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#76 [Permalink] Posted on 29th November 2016 14:22
Ashok Vajpeyi on RSS, Islam and Hinduism


The RSS may not harm Islam in India, but it will certainly destroy Hinduism, Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi said on Thursday.

“Mahatma Gandhi had once said that all religions are true, but they are not perfect. Through this he is saying that each religion can learn from another religion. A nation which is called so diverse which has millions of gods and over 700 languages.

“Now they are saying that you are a traitor. So if I am a traitor let me say something. At present in India, I don’t know how Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will harm Islam, but it will certainly destroy Hinduism,” he said, delivering a public lecture on the occasion of the Constitution Day at the Gandhi Peace Foundation here.

A vociferous critic of the policies of the Narendra Modi-led central government, Vajpeyi has been under attack by the Sangh parivar for returning his Sahitya Akademi award to protest rising intolerance in the country.

Referring to the recent controversy over the statements made by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, he said: “There is a difference between the nation and its government. The nation is larger than the government. Protesting against the government doesn’t mean one is protesting against the nation.”

Intellectuals and activists were present at the gathering to mark 66 years since the country’s constitution was adopted, and the present socio-economic political situation, democracy, existing inequalities and right to equality and justice were among the issues taken up. The event was organised by Jan Awaaz, a citizen’s platform created to highlight public concerns.

Among others who spoke were Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising, activists Usha Ramanathan and Nikhil Dey and Delhi High Court’s former chief justice Rajinder Sachar.

(Ashok Vajpeyi is an Indian poet in Hindi, essayist, literary-cultural critic, apart from being a noted cultural and arts administrator, and a former civil servant.)

Source : Sabrang
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#77 [Permalink] Posted on 20th December 2016 07:11
Monumental Stupidity called Demonetization


This sinner was in a conference at the Physics Department of the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India. My better half, that is the fashionable euphamism for wife, received a hectic call from her sister around nine pm on November 8, 2016. The Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi, had declared that the highest denomination currency notes, Rs 500 and Rs 1000, will no longer be legal tender.

The great demonetization juggernaut of India rolled out. And brought India to a near stand still and the condensation continues unabated. Here are few of the current head lines.

Things are getting worse : Vegetable Venders (Indian Express, December 19, 2016)
Demonetization to Effect Foreign students (Forbes)
India's Demonetization Debacle (Wall Street Journal)
Demonetization Shows India's Parliamentary Oversight Failure (Asia Times)
Impact of Demonetization Fiasco (Forbes)
All Pain, No Gain : India's Failed Demonetization (Coin Telegraph)
Currency Demonetization Hits India's Mobile Sales (PC World)
Cure Worse Than Disease (Forbes)

India's abrupt demonetization 'seems completely silly'
(Deutsche Welle)
India's Botched War on Cash (Harvard Business Review)
Man Made Disaster (Forbes)
And on and on.

If you wanted a worse CV you would be hard pressed.

The intended purpose was to leave the the corrupt people, hording literally tons of cash in their houses, with useless paper in their hands.

It did not work. Plus negative effects have already been serious enough to stop talking of gains.

Prime Minister's home state of Gujrat (remember that?) was top most in googling about how to convert black money into white.

Since no one was ready for the sudden shock we can suppose that internet was not of much help to the corrupt.

They themselves were of immense help for themselves.
Bank managers must have made a fortune by dispensing the new currency to the corrupt.
There have been about fifty arrents of people with huge amounts of new currency with them.
Millions and billions of rupees, incredible as it may sound.
All of these people happened to be from BJP, Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party), the ruling party.

What must have happened is the following. The black money don walks upto the bank manager. Hands him over the old currency. Walks away with new currency, minus the manager's commission. That commission could begin with ten and end up with thirty or more. But less than fifty. Fifty was government rate. This fifty percent government commission was one of the umpteen `micro'-management measures implemented by the government to control the fall out of the demonetization measure.

Clearly the `greedy' black money don who did not want to depart with fifty percent of his `hard' earned money had to go through another hardship because the government, or the RBI, the Reserve Bank of India, the monetary authority, was clamping down on managers who must have already made their fortunes. The dons simply hired large number of common people to deposit a quarter of a million rupees each in their account to change old currency into new. This too with the range of ten to thirty percent commission.

This ended in obscenely long queues out side the banks - who could differentiate between the genuininely suffering cashless populace from the minions of the black money dons?

Of course neither the RBI nor the government was sleeping. They issues rule number 9584 that accounter that deposited about quarter of a milllion after demonetization move will be frozen.

India in the meantime came to a stand still, a slow death. First thing to dry was the kitchen cash. Then came the supply sector. The truck drivers ran out of the teb rupee notes they had to give to the policeman at every corner to pass through populated areas and at the hundred rupee notes to have a meal on the cheap road side hotel and the five hundred rupee notes to give at the tolls. Government intitially focussed on printing Rs 2000 note. No one had the change to return after small purchase.

Then the goverment discovered cashless economy. Use PayTM and debit and credit cards and use e-commerce, they said. Strange in a country where all of these things comined account for a miniscule of economy.

It was weeks before the RBI governor could be seen in public and talking about the problems that brought India to a halt.
It turned out that he was all the time in the know. In fact he was amongst the few who were trusted by the Prime Minister. The RBI Governor, Mr Urjit Patel, happens to be a Gujrati, just like the Prime Minister. The chemistry was so designed that the most effective people in the task force that was supervising the move were from that state and they would talk in Gujrati. whatever synergy it might have created was not enough to ease the pain of the common people, industry, economy, finance and business. News from big industry is yet to filter in.

By now about hundred fifty people have died either in queues or because of the stress generated by demonetization. Most of the India is functioning on credit. Banks are dispensing only that money that the traders have been depositing from their greatly reduced volumes of trading.

The Primie Minister intially thought it would be over in few days. One wonders what the task force saw and analysed to miss such a long term debacle. Then he asked for fity days. Then his finance minister informed the public about the grand news that the things will be alright in a quarter or two. Paul Krugman gave a very caliberated, cautious and controlled non-assessment. ( Thanks for the concern Nobel Laureate.)

Private banks intially gave the allowed Rs 24000 to their customers at the first come first serve basis and these were the first ones to go dry. Queues were the longest on State Bank of India counters. They initially dispensed Rs 10000 per customer but very quickly came down to Rs 2000. Queues became longer. ATMs, that had the country wide initial problems of caliberation for new curreny, soon went cashless. The bank staff would move around and try to put cash in the ATM randomly and very quickly the first three or four people will drain the precious Rs 15000, the total in the ATM, for all of them are now moving with multiple credit cards - largest one reported was a man with 24 ATM cards. The customer code is written in the form of a telephone number of ten digits. Which four numbers are the real code is of course known only to the bearer.

The BJP goons, these are called Bhakts in India today, the devotees, intimidated anyone in the queue who tried to complain about the demonetization pain and sorrow. Sorrow for there have been heart rending episodes of people ending their lives for want of cash.

One of the much touted goals of demonetization was to control terrorism. How does that come into picture? Easy-peasy. Pakistan was sending terrorists into India with counterfeit currency. The new currency would put an end to that sabotage of Indian currency.


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#78 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd December 2016 06:21
Indian and Turkish Academics


Turkey and India can enhance bilateral ties by exploring opportunities in the education sector, a Turkish professor told Anadolu Agency.

Serdar Demirel, a professor of Islamic studies at the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University, and Hamdi Arslan, an Arabic Language instructor at the same university, made the call to improve ties in an interview with Anadolu Agency Thursday.

Demirel and Arslan recently concluded a two-week visit to India, where they visited several cities, including Deoband and Lucknow in the Uttar Pradesh state. One of the main objectives of the academics was to explore avenues to establish links between Indian and Turkish universities.

"Earlier, Turkish universities used to be in contact with universities in the West. But, now we want to connect with the universities in East as well," Demirel explained.

The Turkish academics also met Indian religious leaders, including Maulana Arshad Madani, president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind.

Demirel and Arslan also visited several Indian universities, including the Jamia Millia Islamia, University of Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University to analyze their methods and met professors, including Salman Husaini Nadwi from the Darul Uloom Deoband University.

Demirel said Indian and Turkey relations were currently not at the desired level.

"We need to cooperate and further strengthen the relations with each other. I was informed that only 400 Turkish people currently live in India, which is very few. The number of Indians living in Turkey is very few as well. So, there is a need to further strengthen ties," he said.

He suggested that the universities of both countries could explore opportunities for collaboration.

"It can be done in different ways through business and diplomacy. But since we are academics, we would like to strengthen our relations through education.

"We would like to sign MoUs [Memorandum of Understanding agreements] with Indian universities for student and staff exchange programs, and for joint projects," he said, adding that such options were also discussed with their Indian counterparts.

"Academics can then put forward their studies and roadmaps to businessmen, political and nongovernmental organizations, and show how they could cooperate with each other. Currently, there is no roadmap," Demirel said.

He added that the some Indian universities such as the Jamia Millia Islamia, University of Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University were also willing to come to Istanbul.

While comparing the education system of both countries, he said: "India is good in computer sciences and Turkey is also good in engineering and medical sciences. Islamic studies are the same in both countries. Both the countries can work together in all these areas," the professor said.

He pointed out that at the moment both sides lacked experts on their respective countries.

"If we want someone in India who can speak about Turkey or you need someone in Turkey who can speak about India you won't get any experts in the two countries," he said.

"We need to train experts in both countries. These experts can then assist the government and NGOs, and frame a roadmap so that both countries can work together to improve their relationship."

He also called for more exchanges in other sectors as well between the two sides.

"I am very upset that there is not much business and other exchanges between the two countries," he said.

Source : Daily Sabah
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#79 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd February 2017 03:40
UP Elections 2017


The northern state of Uttar Pradesh, UP, in India is in the process of elections around this time.
Few other states of India are also going through elections.
UP is very important for Indian politics as well as world politics.
If the BJP wins in this state then they are sure to muster majority in the upper house, called Raj Sabha, of the Indian Parliament.
With that majority in Raj Sabha they can and they will implement all the RSS agenda in India like building a Ram temple in Ayodhya where Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992 and implementing a uniform civil code that will effectively ban Islam in India.

As the things look, by the grace of Allah swt, this nefarious dream of the fascist forces may not come to a fruition.
The apparent polarization of votes at the moment looks not to be in favour of the BJP. I shall spare brothers and sisters the micro details of voting aligments taking place at the moment.

One curious bit is that today bit the inaugural marble signboard of the small road that I use to reach my residence was destroyed last night. Some drain work is going at the demolition might be because of that. Other possibility is that the fiery BJP mayor Shakuntala Bharati, whose name appeared on the board, has lost her clout.
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#80 [Permalink] Posted on 26th February 2017 07:53
Gujrati Muslim Who Supported Netaji


Gujarati Muslim gave Rs 1 crore to Netaji

Saeed Khan | TNN | Jul 14, 2012, 01.07 AM IST


AHMEDABAD: While Gujarati businessmen donated generously for Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent freedom struggle, there were some who helped Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army.

A businessman from Dhoraji town of Saurashtra, Memon Abdul Habeeb Yusuf Marfani, donated almost his entire fortune of Rs 1 crore to the Indian National Army, a princely sum in those days.


The Memon family was settled in Rangoon. On July 9, 1944, when Netaji founded INA in Rangoon, Marfani was the first to come forward to contribute financially to the Azad Hind Bank. Soon, the coffer swelled with contributions from Indian expats in Rangoon and Singapore.


Historian Yunus Chitalwala says Marfani was among the first donors and Netaji expressed his gratitude by awarding him a Sevak-e-Hind medal. He was the first recipient of this award.


Marfani's gesture has been documented in various history books. Historian Raj Mal Kasliwal in his book 'Netaji, Azad Hind Fauz and After' says, "One Muslim Burmese business magnate of Rangoon donated a crore worth of cash and jewellery and offered his services to the Independence movement." After he emptied a plate full of jewellery and placed a bundle of title deeds before Bose, the leader praised the gesture saying, "Brothers! I am very happy today that people have started realizing their duties... People are ready to sacrifice everything. What Habeeb sheth has done is commendable and those who emulate him in serving the homeland are really praiseworthy."


Marfani is not the only Gujarati Muslim to have contributed to INA. Surat's Ghulam Husein Mushtaq Randeri was the recruiting officer for the army. During the recent celebration of Bose's birth centenary, Marfani's grandson Yacoob Habeeb was felicitated in New Delhi for his ancestor's action. However, these references were missing from chief minister Narendra Modi's speech on the occasion last week, when he donned the INA cap and tried hard to establish the Gujarat connection with Bose.

Source : TOI
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#81 [Permalink] Posted on 28th February 2017 04:34
Chidambaram on Kashmir


P. Chidambaram is a former Union Minister and a very respected statesman in India.

Two days ago he made a few critical remarks about the present RSS inspired government in India lead by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who what the Chief Minister of the western state of Gujarat when a terrible pogrom of Muslims took place there in 2002.

Chidambaram criticized the government on three accounts: the divisive agenda that grew roots across the country, decline in growth rate, and demonetisation. He also said that because of the government policy Kashmir was nearly lost.

Source : The Hindu
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#82 [Permalink] Posted on 28th February 2017 04:46
ABVP Attacks Delhi University Teachers


A few days ago there was supposed to be a talk by a left leaning JNU student, Umar Khalid, in Delhi University, DU.
DU teachers took out a procession in his support. The BJP, Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling political party in India has a student's wing called the ABVP, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad - All India Students' Council. ABVP members targeted the procession of DU teachers. Out of the significant onslaught was clawing and hair pulling of Dr Abha Dev Habib by Mahamedha Nagar. Former is a professor of Physics and a teachers' association official at the highest level in a DU college the Miranda House. Later is a students union leader from the same college. The conclusion is that it could only be a targeted assault.

A couple of years ago the same students' organization, the ABVP, blackened the face of another DU teacher on camera.

Here is a first hand news report from another DU teacher.

Shafey Danish, a teacher in English department at Ramjas College, narrates the story of ABVP’s terror
By
Pratik Sinha
-
26th February 2017


Many ABVP members have been saying on TV that they did not instigate the violence, or that it was from both sides. Neither of these claims are true. I was one of the teachers who were with the students inside Ramjas college on the 22nd of Feb. What follows is an account of how we became captives in our own campus with police complicity.

It was about 11.30 am, and we were still discussing the implications of yesterday when two students burst into the room and then quickly shut the door. “They are beating us,” they said, out of breath. Their faces reflected the shock we felt. But as I had come in I had seen a strong police presence in the college. They were massed at the gates. Where were the police? The students said they had been chatting with some friends when the ABVP members came and without warning started slapping one of them repeatedly. They had come away, they said, but others were still there.

There were I think 7 of us, 7 teachers, we all got up briskly, and our Teacher in Charge quickly decided that he would take the students to the staff room. We set off and gathered some of our other students. We walked into the staff room in a crowd and discussed what to do. I suppose my mind was still trying to process that even as we stood there someone might be beating up one of our students right there on campus, a mere few feet from the police. We quickly decided that we needed to go and check on our students, as we passed some classrooms, we saw some students standing at a window that allowed a clear view of the area outside. Our students, whom we quickly recognised as the ones sitting on the ground were surrounded by a police cordon. ABVP supporters stood outside the cordon. They were shouting slogans. I couldn’t make out much except “chappal se maro saalon ko.” Some of the policemen were gently trying to push the ABVP supporters away from the sitting students. Some of the policemen were smiling. One girl, I recognised as one of our third year students was also smiling. I felt a weight lift off my heart, they were safe behind the police cordon and apparently not cowed by the brutish language ABVP supporters were using. “They seem to be ok,” I said to no one in particular. Just then behind me I heard one of my colleagues urgently calling us to get away from the window. “What? Why..?” I thought, but I did not ask, there were too many whys rattling around in my head just then to ask any of them, I just quickly left the window. I asked the students who had been looking out too to come away, one guy lingered and one of my colleagues lit into him with hot anger. “Get away, get away…”
She was probably saying something else too, but I had turned and was instinctively walking back towards the staff room. There was a loud noise behind me, I turned and there was this boy, fear writ on his face, rushing away madly, four burly guys were after him. They rushed past me, he fell, they were upon him and started beating him. He had his hands up covering his head, his face, there was shouting behind me, one of my senior colleagues rushed to the boy’s defence shouting at the goons, I unfroze and rushed after her. She pulled him, another colleague pulled one of the goons away, and I came between the upraised hand of the third and the boy. It was over. I was shaken. What had I seen? What was happening? Where were the police?

The boy was badly shaken. I didn’t recognise him. What had happened? He said he was looking out the window when these four burst in and asked him to come out. Why, he had asked. And then they were pulling him, he broke free, he ran. He had hit his head when he fell. There was blood where he had skinned his forearm. He had been beaten simply for looking outside. So now students were being beaten up randomly, and those responsible did this in the full view of a group of teachers and had quickly gone away. It was then, I believe that fear settled in the pit of my stomach. Fear for ourselves, fear for those students still trapped within the police cordon. I thought…I don’t know what exactly I thought, but the thought that surfaced, urgently and insistently, was that we had to get our students out. Soon. The goons were looking to beat them up, and somehow, it seemed, they had no fear of the police. We quickly went back, we found the students whom we had left in the staff room, one of the gates of the campus was still not gheraoed. Three of us, quickly escorted the students to the gate, our TiC had it opened, we led them out. I asked them to make haste to their rooms. I was afraid some of the goons might be lying in wait. Then we made our way back. There was, coincidentally, a staff association meeting going on in the staff room, on, I assume, an unrelated issue. But by the time we got back, teachers were filing out, we were going to the site of the police cordon, this had gone too far. We went first to the principal’s office. He met us, and after a very brief discussion we filed out. Loud shouts were coming from the area of the canteen, and then there was a sudden panic and students came running down the lane that led up to the canteen. Their faces were full of fear. A colleague pulled me aside. Near the canteen, we recognised some of our students. One of them seemed ready to cry. We quickly went up to her. What happened? “They are beating us up and the police are doing nothing,” she said. “We need to get out.” We asked our students to come with us. They said others were still ‘trapped’ there. They did not want to leave without their friends. We led one of them out, however. She left quickly. But police were standing in ones and twos, in little knots. Casually. They looked bored. They looked tired. And we, we were afraid for our safety. It was surreal.

When we went back to the canteen, we found ourselves within earshot of a shouting match. Three senior teachers, all from different departments, were trying to reason with ABVP. They were responding by shouting at the teachers, threatening them, and abusing them. I went into a knot of students looking for ours, I did not see them. I saw our TiC and I asked if all the students were out. He thought they were. That was a relief. I left them standing there and went to the staff room. I thought the rest of the teachers would soon follow. For a time I let my mind wander. On the grounds behind the staff room, lunch was laid out. I remembered that today the staff association was having a meeting and the lunch was a part of it. Some students were still playing volleyball. All this was normal. And yet at the other end of the small campus teachers were being abused by ABVP supporters, who were not part of Ramjas, and our students had been beaten. The contrast was so jarring that it made my head spin. A student had been brought into the staff room. He had been beaten. He was simply going out he said, when he was grabbed and beaten. Soon after some other students came in; they were distraught. Apparently, despite all this some students had still gathered for classes, and some teachers were still trying to take them. But those classes had been disrupted. A student said that they (ABVP supporters) had come in and forced everyone out.

Two of my colleagues were coming back. I asked them where the rest of the faculty were. Near the canteen, I was told. But why, I asked, the students are all out. No, they said, there is a fair number of them still there. I headed back. There, between 45 and 50 students were sitting on the ground in a tight huddle. Teachers were standing around them. The ABVP supporters were gone. I spied one of our senior teachers and immediately went up to her. Why are we not getting the students out?
Apparently, the police were saying that if we went out it would be at our own risk. They were telling us that we should wait for the situation to calm down. The police kept insisting that they were doing everything they could. But they could just bring a van and drop us to a metro station, I said. Apparently, the police weren’t prepared to do that. Not yet, anyway.

Time passed. We shared biscuits, and though I had not had anything to eat at all that day, it took effort and one had to force oneself to eat. The students started singing some songs. They clapped and sang, still sitting on the ground. A few of them got up and spoke. For those few minutes, there was just us, the faculty and the students, and the police. The media had not been allowed in. Presumably for security reasons. The students were on the third, or perhaps the fourth song. We suddenly heard the sound of rushing feet. The song faltered and then, with a will, resumed. The ABVP supporters came rushing in. The knot of students sitting there shifted, huddled closer. A few more rushed in shouting obscenities, one of them rushed towards us, the others pulled him back, he picked up a chair and threw it at us. It hit a senior teacher. The police spoke in calming tones, restrained the hoodlum, soothing his anger. By now others were shouting, jabbing their fingers at us. “Yeh log naarebaazi kar rahe hain,” he was shouting. Our students had been singing. A bunch of goons started struggling with the police to let them go, straining towards us. Those behind them were shouting and jabbing their fingers. The police were speaking angrily to the teachers asking them to stop the singing. The teachers complied, we complied, we fell silent. There was a brief laughter from the ABVP supporters’ side. Some of them had slowly trickled to the left side of the group. Suddenly they charged, they caught a boy at the fringe of the group and started beating him up. Our teachers rushed, the police got in and they pushed the attackers back. The boy had been just sitting there. Now, we were warily watching our flanks. Trying to determine where the next attack was going to come from. Some of the ABVP supporters were again circling to the centre. There was another rush. Another block by the police. The police were scolding the ABVP supporters, while they were shouting back at the police. The teachers were remonstrating with them. One of the teachers – she was from another department – recognized a guy as one of her students. She wondered if she should talk to him. Try to, perhaps reason with him. Ask him perhaps why he and his friends were beating us up. We were after all just sitting there. Not chanting, not singing. Not doing anything really. Very much like hostages. We sat in a huddle close together, they moved about, this side and that. It was a glaring admission of our situation. We were being held hostage. In our own college. With the police surrounding us ‘for our own protection’. They would not let us go, for ‘our own protection’ but they would let the attackers in, but not the media. And they would not protect us from them.

She moved towards that boy and started talking to him, slowly, gently. I didn’t hear what was being said. But I saw that guy was moving his head angrily. His friends surrounding him were saying something loudly. The police were moving in. Suddenly the guy in front took an angry step forward. The teacher quickly stepped back. The young man was restrained by his friends. He was shouting and taunting her now. The police quickly stepped in between the teacher and the ABVP supporters. When she turned I could see the mingle of shock and bitterness written plain on her face. She was a senior teacher. And here she was being abused by these boys, for trying to talk some sense into them. Some time passed. There was another lunge and another boy was slapped, before the goon was dragged away. It had turned almost into a game for them. Let’s see who we can beat up. I was myself sitting on the right edge of the gathering. I had started talking to the boy sitting beside me, I was gently chiding him for not having left earlier, when I heard a girl behind me call out “Sir!” and then again more quickly “Sir!” I turned to look where her eyes were looking and saw that the police were pushing off a guy who was glaring at me. Apparently, I had just escaped a beating. “And you were not even doing anything!” the girl said. I gave a shaky laugh. Yes indeed, I wasn’t doing anything. Anything at all. The sequence of the episodes are all jumbled in my head. I can’t remember what happened before and what after. But I was going around asking our senior colleagues to either get more police here, or to get the police to provide vans to take us to a metro station. “There are already enough police here!” a senior colleague replied to perhaps my third importunate demand that we should at least have more police. She said, exasperated. “There are more than enough police here.” What she left unsaid was that if the police wanted they could easily keep us safe. Or chase them away. Or take us out. Sometime later an Academic Council member who was with us, almost shouted at me when I asked the same thing. “Do you think this would be possible without the knowledge of the university? Can’t you see that the police are here to protect them and not us?” Yes, I could see. I could see the police standing in small knots. Not around us. I could see some of them talking casually with the ABVP members. Others were moving about some were talking to teachers. While the ABVP supporters held us surrounded from three sides.

In truth they were not many of them, between 10 and 15. We were altogether more, more than 60. But they looked – how do I say this – like street thugs. Squat and muscled, with heavy features, long moustaches. I looked back at our students. They wore specks, many had the tell tale darkness beneath their eyes that spoke of lost sleep, their faces had the softness of too little physical exercise, and lines of concentration. They had dreamy eyes of those who had spent an unhealthy amount of time with books. If we had lived in a different world in a world where we had to defend ourselves physically, then perhaps we would have trained ourselves in street fight, we might have learnt martial arts, and we would have learnt to wield sticks and batons. But we had learned only arts. And our students had learned only arts, and we had learnt to wield facts and deliver arguments. We had been lulled by the promise that we lived in a civilized world. Our lives were built on the assumption that there was an army at the border to protect from external threats and police in our cities to protect us from internal ones. We had thought that we could abandon the fear of our safety and devote our selves to higher pursuits. To history, to economics, to arts and to literature. And we and generations of scholars before us, had trusted that promise and devoted ourselves to these higher truths. We had believed that we had moved far from the time where might was right and the only arguments to be made was with threats and arms. But here right before us, the foundation of those promises were coming apart. Here were the police, nominally our protectors, who were protecting us, but only nominally. And here were students terrorizing their peers and abusing their teachers.

Somewhere during this time a group of ABVP supporters had again started moving towards us. “Girls come out in the front, and link hands. Put the guys behind you,” I heard one of the girls say. And then as gently as a ripple, the girls had quietly stepped forward and stood linking hands in front of the goons who now stood only a few paces away. Before their squat muscularity they looked entirely frail, bookish and completely unafraid. I think back to that moment and a lump rises to my throat. This then, the silent courage of our students, is the thing I would cherish from that harrowing day. One of the ABVP supporters standing before the girls whispered something into the ears of his friend, and he gave a crude laugh. “Nahi hum thode hi marenge. Hum ladkon ko marenge, ladkiyan to ladkiyan marengi”, he said with a smirk. I heard him, and the policemen standing close by, heard him. And did not do a thing, they did not even say anything.

After a while some of the ABVP supporters had again started moving towards the students. A teacher stood alone there, spreading out her hands. Two women constables who were standing near me, were simply looking at the sight. “Madam ke paas ja ke khade hoiye” I quickly asked one of them, and it was only then that she made her way there. It was nearing five, all of us had spent more than five hours trapped here. The students had been trapped there since 11.30, for over six and a half hour and by now we were about to give up on the police. Some of the senior teachers were talking of taking out the students in their own cars. After another attack one professor from the history department started angrily arguing with the police, but the police shouted right back. “We don’t take orders from you”, he said dismissively. At about five thirty we heard that the police were going to get vans to take us to a metro station. Some of the faculty members asked if anyone wanted to go to the washroom. Those who went were escorted by teachers. We feared that the students would be beaten up if they went alone. Our fears were justified. Right before we finally got out, one boy went a little away, got beaten up. He was looking down on his phone and had drifted a little away from us. Immediately four of the ABVP supporters pounced on him. They beat him to the ground. The police and teachers had to pull them off.

Then the vans finally came, and we were escorted out. I and some of the younger teachers went out on the vans. Students placed their bags at the windows as shields in case stones were pelted at us. Then after a winding journey the vans dropped us off at the Civil Lines metro station, two stops from the Vishwavidhyalaya metro station, the nearest to the university, as a precaution against some of the goons waiting or following us to the station. Our long ordeal had finally ended.

Later that day I saw a message that was circulating on whatsapp. The ABVP had threatened to go out looking for the students who were part of the protest. They intended to beat them up. I, and other teachers advised students to get out of north campus and to go to a safer location. Many did. Those who stayed spent the night in fear.

Source : Alt News
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#83 [Permalink] Posted on 7th March 2017 06:48
A New Book on Aurangzeb


In new book, a side of Aurangzeb India is not familiar with
"Aurangzeb protected more Hindu temples than he destroyed. He employed more Hindus in his imperial administration than any prior Mughal ruler by a fair margin," says Truschke.

Written by Adrija Roychowdhury | New Delhi | Updated: March 5, 2017 11:31 am

Audrey Truschke In her book, “The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King,” Truschke unpacks a side of Aurangzeb largely unknown to Indians. (Source: Stanford University)

“Aurangzeb was arguably the most powerful and wealthiest ruler of his day. His nearly 50-year reign (1658–1707) had a profound influence on the political landscape of early modern India, and his legacy—real and imagined—continues to loom large in India and Pakistan today.”

Not something we are used to reading about the Mughal emperor, but historian Audrey Truschke has a distinct take on the most hated of Babur’s successors. In her book, “The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King,” Truschke unpacks a side of Aurangzeb largely unknown to Indians. Locating his personality in the time during which her ruled, she analyses a part of Aurangzeb that is ruthless and benign at the same time depending upon political necessities. She spoke to indianexpress.com on the most reviled of Mughal emperors.

Was Aurangzeb really a religious bigot? If not, how else do you analyse his religious policies in your book?

According to modern definitions, Aurangzeb acted as a religious bigot in some ways. But he also acted in ways that we would describe, again using modern terms, as tolerant. Aurangzeb was not a modern man, and so it should be unsurprising that modern standards of bigotry do not advance our historical understanding of this Mughal king. In the book, I argue that we get far closer to grasping something of Aurangzeb’s world if we analyse his actions and policies according to his devotion to a set of pre-modern values, including piety, Mughal kingship, and justice, all of which were tempered by Aurangzeb’s seemingly insatiable thirst for earthly power.

Could you give me a few specific instances when Aurangzeb acted against the perceived image of a religious bigot?

Aurangzeb protected more Hindu temples than he destroyed. He employed more Hindus in his imperial administration than any prior Mughal ruler by a fair margin (50% more Hindus, proportionally, than Akbar had included, for instance). Aurangzeb asked Hindu doctors and astrologers for advice throughout his life, even in his final years. Aurangzeb also destroyed some temples, reinstitute the jizya tax, and, along with the Marathas, caused mass human suffering in central and south India. The goal for a historian is to make sense of all of these aspects of Aurangzeb rather than singling out only one side of this complicated king.


How has colonial historiography harmed the image of Aurangzeb? Please give some specific cases of history writing in this regard.

British colonialists depicted Indo-Muslim kings overall as undesirable and held up Aurangzeb as uniquely horrific so that British colonialism might shine by comparison. A good example of this tactic is Elliot and Dowson’s The history of India, as told by its own historians, a multivolume work that translated excerpts of premodern Islamic texts that were selected to display the alleged barbarity of Indo-Muslim kings. Elliot and Dowson were quite open about their goals in their prefaces. In volume one’s preface, for example, Elliot proclaimed “the supremacy of the British [colonial] Government” over “Muhammadan” kings who display “the vices of a Caligula or a Commodus.” Dowson’s preface to the second volume says that readers can expect to see, through the translated excerpts, “Musulman despotism.” Even today, many people still cite this problematic work of colonial propaganda with little regard for its pro-British, pro-colonial agenda.
Would you say that the image of Aurangzeb is used for political gains even today?

British colonialism finds few defenders in India today, but Hindu nationalists have gobbled up colonial-era depictions of Mughal history, including Aurangzeb, and spit them out in order to foster anti-Muslim sentiment. This embrace of colonial ideas is unsurprising given the history of Hindu nationalism, but it is deeply detrimental to the founding fathers’ vision of India as a secular state that embraced members of all religious traditions.

Why is Aurangzeb constantly pitted against Akbar as occupying two opposite ends of the political spectrum- one the good Mughal ruler and other the bad Mughal ruler?

The Akbar-Aurangzeb dichotomy persists, I think, because many people analyze Indo-Muslim history by ranking Muslim kings according to their supposed piety. The idea here is that Akbar was a good Indian emperor precisely because he wasn’t (in this view) very Muslim, whereas Aurangzeb’s piety crippled his ability to rule India. I think this is an impoverished way to think about the past, not to mention historically dubious.

While conducting research for your book what did you find most striking about Aurangzeb’s personality?

Aurangzeb seemed to be a bit blind regarding his sons. Specifically, he failed to see that by restraining his sons, the Mughal princes, he was undermining their position and thus weakening the Mughal Empire. I wonder why Aurangzeb, a man so skilled at ruling in many ways, did not grasp the importance of strong princely competition to the Mughal Empire.

Source : The Indian Express
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#84 [Permalink] Posted on 7th March 2017 08:02
My Comments on Aurangzeb Alamgir RA


We should thank Audrey Truschke for her interview in above post because she has clearly spelt out the source of the vilification of Aurangzeb Alamgir RA.

She aserts that people rate Muslim Kings of India according to their supposed piety - more is the piety worse is the rule. That is the logic of the Alamgir haters.

Uptil now Akbar was rated better than Aurangzeb but I would like to update that information. By now even Akbar has become a hated figure in India. Indian Minister VK Singh, a former Indian Army chief, wants Akbar Road in Delhi renamed as Maharana Pratap Marg. Rajasthan Minister Vasudev Devnani, an RSS man, dropped Akbar's name from Ajmer's Fort. In the wider context RSS wants Indian Muslims to erase all memory of Muslims ever ruling India.

The author points out that vilification of Aurangzeb began as an explicit agenda of British colonial rule in India in works of orientalist historians like Elliot and Dawson. In their by now infamous book, History of India as told by her own historians, they selectively quote Muslim historians to create an imgae of Muslim rulers as imposters and hence enemies of the Hindus. There is no attempt to balance the pro and cons to arrive at a comprehensive and accurate assessment of the ruler in Aurangzeb.

She also arrives at the surprising conclusion that Auragzeb destroyed the healthy competition provided by his sons. In sense that should be taken as the root cause of destruction of Mughal Empire in India. But we again have to take objective view of the analysis of a western author.

The reviewers from the RSS mind set are rather clear about the book. Here are the samples:

(1) Total ignorance. Waste.. don't buy it (2) What next? aurangzeb 11th avtar of vishnu, you people must stop praising monsters. stop this nonsense. (3) Curiosity value may help her sell the book. However, she has dismissed accepted texts - and even renowned historians like Sir Jadunath Sarkar and his lifetime work on Aurangzeb - and created alibis to justify her views on Aurangzeb in a slim volume. Clearly not up to the mark specially as she claims to be a teacher of History. (4) I fail to understand how all anti Hindu books (be it Arundhati Roy, Be it Audrey Truschke, Be it Barkha Dutt) becomes an instant best seller. But books written to counter their view points hardly sell. What is the secret? (5) Epic fail : Vinay. Poor attempt to glorify mass-murderer funded by petro-dollars. (6) Whitewashing of islamic terrorist aurangzeb. Total BS. (7) Just another attempt to whitewash Aurangzeb's fanatical rule. (8) This is an attempt to salvage the 'image' of a tyrant. Aurangzeb's misdeeds can be unearthed below the stairs of Delhi's Jama Masjid in form of numerous stone & metal statues that were placed there on his orders. How many genuine writers dared to write about this? (9) So what next in the series...Hitler:Man and the Myth !!...Will u dare to?...Easy targets we've been for both Tyrants and academicians alike...(10) I will give an honest opinion since I read this book due to its controversial nature. This book is entertaining if you love fiction else falls short of historical accuracy and the claims made in this book are distorted. (11) A vacuous piece masquerading as 'history'. The author has unsuccessfully tried to whitewash a fratercidal tyrant.

It is clear that most of these people have not read the book but have taken to the internet to troll. But there is a reviewer Sanjay Agarwal who has done an actual review. Among her faults are dwelling upon the positives and explaining away the negatives. That Aurangzeb employed more Hindus than earlier Mughals was simply because of the fact that he conquered more territories. To quote more :
Quote:

She is also regrettably vague about the destruction of 'few dozen' temples during Aurangzeb's reign. She argues (as other notables have done before) that this was merely done for military reasons, but fails to mention a single mosque which was similarly destroyed by Aurangzeb for 'administrative' reasons.


Clearly to be a good Muslim ruler an emperor has to kill Muslims and destroy Mosques.

To quote further :
Quote:

She also glosses over Guru Tegh Bahadur's execution - using the old trope of his having risen rebelliously against Mughal might. She also berates Jadunath Sarkar, arguing at one point that the use of the phrase 'Mughal Crescent' shows how communal Sarkar was. All this sounds so much like a rehash of our own domestic Left wing historians that one wonders whether Audrey Truschke need have travelled all the way from US for this.


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#85 [Permalink] Posted on 8th March 2017 08:59
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#86 [Permalink] Posted on 10th March 2017 05:47
Elections in Indian States


Several Indian states have gone elections recently. These include northern states of UP, Uttarakhand and Punjab. Then there is Goa and Manipur.

Results will be available tomorrow while Exit Polls are already in.

In the Exit Polls the RSS inspired BJP is leading in three states while Congress has an advantage elsewhere.

Personally for me the so called Modi wave or the predicted BJP lead is a bit surprising because Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetization move was a huge disaster by most imaginations.

When I discussed this with a friend he said that the game is not demonetization or public good. According to him the game is that whosoever asserts that they will thrash Muslims will get votes in India.

In this scenario only one additional consideration is left out till we get the actual results on March 11, 2017. In 2012 state elections in UP even after the exit polls we did not know what the voters had done. The voters simply hid the actual information even from exit polls. Till that time the exit polls had given very accurate information.
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#87 [Permalink] Posted on 10th March 2017 06:12
Cruidity of the Indian Scenario


In the post above I included the opinion of a friend about the Exit Poll results of elections in five Indian states. My friend averred that he who promises to thrash Muslims will get votes in India. This opinion stinks in its cruidity. This is a manifestation of the fundamental instability of damocracy - suppose the majority decided-s to harm a minority? Who will protect the minorities in sucha situation? Or even who will bell the cat is a big question. Whole of India has been waiting for these elections, particularly for the UP results. BJP gain in UP will bereflected in increased BJP presence in the central legislature, in Raj Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament. This will empower BJP to indulge in legislation according to the RSS agenda that icludes building a ram Temple at the Babri Masjid site, imposing a Hindu oriented common civil code, depriving Muslims of their Waqf properties, wiping out the already decimated Urdu language, imposing their will on Kashmir and abolishing Muslim personal law.
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#88 [Permalink] Posted on 10th March 2017 07:22
Why This Cruidity?


Clearly Muslims the world over and especially Indian Muslims would like to protect themselves from this cruidity that awaits them as well as the ongoing cruidity inflicted upon them. In this context it will be helpful to trace the origin of the anti-Muslim and Islamophobic sentiments in India.

The opinion is that Islam in India is as old as Islam in Saudi Arabia. Particularly the traders from Arabia arrived in India with Islam in beloved Prophet SAW's life time itself. Spread of islam in South India is because of these traders. Spread of Islam in North India is due to Sufis of the Central Asia. Unfortunately this spread of Islam in North India is easily confused with the Muslim conquest of India via modern day Pakistan, Afghanistan and Persia route. This Muslim conquest certainly has implications for spread of Islam in India but it is not synonymous with Islamic preaching and and spread of Islam. The confusion has been amply fed by British historians like Elliot and Dawson so as to drive a wedge between Hindus and Muslims in India.

As is historically reported the first Muslim gornment in the then Indian territory was in Sindh circa 717 AC. The other extreme view has been asserted by former Indian foreign minister Mr Jaswant Singh in book Jinnah : India, Partition, Independence. Singh divulges that Muslim dominance of India is very recent. This is not a historical revision but an assessment of the ruling dynamics. Be that as it may - the fact remains that there was a Muslim rule in India and that too for a very extended period.

This fact is indigestible to some people, actually so many people, in today's India. Muslim rule in India passed away long long ago after going through various phases - Mamlukes (the Slave Dynasty)-Khalji-Thughlaq-Syed-Lodhi and Mughals in North India. Then various dynasties in South India. In North India the decline set in right after Aurangzeb on March 3, 1707 AC. That it survived upto 1857 AC can only be taken as a tribute to the robust foundation that Alamgir had put it on.

But pass away it did. The British took on from then on.

It is during the British rule we see the first seeds of resentment on part of the people from of the today's majority community in India - the Hindus. In the historical process we have smooth Hindu-Muslim state dynamics like Akbar's wife being from the Rajput Hindu family from Jaipur and Maharana Pratap's commander-in-chief being Hakim Khan Sur. Or nearly all the Hindu rulers of North India coming together to rally behind Bahadur Shah Zafar to oppose the british in 1857 AC.

But the divide and rule policy of the British had already paid dividends. In 1882 Bankim Chandra Chaterjee of Bengal wrote a book called anandmath that he set in 1771 AC Bengal. Originally the book was supposed to be an anti-British but being a serving judge of the British Empire he simply could not sustain the narrative and in subsequent editions he turned the ire of the book against Muslims.

even before this book there was a meeting in 1868 AC in Varanasi (Banaras) where a society for promoting Hindi language was set up under title Nagri Pracharini Sabha, Kashi. The Council for Promoting Devnagri, Banaras. Nagri or Devnagri is the script in which many North Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi and Nepali are written, including Sanskrit. The then court language, Persian or farsi, is, of course, written in Persian script. So is Urdu, the language common in most North Indian Muslims.

This event of Banaras was noticed, amongst others, by a 19th century Muslim educationist and civil servant Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. One of the participants in the 1868 AC meeting was Munshi Nawal Kishore of Lucknow. Mushi had virtual monopoly over Arabic, Persian and Urdu printing and publishing in North India. A publisher of his repute worrying intensely for promotion of the other script and languge puzzled Sir Syed. When there is a dust, probably of horse hoofs, raised on the horizon then the common man is curious as to what might be going on. A king, on the other hand, sees the end of his kingdom and empire. that is how sir Syed interpreted that event of Munshi's participation in Banaras meeting. He was worried about the future of Muslims in India.

Ultimately there was a long drawn movement for freedom of India from the British rule and in 1947 British left India, divided into two countries - India flanked by two disjoint pieces of Pakistan on either side.

In December 1971 AC India successfully broke the East Pakistan from West and created the state of Bangladesh. Muslims of India were now divided into three parts - Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

Pakistan area, even before partition, had Muslim majority and so had the modern day Bangladesh.

But the Muslims in present day India are left with the bill for creation of Pakistan. Far too many people from the majority community of India, the Hindus, think that once Pakistan was created the Muslims have no locus standi in present day India.

This is in spite of the fact that Pakistan creation was not unanimously supported by the Muslims of undivided India. It is a historical truth that there was wide spread Muslim support for the Indian National Congress during the freedom ovement and Muslim revolutionaries fought with their conterparts, shoulder to shoulder - both in Punjab as well as in Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army or the Azad Hind Fauj. There are many big Muslim names in the Congress history of before partition including the Deoband support in the form of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind. Unfortunately after independence India history writing went to the Marxist historians and a religious movement lost its contributions in India's independence in the ideologcal draining by the leftist historiography.

Cut back to present day India. We have Muslims who are left with the bill for creation of Pakistan that they did not create. The hateful elements in the majority community give them a very ominous choice - Pakistan or Cemetry, Musalman ke do sthan, Pakistan ya Qabaristan.

The section of the Indian society that understands this predicament of Muslims itself finds themselves on the receiving end of the ire of the more strident and militant elements of the majority community. The result is a monumental encroachment upon the life space of the hapless Muslim minority of India that I keep talking about.
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#89 [Permalink] Posted on 11th March 2017 06:06
Election Results in India


Indian states of UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur held elections last month and the vote counting is in progress at te moment of writing this post.

In the states of UP, Uttarakhand and Manipur it is BJP that has taken a very solid lead. Congress might form provincial governments in Punjab and Goa. This might look like a 3 vs 2 only gain for BJP but that is misleading. UP is huge state. Uttarakhand is not small either.

UP in fact is one sixth of India. BJP sweeping elections in UP means watershed in Indian history.

The BJP office has crowds in a frenzy and chanting Har Har Mahadev slogans, the strident expression of majority sentiments in India.
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#90 [Permalink] Posted on 11th March 2017 07:21
it'll be best for congress to sit out elections for few years and let regional parties fight BJP. What did Akhilesh get by going against his father and making an alliance with congress. Can't bear this hammering. BJP is successfully polarising 84% Hindus vs 14% Muslims.
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