IAMC Weekly News Roundup - August 18th, 2014

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Peace, Pluralism and Justice 

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

India's 68th Independence Day - A time to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC - www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on Indians across the world, to mark the occasion of India's 68th Independence Day by finding ways to strengthen pluralism, and to renew communal harmony, in order to defeat the designs of divisive and destructive ideologies.

The fact that Indians professing different faiths, belonging to varied ethnic groups and speaking many different languages, have continued to live together as one nation, is emblematic of the core strength of the idea of India. It is the vast majority of Indians, whose commitment to our cherished tradition of tolerance and whose unflinching loyalty to the nation's founding principles holds the country together, who should be proud on the occasion of the Independence Day. It is their tenacity in safeguarding India's secular Constitution that must be saluted on this day.

Yet, the occasion of the Independence Day is also a grim reminder of the profound challenges faced by the nation. Sectarianism, and an insidious, destructive ideology that masquerades as nationalism, have brought the country to a juncture where its very future as a secular nation is at risk. Violence against women, minorities and lower castes and the subversion of secular institutions of the state, threaten to take away from us what we gained through blood and toil over the centuries.

Secular Indians of all faiths and ideological persuasions are particularly anguished by the fact that large sections of India's population are still struggling to safeguard their civil liberties and religious freedom. The recent spate of inflammatory and hurtful statements, such as those made by RSS Supremo, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, brings to the fore a deliberate attempt to foster sectarian hate. "The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture," Mr. Bhagwat is reported to have said, while speaking at the Golden Jubilee function of an Odia weekly in Cuttack. Such a mis-characterization of Indian culture is no less than a threat to the right of self-identification by the religious minorities.

"India is the product of many faiths, and a crucible of many cultural influences. This is what makes us unique as a nation. This Independence Day, we call on all Indians to renew their commitment to protecting the fruits of the freedom struggle," said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. "The spirit that brought us freedom from colonialism, can once again defeat the designs of hate ideologies that prey upon our fears and differences, " added Mr. Khan.

It is alarming that dozens of Muslim youth have been arrested on trumped-up terror charges and continue to languish in prisons, for crimes they had not committed. In some cases, like the infamous Akshardham case and the Surat 1993 blasts case, justice was served after more than a decade, when their innocence was upheld by the Supreme Court.

IAMC takes this opportunity to commemorate the countless freedom fighters, including countless Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Parsis who were killed in the freedom struggle. They offered the ultimate sacrifice, but died believing that their collective identity as Indians was something they wanted to defend with their own lives.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 13 chapters across the nation.

For more information please visit our new website at: http://www.iamc.com/

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
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REFERENCES
India's Shrinking Religious Freedom
http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/rfp/blog/modi-s-victory-and-the-future-of-religious-freedom-in-india/responses/india-s-shrinking-religious-freedom

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat under attack
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/40068439.cms
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Communal Harmony

On 68th independence Day IAMC urges to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism (Aug 15, 2014, Twocircles.net)

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC - www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on Indians across the world, to mark the occasion of India's 68th Independence Day by finding ways to strengthen pluralism, and to renew communal harmony, in order to defeat the designs of divisive and destructive ideologies.

The fact that Indians professing different faiths, belonging to varied ethnic groups and speaking many different languages, have continued to live together as one nation, is emblematic of the core strength of the idea of India. It is the vast majority of Indians, whose commitment to our cherished tradition of tolerance and whose unflinching loyalty to the nation's founding principles holds the country together, who should be proud on the occasion of the Independence Day. It is their tenacity in safeguarding India's secular Constitution that must be saluted on this day.

Yet, the occasion of the Independence Day is also a grim reminder of the profound challenges faced by the nation. Sectarianism, and an insidious, destructive ideology that masquerades as nationalism, have brought the country to a juncture where its very future as a secular nation is at risk. Violence against women, minorities and lower castes and the subversion of secular institutions of the state, threaten to take away from us what we gained through blood and toil over the centuries.

Secular Indians of all faiths and ideological persuasions are particularly anguished by the fact that large sections of India's population are still struggling to safeguard their civil liberties and religious freedom. The recent spate of inflammatory and hurtful statements, such as those made by RSS Supremo, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, brings to the fore a deliberate attempt to foster sectarian hate. "The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture," Mr. Bhagwat is reported to have said, while speaking at the Golden Jubilee function of an Odia weekly in Cuttack. Such a mis-characterization of Indian culture is no less than a threat to the right of self-identification by the religious minorities.

"India is the product of many faiths, and a crucible of many cultural influences. This is what makes us unique as a nation. This Independence Day, we call on all Indians to renew their commitment to protecting the fruits of the freedom struggle," said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. "The spirit that brought us freedom from colonialism, can once again defeat the designs of hate ideologies that prey upon our fears and differences," added Mr. Khan. …

http://twocircles.net/2014aug15/68th_independence_day_iamc_urges_renew_communal_harmony_and_safeguard_secularism.html

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Muzaffarnagar organizes marathon to spread communal harmony (Aug 13, 2014, Business Standard)

In a bid to unite people from all faiths in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar city of Uttar Pradesh, a marathon was organised on Tuesday to spread the message of peace and communal harmony. Muzaffarnagar is a flashpoint in Uttar Pradesh in which some 60 people were killed in Hindu-Muslim riots last year.

The marathon saw participation of around 4,000 children, along with journalists, police officials, and members of various women and civil society organisations. The event concluded with a cultural function featuring Independence Day-themed programmes.

The five-kilometre marathon is an annual event and was organised for the third time in a row. An activist, Satyaprakash Reshu said the marathon would cross all religious institutions with religious heads taking part in it.

http://www.business-standard.com/video-gallery/general/muzaffarnagar-organizes-marathon-to-spread-communal-harmony-10202.htm

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Petition seeks stay on Modi election from Varanasi (Aug 12, 2014, The Hindu)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent crores as a candidate from Varanasi during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections campaign, thereby violating rules of expenditure, a writ petition filed before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday has claimed.

The petition filed by a Pune-based social activist against Mr. Modi, the Election Commission of India and the Union of India, has sought a stay on the election result from Varanasi till the plea is heard. It has also sought investigation and legal action against Mr. Modi.

Petitioner Hemant Patil has alleged that Mr. Modi took support of "various capitalists including Ambani, Adani, etc., and expended in large with violation of provisions of law." He has said the expenditure resulted in giving full majority to the BJP and getting Mr. Modi the position of a Prime Minister.

"The Election Commission has allowed only Rs. 70 Lakh for one candidate in Lok Sabha election but Mr. Modi has never considered the same and (has) expended more than Rs. 5 to 10 crores on each and every candidates including himself," the petition has claimed. It has accused Mr. Modi of spending crores on the media campaign as well.

Mr. Patil has claimed that he had sent a written complaint to the Government of India and to the Election Commission, elaborating the election malpractices of Mr. Modi. But, he said he hasn't yet heard from any one of them about the action initiated against the Prime Minister.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/petition-in-bombay-high-court-seeks-stay-on-election-of-narendra-modi-from-varanasi/article6308530.ece

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'Since Narendra Modi turned PM, 600 riots struck India'; Sangh too under attack over communal riots (Aug 13, 2014, Financial Express)

Congress and other Opposition parties today accused Sangh parivar outfits, including VHP and Bajrang Dal, of "inciting" communal violence in the country to "polarise" the society, a charge stoutly rejected by the ruling BJP with counter allegations. Congress alleged that since the Narendra Modi government took over two months back, 600 riots had taken place in various parts of the country, particularly in the states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, where elections are due.

Initiating the discussion in Lok Sabha on 'Need for more effective mechanisms to deal with communal violence', Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge suggested that BJP and its affiliates were trying to "divide the society" to retain power and warned that if it was not controlled, "we will repent". Amid strong protests by ruling benches, he said BJP should not "incite" riots and added "Only because you got government does not mean that you will suppress others."

Naming VHP and Bajrang Dal and referring to certain comments made by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Kharge said the "communal forces" had got emboldened after BJP came to power as they feel that they have "political power" now and would be protected. He said while BJP was accusing Congress of indulging in "vote bank politics", the truth was the other way round.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/since-narendra-modi-turned-pm-600-riots-struck-india-sangh-too-under-attack-over-communal-riots/1279121/0

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RSS practicing politics of hatred: SP attacks Bhagwat for controversial remarks (Aug 18, 2014, IBN)

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday came under attack from Samajwadi Party for his controversial remarks that India is a Hindu nation and Hindutva is its identity. It accused the Sangh of practising politics of "hatred and separatism." "They use such words and language to fan social tension," SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.

Mohan Bhagwat had on Sunday said India is a Hindu nation and Hindutva is its identity. "Hindustan is a Hindu nation… Hindutva is the identity of our nation and it (Hinduism) can incorporate others (religions) in itself," he said. He was in Mumbai on Sunday on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami to attend the inauguration programme of the golden jubilee celebrations of the VHP, that was founded in Mumbai on August 29-30, 1964.

He said the goal of VHP in the coming five years would be to ensure equality among the Hindus of the nation. "For the next 5 years we have to work with the aim of bringing equality among all the Hindus in the country. All Hindus should be drinking water at one place, should be praying at one place and after their death, their bodies should be burnt at the same place," he said.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/rss-practicing-politics-of-hatred-sp-attacks-bhagwat-for-controversial-remarks/492773-3-242.html

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Saharanpur riots report: Committee questions role of BJP (Aug 17, 2014, Indian Express)

A five-member committee headed by UP minister Shivpal Yadav, which probed the communal violence in Saharanpur that left three persons dead, has blamed administrative lapses for the incident and questioned the role of BJP. "The report has been submitted by the committee to chief minister in which a BJP MP has also been named besides laxity of administrative officers", Samajwadi Party's National General Secretary Naresh Agarwal said. …

The report of the committee has blamed laxity of some officers and said the government should take stern action against them to give a message to the bureaucracy, Agarwal said. "As role of a BJP MP has also come to the fore, we can say that the party (BJP) has a role in the Saharanpur incident", he said. The committee in its report, sources said, has alleged that a local BJP MP provoked the rioters which led to attempts to torch shops.

It alleged that the administration became active only after the violence broke out. As the holy month of Ramzan was going on, the administration should not have allowed any construction at the disputed site or members of opposite community to assemble, the report said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/saharanpur-riots-report-committee-questions-role-of-bjp/

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Cop surrenders in Muzaffarnagar riot case (Aug 14, 2014, Free Press Journal)

A police constable, allegedly involved in arson and loot during the communal riots here last year, has surrendered in a local court. The constable, who had been absconding in the case, was later released on interim bail till August 26, said SIT Inspector Ramreten Singh.

Constable Anuj Kumar, posted with the Delhi Police, surrendered in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Narender Kumar yesterday, the Inspector said. His bail plea was also rejected by the court. Later, he was released on interim bail by the Sessions Court. His regular bail plea will be heard on August 26, he said.

In the investigation by SIT, the constable was found involved in incidents of arson and loot in Lisadh village in the district during the riots last year and the court had issued an arrest warrant against him, the Inspector said. The constable, who is a native of the village, had gone there at the time of the riots during his holiday.

http://freepressjournal.in/cop-surrenders-in-muzaffarnagar-riot-case/

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Communal tension grips Khandwa again; one shot (Aug 14, 2014, Hindustan Times)

Two armed men first shot at two friends and then stabbed one of them to death on a busy street in Khandwa district on Thursday, rekindling communal tensions that appeared to have died down after a burst of religious violence a fortnight ago. Since both men belong to the minority community, the police have been deployed to prevent a communal flare-up in the town where the authorities had lifted Section 144, which prohibits assembly of more than four people, only today.

Khandwa additional superintendent of police Gopal Khandel said two bike-born masked men first shot at Javed, a resident of Gulshan Nagar, and his friend Saleem, who hails from Bikangaon, with a country-made pistol. The assailants then stabbed Javed who died on the spot. Saleem has been taken to a hospital where his condition is stated to be serious.

"Section 144 has been again been imposed in the city. We are investigating the murder and police are maintaining a vigil to prevent any untoward incident," Khandel told HT. The ASP said that Independence Day programmes in the town have been not been cancelled.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1252210.aspx

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Ex-CAG punctures a temple tale: No King Cobras guard the vault (Aug 13, 2014, Indian Express)

Like all treasure trove stories, Kerala's Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple also has one striking tale of yore, dipped in curse and realms of imagination. That hooded King Cobras with forked tongues - coiled and ready to strike at lightning speed - protect one of its secret treasure chambers. And this is the vault that spells disaster for those who dare open it.

The mysterious Vault-B kept everyone at bay although five other vaults were opened in 2011 by a team mandated by the Supreme Court. The stocktaking had unveiled a treasure trove worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore - in the form of jewellery, idols, weapons, utensils and coins. The myth of Vault-B, however, has now been shattered. Dismissing all apprehensions and fear of bad omen, former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai has informed the Supreme Court that Vault-B had been opened at least seven times to his knowledge since 1990.

Rai, who has been appointed as special auditor in the wake of the "disturbing facts" disclosed in a report by the court-appointed amicus, Gopal Subramanium, cited all the occasions as to when Vault-B was opened. Illustrating the fact from the record kept by the temple authorities, Rai pointed out that Vault-B was opened twice in 1990 and five times in 2002. "Silver ingots were taken out and gold vessels were deposited and subsequently taken out, as evidenced from the entries in the Mahassar Books and other registers maintained by the treasurer of the temple and as produced before the audit team," he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/ex-cag-punctures-a-temple-tale-no-king-cobras-guard-the-vault/99/

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Fake encounter cases: Court warns Amit Shah, says will act against accused absent without valid reason (Aug 14, 2014, IBN)

A Central Bureau of Investigation court has hit out at the accused remaining absent from the hearings into the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. The court has said that if the accused are absent from the hearing and valid reason is not given, then appropriate action will be taken against them.

The court was hearing an application by Sohrabuddin Sheikh's brother Rubabuddin about Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah's absence from court hearings. Shah was earlier exempted from some hearings, but continues to remain absent from further hearings.

The court had on issued summonses to Shah and other accused in the case, which had been transferred from Gujarat to Mumbai earlier this year. The CBI had chargesheeted Shah and 18 others, including several police officers, in the case last September.…

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/fake-encounter-cases-court-warns-amit-shah-says-will-act-against-accused-absent-without-valid-reason/492113-37-64.html

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Pracharak Sunil Joshi killed after he made sexual advances on Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur: NIA (Aug 17, 2014, Financial Express)

Probing the 2007 murder of RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has concluded that one of the reasons for his killing was the alleged "sexual advances" he made towards Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, already named an accused in the case by police in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.

The ailing Sadhvi, who is also an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, is set to figure in a NIA chargesheet to be filed next week in the Joshi murder case. She and four others are expected to be charged under provisions of the Arms Act and not the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. She is the only one to be named in both chargesheets - of the Dewas police and NIA - in the case.

The NIA claimed that one of the motives for the murder was the "sexual advances" made by Joshi. According to the agency, Pragya was wary of Joshi, believing he would spill the beans on the terror plots. The NIA chargesheet is likely to mention that in a bid to prevent Joshi from speaking about the Ajmer blasts, Pragya kept Anandraj Kataria in her house for almost 10 days. Although Dewas police named Kataria as an accused, he does not figure in the final NIA list of accused in the Joshi murder case.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/pracharak-killed-after-he-made-sexual-advances-on-sadhvi-nia/1280005

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UP police officer held guilty of raping Dalit girl (Aug 14, 2014, IBN)

A local court has held a deputy superintendent of police guilty of raping a Dalit girl in Kanpur two years ago. According to a complaint lodged in 2012 by the victim's father with the police, Deputy SP Amarjeet Shahi during his posting in Kanpur had lured his daughter and raped her.

Shahi was suspended with immediate effect after the incident. He was lodged in jail for 18 months and later released on bail. The accused has been held guilty on charges of abduction and rape under SC and SC Act. The court would pronounce the quantum of sentence on August 16, the prosecution said.

Later outside the court, the victim and her family members raised slogans against the accused and demanded a death penalty for him.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/up-police-officer-held-guilty-of-raping-dalit-girl/492208-3-242.html

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Opinions and Editorials

A Twisted Idea Of India - By Pradyot Lal (Aug 23, 2014, Tehelka)

It cannot be described as his moment of epiphany because Mohanrao Bhagwat has not said anything that had not been said by his ideological progenitors before. … For the likes of Bhagwat, however, the idea of India's pluralism is a romantic myth. The Modi establishment is making conscious efforts to saffronise the educational system, and the assertions by Bhagwat cannot be taken to mean as some kind of individual ramblings alone. By saying that all Indians have the same DNA irrespective of their specific background, Bhagwat is paraphrasing his mentors without a hint of originality, but he is also being as dangerously ahistorical as Dinanath Batra and YS Rao have been in recent weeks. Barely a few days after the Modi regime took over, the 'one nation, one language' schema of which Rajnath Singh is an avowed proponent came up to cause serious disquiet.

All these things suggest that it is not just saffron's ideological fringe that is threatening to assume ascendancy but the moves have the direct and active participation of leading busybodies. The timing of Bhagwat's babble could not have been more ominous. One recalls that less than two years ago, his sexist mindset had come strikingly to the fore when he spoke in the wake of the Nirbhaya episode. Among other things, he had said then that rapes were rampant in India and not Bharat, thereby leading critics to snigger that he knew nothing about either India or Bharat.

This time round, Bhagwat has been rapped for not adhering to the basics of the Constitution, which speaks of India that is Bharat and which at no point implies that all Hindustanis are Hindus. Bhagwat is neither a charismatic figure nor a conspicuous ideologue. But he happens to head the brigade of which the BJP is a part. His worldview may smack of narrow nationalism, Brahminism and half-digested modernity, but taken together, it constitutes a lethal combination. There are many in the Modi regime who take his word to be the gospel truth.…

http://www.tehelka.com/a-twisted-idea-of-india/

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Will Modi's own camp accept his I-Day advice? - By Amulya Ganguli (Aug 15, 2014, Business Standard)

Perhaps the most important part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech from the ramparts of New Delhi's Red Fort was his call for a 10-year moratorium on caste-based and communal violence. As it follows President Pranab Mukherjee's condemnation of the "poison-drips" of bigotry in his broadcast on the eve of Independence Day, it is evident that the government is focussing on the rising communal temperature, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, which has been discussed in parliament.

The emphasis is understandable because no development, which is Modi's primary objective, can take place unless there is social peace. However, the point to ponder is how far the government can go to check this disquieting trend, especially because elements associated with the saffron brotherhood are involved in fomenting tension.

The government may crack down on its opponents who whip up communal feelings, but will the saffronites heed Modi's counsel of restraint? And, what will be the government's response if they don't? Among those who has long been an offender in this respect is the saffron-robed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, Yogi Adityanath, who said during the debate on communal violence that Hindus who feel threatened must "fight back".…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/will-modi-s-own-camp-accept-his-i-day-advice-column-political-circus-114081500334_1.html

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Selective Justice - By Abdul Majid Zargar (Aug 12, 2014, Countercurrents)

Maya Kodnani, convicted for killing ninety five Muslims, in 2002 Naroda Patiya & Naroda Gaam case, has been released on bail by Gujrat High Court. In so-called Secular India, The delivery of Justice has been most communal & selective against minorities particularly Muslims. Many such persons convicted of crimes of far less magnitude are languishing in jails without any relief and few of them even awaiting for being sent to gallows.

How was Kodnani nailed in the two wanton massacres of Muslims in the first instance, after having been set free earlier by the trial Court, is an interesting story in itself. After all the vital limbs of democracy, namely the executive, Judiciary & media, colluded with each other to shield the culprits of great carnage, it was left to some divine intervention to bring them to book. And that intervention came through the fall of BJP led Coalition Government in the 2004 Lok Sabha election and a vital piece of evidence in the form of mobile telephone records originally secured by a valiant Police officer, Rahul Sharma, much to the chagrin of his superior officers. …

The story does not end here. Rahul Sharma instead of being applauded & awarded for his heroic work was harassed & hounded by Modi Govt. In 2011, his Govt. initiated disciplinary action against him with four charges of collecting call data record without authorization, storing data in his personal computer without authorization, not informing the original investigating officer about the copies of data in his possession and finally for submitting the data to Nanavati Commission without prior approval of higher authorities.

http://www.countercurrents.org/zargar120814.htm

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This is the stage where all Muslim tropes live - By Mushirul Hasan (Aug 25, 2014, Outlook)

…The NDA's electoral victory has lent coherence to the Sangh parivar's ideology, but it has made the Muslim communities spend sleepless nights. This had not happened before. Notwithstanding their litany of complaints against the Congress, they have been wedded to the Indian way of life. They have done nothing whatsoever to undermine the Constitution or repudiate the Nehruvian consensus on secular democracy. However, today's political and intellectual climate has weakened their confidence in the state system and, what is more, heightened their insecurities. Among other things, the clamour for a uniform civil code has caused consternation. Given its track record, one wonders what is next on the Sangh parivar's divisive agenda!

Historiography must not follow the great impulses of public life; yet, the HRD ministry's project is to view the far distant age through contemporary conceptions. The electronic media, on the other hand, debates the imperative of jehad for contemporary Indian Muslims and the theoretical roots of 'Islamist political terror'. Based on false principles, this exercise is undertaken without realising that India is neither a centre of jehadi terrorism nor the battlefield for Islam's future. Islam exists in harmony with other religious traditions and Muslims live in peace with followers of other religions. Why is there so much resistance to this reality? Why is plurality of living not accepted as a fact of life? …

Finally, in a society where religion plays a dominant role in virtually every walk of life, it is the historian's task to bring secularism into our discussions and to affirm its validity as a principle guiding the nation's life. To renounce this claim is to surrender the Nehruvian project to the protagonists of right-wing ideologies—recipe for a national disaster.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Project-History/291658

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Misunderstanding secularism - By Christophe Jaffrelot (Aug 11, 2014, Indian Express)

Speaking as the chief guest at a conference at Gujarat University's convention hall on August 2, Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R. Dave said, "Had I been the dictator of India, I would have introduced Gita and Mahabharata in Class I. That is the way you learn how to live life. I am sorry if somebody says I am secular or I am not secular. But we have to get good things from everywhere."

These words reflect some of the current misunderstandings about Indian secularism. It is in consonance with Indian secularism to borrow "good things from everywhere", including the Gita and the Mahabharata. This "ism" does not imply the secularisation of society. On the contrary, whereas French laïcité involves a clear separation between public and religious spaces, far from excluding religion from the public sphere, Indian secularism officially recognises all faiths, as evident from the Constitution and its implementation in the first decades of the Indian republic.

Jawaharlal Nehru himself wrote in 1961: "We talk about a secular state in India. It is perhaps not very easy even to find a good word in Hindi for 'secular'. Some people think it means something opposed to religion. That obviously is not correct. What it means is that it is a state which honours all faiths equally and gives them equal opportunities."

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, president of India when Nehru was prime minister, expressed a similar vision in these eloquent terms: "When India is said to be a secular state, it does not mean that we as a people reject the reality of an unseen spirit or the relevance of religions to life or that we exalt irreligion. It does not mean that secularism itself becomes a positive religion or that the state assumes divine prerogatives. Though faith in the supreme spirit is the basic principle of the Indian tradition, our state will not identify itself with or be controlled by any particular religion." …

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/misunderstanding-secularism/99/

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It's Not About The Numbers - By Gyanendra Pandey (Aug 25, 2014, Outlook)

… Majorities and minorities, like nation-states, are means of organising societies, and channeling and distributing cultural, economic and political power. Associated with electoral politics, the terms minority and majority are also used in conjunction with religion or ethnicity or culture-with troublesome results. Used thus, they produce the claim that members of some cultures truly belong to particular politically defined places, while others-recent migrants, ancient inhabitants, people of a different religion-do not. They also freeze population groups into narrow boxes and undifferentiated histories. …

Democracy has increasingly moved from being the voice(s) of the people to that of political parties, and particularly influential pressure groups with fat wallets. Meticulous calculations of ethnic and caste distribution, great propaganda machines and big MONEY determine the outcome of elections. Ruling groups always claim to be the majority, but they never are. They are characteristically a minority-against the poor, against women, and against the world's Dalits.

In this context, majoritarianism is perhaps the exact opposite of democracy. For if democracy cannot be a daily plebiscite - an ideal that would make the pursuit of large and complex social, economic and political projects exceedingly difficult, if not impossible-it nevertheless needs to be a continuous struggle to prevent the monopolisation of political, economic or social power by those who find themselves temporarily in charge of the state.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Its-Not-About-The-Numbers/291654

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