The political party which has no sound policies cash in on populist measures to gain power. If such a political party somehow manages to register its presence in corridors of power, it proves to be an ominous sign for the growth of democracy. Uttar Pradesh is facing similar crisis in the regime of Samajwadi Party. Right from series of communal riots in various parts of states to administrative failures in various major cities the state has been held hostage to dangerous elements masquerading in various forms. The Samajwadi Party wooed young voters by promising laptops and nobody questioned the utility of launching such scheme at cost of taxpayers’ hard earned money. Look at the irony involved that state is reeling under worse power crisis. It appears laptops provided by this government get recharged by darkness! The same money spent on laptops, tablets and etc. could have been diverted to improve the infrastructure involved in production of power. It’s no secret that most power houses operating in state are operating with help of worn out machinery. However, you can’t expect such measures from a government run by unethical minds.
Allahabad, most important city after Lucknow, which is on paper getting 21 hours power supply, is facing huge power crisis. Let’s take into cognizance working of one of the power substations operating in Allahabad, which is home of eminent intellectuals, bureaucrats, writers, poets, judges and journalists. One example is suffice to have idea of how the system is operating under this government’s rule. Kareli power house, an important substation, which supplies power to Kareli and other adjoining areas like Bhavapur, is in total disarray because of its incompetent officials and poor management. It’s now very clear that may be in Mayawati’s regime there were huge scams at ministerial level, the bureaucratic machinery still remained under awe of strict punishment in case of non performance of duty. Under this regime absence of such threat of getting punishment has led to lawlessness and haughtiness on part of officials.
The Kareli substation under Maywati’s regime was one of the best substations operating in the city having a smooth supply in both Hindu and Muslim colonies, even in peak hours during some important festivals like Dussehara or Eid. A telephone was always there to register the complaint of aggrieved consumers and the fault was dealt with in a conscious time bound manner. The same substation is now working in most shabby manner. The employees stationed here are rude while dealing with consumers besides being incompetent. They are not bothered as to how to ensure smooth power supply. Many linemen/technicians on condition of anonymity stated that there is nobody to check huge power theft in this area. As a result of this power theft as many as 20 transformers have blasted in one single month. The staff operating at power houses often gets beaten at the hands of angry public. Prima facie one always blames citizens for such display of violence and angry reactions but if we delve deeper into the cause of mob violence one would realize that ordinary citizens are not that guilty.
For instance at Kareli substation during some critical faults there is no one present to register the complaints of consumers. There is also no telephone, and thus, one living at a distance has to travel many kilometers to reach this substation. Imagine the state of the mind of such consumer if he/she finds that gates are locked from outside during working hours! If the same consumer tries to contact with higher officials over telephone, the officers at the other end don’t give much importance to his/her problems. So what options do power house officials leave for aggrieved consumers other than to react violently? Bhavapur area which is major Hindu colony having distinguished citizens faced 18 hours power failure for two consecutive days which included Dussehara day. Can one imagine the level of collective anger of such residents?
Most of the areas, falling under this substation, for past one and half months are facing huge power cuts. Earlier it was informed that feeders were being changed along with replacement of incoming panel. The residents of this area kept quiet but people lost their cool when even after removal of major faults the areas like Bhavapur, Nihalpur and etc. remained dark for more than 10 or 12 hours at a stretch while the adjoining Muslim areas like Akbarpur remained above such power cuts! The whole Navaratri celebrations along with tableau exhibition was marred by absolute darkness. In fact, this substation is working in a dangerous way too. That’s because no employee of higher rank is placed at this substation. As a result of that staff which is comprised of linemen and few technicians are either missing in night schedule or if that’s not the case they are involved in drinking of beer. Just few weeks ago, a lineman involved in repairing work at Kareli substation in inebriated state suffered serious injuries.
This government has failed to realize that citizens are not impressed by populist measures. To win their hearts the government needs to improve the functioning of public administration. What prevented it to improve the quality of services provided by government bodies? Instead of doing that it’s engaged in divisive policies, which involve huge wastage of taxpayer’s money. It’s time for the electorate to realize that during voting it’s better to have in their view right aspects instead of being swayed by flawed populists measures of parties devoid of vision and sound principles.
(Also published in Northern India Patrika, Sep. 28, 2013)
Uttar Pradesh expected better developments in the regime of young Chief Minister. However, such expectations turned out to be a great illusion. Akhilesh Yadav, who represents the spirit of youth, gave way to same means exhibited by worn out old minds, proving beyond doubt that mere youth force is of no use but youth force backed up by noble vision and sound policies does the real magic. No wonder Uttar Pradesh is today witnessing one of the darkest phases of its existence as a state. Since the time of his becoming Chief Minister, a year and a half, the state has witnessed series of riots, making it a disturbed zone. The bureaucratic system has fallen prey to casteist politics, to an extent that even an impartial constitutional body like Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) is finding hard to retain its glory of yesteryear. The honest bureaucrats like Durga Shakti Nagpal are being harassed and bullied on concocted grounds. Ironically, the real culprits who are actually disturbing the communal harmony, a ground cited as a cause for suspending IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, are roaming scot free.
Coming to riots of serious magnitude which hit Muzaffarnagar couple of weeks ago, one needs to know the actual reasons which triggered them. The mainstream media circulated state sponsored corrupt version of actual reasons, marred by half lies and manipulation of facts. It’s believed that an incident of eve teasing led to this riot. However, that’s an insignificant reason blown out of proportion to hide the real factors. It has been very cleverly suppressed that for past few months Muzaffarnagar region was simmering with anger over series of rapes with Hindu girls committed by Muslim youths. The ineffective state machinery remained mute spectator to such rising number of sexual assaults on Hindu girls. It’s real shame that although this nation witnessed an unprecedented level of protest in case of Nirbhaya the Damini gang-rape case, the series of brutal rapes in this part of Uttar Pradesh were not taken into cognizance by anybody. Any conscious citizen would like to know why were state machinery and Central government so unconcerned about these rape incidents?
As a result of this bureaucratic apathy and partisan approach of mainstream media in reporting such incidents with same intensity, the local community organised a mass meeting to deal with such grave developments, mainly to ensure the safety of women and daughters. On September 07, the participants going to attend this meeting were attacked, leading to tense situation, which later spiralled out of control. What added fuel to the fire was that subsequent developments were remote controlled to allegedly benefit Muslim community. It’s learned that Jat-Muslim equations in this area constitute a huge vote bank. That was cited as a main reason as to why riots came to hit this area. However, it’s far away from truth. This might be one of the reasons but not a strong ground to give way to riot of this volatile nature, which made even the prime minister Manmohan Singh hail it as a “big tragedy”.
Mazaffarnagar riots, one of the worst riots to hit this country, revealed shades of murkier politics involved in riots, making it clear that riots are often well planned in advance and execution of these nefarious designs take place effectively by the hidden hands at a suitable time. The witnesses of Muzaffarnagar riots categorically stated before the media that police did not respond to the calls of victims crying for help. The victims also stated about inaction of police before the PM and other senior leaders from the Centre. This corroborates the alleged involvement of State Minister, who was seen in a sting operation instructing a police official to act in a irresponsible way!
In fact, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh bluntly stated that Akhilesh Yadav was “masterly inactive” during the heated phase of riots. “On Muzaffarnagar, none of us will keep quiet. What he (Akhilesh) has done is inexcusable.” Let’s not forget that one of the allegations against Narendra Modi is that he did not act swiftly during the riots in Gujarat, and thus, secular media quickly labelled him as the architect of pogrom in Gujarat. Ironically, the same secular media remained silent over the Godhra victims and Muslim perpetrators involved in burning of the train- a prime cause that led to the start of riots! Will these riots be attributed to Akhilesh as controlled pogrom the Gujarat way?
This is a serious issue which involves a key question: What is the way to ensure the complete elimination of anti-social elements present among the minorities? Since we cannot expect political heads to answer this sensitive question, the Supreme Court, taking suo moto cognizance of such critical developments needs to deal sternly with such anti-national developments. Why should members of one particular community be not subjected to stern actions in an attempt to wipe out wrong elements? It’s laughable that Muzaffarnagar riots are being stated as fallout of eve-teasing incident, making the focus of probe get limited by minor aspects. These riots have exposed serious loopholes in our intelligence mechanism besides revealing the nexus of politicians with negative forces. It’s these aspects which need to be dealt with by the mainstream media and legal enforcement agencies.
Social media which is not the part of paid media, dictated by politicians, should stop the great game played in name of empowerment of women and upliftment of minorities. It should honestly reveal the unsaid. Needles to state that most of the programmes in the garb of improving the lives of women and minorities have wrecked the citadels of Indian society. They both have become convenient way to enter in crude vote bank politics. The institutions like Supreme Court, High Court, and impartial bodies run by conscious citizens should come to the fore to prevent the nation from going to dogs. There is no other way left to make this nation safe from anti-social elements. The Muzaffarnagar riots have revealed that so-called politicians talking about honouring the ideals of democracy cannot be relied upon. They are dangerous wolves masquerading as human beings.
अखिलेश यादव जब भारतीय राजनीति में अहम् किरदार अदा करने वाले उत्तर प्रदेश के मुख्यमंत्री बने तो कुछ लोगो में शायद ये झूठी आस जाग उठी कि शायद एक युवा चेहरा कुछ बेहतर परिवर्तन ला दें. लेकिन सिर्फ चेहरे बदलने से चाहे वो युवा ही क्यों ना हो तब तक बात नहीं बनती जब तक आप के पास स्पष्ट नीति ना हो. हुआ भी वही लोक लुभावनी योजनाओं के दम पर बनी ये सरकार आज ना सिर्फ विवादों में फँस गयी है जहा नौकरशाह सहमे से है बल्कि नित नए दंगो ने प्रदेश को अशांत क्षेत्र बना दिया है. मुज़फ्फरनगर के दंगे वीभत्स तस्वीर पेश करते है और ये बताते है कि राजनेता किस हद तक गिर सकते है अपने प्रभाव को बचाने के लिए.
हम कानून राज की बात करते है और दामिनी बलात्कार काण्ड पर इस देश में बहुत उबाल उठा लेकिन मुजफ्फरनगर में इस दंगे से पहले कितने बलात्कार हिन्दू औरतो के साथ मुस्लिमो ने किये उसको किसी सरकार ने संज्ञान में लेने की जरुरत क्यों नहीं महसूस की? इसकी वजह से सात सितम्बर को जाट समुदाय ने एक पंचायत बुलाई गयी बहु बेटियों के सुरक्षा के लिए. इसमें शामिल होने के लिये जा रहे लोगो पे हमले हुए और उसके बाद स्थिति बेकाबू हो गयी. जब किसी सरकार के पास नीति नहीं होती तो ताकतवर चेहरे कठपुतली की तरह सरकार को नचाते है. यही हाल इस वर्तमान सरकार का भी है. दंगे किस कारण से हुए ये तो कई खबरों का विषय बन गयी है लेकिन इस जरूरी तथ्य पर शायद चर्चा ना हुई हो कि किस तरह खतरनाक हथियारों का जमावाड़ा जिसमे ऐ के 47 बंदूके तक शामिल है मुस्लिम वर्ग में इकठ्ठा है! हैरानगी की बात है कि मस्जिद जो इबादत का ठिकाना होना चाहिए इन हथियारों को छुपाने का केंद्र बनती जा रही है. इंटेलिजेंस विभाग क्या सिर्फ छूरी कट्टे की तफ्तीश के लिए बनी है?
ये केंद्र सरकार और राज्य सरकार के इन विभागों से पूछा जाना चाहिए कि जब धार्मिक स्थल इस तरह के आतंकी गतिविधियों का ठिकाना बन जाए तो उसके पास क्या रास्ते है इनको समाप्त करने के? या अल्पसंख्यक वर्ग के लोग मनमानी करे और प्रशासन खामोश रहे तो उसके क्या नतीजे होंगे? क्योकि ये तय है कि अगर कार्यवाही हुई तो वही मुस्लिमो के साथ भेदभाव हो रहा है, उन्हें सताया जा रहा है, फँसाया जा रहा है इस तरह का शोर हर तरफ से उठेगा। इसलिए अगर सरकार के पास हिम्मत ना हो तो कम से कम सुप्रीम कोर्ट या हाई कोर्ट इस तरह के भयानक सच को स्वतः संज्ञान में लेकर केंद्र और राज्य सरकार को विवश करे ये बताने के लिए कि इसके रोकथाम के लिए इनके पास क्या तरीके है और अब तक इन्होने क्या किया है?
गुजरात के दंगो पे गोधरा का सच भुलाकर सेक्युलर मीडिया ने इस बात का बहुत रोना रोया कि गुजरात सरकार ने समय रहते कार्यवाही नहीं की तो अब उत्तर प्रदेश में जो हमने देरी देखी, तथ्यों को नष्ट करके मुस्लिम वर्ग को राहत पहुचाने की कोशिश देखी उसके क्या मतलब निकाले जाए? यहाँ तक कि केंद्र सरकार भी ये कह रही है कि दंगो के भयावहता के बारे में प्रदेश सरकार ने उसे अँधेरे में रखा. खैर इस देश की राजनीति ये हो गयी है कि महिलाओ और अल्पसंख्यको को लुभाओ। उनके हर कुकर्मो पे पर्दा डाल दो. हो सकता है तात्कालिक रूप से महिलाओ और अल्संख्यको को ये सब भला लगे. लेकिन इसका दूरगामी परिणाम ये होगा कि उन महिलाओ और मुस्लिमों को तकलीफ झेलनी पड़ेगी जिनका इस गन्दी राजनीति से कोई वास्ता नहीं होगा। और सबसे बड़ा नुक्सान तो इस देश को होगा जिसने आज़ादी के बाद इस तरह के अलगाववादी और आसुरी नेताओ के उदय की कल्पना तक ना की होगी।
Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission is a constitutional body, which has been assigned the task to make selections in various governments department at a State level. One expects it to discharge its duties in impartial and sound manner. However, of late, this prestigious constitutional body has become like a caged pigeon in the hands of its incompetent officials, who are acting at the behest of political masters. The latest reservation policy row provides insight into the mindset of officers working at this prestigious office. The implementation of caste-based quotas at the preliminary level of many important examinations, mainly to benefit certain “caste”, without worrying about the collateral damage caused by it is an ominous sign. It’s supposed to act in neutral manner so as to ensure that the selections take place in a fair way. However, the new mantra for it seems to be that “foul is fair”. The appeasement of political masters is more important than selection of meritorious candidates through right process.
This government agency some decades back enjoyed a good reputation of conducting examinations, and later, making final selections in honest way. It had such an impressive track record that many other government agencies sought its help in making proper selections in their own departments, granting it the authority to conduct examinations. However, the scenario inside the office has changed dramatically in last few years, especially in the regimes of Bahujan Samjwadi Party and Samajwadi Party- the political parties which were in control of Uttar Pradesh in last few years. Their casteist approach demolished the reputation of this prestigious body. In their regimes, the key positions went to officers who played havoc with the selection process.
The students who ensured that controversial reservation policy gets scrapped are absolutely right in demanding that a high level inquiry committee should be formed to take note of the irregularities made in selections during last few years. The students need to be appreciated for their act of seeking relevant information in this regard under Right to Information Act. At present two officers from Yadav community are holding key positions in this office. Isn’t it highly shameful that students now treat Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission as ” Yadav Selection Commission”? Most of the bright students after completing the graduation go in for examinations conducted by Public Service Commission since selections to most of the the key administrative posts are made by it. Don’t these corrupt officials realize that by making selections in such arbitrary manner they are causing irreparable damage? First, they are destroying the future of genuine applicants, and second, they are paving way for incompetent people to act as government servants in future. What sort of decisions such government officials would make who got selected through such flawed process?
The reservation was introduced by makers of the Constitution for a specific period to enable marginalized castes attain a dignified position in the society. The sentiments of people, who introduced reservation, were really aimed at the welfare of weaker sections of society. However, that’s not the case now. It’s the most effective tool to destabilize societal structure. It’s the instrument to remain in power. It’s a weapon in the hands of dirty political minds to ensure that they remain relevant in political landscape. It’s high time courts and conscious citizens teach fitting lesson to corrupt political leaders and bureaucrats, who are demolishing the image of constitutional bodies.
Globalization Is A Great Leveller: Patterns Of Exploitation And Corruption Now Become Same In India And Peru!
Globalization has reduced differences in geographical terms. But, at the same time, it has also changed the geography in a crude way by mindless destruction of flora and fauna. The sad thing about whole affair is that the stories depicting better aspects of globalization do reach us regularly but the negative sides either get censored or, for that matter, fail to get extensive coverage. Just to take an example, the commercials promote McDonald’s pizzas and burgers but are there enough advertisements which highlight the negative effect of consuming them? Globalization believes in the fact that “all that glitters is gold”. It has nothing to do with pains of exploited workers who work in MNCs like a caged parrot, having no power to execute their discretion other than one serving the interests of global masters.
Sometimes back S Ambika, a 22 year old woman factory-worker, permanently employed at Nokia Telecom Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Sriperumbadur in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, got killed in a tragic way when she tried to repair the jam inside the loader machine. It proved to be fatal exercise for her since she was not a technician, but she still came to do that to meet the production targets. A wait for the technicians meant slowing the pace of production! That’s one of the stories, which reveal in sad way the plight of people working in MNCs.
Vaibhav Mani Tripathi, a by-product of Jawahar Lal University (JNU), in his research paper titled, “Democracy and globalization: Are they really compatible”, highlights the ways and means employed by the MNCs to ensure growth in democracies across the globe. ” In democracies of third world, which are new and have lesser degree of accountable governments; methods of bribery, and loot system were adopted by MNCs, in order to get established. By dealing in such ways MNCs get some illegal relaxations and manage to cut cost by getting cheapest labour and denying rules of pollution control etc. In democracies, which are most established and transparent, MNCs change their techniques. By promising high taxes and employment to countrymen, they demand for special industrial estates or special economic zones. This is the biggest irony of Globalization. They demand tax relaxations in order to get established and they promise government to pay huge aid for fighting poverty, pollution and social evils like AIDS!”
One having a close look at the progress stories of various countries, especially the nations trying to emerge as economic giants, one would find that exploitation of workers along with rapid destruction of ecological balance are the integral part of every such story! Before I contrast the happenings in two different countries, India and Peru, to highlight the woes of globalization, I wish to highlight grave tale of negligence which suggests that so-called progress is not only destroying cherished values but also destroying cultural artifacts. One of Belize’s largest Mayan pyramids, which remained in existence for more than 2,300 years, got destroyed by a construction crew involved in a road project.The company used the structure’s limestone walls as road fill! In fact, Time Magazine reports that “much of the monumental architecture at Belize’s San Estevan site, which dates back to 800 B.C., was bulldozed during the late 1990s to provide material for roads.”
From Belize in Central America, now, let’s move to Peru in South America to notice the impact of gold rush in amazon! The lust for gold in other nations keeps increasing but the heavy price other nations pays to satiate the lust never becomes subject of discussion in mainstream media. True, there is lack of jobs and illegal gold mining ensures survival of large number of families but then how can one ignore the dangerous consequences of deforestation in Amazon? A report issued by NASA says that ‘with the price of gold skyrocketing (360 percent in 10 years from 2001 to 2011), unlicensed miners began pouring into Peru’s Madre de Dios. They cleared 12,500 acres from the forest between 2003–2009. Landsat images showed local deforestation increasing at a rate of 26 percent per year.”
The report also highlights the fatal consequences of mercury used in the mining process. The extracts of mercury which after vaporization turn airborne contaminate the water resources, which later enter into the bodies of residents. A very recent study suggests “unsafe levels of the toxic metal in almost 80% of adults and 60% of fish sold at local markets” in Peru. The Peru’s mining department taking stern steps against illegal mining began raiding Madre de Dios. That has led to tense formation between miners, environmental activists and the authorities. However, it appears that such strict steps are now a necessity to reduce the loss of forest area in amazon, which has already lost 18,000 hectares. Needless to state, that Peruvian amazon is remarkable for its large degree of biodiversity.
India is also facing severe consequences caused by deforestation. One of the major causes of deforestation has been depletion of forests to extract minerals of various types. Expansion of agriculture, timber harvesting and shifting cultivation are some of the prime reasons for loss of forest area in India. However, another grim consequence has been displacement of tribal people, leading to militant movement like Naxalism. It establishes something quite well that pattern of exploitation in India and Peru is one and the same and in both the places original inhabitants are in direct conflict with the authorities. If Peru is tormented by illegal gold mining, India is haunted by illegal coal mining and diamond mining! The “Coalgate scam” has clearly revealed that how sensitive rulers of this nation have been while dealing with mineral resources of this nation. In other words, globalization has ensured huge profits for government and private bodies but the same profit never got distributed to tribal people-ones who were responsible for protecting these resources. On the contrary, they got displaced and faced bullets instead of receiving rewards for their indigenous efforts. Now if we see such developments in light of environmental issues, like erratic weather pattern in Indian subcontinent, the situation is pretty grim.
It’s good that people, the ones affected by government’s poorly planned projects, have learnt to come in conflict with the authorities. Nandigram bears testimony to the fact that the Special Economic Zones, not taking care of interests of people in judicious way, shall always meet fierce opposition from people. The farmers in Uttar Pradesh also entered in violent protests in year 2011 over land acquisition policy framed by the state government. The trend pattern involved is that big corporate houses either forcibly acquire the land or they come to acquire it in fraudulent means by keeping in dark the actual content of the deal. The Allahabad High Court staying Ganga Expressway project, expressed deep anguish the way it got initiated without having environmental clearance! This project involving JP Group required acquisition of huge lands situated in the alluvial belt and still no homework was done on part of state government.
One can notice that how rules get manipulated to benefit big corporations, caring a damn for the interests of people. In fact, the concerns related with environment also get neglected. It’s not hard to decipher that two nations even if they are situated in different continents could still exhibit similar pattern of exploitation and corruption. Globalization has not only roped in similar lifestyle patterns across the globe but also introduced identical methods of corruption. And who is the victim? The underprivileged, who never gets a chance to visit McDonald, who never gets a chance to buy gold ornaments, and who also never gets a chance to drive SUV on Expressways! Noam Chomsky sounds quite right when he says that ‘ Market discipline is perfect for poor people in El Salvador, or working mothers in the slums. They have to learn responsibility, but not the rich and the powerful. They have to be protected.”
“Democracy and globalization: Are they really compatible”- An article by Vaibhav Mani Tripathi in Aavartan.
Not much has changed in Middle East since my last conversation with Bill Kirkman in 2006. Israel and Palestine relations continue to remain tense even as US has given way to tactical shift in its policies aimed at bringing stability in that region. It has become more people oriented than relying absolutely on state-to-state negotiations.
Obama’s words make that aspect very clear– “Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see…..Look to the future that you want for your own children – a future in which a Jewish, democratic state is protected and accepted, for this time and for all time. … There will be many voices that say this change is not possible. But remember this: Israel is the most powerful country in this region. Israel has the unshakeable support of the most powerful country in the world. Israel has the wisdom to see the world as it is, but also the courage to see the world as it should be.”
It would be interesting to know the views which flowed between us as we discussed this very sensitive issue seven years back.
This has reference to Bill Kirkman’s article “A war that is morally indefensible“ published in The Hindu on August 06, 2006. Well, the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers by the Hamas and brutal murder of some of its soldiers by Hizballah were enough to fan the suppressed desires of Israeli. It’s time to acknowledge the fact that in war both the sides end up as losers. Let’s not intercept it as clash of civilization but clash of religious ideologies. However, it’s a harsh reality that none of the religious ideologies advocate violence but the fallacious interpretation of them by their followers leads to volcanic atmosphere. A situation which is cashed-in-on by the US and its like-minded allies to serve their vested interests. Unless the followers come to elevate their consciousness, it would be nothing sort of foolhardiness to expect miraculous changes in the future.
President Bush must heed to the words of Churchill: ” The statesman who yields to war fever ….is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” Surely, the way events have taken shape in Iraq, shattering American hopes one after another, should be enough for the US to intercept the dangers in pursuing imperialist designs in the name of restoration of human rights.
However, Americans love to ignore the lessons offered by past debacle. Had US remembered setback it received in Vietnam, it would have certainly curtailed its habit of pulling the strings of weaker nation on one pretext or another.
Words Of Bill Kirkman:
Thank you for writing. I was interested in your comments. I agree that in war both sides end up as losers. I take a very gloomy view of the future of West Asia.
About Bill Kirkman:
” He began his career as a journalist on the Wolverhampton Express & Star, which he joined on graduating from Oxford. Bill then moved on to The Times, where he was Africa Correspondent and Commonwealth Staff Correspondent in the early 1960s, covering the period of rapid de-colonisation. He is the author of Unscrambling an Empire (Chatto & Windus 1966) and has been a columnist for The Hindu since 1994. He was a frequent broadcaster with the BBC World Service and Africa Service in the 1960s, and with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire in the 1990s. In 1983 Bill was awarded the MBE for services to journalism…..Bill was Head of the University Careers Service from his arrival in Cambridge in 1968 until 1992 (following four years as Careers Advisor at Oxford) and University Advisor on Public Relations 1992-1996.”
Source: Wolfson College Cambridge
In Conversation With British Author Jeremy Seabrook: Analyzing The Sexual Beliefs In The Modern Indian Society!
I feel really privileged that few well-known established authors had some time saved for me as well as they came to express their views on some sensitive issues. The issue at hand ” The changing sexual beliefs in modern Indian society’ is a very sensitive in nature. The views which I have shared here in this article have already found place in various other articles but it would be interesting to inform the readers that they first appeared in this discussion with Jeremy Seabrook.
This has reference to Jeremy Seabrook’s article “Sex Education And The Free Market” published in The Statesman ( March 28, 2005). Unveiling the road-map for future, it’s evident that we cannot dispense with observance of better principles including those related with sexual attitudes. You ( read Jeremy Seabrook) have touched the issue in a thought-provoking manner, unfolding the requirements in an unambiguous style. However, having said that, there are missing elements as well, which I would like to highlight. The Indian society has always treated sex not as a taboo subject but considered it an essential element of balanced human life. This is why it finds place in four “Purusharthas” ( objectives) laid down in Hinduism as Kama; Dharma, Artha and Moksha being the other three objectives, which help the man to go up the ladder of evolution. It’s not very clear how did it come to attain its present distorted form.
One reason for it could be that long Muslim rule plus gradual inclination of Indian towards Victorian Ideals/perceptions during the British regime distanced them from its glorious aspects. While it’s true that taking refuge in Indian values cannot rescue impressionable minds from the mess, which has become part and parcel of the modern times, however, it could still be stated without doubt that had traces of Hindu ideals been altogether absent the damage would have been irreparable. If there is still a ray of hope, it’s only because Hindu ideals are still there doing what they have been doing since time immemorial- soaking the impurities without their lustre.
In nutshell, what I wish to state is that better results could be obtained by combining sex education with revival of past values. Sex education alone holds no meaning if it is not backed up by strong ideals. The issues you have touched has a very complicated angle as well. It’s a bitter truth that pornographic stuff helps us to relieve sexual tension, more so in age which keeps women at par with “use and throw objects”. Women liberalization movements may or may not have taught women to honour progressive ideals but it has certainly capped them with ability to use her body for commercial interests in the market-oriented world of ours. As a result their bodies no longer evoke innocent delight but feelings mired in sexual fantasies.
How can you expect these young minds to behave like “expert yogis’ adept in controlling their senses? Interestingly, adults themselves are surrounded by illusions of all sorts in these matters. Indeed, we are living in strange times. In my city, the prominent magazine corner lies adjacent to a theater showing “BF”. If that’s not enough, cast a glance around and eyes are soon going to intercept posters showing semi-clad women in suggestive postures.
Globalization has brought sea-change in our mannerism. Not only it has distanced us from finer values but also turned women into object of pleasure rather than turning them into instruments for attaining higher ends. The Western world has cleverly dumped its dubious habits in this country ( read India). Or, in other words, the Indians failed to borrow West’s glorious analytic abilities and instead zeroed-on their dark aspects to an extent that to many their bubble gum literature became the source of enlightenment. It may far fetched but it’s true that global powers have effectively projected woman’s false image to deviate Indian minds from higher concerns. Who knows they may have plans to shackle this nation again in their chains? Young minds, after all, they have no knowledge of corrupt practices of the adult world, are bound to collapse, being too inept to counteract its charms.
Against this backdrop, it’s not hard to imagine why pornographic magazines, X-rated movies, and etc. have bombarded the lives of young people. That’s why their unusual interest in these matters should not leave us in shock and awe. This is bound to happen since aping Western values has become the prestige issue for both middle and elite class, even if that means deterioration of Indian ethos. Let me make it very clear that I am not trying to legitimize the existence of pornographic materials in our society. On the contrary, I am of the opinion that cheap titillation of the senses should give way to deep and mature relationship between man and woman. In my eyes, this can never be achieved by roping in sex education. It demands more.
The dynamics between man and woman and society at large needs to be governed by refined and elevated principles-the hallmark of Indian ideals. Sex education does serve the purpose but in a flimsy manner. The perfect mantra for survival is possible only through tryst with Hinduism, or in secular terms, by once again establishing firm bond with the nation’s roots.
Jeremy Seabrook’s Viewpoint:
Many thanks for your e-mail message, which I much appreciated. Of course, I agree much of what you say- in the West also women have shifted from being drudges, servants and comforters of men to being sex-objects. This is not what I understand by liberation. On the other hand, the repression and subordination of women is also indefensible. And there is no possibility of going back to the past- to some degree the past can inform one’s values and ideas which can be carried forward, but it is irrecoverable.
It is not a happy position, and I don’t think many people would have chosen to be where we are now; but we have no choice but to start from here. These are all intractable questions, and there is no obvious way forward. That does not however, mean we should stop trying and seeking.
About Jeremy Seabrook:
My first book was The Unprivileged, 1967, the story of my own family, a path breaking oral history from the late 18th century to the 1960s. This was followed by City Close-Up, a portrait, through the words of the people, of Blackburn in Lancashire.
In the 1970s, I wrote What Went Wrong? Working People and the Ideals of the Labour Movement; a book which, when published in the USA, was sub-titled Why hasn’t Having More Made People Happier?
Mother and Son, a memoir, appeared in 1980, and an indictment of Thatcher’s Britain,Unemployment, in 1982.
Work on India and Bangladesh followed, notably, Notes from another India and Children of Other Worlds, a comparison of child labour in nineteenth century London and present-day Dhaka in Bangladesh. My book, Love in a Different Climate, described how male same-sex relationships in India differ from those in the West.
I have contributed to most major newspapers in Britain over the years, and have written for Granta. I am a regular contributor to New Internationalist – which has published three of my books in the last decade, most recently Consuming Cultures: Globalization and Local Lives. I write for Race and Class and Third World Resurgence, based in Penang, Malaysia.
More About Jeremy Seabrook:
“He became an associate honorary fellow at the University of Bradford’s Department of Peace Studies 1995 to 1998 and an associate at the Institute of Race Relations, UK, from 2004 onwards.
He has made several documentaries for BBC radio and TV on social, environmental and developmental issues.
Since 1963, Seabrook has written for publications including: New Society, the Guardian, the Times, the Independent, New Statesman, New Internationalist, Race and Class, Third World Resurgence, Third World Network and others.
He has also written over 40 books, including;
Travels in the Skin Trade – looking at the psychology of western men who travel to southeast Asia for sexual adventures (Pluto Press).
A World Growing Old – the implications of an ageing population, north and south (Pluto Press).”
Courtesy: The Guardian
1. Vaibhav Mani Tripathi: Democracy and globalization: Are they really compatible? ( An article published in “Aavartan” – A quarterly bilingual journal of academic activities in social sciences, environment and literary arena )
It’s a brilliant article which deals with the impact of globalization from many angles.
Excerpt from it:
” But the educational system what globalization promotes is focused in making technocrats so that they get huge work force with technical abilities. Democracy also needs well-educated people for its growth. But democratic societies flourish in a value based educational system and not a technology based system. The technology based educational system is result oriented and it has nothing to do with the values which human beings nurtured for generations so that they can live as human beings.”
2. Jeremy Seabrook: “Sex Education And The Free Market” published in The Statesman ( March 28, 2005).
सरबजीत की मौत बेहद दुखद खबर है। ये अलग बात है कि मुझे आश्चर्य नहीं हुआ। ये मौत सम्भावित थी। ये एक तयशुदा मौत थी। पकिस्तान जैसे कानून विहीन और अराजकता के शिखर पर स्थित देश के लिए किसी की मौत क्या मायने रख सकती है! वो तो केवल ओसामा बिन लादेन को शरण दे सकती है फूलप्रूफ। दाऊद इब्राहिम और अजहर महमूद को ही बेहतर पनाह दे सकती है। सरबजीत की हिफाज़त करके उसे क्या मिलता? लिहाजा सरबजीत का मरना तय था। कसाब और अफज़ल गुरु के फांसी लग जाने के बाद अन्दर ही अन्दर सुलगते पाकिस्तान के लिए सरबजीत से बेहतर बलि का बकरा तो कोई हो ही नहीं सकता था। सरबजीत की मौत तो उसी वक्त तय हो गयी थी जब पाकिस्तान समर्थित दो आतंकवादी कसाब और अफज़ल गुरु फांसी पे लटका दिए गए।
ये शान्ति वार्ता की नौटंकी, सरबजीत को माफ़ी देने की नौटंकी, उसका बेहतर इलाज़ कराने की नौटंकी ये सब आवरण उस कुटिलता को छुपाने के लिए था जिसकी झलक हर नज़र रखने वाले को साफ़ साफ़ दिख रही थी। सिर्फ ना देख पाने का भ्रम भारत की सरकार कर रही थी। खैर सरबजीत की मौत से एक बात तो साफ़ हुई। दो राष्ट्रों की राजनीति में मोहरे बनते है आम आदमी। जब मै राष्ट्र शब्द का इस्तेमाल कर रहा हो तो इसका मतलब ये नहीं है कि पाकिस्तान को मै एक राष्ट्र के रूप में देख रहा हूँ। ये एक राष्ट्र नहीं है। शैतानी लोगो का हुजूम है। शैतानी लोगो का भीड़ तंत्र है जहा पे राष्ट्रपति कोर्ट से भागकर नज़रबंद हो जाता है। खैर मै बता रहा था कि दो राष्ट्रों की दुश्मनी का शिकार सबसे कमज़ोर और मासूम लोग होते है।
कोई बताये सरबजीत का गुनाह क्या था कि पहले तो सोलह साल जेल में काटे बिना किसी गुनाह के और फिर इस तरह बर्बर मौत? उसकी मौत का जिम्मेदार कौन सा राष्ट्र ज्यादा है? रीढविहीन नेताओ के जरिए शान्ति की बात करता भारत या गुनाहों को साए में पलता पाकिस्तान? खैर एक बात तो समझ में आई की जेल में कैदियों को न्याय पाने की आशा से नहीं रखा जाता है बल्कि अक्सर सरकार की आँख की किरकरी बन चुके लोगो को चुपके से खत्म कर देने के लिए रखा जाता है। चूकि मौत पाकिस्तान में एक भारतीय की हुई है लिहाज़ा मानवाधिकार की वकालत करने वालो का ना भौकना लाजमी हो जाता है। ये तब भौकते है अगर भूले से कोई जम्मू कश्मीर में कोई भारतीय सैनिक के हाथो मारा जाता है। इनकी मुखरता तब देखते बनती है।
सरबजीत की आत्मा को शान्ति मिले। मेरी तरफ से यही विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि है सरकारी नौटंकी के इस दौर में। सबसे दुखद यही है कि मरते सिर्फ मासूम आदमी ही है। बिलखते है शोक संतप्त परिजन ही है। मुल्क के नेता तो हर अवसर को कैश कर लेते है। दुःख हो या सुख हर रास्ता सत्ता की तरफ ही मुड़ जाता है।
” तुमने जिस ख़ून को मक़्तल में दबाना चाहा
आज वह कूचा-ओ-बाज़ार में आ निकला है
कहीं शोला, कहीं नारा, कहीं पत्थर बनकर
ख़ून चलता है तो रूकता नहीं संगीनों से
सर उठाता है तो दबता नहीं आईनों से
जिस्म की मौत कोई मौत नहीं होती है
जिस्म मिट जाने से इन्सान नहीं मर जाते
धड़कनें रूकने से अरमान नहीं मर जाते
साँस थम जाने से ऐलान नहीं मर जाते
होंठ जम जाने से फ़रमान नहीं मर जाते
जिस्म की मौत कोई मौत नहीं होती “
Sadhvi Pragya Singh, the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, might not be the “Goose” which lays the golden eggs for secular media. After all, the “Hindu” tag makes one unworthy of eliciting conscious attention. Her sympathetic approach towards the causes related with Hindus have made her untouchable not only for the major political parties but also for the mainstream media obsessed with issues related with the minorities.
The article is not focused on elements associated with her involvement in Malegaon blast since they are sub judice but it’s a take on inhuman treatment meted out to her in name of having confession. It’s disgusting that barbaric methods used upon her went unnoticed. The mainstream media was highly conscious in pursuing the aspects related with Afzal, Kasab and many others in the same category, ensuring that their human rights do not get violated. It clamoured for their fair and just trial. However, the same zeal and enthusiasm was strikingly absent while dealing with issues pertaining to Sadhvi Pragya. On the contrary, the mainstream media was busy targeting the ghost of Hindu terrorism-the by-product of pervert secular minds.
Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer’s landmark judgement in Sunil Batra Vs Delhi Administration,1978, sets the basic principles pertaining to rights of prisoners quite emphatically: “No prisoner can be personally subjected to deprivation not necessitated by the fact of incarceration and the sentence of the court. All other freedoms belong to him to read and write, to exercise and recreation, to meditation and chant, to comforts like protection from extreme cold and heat, to freedom from indignities such as compulsory nudity, forced sodomy and other such unbearable vulgarity, to movement within the prison campus subject to requirements of discipline and security, to the minimal joys of self-expression, to acquire skills and techniques. A corollary of this ruling is the Right to Basic Minimum Needs necessary for the healthy maintenance of the body and development of the human mind. This umbrella of rights would include: Right to proper Accommodation, Hygienic living conditions, Wholesome diet, Clothing, Bedding, timely Medical Services, Rehabilitative and Treatment programmes.”
In fact, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer strongly asserted that “Convicts are not by mere reason of the conviction denuded of all the fundamental rights which they otherwise possess.” His sentiments are on par with principles established by many International bodies working for the restoration of human rights. “No one shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). The United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also echoes the same feelings: “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person” (UNICCPR, 1966).
It’s learnt that Sadhvi Pragya Singh was subjected to worst kind of animal treatment inside the boundaries of prison. She was shown porn movies, forced to consume non-vegetarian diet, and also mercilessly beaten naked. The severity of the inhuman treatment reached its crescendo just because she represented a Hindu organisation! Can you imagine this sort of treatment to any top leader representing minorities? One prominent leader belonging to minority community, known for his penchant for issuing bogus fatwas, has many criminal cases pending against him but he is roaming scot-free. Can our criminal justice system dare to deal with such absconders the same way? In fact, even the Hindu organizations are guilty of misfortune which has become fate of Sadhvi Pragya. If the Hindu organizations are so interested in restoring the dignity and self-respect of Hindu community, then they should have a proper mechanism to save their workers/ volunteers from the onslaught of negative forces. However, that’s not the reality. These Hindu bodies like any other bodies are involved in petty politics. Or else, they would have left no stone unturned in highlighting the violation of International norms in case of Sadhvi Pragya.
Not many know that Sadhvi Pragya has been diagnosed with cancer (grade 3) and requires serious medication. Just few days back her condition deteriorated and she suffered partial paralysis to the left side of her body. Well, her fate now rests on the will of Lord. However, the treatment meted out to her exposed the flaws of criminal justice system functioning in India. The brutal treatment inflicted upon her does not surprise those who are aware that how our system operates, wherein a 10-year-old girl was put behind bars by women cops when she went to Police Station, along with her mother, to register a complaint against a local goon for allegedly raping her. The rights of the complainants or rights of the prisoners exist only on paper. This nation does not recognize the rights of an individual in practical terms. Anyway, Sahdhvi Pragya’s case also brought in open the real elements gone into the making of organisations representing the cause of Hindu. They are involved more in dirty politics than working for the cause of Hindus in determined way. Let’s learn to honour the dignity of people of substance to make this great nation move ahead with right set of values.