An unpredictable element has found a new lease of life thanks to the coming Assembly election.
The outlawed Ranvir Sena—the private army of upper caste landlords of Bihar—is in the news again. It recently threatened the Bihar chief of the Bhim Army, Gaurav Siraj, and one of its activists, Ved Prakash, through a Facebook post. The so-called army has “ordered” its “sainiks” to “arrest” him dead or alive. The sena is apparently peeved over how the young dynamic leader of the Ambedkarite organisation has described Brahmeshwar Singh, their slain “Mukhiya” who was killed in 2012.
Will there be any action against those who have threatened the young leader? If history is any guide then there is little possibility of this.
Merely two years ago, Nawal Kishor Kumar, Editor Hindi, Forward Press was targeted by this “sena”. The aggrieved journalist had lodged a police complaint but there has been no progress in the investigation.
It is not that there is no law to punish such miscreants. Social media posts of the threatening kind relate to various offences under the Indian Penal Code, from criminal intimidation punishable under section 503 to section 505 related to creating mischief in public, to section 506 which awards punishment for criminal intimidation and section 153A which relates to penalties for promoting enmity between different groups and so on. In fact, based on its activities, the Ranvir Sena is also liable to be prosecuted under section 3 of the Bihar Control of Crimes Act, section 3 of the Arms Act and section 3 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.”
Did you know that the return of awards by writers, film-makers and scientists was a plot hatched jointly by the United States of America, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan? Well, if you did not, you will probably not ever understand why the ‘tolerant’ multitude that turned out at Anupam Kher’s March for India rally today, could so vilely abuse and attack NDTV’s Bhairavi Singh and Aaj Tak’s Mousmi Singh. After all, it is one thing for the netas to simulate their anger and laughter on TV channels and elsewhere, but how do you actually get ordinary people to go crazy? How and why does the ordinary Hindutva footsoldier act the way he or she does? Basically, he (and occasionally, she) is made to believe things that most people would know to be false. So why does as innocuous an act as the returning of awards by writers become such a big threat to India’s position in the world and to the very existence of the government of the day? Well, because, it is not a simple matter of some writers acting out of their conscience but already a part of an international conspiracy plotted by the US-Saudi Arabia-Pakistan nexus!
Published below is the text of a note that has been circulating over different social media platforms. We have left the typographical and printing errors as they are in the original. Paranoid in its content, it is also illustrative of the way the RSS ‘rumour-machine’ works to produce lies. In earlier days, it used to start circulating from the morning shakhas via the shakha participants. Nowadays it moves from one social media platform to another, with lightning speed. Continue reading How the Hindutva Propaganda Machine Manufactures Lies→
Politically, Bihar is one of the most complex states in India. It is often difficult to provide a substantially cogent electoral prediction because of the multivariate factors that impact the political outcome in the state. The other obvious reason is the political maturity of the electorates of Bihar, who decide the fate of the candidates based on several considerations including caste orientation and the candidates’ performance in the past. Still many analysts have tried to provide a picture regarding the possible outcome of electoral fray for the Bihar Assembly Elections based on quantitative surveys. The opinion poll conducted by Lokniti-CSDS and published in The Indian Express and Jansatta, two of India’s most respected newspapers, on 7th October, 2015 was one such attempt. In the last two decades election studies in India has seen a dramatic evolution with poll surveys gaining immense popularity among both analysts as well as electorates. Lokniti-CSDS has been one of the most reliable institutions for such studies because unlike other market oriented institutions it has always focused on serious academic and intellectual understanding of electoral competition. Many reputed academicians have been part of its election studies and its publications have given new dimensions to the study and understandings about the dynamics and churnings of Indian democracy. However, the pressure of media as well as the rush to publish opinion polls seems to have affected the way CSDS-Lokniti is known to release its analysis.
The news-item in the front page of The Indian Express read ‘Advantage BJP as Bihar gets ready’. It was claimed in that news-cum-article that BJP led NDA had an advantageous edge in the forthcoming Bihar Assembly Elections over Nitish Kumar’s Grand Alliance. We are not sure whether it was the editors who chose the headline to attract attention of its readers or it was consciously decided by the poll conductors based on their analysis. Whatever the case may be, the projection of ‘Advantage BJP’ exposes fissures at several levels, most of which are evident from the data itself. The publication also forces us to pose significant questions about the way in which such opinion polls are conducted both in terms of methodology as well as the analytical categories used to understand electoral politics in a complex society as in the case of Bihar. It further creates doubts about the aim of such published opinion polls. Continue reading The Curious Case of a Study on Bihar Elections: Kamal Nayan Choubey and Nishant Kumar→