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Showing posts from November, 2020

When Ahmed Patel opined: It's impossible to win a poll in Gujarat if you're a Muslim

By Rajiv Shah/ Ahmed Patel has passed away. It is indeed sad that he became another Covid victim, like thousands of others across the world. His loss appears to have been particularly felt in the Congress corridors. I know how some party leaders from Gujarat would often defend him even if one “negative” remark was made on him. “I personally cannot tolerate any criticism of Ahmedbhai”, Shaktisinh Gohil, Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, appointed Bihar in charge ahead of recent assembly polls, told me about a couple of years ago during a tete-e-tete in Ahmedabad.

Dangerous trend? Castes, communities making efforts to infiltrate IAS at entry level

Inside IAS academy, Mussoori By Rajiv Shah/ The other day, I was talking to a former colleague of the Times of India, Ahmedabad. I have known him as one of the reasonable and rational journalists. He later served in a TV. When in TV, he would often tell me anecdotes of how they would report events if they failed to reach the spot on time: “We would just say, here the attack took place, and that was the place from where the attackers attacked.”

Why Sanskrit should be perceived as a dead language in order to keep it alive

By Rajiv Shah/ It was such a pleasure reading a Facebook post. Rajiv Tyagi is former Indian Air Force squadron, His profile describes him as “politically promiscuous anti-fascist dissident, brain defogger, atheist, adventurer, empath, humanist”. This is what says in his post : “Sanskrit for all practical purposes is a dead horse. No amount of flogging will make it pull a political cart any longer.”

World of Mahabharata is stacked against women, today things aren't much different

Controversial American Indologist Audrey Truschke , associate professor of South Asian history at Rutgers University, Newark, in a detailed essay, “The living Mahabharata”, points to how “immorality, sexism, politics, war” in the “polychromatic Indian epic pulses with relevance to the present day”.  ***

New Central information commission defines Hindutva: It's nation first, not religion

Mahurkar at GMC meet By Rajiv Shah/ On November 18 evening, the Gujarat Media Club (GMC) organised a felicitation function for Uday Mahurkar, a long-time journalist with “India Today”, as the new information commissioner of the Central Information Commission, the Right to Information (RTI) watchdog of the Government of India. There were two reasons why I decided avoiding the meed (I conveyed it on WhatsApp that I wouldn’t attending).

Why those who say ‘Do not put too much politics in your art’ are not being honest

Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe (1930-2013), acclaimed for his unsentimental depictions of the social and psychological disorientation because of the imposition of Western customs and values upon traditional African society, and American James Baldwin (1924-1987), known to have explored intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western society, went into an interesting conversation, went into an interesting conversation in 1980 on beauty, morality, and political power of art. 

Racism persists in many forms, caste stigma runs deep among Pak Christians, Muslims

Saldanha with Canadian community of Precious Blood Church in Canada Lawrence John Saldanha, an 84 year old retired archbishop from Pakistan, originally from Mangalore, currently living in Canada helping persecuted Pakistani Christians who seek asylum in Canada, in an email alert to some of his community colleagues has expressed concern over casteism among Christians and Muslims in Pakistan. Appointed Archbishop of Lahore by Pope John Paul II in 2001, his family was among those who had opted to remain in Pakistan after Partition.

Netaji didn't want Gandhiji to write foreword to his book he presented to Mussolini

A former Union ministry of external affairs ministry official who retired on January 31, 2015 after serving for 38 years, and last served as first secretary at the Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is now reportedly engaged in studying India's freedom struggle, the role of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army (INA). Excerpt from an introduction to Netaji's book “The Indian Struggle 1920-1934”, which was later revised into “Indian Struggle 1920-1942”, he posts on his Facebook timeline: *** ubhas Chandra Bose was on forced exile in Vienna, Austria, in 1934, and he was undergoing medical treatment there when he was approached by M/s. Wishart and Co., a Publishing Company of London, for writing a book on Indian politics. He was happy to receive such an offer and decided to name the book “The Indian Struggle 1920 –1934”. Initially, he was asked to submit the manuscript by August, 1934, and the book was scheduled to be published in October, 1934. He receiv

Arnab entitled to bail, but what about 3.5 lakh undertials, 83 yr old priest, 80 yr old poet?

Senior Mumbai-based human rights lawyer Mihir Desai, in a Facebook post , “tears in the hypocrisy of the judgement and the utter naiveté that informs the discussion about it in certain quarters”, comments Vistasp Hodiwala, adding, “It is the kind of stuff that only a lawyer of serious standing such as Mihir who deals with such cases day in and day out would be able to put up.”

MNCs GM, Ford knew in 1960s car emission caused climate change, delayed action

Top auto giants General Motors (FM) and Ford knew way back in 1960s about looming climate crisis, but helped bury reality. This was quite like the major oil and gas companies, which “took a calculated risk that they – and the world – could delay action to address the drivers of climate change. We are all paying for that gamble", argues  Jessica Corbett in Common Dreams . Exerpts: *** 

Wanton neglect: Actions taken to restore Bengaluru lakes found to be superficial

The Bengaluru Environment Trust (BET), in its report “Citizen’s Agenda for Bellandur/Varthur Catchment”, has found that the plan to rejuvenate Bellandur, Varthur and Agara lakes in Bengaluru is “ad-hoc, illogical and not supported by well documented data and scientific facts.” Following is an excerpt from the BET report, which is actually an official submission to government bodies and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed monitoring committee to oversee the rejuvenation process:

'Matter of shame... wasn’t even aware of Anvay Naik’s story till case was reopened'

Author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, whose debut novel “The Last Song of Dusk” won the Betty Trask Award, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, and was nominated for the IMPAC Prize in Ireland, and was translated into 16 languages, has argued that the tragedy is not Arnab’s arrest but architect Anvay Naik’s decision to kill his mother Kumud, and then himself, from fear of lifelong debt after he was “refused” payment of dues for his work.

Arnab's arrest: Is it BJP vs Shiv Sena via Sushant Singh Rajput and Anvay Naik?

By Rajiv Shah/ I am a little confused. How does one describe the arrest of Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami? Most top newspapers, even as stating that they disagree with Arnab’s style of “journalism”, have condemned it, and so has the Editors’ Guild, which is headed by Seema Mustafa, founder of left-of-centre site thecitizen.in. A Republic TV insider suggested me, refusing to directly defend Arnab, that it all started with “clash of ego” between Arnab and the Mumbai Police Commissioner.

RIP Jayesh Jeeviben Solanki, whom nobody seemed to care when he was alive

By Rajiv Shah/ Last month-end, a Dalit poet, Jayesh Jeeviben Solanki, passed away. I learned this from Facebook. Innumerable FB friends, including Gujarat’s topmost Dalit rights politician Jignesh Mevani, who won as an independent MLA with Congress support, paid glowing tributes to Jayesh. Young, perhaps in his 30s, the very name suggests that he wanted to proclaim himself to be: that he is not a patriarch. The middle name is Jeeviben, which, I think, should be his mother’s (he wasn’t married) – unusual, as in Gujarat’s patriarchal tradition, it’s a tradition to put father’s name in the middle.