SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 225 January 2021
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)


INSAF BULLETIN WISHES ITS READERS A VERY HAPPY 2021!

EDITORIAL: LOVE JIHAD: ILLEGALITY DESCENDS INTO CRIMINALITY

Vinod Mubayi

The “love jihad” law passed by the UP legislature late November 2020 essentially criminalizes marriage between persons of different religious faiths, more specifically between Muslim men and Hindu women; the former are accused of luring the latter by false promises in to marriage and converting them to Islam. This piece of legislation, if it can at all be called a “law” is so blatantly unconstitutional that even the cowed courts of India’s current judicial system are likely to reject it. But what may have been regarded as another example of insanity perpetrated by the Yogi regime has swiftly morphed into outright criminality.

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THE DISSENTING AND DEFIANT CITIZEN IS INDIAN OF THE YEAR

Sidharth Bhatia, The Wire

In an environment where dissidence is considered an act of rebellion, even sedition, where people are thrown into jail for standing up for rights, and where even a cartoon or a joke can get the politicians riled up, some Indians have let it be known that they will not get cowed down. Especially when it comes to matters of dignity and livelihood.

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THE GLOBAL ANGLE TO THE FARMER PROTESTS

Utsa Patnaik

The farmers’ movement for the repeal of the three farm laws which affect them closely but have been rammed through without consulting them, has now entered its second month.

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A MONTH ON, FARMERS REMAIN RESOLUTE OVER REPEAL OF FARM LAWS

Pawanjot Kaur

Mohali: The farmers’ ‘Dilli Chalo’ movement will complete a month on December 26, 2020. What started at the village block level, mainly in Punjab, has panned out across the country and Indian embassies, and foreign parliaments.

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LOVE IN THE TIME OF LOCKDOWN: HOW PAKISTANI WOMEN CONTINUE TO CHALLENGE PATRIARCHAL NORMS

Sehyr Mirza 

It’s the month of April during lockdown in Pakistan. The usually bustling Mall Road of Lahore is barren. On her way back from the office, Irum takes an Uber ride to the eerily quiet Pak Tea House. She waits outside the silent cafes and shops. Her eyes gaze upon an empty road: only a handful of commuters and a few passers-by are in sight. The liveliness of the city might have been a tale from another era.

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J&K: HOW AND WHY THE DDC POLLS RESULTS ‘MARGINALISED’ THE BJP

Shakir Mir, The Wire

Srinagar: District Development Councils (DDCs) tend to have very little political power. Yet the BJP-ruled Centre conducted the recent DDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir on a scale quite out of proportion to their diminutive profile.

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HOW CAN A GARMENT BE CHEAPER THAN A SANDWICH?

Imran Amed, The New York Times

This year the world has had to confront two monumental challenges: Covid-19 and the economic catastrophe the disease has caused. Both have taken a heavy toll on economically vulnerable workers, who already had to contend with low wages and few social protections. Their plight has exposed the rampant inequality pervading many corners of the globalized world, including the fashion industry.

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THE EDIT WARS: HOW WIKIPEDIA EARNED THE IRE OF THE HINDU RIGHT

Nishant Kauntia, The Caravan Magazine

“It might be awkward, but please don’t scroll past this.” In July this year, the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation launched a donation campaign in India. A banner pinned at the top of every Wikipedia article noted that fewer than two percent of users made donations and that, if those who saw the banner would contribute Rs 150 each, the online encyclopedia “could keep thriving for years.”

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BOOK REVIEW: A NEW SOCIOLOGY AWAITS US

Dipankar Gupta

Classes of Labour: Work and Life in a Central Indian Steel Town by Jonathan P Parry (in collaboration with Ajay T G), New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2019; pp xxx + 702 (biblio+index), ?1,850.

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