Monday, December 31, 2018

Yet another lynching bid in Alwar, Sagheer survives: Will Congress government in Rajasthan rein in the cow vigilantes?

Once again, a lynching bid in Rajasthan.

And once again, it's Alwar, the most notorious place as far as cow vigilantes' terror is concerned.

It's here that Rakbar Khan was set afire when the accused' kin shot a video.

It was in Alwar that Pahlu Khan was beaten and he died.

And, it is the same place where Umardeen was shot dead. Cow vigilantes' terror continues in the region. So what if the regime has changed!

Self-styled 'cow vigilantes' have the power to stop and thrash anyone without any fear of police. Mohammad Sagheer was suspected of involvement in cattle trade.

Hence, he was beaten up brutally. This incident occurred in Bagherikhurd in the district. Sagheer is admitted in the hospital. Police sources said that his condition is serious but improving.

Under BJP rule, Rajasthan witnessed series of lynchings and cow vigilantes' lawlessness. Rajasthan's reputation was hit as a result of these killings and terror. Now, Congress is in the power. Will it bring the law-and-order in control?

It is the Congress' responsibility now.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Administration stops Namaz in park, companies make provision for Muslim employees in premises: Communal Harmony Project-44

After the administration forcibly stopped Namaz in parks in Noida, several companies have showed a great gesture.

They have made provision that Namaz can be held on Friday in the premises of these companies [or factories].

Hindus largely supported Muslims, realising that the community members pray on Friday in congregation and due to lack of mosques in the area, often find a place where they can pray.

There was condemnation of the order. Worse, local officials ordered to pour water on the ground where Namaz is held so that people couldn't pray.

In such a situation, Hindu community decided to take a stand. Many officials said that they would ensure that the Muslim employees don't face the problem.

Ironically, the news about this gesture didn't get much coverage in the newspapers and Hindi dailies printed single column news. The owners said that Muslims have been allotted space.

At some places on premises on the ground, at other places on the rooftop. They have also said that they would ensure arrangement of Imam. This is a story that needs to be told. When people care for each other, it helps in building a strong nation.


[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.

This is a small attempt to change it through Communal Harmony Project]

For reading similar reports on this blog, Click the link HERE and also find out more about Communal Harmony Project]

#Communalharmony #Communalharmonyproject #India

TRAGIC: Yet another policeman killed in UP, but nothing shocks anymore, all forgotten within a day

Yet another police personnel has been killed in Uttar Pradesh.

Suresh Vats was attacked in Ghazipur, and he succumbed to the injuries.

The attackers wanted to go to Prime Minister's rally and were stopped on way.

Vats who was in security duty, was returning when he was targeted and got a fatal injury. This resulted in his death.

The Nishad Sena members were allegedly involved in the incident that occurred in Ghazipur. Vats was posted in Karimuddinpur police station, but hailed from Pratapgarh.

This is the second incident of a policeman killed in UP, recently. Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, was killed in a violent attack by right-wing radicals in Bulandshahr. In that case, all the accused are yet to be arrested.


Unfortunately, such incidents create short outrage and are forgotten, soon. Most of the incidents have a 'news value' of barely a day or even a few hours--6 hrs or 12 hrs.

So much is happening regularly that it seems no one is now shocked anymore. There is condemnation, then demands for compensation or job for kin. If there is no strong protest, it is all forgotten affair after headlines in the morning paper.

Why I avoid Facebook fights, Twitter arguments: No I am not silent but there is a reason to not fall into this trap on social media

I no longer argue, in fact, I totally avoid Twitter debates or long Facebook arguments.

Issues remain the same even as years have passed, discussing them over and over again.

During 1990s, I remember how much I kept explaining & debating. Then for over a decade on this blog, I kept arguing & answering [issues remain same], eventually realised the futility.

Such was the hate pouring in that I had to shut the comments section in order to keep myself sane.

Now, this doesn't mean that we are going to get silent or not expose. But no point in arguing with anybody and the same issues that keep popping up after every few months.

One must speak, explain the position but certain things are so engrained & people don't want to accept. Those who argue, those who have the patience, must do it. I am not interested now, no urge left, feel too much energy is spent over it.

Ten yrs from now too, there'll be same debates over Vande Matram or Yoga, Bharat Mata or Saraswati Vandana. Sometimes it feels that this is a strategy, a trap too.

The moment you are in explanatory mode, you are on back foot and you explain things sincerely, the other guy would be ready with his list--now what about this!

Of course, it is important to speak on issues, understanding the importance of narrative building and speaking our mind freely, contradicting the false narrative. But not these arguments, engaging with anybody  who start questioning, has to gall to make any charge-allegation. NO.

READ: Right-wing trolls' strategy, how to avoid the trap

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Distorting History: Controversial script on Rani Kamla Pati-Nawab Dost Mohammad Khan play angers Bhopal residents

A controversial play that was written by Indira Dangi angered residents of Bhopal.

It not only ignored history and mocked at the cultural heritage of the region, but it also targeted the sacred bond of 'Rakhi'.

The play was written on the era when Rani Kamlapati, the Gond queen, sought help of Nawab Dost Mohammad Khan.

Strangely, all historical sources were ignored and a false narrative was brought.

Upset, residents objected. Strangely, Swaraj Sansthan didn't even pay attention to script and had bypassed norms, leading to this situation.

As per historical records, after Rani Kamlapati's husband was poisoned by deceit (the Gond king's own relatives were responsibl), she sought Sardar Dost Mohammad Khan's help.

She had sent a 'rakhi' to him. He attacked her enemies and took revenge.

During her life, he respected her and treat at part with her mother.

However, in a play written by Indira Dangi, effort was made to distort history.

When confronted, she claimed that it was all imaginary and fiction.

But if it was fiction, how original names were used and the sacred bond of 'rakhi' was discredited.

Historians are aghast at the manner in which facts were twisted and brazenly the story was given a new colour.

Eminent writer Shyam Munshi objects and says that it seems to be a conspiracy.

Though director later accepted that changes would be made, Indira Dangi remained tried to defend her script.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Police stopping Muslims from Namaz in Parks: Give permission to build mosques, no one wants to pray in parks

Nobody wants to go to park for offering Namaz.

The problem is that cities are expanding & permission is not easily given to build mosques these days.

Even in a city like Bhopal, effort going on for years to construct mosque in Kolar, that too on Waqf land. But that is being denied for yrs.

In Madhya Pradesh, a Digvijaya Singh era rule is often cited for lack of permission---that stops construction of new places of worship. However, in practice, it didn't stop all places of worship but construction of mosques became immensely difficult.

The Kolar suburb in Bhopal has a population of nearly 1 lakh now. Imagine, when land prices too high, already its difficult to construction & here an influential BJP leader is dead against mosque on waqf land. For local journalists, it is no story.

Even rulers in princely states freely gave land to all communities. Today, the situation is such that locals oppose, administration hinders, governments stop. In Mumbai, they once didn't give permission to build top floors in mosque & used to say Muslims pray on roads.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

WhatsApp Wakes up: After lynching incidents, sets off ad campaign to 'spread happiness, not falsehoods'

WhatsApp has finally woken up from its slumber.

It has begun a campaign--Khushiyaan baantiye, Afwaahein nahin.

If translated from Urdu to English, it says--spread happiness, not falsehoods.

After rumours and false propaganda was spread on this platform for long, it has apparently bowed to pressure.

Government of India had also asked it to contain the spread of hate and rumours that resulted in incidents of lynchings.

The rumours about cow or gangs on the prowl to abduct kids, had led to attacks, lynchings and even deaths.

A techie was killed in Karnataka. In fact, many other such serious incidents of law-and-order failure took place because of WhatsApp and the rumours spread through the platform.

Inside WhatsApp groups, people share content with like minded people or friends-families. Apart from Facebook, it is another major platform that can let any content go viral within a few hours.

Hence, there is need for more responsibility on part of WhatsApp. It has taken it years for the social media giant to run such an advertisement campaign. Now it is on TV and is also visible at other places.

Quite late. Had they been vigilant earlier, it may have saved lives. If people are aware that they may be caught, they are more cautious. In fact, WhatsApp need to do even more and be strict with people who spread false messages and share fake news.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Middle-class' anger over loan waiver to farmers and 'we pay taxes' syndrome

'Our tax money' or 'We pay taxes' is the line heard so much that it is almost sickening now in India.

Everybody who earns a few lakhs or even crores, feel they are all middle-class and are doing a great favour to the country by paying taxes.

And, when there is a farm waiver, just see the anger, as if it is our money that is being misused.

If agriculture sector is in crisis or there is a major drought, government will have to act, just like it does in case of failing industry.

But when industry fails after getting land at throw away prices and rebates without even generation too many jobs or a public sector undertaking needs bailout package, there is no such anger.

Those 'thousands of crores' aren't visible to you? Or the thousands of crores gifted to foreign countries like Maldives or Mauritius. Is it because people managing them and those who fail them, are 'like us'--the urban people, not the rural folk!

I am going to start it from the very basic. Just look at this photograph. Almost everybody in my Facebook friendlist is lucky not to be born in such a poor family.

Who'll correct this injustice that you were born in a well-to-do family, rather than being born in a shanty? No one can. It was not our effort but pure luck that we started well in life early.

Yes, you've huge privilege if you pay tax. You claim to love your country, you are a patriot. Okay, you are privileged, so you feel paying tax is also an 'ehsan' [favour] on your country?

Think again, this is patriotism? This is the love for your own people--the countrymen? No outrage on malnutrition deaths, children dying because of hunger but angry over Tax. Sense of entitlement!

When people are patriots or humane, they're indebted to country,  pay back to the nation, help the poor overcome the divide. Here, the same class that controls everything, f**ks up industry, business, then supports bailout packages or free land or loans, gets upset over farm loan waiver

No, we'll selfishly cry despite our privileges. You spend as much on dinner in a hotel that is sufficient for these families to run the household for month. Yet, fat-bellied class feels the pinch, most. Yes there is corruption, all funds don't reach but what is not flawed around?

Kis pe ehsaan kar rahe ho be, tax de kar? Apne desh pe?

If 10,000 farmers commit suicide in a year, and a loan waiver saves a few thousand lives out of them--a few thousand human beings saved, even then it is something huge that you attain for the nation.

And, please don't bring BJP-Congress argument in it. Just that we should keep our morals, be sensitive, less selfish and try to understand the woes of the farmer. Remember, the grains we all need to fill our bellies don't come out of software. They are the result of farmers' hard labour.

So be kind and less arrogant---SRA.


Eminent author Ashok Kumar Pandey says that the middle-class takes great pride in paying taxes, feels that it's their tax money that runs the country.

"Major part of tax incomes are spent on infrastructure building in cities where the middle-class lives. It is this class that uses the roads, parks, metro, power, library, universities, sanitation,the most. So either it is the engines that run on heavily subsidised fuels or the money paid on his security."

"Farmer lives in villages that have bad roads, no sanitation, lack of drinking water, poor health services, hardly any security, even has no role in fixing the prices of crops that he grows", writes Pandey in a long Facebook post.

"No one wants to take loan, farmer doesn't get right amount for his crop, even insurance schemes are flawed, he is forced into a competition with subsidized international market and if in this situation, he is suffers and gets some relief in the form of loan waiver, it is his right", he further mentions. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

SHAME: Who is Yoga guru Ramdev to ask Naseeruddin Shah to leave the country?

As veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah expressed his fears--how life of a cow has become more important that that of a human being, it seemed all hell broke loose.

Once again, the chorus--leave the country, began. Yoga guru Swami Ramdev was among the first to react on TV--advising Naseeruddin Shah to leave the country.

Isn't it extraordinary arrogance and objectionable? Who gives them the authority to make such announcements?

Only recently, a right-wing extremist mob attacked a police station, killed an inspector in cold-blood and the assailants are yet to be arrested. Worse, UP politicians tried to give it a spin and the local police first claimed arresting those responsible for animal slaughter.

Later, police again accepted that they had made wrong arrests. Those who were caught, were in fact innocent people. So some other people were arrested. This is despite suspicion of conspiracy that it was all staged because there was a plan to create communal tension during the Ijtima in Bulandshahr.

Now, in such a situation when even killers of police officials are scot-free and release their videos, an actor expresses concern. But he is targeted and told to leave the country and go to another place! Isn't this disgusting!

Who won't be worried? Louts are calling the shots. Naseeruddin Shah is not a commoner but on the ground right-wingers are issuing threats--take out rally in Delhi threatening to pull down Jama Masjid (and no one arrested), or attacking policemen.

You switch on the TV & the debates you watch, the reactions of right-wingers, who won't get paranoid? And you ask people to leave? If someone in your family says he or she is scared, will you comfort them or thrown them out? 

Clearly, your definition of house or family is wrong. May be because you don't have a family or you don't consider your countrymen as your own. And you're not an ascetic but a Saffron-robed businessman who is plain arrogant and seems to have little concern for his country-men.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

IAS officer shows that sycophancy, servility is the way to become powerful bureaucrat in India

What's the sure-shot way to get 'success' as a bureaucrat, if the definition of success is money and power and your sole aim is to call the shots in administration!

Those who have been in Madhya Pradesh, are well aware of how it can happen.

After all, the most powerful bureaucrat in the state, has just now lost his 'power'.

Though he had retired long back, he remained powerful and was appointed on contract.

This is quite a long story, tells how section of bureaucracy works.Years ago, during election, an officer sat at a powerful politician's feet, in full public view. This brought him bad press and also earned EC ire for a while.

But that was nothing compared to the benefits that were to come in later years. He went on to become most powerful IAS officer in Madhya Pradesh. So much that his word became the law. Anyone may be principal secretary or head of another department, the real power was with this guy.

So how's that--isn't such show of loyalty worth it? This has an impact on young officers who see and learn that the way to attaining power & success, fast, is to be someone's guy, throw rule book out and just do all the malpractices--servility and sycophancy, closing eyes to corruption, rather than toiling hard & live your life with idealism.

So even after retirement, got reappointed on the post on contract, remained till last day of the regime. I haven't named anyone as yet. Have I? Those who have interest in understanding this aspect of bureaucracy, can read veteran journalist's account here LINK

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Dainik Bhaskar group fails journalists again, closing its English daily DB Post

Yet another sad news from Central India.

Especially, for journalists and English media, the readers and writers.

Dainik Bhaskar group is closing down its English daily newspaper, DB Post.

Dozens of journalists' set to lose jobs as a big group takes decision but no Journalist association in Bhopal or MP will speak for them.

Is it because they feel it will jeopardize their job prospects in future if they need job in the group's Hindi daily. Print is still viable in these regions. They've own issues but hurt the entire industry and journalists.

I have no personal reason to raise the issue but as a journalist and as a reader, I want everyone to speak up when this is happening--for the sake of other journalists and for the print media. Speaking for others is important.

This happens every time. What courage, if you can't speak for own people? Can't condemn or pass even a resolution, the most basic step. The worst is that they do it again and again & this sends wrong signal that the print is not viable--though it's not the reason

The modus operandi is the same. Those who have been told will not speak up, as they are right now worried about finding new job. Management guys know tricks, how to ensure that they don't oppose, condemn, file case in labour court or other measures, by keeping some hope alive.

So the promise to absorb some and a few months' salaries for rest. Let's see how it goes. After Hindustan Times closing down its editions and the closure of Telegraph-HT editions in Bihar, it's another jolt to print media.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Right-wing Hindu groups' warning on Jama Masjid needs to be taken seriously

Extremists chanting slogans against Jama Masjid--'Ek Dhakka Aur Do, Jama Masjid Tod Do' walked on the streets of India's national capital. 

It means, 'One more push, Demolish the Jama Masjid'. Clearly, it is not just about Babri Masjid, but the hate and madness has now reached Delhi.

This militant march was taken out just a day after 'Dharm Sansad', ironically, that means 'Religious Parliament'. Most of the participants in this strange rally, were those who had come to attend the event. 

Does religion teach this? Doesn't it terrorise Muslims, who are already feeling besieged, as Hindu groups announce plans to build Ram Temple in Ayodhya, though Supreme Court is yet to announce a verdict and the case is still sub-judice. 

This is happening when we are witnessing lynchings in the name of cow, people being beaten on streets, even policemen attacked and an officer killed by militant right-wing extremists in Bulandshahr. 

How far will this go? When will the state, the police take action? It is not just affecting India's composite culture, it is also damaging India's reputation across the world. Many people expressed their outrage after the incident. 

This is not the first such incident. Recently, a BJP leader had ambushed into the historic mosque and forcibly unfurled the national flag. Earlier this year, swords were brandished and saffron flags waved in rally taken out in front of several mosques in Delhi. 

Senior journalist Vinod Kapri tweeted and termed it 'adharma' (anti-religious act). A few links below about the incident that alarmed the citizens about the level of righ-wing radicalization and indoctrination in India. 

* Hindu nationalists demand demolition of mosque. LINK [The Independent, UK]

*A day after VHP’s belligerent rally, Muslims i say they won’t be provoked. LINK [Scroll]

*Ek dhakka aur do, Jama Masjid tod do: VHP rally in Delhi. LINK

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Bajrang Dal's Terror: Police station attacked, inspector among two killed in Bulandshahr, four arrested

In a shocking incident, an armed mob attacked a police station and killed two persons including a police official.

The attackers were led by right-wing extremist militia Bajrang Dal leaders. The main accused, Yogesh Raj, has been charged with engineering the mob violence.

This incident occurred in Bulandshahar district. First, it was rumour-mongering over carcass of a dead animal. This was used to mobilize the people. Hundreds came from outside and demanded action.

When the mob turned violent, police tried to control them. But there was attack, firing and two persons including the police official, Subodh Kumar Singh, were killed.

Singh was shot in the head. A youth, Sumit, 21, also died in the brutal attack.

Such was the situation that the mob chased and attacked the police personnel who were present at the spot.

Some had to break the wall of the police outpost in order to escape and save themselves from the killers.

In fact, Subodh Kumar Singh was being taken to hospital when he was attacked, again. He later succumbed to the injuries.

This incident has led to shockwaves across the country. Bajrang Dal members, VHP cadre and BJP leaders have been found involved in inciting the mob.

Yogesh Raj's Facebook and Twitter posts suggest how radicalised, he was. His social media handles reflect the intense hatred and give an indication about his plans. Yet, there has been little focus on this aspect. Most newspapers have ignored these inflammatory posts (some posts have been deleted, it appears, just now).

LINK: Bajrang Dal radicals arrested for attack, killing police official in Bulandshahr

Friday, November 09, 2018

Terrorism in India: Five killed as Maoists blow up bus carrying security personnel in Chhattisgarh

Maoists continue to target security personnel in Chhattisgarh.

In the latest incident, they have blown up a bus carrying CISF personnel in southern part of the state.

Five personnel were killed in this IED blast. They included four civilians and a CISF jawan. Several other personnel were injured in the terror attack.

The incident occurred at Bacheli, which is located in Dantewada district. The bus was badly damaged in the attack.

"In all, seven people including three CISF jawans from Akash Nagar camp were going for routine purchase on a private bus deployed for election duty, when they were targeted by Maoists", said a Hindustan Times report, quoting Bastar IG Vivekananda Sinha.

Those killed included the driver of the bus and two other on the staff-driver and cleaner. This is the second such attack in ten days in Dantewada. Earlier, a Doordarshan cameraman covering the polls and two policemen were killed on October 30.

The DD team was going to Nilawaya near Sumeli camp to report on a new polling booth. There was outrage all over the country after the incident. A video of one of the DD staffer had gone viral.

The Naxalites' audacity is all the more surprising as barely a few days from now, high-profile politicians are set to visit the region. PM Narendra Modi is arriving here for campaigning ahead of the Assembly polls. Also, Congress president Rahul Gandhi would also reach Chhattisgarh this month.

Clearly, Naxals have sent a signal. The attack also suggests that law-and-order situation remains poor in the State despite claims of crackdown on Maoists. In fact, it also shows poor intelligence gathering from the Maoist-infested region. Reports in Patrika and Hindustan Times, Delhi. Both carried it on front page but none used the word 'Terrorism'.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Terrrorism: White man kills 12 in California bar, US media terms it 'mass shooting'

A man wearing dark clothing and a dark baseball cap, first set off smoke bombs and then began firing indiscriminately in a bar in California.

This resulted in death of 12 people. The incident occurred on November 8. This has happened just a fortnight after a white supremacist had targeted a synagogue.

The terror suspect--Ian D Long, was an ex-marine. Long, 28, had joined Marine Corps soon after finishing his High School, over a decade ago. A trained machine gunner, he was assigned first battallion in Hawaii.

Also, he spent time in Afghanistan. Ian D Long first shot dead the security man and later opened fire. A Sheriff's sergeant who responded to the shooting was also killed in the firing. The bar had around 100 people, mostly youngsters and college students.

READ: White supremacist shooter guns down 11 Jews at Pittsburgh synagogue

His body was also found at the spot. Initial reports suggested that he killed himself. Soon after the news was reported, there was panic. However, within 24 hrs the story was going down, as if it had become routine.

The reports termed it as 'mass shooting' and NOT 'terror'. Once again, there were side stories about how an ex-marine could become a killer, dressed in black, with sympathetic views of his friends and acquaintances.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Terrorism: Right-wing mob lynches 80-year-old Muslim man, burns his body in Bihar

An 80-year-old man was lynched by a mob in Sitamarhi in Bihar. The attackers were part of a  religious procession, and they beat the elderly man to death.

They later burnt his body in full public view. Worst, the administration not only failed to stop the rioters, it tried to suppress the news of this horrific murder.

If this is not terrorism, what else is? How can members who were part of a religious procession turn into monsters?

The definition:

Terrorism is unlawful use of force or violence that is aimed to scare, terrorize and instill fear. 

So what happened in Sitamarhi on October 20. The right-wing extremists insisted on taking the Durga Puja procession to a Muslim locality.

" According to the local police officials, a prior warning had been issued to avoid any clashes.
Upon being denied entry, the procession turned rowdy, leading to clashes....", reports The Quint.

The elderly man, Zainul Ansari, was returning from his daughter's home. Those who were part of the procession, found a Muslim man alone and allegedly lynched him.

Then, Muslim houses were attacked. All this happened after those in a Durga Puja procession turned violent. Police officials' role is questionable as despite earlier warning the procession went and they could not prevent this mindless violence.

Further, local administration apparently tried to hide its failure. The news was suppressed, internet was shut in the area. It took over ten days before the news came out of the State. It's almost unbelievable.

Not only the level of hate, radicalization and communalism but also administration's carelessness and how media outside Bihar couldn't get information about it. Now the arrests have begun but shouldn't senior officials' responsibility be fixed.

This report on the portal was the first to reveal the horrific nature of crime. Strangely, the photographs and video that were crucial evidence, were deemed 'inflammatory' and the portal was sent notice by police. 

Speaking up is even more important, as there is threat, fear and officials--after their failure, try to hide the truth. That, people in religious procession can resort to such crimes against humanity, is an example of growing madness.

And, instead of action against officials, attempt is made to silence the media. 

This didn't happen in Port Blair but in the heart of North India. When the Quint mentions, ' The incident, however, went largely unreported ', it shows the sorry state of affairs. Who had stopped local media or Patna-based correspondents from reporting? Deeply disturbing on many counts.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar who claims to be a secular politican, must take action against police officials responsible for the incident. It's a test case for him. Sadly, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav also remained silent.


Thursday, November 01, 2018

Asia Bibi verdict: Imran Khan's courageous stand must be praised, will our PM keep law over 'aastha'

After the recent Supreme Court verdict in Pakistan in the case of Asia Bibi, hardliners in Pakistan were angry.

There were retaliation calls and even Supreme Court judges were openly threatened.

In such an atmosphere, PM Imran Khan addressed the nation. He clearly stated that country will run as per law and such anarchy--threats and lawlessness would not be tolerated.

Anyone who saw the video must appreciate his candidness. This is a majoritarian disease that because the accused belongs to another religion, he or she must be 'wrong' while 'our own' are always innocent.

Now compare this with the situation in India. 'If the name is Akhlaq, he must have kept beef in his fridge and so killing is justified---that's what many among the Hindu majority feel. It's the same with lynchings--imagine that victims were taking cows, hence, they needed to be punished.

No need for courts, law or any due process. The person's innocence doesn't matter.

In the Sabrimala temple issue, there are openly abusive comments on social media. Can PM Narendra Modi come on TV and say that on Ram Temple issue, 'Law will prevail, NOT aastha'? While, there is positive change in the neighbouring country, we are going in the reverse direction.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Hindu-Muslim communalism, religious politics over Temple-mosque: Can it ever go away in India?

Will communalism ever go away or decline in India?

For almost 32 years now, issues like Ram Temple have driven Indian politics.

In the last couple of decades, TV channels have played a dangerous game and exploited these fault-lines, even more. And this doesn't seem to end.

Now, there is Kashmir, AMU, Cow, Non-vegetarian food, Muslim customs and traditions in addition to existing debates on Yoga or Vande Mataram.

There is so much cacophony and propaganda. Round the clock, TV fuels communal passions. This is done purposely.

Still, sometimes you feel, may be the next generation will get fed up of communal politics or non-issues. But how? It is carried on. From mid-80s to early 90s, when I grew up and witnessed the tumultous era, in boyhood-teenage years, it was the same: the Hindu-Muslim thing.

Next generation is also fed on the same thing, grows up, the same debates all over, again and again around us. Those who grew up in 1995-2005 or 2005-2015, for them these issues are new. Will forever sell, remain fresh in this country.

For every coming generation, its the same. They learn, imbibe and for them it's new. So I may be tired of this after hearing it for decades, but for youngsters it's something new and it will take them years before they may get bored.

So thirty years ago when there was no cable TV, boys had same biases. In each generation, we'd hear that the coming generation would have nothing to do with religion. Yet, even today, schoolboys, teens or from those on social media, you get exactly same biases.

And, politically what has changed! Then also Muslims were told to be silent, be with Congress, not go elsewhere. Even today, you're patronised and sermonized, expectations remain same from others and your own. Be silent, how dare question Congress, are you paid agent. Try to understand! Wahi sab

Man who feeds hundreds of people daily says hunger has no religion: Communal Harmony Project-42

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

A man in Hyderabad is now known for running a free food campaign for the poor in the city.

Azhar Maqsusi, is passionate about feeding the poor.

Once he saw a disabled woman, Laxmi, crying and found that it was because of hunger, after her son had left her. This was the moment that he decided to offer food to poor.

He was just four-years-old when his father had passed away. His mother raised him and he remembers that he suffered a lot--even remained hungry. But his mother told him to be patient and care for others.

As he grew up, he started a shop. Now running a 'Plaster of Paris' shop, he began feeding the hungry. Hundreds of poor people near Dabirpura in Hyderabad, are offered food. After he started the work, his friends offered him.

"A friend gives sacks of grains every month". When people learnt that he was doing this noble work, they began coming forward and offered voluntary support. Azhar says that there is still criticism but he doesn't bother.

"When I began, I never thought I would get support. My wife would cook it at home. After a year, a US-based person was the first who came forward and supported us--donating rice bags every month".

Azhar says that once you decide that you will do something good, there will be support and God's help. Nearly 10 crore people sleep empty stomach daily in India and many more suffer from malnutrition. Hence, people must come forward and feed hungry.

Photo Courtesy, LINK: The Talking Turkeys

[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.

This is a small attempt to change it through Communal Harmony Project]

For reading similar reports on this blog, Click the link HERE and also find out more about Communal Harmony Project]

#Communalharmony #Communalharmonyproject #India

Monday, October 29, 2018

Class discrimination: Inherent social prejudices against poor in Indian society

Two days ago, I was with a friend. He kept blaming 'slum-dwellers' for everything that's bad in the country.

When youths passed by riding bike, he said--'Look at them, all have bikes, they're lawless, see their shanties with (cheap) power though we pay hefty bills.

The rant continued. I didn't argue or interrupt him, because it may have stopped him. I wanted to listen, more. He said about how the people with particular looks now reach high offices & sit at powerful posts.

And that how the shanty-walas have it easy in life unlike 'us'. Apart from religion, caste and region, this 'Class' factor is yet another 'bias'. If my business fails, I WON'T blame govt, its policies or my luck.

I WON'T accept that I failed, I will find certain enemy. That this particular bunch is responsible for my misery. That your own parents once lived in small house, had just fan & with great difficulty brought you to a level where your kids can't live without AC, you have made them luxury addict.

You are consuming more and more. Difficult to maintain it, now envy and hate those climbing ladder. This sort of elitism, class consciousness and discrimination--where you consider people of similar social status as 'own', while you consider the poor as those who should always do the menial jobs.

This is an altogether different phenomenon. Here, people may not be as casteist or communal or region-centric. Rather, they look down upon those who are poor. The 'have' Vs 'have-not' thing. Just think about it, you gobble up more and more, and want even more.

But if the other gets a bit more, you are enraged, because you want him to remain exactly at his 'place' in the society. Why should we be so selfish? Perhaps, this is not adequately dealt with in text books.

Once again, it shows that education doesn't mean that you get rid of your prejudices. Or it is the inherent selfishness within us, the human tendency to blame others!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Terrorism: White supremacist shooter guns down 11 Jews at Pittsburgh synagogue

Robert Bowers who killed 11 Jews at the Pittsburgh synagogue, had 21 guns registered to his name. 

He felt Jews were 'children of satan', 'enemies of whites' & was against immigrants. 

Bowers used Gab, the social media network where hate speech allowed as free speech. 

This is not the first such incident. Whites are an overwhelming majority in America.

But, time and again, White supremacists have resorted to shootings, killings in America. This shows how propaganda leads to persecution among majority & then this hate overcomes them so much that they live in the imaginary world.

Bowers, 46, kept posting hate-filled messages on social media earlier. He would call immigrants, 'invaders', and forward racist memes. He was spreading conspiracy theories and also felt that Muslims were brought to US by Jews.

New York Times reports: 

"The shooting came a day after federal authorities arrested a man in Florida on charges of sending mail bombs to prominent Democrats. The man, Cesar Sayoc Jr., had also posted vitriolic and sometimes violent messages — both online and on stickers attached to the windows of his van. Political rage fueled Mr. Sayoc, who railed against liberals and immigrants and echoed the saber-rattling rhetoric of Mr. Trump’s rallies, according to people who knew him".

READ: Who is Robert Bowers, the suspect in Pittsburgh shooting? 

READ: Inside Mail bombing accused Cesar Sayoc Jr's violent history

These are just a few of the innumerable incidents. From schools to prayer halls, the shooters have targeted kids, women and men. In fact, domestic white radical is the biggest threat in America today. 

This is a lesson for everybody--how spreading hate against minorities or immigrants can affect minds and damage societies. In India too, there is a constant media attack--hate campaign against Muslims, immigrants and 'outsiders'. This has resulted in right-wing extremism.

1. MUST-READ ON THIS SITE: White men not termed Terrorist, called 'shooter' or 'gunman'

2. DOUBLE STANDARDSInsane gunman or shooter: Media must de-link religion from Terror

3. MAJORITARIAN RACISMWhy Dylann Roof was not termed Terrorist in US Media

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Eight-year-old Muslim boy murdered outside a Delhi madarsa: Hate crimes in India, rising Islamophobia in India

The murder of an eight-year-old boy, Azeem, who studied in a madarsa in Delhi, has again brought to fore the level of hate in the society.

The boy was murdered in a row with boys of the adjoining locality but this happened after series of incidents--throwing of beer bottles in Madarsa, attempts to disrupt Namaz, locals trying to get Ravana effigy burnt on the premises, amongst others.

The boys who attacked Azeem, caught him by his neck while others caught his hands. "On e of them threw him to ground. Others started to kcik and punch him. Some of them jumped on his chest and we all ran away looking for the Maulana", an eyewitness told Indian Express.

The cleric said that crackers were thrown and the madarsa students were abused. A woman, Saroj, had the temerity to threaten them even after killing the boy. Azeem's father works as a labourer in Mewat.

He wanted his son to become a translator working for a hospital, as his Arabic was good and people from Middle East arrive for treatment in Delhi. Azeem's two brothers also work as labourers, Indian Express reports.

The paper further mentions that 'Two men from the mosque insisted that he join them for a protest march. But Khalil Ahmad folded his hands and replied: A tree can not face a storm. I must bend or I will break. I want to leave with my son's body. I don't want to play politics over his death.

Rising Islamophobia, TV channels injected hatred in society

TV channels have been attacking madarsas and demonizing them for long.

This has resulted in changing social attitudes and hatred towards madarsas.

It is common for TV channels to term madarsas as regressive and even 'anti-national'.

It is this direct hate, which has worsened the situation. Madarsa students face abuse, hatred and barbs in public spaces.

READWorld must Wake up: TV channels involved in Nazi-style propaganda against Muslims 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Renaming Allahabad: Yet another Yogi move that draws international criticism, changes name to Prayagraj

It is clear now that Yogi Adityanath's government has been a complete failure in Uttar Pradesh.

On all fronts, the performance has been poor and lacklustre--development, law and order, jobs, agriculture growth.

Worst, the go-ahead to 'encounters' led to killings in the state and many innocents lost their lives.

Apparently, to shift focus and divert attention from the poor governance, the State government decided to rename Allahabad.

The cabinet okayed the proposal. Allahabad, an ancient city, known for hundreds of years, is suddenly getting a new name. Prayag was a hamlet that already existed and exists today, even has a separate railway station.

But Yogi government went ahead with the decision. This is despite the fact that there are rules and historic names can't be changed. Lawyers have said that they would approach court. Locals have decided to take up the issue.

For now, government has done it. Apparently, Allahabad sounded 'Muslim' and hence it had to be 'Hinduised'. Just like 'Mughalsarai', another place has been renamed. No wonder, there has been criticism from across country and all over the world.

Media groups in foreign countries got another major headline, suggesting how erasing or distorting history is more in vogue in India than doing something meaningful. BJP is known for such moves in the past.

Historians too criticised the move. They said that it was strange as there was no demand from the people who identified themselves as Allahabadi, for at least 400 years. They said that both Prayag and Allahabad have existed together and there is no reason to rename the city and use the word 'Prayagraj'.

THE GUARDIANHindu nationalist-led state changes Muslim name of Indian city

Monday, October 15, 2018

Chunri Yatras: New traditions, new religious practices taking root in Hinduism

The 'Chunri Yatras' have become too common in Madhya Pradesh over the last few years.

The devotees bring huge chunris, walking all the way to the temples, taking them to faraway shrines and offering them to the deity.

This particular 'chunri' is 1,111 metres or 1.11 km long. People walk barefoot, even though road is hot.

On way, flowers are sprinkled. At the shrine, first puja and then the ceremony. They walk barefoot for several kilometers.

Tens of thousands of people participate in such events. These are increasingly becoming popular. Within a span of 5-6 years, these Yatras have become grand and are now common in Central India.

Of course, politicians too love all religious events. It helps them build their base in the region and help in improving their image if they organise or fund or help in such events.

We have seen images changing--those seen as useless fellows into a religious (good) leader. Traffic on the Jabalpur-Jaipur was affected for five hours as the Yatra was on.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Expose on Terrorism: India Today sting operation shows Sanatan Sanstha radicals admitting role in planting bombs

In a big expose, India Today has showed Sanatan Sanstha's radicals 'accepting' their role in planting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

On camera, the radicals are seen making the confession. This was telecast on the TV c

The Sanstha's alleged operatives were arrested in the past and its role in many cases of bomb blasts was investigated also.

But this is one of the most shocking sting operations. It clearly shows that the Sanatan Sanstha cadre has been involved in nefarious activities, which are aimed at destablizing the country.

India Today mentions that, "though its members were acquitted in the case of bomb blasts outside Maharashtra theatres in the year 2008, two Sadhaks of the Goa-based right-wing organisation have made the startling confessions about their involvement in the terror attacks".

After the sting operation, Sanatan Sanstha countered the charges. Instead, on a website, its supporters put up photographs of journalists who were part of the team that conducted the sting operations. The exclusive report, 'Sanatan Sanstha workers reveal terror module on camera' was aired.

Soon after, the Sanastha countered it. However, the channel claimed that it had clear evidence and that its journalists would not be intimidated. Surprisingly, even after the sting, security agencies remained mum over the entire sting.

Only recently, ATS had conducted a raid and had caught huge cache of arms and explosives from the house of a person linked to the Sanatan Sanstha. The person Vaibhav Raut was caught from Nalasopara in Mumbai. LINK 


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Hatred drives politics, politicians in India: One generation takes decades to learn, next again falls in trap

The reports in newspapers give an indication that how regionalism and parochialism are hurting the nation.

If a person doesn't belong to your state, he becomes 'outsider'? Does being a Gujarati, makes you more proud than being an Indian!

Sad it may seem but this happening in India. Reports suggest thousands left Gujarat after a girl was raped.

As the perpetrator was from North India, there was anger against people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The result was that there were attacks and North Indians began leaving the state in droves. But the question is that how long this divisive politics will continue? There are hundreds of crimes but you don't get upset.

The anger is fuelled when there is one crime by an 'outsider'. Now this outsider can be someone from another state, belonging to another caste, adherent of some other faith or a person outside your social class.

Religious, regional or linguistic feelings can be stoked and communal passions inflamed at the drop of hat in the country. Unfortunately, this helps certain politicians. The reason is that there is lack of development and politicians have failed to deliver.

Hence, it is easy to divert attention to these factors. There is poor growth in Bihar and hence Bihar residents go out. Similarly, in Gujarat, the situation is bad and hence locals who want jobs, are upset with outsiders.

So it's easy to blame 'outsider' or the 'other', everywhere. It suits politicians. The society also behaves like a mob. For a few years, you can survive on communalism, then regional hatred, which can be followed by linguistic movement or caste anger.

That's how a generation will go. By the time, you realise that you have been cheated, you are too old. The next generation also gets cheated in the same manner. And that's how this game continues in the country. The sole way is stop the politics of hatred and divisiveness. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Irresponsible journalism: Dainik Bhaskar distorts Bhopal history, disrespects 'Rakhi' bond, publishes false story

Dainik Bhaskar, a Hindi newspaper, is more known for its large circulation in Hindi belt, however, it lacks respect and credibility.

This was once again proved when the newspaper published a false report and attempted to distort the history of Bhopal.

It not only played with facts but also cooked up a baseless story and published it, terming it as history.

The founder of Bhopal dynasty, Nawab Dost Mohammad Khan, had helped Rani Kamlapati after her husband, Gond ruler Nizam Shah was killed--poisoned to death by his own kin--Alam Shah Gond.

After her husband's death, Rani Kamlapati sought Sardar Dost Mohammad Khan's help. She tied rakhi on his wrist and also offered financial help.

Khan fought for her and took revenge on the Rani's behalf.

All historical records suggest that all her life, he treated her with utmost respect.

However, Dainik  Bhaskar published a report in its edition on September 23. In this report, all facts were changed and a new story was told to readers, without any facts or historical sources.

The paper even termed that Kamlapati took 'jal-samadhi'. Interestingly, there was nothing to substantiate.

So no quote, no historical text was mentioned. However, the report began with, 'Aisa bataya jata hai' i.e. 'It is said that...'.

No wonder, the irresponsible reporting has angered citizens in Bhopal. It is clearly a disgrace.

Even after decades, the paper is yet to get any credibility among masses. This is perhaps one of the reasons that why it gets little respect, unlike other papers of the region.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Muharram rituals: Tazia processions, unique traditions in India

Muharram is a time to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, and his companions at the battle of Karbala.

The tragedy appeals to Muslims across the world. Hussain's stand against the tyrant, has inspired not just Muslims but non-Muslims too.

For years, we have documented photographs of traditional Muharram rituals in different parts of India. This year too, this blog brings to you photographs of the manner in which Muharram is observed in different cities. 

The first photograph is from Indore where the Sarkari Tazia is being taken out amid a sea of devotees.

The second photograph is from Dharampuri in Dhar district in tribal belt of Madhya Pradesh. Nearly 100 Tazias are taken out in this small town and immersed in the local Karbala. 

On the left is the photograph of devotees walking on fire on the eve of Yaum-e-Ashurah, in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh.

On the occasion, there are mourning processions in almost all the cities and towns of India.

While Shia mourners beat their chests and carry 'Alam', the Sunnis mostly carry Tazias.

Akhadas are also part of the Muharram processions.

The next photo is from Ujjain, a historic town and one of the oldest cities of the world.

The other photos include that of a procession in Raipur--the capital of Chhattisgarh.

There are some more photos too, below:

In this photo, you can see the 'alams'. There is also a photograph from Bhopal, where Tazias are lined up, on their way towards the Karbala.

Akhada in Chhatarpur
The last photo is of an Akhada in Chhatarpur. There is display of self-defence skills.

The processions in all regions have slightly distinct flavour, in accordance with the local traditions. 

In the past, we have focused on Tazias, their shapes and sizes. [See the third link below]

Once you move from MP towards Rajasthan or Maharashtra, you can see the difference, clearly. 

More posts on this blog about Muharram traditions: 

*Ashurah: Traditions in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. LINK

*Muharram rituals in Hyderabad, procession in Ahmedabad. LINK

*Huge Tazias: Muharram in Maharashtra's Sangli. LINK

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hinduism Vs Hindutva: Radicals supporting rape accused and terror convicts in India

No one could have believed it till a few decades ago that Indian society would change so drastically.

That, people would openly come out on streets and support killers or those involved in murder-rape of minor girl.

But this has happened and right-wing extremism has become mainstream in India.

The right-wing extremist groups openly advocate violence and yet manage to get away due to softness of the police, authorities.

The latest example of how Indian society has changed, was witnessed recently when a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) extremist who had been convicted by a court for bomb blast (Terrorism), was given a grand welcome.

The man--Bhavesh Patel was held guilty in a case of terrorism. Yet the crowd came to felicitate him. He was released on bail from the prison. There were politicians, members of right-wing groups around.

They carried him on his shoulders. There was slogan shouting, in his support. Rose petals were flung as he moved towards his home in Bharuch (Gujarat). Patel is one of the two persons who were held guilty in the case of terror attack on Ajmer Sharif dargah in Rajasthan.

This is just one of the incidents. Those arrested for rape, torture and murder of a girl child in Kathua in Jammu & Kashmir, were also given public support. Rallies were taken out and people wanted them released. That's India in the year 2018.  [Photo courtesy Indian Express]