The Karnataka Moment and the Search for a ‘Bonapartist’ Figure – Looking at 2019

There are enough reasons for for the upbeat and celebratory mood in the anti-BJP-RSS camp following the resignation of BS Yeddyurappa even before the floor test. After all, for once, the game plan of the Modi-Shah duo fell flat, thanks in no small measure, to the Supreme Court’s intervention in directing that the floor test be done by 19 May, knocking down the (RSS) Governor’s initial provision of 15 days to the government to prove its majority. In a manner of speaking, we escaped just by the skin of our teeth.

Both the parties concerned – the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) – were on tenterhooks throughout and the surreal accounts of the high drama of the past three days read like they could be about the nether worlds of crime and mafias. Offers to buy off MLAs with money ranging from Rs 5 crores and a ministry to Rs 100 crores have openly been alleged but these were the relatively minor matters. Congress and JD (S) MLAs were not allowed to leave Bengaluru as their chartered flights were ‘denied permission’. [An MLA, in fact told the Times of India, in the same report linked here that by manipulating resources, the BJP had ‘caged us’ in the state]. Their security cover was withdrawn. The management of the resort in Kochi (another state, not even ruled by the BJP) they had booked into by the Central leadership, actually backed out stating that they were under tremendous pressure. Then began the trip by road to Hyderabad, where eventually, it was the Telengana police that ensured their safety. Stories of individual MLAs, either being offered with withdrawal of pending cases or being threatened with harassment with new ones have also been doing the rounds. And for those who have been following what has been happening to the AAP MLAs in Delhi, nothing of this should be unbelievable.

Continue reading “The Karnataka Moment and the Search for a ‘Bonapartist’ Figure – Looking at 2019”

How the Supreme Court gave up on Democracy in Karnataka: Bobby Kunhu

Guest post by BOBBY KUNHU

There is all around jubilation in the anti-BJP, particularly the Congress camp that the Supreme Court has cut short the time given to Yediyurappa by the Governor to prove his majority from 15 days to 24 hours. This jubilation is extremely myopic and self serving and is in no way rooted in the tall claims that the Congress has been making about trying to save the Constitution. All the Supreme Court order does is reduce the window of opportunity for the BJP to indulge in horse trading and increase the chances of the Congress-JDS combine to keep their flock together and win the assembly – and also substantially reduce the resort costs.

Continue reading “How the Supreme Court gave up on Democracy in Karnataka: Bobby Kunhu”

Open letter to the Prime Minister of India on the Kathua and Unnao Rape Cases – The Full Text

To,

The Prime Minister of India,

Prime Minister’s Office, South Block,

Raisina Hill, New Delhi 110 001.

21 April 2018

Mr Prime Minister,

We are academics and independent scholars from India and abroad, writing to express solidarity with, and to endorse the sentiments expressed by, forty-nine retired civil servants in their open letter to you of April 16th 2018 (https://thewire.in/politics/narendra-modi-open-letter-kathua-unnao).

Along with these civil servants and countless other citizens of India and the world at large, we wish to express our deep anger and anguish over the events in Kathua and Unnao and the aftermath of these events; over the efforts, in both cases, of those administering the relevant States to protect the alleged perpetrators of these monstrous crimes; over the subsequent profoundly distasteful efforts of rationalisation, deflection and diversion that have been so much in evidence in the reactions of your party’s spokespersons in the media; and finally over your own prolonged (and by now familiar) silence that was broken only recently with wholly inadequate, platitudinous, and  non-specific assurances of justice for the victims. Continue reading “Open letter to the Prime Minister of India on the Kathua and Unnao Rape Cases – The Full Text”

Petition to Supreme Court Urging Verdict in Judge Loya Case

The following petition initiated by Prasenjit Bose appeals to the Supreme Court to reconsider the verdict in the case regarding Judge Loya’s death. Since the launch of the petition, over 527 persons have already signed it. A list of 40 prominent signatories is provided below. A hard copy of the petition along with the total list of signatories will be sent to the Supreme Court judges once we collect thousand plus signatures.  The petition can be signed here.

To
The Hon’ble Chief Justice

& His Companion Justices,

The Supreme Court of India

Most Respectfully Sheweth:

We the undersigned citizens of India are deeply anguished by the order passed by a three judge bench of the Supreme Court that there is no merit in the writ petitions seeking an Inquiry into the death of Justice Brijgopal Harkishan Loya on December 1, 2014 at Nagpur.

The three judge bench has concluded that the documentary material on the record indicates that the death of Judge Loya was due to natural causes and that there is no ground for reasonable suspicion about the cause or circumstances of death which would merit a further inquiry. Continue reading “Petition to Supreme Court Urging Verdict in Judge Loya Case”

नवोदय और भारत की साझी हानि: यश पाल रोहिल्ला व संतोष शर्मा

Guest post by YASH PAL ROHILLA and SANTOSH SHARMA

हाल के वर्षों में हुई दो घटनायें उल्लेख के लायक हैं। पहली एक कॉलेज में पढ़ने वाली छात्रा ने मुखौटा लगाकर भीड़ के सामने अपनी कहानी बयान की, जिसमें उसने बताया कि किस तरह से उसे कॉलेज की पढ़ाई के लिए, लिए गए कर्ज को उतारने में देह फरोख्ती का सहारा लेना पड़ा। दूसरी घटना मे लगभग एक लाख विद्यार्थी सड़कों पर उतर आए क्योंकि उन्हें मंजूर नहीं था कि उनके देश की सरकार परा-स्नातक की पढ़ाई के लिए भी ट्यूशन फीस ले। पहली घटना अमेरिका में हुई और दूसरी जर्मनी में। दोनों घटनाएं विचारधारा सम्मत हैं: पहली पूंजीवाद का फल है और दूसरी लुप्त होते सामाजिक लोकतंत्र की निशानी।

भारत की वर्तमान सरकार ने अमेरिका वाला रास्ता अपना लिया है। इसका एक पुख्ता उदाहरण है जवाहर नवोदय विद्यालय में फीस वृद्धि। जवाहर नवोदय विद्यालय की स्थापना करना एक विशिष्ट व आदर्शोन्मुख कदम था। यह कदम, तब जब राजीव गांधी प्रधान मन्त्री थे और पी.वी नरसिम्हा राव मानव संसाधन विकास मन्त्री, 1986 की राष्ट्रीय शिक्षा नीति के तहत लिया गया। इस नीति के तहत, अन्य कदमों के अतिरिक्त, देश के हर जिले में नवोदय विद्यालय होगा जिसमें छठी कक्षा में 80 सीटों पर दाखिला होगा; दाखिले के लिए पांचवीं स्तर से कठिन व मेधा मापने वाली प्रतियोगी परीक्षा होगी जिसमें कम से कम 75 प्रतिशत सीटें ग्रामीण क्षेत्र के विद्यार्थियों और बाकी शहरी क्षेत्र के विद्यार्थियों के लिए आरक्षित होगीं। एक तिहाई लड़कियों के लिए और अनुसूचित जाति व जनजाति के लिए सरकारी प्रावधान के अनुसार। अन्य पिछड़ा वर्ग का आरक्षण अभी भी लागू नहीं है। हालांकि यह कहना आवश्यक है कि उस वक्त जब नवोदय विद्यालय की शुरूआत हुई थी तब कहीं पर भी यह आरक्षण नहीं था। विद्यालय आवासीय सुविधाएं देगा और सारा खर्च केन्द्र सरकार वहन करेगी।

Continue reading “नवोदय और भारत की साझी हानि: यश पाल रोहिल्ला व संतोष शर्मा”

A Theatre Olympics that Isn’t: Arundhati Ghosh

Guest post by ARUNDHATI GHOSH

Image courtesy Deccan Herald

I have been working for the past 16 years with a small organisation called India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) that attempts to support arts and culture projects across the country. In these years I have been fortunate enough to travel across the country to big cities and small ones, towns and villages where arts practitioners and scholars work intensely, passionately, with almost no economic resources or social acknowledgements. The percentage of our total national budget outlay to the arts and culture is negligible as is the amount that finally gets spent on it. The state of our national arts and culture institutions is abysmal and much has been written by eminent experts critiquing the vision, mandates, policies and mechanisms of funding or the lack of any of these prerequisites to support the sector with an imagination that attempts to build a robust, vibrant ecology for the arts.

Continue reading “A Theatre Olympics that Isn’t: Arundhati Ghosh”

No your lordship, everybody opposing Aadhar is not following an“NGO line”: Baidik Bhattacharya

Guest post by BAIDIK BHATTACHARYA

We live in strange times. A judge in the country’s Supreme Court believes anyone challenging the government’s decision to impose Aadhar-based surveillance regime is following an “NGO line.” Another judge wonders in the court whether “one nation one identity” is not the necessary path forward. Soon, one wonders, if any opposition to surveillance, and any resistance to being spied upon by the state, will be deemed anti-national not only by the government but also by our top judiciary.

Since the hearings on the various anti-Aadhar pleas are being heard in the Supreme Court, and since such inconsiderate observations are being made regularly, let us look at a few problematic aspects of the biometry-based Aadhar idea itself—not only the technical glitches and possible misuses (of which there are many), but the central philosophy that underlines the state’s eagerness to bring every citizen under one biometric identity.

Continue reading “No your lordship, everybody opposing Aadhar is not following an“NGO line”: Baidik Bhattacharya”