|Of Dalit struggles, triumphs|
|These days, Dalits are at the epicentre of protests and heated political debates. This demographic may still be largely marginalised and discriminated against but the narrative of gloom is slowly moving towards one that holds hope for a better future. Just a couple of years ago the Dalit women of Chaubara Jagir village in Sonkatch block of Dewas district, Madhya Pradesh, led change from the front and compelled their local administration to consider their needs as second to none in the area. It was the struggle for a functional anganwadi centre that brought the women together and gave them the strength to stand up against prejudiced attitudes.
Officially an anganwadi centre is described as "a village centre that provides basic health care, nutrition education and supplementation, and also...|
|Kashmir turmoil: From the historic blunders to the present|
|The ongoing Kashmir struggle is against the misrule of New Delhi. It is in no way terrorism as the people of the valley are striving for their rights. The Muslim or Hindu fundamentalism was alien to the culture of Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir, a state with clear cut Muslim majority refused to join Pakistan when the Indian sub continent was partitioned on the communal lines.
Long before partition on 26th of March 1938, the Muslim Conference rejected the philosophy of communal division and renamed itself as National Conference to open the doors for Hindus and Sikhs. On October 5, 1947, when Pakistani invaders had not come, nor the Indian army, addressing a mammoth gathering of one lakh people in Iqbal Park Srinagar, Sheikh Abdullah declared that - "In Kashmir we want a people's government w...|
|Open letter to prime minister|
|Need to appoint a commission on Kashmir|
Government of India
I am senior citizen and venture to approach with the sanguine and fervent hope that your dynamic and able leadership of the undaunted and sincere nature will find convenient to consider the fact, elucidated here under for your kind immediate consideration as action speaks louder than words:
1. That we senior citizen and peace loving residents of Jammu and Kashmir feel suffocated in present uncertain circumstances.
2. That present situation shows that ground leadership has lost grip over the pulse of the people in Kashmir.
3. That it is not necessary to give details as your office has many experts of the every field available under your immediate control. But it is pertinent to bring a humble proposal before ...|
|Alienation, Aspiration and Desperation|
|From the nationalist Ghulam Nabi Azad to the autonomist Omar Abdullah, with rag tag political manipulators chipping in, every statement emanating on the prevailing situation in Kashmir is prefaced with: 'Alienation' and 'Aspiration'. The 'words' reverberate in the background of 45 day's bedlam caused by the separatists , on the death of terrorist Burhan Wani. How ironic , that Azad and Omar should queer the pitch when worst happened during their rule in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Then, we didn't find these words in their vocabulary. May be the executive power they wielded then stammered their speech . Now that both stand alienated from the seat of power words like alienation and aspiration come to them, rather , fluently. Have they forgotten that the much hated pellet gun made en...|
|Kashmir is political issue|
|The latest uprising in Kashmir began after the killing of Burhan Wani. When 15 year old Burhan along with his brother Khalid and a friend were humiliated and assaulted by the Indian army personnel, he joined Hizb ul Mujahideen, the only Kashmiri organisation that has still not laid arms with ideological inclination towards Jamat-e-Islami, a pan Islamic political party founded by Moulana Modudi in colonial India. The party exists in Kashmir within specific local dynamics. However, I don't think that ordinary people especially Kashmir youth are particularly concerned about the ideology of any specific political or military outfit. They appear to be with anyone who poses challenge to any symbol of the Indian occupation and repression in Kashmir.
Burhan Wani represents the younger generatio...|
|The Iconoclast of Timbuktu|
|Nobody got punished for blowing up the giant Buddhist statues in Afghanistan's Bamiyan Valley in 2001. Nobody has been sent to jail for blowing up much of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria after ISIS captured it in May 2015. (It was recaptured last March.) But Ahmed al-Mahdi is going to jail for a long time for destroying the religious monuments of Timbuktu, and he even says he's sorry.
Appearing before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday, the former junior civil servant in Mali's department of education said "All the charges brought against me are accurate and correct. I am really sorry, and I regret all the damage that my actions have caused."
He caused a lot of damage. Timbuktu is a remote desert outpost now, with fewer residents than the 25,000 students who th...|
|Find balance between inflation and growth is task before Urjit Patel|
|Government has finally ended its two-month long intense search and zeroed in on distinguished macro economic expert Urjit Patel for the critical post of Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to succeed the redoubtable Raghuram Rajan who demits office in the first week of September.
Patel, 52, a Deputy Governor since January 2013, will take over as the 24th chief of India's central bank on September 4. A look at Patel's credentials will throw some light on why he has been chosen from a short list of equally eminent economists and bankers. Patel was first appointed on 11 January 2013 as a deputy governor to replace Subir Gokarn. He was reappointed as deputy governor in January for another three years. He has steered the monetary policy department since 2013 and has worked closely wi...|
|UP may witness a four cornered contest for State Assembly|
|In less than six months, a new government would be installed in Lucknow after the announcement of assembly election results of the biggest state of the country.
The race to capture power has begun with all political parties without exception are leaving no stone unturned to catch the imagination of the electorate which is divided on caste and religious lines.
Unlike in the two previous assembly elections in 2007 and 2012 when the contest mainly was between the state based regional parties and the national parties were playing only a marginal or insignificant role, the two national parties namely the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Congress are making every effort to be serious contenders for power in the 2017 assembly battle.
The BJP, which had won 71 parliamentary seats in the 2014 g...|
|The Undoing of Kashmir|
|'Only Kashmir is ray of hope in the time when the subcontinent is in darkness' - Gandhi (Aug, 1947)
During the time of partition, when communal riots were erupted at every place, valley of Kashmir remained calm and no communal violence erupted in Kashmir among Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Mahatma Gandhi saw it as an example that could be torch bearer for the sub continent.
Now, after 69 years when Gandhi is no more to see what is happening, Kashmir is burning, violence erupted, people dying. Gandhi, who is counted among one of the top leaders of world and equally respected by all regions, religions and races, probably could not bear what is happening today and his absence is genuinely felt by everyone on this time.
To resolve Kashmir issue and to bring peace, numerous things were told ...|
|Kandhamal: Long Wait for Justice|
|Today, nearly a decade later when we are remember with pain the horrific violence of Kandhmal in 2008, many issues related to the state of affairs of communal violence, state of minorities, the state of justice delivery system come to one's mind.
Just to recall, Orissa witnessed unprecedented violence against the Christian minority in August 2008. On August 23, 2008, Swami Laxmananand along with his four followers was killed, probably by a group of Maoists. Immediately, anti-Christian violence began on a big scale. The way it began it seemed as if preparations for it were well afoot. It was systematic and widespread. It sounded as if preparation was already there just the pretext was being awaited.
Christians in India
Christians are a tiny minority in India. Contrary to ...|
|"I'm alive as I 'Dared' to seek justice under 498A"|
|Like most young women Revati's life changed the day she became a bride in 2009. Whereas she had dreams of building a wonderful life with her husband things didn't get off to a great start. Her parents-in-law were not too happy with the "meagre dowry" she had brought with her and even the handsome five-figure salary she made as an IT professional in Delhi was not enough to satisfy them. Within six months of marriage the harassment and abuse started.
Initially, Revati did try to adjust to the situation and hoped for things to get better. But she gave up soon enough, which is perhaps why she is still around to tell her tale. "My husband and I were drawing a handsome pay packet. But my in-laws were not pleased with the dowry and would often taunt my husband. When they demanded cars and a pl...|
|Duterte and the UN|
|Rodrigo Duterte, the new president of the Philippines, gives good copy. Here's a quote from his final election rally: "Forget the laws on human rights. If I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because I'd kill you. I'll dump all of you into Manila Bay, and fatten all the fish there."
And here's another, from last Sunday, after United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime condemned Mr Duterte's "apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings."
"I do not want to insult you," Duterte said. (He only called them "stupid".) "But maybe we'll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you are that rude, we might just as well leave. So take...|
|SIGNS OF THE TIMES|
|Shattering images from Syria |
|Did you see that haunting photograph of the four year old injured Syrian child Omran Daqneesh? I did. And since then I have been sitting devastated. Nah, I can't erase those images of the little child sitting on the ambulance seat in that forlorn and subdued way. Though covered with blood and dust he doesn't cry in pain or shock; just touches his bleeding forehead and then gently rubs his blood - stained hands on the seat. His innocence hits …hits hard. Leaving one feeling so terribly devastated by the ongoing tragedy in Syria.
And now as news comes in of Omran's older brother, 10 year old Ali Daqneesh succumbing to his injuries, I sit back numb with pain. It's not just Omran and Ali and their family who were grievously wounded in the latest round of bombardments on residential building...|
|The shrillness of RSS call for Hindus to multiply|
|Mr. Mohanrao Bhagwat, the RSS chief, has started yet again on his ancient theme that his followers, Hindus so called, must proliferate themselves to keep their numbers high and not lose the battle to other faiths which call the people of India infidels and "Kafirs", yet to be liberated from their "wretched" ways of life and "outdated" systems.
The Hindu growth rate in economic terms may have been low, but apparently Mr. Bhagwat would now wish to push the Hindu population to keep rising in a business friendly environment and upswing in its gross domestic product quite rapidly. By proliferation, what is being preached by the drooping moustachioed Bhagwat, with a chest larger than Mr. Modi's 56 inches and that the loyalist Nagpur "chela" Nitin Gadkari's 60 plus inches of chest and girth in ...|
|Which Kashmir is Integral Part of India: The people or the land?|
|The Kashmir situation is getting from bad to worse. The State has been on the boil since July 8, the day the Indian security forces took credit for exterminating a dreaded terrorist-the 22-year-old Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a commander of the separatist Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The 'encounter death' (a phrase which has become all too familiar over the years and decades with all its sinister implications-from the North-East to Maoist-dominated areas to Jammu and Kashmir) of Wani, son of a headmaster and a school dropout, was described by the Director-General of J & K Police, K. Rajendra, as a "major success for the security forces because he was instrumental in brainwashing many local boys to take up the gun".
What baffled the understanding and explanation was the fact that thousands of people, mo...|
|CTUs gearing up for general strike on September 2|
|Modi govt makes no move to deal with charter of demands|
|The central trade unions of the country are taking massive preparations to observe a one day general strike of the workers and the employees of the country on September 2 this year in support of their 12 point charter of demands. Though the official announcement was made by the central trade unions from their convention in New Delhi on March 30 this year and the trade union leaders had continuously approached the Narendra Modi government for negotiations so that the strike which will paralyse the national economy for a day , is avoided, but the NDA government has not cared to start any meaningful discussions on the charter of demands, rather the union labour minister has passed on the buck to the states by mentioning that most of the demands fall under the purview of the state government...|
|Sheen of Modi/BJP fading away?|
|Having woken up from a deep slumber after Gujarat incidence where four Dalits were stripped, tied to the rear bumper of a vehicle and whipped with rods by the so called cow protectors, a few weeks back the Prime Minister of greatest democracy of the world apparently expressed his anguish and sadness by taking cow vigilantes to task and admonishing them to desist from the act which is counter-productive to the Nation's unity. Taking a clue the Home Ministry issued an advisory to all states to be strict in dealing with such elements and take desired action as per rules. Even the RSS ( strangely enough) is reported to have condemned violence against Dalits by cow vigilante groups.
Hardly the echo of PM's sermon would have subsided when on 9-8-16 when four persons were thrashed near Jiroli v...|
|Irom Sharmila: The poet, the person, the politician|
|A poet may seem misplaced as a politician. But perhaps this is exactly what we need: people who can bring sensitivity in the public domain and drive us to look at our lives, our politics and our ethics anew. Irom Sharmila's politics stems from deep sensitivity; she dreams of a world free of fear, and writes: "I'll spread the fragrance of peace/ From Kanglei, my birthplace/ In the ages to come/ It will spread all over the world" (Kanglei is an ancient name for Manipur).
Sharmila began an indefinite fast on November 3, 2000, a determined solo step on the slow, very slow, road to peace. Almost 16 years on, she has decided to break her fast on August 9, 2016, and resume life as we all know it: eating food, drinking water, walking the streets, a free citizen. The State having failed to respo...|