Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tsundur Massacre: Normalising Injustice the Judicial Way

- Subhash Gatade

Tsundur, Guntur, A.P. which had made headlines way back in 1991 when eight dalits were lynched by a 400 strong armed mob of Reddys is again in the news. The recent judgment of the A.P high court has overturned the judgment of the Special courts and has acquitted all the accused involved in the case for ‘want of evidence’.

As rightly noted by Human Rights Forum (HRF) the judgment is ‘brazen injustice’ and is ‘reflective of upper caste anti-dalit bias’ and ‘betrays insensitivity in the judiciary to an inhuman caste atrocity.’ It is expected that the state does not waste time in moving the Supreme Court to get this retrograde judgment overturned and render justice to the families of dalits.

What is more disturbing and shocking is the fact that when the Special Court formed to deliberate on the case had finally given its verdict seven years back, it was considered a ‘historic’ in very many ways. The conviction of the perpetrators – twenty one of the accused were life imprisonment and 35 of the accused were asked to serve one year rigorous imprisonment – was considered a significant milestone in the ongoing dalit emancipation movement.


The judgment by the special court had demonstrated the immense possibilities inherent in the SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act (1989) which till date remain on paper. As rightly noted it was the first time in the nearly twenty year old trajectory of this act that special courts had to be set up at the scene of offence.

It is noteworthy that Dalits in Tsundur were so united that they neither accepted any summons from the courts nor they ever went to court which was situated at some distant place from the village. They demanded in unison that the courts should come to them and the government had to concede to their demand and set up special courts in a school premises.

They had also demanded that they be provided with a Public Prosecutor and a judge who has a positive track record while dealing with cases of dalit atrocities. After lot of dilly-dallying the government had complied with this demand also.

It has been normal in all such cases of dalit atrocities that as time passes, people including victims and their families loose interest in continuing their fight for justice. They come under pressure or are coerced into changing their statement in the courts etc. The significance of the Tsundur struggle was that the people leading the campaign were successful in keeping the people mobilised all these years. Tsundur became a rallying point for different left and democratic forces in the state and it was harbinger of a new turn in the left politics also which resolved to take up the issue of caste oppression.


D Dhanraj was a crucial witness to the whole case. He did not falter for a moment despite tremendous pressure brought upon him by the powerful Reddys. One could see that Tsundur, the small village in Guntur, had created many such ‘unsung heroes’ – ordinary looking people who faced heavy odds so that they get justice. Merukonda Subbarao, a fifty six year old daily wage-worker, who had served as the first president of the ‘Tsundur Victims Association’ was another such ‘hero’ who identified and named forty of the accused standing in the court room, from among the one hundred and eighty three accused. It was clear that the whole incident was etched in his memory so strongly that he did not falter despite the judges requests to repeat the identification. And who can forget Martyr Anil Kumar, a young man in his twenties who was in the forefront of the struggle so that the perpetrators of the massacre are punished without delay. Anil was killed in a police firing during one of those struggles.

As is clear in every other atrocity against the dalits, the Reddys who have dominated the state politics since independence, tried with all their might so that they are allowed to go scot free. Utilising their contacts in the Judiciary, bureaucracy or police administration they tried to delay the process of justice as long as they could do it.

Attempts were made to buy or coerce the dalits in very many ways and the state also tried to play second fiddle to the Reddy’s. It felt that by distributing largesse to the dalits, giving jobs to few of them, awarding compensation to the victims’ families they could calm down their yearning for justice. But dalits in Tsundur wanted nothing less than severe punishment for the perpetrators.Unitedly they raised a slogan ‘Justice not Welfare’. It was worth emphasising that with their continued resistance they were able to make Tsundur a key issue in state politics.

9 Mythbusters: Lest We Forget the Genocide of 2002

- Shehzad Poonawala

[Note: DNA newspaper buckling under pressure from Team Modi: This article was published yesterday in the web edition of DNA at 1 pm under the headline "Mamata Banerjee calls Narendra Modi 'Butcher of Gujarat': Here are 9 Mythbusters on 2002 Riots". Within couple of hours of publication the article went viral with more than 1000 shares on facebook and twitter. DNA itself tweeted it thrice so did senior journalist like Siddharth Varadarajan (link here). But this morning, without any explanation, the piece was pulled down by DNA from its website. If you click on the link it says "The requested page cannot be found". Here, we are reproducing the article so that it remains in public domain.]

Cartoon: Satish Acharya
For those who have developed “selective and motivated” amnesia about the Truth of 2002 riots in Gujarat and are suddenly buying into the myths being perpetrated by the PR machinery of Mr. Narendra Modi, here are a few myth-busters to refresh your memory and perhaps your conscience.

Myth No. 1: Post-Godhra Violence was brought under control within 2-3 days by Narendra Modi’s Government…

Truth: “The violence in the State, which was initially claimed to have been brought under control in seventy two hours, persisted in varying degree for over two months, the toll in death and destruction rising with the passage of time.” 

Source: Final Order of the National human Rights Commission chaired by the very respected Justice J.S Verma. Available here 

Myth No. 2: Gujarat Police acted fairly by taking action against rioters from every side…

Truth: “We women thought of going to police and telling the police as in the presence of police, the houses of Muslims were burnt, but the police told us 'to go inside, it is doom's day for Muslims” 

Source: PW219 testimony which was admitted as part of Naroda Patya judgment that led to conviction of Mayaben Kodnani, Narendra Modi’s cabinet minister who led murderous mobs during 2002 riots! Available here

Myth No.3: No conspiracy by the Gujarat government, Post-Godhra violence was a spontaneous reaction…

Truth: “A key state minister is reported to have taken over a police control room in Ahmedabad on the first day of the carnage, issuing directions not to rescue Muslims in danger of being killed. Voter lists were also reportedly used to identify and target Muslim community members” 

Source: Report of Human Rights Watch- April 2002, Vol. 14, No. 3(C). Available here

Myth no. 4: Modi allowed a fair prosecution of those accused in rioting and hence even his cabinet colleague Mayaben Kodnani was convicted…

Truth: “The modern day 'Neros' were looking elsewhere when Best Bakery and innocent children and helpless women were burning, and were probably deliberating how the perpetrators of the crime can be saved or protected.”

“Law and justice become flies in the hands of these “wanton boys”. When fences start to swallow the crops, no scope will be left for survival of law and order or truth and justice. Public order as well as public interest become martyrs and monuments.”

“From the facts stated above, it appears that accused wants to frustrate the prosecution by unjustified means and it appears that by one way or the other the Addl. Sessions Judge as well as the APP (Shri Raghuvir Pandya, the public prosecutor in this case at the time was a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and contested elections from Ward 20, Vadodara in the 1996 Corporation Elections on a BJP ticket!) have not taken any interest in discharge of their duties.”

Source: Supreme Court in Zahira Habibulla H Sheikh And Anr vs State Of Gujarat And Ors on 12 April, 2004 CASE NO.: Appeal (crl.) 446-449 of 2004 . Available here

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Increasingly Newer forms of Labour Militancy in NCR Region: A Brief Report

- Faridabad Mazdoor Samachar (New Series 310, April, 2014)

Mar-Apr 2014: Plot 7, Sec 3, IMT Manesar, Napino Auto & Electronics Factory. On 24 March, workers of A, B and general shift stopped work and stayed on the shop floor. The same day, in the factory in Plot 31, Sec 8 of the same company, workers from three shifts also stopped work and stayed on the shop floor. And workers in the factory of this same company at 753-754 Udyog Vihar, Phase 5, Gurgaon, also stopped work and stayed on the shop floor. In all three factories, the women workers didn’t leave the shop floor at night. This is an expression of a radical transformation of the relations between women and men. In February 2014, in Baxter Pharma’s factory, 110 women and 140 men stopped work and stayed on the shop floor, refusing to buckle under the pressure of the management, labour department and police.

Starting from 24 March, 2014, in all the three Napino Auto and Electronics factories, men and women workers stopped work and stayed on the shop floor round the clock, and continued to do so on 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 March and 1 and 2 April. The misanthropic company stopped the canteens of all three factories. Workers of the C shift of all three factories, who were outside the factories, brought food. Workers of many other factories remained in constant touch with the workers inside these three factories, carrying on discussions with them, circulating word in other factories about what was going on, and helping out with food.

Similar happenings have occurred in the recent past in Maruti Suzuki Manesar, Suzuki Powertrain, Suzuki Motrocycle, Satyam Auto, Bajaj Motor, Endurance, Hailax, Lumex, Dighania, Hero Honda, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter, Harsurya Healthcare, Ametip Machine Tools.

Friday, 28 March, 2014, 10.30 AM. Orient Craft Factory, Sec 18, Gurgaon. A tailor dies of electric
Police crackdown on Workers, gurgaon. Photo: HotGurgaon
shock from a machine in the factory. The company calls the police and declares heart attack as the cause of death. 1200 women and men workers of the factory rebel – first inside the factory, then out on the streets. Workers from other factories join them. 2.30 PM onwards, 3 ACPs, 1 DCP and police from half a dozen police stations from Sector 18 and from Gurgaon West Zone, Udyog Vihar, set up a barricade against the assembling workers. By 4 PM, stone pelting, lathi-charge, tear gas, firing starts. 1 ASP and and 10 policemen are injured, and 40 vehicles damaged. Many workers and hawkers injured. Police registers case against thousands of workers. By now, many workers have been arrested, and countless others are being chased. According to the workers, a woman worker had similarly died of a sudden burst of current in a machine, on 26 March.

Two years ago, workers of the same company from the factory located in Sec 37, Gurgaon, had pitched battle with the management and police. Recently, workers in Ghaziabad (Gragiano), in Faridabad (Lakhani Shoes), in IMT Manesar (Maruti Suzuki), in Noida, in Okhla Industrial Area, in the Prithla-Baghola area of Palwal (Shivani Locks, Bio Medical, Haryana Wire, Mahindra, Vamani Overseas, SKH, Auto Ignition) have clashed with and battled managers, factory buildings and police. These clashes are against and bring into view the dominant social relations that govern life today, of which managers, buildings and police are expressions.

This English version of the report was excerpted and sent to us by Jeebesh Bagchi.

Know Your NaMo: Is There a 'Vibrant Gujarat' for Dalits

- Subhash Gatade

Narendra Modi, the Pracharak who wants to become PM, is a man of many contradictions.

He promises to end corruption but does not appoint a Lokyukta for more than a decade, retains ministers in his cabinet convicted by the courts for their acts of commission and ommission.

He lectures the world about women's rights glossing over the fact that he has quietly abandoned his wife, even refused to acknowledge his marital status.

He tells people that he has also been a 'victim of untouchability' but does not stop glorifying 'manual scavenging' and presents it as 'spiritual experience' in his book 'Karmyog'.

He prophesises that '21 st century would a Dalit century' in a public meeting but immediately dashes to Tamilnadu to forge an electoral alliance with a party which draws strength from organised violence against dalits.

It is true that for layperson the great hiatus between what Modi claims and what he does is not clear. Thanks to the corporate controlled media which has consistently avoided any scrutiny of his ideas and actions and his long association with RSS - the Hindu Supremacist organisation - a very sanitised image of him is slowly being normalised.

It is high time that the real Modi is made to 'stand up'. 

In the following pages our attempt is not to undertake this task which is being taken up by more and more capable people with renewed energy and vigour, rather our aim is modest. We intend to look at the state of Gujarat itself and see for oneself situation of dalits in a 'Vibrant Gujarat' led by him since last 13 years, a question which has largely remained unanswered all these years.

Not A Single Rupee Since 2001 To Build Ambedkar's Statue

A recent meeting organised in Ahmedabad where Dalits from different parts of the city came together to speak out against the "much-touted development model of the Gujarat government" tried to break the conspiracy of silence around this issue. A memorandum, bearing thumb impressions in blood of more than 1,000 dalits, was sent to the state's chief secretary. The memorandum titled 'Ek Awaz, Ek Morcha' highlights the dalit community's anguish against the state government's policies. Accusing the state's development model of being discriminatory in nature, especially against marginalized communities like dalits, it claimed that the Gujarat government has failed to provide a proper model for transformation of dalit lives. 

Jignesh Mewani, a social activist, speaking on the occasion lambasted the government for propagating a lopsided development model which largely ignores dalit rights. Exposing the government which has given land to industries at throwaway prices instead of dalits who deserve it more, the memorandum has demanded land for dalits, tribals and OBCs under the Land Sealing Act and an official ban on manual scavenging and an end to the policy of giving jobs on contract.

Definitely one cannot expect that Narendra Modi or his fellow Sangh Pracharaks who are effectively handling the campaign would sit up and take notice of this memorandum when they want us to believe that 'Better Days Lie Ahead'. Hence it would be opportune here to look into newsclippings here and there and see for oneself how this model is unfolding itself in the lives of Dalits themselves.

Perhaps a tour of dalit locality of Padra in Vadodara - the same place from where Narendra Modi is contesting the elections for the Parliament - could be a good entry point. 

A statue of Ambedkar stands relegated to Dalit quarters here. 

It was 17 years ago, that the civic body had allowed its erection at a prominent place in the city but dominant caste groups scuttled the move by installing a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in its place. The prevailing situation speaks a lot about the continued discrimination faced by the community in Gujarat. And it is not at all concealed. In every lane in Padra, one finds a footpath but there is none in the dalit area. Experience of untouchability in private homes and anganwadis is common. Socially, signs of discrimination are visible in skewed development activity.

On another plane, dalits of Padra could be considered 'lucky' ones from their community, as they can at least lay claim on Ambedkar's statue. Official reply to a RTI query tells us that since 2001, Gujarat government didn’t allocate a single rupee to build statue in Dr Ambedkar’s memory: 

Kirit Rathod, a senior activist of the Navsarjan Trust, Ahmedabad, - which has done a pioneering study on the widespread prevalence of Untouchability in Gujarat villages - had filed an RTI application to find out what exactly has the Gujarat government done to build Ambedkar Bhawans in each of the 225 talukas of Gujarat, as also all the 26 districts. In fact Gujarat government had made a big announcement to that effect way back in 2007, with an eye of the then state assembly polls in order to woo Dalit votes. The information sought by Kirit Rathod included how many of the Ambedkar Bhawans were constructed between 2001 and 2014, as also the amount spent for constructing the Bhawans. And the reply received by Rathod on April 9, 2014, was shocking to say the least. Forget 225 talukas and 26 districts, till date only 12 such Bhawans have been constructed so far. As for constructing statues in the memory of Dr Ambedkar, the Gujarat government told Rathod in the RTI reply, “No provision was made in the budget for the construction of statues.”

Friday, April 18, 2014

Whither Community Profiling

- Subhash Gatade 

Adam Goldman, a journalist who with the help of his colleague Matt Apuzzo first broke the story about New York Police Department's Muslim Spy Programme in a series of articles he wrote for Associated Press must be a happy man these days. 

News has come in that NYPD (New York Police Department) has finally decided to disband its DemographicUnit which was engaged in spying on Muslim neighborhoods, infiltrating groups and eavesdropping on conversations across the northeastern United States, In the years following the Sept. 11 attacks. It has finally admitted that its secret Demographics Unit failed to yield a single terrorism investigation or even a single lead. Senior police officers of the department confirmed that the police gathered information on people even when there was no evidence of wrongdoing, simply because of their ethnicity and native language.

It was quite a coincidence that when the world at large was discussing how NYPD tried to stigmatise a community and terrorise a people, reports about the 'informer-cop nexus behind Islamic Fundamentalism in Tamil Nadu'. ( were already making rounds. What is important to note here is that a (retd) senior police officers confidential correspondence with higher officials formed a key evidence in this unfolding drama.

Not very many people would remember today that during Lal Krishna Advani's tour of Tamil Nadu in the year 2011 police had discovered a plot to cause mayhem supposedly by Islamic militants. It was told that pipe bombs were discovered on the route which Advani's cavalcade was to follow. Police had even arrested two 'terrorists' Syed Wahab and Ismath and presented them before the media. 

A petition before the Madras Highcourt which has sought a CBI probe into the various bomb planting cases in Madurai alleging that the real accused were not arrested is revisiting this particular high profile case as well. Madras Highcourt ( Madurai bench) is expected to give its opinion on the 21 st April.The said letters written by former Madurai SP V Balakrishnan to the DGP and Additional DGP in March and August 2013 and were presented before the court in the second week of April.

According to Balakrishnan police informers belonging to the Muslim community were themselves indulging in subversive activities by abusing the faith the police had placed on them and also due to their alleged nexus with some corrupt intelligence sleuths.
"To buttress this contention, Balakrishnan in a letter to the DGP dated March 29, 2013 pointed to a case registered by the Avaniyapuram police against Syed Wahab and Ismath relating to a case of extortion. Of them, Ismath, who was an informer for the City Intelligence unit, was involved in the Advani pipe bomb planting case. Also, Vijaya Perumal, a head constable attached to the Madurai City Intelligence Wing, had joined hands with Wahab and conducted kangaroo courts settling controversial real estate dealings.
Balakrishnan had in another letter written to the Additional DGP on August 23, 2013 strongly objected to the transfer of an Inspector of the SIT who was probing cases related to bombs planted by Islamic fundamentalists in the temple town. He feared that the transfer of Inspector Madasamy would embolden fundamentalists to carry on with their subversive activities."
Definitely this could not be said to be the first investigation of its kind where the role of the police and investigating agencies has come under a scanner. There are n number of cases where law and order people have badly fumbled and have received enough opprobrium from the judiciary. Not some time ago ' Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association' had brought out a report 'Framed, Damned and Acquitted' which looks at the operations of the Special Cell of the Delhi police, the stereotypical manner in which they conducted investigations in cases arresting Muslims for being part of terrorist outfits and how in most of these cases the accused were acquitted by the courts. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

“2014 के लोक सभा चुनावों में किसे वोट दें” – महिलाओं के लिए एक “गाइड”



एक राजनैतिक पार्टी है जिसके प्यारे से, बबुआ से, बाबामहिला सशक्तीकरण की बात को किसी मन्त्र की तरह जपते हैं। मगर बबुआ की पार्टी संसद मे 33% महिला आरक्षण बिल को 13 साल से दबाये बैठी है………रोना ये कि बाकी पार्टियां पास नही होने दे रहीं।जब रात कि पारी से अल्ल्सुबह काम कर के लौटती सौम्या विश्वनाथन को ए टी एम कार्ड छीनने के किये गोली मार दी जाती है तो इस पार्टी की वरिष्ठ मेम्बर,दिल्ली की तत्कालीन मुख्यमंत्री कहती हैं कि “she should not have been so adventurous”!

एक राजनैतिक पार्टी के तो DNA में ही  महिला अधिकारों का विरोध मिला है।ये पार्टी भारतीय (read Hindu) संस्कृति की घनघोर पक्षधर है,खास कर उन पक्षों की जो औरतों को उनकी हदेंबताने और उन हदों के भीतर वापस ढ़केलेने के बारे में है।ये पार्टी सत्ता मे आने पर आपको(औरतों को) संपन्न और सुरक्षित रखने का दावा ही नही ,वादा भी करती है………सोने के पिजरें में…………संम्पन्न और सुरक्षित। औरतों के pub मे जाने पर उन्हे पीटने वालों को यह पार्टी काफ़ी आकर्षित करती है,यह बात दीगर है की मौके की नज़ाकत को समझते हुए उन्हे टिकट देने के बाद जल्द ही वापस ले लिया जाता है!!

एक राजनैतिक पार्टी है जिसके मुलायम हृदय नेता जीबलात्कारियों को नन्हा मुन्ना बच्चासमझते है और बलत्कार को एक भूल!!कन्या विद्या धन बाटने वाली इस पार्टी का कन्याओं से कहना है खूब पढ़ो,आगे बढ़ो मगर “at your own risk”।स्कूल आते जाते रास्ते मे अगर हमारे किसी बच्चे से भूल हो जायेगी तो हमसे झूठ-मूठ आकर शिकायत ना करना,हम तुमको ही सज़ा दिलवायेंगे।

दो और राजनैतिक पार्टियां है जिनकी बागडोर दीदी जी और बहन जी ने संभाली हुई है।मगर उनके कार्यकाल में महिलाओं पर हिंसा का ग्राफ़ नीचे जाने के बजाय उपर ही गया! किसी बलत्कार पीड़िता को वेश्याबता दिया गया और किसी को “politically motivated”!!

एक नयी नवेली आधुनिकपार्टी है जो एक तरफ़ तो एक rape survivor आदिवासी महिला को टिकट देती है तो दूसरी तरफ़ खाप पंचायतसे हाथ भी मिलाती है!

अब बोलो बिटिया? क्या करोगी? प्रगति के नाम पर किसे चुनोगी,कोई खतरों से खेलकर पढ़ने को कहेगा तो कोई प्रेम की क़ुर्बानी देने को।कोई मन-पसंद कपड़े पहनने पर भड़क जायेगा तो कोई मन-पसंद जीवन साथी चुनने पर!!क्या वोट देने से पहले तुम इन पार्टियों से पूछोगी कि हमारे ही होस्टल मे रात का कर्फ़्यू क्यूं होता है ? क्या हम इस देश के स्वतन्त्रनागरिक नहीं  हैं? लड़कों से हमें खतरा है तो रात का कर्फ़्यू लड़कों पर क्यूं नही लगाते? पर पढ़ाई-लिखाई,कैरियर,शौपिंग,पार्लर,FB and/or चूल्हा-बासन,पकाने-धोने,झाड़ू-बुहारु के बाद तुम्हारे पास समय कहां बचेगा सवाल पूछने का? फ़िर तुम तो अच्छी लड़की हो,नेतागीरी-politics से दूर रहती हो!! मगर समय मिला तो किसको वोट दोगी?  तौबा तौबा मैं भी ना, भूल ही गयी कि तुम तो भैयासे पूछ कर वोट दोगी!!

अम्मा, कारगिल मे जो मरे,जो हिन्दू थे और जो मुसलमान थे वो भी,और जो दोनो ही नही थे वो भी, भारत माता से पहले तुम्हारे बेटे थे! जो भारत-पाकिस्तान की सीमा पर लड़ते-मरते हिन्दुस्तानी और पाकिस्तानी हैं वो या तो तुम्हारे बेटे हैं या तुम्हारी बहन के। पर अम्मा क्या तुमको पता है है कि सीमा से ज़्यादा तुम्हारे और तुम्हारी बहनों के बेटे और बेटियां टी बी,जच्चगी और हैजा-दस्त से ,दोनो देशों के घरों और अस्पतालों मे मरते हैं? अम्मा क्या अबकी बार तुम वोट डालने से पहले यह पूछोगी की कौन सी पार्टी अपने बजट में कितना प्रतिशत पैसा स्वास्थ्य मे और कितना सेना में लगाने का इरादा रखती है? पर हाय अम्मा मै भी कैसा बेवकूफ़ी भरा सवाल पूछ बैठी!! तुम तो उसे ही वोट दोगी जिसे वो”,अरे आपके वोवोट दे रहे होंगे!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

अल्पसंख्यक अधिकार और राज्य हिंसा

-सुभाष गाताडे

English version of this article is available here

अगर मैं नहीं जलता
अगर आप नहीं जलते
हम लोग नहीं जलते
फिर अंधेरे में उजास कौन करेगा

- नाजिम हिकमत

साहित्य के विद्यार्थियों एवं विद्वतजनों के बीच अपने आप को पाकर खुश हूं और सम्मानित महसूस कर रहा हूं। जब मुझे पहली दफा इस आयोजन की सूचना मिली कि साहित्य के ज्ञाता मानवाधिकार के मसले पर बात करनेवाले हैं - एक ऐसा मसला जिसकी तरफ हर चिन्तनशील और सरोकारसम्पन्न व्यक्ति को गौर करना चाहिए - तब मैं बहुत उत्साहित हुआ; लेकिन जब यह ख़बर भी मिली कि मुझे चन्द बातें रखनी हैं तो ईमानदारी की बात यह है कि मेरा उत्साह जाता रहा।

बहरहाल, कुछ समय पहले एक अलग ढंग की किताब से मेरा साबिका पड़ा जिसका शीर्षक था रायटर्स पुलिसजिसे ब्रुनो फुल्गिनी ने लिखा था। जनाब बुल्गिनी जिन्हें फ्रांसिसी संसद ने पुराने रेकार्ड की निगरानी के लिए रखा था, उसे अपने बोरियत भरे काम में अचानक किसी दिन खजाना हाथ लग गया जब दो सौ साल पुरानी पेरिस पुलिस की फाइलें वह खंगालने लगे। इन फाइलों में अपराधियों, राजनीतिक कार्यकर्ताओं के अलावा लेखकों एवं कलाकारों की दैनंदिन गतिविधियों का बारीकी से विवरण दिया गया था। जाहिर था कि 18 वीं सदी के उत्तरार्द्ध में महान लेखकों पर राजा की बारीक निगरानी थी।

जाहिर है कि अन्दर से चरमरा रही हुकूमत की आन्तरिक सुरक्षा की हिफाजत में लगे लोगों को यह साफ पता था कि ये सभी अग्रणी क़लमकार भले ही कहानियां लिख रहे हों, मगर कुलीनों एवं अभिजातों के जीवन के पाखण्ड पर उनका फोकस और आम लोगों के जीवनयापन के मसलों को लेकर उनके सरोकार मुल्क के अन्दर जारी उथलपुथल को तेज कर रहे हैं। उन्हें पता था कि उनकी यह रचनाएं एक तरह से बदलाव के लिए उत्प्रेरक का काम कर रही हैं। इतिहास इस बात का गवाह है कि कानून एवं सुरक्षा के रखवालों द्वारा विचारों के मुक्त प्रवाह पर बन्दिशें लगाने के लिए की जा रही वे तमाम कोशिशें बेकार साबित हुई और किस तरह सामने आयी फ्रांसिसी क्रान्ति दुनिया के विचारशील, इंसाफ़पसन्द लोगों के लिए उम्मीद की किरण बन कर सामने आयी।

या आप अंकल टाॅम्स केबिन या लाईफ अमंग द लोली नामक गुलामी की प्रथा के खिलाफ अमेरिकी लेखिका हैरिएट बीचर स्टोव द्वारा लिखे गए उपन्यास को देखें। 1852 ईसवी में प्रकाशित इस उपन्यास के बारे में कहा जाता है कि उसने अमेरिका के ‘‘गृहयुद्ध की जमीन तैयार की। इस किताब की लोकप्रियता का अन्दाज इस बात से भी लगाया जा सकता है कि 19 वीं सदी का वह सबसे अधिक बिकनेवाला उपन्यास था। कहा जाता है कि अमेरिका के तत्कालीन राष्ट्रपति अब्राहम लिंकन, जिन्होंने गुलामी की प्रथा की समाप्ति के लिए चले गृहयुद्ध की अगुआई की, जब 1862 में पहली दफा हैरिएट बीचर स्टोव से मिले तो उन्होंने चकित होकर पूछा ‘‘ तो आप ही वह महिला जिनके लिखे किताब ने इस महान युद्ध की नींव रखी।

ईमानदारी की बात यह है कि मैं कभी भी साहित्य का विद्यार्थी नहीं रहा हूं मगर मैं साहित्य में समाहित इस जबरदस्त ताकत का हमेशा कायल रहता हूं। यह अकारण नहीं कि पहली समाजवादी इन्कलाब के नेता लेनिन ने, लिओ टालस्टाय को रूसी क्रान्ति का दर्पण कहा था या उर्दू-हिन्दी साहित्य के महान हस्ताक्षर प्रेमचन्द अपनी मृत्यु के 75 साल बाद आज भी लेखकों एवं क्रान्तिकारियों द्वारा समान रूप से सम्मानित किए जाते हैं।

जब मैं यह विवरण पढ़ता हूं और भविष्य को देखने की साहित्य की प्रचण्ड क्षमता का आकलन करने की कोशिश करता हूं तब यह उम्मीद करता हूं कि अब वक्त़ आ गया है कि इस स्याह दौर में साहित्य उस भूमिका को नए सिरे से हासिल करे।

इसमें कोई दोराय नहीं कि यह एक स्याह दौर है, अगर आप निओन साइन्स और चमक दमक से परे देखने की या हमारे इर्दगिर्द नज़र आती आर्थिक बढ़ोत्तरी के तमाम दावों के परे देखने की कोशिश करें। जनता की बहुसंख्या का बढ़ता दरिद्रीकरण और हाशियाकरण तथा अपनी विशिष्ट पहचानों के चलते होता समुदायों का उत्पीड़न अब एक ऐसी सच्चाई है जिससे इन्कार नहीं किया जा सकता। तरह तरह के अल्पसंख्यक - नस्लीय, एथनिक, धार्मिक आदि - को दुनिया भर में बेहद कठिनाइयों का सामना करना पड़ रहा है। दक्षिण एशिया के इस हिस्से में स्थितियां वाकई बेहद विपरीत दिखती हैं। बहुसंख्यकवाद का उभार हर तरफ दिखाई देता है। एक दिन भी नहीं बीतता जब हम पीडि़त समुदायों पर हो रहे हमलों के बारे में नहीं सुनते। दक्षिण एशिया के इस परिदृश्य की विडम्बना यही दिखती है कि एक स्थान का पीडि़त समुदाय दूसरे इलाके में उत्पीड़क समुदाय में रूपान्तरित होता दिखता है।

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bourgeois Imagination and Freedom from Gender Crimes – Limits of a Social Category

- Sanjay Kumar

(This is an expanded version of the article that has appeared in Stree Mukti, February, 2014)

There is a reason crime fiction is one of the most popular genres in bourgeois societies. Nowhere else, except in the equally fictitious assumptions of the Neo-Classical economic theory, is a human being made to appear an isolated individual in her motives and abilities, as completely as in crime fiction. Borrowing from a famous Ibsen play, in crime fiction, ‘a criminal stands most alone at the moment of crime’. Only her/his motives and acts determine the crime. Bourgeois law also assumes the same about criminal guilt, though punishment is often given under the light of ‘mitigating circumstances’, which mostly is a back door for all kinds of class and social prejudices. Among the ideologies that inhabit a society’s discursive world there often is a dominant ideology which mainly reflects imperatives of the prevailing economic and political order. The feudal ideological world is dominated by notions of loyalty, honour, and community, all of which are the essential ideological glue, as well the felt reality of the hierarchical web of a feudal society. Bourgeois society is founded upon private property. Even though their consciousness is socially formed, its members see themselves as formed and ready prior to their social engagements. Their attributes appear to them as their own, inherent qualities. This gives a moral boost to the enjoyment of fruits of private property; that is the charm of bourgeois consciousness. In crime fiction, criminals as sole proprietors of their motives and abilities thrust themselves against social prohibitions in diabolically creative ways. That is its (hidden) charm.

India is passing through a season of gender crimes. An year ago the country was convulsed by a brutal rape on roads of the national capital, and perpetrators have been sentenced to death. A rich and popular godman and his son have been accused of rape by their erstwhile followers, and were arrested only after prolonged drama. A high profile editor is in custody on rape charges. An ex-judge of the Supreme Court is in dock over charges of harassment by a law intern. And most recently, the highest court of the country has declared criminal anybody having the so called ‘un-natural’ sex. While the criminal justice system of the country goes after criminals at its own pace, and in many cases there is a justifiable popular demand for punishment, is it sufficient to focus only on the crime and the criminal, as the mainstream media and legal system do? Are renderings of gender crimes in bourgeois imagination and law, all light, with no shadows and silences? Doubts are not misplaced, because few other kinds of crimes are as social as gender crimes.

There are gender crimes, like homosexuality now in India, that actually are defined and determined solely by social prejudice and legal blindness. The entire spectrum of crimes against women, from unsolicited gestures to rape occur in a patriarchal social context that tells both men and women not only what their normalised roles are, but also what transgressions are permitted and are to be tolerated. It is highly unlikely that Mr Tarun Tejpal would decide to assault a woman solely on the spur of the moment. His motives must have had a history. Decades of his interactions with women and men, in social circles he moved and ascended, must also be behind his decision to assault. We have to ask what kind of schools, colleges, and professional institutions create and encourage men like Mr Tejpal, or Justice Ganguly. What kind of gendered life do these institutions inculcate? And, since it so often happens in the case of socially powerful men accused of sexual assault, that their wife and daughters turn out to be their most strident defendants, we need to explore the nature of Indian family too for their bizarre response.

After the December 2012 rape many journalists had visited the slum in South Delhi where rapists lived. They interviewed their families and neighbours. Many commentators from the left and left-liberal perspectives attempted to make sense of that ghastly crime through an understanding of the alienation and everyday violence of Delhi slums. No one has tried doing that in the case of Mr Tejpal or Justice Ganguly. Is it only because the Decemeber 2013 rape was a shocker, while we feel that the alleged crimes of these two gentlemen are not so ‘big’. Or, is there a class prejudice at work here? We need to ponder over it. In terms of the dominant bourgeois ideology, the influence, affluence and social power of these gentlemen are what we all should respect and aspire for. Is the reluctance to explore the social bases of their crimes related to uncomfortable questions it may force us to face about the social world we inhabit? When we pass through posh localities of the rich and the powerful in Indian cities, or stand facing portals of powers like the Supreme Court, what are our thoughts? Are we ready to ask what kind of lives men and women behind those high walls and pillars lead that breed gender crimes? Bourgeois ideology and law structurally discourage us from asking such questions when they limit their curiosity to sleazy personal details, the singularity of the crime, and individual culpability. It is okay to ask similar questions regarding criminals and their social base about Others of the bourgeois ideology; the poor slum dwellers who are petty criminals, rapists or become mafia dons, the adivasis who become Maoists, or young Muslim men who become terrorists. The same exercise regarding the rich and the powerful is an excluded territory. Are transformative ideologies and practices like Feminism, going to ignore, or worse show discrete respect to the shut doors and windows of bourgeois ideology and law? Are we ready to explore the uncharted terrain of disruptive questions?

जनतंत्र की रक्षा के लिए तमाम मतदाताओं से अपील

- पीपुल्स अलायन्स फॉर डेमोक्रेसी एण्ड सेक्युलेरिजम

प्रिय नागरिक साथियों,

सडसठ साल पहले आज़ाद भारत ने एक जनतांत्रिक संविधान को स्वीकारा जिसने सभी की सहभागिता को सुनिश्चित करते हुए समानता और न्याय के लिए एक मंच का निर्माण किया। हमारे संविधान निर्माता इस बात के प्रति चिन्तित थे कि जाति, सम्प्रदाय और धर्म के विभाजनों से परे एक धर्मनिरपेक्ष समाज का निर्माण किया जाए।

सोचने की बात है कि आखिर उस जनतांत्रिक और धर्मनिरपेक्ष दृष्टि का क्या नतीजा निकला ? आबादी का विशाल हिस्सा आज भी भयानक गरीबी में जी रहा है। करोड़ों भारतीयों को उनके बुनियादी अधिकारों से वंचित रखा जाता है। ताकतवर पूंजीपतियों, पूर्वाग्रहों से लैस नौकरशाहों और बेईमान राजनीतिक नुमाइन्दों के बीच मौजूद अपवित्रा गठबन्धनों से ऐसी प्रवृत्तियों को शह मिलती है। इसका नतीजा है कि भारत की जनता की विशाल आबादी के हितों के लिए नहीं बल्कि धनी लोगों के हितों एव हकों की रक्षा के लिए राजनीतिक व्यवस्था के संचालित होने का खतरा बढ़ रहा है। हमारे समाज में तरह तरह की साम्प्रदायिक ताकतें फलती फूलती दिखती है। 1984 में दिल्ली में हुए खूनखराबे से लेकर 1992 में बाबरी मस्जिद के विध्वंस के दिनों से ही उनकी बढ़ोत्तरी दिख रही है। मीडिया, पुलिस, नौकरशाही और कार्यपालिका सभी स्थानों पर पूर्वाग्रहों से लैस व्यवहार सरेआम दिखता है। हम लोग राज्य के अपराधीकरण को देख रहे हैं। इसका एक उदाहरण है मुल्क में चारों तरफ निजी सेनाओं का उभार।

सोलहवीं लोकसभा के लिए हो रहे चुनाव हमारे सामने जनतंत्रा की रक्षा करने का अवसर है। अपना ‘सांस्कृतिक’ मुखौटा फेंकते हुए राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ इसमें एक सीधे सहभागी के तौर पर उभरा है। उसने भाजपा के मुख्य निर्णयों में सीधे हस्तक्षेप किया है। उनकी विचारधारा राष्ट्रवाद के एक संकीर्ण नज़रिये पर टिकी है। कथित परिवार तमाम साम्प्रदायिक घटनाओं और 1992 में बाबरी मस्जिद के विध्वंस में लिप्त रहा है। राष्ट्रीय जनतांत्रिक गठबन्धन के प्रधानमंत्राी पद के उम्मीदवार के लिए प्रचण्ड मात्रा में पैसे और काडरों की लामबन्दी की गयी है। यह शख्स एक अकार्यक्षम मुख्यमंत्राी है जो गोधरा के अपराध वक्त और उसके बाद पूरे सूबे में बलात्कार, हत्या, आगजनी और लूटपाट का जो सिलसिला चला, उस वक्त राज्य की बागडोर सम्भाले था। कई सारे मामलों में न्याय को पाने के लिए गुजरात से बाहर से हस्तक्षेप की आवश्यकता पड़ी है। ज़किया जाफरी के पति पूर्व सांसद एहसान जाफरी और उनके पड़ोसियों का कतलेआम किया गया और वह आज भी इस आपराधिक षडयंत्रा में मोदी को अभियुक्त बनाने के लिए अदालत में हस्तक्षेप की हुई हैं। एक पुलिसिया जांच के रिपोर्ट को न्यायिक रिहाई के तौर पर पेश किया जा रहा है। वर्ष 2003 में मोदी के प्रतिद्धंदी हरेन पांडया की कथित आतंकवादी हमले में हत्या हुई – उसकी विधवा आज भी न्याय के लिए संघर्षरत है। मोदी ने अपनी लोकप्रियता को फर्जी मुठभेड़ों और हत्या के षडयंत्रों के खुलासे से बढ़ाने की कोशिश की है, जिनमें से कई मामले आज भी अदालत के सामने हैं। गुजरात की आतंकवादी विरोधी पुलिस की इकाइयों को एक महिला की जासूसी करने का निर्देश दिया जाता है जिस पर आतंकवादी होने का आरोप तक नहीं है। गुजरात में कानून और व्यवस्था के ध्वस्त होने के लिए नरेन्द्र मोदी सीधे जिम्मेदार है। हम इस बात को भी नोट कर सकते हैं कि गुजरात की राज्य विधानसभा हर साल औसतन 30-32 दिन चली है।

मोदी के एक मंत्राी को गैरकानूनी खदानें चलाने के लिए दोषी साबित किया जा चुका है। दूसरी पर जब तक दंगे में शामिल होने के लिए षडयंत्र रचने एवं हत्या करने के आरोप नहीं लगे तब तक वह मंत्रिपद सम्भालती रहीं। मोदी ने वर्ष 2003 से राज्य लोकायुक्त की नियुक्ति का दस साल तक लगातार विरोध किया। जब राज्यपाल और मुख्य न्यायाधीश ने इस पद के लिए वर्ष 2011 में न्यायमूर्ति आर ए मेहता का चयन किया तो मोदी ने इस नियुक्ति को चुनौती देने के लिए करोड़ो रूपए कानूनी फीस में खर्च किए। जब सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने इस नियुक्ति को सही ठहराया तब राज्य सरकार ने मेहता के साथ सहयोग करने से इन्कार किया जिसके चलते उन्होंने पदत्याग करने का निर्णय लिया। अन्ततः उसने लोकायुक्त अधिनियम में संशोधन किया तथा उसे एक दन्तविहीन इकाई में बदल दिया। दरअसल मोदी ने अपने दोस्त तथा कर्नाटक के पूर्व मुख्यमंत्राी येदियुरप्पा की नियति से जरूरी सबक लिया होगा। इसके बावजूद वह भ्रष्टाचार मिटाने की बात करते रहते हैं।

[Appeal] Defeat Authoritarian Forces and Protect Democracy

- People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism

Dear fellow citizens

Sixty seven years ago, independent India adopted a democratic constitution that created a platform for equality and justice by ensuring the participation of all. Our constitution-makers were concerned to maintain a secular society free from any divisions of caste, sect and religion. 

What has become of that vision? A large part of the population lives in extreme poverty. Millions of Indians are denied their fundamental rights. There are strong linkages amongst powerful capitalists, biased officials and unscrupulous political representatives. The political system is in danger of being taken over and run for the benefit of the rich, rather than for the vast bulk of the Indian people. Communal forces of all colours thrive in our society. Their growth has been evident since the Delhi carnage of 1984. Biased behavior has appeared in the media, police, bureaucracy and executive. We are witnessing the criminalisation of the state. One example of this is the operation of private armies all over the country.

The Sixteenth Lok Sabha elections are an opportunity for us to preserve democracy. The RSS has emerged as a direct participant, discarding its ‘cultural’ mask. It has openly intervened in the major decisions of the BJP. Its ideology is based upon a fanatic version of nationalism . The so-called Parivar has been implicated in numerous communal incidents and the destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992. Today vast amounts of money and cadre have been mobilized in the cause of the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate. This person is an incompetent Chief Minister who presided over the crime committed in Godhra and the orgy of rape, murder, arson and looting that followed. In many cases, intervention from outside Gujarat was required to secure justice. Zakia Jafri’s husband and neighbours were butchered, and she is still asking the courts to indict Modi for criminal conspiracy. A police investigation report is being hailed as if it were a judicial acquittal. In 2003 Modi’s rival Haren Pandya was killed in a so-called terrorist attack – his widow is still fighting for justice. Modi has tried to boost his popularity through fake encounters and accusations of assassination plots, many of these cases are still in the courts. Gujarat’s anti-terrorist police units were directed to spy upon a woman who was not even suspected of being a terrorist. Narendra Modi bears responsibility for the collapse of law and order in Gujarat. We may note that Gujarat’s state assembly has functioned on average 30 to 32 days per year.

One of Modi’s ministers has been convicted of illegal mining practices. Another was in office until she was charged with conspiracy and murder. Modi resisted the appointment of a state Lokayukta for ten years from 2003. When the Governor and Chief Justice selected Justice R. A. Mehta for the post in 2011, Modi spent crores in legal fees to challenge the appointment. After the Supreme Court upheld it, the state government refused to cooperate with Mehta, leading him to decline the position. Then it amended the Lokayukta Act to make it a toothless body. Modi may have learned a lesson from the fate of his friend Yedyurappa, former BJP Chief Minister of Karnataka. Yet he talks of rooting out corruption!

These are some features of the ‘Gujarat model’. What will result under a central government controlled by Modi and his corporate backers? We have seen how peaceful protests against the Patel statue, or a nuclear power station in Bhavnagar have met with police repression. Gujarat records the highest number of attacks on RTI activists. Gujarat remains a bastion of Dalit oppression. Surveys have found the practice of untouchability in over 90% of villages and manual scavenging present even in Ahmedabad. Seizures of land at low prices, violation of environmental regulations, erosion of workers rights, phone-tapping and contempt for the rule of law will affect farmers, workers, women, democratic activists and honest officials. Modi has used his position to accuse India’s Defence Minister of being a Pakistani agent. Soon anyone daring to criticise Modi will be hounded as a traitor. Is this what we need in a prime minister?

Friday, April 4, 2014

शिक्षा अधिकार कानून के चार साल -: किसकी शिक्षा कहाँ का अधिकार ?

-जावेद अनीस

हर साल 1 अप्रैल को पूरी दुनिया मूर्खदिवस मानती है, संयोग से चार साल पहले भारत सरकार ने देश के 6 से 14 साल के सभी बच्चों को शिक्षा का अधिकार देने के लिए के लिए इसी दिन को चुना और एक अप्रैल 2010 को “शिक्षा का अधिकार कानून 2009” पूरे देश में लागू किया गया ।


वैसे शिक्षा के उद्देश्य को लेकर कहा जाता है कि शिक्षा सामाजिक, आर्थिक और राजनैतिक परिवर्तन के लिए सबसे जरूरी हथियार है और किसी भी राष्ट्र के विकास में शिक्षा एक बुनियादी तत्व है इसलिए किसी भी लोकतान्त्रिक राज्य के लिए यह जरूरी हो जाता है कि वह इसके महत्त्व को समझते हुए यह सुनिश्चित करे की देश और समाज के सभी वर्गों को समान और गुणवत्तापूर्ण शिक्षा का अवसर मिले. परन्तु इस देश का दुर्भाग्य ही कहा जायेगा की आजादी के 67 साल बाद भी यह देश आज भी अपने सभी बच्चों को स्कूलों में नामांकन को लेकर ही जूझ रहा है. अभी तक हम सभी बच्चों को स्कूल भेजने में कामयाब भी नहीं हो सके हैं,बच्चों द्वारा बीच में ही पढाई छोड़ने का दर 6% के आस पास बना हुआ है. हैरानी की बात यह है कि अगले पांच सालों के लिए देश के लिए नयी सरकार के लिए चुनाव हो रहे हे इस चुनाव में किसी भी राजनीतिक दल के लिए शिक्षा एजेंडा पर ही नहीं है।

अप्रैल 2010 में शिक्षा का अधिकार अधिनियम लागू होते है. भारत आधे अधूरे रूप से ही सही उन देशों की जमात में शामिल हो था, जो अपने देश के बच्चों को निःशुल्क शिक्षा उपलब्ध कराने के लिए कानूनन जबावदेह हैं। यूनेस्को की ’’एजूकेशन फॉर आल ग्लोबल मानिट्रिंग रिपोर्ट 2010’’ बताती है कि दुनिया के करीब 134 देशों में बच्चों को निःशुल्क और भेदभाव रहित शिक्षा प्रदान करने के लिए प्रावधान हैं लेकिन इस प्रावधान के बावजूद ज्यादातर देशों में वास्तविक रूप से भेदभाव रहित समान शिक्षा नहीं मिल पाती है। लकिन उपरोक्त रिपोर्ट में विश्वबैंक द्वारा 2005 में किये गये एक अध्ययन का भी जिक्र है, जिसके मुताबिक वास्तविक रूप से दुनिया में मात्र 13 देश ही ऐसे है जहां पूरी तरह निःशुल्क शिक्षा मिल पाती है दुर्भाग्यवश 2014 में हम पाते हैं कि भारत के बच्चे उन 13 देशों के बच्चों की तरह खुश नसीब नहीं है।

भारत ने शिक्षा के अधिकार के लेकर एक लम्बा सफ़र तय किया है और “शिक्षा का अधिकार कानून2009” इस सफ़र की मंजिल नहीं बल्कि एक पड़ाव है ! स्वतंत्रता उपरांत देश के संविधान निर्माता शिक्षा के अधिकार को संविधान में एक मूल अधिकार के रूप में शामिल करना चाहते थे, लेकिन किन्हीं कारणों से ऐसा नहीं हो सका था और इसको राज्य के नीति निर्देशक तत्वों में अनुच्छेद 45 के अर्न्तगत ही स्थान मिल सका तथा इसे राज्यों की इच्छा पर छोड़ दिया गया जो कि न्यायालयों मैं परिवर्तनीय नहीं थे।वर्ष 2002 में भारत की संसद में 86 वें सविंधान संषोधन द्वारा नया अनुच्छेद ’’21-क’’ जोड़कर इसे मूल अधिकार के रूप में अध्याय-3 में शामिल कर परिवर्तनीय बना दिया गया।इस संवैधानिक संषोधन के साथ शिक्षा के अधिकार को मूल अधिकार का दर्जा मिल गया तथा इसे नीति निर्देषक तत्वों एवं मूल कर्त्तव्यों में भी शामिल कर लिया गया। लेकिन हमारी सरकारों के पास न तो इसे लागू करने की इच्छाशक्ति थी और न ही सकारात्मक सोच।वैसे तो 1992 के मोहिनी जैन बनाम कर्नाटक राज्य के मामले में देश के शीर्ष अदालत ने ’अनुच्छेद-21’ के तहत शिक्षा पाने के अधिकार को प्रत्येक नागरिक का मूल अधिकार बताते हुये ऐतिहासिक निर्णय दिया था कि प्रत्येक नागरिक को शिक्षा उपलब्ध करवाना राज्य का संवैधानिक दायित्व है।

लेकिन उन्नीकृष्णन बनाम आन्ध्र प्रदेष (1993) 4scc645 के मामले में निजी कालेज संचालकों ने न्यायालय से मोहिनी जैन मामले में अदालत द्वारा दिये गये फैसले पर पुर्नविचार के लिए आवेदन दिया। इसके बाद अदालत ने शिक्षा को मूल अधिकार तो माना लेकिन इसे 14 साल तक के बच्चों तक सीमित कर दिया। इसी कड़ी में “शिक्षा का अधिकार अधिनियम 2009” है जो केंद्र तथा राज्यों के लिए कानूनी बाध्यता है ।