Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The rise of Buddhism in India: Growth of Buddhist population after Dr Ambedkar's conversion

For centuries, Buddhism was a major religion in India. However, a period in Indian history, saw its downfall.

In twentieth century, once again Buddhism emerged as an important faith in India.

This was solely due to Dr BR Ambedkar's decision to embrace the religion.

This is reflected in figures. For example, at district level, the old Census report tells how there were just 149 Buddhists in the 1951 Census. However, the figure had gone up to 2,34,112. 

Such a huge increase, an unprecedented rise, that changed demography of the place, was possible only due to an extraordinary event--Dr BR Ambedkar's decision to embrace Buddhism. The year when he converted to Buddhism at Deeksha Bhumi was 1956. 

Hence, the difference in figures between 1951 and 1961 is so stark. The Mahar community followed him. Not just one district, in the Vidarbha region and other parts of Maharashtra, it happened. The affect was visible all over Central India, up to parts of Madhya Pradesh, also.

Not just major cities and districts but up to towns and villages. Buddhism spread fast in this region. Though, the conversion to Buddhism later slowed down, but it's impact was huge in Maharashtra. Some conversions took place in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and other states in North India. But Maharashtra was the epicentre of this movement.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Journalism in India: No fresh idea, why not do a cover story on 'Indian Muslims'


It's the age-old system in Indian journalism.

For magazines, periodicals and even Sunday papers that needed a special story.

If you don't have a fresh story or run out of all the ideas, just focus on 'Indian Muslims'.

Do a story on 'Indian Muslims', with different angles!

Either term them 'backward' or do a story on 'Muslim vote bank', so-called appeasement or write about the clergy and institutions, terming them regressive. 

This is the level of understanding and it has not changed in the last 70-odd years. 

The stereotypes that journalists carry even after getting a degree, the perception about Muslims and the beliefs about Muslims as monolith who need to be patronized and told about 'their issues', it just never ends.

So even if the community may be doing well against all odds, improving on indicators, the preaching continues. Forget data, statistics. And, why not write on issues concerning the majority. Do a story on 'Indian Hindus', now. It is time to focus.

The superstitions or bigotry among majority community, the radicalism or growth of hate among large sections is a big story. In fact, writers who belong to particular religion or caste, aren't aware about their own misconceptions, how they inherit the false notions and how they are regressive despite education and degrees.

Else, what is the reason that you don't write about your own superstitions, bigotry, privilege, radicalism, superstitions or growing fundamentalism among this huge section! Many people do have serious issues, strange phobias, join these Right-wing groups, Dals and Senas, many of them are involved in lynchings or hate crimes, yet suffer from fears of Muslim takeover, these are strange complexes. Aren't they a community that needs to be covered?

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Madhya Pradesh district map: India's regional and state maps in Urdu-1

As children, students need to consult map for identifying districts and places, there is need for such maps in most languages.
This map is important as it shows all the districts in Madhya Pradesh, which is the second biggest state in India, in terms of area. MP is located in the midst of the country, and has a population of over 72 million as per last census.
This map is just for illustrative and representational purpose. However, one finds that there is a lack of maps in Urdu.  Hence, we are putting up the maps on the internet. This map is just for illustrative and representational purpose. The figure is not to scale and does not claim to represent geographical boundaries.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Transfer of population was complete in Punjab during partition: Muslim exodus and arrival of Hindus, Sikhs but not in Bengal

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
Partition of India was a tragedy, one of the biggest manmade disasters that changed geography and caused suffering to millions. 

Tens of lakhs had to leave their homes with family and belongings, and had to go to the other side of the border. Innumerable people were killed on way. 

Two big regions--Punjab and Bengal, were affected but in a different way. 

Both states had people with a common culture and language. Yet, there were mass killings in Punjab that resulted in large-scale migration. However, this didn't happen to such a scale in Bengal.

Undivided Punjab or Greater Punjab was a huge region. Such was the level of displacement that entire cities and towns were transformed. The exodus was up to the level of villages, each and every place in Punjab. 

So lakhs of people from each district left to the other side of the border. This was unprecedented. Lahore and other cities in Western Punjab too witnessed similar exodus. Muslims left from Eastern Punjab and went to Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs left their homeland in Western Punjab and came to India. 

Except Mewat region, the town of Maler Kotla and a small pocket like Kadian, there was no place that had any sizable concentration of Muslims left in Indian Punjab, after partition. Haryana and Chandigarh were carved out of Punjab, later, and earlier they were part of greater Punjab state.

For example, Ludhiana had more than 3 lakh Muslims in the district before partition. However, after independence, barely a few hundreds remained in the city, and a couple of thousand spread in some rural parts. 


In sharp contrast, Bengal, another huge province, that was too was divided like Punjab, had a different story. The scale of migration was not such. In fact, large Hindu population remained in Eastern Pakistan, and to this day they remain in Bangladesh.

Also, Muslims remained in Murshidabad, Malda as well as Purnea and Kolkata. Partition caused huge turmoil in North India. People went from Uttar Pradesh (UP), Delhi and Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh, also. But the situation of Punjab was altogether different.

The violence and killings in Punjab had no parallel. This fear for their lives, drove people to leave their homes. The communal temperature was high in Punjab that had three major religions. Arya Samaj had Shuddhi movement were strong, here. 

Parties and their strong organisations had responsibility at grassroots. The role of Congress workers also needs to be remembered. Besides, the part played by the press in Punjab in dividing people among religions lines, is another aspect. 

Bengal too had frictions but the level of communalism was not as high among a common Bengali. Perhaps, there was greater cultural affinity too between the communities. Seven decades later, the partition of India, the killings, displacement and its impact, continue to haunt us. Have we learnt any lessons? 

[The figure is not to scale and does not claim to represent geographical boundaries. It is just for illustrative purpose. This is an old, pre-independence map and is just for representation and educational purpose.]

Sunday, March 28, 2021

How newspapers publish baseless reports, defame localities, communities: Questions on Dainik Bhaskar newspaper's credibility over mischievous report


Just imagine how such a defamatory report can find its way into a paper, along with such headline. 

A huge locality with a population of tens of thousands, demonized, targeted and on what basis?

No wonder, on social media the paper was questioned about it. 'What data do you have to blame an entire locality, present it as place where knives taken out?". 

When, Where, Which case! It is really shameful, as this is not a one-time mistake. Such biased reports are published on a regular basis. 

In fact, the manner in which 'old city' seen as 'Muslim quarter' of the capital, is constantly defamed, is shocking. There are rapes and murders or all sorts of crimes in any locality, once in a while. If there was even once an incident in any locality in a year, you can never project it as den of 'goons'.

When papers publish a mischievous report, that too on front page, lot of readers take it seriously. Even people in own city, naturally, feel that if paper has written, then it must be true. So cunningly, they create this hatred towards localities, people and cause friction among communities. 

It reflects the sad state of affairs when a newspaper divides, spreads propaganda. Even apology doesn't matter. Dividing people or pushing own biases, cleverly through newspapers, is not journalism. You have a huge circulation and this makes you more responsible but you act irresponsibly.

It is about how deep is the hatred among several so-called 'journalists' who try to find a way to spread hatred, even at the cost of lies, falsehoods, dividing regions, cities. The most notorious rags in the history of Indian publications, haven't gone to the extent of publishing such reports.

Even when carrying a story, you've to have a certain data, something to support it. They just have certain ideas, beliefs--imagine, write. The audacity--they can claim anything, write, publish it on front page, as lead. Unfortunately, this is something that has become a norm, as there is no self-correction mechanism in Indian media. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

How religious composition and population percentage prompt right-wing to create communal polarization: Majority, Minority and Insecurities

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

If the religious minority constitutes around 10% of the total population of the city, right wing is not much active and there are hardly any hate speeches or controversial political statements.

But if the population of the minority is close to 20% or even higher, you find such rhetoric in the city and as a result polarization in the particular place. 

In fact, in these cities newspapers too continuously peddle propaganda and raise divisive issues. 

As a result, citizens too feel that these issues are important and the statements, counter-statements, the feeling of insecurity and communities distrust towards each other, continues. 

This is an aspect and if one takes a look at most of the cities above population of 5 lakh or half-a-million, this distinction is quite clear. 

In many cities that have less than 10% minority population, you don't even hear about communal issues or confrontational statements. But if the minority population is around 25-30%, right-wing gets into an overdrive, making majority feel 'insecure' and there is nonstop propaganda about 'minority population growing fast'.

The vernacular papers too report in such a manner. Local politicians, certain groups instill fear about 'take over', everything in city seen from religious prism, lot of polarization. Of course, there is a difference--from 10% to 20% or higher. 

When people in a region are constantly made to think in terms of 'us' and 'them', and also on the degree i.e. 'opponent' and 'formidable opponent'. This is due to campaigns, yatras, events, programmes and focus on each festival. 

Apart from this, historical reasons in certain region--ruling class, culture, that cause insecurities, division. Regions, historical grievance and more. It's deep. At 40% Sikar in Rajasthan or 45% in Kadiri in Andhra, things can never be what they are at 30% in Khandwa or 30% in Azamgarh*.

However, there is another factor, which is not linked to population. There are certain cities where conflict in just one locality or one point or between two groups in a neighbourhood, due to local history, makes the place appear prone to conflict. 

The difference between Kanpur and Pune, Bhopal and Solapur, Ahmedabad and Jaipur, Indore and Cuttack, it explains a lot. Yet another thing that needs attention is that once cities have even higher Muslim population, there is even less conflict. 

Cities with Muslim majority have less history of communal riots, conflict 

Rampur, Malegaon, Sambhal, Burhanpur and Bahraich are just among the many towns that are clear examples. We need to discuss and talk about it more openly, so that certain elements in media and politics who create this communal divide, can be exposed. And, citizens should know this pattern. 

[The figure is not to scale and does not claim to represent any authentic boundaries,. It is just for illustrative purpose. This is an old map based on 1931 census and does not represent geographical boundaries, perfectly. It is a pre-independence map and is just for representation and educational purpose]

*The regional aspect, as communalism is less widespread in South compared to North.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Hundred selected reports in English and Urdu: Articles, analyses, ground reports from Central India by journalist Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

This is just to compile a list of hundred-odd articles published on different websites that are scattered on internet* in more than two decades of journalism.

These include reports published in Huffington Post, FirstPost, Hindustan Times, The Wire, Mirror, NewsD, Kochi Post, Deccan Herald and many other newspapers and websites.

A bookshop owner arrested for selling Urdu paper on a frivolous complaint. The report showed how implicating people for no reason, was going on the region. On the complaint of a right-wing group's leader, the man owning magazine shop was arrested for no reason. LINK

How an Indore engineer and a contractor became India's most wanted 'terrorists'. Right-wing terror suspects hiding in Nepal or killed in encounter! LINK

Terror of 'gau raksha' commandos is not new in Madhya Pradesh. Self-proclaimed cow vigilante groups like Gau Raksha Commando Force have been actively perpetrating crimes in the name of cow protection in Madhya Pradesh for several years. LINK

Cow vigilantes’ terror in MP, victims get arrested and jailed, assailants caught after video surfaced. Three persons including a woman were first humiliated and publicly tortured, before they were booked under stringent MP cow protection act, even sent to jail on judicial custody. LINK

Modi’s personality cult big factor in BJP’s sweep but all is not lost for the opposition. The feeling of gloom among opposition parties and the reaction is unfortunate. Skies haven't fallen, earlier too this has happened and Congress had two stints under Manmohan Singh. LINK

Why a Bhopal cobbler calls himself 'doctor of shoes'. Bharat Gannote is clear about dignity of labour and he doesn’t like if someone addresses him disrespectfully or uses the old and offensive term to describe his profession. LINK

Coronavirus: Role of media groups in causing stigma, creating scare and targeting a community.  How TV channels and newspapers screamed and otherised people on one hand but hid info when own newsroom staff got the virus. LINK

Sadhvi Pragya Thakur was acquitted by a court in the case of RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi's murder. The high-profile murder mystery was earlier termed as the key to cracking several right-wing terror cases. LINK

Tracking a 48-Year-Old Theft, Madhya Pradesh Cops Arrive To Arrest Man Who Died 21 Years Ago "We found that he had died in June 1995. This report was published in Huffington Post, India edition. LINK

Fed up of 4 transfers In 15 months, a judge stages a sit-in outside the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Tired of the transfers, he took the step in order to demand justice. This report was published in HuffPost India edition. LINK

People's Poet: Rahat Indori. 'If mushairas were to be equated with cricket, then he was surely the Viv Richards of mushairas, not just a successful Urdu poet who had a unique style of performance but also a symbol of dissent and a voice of resistance'. LINK

Why hasn't Mayawati's BSP tapped on the winnable Dalit-plus-Muslim vote bank? If Muslim electorate gets enthusiastic towards BSP, Dalit-plus-Muslim vote that exceeds 40% could be an unbeatable combo. Simple arithmetic. And, Mayawati is surely aware of it. Yet, it remains a mystery why the BSP never goes aggressively for the Muslim votes. LINK

From Congress stalwart G B Pant, UP had several Brahmin CMs including the likes of Kamlapati Tripathi, H N Bahuguna and Sripati Mishra. N D Tiwari was the last in 1989. Now, Brahmins worry over their lost political clout in Uttar Pradesh. LINK

Yogi Adityanath as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh: From anxiety to guarded optimism, here's how Urdu media reacted after BJP's landslide victory and the subsequent decision that Adityanath would be at the helm in India's most populous state. LINK

Farmers' protest: How overconfident BJP failed to see farmers' discontent, mishandled agitation. Though a 'kisan putra', as Shivraj Chouhan introduces himself in rallies, his government remained in denial until things went out of hand. LINK

Can chief minister Shivraj Chouhan deal with the biggest challenge of his political life? After the Vyapam scam that hit his government, the farmers' agitation and the anger after Mandsaur firing, he is facing the toughest battle. LINK 

Why tribals in India too need a Mayawati. Tribals don't have leaders with pan-Indian presence and atrocities on Adiwasis don't bother urban India. Tribals must have their own strong leaders and politicians to ensure that they are heard and justice is done to them too. LINK

SIMI operatives' encounter in Bhopal raises many questions, but cops, ATS have no answers. Just few hours after killing the 8 men in an encounter but police officials in Bhopal were finding it difficult to face the media and evaded questions about the circumstances surrounding the encounter. LINK

Tribals seemed to be returning to the Congress fold. It was the first election after demonetisation and Congress hoped that this would also go against the BJP. Party leaders hoped that anti-incumbency against the BJP government would work in favour of opposition. LINK

Thirty two years after Bhopal gas tragedy — one of the worst industrial disasters, the mankind has known and which resulted in death of 15,278 persons (official figure), people are still suffering due to the after-affects of the gas tragedy. LINK

How fake news that has the potential to inflame passions, divide society and lead to communal polarization gets planted in media. Understanding the 'system', how false information and propaganda finds its place in news reports and TV coverage. LINK

Samajwadi Party promises to Muslim voters remain unfulfilled Over the years, the SP didn’t bother to fulfill the promises it had made to the Muslims. Why? Perhaps, because the party was confident that it would get the Muslim vote, even if didn’t keep its word. LINK

SIMI operatives' jailbreak: The MP human rights commission to probe into security lapses. The commission has also questioned the security arrangements in the prison and said that the CCTV cameras should have been functional. LINK

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced a distribution of cash reward of Rs 40 lakh among many residents of Acharpura, the hamlet near the site of operatives’ encounter — a statement that has drawn criticism from different quarters. LINK

In dizzying Turn, Bhopal man who killed and buried girlfriend had also strangled parents to death. He had packed his girlfriend's body in a suitcase and poured concrete over it. He'd killed them years ago but had misled everyone. LINK

How individuals, communities and youth groups rose to occasion, distributed food during lock down to save innumerable lives, ran community kitchens and helped the poor in cities. Muslim youths took lead in social work and feeding the poor. LINK

Girl from West Bengal found buried inside boyfriend's house In Bhopal. She was missing for several months from West Bengal and there was speculation about her being in the United State. The boyfriend has been arrested.  LINK

23 Year Old Man In Madhya Pradesh Dies Looking For Documents To Exchange Old Currency Notes. He rushed home in hurry after he was standing in a queue at the bank to exchange old currency notes and he couldn't find some additional documentation to complete the process. LINK

Wrecking Wikipedia: Erasing history of marginalized communities, defeating purpose of website. By a mere five or six votes, initiating process of delition of pages about personalities from marginalised communities, tribals. LINK

Why users are angry with Twitter India? Upset with allegedly arbitrary action, failure of Twitter to check hate, softness towards right-wing handles that are abusive and threaten apart from double standards over its verification process in the country. LINK

Bidar school sedition case: Mother reunited with daughter after a fortnight, headmistress gets bail too. LINK

Under debt, RSS man had planned murder for insurance money, now absconding. LINK

Abhishek Mishra: Two years after his first run-in with MP police, same police now bats for him. LINK

Guns Fall Silent In Chambal As Police Shoots Its Last Bandit Head. LINK

Dramatic Rescue For Rail Passengers Stuck On A Bridge In Chambal. LINK

SIMI Operatives Killed In Bhopal Jail Break Tried A Similar Escape In 2013. LINK

65-Year-Old Retired Government Employee Collapses And Dies While Waiting In A Bank Queue In MP. LINK

Qawwali Queen Shakeela Bano Bhopali's life: Unravelling the mystique & misconceptions. LINK

Scolded and humiliated at school, girl ends life. LINK

AIMIM's march continues in North India, emerges as strong force in Seemanchal. LINK

A requiem for Hindustan Times. The story of Bhopal edition of the English newspaper. How it was stifled before it was shut down, completely. LINK

Roti Bank: Unique effort to fight hunger, provide food to the poor in impoverished region. LINK

Twitter faces users' ire in India, hashtag to sack its MD trends, later mysteriously vanishes. LINK

Vegetable vendor  harassed over faith, made to do sit-ups, police arrest accused. LINK

Grand old man of Urdu poetry bids adieu, tributes pour in for Gulzar Dehlvi. LINK

Mosque runs food bank, provides free food to needy in Faizabad in UP. LINK

356 Indian soldiers were shot dead for rebellion, setting up parallel administration in MP. LINK

Inspiring: After kids refused to play with Muslim girl, society takes steps, turns inclusive. LINK

Political articles from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Central India

Congress mishandled Madhya Pradesh: Scindia exit just one part of the story. LINK

'Shivraj Chouhan should visit Mandsaur, act against those who unfurled saffron flag at mosque'. LINK

Real secret behind Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s popularity even after three consecutive terms. LINK

Demonising Digvijaya: How vilifying, constantly targeting Diggy helps BJP in Madhya Pradesh. LINK

Lone Muslim MLA in MP Assembly: The ‘unbeatable’ legislator whose seat is a Congress citadel in Bhopal. LINK

Is Mama's magic over? Why the juggernaut slows down and may come to a halt after 15 years. Six factors that affect his chances. LINK

VBA-AIMIM jolt to political parties, leaves imprint on most seats in Maharashtra. LINK 

Did you know ‘Third front’ holds sway on eight out of 29 seats in ‘bipolar’ Madhya Pradesh! LINK

Infighting, open rebellions mar BJP prospects in MP; Congress relies on fresh faces. LINK

Several Muslim leaders of Congress, BJP entered parliament from this seat in Madhya Pradesh. LINK

Bhopal Lok Sabha: Congress yet to find winning formula to wrest the seat from BJP even after three decades. LINK

Indore Lok Sabha seat: In BJP bastion for decades, Congress’ long search for the right candidate. LINK

BJP’s chances of forming Govt at the centre rest on its performance in Madhya Pradesh. LINK

Shahdol Lok Sabha: Can BJP regain support of  voters who drifted towards Congress? LINK

Congress back in the fight in BJP strongholds in MP. LINK

Five factors that suggest while Congress' tally is likely to increase in Madhya Pradesh. LINK

Chhattisgarh: BJP, Congress turn it into a battle of ‘Mayors’ in Raipur Lok Sabha seat. LINK

Khargone Lok Sabha: Tribal anger, farmers’ mood may affect BJP’s prospects, Congress confident after Assembly poll results. LINK

Khandwa Lok Sabha: Resurgent Congress poses strong challenge to BJP on this seat. LINK

Dewas Lok Sabha: In Saffron stronghold, Congress upbeat after its vote share exceeds BJP in Assembly polls. LINK

Jabalpur Lok Sabha: Will Congress’ gamble succeed in this BJP bastion? LINK

Can Congress maintain the Assembly poll momentum, end BJP’s long reign in Bastar? LINK

Balaghat Lok Sabha seat: After five straight wins, BJP in trouble as party leaders play spoilsport. LINK

Mahasamund Lok Sabha seat: Tough contest on cards in the constituency that had drawn national attention in last election. LINK

Dhar Lok Sabha seat: BJP faces strong anti-incumbency, Congress upbeat due to tribal voters’ mood. LINK

Mandla Lok Sabha seat: Mood among tribal voter giving jitters to BJP, Congress hopeful. LINK

Janjgir Lok Sabha seat: Triangular contest on this Chhattisgarh seat that has strong BSP presence. LINK

Mandsaur Lok Sabha seat: Can Congress once again break into this Jan Sangh-BJP fortress? LINK

Ratlam Lok Sabha: BJP juggernaut was stopped in by-poll here, can the party snatch the seat again from Congress? LINK

Khajuraho Lok Sabha: On BJP turf, Congress’ chances will depend on BSP’s performance. LINK


Future remains uncertain for students of Urdu medium in Bhopal, as they don't have the facility to study in Urdu in higher classes and the government remains indifferent towards the problems of the Urdu schools. LINK

Taught himself Urdu when Imam refused. Poet Chander Bhan Khayal has earned a prominent place in Urdu literary world as a poet of Nazm but few here are aware that Delhi-based Khayal hails from the region--Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh. LINK 

Vintage wine, bed of cash: This Vyapam accused had a flashy life Sagar employed hundreds of bright students – mostly from Uttar Pradesh – whom he paid anything between Rs 75,000 to Rs two lakh to appear in the PMT exams on behalf of the original candidates who coughed up something between Rs 15 to 35 lakh for a medical seat. LINK

Thousands untraced. Innumerable families in the state share the same pain--their kids were either abducted, lured with false promises and taken away or went missing in mysterious circumstances, never to be traced again, Shams Ur Rehman Alavi reports. LINK

Bhopal to Saudi Arabia: Daughter to be custodian of huge Waqf properties. The mantle of maintaining huge properties of the erstwhile royal family extending from Bhopal to Saudi Arabia, now falls on Pataudi's daughter Saba Ali Khan, whom he had begun grooming for the task three years ago. LINK

24 women get sexually harassed in Madhya Pradesh every day. LINK

Dalit family's social boycott ends, dominant castes apologise. LINK

Don't call buffao meat 'beef', it confused most, say Muslims in MP. LINK

The last aspect of Chambal’s gun culture inherited through nearly two centuries is set to go. LINK

Police get just seven subscribers for 'SOS for elderly phone scheme'. LINK

Saviour of many in Bhopal gas tragedy remains unsung. LINK

Look-alike caught, police yet to ascertain if he is 'Bunty'. LINK


Action under NSA signals Saffronisation of 'system' in Madhya Pradesh. The report questioned the use of stringent law and underlines how the policies didn't change even though the Congress was at the helm in the state, replacing BJP. LINK 

BJP leaders' doublespeak, questionable stand on cow. Its own leaders's diverse comments on the issue of cow slaughter and beef apart from how it targets Muslims. The report quotes several BJP leaders, mentions their statements and exposes the party leaders' claims. LINK

Is the term 'Jungle Raj' just meant to be used for the non-BJP ruled states? It is not used when there is law-and-order break down in other states. However, when it comes to a state that is ruled by a non-BJP chief minister, media immediately uses the term. LINK

Darul Qaza or Qaziat: Counselling centres, not parallel courts. It is an age-old system, a mechanism to resolve disputes, especially, domestic and religious.. And every person is free to go to court. However, TV reports that termed it 'parallel courts' led to confusion. LINK

Historic Zeenat Mahal demolishes in Bhopal, heritage enthusiasts upset. Zeenat Mahal was not the first such structure. In fact, a number of such buildings have fallen due to lack of maintenance. There is also a feeling that a section of politicians and administrators want the structures to fall. LINK

Why a Muslim bureaucrat says he faces discrimination due to his surname. The officer said that he was transferred 19 times and made to feel like a 'German Jew', and that his surname hounded him always. LINK 

How #MyNameIsUrdu got trended on Twitter: Taking stand in support of Urdu on social media. To counter hate and biases, a woman user on Twitter had started the trend and later innumerable non-Urdu speakers used their names in Urdu script in their profiles as a gesture of harmony. LINK

Why political parties avoid fielding Muslim candidates in Madhya Pradesh.  LINK

Does Kamal Nath's victory, the gestures witnessed in the function herald a change in political culture in Madhya Pradesh? LINK

How RSS, BJP's Saffron bastion crumbled in Madhya Pradesh. LINK

For Bhopal gas tragedy victims, the dark night hasn't come to an end even now. LINK

How the history of Bhopal is being changed, distorted: Is it a political game? LINK 

Is anger towards Bohra community leadership's meeting with Prime Minister, justified? LINK

Serial killer's revelations shock the law-enforcers in Madhya Pradesh, he had killed 33 persons! LINK

Why latest data about Urdu speakers should not surprise us. LINK

Extra-judicial encounter with SIMI men in Bhopal: Commission's report leaves several questions unanswered. LINK

Bhopal jail encounter: Questions remain even after a year. LINK

Fearless journalist Gauri Lankesh's message to us and our responsibility. LINK

Historic Iqbal Library flooded, thousands of books perish. LINK

Urdu author who wrote over 500 novels bids adieu. LINK

How a tribal outfit is giving sleepless nights to political parties in western part of MP. LINK

Shivraj Chouhan's formula to win election after three successive terms. LINK

[*Wrote over 1,000 special reports, articles and investigative stories for Hindustan Times in 15 years, but archive not available on internet. Besides, there are other routine stories and columns that take the figure to nearly 2,000. The newspaper reports in print, would be uploaded separately]

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Quaid-e-Millat Muhammad Ismail: Leader who played important role in post-independent India, Madras State and later Kerala

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi 

Quaid-e-Millat M Muhammad Ismail was one of the most important leaders of modern India. 
He played a key role in leadership of Muslim masses after independence and was the leading statesman and politician in South Indian.
A member of constituent assembly, member parliament and leader of IUML, he was a towering figure, who championed the cause of Muslims, built bridges with other communities and leaders, and voiced concerns of the downtrodden, as well as fighting to secure their rights. 
The photograph shows a DMK ministry in Tamil Nadu in 1980. The big portraits above include photographs of Dr BR Ambedkar and Quaid-e-Millet Muhammad Ismail. The photo on the left shows Anna holding hands of MGR. 
The stage also had portraits of Rajaji and Kamaraj. Either in debates on rights of minorities or language in constituent Assembly or his lifelong political struggle for equal rights and identity, Muhammad Ismail's role is second to none. 
In the era when Muslims were down and depressed, Quaid-e-Millat not only established IUML despite attack by North Indian press, but when Muslim institutions were targeted by right-wingers in Congress, he fought it courageously and set up institutions.  He battled the communal forces, never compromised on identity and from constituent assembly to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, he voiced the concerns of Muslims. 
Though he is termed as the tallest Muslim leader in South India, he can't be limited to one region. After independence, he led Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the party remained a potent force in erstwhile Madras State.
M Ismail Sahib, who was born in 1896, had taken part in freedom movement. He was president of Madaras State Muslim League too before independence, he was elected as president of Indian Union Muslim League that was formed after independence and remained its chief till his death. 
Later, the party became a formidable force in Kerala. On his 125th anniversary, DMK chief Stalin said that he was termed Quaid-e-Millat as he was the guiding light who ensured harmony and state autonomy. 
Stalin recalled Quaid-e-Millat's friendship with Periyar and Anna Durai, and how he helped DMK form the government in Tamil Nadu in 1967. A lot comes to mind, especially, Raja Ji's famous statement when IUML had won seats in Madras presidency after independence. But that's for another day, perhaps!
There are institutions, colleges and schools after his name. A district in Tamil Nadu was named 'Nagapattinam Quaid-e-Millat' for a while, though when all districts named after personalities lost their names, it again became Nagapattinam.
In fact, Quaid-e-Millat's political journey, lifelong struggle, services and leadership role, the impact he had, his statesmanship and the respect he commanded from all sections of the society, requires a long essay. 
"When Thiru K Madhavamenon, Minister for Education, by a special order, changed the name of the Government Mohammedan College, Mount Road, Madras into Government Arts College, Madras,  Quaide-Milleth made forceful pleas and requested the Government to honour the rights of minorities but fell on deaf ears', mentions the QeM Trust.
"Quaide-Milleth accepted the challenge with grace and dignity and called upon the community to rise up to the occasion. Within three years Quaide Milleth had been able to establish the following erstwhile institutions with the active co-operation and support of the Muslim Philanthropists", it adds.
The New College, Madras
The Jamal Mohammed College, Trichy,
The Farookh College, (Kerala)
Also, he was the driving force behind setting up many institutions--Haji Karutha Rowther Houdia College, Uthamapalayam and The Khader Mohideen College, Adirampattinam, Wakf Board College, Madurai, Nawab Abdul Hakeem College, Melvisharam, Sadaqathullah Appa College, Palayamkottai, Mazhar-ul-Uloom College, Ambur and The Zakir Hussain College, Ilayangudi.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Muslims must learn from own experiences under right-wing majoritarianism, shouldn't pester own minorities over sectarian, inter-community issues

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

There is a context and it is important but first let me narrate this incident.
Once there was an event & suddenly lot of people in Bhopal began condemning the Bohra community.
They quickly forgot that one Bohra man had set up Saifia college in the region after independence & generations came up, thousands of graduates in Bhopal alone, from 1960-1990s.

Saifia College created an educated middle class in Bhopal, people in jobs in India, foreign, Middle East for long, you met and they told, 'We from Saifia'. Bhopalis should be indebted to Mulla Sajjad Husain and Mulla Fakhru but if just ine point, quick to forget & blame 'all'.

Exactly same majoritarian mindset that 'we know, what we believe is final, we decide, they must prove, be loyal to us..'.RW too feels Muslim ninority must prove. Even if you hold anti-terror conf or stand against cow slaughter, they sayprove more, onus. 'Ye aise hi hain'...

When there is bias, hate, suspicion, then there is no end to such behaviour. As Muslim what we fight against and what angers us, the same is our behaviour towards our own minority. This is no way, rather, it shows inability to learn from own experience and suffering.

If you dislike someone because of their religious sect or different belief, say it openly, no need to make an argument that I know 5-10 or 15 such people out of 2 crore so they all are bad. Try to understand our own majority privilege.

Then comes the line, 'Bolna chahiye, saamne aana chahiye'. Har cheez par prove karein bolein to tum sun rahe ho, kuchh pata bhi hai. Standard set karo. Its the same when we hear that we aren't rashtravadi & all should behave and be like 'Kalam sb'. 

If there is one Wasim Rizvi. The sudden rush to link him with other Shias, not being aware of local politics, the fact that Shias have denounced him lot of times, openly opposed him, yet putting onus on the entire sect, it's all similar to right-wing majority mindset.


I remember very well how when an artist painted a photograph that was considered to have hurt Hindu sentiments, Muslims were opposing but Hindus said, 'they don't oppose enough'. A top editor had also written a piece, that 'Muslims should come out to protest'. 

Though there were open protests but they were not covered in papers and TV. It is always the same--suspicion, putting the minority in the dock. Even if the minority does what you want them to do, they say--'it's just their plan, doesn't come from their heart, just an eyewash, their intent is different'.

Similarly, when media would link Muslims with terror, all over India, Muslims would repeatedly come out, hold demonstrations, even Ulema led protests, issued fatwas against violence and terror. Every other day it was done but we kept hearing it, 'not enough' and that 'Muslims don't condemn terror'.

Majority doesn't feel that it has to prove anything to anybody. Either a Sunni majority or a Hindu majority. Whoever has more numbers, feel it is is the ruling class. So a normal Sunni doesn't need to prove anything when Tarek Fatah, Salman Rushdie or Ayan Hirsi Ali, Tasleema Nasreen attack Islam and even our holy figures.

We don't even bother. As majority wants minority to 'behave'. But if one Shia does it, entire Shia community must be questioned and names of other Shias who haven't lived up to the standards of Sunni majority, must be counted, and these 4-5 or 10 names are enough for point blank charge against all Shias. 

If sectarian differences become a shield for majoritarianism and end up leading to harassment of minorities, then it's a shame. Compassion, love and unity give way to blind hatred, prejudices and accusations--that's the tragedy for us, Muslims.

[The author is born in a Sunni family. This needs to be mentioned that because it's our job to take stand, speak up when our minorities are made to prove certain things and looked at with suspicion. In this situation, we must clearly take stand and say it]

[This is first part of the series. Lot of people pretend as if there is no such widespread prejudice, pressure or charge, reality is even on social media, it's too common to question Shia beliefs and even use extremely objectionable words about them. Next part will deal with it.]

Photo: Mulla Fakhru, leading educationist of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Promoting, project harmony, giving a sense of belonging and representation to all is must: Communal Harmony Project-58

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

For any nation or society, it's important to have unity, cohesiveness, shared culture and a sense of belonging among people.

There must be harmonious relationship and it is necessary for progress in the society. 
However, if there is an attempt to dismiss multiculturalism and avoid giving representation to different sections of society, it can have a negative effect on the people. 
At least, there was an attempt in those days to tell society that everyone belongs. 
Govt advertisements, stamps, comics, magazine covers, pvt sector ads. Then 1990 onward, it was stopped, went out of fashion, no effort. Kids, new generation didn't grow up on it. The consequences are understandable.
Strong push to the idea of a majoritarian society leads to situation where certain groups, people are 'otherized'. No Ram-Rahim or Rajan-Iqbal, because it is equality, representation. Not cool? Look at children's magazines now, serials or even a 'Chhota Bhim' whose village will not have any Muslim or Christian.
Bollywood, textbooks, theatre, wherever there was representation, it irked them. When you want to instill it in minds, this concept, it damages the fabric, unity. A beautiful garden must have flowers of all kind.  Let a million flowers bloom. 
Government should promote and push for communal harmony, make it appear beautiful, not just present one community. As others get hurt when their culture is ignored, even their presence is taken for granted and they are not considered equals.
The role of government is most important. When officially, it is promoted that harmony is cool and we must give representation, private sector too follows, it is believed and practiced in institutions--colleges, offices, schools. Mass media too presents it in a better way.
But if there are right-wing groups that are close to leaders and establishment that are not happy with multi-culturalism, then it's clear that this idea of multi-culturalism ought not to be promoted. The signal has its affect and people understand, organisations follow suit, societies witness and suffer. Hence, if there is real intent for progress, then governments must take interest in projecting the beauty of a multi-cultural society.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

How mass media was used to 'otherize' Muslims and change Indian society: Culture, propaganda and Hindutva

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

It was in 1991, a family I knew well. 

The lady said--'Saddam Hussein is right'.

'Muslims should live like 'achche kirayedar' (sic) in India'. What? Saddam!

I was not sure where & whether Saddam even said it but the comment publicly. I was getting sense about the psyche, then. Tenants, what? 

But the feeling that it's our land, you live here but not as 'equal citizens', don't speak or make demands. They thought on these lines: "Why do we even have to fight to take over 'our site' from you, you just give it up, be silent, live at our mercy & feel happy that we let you be here". 

Post Ramanand Sagar effect. The mandir agitation was going on for some years but it was after TV became a medium for propagation of one religion, first Ramayana and Mahabharat, this new change was witnessed. Our neighbours suddenly had a totally different take on things. 

BJP was below 120 seats then. It was the easy, casual expression of such feelings in public--that struck me. Another point was that this family was not from a privileged background, they said that they had suffered earlier.

This family wasn't privileged and had suffered caste prejudices in the society. Also, faced casteist barbs as the Mandal agitation had taken place just few yrs ago. It takes effort, huge effort to change an entire society.

Communalism took root, dozens of organisations worked [working] nonstop for decades, media and mass media was given task, from politicians to goons, all power had to be used to create the perception and inject the poison, deep. The subtle manner in which the idea was spread--this land 'belongs' to majority, not them. [Image shows Arvind Rajagopal's book on politics after television]

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Historical maps of India: Political map of British India, pre-partition India that included Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma in Urdu, English

This is an old map, more than a century old.

The map shows boundaries that existed much before partition of the Indian sub-continent.
It shows British India that included not just India, Pakistan but also Burma.
Urdu has been added in the map for the benefit of readers, students who need it.
Many such maps are needed in Urdu but are not available. Hence, this is our aim to add Urdu in important maps. It is purely for education purpose. 
A lot has changed in 110 years. Many cities shown in the map, shrank and hence they are not considered big cities now, but are shown in this map.
Similarly, regions and divisions that existed earlier but later they became part of other states and hence their separate identity no longer exists. You find regions like Berar, Mysore and Hyderabad. Now Mysore and Hyderabad are not states but mere cities, as states were renamed and reorganised after independence.
The map is large but couldn't be uploaded on that scale here. However, you can still click and then use F11 for a slightly bigger map. Original size would be posted later on. Once again, it must be known that it is for education purpose, no commercial use. 

The figure is not to scale and does not claim to represent any authentic boundaries, just for illustrative purpose. See the second map that is in higher resolution. Yet another map of pre-independent India is available at this link. CLICK. [We are going to post many such maps in future for the benefit of Urdu speaking masses and students]. 

Monday, March 08, 2021

Can't Dainik Bhaskar journalists be more careful: Hindi newspapers must shun propaganda that distorts history and learn to fact-check

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

It was just a photograph with a headline and caption.
But it was published prominently in a paper with a huge circulation. 
Despite the growing focus on fact-checking, the newspaper failed to even mention that this was the artist's claim,  NOT a historical fact.
Story of Shah Jehan getting artists' hands chopped off, has no basis. Do fact check.
Those artisans, they built other grand structures too, their descendants kept living in Tajganj in Agra. 
In fact, Dainik Bhaskar headline and caption go a step ahead, support the false claim.  This painting is not in a private gallery, but it's on wall, a public place. 
It is deliberately done to strengthen a perception. Bhopal has become a hub for distorting history, creating false narratives. Even if an artist feels it's his liberty, at least, newspaper can add a line that this has no basis & fact-check. 
Responsibility is more of newspaper. They have huge circulation, people believe them. But if papers decide that their aim is to misinform the society? So we've this situation here. Press not even doing basic job--telling readers truth. Besides, thousands would watch the painting on the street. 
The newspapers must not publish any fake claim as 'truth'. Many social media users expressed outrage and said that this was one of the earliest propaganda against Mughal rulers that aimed to depict them as cruel. They express surprise how print media can get so careless and fall for such stories.

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Fascinating Figures: Census report 1911, data over a century ago gives interesting insight about demographic and religious trends in India

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The latest Census for us is still 2011 Census, as the results of next count would take a few more years.
The change witnessed in the region in a century is reflected in the difference between Census reports in 1911 and 2011.

A century ago, undivided India's population was 31.35 crore. That included India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Barma.

The Census report 1911 makes interesting observations and reveals facts that are mentioned below. Of the 31.35 crore population of India, Hindus numbered 21.73* crore apart from 2.43 lakh Hindu (Arya) registered and 5,500 Brahmo.

Muslim population in 1911 Census report was 6,66,47,299 i.e. 6.66 crore or 21.24%** of the country's population. Sikh were just 30.14 lakh. The total number of Hindus in India was 217.3 millions or 2/3rd of population. In British territory, the proportion is 67% and in native states, 78%. 


The proportion of Hindus in UP was 85%. In Bihar and Orissa and CP and Berar, about 82%. This remains more or less the same even now. In Bombay it was 76%. In the west of Punjab, only 1/8th of inhabitants are Hindus, said the report. 

In Bengal, Hindus are 45%, says this pre-partition report. "Jain population has been diminishing. In quite recent times, many Jains have joined the Arya Samaj". It further points out, "In Punjab, UP and Bombay they are prone to take part in Hindu festivals..."

"... and are thus often disposed to regard themselves as Hindus and are likely gradually to become merged in the religion", the report later adds. "The Kasars of Akola and Jain Kalars attorned to Hinduism". 


Muhammadans number 66.6 million or more than 1/5th of the total population of India. In NWFP and Baluchistan, Muslims number 93% and 91% respectively. In Punjab 55%, Bengal 53%".

The proportion of Muslims falls to 28% in Assam, 20% in Bombay and 14% in UP of Agra and Oudh. 'Bihar and Orissa' province is the only other state where it exceeds 10 percent. In CP and Berar it is only 4% and in Burma 3.5%. 

In native states, the proportion is much smaller but they are very numerous in Baluchistan and Kashmir and fairly so in states of Punjab, Bengal and UP. About half of Bombay Muhammedans are found in Sindh. 

Half of those in Burma are in northern coast districts where they form 1/7th of population. The single district of Purnea contains one quarter of Muhammadans of Bihar and Orissa, and Malabar, one third of Madras. 

Bengal contributes to 24 million or 36 percent, to total number of Muhammadans in India.  Muhammadans number has risen due to partly, more nourishing dietary, their social customs. fewer marriage restrictions, widows remarry more freely. 


There is a difficulty in classifying tribes--animists or Hindu. In some, tribal system is breaking down, they are coquetting to a varying extent with Hindu gods. There is quite an interesting observation in the report.

"Tthe decision depends on idiosyncrasy of enumerator and on the exact wording of the instructions laid down for his guidance. A high caste Hindu enumerator might record as animists those whom a Christian or aboriginal enumerator might enter as Hindus. There is a considerable element of uncertainty. 


There are 38.76 lakh Christians in India, says the report. Of these, 35.74 lakh are Indian Christians. Remainder are European and Anglo Indian. About 3/5th of the total number of Indian Christians are found in Madras and its native states, including Cochin and Travancore. 

Though number of Christians is still small, it is increasing very rapidly. During last ten years it has grown by 32.6%, and it has more than doubled since 1881. the number of Indian Christians has multiplied nearly 3 fold since 1872 [observations in the report of the Census 1911]


*All the figures and percentage need to be readjusted if India-Pakistan-Bangladesh are to be compared with today's geographical boundaries, because this included Burma.

**The percentage will be slightly different as this Census takes Myanmar into account. 

***This is an old representative map and shows pre-independence era boundaries, not present era or national- international boundaries, it is just for illustrative and educational purpose.

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. 


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!


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. 

If any party that wishes to have space and hold in society, it has to take stand, must rise against injustice & at least speak up for victims. If you can't do even this much, you can't remain strong. Many are closet RWs but other party leaders, workers, heads of the party wings must realise.

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. LINKLINK & 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.

UPDATE: Now, AIMIM has also won seats in Godhra, Modasa and Bharuch, in the second round of civic elections. With presence of the party's elected representatives in urban areas, AIMIM is clearly a visible force in the state. 

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'.

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