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Showing posts from January, 2018

Carola Binney - Beyond the pale: China’s cheerful racists

NB: The commercial is worth seeing, I request readers to watch it once. Apologists of the regime may kindly reflect upon this blatant racism in the public domain after seven decades of rule by the Chinese Communist Party - DS.. 

Setting off to spend a year teaching English in Zhejiang province in south-eastern China, I expected plenty of surprises. But what struck me most was something they tend not to tell you about in the guidebooks: the racism. It started when I went around the classroom, asking pupils which city they were from. When I got to a slightly darker-skinned boy, his classmates thought it was hilarious to shout ‘Africa!’ It’s a theme. A girl with a similar complexion was taunted with monkey sounds; her peers refused to sit next to her, saying she smelt bad. I apparently erred when, teaching the word for wife, I showed my students a picture of Michelle Obama. The image of the then First Lady was greeted with exaggerated sounds of repulsion: ‘So ugly!’ they said. ‘So black!…

Govt trying to take away independence of judiciary, alleges Prashant Bhushan

Janhastakshep and PUCL jointly organized a public meeting on 19th January 2018 at ‘Press Club’ on the topic Felling of the Last Bastion: Is Indian Democracy in Peril with the Judiciary Becoming a Victim of Political Interference. The meeting was presided over by the Prof Ish Mishra of Delhi University, Speakers were Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Hartosh Singh Bal (Editor: The Carvan), Ms. Poonam (Adv.) and Mr. N D Pancholi (President PUCL).
While introducing the topic Mr. Satentra Ranjan (Senior Journalist) said that the unprecedented media conference by the four senior most Judges of the SC expressing their anguish over what they perceive to be a process under way that threatens the last independent bastion to protect Indian democracy – the judiciary.  They also highlighted that there are irregularities in constitution of benches and assignment of cases by the Chief Justice and asked for remedial measures. They have said, in their letter addressed to the CJI, unless this institution is pres…

Alok Pandey: IAS Officer Takes Down Controversial Facebook Post On Kasganj Violence

LUCKNOW:  Raghvendra Vikkram Singh, the Bareilly district magistrate who had put up a post on Facebook that appeared to blame right-wing Hindu groups for provoking communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh, removed the post. Mr Singh's now-deleted post said a "strange trend" had started of late. "To visit Muslim areas and raise slogans against Pakistan. Why? Are they (Muslims) Pakistanis?" The same thing had happened in Khailam village of Bareilly. Then stones were thrown, FIRs lodged," the officer's post, in Hindi, that was seen in context of the Kasganj violence and triggered a controversy, said. A short service commission army officer before joining the civil services, Mr Singh, 59, was last year posted as district magistrate of Bareilly, about 100 km from Kasganj town.

He put up the Facebook post on Sunday, just two days after 22-year-old student of commerce Chandan Gupta died in communal clashes that broke out in a Muslim-majority locality of Kasganj dur…

How the Indian cricket team reacted to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

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NB:On the 70th anniversary of his assassination, the Mahatma still haunts us, almost as if in answer to Sarojini Naidu's broadcast of February 1, 1948: My Father, Do Not Rest. Given that the politics of his assassins grips a section of our ruling class and that malicious propaganda against him continues unabated, we would be doing ourselves a favour by learning more about his final weeks and days of life. Above all, that period manifested both his monumental strength of character and boundless compassion for suffering humanity. As Mary Catherine Bateson once said, "the timing of death, like the ending of a story, gives a changed meaning to what preceded it". If the Mahatma remains relevant today it is because his message of love and non-violence appeals deeply to the human spirit in search for a new way of life. This moving essay by Gopalkrishna Gandhi reminds us of the impact of the news of his passing. DS
Photos:Seventy years ago today

I have no interest in cricket at a…

Saeed Kamali Dehghan - Second woman arrested in Tehran for hijab protest

A second woman has been arrested in Iran for protesting against the country’s compulsory hijab rules after standing on a telecoms box on a Tehran street, taking off her headscarf and holding it aloft on a stick. The protest follows a similar action last month against the country’s requirement that women cover themselves from head to toe in public. Pictures posted on social media on Monday showed at least three other women standing on top of telecoms boxes in Tehran in apparent solidarity with the women, including one near Ferdowsi Square. A widely shared smartphone image of the first protest (the main image above) showed a young woman standing on a telecoms box on Enghelab Street in the centre of the Iranian capital. The woman was later identified as 31-year-old Vida Movahed.
Movahed’s act of resistance coincided with a wave of protests that spread across the country. Although they were not directly linked, her action embodied the aspirations of a movement of young Iranians frustrate…

Death of Judge Loya: Government documents placed before Supreme Court raise more questions, deepen the mystery. By ATUL DEV

Documents submitted to the Supreme Court by the state of Maharashtra as part of hearings regarding the death of the judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya contradict each other on multiple counts. The papers have been submitted alongside a report prepared for the additional chief secretary of the home ministry of Maharashtra by Sanjay Barve, the commissioner of Maharashtra’s State Intelligence Department, or SID. Copies of the documents were handed over to petitioners asking for an investigation into Loya’s mysterious death in Nagpur in 2014. The papers raise further questions about the circumstances of the case, and fail to resolve any of the troubling discrepancies already exposed in the matter by The Caravan. They also suggest a concerted bid to manipulate records to create a narrative that Loya died of a natural heart attack.
सुप्रीम कोर्ट में जज लोया की फाइल, महाराष्‍ट्र सरकार के जमा किए दस्‍तावेज़ों में घपला

The submitted documents include statements from four judges - Shrikant Kulkarni…

America's ‘Law And Order’ Party Has Unleashed An Extraordinary Attack On Law Enforcement

President Donald Trump called himself the “law and order” candidate. Members of law enforcement, Trump said, were the “most mistreated people” in America, and it was time to give them their power back. “We’re going to support you like you’ve never been supported before,” he said in a speech last year. “We love our police and law enforcement ― God Bless them all!” he tweeted last month. FBI agents aren’t feeling the love these days.
Call it the war on G-men. As they’ve run interference for Trump by undermining the special counsel investigation being led by Robert Mueller, some Republicans on Capitol Hill have unleashed broad attacks that suggest the nation’s premier law enforcement agency is tainted by corruption and malfeasance. 
They’ve latched onto a text showing a FBI official joking about a “secret society,” and suggested there was a “deep state” plot to “subvert the will of the American people.” They’ve compared the actions of U.S. law enforcement officers to the KGB, and said t…

Swara Bhaskar writes to Sanjay Leela Bhansali: ‘At The End of Your Magnum Opus, I Felt Reduced to a Vagina – Only'

NB: An excellent and timely critique of Padmaavat from another angle altogether. Well written Swara, and thank you. Lets hope all the great men with moustaches read it. DS


No Sir; Rajasthan in the 13th century with its cruel practices is merely the historical setting of the ballad you have adapted into the film Padmaavat. The context of your film is India in the 21st century; where five years ago, a girl was gang-raped brutally in the country’s capital inside a moving bus. She didn’t commit suicide because her honour had been desecrated, Sir. She fought her six rapists. She fought them so hard that one of those monsters shoved an iron rod up her vagina. She was found on the road with her intestines spilling out. Apologies for the graphic details, Sir, but this is the real ‘context’ of your film. A week before your film released, a 15-year-old Dalit girl was brutally gang-raped in Jind in Haryana; a crime bearing sinister similarities to the rape of Nirbhaya.
You do know that acts like S…

Tavleen Singh: Surreal India

The sickening attack by Karni Sena hoodlums on a school bus last week had a surreal quality when seen from Davos. Our Prime Minister had just left after giving a speech whose gist was that from ancient times India has believed that the world was one single family. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. In a conference whose theme was building bridges in a fractured world, these words of ancient wisdom had real resonance. Then came those images of small children screaming in terror as their teachers urged them to hide under the seats of their bus to escape the stones and glass from broken windows. If the teachers had not been speaking in Hindi, I would have found it hard to believe that the attack was in India and not in some war-ravaged African country.
It was an attack so reminiscent of the kind of thing Boko Haram does that Farhan Akhtar could not have said it better than he did in this tweet. ‘Attacking a school bus is not an agitation. It is terrorism. The people who did this are terrorists. Ple…

Mohsin Hamid: ‘In the land of the pure, no one is pure enough’

Perhaps it is living half your life in Pakistan, for Pakistan is the land of the pure. Literally so: the land, stan, of the pure, pak. Perhaps that is why you have come to question the commonly held perception that purity is good and impurity is bad. For a tribe of humans newly arrived in a location never before inhabited by humans, such an outlook is perhaps sensible. Purity in a stream of water renders it fit to drink. Impurity in a piece of meat sickens those who eat it. Purity is hence to be valued and impurity to be avoided, resisted, expelled. And yet you believe the time has come to seek to reverse, at least partially, the emotional polarity of these two words, to extol impurity’s benefits and denounce purity’s harms.
The issue is, of course, personal. We are each of us composed of atoms, but equally we are composed by time. Since your time has been spent half inside Pakistan and half outside, and your outlook and attitudes shaped by this, you are in a sense half-Pakistani, wh…

Kota Neelima - No one can save Padmaavat(i)

NB: The author if this excellent and timely article, has been threatened by the very same people who claim to defend the honour of women. Their brutish behaviour only proves the point she is making. These strong men are actually a disgrace. Let them investigate the figures for female foeticide in Rajasthan and tell us why they never thought to agitate to protect babies from being murdered. DS
Women in India are in a constant state of war. Women are attacked on roads, in public transport, at homes, offices, classrooms, on social media and even in religious places. They are killed as children, and even as foetuses. Acid is thrown at women’s faces when they reject men, and they are beaten and even burnt to death if they don’t pay dowry to their husbands and their families. Women do not get the same education, opportunities and even the same food as men. Women are neglected, discriminated, assaulted and killed because they are women. That, is the actual state of women in India.
Now, women…

PRESS RELEASE False promises to Indian women and restriction of movement in production for Western garment brands

PRESS RELEASE January 26, 2018
New report: False promises to Indian women and restriction of movement in production for Western garment brands
Utrecht, January 26, 2018 - Female migrants employed in India’s garment factories supplying to big international brands like Benetton, C&A, GAP, H&M, Levi’s, M&S and PVH, are subject to conditions of modern slavery. In Bangalore, India’s biggest garment producing hub, young women are recruited with false promises about wages and benefits, they work in garment factories under high-pressure for low wages. Their living conditions in hostels are poor and their freedom of movement is severely restricted. Claiming to be eighteen at least, many workers look much younger.
These are some conclusions from the report Labour Without Liberty – Female Migrant Workers in Bangalore's Garment Industry. The study found that five out of the eleven ILO indicators for forced labour exist in the Bangalore garment industry: abuse of vulnerability, decepti…

DAGMARA MOSKWA - Rewriting Russian history

In 2015 the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany was celebrated in grand style. During that time, a larger than usual number of Stalin monuments was erected in several cities especially in south-western parts of the country upon the proposal of the communist party.  The communists’ call came after a 2014 law passed by the Duma introduced a criminal penalty for rehabilitating Nazism and criticising Soviet activities during the Second World War. The law stipulates up to five years in prison for ‘lying about history’. Similar steps have been taken with regards to teaching history in schools.
In August 2017 Olga Vasilyeva, who is known for her close ties with the Kremlin and the Orthodox Church, was nominated as the new Russian minister of education and science. She replaced Dmitry Livanov who was considered to be a liberal-minded technocrat. This change came as no major surprise. Livanov’s dismissal from his post had been discussed in the circles close to Putin for s…

"Only love can save those who are infected with anger" - Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich speaks to director Staffan Julén

Belarusian journalist and author Svetlana Alexievich was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for her work documenting the lives of Soviet and post-Soviet citizens. Her latest project, about love, is the subject of a documentary film by Swedish filmmaker Staffan Julén. Here, Alexievich discusses with Julén why she chose the subject, and what drives her work. … Life itself gives birth to all my themes. At first, as you know, it turned into several books. A history of that period of time, the Red time, when the idea mattered most of all. Everyone was infected with the idea, to a greater or lesser extent. Or, at least, they were curbed by it. But everyone depended on it and many believed sincerely in it. In the end, many lost faith. But the idea remained, like an unyielding inner core, a reinforcing steel bar. During this lifetime, the time when the idea ruled, various things happened. I selected the most overpowering, most dramatic events, ones that could shed a light on what kind…

George Soros: Facebook and Google are a menace to society // ‘Trump would like to establish a mafia state’

Facebook and Google have become “obstacles to innovation” and are a “menace” to society whose “days are numbered”, said billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday. “Mining and oil companies exploit the physical environment; social media companies exploit the social environment,” said the Hungarian-American businessman, according to a transcript of his speech.
“This is particularly nefarious because social media companies influence how people think and behave without them even being aware of it. This has far-reaching adverse consequences on the functioning of democracy, particularly on the integrity of elections.” In addition to skewing democracy, social media companies “deceive their users by manipulating their attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes” and “deliberately engineer addiction to the services they provide”. The latter, he said, “can be very harmful, particularly for adolescents”.
Tech's …

Keeping the republic - by Suhas Palshikar

Benjamin Franklin is said to have made this observation on the American constitution: “A republic if you can keep it”. It was as much a comment on ability as it was on intent. Republics are easy to form; they are difficult to sustain. Republics can be sustained in a formal manner more easily than they can be sustained in their content. A majority of the countries claim to be republics but republicanism eludes many of them.
Like every year, the Republic Day this year too would be full of a display of India’s cultural heritage and military might. Cities and states will compete with each other to raise the mast higher to hoist the flag. But the Franklin poser could still not be easily avoided. Our founding fathers gave us a republican constitution but all they could hope was that a civic virtue, necessary for republicanism to strike roots, would be cultivated by the recipients of the benefits of the republic.
Dr Ambedkar warned that “however good a constitution may be, it is sure to tur…

Anti-Semitism is still alive in Germany 70 years after the Holocaust. By Paul Hockenos

The facts jar and perplex ordinary Germans: Seventy years after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is still alive in Germany -- and apparently getting worse. So concerned are Germany's lawmakers, they've just established a high-level commissioner post to fight discrimination against the Jewish community.
Even after decades of rigorous political education and intense, self-critical soul searching, 9% to 10% of Germans express classic anti-Semitic feelings, according to a 2017 report commissioned by the
Bundestag. Many more, up to 50%, harbor more mild anti-Semitic prejudices.

The issue was catapulted to the foreground this year when, in protest against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, demonstrators -- some wavingPalestinian flags -- burned Israel's flag beneath Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and in migrant-rich neighborhoods. The ugly outbursts and a spike in anti-Semitic incidents -- insults, assaults, graffiti -- come against the backdrop of the far right'…

Jojje Olsson - Ignore China's economic muscle and condemn it for kidnapping Gui Minhai

The kidnapping of a foreign citizen in front of accompanying diplomats constitutes a new level of assault, even for China. If the world does not condemn it in the strongest possible terms, it will also represent a new level of submission, encouraging China to continue exporting its repression abroad. Ever since Swedish publisher Gui Minhai was first kidnapped in October 2015, my government’s primary focus in its relations with China has been to increase economic cooperation. Last year, our prime minister, Stefan Löfven, visited China with the largest Swedish trade delegation in decades.
Yet while Löfven claimed he had raised the issue of Gui Minhai behind closed doors, neither he nor anyone else, uttered a single word about Gui in public. The post-trip communique was packed with details about new trade deals and economic cooperation. Not a single line mentioned the Swedish political prisoner who was falling sick behind bars at a secret location far from conventions and banquets. The …

Aung San Suu Kyi lacks 'moral leadership', says US diplomat as he quits Rohingya panel

Bill Richardson, the veteran US diplomat, has resigned from an international panel on the Rohingya crisis, calling it a “whitewash” and accusing the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi of lacking “moral leadership”. Richardson, a former Clinton administration cabinet member, quit as the 10-member advisory board was making its first visit to Rakhine state, from where nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled in recent months.

Aung San Suu Kyi once called for a free press. Now, the dead are used for fake news

“The main reason I am resigning is that this advisory board is a whitewash,” Richardson told Reuters in an interview, adding he did not want to be part of “a cheerleading squad for the government”.

Richardson said he got into an argument with Suu Kyi during a meeting on Monday with other members of the board, when he brought up the case of two Reuters reporters who are on trial accused of breaching the country’s secrets act. He said Suu Kyi’s response was “furious”, saying the case of…

Memphis Barker: Pakistani police chief accused of leading hit squad that murdered dozens

A Pakistani police chief accused of leading a hit squad reportedly responsible for 250 extra-judicial killings was prevented from boarding a flight out of the country on Tuesday as investigators probed the death of an aspiring model the police chief claimed to be a member of the Taliban. Dozens of families have come forward since the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, 27, to claim that Rao Anwar and his lieutenants murdered their relatives over a 10-year reign in the biggest policing district of Karachi, Pakistan’s business capital.
Officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) stopped Anwar at Jinnah airport early on Tuesday. Anwar, along with other police officers, had been accused of serial fake “encounters”, mostly involving Taliban suspects. The father of Naqeebullah, Muhammad Khan, on Tuesday lodged accusations of terrorism, kidnapping and murder against Anwar and his team with Karachi police, the first step towards expected charges being launched in court.
On Sunday, aroun…

January 20, 1948. Mahatma Gandhi's speech at his prayer meeting, where an attempt was made on his life

NEW DELHI, January 20, 1948
Source: CWMG, Vol 90, pp 464-467


Link to Gandhi Heritage Portal
Gandhiji was carried in a chair to the prayer meeting. As the microphone was not working and Gandhiji's voice was feeble the substance of his speech was repeated aloud by Sushila Nayyar.

BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
The first thing I would say to you is that I hope that those who have signed the document have signed it with God as witness. There are still voices being raised in Calcutta expressing the fear that what has happened here may all be a show. If the people of Delhi and the refugees who have come here stand firm, then whatever may happen outside I am certain they will be able to save India as well as Pakistan. Delhi after all is an ancient city and what is achieved in Delhi is bound to have an impact on the whole of India and Pakistan.

If you read carefully what the Sardar has said in Bombay you will realize there is no rift between Pandit Nehru and the Sardar. They may talk in different way…