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SACW | 3 Aug 2004

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    South Asia Citizens Wire | 3 August, 2004 via: www.sacw.net [1] Admn Ramdas and IA Rehman among 2004 Magsaysay Awardees for their work for Indo-Pakistan
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2004
      South Asia Citizens Wire | 3 August, 2004
      via: www.sacw.net

      [1] Admn Ramdas and IA Rehman among 2004
      Magsaysay Awardees for their work for
      Indo-Pakistan peace
      + Text of award citation + News reports
      [2] Pakistan: Between 'enlightened moderation'
      and jihadi fantasy (Suroosh Irfani)
      [3] Holy Shit: Vatican Fatwa on women is music
      to Hindu, Muslim and Christian right
      - Vatican Letter Denounces 'Lethal Effects' of Feminism
      - Women slam Vatican's "time warp" policies (Philip Pullella)
      - Statement of Frances Kissling, President, Catholics for a Free Choice

      [4] India: Drowned and out [ in Harsud ](Medha Patkar)
      [5] UK: Islamophobia in all its splendor: A call
      for apology . . . (Iftikhar Malik)
      [6] India: Call for assistance to document
      communal threat to syncretic traditions
      [7] India: Eye on Gen-Next, RSS may drop its khaki chaddis




      The Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay
      Award Foundation today announced that this year
      seven individuals from the Philippines, China,
      Thailand, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan will
      receive Asia's most prestigious prize, the Ramon
      Magsaysay Award.

      [Among the] The Awardees are:

      [. . .]

      Abdullah Abu Sayeed, from Bangladesh, founder and
      head of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro or World
      Literature Centre, for Journalism, Literature,
      and Creative Communication Arts. Mr. Sayeed is
      receiving the Award for "his cultivating in the
      youth of Bangladesh a love for literature and its
      humanizing values through exposure to the great
      books of Bengal and the world."

      Laxminarayan Ramdas of India and Ibn Abdur Rehman
      of Pakistan, leading advocates in the
      Pakistan-India People's Forum for Peace and
      Democracy (PIPFPD), for Peace and International
      Understanding. Mr. Ramdas, former chief of his
      country's navy, and Mr. Rehman, a journalist and
      human rights advocate, are being recognized for
      "their reaching across a hostile border to
      nurture a citizen-based consensus for peace
      between Pakistan and India."


      Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is
      Asia's equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
      The seven 2004 Magsaysay awardees join 236 other
      laureates who have received Asia's highest honor
      to date. This year's Magsaysay Award winners will
      each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing
      the likeness of the late President, and a cash
      prize. They will be formally conferred the
      Magsaysay Award during the Presentation
      Ceremonies to be held on August 31, 2004 at the
      Cultural Center of the Philippines, to which the
      public is cordially invited.

      This year's Magsaysay awardees will also speak in
      a series of public lectures to be held at the
      Ramon Magsaysay Center from August 26 to
      September 1, 2004.

      For more information, please contact:
      Mrs. Lourdes Mercado-Balbin
      RMAF Communications Officer
      Telephones: 524-2390; 521-3166 to 85, locals 161 or 180
      Email: lmbalbin@...

      Website: www.rmaf.org.ph

      o o o


      The 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding

      CITATION for Laxminarayan Ramdas and Ibn Abdur Rehman
      Ramon Magsaysay Award Presentation Ceremonies

      31 August 2004, Manila, Philippines

      The armed standoff between India and Pakistan has
      endured for more than fifty years, bringing with
      it four outright wars and continuing upheaval.
      Its flashpoint is Kashmir, claimed by both sides.
      But its roots lie in the shocking communal
      violence of Partition in 1947. In the years since
      then, memories of this disturbing event have
      fueled religion-infused nationalism and
      militarism in both countries and kept millions of
      fearful people poised for war. Today both sides
      boast nuclear weapons and the stakes are global.
      The problem seems intractable. But Ibn Abdur
      Rehman of Pakistan and Laxminarayan Ramdas of
      India believe there is hope. As leaders of the
      Pakistan India People's Forum for Peace and
      Democracy, they are building popular support for
      peace on both sides of the border.

      Ibn Abdur Rehman, a Punjabi Muslim born in 1930,
      was away at school in 1947 when Partition erupted
      in his home town and his entire family was killed
      by rampaging Sikhs and Hindus. Ramu Ramdas, a
      Hindu from Mumbai, was fourteen at the time. He
      remembers angry mobs threatening his parents for
      protecting a Muslim family. Rehman went on to
      study physics at Government College, Lahore but
      found his vocation in journalism, rising from
      post to post at leading Pakistani publications to
      become chief editor of the Pakistan Times in
      1989. Ramdas became a cadet at the Royal Naval
      College in England and rose from command to
      command until, in 1990, he was named chief of
      India's navy. By 1993, Rehman had left the Times,
      under pressure for criticizing the government,
      and Ramdas had retired and acquired a Pakistani
      son-in-law. As tensions again rose between India
      and Pakistan, both men sought to influence their
      countries to change course. In September 1994,
      Rehman joined twenty-four likeminded Indians and
      Pakistanis in Lahore to open a public dialogue
      for reconciliation and peace. This led to the
      formation of the Pakistan India People's Forum
      for Peace and Democracy. Rehman became founding
      chair of the Pakistan branch. Ramdas was named
      vice-chair of the India branch and became chair
      in 1996. Both men guided the organization until

      The Forum's chief weapon was dialogue. In a
      series of joint conventions beginning in 1995, it
      drew hundreds of Indians and Pakistanis together
      to promote demilitarization, denuclearization,
      and peace, and to publish resolutions insisting
      upon mutual arms reductions and troop pullbacks;
      an end to cross-border provocations; and a
      "peaceful democratic solution" in Kashmir.
      Meeting alternately in Pakistan and India, the
      conventions have sustained this dialogue for ten
      years as the Forum's base has grown to embrace a
      web of environmental, human rights, trade union,
      and women's rights activists as well as concerned
      citizens from the academe, industry, and the
      professions. During the same years, the Forum
      organized people-to-people delegations of
      lawmakers, diplomats, soldiers, artists, women,
      and students to open friendly talk channels
      between Indians and Pakistanis and to counteract
      propaganda in each country stigmatizing the
      other. It also campaigned for the liberalization
      of travel between the two countries and for the
      revision of hate-filled school textbooks. At
      another level, Forum leaders such as Rehman and
      Ramdas worked behind the scenes with national
      leaders and opinion makers to promote the peace
      agenda. The Forum's mission is not grandiose. "It
      is enough," Rehman says, "to contribute in easing
      the tension between the two countries by
      providing opportunities for people to meet."

      For Rehman, the Forum's peace initiative grew
      naturally from his work as one of Pakistan's
      leading human rights advocates and as long time
      director of the internationally esteemed Pakistan
      Human Rights Commission. In this role and also as
      a journalist, Rehman has devoted decades to
      exposing systemic violations of the rights of
      women, children, workers, and minorities in
      Pakistan and to fighting corruption and the abuse
      of power. He has been a champion of democracy as
      a secular ideal in a country where, he says,
      "authoritarianism has been the rule and
      short-lived democratic facades an exception." All
      this at considerable personal risk and sacrifice.
      As for India and Pakistan, he calls upon both
      countries to reject their "pathological obsession
      with the politics of hostility."

      Ramdas says, "I entered the armed services as a
      hawk and exited as a dove." His military career
      made him intimately familiar with the limitations
      of military solutions to political problems. This
      led to his role in the Forum. Still, India's
      explosion of a test atomic bomb in May 1998,
      Ramdas says, "was one of the greatest turning
      points in my life." In July he signed a public
      declaration by retired military men declaring
      that "nuclear weapons should be banished from the
      South Asian region, and indeed from the entire
      globe." With his wife, Lalita, he threw himself
      into the anti-nuclear cause, warning Indians and
      Pakistanis alike about their country's unreliable
      "control and command systems" and about the
      naiveté of "nuclear deterrence." Touring and
      speaking extensively, he exhorted everyone to
      guard against the seductiveness of solutions
      "through super-violence."

      Ramdas and Rehman both connect the problem of
      peace in the subcontinent to dangerous ideologies
      that associate religion with nationalism and
      patriotism, and to militarism and other
      antidemocratic forces. Rehman rues his own
      country's "absence of genuinely democratic
      institutions." And Ramdas has linked recent
      political trends in India to "the path to
      fascism." Both have been smeared as traitors. But
      they are not moved. It is time to stop the
      belligerent shouting and listen to other voices,
      they say. When it comes to war and peace, Rehman
      likes to say, "I believe the people are a little
      ahead of the governments."

      In electing Laxminarayan Ramdas and Ibn Abdur
      Rehman to receive the 2004 Ramon Magsaysay Award
      for Peace and International Understanding, the
      board of trustees recognizes their reaching
      across a hostile border to nurture a
      citizen-based consensus for peace between India
      and Pakistan.

      o o o

      News Reports

      The Hindu - August 03, 2004
      URL: www.thehindu.com/2004/08/03/stories/2004080306350109.htm

      The Daily Star - August 03, 2004
      URL: www.thedailystar.net/2004/08/03/d40803012222.htm

      The News International - August 03, 2004
      by Rahimullah Yusufzai
      URL: www.jang.com.pk/thenews/aug2004-daily/03-08-2004/main/main10.htm



      The Daily Times - August 03, 2004; Op-Ed.

      by Suroosh Irfani

      The "theological threads" of force and violence
      have gotten so entwined with our everyday life
      that such violence has become virtually
      'naturalised' in our religious imagination. It is
      encouraging to note that an open and critical
      engagement enabled the vast majority to see
      through the distortions of meaning and
      misrepresentation of images attributed to Islam.

      [ Full Text at: www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_3-8-2004_pg3_2 ]


      [3] [Holy Shit: Vaticans latest fatwa is music
      to the ears of Qaids of Hindutva, to Islamists
      and to the Christian Right; they are all in the
      business of keeping women at bay ! ]

      Washington Post - August 1, 2004; Page A16

      Document Outlines Formula for Man-Woman Relationships

      By Daniel Williams and Alan Cooperman
      Washington Post Foreign Service

      ROME, July 31 -- The Vatican issued a letter
      Saturday attacking the "distortions" and "lethal
      effects" of feminism, which it defined as an
      effort to erase differences between men and women
      -- a goal, the statement said, that undermines
      the "natural two-parent structure" of the family
      and makes "homosexuality and heterosexuality
      virtually equivalent."

      The sharp critique was contained in a document
      issued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a chief
      adviser to Pope John Paul II and head of the
      Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the
      department in charge of defining Roman Catholic
      orthodoxy. The 37-page document also outlined the
      Vatican's formula for relationships between men
      and women, calling for "active collaboration
      between the sexes" and rejecting subjugation of

      The statement was the latest Vatican salvo
      against trends it regards as undermining its
      teachings on sexuality and the family. Vatican
      officials have assailed abortion and
      contraception; politicians who support abortion
      through legislation; and legalized same-sex
      unions. The pope approved the document, titled
      "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on
      the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church
      and the World."

      Catholic feminists in the United States said the
      letter presented a caricature of feminism as
      antagonistic toward men and trying to deny any
      difference between the sexes. They said feminism
      seeks equal rights and respect for both genders.

      "The demonization of feminism is most
      disturbing," said Frances Kissling, president of
      Catholics for a Free Choice, an advocacy group
      for abortion rights, who said her blood pressure
      "shot up 20 points" when she read the letter.

      "It takes extreme positions that may have been
      historically held by five people and casts them
      as if they were held by every woman," Kissling
      said. "The feminism I know is all for
      partnerships and is all for empowering both men
      and women. The feminism I know does not ignore
      the fact that there are sexual differences."

      Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, a feminist
      theologian at Harvard Divinity School, said the
      document restated positions the Vatican has taken
      many times and that the only surprise was its
      timing. She said church leaders may be feeling
      some urgency to combat same-sex marriage, as well
      as renewed pressure to consider ordaining women
      in response to the worldwide scandal over sexual
      abuse by priests.

      "It has some positive things in it, but the
      political function of the document is the same as
      the ones before," Fiorenza said. "It's trying to
      make a theological case, which they're really not
      able to make, against the full equality of women
      in the church."

      Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the
      Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said
      on Vatican Radio that the aim of the letter was
      to critique two current strands in feminism: one
      that emphasizes "a radical rivalry between the
      sexes" and the other that seeks to "cancel the
      differences between the sexes."

      The letter argued that "the obscuring of the
      difference . . . of the sexes has enormous
      consequences," including inspiring ideologies
      that "call into question the family, in its
      natural two-parent structure of mother and
      father, and make homosexuality and
      heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new
      model of polymorphous sexuality."

      While assaulting what it said were the bases of
      feminist ideology, the letter tried to tackle the
      practical difficulties and inequities that
      feminists also decry. It appeared to attempt to
      strike a balance between a Catholic ideal of
      women raising children at home and the reality
      that many work outside the home.

      Women ought not be stigmatized for desiring the
      life of a homemaker, the letter argued. "Indeed,
      a just valuing of the work of women within the
      family is required," it said. Women who choose to
      work in the labor force should be awarded a
      proper schedule and "not have to choose between
      relinquishing their family life or enduring
      continual stress," it said.

      The Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the national
      Catholic weekly America, said in an e-mail
      message that "although most American feminists
      would express their ideology differently than the
      Vatican, on the practical level they are on the
      same page (in terms of equality in education,
      politics, workplace) except on abortion and women
      priests." If there are differences, he added, "it
      is probably on the relationship between men and
      women in the family, not in society. . . . For
      the Vatican, the ideal is that a father be paid
      well enough so that a mother can stay home and
      raise the kids."

      The letter called for the Catholic Church to take
      advantage of "feminine values" that include
      listening, understanding, caring and
      faithfulness. Although women are banned from the
      priesthood, their role in the church is not "a
      passivity inspired by an outdated conception of
      femininity," the letter maintained.

      Almost a third of the letter was devoted to
      biblical declarations about the sexes. "From the
      first moment of their creation, man and woman are
      different, and will remain so for eternity," it
      said. Tracing the story of Adam and Eve, it said
      original sin opened the way to relations between
      man and woman "in which love will frequently be
      debased into pure self-seeking, in a relationship
      which ignores and kills love and replaces it with
      the yoke of domination of one sex over the other."

      In the afterlife, the letter stated, men and
      women will continue to be different, but sex will
      come to an end. "The temporal and earthly
      expression of sexuality is transient," it

      Cooperman reported from Washington.

      o o o

      Source: www.reuters.co.uk/
      Sun 1 August, 2004 13:48

      By Philip Pullella

      VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Women have reacted with
      anger and amusement to a Vatican document on
      feminism, with some saying the Catholic Church is
      run by men who live in a time warp and want to
      keep women in their place.

      The document, issued on Saturday, said modern
      feminism's fight for power and gender equality
      was undermining the traditional concept of family
      and creating a climate where gay marriages are
      seen as acceptable.

      Frances Kissling, president of the U.S.-based
      Catholics for a Free Choice, said she thought she
      had "passed through a time warp" when she read
      the document.

      "I thought for sure I was the 1960s and Archie
      Bunker had been appointed theologian to the
      Pope," she said, referring to the character in an
      old American TV series whose bigoted views
      included opposition to any form of women's rights.

      In a 37-page document "On the Collaboration of
      Men and Women in the Church and in the World",
      the Vatican said women should be respected and
      have equal rights in the workplace, but
      differences between the sexes must be recognised
      and exalted.

      The document, which re-stated Catholic Church
      positions, including the ban on female priests,
      said that many women felt they had to be
      "adversaries of men" in order to be themselves.

      It criticised feminism's attempt to erase gender
      differences, saying it had inspired ideologies
      questioning the traditional family structure of a
      mother and a father and making homosexuality and
      heterosexuality virtually equivalent.

      "Such observations could only be made by men who
      have no significant relationships with women and
      no knowledge of the enormous positive changes the
      women's rights movement has meant for both men
      and women," Kissling said.


      Emma Bonino, a former European commissioner and
      current member of the European parliament, said
      the Vatican was writing about a world that she
      said no longer exists.

      "This letter could easily have been written by an
      imam of al-Azhar," she said referring to Sunni
      Islam's most respected institution of religious
      learning in Cairo.

      "To be fair to the Catholic Church, no religion
      is a great friend of women," she told the
      Corriere della Sera newspaper. "They pay you a
      lot of compliments but when push comes to shove
      they ask you to stay in your place: wife, nurse,
      mother and grandmother."

      The document said that although motherhood is a
      "key element of women's identity," women should
      not be considered from the sole perspective of

      It said women who choose to be full-time mothers
      should not be stigmatised and it appealed to
      governments to make it easier for mothers to hold
      outside jobs without "relinquishing their family

      Some women suggested that the Vatican was taking
      a patronising attitude that it would not take
      towards men.

      "Everyone knows that men and women are different
      and the feminist movement has always held this
      view," said Chiara Saraceno, a professor of
      sociology at the University of Turin.

      "What continues to shock me is this teaching
      attitude that is always directed at women and
      never at men," she told the leftist newspaper
      L'Unita. t of the world is increasingly moving
      towards acceptance, reported The Washington Post.

      o o o

      Vatican not a Credible Source on Women
      As Vatican prepares to release statement on feminism,
      CFFC questions its exclusion of women from leadership in church

      Statement of Frances Kissling, President, Catholics for a Free Choice.

      For Immediate Release
      July 30, 2004

      WASHINGTON, DC-A new Vatican document on women to
      be released on Saturday, July 31, is unlikely to
      position the Vatican as a credible or objective
      source of information, analysis, or support for
      women's rights. "Letter to the Bishops of the
      Catholic Church on Collaboration between Men and
      Women in the Church and in the World" surfaces as
      the world's women begin their preparations for a
      ten-year analysis of the UN women's conference
      held in Beijing in 1995. At this conference, the
      Vatican was seen as a source of disinformation
      and as an obstacle to international policy that
      improves women's lives. Early reports indicate
      that the document rehashes the same false charges
      and stereotypes about feminism, including the
      charge that feminism is hostile to men. The
      reality is that it is the Vatican that is hostile
      to women's full inclusion in the church itself.
      Until the Vatican addresses its own exclusion of
      women from leadership, it is hard to believe
      anyone will take seriously its views on women.

      --statement ends--



      The Hindustan Times - August 2, 2004: Pg 10: Edit » Story

      by Medha Patkar

      Harsud is no more. This 700-year-old town, now
      besieged by the Narmada Sagar Project (NSP), was
      where in September 1989, 35,000 people raised the
      slogan, "We want development, not destruction!"
      They had warned the nation of the massive human
      and environmental devastation that projects such
      as the large dams on the Narmada held in store.
      Now at the very site of that popular uprising for
      human and sane development, one can witness the
      most tragic scenes of broken homes, fleeing
      families and an ancient town turned prematurely
      to ruins.

      If you move through the streets of Harsud today,
      heaps of rubble greet you with dust yet to
      settle. One can't believe that all this could
      happen within a fortnight, in violation of the
      law, human rights and a society's conscience.
      It's an illegal move, but more than that, a
      cruelly conceived conspiracy by the State to push
      the giant dam project ahead without concern for
      the people living there or what they would do
      after being displaced. People were made to
      dismantle their own houses, overseen by the rapid
      action forces marching inside the crowded

      They were offered a meagre compensation for their
      houses: Rs 25,000 cash (ultimately found to be
      part of the compensation that was due anyway) and
      assurances that everything would be provided at
      the resettlement site, New Harsud. But the
      intimidation tactics worked, and the people
      didn't just vacate their houses, but also
      demolished them - many even paying labourers Rs
      100 a day to do so.

      Harsud is still bustling, full of labourers and
      their supervisors, some shopkeepers, and a
      handful of houses such as that of Surendra
      Khandelwal, one of the few who have refused to
      leave. Others such as Nanibai and other landless
      labourers' families in Ward No. 9 are left out of
      the project-affected list altogether. Meanwhile,
      at least 32 shopkeepers find no place in the
      rehabilitation policy. And they can't simply run
      away as there is nowhere to go.

      There are hundreds of visitors, common people
      from all over coming to witness this destruction
      of a town. There are contractors and
      transporters, police and some remaining owners
      recovering their possessions and planning for the
      demolition. Yet, all this bustle can't hide the
      cries of women and children, old and young, many
      of whom are now on the streets. They catch people
      like myself or any politician who happens to pass
      by, showing their notices and asking for help.
      Many who have already shifted out come back
      everyday and stay for hours, despite knowing that
      they are already homeless, sleeping in the
      verandahs of their relatives' houses or in sheds.

      The Narmada Sagar, one of the 30 major dams on
      the Narmada and one of the two gigantic dams, is
      supposed to submerge 254 villages. Of these, 176
      have already been affected, and 29 more will be
      affected before the monsoon ends. It is a project
      that was approved by the ministry of environment
      and forests (MOEF) and the Planning Commission,
      subject to the conditions of the Narmada Water
      Disputes Tribunal Award (NWDTA). The NWDTA,
      compliance with which is supposed to be monitored
      by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), requires
      that rehabilitation of affected families be done
      at least six months prior to submergence. All
      landowners losing 25 per cent or more of their
      landholding are promised replacement land.

      And yet, the approximately 22,000 population of
      Harsud was 'asked' to leave without completing
      the land acquisition process. Many are yet to
      even get cash compensation. Complaints abound of
      names missing from the official lists, while
      major sons of property owners (to be considered
      as separate families) are not yet included. To
      top it all, the resettlement site is not even
      ready with the minimum of amenities. Meanwhile,
      the monitoring authorities are not in the
      picture, as the NCA has been purposely kept out
      of rehabilitation monitoring so as to give a free
      hand to the dam builders.

      One of the most disturbing aspects of the Narmada
      Sagar project is the role played by the statutory
      company, Narmada Hydroelectric Development
      Corporation Ltd. (NHDC). With its unlimited power
      over construction, impact assessment and
      compensation, it has proved to be criminal and
      corrupt in all of these roles. The decision to
      raise the height of NSP to 245 metres a year
      ahead of schedule without resettling the affected
      people indicates the ruthlessness that
      accompanies such corporatisation of the State.
      While the NVDA has also always been callous, the
      NHDC is even more arrogant and abrasive.

      So village after village goes under water, with
      families becoming bankrupt. With their rights to
      life and livelihood being thrown into the
      dustbin, they - many of them being Dalits and
      adivasis - stand as a testament to the bankruptcy
      of the law itself. Unfortunately, the judiciary
      has failed to stand up to protect these citizens.
      Thousands of families face the same fate of being
      declared Non-existent Resident Indians. They are
      being displaced by water and erased on paper.

      All of this is justified in the name of power:
      huge targets for electricity supply based on
      consumption indicators dictated by western
      standards. Under this vision of energy-intensive
      technological development, equity and
      sustainability are hardly conceived of as a
      priority even by those who are sensitive to the
      social and environmental losses. In addition to
      the human toll, 40,000 hectares of forest with
      rare flora and fauna have been clear-felled for
      Narmada Sagar while about 20,000 hectares were
      cut for Sardar Sarovar. Compensatory
      afforestation is nothing but a joke here. Crores
      are spent on it and only corruption has thrived.

      The Sardar Sarovar Dam is as disastrous as the
      Narmada Sagar. It is more known due to the 19
      years of struggle. The people of Harsud and its
      hinterland have not been a part of the resistance
      undertaken by the people from Manibeli in
      Maharashtra to Nimad in MP. Yet, while this
      struggle has achieved many gains, the fight
      continues in the face of inadequate

      The Madhya Pradesh government, in particular, has
      most flagrantly dodged its legal responsibility
      to give land as an alternative source of
      livelihood to people displaced by the SSP.
      (Rehabilitation is also far from complete and
      adequate in Maharashtra and Gujarat.) Not one
      family has been allotted land in MP. If the
      government was serious about rehabilitation, it
      would have prepared a master plan with details of
      land to resettle as stipulated by NWDTA, project
      clearances, the Planning Commission and Supreme
      Court judgments. But, it has failed to do this.

      While SSP rehabilitation may be a step up from
      what's happening in Harsud, this is little
      consolation. While some have been lured by
      (insufficient) cash payments, thousands of others
      have not. They assert their rights, not just to
      rehabilitation, but also to the very question of
      the project. If they had not done this over the
      course of the past two decades, they would have
      had the same fate as the families ousted from the
      Bargi and Tawa dams in the Narmada valley or
      Jaikwadi in Godavari. Because of their struggles,
      11,000 SSP-affected families have been given
      sites with land and amenities. Yet, this can't be
      celebrated when there are over 40,000 others left
      to fend for themselves. They are still on the
      banks of the Narmada and they haven't yet
      demolished their houses.

      Amidst this season of destruction, with the
      Sardar Sarovar and Narmada Sagar dams
      immiserating thousands of families, it is
      necessary that Indians stand up and respond to
      these injustices.


      [5] [Islamophobia in the UK Press ]

      Hello There,

      A chap called "Will" Cummins--originally Harry
      Cummins--has published four serialised pieces on
      Islam and Muslims in the July issues of the
      Sunday Telegraph. Many people are deeply and
      rightly upset over his immensely Islamophobic
      observations such as: Muslims, like dogs, share
      common characteristics, or let us get them before
      they get us, and so on. Thanks to Marina Hyde of
      the Guardian Diary, now we know that the chap is
      in fact the Press Officer at the British Council
      in London. Institutional racism is nothing new
      but the BC are certainly nervous given their
      altruistic profile all over the world. They were
      hiding behind all sorts of flimsy terms but he is
      twice confirmed by the Guardian. In fact, Marina
      Hyde, as a protest, sat outside their offices in
      Great Portland Street on Friday having her
      breakfast. I have sent letters to the Sunday
      Telegraph's editor (Dominic Lawson--Nigel
      Lawson's son and don't forget Lady Black's daily
      diatribe against Arabs. She is an open advocate
      of the expansionist Zionism), to the British
      Council's David Green and certainly to Ms Hyde. I
      understand both the MAB and MCB have also sent
      similar letters to them. I am appending my emails
      herewith for your information, which you may like
      to bring into the notice of your members.
      Thanks and all the best.

      From: Iftikhar Malik
      Sent: Fri 30/07/2004 09:56
      To: dominic.lawson@...
      Cc: Iftikhar Malik (ihm50@...)
      Subject: Will (Harry) Cummins: Telegraph must disown racist elements

      Dear Mr. Lawson,
      It is certainly shocking and deeply annoying to
      see a respectable paper like yours allowing
      itself to be used for such a poisonous and
      hateful propaganda against Muslims/Islam on a
      regular basis, contributed by otherwise timid and
      sick people like Will (Harry) Cummins. The
      tirades from Lady Black and several of her ilk
      were already enough without warranting the need
      for more Islamophobes like Cummins. By giving him
      regular space for his malignant and racist ideas,
      you have not only allowed yourself to be used as
      an instrument of injustice and hate but have
      equally become a partner as well. For a paper of
      your stature it is too unbecoming and certainly
      strengthens the view that specific powerful
      lobbies are out there to malign Islam simply to
      whitewash what is being done in West Asia. The
      honourable thing for the paper and the editor
      would be to publish a front-page apology and to
      come out with an open policy statement of intent
      on the serious issues of Islamophobia. I guess
      professionally and morally you owe these two
      obligations to the nation. The rest I leave to
      your conscience.
      Hope to hear from you soon,
      Professor Iftikhar H. Malik
      22 Worcester Place
      Oxford OX1 2JW.


      Dear Ms Hyde,
      Congratulations on your persistence and
      investigative journalism in exposing the source
      of these hateful columns in the Telegraph spewing
      poison about Islam. People like Will (Harry)
      Cummins abound but are basically timid as they
      have to hide behind smokescreens. The Telegraph
      and the British Council must apologise to the
      nation at large and must eradicate all the
      malignant, infectious and highly diseased racist
      elements from within. Otherwise, we will be
      well-placed to believe that these self-professing
      citadels of honesty, integrity and harmony are
      the willing instruments for Islamophobia.

      Best regards.
      Professor Iftikhar H. Malik
      22 Worcester Place
      Oxford OX1 2JW.


      30 July 2004.

      Mr. David Green
      The British Council
      LONDON c/o Email.

      Dear Mr. David Green,
      As reported by Guardian today and yesterday, Mr.
      "Will" Cummins is the press officer at the
      British Council, an organisation purported to
      further academic and artistic sharing. As an
      organ of public diplomacy it is meant to spread a
      good image of Britain everywhere. Of course, it
      is funded by our money--the tax payers. But given
      the malignant, poisonous and immensely
      Islamophobic views of Mr. Cummins, I am afraid,
      million of people like me have been disappointed
      in the British Council. I guess the Council must
      ensure that it, in fact, implements fairness,
      transparency and justice in its own structures
      before reaching out the wider world. In one of my
      books, I have done half of a chapter on you work
      but must say that after reading these columns I
      am deeply worried. I hope it is just a solitary
      case but only the time will tell. We must face
      the fact that the institutional racism is a sad
      reality across a wider spectrum and there must be
      holistic efforts to eradicate it. The places of
      higher education and public diplomacy, as many
      reports continue to suggest, are infected by this
      serious malaise and people like you holding
      important positions should ensure that they are
      fair and above board. It seriously compromises
      your image as an organ of the British public
      diplomacy and I am afraid just hiding behind an
      unclear denial or a non-committal apology would
      not help a reputable organisation like the
      Council. Sacking a person and then coming out
      with a routine pious statement is no solution
      either. It is a serious matter and must be
      confronted bravely and all the skeletons hidden
      in the closets, if there are any, must be brought
      out in the public arena.
      I hope that the British Council will rise to its
      challenge and if Mr. Cummins is not your
      employee, then you must openly disown it and if
      he is and, like a lousy rat, hides behind flimsy
      curtains or within the institutional labyrinths,
      he and his ilk, be fully exposed and held
      accountable through proper legal procedures. The
      Council must ensure that such sickening events do
      not recur and instead it reflects a transparent,
      exemplary--not patronising--and forward-looking
      attitude through its various trajectories and
      Best regards,
      -Professor Iftikhar H. Malik
      22 Worcester Place
      Oxford OX1 2JW.

      o o o

      [The hateful articles appeared in the Sunday
      Telegraph (London) on 4, 11, 18 & 25 July 2004.
      The last in the series is posted below.]

      The Sunday Telegraph - 25th July 2004
      URL: www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/07/25/do2504.xml

      Muslims are a threat to our way of life
      By Will Cummins
      (Filed: 25/07/2004)

      In 1748, the novelist Horace Walpole had cause to
      draw attention, in a letter, to the outrageous
      behaviour in France of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the
      exiled leader of 1745's failed Jacobite revolt.
      Prince Charles Edward Stuart was terrorising
      Louis XV - the rebellion's mentor, on whom
      Charles relied for everything - with endless
      threats and the most insolent demands. Walpole
      could not help remarking on the narrowness of
      Britain's escape.

      "What a mercy," he wrote to the Duke of
      Newcastle, the then Prime Minister, "that we had
      not him here!" If, said Walpole, the Pretender
      was prepared to bully the government of France,
      even though he was entirely in its power, what
      would he have done with a British government
      under his control?

      And what, I have been asking in recent articles,
      would Islam's equally insouciant "exiles" in
      Britain do with a UK government in their power?
      Indications from the Leicester South and
      Birmingham Hodge Hill by-elections were not

      Konrad Henlein, the Nazi leader of the Sudeten
      Germans - whose cynical attitude to liberal,
      democratic, minority-friendly inter-war
      Czechoslovakia offers a metaphor for what we face
      - once observed: "We must always demand so much
      that we are never satisfied." He wouldn't have
      got very far in Leicester South, where the idea
      of refusing Muslim voters any part of their
      global Jihadi agenda was so distant from the
      candidates' minds that they couldn't even wait to
      be asked.

      However, my fellow Telegraph writer Jenny
      McCartney is plagued by a very different anxiety.
      She is deeply concerned for, not because of,
      Britain's burgeoning Muslim population. It is the
      persecuted Jews of the Third Reich, not its
      Nazis, to whom we should compare this notoriously
      gifted, useful and self-effacing group, she has
      written in her column of July 18.

      Jenny sees in the revulsion for Islam displayed
      by the British National Party an echo of the
      anti-Semitism to which hideous German
      publications like Der Sturmer gave vent. Though
      why she has to ransack back numbers of hoary
      Fascist tradesheets when almost every mainstream
      Muslim paper in the world today is full of
      loathsome anti-Jewish rants and images isn't

      "In the miserable event" of "an al-Qaeda attack
      in Britain", she wrote last week - which repeated
      warnings from our Government have termed
      inevitable - "there is little doubt in my mind
      that assaults on peaceful, law-abiding British
      Muslims would increase".

      Well, it's good to know that, as the rest of us
      hug our bottles of Evian in the irradiated ruins,
      mourning thousands of dead, Jenny will be lying
      awake at night worrying that someone might drop a
      dog poo through the letterbox of her local balti
      house. Such outrages, she warns, will be "fanned
      by an increasingly hysterical rhetoric - already
      in place - that encourages non-Muslim Britons to
      see each and every Muslim citizen as a threat".
      Whose rhetoric is that exactly?

      The Guardian newspaper is the Bible - perhaps one
      should say the Koran? - of Islamo-fascist
      Britain. However, it has recently been lending
      its opinion pages to one Fuad Nahdi, a leading
      Islamic "moderate" who publishes Q-News, a
      magazine for young UK Muslims. When two British
      Muslims launched a suicide attack in Israel, this
      is what he wrote in The Guardian of May 2, 2003:
      "I am not surprised by news of Britain's first
      suicide bombers. What, however, I find
      astonishing is that it took place in Tel Aviv,
      not Manchester." He goes on to say, "We should
      brace ourselves for the forthcoming intifada on
      the streets of Birmingham and Detroit."

      Mr Nahdi, who arrived in Britain from Kenya in
      1983, is comparing himself and his fellow Muslims
      here to the Palestinians conducting the second
      intifada against Israel. In Muslim folklore, the
      Palestinians are a native people disposessed by
      Zionist invaders. Mr Nahdi seems not to have
      grasped that, in Britain, he and the rest of the
      faithful are the "Jewish settlers", we, the
      usurped Palestinians. If anybody is going to
      mount an intifada against the invader, it will be

      Jenny writes that those who are afraid of Islam
      ignore the diversity of the religion, which
      replicates that of Christianity itself.
      Christianity too, she writes, has its extremists.
      To which one might, like St Paul, say, "and what
      has Christ to do with Baal?" All Muslims, like
      all dogs, share certain characteristics. A dog is
      not the same animal as a cat just because both
      species are comprised of different breeds. An
      extreme Christian believes that the Garden of
      Eden really existed; an extreme Muslim flies
      planes into buildings - there's a big difference.

      If, for instance, Muslims meet with defeats in
      the Balkans (a fact which Jenny finds deeply
      disturbing), it will certainly not have been for
      want of trying. It is more a tribute to their
      incompetence than their humanity. As the Tunisian
      intellectual Abdelwahab Meddeb points out in his
      recent book La maladie de l'Islam, Muslims'
      defeats are a symptom, not a cause, of Muslim

      When his children became "a thwart, disnatured
      torment to us all", the scales fell even from
      King Lear's eyes. But "Jenny Wren" McCartney
      wishes Britain to feed the cuckoo in its nest
      because that's what wrens have always done.
      Doesn't she think that cuckoo looks, and behaves,
      a little like the "detested kite" to which Lear
      compared Goneril?



      Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 01:34:12 +0530
      From: "Shiv Kumar" <journoshiv@...>

      Dear Mr. K[ . . .],

      I am Shiv Kumar, Special Correspondent, The Tribune based in Mumbai.

      I am interested in applying for the National Media Fellowships 2004-05 to
      study the threat posed by communal polarization to syncretic traditions in
      India. Of specific focus are shrines that have become zones of conflict
      between multiple communities. I would like to go
      beyond the shrines of Bhojshala and Babu Budan
      and look at smaller shrines that are slowly
      falling prey to contestations.

      Would it be possible for you to circulate my
      request via your mailing lists so that people who
      have information on this can get in touch with me

      My contact: journoshiv@...

      Shiv Kumar



      The Times of India - August 02, 2004 | Editorial


      Clothing matters. The RSS brass seems convinced.
      The Sangh plans to shed its trademark khaki
      shorts for more trendy outfits. If things move as
      reports suggest, the knickerwalla may soon attend
      the shakha in white trousers, or even jeans. The
      starched white shirt could make way for T-shirts.
      News is awaited on the black topi and the danda .
      Also, on the discussion table is permission for
      senior swayamsevaks to get married. The shorts
      have a history that dates back to the
      pre-Independence days when K B Hedgewar set up
      the Sangh to instil in the 'timid' Hindu society
      the cohesion and discipline of the 'invaders' who
      had established their political and cultural
      hegemony over India. The paramilitary style it
      adopted parodied the law enforcers of the day -
      the oversized shorts were borrowed from the
      colonial police. Now, the chalaks want to check
      out a new uniform; they suspect that their
      sartorial backwardness is one of the reasons for
      Gen-Next's lack of interest in the RSS. Stagnant
      numbers in shakhas have been ascribed by many,
      including insiders, to the Sangh's refusal to
      change with times. RSS bosses in Nagpur now
      realise that austerity and celibacy have few
      takers in today's world of designer politics.

      But is politics all about clothing? The Sangh
      seems to have stagnated because few are willing
      to risk their time and thought for agendas that
      refuse to recognise the plurality of the Indian
      experience. RSS politics revolves around the fear
      of the Other. In the immediate political context
      of Partition, divisive ideologies found
      supporters. With the passage of time and the
      emergence of lumpen Hindutva outfits like the
      Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal - which
      service hate without placing a premium on
      austerity - the RSS has lost its USP. Dropping
      its shorts will hardly enable the organisation
      widen its support base. The RSS's problem is not
      the chaddi but its chintan . Its political face,
      the BJP, managed to occupy office only after it
      agreed to shelve exclusivist agendas. Even
      Narendra Modi was reminded by the electorate that
      politics cannot be the prerogative of a communal
      ideology. The idea of India seeks a politics of
      pluralism and an ideology of accommodation. The
      Sangh needs to rethink its relevance and ideology
      rather than its dress code. Or else, as in the
      fable, Gen-Next will see through the emperor's
      new clothes.

      o o o

      [More on the above at the URL: communalism.blogspot.com ]


      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.sacw.net/
      SACW archive is available at: bridget.jatol.com/pipermail/sacw_insaf.net/

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      necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.
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