Tag Archives: Amit Shah

Jantar Mantar Declaration Against CAA, NRC and NPR

Guest Post : Jantar Mantar Declaration of 1 March 2020 Against CAA, NRC and NPR

Adopted  at the Convention of writers, artists, cultural activists, scientists and various associations such as Indian Cultural Forum, Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, Progressive Writers Association , Jan Sanskriti Manch, Dalit Lekhak Sangh, New Socialist Initiative, Jana Natya Manch, Delhi Science Forum, Janasamskriti (Malayalam), Vikalp, Cinema of Resistance, All India Peoples Science Network

We, at this  Convention of writers, artists, cultural activists, scientists and various associations express our deep concern over recent violence and communal genocide in Delhi.

We understand that this tragic situation is a direct outcome of the communal design and divisive politicsof CAA-NPR-NRC. The silver lining is that the common people of Delhi remained united in their fight against this outrage.  This convention reiterates that only by this unity and  mutual trust and cooperation  that the CAA-NPR-NRC design can be defeated.

We, at this  Convention of writers, artists, scientists, cultural activists and various associations declare our solidarity with the on-going non-violent movement against the draconian CAA  (Citizenship Amendment Act. 2019 ), proposed new format of NPR ( National Population Register) and the proposed NRC (National Register of Citizens) . Continue reading Jantar Mantar Declaration Against CAA, NRC and NPR

Towards BJP’s Hindutva Lite Template

BJP’s Delhi campaign was not divisive by sanyog or coincidence. That is its prayog or experiment. Which it will take to other elections.

BJP’s Delhi campaign was not divisive by sanyog

Kitney aadmi thhe—how many were there?

A meme based on this famous monologue from the highly successful film, Sholay (Embers), from the early seventies, started trending when “David” Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), defeated “Goliath” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi’s recent Assembly elections.

No doubt this election’s result has put paid to the efforts of Home Minister Amit Shah to retain his image as “Chanakya” of Indian politics, at least for now. The result is despite BJP’s desperate attempts to win Delhi, as part of which pulled chief ministers, former chief ministers, cabinet ministers and more than 240 Members of Parliament to campaign in the city. Blame it on the high stakes battle that allegations surfaced that they had distributed cash and liquor ahead of the polls.

The result is for everyone to see.

The most toxic electoral campaign, perhaps ever, in which leaders of the ruling dispensation even provoked violence through their hate speeches, did not work. The BJP’s seat tally rose by merely five and a bloody nose.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Towards-BJP-Hindutva-Lite-Template)

Goodbye, Tipu Sultan

The Sangh Parivar has supported Tipu when it needed to.

Tipu Sultan

Ghatam Bhindyat, Patam Chhindyat, Kuryat Rasbharohanam

Yenken Prakaren, Prasidho Purusho Bhavet

(Break earthen pots, tear clothes, ride a donkey:

Men try to achieve popularity by any means.)

It was 2006 and DH Shankarmurthy, a nondescript swayamsevak, was handling the higher education ministry in the HD Kumarswamy-led coalition government suddenly hit the national headlines. The trigger was his unusual demand to recast history books in the mould of the Sangh Parivar. Especially his proposal to obliterate the great warrior Tipu Sultan’s name from the annals of Kannada history.

The proposal was based on the completely false pretext that Tipu did not give due importance to the Kannada language and promoted Persian language instead. Never mind that the Mysore state archaeological department holds in its possession more than thirty letters sent from Tipu to the shankaracharya of the Shringeri math, all written in Kannada.

Shankaramurthy wanted Tipu Sultan—who sacrificed his children to end the British rule—obliterated from Karnataka history on the spurious logic that the alleged neglect of Kannada language was reason enough. Even then, the demand had caused a national uproar cutting across party lines. At the time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal Secular (JD-S) were sharing power in the state. As a result, their plans fell flat. Much water has flown down the Kaveri, Godavari and every other Indian river and now a BJP-led government, holding power in the state of Karnataka and the centre has drawn up fresh plans to fulfill a task left unfinished.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/goodbye-tipu-sultan)

History as Storytelling

Home Minister Amit Shah, while inaugurating a two-day seminar at Banaras Hindu University, emphasised that Indian historians should “rewrite history from an Indian perspective”.

Home Minister Amit Shah

There is one thing unique about the present dispensation holding reins of power at the Centre. What one witnesses that the cabinet ministers—who go by the principle of collective responsibility—follow the dictum in letter and spirit. Thus, it is not considered unusual when a minister holding X portfolio shares their opinion about an urgent issue before Y ministry and vice versa. This process has been so normalised that when recently Home Minister Amit Shah, who according to his followers is the new ‘Iron Man’ of India—thanks to the abrogation of Article 370—shared his views on need for ‘rewriting history’, no eyebrows were raised.

No commentator even asked why the home minister—a graduate in bio-chemistry who has also worked as a stockbroker and in co-operative banks [Sheela Bhatt, “What Amit Shah’s fall really means”, July 28, 2010]—was found the most apt person to inaugurate a two-day seminar on a subject of history at Banaras Hindu University where he shared his pearls of wisdom. His emphasis was that Indian historians should “rewrite history from an Indian perspective”. The focus of the seminar was on Skandagupta Vikramaditya, the fifth-century AD emperor.

(Read the complete article here – https://www.newsclick.in/History-Storytelling)

एन आर सी और उससे जुड़े चंद सवाल : सबीहा फ़रहत

Guest post by SABIHA FARHAT

[भारतीय-हिन्दू मिथकों और परम्परा पर लंबे समय से लिखते आ रहे  बुद्धिजीवी श्री देवदत्त  पट्टनायक  अपनी एक ट्वीट में  एक लाजवाब  बात  कही . उनहोंने कहा कि जहाँ हिन्दू धर्मं  का मतलब  वसुधैव  कुटुम्बकम है , उसके  लिए  अगर  समूची वसुधा , सारी एक कुनबा  है , वहीँ  हिंदुत्व  का मतलब  सिर्फ़  एन आर सी  (यानी नागरिकों की राष्हैट्रीय फेहरिश्त ) है. बिलकुल दो शब्दों में  , बड़ी खूबसूरती  से पट्टनायक साहब ने इन दोनों  फलसफों के बीच का फर्क़ खोल कर सामने रख दिया  है. इस  संक्षिप्त लेख में   डाक्यूमेंट्री  फ़िल्मकार  और पत्रकार  सबीहा फ़रहत  उसी एन आर सी  से पैदा हुए  चंद सवाल उठा रही हैं.]

आजकल अमित शाह केवल एनआरसी पर स्टेटमेंट दे रहे हैं। “घुसपैठियों ” को बाहर फेंक देंगे और हिन्दू, सिख, बौद्ध, जैन, ईसाई, पारसी को नागरिकता दे देंगें। फिर चाहे उसके लिये संविधान को तक पर रख  कर सिटीज़नशिप ऐक्ट ही क्यों ना बदलना पड़े!

उनकी इस बात से साफ़ ज़ाहिर है कि देश के 16 करोड़ मुसलमान ही “घुसपैठिये” हैं। “दीमक” हैं और उन्हें देश से बाहर खदेड़ने की ज़रूरत है। लेकिन सिर्फ़ मुसलमान से इतनी नफ़रत क्यों? मुसलमान ने इस देश का क्या बिगाड़ा है? क्या उसने किसी की रोटी छीनी, किसी की नौकरी छीनी, किसी का बिज़नेस हड़प लिया। नहीं! क्योंकि अगर वो ऐसा करता तो आर्थिक तौर पर सबसे ज़्यादा कमज़ोर नहीं होता।

Continue reading एन आर सी और उससे जुड़े चंद सवाल : सबीहा फ़रहत

Bharatiya Janata Party or Bharatiya Jumla Party !

Review of ‘Truth in Fetters : Broken Promises and Shattered Unity’

Image result for media house ram puniyani truth in fetters

“Change is in the air”!

A retired academic who had his last assignment as Vice Chancellor of a leading university said to me the other day, while we were discussing the contemporary political scenario. Frankly admitting that he had supported Modi’s candidature then and had even discreetly campaigned for him, during 2014 elections, he said that what a ‘disaster’ it has been these last four and half years to our polity with him at the helm of affairs.

What surprised me more was that he was from Eastern UP and belonged to one of the dominant upper castes in the region. Continue reading Bharatiya Janata Party or Bharatiya Jumla Party !

Statement Condemning the Persecution of Lawyers Collective and Indira Jaising and Anand Grover by Home Ministry, GoI

We, the undersigned, unequivocally condemn the efforts of the Ministry of Home Affairs to persecute the Lawyers Collective (LC), Indira Jaising and Anand Grover in order to obstruct the legal and human rights work being carried out by them.

We condemn the suspension of the FCRA registration of LC, as well as the mala fide and motivated manner in which the Ministry of Home Affairs, in a blatant violation of law, leaked the suspension notice to the press even before providing LC with a copy of the same.

There has been a systematic campaign and abuse of the legal process by the Central Government to malign Indira Jaising and Anand Grover as well as LC over the past six months. The suspension of LC’s FCRA registration is nothing but an escalation of the Government’s campaign to crush dissent and criminalise any person or organisation that questions or opposes the violation of fundamental rights and human rights by the State and its agencies.

The motivated campaign and actions against LC fit neatly into the present Government’s concerted campaign against marginalised and oppressed sections of society and any person, whether students, activists, academics or individuals who question the policies, actions and the abuse of power by the government.

Senior Advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover have an exceptional profile of public service, probity and personal and professional integrity as lawyers and as human rights activists. Their work has received global recognition.

Ms. Indira Jaising, has made an unparalleled contribution to law and jurisprudence on gender discrimination, whether relating to women’s right to property, sexual harassment at the workplace, domestic violence etc. She has also been a member of the CEDAW Committee. Anand Grover held the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Health between 2008 to 2014. He has made a tremendous contribution to the legal campaign against the criminalisation of homosexuality; rights of persons living with HIV; and access to medicine and healthcare. Ms. Jaising and Mr. Grover, through LC have and continue to advance the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized sections of society, thereby upholding constitutional values. Instead of recognizing their invaluable contribution to the county and its people, the Government is making all efforts to obstruct their work.

Through the persecution and harassment of LC and Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, the present Government is sending a clear and chilling message to the citizens of this country that the inevitable consequence of questioning or criticising the present Government’s policies is repression and criminalisation.

LC has specifically and repeatedly countered and justified each of the bald allegations regarding misuse of funds that have been levelled by the MHA. However, the MHA has displayed an unusual vindictiveness by ignoring the official responses sent by LC and proceeding to suspend their FCRA registration. Continue reading Statement Condemning the Persecution of Lawyers Collective and Indira Jaising and Anand Grover by Home Ministry, GoI

Really Mr Jaitley, so you’ve won the first round of the nationalism debate?

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday said the BJP has won the “first round of the nationalism debate” in the country as, according to him, “people who raised anti-India slogans till now have been forced to say Jai Hind, if not Bharat Mata ki Jai” – See full report in the Indian Express here.

Nationalism in Action, image courtesy Rahman Abbas
Nationalism in Action, image courtesy Rahman Abbas

So, Mr Jaitley,what exactly have you won or lost? Let’s take count.

(a) First, there has been no ‘debate”, for a debate is conducted in a free environment, not with threats of sedition charges, arrests, killings and lynch mobs on the rampage. So, here is an open challenge for round  two: Join any of us in an open debate – without any of your repressive props. Field literally anyone, the best you can produce on your side, including your party president who thinks the medieval Ahomiya king, Sukapha defeated the Mughals “satrah satrah baar” when Sukapha died in 1268 and Mughal rule was established only in 1526.  Watch Amit Shah in action here:

Continue reading Really Mr Jaitley, so you’ve won the first round of the nationalism debate?

We, or our Nationhood, Redefined.

A couple of weeks ago, filmmaker Anand Patwardhan was invited by the Editors’ Guild to deliver its annual lecture. Patwardhan’s speech, titled We or our Nationhood Redefined, was marked by his characteristically cool tone, systematically reassembling facts that have a tricky habit of leaking from national memory. Facts like the twentieth century’s worst genocidal dictator Adolf Hitler and his programme of racial cleansing has a respectable and massive following in India in the form of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. That the RSS has at least 50,000 branches across the country with over 40 million members, and runs a network of 18,000 schools across India. That one such child, recruited from the age of 8 from a relatively poor family, is Prime Minister Modi; and another is Party Chief Amit Shah. That just before the recent reshuffle, 5 Chief Ministers and 17 of the 23 Cabinet-level senior ministers were current or former RSS members. That the assassins of Gandhi are really the RSS, not the lone lunatic Godse who merely carried out what others dreamed about. That RSS’s poisonous communal agenda was roundly condemned by Sardar Patel, of whom PM Modi has promised to build the world’s tallest statue. Or more obscure but equally revealing facts, like the letter written by RSS chief Balasaheb Deoras from jail during Emergency, praising Indira Gandhi and especially her programme of sterilisation of Muslims. And those truly mind-boggling-in-their-irony facts, like the widespread involvement of the RSS in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, when the BJP cynically says “1984” every time somebody says “2002”.

On a day when the Nanavati Commission has termed the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat as a purely communal reaction to Godhra, and cleared then Chief Minister Modi’s government of any wrongdoing, or even inaction, it is critical we re-read Patwardhan’s speech, to remind ourselves exactly what we are up against if we believe in a non-communal, non-divided, heterogenous India. As Patwardhan put it, given the history of the RSS in this subcontinent, if a Modi didn’t exist, he would have to be invented. Read more.

Rape and Rakhi – Patriarchal-Communal Narratives: Kavita Krishnan

Guest Post by KAVITA KRISHNAN

Even as the communal cauldron in UP is kept on the boil, there is news that the RSS has launched a campaign to tie Rakhis to lakhs of Hindu men, asking them to pledge to protect their sisters from Muslim men and “love jehad.” The VHP has been running a helpline urging Hindus to approach them “if your daughter is being harassed by Muslim boys.” And a khap panchayat in Muzaffarnagar has imposed a ban on mobile phones and jeans for girls, claiming that these result in ‘eve-teasing’.

Woven into the above events is an old, familiar theme – that of patriarchal restrictions packaged as ‘protection’. In the wake of the anti-rape movement that followed December 16 2012, the streets of Delhi and many other parts of India had resounded with the voices of women declaring ‘Don’t take away our freedoms in the name of ‘protection’ – protect our right to fearless, fullest freedom instead’. Those women had raised their voice demanding freedom from sexual violence – and also freedom from rape culture that advices women to dress decently to avoid rape; and freedom from the khap panchayats, freedom even from the restrictions imposed by one’s own fathers and brothers.

Continue reading Rape and Rakhi – Patriarchal-Communal Narratives: Kavita Krishnan

A Stolen Verdict: Nirmalangshu Mukherji

Guest Post by NIRMALANGSHU MUKHERJI

The Bharatiya Janata Party secured about 19% votes in the general elections of 2009 to win 116 seats in the Parliament. With this most impressive conversion ratio, they had more or less exhausted their possibilities in their ‘safe’ states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, and the like. They were still 157 seats away from a simple majority in the Loksabha. Even assuming the impressive conversion ratio, they needed at least 26% more of the vote share, that is 45% in all, to form a government.

When the elections for 2014 were announced, it was hard to see where the BJP would get these additional votes from. Moreover, unlike the NDA of 1999-2004, they had rather modest support from other parties with most of the big parties like AIADMK, TMC, JDU, BJD, and the like staying away. Hence, even if we factor in some rise in number of seats in ‘safe’ states, plus handsome gains in Rajasthan, Maharashtra etc., their ability to reach anywhere near the 272+ mark looked rather dim.

Continue reading A Stolen Verdict: Nirmalangshu Mukherji

मुकुल सिन्हा

यह विचित्र और विडम्बनापूर्ण संयोग है कि जब सारे टेलीविज़न चैनल नरेंद्र मोदी नीत राजनीति के भारतीय केंद्रीय सत्ता में आने की खबर दे रहे थे, उसी वक्त मुकुल सिन्हा के हम सबसे अलग होने समाचार नासिरुद्दीन ने फोन से दिया. मुकुल कैंसर से जीत न पाए. उनकी मौत की खबर से ज़्यादा सदमा इस बात से पहुँचा कि हमें उनके हस्पताल में होने की खबर ही न थी. हमें इसका इल्म न था कि नरेंद्र मोदी के मोहजाल को, जो करोड़ों,अरबों रुपयों और अखबारों और टेलीविज़न के विशालकाय तंत्र के ज़रिए बुना जा रहा था, छिन्न-भिन्न करने के लिए प्रेमचंद के सूरदास की तरह ही गुजरात का सच बताने का अभियान जो शख्स चला रहा था, उसे मालूम था कि वह अपनी ज़िंदगी के किनारे पर खड़ा था.

धर्मनिरपेक्ष कामकाजीपन का रिश्ता ही हम सबका एक दूसरे से है, मानवीय स्नेह की ऊष्मा से रिक्त!यह एक उपयोगितावादी सम्बन्ध है जिसमें हम एक दूसरे से धर्मनिरपेक्ष, राजनीतिक चिंताओं से ही मिलते-जुलते और बातचीत करते हैं.अपने मित्रों की जिंदगियों और उनकी जाती फिक्रों क साझेदारी हम शायद ही करते हैं.मुझे खुद पर शर्म आई कि मैं मुकुल के कैंसर के बारे में नहीं जानता था, गुस्सा उन दोस्तों पर आया जो इसे जानते थे पर इस दौरान कभी इसे बात करने लायक नहीं समझा. हम अपनी ही बिरादरी नहीं बना पाए हैं फिर हम एक बड़ी इंसानी बिरादरी बनाने का दावा क्योंकर करते हैं! Continue reading मुकुल सिन्हा

Why the Law may still Catch Up with Amit Shah: Warisha Farasat

Guest Post by WARISHA FARASAT 

Amit Shah seems to be on a roll this election season. First, he escaped any punishment after delivering one of the most disturbing hate speeches made during the 2014 election campaign. After the Muzaffarnagar riots, attempts were made by political parties to capitalize on the suffering of the locals, and provoke certain communities to vote for them. And when Amit Shah was censured by the Election Commission for indulging in objectionable speeches during the election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, BJP Primeminsterial candidate Narendra Modi came to the defence of his most loyal lieutenant. Clearly, Amit Shah’s statement was made with the intention of polarizing the voters in a politically surcharged environment in Uttar Pradesh and amounted to hate speech. However, the Election Commission soon did a u-turn, diluted its own stand, withdrew the ban against Shah and allowed him to go ahead with his campaign. The withdrawal of ban against Amit Shah ignoring the drastic implications of his hate speech during the campaign was alarming.

And now, the CBI has not named Shah as an accused in the Ishrat Jehan fake encounter case stating that there is no ‘prosecutable evidence’ available against him. But Shah and his supporters should not think that this so-called ‘clean chit’ absolves him of all criminal responsibility for indulging in fake encounters in Gujarat. If we believe the CBI in the Ishrat Jehan case when they claim that there is no prosecutable evidence against Shah, consequently, we also need to trust their investigations in atleast two other fake encounters, namely the Sohrabuddin Shiekh and the Tulsiram Prajapati cases where the CBI have named Shah as an accused. Shah is presently being tried in these cases and is able to campaign during these elections only because he is out on bail.

Continue reading Why the Law may still Catch Up with Amit Shah: Warisha Farasat

Modi’s ‘Vanzara’ Moment : Encounter killings as State Policy?

Resignation letters of suspended officers – who are in jail under serious charges-  are never a cause of concern for the powers that be. But with Dahyaji Gobarji Vanzara, suspended DIG of Gujarat police and head of its Anti Terrorist Squad, who once happened to be very close to the powers that be and has the potential of further embarrassing them, situation is entirely different. It is not for nothing that the government led by Narendra Modi has decided to reject the said resignation by not forwarding it to the Central government.

Imagine a murder accused sitting in jail who wants to leave the government service and the state government – which has received enough opprobrium because of these murders – wants to keep the accused in service. The only logical explanation seems to be that the accused officer must be privy to secrets which the government does not want to divulge in public. It is a known fact that till his arrest, Vanzara had been privy to the entire goings on in Gujarat since 2002, which included 2002 riot investigations which were handled by the crime branch, the Pandya murder case and the Akshardham attack, apart from the fake encounters. Continue reading Modi’s ‘Vanzara’ Moment : Encounter killings as State Policy?