On 13 September 2017 the Union Home Ministry, following the 2015 order of the Supreme Court, decided to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees. Victims of religious persecution in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, the predominantly Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajongs began immigrating to the north eastern region of India 1960s onwards. The then central government, eventually, moved a large number of these refugees to Arunachal Pradesh; while Arunachal Pradesh is their zone of concentration, a considerable number of Chakmas and Hajongs live in Mizoram and Meghalaya too. The decision of the Home Ministry, however, did not go down well with the indigenous tribal population of Arunachal Pradesh; the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union protested against the move citing threats to life and livelihood of the native inhabitants of the state. On 14 September 2017 the Union government assured the protesters that a middle-ground – between honouring the law and commitment towards protecting the rights of the people of Arunachal Pradesh – would be found.
सांसद समेत अन्य लोग फर्ज़ी कागज़ातों के ज़रिये दलित और आदिवासियों के अधिकार छीन रहे हैं.
(फोटो: कमल किशोर/रॉयटर्स)
मध्य प्रदेश के बैतूल से अनुसूचित जनजाति के लिए आरक्षित सीट से दूसरी बार चुनी गईं सांसद ज्योति धुर्वे की सदस्यता फिलवक़्त ख़तरे में पड़ती नज़र आ रही है.
पिछले दिनों मध्य प्रदेश सरकार की उच्चस्तरीय जांच कमेटी ने सघन जांच के बाद उनके द्वारा प्रस्तुत किए जाति प्रमाण पत्र को खारिज़ कर दिया.
ख़बरों के मुताबिक अपने जाति प्रमाण पत्र की कथित संदिग्धता के चलते धुर्वे तभी से विवादों में रही हैं जब 2009 में वह पहली दफ़ा वहां से सांसद चुनी गई थीं. यह आरोप लगाया गया था कि वह गैर आदिवासी समुदाय से संबद्ध हैं और उन्होंने फर्ज़ी जाति प्रमाण पत्र जमा किया है.
इस मसले को लेकर मध्य प्रदेश उच्च न्यायालय के सामने एक केस दायर किया गया है और अदालत के आदेश पर ही उपरोक्त जांच पूरी की गई है.
गौरतलब था कि जांच के दौरान पाया गया कि उनका जाति प्रमाण पत्र वर्ष 1984 में रायपुर से जारी हुआ था, मगर जब कमेटी ने इस बारे में कुछ और प्रमाणों की मांग की तो सांसद महोदया उन्हें कमेटी के सामने प्रस्तुत नहीं कर सकी.
कमेटी ने यह फैसला एकमत से लिया है और इसके बाद सांसद महोदया के ख़िलाफ़ कार्रवाई की मांग उठी है. विपक्ष का कहना है कि यह मसला 2009 से सुर्ख़ियों में रहने के बावजूद राजनीतिक दबाव के चलते इस पर फैसला नहीं लिया गया था.
बहरहाल, ज्योति धुर्वे के बहाने फिर एक बार फर्ज़ी जाति प्रमाण पत्रों का मसला चर्चा में आया है.
(Read the complete text here : http://thewirehindi.com/8059/how-our-leaders-and-other-people-snatching-the-rights-of-dalit-and-adivasi-by-fake-certificates/)
This year, India has sponsored the observation of the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar at the United Nations for the first time. The Permanent Mission of India to the UN shall commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of the Dalit icon on April 13 at the UN headquarters, a day before his date of birth, with an international seminar on ‘Combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’. A note circulated by the Indian mission says that the “national icon” remains an inspiration for millions of Indians and proponents of equality and social justice across the globe. “Fittingly, although it’s a matter of coincidence, one can see the trace of Babasaheb’s radiant vision in the SDGs adopted by the UN General Assembly to eliminate poverty, hunger and socio-economic inequality by 2030.”
Juxtapose this with a recent report on caste-based discrimination by the United Nations Human Right Council’s Special Rapporteur for minority issues that has stung the Indian government, provoking it to raise questions about the lack of “seriousness of work” in the UN body and the special rapporteur’s mandate. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, would definitely not be pleased. Nor are the Dalit rights activists in India and abroad.
( Read the rest of the piece here : http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/how-to-be-free-of-caste-in-india/article8467518.ece?homepage=true)
Does resistance necessarily have a direct relationship with suffering and inverse relationship with pleasure and happiness? This is a question that is particularly significant for long drawn resistance movements facing a formidable enemy insensitive to and largely unruffled by the exertions of resistance. The engagement with occupation often involves violent and non-violent struggle. Both demand sacrifices that warrant shunning of such mundane pleasures and opportunities taken for granted by the populations reconciled with power. If the struggle extends over multiple decades, it is bound to generate fatigue and disillusionment especially among those who have not voluntarily committed themselves to the life of endless self abnegation even while they may desire freedom from occupation. While all people want to be free from the indignity of living under occupation and dominance, human nature puts limits on how far individuals and populations may be willing to stretch themselves in their denial of bodily desires and material pleasures that life has to offer.
A petition from an organization called Change India invaded my Facebook wall today right before – rather ironically, it turns out— my morning auto ride. The petition is filed under a category on the site called “petitions for economic justice.” When you open it, the image pasted below opens. A sharp fanged, dark skinned “auto-rakshasa” demands one-and-a-half fare. The commuter is “harassed.” The petition that accompanies this image urges the ACP of police to create “an efficient system” so that complaints made to report auto-drivers who overcharge or refuse to ply can be tracked. How, it asks, can “concerned Bangalorean citizens” expect “justice” if their complaints are not tracked? We all must, it urges, “join the fight.”
Let me first say quite clearly that I do not mean to undermine the intentions and frustrations of those who launched this campaign and, yes, when the meter goes on without asking, it eases a morning commute significantly. The question is: if this does not happen at times (and indeed it doesn’t) then why is this so and what does one do about it? There is a lot to be said about the economics of the issue itself and I welcome others reading who know more to write about it more extensively. But this piece is not about that. It is about the campaign itself and how we articulate political questions in our cities. It is fundamentally about the easy, unremarked way in which a working urban resident and citizen – who is also, after all, a “fellow Bangalorean” and concerned with “economic justice”– can be termed and portrayed a “rakshasa” as if it were a banal utterance.
Partha Chatterjee and Shuddhabrata Sengupta rightly argue that “corruption” is indeed a new Indian label for “the lives of others”. The East German Stasi also surely saw their vigilance as directed against the politics of “the enemies of the people”, except that in their case the state and the party were seen to contain all the good people, with the bad people choosing to remain in the unmobilized parts of civil society. Hence the pro-Hazare gatherings certainly have some of the disturbing echoes of mass rallies under Hitler and Stalin with the working and middle-classes adoring a mediocre and Chaplinesque figure who promises a new wave of moral cleansing. Continue reading Our Corruption, Our Selves: Arjun Appadurai→
Every time I go to Sri Lanka, my historical sensibility gets heightened. I still remember this huge hoarding of Mahinda Rajapaksa ‘lovingly’ holding an old woman, obviously Tamil as she was wearing a pottu. That woman could be one of the 2.5 lakh people who have lost their homes, belonging and land in the war. She could be part of the other lakhs who have lost all of this in the more than twenty-five years of war.
The day before yesterday, 26th January, was the first ‘free’ election ‘after the war’. During the months before the election, 700 incidents of violence were reported, leading to the death and injury of many. Yesterday, as the results rolled out, chaos hit the streets of Colombo. We don’t even have enough information about what happened in the rest of the country yesterday. Rumours were floating about. I shall not dwell on the rumours and provide them legitimacy, although I am tempted to, as some of them are shocking and could be true. Ethics come in the way. Continue reading The absurd theatre of Sri Lanka, applauded by India→
With the elections around the corner, the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) election system used in India is being blamed for most of the ills in the Indian political system. This post is the outcome of some of the discussions and conversations that Barun Mitra of the Liberty Institute and I have been having regarding the FPTP system.
Briefly, the FPTP system is based on the principle of “winner-takes-it-all” i.e., the candidate who gets majority of the votes is declared victorious. One of the most common criticisms made against the FPTP system is that candidates win by very narrow margins. It has been suggested that candidates must get at least 51% of the votes in order for their victory to be deemed as legitimate. It is interesting to note that so far in the history of elections in India, not a single candidate has been dismantled or at least challenged on the grounds that s/he won by 20% of the votes in the constituency. Therefore, is the criticism misplaced?
Both Barun and I want to suggest that narrow victory margins are in fact the strength of the Indian electoral system. This is because:
Typically, only 50% of the population in the constituency votes in any election. If the victorious candidate has won by 20% of the votes, he has actually received 40% of the votes (given that only 50% of the people are voting).
The narrow victory margins keep the threshold of entry naturally low. This encourages aspirants to enter the electoral fray. If candidates won by 51% of the total votes, it would mean that political parties would have to field heavyweights and stalwarts and it would also discourage novices and independents from contesting the elections.
The narrow victory margins intensifies political competition and keeps candidates and parties on their toes. New aspirants can cut into the vote bases of popular candidates and parties. Moreover, the narrow margins makes it imperative for candidates and parties to attract voters from various backgrounds and widen their appeal instead of confining themselves to gathering votes on the basis of identity and particularistic appeals.
Reproduced from the Indian Express this morning. Of course, I wrote it entirely with Kafila in my heart, the Express just got it first :)
A gay man is given two years of electroshock therapy in a major city hospital to “cure” him — the National Human Rights Commission refuses to file a complaint. A 2004 book on queer politics sees 34 contributors write under their full names, many for the first time. Lesbian women continue to commit suicide rather than be forcibly married. Large sections of the media openly support campaigns against Sec 377 — the 1861 law that criminalises “unnatural offences” — and widely carry an open letter written by Vikram Seth and Amartya Sen against the law. The law still stands over the head of the gay community, but the challenge to it in the Delhi High Court inches towards a verdict. Meanwhile, aravanis (as hijras are known in Tamil Nadu) win a landmark battle for the legal right to have government identification cards and passports issued under “E” as their gender. Continue reading Pride, Prejudice and Politics→
As I stepped out of B.’s house last night, I pulled my jacket close to ward of the cold and veered vaguely to the right as I looked for my car. I felt in the pocket for the car’s central-locking remote, and on finding it, pressed the un-lock button on the device. I heard my sister’s trusty Wagon-R tick-tock in recognition out on the left. On the left course! I had parked the car on left. I usually parked on the right under the streetlight, but this time my space had been taken. So I had parked on the left. I corrected course and lurched decisively to the left – the source of the sound, and the site of the parked car.
My ear it seems, had picked up the sound – measured it in terms of intensity – and my brain had decoded it and accorded it a positional characteristic. So this car was approximately 20 degrees behind my left ear. I looked – there it was, I walked up to it and drove home.