SACW - 17 April 2018 | Bangladesh: Hefazat thugs / Pakistan: Anjuman Mazareen / India: misogyny & hate in the bloodstream / A Global Agenda for Labour / Lula Goes to Prison

Harsh Kapoor aiindex at
Tue Apr 17 08:12:04 EDT 2018

South Asia Citizens Wire - 17 April 2018 - No. 2983 
[via South Asia Citizens Web - since 1996]

1. Pakistan: Anjuman Mazareen Punjab (AMP) - the fall and rise of a social movement | Ahmed Yusuf
2. Deep misogyny and hate drives the daily matrix of social power in India:  a compilation of selected commentary & URLS on the sexual brutality and rapes in Kathua and in Unnao
3. Audio: Reflections on Labour and Democracy, Left’s failure to theorise fascism and the right wing ideologies that are reigning India today | Dilip Simeon
4. ’Unspeakable horror of the Kathua and the Unnao incidents’ - Open Letter to the Prime Minister of India by former state officials
5. Video: Live stream and recordings from People’s tribunal on the attack on educational institutions in India (11-13 April 2018)
6. Systemic Change and Environmental Justice in India, the United States, and Beyond
7. Recent on Communalism Watch:
 - Recast(e)ing the model minority: Behind right wing Hindu politics in the U.S. | Sirisha Naidu and Raja Swamy
 - India: RSS targetting electorate in coastal Karnataka to vote for ‘a nationalist party’ [BJP]
 - India: The RSS’s dangerous position on separate religion status for the Lingayats in Karnataka | Hartosh Singh Bal
 - India: On Coastal Karnataka in the coming 15th assembly elections - comment by Rajaram Tolpadi (Deccan Herald)
 - India: Mecca Masjid Blast Case of 2007 - Aseemanand, four others acquitted for lack of evidence
 - India: Signs of Hope in the Fight against Saffron Violence in Uttarakhand | Shankar Gopalakrishnan, Trepan Singh Chauhan
 - India: Report on Deen Bachao, Desh Bachao rally by Muslims at Patna's Gandhi Maidan
 - India: Haryana, hate crime – outsourced from lynch mobs to men in khaki
 - Belittling Nehru’s Legacy will Harm India’s Democracy | Ram Puniyani
 - Nativists cling to the wishful purity of their vision of the past despite findings of genetic science
 - India: RSS was bitterly of critical of Ambedkar when he was alive and tried to reform of Hindu personal laws | Ramachandra Guha
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8. Bangladesh: Who has given Hefazat the authority to dictate what is and what is not Muslim culture? Editorial, Dhaka Tribune
9. India: Who do you think you are? | Pratap Bhanu Mehta
10. India: SC/ST Act is like an umbrella, it ensures we are safe, say Mirchpur Dalits | Niha Masih
11. India: March against sham science | G.S. Mudur
12. India Flexes Military Muscle with with Huge Air force War Game - Gaganshakti 2018
13. India: The contours of the new Red map | Rahul Tripathi
14. ‘Firing happens almost daily’: cross-border clashes in Kashmir reach highest levels in 15 years as Indo-Pakistan tensions fester | Agence France-Presse 
15. Coppola on Hakala, 'Negotiating Languages: Urdu, Hindi, and the Definition of Modern South Asia'
16. South Asia's population in perspective
17. ‘People’s Movements in Pakistan’ — an account of non-violent political struggle | Khurram Abbas
18. A Global Agenda for Labour | Pranab Bardhan
19. France: In Solidarity with the Students at Nanterre
20. Lula Goes to Prison, Deepening Brazil’s Political Crisis — as Military Waits in the Wings | Leandro Demori

by Ahmed Yusuf
After almost a decade of slumber, voices of resistance are emerging from landless peasants in Punjab once again. This is the tale of how biradari divided their social movement, but now, a shared struggle is bringing them close again

India is sliding toward a collapse of humanity and ethics in political and civic life

by Dilip Simeon
The historian Dilip Simeon reflecting on the need to defend democracy, the absence of a theory of fascism, the authoritarian culture of the left and ruling right wing ideologies. This lecture was delivered at the First Global Labour History Conference held in Delhi (3-4 March) in 2017

We are a group of retired civil servants who came together last year to express our concern at the decline in the secular, democratic, and liberal values enshrined in our constitution. We did so to join other voices of protest against the frightening climate of hate, fear and viciousness that the ruling establishment had insidiously induced. We spoke then as we do now: as citizens who have no affiliations with any political party nor adherence to any political ideology other than the values enshrined in our Constitution.

recordings of proceedings of the People’s tribunal on the attack on educational institutions in India being held in Delhi

A video recording from The Institute of Policy Studies in Washington

 - Recast(e)ing the model minority: Behind right wing Hindu politics in the U.S. | Sirisha Naidu and Raja Swamy
 - India: What is this RSS connected Hind Baloch Forum ?
 - India: RSS targetting electorate in coastal Karnataka to vote for ‘a nationalist party’ [BJP]
 - India: The RSS’s dangerous position on separate religion status for the Lingayats in Karnataka | Hartosh Singh Bal
 - India: The cross party reach of the Hindu Ekta Manch in Jammu
 - India: On Coastal Karnataka in the coming 15th assembly elections - comment by Rajaram Tolpadi (Deccan Herald)
 - India: Mecca Masjid Blast Case of 2007 - Aseemanand, four others acquitted for lack of evidence
 - India: Why has Narendra Modi government gone on an overdrive to proclaim its devotion to B.R. Ambedkar
 - India: Signs of Hope in the Fight against Saffron Violence in Uttarakhand | Shankar Gopalakrishnan, Trepan Singh Chauhan
 - India: Saffron-Green nexus . . . a fixed match between Hindu and Muslim communal forces, towards polarisation
 - India: Report on Deen Bachao, Desh Bachao rally by Muslims at Patna's Gandhi Maidan
 - India: Haryana, hate crime – outsourced from lynch mobs to men in khaki
 - Belittling Nehru’s Legacy will Harm India’s Democracy | Ram Puniyani
 - India: 2016 Cartoon by R Prasad on the Appropriation of Ambedkar by the Hindu Right
 - India: BJP income skyrockets compared to other political parties giving it a big advantage
 - Nativists cling to the wishful purity of their vision of the past despite findings of genetic science
 - India: Brickbats for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over his appointment of Hindu priests in his govt
 - India: RSS was bitterly of critical of Ambedkar when he was alive and tried to reform of Hindu personal laws | Ramachandra Guha
 - India: Muslim Gujjar and Bakarwal pastoralists are being systematically driven out of their settlements in Hindu-dominated districts

 -> available via:
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Dhaka Tribune
April 15, 2018

Respecting diversity, and not division
Who has given Hefazat the authority to dictate what is and what is not Muslim culture?

Lest we forget, Bangladesh is a secular nation, built on secular principles set forth by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

One shining example of this are the Pohela Boishakh celebrations, which highlight the multi-ethnic and diverse culture of our country.

Nowhere is this secular spirit more evident than in the iconic Mongol Shobhajatra, which — though relatively recent in its origin — truly epitomizes the unity that exists within the Bangladeshi people, as the procession boasts people from a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds.

But it seems that Hefazat-e-Islam has forgotten our nation’s history, or wishes to rewrite it.

Bangladesh has always prided itself on its diversity and inclusion, and for Hefazat to tarnish this legacy by proclaiming that the Mongol Shobhajatra is “haram” and “not Muslim culture” is utterly unacceptable.

Even more dangerous and divisive is their tendentious description of the event as “adult men and women wearing indecent clothing” and “dancing together” and their dubbing it a “Hindu ritual forced upon Muslims by the state.”

In the first place: Who has given Hefazat the authority to dictate what is and what is not Muslim culture? How dare they try to impose their narrow, parochial interpretation of Islam on the rest of us?

Second, and more important, their statements are bigoted and objectionable hate speech.

Statements such as theirs have no place in a nation such as ours, statements which serve not only to create religious disharmony among the peace-loving citizens of Bangladesh, but go so far as to threaten violence.

When threats, incitement to violence, and hate directed at a religious community are a crime — and these are all crimes under the penal code — statements such as these cannot be permitted to stand. Those who sow the seeds of discord through this kind of intolerant hate-mongering must be brought to book.

Bangladesh can have zero tolerance for such ugliness.

Pohela Boishakh and even the Mongol Shobhajatra are emblematic of Bangladesh’s rich culture and heritage and to spew such vitriol in their direction cannot be permitted.
Hefazat does not have to like either. But it cannot impose its views on the rest of us, and, most importantly, it cannot be allowed to threaten violence in order to get its way.

by Pratap Bhanu Mehta
(Indian Express, April 11, 2018)    

While identities matter, when they are carelessly ascribed, they become inimical to freedom.

Identities are often maintained by policing boundaries, if you are one thing, you cannot be another. (Source: AP Photo)

In the film, The Party, there is a line ascribed to the Indian character Bakshi played by Peter Sellers. In response to a taunt, “Who do you think you are?” Bakshi responds: “In India we don’t think who we are, we know who we are.” For those of us, who are never quite sure what it means to know who we are, such confidence is a great source of envy. But it is sometimes alarming, when we not only seem to know who we are, but also seem to know who everyone else is. We easily ascribe identities to others, nest those identities in a set of expectations, and confidently proclaim the obligations that follow from those identities.

Collective identities matter to people. They may give a sense of belonging. They can sometimes produce solidarity. Sometimes they are premised on a sense of superiority and domination. Sometimes they are a defensive reaction against oppressive constructions that target people for being who they are. Collective identities are produced through complex social, psychological and historical mechanisms. Sometimes identities precede political action, sometimes they are constructed through it. But in our public discourse there is something deeply suffocating and inimical about the use of collective nouns and pronouns to capture identities. Almost all words that designate any collective identity — “Hindus”, “Muslims”, “Dalits”, “Indian”, or even categories of gender — are almost casually used to imprison people than recognise them. This is not the occasion for theoretical exercises in notions of identity. But the utter lack of self-awareness, and false confidence with which these terms are invoked should make us pause.

While it is a truism that identities matter, it is also a truism that when they are carelessly ascribed, they become inimical to freedom. What does it mean to invoke the term “Indian Muslim”? What does it mean to say, “I am Hindu” or I am “Jain or “Tamil?” These words have contextual uses, and can be aspects of people’s self-definition. But they easily become tyrannical when the common sense pitfalls of any collective noun or pronoun are ignored.
The pitfalls that make the easy ascription of collective identities fraught are obvious. But they bear repeating. In invoking a collective identity, are we too easily ascribing a unity of purpose, meaning, experience and capability to members of large group that they cannot possibly have? In ascribing that unity, or measuring that identity against a benchmark, we abstract away the different textures, struggles, individual engagement through which that identity becomes a hard won achievement, or the diverse forms in which it is imagined. Second, Nietzsche once said, that only ahistorical beings can be defined. To confidently name an identity is, in some ways, to freeze it; it is to impose a stable set of expectations that circumscribe our possibility of action. We become manifestations of that larger collective identity rather than agents who shape it.

Third, identities almost always seem to trap us in binaries, what Bhikhu Parekh in a lecture once evocatively called “the false antinomies between closed wholes”. Identities are often maintained by policing boundaries, if you are one thing, you cannot be another. Or worse, the truism that the solidarity behind collective identities is often sustained by identifying a threat or an enemy. One of the paradoxes of India is that at the level of vernacular practice, our identities can be a lot more permeable. It is when we put the pressure on naming them (Is “X” practice Sikh of Hindu?) that identities go from being open fields that we freely inhabit to closed fortresses that we zealously guard. Fourth, public invocations of identity are insidiously colonising and easily displace reason and argument. Which collective identity you can be slotted under is then assumed to give you authority over some subjects not others, define your moral responsibilities, and even be a predictor of what you might say. If an argument takes the form, “Speaking as ‘X’ I make the following claim,” it is the speaking as X that is supposed to give you authority not the validity of your claim.

India, of course, has the most nauseating history of imposing compulsory identities on people, through caste. But other casual invocations of public identity also extract huge moral costs. Just as nationalism is a form of collective aggrandisement and narcissism, so do most collective identities run the same risk. Collective identities efface individuality. The emphasis in describing everyone first by the collective noun into which they can be slotted often completely forecloses any space of interiority, no space for inwardness, or psychological complexity. Aurobindo was right in thinking that at some point rigidified external social identities made India something akin to a charnel house of rotted interiorities, to use Lukacs’ phrase. If you wanted to explore the depths of being and the complexities of existence, you had to escape society; society always had its scripts ready for you. Our constant inability to think of individuals outside of the collective noun under which we slot them has a similar effect. And by subsuming people under abstractions, collective identities do away with ordinary human sympathies.

Collective identities are also becoming scripts others control. They take away possibilities of self-definition. When we use terms like Hindu, Muslim, Women, Dalit, casually in public discourse, what do they actually mean? What expectations are associated with them? Are the listeners associating the same meaning with that collective noun as the speaker? Do the listeners burden those who inhabit these identities with different stereotypes than those who invoke them? Indian public discourse is so suffocating in part because these collective nouns are the medium through which we constantly misrecognise each other. Casual stereotyping is just one manifestation of that.

These categories are perhaps inescapable. But we can be more self-aware about their imprisoning logic. Contrary to the character Bakshi’s confidence, we don’t know who we are. We get that confident certainty that we know who we are, or who other are by slotting them into boxes. By naming them, putting them under a collective noun, we avoid the labour and hard work of having to know who we are and who others are. Naming has become a substitute for knowing. Perhaps we will be more liberated not if we have the illusory confidence that we know who we are, but if we replied like Bulleh Shah: “Bulla ki jana main kaun?” For it is the tyranny of naming that destroys our freedom, and makes us presumptuous enough to define others as well.

The writer is vice-chancellor, Ashoka University. Views are personal.

by Niha Masih
Hindustan Times, Apr 12, 2018

Despite a rare, legal victory, Dalits of Mirchpur are back on the streets — to fight for the SC/ST Act that helped them win a case seven years ago.

Hindustan Times, Mirchpur, Hisar

Dalit families who fled Mirchpur village continue to live in makeshift camps in Hisar. Their homes were burnt down in 2010.(Burhaan Kinu/HT File Photo)

Gulab Singh, 80, is frail and bent with age. He hobbles around with a wooden stick at the makeshift camp he lives in, outside Haryana’s Hisar city. But on April 2, defying his body and age, he marched with thousands of others for the Bharat Bandh called by Dalit groups. The nationwide protest was called in the wake of a Supreme Court order which put checks on arrests under the Scheduled Caste and Tribe Act (SC/ST Act), citing its misuse.

“We are alive due to the Act. If they take it away, do you think they [upper-castes] will spare us?” he asks. Singh is a beneficiary of the Act that won him victory in court, but is angry, because the battle for social justice is far from over. He and other Dalit families may never return to the village of Mirchpur, which has always been home.

On April 21, 2010, 18 Dalit houses, including his, were attacked by the Jats in Mirchpur, following an altercation over a barking dog. While Singh survived, his neighbour, 70-year-old Tara Chand, and his disabled teenage daughter, Suman, lost their lives in the blaze. Unlike several other high-profile cases of caste violence —in which trials have dragged on for years and resulted in acquittals —the Mirchpur case went to trial in a few months, and a judgment the following year, convicted 15 Jats of the village.

Singh’s witness testimony formed a crucial part of the case in court. But seven years after their hard-fought legal victory, the Mirchpur Dalits were forced to take to the streets once again – this time to fight for the very Act that had been instrumental in delivering them justice.

According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 130 SC/ST atrocity cases were registered every day across the country in 2016. While the Act has made it easier for the victims to register cases, it has not guaranteed justice. Only a fourth of the total cases ended in convictions while pendency was at 88%.

Ramesh Nathan, general secretary, National Dalit Movement for Justice, a group which monitors atrocity cases across the country, points to the reasons for poor conviction rates. “Poor police investigations are a big factor. Chargesheets are delayed, which often means victims and witnesses get threatened, weakening the cases. This is being interpreted as false or fake cases.”

The data too does not suggest widespread abuse. Of the total cases registered in 2016, 15% were found to be ‘false’ or ended due to ‘mistake of fact/law’. The police filed chargesheets in 80% of the cases suggesting prima facie evidence.

Satyawan Singh, 38, nephew of the deceased, Tara Chand, was instrumental in organising the survivors for the legal battle. He says, “We had to fight so hard to get a conviction in court despite the Act so we need to stand for it now.”

He describes the ordeal that the Dalits faced in the aftermath of the violence. Almost 250 Dalit families fled Mirchpur, spending a month and a half sitting on a dharna outside the secretariat. After administrative assurances of justice and security, they went back to the village. “We had barely gone back that the pressure started building to withdraw the case. One night, two cars full of Jats went around our basti, making threatening announcements. We left after three days,” he says.

From there, the families trekked 150 kilometres to Delhi, staying at a Valmiki Mandir near Panchkuian road. After two months, they made another attempt to go back home. But the pressure from the Jats forced them out once more.

After months of being homeless, most of the Dalit families settled on a patch of land on the outskirts of Hisar, loaned to them by a social activist. They have been living here ever since. Only 50 families, who could not afford to lose their village livelihood, went back to Mirchpur.
Approximately 250 Dalit families from Mirchpur fled in the aftermath of the violence in 2010. The court convicted 15 Jats of the village. (Burhaan Kinu/HT File Photo)

Satyawan’s nephew, Sanjay Valmiki, a 28-year-old driver, says the Bharat Bandh protests got a massive response, especially among the Dalit youth. “After the SC decision, we organised meetings in all nearby villages. Everywhere we went, the people were very angry. Diluting the Act is a direct attack on our safety.”

The impact of the nationwide protests can already be felt both nationally and locally. On the backfoot, the Centre filed a review petition in court which is now being heard. In Haryana, the longstanding demand for rehabilitation by the Mirchpur Dalits was accepted by the state government last week. After eight years of living under a tarpaulin tent, the families will now be given land and financial help to build houses at Dhandhur village – an hour away from their original homes.

This is also being welcomed by the Dalit families that had continued living in Mirchpur. Last year, in a nightmarish re-run of the events of 2010, a Dalit teenager, Shiv Kumar, was beaten and abused by Jat boys for winning village athletic races. His father, Ajmer Singh, says, “Due to the favourable judgment in the 2010 case, this time things didn’t go out of hand.”

Pointing to a filthy kuchcha lane over-run with sewage, in front of his house, he adds, “This is the border. We live like people do on the Indo-Pakistan border.”

The same road further ahead is inhabited by the Jats. Each of the Jat houses in that stretch has had men arrested, accused or convicted for the 2010 attack. Rajinder Palli, 39, serving life sentence is currently out on parole. Maintaining his innocence, he says, “The Dalits get their way but no one listens to us. They have power as they have more votes than Jats.”

His neighbour, 45-year-old Suresh Kumar, spent 17 months in jail before being acquitted by the court. Disabled in one foot, he walks around with a crutch. “Being in jail was very tough for me. Each second was hell. I was innocent and yet I spent so much time in jail. I’m happy that SC has recognised that this Act is misused,” he says. Data on arrests from NCRB, in fact, shows that more than 85% people arrested were eventually chargesheeted in 2016.

It is this sentiment that makes life untenable for the remaining Dalits in the village. The victory in court has deepened the fault line. Says Ajmer Singh, “We don’t want to take any more chances and will move out soon, now that the government is ready to relocate us.”

While the elder members are resigned to leaving their homes, the younger Dalits realise that moving is a short-term solution. Amit Singh, 23, who is an unemployed, interrupts Ajmer. “Caste violence will not end even if we go away. We have to fight to save the Act.”

Another man next to him chips in, “The Act is like an umbrella that ensures we are safe. If it is taken away, we will become slaves again.”

G.S. Mudur
The Telegraph
April 15, 2018 00:00 IST

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Krishna Sengupta at the march in New Delhi 

New Delhi: The need for a walking stick didn't hold back Krishna Sengupta, 74, from joining scientists, fellow academics and students as they marched along Delhi's streets on Saturday in protest against what they view as the government's anti-science policies.

Sengupta, former professor of physics at Miranda House, a Delhi college, was participating in the "March for Science", held in many places in India in tandem with similar events across the world.

The All India People's Science Network and the Breakthrough Science Society, two NGOs coordinating the campaign in India, said over 3,000 people joined the march in Calcutta.

"This walk is important, especially to prevent our society from sinking into dark days," said Sengupta. The scientific temper is important not just to improve the economy, she said, but to improve society as well.

The march organisers have drafted a petition that calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the propagation of unscientific and obscurantist ideas and ensure India's education system does not impart beliefs contrary to scientific evidence.

"Unscientific ideas and superstitious beliefs are being propagated with accelerated pace," the petition reads. "Ridiculous claims are being made about an imaginary glorious past ignoring the true contributions based on historical evidence.'

Junior human resource development minister Satya Pal Singh had earlier this year claimed that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was wrong, because no one had seen a monkey enter a forest to re-emerge as a human.

Science minister Harsh Vardhan had last month claimed that physicist Stephen Hawking had said the Vedas might have a theory superior to Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.

"What is even more worrying is how our scientific agencies are being influenced into pursuing pseudo-science," said D. Raghunandan, who is associated with the All India People's Science Network.

The Centre has approved funds for the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to probe the healing properties of Ganga water. Last year, the department of science and technology established a "steering committee" to guide research to assess the virtues of the panchgavya, a concoction of cow dung, urine, milk, curd, ghee, water and other ingredients.

The call for the march had come from scientists from many academic and government institutions, including the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai; the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai; the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad; and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Calcutta.

"We have reports of marches in around 40 cities across India, including Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Lucknow, Patna, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati," said Chanchal Ghosh, a coordinator with the Breakthrough Science Society.

The campaign has urged the government to increase its budgets for science and education.

The global organisers of the march for science have described this year's event as a second show of unity by science supporters "to hold elected and appointed officials responsible for enacting equitable evidence-based policies that serve all communities and science for the common good".

Scientists were expected to turn up for the marches in multiple cities in all continents.

Gaganshakti 2018: IAF displays might, air chief says ‘we’re shaking the heavens’
The Gaganshakti-2018 exercise seeks to test the IAF’s readiness and stamina for a two-front war with China and Pakistan.
india Updated: Apr 17, 2018 10:35 IST
Rahul Singh

by Rahul Tripathi
Indian Express
New Delhi | Updated: April 17, 2018

NDA government launched ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ in 2015, covering security and development aspects. Three years later, it claims tangible benefits in its efforts against Maoists.

Maoist territory Personnel of the India Reserve Battalion conduct a patrol in the Jangalmahal region of Purulia district, West Bengal. (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

Naxalism was once called by the government as the biggest internal security threat faced by the country. However, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Maoist influence has been gradually shrinking. In figures released on Monday, the MHA, which recently redrew the red corridor, brought down the number of districts affected with Naxal violence from 106 to 90, spread across 11 states. The list also includes the 30 worst-affected district — six down from the previous one.

In 2015, the NDA government had adopted the ‘National Policy and Action Plan’, which aimed at addressing Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in the country. In the last couple of years though, Maoists have managed to carry out big strikes killing scores of policemen. In Chhattisgarh, over two dozen policemen were killed in separate incidents in 2017; at least nine CRPF personnel were killed in a similar attack in Sukma last month.

Which states are included in the LWE-affected areas?

The report considers Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar as states that are severely affected by LWE. West Bengal, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh (earlier a part of the severely affected category) are considered partially affected. Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are classified as states that are slightly affected.

According to the report, Maoists are making a foray into Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and planning to link the Western and Eastern Ghats through these states. They are not only planning to increase their activities in these areas, but also carve out a base for themselves in the tri-junction. The report also notes that the Maoists are attempting to make inroads into Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and their success in doing so can have long-term strategic implications.

Is the recently drawn red corridor different from the older one?

In 2015, the total number of LWE-affected districts was 106. It rose to 126 in 2017 following bifurcation of states and districts, and the expansion of Maoists activities. All expenses incurred by the affected areas are covered under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme of the MHA, which provides funds for transportation, communication, hiring of vehicles, stipend for surrendered Maoists, and temporary infrastructure for security forces.

Of the 106 districts, 36 accounted for 80 to 90% of the country-wide LWE violence, and were categorized as “Worst Affected Districts”. In its recent review, the Home Ministry noted that 44 of the 126 districts reported negligence violence, and they were removed from the list. Eight new districts which witnessed Maoist movements were added to the SRE list. Currently, 30 instead of 36 of the worst affected districts account for 90% of the LWE violence.

So, which are the new districts where Maoists are making inroads?

Eight new districts have been included by the MHA.
Kerala: Malappuram, Palakkad and Wayanad
Andhra Pradesh: West Godavari
Chhattisgarh: Kabirdham
Madhya Pradesh: Mandla
Odisha: Angul and Boudh

Which are the districts that have now been excluded?

As many as 44 districts have been removed from the list. Among them the majority belongs to the following states:
* Telangana: 19 districts
* Odisha: 6 districts
* Bihar: 6 districts
* West Bengal: 4 districts
* Chhattisgarh: 3 districts
* Jharkhand: 2 districts
* Maharashtra: 1 district

What were the criteria for removing the districts and including new ones?

The primary criterion was ‘incidents of violence’. The 44 districts, which have been excluded, did not report any significant incidents of violence due to LWE in the last three years.

Similarly, three new districts in Kerala were added following reports of Naxal movement, and their overground activities. Incidents of violence have seen a 20% decline with a 34% reduction in related deaths in 2017 as compared to 2013. The geographical spread of LWE violence also shrunk from 76 districts in 2013 to 58 districts in 2017. The new districts will receive the SRE fund from the Centre, which will monitor development and security-related projects. Last year, the combined SRE expenditure in LWE-affected districts was Rs 445 crore.

What is the multi-pronged strategy of the government?

The multi-pronged strategy primarily includes development and security aspects of affected districts. Projects related to development include infrastructure, roads, cellphone connectivity, bridges and schools. As per MHA data, 2,329 mobile towers were installed in Maoist-affected areas in the first phase of the project aimed at improving cellphone connectivity, with the maximum number of towers being installed in Jharkhand (816), followed by Chhattisgarh (519). In the second phase, the government plans to install another 4,072 mobile towers.

Similarly, 4,544 kilometers of road have already been built of the sanctioned 5,422 km. The second phase of constructing 5,411 km of road will start soon, and is estimated to cost Rs 10,780 crores.

Earlier, 11 of the 36 worst affected areas had no Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV), and only six Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs). Now, all the 36 districts have JNVs, and eight districts have functional KVs. Three new KVs are also being built.

Eight bridges, which were built to enhance connectivity to remote areas in LWE-affected states, were constructed at a cost of nearly Rs 1,000 crores.


Andhra Pradesh: Vishakhapatnam
Bihar: Aurangabad, Gaya, Jamui, Lakhisarai
Chhattisgarh: Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon, Sukma
Jharkhand: Bokaro, Chatra, Garhwa, Giridih, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Khunti, Latehar, Lohardaga, Palamu, Ranchi, Simdega West, Singhbhum
Maharashtra: Gadchiroli
Odisha: Korapur, Malkangiri
Telangana: Bhadradri, Kothagudem

South China Morning Post
12 April, 2018

Ceasefire violation figures given by both sides vary wildly, but both show the same trend – a powerful surge over the past two years that has intensified this year

Cross-border clashes between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan in Kashmir have reached the highest levels in 15 years, figures from both sides show, with hundreds killed or wounded and no solution in sight.

The de facto border dividing the mountainous territory had been relatively quiet in the wake of a 2003 ceasefire between the South Asian neighbours, each of whom rule part of Kashmir but claim it in full.
But recently the number of ceasefire violations – loosely defined as shelling, gunfire or fighting – at the heavily militarised Line of Control (LOC) has been steadily increasing.
Independently confirmed data is virtually non-existent, and figures given by both sides can vary wildly. But both show the same trend – a powerful, sustained surge over the past two years that has intensified since the beginning of 2018.

[Smoke rises after alleged shelling by Indian troops in the Nakial Sector of Pakistan-administered Kashmir in August 2015. Photo: AFP]

[Relatives grieve over the body of Sarjeel Sheikh, a civilian who was shot earlier this month during a protest near a gun battle in Khudwani village about 60km south of Indian controlled Kashmir. Photo: AP]
According to India, the number of Pakistani violations rose from 152 in 2015 to 860 in 2017. Delhi recorded 351 incidents in January and February 2018 alone.
Meanwhile Pakistan claims even higher numbers: 168 violations in 2015, 1,970 in 2017 and 415 over the first two months of this year.
Happymon Jacob, author of a 2017 report on ceasefire violations for the United States Institute of Peace, said he has no reason to doubt the figures.
‘The fight is still on’: 16 killed as violence grips Indian Kashmir
An Indian analyst based in Delhi, Jacob has been monitoring violations through reports in Indian and Pakistani media, as well as conducting field visits and interviews with military officials on both sides.
Islamabad’s figures are higher as “India is firing more than Pakistan. There is far more firepower, soldiers, posts, on the Indian side,” he said.
At least 500,000 Indian soldiers are believed to be mobilised in Kashmir, against anywhere between 50 and 100,000 Pakistani soldiers, according to analysts – with both sides refusing to confirm the size of their presence.
[An Indian Border Security Force soldier patrols the fence-line at the India-Pakistan border, southwest of Jammu. Photo: AFP]
[An Indian farmer passes along the Indian-Pakistan Border fence about 20km from Gurdaspur. Photo: AFP]
Never have I seen such horror raining from the skies
Zahoor Ahmed

The escalation appears to be driven by a myriad of complex, interlinked factors. Among them, Jacob noted in his report last year that the LOC is more peaceful when Pakistan and India are holding constructive dialogue.
There were hopes of a new era when Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise Christmas Day visit to Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in 2015.
But relations swiftly unravelled, derailing any attempts at dialogue and creating a fertile environment for ceasefire violations.

Meanwhile, the tit-for-tat element is also strong, and fuels hostility. “None of [the violations] go unpunished,” an Indian official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“We always respond to dissuade the other party from doing it again,” said General Muhammad Akhtar Khan, commander of the Pakistani troops in Kashmir.
[Indian villagers run as shelling bombards the India-Pakistan border in Jhora village in January this year. Photo: AFP]

Adding to the tension is the separatist insurgency, and the Indian military’s counter-insurgency, that have destabilised Indian Kashmir since the late 1980s and left tens of thousands dead, including about 20 on April 1.
New Delhi regularly accuses Pakistan of stirring up this movement, which Islamabad denies, using the counter-insurgency to fuel anger at India on its side.

The political situation in both countries similarly weighs in the balance, with legislative elections due this year in Pakistan and in 2019 in India.
Kashmir is something both can capitalise on, said Jacob. “Hatred is used by both governments, it is short-term political calculation,” he told AFP, adding “negotiating means being weak”.
India says Pakistan ‘will pay’ after Kashmir army camp attack killed nine
[A Pakistani Kashmiri shows a mortar shell that hit his house during cross-border shelling in the village of Peer Klanjer in Nakyal sector. Photo: AFP]
The endless calculations translate to fear for Kashmiris on either side of the LOC.
“I have never seen such intensity in shelling and firing by Indian troops,” said Mohammad Siddique, a 70-year-old Pakistani. AFP visited his house in Madarpur, now nothing but a ruin after a shell landed in his hallway.
The feeling is shared across the LOC. Residents of Uri district said in February they were bombarded with a “shower of shells” from Pakistan.
“It was the worst [exchange of fire] I have seen in my life,” Mushtaq Ahmed, a 38-year-old official, told AFP by telephone.
Political crisis brews as police file murder charges against army in India's Kashmir
“We are living in terror,” said Zahoor Ahmed, 26, in Silikote, Indian Kashmir. “Never have I seen such horror raining from the skies … Firing happens almost daily now.”
Both sides claim more than 100 of their citizens have been killed and hundreds more wounded in ceasefire violations since 2015.
A Pakistani labourer named Inzaman was among the recent victims, his father Muhammad Amin told AFP through tears at his son’s funeral in Tatrinote village.
[An Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard on a street corner on April 12, when the Joint Resistance Leadership called a strike to protest against the killings of four youths in south Kashmir. Photo: AFP]
While security advisers from both countries reportedly met in late December in Bangkok to reduce the pressure, official statements remain bellicose.

In Islamabad, fear of escalation is real within the foreign diplomatic community.
No country, however, dares to tackle the subject. The United Nations also remains silent, despite the presence since 1948 of an observer mission on both sides of the border.
“It is not the question of Kashmir which is at stake, it is the stability of the region,” observed one Western diplomat.
The threat of nuclear war and the reluctance of the global community to quarrel with rising giant India and its billion-plus consumers are to blame for the silence, he explained.
The calculation is that the less noise made on Kashmir, the fewer dead there will be.

 Walter N. Hakala. Negotiating Languages: Urdu, Hindi, and the Definition of Modern South Asia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. 320 pp. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-231-17830-3.

Reviewed by Carlo Coppola
Published on H-Asia (April, 2018)
Commissioned by Sumit Guha (The University of Texas at Austin)

Urdu and Hindi

Usually when people pick up a dictionary of any language to look up the meaning of a word, it is likely that they do so without considering what went into making that work available. The task might even cause a bit of irritation, as it probably causes a break in one’s train of thought or interrupts the flow of a text. Most people would probably not consider the time spent in gathering up all the words to be defined (years? lifetimes?), the number of people involved in such a task (one? hundreds?), or the consequences of the final product (rise in literacy? the quality and quantity of literary products?).

In his Negotiating Languages: Urdu, Hindi, and the Definition of Modern South Asia, Walter N. Hakala offers cogent, in-depth answers to these questions as well as others he raises in his discussion of how Urdu lexicological works, especially dictionaries, have been used in the past and continue to be used today for the literary and scientific advancement of the language, but, in the case of South Asia, for religious and political ends as well.

The volume is divided into five chapters and a conclusion. Each chapter presents a close description and discussion of an important lexicographic work and the lexicographer(s) who prepared it, dating back to the late eighteenth century. The detailed, six-page “Chronology” at the start of the book lists major dictionaries, phrase books, vocabulary lists, collections of proverbs and folktales, and other lexicological productions and is very helpful in tracking the various major works in the development of the Urdu language, starting in 1220 CE with Niṣāb al-Ṣibyān (Capital-stock of children) by Abu Nasar Farahi in Afghanistan, down to 2010, with the publication of the twenty-second final volume of the Urdū Luġhāt: Tāriḳhī Uṣūl Par (Urdu dictionary: On historical principles) in Karachi.

In his “Scope of the Study,” a part of the first chapter, entitled “A Plot Discovered,” the author, drawing on the “foundational work” of historian/literary critic Gustave Lanson (1857-1934) and sociologist/philosopher Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002), encapsulates the purpose of this volume: to document “the role that dictionaries and other lexicographic genres have played in educating and defining the bureaucratic and literary classes of the Moghul and colonials periods and [to show] how these groups have contributed to the creation and standardization of the languages of North India,” more specifically, Urdu and Hindi, and the role these standardized languages have played in established nation-states (p. 28).

The first chapter introduces two distinctively different lexicographers whose major works are carefully analyzed. The first, Munshi Ziya al-Din Ahmad Barni (1890-1969), is the author of Aḳhbārī Luġhāt (ma‘rūf bĕh Kalīd-i Aḳhbār-Bīnī (A newspaper dictionary [also known as the key to newspaper viewing]), published in 1915, at the height of World War I. In it, the munshi translates English words—many of them political in nature—into Urdu, words commonly found in newspapers and other print media of the day. An example is the lengthy definition of the word dīmākraisī (democracy): “This is a form of government in which all decisions (iḳhtiyārāt: elections, powers) are universally in the hands of the aggregate population (majmū‘ī jumhūr) or in the hands of their appointed officers” (pp. 1-2; Hakala’s translation from the Urdu). The definition continues for another eight lines in such a way that it could easily be read as a veiled call for India’s independence from Great Britain. Others of his definitions—for example, impīri’yalizam (imperialism), nau-abādiyāṅ (colonists), and ḳhẉud muḳhtār (independent)—carry a similar semantic load. In short, these definitions could be construed in those wartime circumstances as, at the very least, disloyalty, and at most, perhaps treason.

Whereas the munshi used a standard Urdu alphabetical order for his work, the second lexicographer did not use that method. The young Scottish poet John Leyden (1775-1811), who came to India where he served as a judge and possessed an almost preternatural capacity to learn languages. It is said that at the time of his untimely and tragic death at the age of thirty-five, he had a “command of some forty-five languages” (p. 15), including over a dozen South Asian and Middle Eastern classical and vernacular ones. His A Vocabulary Persian and Hindoostanee (1808) is set up according to a method of using a thematic, or onomasiological, arrangement of words, where the user goes from concept to word. For example, the first entry in the volume includes the Persian and Hindi words for “god”: ḳhudā and īsar; the next set of words is for the abstract noun “divinity”: ḳhudā’ī and iśvaratā; and the third entry the word for “creator”: Arabic ḳhāliq and Sanskrit-derived sirjanhār,” reversing the standard arrangement of most dictionaries which allow the user to go from word to concept, what Hakala calls a cosmological approach.

Subsequent chapters center on a key word and author and treats what Hakala calls “particular moments in the development of the Urdu language” during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries (p. 28). In the second chapter, “1700: Between Microhistory and Macrostructures,” the reader is introduced to two distinctly different personalities: Abdul Wase Hanswi, a schoolteacher in the provincial town of Hansi, some eighty miles northwest of Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi), the urdū-i mu‘allā, the “Exalted Court” (p. 85), where not only the speech of the court, of aristocrats, and of others fortunate enough to have been born and raised in this exceptional city enjoys high repute, but where courtly manners and social refinement (ādāb) do as well. Despite his distance from such a prestigious and rarified milieu, Wase prepared what is essentially the first dictionary with “significant coverage of the Urdu language,” Ġharā’ib al-Luġhāt (Marvel of words; p. 29).

By contrast, Khan-i Arzu (1687/8-1756), author of the Nawādir al-Alfāẕ (Wonders of words), while borrowing features of Wase’s earlier work, at the same time condescendingly derides the former’s work as provincial and lacking any kind of literary authority. Hakala demonstrates the power Arzu wielded in this and later periods in the development of Urdu as a medium through which poets used the language as the basis for employment at various courts, notably Murshidabad in Bengal. This court accommodated poets and other essential personnel who were moving eastward as the central political and cultural power of the Moghul court in Old Delhi was in decline. Here one also gets glimmerings of the influence of the East India Company on the development of Urdu prose, which would be used for both commercial and colonial needs.

In chapter 3, “1800: Through the Veil of Poetry,” Hakala shows how new sets of items were added to Urdu vocabulary, which assisted in the development of Urdu prose style: folk songs, proverbs, women’s speech, and the technical vocabulary of various professions and occupational groups. Here, too, the reader is introduced to perhaps the book’s most charismatic and complex poet-cum-lexicographer, Mirza Jan Tapish (c. 1768-1816), a Delhi native who composed his Shams al-Bayān fī Muṣt̤alaḥāt al-Hindūstān (The sun of speech, on the idioms of Hindustan; c. 1794) at the court of the Shams al-Daulah, Nawab of Murshidabad.

Tapish was also involved in political intrigue—an alleged conspiracy to seek assistance in thwarting British growing political power in India. He was imprisoned in 1799 until “signs of repentance become evident” (p. 108). Released in 1806 or 1807, he eventually ended up rehabilitated and providing important assistance to the lexicographic work being done Fort William College, where East India Company British employees were taught Indian languages. His major contributions were data related not only  to the speech of the upper classes, but also to that of intermediate and lower levels of society with whom these company agents would interact on a daily basis.

It is also in this chapter that Hakala takes serious issue with the Hindi writer Amrit Rai (1921-96), whose controversial A House Divided: The Origin and Development of Hindi/Hindavi (1984) often makes biased and, to the thinking of some scholars, baseless claims about Urdu. Referring to Rai as a polemicist (p. 93), Hakala dismisses Rai’s assertion that “Urdu is no more than an elite ‘class dialect’” (p. 184).

The fourth chapter, “1900: Lexicography and the Self,” deals with Sayyid Ahmad Dihlawi (1846-1918), author of various lexicographic works, the most ambitious and most important of which is his Hindūstānī Urdū Luġhāt, described by Hakala as a work which “would eventually become for many scholars the single most useful dictionary of the Urdu language” (p. 115) and in many respects financially successful. The first two volumes appeared in 1888 printed in octavo. This latter part of the nineteenth century, Hakala notes, was also a period in which severe “contentious Hindi-Urdu debates” (p. 115) were raging. These would, of course, continued on throughout the twentieth century to the present day.

Sayyid Ahmad indicates in his preface that he served a seven-year apprenticeship with the distinguished British folklorist and pedagogue, Dr. Samuel William Fallon (1817-80). This may or may not have been the case. The author of Hindustani-English Dictionary (1879), Fallon is described by Hakala as “one of the two great British lexicographers of the Urdu language in the latter half of the nineteenth century” (p. 155). The other was John Thompson Platts (1830-1904), author of A Dictionary of Urdū, Classical Hindī, and English (1884).

That Sayyid Ahmad was an impassioned lover of the Urdu language and its literature is amply demonstrated by his expressions of such sentiments frequently in his writing and in his definitions. He was criticized for this by those who believe that it inappropriate to include “extralinguistic or otherwise ‘encyclopedic’ information in dictionary entries” (p. 152). Sayyid Ahmad also includes terms judged “abusive, indelicate or obscene” (p. 152). For this he was reprimanded by lexicographer Dr. Abdul Haq (1870-1961; aka “Baba-i-Urdu,” Father of Urdu). This chapter also includes a discussion of the term ṭopī-wālā (one who wears a hat) from its earlier, eighteenth-century meaning with pederastic associations to the later shift and modification in meaning in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Chapter 5, ”1900: Grasping at Straws,” addresses the dictionaries of S. W. Fallon and Ciranji Lal. Fallon, like Platts, served as inspector of schools in the Central Provinces. His major work is his New Hindustani-English Dictionary, with Illustrations from Hindustani Literature and Folk-lore (1879). It must be noted that Fallon calls the language of his dictionary “Hindustani,” not Urdu. Hakala indicates that, as its title suggests, this work “is notable today for having included for the first time a new range of lexicographical material such as folksongs, proverbs, conversational terms, and the speech of women” (pp. 155-56), a major departure from previous criteria for inclusion. In the introduction, Fallon complains about the resistance he felt from his Indian assistants, who seemed to feel that the everyday language, “‘the language of vulgar, illiterate people’” (p. 157), was not worthy of inclusion in the dictionary. But, by including these elements from the non-elite public sphere, Fallon was “fashioning the public sphere [of language] that he saw as necessary for the foundation of a truly common and national language” (p. 167). Fallon, Hakala states, depicts Hindustani as a potential “‘national speech’” (p. 167).

Little is known about Ciranji Lal. Delhi-born, he was well grounded in Sanskrit, as a result of which he was assigned by Fallon, for whom he served as an assistant, the task of researching the Sanskrit etymologies of Hindi terms in the dictionary. The setup of Lal’s Hindūstānī Maḳhzan al-Muḥāwarāt (Treasury of Idioms, 1886) reflects Fallon’s work in various respects. It was intended to serve a class of people interested in operating within a largely distinct sphere of political participation—namely, "Indian aspirants to posts in the colonial administration” (p. 170). Such aspirants would use the language in their dictionary “as a means to take advantage of the new sites of political discourse—courts, schools, newsprint, and volunteer associations—introduced and regulated by the colonial state. ‘Hindustani’ (and quite pointedly not Urdu) was both a product of and a vehicle for what Ćiraṇjī perceived as, in essence, modernity” (p. 172). While the exposition of Ciranji’s dictionary, which separates out the Hindi register of Hindustani, is detailed and nuanced, Halkala brings up various powerful historical points to show that, even with Hindi and other Sanskrit-derived words in it, Hindustani is, indeed, Urdu. This final chapter makes for arresting reading.

This is a work of considerable complexity and vision by a notable young scholar who has provided linguists, lexicographers, litterateurs, sociologists, anthropologists, and historians of South Asia with a powerful historical study of a remarkable language that has had a rocky time of it due to mostly political and religious polemics. The bibliography is the most up-to-date and is most likely the most definitive one in English. This book should be required reading—in fact, careful study—for all of the language apparatchiks in both New Delhi and Islamabad whose work may one day, sadly, force Urdu and Hindi into becoming two entirely separate, mutually unintelligible languages.


Map compares the size of countries and cities in South Asia with international benchmarks. Remember that the region is home to about a quarter of all humans. 

Khurram Abbas
Daily Times, April 7th 2018

The book illustrates that democracy and non-violence are deeply embedded in Pakistani society

The book under review, ‘People’s Movements in Pakistan’ by Aslam Khwaja is a groundbreaking piece of work on the non-violent struggles of Pakistan. Despite the fact that non-violence and democratic culture is deeply rooted in the Pakistani social fabric, the least amount of work has been done by scholars and academics on non-violent political struggle. In this book, Mr. Khwaja has tried to compile all facets of non-violent struggles in Pakistan— ranging from civil disobedience against General Zia’s regime to movements for freedom of press, student movements to women’s movements for rights, struggle of trade unions against economic exploitation and Balochistan’s struggle for greater share from the centre. The author explains the nature of these movements in the context of Pakistan’s political and social culture.

The book reveals the fact that majority of non-violent movements including civil disobedience, movement of art and literature, women’s struggle for their rights, and movements for freedom of press and expression had been waged against General Zia-ul-Haq. Moreover, it also informs that non-violent struggles in Pakistan are more successful, as almost all these struggles were successful in achieving their desired results. Mr. Khwaja’s analysis helps in understanding the nature of Pakistan’s social and political fabric, contrary to popular international belief. Pakistan is a democratic and tolerant society. Unsung heroes who devoted their lives for the rights of their community, ethnicity, and freedom have been discussed in details in the book. Being a participant in many non-violent socialist movements, particularly movements of trade unions and movements against General Zia’s regime, the writer has inked personal experiences and accounts of people who exceptionally devoted their lives for other’s rights and freedoms.

    The writer believes that the women of Pakistan have now achieved many rights, and he is optimistic that in the coming decades the situation will be further improved

Mr. Khwaja digs deep in the history of Balochistan and identifies that most of the Baloch movements of non-violence against the government were based on misperceptions. While narrating the historic events of these struggles, he opines that military and civil bureaucracy played a vital role in creating the misperceptions between the Baloch people and Federal government. Moreover, unlike the popular belief of external role in these movements, Mr. Khwaja considers geography and policies of successive governments as central factors in exacerbating the Baloch crisis.

While narrating the civil disobedience movement against General Zia ul Haq, Mr. Khwaja describes numerous motivations, aspects and the role of political forces in those movements. He has discussed in detail the role of different political parties, their internal differences, challenges to the civil disobedience movement and reaction of the military regime. The writer is of the opinion that though society was overall exhausted by Zia’s policies, internal differences of different political parties helped Zia linger on his rule in Pakistan (p. 222). Though, the struggle couldn’t obtain its desired results during Zia’s lifetime, yet it helped political forces to secure democracy in the country after Zia’s death.

Mr Khwaja informs that there has been a long history of exploitation of traders and the labour force by industrialists before 1947. He says that there were no standard wages for labour, and industrialists used to slash wages of labour per their own wishes (p.280) while the British Raj did not take any action to give relief to the labour force as well. However, the political struggle of various segments of society against the British encouraged the traders and labour class to stand against this exploitation, which improved their living and working standards. After independence, trade unions tried to unify many times; however, political parties often used these trade unions for their political agendas. The writer mentions various kinds of tactical changes such as the release of union members by martial law authorities, increase of salaries, etc. in response to some movements (p. 386). However, he does not mention the contribution of trade unions towards structural changes in favour of trade unions.

In his chapter on peasants, Mr Khawaja discusses various peasant movements all across the country. His invaluable personal information about leaders and activists for peasants is commendable. He discusses numerous peasant leaders and their struggle for the rights of peasants. However, he accounts that peasant movements have never spread at the national level as other movements do (426-429), rather these movements have been confined to one province or within one or two districts. He doesn’t mention the reason of this confinement though. The writer further adds that peasants are still suffering in the rural areas of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and through their compelling stories, one can predict that there are prospects of non-violent struggle in the future against the agricultural elite by this segment of society.

Mr. Khwaja has given an exhaustive analysis on the impact of General Zia-ul-Haq’s policies on the social and political fabric as well as the response of different segments of society to his policies. He describes in detail the dilemmas that were faced by the Pakistani society during the 1980s of which the Islamisation process by General Zia-ul-Haq created a stringent environment for art, culture and literature in the country. Artists faced grim economic and social problems over the showcasing of their art. He also narrates how women faced a stringent environment for education and professional development. He narrates the struggle of a Pathan woman Shayam from Charsada, the struggle of Malala Yousafzai for education (p. 512), the role of All Pakistan Women Association (APWA) for equal rights at various levels of society (p.528), the role of women such as that of Begum Abida Malik, Inayat Begum, Zakia Kaniz and others to protect and defend the Family Law Ordinance (1961) threatened by General Zia during 1978 (p. 526). Mr. Khwaja has shown pleasure over the courage and struggle by women from underdeveloped areas. He believes that the women of Pakistan have now achieved many rights, and he is optimistic that in the coming decades the situation will be further improved.

Overall, the book is true a reflection of the Pakistani society. It illustrates that democracy and non-violence are deeply embedded in Pakistani society. It has given a complete history of the 20th century non-violent movements in Pakistan, which will be highly helpful in understanding the nature and motivations of non-violent movements in the country during the 21st century. Since 2007, Pakistan has been witnessing a new wave of non-violent civil resistance from various segments of society including lawyers, politicians, religio-political parties, doctors, teachers, oil tanker and farmers’ associations, etc. In this backdrop, reading this book will be able to enrich one’s experience and knowledge of many scholars and policymakers who are interested in nonviolent civil resistance.

Largely, this book dispels two popular believes of Pakistani intelligentsia. Firstly, it dispels the impression of policymaking circles and scholars about the changing nature of Pakistani politics. This book has revealed that Pakistani politics and society has been confronting non-violent struggle from different segments of society since its inception. Hence, it is not a new phenomenon. Secondly, it also dispels the popular believe that non-violent movements create instability in society and could be harmful for democracy. The author argues time and again that these non-violent movements are indispensible for social mobilisation and consolidation of democratic norms among different segments of society.

Policymakers, scholars and students of Pakistani politics must read this book to understand Pakistan’s social and political fabric, internal operationalisation of political/social movements, and behaviour of participants of non-violent struggle. It is probable that after reading this book, a reader’s mind and opinion about Pakistani politics and recent non-violent struggles in the country will change.

The writer is a PhD Scholar and Researcher at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI)

by Pranab Bardhan
European Politics and Policy (LSE) blog 
6 April 2018

The share of workers belonging to unions has declined in many countries, and new patterns of employment, such as the rise of the so called ‘gig economy’, are making unorganised labour the norm in a large number of industries. For Pranab Bardhan, this weakening of labour organisations has been a factor in enabling the growth of inequality and the rise of right-wing populism. He outlines some suggested steps for reversing this trend.

Along with rising income and wealth inequalities, the share of labour (particularly of unskilled labour) is declining both in rich and poor countries. The institutional factor behind this is, of course, the systematic weakening of labour organisations. Outside of the Nordic countries, union membership among workers is now often in dismal low percentages. In rich countries unorganised labour is growing particularly in the ‘gig economy’ of free-lancers and ‘independent contractors’. In poor countries the number of workers in the traditional informal sector often exceeds those in the formal sector.

Without the disciplining influence of worker associations many blue-collar workers are falling for the seductively simple solutions offered by political demagogues. So, in a way, both the rising inequality and the resurgence of right-wing populism – the defining twin menace facing the world today – are enabled by the weakening of labour organisations.

How to reverse this trend? Here are some suggested steps toward coping with the challenge.

	• The main threat capital wields to domestic labour in a global economy is that of taking their business elsewhere. Without relaxing on the general commitment to relatively free trade, countries can try to move toward a system of more restricted international capital flows, as was the case under the postwar Bretton Woods system. Many otherwise free-market economists agree on the need for some capital controls, though disagreeing on their desirable extent.
	• Corporate shareholders need to be persuaded that stability of employment and worker welfare negotiated with labour organisations may be good for long-run productivity and profits, in contrast to the short-run focus of managers on the next quarterly earnings. Unions may put pressure on the big pension funds for more long-term investment goals, and may actually help in ‘saving capitalism from capitalists’.
	• Workers often care less about the top 1% making more money (the topic that preoccupies the ‘occupy’ movement), and more about their own job insecurity and the precariousness that technology and competition have brought about. In poor countries the main concern of most informal workers is being trapped in low-paying dead-end jobs. For both these groups of workers a universal basic income supplement can provide some minimum security, allowing them to look for better jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. If labour organisations lobby for such universal programmes (universal basic income, universal health care, free vocational training), they can also build a bridge across a labour movement that is now divided, between the formal and informal workers, between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’. Such measures of economic security may also make labour unions less hostile to the reform of labour laws like the stringent ones in France, Italy or India.
	• Labour organisations should try to move away from decentralised wage bargaining and toward a more Nordic-style confederate model, which will not merely improve their collective bargaining power, but may encompass the larger macro-economic realities so that aggregative compromises between capital and labour in line with those realities are achievable.
	• Some form of wage subsidies can encourage hiring of more labour in the formal sector. This may be funded by redirecting some of the current budgetary subsidies in most countries like capital subsidies or tax concessions for investment or fossil fuel subsidies, which induce more capital-intensive or energy-intensive methods of production.
	• Labour organisations should demand a greater say in the internal governance of firms, so that they have some influence on the firm’s decisions to outsource or relocate. (A possible example is the German Works Council).
	• Finally, if political parties are to win blue-collar workers back from the pied pipers of populism, they have to be aware that workers today are angry about their cultural distance from the footloose cosmopolitan professional liberal elite who seem to dominate the opinion-making circles of social democratic parties. Trade unions, instead of just being narrow wage-bargaining platforms or lobbies, may try to take an active role in the local cultural life, involving the neighbourhood community and religious organisations, as they used to in some European and Latin American countries. This is one way trade unions enabled workers to tame and transcend their nativist passions and prejudices against minorities and immigrants. Both on local delivery of social services and environmental protection, labour and religious organisations can find some common cause. On policies like affirmative action for under-privileged groups, a more open attitude to including poor workers from the majority ethnic groups may assuage the feeling (among some sections of whites in the US and UK or the Hindus in India) that the liberals only care for the minorities, but not for “us”. Trade unions can try to accommodate such policies of economic justice and relieve some identity-based tension.
It’s a steep uphill task to revive the strength of today’s beleaguered labour organisations. But considering the importance of resisting the twin menace of rising inequality and intolerance, few other tasks are as imperative.

via Paris-Luttes.
11 April 2018

Translated by David Broder 

[Communiqué de soutien d’anciens militants du 22 mars
Publié le 11 avril 2018

En solidarité avec la récente répression à l’université de Nanterre 
Mieux que Pierre Grappin en 1968, prop/osons les CRS en 2018 !]

The Mouvement du 22 mars, founded on 22 March 1968, was a Nanterre-based movement decisive to catalysing the student revolt that sparked the France-wide general strike of May–June 1968. Fifty years later, in this text former M22M militants express their solidarity with the students today under attack on this same campus.

On 26 January 1968, the dean of the Nanterre faculty, Pierre Grappin — a man whose name now adorns a lecture theatre — was the first in France to violate the traditional freedom of the universities. He called the police onto the campus in order to subdue a handful of anarchist demonstrators. But Grappin did not have much force at his disposal: a few old duffers from the police came along, only to get a good hiding.

The current president of the same university, Jean-François Balaudé, apparently felt duty-bound to celebrate the anniversary of May ’68 in quite different fashion! Commemorating what happened before was not enough: revenge had to be taken for his illustrious predecessor, and a grand spectacle arranged.

On 9 April 2018 the CRS riot police intervened on campus twice. First, they came to stop the students occupying the E building in opposition to "Parcoursup," the new university selection and admissions system. Then they burst into a general assembly, laying their truncheons into the 150 students who were discussing this same topic. They made seven arrests.

This time it was not bobbies in quaint hats but armed CRS robocops who hunted through the corridors of the old alma mater, in pursuit of more modern "troublemakers." We should not have to wait fifty years for Balaudé to get a lecture theatre with his own name.

At the very moment that the forces of disorder are intervening at the [occupied, abandoned airport site at] Notre-Dame-des-Landes, forcibly attacking workers’ demonstrations, beating up and expelling migrants, we would suggest that the words "Police everywhere, police nowhere" be written in gold letters above the lecture theatre in question, the new "Jean-François Balaudé lecture theatre." Or if the naming committee prefers, they could always write "Everyone hates the police."

Signed by former members of the Mouvement du 22 mars, including
Alain Lenfant, Jean-Pierre Duteuil, Sonia Fayman, Pierre Ploix, Thierry Lancien, Jacques Rémy, Olivier Dumont, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Hélène Arnold, Daniel Blanchard, Jacques Barda, Anne Querrien, Marino Stourdzé-Giraud, Dominique Gougenheim, Francis Zamponi, Georges Goldman, Isabelle Saint-Saens, Herta Alvarez, Florence Prudhomme, Harry Jancovici, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Jean-Luc Le Douarec, Sylviane Failla, etc.

Leandro Demori
The Intercept
April 13 2018

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is in prison. On April 7, the former president of Brazil was incarcerated in a federal police building after 48 hours of a sort of self-banishment. He sought refuge with the metallurgical workers union of São Bernardo do Campo, where he began his political career in the 1970s. Lula emerged only after negotiating with the federal police and disobeying the deadline set by the court to turn himself in. But in a final moment of defiance, the ex-president delivered an emotional speech at an open-air mass in memory of his deceased wife, who would have celebrated her birthday that day, as the nation watched live on TV.

The day was a fitting nod to Lula’s 40-year run in Brazilian politics and was an inflection point for Brazil. Decades of political turns of fortune brought us to where we are today, having moved from military rule to an emerging democracy and now backsliding. Brazil’s oligarchs have reclaimed power, despite the absence of democratic legitimacy, while the most popular politician in the country over the past decade and a half has been thrown behind bars for the foreseeable future. The nation is now asking itself: What comes next?

    Now that the former president is out of the picture, the extreme right is gaining strength — and, with it, the force of the Brazilian military.

The country’s politics are in disarray: Lula consistently led the polls for this year’s upcoming elections and had a real chance to be re-elected for a third term. Now that the former president is out of the picture, the extreme right is rapidly gaining strength — and, with it, the force of the Brazilian military.

The days Lula spent cloistered at the union were intense. He confined himself in the building with politicians, friends, and lawyers, and poked his head out the window a few times, waving to the crowd that was supporting him day and night as they contemplated how to proceed. After the deadline came and went, and then the mass, he decided to step outside. His first attempt to leave the union headquarters was blocked by Workers’ Party activists who, from the outside, removed an iron gate where Lula’s car was going to pass by and blocked its exit — a perfectly cinematic scene.

When Lula finally made his way out, he left on foot, wading through the adoring crowd towards the police vehicles and was literally lifted on the shoulders of his supporters. An aerial photo of the moment would be, for Lula’s supporters, a final image of his martyrdom: their leader surrounded by his people, a sacred cow ready to be touched.

The last image of Lula before entering prison was of his arrival at the federal police building in Curitiba. Even this stirred controversy: Much of the media used the grim, subdued image of Lula at the police building rather than the triumphant images from the union headquarters. And the trip between the two locations became a point of contention, too: Television stations had broadcast an image of a modern jet that was initially supposed to transport him, yet the former president had been flown from São Paulo in a single-motor propeller plane. The airplane switch was ominous, an apparent reflection of the intense pressure coming from large swaths of the judicial and criminal justice communities that does not look kindly on those convicted in Operation Car Wash, known in Portuguese as Operação Lava Jato — an investigation that uncovered widespread corruption in Brazil.

Much of Brazil’s left expects that Lula will get out of prison, at least provisionally. But accomplishing that will be challenging. While the crimes for which he was convicted do not merit such harsh penalties, multiple other legal proceedings are still unfolding. Lula is 72 years old, and is likely to spend the rest of his days bouncing between courts.


As his supporters carry him away after a speech, Lula becomes emotional as he bids farewell in front of the metalworkers union, in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, on April 7, 2018.

Photo: Christian Braga/Coletivo Farpa
What will become of Brazil without Lula as an active political player? The left’s odds are diminishing. The Workers’ Party has not put forth a natural successor, instead expending all its energy to set Lula free. Caught up in their fervor, it appears that it never considered the scenario of having to put forward another candidate. No candidate from other left-leaning parties can hold a candle to his popularity.

With a disempowered left, two main dangers loom — both of which leave the country staring down the rifle barrels of the armed forces.

The first is a dramatically increased role for the military in public discourse, which is already underway. Though largely silent since the end of the military dictatorship in the 1980s, Brazil’s generals were cast back into politics by current President Michel Temer. The president called on the military to occupy Rio de Janeiro and oversee the city’s previously lacking public security infrastructure. The generals answered the call and have become increasingly assertive.

    Though largely silent since the end of the military dictatorship in the 1980s, Brazil’s generals were cast back into politics.

The night before Brazil’s Supreme Court voted against a habeas corpus request from Lula, the army commander, Gen. Eduardo Villas Bôas, tweeted, “I assure the nation that the Brazilian Army shares the desire of all citizens of good standing to repudiate impunity and respect the Constitution, social peace, and democracy, while remaining attentive to its institutional missions.”

The message, within the context of Brazilian politics, was thickly coded. “Citizens in good standing,” or “cidadãos de bem” in Portuguese, is how a certain segment of Brazilians refer to themselves — namely those who share a hatred of the left and rail against an imaginary “communist threat” that actually don’t exist in Brazil of these days. They also tend to support expanded gun rights; oppose human rights, which some on the right describe as “only useful for defending criminals”; and embrace “the only good criminal is a dead criminal” as a sort of unofficial slogan.

The anchor of Brazil’s most widely watched television news program, on the Rede Globo network, read Villas Bôas’s tweet on air in his signature authoritative baritone. It was the last news item of the broadcast, and the journalists offered it without any commentary, criticism, or mention of the potential repercussions of the commander’s words. It was as though the voice of God had urged the 11 Supreme Court justices to “do the right thing” by sending Lula to prison.

The day before the ominous tweet, there was an equally alarming incident. In the early morning, just hours before a national protest planned by right-wing movements, one of Brazil’s most prominent newspapers, Folha de São Paulo, tweeted, “Protests lead top military brass to assess declaring a state of siege.” The disconcerting news, however, was part of an ongoing retrospective project: The newspaper had tweeted a story from exactly 50 years ago to the day, during the military dictatorship. Perhaps it was a prank, but in an age when so many people read only headlines — or tweets — it seemed like the paper was talking about a real threat from the army on the day of Lula’s sentence.

That same day, the front page of Folha featured a call for Brazilians to attend anti-Lula protests: “No one is above the law,” it read. Some people tried to place the message in context, pointing out that it was an advertisement placed by a right-wing group, not an editorial — as if the approval of such an ad were, like getting wet on a rainy day, simply inevitable.

Afterward, a different national newspaper, O Estado de São Paulo, published yet another military message. Through its wire service, which distributes news to dozens of media outlets nationwide, O Estado published the opinion of a reserve general, who said that if Lula were to be granted impunity, “the only recourse remaining would be an armed response.” The newspaper did not explain the logic of interviewing a general without a command, like dozens of others to be found in Brazil and who could well have differing opinions.


Police form a barricade around the federal police headquarters in Curitiba, Brazil, where Lula is being held, on April 8, 2018.

Photo: Rodrigo Felix Leal/Futura Press/Folhapres
An “armed response” is not the military’s only recourse. Beyond occupying ministries, secretariats, and other government positions in a sort of postmodern version of a military coup, the Brazilian military could come to power another way: through the election of Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, a captain in the reserves, is the greatest beneficiary of Lula’s absence on the presidential ballot. He sits comfortably in second place in the polls, far ahead of any candidate vying for third. If elected, he will try to impose his militaristic agenda.

A member of Brazil’s Congress for almost 30 years, Bolsonaro has only passed two pieces of legislation. He is inept, but a rousing speaker: He promises to “finish off the bandits,” “arrest all of those who are corrupt,” and restore an imaginary time of “law and order” that supposedly existed during the military dictatorship.

    The Brazilian military could come to power another way: through the election of Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, of course, hates LGBT people, black people, and other minorities. He is openly hostile to the concept of “rights” unless preceded by the word “gun.” On several occasions he has publicly defended torturers and assassins as if they were national heroes. During his vote in favor of Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, he dedicated a moment to one of the men who tortured the former president while she was a political prisoner. In other words, he is like a disease that presents itself as the cure — claiming to mend a society that he actually wants to rip apart.

He was long regarded as a joke, but then Bolsonaro proved to be a convenient alternative for those who believed that corruption — represented, in their minds, by Lula and the Workers’ Party — can be dealt with by waving a magic wand. For the likes of Bolsonaro and his ilk, that wand would be the military’s guns: The end of corruption is possible only with a cavalier dose of violence.

Bolsonaro and Lula are not comparable, but they do resemble one another a great deal on one crucial point of realpolitik, which no other candidate has at this time. Bolsonaro offers what Lula represented for many years: a consistent vision of the future for those willing to believe in it. But Bolsonaro seeks to implement this vision with practical, albeit bizarre, actions; with concrete, albeit deceptive, promises; with visible enemies, though they are victims of injustice; and with a bit of the sort of dream that people sometimes permit themselves.

Lula’s rule offered years of an economic and social bonanza, despite the endless criticisms of his administrations. With Bolsonaro, the dreams of many Brazilians will be hijacked; his delusions are clearly nightmares, a dystopian world with dictatorial tones that would push Brazil into the trash bin of history once again. His is a future for those who believe that a dictatorship will be a dictatorship only vis-à-vis “the others” — that it will somehow limit its powers, directing them only “against the bandits.”

With the left in tatters and the moderate right lacking any apparent alternatives, that dystopia is lurking just around the next corner.


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