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
[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.
Continue reading The Decline of Communist Mass Base in Bihar: Jagannath Sarkar
The Juhu Versova beach is divided into two sections, guarded by two stray dogs and the bare dirty arses of bhaiyyas who step off their kholis to shit straight into the sea. The other side of the invisible divide is reserved for the civil society which comes to walk, exercise and meditate in the morning. Including well off bhaiyyas like ourselves.
Returning from the beach when I accosted the panwalla by calling him bhaiyya, three bystanders gave me a sharp look. I figured they were marathi manoos. Leaving the shop I tried to inject some pathos by saying that it has become so dangerous to call anyone bhaiyya these days. They did smile, all of them. But I detected a gleam of satisfaction in their expression.
Continue reading Bhaiyya Troubles in Mumbai