Showing posts from November, 2017

Repeal laws like NSA which give unlimited power to state authorities to detain Akhil Gogoi and Chandrasekhar without trial

By Battini Rao*
Akhil Gogoi, leader of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti of Asom, and Chandrasekhar of the Bhim Sena in Western Uttar Pradesh, have been under detention for many months now. Akhil was arrested on 13 September under sedition charges by the BJP government of the state. On 25 September a total of 122 cases against him were clubbed together under the National Security Act, foreclosing any possibility of judicial redress. The NSA advisory panel of the state approved his detention on 19 November, thereby sealing his incarceration for 12 months at least.

Utterances of BJP, Sangh Parivar functionaries sufficiently indicate to possibility of change in key elements of Constitution

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On 14 November, speaking at a function in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath vehemently stated, “I believe that after Independence, the biggest lie in India is the word secular...the people who gave birth to this word and who use it, should apologise. No system can be secular. Political systems can be neutral towards sects, but not secular.” Coming from the CM of the biggest State in the country, this is obviously no off-the-cuff remark, but a well-calculated attempt to test the waters and at the same time prepare for the 2019 General Elections.

It's an unequal fight: They have resources, we have resilience; they are merchants of death, we carry with us dreams of oppressed

Gujarat’s Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani has made an “urgent appeal” for funds through Crowdnewsing (click HERE) to support his campaign against the BJP ahead of the Gujarat elections. Text of the appeal:
Dear friends and well-wishers, ever since the horrific videos of Una flogging surfaced, some of us got together to relentlessly work against the fascist communal and brahmanical Gujarat government led by RSS-BJP. The Una flogging brought to the fore the largely invisible yet deeply entrenched casteist character of BJP led ruling class of Gujarat.

Need to look at look at the face and consequences of poverty, which suffocate millions of people across the world

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
Pope Francis invited all Catholics and, in fact, all men and women of goodwill, to observe 19 November as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year was the very first observance of such a day (now fixed for the 33rd Sunday of the Liturgical Year). In a message, which was released last June, Pope Francis said:

Global production of GM soybean and GM cotton are declining; GM oilseed rape and GM maize hectarage have stagnated

Angelika Hilbeck*
Genetically engineered (GE) crops were introduced to the world almost three decades ago with great fanfare and the first crops commercialized over two decades ago. We were promised no more nor less than the abolishment of hunger and malnutrition and the creation of plants with higher yields and adapted to the challenges caused by the changing climate.

Fr Arrupe has left a rich legacy: Commitment to faith rooted in justice, courage to take stand against violence, compassion for refugees

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On 24 October 2016, in his address to the 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, Pope Francis said, “just as Fr Arrupe said, wherever there is pain, the Society is there; or better said has to be there”. In this one statement, Pope Francis not only reminded the Jesuits of the need and importance of their presence in the realities of today but also highlighted the rich legacy, which Fr. Pedro Arrupe has left to each one of us!

Growing resentment among people of Gujarat points to failure of much hyped slogan ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’

By T Navin*
Gujarat till now had been projected as a unique model of development, which needs to be replicated in all other places. The Prime Minister in his speeches during election campaigns in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and Assembly elections in other states had sought to state that he would turn the country and other states into Gujarat. Gujarat was emulated as a model which was to be replicated in all other states. In recent times, however the vocabulary has changed to state how the other parties in power at the center had been biased against Gujarat and prevented and blocked Development in the state.

Taming the lion in his lair? Congress is basking under a borrowed sun of anti-incumbency and hopes to rake in the benefits

By Darshan Desai*
There is just one name which prevents the opposition Congress in Gujarat from celebrating a sureshot victory in a hurry. There is just one name which prevents the BJP in Gujarat from conceding defeat in a hurry.
Narendra Modi.

Why Dr Zakir Hussain considered Maulana Azad as one of the greatest innovators in the history of Islam

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, whose 129th birth anniversary falls on November 11, remains relevant as masses look in askance all around in their search of stability in the prevailing times of confusion, vandalism and communalism.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad is, by any reckoning, a major figure in twentieth-century Indian History. He was a scholar thoroughly trained in the traditional Islamic sciences, with great intellectual abilities and eloquence of pen and speech.
He had, in addition, a remarkable openness to modern western knowledge even as he opposed western rule over India. He made a lasting contribution to Urdu prose literature with his translation and interpretation of the Qur'an.

Women in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district summon last ounces of their energy to overcome huge hurdles in life

By Moin Qazi*
The large swathes of cotton farms in Central India have been the epicentre of a global crisis that has gripped the rural population in crippling debts and driven thousands to suicide. But amidst the gloom, it is the women of this region who have emerged as the torchbearers of hope and progress. This new hope comes in the form of women collectives comprising of farm widows who are pooling their tenacity and frugal resources to rebuild their families.

Wanted: Hindu Luthers. Our “scriptures” are locked in Sanskrit shlokas; translations in thick books cater to narrow audience

By Parth Shah Can you recite the Gayatri mantra? Did you undergo the saptapadi ritual? Hindu-majority country that we are, most of you will respond in the affirmative, even if you take pride in your rational and modern outlook. And excellent odds are you cannot translate any of those shlokas.

Dialogue through interlocutor in J&K: Best instrument of dialogue would be the expression of Kashmiris' choice through a ‘vote’

By Syed Mujtaba*
The idea of interlocutors is neither new nor a sure-fire solution. The state has seen a succession of them over the past two decades, beginning with the visit of an all-party delegation led by Rajiv Gandhi in March 1990 at the beginning of the militancy. Balraj Puri and Dr Karan Singh also participated in some initiatives to bring a settlement but soon bowed out.

Scamster BJP? It's puzzling to innocent by-standers as to why would partners-in-crime fall apart like this

By Anand Mazgaonkar
Scamster BJP!  That ain’t some enemy of BJP, some Opposition Party saying that. That’s BJP’s own ally, their oldest partner Shiv Sena saying that. Not just saying that they’ve printed their intimate stories without anyone seeking to peek into their bedroom.
It was a Hindu marriage made in heaven, something that was both a love marriage and arranged marriage rolled into one, one ordained by the 33 crore Indian Gods. Some marriages are funny. They swear in the name of God that they want to be together for seven lives, seven incarnations, but would rather not have this life together!
Now, this is not the first time that the BJP and Shiv Sena have washed their dirty linen in public and put it out dry in the open for people to amuse themselves with. In the last few years nobody could tell if what they were doing together was playing to the gallery, posturing, grandstanding, providing free entertainment in gloomy environment, acrimonious cohabitation, amicable divorce, shar…

Europe’s swing to the right: Fear of continued influx of refugees diluting national, cultural identities has worked in all elections

By Sadhan Mukherjee*
After Austria, Czech Republic has voted rightists to power. What is interesting is that in the elections held on October 20-21, the voters deserted the mainstream parties and voted for ANO led by Anderj Babis which has won maximum votes. Babis will now be the prime minister. Czech social democrats suffered their worst set back getting only 7.3% of votes.
Slovakia, the other part of former Czechoslovakia goes to polls not later than in March 2020.
The question that has come up is interesting. Czech Republic has been doing reasonably well economically. It had the least number of refugees and also the lowest unemployment figures in the European Union. Why then the rightwing swing?
One answer to this has been provided by Deusche Welle editorial writer Christopher Hasselbach. He feels that it is Czech nationalism has come into play in this case. The Czechs want to maintain their national and cultural identity intact. Hence they do not welcome any refugees unlike Germany, a…

A malnourished democracy: Starvation deaths grip headlines, but mundane politics of neglect remain largely invisible

By Stalin K*
Amartya Sen has famously argued that “there has never been a famine in a functioning democracy.” Citizens in a competitive electoral environment, the theory goes, will discipline politicians who fail to prevent high levels of hunger. The free press is a key element in Sen’s analysis: the media makes hunger visible, triggering outrage and political action. And yet India is gripped by a hidden killer: malnourishment.

Demolition drive in Delhi's Kathputli Colony: Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas? Question is... Kiske Saath, Kiska Vikas

By Himshi Singh
The current situation in Kathputli colony dire. Only 400 houses remain standing out of 3000 houses in total. The Delhi Development Authority has carried out a forced eviction and demolition drive for the last two days, without any notices being handed out to the residents. The residents were abused, women were lathicharged, children were manhandled and men were beaten up by the police whose role was to only protect the officials and the ones working the bulldozers.