श्रीलंका अभी खबरों में है. लेकिन ज़्यादातर हिंदी अखबारों को पढ़ने से आपको अंदाज़ नहीं मिलेगा कि सुदूर दक्षिण में स्थित इस नन्हें-से मुल्क में क्या कुछ हो रहा है जिससे हमारा भी रिश्ता है.वहाँ अभी‘कॉमनवेल्थ’ देशों का सम्मलेन हो रहा है और हमारे प्रधानमंत्री उसमें शामिल नहीं हो पा रहे हैं.श्रीलंका ने कहा है कि वह उनकी मजबूरी समझता है. तमिल राजनेताओं के हंगामे की वजह से प्रधानमंत्री ने अपनी जगह विदेश मंत्री को इस सम्मलेन में भारत का प्रतिनिधित्व करने को कहा है. इस सम्मलेन में श्रीलंका को अगले दो साल के लिए ‘कॉमनवेल्थ’ का नेतृत्व करने को कहा जाएगा. इस पर भारत को ऐतराज नहीं है और अब तक किसी और मुल्क ने भी अपनी आपत्ति दर्ज नहीं कराई है. Continue reading श्रीलंका और हम
Guest post by Satya Sagar
We have in our possession a letter from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse explaining why he is not going to attend the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Dear President Mahindar Singh Rajapakse,
I hope you don’t mind me calling you Mahindar in an endearing manner like a good Punjabi instead of calling you Mahinda! I know you are pissed off with me for not coming to your CHOGM coronation bash next week. But yaar, what to do, these Dravidian fellows got together and spiked my trip.
I mean all the Dravidians, from my own Congress Party too and not just that poet with dark glasses or that Iron Lady in Steel Saree. Even my IMF colleague Chidambaram, a fellow who really admires the way you guys killed so many civilians to get so few terrorists, turned against my visit. Continue reading Manmohan to go to CHOGM in disguise! Satya Sagar
Dr Manmohan Singh is the longest serving Indian prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru, but history will perhaps note more pertinently that he was the most discredited and unpopular prime minister since Chandra Shekhar Singh, who was in office for a mere eight months. So spectacularly disastrous has his second term in power been that the speed of political crises he battles is now more than one a week. Few will be able to count a single achievement of UPA-2.
And yet there is one achievement, and that is his handling of Pakistan.
The Indian home secretary was returning from a very positive visit to Pakistan when 26/11 happened. The 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai shocked not just India but the world. They were not like the bomb blasts we have become accustomed to; their impact was much more than 166 lives. They held India’s commercial capital hostage. They were an act of war and few even in Pakistan pretend that those attacks did not originate from Pakistani soil, across the Arabian Sea. Few in India buy the theory that state actors in Pakistan were not involved. Continue reading Why Manmohan Singh should not visit Pakistan
Guest post by V. KRISHNA ANANTH*
The political class, cutting across the spectrum, is now being haunted by a spectre. Anna Hazare has captured the imagination of a cross section of the people and his campaign is certainly gathering support. It remains to be seen if this support translates into a movement on the streets and more so against the state machinery that is threatening to pull all the stops. The people have shown such courage in the past. That is another matter.
Team Anna’s decision to go ahead with protests against the draft Lok Pal Bill, as approved by the Union cabinet, has spurred a debate. The proponents of the draft bill as well as sections in the political arena who claim to oppose the Government are united against another round of fast by Anna Hazare; they call it blackmail and an attempt to usurp Parliament’s power to legislate. They also claim that the principles of democracy shall not be sacrificed.
A number of them are on record that the draft proposals are subject to amendments and that the power to propose amendments and decide on them shall rest with the elected representatives of the people. It is another matter that the Prime Minister, who heads the cabinet, qualifies as a representative of the people only because membership of the Rajya Sabha is considered as good as being a member of the Lok Sabha to remain a minister under Article 75(5) of the Constitution. In any case, the fact is that Dr. Manmohan Singh has claimed, in an affidavit, that he is ordinarily a resident of Assam! We all know the truth but that too is besides the point.
With Bangladesh, we have good relations. Bangladesh government has gone out of its way to help us in apprehending the anti-Indian insurgent groups which were operating from Bangladesh for a long time. And that is why we have been generous in dealing with Bangladesh. We are not a rich country. But we offered it a line of credit of one billion dollars, when Sheikh Hasina came here. We are also looking at ways and means of some further unilateral concessions. We are also looking at ways and means of finding a practical and pragmatic solution to the sharing of Teesta waters. I plan to go there myself. The external affairs minister is planning to go later this week. So, Bangladesh, our relations are quite good. So with Bangladesh, our relations are quite good. But we must reckon that at least 25 per cent of the population of Bangladesh swears by the Jamiat-ul-Islami and they are very anti-Indian, and they are in the clutches, many times, of the ISI. So, a political landscape in Bangladesh can change at any time. We do not know what these terrorist elements, who have a hold on the jamiat-e-islami elements in Bangladesh, can be upto.
There are more errors here than one would have found in the balance sheets of Lehman Brothers. Let me note a few. Continue reading To Manmohan Singh from a Bangladeshi: Jyoti Rahman
Guest post by NEERJA DASANI
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ‘Dilli Darbar’ on Wednesday reaffirmed this government’s unyielding belief in the trickle-down theory. Let a select few be given the pie and eventually they’ll share it byte by byte. One of the hand-picked senior editors at this super-exclusive meeting said Mr. Singh came across as “totally relaxed, confident and jovial” even as they confronted him with ‘very embarrassing questions’.
The life-altering titbits flashed repeatedly on our TV screens. “I am not a lame duck PM” – Arre wah! “I have full support of Sonia Gandhi – What more could we possibly ask for? “This is not a puppet government” – Hear, Hear! “I can come under Lokpal” – Or the Lokpal can come under you, same difference. “Inflation will come under control by March 2012” – No rush, we’ll just quietly wait in a corner, maybe eat a meal or two less, work three jobs, drop out of school…anything for the nation.
But hidden deep within all this rhetoric was a misquote of great magnitude, one that reveals a lot about the man at the helm and the dodginess of the boat we are all currently rocking along on. Continue reading Gandhi vs. Gandhi
RTI activist Subhash Agrawal has obtained correspondence between the then sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that shows the PM was informed about the scam as early as October 2007. And did nothing. You can download here (.pdf, 4.2 MB) the 52 pages long RTI reply Agrawal got from the PMO.
While there is always the thrill of holding people hostage against their desire, the Maoists, of late, seem to have discovered the pleasure of release.
Having spanked the state into submission by beheading Francis Induwar; by freeing policeman Antindranath Datta and “peacefully” vandalizing the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani, the Maoists appear to be signaling a new phase in their troubled relationship with the State.
Now that the State and the media know that the Maoists are capable of taking the pleasure equals pain principle to its logical climax, freeing hostages and good-naturedly scribbling slogans on trains appears like a far more civilized way of fomenting revolution.
Just yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed their willingness to break free from the handcuffs of current discourse and engage with those who abstain (from violence).
Maoist leader Kishenji has insisted that while the rebels shall not lay down their arms, talks with the West Bengal and Central Governments must be preceded by the unconditional release of all prisoners taken captive since military operations began in Lalgarh in June, a withdrawal central forces from the area and a declaration of ceasefire by both sides.
In the meantime, the Home Minister, P.Chidambaram, has warned that he can keep his velvet gloves on for only so long; thereafter it’s steel fisting all the way. The victims of military operation shall inevitably be the poor tribals who have love for neither State nor rebel. Now if only the Maoists would take themselves in hand.
First published in the Hindustan Times
With the debate on Maoist violence and Operation Green Hunt hotting up, things are taking a disturbing turn. The danger really is that all spaces of radical political movements and indeed the entire space of the Left, part of it gradually vacated by the parliamentary ‘Left’ in recent decades and finally completely abandoned in the last few years, will now be virtually erased. In its place will be installed the phantom of an ‘armed struggle’ that threatens to completely swallow up the spaces once occupied by different shades of the CPI(ML) and the Naxalite movement and other Continue reading Mass Politics, Violence and the Radical Intellectual