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SACW | Jan. 1-2, 2007

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | January 1-2, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2342 - Year 8 [1] Bangladesh / India: Two Nations and a Dead Body (Sajal Nag) [2] India: BJP -
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | January 1-2, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2342 - Year 8

      [1] Bangladesh / India: Two Nations and a Dead Body (Sajal Nag)
      [2] India: BJP - Back To Hindutva And Hatred (Praful Bidwai)
      [3] India : The tenable patriot (Shahid Amin)
      [4] Hindustani in the Time of Globalisation (Mukul Dube)
      [5] India: The ethos of teaching English - An
      educational agenda (Kancha Ilaiah)
      [6] India: Bhagat Singh Chair at JNU
      [7] Upcoming Events: 6th World Atheist
      Conference (Vijayawada, 5 - 7 January, 2007)

      ____


      [1]

      Economic and Political Weekly
      December 16, 2006

      TWO NATIONS AND A DEAD BODY
      MORTUARIAL RITES AND POST-COLONIAL MODES OF
      NATION-MAKING IN SOUTH ASIA

      by Sajal Nag

      The discourse on nationalism has rarely examined the nation-making processes
      in post-colonial, post-nationalist spaces.
      Although nation-making in these new states
      followed
      the familiar method of "appropriation and
      application" as in the west, the construction and
      legitimisation of a separate identity needed an
      entirely different engagement. This article
      studies such an endeavour that took place in
      post-colonial south Asia in the context of the
      death of a poet. The corpse of the dead poet,
      Kazi Nazrul Islam, became the contested site by
      two sovereign nations. The conflict over
      appropriating Nazrul and his legacy also took
      place
      at a crucial political juncture for Bangladesh,
      as it made the unlikely transition from
      democracy towards totalitarianism, from secularism to fundamentalism.

      http://www.epw.org.in/showArticles.php?root=2006&leaf=12&filename=10875&filetype=pdf

      _____


      [2]

      Kashmir Times
      January 1, 2007

      BACK TO HINDUTVA AND HATRED
      BJP'S UNRESOLVED CRISIS

      By Praful Bidwai

      If there is one political party in India which
      knows how to create the impression that it's
      laying down the national agenda when it isn't,
      it's surely the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
      That's the message its national council meeting
      in Lucknow sent out when Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee
      declared that "the road to power in New Delhi
      passes via Lucknow" and exhorted the party to win
      the coming elections to the Uttar Pradesh
      Assembly.
      Senior BJP leaders themselves manufactured this
      upbeat appearance. They highlighted the issue of
      who would lead the party in the next Lok Sabha
      elections as if it were part of the real agenda.
      Mr LK Advani set the ball rolling in a recent
      television interview when he said he would be the
      natural candidate for the Prime Minister's job
      should the BJP come to power; yet he doesn't
      expect Mr Vajpayee to nominate him. Soon, Mr MM
      Joshi, another would-be PM, declared there's no
      dearth of prime ministerial candidates in the BJP.
      It was left to Mr Rajnath Singh, anointed BJP
      president for three more years, to put in the
      next claim. Mr Singh used colourful, semi-rustic
      imagery, of baratis (the bridegroom's party) only
      waiting to carry the bride, satta ki sundari
      (deity of power) to Delhi, and hinted that he
      himself might be the dulah (bridegroom).
      Meanwhile, Mr Narendra Modi strutted around as if
      he were Mr Vajpayee's successor, being the only
      senior second-generation leader to wield state
      power.
      However, it's preposterous to regard the issue of
      BJP leadership in 2009 as relevant today. One
      must be irrationally exuberant to be convinced
      that the BJP will probably return to power in the
      next general elections, or that leadership will
      be the main determinant of its fate.
      The BJP has been in steep decline since its 2004
      Lok Sabha defeat. Many of its partners have
      deserted its National Democratic Alliance. The
      party's consistently poor performance in
      by-elections, its loss of power in Jharkhand, and
      the demoralisation of many of its state units all
      point to this. The murder of Pramod Mahajan, the
      party's brightest second-generation leader, by
      his own brother, and the defection of Ms Uma
      Bharati, the fiery leader with the widest OBC
      appeal, were major setbacks too.
      It's only in urban UP that the BJP has registered
      gains. During recent three-tier municipal
      elections, it won eight out of 12 large-city
      mayoral positions. (It had won six even in 2001.)
      In smaller towns, it was comprehensively defeated
      by the Samajwadi Party.
      Yet, BJP leaders presented these results as a
      triumph heralding the party's ascent to national
      power. In reality, the local elections weren't
      even representative because the Bahujan Samaj
      Party, one of UP's Big Two, didn't contest them.
      In fact, the BSP covertly backed select
      candidates, including many from the BJP, to
      defeat its principal rival, the SP.
      The BJP benefited from two factors:
      anti-incumbency against Chief Minister Mulayam
      Singh Yadav, and communal polarisation triggered
      by the Haji Yakub episode (in which he offered Rs
      50 crores to kill the Danish cartoonist who had
      ridiculed Prophet Mohammed), and the government's
      refusal to ban the Students' Islamic Movement of
      India.
      Ironically, a strange confluence of interests has
      developed between the two rivals, BJP and SP. The
      harder Mr Yadav tries to woo the Muslim
      constituency that's now suspicious of him, the
      more the upper-caste Hindu vote shifts towards
      the BJP. It's not for nothing that Mr Yadav
      offered 5-star hospitality in Lucknow to BJP top
      brass citing "protocol", and they accepted it.
      Despite these advantages, the BJP only made
      modest gains in the local elections. It's unclear
      whether these will reverse its long downslide.
      The party's UP Assembly strength has plummeted
      from the 1991 peak of 221 (of 419 seats) to just
      88 (of a total of 403), and its Lok Sabha tally
      from UP shrunk from 51 to only 10. For a party
      long in the Number Three slot in UP, a reversal
      looks highly unlikely.
      However, BJP leaders have taken heart from what
      they regard as the "Muslim appeasement" card
      played by the United Progressive Alliance
      government through the Sachar Committee, which
      recommends affirmative action for Muslims.
      In Lucknow, there was full-throated condemnation
      of "Muslim appeasement", warnings about India's
      "second partition", fanatical appeals to build a
      grand Ram temple at Ayodhya, and contrived
      bemoaning of the alleged reduction of Hindus to
      the status of "second-class citizens". Leader
      after BJP leader spewed venom on Muslims and
      hysterically warned against a "sell-out" on
      Kashmir and Siachen.
      The BJP should know better. Sachar is no Shah
      Bano. In 1984, the Congress government amended
      secular laws to please those clamouring against
      modest compensation for a poor, deserted old
      woman. The Sachar report is a serious,
      well-considered, solidly documented analysis of
      exclusion of and discrimination against Muslims.
      It pleads for diversity and pluralism-not for
      sectarian solutions. It should occasion sober
      reflection on Indian society's failure to prevent
      the creation of a new underclass of disadvantaged
      people and promote full representation of all
      social groups-without prejudice.
      It's extremely unlikely that the "appeasement"
      card will work given the present national mood,
      which favours integration and respect for
      inclusion and equity. The mood also frowns upon
      paranoid notions of national identity. There is
      widespread support for a durable and just peace
      with Pakistan and a border settlement and broad
      cooperation with China.
      It's even more unlikely that the Ayodhya plank
      will sell. As the Sangh Parivar's own countless
      futile attempts to organise yatras on the issue
      show, the public is simply not interested in this
      agenda of hatred and revenge. The agenda doesn't
      earn votes anywhere.
      The BJP's return to hardline Hindutva represents
      a terrible retrogression. It's not in the
      interest of democracy and pluralism that India's
      largest opposition party should embrace such a
      narrow, divisive, communal agenda. This
      demolishes the hope that leaders like Mr Vajpayee
      would somehow neutralise the RSS's malign
      influence and push the BJP towards moderation. If
      he couldn't do this while in power, it's
      ludicrous to expect him to do so after he's lost
      it.
      In line with this Rightward ideological-political
      shift, the BJP has also executed an
      organisational shift. It has amended its
      constitution so that all its secretaries at the
      national and state levels are pracharaks or
      full-time Sangh propagandists. The RSS influence
      has been starkly visible in all recent BJP
      campaigns.
      Mr Rajnath Singh has further strengthened this
      influence-not least because he lacks an
      independent base and needs the Sangh's crutches.
      The RSS in turn is only too happy at the revival
      of the three contentious issues-Ram temple,
      Uniform Civil Code, and Article 370-which were
      put on hold in 1998 for dishonourable
      reasons-expediency and greed for power.
      The Lucknow conclave leaves the BJP's structural
      crisis unresolved. Ideologically, the party is
      trapped between orthodox, Islamophobic, Hindutva
      typical of small-town traders and upper-caste
      groups, on the one hand, and pro-globalisation
      Big Business, on the other. Politically, it's
      divided between its identity as an
      ethno-religious movement, and electoral
      compulsions which propel it into opportunistic
      alliances. Organisationally, it cannot sever its
      umbilical chord with the Sangh Parivar.
      As this Column has often argued, the BJP's
      ascendancy from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s
      was founded on three mutually reinforcing
      factors. First, the Congress's long-term decline
      owing to its compromises with communalism and
      market fundamentalism. This, coupled with the
      Left's stagnation after the Soviet Union's
      collapse, shifted India's political spectrum
      Rightwards.
      Second, the BJP-VHP's mobilisation around Ayodhya
      in the late 1980s allowed Hindutva to percolate
      widely. For the first time, the BJP broke out of
      its narrow savarna Hindu-Hindi confines. And
      third, its "social engineering" strategy, of
      combining "Mandal" with "Kamandal", helped it
      attract OBC support in the Hindi belt.
      None of these factors operates today. The
      Congress has revived itself. The Left has
      expanded. Regional parties with subaltern agendas
      have grown. And the centre of gravity of Indian
      politics has shifted Leftwards. Social justice
      has displaced Ayodhya.
      The BJP is disoriented by all this. Until
      recently, it was in outright denial of its 2004
      defeat It still has no political strategy to
      revitalise itself. Its leadership crisis remain
      serious. Its president is a narrow-minded
      provincial Thakur politician. He isn't even
      remotely acquainted with the India that's outside
      the Hindi belt.
      Lurking behind him is Mr Narendra Modi, who,
      sadly, enjoys a high level of acceptance within
      the BJP and behaves as its de facto Number Two,
      next only to Mr Vajpayee.
      The BJP is caught between aspiring leaders of
      such appalling quality, and geriatric veterans
      who are increasingly out-of-sync with reality,
      but refuse to fade out. It's likely to remain
      suspended in this unenviable state for some time.

      _____


      [3]

      Magazine Section / The Hindu
      Dec 03, 2006

      THE TENABLE PATRIOT

      by Shahid Amin

      As we approach the 60th anniversary of our
      independence, it appears that some Indians can
      claim to be born citizens by virtue of belonging
      to the Hindu majority, while others must remain
      citizens-on-probation all their lives. Despite
      legal equality, members of minority communities
      are repeatedly subjected to a cricket-match or a
      national-song test of loyalty. Is the idea of
      India to be reduced to such a war of
      backward-looking symbolisms? What is the true
      measure of patriotism?

      Patriotism for the oppressed

      Photo: Vivek Bendre

      Politics of language: A predominantly dalit slum in Mumbai.

      OUR balding nation-state, a majority of whose
      persons-in-communities are on the right side of
      40, will soon turn 60. The consensual anxieties
      of inculcating a proper patriotism have begun
      already to yield sarkari fruit: a mixed bag of
      apples and oranges, to be sure. As the new year
      dawns, a long list of accredited past patriots
      will no doubt be drawn up, with a careful
      sprinkling of dalits, Muslims, women, Kashmiris,
      North-easterners and such like, i.e. those less
      empowered than their `naturally so' mainstream
      countrymen. Directives will flow down New Delhi's
      Raisina Hill; like-minded scholars will strive to
      ensure that a capacious yet stringent view from
      the Centre holds.

      Deifying English

      Could 19th-century peasants, whose vision, it is
      said, was no wider than the backside of their
      plough-bullocks, have been patriotic? Were Indian
      patriots the same as Indian nationalists? How are
      we to recognise patriotism before nationalism
      began to be talked about by our English-educated
      forbearers? The first President of the Republic
      was a Bihari democrat, but could Bahadur Shah,
      `the king of Delhi', to use the proper Company
      diminutive, conceivably have been India's first
      and last Mughal patriot? Or to shift focus: Is
      Chandrabhan Prasad, who recently launched a
      campaign for deifying English as a goddess, to be
      propitiated quite literally by the dalits of
      Hindustan, being simply gimmicky and provocative?
      Or is his proposal for a globalised English,
      personified as the kuladevi of all dalit
      households, announced on the 206th birth
      anniversary of Lord Macaulay, at bottom an
      unpatriotic act; a reneging from our common
      civilisational past; a deliberate turning away of
      dalits from things Hindi and Indian?

      The tenor of a recent televised debate between
      Prasad and two Delhi-based bilingual
      intellectuals, conducted by one of our foremost
      current affairs anchors, suggests that, when
      faced with a transgressive idea to move radically
      beyond the horizon of possibility, most of us
      reach instinctively for our copybook notion of
      India. And very often this means throwing aside
      the opportunity of thinking with and through
      adversarial positions that emanate as challenges
      from the margins to our very sense of Indianness.
      Prasad's utopia is for future dalit babies to
      arrive into this world to the sound of the
      English alphabet: mantras or azaan being ruled
      out, of necessity. This is an idea stunning in
      its novelty. I am sure that, had it been
      expressed in a 19th-century document about a
      tribal revolt in Jharkhand, it would have
      elicited our attention as illustrative of the
      hegemonic apotheosis of colonial English. Wasn't
      one of the leaders of the great Santhal Rebellion
      of 1855 apprehended with an English book of a
      technical nature, `an old book on locomotive[s]',
      as the official record has it!

      But as the debate with Chandrabhan Prasad
      unfolded over half-an-hour of late-night TV, no
      one engaged this dalit thinker on his own terms:
      how would poor, uneducated dalit parents in the
      villages of the north Indian cowbelt ensure that
      a Sesame Street version of fun alphabet-learning
      is beamed to the Sagri subdivision of Azamgarh
      District, where Chandrabhan grew up? Would it
      make sense for dalits to insist that the Central
      Institute of English and Foreign Languages,
      Hyderabad, now fashion audio-visual materials for
      what he would no doubt wish to be christened the
      `Universal English Education Mission'? Would
      there be any place for a less Sanskritic Hindi in
      dalit households, or would it involve an even
      more subversive and utopian demand for the
      valorisation of only particular north Indian
      dialects as a second language of home, a new
      diglossia comprising globalised corporate English
      and, say, Bhojpuri?

      Instead, the discussion veered around such
      pan-Indian and patriotic concerns as: How would
      dalits then distinguish between maternal and
      paternal uncles, for English terms are so limited
      in their kin and affinal reach? What would happen
      to religions of and in India, if all of us
      (Prasad was concerned solely with dalits) spouted
      only English? Would not the resulting
      deracination harbinger fundamentalisms, as in
      Silicon Valley? Can English acquisition really
      put an end to deep-seated and long-enduring
      structures of caste oppression? But that was not,
      one felt like screaming though the picture tube,
      what the subversive proposal was about. For,
      except for the Pandits and Maulvis, no one lives
      by language alone. The dalit-English proposal is
      an unexpected challenge to the mainstream view of
      patriotism-in-an-Indian language, preferably a
      north-Indian language. And now that an American
      accent is de rigeur for luxury-item adverts on
      our TVs, whither linguistic patriotism?


      _____


      [4]

      Indian Express,
      1 Jan 2007

      HINDUSTANI IN THE TIME OF GLOBALISATION

      by Mukul Dube

      I cannot afford to dislike English, and I would
      be an ingrate if I were to do that. As an editor,
      a writer and an academic, I have used the
      language to fill my stomach for three and a half
      decades. That stomach turns, though, if
      figuratively, when English words are gratuitously
      introduced into Hindustani speech even when
      perfectly adequate and sometimes better
      Hindustani words are to be had.

      Money makes the world go around. In our daily
      lives, we speak of it constantly. Few grocers in
      Delhi conduct their business in English: Punjabi
      is used, as well as Tamil and Bangla and so on in
      pockets, but Hindustani is the most common
      currency by far. When, after having completed my
      purchases of fruit juice and peanuts and safety
      matches and such things entirely in Hindustani, I
      ask how much I must pay, English jumps up like a
      Jack-in-the-box. "Seventy-two rupees" is the
      answer rather than "bahattar rupaiy." Similarly,
      when I ask a pretty young thing, in Hindustani,
      about her pretty garment or her pretty bag, she
      will say "Four hundred rupees" rather than "char
      sau rupaiy." Seldom is anything other than price
      mentioned, but that fact has nothing to do with
      language.

      A child in a shopping area who feels like putting
      away a soft drink will say to his mother, "Mamma,
      please ten rupees dena." Money is never, never
      spoken of without the application of the
      anglicised-globalised name of our legal tender.

      We live on food. It is only to be expected that
      Mrs. Khanna will say to Mrs. Tiwari, "Bhenji,
      paneer bahut tasty bana hai," throwing on to the
      heap of onion skins words like "svadishta" and
      "lazeez." To Mrs. Khurana, she might amplify with
      "vadda fine flavour hai ji."

      There was a time when davais were used to deal
      with bimaris and assorted health-related matters.
      That was in the past. For several years now, when
      our chemist has put together the coming month's
      supply of drugs for my mother and me, he
      telephones to say, "Sir, apki medicines ready
      hain." Always "medicines"-"drugs" is a no-no,
      though not for the same reason as "davaiyan" is.

      Personal adornment with "precious" materials-
      gold, silver, diamonds, etc.-is not new to India.
      When they are not displayed, such objects are
      hoarded and, of course, boasted about in words
      rather than visually. There has been a
      mushrooming of jewellery shops and brands of
      late, and on the channel which plays on my radio
      they are advertised constantly. The use of the
      words "gehne" and "zevarat" is apparently
      forbidden when listeners are invited to come and
      buy the glittering commodities. That there are
      still fools who believe that the joule is a
      measure of work done matters not: "jewellery" is
      pronounced invariably to rhyme with "fool+pee."

      Then there is the young woman who has learnt to
      operate the family car and is measuring how many
      kilos or seers her papa's permission weighs
      before she begins to drive herself to late night
      parties.

      English is, so to speak, the Bhasha Britannica of Delhi.

      ______


      [5]


      Deccan Herald
      November 23, 2006

      THE ETHOS OF TEACHING ENGLISH
      AN EDUCATIONAL AGENDA
      by Kancha Ilaiah

      The decision of the Karnataka Government to
      withdraw the recognition of 1400 English medium
      schools has set a tone for its backward move. It
      is also said that it stopped giving permission to
      any new English medium schools in the state. This
      only shows that the Kumarawsami's Government is
      effectively being run by the BJP.

      One of the key areas that the BJP has chosen to
      put the wheels of the nation backward is through
      the means of primary education. We have seen the
      efforts of Murali Manohar Joshi, as the Minister
      of Human Resource Development to saffronize the
      education. One of the ways in which they want to
      safronise the mass education is to see that
      English does not become a language of the masses.
      The Karnataka Government is doing exactly the
      same.

      Quite ironically even the top BJP leaders put
      their own children in English medium schools run
      by the Christian missionaries. This trend could
      be seen in every state where the elite keep
      beating their chest about the preserving the
      status of mother tongue vis-à-vis English. In
      Andhra Pradesh a similar debate is on. Those who
      have educated their children in English medium
      schools, saw to it that they settle down in
      America and Europe and their grand children have
      acquired the citizenship of the imperial nations,
      back home the grand parents keep working for the
      improvement of regional language.

      They work for closing down English medium schools
      in the villages and urban slums as they are
      defined as anti-national. These people oppose the
      caste-based reservations but at the same time
      work for managing seats for money under the NRI
      quota. This is a new quota worked out by the very
      same nationalists. The courts have no problem
      with that quota as that serves their families
      well.

      The forces that work around the right wing
      political parties are in the forefront of this
      duel mode of life. Not that the so called
      democrats oppose this process. They all see a
      danger to their regional culture in expanding
      English education.

      The very same people see a close nexus between
      regional culture and language. Expansion of
      English language into the rural locations is seen
      as ultimate danger to the linguistic cultural
      ethos. For a long time such social forces saw
      women as the engines that carry their cultural
      bogies.

      By and large the women among them moved into the
      realm of modernity with a process of English
      education. Now they see the rural masses, who
      study in Government schools, as the engines to
      carry the cultural bogies of their regional
      nationalism.

      For some time they defined English as colonial
      language. Now it is being defined as unethical
      globaliser of Brtish-American culture, which they
      think is harmful to their nationalist self. Who
      should save from this danger of uprooting of the
      local cultures? Who should protect that
      nationalist self from the onslaught of American
      imperialism? They think that the children of
      urban slums, rural peasantry and labourers by
      remaining native - Kannadigas, Telugus and so
      on-i.e. by remaining away from learning English,
      should protect their linguistic nationalism.

      Even the English media does not run a campaign
      against such Hippocratic nationalism, as this
      section constitutes the main English news paper
      readers and English TV channel watchers. It is
      this section that controls the corporate economy
      and the add finances. The dualism of the upper
      caste English educated is the main driving force
      of the Indian market economy.

      At the core of this dualistic social discourse
      and economic practice is keeping the competition
      within the corporate job market limited to their
      own children. They, therefore, oppose reservation
      in private sector and also oppose the expansion
      of English education among the vast lower caste
      masses.

      Since the lower caste mass children are not tied
      down to the Brahminic cultural ethos, they learn
      English more easily than the Brahminic kids can
      do. Since their cultural roots are not deep in
      Hindu ethos their modernisation and
      westernisation process would be quicker. For
      example, any Dalit-Bahujan boy or girl, who
      learns English at a right age and moves into
      global economy, does not suffer from
      vegetarianist hang-ups. They do not carry the
      Hindu idols with them to America or Europe. In
      one sense the fears of English educated
      globalised Hindu intellectuals (not just
      Hindutva) are genuine.

      The possibility of the social mass moving into
      English education may lead to dismantling of
      Hindu culture and caste system in a shorter span
      of time. From Phule to Ambedkar to the present
      English educated lower caste intellectuals have
      thrown Hinduism into deeper and deeper crisis.
      But the Hindutva forces and even the so called
      secular Hindus cannot stop this process because
      they are caught up in a cobweb of globalised
      English education and market systems.

      In this process of duel game of the cultural
      nationalists, the only way the Dalit-Bahujan
      social and political forces could get English
      education is by making uniform (both language and
      content) school education an election's issue.

      At least some political parties must make
      teaching 50 percent of the syllabus in English
      and remaining 50 percent in the regional language
      part of their electoral manifesto. The rural
      voters should also make it clear that unless
      their children are given English education they
      would not keep quite. Then the poor and lower
      castes begin to get the power of English.

      ______


      [6]


      The Hindu
      Dec 22, 2006

      BHAGAT SINGH CHAIR AT JNU PROPOSED

      Staff Reporter

      Plan forwarded by Prof. Chaman Lal of the Centre for Indian Languages

      NEW DELHI: A powerful figure in the freedom
      struggle and arguably one of the youngest and
      most charismatic revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh is
      all set to become "stronger". To give him a
      fitting tribute during his birth centenary year
      in 2007, a group of intellectuals have proposed
      to set up a Bhagat Singh Chair at Jawaharlal
      Nehru University here.

      The proposed Chair would focus on "the
      anti-colonial, anti-feudal revolutionary
      movements in India during 1757-1947".

      The proposal, spearheaded by Prof. Chaman Lal of
      the Centre for Indian Languages in JNU, seems to
      have found support from different quarters. Apart
      from leading historians Bipan Chandra and Mridula
      Mukherjee who have strongly endorsed the
      proposal, the Left leaders have also come out to
      lend their support.

      "It is a very worthwhile proposal to set up a
      Chair in a Central University like JNU. As far as
      I know, there is no other such Chair. It would be
      a good idea to set it up especially in the birth
      centenary year of Bhagat Singh,'' said Communist
      Party of India (Marxist) general secretary
      Prakash Karat.

      But despite the enthusiastic response to the
      proposal, there is still the question of funds.
      With finance still a stumbling block in this
      dream to showcase the intellectual aspect of
      Bhagat Singh, it is being hoped that the
      committee responsible for the upcoming centenary
      celebrations in 2007 established by the Centre
      will be able to make it come true.

      "There is not a single chair or a university
      named after Bhagat Singh. All the other national
      leaders have educational institutions named after
      them. We are hoping that this committee, which is
      looking at the birth centenary celebrations of
      Bhagat Singh and the 60th year of Independence
      among others, will be able to provide us the
      funds. A member of the programme implementation
      committee has agreed to raise this in the meeting
      this Thursday,'' says Prof. Lal, who has also
      edited the freedom fighter's documents.

      Taking his legacy forward to reach out to the
      youth, it is also suggested that the Chair be
      made functional in the School of Social Sciences
      with a "multi-disciplinary" approach. It has also
      been suggested that the Chair concentrate on
      research and offer more fellowships as and when
      it generates more funds. With grand plans for the
      Chair, Prof. Lal believes that the Punjabi
      community abroad can also be tapped to generate
      funds for a library.

      "Bhagat Singh has always remained alive in the
      minds of people. He was well read and had a fine
      mind. The Chair will give us an opportunity to
      spread awareness about this side of him and do
      more,'' says Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
      director Mridula Mukherjee.

      ______


      [7]

      6TH WORLD ATHEIST CONFERENCE

      5, 6 & 7 January, 2007
      Atheist Centre, Vijayawada, A.P., INDIA

      "The Necessity of Atheism"

      Levi Fragell, Sonja Eggerickx, Dr. Veeramani, Roy
      Brown, Volker Mueller, Dr. P.M. Bhargava, Jim
      Herrick, Bill Cooke, Kjartan Selnes, Lavanam, Dr.
      Narendra Nayak, G.V.K. Asan, Prof. Dhaneswar
      Sahoo and many others will speak. Three day
      simple accommodation and food at the Atheist
      Centre

      Further details from Dr. Vijayam, Executive Director

      ATHEIST CENTRE, Benz Circle, Vijayawada 520010, A.P., India.
      Phone +91 866 2472330, Fax: +91 866 2484850, Email: atheistcentre@...


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