Showing posts from May, 2015

Nivedita Menon on the open secret of communal violence at election time

What’s wrong with these headlines? (Answer: It’s Election time, Stupid) Muslim families at Ballabhgarh city police station on Wednesday  night after fleeing riots in their village.(Express Photo by: Gajendra Yadav) This one image should be issued as a ceremonial postage stamp to commemorate one year of Modi’s rule. We have said it many times already, but here it is, once more, with feeling – this is a bloody, violent Hindutvavaadi regime, with a cool headed, coldly vicious master-mind at its head – he of the Swarovski eye glasses, the 10 Lakh Rupee Suit, the diamond Movado watch – he of the infinite silences on All That Matters. While Modi spouts the inanity  beti bachao beti padhao , his menacing goon brigade massed behind his sheltering shadow, chants  bahu lao, beti bachao,  trying to whip up a storm over the non-existent “love jihad”. While  Arun Jaitley “meets Christians”  and  Rajnath Singh meaninglessly snaps,  “All those who are in India will stay in India” (in res

Case filed against social scientist Kancha Ilaiah for asking, 'Is God a democrat?'

NB : Whether or not we agree with Professor  Kancha Ilaiah,  he has every right to engage in critical inquiry about religion. If it hurts anyone's sentiments, it is just too bad. They have to learn that many of us are equally perturbed about the atmosphere of intimidation and intolerance that has been created by people more interested in power than in God. Respect for religion is one thing, but we are not all obliged to be religious, or to refrain from voicing our doubts about religion. Our constitution allows space for critical inquiry, and if it did not, it would be useless as the statute of a democratic polity. This case should be fought and we should voice our support for Professor  Ilaiah's right to publish and debate his ideas. People who don't like them are free to publish their criticisms and even condemnations.  It is certainly not a matter for the police. What should be a matter of concern for them however, is the very long tax holiday enjoyed by this NGO , whi

TAREK FATAH - Khomeini’s savagery celebrated in Canada (June 2013) // Deadly Fatwa: Iran's 1988 Prison Massacre (Report by Iran Human Rights Documentation Center)

Twenty-five years ago this month, 5,000 Iranian political prisoners were executed on the direct orders of the then-Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini. Their crime? They were feminists, communists, socialists, students, Kurds, Baha’is, Ahwazi Arabs, Azeris and Baloch; all arrested for distributing leaflets and organizing protests against the Mullahs who had stolen the 1979 revolution against the autocratic monarchy of The Shah. See   Deadly Fatwa: Iran's 1988 Prison Massacre It was the summer of 1988. The exhausting eight-year long Iran-Iraq War was staggering to a close. With the UN distracted in drawing up a post-war ceasefire, Khomeini decided to wipe out the existence of any opposition. He issued a fatwa to execute all political prisoners who refused to accept his rule. After 10-minute mock trials, the condemned were the hung on cranes or shot by firing squads, with their bodies dumped in unmarked mass graves. If Khomeini thought hi

Rukmini Bhaya Nair - An IIT Teacher's View on the Madras Controversy

Let's try and take the bull by the horns at the risk of being gored. Here, as far as one can gather, is the narrative so far. A study circle of students at IIT Madras reads B.R. Ambedkar's classic 'The Annihilation of Caste' and distributes pamphlets that reportedly 'spread hatred' by condemning not just the caste system but all of Hinduism. An anonymous letter to this effect is sent to the HRD Ministry which forwards the complaint to the IIT authorities. IIT Madras then responds by stating that the students have broken an agreed-upon rule that forbids them to use the name of the institution to "garner support or publicize their activities". Finally, the political parties enter the ring like brave matadors - some defending freedom of speech on behalf of the students, and others condemning the apparently wholesale castigation of Hinduism by these same students. Under these piquant circumstances, how do we interpret that basic 'right to freedom

AKHTAR BALOUCH on Daya Ram Gidumal of Sindh — a silent servant, a silent sufferer. A good man

NB - This is a beautiful and moving story. It provides yet another example of human goodness, and reminds us how quick we are to pass it by, to overlook it, because we are so accustomed to negativity, denunciation and animosity. Beneath it (in the original ) are scores of comments, most of which are deeply appreciative both of the author, Akhtar Balouch as well as the subject of his story, Daya Ram Gidumal. But some comments show how attached we are to negativity. One person says:  Why this chap Akhtar Balouch sole mission is propagating hindus of Sindh? quite evident from his writings through out. Doesn't he have anything to say about the Muslim majority of Sindh?  Another says :  I wonder if the Hindus and Sikhs of Punjab and Haryana ever feel the sorrow of those millions of Musalmans who were killed, raped and driven out from their homes in 1947? I have never read anything like this from the other side of the border .   To the latter I responded thus: " why assume the wo

Book review: Stalin understood the power of terror so well because he constantly feared for his own life

Stalin   Oleg Khlevniuk Reviewed by  Charlotte Hobson   ‘Lately, the paradoxical turns of recent Russian history… have given my research more than scholarly relevance,’ remarks Oleg Khlevniuk in his introduction. Indeed, in Putin’s Russia Stalin’s apologists and admirers seem daily to become more vocal. The language of the 1930s is used in televised tirades against ‘internal enemies’ and ‘foreign agents’. Stalin himself is upheld not only as a strong leader, but also as an ‘effective manager’ who, despite his mistakes, did what was necessary to modernise the Soviet Union; or, contrarily, as a benevolent dictator who was unaware of the corrupt actions of his officials. In short, there could hardly be a more opportune moment for the publication of this authoritative, fluently written, concise life, the pinnacle of current scholarship on its subject. Khlevniuk, who has spent many years working in the Russian archives, commented in an interview that his aim was to produce ‘a narrat

Anumeha Yadav - Fifty kilometres from Delhi, hundreds of Muslims have become refugees overnight

The normality of the evening was deceptive. A little before 6 pm on May 25, most residents of Atali village in Ballabhgarh, in Haryana's Faridabad district, were out tending to their cattle. A few were in their homes cooking dinner. Zahida Parveen had just settled down on the second storey of her home in preparation for the  asar ki namaz . Suddenly, there was a loud noise. “I looked out and saw 14-15 men enter the gate of the house armed with bricks, sticks and swords,” said Parveen, a slender woman in her early 20s. “I heard them break the door to the ground floor of our house.” She bolted the door to the second floor and hid in a room. The sounds of destruction continued drifting from below, glass being smashed and things being hurled around. She could hear the men rush up to where she was. “They were breaking down the door," Parveen said. "I hid inside the bathroom. They entered my room, shouting ‘Let these people die in the fire, if not at our hands.’” Parveen d