Skip to main content

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

Painful Patel punch: Gujarat is once again subject of major pilot project on social engineering, deliberate and planned

By RK Misra*
Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it scum floats to the top. But those who do so must bear the burden of the stink. Both stirred and shaken, Gujarat is going through turmoil-filled days as its affluent and numerically strong Patidar (Patel) community mounts a fierce assault for other backward class (OBC) reservation that is straining the fabric of inter-community harmony to its tensile limits.
Fearful of a Patidar led-Anandiben Patel government caving in to their demands, a counter-movement against it is building up as well. Two days ahead of the Patels’ biggest-ever show of community strength on August 25, the OBCs mobilized members from the 146 communities in its fold for a dharna near the Sabarmati ashram in Ahmedabad on August 23.
The scheduled castes SCs and scheduled tribes (STs) symbolically joined it and the tone and tenor were distinctly repudiatory of the Patels. “Any move by the government or any community to snatch our rights will first ensure this government’s pack-up, and thereafter force us, the laboring class, to take to a Naxalism style stir". warned their leaders.
Within hours the first indicators of the caste tensions building up came to the fore when Patels and Thakores (an OBC caste) clashed with lethal weapons in Ranosan village of Mehsana district in North Gujarat, leaving 12 of them injured. This is the very village from where the Patidar agitation started over 45 days ago.
As Patel leaders demonstrating superb managerial prowess and financial resource management are making known their resolve to carry the agitation beyond the boundaries of the state, the contours of a larger design are slowly beginning to emerge. With the state government now veering round to state that it is neither feasible nor possible to accede to their demand, the new slogan emerging is “either us reservation or no reservation”.
This in effect means that either the Patels should be given reservation in the OBC category or there should be no reservation for anybody.
As a further indication of their resolve to escalate the stir the Patidar leadership has also reached out to retired Col Kirori Singh Baisla, who successfully led the Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan, even blockading traffic passing through their state to the country’s capital for a day.

Past experiments

Gujarat has been the crucible for important political experiments since long. It was the Dandi march initiated from Sabarmati ashram in Ahmedabad on March 12,1930 by Mahatma Gandhi leading to the salt satyagraha, and civil disobedience movement which triggered off massive public indignation taking India to freedom 17 years later.
Again it was the student led Navnirman agitation from Ahmedabad in 1975 which led to the fall of the first Chimanbhai Patel headed Congress government. This purely student led stir triggered a chain of events that ultimately led to the rise of Jayprakash Narayan, followed by clamping of Emergency and ultimately the installation of the Morarji Desai headed, first non-Congress government at the centre in 1977.
Ironically it was Chimanbhai Patel who had subsequently quit the Congress and lent covert support to a Patidar led anti-reservation stir that  ensured the fall of yet another Congress government in Gujarat ,this time headed by Madhavsinh Solanki. The government fell within four months of being elected in 1985 with a majority of 149 seats in a House of 182 seats, a record that remains unbeaten to this day, not even by Narendra Modi.
Another major political experiment was the one spearheaded by the Hindu Dharma Jagran Manch (HJM) an affiliate of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal carried out in December 1998 in the solely tribal Dangs district in South Gujarat bordering Maharashtra. This was after Swami Aseemanand – who subsequently figured in cases of Hindu terror and spent extended time behind bars-was posted in Dangs in 1995 by the RSS to set up an ashram and undertake ‘tribal welfare’activities. It was thereafter that a ‘shabari mahakumbh’ was held here in 2006.
Raising the bogey of threats to the ‘Hindu tribal majority’ a string of Christian places of worship were attacked beginning Christmas in 1998.The violence targeting Christian tribals and missionaries spread to other areas of South Gujarat. Such was the national and international outcry over the incidents that took place during BJP chief minister Keshubhai Patel’s rule that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi had to visit Dangs.
The violence against the minority Christian community had a twofold objective. Firstly to prevent tribal conversions to Christianity through creation of a fear psychosis and secondly to divide the tribals who formed the core of the Congress vote-bank.

Larger game-plan

There are reasons to believe that Gujarat is once again the subject of a pilot project on social engineering. There is not an iota of doubt that a spirited and energetic youth leadership is spear heading the agitation with dedication and drive. But it is also clear from the speed and skill, finesse and financial acumen with which it is spreading like wildfire that there are sharper watchful eyes, who, while allowing it to progress are monitoring it all the way. Political analysts see in it a larger game-plan.
Both the RSS and the present Prime Minister are known to be votaries of a single point reservation – only for the economically backward class. Thus, if Modi and the RSS could have their way they would want to do away with caste-based reservation. Not even easier said, much less easier done.
As has been the case on numerous other occasions, no better place to carry out an experiment under controlled conditions than Gujarat. For one, the Sangh Parivar and the various RSS organs have been able to strike deep roots over the almost 20 year old BJP rule post-1995. A case in point is the spread of the innocuous ‘pag pada sangh’, which is VHP shaded, and has struck deep roots right into homes.
It is now almost a ritual that on sacred occasions people-men, women even children-walk to key places of worship, some as distant as 350 kms away with public spirited people and organizations making arrangements for their rest, recuperation and food enroute. Many such organizations exist in a variety of spheres ensuring penetration and pursuance powers for the Parivar organs in the social fabric of the state.
In the case of the Patidar stir, intelligence agencies have already supplied to authorities the names of BJP and other sister set up leaders involved in behind-the- scene organisational affairs. Chief minister Anandiben Patel and other senior leaders also had a closed door meeting with RSS leaders at Modi’s old Sanskardham office on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on August23. At the end of it a statement for public consumption said that social harmony in the state should not be disturbed and we are discussing what role we can play in easing tensions.
It is common knowledge that Patels constitute one of the largest blocks of BJP supporters. They moved away from the Congress in the aftermath of 1985. This tilt followed the attempt to marginalize  them through the KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim) configuration, successfully implemented by former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki.
Modi also tightened his grip over Gujarat in the almost 13 years that he held sway in the state. Thus Gujarat is the ideal place for a controlled experiment of this nature which involves building public opinion for such a major but extremely sensitive political experiment.
Why otherwise would the BJP Patel MLA, whose office was vandalized by agitators, refused to file a police complaint? Why have 37 Patel legislators and seven ministers been virtually silent spectators? Why has the government been taking a soft as satin approach to the agitation? It is only now when voices are being raised by the OBCs and the SCs and STs that it has begun to make some bold paper announcements.The instructions to the cops, however is to exercise great caution.
If the RSS has an agenda, Narendra Modi has an unorthodox delivery mechanism stretching beyond the strangulating confines of the government. This enables forward movement as well as withdrawal without being seen to be doing either. Have we not noticed it in the sudden rash of high profile ‘ghar wapasi’ events that started hogging media space after a series of rash public utterances by BJP-Sangh constituent leaders?
It was deliberate and planned, mainly to bring the issue into sharp focus for purposes of a national debate on an anti-conversion law, variants of which have already been implemented in Gujarat. The purpose served, a quiet withdrawal and it died down soon after. For those who know the inner mechanics,’ ghar wapasi’ is a year round continuing programme of the Sangh Parivar being pursued quietly. As is said, the greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly hidden in the shadows. So do disasters.
---
*Senior journalist based in Gandhinagar. His blogs can be accessed at http://wordsmithsandnewsplumbers.blogspot.in/

Comments

Trending

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”