Month: December 2016
Four years after the horrific gang rape in Delhi on 16th December 2012, the massive agitation and the Justice Verma headed Commission’s Report, where does the situation on sexual violence against women stand? This is a time to reflect, to savour what gains there are and to assess the challenges.
The one thing that that the agitation in Delhi achieved has been to give women in Delhi and probably women in the rest of urban India as well the courage to speak up and identify themselves as the ones violated rather than as the guilty. This has found its inevitable reflection in a dramatic rise in the number of crimes that are getting registered, the number of FIRs on the issue getting lodged despite the callous justice system, the pressures of the powerful guilty and the anti woman stance of the police throughout the country. The additional gain seems to be that in more and more cases the immediate natal family is supportive of the women and willing to aid the registration of the offence. Apart from the immediate agitation which tore at the issue of ‘shame’, the stance of the parents of the victim of 16th December 2012, who have chosen to remain active and outspoken on the right of their daughter to justice and have been brave and forthright in publicizing her name, has contributed. … Read More
The Anna Hazare Movement in Delhi showed how the serious issue of corruption in governance could be inverted to lay all the moral blame at the door of the ordinary citizen. Making the people defensive helped bypass the twin question of corrupt, anti people rulers and policies of sale of the country and its resources to corporate. The issues of unbridled corporate loot, of huge scams by corrupt politicians, corrupt bureaucrats being middle men in making huge money out of the sale of India, were equated with the bribe paid by an ordinary cyclist to a policeman for letting go of his cycle at a red light or with bribing a postman to get a money order released.
The Modi Govt. has carried forward this inversion of guilt with the determined twin aim of not merely protecting the real defrauders of the country but also providing for future possibilities of loot for them by stocking up the banks. The method of RSS BJP is both sinister and diabolical, reeking of their fascist methods. The vast masses including even the middle middle classes have been plunged into an unimagined, continuing hell. Backed by a twisted, mischievious propaganda machinery that says that the black money looted from the country is right here, between you, it has managed to blind people to the fact that the only target is the meagre 4-5% kept in untaxed cash by small shopkeepers, owners etc.… Read More
Demonetization and Peasantry : Agriculture, Rural Trade Demonetized by Pro-Corporate, Tax Hungry Govt.
A story is popular in the villages. Some thieves entered a village in the dead of night. When the villagers raised an alarm of “chor”, “chor”, to escape identification the thieves joined the ruckus and themselves started shouting “chor, chor”. They ran around with the villagers in the darkness, looted what they could and by morning bolted with the booty. Modi is doing just that.
Demonetization of high currency notes by the Modi govt. has in one shot ruined vast sections of agricultural economy and rural markets because it has been accompanied with deliberate creation of a huge shortage of small currency, continuing and increasing restrictions on withdrawals, replacement with only difficult to exchange Rs 2000 notes- those too in short supply.
It is noteworthy that the govt. consciously barred rural banks from exchanging old notes from day one. Though after peasants’ protests the govt. permitted them to withdraw up to Rs 25,000 per week, the rural banks never had that kind of cash to give. Thirdly, though the govt. announced after about two weeks that fertilizers and seeds would be available in old notes, the currency had already lost a lot of credibility and Govt. outlets are known to have poor and restricted quality of both.… Read More
‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.’ – Walter Scott, Marmion
After sounding the bugle for ‘War on black money’ on the night of 8th November, the Generals appear to have changed the tack, hardly three weeks into it. Prime Minister’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ and the RBI Governor’s interview on 27th November emphasised the need for ‘Going cashless’ with less cash. It is interesting to note that the Government’s press release and the Prime Minister’s speech announcing demonetisation harped primarily on the issue of ‘black money’ and terror funding through counterfeit notes. There wasn’t much about ‘Going cashless’ then. There is an obvious shift in the narrative. While one can agree to the fact that there exists a (close) association between ‘cash’ payments and ‘black money’, it needs to be recognised that they are not the same. Curbing black money and encouraging ‘cashless’ payments are two different objectives. The means and methods to achieve those objectives would have to be different. Leaving aside the political motives of the party in power, the new objective and policies of the government need to be assessed based on the ground reality and the consequences.
There are estimates that ‘black money’ in the form of currency notes does not exceed 6% of the total ‘black money’.… Read More
Fidel Castro who had led the overthrow of US backed Batista dictatorship in Cuba and had also led Cuba in the direction of socialism after this, died on November 25, 2016 aged 90 years.
Son of a wealthy plantation owner, Fidel was active in the democratic movement since his student days. In 1945 there was a widespread movement in Cuba against US intervention in the Caribbean in which Fidel also participated. As a student activist, during 1947-48 while pursuing his law degree, he was attracted towards Marxism. He joined the Party of Cuban People led by Chibas. From 1950 to 52 he practiced law. However, with the help of CIA, Batista seized power and annulled 1952 elections.
After the end of Second World War, US Administration was alarmed at the victorious advance of the Communist movement worldwide and had taken to supporting all the reactionaries and dictators in its anti-communist strategy. US rulers any way considered Latin America its backyard and an exclusive zone for exploitation. Towards the end of Cuban war of independence from Spain, US had militarily intervened in 1898 and made Cuba its virtual colony as it had done in Philippines and Puerto Rico. Jose Marti who had become a symbol of Cuban independence struggle, had died at the beginning of this third and final war of independence from Spanish colonialism.… Read More
The Supreme Court verdict on compulsory playing of national anthem at the start of every show of a film in a theatre is a retrograde decision. This Supreme Court verdict over-rules the 1986 decision of the apex Court that nobody should be forced to sing the national anthem. Such decisions have also been given by top courts in a number of countries. However, this decision is in sync with the RSS-BJP attempt to whip up ultra-nationalist hysteria.
Supreme Court has obviously laid down a wrong rule. Article 53-A(a) is part of the Directive Principles dealing with the duty of every citizen and is non-justiciable i.e. cannot be enforced by a Court of law though this is not the only Article of the Directive Principles which the apex Court is setting out to enforce. Further, Article 53-A(a) deals with the duty of every citizen to give due honour to national symbols like national flag and national anthem i.e. due respect be accorded to them and not their forcible observance. The distinction is vital and important. Compulsory playing of national anthem in the places of entertainment cannot foster love for the country.
The Supreme Court verdict is alarming as the RSS-BJP ruling dispensation is trying to unleash severe repression on the people in the name of nationalism.… Read More