Persecuted Editor Dalvi launches her online news portal

Several months ago I had written a post carrying an appeal for financial support for an Urdu journalist, Shirin Dalvi, to start a new Urdu news website. Dalvi was dismissed from her job as editor of an Urdu newspaper and was forced to go hiding due to attacks on her by Islamic fundamentalists.

The fund-raising organised by Nirmukta and Milaap was a success and the targeted amount was soon raised.

Now Shirin Dalvi has launched her website.

Two years ago, Shireen Dalvi, ex-editor of the Lucknow-based Urdu newspaper Avadhnama’s Mumbai edition had to quit her job because she reprinted a Charlie Hebdo cartoon of Prophet Mohammad after the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine. She is back now with an online portal which she claims has more progressive outlook as opposed to other Urdu publications.
The website launch of www.urdunewsexpress.com was held on Saturday in Bandra and was attended by Urdu journalists and social activists. “The website will focus on truth, news and opinions. The coverage will not be specific to one community,” said Dalvi who got to see one sided coverage from Urdu media during the Charlie Hebdo issue

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Draconian blasphemy laws haunts Pakistan

His father was shot dead by his Islamist bodyguard because he asked for amendments to draconian blasphemy laws of Pakistan. Now Shaan Taseer is facing blasphemy charges. His “crime” was he asked for prayers for victims of the law.

To honour his father on his sixth death anniversary, the slain governor’s son, Shaan Taseer, posted a video on Facebook wherein he spoke about what his father taught him and called for equal rights for all Pakistanis, regardless of their faith.

“We live in a society which oppresses its weakest section and where no Ahmadi, Shia and Christian can live their lives according to their wishes,” he said.

He continued, “This year Pakistan will become 70 years old and this is the country which was constituted to safeguard the lives and interests of the Muslim minority of the South Asia.”

“Today, being a nation, let’s commit ourselves to treat every Pakistani equally whether they are Shia, Sunni, Ahmadi or Christian… One nation, one blood, one Pakistan… Pakistan for all… Long live Pakistan!” he concluded.

[Read more…]

Savitribai Phule – a pioneer Social Reformer

January 3 is the birth anniversary of the great 19th century Indian social reformer Savitribai Phule. She was born in 1831.

She is considered to be a pioneer in the field of education, especially education of women and oppressed castes/classes.

Belonging to a backward caste herself she was educated at her home by her husband, Jotirao Phule,  who himself was a great social reformer.

Image credit - Dalit Vision

Image credit – Dalit Vision

In the social and educational history of India, Mahatma Jotirao Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule stand out as an extraordinary couple. They were engaged in a passionate struggle to build a movement for equality between men and women and for social justice. Recognising that knowledge is power and that the progress of women and Dalit-Bahujans was impossible without it, they dedicated their entire life to spreading education. The distinction of starting the first school for girls and the Native Library in the country goes to them. They started the Literacy Mission in India in 1854-55. In 1863, they started a home for the prevention of infanticide in their own house, for the safety of pregnant, exploited Brahman widows and to nurture these children. By establishing the Satyashodhak Samaj (Society for Truth Seeking), they initiated the practice of the Satyashodhak marriage ñ a marriage without dowry or a wedding at minimum cost. By throwing open the well in his house for ëuntouchablesí, Jotirao directly initiated a programme to oppose the caste system. Both Jotirao and Savitribai did not just stop at opposing child marriage; they also organised widow remarriages. They had no children of their own but they adopted a child of a Brahman widow, gave him medical education and arranged an inter-caste marriage for him. This couple did the historical work of building a holistic and integrated revolutionary cultural, social and educational movement of women-shudra and-atishudras of the country.

Here are few images from a graphic novel on Savitribai Phule called “Journey of a trail blazer”.

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Many Indians are unaware of this great reformer. Only recently she has appeared in history textbooks in schools. So it was pleasantly surprising to see Google producing a doodle today for her in India.

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I will end this post with a poem written by Savitribai.

The Plight of the Shudras

Haunted by ‘The Gods on Earth’,

For two thousand years,

The perpetual service of the Brahmins,

Became the plight of the Shudras.

Looking at their condition,

The heart screams its protest,

The mind blanks out,

Struggling to find a way out.

Education is the path,

For the Shudras to walk,

For education grants humanity

freeing one from an animal-like existence

 

 

Resolutions for a new year

I am a man of new year resolutions. Most of them remain as just ideas at the end of the year but being an optimist I keep on resolving again and again. So here am I starting again another new year with a bunch of resolutions.

One of the resolution is regarding this blog and it is to post regularly and also to post something every now and then which is of some value with effort and research. Hope I will be able to do that.

Wishing a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my readers.

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