Welcome to my blog
The .org site also crashed for two week from May 24th to June 8 2015 http://www.kractivist.org/ due to high traffic but is sorted now
You can be updated here http://www.kractivist.org/
Kamayani aka kractivist
Bridge the Gap , Bring the Change
10 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
Welcome to my blog
The .org site also crashed for two week from May 24th to June 8 2015 http://www.kractivist.org/ due to high traffic but is sorted now
You can be updated here http://www.kractivist.org/
Kamayani aka kractivist
09 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
Activist and lawyer Aires Rodrigues on May 26 filed a petition before the Bombay High Court at Goa seeking the transfer of the search for the absconding convicted former Minister Mickky Pacheco to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The petitioner gave the sequence of events leading to Mr. Pacheco’s conviction by the High Court and the Supreme Court on March 30.
The former Goa Minister and MLA, Mickky Pacheco, surrendered before a court in Margao on June 1 . He was absconding for nearly two months following his conviction in a case of assault on a government servant.
He was later formally arrested by Goa police and sent to Sada jail in Vasco in south Goa after medical check-up.Former minister and Nuvem MLA Francisco (Mickky) Pacheco was taken to the Goa Medical College and Hospital two times time since being imprisoned at Sada sub-jail .
Aires Rodrigues’ advocate made a complaint with the IG prisons alleging that Pacheco was taken to Goa Medical College (GMC) and Hospital, Bambolim, without his prison uniform after he complained of a health problem on Friday evening, the officer said they have sought a report from the jail superintendent at Sada sub-jail in the matter.
Adhinath Bhaje was the duty officer at Sada sub-jail when Pacheco was taken to hospital.
Advocate Aires Rodrigues’ in his face book states
The convicted and now jailed Goa former Minister Mickky Pacheco in violation of the Goa Prison Rules is being given VIP treatment at the Sada Jail where he has on June 1st commenced undergoing the six month jail sentence for having in 2006 assaulted Electricity department Junior Engineer Kapil Natekar.
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar after helping their friend Mickky Pacheco abscond for two long months, are now covertly pressurizing Sada jail authorities to go all out to help Mickky Pacheco as he is an MLA supporting the current BJP Government.
The government is making a mockery of the judiciary by high-handedly giving Mickky Pacheco VIP treatment in jail. If Mickky Pacheco is not treated on par with other convicts it would be appropriate to move the High Court seeking that Mickky Pacheco be transferred to a jail in neighboring Karnataka or Maharashtra, so that he undergoes the jail sentence strictly in accordance with law without any political patronage. A detailed documented report of how the jail rules are being flagrantly breached to unlawfully benefit Mickky Pacheco would be submitted to the Court.
Mickky Pacheco has not been convicted for a petty crime but a very serious offence against the State of having as a Minister assaulted a public servant. His conviction was upheld by four Courts and the Supreme Court as well.
It is a matter of concern that watching this sordid Mickky Pacheco Saga the people of Goa will be losing their faith and trust in the justice delivery system if the rich and the politically well connected are allowed to be above the law. There cannot be two yardsticks for convicts. The law mandates that they all be treated alike.
08 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
“For me religion is one in essence, but it has many branches and if I, the Hindu branch, fail in my duty to the parent trunk, I am an unworthy follower of that one indivisible, visible religion…. My nationalism and my religion are not exclusive, but inclusive and they must be so consistently with the welfare of life.” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi wrote to Sir Samuel Hoare, the Secretary of State for India, in September 1932, on the eve of his fast to death against granting separate electorates for the untouchables. Earlier, on March 11, 1932, he had warned Hoare: “So far as Hinduism is concerned, separate electorates would simply vivisect and disrupt it. For me the question of these classes is predominantly moral and religious. The political aspect, important though it is, dwindles into insignificance compared to the moral and religious issues.” In a letter to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald in September 1932, Gandhi wrote: “In the establishment of separate electorates at all for the ‘depressed classes’, I sense the injection of poison that is calculated to destroy Hinduism.”
To William Shirer, the famous American writer, Gandhi wrote on September 23, 1932: “Americans should know that my politics are derived from my religion.” (See William Gould; “The U.P. Congress and ‘Hindu Unity’: Untouchables and the Minority Question in the 1930s”; Modern Asian Studies; Volume 39, 2005; pages 845-860.)
With such an outlook, a clash with Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar was inevitable. Clash they did, directly, sharply and in person at the Round Table Conference in London. Back in India, they arrived at a compromise on reservation of seats and signed the famous Poona Pact on September 24, 1932, to enable Gandhi to call off his fast.
Ambedkar was under great pressure and was none too happy about his climbdown. As if this and the clash in London were not enough, there came to light a singularly sordid stratagem by Gandhi in London—he offered to concede the demands of the Muslim Delegation, led by the Aga Khan, if it supported him in his opposition to Ambedkar’s demand for separate electorates for the untouchables. The Muslims refused. The offer was made in writing in a document dated October 6, 1931.
The clash is well recorded in the proceedings of the Committees of the Round Table Conference reproduced in Volume 2 of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches (compiled and edited by Vasant Moon, Education Department, Government of Maharashtra) and in Ambedkar’s work What Congress and Gandhi Have Done to the Untouchables (Bombay 1945). It has the added advantage of Ambedkar’s personal testimony about the proceedings of the conference, which was inaugurated on November 12, 1930, by King George V. Nine committees were set up, including the Minorities Committee (Chapter III, “A Mean Deal”). Another was the Federal Structure Committee.
The Congress boycotted the first session of the conference. As a result of the pact between Lord Irwin and Gandhi on March 5, 1931, Gandhi participated in the second session as the sole representative of the Congress. The first session had agreed on representation of “the Depressed Classes”.
Ambedkar is scathing about Gandhi’s performance. “Everybody was therefore looking forward to the Congress to lead the Conference [at the second session] to success. Unfortunately, the Congress chose Mr Gandhi as its representative. A worse person could not have been chosen to guide India’s destiny. As a unifying force he was a failure. Mr Gandhi presents himself as a man full of humility. But his behaviour at the Round Table Conference showed that in the flush of victory, Mr Gandhi can be very petty, indeed. As a result of his successful compromise with the Government just before he came, Mr Gandhi treated the whole non-Congress delegation with contempt. He insulted them whenever an occasion furnished him with an excuse by openly telling them that they were nobodies and that he alone, as the delegate of the Congress, represented the country. Instead of unifying the Indian delegation, Mr Gandhi widened the breach. From the point of view of knowledge, Mr Gandhi proved himself to be a very ill-equipped person. On the many constitutional and communal questions with which the Conference was confronted, Mr Gandhi had many platitudes to utter but no views or suggestions of a constructive character to offer. He presented a curious complex of a man who in some cases would threaten to resist in every possible way any compromise on what he regarded as a principle though others regarded it as a pure prejudice but in other cases would not mind making the worst compromises on issues which appeared to others as matters of fundamental principle on which no compromise should be made. Mr Gandhi’s attitude to the demands of the Untouchables at the second session of the Round Table Conference furnishes the best illustration of this rather queer trait in his character.”
In the meeting of the Federal Structure Committee held on the September 17, 1931, Gandhi said: “The Congress has reconciled itself to special treatment of the Hindu-Muslim-Sikh tangle. There are sound historical reasons for it but the Congress will not extend that doctrine in any shape or form…. Therefore I would most strongly resist any further special representation.”
Ambedkar remarks: “This was nothing but a declaration of a War by Mr Gandhi and the Congress against the Untouchables. In any case, it resulted in a war between the two. After this declaration by Mr Gandhi, I knew what he would do in the Minorities Committee which was the main forum for the discussion of this question. Mr Gandhi was making his plans to bypass the Untouchables and to close the communal problem by bringing about a settlement among the three parties, the Hindus, the Muslims and the Sikhs. He had been carrying on negotiations privately with the Muslims before the Minorities Committee met” (emphasis added, throughout).
There was a proposal to adjourn for talks outside. Ambedkar objected: “Those who are negotiating ought to understand that they are not plenipotentiaries appointed by the Committee to negotiate a settlement; that whatever may be the representative character of Mr Gandhi or of the other parties with whom he wishes to negotiate, they certainly are not in a position to bind us—certainly not.”
The Chairman said: “Do not let there be any misunderstanding. This is the body before which the final settlement must come, and the suggestion is merely that if there are minorities or communities that hitherto have been in conflict with each other they should use a short time for the purpose of trying to overcome their difficulties. Dr Ambedkar’s position has been made absolutely clear; in his usual splendid way he has left no doubt at all about it, and that will come up when this body resumes its discussion.”
Gandhi told Ambedkar when they met in India before the conference that he was opposed to separate recognition for the untouchables and stuck to this position in London. Ambedkar, therefore, refused to acquiesce in an adjournment for talks or join a committee unless that recognition was granted. “I do want to say this, that if I am to be left out in the cold and if this interval is going to be utilised for the purposes of solving the Hindu-Muslim question, I would press that the Minorities Committee should itself grapple with the question and consider it, rather than allow the question to be dealt with by some other informal Committee for arriving at a solution of the communal question in respect of some minorities only.”
Gandhi replied: “Who am I to deny political status to any single interest or class or even individual in India? As a representative of the Congress I should be unworthy of the trust that has been reposed in me by the Congress if I were guilty of sacrificing a single national interest. I have undoubtedly given expression to my own views on these points.”
The meeting held outside the conference, presided over by Gandhi, was a fiasco. He dissolved it before discussing Ambedkar’s case. On October 8, 1931, when the Minorities Committee met, Gandhi said that a solution would follow independence. Ambedkar replied in anguish: “What disturbs me after hearing Mr Gandhi is that instead of confining himself to his proposition, namely, that the Minorities Committee should adjourn sine die, he started casting certain reflections upon the representatives of the different communities who are sitting round this table. He said that the Delegates were nominees of the Government, and that they did not represent the views of their respective communities for whom they stood. We cannot deny the allegation that we are nominees of the Government, but, speaking for myself, I have not the slightest doubt that even if the Depressed Classes of India were given the chance of electing their representatives to this Conference, I would, all the same, find a place here. I say therefore that whether I am a nominee or not, I fully represent the claims of my community. Let no man be under the mistaken impression as regards that.
“The Mahatma has been always claiming that the Congress stands for the Depressed Classes, and that the Congress represents the Depressed Classes more than I or my colleague can do. To that claim I can only say that it is one of the many false claims which irresponsible people keep on making, although the persons concerned with regard to those claims have been invariably denying them.”
Meanwhile, the minorities had arrived at a pact. “Mr Gandhi was furious. He attacked everybody who had taken part in producing the Minorities Pact. He was particularly furious for the recognition given to the Untouchables as a separate political entity. This is what Mr Gandhi said: I would like to repeat what I have said before, that, while the Congress will always accept any solution that may be acceptable to the Hindus, the Muhammadans and the Sikhs, Congress will be no party to the special electorates for any other minorities. … One word more as to the so-called Untouchables. I can understand the claims advanced by other minorities, but the claims advanced on behalf of the Untouchables, that time is the unkindest cut of all.… It will create a division in Hinduism which I cannot possibly look forward to with any satisfaction whatsoever. I do not mind Untouchables, if they so desire, being converted to Islam or Christianity. I should tolerate that, but I cannot possibly tolerate what is in store for Hinduism if there are two divisions set forth in the villages.’”
Now about Gandhi’s offer to the Muslims. The first to reveal it was the great poet Iqbal who had attended the conference. Provoked by Nehru’s remarks on the Muslims’ attitude at the conference, Iqbal said in a statement on December 6, 1933: “I have never had the pleasure of meeting Pandit Jawaharlal, though I have always admired his sincerity and outspokenness. His latest statement in reply to his Mahasabhite critics has a ring of sincerity which is rare in the pronouncements of present-day politicians in India. It seems, however, that he is not in full possession of the facts regarding the behaviour of Muslim delegates to the Round Table Conference held in London during the past three years.…
“The truth, however, is that it was the Aga Khan himself who assured Mr Gandhi in the presence of several Indian delegates, including myself, that if the Hindus or the Congress agreed to Muslim demands, the entire Muslim community would be ready to serve as his (Mr Gandhi’s) camp-followers in the political struggle.
“Mr Gandhi weighed the Aga Khan’s words and his offer to accept Muslim demands came later and was hedged around with two conditions. The first condition was that Mr Gandhi would accept the Muslim demands in his personal capacity and would try to secure, but not guarantee, the acceptance of his position by the Congress.…
“Mr Gandhi’s second and most unrighteous condition was that Muslims should not support the special claims of Untouchables, particularly their claim to special representation. It was pointed out to him that it did not lie in the mouth of Muslims to oppose those very claim on the part of the Untouchables which they were advancing for themselves and that if Mr Gandhi could arrive at a mutual understanding with the Untouchables the Muslims would certainly not stand in their way. Mr Gandhi, however, insisted on this condition. I should like to know how far Pandit Jawaharlal with his well-known socialist views would sympathise with such an inhuman condition. This is the inner history of the negotiations between Mr Gandhi and Muslim delegates.” (Speeches and Statements of Iqbal; ed. Shamloo; Al-Manav Academy, Lahore; 1944; pages 190-192.)
Settlement with Muslims
Ambedkar published the full text of the document in 1940 in his seminal work Thoughts on Pakistan (1941), Appendix X (pages 364-365), with a footnote. “This document is coming to light for the first time. It embodies the efforts made by Mr Gandhi at the Second R.T.C. to bring about a communal settlement with the Muslims. It was circulated among the Muslim delegates. The author was able to secure a copy from a Hindu delegate who was acting with the Muslim Delegates at the R.T.C. Mr Gandhi failed to reach an agreement with the Muslims. All the same the document is both interesting and instructive. It reveals the ways and means adopted by Mr Gandhi to reach an agreement with the Muslims. Proposal No. 2 of Mr Gandhi is very significant. It shows that Mr Gandhi was prepared to give everything to the Muslims on condition that the Muslims agreed to side with him in opposing the claims of the Depressed Classes, the Indian Christians and the Anglo-Indians for special representation. Heretofore people only knew of the Minorities Pact tendered to the R.T.C. which was decried as being antinational. They did not know that Mr Gandhi was also engaged in forging a pact the object of which was to defeat with the help of the Muslims the just claims of the smaller minorities.”
In a statement issued in New Delhi on December 13, 1933, Gandhi gave his version: “What Sir Mohammed Iqbal calls two conditions attended to my personal acceptance of the Muslim demands were no conditions but the necessary consequence of my acceptance. Political unity was desired for political end which for me as for any Indian be a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian or any other, could only be complete national independence in the fullest sense of the term. The Muslim demands were presented for arriving at common action. The Muslim friends in London were playing other minorities against vital national interest. If they accepted me as their ally, as I offered to be in uttermost sincerity, my alliance could only be for combating every force that was inimical to India’s freedom. It was, therefore, necessary to fight the spirit of separateness no matter from what source it arose. No Muslim had defended separate electorates as a thing good in itself. Even in their case the Muslim friends had admitted it as a necessary evil to be tolerated for a temporary period.
“The doctrine, therefore, did not admit of indefinite extension. The demand put forth on behalf of the so-called untouchables was clearly anti-national” (The Tribune; December 15, 1933).
Gandhi did not contest the fact of his condition; nor the genuineness of the document published by Ambedkar in 1940 and again in 1945 in his book What Congress And Gandhi Have Done To The Untouchables. The text is as follows:
MUSLIM DELEGATION TO THE ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE
Tel. Victoria 2360
Telegrams: “Courtlike” London.
57, St. James’ Court,
LONDON, S.W. I.
6th October, 1931.
The following proposals were discussed by Mr Gandhi and the Muslim Delegation at 10 p.m. last night. They are divided into two parts—the proposals made by the Muslims for safeguarding their rights, and the proposals made by Mr Gandhi regarding the Congress policy. They are given herewith as approved by Mr Gandhi, and placed for submission to the Muslim Delegation for their opinion.
1. In the Punjab and Bengal bare majority of one per cent of Musalmans, but the question of whether it should be by means of joint electorates and reservation of 51 per cent of the whole house, or separate electorates with 51 per cent seats in the whole house should be referred to the Musalman voters before the new constitution comes into force and their verdict should be accepted.
2. In other provinces where the Musalmans are in a minority the present weightage enjoyed by them to continue, but whether the seats should be reserved to a joint electorate, or whether they should have separate electorates should be determined by the Musalman voters by a referendum under the new constitution, and their verdict should be accepted.
3. That the Musalman representatives to the Central Legislature in both the houses should be 26 per cent of the total number of the British India representatives, and 7 per cent at least by convention should be Musalmans, out of the quota that may be assigned to Indian States, that is to say, one-third of the whole house when taken together.
4. That the residency power should vest in the federating Provinces of British India.
5. That the other points as follows being agreed to: (1) Sindh, (2) N.W.F.P. [North-West Frontier Province], (3) Services, (4) Cabinet, (5) Fundamental rights and safeguards for religion and culture, (6) Safeguards against legislation affecting any community.
MR GANDHI’S PROPOSALS
1. That the Franchise should be on the basis of adult suffrage.
2. No special reservations to any other community save Sikhs and Hindu minorities.
3. The Congress demands: (A) Complete independence, (B) Complete control over the defence immediately, (C) Complete control over external affairs, (D) Complete control over finance, (E) Investigation of public debts and other obligations by an independent tribunal, (F) As in the case of a partnership, right of either party to terminate it.”
Gandhi was an unforgiving man. On August 1, 1946, he wrote to Vallabhbhai Patel from Poona: “I have not been able to answer your letter fully. The main problem is about Ambedkar. I see a risk in coming to any sort of understanding with him, for he has told me in so many words that for him there is no distinction between violence and non-violence. He follows one single principle, viz. to adopt any means which will serve his purpose. One has to be very careful indeed when dealing with a man who would become a Christian, Muslim or Sikh and then be reconverted according to his convenience. There is much more I could write in the same strain. To my mind it is all a snare. It is a ‘catch’. Besides, it is not necessary for him at present to insist on 20 p.c. If India becomes independent in the real sense—the provinces to some extent are—and if the caste Hindus are true to themselves, all will be well. If we negotiate with Ambedkar out of fear of the [Muslim] League we are likely to lose on both the fronts” (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi; Volume 85, page 102). It is unthinkable that Ambedkar would have uttered those words—and to a political adversary. Gandhi’s imagination played havoc with him. Maulana Azad received the same treatment. In a letter to Nehru on July 24, 1947, Gandhi wrote: “I did not say anything yesterday about the Maulana Saheb. But my objection stands. His retiring from the Cabinet should not affect our connection with him. There are many positions which he can occupy in public life without any harm to any cause. Sardar [Patel] is decidedly against his membership in the Cabinet and so is Rajkumari [Amrit Kaur]. Your Cabinet must be strong and effective at the present juncture. It should not be difficult to name another Muslim for the Cabinet” (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi; Volume 88; page 408). Thus, if Gandhi had had his way, Azad would have been excluded from independent India’s first Cabinet—a reward for life-long support to the Congress. Nehru rejected the advice.
Ambedkar on Gandhi and Jinnah
Mohammad Ali Jinnah cited Thoughts on Pakistan to Gandhi, during their talks in Bombay in September 1944, and in his letter to Gandhi of September 17, 1944. Ambedkar spared neither of the two in the lectures he delivered in January 18, 1943, which were published under the title Ranade, Gandhi & Jinnah. “It would be difficult to find two persons who would rival them for their colossal egotism, to whom personal ascendency is everything and the cause of the country a mere counter on the table. They have made Indian politics a matter of personal feud. Consequences have no terror for them; indeed they do not occur to them until they happen. When they do happen they either forget the cause, or if they remember it, they overlook it with a complacency which saves them from any remorse. They choose to stand on a pedestal of splendid isolation. They wall themselves off from their equals. They prefer to open themselves to their inferiors. They are very unhappy at and impatient of criticism, but are very happy to be fawned upon by flunkeys. Both have developed a wonderful stagecraft and arrange things in such a way that they are always in the limelight wherever they go. Each of course claims to be supreme. If supremacy was their only claim, it would be a small wonder. In addition to supremacy, each claims infallibility for himself. Pius IX during whose sacred regime as Pope the issue of infallibility was raging said–‘Before I was Pope I believed in Papal infallibility, now I feel it.’ This is exactly the attitude of the two leaders whom Providence—may I say in his unguarded moments— has appointed to lead us.”
What Ambedkar called “this rather queer trait” in Gandhi’s character surfaced repeatedly. The Viceroy Lord Irwin with whom he concluded the famous pact that enabled him to attend the Round Table Conference, notified it. So did others like the writer Patrick French and the Viceroys, Wavell and Mountbatten.
So did M.C. Setalvad in his biography of Bhulabhai Desai. Citing Gandhi’s letter to Bhulabhai, Setalvad remarked: “The saint politician exhibits himself in this letter as possessed of all the arts of politics and of sweet reasonableness. … It is amply clear that the action of the Working Committee in excluding Bhulabhai from the legislature had Gandhi’s complete support. Indeed the letter seems to have been a skilful attempt at persuading Bhulabhai to make a public statement that he did not desire to enter the Assembly so that the pressure of public opinion which was being brought to bear upon the Sardar and Gandhi to make him a Congress candidate may cease.” Setalvad published photocopies of Desai’s pact with Liaquat Ali Khan which proved that it had Gandhi’s full support. Bhulabhai was wronged by Gandhi (Bhulabhai Desai, Publications Division, 1968, p. 291).
Setalvad rendered a service by publishing Stafford Cripps’ letter to Bhulabhai dated March 27, 1945. It contained a truth which Ambedkar had repeatedly pressed the Congress to accept. “I am more than ever convinced that we have got to use a great deal of inventiveness as regards to the new Constitution for India, since our methods of Western democracy are not I believe suitable to so large and densely populated a country as India, or to the communal situation which tends to make permanent the majority and the minority. The consent of the minority in our form of democracy depends upon the hope that one day it will become the majority through change of political views. Where, however, the differences are social or religious there is not that same reason for consent by the minority and I believe that we must invent some new means by which we can assure it.”
K.M. Munshi’s memoirs Pilgrimage to Freedom establish that Gandhi and Patel expected Britain to lose the war. Before the “Quit India” resolution was adopted on August 8, 1942, Gandhi sent Miraben (Madeleine Slade) to the Viceroy Lord Linlithgow, no doubt to explain matters. He refused to meet her. Gandhi was shocked at his arrest. On August 9, he told Mahadev Desai: “After my last night’s speech they will never arrest me” (ibid; page 2,356). The gamble failed. By August 1942, it was evident that the Axis would be defeated by Britain, the Soviet Union and the “unsinkable aircraft carrier” the United States.
Ambedkar traced his folly and that of Jinnah in his book Pakistan or the Partition of India (1946). In the earlier work Thoughts on Pakistan he had stated the case for both sides. He now expressed his own views with a wealth of learning. Let Ambedkar speak for himself.
“Mr Gandhi, instead of negotiating with Mr Jinnah and the Muslim League with a view to a settlement, took a different turn. He got the Congress to pass the famous Quit India Resolution on the 8th August 1942. This Quit India Resolution was primarily a challenge to the British Government. But it was also an attempt to do away with the intervention of the British Government in the discussion of the Minority question and thereby securing for the Congress a free hand to settle it on its own terms and according to its own lights. It was in effect, if not in intention, an attempt to win independence by bypassing the Muslims and the other minorities. The Quit India Campaign turned out to be a complete failure. It was a mad venture and took the most diabolical form. It was a scorch-earth campaign in which the victims of looting, arson and murder were Indians and the perpetrators were Congressmen.”
From prison, Gandhi began correspondence with Linlithgow and got nowhere. He next sought talks with Jinnah on the basis of Rajaji’s [C. Rajagopalachari] formula after his release in 1944. Ambedkar called the formula “a snare and not a solution”.
Jinnah rejected it after publicly subjecting it to a close textual analysis. But he escaped such an analysis of the Pakistan resolution because, during the talks, Gandhi asked some inane questions on September 15, 1944: “Is the goal of Pakistan Pan-Islam?” and “what is your definition of minorities”. Jinnah disposed of them with ease. Ambedkar was sorry about it. “What one feels sorry for is that the talks failed without giving us a clear idea of some of the questions about which Mr Jinnah has been observing discreet silence in his public utterances, though he has been quite outspoken about them in his private talks. These questions are (1) Is Pakistan to be conceded because of the Resolution of the Muslim League? (2) Are the Muslims, as distinguished from the Muslim League, to have no say in the matter? (3) What will be the boundaries of Pakistan? Whether the boundaries will be the present administrative boundaries of the Punjab and Bengal or whether the boundaries of Pakistan will be ethnological boundaries? (4) What do the words ‘subject to such territorial adjustments as may be necessary’ (in the Provinces’ boundaries) which occur in the Lahore Resolution mean? What are the territorial adjustments the League had in mind? (5) What does the word ‘finally’ which occurs in the last part of the Lahore Resolution mean? Did the League contemplate a transition period in which Pakistan will not be an independent and sovereign State? (6) If Mr Jinnah’s proposal is that the boundaries of Eastern and Western Pakistan are to be the present administrative boundaries, will he allow the Scheduled Castes, or, if I may say so, the non-Muslims in the Punjab and Bengal to determine by a plebiscite whether they wish to be included in Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan and whether Mr Jinnah would be prepared to abide by the results of the plebiscite of the non-Muslim elements in the Punjab and Bengal? (7) Does Mr Jinnah want a corridor running through U.P. and Bihar to connect up eastern Pakistan to western Pakistan? It would have been a great gain if straight questions had been put to Mr Jinnah and unequivocal answers obtained. But instead of coming to grips with Mr Jinnah on these questions, Mr Gandhi spent his whole time proving that the C.R. formula is substantially the same as the League’s Lahore Resolution—which was ingenious if not nonsensical— and thereby lost the best opportunity he had of having these questions clarified.”
Ambedkar trained his gun on Jinnah. “Unfortunately Muslims do not realise what disservice Mr Jinnah has done to them by this policy. But let Muslims consider what Mr Jinnah has achieved by making the Muslim League the only organisation for the Musalmans. It may be that it has helped him to avoid the possibility of having to play the second fiddle. For inside the Muslim camp he can always be sure of the first place for himself. But how does the League hope to save by this plan of isolation the Muslims from Hindu Raj? Will Pakistan obviate the establishment of Hindu Raj in provinces in which the Musalmans are in a minority? Obviously it cannot. This is what would happen in the Muslim-minority Provinces if Pakistan came. Take an all-India view. Can Pakistan prevent the establishment of Hindu Raj at the centre over Muslim minorities that will remain in Hindustan? It is plain that it cannot. What good is Pakistan then? Only to prevent Hindu Raj in Provinces in which the Muslims are in a majority and in which there could never be Hindu Raj!! To put it differently Pakistan is unnecessary to Muslims where they are in a majority because there, there is no fear of Hindu Raj. It is worse than useless to Muslims where they are in a minority, because Pakistan or no Pakistan they will have to face a Hindu Raj. Can politics be more futile than the politics of the Muslim League? The Muslim League started to help minority Muslims and has ended by espousing the cause of majority Muslims. What a perversion in the original aim of the Muslims League! What a fall from the sublime to the ridiculous! Partition as a remedy against Hindu Raj is worse than useless.”
He also established that partition of Punjab and Bengal was inevitable if India was to be partitioned. Even in 2015 this book brings home to Indians and Pakistanis alike the egregious follies committed by their leaders at a crucial phase in their history with lasting harm to the entire subcontinent. It only remains to add that unlike the Congress leaders, especially the Mahatma, who denounced Jinnah in private in intemperate language—notably to Louis Fisher. “He believes he is a prophet.” As for Subhas Chandra Bose, “I do not encourage the Bose legend. I did not agree with him. I do not now believe he is alive. Instinct made me believe to the contrary at one time, because he had made himself into a legendary Robin Hood. … You have a high opinion of statesmen. Most of them are stupid” (The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, pages 472-474). This was said on July 18, 1946. However, at a prayer meeting on May 31, 1947, Gandhi said, “God Willing, Jinnah Saheb too will come and sit here one day and say that he is not, and never has been, our enemy” (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi; Volume 88; page 45). Three days later, the Partition Plan was announced. It was accepted by both the Congress and the Muslim League.
Ambedkar criticised Jinnah but also admired and respected him. “Mr Jinnah, who represents this ideological transformation, can never be suspected of being a tool in the hands of the British even by the worst of his enemies. He may be too self-opinionated, an egotist without the mask and has perhaps a degree of arrogance which is not compensated by any extraordinary intellect or equipment. It may be on that account he is unable to reconcile himself to a second place and work with others in that capacity for a public cause. He may not be overflowing with ideas although he is not, as his critics make him out to be, an empty-headed dandy living upon the ideas of others. It may be that his fame is built up more upon art and less on substance. At the same time, it is doubtful if there is a politician in India to whom the adjective incorruptible can be more fittingly applied. Anyone who knows what his relations with the British government have been will admit that he has always been their critic, if indeed, he has not been their adversary. No one can buy him. For it must be said to his credit that he has never been a soldier of fortune.” Ambedkar continued to criticise Jinnah. But when Ambedkar sought Jinnah’s help to build a college it was readily given.
08 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
WHEN the Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai was offloaded from a flight bound for London earlier this year, it marked the culmination of the government’s pursuit of her. It had begun much earlier, in Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, when plainclothesmen on motorcycles followed her and her colleagues and when their phones were tapped intermittently. The non-governmental organisation (NGO) worked among Adivasis in the region who did not want mines where their homes and sources of livelihood were situated.
The pursuit became blatant at railway stations in Delhi when every time Priya took the train, she would get a call on her mobile from Singrauli. “Madam, when are you reaching here?” the caller asked. The regular interaction with the police and special cell personnel led to so much familiarity that some of them told Priya that there was a file being maintained on her. “We used to laugh it off because we did not realise that something big was coming. But now when I look back, I think we should have seen a pattern,” she told Frontline.
The matter took a serious turn when letters were planted in her name instigating members of the Mahan Sangharsh Samiti, which was fighting against mining in the region, to use violence against officials. Greenpeace filed a police complaint about it, but no action was taken. Priya was also named in an Intelligence Bureau (I.B.) report, leaked to the press last year, along with a host of organisations such as Amnesty, ActionAid, Cordaid and Survival International. Most people and organisations named in the report have spoken about protecting the human rights of indigenous people affected by nuclear power plants, uranium mines, coal-fired power plants, genetically modified organisms, mega industrial projects, hydel projects and extractive industries in the north-eastern region of the country.
Spying, intelligence gathering and planting stories against individuals that disagree with the state’s notion of development were prevalent when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in government. G.N. Saibaba’s is a case in point. The Delhi University professor, who is 90 per cent disabled, was booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for conspiracy or attempt to commit a terrorist act and support for a terrorist organisation and imprisoned in Nagpur Central jail’s infamous anda cell a year ago. Civil society organisations feel that the aggressiveness displayed by the current government in targeting people who challenge the state’s development model is far more chilling.
They say under Congress president Sonia Gandhi, there was some semblance of a pro-poor agenda through the National Advisory Council, but the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, having won a massive mandate and centralised all decision-making, has no need to hum and haw like the Congress in keeping its pro-corporate ties a secret. In an address to top judges in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at his caustic best while referring to civil society volunteers as “five-star activists”. Activists feel that the majoritarian government led by Modi at the Centre aims to stifle any voice from civil society and render it irrelevant in the long run.
Some 16 foreign donors have been put on the list of foreign funding agencies that require prior approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs for each transaction. Though Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju called this correspondent for an interview to his office in North Block, he wanted a written questionnaire via mail. The questionnaire went unanswered. Some of the organisations on the list are reportedly the Bertha Foundation of the Netherlands, the Climate Works Foundation, the Mercy Corps (which operated in Kashmir), the Bank Information Centre, the Sierra Club Foundation, Avaaz.org, ICCO Strategische Samenwerking, HIVOS, the Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aid, the Inter-Church Peace Council, the Danish Institute of Human Rights, the Danish International Development Agency, and 350.Org. Reportedly, 69 NGOs have been blacklisted by the Centre and the registration of hundreds of NGOs has been cancelled. NGOs perceive this as an attempt to muzzle opposition to any pro-corporate activity undertaken by the government.
Members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which rose to power in Delhi State on the back of social activism, released a statement saying that they hoped the Prime Minister would desist from openly siding with businesses and interest groups and maintain the dignity of the high office he held. “We also believe that, as in the past, the judiciary will always stand by the Constitution and law while discharging their duties and will not heed to the loaded suggestions from any quarter. It may be noted that most of the anti-corruption breakthroughs in the 10-year rule of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government have been made possible due to vigilance and activism of civil right activists. Now, in spite of the efforts of the BJP-led government to shut their voice, the efforts of the civil society shall continue unabated and with much more vigour,” the statement said.
Anil Chaudhary of INSAF, one of the organisations named in the I.B. report, says: “Intelligence gathering is a part of statecraft. Local I.B. officers often come to our office and I give them a seat, chat with them. They then file their reports to a district-level officer daily or on a weekly basis.” No covert action has been taken against the organisation after the court quashed the freezing of its account by the government, but Chaudhary is prepared for the worst. The process for the renewal of its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration is coming up, and he feels that the government can avoid special action in the case by simply denying it.
INSAF does not directly work at the grass roots but has 700 affiliates which do. The membership-driven organisation is a forum to express concerns about globalisation, communalism and threats to democracy, and it also conducts campaigns against genetically modified crops, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Chaudhary finds no major difference in the underlying policies of the UPA and the NDA but points to a stark difference in the style of functioning.
Of the 16 donors on the government’s watch list, the Ford Foundation has been the most talked about. It is believed that its name cropped up as it funded the Sabrang Trust, the organisation headed by Teesta Setalvad, who is currently under scrutiny by the Gujarat government for alleged embezzlement of the trust’s funds. Many believe that Teesta is being hounded for her proactive role post-Gujarat 2002 riots as the secretary of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), which is a co-petitioner in seeking a criminal trial of Modi for his complicity in the riots. Her activism resulted in the conviction of Maya Kodnani, a former Minister in the Modi government in Gujarat, and Babu Bajrangi, a leader of the Bajrang Dal, a Sangh Parivar outfit.
“The trustees and office-bearers of the Sabrang Trust and the CJP do not see themselves as above the law. They believe in the law of the land and expect others to do so as well. We believe that neither the Sabrang Trust nor the CJP has violated the provisions of the FCRA or, for that matter, any law of the land,” is Sabrang’s response.
Apart from Sabrang, with which it reportedly no longer has any ties, the Ford Foundation also funds government-backed educational and research institutes such as IIT Bombay; the Tata Institute of Social Sciences; Jamia Milia Islamia; the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University, Hyderabad; and the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Health Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram. In response to a query by Frontline, the Ford Foundation sent a statement saying: “We are grateful for the opportunity to work in India and are extraordinarily proud of the contributions our grantees have made since our office opened. We wish to affirm that the foundation does not fund political parties. The foundation does, however, work with a range of other entities, including non-governmental organisations, government and quasi-government entities, universities, and for-profit entities, depending on the needs of the particular work involved. This includes engaging for-profit entities to provide services to the foundation and its grantee communities.”
Close to 200 civil society organisations have written a letter to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister on the larger issue of a crackdown tantamount to sacrificing people’s interests over corporate interests. It states that the I.B. report is a calculated character assassination attempt on a large number of credible activists, including Admiral Ramdas, Justice P.K. Mishra, Medha Patkar, S.P. Udayakumar, Achin Vanaik, Praful Bidwai, Prashant Paikray, K.P. Sasi, Surendra Gadekhar, Babloo Loitongbam, Lalita Ramdas, the late Banwarilal Sharma, the late Fr Tom Kochery, Aarti Chokshi, M.G. Devasahayam, Aruna Rodrigues, Kavita Kuruganti and others. “We understand that Narendra Modi is planning to execute a major corporate agenda of destroying India’s land, water and forests and since thousands of crores of rupees have been used from the corporate sector for his election campaign, there is an urgency to sell off India to the corporate interests. Therefore, this slander campaign is only to clear the ground to benefit the Indian and foreign multinational interests,” it states.
Wada no todo Abhiyan (“don’t break the promise campaign”) is a campaign of organisations that work towards strengthening democracy. “We are all credible, reliable and compliant organisations and not fly-by-night operators controlled by some foreign hand as is being made out. Whatever funds that come from outside are with the full knowledge of the government, and not illegally. We subsist from grant to grant, and to get the work done, we apply everywhere, to the government also. This is made legal by the government itself, so where is the foreign hand? Or is it wrong to talk about communal harmony and Dalit rights?” asks Paul Divakar, convener of the Abhiyan.
All such grants are approved by the Department of Economic Affairs under the Finance Ministry and have to be FCRA compliant. According to activists, the conclusion that can be drawn by the government’s action of moving the approval of some foreign funding agencies from the Finance Ministry to the Home Ministry is that the government does not trust the former to do it properly.
“There now seems to be a public agenda to completely silence any opposition and a blatant disregard of civil society,” said Divya Raghunandan, programmes director of Greenpeace India, which may face imminent closure. “If you don’t praise the government, you are termed anti-national.”
As much as 70 per cent of Greenpeace India’s funds are from domestic sources, which include 77,000 donors who transfer Rs.300 to Rs.700 a month through ECS debit and the rest from its parent organisation under the FCRA. Both are maintained as separate accounts, said Divya Raghunandan. Along with its foreign account, seven of the organisation’s domestic accounts have been frozen, an action that the NGO has challenged in a writ petition. This may affect the operations of the NGO beyond May, when it exhausts all of its existing funds and may no longer be able to pay salaries to its 350 employees or pay rent. “The government is welcome to review our books and we have been very cooperative throughout, but this seems like an intent to shut us down rather than about technicalities,” said Divya Raghunandan.
However, every time the NGO has been targeted, its donations have only gone up, and it may still survive the episode. Its employees have written that they are willing to go without pay for a while if necessary.
Greenpeace’s activism was bad PR for the government. It was raising uncomfortable questions about whom the development was for. Said Priya Pillai: “Nationalism is becoming the monopoly of a few people.”
08 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
New Delhi, June 8: There seems to be a twist in the tale in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. The Home Ministry for the want of evidence has not granted permission to prosecute former Intelligence Bureau official Rajinder Kumar.
According to Central bureau of Investigation (CBI), the killing of Jahan and three others in a fake encounter in 2004 was result of joint conspiracy of Gujarat police and the IB.
The Central Bureau of Investigation which was handed over the case had sought sanction from the Home Ministry to prosecute Kumar, but the same was denied for the want of evidence. [MHA seeks more info from CBI on Ishrat fake encounter case]
The Ishrat Jahan case had snow balled into a controversy with several persons stating that she was not a terrorist and the killing by the Gujarat police was part of a fake encounter. CBI allegation against Rajinder Kumar: The CBI had filed a supplementary chargesheet in which it had named former IB officer Kumar. The CBI had accused Kumar and other officers of murder.
The chargesheet even questioned the authenticity of the operation and termed the killing as fake and stage managed. This claim was however, contested by several police officials and even Kumar terming the CBI probe as wrong.
The CBI had alleged that Kumar provided the weapons for the encounter. It was alleged that at the scene of the killing the officers had planted an AK-56 to make it appear as though the encounter was genuine. Ishrat Jahan a 19 year old girl was killed along with three other men at Gujarat in the year 2004.
The police had claimed that there was intelligence reports suggesting that all four of them were part of a terrorism plot aimed at assassinating Narendra Modi. What Kumar had said: Rejecting the allegations made by the CBI, Kumar had termed the entire case filed against him and others as false.
There was specific intelligence about the four persons including Ishrat, he had said. All of them were part of a terror plot and hence action had to be taken. We are all human beings and do not target innocent persons he had said. He had also told the CBI that there was no criminality in the action taken by all of them. The entire operation was bonafide, he had also said. I have done a lot to protect national interest and this was a counter terrorism operation he also said.
08 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
in Advocacy, Announcements, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Minority Rights, Violence against Women, Women Rights Tags: Delhi government, finger test, rape victims, Sexual Assault, state health department, two finger test
by FP Staff Jun 8, 2015
Sparking what is bound to be an unwelcome controversy for the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, the state health department reportedly issued guidelines to city hospitals allowing the two finger test for sexual assault cases in select cases on the grounds that failure to do so could ‘result in injustice’. Those guidelines have now been hastily withdrawn by the AAP government which is promising action against the officials who issued them.
According to an Indian Express report, the guidelines on the test, which is also known as the ‘per vaginal test’ were issued by a three member committee of doctors on 31 May in which they recommended that physicians should not “be made to function under the constraint of a complete ban of these essential steps in the internal examination of a sexual assault victim.”
The committee also reportedly said there was a misconception that the test was conducted to judge if a woman is habituated to sexual intercourse and that the test was purely to examine genital organs for forced penetration, document injuries, check for injuries and collect samples.
It also said that the test was to be conducted only in certain cases after taking the informed consent of the woman and in the cases of very young girls under anaesthesia.
“To do away with this pelvic examination would amount to incomplete assessment of the victim and result in injustice and low conviction rates,” the guidelines reportedly state.
A senior doctor was also quoted as saying in Hindustan Times report that the test was conducted only in cases where sexual assault victims are bleeding or have some discharge.
“It is to treat the patient and save her life and we have been doing it in specific rape cases,” the doctor said.
The guidelines issued by the Delhi government come after the Central Information Commission asked the Delhi government to suo moto make public whether the controversial two-finger test to determine rape has been banned in the national capital since the health department failed to spell out a clear policy on it.
Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu had noted at the time that no test could be conducted which violates a victim’s right to privacy.
But despite the committee’s justifications, its directive ran completely against the Union Health Ministry’s guidelines, which are specific on the fact that the test is ‘not scientific’ and shall not be performed.
It’s not just the Union Health Ministry, as even the Supreme Court had earlier noted that the two finger test violated the right to privacy of the victim.
“Undoubtedly, the two-finger test and its interpretation violates the right of rape survivors to privacy, physical and mental integrity and dignity. Thus, this test, even if the report is affirmative, cannot ipso facto, be given rise to presumption of consent,” a bench had noted.
“Medical procedures should not be carried out in a manner that constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and health should be of paramount consideration while dealing with gender-based violence,” the bench said.
The Delhi health ministry’s justification that doing away with the test would result in low conviction rates is also completely wrong.
In a detailed report on sexual assault cases in India, lawyers had told Human Rights Watch that “usually no acquittal or conviction rests completely on the findings of the finger test, but the defense uses these findings to break the morale of the survivor while she is testifying in court, to question her character and credibility, or to dispute her consent to the sexual act under consideration.”
If kept in place, Delhi would have been the only state to endorse a test that is clearly outdated, unnecessary and violates a woman’s rights. The collection of forensic evidence for proving sexual assault clearly doesn’t require the two-finger test to be performed . More appalling was the state’s health department willingness to approve the test for child victims, even under anaesthesia is incomprehensible.
The AAP government is now hastily backtracking in the face of political fire, a belated decision that is hardly comforting for citizens who would expect the party and its leader to have never made such a callous error to begin with. The state health department guideline clearly violated the spirit of the Hippocratic oath which is clear in its directive: First, do no harm. A directive that the AAP government, would do well to embrace.
07 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
07 Jun 2015 1 Comment
A joint report by the People’s Union for Democratic Rights(PUDR) AND PERSPECTIVES
On 12 February 2015, hundreds of workers of garment factories at Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon, came out on the streets and pelted stones at some of the garment factory buildings in response to the rumour of the death of a fellow worker, Sami Chand. It was later found out that Sami Chand had not died but had actually been assaulted two days earlier by officials and staff of the company where he worked i.e. Gaurav International, plot number 236, Udyog Vihar, Phase I. The incident was widely reported in national newspapers. This prompted People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) and Perspectives to undertake a joint fact finding in this incident. The team met Sami Chand and his family including his wife and brother, Sube Singh, the SHO of the Udyog Vihar Police Station under whose jurisdiction the factory lies, and the General Manager – Human Resources and Administration, Richa & Co., Amardeep Dagar. The team also met one of the lawyers representing the arrested workers, some workers and worker activists in and around Kapashera.
In the course of the fact-finding, the team was presented with a chance to get an insight into the world of garment industry workers of Udyog Vihar. The team explored the working and living conditions of workers, and their connection, if any, with the recurring incidents of attacks and accidents.
Following were the main findings of the team:
1. Two FIRs have been lodged in the incident of 10 February, one by Sami Chand and other by the management. Consequently, nine staff members of Gaurav International were arrested but are now out on bail whereas four workers are still in jail with bail applications of two of them being rejected. The assaulted worker, Sami Chand along with his wife and brother have also been named in the FIR for spreading rumours.
2. The incident of 10 February was one amongst many incidents/accidents in the garment industry which reflect the discontent amongst the workers and the poor working conditions.
3. The garment units of the area are one of the garment clusters in India which produce for global clothing brands. At least since the 1990s workers have been employed in a ‘chain system’ or an assembly line where each worker is responsible for small part of the work such as stitching the collar or stitching one arm of the shirt.
4. Majority of workers are migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, most of them being Muslims. Despite having lived and worked for 15-20 years, they do not have either ration cards or voter cards.
5. Although, the workers are paid minimum wages as per the notification of Haryana government, the purchasing power of the wages has been continuously falling. The monthly basic salary of one of the most privileged kinds of tailors (Sampling Tailor) is merely INR 6203 after the latest revision in 2015.
A copy of the report is available at the PUDR website. For hard copies, contact secretaries. A hindi translation of the press release is also available.
Sharmila Purkayastha and Megha Bahl
(Secretaries) New Delhi,
07 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
On April 12th, Nagaraju Koppula lost his battle with cancer, and casteism. A Dalit journalist working in India, Nagaraju faced caste discrimination his entire life—a discrimination that ultimately worked to hinder his treatment and recovery.
A Murder by other means
“He died of cancer, murdered by Manu*”, wrote, with seething anger,clouded by grief, Chittibabu Padavala, a close friend of Nagaraju Koppula,probably the only English journalist from the Madiga community, a Dalit sub-caste,who caved in after a protracted,courageous and consuming struggle with lung cancer on April 12.
4 days prior to that, “I wish he could live”, read an article by Allam Narayana, the chief editor of a well-known Telugu newspaper “Namaste Telangana”, on the life and condition of Nagaraju.
Wishes, sometimes, remain just that: wishes. Wistful whispers of weary voices.
Nagaraju was born in Sarapaka Village from Bhadrachalam mandal of Krishna District to a family struggling to survive in the margins of a casteist society, wading through the straits of severe socio-economic subjugation. A father, who went missing when he was 4 years old, and a mother striving as a daily wage labourer, along with his five siblings, to keep this wrecking boat afloat. He too had to walk on this beaten track of child labour, as many in this country do every second, each a silent storm in this broken, and ever breaking, cup, at a very young age for the sake of sustenance. A construction labourer, then an ice candy-seller, and eventually a respected artist, who painted sign boards etc.,in his village.
With the sheer strength of his relentless hard work and will power in an environment socially, financially and structurally hostile, he managed to complete his M.A in the School of Journalism from the University of Hyderabad, followed by a Diploma in the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media in Bangalore, supported by scholarships, and trained in investigative journalism and creative writing at the Tehelka School of Journalism in Delhi.
Venturing into a field with an abysmal representation of Dalits, discriminated in myriad subtle and not-so-subtle manners, he began his attempts to eke out a living from the profession of journalism. After interning at and freelancing for publications like The Hindu that deemed beneath their ‘merit’ to hire him, he landed a much-needed job at The New Indian Express which for hardly unknown reasons paid him lesser than what they did his fellow reporters. A job,no, something more than it, a dream much dearer, to which he dedicated his heart and soul, latched onto it with a zeal that left one inspired and,even,a bit concerned, expending unmatched energies in pursuit of stories.Nagaraju swept with a stunning stroke of his sincere pen a broad range of reports from the dismal state of health care for mentally ill prisoners swallowing many lives through its numbing apathy to the wildlife species hanging from the edge of extinction in the then Andhra Pradesh. From Nehru Zoological Park hosting four cheetahs from Czech Republic to a mother waiting for three years to meet her children, Nagaraju churned scores of moving and amusing stories, serving ample proof of his journalistic mettle.Consequently, it didn’t take him long to make a mark of his own in the organization inviting well-deserved acclaim.
But as it happens, time has an unmistakable penchant for tragedies.His health declined. Weight loss and repeated bouts of coughing pulled him to consult doctors in GovtTB&Chest Hospital where he was faultily diagnosed for TB based on the meagre and clearly insufficient evidence of an X-Ray. As one of his friends notes, “They did not suspect Lung Cancer because Nagaraju was a non-smoker, largely ignoring the fact that about a third of lung cancer cases occur in non-smokers.” However, the treatment, which offered no solace whatsoever, continued for 5 months. When doctors kept ignoring the repeated protestations of Nagaraju that his medical condition is worsening, he visited a private clinic where he was diagnosed with lung cancer based through a lymph node biopsy.During this period of five months, the ruthless apathy and hideous discriminatory attitudes of The New Indian Express administration were starkly palpable, to Nagaraju and his friends. According to them, refusing to provide any sort of financial assistance/health cards, as was the case with his peers, to their employee, forcing him to go on a loss of pay leave for the five months by granting a casual leave only for 12 days, reinforced their belief in the casteist and debilitating labor-hostile environment of the publication, He was able to undergo treatment with the assistance of funds from his friends and colleagues, with a discernible absence of help from media houses or journalist unions, while Nagaraju’s name had been removed from the rolls of the newspaper without any intimation.Ill fate never stopped haunting him. More often than not, kind hearts bear the most bitter wounds.He was at the receiving end of an online fraud, a case of grave cyber robbery, which siphoned off approximately 1.23 lakh rupees from his SBI account, the amount collected for his treatment. A money that would now be smelling of blood and tears in the pockets of the robbers.
A very heart-warming campaign, initiated by his friends and well-wishers, “Justice For Nagaraju” had been afoot to bring to light the grievances of the then bedridden, with unstable consciousness, Nagaraju, to fight for the rightful justice he deserves, to indict The New Indian Express authorities for its casteist crimes, right from the unequal pay to the egregious negligence of his decaying health, demand for radical reforms in the functioning of the Media houses and Journalist Unions and, of course, to raise assistance, financial and moral, to improve the rapidly sinking condition of Nagaraju, a journalist this cursed land didn’t deserve.
The campaign had gained traction in social media circles’ and been successful in grabbing the attention of the government, which promised some financial aid, Civil rights activists’ such as famous balladeer Gaddar, intellectuals, artists, journalists, politicians etc. from the state, some of whom visited him personally, lend him their much-needed-support. Protests against the casteist administration of the Indian express were under way in places such as the University Of Hyderabad with encouraging involvement of the students, activists etc.
Before death decided to pull down the curtains on this disheartening tragedy, to force a full-stop into this sentence of maladies…before Manu snatched the final breath from the battered lungs of Nagaraju….a slow and deliberate murder…a murder by other means…a murder, scripted,in treacherous detail, in the holy books of hideous history…
A delegation comprising of The University of Hyderabad Contract Employees’ Union, the Democratic Teachers’ Network and the Telangana Students Association met the editor of The New Indian Express, G Vasu. The latter denied rejecting Nagaraju’s leave applications after Nagaraju fell sick and said he had granted him leave twice in 2013. He denied any unwillingness to provide him with medical assistance and reimbursement and said the administration was willing to provide medical help, but Nagaraju never applied for help or used his health card.Their statement also highlights, and reinforces, what many of those close to Nagaraju already knew,
“As a team we found that there were several violations of ethical conduct in how Nagaraju has been treated. Striking is the absence of a forum where he could take up the issues of caste discrimination which he said he had faced in the organization. Another key structural issue is that of contractualization of workforce, which was used by the New Indian Express administration to legitimize the taking off of Nagaraju from the pay rolls and the lack of proper medical benefits. Excuses such as Nagaraju not asking for or accepting medical help, can not be validated in today’s context, and also can not be used to justify the administration’s illegal act of not providing for medical benefits to their employee. “
In a press release, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) paid tribute to him and demanded that Dalit journalists, who are anyway so few in number, be protected against casteist behaviour of superiors in media organisations. “In the rare scenario that a Dalit journalist is able to enter the upper caste stranglehold of news organisations, let the managements be careful to not exploit or subject these journalists to any sort of discrimination at the work place”, the DUJ release said.
Some deaths, come flying from above, pushed by the storm of misfortunes, to pierce us below the eyes, where sighs and tears rest. While others nest, all our lives, in a muted corner of our hearts,waiting for the saddest moment to strike from within us. We weep. We write. Some to remember. Some to forget. We huddle in silent spaces, alone, together, with our memories: Of us before, with, and,now, after him.
Nagaraju, a rural poor dalit, a Madiga, who broke all the boundaries that didn’t want to be touched sullying the purity of many-a-agrahara, who strenuously climbed the ladders, laden with pieces of broken glass, of the system, held onto it with his remaining breath, while the long arms of an unjust milieu kept tugging, from below, at his legs, weary from fighting all through his life. Nagaraju, a heart wrenching reminder of the efficiency of walls, cemented with bricks of inherited wealth and status, to exclude, and to kill slowly those they couldn’t.
Nagaraju, a flowering smile on a wilting face.
Nagaraju, a bed ridden hope of faintly filled stomachs.
Nagaraju, a moon passing beneath the clouds as the night slowly closes its moist eyes…
Nagaraju, the immortal flame of unlit candles…
To gentler lands with kinder beings.
This obituary was written by Abul Kalam Azad, he is a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai. (With inputs from Chittibabu Padavala,Swathi and Friends of Justice for Dalit Journalist Nagaraju Koppala Campaign)
*Manu is a Hindu Mythological figure who had scripted an extremely prominent text Manusmriti, which codifies the heinous and hideous rules, the Dharma, that should govern the workings of the caste system. Manu, hence, is a widely referenced casteist symbol/icon.
06 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
The village, nearly 110 km from Jaipur, is home to about 50 Dalit households, and no one has ever ridden a horse on their wedding.
Given some recent incidents in the state in which tension was trigged after Dalit grooms were prevented from riding horses, the district administration and the local police had made elaborate security arrangements for Anil’s wedding.
“We deputed nearly 20 policemen at the bridegroom’s house prior to the wedding. When his nikasi (a ritual before the wedding) procession was taken out in the village on Thursday , there were nearly 125 policemen for security,” said a senior police officer.
Anil rode the horse from his house to the village temple where prayers were offered. The bridegroom then left for nearby Jahidpura village where he tied the knot with a girl named Manisha.
“No bridegroom in the village has ever ridden a horse on his wedding in Pathredi village. People from upper caste don’t like it, so there was no point in creating unnecessary tension. But Anil expressed his desire to ride a horse following which it was planned for the first time,” said Dayaram Raiger, a local resident.
An NGO, Dr Ambedkar Vichar Manch Samiti, came forward to help Anil fulfill his wish. An application demanding security was given to the local sub-divisional magistrate (SDM). The district administration then discussed the issue with people from all communities in the village. The villagers told them that they don’t have any problem with Anil riding a horse.In fact, some villagers from upper castes offered to be present in the wedding procession to ensure that nothing went wrong. However, the administration didn’t want to take any chances, hence made security arrangements.
Dalits being prevented from riding a horse, entering temples and cremating bodies in common funeral centers is quite common in the state’s rural areas. A petition was filed in Rajasthan High Court on May 29 highlighting several such cases.
The petitioner compiled a list of 20 cases in which bridegrooms were refused to take out wedding processions through colonies of upper caste people were reported in 2014 alone. There were two cases of similar nature in 2012, four in 2013 and four in 2015.