Land for harvesting votes

Ever since Modi became Prime Minister of India, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s business has expanded by manifold. Not only his spiritual Yoga business but also his “chemical free” consumer goods  business.

Baba who had claimed his “genuine” Ayurvedic medical products and yoga can cure AIDS and Homosexuality has now become the leading player in whole range of products for home use. It seems the tremendous support Modi got from Baba Ramdev for catching votes is being reciprocated by giving huge chunks of land at big discounts as per this Reuters report.

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Determined to lose heart and minds of Kashmiris

The ruling Hindutva party in India, the BJP, is it seems determined to antagonise the local population in Kashmir valley. They act as if they only consider the land of Kashmir as part of India , not the people living there.  This is reflected in the award given to an army officer who became infamous by using a civilian tied to a jeep as a human shield against stone pelting by Kashmiris.

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Ambedkar on Hinduism

Today we remember the architect of Indian Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar on his birth anniversary.

Here is an excerpt from his 1936 book “Annihilation of Caste”, actually a speech that was never delivered.

[9:] Caste may be bad. Caste may lead to conduct so gross as to be called man’s inhumanity to man. All the same, it must be recognized that the Hindus observe Caste not because they are inhuman or wrong-headed. They observe Caste because they are deeply religious. People are not wrong in observing Caste. In my view, what is wrong is their religion, which has inculcated this notion of Caste. If this is correct, then obviously the enemy you must grapple with is not the people who observe Caste, but the Shastras which teach them this religion of Caste. Criticising and ridiculing people for not inter- dining or inter-marrying, or occasionally holding inter-caste dinners and celebrating inter-caste marriages, is a futile method of achieving the desired end. The real remedy is to destroy the belief in the sanctity of the Shastras.

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Freethinkers Meet – Dare to think

Excitement is rising among Freethinkers of Kerala, India as the two day event that brings together the humanist Freethinkers of the state for an intellectual feast is fast approaching.

Organised under the aegis  of “Freethinkers” Facebook group and Kerala Freethinkers Forum the Freethinkers meet 2017  is scheduled for April 22 and 23 at Vyloppilli Samskrithi Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram.

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Oppressor at home the bigger villain ?

India’s Hindutva ruling party and its leader Modi wants to make India a Hindu country run by rules and regulations of Hindu traditions. They garner votes by spreading hate of other religions and its followers.  But interestingly  here we see follower of a non Hindu religion, Islam, petitioning the Prime minister for help.

 

When mother-of-two-girls, Shagufta Shah, became pregnant a third time, her husband asked her to get an abortion.
Shamshad Sayeed didn’t want another daughter; neither did his parents.
“They feared that if I deliver a girl again, she will be a burden,” Shagufta said. “When I refused repeatedly, they started torturing me. On March 24, they forcibly tried to take me to the hospital and, when I resisted, they started beating me mercilessly.” Failing to get the child aborted, Shamshad and his family threw Shagufta out of the house.
“He (Shamshad) verbally gave me triple talaq and I was left on the road to die,” she said.
Taking a cue from fellow Saharanpur resident Atiya Sabri, Shagufta too decided to raise her voice against the instant divorce practice and wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help.
The triple talaq is a Sharia law practice which allows men to end a marriage simply by saying “talaq” to their wives three times in succession.
While many Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia have outlawed the custom for years, India -home to the world’s third-largest Muslim population- continues to allow it.

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Shagufta approached the local police station the same day she was thrown out. “However, they took my complaint and only assured me that they would look into the matter. They did not register an FIR and chased us away,” she said.
“Since then, my brother and my father are getting threatening calls and they (Shamshad and her inlaws) are threatening to kill us.”
Failing to get any help from the police, Shagufta sent a letter to the PM with copies to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the National Commission for Women as well as the district magistrate and top cop.
“Mr Prime minister, it is my humble request to please help this poor and helpless woman. I also request you to ensure that this evil tradition ends so that woman like me and other victims get justice and live a dignified life,” she wrote.

 

She believes she will get help from the Prime Minister. Modi will be happy to help her and to underline the pet rhetoric of his party that those living in a Hindu country cannot follow personal laws of a foreign religion. This will also help BJP to pose itself as a champion of women’s rights. Non BJP opposition who is taking a stand of minorities themselves should decide their personal laws can easily be exposed here as pandering to patriarchs of Muslim community for votes.

For muslim women living in very conservative families, BJP’s Hindutva may seem much less oppressive than that they face day in and day out in their homes. For them BJP government will be a better ally than non BJP governments which depends on votes controlled by Muslim patriarchs.

Take home message is this:

If a severely patriarchal tribe do not reform itself, women of the tribe may ask and get help from a more powerful patriarch of a rival tribe.

If you want secularism and is troubled by gender oppressive religious laws, you should be in the fore front of the Muslim women’s struggle against oppressive patriarchal customs. If you are not there, the void will be filled by Hindutva and we may only get a Hindutva version of patriarchy instead of the Islamic one.

 

Hate speech gives you power

Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has a new chief minister who is a Hindu priest and the head of the Gorakhnath Math (Gorakhnath Mutt), a temple of the Nath monastic group in the Nath tradition. Prime minister Modi chose him because the saffron clad Yogi Adityanath was the most popular among BJP leaders. He became popular as he was able to raise hatred against Muslims the most, following the path shown by Modi himself.

Yogi Adityanath

Yogi Adityanath

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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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Hello again

Hello there !

It is almost a month since I wrote a blog post. The gap occurred because of pressure on time as I had shifted my place of work (clinic) to a new building and lot of things had to be set up from scratch.

Hope to be more consistent in writing from now on, even if it is not great writing.

Happy reading.

Atheist meetings on women’s issues in Kochi and DC

This weekend there are two atheist meetings dealing with women’s issues in places thousands of miles apart.  One is a small one day event in Kochi, Kerala in India on Sunday while the other is the more star studded three day 4th Women in Secularism conference in Arlington, VA near Washington DC.

Here is the schedule of Women in Secularism Conference.

SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 ▾
Registration opens at 11:00am.

1:00pm – 1:15pm
Opening Remarks

1:15pm – 2:00pm
Melanie Brewster
Why There Are Fewer Atheist Women (And Other Fun Gender-Based Speculation from Folks in Ivory Towers)

2:00pm – 2:45pm
Ashley F. Miller
Class and the Secular Movement: Why Class Matters

2:45pm – 3:00pm
Break

3:00pm – 3:45pm
Linda LaScola
When Women Are “Caught in the Pulpit”

3:45pm – 4:30pm
Maryam Namazie
Women’s Resistance to Islamism in the Age of ISIS

4:30pm – 5:00pm
Break

5:00pm – 6:30pm
Women in Secular Leadership
Moderator: Debbie Goddard, Panel: Robyn Blumner, Sarah Haider, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Rebecca Hale, Hypatia Alexandria

6:30pm – 7:30pm
Break

7:30pm – 9:30pm
Reception

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