Perils of Arbitrariness – MSS Pandian

The Central Educational Institution (Reservation and Admission) Act, 2006, which provides for 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in institutions of higher learning, is in a state of deep freeze. The Union Government’s desperate promises to expand the educational infrastructure in these institutions, to increase the number of seats so that the number of open quota seats will remain the same, and to address the issue of creamy layer, has failed to convince the Supreme Court. After a court battle of five long months, a Supreme Court Bench has finally refused to vacate the stay on the Act imposed in March 2007.
The Supreme Court’s objection to the Act is quite straightforward and seemingly reasonable. It posed to the Union Government, what is the basis on which the figure 27 per cent had been arrived at. The Union Government failed to come up with any credible answer and the Supreme Court, as one would expect, stuck to its position. In other words, Supreme Court wants no legislation to be arbitrary but be based on defendable rational basis.
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“IB’s bearded ‘jihadi’ moulvis trapping Muslims “

[Evidence is piling up – of a whole range of so-called encounters to actual ‘terrorist’ acts, conducted by police, intelligence agencies and their undercover agents. Different groups and organizations have been gathering evidence, meticulously documented, that shows clearly how police have gone about ‘fighting terrorism’ and in effect (if not by intent) actually created an atmosphere of terror for the minorities. Every time such a suggestion is made, predictably, there are howls from certain quarters. So we think this extremely important and silent work of documenting will eventually help to uncover the nefarious ways of these agencies. Often these are carried out in cahouts with the organizations of the Hindu Right. How many times have we not wondered about so-called terrorists who come out of a railway station, take a taxi to go and either blow up Akshardham temple or the Ayodhya ‘Ram Mandir’! What if their train was late? what if, they did not get a cab on time. What if….But does it really matter, with a gullible and all to complicit media to blow up police versions as ‘serious terrorist plots’? Here then, is a small story from The Kashmir Times. The characters mentioned in this story are not unfamiliar to those who follow how they were first recruited as ‘mukhbirs’ or informers and when they refuse to play along, they become ‘terrorists’ – exactly the way the ex-surrendered Afzal Guru was made into the ‘terrorist ‘who, even the Supreme Court felt should be hanged to satisfy the ‘collective conscience of the nation’ even though no evidence could be produced against him. So, much for the “world’s largest demcracy”. – AN ]

NEW DELHI, Sep 21: Next time, you confront a long bearded Maulana with some sob story extorting young men to take to ‘Jihad”. Beware! He could be an intelligence mole, hunting for fodder to the canon of “war on terrorism”. A former informer of Delhi Police’s Special Cell and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) now cooling heals in Delhi’ Tihar Jail is spilling beans.

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Persecution and Resistance: The Struggle for Human Rights

A well-known activist of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and a medical doctor Binayak Sen gets arrested in May 2007 in Chhattisgarh state, under the provisions of the controversial black laws, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 (CSPSA), and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 having been amended in 2004 and made more stringent after the collapse of POTA. In August 2007, a woman activist Roma, working among the women, tribals and dalits of Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh under the aegis of Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Majdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and the National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers is arrested and charged under the National Security Act. A young Oriya poet and literary editor Saroj Mohanty, who is also an activist of the Prakrutik Suraksha Sampada Parishad, an organization supporting the struggles of the people of Kashipur, who for the past 13 years have successfully opposed the entry of large bauxite mining companies in the region, was picked up by the police in July 2007 at Rayagada, Orissa, on charges of dacoity, house trespass and attempt to murder. Two activists – Shamim and Anurag – of Shramik Adivasi Sanghathana and Samajwadi Jan Parishad, which are working amongst tribals in Betul, Harda and Khandwa districts of Madhya Pradesh, were served externment notices in June by the Harda District Magistrate under the State Security Act.

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Kaurnanidhi knows his Ramayana Well – MSS Pandian

MSS PANDIAN, well known scholar, writes on DMK, Ram and the BJP. 

For M Karunanidhi, DMK chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister, Lord Ram is not a historical persona but a figment of human imagination. He has not only invited BJP leader L K Advani for a public debate on Ram’s historical status but also – as if turning the knife into the wound – has advised him to read Valmiki’s Ramayana with all the care it deserves. It is common knowledge in Tamil Nadu that Karunanidhi knows his Ramayana well.

Karunanidhi’s remarks have provoked Advani and his cohorts to breathe brimstone and fire. But they have not succeeded one bit in turning the Hindus of Tamil Nadu against Karunanidhi. Their desperation is evident when Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP spokesperson, claimed during a press meet that Karunanidhi has lost his head. Perhaps, he meant Karunanidhi’s followers too.

But for a minuscule fraction of rationalists, the majority of the cadres and sympathisers of the DMK are practising non-Brahmin Hindus. They regularly visit temples, worship, and go on pilgrimages. If they stand by Karunanidhi despite his open disavowal of Ram, they have their own reasons. For one thing, there is nothing novel in Karunanidhi’s comments on Ramayana. From the days of the Self-respect Movement founded by Periyar E V Ramasamy in the 1920s, Ramayana and Ram have been subjects of vigorous public debate in Tamil Nadu.

Read the full story in Times of India

Shantibangh in Lohandiguda

Finally, it was an uneven scrawl in the cryptic shorthand of a court stenographer that almost ruined Sudaram Nag’s monsoon crop. “Sudaram Nag, 50 yrs, Takraguda, Bastar. Section:107.116(b), 03-08-07.” it said; communicating to Sudaram Nag, a 50 year old rice farmer in the Bastar District of Chhattisgarh that he was hereby summoned to present himself at the Magistrate’s Court on 3 August 2007 to show cause as to why proceedings may not be initiated against him for a breach of peace under section 107.116(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) . Since early this year, more than 60 of Sudraman’s neighbours and fellow villagers have spent more time at the courts in Jagadalpur than tending to their fields and harvests. Their crime? Protesting against the blatant rigging of gram sabha hearings initiated to acquire 2161 hectares of fertile agricultural land for Tata Steel Limited’s greenfield steel plant in the district.

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“The questioning of the arrested persons is on now”, he said

Every now and then, some “terrorist” or another is arrested. Never an alleged terrorist, but a proclaimed one. Every now and then there is a blast that kills dozens. We never know who commits these attacks. We never will. A man has been sentenced to death this morning for an attack on the Red Fort. What a circus this is, and what an audience we are. Two news reports below. The first one will affect your reading of the second one. Continue reading “The questioning of the arrested persons is on now”, he said

Aini Apa

It turned out that she was being rash. I am referring to Ismat Chughtai’s summation of Qurratulain Hyder following the publication of the latter’s second novel in the early nineteen fifties. Ismat had asserted that “the star that had emerged on the literary horizon with all the promise of becoming a Sun dazzled so strongly in one place that it lost all its splendour.” Chughtai wrote this before ‘Housing Society’, before ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya na Kijo’ and above all before ‘Aag ka Dariya’ were written. She also wrote this before Hyder’s gradually expanding sweep harmonized the dichotomies of History and Past, Civilisations and personal identities, stream of consciousness and feminism and nostalgia into a meta-historical plane where no Urdu writer has ever reached.

Through many a desolate month of the English winter the County library at Oxford provided me nourishment and succour by allowing me access to Qurratulain Hyder’s novels and short stories. Reading works like ‘Roshni ki Raftar’ and ‘Patjhar ki Aawaaz,’ titles which resounded with movement when all around me was depressingly still, I was doubly reassured. My own nostalgia for a warm home was echoed by the nostalgia for the lost world that resounds in all her works. Continue reading Aini Apa