The ghar-wapsi of Mr. Nitish Kumar and the rupture of the grand alliance in a ‘not-so-grand’ manner came as a major surprise to all. Political pundits have expressed much on it with views ranging from ‘credibility crisis and convenient conscience’ to ‘the anti corruption crusade’. Without getting into debate pertaining to the socio-political ramification of the step taken by Mr Kumar and the political perception generated in this regard, what interests us is the legal framework dealing with the issue. Although, there does not seem to exist definite legal provisions addressing the issue, the closest legislation in this regard is ‘Anti defection’ law. But for specific reasons, the anti-defection law does not seem to provide a remedy in such instances of ‘de facto defections’. Continue reading Politics of Convenience and the Anti-Defection Law: Anmolam and Farheen Ahmad→
The recent “Toppers” scam in Bihar has served as a breeding ground to denigrate Biharis for their alleged corruption and backwardness. This is not the first time that Bihari bashing has surfaced as a favourite pastime of the self-indulgent elites of India. In fact, it is a continuous process with its periodic shifts. Ironically, the people who abuse people for the belief that India has gone intolerant and the people who denigrate Bihar constitute largely the same set of people reflecting the illusory, self-satisfying belief of Indian superiority and the unsuitability, other-worldliness of Bihar to suit that image of India.
Most of the trending stereotypes about Bihar, thanks to social media, seek to gain its legitimacy under the cloak of backwardness in Bihar. What is missing in the entire brouhaha and the mockery of Biharis is an attempt to delve into the processes that operate beneath the backward nature of Bihar.
One of the stark reasons, which the article would focus upon, for the alleged backwardness is that Biharis have failed to forge a concrete sub-national identity which can infuse a sense of provincial ownership over the region. It is no surprise then that elites of Bihar often hate to be termed as Biharis and, in fact, actively take part in Bihar bashing. They even go to the extent of denying their roots and to vindicate that they come up with different kind of explanations and excuses to distance themselves from the ignominy of being a Bihari. They cower down to the societal pressures of conformity so that they can live a relatively comfortable though pride-less personal life. They use English or for that matter, Hindi – both hegemonic languages – to show their progressive nature. It is an index of the lack of sub-national identity that neither of the official languages of the state, Hindi or Urdu, is the mother-tongue of a single major population group. This is despite the fact that there were languages like Maithili, which had their own literary heritage – and this leads to isolation and disillusionment to the people who do not share the language of Hindi. Continue reading Bihari Bashing and ‘Backwardness’ – A Case for Bihari Sub-Nationalism: Mayank Labh→
The ‘Operation Black Rain’ film released by the web portal Cobrapost, based on secretly filmed boasts of the Ranveer Sena terrorists with detailed accounts of massacres of Dalit and oppressed caste labourers in the 1990s, has only confirmed public secrets that everyone in Bihar already knew.
Predictably enough, the Patna High Court has acquitted all the 26 persons convicted by the trial court in the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre case. This is the fourth successive instance of wholesale acquittal of convicts by the Patna High Court in cases of massacre of the oppressed rural poor in Bihar. Once again eye witness accounts have been dismissed as being not fully credible and convicts granted acquittal on ‘benefit of doubt’. The judges could not however disprove the fact that 58 people had been killed and post-mortems done, and hence they asked the trial court to calculate the compensation payable to the nearest kin of the victims as per relevant provisions the Motor Vehicles Act on the basis of the minimum wage prevalent in the area at the time of the massacre. They of course did not forget to add that any ex gratia paid after the massacre should be deducted from the amount of compensation!
In a country where the bloodthirsty rhetoric of ‘hang them, shoot them’, an ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘their heads for our heads’ is heard so regularly, and so loudly on prime time television, we were greeted by an odd and chilling silence in the course of this week. It wasn’t for a lack of noise, vendetta laced sound-bytes, storms in tea-cups, or of talking heads.
मीना कुमारी पुलिस हिरासत में हैं.उन पर भारतीय दंड संहिता की धारा 302 और 120 के तहत मामला दर्ज किया गया है. यानी उन पर छपरा के गंडामन गाँव के नवसृजित प्राथमिक विद्यालय में पढने वाले तेईस बच्चों की ,जो स्कूल का मध्याह्न भोजन खाने के बाद मारे गए, इरादतन ह्त्या और उनकी ह्त्या के लिए आपराधिक षड्यंत्र का आरोप है.उन पर मुकदमा चलने और साक्ष्यों के स्थापित होने के पहले ही बिहार के मुख्यमंत्री ने अपने दल के कार्यकर्ताओं के समक्ष शिक्षा मंत्री के षड्यंत्र के सिद्धांत को दुहराया है. आज , जब मैं जनसत्ता में छपी अपनी टिप्पणी को देख रहा हूँ, मुख्यमंत्री ने इसे दुर्घटना मानने से इनकार किया है. लेकिन वे इसे बाहरी साजिश का नतीजा मानते हैं. पहले ही इशारे किए जा चुके हैं. मीना कुमारी के पति के राष्ट्रीय जनता दल से सम्बन्ध की बात बार-बार कही जा रही है. कहा जा रहा है कि दुर्घटना वाले दिन वह स्कूल आया था और यह भी कि भोजन सामग्री की खरीदारी वही किया करता था. पहले यह खबर लगातार चलाई गई कि भोजन-सामग्री उसकी दुकान से खरीदी जाती थी. सच यह है कि उसकी कोई दुकान नहीं है. यह भी कोई नहीं पूछ रहा कि आखिर मीना कुमारी का पति सामान न खरीदता तो और कौन था यह काम करने वाला? क्या यह काम भी मीना कुमारी को ही करना चाहिए था?
Let us recount some facts to understand the circumstances that led to the death of 23 children at a primary school at Gandaman, Chapra . First, some micro-facts :
The primary school struck by the tragedy is a NAV SRJIT VIDYALAYA, a newly created school. In fact, it is a break away from an earlier existing middle school in the village.
This school, if you care to call it by this name, is a single room structure with a floor full of potholes.
There is neither a kitchen nor a facility to store the raw food-items in the school.
There is no source of clean drinking water in the school. There is a hand pump there but you get hard water from it.
Meena Kumari was NOT the headmistress of the school . She was only the teacher –in-charge of the school.
The school has two women teachers including Meena Kumari. The other one was on maternity leave at the time of the incident. Meena Kumari was the only teacher left to look after more than 60 children, from class one to five who study there , a duty which includes teaching, supervising Mid-Day Meal (MDM) and other administrative duties. Continue reading The buck should not stop with Meena Kumari→
This is a guest post by MANISH DUBEY: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lacks effective presence in several States, including large ones such as Andhra Pradesh (AP), Kerala, Tamil Nadu (TN) and West Bengal (WB) and others in the North-east (NE) barring Assam to an extent, and is unlikely to mount a credible challenge in the 168 Lok Sabha (LS) seats these account for. Its 2014 tally from these States will remain in the lower single digits, as it was in 2004 and 2009. Odisha and Punjab, with 34 LS seats between them, are unlikely to add substantially to the party’s tally either. In Odisha, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Indian National Congress (INC) are better entrenched. In Punjab, seat sharing arrangements with the locally dominant partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)- Badal, will limit potential (individual) pickings for the party. Pickings are also likely to be limited from Jharkhand (14 LS seats) where besides the INC, a number of regional parties, each with strong local bases and candidates, would be in the fray. Till recently, even Karnataka (28 LS seats) would not have provided much hope but things may look up a trifle with Yeddyurappa reportedly negotiating a return or at least some kind of electoral understanding.
The small States and UTs, i.e., those with 10 LS seats or lesser, account for 40 LS seats and the BJP has a mixed LS election record on these, a record much dependent its performance in Delhi’s 7 LS seats. Of the 284 LS seats (over half the 543 LS seats) accounted for by all the above mentioned States and UTs, a realistic tally for the BJP would be about 40, similar to that of the LS elections of 2004 (40 LS seats, including 18 from Karnataka) and 2009 (again 40 LS seats, including 19 from Karnataka) with potential gains in some places offset by a reduced tally in Karnataka (Yeddyurappa’s return or even an electoral understanding with him will reverse the misfortune of the recent Assembly elections only partly for the BJP). No Narendra Modi Magic is likely to boost the BJP’s tally here given mainly the state of the party itself. Continue reading The BJP’s 2014 bid: A state-wise look and three key states where Modi may be risking party fortunes : Manish Dubey→
बच्चा मुसहर को सन 1986 में भूमि सुधार अधिनियम 1961 के तहत 0.26 डेसिमल (लगभग एक चौथाई एकड़) ज़मीन बिहार सरकार द्वारा दी गयी थी. इस एक्ट के तहत भूमिहीनों को ज़मींदारों से अर्जित अधिशेष भूमि दी जानी थी. बच्चा मुसहर ज़िंदगी भर सरकार द्वारा उनके नाम पर करी गयी ज़मीन पर हल चलाने को तरसते रह गए पर उन्हें अपनी ज़मीन पर कदम रखने का अवसर नहीं मिला. उन्होंने ब्लाक, जिला और राजधानी तक ना जाने कितने दफ्तरों के चक्कर लगाये पर ज़मीन पर उनका मालिकाना हक, उस कागज़ के पुर्जे तक ही सीमित रहा.
सन 2000 में बच्चा मुसहर अपनी ज़मीन के मालिकाना हक़ के अधूरे सपने के साथ इस दुनिया से चले गए. बच्चा मुसहर को गुज़रे 13 साल बीत गए पर उनकी विधवा आज भी उस कागज़ के टुकड़े को संभाले बैठी है पर उनको ज़मीन पर कब्ज़ा नहीं मिल सका. दफ्तरों के चक्कर लगाने का सिलसिला बच्चा मुसहर के बाद उसकी विधवा और बच्चों ने भी जारी रखा पर ज़मीन की बंदोबस्ती के लगभग तीन दशकों के बाद आज भी ज़मीन उनके कब्जे में नहीं है. Continue reading दो कठ्ठा ज़मीन : किशोर→
नीतीश कुमार और मीडिया दोनों एक-दूसरे को बहुत प्रिय हैं. (यहां मीडिया से तात्पर्य मुख्यतः बिहार के मुख्यधारा के बड़े अखबारों से है.) नीतीश कुमार बतौर मुख्यमंत्री मुख्यधारा की मडिया पर बिहार का खजाना लुटाते हैं और बदले में मीडिया अपना युगधर्म भूलकर उनकी झूठी-सच्ची तारीफ में लगा रहता है, उनके पक्ष में तर्क-कुतर्क गढ़ता है, अखबार संदर्भ-बेसंदर्भ उनकी बड़ी-बड़ी तसवीरें छापते हैं. वैसे नीतीश कुमार और मीडिया के बीच के मधुर रिश्ते की और भी दूसरी बड़ी वजहें भी हैं, लेकिन उनकी चर्चा फिर कभी. फिलहाल इस रिश्ते का जिक्र इस कारण क्योंकि पिछले दिनों नीतीश अखबारों के पहले पन्नों पर दिखाई तो दे रहे थे, मगर कुछ दूसरे अंदाज में उनकी तस्वीरें छप रही थीं.
मामला कुछ यूं था. बिहार को विशेष राज्य दिलवाने की मांग (या कहें जिद) के लिए जन-समर्थन जुटाने जब इस बार नीतीश कुमार बिहार भर की ’अधिकार-यात्रा’ पर निकले तो जनता-जर्नादन को अपने अधिकारों की भी याद आ गई. (लिखत-पढ़त में यह उनकी सरकारी यात्रा नहीं थी!) मिथिलांचल इलाके से इस यात्रा के दौरान आम लोगों, खासकर नियोजित शिक्षकों ने अपने मांगों के समर्थन में नीतीश कुमार का ध्यान खींचना शुरू किया. गौरतलब है कि इस मंहगाई में नौकरी करते हुए भी मात्र छह-सात हजार मासिक पाने वाले ‘सरकारी’ शिक्षकांे को बिहार में कई महीनों से वेतन तक नहीं मिल रहा था. अब जनता का तो अपना तरीका होता है (कहीं-कहीं बहकावे में भी आ जाती है, कहीं-कहीं जनता की भीड़ में शरारती तत्व भी घुस जाते हैं), वह कहीं काला झंडा लहराने लगी तो कहीं मंच की ओर चप्पल दिखाने-उछालने लगी. उपेक्षा और परेशानियों से उपजे लोगों के आक्रोश ने खगड़िया जिले में रौद्र रूप धारण कर लिया. और खगड़िया के बाद ही नीतीश कुमार अखबारों में उस अंदाज में दिखाई देने लगे, जिस बदले रूप का ऊपर जिक्र है.
Nothing good comes of having your status as capital snatched from you by Delhi. As a Calcuttan I know the pain. Of course, my city’s had it relatively easy when you consider the fate of Sasaram in Bihar. That’s where Afghan warlord (what a useful phrase: right from Bihar in the 16th century to the US invasion in the 21st) Sher Shah Suri had his capital, as ruler of Bengal and Bihar, before he overthrew Humayun and moved shop to the Purani Qila in Delhi. Unlike the Afghan warlords of today though, Sher Shah was a pretty impressive ruler. He introduced the rupiya. which was the predecessor of the modern rupee. More interestingly, he introduced a small denomination coin called the dam which probably gave rise to the English phrase “I don’t give a damn”. The administrative set-up introduced by him was so impressive that Akbar copied liberally from it and Sher Shah’s ideas therefore ruled India for centuries after the man’s death. Continue reading Chai, Autos and Sher Shah Suri: Shoaib Danyal→
Now that government agencies in India — some half a dozen of them working with the exceptional coordination we have come to expect from government agencies — have blocked Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds and YouTube videos supposedly originating in Pakistan, perhaps we could contemplate other trans-border electronic transgressions committed by our neighbours.
In August 2011, The Times of India reported that Punjab border farmers still tune into Pak FM radio stations. According to villagers on the fringes of Ferozepur, the limited range of India’s “national radio” broadcasts and the absence of any local FM station have made radio services from Pakistan the most popular source of entertainment in border areas.
About the same time last year, the Indian government had become alarmed by the popularity of Nepal’s FM radio channels in Bihar along the Indo-Nepal border. According to various sources, some half a dozen Nepal FM radio stations are broadcasting programmes – “anti-India advertisements and vulgar songs”, according to one outraged newspaper report – into Bihar, especially Madhepura, Supaul, Madhubani, Kishanganj, Araria, Sheohar, Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, and East and West Champaran districts. Continue reading Borderline madness: Sajan Venniyoor→
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton is said to have said in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” After 124 years it is being felt that Lord Acton could have added one more thing; Power gives you the exclusive right to define and redefine things according to your convenience. The ‘all-possible-awards-winner’ chief minister of Bihar Mr. Nitish Kumar could have prompted Lord Acton to enrich this famous quotation for a couple of reasons.
[JAGANNATH SARKAR, who passed away in April, was among those who led the spectacular rise of CPI in Bihar in the 1960s and 1970s. He was among a handful of Bihar CPI leaders who envisioned the crisis in CPI in the mid-1970s. Today is his first birthday after he passed away – he was born on 25 September 1919. The piece below is an important document that gives a glimpse of the debate on new caste assertions in the CPI. It was written by Sarkar in 1998, following the National Council meeting of the CPI. It has been translated by Raj Ballabh from Hindi. – AN]
The National Council of the CPI accepted, if belatedly, in its review report of March 1998 that there has been a serious decline in the basic mass base of the party and its class-based mass base has fragmented on the basis of caste. It has accepted that the party could not face the deviation of ‘social justice’ in the form of ‘backward casteism’ in its theatricality, or indeed politically and practically; that the party could not maintain its distinct identity, as a party that was politically and practically different from the Laloo-led Janata Dal Government. What is more, the toxin of casteism began to show its effects within the party as well. Indeed, it is an issue of serious concern which should be analyzed in detail.
Like nearly every village in South Asia, Allahpur, in the east Indian state of Bihar, is geographically divided on the lines of caste. On one side of a dirt track live the upper-caste Muslims (Syeds, Sheikhs and Pathans) and on the other side live the lower-caste Muslims (Ansaris, Dhunias and Raains). There are only four Hindu families in Allahpur, and they are all lower castes, their houses amid the low-caste Muslim houses.
For five years now, the low caste Muslims have been praying at a ramshackle mosque they built, boycotting the mosque in the upper-caste Muslim area, a stone’s throw away.
What’s the real issue in the whole Raj Thackeray-fueled mess?
Well, according to someone who left a comment on my blog, it is “migration”. With some elaboration, here’s how our back and forth went, after that.
While this person was opposed to the violence, he also thought migration is indeed the issue, and with the agitation, Raj T “has brought out the failure of the UP & Bihar governments to create jobs for the last 50 years.” Continue reading Bihar, Bombay, Boston: Dilip D’Souza→