Category Archives: Centre watch

Statement on Taslima Nasreen

Public Statement by Forum For The Protection of Free Speech and Expression

At a time when India is projecting itself on the
world’s stage as a modern democracy, while it hosts
international literary festivals and book fairs, the
Government of India, most mainstream political parties
and their armed squads are mounting a concerted
assault on peoples’ right to Free Speech.

It is a matter of abiding shame that even as some of
the world’s best-known writers were attending the
Jaipur literary festival and prestigious publishers
were doing business at the World Book fair in Delhi,
the exiled Bengali writer Taslima Nasrin was (and is)
being held in custody by the Government of India in an
undisclosed location somewhere in or around Delhi in
conditions that amount to house arrest. Contrary to
misleading press reports stating that her visa has
been extended, her visa expires on the 18th of
February, after which she is liable to be deported or
remain confined as an illegal alien. Continue reading Statement on Taslima Nasreen

Monobina Gupta on Inconvenient Women

Recently Kiran Bedi, the country’s first woman police officer, sought voluntary retirement after being in the eye of a storm following her allegations of gender discrimination in the police force. Bedi, who had transformed Tihar jail from filthy dungeons to a clean and livable place and has had an outstanding career, was superseded for the post of Delhi’s police commissioner. Because she was a woman.

Women in civil service have come up against sexism time and again. Madhu Bhaduri, who joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1968, recalls how women IFS officers launched their first protest against blatant gender discrimination in this elite branch of service, which was at that time wrapped up in layers of  discriminatory codes.

Here is an account of how it all started…

Continue reading Monobina Gupta on Inconvenient Women

Imagining Governance and Governing our Imagination

Manmohan Singh from the Indian Express two days ago:

I sincerely pray and hope that we remain a functional democracy. But democracy has certain disadvantages. I have a friend in the International Monetary Fund, who went to Korea in the days it was run by an authoritarian system. They were discussing the issue of devaluing the currency. When my friend talked with the finance minister, he said, “That’s a very difficult question. You don’t expect me to give an answer right away.” When my friend asked him how much time he would need, the finance minister said, “I will take half an hour, I have to book a call to the president.”

We have to work, therefore, to create a new mindset. Some ten days ago, I was in Singapore and had the privilege of meeting Premier Wen Jiabao of China, for whom I have great admiration, both for him and President Hu Jintao. The type of leadership that China has produced since the days of Deng, I think, is the greatest asset that China has. [Link]

Narratives, says French philosopher DeCerteau, go ahead of social practices to make way for them. Continue reading Imagining Governance and Governing our Imagination