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Showing posts from March, 2022

Endorsing Manu, Savarkar vowed: Wouldn't force a law on untouchables' temple entry

Savarkar with RSS chief MS Golwalkar (Dec 24, 1960) By Shamsul Islam*  This is with reference to an article which appeared in the “Indian Express”, ‘How Savarkar fought for a casteless society’. An opinion piece by Aditi Narayani Paswan, it clearly goes to suggest that the Savarkar rehabilitation project is now taking newer forms. The article claims, Savarkar had “imagined a nation free of malevolent social evils such as caste cruelty, untouchability, and injustice towards women. He advocated a casteless society based on notions of social justice coupled with social cohesion. He wanted to uproot the diversity of the caste system and build a nation based on Hindu unity, where Dalits could live with dignity and happiness.” It adds, Savarkar “spoke out against scriptural injunctions that advocated caste, such as the Manusmriti. According to Savarkar, these scriptures are often the tools of those in power, used to control social structure and maintain their supremacy”. Let us compare thi

India's striking 20 crore urban, rural workers seek guaranteed jobs, better wages

By Bharat Dogra*  The call for a two day national level strike by workers given by 10 central trade unions and other supporting organizations in India drew a strong response by over 20 crore workers on March 28 and 29, according to organizers. These workers included those from ports and mines, railways and transport, banking and insurance, refineries and telecom, public as well as private sector (including multinational companies). There was a significant presence of women in the strike, particularly those employed in various development schemes, often at very low wages. The strike was in addition supported by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella organization of 40 farmers’ organizations which had spearheaded a massive and successful farmers’ protest movement last year. This strike call was given at a time of increasing reports of the twin burdens of unemployment and inflation. Rates of urban unemployment have been at high levels, while the price of essential goods has been increas

Modi’s welfare offers: Extreme poverty led people to condone govt failures during polls

By Prasanna Mohanty*  One of the striking factors in the BJP’s electoral win in the recently concluded election in five states is the role welfarism played in overcoming anti-incumbency. Ground reports and political analysts have reported and commented on this. The post-poll survey of Lokniti-CSDS and the exit poll of Axis-My India – two very credible organisations in the domain – have also confirmed it. The Lokniti-CSDS post-poll survey said while respondents mentioned unemployment and price rise as the key problems they face, the victory of the BJP in UP, Uttarakhand and Goa (it didn’t cover Manipur) could be explained keeping in mind the beneficiaries of free rations and cash transfers (‘labharthi’). It also said, except Punjab, voters were more satisfied with the Central government – which provided free ration to the poor and cash transfers, than they were with the state governments (also ran by the BJP). The Axis-My India exit poll came to the same conclusion, listing delivery of

EVM manipulation? BJP candidates 'couldn't enter' villages in western UP, yet won

By Sandeep Pandey, Vikrant Singh, Pawan Singh, Devesh Patel*  Even though Yogi Adityanath is now back as Chief Minister, the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election results can at best be taken with a pinch of salt. The general mood during the campaign was for change. People wanted the Bhartiya Janata Party government to go. People belonging to communities other than Yadav and Muslim, who were anyway believed to be solidly standing with Samajwadi Party, wanted to see Akhilesh Yadav back as CM, who was drawing more people in his rallies than either Yogi or Modi. However, results were contrary to common people’s expectations. It is difficult to believe that in Lakhimpur Khiri, where Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son mowed done five people, the Minister was warned by Rakesh Tikait, the farmer leader, to not go for inauguration of a sugar mill otherwise he would face the ire of farmers, the Minister had to cast his own vote during the same elections amidst high security of cen

Hijab centuries old tradition in India? It didn't exist in Jamia before Babri outrage

By Rajiv Shah On March 27, Counterview carried an article titled “Muslim women of India have held hijab 'as part of their identity for centuries'." I usually refuse it comment on the articles and reports that we publish in Counterview, which I have been editing since 2013. We are an open platform, and take viewpoints from different sections. Currently “holidaying” in the United States, I went to meet one of my bosom friends, Khursheed Latif, who lives in a beautiful area called Pocono, known for its forested peaks, lakes and valleys in the US state of Pennsylvania. Khursheed is one of the few friends from my childhood days, which I spent in Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, with whom I continue be in touch even today, talking over phone, exchanging thoughts, and making fun on each other. Jamia is the spot where my parents -- both confirmed Gandhians -- would teach art education, while his father , an Urdu litterateur known to be be close associate of the founders of Jamia Mi

Countering Love Jihad? Person of Indian origin in US floats NGO Interfaith Marriages

By Our Representative  In an email alert to Counterview, a senior Washington DC-based activist has said that recent trends suggest, when India is regressing, the diaspora in the US is fast progressing ahead with having interfaith marriages. In the long haul, the more we are united, the lesser the friction between the peoples and greater the prosperity, he believes. According to Dr Mike Ghouse, President, Centre for Pluralism, “Unlike the young men and women in India where parents arrange their marriages, in the US, the children find their own mates”, adding, “What is good about our kids is they don’t have filters like religion, nationality, race, or ethnicity, they rightfully fall in love and look forward to marrying them.” A person of Indian origin, Dr Ghouse said, “Back in our home countries, parents establish the criterion to select your spouse, and you check them off to find the spouse that fits the criteria. One of the shameful criteria is what kind of dowry she will bring, and wh

Govt of India's labour governance framework in a state of paralysis, stakeholders 'ignored'

Counterview Desk  The advocacy group Working Peoples’ Coalition's (WPC's) national secretariat has said in a statement that India's migrant workforce "continues to toil" even two years after the Covid-19 lockdowns, yet state apathy continues. After the lockdown, said the group , informal workers in India suffered a 22.6% fall in wages, even as formal sector employees had their salaries cut by 3.6% on an average. Even before the pandemic, the growth of the informal sector was sluggish due to demonetisation; however, the pandemic spelt disaster for the informal sector, it added. Text : If the deaf is to hear, the sound must be loud and clear... Remembering these powerful words of Shaheed Bhagat Singh on the 91st death anniversary, who along with Sukhdev and Rajguru, stood firm for the cause of our country. Today, the Working Peoples’ Coalition (WPC) agonizingly marks the second anniversary as a ‘Remembrance Day’ of the government's failure in addressing the lock

Informal sector: Sharp decline in economic recovery, wages, govt relief 'insignificant'

Counterview Desk  In its comprehensive analysis of the informal sector economy, the Working Peoples’ Coalition (WPC) has said it is “in shreds”, as there has been a “sharp increase in poverty, indebtedness and hunger” among the workers employed in the sector. Claiming that the various programmes of the government to alleviate the situation have failed because of policy paralysis, WPC said, it gets 15-20 cases of wage thefts, harassments, accidents and injuries every day at India Labourline -- a mediation and legal aid centre established as an alternate governance system. “This explicitly shows the quantum of precarity that informal workers must face which directly affects their resilience and ability to recover from the pandemic and lockdown shocks”, it adds. Text : A sharp increase in poverty, indebtedness and hunger No extension has been announced for Garib Kalyan Yojana after 1 year as if there are no more COVID waves. The Hunger Watch study conducted in November and December 2021

Modi-hyped auto hub loses Ford in Gujarat; read about a 'parallel' in US off Boston

By Rajiv Shah Currently "holidaying" in Somerville, five km from Boston, one of the most high profile cities of the United States, the other day I decided to take a stroll up and down the busy hillock where I stay. Just next to the main road, a two minutes walk, crossing the road and reaching in a small open space, I found a few round shaped boards in yellow. All of them described about what Somerville was and is -- of course in a nutshell. One of the boards particularly attracted me -- and as a journalist who was based in Gandhinagar, the Gujarat capital, I could connect with it directly. The round yellow board talked of how Ford, one of the largest car manufacturers, had an assembly line at Somerville's Assembly Square, just two miles away from where I live. Titled "Assembling Cars at Assembly Square", this is what is written on the tin board, "One result of the boom times after World War II: for the first time, many American families had the cash to own

Muslim women of India have held hijab 'as part of their identity for centuries'

By Anis Ahmed*  The National Executive Council meeting of Popular Front of India held at Malappuram has, in a resolution, stated that the organization would stand by the struggles of Karnataka Muslim girl students against the Hijab ban in schools and colleges in the state. The Karnataka BJP Government's decision to introduce restrictions exclusively on Muslim religious markers clearly had divisive political motives behind it. Unfortunately, the High Court failed to see it and took a stand against a practice Muslim women in the country has held as part of their identity for centuries. The order of the court validating the Hijab ban was against the constitutional values and the universal principle of freedom of religion. The decision of the High Court will further encourage social exclusion and become another pretext for religious persecution. Popular Front stands with the struggles of the students who have decided to question the high court order in the apex court and carry their fi

Gross violations during UP polls ignored, results 'contrary to people’s mood'

Counterview Desk   Well-known academic and activist Prof Sandeep Pandey in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has insisted on the need to count 100% VVPAT slips in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 and reconduct of poll if any discrepancies are found anywhere. Claiming that the recently-concluded UP Assembly Elections have thrown up a “surprising result” against the backdrop of “anti-incumbency mood in the state”, the letter said, “The results are quite contrary to common people’s expectations." Also a Magsaysay award winner, Prof Pandey, who is also general secretary of the Socialist Party (India), has been endorsed by Advocate Shashank Singh of the Socialist Lawyers’ Forum; MG Devasahayam, retired IAS and chairperson, People-First; and Teesta Setalvad, well known human rights leader who heads the Citizens for Justice and Peace, among others. The letter carries a detailed analysis of reasons for suspicion over UP Assembly election results along with co