Press Release- Women groups demand apology from Advocate General West Bengal #Sexist


PRESS RELEASE FROM MAITREE

Date: 07th June 2013, Kolkata

We are writing to you on behalf of Maitree, a women’s rights network of 60 organisations and individual activists based in West Bengal. We strongly condemn the comments made by the Advocate General of West Bengal on 4th June 2013 at the Calcutta High Court regarding the State Election Commission.

The Advocate General’s comment: “The State Election Commission is behaving like a beautiful lady asking for this and that. It is making arbitrary and whimsical desires. Some unreasonable” is sexist and stereotypes women. Instead of legal arguments, the Advocate General distracts from the important political issues and tries to diminish the concerns raised by the Election Commission by resorting to trivial and unparliamentary language to attack his opponent. By doing so, the Advocate General joins a long list of public figures in the country who have made denigrating comments about women which go against the grains of equality and justice.

The comment should be examined within the larger context of increasing violation of women’s rights in recent times. If the AG of a state can make such a denigrating comment about women, it sends a wrong signal to the public at large threatening the very safety and security of women. This is most unfortunate since one looks to the higher judiciary to uphold values stated in the Constitution.  Thus his comment is far from being humorous as claimed by him and reinforces deep-seated gender bias. We condemn this as an affront to the dignity of a woman.

We demand public apology from him immediately.

Gujarat and the Politics of Vendetta – Haren Pandya and Narendra Modi


Haren Pandya was killed on March 26, 2003. But his political career started to die
slowly after Narendra Modi took charge as Gujarat chief minister on October 7, 2001.

Ajay Umat , TOI, takes you through the last few months of Pandya’s political life

DROPPED FROM TEAM MODI
Modi did not include Pandya, who was earlier the minister of state for home, when he formed his first cabinet. Later, when he expanded the cabinet, Haren was given the revenue portfolio largely due to pressure from the Sangh Parivar and Sanjay Joshi, the BJP general secretary at the time.
ELLISBRIDGE BURNT BRIDGES COMPLETELY
Modi wanted to contest election from Pandya’s Ellisbridge constituency. But Pandya refused to oblige Modi. The CM was so upset that when he saw Pandya in a meeting organized by the then party president in Gujarat, Rajendrasinh Rana, at the Circuit House, he left announcing that he cannot attend a meeting or a function where Pandya was present. Pandya had to leave the venue and both did not see eye to eye from that day.
GODHRA FANNED HATRED 
After the Godhra carnage, it was reported that Pandya, during a cabinet meeting, opposed the idea of bringing dead bodies of victims to Ahmedabad. He reportedly reasoned that it could lead to more tension but was asked to shut up by some ministers.
FAMILY CONTINUED TO FIGHT
Pandya’s father Vitthalbhai contested parliamentary polls as an independent against L K Advani in 2004. He lost but the old man sent out a message: the fight for justice would continue. Similarly, Pandya’s wife Jagruti contested assembly elections from Ellisbridge on Keshubhai Patel’s GPP ticket. She too lost.
BJP LEADERSHIP CRITICIZED
Controversy followed the murder. The Modi government faced severe criticism from within the Sangh Parivar and Pandya’s supporters for sidelining the leader. Questions were also raised about not providing him proper security despite threats to his life. Pandya’s death procession was one of the biggest in the history of Gujarat. Some BJP leaders say that upset by the popularity of the slain leader, Modi decided to hold a meeting of BJP legislature party on the day when Pandya’s family organized his ‘besna’. “There was a feeling that Modi did this to prevent leaders from going for the condolence meeting,” says a BJP leader.
STATUE POLITICS
Pandya’s wife Jagruti had to run from pillar to post for getting permission for a statue of her slain husband installed. After the BJP-run state government refused to help, finally the Congress, which was in power in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation passed a resolution and allowed a statue in the Ellisbridge area. Eventually, Advani and Modi unveiled the statue.
TRIBUNAL
TROUBLES
On June 7, 2002, the then state IB chief R B Sreekumar was asked by Modi’s principal secretary P K Mishra to find out which minister had met an independent citizen’s tribunal that included former Supreme Court Chief Justice V R Krishna Iyer. Mishra told Sreekumar that Haren Pandya, the then revenue minister, was suspected to be the one involved. Sreekumar was asked to obtain call data records of Pandya’s cellphone. Pandya reportedly told the tribunal that the post-Godhra massacres were orchestrated by Modi. Eventually Pandya resigned from the cabinet.
ELIMINATED, POLITICALLY SPEAKING
In December 2002, Modi did not give a ticket to Pandya despite tremendous pressure from all quarters, including the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Modi got himself admitted to Civil Hospital in Gandhinagar, complaining of chest pain. Pandya could not contest the election.
SIDELINED IN THE PARTY
Having prevented Pandya from contesting assembly polls, the party leadership ensured that he was not given any important assignment in the party or the government. Senior leaders like L K Advani and Arun Jaitley tried to intervene but in vain. Finally, the Sangh Parivar prevailed and it was decided that in the first week of April Pandya would be given responsibility as party’s national secretary in New Delhi. However, as luck would have it, a week before the likely announcement, Pandya was murdered after a morning walk in the Law Garden area in Ahmedabad.

 

#India- Vote for universal PDS #mustshare


 

Vote for universal PDS. click the planning commission site below and vote for universal PDS.

Every vote counts .

Although this system of voting will never reach those who really need to Vote ????

http://12thplan.gov.in/

 

Call for images from the IG Khan Memorial Trust



Calling for images

The IG Khan Memorial Trust is looking for images on the broad theme of
Labour and Dignity. The Trust, founded in memory of the late Dr IG Khan (a
historian and teacher at Aligarh Muslim University who worked on a variety
of social issues), organizes an annual lecture and events in association
with the university on the idea of social justice. For more on our work and
past events, see our website www.igkhan.org

We are looking for images on the (very) broad idea of labour and dignity.
These can be photographs, or drawings, or sketches, or calligraphy,
graphics or graffiti. The images can be to do with gender, work, child
labour, manual labour, obsolete labour, rickshaw pullers, paid and unpaid
work…feel free to interpret the idea in any way. For more details on our
event and work see www.igkhan.org

We will use these images in different forms during our memorial event/s on
AMU campus. Photographers and artists interested in sending work can email
us high-resolution copies at igmemorialtrust@gmail.com with permission for
one-time use. We can give credit (please specify credit line) but cannot
afford to pay for use.

Look forward to receiving your images!

 

Labour MP John McDonnell urges India to end the #deathpenalty #humanrights


THURSDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2013, The Independent

The British Government should use “every mechanism of communication” to urge India to end the death penalty, a Labour MP has said.

John McDonnell said Britain was “uniquely placed” with its shared history with India to urge its government to halt executions and sign up to the UN Convention opposing the death penalty.

Introducing a backbench business Commons debate on the Kesri Lehar petition to abolish the death penalty in India, the MP for Hayes and Harlington paid tribute to the campaigners, many of whom sat watching the debate in the public gallery.

He said that last year when the “first inkling” was received that India was considering ending its eight year moratorium on implementing the death penalty, members of the Punjabi community in the UK, especially the Punjabi Sikhs came together and launched the campaign.

They secured more than 100,000 names on their petition to abolish the death penalty and address other human rights concerns.

Mr McDonnell said “fears were compounded” when in November 2012 India ended its moratorium and carried out an execution, with a hanging taking place in February this year.

In December 2012 the UN voted for the fourth time for a resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions and while 111 countries voted for, India voted against.

He argued there was a “real risk” that with more than 400 people on death row in India and 100 more sentenced to death each year, many more executions were likely to follow unless action was taken.

He said: “First of all we need to recognise the historical relationship between India and Britain means that the UK Government is uniquely placed to urge the Indian government to end the death penalty.

“Therefore I’m calling on the UK Government to use every forum, every mechanism of communication established with India both formal and informal, to press the Indian government to halt the executions now and then to sign up to the UN Convention opposing the death penalty.

“I wrote to the Prime Minister before his recent visit to India to urge him to raise this issue with the Indian government and I hope that the minister can report back on that, and the continuing pressure that successive governments now across party have been placing upon the Indian government.”

Mr McDonnell urged Britain to raise the issue with European partners to seek a joint representation from all of Europe to India on the subject.

He also said Britain should work with other countries to raise this call within the UN, adding: “With a UN Human Rights Council meeting imminent this is an ideal time to place this back on the UN agenda.”

He appealed to India to “embrace humanity by ending the state killing once and for all”.

The Backbench Business motion, signed by a cross-party group of MPs, states: “That this House welcomes the national petition launched by the Kesri Lehar campaign urging the UK Government to press the Indian government to sign and ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which encompasses the death penalty, with the result that India would abolish the death penalty and lift this threat from Balwant Singh Rajoana and others.”

Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said the death penalty “undermined human dignity” and said the British Government continued to aspire to its global abolition.

He told the Commons: “Use of the death penalty in India is a complex issue and it continues to be the subject of much debate across Indian society.

“It was disappointing India’s de facto moratorium on the death penalty which had existed for over eight years ended with the hangings of Mohammad Ajmal Kasab and Mohammad Afzal Guru last November and February this year respectively.

“Kasab and Guru were convicted of very serious crimes, involvement in the Mumbai attacks in 2008 and the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. It is important to remember the impact such acts of terrorism have on the people of India.

“Notwithstanding this, it remains the British Government policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. I hope the Indian government re-establishes a moratorium on executions in line with the global trend towards the abolition of capital punishment.”

Mr Swire said he had reiterated the Government’s position to the Indian administration last week when he accompanied Prime Minister David Cameron to the country.

And he said the India-EU Human Rights Dialogue would present a further opportunity.

The minister added: “They listened to what I had to say, was aware of our consistent position, and stressed to me the very real fear in India created by these acts of terrorism.”

Shadow foreign office minister John Spellar said: “I congratulate Kesri Lehar for their campaign.

“Uniting the community, whatever their views may be, and also gaining very wide public awareness of the issues we are discussing today.

“I also reaffirm the united determination of this Parliament on all sides to secure justice for the Sikh community of the Punjab.”

PA

 

The people who are “seditious” and are “waging war against the state” !!!


Join Protest in Solidarity With People’s Struggle  Against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant @10thoct

The Idinthakarai Experience:

Best Practices in Peaceful and Nonviolent Protests
Indefinite hunger strike of a huge group of people including women and youth
Relay hunger strike – every single day 10 am to 5 pm
Inviting a prominent political, religious or cultural leaders for day-long hunger strikes
Meeting officials and submitting memorandums
Dialogue with government officials, scientists and others
Organizing seminars on nonviolence, democracy, development etc.
Organizing massive conferences
Organizing all party meets
Having political leaders meet with the Chief Minister, Prime Minister etc.
Inviting supporters from all over the country for solidarity public meetings, hunger strikes
Reaching out nearby villagers and youth with outside volunteers and campaigners
District-wide teach-ins
State-wide agitations
Nation-wide campaigns
Sending back voter identity cards
Boycotting elections
Supporting a specific party/candidate in the elections
Asking the local MP, MLA to resign and facilitate by-elections
Observing Independence Day as Black Day
Refusing to accept government schemes
Refusing to let government officials into our villages
Laying siege in front of the nuclear plant entrance
Preventing workers from entering the workplace
Laying siege to harbors
Laying siege to the State Assembly
Blocking trains
Blocking roads
Organizing continuous agitations of various types for a week/month
Burning national flags of visiting international leaders’ countries
Burning effigies of visiting leaders
Bandh all over the district/state (future plan)
Agitations in distant towns and villages
Bike rally through neighboring villages and towns
Rallies to nearby towns and villages and agitations in those places
Congregating in a particular village and rallying to a nearby village or town
Commemorating national and international leaders’ births and deaths
Remembering activists’ deaths and sacrifices
Ringing Church/Temple bells and congregating people
All night religious vigils
Organizing yagnas and special poojas
Prayer meetings
Candle light processions
Celebrations such as “Asserting Freedom, Celebrating Resistance”
Celebrating religious festivals
Celebrating cultural festivals
Composing and singing struggle songs
Poetry recitals
Guarding the village entrances
Guarding the struggle leaders’ residence
Collecting signatures on petitions
Writing letters to embassies
Writing letters to human rights organizations
Writing letters to international organizations
Floating letters on the sea
Sending ‘Thank You’ letters to international supporters
Refusing to let rooms and houses to nuclear plant workers
Refusing to sell food stuff to nuclear plant workers
Congregating on the sea
Singing and dancing on the beach
Marching on the seashore
Human chain on the seashore
Boycotting fishing
Jal-satyagraha (striking in neck-deep waters)
Burying ourselves in the sand
Living in cemeteries
Shaving heads off
Wearing black shirts and/or black ribbons
Deserting the village temporarily (future plan)
Burying “time/history capsules” all over the state (future plan)
Women canvassing support in villages and towns
Women leaders travelling to distant places all over the country
Women speakers speaking in public meetings and campaigns
Women braking alcohol bottles and driving away bootleggers
Women abstaining from sex and pregnancy to convince their menfolk
Women meeting District Collector and submitting memorandums
Women holding press meet
Sending children on marches and rallies
Children writing thousands of postcards to authorities
Children meeting District Collector and submitting memorandums
Children submitting memorandum to the Chief Minister at the Secretariat
Children visiting foreign embassies and submitting memorandums
Children holding press meet
Children boycotting school
Youth organizing cultural programs
Youth organizing colleagues in neighboring villages
Youth guarding the village, roads etc.
Empowering women with newspaper and book reading during hunger strikes
Publishing Newsletters
Publishing handbills, pamphlets, booklets, books
Organizing photo exhibitions
Painting walls with specific protest messages
Pasting posters
Email campaigns
Social Media campaigns and canvassing
Forming social media friends’ circles
Internet-based streamlining, live telecast, documentaries etc.
TV interviews
Radio interviews
Magazine interviews
Regular Press Releases and Updates
Filing cases with the High Court
Filing cases with the Supreme Court
Filing cases with the National Green Tribunal
Using court appearances of prisoners for campaigns
Legal education campaigns
Organizing blood donation camps
Organizing food donations
Serving meals for campaigners
Replacing round bulbs with CFL bulbs
Supporting ‘New Energy’ schemes
Promoting solar panels
Promoting windmills
3P Principle: Purity, Patience, Perseverance
3H Policy: Never Hurt, Harm or Homicide
3T Formula: Things Take Time
3O Strategy: Organize, Organize, Organize
Compiled by
S.P. Udayakumar
koodankulam@yahoo.com
February 26, 2013

 

 

An appeal to friends and comrades to save the life of a revolutionary #mustshare


TUESDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2013

Friends and comrades,

Com. Shalini is fighting a battle of life and death with metastatic cancer. We are trying our very best to make the most advanced treatments available to her. Currently, she is undergoing treatment at Dharmshila Cancer Hospital and Research Center, Delhi. We are also receiving consultations from specialists at Tata Memorial Cancer Institute, Hinduja Hospital, Leelavati Hospital (Mumbai) as well as from Ireland and the US. Apart from that, we are also trying alternative therapies.Com. Shalini joined the Left revolutionary movement at a very young age. Since 1995 her life was fully devoted to the tasks of the revolution. During this period, she was active on the student front as well as the women and cultural fronts. She has been a strong pillar of all our projects (Janchetna, Rahul Foundation, Parikalpna, Anurag Trust) involving publication and distribution of progressive literature. She is the President of Janchetna society, an Executive Committee member of Rahul Foundation, the Director of Parikalpana and one of the Trustees of Anurag Trust. Her revolutionary life of 18 years has been an example of a militant, uncompromising revolutionary life full of sacrifices and based on unflinching dedication to her principles. We are committed to protect this valuable life.

However, we need the help of all our friends, comrades and progressive, democratic, leftist intellectuals and sensitive civilians. The treatment of this type of cancer is highly expensive in India. Hence, we are making an urgent appeal to save the life of a revolutionary.

A clarification is required here: we will not take any help for this purpose from the government, capitalist enterprises, foreign funded NGOs or political parties. Any contribution from an unknown source will also not be acceptable. This is our principle and Com. Shalini’s strong wish. We only seek the help of those comrades and well-wishers, who despite minor or major political differences believe in our revolutionary integrity and honesty. Com. Shalini has also urged that she would not accept any type of financial assistance from her family members as she has broken all relations with her family years ago after the destructive anti-revolutionary activities of her father. We shall undoubtedly respect her sentiments. We are hopeful of the support of comrades, friends and well-wishers from all over the country to save the life of a young revolutionary. Friends willing to extend a helping hand may contact us here:

Phone:  9910462009 /  8853093555; E-mail: satyamvarma@gmail.com;
For correspondence: Satyam, Flat No.: 250, MIG, Sector-28, Rohini, Delhi-110085

After you contact us, we will immediately intimate you the necessary details for sending cheque/draft/money order or doing an account transfer.

My Last Wish

(A Revolutionary’s Will)

 
  – Shalini

Communists fight every battle with all their might.
I know – metastatic cancer is a deadly disease
So I am fighting it with all my willpower.
I want to live my life to the fullest and I do believe
That my will to live will defeat even death
And even if it does not happen
I will prove in any case that
True revolutionaries neither give up in the face of hard times
Nor surrender before death like a coward.I believe in my determination and combativeness
And I know that I have to win this battle and
Return to the front, to hold which till my last breath
Is a commitment made to my soul.
So, there is every possibility that this last wish of mine,
This ideological testament of mine
Might become meaningless tomorrow,
But even after fighting valiantly till the last breath,
Like a true communist,
If I have to fall,
I want to leave this letter of my last wish
For my comrades and friends.

I know I have to defeat cancer.
I have the love and pain of my comrades with me.
I have to get back to rejoin the ongoing war against capital
On my front, for the sake of coming generations.
But if this is not going to be possible,
My comrades will ensure that
My body is untouched by the dirty hands of those
Who threw dirt on our red flag
Who vilified and slandered against our experiments
Built through hard work and sacrifices of numerous comrades,
Who defamed ‘Janchetna’ and our publications
By saying these are profit-churning enterprises, even though they know the truth.
The vermin must not be allowed to come near my body
Who indulged in the filthiest mudslinging against us and tried their best to spread
Poisonous fumes of suspicion and distrust among communist ranks
To cover up their own degeneration.
These deserters who fled to hide in their dens in the hard times
Shamelessly talk of principles.
Some are degenerate opportunists who still run political shops
To satisfy their egos and make a living.
This abominable gang has even used death and disease of comrades
As a political weapon to target us.
Even my filthy rich father is a part of this gang
Who blinded by his class arrogance and vested interests
Has tried everything possible to damage our work,
He has his own class commitments
And he will never change.
Comrades! You all must ensure
These people must never come close
To my body even after I am gone,
This is my last wish.

Comrades! I am not a daughter of working people.
I was born in a family of
Usurers, traders, landlords, parasitic moneybags.
As I gradually imbibed the spirit of communism,
I tried to think of myself as a daughter of working class,
And tried to work like a labourer on the revolutionary front.
I don’t know how much I have been able to pay back the people’s debt,
How much sins of my ancestors I have been able to wash away –
This will be judged by the coming generations.
I can only assure that
I have never thought of going back home,
I was never attracted by the idea of settling in a cosy nest,
And back away from the storms.
Like a normal communist
I too have had natural human weaknesses,
And even some class weaknesses inherited from my background.
I do not claim that I was never touched by pessimism,
Or I never had any grievance with my comrades,
But I can assure that I have always got satisfaction and happiness
In my efforts to become a better communist,
I love my comrades more than anything in the world
And trust them wholeheartedly
And I still love life with all my heart
And I want to live as much as I can.

That’s why, I believe that victory will be mine
The cancer is bound to be decimated against my communist resolve
In this fight against death.
But I am ready like a true communist
To face every adversity
And that’s why I am writing down my heartiest wish
That if I lose out in the battle of life
My body must be wrapped in our cherished red flag
And then it must be donated to a government hospital or medical institute
For the purpose of scientific research or to donate organs to poor and needy patients.
I will legally assign the responsibility for this to two of my comrades.
If this is not possible for any reason
My body should be taken to an electric crematorium
On the shoulders of my comrades
And my last rites must be performed without any religious rituals
With raised fists and the International being played.
It must also be ensured
That none of the degenerate renegades must be allowed to join
They must not be allowed to come near my body.
I know, those who say even today
That I have been “brainwashed” (which is the biggest abuse for me),
Will not refrain from using my death for their dirty politics,
Thus, it is necessary
That I write down my wish in clear terms.

Comrades! I do not await death
But to get back to my work.
Cancer can be defeated by
Positive attitude and firm resolve
And all possible treatments are going on.
But still if I am unable to return to my front,
There is nothing to worry,
I will remain present in your thoughts and determinations.
I know, you will turn grief into strength
To make up for my loss.
You can turn one into a hundred.
We have to save the children! Save the dreams!!
We have to wake up forgotten ideas,
And explore new thoughts!
We have to recruit new soldiers
And make the people realise once again
That they are the makers of history.
I may or may not be with you,
But this fight will go on, till victory comes.
The caravan will keep on going, until it reaches our destination.

– 31/1/2013
PLease chekc her blog-http://shaliniatjanchetna-en.blogspot.in/

#India- Expanding space for dissent #FOE


Anil Gupta | Agency: DNA | Sunday, December 16, 2012

Paradoxically, many of the social forces which derive strength from the grassroots are becoming intolerant of dissent and diversity of opinion at grassroots in different parts of the country.

On one hand, social media is criticised – and not for completely wrong reasons – for keeping millions of people busy with trivia. On the other, it is also providing space for people to express their opinion freely. Public memory being very short, such issues fade away rather fast. The youth of today has not been told much about the situation that existed during emergency in 1975-77. Most of them take freedom for granted.

Those of us who experienced the situation firsthand have not necessarily become champions of freedom. The result is that a lot of discussion takes place underground and through whispers which is more dangerous than explicit diversity of opinion. Whenever information is not exchanged across the counters, the corridors become alive. Every institution builder or system manager has to remember that by chocking the feedback channels, we put too much pressure on the safety valves.

There are five kinds of fears that prevent people from sharing their or inhibit them to support those who do speak out. First is the fear of being isolated and thus labelled or targeted through shame or ridicule. In a culture where congruence and compliance are put at such a high premium, it is not surprising that so many should remain quite when they should actually speak out.

The second fear is that of losing friends and supporters who may have a contrary viewpoint. In our society, dissent is often confused with disrespect, not realising that it is the diversity and dissent which fertilise our imagination. Indian bureaucracy can become much more buoyant if only it puts premium in expressing honest opinion.

The third fear is of retribution. The state can use coercive power as it did in West Bengal and Maharashtra and several other states by arresting a dissenter. Despite more than six decades of debate on the subject, bureaucracy still uses disadvantaged regions as the site of punishment of posting. The fourth fear is the worry that once labelled or censored, future opportunities may be denied. And the fifth fear is the perceived loss of certain privileges or entitlements.

Many of these fears can be easily overcome and that is why fortitudinous capacity, whether in the form of whistle blower or an explicit dissent, is appreciated even when it is evident quite infrequently. Recent cases demonstrate that social respect and support for dissenters is slowly increasing. A large number of people are aware of the timidity and are not hesitant in making compromises but they have a respect for those who stand up for what they believe in.

The challenge before us is how to create an environment where dissenters don’t feel inhibited in expressing their view so that social discourse becomes more inclusive and pluralistic. It also means that the authoritarian structure of the family itself needs to change. Children must learn as early as possible that it pays to express their view even if it is extremely unpopular and a minority view. They should not be asked to keep quiet when elders talk, as is customary.

At the end of the day, there is a trade-off between not having a view and thus not involving oneself in the debate versus having a view and expressing it or choosing to have a view with or without expression.

The intolerance for dissent, exclusion of the minority and lack of consideration for the disadvantaged cannot be sustained in a democratic society in the long term. But, these attitudes can generate support in the short term. Rise of authoritarianism hurts the authoritarian leader the most.

Vibrant societies are characterised by pluralistic environment permitting a hundred of flowers to bloom. I hope that the youth will stand up more and more often for the views and positions that are inclusive and at the same time, imaginative to make India a compassionate and collaborative society.

The author is a professor at IIMA 

 

Sounds of silence- Sec 66A-IT Act #FOE #FOS


Jug Suraiya
06 December 2012, 11:12 PM IST, TNN

Following several cases of people in various parts of the country being sent to jail because of comments they had either made, or even just approved of, on social networking sites, JV sought an interview with the newly-appointed minister of misinformation and non-communication. The interview turned out to be unique, in that the interviewer didn`t say a single word right through the entire proceedings leaving all the talking to the interviewee.

Why didn`t the interviewer utter a word during the course of the interview? Was it because of a sudden attack of laryngitis which made it impossible for him to speak? Not quite. Here is a transcript of the one-sided interview.

JV: (Silent greeting of `Good morning`)

Minister: The same to you. Isn`t silence soothing? No wonder they call it golden. And with the price of gold being what it is today — and going up by the hour — golden silence has never been so prized as it is now. And it is the job of my new ministry of misinformation and non-communication to preserve and protect that precious silence and keep it safe from those anti-social elements who are advocates of freedom of screech.

JV: (Silent question mark)

Minister: Yes, yes. I know that the obsolete term borrowed from that out-of-date publication called the Constitution is freedom of speech. But under the special powers derived from rule 37, sub-clause 29ZX of section 66A of the Misinformation and Non-communication Act of 2012, free speech has been deemed to be free screech.

JV: (Silent exclamation)

Minister: Yes, i agree with you. Such an imaginative reinterpretation of language is indeed quite ingenious. And it had become necessary in order to keep the general public — which means the likes of you — safe from the harmful effects of free screech.

JV: (Silent screech)

Minister: See what i mean? You wanted to exercise your right to screech. That was the trouble with our democracy. Everybody believed they had the right to screech, at anyone they liked, at any time they wanted to. No wonder our democracy was fast turning into a dinocracy, what with all that free screeching creating the most godawful din. No, it had to be stopped. In order to restore democracy to those to whom it rightfully belongs: the silent majority. And the more silent it is, the better. That`s what the ministry of misinformation and non-communication and section 66A are all about.

JV: (Silent surprise)

Minister: Why should that surprise you? Haven`t you heard of communicable ailments which are bad for the health of the individual? Well, communication is a communicable ailment which is bad for the health of the body politic.

JV: (Silent understanding)

Minister: See, you`re beginning to get the point now. With people no longer communicating with each other, those dangerous germs called ideas and opinions won`t spread the socially transmitted disease called dissent. Dreadful thing it is, contagious as hell. And there`s no cure for it, only prevention. Prevention in the form of section 66A. And the gag that was put over your mouth when you stepped into this office. No, no. Don`t try and take it off. If i have my way, you`d better get used to it being a permanent fixture.

JV: (Silent vow of enforced silence)

 

#India- Communal Harmony Awareness Kit


pic – courtesy yogesh baweja 

Dear Friends,

We are living in times where the communal biases are becoming stronger. These biases are founded upon misconception of history, and present politics. The politics which has its origin in the attempt to gain hegemony at economic, social and political level is presented under the garb of religion. The global politics for control over oil resources has also been presented in the cloak of religion.

The misconceptions about ‘other’, which form the basis of communal violence, also approve the theories of ‘clash of civilizations’ or ‘war against terror’. These need to be countered at the level of thought and ideas. The correct and positive perceptions of society have to be promoted far and wide. The awareness about truth behind the communal politics and terrorist politics needs to be taken to broad layers of our society.

Some of us have been striving to do this from last several years. There is a need that more of us, activists, teachers and concerned individuals have to join hands to strengthen this work. To help promote this crucial work we have brought “Communal Harmony Awareness Kit. This kit, after due understanding of its contents, can be used at social level for this work.

This Kit has, in sequence of use during the day, the following material

Contents of the Kit

1.      Film Ekta Sandesh ( by Waqar Khan)

This film is based on the clippings of Hindi films, which give the message of harmony: Duration 50 minutes.

2, A card, Solar message, for communal harmony: Through the experiment of letting sun light pass through symbols of different religions, it shows the oneness of humanity.

3.  Flip Chart: Sadbhavna Safar-A total presentation of major theme with the help of visuals

This flip chart is based on the book ‘Communalism: What’s False: What’s True’ and covers the themes: Communal violence, temple destructions, Syncretic culture, Battle between kings, Values of freedom movement, Kashmir imbroglio, politics behind terrorism.

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4.      Lecture DVD: Raah Aman ki: Nine DVD lectures: Each Lecture is of the duration of 25-30 minutes. Comunalism, Myths about minorities, Conversions, Politics of terror, Values of Freedom movement, Partition tragedy and Kashmir Imbroglio, Communal Organization’s Agenda (Couple of these lectures to be shown and discussed)

Using the kit

The presenter shows the film EKTA Sandesh followed by discussion. Then through the flip chart the myths and other themes are presented sequentially. Whatever questions come up during the flip chart presentation are deepened by showing Video Lectures from Raah Aman Ki. The group discussion and display of the pocket books Aman katha, Gandhi Katha and Ambedkar Katha follows the discussion.

Many of the components of the kit were released earlier. This is the attempt to put them together in a sequence.

The Kit is bilingual (Hindi+ English), please mention which language you will like to have.

Contribution: Rs 500+ Courier Rs 100

Availability

EKTA

c/o Ram Puniyani

1102/5 MHADA Deluxe Rambaug Powai Mumbai 400076

Email: ram.puniyani@gmail.com

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