Dipti Gupta


In December 2006, Gursharan Singh became the first person from Punjab to get the Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna Award. A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Award in 1993 and the prestigious national Kalidas Samman in 2003, author of 13 books, 132 short and six full length plays with over 8,500 stage performances to his credit – this honor was bestowed in recognition for all of his work in Punjabi theatre.


In the beginning of 2006, at a small village near Moga, thousands of laborers, peasants and students had honored him with the “revolutionary Commitment Award”. It is heartening to see that the voice of the oppressed has now been conferred with the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.


Gursharan Singh personifies simplicity, dignity and skills through his work in theatre in Punjab. His work since 1957, has attempted to give voice to the voiceless and strived to liberate people from the bondage of an oppressive system.  He was a strong voice during the Emergency when the establishment put him in jail, terrorists tried to silence him and state governments threatened to ban his plays. Despite all of the challenges, this voice could never be silenced and has only strived to become closer to the hearts of the masses and inspired many youths and adults.


The South Asian Community in Canada has been fortunate that on several occasions Gursharan Singh and his troupe have performed in many cities in North America. INSAF Bulletin extends its well wishes to Gursharan Singh and his family and hopes that his powerful voice will continue to challenge oppression in society.




Daya Varma


All who cherish communal harmony in India would be delighted to know that Teesta Setalvad has been awarded Padamshree by the Government of India.  Teesta along with Javed Anand have been producing the magazine “Communalism Combat”,  for the last 13 years. As the name implies, the magazine’s mission is communal harmony and social justice.


Teesta was one of the first to rush to Gujarat when Narendra Modi’s goons started the butchery of Muslims. She has been accused even by people like Zahira Sheikh, the sole survivor of the Best Bakery carnage, for whom she fought as well as possible. In her turn, despite  Zahira’s accusations  (obviously under threat), Teesta expressed no revenge and continued to say that Zahira is still a victim.


Many progressive organization abroad including Canada had the pleasure of hosting her and hearing about her work. On behalf of INSAF Bulletin and many friends of Teesta, I extend our felicitations to her – frankly she should have been honored sooner. (Info supplied by Deepak Kapur)




The News International: Jan, 12, 2007


Karachi: Approximately 17 women were burnt to death in Karachi. As per statistics released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Thursday; some 121 women died in separate incidents of killings in Karachi in 2006. Out of these, bodies of 46 women found from different parts of the city remain unclaimed. Most of them were domestic servants.

It was noted that most of the burns victims were attacked by in-laws or jealous husbands contrary to the statements recorded with the police, which stated that the woman was burnt due to an accidental gas explosion while cooking. “This is totally unacceptable because most of the women giving these statements reside in poor localities where Sui gas is not even available,” said the HRCP statement.

It further revealed that 45 women were either murdered by their parents or relatives for marrying against their will, nine were killed while resisting robbery, two were mistakenly shot by the police and two of them died when they were hit by a train on the railway track. The remaining were victims of rape whose faces were later disfigured with acid so they could not be identified.




Daya Varma


In the early hours of December 30, 2006, on the day of Eid-al-Adha, perhaps as an insult to the entire Muslim world, Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq was hanged at the behest of the US invaders.

Saddam Hussein was born on April 28, 1937. With his death on December 30, 2006 dies the  current hope of modernization of the Arab World as a forward-looking, secular political formation. But no history ends with the death of an individual and fortunately Saddam’s death coincides with the beginning of the defeat of America in Iraq.


Saddam Hussein made many mistakes but he did not rule Iraq as a factional Sunni against Shias. His blunder was to commit injustices at the behest of the US. The American government behaves like a mafia; once you are in it, you are not safe outside. President Hussein tried to do it.


Yet, the world would or should wonder why  Saddam Hussein was hanged when no American President was even whipped for invading Viet Nam, for the massacre of nearly one million communists in Indonesia, for the  disappearance of thousands in Chile and above all for killing almost one million Iraqi citizens.

( For details, see the article Bringing to book the guilty men of Baghdad” by Siddharth Varadarajan in the Jan 10, 2007 issue of the Hindu)




Tehran (dpa) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that the execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein showed the true nature of the United States policies. “The execution showed that the final destiny of relying on the US is not suitable,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Ahvaz, southern Iran, broadcast live on the news network Khabar.


While referring to the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, the president said that the US fully supported and encouraged Saddam as long as he was standing against Iran’s Islamic revolution but later dropped him “after he was no longer of any use.” He said that also the late Iranian king Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi had the same destiny and “eventually perished in humiliating exile.” “The regional states should learn a lesson and like Iran, solely rely on the will of its people rather on corrupt powers,” Ahmadinejad said.


Tehran believes that Saddam’s swift execution was aimed at not allowing him to disclose the alleged US role or  even approval of some of the late Iraqi leader’s crimes in the1980s.





Daya Varma


Bush humiliated in the mid-term elections, facing dissent in his own party and war cabinet and sinking lower and lower in popularity faced yet another challenge on January 27 when nearly one-half million Americans gathered in Washington demanding an end to Iraq war. Even Jane Fonda, of Viet Nam days, accompanied by Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Jesse Jackson  was there to announce “silence is not longer an option”.

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