SACW | Nov. 26, 2006
aiindex at mnet.fr
Sat Nov 25 22:21:28 CST 2006
South Asia Citizens Wire | November 26, 2006 | Dispatch No. 2325 - Year 8
 Three cheers for Nepal's new democracy! (Praful Bidwai)
 Bangladesh: Jamaat's mischievous drive (Editorial, Daily Star)
 Sri Lanka: U.N. Should Create
Rights-Monitoring Mission (Letter by Human
 India: Golwalkar - The guru of hate (Ramachandra Guha)
 India: Khairlanji: How the other half dies? (Subhash Gatade)
+ Caste panchayats `illegitimate, says Panchayati Raj Ministry
 India: Godhra relief package on lines of '84 Sikh riots (Himanshu Kaushik)
 India: Death of vernaculars (Vasudha Dalmia)
 India: BHU: A Den of Criminals! (I K Shukla)
 Upcoming Events:
(i) A Public Peace March denouncing the
Khairanjali Massacre (Bombay, 27 November 2006)
(ii) "State, Human Rights and Right to
Information" (New Delhi, 12 December 2006)
The News International
THREE CHEERS FOR NEPAL'S NEW DEMOCRACY!
by Praful Bidwai
The writer, a former newspaper editor, is a
researcher and peace and human-rights activist
based in Delhi
Amidst Chinese president Hu Jintao's visits to
India and Pakistan, themselves important, we risk
trivialising the far greater, indeed momentous,
change now under way in another South Asian
country: Nepal. This past Tuesday, a guerrilla
movement there did something unprecedented: it
signed a comprehensive peace agreement with the
government, and pledged to disarm itself and join
the democratic mainstream.
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is now all
set to participate in an interim all-party
government, which will pave the way for the
election of a constituent assembly (CA). This is
likely to inaugurate Nepal's transition to a new
political order based on radical democracy, which
replaces monarchical rule, strips the king of
privilege and property, and attempts to bring
about a social transformation.
This calls for celebration. It's not often that a
self-avowed revolutionary movement comes to power
within a democratic framework. While smaller in
scale, the transition Nepal seems poised to make
is no less radical than South Africa's shift from
apartheid to majority rule.
However, Nepal's transition won't be free of
hitches. It could pose problems at each stage:
parliament's reconstitution to include 73 Maoist
representatives; formation of an interim
government in which the Maoists have five
ministers (of a total of 23), the same as the
Nepali congress and communist party of Nepal
(United Marxist-Leninist); procedure for the
disarmament of the People's Liberation Army under
United Nations' supervision; and the 425-member
CA's election -- including 205 members from
existing constituencies, 204 through proportional
representation, and the remaining by government
Even trickier is the issue of a referendum,
demanded by the CPN (UML), on abolishing the
monarchy. This is widely seen as contriving at
the king's backdoor entry into power. All other
parties want the issue settled by a new
constitution. Differences also persist on whether
Nepal should be a full-fledged republic or a
Nevertheless, Nepal seems set for great political
change -- more fundamental and potentially more
durable than in 1990, when the parliamentary
government was installed thanks to a mass
agitation. That shift was messy, and hemmed in by
a monarch who controlled the army and could
dismiss an elected government. Even this partial
democratisation was cynically reversed with
Gyanendra's imposition of absolutist rule in
The historic changes under way in Nepal are
attributable to a popular anti-monarchy movement,
which brought the despotic king to his knees last
April. This was preceded by a 12-point agreement
between the seven-party alliance (SPA) and the
Maoists, which pledged to end the 'autocratic
monarchy' and establish democracy through a
The mass movement was without precedent in South
Asia for its scale, sustained energy and powerful
thrust against arbitrary rule. Although catalysed
by the Maoists-SPA, it had an autonomous
political character. Ordinary Nepalis took charge
of it. The agitation didn't degenerate into
chaos; the people showed exemplary maturity. They
emerged as arbiters of their fate. In the contest
between their will and the monarchy, they won.
The 12-point agreement wouldn't have happened
without the Maoists' insistence on a CA. The
Maoists too had to moderate their stand under the
8-point agreement with the SPA last June. They
pledged a "firm commitment to the acceptance of
the multi-party system, fundamental rights,
human rights, the rule of law and democratic
It's tempting to see this as opportunism. But
Maoist ideologue Baburam Bhattarai had formulated
a new thesis even earlier: in the 21st century, a
left-wing strategy cannot be based on armed
struggle alone. Nor can it use revolutionary
violence, which Nepal's two big neighbours, India
and China, oppose. Nepali socialism must have a
More recently, CPN(M) chairman Prachanda too said
that "the inherent monopolistic and bureaucratic
tendencies of communist parties in power can be
checked" only through a multi-party system. He
explicitly repudiated Stalinism.
Today, Prachanda seems to be modelling himself
after Nelson Mandela. In Delhi last week, he
didn't hesitate to meet World Bank officials --
who called on him in recognition of the
inevitability of a Maoist role in future
governments --, but without losing his radical
He promised to 'improve on' the Indian model of
democracy by giving it substantive content
through programmes to abolish poverty and 'all
forms of exploitation'. The Maoists' domestic
record in fighting rural oppression, casteism and
gender discrimination is encouraging.
One can only hope that Prachanda's grand vision
is translated into action in abjuring violence,
getting the Maoist militia (organised outside the
PLA) to surrender arms, and in verifiably
stopping tax collection and recruitment of
schoolchildren into the PLA.
This view differs sharply from the cynical
attitude of many hawkish 'strategic analysts' who
believe the CPN(M) is intent on grabbing power by
violent means to establish a dictatorship; it
must be disarmed first. Such analysts don't
understand the forces that shape history. The
Maoists must be held down to their commitment to
disarm under international supervision. But they
aren't bound by any agreement to do so before
joining the interim government.
Maoism arose in Nepal because of entrenched
inequalities, coupled with the palace's despotism
and blatant misgovernance for two centuries.
Seventy per cent of Nepalis are desperately poor.
The top five per cent own 37 per cent of the
land, while close to half own just 15 per cent.
The Kathmandu Valley's elite dominates Nepal's
society. But in recent years, power has devolved
to the periphery and the janajatis (subaltern
ethnic groups) and the landless have become
The Maoists represent them. They advocate land
reform and rural empowerment. It's impossible to
justify their indiscriminate violence. But they
indisputably speak for Nepal's dispossessed. If
they join the democratic mainstream, they can
make a sterling contribution to Nepal.
The present moment offers a historic chance to
integrate the Maoists into the mainstream. It'd
be disastrous to squander it under the influence
of ideological prejudice or by citing 'threats'
from them to regional, especially Indian,
The CPN(M) is far too shrewd not to realise that
destabilising the regional security balance or
threatening India means taking terrible risks.
Prachanda has distanced the Maoists from India's
Naxalites. He recently pooh-poohed the
'Pashupati-to-Tirupati Red Corridor' idea. The
claim of an operational Naxal-Maoist link been
The past Nepal policies of China, India and
Pakistan were all based on uncritical support for
the monarchy on the premise that it's the best
guarantee of 'stability' -- which it patently
India facilitated the 12-point agreement, but
soon started vacillating. At the peak of the
pro-democracy movement, India, following the
'stability' premise, sent former maharaja Karan
Singh to Kathmandu to indicate its support for
Gyanendra. This was one of India's greatest
foreign policy blunders ever. India revised its
stand, but lost popular Nepali goodwill at a
All of Nepal's neighbours must resist the
temptation to suggest any role for the monarch in
a future political arrangement. They must respect
the wishes of the Nepali people and distance
themselves from the United States, which has been
trying to buttress the palace and tilt the
political balance against the Maoists through its
arrogant viceregal ambassador James Moriarty.
Nepal's stability will come not from monarchical
symbols, but from participatory democracy, which
is responsive to the people.
The Daily Star
November 26, 2006
JAMAAT'S MISCHIEVOUS DRIVE
OUT TO DESTROY OUR RICH HERITAGE AND TRADITION
Jamaat is out with another unique way of
advancing its own programme of destroying our
liberal cultural heritage. In its misguided and
mischievous so-called attempt to "Islamise" our
society, it is changing names of villages and
educational institutions, which were there for
centuries. Reportedly, their action is the result
specifically aimed at removing the contribution
of Hindu philanthropists in our institutions.
The dubious developments took place in the
Shyamnagar Upazila under Satkhira district. The
Jamaatis replaced names in use for more than a
century with Islamised names in their official
writing pads, leaflets and other materials. Most
prominent of the many changes made is the change
of the names of the Nakipur Harichandra High
School into Nakipur Pilot School. The school,
established in 1989, was named after Hari Chandra
Rai Chowdhury a rich landowner of Shaymnagar of
Mughal India. The zealots even installed a
Jamaati lawmaker as the chairman of the school's
Such senseless and deliberate acts of changing
names bear ominous signs for Bangladesh and its
people who have been well known for their
tolerance towards all religious faiths and
Needless to say that such actions cast shadows on
our centuries old traditions and cultural values.
We are simply appalled as to how such changing of
names could take place right under the very nose
of the local "administration." It is indeed
interesting to note that the Upazila Nirbahi
Officer (UNO) could come up with an apology of a
reply, saying that the names of the village and
the institutions were not changed officially.
We draw the attention of the caretaker government
and strongly urge the administration to put a
halt to this heinous act immediately before its
fall-out effects begin to erode our social and
cultural values and destroy the very image of the
For Immediate Release
SRI LANKA: U.N. SHOULD CREATE RIGHTS-MONITORING MISSION
Human Rights Watch letter to the Human Rights Council
November 24, 2006
Human Rights Watch is writing to urge you to act at the Third Session of
the Human Rights Council to help reverse the worsening human rights
situation in Sri Lanka. Specifically, we hope that you and other
concerned states will raise Sri Lanka during the session and work with
the Sri Lankan government towards establishing a United Nations human
rights monitoring mission in Sri Lanka.
Since the September session of the Council, the human rights situation
in Sri Lanka has continued to deteriorate. Civilians remain the primary
victims of the escalating armed conflict between the government and the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), exemplified by the shelling of
a displaced persons camp in the eastern town of Kathiraveli on November
8 that left more than 40 civilians dead and one hundred wounded.
Political killings by unknown gunmen occur daily in major towns of the
north and east and in Colombo, where on November 10 a Tamil
parliamentarian was murdered in broad daylight. And, as reported by
Ambassador Allan Rock, Special Advisor to the Special Representative on
children in armed conflict to the UN Secretary-General, both the Karuna
group, with the complicity of government security forces, and the LTTE
continue to abduct children into their armed forces. Investigations in
Sri Lanka by Human Rights Watch, whose detailed findings are
forthcoming, reached the same conclusion.
The government's response to these developments has been inadequate. The
government Commission of Inquiry, with an international advisory group
of eminent persons, being organized to investigate fifteen or more
serious cases from the past year, could be a useful step in addressing
the longstanding problem of impunity in Sri Lanka. We hope that this
commission will act independently and professionally and that its
investigations will lead to the facts of each case and successful
prosecutions of those responsible. However, Human Rights Watch is
concerned that the international eminent persons group will play only a
peripheral role, that measures to ensure witness protection will be
inadequate to ensure that victims and other eyewitnesses come forward,
and that the commission will succumb to delaying tactics by the targets
of its investigations.
We are also concerned about the length of time it will take for the
Commission to get started and to finish its work-at least one year from
its official start date. Given the recent deterioration, we are greatly
concerned that the human rights situation may be much worse than at
present and that many more lives will be lost before the Commission is
functional and issues its findings--after which a significant amount of
additional time is likely to pass before its recommendations are acted
on, if they are acted on at all.
While we do not know whether the creation of the Commission is a
delaying tactic, as some in Sri Lanka fear, it is clear that as
currently constituted it will not be able to play the kind of proactive
and deterrent role to stop current and future abuses that a UN
monitoring mission would play. As new cases arise, it is important that
the government promptly investigate them, and not wait for the
commission to submit its final report. We think it is crucial for Sri
Lankan and international participants to be able to publicly raise
concerns about individual cases and other issues prior to the issuance
of the Commission's final report. This would be an important measure to
ensure that the process is relevant to the realities of Sri Lanka.
In September, Human Rights Watch issued "Improving Civilian Protection
in Sri Lanka," which set out 34 recommendations for the government and
LTTE to protect civilians during hostilities. Most important is the need
for an independent, international monitoring mission in conflict areas
of Sri Lanka to help deter abuses by all sides, to rapidly investigate
incidents that occur, and to promote efforts at accountability.
In addition to the numerous Sri Lankan and international human rights
organizations that support this initiative, proponents include the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, and the UN Special
Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston. Ms. Arbour stated
on November 7 that "It will be critically important for the Commission
[of Inquiry] to establish not only individual responsibility for crimes,
but the broader patterns and context in which they occur." She noted
that since a commission of inquiry could only investigate a selection of
cases, a broader international mechanism was still needed to monitor,
ultimately prevent, human rights violations in the longer term.
Professor Alston stated on September 6 that recent events in Sri Lanka
"demonstrate the urgent need for an international human rights
monitoring mission. International human rights monitoring is not, of
course, an invariably effective response even to situations involving
widespread human rights abuse, but there are specific factors indicating
that such an approach would be extremely valuable in Sri Lanka."
Human Rights Watch has been advocating for innovative and graduated
approaches to country situations at the Human Rights Council ("Human
Rights Council: New Approaches to Addressing Human Rights Situations,"
September 2006). We thus welcome efforts to engage in dialogue with Sri
Lanka but caution that this should not result in self-censorship on
situations that clearly fall within the remit of the Council. We urge
Council members to act now and work with the Sri Lankan government so as
not to allow the human rights situation in Sri Lanka to continue to
deteriorate. Council members should:
* Use the Third Session of the Council to raise human rights in
Sri Lanka during the "other issues" part of the agenda - and encourage
other concerned states to do the same.
* Help develop with the Sri Lankan government a plan to place
international human rights monitors on the ground at the earliest
opportunity. The OHCHR mission in Nepal has saved lives -- and so could
an international mission in Sri Lanka.
* Commit to assessing the situation in Sri Lanka at the March
Council session, or at a special session if necessary.
* Monitor the progress of the Commission of Inquiry and request
the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report back on its progress at
the Council's next session.
We appreciate your attention to these issues and would be pleased to
meet with you in Geneva or elsewhere to discuss these issues further.
Geneva Advocacy Director
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Magazine / The Hindu
26 November 2006
PAST & PRESENT
The guru of hate
by Ramachandra Guha
Golwalkar's book disparages democracy as alien to
the Hindu ethos and extols the code of Manu...
THIS column generally deals more - much more - in
appreciation than in depreciation. However, it is
obligatory on the historian to also
(occasionally) notice individuals whose influence
on history was malign rather than salutary. One
such person was the Hindu ideologue M.S.
Golwalkar, whose birth anniversary his followers
are marking this year.
Born in February 1906, Golwalkar studied and then
taught briefly at the Banaras Hindu University
(hence the appellation "Guru", which he carried
for the rest of his life). He joined the
Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh as a student,
attracting the attention of its founder, Dr. K.B.
Hedgewar. When the elder man died in 1940,
Golwalkar became the sarchangchalak of the RSS.
He headed the organisation until his death some
three decades later.
Golwalkar was a man of much energy and dynamism,
under whose leadership the RSS steadily grew in
power and influence. His ideas are summarised in
the book Bunch of Thoughts, which draws upon the
lectures he delivered over the years (mostly in
Hindi) to RSS shakhas across the country. This
identifies the Hindus, and they alone, as the
privileged community of India. It disparages
democracy as alien to the Hindu ethos and extols
the code of Manu, whom Golwalkar salutes as "the
first, the greatest, and the wisest lawgiver of
Angels and demons
The early chapters of Bunch of Thoughts celebrate
the glories of the Motherland and its chief
religion, this a prelude to the demonisation of
those Indians who had the misfortune of not being
born into the Hindu fold. Golwalkar writes that
the "hostile elements within the country pose a
far greater menace to national security than
aggressors from outside". He identifies three
major "Internal Threats: I: The Muslims; II: The
Christians; III: The Communists". A long chapter
impugns the patriotism of these groups, speaking
darkly of their "future aggressive designs on our
On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered
by Nathuram Godse. Although Godse was not a
member of the RSS at the time of the murder, he
had been one in the past. And there were reports
that in several places RSS members had celebrated
his act by distributing sweets. As a
precautionary measure, Golwalkar and other RSS
workers were put in jail.
Secret documents that this writer has recently
seen strongly suggest that even if the RSS was
not directly implicated in Gandhi's murder, its
main leader was not entirely averse to such a
happening. Thus, on December 6, 1947, Golwalkar
convened a meeting of RSS workers in the town of
Govardhan, not far from Delhi. The police report
on this meeting says it discussed how to
"assassinate the leading persons of the Congress
in order to terrorise the public and to get their
hold over them".
Two days later, Golwalkar addressed a crowd of
several thousand volunteers at the Rohtak Road
Camp in Delhi. The police reporter in attendance
wrote that the RSS leader said that "the Sangh
will not rest content until it had finished
Pakistan. If anyone stood in our way we will have
to finish them too, whether it was Nehru
Government or any other Government... " Referring
to Muslims, he said that no power on earth could
keep them in Hindustan. They should have to quit
this country... "If they were made to stay here
the responsibility would be the Government's and
the Hindu community would not be responsible.
Mahatma Gandhi could not mislead them any longer.
We have the means whereby [our] opponents could
be immediately silenced".
Six weeks later, Gandhi was assassinated, and
Golwalkar and his colleagues put in jail.
Released a year later on a bond of good
behaviour, they retained a dogged commitment to
their ideas. Golwalkar himself argued that "in
this land Hindus have been the owners, Parsis and
Jews the guests, and Muslims and Christians the
dacoits". He asked, maliciously: "Then do all
these have the same right over the country?"
Golwalkar saw Muslims, Christians and Communists
(among others) as threats to the nation. Other
Indians saw him and his ilk as a "Danger to our
Secular State". The words in quotes served as the
title of an essay on Golwalkar written in 1956 by
the Bombay columnist D.F. Karaka. The RSS leader,
noted Karaka, "thinks in terms of Hindu India and
only Hindu India". As one who had many criticisms
to make of the Prime Minister of the day, the
columnist nonetheless believed that "it is
necessary for all of us whatever our differences
are with Mr. Nehru to stand firm with him on this
point, namely, that ours is a secular state and
that whether we are Hindus, Muslims, Parsis or
Christians, freedom of religion, which is
guaranteed to us under our Constitution should
not be allowed to be crucified at the altar of
the RSS - the organisation from which came the
man who murdered Mahatma Gandhi".
Karaka's column was sparked by the celebration by
the RSS of the 50th birthday of Madhav Sadashiv
Golwalkar. In this, the year of his 100th birth
anniversary, all I need do is endorse Karaka's
words. For, Golwalkar was a guru of hate, whose
life's malevolent work was - as Jawaharlal Nehru
so memorably put it - to make India into a "Hindu
Pakistan". That project has not succeeded yet,
and may it never succeed either.
[Oppression of the Dalits by the aggressive other
backward castes (OBC's) makes nonsense of the
belief that the two are allies in a common
struggle against injustice. In the latest episode
in Khairlanji in the Bhandara district of
Maharashtra. . . far from intervening to stop
this murderous spectacle, the crowd of Kunbis,
Powars and Kalars -- all OBC caste groups,
cheered on, carried on actively in their orgy of
o o o
November 16, 2006
WATCH TOWER: KHAIRLANJI: HOW THE OTHER HALF DIES?
It is now history how the rage of the dalit
masses over these killings helped bring the whole
issue to the centrestage of the state politics
more than a month after the actual incident -
Mass killings of dalits or gangrapes of dalit
women in full public view were considered things
of a bygone era in the 'progressive' state of
Maharashtra. People would rather point towards
other states especially in the North, to tell
that such type of things do not happen here. More
articulate people would point towards recently
released report(s) which give Maharashtra 10th
rank in matters of dalit atrocities. But
Khairlanji has changed it forever.
Surekha Bhootmange, aged 45 years, mother of two
sons -Roshan and Sudhir - and a bright daughter
Priyanka, who yearned to join the military, had
to pay a very dear price for standing up to the
local upper castes attempts at snatching her
small piece of land. Who would have imagined that
the village Khairlanji where Surekha had been
married to Bhaiyyalal for more than 25 years
would one day metamorphose into her own tomb?
Today her saga of struggle is part of the local folklore.
The Bhhotmanges were part of mere two dalit
(Mahar) families among a majority of 150 families
comprising of Powars and Kalars - which come
under OBCs- in Khairlanji, a non-descript village
in Bhandara district of Maharashtra.
It was the evening of 29th September when Surekha
was cooking food that their house came under
attack by scores of people from her own village.
And leading the horde of attackers were those
very people who were implicated in an attack on
Surekha's cousin brother Siddharth. In fact
Surekha and Priyanka were the sole witnesses to
this attack and had promptly put their name as
The mother and daughter were subjected to
repeated gangrapes in full public view, their
marauders did not leave their bodies even when
they had already breathed their last. None of
those people from her own village, with whom she
had shared a long relationship came to their
rescue. They were mere onlookers. Bhaiyyalal,
Surekha's husband escaped the macabre dance of
death only because he was not at home then.
The barbaric killings were followed by a
systematic coverup operation with due connivance
of the local police and administration. Village
level Panchayat was held immediately after the
gory incident and it was 'decreed' that nobody
would utter a word about it. The police officials
also 'complied' with the request and cases under
some vague sections of Indian Penal Code were
filed where bail would have been easier.
It is also alleged that the local MLA who belongs
to the BJP was also instrumental in instigating
the perpetrators and then helping them hush up
the case. It is not surprising that the BJP-Shiv
Sena leadership which is ever ready to put the
ruling coalition on the mat has maintained
complete silence over the incident. The Nitin
Gadkaris or the Mundes or the Thakres have not
even condemned the barbaric killings of the
dalits. In fact to defuse and deviate people's
attention from the spontaneous and militant
assertion of the dalits, the Bhandara district
units of the Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal have
joined hands to raise a counter agitation to
protest rape of an upper caste woman by a dalit
The deputy Chief Minister who also manages home
portfolio made a routine visit to the site of
killings and expressed satisfaction over the
direction of investigation. Later when the
militant movement of dalits compelled him to wake
up from deep slumber, he instead of taking urgent
step to defuse the movement preferred to make
some irresponsible statements. Instead of
addressing the roots of the dalit anger, he
'discovered' that their anger was a pointer
towards growing naxal-dalit affinity.
While the state government and its machinery
merely tried to put the issue below carpet and
the opposition saffron Parivar maintained a
studied silence to suit its own interests, the
response of the leadership of the mainstream
dalit movement was not qualitatively different.
Neither those factions of the Dalit formations
which are participating in the state government
nor those which have remained outside decided to
raise the pitch over the incident. The conspiracy
of silence on part of the dalit leadership was so
blatant that when lakhs of people converged (2nd
October) in Nagpur to celebrate golden jubilee
year of historic conversion of Dalits to
Buddhism, none of them deemed it necessary to
highlight the Khairlanji killings. Even according
to conservative estimates 15-20 lakh people
visited Deekshbhoomi during those celebrations
which continued for a fortnight.
It is now history how the rage of the dalit
masses over these killings helped bring the whole
issue to the centrestage of the state politics
more than a month after the actual incident and
compelled the government to go in for some damage
control exercise. It is now history how
Khairlanji has brought into sharp focus the
growing disjunction between the dalit leadership
and ordinary dalit masses.
According to close watchers of the state,
Khairlanji rather represents a climax of a
situation in a state which despite its
'progressive' image has systematically ingrained
denial of justice to dalits and the other
marginalised sections of our society. May it be
the ongoing social boycott of Dalits in
Aarajkheda village, Renapur tehsil in Latur
district which happens to be Chief Minister's
home district or the similar boycott of dalits in
village Yavati in Nanded district, the state has
never tried to shed its partisan image vis-a-vis
attacks on dalits.
Looking back the 'unique'ness of the Khairlanji
killings are evident to everyone. Firstly, it has
happened in a state which is said to be the
pioneer of the dalit movement in the country and
which has till date a very vibrant dalit
movement. Secondly, it is a stark reminder of the
fact that all those acts framed to supposedly to
protect the dalits and tribals are observed in
breach only. Thirdly, it also demonstrates the
growing bankruptcy of the mainstream dalit
movement which failed to even raise a voice
protesting the event.
Last but not the least, if it would not have been
the pressure from the grassroots and the churning
among the dalit masses, the issue was largely
forgotten. Nobody can deny that here lies the
Perhaps it would be more apt to say that
Khairlanji also represents birth of a 'new' dalit
movement which is once again refusing to play a
'guest actor' role in the polity and is equally
fed up with the cravenness of the Dalit leaders.
o o o
Afternoon Dispatch & Courier, India
Nov 17, 2006
Why have the state's top leaders ignored Khairalanji?
[. . . ]
The Khairlanji massacare of Bhutmange family in
Bhandara district has reviled some startling
facts. What amazing is that all the top officials
related to this case are Dalit but they adopted
lackluster approach and in spite of victims being
Dalit they did not restrained themselves from
giving false report.
Bhandara District is in the Nagpur region. The
Inspector General of police (IG) of this region
is Ashok Ghivare, who visited Kairlanji a week
after the incidence is from Scheduled Caste
category. The Superintendent of Police (SP),
Bhandara Suresh Sagar is also from Dalit
community who too reached the spot very late and
casually. Sagar's Deputy, Vinayak Susadkar who is
under suspension also from Scheduled Caste
The police Prosecutor Lata Gajbhiye who advised
the cops not to apply the sections of Atrocity
Act to accuse is also from Dalit community.
Shockingly the Medical Officer Dr A J Shende, who
made the post mortem and submitted the report
saying Surekha and Priyanka Bhutmange were not
raped, is also hails from the same community. The
Police Sub Inspector (PSI) of local police
station Siddheshwar Bharne is from OBC category
and head constable Baban Meshram is tribal.
[. . . ].
Caste panchayats `illegitimate, says Panchayati Raj Ministry
# They base themselves on reactionary social practices
# Retrograde actions of these are more widely reported in the media
The Times of India
GODHRA RELIEF PACKAGE ON LINES OF '84 SIKH RIOTS
[ 26 Nov, 2006 0010Hrs IST Times News Network ]
AHMEDABAD: The UPA government is likely to
announce a one-time compensation package to the
2002 Gujarat riot victims, on the lines of the
relief and compensation awarded to the 1984 Sikh
The compensation will not only cover the
casualties but also those who are staying in
semi-permanent camps. Sources in New Delhi said
the measure, which will be made public shortly,
is mainly aimed at the Gujarat riot victims
though it may also cover communal incidents in
some other states.
According to the proposed package, the next of
kin of a deceased would get Rs 7 lakh. Sources
said that the compensation paid so far would be
deducted from the amount.
The move will come as a relief for several
families which have received hardly any
assistance from the Gujarat government despite
suffering loss of property and also losing their
near and dear ones.
An NHRC report brought out recently had
identified 5,307 "internally displaced" families
who haven't been resettled four years after the
The report said these families have been staying
in semi-permanent camps in Ahmedabad,
Gandhinagar, Sabarkantha, Panchmahals, Dahod,
Anand, Kheda, Vadodara and Mehsana.
The report said, "Even if we go by the government
claims, total damage to property during riots
comes around Rs 687 crore, and total financial
assistance in terms of rehabilitation to the
victims comes to Rs 121.85 crore."
This is 17.7% of the total property loss. But if
one exclude loans from this assistance, the total
state assistance comes to just Rs 46 crore, or 7%.
The Times of India
Nov 12, 2006
DEATH OF VERNACULARS
by Vasudha Dalmia
Has Cambridge shut its doors to Sanskrit and
Hindi? Not entirely, but their presence has been
radically trimmed. Hindi, which once flourished
in Cambridge, has suffered virtual demise. R S
McGregor, lexicographer, grammarian, literary
historian and writer of innumerable essays on
mediaeval and modern Hindi, retired in 1995.
He was replaced by Francesca Orsini, known for
her path-breaking work on language and literature
in the high noon of nationalism (1920-1940). She
has recently moved and is not to be replaced. Of
the two readers in Sanskrit, one will retire next
year and not be replaced.
What does the study and research of Sanskrit and
Hindi in western universities mean for us in
India? Why is there cause for comment and hurt if
Cambridge so radically reduces its offerings?
Why do the handful of post-graduate students from
elite Indian universities, who turn to the study
of Sanskrit and the 'vernaculars', increasingly
seek admission to universities in the West to
satisfy their intellectual needs?
The hurt is more easily explained. Nationalist
pride suffers injury if Sanskrit and Hindi are
uprooted from their represen-tational space in
the western academy, particularly at Oxford and
Cambridge, the two citadels of education at the
centre of the former metropolitan power.
But the real cause for concern is surely the much
more important question of the space we create
and allow for Sanskrit, Hindi and other
non-English vernaculars in our own academy.
'Verna' in Latin means, among other things, 'a
home-born slave'. As a distinguished scholar once
pointed out, "in India 'vernacular' established
itself as a distancing and supremacist sign which
marked out its referents, the indigenous
languages and cultures, as categorically inferior
to those of the West, and of England in
Our educational system continues to reflect
this. Hindi is compulsory in the ICSE system till
class X and in CBSE till class VIII. Thereafter,
it is optional. Sanskrit is not ever compulsory.
Demand for Hindi and Sanskrit is so low in Delhi
that the cut-offs in Delhi University are in the
40s and 50s.
The situation is similar in other state
universities. The creation of the linguistic
states and chauvinism of the Hindi spokespersons
at the national level had several consequences,
of which one was the parochialisation of all
non-English languages, including Hindi.
Though in the meantime the states have produced
their own vernacular elites, there is a vast and
yawning gap between them and metropolitan elites.
Can this gap be bridged? Bengali, Marathi, Tamil,
Hindi and other Indian languages were once at the
vanguard of Indian literary modernity, the prime
sites of resistance to colonial exploitation,
sites where the nation was imagined and formed.
The vitality and creativity in these languages
have not ceased but they are largely sealed to
metropolitan elites, increasingly deprived of
linguistic access to the very resources which
nurtured the creativity of their parent and
The handful of students who turn to the study of
vernacular literature at the non-parochial level,
often after a Master's degree in English, try to
come West, because the system in India is too
rigid to allow for cross-overs.
Intellectual freedom has become a rare commodity
in departments and disciplines locked in older
schools of thought and interdisciplinarity is
structurally unforeseen. In any case, the
prerequisites for a postgraduate programme make
switching difficult, if not impossible. Then
there is the vexed issue of funding.
The UGC is the sole source for multi-year
funding; the stipends barely suffice for
metropolitan living. Books are often unavailable,
and in any case prohibitively expensive.
Libraries are not well stocked; they cannot
subscribe to state-of-the-art journals. The
malaise emerges from deeply entrenched ills in
our body politic.
There are no easy palliatives and pious slogans
'end of orientalism' and 'we can create our own
elite Oriental departments' do little more than
bypass the issues at hand. How does it look from
my own present vantage point in the US academy?
Numbers are relative and they do not tell the
whole story, but there are, at present, at least
12 universities which can potentially offer PhDs
in South Asian Studies with a Hindi focus, and at
least 22 other universities which offer
instruction in Hindi, most of them at the
beginners and advanced level.
The number of liberal arts colleges planning to
offer Hindi in response to a clamouring and vocal
South Asian student body is also rising. We need
to recall that the Indian diaspora in the US is
one of the three largest in the world and that it
consists in large measure of successful
When they think of 'heritage', they also think of
language. Does this have any impact on the
situation in India? Will the situation change?
Unless we do something about it and unless there
are some unforeseen miracles, the answer to both
questions would be: Not really.
But in the meantime, the parochialisation of our
vernaculars can perhaps be addressed by creating
more intra-vernacular/English interaction, by
setting up more comparative literature and
cultural studies departments on the model of the
one in Jadavpur University.
That would also create job opportunities for all
those who want to return to India once they have
their PhDs and sow further seeds for
rehabilitation of the vernaculars for
The writer is Magistretti distinguished professor
at the University of California, Berkeley.
BHU: A DEN OF CRIMINALS!
by I K Shukla
The teachers of a university, a Central university at that, openly attending
a conference of notorious fascists, all over known now as saffronazis
preaching hatred and violence against minorities, involved in the
assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, are asserting more than their sub rosa
membership in the cult of criminals.
This cult is ideologically commited to anti-national and seditious
activities, subversion of the law, and sabotage of social peace. This cult
of saffro-terrorists is as implacably steeped in crime as in humongous
RSS members, including Atal, worked as British stool pigeons sabotaging our
war of independence against a brutal alien. At present the HinduTaliban are
pimping for Israel.
Hindutva fanatics' destruction of Babri Mosque in 1992, and thousands of
other mosques and dargahs all over India since then, led to retaliatory
destruction of myriad temples in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
RSS and its affiliates planned the Gujarat pogrom 2002 in which over 2000
Muslims lost their lives, their women were dishonored and flayed, their
fetuses torn, their males burned alive, their properties looted, their homes
and shops razed to the ground.
Its blood-soaked Rakt Yatras, Advani-led, took a toll of thousands of
innocent Muslim lives all across India.
Its depredations were not limited to Muslims alone. Christians, Dalits and
Adivasis suffered from their savagery in no small measure. Violence and
vandalism were rained on them too by Hindutva goons.
Instead of being banned, boxed and banished they have been allowed to
disturb peace and violate law and order in city after city. They have been
caught red-handed in horrific terrorist activities in UP, Maharashtra,
Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, etc., and gone unpunished. They are shameless, and
devoid of any scruple.
These teachers must be shown the way out. BJP or any outfit of saffronazis
supporting them must be treated as enemy of the nation and condignly dealt
with. No "democratic" coddling of these criminals.
This criminal cult must be erased or it will desecrate and demolish India,
not just the nation state but also the idea of India as a unique human
These teachers are a national disgrace. Get the BHU rid of them. These
anti-national barbarians are enemies of humanity, remnants and repositories
of the culture of thugs and brutes. They are neither Indian nor human. They
are polluting the saced precincts of the University and demeaning education.
I K Shukla/25Nov.06
 Upcoming Events
A Public Peace March to oppose the Khairanjali Massacre :
Day : Monday,27th November 2006
Time : 5 :00 Pm
Venue: Chaitya Bhumi, Shivaji Park, Mumbai
The Khairanjali massacre in Bhandara Jillah is a
black mile-stone of our human society! All the
strata of society need to come together to oppose
it. Atrocities committed towards minorities
anywhere in the world needs to be condemned.
Therefore, Let us come together to unanimously
raise our voices to oppose this kind of
incidences so that it does not happen again.
Please come down at the Chaitya Bhumi , Shivaji
Park on 27th Nov. at 5:00 pm. We will offer our
condolences for the killing of humanity at
Khairanjali. From there we will proceed towards
the statue of Senapati Bapat on Rande Road and
then to Prabodhankar Thakres statue on Gokhale
road and finally terminate the March at the
statue of Shivaji Maharaj at Shivaji Park.
Do join us.
Yusuf Mehar Alli Yuva Biradari Sadbhavna Sangh
Maharashtra Sarvoday Mandal Jamate- Islami
Maullana Azad Munch
Ghar Hakk Jagruti Parishad Mahila Vikas
Sameep Pratishthan Jan Mukti Sangharsh Vahini
Sarkari Karmachari Sangh
Dada Saheb Gaikwad Sanskrutik Kendra Awami Dal
Dr Ambedkar Institue of Social & Economic Change
Girni Kamdar Sangharsh Samitee
Ex-Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari Vijay Tendulkar
Vijay Kalse Patil Vaman Kendre Y. D. Fadke
Anand Patwardhan Namdev Dhasaal Arjun Dangle
Prabhakar Kunthe Keshav Meshram Pushpa Bhave
G. G. Parikh Nikhil Wagle
Sanjeev Latkar Kumar Ketkar
Hussain Dalwai Madhu Mohite
Amalakar Nadkarni Mrunal Gore
Vidya Chawhan Suran Barand Shankar Bagade
Varsha V V Sheikh
Hussein Smita Shah
Avinash Mahadekar Shaila Satpute
Kshama Dalawai Sandhya Gokhale
Amol S B Vijay Jadhav
Sajeev Chandokar Suresh Rasam
Subhash Shirke Prakash Deshmukh
Pratima Joshi Hemu Adhikari
Champa-The Amiya & B.G.Rao Foundation:
Penal Discussion on :
"STATE, HUMAN RIGHTS AND RIGHT TO INFORMATION"
Since its implementation, the Right to
Information Act has been used to acquire
information on various issues by several groups
and individuals. But till date, this Act has not
been utilized by the Human Rights movement.
However, it is of great importance for human
rights groups to make use of this Act especially
in the context of 'war on terror', where in the
name of national security, state intelligence
agencies carry out secretive operations against
communities, movements and peoples. To acquire
information about the human rights violation that
takes place especially in areas like Kashmir and
the North-East, which are essentially under army
occupation, the Right to Information Act is vital.
A panel discussion will be held to discuss these
issues on 12th December,2006 at 4.30 PM at Indian
Social Institute, 10 Lodhi Road, New Delhi-3.
Nandita Haksar and Bimal Akoijam will be the
You are requested to participate.
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: www.sacw.net/
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