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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Will BJP decision to give reservation to Upper Castes in Gujarat help the party or will it boomerang?

Gujarat government has decided to provide 10% reservation to Upper Castes in the State. An ordinance is being brought to this effect.

It is a decision, which may seriously affect the fortunes of the party in the long run. Has it been a decision taken after due consideration and thought?

There are several questions. Is the party flaying with fire? Will the decision help the BJP or it will boomerang.

Firstly, BJP was always seen as a part of Upper Castes, especially, Banias and Brahmins.

As it had to expand its base, it played Dalit card, Tribal card, as well as Backward card, and wooed them.

But, its leaders, core cadre and supporters remain among the Upper Castes. Besides, RSS [Sangh] is mostly dominated by Upper Castes. Has the decision been taken to appease the Upper Castes?

1. Anandiben Patel government has taken a decision and the first thing is to be seen is that whether this decision will stand in the court. The Gujarat government spokesperson says that the government will stand by decision and will fight its case in the court[s].

2. But, then, comes the crucial question. If Upper Castes or Economically Backward Classes [EBCs] among them get quotas in jobs [and education], will it not defeat the very purpose of reservations. Upper Castes have not been marginalised or exploited.

3. The Gujarat government says reservation [in jobs and in higher education] will be to all those whose annual income is Rs 6 lakh. Really! Those earning Rs 5 lakh per month are poor, in Gujarat government's view? That's quite strange.

4. Reservation was a constitutional measure to uplift status of Dalits and Tribals, the historically oppressed and disadvantaged people who were denied education, who were kept out of power, and who suffered untouchability and inequality of the worst kind.

Upper Castes have been over-represented in government jobs. Hence, can it be called fair or it just a means to appease the forward castes and set right the situation in Gujarat, which witnessed Patel agitation.

5. The decision may anger the Backward-Dalit-Tribal supporters of the BJP. Uttar Pradesh is a crucial state. Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) may take the BJP to task over this 'reservation decision'.

Already, RSS leaders' statements over reservation, cost BJP, an important state like Bihar. But the BJP must have weighed its options well.

The BJP government has been facing the ire of Patidars [Patels] in Gujarat and had recently seen how Jats went on rampage in Haryana. Right now, the BJP has taken a decision in Gujarat, and it will take sometime before the picture gets clearer.

[Photo courtesy: The Indian Express]

Thursday, April 28, 2016

No one can stop women from entering Haji Ali Dargah or any other Muslim shrine

No one can stop women from entering a Dargah.

The Sufi shrines have always kept their doors open to everyone.

The decision of the Haji Ali dargah trust, a few years ago, to change the rules is unfortunate.

They have barred the entry of women inside the Dargah, which is absolutely wrong.

Women have visited Dargahs across the country, for centuries. It is true that when there is a big crowd of devotees, it is difficult to manage them. But, there are other ways, not by banning women's entry.

In mosques too, women have every right to pray. But women can pray at home too. In big mosques like Jama Masjid, women are always around, sitting, praying. In Haj, Muslim men and women go together, perform all rituals and there is no restriction anywhere for women. 

In fact, there is no ban on women's entry anywhere and should not be. So who gives the authority to a Trust to impose such restrictions? Actvisit Trupti Desai's brigade has said that they would go inside the Dargah. They must be allowed to go and pay obeisance.

The Bhumata Brigade had recently opposed a similar ban on women's entry in Shani Shingapur temple in Maharashtra. They got support from different quarters of the society. Similarly, the unreasonable ban must be revoked at the Dargah.

This decision taken [by Trust] in 2011, must be changed. Women can't be stopped from entering any shrine, anywhere. This is a pure male chauvinistic decision that needs to be opposed and condemned at every forum. #HajiAli

Read: Muslim women praying in mosques, girls mostly participate in Eid prayers

How to get your first 500 Twitter followers in just 5 days: Ten simple steps to get thousand followers in a month for free

This blog has been running for the last 15 years, and I rarely give social media tips.

However, as it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to get new followers on Twitter, here is a method.

There are many strategies that can be followed after you get your first hundred [100], 500 and 1000 followers. But how to get hundred or thousand followers?

That's an intelligent way, not a hack, but a perfectly legal system.

ONE Hundred followers in ONE day, Five Hundred Followers in FIVE days, Thousand in a MONTH, free, without buying followers, without spending a single penny or dollar or rupee

Read on:

1. You have a Twitter account and have barely 5, 20 and 50 followers in many months. You want more.

2. Go to the search box at the top, type the two letters as seen above 'follow back' and click on the search [lens sign]. Now there are various options, click on 'accounts'.

3. Chances are you will see 50-100 or even more accounts, most of them claiming that they 'follow back'. Just start following them in a go. It takes hardly 5-10 minutes. Now leave the place.

4. By the time you are back to yoour computer in an hour or six hours or 12 hours, most of them will have followed you back. Those who haven't, you can remind them, by a tweet, with @ as a prefix to the account.

5. As you follow back, more people will start following you. just follow everyone.

6. Once, this is over. Go to search again, type, 'I follow back', and search.

Now you will get another 100-150 accounts. Repeat the process and follow all. Most of them will follow back.

7. Hope you have 150-250 followers by now. That's sizeable and respectable figure. If you don't need such random followers, you just stop, as you have reached a good figure.

8. But if you want to reach 500 or 1000 followers first, before going for a serious Twitter experience, go ahead, search 'always follow back' and follow all the accounts you find.

9. Your followers' number has risen staggeringly by now, hopefully, unless you are too unlucky.

10. Be imaginative, try similar words and combinations, you will see that your Twitter following has increased sharply, drastically and significantly. Yes. Say thank you, like this page or share, if you liked this information, which nobody told you, before.


*Later, when you want to purge, just check those who didn't follow, you can un-follow them.
*The accounts that are useless or tweet nonsense or send obscene photos or irritating stuff, you can simply 'mute' them, so that they remain in the list as your followers but won't bother you. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Forty years after Turkman Gate firing: Massacre, killing of Muslims during emergency, is now a forgotten affair

The day passed off quietly without a whimper. There were no tears, no protest, no recall of the tragedy or any demand for justice.

April 18 was the 40th anniversary of the Turkman gate killings--when poor Muslims of the area were shot dead, killed in cold blood during Emergency.

The incident had occurred in Delhi, the national capital. As Sanjay Gandhi was calling the shots and there was tight control over newspapers, it was foreign media [BBC] that broke the news of the atrocities, blood and gore.

Yet, the massacre, one of the worst in the national capital in India's history, has been forgotten. What happened at Turkman gate was so horrific that even today one shudders while recalling (or writing about) the incident.

The firing continued for long. And then all signs of blood and gore were also removed, as bulldozers decimated the entire slum--taking everything along. The ground was flattened. It was all over. 

Read, except from this book:

This excerpt is from the book, 'The Sanjay Story'.

It was written by Vinod Mehta. Many other writers have recalled the brutal attack on the residents of the locality.

It was a Muslim-dominated locality and the DDA wanted the land cleared. Veteran Congress leader Subhadra Joshi had suggested locals to go for Gandhian protest.

Hundreds of women and children with black bands, sat on the street. This was one of the incidents that caused immense anger among people.

Muslims were naturally shocked, all over the country.

The atrocities and the casual nature of the Congress leaders towards the killings, as if nothing had happened, angered them the most.

It was the beginning of the Muslim disenchantment with the Congress. In fact, Turkman gate killings, hurt the Muslim psyche across the country, particularly, North India. 

After the incident, Muslims began looking for alternatives. The next election was, of course, won by Janata Party.

But, in each state, Muslims were no longer going to vote for the Congress. In parliamentary elections too, the situation was same.

With the sole exception of 1985, Muslims never voted for Congress, as a block, in the aftermath of Turkman gate killings.

Turkman Gate, Photo Courtesy: Varun Shiv Kapur on Flickr

Do read:

READ: The Khooni Kissa of Turkman Gate [Excerpt from the book, 'For Reasons of State: Delhi Under the Emergency']

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Grand conclave Simhastha 2016 begins at Ujjain: Why Ujjain Kumbh is known as Simhastha?

Simhastha--the Kumbh at Ujjain, is all set to start on April 22.

The Simhastha celebrations will continue for a month, ending on May 21.

The grand conclave, which is considered one of the biggest gatherings on earth, takes place in Ujjain every 12 years.

The Simhastha begins with the first 'Shahi Snan'. However, do you know why the Kumbh at Ujjain is known as Simhastha?

It is because of Zodiac--the planetary configurations.

Why is Ujjain Kumbh called Simhastha?

Simhastha is celebrated when Jupiter enters the sun sign Leo's quarter or the Simha constellation of zodiac.

Hence, the Ujjain Kumbh is known as Simhastha.

Ujjain is the seat of Mahakal, the god who drinks liquor. Legend goes that nectar fell during the 'Samudra Manthan' or the churning of the ocean.

In this churning, Gods and Demons were on different sides.

The story goes like that the nectar (Amrit) from the urn (Kumbh) fell at four places on earth.

These places were Hardwar, Prayag [Allahabad], Nasik and Ujjain. Periodically, the Kumbah is celebrated at these places, one after the other.

Millions of devotees including Sadhus and pilgrims from all over the country, and even outside, have reached the town.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Communal harmony is visible in Indian streets: TV channels distort the picture, show Hindu-Muslim discord--Communal Harmony project 3

Ram Navami was celebrated across the country yesterday. This is a photo of the procession.

An elderly Muslim man is offering sherbet to those who are part of the Ramnavami procession.

As friend, Jebroni sahab, writes, "India is not what you see on the Television channels".

"Majority of the people live in harmony and celebrate each others' festivals". He is damn right.

TV gives an impression as if there are troubled relations, an unending war, between religious communities and an unbridgeable gab, however, the reality is something different.

Meanwhile, you can read the Nazm, 'Hai Ram ke wujood be HindostaaN ko naaz' that was written by legendary poet Iqbal, in praise of Lord Rama.

Read the verse at this LINK.

[Harmony exists all around us but is often ignored. Instead, stories of hate, discord and communalism get spread easily. There are a million examples in our daily lives across India but they don't get promoted, hence, news of hate and discord gets heard more. Let's change it, now. 

Unfortunately, on social media, stories that divide the society, get shared more. It is worrying, we ensure that false propaganda must not spoil the reality and people should know about the syncretic culture and harmony that exists on the ground. This is a small attempt to change it through Communal Harmony Project]

#communalharmony #communalharmonyproject #india

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why TV channels are against goodwill, confidence building measures between India-Pakistan that can help secure release of prisoners?

There are hundreds of Indians in Pakistani jails & similarly many Pakistanis lodged in Indian prisons.

They include people who mistakenly walk to other side of border, those caught on suspicion of being spies, some caught for lack of proper documents, fishermen etc.

Everyone should be able to understand the plight of the families who await the release of their kin.

When 86 Indians in Pakistani jails were released last month, no TV channel [or even newspapers] bothered to show the news, prominently.

This was just a few months after 40 prisoners were released from Karachi jail. Either it doesn't make good news or less TRP [who decides?] or because of the socio-economic background of the prisoners!

If one prisoner dies in jail, there is outrage and war cries on TV (hundreds of Indians die in Indian prisoners every year, do we seen any outrage). But when dozens of prisoners are released, there is no live coverage of their coming to India or even welcome, their reaching their homes--something TV journos otherwise love most.

If you see the condition of the families, you will feel the need for confidence building measures. Reports of  Budh Ram and Jitendra Arjunwar's being lodged in Pakistan jail, led to former's release and latter's release is under process.

But unlike print media, TV channels never focus on proper reporting that would bring the larger issue before the public and help society understand the problems. It just loves 'war-mongering' which helps none.

It is saddening to say but one feels that Kripal Singh may have been alive, had media allowed India, Pakistan to come close to the table. While political parties--BJP and Congress must equally share the blame for raising the pitch, media has failed in its duty.

I still remember in 203, 311 Indian fishermen were released by Pakistan, but the news was nowhere in our media, though internationally, it got wide coverage. Blacking out such stories is absolutely wrong and unethical.

Goodwill gestures, confidence building measures need to be shown on TV, not blacked out

If such incidents are reported, there will be goodwill, people will also realise that something good is happening, the anger-hate level will come down. But perhaps, that's not the agenda.

One sided picture is presented on TV channels, a situation where people just get to see the 'other' as enemy and in black. India too keeps releasing Pakistani prisoners off and on. Is it shown on Pak TV channels?

I have no idea. However, the war-mongering for TRP takes us nowhere. It clouds the vision of the society. It makes us all dumber and it is an unethical act if media fails in its duty to inform, and rather goes misinforming us.

This is extremely dangerous as it has reached a situation where people are shown just the negative, and any amount of goodwill measures just go meaningless. It isn't patriotic or nationalistic either.

The number of deaths of prisoners in Indian jails is an astonishing figure, 1,700 deaths in the year 2014, mostly because of justice denied, delay in charge-sheet or trial & lack of medical facilities.

[Photo shows released Indian prisoners coming back to the country, at Wagah border. Picture courtesy Indian Express-PTI link]

READ: Media injecting hate in society, Sarabjeet's death, Surjeet's release

Monday, April 11, 2016

Bhopal Muslims to host Hindu brethren on way to Ujjain for Simhastha: Communal Harmony Project-2

With Simhasth--the Kumbh at Ujjain, round the corner, Muslims in Bhopal, are ready to host the Hindu brethren who are going to come here on way to attend the grand congregation.

As many as 10 Muslim social organisations have joined hands to ensure facilities to pilgrims who reach the State capital.

From arranging transport to free meals, the volunteers will also ensure other facilities at the Bus Stand and Railway station in Bhopal.

Lakhs of people will come to Bhopal, on way to Ujjain. In fact, Muslim volunteers have been offering free meals to people at the Nadra Bus Stand in Bhopal, for almost three years. 

Maqbool Mansoori, who runs the free food programme, will lead the teams that will welcome, host visitors. Mansoori is known for his social work, especially, for running the 'langar' on his own, at the place for years.

The good Samaritan had started it nearly three years ago. He saw plight of poor people from far away places who came to State capital for treatment of kin or for personal work and either ran out of money or fell on bad times due to a variety of reasons.

Since then, he began the free meals programme. Initially, the people were sceptic that whether he would be able to run it. Now, it is considered one of the most successful such 'langars', and a unique one in Madhya Pradesh.

The groups have decided that no government assistance will be sought, and they will provide free food packets to visitors. The transport arrangements will also be made. Volunteers will also ensure health facilities at the spot.

This is second part of the #communalharmonyproject. The first part was 'Muslims take Hanuman flag to temple, hoist it'.

[Harmony exists all around us but is often ignored. Instead, stories of hate, discord and communalism get spread easily. There are a million examples in our daily lives across India but they don't get promoted, hence, news of hate and discord gets heard more. Let's change it, now. Unfortunately, on social media, stories that divide the society, get shared more. It is worrying, we ensure that false propaganda must not spoil the reality and people should know about the syncretic culture and harmony that exists on the ground. This is a small attempt to change it through Communal Harmony Project]