Monday, March 16, 2009
VARNA YUDHA, The CASTE WAR Imminent!
VARNA YUDHA, The CASTE WAR Imminent!
Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams: Chapter 180
2009's caste vote
Caste still seems to play an important role in this year's elections, as every party is looking at caste composition. » More
India Inc's faith in political leadership
Rachida Dati plots political comeback
Maya is single & happy
Economic Times - 21 hours ago
NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati on Sunday made it clear that the BSP would go it alone in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, but said at the same ...
BSP to go alone in LS polls: Mayawati NDTV.com
Jaya plays down differences with Mayawati, defends 3rd Front Hindustan Times
PM issue to be discussed post polls: Jayalalithaa Times of India
Hindu - Press Trust of India
all 231 news articles »
Sena for Marathi PM
Hindu - 21 hours ago
“The Sena would go with the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls,” he said, adding that the names of the Shiv Sena candidates for the Lok Sabha polls would be ...
Shiv Sena to prefer a Maharashtrian PM: Manohar Joshi SINDH TODAY
Shiv Sena to contest all four seats in HP SamayLive
Shiv Sena wants 'Marathi Manoos' to be PM NDTV.com
Daily News & Analysis - Hindu
all 25 news articles »
CPI-M poll manifesto slams Congress and BJP
IBNLive.com - 9 hours ago
New Delhi: The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has slammed the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on their economic and foreign policies ...
CPI(M) to rework N-deal, scrap Indo-US defence accord Press Trust of India
CPI(M) Manifesto promises to review 123 N-agreement All India Radio
CPI-M manifesto promises end to tax concessions for corporates SINDH TODAY
Hindu - Thaindian.com
all 124 news articles »
Congress criticises Varun's 'communal remarks'
Hindu - 54 minutes ago
New Delhi (PTI): The Congress on Monday condemned the alleged communal remarks made by Varun Gandhi, perhaps the first time that the party has criticised the BJP candidate from Pilibhit who belongs to the Nehru-Gandhi family.
Varun Gandhi plays communal card - and even BJP taken aback Economic Times
Varun Gandhi's communal remarks lands him in trouble NDTV.com
Times Now.tv - BreakingNewsOnline. - Times of India - Press Trust of India
all 44 news articles »
Bond mkts surge on RBI's Rs 8000cr bond buyback
Moneycontrol.com - 1 hour ago
All of March yields rose and bond prices tumbled because of the huge government borrowing programme but all that got reversed in the last half hour on Friday, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that it was not taking any of the bids in the ...
India corp bond yields ease,cbank seen boosting cash Reuters India
RBI to buy back bonds on two days this week Economic Times
Hindu - Bloomberg - Hindu Business Line - Business Standard
all 22 news articles »
Jaya plays down differences with Mayawati, defends 3rd Front - 5 hours ago
Playing down differences with BSP leader Mayawati, the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa came fiercely to the defence of the Third Front, even while keeping all ...
Hindustan Times - 231 related articles »
Mayawati likely to raise PM candidate issue with Front leaders - Press Trust of India - 543 related articles »
IJP to oppose projection of Mayawati as PM - Hindu - 15 related articles »
Mayawati - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mayawati (Hindi: मायावती) (born January 15, 1956) is an Indian politician and the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayawati - 52k - Cached - Similar pages -
KUMARI MAYAWATI. BIO DATA. DATE OF BIRTH & PLACE. January 15, 1956, Delhi. FATHER. Mr. Prabhu Das. MOTHER. Mrs. Ram Rati. EDUCATION. B.A., B.Ed., LL. ...
uplegassembly.nic.in/MAYAWATI%20BOI%20DATA.htm - 19k - Cached - Similar pages -
Indian Politician Mayawati Kumari - Profile of Mayawati Kumari
Indian Politician - Profile of Mayawati Kumari. ... One of the many colorful characters in Indian politics, Mayawati Kumari is leader of the Bahujan Samaj ...
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Image results for Mayawati
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Give Madame Mayawati credit
Mayawati comes to the battle field armed with a Dalit-Brahmin-Muslim combination once again. She has given around 10 seats to Other Backward Classes and ...
www.rediff.com/news/2009/mar/09spec-give-madame-mayawati-credit.htm - 40k - Cached - Similar pages -
Beware of Mayawati and her Navratnas
2 Jan 2009 ... India should dread the prospect of being governed by the dictatorial Mallika-e-Hindustan!
www.rediff.com/news/2009/jan/02-beware-of-mayawati-and-her-navratnas.htm - 35k - Cached - Similar pages -
More results from www.rediff.com »
The Hindu : Front Page : Mayawati, Third Front leaders join hands
NEW DELHI: Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and leaders of the Third Front, barring the AIADMK, joined hands at a dinner hosted by the Uttar Pradesh ...
www.hindu.com/2009/03/16/stories/2009031660811200.htm - 17 hours ago - Similar pages -
Mayawati , Miss [Bahujan Samaj Party -Uttar Pradesh ], Photo. Father's Name : Shri Prabhu Das ... E-mail : email@example.com. Positions Held : ...
22.214.171.124:8080/members/website/Biodata.asp?no=1511 - 9k - Cached - Similar pages -
No alliance for Mayawati; PMship talks after polls - Express India
New Delhi BSP supremo Mayawati on Sunday ruled out seat adjustment with any party in the Lok Sabha polls and declared that the issue of the prime ...
www.expressindia.com/latest-news/No-alliance-for-Mayawati-PMship-talks-after-polls/434742/ - 51k - Cached - Similar pages -
Mayawati leads BSP’s ‘elephant’ to temple towns - Home - livemint.com
Mayawati leads BSP?s ?elephant? to temple towns, A Rs250 crore package to revamp Mathura was announced in August; now Rs800 crore has been allocated for ...
www.livemint.com/2009/01/01231639/Mayawati-leads-BSP8217s-8.html - 86k - Cached - Similar pages -
The Hindu : Front Page : Third front gets a boost after Mayawati’s ...
12 Mar 2009 ... JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda told The Hindu that Ms. Mayawati had agreed to send Satish Mishra, MP, to attend the ...
www.thehindu.com/2009/03/12/stories/2009031260031000.htm - 21k - Cached - Similar pages -
Blog posts about Mayawati
A Phenomenon Called Mayawati - Trends Updates - 20 hours ago
India may vote for untouchable leader Mayawati Kumari - Democratic Underground Latest Breaking News - 15 Mar 2009
Mayawati : BSP to go alone in Lok Sabha polls - Bharat Observer - 15 Mar 2009
The VARNA YUDDHA, great Indian Caste WAR has begun.
The Loksabha Polls have not to decide the destiny of India or Enslaved Indigenous Aboriginal Indian People.
For the first time , it is an OPEN CASTE WAR.
What role MS MAYAWATI plays, would decide the fate of Caste Interests in Indian Politics.
Which caste would Dominate in Majopritarian Electoral system?
India Inc, the DESI ILLUMINITI interests are safe as the Marxist face of Kolkata, MD SALIM launches his ELECTION campaign in North Kolkata deleting CPIM from the sign boards and getting together with all kinds of Capitalists and Corporates!
Ruling Hegemony will be the same only equations would change as MS Mamata Bannerjee, Jailalita or BIJU Patnaik cross the FENCES. And Mayawati, Lalu, Pawar, Paswan, Shivsena, Ajit Singh, Shibu Soren are always ready to adjust their STANCE in accordance with the Twist and Twisters of Political power Game!
Due to the sheer size of the population living in poverty, India is strategically significant in the global efforts to alleviate poverty and to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the world’s poverty by 2015. But POVERTY ERADICATION and all bloody hypocrite ideologies relating the Black untouchables, may it be RSS and Hindutva, Marxism and Maoism, CARBIDE GANDHIAN PHILOSOPHY in the Best interest of Brahamins and Banias, the capitalists and OXIDE Socialists have nothing to do with the STARVING, DYING People Predestined for DEATH, SUICIDE or MASSACRE or being kept as HOSTAGES in the KILLING FIELDS as I have witnessed very recently all over DANDAKARANYA!
Maya hogs limelight as Jaya boycotts dinner, reports Times Of India:
NEW DELHI: The fledgling Third Front continued its roller coaster ride on Sunday. On a day of mixed fortunes for the political toddler, managers of
the Front managed to get Biju Janata Dal to sign off on the "non-Congress, non-BJP" formation, but saw BSP chief Mayawati making it clear that her membership of the new combine would not be at the cost of her prime ministerial aspirations. ( Watch )
The BSP will go it alone in the Lok Sabha elections, with the contentious issue of the Third Front's prime ministerial candidate to be decided only after the poll results are declared.
The day's development was capped by a dramatic clash of egos when the representative of AIADMK boss Jayalalithaa skipped the dinner hosted by Mayawati in Delhi.
The absence of AIADMK's representative V Maithreyan was attributed to the resentment of his boss over the discourteous manner in which she was invited by Mayawati for the dinner.
Sources said that Mayawati, when she called up Jayalalithaa to invite her, finished the conversation abruptly, handing over the phone to BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra.
However, the AIADMK no-show was the only glitch in a day that otherwise well and truly belonged to the BSP supremo.
I have just returned from my tedious journey of DANDAKARANYA. I spent last week amongst my Indigenous brothers and sisters, the Black untouchables scattered over Maharashtra, Orissa, CHHATTISHGARH and ANDHRA PRADESH! I was surrounded by the relity of DANTEWADA, BASTAR, JAGADALPUR, BELLDILLA, KALAHANDI, CHANDRAPUR, GADCHIRIOLI, BHANDARA, PAKHANJORE, OMARKOT, TIRUDIH, MALKANGIRI, KALAGHANDI, GODAVARI, POLAVARAM, KAGAZNAGER, KANDHAMAL, KORAPUT, BOLANGIR and so on! I would like to share my experience with you.
Meanwhile, the Great Indian Polity and ECONOMY is all set for an UNPRECEDENTED CASTE WAR due to the Parliamentary Elections. Equations are changing. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to launch the party campaign for the Lok Sabha elections from Davangere in Karnataka March 23, party sources said on Monday.
I was only on my way and travelling by Koraput Express, BJP withdrew support from BJD Governement headed by Naveen Patnaik. I was in Malkangiri while Navin patnaik won the trust vote on the floor of Assembly. CONG- TMC qualiation was finalised in West Bengal.
Since TUMKUR Third Front launching ceremony to till this date, THIRD FRONT has emerged a serious Challenge to the RULING HEGEMONY in India as Mayawati seems to get the required mileage to become the first Dalit Prime Minister of India.
VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan on Monday said his party and the PMK would continue to be with the ruling DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) in Tamil Nadu.
Terming as "shameful" the Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance in West Bengal, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Monday said Congress had "surrendered" to the Mamata Banerjee-led party.
My wife SABITA is not well. Living for a quarter of century together I know her ANATOMY better than any medical practicener. She is suffering fro acute AILMENT.
I see every sign and symptom of earlier calamities we have encountered including a TUMOUR in the Heart while she underwent an open Heart surgery in 1995.
I am not worried of minor ailment. I afford the treatment for minor complaints. But for the major dangers , i may not afford proper check up.
While I was leaving kolkata, doctors suggested Immediate Surgical Operation, Sugar level was the only physical hinderance.
We covered that, too.
During my stay in Dandakaranya, she was adviced for IMMEDIATE SURGERY even in my absence, she refused and waited for me with Antibiotics and PAIN KILLERS!
Returning from Dandkaranya, I find her ready to Visit an OPERATION Theatre once again which I may not afford. I am trying to mobilise resources.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance government at the centre over the issue of the Indo-US nuclear deal, has called for tighter regulation of the financial sector and said it would oppose any plan to dilute government stake in banks and other financial institutions.
The Great Indian Disinvestment was campaign launched and STRATEGIES of privatisation were finalised in accordance with the COMMON MINIMUM PROGREAMME of the UPA GOVTS headed by DEVEGAUDA and GUJRAL.
The Left parties played the key role with signatures of Trade Union leaders on documents relevant.
Now, the EX Prime Minister DEVEGAUDA is reincarnated to ensure MARXIST CONTROL on whatsover government in the Centre!
Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh ruled out the possibility of his party joining the Third Front saying with CPM leader Prakash Karat at its helm, he saw no such hope.
We place the UPA squarely responsible for this unacceptable growing divide between a handful of rich people and vast masses of our people," the CPM gen secy said.
Speaking on the possibility of Mayawati as the PM candidate of the Third Front, Jayalalithaa said, "It can be anyone...we will decide after we are elected. It will not affect our prospects in the elections."
The US is planning to build a $400 million sophisticated "spy blimp" that will float 65,000 feet above the earth and track enemy aircraft and troop movement on the ground in troubled nations like Pakistan and Afghanistan, a US newspaper has claimed.
The 400-foot-long dirigible — in fact a cross between a satellite and a spy plane — would travel to any destination in 15 days; survey targets upto 375 miles away, and can remain airborne for ten years, the Los Angeles Times reported.
What an AMUSEMENT!
I met an OCTOGENERIAN ORIA ELITE Brahmin, Acharya VIJOY KRISHNA Padhi, the head of Marichand Guruchand Temple in Pataru, malkangiri who hosted me.
I had some very positive interactins with the local dalit Bengali Population spred over FACELESS 215 villages and of course with MRS PADHI.
But I am not going to write on this topic any more.
Pakistan has won a Major Struggle to ensure DEMOCRACY there, but I am not writing on that topic , too. I will be writing on thios perhaps tomorrow if i survive!India on Monday welcomed the end to political crisis in Pakistan and hoped that government in Islamabad would be stable so that it can devote attention to fighting terrorism.
Uditraj and Ramvilash Paswan and scores of the learned people belonging to Dalit Politics as well as Dalit Intelligentsia criticize the Social Engineering, VTR calls it CASTEOLOGY, launched by ms Mayawati, described as the DALIT QUEEN by mainstream Toilet Media.
I see nothing wrong to strike an alliance with the BRAHAMINS or RAJPOOTS.
No one has any choice to get born in a selected caste or community anywhere in this world. Brahmins and Rajpoots are also bound by the AGE OLD Manusmriti Rule and Caste System as our people are.
Our own people, for example the CREAMY Layer, the IAS, IPS official, Higher SC ST OBC officials, political leaders do BETRAY the cause of Dalit Liberation.
If some Brahmin or Rajpoot works for the Liberation of Black Untouchables, why should we EXCOMMUNICATE them?
I have rather serious reservations against the POWER POLITICS while my Ideological friends , the COMMUNISTS and Marxists as well as the AMBEDKARAITES indulge themselves in POWER GAME only and believe in Personal Achievement without any option for EMPOWERMENT, AWAKENING and MOBILISATION, INCLUSIVENESS and so on.
I criticise the GRADED Discrimination amongst our people, the lack of Internal democracy and education and ABSOLUTE DETACHEDNESS with SOCIAL MOVEMENT without which any political achievement becomes IRRELEVANT as the RESERVATION and Quota have turned to be!
The Black Untouchables of India constitute about 20% of India's over 1,000 million population. Together with 10% Tribals, they make up a formidable 30% — far exceeding the population of entire Europe.But such a vast humanity, constituting the core of India's original inhabitants, is kept enslaved by less than 15% alien Aryans, India's ruling class.
Contrarily, the RULING Class is doing everything to ensure the ESCALATION of KALAHANDI Nationwide undermining Indian Indigenous Production System, Indigenous Market, Livelihood,Productive forces, Peasantry, Rural India , Food Security, national Integrity and Unity handing over the Nation and its Sovereignty, security and freedom to Foreign Investment agencies. Officially, at a time when the world economy is facing the worst credit freeze in several decades, India attracted USD 2.7-billion FDI in January, up 58.8 per cent from a year ago, and remained a favourite destination for cross-border investments.
National Revenue and Resources have been PUMPED into the GREEDY KILLER MONEY Machine citing FALSE RECESSION! FREEsenSEX reflects the GOI Fiscal and Monetary policies designed in the best interest of India Incs, FII, Corporates and MNCS.
Thus,Tracking firm global trends, the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex on Monday gained nearly 187 points on sustained buying in heavyweights led by realty, banks and refiners after oil-producing countries decided to keep crude supply unchanged. The Sensex, which recorded a hefty gain of 412 points in the last trading session, added 186.93 points to reach 8,943.54, after touching the day's high of 8,955.73. In volatile trading, the key index dipped to 8,697.46 points. The Sensex, which increased 5.2 per cent last week, had swung between gains and losses at least eight times during the day amid profit-booking at higher levels.
"January numbers are very good...it is an indication of the confidence that the rest of the world has in India," Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Ajay Shankar said.
The foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows for the April-January period aggregated to USD 23.8 billion and is expected to cross the last year's target of USD 25 billion this fiscal.
Though the government had set a target of USD 35-billion FDI for 2008-09, it looked rather ambitious in the wake of the global downturn.
Up to September this fiscal, the monthly inflows were in excess of USD 2 billion. However, the following three months saw a sharp dip in the overseas investments.
The January figures bring a renewed hope that India is back on the radar of global investors.
Returning HOME, I browsed the TV Channels as usal and read the Newspapers of past and present days. I am enlightened to read some very meaty articles published in Dainik Jansatta, the Hindi daily published by Indian express. CHUNAV KE BAD KHUL JAYEGI ARTHA VYVASTHA KI POLE means the SHINING INDIAN ECONOMY will be exposed just after the ELECTIONS. Misreably, the newspaper is hardly circulated and has no influence on Public Psyche.
In Bengal,ANAD BAZAR Group has aligned with UPA advocating Sovereignty of Market and discarded BRAND BUDHA for CONG TMC alliance. SUNMON MUKHOPADDHYAYA, the face of NANDIGRAM SINGUR Insurrection has been reincarnated in the EDITORIAL. STAR ANAND is highlighting UPA TMC campaign and focusing on Actress SHATABDI ROY, SINGER KABIR SOMAN and Actor Tapas Pal.
I was amused to see the FACE of the LEFT, MD Salim to launch his Election Campaign with Industrialists and Corporate Heads! He got SIGNBOARDS all along his constituency with GLOW SIGN Impact of Cong Patented slogan JAI HO! CPIM is missing badly and the Signboards focused on the Portrait of Salim addressing the Parliamentary Soap Opera on Indo US NUKE DEAL.
Mind you, CPIM or no left party ever did project any Individual, may be it might be some one like Jyoti Basu or Nambudaripad.
Brand Salim Overtakes Brand Buddha at least in kolkata North!
In its election manifesto, released today, the CPI (M), the country's biggest left party, sought the scrapping of the Banking Regulation Bill and demanded that the government desist from selling equity in state-run banks.
The manifesto proposed a complete halt to privatisation of profitable state firms, a ban on foreign investment in the retail sector, and guidelines to prevent entry of foreign firms into the domestic market. It also called for an end to privatisation of pension funds and channeling of pension and provident funds to the stock market.
The CPI(M), which is spearheading the `Third Front' - a lose coalition of mostly left-of-centre and regional parties - said it is working for the creation of a non-Congress, non-BJP government, ''which will strengthen democracy, ensure equitable economic development and social justice."
The CPI(M) said it also wanted to review the nuclear deal with the United States to remove "harmful" clauses.
The communists oppose the Indo-US nuclear deal saying the pact is heavily tilted in favour of the US and that it compromises on India's ability to have independent security and foreign policy.
While all parties may struggle to retain the number of seats in this election, the global economic slowdown could still hep the left muster enough seats to hold the balance of power, political analysts say.
The Left leaders are hoping to reap the benefits of a backlash against foreign firms in the backdrop of the economic slowdown in India sparked by the global financial crisis.
Alliance politics makes inroads in Assam ahead of LS polls
Press Trust of India - 12 hours ago
Guwahati, Mar 16 (PTI) The politics of alliance has made an appearance in Assam for the first time in Lok Sabha polls with the opposition Asom Gana Parishad ...
BJP likely to announce LS nominees for Gujarat tomorrow Hindu
BJP on comeback trail Times of India
BJP announces seven candidates for Lok Sabha polls Thaindian.com
Press Trust of India - Hindu
all 164 news articles »
State funding of polls still a far cry
Hindu - 12 hours ago
New Delhi/Kolkata (IANS): The Lok Sabha elections are just a month away, but state funding of polls, regarded by many as the perfect pill to cleanse the ...
Cong continues to be on the margins Times of India
Poll fever: Girlfriend's horoscope matters Times of India
District jail inspected Times of India
Hindu - Times of India
all 43 news articles »
BSP to contest all Lok Sabha, Assembly seats in Orissa
Hindu - 4 hours ago
The party has decided to go it alone in the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls as its support base continued to grow since the 2000 assembly ...
BSP to contest all LS and Assembly seats in Orissa Sakaal Times
all 17 news articles »
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Varna in Hinduism)
Varna (???? var?a) is a Sanskrit term derived from the root v? meaning "to enclose". In historical Indic traditions the varna and caste systems are not the same system, although they are related. Hinduism categorizes the people into four "Varnas" according to the body part of the divinity Purusha from which each group was created (Rigveda 10.90) and these categories define the group's social standing. Originally this division was based on the social class and not always on birth. For example, according to Hindu tradition, Valmiki, the composer of the Ramayana was a hunter by profession and Veda Vyasa, the composer of the Mahabharata and the compiler of the Vedas, was born into a fisherman family. Yet on account of their intellectual and spiritual prowess, they achieved the highest position in social hierarchy and are regarded as Maharishis.
Caste War of Yucatán
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The Caste War of Yucatán (1847–1901) began with the revolt of native Maya people of Yucatán (Mexico) against the population of European descent (called Yucatecos) in political and economic control. A lengthy war ensued between the Yucateco forces in the north-west of the Yucatán and the independent Maya in the south-east. It officially ended with the occupation of the Maya capital of Chan Santa Cruz by the Mexican army in 1901, although skirmishes with villages and small settlements that refused to acknowledge Mexican control continued for over another decade.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Castes are hereditary systems of occupation, endogamy, social culture, social class, and political power, the assignment of individuals to places in the social hierarchy is determined by social group and cultural heritage. Although India is often now associated with the word "caste", it was first used by the Portuguese to describe inherited class status in their own European society.
Discrimination based on caste is prevalent mainly in parts of Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Japan) and Africa. UNICEF estimates that discrimination based on caste affects 250 million people worldwide.
English caste is from Latin castus "pure, cut off, segregated", the participle of carere "to cut off" (whence also castration). Application to Hindu social groups originates in the 17th century, via Portuguese casta "breed, race, caste".
Caste Struggle.(Dalits, traditionally known as members of India's Untouchable castes, organize and fight for their rights)
From: Newsweek International | Date: July 3, 2000| Author: Power, Carla; Mazumdar, Sudip | COPYRIGHT 2000 Newsweek, Inc. All rights reserved. Any reuse, distribution or alteration without express written permission of Newsweek is prohibited. For permission: www.newsweek.com. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group. (Hide copyright information) Copyright information
On paper, the people in the slum on Delhi's Lodi Road don't even exist. The Dalits, or literally "broken people," as members of India's Untouchable castes are now called, don't show up on electoral rolls, ration cards or water bills. Huddled in the shadow of India's Housing and Urban Development Corporation, the slum huts are made of mud, cardboard and plastic bags. Kids play with pigs in the mud; mothers wash clothes in sewer water. These Kabariwallahs, or scavengers, sort through garbage or haul human sewage to earn a few rupees. The children beg at a nearby traffic light. ...
Upper castes in all religions deserting their “low caste”brothers
Brother Joseph Pulikunnel has not clarified if he is equating “Indianisation” of the church with hinduisation. Since the Dalits, tribals and Backward Castes, who together constitute over 85% of the Indian population and victims of Hinduism, which is the other word for Brahminism, such a clarification is necessary. Because the over 85% of the Indian Christians are converts from SC/ST/BCs who went over to Christianity to seek liberation from Brahminical caste system which enslaved them. It is now becoming clearer that the upper caste Christians, Muslims and Sikhs in their anxiety to get closer to their jatwalas among the Hindus are deserting their “low caste non-Aryan” religionists. “Caste identity” within different non-Hindu religions is getting stronger. This is a good development and we welcome it. Let all the Hindus (meaning 15% upper caste Aryans) and their counterparts in the “religious minority religions” come together which will force their brothers to join with SC/ST/BCs to prepare for the coming varna yudha (caste war) — EDITOR.
CPI(M) Manifesto promises to review 123 N-agreement
Review of the 123 agreement with the US, pro-people economic policies and a strong secular government are the highlights of the CPIM manifesto released in New Delhi on Monday. The CPI-M says it is in favour of a non-alligned and independent foreign policy. Releasing the party manifesto, CPI-M General Secretary Mr. Prakash Karat claimed apart from the nine parties now in the combine, others may also join the front.
Enacting the women's Reservation Bill to ensure one third reservation for women in the legislatures, extension of Employment Guarantee Scheme to Urban areas, a comprehensive law against communal violence, implementation of the Justice Sri Krishna Commission report are some other feautures of the manifesto. It also advocates for strong regulation of the financial sector and maintaining predominant state control over finances.
Replying questions, Mr. Prakash Karat did not rule out CPIM's participation in case Third Front is able to form government.
After Slumdog, Dharavi becomes the setting for another film
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Posted: Mar 16, 2009 at 1034 hrs IST
Kolkata In Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, Anthony Dod Mantle’s camera swept over Dharavi in a frenetic pace, winding into its intestines as the police chased Jamal and Salim, each frame punctuated by AR Rahman’s staccato beats throbbing in the background. Dharavi’s cinematic adventure does not seem to end there. The latest indie release Barah Aana goes into the slum, its narrow lanes and a community huddled together.
Raja Menon, 37, who has written and directed the film, says it is not poverty pornography, “In Slumdog, you have a fleeting image of Dharavi as a large slum, but I wanted to show it as a place of the working class, where peons, clerks, watchmen and more live together, their lives intertwining like they never do anywhere else.”
Barah Aana is a comedy about three friends from Dharavi, a driver played by Naseeruddin Shah, a watchman by Vijay Raaz and a waiter by Arjun Mathur. Raaz’s character, boisterous and mischievous, finds himself in deep soup and stumbles into a crime. He goads his friends to join him and soon all three find their lives spinning out of control. “Getting to work with Naseeruddin Shah and Vijay Raaz has been wonderful enough. The roles were written for them,” says Menon.
ADVICE TO MUSLIMS
Brahminist anti-quota war forces OBCs to join Dalits & expedites Bahujan Samaj consolidation
We have just witnessed on the streets and in the media the naked exhibition of Brahminical tyranny — not the tyranny of strength, but of meanness and darkness.
It is this very spirit of Hindu hatred which produced the Brahminical terrorism that killed M.K. Gandhi, their own most loyal slave, who helped the Brahminical people to take over India’s rulership after the British left in 1947.
This Brahminical hatred, malice and vengeance has been burning alive India’s original inhabitants ever since the Aryans set foot on our soil. And their latest anti-reservation agitation is nothing but continuation of their Varna Yudha (DV June 1, 2006 p.4: “Quota war is nothing but Varna Yudha”).
Three-Veda expert: Here is a sample of their hatred — pure and simple —as reported in their own toilet paper, Sunday Mid Day (April 30, 2006). The article is by one Anish Trivedi under the title “Children of lesser god”:-
The reason the government-owned companies are still languishing in comparison to their counterparts on the other side of the coin is because they are manned by the children of reservation. A bunch of lazy little shits who know they can’t be sacked for doing nothing. Which is exactly what they’ve done.
Now the government wants to introduce that same inefficiency and inactivity into the private sector.
This fellow, a Three-Veda expert as his name suggests, compares us to “lazy little shits”, and a “prestigious” English daily publishes his shit. But the very same people find fault with DV’s “polemical language”
(DV May 16, 2006 p.24: “In defence of polemics”).
Driven out of political power: We understand the heart-burning of the children of Manu. This micro-minority has been already driven out of political power. They are now deeply worried that if the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), who constitute a much bigger chunk than the Dalits, are allowed to get into the “reserved sector” together they will be a formidable population and with this the formation of the Bahujan Samaj will be complete.
The unity of the entire indigenous people — SC/ST/BCs (65%) and Muslim/Christian/Sikhs (20%) — will come into full play if the OBCs are allowed to join the Bahujan Samaj. This is their fear.
We want to tell the Three-Veda experts that by their hatred, malice and intolerance they have only helped expedite the formation of the much-delayed Bahujan Samaj and our united forward march.
We would have welcomed if the alien Aryan Three-Veda and Four-Veda experts had come to the street and violently confronted us face to face. This Varna Yudha that began thousands of years ago with the advent of Budha cannot continue indefinitely stunting the growth of India itself.
OBCs pushed to join Dalits: If the Three-Veda experts have the courage they must come to the street and face us. Because India’s racial war (Varna Yudha) has neither a military solution nor judicial remedy. It has to be settled through a direct confrontation.
If not today, at least tomorrow or the day after this Varna Yudha has to be fought. Then why postpone it? Better late than never.
Hence we welcome the Varna Yudha and thank the Three-Veda experts for forcibly pushing the OBCs to join us and thereby expediting the long-delayed caste war.
Muslim neutrality: A word of caution to Muslims. They are now maintaining a sort of neutrality —perhaps out of fear.
Their fear is that if they support this Varna Yudha the Brahminical people may with the help of their cantankerous toilet papers turn the tide against them and manipulate a clash between Dalits and Muslims and create anti-Muslim riots. Their fear is not baseless. We have the famous experience of what happened in Gujarat in 1985 and many other places.
We want to tell the Muslims that even if they shut their doors and confine themselves to their houses they would still be dragged out and killed. India’s horrible Hindu nazi party thrives only by creating hatred against Muslims and then instigating Dalits, BCs and Tribals to attack and kill Muslim. Gujarat Genocide-2002 is the best and most famous example.
During our recent visit to Gujarat we heard this from Muslims themselves. Their fear is genuine.
But we want to tell the Muslims that their neutrality and silence when the Varna Yudha begins will be mistaken by the Dalits as a partisan posture.
Supreme Court quotes Merit book: Whether the Muslims keep aloof or join us, the Brahminical people will continue to hate and kill them. Because playing football with Muslim life is their most favourite pastime. Muslims are their only trump-card. So better join us and help expedite the formation and consolidation of the long-delayed Bahujan Samaj. There is no scope, there is no room for neutrality.
Neutral Muslims will be subjected as Brahminical agents. Muslims are flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. They must join us. The Varna Yudha must begin.
Having said this, we want to provide a philosophical basis for the coming Varna Yudha.
We have received lots of demand for our good old book, Merit— My Foot (DSA-1987) which was extensively quoted in a famous Supreme Court judgment by Justice K. Ramaswamy — though today we have to say with sorrow, that the very Supreme Court is very much going with the anti-people Three-Veda experts and reversed all these famous verdicts of great judges.
Vaidik mind is sick mind: In the foregoing pages we have reproduced the full book with minor modifications.
Already the book has been translated to Kannada, Hindi (all sold out). Its Marathi edition is just published.
This book is our reply to “Anti-reservation Racists”. Though it is our reply we know they will not read it. They are not interested in reasoning, logical arguments, rational thinking nor scientific analysis. A Hindu believes what he wants to believe. That is what their “Sacred scriptures” have told them. And they are honestly going by that — even if he be a Supreme Court judge or a nuclear scientist.
A vaidik mind is a sick mind. And this sickness is affecting us and the country. We have tested this sick mind during the past 3,500 years. Budha, Sant Ravidas, Mahatma Phule, Dr. Ambedkar have all warned us about it.
That is why we welcome the Varna Yudha launched by the sick ahimsa-lovers. These Three-Veda experts.
We are ready to fight and die to defend Justice and Truth.
Manmohan-Pranab bid to sabotage OBC quota? Bahujans must get ready for caste war
As this is written the OBC reservation fire is raging in all big cities. The upper caste enemies of reservation are instigating some students to stage city-based, media-magnified protests. We treat these with the contempt it deserves.
All the political parties including the Brahmana Jati Party (BJP) have unanimously supported the OBC reservations (except the CPM which mischievously demanded a poverty yardstick). This proves the power of reservations. OBCs form the country’s single largest population (35%). See the strength of our “caste identity” thesis.
The upper castes in every party are enemies of reservations but they dare not say it in public for fear of votes. Electoral politics in India is completely caste-based.
Power of caste: Caste determines India’s public life. As the upper castes (15%) have no strength of caste they simply have to surrender. This is the power of caste.
But the Govt. of India’s final decision on the OBC reservation did not satisfy us. Not only it has delayed the implementation by one more year (or even more) but has given too many concessions to the upper castes. It is here that we suspect the hand of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Bengali Brahmin Pranab Mukherji.
It is these two upper caste leaders who are repeatedly begging the students to call off their agitation instead of taking stringent action against them.
Fear of sabotage: Our fear is that the PM and the Defence Minister may ultimately sabotage the whole scheme by giving too many concessions to the upper castes and also by delaying its implementation.
The decision of the students not to call off the agitation in spite of repeated assurances that they will be given a fair deal confirms the fear expressed in our June 1, 2006 p.4 story, “Quota war is nothing but varna yudha”.
The upper castes have been not only having the cake but also eating it so far without giving even a piece to the starving OBCs and Dalits. The continued student agitation despite repeated appeals by the PM shows that the upper caste worry is not about their future. Their acute stomach-ache is because the “dirty” SC/ST/BCs are entering their closely guarded citadels of higher education. Their worry is not about the fall of the “merit”. Their worry is that elite education will help the hated dark-skinned Dravidas to sit with them and compete with them. Hinduism does not believe in caring and sharing. Non-Hindu SC/ST/BCs can never expect equality and justice from these people.
We welcome street fighting: This Aryan varna hatred has been sufficiently discussed in DV. That is why we also wanted the current varna yudha to develop into street fighting. SC/STs are beef-eaters. Their body is steel. The entire army foot soldiers, police personnel is made up of brave SC/ST/BCs. They must get ready to face the impending racial war which we have been predicting.
These idli-sambar-tarkari Brahminical fellows are cowards. The moment we get ready for fight they come up with peace mantra (shanti-shanti-shanti) and delay the caste war (varna yudha). We are fed up with such familiar gandhian tactics. They don’t want to provoke our people into a racial war.
But this war has to come sooner or later. It began with the Budha. Gandhi continued it and his cross-thread caste colleagues even threatened to kill Dr. Ambedkar (DV June 1, 2006 p.2: “Plan to kill Dr. Ambedkar for defending Dalits”).
The upper castes have been consistent in their hatred of the indigenous Dravidas and Adi-Dravidas. When their hatred has not subsided even a wee bit in the past thousands of years, it is foolish to think Western-education, democratic rule or socialist values will melt the Aryan hearts.
So we have to be prepared and keep the power dry for the coming caste war. India’s road to socialism lies through caste war. Did we not say that?
Dalit Voice was the first Indian journal to expose this closely guarded secret and shock the outside world and make history.That is how Dalit Voice has become the organ of the entire deprived destitutes of India, the original home of racism.Started in 1981 by V.T. Rajshekar, its Editor and founder, Dalit Voice, the English fortnightly, has become the country's most powerful "Voice of the Persecuted Nationalities Denied Human Rights".
A veteran journalist, formerly of the Indian Express, powerful and fearless writer, V.T. Rajshekar, had to face the wrath of the ruling class, arrested many times, several jail sentences, passport impounded and subjected to total media boycott.
Published in several Indian languages including Hindi, Dalit Voice has become the sole spokesman for the entire deprived, dehumanised lot of India. Besides the Dalits, it looks after the interests of Backward Castes (35%) and the country's three persecuted religious minorities — Muslims 15%, Christians 2.5%, and Sikhs 2.5% — all victims of the Aryan Brahminical racism. Plus the women of all sections including the Hindu women.
In the course of the last 25 years, DV has become India's largest circulated journal of the oppressed, fighting against mainstream dailies and periodicals which have totally ignored the plight of the original inhabitants. Hence DV is rightly hailed as a new experiment in Indian journalism.
Only DV has diagnosed the disease of India which is an exception to all other countries in the world. If others have only "classes", India has not only the "class" but the world's most unique institution of caste system, which is the other word for racism. Here lies the success of DV. It goes to all world famous libraries, universities and invited many Afro-American delegations to India.
Its Editor is hailed as India's most original thinker, scholar and also philosopher. As India's most famous Dalit writer, he has authored over 60 world-famous books dealing with the problems of caste, ethnicity, Muslims, Christian, Sikhs, Marxism, Brahminism, Racism, Gandhism, Fascism etc.
Over 100 books have been published by the Dalit Sahitya Akademy, its sister organisation, also headed by the Editor.
His book, Dalit - The Black Untouchables of India, published from the USA (Clarity Press, Inc., Suite 469, 3277 - Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta, GA.30305, ISBN 0-932863-05-1 , 2003 - 2nd print), has gone into several reprints uniting for the first time the Blacks of the world with the Black Untouchables of India.
His most important book, Caste — A Nation Within the Nation, which has gone into second print, is a marvellous thesis offering an ingenious weapon of "caste identity" to defeat Brahminism, the destructive ideology of the ruling class. In the latest Parliament election, the oppressed castes of India used this weapon and defeated the country's Brahminical party (BJP).
DV becomes the future media of India where its dailies and periodicals are slowly dying. Because only DV offers a lasting solution as the authentic voice of the country's tallest titan, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Father of India.
Meanwhile,taking on senior Congress leader Pranab Mr. Mukherjee for his ridicule of the Third Front, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Mr. Karat on Monday said that Mr. Mukherjee would realise the importance of the groping after the poll results. Reacting to Mukherjee's comments on March 14 that he did not understand what the objective of the Third Front was, Mr. Karat said: "Pranab Mukherjee says he doesn't know what this Third Front is. At the end of the elections, he will come to know what it is."
Speaking at the release of the party's election manifesto here, Mr. Karat said: "We don't form a front. We are discussing with our allies and partners. After the elections, we shall combine the partners to form the government."
BJP assures Muslims it will work for progress of all
Claiming that the Sachar Committee report had revealed the"double standards"adopted by Congress, the BJP today assured members of Muslim community that it will work for progress of all sections if voted to power.
" Sachar committee has revealed the double standards adopted by Congress in its five-decade rule. The six years of NDA government are there for everyone to see. NDA in power under L K Advani would work for a society with justice for all,"BJP chief Rajnath Singh said after a group of Muslims from Ghaziabad Lok Sabha constituency, from where he is contesting, today joined the saffron party.
Singh promised to work towards creating a"just society"with opportunity and progress for all if the party is voted to power under the leadership of Advani.
"We have been betrayed by the Congress for over half a century. We have joined BJP with a hope for better future. We all will work towards victory of the party in the Lok Sabha polls," Raja Matin Nuri, leading the group, told reporters here.
The function was also attended by party&aposs minority cell chief Shahnawaz Hussain.
"This Third Front will hopefully emerge after the elections."
Clarifying the name Third Front being used for the grouping of 10 parties, Mr. Karat said the Left parties and their partners had never used the term "Third Front". It was coined and was being popularised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani and others.
"Advani and others popularised the term Third Front," the CPI(M) leader said, adding that there was no scope for the BJP to come to power at the centre as the party was pursuing its communal agenda.
Referring to the attacks against minorities in the BJP-ruled Karnataka and in Kandhamal area of Orissa, where the BJP was in the ruling alliance, he said: "The country cannot accept such a party pursuing the communal agenda."
"So, there is no way the BJP can or should come to power. The BJP is not going to come to power."
Asked whether the CPI(M) would join the government if the alliance gets power at the centre, Mr. Karat said: "Hopefully, if such a situation develops, our party central committee will decide."
Allaying speculations about AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa , Mr. Karat said she was in "constant communication" with them and was involved in the alliance of non-Congress and non-BJP parties.
"The AIADMK is involved with us. She was not here at the meeting. But they are involved. We are in constant communication with them," Mr. Karat said.
Though Ms. Jayalalithaa was not present at the meeting of the Third Front Sunday, her party's representative and Rajya Sabha member V. Maithreyan attended.
However, Mr. Maithreyan did not attend the dinner hosted by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, in which the Third Front discussed the Lok Sabha election strategies.
Mr. Karat said if a Third Front government comes to power, it would scrap the defence framework deal with the US.
"Firstly, the defence framework agreement with the US will be scrapped. There will not be a military collaboration with the US," Mr. Karat said.
He also said a Third Front government would review and re-work on the India-US civil nuclear deal signed by the Manmohan Singh government. All the partners met here on Sunday are committed against the nuclear deal, he said.
IPL's fate hangs in balance, to re-jig dates again
The fate of the second edition of the Indian Premier League hung in balance with the Home Ministry on Monday bluntly telling the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it would not be able to spare central forces for the Twenty20 tournament.
Asking the organisers of the high-profile tournament to hold serious consultations with concerned state governments, the Home Ministry expressed its "concerns and limitations" in sparing para-military forces for the cricket extravaganza because of the Lok Sabha elections.
This was conveyed when a three-member BCCI delegation met Special Secretary (Internal Security) Raman Srivastava to discuss the IPL matches issues, a Home Ministry spokesman said.
During the 90-minute meeting, the delegation, led by BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan, was asked to work out a new schedule in consultation with the states where the IPL matches are to be played, the spokesman said.
"Once the schedule is received, the Ministry will look at it in consultation with the state governments," he said.
The Ministry had on March 13 had rejected the revised schedule of the IPL organisers and said it "may not be feasible to play matches as per the submitted schedule".
"It is not possible to exempt any state from its promise to release state police personnel for election duties because these have been taken into account in arriving at the overall availability of security personnel," the Ministry had said while rejecting the revised schedule.
After the meeting, Srinivasan said the Home Ministry has expressed its concerns but "we have expressed our difficulties and our own concerns."
He also drew attention of the Ministry towards the involvement of various stakeholders in the mega cricket event.
Home Ministry did some tough talk with BCCI officials and asked them not to take the government for a ride by not holding proper consultations with the states where they want to hold the popular Twenty20 matches from next month, sources said.
Before submitting the revised schedule, IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi had earlier said at a media briefing that before chalking out the new fixtures, all states concerned had been taken into confidence.
However, the Ministry was taken in for a surprise when the states denied that they had been consulted by the IPL organisers.
India to have more IT pros than US
Infosys chief and co-founder S Gopalakrishnan has said that the Indian IT industry would tide over the current downturn and may surpass the US in terms of having the largest number of IT professionals in the world in the next three years.
“In the IT revolution, we are at the centre. We are underinvested, but that is an opportunity. A lot of investment is being done in R&D here because of the availability of talent. Our education system provides for that,” infosys CEO and managing director Mr Gopalakrishnan said.
Last week, India's second-largest software company Infosys said that it will be inducting almost 20,000 engineering graduates this year at over 8.3 per cent higher salary from what was offered last year, even as the company seeks to cope with a lower demand for software services in its top export markets of US and Europe.
According to the company, the offer letters and dates of joining have been sent to the 20,000 freshers (2008-09) and the process of joining the company will start from June this year. Last year, Infosys recruited almost 18,000 (2007-08) engineering graduates
Zardari's days in power may be numbered: Analysts
Asif Ali Zardari may have emerged as a weakened President after giving in to opposition leader Nawaz Sharif's demand for reinstating the Supreme Court Chief Justice and his days in power may be numbered, say analysts.
After a weekend of violent protests and a massive show of strength in Lahore by Sharif, who defied his house arrest to lead thousands of protestors towards Islamabad, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced that sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would be restored on March 21.
Gilani's move reflected the growing isolation of Zardari within the ruling Pakistan People's Party, over which he had exercised complete control after being named party chief in the wake of the assassination of his wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, in December 2007.
"The President has been highly weakened by the latest developments. His actions were untenable and were rejected by the people and even his own party," said Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood, one of Pakistan's leading political and security analysts.
Former ISI chief Hamid Gul felt that "If Zardari does not mend his approach to the problem, then he would have to say goodbye to President's House very soon."
"He (Zardari) is a very weak politician who does not understand the mood and the temperature of the people. He tried to run the affairs of the state by gimmickry rather than by principles and that is where he has gone wrong," he told CNN-IBN.
Political analyst Harris Khalique said Zardari had been misled by aides who believed Sharif would not be able to organise a major protest and today's developments should serve as a "reality check" for the President.
"If the common people can bring down a strong military dictator, they can also bring down a man with a serious credibility crisis," Khalique said, referring to the movement by lawyers and opposition parties last year that led to the ouster of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
The developments had also proved that Zardari was "largely a successor" to the leadership of the PPP and "not a political leader in his own right," he said.
Former premier Sharif had backed a "long march" by the lawyers' movement to reinstate the deposed judges after the Supreme Court last month barred him and his brother, former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, from electoral politics.
The Sharifs accused Zardari of influencing the verdict and said he had packed the Supreme Court with hand-picked judges.
Even as Zardari grappled with the new onslaught by his former ally, he has had to contend with growing dissent within the PPP. Gilani openly opposed the President's move to impose Governor's Rule in Punjab, which was ruled by the PML-N, while two senior ministers -- Raza Rabbani and Sherry Rehman – quit to express their unhappiness with Zardari's functioning.
Analysts said Gilani, who was hand-picked for the post of Prime Minister by Zardari, had emerged stronger from the political crisis by convincing the President to reinstate the former Chief Justice. "Gilani's stature has improved as he is now perceived as honest and reliable," said Masood. Though his abilities as an administrator remained questionable, Gilani now had a "higher level of credibility," he said.
"The Prime Minister will be more assertive now and he could help the parliament re-assert itself," Masood said.
Khalique said that though the PPP had initially played a key role in the movement for restoring the deposed judges, it was now responsible for relinquishing that role to "right wing forces" that could seek further concessions from the government, particularly in the fight against militancy.
The lawyers' movement was backed by hardline groups like the Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposes military operations against militants in Pakistan.
The analysts also welcomed the low-key role played by the army in defusing the political crisis. Over the past few days, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who has worked consistently to distance the powerful military from politics, held several meetings with Zardari and Gilani to push for political reconciliation.
"The army's role shows it has realised the importance of democracy. It has also realised that directly ruling Pakistan is not possible in the changed environment," said Masood, adding the possibility of military intervention had "been put aside as the people are not prepared to accept it".
Masood said he believed the military's role in politics would gradually diminish due to a variety of external and internal factors, including fight against militancy.
Modi, Pawar mock each other on campaign trail
Pune Taking a swipe at Sharad Pawar, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi says the NCP supremo has been hoodwinked by Congress on the issue of Prime Ministership by blocking his chances after making a Maharashtrian as the country's President.
Hitting the campaign trail here for the BJP-Sena poll combine in Western Maharashtra considered the Maratha strongman's strongholds, Modi sarcastaically said that Pawar who has spent many years in Congress failed to understand the strategies of that party to keep him out of the race for the top post in the UPA.
The Union Agriculture minister, who was in neighbouring Ahmednagar for poll rallies, too targeted Modi branding him a ‘frontline leader’ of communal forces in the country and held him responsible for destroying lives and families of hundreds of people in Gujarat thus maligning the image of that state.
Referring to recent statement by Pawar that a Maharashtrian should get an opportunity to become the prime minister, Modi told an election rally here last night that by making Pratibha Patil, a Maharashtrian, as the President Congress employed a shrewd ploy to sideline the NCP president shutting doors on his Prime Ministerial ambitions.
The seasoned politician in Pawar, however, failed to gauge the Congress game, Modi added.
In a sarcastic vein, Modi said, "if Pawar had any substance, he should at least see to it that a Maharashtrian becomes captain of the Indian cricket team."
Targeting Modi, Pawar said, "this communal leader has come to Maharashtra (for campaigning) but people of this state would never accept his ideology that divided the society.
"We love Gujarat of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel", he said as he appealed to voters to remove the poisonous "weed" of communal thoughts from the state," Pawar added.
No rift within the party, insists Advani
With differences persisting between BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley and party chief Rajnath Singh, RSS has intervened to resolve the issue even as senior BJP leader L K Advani insisted there was no rift in the party.
"This issue may make a good story for you but there are no differences within the party," Advani told reporters in New Delhi on the sidelines of a book release function.
He was replying when asked whether the differences between Singh and Jaitley over the appointment of businessman Sudhanshu Mittal as BJP's co-convenor of North East region had been resolved.
Jaitley had shown his displeasure at Mittal's appointment by keeping away from the Central Election Committee meeting of the BJP on March 13.
Sources close to Jaitley have said that he was unlikely to attend the next CEC meeting to be held on March 17 if Mittal is not removed.
Singh, on the other hand, has ruled out Mittal's removal.
In view of the stalemate, RSS has stepped in to resolve the differences, which have erupted just ahead of Lok Sabha polls, causing worries to BJP.
In this regard, RSS general secretary Suresh Soni called up Jaitley on Saturday night to find a solution to the stand-off, sources said.
Ambani's skyscraper, Mittal's Alps home on Forbes' 'Billionaire Playgrounds' list
NEW YORK: India's richest resident Mukesh Ambani's upcoming skyscraper in Mumbai and wealthiest NRI Lakshmi Mittal's getaway in the Alps are among
the world's top ten 'Billionaire Playgrounds' for this year, despite the fortunes of the two individuals coming down by more than half.
Others on the list include Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's 200-acre ranch on Wildcat Ridge in Colorado, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's 416-foot mega-yacht Octopus and Apussuit Adventure Camp, a remote skiing resort in West Greenland frequented by software czar Bill Gates.
The list of the top ten 'billionaire playgrounds', where the world's super-rich go for fun, has been compiled by Forbes Traveler, a luxury travel publication of American business magazine Forbes, known for its lists of richest persons in the world.
"Whether it's seeking out crystal-clear Caribbean waters, retreating to a mountain hideaway or sailing the seven seas in style, the world's billionaires are, in some ways, just like us. They want to relax in privacy and luxury.
"The only difference is, they don't get worried when the bill arrives," Forbes Traveler said in a report on its website.
About Lakshmi Mittal's St Moritz holiday getaway in Switzerland, the report said, "After this industrialist billionaire built his fortune mostly with steel, he moved to London but retained his Indian passport...
... In addition to his palatial residence on London's Kensington Palace Garden aka Billionaires Row Mittal keeps a home in St Moritz.”
"At the season's start in January, it's not unusual to see nouveau rich Russians rubbing shoulders with Swiss blue bloods whose families have favored this Alpine getaway for decades. Sprinkle in assorted supermodels, starlets and, yes, industrialists, and you've got one of European wealth's favorite winter playgrounds."
Mukesh Ambani, who has dethroned Mittal as the richest Indian in the world in the latest Forbes ranking, is building his own playground in Mumbai itself.
"Why waste time (on) jets when you can build your playground closer home? Why not, in fact, make your home itself the playground? That's what Mukesh Ambani is doing. The Indian petrochemical and telecom tycoon is constructing a 550-foot, 27-story skyscraper residence in Mumbai at an estimated cost of USD 1 billion," Forbes Traveler said.
The house would reportedly resemble a virtual glass palace with six floors of parking and a helipad and its top four floors would provide a view of the Arabian Sea and the city's skyline.
“All of this, for Ambani, his wife Neeta, their three children and Ambani's mother plus a few hundred employees."
Bill Gates, who has wrested his position as the world's richest person from friend and legendary investor Warren Buffett despite a fall in his net worth to USD 40 billion, flies to his playground in West Greenland whenever he needs a break.
"Since officially retiring from Microsoft in July, 2008, 52-year-old Bill Gates has ramped up his philanthropic travel in support of the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"When he needs a break from the African heat where much of the foundation's efforts are concentrated he's been known to hop a helicopter to Apussuit Adventure Camp, a remote skiing resort 15 miles outside Maniitsoq, West Greenland."
Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim Helu likes to go to Cap Cana, the Dominican Republic's hottest resort destination, the report said.
"Where would the richest man in Mexico woo an Arabian queen, herself no stranger to vast wealth? If the rumors are true, the answer is Cap Cana, (the) Dominican Republic's hottest resort destination," it said, adding that a Mexican celebrity magazine reported in January this year that Slim was dating Queen Noor of Jordan.
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, when not sailing on one of his five yachts dubbed as Abramovich Navy, goes out for the world's best skiing and as per reports has plunked down 18 million pounds for a 200-acre ranch on Wildcat Ridge near Aspen.
At the same time, Paul Allen's 416-foot yacht Octopus is a floating five-star hotel and features a pool, a basketball court, a movie theatre, two helicopters, a 10-person submarine, a jet-ski dock and a 60-person crew.
The list also includes 64-year entrepreneur Ty Warner's penthouse at the Four Seasons New York, which features a 25-foot ceiling, 360-degree view of Manhattan and is also available to the public for USD 34,000 per night.
Besides, he also owns several of the world's favourite resort playgrounds, including San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito and Las Ventanas al Paraiso Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Television celebrity Oprah Winfrey's playground in Antigua and Italian Prime Minister and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi's 150-acre Villa Certosa in Sardinia have also made it to the list.
Amar changes tone, says secular govt without Sonia impossible
LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party national general secretary Amar Singh questioned the secular credentials of the newly-formed Third Front saying there can
be no secular government without Sonia Gandhi.
"For them (Third Front) being secular and communal is like changing clothes. A secular government without Sonia Gandhi is next to impossible. And this should not be considered as a sycophancy, it is a harsh fact in the country's politics," Singh said, while addressing a convention of SP's youth wings.
Singh said all political parties, who have joined hands to form the Third Front, were at some point of time allies of the BJP, which he accused of being a communal force.
"(N Chandrababu) Naidu, who is one of the Third Front leader, supported the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for five years. Why didn't he withdraw support when Gujarat was burning? Similar is the case with Jayalalithaa and (H D) Devegowda," he said.
"For Devegowda, BJP was not communal when his son was being made the chief minister!" he remarked.
He said that similarly Mayawati-led BSP, which is one of the constituent of the front, formed the government in Uttar Pradesh with BJP's support thrice.
"Today Mayawati is emerging as a Prime Ministerial candidate and Devegowda has turned secular," he quipped.
US recovery beginning in 2010: Federal Reserve chairman
WASHINGTON: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested in an interview to air on Sunday that the US recession could last through the year and
said the biggest risk was that the political will needed to fix the fractured financial system could be lacking.
"This (economic) decline will begin to moderate and we'll begin to see a leveling off," Bernanke said when pressed during an interview on the CBS programme "60 Minutes" about whether he sees the recession ending this year.
"We won't be back to full employment. But we will, I hope, see the end of these declines that have been so strong in a last couple of quarters," he said, according to a transcript of the interview. Bernanke told Congress in January the Fed believes there is a reasonable prospect that the current recession will end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery. In the rare on-record interview, he largely stuck to that view, while suggesting recent developments had dimmed the outlook a bit. "We'll see the recession coming to an end probably this year," Bernanke said.
"We'll see recovery beginning next year." Government efforts to combat the crisis have come under fire as stock markets have plunged and unemployment has soared even as authorities have stepped in repeatedly to prop up firms such as insurer American International Group.
The Fed chairman said his greatest worry is that political leaders and the public will withdraw support for efforts aimed at stabilizing the shattered banking system. "The biggest risk is that, you know, we don't have the political will," he said. "We don't have the commitment to solve this problem, and that we let it just continue." "In which case, we, we can't count on recovery."
India's GDP growth to stabilize around 7%: CMIE
MUMBAI: India's real GDP is projected to grow by seven per cent in FY 10, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said in its monthly
CMIE expects the growth rate to climb slowly from around six per cent in the first-half to about eight per cent in the second-half of FY 10.
The real GDP would be close to the 7.1 per cent growth that is likely to be achieved in FY 09. The global liquidity crisis in late September 2008 has suddenly brought the economy’s story of nine per cent growth to a grinding halt. FY 10 would gradually recover from this jolt.
Signs of recovery are already evident in the little data that is available for January 2009. While the global economy seems to be getting into a deep crisis, the domestic Indian economy is likely to see a smarter and quicker recovery in FY 10, it said.
The agricultural sector has traditionally been the principal source of volatility in the overall growth of the Indian economy. A decline in GDP growth is usually the result of a fall in agricultural production.
In the last ten-year period ending 2005, the agricultural sector recorded a fall in output in every alternate year.
CMIE pointed out that this seriously debilitating trend seems to have been reversed. The agriculture sector has registered positive growth for four consecutive years--from FY 06 to FY 09.
CMIE expects it to register a positive growth rate again for the fifth consecutive year, in FY 10.
We expect the growth rate to slow down to 2.4 per cent. Nevertheless, a fifth consecutive year of positive growth in agriculture would contribute directly to the growth in FY 10 and would have a positive impact on domestic demand, CMIE report said.
The agriculture sector registered a 2.2 per cent fall in output in the third quarter of FY 09. This decline was not expected, although it comes after a 2.4 per cent fall in kharif sowing and, it comes over a high base since the corresponding quarter a year ago had seen a growth of 6.9 per cent.
We believe that at least a part of the fall may get corrected with revisions in agriculture production data. This is likely to happen in the case of cotton and to a small extent in the case of rice.
The fall of October-December 2008 does not dilute the new confidence in agriculture because production is increasingly shifting in favour of the Rabi season. And, while Kharif sowing was down by 2.4 per cent, Rabi sowing is up by 3.1 per cent. Higher MSPs and market prices have spurred sowings in favour of cash crops, CMIE said.
Tatas' debt to cross Rs 1-trillion mark
Tata group's total debt is set to exceed Rs 1,00,000 crore in the current fiscal, but it appears comfortable on the liquidity front, a report has said.
"We expect the total debt of the Tata group as of the end of FY'09 (ending this month) at over Rs one trillion, of which Rs 117 billion is due through March 2010," analysts at domestic brokerage unit of financial major Kotak group said.
When contacted, Tata Sons spokesperson said, "We are not in a position to comment on such reports. As you are aware Tata Sons does not aggregate the debt of individual group companies as each company is a standalone legal entity and is evaluated accordingly."
Increase of more than Rs 30,000 crore in group's overall outstanding debt position from year-ago level of about Rs 70,000 crore is primarily due to its aggressive capital expenditure plans and past acquisitions, the report stated.
Analysts, however, noted that Tatas' funding challenges are manageable and debt obligations could be met through free cash flow generated at various group companies and proceeds from the stake sale by holding company Tata Sons.
"We believe the group's liquidity position is comfortable at an aggregate level," Kotak Institutional Equities Research analysts said, adding that possible fund-raising options include monetising Tata Motors' commercial vehicle division and stake sale by Tata Sons in TCS and Tata Tele Services.
"We believe the Tata Group of companies (represented by five largest listed entities) would generate Rs 10,000 crore in free cash flows in FY2010, against Rs 11,700 crore in debt coming due for repayment/refinance, implying a funding gap of Rs 1,700 crore," the report noted.
Total debt of these five entities -- Tata Motors, Tata Steel, TCS, Tata Power and Tata Communications – which account for 90 per cent of the group's revenues, is estimated at Rs 91,000 crore in FY2010, the analysts said.
This would include Rs 40,600 crore from Tata Steel, Rs 22,800 crore from Tata Motors, Rs 21,400 crore from Tata Power and Rs 6,200 crore from Tata Communications.
"Within the group, the most pertinent issue remains Tata Motors' Rs 11,300 crore debt coming up for repayment/refinance in FY2010," the analysts said. Tata Motors needs to refinance USD 2 billion (Rs 10,000 crore) of its USD 3 billion one-year bridge loan coming due in June 2009, while another Rs 1,300 crore debt is coming due in its books.
To meet group's funding needs, the report said, Tata Sons has the financial flexibility to support group companies in extreme cases like clampdown in the debt markets and its options include stake sale in group companies.
Tata Sons might also be required to infuse fresh equity into one or more group companies, such as Tata Motors and Tata Steel, in case of a sharp deterioration in operational and financial conditions.
"Worse and prolonged decline in global demand environment would require some tough decisions regarding restructuring of the group itself, asset sales and reorganisation within companies," the report said.
For instance, a decision might have to be taken if Tata Motors needs to be in both the passenger car and commercial vehicle businesses, it added.
For Tata Sons, analysts said, stake sale remains primary option. "Tata Sons has a 33 per cent stake in TTSL and in our view most suitable course of action would be to exit the firm," adding it could fetch USD 3 billion (Rs 15,000 crore).
Besides, Tata Sons has a 74 per cent stake in TCS, out of which a 25 per cent could be sold, but divestment has limited merit at current valuations. "While a strategic buyer may not be interested in a non-controlling stake, a financial buyer could pay 10 per cent premium to current market price", wherein Tata Sons could get USD 2.5 billion (Rs 12,500 crore).
Analysts said Tata Motors could monetise its commercial vehicle division, valued at Rs 12,000 crore, through measures like stake sale or spin-off.
Besides, Tata Motors can borrow up to Rs 11,500 crore against assets in its books and sell some subsidiaries.
"Tata Motors' stake in Tata Motors Daewoo could fetch USD 180 million (Rs 900 crore) ... stakes in Tata Construction and Tata Technologies could fetch up to USD 200-300 million (Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,500 crore)," they added.
Kerala's Left Front seat sharing deal still in limbo
Thiruvananthapuram (IANS): Kerala's ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) on Monday plunged into further trouble with another ally, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), refusing to compromise on the Kozhikode seat.
The JD-S, which has been contesting in Kozhikode since 1980, has been reportedly given the Wayanad seat by the LDF. But JD-S leaders reacted angrily to the news.
"At no cost will we give up the Kozhikode seat. I am the least surprised by this decision but we are yet to be officially communicated on this by the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist). Once it comes we will meet to make the final decision," said Kozhikode MP and JD-S party chief Veerendra Kumar.
Kumar termed the decision as "politically immoral".
Earlier on Monday, Communist Party of India (CPI) assistant secretary K.E. Ismail and state Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran arrived at the CPI(M) headquarters here to find a solution to the Ponanni seat deadlock. The seat has been with the CPI for years and it is hesitant to give it up.
"Discussions are going on and soon we will make a decision," said Mr. Ismail.
The CPI(M), after talks within LDF, had earlier cleared the name of 50-year-old college principal Hussain Randathany for Ponanni seat to which the CPI initially agreed but later backed off.
Last week, the CPI even threatened to pull out of the LDF, formed back in 1980, but later resumed talks again.
In the 2004 elections, the CPI(M) contested 14 seats, the CPI four and the JD-S and the Kerala Congress (Joseph) contested one seat each.
The Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Congress-S and the Nationalist Congress Party are also members of the ruling LDF that was formed in 1979.
Polls to the 20 Lok Sabha seats from Kerala are to be held on April 16.
Third front leaders want new name for the alliance
New Delhi (PTI): While it is yet to come out with its political agenda, discussions have already begun among the constituents of the newly floated Third Front to decide on a "proper name" for the alliance.
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Monday held a meeting with JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda at the latter's residence here to discuss an appropriate name for the Front.
Mr. Gowda told reporters that the Left leader had come mainly to finalise a name for the Third Front. "I have no problems with the alliance being referred to as Third Front, but other leaders feel that it should have a proper name," the former Prime Minister said.
Mr. Karat, however, refused to divulge details of the meeting, saying that "a lot of things were discussed".
On being asked about the main agenda of the Front leaders' Sunday night dinner meeting at BSP chief Mayawati's residence, Mr. Gowda said "it went off well and behenji (Mayawati) has clearly said in her statement that her party would have no alliance with any of the constituents. All of us will fight separately in the coming elections and will provide a secular non-Congress and non-BJP alternative to the people".
Asked about finalisation of the National Policy Document of the Front, the JD(S) chief said that CPI(M) has already released its manifesto while TDP, AIADMK and other constituents would soon release their manifestos.
BJP to make VHP leader's murder poll issue in Orissa
Bhubaneswar (IANS): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday declared that it would make the killing of a senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati a poll issue in Orissa.
Launching the election campaign for the party here, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj blamed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the murder of the VHP leader.
"Though there was a threat to the life of Saraswati, the Naveen Patnaik government failed to give him protection," she charged.
She also blamed Mr. Patnaik for his failure to arrest the killers of the VHP leader.
"Those who should have been behind the bars are moving scot free and our workers are in jail," she said, appealing to people to vote for a party that would arrest the killers of Saraswati.
The VHP leader and four of his aides were killed on Aug 23 last year in Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here. The murder triggered widespread violence against Christians in the state, especially in Kandhamal.
Terming the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government as "betrayer", Mrs. Swaraj told a gathering of thousands at the 'Vijay Sankalp' (victory resolution) rally that the BJP was determined to teach the chief minister a lesson.
It was the first mass gathering by the BJP in the state after its 11-year alliance with the BJD led by Mr. Naveen Patnaik collapsed March 7.
"I have come here to tell Naveen Patnaik that people will not tolerate him and throw him out of power," Mrs. Swaraj said in her speech in Hindi. She also blamed the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for being soft on terrorism.
"There was a stronger law to deal with terrorism but the UPA government abolished it," Mrs. Swaraj said, referring to the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Orissa will go to the polls for Lok Sabha and assembly in two phases April 16 and 23.
Plea to scrap BJP poll symbol dismissed
New Delhi (IANS): The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a lawsuit seeking scrapping of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) poll symbol 'lotus' stating that despite being regarded as the national flower, "the lotus has not been legally notified" or declared as the national flower.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, which also included Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice P. Sathasivam, pointed out to the petitioner that there was no legal bar on the use of lotus as a poll symbol of a political party.
The lawsuit had been filed by a Meerut-based woman advocate, Shaheen Parvez, who contended that just like the national emblem, comprising of the replica of the four lions on the Sarnath Pillar near Varanasi or the national flag Tricolour, the national flower lotus and the national animal lion too cannot be used as the poll symbol by any political party.
Appearing for Ms. Pervez, her counsel Naushad Ahmad Khan, told the court that even the Hindu religion accords special treatment to the lotus, which is considered to be the seat of Lord Brahma, the god of creation.
Maintaining that lotus is also associated with several other gods and goddesses in Hindu religion, including the goddess of wealth Laxmi, the goddess of knowledge Saraswati and Lord Shiva, the destroyer, Mr. Khan argued that lotus is of special significance even as per the Buddhist religion.
Ms. Pervez had come to the apex court challenging a Delhi High Court order, which too earlier had dismissed her plea for divesting BJP of its poll symbol of the lotus.
Hundreds of Muslim leaders join BJP
New Delhi (PTI): In a move that will brighten BJP president Rajnath Singh's chances of winning from the Ghaziabad Lok Sabha constituency, hundreds of Muslim leaders from the districton Monday joined the party here.
The leaders also vowed to work to ensure the victory of the saffron party in the ensuing polls. "We have been betrayed by the Congress for over half a century. We have joined BJP with a hope for better future. We all will work towards victory of the party in the Lok Sabha polls," Raja Matin Nuri, leading the group, told reporters here in Mr. Mr. Singh's presence.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Singh promised to work towards creating a "just society" with opportunity and progress for all if the party is voted to power in the leadership of L K Advani. "Sachar committee has revealed the double standards adopted by Congress in its five decades of rule. The six year NDA rule is there for everyone to see. NDA in power under Mr. Advani would work for a society with justice for all," Mr. Singh said. The function was also attended by party's minority cell chief Shahnawaz Hussain. '
Advani praises Prasoon Joshi
New Delhi (PTI): BJP's prime ministerial L K Advani has used his blogspace to shower praises on Prasoon Joshi, the lyricist of 'Tare Zameen Par' fame who is actively involved in the saffron party's poll campaign through his 'unofficial contributions'.
"Why I am a fan of Prasoon Joshi? Ever since I heard Prasoon Joshi's lyrics for Aamir Khan's 'Taare Zameen Par', I have become a Prasoon fan," wrote Mr. Advani in his blog. Mr. Advani, writing in his blog on women empowerment, has expressed his admiration for Joshi who has been roped in to write slogans for the BJP's electoral campaign.
"In the context of the women's empowerment campaign current these days, I chanced to see a Prasoon Joshi video clip of a touching song he has written for a Shubha Mudgal album, in which he had beautifully rendered himself," he wrote.
"The plea (song) may seem queer, but in our male-dominated world, it is very meaningful," Mr. Advani said.
Aizawl (IANS): The opposition in Mizoram is attempting to forge a combined front to challenge the ruling Congress in next month's parliamentary elections and the by-poll for one assembly seat.
"The opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) has decided to form a united front with other regional parties to fight the Congress candidate," said MNF general secretary Lalhmingliana, who is also the Rajya Sabha member from Mizoram.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, MNF candidate Vanlalzawma won the lone Mizoram Lok Sabha seat defeating Laltluangliana Khiangte (Independent) by a margin of more than 23,000 votes.
While regional parties like the Mizoram People's Conference (MPC) led by former chief minister T. Sailo has agreed to the alliance, Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP), another state party, is yet to decide on the move.
"Leaders of the three parties - MNF, MPC and ZNP - would soon meet to work out the formation of the united front," Brig. Sailo told journalists Monday.
The ruling Congress has announced the name of 73-year-old C.L. Ruala for the Lok Sabha seat and John Siamkunga for the South Tuipui assembly by-poll.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already announced that it would support any non-Congress formation during the polls.
In the assembly polls in December last year, the ZNP, MPC and other regional parties got together under the aegis of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) but managed to win only four seats in the 40-member state legislature. The Congress won 32 seats.
The MNF had earlier announced that it would boycott the polls if Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were used.
"The EVMs can be tampered with by the ruling party to manipulate the result," said MNF secretary Vanlalruata.
"Checking of EVMs and demonstrations of voting procedures are underway across the state," Mizoram's chief electoral officer Lalmalsawma told reporters in Aizawl. "There has been no evidence that EVMs can be tampered with."
'Slumdogs' are toast of political parties during elections
Bangalore (IANS): Slum-dwellers have suddenly become much sought after by political parties of all hues with loads of cash to lure them to election rallies. Many of the slum dwellers openly admitted that their vote would go to those doling out more money.
With the general elections around the corner, the 600,000-odd residents of about 800 slums across the city look for a 'windfall' by attending political rallies and casting votes in favour of a candidate whose party pays the highest.
Be it a paltry Rs.150-200 for a rally or Rs.500-600 for a vote, elections are a good time for the slum-dwellers to make a quick buck.
"It's a ritual all political parties indulge in at elections. They grease the palms of slum-dwellers for their votes. But these illiterate voters end up choosing a wrong candidate," lamented Issac Arul Selva, convenor of Slum Janandolan Karnataka (SJK) and a resident of the L.R. Nagar slum in the suburbs.
According to data with the civic body Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike, about 600,000 people dwell in urban slums, accounting for 10 percent of the city's six-million people. The slum population is projected to touch one million by 2010, when the total population is estimated to be 10 million.
The refrain among the residents of any slum is: "We vote for those who pay the most."
"In the state assembly polls in May 2008, I voted for a candidate who paid Rs.1,500. For attending rallies of three political parties during electioneering, I got Rs.600. I blew the money by boozing and partying with friends," boasted Sanjay Prasad, a daily wager living in the Ambedkar Nagar slum.
Manjula, a 32-year-old housewife of Sanjay Nagar, was candid to admit that as poor people it was hard to resist money coming their way during polls.
"Yes! We take money to cast our vote," she told IANS.
Besides cash, political parties reward the electorate from the slums with food and gifts for making up the crowds in their public meetings.
"All political parties bribe the poor, especially those living in slums, which are their vote banks, to make their public meetings and election rallies a huge success. After the results, they are forgotten and none bothers to address their problems," rued an SJK member.
But SJK, the non-political organisation formed in 2007 by a group of literate slum-dwellers, has decided to educate their brethren to vote for the 'right' candidate who will improve the living conditions and make a difference in their life.
"We will launch a door-to-door campaign from this month-end in all slums to make the dwellers know the power of their votes and how they can bring about a change by exercising their franchise judiciously," 38-year-old Selva told IANS.
The campaign will focus on choosing the right candidate who will ensure basic amenities in the slums.
"We will inform the slum-dwellers, many illiterate, about the manifestoes of political parties and the profile of their contestants in the respective constituencies. The objective is to vote for the candidate who delivers," Selva asserted.
"Most of the slum-dwellers are illiterate and are not aware of their rights. Slum children do not get an opportunity to join school for education. Abject poverty is a vicious cycle for them. And the government is least bothered about their welfare," Selva added.
Post-delimitation, Bangalore has three parliamentary constituencies as against two hitherto. They are Bangalore North, Bangalore South and the new one, Bangalore Central.
The delimitation exercise has also led to the creation of Bangalore Rural in place of the neighbouring Kanakapura Lok Sabha seat. Bangalore will go to polls April 23.
State Pulse: Orissa, UP, Assam change equations
Category » Editorial Posted On Monday, March 16, 2009
Developments in Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Assam have thrown up new challenges for the two National parties, the Congress and the BJP, in their latest bid for power at the Centre. With D-day not too far, old alliances appear to be crumbling, breathing fresh life into the so-called Third Front. The BJP has suffered a severe jolt in Orissa, with Naveen Patnaik's BJD breaking its 11-year-old alliance on Saturday last. In fact, Patnaik went a step further and tied up with the Left parties, after the BJP withdrew support in retaliation. The BJD supremo has been successful in getting the requisite support sans the BJP and won the vote of confidence in the 147-member Assembly, on Wednesday last. While the developments, which will affect 21 Lok Sabha seats, may have taken the BJP by surprise, many know that Patnaik had long made up his mind. Not only had the BJP's vote share been declining in the State, but the party had become a liability after the Kandamahal anti-Christian riots last year. The BJD has kept its option open for joining the Third Front.
The BJP has sought to cut its losses by entering into a seat--sharing arrangement with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in Assam, both for the ensuing Lok Sabha and Assembly elections due in 2011. While it may not help the BJP make up the loss in Orissa, the move has rattled the Congress. In a resolution at its workers' convention the party admitted that the "unholy alliance" between the BJP and the AGP had thrown up "new challenges". Assam has 14 seats in the Lok Sabha. However, the Congress has suffered its biggest jolt with the Samajwadi Party refusing to agree to its terms for an alliance in Uttar Pradesh. On Sunday last, Mulayam Singh Yadav announced that the party would contest all but six of the 80 seats in the State. It dubbed the Congress' list of 24 candidates as the "obituary of the alliance". Given the situation, UP Chief Minister and BSP supremo not only gets an advantage, but encourages her to keep her options open for joining the Third Front. The BSP could win up to 45 of UP's 80 seats in case the SP and the Congress fail to come together.
J&K to curb police firing killings
Omar Abdullah has taken a welcome initiative which should be of great help to all the States of the Union. The Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister proposes to approach foreign governments for a more effective strategy for crowd control which would enable the State government to end "bullet-for stone" approach and thereby curb killings of protestors by security forces. Sadly, for the past two decades there has been little emphasis on new methodology for crowd control. Worse the J&K police has not been utilizing its annual quota of teargas shells purchased. In fact, stones have become more lethal than bullets for the local police, as the gun-wielding cops have to change gear, show restraint and initially depend on cane charging and teargas shells to curb protestors before resorting to firing. But that does not always happen, as was witnessed in the recent incident. One protestor was killed and 43 others injured when the CRPF men opened fire at a protesting crowd in downtown Srinagar on Friday last, resulting in an angry popular agitation. .
Clearly, people are becoming more assertive and agitations are now a daily feature, not only in J&K but all over the country. Handling situations such as stone-throwing by protestors would need application of different strategies. As a rule the police should first use tear gas, then water canon, then fire in the air, and if that doesn't quell the crowds it could resort to firing, but first only below the knees. However, in J&K the security forces are prone to fire bullets whenever protestors pelt stones. Thus, the government proposes to seek the help of UK to train special police contingents in modern crowd control techniques as it has done substantial research. The government may introduce "Skunk", a specially developed spray that drenches protesters with a foul-smelling liquid and "Scream", a noise machine that makes protestors giddy and forces them to disperse without injuring them. Perhaps, equipped with non-lethal tools, the J&K police may have less blood on its hands.
Activists for Social Alternatives (ASA)
Status snapshot as of December 2007
Active clients 233,652
Loan portfolio (USD) $21,424,371
Portfolio At Risk >30 days* 0.7%
* Value of all loans outstanding that have one or more installments past due more than 30 days
Established in 1986, The Activists for Social Alternatives (ASA) is headquartered in the district of Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu, India). ASA’s mission is to “empower women of the poorest families socially, economically and politically through networking them into community institutions and efficient poverty alleviation and microfinance programs.” Initially, ASA focused primarily on community organizing, health, education, and rural development among poor women.
In 1993, S. Devaraj, ASA’s founder, introduced the Grameen-style microcredit component to the development programs of ASA. Within a short period of time, he made a strategic and policy shift to make microcredit the centerpiece of ASA’s activities and promoted “Grama Vidiyal” Trust (meaning dawn of rural poor) exclusively to carry out microfinance activities in 1997.
ASA follows the Grameen Bank methodology with slight adaptations when necessary to suit local conditions. It provides loans for income generation as well as for housing improvement, and also offers savings services to its clients, all of whom are women
ASA has grown from serving 551 clients in 1994 to serving more than 233,652 clients as of December 2007. Since its inception, ASA has disbursed more than $21 million in loans, and plans to reach out to approximately 400,000 clients, with a loan portfolio of $52 million by March 2010.
A February 2004 AIMS (Assessing the Impact of Microenterprise Services) assessment report on ASA clients revealed the following results:
80% started new income-generation activities, and the remaining clients expanded their existing economic activities;
95% reported increased food intake;
69% had purchased additional assets and improved their electric and water facilities; and
72% of the members in the program for two years or more had improved their housing conditions.
Grameen Foundation support:
Grameen Foundation has partnered with ASA since 2000, providing approximately $1 million in funding which has been used for operations, loans, and to help capitalize ASA’s transformation to a regulated financial company. More than $1 million has been leveraged from commercial banks. Grameen Foundation has also supported ASA’s tsunami relief efforts by providing $170,000 in financing, which included grant support for immediate relief operations post-tsunami and longer term support to carry out a microfinance program aimed at rehabilitating the affected population.
Learn more at: www.asadev.com/
BSP denies giving any ultimatum on Mayawati as PM candidate
15 Mar 2009, 0140 hrs IST, TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES
NEW DELHI: Bahujan Samaj Party on Saturday denied having given any ultimatum of 48 hours to the Third Front to declare its chief Mayawati as their
Prime Ministerial candidate and alleged that such reports are being planted by BJP and Congress, PTI says.
Describing such reports in the media as "baseless and wrong", the party today said "no such ultimatum was given by anybody and such ill publicity is concocted".
"BSP strongly condemns such reports, which are being planted by BJP and Congress for last two days after they found out the third front getting stronger and emerging as an option for the people suffering due to their misrule for years," party general secretary of BSP Satish Chandra Mishra said in press release.
It will be a significant Sunday for the Third Front as BSP leader Mayawati will clarify that she has not made any demand to be declared the front's prime ministerial candidate.
This was conveyed by BSP to Left and other Third Front leaders on Saturday. They were informed that she would clear her position while releasing the party's manifesto on Kanshi Ram's 75th birth anniversary. In turn, CPM decided to defer release of its manifesto to Monday. Even as she keeps channels with all political alliances open, Third Front leaders say, Mayawati feels the front is a viable option and expects more parties to join it post-poll.
Happy with the response to the rally on Thursday, Third Front leaders — four Left parties, TDP, TRS, JD(S), AIADMK — and, significantly, BJD that is yet to join the grouping, will meet on Sunday at the CPM office to chalk out their strategy. It is likely that these parties will issue a joint appeal to the electorate to shun both Congress and BJP-led coalitions.
"After the Tumkur rally, there is a need to proceed further. Therefore, Third Front parties having seat arrangements in various states will meet on Sunday," CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said.
Later, the front leaders will go to Mayawati's house for dinner where broader contours of the non-BJP, non-Congress alliance will be worked out. "We will exchange our views with BSP about further cooperation," Karat said. The dinner will be attended by Karat, Sitaram Yechury, CPI leaders AB Bardhan, D Raja, TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu, TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, JD(S) head HD Deve Gowda, AIADMK leader V Maitreyan and BJD's BJ Panda.
Explaining the dichotomy of BSP contesting alone throughout the country and many Third Front parties fielding candidates against BSP and vice-versa, Left sources said, "BSP does not believe in seat adjustment. Mayawati's main attack is directed against Congress and BJP. It does not matter if we field a candidate against BSP in UP or BSP puts up a candidate against us in other states."
Now, the Brahmins have to surrender to A dalit woman to get share in power!
All set: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP chief Mayawati waves to supporters in Vadodara on Sunday as she prepares for the coming Gujarat ...She has waged war to topple the Ruling equation and if the expected midterm is averted , the credit goes to none else than Mayawati! The Brahminical ruling Calss is afraid of Mayawati`s casteology. Common masses understand caste identity. They identify with the most powerful dalit Leader and this is danger ahead to escape the mid term elections avoiding her devastating social engineering. Whether mayawati contributes to the expected national Dalit Movement or the Global Black untouchable anti imperialist allaince, it is a different question. But it is sure that Mayawati is successful to break the Brahminical Hegemony. Now, the Brahmins have to surrender to A dalit woman to get share in power!
Mayawati has alleged that there is a conspiracy by the Congress and BJP for not providing reservations to poor among the upper castes.
''I had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding reservations for poor among upper castes and told him that BSP was ready to support the ruling alliance to make an amendment in the Constitution,'' Mayawati said at a Bahujan Samaj Party rally organized to kick-off party's election campaign in Gujarat.
''However, the Prime Minister had replied in negative about the proposal of the BSP,'' said Mayawati, who aims to repeat her success of backward class-Brahmin alliance in Gujarat after acquiring power in Uttar Pradesh.
After coming to power in UP, her party has implemented reservations of 10 per cent each for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, minorities and weaker sections of upper castes in new industrial units or projects in UP, she added.
''If it can be done in UP, then why it cannot be done at national level?'' she asked.
''Both the parties (Congress and BJP) are closer to corporate houses and capitalists, so they will oppose such amendments in the Constitution,'' she said.
Chief Minister Mayawati on Sunday said the work on an ambitious 1,000 km, eight-lane ultra modern expressway connecting Ballia in the east with Noida in the west will begin soon.
"The Eastern UP (Varanasi-Balia) to Western UP (Noida) Ganga expressway will link Balia with Noida. This eight-lane expressway will be constructed using the latest technology and it will have all the modern facilities as well," she said.The expresssway will connect the Delhi suburb to Varanasi and linking the Western and Eastern boundaries of Uttar Pradesh with a high-speed corridor.After completion of the project, the travel time between Eastern and western UP will be cut short to eight hours only, which at present is 20-24 hours. This will save the time as well as fuel.The expressway will originate from Balia and pass through Varansi, Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Unnao, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, Bulandshahar and link Noida with Poorvanchal. It will have world-class amenities like petrol pumps, telephone booths, cybercafes, food courts and emergency medical facilities etc.The expressway will be constructed by setting up flood control embankments on the Ganga, Mayawati said. The expressway's connectivity with Delhi will open new vistas for the unemployed youths of Uttar Pradesh, she added.The project will also help in re-energising the traditional industries based in places like Bhadohi, Kannauj and Khurja and also help the weavers and craftsmen to improve their economic condition effectively.The expressway will be built as far as possible upon bunds (embankments) along the left bank of Ganga for checking the problem of floods, a senior official of the UP government said.
The Mayawati government has already invited expression of interest (EOI) for creation of the project development special purpose vehicle (PDSPV) to implement the project.
The Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday booted out 3,964 more constables of the civil police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and suspended five more IPS officers, bringing the total number of such dismissals to 10,468 since the first round on September 11.
The government has also ordered registration of FIRs against all members of the 10 recruitment boards who allegedly committed irregularities in the appointments.
This time, recruitments conducted in Moradabad, Sitapur, Ghazipur, Etah, Gonda, Sonebhadra, Gorakhpur and Fatehpur have been cancelled. The axe has fallen on 3,664 constables of the civil police and 300 of the PAC.
State Principal Secretary (Home) J.N. Chamber told journalists here that the Shailja Kant Mishra Committee had submitted 18 more reports and the government had taken a decision on 10 of them. He said seven reports were currently being scrutinised by the government.
The Maywati government had sacked 6,504 constables on September 11 and registered FIRs against 12 IPS officers and other board members who were responsible for the recruitments. A similar procedure is being followed in filing FIRs against members of these 10 boards.
Officers who were suspended on Tuesday are Ramendra Vikram Singh and Ashok Kumar (both DIGs), B.R. Meena, and Vijay Singh Meena and Neelabja Chaudhury (all SPs). Those found guilty again of committing irregularities -- S.K. Mathur, B.B. Bakhshi, Akhilesh Malhotra and Daljit Singh (all DIGs)-- had already been suspended. Apart from the FIRs lodged by the police against these four officers on September 11, fresh FIRs would be filed, Chamber said.
The government has, however, given a clean chit to DIG Prashant Kumar, who had conducted the recruitment in Saharanpur. But an adverse entry would be made in his annual confidential report, Chamber said.
Resentment was rife among the dismissed constables. Many of them assembled at the
Samajwadi Party headquarters here to meet the former chief minister.
The Allahabad High Court will hear a petition challenging the dismissals on Wednesday.
Southern surprise: Gowda stirs up poll potpourri
16 Mar 2009, 0346 hrs IST, H S Balram, TNN
BANGALORE: You may like him. You may hate him. But you can't ignore Deve Gowda. He has his own brand of politics, keeps everyone guessing about his
next move, gets in and out of alliances at the drop of a hat, doesn't mind befriending the devil if that takes him closer to power, openly supports political ambitions of family members, and spikes anything that doesn't fall in line with the family's diktat.
Gowda has an uncanny knack of bouncing back just when you think he is ready to take political sanyas. When fate catapulted him to the prime minister's gaddi in 1996 and then brought him down with a thud after a stint of just 10 months, everyone thought it was the end of the road for him and that he would spend the rest of his life cutting ribbons and addressing intellectual gatherings. But he didn't. He shifted his focus to Karnataka, played his cards shrewdly, made the Congress and the BJP dance to his tunes and in the process, completely changed the state's political scenario.
In the 2004 assembly elections, Gowda's JD(S) came third, with the BJP and Congress taking the first and second positions. He didn't accept defeat. He told the Congress that the two 'secular' parties must come together to keep the 'communal' BJP at bay. The Congress fell for the bait. And for 20 months, Gowda virtually ran the government.
When a disgusted Congress tried to break the JD(S) and form the government with one of its factions, Gowda staged a coup, joined hands with the BJP — a party that he loved to hate — toppled the Dharam Singh government and formed another with his son H D Kumaraswamy as CM. For the gallery, he shed crocodile tears saying it was his son's handiwork and that his secular credentials had suffered heavily. In no time, the tears dried up and he started appreciating his son's work as CM. For 20 months, the father-son duo and family enjoyed the fruits of power with the BJP's help.
When time came to transfer power, Gowda changed colour again. Once again he dubbed the BJP a communal party and withdrew support. Here, he went wrong in his calculations. The betrayal helped the BJP garner sympathy votes and form its government. The JD(S) came a poor third. Gowda tried for a realignment with the Congress, but in vain.
Again, everyone thought that Gowda's days in politics were numbered. But he sprung back after his party grabbed four seats in the crucial by-elections. The Congress, in fact, scored a blank. This gave him a shot in the arm. With Lok Sabha elections on the horizon, he shifted focus back to national politics. While leaders like Mayawati, Karat, Jayalalithaa, Chandrababu Naidu and others were talking of a forming a third front, Gowda hosted a big meeting at Dobbspet near Tumkur in Karnataka, forced these leaders to participate (some sent their representatives) and launched the front. Much to the surprise of everyone.
If the Third Front succeeds, Gowda will demand his pound of flesh — may be, the PM's post itself. Who knows, like in 1996, he may be the consensus candidate again. Or, he may push his son for the post. Kumaraswamy proved to be a good CM during his 20-month stint in Karnataka. Of course, this is purely hypothetical. Other stalwarts are waiting in the wings. Mayawati has already thrown her hat in the ring. But in a democracy, surprises are possible. And Gowda is a man full of surprises.
If the Third Front fails, Gowda may take a U-turn and lend support to the Congress-led UPA, if it needs the numbers. Or, even to the BJP-led NDA. Let's not rule that out. He has done it in Karnataka. Gowda is just unpredictable, an enigma. Every defeat serves as a catalyst for him to return.
Congress grabs initiative down south
16 Mar 2009, 0319 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Congress appeared to be moving towards what party strategists call the "Southern breakthrough". Its effort to knock its feuding Dravidian
partners into an alliance finally made headway on Sunday when PMK president G K Mani met M K Stalin, the all-powerful son of DMK boss and Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi.
The meeting, which came against the backdrop of public acrimony between the two Dravidian parties with PMK engaging in a public campaign against the Karunanidhi government, was held at Congress's instance. Congress is keen to replicate the sort of "winning alliance" which swept the 39 Lok Sabha seats from the state.
In fact, Mani and Stalin met just after Karunanidhi's statement in public that there was no contact between the two sides. The 'hand' of Congress in the first step towards what could lead to a truce between its sparring partners was confirmed by TN Congress chief K V Thangkabalu. "We want to bring all secular parties to our alliance. Congress general secretary who is in charge of the party's Tamil Nadu affairs is holding talks with PMK," he said. Congress sources in Delhi, who were apprehensive of PMK crossing over to the AIADMK in what could have upset Congress's plans to re-take the majority of seats from Tamil Nadu, confirmed that an understanding had been worked out with the wavering PMK on Friday.
They said that both DMK and PMK have agreed to keep the alliance going, expressing confidence that nitty-gritties may be thrashed out in the next couple of days. Congress sources also said that DMK had softened its reservations about the entry of actor Vijaykanth's DMDK in the alliance.
Party's plan to retain power at the Centre will, to an important extent, turn on its performance in Tamil Nadu. The party and its allies are set to suffer reverses in other states — from Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat to Bihar and Jharkhand — where they did well, making it crucial for it to hold on to its seats from Tamil Nadu.
PMK has a strong hold over Vanniyars who dominate northern Tamil Nadu.
Congress hopes that the understanding with PMK will also help clear the way for an alliance with Vijaykanth's Desiya Mupokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK). It is keen on roping in DMDK which bagged 8% votes in its assembly poll debut, calculating that the addition would make for an invincible combine.
DMK appears to have a problem accommodating both PMK and Vijaykanth since it would not want them to cut into its share of 16 Lok Sabha seats. "As both are demanding allies, we may not be able to satisfy both of them by giving them the number of seats they want," a DMK leader said. But Congress plans to utilise DMK's dependence on its support in the Chennai assembly to get it to sign off on its project for a comprehensive "secular" alliance. The departure of Left and Vaiko's MDMK from the alliance, who together got eight seats to contest last time, gives Congress the running room to try to reconcile the competing expectations of all the players.
Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Karunanidhi was asked if the PMK had contacted the DMK for an alliance. "Not so far. We have also not contacted them," he said.
EDITORIAL COMMENT | Look Everywhere
16 Mar 2009, 0003 hrs IST
Given that the Indian armed forces have an overwhelming dependence on Russian defence equipment, the news that Russia has grounded its entire fleet
of MiG-29 aircraft due to structural defects — and subsequently found a large percentage unsafe to fly — is ominous.
The immediate implications for India are worrying. The IAF operates over 60 of the aircraft and is in the midst of procuring 45 more to fly off the much-delayed Admiral Gorshkov and indigenous Cochin-built carriers. And in a larger context, this is the latest in a series of developments over the past few years that suggest it is time for India to diversify its sources of defence equipment.
Russia’s defence manufacturing base is facing shortfalls in capabilities and capacities, leading to contract deadline overruns and increased costs, as seen repeatedly in the case of the Gorshkov.
Poor quality and a lack of spare parts only worsen the situation, as do its moribund R&D facilities which compel it to rely on technology dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. India’s ambitious plans to upgrade its military
technology and the changing profile of its requirements mean that it can no longer afford to persist with a strategy that depends on Russia as its primary supplier.
And given the recent boost in its defence budget, with various countries scrambling for a slice of the pie, it does not need to.In monetary terms, Israel is already India’s largest defence supplier. US and European companies are engaged in fierce bidding as well.
There are issues with regards to Indian demands for technology transfer, but with the US agreeing to look at these concerns, there is no reason why they should prove insurmountable.
Taken together with India’s massive contract for 126 multi-role fighter aircraft, the retirement of the MiG-23 and plans to phase out the MiG-21, these burgeoning ties suggest that the time has come to look at multiple sources for India’s defence supplies.
India could also move to liberalise the indigenous defence industry. Opening it further to private and foreign investment and forming consortia geared to implementing specific projects can provide a boost here,
bringing about much-needed structural improvements in the sorely lacking defence industry at home.
This is not to suggest that India should downgrade its Russian defence links entirely. That is neither feasible nor
necessary. Such ties can prove to be advantageous in certain instances, as in the case of the BrahMos missile or T-90 tanks.
But unreasoning adherence to a decades-old strategy is no longer viable. Perhaps the increased competition and growing defence relationship with other countries will help New Delhi to drive a good bargain with Russia as well.
16 Mar 2009, 0003 hrs IST, Jug Suraiya
Is it time we got negative about India’s democracy? Perhaps it is. India’s general elections have always been the biggest
political tamasha in the
In 1951, the first general election featured a cast of millions: 176 million voters opted for their candidates in 2,24,000 polling booths which contained two million ballot boxes; the whole exercise was supervised by 56,000 presiding officers, plus 2,80,000 helpers and 2,24,000 police personnel to maintain law and order.
Since then, things have just grown bigger and bigger: the forthcoming 15th Lok Sabha elections will star 714 million voters, 17 million, or 4 per cent of whom, are between the ages of 18 and 35, which is more than the individual populations of 161 countries in the world. Yes, things have undeniably got bigger. But have they got better? That’s the moot point.
The Indian polity is often likened to an elephant: large and lumbering and long of memory. But when in election mode, India is more like a rhino: big, certainly, yet capable of unexpected turns of speed which, coupled with a dangerously unpredictable temperament, makes it a creature it’s foolhardy to trifle with.
However, despite repeated ballot box upsets and routs at the hustings — when voters have made their displeasure
emphatically felt through the anti-incumbency factor or by rejecting odds-on favourites who thought they had victory in their pockets — all too many candidates and the political formulations they represent have taken increasing liberties with voters’ patience and sense of proprie-ties.
Ever since coalition formation has become an inescapable fact of political life, blatant opportunism — as opposed to ideology — has been made the cornerstone of all pre- and post-poll alliances.
Such politics makes not just for strange but for positively shameless bedfellows. Parties which might have opposed each other tooth and claw over a range of issues, social or economic, have no hesitation in swiftly burying their differences if it means ‘coming into power’ (in India, governments always ‘come into power’ to rule us; they never ‘assume office’ in order to serve us) by turning yesterday’s foes into today’s friends, and vice versa.
Voters, of course, have long got used to such somersaults and other acrobatics and try to exploit them to their own advantage. But the result, inevitably, has been a growing cynicism regrading the moral and ethical fibre of our political class as a whole. And while scepticism — the due diligence of doubt — is the oxygen of democracy, cynicism — the conviction that everything is fraudulent — is its bane.Increasing cynicism regarding the political class is arguably the greatest danger posed today to our still robust democracy.
Regrettably, this cynicism is inescapable given not just the overt opportunism but the rank criminality of all too many of our political representatives: the last Lok Sabha had no fewer than 125 MPs, almost 25 per cent of the House, belonging to parties across the board who faced, and are still facing, criminal charges, many of a serious nature, including rape and murder.
How do we decriminalise our politics? How do we help to make the electorate less cynical about the people they willy-nilly must vote for, no matter what little faith or trust the voter has in them, for the simple reason that all the candidates are equally undesirable?
One possible answer to these and similar questions is the introduction of the negative vote, by which voters can reject all the candidates standing in any given constituency if they feel that not one
of them is worth voting for.
Fear of the negative vote — which in a way is a precursor of, and a possible way of obviating, the anti-incumbency factor — could force parties to field more suitable candidates.
The negative vote is sometimes seen as a short-circuiting of the democratic process. On the contrary, used judiciously it could help greatly to empower the electorate by giving people a better quality of candidate, to the overall betterment of our polity.
So, is it time we got negative about our democracy? Because, in this case, a negative democracy would be positive.
Clouded details of Pakistan deal
By M Ilyas Khan
BBC News, Islamabad
Tension has eased, optimism has been renewed and a wave of jubilation has swept through the country.
A long, fraught night in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, culminated in the government's decision to reinstate the chief justice who was sacked more than a year ago.
Lawyers who had campaigned for Iftikhar Chaudhry's reinstatement were ecstatic.
The public was also happy, because the decision had averted a major confrontation between the two largest political forces of the country, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of President Asif Ali Zardari and the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif.
The two parties had together swept the 2008 elections and formed an alliance to rule the country.
The alliance was widely welcomed by the electorate as it meant that the two parties would not resort to the political squabbling of the 1990s which destabilised successive governments and impoverished the economy.
Transfer of power
But the parties drifted apart over the question of the reinstatement of Justice Chaudhry, who had been sacked by military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2007.
Public aspirations can no longer be ignored either by politicians, soldiers or judges, Justice Chaudhry included
Many say Gen Musharraf sacked him because he feared the judge might upset his plans to win a second term as president.
Gen Musharraf's successor, Mr Zardari, had pledged to reinstate Justice Chaudhry but was accused of delaying the move because he feared the judge might revive corruption cases against him.
Those cases were instituted by the government of Nawaz Sharif in 1997 but were withdrawn by Gen Musharraf's government under the transfer-of-power deal which paved the way for the 2008 elections.
That transfer-of-power deal also apparently contained an agreement that would protect Gen Musharraf from prosecution for actions during his leadership.
So what backroom deals were done to secure this latest accord, apparently sealed following high-level negotiations in which the army and some US diplomats played a key role?
What deal has been done on charges against Musharraf?
While the government has apparently agreed to make Justice Chaudhry the chief justice, it is still not known if this will mean a reversal of Gen Musharraf's order to sack him.
Legal experts say a reversal would expose Pervez Musharraf to prosecution for illegal conduct, something many say is unlikely to happen.
If, on the other hand, Justice Chaudhry is being offered an arrangement that does not term his sacking illegal, then the PML-N and some top lawyer leaders may have agreed to let Pervez Musharraf off the hook.
Then there is the question of Nawaz Sharif.
His PML-N threw its weight behind the lawyers' movement after the Supreme Court upheld a ruling to ban him and his brother Shahbaz from elected office.
Shahbaz was chief minister of Pakistan's largest province, Punjab, and had to step down. The central government extended federal rule to Punjab.
It seems the government has now offered a judicial review of that judgment.
This, together with the decision to reinstate Justice Chaudhry, has rekindled hopes for many that the two parties may revert to the post-election phase of mutual cooperation.
There is certainly a growing feeling that politically motivated cases, such as those against Mr Zardari or the Sharifs, have damaged the credibility of the judiciary.
But what of Justice Chaudhry himself?
Will Chaudhry now be reluctant to delve into the controversial?
In the past, he has shown himself to be an independent minded judge, not shy of passing judgments that hurt government interests.
He shot down some privatisation deals of the Musharraf government and forced the intelligence agencies to produce political prisoners they had earlier denied they were holding.
But Justice Chaudhry has now been sacked twice. First in March 2007 and again in November of the same year.
Although, on both occasions, public pressure played a decisive role in his reinstatement, some analysts say Justice Chaudhry may now be reluctant to delve into matters that will prove controversial.
The people want justice and the rule of law, but also political stability, democracy and equal opportunity.
In the presence of an aggressive media, public aspirations can no longer be ignored either by politicians, soldiers or judges, Justice Chaudhry included.
Medical SEZ to come up in city
14 Mar 2009, 0319 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Special economic zones (SEZs) will no longer be home to industrial units alone. Very soon, hospitals and clinics too will be a part of
Frontier Lifeline & Dr K M Cherian Heart Foundation's Frontier Mediville Medical City project in Elavur, near Gummidipondi, Tamil Nadu, will come up on 367 acres of land at a total investment of Rs 1,500 crore. A national medical science park and a 1,000-bed bio-hospital (which combines clinical medicine with regenerative medicine and basic sciences) will come up on 55 acres, which has been accorded an SEZ recently from the government. The medical science park would be a hub for research and training and would focus on developing treatment methodologies with specific focus on regenerative medicine.
The Frontier Mediville project is expected to be funded through internal accruals and grants from various organisations. "We are also open to private equity funding," said Dr K M Cherian. The medical city will be completed in five years. The animal lab and the research and training centre is expected to be completed by the year-end at a total cost of Rs 150 crore.
Other proposed centres are a general hospital, a medical college and a geriatric centre. The revenues for the bio-hospital would largely be generated through medical tourism. The bio-hospital is expected to provide tertiary care in all sub-specialities of medicine and will also be supported by modern basic sciences such as stem cell technology, tissue engineering and nanatechnology. There will be emphasis on contract research and a wellness centre.
Medical cities are now new to India. Dr Naresh Trehan promoted the concept in Gurgaon, near Delhi. Fortis Healthcare is now contemplating a medicity in Gurgaon.
Caste War in India and Global Hindutva
Contact: Palash C Biswas, C/O Mrs Arati Roy, Gosto Kanan, Sodepur, Kolkata- 700110, India. Phone: 91-033-25659551
The Supreme Court has admitted a special leave petition (SLP) challenging the policy of campus recruitment of students for various posts from a few selected institutions by public sector undertakings, in particular the Kochi Refineries Limited (KRL).A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran admitted the SLP from the Federation of Central Government SC/ST Employees (Kerala). The SLP questioned such recruitment without adhering to the quotas reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It was directed against a Kerala High Court judgment dated July 20, 2005 upholding the recruitment. Considering the importance of the issues involved, the Bench said the hearing would be expedited.
The federation said campus recruitment, apart from legal infirmity, had far-reaching social consequences. It would deprive the rights of those studying in various institutions, colleges, universities recognised by the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education to compete for the post as there was neither any newspaper advertisement nor any intimation to employment exchanges.
The petitioner contended that the respondent company had not followed the Government of India guidelines and its own recruitment rules.
It contended that the fundamental rights guaranteed to the SCs and the STs in the matter of equality of opportunity under the Constitution in public employment under the State had been infringed or violated by the respondent. It sought quashing of the impugned judgment and to stay the appointment of management trainees.
The Economist (US) is a premium publication.Which publishes this! Mind you that US zionists are the best allies of Brahmincal rulers in India. The Hinduva is now a Global affair and Globalistion itself is nothing but Post modern manusmriti! See this misinformation campaign against dalits.
The 100,000 and more Indians still trapped in Iraq and Kuwait may find that, when they do get back home, they will be exchanging one battle zone for another. India is slipping towards a caste war. The opening shot was fired by the prime minister, Mr V.P. Singh, when he announced last month that 27% of the jobs in the central government and in public-sector companies would be reserved for members of middling Hindu castes (the official description is "backward castes", but many of those covered are not in desperate condition at all). Ever since then, street battles have begun.
The best example of misinformation campaign of US Galaxy Order is Islamophobia which justifies most the War agianst terrorism!
In India , the partition victim dalit Bengli refugges resettled countrywide and deprived of reservation, mother language , civil and human rights have been branded as Bangladeshi Nationals thanks to the global Information explosion. Armed with
"The successive post-1975 governments have changed the concept of nationalism from Bengali nationalism-characterised by ethno-linguistic identities and not by religious (Muslim) identity - to Bangladeshi nationalism-characterised by religious (Muslim) identity of the Bangladeshi majority- which make them distinct from the Bengali Hindus of the Indian state of West Bengal who never showed any interest in forming a separate state based on Bengali nationalism. Armed with the new Citizenship Act, the brahminical Indian Polity led by pranab Mukherjee has launched a deportation drive against this lot.
What happens in Bangladesh where the Brahmins of bengal want to deport all these Dalit Bengali Hindus!
And they launch a Hindu super power campaign!
The chagring of the Government of Khaleda Zia at the publication of a short novel Lajja by a medical doctor Taslima Nasreen in February 1993 depicting the plight of a Hindu family is understandable. The book was promptly proscribed and the passport of the author impounded, which made her an international celebrity overnight. (Borhan uddin Ahmed, Recovery of Freedom, Hakkani Pub, p-323)
The Bangladesh Government under a woman Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, who has not changed the family law against woman, inclines on the side of the fundamentalists and has issued a warrant for your arrest for causing a disturbance of peace. She has not taken any steps to revise the Constitution devised by General Ershad, who made Islam the state religion of Bangladesh. And the Government has banned your book Lajja. Even Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the valiant Mujibur Rahman, is silent with her Awami League followers in cowardly retreat before fanatics. .…. We are the older colleagues of the women writers, Ismat Chughtai, Rashid Jahan, Kamla Das and Mahasweta Devi…. And we defend your right to say…. Uncle Mulk, Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi of India and Laureate of the International Peace Prize. (Frontline, 12 August 1994).
Dr. Humayun Azad, Professor of Dhaka University and prominent author-researcher, has illustrated the sorrowful stories of Hindus in his novel ‘Pak Sar Zamin Shadbad’, the first line of Pakistani national anthem, which we, too, had to chant in the school after the coup in 1958. It (Pak Sar Zamin Shadbad) was first published in the Eid supplement of The Ittefaq in 2003 that followed a review by Rajen Thakur in Janakantha and Sangbad, two leading Bengali dailies of Dhaka. Unidentified assailants critically injured Prof.Humayun Azad with bucher’s knives in front of Bangla Academy on February 27,2004.
Dr Humayun Azad faced dastardly attack and he had to undergo prolong treatment in the country and abroad. After coming back, he resumed normal life. Prof.Azad went to Germany on a research job on romantic German writer Heinrich Heine where he was found dead at his apartment at Munich on August 12,2004.
BY MJ AKBAR (Byline)
24 September 2007
WHEN a coalition begins to melt, its partners subtly, if not silently, begin to shift their public agenda from common concern to individual need. The debate over the bridge built by Lord Ram between the Tamil coast and Sri Lanka is hardly new. A year ago, the supreme leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, MK Karunanidhi, would not have fractured sensibilities nationwide with intemperate, unacceptable remarks about Lord Ram, revered and worshipped by Hindus as the paradigm of virtue. Today, the political calendar has a premature general election marked within the first half of 2008. His party’s fortunes are now more important to him than his coalition’s fate. After all, what use is any coalition to him if he cannot get the seats that can make him a power broker?
Under pressure, Karunanidhi is dipping into the source of Dravida nectar for sustenance. The origins are lost to public memory, so it may be useful to recall them.
The movement began in 1914 when Dr C Nadesan Mudaliar started the Dravida Association. But it got its first impetus when the son of a rich landlord, privileged enough to be educated in England, walked away from his background to fight for the lower castes against the domination of the Brahmins. The name of this remarkable man was EV Ramaswamy Naicker, popularly known as ‘EVR’ and then ‘Periyar’. His philosophy was practical: he likened caste to malaria and said that his search was not for medicine but for the mosquitoes that spread malaria. He declared himself an atheist and went to war against Brahmins, the chief perpetrators of caste iniquity. He launched an agitation against his personal friend, the Maharaja of Travancore for reform: an Untouchable could not walk on the streets of the princely state, let alone raise his eyes in front of someone from an upper caste. You can get a flavour of EVR’s views from this quotation: "(Aryans) concocted absurd stories in keeping with their barbarian status… The blabberings of the intoxicated Brahmins in those old days are still faithfully observed in this modern world as the religious rituals, morals, stories, festivals, fasts, vows and beliefs". Inherent in the doctrine was the Aryan as an outsider, who had driven true Indians, Dravidians, south and then maintained his power through an iniquitous system. Brahmins were agents of that domination.
The Dravida movement would move away from the eccentricities of EVR into the sager leadership of CN Annadurai, but the basic philosophy did not alter. When the DMK was formed after the split in the Dravida Kazhagam on 17 September 1949, it did not name a chairman. That chair was kept vacant for the "soul of Periyar".
SRIRANGAPATNA:Chikkahakanahalli village in Srirangapatna is yet to limp back to normalcy after the caste clashes as Dalits continue to live in fear.Dalit youth and men who had fled to neighbouring villages fearing for their lives have not returned. They are yet to receive medical help or compensation for property damaged by caste Hindus.However, the district administration has issued cheques for Rs 10,000 to seven seriously injured Dalit men and women. They are yet to come out of the shock and fear and are penniless to repair their damaged houses.
New delhi: There have been strong reactions to an NDTV report exposing caste discrimination at AIIMS and other top hospitals in the capital.The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes says it will take action against doctors or anybody else found guilty of caste discrimination.On Sunday NDTV showed how at AIIMS at least eight doctors refused to go at rounds with a doctor because they accuse the doctor of caste discrimination.The report revealed that politics and caste have divided doctors and students not only at AIIMS but in several hospitals across the city.The situation is particularly bad at AIIMS, where some doctors have refused to go on rounds with their seniors. They say that they are being discriminated on the basis of caste.
For Dr Suman Bhasker, a cancer specialist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, doing the rounds at the hospital has become a solitary routine. For the last three months, the eight resident doctors who are meant to accompany her on her rounds have refused to do so.They claim Dr Bhasker is not available, has physically threatened them and has discriminated against the upper caste doctors on the basis of caste.But she says this is a motivated campaign rooted in caste.
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Religions played worst role in India.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Saturday said it is in favour of reservation for Dalits among Muslims and other minority communities. The party said it also wants a 10 per cent quota for the poor among the upper castes.
A tribal rights group today accused the UPA Government of trying to sabotage the Forest Rights Act in the process of framing rules and regulations. Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath has called for upgradation of educational standards in order to develop skills in industrial sectors. Luis Filipe Castro Mendes, the Ambassador of Portugal to India representing the current European Union Presidency, has said that the delegation led by him aims to update the EU on the political situation in Jammu and Kashmir.Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechuri today said India would be solely dependent on the US as the deal would not provide the technological knowledge of the Nuke project to the country.Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Beijing later this year, special representatives of India and China Monday kicked off another round of talks here to resolve the contentious boundary dispute that has hobbled their bilateral ties for over four decades.
Tamil Nadu unit of the Dalit Sena today hanged an effigy of former BJP MP and VHP leader Ram Vilas Vedanti for issuing a ‘fatwa’ against Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for his critical remarks against Lord Ram. BSP asks Tamil Nadu Govt to toe the line of Mayawati Govt in Uttar Pradesh..The Bahujan Samaj party (BSP) today appealed to the Tamil Nadu Governemnt to implement reservation in private sector on the lines of the one implemented by the BSP government in Uttar Pradesh. .The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) wants to share power with Brahmins in Madhya Pradesh on the lines of neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the party’s Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Brajesh Pathak has said.On the other hand,The CPI(M) today joined issue with the BJP for its decision to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in the party, saying it is a camouflage for betrayal of the real cause. The CPI(M) today asserted that the Muslim community is being sandwiched between the UPA government’s "hesitant and tokenist" approach and the BJP’s outright rejection of the Sachar Committee Report and demanded that the Centre come out with a sub plan for the minorities laced with adequate resources. The CPI has convened a three-day emergency session of its highest decision-making bodies to prepare for the inevitability of Lok Sabha polls and review and redefine its relationship with the UPA government.
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today exuded optimism of being able to evolve a political consensus to bring in a legislation in the near future providing reservation of seats for women in the Legislatures, both at the Centre and State levels.
Tamil Nadu will observe a bandh on October 1, to demonstrate to the Centre that people wanted speedy implementation of the Sethusamudram Project, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said on Monday.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi tonight said he disapproved of the attack on the BJP state headquarters by DMK volunteers yesterday.On the other hand, Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP) general secretary Pravin Togadia today warned of an aggressive movement if the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance(UPA) government at the Centre did not refrain from destroying the Ram Sethu.The BJP today sought the Centre’s intervention in ensuring the safety of its offices in Tamil Nadu that have been allegedly attacked by DMK workers angry over remarks made by a former BJP MP against the state Chief Minister.
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today ordered a CID inquiry into the mysterious death of Rizwanur Rehman, whose inter-religious marriage to an industrialist’s daughter led to family furore and a tragic end whipping up allegation of a foul play.A day after Kolkata witnessed violence over the mysterious death of a Muslim youth who was harassed for marrying a rich Hindu girl, the Kolkata police Sunday defended their role in the episode, dubbing the death a suicide even as the victim’s family demanded a fair probe.
The Tamil Nadu government today informed the Madras High Court that 662 undertrial prisoners have been lodged in various central prisons in the state without getting their remand extended.
In the backdrop of a reported ‘fatwa’ issued by former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti against DMK patriarch and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has said that everyone should be united to face the threats posed by religious fundamentalist forces. Gandhi, who had a telephonic conversation with Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu on Sunday, said, "We will not be cowed down by threats and continue to work for the people.
"Everybody should fight unitedly against communal forces," a DMK release quoted her as saying in Chennai on Monday.
Patna High Court today deferred till October 31 the hearing on the petition filed by the Bihar government challenging acquittal of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and former chief minister Rabri Devi by a lower court in connection with the disproportionate assets (DA) case.
Tripura government was not satisfied over the performances of the nationalised banks operating in the state, Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury said.
Phoolan’s sister breaks into tears during cross examination
NEW DELHI: The cross-examination of Phoolan Devi’s sister Munni Devi was on Monday adjourned by a court here amid dramatic scenes as she broke down on being shown some photos of the slain bandit-turned-politician.
Additional Sessions Judge V K Bansal adjourned the matter for Tuesday after Munni, Phoolan’s younger sister, expressed her inability to continue with the deposition.
Munni, who has been declared a hostile witness by the prosecution for her volte-face from the statement given to the police after the murder, was cross-examined and given a few photos to identify the injury marks on the body of Phoolan.
As soon as the photos were shown to Munni, she broke down.
Finding her inconsolable, the judge asked her whether she would be able to depose any further, to which she replied in negative and the matter was posted for Tuesday.
Earlier, during her cross-examination, Munni, 32, told the court that she was like a daughter to her elder sister and the slain Samajwadi Party MP had even helped her husband get a job in Railways.
She, however, expressed ignorance on being asked if she knew that her sister was a dacoit and had killed 17 Thakurs in Behmai in February, 1981.
"I do not know whether she, at the time of her surrender in 1983, had said that she was raped and harassed by police and that is why she became a dacoit," Munni said adding she did not know how many criminal cases were pending against her sister in different states.
The prosecution is cross-examining Munni after she went back from her statement that she had seen the assailants who shot her sister outside her official residence here.
Vigilante justice is an "alarming state of affairs": SC
New Delhi: Describing recent instances of vigilante justice as an "alarming state of affairs", the Supreme Court has asked courts to expeditiously dispose off cases lest people lose their confidence in the judiciary.
A bench of Justices A K Mathur and Markandeya Katju said such incidents of mob violence often arise out of frustration over endless litigations in various courts.
"We saw in the media news of lynching of suspected thieves in Bihar`s Vaishali district, the gunning down of an under-trial prisoner outside Patna city civil court and other incidents where people have taken the law into their own hands. This is obviously because many people have started thinking that justice will not be done in the courts due to the delays in court proceedings," the apex court observed.
The judges made the observations while directing equal distribution of a property between two contending parties who were litigating on the issue for over 60 years.
http://www.counterc urrents.org/ bidwai220907. htm
Villagers fall victim to India’s caste war
Brahmins and Dalits, at the top and the bottom of Hindu society, seek political alliance to fight ‘Yadav Raj’
Randeep Ramesh in Kannauj
Tuesday June 14, 2005
Suresh Chandra Pandey’s mutilated body was discovered more than a year ago, less than half a mile from his mud and stone house in the sleepy village of Nunnar, some 220 miles south-east of Delhi.
It was a violent execution-style killing; the 50-year-old farm labourer was hung up, shot in the chest and finally had his arms removed from the elbow joints. Everyone knows who the murderers are, say his family, but the killers have not been brought to justice. The police, the local administration and the local MP will not lift a finger to help, they add.
Church Attempting to Incite Caste War in India
Posted September 22, 2004
11th November 1996
1. In November 1978, a Paper titled "A document for Foreigners-Apartheid in India", "authored" by Shri V.T. Rajshekar Shetty was presented at the race and minorities conference held in New Zealand. This document read as follows:
"Without destroying Hindu religion, untouchability cannot go. But are they in the process to do this impossible job? No. Hence, in all humility and in utter helplessness they are forced to demand a separate homeland within India. And in this endeavour for a separate homeland, the untouchables of India wanted to approach the UNO and its Human Rights Commission……"
"Please note that the Indian untouchables are a dynamite. Their body is like steel and mind a volcano. They would burn the whole land Once ignited. Somebody has to lit the dynamite and it will explode, and when it explodes, the whole world would tremble".
2. Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) had its seventh assembly session at Bangalore (May 18-28, 1981). Document No. 10 captioned "Torture and Killings of Untouchables Inside India-Christian Responsibility" reads as follows :
"Caste War is spreading all over India and we are thinking of approaching the UNO and the Human Rights Commission to fight for our demands of separate homeland for the Dalitasthan" (p.1).
"…..The untouchables inside India have hardly any freinds inside the country. The press is hostile, police are its main enemy, the government is not bothered. Every opportunity is barred. Therefore, we have no other go but to seek friends outside". (p. 4).
"…..Therefore, the Christians owe a duty to save this wretched of the earth. We admit that nobody has done greater service to the untouchables of India as the Christians. That is why thousands of them have embraced this religion….".
"The CCA must address itself to the grave problem. It must also give the highest priority to the liberation of the untouchables by treating it as the world’s greatest problem, needing the immediate attention of the Church".
3. At the Asian Conference on the "Role of Religion and National Harmony" organised by CCA at Colombo, Sri Lanka, from October 28 to Nov. 3 1981, the Paper "authored" by Shri V.T. Rajshekar and presented "on behalf of the untouchables" goes on to say :
"Muslims, Christians and Hindus constitute a perpetually warring Nation. Muslims (15 %) and Christians (3 %) are being persecuted by the Hindu majority. Apart from this, the untouchables (20 %) and Tribals (10 %) each constitute a separate nation. Sikhs are now rightly demanding a separate nation "Khalistan". As consciousness increases along with literacy and other factors, Muslims, Christians and each caste within Hinduism will clamour for separateness and some people expect India to be torn to pieces in course of time. The first and the foremost programme is to quit Hinduism. They will fight for a separate state. To get safety and security they have to seek a separate state "Dalitasthan"…."
"International Organisations, UNO and particularly Christians and Muslims have a duty to support the liberation struggle of the untouchables. Our struggle need to be linked up with the other struggling groups of Blacks, Brakus, Palestinians ….. On behalf of the untouchables of India we thank the CCA/URM led by George Ninan and ably assisted by Kurata".
4. In the weekly "Organiser" dated 20 October 1996, Shri Arun Shourie has written an illuminating article titled "With friends like these who needs enemies?". He has mentioned two anti-Hindu Seminars/Conferences apparently sponsored/supported by the Government of USA, the first on July 16, 1996 with the topic "Hindu Revivalism in India : Position, Prospects and Implications for the U.S."’ and the second on November 5 and 7, 1996, the Annual Conference on South Asia at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. At these Conferences, Hindu religion and ideology were presented as representing Hitler’s fascism; Hindu conduct is represented by "Rape being the normal response of a Hindu male to a minority woman", etc.
5. How has the US Government got entangled into this type of propaganda?
As a part answer to this question, we attach xerox copy of the paper cutting from Los angeles India, Weekly dated Friday, May 10, 1991.
This gives some idea of what is brewing in USA Govt. circles. The following points are noteworthy :
i) In respect of India, there has been active sharing of views between U.S. Govt. circles and private companies engaged in manufacture of war weaponry.
These companies have their sales men and women prowling around in the whole world, promoting sales for their war weaponry. (It is alleged that some of these private companies were involved even in the assasination of the late President J.F. Kennedy when he was about to declare closure of the Vietnam war).
These companies are receiving subsidies, contracts and research projects from the US government. It is the question of their own bread and butter and also there is the question of employment to sustain economy of the United States.
ii) US is talking of restless natives and Chaos in India which would justify US intervention. Has this anything to do with the church organisation, caste war and foreign intervention talked about by the Church, as given in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 above?
6. Who is this Shri Rajshekar Shetty who has been presented as representative of 80 % population of India and who is requesting the Christian Church to help him in removing Hinduism from India or at least having one more partition of India? In his pamphlet titled "Class-Caste Struggle, Emerging Third Force", "authored" by Shri V.T. Rajshekar in 1980 and published by Dalit Action Committee as Publication No. 8, Shri Rajshekar also talks of Shri Kanshiram organising Chamar belt in Hindi heartland. He also expressed the hope that the CPI, CPM and Naxalite units would unite with them under the ideology of class-caste struggle and form a Third Force. He breathes out violence and terrorism, talking of destruction of Hindu religion and India being torn to pieces, etc.; with whose support?
The same Shri V.T. Rajshekar "authored" on behalf of Dalit Sahitya Academy, Bangalore, Booklet No. 4, titled "Who is Ruling India?". It was published in 1982. Here he painted Hindu religion as the father of fascism and spoke nearly the same language as is now heard in US sponsored/supported discussions and seminars on Hinduism in USA reported in para 4 above. What is the link?
Roman Catholic Church has a weekly journal "The Examiner", which was started during the days of British East India Company in 1850. It is now running Volume No. 147 in the year 1996. In a recent issue of this journal dated October 12, 1996 it has presented Shri V.T. Rajshekar as the foremost Dalit voice.
In what way are Shri V.T. Rajshekar, Shri Kanshiram and the "religious" organisation known as Roman Catholic Church of India connected? How has the link been established with the govenment of USA?
To get some deeper understanding of these apparently unrelated events, it is desirable that Indian leaders and thinkers read the book "Crux Ansata" by the well-known historian H.G. Wells who has connected the activities of the Roman Catholic Church with many political tragic events of the world, including the Second World War.
He has traced the active role of Church in precipitating many cruel and gruesome events of history of Europe and the western world. Is this same Church going to precipitate some tragedies in the eastern world also, just to establish its own brand of Christianity in the East? Is U.S. Govt getting influenced and entangled in its net? Trend of this type in USA is suggested by books like the following :
i) "The Vatican in World Politics" By Avro Manhattan, Chick Publications, P.O. Box 662, Chino, CA 91710, USA.
ii) "Catholic Terror in Ireland" By Avro Manhattan, Chick Publications, P.O. Box 662, Chino, CA 91710, USA.
iii) "The Vatican and the USA" By Avro Manhattan, Chick Publications, P.O. Box 662, Chino, CA 91710, USA.
iv) "The Secret History of the Jesuits" By Edmond Paris, Chick Publications, P.O. Box 662, Chino, CA 91710, USA.
v) "History’s Greatest Liars" By Joseph McCabe, American Atheist Press, P.O. Box 2117, Austin, TX 78768 - 2117 (USA)
vi) "Vietnam : Why did we go?" By Avro Manhattan, Chick Publications, P.O. Box 662, Chino, AC 91710, USA.
vii) "Terror over Yugoslavia" By Avro Manhattan, Chick Publications, P.O. Box 622, Chino, CA 91710, USA.
We must not rush to form and express hasty opinion about the U.S. The latter is a democratic country. Public opinion plays an important role in the political decisions of US Govt. We must endeavour to project our opinion and image properly in USA, at Govt. level and non-Govt. level. We have more in common with U.S. aims and objectives than with many other countries of the world. We must tread our path carefully. Amongst the Christian laity also, there are persons who do not like the Church to dabble in politics and to create tensions in the Indian society; they want the Church to restrict itself to spirituality. But ……
7. Hinduism has not been proselytizing religion like Christainity and Islam. Policy of "conversions" followed by poselytizing religions in nothing short of declaring war against other religions. It builds inter-religious tensions leading to inter-religious wars.
Prof. S. Radhakrishnan, Late President Of India, in his book "The Hindu Way of Life" (Unwin Books, 1960, 92 pages) wrote as follows :
i) The intolerance of narrow monotheism is written in letters of blood across the history of man from the time when first the tribes of Israel burst into the land Canaan. The worshippers of the one Jealous God are egged on to aggressive wars against people of alien cults. They invoke Divine Sanction for the cruelties inflicted on the conquered. The spirit of old Israel is inherited by Christianity and Islam (page 40).
ii) "Wars of Religion which are the outcome of fanaticism that prompts and justifies the extermination of aliens of different creeds are practically unknown in Hindu India".
8. Summary :
i) There is ample evidence that the Church in India is encouraging violence and chaos in India.
ii) Hindus in India are generally unaware of the history of violence and terrorism in which the Church has participated outside India.
iii) Through its International link-ups, the Church is creating anti-India prejudices in U.S.A., even to this day. One hundred years ago, Swami Vivekananda had very bitter experience with the Christian Church in USA when he preache Hinduism there. The situation is not very different today.
iv) The Church has gained sufficient footing in India today so that its spokesmen and spokeswomen freely talk of destroying Hindu religion in India and also India being torn to pieces.
Trumped By A Religious Myth
By Praful Bidwai
22 September, 2007
The News International
India’s United Progressive Alliance came to power in 2004 on a secular platform. But it has now beaten an ignominious retreat on the Ram Setu (Adam’s Bridge) issue pertaining to the proposed Sethusamudram ship-canal project in the Palk Straits by caving in to the Sangh Parivar.
Having told the Supreme Court through an affidavit filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that there is no clinching evidence that the shoal/sandbar structure in the Gulf of Mannar was built by Lord Rama’s followers, it executed a U-turn as soon as it sensed that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Janata Party might exploit it by misconstruing it as "anti-Hindu. "
The Sangh Parivar contends that the affidavit denies Ram’s existence and constitutes "blasphemy" and an "insult to the Hindus." As L K Advani claimed, "the government has sought to negate all that the Hindus consider sacred … and wounded the very idea of India."
Following media spin, some secular liberals too wrongly described the affidavit as overreaching or tactless because it callously "denies Ram’s existence, goes beyond saying that the Setu is a natural formation, and comments on the historicity of sacred texts like the Ramayana and Tulasidas’s Ramacharitamanas.
POLITICS: India in Epic Caste War
By Praful Bidwai
NEW DELHI, May 30 (IPS) - An epic battle is in progress in India over the issue of affirmative action in favour of socially disadvantaged groups, in particular those who belong to the lower castes in India's notoriously hierarchical social order.
Its outcome will determine the careers and life-chances of millions of people who aspire to a better position in this society. It will also impact the way India, regarded by many as an 'emerging superpower', designs its education system to meet future challenges.
On one side in this confrontation stand a majority of India's caste groups, including the Dalits (former untouchables) and low and lower-middle castes (officially called Other Backward Classes or OBCs). Backing them are all the major political parties, and the government, which recently announced that 27 percent of all places in federally-run universities will be reserved for OBCs, who constitute a little over 50 percent of India's billion plus population.
Arrayed on the opposite side is a small, but resolute and influential minority, which opposes OBC reservations. It is led by students from some of India's elite medical and engineering colleges, who have been holding vocal protests against the government's decision.
The students are backed by professional guilds like the Indian Medical Association, some of India's big industrial tycoons, chambers of commerce, and Information Technology executives. A significant section of the media supports them.
Under the pressure of the second group, the government recently diluted its original OBC-quota proposal and decided to increase the number of seats (student intake) in all central higher education institutions so that the positions filled by 'open competition' do not shrink. It also delayed implementation of quotas by a year.
Education, the key to employment, is a scarce commodity in India despite GDP growth. In fact, India's education expenditure as a percentage of GDP has never risen above 4.3 percent of GDP, despite a target of 6 percent set in 1968 and in recent years the gap between GDP growth and education expenditure has been widening rather than otherwise
But the concessions announced by the government, to protect the existing number of unreserved seats, failed to satisfy the agitating students who have moved from resisting reservations to opposing affirmative action (AA) itself.
Meanwhile, India's Supreme Court has stepped into the arena by admitting petitions moved by AA's opponents. It has asked the government to explain the rationale behind OBC reservations. "This is likely to encourage the agitating students just when their protests seemed to be losing momentum," says Zoya Hasan, professor of political science at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University. "More important, it will strengthen those who radically oppose AA."
The ongoing contestation has brought to the surface issues long considered settled. The most important is that of reservations for India's Dalits and Adivasis (aboriginals), mandated by the constitution. These groups are arguably India's most underprivileged and bear the burden of centuries-long social discrimination.
Reservations to the extent of 22.5 percent were introduced for them half-a-century ago in school and college admissions and in government jobs. India's upper-caste elite, which comprises under 15 percent of the population, but occupies a large share of plum jobs and dominates the professions, seemed to have reconciled itself to the 22.5 percent quotas. But now, even that consensus is being questioned by the agitating students.
The present battle is also opening other fault-lines: between India's political class and opinion-shaping elite, between scholars for or against quotas, and between those who take a 'reservations-only' position, and those who want the other forms of AA too.
No political party dares question the OBC quota proposal up-front. Even the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, whose core-base lies amongst upper-caste Hindus, does not challenge the decision; but it wants quotas for the poorer layers of the upper castes too.
The two opposing sides cite different facts and arguments to back their respective positions. Those who advocate reservations for OBCs emphasise the historical disadvantage that low-caste groups face vis-à-vis the 'twice-born' upper castes in respect of literacy and education, discrimination on grounds of ritual purity, and social status.
They hold that such disadvantage necessitates AA, in particular, quotas; in a deeply unequal society like India, equity and justice must come before any abstract considerations of "excellence".
Opponents of AA emphasise "merit", by which they mean performance in examinations, reflecting inherent intelligence, which society should reward through admissions to schools and colleges.
''The obsession with 'merit' is unique in India,'' says Zoya Hasan. ''Elsewhere in the world, you hear terms like 'academic proficiency', 'competence', 'excellence' in research, etc. In India merit has taken on an almost mystical significance as a quality inherent in some chosen people, not something that can be acquired through training and effort.''
The 'merit' argument makes very little sense in a society based on the inheritance of private property and birth-related privilege. Property inheritance means that the affluent are at a vastly different, higher starting-point from the disadvantaged. Most upper-caste people enjoy great advantage over OBCs primarily because of their disparate starting-points.
Sociologists have argued that a privileged person born in a highly educated upper-caste family will have a totally different universe of knowledge, social contacts and elite acceptability, and wholly different access to information about the availability of study courses, colleges and private tuition, career options, professional advice, etc.
The critical issue is how to level the playing field and give equal opportunity to the disadvantaged. Experience from different countries, including the United States, South Africa and Malaysia, suggests that affirmative action is probably the best solution.
"Affirmative action," holds political theorist Rajeev Bhargava, "can take many forms, including voluntary targets for recruitment of disadvantaged groups, special counselling and training, etc. Reservations, admittedly, are a rather blunt instrument to promote the goal. India has used reservations as the sole form of AA."
However, confronted with a choice between having a relatively crude AA, and no affirmative action at all, many Indians favour the first, as surveys have shown. The government formula of increasing the intake of students by as much as 54 percent can be implemented only if the higher education infrastructure is considerably expanded along with staff recruitment.
It will not be easy to achieve such an expansion in the course of barely one year. The government has set up an oversight committee along with three sub-committees to determine how this is to be done. Any delay in these committees' functioning is likely to be used by the anti-AA lobby to subvert the whole effort.
Whether the lobby succeeds or not, and whatever the Supreme Court does, it is clear that the issue of AA for OBCs cannot be removed from India's agenda. It has come to occupy an important place in it with the political rise of the OBCs for the past quarter-century or more, and in particular, after 1990.
In 1990, the government decided to implement a long-pending report of an official commission (the Mandal commission) by announcing that 27 percent of all Central government jobs would be reserved for OBCs. Although the number of jobs involved was only 15,000 a year, the decision produced a furious and violent upper-caste backlash.
Since then, however, acceptance of the Mandal logic seems to have spread. Now, that may yet again be in question.
Will what has been called the Forward March of the Backwards come to a halt? Or will it prove as unstoppable as it has in recent years? The answer cannot be long in coming. (END/2006)
SECRET OF MODI VICTORY
If Sonia doesn’t take over as PM, India may go BJP way : Will Gujarat repeat in Karnataka ?
India has no ideology. It never had any ideology. The only ideology of the people of India — rich or poor, upper or lower caste — is caste ideology. “Caste identity” has come to the fore and taken over the supreme seat of power. We have said this umpteen times. Upper castes (15%) — disguising themselves in “political ideologies” like Communists, Congress, BJP etc. have been stripped naked. Where is the ideology in India? Did Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Brahmin Prime Minister, have any ideology? E.M.S. Namboodiripad was first and foremost a Manuwadi.
Dirty Ghanchi: The only time when “caste identity” (ideology) becomes crystal clear is during the election. But as the Gujarat Assembly election results caused the victory of the Muslim mass murderer, Narendra Modi, the upper caste-controlled mass media—both print and electronic— cunningly suppressed the most inconvenient, unpleasant Truth.
In the dense euphoric cloud raised by the victory of the Brahmana Jati Party (BJP), the current darling of the upper castes, India’s mischievous manuwadi media deliberately buried this supreme Truth. And made it invisible.
What is this Truth? The Truth is the Gujarat Assembly election turned out to be a fight between the state’s three upper castes led by the Patels, Brahmins and Banias — to whom the BJP belonged — and the Dalits, Tribals, Backward Castes led by the dirty Ghanchi (oil-crushing jati), Narendra Modi.
The Congress leadership also belonged to the same hated upper castes. The proof is it fielded a Patel (Dinsha Patel, a Union Minister) from the very same exploiting castes to fight Modi and got defeated.
All the oppressed castes (SC/ST/BCs) and Muslims did vote for the Congress with minor exceptions. Otherwise there was no chance of the Congress putting up such a tough fight in the 182 Assembly constituencies.
The “revolt” of a handful of Patel, Bania and Brahmin top leadership led by Keshubhai Patel may be a plot to confuse the Congress and its vote bank comprising the oppressed sections.
The Patel leadership revolted against Modi because he kicked them nicely, a treatment which they deserved. But the upper castes are the most caste-conscious lot and they know that BJP alone can protect their caste-class interests.
The Congress mistaking Keshubhai Patel’s revolt to the entire community revolt fielded the very same wolves scaring away the innocent lambs. This strategy created confusion in the minds of the oppressed majority.
Modi’s caste never revealed: There is yet another more important reason. Narendra Modi is an angry low caste OBC who was never allowed to come up in the country’s most violent state of Gujarat, the homeland of the “apostle of non-violence”. SC/ST/BCs perhaps found a powerful supporter in Modi.
Millions of words were printed and spoken during and after the Gujarat election but not one paper or TV revealed Modi’s caste. When we told his caste to some “well-informed” people they were simply shocked.
In other words, Modi used the electoral battle as a “caste war” against the state’s three upper castes. And won the war hands down.
Karnataka warning: Not a single journalist came out with this Truth because it is too bitter a pill to swallow. Or else how could a dirty Ghanchi drown the powerful Patel, Banias and Brahmins?
Karnataka is another big state where the Congress may lose if it follows the Gujarat pattern. (DV Nov.1, 2007 p.20: “Karnataka caste war”).
All over India, caste is emerging as the one and the only ideology. As it is so simple and needs not even an elementary school education, every one is born into a caste (and dies in the same caste). One needs no book to study this ideology. The person (being a victim of his caste suffers social and economic degradations solely owing to his caste) naturally uses his one and the only weapon — caste vote — during the election.
That is why we very often call for “caste war” because class in India is “caste”.
Such an atmosphere is ready in Karnataka. All the jatis are fully polarised but the Congress Party leadership is not able to see this development.
Karnataka has three upper castes —Brahmin, Lingayat and Vokkaligas. Brahmana Jati Party is the monopoly of Brahmins, Lingayats plus the urban “educated” voters (who lost their caste consciousness). Together they form a formidable force. H.D. Deve Gowda’s jati votes (Vokkaliga) by and large will go with him.
That leaves the SC/ST/BCs and Muslims who are followers of Siddaramaiah, a shepherd (Kuruba). But he is hated by the three upper castes.
Only if he is announced as the CM candidate there will be a landslide for the Congress but the entire upper castes, their media, and their lackeys within the SC/ST/BC/Muslims will not allow it. And that means BJP victory.
We repeat: India’s one and the only ideology is caste. We have to use it to kill the caste system which the upper caste owners of the caste system (Hinduism) will not allow us to destroy.
Anti-Brahmin war within BJP: Our problem is every upper caste (ruling class) person knows this caste ideology and is doing every thing to protect and promote his caste by confusing the victims of the caste system.
We gave the latest example of Gujarat’s Ghanchi using his caste to kill the casteists. In this he had the full backing of his mentor, L.K. Advani, a Sindhi Khatri who suffered so much of Brahminical tyranny. The Brahmana Jati Party itself is undergoing a serious caste war within the party.
With Vaidik Vajpayee biding good-bye, the road is now paved for Advani.
Sack anti-people PM-FM: Sonia Gandhi being a foreigner and a recent entrant to politics has not understood the rules of the caste war. She is too innocent and can be easily manipulated.
But she must know she is facing a parliament election. Can she face the people with such a notorious anti-people PM? Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram are powerful guardians of India’s lions, tigers, wolves. The lambs and sheep hate these cruel animals which devour them. How can she face parliament election keeping such proven blood-suckers at the helm of affairs?
We have repeatedly made this demand. But as the PM and FM are enjoying the full support of the ruling upper castes, Sonia cannot understand how the two are brick by brick pulling her party down.
We demand immediate reshuffle of Union Cabinet after the dismissal of the PM and FM. She should pack the cabinet with powerful leaders from SC/ST/BCs and Muslim/Christian/Sikhs. We demand that she herself should take over as Prime Minister. Then only her party will win.
If not BJP will be back in power.
We understand her fears. The Brahmins may be a micro-minority of mere 3% but they have established a total grip on the brains of not merely non-Hindu SC/ST/BCs but also Muslim/Christian/Sikhs. Twice her attempts to take over the leadership were sabotaged by the Brahminical rulers. The fellows who killed their own “Father of the nation” will not spare a frail, foreign woman. We know it. But there is no other alternative. Rahul Gandhi is still an elementary class student in this turbulent caste politics of India. His worth was proved in UP earlier and Gujarat later. Sonia alone has the charisma.
Despite all these indications if Sonia still shirks and fields her 40-year-old urban-bred son against the 80-year Hindu terrorist L.K. Advani, it will definitely disappoint the oppressed majority of India. However, it may please the micro-minority urban upper castes who may switch from BJP to Congress. But India’s fate is decided mainly in the villages which has no attraction for Rahul. It is risky to field an untested person.
As days pass India is becoming more and more violent and its ruling class extremely ruthless, aggressive and pleasure-loving. Both the present PM and FM are catering to this class. Sonia herself has to take over to electrify the country.
http://www.dalitvoice.org/Templates/jan_a2008/editorial.htm SikhSpectrum.com Monthly Issue No.3, August 2002
War Between The Castes
by Tim McGirk
15 December 1997
Copyright © TIME, Asia
A new massacre dramatizes the oppression of India's untouchables - but they are now determined to fight back.
An invisible line runs through every village in India. It sharply divides the upper-castes from the untouchables, those beneath Hinduism's rigid social hierarchy. That line was crossed in the village of Laxmanpur Bath last Monday when more than 200 upper-caste men, armed with pistols and rifles, stalked through the evening mist with revenge on their minds.
The day before, the untouchables, hungry and desperately poor, had tried to harvest a piece of disputed land, and the upper-castes decided it was time to give the millions of untouchables in this north Indian state of Bihar a lesson that neither they nor their kin would ever forget. The gunmen came up from the Sone River, loading their rifles as they walked. Soon they had a cluster of mud huts surrounded. A few of the untouchable men saw the assault force coming and splashed off through nearby rice paddies. The men figured they were the ones the attackers wanted, that the women and children sleeping inside the huts wouldn't be harmed.
But this vengeful army spared no one. In all, 61 people were massacred, and most were women and children. For more than two and a half hours, the upper-caste killers went from hut to hut, methodically butchering the untouchables--looking on them as inferior beings, barely human. The position of one woman's body suggested she'd been touching the feet of her murderer, begging for her children's lives. In another hut, the gunmen shot a nursing mother and her baby. They also killed a young woman by thrusting a hunting rifle between her legs and firing off several rounds. After the slaughter, the shooting party went back to the river and vanished in a flotilla of small fishing boats. Only then did the untouchable men dare to emerge from their hiding places. While they ran, their familes had been annihilated. Shivering with anger and grief, an untouchable survivor said grimly: "If we want to live, we have to fight."
In fact, their fight has already begun. After centuries of oppression, India's more than 150 million untouchables are determined not to tolerate the deadly abuse any longer. Preferring to call themselves Dalits, (Hindi for "the oppressed"), they are instigating a social revolution that is long overdue, one whose aim is to topple the 2,500-year-old Hindu caste system. Increasingly, Dalits are challenging Hinduism's tenet that a person is condemned to his caste--determining whether he becomes a doctor or a scavenger, whom he marries and his social standing in a complex, ordered hierarchy--all by his actions in a past life.
In this rebellion, the Dalits' main weapons are education and the vote. But in some rural areas, where resistance to their demands for equality is entrenched, they have resorted to violence and sometimes gained the upper hand. In Bihar, authorities say it may only be a matter of days before Dalits retaliate for the Laxmanpur Bath massacre. They are armed and organized, and even the arrest of 23 upper-caste extremists has failed to pacify the Dalits. Similar caste warfare and chaos has engulfed the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh and flared sporadically in much of the rest of India. Says Ram Prit, a 75-year-old Dalit laborer in Bihar: "If you keep pouring water into a rat hole, the rats will come out fighting." Upper caste men of Ranvir Sena
Not surprisingly, many members of the upper castes are resisting any challenge to the old order. In Bihar, high-caste landowners have raised a private army. Called the Ranvir Sena, it has marshalled more than 1,000 armed men, some of whom were probably behind the latest killings. Even Rabindra Chowdhary, a Ranvir Sena leader, concedes that the landlords had cruelly exploited the Dalits. "We were abusive and did not treat these people well," he says. "We do not believe in killing. But if we do not kill, they will think that we are weak."
Tension runs high across India, and even the most nonsensical incident can trigger a bloody outburst. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, a game of tag between higher-caste Thevar and Dalit schoolboys led to the beheading of a Dalit and the revenge killing of 13 people, both Thevars and Dalits, many of them dragged off a bus and hacked to death. In Bihar's Belaur village, a tiff over a pack of cigarettes led to a mini-war between Dalits and the upper-caste Bhumihars that ultimately left 16 dead and dozens wounded.
Four years later that feud still festers: more than 350 Dalit families have deserted the village, and the Bhumihars--who patrol at night with guns and spears, ready for attack--cannot hire laborers for their fields. Some Dalits are refusing to carry out their repugnant jobs. "My generation is fighting," says Sri Prakash, a Dalit whose house was set ablaze in a caste feud. "We've told the Thevars we're not going to cremate their dead any more. Let them do it themselves."
Dalits make up one-sixth of India's population, yet only a few have managed to occupy top places in society as politicians, lawyers and scientists. A poor Dalit from the state of Kerala, Kocheril Raman Narayanan, encountered discrimination in school and work. And yet this year he rose to become India's President, the first untouchable to hold that largely symbolic post.
In the past Dalits had to support their landlords' candidates for public office or be beaten away from the polling booths when they tried to vote; now they are asserting themselves with the ballot, and their newfound power has jolted all of the national political parties. Ram Vilas Pawan, a Dalit member of the Janata Dal Party, is serving as Railway Minister in the current coalition government in New Delhi. Twice now, a Dalit woman, Mayawati, has been elected Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, though her last six months in office were squandered in a vendetta against high-caste rivals. Says Mayawati:
Earlier I had thought it would take longer, but change is now so rapid that in a few years we will have a Dalit Prime Minister in New Delhi.
Religious doctrine has allowed India's version of apartheid to survive Muslim invasions, British colonialism and even 50 years of democracy. Defenders of the caste system usually cite a verse from the Upanishads, Hinduism's ancient sacred texts: "Those whose conduct on earth has given pleasure can hope to enter a pleasant womb, that is, the womb of a Brahman or a woman of the princely class. But those whose conduct on earth has been foul can expect to enter a foul and stinking womb, that is the womb of a bitch, or a pig, or an outcaste."
A hymn from the sacred Rig Veda describes how this human stratification came about: a cosmic giant, Purusha, sacrificed parts of his body to create mankind. "His mouth became the Brahman, his arms were made into the Warrior (Kshatriya), his thighs the People (Vaishiya) and from his feet the Servants (Shudra) were born.
"Through the centuries, these four main divisions (called varnas), were slivered into more than 3,000 sub-castes, based on the purity of their professions. A goldsmith is higher up the ladder than a blacksmith, and a priestly Brahman, whose rituals bring him in touch with the gods, is highest of all. The untouchables, however, are off the ladder completely. By origin, many were India's dark-skinned first inhabitants, conquered by Aryans and assigned such awful tasks as burning bodies, skinning carcasses and removing "night soil"--human excrement--from latrines. For thousands of years, outcastes were burdened with these denigrating chores. Dalits evicted by upper caste men face grim future
In many villages, untouchables still live in poverty and subjugation. They are forbidden from entering temples or drinking from the same wells as members of upper castes. It was long customary for higher-caste landlords to deflower a Dalit bride on her wedding night, before her helpless groom. (To cleanse himself after such a dalliance, according to the more than 2,500-year-old Laws of Manu, an upper-caste man must give alms and make "daily mutterings" of prayers.)
These Hindu rules are far from even-handed: even today in some parts of India, if an untouchable is caught sleeping with a high-caste woman, both he and the woman are executed. A Dalit also can be considered too uppity, and risks a beating, if he wears a wristwatch or trousers instead of a traditional dhoti or loincloth. In some villages the Dalits are forced to live on the leeward side to prevent the wind that touches their bodies from defiling the upper castes.
Faced with such persecution, Dalits are finally running out of patience. What's surprising is that it took so long. Their emancipation began only in this century, behind the efforts of India's two great social reformers, Mahatma Gandhi and Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, an angry, brilliant Dalit lawyer and politician. Through a scholarship from the Maharajah of Baroda, Ambedkar, an impoverished village boy, studied abroad and eventually earned several degrees. He worked as a financial adviser to the Maharajah but quit in disgust because the prince's upper-caste servants would fling documents onto his desk, rather than hand them to him, for fear of contamination. Yet his genius was unstoppable, as was his grit.
"Nothing can emancipate the outcaste except the destruction of the caste system," Ambedkar once declared. "Nothing can help to save the Hindus and ensure their survival in the coming struggle except the purging of the Hindu faith of this odious and vicious dogma."
As an author of the Indian constitution, Ambedkar, who died in 1956, secured guarantees for the advancement of outcastes. For decades, these promises were often blocked by upper-caste bureaucrats, but a new generation of Dalits inside the civil service is helping to bring change. In Uttar Pradesh, for example, 150 positions in the elite 540-member Indian Administrative Service are held by Dalits. New Delhi reserves 15% of all state and central government jobs and places in public colleges for Dalits.
All national parties are now appealing to Dalits, which is perhaps one reason why Narayanan's bid for the presidency went unopposed. The President is the fourth of seven children born to a father who practiced traditional medicine in Kerala using herbs and plants. Often his parents could not afford school fees, and Narayanan was punished for missing class until his father scraped up the rupees. He rose to become India's ambassador to the U.S. before entering politics.
"A diplomat," Narayanan once said, "should have a thick skin. I got mine through experiences such as standing on a bench in front of the whole class." Narayanan sees himself as the President of all Indians, but Dalit militants fault him for not using his exalted office to help lift his fellow untouchables. However, Narayanan did not hesitate to condemn the Laxmanpur Bath atrocity as "a national shame."
Dalits have yet to unite. "All that keeps India from having a bloody revolution is that we Dalits are a divided lot," says Man Dahima, a senior civil servant in Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh state. Even among the Dalits, strong caste rivalries exist; one study discovered 900 Dalit "sub-castes" in the country. Basically, everyone is squirming not to fall to the bottom of India's massive pile of humanity. Predicts one Dalit official:
As benefits trickle down, the conflicts between sub-castes are bound to sharpen.
Lately, regional leaders have been trying to bring unity to lower-caste aspirations. So far, the only Dalit politician to challenge the mainstream parties is Kanshi Ram, 63, a former technician at a government defense laboratory. Armed with wiliness and an ability to survive in the venal world of Indian politics, Ram has no qualms about forming alliances with his high-caste adversaries if it brings his Bahujan Samaj Party to power. His abrasive protege Mayawati governed Uttar Pradesh for six months in alliance with the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, many of whose followers adhere stoutly to Manu's ancient law.
During her term, Mayawati ordered 13,000 statues of Ambedkar to be put up and began work on a $30 million park in Lucknow in honor of the Dalit leader. She also reshuffled 1,400 bureaucrats and police officers. Dalit civil servants, whose promotions had been mothballed by their high-caste superiors, were elevated to top posts. State funds and projects for roads, schools and electricity were channeled to neglected Dalit villages. Above all, Dalits were treated to the spectacle--unimaginable a few years back--of an acid-tongued Dalit like Mayawati ordering around upper-caste grandees.
Mayawati made plenty of enemies, though. She arrested thousands of political opponents, while her own Dalit-run administration was accused of corruption. Some Dalits proved as nasty as their one-time tormentors, and police were often used to settle old grievances against the upper castes. A law meant to check atrocities against Dalits was misused to send scores of innocent people to jail. Bail was denied, but bribes were gladly accepted.
One former bureaucrat recounts how his own Brahman servant was accused of banditry back in his village even though the servant was then in Lucknow, hundreds of kilometers away. "It turns out the police officer in charge was a Dalit," the former bureaucrat explains. "This militancy," according to sociologist Ashis Nandy, director of the Center for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, is "the price we have to pay. We are seeing an attempt by the Dalits to reaffirm their dignity. I won't say they're being provocative, but they are no longer turning the other cheek."
To avoid confrontation, many Dalits are heading for the cities, which offer hope of an escape from some caste barriers. As Bindeshwar Pathak, a New Delhi social worker, says, "Can we check who cooked the meal in a hotel, or who sat beside us on a bus? Can we stop someone from living next door?" But the choice of jobs for illiterate newcomers is grim. In Bhopal, Munni Bai, mother of nine children, earns $22 a month emptying 40 latrines a day. She carries the excrement on her head, in a wicker basket she lines with newspapers. And the smell? She shrugs.
"Just to fill my belly I've had to do these things," she replies. Munni Bai at least has some freedom. She probably considers herself better off than the Dalits of Khajuri, just 20 km from Bhopal, who have never heard of the great emancipator Ambedkar, who can't read or write and who are paid about $14 a month toiling for their upper-caste landlord. "There's a terror in the village. We can't speak against them or we'll be beaten," whispers one old man.
Money is breaking up caste prejudices faster than any law can, and therein lies India's hope of shedding its ancient, violent yoke of discrimination. Even with such menial jobs as washing dishes or sweeping factory floors, a Dalit in the city is luckier than many of the higher-caste folks back in his country village. He may not read or write, but his children will. One Dalit returned to his Rajasthan village on a break from his city job. "The priests stop us from going into the temple. But their sons come into our house because they want to watch TV," he says. "For years they said we were dirty. But now we look much cleaner than they do."
--With reporting by Faizan Ahmed /Laxmanpur Bath, Meenakshi Ganguly /Bihar, Maseeh Rahman /Lucknow and R. Bhagwan Singh /Madras
Upper caste men of Ranvir Sena - Sankalan for Asiaweek
Dalits evicted by upper caste men face grim future - Sankalan for Asiaweek
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JD(S) to give one seat each to CPI, CPI(M) in Karnataka: Gowda
Press Trust of India - 1 hour ago
"We have decided to give Mangalore seat to CPI(M) and Chikmagalur to CPI, while my party would be contesting the remaining 26 LS seats," Gowda told ...
Impartial election will be the end of CPI-M: Mamata
IBNLive.com - Mar 15, 2009
CNN-IBN: CPI-M leaders are already claiming that they will win 28 seats at leats. Do you agree? Mamata Banerjee: If there is a democratic set up, an ...
Mamata launches election campaign from Nandigram Hindu
Pranab, Mamata to jointly tackle seat-sharing resentment Times Now.tv
Congress has surrendered to Trinamool: Buddha Press Trust of India
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CPI(M) swears by tighter financial sector regulation, end to privatisation
domain-B - 5 hours ago
In its election manifesto, released today, the CPI (M), the country's biggest left party, sought the scrapping of the Banking Regulation Bill and demanded ...
CPI(M) non-committal on being part of a Third Front government
Hindu - Mar 12, 2009
“We will have to still think about that,” Mr Karat told The Hindu when asked whether the CPI(M) would become a part of the alternative government. However ...
CPI-M, CPI not for Front projecting PM candidate Hindustan Times
Third Front will be only alternative political platform: CPI-M leader Thaindian.com
Maya rains on Third Front parade Daily News & Analysis
Business Standard - Hindu
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CPI, CPI (M) and JD (S) join hands in Rajasthan
Zee News - Mar 15, 2009
Jaipur, March 15: CPI, CPI (M) and Janta Dal (Secular) will jointly fight the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in Rajasthan. Announcing this state secretary ...
Left parties, Janata Dal (S) join hands in Rajasthan Hindu
all 2 news articles »
Opportunistic and unprincipled, says CPI(M)
Hindu - Mar 12, 2009
Kolkata (PTI): The CPI(M) on Thursday described the seat-sharing pact between the Trinamool Congress and Congress for the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal ...
700 Trinamool Congress workers join CPI-M in West Bengal Thaindian.com
Mamta to launch campaign for Lok Sabha elections Economic Times
Campaign begins in West Bengal with graffiti row Hindu
Economic Times - Thaindian.com
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Indian economy will revive faster than other countries: RBI
Hindu - Mar 15, 2009
London (IANS): The Indian economy will likely revive faster than other countries though it is difficult to predict when, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ...
India growth to recover faster than world - Subbarao - BBC Reuters India
all 27 news articles »
India's GDP growth to stabilize around 7%: CMIE
Times of India - 6 hours ago
16 Mar 2009, 1621 hrs IST, PTI MUMBAI: India's real GDP is projected to grow by seven per cent in FY 10, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) ...
CMIE sees FY10 GDP growth at 7% yoy India Infoline.com
Oil output may grow 4.8% in FY10 on back of RIL prodn: CMIE Business Standard
Industry may see high commissioning of projects: CMIE Business Standard
all 20 news articles »
Recession reports - India to face downturn till May 2010 ...
SteelGuru - 15 hours ago
According to an ASSOCHAM Business Barometer Survey of 237 CEOs, the corporate sector expects the period of downturn in the Indian economy to continue till ...
Downturn till May 2010: Assocham The Statesman
Downturn to last for over a year: Assocham Economic Times
Slowdown for another year: Study mydigitalfc.com
all 13 news articles »
Growth to slow to 6.5 pct in FY09 - ING Vysya
Reuters India - 6 hours ago
The Indian economy has not seen a very sharp slowdown as compared with the US and UK, and hence its recovery too would not be as steep, she said. ...
Indian banks' NPAs likely to go up in 2009-10: ING Vysya Economic Times
all 7 news articles »
Indian economy could prove more resilient than critics believe
Taipei Times - Mar 15, 2009
The World Bank's annual assessment of global economic prospects said India’s economy could even triple in size in the next 15 to 20 years. ...
India's Economic Prospects Forbes
More fiscal stimulus needed, say economists Business Standard
Co-authored by AK Prabhakar Seeking Alpha
all 24 news articles »
Looming elections boosts aviation, media sector
Moneycontrol.com - 1 hour ago
If the Indian economy badly needs another stimulus, the forthcoming Indian general elections coupled with strained central finances have ensured that the ...
Explore employment data collection from companies: Panel
Hindu - 56 minutes ago
... to undertake a critical review of the existing methodologies used to estimate saving and investment aggregates for Indian economy and suggest measures ...
India headed toward deflation: Goldman Sachs
Hindustan Times - 11 hours ago
The Indian economy is headed towards deflation, which could raise unemployment, even as its central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), was expected to ...
Thanh Nien Daily
Investing in gold?
Business Standard - Mar 15, 2009
Till such time as the global economy gets back on track, the demand for jewellery will be tempered by the fact that the Indian economy is facing challenging ...
Gold - Heading for $200 or $10.000? Gold Seek
all 25 news articles »
Recession: Riches to rags
Merinews - 7 hours ago
Recession has spread its tentacles into some very important sectors of the Indian economy. From IT and IT enabled services to jewelry, handicrafts and the ...
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