Incredibly intolerant India

Most Indians are proud of their country. They believe it is a free, tolerant,liberal country, think the Constitution guarantees free speech and the law and order machinery keeps the citizens safe. Even many abroad feel the same.

But the truth is far removed from this imaginary liberal India.

Most often Indians elect parties with intolerant majoritarian and undemocratic ideologies to run the governments. There is a competition among political parties to use religion, caste, nationalistic icons and cultural myths to mobilise voters and to cultivate hate. Questioning any of these with reason become blasphemous. Such free speech invites attack not only from goons but also from law and order machinery.

See what happened to college professor when he questioned why Shivaji, a (Hindu) cultural icon in some parts of India and a former king , is having two birthday celebrations, one in February and other in March. He was physically attacked by his students and fellow professors and later arrested by the Police. He was denied bail because the court believed his life is at risk outside the jail. I am sure the Police will not be inclined to arrest those who assaulted the professor.

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Islamists kill ex Muslim in Southern India

Farooq was an Iron scrap dealer living in the South Indian city of Coimbatore. He was an outspoken ex Muslim atheist who regularly used to criticise all religions including Islam on Facebook and Whatsapp. He was an active member of an outfit called Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhakam, a break away group of Dravidar Kazhakam.

Not able to answer his criticisms, Islamists decided to punish him as per their holy book.

Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,                     Quran 5 : 33

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Tragedy turned her into a fighter

My first post on this blog was about a horrific murder which exposed the casteist underbelly of India. It happened exactly a year ago near my town. Sanker, a Dalit youth was hacked to death in broad daylight for daring to love and marry a girl who was born to a higher caste. The girl had severe injuries too but survived. The attack was ordered by members of the girl’s family. Severely traumatized, the girl tried to kill herself by consuming poison but was saved.

Now the happy news. The girl in question is slowly turning over a new life.

Following her attempt to take her own life, she was counseled by her in-laws, several NGOs and volunteers. “They told me dying was not the solution. I was told to live through this caste violence to prove the point that I wanted to. I decided that I will make the dreams that my husband and I had, come true,” says Kowsalya. Now, a year later, that is what she has done.

After her suicide bid, she had moved back in with Sankar’s family, where she initially started taking tuitions for children from 1st standard to the 12th standard. “I wanted to do something to remove my mind from what happened. Plus, there was nobody to teach these children from the locality English. So I decided that I should do it,” says Kowsalya. But what she thought would be a favour to the students, turned out to be of great help to her, when it came to cracking the defence ministry exams.

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Victory for religious identity politics over caste politics

Results of elections conducted in India’s largest and most populous state is out.

The Hindutva party of Prime minister Modi won a massive number of seats in the Uttar Pradesh State assembly. BJP and its allies got 80% of the seats ( 324 out of 403)  with a vote share of around 40 % in the first-past-the-post voting system in a state with 200 million people (fifth most populous in the world if it was a separate country).

In a three cornered contest, the main rivals of BJP was an alliance  between Samajvadi Party with Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party. SP- Congress alliance got around 28 % of votes ( 54 seats) while BSP got around 22% of votes (19 seats).

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Rules to save girls from effects of hormonal outbursts

 Maneka Gandhi is the Indian cabinet minister in charge of the ministry of women and child welfare. When she was asked about hostel curfews which forces girl students to be in their rooms by around 6pm in government run college hostels, she had this to say.

At 16 or 17 you are hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha (a line that should not be crossed) is drawn. It really is for your own safety,’

Now can there be any better example of victim blaming than this ????

Image credit : NDTV

Image credit : NDTV

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Oscar award and religion

Mahershala Ali got oscar award for the best supporting actor for his acting in the film ‘Moonlight’. Instead of congratulating him and discussing his performance many are discussing his religion.

Is he a real Muslim ?

In Pakistan Ahamadiyyas are not considered as Muslims.  So the Pakistan’s UN envoy had to delete her congratulatory re tweet because it mentioned him as first Muslim actor to get an oscar.

As Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor to win Oscar for his role in Hollywood flick ‘Moonlight’, Pakistan’s Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi tweeted in support of his achievement. However, Lodhi’s tweet came under fire for promoting Ahmadiyyas considered to be ‘non-Muslims’ in Pakistan. Lodhi removed the tweet soon after the post. Ali, a Muslim convert since 1999, joined the minority Ahmadiyya Community, a move seen as heretical by other Islamic sects in 2001.

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Custom Cuts – Explaining and exploring feminism

One evening, illustrator and graphic designer Pia Alize Hazarika got into an argument with a  woman. “She called me a bad feminist. It was because I didn’t align my views with hers. It sat a bit weirdly with me,” recalls Hazarika, founder of Delhi’s Pig Studio.

Instead of ranting about it online, she decided to channel her rage creatively, doing what she does best: draw a comic. “It would
show where I stand and what my beliefs are, and serve as a tool to show people that there’s a spectrum under which their views can fall; not everything is black and white,” she says.

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“Achedin” in USA too, but with a difference

In triple shooting yesterday at Austin’s Bar & Grill in Olathe Kansas, three people were shot including two Indians and one American.
The two Indian Associates working in Garmin, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were shot. Unfortunately Srinivas was killed in the shooting. Officers conducted a manhunt for the white man and have seemingly arrested a suspect.
The suspect, Adam Purinton was drinking at a bar in an Applebee’s in Clinton, when he was arrested early Thursday, about five hours after the shooting, police said.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla died from the gunshot wound inflicted on him. Kuchibhotla’s friend and Garmin colleague, Alok Madasani, 32, and the third victim, Ian Grillot, are listed in stable condition at the hospital.

As the incident unfolds, the two Indians at the bar were provoked by a white man in his 50s, who consequently got into an argument. The shooter questioned their presence and even asked how they are better than him. To control the situation the Bar management asked the accused to leave from the place. The shooter left only to come back with a gun and shoot them. An American national, Ian Grillot who was at the scene stood up to the shooter and tried to stop him, but unfortunately got injured. The shooter fled from the scene and Srinivas who was originally in critical condition passed away.
Two of the shooting victims were employees of the Aviation Systems Engineering team at Garmin, headquartered in Olathe.

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