An Open Letter to Nivedita Menon and rest of Kafila Feminists

Dear Nivedita Menon and rest of Kafila Feminists, 

Let’s not waste time in niceties and come straight to the point. The point that having known you, listened to you, looked up to you, this statement has disappointed me completely. And Yes, I am speaking strictly from a very individual POV, I am no one’s spokesperson.

Now let me elaborate some serious problems , according to me:
1. So to begin with, sorry, your claim that the Statement was only from individuals, sounds outlandish to say the least. Why will, and how can, individuals' statement make a conditional offer of support on behalf of the "Larger Feminist Community" if the list is withdrawn? Did the statement offered not state that in its last sentence? I am quoting it here in case you have forgotten--
"We appeal to those who are behind this initiative to withdraw it, and if they wish to pursue complaints, to follow due process, and to be assured that they will be supported by the larger feminist community in their fight for justice." 

How exactly can some individuals "ASSURE" support of "Larger Feminist Community" if they were writing from an individual position? 

2. Sadly, the note this rejoinder dealt with is even more disappointing and reeks of favouritism if not outright gangsta loyalties (yeah, I used the term Gangsta loyalties knowingly and willingly) to make a point . Let's check two sentences from this rejoinder-- 

"Further, Mahmood Farooqui too was a Kafila collective member. When a specific complaint of sexual abuse and rape was brought against him by a complainant anonymous to us, the Kafila collective suspended him immediately from Kafila publicly, pending investigation of the complaint. That was the only collective statement Kafila has issued in its ten years of functioning as a voluntary, non-funded blog." 

"Lawrence Liang is also a member of the Kafila collective. He does not ‘run’ Kafila (as has been alleged by many), no individual does..... About Lawrence Liang, we have only so far seen his name on a list on Facebook and on a spread sheet that is blank in the column ‘description of complaint’ against his name. Kafila is alert to the situation, and awaits further developments.

Isn't it clear here that Kafila Collective is being outrightly  hypocritical ? On one hand one anonymous comment is enough to suspend Mahmood Farooqui, but same is not enough for Lawrence Liang? Interesting? Or plain hypocrisy? 

3. On Kavita Krishnan: Yes, I too was one of those who received that blog post claiming you and she tried brokering a deal between Tarun Tejpal and the complainant. I trashed it immediately, seeing your name. I knew that you cannot do it. Just cannot. About her, I was not sure.
I know you might cringe at this. But then I am also sure that you must have listened to her giving slogans like "Tapsi Malik Ke Balatkariyon ko ek dhakka aur do". Whom did she target then? CPM and SFI, right? Whom did she and her organisation ally with in last election? CPM  and SFI right? Whom did she ally with in last elections in JNU and the one before that? Same right? No, please don't give me electoral logic. One cannot ally with Rapists (of Tapsi) and Murderers (of Singur and Nandigram) for any electoral calculations. But then the point is not that. The point is something far bigger- her role in the past. She has championed Naming and Shaming all her life, including in Khurshid Anwar case. You explained or  to be more precise, 'contextualised' one of her tweets championing the naming and shaming route to feminism by invoking RSS. Fine, How will you JUSTFY this, by the way?…/22853426_102144705…

October 21st, 2016. She is justifying naming and shaming on the simple ground that there is no law against it. What has changed now? Is there some law, now, which prohibits naming and shaming that I missed? Or it is just a politics of convenience? 

4. Of Kavita Krishnan's role in Khurshid Anwar hounding: You claim that--
"Khursheed’s case that Madhu Kishwar had made a video recording with the complainant, and the complainant and her friends were ready to share it with the media before a formal complaint had been lodged. But when these people contacted other feminists, they explained why that would not be productive, and tried to help her instead in following procedures. Khursheed tragically committed suicide and the case ended. "

No, you are not stating the truth. And I am sorry to say this, but I know that this is not an oversight. Other FEMINISTS did not stop at that. Kavita Krishnan and Kalyani Menon Sen wrote to the board of directors of Khurshid's organisation. I don't know of Kalyani, but Kavita Krishnan then let her organisation  spread the video, with the help of a Hindi Professor of DU from her organisation. They blocked all our calls seeking a Criminal Case, mind it, a criminal case, not a compromise as alleged about you and her in Tejpal case. She did not relent. They never took any names to allow us even filing a defamation case. (Incidentally, that was the only case filed till his suicide.)
They just kept circulating the video then, carried on with the social media trial, till he was almost abetted to killed himself. Why I am using the word US? Because Khurshid was a very dear friend, almost an elder brother, and I flew down to Delhi to file that defamation case when the names of 3 complainants, claiming that he raped a 4th one, first came to the public discourse. 

And it was not only me. Many other feminists had tough questions for Kavita Krishnan. The questions they asked through an open letter in the Counter Currents. Kavita Krishnan never dared to reply them. Neither did anyone of you, I suppose what you meant by the phrase "Larger Feminist Community" in The Statement. I am giving you the link of those questions, bother asking Kavita Krishnan to reply to them?

5. It is not the only thing self-designated feminists like Kavita Krishnan have done. Remember that Muslim man lynched in Dimapur Jail? Kavita Krishnan declared him a rapist even after he got lynched. He was not even one. Did she ever apologise? 

6. On your article's title: From Feminazi to Savarna Rape Apologist--- I will still want to believe that you are not one, have learnt so much from you, looked up to you so much too. But then, again- some co-signatories of you have always doubted and decried Dalit-Bahujan narratives even when they tried to go through Due Process, a phrase suddenly so close to Kafila Feminists' hearts! Check this, how Kavita Krishnan rubbished Dankaur Dalit women's narratives who stripped themselves in front of a police station to seek justice as suspect---
Kavita Krishnan's words: "There are conflicting reports about the Dankaur Dalit Family (videos and photos of which are circulating). It is not sure whether or not the family stripped on its own or was stripped by cops. I have seen conflicting news reports. So reporters and activists in the area please help establish the facts."
And she did not stop at that-- she added- "If they did strip on their own, we need to check why they were protesting" (yeah yeah, women in a patriarchal society like India often strip for fun!!!!) and if and why they have been jailed.
(Kavita Krishnan, the revolutionary doesn't know why people get jailed in India!) I am deleting a previous post on this till further facts emerge! ( most sensible thing to do, indeed). I might have made transcribing mistakes so here is the link to the screenshot of her post--
So Dalits and Bahujans are always suspect for Kafila Feminists, right?
Having said it all, I noticed how you ignored my uncomfortable questions on The Statement. You can choose not to answer these ones too.
Thanks and Regards,


  1. I did not have a lot of background to a lot of incidents and interactions mentioned above but I strongly feel selective outrage and prejudiced activism is doing Indian feminism and every other ongoing struggle in this country great harm.
    This showing the alternate POV is so vital. Well written Samar !


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