Showing posts from May, 2013


(Note: This article is a chapter of the book ‘ Five Years of Saffron Rule in Karnataka ’ Edited by Ambrose Pinto S.J., Manak Publications, Delhi, P. 338, 2013 ) .. Here it is enough to point out that Hindutva is not identical with what is vaguely indicated by the term Hinduism.By an "ism" it is generally meant a theory or a code more or less based on spiritual or religious system.But when we attempt to investigate into the essential significance of Hindutva, we do not primarily and certainly not mainly concern ourselves with any particular theocratic or religious dogma or creed..  (V.D. Savarkar, Hindutva, Delhi : Bharti Sahitya Sadan, sixth edition, 1989, pp3f) I.  Violence and terror are an integral part of any exclucivist organisation professing allegiance to a particular faith. In fact, violence or fact of violence and its domineering presence pervading all spheres of social-political life is a guarantee to consolidate the ’faithful’, discipline the dissenter and fur

Germany fears revolution if Europe scraps welfare model

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned on Tuesday that failure to win the battle against youth unemployment could tear Europe apart, and dropping the continent's welfare model in favor of tougher U.S. standards would spark a revolution.  Germany , along with   France , Spain and   Italy , backed urgent action to rescue a generation of young Europeans who fear they will not find jobs, with youth unemployment in the EU standing at nearly one in four, more than twice the adult rate. "We need to be more successful in our fight against youth unemployment, otherwise we will lose the battle for Europe's unity," Germany's Schaeuble said.  While   Germany   insists on the importance of budget consolidation, Schaeuble spoke of the need to preserve Europe's welfare model.  If U.S. welfare standards were introduced in Europe, "we would have revolution, not tomorrow, but on the very same day," Schaeuble told a conference in Paris. Prime Minister M

Turkish police fire tear gas in worst protests in years

Istanbul:  Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon on Friday at demonstrators in central Istanbul, wounding scores of people and prompting rallies in other cities in the fiercest anti-government protests in years.  Thousands of demonstrators massed on streets surrounding Istanbul's central Taksim Square, a venue for political unrest, while protests erupted in the capital, Ankara, and the Aegean coastal city of Izmir. Broken glass and rocks were strewn across a main shopping street near Taksim. Primary school children ran crying from the clouds of tear gas, while tourists caught by surprise scurried to get back to luxury hotels lining the square.  The unrest reflects growing disquiet at the authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).  Riot police clashed with tens of thousands of May Day protesters in Istanbul this month. There have also been protests against the government's stance on the conflict in neig

Turkey: Ruling party member calls for the ‘annihilation of atheists’

An official from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sparked controversy after he called for the “annihilation of atheists" on his Twitter account.  Mahmut Macit, a senior member of AKP’s  Ankara  provincial board and keen user of social media, flared up on May 21 about insults against believers via Twitter. “My blood boils when spineless psychopaths pretending to be atheists swear at my religion. These people, who have been raped, should be annihilated,” Macit wrote in one tweet. He also argued that “insulting Islam could not be considered freedom of expression.”  His remarks came as renowned Turkish-Armenian linguist and former columnist Sevan Nişanyan was condemned to 13 months in prison for alleged blasphemy in a blog comment.  They also added more fuel to Turkey’s culture wars, reignited by a bill currently debated in the Turkish Parliament that foresees new restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol.    While reactions from twitter users were pouring in,


PAKISTAN: WHY THEY KILLED ARIF SHAHID by Pervez Hoodbhoy -  May 30, 2013 < > On the evening of May 13, an assassin stepped out of a car that had just driven to the doorstep of Sardar Arif Shahid’s residence in Rawalpindi.  He waited for the 62-year-old Kashmiri leader to arrive. After pumping four bullets into him, the killer calmly got back into the car and was whisked away.  A major Kashmiri nationalist leader, chairman of the All Parties National Alliance (APNA) and president of the Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Conference (JKNLC), had just been silenced. Mysteriously, a press that thrives on crime reporting was mum the next day. The murder still remains unreported. My first meeting with Arif Shahid was just a few days after the October 8, 2005 earthquake. It had nothing to do with the politics of Kashmir. A team of teachers and students from  Quaid-e-Azam University, using money raised by the Eqbal Ahmad Foundation, were engaged in

Book review: Time Regained!

Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe by Lee Smolin  reviewed by  James Gleick A pregnant moment in intellectual history occurs when H.G. Wells’s Time Traveller (“for so it will be convenient to speak of him”) gathers his friends around the drawing room fire to explain that everything they know about time is wrong. This after-dinner conversation marked something of a watershed, more telling than young Wells, who had never even published a book before  The Time Machine , imagined just before the turn of the twentieth century. What is time? Nothing but a fourth dimension, after length, breadth, and thickness. “Through a natural infirmity of the flesh,” the cheerful host explains, “we incline to overlook this fact.” The geometry taught in school needs revision. “Now, it is very remarkable that this is so extensively overlooked…. There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it. ”

Khmer Rouge leaders say sorry for atrocities

Former Cambodian head of state Khieu Samphan apologises directly to individuals who lost relatives in 1975-79 genocide Former leaders of  Cambodia 's  Khmer Rouge  being tried by a  UN-backed genocide tribunal  have apologised to families of victims of the regime's atrocities.  Khieu Samphan, the head of state of the 1970s communist regime, and Nuon Chea, the group's main ideologist, were responding directly on Thursday to people who had testified about how they lost family members to Khmer Rouge brutality. "I feel extremely sorry for the disappearance and extremely brutal killing of your father," Khieu Samphan told Yim Roum Doul. But he said he did not know at the time about "the atrocities committed by the military commanders and leaders".  "I did not know the great suffering of our people," he said. The perpetrators "must be brought to justice".  He said he joined the Khmer Rouge with the "determination to protect our cou

Collateral damage? Maoists say sorry for killing Bastar journalist (March 31, 2013)

Maoists say sorry for killing Bastar journalist Forty-five days after their cadres murdered journalist Nemichand Jain in Sukma on February 12, Maoists have apologised for the act and said their topmost leaders are handling the case. They have also requested Bastar journalists to end their boycott. In an unprecedented step, the entire media fraternity in Bastar had passed a resolution announcing the boycott of Maoists and their press releases until they apologised for the murder and punished the guilty.  The rebels called a few journalists to interior forests of Bijapur and apologised for Jain's death. West Bastar divisional committee, CPI (Maoists), members Kamlu Kunjam and Jyoti met the journalists and said: "We have received information about the murder of Jain by some Sangham members of Kanger Ghati area. Since we are yet to identify the accused, senior leaders are facing problems in taking a decision. But very soon, the central committee will probe the matter and infor

Aruna Roy resigns from National Advisory Council

Social activist Aruna Roy has decided not to continue in the National Advisory Council, led by UPA chairman Sonia Gandhi, after her term expires on Friday. Ms Roy has written a letter to Mrs Gandhi requesting that she should not be considered for another term of NAC that sets the social agenda for the government and the UPA Chairperson has accepted the request. On her way out, Ms Roy criticised the government for not taking up recommendations of the council on minimum wages to workers under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). "I do believe that it is extremely unfortunate that the Prime Minister rejected the NAC recommendations on payment of minimum wages to MGNREGA workers and chose instead to appeal the Karnataka High Court judgement ordering payment of minimum wages to MGNREGA workers," she said. "Even more distressing is the Government's refusal to pay minimum wages even after the Supreme Court refused to stay the Karnataka High Co