Tag Archives: Uttarakhand

What happens when faith overrides sense ?

The severity of the second wave and the government’s unpreparedness demonstrate the limits of ‘strong’ leadership and religion-based politics.

What Happens When Faith Overrides Sense?
Image : Courtesy PTI

It was 1527, and Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, wrote a letter advising a Lutheran leader what a believer should do during an epidemic. Europe was in the deadly grip of the bubonic plague at the time. It had killed thousands of people.

Extracts of his letter are relevant even today, especially the parts where Luther talks about what to do during an epidemic: “…Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.”

Tirath Singh Rawat, the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, perhaps does not know of this letter or its contents. Surprisingly, he does not even seem to recall the experiences from last year. In fact, much of what happened during the Covid epidemic seems lost on him. In 2020, public places of worship and religious gatherings became super-spreaders of the virus. That is why, for the first time, religious congregations were banned everywhere from Mecca to the Vatican to arrest the spread of the pandemic.

So, it is strange that Rawat cannot recall how believers took the back seat and ceded space to science during the first wave. Indeed, he has made a specious claim that faith in God will overcome the fear of the virus, in the context of the Kumbh Mela, a gathering where tens of lakhs of people gathered earlier this month.

( Read the full text here )

Local Leader, National Ambitions: The Curious Case of Mr Narendra Modi

Mr Prithviraj Chavan, the present incumbent to the chief minister’s seat in Maharashtra, recently received praise from an unlikely quarter. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thakreay in the party mouthpiece “Saamana” heaped praise on Chavan for ‘adopting a broad minded approach ..for his role in the ongoing rescue operations in disaster hit Uttarakhand.’ According to him while dispatching the relief material and a large team of officials, Mr Chavan instructed them that although ‘it is meant for people from the state stranded there, other victims should not be ignored.’

It has been reported that Maharashtra has placed two helicopters at the disposal of the Uttarakhand government and extended aid of Rs. 10 crore, and it was among the first states in the country to react quickly to the disaster. It is true that many other states have also rushed forces and material to assist people who are stranded at various places and such an hour of national calamity is normally not considered a moment of exhibiting political one-upmanship. Continue reading Local Leader, National Ambitions: The Curious Case of Mr Narendra Modi

Partition Revisited: 2 October 2011, Rudrapur

This is a film by RAJEEV YADAV and SHAHNAWAZ ALAM of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES

This is to introduce our documentary film ‘PARTITION REVISITED’ on the Rudrapur riot of 2nd October 2011, where four persons were killed. Policemen and mobs led by leaders of the Bhartiya Janta Party, the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party had ransacked shops and settlements of Muslims in their third successful attempt within two years to stoke communal violence. The riot, which took place on Gandhi Jayanti, led to a massive outmigration of the victimised community, reminding one of the days of the 1947 Partition. This film focuses on precisely this yet unnoticed phenomenon that we could trace out in this first-ever state-sponsored communal riot since the formation of the hill state of Uttarakhand, engineered by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, which has been working for a long time in this area to arouse anti-Muslim sentiments in the Bengalis, Sikhs & Panjabi Hindus who settled in Rudrapur after the Partition to India. At a time when the state is going to polls this riot assumes an electoral importance.