how, but how this is experienced. I would love to hear more about your interviews. How did you plan for/approach interviews on such an important, but traumatic subject? And what have you found the most interesting… Read more »

Debasreeta Deb

Respected Madam, Sincere apologies for the delayed response and my heartfelt gratitude for your valuable comments on my presentation. There are few parallels to Assam’s National Register of Citizens process in India or, indeed, anywhere in the world. Against this backdrop I made an attempt to record these individual lived experiences through in-depth interviews of people left out of the NRC List, with an aim to piece together a narrative of how the citizenship crisis is playing out in people’s lives in Assam, through their recollection. The data collected offers a deeply personal and granular account of living through the… Read more »

Debasreeta Deb

Dear Liam, thank you for going through my presentation and offering me with your valuable feedback. With regard to the questions that you have posed, I have tried answering them below.  1) Regarding the impact of this document-based citizenship determination exercise on the family dynamics, yes, you are absolutely correct. This has created instances of abuses within the larger family especially on the question of ownership of family property. Having possession of the documents have, in many cases pitted family members against each other over the access of financial means and resources. However, these familial dynamics and complexities have been… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by Debasreeta Deb
Ellen Watts

Devika! This is so exciting 🙂 I enjoyed your talk so much. You already have such rich arguments even though you are still in the planning stages, but I sympathise that the number of ideas you have must make it tricky to decide what to focus on! Having said that, the three women that you discuss definitely sound like valuable stories to compare to explore questions around sexism, status, and the forms of feminism which are promoted (or denigrated) both by the women and those who are talking about them (endlessly, it seems!) I made so many notes and would… Read more »

Manjeet Ramgotra

Dear Debasreeta thanks for your very important research and paper. This policy is discriminatory and I am not sure how you could make this case or not as it would not be straightforward. In any case it is important to get this out there and your ethnographic research (interviews) is invaluable. It reminds me of the Windrush scandal in the UK. Have you considered these two cases in parallel? It also makes me wonder if such measures are instituted by particular ‘authoritarian-style’ regimes for clearly such policies violate fundamental human rights of dignity. Anyway as Ellen says it would be… Read more »

Debasreeta Deb

Respected Madam, Sincere apologies for the extremely delayed response and also my heartfelt gratitude to you for going through my presentation and offering me your valuable feedbacks. To begin with, I have tried to substantiate the fact that the NRC as a policy is discriminatory through my fieldwork data that tried to uncover people’s everyday experiences of persecution, oppression in the hands of the state. The interviews were conducted within a semi structed interview framework where the primary question that I posed was, ‘What are the difficulties that you are facing in the NRC process? Has the exclusion of your… Read more »

Manjeet Ramgotra

Dear Nikhil This is also a very important paper on the far right response to and manipulation of lgbtq+ within a context of Islamophobia. Your argument that the prioritisation of lgbtq rights will bring feminists and postcolonialists on the side of the Hindu nationalist right and against muslim and marginalised populations (including Dalits?) is convincing and informative. Have you done interviews or any sort of ethnographic research to support these claims? And to what extent can this manipulative politics be stretched before it starts to alienate feminists, postcolonialists and lgbtq people who refuse to be pawns in the ostracisation and… Read more »

Nikhil Sehra

hello Manjeet. Thank you for the feedback. I am sorry to reply so late. The research is in preliminary stage and its a working paper. my next step is to engage with community and research the claims of the community. this is a qualitative research over the interviews and research already produced around this narrative. The extent of it is unknown because the feminists are also trying to alienate themselves from queer, caste, communal politics by calling them niche sub-topics within feminism or something totally different. this is an onslaught populist tendency which is being reflected in worldwide feminist culture… Read more »

Manjeet Ramgotra

Dear Devika
Thanks for your paper. The links between public perception, Bollywood and politics is very interesting. Could you talk a little bit about why this holds public attention and what is at stake? also there are important performative parallels that would be interesting to pursue. It is a very interesting and promising topic. I am interested to know how it fits in with your other research. Good luck in developing it, Manjeet

Indrajit Roy

Hello everyone, I am Dr. Indrajit Roy, Sr Lecturer at the University of York and privileged to be a discussant for this panel. Apologies I came late but as the presentations will remain online for another week, hopefully the comments will be of use 🙂 I will provide individual feedback to each of the presenters of course. Thanks to the panelists for your fascinating papers, which so competently illuminate different facets of citizenship in India.To say that citizenship in India- or anywhere in the world- is being reimagined is an understatement of course. Citizenship is, after all, a daily conversation,… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Indrajit Roy
Indrajit Roy

Feedback for Debasreeta: your presentation spoke really nicely to the spectre of statelessness that looms over large swathes of eastern India, Assam to start with, but perhaps elsewhere in the region. You referred to the very real human costs of the CAA and I wondered to what extent the prism of “racial apartheid” was useful to your analysis. Perhaps if you could reflect on that lens a bit more, and think through its utility (or not) in your case, that might be an original scholarly contribution. You may find it useful to engage with the work of Dimitry Kochenov, whose… Read more »

Debasreeta Deb

Respected Sir, Sincere apologies for the delayed response and my heartfelt gratitude to your for your valuable comments on my presentation. Sir, I have used the concept of ‘racial apartheid’ primarily to highlight how the NRC process in Assam has revealed a targeted discrimination against the Bengali speaking populace in the state who have a history of migration to Assam since colonial era and who are categorized, stereotyped and stigmatized as the ‘others’ ‘outsiders’ ‘Bangladeshis’ and ‘infiltrators’ has thus created social boundaries between the population in the state. Citizenship intertwined with its ethno nationalist and racist moorings in Assam, defined… Read more »

Indrajit Roy

Feedback for Nikhil: your presentation raised the very real ways in which tendencies towards populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism appropriate/ coopt the emancipatory ideas and practices of LGBTQ movements and mobilise them against “others”. The concept of “homonationalism” is fascinating and seems to be so relevant to your case. I wondered if your work discusses the diverse ways in which different members of the LGBTQ community engages with Hindu nationalism’s appropriations. You said some leaders were quite happy with the accommodation and supported it. Is that the general tendency- I remember you saying there were a diversity of views within the… Read more »

Nikhil Sehra

Thank you for your views Indrajit Roy. My work does discuss the diverse ways in which the LGBTQ community had been engaged or disengaged with the hindu-nationalist appropriation. The transgender bill 2019 is a benchmark of how the hindu-nationalists are trying to appropriate the trans-rights movements especially by appropriating them through hindu mythical legitimacy … Some leaders were not happy i would say but accommodating, which ofcourse are their personal views but projected in the light that their party is taking a softer tone, however there was a robust opposition from their parent organisation the RSS. so the upper caste… Read more »

Indrajit Roy

Feedback for Devika: your presentation really spoke to the everyday ways in which nationalism was constructed through the bodies- live and dead- of people. What an amazing take! I suppose you could think a bit about who was leading this- the presentation was framed to suggest that SSR’s suicide served as a distraction, which I agree may well be the case. In that case, the question to probe is whether this distraction was “led” by the state or by the media? Perhaps both (obviously), but you might want to provoke us to think more about what the case tells us… Read more »

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