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Aadhaar number database a tool for electoral surveillance, weapon of mass destruction

By Gopal Krishna*  Disregarding the ten fathom deep burial of the notorious majority opinion of the Supreme Court Justices P. N. Bhagwati, A.N. Ray, M.H. Beg and Y.V. Chandrachud in ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla (1976) case that had suspended a person's right to not be unlawfully detained by 9-Judge Constitution Bench in Justice Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017), the majority opinion of Justices A. K. Sikri, Ashok Bhushan, A.M. Khanwilkar and D. Misra in Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2018) resurrected the notorious verdict by declaring Aadhaar Act to be partially constitutional on 26 September 2018. Court declared Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act which enabled body corporate and individual to seek authentication is held to be unconstitutional. Section 57 which was titled “Act not to prevent use of Aadhaar number for other purposes under law” has been “Omitted by the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Act 2019”. Section 57 provided that “nothing contained in this Act (Aadhaar Act
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Educated youth use the scope of political patronization to get a government job

By Harasankar Adhikari  The government of West Bengal has totally failed to combat unemployment in the state for the last decade. The rate of educated unemployment (or all sorts of unemployment) increased during the era of the left-front government. The reasons are diversified. Of course, lack of industrial initiative, surplus agricultural labor, land policy, etc. are primary reasons. It has broken the mental state and other qualities of the youth. But youth unrest has been resisted by political parties and their crude politics. They are mishandled by the political parties. It influences the migration rate undoubtedly. On the other hand, the youth of this state are cheaply directed to actively get involved in politics, which creates a hope for employment through patronization of the political party in power. Therefore, ‘doing party’ has become a new job venue for the youth of West Bengal. In particular, the educated youth use the scope of political patronization to get a governme

Art provides healing balm, inviting people to leave voicemail for someone they lost

By Gajanan Khergamker  Probably the most peaceful yet powerful influence of Street Art can be gauged by Japanese garden designer Itaru Sasaki who initiated the Wind Phone project in 2010 to help cope with his cousin's death. After Itaru lost his cousin to terminal cancer, he set up an old telephone booth in his garden in December 2010, to continue to feel connected to him by "talking" to him on the phone. The wind phone was not designed with any specific religious connotation but as a way to reflect on his loss. However, in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed over 15,000 people in the Tohoku region, including over 1,200 people in Ōtsuchi (about 10 percent of the town's population), he threw access to the structure open to the public. The wind phone since, received more than 30,000 visitors. On 7 January 2017, strong winds blew off the roof of the wind phone and broke the glass doors. On hearing about it, local carpenters, including ones who had previously visi

A film industry splashed on public walls in Mumbai: a virtual art-lovers' paradise

By Gajanan Khergamker  The walls adjoining the streets of Mumbai's Western suburb Bandra are strewn with art works depicting old Hindi films, graffiti and the works, converting the zone into a virtual art-lovers' paradise. The wall-paintings are impressively colossal in size, strategically placed and sure to leave an indelible mark in public memory. The Street Art that has begun making pleasant appearances across Mumbai’s streets has been facilitated by the civic authorities and overseen by local politicians. With all permissions in place and authorisations, even financial support provided through non-profits involved in the venture, Mumbai’s Street Art completely overlooks issues of strife and sensitivity that feature on public walls in most other foreign cities. Unlike French Street Artist James Colomina, who literally lives underground and refuses to even identify himself or his family for fear of reprise, the artists working across Mumbai’s streets feature, without fear, ac

Tamil Nadu govt claiming to reform Hindu religion, temples. People deserve better

By NS Venkataraman  For the last several decades, there have been hate campaign against Hinduism in Tamil Nadu in a subtle or not so subtle manner. Initially, it was a hate campaign against brahmins and the brahmins were abused, insulted and physically attacked. Fearing such conditions, many brahmin families left Tamil Nadu to settle down in other states in India or have gone abroad. Now, the brahmin population in Tamil Nadu is at microscopic level, for which these hate campaigners against brahmins were responsible. Later on, emboldened by the scenario of scared brahmin families not resisting and running away, the hate campaigners started focusing on Hindus. For some years, when M.G.Ramachandran and Jayalalitha were the chief ministers of the state, the hate Hindu campaigners were not much heard, as both these chief ministers were staunch believers in Hindu philosophy and have been offering prayers in temples in full public view. However, in the last eighteen months in

Free art elbows compulsions of commerce: resisting populist trends, capitalist markets

By Gajanan Khergamker  In London’s multicultural Brixton, a sizeable chunk of the 30-foot-tall Michelle Obama mural remains painted over as Dorrell Place becomes the place for graffiti artists/taggers/scrawlers to showcase their works of art. The homage to the former First Lady of the United States that first appeared on the side of the Marks & Spencer store in October 2018 was the creation of Dreph who made the advert in collaboration with Penguin Random House to promote the publication of Obama’s autobiography ‘Becoming,’ released on 13 November 2018. Yet, by February 2021 the bottom half was painted over, and in the last couple of years the rest of the mural has dwindled to naught, almost symbolising the triumph of free art over the compulsions of commerce. One of Dreph’s latest murals depicts Hassan Hajjaj who joined the burgeoning west London immigrant community. He felt very much a foreigner and many of the people he befriended were people who had had a similar journey and sh

Not my burden of shame: Malaysia's apathy in tackling problem of sexual harassment

By Jeswan Kaur*  "There was no such thing as child abuse. Parents owned their children. They could do whatever they wanted." -- actress Ellen Burstyn Condemning, judging and humiliating - it this the very nature of people in general or is this what Malaysians are best known for? When a 15-year-old actress recently made a damning revelation that she was molested as a child by her perverted father, support was far from coming. Instead, many name shamed Puteri Nuraaina Balqis, calling her "stupid" and rebuking her for seeking cheap publicity by insulting her father. They "advised" her to pray more, "be thankful to her father for bringing her into this world and remember that she would be given something by Allah for insulting her father." Would any of those who condemned Puteri Balqis "enjoy" being molested, raped or sexually harassed? Would they fancy calling their house a sanctuary when safety was no where in sight? Do these insensitive

Street Art opponents stay legal, display in private, seek selective convenience

By Gajanan Khergamker  Generally, Street Art is quickly dismissed as 'vandalism' and an illegal activity when ‘not in private galleries’ or ‘sponsored by non-profits’. Those opposing Street Art keep insisting artists must resort only to “legal” methods of art in the privacy of their homes, while conveniently ignoring the glaring fact that the high-end art world is discriminatory, much to a selective convenience. Keep America Beatiful (KAB), a large non-profit with corporate sponsors like H&M, PepsiCo, and McDonalds, began a program in 2007 called Graffiti Hurts. They even offer grants upwards of USD 2,000 to local governments and police departments for fighting Street Art. Their slogan? “We keep America beautiful so Americans can do beautiful things.” Now, the non-profit is conveniently silent on which Americans are given the right to create those “beautiful things?” And, at whose expense? KAB maintains that while graffiti vandals known as guerrilla artists believe their ac

How Russians read the conflict in Caucasus: what's behind centuries old historical roots

By Dr. Pietro A. Shakarian  In the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 13, Azerbaijan launched an aggressive military assault along the borders of the Armenian Republic. Observers of politics in the post-Soviet space may be forgiven for thinking that the center of fighting was the disputed, Armenian-inhabited region of Nagorno-Karabakh (also known as Artsakh by Armenians). In fact, however, the attack targeted several towns and villages within Armenia proper, notably Vardenis near Lake Sevan, Jermuk in the rocky Vayots Dzor province, and the leafy town of Goris in Syunik. The attack was only the latest in a series of provocations initiated by Baku, with Ankara’s backing , since the conclusion of the 2020 Karabakh war, and especially since the commencement of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022. One might expect there to be renewed hostilities in a face-off involving only Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, these attacks are even more significant, given the fact that Russian f

Calling Macron’s bluff, through art: the homeless were delighted see him in tent!

By Gajanan Khergamker  Like the time when French President Emmanuel Macron was elected, he made loud proclamations that there would be no more homeless people but, as usual, it was far from being true. "It was even worse, so I put him in a tent with homeless people," says Colomina. "Why, the homeless were delighted with the move. The site stands on the edge of the Saint-Martin canal in Paris. At first, I asked some homeless people if they would welcome President Macron with them in a tent. They told me they were delighted; So, for his birthday, I put him in a tent to shed some light on the homeless," he added. "My intention was also to put the one who is at the very top of the pyramid, at the very bottom." It was in the 1970s, that graffiti artists in America successfully unionised for the first time. Between 1974 and 1980, over 20,000 artists and arts support staff secured full-time employment through Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) – mak