August 24, 2017

Reviving the Spirit of Quit India Movement

How to Revive the spirit of Quit India Movement? Ram Puniyani The ‘Quit India’ movement 1942, whose 75th anniversary is currently being celebrated, was the major landmark in the struggle for India’s Independence. On 8th August the Indian National Congress working Committee Meeting at Gowalia Tank Maidan (now August Kranti Maidan) decided to launch the movement against British rule. This was the major popular mass movement after the non cooperation movement of 1920 and Civil Disobedience of 1930. Gandhi’s’ magic of involving the Indian people against the British was the spinal cord of struggle for India’s Independence. Earlier the politics of Congress was exclusively done by the educated and other elite. Gandhi in tune with his philosophy, the major ingredients of which were Satya Graha and non violence, revolved around the involvement of all the people irrespective of their caste, class, religion or gender. Earlier in May 1942 Gandhi was already telling British to leave India. With this resolution of Congress the biggest battle for Independence came into being. The term for this upsurge, ‘Quit India’, was provided by a Socialist Congressman, Yusuf Mehrali. Most of the Congress leaders were arrested, and thousands courted arrest to make the point of their participation in the direction of Indian nationalism. The revolt was massive to the extent of shaking the British rulers. What were the core values of this movement? It is true that Congress was the major party unquestioningly standing for this movement, providing the ideology and logistics of the movement. The other political formations like that of Communists and Hindu-Muslim nationalists kept aloof from this. For communists, as Russia joined the war against Germany, this war was labeled as Patriotic War and they supported British. Muslim Nationalism, Muslim League with Jinnah in the leadership, had already talked of separate Muslim Pakistan. They were unconcerned about this movement. They felt an undivided India is synonymous with Hindu raj. As far as Hindu nationalists are concerned, there were two major streams. Hindu Mahasabha under the leadership of Savarkar, which was opposed to Quit India movement and gave firm instructions to supporters of Hindu Mahasabha to stick to their assigned duties in the state apparatus. The other stream was RSS. Its Chief Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar issued the instruction to all the Shakhas, not to do anything which will annoy British authorities and to abide by law. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the RSS worker, was arrested during this period, but he was quick enough to clarify that he was a mere onlooker and not the part of agitation and so he was let off. The founder of previous avatar of BJP, Bharatiya Jansangh, and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was at that time leader of Hindu Mahasabha in Bengal. He promised the British that he would do everything in Bengal to defeat the Quit India movement. The participation of the people of the country was remarkable. This movement was the peak expression of what the concept of ‘India as a Nation in the making’ stood for. As people of all religions fought shoulder to shoulder, Gandhi’s central credo of Hindu-Muslim unity was there for all to see. By this time the support for Muslim League was miniscule and Hindu Mahasabha did not have much electoral support from Hindus. It is these values which culminated in the Indian Constitution. Today what is happening while we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of a great mass movement? The ruling party which is not aligned with the spirit of Indian freedom movement and so also of Quit India movement has to blow some trumpet for electoral considerations. So our Prime Minister in his ‘Man Ki baat’ expresses the hope that people quit communalism, casteism, corruption etc. This is a noble thought but seems to be mere slogan. We have seen that due to the policies of this Government, communalism has grown by leaps and bounds. Adding on to the divisive issue of Ram Temple, Love Jihad, and Ghar Wapasi has been added a more potent issue of Holy cow-beef eating. This issue itself has led to incitement of mass hysteria leading to lynching after lynching. The IndiaSpend data of last six years of lynching has shown that these incidents have gone up many times over during last three years, since Modi came to power. The insecurity of Muslims has gone up by leaps and bounds; they have been marginalized from the political stream at a rapid speed. It is during last three years that we have witnessed the atrocities against dalits going up and assuming frightening proportions. The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, the brutal flogging of dalits in Una is a sampler of the state of dalits in the country. While the economy is taking a rapid downturn for weaker sections of society, the issues of corruption like that of Vyapam are being put under the carpet. The Nobel sentiments expressed by Prime Minster will remain hollow trumpets unless steps are taken to unite the people in the spirit of what Mahatma taught, i.e. Hindu Muslim unity and freezing the issues like that of Holy Cow-Beef for the sake of better social atmosphere. BJP is launching nationwide ‘Sankalp Se Siddhi’ (Determination for Achievement) program at all India level in which among others film on Savarkar will also be shown. It is a total negation of the spirit of Quit India movement, as Savarkar had strongly opposed the movement, as he was for Hindu nation, for collaborating with British to oppose Muslim nation. The basic ideology and spirit of this great mass movement urges upon us to value the spirit of fraternity and equality rather than paying lip service to Mahatma by making him an icon of cleanliness, to follow him on the path of communal politics. Remarkably Gandhi had refused to endorse to move to ban cow slaughter in deference to the diversity of the country. One hope that the resolution being passed in joint house of parliament will have a mention of Gandhi and Congress, who were the pivot of the struggle for Independence.

August 23, 2017

India: Time for UCC [uniform civil code] says the Times of India Editorial (August 24, 2017)

The Times of India, August 24, 2017, Editorial

Time for UCC: If unifying India is Modi’s mantra, uniform civil code with minority backing will transform Indian society

Edit Page, India | TOI

The Supreme Court judgment outlawing instant triple talaq was a landmark decision but it also highlights difficulties faced by judges in resolving thorny issues that overlap between civil matters and personal laws. Justices Nariman, Lalit and Joseph took the stand that triple talaq is not integral to the practice of Islam and isn’t protected by Article 25(1) safeguarding religious freedoms. But Justice Joseph disagreed with the Nariman-Lalit view that a colonial-era legislation surrendering “marriage, dissolution of marriage, including talaq” to personal law regulated triple talaq, and hence must be tested against Article 14 guaranteeing equal protection of the law.

Instead Justice Joseph, like Justices Khehar and Nazeer, reaffirmed that the law applicable to Muslims “shall only be their personal law namely Shariat” and then proceeded to ascertain whether triple talaq was sanctioned by Quran. But should judges be forced into laboured interpretations of religious laws in matters like marriage that fall within the domain of civil law? All three judgments on triple talaq conducted their own inquiries into Muslim laws, on essentially theological issues, and arrived at different interpretations.

For women coping with marital, divorce, inheritance and alimony disputes, vacuum in the statute on grounds of primacy of personal laws is a gross violation of Article 14. Justices Khehar and Nazeer, with qualified support from Justice Joseph, implored Parliament to extend the codification of laws, “an issue of paramount importance”, to Muslims too. But codification of personal laws will not end discrimination if the personal law is fundamentally discriminatory. Even the Hindu codes still have provisions that favour men over women. A Uniform Civil Code (UCC) would bring clarity, cut through the messiness necessitated by dealing with abstruse theological matters, and actualise Article 14’s promise of equality.

But UCC seems tough to achieve in today’s fractious political climate. To bring it closer, every party must drop the selective secularism it currently practises and move towards genuine secularism. This responsibility falls especially heavily on BJP and NDA as they are politically dominant in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is best placed in decades to take the initiative. He has parliamentary backing and his party manifesto promised a UCC if elected. But Modi must first win minority backing by propounding an inclusive agenda in all walks of public life. After GST on the economic front, UCC is the ultimate measure to “unify” Indian society.

Anti-Hindutva protest in London demands end to lynching of Indian minorities


India: Notice to Govt On Plea Against Rule Denying Reservation Benefits To Dalit Christians [Read Petition to Supreme Court]

Notice to Centre On Plea Against Rule Denying Reservation Benefits To Dalit Christians [Read Petition]...

Read more at: http://www.livelaw.in/ghar-wapsi-issue-sc-notice-centre-plea-rule-denying-reservation-benefits-dalit-christians-read-petition/

India: Dabholkar, Pansare killings well-planned, linked - Bombay High Court

The Times of India

Dabholkar, Pansare killings well-planned, linked: Bombay HC

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017, 07:12 PM IST


  • Killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare were "well planned" and the perpetrators had organisational backup: HC
  • Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Pune while he was on a morning walk
  • Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries on February 20 that year
File photo of protest in Nagpur over delay in Dabholkar murder case probe.File photo of protest in Nagpur over delay in Dabholkar murder case probe.
MUMBAI: The killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare were "well planned" and the perpetrators had organisational backup, the Bombay High Court said on Wednesday and asked the investigators to look beyond their current line of probe to apprehend the culprits.

The bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and Vibha Kankanwadi also said there was a "clear nexus" between the two killings.

"The reports reveal that these were clearly not one or two stray incidents. Certain organisations must be backing them, helping them financially. These incidents were well planned," Justice Dharmadhikari noted after perusing the probe reports submitted by the state CID and the CBI in Pansare and Dabholkar murder cases respectively.

Considering that Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, the two men identified by the CBI as those who allegedly gunned down Dabholkar in 2013, were still to be traced, the court said the agency must "look beyond its current line of probe."

"There is a clear nexus between the two murders. These men must have some roots in the society. Coordinate with the state CID, use modern technology, look at bank transactions, ATM withdrawals, check rail bookings, there are just four or five states with porous borders to which these men could have fled," Justice Dharmadhikari said.

"It is impossible for someone to remain in hiding for so long in today's time," he said.

The bench also directed the two probe agencies to take note of the above suggestions and submit fresh progress reports by the next date of hearing on September 13.

It directed the petitioners, the family members of the deceased rationalists, to submit an affidavit listing their demand that the state home secretary and the CBI director be made directly accountable for the probe.
Both the probe agencies, meanwhile, said they were hunting for the killers.

Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Pune while he was on a morning walk.

Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries on February 20 that year.

The high court has been hearing petitions filed by the kin of the two seeking court monitored investigations in both the cases.

India: RSS fumes over historian Romila Thapar’s new book on nationalism

Deccan Chronicle

RSS fumes over historian Romila Thapar’s new book on nationalism
Published Aug 21, 2016, 12:49 am IST

In her new book, Thapar has said that nationalism cannot be reduced merely to shouting slogans.
Romila Thapar
 Romila Thapar
New Delhi: Historian Romila Thapar is under attack yet again by the big brother of the Sangh Parivar — RSS.  This time the RSS is breathing fire on her latest book — On Nationalism.
In her new book, Ms Thapar has stated that nationalism cannot be  reduced merely to waving flags and shouting slogans and penalising people for not shouting slogans like Bharat Mata ki Jai.
Seething over her observations, the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, which described Ms Thapar as “queen bee of highbrow intellectualism of divisive Left,” targeted her saying, “Thapar is far from surprise to those who understand the phoney communist character of her intellectual politics.”
Targeting the latest brand of nationalism, Ms Thapar said, “Sloganeering or flag waving smack of a lack of confidence among those making the demand for slogans.”
Of course this has gone against the nationalist spirit of the Sangh. The mouthpiece said, “This time, she has produced another stinky logic of provincialising the otherwise wide-ranging cultural nationalism or Hindutva.”
Hitting out at Ms Thapar, the Organiser wrote in its cover story — Nation for Naysayers — “In the post-Independence era, historians like Thapar were nurtured by the Congress and were established as intellectuals only to ensure that they echo the political programme of this power mongering party through their divisive theories and intellectual activism so that the most legitimate cultural interests of the Hindu society gets nullified from general cognizance."
Ms Thapar in her book which is a compilation of essays by Thapar, lawyer A.G. Noorani and cultural commentator Sadanand Menon, has said, “In India we distinguish between secular anti-colonial nationalism that was the mainstay of the national freedom movement and the other movements that called themselves nationalism but were doubtful as such and were correctly religious or communal nationalism that drew their identity from individual religions, such as Muslims, Hindu and Sikh nationalisms.”

Cartoon by Nala Ponnappa after the Tripple Talaq Ruling by the Supreme Court of India