SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 152 December 2014
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)

LEFT PARTIES UNITE TO OPPOSE CORPORATE-HINDUTVA FORCES

(Press release; November 1,  2014)

 

A meeting of six left parties – Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Party, All India Forward Bloc, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation and Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) was held today at New Delhi. They have issued the following statement: Read more…

THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF BHOPAL DISASTER

Editors

 

On the fateful night of December 2-3, 1984, nearly forty metric tons of highly poisonous methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas spewed from the Union Carbide Pesticide Plant at Bhopal. By the morning of December 3, Bhopal was a City of Death. Read more…

HOW THE SANGH PARIVAR SYSTEMATICALLY ATTACKS THE VERY IDEA OF INDIA

Anand Patwardhan

 

The Editors’ Guild has honoured me by asking me to deliver the Rajendra Mathur Memorial lecture this year. But as you know, I am a filmmaker rather than a speaker, and would like to intersperse my talk with a few clips from my films. Read more…

WHY THE RIGHT TO DISSENT IS INDISPENSABLE: Romila Thapar Speaks Out

Praful Bidwai

 

When Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani famously said of the media during the  Emergency that “when asked to bend, they crawled”, he received widespread praise from the intelligentsia and even from people opposed to the BJP’s ideology—because he spoke the truth about the loss of independence and professional integrity on the part of the Fourth Estate and other institutions. Read more…

TARGETING NEHRUVIAN LEGACY

Ram Puniyani

 

The debates about India’s partition, Gandhi murder and policies of Nehru have been a matter of ceaseless debates. Each political tendency has their own interpretation of these events, which in a way are landmarks of sorts in modern Indian History. As such the phenomenon of Partition of India and assassination of Gandhi are interwoven in the sense that Godse held Gandhi responsible for appeasement of Muslims. Godse constructed his story around warped understandings of the events of the time to create the ground for murder of the Mahatma. These views are shared by many Hindu nationalists, who are in and around RSS-BJP. Read more…

POLITICAL MOBILISATION OF MUSLIMS IN INDIA – CHANGING PATTERN

Irfan Engineer

 

Muslim votes in post partition India have traditionally been mobilised by the politicians on three tropes – security, religio-cultural identities and fair share of Muslims. The recent victory of two All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) MLAs in Maharashtra Assembly elections held in October 2014 shows that Muslim votes could be mobilized on a fourth trope in the times when Hindu Nationalists are aggressively asserting themselves – that of counter assertion aiming at communal unity to take on the Hindu Nationalists. These tropes have been pursued through three different strategies – 1) withdrawal from electoral politics, 2) joining political parties not dominated by Muslims and 3) forming Muslim dominated parties. Read more…

HAVE INDIAN INTELLECTUALS BEEN CO-OPTED?

Jawed Naqvi

 

Increasingly of late, Prof Romila Thapar is required to assume the nearly impossible role of Emperor Akbar, who, according to the official plaque at his tomb near Agra, had “created a nation out of a mob”. To her credit (and sorrow), the ageless historian stands firm among a handful of public intellectuals left in India who have refused to be pulverised by the rise of right-wing Hindutva mobs. Read more…

THE MODI DEVELOPMENT MODEL WILL DRIVE INDIA OVER THE CLIFF

Anand Patwardhan

 

In 2006 and 2008, Muslims in the Maharashtrian town of Malegaon were accused of bombing their own graveyard and mosque. After seven years of blaming Pakistan and arresting and torturing Muslim suspects, in May 2013 the National Investigation Agency, India’s leading anti-terror agency filed charges against four Hindu radicals, all former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers.(From The Times of India, January 8, 2011) Read more…

LEADING INDIAN JOURNALIST P. SANAITH SAYS INDIA FOLLOWS THE U.S. MODEL AT ITS PERIL

Sonali Kolhatkar

 

(A person with a mask of now-Prime Minister Narendra Modi tied to his head takes part in an April 2014 rally in Varanasi, India, in support of Modi’s candidacy. Photo by Shutterstock not reproduced)

 

Palagummi Sainath, or P. Sainath, as he prefers to be called, is India’s most decorated journalist. In addition to the World Media Summit award that he just won, he is the recipient of many prizes, including the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award for his work covering India’s poor and rural areas. What sets Sainath apart from most Indian journalists is that he has steadfastly covered the country’s most dispossessed communities and has refused to participate in a rapidly Westernized media landscape that puts profits over integrity. Read more…

DOCTORING HISTORY FOR POLITICAL GOALS: ORIGIN OF CASTE SYSTEM IN INDIA

Ram Puniyani

 

Caste hierarchy is the major obstacle to the goal of social justice and it continues to be a major obstacle to social progress even today. There are many a theories, which have tried to understand its origin. The latest in the series is the attempt of RSS to show its genesis due to invasion of Muslim kings. Three books written by RSS ideologues argue that Islamic atrocities during medieval period resulted in emergence of untouchables and low castes.  The books are “Hindu Charmakar Jati”, “Hindu Khatik Jati” and “Hindu Valmiki Jati”. Read more…

BLAME POVERTY AND BIAS: 53% OF ALL PRISONERS IN INDIA ARE DALITS, MUSLIMS AND TRIBALS

The latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Prison Statistics India for the year 2013 has thrown up a shocking statistic, reflective of how casteism and bias are still an integral part of the Indian psyche. Read more…

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON WORKERS’ MOVEMENT AND COMMUNALISM

A national consultation on workers’ movement and communalism was organized by Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai on 18th October, 2014 in Mumbai. The primarily aim for organizing this consultation was to take stock of the communal politics that is so largely prevalent and its impact on the trade union movement. Read more…

STOP THE CAMP METHOD OF STERILIZATION

Mumbai (Noveber 4, 2014)

 

Stop the “camp method” of sterilisation, a coalition of pro-health networks and women’s groups have said, as more details emerge from Chhattisgarh where 11 women died, allegedly due to medical negligence. Read more…

VOICES FROM JADAVPUR UNIVERSITY: Students in Action

Koumi Dutta & Swastik Basu

 

On 10th September, the students of Jadavpur University (JU) began with their sit-in demonstration. On 20th September, the streets of Kolkata witnessed a rally like no other, a rally that brought together one lakh students from all over the state, who joined hands to raise their voices against the State aided atrocities and cadre hooliganism that has become rampant in the colleges of West Bengal. Read more…

MACHIL FAKE ENCOUNTER CASE

A Saga of Shameful Brutality Unveiled and Officially Confirmed

 

Machil fake encounter: 5 Armymen sentenced to life imprisonment

Rajat Pandit,TNN | Nov 14, 2014, 04.21 AM IST

 

New Delhi: The Army has sentenced two officers and three soldiers to life imprisonment for gunning down three unemployed Kashmiri youths and then trying to pass them off as “Pakistani militants” in a stage-managed encounter in Machil sector along the Line of Control in April 2010. Read more…

THE SOCIETY FOR SECULAR PAKISTAN

Press Release

 

The Society for Secular Pakistan (SfSP) strongly condemns the killings of Shazad Masih and his pregnant wife Shama by the crowd incited by the clerics of three mosques of the villages in Kasur. Read more…

WHY DOES MALALA YUSUFZAI’S NOBEL BOTHER SO MANY ON THE LEFT?

 

Pervez Hoodbhoy

 

Western agendas and interests can sometimes be intelligently leveraged for furthering what is important for peoples everywhere.

 

Arundhati Roy’s charm and lucidity have iconized her in the world of left-wing politics.  But, asked by Laura Flanders what she made of the 2014 Nobel Prize, she appeared to be swallowing a live frog: “Well, look, it is a difficult thing to talk about because Malala is a brave girl and I think she has even recently started speaking out against the US invasions and bombings…but she’s only a kid you know and she cannot be faulted for what she did….the great game is going on…they pick out people [for the Nobel Prize].” For one who has championed peoples causes everywhere so wonderfully well these shallow, patronizing remarks were disappointing. Read more…

MODI MEETS OBAMA

Sukla Sen

 

The Indian media not too unexpectedly, drummed up a lot of hype around incumbent Indian Prime Minister Modi’s trip to the US (September 26-30). Read more…

DISCOVERING IRAN. WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

 

Marcel Proust said: “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”  During the past two decades, I visited Iran on numerous occasions staying 10-14 days at a time.  This time around, I stayed for 2 months and heeding Proust, I carried with me a fresh pair of eyes.    I discarded both my Western lenses as well as my Iranian lenses and observed with objective eyes.  It was a formidable journey that left me breathless. Read more…

AMIYA-DA – MASTAR MOSHAI – TOGORE

Rana Bose

 

My father Amiya Kumar Bose was born on the 25th of December, 1900. He would have been 114 years old this year. An eminent Cardiologist and scientist of India, he died on the 14th of November 1975, a few months after the onset of the Emergency. I had just re-started my Engineering degree in the US, after a lapse of five years. My sister, Raka, who was working as a Microbiologist in the US and I, rushed back when we heard that he had had a severe cerebral hemorrhage. The planes were all delayed and we were missing all the connections. At Heathrow, David Frost the well-known TV commentator (who had a show on Al Jazeera until recently, till he passed on) was being taken to the plane by car and he heard that the gates had been closed and we were going to miss our flight, and somehow he invited us to accompany him and we got on the flight. By the time we arrived in Calcutta, Amiya Bose was gone. So from the airport we went straight to our home and carried his body to the crematorium in Keoratala. Read more…

OBITUARY: SAM NOUMOFF (1935-2014)

James Putzel

 

For many generations of students who studied politics at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Sam Noumoff was an iconic figure. He taught courses in political theory and comparative politics that you would be hard pressed to find on the curricula of universities in the developed or, indeed the developing, world today. Aside from offering a radical perspective on the comparative politics of East Asia, over the years Sam introduced thousands of students to Marxist political theory and even offered a course, on which I was briefly his teaching assistant, called Comparative Revolution. Read more…

OBITUARY: BIPAN CHANDRA (1928-2014)

Mritiunjoy Mohanty

 

Prof Bipan Chandra, the pre-eminent historian of modern India and a leading public intellectual, passed away on Saturday, 30th August 2014. He had been ailing for a while. Read more…

OBITUARY: GEETA DAS (1936-2014)

(ML Update)

 

Veteran revolutionary women’s leader of the party Comrade Geeta Das breathed her last on 24 October at her daughter’s house in Santoshpur, West Bengal. Comrade Geeta Das, popularly known among her comrades as ‘Geetadi’ was 78 years old and was suffering from several age related ailments. Geetadi hailed from Kotalipara in Faridpore district of East Bengal, presently Bangladesh. She studied till class VIII in the face of tremendous poverty and completed the Matric degree after marriage. Her unswerving courage and dedication towards studies was evident from her completion of basic teachers’ training with the distinction of being first class first even as she was raising her child and living in a hostel. She joined the Calcutta Corporation School as a teacher and retired from her job in 1996. Read more…

OBITUARY: SHAH CHAND

(ML Update, 4-10 November)

 

Comrade Shah Chand Mukhiya, beloved popular leader from Jehanabad-Arwal, loved and respected as the “Nelson Mandela of Bihar”, passed away on 2 November. A wave of grief enveloped the whole area with the news of his demise. His funeral procession was taken out from his village Bhadasi on 3 November, and a sea of people turned out for one last sight of their beloved leader. Long queues of men and women lined both sides of the road from Bhadasi to Karbala, and more joined in as the procession proceeded. The mourners included Party General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, Com. Kunal, Com. Ramjatan Sharma, Dhirendra Jha, Amar, Meena Tiwari, Saroj Choube, Anwar Hussain, Rajaram Singh, Raldu Singh, Wasi Ahmad, Suhail, and other leaders. Earlier, Com. Dipankar met Com. Shah Chand’s wife Com. Jameela Khatoon and sons, and consoled them with the assurance that every single Party worker stands with them. Read more…

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