Tag Archives: Modi

Modi says the economy isn’t so bad; He’s right – it’s worse

by Samarth Bansal and Aman Sethi

On October 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered a robust defence of his government’s management of the economy, shortly after the Reserve Bank of India lowered its Gross Value Added (GVA) growth estimates for the current fiscal year from 7.3% to 6.7%.

Since then, the ruling party has been pains to push a positive narrative on the economy,  extent of emailing clips of the speech to journalists who write about the economy.

So, what is the current state of the economy? Here’s a reality check.

How many jobs has the economy created?

Modi said: “Upto March 2014, the subscriber base of the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) stood at 3.26 crore. Over the last three years, the numbers increased to 4.8 crore. Some people forget that this number can’t increased without a corresponding increase in employment.”

Reality Check: EPFO numbers have increased, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that total employment has increased. In July this year, this jump in EPFO subscribers was attributed to a government amnesty scheme which allowed firms to come clean on their actual staff strength without being penalized. In a detailed note, Mahesh Vyas, Managing Director and CEO of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), explained why using EPFO data as a proxy for job creation is “fraught with danger.”

Referring to the jump in the subscriber base, Vyas wrote: “This is not new employment. It is merely enrollment of employed persons into EPFO.”

Continue reading Modi says the economy isn’t so bad; He’s right – it’s worse

Promoting Superstition – Everything Official About It !

Image result for superstition

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 !

X ways in which Modi is different from Trump: Rama Srinivasan

Guest post by RAMA SRINIVASAN

Prime Minister Modi is set to meet President Trump on June 26 and we can anticipate an exciting contest between bear hugs and crushing handshakes. We indeed live in interesting times where symbols rather than spoken words determine the fate of nations (Trump is rumoured to have partly pulled out of the Paris Agreement after losing a handshake duel with the new French President). Both Modi and Trump deploy symbols effectively to further a conservative agenda that is in many ways self-serving rather than ideologically dogmatic. I wondered if a list of ways in which they are different despite being strikingly similar in many ways might be an interesting experiment but all my points could be bracketed under one larger word: privilege. Everything that follows in this article are ways in which this privilege operates in the case of Trump and how the lack of the same has shaped much of Modi’s career.

Continue reading X ways in which Modi is different from Trump: Rama Srinivasan

Demonetization, ‘Financial Inclusion’ and the Great ‘Unbanked’

A Prologue

There is a lot of talk these days about ‘exclusion’ – which is almost unquestioningly assumed to be a bad thing. The corollary to this understanding of exclusion is that all inclusion is necessarily good. One hears a lot about ‘financial inclusion’ these days,  which truth be told, makes me shudder. There is thus a lot of angst expressed these days, especially by the rich and powerful, over the ‘financial exclusion’ of the masses. Here is the basic argument (read the full article, disowned by the edit department, here):

Inclusive growth would mean that all sections of society benefit from economic prosperity. A key metric for inclusion is ‘financial inclusion’ i.e. the access to banking services and affordable financial products such as bank accounts, loans, and deposits for all individuals and businesses. When the poorest of the poor have access to credit and savings facilities, this translates to their financial security. They can grow larger businesses, manage consumption and household expenses better and plan for shocks. The standard of living improves and poverty falls, allowing people to contribute more to the economy as well.

Remember, however, before we proceed:

(i) That in 1997, the Asian financial crisis that wiped out the hard earned life-savings of millions of people, in one fell swoop, was an instance of financial inclusion.

(ii) That it was the banks that were fully responsible for the crises across the USA and Europe, 2008 onward. That the Occupy Wall Street movement was basically a movement against the  robbery of ordinary people’s money saved in banks by the banks, who on top of everything wanted to be bailed out with tax payers’ money.

(iii) That very recently Iceland has had to jail 26 bankers responsible for the 2008 financial crisis, “for crimes ranging from insider trading to fraud, money laundering, misleading markets, breach of duties and lying to the authorities”.

(iv) That one of the major reasons India escaped the worst effects of that crisis was because effectively 70 percent of its population still lies outside the banking and financial sector. Of course, the other important difference with the Western capitalist economies was that India’s banks were still largely in the public sector. In other words, banks do not only do what they and the economists say they do. Banks play with the hard-earned savings of the relatively poor, often simply handing handing them over to predator corporations and then writing off!

The Demonetization Gamble

A lot has already been said by now on the Modi government’s decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Economists and economic analysts from the Left-wing Prabhat Patnaik to others like  World Bank Chief Economist and former advisor to the Indian government, Kaushik Basu and journalist Swaminathan Aiyar have expressed serious doubts about both the rationale and feasibility of the move.  The point has been effectively made by them and others like Arvind Kejriwal (who have been centrally concerned with the issue of corruption and ‘black money’ for a long time now), that this measure does not touch the real big players in the game of black and unaccounted money. Big corporate sharks don’t need to go the ‘black money’ route because government policy itself is written by them and everything they do is made ‘legal’ either in advance, or retrospectively, because the government is in their pockets. Of course illegal activities even at those high levels often go on nevertheless, because the power-corporate elite has become so used to the idea that nothing really matters in this country – that everything they want is theirs. And in any case, the real big money lies deposited in Swiss banks or in circulation elsewhere, in other forms. Continue reading Demonetization, ‘Financial Inclusion’ and the Great ‘Unbanked’

Modi’s Demonetization, Black Money and Surveillance: Baidurya Chakrabarti

Guest post by BAIDURYA CHAKRABARTI

  • The demonetization drive of Modi is neither new in content nor in form. In India, it has been done earlier by Morarji Desai; the initial conversion to Euro in the European Union happened within a month’s span. Currency is routinely taken out of circulation. What is significant about Modi’s demonetization is the amount of sensation he has generated out of an otherwise insignificant move. What is routinely done through phasing out denominations is being done in an extremely abrupt manner. He is dressing up a withdrawal and issuing of currency notes as a revolutionary move, and it is being executed in the manner more suited to currency change. What we need to thus ask ourselves is this: why is a routine monetary policy being enacted in this—which I shall later call ‘terroristic’—manner? Clearly, the answer is not economic; even the government does not pretend it to be a strictly economic issue (when they harp on the ‘terror’ factor).

(But before we move on, an aside. This demonetization exposes how the nostalgia for socialist development has fuelled the rise of Modi. Disenchantment with neoliberalism has produced an obscene amount of nostalgia for the pre-liberalization days among the Indian middle class, especially among the left-leaning ones. However, now that a gesture right out of those hoary days have returned to our world, it turns out to be a nightmare.)

  • Let us state the obvious things first: demonetization will do next to nothing to the so-called ‘black money’, which are routinely converted into fixed assets or foreign currency. This move dis-incentivizes hoarding of cash, but not speculation, all sorts of accounting practices that can produce the so-called ‘black money’ while bypassing the level of cash transaction altogether. Demonetization is simply an old-school, brute-force monetary policy to curb hyperinflation. The Head of European Central Bank in Europe and Larry Summers, US treasury secretary, has proposed demonetization of their high-currency notes this year. But none of them dream of doing it within a notice of 4 hours!

Continue reading Modi’s Demonetization, Black Money and Surveillance: Baidurya Chakrabarti

Dalit Uprising and After …

Why Hindutva Would Not Be The Same Again ?

Image result for una struggle

(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 …

Cow Vigilantism as Terror : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by  New Socialist Initiative

Can the Saffron Establishment ever wash its hands of the growing menace?

(For Hindi version, click the link http://nsi-delhi.blogspot.in/2016/07/blog-post_26.html)

( Courtesy : Cartoonist Satish Acharya, https://www.facebook.com/cartoonistsatishacharya/)

Cow vigilantism which has received tremendous boost since the ascendance of BJP at the centre got its first fitting reply in Gujarat recently. The way in which a self-proclaimed Gau Rakshak Dal – owing allegiance to Shiv Sena – attacked a group of Dalits in Una (11 th July 2016) who were skinning a dead cow, publicly flogged them, led them to the police station charging them with cow slaughter and even circulated a video of the whole incident on social media to spread further terror, has caused tremendous uproar. Continue reading Cow Vigilantism as Terror : New Socialist Initiative

Modiversary – Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai! Really

It was late mid-eighties when we use to do streetplays in Varanasi as part of our activities as a left student group – which called itself ‘Gatividhi Vichar Manch’ in Banaras Hindu University. One such plays was titled Desh ko Aage Badhao. The 5-7 minute play was part of a compilation of many other plays brought out possibly by Jana Natya Manch. We must have done hundreds of shows of the other play Raja Ka Baja – which was about the dire state of education and employment.

The theme of this short play Desh ko Aage Badhao was rather crisp. It showed a Netaji/leader in white clothes telling people gathered around him how the ‘nation is progressing’. When the innocent people ask for details, then he starts listing out his personal achivements and the wealth he has acquired through all these years of ‘serving the masses’. The tagline was Arrey Murkhon, dekho desh kaise aage badh raha hai‘ ( You fools, look how the nation is progressing)

The end scence showed people coming together, getting organised and slowly pushing the Netaji. When the terrified Netaji use to ask Arrey Murkhon, yeh kya kar rahe ho. (What are you doing idiots). The awakened people use to answer in unison Netaji, desh ko aage badha rahe hain ( We are pushing the nation forward).

I was reminded of this short play when TV started showing the ad how the nation is changing and how it is progressing with a tagline Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai, Aage Badh Raha Hai. ( How my nation is changing, and advancing) focussing itself on two years of Modi government at the centre. Continue reading Modiversary – Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai! Really

Congratulations on the Completion of Two Years of Government: Reaction of JNU student, Bihu Chamadia

Guest Post by BIHU CHAMADIA

Congratulations on the completion of two years of government. But I just want to ask a simple one line question. Completion of two years but at what cost? At the cost of increase in the number of farmer suicides, at the cost of creating war-like situations in educational institutions, at the cost of acting as a catalyst of widening the gap between hindu-muslim, at the cost of increasing imports and decreasing exports. Celebration on such a large scale because of course it is the first ever government in the history of the world to complete 2 years of governance ! With on-going crisis in the country BJP spends 1000 crores on a programme for this celebration. We would have no problem if this money was yours but sadly it’s not its ours. So now to all the tax payers who had problem with JNU raising its voice I ask you have you people become blind and deaf or are suffering from amnesia and forgot how to read and write.

Well, you speak well Mr Modi but the problem is that you only speak. You and your whole cabinet knows that each and every student of these educational institutes can give you people a befitting reply to all your one liners but we choose not to. People laugh at what your ministers says and say what a fool but I have a completely opposite view. You people are not fool you people are smart, very smart indeed.  Your every policy and every one liner can have a nice reply. Continue reading Congratulations on the Completion of Two Years of Government: Reaction of JNU student, Bihu Chamadia

Degrees of Self-Deception: Rama Srinivasan

Guest post by RAMA SRINIVASAN

Modi and his double, image courtesy, IndiaTV news
Modi and his double, image courtesy, IndiaTV news

As the crisis of fake degrees blows over I want to be the one to ask the naïve question: Why would Narendra Modi lie? I know it is a naïve question because lies are the most banal political strategy ever. There is a man in US today who repeatedly states that he will make the Mexican government pay for a beautiful, great wall on the border of US and Mexico and people believe him with a degree of sincerity that is frightening. In 2014, at least 31 percent of eligible Indian voters believed in Modi’s promises of development and some of them still do. There may be some who, at the end of the five years, actually believe that Modi has delivered on those promises. But such lies are different. My question is simply: why would he lie on an affidavit which functions as a legally-binding oath?

In his previous election affidavit filed for 2012 Gujarat elections he had left the spouse’s name column empty but following ‘strict legal advice’ he agreed to mention his wife’s name on the affidavit filed for Lok Sabha elections. Technically he had withheld information in previous affidavits which amounts to a legal offence since he had not filed his papers to ‘the best of his knowledge’ but this is not the same as actively lying as it now turns out could be the case with his educational qualifications. Legal experts will determine what is tantamount to punishable crime but if Modi did have legal counsel, who advised him to “come clean on the marriage” as this Times of India article states, why would he continue to provide inaccurate information on other aspects of life?

One speculative answer could be that he knew he was being closely watched as he made his bid for the PM’s post and that his papers would be scrutinised and compared with previous drafts. So it made sense to remain consistent with some of the information even though he had obviously been cornered on the question of his marital status. And yet, as the story of how Modi came to acknowledge the existence of his wife Jashodaben proves, if he had to reveal inconsistencies in previous records, 2014 would have been the best time to do this. No amount of exposés could have hurt the man at that time – his bhakt army, on and offline, on Twitter, were efficiently managing the show and could provide a useful media spin/misdirection to take the focus away from the affidavit that declared to the world that Jashodaben’s repeated claims regarding her marriage and abandonment were not unfounded. Even as the Gujarat Congress urged the state Election Commission, unsuccessfully, to reject his application on the grounds that he had not provided information regarding his spouse’s assets or PAN card number, Modi cruised to victory since his deliberate inconsistencies seem to matter very little to voters.

At that point Modi, indeed, seemed invincible. He was giving explosive speeches and deftly avoiding uncomfortable questions from journalists. In an interview with Rajdeep Sardesai, Modi replied to an indirect question on 2002 with this classic deflection tactic: “My best wishes are with you, Rajdeep Sardesai. You have been living off this issue for the last 10 years … I have heard that those who curse Modi get Rajya Sabha seats or Padma awards. So you have my best wishes to continue this campaign (against Modi) and reach Rajya Sabha or win Padma awards with help of your friends.” What was apparent in the interview is now widely acknowledged as the process of constructing a larger-than-life image, where the man referred to himself in third person. Continue reading Degrees of Self-Deception: Rama Srinivasan

Hate as Harmony – Law and Order under Saffrons

 

 

Muslims were equated to “demons” and “descendants of Ravana”, and warned of a “final battle”, as the Sangh Parivar held a condolence meeting here for VHP worker Arun Mahaur, who was killed last week allegedly by some Muslim youths. Among those present on the dais were Union Minister of State, HRD, and BJP Agra MP Ram Shankar Katheria as well as the BJP’s Fatehpur Sikri MP Babu Lal, apart from other party local leaders, who joined in the threats to Muslims. Speaker after speaker urged Hindus to “corner Muslims and destroy the demons (rakshas)”, while declaring that “all preparations” had been made to effect “badla (revenge)” before the 13th-day death rituals for Mahaur.

(http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/muslims-warned-of-final-battle-at-sangh-meet-mos-katheria-says-weve-to-show-our-strength/#sthash.ZBMcpoFo.dpuf)

 

What does someone do in the winter of one’s own life when you discover that the values you cherished, the principles for which you fought for have suddenly lost their meaning and the world  before you is turning upside down ?

Perhaps you express your anguish to your near and dear ones or write a letter about the deteriorating situation around you in your favourite newspaper or as a last resort appeal to the custodians of the constitution that how you are ‘forced to hang your head in shame’.

Admiral Ramdas, who has served Indian Military for more than four decades and has remained socially active since then, followed his voice of conscience. Continue reading Hate as Harmony – Law and Order under Saffrons

Rebellion as Contagion

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Perhaps this is the infection, the gangrene, that Justice Pratibha Rani fears: a slogan, chanted in the streets of Srinagar as a matter of routine, finds an opening at a university campus in New Delhi. Freed from the usual suspects, unmoored from the routine skirmishes, deaths, and encounters, along the Line of Control, the slogan floats through a university corridor – distracting rows of disciplined students from their academic pursuits.

A slogan’s explosive power, it seems, is not just about what is shouted – but rather where it appears, and who takes up the call. This realisation offers us an opportunity, long sought, to think through this troubling question of “Freedom of Expression.” Read the rest of this piece here

Delhi Stands With JNU Students and Against the Evil Modi Regime

Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are...”-

Bertholt Brecht

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This afternoon saw an amazing, uplifting show of peaceful, joyful strength by students, young people, teachers, friends in Delhi, in support of JNU, in memory of Rohith Vemula, in solidarity with Kanhaiya, Umar and all the students in JNU who are being so stellar in their principled opposition to this evil, venal Modi regime. Reports of massive protests are coming in from Kolkata, Russia to and elsewhere. Something is changing in the air.
It was a perfect spring afternoon, overcast like our times, but breezy like our morale. There must have been at least 15,000 people on the march today. We met old and long lost friends and made new ones.

The gathering was totally peaceful. Young  women and men, student profits from JNU in the eighties, grey haired, felt young again as their student held aloft flowers, flags, signs and homemade banners. Everyone looked their best, as if they had come to a massive street party.

It was so infectious, the mood this afternoon, such a contrast to the vile bad temper of the men who attacked Kanhaiya and his supporters two days in a row at the Patiala House Courts two days in a row that the difference between two entirely different visions of politics was palpable on your skin. The contrast sent a clear message to all our senses.

The RSS-ABVP-BJP brand of politics is diseased. It’s on its last legs and that is why it is so desperate. It cannot perform, it has no ideas, it is morally and culturally bankrupt.

Universities are in crisis and all that the bad TV actress who makes a joke of her ministry (HRS) every day can think of today while thousands March against her and her boss is about sticking giant flagpoles into the ground and stitching gigantic silk shrouds for her  government and her party.

Modi, Rajnath and Manusmriti Irani should quake in fear. Their time is up.

Very proud of JNU students and the people of Delhi today.

#StandwithJNU #StandwithKanhaiya

#StandwithUmar

#Standwithallstudents

#NowitchHuntofStudents

Missing the Forest for Trees – Caste System’s Shadow on Rohith’s Suicide : Sanjay Kumar

Guest Post by Sanjay Kumar

(Photo Courtesy : Prokerala.com)

Mainstream politics over Rohith Vemula’s suicide is becoming hot and ugly. Although whisper campaigns against Rothith’s dalit identity were on since his suicide, the BJP’s central leadership had been relatively quiet after HRD minister’s rather shrieky ‘appeal’ to not play caste politics over his suicide. However, now it seems daggers are out. The party in power, whose two ministers are accused of creating conditions leading to Rohith’s suicide, has decided that Rohith’s non-dalit status is the dog it is going to beat to counter its anti-dalit image. Rohith’s mother is a Mala, a Scheduled Caste, who lives seperately from his father, a backward caste Vaddera. He got an SC certificate on the basis of showing that he grew up in his mother’s Mala household. BJP’s strategy may look petty, but it is based on the age-old great Hindu tradition which can not contenance any violation of the privileges of the patrilineal system. After all, marital rape does enjoy legal sanction in India to this day. Continue reading Missing the Forest for Trees – Caste System’s Shadow on Rohith’s Suicide : Sanjay Kumar

The Need for Black-South Asian Solidarity: Lavanya Nott

This is a guest post by LAVANYA NOTT

In February 2013, George Zimmerman, a 28-year old neighbourhood watch coordinator in Sanford, Florida, stalked and fatally shot 17-year old unarmed Trayvon Martin, an African-American high school student. In July of that year, Zimmerman was acquitted of his crime.

On August 9, 2014, unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown was shot several times by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri after Brown stole several packs of cigarillos from a neighbourhood store. In late November of that same year, a grand jury did not indict Wilson of his crime.

The Black Lives Matter movement began after Zimmerman’s acquital, and the Ferguson non-indictment saw the movement surge forward, with thousands of citizens taking to the streets all over the United States in protest. In the months that followed, the movement gained rapid momentum, spurred on by yet another non-indictment—that of a White police officer in Staten Island who put 43-year-old Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in broad daylight, without provocation. His death was ruled by a medical examiner as a homicide, but his killer Daniel Pantaleo escaped indictment.

In mid-September 2015, Mohammad Akhlaq’s house in Dadri was broken into, his family attacked, and his life taken by a rampaging mob of RSS workers who were responding to a rumor that Akhlaq killed a cow and subsequently consumed its meat on Eid.

Less than a month later, a gang of upper-caste Rajputs set fire to the house of a sleeping Dalit family, killing two-year-old Vaibhav and his nine-month-old sister Divya. This attack, in BJP-ruled Faridabad, was set against the backdrop of a long-standing caste-related dispute between the Dalit and Rajput communities in the city.

Continue reading The Need for Black-South Asian Solidarity: Lavanya Nott

You are wrong Mr Prime Minister – It was not a fight, but plain murder : Sanjay Kumar

Guest Post by Sanjay Kumar 

In an election rally in Bihar on 8 October, country’s Prime Minister exhorted his audience with a homily pretty standard in India’s secular discourse. He asked Hindus and Muslims to decide whether they want to fight each other, or fight poverty together. His call against communal strife had come ten days after a Muslim man was lynched by a mob in Bisada, a village near the mofussil town of Dadri, 50 km from the national capital. There was no reference to events in Bisada in Mr Modi’s speech, yet ‘PM has spoken on Dadri lynching’ became the prime news on TV, and headline news in every newspaper the next day. If nations are imagined communities, then the media in the neo-liberal era imagines itself to be the prime mover and shaker of national imagination. And, when the ‘national leadership’ had remained silent on an important national news for more than a week, a subtle disquiet had indeed settled; as if, the story maker was not getting suitable yarn to complete the web and tie open leads. This may explain media’s eagerness to combine Mr Modi’s election rally remarks with Dadri lynching, about which he actually said nothing. Perhaps the media is expecting too much, and has a rather pompous self image. The women of Bisada had assaulted reporters and TV crews on 3 October, accusing them of presenting only one side of the story, bringing a bad name to their village and disrupting normal life. We have a Prime Minister who is pained even when a pup is killed under a motor car. Is not it unjust to expect him to express his anguish publicly every time some one is murdered in this  huge country of ours? The PM has declared many times that his one motivation and project is to build a strong and vibrant India. Should not his country men and women be content with the nation’s highest elected official using his exemplary social media skills for projecting a happy and confident mood. Would not shouting from the roof top on issues about which he is genuinely worried tarnish the very image he has been so painstakingly trying to build? Continue reading You are wrong Mr Prime Minister – It was not a fight, but plain murder : Sanjay Kumar

Neoliberalism, Hindutva Supremacism and Challenges before Revolutionary Movement

Dear Comrades

I feel honoured to be here to be part of the sixth conference of Human Rights Forum*. Many thanks are due to the organisers to invite a left activist like me to this deliberations and giving me an opportunity to share my ideas.

For me it was a belated realisation that the conference is taking place around sixth death anniversary of the legendary activist for human rights and for justice late K Balgopal, who played a key role in the formation of the Forum. It does not need underlining that late K Balagopal was a rare combination of a scholar – mathematician by passion and lawyer by commitment – and activist who not only broke new grounds in the discourse around civil liberties and human rights but did not hesitate to raise uncomfortable questions when the time came. One can still imagine the loss you all must have felt when he suddenly left six years ago. As rightly mentioned by the late K G Kannabiran in his obituary then, how he was ‘one in a century rights activist’ who brought on agenda ‘jurisprudence of insurgence’. Continue reading Neoliberalism, Hindutva Supremacism and Challenges before Revolutionary Movement

Modi’s Speech, his Silence and Dadri Redux in Mainpuri

Every newspaper in India carried the same headline on Friday, the 9th of October: ‘Modi breaks silence on Dadri lynching.’ It says something about the breathless desperation of the Indian press to hear the prime minister say something, anything, that could be interpreted as his disapproval of political barbarism, that there wasn’t, in fact, a word in his speech about the Dadri lynching. – Mukul Kesavan in ndtv.com

You know what has been agitating the minds of millions of us, Indians — the future of our pluralism. You have stated your position in terms of ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas‘. And this is quoted and cited on your behalf repeatedly as a mantra. But, Pradhan Mantriji, this is certainly not adequate. We need to hear you, our Prime Minister, directly and clearly and with an urgent reference to the present situation, which is nothing less than a tragedy. Over the last few months we have had more than one tragedy. Can we really not see the connections between the so-called stray incidences all over the country, from the murders of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi to that of Mohammad Akhlaq. Your direct voice needs to be heard now, unless you do not consider this an event of significance. And now, the ambiguity of what you said yesterday only makes me send you this appeal for your truthful intervention. TM Krishna’s Open Letter to the Prime Minister

While Modi’s cheer leaders in the media were telling us that the prime minister had finally ‘broken his silence’ (see Apoorvanand’s piece on this here), there were others who read the meaning of his speech far more  accurately.They knew exactly what Modi was saying; they knew without having to do a content analysis of His speech that, if anything, despite being shamed to an extent by the President, Pranab Mukherjee’s statement the previous day, he actually refused to say anything about the Dadri incident let alone condemn the crime or its perpetrators. They understood clearly that his speech was merely a continuation of his sinister and devious silence. They understood like no media commentator or analyst did that what he said in Munger was a green signal for them to go ahead with their activities. Thus what happened in Mainpuri today is nothing to be surprised about.

Mainpuri: Police in action after villagers vandalised properties and resorted to arson in Mainpuri district on Friday over rumours of cow slaughter in the area. PTI Photo (PTI10_9_2015_000290B)
Mainpuri: Police in action after villagers vandalised properties and resorted to arson in Mainpuri district on Friday over rumours of cow slaughter in the area. PTI Photo (PTI10_9_2015_000290B)

Continue reading Modi’s Speech, his Silence and Dadri Redux in Mainpuri

बाक़ी चीज़ों की तरह इनका योग भी फ्रॉड है…

Dilip C Mandal's photo.
Dilip C Mandal के फेसबुक पोस्ट से साभार (तस्वीर और नीचे की टिप्पणी दोनों)

जो लोग कभी नहीं करते और फ़ोटो खिंचवाने के लिए नाटक करते हैं, वे सबसे आसान आसन- पद्मासन भी गलत करते हैं।

मोदी जी के पैरों की मुद्रा देखिए। सही पद्मासन में पीछे वाली लड़की बैठी है। देखिए, दोनों पैर ऊपर हैं। जो कभी नहीं करते हैं, वे नाटक के लिए भी नहीं कर सकते।

जब पद्मासन में बैठने को कहा गया है और सभी लोग वही कर रहे हैं, तो रेगुलर योग करने का दावा करने वाले को पद्मासन ही करना चाहिए। अर्ध नहीं पूर्ण।

56 इंच का सीना नहीं, 56 इंच का पेट है। रामसनेही को अब पूरा यकीन है कि सुनने में धोखा हुआ था।

बच्चों को इनसे शिक्षा नहीं लेनी चाहिए।

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Too Many Erasures

The Hindu Social Order is based upon a division of labour which reserves for the Hindus clean and respectable jobs and assigns to the untouchables dirty and mean jobs and thereby clothes the Hindus with dignity and heaps ignominy upon the untouchables.

(The Revolt of the Untouchables, Excerpted from Essays on Untouchables and Untouchability : Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, Vol 5 (Mumbai : Govt of Maharashtra, 1989, 256-58)

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The inauguration of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, (Clean India Campaign) with much fanfare, with ministers, bureaucrats and others holding Jhadoos evoked an interesting reaction from a ragpicker Sanjay who lives in Mehrauli with his parents. “These are the same people from whose houses we pick up garbage every day. This is part of our life. We don’t really understand why they are making it such a big deal,” Continue reading Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Too Many Erasures

Looking back – and forward – from Modi’s election: Shashank Kela

Guest post by SHASHANK KELA

So now the gloves are off. For the BJP, that is, whose victory in these elections gives India not only its most right-wing government, but, more to the point, a prime minister to the right of his party – more laissez faire, openly contemptuous of minorities, authoritarian in style. What the party, and Narendra Modi, will make of its – and his – comprehensive victory will soon be apparent, but the omens are far from good. Working in a coalition and under the supposedly moderate leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee, the BJP between 1998 and 2004 achieved quite a lot – not just in the cultural wars that are its forte, but also in terms of putting economic “reform” on steroids. Now that it is being advised by that distinguished dispenser of received opinion and tireless self promoter, Dr Jagdish Bhagwati – an economist whose ignorance of history and the methods through which economic development was actually achieved in almost every successful industrial economy from Great Britain in the 16th and 17th centuries to South Korea in the 20th (cue: protectionism and lots of effective government intervention) is stupendous even by the low standards of the discipline – all bets are off. Continue reading Looking back – and forward – from Modi’s election: Shashank Kela