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SACW | 2-12 June 2006 | Conflict in Pakistan; India: OBC's, Hindutva; Mythology around India-China

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | 2-12 June, 2006 | Dispatch No. 2256 [1] Pakistan:The dangers from within (Tariq Rahman) [2] Kashmir: Peace is the priority
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2006
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | 2-12 June, 2006 | Dispatch No. 2256

      [1] Pakistan:The dangers from within (Tariq Rahman)
      [2] Kashmir: 'Peace is the priority' (Shabnam Hashmi)
      [3] India: Sweeping statements about Caste (Dipankar Gupta)
      [4] India: Spot the difference: Bajrang Dal and
      Laskar-e-Toiba (Subhash Gatade)
      [5] India: Madhya Pradesh government must arrest
      Sangh goons for rape; attack on
      press conference (Press Release, AICU)
      [6] The western view of the rise of India and
      China is a self-affirming fiction (Pankaj Mishra)



      June 6, 2006


      by Dr Tariq Rahman

      PAKISTAN faces many dangers from within and without. This discussion looks
      at the former. There are three broad categories of dangers from within:
      ethnic conflict, class conflict and ideological conflict.

      Let us take them one by one. Pakistan is a multilingual state. In such a
      state, it is possible to consolidate a group identity in terms of one's
      language. As language is one component of culture, such an identity also
      takes into account cultural elements.

      The Bengalis were the first to forge such an identity during the language
      movements of 1948 and 1952. The Sindhi nationalists did the same but with
      less strength and success in January 1970 and July 1972. Other groups, such
      as the Pakhtuns and the Seraikis, also used their respective languages to
      express separate identities. The reaction of the Pakistani state and the
      Punjabi-Mohajir elite of the 1950s and the 1960s to such expressions of
      identity was to declare these as old-fashioned 'provincialism'.

      The fact, however, is that ethnic identity - whether based on language,
      religion, common experience or some other distinctive perception - is
      deployed under modern conditions. Identity politics comes into play when
      different groups compete for jobs, admissions in educational institutions,
      development funds, powerful positions in the state structure and other goods
      and services.

      It requires modern communications to disseminate the symbols of group
      identity, to create group solidarity and to organise protests and lobby the
      state. Pre-modern societies are tied to local economies and they think in
      terms of tribes, sub-tribes, clans, fraternities (biradaris) and families or
      in terms of occupational identities (weaver, potter, serf etc) rather than
      in terms of large identity groups.

      Thus, the Pakistani elite dismissed the claims of ethnic leaders during the
      fifties and sixties as old-fashioned, backward-looking 'provincialism'. They
      also used conspiracy theories to portray the ethnic leaders in a bad light.
      The favourite charge of the establishment was that ethnic movements were
      inspired by communists and foreign agents. While leftists favoured
      emancipation and some foreign powers did extend help to certain ethnic
      leaders, the left was actually weak and disorganised and foreign help did
      not amount to much. In the last analysis, the movements were as strong as
      their local supporters. And local support was driven by common grievances.

      Ethnic movements are sustained by grievances. Thus, making symbolic
      concessions does not weaken them. Bengali was made one of the national
      languages of Pakistan but that did not weaken Bengali nationalism because
      the grievances did not go away. On the other hand, when Pashto speakers got
      a greater share in goods and services - through recruitment in the military
      and bureaucracy, work in the Gulf states, driving, manual labour, trade and
      smuggling - they abandoned all ideas of an independent Pakhtunistan and
      started talking about using the name for their province.

      Thus, if we analyse the present dangers to the state in Balochistan, we must
      approach the problem through the grievances of the Baloch. These grievances
      are based on the distribution of resources, demographic balance and
      exercising power in the province. The fact is that natural gas is not
      available as easily to the Baloch as it is to people in Punjab.

      The new port of Gwadar promises new jobs, plots of land, urban assets and a
      new home to the non-Baloch but to the Baloch it is tantamount to taking away
      a part of their land from them. Moreover, the Baloch feel overwhelmed anyway
      in their province because of the large Pakhtun presence and the cities being
      open to settlers. Now the Gwadar port is likely to be mostly non- Baloch.

      As regards power, the Baloch are painfully aware that the army exercises the
      real power. As the army lives in cantonments which are like oases -
      completely different from Baloch cities and villages - they perceive these
      cantonments almost as colonial outposts. That is why they oppose them.
      During my own research on language politics in 1994 in Quetta and Mastung,
      when the area was quiet, I noticed that everybody resented the way people
      were stopped and searched in the cantonment. The club in the cantonment,
      whose facilities were excellent compared to those in the city, was closed
      even to university faculty. The Baloch considered this deeply insulting. The
      bitterness must have increased now.

      In Sindh, too, the issue of ethnicity is a ticking time bomb. The province
      is virtually divided between the Urdu-speaking urban areas which support the
      MQM and the Sindhi-speaking people who look to various nationalist groups
      for leadership. Both resent the centre's pocketing of revenues from the sale
      of cotton and those from the port and city of Karachi. But both have an
      inbuilt rivalry also. The potential for destabilisation is there and only by
      realising this can a solution be found.

      Class conflict is possible because the rich are getting richer and the poor
      poorer. Moreover, the electronic media depicts a high quality of life which
      must be frustrating for most viewers. At the same time, because of
      privatisation and the withdrawal of subsidies, the state is no longer pushed
      about providing essential services to the people. Then, the judicial system
      is so weak that people do not believe they will ever get justice.

      Under these circumstances, it is not unusual for people to take to rioting.
      This conflict can be expressed through the idiom of Islam but the young men
      used as cannon fodder, are driven by hunger and a sense of vengeance no
      matter what emotive slogans they use and what they profess to believe in.

      Ideological conflict relates to the polarisation of views between the
      religious lobby and the secularists. Up to now the ruling elite, above all
      the military, had used the religious lobby to further its own interests,
      suppress pro-democracy secularists, fight for Kashmir and frighten the West
      into supporting strong men (mostly military) at the centre. But the
      religious lobby may become too powerful to be controlled.

      After 9/11, the ruling elite is itself deeply divided. Part of it genuinely
      wants to reverse the policies of the Ziaul Haq era but there are some among
      it who still want to see a continuation of these. Thus the religious lobby
      retains its street power and can bring about civil conflict to counter
      secular forces. This can be really dangerous. Pakistan has survived many
      undemocratic interludes because even military governments have used the name
      of democracy to govern the country. The religious lobby may not use this fig
      leaf at all. And if this happens, we will be sent hurtling back into the
      dark ages.

      Such are the internal dangers to Pakistan. Only seeing them for what they
      are can make us resolve them.



      The Asian Age
      June 1, 2006

      by Shabnam Hashmi

      The winners of the elocution competition were all set to start
      recording for a talk-show for a national television channel. We had
      invited young school, college and university students to participate
      in an essay competition on the theme "Kashmiri Youth: Dreams and
      Aspirations." Out of hundreds of entries, 52 were selected for the
      second round, and then the best 20 participated in not one but several
      discussions on various national television channels.

      For several days and nights before the elocution competition, I had
      personally gone through hundreds of essays written by young students.
      Moving testimonies of their lives, their experiences, their emotions,
      their dreams had transformed my understanding of Kashmir during those
      few days. I broke down, cried like a child or perhaps like a mother
      whose son or daughter has hidden from her, for years, the humiliation
      and pain which the child has gone through.

      The students discussed among themselves how best to utilise perhaps
      one of the very rare occasions when their voices would be heard
      outside Kashmir. We were not sure how much of what they spoke would be
      edited by the various channels. I maintained that even if the channels
      finally did not show it, at least their editorial teams would see it
      and those 10-15 journalists in Delhi would hear the voice of the
      Kashmiri youth. For me, even that was important.

      Even before we could start recording, we were surrounded by an
      aggressive group of boys in their late 20s. They were unhappy that we
      were talking to school kids who have no clue about the Kashmir
      problem. They wanted to be part of the talk-show, they questioned the
      procedure of selection and threatened the students, both from school
      and university, to say what they dictated to them. They also abused
      mainstream Indian media. I think it was only my 15-year experience of
      dealing with various kinds of people that saved us from actually being
      beaten up. While I kept them busy in a heated debate, the camera teams
      did their work. I was reminded of the VHP goons and how they heckled
      us a few years ago in Gujarat, breaking all our vehicles and beating
      up a number of us. This crowd was only a shade better. I was at least
      able to argue with half of them, but the closing of minds was very

      We left for our respective places after the recording was over.

      My thoughts then returned to the young students, our winners. I have
      worked with thousands of young people during the past few years.
      Students and youngsters have always considered Anhad as their forum,
      an open vibrant platform, where adults do not dictate what the youth
      should do. All the crazy ideas we ended up executing were generated
      mainly by young students during various brain storming sessions, over
      cups of tea and cigarette smoke in the small Anhad office which runs
      out of a garage in Delhi. I have worked with young people, travelled,
      laughed and grieved with them. They have shared with me their secrets,
      their love affairs which perhaps they were too afraid to share with
      their "conservative" parents.

      But all my past experience of dealing and associating with the young
      failed in Kashmir.

      I sat in my office room in Rajbagh and tried to recollect some of the
      faces, and what they had spoken during the elocution competition, and
      written in their essays.

      A girl of delicate frame, sensitive with a very pretty face, a student
      of Standard X wrote: "I would wake up in the midst of the night and
      search for my parents. The scare - that someone may have snatched them
      from me. Death had found a favourite haunt in the valley, taking
      people in dozens in her shade. There were periods when I couldn't just
      sleep, trying to lend ear to every knock in my neighbourhood. And if
      there was silence, it was killing - bringing more disaster... How can
      a nation dream when thousands of its youth are slaughtered like

      Another young girl with an innocent face, head covered with scarf,
      with intense, beautiful, expressive eyes, wrote: "The day we stepped
      into the new millennium, we already had crossed the unfortunate
      figures of 25,000 widows, 1,000 half-widows, 4,000 orphan (girls),
      5,000 orphan (boys), and 7,000 heart-broken mothers with the
      photographs of their sons only, their 'only' remainsŠ Have you ever
      thought and imagined how a canvas once filled with life would look if
      brushed with death?"

      The last sentence sent shivers all over my body. I would have never
      imagined that this young girl, all wrapped up from head to feet, could
      write so sensitively; that behind her pretty face there was so much
      anguish and pain.

      Another young boy of 16, thin, tall, shy with a sad look, wrote: "I
      would dress up for the school and there would be announcement from the
      microphones 'the area is under cordon and all are asked to assemble at
      the grounds.' And the whole day, even if I am a Class II student, I
      would have to sit under the blazing sun or drench in the rain. This is
      my routine for the last 16 years. For a boy like me, who has gone
      through 16 years of turmoil in a place where death and blasts keep no
      calendar, peace is the priority. I as a young Kashmiri long for peace
      but not the peace of graveyard."

      Another one said: "Never a day has passed in my life when I had not
      the fear of losing my life. I want to live and enjoy the life. I want
      to do something for my people, I want to be a philanthropist, social
      worker, scholarŠ"

      The crowd of aggressive boys who tried to stop the recording of the
      talk-show had dismissed these young minds as "immature kids."

      They do not figure anywhere in the whole process of the round-table
      conferences and different peace talks. Any peace process which is not
      determined to heal the wounds of these young hearts can never succeed.



      The Hindustan Times
      June 11, 2006


      by Dipankar Gupta

      Please read the bold print. When the abbreviation
      OBC is spelt out, it refers to Other Backward
      Classes and not Castes. This is the meaning that
      the Constitution of India gave to the phrase.
      There is a world of difference between the two
      and it is only by means of deft political
      jugglery that the impression has been conveyed
      that the Constitution is interested in uplifting
      a section of the population that can be labelled
      under the totally spurious term called backward

      As the Constitution was interested in the lot of
      backward classes, it did not easily equate them
      with any cluster of castes, nor did it privilege
      a solely caste-based criterion to determine them.
      Backward classes could mean the poor, or
      village-based artisans, or the unemployed, or
      those who are in remote regions, or those who are
      educationally deficient, or those who suffer from
      food deprivation. In all such cases, the focus is
      on actual people and not communities. As those
      answering to such descriptions could come from
      any caste group, the founding figures of the
      Constitution, very purposively, used the term OBC
      strictly in terms of classes and not castes.

      Contrast this with the way the Scheduled Castes
      were classified by the Constitution. Though the
      job of determining which castes were untouchables
      proved tricky, in all such cases, only the caste
      criterion was the determining factor. Economic or
      educational concerns had no role to play when it
      came to deciding on the listing of the Scheduled
      Castes. So when the Constitution clearly states
      'classes' and not 'castes', as in the term OBC,
      it is deliberate, and not an oversight.

      As there were too many competing factors to
      contend against, the first Backward Class
      Commission set up in 1955, under Kaka Kalekar,
      decided to fold up its proceedings after rounds
      of futile negotiations. Its members found no
      clear criteria for determining backwardness that
      would be free from counter claims. In spite of
      long deliberations, the task proved hopeless and
      unachievable and this conclusion was more or less
      ratified by the government of the day.

      The Mandal Commission, seemingly, had no problems
      at all in designating the 'backwards'. This is
      because it cleverly masked the term class with
      caste and put forward a set of criteria where
      economic and educational backwardness received
      very low points compared to social backwardness.
      As the definition for social backwardness was
      very fuzzy, it was possible to score 12 points on
      the four criteria within this sub-set. There was
      no need to go further and consider educational or
      economic factors, as only 11 points were needed
      to be eligible for reservations. Space does not
      allow a full elaboration of the various
      categories under which 'backwardness' points can
      be awarded in the Mandal formula, but it needs to
      be noted that the economic criteria get the least
      emphasis. While on social backwardness it is
      possible to easily score 12 points, the best one
      could do in terms of economic backwardness is
      only three. This is surely a travesty of what it
      means to be 'backward'.

      The points system also contains other
      constitutional improprieties. When considering
      social backwardness, full three points are given
      if a caste practises child marriage. In this
      case, you have a clear instance of actually being
      rewarded for breaking the law. What could be more
      unconstitutional! Further, again within the
      category of social backwardness, a caste scores
      three points if other castes have a low opinion
      of its standing in society. As is widely known to
      specialists in this subject, no caste thinks well
      of any other caste. Even among Brahmins there is
      no unanimity. All too frequently, charges of
      being imposters, pretenders and worse are freely
      traded among them.

      This bias in the points system clearly reveals
      that the Mandal Commission did not want to draw
      attention to the fact that its intended
      beneficiaries were really not economically and
      educationally backward. This is to be expected,
      as the castes favoured for reservation by Mandal
      were never really discriminated against in
      history as the Scheduled Castes were. That they
      chose not to seek education and urban jobs as the
      so-called 'forward' castes did still does not
      make them a once persecuted category or community.

      It must also be remembered that these so-called
      backward castes were often the rural dominant
      castes and they were perhaps, on occasion, more
      brutal in their persecution of the Scheduled
      Castes than the Brahmins were. The deprivations
      resulting from the odium of untouchability were
      the highest in South India - a region where the
      traditional dominant castes are, in the main, the
      designated 'backwards' of today. Interestingly,
      Mandal activists ignore this feature of rural
      caste interaction.

      As the heat and dust of political controversy
      around the issue of reservations for OBC obscured
      from view that it was really all about class and
      not caste, the Mandalites were able to win
      valuable political points. They also spuriously
      occupied the moral high ground by claiming that
      they were adhering to the Constitution, when in
      fact they were calmly subverting it. By making
      backward class synonymous with backward caste,
      the Mandal Commission opened the gates for
      identity politics of the kind that would be very
      hard to reverse.

      It is just as well that the Supreme Court has
      asked the government to clearly spell out what it
      means by 'backwardness' and to whom the label
      should apply. Hopefully, in the course of this
      exercise, the unpardonable equation of backward
      classes with backward castes will be exposed and
      we can all breathe easy that the Constitution has
      not been breached.

      The writer is Professor of Sociology, School of
      Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New



      Communalism Watch
      June 2, 2006


      by Subhash Gatade

      (Much has been written about the Jihadi terrorism
      unleashed by groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammad or
      Lashkar-e-Toiba and others. It was only last
      month that there was a large haul of arms from
      some of their cells in Maharashtra. The attack on
      RSS headquarters allegedly by activists belonging
      to this organisation has also been widely
      It is surprising that while terrorism of the
      Jihadi variety which rather tends to stigmatise
      the whole community gets tremendous coverage,
      with print and electronic media vying with each
      other to present the latest 'scoops' similar
      actions by the Hindu extremist groups are not
      even found worthy of mention.
      The Nanded Bomb blasts which found clear
      involvement of the activists of the Sangh Parivar
      where a centre for manufacturing bombs was
      unearthed at a RSS activists house is a case in
      point. The accidental bomb blast killed two of
      its activists also.
      While a deeper communal conspiracy could be
      averted, the ongoing investigations are pointing
      finger at the involvement of these very hindu
      extremists in earlier cases of bomb blasts in the
      same region.)

      Why the RSS has decided to play down the incident
      about the attack on its headquarters in Nagpur
      allegedly by terrorists belonging to the
      Lashkar-e-Toiba. If the newsperson's version is
      to be believed the former spokesperson Ram Madhav
      merely condemned the attack and praised the
      police for quick action. Sudarshan the present
      Supremo of the organisation, appealed to RSS
      volunteers not to get provoked.
      No appeal for bandh ! No appeal for any
      agitation. Remember the contrast when terrorist
      had attacked Ayodhya or for that matter Varanasi,
      and how the whole gang of firespitters were out
      on the streets.
      And this despite the fact that the Jihadi
      terrorists, as they are known in the common
      parlance, have upped their ante in this part of
      Maharashtra.It was only last month that
      Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had nabbed three
      militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
      on the Manmad-Aurangabad road with a large cache
      of arms and had also recovered arms and RDX from
      Is it because the Parivar felt that whatever
      might be their wishes, the plan may turn out to
      be damp squib, making it evident to its
      adversaries that the countdown has already
      started for this eighty year old organisation. Or
      is it because the Parivar felt that any demand to
      look deeper into the particular case, may
      accelerate a process which is already underway
      whose ramifications may add to the discomfort of
      the 'cultural organisation' itself. Perhaps the
      statement by Mr R.R. Patil, the deputy Chief
      Minister of Maharashtra, when he was sharing with
      the media that the police had information about
      the terrorist plan to attack RSS headquarters
      more than seven months ago and duly informed the
      Sangh people in advance had an inkling of what
      lies in store before the RSS :
      ...The Deputy Chief Minister also said police
      have collected vital clues that link the Nanded
      blast held some months ago, with the Parbhani
      blast earlier this year. Patil said the
      possibility of Hindu extremist being responsible
      for the two blasts cannot be ruled out. (DNA, PTI
      Thursday, June 01, 2006 17:35 IST)
      It was evident from a newspaper report in Lokmat
      (24 th May 2006) datelined Aurangabad that the
      minister meant what he said :
      The police commissioner Uddhav Kamble informed
      the media that the police is investigating the
      interconnections between the Nanded Pipe Bomb
      blasts done by Bajrang Dal activists and the bomb
      blasts in Aurangabad in 2001 and 2002.
      There was a bomb blast near Ganesh temple in
      Nageshwarwadi in Aurangabad on 18 th May 2001.
      When the case was still being investigated there
      was another bomb blast near VHP office in Nirala
      market on 17 th November 2002 followed by a bomb
      blast near Mahadev temple in Khadkeshwar. Pipe
      bombs had been used in Nirala market and
      Khadkeshwar bomb blasts. It is worth noting that
      the month old bomb blast in Nanded was also
      triggered by a pipe bomb. It was revealed that
      activists of the Bajrang Dal were making pipe
      bombs in the house.
      Looking at the similarities between the Nanded
      bomb blast and the two bomb blasts in Aurangabad,
      the interconnections between the two are being
      investigated.. ( translated from original
      Marathi- author)
      0 0
      Afterall what is so significant about this Nanded
      Bomb blasts which has rather compelled the Sangh
      Parivar which calls itself a 'character building
      organisation' to run for cover. Perhaps a recap
      of the Nanded bomb blasts is in order to put the
      matter straight.
      It has been more than two months that Nanded,
      Maharashtra, a town described as being communally
      sensitive witnessed bomb explosion ( 6 th April
      2006) in a house belonging to an old activist of
      RSS. To be precise, it was the time when
      L.K.Advani's (now abandoned)Bharat Suraksh Yatra
      was to enter the state of Maharashtra. The
      initial investigations done by the police made it
      very clear that the deceased and the injured
      belonged to Bajrang Dal, an anushangik (
      affiliated) organisation of the RSS . Looking at
      the minute details one can infer that serious
      plans were afoot to foment communal tension in
      the area taking advantage of the simmering
      tensions between the Sikhs and the Muslims. A
      raid on one of the deceased's house had recovered
      dresses and caps normally worn by Muslims in the
      area and also some maps of mosques in nearby
      districts. One of the accused Rahul confessed to
      having made bombs earlier.
      The idea was to attack mosques and Gurudwaras
      wearing those dresses and instigate a riot. The
      expectation was that the community under attack
      would retaliate and a full scale riot would
      ensue. The only thing left was explosives in one
      form or other which could cause maximum damage to
      the places hit. The making of bombs in a house
      owned by a old RSS hack who dealt in fircrackers
      also seemed rather perfect..
      Nanded, happens to be a place of pilgrimage for
      the Sikhs due to it being the place of Samadhi of
      Guru Govind Singh. It inhabits around a million
      people ( 5 Lakh Hindus), 2 Lakh Muslims or one
      lakh Sikhs and which was already reeling under
      communal tension then when the blast occured. The
      alleged elopement of a Sikh girl with a Muslim
      boy had put both the communities at loggerheads.
      Retrospectively one can say that the accidental
      bomb explosion rather saved a broad section of
      the population from a riot or riotlike situation
      at least for the time being. It alerted the
      administration and which took extra precautions
      so that any volatile situation does not turn ugly.
      It need be noted that the Marathwada region of
      Maharashtra has had a history of such mysterious
      attacks on religious minorites. It was only two
      and half years ago that miscreants on motorcycles
      had fired at a crowd offering Friday prayers in
      nearby Parbhani. The whole of Marathwada went up
      in flames by the evening. Till date police have
      not apprehended the criminals who fired at a
      religious congregation.
      0 0
      A report (available on 'www.pucl.org')brought out
      by a fact finding team of PUCL, Nagpur and
      Secular Citizen's Forum, Nagpur comprising of Dr
      Suresh Khairnar, Convener (Secular Citizen's
      Forum ( DharamDNNM,Nagpur & PUCL, Nagpur), Ahmad
      Kadar & Arvind Ghosh which visited the city on 22
      nd April and met with many ordinary citizens as
      well as representatives of the administration,
      made clear few pertinent points which need
      special mention. To quote,
      - Bomb blasts at the house of the RSS activist at
      Nanded were not reported in any newspaper outside
      Nanded. Even the administration of Nanded
      prevailed upon the city media not to write about
      the incident anymore.
      -The immediate story that was published in the
      next morning newspapers was that the blast
      occurred due to sudden bursting of crackers
      stored in the house as part of the family
      business. But the doubts persisted, since if
      crackers catch fire there would normally be a
      series of bursts & not a single powerful blast as
      had happened in this case. Moreover the house did
      not catch fire as is expected in an accident
      involving crackers. The cracker theory was
      blasted on 7th April at 4pm when post mortem
      report was released. The report revealed that
      bomb parts were found and extracted from the
      bodies of the dead. The doubt that it must have
      been a bomb blast was further confirmed on the
      night of 7th April.
      - Suryapratap Gupta IG, Nanded has confirmed that
      a live pipe bomb was found at the house of Laxman
      Rajkondwar, which was a center for manufacturing
      bombs and that all the accused are connected with
      Bajrangdal.However the police has maintained
      silence on the motive for the manufacturing of
      bombs at Rajkondwar's house, wherefrom they
      acquired the material for making the bombs & if
      the perpetrators of the crime had nationwide
      -The most worrying fact that has been revealed is
      that the live bomb discovered under the sofa is
      an I.E.D type sophisticated bomb with timer &
      operated through remote control. A supplier of
      chemical material to colleges has been questioned
      in this regard. It is also reported the accused
      had been arrested during the Ayodhya Ram Mandir
      -The report although remains inconclusive due to
      lack of availability of authentic information
      from the official sources, does point out the
      strong indications that deep communal
      conspiracies were being hatched by the
      Hindutwavadi forces in the city of Nanded.And
      implementation of these conspiracies was
      temporarily aborted due to the accidental blast
      of a bomb while in the process of making, at the
      house of a prominent RSS activist of the city.
      0 0
      Looking at the hierarchial nature of the Sangh
      Parivar where even the topmost leader of its mass
      political formation has to pay obesiance before
      the Supremo or the power coterie surrounding him,
      it would be incorrect to say that the local
      leaders of the Bajrang Dal or for that matter RSS
      envisaged and implemented the plan themselves. To
      put it straight the centre for manufacturing
      bombs being run at a RSS activists house would
      not have seen the light of the day if the top
      bosses of the Parivar had not given a green
      signal to this 'patriotic' work. The larger
      gameplan which the ringleaders of this group had
      in mind need to be unearthed at the earliest.
      As things stand today the administration is
      keeping its mouth shut, but looking at the raids
      on houses of RSS as well as Bajrang Dal activists
      and the feeling of panicky among them one can
      hope that the administration comes out with
      concrete proof of 'conspiracy' and the real
      kingpins of this operation. Looking at the nature
      of crime, which could be averted by sheer chance,
      the administration should not shy away from
      naming the real conspirators. It was not for
      nothing that the local leaders of BJP and Shiv
      Sena became overactive in the aftermath of the
      explosion to 'warn' the administration that it
      does not adopt a vindictive attitude towards its
      It is for everyone to see that it is not for the
      first time that RSS or its plethora of frontal
      organisations have come under cloud for their not
      so glorious role in precipitating a riot. The
      different judicial commissions of enquiry
      costituted in post-independence times have time
      and again indicted the RSS for its complicity in
      communal riots. A writeup detaling 'A Half
      Century's Gory Record' ( A.G.Noorani, The
      Statesman, January 15, 2000) rightly summarises
      how the role of the RSS was viewed by different
      such commissions : "If the Jaganmohan Reddy
      Commission on the Ahmedabad riots ( 1970) exposed
      the Unified Front tactics of the RSS and its
      political wing, the Jan Sangh, Justice
      Vidyarthi's report on Tellichery riots ( 1971)
      censured the RSS for "rousing up" communal
      feeling and for "preparing the background for the
      disturbances." Justice Jitendra Narain's Report
      on the Jamshedpur riots (1979) censured the RSS
      supremo Deoras personally for the communal
      propaganda that had caused the riots."
      Ofcourse the Nanded operation rather had lot of
      similarities with the way it had gone ahead
      during post partition riots. There are enough
      documentary proofs to show its ignoble role
      during that period. It would be opportune to look
      at the memoirs of a senior civil servant who was
      posted as Chief Secretary of UP in those
      tumultous times to get to know one such instance.
      Rajeshwar Dayal, the then Chief Secretary reveals
      in his memoirs, A Life Of Our Times ( 1998,
      Orient Longmann) notes that soon after the
      partition the deputy IGP of the western range,
      BBL Jaitely produced before him two steel trunks.
      They "revealed incontrovertible evidence of a
      dastardly conspiracy to create a communal
      holocaust throughout the western districts."There
      were accurate maps "marking out the Muslim
      localities and habitations...Timely raid
      conducted on the premises of the RSS had brought
      the massive conspiracy to light.The whole plot
      had been concerted under the direction and
      supervision of the Supremo of the Organisation
      himself - both Jaitley and I pressed for the
      immediate arrest of the prime accused M.S.
      Golwalkar " Incidentally the then Chief Minister
      of UP, Mr G.B.Pant refused to order the arrest.
      He was arrested only after Gandhi's assasination.
      It is easy to comprehend why Sardar Patel, had in
      a letter to Shyamaprasad Mukherjee on 1 July 1948
      wrote, " The activities of the RSS constituted a
      clear threat to the existence of the Government
      and the State".
      This happens to be the birth centenary year of
      the Golwalkar. And his followers have made
      elaborate plans to celebrate it.Can it then be
      said that the activists of the Hindutva brigade
      at Nanded just wanted to do 'Golwalkar' in their
      hometown as mark of 'tribute' towards him ? Only
      time will be able to divulge the crucial details.



      Press Statement issued by John Dayal on behalf of the All India
      Catholic Union, the All India Christian Council, and the United
      Christian Action and on his own behalf as Member of the NIC.
      Press Statement

      6 June 2006

      Madhya Pradesh government must arrest Sangh goons for rape; attack on
      Christian press conference

      We are alarmed at the development sin the state of Madhya Pradesh where
      a series of attacks on Christians since the beginning of this year,
      including molestation of women, have been followed up by goons of the
      Hindutva Sangh Parivar now attacking a press conference where the most
      recent victims were narrating their woes to the media. In the state
      capital of Bhopal

      We demand that the BJP government, which has maintained silence on the
      violence, act immediately and arrest the groups responsible for the
      serial violence in the state. We also demand that the government
      instruct police stations across the State to properly register and
      investigated cases of hate action and violence against the vulnerable
      Christian community, much of which belongs to indigenous tribal people.

      The attempt to gag the voice of the victims and the minority community
      in general is a nefarious one, and it is shameful that the official
      machinery is either quiet or is conniving with the perpetrators. The
      partisanship of its political masters of course has ceased to surprise
      us any more.

      Sangh goons led by State Bajrang Dal convener Devender Rawat disrupted
      a news conference in which two Christian women, who were allegedly gang
      raped, were being presented. The press conference was being addressed
      by Congresswoman and State minorities commission member Indira Iyenger.
      Rawat said: "I will not allow you to tarnish the image of nationalist
      Hindu organisations," as he and his men vandalized the venue. The
      police took their time arriving and, instead of making arrests, merely
      asked the Dal activists and Iyenger to leave.

      The attack and rape of the Christian women of course has to be seen
      both in terms of religious intolerance of the Sangh Parivar and in the
      pattern of violence against women -- the most vulnerable section of our
      society. On both counts, it must be condemned in the strongest of terms
      by all segments and all religion groups in our country.

      We know from official police statistics that a woman is raped every
      half an hour in India, while one is killed every 75 minutes -- usually
      burnt to death for not bringing a large enough dowry. Police National
      Crime Records Bureau data says recorded cases of female foeticide
      increased by a half in 2004, for which data is available. The national
      capital of New Delhi is possibly the least safe place for women -- a
      third of the rape cases take place here. The figure is close to 500.
      Some of the women are Christians, particularly Tribals from
      Chhattisgarh working as maids, but these cases are not a matter of
      religious targetting.

      The Madhya Pradesh case is very different, and is reminiscent of the
      gang rape of nuns in Jhabua in the same state many years ago.

      This one shows well planned brutality as the gang attacked the homes of
      a Christian group in Nadia village Bhagwanpura block of Khargone
      district on the 28th May 2006 at 10:00 pm in the night. They beat up
      the men, and took away the women to a nearby deserted area and raped
      them. The rapists have been now identified as Lulla, Nandla, Kalu,
      Rewal Singh, and Sakaram, all of them from the same village.

      We had in the past warned the National government in New Delhi that
      there seemed to be a parallel law and justice administration system
      working in states ruled by the BJP which had no respect for religious
      freedom. The Union Bill against communal violence is yet to become law.
      It must be adopted by Parliament at the earliest. Meanwhile, the
      Central government must consider other measures, including convening
      the National Integration Council meeting, to bring pressure on truant
      state governments such as exist in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to end
      the persecution of the Christian community.



      The Guardian
      June 10, 2006


      Both made their most impressive gains when they
      rejected the free market. They need a new way of
      becoming modern

      by Pankaj Mishra

      In the mid-19th century Karl Marx claimed that
      European colonisers, though corrupt and violent,
      were the "unconscious tool of history" that would
      propel India and China into modernity. He
      described the backward "Asiatic mode of
      production", defined by the absence of private
      ownership and the presence of a rigid,
      centralised form of government that prevents
      change and modernisation.

      Such views prompted Edward Said to denounce Marx
      as an orientalist who had subsumed India and
      China into a narrative of human progress designed
      by and for Europeans. But nothing Marx said about
      Asia would ever be as influential or widely
      disseminated as the recent idea in the west that
      free-market capitalism has finally awakened India
      and China from their long Asiatic slumber.

      If the rise of India and China seems dramatic, it
      is because not so long ago India appeared in the
      western imagination as a poor, backward and often
      violent nation. With its needy millions and
      Luddite communist regime, China seemed sunk even
      deeper into darkness.

      Now, abruptly, we are told that India and China
      are economic giants, driving world growth by
      converging on the European model of modernity.
      Francis Fukuyama first outlined this
      post-cold-war ideology of globalisation by
      claiming in his 1992 book, The End of History,
      that western liberal democracy, based on private
      property, free markets and regular elections, was
      the terminus of historical development.
      Consecrated annually in Davos, and circulated in
      business-class lounges around the world, this
      quasi-teleological view increasingly shapes the
      beliefs and policies of western political,
      business and media elites.

      The attempt to explain - and change - the world
      by exalting the apparently unique western virtues
      of free-market capitalism and democracy may seem
      to have run into problems lately. Failed
      experiments with unfettered capitalism have
      helped install authoritarian rightwing and
      populist leftwing regimes in Russia and Latin
      America respectively. The recent irruptions of
      radical Islam, and the war in Iraq, have muddied
      further the image of a world rushing to embrace
      victorious western values.

      Nevertheless, the abrupt rise of the two biggest
      countries of the orient reaffirms the faith
      expressed eloquently by the American columnist
      Thomas Friedman: that globalising free-market
      capitalism and democracy will enable much of the
      world's population to reach the summit of
      material plenitude, political stability and
      social security, where western societies
      apparently reside.

      It would be nice to imagine the spirit of
      altruism behind this generous desire to share the
      west's good fortune. But today China offers
      western corporations a tempting market of more
      than a billion customers and a seemingly endless
      source of cheap labour, as does India.

      Indian and Chinese elites borrow no less eagerly
      than their western counterparts from the
      discourse of neo-orientalism as they attribute
      India and China's recent economic growth to the
      free markets they embraced in the 80s and 90s.
      But even a casual glance at their claims will
      reveal them to be caricatures of a complex
      political and economic reality.

      India registered its most impressive gains from
      1951 to 1980, after emerging from more than two
      centuries of systematic colonial exploitation,
      during which it was, in effect, deindustrialised.
      Until 1980 India achieved an average annual
      economic growth of 3.5% - as much as most
      countries achieved. In this period India's much
      derided socialistic economy also helped create
      the country's industrial capacity.

      Much popular literature about China, such as Jung
      Chang's recent biography of Mao, makes it seem as
      though China did little after the communist
      revolution in 1949 but lurch from one disaster to
      another. In fact, China's national income under a
      planned economy grew fivefold between 1952 and
      1978. Though wages were low, the welfare system -
      the famous "iron rice bowl" - guaranteed lifetime
      employment, pensions, healthcare and other
      benefits that created a high degree of personal

      Economic reforms in the 80s focused on boosting
      export-oriented industries on the coast. They
      made China a huge sweatshop for the west's cheap
      goods and gave it an average annual growth of
      10%. It may be tempting to credit the invisible
      hand of the free market for this, but, as in the
      so-called "Asian tiger" economies, the Chinese
      state has carefully regulated domestic industry
      and foreign trade and investment, besides
      maintaining control of public services.

      However, economic reforms, geared to creating
      wealth in urban areas, have smashed the iron rice
      bowl and caused severe inflation. The devolution
      of power to provincial governments, as demanded
      by free-marketeers, has led to unchecked
      corruption. The protests in Tiananmen Square,
      seen by many outside China as demands for
      western-style freedom and democracy, were fuelled
      by mass rage at the dismantling of the old
      welfare state: inflation, for instance, reached
      25% in early 1989 after remaining well below 2%
      for much of the Maoist era. China is now one of
      the most unequal countries in the world, even
      more so than the US.

      In India, too, the pursuit of economic growth at
      all costs has created a gaudy elite but also
      widened already alarming social and economic
      disparities. Facilities for healthcare and
      primary education have deteriorated. Economic
      growth, confined to urban centres, is largely
      jobless. Up to a third of Indians live with
      extreme poverty and deprivation. And militant
      communist movements have erupted in the poorest,
      most populous states.

      Still, modernising India and China have become
      sources of existential and ideological
      self-affirmation for western elites, who tend to
      ignore anything that challenges their articles of
      faith - free markets and democracy - or suggests
      an arduous complexity.

      The neo-orientalist reconceptualising of India
      and China ignores or suppresses large aspects of
      their recent history. It also fails to reckon
      fully with the tortured and often tragic
      experience of modern development. The disasters
      occasionally seen in the western media - the
      violence in Kashmir that has claimed more than
      80,000 lives in the last decade and a half; the
      destruction of the environment and the uprooting
      of nearly 200 million people from their rural
      habitats in China - can be explained away by
      reference to the logic of development as
      manifested in Europe's history.

      But the west itself has begun to feel the pain of
      this transition, as China's hunger for energy
      raises the price of oil; its cheap exports
      undermine the once-strong economies of Italy and
      Germany; and it puts white-collar workers out of
      jobs in America. It is also true that Europe's
      own transition to its present state of stability
      and affluence was more than just painful. It
      involved imperial conquests, ethnic cleansing and
      many minor and two major wars - involving the
      murder and displacement of countless millions.

      As India and China rise with their consumerist
      middle classes in a world of finite energy
      resources, it is easy to imagine that this
      century will be ravaged by the kind of economic
      rivalries and military conflicts that made the
      last century so violent. In any case, the hope
      that fuels the pursuit of endless economic growth
      - that billions of customers in India and China
      will one day enjoy the lifestyles of Europeans
      and Americans - is an absurd and dangerous
      fantasy. It condemns the global environment to
      early destruction, and looks set to create
      reservoirs of nihilistic rage and disappointment
      among hundreds of millions of have-nots.

      Many intellectuals and activists in India and
      China grapple with this challenge of modernity
      every day, knowing well the disasters that lie in
      wait if they fail. In the meantime, we in the
      west will do well to dismantle the illusions of
      neo-orientalism - the most powerful and
      far-reaching yet of the many accounts of the
      orient shaped by western self-perceptions and
      self-interest. For peace in this century depends
      on India and China finding a less calamitous way
      of becoming modern.

      · Pankaj Mishra's new book is Temptations of the
      West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan and


      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/

      DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
      necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.
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