EC Misleads Public With Bogus RTI Reply on VVPAT Count: Poonam Agarwal

Evidence mounts of something extremely rotten in the state of India and the recent Lok Sabha elections.

We have raised this question on Kafila for a while now, see The Massive Mandate and Open Letter to Election Commission of India by civil servants, the serious charges in which have been met with total silence.

Now POONAM AGARWAL writes in The Quint, which has been investigating the issue for some time.

The current state of India’s Election Commission (EC) raises doubts about its transparency and fairness, especially when we find that it is misleading the public in its RTI replies.

The EC was constituted in 1950 to conduct free and fair elections, and was established as an autonomous body solely so that it can work independently. Is that what it’s doing?

The Quint filed an RTI seeking information and documents on the VVPAT count data during the Lok Sabha elections 2019. In reply, the EC refused to share the documents on the grounds that the VVPAT data is not available with the Commission (which means, at the EC headquarters in Delhi).

Here’s How the EC Is Misleading Citizens.

Read the full article at The Quint.

 

मोदीनामा : हिंदुत्व का उन्माद

 

मई 2019 में नरेंद्र मोदी के नेतृत्व में हिंदुत्ववादी दक्षिणपंथी भारतीय जनता पार्टी ने शानदार चुनावी जीत हासिल की।

यह जीत सामान्य समझ को धता बताती है – जीवन और आजीविका जैसी आधारभूत बातें इस चुनाव का मुद्दा क्यों नहीं बन पाईं? ऐसा क्यों है कि सामान्य और सभ्य लोगों के लिए भी

हिंदुत्व के ठेकेदारों की गुंडागर्दी बेमानी हो गई? क्यों एक आक्रामक और मर्दवादी कट्टरवाद हमारे समाज के लिए सामान्य सी बात हो गई है? ऐसा क्यों है कि बेहद जरूरी मुद्दे आज गैरजरूरी हो गए हैं?

ये सवाल चुनावी समीकरणों और जोड़-तोड़ से कहीं आगे और गहरे हैं। असल में मोदी और भाजपा ने सिर्फ चुनावी नक्शों को ही नहीं बदला है बल्कि सामाजिकं मानदंडों के तोड़-फोड़ की भी शुरूआत कर दी है।

यह किताब प्रधानमंत्री के तौर पर मोदी के पिछले पांच वर्षों की यात्रा को देखते हुए आने वाले पांच वर्षों के लिए एक चेतावनी है।

978-81-940778-5-5

LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2019

Language: Hindi, 131 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″

Price INR 195.00 Book Club Price INR 137

(https://mayday.leftword.com/catalog/product/view/id/21471)

SUBHASH GATADE
Subhash Gatade is a left activist and author. He is the author of Charvak ke Vaaris (Hindi, 2018), Ambedkar ani Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (Marathi, 2016), Godse’s Children: Hindutva Terror in India (2011) and The Saffron Condition (2011). His writings for children include Pahad Se Uncha Aadmi (2010).

The Politics of Piety in Naya Pakistan: Afiya Zia

Guest Post by AFIYA ZIA

A year ago, Pakistan’s national elections brought in a new government led by the Pakistan Tehreeq e Insaf (PTI) and headed by the former-cricketer-turned politician, Imran Khan. Khan had been drifting in the political wilderness for 22 years, waiting for providence to appoint him Prime Minister. As the 2018 elections loomed, this was not looking possible. However, a series of legal cases of corruption started being levelled against the serving PM, Nawaz Sharif, and efforts were made to atrophy others from the major parties of the PML-N and PPP (who had signed the ‘charter of democracy’ to prevent military intervention in civilian governance). The methods of these moves made it clear that the ‘establishment’ was betting on a new horse. Khan was not taking any risks though.

Six months before the national election, he entered marriage for the third time (with no less controversy than his previous marriages) to Bushra Maneka who was also his spiritual guide or pirni. A mother and a grandmother, there was speculation that Bushra divorced her husband for the higher cause of marrying the PM-in-waiting. In the days prior to the summer election, Khan performed Umrah in Mecca with Bushra, and was seen prostrating at a shrine in Pakistan and accessorised with rosaries and amulets in preparation for the polls.

Continue reading The Politics of Piety in Naya Pakistan: Afiya Zia

Against Aachaaram: A Dossier from Malayalam – Announcement

This is to announce a new series of postings I will be doing, relating to aachaaram in Kerala.

Aachaaram is loosely translated as ‘customary practices’ or ‘customary rituals’, but in 19th century Malayali society, it referred to a massive, inter-connected, all-pervading web of practices, rituals, and ideas which bolstered the domination of the upper-castes — in Kerala’s context, this meant the Brahmin-sudra nexus — over the lower castes. It touched the most intimate and personal aspects of a person’s life; through it,  the allegiances and the labour of lower caste communities were extracted to benefit the upper castes. The lower-caste assertions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries here, through which modern democracy became a possibility at all, were directed against this web. Aachaaram, however, survived this phase through shrinking its spatial presence to savarna homes and temples; later, after the re-consolidation of brahmin-sudra power, towards the end of the 20th century, the rise of spiritual capitalism had led to aacharam’s resurrection as the vehicle of gendered savarna power — and as the provider of opening gambits for the Hindu fundamentalists — in Kerala .

In this series, I will post translations of selections/excerpts from the writings of the critics of aachaaram from early 20th century Kerala, with short reflections on each for the present. The many different readings of Hinduism that arose in that period when the Brahmin-sudra nexus was thrown into confusion, as well as the many different dreams of social liberation from different parts of the world that entered Malayali society then — from C Krishnan’s Buddhism to Marxism — produced powerful critical exposures that revealed aachaaram to be nothing but a vehicle and instrument of the power of certain groups over others. The effort made by these voices to point to the danger that it posed to a dream of a just society was largely ignored by the mainstream, especially the mainstream left.

The first of these is an excerpt from a conversation between the well-known social revolutionary, the avarna-born seer, spiritual leader, and philosopher, Srinarayana Guru and his disciples in which the annual pilgrimage to Sivagiri was planned, which I will post separately.

 

Will India Remember Dadri’s Akhlaq, as Germany Recalls Victims of Nazi Barbarism?

The German acceptance for stolpersteine plaques helps them honour victims of Nazism. One wonders if it will ever be possible to take up similar projects in this part of South Asia.

Germany Recalls Victims of Nazi Barbarism

Hier Wohnte Bernhard Marx

JB 1897

Deportiert 20.07.1942

Minsk

Ermordet 24.07.1942

‘Here lived Bernhard Marx

Year of Birth 1897

Deported 20.07.1942

Minsk

Assassinated 24.07.1942’

It was while walking past a desolate street in Bonn that we stumbled upon some brass plates on which the names of the members of a family were engraved. The name Bernhard, supposedly the head of this family, was engraved on the first plate, followed by three to his right: Erna Marx Geb Hartman, (born 1899), Helena (1929) and Julie (1938).

This was an ill-fated Jewish family from Bonn, deported to the dreaded Minsk concentration—rather extermination—camp that was brutally murdered just four days after they got there. The youngest, Julie was barely four when she died.

Estimates of how many died in this camp over a period of two years vary but at least 65000, mainly Jews, perished there until it was liberated by the Soviet forces.

The young researcher who was our host and guide to the city said that the brass plaques, raised on stone, are called stolpersteine. Stolper means to stumble in German and steine means stone. The idea behind erecting stolpersteine is to raise awareness about events that took place in the late thirties and early forties in this region, when millions of innocent people—Jews, Romas, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and political dissidents—were sent to the gas chambers or brutally killed by the Nazi regime.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/India-Remember-Dadri-Akhlaq-Germany-Victims-Nazi-Barbarism)

Alternative Futures – India Unshackled

Alternative Futures
Alternative Futures – India Unshackled

After the Berlin wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, many consigned ideologies and alternatives to the rubble of history. The end of the cold war was explained as the victory, not just of liberal ethos and individual freedom, but of dynamic, market-driven capitalism championed by likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Manmohan Singh. India’s left also embraced this belief in practice, promoting foreign and national capitals and capitalist-led industrialization. They hoped market miracles would generate employment and wealth. Women such as MedhaPatkar, a social activist and a fierce opponent of the globalized developmental model and Sudha Bhardwaj, a trade union activist in Chhattisgarh seemed as thoroughly on the wrong side of the history as it was possible to be. Continue reading Alternative Futures – India Unshackled

DISSENT, DEBATE, CREATE