SACW | 21 Nov. 2005

Harsh Kapoor aiindex at
Sun Nov 20 19:42:57 CST 2005

South Asia Citizens Wire | 21 Nov, 2005 | Dispatch No. 2179

[ Interruption Notice: There will be no SACW dispatches between 22 - 28
November 2005 ]

[1] Pakistan: Karachi-based radio station closed for broadcasting BBC
earthquake programme
[2] India: The law: congealed colonialism (Arvind Narrain)
[3] India: Singular Girl Child - Indira Gandhi does not deserve the
praise she gets (Rudrangshu Mukherjee)
[4] India: A cult and a campaign (J Sri Raman)
[5] India: Letter to the Editor (Mukul Dube)
[6] Film Review: India: Manipur Under the Shadow of Guns (Nishat Sultan)
[7] November December 2005 issue of Himal Southasian
[8] Upcoming Events:
(i) Fundraising reception in support of 3 million victims of the South
Asia Quake (New York, Nov. 28)
(ii) Peace and Harmony March (Kannauj to Ayodhya - 21 Nov to 6 Dec, 2005)


Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières
Press release

18 November 2005

Karachi-based radio station closed for broadcasting BBC earthquake programme

The closure of Karachi-based radio station Mast FM 103 for
retransmitting a BBC World Service programme in Urdu about Pakistan’s
recent earthquake was a “disproportionate” sanction, Reporters Without
Borders said today, calling on the authorities to allow the station to
resume broadcasting at once.

The press freedom organisation also condemned the fact that two
Pakistani satellite TV stations, Rang and Vibe, have been threatened
with sanctions if they do not stop carrying “foreign programmes.”

“It is true these radio and TV stations do not have appropriate licences
but all they did was exercise their right to inform,” Reporters Without
Borders said. “By preventing the Pakistani media from using quality news
programmes, the regulatory authorities are applying archaic regulations
without considering listeners’ and viewers’ interests.”

Police in the southern city of Karachi seized Mast FM 103's transmitter
and antennae on 14 November. Accompanied by representatives of the
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), police also
raided the station’s studios and closed them down. The daily newspaper
Dawn quoted a journalist as saying the police insulted several of the
station’s employees.

The authorities said they acted after the station retransmitted a
special programmme on the recent earthquake in northern Pakistan that
had been produced by the Urdu-language section of the BBC World Service.

We have already taken measures against the station in the past for
broadcasting foreign programmes,” Dawn quoted a PEMRA official as
saying. “But the management went to the courts and the high court’s
orders were clear – no radio station may broadcast this kind of
programme. The station broke the law and we had to close it.”

The BBC World Service was forced in March to put an end to the
re-transmission of its Urdu-languague news bulletins by Mast FM 103 in
Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad. The PEMRA had threatened the
station with sanctions at the time.



Kashmir Times
November 20, 2005

The law: congealed colonialism
By Arvind Narrain

The Emergency is often seen as a moment of darkness in an otherwise
exemplary history of a State committed to securing basic freedoms to its
citizens. Brutal human rights violations committed under the sanction of
draconian laws is seen as an unfortunate part of the history of a State
that is otherwise, simply put, the `world's largest democracy'.
However, this exclusive focus on 1975-77 sometimes obscures the deeper
colonial legacies and post-colonial excesses that also need to be taken
into account in any understanding of the Indian democracy.
What links India in 2005 to the India of the colonial era is a
remarkable continuity in colonial laws. There is no sense post-1947 that
the people are sovereign and have given unto themselves the
Constitution, which is a document premised on the notion that all
individuals have fundamental rights to life, equality and dignity.
K G Kannabiran - eminent human rights lawyer and president, People's
Union for Civil Liberties - captures this brilliantly in his account of
the trial of A K Gopalan, the veteran communist leader. On the same day
that Nehru made his famous 'tryst with destiny' speech, Gopalan, who was
the sole prisoner held in solitary confinement (all other prisoners
having been released), decided to celebrate Independence Day by walking
the length of the jail carrying the national flag. For this act, he was
produced before the additional district magistrate on charges of
'sedition against His Majesty, the Emperor'. Gandhi and Tilak had been
charged with the same offence; the only difference was that this trial
was being held in independent India.
Kannabiran ('The Wages of Impunity', 2004) concludes from this somewhat
farcical situation that, "Governance [for the magistrate and public
prosecutor] was a continuous process and the principles of governance
set up by the British in India were seen as appropriate and relevant for
free India. The advent of independence was just an event which did not
disturb continuity; it did not announce a change in the existing social
This example clearly illustrates the fact that structures set up by the
colonial regime - to control colonial dissent - have never been
fundamentally interrogated in independent India. If anything, these
repressive laws were repromulgated under newer and newer titles to
continue to suppress dissent.
Beginning from the Maintainance of Internal Security Act (MISA) in the
Emergency era to the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) and
the present Unlawful Activities Act, these laws illustrate the
phenomenon of expanding State lawlessness in the contemporary era. Thus,
while there is no national emergency, many regions - and the people - of
India continue to bear the brunt of neo-colonial governance through the
panoply of repressive laws.
To take up just one illustration of this phenomenon of state
lawlessness, one merely needs to examine the State's reaction to the
Khalistan movement in Punjab from 1984-1994. The operation of TADA
allowed the State to exterminate people under the guise of fighting an
emergency. 'Reduced to Ashes' (2003), a report by Ram Narayan Kumar and
others, documents the work of human rights martyrs such as Jaswant Singh
Kalra, who made valiant efforts to make the Indian State accountable to
its people. Kalra examined the records of crematoria and realised that
there were over 25,000 unclaimed bodies in Punjab, thereby raising the
question of mass human rights violations by the State. The Northeast,
Andhra Pradesh and many other parts of India will have similar stories
to tell.
Colonial continuity is not just in the way the State treats
self-determination struggles, but also in the way it deals with
questions of personhood. If today, women in India continue to deal with
laws that do not permit the full expression of their personality,
colonial laws have a lot to answer for. The conceptualisation of women
as the property of their men to do with as they please is most apparent
in the law on adultery, where the husband can prosecute the 'lover' for
tampering with his 'property'. The law on marital rape, wherein rape
within marriage (provided the wife is over the age of 15) is no offence,
is another example. Both these laws are a colonial inheritance. When it
comes to issues such as marital rape, even the latest Law Commission
recommendations - well into the 21st century - still express the fear
that recognising marital rape would "disturb the family".
Also tied to the colonial legacy are the rights of homosexuals, who
continue to be second class citizens because of the existence of Section
377, Indian Penal Code, which criminalises what it quaintly calls
'carnal intercourse against the order of nature'. This provision has
been used as a tool by the post-colonial State to harass, persecute and
torture those of a different sexual orientation. The micro-fascism of
the State in its everyday manifestations is most visible in the way the
law enforcement machinery deals with examples of gender non-conformity
by the hijra and kothi community.
What is troubling about the history of colonial continuity is that we
are talking about laws and institutions from an era that specifically
meant to keep down a subject people, in an era when those people are
themselves the sovereign. The imagination of the Constitution is not
just to free a people from subject status, but also to enable the full
development of a person's personality, free from constraints of class,
caste, gender or sexual orientation/gender identity.
The contemporary era has failed in this second respect, leading to a
proliferation of social struggles raising the question of democracy in
its widest sense.
Parliamentary democracy, with its entrenched channels, is totally
inadequate in representing the democratic struggles of the diverse
peoples of India. To take one example, in the debates in the Maharashtra
Assembly on the Bill prohibiting dance bars, there was not even an
acknowledgement of the fact that the dance girls - whose profession was
to be prohibited - had serious livelihood concerns. The House chose to
concentrate on the supposed 'moral evil' that they perceived the girls
as representing. The remoteness of the debates of the House from the
women's livelihood concerns prompted Flavia Agnes to title her critique
of the House's response, in a newspaper article, 'The house of depravity'.
To get a true sense of the democratic urges and aspirations of the
Indian people, one needs to be attentive to the myriad struggles being
waged in the streets - all of which stand in noisy testimony to the fact
that, 55 years down the line, the Indian State is far from fulfilling
its constitutional promise. It can be said of our rulers, as George
Orwell presciently observed in 'Animal Farm', "The creatures outside
looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again;
but already it was impossible to say which was which."
*(The author is a founder member of Alternative Law Forum; faculty
member, National Law School, Bangalore; and co-author of 'Because I Have
A Voice: Queer Politics in India.)
-(Courtesy: WFS)



The Telegraph
November 20, 2005

- Indira Gandhi does not deserve the praise she gets from loyalists
by Rudrangshu Mukherjee

Birthdays are important to Indians. They form the basis of drawing up
the horoscope of an individual. But the importance of the birthday does
not end there. If, thanks to the blessings of the horoscope, the
individual becomes famous, then the birthday becomes an occasion for
celebration. Given the proneness to exaggeration among Indians, such
celebrations can often be a trifle over the top.

Take the example of the advertisement that was splashed in yesterday’s
newspaper. The advertisement, issued by the ministry of human resource
development, commemorates the birthday of Indira Gandhi. It describes
her as “the most illustrious single girl child in our history’’. Pause a
moment to think of the claim that is being made before the entire
country and to its history by a responsible ministry. One single
individual has been selected as the most illustrious and distinguished
single girl child from a span of more than 2,000 years of history.

Indira Gandhi, by any reckoning, was a redoubtable woman who had an
extraordinary childhood. She was the only daughter of a very
distinguished father and a remarkable mother. Her father, Jawaharlal,
was often away for political work and, what was worse, he was also
frequently imprisoned by the British for very long periods. Her mother,
Kamala, was not always very well, and her ill health may not have been
unrelated to the fact of her being a complete misfit in the Nehru family
in Allahabad. The Nehrus, as a result of a conscious decision on the
part of the patriarch, Motilal, were very anglicized in their social
mores. Motilal’s children all had English nicknames, Jo, Nan and so on.
He sent Jawaharlal to Harrow to become a wog. But when it came to
choosing a wife for his son, he chose a middle class Kashmiri girl,
whose father owned a flour mill. Kamala spoke only Hindi and Urdu and,
before her marriage, had to be brought to Allahabad and given lessons in
deportment. She never did bridge the social barrier that existed between
her and the Nehru family. Her sisters-in-law often ridiculed her lack of
social graces. It is said that Indira carried memories of the slights
her mother had to endure.

Indira’s childhood was lonely in the family mansion, Anand Bhavan. Given
the circumstances, she was probably not happy enough to enjoy the
innocence of childhood. The affluence of the family was obvious but it
was overshadowed by the demands of nationalism, which claimed her
father, grandfather and even her mother. There were compensations. She
came to know Mahatma Gandhi very closely and received his affection. She
was also the recipient of the most unique set of letters that any child
has had the good fortune to receive from a father. Acutely conscious
that he was neglecting his daughter, her education and her upbringing,
Jawaharlal decided in 1928, when she was in Mussoorie and he in the
plains, to write to her a series of letters to introduce her to history.
The letters covered the origins of the earth, the beginnings of life and
prehistory and moved on to the formation of classes, the coming of the
Aryans and the development of organized religion. He had to discontinue
the series as the stress of politics made impossible the writing of
letters to a growing daughter. The letters were sensitive and informed.
They remain, as Letters from a Father to his Daughter, one of the finest
introductions to history.

Indira’s childhood in its loneliness, in its enforced separation from a
dynamic and sensitive father, in its exposure to the tensions operating
within the household and in the short-lived attempt made by her father
to educate her, was definitely one that was out of the ordinary. But
there were other girls in many other parts of India who, on a different
register and scale, had had similar experiences: the loneliness of a
single daughter, the aloofness of a father, and the humiliation suffered
by a mother in the hands of in-laws. The affluence of the Nehrus, the
political atmosphere of Anand Bhavan, the closeness to Gandhi and above
all the letters she received from her father made Indira’s childhood

Yet there is nothing in Indira’s childhood that quite merits the
adjectives illustrious and distinguished. She was by no means
outstanding in anything in her school. In fact, if her subsequent record
in Oxford and in Santiniketan is any indication, she was indifferent to
the rewards of formal education. Both places — Oxford because of its
scholarly ambience, and Santiniketan because of the presence of
Rabindranath Tagore and other distinguished faculty members — offered
opportunities for pursuing academic excellence. But Indira rejected
them. It is not known if this rejection grew out of a deliberate choice
(sounds unlikely) or from a psychological inability to respond to the
discipline that the serious pursuit of academics demands. There is also
no evidence that Indira, as a child, was gifted in terms of creativity
or any other talent. In fact, she comes across as an introverted and shy
child. There were no signs of the charisma that came to be associated
with her later on in life. The single girl child Indira was singularly
undistinguished and even anonymous.

So what is it that makes the human resource ministry heap superlatives
on the single girl child, Indira? It is a retrospective act. The
achievements of Indira’s adult life are made to shine on her childhood.
It is thus also an act of myth-making.

What was there in Indira’s adult life that makes her the most
distinguished in India’s long history? The achievements obviously relate
to her prime ministership. She came to be prime minister somewhat before
she expected because of the sudden death of Lal Bahadur Shastri. But she
came to wear the crown of power as if it were her birthright. Over her
tenure as prime minister fell the shadow of the Emergency, the only
threat to democracy that the Indian republic has had to suffer. The
Emergency was nothing more than an attempt on her part to perpetuate her
own and her family’s power. An attempt to destroy — or if that is too
strong a word, then undermine — democracy does not really merit any kind
of superlative.

But let us keep the Emergency to one side. There were other things that
Indira Gandhi did as prime minister that actually do not merit any
recommendation, since they are all against the principles of Indian
democracy. To take a few examples: the centralization of power in the
prime minister’s office carried out by her principal adviser, P.N.
Haksar; the promotion of an active judiciary; the appropriation of
intellectuals through an elaborate system of patronage and nepotism; the
nexus between politics and business; the covert encouragement given to
corruption in public life; the complete erosion of scruples and
integrity among the political class; and the use of religion to gain
political leverage. All of these have become part of India’s polity and
all of them date back to the Indira Gandhi era in Indian politics.

This is not a record that can engender encomiums of the kind the human
resource ministry has put on print. Indeed, the advertisement points to
another contribution of Indira Gandhi to India’s politics — chamcha culture.

Oscar Wilde once famously said that no man becomes like his mother, that
is their tragedy; all women become like their mothers, that is their
tragedy. Taking a cue from that, one is tempted to say that Indira did
not become like her mother, that is India’s tragedy. Heaven forbid that
Indira Gandhi should become a role model for children in India. At the
same time, let us hope that no single girl child should have as lonely a
childhood as Indira Priyadarshinee.



The Daily Times
November 16, 2005

A cult and a campaign
by J Sri Raman

The RSS courtship of the Congress may have received overt public support
in the recent period from the VHP and other proud members of the
‘parivar’. But it is nothing new. The Advani camp is only trying to take
belated advantage of a fact that the political front of the ‘parivar’
has always lived with

Less than two months ago, the mainstream Indian media announced an end,
for at least the time being, to the bickering in the Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) and between the party and the parivar (the far-right
‘family’). The announcement was obviously premature.

In September, at the BJP national executive meeting in Chennai, party
president Lal Krishna Advani declared his decision to step down by end
December. The parivar, as pundits saw it, had prevailed. The Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the patriarch of the family, had shown the door
to the party leader who had defied it by making unacceptably friendly
observations earlier as Pakistan’s official guest. His parting shot at
the RSS, which he accused of undue interference in the BJP’s
functioning, was perceived as only the unavailing plaint of a defeated

What the media now sees, however, is an Advani kicking and screaming as
he is carried to the door. And that whimper against the RSS is being
sought to be up-scaled into a war cry. The ideological mentor of the
party is now being accused of acting like a covert accomplice of its
main political enemy.

The second-rung party leaders close to Advani have seized upon recent
statements by some luminaries of the RSS to project it — hold your
breath — as an agent of the Congress. In these statements, RSS chief KS
Sudarshan and others had, for no apparent reason, raised the issue of
succession to Advani again and stressed the need for a “collective
leadership” in the party as an advance upon the personality cults of
Atal Bihari Vajpyee and Advani.

In an aggressive answer to the charge, the BJP president’s men have let
the media know that the RSS observations were meant to help the Congress
and its United Progressive Alliance (UPA). The Advani camp has been
quoted as asserting: “They do this every time the BJP launches a
campaign against the UPA”.

The campaign in question is the one the BJP claims to have unleashed on
the issue of the Paul Volcker Committee report on the alleged
oil-for-food scam which has caught former External Affairs Minister K
Natwar Singh in a tight net of controversy and reduced him to a minister
without portfolio. We need not go here into the merits of the case,
entrusted to a judicial inquiry. But the apprehensions raised by the US
involvement have somewhat offset the suspicions over the alleged roles
of Natwar Singh and other Indian players in the affair.

Even to impartial observers, it is this international factor, and not
the RSS role in BJP factionalism, that would seem to be running counter
to the party’s campaign on the issue. BJP critics, however, are not
talking of this issue alone when they speak of the RSS “doing this every
time”. They also perhaps allude to the party’s earlier campaigns on the
“breakdown of the constitutional machinery” in Bihar and the “tainted
ministers” in the Manmohan Singh government, neither of which snowballed
into a significantly large opposition offensive.

True, the RSS has been concentrating its fire upon the Vajpayee-Advani
leadership of the BJP during these campaigns. But the resentment in the
BJP at the RSS role has deeper roots as well. Sudarshan has revived long
and bitter memories in the party by repeatedly paying tributes in all
his recent statements to Indira Gandhi. His remark about her being “the
best Prime Minister India ever had” received enthusiastic endorsement
from Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Giriraj Kishore who added the
entertaining rider that she was “a he-man”. The fulsome praise for the
former prime minister who “broke up Pakistan”, however, did not quite
amuse the BJP, and the party was only partially mollified by the
subsequent RSS clarification that Vajpayee was also “a good prime minister”.

The RSS has always denied that its then chief Bhaurao Deoras wrote a
letter of abject apology combined with ardent praise to Indira Gandhi
from jail during the Emergency of the mid-seventies. Sudarshan, however,
is in no position or mood to deny his public statement glorifying the
former prime minister as the country’s only “leader of guts”.

The RSS has also had kind words for some other Congress leaders, though
it might not have gone into raptures over them as in Indira’s case. It
has time and again projected Lal Bahadur Shastri as an ‘Indian’ in
contrast to his predecessor Jawaharlal Nehru, whom it continues to
consider the country’s worst prime minister ever. The RSS has also
recorded its special esteem for former PV Narasimha Rao, making him
appear its accomplice in the crime of the Babri Masjid demolition.

And, of course, the RSS talks of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, the deputy
prime minister under Nehru, as one of its own. In better times, it had
even approved of Advani’s appropriation of Patel’s title of ‘Iron Man’.

The RSS courtship of the Congress may have received overt public support
in the recent period from the VHP and other proud members of the
parivar. But it is nothing new. The Advani camp is only trying to take
belated advantage of a fact that the political front of the parivar has
always lived with.

It is significant that the RSS has revived its Indira cult in the wake
of its anti-Advani campaign. Both the cult and the campaign are related
to the RSS outlook on Pakistan. This reinforces the view, argued in
these columns earlier, that the RSS role in the BJP’s affairs is aimed
at creating an effective opposition in the country to the people-driven
India-Pakistan peace process.

The Congress is not amused, either, at the RSS tributes to Indira. What
should upset the party more is the eloquent RSS silence over the Volcker
report and other issues on which the BJP and its allies seek in vain to
whip up an agitation. It is time for the Congress to start asking itself
whether it is not doing something wrong.

The writer is a journalist and peace activist based in Chennai, India



Letter to the Editor

D-504 Purvasha
Mayur Vihar 1
Delhi 110091

21 November 2005

*The Religious Demography of India* is a very special
book. It was roundly panned when it appeared two years
ago, so absurd was its identification of "India" with
the Sangh Parivar's "Akhand Bharat", that is, present-
day Bangladesh, India and Pakistan; so incomprehensible
was its use of the expression "Indian religionists";
and so patent was the fact that the masses of figures
and the glib, illogical projections it contained were
aimed at painting India's religious minorities, chiefly
our Muslim fellows, as the cause of inevitable disaster.
Its message was loudly and clearly sinister, never mind
the "scientific" trappings.

It is a very special book because Janab K.S. Sudarshan,
who graced its first release two years ago but clearly
hankered after a stellar role, released it yet again on
17 November. He used the opportunity, as befits the self-
anointed leader of India's Hindu majority, to give his
flock basic instructions on reproduction. Indeed, he
would say that that was his god-given duty.

Hindus, he said, should have at least three sons each;
and if they had more, perhaps a dozen, so much the better.
He declared his deep reverence for the prolific *mata*,
the woman engaged constantly in producing babies.
Finally, he brushed aside objections to do with over-
population. The answer, he sagely said, was self-
employment. No job seekers, so no joblessness.

Janab Sudarshan's prescription of three or more sons
is objectionable because it takes no account of our fine
civilisational tradition. The Kauravas were a hundred
brothers and apparently no sisters. *That* is the target
to be aimed for. In one stroke, the evil Muslims will be
out-numbered -- and females, having manufactured the
hordes essential to Janab Sudarshan's project, will also
be seen no more. Just right for a celibate *pracharak*.

If, however, a hundred sons is too high a goal, we might
look at a folk belief of Mithila. The number eight is
considered inauspicious, since "ath" (eight) rhymes
with "kath" (wood placed on a corpse being cremated).
Janab Sudarshan should consider commanding the
production, by each of his followers, of eight corpses.
Living babies would be rendered rapidly brain dead
anyway, without even a semblance of humanity.

Mukul Dube



Combat Law
Vol 4 Issue 5
August - September 2005

Under the Shadow of Guns
Groaning under the heels of a repressive law is the north-eastern state
of Manipur where women suffer the most. Focusing on their plight, a
52-minute documentary produced by Human Rights Law Networks and Anhad
unmasks the ugly face of of the armed forces. A review of ‘Manipur in
the Shadow of AFSPA’
Not long ago the nation got benumbed watching newspaper photographs of a
group of women without even a shred of clothes on them and yet clutching
a banner that screamed 'come and rape us'. The women were protesting
outside the headquarters of Assam Rifles in Manipur following the brutal
rape and murder of 29-year-old Thangjam Manorama who was picked up,
detained and found murdered a few days later. Before this nerve-chilling
protest, voices of scores of innocent men and women victimised by
security forces were generally and conveniently ignored by those who
matter in Delhi, or Imphal.
The Manorma incident triggered off not just protests but also a legal
battle that is still on. One difference that the incident has made is
that these women are no longer going to be silent sufferers.
Some of the victims of AFSPA, including women, recently travelled to
Delhi to attend a people's tribunal held by eminent jurists where they
narrated what they had undergone at the hands of armed forces that
unleash insufferable terror and vendetta in the name of upholding
national security for which army has been empowered under the Armed
Forces Special Powers Act 1958 (AFSPA).
It is this Act, enforced nearly half-a-century ago, that has been dealt
with in a 52-minute poignant documentary produced by Harsh Dobhal for
HRLN and ANHAD and directed by Ajay Bhardwaj. Based on candid
testimonies recorded live, the film movingly highlights rampant
lawlessness in a region where killings, rapes, arbitrary detentions,
torture and repression have been the order of the day. The documentary,
through powerful images, emphasises that for people of Manipur the
dreaded AFSPA has brought untold sufferings, midnight knocks, frisking
of persons and searches of private houses, rapes, torture, sudden
disappearances, extra-judicial arrests and un-notified detentions. All
this has been in the name of maintaining internal security and public order.
Manipur in the Shadow of AFSPA also captures the deep-set resentment
among women leading to unceasing protest, including the images of
valiant Sharmila who has been on a fast for about past five years in her
zest to seek justice. She is forcibly given food through a nasal tube.
And the powers-that-be remain otherwise unmoved.
It is a black law that has been perpetrating one of the worst treatments
ever meted out to any people. This is what turns out to be the opinion
through the statements of eminent personalities from the judiciary,
academia, legal establishment and renowned human rights activists that
the documentary records. They unanimously demand immediate repeal of
AFSPA, saying that this remains the most “draconian law” that Parliament
enacted in its history. The film is rightly dedicated to the memory of
Thangjam Manorma and puts the onus to do away with such a law on present
day legislators for the country can be better off without it.

Nishat Sultan



The November December 2005 issue of Himal Southasian is out in hard and
soft copy.

Please go to

The 100-page issue includes articles on 'Soft Borders' and Transfrontier
matters; reformatting SAARC; the Kashmir Quake; Southasian public
television; the India-Pakistan Bomb; the poorest of the poor; Nepali
Maobaadi holiday; Bihar's modern zamindari; J&K human rights; Where
Assam is; the Iranian pipeline and Delhi; melting glaciers and global
warming; women and Hindi cinema; Jehadis of Pakistan; Lankan peace;
India and the ID card; Tiger conservation; and so on.

PLUS, Bangladesh special:
The Hope of Dhaka (at SAARC)
Bangladesh and Southasia
Tata in Bangladesh
Dhaka women's wear


[8] Upcoming Events:



Monday, November 28, 2005

6:30-9:00: reception
7:15: program begins

The Asia Society
725 Park Avenue, New York NY 10021

Host Committee

Chairs: The Honorable Richard Holbrooke and Kati Marton
Sheppie Abramowitz & the
Honorable Morton Abramowitz
Lisa & Zubaid Ahmad
The Honorable Munir Akram
Asema & Zafar Asghar
Lila Azam Zanganeh
Darius Baghai
Alan Batkin
Leslie & George Biddle
Carolyn & Timothy Cassidy
The Honorable Key-Sung Cho
Mukang Cho
Virginia Davies & Willard Taylor
Steven Denning
Mitul Desai
The Honorable Amir Dossal
Adnan Durrani
Charles Ferguson
Judith & Leslie H. Gelb
Jonathan Fascitelli
Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos
Shaan Kandawalla & Ali Khanbai
Michael Karp
Farooq Kathwari
Harry Harrison
Blair & Fazle Husain
Debbie & Mark Landis
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Tina Livanos
The Honorable Winston Lord
Wendy Luers & the Honorable
William Luers
Larissa MacFarquhar & Philip Gourevitch
Vikram Malhotra
Clare Tweedy McMorris
Victor Menezes
Michele Balfour Nathoo & Raffiq Nathoo
Sheila & Hassan Nemazee
Matthew Nimetz
Jacqueline Novogratz
The Honorable Phyllis Oakley & the Honorable Robert Oakley
Danielle Parris
Susan & Alan Patricof
David L. Phillips
Leah Pisar
The Honorable Nicholas Platt
George Rupp
Salman Rushdie
Reshma Saujani
Sumana Setty
Samar Shaheryar
Tasnim Shaheryar & Shaheryar Azhar
Farhan Sharaff
Romita Shetty & Nasser Ahmad
Mustafa Siddiqui
The Honorable Lawrence Summers
Nadim Walji & Urvi Dalal
Monica & John Walsh
Lulu Wang
Maureen White & Steven Rattner
Jonathan Wiesner
The Honorable Frank Wisner
Sujatha & Kashif Zafar
Fareed Zakaria

All funds raised will go directly to the International Rescue Committee's
South Asia earthquake relief efforts


Please fill out this form and return to: RSVPSouthAsiaQuake at


CONTRIBUTION LEVELS (please check the appropriate items)

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Individual tickets
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For questions, please contact Michelle Risley at 718 344 9624

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is providing lifesaving assistance
to hundreds of thousands of survivors in some of the most remote
earthquake-ravaged districts in Pakistan. Your generous support will help
us continue to reach those who are in need. All donations are
tax-deductible and will directly support IRC’s South Asia earthquake relief
efforts. (


Peace and Harmony March
21 November to 6 December, 2005
 From the Dargah of Hazi Sharif Jindani, Kannauj to Ram ki Paidhi, Ayodhya

The Indian culture is an epitome of co-existence of different
ideologies. Inspite of differences in points of view we have a tradition
of living respecting each other. Coincidentally this idea is at the core
of the spirit of democracy too. It is probably for this reason that
India has emerged as a more mature democracy compared to other nations.

But unfortunately some extremist organizations use violence to promote
their political ideology. Among these are those organizations, members
of which were so subjugated socially, economically and politically that
they had no option but to pick up arms. Even though in reaction other
organizations emerged which too resorted to violent ways, the problems
of groups belonging to this category could be politically resolved
through dialogue. These organizations do not victimize common people but
only target the suppressor. Nevertheless, their violence cannot be
condoned. The only thing important to understand about these
organizations is that suppression of these organizations will not solve
their problems. It is the political resolution of the issues being
raised by these organizations which will ensure peace and harmony in

On the other hand there are organizations which use hatred and violence
against other communities to establish their supremacy. They have abused
people‚s communal sentiments to instigate them to indulge in violence.
The activities of these organizations are meant to fulfill only their
vested interests. The politics of these organizations only creates
divisions in society and is dangerous. We should get rid of this kind of
politics at the earliest. Such politics doesn‚t prevail because people‚s
emotions cannot be exploited for very long. We witnessed how people
rejected the forces representing communal politics in the last general
elections. Recently these forces have resurfaced in Mau. We will have to
watch out for them.

It is our responsibility to maintain communal harmony and peace in our
respective areas and keep ourselves from being exploited by communal
forces. It is to remind ourselves of this that we are taking out this march.

Asha Parivar‚ A-893, Indira Nagar, Lucknow-226016,
Phone: 0522-2347365, ashaashram at


Buzz on the perils of fundamentalist politics, on
matters of peace and democratisation in South
Asia. SACW is an independent & non-profit
citizens wire service run since 1998 by South
Asia Citizens Web:
SACW archive is available at:

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.

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