|Free speech, Nationalism and sedition - II|
|E. Nationalism and Sedition
Sedition is a word, almost everyone in India has heard of today, because of the events at JNU last year. Historically, our conversation around sedition centred around British injustice in convicting and sentencing Tilak and Gandhi to prison for their publication of allegedly seditious material. Tilak, before his arrest in 1908, reportedly told a police officer, "The government has converted the entire nation into a prison and we are all prisoners. Going to prison only means that from a big cell, one is confined to a smaller one." Gandhi, in 1922, pleaded guilty to the charge of sedition, stating that he was proud to oppose a Satanic government.
These stories are shared with bristling outrage about the British misuse of this law and pride with which our freed...|
|Free speech, Nationalism and sedition - I|
"A parochial, selfish, narrow minded nationalism has caused so much misfortune and misery to the world. A mad and exaggerated form of this cult of nationalism is today running rampant…."
This statement made by M.N. Roy, as far back as 1942, may resonate with many even today, particularly in these times we live in.
Good evening, Justice Chalmeswar, Mr. Pancholi and distinguished members of audience. It is a privilege and an honour to be here to deliver the M.N. Roy Memorial lecture today.
M.N. Roy was a leading intellectual and thinker, and an activist philosopher, who was deeply involved in the Humanist Movement. He was critical of the fundamentals of Indian nationalism and the ideology of nationalism in general, particularly in light of the rise of Fascism and Nazis...|
|Parliament budget session was eventful|
|The two parts of the recently-concluded Budget Session of Parliament make for a study in contrast. The first part, which commenced on January 31 and ended on February 9, was a wash out with frequent disruptions. Much of it was because of the Opposition's attack on the government's demonetisation drive. In refreshing contrast, the second part, from March 9 to April 12, was very productive and participatory.
Although both parts of the session may be described as "eventful", it is not positive when applied to the first part. No doubt, the high point of the first part was presentation of the Union Budget. Besides, before concluding the first part of the Budget Session, Parliament passed the motion of thanks to the President's address to the joint sitting of both the Houses. Yet recall of th...|
|Kashmir: Violence for violence is not a solution!|
|Just after a record low voter turnout in bi-elections of Kashmir, recently, few videos surfaced that showed inhumane treatment of CRPF jawans by local youths of the valley. Later, another video surfaced where a local person was tied up over the bonnet of a jeep of Indian security forces and was used as human shield.
These are obviously neither first videos, nor maybe the last ones. As a place that is witnessing turmoil and violence since many years, people in Kashmir, are used to such kind of violence and abnormalcy in their daily lives. Security forces on the other hand also handle the situation sometimes in extra-ordinary ways that goes beyond their SoPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and usually results as failure in the sense of their very objective of maintaining peace. Even as it...|
|Kashmir : A human rights hell|
|Kashmir is undoubtedly the human rights hell of the world. The tale of human misfortune in Kashmir is of unprecedented nature. Every form of brutal human rights violations and tactics of suppression have been committed against the masses of Kashmir to quell their sentiments of solution and right to self determination. Most of the voices of conscience in the valley of Kashmir are irked by the realities of past and continuing degradation with relation to the human rights situation in Kashmir, the harsh and painful realities of tens of thousands of Kashmiris who have been killed in this conflict every minute strikes our mind.
The alleged crimes of the state forces, numbering more than half a million, against the people of Kashmir have according to reports of reputed human rights organizatio...|
|SIGNS OF THE TIMES|
|Horror stories unfolding in militarized Kashmir|
|For several minutes at a stretch I continued gazing at that photograph of Farooq Ahmad Dar tied to a military jeep, driven in that tied condition the entire day, across the various villages in the Kashmir Valley. It gets difficult to describe the emotions that hit…I couldn't control the flow of tears as I kept imagining what a horrifying experience it must have been for that young man. If I were a documentary film maker or a publisher I would have captured his narrative which could be a documentation of what a hapless Kashmiri goes through, day after day.
Mind you, 26 year old Farooq Ahmad Dar isn't a terrorist. He isn't even a stone-pelter, nor a word -pelter. On the contrary, he is what can be termed a 'good citizen'. After all, that very morning he had spent queuing up outside the pol...|
|BJP is now main threat to Mamata in Bengal|
|Left and Congress losing support base|
|It is not often that a ruling political party's jubilation over a by-election win is laced with a concern for the future. Yet that would be a fitting description of the mood in the Kolkata headquarters of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) following its predictable win at Contai (south) Assembly seat.
Former Law Minster Chandrima Bhattacharya (TMC) duly won by a margin of around 42,000 votes, the party's total votes exceeding the 93,359 it won last year. Again, the gap between the winner's votes (95,369) and that of the runner-up, Bharatiya Janata party (its candidate Samireswar Jana won 52846 votes), was 8000 more than the winning margin in 2016.
Media attention however hovered more on the tally achieved by the BJP than an anticipated TMC win. The BJP's figure increased dramatically from 152...|
|Can the opposition take on Modi in 2019?|
|Disunity among political rivals suits BJP|
|Will the Opposition be able to unite to take on the BJP in the 2019 polls? This is a million-dollar question as it has been elusive although the opposition wants to make the 2019 polls as one of Prime Minister Modi versus the rest. Disunity in the opposition suits the BJP.
The Opposition has realised the need to come together to fight the BJP, which has expanded in the West, and the East and only in the South it is not that successful so far. In the north it has already saturated. Moreover, the opposition is getting jittery after the stellar performance of the BJP in the recent five-state Assembly elections where the party won two and managed to form the government in two other states despite not being the number one party. Today the BJP is ruling alone or in coalition in 15 states. So e...|
|Talk Bhima or Bhim, walk Manu|
|..nothing to eat
nothing to wear
boundless is the anguish
who indeed can bear to see such misery
among the world's creatures
let my soul be condemned to hell
but let the Universe be redeemed.
[Source: Biswamoy Pati in Religion and social 'subversion', Re-examining colonial Orissa (EPW, July/2010)., Bidyut Mohanty in Orissa famine of 1866 Demographic and economic consequences (EPW, Jan/1999.,http://roundtableindia.co.in/lit-blogs/?tag=bhima-bhoi]
Bhima Bhoi, saint, poet and social reformer, who lived in later part of the 19 th century and who wielded his pen against the prevailing social injustice, religious bigotry and caste discrimination, would not have imagined in his wildest dreams that in the second decade of the 21 st century there would arrive such new cla...|
|Change in outlook critical|
|Crimes are on the rise in most countries of the Third World and India is no exception. This increase may be attributed to different factors, the most important being the existence of materialist tendencies in society. Materialism has made the individual more aware of his needs and the craving for these has increased. But, in recent times, this lust for more and more has sadly led to a phenomenal jump in crimes of various nature.
The so-called progress of society has become incompatible with such rise as criminal behaviour has become manifest, both among the highly educated as also among the illiterate. Sociologists and psychologists have found that the human individual has become more jealous, more self-centred, more revengeful and more violent in general. These are, no doubt, very ...|
|The strange case of Kulbhushan Jadhav|
|The military trial and summary sentencing to death of Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan, with the Indian High Commission denied consular access to him, has plunged India-Pakistan relations into a crisis again. Mr. Jadhav is not the first Indian to be caught and sentenced as a spy by Pakistan, but the first retired middle-level naval officer. The context and background of this need examination.
A diplomatic leap in the dark
The current cycle of bilateral engagement and acrimony runs from the dramatic visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore on Christmas in 2015. The occasion was Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's granddaughter's wedding, but really it was a diplomatic leap in the dark. As in the past, beginning with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Lahore bus journey, theatri...|
|No early relief likely for farmers in India|
|Nothing can be more distressing than reading media reports that our brothers in the countryside who feed us periodically commit suicide. Is there an government apathy or nongovernmental organisations don't care. The answer is neither. Everyone is concerned about farmer's suicide and the agrarian distress in general.
When the country liberated itself from the yoke of colonialism, in the early 50's too there were instances of farmer's suicides when the agriculture sector was contributing as much as 51% to the national GDP which has gradually declined to now 13.70 % in 2012-13. India is still largely an agrarian economy where 2/3rds of its population is engaged in agriculture and allied activities. It's still the largest sector of the economy which plays a dominant role in the socio econom...|
|Bengal BJP divided over Teesta Accord option|
|Mamata's stand has support of farmers|
|In theory, the choice before the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the centre could not be simpler: Should it fall in line with West Bengal in denying a share of the Teesta river waters to Bangladesh? Or should it accommodate Bangladesh's interests to the extent possible, while compensating Bengal somehow, so that Kolkata does not feel shortchanged?
If the BJP chooses the first option, it can pose a stiff challenge to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Bengal and help achieve its stated objective, to establish a firm foothold in the East.
But if it prefers the latter and hammer out an accord with Bangladesh, the two countries will write a new chapter of regional co-operation that will help South Asian people to grow in terms of their social, political and economic progress, and...|
|BJP desperate to sour Nitish-Lalu ties|
|Satish Modi's charge against RJD chief has little basis|
|The future of the Bihar's Grand Alliance government does not appear to be bright. As neither Lalu Yadav nor Nitish Kumar would take the blame for pulling down the government, it would continue to function but without a definite direction and dimension.
The latest incident that has added to the bitterness between the two leaders is the twin issue of soil purchase deal between the Patna zoo and a private mall and leader of opposition, BJP leader Sushil Modi implicating Rabri Devi in the illegal land deal along with her sons Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Prasad Yadav partners in the company Lara Projects LLP.
Lalu Yadav known for his perseverance and wits even could not control his anger at this expose. His annoyance and disgust was clearly manifest in his observation; "Samay aane par thas...|
|Saffron love for cows under judicial lens|
|Will Sangh/BJP's dietary diktat get setback?|
|There was a slight lull in the murderous antics of the gau rakshaks or cow protectors after Narendra Modi said that a majority of them were anti-socials. After the BJP's sweeping victory in UP, however, the rakshaks have regained their righteous anger against the suspected killers of cows, especially if they are Muslims.
This fateful religious identity where the Hindu Gestapo is concerned motivated the killers of Pehlu Khan, who was leading a group of dairy farmers, mostly Muslims, transporting cows from Alwar, Rajasthan, to Mewat, Haryana. It was was a rerun of an earlier murder of a suspected beef eater in Dadri near Delhi. Even as Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, one of the BJP's token Muslims, tried to pretend that nothing had happened, the Rajas...|