Sunday, 30 September 2018

War took a heavy toll on her family. Now she is fighting … for Afghan democracy

Zakia Wardak’s family has been fractured and diminished by long decades of war in Afghanistan. Soviet forces killed her father four decades ago, Americans seized and tortured her husband two decades later and her brother was murdered in the capital this past summer.

Yet, somehow, she has not abandoned hope. Relatives abroad begged her to join them after the latest killing. Instead, convinced that Afghanistan can still change, that the peaceful country of her childhood memories can be reclaimed, she has taken a tentative step into the dangerous, notoriously corrupt arena of Afghan politics, running for a seat in parliament.

 “There’s a lot of injustice going on, particularly affecting the younger generation,” said Wardak, a successful engineer who virtually shuttered her business several years ago to focus on health and women’s rights. “If you have a seat in parliament, you can raise people’s voices.” The odds are stacked against her. It is still not clear if the 30 October vote – widely seen as a trial run for an even more high-stakes presidential poll next spring – will go ahead.

The election is already more than three years overdue and mired in controversy. Some opposition leaders want further delays so that biometric checks on voter identity can be brought in. Officials have already quietly dropped plans for a vote in one key province, eastern Ghazni, without bothering to inform voters or provide an explanation... read more:

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Amitabh Bachchan's Comments On Unnao/Kathua Isn't A First, He Has Always Shied Away From Taking A Stand. By Ankur Pathak

It's no secret that one of Hindi cinema's most influential star, Amitabh Bachchan, is also the industry's most feeble voice, especially when it comes to taking a stand on issues of national significance. A master of verbal diplomacy, Bachchan has consistently shied away from explicitly taking a position that directly affects the very society that has made him a megastar.

Being in a position of power that Bachchan is in, comes with a certain moral obligation to use that power responsibly. It's not a lot to expect our stars to call out regressive drivel that gets perpetuated online or otherwise, especially when it affects a member of their own fraternity. Bachchan routinely talks about 'women empowerment' on Twitter, but never in a specific context. For him, it's always been a calculative decision, not a sincere one, like was evident when he wrote an open letter to his granddaughters, talking about women becoming victims of patriarchy, just in time to coincide with the release of his similarly-themed, Pink.

At a press conference in Mumbai to promote his next film, Bachchan was asked about the horrifying rapes in Unnao and Kathua that have rocked the nation. Almost the entire industry (Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Alia Bhatt) has condemned the incident, with actors such as Rajkummar Rao, Patralekha, Swara Bhaskar, producer Ekta Kapoor joining protests demanding swift action from the establishment against the atrocities. However, when it came to Bachchan, he said, 

"Even discussing this issue feels disgusting, don't bring up this issue. It is terrible to even talk about it." Ironically, he is the brand ambassador of the government's 'BetiBachao, BetiPadhao' campaign. That, most certainly makes him accountable, at least as far as having a nuanced, complex response is concerned. Here's when he's bailed on other occasions:... read more:

An ex-CM commits suicide in 2016, alleging corruption in the high judiciary - no probe. A senior judge in a case involving a political heavyweight dies a mysterious death. His family thinks it might be murder & India's pliant media covers it up. What Does the SC Judges’ protest mean for this situation?

NB: Between 1939 and 1941, some 100,000 German men, women and children (prisoners, mental cases, alcoholics), were killed by a group of German doctors under the direction of Dr Werner Heyde, neurologist, at the University of Wurzburg. The means used were lethal injections, poison gas and starvation. Some of the doctors had written false death certificates and co-operated with the authorities to keep the actions a secret. These persons were tried in 1960 in a Hamburg court, and acquitted on grounds of being unaware of the illegality of their actions. One of their elder colleagues had this to say of them: It is true they have a head but its too close to their arse, because they have no backbone: Paraphrased from J P Stern, The Fuhrer and the People, 1992; p 192.  DS

Pehlu Khan lynching case: Sons, other witnesses shot at on way to testify / Constable in UP shoots dead Apple executive in cold blood

NB: At least 67 people have been killed in encounters since 2017, but not a single charge-sheet has been filed nor action initiated against police officers involved. In May, the NHRC directed the state government to constitute a five-member team to investigate 17 of these cases. This is a government of gangsters, for gangsters, and run by gangsters. DS

Key witnesses to the lynching of Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan last year, including two of Khan’s sons, were Saturday fired upon on National Highway 8 in Alwar while on their way to a court in Behror to depose in the lynching case. While police have registered an FIR and assured the family of security for court appearances in the future, Khan’s family said they will move an application to transfer the case to Alwar from Behror before the next hearing.

Asad Hayat, the lawyer representing Khan’s sons, Irshad and Arif, told The Sunday Express that he was in the car with them when a black SUV without number plates tried to force them to stop. “I was in the car with witnesses Azmat (28) and Rafiq (25) and Pehlu’s sons Irshad (28) and Arif (21), along with the driver, Amjad (23). We were going to Behror to depose in Pehlu’s lynching but when we crossed Neemrana, a black Scorpio without a number plate tried to overtake us and make us stop.”

According to Irshad, the men in the black SUV opened fire when they refused to stop. “The vehicle came near and the men inside waved their hands, asking us to stop. They said, ‘roko gaadi’, ‘roko gaadi’ (stop the car). We might have even stopped but didn’t as their vehicle did not have a number plate. Then, their vehicle came closer and the men started hurling abuses at us, telling us to stop at once. They overtook us and then fired at us,” he said… read more:

Lynching of Zafar Khan: No Arrests, No compensation. Another example of justice in shining India

Constable in UP shoots dead Apple executive in cold blood
A 38-year-old Apple executive, Vivek Tiwari, was shot dead early Saturday morning by a police constable in Lucknow after he allegedly tried to evade a routine check. Calling it “excessive use of force”, the Uttar Pradesh Police have arrested two constables based on a complaint by Tiwari’s colleague who was in the car. Tiwari, an Apple sales manager, and the colleague, Sana Khan, were on their way back home when two constables on a motorcycle approached them. According to Khan’s FIR at the Gomti Nagar police station, the car was parked near the City Montessori School in Gomti Nagar Extension.

“…Two policemen came on a motorcycle. We tried to escape them and they stopped us. Suddenly, I heard a gunshot, the car kept moving and it hit the underpass pillar. Blood was pouring from Vivek’s head. I cried for help and soon, a police team came and took Vivek to hospital. Later, I was told that he is dead,” she said in the FIR registered around 5 am... read more:

An ex-CM commits suicide in 2016, alleging corruption in the high judiciary - no probe. A senior judge in a sensitive case involving a political heavyweight dies a mysterious death. His family thinks it might be murder & India's pliant media covers it up. What Does the SC Judges’ protest mean for this situation?

WILL OREMUS - Facebook Can’t Say Why Users Should Still Trust It

On Friday, Facebook announced a massive security breach—probably the most significant in its history. Taking advantage of three separate bugs in tandem, hackers gained full control of at least 50 million users’ Facebook accounts. That meant that, in theory, the users could do just about anything on those accounts: post status updates for you, download your photos, send messages to your friends, download your friends’ nonpublic photos, and much more. Facebook confirmed later on Friday that the breach would have also given hackers access to users’ accounts on third-party apps and websites for which they used their Facebook credentials to log in.

Facebook executives said in a call with reporters Friday afternoon that the company had learned of the attack on Tuesday, notified law enforcement on Wednesday, and had fixed the bugs by Thursday night. But Facebook doesn’t know yet who the hackers were, what they were after, or what they planned to do with any information they might have stolen.

We should learn more in the coming days and weeks about the extent of the breach and the nature of the damage. No doubt the company is investigating it urgently and sincerely. Unlike some other companies that have been the subjects of huge data breaches in recent years, Facebook has always had a reputation for taking infosec seriously. That it hasn’t suffered more breaches like this before now (that we know of), given what an attractive target it presents to hackers, is a tribute to its efforts.

But this attack was so sophisticated that Facebook’s vice president of product, Guy Rosen, said “we may never know” who perpetrated it… read more:

Friday, 28 September 2018

Republicans Will Rue The Day They Stood Behind Brett Kavanaugh

NB: The Republican Party is now led by a gang of racist and misogynist thugs. That Abraham Lincoln's party could be reduced to this is one of the greatest  ironies of history. First they humiliated Anita Hill - with the assistance of Joe Biden - now they humiliate Christine Ford. They cannot accept that women are people. Listen to these women confronting a Republican senator. Will anyone now believe the US Supreme Court to be a neutral arbiter? May God (whose name is imprinted on the almighty dollar bill) have mercy on their souls: DS

There is no question our lives will be altered in ways that right now are immeasurable if Kavanaugh sits on the Supreme Court. All of the gains we’ve made (and that we’ve already seen eroding) for civil rights for women, people of color and LGBTQ people will be rolled back by this extremist-dominated court. There is no question about that. The power of money in politics will be further unleashed. Unions will become even more vulnerable after already suffering crippling blows from this court. The environment will be degraded as regulations are stripped away. Big business, and its greed, will be rewarded. The authoritarian president’s power will be protected.

Today feels similar to the day after the 2016 election. Like many Americans, I feel sick, with a knot in my stomach, after witnessing Thursday’s meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The fact that there may now be a delay on a final Senate vote to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court changes nothing. Even if he goes down, the GOP has made its bed. And the revulsion at seeing Kavanaugh more than likely reach the Supreme Court - after incident after incident after incident seemed to be the turning point on his nomination’s demise - mirrors the way many of us felt about Donald Trump’s election almost two years ago. That in both cases brave women came forward - subjecting themselves to public humiliation, harassment and threatened physical harm - only to have angry white men push their allegations aside isn’t lost on any of us.

The difference, now, is that we’re ready.

We went through terrible shock and grief after the 2016 election and pulled ourselves together. We gathered forces. We marched. Then, we organized and struck back with ferocity at the ballot box. We’ve launched those first salvos, in special election after special election, and more often than not, we have won against all odds. Now comes the big one in November  -  and we’ve been preparing, working hard and waiting with anticipation.

Free speech lifeblood of democracy: HC on Cobrapost sting on media

Calling “free speech” the “lifeblood of democracy”, the Delhi High Court Friday set aside its single-judge order restraining web portal Cobrapost from making public a documentary on various media houses that were allegedly involved in malpractices like paid news, mass polarisation and accepting black money. Holding that “unless it is demonstrated at the threshold that the offending content is malicious or palpably false, an injunction and that too an ex-parte one, without recording any reasons should not be given”, a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and A K Chawla remitted the matter back to the single judge and asked it to hear afresh the question of granting interim relief on the petition of Dainik Bhaskar Corporation (DB) Ltd.

The High Court Friday directed the parties to remain present before the single judge on October 3. Following the ruling, Kotla Harshavardhan, the advocate for Cobrapost, said that “the web portal released the sting operation in view of the judgment in our favour”. “Undoubtedly, the new age media, especially the electronic media and internet posts greater challenges. That per se ought not to dilute valuable right of free speech which, if one may say so, is the lifeblood of democracy,” the High Court said.  The Court further said that the “salutary and established principle in issues that concern free speech is that public figures and public institutions have to fulfil a very high threshold to seek injunctive relief in respect of alleged libel or defamation”.

DB Corporation had sought to restrain permanently the Forum for Media and Literature – a non-profit organisation engaged in investigative journalism, which publishes its investigations on from making public its “Operation 136: Part II”… read more:

Robert Fisk: Take my word for it, the English language is facing destruction

There is, you see, an element of coercion, of correctness – not political but semantic – in this ocean of verbal porn. Who dares question lecture titles like “Contextualising Iranian Accented Cinema – Exilic, Diasporic, Ethnic” at the British Museum? Or suggest that the title of an article in America’s most prominent philosophical journal in 2012 – “On the Supposed Inconceivability of Absent Qualia Functional Duplicates” – might just be a bit over the top. Noam Chomsky, the plain-speaking philosopher and cognitive scientist par excellence, complained to a French newspaper last year that “when I hear words like ‘dialectic’ or ‘hermeneutic’ and other pseudo-profundities, then, like Goering, I reach for my gun”… But if, for example, I read Russell or analytical philosophy, or even Wittgenstein, it seems to me that I can understand what they are saying… On the other hand, when I read Derrida… I do not understand. It’s as if the words were marching past under my eyes. Chomsky called this “charlatanism”.

...Since comedy is an essential part of tragedy, it’s well worth looking at the language which now imprisons us – the “international dictator” – as farce; worthy of scorn, but with its own rip-roaring, maniacal, highfalutin but totally unintended humour. Those who wish to be part of this world – a place of climbing, preferential treatment for those who learn the correct argot, especially if they embrace or encourage “centres of excellence” – have created a special box of words, a “platform” needless to say, which has now been embraced not just by public relations experts but also, alas, by academics, even bishops.... My favourite is “space”. I belong to a generation in which space usually related to Outer Space, in which my British comic hero Dan Dare forever battled the Mekon, the over-brained monster who sought world dictatorship over all science from a levitating chair. More mundanely, “space” was the rather dull word my mum and dad used in furnishing a room. Is there enough “space” for the wardrobe in the upstairs bedroom? But no more. Here, from my personal collection of clippings over 15 years – all can be referenced to the culprits if readers desire – are new uses for “space”:

“A spectacular space in which exploration in depth can take place” (Tony Blair describing a London house in which “interfaith interaction” can occur); “a socially relevant space” (film director Katherine Bigelow talking of her movie work environment); the “spaces created by imperial rule” (Edinburgh University Press on British rule in Aden); “to create a space for alternative thinking and writing” (Denis MacShane on Polish leader Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s cooperation with communist rule); “a functioning commercial space”, “bar-restaurant space”, “non-commercial space”, “public house space”, “two-storey space” and lots of other “spaces” (an English-language Lebanese paper reviewing a cafe in a 19th century Beirut building); “air exhibition space”, “performance space”, and “well-curated space” (all from a Vancouver art gallery brochure); “a reclaiming of space” (an FT reviewer on women in Paris); “a space for different arguments” (an Irish Times feature on a Northern Ireland human rights festival); “to retain a space” (Cambridge historian Hugh Drocon on Nietzsche); and “a radical step change in our development of leaders who can shape and articulate a compelling vision and who are skilled and robust enough to create spaces of safe uncertainty [sic] in which the Kingdom grows” (the Church of England on training bishops).

This very last bit of clerical befuddlement was hoovered up by the Financial Times’ indefatigable Lucy Kellaway, who actually awards gongs for this flannel. She has also discovered “to action forward” and “actioning forward” – business guff which is clearly a cousin of “moving forward”, “moving on”, “seeking closure” and other advice given to traumatised war veterans, mourning relatives or divorce victims. She has awarded prizes for “Nerbs” – nouns pretending to be verbs: “to effort”, “to potentiate”, “to future”, “to language” and “to town hall”. This is addictive. I have only to look at my own archives, in which an IT expert, anxious to ensure that the internet offers “factually accurate content above the ersatz”, informs me that “new internet business models have been … trialled”. We now “rewild” the countryside, while I notice that a women’s equal pay campaigner, asked by The Irish Times last month what she liked to do in her spare time, responded: “I journal every day.” Well, sure. I keep a diary too… read more:

see also
Michiko Kakutani - The death of truth: how we gave up on facts and ended up with Trump
Beginnings and endings

Thursday, 27 September 2018

JOHN HARRIS - American Politics Is Boofed

The Kavanaugh-Ford hearing was a spectacle three decades in the making.  By JOHN F. HARRIS

There have been other days—lots of them, actually, when you stop to count—over the past generation when Washington has had the nation gaping at its screens, squirming at the sight of private lives sliced open for public judgment while simultaneously thrilling to the spectacle of it all. Those earlier are-you-watching-this?! moments, when politics and culture collided on live television amid revelations and recriminations, were inevitably accompanied by furrowed-brow commentary gravely asking, “Where will this all lead?”

Now we know: This all leads to a hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office building, where Brett Kavanaugh and senators of both parties over eight hallucinatory hours on Wednesday served up the distilled essence of a potion - a toxic mixture of foaming malice, self-righteousness and conspiracy theory - that has been brewing for nearly three decades. No single exchange broke new historical ground. Kavanaugh’s furious denials of sexual misconduct and denunciations of his Democratic accusers were no more florid than Clarence Thomas’s similar performance 27 years ago this autumn. Valley Girls would have found the discussion about gang rape and efforts to define 1980s vernacular like “ralphing” (to vomit) and “boofed” (“It refers to flatulence,” the nominee said solemnly, though the Urban Dictionary begs to differ) to be grody to the max. But the proceedings could hardly shock the sensibilities of anyone old enough to remember Bill Clinton’s cigar.

More notable was the casual fluency in which all the Washington actors- Kavanaugh very much among them - spoke in the language of contempt toward their adversaries. The insults and assertions of bad faith - Democrats manipulated the timing of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation going public for political purposes; Republicans are purposefully stifling a full investigation - flowed like second nature. It was Bill Clinton who made famous the phrase “the politics of personal destruction.” His compromised sex life made him far from the ideal messenger but there was little denying his essential point. It was that his generation of baby boomers, who grew up arguing over sex, drugs and Vietnam and never stopped their rancid debate over every dimension of culture and ideology, had developed a style of politics in which the best way to defeat an argument was to say that it flowed from the defective character of the person making it. The opposition was wicked, deceitful—not just wrong-headed but wrong-hearted... read more:

Piyasree Dasgupta: 51 Students Signing A Sexual Harassment Complaint Against A Law Professor

In March this year, a faculty member allegedly called a second-year student of Hidayatullah National Law University to his desk during a class and asked her to dance for him. "I have seen you dancing at parties. Why don't you dance for me here?" the man told the 19-year-old girl. The student told HuffPost India that even as the classroom was stunned into silence, the man kept badgering her.

"You can dance in public places, you can't dance for me?" he is reported to have told her. Shocked, the girl managed to mutter that she was uncomfortable and hurried back to her seat as his booming laughter drowned the silence in the room. The student of the law school in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, had been uncomfortable around the professor since the beginning of the year. She had been routinely mocked for her accent and had to field juvenile comments on her place of origin.

That apart, the professor often called her to his room and revealed details about her whereabouts which convinced the girl that he has been stalking her. "He'd say things like 'you were at Ghari Chowk with your parents on 29 June, buying a stand'. Or 'you went to the mall with a senior'. I was terrified," she told HuffPost India... read more:

Harsh Kapoor: Modi's Idiom and Indian Version of Fascism

First published
Harsh Kapoor interviewed by Andy Heintz; June 2018

Do you see Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of a worldwide trend of country’s electing nationalist leaders around the world? There is an international phenomenon of nationalistic and xenophobic forces that are on the rise in the world. There are some similarities, but considerable local national differences that have driven Modi’s rise. The big common element is creating perceptions of being anti-elite, anti-cosmopolitan, anti-intellectual, and nationalist. The local national conditions are crucial here though there are international factors, the most notable being the role of India’s influential right-wing diaspora from the UK and the USA.

What can the Left do to counter the nationalist appeal of figures like Modi? What mistakes have the Indian Left made that has allowed Modi and his Hindu nationalist party to gain such a foothold in Indian politics?  The long process of rise of the Far right in India has had its own reasons and history can’t simply be attributed to the failures of the Left. The language of Modi is pretty crude, sharp, brazen, uneducated talk – often intended as a spectacle of shock and awe and that appeals to an impatient public. He is a new type of authoritarian leader – different from the old conservative elites of the Hindu right – but he is very much part of the right-wing Hindu nationalist movement, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which dates to the mid-1920s. The RSS, whose founders saw the Nazi final solution against Jews as exemplary and made links with Mussolini to refashion their organization model along Italian lines [1] has been banned thrice since India’s independence in 1947. 

Modi was an RSS ground-level activist for more than 20 years and rose from the ranks to become the three-term chief minister of Gujarat state [2], which saw big pogroms in 2002, that received a huge amount of social support. The RSS believes in majoritarianism and defines Indian Identity as essentially rooted in ‘Hindu culture’, that all other religious groups must lend allegiance to the dominant Hindu-ness. This ideology is one of creating border lines and cleavages along religious lines or camps and creating an imagined glorious history of the past of India – dominated by all things Hindu and creating an atmosphere of suspicion towards the minorities and whipping up fear. It is the India version of fascism. Its growth has been slow and molecular, but widespread across India. [3].

 Man Accused Of Murdering Junaid Khan To Contest 2019 Lok Sabha Election

Modi’s idiom, that of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is part of the old RSS fare, but its dramatic manner of deployment of divisive communal ideology and crude nationalism has had a big social echo in political mobilization certainly starting in 2013-2014. He is popular among large sections of the jet-setting professional class, and also the new entrants to the middle classes who have an axe to grind against India’s eroding democratic institutions, and there is a social consensus for arm-twisting authoritarian ways to deal with social chaos and upheaval.

In the post 1990s liberalization phase, there has been a change in the social composition of the middle classes, and a whole vast new section of the labouring people with poor schooling and limited familiarity with history of the Nehruvian period and the anti-colonial period. The liberalization phase has certainly shifted the social fulcrum to right-wing ideas and neoliberal methods as the route to take. The Nehruvian period has been under attack by BJP and Modi. A mass poisoning of minds – crafting a ‘communalised’ social common sense. The BJP is one party which has had an early organized communication’s strategy, and which has used technology effectively. Upon being denied a visa to travel to the US in 2005, Modi spoke from Gujarat to supporters in Madison Square garden via satellite link video. 

The BJP used the mobile phone messages and personalized calls like no other party, since then they have a special IT cell. The BJP and Modi regime has engineered a whole new technical ecosystem in the Indian context way beyond anything attempted by other parties. Modi has over 20 million followers on Twitter, they use WhatsApp, Facebook, mobiles phones for spreading their propaganda very massively. A number of very big media networks (owned by tycoons close to the BJP) that spread fake news and target liberals also have been used to great effect. BJP adopted hologram technology in pre-election rallies prior to the 2014 general elections creating a new visual register as if in religious mythology seen on TV [4] . Over the past three years, there is a Narendra Modi App available for phones and tablets [5] and people are being encouraged and pushed into using this app with direct messages from the prime minister. A whole new technical ecosystem, that Indian political formations haven’t been used to.

On paper in statements and in its every day discourse, the left is very clearly challenging the Hindu Right, But, oddly it shares a common thread (with right-wing BJP) of disdain for India’s Congress party, a former ruling party now in opposition. The left has long history of being unable to directly mobilize the public to challenge communalism hands on. It has had interminable debate on whether ‘communalism’ is fascism or authoritarianism (or on the character of the Modi regime). It has an old fashioned ‘Comintern’ (Communist International) style take on fascism. It explains it away simply by pointing at connections to capitalist big business interests. The slow sustained work on society by RSS through propaganda, social work and thousands of schools has had a considerable mind shifting influence and cultural appeal on society in India. The RSS has over 50,000 branches in small towns and cities across India that holds daily or weekly meetings.

The RSS of today has become socially acceptable. It has a wide social influence beyond its membership that has a lot to do with BJP having been in government earlier in 1998, 1989-2004 before returning to power again after 2014. Its ‘communal’ project resonates at multiple social levels through multiple entities – it also has infiltrated different arms of the state, the bureaucracy, and particularly the police. It has a vast project of working through educational, cultural spaces and lately through the media. The RSS runs thousands of schools and coaching facilities and has a large student arm in the university campuses. Whenever the BJP wins political power it facilitates the activities of the full network of RSS associate bodies, which include ‘soft’ ones to those on the extreme right that are erroneously described as marginal fringe groups but are a connected with the RSS nomenclature. 

Since Modi took power the institutions of national importance have systematically been taken over by members and supporters of Hindu nationalist organisations (The National film school, The State Broadcaster, National Book Trust, Museums, Archives, Universities). Efforts have been made to intensify the communal campaigns around ‘beef eating’, ‘against interfaith love marriages’ and ‘ghar-wapsi’ (return back to the fold) or conversion to Hinduism of the tribals or indigenous people’ and whip up massive anti-Pakistan, anti-migrant, anti-Rohingya, and anti-Bangladesh hysteria. Muslim citizens and Christians are being labelled as outsiders and foreigners with suspect national loyalties... read more:

see also

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Ramachandra Guha: Narendra Modi’s paradoxical claim on the legacy of Gandhi

The Indian prime minister is linking his name to a man his own mentor despised 
India has established a committee to commemorate next year’s 150th anniversary of the birth of the “father of the nation”, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the members include politicians across party lines as well as some foreign representatives, among them the Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu and Al Gore. Hailing Gandhi as “India’s greatest gift to human-kind”, whose “name finds resonance across the continents”, the committee plans a year-long prog-ramme of celebration, commencing on his birthday, October 2, and ending on the same day in 2019.

Delhi Police Archive on RSS activity in October-December 1947
More threats and lies from the RSS

Mr Modi’s bid to appropriate Gandhi is paradoxical. The prime minister spent most of his formative years in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a hardline Hindu organisation which reviled Gandhi for allegedly being too soft on Muslims. The antagonism between the RSS and Gandhi was at its most intense in the months after August 15 1947, when the subcontinent was freed from British rule but also divided into the separate nations of India and Pakistan. Gandhi went on peace marches and fasts to protect the rights of the millions of Muslims who had stayed in India. He insisted that “India does not belong to Hindus alone”. He told his compatriots that even if Pakistan persecuted its Hindu and Sikh minorities, India “would be betraying the Hindu religion if we did evil because others had done it”. His “basic creed” remained what it had always been - “that India is the home of Muslims no less than of Hindus”.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Arun Shourie: Modi was embracing Hollande then. Is he a liar now?

With former French President Francois Hollande saying the Indian government gave the Rafale manufacturer Dassault no choice but to work with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as an offset partner, the Oppositionclaimed corruption in the fighter aircraft deal has finally been exposed. Both the French government and Dassault have since issued statements, but they do not address the main claim that India pushed for Anil Ambani’s company to get the offset partnership. The Indian defence ministry also released a statement on Saturday, claiming that the government, as a policy, “has no role” in the selection of an offset partner, which is solely a commercial decision of the foreign manufacturer. It too, however, does not directly address Hollande’s claims.

Former Bharatiya Janata Party minister Arun Shourie, who has termed the Rafale deal as the “biggest defence scam ever”, told that the French government’s response to Hollande’s claims was an attempt to save the commercial contract, given Rafale has few takers. He said the Indian government has the authority to change the offset partner in such agreements. Shourie urged the media to “excavate” all the facts and pin down the government. Excerpts from the interview:

On Friday, the French media quoted the country’s former president, Francois Hollande, as claiming that it was the Indian government which suggested Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the Rafale jet maker Dassault’s offset partner. What do you think is the implication of this statement?
He did not say they suggested. He said they left us with no choice. The suggestion was so firm. The first point about this is that it nails yet another lie of this government. They have not yet offered an explanation as to how they changed the deal from 126 planes to 36 planes. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman said we did not have the infrastructure to build 126 planes. But the planes are not going to come today. They will come by 2022. You can spend, by an initial estimate, Rs 1,20,000 crore on one bullet train from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, you can spend Rs 3,500 crore on one statue [Patel’s in Gujarat], you can spend Rs 4,000 crore on advertisements of the prime minister, but you cannot spare money for the infrastructure our air force needs. How much more idiotic can a minister get? 

So, one lie after another. First, the change from 126 planes to 36 planes.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Japan's space rovers send pictures back after first ever successful landing on asteroid

Two tiny robots have landed safely on an asteroid after a Japanese spacecraft dropped them there on Friday. The scientists behind the historic mission expressed their delight as the rovers sent back the first images from the surface of the space rock Ryugu. Dubbed MINERVA-II1, the robotic explorers are the first of their kind to be successfully landed on an asteroid.

The Japanese space agency JAXA announced that both units were operational after a period of silence between the unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa-2 depositing them and connection being established with the team on Earth. “I cannot find words to express how happy I am that we were able to realise mobile exploration on the surface of an asteroid,” said Hayabusa-2 project manager Dr Yuichi Tsuda.

The rovers will use the low gravity conditions on Ryugu to hop across the asteroid’s surface, measuring temperatures and sending images back to Earth via Hayabusa-2... read more:

Lesley McDowell - interviews Yan Lianke: ‘It’s hard to get my books published in China’

Yan Lianke published his first story in 1979 at the age of 21, and has gone on to produce a formidable body of work. Some of Yan’s novels have been banned in his native China for their satirical take on contemporary life, including his latest work, The Day the Sun Died, which had to be published first in Taiwan. The novel, about 14-year-old Li Niannian, who tries to save his fellow townsfolk from themselves during one dreadful night of “dream walking”, has been read in the west as a critique of Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream” of national greatness. Yan has won the Man Asian literary prize and the Franz Kafka prize, has twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker international prize, and has been widely tipped for the Nobel. Born in Henan province, he lives in Beijing, where many of his novels are set.

What was the idea behind the novel?
I had experienced some instances of sleepwalking myself, and I kept seeing reports on my phone of other people sleepwalking. The idea for the novel came from this. I wanted to write about people’s inner worlds, and how they might manifest themselves if they behaved according to their innermost, most secret, desires.

Why did you choose a 14-year-old narrator?
A story like this has to have a certain element of randomness and unpredictability, and if a very switched-on adult was to narrate it, it would be much less believable. But by having an adolescent tell the story, one who isn’t very bright, it becomes much easier for people to believe.

If this novel is a critique of Chinese society, as many believe it to be, was it easier for you to write that kind of critique from the perspective of a more innocent, even rather foolish or simple, narrator?
Yes, by choosing a very innocent, very pure voice, I did find it a good way to discuss things in China that are the most difficult, the most complex things to talk about, the deepest reaches of Chinese people’s hearts. And it was by looking at society through the eyes of such a person that I could describe people behaving in the most basic ways, often in very dark ways. But I could also emphasise the occasional blast of the very opposite of all of that, of great goodness... read more:

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Edward White: The Short, Daring Life of Lilya Litvyak; the world’s first female fighter ace

On June 22, 1941, the Third Reich launched its ill-fated invasion of Russia. It was pestilential in scale; more than three million Axis soldiers swarmed Russia’s borders in a matter of hours, overwhelming Soviet defenses. Hitler regarded the peoples of the Soviet Union to be a subhuman rabble against whom victory was inevitable. But the supposed Untermensch turned out to be ferocious opponents, hardened by decades of deprivation and fueled by an unbending love of country.
Among those supercharged patriots were eight hundred thousand women who volunteered for frontline action, in roles such as snipers, machine gunners, and tank drivers. Nearly two hundred thousand women served in air defense, including those who flew bombers and fighter planes in Air Group 122, at the time the world’s only all-female air-combat unit. It was established in the fall of 1941 by the twenty-nine-year-old navigator Marina Raskova. Thanks to a series of daring long-distance flights undertaken in the late 1930s, she was one of the most famous people in the Soviet Union, and a role model to millions of young women. Yet, Raskova’s reputation was to be surpassed by one of her students: the petite, baby-faced Lilya Litvyak, who became the world’s first female fighter ace, and is better known as the White Rose of Stalingrad. 

Born in Moscow in August 1921, Litvyak knew nothing of the Russia before Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and their revolution. Her parents, Anna and Vladimir, had grown up in the countryside. They moved to the city as newlyweds in 1918, peasants in pursuit of the proletarian dream. They settled in a decent apartment and quickly found work; Anna in retail, Vladimir in a factory, before climbing his way up to a bureaucratic post within the People’s Commissariat of Transportation. Their eldest child, Lilya, had a typical post-1917 education. She entered the Little Octobrists and the Young Pioneers—the Soviet version of the Scouts—before joining the ranks of the Komsomol, the youth branch of the Communist Party. In these organizations, she was inculcated with the belief that the USSR had the ability to alter any aspect of life at will. “It was both possible and necessary to alter everything,” is how the author Raisa Orlova, remembers these times, “the streets, the houses, the cities, the social order, the human souls.” Anna Kiparenko, a Komsomol member, likewise believed she was involved in a profound chapter of history: “Human beings of a new kind were being formed.”.. read more:

‘Her war never stopped’: the Dutch teenager who resisted the Nazis. RIP Freddie Oversteegen

The first thing the Nazis took from Freddie Oversteegen was her bed. Her mother, Trijn, a communist bringing up her children independently in the Dutch city of Haarlem, sheltered Jews, dissidents and gay people as they fled Germany in the 1930s. Oversteegen, who was seven when Adolf Hitler came to power, bunked in with her big sister Truus to make room.
Freddie Oversteegen in 1943, when her innocent appearance made her an invaluable resistance fighter.
It was the start of a struggle that would last until she died on 5 September, the day before her 93rd birthday, in a nursing home not far from where, as teenagers, she and Truus carried out a campaign of assassinations and sabotage against Nazi invaders with pistols hidden in their bicycle baskets.
“If you ask me, the war only ended two weeks ago,” her son Remi Dekker told the Observer. “In her mind it was still going on, and on, and on. It didn’t stop, even until the last day.”

Oversteegen’s war began one Friday in May 1940 with planes roaring overhead and the smell of smoke. Realising the Nazis had invaded the Netherlands, her family began burning their radical literature. Oversteegen, then 14, and Truus, 16, were already used to smuggling refugees and distributing forbidden texts. It wasn’t long before the resistance came to recruit them. Her mother only gave them one rule, Oversteegen once recalled: “Always stay human.”

Oversteegen was petite, and with her twin plaits she easily passed for 12. Her innocent looks made her invaluable as she could slip by Nazi controls unnoticed. The two sisters began as couriers, moving weapons and stealing identity papers to help Jewish people escape. One early assignment was arson – the two burned down a Nazi warehouse, flirting with the guards as a distraction. Soon, they were taken to an underground potato shed and taught how to shoot. Their method was the Dutch equivalent of a drive-by. “My mother drove the bicycle, and Freddie sat on the back and was shooting,” recalled Truus’s daughter, Hannie Menger. “Because they were girls, nobody noticed them.”... read more:

China Treats Uighur Kids As ‘Orphans’ After Parents Seized

ISTANBUL (AP) — Every morning, Meripet wakes up to her nightmare: The Chinese government has turned four of her children into orphans, even though she and their father are alive. Meripet and her husband left the kids with their grandmother at home in China when they went to nurse Meripet’s sick father in Turkey. But after Chinese authorities started locking up thousands of their fellow ethnic Uighurs for alleged subversive crimes such as travel abroad, a visit became exile.  Then, her mother-in-law was also taken prisoner, and Meripet learned from a friend that her 3- to 8-year-olds had been placed in a de facto orphanage in the Xinjiang region, under the care of the state that broke up her family. “It’s like my kids are in jail,” Meripet said, her voice cracking. “My four children are separated from me and living like orphans.”

Meripet’s family is among tens of thousands swept up in President Xi Jinping’s campaign to subdue a sometimes restive region, including the internment of more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities that has alarmed a United Nations panel and the U.S. government . Now there is evidence that the government is placing the children of detainees and exiles into dozens of orphanages across Xinjiang. The orphanages are the latest example of how China is systematically distancing young Muslims in Xinjiang from their families and culture, Associated Press has found through interviews with 15 Muslims and a review of procurement documents. 

The government has been building thousands of so-called “bilingual” schools, where minority children are taught in Mandarin and penalized for speaking in their native tongues. Some of these are boarding schools, which Uighurs say can be mandatory for children and, in a Kazakh family’s case, start from the age of 5. China says the orphanages help disadvantaged children, and it denies the existence of internment camps for their parents. It prides itself on investing millions of yuan in education in Xinjiang to steer people out of poverty and away from terrorism. At a regular news briefing Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the measures taken in Xinjiang were necessary for “stability, development, harmony” and to fight ethnic separatists.. 
read more:

Friday, 21 September 2018

CBI chief Alok Verma under CVC lens after colleague files complaint // 200-Member Government Team Is Watching How the Media Covers Modi, Amit Shah

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Verma is facing Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) probe after a complaint filed by his colleague. Special Director Rakesh Asthana has alleged that Verma has sought to impede his functioning, interfere in investigations and malign his reputation on the basis of unverified facts. The action was initiated by the CVC after Asthana wrote a letter to the Centre. As special director, Asthana heads a Special Investigation Team that is probing high-profile cases such as the Kingfisher and AgustaWestland investigations, among others. According to reports, Asthana has also alleged that Verma asked to call off the planned raids against RJD supremo Lalu Prasad in Patna last year at the eleventh hour. The CVC has initiated a primary inquiry, though the CBI spokesperson has refuted all the claims... read more:

200-Member Government Team Is Watching How the Media Covers Modi, Amit Shah
New Delhi: Located right next to the Central Bureau of Investigation’s headquarters in Delhi is Soochna Bhawan and on its tenth floor is ground zero – the war room from where the government carries out its operation of monitoring television news channels across the country, day after day, 24×7. There’s a 200-member team that does just that. In recent days there’s been a new development, the first of its kind in four years – the cell phones of the monitoring team are now being confiscated right at the entrance. And in a first, their supervisor, an additional director general from the information and broadcasting ministry, has warned them in no uncertain terms that there should not be a repeat of the explosive information breach that occurred recently when details pertaining to the monitoring of the primetime programme, ‘Masterstroke’, were leaked to the programme’s editor.

Members of this monitoring team are subjected to six-monthly contracts despite having worked for several years, and now there is a move to eject the 10-15 individuals who have been demanding permanent employment and a salary hike. There may be dissension over working conditions but there is no confusion about the brief the team members have to follow. The instructions are crystal clear – to prepare daily reports tracking which of the channels show Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, in what manner and for how long. Unable to quell his own yearnings, I&B minister Rajyavardhan Rathore too has a separate report prepared along those lines – which channel shows him, in what manner and for how long... read more:

Thursday, 20 September 2018

After a murder, fearful inter-caste couples dial police for help

Ever since P Pranay Kumar was murdered in Miryalaguda in Telangana on September 14 in a suspected case of honour killing, apprehensive inter-caste couples have started calling up nearest police stations in the state and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The calls increased on Wednesday evening after there was an attack on another inter-caste couple, this time in Hyderabad, by the father of the woman.

Telangana Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy Thursday issued an advisory to Police Commissionerates and District Superintendents of Police to inform all police stations to respond to the calls seriously and take action accordingly. The advisory stated that if the local police officers deemed it necessary, they should immediately provide protection to the couples concerned. Police officers have also been asked to review complaints or petitions given by inter-caste couples earlier, assess the situation and take necessary precautions.

“Callers are seeking information about the laws that can ensure protection for them. They are also asking whether they can apply for police protection and how much will it cost. Some have been giving details of parents or in-laws opposed to their marriage and asking police if they can be warned not to harm them. Some are seeking information on what to do or what precautions to take if they are threatened or feel threatened,” a top Telangana Police officer said.

Telangana Scheduled Caste Commission Chairman Erolla Srinivas said he too had received 40-50 calls since Kumar’s murder, which has seen the arrest of seven persons, including the father of his upper-caste wife, who was angry that his daughter had married a Dalit Christian... read more:

More threats and lies from the RSS

In four years of control over the Indian state, the RSS-led government has driven Indian Muslims and Dalits to despair; and allowed its allies and cadre complete impunity whilst committing heinous crimes. Now its supreme leader is lecturing us on justice: anyone with half a mind can hear the threats in his latest utterances, in the company of the BJP top brass: Ignoring justice could lead to Mahabharat in Ayodhya. In his comments he tells us that allegation and discussions on the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and the demolition of 'that structure' (his name for the Babri Masjid) and "would continue as they are part of the politics". There's no mystery about the demolition: its been avowed by its own members and allies. Bhagwat's cynical statement reminds me of the ethical nihilism of the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt, about whom I commented recently in another context.

This government has protected lynchers; and covered up the death of the judge hearing the case against BJP president Amit Shah. In this case, a relative of the Maharashtra CM threatened a lawyer pursuing the matter. The RSS and its allies have indulged in blatant sabotage of the justice system. In the Bhima Koregaon case, they have misused executive power to protect their cadre. They have secured the dismissal of cases in which their associates were implicated, by causing court records to disappear - see the fate of the Aseemanand case. Meanwhile there have been 67 'encounter' killings since March 2017. V. L. Solanki, the police officer who worked on the Sohrabuddin 'encounter' says the government is trying to silence him: "If a sitting judge can die suddenly, I am just an inconsequential retired police inspector. The government and the police can go to any extent to ensure everyone accused in the case gets a clean chit. They can kill too”.

And as to their claims of tolerance, here are some useful reminders.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Book review: Andersen-Damle book helps RSS perpetuate convenient myths // Shridhar Damle: Modi Gave Idea For RSS Book; Promotions Deliberately Focused On White-Skinned Andersen

Instead of offering objective analysis, Andersen-Damle book helps RSS perpetuate myths 
By Dhirendra K Jha

Every organisation needs a little make-believe sometimes, but the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, it would appear, simply cannot do without it. With its contentious past and dubious present, the RSS has always found it difficult to capture the imagination of India’s Hindu majority. Which is perhaps why it has found it necessary to create and perpetuate myths in its quest for legitimacy. One would expect research by serious scholars to explode such myths. But the book under review, The RSS: A View to the Inside, by Walter K Andersen and Shridhar D Damle, disappoints on this score. This should, however, not be such a surprise for those familiar with the 1987 book by the same authors, The Brotherhood In Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh And Hindu Revivalism. In fact, one could go so far as to say that for the RSS, the new book is as important a milestone in its elaborate public relations campaign and outreach programme as the earlier one was.

This raises a question: Have the authors played into the hands of the RSS? Although Andersen and Damle purport to offer readers a solid analysis of the RSS’s growth and expansion during the last three decades, their new book falls short of exploring several aspects of the episodes it has based its conclusions on. Far from questioning the organisation’s many problematic assertions and examining them threadbare, the authors actually present them as conclusions arrived at after thorough research and objective analysis. In many cases, they provide no source for their material, or use dubious sources.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Oxford University's Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme comments on Venkat Dhulipala

I will open this comment with an anecdote. Some months ago, whilst exercising in the gym I visit, the senior trainer was talking politics with someone. He is a friendly individual and I normally do not converse whilst exercising. He happens to be an admirer of Narendra Modi. On this occasion, Modi was in election mode and the communal signalling quite blatant. I felt compelled to interject and say that it was unacceptable for the PM to spread hatred amongst Indians. He paused a bit and then (with a hint of shame) said, “Yeh toh politics hee hai sir.’ (‘But this is only politics, sir’).

Oxford University's Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme (CSASP) has circulated  a comment on Venkat Dhulipala's attendance at a seminar in Chicago organised by the World Hindu Congress; which to the best of my knowledge is an RSS front [Here is a link to the talk in Chicago by Venkat Dhulipala
]. The comment has been endorsed by others; and seeks to re-circulate Faisal Devji's review of Dhulipala's book Creating a New Medina (2014). The innuendo is that Dhulipala's attendance at the seminar proves his sympathy with Hindutva ideology; and underlines the correctness of Devji's criticism in that review. 

In 2014, I spoke at a seminar on fascism organised by the Jamaat-i-Islami Hind at their campus in Abul Fazal Enclave in Delhi. In my view, the Jamaat represents an important strand in Islamo-fascist ideology. In March 2013 it joined mass demonstrations in Kolkata in support of the Bangladeshi war crimes accused, who were members of its Bangladeshi counterpart. Vicious statements were made against Sheikh Hasina. It has organised hateful demonstrations against Taslima Nasrin , curtailed her right to speak at public events; and hosted homophobic seminars. To my mind, its ideals and activities are as reprehensible as those of the RSS. Nonetheless, if the Jamaat invites me to speak my views, I will do so. In 1988 the ABVP (another RSS front) invited me to speak on the Tamas serial. I asked them to invite my friend Purushottam Agrawal instead, which they did - here's a report on the repercussions of that seminar.

Betwa Sharma - 90-Year-Old Won't Give Up Until Yogi Adityanath Faces Trial For The 2007 Communal Violence In Gorakhpur

"The law is above all else," said Rashid Khan who, on Tuesday, finally saw some progress in his nearly decade-long battle to hold Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath accountable for the communal violence that hit Gorakhpur in 2007.  After nearly ten years, the Supreme Court directed 
the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Gorakhpur to pass the appropriate order with respect to Khan's complaint accusing Adityanath of giving a provocative speech that led to a Hindu mob attacking the Sayid Mir Hassan Qadri dargah on January 27, 2007.

Khan, who was then the caretaker of the dargah, is now 90 years old and partially paralysed. Adityanath is a five-time Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Gorakhpur. The partial paralysis and a recent fracture made it hard for Khan to speak with HuffPost India for long, but he framed short sentences over the phone. "I'm doing this for my religion, I'm doing this for the Koran which was burnt, and I'm doing this because every person should be equal before the law. If someone does something wrong then he should be held accountable no matter how powerful," he said.

Recalling the terrifying events of January 2007, Khan said that he watched rioters loot and burn the dargah which he had guarded since he was 12 years old. "I was hiding behind a very old peepal tree inside the dargah. They burnt the Koran, they burnt the sheets inside the dargah...," he said.
In 2007, an FIR was registered against several persons including Adityanath on charges of rioting, trespassing on burial places, defiling a place of worship and promoting enmity between groups. After the Uttar Pradesh police said they had sanction from the government to prosecute under Section 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code for promoting enmity between groups, one of the accused convinced a revisional court that there was a problem with a signature on the order. The Allahabad High Court did not set aside the order of the revisional court. Khan then challenged the Allahabad High Court's order in the Supreme Court. Reacting to the Supreme Court order, Khan said, "I will not give up on this until I am alive."

In a separate case related to the 2007 communal violence, the Supreme Court has directed the Adityanath government to explain why the chief minister should not be prosecuted for allegedly inciting communal violence in Gorakhpur. In May 2017, shortly after the BJP swept to power in UP, the Adityanath government refused to grant sanction to prosecute five BJP leaders including Adityanath on charges of inciting communal violence in 2007. Earlier this year, it also began the process of withdrawing cases in connection with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. In 2013, while appearing in the popular television programme Aap Ki Adalat, Adityanath admitted 
making a  provocative speech in 2007. On Adityanath becoming chief minister, Khan said, "He has become powerful and he can hurt us if he wants to, but I'm not afraid.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Jackson Lears: Aquarius Rising

Revisiting the Sixties leads to a sobering conclusion: everything has changed, and nothing has changed.
Certain years acquire an almost numinous quality in collective memory - 1789, 1861, 1914. One of the more recent additions to the list is 1968. Its fiftieth anniversary has brought a flood of attempts to recapture it - local, national, and transnational histories, anthologies, memoirs, even performance art and musical theater. Immersion in this literature soon produces a feeling of déjà vu, particularly if one was politically conscious at the time (as I was).

Up to a point, repetition is inevitable. Certain public figures and events are inescapable: the tormented Lyndon Johnson, enmeshed in an unpopular, unwinnable war and choosing to withdraw from the presidential stage; the antiwar candidacies of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy; the intensifying moral challenges posed by Martin Luther King; the assassinations of King and Kennedy; the racially charged violence in most major cities; the police riot against antiwar protesters (and anyone else who got in their way) at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; the emergence of right-wing candidates - George Wallace, Richard Nixon - appealing to a “silent majority” whose silence was somehow construed as civic virtue. And the anticlimactic election: the narrow defeat of Hubert Humphrey by Nixon, who promised to “bring us together” without specifying how.
What togetherness turned out to mean was an excruciating prolongation of the war in Vietnam, accompanied by an accelerating animosity toward dissent. The effort to satisfy the silent majority by exorcising the demons of 1968 would eventually lead to the resurgence of an interventionist military policy, the dismantling of what passed for a welfare state, and the prosecution of a “war on drugs” that would imprison more Americans than had ever been behind bars before.

Revisiting this story is important and necessary. But difficulties arise when one tries to identify who those demons actually were. The conventional accounts of radical protest all feature the usual suspects: Tom Hayden, Mark Rudd, Abbie Hoffman, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Black Panthers, the Maoists, the Yippies, the devotees of Che. According to this narrative, nearly all the white protesters are privileged draft dodgers from a northern tier of universities that stretched from Cambridge and New York through Ann Arbor and Madison to Berkeley. As hopes for electing an antiwar president fade, they descend into pseudo-Marxist posturing and self-destructive fantasies of violent revolution. A few hapless Weathermen, sectarian spinoffs from the SDS, provide a coda to this story by blowing themselves up in a Greenwich Village townhouse in 1970.

This account provides a comforting balm for supporters of status quo politics, but it misses the larger meanings of radical protest—its pervasiveness, its heterogeneity, above all its religious roots and significance. The religious dimension of American radicalism was what separated it from the student uprisings in Paris and other European cities during the spring of 1968. American radicals lacked the anticlerical animus of Europeans; priests, rabbis, and ministers enlisted in the front ranks of the civil rights and antiwar movements. King’s decision to bear witness against the war was central to legitimating resistance to it, while provoking government counterattacks as well as denunciations from both liberals and conservatives.

“Religion” may be too solemn a word for many 1960s radicals, but it helps to capture the depth of their motives: above all their longing for a more direct, authentic experience of the world than the one on offer in midcentury American society. What made radicals mad, what drove their deepest animus against the war, was their sense that it was a product of the same corporate technostructure—as John Kenneth Galbraith called it in The New Industrial State (1967)—that reduced everyday life to a hamster cage of earning and spending. The tribunes of the technostructure were men like Robert McNamara, who shuttled from the Ford Motor Company to the Defense Department to the World Bank, and who seemed to know everything about managerial techniques but nothing about their ultimate purpose, if indeed there was one. Elite managers were the high priests of an orthodoxy with a blankness, a vacancy, at its center... read more:

Monday, 10 September 2018

PRESS RELEASE - Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti - September 10, 2018


Subject: Life of Pandits of living in Kashmir Valley is put on risk to divert attention from Article 35-A and Article 370

Right now State of Jammu and Kashmir is facing political instability and amid this political chaos the news item telecasted by National Media about the so called threat to the Kashmiri Pandits living in Kashmir Valley is aimed to increase the trust deficit among the population living in the Valley.

KPSS strongly believe that the religious minuscule minority (Kashmiri Pandit) who so ever is living in Kashmir Valley is living of his own and the kind of relationship maintained within their respective neighborhood. It seems that the news item about life threat to the religious minuscule minority (Kashmiri Pandit) in Kashmir Valley is a hoax pre-planned conspiracy and is aimed to sacrifice the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir Valley to gain some vested interest political mileage and to distract people’s attention from the issues related to Article 35-A and Article 370. It also seems that by sacrificing the religious minuscule minority (Kashmiri Pandit) in Kashmir Valley, the vested interest agencies who are planning to do this heinous crime, want to justify the removal of Constitutional Articles, which give special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, before the world bodies.

Since the news items was flashed in the National Media, at some places in Kashmir Vallley, some un-scuplous elements who belongs to the local Majority Community are creating communal tension and are causing harrasment and threat to the local Kashmiri Pandit population while these elements openly telling the people that if these Kashmiri Pandits would not had continued to live in the Valley, the Security Forces would not had come during the night hours to disturb the Majority Community living in the area. Now, the onus also lie on the local Majority Community who always claim tall to say that the Kashmiri Pandits should return to their native places but on the contrary are unable to stop these un-scruplous elements with vested interests who want to permanantly damage and dislodge the Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley.

The religious miniscule minority (Kashmiri Pandits) have full faith in the masses and more particularly on their respective neighborhood, who always stand at the hour of need and will not allow past mistakes to happen again which can permanently damage the social fabric of Kashmir Valley. We believe in unity against those trying to destroy our existence in Kashmir Valley.

It is impressed upon all the Kashmiri Pandit residents living in Kashmir Valley to remain cautious and if they see or feel anything untoward in their respect areas of residence, they should beat their roof tops to inform their immediate neighborhood about the security issue. Also we request the majority Community to attend the call of distress after hearing the noise created by beating of roof tops by their immediate Kashmiri Pandit neighbor.

Sanjay K .Tickoo
President (KPSS)

Mansoor Anwar on Comrade Abdul Sattar Ranjoor (1917-1990)