Category Archives: Social Issues

Dr.Ambedkar – An academician, economist, politician and a Patriot

A Talk by Sri Milind Oak at a program organised by Bharatiya Vichar Manch & Dr.Ambedkar Trust at Gujarath ; Covers a great deal of ground on his contributions in academics, social life, politics and social movements. The talk throws a lot of light on the legacy that Dr.Ambedkar inherited in the “Dalit” movement and how within a span of 2 decades, he was able to wean the depressed classes away from the separatists due to his extensive work.

 

Social Equality is a Matter of Conviction for Us – Dr. Mohanji Bhagwat

RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat with his call for ‘One Temple, One Cremation Ground and One Water-body’ for all in a non-discriminatory way has provided a new action programme for social equality and harmony. Many outside the RSS circles are also appreciating the initiative. The third Sarsanghachalak of RSS, Shri Balasaheb Deoras provided momentum to the social thrust to this reformist thinking, which now Shri Mohan Bhagwat is carrying forward. On the sidelines of the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha held at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Organiser Editor Prafulla Ketkar and Panchjanya Editor Hitesh Shankar spoke to him on Balasaheb Deoras, his contribution to Samrasata and the way ahead. Excerpts:

 Since 1925 itself, Samrasata has been in the basic nature of RSS. Later, Balasaheb Deoras was a great inspiration in this endeavour. How do you look at his contribution?

The organisation of Hindu society is impossible without Samrasata (social harmony). Therefore, non-discriminatory approach is mandatory for unifying the Hindu society and this has been there in the RSS since its inception. However, the strength of RSS has increased over a period of time. In the RSS, Samrasata has been in practice since its formation. But when Balasaheb took over as the Sarsanghachalak, the atmosphere in the society started becoming conducive for listening to what RSS says, to think over it and to experiment over it, at least to some extent.  Today, the influence of RSS is much higher, then it was not that great, but it was just a beginning. This egalitarian approach of RSS was necessary for the society as well. Therefore, after assuming the responsibility of Sarsanghachalak, Balasaheb unequivocally declared about the ‘social thrust’ as the main objective of the organisation. To make the meaning of this clear to the Swayamsevaks and also to the society at large, Balasaheb deliberately prepared for months together and delivered his famous address in the Vasant Vyakhyanmala (a lecture series organised at Pune  on May 8,1974). The practice was prevalent within the Sangh but the thought process behind this was made clear to the Swayamsevaks through that address and a message was delivered to the larger society as well.

What was the impact of this insistence on Samrasata by Sangh on the society?

Sangh’s belief in Hindutva is a well-known fact. What would be the Sangh’s approach towards the caste system that is predictably associated with the term ‘Hindu’? There were well-intended people in the society who believed that this organisation must be in support of the caste system or caste-based discrimination. Then, this issue was publicly discussed about the Sangh. This perception was there and there were many people who used this to unfairly target the RSS. But when Balasaheb categorically said that the ‘untouchability should be thrown lock, stock and barrel’, these discussions immediately came to an end. With this, Swayamesevaks also garnered courage to present their position in the society. The Samrasata was there in practice but common Swayamsevaks were not aware about the ideological edifice of those actions. Balasaheb’s speech unfolded all this, the thinking and the corresponding steps, clear for the Swayamsevaks. They also became more confident about their position in the society. The suspicion of the genuine people in the society was removed with this clear position. This facilitated many things. There are many instances where RSS Swayamsevaks stood by the victims of discrimination when many in the society were not ready to take a clear position.

After the historical speech of Balasaheb Deoras at Vasant Vyakhyanmala which new dimensions were added to the Sangh work?

Naturally, many new dimensions were added with the beginning of work with the society. The churning started about what are the problems of these groups who are victims of social discrimination, what do they think and what are the remedies to bridge the huge gap that has emerged in the society. In the same process initiative of Samajik Samrasata Manch was started. Special efforts were made to establish contact with different social groups and bring them to RSS Shakha activity; especially the social groups that were psychologically uncomfortable in calling themselves as Hindus due to discriminatory practices were focussed on. Resultantly, the strength of Hindu organisation was added to the larger struggle for self-respect by various groups.

What measures would you suggest to eradicate the social discrimination?

The first and foremost remedy is a continuous process in which we should learn to completely reject all kinds of discriminations in our personal, family, professional and social behaviour. We will have to change our habits for that. For instance, there are many proverbs that are still in usage. Many a times we use it not to demean certain communities but it hurts the people who are the victims of discrimination. We will have to consciously get rid of such usages and habits. Sometimes, though we are mentally and morally convinced about principle of equality, some of our habits do not allow us to act accordingly. We will have to change such habits. Whether we have really discarded the discriminatory practices and inculcated the egalitarian values will be tested again and again, particularly, by our own people with whom we want to connect with for building a non-discriminatory and harmonious society. Even in our normal behaviour such values will have to be nurtured. For instance, I went to somebody’s place. I am not thirsty, still water was offered and I did not have water, this action of mine can also  create doubt about my intent of not having water, even though I did not mean anything. Shri Guruji once set an excellent example through his action. A Swayamsevak invited Shri Guruji for a cup of tea. He used to stay in a small hut, in a condition of absolute poverty. When Guruji went there, couple of karyakartas accompanied him. The place was so small that one could see his mother preparing tea while sitting on a chair near door. The utensils were not clean; there was no tea strainer; the tea was strained with a cloth that was also not very clean. When the tea was offered, someone said I don’t have tea, the other said I had a lot of tea since morning. Guruji happily had tea. While returning, the accompanying karyakartas asked, how could you have that tea? Shri Guruji replied, you were observing the tea, I was drinking his love and affection. Such conscious but obvious efforts are needed. The society needs love and respect. So our behaviour should be to protect the self-respect of all. We have to get habitual to this.

Secondly, many issues arise in public life, like inter-caste marriages. Those issues also face opposition. We insist that Swayamsevaks should stand in favour of such reformative measures. Generally, it happens and it should happen. If you take a survey, you will find more Swayamsevaks with inter-caste marriages than anybody else. We observe that in our personal interactions. Two messages were sent to the couple involved in the first public inter-caste marriage in Maharashtra, one was that of Dr Ambedkar and the other was by Shri Guruji. In his congratulatory message, Shri Guruji wrote that not because of physical attraction but to register a protest against the caste system, you are tying this knot through an inter-caste marriage, I support this marriage and convey my best wishes. This message was conveyed to the Swayamsevaks also.

Sangh Swayamsevaks should take such public position, without getting carried away by momentary public sentiments or self-arrogance. It is necessary that Swayamsevaks take a lead role while keeping the social unity, integrity and harmony in mind to sincerely and fearlessly carry out that role.

What are the major obstacles in the path of Samrasata?

As I said earlier, the biggest hurdle is our habits and mindset. We have been practising certain things for more than two thousand years, in which Adharma is followed in the name of Dharma. If we can’t desist our fascination for old things then by breaking it, we have to stand by truth and justice, as Balasaheb clearly said – ‘it should be thrown lock, stock and barrel’.

The issue of discrimination crops up in the form of injustice incurred by ancient Brahminical system. When our ancestors are discussed as selfish and arrogant, the first obvious reaction is to defend our forefathers. The person is actually referring to the inhuman treatment of discrimination, which he has been facing for thousands of years. Take it as his genuine anger and support his stand on equality. If your ancestors and ancient traditions are great, then they are not going to belittle by anyone’s accusations. If there is an injustice, we have to oppose it. Once a Sangh Karyakarta was asked in a programme that you revere Prabhu Shri Ram as an icon of Hindus, do you also support his slaying of Shambuka? This is a tricky question for a Hindu. It creates the dilemma of denouncing Prabhu Ram or supporting the killing of Shambuka. The RSS Karyakarta replied in a very brave and intelligent manner. He said, first of all I should congratulate you as somebody who has sent you to ask this question and you have come well prepared. Through this question you have accepted that someone with name of Ram existed in our history. This is a great thing. Now whether Ram really killed Shambuka, this is a debatable issue as many believe that this whole chapter is added in Uttar-Ramayana (later part). The Ram we worship only killed the unjust and devil king. Slaying of Shambuka is not a matter of respect for us with reference to Prabhu Ram and if it is ever proved that Ram was responsible for the killing of Shambuka, we will denounce that. This kind of clear position we should be able to take. This does not amount to the insult of our forefathers. Savarkarji used to say, do not blame the ancestors for wrong things but denounce the wrong doings of forefathers respectfully. This is very easy to say but very difficult to practise as it gives a feeling of diffidence. In such practical issues, even if our self-interest is hampered we should stand for the just and righteous cause. In this process, we many a times have to face the social reaction. We have to learn how to manage that and how to respect that. We should strive to garner enough courage to deal with such situations.

Another aspect is, we have to accept that due to the discrimination of thousands of years, there would be anger, sometimes even hatred and still we should continue to strive for building bridges. We should remain confident that after exhaling the anger, the hatred will subside. Simultaneously, there are forces who are interested in vitiating the atmosphere. This conspiracy is going on. We have to deal with them as well. Therefore, with love and care, we have to raise people in each and every community who stand for unity, integrity and harmony. This is the need of the hour and also a continuous process.

As you said, nurturing Samrasata is a continuous process. What would be the role of different sections of the society in this process?

An interesting corollary was given by Pt Deendayalji. He said, if you have to pull out someone from a pit, then it is not sufficient that he is ready to come out of it by raising his hands and lifting his foot, the person who is outside the pit also has to bend down. This process has started. The hesitance of bending down from above should go away.  We should strive hard to extend our hand to the best possible extent for helping others. Secondly, we need to be calm in thinking, communication and action. Balasaheb in his speech said that untouchability and injustice is clearly visible. Ultimately, we are one society, so it is our responsibility to maintain harmony in it. We cannot persist with the conflict of perpetrators of untouchability and victims of untouchability. If we do not want to widen the rift, if we want peace and harmony, then both the sides should get rid of abusive language. One section has to realise that the anger of thousands of years is being expressed and therefore not to react with similar anger is needed. The other side should learn to tone down the language while expressing their anger for reducing the social strife and gap. We can articulate injustice in a respectful way. The leaders also use discretion for ending all kinds of injustice.  A system should be developed in such a way that no one with intent of injustice can rise again. This all should be done with the objective of unifying the society. The system should have inbuilt provisions to maintain the egalitarian system, new suggestions should be accepted. By assimilating everyone in this process, if we start exhibiting this in our action, without waiting for others, then this objective would be attained earlier and faster.

What are the future plans of RSS in this process of social transformation?

The fundamental plan of Sangh is to assimilate all through sincere actions. Whatever may be the external situation, people of all sections of the society should be friendly to each other. As people from same social groups become friends,  their families  get connected, natural interactions begin and family level affection develops,  this has to happen across the sections. Wherever such actions are taken, genuine efforts for equality should be  made, we should support and strengthen  them, and try making them  successful and victorious. This is our work. The victims of injustice should get  justice at the earliest. The practice of equality is imitated all over and there should be cordial dialogue in this direction. Therefore, undertaking surveys, talking to people on these issues, and convincing people on the same, are the new initiatives taken. Many new measures can come up in this process.

Recently you gave  a call for One Temple, One Crematorium and One Water-body. What kind of response you are getting from the leaders of various sects and religions?

Almost, all responses  are positive. The principle behind this call got cent per cent  acceptance. But those who do not understand Sangh or oppose it for the sake of it would  comment  why now or would say it is  too late. So the call for One Temple, One Crematorium and One Water-body was not opposed per se but a question mark was certainly put on the intention behind this. Or else they said it is merely a sloganeering. The issue was not directly opposed by anyone. On the other hand, a large section of society rejoiced at the call . The victims of discrimination certainly saw a ray of hope.

There is an incident behind this call. Before my Vijayadashmi speech in which I gave this all, I went to Palamuru in Telangana, where many Swayamsevaks are there from the so-called backward sections of the society. I was the Sarkaryavah then. A so-called Dalit leader with Left leanings was sharing the  stage  with me. I spoke first and then he addressed the gathering. I was supposed to speak on Samajik Samarasta (Social Harmony), which I did. After that he publicly accepted that I thought RSS to be a caste-ridden organisation but what I am seeing here is Sangh is full of our own people and some of them are full-timers. I just listened to the RSS General Secretary, and could not believe that the Sangh could publicly take such a stand. He asked whether this is a genuine position of RSS. After his speech, in an informal discussion, I assured him that this is what Sangh believes in. It is a matter of conviction for us. He was surprised with that. After that we remained in touch. He interacted regularly with the local level office bearers, sometimes even communicated with them. In one of such discussion, I said the issue of temple, crematorium and waterbody should go first in the society as these are the issues of day-to-day experience. He said, you will not say this publicly. I said, I am going to say this, you attend the Vijayadashmi function to listen to this. He actually visited Nagpur to see whether I actually took  this position or not. Now he himself speaks among his community leaders about this position of Sangh. He advises them not to keep RSS people away. Such kind of leadership, not embroiled in political interests and still really represent the so-called Dalits, would certainly be happy about such initiatives. They would be positive about  Sangh. The message will be conveyed to the whole nation.

How far politically favourable atmosphere helps in furthering this cause of Samrasta?

Politically favourable atmosphere can be helpful only in one sense, if people in politics decide to do so. Wherever people in favour of social equality are in power, there they ensure the strict implementation of the Constitutional and other legal provisions pertaining to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Even if the government ensures the timely allocation of funds and appointing the right person for the right job, that itself would be a big job.   Fifty percent of systemic issues would be resolved by this. These provisions are already there, we just have to implement them in right spirit. We believe that wherever Swayamesevaks are in government positions, they should focus on this aspect. We can only insist on this and we are doing this sincerely.

What can be the role models for creating Samaras (harmonious) and integral society? What can be the inspiration for the same?

The real inspiration is in our culture itself – truth, compassion, purity and austerity are four pillars of Dharma. What is the Truth? The truth is our biggest conviction that the same eternal principle exists in everyone and everyone is the manifestation of that. Nobody is big or small, ours or aliens. All are ours. The obvious corollary of this is to be compassionate to all. Dharma, means the principles that hold the society, it starts with the two principles, all are mine and I am there in others. Therefore there should not be any degeneration in the system. This compassion comes from the feeling of affinity. If such person is pure, without any self-interest, then he would surely dedicate his life to the public good. Such a life would take him to the path of Dharma.

Therefore, Dharma, the four principles that hold our society is the crux of our culture. All our religious texts, whether, Bhagwadgeeta, Shri Bhagwat Puran, Shiv Puran or the message of Tathagat Bhagwan Buddha, convey us the same thing. All our Bharatiya traditions, may be having different paths, may be having differences on primacy of matter or spirit but their instructions for our actual behaviour are the same. It is not there only in a written form. Thousands of Saintly people actually led that life. This is not only true with the ancient Saints but with modern monks. Swamy Vivekananda celebrated the festival of feeding labourers working in the Varahanagar Muth. Service to man is service to God was the message he conveyed to all. To experience the pain of being an untouchable, Gadage Baba, a modern Saint in Maharashtra used to go to roadside water well and ask for drinking water. He used to fetch water himself on the instruction of the farmer. When suddenly he use to ask about his caste and he would not tell his caste and experience the literal lashes. Dr Ambedkar himself did that many a times. So we have such lives to follow even in modern times that made great sacrifices for the cause of social harmony. This is a great inspiration in itself. This is my society and my nation is the biggest inspiration one can have. If my own people are living in a despicable condition then what is the use of my name and fame. If I travel around the world, then the issue of caste-based discrimination would be a matter of shame and not pride. Devotion towards society, nation and culture is a significant force which we should create amongst all.

Inherent Unity in diversity is the biggest strength of the Hindu society. Why there is a competition to create divisions in it?

The main reason of such divisions is forgetting the nature of one’s true self. Once I consider a section of my society as enemy, then to protect my own interest I would oppose you at any cost. There are examples of inviting even enemies of the nation for protecting selfish interests. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar during the deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, warned against the same. He categorically said that no foreigner could win over Bharat on his own strength. We lost because of our divisions and some people betrayed our own nation. This has been part of our history, which should not be repeated.

Therefore, we have to revive the basic principles of unity. There are many forces which are working to widen this gulf of divisions for self-interests. Instead of fighting against such forces time and again, it is better we strengthen our unifying tendencies and act accordingly.

You travel throughout the nation; you have been reiterating this subject of Samrasata time and again. How do you see the end-result of this?

See, insisting on Samrasta and inspiring the actions based on this in all aspects is necessary and we are trying to do the same. I am sure, one day this would bear the fruits and whole society will accept this. The divisive tendencies are counting their days. There are few people who are making necessary corrections and trying to follow the path of Samrasta. The larger section of society generally follow the trend. We have to strengthen the voice of righteousness, the society will follow it. Babasaheb used to say that numerous efforts are being made to create a discrimination-free, egalitarian and exploitation-free society. Many people have sacrificed their lives. I sincerely feel that we will get the cumulative result of all those efforts and soon we will have a  discrimination-free society.

Courtesy: Organiser

How drinking alcohol harms women. Its Increase Is Alarming

A brief from a Sunday Times Article states ” Alcohol companies are targeting Indian women as they begin to abandon traditional taboos about drinking alcohol in public and for the first time join men at the bar.

Women who drink have traditionally been frowned upon and portrayed negatively in Bollywood movies. But as they become increasingly economically independent, women now represent one of the biggest growth sectors of India’s £6.6bn drinks sector.

The women’s market, although still relatively small, is expected to grow by 25% over the next five years, according to the Indian Centre for Alcohol Studies, a research body. “

On the other hand there is overwhelming evidence of the high impact of alcohol on both men and women but especially on women. Alcohol companies see a blue ocean in the women segment since this was by far largely untapped in Bharat. Hence a huge investment to make it appear cool !

Rather than shaming Indian women (and men) who don’t want to drink, through peer pressure and barbs, let’s consider respecting their, perhaps more sensible, choices instead, says Sankrant Sanu.

women-no-to-alcohol

Shruti, a student I know of at an engineering college in India, spoke to me of the pressure to adopt the ‘bar culture’ — being associated with ‘progressive modernity’.

A mixed group of her friends had gone to a nightclub in Delhi. Most of the students in the group were drinking, but Shruti preferred not to. She was told she was being a ‘Sati-Savitri’ for refusing to consume alcohol. Not ‘blending-in’ would result in shaming.

‘They make you feel aloof from the group,’ she reported in a Whatsapp chat, ‘And no matter how hard you try you can’t gel with them.’

I call this ‘Savitri shaming,’ a social ostracism as potent as the much-talked-of ‘slut shaming’.

There is nothing particularly ‘progressive’ or ‘liberated’ about drinking alcohol, either for men or women. In rural areas in India, the campaign against alcohol consumption by men is often led by women (external link). These women experience first-hand the consequences of alcoholism — blowing up of precious savings, domestic violence and breakdown of families.

In urban India, alcohol consumption is being pushed as the new ‘cool’, where often in the past it was looked down upon — people from ‘good families’ didn’t drink.

The media and urban messaging is especially targeting women as part of the drinking culture. Is this really ‘feminist’? Studies have shown that alcohol is even worse for women than men. The US National Institute of Health concludes (external link) that ‘drinking is much more risky for women than it is for men. A study by the Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia showed (external link) that ‘women get drunk, high and addicted faster than men.’

According to Susan Foster, director of the centre:

‘A woman’s body contains less water and more fatty tissue — which increases alcohol absorption — compared to a male body. And women have a lower activity level of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks down alcohol.”

Alcohol in even moderate amounts has been shown to increase risk of breast cancer in women, whereas the slight benefits of lower heart disease in some cases doesn’t apply to women below 55. Heavy drinking is even worse, leading to higher risks of liver damage, cancer, brain impairment and heart disease. The NIH estimates that 5.3 million women in the US ‘ drink in a way that threatens their health, safety, and general wellbeing. A strong case can be made that heavy drinking is more risky for women than men.’

Another NIH study (external link) shows alcohol use, by men and women, is also a major factor in sexual assaults.

‘Conservative estimates of sexual assault prevalence suggest that 25 per cent of American women have experienced sexual assault, including rape. Approximately one-half of those cases involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim, or both.’

Given an American society grappling with the ill-effects of alcoholism and showing a horrendous rate of sexual assaults, why would we emulate this drinking culture and call it ‘progressive’?

I heard other accounts from women in corporate settings who’re told they must drink to socialise with their (male) clients. Is this progressive or regressive?

Shruti recounted the increasing peer pressure to drink in college:

“It’s a ‘status symbol’. I was being forced to take a sip at least. And they would have had made me drink it if one of my friend hadn’t stood up for me. They were like it’s an awesome feeling … try it and get high and enjoy the world. Girls (were trying to make me drink) even harder.”

It used to be the stereotype that women from ‘good families’ didn’t drink. Now the mindless aping of a harmful practice, one that Western society is struggling to overcome, has been made ‘cool,’ while those who resist are derided as ‘Sati-Savitris.’

Who is Savitri? The story of Savitri and Satyavan is a love story of a courageous woman who challenged death itself to save her husband and love, Satyavan. Savitri represents commitment, loyalty, fidelity, courage and true love. Savitri-shaming denigrates all these values as ‘patriarchal’! What then is the alternative society?

Apparently the society we are asked to take as our model is one which has a sexual assault rape of 25 per cent, over 10 times that of India’s. A society in which the divorce rate is 20-40 times as high as in India (external link). Who benefits from the lack of commitment to the relationship?

In the US, women bear the brunt of divorce (external link). According to law professor Lenore Weitzman’s book Divorce Revolution, ‘A typical woman endures a 73 per cent reduction in her standard of living after a divorce. Her typical ex-husband enjoys a 42 per cent increased standard of living.’

As per a Brookings report (external link), ‘Single parents have much lower incomes and much higher poverty rates than their married counterparts.’ It also adds that ‘there is near-consensus that the retreat from marriage has not been good for children.’

Biologically promiscuity also has disproportionate consequence for women. In case of resulting pregnancy (and we know there is no foolproof contraception), women are often left holding the bag (and the baby). They need to either subject their bodies to drugs or surgery to terminate the pregnancy or deal with the consequence of an unwanted pregnancy and the potential of ending up as single mothers.

The men can shoot and scoot. I’m not advocating that men should be irresponsible; but that the reality is they have less consequences for being so.

In effect, marriage is an institution that serves women. Many men would be quite happy sleeping around given available women. As ‘players’, men who make conquering and dumping women into a game, know this is easier to do when a woman is drinking since it lowers inhibitions. Men are happy with a culture of drinking and no-strings-attached sex where women bear the disproportionate responsibilities.

‘Progressive’ feminists may inadvertently push the cause of patriarchy in decrying ‘slut-shaming’ while pushing for ‘Savitri-shaming’ in an attempt to replicate a troubled Western society. Women do not need to be slut-shamed for ‘dressing provocatively’ or victim-blamed for assault. Nor should they be shamed as ‘behenjis’ or ‘Savitri-shamed’ for dressing traditionally or refusing to drink alcohol.

Rather than shaming Indian women (and men) who don’t want to drink with peer pressure and barbs, let’s consider respecting their, perhaps more sensible, choices instead.

Sources 

Sunday Times Article – Taboo Broken as Indian Women Get Taste for Drinking

Rediff Article #SavitriShaming and how drinking harms women

 

 

Muslim Appeasement Politics by KCR

Telangana’s Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) announced in the state assembly day before yesterday (18 January) that his government will table the long-pending bill to triple reservation for Muslims in education and employment, from the current 4 per cent to 12 per cent, in the upcoming budget session. Additionally, he told the house that he was planning to arm the Wakf Board in the state with judicial powers.

kcrmim

Let’s look at these two issues, how they have panned out so far and why this pandering to Muslims is dangerous, and not just in the constitutional sense.

Tripling Muslim quota

The chief minister has been very keen on increasing quotas for Muslims — it was a key poll promise during the 2014 assembly elections after all, so much so that he wanted to pass the quota bill in a special session of the assembly last year, which was convened in August to ratify the GST constitutional bill. However, his decision met with procedural roadblocks. Telangana didn’t have a Backward Classes (BC) commission back then. Only the commission of inquiry had endorsed the idea. Which wasn’t enough. Only a BC commission can “increase or decrease quotas or make additions or deletions on eligible castes”, as KCR’s BC welfare minister put it at the time.

In October, the commission was set up. Then KCR wanted to introduce the bill in the ongoing winter session, but deferred his decision after Telangana’s Advocate General advised him to do so. The latter didn’t want the bill to be passed in haste only to be struck down by the courts later. He had suggested that “it would be better if BC Commission tours districts to conduct hearings on the Muslim quota and submit a report to the government. Otherwise, it would be viewed as if the panel had drafted the report sitting in Hyderabad, which may face legal issues later.

On 15 December, the commission initiated public hearings on the matter and received about 52,000 representations, most of which supported the enhancement in Muslim quotas, as indicated by the commission’s Chairman B S Ramulu. By the time the budget session begins next month, the commission in all likelihood would’ve submitted its report. It is ready and endorses the Sudhir Commission recommendations. The commission members are waiting for an appointment with KCR. Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) have also given official representation to the commission supporting the increase in the quota.

KCR says he is enhancing reservation for Muslims not on religious grounds but on their socio-economic conditions and educational backwardness. This line of argument is obvious. Quotas based on religious grounds are unconstitutional, and will not stand scrutiny in court.

So will KCR succeed in his enterprise? One can’t be sure given the myriad ways in which jurisprudence in the country works. The legal system is confused. In 2004, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s Congress government had enshrined 5 per cent quota for Muslims, taking the total reservation in the state to 51 per cent. This was struck down by the Andhra Pradesh high court citing the 49 per cent constitutional limit for quotas. Cleverly, the Reddy government changed the quantum of quota to 4 per cent. This was also deemed unconstitutional by a seven-member bench of the high court. When the matter reached the Supreme Court, it passed an interim order staying the Muslim quota until a separate constitutional bench decided on the matter. The case is still in progress.

KCR wants to avoid the whole legal tangle. He plans to go to the centre directly and ask the Modi government to put the state’s law into the ninth schedule. Laws in the ninth schedule are protected from judicial review. But the centre is unlikely to play ball. The chief minister has his plan sorted out. He will cite Tamil Nadu’s example. If it can give 69 per cent quota, why can’t we, goes the argument.

We will tell the Supreme Court that the Centre had allowed the Tamil Nadu government to implement reservation over and above 50 percent quota limit  prescribed by SC since 1991 by incorporating the state reservations in the IX Schedule of the Constitution. We will inform the Supreme Court that people in Telangana State are also demanding similar exemption. Since TS is also a state in India like TN, I am 100 percent confident that the hike in the Muslim quota will overcome all constitutional and legal issues as there cannot be different rules for different states. If we succeed, we will get quotas like TN. Otherwise, both the states will lose.” – (Source: Deccan Chronicle )

KCR’s confidence (100 per cent, no less) in the ‘rule of law’ is really charming. If he wants to pin his hopes on the apex court’s wisdom, he needs to get in line. Haryana government also wants to put the Jat quota in the ninth schedule. And more important, the 69 per cent quota in Tamil Nadu is not the final word. The matter is still sub-judice.

Judicial powers to Wakf Board

KCR’s insatiable thirst to appease Muslims doesn’t end with a substantial increase in their quota in jobs and education. He also wants to give judicial powers to the Wakf Board. He is wooing the youth of the community with the former, and Mullahs with the latter. His government will introduce a bill in the next session empowering the board. ‘Wakf land is being illegally grabbed’ is the justification behind the move. While he is right on the encroachment of land (out of 1.3 lakh acres in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Wakf Board claims that 81,000 acres of land is encroached upon), by giving judicial powers to the board, he is barking up the wrong tree.

He has also promised to give back all vacant Wakf lands that were given to multinational corporations by the previous governments. He said:

“A huge extent of Wakf lands have been encroached upon in the city and districts during the undivided AP government. Several land cases have been lying pending for years. Due to the lack of judicial powers, the Wakf Board is not in a position to initiate action against land grabbers or resume lands. We will soon give judicial powers to Wakf Board.” (Source: Deccan Chronicle ).

Very touching indeed. How can the state give power of adjudication to one participating party in a legal battle? This is akin to giving judicial power to an alleged victim over the alleged accused. This is nothing but a step towards injecting Sharia-like laws in mainstream Indian jurisprudence. KCR’s plans threaten to turn the whole idea of the legal system on its head.

But let’s excuse KCR for his outrageous proposal for a second and talk about the rule of law, equality before the law and equal protection of law. Applying his own logic (If Tamil Nadu can give 69 per cent quota, why can’t we?), shouldn’t he give the same judicial powers to temples? There are 20,000 temples in the state (5,000 of which have prominent properties). These temples have about 86,000 acres of land, but more than half of it — 56,000 acres — has been encroached upon. Certainly, they also qualify to be given judicial powers?

But surely, the courts would stop KCR from pursuing his openly communal and common-sense-free politics? One shouldn’t hold one’s breath. Remember, these same courts have allowed communal laws like the Right to Education (RTE), which only applies to non-minorities (mostly Hindus), and given constitutional backing to bodies like the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), which by law cannot have Hindu members. These same courts let the Sonia Gandhi-led United Progressive Alliance government overturn their own judgment in the Inamdar case (2005) by passing the 93rd constitutional amendment which sowed the seeds of sectarianism in the education sector.

But all is not lost. Yesterday (19 January), the Supreme Court ruled that churches do not have power to grant divorce decrees, only civil courts do. This means the Indian Divorce Act, 1989 will override the Christian personal law.

One hopes that the courts will not let KCR run roughshod over the rule of law.

PS: On top of it all, KCR has also increased honorarium for imams and mauzams from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 per month. He has also announced that the state government will bear the cost of all self-financing courses in minority degree colleges.

Nehruvian secularists were outraged when KCR allowed his guru to sit on the chief minister’s chair for a few seconds (which was mere symbolism), but are nowhere to be found when he is openly flouting the basic tenets of secularism. That’s why they have lost credibility. But rest of us must speak up and make it count.

Courtesy : Swarajya

AriseBharat Digest – Pushya- Yugabdi 5118

Namaste

The Supreme Court’s directive to the Government to audit nearly 30 lakh non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is a welcome move and comes in the backdrop of not only misuse of public funds by many NGO’s but also in their involvement in secessionist activities. Read More

Rising Bharat – Initiatives

Muslim Rashtriya Manch to hoist tricolour at 10,000 places on Republic Day

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With a view to increasing participation of Muslim community in celebrating the Republic Day, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) has embarked upon a massive campaign.

On this Republic Day, the MRM would take initiative to unfurl the National Tricolour at least 10,000 locations on January 26. Efforts are on to involve the maximum number of madrasas, mosques and schools in Muslim areas said Mohd Azal, MRM National Convener and Girish Juyal, National Organising Convener. Read More

 

Collective efforts of local villagers give fresh life to closed govt schools in Telangana

Colorful campaign flyers, multi-storeyed buildings, children in uniform attires of tie, belt, shoes, school buses – this is the general picture of corporate private schools. On the other hand, we find morose government schools – schools with no teachers; if there are teachers, no proper building; when school has both building and teachers, parents not willing to send their children to these schools, due to poor standards. If someone comes forward and admits their children in these schools, they are struck with a doubt whether their children would finally get some decent education or not. Parents were full of anxiety that their children might fall behind in the race with the English medium students. Bearing this financial burden, many parents ending up sending their children to private schools, thus resulting perilous for government schools.

In these kind of depressed situations, some schools are generating hopes. With the cooperation of peoples’ representatives and active participation of local villagers, few government schools are heading towards their old grandeur. Closed schools are being reopened. With little support, government schools are proving themselves to stand up against the campaign of private, corporate schools. Eenadu correspondent witnessed this change of environment in several districts of Telengana during his tour across the state.

Read More

Setting the Record Straight 

Makara Sankranti

All Hindu festivals have a close connection to nature and the changes that occur in it. There is invariably a scientific connotation to it as well. Across all sections of our society, we notice a cultural continuum while observing the festivals. For example, Jyotish Shastra is a Vedanga which is primarily a study of astronomical movements of planets and the astronomical world. The application of this knowledge is extended among various vocations. For example, the farmers plan their farming based on “ Karthis”. Celebrations of Samuhik utsavs like Kumbh / Pushkars show that cutting across sections, the knowledge of basics of Jyotish shastra is present even in remote villages from where people come for these festivals. Makara Sankranti has a message of Social Harmony for all of us. Read More

Threats

Smt. Vimala is the latest victim of this organized savagery. In the absence of any decisive action by the state government and law enforcement agencies, the political violence has intensified and been emboldened, by the dual strategies of strategic silence and open encouragement (reported in media reports) by party leaders. Today, this strategy has cost a young, vibrant woman her life under the most barbaric circumstances, where her existence was reduced to a mound of burnt flesh. She died not wishing to live anymore. Read More

NIA arrests one more Hyderabadi for links with Islamic State