Category Archives: Government

Modinama : Issues That Did Not Matter

In May 2019, the party of the Hindu Right, Bharatiya Janata Party, under Narendra Modi, won a spectacular electoral victory.

The victory seemed to defy common sense – why did conversations of life and livelihood not dominate the election? Why did the thuggery of the Hindutva vigilantes seem inconsequential to vast numbers of ordinary, decent people? Why is an aggressive, masculine fundamentalism so normalized in our society today?

In other words, why didn’t the issues that matter, seem to matter? The question goes deeper than electoral arithmetic. It asks if Modi and the BJP have not only changed the electoral map, but also begun to corrode social norms.

This book, based on Modi’s first five years as prime minister, is a warning for the next five.

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).

978-81-934666-9-8

LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2019

Language: English

128 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″

Price INR 195.00 Book Club Price INR 137.00

(https://mayday.leftword.com/catalog/product/view/id/21450)

 

Lok Sabha Elections 2019 – Calling the Election Commission to account: Statement by retired civil servants, veterans, academics and concerned citizens

Letter to the Election Commission of India written by 64 former civil servants, endorsed by 83 veterans, academics and other concerned citizens.

Shri Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Ashok Lavasa,  Election Commissioner, and Shri Sushil Chandra, Election Commissioner.

Election Commission of India.

Sirs,

Serious Irregularities in the Conduct of General Elections, 2019  

  • We are a group of former civil servants that takes up, from time to time, matters of exceptional national interest, seeking to remind our cherished democratic institutions of their responsibility to uphold the lofty ideals of the Constitution. We write to you today to draw your attention to the several very troubling and still unexplained issues pertaining to the conduct of the General Elections, 2019, by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • From time to time, the media has reported on various irregularities in the conduct of the 2019 General Elections. While we accept that not every media report is accurate or true, the ECI’s non-rebuttal of an untrue or inaccurate story leaves the public to draw its own conclusion: that the ECI has no valid explanation to offer. The mere dismissal of the allegations as baseless, without an explanation as to why they should be so considered, is unsatisfactory. As the custodian of the most precious commodity in a democracy – the people’s mandate – it is your duty to be transparent, and accountable to the Constitution and the people of India. Continue reading Lok Sabha Elections 2019 – Calling the Election Commission to account: Statement by retired civil servants, veterans, academics and concerned citizens

How Many More ‘Halal’ Ponzi Schemes?

It is important to note that the very idea of Islamic banking and promoting it as a parallel to conventional banking – which is being portrayed as un-Islamic – and which has caught the imagination of a section of god-fearing Muslims, is a clear manifestation of shifts in Muslim politics over the world.

'Halal' Ponzi Schemes

Image for representational use only.Image Courtesy : Business Today

Afzal Pasha, a 55-year-old labourer, is dead. He died of a heart attack a few days back.

The news that the attractive scheme in which he had invested his life’s savings worth Rs 8 lakh went bust proved unbearable for him.

While Afzal’s tragic death could catch headlines, we will never know the plight of the thousands of investors – all of them belonging to the Muslim community – who had similarly invested their hard-earned savings in the said investment scheme launched by Mohammed Mansoor Khan in 2006 through his firm I Monetary Advisory (IMA).

The scheme was declared ‘Shariah-compliant’ and worked on ‘“no interest” policy of Islamic banking. A section of the clergy had even certified this scheme as “halal”, which means “lawful” or “permitted” in Arabic, which helped it easily earn the trust of the Muslim community. Small investors from across the state of Karnataka had flocked to it with their investments ranging from a few thousand rupees to a few lakhs.

A few days back, the promoter of IMA just disappeared from Bengaluru and is supposed to have fled to Dubai.

Continue reading How Many More ‘Halal’ Ponzi Schemes?

रामचरण मुंडा की मौत पर दो मिनट का मौन!

सोचने का सवाल है कि क्या इन मौतों को महज तकनीकी गड़बड़ियों तक न्यूनीकृत किया जा सकता है? क्या इसके कोई संरचनागत कारण नहीं हैं? ‘आखिर अधिक अनाज पैदा करने के बावजूद हम भूख की समस्या को मिटा क्यों नहीं पा रहे हैं।
Munda

‘‘रामचरण मुंडाउम्र 65 साल को विगत दो माह से सार्वजनिक वितरण प्रणाली के तहत राशन नहीं दिया गया था। हमारे अधिकारियों ने इसकी सत्यता की पड़ताल की है।’’

लातेहारझारखण्ड के डिप्टी कमीशनर जनाब राजीव कुमार द्वारा लातेहार के दुरूप गांव के रहने वाले उपरोक्त आदिवासी की मौत पर की ऐसी स्वीकारोक्ति बहुत कम देखने में आती है।

अपनी पत्नी चमरी देवी और बेटी सुनिला कुमारी के साथ रामचरण गांव में ही रहते थे उनके बेटे की मौत दो साल पहले टीबी के चलते हुई थी। राशन डीलर की बात मानें तो चूंकि इलाके में इंटरनेट की सेवा में दिक्कते हैंऔर राशन वितरण के लिए ऑनलाइन बायोमेट्रिक सिस्टम कायम किया गया हैइसलिए रामचरण को अनाज नहीं दिया जा सका था।

इस मामले की असलियत कभी सामने आएगी इस पर संदेह है।

वैसे भूख से होने वाली मौतें अब देश में अजूबा चीज़ नहीं रही।

दो साल पहले झारखण्ड के ही सिमडेगा जिले के कारीमाटी गांव की 11 वर्षीय हुई संतोषी की मौत के बाद ऐसी मौतों पर लोगों एवं समाज की अधिक निगाह गयी थी। पता चला था कि पूरा परिवार कई दिनों से भूखा था और राशन मिलने के भी कोई आसार नहीं थे क्योंकि राशन कार्ड के साथ आधार लिंक न होने के चलते उनका नाम लिस्ट से हटा दिया गया था। अपनी मां के गोद में ‘भात भात कहते हुए दम तोड़ी संतोषी की दास्तां ने लोगों को विचलित किया था।

( Read the full article here : https://hindi.newsclick.in/raamacarana-maundaa-kai-maauta-para-dao-mainata-kaa-maauna)

Update on “tally mismatch” in 2019 Lok Sabha Elections: Ravi Nair

In an earlier post  we made note of the serious matter of unaccounted movement of EVMs in private vehicles in different parts of the country and the mismatch between the ECI figures for voter turnout and EVM votes cast, neither of which the EC has satisfactorily explained until today.

Now in a detailed analysis in NewsClick, Ravi Nair points out that even three weeks after the last phase of the election, ECI is yet to publish the “final data”, and whatever it has put out till now is “provisional numbers”.  More worryingly, Nair points out that when glaring anomalies came into the public domain, ECI not only deleted the uploaded data from both Suvidha Portal and its main website, but also issued a release to say that whatever was published was “the provisional voter turnout data”, which was “tentative”.

However, the ECI never bothered to answer the fundamental questions: How did it announce winners based on these “provisional” and “tentative” data? How did the automated counting of votes polled in EVMs become “tentative”?

Read Ravi Nair’s article “ECI’s stance on data discrepancies: No right to question?” on NewsClick here.

God in the Classroom!

Unfolding Debate about Secularising Education

( To be published in ‘Indian Journal of Secularism)

“There is in every village a torch – the teacher; and an extinguisher – the priest.”
-Victor Hugo

Introduction
“Keep the words God, Jesus and the devil out of the classroom.”

A school teacher’s message on the first day of the school for first-grade students had caused tremendous consternation among a section of the parents.

She had a simple rationale to present her proposal. With their being a public school with children coming from different religions and beliefs joining it, she did not “[w]ant to upset a child/parent because of these words being used,” In her letter she had also advised them to talk to the children when they go to the church/temple/synagogue – whatever might be the case – or discuss the issue at home at an appropriate time and place of talking about it.” (https://www.indystar.com/story/news/education/2017/08/30/teacher-tells-first-graders-dont-talk-god-classroom/612118001/)

Well, instead of the discussion getting fixed on the slow imposition of the concept of God or closing of child’s minds it turned into a debate on students’ free speech rights. It did not take much time for the management of the school to rescind this proposal.

There is nothing new about this dilemma faced by a teacher who has welfare of students at the center of her/his concerns. Continue reading God in the Classroom!

The “massive mandate” of 2019 and the role of the Election Commission

Caution: Long read!

This is the elephant in the room, is it not? Was this “massive mandate” of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the result of a free and fair election? Should we continue to discuss this outcome – the scale of the BJP victory, the numbers of seats, the margins by which seats were won – through political analysis alone?

Rather, has not political analysis of the election become inevitably deeply influenced by these margins and these numbers of seats, by the scale of the sweep?  In other words, the analysis is of necessity post facto, assuming that these seats have actually been won fairly, and therefore represent the views of the electorate.

I found very revealing a story by two Reuters journalists who covered rural North India extensively.  Mayank Bhardwaj and Rajendra Jadhav ruminate on how they could have gone so wrong in assessing the mood of the electorate. Although they say they never thought Modi would lose this election, it looked certain that he would return with a reduced majority. There was nothing  they heard and observed on the ground that suggested the actual outcome. They conclude that next time they will travel even more, push their respondents harder, “be more aware of our limitations.”

Many seasoned journalists have the same sense of shock. But what if they were not wrong after all?

Continue reading The “massive mandate” of 2019 and the role of the Election Commission