Skip to main content

Highlighting role of caste in hurdles faced by Shivaji being construed as effort to spread hate: Teesta Setalvad

By Our Representative
Well-known human rights defender Teesta Setalvad is again in the eye of storm following a complaint lodged against an educational trust she has been running, Khoj, for "utilising" funds given by the Government of India's Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) for five years till 2014 for creating an atmosphere of hate and venom through educational material prepared during the period.
In a sharply-worded letter to MHRD minister Prakash Javdekar, Setalvad has called it nothing but yet another witch-hunt against her, insisting, the Khoj project was "sponsored by the MHRD during the period of the Central government grant and were duly reported to the Ministry annually". Setalvad and her organization Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) are known to be in the forefront in the fight for victims of violence he 2002 Gujarat riots.
Insisting that none of her works could be "construed as hate speech", Setalvad said, a "suitable explanation" should be given to her by the MHRD to "avoid any unnecessary legal steps", adding, when a similar controversy arose in 2001 regarding historical facts on which she is being targeted, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), after studying manuals, set aside the complaint.
Insisting that Khoj's educational material was based Indian intellectual growth "embodied" in the writings of Dr BR Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule, who "seriously contested" the prevailing interpretations of history and culture, Setalvad, in a statement in an email alert, said, the latest complaint on Khoj her by an ex-employee of CJP is part of the conspiracy by powerful people to harass her.
Filed by Rais Khan Pathan, whom the email alert calls a "disgruntled ex-employee", his complaint with the Gujarat police claims that Setalvad mixed ‘religion with politics’ using her school education initiative Khoj, adding, Khoj received a grant of Rs 1.4 crore from MHRD under the UPA regime, utilising it for spreading disharmony by circulating “exploitative literature” full of “hate” and “venom”.
Active since 1994, Khoj (Invention), said Setalvad's email, has worked on the crucial area of education policy related to democratisation of social studies and history syllabus and text-books. The Khoj project ran in municipal and zilla parishad schools, and as recognition of its approaches, in 2004 she was appointed to the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) Committee.
Trouble began in February 2015 when Union minister Smriti Irani made statements against Setalvad for including the subject of caste in teacher training manuals, with special reference to how Shivaji was represented. The matter referred to was from a chapter on Shivaji’s coronation used in middle school teacher for training manuals, prepared by Khoj.
"The narrative of Shivaji is supported by the work of reputed historians like Jadunath Sarkar and Govind Sakharam Sardesai. When objection to this had been first taken by the Shiv Sena in September 2001, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) Maharashtra had completely cleared the teacher training text books", Setalvad said.
Historian Jadunath Sarkar has been quoted as saying, “A deep study of Maratha society... reveals some facts which it is considered patriotism to ignore... The greatest obstacles to Shivaji’s success were not Mughals or Adil Shahis, Siddis or Feringis, but his own countrymen... We cannot be blind to the truth that the dominant factor in Indian life — even today, no less than in the seventeenth century — is caste..."
Another historian quoted is Govind Sakharam Sardesai, who recalls how on June 5, 1674, when the event of coronation of Shivaji took place at Raigad fort, "the orthodox Brahman opinion was not favourable to Shivaji’s claim to be recognised as a Kshatriya by blood, although he had proved this claim by action". To ensure smooth coronation, Shivaji had to negotiate with "Gaga Bhatt of Benares, a learned representative of that school of Hindu law–givers", who was "invited to Raigad to arrange the details..."

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”