Rapes will come down if people shun meat, alcohol: Swami Agnivesh #WTFnews


PTI | Apr 27, 2013,

NEW DELHI: Rape cases will come down if people shun non-vegetarian food and alcohol, activist Swami Agnivesh said on Saturday.

“We cannot stop a crime like rape by policing only…. I think rapes will come down significanlty if people stop eating non-vegetarian. There has been lot of research on this…. Rapes will come down significantly if alcohol consumption is not there,” he told reporters here.

He said a lot of crimes and accidents take place due to consumption of alcohol.

Arguing on the benefits of a vegetarianism, he said Japanese scientists conducted a study on the oldest man on earth recently and they found that he was a vegeterian.

“Every research conducted in this world points to one fact that red meat is the reason behind all diseases,” he said.

Agnivesh said that all the six accused in the gruesome rape of a young girl in a moving bus on December 16 last year were drunk as well as the accused in the recent incident of sexual assault on a five-year-old girl.

“In both the incidents, the accused consumed alcohol. This explains clearly that alcohol drove them to commit the crime. Alcohol shuts down the moral thinking of a person,” he said.

“Government is not ending alcohol-production in the country as it fetches revenue. All the states have now started competing to outnumber each other in alcohol production. This has become the norm,” he said.

Expressing concern over the fact that everyday one billion animals are slaughtered, he said that “its consequesnce will be severe.”

Regretting the loss of values in human beings, Agnivesh said, “There are no moral and spiritual values left in people. Schools today do not teach children about the evil-consequences of drinking. We cannot blame an individual for a crime. The society, as a whole, is responsible.”

Asked about whether death penalty will stop rape, Swami said, “Death penalty will not do anything. I do not support it. Death sentence should not given to anybody including those who attack Parliament. Even Kasab should not have been given death sentence,” he said.

A Quickie For Mr. Mahesh Murthy #FOS #Gender #Chrisgayle


india trans  A Quickie For Mr. Mahesh Murthy

Posted byPosted onApr 26 2013

There is a fine line between humor and everything else. One may think they have said the funniest thing of the hour, without giving the slightest of thought that their said words can have consequences. In fact words do have consequences, trust me! (Remember this? …Yes, I did learn a lesson or two there.)

And so at it happens, at times the well informed too need a reminder of the above perhaps a quickie on Queer sensitization as well. So we begin today’s session with Mr. Mahesh Murthy. Who is he? Er…he is blah blah & blah. Jumping onto what he did! Well… he posted the below message on his Facebook page;

Screen Shot 2013 04 24 at 7.04.34 PM A Quickie For Mr. Mahesh Murthy

Funny? Really?! Since I am one of the 26,000+ people who visit Mr. Murthy’s FB page every now and then, all I can say is that this isn’t his finest of wordplay. And believe you me, this man is funny.

Personally though I found his posted message not only demeaning but also his follow-up (defensive) comment to be equally arrogant. Here are bits of it:

I personally don’t give a rat’s ass for political correctness. Yes, I know LGBT and other minorities have fought long and hard to be treated as equal – but part of being treated as equal is about forgetting what our own sexual leanings and other badges of minority-ness are, and being warm, friendly and funny human beings.

Firstly my apologies to the rat for unnecessarily being pulled up in this conversation. Believe me I know how hard it is to maintain a toned ass. But only if the likes of Mr. Murthy started paying some attention to the necessity of political correctness (at least in some instances)…Sigh! Imagine a greener world. Now Mr. Murthy it is heartening to know that you are aware of our struggle, but I wonder how much of it do you actually understand. For a Queer person much of our humanness lies in the acceptance of our sexuality and/or gender. And while you may ask us to let go of the core ingredients that make us happy human beings to begin with, how about first giving us the basic necessities that an equal person is provided with. Lets begin with the right to exist (Yes it’s true… in 2013 we continue to fight a battle in the supreme court).

So while you rightly say “Equal doesn’t mean better than equal”…you must first ensure the other is on an equal platform to begin with before you start kicking below the belt. Even in the Just Joking context.

Moving on Mr. Murthy enlightens us with further gyan…(*Statutory notice: He is only a human being).

Everyone’s welcome here. We don’t discriminate here, nor do we believe anybody needs to be treated with kid gloves. We’re all adults, we all have thick skin here. You want sensitivity, get yourself litmus paper. But this group of folks is under no obligation to offer any. They might, if they feel like, but it’s not a membership criteria here.

Now to the issue of humour. My post was a simple pun on the word “Chhakka” to refer to a eunuch (or TG person, as other terminology puts it) and a sixer in a game of cricket. Chris Gayle hit 17 sixes today. So there was a silly thought of calling him “Chhakkon ka raja” – king of sixers. But the pun also indicated “King of the transgenders” so the joke went on, that eunuchs might be unhappy with someone saying he’s now their ruler.

Not a super-great joke, but one for the moment indeed. I see nothing offensive about it, and if you or anybody else seemed offended you have a responsibility to say why you are, and what the issue is. And if you do find it offensive, get off this page. Please. Like I’ve said before, nobody’s under any compulsion to read or like what I write, and nor am I under any compulsion to write only what you like to read. And that goes for everyone else here.

Getting to the crux of the matter:

Mr. Murthy, FYI the word “Chhakka” is deemed offensive. It is a derogatory word used not only to humiliate the TG/Hijra community but also gay men & lesbians. This very word is engraved in the every day living of a Queer person in the form of mockery and many a times physical abuse (rape) in the hands of both, the judiciary and society. Furthermore it has taken years for the transgender & hijra community to disentangle itself from the word “Chhakka” but clearly the battle is yet not won.

Agreed your Chhakka update was nothing but a thoughtless remark. On a closer look, your behavior could very easily have a negative affect on the TG community. By the way are you aware of the many deaths that happen in the transgender community via murders and suicides? Ever wondered why? It’s because of such attitude that continues to belittle them & treat them like they are anything but human!

So Mr. Murthy you are guilty of discrimination.

And mind you, no one is asking for sensitivity here. I accept that people tend to be over sensitive at times, but at this point, it isn’t the sensitivity speaking. It’s an effort to teach you to respect gender & gender expression. As I said earlier on, knowing does not mean you understandSensitisation is the word here; we are not even asking you to walk in our chappals. So by all means you can call Chris Gayle the king of sixers (in the context of the game of Cricket) but we would appreciate it if in the future you keep the word Chhakka away from the eunuchs and your pun even further away from the two.

And while you clearly state your freewill to write everything and anything, we too would like to add that each time we find your words offensive we shall not hesitate to give you another quickie. When you proudly boast your social media statistics, it wouldn’t harm paying some attention to the political correctness. The point being – if you are informed, you will inform others too! *Good karma all around!*

Lastly, time and again I am advised to develop a thick skin in the course of my journey; as a woman, as a lesbian, a blogger and I suppose to a certain degree I have (see how well I tackle ignorance). But I also make an effort to be continuously informed, as it is the latter that helps me grow as a human.
As for the assuming ‘goodwill’ part… we are expecting your thank you message in the mail pretty soon now.

PS – Happy watching T20!!

for comments above post click below

Original article here http://gaysifamily.com/2013/04/26/a-quickie-for-mr-mahesh-murthy/

 

Landmark win for dalits as UK bans caste bias


Kounteya Sinha, TNN Apr 26, 2013,
(Jo Swinson, the equalities…)

LONDONDalits in the United Kingdom have recorded a landmark victory after the British parliament finally agreed to outlaw caste discrimination.

In a major U-turn, the House of Commons, which had earlier trashed an amendment to include caste among other forms of discrimination, on Tuesday voted for legal protection for the four lakh dalits living in the UK.

This makes the UK the first country outside South Asia to legislate against caste discrimination. On Wednesday business secretary Vince Cables said “caste is to be outlawed in the UK”.

Jo Swinson, the equalities minister, told the House of Commons the government recognized that caste discrimination existed in the United Kingdom and it was “unacceptable”. She said “very strong views have been expressed in the Lords on this matter and we have reconsidered our position and agreed to introduce caste-related legislation”. “We hope that this decision will serve as an example to other countries,” said Rikke Nohrlind, coordinator of the International Dalit Solidarity Network. “Caste discrimination is a global issue, affecting hundreds of millions of people in many parts of the world.”

The House of Lords had voted twice in support of the amendment, but the House of Commons had had reservations against it. MPs on Tuesday overturned their earlier decision and decided that caste would in future be treated as “an aspect of race”.

The amendment is part of the Equality Act 2010. Till now, the Act prohibited race discrimination, harassment and victimisation in the workplace. The definition of “race” within the Act includes colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin but does not specifically refer to caste.

Conservative MP Richard Fuller said “caste discrimination in the workplace is wrong and the people who suffer from it deserve legal protection”. The issue has divided the Indian diaspora in the UK. While groups like Caste Watch UK had been rallying to urge MPs to introduce legal protection for those from traditionally lower-caste backgrounds, the Hindu Alliance has called for a boycott of the

 

The Language of Narendra Modi


MODI1

Vol – XLVIII No. 18, May 04, 2013 | Nonica Datta

Narendra Modi‘s oratory captivates his audience. A demagogue’s agenda is facilitated via language, which becomes a site of power and violence in the political public sphere. This article looks at Modi’s emotionally-charged speeches which are emblematic of his larger political language.
Nonica Datta (nonica.datta@gmail.com) teaches history at Miranda House, University of Delhi. Her latest publication is Violence, Martyrdom and Partition: A Daughter’s Testimony (OUP, 2009)
Narendra Modi has been speaking a lot these days. His willingness to speak is striking, especially as he acquires centre-stage in BJP. In modern politics, Modi’s language has multiple meanings that shape his relationship with the public. The metaphors that he uses are often the same in all his speeches. But the sameness in his language has a structure to it which needs unpacking.
I try to listen carefully to what Narendra Modi has been saying? Recently, I listened to Modi’s speeches at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) crucial two-day National Council meeting in New Delhi and at other influential public forums. And I found that his speech at the BJP’s National Council meeting, in particular, conveys his vocabulary and rhetoric and unfolds his political language, its intentions and the implicit agenda. It connects with his other speeches, a miscellany of ideas and declarations, presenting a cycle of repetitive speech.
The Theatre and the Language
Like on that day and many other days, Modi began his speech with a patriotic trope, “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. A captive audience chanted in unison. Moving his hands, lowering his voice, and then raising it to the right effect, Modi was all set to perform. He spoke in Hindi, sometimes using English words. His voice had a nasal tinge. It was both low and high pitched, soft and harsh. The Gujarati accent was unmistakably evident. His speech was not just words. It was also his tone, gestures, movements of his hands, eyes and body. His pauses were short to suit his words. There were gaps in between.
Tellingly, Modi’s speech is emblematic of his larger political language. If you sort through his rhetoric, you will find nothing new. Modi’s language evokes his big project – dreaming of a new India. A critique of the Congress’ flawed idea of India is central to his language. So, point by point, he always targets the dynastic Congress. It is a party that has “sacrificed the interests of the nation” for the “interests of the one family”, he says. “To take the country forward is not in the nature of the Congress, it is in not in their blood”, he adds. “When we got freedom from the British we got swarajya, when we free ourselves from the Congress we will get surajya”, he goes on. Unlikely words to be combined: swarajya (self-rule) and surajya (good governance), but here they are combined to make eternal continuities and affinities between British and Congress rule.
Modi says that we got swarajya, self-rule, once the British left. And we will gain surajya, good governance, once we get rid of the Congress. He likens the Congress to a termite. He urges his karyakartas (party workers) to work “with a determination to help the people uproot the Congress”. How? He says, “The sweat of BJP karyakartas is the best medicine to do so”.
Modi celebrates the role of his karyakartas, and their purusharth (hard work): “BJP’s win in Gujarat is not a victory of one person but the victory of lakhs of karyakartas, a victory of BJP’s ideology, the faith of the people in the party’s political culture, the guidance of senior leaders and the victory of the people”. Like a cricket commentary, the news of BJP’s success has spread far and wide, he says.
The karyakartas are critical subjects in Modi’s language. He expresses his continuing debt to them. They are the committed workers of his political project. They are his political collective. The karyakartas, as a mobilising force, are urged to take on the task of translating his ideology into action.
Modi says, “Whenever we have got a chance to serve, we have given something to the nation”. Though not totally linear, his speech focuses on development in Gujarat. The Gujarat that Modi invokes is a Gujarat of “asha” (hope). If there’s hope, there’s trust (vishvas), he emphasises. That’s not enough. He asks his “people” to nurture an aspiration (armaan). Using a popular idiom, Modi asks them to think big, and to move forward. The notion of aspiration and good governance shapes his vision of India. But his idiom is local.
Modi’s language tries to forge a connection with “people”, and he sees himself as a “facilitator”, a “catalytic agent” to help them imagine a new and clean India. Almost enacting a commercial Hindi film dialogue, he says, “BJP is with a mission, [pause] Congress is for commission”.
Stereotypes and Repetitions
Modi speaks of the need to develop India on the model of jan bhagidari, that is through people’s participation. His commitment to “development in Gujarat” is conveyed via his different programmes. He says that when he became the chief minister in 2001, the state had a revenue deficit of Rs 6,700 crore, while today the state has a surplus of Rs. 400 crore. He says that both ends have been met: power companies are making profits and people are getting electricity.
The trope of darkness replaced by light is an essential component of Modi’s emotionally-charged narrative, a trope which ensures deliverance from the Congress rule and a march towards development. Raat itni lambi hogi, andhera itna kada hoga (the night would be so long, darkness would be so harsh). Remembering two of his heroes, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and Vivekananda, Modi says, “Even if darkness is all around, what prevents us from lighting the lamp? Come, let us set forth from here and light the lamp with the lotus, spreading the brightness of development”.
Modi applauds Vajpayee government’s nuclear tests. But he unsettles his own language by invoking Lal Bahadur Shastri, the somewhat forgotten political leader of the 1960s.
Modi’s language shapes a new political public sphere of power and domination to manufacture consent among his karyakartas. His rhetoric against the Congress, his model of a “grand state and nation”, his confidence in the “mass base” of his karyakartas, his stubborn faith in development and progress are the recurring themes in his vocabulary. Listening to him one notices that though his script is almost stereotypically repetitive, his repertoire carries a new gesture each time he speaks. His language is interspersed with humour and sarcasm; but no ironies. With the approaching 2014 general elections, his speech at his premier political organisation is full of contradictions, ambiguities, inconsistencies, silences.
Modi’s language, this may be noticed in almost all his recent speeches, camouflages much than reveals. Incorporating his karyakartas in his “nation”, he is mainly thinking of a masculinised India. Who are excluded: Muslims, women, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalised sections. Isn’t Modi addressing a primarily urban, elite, technocratic Hindu nation? And of course, the karyakartas he talks of have been perpetrators of his political agenda of violence. When Modi says, “We have given something to the nation”, what does he exactly mean? What about the Gujarat genocide of 2002? Is this his project of erasure at work?
Compelling Speech
Modi’s manipulative communication conveniently hides his larger agenda. This has parallels with demagogues in world history. Like in other histories of fascism, in other parts of the world, the Fascist project is realised via securing people’s vote and their active political participation. Fascism develops through the popular and catalytic language of a leader in the political public sphere, which manoeuvres consensus of the ordinary people. Germans’ support for Hitler during the Third Reich testifies to the enormous and widespread appeal of the fascist language among people.
Historically, dictatorships have been committed to the project of development, progress and growth. Stalin was most appreciated for the level of economic development that was achieved under his rule. Stalin’s Russia was a model of a great industrial nation. But his act of mass killings makes him a mass murderer. Russians are still struggling to cope with that moment of their violent past, and the contradiction of whether Stalin was a “villain” or a “hero”.
A demagogues’ agenda is facilitated via language, which becomes a site of power and violence in the political public sphere. The crimes of Fascism and Stalinism were founded on language. Fascism, Roland Barthes says, does not prevent speech, it compels speech. Demagogues combine the language of development with that of exclusive nationalism and patriotism. They often talk of the poor and poverty. They have many things to hide. They silence alternatives, plurality, and difference.
Modi graphically talks of inflation and the poor man reeling under price rise. “Chulha nahin jalta” — “the hearth is not lit”. He only appears to address social conflicts. His idea of development is elitist and hollow. The metaphor of light that he invokes signifies a lamp of development that foments a consumerist ideology and culture. The unmistakably spiritual tone of his language, borrowed from Vivekananda, is a way to legitimise his prejudicial idea of development and a global India mixed with patriotism, which he defines via blood, sacrifice, sweat. Does Modi’s idea of development address inequities in society? It does not appear to. To resurrect Shastri is Modi’s way of moderating his political rhetoric through the symbol of the kisan (peasant), which is framed to work towards his popular image as a mass leader.
Modi’s silences are dangerously telling. So are his utterances. His language has many shades of grey. Might it not be better to see and declare that Modi’s language has been instrumental in sanctioning the practice of violence and development? As Hannah Arendt writes, “The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world”.

 

 

Don’t worry, #Aadhaar is not mandatory for now #UID #MUSTSHARE


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Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013, 8:38 IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

 

One need not necessarily have an Aadhaar number as of now for availing of monetary benefits under government schemes such as Employees Provident Fund, insurance and pension or for booking railway tickets and opening bank accounts. As far as the current status of Aadhaar number – meant for direct transfer of subsidies to beneficiaries to plug leakages — is concerned, it is not mandatory for any of the government schemes.

An official from the Unique Identification Authority of India told dna, “As of now Aadhaar number has not been made mandatory for any of the schemes of the central government.

The state governments, meanwhile, may link their schemes with Aadhaar number.”

Even though Aadhaar has not yet been made mandatory for schemes such as EPF, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, under the ministry of labour and employment, has asked its field offices to make maximum efforts to obtain the available Aadhaar number or the enrolment number of the EPF members, in a communication dated February 6.

It is clear that the government intends to make Aadhaar mandatory for schemes such as EPF and pension but the scale and time required is coming in the way.

The EPFO, vide its letter dated January 21, made it mandatory to submit Aadhaar number for new EPF members joining on or after March 1. A labour ministry official said, “During discussions with the UIDAI, it emerged that UID is not enrolled in all the states. Therefore it was decided not to make Aadhaar number mandatory. And an order was subsequently released,” said the official.

In its February letter, the EPFO observed, “In view of discussions held with UIDAI officials and some time required in the process of obtaining Aadhaar numbers, it may not be possible to obtain the number by EPF by March 1. Therefore it has been decided to not make the Aadhaar number/enrolment mandatory for EPF members from March 1, 2013.’

Similarly, in the case of railway reservations, Aadhar card is only one of the documents required. In case of opening of savings account in banks, Aadhar will work as one of the documents required, and has not yet been made mandatory. Existing bank customers as well as new customers can link their accounts with Aadhar number to avail of subsidies on LPG cylinders directly. Even this is not mandatory and is under optional head in the Aadhar application form.

 

 

#India – Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill becomes Law #Vaw #Womenrights


26 Apr 2013, 01:44 PM
Law to curb sexual harassment at work

Law to curb sexual harassment at work

 

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to a bill under which cases of sexual harassment at workplace, including against domestic help, will have to be disposed of by in-house committees within 90 days failing which a penalty will be imposed.

Repeated non-compliance of the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Law, can lead to higher penalties and even cancellation of licence or registration to conduct business.

The bill was cleared by Parliament in February this year.

The new law brings in its ambit even domestic workers and agriculture labour, both organized and unorganized sectors.

As per the act, sexual harassment includes any one or more of unwelcome acts or behaviour like physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favours or making sexually coloured remarks or showing pornography.

Non-compliance with the provisions of the act shall be punishable with a fine of up to Rs 50,000. It has also provisions for safeguard against false or malicious charges.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee, which had examined the bill, had held the firm view that preventive aspects reflected in it has to be strictly in line with the Supreme Court guidelines in the 1997 Vishaka case.

The Apex Court‘s judgement in the case not only defines sexual harassment at workplace but also lays down guidelines for its prevention and disciplinary action

 

#India – Tribal women hit hardest by development: study #Vaw #Womenrights


 

STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu

When displaced by development projects, many migrate to cities as servants, some are lured into prostitution

A study conducted by Centre for Development Studies (CDS) on impact of development on tribal people has found that tribal women are the worst sufferers in this process of change.

The study, titled ‘Withering Valli: Alienation, degradation and enslavement of tribal women in Attappady’ and undertaken along with the Kerala Research Programme on Local Level Development, says the “displacement for development projects has deprived tribesfolk of their land and forests from which much of their food came”.

“Today, they have to walk much longer distances than in the past to collect food and fodder. Impoverishment forces women to migrate to towns and cities as domestic servants. Many of them are also lured into prostitution. Development schemes have effected a thorough change in the socio-economic and cultural life of the tribal women.Transactions are increasingly made in man’s name. Improved facilities of development like transportation, health, housing, and technology have not reached women.” The study has also found that “women continued to work hard and have no time to enjoy the fruits of development. Women’s work is considered unskilled and unproductive in the market sense.”

Women also have to be at the beck and call of officials and contractors who come to tribal areas to implement projects of development, the study observes. “When development programmes are allotted to women, they have to go to various offices to get the programmes sanctioned. Some women have to undergo sexual abuse at the hand of officers. In order to get grants or subsidies for house construction and building of cattle-shed, women are sometimes forced to oblige to officials. Among the victims of rape and sexual harassment, 95 per cent are tribal women and children. Of this, all the victims were tribesfolk belonging to the age group of 6-16 years.”

There are no witnesses to the thousands of unreported atrocities on tribal women like rape, sexual harassment, and murders except the forests, mountains, and valleys, the report says.

The government promotes and even rewards mixed marriages, between tribal women and settlers from other parts of the State, with monetary awards. But the settlers who marry tribal women usually have wife and children back home. After a period, the settlers go back to their own native places leaving their tribal wives and children in lurch.

Among the sexual exploiters of tribal women, the people involved are the police, government officials, contractors, smugglers, flesh-traders, and immigrant farmers. Incidents of death and murder of tribal women have also become common; and almost in every case, the culprits go unpunished. ”

 

Demolition of illegal Mumbai flats: Why hit the innocent?


by  Apr 26, 2013, Firstpost

 

There is this often narrated anecdote, surely apocryphal, where a mischievous student’s parent tells the teacher that the boy is sensitive. If he errs it would do if the next student is slapped and his son would get the message. That was, of course, before corporal punishment was outlawed.

To expect such hints to be taken by people who occupy illegal structures in Mumbai or in any city is absurd. It applies well to the move of the Mumbai’s civic body to demolish 140 apartments on 35 floors across seven apartment buildings in Worli. It was not a spontaneous action from the civic body, it was ordained by the Supreme Court.

Building collapse in Mumbra. PTI

Building collapse in Mumbra. PTI

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has now made the headlines by the simple fact of speaking about how it has drawn a logistic and supervisory strategy to do so in three months, as The Times of India reported on Thursday. It mentioned, how, rightly, the residents were unnerved. One would be surprised if they were not.

The demolition plan is terrible news mostly since it is an entirely wrong way to go about the business of illegal constructions, which of course, are rife in the city. Simply because the Supreme Court ordered it for violations of civic laws also does not necessarily make it right. There are many more which have deviated from the rules.

The civic body, in the cloud of the dust raised by the collapse the Mumbra building which took 74 lives, has but to act on the apex court’s order which bars the residents from seeking regularisation of the illegalities. It naturally leaves them with no option but to take recourse to a review petition.

By making a virtue out of the order, talking about new techniques without disclosing the details as to how the flats would be brought down, and saying that about Rs 1.5 crore would be spent towards complying, MCGM simply cannot escape its responsibility in having allowed such nonchalant law-breaking.

What about the shamble in which the residents of other apartments would have to live in, during the demolition? It is assumed that they or the worth of their property does not matter at all. The collateral damage to them is hard to imagine.

Not bringing the unauthorised apartments down would be contempt of court, but allowing them to have come up in the first place itself requires a judicial enquiry which can and should hold the process and the participants in it guilty as well. We have hardly heard anything much about those who perpetrate such frauds, of being held accountable.

Had the Supreme Court only asked the MCGM to bring before it all the cases of violations and then their regularisation, say during the past one decade, it would have helped bare the unbelievable extent of the mischief played by the real estate interests and civic officials in cahoots. Those interests include politicians.

There are likely to be more illegal buildings or parts of buildings than there are those among them which should have attracted the demolition crews of the civic body. The very fact that they did not is itself a testimonial admission of the civic body’s culpability. Except, of course, we don’t know which are illegal and which not; even the buyers did not.

This does not at all mean that enforcement of law has to be only selective in the sense the builders who come up with the grand designs to cheat and then, with ever-eager willingness of the civic officials, often at the behest of politicians who urge everyone to wink at the deviations, can go scot free.

Mumbai’s civic body and its counterparts in other cities have avoided universally applying the building code—from floor space index to eligibility of a site to host the structure, including the structural quality, explaining the violations if—only if—exposed and act seemingly responsibly thereafter, up to a point before resuming their mischief. It is a lot cheaper to do a job honestly and efficiently than cope with consequences.

This common sense approach abundantly useful to ensure reliability of a civic body is missing in their administrative culture across cities. Because adhering to the proper ways would lead to huge losses by way of illegal incomes. It is as if the citizen is not at all a stakeholder. Those who stick to their statutory duties are often dismissed as cranks, as GR Khairnar was.

Had Khairnar only done his job without running at the mouth, and grabbing headlines, he perhaps would have been better off. But had he not, looking at the flip side, he would have been smothered by the corrupt in the system. The system that protects wrongdoing is much more competent than the other citizen-centric work as per law.

It cannot be anyone’s case that Mumbai or for that matter any city’s illegal structures, from lean-tos on sidewalks to slum colonies to elegant multi-storeyed apartments, should be allowed. Well-performing cities ought not to allow them to even emerge, leave alone mushroom. If they do, there are undermining their own stated purpose.

They are allowed to mushroom and then, amid outcries—often maybe because the right bribe was not paid—make the innocent buyer almost invariably the casualty. Even the slums that crop up hither and yon with near impunity from the civic demolition squads have been blessed by politicians and as the recent case of an entire corrupt police station lining up for bribes showed, everyone is on the make.

Then why leave the victim thrashing about after being targeted by the real estate industry which not only makes housing unaffordable but also runs a racket hand in glove with those who ought not to have allowed it in the first place. If this Worli pattern becomes the chosen way, large chunks of Mumbai residents would be on the streets sans a shelter even as the jails remain empty.

 

My name Is Urdu and I am not a Muslim


Hindustani0804

 

My name Is Urdu and I am not a Muslim
Urdu hai mera naam main Khusrau ki paheli
Main Meer ki humraaz hun Ghalib ki saheli

(My name is Urdu and I am Khusrau’s riddle
I am Meer’s confidante and Ghalib’s friend)

Kyun mujhko banate ho tassub ka nishana
Maine to kabhi khud ko musalmaan nahi maana

(Why have you made me a target for bigotry?
I have never thought myself a Muslim)

Dekha tha kabhi maine bhi khushiyo ka zamana
Apne hi watan me hum agar aaj akayli

(I too have seen an era of happiness
But today I am an orphan in my own country)

I don’t think anything can describe the state of Urdu’s neglect and decline than these lines by IqbalAshar.

In this article I want to dispel the notion that a language can have a religion by tracing its origin and the roots of how that tag got attached to it, leading to its subsequent neglect.

Language is a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition.

India is home to several hundred languages out of which 22 are scheduled languages and a rich cultural heritage attached to all of them.

After independence, the Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights recommended that the official language of India be made Hindustani, as it was already the national language: “Hindustani, written either in Devanagari or the Perso-Arabic script at the option of the citizen, shall, as the national language, be the first official language of the Union.”

Had this been adopted there would just be a beautiful national language, Hindustani with a shared cultural heritage instead of two artificially created languages via kind courtesy of the British: Sansritised Hindustani called Hindi and Persianised Hindustani called Urdu. Unfortunately, this recommendation was not adopted by the Constituent Assembly.

Till the early 20th century Persian was the language of the elite and learnt by them (irrespective of religion) but Urdu was the language of the masses, and used as a medium of instruction. Our Prime Minister and the poet Gulzar, amongst other famous Indian personalities even today use the Urdu script for their writings.  Many friends who read this will say their fathers or grandfathers according to their age received education in Urdu medium schools and were fluent in the language.

So where did the language go wrong? When did it become associated with a religious community?

To understand this we must understand the aftermath of 1857 and the British ‘divide and rule’ policy.

Languages are a common cultural bond and having known this the British encouraged the use of Perso-Arabic and Devnagari script via the printing press to cement the division of Hindustani, the lingua franca of a majority of Indians, into the standardised Urdu and Hindi language.

In fact Bibles which were distributed by the missionaries to spread Christianity were also printed in the 2 scripts and distributed accordingly as per religion of recipient.

After partition, the death knell for Urdu as an Indian language was struck when it was declared as the national language of Pakistan. But today only 7.4 percent of the total population of Pakistan claim Urdu as their mother tongue (and I suspect these are the muhajirs who went from the Indo-Gangetic plains.)

Opposed to this is the figure of 44.15 percent Pakistanis who speak/ list Punjabi as their mother tongue. (In Pakistan, Urdu is spoken by a much larger percentage of people but they do not list it as their mother language and it’s the same case in India)

In India there are 5.01 percent of the population for whom Urdu is the mother tongue and Hindi is spoken by 41.03 percent.

Please note that the total population of Muslims in India is 13.4 percent of the country’s population. So if Urdu is supposed to be a language of Muslims why don’t the Muslims of Kerala speak it? Why do they communicate/ list their mother tongue as Malayalam? Muslims represent a majority of the local population in Lakshadweep (93 percent) and they all speak Malayalam. Having lived in Kerala for many years I have a first-hand experience that the only other language understood by the majority was English.

Why do Muslims of West Bengal, which has the second largest Muslim population in India, after Uttar Pradesh, list their mother tongue as Bangla? Gujarati Muslims use and list Gujarati as their mother tongue.

Yes, majority of practising Muslims in India as well as in the rest of the world read/ understand Arabic or at least try to. That can be called the language of the Muslims as the Holy Book was revealed in it.

Hindavi, Dehalvi, Gujri ,Dakhini, Rekhta were the names given to the language which evolved from Hindustani to today’s Hindi and Urdu.

The first writer to popularise Hindavi, which he referred to as Dehalvi, was the prolific and wondrous Amir Khusrau.

Sunil Sharma, the author of “Amir Khusraw: the poet of Sultan and Sufis” credits Khusrau as being the father of Hindi and Urdu.

Khusrau baazi prem ki main khelun pi ke sang,
Jeet gayi to piya moray, haari, pi kay sang.

(Khusrau, I play the game of love with my beloved,
If I win, the beloved is mine, if I lose, my Beloved I am yours.)

The word Urdu is derived from the same Turkish word ‘ordu’ (army) that has given English the word, ‘horde’. In fact according to S.R. Farooqui the term Urdu was used during Akbar’s time to denote ‘royal city’. When Shah Jahan built a new walled city in Delhi in 1639, known as Shahjahanabad, a market close to the royal fort (the Red Fort) was called Urdu Bazar (“Army/camp Market.”)Emperor Shah Alam II with his love for Hindi, gave it a position in his court with the nomenclature, “Zabaan e Urdu e mualla.’ (The language of the exalted city.)

Meer Taqi Meer( 1722-1810) used the words Rekhta and Hindi for the spoken language.

Rekhta ke tum hi ustaad nahiN ho “GHalib”
Kahte hai Nagle zamane meN koi Meer bhi thA

[rekhta = Urdu]

(You are not the only expert of Rekhta,Ghalib
Have heard tell that ere was a Meer too)

Mushafi farsi ko taaq pe rakh
Ab hai ashaar-e-Hindavi ka rivaaj

(Mushafi put Persian back in the closet
Custom is now to write verses in Hindi)

Showing that Hindi was exchangeable with Rekhta till the 19th century for the language. Mushafi (1750-1824) himself was the first to use the word Urdu meaning a language in his first Divan. Till then it was called hindavi and Rekhta.

The conversion of Hindavi/ Hindustani into Urdu, a language of Muslims started with Gilchrist (June 1759 – 1841) a surgeon turned Indologist who wrote and published ‘An English-Hindustani Dictionary, A Grammar of the Hindoostanee Language’ in Persian and Devnagari script.

Though the British accepted that Hindustani was spoken or at least understood all over India, they insisted on identifying it with Muslims.

According to S.R. Farooqui since the term Hindustani was ambiguous in its religious affiliation, the British insisted on Urdu, as “that didn’t have the faintest reverberations of a Hindu link.”

The earliest reference to the story of the Zaban e Urdu, Hindi being generated by Muslim invaders was in a book for teaching Hindustani (that is Urdu) to British bureaucrats, and was written and printed in Fort William College under the aegis of Gilchrist, by Mir Amman Dihalvi called Baagh o Bahar.

Mir Amman’s book had many loopholes and he also forgot to mention that the language he called Zaban e Urdu was in a sense the language of the city and referred to as Hindvi / Hindi, as it was called at that time. Soon the popularity of his text book ensured the perpetuation of the myth of Urdu as a language of Muslim invaders.

It took a long time to harden the khariboli into separate Hindi/ Urdu traditions and there is evidence that the Hindu populace for whom” a new linguistic tradition was being created in the 19th century, resisted the idea.

Peter Austin in his “One thousand languages: living, endangered, and lost” writes that Urdu  and Hindi have the same roots in the emerging Indo-Aryan language varieties spoken in an area centred on Delhi and specially the variety called KhariBoli which spread throughout India under the Muslim armies of the Delhi Sultanate (13th to 15th Century).

He says that in the early 19th Century the British chose KhariBoli as their administrative language, encouraging the use of Perso-Arabic and Devnagari script in parallel. The choice of scripts and source of vocabulary gradually became a source of religious affiliations and ultimately resulted in two standard languages, Urdu and Hindi.

The advent of the printing press meant that religious literature was translated for the common man. This deepened the growing schism amongst religions which was being fanned by the British and led to Sanskrtisation and Persianisation of Hindustani into a formal Urdu written in Persian script using Persian origin words and Hindi written in Devnagari with more words of Sanskrit origin.

The British rulers created texts and published discourses for Indians in the now rapidly getting standardised Hindi or Urdu by using Devanagari or Perso-Arabic script and distributing accordingly.

In the early days translations of The Quran and religious texts were commissioned and printed in Persian and Devanagari script. Later Urdu was the preferred medium for Islamic texts and treatises, further strengthening the belief of it being a language of Muslims. Though, today I have many relatives who read the Quran in Devanagari and many Gujarati friends who read it in Gujarati script.

There is a vast treasure trove of Indian literature, prose and poetry written in Urdu. Everyone in India has heard of the poetry of Ghalib, Meer, Daagh, Brij Narain Chakbast, Krishna Bihari Noor, Josh Malihabadi, Jigar Moradabadi, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badayuni to present day Javed Akhtar and Gulzar to name just a few.

In prose we have Munshi Premchand, Saadat Hasan Manto, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Krishan Chander, Qurratulain Hyder,Ismat Chughtai. Munshi Premchand’s  first novella, Asrar e Ma’abid was first published in Awaz-e-Khalq, an Urdu Weekly, after which he became associated with an Urdu magazine Zamana, writing columns on national and international events. He wrote under the pseudonym Nawab Rai in Urdu script, afterwards transcribing them (or hiring some local helper to transcribe them) into Devnagari, so that he eventually published practically everything in both scripts.

A picture of the original manuscript of Kafan

Firaq Gorakhpuri, the famous Urdu poet, had been a champion of secularism all his life and was a chief crusader against the government’s effort to brand Urdu as the language of Muslims. He was also instrumental in the allocation of funds for the promotion of the language.

In 2010 Gujarat High Court observed there was nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a national language of the country.

Today Urdu is languishing because somewhere along the line it was adopted by Muslim parents’ and the common perception is that it had apparently converted to Islam too! Nowadays it’s just a malnourished, homeless orphan.

(Urdu is the 6th most spoken language in the country but of all the original Schedule 8 Languages, Sindhi and Urdu are the only languages, which are ‘homeless’ as they are not the principal language of any state. (Census 2001))

The percentage of people listing Urdu as their mother tongue is also declining. In many instances Muslims themselves are listed with their mother tongue as Hindi by census officers because they don’t know how to read and write Urdu.

Today Urdu is no longer linked to jobs and no language can progress or grow unless it can lead to economic rewards. Urdu newspapers are on the decline because of lack of advertising revenue. Schools/ colleges have stopped using it as medium of instruction because of dearth of Urdu text books for science and technology. Urdu medium schools lack qualified teachers.

Associated as it is in people’s eyes with Muslims, it has become nothing but a trap for vote bank politics, unkept promises and empty dreams. The only silver lining is that it still lives in the hearts of many across religious lines, in our Hindi films and TV serials, the crowds flocking to mushairas and the number of sites which provide sms lines on the internet.

After all everyone needs words to express love!

baad-e-nafrat phir mohabbat ko zabaan darkaar hai
phir aziiz-e-jaan vahii urdu zabaan hone lagii

(After hatred, once again love needs a language for expression,
Once again Urdu becomes beloved of all)

– Dr Mohammad Yaqub ‘Aamir’

 

Gujarat- Tribals demand implementation of PESA


Anti-mining movement picks up in South Gujarat, tribals demand early implementation of PESA provisions

Mining in progress in the river bed
By Ashok Shimali*

Anti-mining movement is gearing up in South Gujarat. The main slogan of the movement is, “Save river, save forest, save nature, save minerals and save our life”.
At the bank of Purana river in Kosambai village near Valod town in Tapi district, more than 10,000 peoples started an impressive agitation against rampant mining activities in Purna and Valmiki rivers. People gathered under the banner of the Adivasi Ekata Parishad. Mainly local tribals, they began an indefinite agitation on April 17, which converted into eight representatives of the Adivasi Ekta Parishad going on hunger strike, which began on April 22.

Those who took part in the hunger strike were — Lalsingh Gamit from Kosambia village; Namika Chaudhary, sarpanch of Mordevi village panchayat; Bhupendra Chaudhary, an Adivasi Ekata Parishad activist; several individuals from Kosambia village Jitendra Gamit, Rakesh Chaudhary, Gaman Gamit and Dinubhai Gamit; and Rakesh Gamit from Bahej village.
It all began on April 17 morning, when people gathered at the statue of Dr BR Ambedakar and then began a rally, which ended at Purna river, shouting slogans against mining activities.
At the protest meeting near Purna river
People who took part in the rally felt that there has been adverse impact of mining on groundwater levels, which have gone down considerably. This apart, they complained, dust particles due to mining in nearby agricultural field is affecting their farming activities. Then, there are huge blasts in the river for carrying on mining activities, which are adversely affecting the check dams built on the two rivers.
“More than 15,000 people have been affected by mining in five villages — Mordevi, Kosambia, Bahej, Dolakiya and Kumbhia”, a statement by the Adivasi Ekta Parishad said.
A local delegation met to Union minister Tushar Chaudhary, who belongs to the adivasi belt of South Gujarat, with a list of their demands. Then, on April 21 and 22, a five-member delegation met Tapi district collector Ranjithkumar and discussed the situation about illegal mining in the river stream.
Blasting in progress in the riverbed
The district collector of Tapi took action and sent SDM and mamlatadar of Valod for site inspection and discussion with agitators and leaders. All the relevant documents along with a memorandum were presented to the collector and the officials at the dharna site.
The demands included implementation of the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (or PESA), 1996, provisions relating to autonomous rights to tribals over natural resources at the place where they live. The Act specifically says that without the consent of the village panchayat, no mining activity can be undertaken. The district collector assured a detailed inquiry.
The Adivasi Ekta Parishad statement said, “The agitation will spread in all the scheduled areas of Gujarat if we not receive any positive response from government authorities.”

Mamlatdar listens to demands

A memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, the state forests and environment minister, the industries and mines minister and the tribal affairs minister was also submitted to the mamlatdar. A copy was sent to the Governor of Gujarat, who is constitutionally duty bound to safeguard tribal people‘s rights.

* A senior Gujarat-based activist with Setu, and an executive member of NGO Mines, Minerals and People.

 

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