25 years after Godhra riots: Politics of hate still prevails

February 27th marked 15 years since the infamous Godhra incident. The draconian face of humanity engulfed Gujarat across its length and breadth. State machinery remained paralysed for numerous days and the nation watched the murders and rapes in pin drop silence. The riot which brutally killed thousands of people (mostly Muslims), displaced them permanently and destroyed their livelihood was a much celebrated event in the state of Gujarat by the then Chief Minister and his party.

Like all the other cases, this case of 2002 is still in court. However, a few people like Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi have been convicted and sentenced by the special court for their roles in the Naroda Patiya riots. The irony of the situation is that, Maya is roaming freely and Bajrangi has been released on bail multiple times.

15 years down the line, the state of Gujarat has changed for the on-lookers but not for the minorities of Muslims. Harsh Mander, an activist, opines in an interview with Hindustan times, “15 years after the Gujarat riots, there is the new normalcy of Gujarat, in which Muslims have learnt to live separately, much like Dalits have been forced to exist for centuries… I feel an intense unrest and foreboding thinking about how fundamentally the idea of India and its practice is changing so rapidly today and how the politics of hate has so profoundly polarised and divided us.”

Today, Muslims in Gujarat have stopped revealing even their names to anyone in order to protect themselves from another communal feud. They have stopped showcasing any external symbolic representation of their religion. The displaced Muslims have not been able to return to their homes after the 2002 massacre. Many villages have banned Muslims and have proudly proclaimed to be a “Muslim free village.” While those villages who did allow their residency, have a set of stringent rules to be followed.

The “Gujarat model” which received laurels from the Country for its business-friendly administration over investment in social sectors, did not represent the entire state of Gujarat. The less recognised part of this model was systematic reduction of the minority religion to second-class citizens. These second-class citizens comprise of not only Muslims but also Christians, Dalit and tribal communities of Gujarat.

Even after receiving flak, the communal violence in the country has only been increasing with campaigns such as ‘ghar wapsi’, ‘love jihad’ and ‘beef lynching’. India’s constitution calls it as a ‘Secular state’ however, in the wake of these incidents, the idea of being secular as a Nation-state is in question.

Source: Hindustan times and Catch news 

Proposal to teach Quran in Pakistan schools rejected.

The Pakistan government’s proposal to include lessons from the Quran in school syllabus has been disapproved by the Islamic Council.
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in a meeting on Wednesday August 3 rejected the proposal as they found too many gaps in the book.
A set of books with Quran verses and translation have been submitted by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (FEPT) to CII for consideration.
The CII meeting chaired by Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani scrapped the proposal as 484 verses of Jihad were deliberately not included in the syllabus. Also some members raised the issue of teachers not well versed with the holy book, which could lead to incorrect accent being taught.
According to a report in The Express Tribune, CII wants Jihad to be included in the syllabus so that children can know the actual jihad verses and ensure their holistic growth.
FEPT proposed a draft to make the holy Quran as an addition in syllabus up to class tenth. For class one to five, the recitation of the holy book was suggested while proper Quranic education with translations was recommended for class six to ten.  But the refusal came as a major setback to the Sharif government.

Muslims are Welcome on Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook co-founder, Mark Zukerberg’s post on his profile
Facebook co-founder, Mark Zukerberg’s post on his profile

Image Source: Facebook

The controversial statement made by US Presidential candidate, Donald Trump to ban Muslims from America has resulted in an outburst on both social media and otherwise. Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg took this opportunity to express his contempt and announced his support to the Muslims in America and around the world.

“After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others,” Zuckerberg said. He spoke out adding that Facebook will always welcome Muslims and fight for their rights. Being the leader of Facebook he intends on creating a safe and peaceful environment for them. “As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

While this announcement is a bold statement made by co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, recent terror attacks have raised questions about how social media might play a role in the communication and coordination for terror organizations bringing about the bigger question of security in such social media platform.

Sources: venturebeat.com , cnet.com

Modi finally speaks about Dadri Incident, advocates a fight against poverty

Image Source: oneindia.com
Image Source: oneindia.com

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally voiced his opinion on the Dadri lynching incident and has further urged Hindus and Muslims to break communal barriers and fight against poverty.

In an incident that shocked the nation, fifty year old Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched to death after rumours about the family consuming and storing beef in their house spread. The horrific event took place in a village that has a Hindu-Muslim population but has never experienced any communal tension.

Modi, while addressing a rally in Bihar’s Nawada said, “Hindus and Muslims should work together to fight poverty and not against each other. The country has to stay united. Only communal harmony and brotherhood will take the nation forward.”

Modi also reiterated the president’s message who pressed upon the importance of upholding India’s values of diversity and tolerance. “Hear the speech of President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday. There can be no bigger thought than that. President has shown us the way, and we have to walk on that path. Only then will we be able to live up to the expectations of the world,” the PM said.

While NaMo urges BJP to woo minority, Chavan thrashes BJP for communism

Now that Gujarat CM Narendra Modi is BJP’s self-appointed prime ministerial candidate, he has taken up the task to advice BJP on a matter or two. In a BJP meeting on Sunday, Modi said that over 100 Muslim councillors won in Gujarat’s local body elections with the support of BJP and this was possible only because of the Saffron party’s efforts to reach out to the Muslim minority.

Since I am the to-be-PM, let me advice you. Image Source: in.com

He suggested that if 25% of minority voters had supported BJP in Gujarat, the same could be possible in other states too. “We should not divide communities but ensure all sections are represented,” he said.

His ‘tainted’ past may enrage his rivals but Modi insisted that BJP benefits from a significant number of Muslim voters who are convinced of the party’s reputation and this shows results in local body elections with the election of Muslim councillors. Similarly, Modi also suggested that the party should focus on Dalits as well.

Like before, Modi said that BJP did not have much time to get its act together as the countdown for the Lok Sabha elections was ticking away. Modi also stressed the importance of social media in forming opinion, at least in urban areas.

If Modi’s suggestions are being termed as a strategy to win “272 plus seats” for Lok Sabha elections next year, BJP is also not getting a breather either from garnering negative criticism.

“BJP is misleading the citizens – Chavan” | Image Source: sim03.in.com

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that BJP’s communal politics is a strategic step towards ripping the country apart. At the Maharashtra Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee on Sunday, Chavan stressed that the saffron party is trying to misdirect the nation as its leadership has gone for a toss.

“Citizens gave a chance to the BJP to prove its leadership. They were fed up with the BJP’s religion and caste-based politics. They realized that the BJP-led governments failed to take up the challenges to lead the country and the state,” he said.

Chavan also opposed the development model, ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ and disapproved of Modi’s criticism of PM Manmohan Singh’s Independence Day speech at the three-day workshop.

Source: Times of India, Indian Express



Thank Chetan Bhagat, the angel in our lives!


It’s fun to dismiss Chetan Bhagat as an author in every day conversations. We don’t care for him much. Like we don’t care for a Poonam Pandey, Kamaal R Khan or Mr ‘The Nation Wants To Know’. Until, Bhagat decided to play the angel in our lives. His ‘fairy-like’ contribution in representing small-town India won him Bollywood deals and a chance to be the face of Indian matrimony. But Bhagat’s recent escapades of ‘representing’ Indians in his tweets and columns makes him our Salman Khan, our Asaram Bapu or our <insert your own hero>

1. Take his recent tweet – “With respect, a Cambridge educated Nobel winner may not want Modi as PM, but a boy who can’t get a decent college & job in this country might.”

The last time I checked, Bhagat was busy creating some sort of a revolution and stereotyping Tamilians and Punjabis in his books. Oh, but our Indian literary-hero had to also make changes in the screenplay of ‘Kai Po Che’, inspired from his book ‘The 3 Mistakes Of My Life’ in addition to writing love-verses for Modi. So how does Mr. IIT talk about the struggle of getting into a decent college or landing with a job? You forget, he is playing the fairy godfather.

Bhagat and his ways. Image: AFP
Bhagat and his ways | Image: AFP

2. Now before Bhagat decided to play the boy who can’t get a decent college and job in this country, he decided to wear something he calls the ‘Muslim cap’ and write – not about a young liberal Muslim, but as one in his Sunday column ‘Letter from an Indian Muslim youth’

“Everyone seems to care for Muslims, but no one actually wants to listen to us, particularly the youth. I keep hearing political leaders promising to uplift us. I don’t know how they plan to uplift us and only us, without uplifting the nation. But then, I am a nobody, what do I know?”

It’s not wrong for an upper-class, well-educated, successful writer, who is neither young nor a Muslim to echo the thoughts of someone else. As he makes it clear in the column, “You forget this writer writes fiction also.” But his free inventions of what the others want is far from reality. A letter to Bhagat from an Indian Muslim reads, “You might have not realized this, but in pretending to render ‘a strong modern Indian Muslim voice’ to the youth and the Muslim community at large, you have ripped them of their agency. You have reaffirmed stereotypes that many in the community have been fighting against.”

Read the whole article here

3. The last column comes as a part of a combo offer with the writer’s advice to the Indian women. In his blog, ‘Five things women need to change about themselves,’ Bhagat tells us that we are bitchy and insecure. We don’t head departments, make PPT’s, type out reports, conduct surveys but flutter our eyelashes at the male boss and senior colleagues. Some more of Bhagat-gyaan in store for you –

The hashtag #feku should have been invented for us. Follow his advice and ‘stop faking’.

Alas, what a bunch of emotional fools are we that we don’t know how to ‘stand up for our property rights.’

And for heaven’s sake can we stop judging other women? We have to juggle between work and home, save ourselves from being ogled and harassed. So stop calling other women ‘sluts’, Bhagat said it!

Be ambitious! We might have struggled to top CBSC, ICSE and a host of other exams, prepare our Miss World speeches and still act with heroes double our age and even be CEOs or CFOs but that’s not enough.  ‘Success’ is the only way to earn a man’s respect, says Bhagat. “Women need to become more ambitious and dream bigger,” to quote him.

Thank you, Mr Chetan Bhagat for representing every voice in this country. Kamal Haasan may have donned 10 avatars in his film but you put him to shame with a new one every day. Thank you!