Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On Transformative Politics: Comments at the “Echoes of Ghadar”

- Ravi Sinha

Note: The text below was presented on 27th October, 2013, at the “Echoes of Ghadar” Convergence, Organized by South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI) in New York, USA.

Transformative Politics is a large subject and one always runs the risk of stating the obvious while dealing with such things. One can also go entirely wrong. But there is an even greater danger. One may end up offering banalities that are – to borrow a phrase from a famous physicist – not even wrong. In these brief comments, I will try to state what may be obvious but useful to keep in mind nevertheless. And I will also stick my neck out enough to be proven wrong if that serves a purpose.

Transformative politics, in my opinion, is necessarily the politics of the Left. In the era of capitalism, Left is necessarily Marxist, although the term is interpreted variously. In today’s world, Left, despite its historic achievements of the past and despite its global spread now, is not doing very well. Capitalism, on the other hand, despite its recurrent crises and despite our daily declarations about it being moribund, is doing quite well. This describes the basic challenge confronting the Left today.

Now, I am aware that such a description, or diagnosis if you prefer, may disappoint many and for very different reasons. Back home, in certain circles, I would expect to be heckled as someone who has given up the fight. Why else would I say that Left is not doing well and capitalism is? In other circles I would be dismissed as someone incapable of learning any lessons. After the spectacular collapse of the twentieth century socialism, should it not be obvious that time is up for the Marxist Left? In these times of various ‘posts’-, including that of post-Marxism, how can one ascribe transformative politics exclusively to the Marxist Left? Does it not smack of the same old economism, class-reductionism, vanguardism and totalitarianism? Is it not being blind to the fact that transformative politics is now powered by a rainbow of new social movements? 

Instead of engaging with such questions right away, I will ask you to bear with me for a bit and take a call at the end.

Ideally, I should be dealing with both the questions – why is Left doing badly and why is capitalism doing well. The two might be correlated. But, given the time constraint and the nature of the occasion, I will take up only the first one – one about the Left. That, in any case, links more directly with the issue of transformative politics. 

My view, however, may be limited by my location. If I know a thing or two about the issue, it is only in the Indian context. But one hopes to have some relevance beyond the boundaries of one’s experience.

Left in the third world was born in the era of colonialism and feudalism. Those were the days of its glory. One thing it knows – and knows quite well – is how to fight feudal lords, kings, and foreign rulers. The problem is that it has not yet figured out how to deal with capitalism – its current adversary. Not a single revolution has happened so far by directly fighting capitalism under the political conditions of bourgeois democracy. The latest illustrative example may be from Nepal where the Left deposed the king but does not seem to know how to proceed from there. In India it often takes another route. It declares that India is still ruled by feudalism in the countryside and by foreigners and their compradors in the metropolis. Now, India is such a large and complicated place that you can find almost anything you are looking for. But finding the enemy of your choice does not add up to transformative politics. Left must figure out how to fight regular capitalism. And it should be able to do so without being subsumed in the parliament or without being confined to the outskirts. That is the first big challenge.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Gullgotia's Dairy Part-II

- Nagesh DB Rao

[This is the second part of the author's account of firsthand experience of the Indian variety of neoliberal education. Part memoir, part commentary, part unapologetic rant,A Gullgotia’s Diary hopes to reach you before Galgotias does. To Read A Gullgotia's Dairy Part- I click here]


In my defense, I must point out that I was not the only gull of Galgotias. In their effort to brand themselves as “world-class” institutions, India’s private universities are rushing to fill their websites with the credentials of “international faculty,” and Galgotias University is no exception. Some twenty-odd professors had been recruited that year from the U.S. and Europe. It didn’t take most of us long to discover that we’d been had.

For there was a yawning gap between image and reality, between what we were promised and what we were given. The place lacked the basic infrastructure of a university. The library, which seemed about the size of a mid-sized Crosswords or Borders bookstore, had a few dozens of copies of engineering textbooks, and that was about it. It had not a single–not one–book of literature. Okay, I know, it’s a new university, so we should give it time to build. But it wasn’t only lacking in what had not yet been built, it was lacking in what had already been built.

Take, for instance, the one semi-completed building that the university was housed in, a bland and uninspired clone of the corporate office buildings that dot the landscape of Indian cities today. (It was the template for Building #2, which was in the almost-not-yet-finished-but-already-wrecked stage when I left.) It’s a mundane place, an imposing stone-and-glass building with shiny floors, ceiling-to-floor glass walls on the inside, an open, echoing atrium, and large corporate logos splashed across the walls as you enter. ”If the university fails, they’ll just convert it into a mall,” we often joked, and we believed it too.

It was supposedly designed by a Canadian architect, because, as we all know, there are no architects in India. This architectural genius seems to have had little regard for the local climate, or for indigenous architectural preferences and practices, or for the ecological footprint of this 21st-century campus. The hermetically sealed classrooms and offices, with heat-trapping glass walls and roofing, necessitate central air-conditioning, while the building’s spatial orientation blocks the cooling breezes that sweep across the flat farmland all around.

A fake "photo" of the GU campus
A towering monstrosity
The atrium, which creates this greenhouse effect, also echoes the way a mall does. With no shade or shelter outside the building, let alone an adequate canteen, the students had no other space in which to hang out than the hallways. The din was continuous and unrelenting. So while teaching, you had to shut the doors to block the noise, but you couldn’t open the windows because … there weren’t any. Mind you, this isn’t Shimla or Bangalore but Delhi, where 40 degrees celsius is considered balmy. What would it take to centrally air-condition this absurd structure? Shouldn’t a university, in this day and age, build more responsibly, taxing the earth less? Of course, given management’s priorities, there was no air-conditioning installed, so the classrooms simply became saunas; if you will, sweatshops in at least this very narrow sense of the word.

The massive glass windows and the glass roofing came crashing down one day, thanks to a freak hailstorm, flooding the entire building. It was the janitorial staff (referred to at GU as “housekeeping staff” in the jargon of corporate hotels) who got the short end of the stick, as they were made to work extra hard to keep the floors and stairways dry as the rain kept pouring in the following day.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Dream Team for the “Nation’s Cyclone of Change” or, Who’s Who in the Pantheon of Indian Fascism

- Youth Against Fascism

Amit Shah: Alias Mr Amnesia Shah, his standard response to all questions asked about his role in the carefully-planned encounter killings of 2003–2006 was ‘I don’t remember’; charged with extortion, murder and criminal conspiracy (in chargesheets filed between 2010 and 2012) and currently out on bail, Shah was even banned by the Supreme Court from entering Gujarat. In an interview to Headlines Today dated 21 Oct., 2013 he defended all the Gujarat encounter killings as directed at ‘anti-nationals’ and simultaneously disclaimed any prior knowledge of them. You can’t have it both ways, Amitbhai! What else was Vanzara saying to you? 

Narendra Modi: Puffed up monster, constructed by the RSS and the media to win the hearts and minds of ‘the youth’. And why is he a youth icon? Because he was in charge when over 2000 Indians were slaughtered in Gujarat in 2002 and did nothing to stop the slaughter; because he spent crores of rupees to make sure Gujarat doesn’t have an independent lokayukta; ask yourself why he moves heaven and hell to make sure no independent authority can investigate potential charges of corruption in his state. The man comes across as neanderthal and monosyllabic, but there are powerful forces at work to make everyone believe he is the most ‘popular’ politician India has ever had…ever…Adept at body language, Modi has made it abundantly clear that he enjoys a specially close relationship with Mukesh Ambani. ‘Sarkaar garibon ke liye hoti hai’, indeed! 

Yashwant Sinha: Walking economic disaster; both occasions when he was Finance Minister India’s economy saw severe economic downturns! In 1990 all the gold in the RBI’s vaults was shipped off to the Bank of England as collateral for a loan, and in March 2001, ‘soon after Sinha presented his Budget, India experienced one of its worst market crashes: about $32 billion worth of market capitalisation was wiped out that month’. Nor was his grasp of principle any stronger. In December 1992 he had publicly denounced the RSS/BJP as ‘obscurantist, fundamentalist and fascist’ only to join the BJP nine months later.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Brief Report on Communal Violence in Chippawad Town of Harda District in Madhya Pradesh

- Translated by Amrish Herdenia from Hindi to English

In Madhya Pradesh state of India, hardly a month passes without one or the other incident of communal violence not being reported from some or the other part of the state. Indore, Ratlam, Dewas, Khandwa, Harda, Betul, Sagar and Neemuch districts have become hotbed of communal violence. From the year 2005 up to the first quarter of 2013, as many as 945 communal incidents have taken place in the state. In 2012 alone, 89 communal incidents took place and on 92 occasions, there was a build-up of communal tension. Nine persons were killed and 241 sustained injuries in communal incidents in 2012. The state tops in the country as far as the number of communal incidents is concerned.

According to the information furnished in Indian parliament by the Central government, between 2009 and 2013, 432 communal incidents took place in the state and it was among the top three states in the country in this respect. 

The communal violence in Khirkiya Nagar Panchayat area of Harda district on September 19, 2013 is only yet another incident in this series.

Khirkiya (Harda)

Khirkiya is a Nagar Panchayat in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh, with a population of around 25,000. One-third of the residents are Muslims. The Nagar Panchayat is divided into 15 Wards and it was in one of the wards – Ward No 14 – which forms part of Chhipawad town, that the communal violence took place. Chhipawad is located about 30 km from Harda district headquarters and 5 km from Khirkiya block HQ. More than 90 per cent residents of Ward no 14 are Muslims. Other wards too have a mixed population. All the residents of ward numbers 12, 13, 14 settled here after they were displaced from Harsud town, which got submerged due to the construction of the Indira Sagar dam on river Narmada. The families are yet to get ownership rights on the land on which they have constructed their houses. Most of them are agricultural and manual laborers.

Chain of communal events

On September 19, 2013 (Thursday), at about 9 AM, Kalu, a Korku tribal, who works in the fields of a Muslim farmer Taj Khan, drove away a calf by hitting it with a stick as it was entering the field repeatedly. The animal, allegedly, died later. Within moments, a rumor was spread in the Chhipawad-Khirkiya area that Muslims had killed a cow and thrown its body. Subsequently, activists of Hindutva fundamentalist organizations like Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Gau-Raksha Commando force, loaded the dead body of a other cow in a tractor-trolley and began a blockade of the Hoshangabad-Khandwa highway at the Maharana Pratap square of Chhipawad. Soon, a crowd comprising four to five thousand persons gathered at the spot and began raising provocative anti-Muslim slogans. At around 1 PM, the violent crowd got divided into two groups. One group assaulted the Imam of the local mosque and ransacked the mosque. The other group marched towards Chhipawad Ward no 14 and set 20-25 houses afire. The rioters also set ablaze around 30 two-wheelers, one jeep and a Matador. According to some eye-witnesses, a police van was following the rioters but the policemen remained mute spectators to the violence. When the probe team asked the Harda Superintendent of Police Deepak Verma about this, he said that the strength of police force in Harda district was comparatively less than other districts. Moreover, a section of the district police force was sent to Betul on that day for security arrangement for the visit of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

बयान: (मध्यप्रदेश राज्य अल्पसंख्यक आयोग के अध्यक्ष मोहम्मद अनवर खान द्वारा हरदा दंगे को हादसा कहे जाने के सन्दर्भ में )

नवदुनिया -हरदा , 3 अक्टूबर 2013
दिनांक 19 सितंबर 2013 को खिरकिया के छीपाबड़ में जो साम्प्रदायिक दंगे हुए है उसको लेकर मध्यप्रदेश अल्पसंख्यक आयोग के अध्यक्ष मोहम्मद अनवर खान द्वारा बीते 1 अक्टूबर 2013 को वहां दौरा किया गया था। दौरे के बाद राज्य अल्पसंख्यक आयेग के अध्यक्ष द्वारा स्थानीय मीडि़या में बयान दिया गया कि यह घटना दंगा नही बल्कि हादसा है। उन्होनें दंगा पीडि़तों को मुआवजा वितरण में तत्परता दिखाने के लिए स्थानीय प्रशासन की तारीफ भी की है।

हम सभी संगठन राज्य अल्पसंख्यक आयेग के अध्यक्ष के इस बयान की भ्रत्सना करते हैं। हमारे द्वारा 27 सिंतबर 2013 को इस घटना की फैक्ट फाइंडि़ग की़ गई थी जिसकी विस्तृत रिर्पोट सबंधित प्रशासनिक अधिकारियों व आयोगों को भी भेजी जा चूकी है। इसके अतिरिक्त हमारे द्वारा दिनांक 16 अक्टूबर 2013 को भी छीपाबड़ के दंगा प्रभावित क्षेत्र का पुनः दौरा किया गया है।

हमारे भ्रमण के दौरान यह तथ्य स्पष्ट रुप से निकल कर सामने आया है कि छीपाबड़ में हुई 19 सितंबर 2013 की घटना पूरी तरह से साम्प्रदायिक थी जिसमें एकतरफा और सुनियोजित तरीके से एक विषेश सम्प्रदाय को निशाना बना कर हमला किया गया। दंगाई़ पेट्रोल से भरी बोतलों और कुप्पियों से लैस थे। घरों के ऊपर पेट्रोल का छिड़काव करने से पहले भीड़ द्वारा विषेश समुदाय के घरों में घुस कर लूटपाट की गई और फिर पेट्रोल छिड़क कर वहां आग लगा दिया गया।

स्थानीय स्तर पर दोनो समुदाय के लोगों से बातचीत करने पर इस पूरी घटना क्रम के सूत्रधार के रुप में जिन दो पात्रों का नाम प्रमुख रुप से सामने आ रहा है उसमें से एक स्थानीय विधायक का बेटा तथा सुरेन्द्र पुरोहित (टाइगर) नाम का एक अन्य व्यक्ति है जो कि चारुआ में एक गौशाला का संचालन करता है और खुद को गौसेवा कमांड़ो का चेयरमेन कहता है। वह घटना के दिन से फरार है। पुलिस अधिक्षक द्वारा हमारी टीम के सामने भी यह पुष्टि की गई थी कि सुरेन्द्र पुरोहित द्वारा भीड़ के सामने बहुत ही भड़काऊ भाषण दिया था।

दंगें के बाद की स्थिति भी चिंताजनक है। इस दंगें में जो ज्यादातर गरीब परिवार आगजनी और हिंसा का शिकार हुए है वो पहले से ही हरसूद के विस्थापित हैं। प्रशासन द्वारा पीडि़तों को क्षतिपूर्ती के नाम पर 5 से 50 हजार का चेक दिया गया है जो कि क्षति के हिसाब से बहुत कम है। दंगें का बच्चों के मनोदशापर बहुत गहरा प्रभाव पड़ा है। वे अभी भी डरे सहमें हैं।

हमारा मानना है कि म.प्र अल्पसंख्यक आयोग केवल इसी घटना को लेकर ही नही बल्कि पिछले कुछ सालों के दौरान प्रदेश में घटी ज्यादातर साम्प्रदायिक घटनाओं में अपनी भूमिक निभाने में पूरी तरह से असफल रहा है।

हम मांग करते हैं कि अल्पंसख्यक आयेग के अध्यक्ष तथ्यों के ठोस जांच किये बिना बयान देना बंद करें। छीपाबड़ में हुई घटना का आयोग द्वारा गहनता से जांच करायी जानी चाहिऐ ताकि वह जमीनी हकीकत से रुबरु हो सकें। इसके अलावा इस एकतरफा हिंसा और आगजनी करने में जो लोग शामिल रहे हैं उनको सजा दिलाने और पीडि़तों को उचित,पर्याप्त और सम्मानपूर्ण मुआवजा दिलाने के लिए भी आयोग आगे आये और अपनी भूमिका का निष्पक्षता एवं ईमानदारी से निर्वाह करे।


लज्जाशंकर हरदेनिया (वरिष्ठ पत्रकार व राष्ट्रीय सेकूलर मंच), योगेश दीवान (पिपुल्स रिसर्च सोसायटी), जावेद अनीस, (एन.एस.आई.भोपाल)विजय कुमार भा.क.पा.(मा-ले), दीपक विद्रोही (क्रांतिकारी नौजवान भारत सभा), उपासना बेहार (नागरिक अधिकार मंच), आजम खान (ऐडवोकेट)

सम्बंधित पोस्ट / लिंक

छीपाबड़ (हरदा) के दंगा प्रभावित क्षेत्र में भोपाल के संगठनों द्वारा पुनः किये गये भ्रमण की संक्षिप्त रिर्पोट: Click here

27 सितम्बर 2013 को स्वतंत्र जांच दल द्वारा की गयी फैक्ट फाइंडिंग की पूरी रिपोर्ट: Click here

छीपाबड़ (हरदा) के दंगा प्रभावित क्षेत्र में भोपाल के संगठनों द्वारा पुनः किये गये भ्रमण की संक्षिप्त रिर्पोट

दिनांक 16 अक्टूबर 2013 को छीपाबड़ के दंगा पीडि़तों के साथ ईद मनाने एवं राहत सामग्री को पहुंचाने के लिए भोपाल से 4 सदस्यी टीम के द्वारा दंगा प्रभावित क्षेत्र का दौरा किया गया। इस टीम में भोपाल स्थित संगठनों एन.एस.आई.भोपाल के जावेद अनीस एवं उपासना बेहार, भा.क.पा.(मा-ले), के विजय कुमार और क्रांतकारी नौजवान भारत सभा के दीपक बंदुले शामिल थे। इसके अलावा नर्मदा बचाओं आंदोलन के साथियों द्वारा भी राहत सामग्री के साथ यहाँ भ्रमण किया गया।

ज्ञात हो कि हरदा जिले के छीपाबड़ में हुए दंगे को लेकर उपरोक्त संगठनों द्वारा दिनांक 27 सितम्बर 2013 को स्वंतत्र जांच के लिए दौरा किया गया था। इस फेक्ट फाइंडिंग टीम द्वारा तैयार रिपोर्ट को संबंधित प्रशासनिक अधिकारियों व आयोगो को मांग पत्र के साथ सौपा जा चुका है।

आज भोपाल एवं एनबीए से आयी टीमों द्वारा दंगा पीडि़त परिवारों के साथ ईद मनायी गई एवं राहत सामगी का वितरण किया गया। सदस्यों का कहना था कि हमारे आने का मकसद पीडि़तों के साथ खुशी के इस माहौल को साझा करना तथा भाईचारा का संदेश देना था।

इस दौरान टीम द्वारा दंगा पीडि़त परिवारों के साथ बातचीत भी की गई। इस दौरान निम्नलिखित समस्याऐं निकल कर आयी -

पीडि़तों द्वारा बताया गया कि दंगें के तुरंत बाद तहसीलदार और पटवारी द्वारा हुए नुकसान का जायजा लिया गया था परन्तु यह समझ से परे है कि पीडि़तों को उनके हुए नुकसान के आधार पर मुआवजा क्यों नही मिला?

मुआवजा के नाम पर पीडि़तों को बहुत कम राशि दी गई है जबकि उनका नुकसान दी गई राशि से गई गुना ज्यादा हुआ है। उदाहरण के तौर पर अजीज खान जिनका दंगाईयों द्वारा हमले के दौरान सबकुछ - पूरा घर,समान,अनाज,दो गाड़ियाँ आदि जल कर खाक हो गये हैं और अंदाजन उनका तकरीबन 10लाख का नुकसान हुआ है जबकि उन्हें मुआवजे के नाम पर मात्र 50 हजार रुपये दिया गया है। अजीज खान की तरह ऐसे लगभग 10 परिवार है जिनका सबकुछ जल कर खाक हो गया है जबकि मुआवजे के नाम पर महज खानापूर्ती की गई है।

दंगा पीडित लगभग सभी परिवारों के पास गरीबी रेखा कार्ड तक नही है। हालाकि ये ये परिवार हरसूद से विस्थापित है,विस्थापन से पहले इन लोगों के पास गरीबी रेखा के कार्ड थे जो की यहाँ आने के बाद निरस्त हो गये हैं। 

पीडि़तों ने टीम को यह भी बताया कि अभी भी कुछ लोगों के बैंको में खाते नही खुले इसलिए उनका मुआवजा मिलने में  दिक्खत  हो रही है ।

दंगे का बच्चों पर मनोवैज्ञानिक रुप से बहुत ही नकारात्मक असर पड़ा है। ज्यादातर बच्चे अभी भी डरे-सहमें है, अजनबियों को देख कर घर में भागते हैं, ज्यादातर  बच्चे अभी स्कूल भी नही जाते हैं। 

टीम का कहना है कि उपरोक्त समस्याओं को लेकर वे स्थानीय प्रषासन और भोपाल स्तर पर संबंधित अधिकारियों से पुनः मिलकर इस सबंध में उचित कार्यवाही की मांग करेगें ताकि पीडि़यों को उचित और सम्मानपूर्ण मुआवजा और न्याय मिल सके।

टीम सदस्य

जावेद अनीस, उपासना बेहार (एन.एस.आई.भोपाल), विजय कुमार भा.क.पा.(मा-ले), दीपक विद्रोही (क्रांतिकारी नौजवान भारत सभा)
सम्बंधित पोस्ट / लिंक

27 सितम्बर 2013 को स्वतंत्र जांच दल द्वारा की गयी फैक्ट फाइंडिंग की पूरी रिपोर्ट: Click here

Sunday, October 20, 2013

How Modi Sanitises Untouchability!

- Subhash Gatade

Not very many people would have read about a study by an American scholar Stephanie Tam of the Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, Northwestern University, about the status of sewerage system in Ahmedabad. Titled "Coprology and Caste: The Status of Sewerage in Ahmedabad, India”, it brings home a stark point that Ahmedabad may be one of the earliest pioneers of sewerage system in the 19th century but it has not only failed to solve manual scavenging; rather manual scavenging has been given a new form. 

In fact the absence of change in the lifeworlds of the people engaged in scavenging can be had by comparing two reports. The report brought out by Scavenger's Living Conditions Enquiry Committee (1955) reveals that Bhangis in the region had no latrines, and lived next to dumping grounds and open drains whereas a 2006 state-wide study, tells us that 45.4 per cent of Bhangis still had no toilets and no bathrooms, their unsanitary living conditions being used to justify their polluted status.

It is important to look into details of the matter as the chief minister of the state is engaged in telling people outside the state that they have 'solved' the problem successfully. 

Look at the “A Road Map for Zero Waste Ahmedabad City – A Visionary Document to Guide Ahmedabad towards Becoming a Resource Efficient and Zero Waste City by 2031”, which was recently released as an official document. Analysing it Jitendra Rathod ( Senior activist with Janvikas, Ahmedabad) tells us how it provides “visionary” insights into how to make Ahmedabad a zero waste city in less than two decades but surprisingly, the document is silent on the plight of the manual scavengers: The document has been financed and commissioned jointly by the AMC and the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD). The document addresses several concerns of waste and waste management – except the safety and better health of the sweepers! 

The title page of the document is sufficient to prove the casteist mindset of the AMC administration. The document claims to be “visionary”, but the sweepers will continue to collect the garbage, dust, filth of the city by unclean way. 

The so-called visionary document mentions that almost 1,10,667 metric tonnes (MT) of solid waste is generated in the city on a monthly basis. Out of this, most of it, 1,08,454 MT, is collected manually by sweepers. The document itself accepts that these wastes are collected by sweepers in an unclean way to keep the city neat, clean and a better place to live in.


Undoubtedly, Narendra Modi, would not have imagined that his exhortation that 'toilets first, temples later' at a Delhi conclave would not only generate a debate within the saffron fraternity but would also bring back focus on the pathetic situation of sanitation in his home state itself. And the ensuing discussion would also transcend to his controversial ideas about untouchability - the social-religious practice based on the logic of purity and pollution which has marginalised, terrorised and relegated a section of Indian society to a life marked by humiliation and indignity. 

Coming to the figures about sanitation in the state. If the 2001 census had shown rural sanitation coverage meaning three basic facilities — drinking water, electricity and sanitation - merely at a low 21%, the 2012-13 India Rural Development Report tells us that it has reached merely 25 % of the state's population. The situation is not very encouraging in urban areas as well. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Gullgotia's Diary Part -I

- Nagesh DB Rao

[This is the first part of the author's account of firsthand experience of the Indian variety of neoliberal education. Part memoir, part commentary, part unapologetic rant, A Gullgotia’s Diary hopes to reach you before Galgotias does.]

Go ahead, call me gullible. Tell me I should have seen it coming.

“How could you not have known it would be like this? The name itself is a dead giveaway.”

“Who ever heard of a university with a name like that?!”

I can’t recall how many conversations with friends and family these last few months have ended with exactly these words. That name, Galgotias University, emblazoned on virtually every square foot of advertising space in India on land and in the air (with in-flight magazine ads that are as garish as they are deceptive), and how it seemed somehow ill-suited for a university, has served as the Lowest Common Denominator of our collective derision. After all is said and done, the very absurdity of its name offers a way to laugh off the experience of working there and heave a final sigh of resignation. So call me naive for not seeing it all from the very beginning, for not being sensitive enough to what my ears were supposed to tell me when I heard those sounds coming out of my mouth: /gal-go-tee-yaz/ /yu-ni-ver-si-ti/.

Okay, let’s not mock the name. “Harvard” (/haar-verd/) is weird-sounding too if you think about it. Let’s mock the ads instead. Whle driving from Delhi to Greater Noida, at some point on the DND Flyway you’ll find yourself staring at this giant billboard with the Galgotias name and logo, informing you that “THINKING QUOTIENT IS THE FUTURE.” Ponder that for a minute. Is it a puzzle? A riddle? Part of a sentence uttered by a man whose son is named Quotient? Now you know why there are so many accidents on the DND Flyway.

Galgotias University advert
So I should have known that behind the glossy magazine ads and oversized billboards, the fancy website and promo videos claiming that Galgotias offers a “world-class education,” I would find a poorly managed business venture whose profit-mongering makes a mockery of pedagogy, stifles intellectual growth, and distorts and disfigures the teaching-learning process.

But even as a business venture, the place is a disaster. Unable to secure financing for whatever shady or unshady reasons, the owner of this neoliberal corporate university–sorry, the “Honorable Chancellor Sir”–is often unable to pay his bills. Particularly his wage bill. One would think that this would interfere with sound management principles. The owner’s 20-something son, the CEO of the university (I’m not kidding), has a BBA after all, and should have told his old man that unpaid workers are unproductive workers. During my (thankfully brief) tenure at this place, there were several months when we didn’t get paid on time. The only staff who were spared this humiliation were the security guards, because they aren’t on Galgotias’ payroll. Lucky for them.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

मध्य प्रदेश के हरदा जिले में हुए साम्प्रदायिक हिंसा की तहकीकात रिपोर्ट

27 सितम्बर 2013 को  6 सदस्यीय स्वतंत्र जांच दल द्वारा मध्य प्रदेश के हरदा जिले के खिरकिया में हुई साम्प्रदायिक घटना की जांच हेतु वहां का दौरा किया गया था । यहाँ प्रस्तुत है फैक्ट फाइंडिंग टीम के रिपोर्ट का प्रमुख निष्कर्ष !  पूरी रिपोर्ट यहाँ पढ़ी जा सकती है.

ध्यप्रदेश में पिछले लगभग दस वर्षों से शासन कर रही भाजपा सरकार  लगातार ऐसे कदम उठा रही है जिनसे अल्पसंख्यकों में भय व्याप्त हो रहा है। इस दौर में भाजपा के सहयोगी संगठन भी अत्यंत मुखर व आक्रामक हो गए हैं। राज्य में संघ परिवार को अपनी मनमानी करने की एक तरह से छूट मिली दिख रही है।

कुछ सालों पहले मध्यप्रदेश के मुख्यमंत्री ने सरकारी कर्मचारियों से आव्हान कर दिया है कि वे आर.एस.एस. की सदस्यता लें। मध्यप्रदेश में हिन्दू संस्कृति को पिछले दरवाजे से जनता पर लादने का तरीका अपनाया जा रहा है। हर मौके का इस्तेमाल हिन्दू धार्मिक शब्दावली को शासकीय शब्दावली का भाग बनाने के लिए किया जा रहा है। जैसे स्कूल शिक्षकों के लिए ऋषि संबोधन चुना गया,राज्य की बालिका कल्याण योजना का नाम है लाडली लक्ष्मीबाल पोषण योजना को  अन्नप्राशनजल संरक्षण कार्यक्रम का जलाभिषेक कहा जाता है । स्कूलों में सूर्य नमस्कार“ करवाया जाता है।राज्य के स्कूलों में योग अनिवार्य भी कर दिया गया था। बाद में उसे ऐच्छिक विषय बना दिया गया। परंतु चूंकि अधिकांश हिन्दू विद्यार्थी योग सीखते हैं अतः अल्पसंख्यक छात्र-छात्राओं का स्वयं को अलग-थलग महसूस करना स्वभाविक है।

दूसरी तरफ मध्यप्रदेश ,संघी आतंकवादियों की शरणस्थली व गढ़ के रूप में भी उभरा है। सुनील जोशीप्रज्ञा सिंह ठाकुरकालसांगरादेवेन्द्र शर्मासंदीप डांगे व अन्य हिंदुत्ववादी आतंकीमध्यप्रदेश में बेखौफ अपना काम करते रहे।

मध्यप्रदेश  में बिना साम्प्रदायिक घटना घटे कोई भी महीना नही गुजरता है। खास तौर पर इदौररतलामदेवासबुरहानपुरखंडवाहरदाबैतूलसागरनीमच आदि जिले उन्मादी धार्मिक हिंसा का लगातार शिकार हुऐ है।हाल ही में केंद्र सरकार द्वारा लोक सभा में दी गयी जानकारी के अनुसार मध्यप्रदेश में पिछले 2009 से 2013 के बीच कुल 432 साम्प्रदायिक घटनायें हुई हैइस दौरान मध्यप्रदेशदेश में  तीसरे  स्थान पर रहा है। 19 सितम्बर 2013 को हरदा जिले के खिरकिया नगर पंचायत में हुई साम्प्रदायिक हिंसा प्रदेश भी इसी सिलसिले की एक कड़ी जान पड़ती है।

जांच दल:- 

दिनांक 27 सितम्बर 2013 को भोपाल से एक 6 सदस्यीय स्वतंत्र जांच दल ने दिनांक 19 सितम्बर 2013 खिरकिया में हुई साम्प्रदायिक घटना की जांच हेतु खिरकिया का दौरा किया। यह छः सदस्यीय टीम खिरकिया में हुए साम्प्रदायिक दंगें के पीडि़तों के अतिरिक्त वहां के पत्रकारोंसामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं व पुलिस अधीक्षक आदि से मुलाकात की। जांच दल में शामिल लोग इस प्रकार थे:- लज्जाशंकर हरदेनिया (वरिष्ठ पत्रकार व राष्ट्रीय सेकूलर मंच)योगेश दीवान (पिपुल्स रिसर्च सोसायटी)सुन्दर खड़से (महाड़)विजय कुमार भा.क.पा.(मा-ले)दीपक विद्रोही (क्रांतिकारी नौजवान भारत सभा)उपासना बेहार (एन.एस.आई.भोपाल)आजम खान (ऐडवोकेट)।

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gandhi, Patel versus Modi

- Subhash Gatade

Narendra Modi (NaMo as he is popularly known) wants to usher in 'Congress free India'.

In his maiden speech after being elected as the Election Campaign Chief at the party's Goa conclave, he had clearly said it in no uncertain terms. 

As one can recall, this part of his speech came under severe criticism and it was underlined that it shows his fascistic mindset. It was said that Modi does not want merely to defeat Congress politically but wants to obliterate it completely as if the Grand Old Party of India was synonymous to a pest which needed this specific treatment.

Now supposedly to offset this charge, he has come out with a fresh explanation of the same statement. He has invoked Gandhi to say that the idea of 'Congress free India' did not belong to him and was initially expressed by Gandhi and by reiterating it he just wanted to fulfill Mahatma's dream.