SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 199 November 2018
Founding Editor: Daya Varma (1929-2015)
Editors: Vinod Mubayi (New York) and Raza Mir (New Jersey).
Editorial Board: Ram Puniyani and Irfan Engineer (Mumbai); Pervez Hoodbhoy (Islamabad); Dolores Chew (Montreal); Vamsi Vakulabharanam (Amherst); Ajay Bhardwaj (Vancouver).
Circulation/website: Feroz Mehdi (On behalf of Alternatives, Montreal).

EDITORIAL: LYING AS A MODE OF GOVERNANCE

Vinod Mubayi

 

The undoubted champion of lying as a mode of governing is the current US President Donald Trump. The Washington Post estimates that he has uttered or tweeted more than 8 lies per day on average over the last two years largely as a means of exciting his base who seem to cheer every falsehood that emanates from him. Read more…

NARENDRA MODI AND THE SANGH PARIVAR ARE TRYING TO APPROPRIATE THE STRONGLY SECULAR NETAJI

Subhashini Ali

 

A BJP loyalist from Madhya Pradesh declared more than a week ago that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was lord Vishnu himself (sakshaat Vishnu Bhagwan). Many may not have taken him seriously, but after hearing the prime minister’s October 21 speech – rather, watching it, as his public appearances before a mic are more performance than substance – one cannot help but feel that perhaps he took the loyalist’s assertion quite seriously. Nothing else can explain the cap on his head. Read more…

UNITE!  RESIST!  HATE & XENOPHOBIA in QUEBEC & CANADA

In Québec, (as in many other parts of the world) anti-Muslim racism has been on the rise for many years.  The most horrifying proof in Québec was the attack on the Grand Mosque in Québec City in January 2017.  6 people were killed and 19 injured. Read more…

PAST PERFECT AND A FUTURE TENSE

Rajesh Kochhar

 

The things All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) wishes to formally teach engineering students in the name of ancient Indian scientific achievements is a gross insult to ancient India. Making unsubstantiated claims about the past detracts from the genuine contributions that were actually made, and brings ridicule to an otherwise respected discipline. Read more…

PAKISTANI WOMAN ASIA BIBI ACQUITTED AFTER SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS DEATH SENTENCE FOR BLASPHEMY

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother facing execution for blasphemy, in a landmark case which has incited deadly violence and reached as far as the Vatican. Read more…

SS & BJP’S NEHRU-NETAJI ‘COSPLAY’: IRONY DIES A THOUSAND DEATHS

Ashutosh

 

The RSS and BJP’s relentless attack on the Nehru-Gandhi family is quite understandable. After all, the grand old family is the last stumbling block in their historical project – the building of a “Hindu Rashtra”. Read more…

SABARIMALA: BRAHMANISM’S LAST DITCH BATTLE IN KERALA

Binu Mathew

 

The only code of law for Hindus is Manu Smriti. IX.3 of Manu Smriti says “Na stree svaatantryam arhati” (a woman does not deserve freedom). Manu Smriti is the code of the four fold Varna system, namely Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vysya and Shudra. Hinduism is in fact is rooted in this pyramidal varna system, Brahmins being at the top. Manu Smriti is at the root of the Hindu code of law. It governs all aspects of Hindu life from birth to death. According to Manu Smriti the lower castes are not even the right to knowledge, not speak of the right of women. Read more…

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. AKBAR

Harish Khare

 

Rather than give in to a perfectly justified sense of outrage over M.J. Akbar brazening out the #MeToo storm against him, his refusal to step down from the ministerial perch should be lustily cheered. The Bharatiya Janata Party establishment has just advertised to the whole wide world that it has lost its marbles. Read more…

A DALIT WOMAN’S THOUGHTS ON #METOOINDIA

Mimi Mondal

 

For generations in India, Dalits have been actively stopped from speaking. It’s a marvellous nexus—the actively casteist population doesn’t even consider us human enough, and the population that pretends to be anti-caste forcefully silences us. Read more…

PROPAGATING THEOCRACY BY STEALTH?

EPW Editorial

 

The Sangh Parivar seeks to push its extraconstitutional agenda under the guise of law. Read more…

THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION AND THE ANTI-COLONIAL MOVEMENTS IN SOUTH ASIA

The histories of the revolutionary anti-colonial movements in South Asia and their engagement with the October Revolution are reflected upon, in this article. Accompanying these reflections is a sensitivity to contemporary problems of Islamophobia, the manipulation of popular protests by imperial powers and the internal ethnic and cultural divisions that invariably prise open the doors for imperialist interventions. The relationship between South Asian anti-colonial movements and the October Revolution was reciprocal. Read more…

EDITORIAL: THE REPUBLIC OF FEAR – II

Vinod Mubayi

 

Last month, Insaf Bulletin published the first installment of The Republic of Fear, the attempt of the Modi-Shah regime to instill a climate of fear in the public to forestall opposition in advance of the 2019 national elections. This was to ensure that the mounting protests against the failed policies of the regime, especially by the marginalized sections of society like the Dalits, would be met by intimidation including false arrests on fake grounds of those who articulated the causes of the Dalits most clearly, such as lawyers, academics, and activists. Read more…

ANAND TELTUMBDE: HOW THE POLICE CAN FABRICATE EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT ANYONE IS AN ‘URBAN MAOIST’

The Pune Police has been brandishing letters ostensibly extracted from the hard disk confiscated from activist Rona Wilson during the raid on his home on June 6. Computers have come handy for the police to produce virtually anything, quite like Satya Saibaba’s vibhuti, to implicate anyone and to harass them for a number of years as dreaded criminals, without an iota of misdoing. Even the inventors of computer systems could probably not have imagined that their creations would find such a vile application in the hands of the unscrupulous Indian police to destroy the lives of innocent people. Read more…

STATEMENT ON VIOLENCE AT HINDU NATIONALIST CONFERENCE

Chicago South Asians for Justice is a coalition resisting the rise of global fascism in the United States, India, and worldwide. Last night, we staged a peaceful disruption of the World Hindu Congress (WHC), an event that celebrated speakers like Mohan Bhagwat, the chair of the Indian right-wing, militant group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), now ascendant in Indian politics. Read more…

RAT POISON

Sumanta Banerjee

 

There is a nation-wide scare about a plot to kill our beloved prime minister Narendra Modi-ji by Maoists. Thanks to the ever alert police force of Maharashtra – and aided by our even more alert national investigative agencies – the conspirators have been apprehended before they could carry out their plot. Read more…

INDIA’S RIOTOUS TRIUMPH OF EQUALITY

Manil Suri

 

In a landmark ruling this week, the Indian Supreme Court didn’t simply strike down Section 377, the odious British-introduced law criminalizing homosexual acts — it did so in a judgment of remarkable scope and eloquence. Read more…

NARENDRA MODI: THE DISASTROUS PRIME MINISTER

Uttam Sengupta

 

He is the first PM to have replaced politics of hope with politics of fear. His public speeches are replete with innuendos, conspiracy theories, communal canards and victim card play. Read more…

PROSPECT OF PEACE PROCESS BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN

Adeela Ahmed

 

The Sovereign States frame their foreign policy to set political goals that enable them to interact with the other countries of the world to promote their national interest, national security and enhance national power. Read more…

UN TELLS OF MYANMAR GENOCIDE BUT ARE WORLD POWERS LISTENING?

Simon Tisdall

 

The UN report on violence inflicted on Rohingya Muslims and other minorities by Myanmar’s security forces is damning, but whether the guilty will ever face justice is open to serious question. Much now depends on the willingness of the UK and other veto-wielding UN security council members to forcefully pursue the allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity. Read more…

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF ATHEISTS AND NON-BELIEVERS

Anurag Bhaskar and Shubham Kumar

 

Though atheism has been socially prevalent in India, it has remained a grey area in the legal context. There are no specific laws catering to atheists and they are considered as belonging to the religion of their birth. Read more…

ARE SEWER DEATHS THE NEW NORMAL?

EPW Editorial

 

The recent deaths of six sewerage workers in Delhi in two separate incidents form part of a continuing series of such deaths. However, the response of the authorities indicates a new normality. It is typical of all that is unacceptable and insensitive in dealing with those who are condemned to perform a task that is considered as crucial in the rhetorical language of swachh Bharat (clean India). Read more…

THE TRUTH OF RSS IN ITS’ OWN WORDS

The AISA Collective

 

Introduction

 

All wings of the hydra-headed Rashtriya Swayamasevak Sangh (RSS), be it the student front ABVP, or Bajrang Dal, or BJP or its numerous vahinis and senas share the ideology of the RSS. Read more…

EDITORIAL: INDIA FAST BECOMING A REPUBLIC OF FEAR

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

A perceptive columnist recently wrote that national leaders govern their people by two major methods; the first one promises affection and inclusion, the second fear and intimidation. As the rhetoric of “sabka vikas” (development for all) fades into oblivion, several recent events suggest that Modi’s India is quickly becoming The Republic of Fear, an appellation once coined to describe Saddam Hussain’s Iraq three decades ago. Read more…

CORPORATOR WHO REFUSED TO JOIN VAJPAYEE CONDOLENCE MEET JAILED FOR ONE YEAR

Sukanya Shantha

 

In an incident that raises serious questions not just about the fate of freedom of expression in India but also the rule of law, an elected official in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad has been sent to prison for a year for declaring that he would not be participating in a condolence meeting for former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Read more…

CONDEMNATION OF THE MOB ATTACK ON SANJAY KUMAR, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, MG CENTRAL UNIVERSITY, MOTIHARI BIHAR 

Sent by Ram Punyani

 

As sociologists, social scientists and concerned individuals across the world, we strongly condemn the brutal mob assault on 17 August 2018, on sociologist Sanjay Kumar at Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Motihari, Bihar. Read more…

ARE THE ‘SUPPOSED’ IMMIGRANTS IN ASSAM A SECURITY THREAT?

Ram Puniyani

 

The perception is that those not finding their place in the NRC are supposed to be Bangladeshi Muslims. The primary anger of Shah is against this group of people. Read more…

AS IMRAN KHAN TAKES OFFICE, MILITARY LOOMS OVER PLAN FOR ‘NEW PAKISTAN’

Howard LaFranchi

 

When Pakistan installs Imran Khan as its new prime minister Saturday, the cricket star-turned-populist politician will be wearing an old sherwani, or traditional coat-length garment. Read more…

THE CLIMATE CHANGE WIDOWS OF INDIAN VILLAGES

Arpita Chakrabarty, Al Jazeera

 

19 August 18

 

When natural disasters claim the lives of men, it is women in Indian villages who suffer the most. Read more…

TOP SECURITY EXPERT EXPOSES DANGEROUS FLAWS OF AADHAAR

Sandeep Shukla/ Ujjawal Krishnam

 

Scientist Dr. Sandeep Shukla’s confidential studies highlighted the loopholes in Aadhaar but nothing has been done to beef up data security by the government yet. Read more…

PETITION: PROF. SP KOTHARI- WITHDRAW FROM PARTICIPATING IN WORLD HINDU CONGRESS 2018

Aazaad Lab

 

Aazaad Lab started this petition to Gordon Y Billard Professor of Accounting and Finance, MIT Sloan School of Management SP KOTHARI and 1 other. Read more…

SRI LANKA: FORMER SRI LANKAN POLICE OFFICERS GRANTED BAIL OVER MURDER OF JOURNALIST

Two former Sri Lankan police officers have been granted bail by a court in Mount Lavinia today, after they had been detained over the killing of Sinhala journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge. Read more…

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF SUSPECTED ‘FOREIGNERS’ IN ASSAM: ‘HE SAID MAI, I SAID BABA, WE BOTH JUST CRIED’

Tora Agarwala

 

On a Monday morning at the Kokrajhar District Jail, paper and patience are both in paucity. “We don’t provide paper,” snaps the jailor across a grille. Read more…

MAKING SENSE OF KERALA’S FLOOD DISASTER

EPW Editorial

 

The humanitarian response to Kerala’s calamity has risen above blame games. Read more…

OBITUARY: KULDIP NAYAR

Abdullah Niazi

 

Aged 95, Kuldip Nayar passed away as frail old men often do. A chill is followed by pneumonia that attacks the weakened lungs and there is nothing much that doctors can really do. Age takes its toll on the human body, and at 95, Nayar had reached a grand old age. Read more…

HOW KERALA SURVIVED ITS WORST CRISIS IN A CENTURY

Brinda Karat

 

As the flood waters in devastated Kerala recede, the extent of damage can be better though still not fully assessed and the way forward charted with lessons from what has occurred. Read more…

NTUI STATEMENT

Immediately Stop the Unlawful Arrest of Trade Unionists and Human Rights Defenders
Read more…

EDITORIAL: ELECTIONS IN PAKISTAN

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

The elections in Pakistan are over. There were sporadic and horrific incidents of violence, especially in Baluchistan. Initial results indicate that former cricketer Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Justice Party) will obtain the largest number of seats although it may fall short of a majority and will have to form a coalition with smaller parties. It is likely, however, that Imran will be installed as Prime Minister in the coming days. Read more…

ANATOMY OF A POLITICAL MOMENT

Sarah Eleazar and Sher Ali Khan

 

What kind of freedom is this?

You are deaf to our voices.

What KIND of freedom IS this?

Our young men keep getting killed.

What KIND of freedom IS this?

 

– ‘Da Sang Azadi Da’ by Shaukat Aziz Read more…

INTERVIEW: IMRAN KHAN IS PAKISTAN’S DONALD TRUMP – AND THE ARMY’S MAN, SAYS ACADEMIC PERVEZ HOODBHOY

Ajaz Ashraf

 

When former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz landed in Lahore on July 13, Pakistan was agog with excitement. Nobody had expected them to ever return to Pakistan. After all, just a week ago, a court in Pakistan had convicted the two of corruption in connection with the purchase of luxury apartments in London. It had sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison and Maryam Nawaz to seven years. Read more…

THE RISE, FALL AND RISE AGAIN OF IMRAN KHAN, PAKISTAN’S NEXT LEADER

Jeffrey Gettleman

 

LAHORE, Pakistan — Imran Khan, a charismatic cricket star who has fiercely criticized American counterterrorism policy in a region plagued by extremism, appeared poised on Thursday to become Pakistan’s next prime minister. Read more…

“NO REAL CHOICE” AT THE BALLOT BOX FOR THE PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN

Interview with Tariq Ali

 

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Read more…

INDIA: ALL INDIA SECULAR FORUM STRONGLY CONDEMN THE ATTACK ON SWAMI AGNIVESH

All India Secular Forum strongly condemn the attack on Swami Agnivesh, a 80 years old Highly respected social activist and Right Livelihood Awardee considered alternative Nobel Prize. Read more…

INDIA: 13-FEET WALLS NOT ENOUGH: STEALING YOUR AADHAAR DETAILS COSTS JUST RS 125

Anand Venkatanarayanan

 

That the central Aadhaar database has never been breached and can’t be breached is an often-made claim, especially by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and its CEO. Read more…

ON THE ‘URBAN MAOISTS’

Anand Teltumbde

 

Even in these times of a growing sense of hopelessness in the country under the present regime, the arrests of five activists by Maharashtra’s Pune police have stunned many due to the blatant misuse of power and impunity that it reflects. The continuing spate of condemnation by scores of people within and outside India does not affect the regime that parrots the statement that the law will take its course. Read more…

MOB LYNCHING: LET US ACT NOW

Irfan Engineer

 

Mob lynching has drastically increased in recent years, particularly since the election of the BJP government. There has been fourfold increase in cow related violent incidents from less than 5% of incidents communal violence in 2010 to 20% in 2017 (Subramanya, 2017). Read more…

WAS EMERGENCY IN INDIA AKIN TO HITLER’S REGIME?

Ram Puniyani

 

On the eve of 43rd anniversary of the Emergency, which was imposed on the country in 1975, BJP has come out strongly condemning the event, has issued half page advertisement and Modi said that it was imposed to save the power of a family. Read more…

STOP THE WITCH-HUNTING OF TRADE UNIONISTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

The New Trade Union Initiative condemns the baseless allegations, that are fabricated and defamatory, made against Comrade Sudha Bharadwaj leader of the Pragatisheel Cement Shramik Sangh and Jan Aadharit Engineering Mazdoor Union in Chhattisgarh of having ‘Maoist’ links, receiving funds from ‘Maoists’ and creating a ‘Kashmir like situation’ by Republic TV Managing Director and anchor, Arnab Goswami. Read more…

NATIONAL PROTEST BY LEFT PARTIES ON MURDER OF DEMOCRACY IN WEST BENGAL AND TRIPURA ON JULY 24

[Released from CPI(M) Central Committee office]

 

An open daylight murder of democracy is taking place in the states of West Bengal and Tripura. Human rights and political freedom have come under severe strain. Read more…

WHERE IS INDIA HEADED? SABKA VIKAS TURNS INTO HAMARA VIKAS, TUMHARA VINASH

Editors

 

Recent moves by the government and the BJP suggest that in preparation for the forthcoming elections next year the Modi/Shah duo is opting to polarize the electorate on religious majority-minority grounds as part of its electoral strategy. Since the tall promises made by Modi in 2014 of “acchhe din” (good times) and “sabka vikas” (development for all) have turned out to be mere “jumlas” (fakes), and the BJP seems to be losing popularity in its key strongholds in the north and west as evidenced by its defeat in several by-elections, Modi and Shah seem to have decided to fall back on their tried and trusted strategy of consolidating the (upper caste) Hindu vote, demonizing their political opponents as anti-national, and “othering” the religious minorities who are not going to vote for BJP. Read more…

STIFLING DISSENT

Anupama Katakam

 

In a bizarre turn of events after the violence that broke out on January 1 during the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle, five rights activists have been arrested for their alleged links with naxalites. According to the police, the “Elgaar Parishad” meeting that saw hundreds of Dalits congregate in Pune on December 31, 2017, was funded by naxalites. Read more…

POTENT ANTIDOTE

Purnima S. Tripathi

 

The RLD’s victory in the Kairana Lok Sabha byelection proves that majoritarian triumphalism, which has taken root since the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014, can be defeated with grass-root level social engineering and by making minority votes matter. Read more…

AIIB SHUT DOWN! REJECT NEOLIBERAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL!

We, representatives of social movements, adivasis, dalits, women, farmers, fisherfolk, forest workers, trade unions, civil society organisations from across India, together with solidarity groups from Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas, who have gathered at the Peoples’ Convention on Infrastructure Financing in Mumbai, 21-23 June, 2018, declare that International Financial Institutions have no role and function to play in today’s democratic polity and should be shut down immediately. Read more…

THE BJP’S DANGEROUS END GAME IN KASHMIR

Prem Shankar Jha

 

The BJP wishes to use Kashmir as a cornerstone of a bid to return to power in 2019. Read more…

MODI AND DISSENT

A.G. Noorani

 

The state has turned a libeller with intimidation as its weapon, inspiring mobs and using them as its tools. To what depths will Narendra Modi and Amit Shah not stoop in 2019 when the prize is the Prime Minister’s job? Read more…

PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY AND SECULARISM (PADS)

Press release

 

Isolate and Defeat Perpetrators of Lynching: A Lynching Nation Cannot be Democratic.

 

PADS statement against recent cases of public lynching in different parts of the country: Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: MAN WITH THE WHITE BEARD

Harbans Mukhia

 

Shah Alam Khan is a professor of orthopaedics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. That is, he sets old people’s bones and enables them to stand up from their chairs and walk. Not one you would expect would write some soul searching poetry and now an evocative novel that brings you closer to the deepest sorrows brought home to us by human cruelty as well as the most heartfelt joys of being compassionately human. Read more…

EDITORIAL: CAPITALISM AS USUAL

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

The 5th of May 2018 was the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx. Marx’s ideas have reverberated across the world, including South Asia. In this issue, we include a tribute to Marx by Vijay Prashad as well as a history of a few communist parties in South Asia, notably Bangladesh and Pakistan. Read more…

THE SO-CALLED “CONSUMERS’ INTEREST”

Prabhat Patnaik

 

IN the wake of the take-over of Flipkart by Walmart, one is once again hearing an argument which one has often come across before, namely that having a large multinational in this sphere, which can do global sourcing for its products, will make goods cheaper for buyers and therefore be in the “consumers’ interests”. Read more…

PROFITING FROM THE POOR: THE EMERGENCE OF MULTINATIONAL EDU-BUSINESSES IN HYDERABAD

Sangeeta Kamat, Carol Anne M Spreen and Indivar Jonnalagadda

 

Over the last decade, education for the poor in the developing world has become an increasingly attractive market for global investors and multinational corporations. This movement, known as the Global Education Industry (GEI), is vested in setting up schools for profit. It presents private schools as the best alternative to public schooling and possibly the only alternative to universalising access to education in developing and emerging economies. Among developing countries, India is almost always underscored as an education market ripe with potential and profits. Read more…

KARNATAKA: DECEIT AND DEFEAT

Ravi Sharma

 

The high drama in Karnataka that ended with the shameful exit of B.S. Yeddyurappa after remaining as Chief Minister for 56 hours gives the BJP a bitter political lesson and secular parties an opportunity to unite against their common foe. Read more…

CITIZENS’ REPORT ON FOUR YEARS OF THE NDA GOVERNMENT 2014-2018 

Since the time Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA) came out with its first Citizens’ Report on the BharatiyaJanta Party (BJP) led National Development Alliance (NDA) government in May 2015, India has witnessed an unprecedented political change whose sheer continuity has surprised many. Read more…

WHAT IS HOME? INDIAN AND PAKISTANI ARTISTS EXPLORE THE QUESTION THROUGH STORIES OF PARTITION

Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri

 

Rashmi Kaleka’s family was one of the countless many which came to India from Pakistan during Partition in 1947 but never really forgot what once was home. The sound installation artist grew up on stories about Pakistan and the house her parents, aunts and uncles lived in in Lahore. One of the stories, narrated to her in Punjabi by her father, involves a simple mesh door and the desire to bring a piece of home to India. Read more…

ANATOMY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF BANGLADESH

The rewriting of history has begun. On 30 June, 2000, the CPB (Communist Party of Bangladesh) arranged a meeting in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Moni Singh’s birth. Read more…

PAKISTAN ARCHIVES: HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST MAZDOOR KISSAN PARTY

The Communist Party of Pakistan was created in 1948 with Sajjad Zaheer as its General Secretary. An unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government by anti-imperialist officers within the army led to the incrimination of members of the CPP in 1951. This was known as the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case. Read more…

ASHOK MITRA: A LIFE OF RARE RICHNESS

Prabhat Patnaik

 

A fellow economist and friend looks back at Ashok Mitra’s intellectual contributions and the wide range of his experiences, associations, and interests. Read more…

MARX TURNS 200

Vijay Prashad

 

I imagine Karl Marx at his desk in the British Library, reading the Blue Books produced by the British imperial officials, studying the large books of Smith and Ricardo, spilling ink onto his coat, wondering what chaos will meet him at home. Read more…

MAY DAY GREETINGS TO ALL OUR READERS!

EDITORIAL: HINDUTVA’S EVOLUTION – FROM CRIMINAL TO PATHOLOGICAL BEHAVIOR

Vinod Mubayi

 

The drugging, torture, rape, and eventual killing of the little 8-year old girl child Asifa in the Kathua region of Jammu is a crime of such extreme depravity as to literally stagger the imagination. The fact that the premeditated criminal act was planned, perpetrated and executed by a retired government functionary aided by his relatives and a few policemen and carried out inside the confines of a Devisthan (the local Hindu temple) compounds its heinous nature. And what was the tawdry motive behind this horrific act? Read more…

THE REAL INSTINCT LURKING BEHIND THE KATHUA HORROR

Apoorvanand

 

The rapes at Unnao and Kathua have shaken most of us. And yet it needs to be said that the Kathua rape falls in an entirely different category. The abduction, brutalisation, multiple rape and finally murder of the eight-year-old girl was an act of communal or ethnic ‘cleansing’. It was done with an intent to rid Kathua of the presence of the Muslim Bakarwal community. That it was done on “behalf of the nation” was clear when we saw the tiranga being waved to cover the crime, led by people who are known as officers of the court. Read more…

MODI SHOULD REIN IN HIS PARTY MEN, SAYS LAWYER FOR KATHUA GIRL’S FAMILY

Kabir Agarwal

 

While many lawyers in Jammu actively protested the filing of the police chargesheet against the accused in the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old, one local lawyer has stepped in to fight the case on behalf of the girl’s family. Read more…

WHO IS MOST GUILTY OF THE KATHUA BARBARITY? MODI, SANGH PARIVAR, “SECULAR” PARTIES – AND ALL OF US

Harsh Mander

 

Today, in this somber moment of collective grief and revulsion across India, the child from a pastoral community in Kathua with two sets of parents has also become your daughter and mine. At this time of loss, the question we must confront is this: who is responsible for her ghastly rape and murder? Read more…

CPI (M)-CHALLENGING TIMES

EPW Editorial

 

Will the CPI(M) live up to the task of successfully uniting all secular and democratic forces to defeat semi-fascism? Read more…

HOW I GOT OVER THAT DARK GEOGRAPHIC SHADOW CALLED PAKISTAN

Qudsiya Ahmed

 

“Musalman ke do hi sthaan, qabristan ya Pakistan” (A Muslim has only two choices of abode – graveyard or Pakistan) is not a rhyme that a nine-year-old forgets with time. Its memory becomes stronger with age, as does the intensity of this choice. What hits her first is the option available; followed by the realisation of what is at stake — her life, and her loyalty to the country. Read more…

PAKISTAN: REVIVAL OF THE LEFT

Rashed Rahman

 

The task of reviving the Left to once again become an effective player in the polity has been exercising minds in the surviving Left parties and groups for long but the achievement of this goal has proved difficult. It is therefore heartening to note the follow-up of the meeting of 10 Left parties and groups in Lahore on December 29, 2017 by the formation of a 17-parties/groups’ platform dubbed Lahore Left Front (LLF). Read more…

INDIA: ASSURING DESTRUCTION FOREVER

MV Ramana

 

India continues to develop a triad of nuclear-delivery systems that have an increasing capacity to deliver destruction to longer distances. In recent years, the country’s political elite also have expanded their military ambitions. Despite a stated national commitment to a policy that involves no-first-use of nuclear weapons, there is some evidence that operational doctrines might call for first use of nuclear weapons under some circumstances; some of the additions to the country’s nuclear arsenal will allow for quick launch of weapons.1 Read more…

HOW PAKISTANI SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS MOULD ITS STUDENTS’ SKEWED WORLDVIEW

Madiha Afzal

 

Prior to 1977, no textbook contained any mention of the “Pakistan ideology.” But after that, the construct became the starting point and the central premise of high school Pakistan Studies texts. The description of Pakistan Studies textbooks that follows is based on my reading and analysis of textbooks from the mid-1990s to today, from all four provinces. Read more…

OBITUARY: ASHOK MITRA (1928-2018)

Calcutta, May 1 (PTI): Eminent scholar and Marxist economist Ashok Mitra, who also served as the finance minister of West Bengal and chief economic adviser to the Government of India, passed away on Tuesday morning after protracted illness. Read more…

EDITORIAL: SCIENCE AND HINDUTVA

Vinod Mubayi

 

Ever since the BJP won the 2014 elections, its votaries have been obsessed with making claims of the superiority of the ancient Vedic texts in all matters, not only those pertaining to culture and civilization, but extending to science and technology. Read more…

KISAN SABHA LONG MARCH IN MAHARASHTRA ENDS IN A RESOUNDING VICTORY

Ashok Dhawale

 

It was truly an amazing struggle, the like of which has not been seen in Maharashtra in recent times. It caught the imagination of the peasantry and the people, and received their unstinted support, not only in the state but all over the country. It received the backing of parties and organisations all across the political spectrum. Read more…

INTERVIEW: LEFT MUST TEAM WITH CONGRESS (AND OTHERS) TO SAVE DEMOCRACY: HISTORIAN SUMANTA BANERJEE

Ajaz Ashraf

 

The drubbing that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) just received in Tripura deepens the crisis the Indian Left has been facing. Is the Left’s demise in the country inevitable? Will the Tripura Assembly election result dampen the morale of Left-liberals who have been opposing Hindutva for the last four years? Will it aggravate the tension in the CPI(M) over the issue of whether or not to align with the Congress in 2019? Read more…

INDIA’S WAR ON SCIENCE

Shashi Tharoor

 

For India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, religion is not a matter of personal belief, but a key feature of traditional identity politics and crucial to maintaining social order, ensuring discipline and conformity, and preventing radical change. Science and rationality threaten all of the party’s goals. Read more…

[FROM THE ARCHIVES] INDIAN PRIME MINISTER CLAIMS GENETIC SCIENCE EXISTED IN ANCIENT TIMES

Maseeh Rahman

 

Hindu nationalists have long propagated their belief that many discoveries of modern science and technology were known to the people of ancient India. But now for the first time an Indian prime minister has endorsed these claims, maintaining that cosmetic surgery and reproductive genetics were practiced thousands of years ago. Read more…

SRI LANKA: REFRAMING THE RIOTS

Devaka Gunawardena

 

The recent riots targeting Muslims in Kandy have provoked accusations on many sides. While mainstream conversations focus on what the riots entail in terms of immediate political consequences for the current Government and its tepid response, progressives have also had to reckon with the growing presence of anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence as a feature of contemporary Sri Lankan life. Read more…

PAKISTAN: GUNS OR BOOKS?

Zubeida Mustafa

 

The infamous legacy of ‘enforced disappearances’ that the Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet left behind has, unfortunately, been picked up by Pakistan. This phenomenon is today a source of great human agony in the country with thousands believed to have been abducted, many for political reasons. Read more…

A ‘HUMAN RIGHTS GIANT’: ASMA JAHANGIR (1952–2018)

Beena Sarwar

 

Asma Jahangir, a “human rights giant,” lives on as an inspiration and source of strength for millions fighting for rights and justice. This is a portrait of an incredibly courageous woman, lovingly drawn with a collection of memories and anecdotes. Read more…

UNEQUAL MUSIC

T M Krishna

 

In “Crossing the Vindhyas” (EPW, 13 January 2018), Kamala Ganesh has rightly pointed out that we should not be surprised that a caste-based society’s art forms are also caste-based. But does this mean that we should not examine or question the specific manifestation that caste has taken in different social spheres, such as Carnatic music? Read more…

REWRITING OF HISTORY AND SECTARIAN NATIONALISM

Ram Puniyani

 

With the Hindu nationalist BJP in the seat of power an exercise in History writing is being undertaken on lines parallel to what was done in Pakistan. So far we did keep hearing loudly about the communal version of medieval history, where villainous foreigners, the Muslim kings attacked India, spread Islam and destroyed Hindu temples. Read more…

RIP ASMA JAHANGIR

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Gaye dinon ka suraagh lekar kidhar se aayi, kidhar gayi vo

Ajeeb maanoos ajnabi thi, hamen to hairaan kar gayi vo Read more…

AGAINST DEIFICATION

Maryam Hussain

 

The progressives are mourning the passing of Asma Jahangir. For many the loss is personal, a friend has gone. It follows the loss of Lala Rukh and Nigar Ahmed last year and brings home once again, the enormity of losing Shehla Zia over a decade ago. Though Asma was more visible, and her fame undeniable, the connections are clear. Read more…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: A CONVERSATION WITH ASMA JEHANGIR (2001)

Asma Jehangir, lawyer, human-rights advocate and activist in the women’s movement in Pakistan, passed away on 11 February 2018 at the age of 66, following a cardiac arrest. Her first tilt at officialdom was at 18 when she filed a writ of habeas corpus for her father who had been arrested by General Yahya Khan in 1971, for being a member of the Awami League. Read more…

THE BJP GOVERNMENT’S LAST BUDGET: SLOGANS FOR WORKING PEOPLE AND PROFITS FOR THE RICH

NTUI Statement

 

The BJP, like all parties of the far right, claims to serve the peoples’ interest. Its success lies in getting its slogans right. In reality it serves only the rich. In the last two years, the wealth of India’s richest 1% population increased from 58% in 2016 to 73% of the total wealth generated in the country in 2017, according to a new survey by an international rights group. Read more…

RESIST BIGOTRY, RECOVER SOLIDARITY: SAY NO TO “HINDUS FOR TRUMP”

India Civil Watch

 

We, the members of India Civil Watch (ICW) reject unequivocally the rank opportunism of “Hindus for Trump” (henceforth HFT) that leads them to offer to pay for President Trump’s proposed wall at the Mexican border as long as it will facilitate their own presumed ability to stay in the U.S. Read more…

AN IDEA OF JUSTICE

Ishtiaq Ahmed

 

On 15 February 2018 I had the privilege of visiting Sahiwal on the invitation of the Principal of Government College Sahiwal (established in 1946 as Government College Montgomery) Prof Dr Akhlaq Hussain. Read more…

THE SHEEN AROUND MODI IS QUICKLY FADING

Swati Chaturvedi

 

The BJP’s bypoll defeat in Rajasthan and West Bengal will likely be a big cause of concern for the Modi-Shah duo. Read more…

LESSONS FROM A ‘SCAM’: THE ARGUMENT THAT PRIVATISATION WILL REMEDY BANKING FRAUD IS SPECIOUS

EPW Editorial

 

The Punjab National Bank (PNB) “scam” is the latest addition to the list of scams, real and imagined, that have rocked India in recent years. In the case of PNB, two things should be highlighted upfront. One, it is clear that a bank fraud was perpetrated. Read more…

BIGOTRY AND ISLAMOPHOBIA IN BHANSALI’S “PADMAAVAT”

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s highly controversial historical drama “Padmaavat” was released a day before the unfortunate Kasganj incident when the country was celebrating Republic Day. A vicious narrative of nationalism in the small town in Uttar Pradesh resulted in a communal feud and led to the death of a young man. Read more…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: TERROR AND POLITICS IN BANGLADESH (JULY 2016)

For the past year, Bangladesh’s government and political commentators have spent a lot of time speculating about whether the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has a presence in the country. This month’s bloody attack at an upscale café in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone registered telltale signs of the form of terrorism common to transnational terrorist organizations such as ISIS. Read more…

EDITORIAL: THE NATION AND ITS FRAGMENTS: INDIA’S TYRANNY OF ENUMERATION

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

‘Majrooh,’ likh rahe hain vo ahl-e wafa ke naam

Hum bhi khade hue hain, gunehgaar ki tarah

 

Majrooh, they are writing the names of the faithful

And we stand in wait, like a guilty supplicant. Read more…

ASSAM RECOGNISES 1.9 CRORE LEGAL CITIZENS IN FIRST NATIONAL REGISTER OF CITIZENS DRAFT

Indian Express

 

The Assam government published its first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that includes the names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore total applicants, recognising them as legal citizens of India. Read more…

BENEFITS OF AADHAAR UNCLEAR: RBI RESEARCHERS

Swagata Yadavar

 

The benefits of Aadhaar, India’s biometrics-based unique national identity system–the world’s largest–are unclear and the impact of direct benefit transfers it will be used to deliver to the poor is not studied enough, a new study published by an arm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has concluded. Read more…

CAN YOU AFFORD TO DIE? ESTIMATES OF EXPENDITURE ON RITUALS AND IMPACT ON ECOLOGY

Archana Kaushik

 

Even though death seems to wipe out all social inequalities, ways of disposing dead bodies continue to perpetuate economic differences. This article provides an indicative estimate of the costs incurred in cremation and burial according to religious affiliations. Read more…

AADHAAR IS SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY MASQUERADING AS SECURE AUTHENTICATION TECHNOLOGY

Javed Anwer

 

Aadhaar didn’t start as surveillance technology. While the concept of a unique ID for all was fuzzy even in the beginning — around 2009 — it was meant to be an authentication technology that would plug leaks in India’s welfare schemes. Read more…

WHY DID THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA SUPPORT THE CREATION OF PAKISTAN?

Yasser Latif Hamdani

 

I have been receiving non-stop mail in response to my article “Two Nation Theory” which has now necessitated that I further develop my thoughts on the complex political scenario that 1940s’ British India presented and which ultimately led to two distinct events which are often interlinked partition of India and creation of Pakistan. Read more…

PAKISTAN: WHO BENEFITTED FROM US AID TO PAKISTAN?

EPW

 

After putting Pakistan on notice through a tweet on 1 January, US President Donald Trump’s administration suspended at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan, beginning from Friday 5 January, until Pakistan takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups. Read more…

AGAINST MILITARISTIC NATIONALISM: WE MUST REMEMBER THAT ZIONISM AND HINDUTVA DO NOT REPRESENT JUDAISM AND HINDUISM

EPW

 

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India from 14 to 19 January 2018 completes 25 years since the two countries established full diplomatic relations in 1992, following the victory of the United States (US) over the Soviet Union in the protracted Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel from 4 to 6 July 2017 came in a year that marked the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration by the British occupying government in 1917, asserting the objective of establishing a Jewish “National Home” in Palestine, a promise British imperialism had made to the Zionists. Read more…

THE SLAIN ‘MILITANT’ WAS A MODEL, AND A KARACHI POLICE COMMANDER IS OUT

Meher Ahmadjan

 

KARACHI, Pakistan — A top Karachi police commander known for harsh tactics has been forced out after what he called a shootout with the Taliban ended in the death of an aspiring model popular on social media, triggering days of protests. Read more…

INDIA’S RICHEST 1% CORNER 73% OF WEALTH GENERATION: SURVEY

PTI

 

DAVOS: The richest 1% in India cornered 73% of the wealth generated in the country last year, a new survey showed today, presenting a worrying picture of rising income inequality. Read more…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: THE POVERTY OF PAKISTANI IDEOLOGY: AN INTERVIEW WITH TAIMUR RAHMAN

Last year, Pakistan’s government nearly fell. Denouncing alleged vote rigging in the 2013 general election, opposition leader Imran Khan organized what he called the Azadi March in protest. Read more…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Dekhiye paate hain Ushaaq buton se kya faiz

Ik barahman ne kaha hai ke ye saal achcha hai Read more…

DOES THE BJP’S GUJARAT STRATEGY TELL US HOW IT WILL CAMPAIGN IN 2019?

Rohan Venkataramakrishnan

 

Win or lose in the state, it seems likely that the party will now deploy unbridled Hindutva and attempt to portray its opponents as anti-national. Read more…

HITLER’S HINDUS: THE RISE AND RISE OF INDIA’S NAZI-LOVING NATIONALISTS

Shrenik Rao

 

July 2008. I was on a cycling expedition, from the southernmost tip of India to its most northern state. Along the way, I took a pit stop at Nagpur, the geographic center of India and the epicenter of Hindu nationalism. There, I saw a building with a bizarre name: “Hitlers Den.” A pool parlor, its walls were emblazoned with tacky Nazi insignia, and on its shopfront – a swastika on full public display. Read more…

BREAKING DOWN BABRI: THE EVENT, THE AFTERMATH, THE VERDICT

EPW Meta-Report

 

India changed as a nation with the destruction of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992. The events of the day have not only permeated the social and political fabric of the country, they unfurled a series of events that have led to the creation of a new normal. Read more…

PAKISTAN: AFTER FAIZABAD – WHAT IS TO BE DONE ?

Ammar Rashid

 

There has been a tangible sense of despair among liberal and progressive commentators in the wake of the state’s capitulation to the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) at Faizabad. Read more…

FIVE YEARS AFTER DEADLY FACTORY FIRE, BANGLADESH’S GARMENT WORKERS ARE STILL VULNERABLE

Rebecca Prentice & Geert De Neve

 

Exactly five years ago, in November 2012, a fire in the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh killed at least 112 workers. Probably caused by a short circuit on the ground floor of the building, the fire rapidly spread up the nine floors where garment workers were trapped due to narrow or blocked fire escapes. Many died inside the building or while seeking an escape through the windows. Read more…

CELEBRATION AND INTROSPECTION: REFLECTIONS ON THE CENTURY-OLD OSMANIA UNIVERSITY

K Srinivasulu

 

The Osmania University, now a 100 years old, has, especially from the 1940s onwards, played a pivotal role in shaping the intellectual, social, cultural and political life of Telangana. But tragically, the present dismal state of affairs in its portals does not befit its centenary status. Sincere support from the Government of Telangana is the need of the hour. Read more…

QUEER RIGHTS AND THE PUTTASWAMY JUDGMENT

Danish Sheikh

 

The Puttaswamy judgment is a significant development for the future of legal interventions involving sexual minorities. When it comes to the constitutional challenge of Section 377, the judgment’s acknowledgement of the “chilling effect” vis-à-vis constitutional rights and repudiation of the de minimis rule as it pertains to constitutional harms is crucial in challenging the Supreme Court’s decision in the Suresh Kumar Koushal case. Read more…

THE COURAGE TO CHALLENGE THE NUCLEAR WORLD ORDER

M V Ramana and Zia Mian

 

In July 2017, 122 countries adopted the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. To mark this historic achievement, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, in recognition of its work over the past decade to make this treaty possible. This article reflects on the nuclear disarmament activism that led up to the formation of ICAN and the new treaty, and the challenges this now poses to the nuclear weapon states. Read more…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CLASS?

Vivek Chibber

 

Not so long ago, activists and intellectuals who regarded themselves as progressive had a pretty clear idea of what this entailed. Then, as now, it carried a commitment to democratic rights, to equality, to fighting gender and racial domination. But it also meant a deep and abiding opposition to capitalism. To be radical was to be anti-capitalist. Read more…

EDITORIAL: 100 YEARS OF THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

The so-called “October Revolution” of 1917 actually dates to November 7, getting its name because November 7 was designated October 25 in the Old Style Calendar. So this issue of INSAF is the closest to the centenary celebration. One of India’s leading commentators on the left has written an important article, reproduced below, that summarizes the impact of the Bolshevik revolution on India and the current status of the left in Indian politics. Read more…

AFTER  ONE  HUNDRED  YEARS  OF  THE  RUSSIAN  REVOLUTION,  WHERE  DOES  THE  LEFT  STAND ?

Sumanta Banerjee

 

The  history  of  the  1917  Russian  Revolution  and  its  aftermath,  can  be  divided  into  four  phases: Read more…

THE REPUBLIC OF COWARDICE

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

 

The controversy over the film Padmavati once again reminded us that the fragility of our identities, the layers of resentment that constitute our sense of self, the emboldening of the most lumpen elements in our society, intellectual confusions over the law, and the sheer lack of constitutional courage in most of our politicians make India increasingly unfit for liberty. Read more…

WHY ABBA MUST GO

Reetika Khera

 

Aadhaar-based Biometric Authentication does nothing in the battle against graft — there are better alternatives. Read more…

INDIAN MEDIA FACING PERSECUTION AND CONTROL

Pushkar Raj

 

The filing of a criminal defamation suit of 1 billion rupees (US$15.3 million) against news portal The Wire for publishing a story about the accumulation of wealth by the son of the president of the ruling  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a revelation of how the Indian media are battling for credibility and survival. Read more…

THE REVOLUTION AND RUSSIAN IMPERIALISM

Rohini Hensman

 

Unlike Western imperialism, which colonised overseas territories, the Tsarist empire expanded by annexing adjacent territories from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. Read more…

THE QAU STRIKE EXPLAINED

Pervez Hoodbhoy

 

Quaid-e-Azam University has finally reopened although student attendance is low and university buses are anchored off campus to avoid being damaged once again by protesters. The days ahead are uncertain. Read more…

WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THE CRISIS OF THE LEFT IN INDIA?

Roshan Kishore

 

The Communist Part of India (Marxist)’s atrophy in West Bengal has dealt a body blow to the Left’s influence in Indian politics. If the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, is to make a comeback, it will have to regain its lost hegemony in West Bengal. Read more…

STORIES OF A RAJPUT QUEEN

Harbans Mukhia

 

The Mewar royal descendant Vishwajeet Singh’s recent differentiation, in a newspaper article, between history and fiction with regard to the film Padmavati, came as a refreshing surprise. I recount here the historical facts and the popular versions of the story. Read more…

GAINED IN TRANSLATION: THE REMNANTS OF A RAGA

Manglesh Dabral

 

When I arrived in Delhi, I suddenly felt that I have been banished from a raga. When I saw the last tree of my village diminishing away, the absence of that raga made its home within me. Read more…

ECONOMY: DEMONETISATION – A YEAR AFTER: A SURGICAL PLUNDER

Pritam Singh

 

Demonetisation, hyped as an economic policy of ‘surgical strike’ against black money and terrorism, can be viewed with hindsight as more of ‘carpet bombing’ on Indian people especially those in the informal economy. Read more…

BANKING ON BAILOUT: RECAPITALISATION WILL INCREASE GOVERNMENT’S FISCAL DEFICIT

Pritam Singh

 

THE NDA government has spun a narrative that seems to have dazzled some observers that this government is now, after demonetisation and GST fiascos, embarking on bold economic growth measures. Read more…

AYODHYA DISPUTE: SUPREMACY OF CONSTITUTION OR FAITH?

Irfan Engineer

 

Babri Masjid is once again in news. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has taken an initiative to bring all stake holders for negotiating an out of court settlement. Apparently the initiative is in his personal capacity. However, Sri Sri Ravi Sahnkar is well connected with the BJP leaders. Read more…

LABOUR’S LOST AGENCY: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LABOUR MOVEMENT IN SRI LANKA?

Balasingham Skanthakumar

 

Early each morning at the main bus stands of the Biyagama and Katunayake export processing zones near Colombo’s international airport, a few thousand men mill around. Their purpose is not travel but to meet the ‘brokers’ or representatives of recruitment agents, who hire on the spot based on ‘orders’ for workers received from factory human-resource managers. Read more…

EDITORIAL: MODI’S “ACCHHE DIN” SEEM TO BE TURNING SOUR

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Modi and BJP’s triumphal march across the Indian political landscape for the last three and a half years now seems to be slowing down if not going into reverse. Those who believe in the promise of the Indian Constitution for a secular and democratic polity can now afford to breathe just a tad more freely as the poisonous hot air balloon of the regime appears to have begun to deflate a little. As the poet Faiz said once: “Roshan kahin bahar ke imkan hue to hain.” (Some possibilities of spring seem to be emerging.) Read more…

WHY ISN’T NARENDRA MODI TALKING ABOUT THE ‘GUJARAT MODEL’ ANYMORE?

Swati Chaturvedi

 

Narendra Modi, as three-time Gujarat chief minister, won the Bharatiya Janata Party an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha on the basis of his “vikas” (development) track record and the mega publicised “Gujarat model”. Isn’t it perplexing, then, that Modi, who by no means can be described as modest, is not fighting the Gujarat elections on that same record? Read more…

MISSION 350 OR NON-MISSION 200?

Sunil Sharan

 

It was all going swimmingly well. 2019 all locked up with 350 seats. Until the economy tanked. Read more…

CHANGING POLITICAL WEATHER: BJP GETS THE CHILLS

Mitali Saran

 

The weather in Delhi is finally turning, as is public opinion in India. The bluster and gloating is gone. Three and a half years into the Modi government, those who never liked the BJP are furious and openly derisive. Read more…

SECTARIANISM SUPPRESSING DEMOCRATIC RIGHT OF EXPRESSION

Ram Puniyani

 

Freedom of expression has been the core value which accompanied the struggle for India’s Independence. Read more…

PAKISTAN’S EDUCATED JIHADI’S

Muhammad Suleman

 

The recent trend in Pakistan is of the gradual penetration of radicalization and religious violent extremism into academic institutions. Traditionally, there were the madaris (religious seminaries) that played a vibrant role in breeding the jihadists and promoting religious violent extremism and terrorism in the society. Read more…

INDIA BECOMING DANGEROUS FOR INTELLECTUALS, SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

Pushkar Raj

 

When journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead in front of her house early last month, quite a few writers and social activists in India must have felt a chill down their spines as the country steadily becomes a dangerous place for intellectuals. Read more…

ON HIS BIRTH ANNIVERSARY, KARWAN-E-MOHABBAT MAKES FINAL STOP AT GANDHI’S BIRTHPLACE

Mari Marcel Thek Aekara

 

Porbandar: It’s a bit surreal, staying in a small, rather seedy, very dirty little hotel surrounded by members of the Sangh Parivar. Around mid-day, the president of India, with Amit Shah, will do the usual – start the honours for commemorating Gandhi Jayanti in Porbandar. Read more…

#I-AM-GAURI’ EVENT IN MUMBAI

Anand Patwardhan

 

October 5 marks one month after the murder of the journalist, rationalist and anti-communal activist, Gauri Lankesh. In the last four years, three other rationalists, Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Comrade Pansare and Dr. M.M Kalburgi were gunned down in an almost identical manner. Read more…

INDIAN CHILDREN SUFFER FROM INFANT STARVATION AND HUNGER

Sabrangindia Staff

 

While other countries have improved, we have not. This fall to 100th place (of 119) on the hunger index is registered for India at a time when the 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI) shows long term progress in reducing hunger in the world. Read more…

EDITORIAL: SOUTH ASIA IN THE SPOTLIGHT (OR CROSSHAIRS)

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

The murder of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on September 5 by motorcycle riding terrorists brought the emergence of Indian fascism into the spotlight in a most chilling fashion, highlighting the utter vulnerability of all activists who dare to oppose Hindutva. Lankesh was a fearless journalist who wielded her pen to oppose and expose the criminalization of political and cultural life under the current rulers of the country. Read more…

OBSERVE OCTOBER 2 AS A PROTEST DAY: AN APPEAL

Forum against the killing of Gauri Lankesh

 

Dear Concerned and Conscious Citizens,

 

The assassination of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh has evidently rung a strong alarm. Though the chain of resolve to condemn and resist the dastardly act exhibited across the nation is encouraging, much more needs to be done to counter the terror acts and save the precious dissident democratic spaces from the onslaught of fascist forces. Read more…

MESSAGE FROM TEESTA SETALVAD ON HER DETENTION AT VARANASI 

Dear Friends All,

 

This is a detailed communication to formally update you on the unfortunate situation as I arrived in Banaras yesterday. The CISF personnel received me at the airport. (Security provided as per orders of the Hon SC). Read more…

INDIA’S STUDENTS FACE BRUNT OF BJP WRATH AS RESISTANCE GATHERS PACE IN VARSITIES

 

The Citizen Editorial

 

The very first action by the Modi government when it came to power was against students in Jawaharlal Nehru University where the full might of the state was evident in trying to crack the Left bastion, and arrest and jail student leaders. Read more…

I KNOW WHO IS BEHIND MY DEATH: A PAKISTANI JOURNALIST’S REACTON TO GAURI LANKESH’S MURDER

Hamid Mir

 

Gauri Lankesh received three bullets in her body and died. I got seven bullets, but survived. I know I’m really lucky to be alive. Gauri’s terrible death made me search for other similarities — perhaps, I want her friends and family, my readers, anyone, someone, to know that I understand the pain and the grief and the anger, all twisted into one emotion, that follows when Death comes calling. Read more…

PAKISTAN: BACKDOOR ELECTORAL MAINSTREAMING OUTFITS CONNECTED WITH HATE-BASED POLITICS – IS THAT THE FUTURE?

Editorial, Dawn, September 20, 2017

 

In the long term, the by-election result may be remembered most for the candidates who finished third and fourth. Read more…

THE ROHINGYA GENOCIDE AND INADEQUATE RESPONSE FROM BANGLADESH

Taj Hashmi

 

I believe “genocide” is the right word to describe the ongoing mass killing, rape, and expropriation of Rohingyas in Mayanmar. Polish Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) first used the expression in 1943, to denote the mass killings, rapes, torture, extortions, and marginalization of Jews and others in Axis-occupied Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Read more…

HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER AMAL CLOONEY URGES SRI LANKAN AUTHORITIES TO ENSURE SAFETY OF FORMER MALDIVES PRESIDENT NASHEED

Sunday Times, Sri Lanka, 14 September 2017

 

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is urging Sri Lankan authorities to respect the rights and ensure the safety of her client and former President of the Maldives Mohammed Nasheed should  he set foot in the country. Read more…

IT’S LONELY ON THE GROUND: RTI ACT NEEDS TO BE PROTECTED 

Christophe Jaffrelot , Basim U Nissa

 

In April, the government of India proposed amendments to the RTI Act, one of the most empowering pieces of legislation inherited from the UPA era. The most controversial amendment pertained to Rule 12. It would allow the withdrawal of an application in case of the applicant’s death, making the job of those who file RTIs even more risky. Read more…

TRIPLE TALAQ: CRITICAL OF GOVT, MUSLIM LAW BOARD WILL NOT FILE REVIEW

Abantika Ghosh, Milind Ghatwai

 

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) executive committee meeting on Sunday did not discuss filing a review petition against the Supreme Court order holding instant triple talaq illegal. Sources said during informal discussions it was felt that a review plea may throw open more religious practices like polygamy to judicial scrutiny. Read more…

REREADING DAS KAPITAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Vamsi Vakulabharanam

 

Marx’s Capital (three volumes) offers a unified framework to make sense of some of the most troubling issues facing humanity today, in particular, rising economic inequality, deepening economic instability, and growing unsustainability of human–nature interactions, signifying a looming planetary crisis. To the extent that the text throws light on capitalism in the abstract that transcends the unique features of the English or European context, it offers us various insights and critiques about how to understand and intervene in societies beyond Europe. Read more…

MARXISM AND NATIONALISM – NATION AND NATIONALISM

Achin Vanaik

 

In the broad social sciences as well as in the discourse on politics, there is no consensus on how we should understand the nation – what its origins are, or on its meaning and value. By contrast there is widespread acceptance that nationalism – whether understood as doctrine, ideology, sentiment, identity or movement – is a modern phenomenon. Read more…

EDITORIAL: PAKISTAN-INDIA RELATIONS AT 70: A DISPIRITING PICTURE

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Two inspiring speeches were made in mid-August 1947. On August 11, Jinnah outlined his hopes for a non-sectarian Pakistan when he said “You are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. Read more…

EDITORIAL: ANOTHER YEAR OF MODI AND BJP: HAVE THE “ACCHHE DIN” ARRIVED?

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Prime Minister Modi made many promises of “acchhe din” (good days) after gaining power but all he has shown so far is an acumen for keeping his political opposition divided and winning elections, gaining “acchhe din” no doubt for himself and his cohorts. Read more…

RANA AYYUB SPEAKS IN MONTREAL – THE DIASPORA HAS A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE FOR INDIA TODAY

Dolores Chew

 

As part of her Canadian tour the famed and very courageous award-winning journalist and author Rana Ayyub (Gujarat Files: anatomy of a cover up) came to Montreal. Read more…

RANA AYYUB IN VANCOUVER: SOLIDARITY WITH “NOT IN MY NAME”

Chin Banerjee

 

In an expression of solidarity with the movement of protest against mob lynchings in India organized under the banner of “NOT IN MY NAME,” the recently formed, “Indians Abroad for Plural India” organized a talk by visiting journalist, Rana Ayyub, in Vancouver on August 27. Read more…

INDIA: STATEMENT OF WOMEN’S GROUPS & CONCERNED INDIVIDUALS ON THE SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT ON TRIPLE TALAQ

22 AUGUST 2017

 

We wholeheartedly welcome the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Triple Talaq brought before it by a number of Muslim women and Muslim women’s rights groups. In arguing that the practice of Triple Talaq is both un-Quranic and Un-Constitutional, it is an important departure from earlier judgments on all women’s rights, because it is based on the tenets of equality, dignity and secularism as enshrined in the Constitution. Read more…

INDIA: SECULAR CIVIL CODE – WITH TRIPLE TALAQ STRUCK DOWN, IT’S TIME TO REFORM OTHER UNJUST FAITH-BASED LAWS

Girish Shahane

 

The Supreme Court’s divided judgement on instant divorce is a tiny step in the right direction. Read more…

TRIPLE TALAQ VERDICT, GENDER JUSTICE AND RSS COMBINE

L.S. Herdenia

 

 

The BJP and Sangh Parivar are celebrating Talaq judgment of Supreme Court and claiming credit for liberating Muslim women from the male dominated Muslim society. But there is no evidence that they took any initiative for empowering Hindu women. On the contrary they took every possible step to stall a major initiative taken by our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and our first law minister Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Read more…

RIGHT TO PRIVACY: A BRAKE ON GOVERNMENT

Indira Jaising

 

Supreme Court has ruled that the right to privacy is a fundamental right of every citizen of the country. The landmark verdict was in response to many petitions filed in courts questioning the validity of a government scheme to assign a unique biometric identity card to every individual. Read more…

AN EPIC BATTLE HAS BEEN WON IN THE FIGHT FOR PRIVACY IN INDIA, BUT THE WAR ISN’T OVER

Devjyot Ghoshal

 

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is an agency of the Government of India responsible for implementing the envisioned AADHAR a unique identification project in India. Read more…

DERA VIOLENCE: HOW BJP FUNDED & PROMOTED THE MONSTER CALLED RAM RAHIM SINGH

Aditya Menon, Anurag Dey

 

BJP is to blame for Dera violence. Haryana leaders gave Rs 1 cr (10 million) to #RamRahimSingh. Modi & Shah wooed him   At the root of Dera violence in Punjab & Haryana lies BJP-RSS nexus with #RamRahimSingh. Read more…

HINDUTVA RULE & ANARCHY ARE TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN

Shamsul Islam

 

Is it a coincidence that wherever we have BJP governments mobs rule/destroy unhindered? Go on the rampage? Read more…

GORAKHPUR TRAGEDY: ALLEGATIONS AGAINST KAFEEL AHMED FALSE, REVEAL HINDUTVA BRIGADE’S BIGOTRY

Sandipan Sharma

 

His name is Kafeel Ahmed Khan. So, how could he have been a hero? Read more…

INDIA: COL. PUROHIT – ARYAVARTA’S SOLDIER, NOT A MERE MOLE

Press release by JTSA (Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association)

 

The Malegaon accused Col. Purohit has been granted bail by the Supreme Court. We know that bail in terror cases, especially those involving bomb blasts, is rare, if not altogether impossible to secure. Read more…

INTERVIEW WITH THE DALIT LEADER JIGNESH MEVANI

Ilangovan Rajasekaran

 

In mid July 2016, a video of a few Dalit youths being beaten and paraded by a mob for skinning a dead cow in Una in Gujarat went viral and triggered a mass movement for Dalit assertion that probably had few parallels in the history of modern India. Read more…

INDIA: DISTORTION OF TRUTH AND THE UNDERMINING OF DEMOCRACY UNDER REIGN OF HINDUTVA

Ananya Vajpeyi

 

Between sophistry and silence

 

Can the ongoing devaluation of language and undermining of democracy be reversed?

The outgoing Vice President, M. Hamid Ansari, was subjected to one of the strangest send-offs in Parliament in the history of independent India. Read more…

HARASSMENT OF PROF. NIVEDITA MENON BY JNU ADMINISTRATION 

(Posted by Ayesha Kidwai . president, JNUTA in Facebook)

 

We, the undersigned women’s rights groups, activists and academics, are shocked to learn that the JNU administration has adopted a biased and mala fide procedure to institute an enquiry against Professor Nivedita Menon, eminent academic and well-known feminist who is Chairperson of the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Thought at the School of International Studies, JNU. Read more…

EDITORIAL: OPPORTUNISM POLITICS IN INDIA

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Political developments in Bihar, where the BJP has managed to fracture an opposition coalition, have been brought into acute focus the problem of envisaging a replacement for BJP and Modi from among the current political parties. Read more…

APPEASEMENT OF MINORITIES IS A MYTH

Ram Puniyani

 

The turmoil in Kashmir has worsened since the killing of Burhan Wani in an encounter last year (2016). The ceaseless protests, the handling of protests leading to deaths and blinding of many in Kashmir is very disturbing. Read more…

LOSING THE MIDDLE: MODI’S BJP MAY BE ALIENATING THE VYAPARI AS IT COURTS BIG CAPITAL AND THE UNDERCLASS

Harish Damodaran

 

Under Narendra Modi, the BJP has probably metamorphosed into a party more favourably disposed towards Big Capital in general. Read more…

YOU CAN’T PREACH SELF-RESPECT TO EMPTY STOMACHS’: INTERVIEW WITH THE DALIT LEADER JIGNESH MEVANI

Ilangovan Rajasekaran

 

In mid July 2016, a video of a few Dalit youths being beaten and paraded by a mob for skinning a dead cow in Una in Gujarat went viral and triggered a mass movement for Dalit assertion that probably had few parallels in the history of modern India. Read more…

PAINT THE UNITED COLOURS OF INDIA

Happymon Jacob

 

The Sangh Parivar’s saffron agenda must not dictate the country’s foreign policy Read more…

THE FFQ (FEDERATION OF QUEBEC WOMEN) DENOUNCES THE REMARKS OF THE PREMIER OF QUEBEC!

Montreal, June 26, 2017 – The Fédération des Femmes du Québec (FFQ) is outraged and deeply distressed by the remarks made by Premier Philippe Couillard on June 22 : “Islam cannot be dissociated from the acts committed in its name “. Read more…

CERAS (MONTREAL) RESOLUTION ON CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS

CERAS forwarded a resolution passed at its AGM in June, concerning the current situation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, to Mizanur Rahman, Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada for urgent action. Read more…

DINA NATH BATRA AGAIN: HE WANTS TAGORE, URDU WORDS OFF SCHOOL TEXTS

Along with five pages of recommendations, the Nyas, headed by Dina Nath Batra, a former head of Vidya Bharati, the education wing of the RSS, has attached pages from several NCERT textbooks, with the portions that it wants removed marked and underlined. Read more…

CERAS STATEMENT ON ATTACK ON HINDU PILGRIMS IN KASHMIR

CERAS condemns the fatal attack on Hindu pilgrims on their way to Amarnath, one of the most revered Hindu shrines, during this pilgrimage season. Read more…

BANGLADESH: COLOUR WITHIN THE LINES

Abak Hussain

 

What makes a portrait offensive? Why is a ruling party religious affairs secretary so concerned about a child’s artwork? Read more…

DISSECTING HINDUTVA: A CONVERSATION WITH JYOTIRMAYA SHARMA

Nagothu Naresh Kumar

 

It’s a good time to be a populist. Across the world, populism has made significant strides. Sanctimonious populism coupled with ironclad convictions seems to be the staple diet of contemporary politics. Read more…

PAKISTAN’S JIRGAS: BUYING PEACE AT THE EXPENSE OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS?

Ayesha Khan

 

Why are foreign donors so enthusiastic about alternative dispute mechanisms when they deliver second class justice for women? Read more…

EDITORIAL 1: MODI’S INDIA: LYNCH MOB NATION

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Of all the fanciful descriptors, such as “world’s fastest growing economy,” that Modi and the BJP have bestowed on India in the three years of their rule, the one history is most likely to record during their tenure is “Lynch Mob Nation.” Read more…

EDITORIAL 2: SEDITION NATION

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Cricket has a passionate following in South Asia. All four major countries, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and now Bangladesh have good teams and a strong base. But India-Pakistan rivalry in cricket is in a sphere of its own reflecting no doubt the larger context in which it occurs. Read more…

FORTY TWO YEARS AFTER THE EMERGENCY, INDIA’S DEMOCRACY IS ONCE AGAIN IN DANGER

Prem Shankar Jha

 

As I write, the country is once again remembering the ‘Emergency’ which was imposed upon India by Mrs Indira Gandhi’s government on June 25, 1975 and lifted 21 months later, on March 21, 1977. Those of us who experienced the censorship, the near-shutdown of public debate and the subtle but all-pervasive atmosphere of terror that prevailed during those two years will never forget it. Read more…

LOCAL TRAIN PASSENGERS TURN INTO A MOB TO ATTACK 3 MUSLIM BOYS, ONE KILLED

The Citizen Bureau

 

NEW DELHI: It was to have been a happy occasion. Young Muslim boys, studying at a madarsa in Surat, Gujarat had come home to their village in Haryana for Eid. Three brothers along with a young friend had gone to Delhi for Eid shopping and caught the local train to Ballabgarh, just on the border, where their village Khatoli was. Read more…

‘I WAS SCARED’

Anis Sheikh Babu Mansuri, 25, was working at his tailoring machine at around 9 pm on Sunday, June 18, night after breaking his Ramzan fast when a police jeep pulled up outside his house. A police officer asked him to step outside. Mansuri, wearing only his nightclothes of a tee-shirt and shorts, complied. The police immediately seized him. Read more…

THE POLITICS OF RELIGIOUS HATEMONGERING IN INDIA

Jeff Kingston

 

The irresistible urge to mix politics and religion usually comes at the expense of secularism, tolerance and vulnerable minorities. Read more…

PEACE NOW AND FOREVER BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND INDIA CAMPAIGN FROM 1ST JULY 2017 TO 15 AUGUST 2017

India and Pakistan have seen too many conflicts and the loss of many valuable lives. Unfortunately, this situation continues as the ruling classes in India and Pakistan are keen on keeping this tension alive to justify spending more and more on defence at the cost of the poor and poverty reduction programmes. Read more…

KOVIND, DALIT POLITICS AND HINDU NATIONALISM

Ram Puniyani

 

By nominating Ramnath Kovind as the Presidential candidate, BJP has tried to play the politics of tokenism to the hilt. Mr. Kovind is a dalit from UP. While many names were doing round from BJP parivar, finally they settled down for a person who is dalit in name and Hindu nationalist in ideology. Read more…

INDIA: 2017 PRAFUL BIDWAI MEMORIAL AWARD

New Delhi: The Praful Bidwai Memorial Award for 2017 goes to the Maharashtra-based Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS, Maharashtra Blind Faith Eradication Committee). Read more…

#NOTINMYNAME PROTESTS: A CONVERGENCE OF POETICS AND POLITICS AT JANTAR MANTAR

Kartik Maini

 

There are many ways to remember a protest. Although fundamentally ephemeral, a protest leaves its assembly with memories, vocabularies, and visions of alternative politics. Read more…

#NOTINMYNAME PROTESTS: THOUSANDS HIT THE STREETS AGAINST MOB LYNCHINGS

Express Web Desk

 

Why I support #NotInMyName: My daughter is Shahana. And I will stand like a wall if that name bothers you. At Jantar Mantar: Not in my name, I came here to break the silence#NotInMyName: Twitterati all across cities post pictures of the protest and express solidarity. Read more…

MESSAGE FROM NOTED DOCUMENTARY FILM DIRECTOR ANAND PATWARDHAN

Nafrat ke Khilaaf Insaaniyat Ki Awaaz ! (Humanity’s Voice Against Hate)

 

Demonstration in Mumbai on 3rd July, 4 pm, Kotwal garden (opposite Plaza cinema, Dadar West) Read more…

On behalf of INSAF Bulletin we strongly endorse the struggle of IIT-Madras students to eat the foods of their choice and strongly condemn the physical attack on them by right-wing Hindutva supporters that led to a severe injury to R. Sooraj. We urge IIT management to expel the attackers and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.

Vinod Mubayi, Raza Mir – Editors, Insaf Bulletin.

EDITORIAL: VIGILANTES AND THE RULE OF LAW IN SOUTH ASIA

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

One of the defining features of authoritarianism, the phase that often precedes Fascism, is the replacement of the rule of the law by the rule of the individual or the dominant group. This feature is often accompanied by the demonization of minority groups, as a means of asserting cultural superiority and deflecting attention from other social problems such as growing inequality and the siphoning of public wealth into private hands. Read more…

KASHMIR: HARD CHOICES ONLY

Pervez Hoodbhoy

 

I RECENTLY received an extraordinary email from a troubled young Kashmiri in Srinagar. Days before the Indian authorities turned off the internet, Saif (not his real name) had watched on YouTube the 45-minute video documentary Crossing the Lines — Kashmir, Pakistan, India that I had helped make in 2004 and mostly agreed with its non-partisan narrative. A nationalist boy turned stone thrower, Saif is outraged by the brutality of Indian occupation. He is fortunate, he says. His 14-year-old second cousin lost his left eye to pellets. Read more…

SANSAD HAILS THE FIGHT-BACK AGAINST OPPRESSION OF DALITS 

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, (SANSAD) hails the formation of the Bhim Army in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, as the instrument of fight-back against persistent caste discrimination and the recent spate of violence against Dalits. Read more…

A NATION OF VIGILANTES – LYNCH MOB REPUBLIC

Mukul Kesavan

 

These three years have seen the State fuse with the street to create a vigilante nation. If India’s first national movement was a mobilization against foreign rulers, the new nationalism, the principal style of which is vigilantism, is directed at the enemy within. Read more…

OVER TO THE VIGILANTE

Christophe Jaffrelot

 

Vigilantes hit the headlines every other day in “new India”. But this phenomenon is not that new and exists elsewhere as well. It gained momentum under previous union governments, especially in BJP-ruled states. As a result, the Bajrang Dal’s cultural policing of a “deviant” artist like M.F. Husain forced him to leave the country. Read more…

INDIA: A BLEAK OUTLOOK – THE ROAD TO MOB RULE IN UTTAR PRADESH

Ramachandra Guha

 

In March 1946, a three-man ‘Cabinet Mission’ arrived from England to seek to transfer power from British to Indian hands. They invited Mahatma Gandhi to come from Sevagram to meet them. Gandhi’s old patron and disciple, G.D. Birla, wanted to host him at his capacious house in the heart of New Delhi. But Gandhi decided to stay in the Bhangi (sweepers’) colony instead. Birla now hastened to install electricity and provide fresh water to the humble home which his Master had chosen to grace. Read more…

‘NAXALBARI’: FIFTY YEARS LATER

Pritam Singh

 

Today, May 25, will commemorate 50 years of the Maoist uprising of Naxalbari in West Bengal. In March, 1967, a decision was taken in Naxalbari to carry out an armed rebellion for the rights of peasants and workers. This isolated revolt led to a movement that has lasted half a century. Read more…

A VIGILANTE MOB, A COLLUSIVE STATE

Khaled Ahmed

 

The Pakhtun culture of Pakistan lives under the concept of “tarboor”, the “cousin from the father’s side” who is supposed to kill you one day. What Pakistan and India are doing to their people, while also getting ready to hurt each other, is the disease Freud called “narcissism of the closely related”. Read more…

SUPREME TEST: AADHAAR-RELATED CASES COULD TELL US WHETHER OUR JURISPRUDENCE IS FIT FOR AN AGE OF TECHNOLOGY

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

 

It will also be a test case for whether the checks and balances of our constitutional scheme stand, or whether they will get blown away at the slightest whiff of executive power. Read more…

ANCHOR JIHAD IS LIKE WWF, BUT THE DAMAGE IS REAL

Aakar Patel

 

Something unusual happened in America this week. More people watched liberal MSNBC and centrist CNN than they did conservative Fox News. This is unusual because the norm is that the conservative media dominates ratings for news, whether radio or TV. Read more…

BANGLADESH ORDERS STATUE OF WOMAN AT SUPREME COURT PUT BACK UP

Julfikar Ali Manik

 

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Two days after the authorities in Bangladesh gave in to pressure from Islamist groups and ordered the removal of a statue from the country’s Supreme Court, they flip-flopped on Sunday, ordering that the statue be put back up, albeit in a less prominent location. Read more…

LOSING THE PLOT: WHAT BHANGOR FARMERS’ STIR SAYS ABOUT MAMATA’S LAND POLICY

Sulagna Sengupta

 

How the times change. The Trinamool Congress took power on the back of its agitation against the previous Left Front regime’s “atrocities” on farmers. Now, Mamata Banerjee’s party is on the receiving end of the farmers’ anger. Read more…

MUSLIM WOMEN IN INDIA CHALLENGE ‘INSTANT DIVORCE’ LAW

Geeta Anand

 

MUMBAI — When Neeha Khan’s husband entered her parents’ house in eastern Mumbai last February, he carried a letter that contained a word, repeated three times, that can instantly change the course of a Muslim woman’s life in India. Read more…

HOW INDIA IS KILLING THE COUNTRY”S LARGEST ECONOMY OF THE POOR

Richard Mahapatra

 

New restriction on cattle slaughter will severely cripple the livestock economy which is bigger than crop economy; poor farmers shifted to livestock in face of uncertain rain and dwindling income. Read more…

EDITORIAL: RIGHT TURN AHEAD

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

The news continues to be bleak for progressive activists the world over, especially in India. Murderous attacks on minorities and the marginalized by savage mobs, calling themselves “gau-rakshaks” (cow protectors) continue unabated. The police, instructed by ruling BJP politicians, look the other way or harass and arrest the victims as happened in the case of the dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, lynched by a Hindutva mob in Alwar, for the “crime” of transporting a milch cow he had legally purchased. Read more…

ETHICS IS THE ANSWER

Anand Patwardhan

 

With fiery orange hidden under a newfound tricolor, Narendra Modi’s rise to power saw a mushrooming of the RSS and affiliates like the ABVP. Pseudo “nationalism” invaded every campus. Read more…

THE CONSPIRACY BEHIND BABRI MOSQUE DEMOLITION

Ram Puniyani

 

After the long wait, the Supreme Court Chief Justice J.S. Khehar opined that long pending dispute of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid should be settled out of court. (March 2017) He even offered to mediate himself in the matter. Read more…

DELHI POLICE FAIL TO IDENTIFY MEN WHO BEAT UP BUFFALO TRADERS, BUT BOOK VICTIMS FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY

Abhishek Dey

 

“My friends pleaded for mercy. They kept screaming that they were transporting buffaloes and not cows. All this fell on deaf ears.” Read more…

HOW THE SP AND BSP HELPED ADITYANATH GET AWAY WITH HIS HATE SPEECHES

Shahnawaz Alam

 

If a political figure finds general acceptance as a ‘firebrand’ leader in a country like India, it only reveals the flaws in our democratic system. Read more…

GAINED IN TRANSLATION: LIFE LESSONS FOR MY STUDENTS

Perumal Murugan

 

I am a teacher in a government college, where 90 per cent of my students are first-generation learners. These are students, who during their school days, juggle classroom work with jobs that involve some form of physical labour. Read more…

SINKING VALLEY

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

 

It is an unmistakable sign of the corrosion of Indian democracy that an odd combination of illusions and nauseating bravado is being spun in Delhi around the grim political situation in Kashmir. Read more…

WHERE ARE INDIA’S DISSENTING HINDUS?

Harsh Mander

 

As anti-Muslim rhetoric festers, the Hindu majority continues to fail to raise its voice against the BJP’s toxic politics of hate. Read more…

AN INTERVIEW WITH ANAND PATWARDHAN

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

 

For over 40 years Anand Patwardhan’s documentary films have stood for freedom of expression. He faced censorship on numerous occasions, took the government to court, and won each time. Read more…

KANDHAMAL: WHITHER JUSTICE FOR VIOLENCE VICTIMS

Ram Puniyani

 

Book Review: Kandhalmal: Introspection for Initiative for Justice 2007-2015, Vrinda Grover and Saumya Uma, Media House and United Christian Forum, Delhi 2017 Read more…

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT ON ATTACKS ON STUDENTS, TEACHERS, AND SCHOOLS IN PAKISTAN

Attacks by the Taliban and other militant groups are having a devastating impact on education in Pakistan, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released a day before the Second International Conference on Safe Schools in Buenos Aires, Argentina. … Read more…

I, MIGRANT

Kamila Shamsie

 

One London night, a few weeks after Brexit, something happened as I was walking to a bus stop that had never happened in the 9 years since I’d moved to the UK: a man (white, young, Londoner by his accent) shouted abuse at me and followed up with ‘Go back where you came from’. Read more…

EDITORIAL: UP ELECTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

After the big win in UP and his appointment of Yogi Adityanath as UP Chief Minister, Modi has clearly decided that there is no need any more to sheath the iron fist of Hindutva inside the proverbial velvet glove of “inclusive development” i.e. “sabka saath, sabka vikas.” Rather, he has calculated that the need is to consolidate the vote bank of Hindutva by intensifying the communal agenda. The Yogi’s entire past is testimony to this strategy. His frequent foul-mouthed diatribes and threats of violence against religious minorities, mainly Muslims but also Christians, are known to all. Hence Modi’s embrace of him gives a clear signal not only to the Muslims but also to the “seculars” as well as the Yadavs of the Samajwadi Party and the Dalits who voted for Mayawati. The arson and panicked shutdown of slaughterhouses in the first week of the new regime offers a clear demonstration of the new reality. No doubt Modi and Yogi will keep on mouthing the development for all slogan whenever it suits them to do so. It is a costless exercise aimed at the many Indian “liberals” who continue to justify and valorize Modi as “vikas purush”. Read more…

HISTORY AND NATURE OF THE AYODHYA DISPUTE

Irfan Engineer

 

In a surprise development, the Supreme Court on 21st March 2017 urged the rival parties in the Ram Janamabhoomi – Babri Masjid (RJBM) case to negotiate and resolve the dispute in a spirit of give and take. The Chief Justice of India offered himself to be a mediator should both the parties agreed. The observations came on application of Subramanian Swamy seeking urgent hearing of the appeal against the order of Allahabad High Court dated 30th September 2010 in the RJBM title suit. Subramanian Swamy, a BJP leader, has no locus standi in the case and he is not a party in the Appeal. Yet the Supreme Court exercised its discretion and even asked the BJP leader to talk to all parties to the case and bring them to negotiating table. Read more…

SPINNING THE YOGI – VANGUARD AND FRINGE

Mukul Kesavan

 

The zombification of right-wing publicists in contemporary India is a small but significant part of our intellectual history. When the Bharatiya Janata Party’s turn at the top comes to an end and the bruised republic shuffles back to the centre, historians of this political moment will explain why Right-leaning commentators chose to make a Hindu-supremacist turn seem respectable and how they committed intellectual suicide to join the shambling ranks of the living dead. Read more…

THE YOGI AND THE MAGIC OF NUMBERS

Gopalkrishna Gandhi

 

Will India’s democrats let majoritarianism plant the seeds of counter-democracy? Read more…

CONDEMN CONVICTION AND SENTENCING OF MARUTI WORKERS!

PUDR

 

The Sessions Court in Gurgaon today announced the quantum of sentence for 31 workers convicted by it on 10th March in the State of Haryana Vs. Jiyalal and Others case. Thirteen union leaders have been awarded life imprisonment, four others five years imprisonment and remaining 14 sentence as already undergone. Read more…

A LEAF FROM THE ILLUSTRIOUS LIFE OF THE CM DESIGNATE OF UTTAR PRADESH

Apoorvanand

 

What happened in the eastern Uttar Pradesh town was not a conflict but violence unleashed by MP Yogi Adityanath and his henchmen. Read more…

KANSAS VICTIM WAS INDIAN, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT

Jaya Saxena,

 

On the 22nd of February, a white man in Kansas yelled “Get out of my country” before shooting at two Indian men in a bar. He killed one, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, and injured Kuchibhotla’s friend, Alok Madasani, as well as bystander Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene. It’s a tragic story that lies at the intersection of violence, immigration, racism, and politics. It also highlights the importance of how we talk about immigrants and victims of color. Read more…

GOD VERSUS GOD

Dr Ayesha Siddiqa

 

Sindh has long shown warning signs of becoming an ideological battleground. Read more…

NO TALKING IN THE HINDU RASHTRA – LESSONS FROM THE DISRUPTIONS AT DELHI’S RAMJAS COLLEGE

Ananya Vajpeyi

 

What does the Hindu Right fear the most? Is it who talks? Or is it what is talked about? Read more…

BANGLADESH: THE BLOOD ON OUR CLOTHES 

Shehzad M Arifeen,

 

Are we ready to pay attention to the workers?

 

As a species, years like 2016 notwithstanding, we have indeed come a long, long way. On January 21, the world witnessed the Women’s March — an awe-inspiring demonstration of women’s resistance and a testament to how far the feminist movement has come. Read more…

THE COMING BAN ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Zia Mian

 

PRINCETON – On March 27, the United Nations will start negotiations on an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons. It will be a milestone marking the beginning of the end of an age of existential peril for humanity. Read more…

PANCHAGAVYA “RESEARCH”: CRITICS ASSAIL INDIA’S ATTEMPT TO ‘VALIDATE’ FOLK REMEDY

Sanjay Kumar

 

According to Hindu tradition, Indian cows are not only sacred—they are also the source of a cure-all for everything from schizophrenia and autism to diabetes and cancer. Read more…

EDITORIAL: GUJARAT 15 YEARS LATER

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

The recent victory by the BJP in Maharashtra’s civic polls provides an unfortunate bookend to the commemoration of the fifteenth anniversary of the Gujarat pogrom. Maharashtra is of course adjacent to Gujarat, and has had its share of BJP-led assaults on a variety of minority communities, including Dalits and Muslims, but also women, secular activists and those protesting against pro-capitalist policies. Yet, the electoral calculus continues to favor the perpetrators of violence and intimidation. It is perhaps accurate to say that within the mainstream discourse in India, the role played by the BJP and in particular the current Prime Minister of India in the horrific massacre of a decade and a half ago, when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, has been relegated to the past and is in danger of being forgotten. Read more…

DEMONETISING THE ECONOMY AGAINST THE WORKING CLASS

Gautam Mody

 

In the three hours between the time the Finance Minister completed his budget speech in parliament and the closing of stock markets, the two major stock market indices rose by two percentage points leaving little doubt who the Union Budget Statement 2017-18 (BS) was aimed at. Read more…

INVITATION BY RADICAL DESI (VANCOUVER)

Radical Desi invites everyone to come and join us for a rally in memory of the victims of Samjhauta Express blast that left 68 people dead on February 18, 2007. Most of the victims were Pakistani Muslims. Read more…

DU ON EDGE AFTER ATTACK ON STUDENTS

Delhi University’s North campus has come to resemble a battleground with glass bottles, stones and even lunch packets being hurled at students, as chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ ring through the air. Read more…

OUR RESOLVE WILL NOT FALTER, SAYS RAMJAS STUDENT WHO ORGANISED DISRUPTED SEMINAR

Anushka Baruah

 

‘The kind of azaadi we fight for must be clarified: we are looking for the freedom to inquire and innovate.’ Read more…

15 YEARS AFTER THE GUJARAT GENOCIDE – THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE CONTINUES

Dolores Chew

 

The genocide occurred in Gujarat, India, from the end of February 2002 and continued for two weeks. At least 2000 people were killed and many went missing. Many of those displaced during the violence have been unable to return to their former homes. While trials of the accused have gone ahead and sentences have been handed down the key individuals who orchestrated the genocide are still free. But the struggle for justice continues, with women at the forefront. Read more…

SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN’S COMMUNITY CENTRE (SAWCC) STATEMENT ON THE MASS SHOOTINGS IN QUEBEC MOSQUE ON SUNDAY 28TH JANUARY 2017

The South Asian Women’s Community Centre is shocked and stunned by the mass shooting resulting in deaths and serious injuries at a Quebec mosque on Sunday 28th January 2017.  We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the members of the Islamic Community Centre in Ste-Foy, Quebec. And we stand in solidarity with Muslim-identified Quebecers at this time. Read more…

OPEN FOR ME MY HEART: AN ANTI-RACIST FEMINIST QUEER MUSLIM RESPONSE TO SYSTEMIC XENOPHOBIA

Farha Najah

 

The following speech was spoken on January 30th, 2017 at a Vigil in response to the anti-Muslim murders in Sainte-Foy, Quebec. Read more…

IN PAKISTAN, TOLERANT ISLAMIC VOICES ARE BEING SILENCED

William Dalrymple

 

The Sehwan bombing is a result of the Saudi-funded fundamentalism that has taken a grip in the country Read more…

‘PREPLANNED INHUMAN COLLECTIVE VIOLENT ACT OF TERRORISM’: WHAT MODI GOT AWAY WITH IN THE GODHRA CASE

Manoj Mitta

 

On the 15th anniversary of the Godhra train burning, a recap of little-known anomalies in the case that changed the course of India’s history. Read more…

INDIA: UNION BUDGET 2017-18: INADEQUATE RESPONSE IN TIMES OF CRISIS

Arun Kumar

 

The Budget is an instrument of macroeconomic policy first and then anything else. If its aggregate figures are found wanting, its allocations and goals would also not be attained. In times of a shock to the economy, chances that the figures may be incorrect become greater. Assumptions underlying the preparation of the Budget have a high probability of being incorrect. Read more…

BANGLADESH’S CREEPING ISLAMISM

Anis Ahmed

 

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Every year on the first day of school, students across Bangladesh wait eagerly for their new textbooks. Many have few extravagances in their lives, and for them that day is as thrilling as Christmas morning in other countries. Read more…

THE DECLINING LEFT – BANGLADESH EXPECTS MORE

 

Mir Aftabuddin Ahmed

 

Suranjit Sengupta had been a stalwart of the Awami League for the last four decades or so. An articulate parliamentarian and a vociferous constitutionalist, Mr. Sengupta had been a robust voice in favour of socialist principles. Read more…

ROHINGYA INSURGENCY HERALDS WIDER WAR IN MYANMAR

Anthony Davis

 

The Harakah al Yaqin insurgent group, with leadership in Saudi Arabia and ties to Bangladeshi extremist groups, threatens to bring global jihad to Myanmar Read more…

EDITORIAL: GETTING READY FOR A YEAR OF STRUGGLE

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

On January 21, 2017, a day after Donald Trump ascended to the Presidency of the USA, women and men all over the world marched in a display of defiance that provided a spark of optimism in a year that had begun with a relentless barrage of bad news and apprehension for the vulnerable and their champions all over the world. The crowd in Washington DC, estimated at 1 million, easily dwarfed Trump’s stage-managed inaugural parade, and it was estimated that the participants at marches across the world numbered over 5 million. Read more…

2016: A YEAR OF OUTRAGEOUS LIES: FROM ECONOMIC GROWTH TO JOB CREATION TO DEMONETISATION

Mohan Guruswamy

 

On Thursday, I heard the spokesman for the Bharatiya Janata Party, Sambit Patra, blithely claim that when the National Democratic Alliance government of Atal Behari Vajpayee demitted office in 2004, gross domestic product was growing at 8.4%, and when the United Progressive Alliance regime under Manmohan Singh lost the elections in 2014, this growth was down to 4.8%. He made an attempt to wring some humour out of the reversal of growth figures, which would have been quite neat but for the fact that it is an outright lie. Read more…

ONE PERCENT OF INDIANS OWN 58% OF COUNTRY’S WEALTH: OXFAM INEQUALITY REPORT

Mridula Chari

 

Fifty-seven billionaires in India possess as much wealth as the poorest 70% of the country, according to a report on global inequality released on Monday by Oxfam, an international confederation of 18 non-governmental organisations. Read more…

PAKISTAN: ABDUCTING SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

Pervez Hoodbhoy

 

Had last week’s kidnappings of bloggers and social media activists happened in Balochistan, it would have been a non-event. But all five abductions happened in Punjab — and now the authorities are feeling some heat. Read more…

BANGLADESH: CONTROVERSIAL DRAFT LAW ALLOWING CHILD MARRIAGE IN “SPECIAL CASES” IS THE ROAD TO REGRESSION

Elita Karim

 

Very recently, a law drafted by the Ministry for Women and Children’s Affairs stated that if a 16-year-old female gets married with the consent of her parents or the court for justified reasons or under special circumstances, she would not be considered underage or a minor. However, the authorities do not define what they mean by special circumstances. Read more…

INSIDE THE LIFE OF PAKISTAN’S FIRST FEMALE STRING THEORIST

Mahrukh Sarwar

 

Tasneem Zehra Husain, Pakistan’s first female string theorist at the mere age of 26, recently published her new book Only the Longest Threads, which fictionalises major breakthroughs in physics through the minds of the people who lived in those periods of discovery, reports the MIT Technology Review Pakistan. Read more…

WHY BOTH MODI AND TRUMP ARE TEXTBOOK POPULISTS

Amit Varma

 

As Donald Trump raised his tiny paw and took the presidential oath this Friday, I had just finished reading an outstanding book that, I thought, explained Trump as well as many other leaders on the world stage today. In ‘What is Populism?’ Jan-Werner Muller, a Princeton professor, lays out all the ingredients from which you can cook up a populist movement. I was struck by how closely our own prime minister, Narendra Modi, matched Muller’s definition. Consider the following characteristics that characterise populists, as defined by Muller. Read more…

INDIA: LAWLESS ON THE SHORE

Nirupama Subramanian

 

Protests are continuing in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu for a “permanent solution” to the demand that Jallikattu be allowed even after the quick, synchronised surrender of the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government through the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Ordinance followed by a bill. The permanent solution that the protestors want is the removal of the bull from the list of animals restricted from performing and exhibition in Section 22 of the Act through a constitutional amendment. Read more…

DEMONETIZATION: A FRAUD ON THE PEOPLE

Lokayat

 

[This is a comprehensive, well-formatted report by Lokayat that provides a clear understanding of demonetization and its attendant injustices. The URL for the full report is below, we include the introduction here] Read more…

TEESTA SETALVAD HAS WRITTEN HER MEMOIR, AND IT’S EVERY BIT AS CHILLING AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE

Teesta Setalvad

 

I was born in a family of Gujaratis, of Gujarati lawyers to be precise. Gujarat was always a part of me, though we were proud migrants to Bombay. My great grandfather left his government job in Ahmedabad within four days of taking his post to study law in Bombay. My mother, who was related to my father prior to their marriage, had a paternal uncle in Ahmedabad, who was the Advocate General of Gujarat for twenty-six years. Once or twice a year, we would visit Ma’s mama and mami. Read more…

INTIMIDATION DIRECTED AT BELA BHATIA

Please endorse the statement.

 

We strongly condemn the brazen act of intimidation directed at Bela Bhatia at her house in Parpa village, Jagdalpur. Clearly, this middle of the night attack is aimed at making Bela abandon her human rights work in the area and quit Parpa. Read more…

INSAF wishes its readers a Happy 2017! Hang in there, comrades, the ride may get a bit rougher, but we will have one another!

EDITORIAL: CASHLESS SOCIETY AND CLUELESS PATRIOTISM

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Narendra Modi’s recent acknowledgement that the aim of demonetization is to usher in a “cashless society” is a tacit admission of the fact that the goal is to greatly expand the fledgling financial product industry of credit cards, e-wallets, paytms and more and thus divert more resources from the pockets of the great masses of the poor to add to the fortunes of those atop this sector. For example, in every transaction of Re. 100, the aam aadmi will now have to lose Re. 2.50 or so paid as “transaction” fees to those who issue the plastic cards or their electronic equivalents. Considering that almost 90% of transactions in the Indian economy were carried out in cash, converting even a fraction to cashless forms is guaranteed to generate a bonanza for current and future cronies of Modi who stand to prosper from his risky diktat even as the masses suffer and the economy itself declines in the interim. This upward redistribution of resources, while shedding crocodile tears for the state of the poor, is the hallmark of Modi’s economic policies. Read more…

DEMONETIZATION: THE MOTHER OF ALL DISRUPTIONS

Jean Drèze

 

The tremendous power of the software industry in India may help explain why the disruptive effects of demonetisation are being taken lightly. Read more…

PRESS RELEASE: Kashmir Concerned Citizens’ Collective

SRINAGAR, December 16: The Concerned Citizens’ Collective team that visited Kashmir from 12 to 16 December 2016, expressed deep dismay to observe that the people of the Kashmir valley have been entirely abandoned by their central and state governments, in this time of their great suffering. The only face of government that the people of the Valley encounter is of a repressive security establishment, they declared. Read more…

‘CASHLESS? THAT’S A JOKE’

Bashaarat Masood, Kuwar Singh

 

Lanura, with a population of around 1,500, has only six shops — a chemist and five grocers. None of the shopkeepers has a card machine or has ever used Net banking. Read more…

PAKISTAN: UNION LEADERS LAMENT STRIPPING LABOUR ADVISER OF HIS POWERS

Leaders of trade unions and labour associations lamented on Tuesday that provincial labour adviser Saeed Ghani, on court orders, had been restrained by the government from exercising any executive authority in the affairs of the Sindh Employees’ Social Security Institution (SESSI). Read more…

BANK ‘GANDHIGIRI’, CASHLESS HARA-KIRI IN MARATHWADA

P. Sainath

 

A farmer in Nagur holds up an extract of his loan account from the credit cooperative society; further interest of 2-4 per cent gets added at the level of the societies. Read more…

PROMOTING ANTI-SCIENCE VIA TEXTBOOKS

Pervez Hoodbhoy

 

A biology textbook is normally expected to teach biology as science, meaning a scientifically based study of the structure, growth and origin of living things. But what if such a book instead says science must follow ideology and loudly denounces the core principles of biology, condemning these as wrong and irrational? Read more…

FAITH, DISSENT AND EXTREMISM: HOW BANGLADESH IS STRUGGLING TO STAY SECULAR

Samia Huq

 

The recent violent attacks on a Hindu temple in Bangladesh’s Netrokona district, and previous assaults on temples and homes in October in Brahmanbaria are a troubling illustration of Bangladesh’s struggle to protect two of its fundamental values: secularism and pluralism. Read more…

NEPAL: A COSTLY CONSTITUTION

Anurag Acharya

 

Crucial issues ignored in the debate over the constitution will create faultlines in Nepali politics once it’s passed. Read more…

PAKISTAN’S SECTARIAN CONUNDRUM

Umar Riaz

 

Samuel P. Huntington in his celebrated theory of the Clash of Civilisations declared in 1996 that the Islamic Civilisation has bloody borders and ‘bloody innards’. Sectarianism embodies those bloody innards within the body of Islam. Almost all current religious schools of thought and denominations are universal in theory and sectarian in practice. They might be exclusive or inclusive, but there is none which is not distinctive or not possessive of its group identity. In our country, the sectarian fault lines are too deep, fissures too vast and consensus on exclusion too solid. These sectarian faiths have political, social and violent capital at their disposal and they wield all three, or any one, depending upon the situation. Read more…

REAL CAPITALISM: TURBULENT AND ANTAGONISTIC, BUT NOT IMPERFECT

Michael Roberts

 

A review of Anwar Shaikh, Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises (Oxford University Press, 2016), £35.99 Read more…

EDITORIAL: FAREWELL COMRADE CASTRO

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

By any measure relevant to a decent future for the world, November 2016 has been an extremely depressing month. In the United States, con-man Donald Trump was elected President on November 8, despite having lost the popular vote by over 2 million votes. Right-wingers across the world, including some in the Indian diaspora, are jubilant. Get ready for four years of unrelenting assaults on reproductive rights, minority rights, police brutality, health care and the reduction of public spending in the service of tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy. Read more…

TALLER THAN THE REST

Saeed Naqvi

 

An interview with Castro was a memorable experience on an epic scale.

 

AN itinerant journalist does in the course of his wanderings pick up an icon or two whom he values above others. Had I been old enough to have met Mahatma Gandhi or Jawaharlal Nehru, they too would be at the top of the list. Read more…

ARUNA ROY AND THE GRASSROOTS REVOLUTION IN INDIA

Jooneed Khan

 

In the “multiple Indias” where firebrand social activist Aruna Roy has earned herself a world-wide repu-tation for integrity and commitment, women of all castes, classes and creeds come together more easily than anyone else in the struggle for rights, justice and for constant deepening of democracy. Read more…

INDIA’S CRACKDOWN IN KASHMIR: IS THIS THE WORLD’S FIRST MASS BLINDING?

Mirza Waheed

 

A bloody summer of protest in Kashmir has been met with a ruthless response from Indian security forces, who fired hundreds of thousands of metal pellets into crowds of civilians, leaving hundreds blinded. Read more…

MONTREAL WOMEN RESIST OCCUPATION, MILITARIZATION AND WARS OF AGGRESSION

Women from diverse communities marched through downtown Montreal on Saturday 26 November, after hearing messages that brought life to global and local conflicts and the resistance of women here and around the world to protect the land, water, the air and our futures! Read more…

TARGETING NANDINI SUNDAR (VARIOUS NEWS STORIES)

Murder Charge Is Absurd, Top Cop’s Attempt To Harass Us: DU Professor Sundar

Hindustan Times 8 November 2016.

 

Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar, who has been booked along with Maoists on charges of murder of a tribal villager in insurgency-hit Sukma district, said on Tuesday the FIR against her was “patently absurd”. Read more…

DEMONETISATION: RURAL INDIA HIT HARD, FARMERS SKIP SEASON, NO WORK FOR DAILY WAGERS IN ORISSA

Basudev Mahapatra

 

BHUBANESHWAR: With the sowing season for the winter (Ravi) crop in full swing, Nabarathi Kuanr, 60, of Sudrukumpa village of Kandhamal district in Odisha has no option but to skip a cropping season as he is unable to get seeds and fertilisers from the government and the cooperatives because of the scarcity of lower denomination notes after the Indian government on November 8 declared that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes have been demonetized. Read more…

PRESS STATEMENT BY FREE SOFTWARE MOVEMENT OF INDIA

Free Software Movement of India (fsmi.in)

 

INDIA: DANGEROUS ORDER BY DISTRICT MAGISTRATE OF INDORE BANNING ANY CRITICISM ON SOCIAL MEDIA OF DE-MONETISATION BY GOVT. OF INDIA – PRESS STATEMENT BY FREE SOFTWARE MOVEMENT OF INDIA Read more…

DEMONETISATION: THE POOR DON’T MATTER EXCEPT TO BUY VOTES

Pratap Antony

 

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed. Everybody knows that the war is over. Everybody knows the good guys lost. Everybody knows the fight was fixed: the poor stay poor, the rich get rich. That’s how it goes. Everybody knows. Leonard Cohen. Read more…

DEATH BY DEMONETISATION

Satya Sagar

 

The abrupt demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes by the Narendra Modi regime is a drastic move that is staggering in its scale, ambition and repurcussions. The only other figures in modern history one can think of, devious or stupid enough to attempt something similar, are the likes of Marcos, Suharto, Idi Amin and Pol Pot. Read more…

THE CHIEF OF COUNTERFEIT GRIEF

Apoorvanand

 

“We hear that governance now will have a different cadence

Tyranny will now be the protector

Cities will be without walls or doors

The sky will tremble with counterfeit grief

Executioners will be in charge of funerals,

Killers will organise mourning

Orphans and widows will find their hands and feet bound

The heads of the faith will be held aloft on spears.

If this be the realisation of India’s ancient dreams

Then soon, there will be no India, nor any of its connoisseurs.” Read more…

A COUNTRY FILLED WITH ANTI NATIONALS!

K P Sasi

 

I thought the Muslims were the only anti nationals in this country. But I was mistaken. Earlier, thousands of people including even women and children who were questioning Koodankulam nuclear plant were declared as anti nationals. They are not the only ones outside the community of Muslims. Read more…

PAKISTAN: THE ESTABLISHMENT’S DILEMMA

Pervez Hoodbhoy

 

THE oligarchy which runs Pakistan, often called the establishment, is in a quandary. The problem is that whatever it says through its diplomats abroad — and with however much energy — the world insists on perceiving Pakistan as an ideological state wedded to exporting jihad. This is undesirable, but so also is the idea of changing course. Read more…

BANGLADESH: THE SOUNDS OF MADNESS

Iffat Nawaz

 

There is no escaping it — the world is increasingly being divided by hatred

 

How fast does sound travel? Certainly not as fast as light. Under the bright sun, all sounds seem to dissolve into light, no residues, no gripes. But what about at night? Read more…

EDITORIAL: CULTURE POLITICS GETS UGLY

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

We begin by wishing our readers a Happy Deepavali. This festival is celebrated all over South Asia by lighting lamps, but this Deepavali, we remember Faiz’s forlorn poem Raushniyon ke Shehr (The City of Lights), where he articulates his worries about the prospect for peace:

 

Khair ho teri lailaon ki, in sab se keh do

Aaj ki shab jab diye jalaayen, oonchi rakhen lau

 

[May your nights remain safe, do tell them

When they light lamps tonight, keep the wicks high] Read more…

‘YOU ARE A REAL MAN’: AN INDIAN EDITOR’S AWKWARD INTERVIEW WITH DONALD TRUMP

Donald Trump seems to inspire weird reactions and awkwardness just about everywhere he goes. Saturday’s rally for the American presidential candidate in New Jersey, organised by the Republican Hindu Coalition, lived up to this promise, mixing Prabhu Deva and Anupam Kher with dancing light-saber wielding terrorists. And then Trump said, “I love Hindu.” Read more…

IS THE MISUSE OF RELIGION TAINTING INDIA’S ELECTORAL PROCESS?

Teesta Setalvad

 

The Supreme Court will, on Tuesday, October 18 begin final hearing on a batch of petitions that could, potentially have far reaching consequences on the purity of the electoral process and the interpretation of the Indian Constitution. Read more…

FAR FROM BEING ANTI-NATIONAL, IT IS A PATRIOTIC DUTY TO QUESTION THE MILITARY

Saikat Datta

 

On March 16, 1968, US Army soldiers from the Company C of the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade of the 23rd (Americal) Infantry Division dropped in on two villages in South Vietnam, known as My Lai and My Khe. In the subsequent few hours, these soldiers of Charlie Company would go on to kill over 500 villagers – men, women, children and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated. Read more…

DON’T STOP THE MUSIC: SHARING CULTURE HUMANISES INDIA AND PAKISTAN — BANNING THIS PUSHES BOTH FROM PEACE TOWARDS WAR

Salman Ahmad

 

Despite the trauma of Partition, our history of conflict and the pain of the present moment, there still remains, miraculously, great love, friendship and deep spiritual harmony between Indians and Pakistanis. Read more…

A NEO-PATRIOTIC MOB IN INDIA

Salil Tripathi

 

In 1959, a Pakistani film-maker called Akhtar Kardar directed a film called Jago Hua Savera (The Day Shall Dawn), which brought together creative film-making talent across the Indian subcontinent the way it used to before Independence in 1947, and which is now fast becoming unimaginable. Read more…

HOW THE MEDIA IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN CREATED A WAR WHERE THERE WASN’T ONE

Haroon Khalid

 

At a time when Indians and Pakistanis – politicians, sportsmen, entertainers, media persons and regular civilians – are hurling abuses at each other, it probably renders me unpatriotic to say that Glimpses of World History by Jawaharlal Nehru is one of my favorite books. Read more…

PATIALA COURT ACQUITS KOBAD GANDHY OF ALL CHARGES

Manish Sirhindi

 

The court of Additional Sessions and District Judge Mohammad Gulzar on Tuesday acquitted Kobad Ghandy, an alleged leader of banned CPI (Maoist), of all charges in a six-year-old case. He was booked by police in 2010 for delivering two “anti-national” speeches at Punjabi University. Read more…

A FILM CANCELLED, A TV INTERVIEW CANNED: COMPETITIVE NATIONALISM IS ERODING FREE EXPRESSION IN INDIA

Girish Shahane

 

As soon as I read that a previously obscure NGO was protesting the screening of a Pakistani film titled Jago Hua Savera at the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, I knew the organisers would drop it from the schedule without a whimper. The festival is sponsored by Reliance Jio, never a firm associated with support of free expression, and one increasingly tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda. Read more…

BANGLADESH: VIOLENCE IS A CULTURE NOW

Fardin Hasin

 

The hacking of Khadiza is not an isolated incident

 

Our society has a morbid fascination with violence Read more…

SRI LANKA: WHEN THE COURTS ARE SILENT…

Shashik Dhanushka and Andi Schubert

 

The injunction order handed down against the public screening of Prasanna Vithanage’s latest movie Silence in the Courts has opened up space to question the function of Justice in Sri Lanka. The movie is said to  be based on a true story about a Magistrate suspected of sexually abusing a woman as a favour for releasing her husband from remand custody. Read more…

INDIA: LETTER BY CONCERNED ACADEMICS TO THE VICE CHANCELLOR, CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF HARYANA, PROTESTING THE ATTACKS ON TEACHERS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF THE PLAY ’DRAUPADI’

To the Vice Chancellor,

Central University of Haryana Read more…

HINDU REPUBLIC: INDIA IS BEING RECREATED INTO A MAJORITARIAN STATE

Samar Halarnkar

 

“Humko iska badla chahiye and aur hum iska badla le kar rahenge. Hinduon ne chudiyan nahi pahan rakhi hain. In mullon ko jad se ukhaad phenke ge hum…We want revenge and we will achieve this vengeance. Hindus have not worn bangles. We will uproot these mullahs (Muslims) from the roots and throw them away.” Read more…

EDITORIAL: INDIA-PAKISTAN TENSIONS, AND THE FUTURE OF THE LEFT

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

All it took was four heavily armed terrorists. The rest of the script played out like an old tired farce. Seventeen Indian army personnel were killed. In light of the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir Valley, the dogs of war strained to be let out. Irresponsible statements by certain motivated politicians and the leisure class demanded war. Read more…

TO MAKE SENSE OF URI, INDIA MUST UNDERSTAND COURAGE, COWARDICE – AND ITS OWN BORDERS

Girish Shahane

 

On reading about the assault on the Army base in Uri, I thought of Ashwatthamma sneaking into the enemy camp under cover of darkness, setting tents alight, burning to death a generation of Pandava princes. Read more…

INDIA – PAKISTAN TENSIONS: JOINT STATEMENT BY PAKISTAN – INDIA PEOPLES’ FORUM FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY

PIPFPD expresses its concern over the growing tensions between India and Pakistan following militants’ attack on strategically important army base in Uri, Jammu & Kashmir. The leadership of both the countries needs to urgently act towards defusing the tense scenario rather than fuelling it. Read more…

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