26 February, 2021

The Chilly Justice Of The Gulag

Raya Sarkar’s letter reveals a feminism that seeks to fight patriarchy with Stalinist methods, discarding human warmth and personal engagement

Illustration by Sajith Kumar
The Chilly Justice Of The Gulag
outlookindia.com
2018-04-07T10:55:29+05:30

I must confess I write this paper with a sense of hesitation, even doubt. My friends warned me that this is the time of political correctness where debate is not welcome and controversy is read as obscene. I feel the sadness of a generation where movements were a part of the everyday imagination. Whether it was ecological, Marxist, feminist, human rights or peace, political movements defined a way of life, a style of thinking, even living. We felt that, in defining a relationship, we were inventing a way of life. Politics also ­defines the way we look at the personal, the intimate, the ­domain of sexuality and friendship. Yet today what was a playing field, a space for friendship, has become a minefield. It is like being asked to undo the storytelling of a generation. Part of this rupture, at least for an academic, comes with the Raya Sarkar affair. For me, the man-woman relationship had a sense of celebration, of tolerance and humour. It was open and open-ended; it was not that we did not make mistakes, but we lived with them. There were moments of poignancy,...

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