Bombay High Court- Absent dad can’t get access to child


 

By Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Jan 21, 2013, 03.59 AM IST

MUMBAI: A father who is absent cannot get the same rights as a father who
is available, said theBombay high court even as it recalled its order
allowing a man electronic access to his 12-year-old son.

On January 11, Justice Roshan Dalvi reviewed and set aside her October 2012
order allowing access to the child through video conference. The judge
noted that despite the video conference arrangement, the father remained
absent. Further, his whereabouts are not known except that he lives in the
Middle East. Justice Dalvi said he does not attend court, conducts
litigation through his constituted attorney and has not given his personal
address. “The father who refuses to show his presence cannot get the same
rights as a father who presents himself,” she said.

The couple married in September 1991. Their son was born in November 2000.
Subsequently, the man abandoned his wife and child in Saudi Arabia. In
August 2009, the husband filed for divorce through his constituted attorney
before the Pune family court. His application that his mother and
constituted attorney get access to the child was rejected by the FC in
March 2012.

On October 15, 2012, Justice Dalvi said access can be granted only to the
father who is the legal guardian and none other. She then directed that the
child will communicate with his father through video conference. Since the
Pune FC did not have video conference facility, it was arranged at the HC
on December 7, 2012. On that day, Justice Dalvi was informed that the
father’s advocate was absent as a relative was in hospital. The judge said
even if the advocate was absent, the father could have been told to remain
present at the video conference. His Skype identity was also not provided.
The wife’s advocate Flavia Agnes said the entire exercise was to harass the
wife and child who live in Pune.

She said the father has been abusive towards the child who is medically
fragile. “The wife’s contention that the exercise was only for the
harassment of the child is seen to be correct,” said Justice Dalvi. She
said the husband failed to avail of the opportunity granted by the court
and his conduct has proved his wife’s contention.

“The prejudice in respect of the access by video conference is seen from
the fact that it is too cumbersome to afford the father the luxury and
facility of electronic access when he is not available for personal access
and has not claimed any such access in the light of the fact that for an
unjustifiable excuse, the father remained absent and the child was made to
undergo the agony,” concluded Justice Dalvi.

 

Aadhaar-linked DBT hits roadblock in East Godavari #UID


Mohammad Ali, The Hindu
The Direct Benefits Transfer pilot project in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh with a claimed 95 per cent penetration pilot project, with a claimed 95 per cent penetration, has been full of problems, highlighting the pitfalls of extending the programme nationwide. File photo
Only 75% of MGNREGS workers have been enrolled; many without Aadhaar number denied access to benefits
The popular tagline for the Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) is Aam aadmi ka paisa, aam aadmi ke haath (People’s money in their own hands).
The DBT pilot project was launched in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh earlier this month, with Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh hailing the scheme as a panacea. “It is the largest experiment to reform a broken-down delivery system. If we are successful in this, we will… reform the welfare delivery system.”
And yet the pilot project, with a claimed 95 per cent penetration of DBT, has itself been full of problems. This highlights the pitfalls of extending the programme nationwide without adequate preparation.
Indeed, a cross-section of activists, bureaucrats and experts, this correspondent spoke to at the launch, felt the Union government was rushing things.
The near consensus is that there is too much pressure on the State governments to go ahead with the scheme. “At this rushed pace, the process will leave out the vulnerable and marginalised sections of society.”
East Godavari district has won the ‘National Aadhaar Governance Award’ for achieving a near total coverage of DBT. Yet, only 75 per cent of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers had been enrolled as on January 6, when the project was launched in the Gollaprolu block.
Over 3,96,040 out of the total 15,84,161 registered workers in the district were yet to be enrolled, according to Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary (Rural Development) R. Subrahmanyam. The situation was the same in the enrolment of pensioners.
Not just this. Locals complained that those without the Aadhaar number were denied MGNREGS wages and access to PDS grain, which is not included in the schemes covered under DBT.
Mr. Subrahmanyam denied any irregularity. “Those who are yet to be enrolled in the Aadhaar system will be allowed to use the existing smart card for a period of two months,” he said.
The situation on the ground though is different. Take the case of Kurakula Ammaji of Narsingapuram village. Ammaji, who is in her eighties, travelled a few kilometres to the Gollaprolu block to complain about denial of PDS grain because she didn’t have the Aadhaar number.
“The authorities ask for the Aadhaar number for every social scheme… They are depriving us of food and pension because we do not have the number. Now you tell me, how are we supposed to feed ourselves?”
Kurakula Bhadrachalam alleged that he was not able to get MGNREGS payment from his bank. Earlier the payment used to be deposited in the bank account of a worker. But DBT links the bank account to the beneficiary’s Aadhaar number, making access to cash difficult without it.
Others like Perantala Goda, who have got the Aadhaar number, were worried about the transition from the smart card or the old system of the State biometrics to DBT.
“Even a slight disruption in the delivery system adversely affects our lives.”
The exclusion of a number of people from Aadhaar enrolment has led experts and activists like Reetika Khera to question the efficiency and credentials of the Central government, which has been “displaying unprecedented hurry… in pushing the UID at any cost.”
Ms. Khera, a faculty member of IIT Delhi, involved in the implementation of the MGNREGS and the PDS, argued that if the purpose of Aadhaar was “financial inclusion” of the poor, the cash transfer should not have been launched without covering all intended beneficiaries, especially the vulnerable sections. “Can you imagine the situation elsewhere when this is the state of affairs in East Godavari?”
Ms. Khera supports cash transfers for old-age and widow pensions, maternity entitlements and scholarships but opposes the government’s plan for “accelerated mass conversion of welfare schemes into UID-driven cash transfers.”
She also argued that Aadhaar was not equipped to address the bigger leakages through cuts and bribes, or inclusion of ineligible persons in the rolls.
Aadhaar registration has been low in most districts of Andhra Pradesh, so much so that the State government has had to defer its plans to roll out DBT in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Chittoor, Anantapur and East Godavari districts.
An official told The Hindu that though beneficiaries of schemes such as the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana, Dhanalakshmi and the Janani Suraksha Yojana were very few, DBT could not be rolled out because even this small number was not enrolled for Aadhaar by the January 6 deadline.
Social audit
Andhra Pradesh has managed to evolve an institutional mechanism for social audit of schemes like the MGNREGS. Sowmya Kidambi, Director of the Society for Social Audit, Accountability and Transparency, argued that what was needed was social audit of welfare schemes. “Rather than pursuing the path of social audits, which is the way to plug the bigger leakages in the schemes, the government is showing unnecessary haste in pushing DBT through.”
Keywords: Direct cash transfer scheme, Aadhaar-linked cash transfer, benefits transfer, East Godavari district, National Aadhaar Governance Award

 

 

#Punjabgangrape : Woman who alleged rape arrested #WTFnews #Vaw


PUNJAB, Posted on Jan 21, 2013

Moga: In a shocking case in Moga in Punjab, the police have arrested a 26-year-old woman for falsely alleging that she was gangraped. According to the police, the charges leveled by the woman were motivated.

The woman, who works as a nurse, had claimed that she was abducted and drugged by a gang of four, including two women, while she was returning from Mohali after a job interview, following which she was gangraped.

Earlier, in another twist to the case, the police had claimed that the woman had been booked in 2012 on charges of injecting an HIV-infected needle into a woman with whose husband she was allegedly having an affair with.

The police had claimed that one of the two women accused of drugging the nurse and letting their male accomplices rape her was the same who claimed to have been infected with HIV. The other woman was her mother, said the police.

The 26-year-old woman claimed to have been gangraped and thrown on the Bathinda-Dabawali road on Sunday eveing. She said that they took her to a room, filmed and gangraped her.

 

#India- Odisha rapists tie man to tree, assault wife in front of him #Vaw #WTFnews


Frstpost, Jan 21, 2012
Baripada (Odisha):
 In yet another case of barbaric sexual assult, six men allegedly gangraped a woman after tying up her husband in the premises of the district hospital in Mayurbhanj district.

The 25-year-old tribal woman of Dantiamuha villagehad gone to the hospital yesterday along with her husband to see her ailing brother, admitted to the hospital following an accident, police said today.

Protests over the Delhi rape. Agencies.

In the evening, six men started teasing her. As her husband protested, he was overpowered by the accused who tied him to a tree and gangraped the woman in front of her husband, sources said.

After the victim lodged an FIR, the police arrested all the six accused and sent them for medical examination. The arrested persons are identified as Kundan Mukhi (33) of Baripada Town and Raghu Biswal (19), Gopi Mukhi (19), Balaram Mukhi (27), Sibaram Ghadei (20) Chandan Mukhi (20) of Sungadia in Baripada.

Protesting against the incident, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha staged a demonstration at the district collectorate and demanded Rs 50 lakh compensation to the victim and trial of the case in first track court on daily basis.

PTI

 

#India- Cop fired for beating Dalit woman on camera #Vaw


Sultanpur: In uniform, inside a police station, a cop slapped a young woman repeatedly. The 26-year-old Dalit gasped for breath, and tried to stop him, but he wouldn’t let her speak. A woman constable stood by watching.

This was what was captured on tape inside an Amethi police station. A freelance journalist who says he was in no position to help decided to film the incident so he could later use this as evidence against the policeman, Kailash Dwivedi. The tape has led to Dwivedi being sacked.

The woman’s husband was found dead on Wednesday. The police believes she is involved with his murder. Dwivedi, the Station Officer, was trying to extract a confession from her. Even if, during this assault, she did make any confession, it would not hold in any court. None of this seemed to matter to Dwivedi whose rage seemed unstoppable.

The National Commission for Women or NCW has asked for a report on the case. It also wants to know why a criminal case has not been filed against Dwivedi.

 

More houses razed at Ejipura in Bangalore #slum demolitions


DEEPA KURUP, The Hindu, Jan 21,2013

By the end of the evening, more houses had been razed, leaving only a short row of the tin-sheet tenements standing.
By the end of the evening, more houses had been razed, leaving only a short row of the tin-sheet tenements standing.

Only a few rows of tin-roofed tenements remain now

On Sunday morning, after spending the night out in the cold, thousands of residents of the EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) Quarters here in Ejipura managed to stall four earth movers making way into their shantytown. But hours later, post noon, the bulldozers — under the supervision of policemen and a BBMP official — moved in and demolished a large chunk of what was left of the quarters, where at least 2,000 families lived.

By the end of the evening, more houses had been razed, leaving only a short row of the tin-sheet tenements standing.

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike claimed that the “entire area will be cleared out by Monday”. With nowhere to go, hundreds of families bundled up their belongings, stacked up their television sets and bedding in a row, and cooked out in the open. Even clean drinking water is a challenge, given that water supply and electricity to the area were cut-off four days ago, they said.

The BBMP says, and it has submitted to court, that it has offered rehabilitation, including accommodation and Rs. 30,000, to those living there.

However, the money has gone to 1,512 original allottees, of which barely over 120 are residents here. The rest of the tenants — at least 1,600 families that have been given BBMP “hakku patras” — have been left in the lurch. This shantytown is being brought down to make way for a glitzy mall developed by Maverick Holding and Investment Pvt. Ltd. and a residential complex for the 1,512 allottees co-developed by the civic body.

The crowded thoroughfares here are replete with tales of false promises, deceit and corruption. Sahai Mary, who works as domestic help in the National Games Village complex nearby, says that in 2004 they were given “hakku patras” promising them homes. “Every election, politicians have promised us homes. Where are all of them now?” she asks. Sahai Mary, a single mother of three, alleged that even the local youth association was “bought over”.

In fact, the BBMP council had, in 2005, passed a resolution that it would provide alternative accommodation to all the residents here. Residents say that a few months ago men who claimed to represent the area MLA showed them land in Anekal, which turned out to be privately owned by a businessman.

Sahai Mary points out that all her children will lose their school year if they move far from here, and rents in the area for a one-room tenement start at Rs. 5,000 with an advance payment starting at Rs. 50,000.

“How can we afford that much money?” asks Ameena Begum, 45, whose daughter was among the 23 arrested by the police on Saturday. Most of them pay between Rs. 500 and 700 for their rooms. They point out that most owners, who have taken the BBMP’s “interim settlement”, are yet to return their security deposits.

Traumatic episode

And if the trauma of losing their homes was not enough, these residents have been living in fear for the past week. Manikandan (30), a mason, says he hasn’t slept since the demolition drive started because every night “rowdies” would appear past midnight, sometimes extorting money from old women, and at other times, simply threatening them to leave.

Shanthamma (56), who lives with her mentally-challenged son, weeps inconsolably as she narrates how on Friday night they forced her to part with her life’s savings of Rs. 5,000.

She insists on showing her ration card, Aadhaar documents and voter identity card to prove that she is indeed a resident.

B.T. Ramesh, engineer-in-chief, BBMP, said that the High Court of Karnataka had ordered the evacuation. He said that the BBMP had tried to build temporary sheds in Sarjapur, but the plans were thwarted by a senior Minister.

Asked about the allegations that he had vested interests in the Rs. 2,000-crore project, he said: “Even the tendering has not begun. It’s all false. Moreover, we have been warning them [about eviction] since October.”

 

Immediate Release-Disappearances from ‘Uttarpara Destitute Home for Female’ Incident #Vaw


A Fact Finding Report

 

 

Uttarpara Destitute Home for female incident is now a well discussed topic for popular printed and electronic media. 11 women aged between 22 and 35 years escaped from the said home without leaving behind any single trace about their present whereabouts. Three among the total eleven women, are Bangladeshi nationals. The rest eights are Indians. Fact finding team of Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) probed into the said matter and found out the following details:

“At the early hour of dawn of 31.12.2012, 11 inmates of Uttarpara Destitute Home for Female escaped. They broke the grille of their dormitory; passed over the home-kitchen’s roof and crossed the backside wall of that home” – as police stated. On this side, the wall is relatively lower.

Home authority at first informed this incident to the police of Uttarpara Police Station via phone. Later on they reported the said incident to Uttarpara Police Station. Police told the home authority that at first investigation must be done by the Social Welfare Department of West Bengal Government. Afterwards they would start the police investigation. Police of Uttarpara Police Station started a case against the missing women vide a police case no. 461/12 dated 31.12.2012 under section 224 Indian Penal Code. But police authority intentionally overlooked the section 223 of Indian Penal Code, where “Escape from confinement negligently suffered by a public servant” was stated as cognizable crime. Section 223 of Indian Penal Code ought to be charged against the Uttarpara Destitute Home for women.

This incident came to the broad daylight via printed and electronic media. On 03.01.2013 our fact finding team went to the Uttarpara Home for investigation on the matter. At the main gate the gate-keeper wanted to know about the fact finder’s identity and the purpose of visit. Our fact finding team furnished the identity proof and mentioned the purpose of visit. But the Home-Super, when informed by the gate-keeper, straightforwardly denied meeting our fact find team. The Home-Super told that for any kind enquiry, our fact finding team must acquire a permit from the Social Welfare Department of West Bengal State Government.

 

After that our fact finding team went to the Uttarpara Police Station and meet Inspector In-Charge Mr. Priyobroto Bakshi. He gave us detailed information on the matter.

Mr. Priyobroto Bakshi said that polices of V. K. Margh police station of Pune, Maharshtra, apprehended 50 trafficked women under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. By the order of the Magistrate of Pune, these women were sent to West Bengal for returning them to their homes. At first they were lodged in Liluah Home for destitute women. On 23.11.2012, 18 of them were sent to Uttarpara Destitute Home for Female. Arrangement for sending those women to different Homes in West Bengal was under process. He said that after Uttarpara Destitute Home for Female informed them about that incident at around 4.30 am. The first train on Howrah Main Line had already passed from Uttarpara Railway Station. Police immediately posted police guard at Dakshineswar, Bali Halt. They also alerted the Railway Police Force (RPF) of Sealdah and Howrah Railway division. They also posted police guard on the jetties of Kolkata port area. But they have found not the slightest trace about their present whereabouts. Two days before that well circulated escape incident, police had arrested a trafficker from that area and sent him to the court. By birth the trafficker is from Bihar State. Now police is interrogating the trafficker to extract any important clue on the incident. A female trafficker naming Putul is also now being interrogated for any lead to the whereabouts of the 11 mysteriously missing female inmates of Uttarpara Destitute Home for Female. But still nothing is found. Mr. Priyobroto Bakshi regrets that many police personnel are not much skilled and the work pressure on police stations is also very heavy, so they hardly get enough time and opportunities for giving attention to a comb-searching investigation on serious matters like this.

Our fact find team got a list of the missing women from Mr. Priyobroto Bakshi.

1.                  Smt. Doli Sardar, daughter of Mr. Nisaruddin Sardar, aged about 27 years, village & Post Office – Gunakar Koti, Police Station – Ashauni, District – Satkshira, Bangladesh.

2.                  Kiran Molla, daughter of Late Abu Bakhar, aged about 39 years village – Panyopara, Post Office – Bastav Khali, District – Murshidabad.

3.                  Nagar Muktar Khan alias Lata Najar Khan, daughter of Mr. Muktar Khan, aged about 30 years, village – Patkel Poto, Post Office – Aamdubi, Police Station – Banra, District – North 24 Parganas.

4.                  Smt. Nilima Biswas, daughter of Mr. Jalan Biswas, aged about – 35 years, village – Dhoakula, Post Office & Police Station – Behar Para, District – Jessore, Bangladesh.

5.                  Smt. Priyanka Ghosh, daughter of Late Ananta Ghosh, aged about – 28 years, village – Shal Bania, Post Office & Police Station – Chakda, District – Nadia.

6.                  Smt. Puja Rani Sarkar, daughter of Late Santu Sarkar, aged about – 22 years, village – Jati Nagar, Post Office – Gouranga Nagar, Police Station – New Town, District – North 24 Parganas.

7.                  Smt. Ratna Biswas, daughter of Mr. Atin Biswas, aged about – 25 years, village – Shitlatala, Post Office – Raman Kati, Police Station – Jessore; Bangladesh.

8.                  Smt. Rima Rojbul Sheikh, daughter of Mr. Radikudding Sheikh, aged about – 26 years, village – Huja, Post Office – Akaipur, Police Station – Gopalnagar, District – North 24 Parganas.

9.                  Smt. Sima Sheikh alias Jharna Kokman , daughter of Late Kalu Sheikh, aged about – 28 years, village & Post Office – Aamtala, Police Station – Beldanga, District – Murshidabad.

10.              Smt. Shrabanti Majumder, daughter of Mr. Tapas Kumar Majumder, aged about – 24 years, Police Station – Gopal Nagar, District – North 24 Parganas.

11.              Smt. Suman Das, daughter of Late Ram Das, aged about – 27 years, village – Shal Baniya, Post Office & Police Station – Chakda, District – Nadia.

The 3 Bangladeshi fugitives were not alleged with any case under 14 Foreigners Act.

Over a week period has passed since the strange escaping of the 11 women. Where are they now? Are they safe or unsafe? What will happen to their lot? Are they trafficked again to any new red-light area? Why police from the initial point of time tried not to suspect the story made by Uttarpara Destitute Home for Female? Who will answer these questions? We are putting forward these questions to the administration on behalf of the countless friends who are upholding human rights all over the world. ….. 21 January 2013

 

 

RSS’ Tryst with Terrorism: Past and Present


Shamsul Islam

Despite shrill public denials by the RSS top-brass that its swayamsevaks or cadres never indulged in terrorist activities, the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, while addressing a meeting of the RSS members on January 10, 2011 at Surat (Gujarat) made a significant statement saying that

of the majority of the people whom the government has accused (in various blast cases), a few had left voluntarily and a few were told by the Sangh that this extremism will not work here so you go away.1

It was a candid admission by the supremo of the RSS who was naturally better informed about the happenings within his organization which works in a clandestine fashion that many of these alleged terrorists were part of the RSS. This statement raises few questions which RSS as an organization must answer. The first is that RSS must share the names of those terrorists who left ‘voluntarily’ or were asked to ‘go away’ with the people of this country and especially with the police investigating agencies of the Indian State. In fact, the latter should have by now put Mohan Bhagwat under scanner to seek the names of these ‘terrorists’ not only in order to verify whether the ones so far arrested were the same who were referred to by Mohan Bhagwat but also to know about others who may still be indulging in terrorist activities and have not been brought to book as yet.

The whole issue raises another pertinent question. When RSS claims that a particular person indulging in terrorist activities is not its member, how do we verify it? Do we have an authenticated list of RSS members which can be referred to in case of need? The reality is that there is no such list and in the absence of such a list for an organization which functions in a regime of secrecy it becomes a convenient alibi for the RSS to deny its actual linkages with the individuals and organizations indulging in terrorist activities.

The individuals and organizations indulging in recent terrorist activities having close linkages with Hindutva philosophy and organizations like RSS should not surprise anybody. Any sectarian and theocratic organization which is programmed to the cleansing of religious minorities and undoing of a democratic-secular India has to be intolerant and extremist in its ideological moorings as well as functioning. RSS is no exception to this rule. A careful perusal of the documents from the RSS archives makes it clear that terrorist activities being indulged by persons and organizations associated with it are the outcome of an ideological mould outlined by its mentors.

The RSS as flag-bearer of Hindu nationalism always believed in the superiority of the Aryan race like Hitler and the Nazis. Racism is the common tie, which binds them. Hindus happened to be Aryans belonging to the National race whereas Muslims and Christians were foreigners because they followed religions, which took birth in non-Aryan foreign lands. The RSS divided religions professed in India into two categories, Indian and foreign. Interestingly, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were declared to be of the Indian variety but were not accorded the status of independent religions. These were simply treated as part of Hinduism. Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), the most prominent ideologue of the RSS who came to head the organization after Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, naturally, inherited deep love for Fascism and Nazism from his seniors and stood for cleansing of the followers of religions which originated in foreign lands. He idealized the Nazi cultural nationalism of Hitler, which was nothing else but ‘ethnic cleansing’ of non-Aryans, in the following words which appeared in his book We or Our Nationhood Defined (1939); a book which became Geeta (or Bible) of the Hindutva politics:

 

The other Nation most in the eye of the world today is Germany. This Nation affords a very striking example. Modern Germany strove, and has to a great extent achieved what she strove for, to once again bring under one sway the whole of the territory, hereditarily possessed by the Germans but which, as a result of political disputes, had been portioned off as different countries under different states…German pride in their Fatherland for a definite home country, for which the race has traditional attachments as a necessary concomitant of the true Nation concept, awoke and ran the risk of starting a fresh world-conflagration, in order to establish one, unparalleled undisputed German Empire over all this ‘hereditary territory’. This natural and logical aspiration of Germany has almost been fulfilled and the great importance of the ‘country factor’ has been once again vindicated even in the living present. Come we next to the next ingredient of the Nation idea—Race, with which culture and language are inseparably connected, where religion is not the all- absorbing force that it should be. German Race pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races-the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan [sic] to learn and profit by.2 [Emphasis added]

While outlining the constituent elements of the Hindu Nation Golwalkar raised a significant question,

If, as is indisputably proved, Hindusthan, is the land of Hindus and is the terra firma for the Hindu nation alone to flourish upon, what is to be the fate of all those, who, today, happen to live upon the land, though not belonging to the Hindu Race, Religion or culture?3

He answered to his own query in the following words:

At the outset we must bear in mind that so far as ‘nation’ is concerned, all those, who fall outside the five-fold limits of that idea,4 can have no place in the national life, unless they abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the Nation and completely merge themselves in the National Race.5

Golwalkar unhesitatingly glorified the Race theory propagated by Hitler and Mussolini and subsequent cleansing of non-Aryans or minorities in the following words:

 

It is worth bearing well in mind how these old nations solve their minorities [sic] problem. They do not undertake to recognize any separate element in their polity. Emigrants have to get themselves naturally assimilated in the principal mass of the population, the National Race, by adopting its culture and language and sharing in its aspirations, by losing all consciousness of their separate existence, forgetting their foreign origin. If they do not do so, they live merely as outsiders, bound by all the codes and conventions of the Nation, at the sufferance of the Nation and deserving no special protection, far less any privilege or rights. There are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race. That is the only sound view on the minorities problem. That is the only logical and correct solution. That alone keeps the national life healthy and undisturbed. That alone keeps the nation safe from the danger of a cancer developing in its body politic, of the creation of a state within a state.6

 

Golwalkar as the most important ideologue of the RSS and Hindutva brand of politics forcefully argued for adopting the models of Hitler and Mussolini for getting rid off minorities from his kind of Hindu nation in the following words:

 

From this stand point, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations, the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment, not  even citizen’s rights. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation: let us deal as old nations ought to, and do deal, with the foreign races who have chosen to live in our country.7

Golwalkar did not mince words while expressing hatred for all those who differed with his notion of Hindu nation. For him all others were traitors or idiots. The use of this kind of intemperate language only showed to what extreme he and his followers could go in denigrating adversaries to be cleansed later.

Those, only are nationalist patriots, who, with the aspiration to glorify the Hindu race and nation next to their heart, are prompted into activity and strive to achieve that goal. All others are either traitors or enemies to the National cause, or, to take a charitable view, idiots.8

 

This kind of philosophy was not something of the bye-gone days of 1940s for RSS. It kept on resonating even after Independence. In fact, another basic book for the RSS cadres, Bunch of Thoughts, the compilation of the writings of MS Golwalkar, which appeared in 1966 had a long chapter titled, ‘Internal Threats’, (it continued to appear in all subsequent editions) in which the Muslims and Christians are described as threats number one and two respectively. The Communists get the status of being enemy number 3. This chapter opens with the following statement:

It has been the tragic lesson of the history of many a country in the world that the hostile elements within the country pose a far greater menace to national security then aggressors from outside.9

While treating the Muslims as hostile element number one Golwalkar went on to elaborate,

Even to this day there are so many who say, ‘Now there is no Muslim problem at all. All those riotous elements who supported Pakistan have gone away once for all. The remaining Muslims are devoted to our country. After all, they have no other place to go and they are bound to remain loyal…It would be suicidal to delude ourselves into believing that they have turned patriots overnight after the creation of Pakistan. On the contrary, the Muslim menace has increased a hundredfold by the creation of Pakistan, which has become a springboard for all their future aggressive designs on our country.10

Deliberating further on this enemy number one, Muslims,   Golwalkar presented his thesis in the following words which provided excuse to the VHP cadres for exterminating the Muslim localities in Gujarat in the year 2002:

Within the country there are so many Muslim pockets, i.e., so many ‘miniature Pakistans’, where the general law of the land can be enforced only with certain modifications, and the whims of the miscreants have to be given the final say. This acceptance, indirect though it may be, implies a very dangerous theory fraught with possibilities of the destruction of our national life altogether. Such ‘pockets’ have verily become the centers of a widespread network of pro-Pakistani elements in this land…The conclusion is that, in practically every place, there are Muslims who are in constant touch with Pakistan over the transmitter…11

While deliberating on the ‘Internal Threat’ number two, he stated that the Christians were indulging in activities which were not only irreligious but also anti-national.12  According to him the Christians residing in India were,

out to demolish not only the religious and social fabric of our life but also to establish political domination in various pockets and if possible all over the land.13

 

Golwalkar’s hatred for minorities specially Muslims was inexhaustible and never-ending. In this regard there was no difference in his views contained in We or Our Nationhood Definedin 1939, or his hatred for Muslims in 1960. In fact, this hatred got wilder. While addressing the leading RSS cadres of south India in Bangalore on November 30, 1960, he declared:

 

‘Right from Delhi to Rampur, Muslims are busy hatching a dangerous plot, piling up arms and mobilizing their men, and probably biding their time to strike from within […]’14

There was no substantiation or proofs offered for such a serious allegation against whole of the Muslim community residing in the western Uttar Pradesh. If this was so it should have been brought to the notice of the law and order machinery in the area. It was never done because Golwalkar and RSS were simply interested in poisoning the minds of its cadres. More importantly the Indian State took no action against Golwalkar for spreading such a canard against common Muslims. It is not difficult to understand that it was due to such hate preaching against Muslims and Christians by the top brass of the RSS that large scale cleansing of minorities could be successfully undertaken by its swayamsevaks.

 

The central publication house of the RSS, Suruchi Prakashan, Delhi, published a book in 1997, titledParam Vaibhav Ke Path Par (ON THE ROAD TO GREAT GLORY) penned by Sadanand Damodar Sapre, a senior RSS functionary. This book contained details of more than 40 organizations created by the RSS for different tasks but more importantly it described how many of these organizations are run in a clandestine manner for hidden agendas. This publication showed that the whole network ran like a well-organized mafia through its subsidiaries and satellites. There has always been a conscious attempt to create confusion about its different fronts which provide RSS with the opportunity to dissociate with any of these as per its convenience. For instance it used Hindu Jagaran Manch (HJM) for attacking Christians in late 1990s and when public opinion, media and Parliament seemed to turn against it, RSS denied any relation with HJM. However, according to this publication Hindu Jagaran Manch was created by the RSS as admitted in the above mentioned publication.

From the point of view of Hindu awakening this kind of forums [like Hindu Jagran Manch] at present are active in 17 states with different names like ‘Hindu Manch’ in Delhi, ‘Hindu Munani’ in Tamilnadu, ‘Hinduekjut’ in Maharashtra. These are forums, not associations or organizations, that’s why it is not required to have membership, registration and elections.15 [Emphasis added]

It is clear that such organizations with no record of membership, no registration and no internal elections are created by the RSS. Such an organizational model provides an opportunity to RSS to disown any individual or organization.

True to its nature RSS takes recourse to conspiracies often. It can be known by the following disclosure in Param Vaibhav Ke Path Par about a case in Delhi immediately after partition:

Swayamsevaks had posed to have adopted Musalman [sic] religion in order to gain the confidence of Delhi Muslim League for knowing their conspiracies.16

What these Swayamsevaks, impersonating as Muslims, on the eve of Independence were doing was made clear by none other than Dr. Rajendra Prasad who later became first President of the Indian Republic. In a letter to the first Home Minister of India, Sardar Patel, he wrote on March 14, 1948,

I am told that RSS people have a plan of creating trouble. They have got a number of men dressed as Muslims and looking like Muslims who are to create trouble with the Hindus by attacking them and thus inciting the Hindus. Similarly there will be some Hindus among them who will attack Muslims and thus incite Muslims. The result of this kind of trouble amongst the Hindus and Muslims will be to create a conflagration.17

 The following passage from the autobiography of the first Home Secretary of UP, Rajeshwar Dayal, ICS, clearly shows the sinister and criminal designs of the RSS to organize a pogrom of Muslims in the western Uttar Pradesh (the largest province in the Indian Union) and thus break the unity of the country just on the eve of Independence.

I must record an episode of a very grave nature when the procrastination and indecision of the UP Cabinet led to dire consequences. When communal tension was still at fever pitch, the Deputy Inspector General of Police of the Western Range, a very seasoned and capable officer, B. B. L. Jaitley, arrived at my house in great secrecy. He was accompanied by two of his officers who brought with them two large steel trunks securely locked. When the trunks were opened, they revealed incontrovertible evidence of a dastardly conspiracy to create a communal holocaust throughout the Western districts of the province. The trunks were crammed with blueprints of great accuracy and professionalism of every town and village in that vast area, prominently marking out the Muslim localities and habitations. There were also detailed instructions regarding access to the various locations, and other matters which amply revealed the sinister purport.

Greatly alarmed by those revelations, I immediately took the police party to the Premier’s [chief minister’s] house. There, in a closed room, Jaitley gave a full report of his discovery, backed by all the evidence contained in the steel trunks. Timely raids conducted on the premises of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) had brought the massive conspiracy to light. The whole plot had been concerted under the direction and supervision of the Supremo of the organization himself. Both Jaitley and I pressed for the immediate arrest of the prime accused, Shri Golwalkar, who was still in the area.

Pantji [G. B. Pant] could not but accept the evidence of his eyes and ears and expressed deep concern. But instead of agreeing to the immediate arrest of the ringleader as we had hoped, and as Kidwai would have done, he asked for the matter to be placed for consideration by the Cabinet at its next meeting. It was no doubt a matter of political delicacy as the roots of the RSS had gone deep into the body politic. There were also other political compulsions, as RSS sympathizers, both covert and overt, were to be found in the Congress Party itself and even in the Cabinet. It was no secret that the presiding officer of the Upper House, Atma Govind Kher, was himself an adherent and his sons were openly members of the RSS.

At the Cabinet meeting there was the usual procrastination and much irrelevant talk. The fact that the police had unearthed a conspiracy which would have set the whole province in flames and that the officers concerned deserved warm commendation hardly seemed to figure in the discussion. What ultimately emerged was that a letter should be issued to Shri Golwalkar pointing out the contents and nature of the evidence which had been gathered and demanding an explanation thereof. At my insistence, such a letter if it were to be sent, should be issued by the Premier himself to carry greater weight. Panditji asked me to prepare a draft, which I did in imitation of his own characteristic style. The letter was to be delivered forthwith and two police officers were assigned for the purpose.

Golwalkar, however, had been tipped off and he was nowhere to be found in the area. He was tracked down southwards but he managed to elude the couriers in pursuit. This infructuous chase continued from place to place and weeks passed.”                      

Came January 30, 1948 when the Mahatma, that supreme apostle of peace, fell to a bullet fired by an RSS fanatic. The tragic episode left me sick at heart.18

Rajeshwar Dayal’s shocking narration of Golwalkar’s evil design to cleanse western parts of Uttar Pradesh of all Muslims was further corroborated by another senior RSS pracharak(preacher or whole timer), Krishna Gopal Rastogi in his autobiography, Pracharak Jiwan (Life of Preacher).  While describing an incident in which he personally led a mob of armed Hindus against Muslims in Kaliar town situated between Roorkee and Haridwar went on to state without any remorse how he did not spare even a young Muslim girl. According to Rastogi’s heart-chilling version:

 

It was an old locality inhabited by the Muslims. They, armed with daggers, spears, guns were fully prepared to meet any situation. When I learnt of their intentions to attack some Hindu areas, I organized 250 people including some known gangsters and raided Kaliar. Then a strange thing happened. While we had been killing men in one of the houses, we spotted a very beautiful young girl. The assailants led by me were instantly enamoured. They even started fighting among themselves to take possession of the girl. I faced an extremely awkward situation and did not know what to do. I tried my best to get the assailants to focus on real issues. I abused and threatened them but they would not listen to me. And suddenly the solution came. The girl was after all causing this trouble and had to be eliminated. I took my gun and shot her. She died. My associates were shocked and returned to the work. Though it was against our principle to assault a woman, but it was done in an emergency and I still regret it.19

 

This autobiography was released with a laudatory preface by K. S. Sudarshan, the then head of the RSS. Incidentally, Rastogi was appointed in two committees of the Human Resource Development Ministry of the Government of India headed by Murli Manohar Joshi despite protests from more than 50 MPs.

 

The RSS immensely hates all those institutions and objects which symbolize a secular-democratic India. On the eve of independence when Indian Constituent Assembly adopted Tricolour as its National Flag, the English organ of the RSS, Organizer, in its issue dated August 14, 1947, denigrated this choice in the following words:

The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country.

The RSS has been demanding since its birth in 1925 that India should have saffron (bhagwa) flag of the Hindu rashtra as the national flag. Golwalkar while addressing a gathering of leading cadres on July 14, 1946 at the RSS headquarters at Nagpur stated that it was,

the saffron flag which in totality represented Bhartiya culture. It was the embodiment of God. We firmly believe that in the end the whole nation will bow before this saffron flag.20

The RSS has another pet-project and that is replacing the Indian Constitution by Manusmritior Codes of Manu. According to Golwalkar, Uttar Pradesh (the largest province in the Indian Union)

Our Constitution too is just a cumbersome and heterogeneous piecing together of various articles from various Constitutions of the Western countries. It has absolutely nothing which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles as to what our national mission is and what our keynote in life is? No!21

 

For RSS there was no ambiguity about this ‘national mission’. It was the enforcement ofManusmriti as the law of the land. The Constituent Assembly of India ratified the Constitution on November 26, 1949 and on November 30, the RSS organ Organizer editorially commented:

 

But in our constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.

 

It is to be noted that Manusmriti is known for its derogatory and inhuman references to Shudras, Untouchables and women. It was for this reason that a copy of Manusmriti was burnt as a protest in the presence of B. R. Ambedkar during historic Mahad agitation.

 

The RSS, contrary to the principles of democracy, has been constantly demanding that India be ruled under a totalitarian regime. Golwalkar while addressing the 1350 top level cadres of the RSS at its headquarters at Nagpur in 1940 declared,

 

The RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land.22

 

This slogan of ‘one flag, one leader and one ideology’ was directly borrowed from the programmes of the Nazi and Fascist parties of Europe.

The extreme hatred expressed against the National Flag, the Constitution and the democratic polity of the nascent nation was clearly aimed at poisoning the minds of common Hindus thus inviting them to overthrow a secular state. It is to be noted that spread of this kind of poison against Gandhi led to his murder by persons who were directly or indirectly related to Hindu Mahasabha & RSS.

The tag of terrorism on RSS is not something new. These were the anti-national activities of the RSS due to which the organization was banned on February 4, 1948. The government communiqué banning the RSS was self-explanatory:

In their resolution of February 2, 1948 the Government of India declared their determination to root out the forces of hate and violence that are at work in our country and imperil the freedom of the Nation and darken her fair name. In pursuance of this policy the Government of India have decided to declare unlawful the RSS.23

The communiqué went on to disclose that the ban on the RSS was imposed because,

“undesirable and even dangerous activities have been carried on by members of the Sangh. It has been found that in several parts of the country individual members of the RSS have indulged in acts of violence involving arson, robbery, dacoity, and murder and have collected illicit dacoity, and murder and have collected illicit arms and ammunition. They have been found circulating leaflets exhorting people to resort to terrorist methods, to collect firearms, to create disaffection against the government and suborn the police and the military.”24

It is generally believed that the then Home Minister, Sardar Patel, had a soft-corner for the RSS and he continues to be a favourite with the RSS. However even Sardar Patel found it difficult to defend the RSS in the aftermath of Gandhiji’s assassination. In a letter written to Golwalkar, dated 11 September 1948, Sardar Patel stated:

Organizing the Hindus and helping them is one thing but going in for revenge for its sufferings on innocent and helpless men, women and children is quite another thing…Apart from this, their opposition to the Congress, that too of such virulence, disregarding all considerations of personality, decency or decorum, created a kind of unrest among the people. All their speeches were full of communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison in order to enthuse the Hindus and organize for their protection. As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji. Even an iota of the sympathy of the Government, or of the people, no more remained for the RSS. In fact opposition grew. Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death. Under these conditions it became inevitable for the Government to take action against the RSS…Since then, over six months have elapsed. We had hoped that after this lapse of time, with full and proper consideration the RSS persons would come to the right path. But from the reports that come to me, it is evident that attempts to put fresh life into their same old activities are afoot.25

Hindu Mahasabha and RSS were jointly responsible for the murder of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was further corroborated by Sardar Patel in a letter to a prominent leader of Hindu Mahasabha, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. On July 18, 1948. Sardar wrote:

As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, the case relating to Gandhiji’s murder is sub-judice and I should not like to say anything about the participation of the two organizations, but our reports do confirm that, as a result of the activities of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible. There is no doubt in my mind that the extreme section of the Hindu Mahasabha was involved in the conspiracy. The activities of the RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of Government and the State. Our reports show that those activities, despite the ban, have not died down. Indeed, as time has marched on, the RSS circles are becoming more defiant and are indulging in their subversive activities in an increasing measure.26

As per police investigations and press reports the training for terrorist activities to the Hindutva cadres was imparted by military personnel connected with Bhonsala Military School, Nagpur. It may be relevant to note that this military school was the offshoot of Bhonsala Military School, Nasik which was established by Dr Balkrishna Shivramji Moonje (known as Dharamaveer amongst the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha fraternity) with the help of the British rulers for imparting military training to Hindu youth. Dr Moonje formed the Central Hindu Military Education Society at Nasik in 1935 and started the school on 12th June 1937. Interestingly he also idolized militarization of Italian Fascist dictator. Mussolini.

According to its website,

The school started functioning in the Surgana Palace in Nasik city with 90 students on its roll. The Maharaja of erstwhile Gwalior state, His Highness Shriman Jivajirao Scindia27 inaugurated the main building of the school…Such was the charisma, charm and aura of the founder, that he made the then Governor of Bombay State, Sir Roger Lumley to lay the foundation stone of the present main building of the school.

Importantly, this military establishment later supplied Hindu military officers to the British army in its campaign to crush the attempt by Subhashchander Bose led INA to liberate India from the clutches of the British rule in early 1940s. It is very clear that Bhonsala Military School was a collaborative project conceived and executed by RSS-Hindu Mahasabha, the British rulers and their Indian stooges; the rulers of Native India for militarization of Indian society in order to suppress the democratic aspirations of the Indian masses. It is a matter of concern that such sectarian, fascist, communal and pro-British establishments were allowed to exist and function in independent India. The Hindutva terrorism being witnessed today could reach to this dangerous stage because a fascist ideology was able to have at its disposal the lethal military mindset and machinery made available through establishments like Bhonsala Military Schools. The most unfortunate aspect of this developing gory saga is that all this has happened despite India being run under a democratic-secular dispensation. There is no denying the fact that it presents the greatest threat to a democratic Indian polity.

Shamsul Islam

notoinjustice@gmail.com

[This text appears as introduction in ‘Godse’s Children: Hindutva Terror in India’ by Subhash Gatade, published by Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt Ltd., New Delhi. www.pharosmedia.com]

 

 

 


1 ‘No place for radicals in RSS, says Bhagwat’, The Indian Express, Delhi, 11-01-2011, p. 3

 

2 MS Golwalkar, We Or Our Nationhood Defined, Bharat Publications, Nagpur, 1939, pp. 34-35.

3 Ibid, p. 45.

4 Interestingly, in Golwalkar’s writings there are found only four constituents of Hindu nation. While explaining the components of the Hindu nation he wrote: “In this country, Hindusthan, the Hindu Race, with its Hindu Religion, Hindu Culture and Hindu language, [the natural family of Sanskrit and her offsprings] complete the Nation concept…”,Ibid, p. 43.

5 Ibid, p. 45

Ibid, p. 47

7 Ibid. pp. 47-48.

8 Ibid. p. 44.

9 MS Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1996, p. 177.

10 Ibid, pp. 177-178

11 Ibid, p. 185

12 Ibid, p. 190

13 Ibid, p. 193

14 M. S. Golwalkar, ‘From Delhi to Rampur Muslims are Conspiring’ Organizer, December 12, 1960.

 

15 Sadanand Damodar Sapre, Param Vaibhav Ke Path Par, Suruchi Prakashan, Delhi, 1997.

16 Ibid, p. 86.

17 Rajendra Prasad to Sardar Patel (March 14, 1948)  cited in Neerja Singh (ed.), Nehru Patel: Agreement Within Difference—Select Documents & Correspondences 1933-1950, NBT, Delhi, p. 43.

18 Rajeshwar Dayal, A Life of Our Times, Delhi, 1999, pp. 93-94.

19 Cited in Khushwant Singh’s weekly column in The Hindustan Times, May 12, 2001.

20 M. S. Golwalkar, Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan, (Collected Works of Golwalkar in Hindi), Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd, volume I, p. 98.

 

21 Bunch of Thoughts, p. 238.

 

22 Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan,  Vol. I, p. 11.

23 Cited in Justice on Trial, RSS, Bangalore, 1962, p. 64.

24 Ibid, pp. 65-66.

25 Ibid, pp. 26-28.

 

26 Letter 64 in Sardar Patel: Select Correspondence1945-1950, Volume 2, Navjivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, 1977, pp. 276-77.

27 He hailed from a family of native rulers which supported the British rulers in 1857 and played crucial rule in defeating Rani Laxmi Bai.

#Mumbai- Locals catch 17-yr-old molesting 2-yr-old girl #Vaw #WTFnews


CHILDRAPE

The teenager lured the child with a chocolate into a dark alley, where he started undressing her, only to be spotted by a kin and nabbed by locals

January 21, 2013
MUMBAI
Sagar Rajput and Karishni Khanna, Midday

Tragedy was averted in the dark alleys of Shivaji Nagar on Saturday evening, thanks to the united efforts of locals to protect one of their own. A two-year-old narrowly escaped being sexually abused by a 17-year-old boy around 6.30 pm at Shivaji Nagar.

The victim and the accused are both residents of the same locality. As the girl played near her house in the evening, the teenager lured her with a chocolate and took her to a deserted area nearby.

He then allegedly started undressing her, when the child’s relative who lives in the locality spotted him, and approached him to find out what he was up to. Scared, the boy got fled from the spot.

The relative then raised the alarm, and with help from other locals, caught the teenaged offender, hauling him to the Shivaji Nagar police station thereafter.

The accused has been arrested under Section 354 of the IPC (assault or criminal force to women with intent to outrage her modesty). “The accused was brought to the police station by the locals,” said investigating officer Ajit Sawale.

According to the police officials, documents submitted by his parents suggests that the accused is a minor, but medical tests will be conducted to verify the same.

Only after the confirmation will it be decided whether to produce the accused in a juvenile court or not. Meanwhile, the 17-year-old has been denying all the allegations levelled against him by the victim.

 

Promoting Gender Equality through Education in India #womenrights


 

Rebecca Winthrop | January 15, 2013 2:25pm, brooking.edu

A 16-year-old girl sits inside a protection home on the outskirts of New Delhi (REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal).Protests continue in India, weeks after the horrific gang-rape of a 23-year old university student on December 16th and her subsequent death two weeks later – and rightly so, the incident itself was beyond the pale. A young couple in Delhi boarded a private bus after seeing a movie and instead of discussing character development and plot turns on the way home, the bus doors locked and they were subject to brutal attacks by the other passengers and driver as the bus drove around the city for over two hours. Witnesses driving by did nothing and the victims were eventually dumped out of the bus under an underpass.

But the awful details of this crime are not the main reason for the protests. Instead it is the deep and pervasive gender inequality in India of which this heinous act is a symbol. Girls and women are attacked every day and Indians across the country, particularly young people, are sick of it. Enough is enough they say. There are real reasons why half of all the girls in Indiadon’t want to be girls, and it’s time to change.

If there is any silver lining to this tragedy, it is that the issue of gender equality is on everyone’s lips. Urvashi Sahni, an alumna of our girl’s education Global Scholars Program, is tracking this issue from India and writes that for one of the first times the debate on gender equality is “engaging voices from all sectors of society including students, civil society, academia, political parties, the police, the judiciary and the government.” Now the question remains: what will India do to improve the status of girls and women?

Much of the public discussion focuses on short and long-term solutions such as reforming the law enforcement systems, updating the legal code, supporting the women’s movement, developing new systems of accountability and, of course, having “greater dialogue about India’s patriarchal norms.” All of these things are important but it is the last that is perhaps the most difficult for policymakers and bureaucrats to tackle. Even if it is the most difficult, upending gender norms is perhaps the most fundamental thing needed for long-term sustainable change. Without transforming, in the deepest sense, how girls and women are valued in India, important interventions around such things as legal reforms and police training will end up in the problematic category of “necessary but not sufficient” for developing gender equality in society.

If done right, education can play an important role in redefining gender norms in India. Around the world, there have been numerous excellent examples of education changing people’s way of viewing the world and leading to new forms of behavior, ways of relating with others and ultimately social norms. Indeed, there have been decades of academic research on this topic, so much so that entire subfields of education theory and practice have developed (see for example Jack Mezirow and the field of transformative learning and Paulo Freire and the field of critical pedagogy).

India itself has good examples of education changing social norms towards gender equality. An interesting case of girls’ education programs run in the province of Uttar Pradesh demonstrates that schooling, if done right, can help change gender norms, even in the most marginalized societies. Founded by Urvashi Sahni, the Study Hall Foundation has demonstrated that at the same or lower cost per student as the government schools, their schools can educate girls in a way that enables them to both excel academically, but more importantly emerge as empowered young women. In one of their schools, Prerna, girls outperform their peers both within the province and across India. Ninety percent of Prerna girls complete their education to year 10, compared to below 30 percent nationally, and they do so while outperforming in virtually all subjects (in math and science the Prerna girls perform about 20 percentage points higher on exams than the national average). But most importantly, these girls are changing the gender norms in their communities. They are beginning to fight back when they or their peers are planned to be married off at too early an age. Through street protests and cajoling discussions, they have convinced their parents to keep them in school instead. They initiate community-wide discussions on violence against women. They apply for higher education scholarships and convince their families to let them go once they receive them (an incredibly 88 percent of the girls go on to higher education).

The success of this program is not because the students come from well-to-do families, they don’t (the average family income of students is $108 and 60 percent of their mothers and 40 percent of their fathers have never been to school). It is also not because teachers have higher qualifications or are better paid than government teachers. Rather, according to Mrs. Sahni, it’s because every day the girls’ talk about their worth, value and the issues they face around gender equality. “Gender equality needs to be taught, like math, science, and any other subject” says Sahni, who describes how in Prerna gender equality classes are regularly taught alongside a government curriculum. Then, she is quick to point out, teachers need to be encouraged and supported to fulfill their role as social change agents.

Now this is an idea that the Indian government would do well to listen to. It very well may be a center piece for transforming India’s “patriarchal norms”.

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