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SACW | 2 Aug. 2003

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | 2 August, 2003 [1.] Sri Lanka: War-torn North Has Little to Show as Peace Dividend (Feizal Samath) [2.] Pakistan: - Punjab
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2003
      South Asia Citizens Wire | 2 August, 2003

      [1.] Sri Lanka: War-torn North Has Little to Show as Peace Dividend
      (Feizal Samath)
      [2.] Pakistan:
      - Punjab Assembly rejects Mighty Mulla Alliance bill making weddings
      at mosques compulsory
      - Mullas petition to support to the government's ban on kite flying
      under the injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah.
      [3.] Pakistan: The Citizens' Award 2003 - invitation for nominations
      [4.] Bangladesh: a four-day 'cultural event against fundamentalism
      and communalism
      [5.] India: Peoples Union for Civil Liberties [Rajasthan] - Concern
      for Pakistani child in an Indian jail
      [6.] India: Public Discussion on Hiroshima Day: 'India's Dangerous
      Tryst With Nuclear Weapons' (New Delhi, Aug. 6)
      [7.] South Asia: Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace
      (WISCOMP) invites applications
      [8.] USA: Tank thinks 'Hindu Muslim' divide as security risk
      [9.] India: [Sexual Anxieties of Men on (Ram)page] Fashion Week is a
      powerful enemy of the Ayotollahs of Hindu Right (Sagarika Ghose)
      [10.] Three different Letters re Nelson Mandela's upcoming trip to India:
      i) write to the South African ambassador and Members of S. African
      Parliament (Fr. Cedric Prakash)
      ii) Letter to Nelson Mandela (Shabnam Hashmi)
      iii) Letter to Nelson Mandela (Daniel O'Connor)
      [11.] India: White Ribbon Campaign For Peace - National level protest
      on 15th of August 2003 against Gujarat violence
      [12.] India: The 'Adivasi' [Indigenous people] question in Gujarat:
      Why fascist mobilisation?
      (Wilfred D'Costa)
      [13.] The August 2003 issue of INSAF Bulletin is now available



      Inter Press Service
      SRI LANKA: War-torn North Has Little to Show as Peace Dividend

      [by] Feizal Samath

      When Tamil rebels and the Sri Lankan government reached a ceasefire
      pact in February 2001, dozens of businessmen from the south rushed to
      the war-ravaged northern town of Jaffna, seeking business and
      commercial links and raising the hopes of residents.

      COLOMBO, Jul 31 (IPS) - When Tamil rebels and the Sri Lankan
      government reached a ceasefire pact in February 2001, dozens of
      businessmen from the south rushed to the war-ravaged northern town of
      Jaffna, seeking business and commercial links and raising the hopes
      of residents.
      They came in large numbers, promising industry and jobs. ''There was
      unusually heavy traffic in our town for some weeks,'' recalled a
      small-time trader who has a shop on the road to Jaffna town from the
      city's military airfield.
      More than a year later, the euphoria has ended on two key fronts --
      economic prosperity and a permanent peace, as the rebels and the
      government to struggle to return to talks that broke down in April
      and have remained suspended since then.
      Apart from that initial burst of enthusiasm, Jaffna, just about the
      worst affected by the two-decade-old ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka,
      has yet to see any tangible state or private sector investment from
      the mainly Sinhalese south.
      Markadu Ramadasan, president of the Yarlpanam Chamber of Commerce and
      Industry in Jaffna, said that despite numerous visits by businessmen
      and chamber officials from the south since the peace process started,
      they have yet to set up a single industry in the region.
      According to S Kuganathan, a journalist working for a local
      newspaper, just three small industries have come up in the northern
      city -- all by Jaffna-based businessmen. ''There were 200 to 300
      businessmen from the south who came with hopes of new industries,''
      he said. ''People are also worried that there would be a return to
      The Jaffna peninsula of about than half a million people desperately
      needs to revive its once-thriving industry and create jobs if the
      peace process is to work.
      But the only visible signs of activity in Jaffna is an expansion in
      trading as Colombo-based companies fill shops with fast moving
      consumer goods like Coca-Cola, refrigerators, processed food,
      clothes, washing machines, gas cookers, televisions, radios
      videocassette recorders.
      Tthe demand for mobile phones has soared from virtually nothing.
      Supermarkets owned by Colombo-based chains have sprung up overnight.
      But despite rising levels of consumerism due to remittances from
      thousands of overseas Tamils, the economy of the war-damaged region
      has not been turned around. ''There has been a surge in trading but
      no real investment that can create industries and raise jobs,'' noted
      Kethesh Loganathan, head of the peace and conflict analysis section
      at the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a local think tank.
      Heavy taxes by the rebels in addition to government taxes, also deter
      investment. What hurts Jaffna residents most is that southern
      industry, mainly from the majority Sinhalese community, gave false
      hopes to the region of predominantly minority Tamils.
      ''For the first time in 20 years, we saw a silver lining in the
      clouds. We thought development would come rapidly. Alas, that is not
      the case,'' said a retired civil servant, who declined to be named.
      Last week marked the twentieth anniversary of the massacre of some
      400 Tamils in the Sri Lankan capital and in areas outside it, an
      event that changed the course of history.
      As the rebellion grew, partly fueled by anger over these riots,
      Jaffna, once the stronghold of Tamil Tiger guerrillas, became the
      scene of many bloody battles between the rebels and government troops.
      Its economy, a major contributor to Sri Lanka's gross domestic
      product (GDP), has been in tatters since the Tamil campaign for their
      homeland began.
      The region had large industries like a gigantic cement facility, and
      dozens of power loom factories, caustic soda units, glass, aluminium,
      ice and the entire small and medium industry, which were ruined by
      war and conflict.
      It once accounted for 40 percent of the fishing needs of the south,
      while its rice, vegetables and mangoes went in bulk quantities to the
      rest of the island.
      Agriculture and fishing has picked up in the past year. Ironically,
      these -- the only two sectors to be active in recent months --
      received scant attention at the donors' conference in Tokyo in June,
      which yielded 3 billion U.S. dollars in pledges
      ''There was a heavy concentration on infrastructure and focus on big
      investment aimed at generating jobs and alleviating poverty, but
      little attention was given to traditional livelihoods,'' said Nimalka
      Fernando, a Colombo-based human rights campaigner.
      Jaffna is not the only region in Sri Lanka to suffer from a lack of
      investment. Last week, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe lashed out
      at the country's business community for not investing enough,
      increasing economic activity and creating jobs despite generous tax
      breaks and incentives to trigger investment.
      Political uncertainty has been the key towards a general reluctance
      to invest - and this has taken a turn for the worse after the rebels
      suspended peace talks.
      On Wednesday, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce chairman Tilak de Zoysa told
      a chamber meeting in Colombo that the peace process is doomed if both
      sides do not get back to the negotiating table.
      But Ramadasan rejects the argument of political uncertainty, saying
      that taking risks is always part of business strategy. ''Businessmen
      always take risks,'' he said. ''We don't want big investments, but
      southern support to revive small and medium scale industries.''
      Ramadasan said Colombo's private sector did not have a proper plan
      for investment, but just visited the region in a euphoric state and
      made vague announcements about future plans. ''They should have
      conducted a proper study of the situation and prepared a report. In
      the past 20 years, we don't have any information about resources and
      labour availability (in the north). This needs to be studied before
      investment plans are made,'' he added.
      Loganathan added that what may be required now is to promote
      collaborative investments between Sinhalese and Tamils. ''This would
      ensure some sustainability and continuance (because of Tamil
      involvement) even if the conflict is resumed and (becomes) of a
      low-intensity nature,'' he said. (END)



      The Daily Times [Pakistan] August 1, 2003

      PA rejects MMA bill making weddings at mosques compulsory

      Staff Report
      LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly (PA) on Thursday rejected a marriage bill
      introduced by a Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) legislator that sought
      to make compulsory the holding of nikah and barat ceremonies in
      The Punjab Marriage Functions (Prohibition of Ostentatious Displays
      and Wasteful Expense) Amendment Bill 2003 introduced by the MMA's
      Ehsanullah Waqas also stated that if there were no mosque within a
      reasonable distance, the ceremonies should be held at the house of
      the bride. Punjab Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja opposed the
      bill, saying the barat ceremony was "beneath a mosque's dignity". He
      said there was nothing wrong with the nikah ceremony being held in a
      mosque, but the government could not force the general public to host
      marriage ceremonies in a mosque. [...].

      o o o

      Kite-flying ban in Lahore

      Applicant moves LHC to join petition
      Staff Report
      LAHORE: Justice Raja Muhammad Sabir of the Lahore High Court on
      Thursday issued notice to the parties in an application seeking to
      join a writ petition demanding an end to the ban on kite-flying.
      Sohail Altaf Joiya, secretary of the World Association of Muslim
      Jurists' Lahore chapter, said through his counsel Muhammad Ismail
      Qureshi that he wanted to become a party in the petition in order to
      lend support to the government's ban on kite flying under the
      injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah.
      The applicant said kite-flying should be permanently banned as it had
      caused deaths of scores of people. The applicant said besides the
      loss of human lives, kite-flying had caused an annual loss of Rs 2.5
      billion to WAPDA in Lahore and resulted in damage to electronic
      appliances of the petitioner and the public at large. He said the
      incidents of kite twine slitting throats of the people posed an
      ever-present danger to the people in Lahore and other cities of the
      Punjab and people would have apprehension about their lives if the
      ban was lifted.
      Through a notification on June 30, 2003, the Lahore District
      Government banned kite- flying as well as the sale, purchase,
      storage, manufacturing, transportation and use of kites or any
      materials used in flying kites within the revenue limits of Lahore
      district with effect from July 1, 2003. Later, the government of
      Punjab extended the ban for three months.
      Petitioner Farasat Ali Butt has challenged the ban's extension by the
      Punjab government through a writ petition on behalf of an
      organisation of kite-sellers in Bhatti Gate and three firms dealing
      in twine.



      The Citizens' Award 2003

      Instituted in 1999, the Citizens' Award recognizes outstanding
      individuals and organizations that have made significant
      contributions to civil society. Earlier recipients of the award
      include Abdul Sattar Edhi and Ardeshir Cowasjee.

      The awards committee is inviting nominations for the year 2003. You may
      nominate either an individual or an organization for the award.

      You can download nomination forms from our website
      (<http://www.xiber.com/ca/>www.xiber.com/ca/) or send in a request
      via email (<mailto:ca@...>ca@...), fax (021-583-1099) or
      by mail. The last date for the submission of nominations is October

      The awards committee's shortlist will be assessed by a panel of judges
      and the winner announced on December 15.

      The winner shall be presented with a plaque as well a token monetary

      Citizens' Awards
      F-15/2, 4th Gizri Street,
      DHA, Karachi 75500 [Pakistan]



      The Daily Star [Bangladesh] August 01, 2003

      Cultural programme begins at JU tomorrow
      JU Correspondent
      The Jahangirnagar University Sangskritik Jote (JUSJ) organises a
      four-day 'cultural programme against fundamentalism and communalism'
      from tomorrow.
      The programme will begin with a musical soiree at the university
      amphitheatre. The Jahangirnagar Theatre will also stage '2nd August'
      on the first day.
      Another group of the Theatre will present 'Trijogmiti' at the
      university Shaheed Minar on August 3.
      On the third day, a musical and recitation programme will be held at
      the foot of Amar Ekushey.
      On the last day, 'Sei Rater Kotha Bolte Esechhi', a documentary, and
      'No Man's Land', a film, will be shown at the amphitheatre.
      The programmes will begin at 7:00 pm everyday.
      The Jote will also took out a procession at 10.00am on the first day
      to mark '2nd August'.
      On that day in 1998, the general students including the female
      students raided the five dormitories of the male students and ousted
      the 'rapist group' and 'killer group' belonging to Bangladesh Chhatra
      The Progressive Students' Alliance (PSA) will join the procession.



      Peoples Union for Civil Liberties [India], August 2003

      Rajasthan PUCL
      Concern for Pakistani child in an Indian jail

      31st July, 2003
      Name : Munir
      Father's Name : Mohammed Bilal , a poor cow rearer
      Age : 13 years
      Language : Punjabi
      Name of village in Pakistan : Bhatu ( according to police forces this
      village maybe 15-20 kms from the border )
      District Bhawalpur, Sindh Province in Pakistan

      Since 29th July in Karanpur sub-jail in Sri Ganganagar district.
      Charged u/s 109 IPC, for vagrancy. Was produced in front of a
      magistrate on the 29 th of July who sent him to a sub-jail. From the
      27 th of June to the 28 th he was held at Kesarisinghpur police
      station, 40 kms from SriGanganagar district .

      First news reports appeared in Rajasthan Patrika dated 29th June
      which said that he has been in custody since two days. The news
      report stated that he was handed over to Rajasthan police by the BSF
      who picked him up on the 26th June, he had crossed the border
      innocently. According to news reports and interaction with police no
      case has been filed against him. There is just an entry in the

      Now he has been in police custody since a month. The Sri Ganganagar
      district press and ordinary citizens have taken up this matter like a
      campaign in order to ensure early repatriation

      The arguments of the PUCL
      According to PUCL Munir has been kept in detention in contravention
      of the procedure established under law. According to the PUCL the
      detention of Munir is in violation of his rights under Articles 14,
      21 and 22 of the Constitution and the Juvenile Justice [Care and
      Protection of Children] Act 2000. Articles 14, 21 and 22 of the
      Constitution apply to all persons regardless of nationality or
      citizenship. The provisions and procedures laid down in the Juvenile
      Justice [Care and Protection of Children] Act 2000 also apply to all
      juveniles regardless of their nationality.

      We believe that the State Government has violated the Juvenile
      Justice Act by keeping the child in police custody. Munir is about 13
      years of age, and is a juvenile requiring special protection under
      the domestic and international law. We that in the present case there
      has been a complete breakdown of the juvenile justice system.
      Firstly, Munir has been wrongly incarcerated in the police lock-up
      for over a month in absolute violation of the prevailing juvenile
      legislation. Secondly, since 26-6-2003 when the Border Security Force
      took him in custody he has not been produced before any Magistrate or
      Juvenile Justice Board. The latter is a must under the Juvenile
      Justice Act.

      According to the PUCL the United Nations Convention for the Rights of
      the Child is legally binding, and the Countries are obligated to
      adhere to its provisions. India is signatory to the CRC since 1992.
      Munir has been separated from his family in an alien country for over
      a month. Thus Munir should be transferred to an Observation Home and
      be produced before the nearest Juvenile Justice Board. This illegal
      detention is an infringement of the said Munir's right to life and
      liberty, and has caused him great prejudice, and an avoidable
      prolonged incarceration.

      The PUCL also appeals that Munir should be repatriated to his home in
      Pakistan at the earliest. By Munir's illegal detention, valuable time
      has been wasted and restoration to his family has been uneccesarily
      delayed. Since he is a child separated from his family everything
      must be done to reunite from with his family in Pakistan at the

      The PUCL has taken up the matter with the GOR and has demanded that
      Munir be moved to a Juvenile home in Jaipur. It has also requested
      urgent repatriation of Munir to Pakistan. PUCL has also written to
      the GOI in this connection.

      The PUCL has moved this matter in the Rajasthan High Court, Jaipur
      Bench. It was heard on the 28th of July, 2003. It came up in the
      Court of Justice Yaad Ram Meena and Justice Shashi Kant Sharma. The
      Court issued notices to the Government of Rajasthan asking them to
      reply in four weeks time in the said matter. The insensitivity of the
      Judiciary in this matter is obvious that a petition arguing for
      providing justice to a child is treated in a routine way. On hearing
      that the boy was a Pakistani the Judges cut short the lawyer for the
      PUCL Prem Krishna Sharma, who is also President of the State PUCL and
      refused to hear further on the matter.

      The PUCL wrote to the Indo-Pak Peace Forum, columnist and
      Parliamentarian Mr. Kuldeep Nayar. Mr. Kuldip Nayar addressed a press
      conference on the 27 th in Jaipur and took up Munir's case. He said
      that Munir should be released at the earliest and that he would also
      write to the Prime Minster and Home Minister to ensure the immediate
      and safe passage of Munir back home.

      We appeal to all citizens to act on this matter and write to
      Sh. Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister, Rajasthan, Jaipur,
      Sh. LK Advani, Home Minister, GOI, N.Delhi
      Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister, N.Delhi

      Against the unjust detention, immediate release and ensuring safe
      passage to Munir so that he can be reunited with his family at the

      In case you would like more information on this matter you can
      contact us in Jaipur and Sri Ganganagar:

      Jaipur contact persons:
      Kavita Srivastava & Prem Krishna Sharma,
      People's Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan,
      49, Vivek Nagar, Station Road, Jaipur-302006

      phone no:
      Kavita Srivastava : 0141/2706483



      Invitation to a panel discussion in New Delhi on August 6


      A Discussion on Wednesday, August 6, Hiroshima Day


      R. Rajaraman, Jawaharlal Nehru University
      Satyajit Rath, National Institute of Immunology
      Jean Dreze, Centre for Development Economics
      C. Rammanohar Reddy, 'The Hindu'

      VENUE: Conference Room III, India International Centre ANNEXE, New Delhi

      TIME: 6pm

      Organised by ORIENT LONGMAN, publishers of
      Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream
      (ed by M.V. Ramana and C. Rammanohar Reddy)



      Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP) invites
      applications from South Asian professionals and scholars under the age of 45
      for its Scholar of Peace Fellowships awarded for academic research, media
      and special projects. WISCOMP seeks to promote an inclusive, gender
      sensitive discourse on issues related to peace and security in South Asia.
      The fellowships cover a period ranging from three months to one year. The
      last date for receipt of applications is Sept. 15, 2003. Please download the
      application form from our web site www.furhhdl.org by clicking on the WISCOMP
      link or write to:

      Foundation for Universal Responsibility
      Core 4A, Upper Ground Floor, India Habitat Centre
      Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110 003, India.
      Ph.: 91-11-24648450 Fax: 91-11-24648451
      Email: wiscomp@...



      The Atlantic Monthly | July/August 2003
      pp. 84-90.

      [Excerpts from]
      Headlines Over the Horizon
      Analysts at the RAND Corporation lay out ten international-security
      developments that aren't getting the attention they deserve

      The Hindu-Muslim Divide
      defining element of Indian politics since independence has been a
      commitment to secularism. That commitment is now at risk from an
      aggressive brand of Hindu nationalism that equates Indian national
      identity with Hindu religious identity. The country's radical
      nationalists view the secular political system as a threat to Hindu
      identity, largely because of the power it offers India's 140 million
      Muslims. Weakening, or even abolishing, the secular state has
      therefore become part of the radical-nationalist agenda. This may
      force Indian Muslims-traditionally moderate and supportive of the
      secular state, even on the sensitive matter of Kashmir-to shift their
      allegiance from the state to some sort of larger international
      Islamic movement, as many Muslims have done in Indonesia, Malaysia,
      and Singapore. Such a radicalization of religious identities is a
      matter of serious concern in a nation of a billion people that
      possesses the world's seventh largest nuclear arsenal and has had
      troubled relations with its populous and nuclear-armed Muslim
      neighbor, Pakistan.
      Radical Hindu nationalism is already a dominant force in mainstream
      Indian politics. A Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, has led the
      country's coalition government for five years, and extremist Hindu
      organizations with explicitly anti-Muslim sentiments have heavily
      influenced the party's agenda. Strife between Hindus and Muslims has
      been the predictable result. Last year a group of Muslims burned a
      train full of nationalist Hindus in the state of Gujarat; the attack
      killed fifty-eight people and led to Hindu reprisals that killed
      about 2,000 Muslims. An Indian tribunal investigating the massacres
      found that Hindu nationalist groups had methodically targeted Muslim
      homes and shops. It even charged that one important group, the VHP,
      had recruited and trained militants for the violence, and had
      provided them with computer printouts of names and addresses. Local
      and national security forces failed to respond adequately to the
      crisis as it unfolded: initially the state police did not intervene,
      and the central government only belatedly sent troops to Gujarat to
      restore order. Although thousands of extremist Hindus were involved
      in the violence, few were arrested. On the whole, the Gujarat episode
      has left Indian Muslims feeling neglected by the government.
      The radicalization of India's Hindus and Muslims poses obvious
      domestic-security challenges. According to recent reports, Muslim
      militants based in Kashmir have been working with Pakistani groups to
      target the VHP and other groups in retaliation for the massacre in
      Gujarat. Militant Hindu groups have vowed to destroy Muslim mosques
      throughout India, and to build temples in their place.
      -Rollie Lal



      Indian Express
      August 01, 2003

      Ram versus Ramani
      Fashion Week is a powerful enemy of the VHP
      Sagarika Ghose

      Mumbai is the hip slick town. But it's also a conservative small
      town. During the recent Fashion Week, naked adolescents strolled up
      and down ramps, screaming that they love to "purrtie"(party). Men
      dressed in porno-chic stomped about with sindoor in their hair. Now
      wasn't it the same Mumbai where only a few years ago, local Shiv
      Sainiks tore up posters of a lesbian movie claiming the film was an
      assault on 'Indian culture'? It was in Mumbai where a culture
      minister cracked down on dancing in bars and necking in public. So,
      where were the thekedars of bharatiya sanskriti during Fashion Week?

      The weird fashion folk in their kinky clothes danced away all night,
      but not a squeak from the Shiv Sena or VHP or Bajrang Dal. In sharp
      contrast to Nigeria where religious extremists forced a Miss World
      pageant to close down, in Mumbai the guardians of morality were
      resoundingly silent.

      So why did the VHP not fulminate about Fashion Week the way it once
      did over the filming of the film Water in Varanasi claiming that
      Hindu culture was being defiled? Precisely because Pravinbhai Togadia
      knows that nowadays the ramp is a line that he can't afford to cross.

      'Fashion' may look like it represents a ridiculous minority but it
      isn't so. In a mass aspiration society as ours is, it is an avenue of
      massive upward mobility for hundreds. Small modeling agencies are
      proliferating in Meerut and Moradabad. Actress Mallika Sarawat, star
      of the film, Khwaish, (the one with the 17 kisses) says openly that
      she has no qualms about showing off her body because she didn't
      escape from mofussil hell in Haryana simply to fade away in the front
      row of extras in Bollywood. The Gladrags Manhunt contest receives
      huge response in small towns. Listen to some of the newer models
      speak: Few are from elite backgrounds. Yukta Mookey comes from
      Mulund, a Mumbai suburb. Supermodel Jesse Randhawa is neither from
      Delhi or Mumbai but from Jaipur. Diana Hayden comes from a lower
      middle class family in Hyderabad, Malaika Arora Khan grew up in
      Thane. The Channel V hunt for a girl band was very popular outside
      the metros.

      Valentine's day brings scores of young people to the streets of
      Chandigarh. In UP, from Azamgarh to Barabanki, there are banners
      offering Special English Language classes as well as Modelling
      Courses. Schools in Rohini, a suburb of Delhi, are offering ramp
      training. Designers like Rohit Bal and Malini Ramani (with some
      assistance from the media) are fast becoming role models not just in
      Delhi and Mumbai but in Kalyani and Satna. Today, 'Fashion' is as
      much a ticket to social progress as Bollywood was for the Dharmendra
      generation. So for the Hindu warriors to try and take on the naked
      ladies of the ramp would be almost as silly as trying to take on

      Yet the armies of Ramani are powerful cultural competitors to the
      armies of Ram. The armies of Ram (led by Togadia) seek to propagate
      social conservatism, the armies of Ramani kick off their clothes and
      party. The armies of Ram insist on cultural enemies, the armies of
      Ramani have no enemy except those preventing them from having a good
      time. The armies of Ram adhere to Golwalkar's thundering dictum, that
      the life of a woman is basically a ''call to motherhood''. But the
      armies of Ramani insist that the life of a woman can also be a call
      to the ramp. The armies of Ram claim they are sons of the soil. The
      armies of Ramani can rightly claim that they are daughters of the
      soil. After all, the VHP may be big among the tribes of Gujarat, but
      fashion's equally big in Bareilly.

      So to protest against fashion is no longer a protest against the
      preoccupations of the elite. Instead such protests would run counter
      to the popular mood among the young and even not-so-young across the
      country. Judgemental old socialists and professional hand-wringers
      might pour scorn on the "brainless fashion brigade", but in fact, the
      sexy no-brainers trotting up and down the ramp are well on their way
      to defeating Pravinbhai's cultural agenda. Fashion may not make any
      money or be remotely relevant to the economy yet, amidst the epidemic
      of unemployment and surrounding gloom, it embodies mass aspiration
      and provides a means of escape from hardships. No wonder Pravinbhai
      has given up trying to defend bharatiya sanskriti and has fallen back
      on Ayodhya to drum up Hindu rage.

      In any case, there's nothing non-bharatiya about fashion or parties.
      The shastras talk of the four-fold objective of existence: dharma,
      artha, kama, moksha. And Kautilya writes that if you have artha, kama
      comes automatically, dharma follows and moksha looks after itself!
      Along with ascetism, there has always been a driving profit motive
      and a heightened "this worldly-ness" in our culture. The
      scholar-gentlemen of Bengal such as Jagannath Tarka Panchanan who
      even complied a digest of Hindu laws in the 18th century sat down to
      princely meals of 8,200 dishes - a historical precedent perhaps to
      the Five Star hotel.

      Precisely because it is powered by popular energy, fashion might just
      defeat those trying to re-create an imagined Vedic punyabhumi in the
      21st century. Even if the naked ladies haven't yet realised their
      political potential, they, in their own crazy way, set up an idea of
      India which directly opposes Murli Manohar Joshi's. After all, as the
      experience of the Taliban movement shows, the 'free woman', along
      with religious minorities, is always the main enemy of male-led
      militant traditionalist movements and if there's anything that the
      fashion designers promote it is the democratic right of every woman
      to cast off the metaphorical burqa.

      Of course there is also the argument that models and fashion
      designers might well be closet VHP supporters. Perhaps there are many
      models and designers who hate Muslims and secretly yearn for a mandir
      at Ayodhya even as they struggle into their G-strings. Yet the very
      nature of their profession, the need to unabashedly celebrate the
      undressed body, the use of English, their extremely (sometimes
      imitative) westernised behaviour places them on a collision course
      with the sangh parivar. Could there be a wittier subversion of Sushma
      Swaraj's trademark sindoor than the manner in which it was emblazoned
      across the hair of muscular male models at Fashion Week? The armies
      of Ramani might well defeat the armies of Ram.



      [THREE different Letters re Nelson Mandela's upcoming trip to India ]

      o o o


      1st August 2003

      Dear Friends,

      We have just heard from a very reliable source that the [Indian]
      Government is planning to invite Mr. Nelson Mandela to visit Gujarat
      on October 2nd (the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi) ...There is
      also a news report in THE TELEGRAPH by Basant Rawat.
      [http://www.telegraphindia.com/1030731/asp/nation/story_2217479.asp ]

      Nelson Mandela is still regarded the world over as a voice who has
      stood up against everything that is draconian and authoritarian; he
      has fought relentlessly against the sufferings and discrimination
      meted out to his people. His coming to Gujarat (which has gone
      through a State sponsored genocide) will conveniently defocus from
      the reality of thousands of victims and from the fact that even today
      justice is evading those who have suffered.

      It is the duty of every citizen to protest his coming to Gujarat
      until such time that justice prevails: those who have been
      responsible for the genocide are brought to book and when the victims
      feel some sense of redressal and justice.

      You are requested to voice your protest by sending a letter to :

      B-18 Vasant Marg
      Vasant Vihar
      New Delhi 110 057
      Tel: 011-26149411 to 20
      Fax: 011-26143605
      Email: <mailto:sachcnde@...>sachcnde@...

      Kindly also communicate your concerns directly to Mr. Nelson Mandela
      in South Africa (nmandela@...) giving him facts about the
      Gujarat reality and also to the grand-daughter of Mahatma Gandhi Ms.
      Ela Gandhi who is a Member of Parliament in South Africa ( email ID
      egandhi@... )

      Please communicate this message to as many people and e-groups as possible.

      Yours sincerely,

      Fr. Cedric Prakash
      Director - PRASHANT
      (Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
      Ahmedabad. [India]

      o o o


      Dear Dr. Mandela:
      I am writing to you today about a matter of much gravity. We have
      been informed by reliable sources (including the Indian Press) that
      you have received an invitation from Mr. Modi the Chief Minister of
      Gujarat to attend the Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary on October
      2, 2003..

      As you are probably aware Mr. Modi heads a government in Gujarat that
      was responsible for one of the most systematic and cold blooded
      massacres of over 2000 Indian muslims between March and May of 2002.
      The government of Mr. Modi had participated actively in the execution
      of the pogrom and what is worse, to date, no justice has been served
      to all the victims. The government of Mr. Modi even today not only
      stands in the way of justice but also continues to intimidate and
      threaten those seeking justice.

      Under such circumstances your visit to Gujarat will be used by the
      mass murdering Chief Minister to enact a PR campaign to clean up his
      sullied image. Please ensure that you do not participate in the
      process of rehabilitating a murderous chief minister. Our appeal to
      you is further to reject the invitation publicly so that the hands of
      those fighting for justice in Gujarat is strengthened.


      Shabnam Hashmi

      New Delhi
      4, Windsor Place, New Delhi-110001 [India]
      tel- 9818807558

      o o o


      Daniel O'Connor
      50 Main Street
      ST ANDREWS, Fife KY16 9SA, U.K.

      To: <mailto:nmandela@...>nmandela@...
      Sent: Friday, August 01, 2003 8:36 AM
      Subject: Gandhi

      Dear Mr Mandela
      I write to suggest an alternative to the appeal of I K Shukla in his
      letter of 31 July that you should stay away from the bogus Gandhi
      celebrations of the present regime in India. That is, that
      you combine a visit with a journey to Gujarat (Gandhi's home state)
      in the company of human-rights workers etc (and free of official
      minders) and visit some of the survivors of the outrage against the
      Muslim (and to a lesser extent Christian) minority. Perhaps the
      Indian director of Action Aid, Harsh Mander, who resigned his senior
      post in the administrative service in protest at what happened) would
      be an ideal guide on this.
      Yours respectfully,
      Dan O'Connor.




      It's been a year since people in INDIA registered a National level
      protest against violence on the 15th of August 2002.

      Life has moved on since, apparently even in Gujrat. However,
      violence seems to be seeping into the routine… not necessarily in
      just deeds or words but also other inconspicuous acts - political or

      We, at the WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE (WRC), feel that we should
      register our protest again this year on the Independence Day (August
      15, 2003) as citizens of the largest democracy in the world.

      We propose to all to plan a WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN on the 15th of
      August, as we did the last time… wearing white ribbons and
      distributing them to others.

      The White Ribbon is being used as a SYMBOL of PEACE. The campaign is
      OUR symbolic protest against all kinds of VIOLENCE in any part of the
      country & even beyond.

      Last year's campaign demonstrated that the strength of peace loving
      people across the country far exceeds those who create or believe in

      Let us come together again on 15th of August 2003 across the country
      to demonstrate our solidarity, to affirm our faith in PEACE & to show
      the powers that be that the MAJORITY in India SUPPORT PEACE & not

      If you agree with this, plz send us a short mail asap (preferably
      within the next two to three days) and we will mail you the basic
      guidelines on how to organize the campaign in your city / area.

      If you have any suggestions, plz feel free to write to us (within the
      next two days) as we have very little time left.

      Please note: The White Ribbon Campaign is a voluntary effort of
      bringing people together to stand up for PEACE.

      Cheers for Peace!
      Email: whiteribbonindia@...

      The IMPACT of White Ribbon as a Symbol:
      Frankly, we were not sure if using a white ribbon as a symbol would
      be of any use or appeal to anyone. But we were surprised by the
      responses of people in general and the student community who took it
      up. Some of the reasons cited by people who joined the campaign last
      year are:

      - We wanted to express our opinion against the senseless violence in
      Gujrat, but didn't know what to do. At least we can show our support
      for peace now.

      - White Ribbon as a symbol gives visibility to people who care for
      PEACE. We were surprised to see how many people came out and wore it.

      - It becomes a "talking point" - people ask what this is and we get a
      chance to talk about our stand against violence & the need for PEACE.

      Justice is yet to prevail in Gujarat for one of the worst carnages in
      the country. Violence continues - not only physically, but in the
      kind of conversations we overhear, the gestures we watch people make:
      words and expressions of communal hatred and war mongering are all
      around us.

      We may be confused about the kind of responses we should make, we may
      be uncertain about what we can do individually and collectively to
      make a difference. But all of us share a common sense of outrage and
      a quest for peace. We know that the politics of hate & division or
      calls of war will not help the people of the world. In our country,
      communalism turns our pride in plurality into a sad caricature.

      It is about time that we expressed our need for peace and
      non-violence and stand together against all forms of violence. It is
      about time we stopped being the 'SILENT MAJORITY' because we are both
      unfortunately silent and fortunately a majority.

      So say YES to PEACE & NO to violence. Peacefully!

      *Wear a white Ribbon*
      *Ask at least five other people to wear white ribbons*

      We need symbols of peace, of secularism, of humaneness; we need to
      stand up and be counted.

      Please share this request with as many people as you can.
      Let us wear our white ribbons till the violence ends - both in deed
      and in word.

      (White Ribbon For Peace Campaign) email:



      [July 30, 2003]

      The 'Adivasi' question in Gujarat: why fascist mobilisation?
      Wilfred D'Costa

      A war of words between the Congress and the BJP has been going on recently
      on the exact venue of the adivasi martyrdom and the wrong location of the
      memorial by Modi's government (see news item below). What both of them are
      not discussing are the issues relating to the adivasi movement culminating
      in the massacre in 1922.
      These are politically tricky issues for both these parties. The BJP is
      taking undue political mileage because nobody knows anything about these
      struggles, there is hardly any recorded history. Thanks to Mahatma Gandhi,
      Indian National Congress and the Congress (I)!!
      And for this very reason, the BJP is comfortable in expropriating Babasaheb
      Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh. In Gujarat, they are desperately trying to
      expropriate revolutionaries like Bhagvatichandra Vora, Madam Cama, Sardar
      Prithvisinh Rana, Shyamji Krishna Verma and others. A new history of
      'militant' freedom fighter is being created for the Sangh Parivar which was
      a reactionary force during the anti-colonial movement. Apart from a handful
      of dying communists in Gujarat, no one else has even heard their names.
      Coming back to the adivasi question, thousands of adivasis were struggling
      during the 1920s under the leadership of Guru Govind Singh and later Motilal
      Tejawat (Eki 'unity' andolan) for adivasi liberation from exploitation and
      oppression. During all these struggles the official freedom movement led by
      Gandhiji turned a Nelson eye. And the massacre of March 7, 1922 (crushing of
      the adivasi movement) took place hardly 150 kilometres away from the
      Sabarmati Ashram. Neither was there any condemnation from the INC nor any
      solidarity with the repressed adivasis. Their leader, Motilal Tejawat tried
      his best to get Gandhi's support (note 1 below). But forget support, he
      languished in jail till mid-1950s!
      The response of Gandhiji was partially typical of his overall ideological
      stance on the dalit question and the workers question (this in no way
      belittles his contribution to the freedom movement, his powerful expositions
      on 'Swaraj' and rural development. It was very much in Ahmedabad that Dr.
      Ambedkar was driven away by dalits waving black flags, during the pre-Poona
      pact hunger strike Gandhiji. And some of these young dalit Gandhians came to
      occupy top Congress posts in independent India and shamelessly garlanded
      Babasaheb's statue every April 14. One of them, Manubhai Makwana was a
      Gujarat minister for long.
      The same is the story of the struggling textile workers in Ahmedabad. Thanks
      to Gandhiji, a class collaboration formula was worked out in the form of
      "Majur Mahajan (proletarian-bourgeois alliance)" This union took the
      advantage of the BIR Act to expolit the workers and not allow any other
      trade union in textiles. While all the workers lost their jobs due to
      textile closures in the 1980s, the Majur Mahajan brasses still swear by
      khadhi and Gandhiji.
      On the Adivasi question, Gandhiji and the INC not only ignored the please of
      the struggling adivasis but went a step further. Gandhiji sent out his
      lieutenant Amritlal Vithaldas Thakkar (1869-1951), life member of the
      Servants of India Society (engineer and dalit expert, popularly known as
      Thakkar Bapa) to Dahod with a mission: civilise these tribals. Thakar Bapa's
      efforts saw a mushrooming of ashram shalas (residential rural schools and
      development centres) all over the tribal belt. The adivasis were taught
      about cleanliness, hygiene, health and hinduism. They were systematically
      sanskritised and de-conscientised. They were brain-washed into joining the
      mainstream of nation building as Indian Hindus! (note 2 below)
      Thanks to the vast arsenal of rural development resourses at their disposal,
      these ashrams captured the entire tribal belt and emerged as major political
      centers. Besides rampant sexual exploitation of adivasi girls and
      corruption, these ashrams commanded power levers in the Congress. While they
      got discredited and looked upon suspiciously by the adivasis, the 'Swadhyay'
      movement led by Pandurang Shashtri Athawale captured the minds of the
      adivasis in the entire eastern belt during the late 1980s. The groundwork of
      sanskritising the adivasis was already complete, thanks to over 4 decades
      of Gandhian education. Now the adivasis were given the gita (as the mantra
      for development) and hoodwinked with faith healing and sukdi prasads. They
      were now kept busy in volunteering (shramdhans) for building temples, which
      later on got into NGO-type constructive activities of building check dams,
      reparing roads......
      The Sangh Parivar also stepped in. The foundation was done:
      - the ashram shalas had robbed adivasis of their struggles, sanskritised
      them and pushed them into the developmental mainstream (displaced by
      'developmental projects', labelled as 'encroachers' in their own forests,
      and forced to eke out a living as construction labour and domestic help in
      the cities)
      - they were further sanskritised and mobilised for religious activities by
      The Sangh Parivar had to only mobilise a few village leaders (Bhagats of
      Swadhyay) and infuse the communal poison. And lo! fascist poison spread all
      over the tribal belt. And there results were there to see in the genocide of
      (Critics would cite the case of South Gujarat adivasis not participating in
      the genocide. It could be easily argued that the Sangh Parivar has been
      laying the foundation for the anti-Christian mobilisation there for over a
      decade, and it would be too early to divert them from the 'conversions'
      issue at this stage before they are imbibed with fascist Hindutva ideology.)
      Yes, for all these reasons, we know nothing about the adivasi struggles. The
      Congress was tight-lipped and was busy displacing adivasis and oppressing
      them all the decades. We were fed with a history of independence of Gandhiji
      and the Congressmen liberating us from the clutches of the imperialists. Not
      a word about the revolutionaries. No mention of Motilal Tejawat, because he
      was in jail for a decade after the British left. Surprisingly, not a single
      systematic research paper on this aspect by any researcher by any research
      centre speaks volumes about the influence of the Gandhian organisations and
      the Congress.
      Not to be further embarrassed, the Congress prefers to only take issue with
      the BJP on the exact location of the massacre. Or is it that these new breed
      of Congress leaders know nothing about these massacres? Why we never heard
      it, even though it was bigger than the Jallianwala Baug massacre? The Sangh
      Parivar had done its homework long back while creating a fascist laboratory
      here and know that the Congress can never open its mouth.
      In order to look into this matter, Shri Manilal Kothari went at my request
      to Shirohi and other places. It seems from the reports received from him
      that Shri Motilal Tejavat has been working mainly to persuade the Bhils to
      give up drinking and flesh-eating. It is beyond doubt that his activities
      have brought about an awakening among the Bhils. There would have been no
      ground for criticism if he had stayed at one place so that the Bhils could
      meet him, instead of roaming around accompanied by groups of them. I
      reproduce below the letter (Not translated here. It said that Tejavat had
      introduced satyagraha among the Bhils and this had displeased the
      authorities in the States Neither they nor the Britishofficials paid
      attention to his pleas.) he has sent to me through Shri Manilal.
      This letter betrays ignorance about some matters. The British have nothing
      to do with the issue and the matter ought to have been brought to the notice
      of the States concerned in a proper manner. Shri Manilal says that in
      Palanpur, Danta and Shirohi States, he, Manilal, had received full
      co-operation from the authorities. Shri Motilal and the Bhils also listened
      to him and he was sure that they wished to carry on their work in a wholly
      peaceful manner. I hope that the Bhils will be satisfied if the States
      listen to their complaints and redress their grievances. Assuming that Shri
      Motilal has been at fault in some matters, both the Rulers and the subjects
      are likely to benefit if this is overlooked and the States take advantage of
      the good effects of his work among the Bhils and pay attention to improving
      their condition.
      [From Gujarati] Navajivan, 26-2-1922: Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi,
      VOL. 26 : 24 JANUARY, 1922 - 12 NOVEMBER, 1923
      The Bhils of Rajputana are a simple and a brave people. They have certain
      grievances. They have found in one Motilal Tejavat a friend and helper. He
      has been, it is said, weaning them from drink, gambling and meat-eating and
      asking them to live an orderly industrious life. He has been also advising
      them about their grievances. The only fault I can find is that he has been
      moving about with a large retinue of his followers. This has undoubtedly
      caused uneasiness among the States. Hearing all sorts of complaints against
      Mr. Motilal I asked Mr. Manilal Kothari to inquire. He did so with the
      permission and the help of the respective States and the Bhils have assured
      him that they do not mean any mischief at all. He has met Mr. Motilal also.
      The latter has assured Mr. Kothari of his peaceful intentions. But
      unfortunately in the meanwhile the Idar State is reported to have taken
      action against the Bhils and killed four of them. I do not know the full
      details nor do I know the reason for the action. I can only hope that they
      will settle the Bhil complaints by appointing an arbitration court and
      promise free pardon to Mr. Motilal if he comes out of the hills and
      surrenders himself. The Bhils have been long neglected by the States and
      reformers. If they are given a helping hand, they can become the pride of
      India. All they need is the spinning-wheel in their homes and schools in
      which their children can receive simple education. In the vast awakening
      that has taken place no race can be left out of the calculation of the
      States and reformers.
      Young India, 2-3-1922: Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, VOL. 26 : 24
      JANUARY, 1922 - 12 NOVEMBER, 1923
      1,200 Gujarat tribals killed by British at a different spot, says Congress:
      Tale of a memorial: Now here, nowhere, Milind Ghatwai (Indian Express,
      Pal-dadvav, July 27: It took Gujarat eight decades to set up a memorial to
      the hundreds of tribals killed by the British in a massacre said to be worse
      than Jallianwala Bagh. But it took the opposition Congress little time to
      run it down since it was erected a kilometre away from the field where the
      massacre had happened on March 7, 1922.
      The memorial was unveiled on June 22 this year. Soon, the Congress announced
      at a press conference that it stood at the wrong spot and that villagers
      were willing to pool money for building another one at the right spot.
      The memorial at Pal-Dadvav
      About 1,200 villagers are believed to have been killed when soldiers of the
      Mewad Bhil Corps (MBC) opened fire at a public meeting of the tribals. The
      bodies were believed to have been dumped in a well.
      This much is known: Motilal Tejawat, venerated as the Mahatma Gandhi of the
      Bhils, had called the meeting to press for their demands. One version has it
      that a tribesman excited by Tejawat's speech shot a round in the air,
      provoking indiscriminate firing by MBC soldiers.
      Another has it that the soldiers, who had come from Kherwada in Rajasthan,
      were enraged by the roadblocks put up by the tribals.
      The British suppressed news of the massacre. History books make only a
      passing reference to it and hardly any serious research has been done.
      People like Pahadaji Damor, who says he was 20 when the massacre took place,
      recall seeing people running away from the meeting. He says the Bhil
      soldiers took away the jewellery from bodies before dumping them in the
      ''It was all over in an hour,'' he says. ''That year, we celebrated a simple
      Holi in fear of the British. And a Christian priest adviced us not to
      discuss the massacre.''
      But now that a memorial has been erected, the massacre - and the memorial -
      have become the subject of competitive patriotism. Ironically, it was the
      Congress that brought the massacre to light more than five years ago. But
      the BJP pipped it to the post by erecting the memorial.
      If Sabarkantha MP Madhusudan Mistry and Khedbrahma MLA Amarsinh Chaudhary,
      in whose constituency the village is located, have their way, they would
      raise money and build another memorial at what they say is the exact site
      where the bodies were dumped.
      The two Congress leaders see politics behind the erection of the memorial.
      ''The BJP isn't serious about the monument, which was put up only with an
      eye on the next Lok Sabha election,'' he says. ''The tribals never voted for
      them. How can the state commit such a blunder?''
      But then, why didn't he point out the mistake before?
      ''They wanted to do it first, and made the mistake. With the state machinery
      at their disposal they could easily have located the exact spot,'' Mistry
      says, demanding pension for relatives of the survivors. He says he didn't
      attend the unveiling ceremony because he was informed at the last moment,
      and because his presence would ''have led to some kind of scuffle.''
      On its part, the BJP readily agrees the memorial is at the wrong spot.
      ''This was because land-owners refused to part with a plot for the memorial,
      '' says Ramilaben Bara, the BJP candidate who lost to Chaudhary in the last
      Assembly election. ''The Congress ruled Gujarat for decades, and Amarsinh
      Chaudhary was chief minister for years, but still they did not recognise the
      Some villagers say the memorial is done with, so why bother with a
      controversy. They take visitors to a mound said to be covering the well in
      which the bodies were dumped. They point to the fields where the corpses
      were strewn for days, saying skeletons will surely be found if the mound is
      dug up.
      But there are others, like sarpanch Bhimji Patel, who say it isn't politics,
      but a matter ''dear to our hearts.''
      ''We want the memorial to be built at the exact place,'' he says. ''Everyone
      knows where it took place. Now, we are collecting money for another
      memorial - to be build at the exact spot.''
      The site is not spread over a large area, but the land is owned by seven
      partners. Now, with the controversy having broken out, the land-owners say
      will hand over the plot for free. ''I'll become famous (for donating the
      land),'' says Chandubhai Damor, 40, one of the owners, who claims he found
      cartridges when he built a room last year.
      But Pahadji Damor, who has a first-hand memory of the massacre, says it
      doesn't matter at all where the memorial - which has anyway been a long time
      in coming up - stands.



      The Latest issue of INSAF* Bulletin [16] August 1, 2003
      is now available at the INSAF web site:

      * International South Asia Forum
      Postal address: Box 272, Westmount Stn., QC, Canada H3Z 2T2 (Tel. 514 346-9477)
      (e-mail; insaf@... or visit our web site http://www.insaf.net)

      o o o

      [ The 'Word' formatted bulletin is also available via SACW should
      your require a copy drop a note to <aiindex@...> ]


      Buzz on the perils of fundamentalist politics, on matters of peace
      and democratisation in South Asia. SACW is an independent &
      non-profit citizens wire service run since 1998 by South Asia
      Citizens Web (www.mnet.fr/aiindex).
      The complete SACW archive is available at: http://sacw.insaf.net

      DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
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