Daya Varma


Below we are producing two stories – first the attack on ANHAD by Sangh Parivar goons and the second on disappearing girls.


The first article was circulated by Abha Sur on the FOIL list. It aroused no concern while endless articles on the sociology of sex workers (not on trafficking of girls, not on women questions) appeared on FOIL and the saga is not yet over. Why is there such a callous attitude towards fascist activity of what IK Shukla aptly calls “Hindu Talibans”?


When the Gujarat genocide took place in 2002, so many left groups and individuals pronounced that Gujarat would never be forgotten. But it seems it has been forgotten. Other pressing issues such as SEZ and Nandigram have come. CPM’s Buddhadev Bhattacharjee and not Gujarat’s Narendra Modi is now the hot topic. So who is concerned with Gujarat? It is a small organization like ANHAD, headed by a Muslim woman, Shabnam Hashmi, who dares to go to Ahmedabad, the heartland of the fascist machinery. Teesta Setalvad, co-editor of Communalism Combat, took pains to detail the life and agony of Muslims during the five years (2002-2007) after the genocide; the June 2007 issue of the magazine is devoted to Gujarat, Part I. The Communist Party of India (CPI) journal New Age usually has a column against communalism although it mainly concerns the inner fight within BJP and its electoral chances. Harsh Kapoor produces relevant news on his South Asia Citizens Wire (SACW) as often as he can. In general, however, the Gujarat episode and hooliganism of Sangh Parivar is accepted as a facet of Indian civil life. How depressing!


The second news item below is about the missing girls. India has 927 females for 1000 males, the lowest sex ratio in the world. Why? It is because the female child is unwanted and committed to death either by selective abortion or by neglect after birth. Nearly 10 million have perished in the last 10 years, less than the annual death during the Nazi holocaust but more than the total. It is neither the fault of Atal Bihari Vajpayee nor of Manmohan Singh. It is our cultural heritage of which one can either be proud or ashamed of.  Regardless, something needs to be done to curb this barbarism. Some women’s groups will take up the issue. May be some men’s group will also show some concern? The government will make regulations tougher than they are now (intrauterine sex detection is already illegal in India) but social evils cannot be eradicated by official legislation. However, if this trend continues there will be chaos in society in addition to monumental injustice. Should it then not be a concern of political parties?

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