Sunday, February 28, 2021

Indifference of Congress, secular parties' wings: Inability to act, confront or even speak up against right-wing groups' lawlessness acts


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The inability and indifference of Congress and other secular parties' wings to confront or at least take stand against right-wing groups' excesses, is one of the reasons for the imbalance in society. 

Politics is about power and clout. If you fail to even wield clout on the streets or society, and don't even take stand, your voter ultimately loses confidence in you. Besides, you help opponents keep gaining strength on ground as well as in public perception. 

In the latest incident, two couples went from Indore to Khargone. Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) men heckled the couples, informed police that the boys were molesting the girls, then cops booked the boys (Muslim) for kidnapping, molesting and forcing to convert under sections of Freedom of Religions Act, 2020.

Besides, in another example, a five-day drama event of IPTA was called of after right-wing groups including VHP opposed the drama 'Jati hi puchho sadhu ki...', claiming that it was provocative and against sentiments. The district administration cancelled the event.

Then, in yet another case this week, principal of a missionary school, Sister Bhagya was booked under anti-conversion law in Chhatarpur after a woman claimed that she was being asked to convert. Principal said that she had just passsed intermediate, lied about her graduation and after a year, she was sacked due to this reason. 

WINGS OF SECULAR PARTIES AND MISUSE OF LAWS, CIVIL LIBERTIES

Unfortunate that wings of other parties don't even issue statement or meet officials to oppose street thuggery, false cases by RW groups. If NSUI, YC, Mahila Congress or Sewa Dal workers don't act, wield clout, how would they attain trust and power in society. BD can get anyone booked. 

You, at least, oppose! If you don't want to fight, don't want to take stand--either its moral policing, false cases, how can people come to you? You aren't just for fixing few things at college, university level. This is the reason people get fed up, look out for other parties, fresh option, new cadre.

In bipolar states like Madhya Pradesh, Congress' multiple wings--Women's Wing, YC, NSUI, Sewa Dal, they just never bother. If you don't have clout, you gain it by taking a stand, holding a demo, meeting Collector-SP over certain action that you find biased or one-sided. But no!!!

You don't even do the least--'confronting by issuing statement'. Then, your leaders tell victims later--'Our only request you, don't let THAT party enter the state'. You don't at all intervene & despite the decay, you are inert. What's your politics, after all!

HOW THEY ACQUIRE SO MUCH POWER IN THE SOCIETY

Has a single Congress leader thought of writing an open letter to DGP, asking how Bajrang Dal can get any event stopped, create ruckus anywhere, then get FIR registered against others, people framed under harsh laws, police too act as per them. Are the cops functioning under them?

Congress or other parties' wings keep themselves away from these issues. And as a result, even in states that are bipolar, people want an option. BJP's youth wing is BJYM. ABVP is not students' wing of BJP, rather, they claim they are independent, and are actually allied to Sangh Parivar. Bajrang Dal and VHP are wings of the RSS. 

How these groups acquired so much power that cops almost take instructions from them! It took years--from the eighties, it's been going on. Yet this all goes unchallenged. Any group involved in lawlessness, disruption, gets innocents framed, lives destroyed. And no one bothers!

This article needs to be understood in context of incidents mentioned in the post below. Click the link to read and get a sense of how things get complicated, despite the 'rule of law'. There is no counter, no checks and balances. The result is collapse in law-and-order.

If there is a moral policing or case of excesses--false case registered due to right-wing groups' pressure, you can do the least by going to officials, taking delegations and ensure that the officials feel there is a force in the society that stands against lawlessness.

Several officials too want this to tell their political bosses about 'resentment' over one-sided action, but when no political party will bother to even take stand or go to streets or meet Minister, State police chief, City officials, what will happen?

If any group is indulging in lawlessness, you must raise this issue, question government over its failure in reining them in. But the silence is painful. In a way, it's unbelievable how active parties' youth and other wings can get so insulated, inert. You hurt your own cause, the result is people no longer consider you as strong political force, not even taking seriously. Just a few cases that occurred within a week have been mentioned, otherwise, there are many such incidents. LINK & LINK

READ: Bajrang Dal raids, police register case under harsh sections, people go to jail

Thursday, February 25, 2021

AIMIM's electoral footprint in India: Asaduddin Owaisi turning Hyderabad-based outfit into a pan-Indian political party


From a local political outfit, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has increased its electoral footprint.

Once a party in a tiny dot on the map, today it has a presence in many states. From Telangana, it has gone up to North, West and East.

The AIMIM now has electoral presence in five states and a cadre in many more states. 

It has taken hard work, mostly in the last 5-6 years, but Majlis is now turning into a pan-Indian political party.

AIMIM does not have many members in the parliament and is not at the helm in any state. But is growing fast and is now in a position that it has state units. In Telangana, it has an MP, over half-a-dozen MLAs and MLCs apart from 44 councillors in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

Though Hyderabad is the party's base, it has cadre in Maharashtra too--an MP from Aurangabad and two MLAs in the Assembly. The party has done even better in Bihar where it won five seats in Assembly elections in Seemanchal region. 

Now, in Gujarat, it contested on a few seats in civic elections and has won at seven places in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. This is also an achievement, considering that there is no other party apart from BJP and Congress in the corporation.

Earlier, in UP, its councillors were elected at several places in municipal elections. Clearly, the party is gaining strength and it is now spreading towards North India and other parts of the country. Credit is due to Owaisi for the hard work and dedication. 

NOTE: One of the reason that is driving AIMIM is that its leadership at state or district level is basically taking up issues pertaining to Muslims and their areas. In sharp contrast, Congress leaders refuse to even pay lip service or speak, let alone act, as they fear they would be seen as pro-Muslim and hurt their Hindu base.
When an AIMIM leader gets elected as a corporator, his main job is to talk about health, education, issues pertaining to his ward--mohalla or locality. He is expected to speak, act on these issues. It helps develop cadre and more people learn how to take a representation to officials or present memorandum, charter of demands. 
However, Congress' leaders irrespective of their religion, even refuse to speak when there is violence as seen in Madhya Pradesh recently--the incidents in Mandsaur, Ujjain and Indore where there houses and properties were damaged. Yet Congress leaders didn't even visit the victims.

Photo: AIMIM's Bina Parmar, who is among the elected councillor (corporator) in Ahmedabad. Earlier too, apart from Muslims, Hindus have been fielded in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana. AIMIM has had Mayor from majority community too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Partition of India: How migration differed from district to district in Uttar Pradesh, role of officials and politicians in controlling situation


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Just when country was partitioned, some regions saw major disturbances.
There were apprehensions among people regarding their safety in states and mostly in  towns of North India.
But violence was not happening in all the regions. People were abandoning houses, migrating more due to 'fears', rumours or apprehensions of attacks, also local factors in certain districts, towns. 
But there were also districts  that were unaffected. The difference in the situation between Jhansi, Lalitpur on one hand & Jalaun on the other, is important to understand [exodus at one place, peace in other], even now.

Apart from DM, SP and their intent at quelling rumours, controlling situation, the third--Congress district president in that situation, was immensely important. One district saw law-&-order issues, people leaving town due to fear while adjoining district remained in peace.

Congress was then seen as the party that led freedom movement. Its leaders were respected & its district chief wielded clout. So if they wanted peace, held public meet, gave call & assured locals, it had affect and also stopped people from leaving mohallas to a particular town.

There were some who wanted to go because of greener pastures--the educated glass, those in bureaucracy or those traders who were not ready to take chances & were selling property to just leave forever. We are not talking of Punjab & Bengal that were partitioned, directly affected. Within UP, situation in West UP was vastly different from Awadh and Bundelkhand.

'Systems' are in place but they work when there are some people at the top and have the intent to ensure peace, law-&-order. It was seen then, seen later in riots, even now. Things can be handled if officers or leaders who are fair, have commitment & take stand. Else, all fails.

While Punjab saw complete transfer of population and it was a state, along with Bengal, that were directly affected and divided, the other regions that were affected included--Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Migration was from many princely states too--Gwalior, Alwar, and later after 1948, from Hyderabad as well. 

North Indian cities lost huge Muslim population. Many had Muslim percent fall from 30 plus to barely 10-odd. Certain cities in South, like Gulbarga, also had huge fall in Muslim population [percentage]. Cities like Raipur had a drastic fall in Muslim population, as recorded in Census figures in 1941 and 1951.

It was not that there was violence in all these regions. The 'fear', the apprehensions, led to the exodus. Hence, fairness of officials, administration and role of leadership is always important. Cities where the main Muslim leaders, migrated, suffered hugely.

This is just a post, hence, I won't get into it, far. But one example is Khaliquz Zaman. He was not an ordinary leader, a person in constituent assembly, one day giving speech and then suddenly he left. That had a huge psychological impact. 

He was not an ordinary politician. He had been head of civic body of Lucknow for such a long time. He was among the tallest leaders and the manner in which he vanished, was shocking. This dealt a big blow. Seventy years have passed but still in Lucknow, people talk about it.

The role of political and social leadership is important, critical. You should have a leadership, more and more politicians who work on the ground, those who care, who are active, and can have the ability to go and talk to the masses, have a connect with them, apart from taking stand. It's the permanent lesson. 

Lot of oral history should have been preserved. Locals are aware but it was not properly documented--the impact on each district, the cities and towns that saw population reduced in a big way. What was the exact role of politicians and bureaucrats in these places, then!

We should have record, testimony. Though it's not recent past, but its not distant past either. People in individual accounts mentioned, a few about Moradabad or Saharanpur. Some wrote about Lucknow or Agra. However, Uttar Pradesh was affected in a big way. [This is a short post, will be updated later]

10 points about safety and security regarding lifts in wake of mishaps: Elevators in residential colonies, localities and precautions

 

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

First, Chief Minister got stuck in a lift. Now, a former chief minister too got stuck where the was a mishap involving a lift.

And, apart from them, a third incident when lift fell and several people including women, children got injured in a colony in Bhopal. 

The fact is that there are quite a lot of accidents involving lifts in India. Definitely, this is an aspect that needs attention. 

Lack of adequate focus on security regarding lifts, the quality & the compromises made in quality. When kids get trapped, its even more serious. Lift mishaps happen a lot, are reported less. Let's talk about it:

1. If lift suddenly stops and you are stuck inside it, the biggest problem is that often your mobile doesn't work inside and even if you shout, it takes time for people around to realise and then call help. In such circumstances, people who are inside the lift get panicky, so awareness about it is needed and dealing with it is important.

2. In Indian conditions, people get lifts installed but quality is often compromised. Regular maintenance is not there. In colonies, new buildings t hat have less flats occupied, the problem is more serious, because if someone is not close, your voice may not reach outside.

3. Always ensure that people in your locality know the protocol in this regard. I wish that lifts should always have a opening small window so that in case of emergency, you can shout or see outside, otherwise elders and ailing people suffer panic attack.

4. There are often situations when power goes off suddenly and lifts stop working. Is the system of power back up for lift, in order in your residential locality! This needs to be taken care of. It is really important.

5.  At some places alarm is not functional or the 'system' that connects lift to the other line and ensure smooth operations, was not in order. Power went off, lift stopped between floors, and hence gates couldn't open. Imagine!

6 . In colonies, your family members and maintenance office should always have the phone number of people who have the task to maintain the lift, the engineer, person who can rush fast and open a lift in case its gets stuck or any other security issue.

7. Recently, two incidents involving VIPs in lifts in Bhopal and Indore. Imagine, even in high security establishments, it takes time before action. So always ensure the lift is from a company that has good record, servicing.

8. There should be regular security audit of the lifts in the multi-storey buildings, proper check and the lift manufacturing company must take responsibility. Often to curtail expenses, there is a compromise in quality & later people suffer.

9. Then, certain other points that are not given attention, but they are equally important. For example, who has the 'key' that is used to open the lift in case of emergency? Is it with residential colony's maintenance office in your colony! And the duplicate key?

10.  Avoid using lift in old govt offices & buildings, especially, if the lift area is in a desolate corner &not many people seen in that part of the building. There are really bad incidents that keep getting reported from different parts of the country. Be aware, careful. Stay safe.

[Screen shot: Coverage of the incidents in Free Press, English newspaper]

Monday, February 22, 2021

Facing consequences for racist language in foreign countries: Indians must shun racism, avoid hate speech and learn to be sensitive



Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
First, the two incidents--Rashmi Samant, the first Indian female president of Oxford students' union, had to apologize and quit.
Similarly, in New Zealand, Kantilal Patel had to leave his office due to objectionable comments about Muslims. 
Making 'casual comments' on races, bigotry, biases and strong beliefs or prejudices that lead to stereotyping, all this should not have a place in any civilized society. 
A few points:
1. Both Patel and Rashmi Samant had to apologize, leave their posts in other countries. In India, it may not have no serious repercussions, but it has consequences in other countries. 

2. There is so much racism, bias and discriminatory mindset, that it is 'normalised' in certain societies. Here, extreme hate speech, calls for violence lead to no punishment or public shaming, besides, there is hardly any conviction or long sentence. 

3. The bigotry is often deeply ingrained. Sometimes, people take these biases to other countries. The absence of clear and dedicates laws to check hate speech, is another major issue. Though existing laws have some provisions but on ground, there is hardly any impact. 

4. On social media, even in real life, casually, people make such comments.  If strong biases & certain 'acceptability' about casteist, communal or racist beliefs within households was not enough, celebrities and netas pushing hate & using discriminatory language that affects communities is so common that lot of 'desis' just don't find it bad or serious.

5. Point is that despite tall claims about values, morality, the society has major issues and there is so much lack of sensitivity in this regard. Apart from known issues, also on skin complexion, race. African citizens who come to India, too speak about the prejudices here.

6. Sadly, there is no punishment for this in India. Not even shame or fall in stature. Petty politicians emerge 'stronger' after spreading hate & use of dirty, racist language or causing riot. Get power, 'respect'.

READ: Rashmi Samant quits after race row, flies to India

READ: Indian terminated over Islamophobic posts in New Zealand