Politics Of No Logic

A Tale of Prof Nitasha Kaul

Asok Chattopadhyay

To combat a person, call him a bad name and then kill. It’s a well-known saying. And this saying seems to be followed by the ruling class ideologues to teach the opponents a good lesson. Palestinians are considered to be the worst ‘declared’ enemy of the Israel Government and as such they can kill, murder a Palestinian be him an aged or any child at any time anywhere in Palestine. The entire people of Palestine are the worst enemy and they have to be killed, assassinated in the manner practised never before. In no country the ruling government patrons an opposition beyond a short limit. And as such a bad name remains ready in the register and many an opposition, opponent is branded with it to go forward.

In India it is a running show of everyday politics. No government in power be it state or Centre, is ready to tolerate a bit of the voice considered antagonistic. All the governments of different hues refuse to pay justice to the cry of populace. People witness it everywhere in India as the inseparable part of Indian polity. The fascist government in the ruling power is not at all hesitant to wipe out the Sayers of oppositions’ tongue. Even the regional left regimes were no different. From Kashmir to Sandeshkhali via Uttar Pradesh this sort of intolerance is evident with a common feature as ruling class ideology.

But of late an incident with a difference has taken place in the country which is hardly common. London-based Professor Dr Nitasha Kaul who happens to be an overseas citizen of India (OCI) was invited by the Congress-ruled Karnataka Government to participate in an international conference on the ‘Constitution and National Unity’ to be held on 24th and 25th February in Bengaluru. But she had not been permitted to attend the conference at all due to the ‘guaranterring’ central government with no justified ground so far. Dr Kaul has written with deep grief that she had with her all valid documents along with current passport; she is stirred enough because she had not been shown any ground for denying her to attend the conference. She was only told that nothing in this regard can be done sans Delhi signals green! Even she had had no previous notice or information in advance that she had been denied to attend the conference. Dr Kaul said that after a long travel by air she had to be detained in a ‘holding cell under direct CCTV with restricted movement and a narrow area to lie down, and no easy access to food and water.’ She has posted in her ‘X’handle:

‘How can the world’s largest democracy be threatened by my pen & the word? How is it ok for the centre not to allow a professor to be at a conference on constitution where she was invited by the state government?’

What lays behind the denial of her participating in the said conference in such a manner? By birth Prof Kaul is an Indian. She was born in Srinagar of Kashmir. She graduated herself from the Sri Ram College of Commerce at the University of Delhi and did her masters and PhD from the University of Hull in the UK. She authored her first novel residue being one of the five novels ‘shortlisted’ for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2009. She had served as a Visiting Research Fellow between 2007 and 2015, and as a Fellow at the ‘Centre for Bhutan Studies’ from February to May 2011, even as an Honorary Fellow with the Department of Politics at the University of Bristol, UK in November 2008.

 She had written in her ‘X’ handle: ‘I am a globally respected academic & public intellectual, passionate about liberal democratic values. I care for gender equity, challenging misogyny, sustainability, civil & political liberties, and rule of law. I am not anti-Indian; I am anti-authoritarian & pro-democracy.’ Even she proceeds to assert:

‘Decades of my work speak for me. The officials informally made references to my criticism of RSS, a far-right Hindu nationalist paramilitary from years ago. I have travelled to India numerous times since. I was invited by a state government, but refused entry by the central government. Rightwing #HindutvaTrolls have for years threatened me with death, rape, ban etc. In the past, authorities have sent police to my elderly ailing mother’s home to intimidate, even though I live in UK & my work has no connexion to her, a pious temple-going dezhor-wearing retired Hindi teacher & my sole surviving parent’.

And herein lays the cause of her being denied and debarred to participate the pre-scheduled event in Bengaluru in spite of her valid documents a. And herein lays the facet of the fascist government of India. Not a bit of opposition can they tolerate. The hindutvawadi fascists had trolled her for years to threaten her rape, ban and even death! Despite her residing in UK, her aged and ailing mother had been intimidated by the police for her connection with her mother in India! Her ‘anti-authoritarian & pro-democracy’ stand is enough to have a bad name and be treated in such a manner. A few days later she left India and returned to her country she resides, it has been reported from the government sources that Dr Kaul had been deported due to her anti-India and pro-separatist stand on Kashmir. The Kaul episode illustrates the real face of Indian democracy.

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Vol 56, No. 39, Mar 24 - 30, 2024