Promoting Superstition – Everything Official About It !

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Bhupendra Singh Chudasama, Education minister of Gujarat and his colleague Atmaram Paramar, who handles the Social Justice Ministry, were in the news sometime back- albeit for wrong reasons. A video went viral which showed them participating in a felicitation ceremony of exorcists in Botad. They were also seen watching how a couple of the exorcists were beating themselves with metal chains to live music near the stage.

Perhaps it did not matter to them that the Constitution frowns upon such activities and Article 51A (h) of the Indian constitution clearly says that it shall be a fundamental duty of all citizens “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.” Neighbouring state Maharashtra has even enacted a law (The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013) to rein in all such activities and it criminalises practices related to black magic, human sacrifices, use of magic remedies to cure ailments and other such acts which exploit people’s superstitions. And it was a culmination of a prolonged movement led by activists led by Dr Dabholkar – who even faced martyrdom for his activities. Continue reading “Promoting Superstition – Everything Official About It !”

Dalit Uprising and After …

Why Hindutva Would Not Be The Same Again ?

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(Photo Courtesy : newsclick.in)

When I was born I was not a child
I was a dream, a dream of revolt
that my mother, oppressed for thousands of years ,
dreamt.
Still it is untouched in my eyes
Covered with wrinkles of thousand years, her face
her eyes, two lakes overflowing with tears
have watered my body…..

– Sahil Parmar*

Well known Gujarati poet Sahil Parmar’s poem ‘When I Was Born’ perhaps reverberates these days in Gujarat when we are witnessing a Dalit Upsurge- a first of its kind at least in that regions history. It will be a talk of folklore for times to come how flogging of dalits in a village in Saurashtra by Hindutva fanatics suddenly erupted into a mass movement of dalits which could catch imagination of the people cutting across different sections of society. An attempt is being made here to understand the dynamics of the movement and its likely impact on the future trajectory of Hindutva.

Continue reading “Dalit Uprising and After …”

Eminent Citizens of Gujarat Demand Judicial Inquiry into Attacks on Dalits in Una

The following is a Memorandum to the Governor of Gujarat, initiated by statement issued by the Movement for Secular Democracy and signed by many eminent personalities in the state, demanding a judicial inquiry into the attacks on Dalits in Una by cow-vigilantes. The memorandum was sent on 16 July 2016.

(079) 26404418

MOVEMENT FOR SECULAR DEMOCRACY (M.S.D.)

C/o. Narmad Meghani Library, Opp. Natraj Railway Crossing, Meethakhali, Ahmedabad- 380 006.

Date: 14-7-2016

To,

The Honourable Governor,

Gujarat,

Gandhinagar.

Sub: Appointing a Judicial Commission for the Investigation in the Matter of Atrocities on Dalits in Una of Gir Somnath District

Dear Sir,

It is a matter of pain that when the entire nation is celebrating 125th Birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Gujarat has created a precedent of atrocities on Dalits! Continue reading “Eminent Citizens of Gujarat Demand Judicial Inquiry into Attacks on Dalits in Una”

Statement on Controversial Amendments to Land Laws by Gujarat Assembly: Jameen Adhikar Aandolan Gujarat

Jameen Adhikar Aandolan Gujarat (JAAG)

Khet Bhavan, Opp. Cargo Motors, Near Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad-380 027

PRESS NOTE

The Gujarat Assembly has, recently, passed some controversial amendments to 4 existing legislations, viz.

§  The Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948

§  The Saurashtra Gharkhed, Tenancy Settlement and Agricultural Lands Ordinance, 1949

§  The Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Vidarbha Region and Kutch Area) Act, 1958

§  The Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling Act, 1960

The thrust of all amendments in these 4 legislations is to make transfer of land to industry and industrialists as easy as possible and at minimum cost to the purchasing industry/industrialist by legalizing any and all (past) illegalities on their part. Not only that, pending legal cases are also to be deemed to have lapsed, bringing into question whether the phrase ‘rule of law’ holds meaning any longer. Moreover, while deciding legality/validity or otherwise of questionable transactions, the government official (Collector/Mamlatdar) have been granted arbitrary powers of the highest degree. The government is also, by law, making it mandatory for itself to ‘rescue’ a rogue industrialist who fails in his/her undertaking to put up an industry and to compensate him/her ‘adequately and appropriately’.

 We hold these amendments to be wholly anti-people and completely unconstitutional. The GoG cannot, any more, claim to be pro-farmer (despite repealing the LARR Bill) or pro-poor, as these amendments expose its anti-farmer mindset. We also maintain that these amendments are not geared to spur ‘development’ at all; they are consciously trying to increase the already unbridgeable economic disparities thus exacerbating social unrest.

While we condemn the government, we are also mindful of the fact that the opposition (in this case the INC) has a constitutional duty and people’s mandate to raise its voice whenever it perceives the government to be straying from its pro-people orientation. Sadly, we find the present dispensation to be entirely laidback and lackadaisical in discharging this duty. We condemn the opposition in equal terms in failing to uphold its constitutional duty and in making the voice of the farmer, and the poor heard in the Assembly.

Achyut Yagnik, Anand Mazgaonkar, Ashim Roy, Ashok Shrimali,  Bharat Jhalla, Ghanshyam Shah, Girish Patel, Hiren Gandhi, Indukumar Jani,Krishnakant, Persis Ginwalla,Rajnibhai Dave, Rohit Prajapati,Rohit Shukla,Sagar Rabari, Saroop Dhruv, Sonal Mehta, Swati Desai, Trupti Shah

Impossible Lessons: Ravi Sinha

Guest Post by RAVI SINHA

Far away from Peshawar five men and a woman sat in a physician’s waiting room in Lucknow. The television screen that ordinarily shows some Bollywood film or a cricket match had a news channel on. It was day after the slaughter of children. The assistant who maintains the waiting list of patients and collects the doctor’s fee said something very predictable, even if heart-felt, expressing his horror and revulsion. The matter would have passed as unremarkably as most things do most of the times, except for what an elderly gentleman waiting to see the doctor had to say in response.

In a feeble yet firm voice whose conviction and sincerity was unmistakable, he said – dhaarmikata ko badhaava doge to kattarta badhegi; kattarta badhegi to aatank upajega, haivaaniyat saamne aayegi. (If you will promote religiosity, fundamentalism will grow, and from that will emerge terror and barbarism.) After a pause he added – hamaare desh mein bhee yahee ho rahaa hai, haalaan ki abhee hum pehle daur mein hain, dhaarmikata badhaane ke daur mein. (Same thing is happening in our country too, although we are in the first phase so far – that of promoting religiosity.) Continue reading “Impossible Lessons: Ravi Sinha”

नरेंद्र मोदी और मुसलमान

कुछ दिन पहले तक माफी की माँग की जा रही थी. पिछले कुछ सालों से नरेंद्र मोदी से बार बार अनुरोध-सा किया जा रहा था कि वे मुसलमानों से माफी भऱ माँग लें,बात रफ़ा दफ़ा हो जाएगी।मुसलमानों को सुझाव दिया जा रहा था कि वे माफी की सूरत में इंसाफ की अपनी जिद छोड़ दें.  ऐसे मुसलमान खोज लिए गए हैं जो यह बता रहे हैं कि इस्लाम में तीन दिन से ज़्यादा शोक की इजाजत नहीं है,अब तो बारह साल गुजर चुके हैं. यह भी कहा गया कि 2002 के बाद गुजरात में जो सामान्य विकास हुआ है, उसका लाभ आखिर वहाँ के मुसलमानों को भी हुआ है. मानो हत्याओं और बलात्कार की भरपाई उस विकास के माध्यम से कर दी गई है.

अब पिछले कुछ वक्त से यह कहा जाने लगा है कि नरेंद्र मोदी तो अपने अतीत से आगे बढ़ जाना चाहते  हैं, ये तो उनके निंदक हैँ जो उन्हेँ आगे बढ़ने देना नहीं चाहते. इस तर्क से नरेंद्र मोदी प्रगतिशील, भविष्यद्रष्टा और उनके आलोचक प्रतिक्रियावादी व शिकायती दिखने लगे हैं. मुसलमानों को पहले से ही कहा जाता रहा है कि उन्हें पीड़ित-ग्रंथि से बाहर निकलने और आगे देखने की आदत डालने की ज़रूरत है. इस प्रकार का सुझाव कई बार दबे-ढँके तरीके से और अब तो खुले आम दिया जाने लगा है कि उन्हें यथार्थवादी होना चाहिए. मतलब मान लेना चाहिए कि भारत में यह सब कुछ बीच-बीच में उनके साथ होता रहेगा. अगर वे इंसाफ वगैरह की जिद पर अड़े रहे तो उनकी बाकी जिंदगी का क्या होगा ! क्या वे तमाम ज़िंदगी रोते-कुढ़ते ही गुजार देंगे? Continue reading “नरेंद्र मोदी और मुसलमान”

नरेंद्र भाई मोदी के करियर में एक और मील का पत्थर, चुटकुलों की किताब में होंगे शामिल

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