I am not LEFT, I am not RIGHT… I am not HINDU, I am not MUSLIM… I am just a Journalist.

My Case: Let the Jury decide

By Syed Hassan Kazim in http://kindlemag.in


This time I am not going to write about any particular incident and events surrounding it. Because in a journalist’s life, there comes a time when he has to clarify regarding his own belief , principles, ideas and his own prism through which he sees the things happening around him. After writing for a considerable period of time, he is confronted with an avalanche of questions, and attacked from all sides, left, right and the centre. So please bear with me this time, while I write about my understanding of certain things while standing like a culprit in the ‘’ Janta ki Adalat’’ aka, the jury of the masses.


In a short journalistic career of 5 years, I have been attacked from each and every side, from many people because some think that I am an advocate of Islamism, which I am totally not. I hate the radicalism prevailing in my own religion as much as I hate the orthodoxy prevailing in the other. The rightists think that I am leftist and the leftists think that I am a rightist. If I write against the crimes of Narendra ‘’ Milesovic’’ Modi,  I am branded as the sympathizer of Al Qaeda. If I pen down something against Al Qaeda and other radicalists and ‘’Lashkars’’ then I am regarded as a ‘’secularist’’.


If I speak against the American, Saudi and Israeli bullying tactics against Iran, I am accused of acting as a Shiahaving a sectarian outlook. Despite agreeing to the fact that Bashar Al Asad is an autocrat and can go to any extent to save his regime, if I write against the way American, Saudi and Turkish backed terrorist groups, most of them, Al Qaeda sponsored and trying to create mayhem in Syria , I am branded as some sort of an Iranian agent and most of the people start reminding me about my opposition to the way the uprising in Bahrain was suppressed. Some people try to compare the situation in Syria and Bahrain despite knowing the fact that in Bahrain, America never wanted a regime change while in Syria, US is hell bent on a regime change as per its own choice for the survival of Israel, America’s biggest and most favoured stooge and ally in the Middle East.


Back home, If I speak against the policies of the Congress led UPA and the Congress as a whole, I am accused by the supporters of the Congress as someone who doesn’t know about the way Indian democracy and politics work. Some Congress people even tried to portray me as a sympathizer of Anna, despite knowing the fact that I have been in a great disagreement with Anna’s and his team’s way. If I write against Anna and Ramdev, I am accused of being an agent of Congress who is up there to defame the two ‘’ pious’’ people. Even I am asked that ‘’ you , the Muslims only think about the welfare of your own people, no matter in which part of the world they reside and do not give an iota of attention to the condition and welfare of your fellow Indian citizens’’, as if Anna and Ramdev are the sole spokesmen of the Indian masses. If I ask why Anna becomes silent whenever he is asked to condemn Modi , I am reminded to understand the pros and cons and the limitations of Anna and his movement. I cannot understand where the so called ‘’limitations’’ go when Anna praises Modi on his so called development, and Ramdev shares a dais with the mass murderer of Gujarat?


If I write against the massacres of Rohingyas Muslim community in Burma, I am again branded as an Islamist who is always up there to defend Islam and support Muslims. But I think it as my duty as a human being to raise my voice against the injustices being done, no matter against whom. I regard it as my duty to speak against Burmese regime and the criminal silence of Aang Sang Sui Kyi as well as the forceful conversion of the Hindus to Islam in Pakistan.  It sometimes becomes irritating to see the same people who accuse me of being sympathetic to everything which are associated with Muslims, becoming silent and expressionless when I write against the injustices done against the people of other faith residing in the Muslim countries. I think that somehow they prefer to ignore my writings which can break their self created stereotypes regarding me and my views.


As a concerned Indian citizen, if I write against the human rights violations in Kashmir, I am branded as some sort of a sympathizer of the separatist forces and an anti- national; traitor, as if an Indian has no right to speak against the excesses of the security forces.


The list is long but just to sum up, I would like to request my friends to start looking at me as a journalist first, and everything else later.  I do not want to impose my religious ideology on others. I will speak and write against the injustices and tyrannies, no matter they are done against anyone, at whichever place or country. After all, the thing which suffers and matters most is the humanity and humane values.  The blood of a single innocent human being is equal to the blood of entire humanity and everyone in his own capacity and rights should speak against the tyrants and unjust system. It’s our duty as human beings which we cannot forget or ignore.


In an age of post modernization, no one owes any explanation to anyone about what he believes, but this write up is just an effort, so that people can understand my writings in the right perspective. Hope my effort won’t go in vain and I will stand vindicated in the ultimate analysis.

ID crisis: Is Aadhaar/UID going the UK way to doom?

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The future of UID cards

The UIDAI claims to have enrolled about 20 crore people so far, but many questions remain unanswered on the issues clouding the ambitious project to give a number to every resident of the country, intended for equal social benefits
Chokkapan S

Thursday, April 19, 2012

BANGALORE, INDIA: After a few setbacks, the second phase of Unique Identity (UID) card enrollment is poised to begin this month.

Until April, there were about 200 million (20 crore) enrollments from across the states, of which 140 million (14 crore) numbers have been issued. And the Unique Identification Authority of India, helmed by chairman Nandan Nilekani, has an ambitious target of tripling this figure by early 2014. That is, scaling up by another 400 million (40 crore) in about two years.

So far, the UID’s journey had been quite bumpy, with a lot of questions raised on individual privacy and national security concerns, among other issues.

The ball was set rolling by the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance submitted a report, that recommended scrapping of the Aadhaar scheme. While Ashok Dalwai, deputy director general, head of UIDAI technology centre, iterates that collecting multiple biometrics was through adaptation of the global best practices, including a fusion approach of combining fingerprints and iris for identification purposes, for the Indian context, the Standing Committee stressed that the Rs.. 18,000-crore UIDAI project was directionless and lacked proper implementation.

When U.K. failed…

It would be relevant to look at a similar identity project in the United Kingdom that was abandoned in 2010, following a report from the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) that categorically stated that the project could turn out to be a “potential danger to the public interest and to the legal rights of the individuals.”

Also, that there were other undeniable reasons, such as huge costs, unreliable and untested technology and the risks to the safety and security of citizens, didn’t help the cause of the National Data Register, either.

Dr Edgar Whitley, research coordinator and lead author of the study of the London School of Economics Identity Project, would state later, “In the U.K., in 2002, there was a discussion about ‘entitlement cards’ that slowly gave way to ‘identity cards’. I think the idea that there was a single policy reason or a few policy reasons behind the identity card project would not fit the facts well.”

The team had also identified six key areas of concern with the government’s plans, including evidence from other national identity systems that showed that such schemes performed best when established for clear and focussed purposes. “The U.K. scheme had multiple, rather general, rationales, suggesting that it had been ‘gold-plated’ to justify the high-tech scheme,” Whitley was quoted saying in an interview.

That apart, there was also concern over whether the technology would work and in Whitley’s own words, no scheme on that scale had been undertaken anywhere in the world. “The India project is, of course, even bigger. Smaller and less ambitious schemes had encountered substantial technological and operational problems, which may get amplified in a large-scale national system.”

Is Aadhaar similar?

Referring to the U.K. instance, the Parliamentary Panel pointed that the UID project also involved high costs, was complex in nature, had unreliable technology and posed safety risks.

According to Prof. R. Ramakumar, associate professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, who has been vocal in his stance on the UID issue, “Each conclusion in the report should be discussed threadbare in the public domain. Biometrics should be withdrawn from government projects as a proof of identity.”

Alternative, and cheaper, measures to provide people with valid identity proofs should be explored, is his solution. “However, it would be a travesty of democratic principles, if the government disregards the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance report and pushes the project in through the backdoor.”

Boon or curse?

In the context of having a common denominator for all people, says Dr N. Seshagiri – who founded the National Informatics Centre and served as its director-general till 2000 – it is a good project for a developing country. But, he adds, the correlation should not be misused thereby amounting to privacy breach and security concerns.

“It can either be a boon or a curse, depending on how you implement and use it. You can’t put a bind to technology, if it is implemented properly. Also, maintenance of the project in the long run is important. Those concerned with the project should have the foresight for the times to come and think right now about updation and other issues that might crop up in future.”

What if the project gets eroded in about 10 years, as there is a strong possibility that those involved at present might not be around by then? questioned Seshagiri.

Like Maneka Gandhi, who went to get her UID number only to find to her dismay that someone else had signed on her behalf, many concerned people – but less affluent – are awaiting their cards, with a lot of hope that it might make a difference to their lives.

Will it or will it not? Is it facing a similar fate as the UK identity project? Only those entrusted with rolling out the project can ensure. Not through their words, but by deeds.

©CIOL Bureau


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