JUNE 26.21315


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Towards new 31' evv frontiers Over a period of eight decades, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences has emerged as an institution of excellence with its focus on high-quality research and socially significant interventions

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Redefining social sciences Through creative partnerships and meticulous research, the TISS tries to close the gaps in state intervention to address i|T Madras: Derecognising dissent

crater in Tanzania

crimes against Dalits interview: Anand Teltumbde,


civil rights activist


He was the blues


ART Riyas Komu's show: Experiments with truth In conversation

PO LITICS Tamil Nadu: 34

Aruna Shanbaug:

Between life and death Karnataka:

T H E STAT E S Interview: Chief Minister 43

THE JUOICIARY On having images of




ANIMAL HUSBANDRY The hounds of Mudhol


95 98


Assets case: Karnataka to 36 appeal against acquittal Kejriwal takes on Lt Governor in Delhi 38

leaders in advertisments


T RIB U T E B.B. King:

Maharashtra: Rising

K. Chandrashekhar Rao


Africa's ark, the Ngorongoro


Rajasthan: Murder for land 27

Telangana: One year on




One-sided contest

Ambedkars legacy

social deprivations and sufferings. 10

COM MUNALISM Haryana:Arson at Atali

Sangh Parivar and




Hashimpura victims:

Left high and dry

Interview: S. Parasuraman, Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences I. Agents of change 10 Interview: S. Ramadorai, Chairman, Governing Board, TISS 12 Local thrust 1!. Interview: R. Ramakumar, Dean, School of Development Studies 17



C.P. Chandrasekhar: Great dream of prosperity A9

Jayati Ghosh: Orchestra in search of a conductor 101 K. Satchidanandan: Of Dalit life and resistance 109 SCIENCE NOTEBOOK 120

Rohingya refugees: Nowhere people Iraq: Fall of Ramadi United Kingdom: Warning against the ISIS



On the Cover A representation of the emblem oi the Ti55.


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I{EDEI*‘II\IING SOCIAL SCIENCES Inte1'\~1'ew with S. Pz11'z1su1';11m111, Director of the Tata Institute 01" Social SCiG11CGS. er R.K. RAIJHAKRISHNAN E

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S. PARASURAMAN, Director, TISS: "Social science research is fundamental to peace, solidarity and national security." I-'RIl.‘\"l‘l.l‘\'l'l

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for emerging social and health problems in lndia—ageing, social distance, mental illness, disability, homelessness, migration, displacement, inclusive

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) started out in 1936 as the first South Asian institution for professional social work education. In the past decade, it has developed as an institution committed to social sciences education, research, field action and disaster manage-

to this aim from a research perspective?

ment. As its Director S. Parasuraman says in this interview, “social science is about showing us the mirror”. In a diverse country with a population of 1.2 billion, an uneven yet spectacular economic progress and rapid so-

People live in various social, economic and political contexts. Demographic and economic changes are not the same everywhere. It is important, therefore, to understand the context first and then locate people within the

cial changes, the TISS has made itself deeply relevant by its research into social processes and patterns of deprivation and its quest for solutions through knowledge and

context. Only then do we begin to understand what happens to various groups of people who are embedded in diverse contexts. We take research very seriously. It is

direct intervention at the community level.

only through good research that we can contribute to critical issues in the 21st centuIy—such as poverty, vulnerability and human rights. Often, identifying who is vulnerable can be a contested issue, vulnerability being a

Addressing the 75th Annual Convocation of the TISS

on May 12, N. Ram, Chairman of Kasturi and Sons Limited, said: “One of the characteristics ofIndia's system of higher education... is its lop-sided concentration on engineering and technological education at the expense of the basic sciences and, in a more pronounced way, at the expense of the arts, humanities, and social sciences, which are often treated as sofi subjects." The TISS has been one of the few

major educational institutions that have gone some way in addressing this imbalance. S. Parasuraman says in the interview that it is important to understand social processes: “If we do not understand the so-

cial processes, we will not be able to anticipate and cope with strifes and conflict that increasingly emerge from disaffection.“ In


development, and so on? How has the TISS contributed

multi—dimensional concept. For example, being a Dalit

and a woman in an ecologically fragile region is a relatively more vulnerable situation compared with being a man in better-developed areas. Having done the research, one looks at



ways of addressing the core issues. Current-

ly, we are working on the issues of elderly people. So we havejoined hands with groups working with the elderly across the country. An example is our collaboration with the Pension Parishad, with whom we have con-



recent years, the TISS has combined its strong research thrust with practical field action and has

entered into fruitful collaborations with organisations trying to make a difference in situations of disaster,

deprivation and economic and social backwardness. Not the least of the TISS’ achievements has been to produce,

DY“ sauntna ducted research on the condition of elderly

people in various parts of the country. We are a knowledge-development institution that provides academic credibility to collaborative research, which ultimately leads to socially usefiil

policies and interventions. Our work with the government is always very important. We are working with the new government [at the

year after year, dedicated social work professionals who

Centre]. There has been some success, such as in the emergent programmes for the elderly in Rajasthan. Ra-

are willing to accept the challenge of working in the most difficult circumstances in the most backward districts of the country. In the decade that Professor S. Parasuraman has been

jasthan has developed a higher level of welfare pension and is thither bringing the elderly in the ambit of all welfare schemes meant for children. For instance, the elderly can now avail themselves of

its Director, he has reset the course of the institution,

the midday meal programme. Since they are considered

reinforcing its commitment to issues ofsocial justice and poverty alleviation. This period has seen the expansion of

to be below the poverty line, they are also eligible for

the TISS to five campuses, including the ones in Guwa.ha-

This is a shining example from Rajasthan which other

ti and Hyderabad; an increase in the number ofacademic

States can emulate.

programmes, from a few courses to about 54- now; greater opportunities in social work education; and important

Let us take the example ofthe elderly again to demonstrate how we work on multiple dimensions, for which

collaborations with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the Mental Health Action Trust

(MI-IAT) in Kerala and The Banyan in Chennai. Today,

research serves as a starting point. In this case, at one level we are working to create a welfare pension programme, at another we are working for creating im-

the TISS‘ work covers communities ranging from those

proved care for elderly people through our vocational

living in the cold deserts of Ladakh to tribal people in the remote Nicobar Islands. In a wide—ranging interview,

education programme on gerontology. The course brings together both clinical and community care components.

Parasuraman, who steered the transformation in social

The latter is especially important in the context of migra-

work education, research and applied work in India, tells Frontline that much more needs to be done.

tion and poverty—when children move away, the elderly

How can social work education contribute to solutions

provisions under the PDS [public distribution system].

are left behind. Not everyone can afford individual care. So we are demonstrating a model of community care in Kerala. FRONTLINF.


JUNE 2n. 2015

germinated. The vision was to create human service professionals who would work with people in difficult situations. Social work has always been a profession that is supposed to deal with problems that are created by social,

economic and political churnings and which in turn

affect the life courses of groups and individuals. In developed societies, the wealth generated through capitalism is redistributed to care for people who find themselves in difficult conditions. In a feudal society like

ours, inherently exploitative situations and appalling living conditions exist for many people—being Dalit, being tribal, being a woman was never easy. Within such a societal frame when you introduce development of a liberal or neoliberal type, problems magnify for the al-

ready disadvantaged. It is an old predicament. Do you wait for the appalling conditions to become abysmal to




ls community interested at all in caring for the elderly or the marginalised people?

begin social work, or do you anticipate problems and

work to minimise adverse effects so that the problem stays manageable? Most social workers in India tend to work with the absolutely underprivileged people, people in difficult situations. But there are also social workers who think that

it is possible to deal with structural issues or to humanise A community care model for the elderly can work. Witli the panchayat, the responsible authority for disbursing the pension money, as the locus, convergence of programmes can happen. Vi/hat we are trying to demonstrate is that with the resources that can be mobilised through pension [Rs.l200 in Kerala], coupled with other social welfare benefits, it is possible to organise services

development. VVhen you see people who are dealing with the structural issues and trying to influence developmental issues that are creating impediments to people, then you see the social workers as a “warring tribe”. Our country cannot afford a rcdistributivc model of development, what it follows instead is an Anglo-Saxon one which does not seek structural change, where wealth

for the elderly at the community level. The elderly can be

creation take centre stage but poverty is very acceptable.

brought to the community care facility where doctors can

This process throws ever new challenges for human ser-

attend to the group rather than the elderly seeking healthcare individually. The elderly may also spend time in group activities and entertainment at the centre as a protection against neglect and isolation. That is what we are trying to demonstrate in Kerala.

vice professionals.

If you are wealthy, you can have individualised care. But for elderly people who lack income and support, it is possible to create community care using state resources. At the same time, we must work with the government to

What is the prevalent model of development all about? Historically, development is viewed as a process whereby nation states have moved from being largely agricultural to being largely industrial, largely rural to

enhance the resources for the elderly so that holistic

largely urban entities. Along the way, access to and con-

support can be made available to them.

trol over the means ofproduction have been reorganised.


Inclusive development... is it even possible?

Some people accumulated wealth and the means ofpro-

In India, more often than not, the visible social work

duction, while a large number ofpeople lost access to and

practitioner is seen as an activist, a kind of thorn in the flesh, so to speak, be it the Narmada agitation or the

control over these. Since the limdamental assumption is

many movements across the country. It is always a

social activist who takes centre stage and leads agitations. Why does this happen? What other roles can a social worker assume given the fact that there is no great respect for a social worker in India?

the investment and productivity ofcapital, accumulation has taken centre stage.

We have a situation today where one percentage of the world's population controls over 99 per cent of the

world's wealth. That is where the model of economic

The TISS was established in 1936 at the height of the

development takes us. Some nations believe in better redistribution through welfare. Others are distrustful

Great Depression, when liberalism as an ideology had

even of welfare, charity and philanthropy. In such places

failed, the world was recovering from the First World

you leave people where you find them. Here, they may

War and heading towards the Second. The Indian econo-

never get access to better education, skills and better

my was in ruins. In Mumbai [then Bombay], there was

employment. They may regress very far away from well-

unemployment and deprivation. It was in this context

being. Such a model of development cannot be inclusive.

that the idea of establishing a school of social work

It is not meant to be inclusive.



JUNE Zn, ltili


THE TlSS'S RESTRUCTURED PROGRAMME and collaborative work with the government improved its academic

quality, says Parasuraman.

There is a view that social science research is an elitist indulgence in a country where a billion people go hungry. ls that a fair criticism to make?

stand the nature of people's movement from rural to

urban areas. VVho were the migrants, why were they

large majority ofpcople have very little to consume. ‘What

coming, where were they coming from, and what interconnections remained between urban living and the rural context. Understanding urban and rural contexts in continuum, rather than in isolation, has been integral to our work. We need to explore the factors and processes that push people out of rural areas. Development theory predicts that rural land use and resource patterns eventually change. Simultaneously, people's skills evolve to match new conditions. We all know that while the Eu-

social science does is to study what‘s happening to social

ropeans had close to 4,000 years, the industrial revolu-

processes and economic processes. It is able to say what the condition is, why it is so, and suggests how you deal

tion and the imperial colonies to make that transition, we

with it. It does not matter if a country is rich or poor

pressed. I/Vhile displacement of people from traditional

because social science docs not take much resources

livelihoods is happening at a rapid rate, we lack the

compared with even basic research in the natural sciences. Social science is about showing us the mirror.

capacity to create alternative employment for them. Hence the urgency to understand and intervene in the

Now, the truth is often very uncomfortable, so we tend to

transformation taking place in rural areas, even as we

think it is unnecessary. But then, we also need to under-

address the influx of people and spread ofdeprivation in

stand the social processes. If we do not understand the

urban areas.

W'hy do billions go hungry?

Yes, not because of allocation to social science

research... Billions go hungry because 10 per cent of the pop-

ulation consumes 90 per cent of the resources. And a

are dealing with a situation where time is painfiilly coin-

social processes, we will not be able to anticipate and cope with the strife and conflicts that increasingly emerge from disaffection. Social science research enables us to feel the pulse ofsociety, chart the change processes and the causes and consequence of change. It is fiindamental to peace, solidarity and national security. Viewing

social science as a burden is unrealistic.


When you were handed charge of the TISS, you obviously had a set of goals in mind. What were these? How much of that have you been able to achieve? What areas need more work? Truthfnlly, I simply had no idea what was waiting for

There seems to be an over-emphasis on rural deprivation compared with urban deprivation. Your own students go more to the rural areas than to urban areas. With the teeming millions flocking to the cities looking to make ends meet, don't you think you should focus equally on urban deprivation? Urban studies have always been an important part of

me. I was on a P—5 United Nations posting in Bangkok. My annual salary at my present employment is less than my monthly salary there. So people were laughing at me,

saying "this person is crazy". My employers kept the seat warm for me for sh; months after I left for the position at the TISS.

In 2004-, the only thing people in the selection com-

work at the TISS. The Centres for Rural Studies and

mittee asked of me was whether under my leadership the

Urban Studies were established in the 19605 to under-

institution could be transformed, keeping in mind origiFRl]N‘TI.INE


JUNE 3e».z:a15

nal vision and newer needs. The TISS presented an academic and managerial challenge. At that time, the teaching and research faculties at the TISS were clearly demarcated. Social work faculty were located in the

teaching departments, social scientists populated the research units. There were 80 faculty members, and the annual student intake was 125. The institute was doing good work, but was it too little, fragmented and isolated from wider changes in economy and society? The one

thing that I believed very strongly in, then and now, is that quality education is the best way to transform the people and the nation. I can say this from personal experience, hailing from a small village where my father was a marginal farmer, where we waited for festivals to

have rice cooked at home. The TISS governing board gave us permission to restructure the institute. We began a process of review and reflection with the Academic Council and the faculty to discuss and rethink the vision and mandate of the institute. From September 2004- until February 2006, all faculties, departments and units engaged in discussions about vision, relevance, mandate and our contribution to


THE TISS has several new rnulti-disciplinary programmes such as Development Studies, Disaster Management, Public Health and Social Entrepreneurship to address the varied needs of the social sector.

the extemal world. We commissioned two papers to document the critical reflections about the institute's functioning, the relevance of its courses and contributions, emergent challenges and ways to address these. On the basis of these discussions, older departments and units were reorganised into schools and centres with

order to demonstrate our commitment to engage with the needs of the contemporary world. Often it was not easy to find resources to initiate new programmes. There is an interesting story around the setting up ofthe centre

for Disaster Management.

diverse disciplinary focus. Also during this time, new programmes were introduced and faculty members were


recruited. A long process was involved in establishing a relationship with the government. We had to debunk

What is the rationale behind expanding the way you

many myths. Everybody thought we were a private institute! Working with the govemment ministries was extremely important for achieving the goal of working with people. Our restructured programme and collaborative work

have done? We are a country of1.2 billion people. In early 2000s, only 120 students graduated from the TISS every year. What difference could we make as an institution? Most of our students went to work for industrial houses or NGOs.

with the government improved our academic quality and created diversified employment opportunities for graduating students. This year, we were able to place 1,000 students. We run the Prime Minister's Rural Develop-

VVhile all the time what was really needed was social sector professionals. This country continues to need disaster management professionals, public health professionals, and of course social entrepreneurs. We can't be

ment Fellowship programme. We are going to run the Prime Minister’s Skill Development Programme. ‘What

talking about social and political empowerment without

began as a TISS fellowship experiment is now emulated by many State governments that wish to initiate the Chief Minister’s Rural Development and Skill Development Programmes. Our contribution has been to create possibilities and increase the scope ofwork in the social sector.

economic empowerment. Initially, we only had a small campus in Mumbai. Many State governments requested us to create regional

campuses. Finally we agreed on Hyderabad and Guwahati because these gave strategic access to the southern and eastern regions. We could disperse the students in

In the near future I can envision at least one development worker in every panchayat. Millions of jobs are needed

different contexts, attract new faculty and create work with regional focus. We made concerted investment in

and must be created in the social sector because it is

areas where more immediate attention was needed.

extremely underdeveloped.

As globalisation intensified, mental health became an

cussed mainly on the discipline of social work. We in-

important area of concern. Ten to 12 per cent of India's population needs some form of help. For this, we had

troduced several new multi-disciplinary programmes

only psychiatrists with a highly clinical approach to men-

such as Development Studies, Disaster Management, Public Health and Social Entrepreneurship to address

tal illness. But mental health is more than a clinical issue. It is also a social construct. There are socio—economic and

the varied needs of the social sector. It was necessary to develop this expertise in our faculty and programmes in

political processes that create conditions for people to develop mental illness. Mental health, the way it is con-

Earlier, the institute’s academic programme was fo-




ceived and dealt with, is different in different contexts. We wanted to approach mental health from a social perspective and create skills to enable professionals to

World Bank in 1995, he said, 10 years from now if anyone thinks about sustainable development, they will come to the Bank. Most of the multilateral and bilateral agencies

work with people who were grappling with mental ill

transformed their fimding to lend only to those institu-

health at various levels and contexts. We wish to become

tions that are aligned with their ideological framework.

very good at what we do, and to meet the challenge of creating professionals in mental health we are collaborating with the best institutions in the country.

So now when we talk about sustainable development, we don’t know what it is. \Vhen we talk about participation, the question is, whose participation? So basically this is what happened to social science research when the state

All premier institutions seem to think that way...

withdrew and the fimding agencies came in with their agendas. If you were for that kind of agenda-research,

We have our strengths, but many institutions are also doing cutting-edge work in areas such as mental health. We believe in working closely with such institutions. For

you had resources. Ifyou had an agenda that was devel-

instance, can we replicate what Adaikalam [The Ba-

the nation and society, then you had a problem.

nya.n’s transit care home for mentally ill destitute women] is doing? What The Banyan is doing? Do we have a


oped organically by the faculty on the basis ofthe needs of

theory for it? VVhile we have academic expertise, we must

institution in the past. In recent times, we have established many such collaborations to meld knowledge and

Staying with theory itself, there are political parties left of centre which have penetrated academic institutions and have tried to establish themselves very firmly in all areas of academic and institutional functioning. Then

practice, which in turn would enhance both to create

you have the rightists who are trying to make inroads.

better solutions to social problems.

Does this fundamentally affect the working of an

also develop the ability to work with other organisations and institutions. That is something we did less as an

institution like the TISS? How easy or difficult is this process? Does it fly with academic councils or governing councils? How do you select partners across India? ls not long-term partnering risky, considering that most institutions are


Do the institutions have avision? D0 they have clearly defined objectives and an agenda on where they want to invest their resources? Make it public, make it known.

Institutions must provide space for the depiction of all persuasions. Don’t limit to one particular ideology or

We have to be very careful. We are choosing NGOs

paradigm. Provide the filll range understanding of all

that have an accountable and transparent system and

development paradigms. Allow the organic growth of

who respect the people they work with. They must have

individual capabilities of the students. If there is clarity

demonstrated skills and knowledge in that particular area and they should be willing to share that knowledge with others. We do a lot of assessment to understand whom we are working with. And I am willing to withdraw if preconditions are violated. We don't work with in-

about that, then it is always clear on the direction taken. An academic institution should be the space for critical thinking and not dedicated to any one ideology. This is where the institution’s governing board, academic council and faculty need to be vigilant. We have a strong ethics

stitutions with profit motive. If service to people in difficult situations is your motive, then we will work with you. We work with groups like Aruna Roy’s MKSS [Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan], Barefoot College, The Banyan.

committee to clear research proposals. The faculty and the students and the governing board are watchful of the work ofthe institute. This is very important. That’s where the TISS culture is very different. Our students can come

Some like the Childline are established by our own

and question us on specific research proposals. Our faculty have several forums to discuss issues and bring clarity


to our work. Our functioning is absolutely transparent. STATE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH

The TISS is on a path of explosive growth. Why did you

Are you satisfied with the quality of social science research in India?

want to leave?

The quality of social science research is very poor, fundamentally because the research agenda is set by the

funding agency. We do the research because they give us

relentless, extremely diflicult and tiring. Much of my energy has been spent in worrying about finances. There have been other pressures. I teach a minimum 10 hours a

the money. Social science research needs to have organic

week, guide M.Phil and PhD students and travel three

growth. The scholars must be able to establish the agen-

da, to have strong theoretical and conceptual orientation

days a week. This has been extraordinarily difiicult. It has been an exhilarating but also an exhaustingjourney. The

and framework, and be able to invest time and resources

Governing Board of the TISS with Government of India

in investigating instead of being driven by sponsored

research. Sponsored research is destroying the social

and Tata Trust nominees and independent experts have been instrumental in shaping its direction. A new lead-

sciences. When James Wolfensohn took over as President of

ership with vision, energy and some courage can steer the TISS towards further excellence in the next 10 years. El

The last 11 years as the Director of TISS have been



JUNE lo, 2015


Agents of change Through creative partnerships and meticulous research, the TISS tries to close the gaps in state intervention to address social deprivations and sufferings. av n.K. RADI-IAKRISI-INAN In 1993, two young women barely out of college,

Banyan and the TISS, realising that mental health issues

Vandana Gopikumar and Vaishnavi Jayakumar, took upon themselves the challenge of caring for mentally ill

were largely dealt with by psychiatrists and treated with medicines in the country, wanted to address the treat-

destitute women. They founded The Banyan, in Chennai.

ment gap. “Mental health issues can’t be solved by cor-

“Our responses were patient-centric and based on the

recting serotonin and dopamine levels [in the brain]

perceived need. We took up the issue of homeless [mensor Vandana Gopikumar, founder trustee. It did not. Rehabilitated patients wandering away

alone, distress can be a result of structural barriers and these have to be addressed," says Vandana Gopikuma.r. The need to address multiple, complex, inter-related issues in a structured manner resulted in The Banyan

from their homes after being reunited with their families,

setting up an academic centre, The Banyan Academy of

the lack of mental health care facilities in two—thi1‘ds of the country's districts, and The Banyan’s own belief that institutionalisation is not the way to go ahead in caring for the mentally ill, forced it to transition into a centre

Leadership in Mental Health (BALM). The TISS found in BALM a partner that worked on the same set of objectives: BALM was founded with the aim of forming

that offers comprehensive care packages for men, women

knowledge with other interested stakeholders to expedite

and children in distress and/ or afilicted with severe and

care for the mentally ill and close the treatment gap.

common mental disorders. Its strategic focus to prevent and/or adequately address a descent into homelessness

Effective human resources, trained in an ecosystem that is representative of the real world, was crucial in this

or a state of acute psychological distress, often as a conse-

vision. The TISS-BALM collaboration currently offers

quence of illness and untreated mental disorders, has emergency and therapeutic services for homeless persons with mental health issues; inclusive ecosystems for per-

three Master’s programmes through three schools and a diploma programme for community health workers in mental health. The Banyan Academy also hosts three centres—for Health and Mental Health Policy Research,

sons with mental health issues; health and mental health

Inclusive Development and Social Innovation (in collab-

systems and NAl..AM—social inclusion, skills development and well-being.

oration with Vrije Universiteit (VU), Amsterdam, the

It took The Banyan more than two decades to build a

try Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, Bos-

tally ill women] hoping it would end there,” says Profes-

resulted in the development offour critical areas ofwork:

standard operating protocols and sharing this body of

Harvard School of Public Health and the Global Psychia-

model that comprehensively addresses the needs of

ton) and Mental Health and Marginality.

homeless people with mental health issues on the streets, in hospitals (transit care centres), in open shelters and in


the community and arrive at designs that take into account diverse needs, including long-term care, which is a growing problem in mental health care globally. With

This is at the heart ofwhat the TISS does and what it has become in the past decade with S. Parasuraman as its Director. Vifith a clear mandate from the Governing

self reliance and personal recovery as goals, most models are geared to promoting exits from institutionalised care

Board to reach out to the unreached and chart new

to foster an environment of choioe and social mobility

pathways in social work, Parasuraman began building partnerships with institutions and non—governmental

and build an ecosystem of social mixing, capabilities

organisations (NGOs) across the country. The TISS is

promotion and inclusive development.

strong on theory. There were hundreds of organisations

In 2005, when The Banyan was discussing issues in

across the country that were great on the field and had

the sector at multiple levels, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was also seized of the same issues. The

redefined multiple areas ofsocial work. Ifthe TISS had to retain its position as a “go-to” place in social work theory,




_l tr


AT TISS, HUM BAI. The TISS goes beyond linkages to cater to needs across the country. research and practice, it needed to build strategic linkages, work on the glaring social issues and hand-hold

multiple partners even as it remained focussed on socially relevant research and interventions.

are all in place to scale up mental health services, develop human resources and build and lead a community that talks mental health.

The TISS goes beyond linkages to cater to needs

Parasuraman is very clear why he began partnerships

across the country, be it in Ladakh, Nicobar, or the Rann

such as the one with The Banyan: “They can articulate a

of Kutch. It does not abandon an area for want of fi-

theory [on the intersection of mental health, poverty and

nancial resources to support a project. TISS professionals

homelessness]. So basically I said that there are many

stay on each field-action project on a long-term basis. For instance, when the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council was established following a 1995 Act, the idea was to involve the local people in the devel-

more organisations doing much better work and we can

join hands with them. We are theoretically strong, we have the ability to work with other people. Let's join Parasuraman says this was an important decision. Aware that mental illness was set to oust most other communicable and non—communicable conditions to position itself as one of the highest contributors to the

opment process. The Council approached the Tata Trust, which turned to its trusted solution for social and development issues, the TISS. The institute was tasked with preparing village development plans and train community workers, community members and government offi-

global disease burden by 2020, the TISS began its collab-

cials on how to implement the plans. The other part

oration with NGOs in Kerala or Bihar or Tamil Nadu. These have added value, knowledge and depth to its

involved making local people competent to handle the tasks on their own in a sustained manner. So, the TISS

work. The TISS invited Vandana Gopikumar into its

conducted a year-long diploma programme on sustain-

faculty as a Professor in its School of Social Work, soon

able development. It also undertook the painstakingjob

after she was awarded a PhD for her work on “Mental Health and Marginality” from Vrije Universiteit, Arn-

of doing micro-level planning of all villages in Ladakh. This is hard because villages in the cold desolate desert of

sterdam. This is unprecedented in Indian academia, a fact that was not lost on many, including Professor Vikram Patel, Professor of International Mental Health,

ladakh are far away from each other. “We took about one and a half years to do the micro-level planning,” Paras-

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “This

is nothing short of a miracle," he remarked at a function

When the need to develop a perspective plan—ahead of the Twelfih Five Year Plan—came up, the TISS made

in Chennai, in which the professorship was awarded.

available the data gathered from the area under the


uraman said.

Council at the block-level office and the village-level

The TISS wants to develop Chennai’s BALM as a Centre

office. The TISS has also trained councillors and panchayat leaders to use the data for planning, which was

of Excellence in Mental Health. BALM is ready, too, says Vandana: models, approaches, strategies and direction

useful for implementing the Twelith Plan and the perspective plan.




JUNE 2h, 2015

The TISS and the Council also developed the Ladakh Vision 2025 document, which Prime Minister Manmo-

ing to contest panchayat elections. They were taken on exposure visits to Rajasthan and Kerala after a one-weeklong training programme in Mumbai. The programmes

han Singh released in May 2005. The exposure of elected representatives to altemative settings, thoughts and

began with the very basics: what a panchayat is; what the

ecologies has been an integral part ofthe TISS training.

powers of the leaders are; how they can plan; how pari-

Soon afier the TISS began its work in Ladakh, panchayat leaders were brought to Mumbai every year. Late last year, it organised a visit for 120 women who were prepar-

chayats have the power to demand the services and support from the state. The TISS responded to the severe floods in Ladakh in



TISS 1s a movement


Interview with S. Ramadorai, Chairman of the Governing Board of the TISS. every single interview. What is a comparable vision that is possible in an institution like the

For S. Ramadorai, revered in industry circles for catapulting Tata Consultancy Services into the billiondollar league, heading the Governing Board of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was a natural tion, it is a movement, Ramadorai tells Frontlinc in a

TISS? The comparable vi-

rare post-retirement interview. Heading the highest authority at the institute that shapes the path forward for Asia's first graduate school of social work, to create innovative and inclusive pathways for nation building, Ramadorai says that there is much work to be done

sion for this kind of institution [such as the TISS] is the inclusion dimension—social or financial or youth

choice. The TISS is much more than a mere institu-

in Ii

because “never before has the country felt a greater

employment. You

need for social scientists and social workers”.



measure the impact by

what we




What is your role as the chairman of the Governing Board of the TISS? As the chairman ofthe Governing Board one must engage with the various campuses ofthe Tata Institute of Social Sciences, engage with the governing board

the [Maharashtra] Governor gave [in his convocation

through the Director, and formulate a strategy with

making sure that water reaches everyone. This is mea-

them to ensure that the institution achieves its set goal.... I have been here for the last couple ofyears. It’s a pleasure being part of this movement and seeing younger people graduate year alter year.

sure impact made possible by people who pass out of this institution. The people who graduate will take up social work through corporates or through NGOs and be part of creating this impact.

ground. We can set up a matrix for it to say that we

have touched so many lives. Looking at the example address], that of a place going from rain surplus to rain deficient, and then social workers’ intervention

Development through measurable action-orient-

ls there any particular reason why you chose to take up chairmanship at the TISS? You are guiding quite a

ed activities on the ground creates a multiplier effect in every single walk oflife. The mindset is how do I engage, apply, measure, improve and create impact.

few other organisations, apart from some business

entities. VVhat impressed me most and excited me, whether it is the chairmanship ofthe TISS or the national skills

How do you converge your various roles at the many institutions?

development corporation which the Government of India requested me to take up, is that it is all for social impact. You have done your corporate life, you have

The centre of what I do is the youth ofthis country. VVhether it is the Skills Mission, the TISS, or whether

been a part ofthat for 4-3 years, you have made money,

given it back to shareholders and society. I look at the

converge to one single goal, namely addressing the needs of the youth. If we include everything as part of

scale ofopportunity and the impact it can create, and

this, you are touching the lives ofthe youth and conse-

that's what excites me.

quently their families.

You took TCS from a $400-million company to a

The TISS, and even social sciences work in India, is

$1 -billion company. I am sure you have heard this in

not spoken in the same breath as the work being

rRim'|'i.|w. » .llINF.2n,1ol5

it is technology, whether it is business, all of them


2010 by initially engaging in relief work and then taking charge of reconstructing one large village that had been destroyed. The initial funding for reconstruction came

was to establish the identity of the people affected. The Nicobar people, like many Indians, do not have any identification papers, without which the government

from the Tata Trust; funds for training and capacity

machinery found it ditficult to extend resettle1nent/reha-

building from NDTV; and funds for village development

bilitation provisions. The TISS, which commenced an

from IDBI Bank. In Nicobar Islands, the TISS was requested to help out after the 2004- tsunami. The major task at that time

assessment of all the households in the islands, found that most of the elders in the hamlets had been killed. It then decided on a training programme for the residents and conducted a leadership development programme for

carried out at, say, an IIT or IIM or the llSc. Why is this so?

over 100 people over three months. “Now every village has two-three people who are trained. And they have become the leaders now," Parasuraman said.

After most organisations left the islands, the TISS

All of us are responsible for this. We have not said

stayed back to create an early warning system, organise

or realised that the liberal arts are as important as the other subjects of study. The realisation comes later, some of us realised this in the course of our corporate jobs. I think the nature of solving complex problems begins with a healthy mix of science, engineering and

village knowledge centres and work on livelihood promotion plans. It also got involved in social issues. It entered

social sciences. We need to do a lot of advocacy. It’s the responsibility ofall stakeholders, including NGOs, the

hamlets. The officials retaliated by denying TISS experts and entry passes to the hamlets (these are re-

govemment, institutions and students to take the ad-

quired to go to the non-tourist islands). The TISS respon-

vocacy part forward. Now, there is a realisation that

ded by securing permission letters from the Union Home

social sciences are becoming aspirational.


What specifically should the TISS focus on in the


coming years given the fact that a large number of issues and problems are staring at the country?

The TISS brings a holistic approach to bear on its engage-

Every region where the TISS has a campus—be it Mumbai, Tuljapur, Hyderabad, Guwahati—has a unique characteristic. So we must bring that core competency into that part of the country. It does not

mean that the competencies should be confined to

into a long—drawn-out engagement with the local and

Central governments, insisting that action be taken against officials who illegally sold liquor in the tribal

ments. In the fragile Himalayan ecosystem of Ladalth, for instance, it looked at the basic questions that planners face: Wltat sustainable development would mean in that

cold desert; and how much tourist inflow it could support. In the Nicobar Islands, too, the TISS looked into

country. I think in the fiiture it will be a collaborative

these planning issues. The questions to which it sought answers included: What has been changing? I-Iow have the lands changed? What does sustainable development mean in a remote island? The TISS's work in the arid and semi-aricl regions of

method of problem solving. Mental health is a major problem for us [in India]. Public health is another major problem. If we don't address prenatal care, the under-five children, then

Kutch, undertaken from its Thuljapur campus, explores the possibilities of sustainable development in the dry terrain. "We get in because the government and the people want us to come, we provide the support that is

we cannot address skills or anything else. Education,

needed—intellectual, research, policy advocacy—we also

vocational skills, all of this is connected together.

conduct research on some ofthe fundamental issues such

that region alone. Second, all the campuses are con-

nected so that the knowledge database is shared with everyone and the expertise is available across the

as water, sanitation, health, ecosystem, carrying capacity,

How can social work education contribute solutions

sustainability—a whole range of issues are explored. We

to emerging social and health problems in India?

will make available all the data to all researchers,” said

I think community participation, how we engage with the community, is a responsibility all of us carry


with us. The impact you make, whether to create livelihood means or to solve a community problem

T I 5 5 I N ll E P A L

through the expertise and knowledge each ofus has, is

25, the TISS sent a team of two doctors and a psycho-

what nation-building is all about. Inclusion of all

social health care professional to Kathmandu. This team,

kinds is what the TISS is trying to inculcate in its

working with groups there, identified the needs which

graduates. It's social inclusion, financial inclusion and

were not being fulfilled and sent in a report a week later.

opportunity for all, so that nobody is left behind. That

Soon alter the May 11 convocation at the TISS's Mumbai

is the ultimate aim. This will go along way in contributing to the solutions.

campus, 15 students, all qualified medical doctors who are also disaster management graduates, left for Nepal to

R.K. Radhakrishnan

support the TISS relief work. On May 12, another group of 20 reached Nepal. “These are the people with skills.

On April 27, aoon afterthe earthquake hit Nepal on April



JUNE 20, 2015


Local thrust W'hen the Tata Institute ofSocial Sciences decided to establish an off-campus for the north-eastern region of India, it had one condition: people should not be displaced from the land that was offered to the institution. Guwahati was the preferred location be-

cause it is well connected to all the States ofthe region. The Assam government offered an eight—l1ectare site on the premises ofthe Guwahati Engineering College. Two government Ministries, in 2013, allocated a total

of Rs.150 cmre for the campus. Construction is now in progress. The TISS Guwahati now functions from a tempo-

rary campus. As much as 66 per cent ofthe seats in the courses are reserved for students from the northeastern region and the seats are distributed among candidates from all the States in the region. Other

=x <1

-1 .i

AT TISS GUWAI-IATI, where 66 per cent of the seats in the courses are reserved for students from the north- eastern region. :1

I he TISS Guwahati has been researching on top-

TISS campuses offer the mandatory 49.5 per cent

ics such as access to justice and child labour. In a vast

reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes

swathe where tribal customs trump government sys-

and Other Backward Classes. In an effort to be relevant in the region, the TISS introduced courses in social development that dealt with environmental protection and development, conflict management, peace building and disaster management, and a five-year integrated programme in the social sciences. In addition to inter-disciplinary

tems, how do people perceive their access to justice? It has completed another research on child labour in the mines of Meghalaya, and is also working on entrepreneurship development models for the diiferent States. Parasuranian says that all stakeholders in the region have been supportive of the work that the TISS has been doing, though not contractors. The TISS ran

Masters programmes, the TISS also started regular

foul of the contractor lobby when it began advocating

Master's courses in subjects such as anthropology,

construction of houses using local materials. “The

economics and political science. The second batch of students received their degrees at a convocation at the

model we developed and demonstrated cost a third of

campus on June 9. ‘Even before the convocation, all

the students have been placed," said TISS Director S.

the money that it takes to build a conventional house.

We could demonstrate this in just three or four villages. Then we had to withdraw.”


R.K. Rtld/zaklishrzun

And they know it is not an easy job. There is no comfort. But they understand the ethics of relief and rehabil-

as associate members. This has now emerged as an enormous knowledge resource for any issue in the Himalayan

itation and the process of doing it. That's what we do,"


Parasuraman said. The TISS is also committed to helping Nepal through

In times of natural disasters, there is no time to think

a 2005 arrangement. That yezu', the Hindukush—Hima-

about funding. After the earthquake in Nepal, the TISS decided that it had a responsibility to help. Parasuraman

layan Region Universities’ oonsortium—was formed.

sent the team without waiting for the money to material-

While working in Ladakh, the TISS realised that it had no experience of working in a Himalayan desert but many institutions located in the Himalayan region had. So it linked with the a United Nations institution, Interna-

ise and thus avoided procedural delays. So it invested upfront and is hopeful that this will be made good by the organisations that have come forward to help.

tional Centre for Integrated Mountain Development,

The TISS gets involved because it is aware that if the institute docs not do it, then that part of the work will not

Kathmandu, considered the best in mountain development in the region. The Centre and the TISS jointly

psycho-social health care, an aspect of disaster manage-

conducted the training programme in Ladakh. Soon af-

ment that the TISS specialises in and has pioneered in

ter this came the idea of a consortium of universities in

India. Now it has become a mainstream work in disaster

the region. As many as 40 universities in Afghanistan,

areas. The TI SS will train people in Nepal on psycho-

Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China and Bhutan are now

social health care and provide support until such time

part of this consortium. Universities from other parts of

that the professionals there can run the programmes on

the world working on the Himalayan region were added

their own. “We have gone to Nepal, but we will be there



JUNF. Zn, lfllfi

be done. In the case of Nepal, the TISS's role is to provide

for another 10 years. Where will we get the money? That's not very difiicult once you have established the need for work, the work you are doing. Then money comes," Pa-

objective of repealing the draconian beggary prevention law, which fails to recognise the circumstances that force people towards destitution and criminalises poverty and

rasuraman said.

acknowledges the historical and contextual realities like

Be it Nepal, Ladakh, the Kutch or Nicobar, the work

resistance and exclusion faced by de-notified communi-

is not easy. In Nepal, for instance, even in normal times the roads are bad. After the earthquake, even those roads are gone. Helicopters are not able to land in some places. Many of the areas near the epicentre have barely been

ties, transgender community, persons with mental illness, those affected by leprosy...”. SOCIALLY RELEVANT PROFESSIONAL E D U CAT I O N

reached. Psycho-social health care seeks to help survivors address their trauma. “How you rebuild your life is a very important component. You can treat an injury, but how

As natural disasters become common, disparities grow

do you treat an injury to a person's confidence? To emotions? That is what psycho-social health care does,“ Parasuraman said.

uraman’s preferred phrase for them is “social protection

and state support dwindles, the TISS tries to train more social workers and send them out to the field. Paras-

A unique feature of the TISS is its field action projects (FAPs). As many as 3:3 FAPs address a range of issues

professionals”. In 2014-15, student enrolment stood at 4,029 across all campuses of the TISS, says the Annual Report for 2014-15. “Seventy-eight years ago, the first TISS campus was set up as Asia’s first graduate school of social work. It was established to produce socially rele-

including violence against women, the rights and rehabilitation of persons being processed by the criminal

vant knowledge, and its stated commitment was to create an inclusive pathway for nation building.... Solving in-

justice system and children in conflict with the law,

equalities and discontent within a context of rising aspi-

homelessness and beggary, child and adolescent mental

rations and possibilities will not be possible just through

health, tribal and Dalit youth empowerment, health care in rural and tribal areas, corporate social responsibility, sustainable livelihood, food security, adult education and

your efforts, it calls for a very high degree ofcollaboration between industry, corporate, NGOs and the local govern-


“The role ofTISS ambassadors on the ground is to inform

One FAP is located close to the Deonar landfill. Deonar, a Mumbai suburb, is the country’s biggest waste

public policies, strengthen people’s entitlements, and empower communities," he reminded them at the 75th

dumping site. It is situated in a polluted locality that is

home to a host of industries and refineries. The FAP is

convocation on May 11. The TISS continues its work across a spectrum of

“Transforming M (East) Ward” and is anchored in the

identified priority areas despite the fact that money for

School of Habitat Studies. Located on the north-east edge of Mumbai, M Ward is its ghetto with about eight lakh people living in its 256 slums and 13 large resettlement colonies. “The M (E) Ward in Mumbai is a microcosm of the city: it is an

social science research and action is dwindling, a fact that


ment,” says S. Ramadorai, Chairman, Governing Board.

both Parasuraman and the chiefguest at the 75th convo-

cation, N. Ram, highlighted.





“One ofthe characteristics of India’s system ofhigher

extreme example of skewed development in the metropolis, with virtually all indicators showing an urgent need for action that is multi—dimensional, comprehensive and strategic to serve its burgeoning population,” notes a

education, which has been widely remarked on, is its

2015 TISS report, “Social Economic Conditions and Vulnerabilities: A report of the Baseline survey of M (East)

ities, and social sciences, which are often treated as soft

subjects. Thanks to the flourishing, against the odds, of a

Ward, Mumbai.”

few major institutions of leaming such as the Tata In-

lop-sided concentration on engineering and technological education at the expense ofthe basic sciences and, in a more pronounced way, at the expense ofthe arts, hu man-

The 2011 ‘M’ Ward initiative brings together TISS

stitute of Social Sciences, we can entertain some hope

students and faculty and the stakeholders to work on

that the imbalance can be redressed,” Ram said. “bet us

elements that can transform the locality. "The project seeks to create linkages between ideas and resources for

remind ourselves that the challenge has to be met in the context of declining resources available to universities, a

positive change and ensure their deliverance to communities in the ‘M' Ward. The ‘M' Ward is not the universe of

change, but it is hoped that making a beginning with an

situation that presents a stark contrast to the tremendously increased public resource support given to institutions of higher learning in China during the same

area that represents the maximum challenge will also

period. Against this backdrop, it is commendable that the

make a positive difference to policies pursued in the rest

of the city and create a model for such work in urban

Tata Institute of Social Sciences has pushed ahead in the last decade to stand out among leading universities and

areas of the country,” the Annual Report says.

social science institutions as an institute of excellence

Koshish, an even earlier project that caught the attention of multiple State governments, was started in 2006

explicitly committed to developing and applying knowledge ‘in pursuit ofsocialjustice and human rights for all’,” he added.

and is now operational in Mumbai, Delhi and Patna. The Annual Report says that it “was started with the primary

There was some good news for the TISS in the first FRONTLINF.


JUNE 20, 2015




'r'i'>i‘~ ll ‘ ,z )_ u~







TISS HYDERABAD STUDENTS at their convocation. week of June: the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development decided to release filnds to the institute after effecting a 5 per cent cut in its annual allocation. In 2013-14-, the TISS received a total ofRs.50 crore fi'om the

sciences, and secure funds for expanding research,“ it

UGC. The Ministry wants to reduce government funding

in India unlike any single institution in the country from

to 50 per cent. The crux is the government's blinkered

the time of independence. Sustaining this rate of growth,

view on ensuring compliance with 12B rules of the Uni-

ensuring quality of work and remaining relevant in a

versity Grants Commission Act of 2015-16, which lays

fast-changing world will be the main challenges for the TISS at one level. At another level, the question offunding remains. Even though most people in the City of Maximum Greed look the other way, a few show up

adds. The TISS’s expansion under Parasuraman has been dramatic and has significantly impacted the social sector

down the criteria on which a university or a college can receive government funding. The Economic Times had first reported on the issue in late May this year. “The TISS

has been in the grip ofa financial crunch after the HRD Ministry and the UGC framed a new policy for funding deemed universities and chose to withhold funds. The TISS had to get bank loans in March and April and dip

unfailingly to support the TI SS, never mind that they are not from Mumbai. Some, like Ramadorai, an optimist, believe that the CSR funds from corporates will be a new

source for TISS social action projects, if not for the TISS

into reserves—essentially funds generated through con-

sultancy work—to pay salaries and keep the institute

itself. A lot now depends on how autonomous the TISS

running," the paper said.

remains. lt has a Governing Board, which is headed by

The TISS campus, inaugurated by Prime Minister

and has significant representation from the Tata Trust

.Iawaharlal Nehru, has been a fully government fimded

(together with representatives of the Union Ministry of

institution since 1964-, when it was declared a deemed university.

Human Resource Development and representatives of the State government). The Director of the TISS is select-

Parasuraman says that the institute expanded despite

ed by the board aiter an elaborate process, and the selected candidate is appointed by the UGC. The TISS is a deemed university funded by the UGC.

the financial constraints. The 2014-15 Annual Report

notes that the social sector had expanded in the last decade with Central and State government funding. But, “it is unfortunate that organisations and individuals with

Nevertheless, it has innovatively used the space available

influence and capital do not see Social Science education

Trust. But as the TISS steps out into the unexplored

and human development as a priority.... Our task has

terrain of a multi-campus university which works with

been very difiicult and considerable effort has been devoted to motivating the State to professionalise the social

unconventional but proven NGOs and a variety of other

protection sector, open up employment opportunities for

ence, which can only come with the formal recognition of

graduates with degrees in interdisciplinary areas ofsocial

it as an institution of national importance.



JUNE Bo, lflli

to it to achieve a great deal, with the support of the Tata

stakeholders, it needs more autonomy and independ-



Molding theory with practice Interview with R. Ramakumar, Dean, School of Development Studies, TISS. PROFESSOR R. Ramakumar, one of the youngest professors at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences,

recently took charge as Dean, School of Development Studies. An agricultural economist, he was invited to the TISS by its Director, S. Parasuraman. Ramaku-

mar’s work on microcredit, rural poverty and agricultural workers is among the most quoted scholarly

works in India. In conversation with Frmztline: In development studies, is there an undue emphasis

on rural deprivation as compared with urban deprivation? Well, ifyou ask it that way, I'd say in a country like India it would be a natural bias and not an artificial bias. Because you have the majority of people living in

the rural areas, and because rural poverty is much higher than urban poverty, you would naturally expect in a course like development studies a bias of that nature to come in. I’d say it is inevitable.

But to the near-exclusion of urban deprivation?


stance, one suggestion that is in front of us, something

That is not true because we have courses on urban

relating to public policy. That is a suggestion that is on

studies and urban development. It is not that urban

our table. We are beginning to discuss that proposal.

development is neglected, but I’d say every subject has

Maybe in two or three years, something will happen. If

scope to further improve itself. ‘What we have done in

at all something happens, it will happen on that front.

development studies is that students can actually go out of the school and take courses. We are the only school that allows every student to take four credits outside the school. We are open to things like that. It is also partly because we don’t have the expertise. We need faculty to teach as well. So I'd admit that might be part of the reason why that kind of impression is created. Probably because lot of our visible writings are also about rural areas. That is also there. It is interesting that you asked me that question. It sets me

thinking about it.

The coexistence of theory and practice in almost the same footing in the TISS is rather unique in an Indian

academic setting. Basically, universities are supposed to do theory rather than practice. The TISS does both. How easy or difiicult is that? It is not a question of easy or difficult. That’s the way to go. Even if it's difficult that's the way universities should try. In fact, about 20 years back, the TISS was known as a place with very little theory and a whole lot of practice. Then, theory came in; devel-

opment studies, for instance. We teach what capital-

The interplay between theory and practice and the

ism is. We teach students development and its

way things have been going on now at the TlSS—the pace of expansion of the place is so fast. Do you feel

theoretical constructs and at the same time we also

the same pressure in development studies? No. Actually we have taken care not to grow at the rate that the TISS is growing. In the sense that... our

allow students to go for intemships, field work, which allows them to test some ofthe theories that they have

school offers only two M_A. programmes whereas

learnt on the field. There are many people, who in class say, ‘what's the point oftheory it's about doing it in the field’. But in going to the field they miss the larger

many schools offer much more with smaller faculty.

picture [if they are not strong on theory]. If the larger

We have had suggestions in the past, we still have

suggestions on what programmes to add. But we have

picture was factored into their analysis, they would have been better informed. I am not saying that there

to be careful. We do not want to start one for the sake

has to be a balance. I think theory reinforces practice,

of it. Once we are convinced about it, once we have a

practice reinforces theory, and there is no rigid com-

concrete concept note in front ofus, once we have the

partmentalisation of theory and practice.

faculty who can actually teach it.... We have, for in-

R.K. Radhakvtklznan



JUNE lo, 20


Derecognising dissent Controversy rages over the decision of the Dean of Indian Institute of Technology Madras to dcrccognisc u student group. the Amhcdlsar

Pei-i_\'ar Study Circle, allegedly for its anti-Modi and anti-Hindutva VIEWS. BY ILANGOVAII RAJASEKARAN

THE management of Indian In-

tivities” since its formation last year

IIT management handled the sensi-

stitute ofTechnology Madras (I ITM)

(on April 14.~, 2014-), thus violating the

tive issue. “That these stringent regu-

has found itself at the centre of a raging controversy following its “uni-

code of conduct independent student bodies on the campus should

lations are not applicable to other student groups such as the Viveka-

lateral” decision to “derecognise” one

adhere to. He insisted that its mem-

ofthe student groups ofthe institute, the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle

bers remove the names of both Dr B.R. Ambedkar and Periyar E.V. Ra-

nanda Study Circle, which is stridently promoting right-wing

(APSC), allegedly for its anti-Narendra Modi and anti-Hindutva views.

masamy from the organisation’s title, as these names, he claimed,

stark partisan attitude of the IIT management,” said a postgraduate

A mail from the Dean ofStudents

“polarise the students on caste lines".

student. No wonder, as a student ac-

(DoSt) ofIITM, Sivakumar M. Srini-

Further, he reportedly asked

tivist pointed out, that Vinayagar

vasan, on May 22 “derecognised" the study circle after receiving a commu-

them to give an assurance that they would desist from any activities that

Chathurthi processions were organised on the campus.

niqué from the Union Ministry of

were considered inimica] to the pol-

The students rejected the letter

Human Resource Development (MHRD), which had received an

icy of the IIT management and route their activities through his adminis-

outright as the management was unable to provide them convincing rea-

anonymous complaint in this regard. The reason cited: “Misusing the privileges” given to students by organis-

trative offioe instead of the usual practice of interacting with the facul-

sons for the derecognition. “IITM

ideologies, speaks volumes about the

considered the APSC activities a

breach of guidelines only after the

ing meetings and issuing pamphlets

ty adviser, who, as per norms, serves as the bridge between independent

that “spread hatred against the present dispensation and its policies”.

student groups and the management, especially in matters relating

The Dean was well aware of the ac-

to non-academic space.

dissemination of information on

claim, has against heavy odds managed to create “some space" for II-

“This unilateral action against the circle is unprecedented and we

caste and caste-based discrimination because caste still plays a powerful

Tians to talk about “socially-relevant issues” such as caste and religion on the Chennai campus, which, according to many students that Frontline spoke to, is administered with a rig-

have never heard of such things on any other higher education campus,"

role in an individuals access to education. Powerful social barriers still

said Akhil Bharathan, an active

exist because of the exclusionary

member of the study circle and a student of the Department of Human-

pressures exerted by the dominant group,” said IIT research scholar Ad-

idity uncharacteristic of an institu-

ities and Social Sciences. “Can a

itya Narayanan.

tion ofhigher learning.

technocrat or a scientist be a whole-

The present row has more to it

The Dean told the student members in a one-to-one interaction that the study circle was found to have been engaging in “controversial ac-

some product without having any social responsibility?" he asked.

than meets the eye. In fact, the APSC has emerged as a Special Purpose

What surprised him and his fel-

Vehicle (SPV) for those who wish to

low students most was the way the

take up social and political issues

The study circle, as its members





letter it received from the MHRD.

tivities. The APSC is involved in the

contained extracts from the speech of Vivekananda Gopal, besides copies of the pamphlets and posters printed during the Ambedkar birth

anniversary programmes by stuII

dents along with copies ofthe posters published by members of the Revolutionary Student Youth Front (RSYF), which were found pasted on

' 1

t- -51!!

the walls outside the campus. R. Karthikeyan, RSYF unit secretary, told Frontline that the Front had been

highlighting such issues continuously. “The pasting ofposters on April 14-

coincided with the Ambedkar birth anniversary," he said. The anonymous letter, under:1

5 T U D E N T 5 0 F IIT Madras reading BR. Ambedkars "Annihilation of Caste" in protest against the derecognition of the Arnbedkar Periyar Study Circle in the institute on June 3.

signed “Students, IIT Madras”, dated April 29, and addressed to “Madam” (probably addressing HRD Minister Smriti Zubin lrani), accused the APSC of “trying to dealign the S.T.

[Scheduled Tribe] and S.C. [Schedthat have not been raised in public on the sprawling 100-hectare heavily wooded campus for long. The sole avenue ofcommunication for the libcral minds has been social media. These students use it to their full advantage to spread their ideas and

Dr Anibedkar“ by Prof. Dr R. Vivekananda Gopal, Dravidian University, Kuppam, on the campus, in which he reportedly made certain references to the Hindutva agenda and the “anti-people and anti—labour government of Narendra Modi". “Much

uled Caste] students". It accused the study circle of creating hatred among students. “They are trying to create hatred against the honourable Prime Minister and

organise activities around them and

earlier to this, we had also organised

MHRD for its stand on a separate

to interact with the outside world. In

discussions on the important issues

dining place for vegetarians and the

fact, the students and the faculty of IITM were taken by surprise by the

relating to the land acquisition Bill,

use of Hindi in IITs.

labour laws, the ban on beef eating, cow slaughter and ghar wapsi,”

The copies ofthe RSYF’s and students’ posters and pamphlets were also sent to the Ministry, which, based on the letter, despatched a

intensity that the present controver-

sy has assumed in the national media and the debate that it has generated amid academics and scholars.

pointed out Akhil. It is in this line that the students organised the

Hindus." The students, it charged, had issued pamphlets criticising the

note to II'I'M seeking clarifications on the issue. However, it must be

to the developments that are taking

meeting on Ambedkar too. But since then they have been kept under watch. For the student coordinators, the April 14- pro-

place in the social, cultural and polit-

gramme looked like yet another

against any group or individual. But

ical spheres outside the institutes

the Dean, without clarifying the is-

walls. Hence, the charge that the IIT

event of the type they had organised in the past one year, until the com-

handled the controversy clumsily is

muniqué from Prisca Mathew, Un-

sue with the students concemed, derecognised the study circle.

not entirely wrong. “We, in govern-

der Secretary, Department ofHigher

The students, of course, did not

ment colleges, deal with more serious and sensitive issues than this on a day-to-day basis," said the Principal of a Government Arts and Science

Education ofthe MHRD, dated May 21, to the IITM Director seeking “comments of the Institute” on the distribution of posters and pam-

refute the claims that they had issued posters and pamphlets containing the extracts ofGopal's speech and Dr

College in Chennai.

phlets on the campus of IIT Madras

The IITM management has, for long, been perceived as impervious

on April 13 and 14- and “creating ha-

noted here that the Ministry had not

recommended any specific action

A1nbedkar's quotes such as “Hinduism is a veritable chamber of hor-


tred atmosphere among the students

rors" and “You must destroy the religion of shrutis and the smrithis".

The problem can be traced to the

by a group namely Ambedkar Peri-

“Yes. We have issued pamphlets that

APSC's Ambedkar birth anniversary

yar”. The letter “forwards [to the Di-

are critical ofthe policies ofthe Modi

celebrations which coincided with its first anniversary celebrations, on

rector] a copy of anonymous letter

government. We do not understand

alleging serious complaints received

how dissent and criticism ofthe gov-

April 14- this year. It organised a talk

from ‘Students, IIT- Madras”.

ernment's policy is akin to spreading

on the “Contemporary relevance of


Ministry’s 19


hatred,” said Krishna, a study circle FRUNTI.INF,


JUNE lo, Zlili

supporter at the institute. They, however, distanced themselves from the posters that the RSYF published

tion in staffselection. (According to a notification issued in 2008 by the MHRD, the IITs were asked to in-

those against it protested in Chennai. They wanted to know whether the management of IITM had initiated

under the heading “Manu Dharma

troduce reservation in teaching posi-

any action against those who fought

Reigns in IIT Madras”, which ac-

tions, which included 15 per cent for

against the government policy on

cused the IIT of denying social justice by not implementing the reservation system since “it is under the governance of brahminical tyranny”.

S.C., 7.5 per cent for S.T. and 27 per cent for OBC candidates, but IIT managements asked the Ministry to revise it.)

Reservation was one ofthe issues

reservation at that time. The administration, the students claimed, was taking refugee under technical and procedural issues to camouflage its hostility to radical thinking.

debated by the APSC oiten. “The is-

In fact, media reports on May 25,


sues of reservation, caste discrimi-

2006, claimed that 100 students

Reservation in IIT is an issue indeed.



from IIT Madras and medical colleg-

Arun Sudarsan, Project Assistant,



es in Chennai raised anti-reservation

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IITM, has sought inInformation (RTI) Act on the category-wise composition of caste rep-

etc., have been hot subjects of debate and discussion on IITM premises for which the APSC played the role of a facilitator," said Akhil. The management, according to Akhil, has made

slogans in front of the government guest house at Chepauk in Chennai. A senior faculty member said antireservation students in the IIT protested inside the campus.

resentation in the enrolment of students in M.S. and PhD pro-

feeble attempts to stall such debates. “The action against the APSC has

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes

grammes in IITM. From 2008 to

been the toughest one on the cam-

(NCSC) has sought a detailed report

2015, a total of14-2 S.C. and nine S.T.

pus," said Aditya Narayanan.

on the present incident in the IITM

students were admitted to the PhD programmes as against 1,592 under the general category, (“forward caste” groups), and 740 under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) cate-

However, through an exhaustive but sharp email response to the Dean, the student activists told him that the IIT had many meetings that

campus. In 2012, the NCSC's Chennai office, based on a representation from a few students, had asked the institute management to explain how it implemented the reservation

gory. Just 29 S.C. and three S.T. stu-

policy in recruiting faculty. Since the

dents were admitted to the M.S.

initiatives of the current and previous elected governments and other

programmes across all departments

social issues, among them the reser-

satisfactory response, the Chennai

as against 1,19-1~ under the general

vation policy, which, they claimed,

office referred the issue to its parent

category and 4-29 under the OBC cat-

was still to be implemented in letter and spirit in IITM. They also drew attention to an incident wherein when the reservation notification was issued for IlTs,

body in New Delhi on July 30, 2012.







The composition offaculty members based on social category sought by Akhil Bharathan shows that 86.57

vegetarianism, and

discussed the policies and legislative

per cent (total: 4-64) of the faculty

management did not come up with a

The students wondered how the MHRD and IITM could give any im-

portance to such a “venomous anonymous mail with full of hatred towards the S.Cs, S.Ts and Ambedkar”. “Our pamphlets do not have any material that would surprise a sociological or political scientist. It has

members are from the general category followed by OBCs in a distant second with 11.01 per cent (59). The S.Cs are an insignificant 2.05 per

cent (11) and S.Ts come last with a

been sourced from media, books and journals. Any higher education in-

dismal 0.31 per cent (2) in the total of

stitute should be a platform where

536. “Mind you, nearly 90 per cent of

critical thinking and right to dissent ought to be encouraged and where brave new thoughts are to be nurtured. On the contrary, IIT seems to be in a sad state of affairs where sci-

the department heads and senior professors are from the upper caste groups," said a faculty member. IITM, an autonomous institution, has nearly 650 faculty members

_ii .u


and about 8,000 students, besides


3,000-odd non-academic staff and other workers. “It was not a mere


coincidence, but part of a planned


conspiracy against the implementa-

scientist be a wholesome product without having any social responsibility?" asks Akhil Bharathan, an active member of the study circle.

tion of reservation”, says a note from

the RSYF. The Senate of the IIT, it fiirther noted, had even passed a resolution in the past against reservaFRON'l'l.|NF.


JUNE Zn, lflli


entific temper and social justice are being curtailed," the mail said. Criticising the IIT and the Union govcmment for exhibiting an ex-

treme level of paranoia against a “humble” student organisation for its freethinking and secular orientation, its coordinators asked how anybody’s sentiment could have been

hurt when the entire discussion was



been the monopoly of religious right

wing to propagate its metaphysical idealist ideology and as a platform for corporate think tanks. ‘When the ta.\'payers' money is being spent for propagating anti-people, anti-rational agenda, pro-people, rational groups like APSC have to collect money from the students to conduct its events," the students claimed in


their mail. Chaman Lal, however, ad-


dressed the students on the campus

in a programme organised through another socially active group, IIT for

Society, the students claimed. Discussions, meetings and pain-

phlets were meant to kick-start a dcbate on the campus and among the academic fraternity. “The IITM [an

autonomous statutory organisation iimctioning within the Institutes oi Technologies Act 1961, as amended

by the

R A N G 0 0 N, 19 51.; Ambedkar with Periyar when they met in connection with

a Buddhist conference there. The IITM Dean wanted the study circle to remove the names of Ambedkar and Periyar E.V. Ramasamy from its title as these names "polarise the students on caste lines". about the right ofevery individual to

Institute of Technology

(Amendment) Act, 1963] is a public funded institute whose vision and mission should abide for the upliftment of the common masses. The right to function of any independent student body was not the prifllegc given by the authority but rather the democratic right of students themselves. We strongly believe that what we stated in our pamphlets and the

MHRD circular on vegetarian and

eat meat in the mess halls is seen as dangerous, then the continued e:o'stence of our study group becomes all the more important." On the imposi-

non-vegetarian mess halls for stu-

tion ofHindi, they said that as ratio-


nalists, they felt that though Sanskrit

They claimed that there were sev-

The IIT's website says it at present has 15 men’s hostels and two

had valued place as part of the culture and liistoryofcertain sections in

eral students‘ organisations active on the premises propagating the views

women's hostels and six dining halls

society. it also was an “instrument in

ofdiverse strands in society. A few oi

(messes). Ofthesc messes, one is nin

spreading a dominant brahminical

by staff members of the Ofiice of


them are elected bodies while other forums oflike-minded groups are independent. They can organise programmes oftheir choice but in close coordination with their respective faculty advisers. But the strongest

decide what they could eat with rcgard to the controversy over the

Hostel Management, the other five (including one for girl students) are run by private caterers on contract, and there is also a food court. Students claim that there is a separate mess for Jain students. They say that only vegetarian food is served in the

mess halls, though students are al-

'5T|FL|NG D|55ENT'

The recent developments, their mail pointed out, indicated “how dominant the establishment had become when it came to stifling dissent“. The IITM, they said, had rejected many oftheir moves. They faced stiff resist-

content ofour discussion are correct and as per the Constitution," the mail


presence on the campus is rightwing groups such as the Vivekananda Study Circle; the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamscwak Sangh) shakha; Hare

ancc when they tried to bring personalities such as Prof. Chaman Lal of Jawaharlal Nehru University

Rama, Hare Krishna; Vande Mata1'a1n; and Dhruva, to name a few.

(JNU) through the institutions Ex-


tra Mural Lccturcs (EML), a platform for the IITM campus

The Dean, however, defended his dccision strongly in the present case.

progressive ideas in an “otherwise

community to interact with speakers

He maintained that certain proce-

retrograde emironment“. “If such a

from diverse fields.

dures were to he adhered to and that

lowed to bring in non-vegetarian

food. “Even this privilege would be withdrawn at any time,“ their mail said. The mail reiterated the essentiality of a group such as the APSC with

trivial freedom such as being able to

“Since its birth, the EMI. has 21

the APSC had violated the code of I-'RlIN'l'l.lNl-1


.|l'NF. Zn. 3015

conduct by misusing its privileges. He informed the media immediately after the study circle’s derecognition

and run most of the things through me, although some posters/events might have been missed,” he said.

partments and organisations that “no action should be taken on the anonymous/pseudonymous com-

that the action was inevitable and

In fact, IITM has a Department

plaints”. But the MHRD seems to be

taken after a detailed investigation

of Humanities and Social Sciences,

blissfully unaware of this. Nor does

into the allegations against the circle, which were “found to be true”. IITM (administered centrally by the Council of IITs) did not curtail

one of its oldest departments, founded in 1959, which allows students to develop an appreciation for diverse fields—including development stud-

IITM seem to have known about it. Chaman lal recalled the APSC’s invitation to him to deliver a lecture on “Bhagat Singh's thoughts on In-

the freedom of evpression but would expect all student groups to adhere to the guidelines, said the Dean, who

dia” on March 7. In his tweet, he said: “I was told

did not take his permission for the

ies, economics, English studies, environmental studies, history, international relations, philosophy, political science and sociolog'—and gives them a multidisciplinary back-

event that was organised on April 14to celebrate Ambedkar's birth anniversary. They did not show him the posters prior to publishing them, he said.

ground. A senior faculty member pointed out that a lot of socially relevant research projects were being undertaken. “Independently and also

comparison to Dalit and leftist student groups. I wonder how the Ministry of HRD took notice of an anonymous letter. One wonders whether this is the first step towards

But as the issue began sizzling, the Dean clarified that the derecog-

partnering with prestigious institutions such as the Asian College of Journalism, the Humanities Department has taken up research studies

acting against other universities like JNU, D.U. [Delhi University] and

on various issues, including manual scavenging, plantation workers’ plight and the labour movement." “How can such an institution of a

Association] and SFI [Students' Federation of India]. Is this the beginning of‘achhe din‘ for higher education in India?”

infrastructure for meetings and programmes aflzer informing the Board of Students (BoS), he said.) The APSC's case will have to be presented in a formal hearing before

very high repute with social grounding promote a majoritarian ideolo-

The row in its entirety kicked up

gy?” asked an academic at the University of Madras.

intellectuals and civil rights advocates on the critical issues relating to the freedom of expression that at-

the BoS, the institute body comprising both faculty and student representatives from the Students Afiairs Council (SAC). IITM Director Baskar Ramamurthi said that it was not


tempt to define the role and respon-

While the role of I ITM in this issue is squarely criticised, observers raise a vital question on the legitimacy of

sibility of students of any higher

the anonymous complaint based on

a ban and IITM had only sought an

which the action in question was ini-

defiance, the academics say. Students have gone on social media

explanation from the APSC on cer-

tiated against the student group. A

against the dereoognition, inviting

tain issues. “The issue will be sorted out soon,” he said. “But nothing short

circular from the Central Vigilance Commission dated November 25,

the views of all. On the first day of its posting, in the last week of May, it

of a total revocation of derecognition

2014-, on “Action on anonymous and

received 600 supporters and their

will satisfy us," said a student activist.

pseudonymous complaints” categorically instructed all Ministries, de-

number is growing.

added that the APSC coordinators

nition was “not based on political

stances”, and reiterated that it was just provisional and not a ban or a shutdown as portrayed widely by the

media and other online blogs. (The groups could make use ofthe campus

Members of the APSC also al-

by the students then that the IIT management is more in favour of rightist student groups on campus in

Jamia Millia and leftist student

groups like AISA [All India Students

an intense national debate among

education institution in this context. Dissent can never be construed as

The writer and activist Arund-

leged that the Dean had assumed the

hati Roy, in a statement, says that at a

role of their faculty adviser. (Each

time when I-Iindutva organisations

study circle will have a faculty adviser who guides them in organising

and media outlets are outrageously celebrating Ambedkar, the man who

events.)They said that they had been interacting with Associate Professor

Milind Brahme, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, as their faculty adviser. Brahme told Fron-

tline that he was under the impression that he had been the faculty

adviser for the APSC though there

was no official communication designating him as one. “But the stu-

dents of the APSC did contact me FRONTLINF.



Anti-reservation students in the IIT had held protests inside the campus earlier. 22

publicly denounced Hinduism, as though he is their very own man; at a time when the Hindu nationalists’ campaign ofghar wapsi (a revamped

programme of the Arya Samafs “Shuddhi" programme) has been launched to get Dalits to return to

the Hindu fold, why is that when Ambedkafs real followers use the name or likeness of Ambedkar they get murdered like Surekha Bhot-

TH E H EAVI LY fortressed IIT Madras campus during a protest ouside it on June 1 mange’s family in Khairlanji? VVhy is

except the Bharatiya J anata Party

first woman politician to condemn

it that if a Dalit ma.n has a ringtone on his phone with a song about Ambedkar he gets beaten to death? Why has the APSC been derecognised? “It is because they have seen through this charade and have put their finger on the most dangerous

(BJP) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu reacted sharply to the issue. One of the alumni, Deepak Johnson, former students' general secretary, called the action of the Dean a “shame to the institute“.

the derecognition. She asked its Director to allow free speech inside the IIT campus. Dravidar Kazhagam leader K. Veerarnani criticised the attempt to stifle progressive voices among the youth. “Their agenda is Hindutva

possible place. They have made the

Sitaram Yechury, general secre-

and it should be defeated," he point-

connection between corporate glob-

tary ofthe Communist Party of I ndia

ed out. Though a group of students

alisation and the perpetuation of caste. There is hardly anything more

and the majority of the faculty have accused the APSC of “whipping up a

tablishment than doing what APSC did —celebrating both Bhagat Singh

(Marxist), says the banning of the APSC “appears part of the larger design ofthe RSS’ ideological project of transforming the secular democratic Indian Republic into their version of

dents and their groups on the cam-

and Ambedkar. This is what has brought them into the line of fire. This is what is sought to be quashed. The APSC derecognition is a recog-

an intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra'. Such a ban strikes at the very root of our constitutional guarantees, negating the spirit of an ‘adven-

pus have extended their solidarity to it. “The APSC could moderate the tone of its language used. The argument that IITM being an autono-

nition of a kind,” she said.

ture of ideas’ in institutions of higher

mous body can formulate its own

The Kerala-based Indian English

education and replacing our syncret-

guidelines to regulate the students’

Dalit poet S. Chandramohan points

ic civilisational history with Hindu

activities can only hold if such guide-

out that the resurgent Hindutva


lines are not against the constitu-

threatening to this present ruling es-

frenzied campaign” against the IITM

management, the majority ofthe stu-

since the 2014» general elections has

A surprise support to the APSC

tional spirit ofthe nation,” felt Aditya

been rolling back the ongoing reconstruction of India along the demo-

came from the noted American mathematician David Bryant Mumford who, in his letter to IITM Direc-

Narayanan, who is doing his research in ocean engineering.

cratic and egalitarian ideals of Jyotirao Phule, Periyar and A1nbedkar. “The APSC’s rising against such

tor Baskar Ramamurthi, posted by the students on the social media, has

The students are overwhelmingly euphoric over the support they have

garnered. But they are also appre-

right-wing forces is a welcome sign of the dernocratisation and egalitarian

expressed his deep shock over its derecognition. “I bclicve campuses

hensive about a backlash. IITM's graduation pledge says: “We shall

student participation in nation-

must allow open discussions of divi-

devote all our energies to promote

building," he said.

sive issues even when it offends some

the unity and secular ideal of our

people so that all aspects of an issue

country and utilise our knowledge in

are out in the open,” he wrote.

the service ofour nation and society.”

Besides Congress leader Rahul

Gandhi and HRD Minister Smriti Irani's spat on the issue on Twitter,

Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, Dravi-

various political and social groups

da Munnetra Kazhagam MP, was the 23

They hope that the IITM management will live up to this pledge. El FRUNTLINF.


JUNE lo, Ztili


Arson at Atah The attack on the Muslim community at Atali, a village in Haryana, by a mob which included women gives the lic to the claim that minorities are safe under the present regime. BY T.l(. RAJALAKSI-llll IN BALLABHGARH

J. 1' -i .1 11 1 I I t.


c i L

0 N E 0 F TH E I-I0 M E S that were attacked at Atati on May 25. [Right] Outside another attacked home.

THE 1,000-odd Muslims ofAtali village in I-laryana's Ballabhgarh tehsil, Faridabad district, have paid

lence were put on buses with tinted windows and driven to the Ballabh— garh police station, at nearly ll p.m.

to be told that policemen were on their way. The mob used cooking gas cylinders and petrol bombs to blast

heavily for attempts to build a mosque: nearly two dozen homes

Many ofthem had to be rescued from burning homes. Some 50 families

our walls and burn our vehicles. We took refuge inside our homes and on

and shops belonging to members of the minority community were burnt, looted and vandalised by a mob led by women and armed with hoes (pharsa, in local parlance) and other improvised weapons on the evening of May 25. The police were hope-

have been lodged in a makeshift tent

rooftops. With smoke all round us

at the police station, put up by well-

and we being pelted with bricks, we

wishers. Some other families have fled to safety further away. The Ballabhgarh police station is village. Some ofthe victims who have

were completely helpless.” Twenty people have been named in the first information report (FIR), most of them from the village; the victims claim that they know most of

lessly outnumbered, and they received reinforcements too late to

taken refuge there told Frontline that they had informed the police

the attackers. At the time of writing this report, no arrests had been

stop anything. No one was killed, but some two dozen people of the target-

about the mob build-up on May 25, well before the violence started. One

made. Nor were FIRs registered on behalf of each individual victim on

ed community received serious in-

of them said: “We made repeated

the basis of each of their statements,

juries. Curiously enough, not a single person in the rampaging mob was hurt. Around 8-30 p.1n., the police fi-

calls that day. The SHO [station house officer] came, but he lefi: leaving behind only five policemen. Wlien we saw the mob gathering, with women in the fi'ont, we made frantic calls to the police station, only

which was what the victims had wanted. The only apparent response of the government to the failure of law enforcement agencies to take ef-

nally managed to bring the situation under control. The victims ofthe vioFRONTLINF.



just six kilometres away from Atali


fective action has been to transfer the SHO who was on duty that day.

Though curfew was imposed in the village soon after the incident, under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal


Procedure, youngsters were seen moving




‘ ‘=


groups, and even reportedly assembling for meetings. “The day the Minority Commission members came to Atali, we pointed out one of the arsonists who was roaming freely.

The police nabbed him, but only to release him later," one of the victims







The trigger for the violence was


planned construction of a

mosque. Atali village has several

temples, including several “ancient” structures that look like they were recently built, but no mosque. The Muslims of the village, who have lived there for generations over sev-

eral centuries, travel to the nearest mosque in Ballabhgarh, nearly 13 km

away, to pray during Ramzan or on other religious occasions. Efforts to build a mosque in the village started in 2009, and some pillars were built. But the construction could not progress in the face of ag-

T H E H 0 5 0 U E under construction at Atali, which triggered the violence.

gressive posturing from members of the majority community. Moreover,

two residents of the village filed a case in the civil court alleging that

the mosque was being built on pan-

chayat land. On March 31 this year, Civil J udgc Vinay Sharma threw out

the claim. Village nambardar (keeper of records of land registrations) Isak Ali's son Naseem said: “We won

the case. They then approached the SDM [Sub-Divisional Magistrate]

court. The court held that individual appeals would not be entertained. We were prepared for a compromise

with the panchayat. The walls were VICTIM S of the violence at the makeshift camp at Ballabhgarh police station.

already coming up, only the roofhad to be put." An attempt to obtain a stay from the SDM’s court failed. On May 10,

lage of about 13,000 people. Jats dominate the village community, nu-

This relative and recent prosperity may have fuelled the anger of the

after completing the requisite ver-

merically and politically. Brahmins

majority community to some extent,

ification, the SDM directed that construction of the unfinished mosque

play a crucial role, too. Many of the Muslims are landless, but a few own

as suggested by the targeting of

should continue. The Communist

some livestock. Some, like Sharafat

pecially since some of the wealthier

Party of India (Marxist) has said in a

who works as a shifi manager at a

Muslims were known to be financing

statement that the May 25 violence

cinema hall, have salariedjobs, while

the construction of the mosque. But

was an attack on the “rule oflaw".

a few have done well in recent years

the entire community was attacked,

by securing government contracts

rich and poor alike. Victims at the

for infrastructural work.

Ballabhgarh camp said that an old

Muslims are a minority in Atali,

numberingjust about 1,000 in a vil-


homes and household appliances, es-



_Il.'NE 2h, Z015


whom Frontlinc spoke to said they had no say in the matters of men and that everyone was bound to accept the dictates of society.


The targeted community believes


the attack was premeditated. Sabir Ali, a contractor for the Electricity Board and the Health Department, said: “All our economic activities are

tied to the Jats. Barring the fact that we do the namaaz, there is nothing diiierent between the two communities. We share many similarities. Was there any need to do all this?”

He said that in 2009 the elders ofhis community had even “prostrated” themselves before the majority community leaders in order to reach a peaceful compromise. “We do not R A P I D A C T I ON F 0 R C E personnel deployed at Atali after the vioience.

want to fight. We want to live and let live. Why do they consider us inferior? Is it because we are landless?

But we are educated. They do not man was attacked on May 27. The victims also said that most of the village residents, cutting across caste lines, were involved in the attack. But

of the violence. The new SHO, Preet Pal, said that a police chowlci had been set up in the village after the incident. Two hundred Rapid Action

involve us in any village decisions. This was pre-planned, otherwise they w0uldn’t have the courage to attack us like this,” he said.

there were also some people from nearby villages among the attackers.

Force (RAF) personnel and 500 police personnel, including women,

Fmntlitne spoke to young people fi'om the majority community who

“We could see them from the roof-

have also been posted there.

said that in the days leading up to the

tops,” said Sharafat. The police told Frontline that

Atali village is in Prithla Assembly constituency. Tek Chand Sharma,

attack, meetings were held repeatedly in a temple and volunteers from

what made it so difficult for them to tackle the violent mob was that wom-

who represents the constituency, is the lone Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

en were leading it and there were no

member of the Assembly and had

women police personnel available. “The police were not prepared for

been backed by Muslims of the constituency, including those of Atali

the Bajrang Dal were active in the village. There was a membership drive on, too. For two consecutive days after the incident, Bairang Dal volunteers reportedly met and as-

this eventuality. But these tensions

village. According to the grapevine, he won with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) help. At any rate, he de-

always seem to get accentuated around panchayat elections. Some of the affected people are panchayat

sured the majority community of Full

“support”. The Atali incident is just one in a series of communal incidents that

members," said a senior police oilicer. Indeed, panchayat elections are

clared his support to the BJP soon

after he got elected. In the Lok Sab-

have occurred in recent months in the State. The attack on a church

scheduled to be held in Haryana in

ha, Faridabad is represented by

under construction in I-Iisar, inflam-

August. The officer added that in

Kishan Pal Gujjar, Union Minister



2009, too, it was around the time of

for Social Justice and Empowerment



the panchayat elections that tensions had flared up in the village. He ad-

and former president of the B.IP's State unit.

represent Hindus, and the activities of belligerent cow protection com-

mitted that the attack in Atali was one-sided and the main priority for

Members of the majority community at Atali made light ofthe violence. “It was a skirmish between

mittees encouraged by the recent legislation banning cow slaughter have set the pattern. In June last

A senior police oliicer who did

youngsters. Nothing major. These

year, an accident involving a youth in

not want to be named said: “There

things happen. They were building

were around 2,000 people in the

the mosque. There was a hardening

the Tauru-Mewat region was given a communal colour, following which

mob. The police had to be mobilised

ofpositions on both sides. That’s all,”

curfew was imposed. That there has

from all over the district. What could we do?” He could not give a satis-

said one of the village elders. Some urchins who took the Frontline team

been a systematic attempt to polarise

factory explanation as to why it took the police so long to reach the scene

through the gutted lanes were told oti by village elders. Some women

nal lines is now getting well estab-

the police was to “save” lives.









communities in the State on commulished.



In a land dispute that turned into caste violelicc, five members of a

Dalit family are killed in Dangawas village in Rajasthan. BV T.K. RAJALAKSHMI IN NAGAUR

DANGAWAS in Nagaur district

at Ajmer, are the only witnesses to

from the tourist town of Pushkar. The village was in the news recently

sions including trolleys, and razed a brick dwelling that had been constructed on the field. Three people died on the spot and the others suc-

for the wrong reasons: the wanton killing of six persons on May 14-, five

cumbed to their wounds in hospital. The dead and the injured were re-

on the Dalit family started with Ratnaram Meghwal staking his claim to

ofthem members ofa Dalit family. A

portedly run over with tractors. The

the piece of land by constructing a

dispute over the ownership of 3.77

only person other than the Megh-

dwelling on it in the first week of

hectares ofland saw the majority residents of the village getting mobil-

wals—Ratnaram, Pokarram, Pancharam, Ganpat and

May. I-Ie was, he reckoned, the rightful and legal owner ofthe plot.

ised on caste lines, with the sole intention of “finishing oft" the clai-

Ganeshararn—-to die was Rampal

of Rajasthan is just 59 kilometres

the carnage. Some women alleged that they were molested. The events that led to the premeditated attack

mants to the land, who in this case

Gosain, a non-Dalit, who succumbed to injuries from a bullet. The source


happened to be 16 members of the Scheduled Caste Meghwal family.

of the firing is still shrouded in mystery.

The descendants of a Jat family claimed that the piece ofland, origi-

According to the first informa-

Even the women of the Dalit

nally owned by Basta Ram Meghwal,

tion report (FIR), a mob of around

family, young and old, were beaten

had been sold to Chimna Ram Jat in

200 Jats (survivors say there were more) chased them, beat them with

mercilessly. They and some of the young men, who were admitted to

1964 by one Ghisa Ram Meghwal. But, according to Section 4-2 of the

sharp objects, set fire to their posses-

the Jawaharlal Nehru Civil Hospital

1955 Rajasthan Tenancy Act, prop-



‘ 5 U RV I VORS 0 F TH E ATTA C K on Dalit families in Dangawas—lleftl Khema Ram, who was run over by a tractor, and [right] women of the Meghwal family—at the Jawaharlal Nehru Civil Hospital in Ajmer. 27




erty owned by a member of a Scheduled Caste (S.C.) community cannot be transferred or sold to a person from any other community, including Scheduled Tribes. It says: “The policy of the State contained in Section 42 ofthe Act placing restrictions on transfers of land by persons belonging to S.C. or S.T. is in the in-


terest of such persons and it cannot be allowed to be frustrated although

a person belonging to a S.C. or S.T. may be a party to such transfer unwillingly or otherwise. The disability

imposed on khatedars of S.Cs and S.Ts not to be able to alienate their land to non—S.C. classes is absolute and in their long interest as a group of weak persons. It is a legal provision to ensure securing the ends of a considered public policy.” As such, Jagdish Narayan Shar-

i"I. !;G\‘Il\

TH E SIT E of the murderous attack in the disputed area of 3.77 hectares of Land

which was claimed by both the Meghwals and a Jat family.

ma, Ratnaram’s counsel until recently, toldFr0ntlz'ne that the sale deed to Chimna Ram could well be a fab-

she had been molested by Chimna Ram’s sons; this oomplaint of hers

ricated one. Chimna Ram claimed

too was not taken cognisance of.

title to the property in 1998 on the

Again, a magistrates order was re-

Meghwals are among the more outspoken of Dalits in Rajasthan. Compared with other Dalit sub-castes, they have done relatively better for

grounds that he and his ancestors had held possession of the land for

quired for the police to register an FIR. Despite her statement recorded

themselves and are more assertive. In Nagaur, the Meghwals, de-

the past 35 years. It was rejected in

under Section 164 of the Code of

spite their low numbers, were lan-

2007. After Chimna Ram’s death the same year, his sons, who are the main

Criminal Proced|.u‘e, no arrests were made.

downers and were not entirely dependent on the landed upper

accused in the May 14 attack, produced the sale deed claiming that the land had been sold to their father by Ghisa Ram. Ratnaram filed a counter-claim that year that the title was his, but he withdrew it subsequently. However,

In the first week of May, Ratnaram, perhaps advised by his new counsel that the only way the matter could be settled was to take physical possession of the land even as the case over the title continued in court, decided to construct a dwelling on

castes although a few of them told Frontiine that land alone was not enough for economic sustenance and they worked for the other communities occasionally. “These are 21st cen-

his sons filed a suit claiming that the land could have never been sold to

the piece of land. That proved to be his nemesis.

democracy. It is not easy to bully them anymore,” said a local resident.

Chimna Ram as the original owner was a Dalit. They also challenged the

Had the departments of Revenue or Land Records not prevaricated on

“They descended on us like animals. Even animals are not treated

authenticity of the sale deed. After

settling the issue of ownership and

like this,” said Arjun Meghwal,

the oourt stayed further proceedings

title, the bloodshed could perhaps have been avoided. But seldom has

tury Dalits. The new generation has

grown up with ideas of freedom and

ters remained in limbo. Meanwhile, on April 10 this year,

the rightful ownership of land been

whose father and brother were killed. His mother, Bidarni, was admitted to hospital with fractured

restored to those in the lower rungs


the Jat claimants dug up a small area within the plot for a pond. Ratnaram

of the caste hierarchy. Revenue records show that the title to the land

Bhanwari, whose father~in~law was killed and who herself was ad-

went to the police station to file an

was with the Meghwals. There was no “mutation”, or transfer of title deeds, in the name of Chimna Ram Jat. Dangawas is a village dominated by Jats. According to the village patwari, ofthe 2,500 households in the

mitted to hospital with fracture, told ed the women. “I was hit on the head. I remember someone holding my arms and legs. I fainted after that. They hit us wherever they could,” she said. Her children had gone to school

village, there are 1,200 Jat families and 130 Meghwal families. The

and except for them and a few others the entire family was in the field

on the controversial sale deed, mat-

FIR, but the Station House Officer

(SHO) of Merta police station did not think the matter was serious. On April 15, Ratnaram got a magistrate’s

order to file an FIR. The FIR was registered on May 1. On April 21, Ratnaram's wid-

owed daughter-in-law alleged that FRONTLINF.


JUNE 2fi.l()l5


Frontline that the attackers molest-

when the mob came attacking. The village was reportedly mobilised to teach the Meghwals a lesson.

make necessary arrangements and

Rampal Gosain was called specially

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Merta has been given an Awaiting Posting Order. Indian Administrative Service probationer Ni-

tehsil civil hospital too where they

to join the “mela”, as one of his rela-

kya Gohain, the new SDM, was

were brought for treatment first. The

tives described it. “This was the third such meeting that he had been called for in the past two months. He said he would be back for lunch. But we only got his body. It was a village

trying his best under the new circumstances. The administration could have prevented the massacre at various

doors and windows of the hospital were broken. The State Human Rights Commission did not think it a fit case to

levels. One, by settling the land dispute, and two, by taking measures to

visit the village. It was only after P.L. Punia, Chairman, National Commis-

prevent the orchestrated build-up of tension. “Land is going to be a major issue in the coming years. And the majority ofdisputes involve land that has been forcibly taken away from Dalits by dominant castes,” said P.L. Mimroth, chief fimctionary, Centre

sion for Scheduled Castes, visited the village and other groups protested

matter. I-Iow could he have refused to join? It was only to ‘explain’ to the

Meghwals that the crowd had assembled. We had nothing to do with

them. They are Jats, we are Gosains,” she said. However, the Meghwals were never called to these meetings, she added. Like the Meghwals, the Gosains,

attend to their medical needs. The injured were attacked in the Merta

that a CBI inquiry was ordered.

After the Dangawas incident happened, the Congress got into proactive mode, demanding amendments to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of

with their 10 families, are a minority in the village. Rampal, who has left

for Dalit Rights. It is estimated that there are around 1.5 lakh revenue or land-related cases pending in courts

Atrocities) Act according to a Standing Committee report which recom-

behind his widowed mother, his wife

and one or the other litigant in each

mended the setting up of special

Sohni Devi, and three young chil-

case happens to be a Dalit.

courts for offences against Dalits ex-

dren, all under 10 years, worked as a loader, apart from doing other petty jobs. The first arrests were made six days after the incident. Six persons

Apart from posting police persons in the village and announcing

clusively at the district level. But the fact is that even during the Congress regime, atrocities against Dalits continued unabated. Dangawas will never be the same

some compensation to the dead and the injured, the administration has

protests in Delhi, Ajmer and Jaipur, the case was handed over to the Cen-

done little to clamp down on caste assemblies by the majority community. At the time of writing the report, a Jat mahapanchayat was being organised in a nearby village—as

anymore, said the residents of the village. The general feeling is that one had to abide by what the “village” wanted, which is a euphemism for

tral Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government of Vasundhara Raje reacted predictably. When asked by reporters about the slow pace of

Dangawas was under prohibitory orders as per Section 144- ofthe Code of Criminal Procedure—in order to mobilise support for those arrested. A State Minister was present at the

the dominant community. “Had Ratnaram succeeded in his objective of securing titular possession of the land, he would have opened a Pandora’s box,” said a lawyer on condition



of anonymity.

were arrested though 12 people were named in the FIR. Following a lot of




Chand Kataria said the government

“When we visited the injured,

It is doubtful whether the State

did not have any magic wand. The governments apparent reluctance to

they were so scared to talk. In the village, we found that the water sup-

government will intervene in the settlement of such disputes. The CBl’s

be proactive in the matter is understandable. Of the 25 Lok Sabha

plyto the Meghwal families had been disconnected and that they were tak-

investigation would at best reveal the cause of and the people involved in

members from the State, seven are

ing drinking water from a pond. The

the murders, but the remedy, as is

from the Jat community and there

compensation is very little and not

being recognised, lies in nothing less

are around three dozen MLAs {tom

enough for what the family has gone

than land reforms and land redis-

the same community in the 200member Assembly.

through,” said Kusum Sainwal, State secretary of the All India Democratic

tribution. That is a tall order. The J aipur-based Centre for Da-


Women’s Association (AI DWA). She said that other Meghwal families in the village were also

lit Rights has compiled a list of 560 cases of discrimination, violence and

The indifference of the administra-

afraid to speak up after what had

the last one year from April 1,

tion showed itselfin many ways. The Superintendent of Police (S.P.) and

happened. The continuing caste

2014-. In addition to conflict over

meetings too had not helped in any

land, other atrocities against Dalits

the District Magistrate of Nagaur re-

way to restore confidence in the ad-

include not letting Dalit grooms ride

ached the spot 36 hours after the


ministration. So much so that the injured who are in hospital do not

horses (some 20 cases reported in 2014) and not allowing Dalits to cre-

A Deputy S.P. and the SHO of Merta tehsil have been suspended.

consider “going back” even though the administration has promised to

mate their dead in crcmatoriums or


atrocity against Dalits in the State in

enter temples. FRONTLINF.

El -

JUNE 20. 2015




'th h t

Crimes against Dalits are on the rise in Maharashtra. Among the root

causes are land-grabbing and slicer rage of dominant castes against the “defiance” of the lower castes. er nut BAVADAM CASTE tensions are simmering

for this brutality was something as

came up to Sagar and asked for his

in Maharashtra, where in the past 12 months alone there have been seven caste-related murders. The seeming-

innocuous as his cell phone ringtone, “Kara lciti/1-1' halla, majboot Bhima-

name. When he replied, he asked Sagar to switch off his phone. Sagar refused, saying it caused no one any

ly low figure is significant because

cha killa” (Raise your voice all you want, Bhim's fort remains strong). It

the seven people lost their lives only

is a song of strength for Dalits, a

combined with his obviously Dalit

because of the lower social status as-

rallying cry with its references to soli-

surname, was enough for the man

cribed to them by birth. And the State revels in calling itself progres-

darity and community togetherness and the leadership of B.R. Ambed-

and his eight friends to attack Sagar and his cousins with beer bottles.

sive and modern. The murders were of a gruesome nature; it was as if

kar. The higher castes perceive it as

Akash said the bar owner called the

police who apparently replied they

some vengeance was being exacted.

defiance, especially if they nurture resentment towards Dalits. This is

Only some of these cases have been registered under the Scheduled

what seems to have happened in Shirdi.

Al-cash pointed out that that the police station was just two minutes’

Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Pre-

Sagar had come home to Shirdi

vention ofAtrocities) Act, though on

to attend a wedding. On May 16, he

As the fight turned more violent,

the face of it there are adequate pointers to a caste angle to all of

and two cousins went to a local beer bar. At some point, his phone rang

Sagar got the worst of it. He was hit, kicked, punched, dragged out of the

them. Analysis of National Crime

and this apparently annoyed some

bar in

Records Bureau (NCRB) data for crimes against Scheduled Castes un-

men in the bar. Recounting the story later, his brother Akash said a man

dumped onto a motorbike and taken away. His cousins alerted the rest of

der the Prevention of Atrocities Act from 2001 to 2012 shows that Maharashtra had 3,210 reported cases of

problem. That innocuous statement,

had no vehicle to come to the site.

walk away.

a semi-conscious state,

the family, but even a second appeal to the police station was turned down. The inspector apparently said, “He was just hit with a few bottles,

atrocities in this period. The State

Pradesh topped with 26,378 cases

wasn't he? He will be back in the evening.” Unsatisfied with this, the

followed by Tamil Nadu with 10,845.

boys gathered their friends and

Priyadarshi Telang of Manuski, an organisation that campaigns for so-

mounted a search. “We knew the general direction in which the bike

was ninth on the list, which Uttar

cial justice, says Maharashtra has an annual conviction rate of less than 3 per cent and thus holds the State “responsible for the increasing caste atrocities in Maharashtra". The lat-

i \L| .| F: if



est ease, the murder of a young Dalit

L. I.

man in Shirdi, highlights the growing trend ofviolence against Dalits in Maharashtra. On May 16, nursing student Sagar Shejwal was murdered and his body mutilated. The reason FRON'l'l.|NF.




had gone and kept asking people,” said Akash, “and we finally found his body in a jungle.”

Significantly, the fight was captured by the bar’s security camera. This played a big part in the six ar-

rests that have taken place so tar. But what happened outside the shop was


far worse and for this there are no

youth who was killed for his ringtone extolling Ambedkar.

witnesses. Once he was dumped on the bike, Sagar was taken to a wood-


ed area, where his body was later

found stripped of clothes and with multiple fractures and telltale marks of a two-wheeler having been driven

over him. The autopsy report said he died of multiple fractures. The six men have been booked, among other things, for murder and offences underthe Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Sagar's assailants belong to the Maratha caste and Other

Backward Classes (OBC). The other sis murders too highlight some commonalities. All of

them were caste-specific. ln all the reported cases, the aggressors were either from the Maratha community or from the OBCs, people belonging to communities just one level higher than Dalits in the caste hierarchy. Explaining this surprising lack of

empathy for their kindred folk, Paul

PA R E N T5 o F N IT I N AG H E. a Dalit teenager who was strangled in April

Divakar of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights says that those communities which were not traditionally “upper caste", have now risen economically and are part of the power structure. Marathas, for instance, are new entrants to a high-

2014 for talking to a Maratha girl, outside their house at Kharda village in Ahmednagar. \folence against Dalits has been increasing in Maharashtra.

serious crimes as trivial offences (like the police inspector in Shirdi who told Sagar's family that it was just a

Manoj Kasab. The reason: Kasab became sarpanch thanks to reservation and Chavan was offended that he

er social standing. Keen to maintain

har brawl) or introduce a “Dalit—boy—

had been “usurped" by a Dalit. Ka-

this, they ally themselves with the

upper-caste-girl" love angle in order

sab's assailant was a Maratha and he

upper castes and prove their alle-

to lessen the gravity of crimes that actually have their roots in land-

was hooked under the Prevention of Atrocities Act along with 10 others

grabbing, sheer assertion of caste

who had helped Chavan.

giance by stomping on the traditional underdog, Dalits.

Another commonality in the

dominance, or rage by dominant

On April 25, 2014, Umesh Agale

cases is the police baulking at regis-

castes at what they see as “defiance”

was stabbed to death in a village in

tering cases under the Prevention of Atrocities Act. They either dismiss

or the lower castes “getting above themselves”. The Dal it writer and activist Anand Teltumbdc said: “This comes handy for the police to divert

Aurangabad district. He was suspected of having an affair with an upper-caste girl. Three Maratha men

lured Agale out of his house on the

attention and create indignation

preteirt oftalking to him, killed him

among the people. It is a typical ploy

in the adjoining fields and dumped

which extends to the judicial process too that the atrocity was not due to caste motive. Khairlanji [where four members ofa Dalit family were killed in 2006] exemplifies it wherein the lower court dismissed the argument


his body in a well. There was initial resistance to treating this as a caste atrocity case, but the police later registered it as such and booked the three men. Three days later, on April 28, a teenaged Dalit boy was strangled to death and his body was hung from a tree in Ahmednagar district because he spoke to a Maratha girl. The boy,

Some of the fatal crimes against Da-

Nitin Aghe, was taken from his

lits in the past 12 months arc listed below.

school by the girl’s brother and an-

that there was caste motive in the

gory incident."

On April 3, 2014, a former sar-

other man, beaten and then strangled. initial investigations did not

Shirdi where Sagar Shejwalwas

panch named Ganesh Chavan in .lal—

even treat the death as murder, let


na district assaulted a Dalit called

alone a caste crime. but later this was

TH E SPOT near the beer shop in




_Il.'NE Zn, llili

reversed and a case was registered

under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.

On May 1, 2014, Manik Udage was crushed to death in a stone quarry by four Maratha men from his own village in Pune district because they objected to the celebrations Udage had planned for Ambedkar Jayanti. It took a year for the police to register a case under the Prevention ofAtrocitics Act.

A fortnight later, on May 16, Sanjay Khobragade, a Dalit activist in his

angle was “discovered”, in which the victim's wife was apparently engaged

forties, was set on fire in Gondia district. He was trying to prevent a high-

in a liaison with someone else. October 21, 2014, saw three of a

er-caste family from usurping land

family butchered in caste violence in

set aside for a Buddha vihar. Despite 90 per cent burns, Khobragade managed to give a dying declaration to the police implicating six people of a Powar family. They were charged

Ahmednagar district. Sanjay J adhav, his wife, Jayshree, and their son Sunil were murdered in the early hours of the day. When farm labourers told Sanjay Jadhav's brother they had not

under the Prevention of Atrocities

turned up for work, a search was ini-

Act but were set free when a new

tiated. The mutilated bodies of the

Maharashtra’s poor record Interview with Anand Teltumbde, writer and civil rights activist. BY |.n.4 BAVAIJAM ANAN D TELTUMBDE, writer and

to the higher court, the punishment

civil rights activist with the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights in Mumbai, has written extensively on Dalit issues.

is usually annulled. Khairlanji illustrates certain aspects ofthis process, but the recent judgments ofthe Pat-

He is unsparing in his analysis even

Ranvir Sena criminals in the ghastly

if it means highlighting the ills in

massacres of Dalits [in Bathani To-

the Dalit community. Excerpts from an interview he gave Frontline:

la] in Bihar that took place in the

In the past 12 months there have been at least seven recorded incidents of the killing of Dalits in Maharashtra that are clearly casterelated. What does this say about the liberal State of Maharashtra? Maharashtra has falsely ac-

na High Court acquitting all the

1990s do it far better. Actually, right L’



\\ ir.


’:, |_l


"Maharashtra has falsely acquired an image of a progressive State."

quired an image of a liberal and pro-






extremely low. There are no authen-

repressiveness is rather infamous. It is the land that produced Hindutva ideology; most of its proponents

tic figures; the available figures vary widely. In any case, the so-called

have been born here. The very fact that [Jyotirao] Phule and [B.R.] Ambedkar were born in Maharash-

conviction rate needs to be defined. For instance, the lower court may punish the culprits, but they may be acquitted by the High Court.

tra could also be construed as a response to this innate repressiveness.

Firstly, the dynamics of caste atrocities need to be understood.

Even the birth of the Dalit Panthers

Only cases that ignited a public hue

in the 1970s was tangibly in re-

and cry are discussed. My analysis of Khairlanji tells me that invariably

sponse to the caste atrocities that happened in the previous year. As regards caste atrocities, Maharashtra is at best a middling State.

What is the rate of conviction in cases oi atrocities against Dalits in

the State? I am not aware, but it has to be l)‘\lllI\l-1-.lli.‘\'I~'.3n


the real culprits are sheltered and some dummy people are projected as criminals. If there is public attention, the lower court invariably awards them harsh punishments,

from the first case of this new genre

of atrocity, Keezhvenmani in Tamil

Nadu in December 1968, there is no justice done to Dalits in atrocity cases despite the legal facade raised with the so-called Atrocity Act. This

Act with teeth also is rendered toothless by the system.

All the assailants in the seven cases mentioned are either Maratha or OBC. Can you explain this trend please? In the caste structure they are just one step ‘higher’ than Dalits and so some degree of empathy would naturally be expected, but this does not seem to be the case. (an this anger be linked to the fact that Dalits are making a successful effort to improve themselves? It is always the B.C./OBC who

has been perpetrating violence against Dalits. It is notjust one step

being higher than Dalits. That one step defines the kink in caste hie-

which may not be warranted in law based on the facts of the investiga-

rarchy, which divides caste and

tion. When the case goes in appeal

able. B.Cs/OBCs that interface Da-


non-caste, touchable and untouch-

men were found strewn around in a farm. The woman’s body was found with a deep injury on the head. The cause of this violence was attributed

to an alleged alliance between Sunil and an upper-caste girl. No immediate arrests were made, but later the very man who had filed the first infomlation report (FIR) was arrested.

He was the deceased man's nephew and the police maintain that the reason for the crime was a family dis-

lits in villages matter more than the so-called upper castes like Brahmins. Even in Phule’s

days, the combination of Shudras and Ati-Shudras that he carved out did not work. It is

1 :i



the basic reason that a separate Dalit movement had to spring up. During the post-In-

dependence decades, the po-

R EPUBLICAN PARTY OF INDIA SUPPO RTERS protesting in Mumbai against the killing of three Dalits in Javheda in Ahmednagar district in November 2014.

litical-economic changes that

befell the agrarian sector aggravated




brought Shudras in material contradiction vis-a-vis Dalits. I have amply explained this process in my writings and

explained what caused Keezh-

pute. Once this arrest was made, the charge of “family dispute” safely took the case out of the realm of the Prevention of Atrocities Act. Nothing more was heard about the initial

ones. There are many that have not ended fatally and many remain un-

claim that there was an alliance between Sunil and an upper-caste girl.

from pursuing justice. Dr V.A. Ramesli Nathan, general secretary of

reported because of the tedium ofthe legal process as well as dominant caste arrogance that deters people

venmani and all the atrocities thereafter. The land reforms, for instance, were implement-

On January 1, 2013, Ahmedna—

the National Dalit Movement for

gar district saw the murder of three Dalit men who worked as sqfiii kam-

ed to carve out a class of rich farmers in villages as an ally of

gars (cleaners). Sandip Dhanwar, Sachin Dharu and Rahul Kandare

Justice, says that at the national level conviction takes place in fewer than 10 per cent of the cases under the Prevention of Atrocities Act. Com-

the central ruling class, and

were called one morning to clean a septic tank at the house of Prakash Darandale, a Maratha. At 8 p.m., a relative of Dhanwar received a call

Indian Penal Code (IPC). He attributes the low percentage of convic-

nudes Dalits of the traditional

from the police saying he had drowned in the septic tank. Knowing

tions to poor investigation and implementation of the law.

safeguard of the jajmani sys-

two other peopie had accompanied

“In almost all eases, counter-

tem inherent in the caste sys-

Dha.nwar, the relative asked the caller about their whereabouts. He was told they had already left. A few hours later, he received another call from the police informing him that

cases are filed and the victim or their family is forced to withdraw their original case. In the special courts there is a nexus [between the authorities]. They do things like not filing

the other two were found dead in a well. The bodies of these two were mutilated, with Dharu’s head and limbs severed from the body. Cases

the charge sheet on time," said Nathan. If the Prevention of Atrocities Act is to be seen as the deterrent it is

the entire gamut of politics after the 1960s is explainable

under the Prevention of Atrocities Act were registered and the police

meant to be, then cases need to be resolved with some speed. While

said that it was related to honour

constitutional and legal means of

within this framework ofpolit-

killing because of some involvement

justice exist for Dalits, their imple-

ical economy.

with an upper-caste girl. These cases are just the reported

mentation is sluggish. For many this

the Green Revolution, a capitalist strategy in agriculture, on the one ha.nd enriches this

class and, on the other, de-

tem. The class contradictions between Dalits and the Shudra-caste rich farmers begin

manifesting through the familiar fault lines of castes. Every incident of caste atrocity may not explicitly expose these equations but they will be at

the root in some way. In fact,


pare this with the 44- per cent convic-

tion rate for cases filed under the

is as good as no law. FRUNTLINF.

El -

JUNE 2h, 2:115

P O Ll_Tl_C S


One sided contest As J ayalalithaa prepares to contest a by-election to firm up her ])iJ.\‘lIl()]l as Cliit-i’

.\lllllHlL‘l', the opposition, except the Left, is wary of what it sees as a losing battle. BY 'l'.S. SUBRAHANIAN

WITH the Assembly elections in

would contest against Jayalalithaa.

Tamil Nadu due in less than a year,

He said, “There is no question ofgiv-

the major opposition parties in the

ing a wide berth to elections in a

State seem to he least interested in putting up a fight against Chief Min-

democracy. Since we believe in democracy. we are confident that all

ister J ayalalithaa in the Assembly by-

those who light corruption and com-

election scheduled on .Iune 27. This,

munalism will pledge their support

despite every opposition party de-

to us. The CPI and the CPI(M) will

nouncing the Karnataka High Court

jointly introduce the candidate." G.

verdict of May 11 acquitting .Iayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case, which has enabled her to contest this by-election, and despite their constant attacks on her govern-

Ramakrishnan, State CP I(M) secretary, however, was worried that “the ruling party will bring into play the official machinery and its moneypower in this election".


The principal opposition party

major opposition party has backed off from the battle, citing the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra K21‘/.liagam's (AIADMK) money

the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the Congress, the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), the

why the DMK wanted “to avoid" a contest. He recalled that afier the trial court's sentencing of.Iayalalithan on September 27, 2014, which obliged her to resign as the Chief Minister, the Election Commission took 75 days to announce the byelection to the Srirangam constituency, which had elected her in 2011. The announcement came only on Ja-

power, questioning the Election

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra

nuary l2. But after the AIADMKleg—

Commission's (E.C.) neutrality, and

Kazhagam (MDMK), the Viduthalai

islator P. Vettrivcl vacated the R.K.

attacking the E.C. for announcing

Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and the

Nagar seat on May 17 to make way

the R.K. Nagar election at short notice.

Puthiya Tamilagam have all decided not to contest. At the time ofgoing to

for Jayalalithaa to contest from there, the E.C. took just 10 days to

press, Vijayakanth, the film actor

announce the by-election, he pointed


who founded the Desiya Murpokku


Only the Left parties—the Commu-

Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), had

Karunanidhi also noted sarcasti-

nist Party of India (Marxist), or the CPI(M), and the Communist Party of

not revealed whether his party would contest. He has not snapped the alliance forged with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. DMK president and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi explained

eally how money power had played a big role in the Srirangam by-election



India (C-Pl)—are in a mood to fight the election. After a meeting of the leaders of the two parties on June 3, R. Mutharasan, State CPI secretary, announced that a CPI candidate !-'Rl)‘\l'l‘I|\il"





and how policemen had “acted with honesty and a sense of fair play” not only in that election but the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu also. “Vlfhen we, therefore, know clear-

giance to Vasan. However, the TMC

cadres' sympathies lie with the AIADMK, and they have made that clear to Vasan. This was one of the reasons for Vasan's refraining from any criticism ofJustice Kumaras\vam_v's verdict acquitting Jayalalithaa. “Just as we did not criticise the D'Cunhajudgment, we do not attack the latest verdict now," Vasan said.



His publicly stated stand on the

TMC's preference for an ally for the

coining Assembly elections is this: “We will go with the alliance that

people want."TMC cadres read it as a euphemism for forming a front with the AIADMK.

On June 2, Vasan explained why the TMC would not contest in R.K.

Nagar: “A political party's paramount dut_\-' is to take part in elections. A by-elcction was once a gauge

to measure the ruling party's performance. But those days are gone, and the situation today is that the niling party always wins the by-elections. ln particular, it is the ruling party which has won every one of the 22 by-elections that have been held in Tamil Nadu since 2001. On that

basis, the TMC did not contest the Srirangam by-election. N0 occasion has arisen to resile from that stand.

We, therefore, have decided that the

AIAD M K wo R K ER 5 campaigning in the R.K. Nagar constituency on June 1+. l_v what kind oftrcatmcnt deniocraey will receive in this l)_v-election. and

DM DK or the Congress ifthcse par-

the Assembly elections are to be held

ties contested from R.K Nagar, which, it hoped, would prepare the

within a year. the DMK does not

ground for an alliance with one of

want to contest in R.K. Nagar," he

them for the 2016 elections. But it


did not happen. One DMK leader

T.K.S. Elangovan, DMK spokes-

said that “the Congress is only a sec-

man, said that the DMK contesting the by-election would be a “waste of energy and resources". He added that the DMK was “preparing for the bigger event” of the 2016 Assembly

ond option for us alter the TM C" led by G.K. Vasan in the Assembly elections. lf the DMK were to forge an alliance with the TMC, the C PI(M) and the CPI might also come into the fold. In the DMK's reckoning, this

elections and wanted to "take the message of the all—round failure of the AIADMK government to the

people in the coming months“. Informed sources said that the DMK was worried that ii'.laya1alitl1aa won by a big margin against a

would bring in Vijayakanth, too. The TMC was founded only on

November 3, 2014-, after Vasan quit the Congress. But the DMK is keen

TMC will not stand in the R.K. Nagar by-election." The BJ P seems to be divided on the issue. Pon. Radhakrishnan,

Union Minister of State for Shipping, said on .]une 2 that his party would consult allies such as the PMK and the DMDK before deciding on fielding a BJP candidate. Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, the State BJP president, said on the same day that the BJ P would back the DMDK ifthe latter contested. Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister AI'un Jaitley has categorically

said the BJ P would not team up with either the AIADMK or the DMK for the 2016 Assembly elections.

on an alliance with this nascent par-


ty. This is because the TMC claims to

One party that both the BJP and the DMK seem to be wooing with an eye

DMK candidate, she would start propaganda that the people were

have grown beyond its own expectations with a membership ot'45 lakh.

with her and not the DMK. The party

Almost the entire Congress cadre

though it is emaciated alter the

reportedly planned to back the

base in the State has shifted alle-

crossing over ofscveral ofits legisla-


to the 2016 elections is the DMDK,



.|l'NE Zn. 3015

tors to the AIADMK in the last couple of years. The rub is that

accommodate Vijayakantlfs ambition, of either leading the alliance or

Karunanidhfs son M.K. Stalin, who is the DMK treasurer, is a powerful

Vijayakanth, an aspirant for the Chief Minister's post, would like to

being a chief ministerial candidate. What is, in a way, thwarting the

contender for the Chief Minister’s post and a natural leader for any alli-

lead the alliance himself, whether he

opposition unity is that there are at

ance that the DMK may stitch up.

is in the company ofthe DMK or the BJ P. There is no way the DMK can

least three chief ministerial aspirants among the opposition parties now.

Then there is Dr Anbumani Rainadoss, son of the PMK founder Dr S.

was not enough for Karnataka to say

Little choice

that it had already discharged its

THE Karnataka government has fi-

cision, which dramatically over-

nally decided to file a special leave petition (SLP), under Article 136 of the Constitution, in the Supreme Court challenging the acquittal of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and three others in the 19year-old disproportionate assets case. Legal experts see the decision,

turned the trial court’s verdict, has been seen by many legal pundits, including Acharya, as being riddled with legal and arithmetical flaws. In particular, Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy's methodology in computing

the quantum of disproportionate assets is seen as problematic. While

duties by setting up a special court, hosting the trial and appointing a

Special Judge and an SPP. A former AG said: "With the Supreme Court clearly stating that Kamataka is the sole prosecutor in the case it has a constitutional right to file an appeal. It cannot abandon the legal process midway.” Amid speculation that the Kar-

which came on June 1, as afait accompli since the special public pros-

the trial court’s calculation (page 852 of the judgment) of 10 loans

ecutor (SPP), B.V. Acharya, the

taken byJayalalithaa, the three oth-

State’s Advocate General (AG) Ra-

ers and their firms from national-

nataka government was not keen on filing an appeal because of political and other considerations, the State's Law and Parliamentary Af-

vivarma Kumar, and the Law Department had all strongly

ised banks amoimts to Rs.l06,731,274-, the learned judge

fairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra sought, through the La.w Depart-

recommended that the State should

of the High Court totalled these at

ment, two legal clarifications from

appeal. (Karnataka is the Supreme

Rs.241,731,27-1-. This grave miscal— culation, according to Acharya, re-

the AG. This move, which came after the SPP and the AG had given

sulted in the acquittals. A corrected computation would push up the

their recommendations, were seen

Court-designated prosecuting agency in the case.) The State government thus had little choice but to




as “delaying tactics”. What the Law Department

quantum of disproportionate, unexplained assets to 76.76 per cent, way beyond the 8.12 per cent assumed by the High Court. The controversial

tion from the competent authority was necessary for filing an appeal and whether the consent of the ChiefJustice ofthe Karnataka High Court was necessary to appoint an

order also suffers from

SPP to argue on behalf of the State

vocate in the case,

:- legal infirmities such as including high-value

before the Supreme Court. Ravivarma Kumar felt it would be a “great

Sandesh J. Chouta, authorised by the Su-

§ cash gifts received from persons who later

travesty ofjustice" to allow the High Court’s acquittal of Jayalalithaa to

Karnataka High Court’s May 11 verdict

exonerating Jayalalithaa and the others of all corruption charges. Law Department officials said that the SPP and his junior ad-


wanted clarified was whether sanc-


become “final” by not appealing. He

boards and corpora-

pointed out that requirement ofany

one of the State government’s “advocates on record”

tions as legitimate income; and recognising as legitimate

“sanction from a competent authority” was absurd since the question of

(standing counsel) in New Delhi in

a debatable newspaper subscription

sanction arose only at the prosecu-

the first week ofJuly when the court

scheme that had been established as

tion stage, in particular, prior to tak-

reopens after the summer vacation. It is a time when the court takes up

fake by the trial court. Commenting on the decision to

ing cognisance of the offence against a public servant. He pointed

urgent matters. Legal experts believe that the apex court is likely to admit and hear the case expeditiously, in keeping with the general trend in corruption cases. The Karnataka High Court’s de-

appeal, Acharya said: “The government has gone strictly on the legal merits of the case and the advice of the Law Department, the AG and myself. This is a fit case for an appeal.” Legal experts explained that it

out that it was the constitutional right of the government to file an appeal and that consent from the ChiefJustice to appoint an SPP was also not needed as the State had the powerto do so under the Kamataka

preme Court, would

file the SLP through






Ramadoss, and Vijayakanth. The

massive turnout at a public meeting in Madurai on May 24 has enthused Stalin. Addressing the meeting, he urged the people to rally under one front for the Assembly elections. “I have come to Madurai to draw the

law Ofiiccrs (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1977.

Legal experts pointed out that the Governor ofTamil Na-


du had granted “sanction” for Jayalalithaa’s


That was way back in 1997. and without it the court could not

DMK PRES1DENT M. Karunanidhi.

CHIEF MINISTER Jayalalithaa.

have proceeded against her.

The validity of that decision

first battle line to put an end to four

The ruling AIADMK, mean-

was upheld in 1997 by both the

years of the AIADM K's atrocities," Stalin said. He spoke of the

while, is an awkward situation. Cadres are jubilant that .Iayalalithaa

AIADMK governments non—per-

is back in the saddle, but there is

formance on a variety of fronts and accused the AIADMK of not fulfilling the promises it had made to the people. “It is a crime if you maintain silence and do not fight against injustice,” he said. The PMK is ploughing a loncly

nervousness at the party's top echeions after the Karnataka government decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against her acquittal.

trial court and the Madras High Court. Denying any delay on the part of Karnataka to file an appeal, Jayachandra told Frontline: “Legally we had 90 days

to file an appeal and we have

'l'he party is wary ofaligning with

delay?" He also insisted that the Congress high command

tional Democratic Alliance (NDA)

the BJP for the Assembly elections because it fears the loss of minority community votes. Besides, the TMC, which s\vears by secularism, will not join the AIADMK bandwagon if it allies with the BJ P. In the coming months, the

led by the BJP, but it is only a sullen

AIADMK plan is to galvanise the ad-

was in no way concerned, nor

and inactive partner in the coalition.

ministration, complctc pending in-

was it consulted on the question. “This is a State matter, not

A united opposition is yet to materialise, but Tho]. 'I‘hirumavalavan,

frastructure projects, organise the much-vaunted Global Investors‘

a party matter, so where is the need to seek advice from the

VCK founder, has set his sights far

Meet in September, and project itsell

afield. His party is organising a con-

as a formidable party under a strong

ference on .Iune 9 in Chennai on


done it well within that period. I had sought some clarifica-

tions from the AG. Once the clarifications came and the Cabinet met we took a decision. So where is the question of a

high command?" The Minister also said that the Supreme Court, when transferring the case to Kama-

taka in 2003, had “trusted [the] high reputation of the Karnataka judiciary, and the

State, as the prosecutor. “Vi/e are not against anybody. But we

have been declared by the Supreme Court as the sole prose-

cuting agency and we cannot move away from this responsibility. Iiegally we have no

choice but to appeal and take the case to its logical end.” Ravi Sharma

furrow. S. Ramadoss has repeatedly ruled out an alliance with either the DMK or the AIADMK_ The party

may not have walked out of the Na-

“Forming Coalition Governments in

Its leaders are confident that it

Tamil Nadu”. 'I‘hirumavala\~'an met the Left leaders Ramakrishnan and Mutharasan, MDMK leader Vaiko and Vijayakanth, enlisting support for his idea. After meeting Ramak-

can return to Power in 2016 without any allies if the opposition remains fractured. As a forerunner, it is keen on proving in R.K. Nagar that the people arc with it. And it is against

rishnan, he told reporters: "For a long time in Tamil Nadu, political

this backdrop that the AIADMK flagged off its campaign from the constituency on May 31.

parties representing marginalised communities and the minorities and the Leit parties are unable to share

But now that the Leit parties have decided to send a candidate into

power. For 20 years now, coalition

the ring against Jayalalithaa, the

governments have become the norm at the Centre. A similar situation

other opposition parties—the DMK, the Congress, the TMC, the MDMK

should be brought about in Tamil

and the VCK—may find themselves

Nadu. We are engaged in such

in a quandary: to support or not to


support the CPI nominee. 3'7


I-‘RllN'I'l.lNl-1-.|l'NF. 2o.3lI1S


apital stand-off The hattlc over the (lL‘\'l)lllil()ll oi“ po\\m'.-' between the Delhi government

on the one side and the Lt Governor and the Central government on the other points to an attempt at political sabotage of an elected government. BY AJOY ASHIRWAD HAHAPRASHASTA

THE initial stand-off between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejri-

wal and Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung over the appointment of a temporary Chief Secretary has developed into a full-blown constitu-

tional battle over the crucial issue of devolution of powers. In early May, Kejriwal objected strongly to the

LG's unilateral decision to appoint Shakuntala Gamlin Acting Chief Secretary in the absence of ChiefSec-

retary K.K. Sharma, who was on leave for 10 days. Jung claimed that he was well within his constitutional right to appoint oflicials without consulting the Chief Minister. The confrontation triggered a legal conflict. The appointment was blown out

of proportion as Kejriwal accused Shakuntala Gamlin of lobbying with the government to promote the in-

terests oi'Reliance-owned power distribution companies (discoms) in the

city. Shakuntala Gamlin was in the midst of a controversy when Delhi‘s

Power Minister Satyendra Jain alleged that she insisted that the power discoms be given “letters of comfort",

if not a loan guarantee, which may have given the discoms loan guaran-

tees of Rs.11,000 crore. Kejriwal, who has consistently spoken about the high-handedness of the discoms and refused any form of loan guarantee to them, saw Shankuntala Gan1lin’s appointment as astrategic move

by Jung and the Central government to protect the discoms. He alleged FRUNTLINF.


.lUNI~'.3h, 2015



L T G ov ER N 0 R N AJ E EB JU N G greets Chief Minister Anrind Kejriwal after administering the oath of office to him, in New Delhi on February 14. 38

that his requests for substitutes had always been turned down by the LG and hinted at foul play in the ap-

ing Delhi Police personnel. However, a few days later, the Supreme Court, hearing the Central government's

pointment ofShakuntala Gamlin by-

petition, issued a notice to the Delhi

Democratic Alliance (NDA) govemment at the Centre is rooted in one

passing many senior bureaucrats.

govemment and asked it to file its

clause of the National Capital Terri-

Soon after this face-off, the Union Home Ministry issued a gazette notification to the Delhi government on May 21 restraining its Anti-Corruption Branch from acting

response within three weeks. The Supreme Court bench refused to stay the High Court order but added that the High Court ruling on the May 21

tory (NCT) Act, included as the 69th amendment to the Constitution in 1991. The NCT Act created the provision for an elected Delhi government

and promoted Delhi’s status from a Union Territory to a half-state. Both

the Central government as a direct

notification was tentative and would not be binding. This observation by the apex court has complicated the legal conflict further.

attack on the Delhi government,

The unique status of Delhi as a

differently to defend their stand-

which was elected on the agenda of curbing corruption and crony cap-

half-state and the multiplicity of authorities have always been a cause of


trouble in administrative affairs. It is

The bitter battle took a dramatic twist when Kejriwal got Principal

because of this that both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party

points. The Article states: “There shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of not more than 10 per cent of the total number of members in

Secretary (Services) Anindo Majumdar’s office locked to prevent him

(BJP) had demanded “full statehood" for Delhi. Kejriwal renewed

from carrying out the orders of the

the demand in his campaign with

LG and ordered all bureaucrats not

added vigour. In his first stint as

to act on any order from the LG without consulting him. Following this, Jung, in a strongly worded letter to Kejriwal, asserted his constitutional

Chief Minister, for 49 days in 201314-, Kejriwal dramatically sat on a dharna outside Rail Bhavan to demand control over Delhi police.

right to appoint and transfer officials—right from stenographer to

The unique status of Delhi gives the Central government fi.ill control

Chief Secretary—in the city govern-

over public order, land, and the po-

ment's administration and nullified

lice, while the Delhi government is in

all orders of the Delhi government in

charge ofgeneral administration and

the previous week. The ego tussle worsened when an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator, in an emergency session of the Assembly, sought the amendment of the Constitution to

welfare. It is for this reason that

allow impeachment of the LG. In an effort to resolve the crisis, Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukheijee and said he was ready to

in Delhi. Prem Shankar J ha, a senior journalist, wrote in one of his articles: “Today Arvi nd Kejriwal heads a gov-

accept Shakuntala Gamlin's appointment, but sought the Presi-

ernment in a territory that is larger than ll Indian States that enjoy full

dent’s intervention to ensure that the

autonomy under the Indian Consti-

LG did not intervene in the Delhi administration's functioning on a day-to-day basis. He alleged that Jung had been commanding senior-

tution. He heads a party that has

level bureaucrats directly without consulting him or his Council of Ministers.

dia's 67 years of freedom—and 96 per cent of the seats in the State Assembly. But he is being prevented

the Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and

Amidst this fiasco, Kejriwal re-

from taking decisions that he and his

advise the Lieutenant Governor in

ceived a boost when the Delhi High

Ministers feel are necessary to enable

the exercise of his functions in rela-

Court, while hearing the Delhi gov-

them ‘to deal with matters ofconcern

tion to matters with respect to which



to the common man’ by an unelected

the Legislative Assembly has power

Home Ministry’s notification “suspect” and ruled that the Delhi gov-

appointee of a Central government

to make laws, except insofar as he is,

that was wiped out in the very same

by or under any law, required to act

election that brought the AAP to

in his discretion.... Provided that in


the case of difference of opinion be-

against Central government officials in the city. Kejriwal saw this move by



ernment had the authority to probe Central government officials, includ-

Jung's recent actions have been viewed by some political observers as the Central government’s attempt to engineer an administrative paralysis

secured an unprecedented 54 per cent of the vote—the highest won by any party in any election during In-


The political tussle between the AAP government and the National

Kejriwal and the LG have interpret-

ed Article 293AA (4) of the NCT Act










the special session of the Delhi Assembly, called to discuss the issue of power-sharing with the

Lt Governor, on May 27.



JUNE 2:». 2015


tween the Lieutenant Governor and his Ministers on any matter, the Lieutenant Governor shall refer it to

the Lieutenant Governor‘. The phrase ‘aid and advise‘ may seem fiizzy, but exactly the same phrase is

pointed to serve directly under the Chief Minister, as well as the department ministers, bypass them and re-

the President for decision and act

used to describe the relationship be-

port to an extraneous authority—the

according to the decision given

tween elected governments and the

LG—to whom no such power is con-

thereon by the President and pending such decision it shall be competent for the Lieutenant Governor in any case where the matter, in his

President of India and Governors of States (Article 74 (1), 163 (1)). The CoM was responsible in all cases to their respective Parliaments and As-

ferred either by the Constitution or the NCT Act, 1991,” Subramanium said. Prem Shankar Jha noted that the conflict had arisen out of Jung's

opinion, is so urgent that it is necessary for him to take immediate ac-

semblies, including the CoM of Delhi

refusal to allow the Chief Minister and his Cabinet the freedom to

(Article 75(3), 164(2), 239AA (6)). If ‘aid and advise’ was interpreted liter-

tion, to take such action or to give such direction in the matter as he deems necessary.” The Article is unclear about who the head of Delhi is. While some senior bureaucrats and constitutional experts have read the Article as one which gives full powers to the LG to

licitor General Indira Jaising is ofthe view that Jung overstepped his juris-

LG decisions and the subsequent Home Ministry notification were dangerous precedents set by the NDA government at the Centre as such political sabotage of an elected

take executive decisions, some other legal experts are at variance with the

diction. She said, “There is no provision

government not only undermined the core federal principles of govem-

view. The constitutional expert Sub-

in the Constitution or in the NCT of

ance but also subverted the whole

ash C. Kashyap said: “The Union

Delhi Act, 1991, or any ofthe laws,

idea of parliamentary democracy.

Territory is administered by the LG. The Council ofMinisters is to aid and advise him. In case of service matters, it is the LG’s call. In such a

granting to the Lieutenant Governor the power to act at his own discretion in the matter of appointment of the Chief Secretary." She filrther said that there was no provision in the

As the AAP government completes 100 days in power in Delhi, it has already seen many minor skirmishes with the Union government,

matter, the Chief Minister should go to the LG and sort things out."

ally, the CoMs would become adviso-

ry and parliamentary democracy would be worthless,” he wrote in one news website. Similarly, former Additional So-

Transaction of Business Rules which empowers the LG to issue direct or-

The present melee could do more harm than good to the Union government.

ders to bureaucrats bypassing the elected government. She said that

the issue needed no fiirther interpretation as the power ofthe Governors had clearly been stated by the Supreme Court in Shamsher Singh vs

choose the officials they would work with. Political observers and parties in the opposition, too, felt that the

this being the most recent and the biggest. Fearing further such interventions by the Central govemment, the Delhi government, after the High Court order vindicating Kejriwal, has renewed its efforts to strengthen

State qfPunjab (I974), where it ruled

its Anti-Corruption Branch. In a deft political move, it sought police personnel from various non-BJP States for its Anti-Corruption Branch.

that the Governor had to act only in

Politically, Kej riwal has succeed-

accordance with the aid and advise of

ed in turning the tussle in his favour

the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister. She added that

on the ground. The AAP's campaign during this turf war has not only ce-

the appointment of officials was an executive matter and must be taken

mented Kejriwal’s position as a crusader against corruption but also

However, many prominent legal

up by the Council ofMinisters as had

experts said that such an under-

been delineated in the Rules of Busi-

succeeded in pushing the BJP into a corner.

standing would be a silly literal

ness and the Cadre Rules.

translation of the Article. They view this Article as one that gives the

Both former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium and the promi-

halla sabhas for participatory gov-

elected government clear powers to make laws and expects the DG to

nent lawyer K.K. Venugopal stood in support of Kejriwal and were of the

number of welfare measures such as reduced water and electricity tariffs,

exercise his functions through the

view that the LG’s decisions violated

elected government.

the stated norms of governance and

With the AAP launching 11 moernance and initiating a significant

yer, said the LG was playing tricks

were against the constitutional scheme. “Insofar as the control over

with the Constitution. “The a.rrange-

such ofiicers is concerned, the only

ment between the elected CoM [Council of Ministers] and the nom-

authority which ought to exercise control would be the Chief Minister

the report card of the Delhi govemment also seems to be a positive one. The growing popularity of the AAP in the national capital has come at the cost ofthe NDA’s dwindling reputation as a pro-people government. In such asituation, the present melee

inated LG was that the CoM with the

and the Cabinet... It is not possible that any of the officers who are ap-

could do more harm than good to the Union government. El

Rajeev Dhawan, prominent law-

CM as its head would ‘aid and advise FRONTLINF.







Cl l)

The TRS government in Telangana has seen ups and downs during its first year in office, but the ]1t‘()]1lL‘ sccin to he in :1 mood to give the Cl1iL'i'l\"li11istt‘|' lll()l'L‘ time. BY KUNAL SHANKAR any one of us strays fiom the path Qfachietiing a separate Telangana, stone us.”

K. Chandrashckhar Rao, quoted in Frontline, June 22, 2001.

ON May 17, 2001, when Chandrashekhar Rao threw this challenge

at the Simha Garjana (roar of the lion) rally at Karimnagar, it marked the revival ofthe Telangana agitation

after three decades. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) that he formed after leaving the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ibllowing differences with N. Chandrababu Naidu was to be the

spearhead ofthe movement. The Na-

K. C HANDRASHEKHAR RAO taking the oath of office as Chief Minister of

tional Democratic Alliance (NDA) government's decision to carve out Uttaranchal (Uttarakhand), Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh as three new States from Himachal Pradesh, Bi-

the new State of Telangana in Hyderabad on June 2, 2014. in November 2009 when Chan-

ekhar Rao in December 2010.

drashekhar Rao went on an indefinite fast demanding the introduction

With the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha passing the Telangana Bill

har and Madhya Pradesh respective-

of the Telangana Bill in the Lok Sab-

in early 2014-, the decks were cleared

ly gave Chandrashekhar Rao the impetus to move decisively for the bifurcation ofAndhra Pradesh.

ha. He ended his fast on the Ilth day

for the birth of the 29th State of In-

amid growing violence and tension

dia, which subsequently came into

when the then Union Home Minis-

being on June 2, 2014-, with Chan-

gion by the Andhra Pradesh govern-

ter, P. Chidambaram, announced that the government would start the

drashekhar Rao taking the oath of office as ChiefM inister following im-

ment, irrespective of the party in

process of fomiing a separate State.

prcssivc victories for his pa1'ty in the

power, over the decades was Chandrashekhar Rao’s recurring theme as

The TRS kept up the pressure on the Centre through college students

elections from the Telangana region

he took his party out of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) I govem-

(described as "wheels of the movement” by Chandrashekhar Rao), gov-

the Assembly (63 of I19 seats). The going has been anything but

ment at the Centre and walked out of

ernment employees, teachers and

smooth from the beginning. The

the alliance government in Andhra Pradesh alter quitting the post of

others, despite counterpressure from the Samyukta Andhra movement for

TDP took him on on his promise that he would make a Dalit the Chief

Deputy Speaker. Drought-stricken

keeping Andhra Pradesh united.

Minister. Said State TDP president

The neglect of the Telangana re-

to the Lok Sabha (12 of 17 seats) and

farmers, out-of-work weavers and

The efforts eventually paid off af-

L. Ramana: “First, he [KCR] said

tribal and other poor people were the ones he walked with to create a new Telangana. The turning point arguably came

ter several twists and turns involving, among other things, the setting up of

during the election campaign that he would make a Dalit the Chief Minister. I-Ie said he will cut his throat ifhe did not. Now he has made all his

the Srikrishna Commission and the rejection of its report by Chandrash41



JUNE 2h, Zlili

family members Ministers." Rao’s son, K.T. Rama Rao, is a Cabinet Minister in charge of Information

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). The higher education sector is al-

over 600 since the formation of the State, officially the number is about a hundred. Chandrashekhar Rao re-

Technology and his nephew T. Hari-

so caught up in allegations ofcorrup-

futes the charge of distress and says

sh Rao heads the Irrigation Ministry.

tion in the appointment of teaching

the numbers are exaggerated (see in-

Soon after taking charge, Chandrashekhar Rao appointed a Dalit Madiga leader, T. Rajaiah, as Deputy Chief Minister with the charge ofthe Health Ministry. The appointment

stafif, and so on. Chandrashekhar Rao says a “stringent new mechanism for appointment ofVice-Chancellors will be in place soon” and adds

terview). He acknowledges a decline in the sector but blames the govemments of undivided Andhra Pradesh for doing “great injustice” to Telan-

that the reason for not appointing them right now is “intentional”. The strategy for pulling farmers

gana by not allocating enough funds for agriculture. There may be some truth in this considering that 68 per

out of their misery rides on Mission

cent of the catchment area of the Krishna river is in Telangana, but the region got only 32 per cent of the water. Also, 69 per cent ofthe catch-

was welcomed, but an epidemic of swine flu, the worst the region has

experienced so far, led to the sacking of Rajaiah in January this year. Chandrashekhar Rao initially defended his deputy, saying the swine flu deaths were not Rajaialfs responsibility alone. But following a rise in the number of deaths, 60 by mid-

and agricultural revival plan with an outlay of Rs.20,000 crore over five years. Tenders have been floated online and contractors selected to dig over 46,000 tanks in the hope that

February, and a slew of bad reports in the media, heads rolled.

when the rain does come, they will get filled and help improve the

with the Chief Minister's one year in office is lawyers. The legal fraternity

ground water level.

played a vital role in legitimising the

In the education sector, his sup-

Kakatiya, an ambitious irrigation

ment of the Godavari is in Telanga-

na. A section that is rather pleased

port base ofteachers and college stu-

Speaking to Frontline, the new

separate Statehood demand. The

dents is disappointed with the budgetary allocation for the sector. The government initially announced an allocation of Rs.I6O crore for this

Telangana Congress Committee president, Uttam Kumar Reddy, al-

Rs.10O crore “fund for their development" and the Chief Minister's proactive approach to find a solution to the division of the judiciary be-

year, but increased it by another Rs.100 crore following protests by the stafi‘ of Osmania University

lower-level cadres of the TRS. This criticism is echoed by leaders from the Lelt and the TDP. Communist Party of India State secretary Chada Venkat Reddy said, “Big tanks are

tween the two States have found widespread appreciation.

being occupied by MLAs and MPs.” His counterpart in the Communist Party ofIndia (Marxist), Th£l.l'nmin€ni Veerabhadran, said, ‘We wel-

Reddy’s term, says it is widely acknowledged that only about a third

comed the programme. In fact, we

(O.U.). A long-standing grouse of aca-

demics has been the low budgetary allocations, even as low as Rs.4-9 lakh for an entire year, in the undivided

Andhra Pradesh. Salaries in O.U. alone require an allocation of Rs.330

leged that Mission Kakatiya had become a programme to enrich

Mohan Reddy, who was Advo-

cate General ofAndhra Pradesh during Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar

of the lawyers practising at the High

Court in Hyderabad are from the Te-

crore, according to Mallesh Sankasa-

even asked the Chief Minister to call

langana region. Telangana’s judiciary was paralysed this February and

la, vice-chairman of the newly cre-

an all-party meeting to chalk out the

March alter the All India Judicial

ated Telangana State Council for Higher Education and former prin-

modalities in order to make it a truly inclusive exercise. But he went ahead

Services Examination announcement to fill about 85 vacancies for the

cipal for arts and science courses at

with a unilateral decision on its exe-

positions of Junior Civil Judges in


the lower courts for both Andhra

Said Professor Satyanarayana,

cution. Now we are hearing stories of favouritism in awarding contracts

president of the Osmania University

and of not employing locals in the

across the State led to the virtual shut

Teachers’ Association: “We expected

ongoing works.”

down of all district courts for well

an increase in the budget to State universities, better administration

The Rythu Swarajya Vedika and the All India Kisan Sabha, which

over a month. A petition by Telangana lawyers in the High Court eventu-

and better support from the State government, but contradictory to

work to mitigate agrarian distress, say cases of suicide by farmers are

ally allowed the conduct of the examinations but the declaration of

this, all posts of Vice-Chancellors of

under-reported as their families fear

results was stalled.

the 12 universities have been vacant

bureaucratic delays in the award of

In the final analysis, the general

since July last year. The Principal

Secretary of Education is the In-

compensation and because there is a general trepidation to file police

perception is that deficiencies are many and expectations from the gov-

Charge V.C. of O.U. After taking

complaints. They, however, say it

ernment are high. The yardstick to

charge, he has not visited the uni-

versity even for an hour.” Having a

does not take away from the fact that farm suicides are at a record high

judge Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao must be how he will reshape

Vice-Chancellor is a requirement for the coveted certification from the

because of the “severe crisis” in agriculture. VVhile they cite figures well

Telangana in the long term into a





Pradesh and Telangana. Protests

prosperous State.



‘Committed to What We fought for’ Interview with l\'. Cliandraslrcklrar Rao, the first Chief Minister ofTelangana. ev xumu. smurnn slashed about Rs.26,000 crore that was expected to come to Telangana. Our government's priority is the

AT 5 p.m. on May 28, Kalvakun-

tla Chandrashekhar Rao began a series of interviews to the media, starting with Frrmtline. At his Camp

poor. We have segmented the econo-

Ofiice in downtown Hyderabad, the

my into four/five parts. Number one:

Chief Minister of India’s youngest State said that he was committed to

the poor and their welfare; two: agriculture and the farming community;

the demands ofthe Telangana move-

three: industry and IT [information

ment: funds, water and employment.

technology] and its allied activities.

Brimming with ideas for his States

The fourth sector is education and

overall development, the Chief Minister dismissed fears of a crisis in

health, and the filth is creating infrastructure. By the grace of the Al-

agriculture, claimed farmer suicides

mighty, we have been successful in

were wildly exaggerated, and laid out

targeting all these areas. I am fully

his ambitious plans for the future, from ensuring potable water connec-


tions for every home in Telangana to

in Secunderabad on June 2 to mark one year of the State's formation.

replacing Telugu with English as the medium of education across State-

run schools. Chandrashekhar Rao also refuted nepotism charges in his flagship irrigation project, Mission Kakatiya,

K. Chandrashekhar Rao at a function

riding on you. How do you rate your own performance as Chief Minister and that of your government?

satisfied with our performance in the past one year. Telangana used to get about Rs.-I-,O00 crore [for welfare measures as part of the united Andhra

Pradesh]. We have got this increased

Thank you so much. This was a

this to Rs.26,000 crore. [The benefit of this increase] can be seen in the pensions. Previously, people—the

and promised that there would be uninterrupted power supply in the

totally new State formed with a lot of disturbances and divisions; redis-

destitute, orphans, elders, handloom weavers, toddy-tappers, the hand-

entire State within five years. He also

tribution of assets and liabilities, of

icappcd—got Rs.20O a month. Now,

said that a stringent selection proc-

staff, etc. The all-India service officers were allotted to Telangana only

they get Rs.1,000 a month. The enhancement is fivefold. In northern

ess would be formulated to appoint Vice-Chancellors to all State-run universities, posts that are vacant at present. Five days ahead of Telangana turning one, Chandrashekhar Rao, who has been avoiding the

in the seventh month of the first year. Right until then, most of the posi-

Telangana, about four lakh bidi workers are being given Rs.l,0O0 as

tions were held by in-charges. Each

additional support. This unorga-

Secretary used to have five, six Ministries and departments. It was all con-

nised sector alone gets about Rs.4-,000 crore per annum. With all

media, took questions head-on in a

fusion in the beginning. With great

these schemes, I can say that Telan-

90-minute interview. Excerpts from

difficulty, we could compile figures

gana is number one in the country in

the conversation:

and submit them to the 14~th Finance Commission. There were some cuts because ofthe Government of India's plan expenditure. They reviewed and

welfare measures.

Congratulations on completing one year in office. There was much hope


While these measures are laudable, by several accounts, the agricultural FRUN'I'I.INF.


JUNE lo, Zlili

sector in the State is in crisis. (Inteijects) No.

right now, minimum water usage will be there [by spreading the use of drip irrigation].

Officially, more than 100 farmer

suicides have been recorded. Oivil


society puts the figure at well over 600 in the past year.

Mission Kakatiya, one of your

Under the Andhra Pradesh Farmers Management of Irrigation Systems Act, 1997, were not water users’ associations created for the upkeep of irrigation projects? There was a lot of scam in that. There were no water users‘ associations. It was idiocy. They were tum-

sonally knew the person who was projected as a farmer. I called the reporter and asked him why he reported like this. He was never a farmer. I knew him right from my

flagship programmes, has been welcomed, but people have pointed out that nepotism seems to be in play in the awarding of contracts. When the new Congress president of the State spoke to Frontline, he called it "Commission Kakatiya". It is rubbish on his part. It is a meaningless, mindless allegation, totally baseless. I will tell you the magnitude ofthe programme. I hope to send the right message to the na-

childhood. Neither he nor his father ever had a piece of land. He [the

tion. I know your magazine's spread. That's the reason I am so particular

[Pradesh Congress Committee] president ready to say that their

journalist] said some poor family

about telling you the truth. Telanga-

[Congress] fellows are corrupt? Ac-

will get Rs.1.5 lakh! [The Telangana

na taught the world watershed culti-

tually, they are envious of the pro-

government gives Rs.1.5 lakh as compensation to the family of a farmer who commits suicide.]

vation. We had a great dynasty called Kakatiya in the 11th century, which began constructing chain tanks in Telangana. When one gets filled, the surplus goes to the next.

gramme. They had no idea that we would take up such a good pro-

That’s not correct. We have our own records. That's a falsely propa-

gated story. Maybe there are suicides. Of course, we help them [the farmers], but once at a village known to me, a journalist reported that a farmer had committed suicide. I per-

But is there a comprehensive policy

to address the crisis in farming? There are now more than 20 lakh




and another two lakh are under im-

They exist even today. Yes. There were about 70,000 lakes, waterbodies, spread across Te-

plementation. The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister told me that the population in his State is about 7.5 crore; here it is below four crore. Madhya Pradesh has only 10 lakh-plus pu mp-

langana. And the Bachawat Tribu-

set connections, whereas here it is 22

the Krishna basin, 175 tmcft in the


Godavari basin. He [Justice Bache-

ed into petty contractors. There was a lot of commission in the system. In fact, they [members of water users‘ associations] have a grouse now because it is an open tender system.

Anyone can participate. So, many contractors executing works now belong to the Congress party, the TDP

[Telugu Desam Party] or the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party]. Is the PCC

gramme. The main issues for the Telangana agitation were three points: NMhulu, neellu and 121:1/amakalu. Niclhulu means filnds, neellu means

water, and niya-ma/ralu means employment.

nal, which passed its award in 1974-,

And you are determined to address

allocated 265 tmcft [thousand million cubic feet] of water for minor

all three... One hundred per cent. Otherwise, there's no meaning in getting

irrigation in Telangana: 90 tmcfi in

wat] thought that the waterbodies already existed. They have 265 tmcft

statehood. Borewells have to be made functional, at least, till the surface water comes, till Mission Kakatiya is able to help. If I have to lift

of storage capacity, therefore he

water, I need power, of which there

awarded it. In fact, 'I‘elangana’s sur-

was great shortage in the combined

face irrigation had an acreage of 20

State. This year was the first year

That being the case, however well-

lakh around the time when it was

when the issue of power [was not

intentioned, how does it help to provide pumpset connections?

merged with Andhra Pradesh: five

raised] in the State legislature.

Agriculture was completely ne-

lakh was under major and medium, and 15 lalth was irrigated exclusively

The criticism is that since

glected [in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh). We have enormously improved micro-irrigation—drip,

by these tanks! This was , in fact, the major [source of] irrigation for Telangana. All through the existence of

sprinkler, that kind of irrigation. We

Andhra Pradesh [after the merger],

are providing 100 per cent free [micro—irrigation facilities] to S.C./S.T.

the major irrigation of Telangana

That's again rubbish. The answer

was called minor irrigation. Because

to that is more power was consumed

[Scheduled Castef Scheduled Tribe]

of gross neglect, the total system

by agriculture this year than in previ-

communities, 90 per cent to B.C.

died. If we have normal rainfall and

[Backward Caste] communities, and

the tanks get filled, there is 265 tmcft

ous years. This is on record. Is anybody prepared for a discussion on

80 per cent to other communities. Since we depend on groundwater

of storage across the State. That will keep the groundwater level up.

that with me? Power is supplied unit by unit because we buy power. We

Groundwater is at its lowest level in the State now. And depleting.





agriculture is in crisis no pumpsets are being used, and so there is enough power available for Hyderabad.

professors and vice-cha.ncellors—and also students. All stakeholders shall sit together and work out how to implement this scheme

and how it should [replace] the present system.



*1 .


o. P R A s H A KA RA R A 0 [left] CMD of TSGENCO, and B. Prasad Rao, CMD of BHEL, on October 4, 2014, after signing a deal for a thermal power plant

project in Telangana. The Chief Minister is at the centre.

But you are committed to implementing the scheme? Definitely. We will make abegin-

ning this year itself. We now have roughly 36 lakli students in government schools, of whom only about 2.5 lakh are taught in English medi-

um, that too with great difficulty, and the rest all in Telugu medium. Ifl have to change the whole system, I

don't have power in the State. I was

ing unit in our State. [The thermal

buying about 2,000 MW. Sometimes, Kayamkulam NTPC [National Tbennal Power Corporation]

power plant is expected to produce 7,600 MW. The Telangana govemment has acquired 7,500 acres (one

came forward to supply power at a

acre is 0.4- hectare) of forestland for

cost of Rs.9.50 a unit! I said I would

the purpose but says “very little" of

take it if needed. The consumption by the agricultural sector has been more than that in the past two or three years. I cannot lie about this. This record is not just with me, but also with the Southern Load Dispatch Centre in Bangalore.

this will be used for the physical plant per se.]


Then, how did you achieve

uninterrupted power supply in both rural and urban areas? I have put technocrats in charge. No other officers [civil servants] are there in the power department. With three more [plants] to be commis-

And who will undertake this

project? The whole project has been given to BHEL [Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited]. There has been no corruption. There was a lot of pressure on

the public sector. Not just power station construction but the BOWs, that

global talent.

is, the balance of works, have also

been given to BHEL. From next March, we will supply power to farm-

How do you intend to achieve this? As you said, it will not be easy. Recruitment of the teaching staff

ers from 6 a.m. for nine hours. There-

will need a different orientation.

fore, by the end of 2019. 24--hour

What will you do with your current staff?

Thermal Power Station will produce 600 [MW]; Singareni [collieries] in Jaipur and Adilabad will be about


a half months for an ultra mega power plant to be constructed by TSGENCO [Telangana State Power

[employment] situation. Ifyou have

global—you have to compete with

in Telangana.

clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests within two and

because we already face a global

sector]. I said no, I will only engage

forget about power cuts. Kakatiya

diture of Rs.91,000 crore. We got a

One hundred per cent. I want that, but Telugu will be made a compulsory subject. For those who want to opt for Urdu, that will be given as an option as well. The regional,/local language will be honoured. It will be protected. I want to implement this

to make a good living, you have to be

power supply will be achieved for all

will be power production in the State to the tune of 25,000 MW. Finances have been chalked out for an expen-

By that do you mean you want to shift completely to English as the main medium of education? Will this not undermine Telugu?

me [to give the project to the private

sioned next year, Telangana can now

1,200 [MW]. And by 2018-19, there

have to reorient the teaching.

One of the key slogans during your election campaign and the agitation before that was "KG to PG free education for all". There was no mention of this in your maiden budget, nor was there any clarity on how you would implement this. We will definitely implement the

This will be a completely residential model of education. Every mandal will have three or four residcntial schools, each with 600 to 1,000 students. There will be separate hostels for girls and boys. The area for the school shall not be less than 10 acres, ideally 15 acres. There

will be good sports facilities, library, lawns; it should be as good as a uni-

vcrsity campus. If we impart that

quality of education, several social

scheme. We did not mention this in

ills, like the caste system, will go,

untouchability will go. Let me tell

Generation Corporation Ltd] at

the budget because it cannot be implemented sitting right across the ta-

you how this will eclipse the present

Damaracherla in Nalgonda district;

ble. This has to be settled by

education system. Existing primary

it will be the largest power-produc-


schoolteachers can also teach basic





JUNE Eh, 2015

now. They say do not dewater it but do not pollute it either. The lake will rejuvenate itself.

English for now. This will continue till about the fourth class. Thereafier,

cient. We don't have a single hall. All ofiicial events took place at Jubilee

kids will be brought to the residential schools. I will then attempt to shift

Hall in Hyderabad, which was constructed by the Nizain. Since both

some of the teachers from the pri-

States are functioning from Hydera-

CJ I [Chief.Iustice of India] to con-

mary and secondary schools to these residential schools. Some would wish to remain where they are, others would retire. As retirement happens, I will only recruit teachers with

bad, the Governor has given the existing council building to Andhra Pradesh and the Telangana Council is located in Jubilee Hall. Now

stitute a committee to look into the issues regarding the Hussain Sagar. I have now sanctioned Rs.6 crore to divert effluent downstream [into the

Musi, the tributary of the Krishna that runs through Hyderabad], and not to allow it into the Hussain Sa-

complete English medium educa-

there's no hall in Hyderabad even to conduct a Collector's conference. I was forced to conduct it at a five-star hotel. That’s why our officials and


bureaucrats are so scattered across

manner. I have already called a team


from Austria They are experts in lake clean-ups the world over. They

increase in budgetary allocation for

But do you have to raze heritage

have done it in their own nation very

higher education? Right now, in your alma mater, Osmania University, teachers are complaining that the premier institution lacks funds. You have not appointed Wce-Chancellors to any State-run university either.

buildings to construct new ones? One of the locations you had initially wanted to shift the Secretariat to was the Chest Hospital at

successfully. They have been given the responsibility by many countries. One-third of the Hussain Sagar has already been pumped out. Nobody


died. Heavens have not fallen.

It's not me. It [Osmania University] was killed by [incumbent Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister] Chandrababu Naidu long, long back. It is he who introduced self-financof all the universities. I have inten-

chest hospital. It should not be in this concrete jungle. There’s another one already constructed by the Nizam, the TB Sanatorium in Vikarabad. There’s an old saying: Vikarabad /ca harea, Ialcho-n marizon Ira dawaa [the breeze ofVikarabad cures lakhs

tionally not appointed Vioe—Chan-

who are sick].

English-teaching competency. So in seven to eight years, there will be

Are you contemplating a substantial

ing courses. I am yet to make a review

inquiry. I want to reform the entire

system and appoint very good VCs. Some of them could even be retired judges or IAS [Indian Administrative Service] oflicers. And ifthere’s a need to improve grants, we will certainly allocate funds.

gar. I want to clean it in a phased

It's not a heritage building. It's a DEMOCRATICALLY FUNCTIONIIIG CABINET

There has been criticism against your style of functioning as Chief

your Hussain Sagar Lake

Minister. People say your government is a one-man show and that you take decisions without consulting your Cabinet colleagues. Comparisons are often made with the Prime Minister's style of functioning. VVho says this? Let them give one

rejuvenation programme.

example. How can anyone air their

Environmental groups say that dewatering the lake will poison the Musi river downstream and affect farmers who live there.

views like that without any responsibility? I am not prepared to answer that.

cellors because the previous VCs of

Kakatiya [University] and Osmania indulged in corruption. There were great scams: all jobs [at the universities] were sold just before they retired! Now we have instituted an

I will dewater it. I will request the


There has been much criticism of

Today, I saw a beautiful lake in

Bhopal. They take a lot of pride in it. But the Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad is much bigger than the lake in Bho-

You have announced several

schemes for almost all communities. But in your own Cabinet, there is no representation


pal. Not only sewage but also chem-

for Scheduled Castes and Tribes and women.

You have proposed shifting the

ical efiluent from the Jeedimetla area enters the Hussain Sagar. Who declared these so-called environ-

The Scheduled Castes’ and the

Secretariat from its current location. It is a dungeon where we are now.

mental groups as experts? They are all self—declared environmentalists

Today, I was in the Madhya Pradesh

with minimum knowledge. The Hus-

Secretariat. It is well constructed;

sain Sagar has a good catchment ar-

constituencies. I have women in my govemment; 50 per cent of the Col-

the conference room where we had

ea. Every year, rain pumps out the

lectors are women. One ofthe whips

the meeting was really nioe.

chemical-filled water.

is a woman. One of the parliamen-

So what is your reason to shift the Secretariat? It is not scientific and not suffiFRON'l'l.|NF.


JUNE Zn, l0l5

Environmentalists say that their biggest fear has been realised: the catchment area itself is polluted £6

Schedule Tribes‘ representative is already there. I only have a 17-member Cabinet. I have to take care of several

tary secretaries is a woman. I have five women MLAs. One Deputy Speaker is a woman. It’s not that

women are not there at all.



D ' t rt d The Supreme Couits judgment banning the publication of photographs of leaders in government advertisements, with a few exceptions, draws criticism. BY v. VENKATESAII ON May 13, with a slew of bind-

to oversee the release of government

ing guidelines, the Supreme Court disposed of two long-pending pet-

advertisements, the carrying out of

itions challenging large-scale wastefiil government spending on

independent audits of the money spent on advertisements, and the embargo on advertisements during

advertisements of a political nature.


advertisements. The petitioners alleged that in many instances under the guise of communicating with the

people, undue political advantage was sought to be gained by naming

individuals or political leaders (who

One guideline states that govem-

While the oourt agreed with the

were either from a political party or

ment advertisements, whether by the Centre or by the States, should not

Central government on independent

were government filnctionaries) and

audits and the embargo on advertise-

crediting them for being responsible

carry the photographs of leaders except those of the President, the

ments during elections, it advised the

for various government achievements and progressive plans. Al-

Prime Minister and the ChiefJustice

government to constitute a threemember body consisting of persons,

though the PIL petitions were filed

of India. Delivered by the bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Pinaki

of unimpeachable neutrality and impartiality, who have excelled in their

when the first National Democratic Alliance government was at the Cen-

Chandra Ghose, the judgment nei-

respective fields to function as the

tre, the petitioners gave examples

ther justified these exceptions nor

ombudsman. It also held that one

cutting across party lines.

provided a rationale for excluding others from this privilege. It, there-

single advertisement issued by a Central agency should be enough to

The court justified its intervention on the grounds that Articles 38

fore, disappointed govemments of

commemorate the anniversaries of

and 39 of the Constitution enjoined

States such as Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, which complained that it

the few acknowledged public figures whose contribution to the national

the state to consistently endeavour to achieve social and economic justice

was against the spirit offederalism as it barred the publication of photographs of Governors and Chief Min-

cause could not be disputed.

for the teeming millions of the coun-

Another guideline states that ad-

try who lived below an artificially

vertisements issued on certain other

drawn poverty line. VVhat can be a

isters and thus sought a review ofthe

occasions, for instance, to mark the

surer way in the march forward than

judgment. Only Bihar had intervened during the court’s proceedings

centenary year of the Patna High Court, do not serve any purpose and

to ensure that unproductive expenditure of public funds was avoided?

to oppose the bar on the use of pho-

must be avoided; the court held that

the court reasoned.

tographs of Governors and the Chief Ministers.

institutions need not be glorified and should earn glory through their con-

The case gives rise to two concerns. One is whether the dividing

During the hearings, the Central government made an impassioned plea for the removal of the guidelines, which, it claimed, encroached on the legislative domain and placed

tribution and their work.

line between legitimate public expenditure on seeking publicity for


the government performance and

Two non-governmental organisations, namely, Common Cause and

policies and its incidental or direct effect on promoting the political pro-

undue restrictions on the use of the

the Centre for Public Interest Litiga-

spects of ruling parties and their

grants voted for by the legislature. It

tion, which have successfully litiga-

leaders is blurred; if so, whether the

opposed the proposed bar on the

publication of photographs of lead-

ted mmy PIL cases in the recent past, filed the two petitions in the

court’s intervention could make the distinction clear and bar the use of

ers in government advertisements,

Supreme Court, in 2003 and 2004-

government advertisements for po-

the appointment of an ombudsman

respectively, relating to government









JUNE 20. 2015

whether the restrictions proposed to be imposed on the release of government advertisements to the media

Party on this issue illustrates this point. But Baxi is also concemed about

tions. The committee was headed by N.R. Madhava Menon, a former Director of the National Judicial Acad-

would be tantamount to restrictions

the effect of this ruling on the free-

emy, Bhopal, and its members were

on the freedom of the press, as it is

dom ofthe press. The Supreme Court

T.K. Viswanathan, a former Secre-

likely to cripple the advertisement revenue of the newspapers, and therefore, would fail the constitutional test of reasonableness. A care-

has, in the past, held that not only are advertisements the principal source of revenue for newspapers but they are also one of the factors that con-

tary General of the Lok Sabha, and Ranjit Kumar, the present Solicitor General of India. It claimed to have held wide consultations with all

ful reading of the judgment shows that the court only partly succeeded

tribute to newspaper circulation. If the area for advertisements is curtailed, the price ofnewspapers will be

stakeholders and sought and received suggestions from a cross sec-

in addressing the first concern and almost ignored the second.

tion of society and from Ministries and departments at the Central and

Upendra Baxi suggested in a newspaper article, the court assumed that photographs in advertisements have the potential to create a personality cult, which, it said, was an antithesis

forced up. Then, circulation will inevitably drop and earnings will decline and that will directly interfere with the freedom of the press. In an earlier case (Bennett Coleman E9‘ Co. vs Union of India (AIR 1973 SC 106)), the Supreme Court ruled that

tails of these consultations or of the suggestions it received from civil society and others. The guidelines the committee formulated are called the “Government Advertisement (Con-

of democratic functioning. But the evidence does not support such an

loss of advertisement revenue seriously affected the circulation of a

tent Regulation) Guidelines 2014-”. The committee recommended

assumption. Even if government ad-

newspaper and a restraint on adver-

that government advertisement ma-

vertisements can be restricted, it is

tisements would affect the fi.rnda-

terial should avoid photographs of

not possible to restrict the news coverage ofpolitical leaders by television channels and newspapers, which could assist in the formation of the

mental right of the freedom of the press under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. As Baxi observes, removal or reduction in pictorial con-

political leaders and that if it was felt essential for effective government messaging, only the photographs of the President] Prime Minster or Gov-

personality cult that the Supreme

tent may have a long-term adverse impact on the media's revenues.

ernor/Chief Minister should be used; the committee also recommended that the names and pictures of political parties and their officebearers such as presidents should not be mentioned in government ad-

As the eminent legal academic

Court despises. Evidence shows that

large-scale political advertisements do not really help to improve the political fortunes of parties on the eve of

elections. Such huge displays of money power alienate many voters

from parties and their leaders, as was evident from the recently held Delhi Assembly election.


The May 13 judgment followed an

interim judgment in the same case, which the Supreme Court delivered on April 23, 2014-. In this judgment,

the then Chief Justice of India, Justice P. Sathasivam, found that the existing guidelines of the Directorate

State levels; yet its report had no de-

vertisements. Justice Gogoi‘s judgment inexplicably rejected the committee's recommendation to exempt Governors and Chief Ministers from the proposed ban. It appears from the record that the two petitioners differed in their


of Advertising and Visual Publicity

It is possible to argue that a personality cult per se is against democratic

did not govern the issues raised in the petitions, namely, which govern-

norms. Vi/'hat the Supreme Court

ment advertisements qualified for

wants to discourage through this judgment is the extreme form ofpro-

“public purpose” and which only

responses to these recommendations. While Common Cause broadly

served partisan ends and were aimed

accepted them as balanced and

jection of an individual leader at the

at gaining political mileage. The Su-

state’s expense that distu rbs the level

preme Court felt there was a need for

playing field. But a personality cult can result from a successful political

it to issue substantive guidelines until the legislature enacted a law in

sought the court's imprimatur, Prashant Bhushan, counsel for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, reportedly questioned the need to ex-

campaign, and this has nothing to do with the release of advertisements.

Obviously, the court’s ruling cannot

this regard. The court was of the opinion that the subject matter for which guide-

apply to campaigns.

lines were to be framed was sensa-

While some people can make ethical arguments against cam-

tional and significant and hence

paigns centred on personalities, oth-

committee of three members to un-

ers may argue that that is how leaders are born, and the role ofsuch

dertake the task ofsuggesting guidelines to the court after a detailed

the State governments, observers

leaders is intrinsic to any democracy. The recent split in the Aam Aadmi

study of the best practices in public advertisements in different jurisdic-

raised in the aftermath of the judgment. El




deemed it proper to constitute a


clude the Prime Minister from the ban as, in his view, the latter is a

political leader who may have a vested interest in deriving political mileage from advertisements. As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear the review petitions filed by hope that it will address the concerns



Great dream of prosperity The emphasis on the latest GDP growth figures when the numbers from other indicators point to the opposite may be the government's only option to show that all is well if the stock markets fall with the exit of foreign investors from emerging markets over fears of an interest rate hike in the U.S. VER much of the last decade correction of excessive exuberance. Oand more, the stock ma.rket

So the Sensex was the preferred indicator for those talking up the

from 1.1 per cent) and services (10.1 per cent as opposed to 10.6 per cent),

provided advocates of reform a convenient indicator of economic economy. health. This was because there were However, all ofa sudden now, the

manufacturing has done better than

long periods during that decade when real economic growth tallied with stock market performance. The high growth era, 2004»-08, and the postcrisis recovery years, 2010-11, were also the ones in which the stock market was buoyant or boomed. From more recently, this comfortable syn-

era of synchronous movements in the two indices has come to an end. Moreover, the tables have ttuned. With the release of the new GDP series (with 2011-12 as base), the numbers now considered official suggest that GDP growth has not only been robust in recent times but is

computed to have risen from (a revised) 5.1 per cent in 2012-13 to 6.9 per cent in 2013-14 and 7.3 per cent in 2014--15. What is more, the fourth quarter numbers for 2014-15 are being quoted as evidence that India has overtaken China in the GDP growth race.

chrony appears to be breaking down. From crisis year 2008-09, gross do-

on the rise. The most recent cause for cele-

As expected, despite early scepticism, those wanting to make the case

mestic product (GDP) numbers turn-

bration was the provisional GDP

that India is the next potential

ed volatile and the official national growth figure for 2014-15, which at

growth “miracle” are regularly citing

accounts with 200+-05 as base sug-

7.3 per cent is almost equal to the 7.4-

the new GDP numbers. But in this

gested that growth was stalling. But, per cent growth projected in the ad-

“new growth scenario", the GDP

the stock market experienced an almost continuous bull run despite oc-

vance estimates available thus far. Moreover, despite the fact that GDP

numbers seem to be an exception. Industry, even according to many in-

casional bearishness attributed to growth has been revised downwards “market correction”, or the internal in both agriculture (to 0.2 per cent

siders, is not performing well. The month-on-month industrial growth


expected (4-.8 per cent against 4.5 per cent). As a result, GDP growth is now



JUNE 2h.2tll5

rate as measured by the index of in-

er, is that (to the surprise of most) before the new GDP figures were released it was the GDP growth rate

sion in bank credit financed a huge increase in debt-financed private expenditure, which more than com-

that had been volatile and playing

pensated for the contraction in

truant. On the other hand, the stock

demand that the reform-led decline

cent in November (helped by a low base in the corresponding month of the previous year), more recent signs are of continued deceleration with

market, as noted, experienced a long-term rise with two booms ofdifferent intensities spliced together. One ran from 2011 to 2013, in which

in debt financed public expenditure induced. This explained the spurt in GDP growth between 2003-04 and 2009-

the rate placed at 2.2 per cent according to the provisional figure for

the Sensex rose from around 16,000 in May 2012 to slightly more than

March 2015.

21,000 by the end of 2013. That was a 30 per cent rise over a year and a

10. In hindsight it is now clear that the form that the boom took was not all too positive. The credit boom

dustrial production collapsed from a positive 5.9 per cent to a negative 5.6 per cent between May and October 2014-. Though it recovered to 4.7 per


half. But this boom was marred by

The performance of agriculture is even worse. According to the official third advance estimate for foodgrain production for crop year (July to June) 2014-15, output is likely to fall

considerable volatility, including the downturn induced by the taper tanThe second boom stretched from the beginning of2014- until about the

brought in sub-prime clients into the universe of borrowers, resulting in a rise in the proportion of defaulting loans. The result has been a growing reluctance ofbanks to lend to certain sectors and to restrict lending even to

by 5.3 per cent. With foodgrain production having been indifferent in

beginning of 2015, when the Sensex rose, with far less fluctuation, from

the best customers. The contraction in credit reduced the stimulus to

the previous two years, this outcome

just above 20,000 to touch 30,000

growth that debt-financed private

is close to disastrous. Thus, altema-

about a year later. That was a re-

spending provided. This explains in

tive indicators of growth in the commodity-producing sectors seem to offer a completely different picture of real economic performance. Vlfhat is more, the comforting

markable rise of close to 50 per cent with a much lower degree of vola-

large part the slowdown in growth the Indian economy has been experiencing. However, the downturn in

GDP numbers have been released at a time when uncertainty about global interest rates and a desire to exit emerging markets has gripped for-

occurred in a period when growth as

growth did not result in any significant decline in foreign capital in-

measured by the then official GDP



tility. However, the investor exuberance that delivered this second boom

numbers was slowing. In sum, the recent stock market uncertainty

In fact, there had been a resurgenoe in foreign investor interest in

eign investors. As a result, a mood of bearishness has overcome Indian equity and debt markets, which seems to be reversing what has been along bull run in India's stock markets over

when GDP growth numbers seemed robust was a significant turnaround The point to note is that the correspondence between GDP growth

India, after the brief period of the taper tantrum starting May 2013, when investors pulled out of emerging markets in response to the fear that the Fed would sharply unwind

the last three years or more.

and market buoyancy during the

its quantitative easing or bond buy-

In early May, the Bombay Stock

2004--08 period seemed credible be-

ing programme and send interest

Exchange (BSE) Sensex closed at 26,500. Though high relative to

cause of a third fact0r—the surge in capital flows into India. There is little

rates soaring. But since there has been no revival in debt-financed pri-

where the Sensex stood even at the beginning of January 2014- (for ex-

disagreement that the bull run, which began in late 2012 when the

vate spending, there has been little impact on growth. In essence, the

ample), the fall received much atten-

Sensex was hovering just above

link between growth (if actual) and

tion because the climb in the Sensex the relatively high early May level reflected a more than 10 per cent

16,000, was driven by the appetite of foreign institutional investors for emerging market paper induced by access to cheap liquidity.

stock market performance had been broken. This explains the emphasis now on the GDP growth numbers. If the

decline from a peak of close to 30,000 realised just three months

The liquidity increase that followed the conversion of hard cur-

fear that the Fed would be forced to raise the currently near-zero interest


rency funds to rupees by foreign

rates does end the stock market

It is in this period that the earlier

investors triggered a credit splurge.

boom, then the government would

relationship between stock market performance and GDP growth broke

Banks, flush with funds, enhanced lending so that the ratio ofscheduled

only have its new GDP numbers to declare that all is well.

down. Not only did the synchronous

bank credit to GDP, which averaged

But given the divergence of those

movements in the two end, but the stock market performed remarkably

between 20 and 22 per cent during the 1990s, rose sharply during the

numbers from other indicators, few

would give them any credibility.

even as GDP growth slowed. VVhat needs to be noted, howev-

first decade of this century to touch 56 per cent in 2011-12. This explo-

GDP as of now just seems a great dream of prosperity. El

had been so rapid earlier that even




in the relationship between the two.




__.g-l5"""' '



A FISHING BOAT carrying Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants being pulled to shore by fishermen off the coast of Julok, in Aceh province, Indonesia, on May 20. 51





The humanitarian crisis involving Rohingya refugees

grabs global attention as hundreds of them are found abandoned in rickety boats in the waters off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. BY JOHN CHERIAN IT I-IAS BEEN ONE OF THE BIGGEST CRISES TO hit the region since the exodus ofVietnamese boat people

crack down in April on the network of human traffickers who have been engaged for some years in smuggling

in the 1970s. The sight of helpless Rohingya refugees

people from Bangladesh and Myanmar to Malaysia

packed in rickety boats floating on the high seas with nowhere to go has finally grabbed the attention of the

through the porous border with Thailand. Illegal camps to house the refugees were set up along the Thailand-

international community.

Malaysian border. In Thailand, many of the Rohingyas

In the first fortnight ofMay, hundreds of Rohingya

were forced into servitude, especially in the fishing indus-

refugees were found abandoned in the waters off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Thousands


more remain unaccounted for. They were abandoned in

migrants was Malaysia, a Muslim—majority country with

the boats after the Thai authorities belatedly decided to

the fastest-growing economy in the region. In the last




The preferred destination ofthe Rohingyas and other


Squth-East_ iisia’s migrant cnsis An estimated 25,000 Rohingyas, fleeing persecution in Myanmar,

and Bangladeshis looking for a better life abroad boarded ‘

smugglers’ boats in the first

three months oi this year. twice as many as in the same period of 2014 BANGLADESH Around 200,000 Rohingyas live in refugee camps

Migrants are mostly

Ron!ngya M us ii in

in squalid conditions

ethnic group from Rakhine State

Bangladeshis fleeing poverty Buddhist-majority Myanmar denies have also turned to citizenship to Rohingyas, who are subiected to forced labour, land trafficking networks used by Rohingya confiscation and limited access to ‘i public services THAILAND Recent discovery of mass Dhaka graves at suspected smuggling camps in the south has prompted clampdown on .1 _ human trafficking by the miiitaryjunta


"°""'"° s'°'°




( ©_

Crackdown has sent traffickers

Nay PyiTaw Lb‘? into hiding, making it impossible I5

J’ €_'_ (


( 14. iSittwe Q

for migrants to disembark Wealthy country short of unskilled labourers, attracts migrants

Bay of Bengal

Andaman _ - sea



queue up for food at a

shelter in Bayeun, Aceh province, on May 25. The

Indonesian and Malaysian govemrnents agreed to take in the refugees alter a hightevel meeting in Bangkok in the third week oi May.

Migrants held

to ransom in Thailand.

gangiwk r

"“ ‘- \ 4 "'



' V it‘ -

taken overland

to Malaysia I I Q Boats landing

in Malaysia and

\ -K ‘Y

ind ones iaf0 iiowin g


' ’\ _ -- . \‘ -


' it

crackdown on Peflple


I Around2,500mlgrants

' _, ‘landed in Malaysia and -' Indonesia in the last weeko'fMa'y-s'ome$,ti00others arestilistrandedatsea I Ilaiaysia, Indonesia anci'I'haiiu'|d have all turned or towed mlgrflit \

boats-avraytroln their ) shores in recentdays

Kuala Lumpur



trafficking in Thailand Sources iOM, Wire agencies

migrants from



i Traditional trafficking route:

Government says it has already taken in 120.000 illegai


I ‘\/fi_/—\

ii; -‘v 125 miles Pi

week ol'May. more than at hundred graves were found in at

Malaysia have heen involved in the clandestine traiiick-

remote area in Malaysia near the border with Tliailand. ingya, Myanmarcse and liangladeslii migrants liave also heen tiiSL‘(i\'(Il‘L‘(i in Myanmar and 'l‘h-ailanil. Aeenriling to

ing oi' desperate migrants for many years now. international monitoring agencies say 25,i)()i) Rohingya |'cl'i1gi:i:s liave lied Myanmar since the beginning of the year. Malaysian aiithorities have made many arrests lifter

reports in the Malaysian media, lit) large f.{i'kl\"('S containing hiiniiri-ils iil'i:i'ii'psi-s wi-re r'lisr-o\'i-.i'i:il iiear the towns

the discovery ofmziss graves on their territory. Malaysian llome :\iTairs Minister Zahid llzimiil has admitti-d that

ol'i’zidzing iii-sar and Wang Keli-an in the third week iii‘

li'it‘L'HiiiiiS liotisiiip, the iiiigniiiis iii lliejiiiigli: lizid existed


iiil'l'l1lll‘L' than live years. .-\rouiid i,t)(),i)()t) Riiliiiigyas are

Dii‘l.Cl‘lS ol' mass graves containing the bodies oi' Ruh-

(.‘-rirrupt police and security oliieials in 'l‘hztiland and

said to he alrezidy in Malaysia. 53




The Indonesian and Malaysian governments, alter initially adopting a tough stand, finally agreed to take in

thousands of hungry and stranded reiiigees alter a highlevel meeting in the Thai capital, Bangkok, in the third week of May. The three governments had come in for increasing international criticism for the inhumane policies they were adopting towards the migrants. The other

countries in the region, such as Singapore and Australia, have refiised point-blank to accommodate any boat people despite many ofthem dying of starvation after being

stranded on the high seas. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that the decision of his government to ac-

cept the migrants was a “good solution”, but he said he expected financial aid from the international community

as Indonesia could not afford the cost of hosting the refugees. Indonesia and Malaysia said that they would re-

patriate the limited number of refugees that they had accepted within a year. The Indonesian government also said that it would be repatriating 720 Bangladeshi refil-

gees as they were “economic migrants". Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has publicly criticised migrants from her country for “tainting our image in the international arena”. IIUIIILNITARILN ASSISTANCE


MUSLIM holds a poster of the

Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu.

Dubbed by the regional media as the "Buddhist bin Laden", he heads a radical Buddhist group which has been responsible for much of the communal violence

in Myanmar in recent years.


Pope Francis compared the plight of the Rohingyas to that of the Yezidi and Christian minorities under Islamic

State rule in Iraq and Syria. It was the disruption of the traditional smuggling routes of migrants by the Thai Navy that made the human trafiickers abandon their cargo on the high seas. After the agreement, the navies of

minority in the country. Successive governments in the country have been making strenuous attempts to make life unlivable for this minority.

the three countries are no longer engaged in driving away the boats carrying the Rohingyas from their waters. In-


donesia and Malaysia also announced that “they would

most persecuted minority" in the world. They have been

provide humanitarian assistance to those 7,000 irregular

denied citizenship in a country in which their ancestors lived for many centuries. Historical records show that they have been in the Burmese kingdom oi'Arakan since the eighth century. Colonial records also testiiy that the

migrants that are at sea”. The agreement came after fishermen in the Sumatra region of Indonesia rescued more than 300 refugees from a sinking boat in the last

The Rohingyas, according to the United Nations, are “the

week of May. The government of Myanmar, which is responsible for triggering the refugee crisis in the first place, has been unresponsive to international appeals and refused to attend the regional conference in Bangkok that was convened to discuss the refugee crisis. Myanmar's Foreign Office confined itself to issuing a statement that it was “deeply concerned" about the problem and was making “serious efforts“ to combat trafficking and illegal migration. The government is not doing anything to curtail the Buddhist e.\'tremist groups which are openly targeting the Muslim minority. One such

community, which had embraced Islam, has been part and parcel of Burmese society since then. In the medieval kingdom ot'Arakan, the Buddhist majority and the Rehingya minority had a harmonious relationship. The suffering of the Rohingyas started in earnest after Burma gained independence in 194-8. The Rohingyas, who number around a million and a half, were given

individual is a monk by the name of Ashin Wirathu. He

hingyas. Citizensliip rights were once again summarily

has been dubbed by the regional media as the “Buddhist

revoked, and the Rohingyas have since been margin-

bin Laden" forhis activities. He is allowed to spew venom

freely, and the radical group he heads was responsible for

alised and suppressed by the authoritarian regimes that have been ruling the country.

much of the communal violence in recent years. Wirathu

It was in 1978 that the community was first violently

claims that Muslims in the country are on the verge of

targeted by the military. Hundreds of Rohingyas were

waging a jehad against Buddhists. Nine out often people

massacred, and the first wave of forced migrations started. As many as 2,50,000 Rohingyas fled to neighbouring

in the country are Buddhists. Muslims are a very small FRUNTLINF.


.lli.‘\'I~'.3h, 3015

.\ a.

full citizenship rights and recognised as a separate race only in 1959 when the country experienced a brief democratic lull under Prime Minister U Nu. But a military

coup by the ultranationalist Gen. Ne Win in 1962 brought things back to square one for the hapless Ro-


National League for Democracy, led by the Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Rohingya-bashing has seemingly become a national pastime in the country. The government continues to label them as “illegal Bengali

migrants” in the ongoing efforts to ethnically cleanse the country. All that the Rohingyas are demanding is the restoration of their citizenship that was revoked under the authoritarian military regime of Gen. Ne Win. Many

expected Suu Kyi to speak out in support of the Rohingyas, but her silence has been deafening. She has been completely focussed on cultivating the Buddhist major-

ity, whose support is essential if her party has to win the elections scheduled for 2016. In a rare interview in 2013

in which she agreed to talk on the issue, she blamed both sides for the violence. In 2012, riots in Rakhine led to deaths on both sides

ofthe ethnic divide, but it was the Rohingyas who bore ._|

the brunt ofthe violence. Some 1,50,000 Rohingyas were forced to flee from their homes after the riots. In Myanmar, it is the Rohingyas who are confined to “camps” and subjected to “ethnic cleansing”. The U.N. and human

._i :3

rights organisations have said that the situation in the country is grim. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar has said that actions against the Rohingyas orchestrated by the Myanmarese government “could amount to crimes against humanity".

Bangladesh where they have been languishing in squalid refugee camps. In overcrowded Bangladesh, the Rollin-

The United States and its allies in the region have all been

gyas, despite cultural and linguistic similarities, are not

publicly sympathetic to the plight of the Rohingya refu-

better off. They remain a stateless community whose hopes of returning to its homeland are diminishing by

gees but have not done anything meaningful to pressure

the day. They have not been assimilated into Bangladeshi

Obama administration has forged very strong links with

society. In 2011, a repatriation agreement was signed between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Myanma-

the military-dominated government and is not interest-

rese President Thein Sein. The Rohingyas were excluded

international forums.

from the repatriation pact as the Myanmarese authorities refused to grant citizenship status to the community. STATELESS COHHUNITY

Malaysia and Indonesia want the ASEAN grouping (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), of which Myanmar is a member, to discuss the issue. Myanmar on its part has refused to attend any meeting to discuss the

The marginalisation of the Rohingyas in Burma was

issue ifthe word “Rohingya” is mentioned. “If we recog-

formalised when the military government promulgated a

nise the name, then they will think that they are citizens

new and arbitrary citizenship law in 1978 that deemed them a stateless community. In 1991, the army launched

of Myanmar,” the spokesman for the country's President said. ASEAN has a policy of non-interference in the

another anti-Rohingya drive, code-named “Operation

internal affairs of member countries.

Clean turd Prosperous Nation". Some 2,00,000 Rohingyas were forced to flee the country. Most of them ended up in Bangladesh. Since then, the Rohingyas have been subjected to even more

By the end of May, the government had decreed that all Rohingyas will have to surrender their temporary “white cards" which are their only identification papers now. This will further curtail their freedom ofmovement.

abuses, including the arbitrary seizure ofproperty, forced

Meanwhile, people like the Buddhist monk Wirathu

labour, torture and rape at the hands of the authorities and a fanatical fringe of Buddhist zealots. In their home

are being given a free hand to propagate their message oi hatred. A U.S.-based human rights group said in a report

state of Rakhine, the authorities have imposed a “two

released in March that “almost every major outbreak ol

child” limit for Rohingya families. In 2014, the govern-

violence since October 2012“ had been preceded by activ-

ment banned the use ofthe word “Rohingya“ and decreed

ities of Wirathu and his group.


the government in Myanmar to take action. The Barack

ed in raising the issue of “human rights” in the country in

that they be called "Bengal is”. Things have gone from bad

And Aung San Suu Kyi has not spoken out yet despite

to worse after the powerful military decided on political

pleas from her fellow Nobel Peace laureates such as

cohabitation with the mainstream opposition party, the

Desmond Tutu.



JUNE Eh, 2015


Witli Ramadi succuinhing to the Islamic State, a large part of Iraq is now under the sway of the extremist outfit. BY mun cnenun

THE FALL OF RAMADI, THE CAPITAL OF ANBAR province, on May 17 is the biggest military and political setback the Iraqi government has sufiered since the fall of

IRAQI SECURITY FORCES defending their headquarters against |.S. lighters during a sandstorm in the eastem part of Ramadi on May 14.

Mosul last year. Now the Islamic State (I.S.) is in full control of two major cities in Iraq. The fall of Ramadi

tial reports said that the I.S. staged a predawn attack that

coincided with the I.S.’ capture of Palmyra in neigh-

involved a wave of 24- car bomb suicide attacks followed

bouring Syria. Approximately half of Syria's territory is

by a wave of30 suicide bombers attacking the front lines.

now in the hands ofthe I.S. With the capture of Ramadi, a

Other reports suggest that Iraqi special forces aban-

Sunni-dominated city, a large part of Iraq is also under

doned their positions in the city without much ofa fight,

the sway of the extremist outfit, which styles itself as an

leaving their sophisticated equipment, including Amer-

Islamic caliphate. The capture of Ramadi comes soon after a joint force of the Iraqi army and Shia militias ejected the I.S. from the city of Tikrit, another Sunni-

ican—supplied tanks and armoured vehicles, behind. The United States claimed that the I.S. launched its attack

dominated lI0\'V'fl and the birthplace of Saddam Hussein.

when a sandstorrn was buffeting Ramadi and that poor visibility prevented the deployment of U.S. air power

The Iraqi army had even started talking about liberating

against the advancing enemy. The Iraqi army had de-

Mosul, Iraq's second-biggest city, which is home to over a million people, when the military debacle in Ramadi

ployed 15 divisions and its best weaponry in Anbar province. Yet, it could not defend the city or retake territory in

happened. Its liberation will now be delayed even fur-

this Sunni-dominated province in central Iraq. The gov-


ernment in Baghdad now holds less than 10 per cent of

There are conflicting reports about the events surrounding the army's humiliating defeat in Ramadi. Ini-

the territory there. The faith of the average Iraqi in his country's armed forces has suffered another serious dent.




Much of the large Anbar province is desert terrain and

strikes against I.S. targets in Iraq and Syria average

lightly populated. Ramadi is only 110 kilometres from Baghdad and its fall has led to another refugee influx into the Iraqi capital.

around 15 a day. In Libya, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-led attack in 2012, there were about 50 strikes a day in the first two months. In the initial

Braving the searing summer heat, thousand of Ramadi’s

stages ofthe U.S. invasion ofAfghanistan in 2001, there

residents fled, many of them on foot. More than 40,000 refugees were allowed into Baghdad. Others went to smaller cities. The central government fears that I.S. suicide bombers may use the refugee influx as a cover to

were about 80 air strikes every day. Since its major battlefield successes in Syria and Iraq in the beginning of the year, the I.S. has become better armed and highly motivated. As recent battles have shown, the I.S. is able to

stage attacks in Baghdad as the I.S. has been loudly claiming that the capital is next on its radar.

deploy hundreds of suicide bombers at short notice. Prime Minister al-Abadi has pledged to liberate Ra-

U.S. Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter blamed the fall of Ramadi on the lack ofa “will to fight” among Iraqi troops, though they greatly outnumbered the I.S. forces laying siege to the city. Earlier, the Chairman ofthe U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said that the Iraqi forces were not driven out. “They drove out of Ramadi,” he sarcastically commented. The Defence Secretary’s remarks came in for harsh criticism from Iraqi

madi “within days“. This time, he is relying more on the Iranian-trained militias. Thousands offighters from Shia

officials. A spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar

al-Abadi said that the Defence Secretary had “incorrect information” about the situation that was prevailing at

the time in Ramadi. An Iraqi army officer fighting on the fi'ont line in Anbar province said that his forces had conducted a“tactical withdrawal“ and that the Iraqi army

would prove very soon that the American charges of cowardice under fire were unfounded. U.S. Vice-Presi-

dent Joe Biden tried to make amends for the Defence Secretary’s statement by assuring Abadi that his country would continue to be an ally in the fight against the I.S. He also praised the “enormous sacrifice and bravery of the Iraqi forces".

Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head ofIran's Revolutionary Guards, blamed the U.S. for not doing anything to stop the I.S. advance on Ramadi. Observers ofthe region have said that the U.S. could have used its air power more effectively to stop the I.S. advance. The U.S. and Iran are tacitly cooperating in Iraq in the fight against the I.S.

This cooperation was evident in the successful bid to retake Tikrit, where the U.S. used its air power to help Iranian-trained militias to defeat the I.S. The U.S. has trained and equipped the Iraqi army at a cost of $22


FhARfi m IUPH H?


All AERIAL VIEW, taken in 2009, of part of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, which the 1.5. seized on May 18, 2015. About half of Syria's territory is in l.S. hands.


billion to its exchequer. The Iraqi army no doubt has to

shoulder most of the responsibility for the failure to

_.. .-. ____,.-»

defend Iraq’s major cities. Soleimani said that only Iran

and its close allies were really serious about fighting the


I.S. “[President Barack] Obama has not done a damn

if ~»,/"’"-'~¢/"ix

y - l"\_a /

Tikrit °

for the I.S.]. Doesn't that show that there is no will in America to confront it?" he said.

unnecessary collateral damage. Iraqi oflicials said that

the limited air strikes allowed the I.S. free movement on the battlefield. An Iraqi officer told The New York Times: “We lost large territories in Anbar because of the inefficiencies of the U.S.-led coalition air strikes.” U.S. air



U.S. military officials have now admitted that they cities under their control. The reason they gave was that the U.S. wanted to safeguard civilian lives and prevent



thing so far to confront the Daesh [the Arabic acronym

have not been attacking important I.S. targets in the








it . .B_°°"l“§'





Karbala \\\\




‘W. K‘ Basra 0 R


MKU “llAf.l‘:








IRAQI SECURITY FORCES stand guard as residents fleeing Ramadi wait to cross the Bzeibez bridge, on the south-western frontier of Baghdad, on May 20.

the auspices of the Turkish and Jordanian governments.

A 2012 U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency assessment

mittees along with more than a thousand policemen

stated that the U.S. and the Gulf monarchies were in favour ofa Salafist state covering the eastern part ofSyria and the western part of Iraq. After the invasion of Iraq, some influential policy-

started their counteroffensive in the last week of May

makers in the U.S. were openly talking ofcarving up Iraq

from the city of Habbaniyah, one of the last government-

into three parts: a Shia-dominated South, a Sunni-pop-

controlled cities in Anbar province. The militias are

ulated central part and a Kurd-dominated north. North-

backed by units of the Iraqi army’s “Golden Division".

ern Iraq is for all practical purposes already functioning

Retaking Ramadi is the al-Ahadi government's topmost

as an independent entity. The Obama administration

priority. The deployment of Shia militias on the Ramadi front

now plans to arm the Kurd and Sunni militias directly without even bothering to consult the government in

has come in for criticism from some leading Sunni poli-

Baghdad. The U.S. also thought that it would be able to

ticians in Iraq. In fact, it was their vociferous objections,

replicate the “Sunni awakening” that it manipulated in

which had the support of the U.S., that made the Iraqi

2007 in Anbar province by once again getting tribal

Prime Minster decide against their participation in the

chiefs on board. The uprising led by jehadi groups in the

fight against the I.S. in many parts of Anbar profince. Initially, the U.S. had even threatened to not provide air

last decade was defeated by a combination of military force and money power. At the time, there were thou-

cover ifShia militias were deployed in the fight to liberate

sands of U.S. military boots on the ground. The Sunni

Tikrit. The argument put forward was that the deployment of Shia forces would further widen the sectarian divide in the country. In the first place, the U.S played a big role in fostering the sectarian divide as it spearheaded

Awakening Force that fought alongside them was handsomely compensated. All the same, it took the U.S. a long time to recapture the city of Fallujah, which had fallen into the hands of Al Qaeda—aligned fighters.

the overthrow of secular regimes in Iraq and Libya. In

Hawkish politicians in the U.S., such as the old war-

Syria, too, the U.S. has played the sectarian card to the hilt. The I.S. itself is in a way a creation ofthe U.S. Before

monger John McCain, are once again calling for the deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq to fight the I.S. At the

I.S. fighters started openly flaunting the black banner of

same time, the Obama administration has announced a

global jehad, the West and its regional allies supported

joint plan with Turkey to arm and train anti-Assad mil-

them in their bid to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Millions ofdollars worth ofequipment,

itants to fight in Syria. The Syrian government, which is facing a major threat from the I.S., is being forced to fight

funded by lavish donors in countries such as Saudi Ara-

on various fronts because ofthe machinations of the U.S.

bia, Qatar and Kuwait were funnelled into Syria under

and its allies. The I.S. is having the last laugh.

militias under the banner of Popular Mobilisation Com-



JUNF. Zn, lfllfi





THIS IMAGE GRAB from a video reportedly released by the LS. on the Internet purportedly shows I5. militants at an

undisclosed location in Libya just before they executed men described as Ethiopian Christians. There is a view that the ISIS’ shock-and-awe tactics are what realty makes it attractive to bored young men looking for thrills.

Alarm call lhitailils most senior l\‘lllSllIII

poliee ofiieer \\‘;u'ns oltlie need for parents to be extra vigilant as more and more of the Muslim eommunit_\"s _\nu|i_<.;' people. including selioolgoiiig ehiltlren, are heing‘ |';uliez1lisetl.

av nasan sunoon

by groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, or I.S.), if it did not exercise greater vigilance, and those most at risk of rad-

icalisation were children. Children as young as six, including those from mod-

erate and stable families with no history of extremism, were being influenced by the ISIS’ “powerful” propaganda. The threat was so serious that he worried about his own children, he said. “I am not immunised. lt'I feel the need to be extra vigilant, then I think you need to feel the

need to be extra vigilant,” he warned fellow Muslims. Chishty's warning, in an interview to The Guardian, came as the police said they were investigating the case of

a 16-year-old London girl who had run away to become a “jehadi” bride. Radicalisation of British Muslims is not new. What is new, if Chishty is right, is that it is now spreading to schoolgoing children. More troubling is the scale on which it is claimed to be happening. Often, it happens at home via older siblings who have already been rad iealised. It is not a coincidence that among those who have gone to join the ISIS several are brothers or

otherwise related. Indeed, it has become every British enough is used to hearing apocalyptic warnings about the

Muslim parent's nightmare that their child may be secretly plotting something.

threat from Muslim extremism, but given their provenance—anonymous intelligence “sources”, right-wing think tanks and scaremongering tabloids—they are often

“Every time I hear that another youth has fled to Syria or is arrested, I start worrying about my own kids,“ said an East London Muslim bus driver. Chishty believes that

met with a yawn. However, it is less easy to be so dismis-

the threat can be contained if parents intervene at an

sive when the country's most senior Muslim police officer decides to speak out—and on record as a Scotland Yard

early stage by watching out for “subtle, unexplained changes” in their children—such as “sudden negative

commander and the head of its community engagement

attitudes towards alcohol, social occasions and Western

programme in London—as Mak Chishty did last week.

clothing”. Parents must not only keep a closer eye on their

The Muslim community, he suggested, was in danger of sleepwalking into a new phase ofextrelnisni propounded

children but also robustly “challenge” their behaviour if they find it suspicious, he said prompting criticism that






this will lead to parents “spying” on their own children. Such “Stasi-style" surveillance, critics argue, could damage family relations besides proving counterproductive

designed to brainwash women into believing that it is their religious duty to help and support those “fighting” for Islam. A Frenchwoman gave an interesting account

as children would become more secretive.

about how she was sought to be seduced by an online

Chishty has also been accused of exaggerating the

jehadi. She pretended to play along to find out how far he

threat. Maybe he is. Police ofiicers, even well-meaning ones, tend to overstate the ease for the prosecution, but that should not become a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The important fact is that radical-

would go; when he suggested that she join him, she decided that enough was enough and dumped him. Much has been written about why educated young men from stable families turn to violent extremism. Alienation from the wider society in which they live, a

isation is happening, and if someone better informed than the general public and ostensibly a friend of Muslims issues a warning, even ifwith a slight exaggeration to

sense of adventure, their longing for a purpose in life, and

backlash against Islamophobia are some of the reasons

drive home the point, one should take it seriously.

ofien cited. But there is no serious study on what makes academically bright girls want to become “jehadi” brides

though some have suggested that it gives them a sense of “empowerment” and equality with men. A lot of the discussion on the ISIS' appeal has centred round its extremely effective communications and recruitment operation: its glossy online magazine, slick videos and use of evocative language. But does this really fully explain its global pull? There is a view that its shock-and-awe tactics


—“packaged as an online video game”, as T712 Times put


it—are what really makes it attractive to bored young


men looking for thrills. But this so-called “adventure theory”, boys high on testosterone rushing to the deserts of Arabia for adventure, completely ignores the role of religious extremism, which, in this correspondents view, remains the dominant pull factor. Broadly, there are

tr u.



THE SCHOOLGIRLS who ran away from their homes in East London to join the l.S. in Syria. This CCTV footage shows them at London's Gatwick airport on February 19.

three categories of people attracted to the ISIS. First are

In recent months, there have been several cases of teenage girls secretly travelling to Syria to join the ISIS, the most famous one being that of three East London schoolgirls—Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, dubbed the “runaway tn'o”—who disappeared

and comprises people from across the globe. Then, there are those with specific agendas/grievances: anti-Assad, anti-Shia Iraqi regime, anti-Iran and anti-Saudis. They are drawn mostly from among SyrianlIraqi exiles or their descendants settled in the West. The adventure seekers

from their homes earlier this year and ended up in Syria. group and is now on the run in fear of her life, has revealed that there is a systematic campaign to lure

make up the last and perhaps the smallest category. Some also go for what is sold to them as purely humanitarian reasons such as helping with relief work, but once there they are drawn into extremist activities. One significant

young women. The woman, who calls herselfUm Asmah, said the ISIS had “a well-structured grooming system

common element in all these cases, whether involving men or women, is that just before taking the plunge they

that can psychologically target vulnerable youngsters like

suddenly become religious and start to drift away from

the three British girls”. “They have educated people who

their old friends. Whatever be the other reasons, religion remains the main motivating factor. Finally, no discussion ofMuslim extremism would be complete without a mention of anti-Muslim prejudice

those inspired by its extreme interpretation of Islam and

the idea of restoring Islam to its original glory by establishing an Islamic caliphate. This is the largest category

A former female ISIS “commander”, who deserted the

know how to deal with [the] psychology of others. They have ways to attract people, especially foreigners. [The] I.S. has the ability to manipulate the minds of young

people." She said the London trio was “probably groomed by highly coordinated social media experts" whose job is to identify and brainwash vulnerable women. “The I.S.’

young non-Muslim Britons think that Muslims are “tak-

propaganda and grooming machine consists of foreign

ing over" the country while another study reveals that as

fighters working in Raqqa (Syria) Internet cafes in shifts

many as 52 per cent believe Islam is incompatible with

which are coordinated to world time zones," she said.

British values. Yet, despite such sectarian misconcep-

because it does shape Muslim attitudes. According to a study by an anti-racist campaign group, one—third of

In the good old pre-ISIS days, Islamism was largely

tions and biases, community relations in Britain in 2015

an all-male affair. Most often, women did not even know

are markedly better than they were only a few years ago. And as someone who has lived through the worst phase of

what their menfolk (husbands, sons, boyfriends, broth-

Muslim extremism and Islamophobia in the past 15 years or so, I should know. El

ers) were up to until after the event. But the ISIS has

changed all that. It runs a slick online operation specially FRONTLINF.




SQUANDERED HERITAGE For 65 years, media and academia have failed to do justice to the towering intellect that Ambedkar was. Successive governments have undermined the Constitution he so admirably piloted and his role in its framing has been either exaggerated or underestimated. And now, in a cruel irony, the Sangh Parivar is seeking to usurp his legacy, distorting everything he stood for.

The Parivar attacked Ambedkar for his Hindu Code

Bill and was up in arms when his work, Riddles in H-incl-11119111, was published. (Dr. Babasaheb A-mbedkar: Writings and Speeches, Education Department, Govern-

ment of Maharashtra, Vol. 4-. This entire series is ably compiled from his published and unpublished writings; cited volume wise herein.) Ambedkar, on his part, was unsparing in his critiques in that and in other works. “Hindu society is a myth. The

name Hindu is itself a foreign name. It was given by the Moharnmedans to the natives for the purpose of distinguishing themselves. It doesn’t occur in any Sanskrit

work prior to the Mohammedan invasion.... Hindu society as such does not exist. It is only a collection of castes.... Castes don't even form a federation. A caste has


Seven. wcu[th._y towns contend for Home-r z[ead/ Through which the living Homer begged his breazl —A Few Selected Fables in Verse By N0 Person of Quality, 1698.

T is not amusing but highly reprehensible to see the

ISzmgh Parivar lay claim to B.R. Ambedkar and his rich intellectual and political legacy. Twenty-five years ago it tried the same trick with Gandhi, whom its mentor, M.S. Golwalkar, and L.K. Advani had scorned. Now the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) Szu'ka-

ryawah, Bhaiyaji Joshi, proclaims that Ambedkar was a “Mahamanav” who “needs to be studied and understood in totality" (sub-ten: discard elements in the whole

which the RSS cannot accept). This one takes the cake: “We should collectively create a harmonious society for

which he fought throughout his life.” He went so far as to

compare RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar with Ambedkar and assert that “the objectives of both were same” (Orga-

niser; April 26, 2015).



Il'\F30 22:1-i

no feeling that it is affiliated to other castes except when there is a Hindu-Muslim riot” (Ann.-ihilation. of Caste, Chapter VI, Vol. 1). Volume 12 contains this dissertation

law was rooted in these inteilectual disciplines and raised him above the mere constitutional lawyer, however famous. In this, he was peerless. Leaming was harnessed to

for the M.A. Examination in Columbia University

a razor-sharp mind, skilled in logic and dialectics.

Neither academia nor the media have acquitted


The Sangh Parivar is unlikely to be pleased by his understanding of India’s history as these extracts suggest: “It is a mistake to suppose that the Mussalman sovereigns of India were barbarous and despots. On the

themselves creditably. Even halfa century after his death, a definitive biography has not been written. The media revels in trivia, ofwhich the most ridiculous is the persistent statement, even in leading dailies, that he “wrote” the

other hand, majority of them were men of extraordinary character. Mohammed of Ghazni ‘showed so much munificence to individuals of eminence that his capital ex-

Constitution at Wayside Inn, a restaurant in the Kala Ghoda neighbourhood of Mumbai. He did go there when he practised at the High Court. But from 194-2 he lived

hibited a greater assemblage of literary genius than any

mostly in New Delhi—moreover, one cannot write a

other monarch in Asia has ever been able to produce. If

Constitution on the dining table of a restaurant.

rapacious in acquiring wealth, he was unrivalled in the judgment and grandeur with which he knew how to expend it....‘ “Babar, the founder of the Moghul dynasty in India, found the country in a prosperous condition and was

On the other hand, his notable efforts on 1ndia’s behalf are ignored; for example, his searching cross-examination of Winston Churchill at the Round Table Confer-

surprised at the immense population and the innumerable artisans everywhere. He was a benevolent ruler and

ence (RTC) in London. Indeed, his role at the RTC itself is underplayed, with attention focussed almost exclusive-

public works marked his statesmanship. Sher Shah, who

ly on his differences with Gandhi and his advocacy ofthe

temporarily wrested the throne from the Moghul, was,

cause ofthe untouchables, as they were then known. This

excepting Akbar, the greatest of Mohammedan rulers and, like Babar, executed many public works.... “With the advent of the English, things began to change. Prosperity bade fair to India and perched itself on the Union Jack. The evil forces were set forth both on

is of a piece with neglect of the RTC’s proceedings themselves. They were a preparation for the drafting of the Government of India Act, 1935, which served as India's Constitution from April 1, 1937, to August 14, 194-7 (minus the federation part), and, with adaptations, fi'orn

the side of the Parliament and the East India Company.

August 15, 1947, to January 25, 1950. The Constitution of

The Rule of the Company was anything but wise, it was

India came into force the next day and it is based largely

rigorous, it gave security but destroyed property.... India contributed or rather was made (to) contribute to the

on the Act of 1935. Debates in the RTC's committees were better informed than those in the Constituent Assembly

prosperity of England in many ways.” Had he lived, Ambedkar would have denounced the Parivar for the demolition ofthe Babri Masjid. But neither can the Congress claim him as one of its own. Volume 9 in that series published his excellently

since the former had the best of India’s legal talent. On some of the provisions of our Constitution, notably the moribund Inter-State Council, it is from the deliberations in London, rather than those in New Delhi, that one acquires an understanding of their ra-ison c1’etre.

documented works, What Congress and Gandhi Have Emancipation tyfthe Untouchables. It is trite to say that praise ofAmbedkar has tended to

Uniquely, Ambedkar was an active participant in both. However, well before that he had enriched his mind with a deep study of constitutionalism. Unlike other constitutional lawyers, his study of history, political sci-

obscure his contributions as a constitutionalist. Howev-


er, even this recognition does less than full justice to that



Done To The Untouchables and Mr. Gandhi and the







tower of intellect. I-Ie was head and shoulders above

Even as far back as January 27, 1919, he revealed the

constitutional lawyers like Tej Bahadur Sapru. For, he

depth of his knowledge in his written statement and

was steeped in history—Indian, English European and

evidence before the Southborough Committee on Fran-

American—in Hinduism, in the Vedas and the Upan-

chise. He differed from the British as well as the simplistic Indian approach. He reckoned with India's social

ishads, and in Economics. His erudition in constitutional

Ambedkar's three warnings in the Constituent Assembly are often quoted—the perils of hero worship; satyagraha or civil disobedience; and neglect of social and economic uplift. All three have gone unheeded. FRONTIIYF



PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi at the foundation stone

diversities, which the Congress steadfastly refused to do. He said, "Except the Hindus, the rest ofthe divisions are marked by such complete freedom of communication troni within that we may expect their members to he

laying ceremony of the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre in

New Delhi,

])ei'tet'tly like-minded with respect to one another. Re-

isetl the untouchables and their interests at stake are

garding the Hindus, however. the analysis must be carried on a little tiirther. The significant tact about the Hindus is that before they are Hindus they are members of some caste. The castes are so exclusive and isolated that the consciousness of being a Hindu would be the chief guide of a Hindu's activity towards non—Hindus.

therelore the interests oi humanity. The interests oi property are nothing before such primary interests.... The Congress is largely composed of me.n who are by design political Radicals and social Tories. Their chant is that the social and the political are two distinct things having no bearing on each other. To them the social and the political are two suits and can be worn one at a time as the season demands" (Vol. 1. pages 255 and 263). He

But as against a Hindu oi‘ a diiterent caste, his caste-

consciousness would be the chief guide ot‘acti\-ity. 1-‘rem this. it is plain that as between two Hindus. caste like-

proposed his own scheme in a supplementary written

mindedness is more po\\'erf1il than the like-mindedness due to their both being Hindus." (Vol. 1. page 245).) The problem was to devise an electoral system that

statement. Ambedkar was in no condition to boycott the Simon Commission. His counsel was not sought by the Motilal

would enable the minorities—religious and caste-—to be properly represented in the legislature. “The Untouchables are usually regarded as objects of pity but they are ignored in any political scheme on the score that they

have no interests to protect. And yet. their interests are

Nehru Committee. which was appointed by the All Parties Confcrence to prepare a draft Constitution of India (1928). He prepared a detailed report for the Simon Commission. One is struck by his nationalist fervour in advocating a powertitl Centre with power "to coerce a

the greatest. Not that they have large property to protect

recalcitrant or rebellious Province acting in a manner

from confiscation. But they have their very persona con-

prejudicial to the interests of the country". This was two decades before the provision for Presidents rule in the

fiscated. The socio—religions disabilities have dehuman$3



Jl \i-ll:-,.!(!l5

Neither academia nor the media in India have acquitted themselves creditabty. Even half a century after his death, a definitive biography has not been written. States was adopted by the Constituent Assembly. At the RTC in London, he attacked the princes’ claims and spoke up for the rights of Indians. In the real sense of

minorities.” On another occasion, he wrote: “In India, the majority is not a political majority. In India the majority is born; it is not made. That is the difference between a

those hackneyed words, Ambedkar was a freedom fighter. The Sccretary of State for India, Sir Samuel Hoare, was put in a corner when he deposed before the Joint Committee on Indian Constitutional Reform. “Dr B.R. Ambedkar: I think there is a general agreement that the ultimate goal of India's Constitution is to be Dominion status?

communal majority and a political majority. A political majority is not a fixed or a permanent majority. It is a majority which is always made, unmade and remade. A communal majority is a permanent majority fixed in its attitude. One can destroy it, but one cannot transform it. If there is so much objection to a political majority, how very fatal must be the objection to a communal major-

Sir Samuel Hoare: It has constantly been so stated. Dr B.R. Ambedkar: So that on the question of the

ity?... My proposals do not ask the Hindus to accept the principle of unanimity. My proposals do not ask the

ultimate goal, there is really no dispute?

Hindus to abandon the principle of majority rule. All I

Sir Samuel Hoare: That would be so, yes.

am asking them is to be satisfied with a relative majority.

Dr B.R. Ambedkar: Now what I want to ask you is this: in view of that, would you be prepared to put this in

Is it too much for them to concede this?... Without making any such sacrifice, the Hindu majority is not justified in representing to the outside world that the minorities are holding up India's freedom. This false

the Preamble to the Government of India’s Constitution that India would be Dominion status, leaving the ques-

tion ofthe time and the pace to be determined by circum-

propaganda will not pay. For, the minorities are doing nothing ofthe kind. They are prepared to accept freedom

stances as they arise? Sir Samuel Hoare: I do not think here and now I

and the dangers in which they are likely to be involved;

would like to give a pledge as to what is or is not put in the Preamble of an Act of Parliament. I, myself, am preju-

provided they are granted satisfactory safeguards.” In a memorandum on “States and Minorities”, he

diced against Preamble ofActs ofParliament, for reasons good or bad, and I would rather say neither yes nor no to Dr Ambcdkar‘s question.” At one point, Hoare acknowledged that “Dr Ambed-

wrote: “Unfortunately for the minorities in India, Indian nationalism has developed a new doctrine which may be called the Divine Right ofthe Majority to rule the minorities according to the wishes of the majority. Any claim for the sharing ofpower by the minority is called commu-

kar's very acute mind has discovered a gap in the Vifhite

Paper.... It is an omission that we propose to set right in

nalism, while the monopolising ofthe whole power by the majority is called nationalism.” In the plenary session of the RTC, he declared: “We hold that the problem of the depressed classes will never


Ambedkar was rightly oppressed by the reality that Indi-

be solved unless they get power in their own hands." That alone, rather than mere safeguards, can assure protec-

an society had a permanent communal majority and permanent communal minorities. Sample these com-

tion to the minorities—a share in power.

ments: “People who rely upon majority rule forget the

It was formidable intellectual equipment that Am-

fact that majorities are of two sorts: (1) Communal ma-

bedkar brought to bear on his tasks in the Constituent

jority and (2) Political majority. A political majority is changeable in its class composition. A political majority

Assembly trom 1946. He understood better than most what was demanded of its members and, later, of those

grows. A communal majority is born. The admission to a political majority is open. The door to a communal ma-

who worked it. In 1943 he approvingly quoted these wise words of Balfour: “If we would find the true basis of the

jority is closed. The politics ofa political majority arc free

“I-Iow can a communal majority run away with the

long-dravim process which has gradually converted medieval monarchy into a modern democracy, the process by which so much has been changed and so little destroyed, we must study temperament and character rath-

title deeds given to a political majority to rule? To give

er than intellect and theory. This is a truth which those

such title deeds to a communal majority is to establish a hereditary government and make the way open to the

who recommend the wholesale adoption of British institutions in strange lands might remember with ad-

tyranny of that majority. This tyranny of the communal

vantage. Such an experiment can hardly be without its dangers. Constitutions are easily copied; temperaments

to all to make and unmake. The politics of a communal

majority are made by its own members born in it.

majority is not an idle dream. It is an experience of many FRONTLINF.



sible. It may imlced be [cost pn.s.s'ib1£‘ relzere the l'I!‘[.\' of

pr.'rli'onier2ru/jg 11c!‘-sutl-w'rm and the 0'c.rtcrr'h'cs o,f'/1or'ty mu.'1ugement are brought to tlicir lzighes-I per]/iect1'on." The stratagems available in the parliamentary system are used without respect for its true spirit. CONSTITUTIONAL MORALITY

Ambedkafs three warnings in the Constituent Assembly as it completed its labours in November 1949 are often quoted—the perils of hero worship; .s-utyugrrr/in or civil disobedience; and neglect of social and economic uplifi. All three have gone unheeded, though. But even more

tragic is the utter indifference to the far more insightful remarks he made in the Constituent Assembly on November ~t- while introducing the Draft Constitution: “I agree that administrative details should have no place in the Constitution. I wish very much that the Drafting Committee could see its way to avoid their inclusion in the Constitution. But this is to be said on the

necessity which justifies their inclusion. G rote. the historian of Greece. has said: The dilfusion of constitutional moralit_v, not merely among the inajority of any community but throughout the whole, is the indispensable condition of government at once tree and peaceable: since even any powerful and obstinate minority may render the working ofa free institution impracticable, without being strong enough to conquer ascendancy for themsel\'es.' “By constitutional morality Grotc meant ‘a paramount reverence for the forms of the Constitution. enforcing obedience to authority acting under and within these forms yet combined with the habit ofopen speech, of action subject only to definite legal control, and unrestrained censure of those very authorities as to all their

public acts combined too with a perfect confidence in the bosom of every citizen amidst the bitterness of party contest that the forms ofthe Constitution will not he less sacred in the eyes ofhis opponents than in his o\vn.' "VVhile everybody recognises the necessity of the diffusion ofconstitutional morality for the peaceful working of a democratic Constitution, there are two things in-

LONDON, DECEMBER 1, 1931: During the

terconnected with it. which are not, unfortunately, generally recognised. One is that the form of administration

proceedings of the second Round Table Conference on

India at St. James Palace.

has a close connection with the form ofthe Constitution.

(1 re not and [fit sizoultl happen that the bor'rmcc(1' Constifilfioii and the ncztivr fempcrumen t_fit 1'! to l‘0.I‘I'(’.\'])(Hl(/, the nu'.$)‘it Inay licwc.s-crz'm1-s- res-izlt-s. It matters little what other gifts a people may possess if tl1c_v :u'c wanting in

The form ofthe administration must be appropriate to and in the same sense as the form ofthe Constitution. The other is that it is perfectly possible to pervert the Constitution, \\ithout changing its form by merely changing the form of the administration and to make it inconsistent

these which, from this point of view. are of most importance. If_ for example. they have no capacity for grading their loyalties as well as for being moved by them; ifthey

and opposed to the spirit of the Constitution. It follows that it is only where people are saturated with constitutional morality such as the one described by Grote that

have no natural inclination to liberty and no natural respect for law; if they lack good humour and tolerate foul play; iftliey know not how to compromise or when; if they have not that distrust ofextreme conclusions which is sometimes misdescribed as want of logic; if corruption

one can take the risk of omitting from the Constitution details ofad ministration and leaving it for the legislature to prescribe them. The question is, can we presume such a difliision of constitutional morality? Con.-ariturional l]!()f‘(I”l_t/ is no! u lmturml sclzrilriclit. II /ms to be rut’!!-

does not repel them; and if their divisions tend to be

twfctl. Vl/1' m us! I'co1isr i‘/1 of on rpcopfr /love _1/ci‘ to /corn if.

either too numerous or too profound. the successful

Dt’IIIU{'l'tlt'_lj in Imliu is only u top-tires-sing on (H? !no’iun soif a"/sir/i is c-sas'c11ti(1l/_i/ unt1rmocrt1t1'r" (Crmsfifzlrnt/ls-

working of British institutions maybe ditiicult or impos$5



_|l \l-12h,3t!l5

sembly Debates; Vol. 7, page 38). Now, 67 years later, constitutional morality is far weaker than it was then. It barely exists.

erudite work, The English Judges: Their Role in the Changing Constitution by Robert Stevens. He is a practising barrister, a Bencher of Gray's Inn, to which Am-

The authors of the Constitution opted for the British

bedkar belonged, and an academic as well. Two quotes

parliamentary system as a matter of course. At the very

from it suffice to drive the point home. The Times (Lon-

outset oftheir deliberations, at ajoint meeting, on June 5, 1947, of the Union Constitution Committee a.nd the Initial Constitution Committee. Vallabhbhai Patel announced the decision in the Constituent Assembly on

don) criticised in these terms on March 10, 2004, one of the finest Lords, Chief Justice Lord Woolf. It said he “cannot quite make up his mind whether he is a liberal reformer or the shop steward for the only trade union in

July 15, 1947: “Both these committees met and they came to the conclusion that it would suit the conditions of this country better to adopt the parliamentary system of Con-

the country whose members wear wigs and not hard hats or cloth caps".

stitution, the British type of Constitution with which we

Sometime back this writer said in these pages that the Army is the country’s most powerful trade union. I

are familiar" (CAD, Vol. IV, page 578).

should add that judges of the Supreme Court have been

However, as Gladstone said, the British Constitution “presumes more boldly than any other, the good faith of those who work it”. As a parliamentary committee said, the “understandings and habits of mind” by which the Constitution functions are “bound up with the growth of

as ardently trade unionist. Stevens sharply remarks, “Judges choosing judges is the antithesis of democracy” (page 144-). We have had this obscenity for nearly a quarter of a century thanks to the ipse clzlrit of the Supreme Court in blatant violation of the Constitution. It

mutual confidence between the great parties ofthe State, transcending the political differences of the hour”. The

passed muster because we have had weak governments since 1991. As Lord Bingham said in 2001: “The courts

Constitution is rooted in a national consensus. It works

tend to be most assertive...when political organs of the

on the understanding that the system is more important

state are least effective.”

than the immediate political gain. Public opinion acts as a referee.

On November 1, I94-8, Ambedkar said: “I feel that it [the Constitution] is workable, it is flexible and it is

strong enough to hold the country together both in peace

cry over the imposition of President's Rule in Punjab in

time and in war time. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was Vile” (CAD, Vol. 7, pages 4-3-44).

June 1951. The office of the President, and later the judiciary, sufiered. The civil service was suborned. Gov-

He resigned from the Union Council of Ministers on September 27, 1951, fought the first general election in

ernors became dalals ofthe political party in power at the

1952 in opposition to the Congress, and lost. Differences with the ruling party widened to the extent that he delivered an embittered and unflattering disavowal in the Rajya Sabha on September 2, 1953. “People always keep on saying to me, ‘Oh you are the maker of the Constitu-


India’s leaders began flouting the Constitution from the

very outset. President Rajendra Prasad raised a hue and


His vision, the spirit behind the entire enterprise, and the fundamentals he propounded, compel admiration.

tion’. My answer is I was a hack. What I was asked to do, I

did much against my will.” He added: “I am quite prepared to say that I shall be the first person to burn it out. I do not want it. It does not suit anybody....” Ambedkar's role in the framing of the Constitution has been either exaggerated or underestimated. The style

and content of his performance in the Constituent Assembly as the prime mover ofthe Draft Constitution have been neglected completely. He was capable of a shocking factual error on a defining moment in Canada’s constitutional history, the

It had all begun fairly early; as far back as 1937, when the Congress had its first taste of power in the provinces.

Governor-General’s refiisal of a dissolution to Prime Minister Mackenzie King in 1926. He tended to be per-

The issue was whether the Speaker ofthe Uttar Pradesh

fimetory, even testy and short, in his replies (CAD; Vol. 7,

Assembly, P.D. Tandon, should resign from the Con-

page 270). His health was failing.

gress. Both Gandhi and Nehru strongly asserted that he should not. That was the beginning ofthe departure from

the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly as his vi-

British conventions. They have been abandoned now,

sion, the spirit behind the entire enterprise, and the

reducing the Constitution to a skeleton denuded of life and blood. The judiciary was no less eager to ignore

fiindamentals he propounded, which alone make the text meaningful, which compel admiration.

British judicial culture. One gets a flavour of the gap between the Indian and British judicial cultures from an

The vision was abandoned and the fimdamentals were flouted. Lesser men came after him. El




It is, however, not so much his admirable piloting of


Af1"ica’s ark ‘




l i

49 .


\ /








The Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania, the largest in the world, provides ideal conditions for wildlife to thrive. It is Africa in microcosm as almost every species of the continent can be found here. Te.\1 & photographs by SUD}-IA MAI-IALINGAM

A M OM E HY of serendipitous proximity to an African tusker.

NGORONGORO seems like another version of

course, where there is prey, there are also predators, but

Noah’s ark. It teems with all kinds of creatures although

both have learnt to live with each other, guided by the

there is no sea for a few hundred miles in any direction

delicate balancing act of Mother Nature.

and the ark itself is nothing but a collapsed crater. This

This spectacular depression spread over 20 square

crater is the planet's largest inactive, intact, unfilled caldera, formed by a volcanic explosion millions of years

kilometres is home to almost all species of African animals and birds, making it a natural laboratory for study-

ago. The Ngorongoro volcano is believed to have been taller than Mt Kilimanjaro. Today, the crater is a hospita-

ing African wildlife. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes not only the crater but also the famous Olduvai

ble habitat for the thousands of wild animals and birds


that have made it their permanent home. Nutrient rich

We arrive at the crater in the evening, having spent a

soil, abundant grass, and waterbodies drained by adequate streams, all situated deep inside a 2,000—foot cra-

few days in Serengeti. Our campsite is on the crater rim,

with a spectacular view of the caldera Paul Roberts

ter which forms a natural shelter, make up the ideal

Shayo, our tour guide, has already pitched our tent along-

environment for wildlife to go forth and multiply. Of

side a dozen others on a grassy knoll while Suvale, our

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A M A R S H E A 6 L E sporting haute couture feathers.


cook, gets busy in the cookhouse to rustle up those magical meals, apparently out of nowhere. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is on the highlands of the savannah and the climate is saluhrious, reminding me ofOoty. As l begin my exploration around the campsite. there is allround cscilctncnt. An elephant has made its way Lo the camp to drink water from the plastic tank. ltyanks the lid oil’ and drinks in deep draughts. For those of us from India used to seeing domesticated elephants, the excitement is a little diflicult to comprehend. It is only when

serendipitous proximity to a wild creature, the magic heightened by a blazing western sky dripping ochrc all over the horizon. The next morning, Shayo drives us to the floor of the caldera. reached easily hy a winding road. From this height, Lhcre is hardly any hinlofthc prol'usion oI'wildliI'c that roams the crater. However, all along the way down,

every tree seems to host a nest or two and most of the nests have iledglings cared for lovingly by parenw. A marsh eagle sits with her back to the sun, the patterns on her wings so captivating that

Shayo tells me that this is a

they would put a couturier to

wild clcphani.—in fact. in Africa, elephants have never been domesticatcd—that l realise the piquancy of the sit-

uation. This lusker has strayed out of the crater in search of succulent leaves and water and is in no hurry Lo gel back. He wanders around Lasting a shrub here or checking out the ropes ofa tent there. lle seems to have quite a following; most of us are stalking him with our cameras. Perhaps he is en_ioying all the attention. IL is in-

deed a magical moment of





Nairobi KENYA











At the bottom of the erater, we drive along a pond full

A '

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ofwhat seem like black rocks.

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Conservation Area



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shame. A couple of bald eagles are busy feeding a rodent to their ravenous young. A kite is returning_ to its nest with a small fish in its beak.

These arc the backs ol'hippopotamuscs which cluster around in large groups. Egrels and lapwings perch on their backs, feeding on the ticks and fleas that torment them. Perhaps these arc the only creatures that approach a hippopotainuswitlioul fear. FR0l'\'Tl..lNE


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A SKITT ISH wiidebeest. For, hippos are known to be the most unpredictable and

even more dangerous than the. hippo is the inscrutable

dangerous animals which can charge in an instant. But the hippo is not at its strongest on land. Its spindly legs are made For swiniming. Just then, my hat ilies ofi'in a gust of wind. We have a whole day in the relentless African sun before we return

water butl'alo. It may, much like our domesticated version, look so placid that it is easy to drop your guard, but beware. it can charge without provocation. The Masais fear the bufl'alo the most. Lions take out their cattle but buffaloes stomp into their hamlets and gore humans for

to our camp in the evening. In 'l'anzania's national parks. no one is allowed to alight from the vehicle under any circumstances. Ingenious Suvale, however, has a solu-

no rhyme or reason. ‘We drive past herds ofwater billialoes grazing contentedly. Every now and then. we cross buiialo skulls that have been picked clean by vultures.

tion. He fetches an umbrella, stretches and almost hangs out of the vehicle in an attempt to retrieve the hat with the crook of the brolly. A worried mother hippo ambles out of the water with her junior sprinting behind her, their pink underbellies gleaming in the morning sun. Her

Nothing goes waste in the crater. The grass on the crater iloor is tall enough to hide a

body language makes her intentions abundantly clear.

until you are out of sight. The)’ have impressive curved

We abandon the hat and drive off hastilv.

horns on their snouts. Spotted hyenas soak in the muddy

whole lot ofereatu res until you are actually upon them. A startled pair ofjackals darts across your path. ‘Wartliogs scatter at the sight of the \-'ehiele and watch you \varil_\'

puddles and reluctantly rise and hohble out of sight.

Shayo tells us that the only animal in the savannah i-'RIIN'I'l.l’\'i-I

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A PE NSIV E hartebeest. Hyenas are often opportunistic hunters. A pack can eas-

Grant's gaxelles, which migrate in search of water in

ily scare away even a cheetah from a prey it has just hunted. Zebras and wildebeest are skittish as ever, kickNgorongoro used to be farmed by two German brothers, Adolph and Friedrich Siedentopf, in the early 20th century. Their cottage in the crater used to be a star attraction for hunting parties when East Africa was ad-

Serengeti, stay put in the crater. There are around 25,000 large ungulates and over 60 lions in the crater, but they are inbred. Inbreeding is inefitable in a crater like Ngorongoro, which is inaccessible to the savannah animals. Even when an occasional lion strays into the crater, the resident males chase it out. No wonder the crater lions are

ministered by Germany. In 1921, just before the adminis-

not as healthyas those in Serengeti. Shayo tells us that the

tration of Tanganyika passed into British hands once

again, an ordinance was issued to preserve the crater as a

crater lions have been struck by deadly diseases. During droughts, the lions here have to deal with bloodsueking

game park. Masai settlements inside the crater were

stable flies, which cause painful sores and decimate their

moved elsewhere, and the crater itself was converted into a National Park in 194-8. In 1979, it was nominated as a

population. Canine distemper (a viral disease) is also

ing up dust and bounding offat the approach ofhumans.

World Natural Heritage Site by Unesco. The walls ofthe

another cause for the drop in the lion population within the crater.

East African Rifl prevent animals from moving out ofthe

The crater is surrounded by hills and its perimeter is

crater. Thus, wildebeests, zebras, and Thomson's and

thickly wooded. As we zigzag through the floor of the FR(]N"l"l.lNE


_Il.'NE 2h, 2015


AN IMPALA with iiS fawn.

crater, we spot a couple of lions under a shrub. Their prey being captive, they seem to have all the time in the world

watch from a distance as a fox makes an unsuccessful attempt to catch one ofthe birds. Guinea fowl saunter in

to sprawl and snooze. A cheetah climbs down from its

groups and scatter at the sight ofthe vehicle.

perch on a knoll and goes in search of its lunch. We are told there are leopards too but do not spot any. The

We spot some Masai herdsmen, who, in recent times, have been allowed to bring their cattle into the crater for

midday heat is beating down on us mercilessly, but Shayo is relentless, determined to show us the best ofthe crater wildlife. We crest a hill in search ofthe black rhino, but all we see are herds of elephants and waterbucks which resemble rodents.

grazing, but they have to exit before nightfall. But the Masai rarely venture into the crater floor, content to graze their cattle on the slopes. After all, the tall grass can hide wild dogs and spotted hyenas, which hunt in packs and can decimate an entire herd in a matter of minutes.

The Lerai forest on one side ofthe crater is a favourite

The Ngorongoro crater is indeed a microcosm of

haunt ofall herbivores. There are many tall fig trees in the

African wildlife where almost every species of this vast

forest which make it attractive to birds as well. This part of the crater is also home to the hartebeest, the tohe and several variations of the species which resemble Neelgai,

continent can be found within its confined area. Only a few animals, like the African gorilla and the chimpanzee which prefer rainforest habitats, are absent here. Yet, the

but have distinctive colouration on their limbs. Giraffes prefer the open savannah where acacia abound, but ze-

very fecundity can turn into a nemesis since, over the decades, inbreeding has stunted the gene pool of the

bras and wildebeests seem content to breed in the crater.

creatures that live here.

Some of the avian population in the crater is also

The Olduvai gorge adjacent to Ngorongoro is a re-

captive since these are large terrestrial birds, among them the ostrich and the giant secretary bird. Endemic to

markable paleoarchaeological site where fossilised human footprints have been found, implying that humans

Africa, the secretary bird is a large terrestrial creature which takes its name from the quill-like feathers in its

became bipeds several million years ago. The artefacts found in the gorge date back to about 2.1 million years to

crest, which are likened to the pens tucked behind the

15,000 years. The fossils found here provide a continuous

ears of secretaries in times past. We stand mesmerised as

record of human evolution during the past two million

an ostrich couple shepherd their nine chicks to safety across our path. The crater is also teeming with majestic

years. They range from remnants ofAustralopithecus to Home habilis, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. The

Afiican bustards. But the dandy of the crater is the

Ngorongoro crater itself has yielded artefacts which

crested crane, which struts its stuffand lends a festive air to the atmosphere. Yonder, there is a neat line of flam-

point to humans making the transition to iron tools from stone tools. This part of East Africa seems to have been a

ingos on the shoreline ofthe Magadi lake, a salt lake into which the Munge stream drains its alkaline waters. We

laboratory for life on our planet from time immemorial




and continues to be one even today.


BOOKS 1111-mt-\\i

The capital question lllt‘ |1<1<>l\' ;lil:1l\i\ the l|11'~;"<‘ l‘;llill;ll‘- ;11>!>11=;1<"l1 l<11' 1111 1111ill'-1'>l:111ll1|1:; < . til:ri'<111<>1111l‘u\<1l11l1<>11l>11ltlucsmill‘\pl;1111\\l1;1lg1'c1\\i'l1111il1t';1lcs £llltl\\ll£ll(lt‘\l.‘lI1l\lllt‘lll 111t';111.s111ll1t * l1111 " 1 lvxl. svc.r.1
']iI~IE subtitle ofthe book under review provides a descriptive account of what the book is about—an attempt to make the analysis of economic evolution more robust by bringing in explanatory factors tl1at had been left out until recently and whose signifi-

the extent ofclaiming that development is freedom or capabilities expansion.


lIlP|lltS [if lillliilim

The Role of Human, Social and Institutional Capital in Economic Evolution

cance is still not adequately recognised.

The l'oreword to the volume notes: "Since the 19501-1. thinking about ‘de-

velopment" has been dominated



The Canitals vi Nafions



Be that as it may, let us see how the author deals with

human capital, social capital and institutional capital and their interaction as

the determinants ol'devel-

By Lalita Som

opment. The human ele-

Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2014

ment in production and growth was not neglected

Pages: 2'73 Price: Rs.995

approach; it was there as

by the limited economic homogeneous


science ofeconomics, aid-

along with capital as one of

ed and abetted by the two Bretton VVoods institutions, the World Bank (VVB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Unsurprisingly, it has been

intangible forms of capital —human capital, social capital and institutional capital-—to identify the dynamic between them as the

ment, their own calculations had shown that over time there was a substantial residual of economic growth that could not be

the two “factors of production". But human beings differ in their intrinsic as well as acquired capabilities. The concept of human

crucial determinant ofec0nomic growth and devel-

attributed entirely to capital and its productivity.

capital. therefore, recognises the diversity of l1u-

opment and to understand the process of economic

Many explanations had been put forward, but one

man beings cnhanced by the differences in educa-

concepts from other disci-

evolution." Any attempt to

of the leading scholars was

tion, training and interac-

plines that might have fos-

honest enough to admit

tered better understanding

provide a better understanding ofa complex phe-

tions they come to have during their lifespan.



blinkered by a rigid aca-

demic-cum-bureaucratic approach to inquiry. ...It excluded [for] too long


that the residual was an incl ication ol'“our ignorance".



The search continued, with

concept of human capital

the economic approach as-

late, has moved from the

some attributing the resid-

puts the emphasis on the

sumed capital scarcity to

jargon ofeconomists to the



knowledge that individuals

be the critical issue in de-

manifestos of politicians)

change, thereby also bring-

gain through life, which

velopment. The attempt, tlierefore, is to bring in the neglected factors in the understanding of development. The author's preface takes the theme further: "[T]he book analyses three

must certainly be welcomed. Let us place on record, though, that although initially economists had oversimplified the factors responsible for develop-

ing in the human factor (until then seen simply as an input called labour) as an explanatory factor in development. Indced, econo-

brings about a major difference to the contribution they can make to the production process. Or, human capital results from the transformation that an individual experiences

It is claimed, too, that




mist-philosophers like Amartya Sen would go to B3



l’ klIN'l'l.lNl-1-.|l'Nl{2n.3l!15


through the acquisition of knowledge. That transformation is not an isolated phenom-

enon. It takes place in the social context through interactions and through different kinds of “networking” that natural-

ly develops to some extent, but is also deliberately cul-

tivated, and so, social capital is necessary for a proper appreciation of hu-

man capital. “Social capital is a broad term encompassing reciprocity, sanctions, trust and networks


facilitating collective action for mutual benefit," says the author. She also



endorses a broader defini-

tion of social capital as “the aggregate of the actual potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of mo1'e

0 UT 5 1 D E T H E A M R Tech Park ll in Bangalore. The contribution of the services sector to India's GDP is currently close to 60 per cent.

or less institutionalised re-

are taken in an institution-

lationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition—or in other words, to membership of a

al context; the values that an individual possesses directly or indirectly originate in and are preserved


by institutions.


contexts. This thesis has some intuitive appeal. The problem is that the permu-

tion is well known. A major reason for it, according to the author, is the shift from

tations and combinations

asking the question “which

of the three broad “capi-

technique worked” to “why

tals”, each with its ovm

technique worked”, indi-

each of its members with

While analytically, hu-

many and heterogeneous

cating a qualitative shift in

the backing of the collectively owned capital, a cre-

man capital, social capital and institutional capital

strands, can be used to rationalise any past and pre-

the approach to knowledge

that “mentally imbued en-



can be viewed separately,



gineers and inventors with

them to credit, in the various sense ofthe word.” In turn, the understanding of social capital

they are invariably intertwined. Thus, human cap-

experience. The second part ofthe book consists of five case studies, the Industrial Revolution in Bri-

a faith in the orderliness,


leads to the specification of


institutional capital be-

pends on the knowledge

tain, the early industrial revolution in the United

This scientific culture placed applied science at

cause social norms soon

and effort of co-workers; multiple institutions nur-

States, Japan's post-Sec-

the service of commercial

ond World War growth, the manufacturing sector in China and India’s service sector growth since

and manufacturing interests. The institution of apprenticeship played an important role, too, as many of the innovations were largely produced by


ital formation is facilitated

by social processes; indiproductivity


get institutionalised. After all, society consists of not isolated individuals but those who, from the very beginning, interact with others through a variety of

that give rise to social capital; institutions and their

institutions, the family, the

The thesis that the author

village community, and a variety of production orga-

presents is that different

ture the habits and values

legacies structure prefercnccs, interests and values.

the 19805. The conclusion that is arrived at from the case studies is that in spite of the variety in experi-

rationality and predictability ofnatural phenom-

workers who had little formal education, but who

ence, all these cases can be

nisations, all ofwhich pro-

societal and economic outcomes depend on different

vide the individual with a

possible combinations of

human, social and institu-

had benefited from the apprenticeship. The church, trade unions and temper-

sense of belonging. The in-

these three factors—hu-

tional capital.

ate associations set up li-

dividual acquires knowl-

man capital, social capital

That technical change

edge through these institutions; all decisions

and institutional capital

was a major factor in Bri-

—in different interlinked

tain’s Industrial Revolu-



.ll'NI~'. Zn, lfll 5

shown to be interactions of




members, many of them workers, to educate them-

selves. “What helped the British economy grow and sustain its growth was having... the kind of agility

radically different pattern of development, that of China ofthe 1980s and lat-

sional economists are guilty of over-quantification, the approach pre-

demand for services have been the key factors driving the high growth in In-


sented by the author is not

dia's services sector.” To

that allowed institutions to

The author argues that

tainted by any quantitative

this the author adds others

change when the environment changed." A wide range of social norms also evolved during the period,

the interaction among human, social and institutional capital is key to the understanding of China’s

assessment at all. Some of the factors that economists consider crucial, such as the availability of vast ex-

such as India's large pool of qualified professionals, its widespread use of English, its rapidly increasing

which included what was commonly described as “gentlemanly behaviour”

record-breaking growth and entry into economic interactions with other

panses of land and of labour via slavery in the U.S.,

and “gentlemanly capital-

countries. After the Cul-

There is not even an at-

stable of world-class companies, and cost advantage over other locations. As a matter offact, that

ism”, making opportunis-

tural Revolution, China

tempt to show why some

tic behaviour sufficiently taboo so that only in a few cases was it necessary to use the formal institutions to punish deviants.

moved to a policy to provide universal education up to Grade IX. Higher education, too, received attention. Both these, espe-

countries succeeded by adhering to the formula and why some others failed because they did not do so. Surely, there are cases of

The early industrial revolution in the U.S. was

cially the latter with an emphasis on learning fi'om

also the result of the inter-

the West, were indicative

action among human cap-

of the role of knowledge in

countries that in the past and even in the present did not pay enough attention to the new capital trinity.

ital, social capital and institutional capital, but of a different kind. The early migrants went to partially settled areas where surviv-

economic development and social progress. The traditional “guanxi”—literally passing the

are totally ignored as well.

assessment can also be accepted. As for social capital, the author’s view is that the multiple identities of Indians, among them religion and caste specially noted, have become impediments to forging solidarity between diflerent

groups, though they have been countered by the gov-


ernment, non-governmen-


The case study of India

tal organisations and the private sector through

presented in the book raises another issue. The ser-

their attempts to create and sustain inter-group re-

vices sector of the Indian

lationships. The

economy is included in the book to show how even the

had established a kind of institutional capital which

performance of a sector of an economy can be explained in terms of the three capitals and their in-

was “based on private property rights and an English style judicial system”. The crucial question

through the Township and

teractions. The author draws at-

that the author does not raise is whether the soar-

Village Enterprises and

tention to the phenomenal

ing growth of the services

Household Responsibility System prepared the ground for market rela-

growth of the services sector from the 19805 but more so since the last dec-

sector is a healthy sign while the goods-producing sectors lag far behind. In

population. Institutions of higher learning and pro-

tionships that rural Chi-

ade ofthe past century. It is

nese were not used to and

pointed out that in 1970-

particular, the agricultural sector, on which some 60

fessional societies were al-

to generate the spirit of en-

71, the sector’s contribu-

per cent of the population


trepreneurship that was

tion to the gross domestic

depends for sustenance, is

for sustained

tance of knowledge in pub-

necessary growth.

product was just 39 per cent, which by 1990-91

in a sorry state. If that is the case, what does growth

lic life. Continual migration produced a

These brief summaries of old and new experiences

indicate and what does development mean? It is dis-

large group of consumers

of economic development

had moved up to 48 per cent. Currently, it is close to 60 per cent. The author

and encouraged occupa-

and evolution show how

quotes with approval from

inquiries, too, would ap-

tional mobility.

easy it is to use the “interaction of human, social

a study that claimed that



pear to be not part of the comprehensive explana-

and institutional capital”

tion of foreign investment,

tion that is being ofiered

Shift now from the West to formula to provide postthe East and from early de- fizcto rationalisations of

greater private participation since 1991 increased

through the three capitals approach for an under-


industry outsourcing, and high-income elasticity of

standing of economic evolution. El

al depended on learning diflferent ways of doing

things, which produced a new pool of knowledge.

Because of the differences in the background of the migrants, new norms of

community living had to be evolved. Churches and other voluntary organisations helped shape the moral standards and social capital of a heterogeneous



emphasising the irnpor-




more recent times and to a

gate and getting connected—was put to use to encourage the formation of different kinds of networks. These informal arrangements were put to

use to provide a sense of stability in the context of the breakdown of past norms. Experiments

any experience of the past or the present. If profes-







JUNE 20. 2015


i11 rc\'ic\\'

A bowler’s story liccullcctiulis ofa 1‘i|'st—t'l;1ss c1'icl§t'tc1' on gro\\'i1ig up

with the game and lcawning from llitlizfs lcgc|itla11'_\"

Mumtaz Hussain and two other really talented lettarm finger spinners, Padmakar Shivalkar and Ra-

4:" Jun.

written books on cricket

jinder Goel. He was none other than Bishan Singh Bedi, arguably the finest bowler of his type in the history of cricket.

and cricketers are few and far between. V. Ramnarayan's ThirdMan consists

of his recollections as a first-class cricketer in the




It begins with his growing passion for the game as a schoolboy in Madras (now Chennai) and chron-


icles his journey through

Third Man Recollections From a Life in

university and club cricket, his debut for Hyderabad in Ranji Trophy and his rep-

'- .1 b A.


the English cricket admin-

istration in the late 19505

By V. Ramnarayan

curbed his highly promising career.

Price: Rs.395

This book is not all about disappointment.

Ramnarayan, apart from


max of his cricketing ca-


For the record, there was one other bowler like Mumtaz Hussain. He was Johnny Wardle of England, whose fights with

Cricket Westland, 2014

resenting South Zone in Duleep Trophy, probably


he bowled to considerable advantage when the mood one man just a bit ahead of


very late, indeed at the cli-

who died of cancer at the age of 52. In his playing days, Mumtaz Hussain was a canny exponent of left-arm finger spin and wrist-spin as well, which

seized him. But there was



league Mumtaz Hussain,

being a shrewd player and Noshir

in a lovely arc, being too tall

observer ofcricket, is also a

Mehta, made way for him

to exploit the advantages of the classical flight available

fine raconteur. I-Ie has a nice sense of humour. He

Ranji debut at the age of In those days, it was at 28. Why a Tamil Nadu- the Ranji Trophy and Du-

to a shorter man, and bowl a deceptive ball that lefi: the

bom man made his debut

right-hander perplexed as

says about C.R. Rangachari, a fairly good fastish bowler for India (1947-48)

achievement this, considering that he made his



in the Ranji Trophy team.

leep Trophy levels that talent for the Indian Test team was discovered. The Indian Premier League (IPL) and other professional leagues, which offer huge sums of money to

E.A.S. Prasanna, one ofthe

who was the manager of the South Zone team for the Duleep Trophy and [the 60-over] Deodhar

finest ever ofl'—spinners in

Trophy matches in the

international cricket, and

1978-79 season: “I asked

cricketers to play the 20over version of the game,

Venkataraghavan, who was already a successful Test

him if he was quicker than Kapil Dev. ‘Have you seen

bowler, were just that cru-

ed by the State Bank of In-

were nowhere on the horinon. Even the 50-over

cial step ahead of the Hyd-

Wes Hml? Same speed!’ was Rangachari’s re-



erabadi Test aspirant.

sponse. Only it sounded

for Hyderabad (now in Telangana) in neighbouring

Andhra Pradesh is another story. It was S. Venkata-

raghavan, the Madras and India off-spinner, who kept him out of the side at home. So, after being recruitas




it moved away from the bat

and a cunningly concealed straighter one as well.


oflicer, Ramnarayan head-

cricketing nations had not

ed for Hyderabad where he



the only first-class cricketer

played highly competitive club cricket for his employ-

abilities as a genuine offspinner were kept on hold.

of substance who was denied the honour of repre-

like ‘shame shpeed', thanks to the tobacco he was chewing. The resultant giggles and tittering were

ers for some years, until his fiiend and rival, the talent-

He could turn his off-

senting India. I-Ie speaks glowingly of his gifted col-

understandable as the young listeners had never





Ramnarayan was not

breaks sharply, bowl them 35

seen him in action or even

read about his sterling deeds in first-class cricket. Those who actually did, remembered him as a speed merchant, tireless and persistent, even on dead wickets. He was a brave soldier of Madras cricket” (pages 190-91).

In the Duleep Trophy







carted for 100 runs \vithout a wicket in the first innings but came back well

with three for 34- in the second. Central Zone, however, won the match. In the



Trophy. he performed |'eally well. He took three wickets for 4-2 runs in 12 overs against the Central Zone. Against the [tough] West Zone, he did even better by taking four for 35 in 12 overs. He was dropped for the nest match, the final, against North Zone.

v. R A M N A R A Y A N. He played for Hyderabad in Ranji Trophy and South Zone in Duleep Trophy. often traded jokes or gossip, with the umpires sometimes joining in." Describing the amenities available at such matches, he observes, with

toured Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1963-64-

77 in 2-L overs in the Deodhar Trophy must be some kind of record, if it was any consolation to me" (pages

than 100 Test wickets, Hans. later a national selector, never made it." Ramnarayan cherishes Hans' act of kindness to him during the Central


Zone vs South Zone match

clroll humour: “On most

Test star Vinoo Mankad,

in Nagpur. he ran on to the lield when his side was

grounds, the shade of a

“My career figures of 7 for

The author docs not

season. He was all of17. He

remembers playing against the Cricket Club of India (CCI) led by former

batting with a supply of

large tree served as the dressing room and facili-

other high-calibre bowlers

spare studs for my cricket

ties were generally prim-

along with some Ranji Trophy players and Arvind Apte, a prolific scorer in first—class cricket who

not considered for the In-

shoes. when I desperately

itive. Lunch involved a

played in aTest in England

dian team.

needed them" (page 190).



in 1959. “Winningthe toss,

lose perspective, but also sees the sadness behind

He recalls:



“Central Zone bad two tine

Ramnarayan's wit and

Cafe, Udipi Sukha Nivas,

CCI batted first. I came on

spinners in Suresh Shastri and Rajinder Singh Hans. Both were quality bowlers, and Hans was distinctly unlucky to miss out on India seleetion, as he was in

humour possibly helped him tide over the disappointments fate meted out to him during his cricketing days and later. He rc-

Shanti Vihar, Udipi Home or Dasaprakash and back, depending on the venue of the match. The effects of the blazing sun were coun-

to bowl when the new ball was barely ten overs old, as was the practice in those days. With the ball still shiny, I was getting quite a bit

calls how lesser versions of cricket were played in his

tered by glasses of unboiled, unfiltered and

ors plumbed for the more experienced Dilip Doshi

boyhood. “The local league was then relatively informal. No registration of

often multi-hucd water sto1'ed in mud pots or brought in buckets that re-

of bounce and frequent away movement while bowling my off-spin at a

while picking the team to

players by the clubs was re-

sembled relics dug out by

With my brisk run-up,

face Kim Hughes's Australian team that toured India

quired, and you could walk in a few minutes before the


high arm action and attempt to impart sharp firi-

in 1979-80. With Doshi succeeding

the middle of some great howling form when select-


slightly quicker pace than I would with an older ball.

toss and join the eleven.

tions" (page 75). Selected for the Ma-

ger spin, l was proving


There was much banter

dras Cricket Association

quite a handful to the bat-

and going on to take more

and fielders and batsmen

Colts team, Ramnarayan

smen. Arvind Apte was


l’ ItlIN'l'l.lNl-1-.|l'NI'I2h,JlIl5

detached, with a nice sense

of irony and wit. He has bowled with distinction against really fine bat-

-\ 5&3 .7


.._ ':: .

smen, among them, the great Test stars G.R. Vishwanath and Sunil Gavaskar. He describes his feelings for these two batsmen with elegant economy. “G.R. Vishwanath was



'0.‘ Iran




¢ ,0 ' ‘.0

0,/,'-3')’ I





‘ II



2%. ’



vaskar was the master bat-


sman without cqual, for his superb technique, im-


eters he had played with. There are lovely vignettes

mense powers of concentration, unflappable temperament, and astute cricketing brain. I would go so far as to say that purely as a Test batsman, he was superior to Sachin

about M.A.K. “Tiger” Pa-


sent at the venue, thanks to

taudi, the most charismat-


his father’s bank posting him to Delhi; and so was

This is a rare book. It has a sense of history and of the passage of time. Ramnarayan tells the lay reader what it was like

RAMNARAYAN AT a practice session in 1977. one ofthem, and he was all at sea, not knowing which of my deliveries would

turn and which would go

my favourite batsman, but I had to concede that Ga-

um in New Delhi, Kumar

esting and warm—hearted

took five wickets for 64 runs in the first innings

observations about crick-

and two for 68 in the second. Ramnarayan was pre-

the other way. I was finding the edge and hitting him on the pads fi'equently, and feeling quite on top of the world. It was so exciting to know that a Test batsman was struggling against my yet unproven spin bowling. I was thrilled

this writer, who saw Ku-

that I seemed to belong at

gling in the second in-

that level" (page 69).


ic Indian Test captain ever and, when in the mood, a scintillating batsman; his nephew Saad bin Jung, hugely talented but distracted by the trappings of early success; the masterly spin trio in Indian Test cricket, Prasanna, Bedi,

and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar; M.L. Jaisimha, his

even club matches in the


The Madras leg-spinner played in one more

It was too good to last. His

Test, against England, led

giving mentor in Hydera-

sions were enthused over,

captain S.V. Narayanan, a man with set notions about

by the mercurial Ted Dexter. On a dull Brabourne

bad cricket and a Test batsman who played well

as were inter-college matches, and of course,



stadium pitch in Bombay,

below his potential, as did


asked him to bowl slower

with little support in the

Hanumant Singh and Ab-

crowds for Test matches

and flight the ball. Predict-

field, he gave away 70 runs

bas Ali Baig, both ofwhom

were well informed and ec-

ably, he was walloped. He

in 27 overs without taking

feature in the book along

static about the nuances of

was promptly taken off and practically never bow-

a wicket.

with Salim Durrani, another unfulfilled genius.

led again during the tour.

ute to Kumar: “He did not believe in exaggerated flight, but tossed it up in a

the game. In a sense, Ramnarayan gives glimpses of the cultural history of Madras and how cricket i1npinged upon it, and later in the story, when he mi-


It was some time before Ramnarayan learnt from experience and became his own man. He learnt his craft assiduously and proved to be so good as to have V.V. Kumar call him a

mar dismiss Javed Burki, a fine batsman, with a low catch off his own bowling when Pakistan was strug-

Ramnarayan pays trib-





growing up in the Madras of the 19505 and 19605,

with its adoration of cricketers and cricket, where

first, second and third divi-



pace, bowled two different

friends fiom first-class cricket who find mention in the book include Abdul Jabbar, Hari Gidvvani,

grates to Hyderabad, re-

types of googlies and bow-

Venkat Sundaram, V. Siv-

veals certain aspects of the

led an effective flipper, though it was not known

aramakrishnan, Michael Dalvi, Sanjay Desai and P.


through its attitude to


by that name. He was ac-


cricket. In conclusion, one

knew the erafi of spin bowling as well as anyone

curacy personified as was

his younger spin partner in


small caveat: a book ofthis quality should benefit

in the country. At the Test

the State team, S. Venkat-

Ramnarayan’s book is re-

from an index. It is hoped

match against Pakistan at

araghavan" (page 272).

freshingly without bitter-

that it will be included in

ness. His style is cool and

the next edition.



the Firozshah Kotla stadiFRUN'l‘I.lNF.


.lli.‘\'I~'. Zn, 301 5

tantalising arc, varied his

There are many inter-



BOOI\'S ll1i'L‘\‘iL‘\\'

Ideas in good faith .‘\ iii-int.1linn.1l (lis|iosiiii1ii.'l‘iiii'\.liiiliwilllivliiiigit-iiii-i‘i‘ilii~i"i'il .‘.

Iii!‘ lii‘- liiiliiiiii-;il \\ |‘iiiil€_[\. BYSI-IELLEY WALIA

"When fhc _/Ezct ch (mgcs. I change my mi na'. I‘WI(lf do you do. sf 1'?" —.Iohn Maynard Keynes

Tony Jud! When the Facts Change: Essays, 1995-2010 Edited and introduced by Jennifer Humans

PARAl.\'SED from the

neck down with amyotrophic lateral


better known as motor-

neuron disease, Tony Judt. commentator on international politics and histori-

William Heinernann,

an of exceptional subtlety,


died in 2010 at the age of

Zionism and its extreme

position that viill move the Israeli nation “to the road to nowhere", a title of one of his essays on the West Asian conundrum.

Over the years, J udt gradually moved away from the two-state solution and argued in “Israel: The Alternative” that there were now “too many [Israeli] settlements, and too many Palestinians“. According to him, the solution lay in the only altc1'nativc of bi—national

states in which you cannot possibly deny the existence of Israel nor cxpungc Pal-

estine. Palestinians, Judt predicts, will have their state eventually; the "occu-

pied tcrritories will come

under Palestine rule"; and

Pages: 386

62. Having been a protes-

most disillusionment with

most of his life, he moved to the United States in the later part of his life when he began to engage meaningfullv with international issues and politics. The remarkably controversial body of work of one of the

Thin-"r'i1zg the '1‘:-;'ci1tict/1 (_‘cntury, takes us to the heart ofsome ofthe central events in contemporary history. Recently, his wife Jcnnifcr Homans put together some of his most in-

post-‘War European history. I had the opportunity to meet him and discuss the situation in the Balkans and West Asia. He was as vehement about the irra-

"the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories [would be] forcdoomed, . . . most of them . . . dismantled. as mzmy Israelis privately acknowledge". Ifthis were to happen, Jerusalem will become a common capital necessitating stability and shared security concerns of both the pro-

finest historians of our time is a testament of his

tellcctually vibrant essays and re\iews on the Palesti-

tional stance taken by Israel as hc had been in his

tagonists. It is wishful thinking to look forward to


nian conflict, the U.S.‘ foreign policy and the state of

controversial essay “Israel:

times of cooperation and peace. It is sheer optimism

social democracy in the

which he accuses Israel of to imagine Hamas turning

21st century, which ap-

being a “belligerently intolerant, faith-drivcn ethno-

from a terrorist organisation into a political party,

state". A nation-wide up-

ready to negotiate.

enjoyed his moving mem-

Rcviczc ofBoo/r.s~, The New Repubilic and The Financial Tilrics over the past two decades.

oir. Ill F(II'c.~.' the Lam] and Reap1Ji'ru'scils. which focus on 20th-century Europe in recorded history and re-

Price: £25

sor of French History at

Cambridge and Oxford for


and intellectual intensity marked by ethical

openness. Since Judt's death, three significant books authored by him have ap-




membrance. His conversations



Snyder, the historian, pub-

lished in a book entitled

The Alternative" (‘_>.0().'3). in

pearcd in The New Yorfr

roar. accusing him ofbeing

Citing the example oi

anti-Semitic, did not make




Judt argues that if the

A historian of remarka-

though it leit him disturbed

French could hand over

ble confrontational disposition, he will be long remembered for his polemical writings, especially his book, Postrccir:A Hism-

as he had once been a staunch Zionist and loved Hebrew. The book under review contains eight ofhis essays on Israel, the Holocaust and the Jews, in

power to a black majority in Algeria. why should it not be possible in West Asia? The hardliners in Israel take shelter under an-

ry oflfizropc Sincc 194-5, a wide and in—depth study of



which he recounts his utB9


cient history, which establishes the "primordial I-‘ RlIN'l'l.l\l-1:.ll'\l~I2h,JlIl5

presence of an ancient Jewish state on the territory of modern Israel”.

ifnot a renewed attempt to achieve the ideal, efficient, universal administration,

Others take the pretext

shorn of particularism and

of the Holocaust mas-

driven by reason and the

sacres that legitimise such a claim on Palestinian territories. The pleading of its geographical location is

rule of law, which the reforming monarchs... strove to install in their ramshackle lands?” As Homans writes in

yet another reason for Israel’s adamant stance: “We are vulnerable, they say, so surrounded by enemies,

the introduction, what matters most to the reader

is a reaction to Judt’s ideas

that we cannot take any risks or afford asingle mistake. The French could withdraw across the Mediterranean; South Africa is a very large country.“

bris-inducing victory of June 1967. In that time Is-

fallouts, especially the strengthening of the Eu-

were, as puts it, “free ofcalculation and manoeuvre,

And finally, the support of the U.S. for its ally

raelis have built illegal compounds in the occu-

ropean state system, which had been threatened by the

intellectual or otherwise. A clean, clear, honest ac-

is sufficient enough to give

pied territory and grown a

rise of Prussia. The Cold


Israel the stamina and

carapace of cynicism: to-

War, for Judt, was there-

His work is indeed un-

courage to stand up against any political solution that might jeopardise its national security or sov-

ward the Palestinians whom they regard with contempt, and toward a U.S. whose erstwhile be-

fore “not a problem but a solution”. On the Balkans, he argues against the European


nevolent disengagement have manipulated shame-

construction where “everything is imagined, repre-





derpinned by the “individual moral responsibility", by the principles Judt found in Albert Camus and his reflective writings. It is hard to disagree with the compelling logic of his ar-

ll E G E H O N Y

It is rightly argued that in an age of cross-border

Orientalised”. In another essay, he

guments that underscore the bad faith of the U.S.,

cultural exchange and open pluralist democracies, Israel’s intolerance is an anachronism, a state that takes refuge behind

takes up Norman Davies’ book Europe: A History and tears it apart for its “embarrassing and egregious errors". He writes

restrict atmospheric pollution. It consumes inordinate quantities of scarce

the controversial electronic fence that “like the Berlin Wall, confirms the moral and institutional

that Davies’ book is “not just hill of error, disproportion, prejudice, resentment, and boastfulness, it

resources to furnish its

bankruptcy ofthe regime it

is also strikingly conven-

leaving behind a world

privileged inhabitants... [and] exposes outsiders to

is intended to protect”. Is-


without good faith, a world

rael indeed is a “mono-reli-


deadly risk in order to pro-

gious/ethnic state” within

In Europe: The Grand Illusion (1996), Judt looks

vide for the illusory securi-

a global culture of plural-

into the future of the Eu-

ambiguous armed occupa-

ty of its occupants.” Israel, indeed, possess-

ism and multiculturalism. Judt is more a histori-

ropean Union (E.U.) arguing against the tight

tion, and where the United Nations, in the words of

es the military and political initiative to bring about a solution but that can

an than a reviewer. His re-

David Rieff, has become a

view of Eric Hobsbawm's

‘toothless old scold

T71eAge QfE.t'tremes damns

integration of nations in Europe that would reduce poor nations to a margin-

happen only when it rids

the Marxist historian of



itself of the complex of be-

status. This has indeed been realised considering

of fancy Kleenex‘ to clean

ing “a small victim-corn-

misconceptions of the history of the century, espe-

munity". Judt maintains:



the rise of opposition to the

terventions accompanied

“Their astonishingly in-

E.U. and its oppositional

competent political lead-

Stalinism and the Cold War which, as he points

camps comprising “win-

with widespread collateral damage. The choice we are

ership has squandered thirty years sinoe the hu-

out in another essay on the Cold War, had its positive

ners and the losers”: “For what is ‘Brussels, after all,

Understandably, Judt is

critical ofthe U.S.‘ hegemony, comparing it humorously, but aptly, with an SUV: “Oversized and overweight, the SUV disdains negotiated agreements to



JUNE 2h. lfll 5

T 0 N Y J U D T. His writings on Israel were "free of

calculation and manoeuvre, intellectual or othen/vise".

expressed in “good faith",

rather than simply a response to Judt the man. His







which has lost all its global trust through its uncalledfor interventions in Iraq or



wars, regimes of persecution and surveillance and

the handling of the peace process in West Asia. Judt died a sad man,


provide cover for legally

a de

facto colonial office to U.S. used like a piece

up after the American in-

left with is either ‘imperial-

ism or barbarism’."



He was the blues For nearly scvcn decades the great blucsman B.B. King (1925-2015) strode the music world like a colossus, attaining the unquestioned adulation of fans and musicians alike, and sc1w'ing' as an influence to those who would subsequently shape the course of popular music. BY SUHRID SANKAR CHATTOPADHYAY

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AT muaisou saunas GARDE in New York, in August 2007.

prc-Second World War Mississipi, \\‘a.*~‘ notjust the "King ofthc Blues" as hc was uni\‘crsall_\' hailcd; hc was the

blocs. Born Riley King on September 16. 1925. in Illa Bcna. Mississippi. the man who would be acknowl-

edged as one of the greatest musicians of his cra worked in zi cotton plantation from the age of eight. picking cotton at 35 ccnts pcr 100

pounds. Wlicn he grew oldcr. he worked on a tractor. Right from childhood. hc was hooked to the

blues. listening to the great delta blocsmcn in records. \Vhcn he was 1+. hc bought his first guitar with his wages. and when work was over hc would go into town to lind a placc to play. Soinctiun-s. in a single day hc would makc as much as $50 in tips, wlicrcas in the plantation he would carn S122 a wcck. "Now you scc why I started pla_\ing the blocs." he later

iokcd. In late 194-8, hc lcll the plantation amd hitchhikcd to Memphis.

Hanging around in the lcgcndary

Beale Strccl. and watching the famous blucsmcn strut their stull, young Riley dccidcd that hc would

play the blocs for the rest of his life. The first job he got was as a disc jockey in the WDIA Memphis radio station—thc first radio station in the United States for Alricaii Americans. It was thcrc that hc got thc name l3.B.— short for Blucs Boy. But he did not conlinc himself to the radio for

long and turned his attention full time to playing music. In 1951.110 got his first hit record. .3‘ O'rlo('/1' B/tics. In the next few years.

more hits followed. including Ez~i-:j1,ir/fly I Hum’ I/:1’ B/z1r.'s. Tc/I Long

Ycurs. Sit"c'cf lift‘/c.-l.'1gc/. and so on.

AT AVERY FISHER HALL in NewYork,June1992. "l"IRS'l' I sing and then Luc.illc sings." said the great B.B. King. rc-

ulation of fans and musicians alike, and sc1'\~‘ing as an inilucncc to those

fcrring to his guitar, easily thc most recognisable guitar in the music industr_\'—a gorgeous custom-made Gibson which B.B. christcncd Lucille after the girl who caused the biggest bar light hc had cvcr sccn. For nearly scvcn dccadcs. B.B. and Lucillc strodc the music world like a colossus. attaining the unquestioned ad-

who would subsequently shape the course of popular music. When on May 1+ this year Lucille fell forever silent with the death ofthe man who could make hcr sing. a major ch aptcr in the world of music was closed. For B.B. King. thc last ofthe g1'catblucsmcn to emerge from what is now


.ll \l-'.lr»_l|lI:‘-

almost thc n1_\'tl1ical landscape ol 92

and B.B. hccamc i|nmcnscl_\' popular in the Chitlins Circuit (the vcnucs in which African-American artistes could pcrform during thc days ol'scg'—

rcgation). As he toured and recordcd,





reputation became at legend and spread beyond the Chitlins circuit. 'l'hough whitc hlucs musicians. in-

cluding John l\‘la_vall, Mike Bloomfield. Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. were hanging on to every note hc was playilig. it was not until

WIT H I F R 0 M |. E F TI T R 0 Y "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Jeff Beck, Derek

he stood on stage in front ofa packed house in the Fillmore Auditorium in

Trucks and Gary Clark Jr on February 21, 2012, during the "In Performance at the

San Francisco in 1968 that B.B real-

White House" series, hosted by President Barack Obama, to celebrate blues

ised that his music had crossed over to the mainstream. As the famed im-

music and in recognition of Black History Month.

presario Bill Graham introduced

awestruck with his perforinanec. In

play and sing at the same tin1e—"lirst

him on stage as the “King of the gave him a prolonged standing ovation before he had even played a sin-

fact, people would go to hear him talk as much as to hear him play. Always a big man, he cut a larger—than-|il'e ligure on the stage with his glittering

I sing and then Lucille sings" but he could tell in just four splendid notes what another guitarist would take five minutes to communicate. He

gle note.. The great grandson of a

suits and his llaniboyant. outlandish

was, in short, one of the greatest and

slave in Mississippi had the world at

style. No one hut B.B. could have

most influential guitar players that

his feet. B.B. stood humbly on stage,

pulled it oll'in those clothes: but then

ever lived. a pioneer of techniques

with tears in his eyes. The next year he recorded what remains his most enduring hit, '1'/ae '17::-if/is Gone. In the tradition ofthe Mississippi bluesmen of the bygone days, B.B.

no one but B.B. made obesity look appealing. In his later years, with the lilrther expansion of his girth, he would mostly remain seated, with

that would give shape to rock music in the l'uture and guide the blues to its ne.\"t higher plane. He could bend a note, sustain it, make it shimmy

Lucille perched lovingly on his lap. Some of his greatest works were aetually those he recorded live. like

and shake before gently putting it to

Blues", the largely white audience

toured constantly throughout. his life, averaging more than 200 nights

a year. ln fact, in 1956 alone he performed on 3&2 nights. Alter turning 80, he decided to cut down on his tours. But even then he was on the road playing 100 nights a year. The stage was practically his living room. He would banter endlessly with the audience, regalc them with jokes and

anecdotes. and otcotirse. keep them

Lice of the Regal (1965). which connoisseurs believe to be one of the greatest blues albums ever recorded, and Lice in Coolr ('oum‘y Jail (19?'1). MOST INFLUENTIAL GUITAR P LAY E R

He admitted that he hardly ever played chords, and he could never 93

rest—it was as though each note he played had a life of its o\\11, and B.B.

was just setting it free. There are gadgets for all these tricks and effects —pcdals and tremolos and other equipment—but B.B never used them. He never needed to when he had his magical hands—his "clumsy fingers". as he put it with his customary self-deprecation. He would sim-

ply strike a note and shake his hand l-'R(I\'l'l.l\l-l~.||\l~12h._!lIl5

THE |comc LUCILLE is taken down Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, in a farewell procession

in honour of B.B. King on May 27.

dignity. Once, Jolm Lennon had told

sing for you”. Lucille would inevi-

him that he wished he could play like

tably come up in his long conversa-

B.B. Years later, recalling the inci-

tions with the audience during live

dent B.B. chuckled and said, “I didn't believe him."

shows, and he even wrote a song about Lucille, asongin which Lucille

In the blues, where the mytl1ifi-

did most of the singing, while B.B.

cation of the artiste was an integral

just talked about her—"l‘m crazy

part ofthe art form itself, B.B.'s persona was grounded in reality. He was no haunted, shatlowjv figure like Robert Johnson in flight from hellhounds on his t1'ail; nor did he have the spooky quality of Skip James with his blcak, mysterious lyrics and ghost-like voice. Rather, in B.B. one saw the ultimate amalgamation and

about Lucille] Lucille took me from the plantation/ Or you might say brought me fame." Lucille was an extension of B.B. It was his other

culmination of all the styles that

satilc was his musicianship and

made up the blues. He had it all-—the

singing, so dynamic and exploratory,

power and intensity of Howlin' Wolf,

that he was equally masterful in per-

the finesse and style of Muddy Waters, the hollerin' anger of the plantation worker, and the sweet melancholy of one who has tran-

forming jazz standards and collaborating with artistes of a diverse range of genres, from gospel to rock to soul to funk. His supreme crafts-

scended the pain of persecution. He

manship allowed him to blend and

carried in that magnificent, powerful

complement any kind of music and

voice the entire legacy of the blues, from the time the first black man got off a slave ship with scars on his back to the weary plantation worker sitting outside his shack watching the sun go down. “VVhen I first got the blues

yet retain his unique sound and blue-

voice, an essential and inseparable aspect of his personality—the consort qucen ofthe “King of the Blues". Yet it would be a mistake to confine him simply to the blues. So ver-

sy roots. “Cause Lucille don't wanna play nothin' but the blues." For B.B.'s own influences were

not only the great Mississippi blues-

They brought me over on a ship Men were standing over me

men he heard in his childhood, like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sonny Boy Willianison, Lonnie Johnson, his own cousin the legendary Bukka

And a lot more with a whip

W’hitc and others. He was also keenly

And everybody wanna know

affected by the jazz music of that period-—pa1'ticularly Duke Ellington's

VVhy I sing the blues

like a bird flapping a wing to get

Well I’ve been around a longtime I’ve really paid my dues.”

those long quivering sounds, which

(Why I sing the Blues)

who died too soon, and the two-fingercd gypsy wizard of swing, Django

was one ofhis trademarks. Every generation of dedicated guitar players in the past 60 years has

He was the greatest bluesman

Reinhardt. In his music one heard

alive, and with his death the curtains

the perfect synthesis of the raw in-

came down on a key tradition that

tensity of the blues and the finesse of

looked to B.B. for inspiration, guid-

formed the root ofrock ‘n' roll music.


big band, the great Charlie Christian

No bluesman has ever received

ance and understanding. Icons and legends ofthe instrument from Clapton to J imi Hendrix and Stevie Ray

He did not just sing the songs, he felt

the kind ofhonours and awards that B.B. got in his lifetime—15 Grain-

Vaughan have revered him as a mas-

the songs from the core of his being,

mys, medals from heads of states,


and he could make the listeners feel

Every successive generation of rock stars has attempted to validate its credentials by playing with the King—Eric Clapton in his Riding with the King and U2 in Rattle and Hum. “He was a beacon for all of us,"

it, too. Close on the heels ofhis vocals

honorary doctorates from prestigious institutes, even a museum on him. But that is not where his legacy lies; nor does it find reflection in the generous flow of tributes from the biggest stars of music after his death. Somewhere, in an obscure corner of


for all the adulation and respect, B.B. miraculously remained a humble

would be Lucille, singing, screaming, moaning, snarling, whooping with delight and taking flight and soaring higher than a kite at the bidding of her master's fingers. ‘Wherever B.B. went, Lucille went with him. To him she was more than just a guitar. Often after singing a verse or line, he

man of enormous self-respect and

would say “and now Lucille's gonna

said Clapton after B.B.‘s death. Yet



.lliT\'I~'. Zn, 1015


the world, akid afterlistening to Live at the Regal makes up his mind to learn to play the guitar—and that is

where B.B. King lives on forever. [:1

ART ,./'4

u\\ns\1a\Q®‘§ mam“ -3


-‘ ,.\ -~ U. ,..\-_ A--... ... -11*" .,.,. ,-.. __~-" n--1v .- _

- ..... --~- -.‘.. _. 1 . --- -‘ .. .. -- -N ~~ _,,\ —4\‘ ‘nun .,..--' _‘__,-. _' _ ,, ¢ 1‘ -‘--L __ J,» > . ‘gs-. unlnfl‘ c*§_.,n.\.-\- \ , ,-...,.-

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F R 0 H TH E s E RI E5 of lithograph block inscriptions about traumatic incidents in the history of post-Independence India.

Experiments with truth Riyas Komu’s work “On International Workers’ Day, Gandhi from Kochi”, which layers a Gandhi image against a background reminiscent of the red flag, and his litho blocks depicting incidents that scarred the history of p0St—InClependenCe India mark the artist's attclnpts to rcdccm

the meanings of \\'ords and iinagcs. BY c.s. VENKITESWARAN 95





..J |_,J

TH E G R A P H I C I M AG E 5 of a toothless Gandhi, the reproduction of a photograph taken in 1931 when he was 62, against a background reminiscent of the red flag, with a white star at the top right-hand comer. On the top of each image are twin words, one, the liberating ideas and programmes of Gandhi, and the other its counter-forces. IN a world that usurps words of

other a series of litho blocks placed

tematically emptied of history and

meaning, evacuates concepts of ethics, and robs images of their resonance, transforming them all into their opposites, art turns into an ad-

under the glass atop tables. The

hijacked to serve divisive ends.

venture of excavation, renovation and reassertion. Today, iconic i1nages like that of Gandhi and Marx and

their ideas have been nullified of their subversive energy and turned

into vacuous figures and mere recep-

graphic images are that ofa toothless

Radical politics today is also

Gandhi, the reproduction of a photograph taken in 1931 when he was 62; bony, bare-chested with his ribs jutting out, he is smiling disarmingly at us; this black-and-white image of his stands out against a background reminiscent of the red flag, with a

about liberating words and images fi'om certain hegemonic and oppres-

sive registers, and thus creating fresh political synergies with new connections. As the philosopher Alain Badiou reminds us, “...the contemporary world is doubly hos-

tile to truth procedures. This hostil-

tacles to serve the forces of power and oppression. In this “splinter,

white star at the top right-hand corner. On the top of each graphic are

pick and choose” process, Gandhi is

twin words, the first, Gandhi's

Truth procedure should obtain, an-

reduced to amenable fragments and

panchsheel principles, and the see-

other, which represses it, holds sway.

tame symbols; Marx becomes just another icon of the past or a hollow, In the context of such selective

ond, \vords/ realities that counter the former: Satyaf Perception, Ahimsa/ Violence, Antyodaya/Victim, Sarvo— daya/ Fear and Swaraj /Control.

The name ‘culture’ comes to obliterate that ot"art'. The word ‘technology’ obliterates the word ‘sciencel The word ‘management’ obliterates the

amnesia and active memorialising of

These two series of words, one, the

word ‘politics’. The word ‘sexuality'

untruths, how do we redeem and re-

liberating ideas and programmes of

obliterates ‘love’. The ‘culture-teclv

deploy Gandhi or Marx? In the con-

Gandhi, and the other its counterforces, separated by a slash, add an ironic tinge to the open smile below. According to Amrith Lal, the second set ofwords is pitted against the first: “VVhen words are cleansed of their

nology-management-sexuality’ system, which has the immense merit of being homogenous to the market, and all of whose terms designate a

cliched slogan.

temporary context, what has Gandhi

got to do with Marx? Have they become spent forces or jaded idea/ls of yore in the profoundly consumerist and deeply globalised world we live in? Riyas Komu, in his new show in

ity betrays itself through nominal

occlusions: where the name of a

category of commercial presentation, constitutes the modem nomi-

moral essence, they acquire a new meaning. The newspeak hinted at by


which was inaugurated on May 1,

the artist suggests the possibility of making a deracinated Gandhi, who

which identifies truth procedures typologically" (Saint Paul: The

poses, probes, prods and ponders on

could be commandeered at will for

Foumhtion ofUn ivcrsa/isnl ).

these questions.


Fort Kochi titled "On International Workers Day, Gandhi from Kochi",






This act of excavation and reno-

What we see in the show are two

This act of excavation, redemp-

sets of images arrayed against each

tion and reassertion of words are es-

vation of images, symbols, words and signs are all the more significant to-

other: the first one is a set of graphic

pecially relevant in the present-day

day when Gandhi and Marx—their

poster images on the wall and the

Indian context where words are sys-

images, words, ideas and program-



.|UNI~'.3n, 2015


mania; 5:



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L I T H 0 6 R A P H B L oc K inscriptions [clockwise from top left] Poverty/Pokhran, The Emergency, 1969, Rath Yatra!Babri Masjid, Bombay Blasts, and The Anti-Sikh Riots. These images represent Riyas Komu's "attempt at understanding

independent India's psyche through important events that scarred its history and, in the process, shaped my identity". mes—are appropriated by fragmenprocess, systematically evacuated of

hran; and Godhra/Modi, along with a brief description of each event. According to the artist, these images

symbol. Facing them are the stony, bare surface of the litho block hewn with historical events in reverse

their subversive political content. Ri-

represent his “attempt at under-

print, as if waiting or ready for an

_vas' works act in the opposite direc-

standing independent India’s psyche


tion; they fight fragmentation by bringing together otherwise dispara-

through important events that scarred its history and, in the proc-

“Gandhi from Kochi" thus brings to the fore certain all-too-familiar

te images and words to make us

ess, shaped my identity”.

words, images, signs and events, by

pause and reconsider.

This counterposing ofthe poster image and the litho blocks triggers several trajectories ofthought in the viewer; they spawn an unsettling but

excavating them from the moral morass they are currently buried in and hold them up against our times and eyes. By layering the Gandhi image

radical interface between “lofty” po-

against the loaded background of red

es". They carry “inscriptions” about

litical ideals/ideas that sometimes go awry sans vigil, and the “heavy” facts

and the evocative sign ofthe star, he prods our vision and thought to po-

traumatic incidents that scarred the

and painful experiences of/in histo-

tential trajectories of political action

history of post-Independence India:

ry. VVhat you confront is the multi-

and urgent vigil. Here is an instance


1969; The Emergency; The Anti-

layered and contradictory surface of the image, which is a palimpsest of

where the artist Oksana Pasaikos words ring true: “Ask not what con-

Sikh Riots; Rath Yatra/Babri Mas-

ideals and nightmares, social memo-

temporary art is, but what contem-

jid; Bombay Blasts; Poverty/Pole

ries and political history, image and

porary art should be."

tation and trivialisation, and in the


The parallel set of lithograph blocks —which is a homage to Raja Ravi Varma—is titled "Stoned Goddess-






El JUNE Eh, 2t!l:'v


‘It is m attempt to reclaim fearlessness’ In conversation vdth li.l_\'1l.‘~i knmu. av c.s. VEIIKITESWARAN BORN in 1971 in Kerala, Riyas

Komu took his master's degree in tine arts from the JJ School ofA1'ts, Mumbai. In the last deeade, he has created a striking body ofwork spanning var_\'ing media and genres. His



works are noted for their strong political stances involving intense crit-

ical and creative engagements with the public domain. His work has been part of many prestigious and museum shows across the world, including “ParisDelhi-Bombay“, Centre Pompidou,

Paris; Prague Biennale; 52nd Venice Biennale 2007; “Concurrent Indizi", Helsinki Art 1\i1useum; "Indian Higl1wa}"',Museuin of Contemporar_\'A1't, Lyon; Herning, Denmark;






.._. 4. 1 ‘_ _ __<-~_ ».._, ii‘-1’ . Q Q


1-: s.o -_. -Itget *"_-."f-__'1'-



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'- i.'_'~—_. -

.._ 251,- --. -

;-S.r.l’_i.'-*-"' Q . _








tc r '—.->'-

_ \-»___“' -1-_.

"India Awakens: Under the Banyan


Tree, Essl Museum, Austria; “Finding India: Art for the New Century",


Museum of Coiiteniporary Art, Taipei. Taiwan; Milan Museunr "India Contemporaq'“, GEM. Museum of Contemporary Art, Hague; “India

Now: Contemporary Indian Art Between Continuity and 'l'rzinsi'ormation", Milan, Italy; and "India Xianzai: Contemporary Indian Art“,

Museum of Contempor21r_\f Art, Shanghai. He is also the director of prognuiiiiies. Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Excerpts from an interview he gave 1"ro1ith'rir:

Both Gandhi and Marx are iconic figures though they follow different semiotic and political trajectories.

R IYAS K0 M U. He says his work "On International Workers Day. Gandhi

What prompted you to bring these two together? Was it a figurativel

From Kochi" was conceptualised in 2015 to trigger a discourse by placing the history of violence against a man who stood for n0n—vi0lence.


.Il Nlilryltili


14?-_. ‘jité ..|= _


aesthetic or political/interventionist impulse? There were protests from some quarters about the "abuse" of

Round Table Conference, which he attended as the sole official Congress

icon of resistance and fearlessness, which is the most important political

representative. Gandhi didn't die of fever, he was

weapon we should carry. It's my attempt to reclaim fearlessness.

Gandhi. When I exhibited this series as

murdered. At a time when history is

part of “Missing Pavilion”, a show that was curated by Gayatri Sinlia along with five student curators from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New

being reinterpreted for political mobilisations and power gains and when the perception of politics is manipulated through well-designed

Delhi, I had stated about Gandhi

commercial campaigns, it’s very important to fight back with icons like Gandhi for counterargument by jux-

that, “This work is very explicit

against secrets. The words are known. The man is part of our blood.

taposing our time with his principles

New pavilions will be built on his

and the ideologies that he stood for.

chest. Salute him for being around”. Initially the background of these

Here Gandhi is painted, but a Marxian presence is celebrated. It complements the relevance of these icons but amplifies Gandhi. I'd like to paraphrase Anita

works was left as white. I changed it

for the new show “On International

This show has an interesting interface between two sets of

figures and texts. One is a set of poster figures of the smiling, toothless Gandhi, bony and harechestecl with key words from his panchsheel that are "slashed" with their dark, current predicaments. On the other are the litho stones engraved with bare historical facts: tomb stones, as it were, of traumatic events that mar/k postlndependence Indian history. What kind of a dialoguelinterfacefconflict did you want to project or trigger?

Workers’ Day, Gandhi from Kochi". This is my experiments with Gandhi to learn Gandhi by repositioning him

Thampi, one of the leading poets of Kerala, that the Gandhi figure is a

from a contest I observed during my

marvellously simple one that sub-

in 2012, I used one of the most his-

last four years in Kochi.

mits itself easily both to the doodling


My direct interactions with the people of Kochi have been crucial. Especially, the working class labourers have been a revelation as to how this workforce is being used for polit-

child and to the master artist; so minimal that a dot or a line cannot simplify it further—an inner and outer simplicity and a stark directness of this figure can readily lure

which Raja Ravi Varma ioonised mythical figures. Lithostone as a material carries [on it] the images which it has produced to date. In the Indian context lithostonc

ical manipulations. This workforce is

anyone to make it their logo. This

is mainly attributed to Raja Ravi

a residual past of the old glory of

figure can easily mislead anyone into

Varma who used it to portray gods

Kochi complemented by its rich trade history and a celebrated history

thinking that it can be used any

and goddesses, which became a de-

which way.

cor or an image of worship through-

of“working class blues”. But now you see this workforce as the most frustrated, and most of the families are poverty-stricken and alienated. I cannot see or have never felt there is

But the historical gravity and political vitality the symbol wields are

out the country. I used the same surface to project and document the violent massacres in p0st-Indcpendence India triggered by religious fascism. “On International Workers’

a hope for their future unless the their misery. Marx has been part of our blood.

something that refuses to succumb by appropriating it is not going to work. Because, Gandhi is a rhizomatic image that is too sharp for such

series of paintings to trigger a discourse by placing the history of vio-

But I have not made any deliberate attempt to jl1.\‘IZ3.pOS€ Gandhi with

manipulations. And Gandhi appears in our lives

lence against a man who stood for non-violence.

Marx. But in response to my works I

as a constant reminder of non-vio-

Gandhi is not just the face of

was very happy to see the article contributed by K.P. Shankaran for BRICK, the tabloid I published along with the show. The criticism doing

lence and tolerance. So it is in this site that Gandhi is positioned as an

printed currency that jumps out of vending machines, Gandhi doesn't

system stops taking advantage of

not that simple; nor is its intellectual

and spiritual depth so light. In Gandhi’s case, the tactic of blacking out

In “Stoned Goddesses”, produced important



Day, Gandhi From Kochi” was con-

ceptualised in 2015 with this new

the rounds against the work for using this photograph of Gandhi is aston-

ishing. Here the representation of

"Gandhi appears in our lives as a constant reminder of non-violence and tolerance."

Gandhi is the argument in the pro-

ject to amplify his CKpl'6SSlVC look, body and loud smile. Most importantly, this pajnting is based on a

photograph taken in 1931, when

Gandhi was 62 years old. He was travelling from India to England on a

ship to take part in the Second 99



JUNE 2:». 2015

underprivileged villages. I have attempted to show such concerns in

"Gandhi could be a disgraced farmer, a displaced villager, an untouchable social discard, a lost rnigrant...".

projects such as “belt Legs", with the Iraqi national football team; “Mark

Him”, with the Indian national football team; “Designated March By a Petro Angel”, a work that was exhibited at the Indian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007; “Safe to Light”, a solo show in Tehran which

represent the amount of bad loans

bedkar as an icon. But at the same

looked at internal conflicts; “Related List”, a solo show responding to the atrocities ofwar and occupation; and many more.

taken by the corporates, but Gandhi represents the values that our nation Gandhi, and his ideals which made him the Father of the Nation, from

time it is important to observe that Ambedkar was celebrated and respected as a man who shaped our Constitution. That is how difierent societies acknowledge crucial contri-

In “On International Workers’ Day, Gandhi from Kochi”, Gandhi could be a disgraced farmer, a displaced villager, an untouchable social discard, a lost migrant, or a

the confines of the fractals of a system that can't stop spinning but con-

butions of legends. Gandhi and Marx have an over-

strange pedestrian who was thrown out of his home.

tinuously sideline Gandhi to the

arching presence in the psyche ofthe

When I encountered this photo-

margins of our aspirational society

people of Kerala, but I would like to

graph I realised that what made

and the resulting greed. Gandhi as a metaphor should be respected as a value given back to an individual for shedding his blood and sweat for this nation. Gandhi should be remembered and celebrated as an individual who experiment-

say in a social space that it's also

Gandhi an icon was his simplicity to the core and his great understanding of India’s social space.

was built on. My attempt is to break

Gandhi and Sree Narayana Guru, Gandhi and Lenin, Gandhi and Stalin, Gandhi and Che Guevara, and

Gandhi and Mao. This is not a ro-

Your show has triggered a lot of

mantic claim but a reality reflected as

discussions and also interesting "coalitions" between Gandhians, Marxists and Ambedkarites. How do you plan to take this interface forward?

you travel the breadth of Kerala.

ed consistently with the changing times and 11ot as an icon that can be

Your show, in its use of images and

used for vested interests. I created

text, has something very "prosaic and pedestrian" about it. This can also be seen as an attempt to reclaim and reimagine the prosaic and the pedestrian. What is your take on this? India, after Independence, has

these works not because I feel sorry

for Gandhi but [because] I feel sorry for the ones who manipulate him.

In the discussions that followed the opening of the show, there were some references about another crucial missing link: Ambedkar. How do you "figure out" his nonpresence here? Or, has it something to do with the specific political history and discourses of Kerala, where Gandhi and Marx were the two overarching presences?

Art should touch realities that we

live with. In the new emerging political landscape, what we lack is a collective resistance against fascism. If

you feel this show has triggered a coalition, I feel the reading as very

marched ahead with Gandhi’s idea of non-violence. This explains why we


always try to redefine and reimagine

see art as the last bastion of free

India through Gandhi and his principles and adapt it to changing times,

speech and expression. The conver-

perhaps also as a reminder to our-

analysts, Gandhians, philosophers

selves of “how we got here”.

and poets did open up many opin-

But what we are seeing now is reducing Gandhi to a gimmick or us-

ions and new perspectives, which is the need ofthe time. Like the famous

has seen are the likes of Sree Narayana Guru and many others of his time who played a pivotal role in empo-

ing Gandhi as “Fevicol" to cover crimes.

Gandhian thinker K. Aravindakshan said, “Normally a discourse around

My art practice has always been

wering the downtrodden. Land re-

an attempt to create an archive ofour

Gandhi is attended by very few and most of them would be senior citi-

forms, civil rights, universal education and health, attempts to

times. I have always tried to document the stories ofthe marginalised,

promising to see youngsters partici-

annihilate caste and social inequal-

the underprivileged and the dis-

pating in a Gandhi discourse.”

ities, empowering women and, more

placed. You could see this in my se-

As an artist my humble attempt

than anything else, the history of so-

ries of paintings called “Systematic

will be to remind myself and others,

cial action and political engagement

Citizens", which depicts the youth who migrate to urban spaces from

through my work, of the times in

The social reformers that Kerala

has made Kerala less reliant on AmFRON'l'l.|NF-




In our contemporary context I

sations that happened among social

zens. But here it is encouraging and

which we live.


1;‘ U L IQ It l I\j P R ll OC C U l’A'l‘l ON S


Orchestra in Search of a conductor The Berlin Philharmonic's inability to choose a successor to Simon Rattle > ' , A . 4 s 7 7 ‘ while ensuring material survival and commercial success.

HE Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is known to be one of the finest orchestras in the world. combining technical perfec-

and a sound that has been described as “1nagieal". It is also one ofthe most watched and talked about orchestras, otten in the limelight for both

tion with acknowledged musicality

musical and non-musical reasons. 101

during the celebrations of 50 years of the start of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel in Berlin on May 12. I-'RlI\'l'l.l\l




His announcement of his departure as Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic in 2018 set in motion the search for a successor, which is likely to take more than a year.

But recent events—in particular the still—continuing search for a new

chestra's international reputation, and since then most of the major

tury was dominated by the towering and charismatic figure oi‘ Herbert

principal conductor to replace the il-

luminaries ot‘ the world ot' Western

von Karajan. He spent nearly Your

lustrious Simon Rattle. who has announced that he would leave in 2()18—are likely to he of \\1'der in-

classical music have served as principal conductor. musical director or at least guest conductor For the orches-

decades with the orchestra. from 1955 to just a few months before his

tcrest even to those who are not so

tra. In the 2()th century, Artlnir Ni-

death in 1989. He transforinetl the orchestra musicallv (producing a

interested in classical music. The on-



t'onsistentl_\' lush sound that became

going processes illuminate the di-

Sergiu Celibidaehe led the orchestra.

distinctive and instantly recognisa-

lemmas involved in cultural and

Under Ftirtwangler the orcliestra

ble); eoinniercially (embarking on a

creative pursuits in our times. not just in the developed world but evQI'_\\\‘ll('I‘L‘.

\vas ellectively close to the Nazi reginie, pei'toi'niii1g not only in general public concerts but at clearly propa-

massive project oi‘ recording‘ the entire repertoire of the orchestra and actively assisting in inarketing); in

This particular orcliestra is fasci-

ganda-driven events. to the point that subsequent scholars have even described it as "Tlie Reich's Orchestra" (the title of a book b_v Misha Aster published in '_!O0T). The second halt'ot'the 20th cen-

terms of its physical home (encouraging the building of what \vas then a liituristic concert hall \\ith wonderful acoustics and with the stage for

nating aiiyxvay. lt originated in a re-

bellion in 1882. when +2 members oi an orchestra led by the conductor Benjainin Bilse broke away to form

their own group, in protest against his imposition otilow wages and travel by i'ourth-class in trains for concerts. The group was originally known as "Former Bil:-;e's Band" and



got its more respectable present

[From left] Gustavo Dudamel of Venezuela, now based in Los Angeles, is one of the most exciting conductors

name later that year. They were obviously musicians olisuch quality that

to have erupted onto the global scene; Christian Thielemann, the local boy

\vithin a few years they could attract Hans von Bnlow, one o|' the most

who is steeped in the Classical-

celebrated conductors of his time in

tradition of Karajan; and Latvian Andris Nelsons, who has just taken over the

Europe, to serve as their conductor. Ibis helped to cement the orl"lll1\ll.l\l'l



Romantic repertoire and in the direct

Boston Symphony Orchestra. 102

with the Berlin Philharmonic labove and right]. In nearly four decades as its conductor, from 1955 to a few months before his death in 1989, he transformed it musically, commercially and in terms of its global reach.

music-making situated in the midst of the audience); in its global reach

disputes. For example, when Karaj an sought to bring in the 13-year-old

conductor (Antonia Brico) as early as 1930 and several others tliereaftei'.

(taking the orchestra on tours as tar

violin prodigy Anne—Sophie Ivlutter

in 1982. the Swiss violinist Made-

afield as Japan and China, as well as the Americas); and in terms of personnel (eventually lariiigiiig in some

to perform a Mozart violin concerto with the orchestra, there were liercc

leine Carruxzo joined the orchestra (and still plays in it). but this was overshadowed by the eontro\'ersy

women players despite protests from the largely “unreeonstructed" alpha

protests. Yet. that remarkably gilted violinist went on to create some outstanding pertoi"iiiaiices and record-

males who then tornied the orches-



relationship that now spans more

This last point was much more diflicult than expected. I{ara_ian's re-

than tour decades. The charge of miso3.,'yny is one

lationship with the orchestra was

that has been levelled at this partieular orchestra even more than others. It was one ofthe last important orchestras to hire women players. even though it had a woman guest

said to be. intense and fulfilling, but also turbulent. and the last years were marked by l'requent t'riction_. which sometimes erupted into open






surrounding the contested appointlnent oi‘ clarinettist Sabine Meyer.

who apparently tai:'ed so much harassment that she lelt alter a lbw months. and this became another source oi‘ friction between Karajan

and the players. Now the composition of the. orchestra is quite diflei'ei1t. It is more international: iilty ofthe 128 incinbers are foreign (non-German). from 20 ditl'ercnt countries. It is slightly less male: 17 women play in it. still less than most other major orchestras but certainly more than before. lt is younger: the average age ofthe players is only around 38 years. But

the culture of being independentminded and pla_ver-driven continues. The nature oifits t'ori11ation as a

tierccly independent and selt'-contident group ol' accomplished musicians





organisation ofthe orchestra and its siibsequent trajector_v. 103



New members of the orchestra are voted in by all the players (not just those in the relevant section),

recently he was quoted as admitting that “nobody comes here thinking they are going to have an easy time".

just a few years. The 34--year-old Ve-

with the conductor also having a

Indeed, the great musician Carlos

most exciting conductors to have

vote. The vote is conducted after a

Kleiber actually refused this oppor-

erupted onto the global

musical audition on stage in filll view of all the members, unlike the practice that is now common in many American orchestras, where the can-

tunity when he was offered the post before Abbado took over. That is why this May, all eyes in the classical music world were on the closed doors

achieving international recognition through the stunning Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra he created in Caracas, part of the Venezuelan govem-

didates play behind a screen so that attributes such as age, gender, race

beyond which the members of the orchestra gathered to choose their

ment’s project to bring music to the

and so on are not known to the listeners. And so prejudices of different

next conductor. The aura of secrecy surrounding the exercise (the discus-

Munich, could be another conten-

kinds can get reflected in votes, along

sion is completely behind closed

der, though his reputation for doing

with purely musical judgment. Only very powerful personalities (and Karajan was undoubtedly one such) can manage to exert some influence in such conditions.

doors; even the actual contenders are only guessed at by outsiders; mobile phones are not allowed in the room) added to the mystery and allure. After hours and hours ofdiscussion and

only a few thoroughly prepared concerts every year may work against him because ofthe demands ofcommercial profitability. Women are apparently not in the running,

The musicians of the orchestra also choose their conductor, in a closed and secretive process that has been described as the equivalent ofa

several rounds of voting, they emerged to announce that they had

although several highly regarded women (such as Susanna Malkki and

been unable to come to a decision,

Emmannuelle Haim) have guest-

and would seek to meet again and

conducted the orchestra in recent

papal election oonclave. Since this is possibly the most coveted job in the classical music world, they have always had an impressive list of candi-

decide within the coming year.



The rumour mills suggest that one of

dates to choose from. They have generally chosen men who are recognised stars already, who also happen to be at the top of their own game, and who they were quite familiar

the strong contenders was Christian Thielemann, local Berlin boy be-

nezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, now based in Los Angeles, is one of the scene,

masses. Kirill


currently in

All this is speculation, of course. More candidates may emerge in the coming year. And there are those who argue that the Berlin Philhar-

monic is now such a thoroughly pro-

loved of the conservative faction,

fessional and well-oiled machine

who is steeped in the Classical-Romantic repertoire and in the direct

that they do not really need a principal conductor, and can manage with

with because of frequent appearances as guest conductor. Thus, Karajan was succeeded by the Italian Claudio Abbado, who expanded the repertoire away from the

tradition of Karajan. But he may have shot himselfin the foot because ofnotjust musical reasons (the more limited focus of his repertoire) but also because of the uncomfortably

guest conductors without much diminution of musical quality. Increasingly, the role of the conductor is not just to bring together the

core Classical-Romantic pieces so

right-wing views he has expressed

performers to create great music, but

beloved of Karajan, to more 20th century composers and contempo-

publicly, including in a newspaper

to attract commercial contracts and

rary works. In 2002, Abbado was

article in which he sympathised with the anti-immigrant group Pegida.

sponsorships. Given the limits of the orchestra’s repertory, this is becom-

succeeded by the dynamic and excit-

This apparently generated strong re-

ing British oonductor Simon Rattle,

action from others in the orchestra,

ing more difficult, as Simon Rattle also found. It can only be achieved by

who has also proved to be extraordi-

who felt that this would sit uneasily

someone who brings his/her own

narily successful in drawing consis-

with the requirements of 21st centu-



ry music-making and the kind ofcos-

performances from the players. Under him, the orchestra also devel-

mopolitan and multicultural city that Berlin has become.

star power, is commercially savvy and can recognise what will be popular without sacrificing musical creativity and innovation.

oped an education project that seeks to remove the elitist label from the

Other names have been mentioned. The grey eminence Daniel

These are difficult conditions to meet. So what is a temporary inabil-

music and connect with those who

Barcnboim, who conducts the Staat-

have little experience of Western

soperin the same city, has ruled him-

classical music. Clearly, hard acts to follow for

self out. Two prominent names are much younger. The 37-year-old Lat-

anyone who must come after these

vian Andris Nelsons would certainly

giants. The orchestra itself is not so

easy to deal with: the ebullient Si-

fit the bill but he has just taken over the Boston Symphony Orchestra,

ity to choose a conductor may well reflect a more existential dilemma that is increasingly faced by many great orchestras and indeed by many performing artists in general: the difficulties of pursuing artistic perfection within the constraints posed

mon Rattle's hair turned grey very

which makes it less likely that he

quickly in his years in Berlin, and

would abandon his current home in







But that raises another problem.

by the requirements of material survival and commercial success. El


Between life and death The death of Aruna Shanbaug after 42 years in a comatose state brings

into focus once again the issues of passive eutlianasia. living wills. orgmi donation. and punishment for sexual assault. BY ANUPAIIIA KATAKAH IN MUMBAI

FOR 4~2 years, Aruna Shanhaug

said she was not—dead and

existed in a small room on the

ground floor of Ward Four in the

therefore the ruling did not apply in her case. ‘Tragically, the system

sprawling KEM Hospital in Mum-

failed her," said a doctor at KEM at

bai. Cared for entirely by the nursing

the time ofher death. “We don't want

staff, Aruna had been in a comatose state since November 27, 1973, the night on which she was strangled with a dog chain and sodomised by a


it to fail more people. This can really help people, particularly the poor.“ ARUl|A'S STORY

ward boy at KEM where she worked

In 1973, Aruna, a bright young wom-

as a nurse. The strangulation cut the

an training to become a nurse, was

oxygen supply to her brain, and when she was eventually found in the morning, she had stltlered intensive brain damage, cervical cord injury and cortical blindness. Although every medical effort was made to revive her, Aruna never regained consciousness after the assault. She remained in a vegetative

placed with the animal experimentation unit at the hospital where she had to keep a close eye on several helpers who worked with animals. Sohanlal Walmiki was one of the

state for four decades, passing away


sweepers at the hospital whom she

on May 18 in KEM Hospital in

would apparently criticise for not doing his work; reportedly once she shouted at him in full view of the

Mumbai, where she was strangled with a chain and sexually assaulted while at work 42 years ago.

public. On the night of November 27,

eventually on May 18 followinga ear-

1973, Walmiki found her alone in

diopulmonary arrest. Her death has

one of the rooms just before she was

brought into focus once again the issues of passive euthanasia (P.E.),

nally ill people seeking help to die

to change out of her uniform. He

used a dog chain to attack and rape

living wills, organ donation, and

with dignity. Journalist, author and activist

her. Aruna was found the ne.\'t morn-

punishment for sexual assault.

Pinki Virani, who led the crusade to

ing with blood splattered allover and

Aruna's case was a tuming point

let Aruna die with dignity, fought a

on the verge ofdeath. When Walmiki

in India's view on P.E.. Her situation ignited the P.E. debate in India,

hard battle for Aruna's euthanasia.

was caught, he said he did this to her

which saw the court pass a landmark

She lost the Aruna Shanbaug case, but it was her relentless fight that

because she kept denying him leave. He was not tried for rape as the doc-

judgment that agreed to legalise P.E.

made the Supreme Court pass the

tors wanted to protect the reputation

and admit cases where “lifing was more painfiil than death”. Thejudgment also had other important spinoffs, which hugely benefited termi-

historic judgment on P.E. Unfortunately, Aruna did not benefit from the judgment as the doctors and nurses who cared for her

of Aruna, who was engaged to be married that year. Waliiiild served two seven-year jail sentences for the heinous crime but was never charged




JUNE 3h, 2I!l:'v

for sexual assault. He disappeared

fiance moved on and her family dc-

became a regular visitor of Aruna's

alter his jail sentences. Several re-

scrted her. lt was now left to the generosity and kindness of I{I£M's nursing staffto care for her. In spite of attempts by the municipalit_v, which runs the hospital, to send her

and did not just write her story but

ports even claimed that he was dead. Following Aruna's death, a Marathi daily tracked him down to his village in Uttar Pradesh, and on Mav 30, Walmiki came up with his version of the story to several newspapers. Essentially, he accused Aruna oftreating him badly and said that he had

tients, they fierccly held on to her and did not allow any intcrfcrencc. Besides, she had no home to go to.

took the case fiirther as she believed that Aruna was suffering unnecessarily. She made a case for Aruna, and a path-breaking piece of nonfiction on the right to dic with dignity, Ar"uizc1§s- Story. was published in 1998. The writer says “this is the book with which the author catalysed the

not raped her. He said he meant to take revenge by friglitcning hcr but

She became a symbol of courage and professionalism for a team of

law on passive cutl1anasia...." Attempts by Pinki Viraiii to have

in the scufllc she was badly injured. \Valmiki cannot be charged no\v as that would amount to double jeopardy, say the police. Aruna was initially looked after

nurses. They were proud ofhow they cared for her: .»‘Lruna never developed hcdsores. The nurses said they always celebrated her birthday, and on occasions gave her hcr favourite fish

Aruna examined at private hospitals for the condition of her brain death failed. Eventually, in 2009, when Aruna turned 60, Pinki Virani approached thc Supreme Court as Aru-

by her family. hcr fiance and the nursing staffat KEM Hospital where

curry via the feeding tube. Pinki Virani, who heard about

na's "next friend" to stop the tube feeding and allow the victim to pass

she was treated. As years went by and

A1-una's tragic situation, visited her

she showed no signs of recovery, her

in 1985 to write an article on her. She

away peacefully under medical supervision. Thc court rejected the plea alter doctors of KEM claimed that Aruna's medical reports indicated that she was not entirely brain-dead. However, in the wake of the debate the Aruna Shanbaug case triggered and Pinki Viranfs plea, the

home to create space for other pa-

Supreme Court passed a historic judgment in 2011, which permitted P.E. in India. This involves the withdrawing ol treatment or food that would allow the patient to live as opposed to ac-

tive euthanasia, which could include the administration of a lethal sub-

stance to a brain-dead patient. Unfortunately, Aruna never henefited from the judgment. Reportedly, her brain stem had been severely damaged, which meant she was tech-

nically brain-dead. However. caregivers said Aruna would show signs of recognition from time to time. Nurses believed there was a flicker in her eyes through which they read her moods. She was also prone to tits oi anger and screaming, which they believed would not have happened it she was completely brain-dead. The nurses and doctors who cared for hcr repeatedly said it was


not part of Indian culture to allow her to die and that she was still alive and showed signs of life in small ways. They had coiimiittcd to caring and looking after hcr zuid would do

a landmark judgment that agreed to legalise it.

irreversible conditions to permit P.F..

A R u N A s H A N B A u o A T K E M Hospital, a 1980 photograph. Her situation ignited the debate on passive euthanasia, which saw the Supreme Court pass


.ll \I-llryllili


so until her natural death. The Supreme Court specified two

CAR EGIVERS 0 F AR u N A at her funeral in Mumbai. She became a symbol of courage and professionalism for a team of

nurses. law in 2011: (1) The brain-dead, for

delines to determine whether a pa-

vents invasive life—pr0longing proce-

whom the ventilator can be switched

tient is brain-dead or not. They

dures. “Quite often, patients have

off; and (2) Those in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS), for whom the feed can he tapered out and painmanaging palliatives be added, ae-

should have got more experts in and sorted out her case instead of pro-

expressed the desire to go, particularly seeing how much strain it is on

longing it, he said.

their families, therefore we are ad-

In a setback to the pro-euthana-

vocating the legality of living wills,"

cording to laid-down international

sia crusaders, last year the Supreme Court decided to review its 2011 P.E. judgment. Acting in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by the non-governmental organisation Common Cause seeking legal recognition for “living wills", the court invited a five-judge

she said. The matter has been pending for the past two years. The court needs to decide whether to issue notice to all the States or refer the matter to the Law Commission of India. However, the lawyer expects Aruna Shanbaug's death to activate the case again. In July 2014-, Attorney General

specifications. ‘We do not know how many people benefited from this law as that's a confidential agreement between the family and the doctor," said Dr Prakash Naik, an internal medicine specialist from a leading hospital in Mumbai. “The good thing is at least the family has an option. Sometimes, there are really hopeless situations. It's adrain financially and emotionally. P.E. is a humane way to

Bench to look into all aspects of P.E.

Aliving \\-'lll is a directive given by a patient about his or her medical treatment when the patient is termi-

Mukul Rohatgi said the issue had legal, social and moral aspects eon-

pass on.“ He said the real tragedy was

nally ill. The patient gives instruc-

to die merely because of pain and

that it was not applied in Aruna

tions when he or she is in complete control of their faculties, said a law-

suffering would not be in the interest

eerning humanity. He said the right

Shanbaug’s case. Dr Naik does not think KEM did a service to her. To

yer from Common Cause. The in-

of society as it was against public policy. Any change in the law could

live like that for 42 years is inhuman,

tention is to allow a person to die

be brought about only by Parliament,

he said. There are clear medical gui-

with dignity. Furthermore, it pre-

he said, adding that the ruling in




_Il.'NE Bo, llili

“Aruna Shanbaug's case”, which upheld the validity of P.E., was wrong.

sisting in death is not for the medical professional,” said the physician. When contacted, Pinki Virani

she said, adding that some of the good that has come from the judgment should be appreciated.


told Fran tlinez “What the bringing of

To begin with, the judgment pro-

Arguments against euthanasia, pas-

this law has done is to bring the sub-

vides medico-legal clarity on brain

sive or otherwise, are many. Those who argue against it are essentially concerned about the procedure being misused or abused by people with

ject out from darkness to light by reducing the shame which the ‘Bharatiya double—standard' thrives onwhere you are expected to say some-

death. An amendment proposed in Parliament, a few months after the judgment, allows the doctor of the brain-dead patient to inform the rel-

a vested agenda, said T.R Andhyarujina, Senior Advocate ofthe Supreme

atives about the option of organ donation. Post-judgment, there have

of India and Advocate General of

thing in public for the sake of society and do quite diametrically the opposite at home. More importantly, it has made the grief of the near-dear

Maharashtra. Additionally, there are

ones more bearable and less trau-

for the terminally ill to case their

religious beliefs. For instance, Catholics do not believe in taking a life. Some see it in the context of abetting suicide and so there is resistance from such areas, he said.

matic, and equally importantly, has placed the power of choice in the hands of individuals, in which I include doctors, over corp0rate-hospitalisation and religion."

pain. The Government of India re-

Andhyarujina has been closely connected with the Shanbaug case

Pinki Virani said the Supreme Court’s decision to review the judg-

and the P.E. petition in the Supreme

ment did not mean its revocation.

Court. In his view, the 2011 judg-

“The Constitutional Bench has been

like. Third, the P.E. law asks that “attempt to commit suicide" be decriminalised; policymakers are considering this in a new mental health

ment had many merits, but the opposition also needed to be considered. “Aruna Shanbaug’s was a strong case for P.E. However, we had the entire

invited to ‘lay down exhaustive gui-

law. Pinki Virani says the govem-

delines‘. I welcome all legal clarity,”

ment has also finally accepted, in its

Court and former Solicitor General

also been discussions about how rules must be relaxed on morphine

cently allowed for increased avail-

ability of morphine for patients in

severe pain, like those in a PVS, and suffering from cancer, AIDS and the

strengthened anti-rape law in March 2012, her recommendations that the

KEM panel of doctors and nurses saying they would look after her until

law include a “vegetative” clause and

she died. They did in fact very loving-

victim in a vegetative state before, during or after the sexual assault be

that the perpetrator who puts the

ly take care of her, so it was difficult to resist that.” He says that although

categorised as “rarest of the rare" and

therefore be treated on a par with

the definitions are quite clear, there is a thin line between active and passive euthanasia and the law has to be very stringent on this issue.

being a murderer.

India’s health care or the lack ofit is another subject that is related to

Another physician Fro-ntline met

this debate, said a liver transplant

said: “It goes against my beliefs to be pro-P.E. Ideally, we should improve our palliative care and provide better health care for the terminally ill." To

surgeon. "The wealthy are able to keep their relatives alive and provide the best medical The middle class manages somehow, but many

buttress his point he quotes the Hip-

are driven to despair with mounting

pocratic Oath, which states: “I will

hospital bills. The poor are the worst

prescribe regimen for the good of my

affected. They just take their rela-

patients according to my ability and

tives home and keep them as com-

my judgment and never do harm to

fortable as possible till they die.”

anyone. To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug, nor give advice

that may cause his death.” It is an extremely difficult situa-

tion for doctors who know the patient has no chance of survival a.nd is

in extreme pain. It is worse when the

patients are poor. “The fear, however, is that if it becomes legal, family

members will be coerced or con-

vinced into letting their family go. Agreeably, the financial and emotional burdens will increase, but asFRONTLINF.



Pinki Virani said the Supreme Courts decision to review the judgment did not mean its revocation. 108

VVhat we need is to provide better palliative care a.nd ease the pain of

the suffering, P.E. or not. We have to be able to provide better and much more comprehensive health care to our poor who have so few options.

India is a. country with different

religions and thousands of beliefs. P.E., living wills and organ donation

are not easy topics. Yet they need to be addressed because it will serve a much larger good, said the surgeon. El



Of Dalit life and resistance Two novels that in their own ways go beyond the established canons, not only of Dalit narratives, but of the Indian novel in general, and point to the future course of the genre, where it frees itself from Western models—both realist and modern—and creates its own

narrative modes and critical norms. ALIT writing in India has D come along way since its beginnings in the late 19th cen-

al communities and subsects that the

dimension provided especially by the

term had subsumed and in a way concealed. Writers now began to

mysterious Koogai, the owl-god. Both the novels ultimately deal with

tury and its flowering in the closing decades of the 20th. VVhile in the beginning it was struggling to find a way to articulate the agony and anger of

look at the diversity and even internal conflicts within the larger Dalit

Dalit reality, but in such innovative ways as to help redefine the idea of

community and the specificity of

the novel itself. Both the writers are

each caste or group in terms of expe-

blessed with a deep sense ofhumour,

the outcastes, later it began to be rience as well as imagination. more conscious of its artistic mission This new stage of social and aeseven while keeping the original con- thetic awareness seems best reprecerns intact. It also began to take a sented in two novels published positive look at Dalit history, myth recently in English translation: De-

astonishing powers ofobservation, a markedly poetic imagination and a profound awareness of the forces of oppression and resistance that shape Dalit lives as lived in various ways by

and folklore and affirm the unique vanoora Mahadeva’s Kannada novel power and beauty of Dalit values and Kusumabale translated by Susan Dalit imagination. This at times Daniel and Cho. Dharman’s Tamil

different communities. Both the works pose a great challenge to the

novel Koogaiz The Owl translated by

translators as they use community slang and dialect—like the Nanjan-

mould through a retrieval of the Vasantha Surya (both published in

gud dialect in K’-usumabale or the

mythical and folk imagination one

2015 by Oxford University Press, the


finds in Dalit fables, songs and my-

former edited by Mini Krishnan and

Koogai—and have huge chunks of

thologies specific to communities. Another impact of this new turn was the breaking of the monolith called the “Dalit” and the discovery of sever-

Chetan Ahimsa and the latter by Mini Krishnan). While the first novel

poetic passages and even poetry itself. Judging by the result, the trans-

is lyrical and is deeply informed by folklore, the second has a mythical

lators and editors have not done badly at all and deserve our gratitude

meant a liberation from the realist






JUNE 20, 2015

for bringing these rare works to the

tales where objects from statues to

notice of a larger audience outside

pillows tell stories. But it does not

their original languages.

stand out as a technique here; in-

Kusumabale has fascinated and

stead, it becomes a natural, living

scared translators alike for some decades now since its publication in 1988, and the translators who aspired to do English versions, and in one case almost did one, include Polanki Ramamoorty, Rowena Hill, Judith Kroll and A.K. Ramanujan, all

experience that embodies the vision

ofwhom knew that this novel did not just offer Dalit experience but repre-

yond the sociological, unlike a lot of Dalit writing. lt marks an aesthetic

sented Dalit sensibility. But it was for

turn in Kannada narrative tradition

Susan Daniel to finally come up with a complete translation that strove to capture the nuances of the original

of an organic cosmos where everything is interrelated. Mahadeva also finds an original idiom to articulate this vision that mixes prose and lyric. Thus the significance of this novel goes fan" be-

i kicimsT1M1“i'i“abale

creating a new style. design and structure for novel. Though Mahade— va's oeuvre is not big in terms of vol-

that has already been recognised as a

ume—a long story, a collection of

masterpiece in Kannada for a quar-

short stories, a volume of essays be-

ter century, whose admirers includ-

sides the novel Kusu mr1buZr—h is im-

ed U.R. Ananthamurthy, Sheldon Pollock and Ramanujan. The narrative device used in the novel is based on an old faith that the guardian-lamp spirits inhabiting various homes meet. at the midnight hour and exchange talcs—a device that Chandrasekhara Kambar has alThe novel begins where a spirit who

pact on the younger generation has been quite remarkable as he transcended the Westem narrative models of earlier Kannada novclists—grcat no doubt—like Shivarama Karanth and Ananthamurthy in his works through folklore and fable, thus retrieving to Dalit imagination its innate strength and native beauty. This retrieval is closer

has come back after a 12-year gap

to what the Latin American writers

so used cleverly in one of his plays.

joins them and all of them begin to

talk about what they have been wit-

Devanoora Mahadeva.

ness to in the homes they inhabit. The world of these spirits is almost an altemative to the real world of

injustice and oppression as they are

guided by a strong sense ofjustice, as

of the great boom did to fiction than

to what the European modernists had done as it enlivens fiction by infusing myth and mystery into it.

who transforms from a poor village lad into a rich man; Kuriyaiah, through whom the truth of Dalit lite

The young Kannada fiction writ-

er Vivek Shanbhag in his informed

introduction to this translation com-

is evident from the perspectives from which they narrate the domestic episodes. This opening is definitive in many ways: it defines the ethics underlying the narration; it also helps the narrator present the reality ofthe world from many points of view, always vdth detachment and the humour it allows. The characters are

speaks as the Dalits get organised for justice, for example. VVhat is imporworld view where everything in the world is part of a larger system that also includes nature. He creates a world where spirits can speak, even a cot has a living spirit within it, grief has a visible form, and Fate has a dcscribable appearance.

pares Devanoora to Juan Rulfo both for writing less and writing new. He could do this as he knows Dalit life and world from within unlike those who wrote about it from outside the community. That frees him from the simple conventional binaries. Almost all the communities are involved in the murder of Channa, for example, and the narrative unfolds

fascinating, too: the old lady Thu-

The novel reaffirms the Indian

through the tales ofYaada, Somappa

ramma, who waits throughout the night to battle her fate about whose

narrative tradition of fables like the Panchatantra or riddlesomc narra-

and Kusuma. The death casts its

form she has no clear idea; Yaada,

tive chains like the Vikramaditya

tant to note is the novelist’s own

shadow on every episode in the novel, and yet it is not a dark and morose world: there is plenty to laugh at and

laugh about, like when by a weird logic Garesidda the Dalit not only

i Kusurnabale reaffirms the Indian narrative tradition of fables. FRUN'l‘l.|Nl-'1-.ll’NE1n,llH5


legitimises his stealing of tender coconuts as dharma demands that the thirsty be offered water, but even

eams one rupee by grabbing the one

hundred and one rupees oF['ered by

them to fight the ;/.amindar/_jameen-

the teacher as a compensation for

daar, thus transcending the conven-

tying up and flogging Garcsidda and

tional binar_v of Dalit vs Bralunin.

oflering one hundred from the same

Dalits are also not perceived he re as a

money as the price of the tender co-

monolith; the novelist is conscious of

conuts claiming they may think he

the contradictions within the various

has just borrowed it and will repay that one clay. Even the Dalit leader

Dalit communities like Paraiyars, Pallars, Chakkiliyars who fight

watching this is astonished by the

among themselves and have argu-

subversive act and the cunning calculations ofGaresidda. The narrative has no single centre and the language is a mixture of prose and poetiy.

ments about superiority and infecomplex by the conversion ofsome of them to Christianity. Dharman

The direction of the narrative is

fights the collapsing of community

evident in the very opening chapter, "...and so it was": “Akkamade\1' who lefl her parental home the very day afler her husband‘s last rites, returns six years later with the sprout ofhcr

identities that entails the use of the umbrella term “Dalit”, which standardises them and erases their cultural distinctions. The author himsclf has made a statement of his

womb, Y-aada—born to a bond ser-

position, quoted in the highly in-

vant, ‘t was said twelve months after

formed introduction by the Tamil

her husband's death—to claim a

scholar, A.R. Venkataclialapathy,

share of the property. Furious. her brothers-in-law, Basappa Somi and

that gives a wholesome idea oi'Tamil Dalit life and the sociology and histo-

Sidtlura, fling her on to the grazing

ry ofthe Dalit movement and writing

grounds. On that same spot a hut

in Tamil: "Some term my writings

rose around Akkamatlevi. And as

Dalit writings. By birth alone am I a

Yaacla, coupled with his clever ways, grew in strength, this hut also grew, and the houses of Basappa Somi and

Dalit, not by what I write. I am not drawn to any of the so-called Dalit writing. This is perhaps due to the

Siddura in turn became its cattle

fact that I'm a Dalit, and that I have

sheds. This Yaade Gowda's son Somappa is the big man of the village. Kusumabale is the daughter of this big man. Following the birth of Kusuma's child, Kusuma and Channa's secret afiair is out in the open, and Channa is done to death, and no one is in the know. Then, while the \vholc village is getting ready for the fire-

feet as in “That illiterate Kusuma in French, she said, / Je veux etrc dans ma maison/ ‘I want to be in my home, be in my homc', she said." Herc is a Dalit novel that is free from sloga-

an acute understanding of Dalit society and culture. A great writer who can artistically portray Dalit narratives, Dalit distinctiveness, and Dalit social reality is yet to be born. I can only give it a try. The Dalit portraits cd; they portray Dalits as recking of ‘filth' and ‘smelly', their women as

leaping festival, Turamma, Channa's

neering, magically capturing the Da-

prone to immorality, as drawn to vio-

relative, is battling with Mother Fate

lit spirit in its imaginative vitality

lence, as unlettered, as footloose

to keep alive daughter Kempi's in-

and linguistic creativity.

workers with no landholding, as

riority, an argument rendered more

Cho. Dharrnan.

fant child. Also I(empi‘s step-sister,

presented to us thus far are one-sid-

slavish, and as people who only

the forlorn Eery, is at pains to save


struggle for food and wages. Much of

her own wasting child. So, too, with no wind of Channas murder, Chan-

Cho. Dharman's Koogui: The Owl is definitely more politically conscious, a novel of resistance which, however, like Mahadeva's work puts mythical

it is the result ofa warped leltist perspective. Ironically, some Dalit writ-

na's relatives anxiously await his

return." The chapters that follow unfold this narrative in full through the tales exchanged by the Jothammas, the House Lamp Spirits. Some of the

chapters are almost entirel_v in verse (cg: ‘it also came to where Kusuma

la_v...') and all the chapter titles read like lines of verse. At times the novelist mixes languages—English or even

French with Kannada—to good ef-

imagination to good use and is free from rancour. The writer looks at the village community as a rhizome rather than a vertical hierarchy and is acutely conscious of the interdependcncc and the entanglement of various communities. The novel even has a progressive Brahmin character, Nataraja I yer, who distributes his land among the poor and encourages 111

ers too are mouthing them." And he really fights this stereotype in Koogoi b_v presenting a \'ariety of characters who are confident, intelligent, radical, honest, morally conscious, willing to sacrifice, and

fighting for human dignity more than for any material benefits. This

does not in any sense mean Dharman idealises all his Dalit characters; there are also people portrayed in

their weaknesses such as an urge for I-'RlIN'l'l.l\l-1


.|l'\l~I Zn, 3015

1.: 1.






u . R . A N A N T H A M u R T H Y and AK. Ramanujan. Both admired Mahadevas "Kusumabale". infighting, the fear of the cruel and cunning landlord, and the consequent collaboration with him on cru-

bles were in fact more akin to India’s own native modes of narrative imagination. lt was also a moment when

cial occasions. His characters are

the Dalit question, so far subsumed

against the one-dimensional, mostly autobiographical, Dalit writing that most of us are familiar with. Fourthly it raises koogai, the owl, to the level of

complex as human beings really are

within the larger non-Brahmin polit-

a symbol and an icon: the old man

and not mere symbols arrayed in an

ical movement, began to be raised by

Seeni considers it a god with rare

allegory. Venkatachalapathy’s inputs in

new autonomous Dalit parties like the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi

powers to appear anywhere and turn from a stone bird to a real bird and

the introduction help the reader lo-

and Puthiya Tamilagam which in

back and guide its followers in crises.

cate the novel in the Tamil literary

turn produced a lot of interesting

It is a metaphor for all the oppressed

tradition and finds Dharman to be an innovator of the indigenous fictional idiom like Ki Rajanarayanan and younger writers who were inspired

communities, especially Dalits, as it is mostly unstmg and underrated, considered dark and ugly, hardly a bird at all. In classical Tamil writing

by him like Poomani (who happens

Dalit writing, both creative and critical. Caste politics was no more just an appendix to a larger class politics, it was materially and culturally foundational. Dharman first emerged as a

to be Dharma.n's uncle), Konangi, S.

short story writer in the tradition of

the bird of death, an ominous, hate-

Ramakrishnan and several others.

the “karisal” writers, distinguished of

Born into the caste of Pallars—De-

course by the caste identity of his

ful bird whose very hooting is inauspicious. It is teased and attacked

vendrakula Vellalar as they would now like to be known—Cho. Dhra-

characters, publishing mostly in the

man grew up working even when in

1996 he published his first novel,

school. His father was an oyil kummi dancer and Dharman grew up in a world animated by mythical charac-

Thoorvai, capturing the transformation of the karisal countryside that

little magazines of the period. In

found warm reception even from critics usually hostile to Dalit writing. Koogafs popularity however has surpassed that of everything that he wrote before it.

as well as in popular belief, the owl is

during the day even by sparrows as it cannot see in the overpowering sunlight and hence prefers invisibility. But it is actually strong, as it realises at night when it is left to itself. The

just a worker struggling to make


neglect ofthe Koogai temple leads to the community’s decline, though its devotees like Seeni always find the god's help and support, and there comes a day when even Gengiya Naicker, an upper caste man, begins to respect the bird. Fourthly, it is as

ends meet. He began to write at a time when writers were beginning to turn away from the stranglehold of

K00gai’s recognition has several reasons. First, it is in tune with the Dalit oral lore and is entirely different

much about resistance as about suffering and is genuinely radical in its attitude to the status quo. Fiflzhly, it

“social realism", prompted by the fall

from the mainstream modernist

has all the qualities of a serious work

of the Soviet Union which was no

writing. Secondly, it foregrounds the

of fiction: innovative structure, fresh

more being seen as a model either for a democratic socialist society or for

positive Dalit values like reverence for nature and reveals the hidden

idiom, memorable characters and episodes, deep sociological and psy-

imaginative literature, and turning

power of the comrmmity instead of

chological understanding, a pro-

more and more to the Afiican and

portraying them as just miserable

found awareness of the kinship

Latin American writers whose magical and mythical modes close to fa-

beings fit only for sympathy and charity. Thirdly, it is multi-layered as

between man and nature demonstrated several times through diverse

ters like Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, who were almost like the members of his family. He knew even as a child that he was the inheritor of a great tradition of art and culture and not





episodes and captivating narration. Here, too, Dharman's chosen region for depiction is the lcarisal whose lower-caste reality he under-

Brahmin lawyer and land owner, however, comes to their rescue by leasing them his family land for culti-

blers, crows (a crow even helps the brave woman Peichi by attacking the police), deer, cows, oxen—as well as

vation and later, as he leaves the

trees are an important presence in

stands in all its complexity. Dalits

place, giving them each the owner-

the novel. Even hills like the Guru

here are regularly beaten up for

ship of the land that they had been

Malai and Kazhugu Malai come alive

dressing or behaving like the upper-

cultivating. This is not an innocent

and gain the stature of characters.

caste people; even eating at a proper hotel is considered an act of arro-

act of charity; he wants to empower the Dalits to fight the intermediate

Seeni is aware not only of the kinship between man and nature,

gance. The novel begins with such an

castes who were now rising up

but also ofthe different communities

incident where Muthukaruppan and

in the village: “However many castes

Mookkan are beaten up by Muthaiya

against the old landlords. There are also other contradictions that come

there may be, there's a very thin net

Pandian, the Thevar village watch-

into play in the novel like that be-

that is binding all of them together.

man, as the two Dalits had dressed in clean dhotis and shirts and gone to

tween the Paraiyars, for whom con-

We mustn’t tear it. We have to take

version to Christianity was an act of protest, and the Chakkiliars, for

out the tangles in that net, that’s all.”

whom it becomes another form of

informs the whole narrative: a community is ruined when it loses that

the new eatery “the club-s hop” run by

Nachiyararnma where they ate a meal of the white race—“club-


There is a sense of the sacred that

food”~sitting on a bench rather than squatting on the floor as they should have done. Dalits are supposed to

Some ofthe most exciting episodes in

link with the larger universe and with other communities as well as trees, creepers, birds and beasts. The

take only “inferior” grains. If at all

the novel are scenes of resistance,

owl also represents that bond as the

they wanted to eat that food, the

like the Pallars refiising to dig the

many legends about it scattered

watchman feels, they should have

grave for and announce the death of

across the novel demonstrate. Seeni

bought the food in a rice-pot and

the upper-caste man Pandi Mama or

represents this spirit.

eaten it sitting under a tree. Only Seeni’s intervention and put-on hu-

Seeni standing up to the zamindar (Jameen, as he is called) and saying

He also instils self-respect among his people, as when he leads

mility finally save the “sinners”. But

his people can no more work for him

the ceremonial cavalcade of Pallars

the same Muthaiya Pandian has no hesitation in sleeping with Karuppi,

as they have work on their own land. Each act of resistance brings puni-

and Paraiyars to pay tributes to the

the Chakkiliyar woman, wife of

shment, and these acts slowly streng-

Headman Gurusaami Thevar led by the drummers and offers him gar-

Shanmugarn Pagadai who is sent out



lands and many measures of paddy.

by the watchman with a rupee to have a bottle of arrack. Karuppi

vengeful landlord even tries to poi-

The novelist comments: “In Seeni’s

son the only source of water the vil-

gait was the glee of a Yayati who has

meckly submits to this daily rape out

lagers had. It is in fact a ruthless

of fear: she lies huddled on a mat “like a chick hiding fi'om a hawk”.

class-caste struggle where the subaltem classes move forward and

regained his youth, the exultation of an Ekalavyan who has recovered his

Seeni’s devotion to the Koogai

backward in an attempt to emanci-

god even afler the fall of the temple,

pate themselves. This struggle, how-

which he wants to restore, and the Pallars’ growing resistance to op-

ever, is interspersed with poetic passages that reveal the beauty and

pression are central to the narrative. The Pallars of Chithiraikkudi rebel

harmony in nature: birds and beasts—owls, parrots, falcons, drongos, mynahs, cranes, yellow-billed bab-





lost thumb.” Another memorable character is Peichi, the proud wife of the late Kaali Thevar, a strong and intelligent woman who saves Appusubban from

been denying them every human right and regularly violating their

the police and finds legal help for him. Her story runs in almost a parallel narrative. The lyrical passages on the divine owl that frequents the text and the life of Seeni together

women. This drives them to the

create another parallel narrative,

slums of the neighbouring Kovilpat-

along with the siddhuns and the al-

against their tormenters who have

ti, an industrial town, where to their dismay they discover that the owners of the factories and the mills too are from the same upper caste that had

been exploiting them in the village. The novelist does not use terms like feudalism and capitalism, but it is

evident that the landlords have now invested in factories in the cities, as

happened throughout the country in the last century. Nataraia Iyer, a

Koogaiz The Owl foregrounds positive Dalit values like reverence for nature. 113

chemists and a whole world of myth and magic. Kusumabale and Koogai in their different ways go beyond the established canons, not only of Dalit

narratives, but ofthe Indian novel in general and point to the future course of the genre where it frees

itself from Western models— both realist and modern—and creates its

own narrative modes and critical norms. El FRONTLINF.


JUNE 20. 2015

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It is common knowledge in the region that the penultimate king of Mudhol, Malojirao Ghorpade (d. 1939), brought the Mudhol hound

into prominence. Arjunsinh Jadeja, a resident of Mudhol with close family links to the royal family, said the king saw these dogs, which bore great resemblance to hounds, being

used as hunting dogs by shepherds in his little kingdom.

“Recognising the distinctness of the dogs, he selectively bred the best specimens. I-Ie even presented a pair

of these hounds to King George V, when he visited England, who christened them ‘Mudhol hounds," Jade-

T H E M U D H O L B R E E D is marked by a distinct long, slender body and

ja said. While Mudhol hounds are com-

graceful features.

monly referred to as Indian dogs, their provenance is tentatively traced

trapati Shivaji entombed along with him in Raigad bear a close resem-

a nearby village, is located on 4-0 acres (one acre is 0.4- hectare) of

to the interbreeding of dogs that ac-

blance to the Mudhol hound. Sec-

rocky scrub land surrounded by sug-

companied the Greek and Persian

ondly, Shahuji Maharaj, a 20th

ar plantations. As one enters, to the

armies that invaded India. According to a brief paper published by Dr. B.C. Ramakrishna, president of the Karuna Animal Welfare Association of Karnataka, and Dr. P.V. Yatl1inder, president of the Mysore Kennel Club, the hounds found in Mudhol

century ruler of Kolhapur, also owned some of these hounds and their fierce reputation as hunting dogs was vindicated when they defended the king against a tiger attack. Wliile such tales are difficult to verify, what is indisputable is that the Mudhol

right is a large expanse of fenced open land where some Mudhol hounds can be seen running around. These dogs need large open spaces to exercise and to play-act briefhunting scenarios. The kennel at the CRIC has 28

are the product of three distinct

hound has been around in north

Mudhol hounds and they are regu-

breeds: the Sloughi, the Saluki and

larly taken to dog shows. They have

the Greyhound, all ofwhich are cate-

ern-day districts of Bagalkot and Bi-

gorised as sighthouncls (hounds that primarily hunt by sight and speed) in

japur, fora few centuries now. The Canine Research and Infor-

elongated necks and a narrow skull; the eyes are large and oblong and the body is hairless. The Mudhol hound

contemporary canine classification.

mation Centre (CRIC) in Timmapur,

is a very thin dog, seemingly emaciat-

The Sloughi is found mainly in

ed, with its rib cage sticking out. It is

North Africa now, while the Saluki, a hairier version of the Sloughi and

tall, with the head reaching the waist ofan average-sized man. White is the

one of the oldest breeds of domes-

predominant colour, but specimens

ticated dogs which was once found in

of various colours—black, brown,

a large swathe from the Mediterranean to East Asia, is a popular breed

grey, spotted-—are also seen. With a

deep chest and narrow waist, it shares fundamental physical traits

reared in almost all dog-loving countries. The Greyhound, which has been popular in Europe and America for a long time, was likely one of breeds that Malojirao Ghorpade saw

(KVAFSU) located in Bidar. Its es-

on a visit to England, which led him

tablishment was approved in 2003

to recognise the native Indian dogs found in his kingdom as hounds.

under the aegis of the State government's Department. of Animal Hus-

With the Mudhol hound gaining

bandry and Veterinary Sciences but

in popularity, historical stories are becoming more commonplace. Two

it began operating only in 2010. The

stories in particular are told and re-

to conserve and develop the

with other members of the hound family. The CRIC is a constituent unit ot Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University

primary mandate of the centre is

told by its fans. First, the loyal dogs of

Mudhol hound breed.

the 17th century Maratha king Chha-

Researchers ‘I15





the 2015

were sought from the Ministry of Social Welfare to provide a pair ofpurebred puppies each to S.C./S.T. families that had experience in rearing

these dogs. A scheme was implemented in 2012 wherein 134- individuals in Bagalkot district were identified as beneficiaries and the results are already visible in such a

short span. The puppies have grown up and the bitches have whelped. With an average litter size between 8

and 12 and the prevailing price for one Mudhol pup ranging between

Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 8,000, the initial beneficiaries have gained up to Rs. 50,000 each on selling the litter. With the CRIC taking care of all input costs, including food supple-

' “‘ ~" .-I-.__. _ _' ’ __.-‘ - e--u--' _ ,_..-Y. " ~' I _ _ -- .._.--o.

—-*-=" "=-

ments and vaccinations, the beneficiaries only have to raise the dogs.


- ,_ ,_,,.. _. . " 4. ;‘1"..> .. "‘ -"'

.._..I_,__:_‘, .a- -—

The price of adult dogs is impressive

and Dr. Dodamani cited an instance Id; _ _ , — ___ _' .- - '-——---_._..'._; '.__"

of an especially well-built stud being sold for Rs. 1.35 lakh. Shankar Suresh Aralikatti, a Bedar (S.T.) resident of Timmapur, is

H0 U N D5 REAR E D at the CRIC line up during a dog show at the centre.

one of the beneficiaries. “I was provided a pair of Mudhol pups in 2012

exist, and the centre plays a signif-

hunting and protecting their fields. Of these, we ftlflillfll’ identified around 100 dogs that best represent-

icant role in resuscitating an important breed. The other extant breeds

ed the features of the Mudhol hound and selectively bred them,“ Dr. Do-

Rs. 54-,000. This supplements my agricultural income," he said. Lokesh

are the Pashmi (northern Karnata— ka), Rajapalayam (Tamil Nadu), Caravan Hound (Maharashtra), Jananangi (Andhra Pradesh), Chippiparai (Tamil Nadu) and the Rampur

damani said. This exercise in canine eugenics has two purposes: the first is to revive the pure-bred Mudhol hound, while the second is to encourage altema-

Y. Madar, who belongs to the Madar (S.C.) community and works at the CRIC, is another beneficiary who is looking forward to selling the pups when his bitch whelps. “Our input

hound (Uttar Pradesh). Many of played at national and international dog shows over the past decade and a

tive animal husbandry practices with a built-in social welfare agenda. Veterinarians at KVAFSU had hit upon the novel idea of encouraging fami-

costs are almost nil as we feed the dog what we eat and since it is a hardy, low-maintenance dog, we don't need to be very worried,“ he said.

specific dog show only for native

ers to rear Mudhol hounds so that

CRIC have identified 23 breeds na-

tive to India, of which only seven

these dogs have been regularly dis-

and I sold the first litter last year for

breeds was held in Ba-

their puppies could

Mudhol hounds have a reputation of being fiercely loyal to their

galkot last year.

be sold to dog lovers,

owners and are excellent hunting

Dr. Maliesh S. Do-

providing them with

damani, who has head-

income with minimal

ed the CRIC since its inception, is a valuable

investment, just as how oows, sheep and

dogs. They are still used by local farmers to hunt wild fowl and rabbit in the scrubby grasslands that dominate the landscape between lush

source of information on all aspects of the Mudhol hound. “An

goats were traditionally reared by them to profit from the sale of

jective of reviving the pure-bred

initial survey was done

their young.

Mudhol hound while providing a

in Bagalkot district in 2010 and we identified

Since 90 per cent

ofthe Mudhol hound-

sugar plantations all over Bagalkot. The CRIC has achieved its twin ob-

source of additional income for members of the S.C. and S.T. communities in the region.

500 families that own-


owning families

ed around 750 dogs between them. The

king of MudhoL Malojirao

the villages belong to Scheduled Caste or

CRIC becomes widely known, simi-

shepherding community used these dogs for

Mudhol hound into

Scheduled communities,

lar ventures will be started in other parts of the country. El




Ghorpade, who brought the prominence. 2 (H5



Tribe funds

Hopefully, as the success of the


L ft h ' h


The dependents of the victims of the Hashimpura massacre have been further tliszul\'zl1itz1gccl by an u11('z1ring State government, which has

done little to alleviate their everyday struggles other than offering them measly sums of money as compensation. BY smum nurn |N MEERUT ALMOST two decades after Zaibunissa’s husband, Mohammed Iq-

present Chief Minister, announced a

workers from other parts of Uttar Pradesh and from Bihar. Hence, it

bal, the only breadwinner of the family, fell prey to the bullets of the

compensation package of Rs.5 lakh each for the families ofthose killed in the Hashimpura massacre. The an-



nouncement came after some of the

compensation was given out in 2007.

(PAC), she heard that substantial re-

survivors of the massacre met S.P.

Zulfikar Nasir, one of the survi-

lief, a sum of Rs.4.6 lakh, would be coming from the Uttar Pradesh gov-

chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. The modalities of the compensation

vors, who has been at the forefront of the legal battle for justice, said:

ernment. This, however, was too little, too late. For the horrific custodial

scheme are not clear yet.

“Some of the family members of

killings ofl-lashimpura in Meerut on


these persons had made it to Meerut then but could not be awarded com-

May 22, 1987, are a saga not only of state brutality but of apathy: an un-

Also, on May 21, Harsh Bora, an advocate, filed an appeal in the Delhi

pensation as their address could not be verified by the State government."

caring State government has done

High Court on behalfofthe families

Now, the government has initi-

little for the families who were al-

of the victims demanding that the

most left destitute after they lost their breadwinners. The PAC, a re-

Delhi Legal Services Authority award the survivors and the families

ated a process of verification of the surviving family members of these

served police force of the State gov-

of the dead enhanced compensation

ernment official in charge of this

ernment, abducted and killed 42 persons, all of them Muslims.

in a time-bound manner. Highlighting the problems with the trial

process, said: “Earlier, in 2007, the compensation was distributed to the

In January 2007, the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (S.P.) government announced a

court’s compensation scheme, he said: “The Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme, 2011, followed by the

families of 86 people. The families of

compensation package, but this did

Delhi Legal Services Authority at

collect information about the surviv-

little to compensate for the loss of livelihood or ensure a life of dignity for those affected families. Also, the money was awarded to the extended families of the people murdered, ac-

present to award compensation does not have a separate category for com-

ing family members of five deceased persons, which will then be sent to

munal violence. Under this scheme,

Officers at the district level for ver-

an award to the survivors of the violence can only be made for rehabil-

ification. The compensation amount

cording to the principles of the Muslim personal law ofinheritance. This ensured that the share ofwidows and their children was reduced considerably. Following the incident, the

itation, which is a measly sum of Rs.20,000. Thus, the scheme needs to be amended to create a separate category for victims of communal violence. In the petition, we have also

that these are indeed the family members of the deceased.” On being asked about the anomalies in the distribution of compensation in 2007, Sharma said he had no idea about

Uttar Pradesh government had given the victims’ families twice in 1987 the

raised the demand for an enhanced

how the compensation would be divided this time around.

measly sum of Rs.20,000 each.

These struggling families got no

The distribution of compensation the State government an-

grant workers whose families were

help after that. It is only recently, on

nounced is also problematic. Five of

outside Meerut were Munna Ladiya

May 21, that Akhilesh Yadav, the

the persons killed were migrant

and Shakir of Bijnor, Hanifof Rewa-


compensation amount.”


was difficult to trace their families when the first substantial amount of

persons. Sanjeev Sharma, the gov-

three of the deceased could not be

traced. At present, I am trying to

can only be awarded once we are sure

Zulfikar said that the five mi-



JUNE 2o. 2015


ri in Bihar and Mohammad Azeem and Kauser Ali of Dhamsain village

-3 .59

in Bihar. Zulfikar said that the other demands made at the meeting with

the S.P. chief included getting the


Gyan Prakash Committee report on the Hashimpura carnage, which was submitted in 1994, tabled in the Assembly and probing the lapses of the officers of the Crime Branch Criminal Investigation Department who




were involved in the preliminary investigation of the incident. Zulfikar said that no other political party had .._~.

reached out to the victims of Hashimpura so far. The residents said that the local Bharatiya J anata Party (BJ P) MLA, Laxmi Kant Bajpai, who is also the party's State president, had not visited Hashimpura alter the


verdict. Households headed by women

who were left destitute by this tragedy continue to face severe financial


SU Rvlvo RS of the Hashimpura massacre meeting Samajwadi Party chief Muiayam Singh Yadav in Lucknow on May 19.

woes. That night of police firing has had a cascading effect on generations ofpeople: children had to drop out of school to take up odd jobs to sustain themselves and have grown up to be adults who do not have access to a

not family property but money given by the state. I protested against this division, but none of them were ready to give up their share. This is

decent livelihood. Some women have

unfair and there's nothing Islamic

fought on in the face ofadversity with help from local charitable organisa-

about it. I even approached the qazi

educate my children beyond school and had to marry them off." According to the basic principle of Sunni law of intestate succession, there are I2 heirs among whom the property is divided, including the

tions. But help from the State gov-

at Deoband to issue a_fimr'a [legal opinion] against this division but

ernment has not been forthcoming.

nothing came of it.” She spent her

wife, brother, sister and daughter, and the wife is entitled to only oneeighth of the net estate. The State

The plight of58-year-old Zaibu-

meagre share in paying off debts.

government seems to have followed

nissa is a case in point. Her daugh-

Zaibunissa said: “We never got a BPL

this formula when it gave the com-

ters were still in school at the time of the firing. Her youngest daughter,

[below poverty level] card, ration card or old age pension. l could not

pensation even though this principle in classical Sunni doctrine has un-

Uzma, was born on the day of the

incident. After her husband's death, she started sewing and making gar-

ments on a daily-wage basis. The ini-

An extract from the government order granting compensation showing how the Rs.4.6 lakh awarded to a victim's family was distributed Name of recipients of compensation


Serial Number

Name of the deceased

2007 was awarded to the extended


Mohammad Iqbal

Zaibunissa [wile]


family, the combined share ofZaibunissa and her three daughters only came to about Rs.3 lakh. The rest of the money was divided between her

21 22 23 24 25

- do-do-do-do-do-

Yasmin ldaughterl



Shamshad [nephew]

27 28


Shahzad lnephewl Azad lnephewl



Sarfaraz [nephew]

89,444 89,4“ 89,544 33,5l+2 5,590 5,590 5,590 5,590 5,590

30 31 32


Shoab lnephewl

tial award of Rs.20,000 was oflittle help. Because the money given in

brothers-in-law and their sons and daughters, that is, the sum ofRs.4-.6 lakh was divided among 13 persons.

Zaibunissa protested against this government move. She said: “My brothers-in-law never came to my

help when I was bringing up three children alone. Why should they get

a share of the compensation? This is FRU‘\i'l‘l l\ll'1





Nazmeen ldaughierl

Uzma ldaughterl Anwar lbrotherl

Nashaad lnephewl

ishtiyaq lbrotherl Shahabuddin lbrotherl

lin Rs.|

5,590 33,543 33, 543


two years. After that, I learnt woodwork and furniture making." In fact, all his siblings had to stop their edu-


Jameel were both killed in the massacre. Her husband, Mohammad Sa-

cation midway. The 2007 compensa-

leem, who had been doing the rounds of the courts in the hope of getting

tion money merely helped them pay

justice, killed himself out of a sense

off the pending water tax and house tax and loans. Also, the brothers got a larger share than the sisters. Each brother got a sum of Rs.85,l84-, whereas each sister’s share was

of despair in 2013. The 2007 com-

pensation money was spent in buying power loom machines to set up a factory. But these had to be sold off

Rs.25,556. Naeem's 80-year-old mother, Noorjehan, only got a sum of Rs.76,667, a lower share than that

alter his death. Anjum runs a family hardware shop in the face of opposition from other members of the joint family. She said that the shop did not

awarded to the brothers. Shakeel felt

have an electricity connection, but

that the compensation was inadequate and had come too late in the son in every family of the victims

she still manages to run it in the sweltering summer heat. She is bringing up her five daughters and two sons with the meagre income generated

would have been a much more usefiil approach," he said. For Hanifa, 65 now, the sudden

from the shop and with help from some local charity organisations. The local school where one of her

death of her husband, Mohammed

daughters studies has waived the tui-

Usman, jolted her from a life of rela-

tion fee. Her eldest daughter goes to

dergone several reforms in successive years. According to the government notification that detailed the distribution of compensation on January 15, 2007, a total alnount ofRs.l.97 crore was given to the families of those killed. Frontli ne

tive affluence into one of enormous struggle. Usman owned four power loom machines and made a decent living making garments. After his death, Hanifa had to sell ofi the machines to fend for her three sons and three daughters. The Rs.90,000 the

college now. But there was no help from the State government. She lives with her children and her mother-inlaw, Naseeban, in a one-room house with a small courtyard, a part of a two—storey ancestral house shared by four families.

has accessed a copy of this order. The

machines fetched her ran out soon.

Her father—in—law used to work at

distribution ofthe amount following

All the children had to be pulled out

the municipal corporation in Mee-

archaic principles of Islamic law worked to the disadvantage of the real victims (see table). (According to Muslim Fmnily Law by David Pearl

of school. They started working as daily-wage labourers in garment-

rut. But her mother-in-law never got a pension after his death. The death of Zaheer Ahmed and his son Javed plunged his wife, Zareena, 65, into a state ofdespondency


) I


day. “A government _iob for one per-

and Werner Menski (1998), in some

making units.

Hanifa used the 2007 compensation money to marry off two of her

Muslim countries laws of inheritance award the wife a larger share. In Somalia, men and women are now on an equal footing in matters of

sons. But there is no end in sight to a decrepit 60-year-old house with a tin roof and paint coming off from



the walls. About 11 people live in this house comprising two tiny rooms

bring up her nine children all by herself. She found work from time to

and a small courtyard. “The house

time in garment-making units. The

hasn't been repaired in years," Hanifa said. Her eldest son, 32-year-old Mohammed Nazim, continues to work as a daily-wage labourer in garmentmaking units. “Work is erratic and I

compensation money which she reeeived in 2007' was spent in marrying off her four daughters. l/Vhile the arduous fight for justice was being

The far-reaching effects of the tragedy on the lives of the victims’ families can be gauged from the im-

mense hardships some of them have faced. Mohammad Shakeel was only eight years old when he lost his eldest

brother, Naeem. Naeem used to run a small bookbinding factory and was the sole breadwinner of the family of

her financial woes. The famiiy lives in

from which she has not recovered. Ahmed used to work as an embroiAlter his death, Zareena had to

10 brothers and sisters as their father had passed away. Alter Naeem’s

Rs.5,000 a month. I don't have

played out in the courts, the dependents of the Hashimpura massacre victims were fiirther disadvantaged by an uncaring State government,

enough money to start my own busi-

which did little to alleviate their cv-

death, the factory shut down. Shak-

ness. The lack of a formal education

eel recounted how he had to give up

limits job opportunities," he said.

eryday struggles other than offering them measly sums of money as com-






school and take up all sorts of odd

Anjum, 4-3, has felt the impact of

pensation. One night of police bru-

jobs to make a living: “I used to earn

this massacre on several levels. Her

tality has impacted generations of

Rs.2 a day at a sugarcane stall. I then started training as a tailor for about

father-in-law, Mohammed Naseem,

people who still struggle to make a decent living. El

and her brother-in-law Mohammed ‘I19



JUNE lo, 2:115

science note 00 Foetal signals DOCTORS are being urged to help pregnant women ready themselves for bad news about their health which can emerge accidentally from tests on their

babies. Modern prenatal tests can spot ge-

netic problems in babies from fragments of their deoxyribonucleic acid [DNA] that

problems. But more conditions may come to light. "Clinicians have yet to discover all that non-invasive prenatal lesting can reveal about mothers," Bianchi writes.

While the tests are available in the United Kingdom, they are used in a targeted fashion that reduces the chances of doctors finding out much about the mother's health, said Sadaf Ghaem-

Chaotic moons of Pluto PLUTO'5 moons have been tracked closely for the first time,

showing that they tumble unpredictably rather than rotate smoothly. Astronomers also observed

leak into the mother's bloodstream. But the same tests can reveal unknown

Maghami. chair of the Royal College of

that Pluto, whose status was

Obstetricians and Gynaecology's science

downgraded to a dwarf planet in

health problems in mothers themselves,

advisory committee. For example, the

2006, might be better regarded

from early-stage cancer to genetic

test might check specifically for chromo-

as a binary dwarf as it is locked in


somal defects that cause Down's syn-

Doctors have used the tests since 2011, but the unexpected consequences have only come to light as more women have had the procedure. Since late 2014,

drome, rather than screen for all genetic abnormalities.

orbit with its largest moon, called Charon. The twin system creates an

imbalanced and shifting gravitational field, which sends the tiny

at least 26 pregnant women with abnor-

outer moons spinning chaotical-

mal test results have later found out that

ly, the measurements from the

they have cancer. In 10 cases, the prenalal test results raised doctors’ suspi-

Hubble showed.

cions and ultimately led to the diagnosis. Writing in the journal Nature, Diana Bianchi, director of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Centre in Boston, calls on doctors who provide

the tests to make sure women are better



"Parents, obstetricians and physi-


cians have been taken by surprise," Bi-



bility offindings concerning the mother's

good children, our

moons are more like teenagers who refuse to follow the rules."

anchi writes. "Consent forms used by

test providers rarely mention the possi-


moon and most others keep one face focussed attentively on their parent planet," said Douglas Hamilton, professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland and a co-author of the study. "What we've learned is that Pluto's

E: tc

informed, and have counselling, before undergoing testing.


PRE IIIATAL tests can reveal health problems in mothers themselves.


Charon, which has a mass about 11 percent of that of Pluto, and the planet orbit a common

centre of mass every 6.1» days.

ln the United States, doctors take

Bianchi argues that pregnantwomen

The tiny outer moons Styx,

DNA from the mother and the placenta

should be required to sign consent forms

Nix and Hydra, which all have

and compare it with a healthy reference genome. The procedureallowsclinicians to check whether cells have the wrong number of, or fragmented, chromosomes, the strands of genetic material

that state explicitly that unexpected results could emerge. Women could have the chance to opt out of being told certain information: for example, that they have chaotic DNA patterns suggestive of a tu-

masses less than 0.001 per cent of Pluto's, take between 20 and 40 days to orbit the inner pair. Unlike almost any other moon that has been observed,

that hold a person's genes. Abnormal test results often mean that the baby has a medical problem, but sometimes it is

mour. Al the same time, doctors need to learn more about the medical problems that such tests can reveal.

they do not keep a fixed face on their parent planet, but spin and wobble about their own axes.

the mother's DNA that bears the fault. In cases made public so far, some

"Handled properly, the incidental findings emerging from prenatal tests

"They speed up and slow down, rock their north pole lo-

pregnant women have learned they have

could accelerate treatments and save

wards the planet and back again

a sex chromosome abnormality that af-

lives—rather than just increase the anx-

and maybe even reverse direc-

fects their fertility. Others have been di-

iety of thousands of pregnant women,"

tion," said Hamilton. "It would be

agnosed with DiGeorge syndrome, a

Bianchi writes.

a pretty confusing system to be

genetic disorder that causes learning

difficulties, heart defects and immune FRONTLINF.



Ian Sample Guardian News Service 120

in." The erratic motion is likely to

be enhanced by the moons being

Warming and pledges PLEDGE5 made by countries to cut their carbon emissions ahead of a crunch climate summit in Paris later this year will

delay the world passing the threshold for dangerous global warming by just two years, according to a new analysis.

The research. ted by a former lead author on the United Nations climate science panel, found that the submissions so far by 38 Countries would likely delay the world passing the threshold until 2038,

rather than 2036 without the carbon cuts. However, more than 150 countries have yet to submit their carbon pledges

despite a deadline of the end of March. While most are relatively small emitters, commitments by big polluters such as India could significantly change the picture. The analysis by the non-profit Climate Analytics comes as climate negotiators IN THIS ILLUSTRATION Pluto and its five moons are seen from

the perspective of Hydra, the outermost of the five. Measurements from the Hubble Space Telescope show that Pluto's moons tumble unpredictably rather than rotate smoothly. They do not keep a fixed

from nearly 200 countries meet in Bonn

and academics warned the agreement hoped for in Paris would not keep temperatures to U.N.'s target of holding temper-

roughly rugby ball-shaped rath-

observed in 2005, Kerberos and

ature rises below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. None of the pledges, known in U.N. jargon as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions llNDCs], were found by Cli-

er than spherical, he added.

Styx in 2011 and 2012, respec-

mate Analytics to be in line with the 2°C

Despite their chaotic rota-

tively].The data also suggestthat

limit, when a fair global distribution of

ltOI'1S, the moons appeared to be

Kerberos is as dark as charcoal,

locked into stable traiectories. which the researchers said was

while the other moons are as bright as white sand. "This is a

emissions cuts was factored into countries’ offers. Pledges made by Russia and

likelyto be due to them moving in


resonantorbitswhichtine up ex-

lead author Mark Showalter, of

actly at regular time intervals.

the SETl Institute in California.

The time taken for a complete orbitforStyx,Nix and Hydra were

Astronomers had predicted that dust created by meteorite

in ratios of roughly 3:li;i5 times that of Charon, respectively. "We

impacts should coat all the moons evenly and that debris should be transferred between

Canada would be consistent with potentially catastrophic warming of between 3-4°C, according to the research, which The Guardian has seen. "The action and ambition we have seen to date is farfrom sufficienland unless it is rapidly accelerated, the difficulties of limiting warn-iing below 2°C will be extreme," said Dr Bill Hare, the founder of Climate

them,givingtheir surfacesa uni-

Analytics and a former Intergovernmental

form look. The scientists are hoping to moons in more detail when NASA's New Horizons spacecraft

Panel on Climate Change lead author. But he added: "What we see in the economic and technological potential for emissions reductions gives us hope that if governments are willing to move fast enough in

flies by Pluto in July and beams

the next 5-‘IO years, we might still make it.

All that is lacking is political will."

analysed after the relatively re-

back the first-ever images of the planet at close quarters.

cent discovery of the four small

Hannah Devlin

moons lNix and Hydra were first

Guardian News Service

face on their parent planet, but spin and wobble about their own axes.

think this is why the system is stable and what stops them from crashing into one another," said Hamilton. Thetindingspublished inthe jOL.|l'll8l Nature, were based on ll] years of observations of Pluto

from the Hubble space telescope,whichthe researchers re-




investigatethe appearance ofthe


Arthur Neslen and Karl Mathiesen Guardian News Service



The extrerne Step

All-India figures Year

Suicide rates continue to remain high in India and the latest set of numbers throws up several disturbing facts. By Ramesh Chakrapani The figures are depressing, the causes alarming, and the statistics unacceptable in a country striving for progress in all

Total no of suicides

fifth year in a row, the number of suicides in India stayed above one lakh and than the previous year,

according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau lNCRB] under the Ministry of Home Affairs.







2011 2012 2013










how civil society functions and what drives people to take the extreme step. The most shocking statistic that comes out of the data

for 2013 is the fact that one

in six victims is a housewife.

In close contention are the facts that 11,772 were farmers and 8,423 were



The prosperous and

industrially advanced States of Maharashtra and


A total of 'l,3£i,799 people—men, women and children—took their own lives, for various reasons and using various means.

lin crore] 1,27,151


was only slightly lower

Suicide rate [per lakh

2009 2010


spheres. In 2013, for the

Mid-year population

Tamil Nadu accounted for nearly a quarter of all suicidal deaths during the year, continuing a trend seen in 2012 and 2011.

The numbers throw up several disturbing and

Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya

intriguing snapshots of information and offer tremendous insights into

Pradesh and Kerala recorded a high incidence of people snuffing out their

A student holds a placard to create awareness on suicide prevention during a campaign in Coimbatore.

Victims by gender and age group Up to 14 years

15-29 years

30-Iii» years

65-59 years

60 years and above











Female Q




Up to ll» years

15-29 years

30-Mi years

is-59 years





How the States rank



W951 Bengal



yeazggz 3 we

Madhya Pradesh


Other States/UTs








Tamil Nadu

Andhra Pradesh











33% FRlI.‘\l'l‘l.l\<'l-I


.lt'.‘\'I~1ln, Z1115


lnfographics by V. Srinivasan

Distribution by causes

11,229 — 11.1190 _ 2,202 I 423 I 501 | so: | 1,019 I

Famiivpwhlems — =1-°"

D 1"-53°


- 4,419

Drug abusei'Addiction Change in economic status I 2'3“

. 1.802


Poverty I 1,1.zo Failure in examination Social disrepute Love affairs

Professional! Career problems

|1.:192 | 1.011 I 2.565 I1,1aa

own lives, and together,

these seven States

424 I

1,930 I ass |



per cent of all suicides. The majority of the suicides were by men I67

Among cities and towns, Asansol in West Bengal registered the highest jump—from 24 in 2012 to

per cent] and more than 80 per cent of all those who died were educated up to some level. While 4,380 graduates

819 in 2013. No reason was attributed to this.

ended their own lives. 716 of those who killed

Bangalore with 2.033 recorded the largest

themselves had higher qualifications. Among the

number of cases, followed by Delhi l1,753]

causes, family problems and illness ranked high, accounting for more than

and Mumbai [L322]. Some 270 suicides were due to physical/sexual

38,000 cases. Distressingly enough. failure in examination caused 2,471 people to

abuse, while underage pregnancy was the reason for 153 cases. A total of 2,202 women

take their lives, with 53.2 per cent of all suicides in Kota city in Rajasthan

killed themselves because of dowry-related disputes.

ltlness Dowry dispute Inability to have children Suspected/Illicit relation

Cancellation of marriage Failure in examination Death of dear person Love affairs

Social disrepute

Distribution by means used

—famous for its cram schools—being for that

accounted for about 67

Family problems



g M 1,553




Among mega cities,


Chennai with 2,450 and

I-/I 984

F 12,566

F 335 SELF-




M 3,672

M 770

III, @ F 182

F 6,292



w M 350


r 2,705

F 160




M 501 *j_;":-»._: 3 F139




$ M310

Educational profile of victims 25,004


3' '77‘



15,579 9,425


27,596 IIBII Alllndia


8 180




[Secondary [_'Higher | 5e¢°"da"Y ‘I23

—1- Male

1 656

9,54 4 305



r 216



g M378

1,204 452


-III» Female

4.280 3,110




‘ 20? Graduate

postgraduate and above



JUNE 215.2015

t 11s 0rtn1 1t

IN a major decision whose ripples will be felt across the country, particularly in

or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons or the carrying of weapons or of things capable of being used as

the north—eastern

weapons or of fire-arms,

States, the Communist

ammunition or explosive

Party of India

substances; lbl if he is of opinion that it is necessary

wrongfully restrained or

so to do, destroy any arms

confined or any property

dump, prepared or

reasonably suspected to

fortified position or shelter from which armed attacks

be stolen property or any arms, ammunition or

are made or are likely to

explosive substances believed to be unlawfully kept in such premises and

AFSPA goes after 18 years

lMarxistI~led Left Front government of

Tripura has revoked the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act IAFSPAI which was in force in the State for the

past I8 years. Announcing the decision after a Cabinet meeting on May 27, Chief Minister Manik

Sarkar said: "In view of the fact that insurgency in the

State has been practically reduced to nil, the Cabinet has taken the decision to withdraw the AFSPA from the entire State. This is a happy occasion. We want to send out a message of peace to the whole country." Sarkar said that though there had been

demands from various sections within the State




Manik Sarkar. agreed to our proposal of lifting the AFSPA here,"

be made or are attempted

Sarkar said. The AFSPA has been severely criticised by all liberal circles and human rights activists because of its draconian provisions, which give sweeping

structure used as a

to be made, or any

powers to the armed forces in "disturbed" areas. The "special powers" as provided by the Act are:

"Any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer

or any other person of

the State government's

equivalent rank in the armed forces may, in a disturbed area — la] if he is of opinion that it is

hands were tied on

necessary so to do for the

account of the security

maintenance of public

forces' refusal to give clearance to the

order, after giving such

to withd raw the AFSPA,

revocation. "Recently, when it was time to decide whether the AFSPA should be extended for another six months, we sought the report on the latest law

due warning as he may consider necessary, fire upon or otherwise use

force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law

and order situation specifically in regard to

the presence and activities of extremists. We made our decision

after the security forces FRONTLINF.



A SOLDIER keeps watch on the highway to Assam in the Atharamura Hills, 65 km east of Agartala. A file picture. 12!.

committed or is about to

commit a cognisable offence and may use such force as may be necessary

to effect the arrest; Id] enter and search without

warrant any premises to make any such arrest as aforesaid or to recover any

person believed to be

training camp for armed volunteers or utilised as a

may for that purpose use such force as may be necessary."

hide-out by armed gangs

There is also legal

or absconders wanted for

immunity "in respect of

any offence; [cl arrest, person who has committed a cognisable

anything done or purported to be done in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act".

offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has

With Tripura doing away with the Act, the AFSPA is still in force in Assam,

without warrant, any

A U9’ "$~"

Manipur, Nagaland,

withdraw it. This draconian

Mizoram, parts of

law instead of suppressing

Meghalaya and Arunachal

terrorism worked contrary

Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir. The Tripura govemments decision has been lauded in all quarters.

to the principles of democracy and was used against the liberty of the people. Whatever be a law, its application is most

Liberation Front of Tripura INLFTI. the two main extremist groups, perpetrated a reign of terror, particularly in the tribal areas that came

Former Union Home

important. In the case of

under the elected Tripura

administratively and

Minister in the Congress

the AFSPA, its application was wrong," senior

Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council ITTAADC].

ideologically.... We never believed that the use of

Communist Party of India

More than 1,000 people

arms alone can defeat the

ICPII leader Gurudas Dasgupta told Frontline.

were killed in the violence. Development was severely

insurgents." Using development and

At the time when the AFSPA was imposed in Tripura [February 1997],

hampered, particularly in the tribal areas as the

administration as its main tools alongside counter-

insurgency operations by the Tripura State Rifles and

insurgency. Though the seeds of insurgency were

funds were mostly appropriated by the extremists. Initially, the AFSPA was irnposed in two-thirds of the 40 police

was defeated. Once the militants lost the support

debate as to whether the

sown in the early 19805

stations in the State in

of the local people, and

controversial Act should be

with the armed separatist movement of the Tripura

1997; today, there are 71 police stations, and 26 of

their escape route to Bangladesh through the

them were under the

the way by withdrawing the

National Volunteers ITNVI led by Bl]0y Kumar

856-kilometre-long porous border was also blocked,

AFSPA. It should be revoked in Manipur as well,

Hrangkhwal, it was between 1996 and 2004

where there has for tong been a demand to

that it intensified and grew to alarming proportions.

led United Progressive

Alliance IUPAI government, P. Chidambaram called it "a victory for sanity and

humanity". Union Minister of State for Home Affairs

Kiren Riiiju called it a "significant" decision taken by the Tripura government. The decision has once again thrown open the

scrapped altogether by the Centre. "Tripura has shown

the State was severely affected by growing

The All Tripura Tiger Force IATTFI and the National

AFSPA when the State government decided to revoke the Act.

However, a unique

the insurgency as a "political" problem. In an earlier interview [Frontline,

August 22, 20141 . Manik Sarkar had said that his government dealt with the

insurgency menace "politically,

the armed forces, militancy

the backbone of the extremist movement was

broken. The State

aspect of Tripura is that not

government has

one case of excess or atrocity of any kind by the

acknowledged the help it received from the

armed forces was reported during the I8 years that the AFSPA was in force in the State. "This is because the armed forces were used in

Bangladeshi government in fighting the terrorists. However, there are many who feel apprehensive about the

withdrawal of the AFSPA,

the State more to ensure

as insurgency is still

the spread of democracy

present in the State,

and development programmes, than tojust

howsoever negligible it may be.

subjugate insurgents. Our

"We are not

government believes that

complacent. We are aware

the insurgency problem in the State was a product of

that there are still some

a prolonged period of

insurgents active in Tripura, and if we are

socio-economical backwardness in the

negligent, then this extremist tendency may

region," said Jitendra ChOUCII1Ul'Y, CPIIMI MP and former Cabinet Minister in

grow again. We are not going to let that happen," said Jilendra Choudhury.

Suhrld Sankar Chattopadhyay

the State. The State

government always viewed 125



JUNE .36. 2015

t 1s 0rtn1 t GJM leaders in murder case charge sheet

hengal west

THE Gorkha Janamukti Morcha [GJM], the singlemost powerful political force in the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal, is

lCPRM], the Communist Party of India lMarxisti and

the Gorkha National Liberation Front lGNLF| met and set up a forum

called the Democratic Front. "This is an attempt

facing a major crisis

to re-establish democracy


with the Central

in the hills." Khati told


Bureau of Investigation


[CBI] naming the entire : 1 :

: 3

Bharatiya Gorkha League IABGLI in 2010.


In the charge sheet


filed by the CBI on May

5 ; : 1

29 before a court in Kolkata, 23 persons, including alltheleaders of the GJM were

: : I : 5

charged with criminal conspiracy for murder, rioting armed with deadly weapons, and committing murder. Some of the big names indicted by the CBI include Bimal Gurung,

GJM supremo and chief 5

executive of the Gorkha Territorial

Administration lGTA].


the elected autonomous

I 5


administrative bodythat governs the Darjeeling hills; Roshan Giri, general secretary of the GJM; Binoy Tamang, Assistantgeneral secretaryoftheGJM;

: 5

Pradeep Prad han, vice president of GJM and



-1 lI 1‘ T‘

top leadership of the party in its final charge sheet in the case of the murder of Madan

: Tamang, the then I president of the All


I'." J

chairman of GTA; Harka

5 Bahadur Chhetri, GJM g MLA from Katimpong; :

Ramesh Alley, Deputy


chief executive of GTA,




em PRESIDENT Bimal Gurung lright] with his wife Asha Gurung and Roshan Giri, general secretarty. and Asha Gurung, wife of Bimal Gurung and head of GJM Narimorcha, the women's wing of the party. On the morning of May

21, 2010, Madan Tamang, a

arrest of Bimal Gurung and the GJM leadership. We want their passports to be seized, as they may now try to leave the country,“ said Pratap Khati, ABGL leader.

It is feared that this

However, many in the hills also feel that the CBl's charge sheet may be a political game, particularly in view of the fact that the premier investigating body named the entire top leadership, including those who had nothing to do with

the killing. Harka Bahadur Chhetri

called it a "conspiracy" to weaken the GJM. "I have

always maintained that those who are guilty should

veteran campaigner for a separate state of Gorkhaland and a vocal

new development may plunge the Darjeeling hills

critic of the GJM. was

into a period of uncertainty

brutally hacked to death by

again, after the violent

GJM activists white he was

agitation by the GJM was finally quelled by the

the GJM leaders in the murder. Everybody knows that when the incident occurred in Darjeeling, I was in Kalimpong. In fact, I

establishment of the GTA

was so unhappy about the

in which Bimal Gurung's

murder thati had even resigned from the party;

organising a rally in Darjeeling. One of the main accused in the case, Nicole Tamang, who is also mentioned in the CBI charge sheet, was arrested by the West Bengal police in August 2010, but he

party won all 45 seats practically unopposed. There is also an apprehension among the people of the hills that this

nabbed. When the CID

may be a telling blow to the movement for a separate

[Crime Investigation

state of Gorkhaland.

escaped soon after he was

Department] of the state

The opposition parties

police presented its charge

in the Darjeeling hills,

sheet the same year. not a

sensing that the GJM is on

single top GJM leader's name was in it. Subsequently, the CBI took over the case in 2011. "This is a huge victory forjustice. We now demand the immediate

the back foot, have been trying to organise themselves. On June 2, a number of the hill parties, including ABGL, the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist


be punished, but it is

preposterous to name all

but the political situation was so volatile that I had to

return after two days. We will let the legal process take its course, but if this is

the way the CBI acts, then unfortunately we will lose all confidence in it," Chhetri told Frontline. The CBI charge sheet has also

been a cause of discomfort for the West Bengal unit of the BJP, as it had won the

Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat with the GJM'S support. Suhrid Sankar




the last two decades. I must also say that I have suffered

Transgender at the top

a lot in my whole career, particularly at the hands of

FDR the first time iri India, a transgender academic

those who resented the fact that I was actiially very good

has been made the head of an advanced educational institute. Manabi Bandyopadhyay created history

at myjob," Manabi told Frontline

principal of Krishnanagar Women's College in Nadia

When she applied for the post online and had to state her gender, there were only two categories to choose from—"Male" and "Female", and she applied under the

district. An associate professor of Bengali at the Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalay in Pashchim

"Female" category. "At the interview, the form I had to fill up had "Others" as a category against gender. There I

Medinipur district, Manabi took charge of her new office on June 9.

wrote "Transgender," she said. As news of her

Born Somnath Bandopadhyay in 1966, Manabi grew

phone calls and messages and media attention.

when she recently became the first transgender

hengal west

appointment broke, she admitted she was flooded with

up in Naihati in North 21¢ Parganas district. She has a Ph.D in Bengali and has been in academics tor more

"Frankly, the situation is driving me crazy," she said. Witty, and often scathing with her words, one can

than 20 years. She is an author and has penned a

feel an underlying resentment at being categorised.

bestseller novel, "Endless Bondage" lEnglish translation]. which was published in 2002, and an

"Why should people consider my being made a principal of a college such a big achievement? I believe my

academic book, "Third gender in Bengali Society and

achievement of being a professor and teacher is as big

an accomplishment." She maintained that whatever prejudice she faced, it was never from her students. Not one to mince her words, Manabi told Frontline

that she does not have any "motto" regarding her newly assumed position. "This is a profession for me; and I will perform my duties to the best of my abilities, as I have always done. I have suffered for my coniniilnieiil, but

that has not made me shy away from my duties," she said.

In a society where prejudices are hard to overcome and anything that is perceived as "not normal" is treated

with ridicule and mistrust, transgenders have been among the most marginalised and misunderstood. Manabrs appointment has been hailed as a progressive and socially important step. Rattan Lal Hangloo, eminent historian and Vice-Chancellor of Kalyani University Ito which Krishnanagar Women's College is affiliated], said,

"Kalyani University welcomes this decision. She lManabil is a fine human being, a good academic, and an able

administrator. The government step deserves

oun o ouqaon qoa

o ouon onl


appreciation. We are hopeful it will empower other

Literature" l20‘I2I. She is also the editor and publisher of

members of the transgender community." Even those who have been often critical of the State

Sub-human, the only magazine in the country that deals with transgender issues. "I have been bringing out this

government have voiced their appreciation for this move. Sampa Sen, associate professor of Bengali in Hooghly

magazine for the last 20 years entirely from my own

Mohsin College told Frontline, "I do not support many

funds. I have received absolutely no financial help from

things that the State government has done, but I fully endorse this appointineiit. Manabi Bandopadhyay has had to struggle very hard and she has achieved a lot. But there will be more challenges ahead for her," said Sen

anybody," said Manabi. In 2003, she underwent a well-

piiblicised sex-change operation, and has been a symbol for the cause of the rights of the transgender community. Manabi has an adopted son. Debashish Manabiputra. "I never wanted the job of a principal. I wanted to

government has been sympathetic to her situation. "It was only after this government came to power that I got

continue teaching; but I also needed to be closer to my 92~year-old-father, and Krishnanagar is closer to

proper recognition, and I was officially and legally allowed to be Manabi and not Somnath," she said.

Naihati than Jhargram where I have been teaching for

Manabi herself feels that the Trinamool Congress

Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay ‘I27



t IS ortni t

grace i


1. ‘“‘i $5-


The IMF has to wait

IMF managing director,

uphill struggle selling any

Christine Lagarde, said

deal to his party, and

YOU could almost hear the gritted teeth through wtiicli the

"country members can ask to bundle together multiple principal

she fully expected it to arrive, smacked of both desperation and detiaiice.

Varoufakis_ who has been sidelined from the talks but reiiiaiiis Finani.-e

international Monetaiy

payments falling due in a

Greei:e's stance is likely to inftiriate the IMF

Minister, have cioiifiniied to make pungent public

Fund HMF] issued its terse statement acknowledging that Athens planned to miss the June 5 deadline for making a

calendar month". But it was clear that the IMF had received little warning of Greece's plans. Yanis Varoufakis, the

which does not want to shoulder the blame for pushing Greece into default, but reportedly

t:oiiiitry’s piignaciniis

believes that ('.Ul'f'F!I‘ll plans

statements about the sacrifices of the Greek people. A deal still remains Just about possible; but as

€300iiiillioii lF2'i9iiii debt

Finance Miiiistei, has long

for tackling its debt

the IMF ponders the


argued that the end of

burden remain unrealistic.

ramifications of letting the

the Washington—based lender, which was always wary about being dragged

June is the real deadline for reaching an agreement. That is when

Even with the rest oi the month now apparently available to secure a deal,

June 5 deadline pass without receiving its cheque, and Tsipras

into Europe's debt crisis, did not condemn Greece's actions, let alone suggest that deferring the payment

the four month extension to the counth/‘s bailout programme that the Syriza government won in

the distance between remains C0l\Sld€l'Eli)li?, as leaked negotiating texts

prepares to do battle with his own party over the creditors’ latest set of demands, it feels like an

was tantamount to default.

February expires.

from both sides suggested

increasingly slim hope.

But the last-minute

It simply restated that in a little~known loophole

decision to delay the

adopted in the late 1970s,

payment, just hours after

Greece and its i;red|tui's

on June 4. Meanwhile, both Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who faces an

Heather Stewart

© Guardian News Service



PRIME MINISTER Alexis Tsipras [right] with Finance Minister Yanis Varouiakis at the Finance Ministry in Athens. “:{lIhll.]i\'r1


i.i<‘.'i"i‘i-ii-ts Modi's first year

disregard for parliamenlan; procedures through bypassing standing committees on many occasions and taking the ordinance route for many important laws. It seems all the decisions are vested with

he launched social security schemes, reduced corruption and tried to put India on the global map. Although there are some issues that are yet to be addressed such as farmers‘ concerns. especially those

PMO while the initiatives of individual Ministers are kept on the back burner.

relating to the land acquisition Bill, one

Despite the hype about enhanced diplo-

should not be overcritical of the government at this juncture.

matic relations with many countries, th-


ere is no significant improvement in





ALTHOUGH Modi's one year in office


started off with big promises and only came up with modest accomplishments,



Pakistan. KANNUR, KERALA THE Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh has

it is heartening that there is no policy

been systematically working for many

the previous regime. One year is too

years to bring a pracharak to the helm of affairs at the Centre. Modi's anointment

short a period to judge the performance of a government.

WHILE criss-crossingthe countryduring the campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Narendra Modi spread the message that Ram Rajya would be ushered in if his party, the BJP, got the mandate [Cover Story. June 12]. It was a

as Chief Minister of Gujarat was the first step. The Congress‘ 10-year term was a real blessing for the RSS as it was able to bring Modi into the fray by sidelining oldtime BJP leaders. The one-year appraisat in your magazine proved that pointvery

There have been ups and downs in the first year, yet Modi has been working hard to ensure that only proven performers with integrity are appointed to key posts. One cannot brush under the car-

nicely packaged dream that was sold to a


paralysis or scams that characterised

pet the Modi government's major achievements in foreign policy matters,

population yearning for a change after 10 years of the United Progressive Alliance


in defence modernisation and preparedness, in opening up various sectors for

government. Every promise Modi made

AT the international level, Modi has

foreign direct investment and in getting a

was lapped up by adoring crowds. But one year of Modi‘s rule has brought disillusionment to the people. There is a wide gap between his promise and performance. Unfortunately, Modi

achieved some success, but what about the problems of the common man in India’? After one year in power, nothing has come of all the promises he made to the common man. The Modi government

plethora of important Bills passed.

and his colleagues still appear to be in

claims that inflation has been tamed, but

election mode. The image one gets of the National Democratic Alliance INDA} government is that it is pro-rich and pro-

the prices of all essential items are beyond the reach of the common man.



industry and anti-farmer and anti-la-

IT is time to analyse where India stands


on the global stage. To be honest, it has

MODI came to power because of the tall

the country has huge potential in terms

promises he made during his high-pro-

of natural resources. The big question is,

file election campaign and he must have felt the weight of people's expectations

what is preventing india from achieving milestones on all the major fronts? It is

during his one year in office. Many of

the government's responsibility to deal

his promises are unfulfilled, and the euphoria has faded away. The chances of these promises coming to fruition in the next four years appear remote. Social security schemes launched under the

with corruption,which hasfora longtime been halting progress in the country. Besides. what needs the immediate attenlion of the government isjob creation and infusion of more resources into the agri-

AS brought out in the Cover Story article "Look West, Act East", the NDA government has continued lndia‘s pro-West tilt

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the Food Security Act are either being diluted or

cultural and information technology sec-

in foreign policy. Any statesman is in part


a prisoner of necessity. He is faced with P. SENTI-IIL SARAVANA DURAI

an environment he did not create. The

scuttled. Modi has not atlayed the apprehensions of the minority communities

VAZHAVALLAN, TAMIL NADU MODI does not have a magic wand to

U.S.’ superpower status has been rudely shaken by China and Russia. The balance

too. Modi has addressed foreign parlia-

wave and change the fortunes of the country in one go. He did literally prom-

of power is precarious. Viewed from this angle, the article evaluated Prime Minis-

ments and only made fleeting appear-

ise voters the moon last year and that is

ter Modi‘s trip abroad correctly and un-

ances in

why the expectation levels were high. but

derlined the fact that India's immediate

India's. He

has shown a

milesto go.Simultaneously,ilistrue that




JUNE 2h, 2iIl5

I . l*‘.'.l."l‘ li RS land swap deal with Bangladesh is the

Great Patriotic War held in Moscow on May 9. One wonders why these Western

delved into the technicalities of the issue

Modi governments great achievement.

nations continue to remain with NATO as

rather than consid-

Modi's ambitious “neoliberal dreams"

this alliance lost its importance after the

ering the overatlcor-

will become reality. thanks to his support for the Asian Infrastructure Investment

break-up of the USSR. There were two superpowers during the Cold War. but

rosive impact on society of corruption


now there is only one superpower, the

involving those in public life l"The ver-

neighbourhood will be his priority. The


Second World War ‘ "_*_|"

U.S., which is also slowly losing its importance both militarily and economically. It is high time that NATO was disbanded and a combined military alliance of the E.U. is formed. DEENDAYAL M. LULLA

dict in question" and "Faith at fever pitch". June 12l. For a party supposedly rooted in rational thinking and stridently opposed to religiousfsuperstitious practices, the


sight of party leaders and cadres trying

to outdo one another by organising religious rituals to thank the gods tor the exoneralion of their supremo was ridiculous and hypocritical and shows the nauseating depths to which sycophancy can

Movie stars THE article "Acting the age" [June 12] was thought-provok-

ing. The time is ripe


now for Rajinikanth


totryhishand atpolitics in Tamil Nadu.


He can put to good use the superstar

THE two World Wars resulted in the widespread destruction of lives and property l"Remembering a great war". June 12]. The complex economic condi-

image and charisma that he built up so assiduously and his band of admirers, which constitutes youths ready to do his bidding.

tions prevailing in the world today have made nations dependent on one another for their survival. and this is a deterrent


to a third world war. Western leaders boycotted the 7Uth anniversary of the



CORRECTION In the interview with Hannah Mullah [Cover

Story. June 12], the former Lok Sabha member

waswronglymentionedasaformermemberof the Rajya Sabha. ANNO UN CEMENT

IT is regrettable that in acquitting Jayalalithaa, the Karnataka High Court judge

Letters. whether by surface mail or e-mail, must carry the full postal address and the lull name. or the name with initials.

st-;t~;.\1.-\ .»\IILiJ.-\ U.K.-

of Indian industry, have time

based magazine, the only In-

and again turned to Ms Ma-

dia-based CEO on that list.

zumdar—Shaw for guidance.

Because of her leadership qualities, the 2014 Othmer Gold Medal and the

And government bodies such as the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission and Karnata-

international forums.

2014 Global Economy Prize

ka's Vision Group on Bio-

appointed business leader", which is completely uncalled for and has no relevance to

It is in recognition of her unique contributions that the government of India confer-

technology consult her on a

the story which is a report

red on her two of India's top

card onthe BJPgovernment. As a highly responsible member of the Indian business community, Ms Ma-

civilian awards. the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri. almost a decade ago.

for Business have been conferred on her by the U.S.based Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Germany-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy, respectively. The U.S.' leading "For-

This year, she has yet

eign Policy" magazine has

appalling to see her being re-

zumdar—Shaw has time and

again been ranked among

listed her among the "100

ferred to in such a deroga-

again made her views public


Leading Global Thinkers of

lory manner.

without fear or favour. Her

Women" globally by Forbes


views are objective and reflect concerns of both Indian

magazine, moving up to No. 85. She has been recently

In fact, a lot of industry bodies. from the Association

industry in particular and the

ranked No. 2 in the "Global

of Biotech Led Enterprises

Head, Corporate Communications,

country as a whole.

Power List” by "The Medicine

[ABLE] to the Confederation

Biocon, Bangalore.

THIS is with reference to the

Let us not forget that Ms

article "Little to cheerabout" The author of the article, C. P. Chandrasekhar, refers to Biocon chairperson Kiran

Mazumdar-Shaw's untiring efforts have helped put the Indian biotechnology industry on the global map and made India proud at various

Mazumdar-Shaw as a “self-

[June 12].











lot of important issues that

concern the Indian pharma and biotechnology industry.

Today. Ms MazumdarShaw is well recognised as a global influencer. It is most

Seema Ahuja

its 9

= H. Q \inb__:





-Q C



I <. i


THEHINDU t.r,~../





.151 @E>@I











-2;’; Fig THE U llfifll

To subscribe to our Group Publications, log on to

Published on alternate

No.AP.lSD417.I”INPP.’20t4-15 8t MHIMFl/South-I80/2012-14.PostaI Regn. N0.l-l/SD/'479i14-I6. FlN| No.42591I84


@ _Ka n drgar a,‘




NVA ’I-\iR


qr‘ Just 8 kms from llllllt and SST

“‘ Near CBSE Schools SSIIII, PSBB, llelarnmal, Delhi Public School ‘F Near Engg Colleges VIT, Tagore, IIIT, BS llbrlur Ilahman University ,3" Black Tar Road “I Sweet Potable Water


FRONTLINE - June 26, 2015.pdf

Jindal School of International Affairs ... O P. Jindal Global University la a non-profit university recognised by the ... Master of Arts (Diplomaq, Law & Business).

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