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We talked with Palash Biswas, an editor for Indian Express in Kolkata today also. He urged that there must a transnational disaster management mechanism to avert such scale disaster in the Himalayas.




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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Indian HOME Ministry DEDICATED to WASHINGTON! How Indira Gandhi Would have Made Us Proud as US, UK and Israeli Security Agencies RUSH to INDIA!War i

Indian HOME Ministry DEDICATED to WASHINGTON! How Indira Gandhi Would have Made Us Proud as US, UK and Israeli Security Agencies RUSH to INDIA!War in the COLONY Escalates, So Escalates SUPPORT LINE of War against Terror as well as Terrorism! Innocent Indigenous Masses have to Pay DEARLY , Politically as well as ECONOMICALLY!

Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams: Chapter 115

Palash Biswas

Mumbai siege turns political
(01:06) Report
Nov 30 - The political fallout begins as Indians count the cost of a three-day siege by Islamist militants in Mumbai. Home Minister Shivraj Patil submits his letter of resignation.

Benet Allen reports.

U.S. help as India boosts security
(02:04) Report
Nov. 29 - U.S. extends full assistance to India as security is stepped up in Agra - home of the Taj Mahal and famous tourist destination - after Mumbai attacks.

Condemning the terror attack in Mumbai, David Mulford, the United States Ambassador in India confirmed that six Americans had lost their lives.

Neena Dhaun reports.

Soundbite:David Mulford, U.S. Ambassador.

Pakistan not behind attacks - Farooq
(01:58) Report
Nov 30 - Farooq Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said on Saturday he believed the Pakistan government was not behind the attacks in Mumbai.

An ANI Report.

Mumbai police declare siege over
(01:44) Report
Nov. 29 - Commandos began the last assault early Saturday to end three days of fighting that has claimed at least 195 lives and wounded approximately 295 people.

Indian police say 10 militants had arrived in Mumbai for the attacks, 9 have been killed and one is in police custody.

Indian commandos killed the last Islamist gunmen holed up at Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel on Saturday, ending a three-day battle at landmarks across India's financial capital that killed at least 195 people.

Neena Dhaun reports.

Mumbai pays tribute to ATS chief
(02:10) Report
Nov 29 - Huge crowds, including policemen and politicians, gathered in Mumbai on Saturday to pay tribute to Anti Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare who died in the attack.

An ANI Report

Mumbai's three-day ordeal ends
(01:06) Report
Nov 29 - Commandos killed the last Islamist gunmen holed up at Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel on Saturday, ending a three-day battle at landmarks across India's financial capital that killed at least 155 people.

An ANI Report

Coastal security to be tightened
(01:43) Report
Nov 29 - Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil said on Friday that coastal security will be tightened in the wake of the militant attacks on Mumbai.

An ANI Report

Attacks may halt India test tour:PCB
(01:40) Report
Nov 29 - Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ejaz Butt said on Friday the attacks in Mumbai have badly hit chances of India undertaking a test tour of Pakistan in January.

An ANI Report

New York mourns killed rabbi
(02:04) Report
Nov. 28 - A New York-based rabbi and his wife were killed in the siege of a Jewish center in Mumbai.

The couple's 18-month old son was rescued. Fred Katayama reports.


Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman, educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch movement;
Yeshaya Spielman, nephew of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai;
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman, education and social services arm, Chabad-Lubavitch movement; Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Fred Katayama, Reuters.

Mumbai victims mourned in U.S.
(01:43) Report
Nov. 28 - Among those killed in the Mumbai attacks were two Americans who were on a meditation retreat with a Virginia ashram, called the Synchronicity Foundation.

The attackers have not precisely spelled out the reasons and aims for the assault. But it has raised new tension between India and its old foe Pakistan.

Jon Decker reports.


Bobbie Garvey, vice president, Synchonicity Foundation;
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan Foreign Minister

Hostages die at Mumbai Jewish centre
(01:20) Report
Nov. 28 - The bodies of five hostages have been found at the besieged Jewish centre in Mumbai after Indian security forces stormed the building.

Just before before dusk, commandos blew up an outer wall of the centre as they made their final assault on the building where gunmen were holding several Israeli hostages. At least 13 foreigners are among more than 120 people killed in a series of coordinated attacks on India's financial capital.Helen Long reports.

India blames Pakistan "elements"
(03:15) Report
Nov 28 - India blamed "elements" from Pakistan on Friday for the assault on Mumbai.

"Preliminary evidence, prima facie evidence, indicates elements with links to Pakistan are involved," Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told a news conference on Friday.An ANI Report

Indian HOME Ministry DEDICATED to WASHINGTON! How Indira Gandhi Would have Made Us Proud as US, UK and Israeli Security Agencies RUSH to INDIA!War in the COLONY Escalates, So Escalates SUPPORT LINE of War against Terror as well as Terrorism! Innocent Indigenous Masses have to Pay DEARLY , Politically as well as ECONOMICALLY!Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram will leave his job to become India's new home minister after the resignation of Shivraj Patil in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, the government said on Sunday.Widely criticised after a series of earlier bombings, Patil resigned the day after commandos ended a three-day rampage in financial capital, Mumbai, which killed nearly 200 people and triggered anger across the country.

Railway minister Lalu Prasad on Sunday said Shivraj Patil's resignation as home minister over the Mumbai terrorist attack came "very late".

The terrorists’ action has struck at the heart of a city that is the engine room of an economic boom that has made India a favourite emerging market! And Dr Manmohan Singh decides to take over the Finance Ministry himself replacing the Home Minister with the Finance Minister!Singh, who directly involved himself in tackling the impact of the global credit crisis on the Indian economy is known as the architect of reforms that transformed the Indian economy! In other words, he may be defined DISASTER MASTER who created KILLING FIELDS for the Majority Indigenous People depriving them of life, liberty and livelihood in every corner of our Mother land in his quest for AMERICANIZATION. Americanisation coupled with HINDUISATION makes an unprecedented Chemistry of DEATH and Disaster! How far he defends Corporate MNC Builder Promoter and US interests is apparent from the reactions of India INCs!Industry has welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking charge of the Finance Ministry after P Chidambaram was appointed Home Minister!Prime Minister directly involved himself in tackling the impact of the global credit crisis on the Indian economy. Amidst pressure on the exchange rate and crash in the stock market in the wake of the developments in Wall Street, Singh had appointed a committee under his charge to find a way out of the economic challenges.Singh had gone to Washington to attend the G-20 meeting called by US President George W. Bush, where he sought increased role of the developing countries in the new financial architecture after the global downturn.

New Delhi said it was raising security to a "war level" and had proof of a Pakistani link to the attacks, which unleashed anger at home over the intelligence failure and delayed response to frenzied violence that paralysed India's financial capital.

Officials in Islamabad have warned any escalation would force it to divert troops to the Indian border and away from a U.S.-led anti-militant campaign on the Afghan frontier.

Newspaper commentaries blasted politicians for failing to prevent the attacks and for taking advantage of its fallout before voting in Delhi on Saturday and national polls due by May.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said earlier he believed that a group based outside India was behind the killings and senior Indian politicians have said the only surviving gunman to be captured is from Pakistan.

A claim of responsibility for this week's attacks was made by a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen - a reference to a mainly Muslim region of India.

According to a statement leaked to Indian newspapers, the one alleged militant captured alive, named as Azam Amir Qasab, said the Mumbai militants had received training from an Islamist group once backed by Pakistani intelligence, Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Pakistan banned the group in 2002 at US insistence.

Indian accusations of a Pakistani link to the attacks on Mumbai that killed nearly 200 people threaten to damage attempts to improve ties between the rivals.

P Chidambaram as home minister (HM) and his finance portfolio going to Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh will boost investors' confidence and stock markets will take it positively, bankers, analysts, investors said on Sunday. Amid reports that Mr Chidambaram is replacing Mr Shivraj Patil, who this morning resigned as Home Minister in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks, a cross-section of bankers and market experts said that the investors' confidence should go up and financial markets should bounce back. Some others felt that shuffling would not make much difference and the markets will essentially follow the global market, which closed the week on a high.

We know all the story about how DR Manmohan Singh was planted as Finance Minister in Nara Simha Rao Cabinet thanks to the Crisis of Balance of Payment! Since then World Bank has made Indian ECONOMY Enslaved HOSTAGE Eterenal! We all Know how the Government of India and the Brahaminical hegemony work together on Washington Dictation! All the Key Characters of GOI DR Manamohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram and Planning Commission Chairman Montek Singh Ramoowalia had worked on different positions for the US controlled Global Financial Institutions including World Bank, IMF, UNESCO, WTO, GATT and ADA! In between, Narasimha and Manmohan Governments four had been three governments respectively led by Atal bihari Vajpayee(two times), Devegauda and Indra Kumar Gujral. Marxists are involved in COALITION since 1977 from outside. Political dealing for the Elite Brahaminical Hegemony as well as the Three Leftist Governments in Marxist States of West Bengal, Kerala and tripura had been the key IDEOLOGY as well as Strategy for Indian Marxists all these three decades! The Political and Economic agenda had been the same all these years. Since Neoliberalism introduced LPG Policies have been implemented by the Cntre and State Governments irrespective of Political colors. Meanwhile, Bengali Elite Brahmins like De facto Prime Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Somnath Chatterjee and Buddhadeb Bhattachary captured the centre Stage of regimented hegemony Politics. But the ECONOMY always remained in Dr Manmohan singh and chidambarm`s control!

What happened now? Shiv Raj Pati has proved himself WORTHLESS since the first day he was Sworn In! but the MUMBAI ATTACK involved western countries like USA, UK, FRANCE, GDR, Australia. M ore over ISRAEL was targeted in Nariman House. US, UK and Israeli Security Agencies rush to India! Those foreign Nationals killed in the Most Aweful terrorist Attack in India, include some CIA officers also. How were they allowed, this is also a Mystery unsolved as the involvement of Army Officers in service have been said to be involved with Hindu Terrorism. Some Foreign nationals including a few from United states of america and israel have been killed in Mumbai Attack! How could the Mome ministery may be left Independent out of US Control?

Indian officials have said most, perhaps all, of the 10 attackers who held Mumbai hostage with frenzied attacks using assault rifles and grenades came from Pakistan, a Muslim nation carved out of Hindu-majority India in 1947.

An official in Islamabad said the next one to two days would be crucial for relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours. Pakistan has condemned the assaults and denied any involvement by state agencies.

After a final battle between militants and security forces inside the Taj Mahal, Mumbai's best-known hotel, a crowd of protesters outside pumped their fists and shouted "Our soldiers came and Pakistan ran away".

A senior Pakistani security official said Islamabad would divert troops to its border with India and away from fighting militants on the Afghan frontier if the tension spilled over.

"If something happens on that front, the war on terror won't be our priority," the official told reporters at a briefing.

"We'll take out everything from the western border. We won't leave anything there."

Elite Black Cat commandos killed the last of the gunmen on Saturday after three days of room-to-room battling inside the Taj Mahal, one of several landmarks struck in co-ordinated attacks on Wednesday night.

India's economy witnessed sizzling growth in the past four years, averaging nearly 9 percent, but expansion is expected to slow to around 7 percent in the current financial year to March 2009.Chidambaram, who had strongly pushed a pro-growth agenda, faced huge challenges this fiscal year as inflation soared to nearly 13 percent in early August, driven up by surging prices of commodities and oil.
A few months later, the global financial crisis hit the Indian economy and forced policymakers to slash interest rates and banks' reserve requirements to protect growth.

Israel sends defense, forensics men to Mumbai!

A representative of the Israeli Defense Ministry and a person from the Shin Bet security service are coming to India to assist with investigation of Mumbai attacks!

Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem says at least seven Israelis were killed at a Jewish centre targeted by the assailants.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says a forensics team will leave Sunday for Mumbai to help identify the bodies of the Israelis. An Israeli air force plane is to fly the team to India and return with the bodies.

On the other hand, the seven-member team of the FBI, which arrived on Sunday in a special aircraft in Mumbai in the backdrop of recent terror strikes, was detained due to miscommunication between Delhi and Mumbai airport officials.

According to official sources, the US investigation agency team had come with special forensic equipment that is prohibited. However, senior officers later rushed to the spot and resolved the matter.

Five of the FBI officers have already come out of the Mumbai airport while the remaining two will be procuring their equipment back before coming out.

The Prime Minister's Office on Sunday scotched speculation about National Security Adviser M K Narayanan quitting in the wake of terror strikes in Mumbai.Earlier, reports suggested that Narayanan on Sunday submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following the terror attacks in Mumbai, and that the PM had not decided to accept the resignation.

Tensions between India and Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks and threats to move troops to the border between the nuclear rivals are unlikely to lead to a flashpoint, analysts said on Sunday.

But the United States could get ensnared in the row and it may prove to be a setback in the war on Islamic radicals on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, they said.

"Relationships between the two countries will deteriorate," said Kuldip Nayar, a veteran commentator on India-Pakistan ties.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, whose wife Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by Islamist militants last year, vowed to crack down if given proof.

But security officials in Islamabad said Pakistan would move troops from its western border with Afghanistan, where forces are battling al Qaeda and Taliban fighters as part of the U.S.-led campaign against militancy, to the Indian border if tension escalated.

The gunmen who attacked Mumbai killing at least 195 people wanted to go down in history for an Indian 9/11, and were also inspired by the bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, media reports said.

They had planned every detail, knew the layout of the Taj Mahal and Trident Oberoi hotels they targeted, had commando-style training and even had snacks such as dry fruit stuffed in their backpacks.

The capture of one of the militants, a clean-shaven, fluent English-speaking 21-year-old from Pakistan according to reports, has highlighted the ambitious plans of the Islamist group.

"The entire idea was to replicate the JW Marriott at the Taj," Times Now television reported, quoting a defence official present at the interrogation of Azam Amir Kasav.

He was referring to one of Pakistan's worst bomb attacks, when a lorry packed with explosives all but destroyed the hotel in Islamabad and killed at least 55 people in September.

"They wanted to reduce the symbols of economic strength to rubble, the Taj and Trident, so they cannot be rebuilt," Times Now said. "They talked of a 9/11 to bring down the buildings."

Their methods were different but the impact was huge.

During the first hours of the attacks at landmarks across Mumbai police seemed powerless. Top officials, including the head of the city's anti-terrorist force, were gunned down.

Rs4,000 cr loss incurred during Mumbai attacks!On Thursday the Bombay Stock Exchange, National Stock Exchange and Commodity exchanges were shut and many of the corporate offices had reported skeletal staff!Combined daily turnover of the BSE, NSE and the commodity exchanges is about Rs 32,710 crore.The attack on the city, which is also the entertainment hub of the country, has greatly affected the television and movie industry with a loss of about Rs10 crore, estimated during the last three days of terrorist attacks.

“At the recent HT Leadership Summit, the Prime Minister had listed several initiatives under consideration of the government. These include fiscal measures like expenditure on infrastructure and monetary steps such as interest rates. All these relate to the Finance Ministry, which has come under his charge directly,” FICCI Secretary General Amit Mitra said.Mitra said that Singh is the only one in the government who has served as Finance Minister, RBI Governor and Chief Economic Adviser.Singh was also Secretary (Economic Affairs) and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

The local disaster control room in Mumbai said at least 195 people had been killed, the death toll rising as bodies were collected from the luxury Taj and nearby Trident-Oberoi hotels!

Bajaj Auto Chairman Rahul Bajaj said he was not worried over the Prime Minister getting burden on account of the extra charge of the Finance Ministry.
“We don’t have anybody in India who can be the Finance Minister, other than the Prime Minister,” he said.
Godrej Group Chairman and Managing Director Adi Godrej said that there are right kind of bureaucrats who can assist the Prime Minister, who need not feel the extra burden.
On his expectations from the Prime Minister holding extra portfolio of finance, Godrej said: “ Credit should be liberalised.”
He said that tax incentives should be given to industry like real estate, construction and automobile, which are been affected by the demand slowdown.

"War level" security in India after Mumbai attacks

India will increase security in the country and on its borders to a "war level" in the wake of the deadly attacks in Mumbai that killed nearly 200 people, a government minister said on Sunday.

"Our intelligence will be increased to a war level, we are asking the state governments to increase security to a war level," Sriprakash Jaiswal, India's minister of state for home affairs, told Reuters in an interview.

India said on Sunday it had proof of a Pakistani link to the Mumbai attacks, while officials in Islamabad said it would move troops to the Indian border if tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals spilled over.

"They can say what they want, but we have no doubt that the terrorists had come from Pakistan," Jaiswal said.

India has already boosted coastal security with the Indian Navy and the coast guard carrying out coordination patrols.

The Mumbai attackers are said to have come to the city by sea from the Pakistani port of Karachi, according to security officials.

They have said they were from the Lashkar-e-Taiba a Pakistan-based group that has been blamed for previous attacks in India.

"We have evidence of their nationalities. We will reveal everything soon," Jaiswal added.

PM moots more NSG hubs, collective approach to deal with terror
In the wake of deadly terror strikes in Mumbai, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the political class of the country should give a message of collective approach in dealing with the situation.

Initiating discussion at the all-party meeting convened to discuss the situation arising out of the Mumbai attacks, Singh expressed confidence that the meeting "will be able to give our collective assurance to the nation that across the political spectrum we stand together at this hour." The Prime Minister said all parties should think beyond political gains and losses and think in the interest of the nation.

The meeting was attended by leaders of all parties. Senior BJP leader L K Advani and party president Rajnath Singh did not attend the crucial meeting, with their party saying they were away campaigning in Rajasthan and could not reach here in time.

Singh called the meeting to discuss common approach to deal with the problem of terror, which may include tightening the law.

The Prime Minister has already emphasised the immediate need to set up a Federal Investigation Agency to go after terrorist crimes like the one in Mumbai and ensure that the guilty are brought to book.

The PM said that maritime, air security would be further strengthened, and anti terror forces would be streamlined.

The PM also mooted the setting up of four NSG hubs across the country to protect metro cities.

The Prime Minister had asserted that "the strongest possible measures" would be taken in the fight against terror including the use of the National Security Act (NSA).

While the NSA would be invoked to deal with situations of this kind, the existing laws would be tightened to ensure that there were no loopholes available to terrorists to escape the clutches of the law, he had said.

The meeting has come at a time when the Opposition was targeting the Congress-led coalition at the Centre for not being serious about tackling terror.

As per the GDP data, the farm sector growth rate slipped to 2.9% during the first half from 4.5% in the corresponding period last year!

The attacks were carried out by at least 10 young men armed with rifles and grenades, some of whom arrived by sea, who fanned out across Mumbai on Wednesday night to attack sites popular with tourists and business executives. Of these nine had been killed, Indian police said.

Authorities said 18 foreigners were among the dead. At least 283 people were wounded.Three Germans, five Americans, one Australian, a Briton, one Canadian, two French, an Israeli, an Italian, a Japanese, a Singaporean and a Thai, were among the dead, according to various governments.

The operation to flush out terrorists from Taj Hotel is over, signalling an end to the 62-hour siege by terrorists three of whom were killed on Saturday morning in an assault by the elite commandos of NSG!Indian commandos killed the last Islamist terrorist holed up at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel on Saturday, ending a three-day battle at landmarks across India’s financial capital that killed at least 195 people.The gunmen had set parts of the hotel ablaze as they played cat and mouse with scores of India’s best-trained commandos, known as the Black Cats.

Ratan Tata, the chairman of the Tata Group of companies which owns the hotel, arrived at the premises later in the morning. He may be shocked by what he finds when he is finally let inside. It is a DOUBLE Shock for RATAN Tata who had to RELOCATE his DREAM PROJECT Nano from West Bengal due to Singur Insurrection. Thta time he balmed MS Mamat Bannerjee singling her out! Whom does he blame, let us see!Nevrtheless,The Taj Mahal was the last battleground after three days of intense fighting in various parts of the city of 18 million.

India blamed the strike on “elements” from Pakistan! TV Channells are engaged in Live Telecast round the clock to present Evidenses of Pak Involvement creating a Rare Moment of Blind Nationalism and WAR Psyhe suicidal!Pakistan said the two countries faced a common enemy and it would send a representative of its spy agency to share intelligence.But Islamabad backtracked from an earlier promise to send the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), a move unlikely to calm Indian tempers and raise fresh questions about who is in charge of the shadowy agency.

The arrested man has confessed to being a member of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group, which has long fought Indian forces in Kashmir and was blamed for an attack on India’s parliament in December 2001, newspapers said.But Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi struck a conciliatory note and promised full cooperation.

Chettiar Gang led by P chidambaram, Finmin,RBI and Planning Commission diverted National revenue and Public Money to feed the Corporate MNC Builder Zionist Money machine bypassing Indian Parliament and Constitution to deal with global hegemony!

Thus, no one was more suitable to US corporate Zionist Interests in India than P chidambaram while he never proved a little bit Interactive to deal with the Indian Democracy, Demography, People, Geopolitics and Internal Security !

In fact, it is not a question of Internal security, Sovereignity, Freedom, Integrity or unity at all. It is the single question to be answered involved to INTACT US Loyality. As Washingto chose a Finance Minister in Nara simha government, in the same way, Chidambaram replaces Shiv Raj Patil! Clear?

Finance Minister P Chidambaram was on Sunday appointed Home Minister after incumbent Shivraj V Patil resigned owing moral responsibility for the Mumbai terror attacks, the worst the country had seen. 63-year-old Chidambaram, who has had a stint as Minister of Internal Security under the late Rajiv Gandhi in late 1980s, was shifted to the Home Ministry after demands for the ouster of Patil, who had come under severe attack for his handling of internal security matters.

Once again, Dr Manmohan Singh run by Italian REMOTE Sonia Gandhi, holds the FINANCE Ministery. Globalisation was never threatened before the current Melt Down which led a person like War Monger George Bush to adopt socialits ways to avoid Recession imminent! DR Singh is the Rightmost choice as he led India into the MINES Field of LPG! He is the man responsible to shift the war Zone from Middle east to Indian Ocean Region with Strategic realliance in US Lead and SIGNING Indo US Nuclear Deal!

Indo US Ruling Class coupulation and Pro AMERICANISM has made India pay so dearly! The Ruling Hegemony formally invited AL Quaeda to Strike India as Government of India made it more than SURE that India Became a COLONY of United States of America. Mumbai Attack confirms the WAR ZONE sttus of Indian Ocean. The WAR and CIVIL WAR in Indian COLONY of United States of America Escalates. escalates the War against Terrorism right into our Heart. Hence, we helpless Indian People are made to pay the Price with our BLOOD and LIFE. If not Terrorism, it is the STATE Terrorism of Open market and globalisation, privatisation, liberalisation kill us EN MASSE! Thus,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself an economist of repute for PRO US Loyality and Mindset, will hold the Finance portfolio at a time when the country is suffering from the ripple effects of the global recession. Singh had held the Finance portfolio for five years under the late P.V.Narasimha Rao.

A Rashtrapati Bhawan communique announced the appointment of Chidambaram as Home Minister after acceptance of Patil's resignation. It said the Prime Minister will hold the additional charge of Finance.

Indian industry, which made a strong demand for "tougher laws" and "stronger and firmer leadership" to tackle terrorism, today hailed P Chidambaram's appointment as the Home Minister, saying he can provide the right kind of leadership to tackle the menace.Chidambaram replaces Shivraj Patil, who quit as the Home Minister. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has retained the Finance portfolio. Chidambaram was earlier Minister of state for Internal Security in Rajiv Gandhi's government.

"Chidambaram has done extremely well as Finance Minister and we are sure he will be equally successful in improving the internal security," said Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat.

President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Ganesh K Gupta, who is "personally anguished" at the killing of "innocent people" in Mumbai attack, said Chidambaram would provide the right kind of leadership required to deal with the internal security.

FICCI President Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who had actually voiced the demand for a "stronger and firmer leadership" to tackle the threat of terrorism, felt that the country did need a dynamic leadership.

India Inc has acknowledged Chidambaram's contribution in steering the economy to a high growth trajectory and coming out with right kind of policy responses to the challenges posed by the global crisis.

Indications that Chidambaram would be given the new responsibility came when he was called as a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) last night and he met the Prime Minister this morning to discuss the situation arising out of the Mumbai terror attacks. After recommending Patil's resignation to President Pratibha Patil, who is away in Indonesia, the Prime Minister spoke to Chidambaram formally conveying the decision to give him the new assignment.

The appointment also came hours before the start of the all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister to discuss the Mumbai attacks and evolve a consensus on how to combat terror.

“The market should bounce back. The Prime Minister (who according to reports is expected to keep the Finance) has a proven track record of being a good finance minister and with the UPA top guy Mr Chidambaram taking over the home ministry, the investors' confidence will improve,” Taurus Mutual Fund Managing Director, Mr R K Gupta said.

UCO Bank's CMD, Mr S K Goel said, “Today the priority is internal security and Mr Chidambaram being a competent person would restore the confidence of the common man in the government”.

“He has already set tone and tenor for the progress of financial sector so I do not think that his successor would have any problem in carrying forward the agenda.”
Echoing the sentiments, Bank of Baroda CMD, Mr M D Mallya said, “Mr Manmohan Singh is known as the architect of the reform process. Therefore, there is no concern for banking sector. Things would progress seamlessly as they have been in past.”
However, Mr Paras Bothra of Askiha Stock Brokers and Mr Rajesh Jain of SMC Global felt that the shuffling would not make much difference and stock market will open flat on Monday and take the global cues.
Bush pledges "full support" as India recovers from crisis
Pledging “full support” to India as it recovers from the deadly terror strikes on Mumbai, US President George W Bush today said the strength and resilience of the people of the country will enable them to “withstand the trial”.
Terrorists will not have the last word and the financial capital of India will continue to be the “centre of commerce and prosperity,” Bush said at the South Lawn of the White House upon his return from Camp David here today.
“We pledge the full support of the United States as India investigates these attacks, brings the guilty to justice and sustains its democratic way of life,” he said.
Asserting that terrorists will not have the last word, Bush said Indians can count on the support of the US as they recover from the crisis.
“The killers struck this week in a brutal and violent manner, but terror will not have the final word. People of India are resilient and strong. They have built a vibrant, multi-ethnic democracy and can withstand this trial. Their financial capital Mumbai would continue to be the centre of commerce and prosperity,” he said.
“As the people of the world’s largest democracy recover from these attacks, they can count on the world’s oldest democracy to stand by their side,” he added.
Bush, who had spoken to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday, said the leaders of India can know that the nations around the world support them “in the face of this assault on human dignity”.
H1 growth at 7.8% ‘healthy & satisfactory’: Chidambaram
In the backdrop of the global financial meltdown, the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has described India’s economic growth rate of 7.8% during the first half of 2008-09 as ‘healthy and satisfactory’.
“The first half growth rate at 7.8% is a satisfactory and healthy growth rate with regard to the global slowdown”, he said while commenting on the economic data released by the government earlier in the day.
The Minister, however, admitted that manufacturing sector remains a problem area. The manufacturing sector output nearly halved to 5.3% from 10.1% during the first half of the previous fiscal.
The other problem areas include electricity, gas and water supply group which too witnessed a deceleration of growth to 3.1% in the first half of 2008-09 compared with 7.4% during the first half of the last fiscal.
He said that the government will also look into the issues of certain sectors like textiles, gems and jewellery, marine products, hotel, financing and real estate.
Asked about the farm sector, Chidambaram said: “The agriculture and allied sector is expected to do well during the second half of the fiscal.”
As per the GDP data, the farm sector growth rate slipped to 2.9% during the first half from 4.5% in the corresponding period last year.
The GDP data released by the government earlier revealed that GDP during the first half slipped to 7.8% from 9.3%, while growth rate in the second quarter worked out to be 7.6%, down from 9.3% during the same period last year.
Prices will come down in normal course: Montek
In view of declining inflation and recessionary conditions, the Planning Commission expects industry to cut prices in the normal course to battle economic slowdown.
“Let me assure you that inflation is coming down and in recessionary circumstances, industry will automatically soften prices,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said.
Inflation, measured by movement in wholesale prices, after a gap of five months came to a single digit of 8.98% for the week ending 1 November.
Pointing out that prices rise significantly when demand is very strong, he said: “I don’t expect prices to be a problem in the next six months.”
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram yesterday asked automobile manufacturers, realty firms and airlines to cut prices to deal with the slowdown.
“Hotels must cut tariffs, airlines, car makers and two-wheeler makers must cut prices and real estate (realtors) must cut rates of apartments and homes they sell,” Chidambaram had said.
However, the finance minister’s request did not evoke a very positive response from companies with Rahul Bajaj, chairman Bajaj Auto, saying that the two-wheeler industry has a margin of about 4-5% only and in the near future they do not see any price cuts.
Realtors were also not far behind in saying no to price cuts. Realty leader DLF’s complained: “There are no takers for housing. Ideally, the interest rate should be around 7%.”
Although industry leaders were cautious, industry chambers backed the views of Chidambaram for price cuts.
CII President K.V. Kamath had said: “I am sure you will find a newer set of prices in most product categories,” while Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat opined Industry leaders will positively respond to the call given by the Finance Minister.
Who is Palaniappan Chidambaram?
NDTV Correspondent
Sunday, November 30, 2008 4:05 PM (New Delhi)
Age: 63 years (born September 16, 1945).
Belongs to: Kanadukathan in Sivaganga District of Tamil Nadu.
Important posts held: Till November 30, 2008, P Chidambaram held the post of Union Finance Minister. His most talked-about ministerial stint was as Finance Minister in the United Front government when he presented what was hailed as the Dream Budget in 1996. This was in a period when Chidambaram was out of the Congress.
In Congress regimes earlier, he was a junior minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government of 1984 and was Commerce Minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government.
Education: Chidambaram graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Presidency College in Chennai and then studied law at Law College, University of Madras, Chennai. He then obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1968.
Political career: One of the bright young brigade of professionals in politics of the Rajiv Gandhi era, Chidambaram was first elected to parliament as a Congress MP from Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu in 1984, and was re-elected in four consecutive General Elections till 1998. He lost in 1999 but was back again winning in 2004.
He served as minister on several portfolios in the Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao governments, but parted ways with the Congress in 1996 to join the breakaway faction of the Tamil Nadu Congress -- the Tamil Maanila Congress - born out of differences within the party on forming an alliance with J Jayalalitha's AIADMK.
The TMC joined the United Front coalition government after the 1996 general elections and Chidambaram became Union Finance Minister for the first time. The coalition lasted only two years.
Chidambaram left the TMC in 2001 and formed his own party, the Congress Jananayaka Peravai. In 2004 jut before the elections, he led his party back into the Congress. The TMC too had in the meantime, merged back into the Congress in 2002.
In 2004, Chidambaram was back as Finance Minister in the UPA government.
Economics: If Manmohan Singh is the father of Indian economic reforms, Chidambaram is the able successor. He has been extolled by economists and industrialists alike, first for his 1996-97 Dream Budget which envisaged disciplined government spending and large-scale tax reforms to contain India's fiscal deficit.
Chidambaram is an avowed believer in free trade, very popular with industry and can fairly deftly balance political imperatives with good economics.

UK 'must learn lessons of Mumbai'

Indian relations with Pakistan are fragile after accusations of links
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has told the BBC that anti-terror strategy in the UK will be reviewed as a result of the deadly attacks in Mumbai.
Sending condolences to the families of those who had been killed and injured, she said it was important for the UK to learn lessons to protect its interests.
At least 172 people died during the three-day siege in the Indian city.
Indian home minister Shivraj Patil's resignation letter referred to "owning moral responsibility" for the attacks.
National security adviser MK Narayanan has also tendered his resignation - it is not clear if this has been accepted.
About 10 militants are thought to have been involved in the assault which saw attacks in multiple locations including two hotels, a major railway station, a hospital and a Jewish centre.
It is fundamental to us in protecting our interests that the good relations between the two countries is maintained and carried out on a calm basis
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

Minister "quits" over Mumbai attacks
Tensions between India and Pakistan have increased after allegations that the militants had links there, although Islamabad officials have denied this.
Ms Smith told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that the attacks would "create a test for what has been the warming of relations between India and Pakistan".
She said: "It is fundamental to us in protecting our interests that the good relations between the two countries is maintained and carried out on a calm basis."
Pakistan's high commissioner to London, Wajid Hasan, said his country categorically denied any state involvement in the attacks.
He said it was a confused picture whether or not Pakistani nationals were involved and that it was important not to get involved in the "blame game".
The home secretary once again dismissed criticism of the ID card programme, arguing that it could help tackle the problem of would-be attackers having multiple identities.
She said the first ID cards had been delivered to foreign nationals last week.
'Brave staff'
Separately, British businessman Sir Gulam Noon, who had been staying at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, one of the Mumbai locations attacked, told the Andrew Marr programme of his lucky escape.
He said he had been staying on the third floor and had six people in his suite for dinner at the time when he heard the gun fire.
"I thought they were crackers at first from outside. It was the first time in four days we had not gone down to the restaurant.
"If we had I don't think would be here today."
The curry magnate paid tribute to the courage of staff at the hotel who put themselves at risk to save their guests.
"There were so many brave people, particularly the general manager who in the bargain lost his wife and two children. They were burned alive."

India directs anger at politicians after Mumbai attacks
Sun Nov 30, 2008 2:25pm IST Email | Print | Share| Single Page[-] Text [+]
1 of 1Full SizeBy Raju Gopalakrishnan
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indians blazed criticism against their political leaders on Sunday after the attacks in Mumbai which killed almost 200 people, saying their bickering and ineptness was at least partly responsible.
As commandos gunned down the last of the militants, TV channels were divided between covering the operations and an outpouring of venom against both the ruling Congress party-led coalition and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"These are the people who are responsible for the system," author and columnist Shoba De, a Mumbai resident, said on one talk show.
"The city would not have suffered the way it has had it not been for the complete and total abrogation of duty and the kind of negligence we've seen, the kind of indifference we've seen."
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil submitted his resignation to the prime minister on Sunday because of the attacks, the Congress party said.
But that may not be enough to satisfy critics.
"Our politicians fiddle as innocents die," the Times of India said in a front-page comment.
It said while the attacks engulfed Mumbai and hundreds were held hostage, saving them took precedence. Continued...

Agitation against Dow to intensify: Prakash
YAVATMAL: The ongoing agitation against multinational Dow Chemical company's proposed plant near Pune will be intensified if the Maharashtra government fails to drive them out, an RPI-BMS leader said.
Republican Party of India-Bahujan Maha Sangh (RPI-BMS) National President, Mr Prakash Ambedkar said that his party would lead an agitation against the company during the winter session of the state assembly at Nagpur.
The agitation will intensify if the state government does not oust them from the sacred land of saints, another RPI-BMS leader Mr Hanumantrao Upare said.
The state government has proposed to allot 100 acres of land in the valley of the sacred Indrayani and Bhima rivers for setting up the plant, Mr Upare said adding the plant would pollute the holy waters.
The factory would emit poisonous gases which are not only injurious to humans and animals but also a great threat to the environment and the long cherished cultural heritage, he said.
The warkari sect and villagers have already registered a strong protest and now the RPI-BMS combine would also take to the streets, Mr Upare said. - PTI
Rupee continues to fall as investors flee emerging markets
Mumbai: The rupee declined on Monday on signs that investors are taking money out of emerging markets as financial institutions worldwide face mounting credit market losses.
The currency extended two weeks of losses after data from the capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), showed overseas investors extended record sales of local equities.
Eight of the 10 most active currencies in Asia outside Japan fell on Monday as Asian stock indices dropped on speculation that demand for the region’s assets and exports is falling amid a deepening global economic slump.
“The rupee will face some more uncertainty and volatility in the short term,” said K.V. Mallik, treasurer at state-owned UCO Bank Ltd, in Kolkata. “Outflows from the equity market and import-related payments will keep some pressure on the rupee.”
The rupee weakened 0.1% to 50.10 a dollar as of the 5pm close in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It had touched an all-time low of 50.59 in intra-day trading on 20 November. The currency has lost 21.3% this year, the most since 1991.
Implied volatility on one-month dollar-rupee options rose on Monday to 26%, near the highest this month. Traders quote implied volatility, a gauge of expected swings in exchange rates, as part of pricing options.
The Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark index, the Sensex, lost 0.1% on Monday. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index declined 0.6%.
Investors based abroad pulled a record $4.27 billion (nearly Rs21,400 crore today) out of India’s equity and debt markets last month as the credit crisis escalated following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September. They sold $13.4 billion of shares this year, data provided by Sebi shows.
The rupee’s losses were curbed by speculation that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeks to limit declines that may stoke inflation. RBI’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen by almost $65 billion from a record $316.2 billion reached in May, indicating it has been selling dollars.
India’s inflation eased to 8.9%, the slowest in five months, in the first week of this month, the government had said on 20 November. Currency losses increase the cost of imported goods.
Offshore forward contracts showed bets for how far the rupee will weaken in the next month, were little changed.
Non-deliverable contracts showed an implied rate of Rs50.95 to the dollar, versus Rs51.05 on 21 November.
Forwards are agreements in which assets are bought and sold at current prices for future delivery. Indian rupee forwards traded overseas?are non-deliverable, meaning they are settled in dollars rather than the local currency.

Vancouver Sun
Pakistan says no troop build-up at India border
Antara - 1 hour ago
Islamabad, (ANTARA News) - Pakistan`s military said Sunday the country`s ceasefire with India was holding and there was no military build-up at the border in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
Mumbai attack: Kashmir govt employee detained Economic Times
Pakistan has blundered once again India Today - Reuters India - Times of India -
all 1,873 news articles » हिन्दी में »

Times Online
Terror on our doorsteps
Times of India - 21 hours ago
Terrible things, we think, always happen to other people. That's why victims of terror - the working-class blokes blown to pieces on a ramshackle city bus; the middle-class folks reduced to pulp on a suburban train; and the ragpicker killed by a bomb ...
Trained in Pak, terrorists just wanted to kill
Unpacking The Pixel Tehelka
Daily News & Analysis - International Herald Tribune - BBC News - Economic Times
all 9,800 news articles » हिन्दी में »

New York Times
Taj Hotels mourns death of its employees
Business Standard - 1 hour ago
PTI / Mumbai November 30, 2008, 18:26 IST Tatas-controlled Taj Hotels today condoled the death of 10 of its employees during the terrorist attacks on the hotel and said that adequate compensation would be provided to their families.
Full restoration of Taj may take a year Economic Times
Post-action, they came to see Taj but it looked different Financial Express
Bernama - Hindu - Times of India -
all 1,467 news articles »

NEWSMAKER-Ex-finance chief to lead India's war on militants
Reuters - 1 hour ago
By Surojit Gupta NEW DELHI, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Former finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, who led efforts to fend off the global financial crisis, now faces an even stiffer test -- rescuing India's government from the wreckage of the Mumbai ...
Chidambaram, a bold reformer Times of India
UPDATE 1-India's finmin to be new home minister Reuters India
Business Standard - Press Trust of India - - Andhra Cafe
all 58 news articles »

Sensex Up By 117.51 Pts; Nifty Gains 61.65 Pts
TopNews - 7 hours ago
The Sensex opened the week on a bearish note after JP Morgan slashed its profit outlook for the fiscal year ending March 2010 for HDFC Bank, ICICI and Axis Bank by between 10% to 30%.
Equities end with gains despite terror attack Hindu
4 out of 6 times after attacks, Sensex has opened low Economic Times
Hindu Business Line - Hindustan Times - Financial Express - Livemint
all 339 news articles » BOM:500180 - BOM:532215 - LON:JMI
A portal to help airlines monetise unsold inventory
Hindu - 3 hours ago
Chennai: Meet Mr Ananth Narasimhan, CEO,, who is happy that several of his online customers get tickets which are cheaper than the market price by 40 to 50 per cent.
Airlines cut down flights to and from Mumbai Economic Times
Flight ops in Mumbai hit Business Standard
Financial Express - TopNews - Indian Express -
all 142 news articles »

Two more Chandrayaan instruments to be activated in mid-December
Economic Times - 23 hours ago
BANGALORE: Two of the 10 remaining scientific instruments onboard India's first unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 will be activated in mid-December for conducting experiments while the spacecraft orbits over the moon during next two years, ...
‘ISRO needs more funds, staff for operations’ Express Buzz
ISRO adopts thermal management measures Hindu
BBC News - Times of India - Belleville News Democrat - Indian Express
all 78 news articles »

Twitter & The Web Play Crucial Role In Mumbai Terror Attacks Aftermath
ITProPortal - 28 Nov 2008
As Mumbai is reeling under the worst terrorist strike it has ever seen, people are thronging over the web to get latest updates and eyewitnesses of the unfolding drama, instead of turning on their TV sets.
Twitter comes of age with fast reports from the ground
Internet proves its worth in the Mumbai crisis Little About - TopNews - CNET News - CNN International
all 38 news articles »

Space scientists pay homage to Mumbai terror victims
Economic Times - 29 Nov 2008
BANGALORE: International space scientists and experts Saturday joined Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G. Madhavan Nair at a meet here in paying homage to the victims of terror attacks in Mumbai.
ISRO chief condemns Mumbai terror Hindu
Scientists call for joint fight against terrorism Express Buzz
IT Examiner - Times of India - - Economic Times
all 17 news articles »

India among 20 most dangerous places to visit
Press Trust of India - 4 hours ago - London, Nov 30 (PTI) The three-day long terror strike in its financial capital Mumbai has pushed India to be among the ...
Hindu - Times - BBC News
all 1,841 news articles »

The age of 'celebrity terrorism'
BBC News - 4 hours ago - By Paul Cornish Quite apart from the scores murdered and the hundreds injured, what the Mumbai terrorists really wanted ...
Hindu - Indian Express -
all 652 news articles »

NEWSMAKER-Ex-finance chief to lead India's war on militants
Reuters - all 58 news articles »

Two more Chandrayaan instruments to be activated in mid-December
Economic Times - all 78 news articles »

India decision hangs over England
BBC Sport - all 1,906 news articles » हिन्दी में »

Live Earth concert in Mumbai cancelled
Reuters India - all 68 news articles »

Assam bird flu due to migratory birds: Ramadoss
Hindu - all 53 news articles » हिन्दी में »

Terror on our doorsteps
Times of India - all 9,800 news articles »

Weekend Edition: India asks how much is too much - all 325 news articles »

Nariman to house of cards
Calcutta Telegraph - all 1,971 news articles »

Pak turns to China to ease tensions with India
Times - all 911 news articles »

Bachchan says media misrepresented his gun comment
Hindustan Times - all 100 news articles »


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US could get ensnared in the row and it may prove to be a setback in the war on radicals.Pay tributes | The Terrorists | Pak connection | Your views

PM calls for unity, announces anti-terror measures
Patil resigns, Chidambaram to be home minister
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1949 hrs IST
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1833 hrs IST
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1808 hrs IST
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0116 hrs IST
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Indians abroad worried but still positive
30 Nov 2008, 1825 hrs IST, PTI

About 79 % of Indians are optimistic about their financial condition for the coming year and 86 % feel positive about their job prospects.Full coverage of Mumbai attacks

Common man seeks answers after Mumbai attacks
India Inc welcomes Manmohan Singh taking FM charge
30 Nov 2008, 1926 hrs IST, PTI

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Govt failed to deal with the terror menace

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

VP Singh, Progressive Marxist West Bengal and Social Justice in Global Zionist White Brahaminical Hegemony and The Defence Against Terror stimulating

VP Singh, Progressive Marxist West Bengal and Social Justice in Global Zionist White Brahaminical Hegemony and The Defence Against Terror stimulating BLIND NATIONALISM, Brain Washing and Muslim Hatred!

Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams: Chapter 114

Palash Biswas

Mandal Commission - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Mr. VP Singh passed away

Former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, a pivotal figure in the Indian politics, passed away at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital on Thursday. India has lost a great patriot and builder of the nation. He was 77.

It is Brain Washing once again!

It is well played Mind control game once again!

Imperialism and fascism Justified!

Corporate FDI economy justified!

Nuclear Parks, strategic Re alliance in US Lead justified! Justified are SEZ, development for Displacement and destruction, Big Dams, Chemical Hubs, Retail Chain, VRS, ERS, Hire and FIRE, IT based Americanised Economy tagged global.

World Bank Rule justified!

Zionism Justified!

War against terrorism justified!

It is time for Narendra Modi to take over!

It is time for prime Minister waiting!

Raj thakre and bal Thakre did not dare to Encounter the Terror as they are known to lead the Hate campaign against North Indians!

it is time for Blind nationalism and Hindutva and RSS!

It is time for intense MUSLIM and DALIT Hatred.

It is time for Tribal annihilation.

It is all over RED and Saffron FASCISM speaking the Ultimate TRUTH!


No Clue! No Evidence!

But we are predestined to Die! To share the US Destiny! To enjoy ZIONISM!

I was in my PAARA in Sodepur, right into a ADDA before RAMOO`s Shop. Every one seemed to be thrilled with the Defence against TERROR STRIKE thanks to detailed PRINT and ELECTRONIC LIVE Coverage. The Rescue Operation was never witnessed so live. People were habitual to feel the Terror and watch the rescue in Hollywood films!TV News channels hit a all time Higher TRP rate certainly as the Video Game Playing, Chatting Generation Next was involved in a Crisis situation unprecedented. International connection involving so many foreign guests stranded in Taz, Oberoy and Nrimon was also a greater TRP item! Muslim Terrorism and the Role of Pakistan have become once again PASS TIME Topics sideling every other issue whatsoever important and vital!

The discussion was very hot. I believe, Entire India and Indian people are involved in such discussions everywhere.

I faced them in train, RLY stations and Market Places.

It is very hard to convince the Brainwashed People with ready made Mindset. Specially in West Bengal, where the Ruling Hegemony is Militarily regimented and the Impact is overwhelming. party cadres control every sort of discussions. Marxists here allow only those mass Movements or whatsoever resistance led by only CPIM!

A local lady interluded with a declaration most common, `I won`t Vote anyone this time’

`Why’. the question was asked in chorus.

`We are so UNSAFE. It happened in Mumbai. Next time it may occur in Kolkata. We may be Struck right at our Home! What`s the use of Any Government whatsoever? ‘ She answered.

The topic diverted to Politics immediately. Without any slightest Provocation. They discussed administrative failure of West Bengal government in dealing with Lalgarh Insurrection and Maoism. No one seemed a little bit sympathetic with tribal Indigenous grievances.

So detached they are!
So detached is the Mainstream!

We discuss Kashmir, Tamilnadu or North east as if they were FAR AWAY ISLANDS foreign! We have nothing to do with the People persecuted there!

We treat the Voices of DISSENT as Disintegration and the MASSES alien our Enemies for no justified cause! We never may be able to identify the Enemies of the Nation who speak PATRIOTISM and we surrender to them. But anyone speaking genuine grievances is recognised and spotted as Anti National, Extremist!

We never FEEL anything about AFPSA! We are not concerned with the Welfare of Minorities but we never see any wrong Branding them as terrorists or Extremists and advocating strong STATE, MILITARY SOLUTION and POTA like legislation!

We never face Police or Military Rule around us but plead for Military Rule and Police Rule in under previlege areas against ethnic minorities aboriginal and Indigenous! We emphasise National Security but never detect National and International, Global and galaxy Threats! We are never habitual to trace or spot Anti Nationals and they tend to become National Leaders and ICONS! We are disgusted with parliamentary system but do everything to gain in caste Discrimination based system and polity! We are never concerned with the health of Nature and Man! We support Nuclear energy and sing WORLD PEACE! We talk so much on Global warming and Environment but never think about those starving and displaced, all the aboriginal and indigenous communities.

VP Singh, indeed, had been out standing. He tried to tame Fascism! He allied with Marxists! He dared to challenge the Corporate Global Imperialism, Swiss bank accounts, International Weapon Industry and its Agents in Highest Sacred Places! He was the Prime Minister of India and ABDICATED for the best interest of OBCs. In this sense, he was a GREATER Leader than AMBEDKAR as far as the OBCs are concerned! We may hate him but we may not wipe out his presence in Indian politics as long as Lalu, Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilash Paswan, Mulayam singh Yadav, Uma Bharati, Mayawati, Ajit Jogi and the like people are Active in Indian politics! Even Dr Manmohan Singh is not a Hindu. He is a SIKH. VP opened the door for him!

I was noting and watching reactions of the people belonging to different spheres of life. No one was referring the background and causes of terrorism. No one sees anything wrong with the Ruling hegemony! No one seemed aware of Ethnic realities in India. Why should they be? Manusmriti is just like OXYZEN for sustenance! Globalisation, Liberalisation and privatisation are justified as mandatory for Development, Urbanisation and Industrialisation! I had to encounter the SUBHUMAN Psyche in Sub Urbans! All of these people believe in Money, Prosperity, Relax, Enjoyment, Adventure, Romance, Retail Chain, SEZ, FDI, Private services, Ideologies, Caste System, Untouchability, Apartheid, Metro Life, Partying, Affluence! you may not debate with them!

All of them Blind with nationalism and never recognise ethnic or nationality Identities!

All of them believe in the sanctity of Indian Armed force!

They would never be prepared to acknowledge the possibility of other stories. they would never be ready to discuss Malegaon despite boasting to be Marxists and Secular. Unlees the Foreign agencies from different countries invent the new stories for the real cause of the death and suffering of their own citizens!

We are never ready the face the TRUTH!

A committed Cadre well known in the locality exclaimed,`The Politicians and the Media persons should be THRASHED top to bottom whenever seen in PUBLIC!’

The general complaint was that Politics as well as media mislead the People and the Public opinion! They were sad that the security personnel's had to sacrifice their lives for security and political lapses. They complained that Media as well as Politics have become CORRUPT never before.

At this point,I just commented, ` Demise of VP Singh has been overlooked!’

The reaction was no less VIOLENT. Nearly everyone present exclaimed in chorus,` So, What? He manipulated the Politics with Mandal commission!’

It was a Caste Hindu Urban general reaction on the role of late VP Singh! It is not unexpected in West Bengal where the SC, ST and OBC people dare not to feel proud or even express their Caste Identities! West Bengal is a place where 41 percent of total population is OBC. They have got a state Minister in the Left front Government after our respected friend Anthropologist PASHUPATI MHATO pointed out in his article Bam Front Naa Brahamn Front, published in Anand Bazaar that ther had been no OBC minister in the Left fron Government. Mr MICAP was sworn in as a state minister very soon. You may not get caste certificate or Voter Identity card or Ration card without green signal from LC. caste Hindu Officers dealing the matter, it is never easy! You amy not hope Posting, Appointment or Promotion without being loyal to the ruling Hegemony. Reserved Quotas would remain alwys VACANT as Worthy Candidates are never available and ultimately the vacancies would have to be filled with General quota!

In India, the lists of classified matrimonial ads in the newspapers are almost endless. Caste is always mentioned, invariably. However, personal ads today also mention religious affiliations and professions. Doctors, engineers, even computer-software specialists are advertising in India for mates.

Social distinctions can still be discerned in modern India in many ways. Even a highly educated Brahmin physician (a Brahmin is a Hindu of the highest caste) wraps the wrist of a Sudra (or low-caste person) with a band of cloth before feeling for the patent's pulse. That way, the Brahmin will not to be "defiled" by touching the Sudra's skin. Low-caste people are forbidden to use the wells in villages that high-caste Brahmins use for fear they will pollute the water. A low-caste family is refused the right to bury a family member near their village, where both high and low castes live, because of a superstition that the dead person's ghost will haunt the high- caste people. And a Brahmin bachelor living in a state with only a few surviving Brahmin families has to wait for five long years while his parents search for a suitable mate of the same high caste as he.

The Left has been always most LOUD to support VP singh and Mandal commission report. ironically, West Bengal has not identified OBCs till this date!

The Aboriginal Indigenous SC, ST OBC and Minority Communities are never allowed any space in sphere of life in West Bengal.

Thus, VP Singh may be MOST RELEVANT in West Bengal than anywhere else!But the caste Hindu Media,intelligentsia and Civil Society are not interested to evaluate his role in details.

The fact that the 3500-year-old caste system should survive in India today almost defies comprehension. It has been an aberration of the Hindu psyche. Indians who use lofty rhetoric about progress, characterizing their society as "united in diversity," seem to be simply perpetuating the system of social gradation that has blighted so many lives.

Even the discussion on personalities like Dr Ambedkar, Harichand Guruchand Thakur, Jyoti Ba PHULE, Kanshiram, Mayawati, Social jsutice, Caste identities, BSP and BAMCEF, Dalit and tribal Literature, Reservation and Quota, Manusmriti and Brahminism, Human Rights and Civil Rights, Plight of refugees and minorities, Tribal rights, Jogendra Nath Mandal is DESPISED.

My Maoist Marxist Friends brand me EXTREMIST as I raise these Issues continuously. And I am not a REPUTED person with Good name in West Bengal. My articles are published worldwide in different languages. But no body dares to publish me in West Bengal, not even in HINDI!

What is the status of our people in Progressive Marxist Bengal, just Evaluate!

What is about the Demise Of VP Singh?

A former Prime Minister is dead. That`s All!

Is it? Was he not more weighty than any former Prime Minister? Mandal controversy wiped out his role in BOFORS DEAL Exposure, his secular role against Fascism and his continuous Fight for the Peasants in India!

It is true that OBCs must thank VP Singh for their resurrection in Indian society and Politics as, hitherto means just before VP Singh all the Prime Ministers delayed or subverted mandal commission Report. He had the GUTs to implement this, though he belonged to a dominating Indian Higher caste, Rajppot, the Rulers! He introduced the Concept of SOCIAL JUSTICE in Indian politics, but personally he may never be blamed for practicing any form of castism.

Indian Media overlooked Lalgarh Insurrection, demise of VP Singh, Global Financial Crisis, FREEsenSEx, Reality Show, Price rise, Elections in a few States during all these Sixty Hours of War against terrorism right into our heart. It was so absorbing!

But in normal conditions also, VP Singh has always been UNDERRATED and UNDERPLAYED Politician just because of his CRIME to be Committed to Social Justice. Anti Reservation Movement had always been a movement against VP Singh which later shifted against Arjusn Singh, the Current Human resource Minister of India, also a Rajpoot!

Former Indian prime minister V.P. Singh, known for championing the rights of the country's poor, died Thursday after a long battle with illness.Singh, who was suffering from leukemia and renal failure, died at a New Delhi hospital. He was 77 years old.Singh served as finance minister where he relentlessly tracked down tax evaders and later as defence minister under former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.He ultimately broke away from Gandhi and spearheaded a coalition known as the National Front which won the 1989 elections, but served as premier for less than a year.

V.P. Singh is best remembered for a controversial plan to sharply increase the percentage of jobs reserved for poor castes, which triggered huge unrest among upper castes.Singh was forced to quit and the plan was shelved.

I left nainital and the HILLs, the Himalayas for ever and invested myself into the HELL of Plains just after the results of M.A finals declared. Despite 55 percent marks in the finals and a Rank in the University Exam, I could not cross the UGC qualification Marks 54 percent then to be appointed in a campus college which had been my ambition. Nine Colleges opened in the Kumaun Region but I hated to be out of either Almora or Nainital. I could not imagine myself in Inter Mediate college! While all my friends including those who got less than 48 percent, adjusted in different colleges.

I wanted to be staying in Nainital for ever. Ironically, I am out of Nainital, out of Himalays for ever!

I landed in Allahabad to have Phd Degree to enhance my chances of re entry in Nainital DSB College! Two Persons Mrs MADHULIKA DEXIT from department of English and Dr Batrohi , from department of Hindi convinced me going to Allahabad University.Batrohi assured me that I would get a room in the house of Shailesh Matiyani, a Prominent Hindi writer, with whom Batrohi himself stayed during his studies in Allahabad in sixties. Mrs Dexit advised me to be a research student under the guidance of Dr Manas Mukul das, with whom I debated on Modern Poetry for nine or ten hours without any break in my final year!

It was last meeting with Mrs Dexit who used to teach me English Literature in graduation as well as Post graduation days. She alwyas encouraged me analysing and innovating. She also left nainital just after I Left. she quit the job and hence, I could never trace her. But I MISS HER very much! I had been involved in some cases of CALF LOVE. I had a brief support from MS Veena Pandey in my Class Ten last months in dineshpur Highschool. For the first time, in DSB, I got the support from Opposite gender so continuously. Our English department could boast of ladies like Mrs Neelu Kumar, Mrs anil Bisht and MS Geeta Sharma. In M.A final I had friendly relations with MS Chitra kapahi who passed her M.A. while I passed the first year. It was only MRS Dexit who cared for me continuously for years and always advised me to focus academically. moreover, she recognised My BACKGROUND of a dalit Bengali family as Tarachandra Tripathi and Batrohi used to recognise. I had friends in every department in the college but no body could try to guide me except these three teachers!

Let me accept the GUILT after so many years!

I knew nothing about manusmriti at the time and my pshe was toatlly Brahaminical. i could never tolerate a Woman daring to guide me. Hence, I always tried to distance from Mrs Dexit. Now I recognise that not only Mrs Dexit, but MRS Bisht and Mrs Prema tiwari from the Department of sociology and Mrs Kavita pandey from the department of physics and Mrs UMA BHATT from Hindi, all had been the best well wishers I could ever boats of! I learnt to understand the role of women in my life so late! SORRY!

It may be said TRUE for VP Singh also. Indian People now underestimate the Man but it is sure if CHANGE is destined in India, he would be remembered as USA remember Martin Luthre King. VP Singh was the first man after DR AMBEDKAR who hit the Caste Hindu, Brahaminical Hegemony so strongly!Knowingly or unknowingly, Manmohan Singh expressed the National condolence,` His empathy for weaker sections will always be etched in national consciousness!’

It was an OCTOBER Morning I reached Allahabad without any reservation. We were never habitual of RLY journey and never knew about Reservation. I got a Rickshaw and reached Matiani Home in COLONEL Gaunge. The room was not vacant. Then, Matiayni suggested me to do my Phd in comparative Literature and I had to meet Dr Raghuvansh. I also met DR Das who informed me that his quota was full. He introduced me to OP Malviya and Malviya agreed to be my guide.

I never got any help from Home just after I passed B.A... As I was contributing to different papers and mags during my Post Graduatio days. I had not consulted my Parents who were in dire need of Financial Help as our farming was not enough to run the Home and the Family was Big in size. I could not ask any help from them. I had to earn and sustain myself in Allahabad. I got Shelter in Lookerganj, in a very generous and homely family of Shekhar Joshi, another prominent writer from Kumaun belong to SOMESHWAR. I stayed there for few weeks and Mr Joshi tried his best for getting a job for me but failed. Then I got some friends in the University. Anugraha Narayan singh was the President of the University Student`s Association. Manglesh Dabral was the magazine editor in AMRIT PRABHAT. He was staying in also Lookerganj with another prominent Hindi Poet Biren Dangwal. I met Ramjee Roy in the University and Neelabh in Civil Lines. I had contacts with all the writers and poets residing in Allahabad at the time. Bhairab Prasad Gupta and amarkant wer in Mitra Prakashan and they helped me as I was working as freelance Journalist to sustain myself. A bunch of SFI friends including Gayatri Ganguli, her brother Gautam Ganguli, Shailendra, OP and Master helped me a lot. I was struggling for shelter and food at the time. I shifted from Lookerganj to Mamfordganj, in the house of Master. I got some Tutions thanks to OP and group. I could not pay for Rickshaw or Ekka so that I used to walk from Mamfordganj to Chowk for the Tution. But I adjusted myself in Allahabad within a month!

Meantime, Manglesh Dabral, Viren Dangwal and Urmilesh convinced me to shift in JNU for modern studies. As a simple Kumauni I was convinced and left Allahabad.

During my Allahabad stay, I came to know the name of VP Singh , RAJA MANDA for the first time. Charan singh was dethroned and there was a midterm election . VP Singh was the Congress candidate for Loksabha from Allahabad. He was considered very honest and had a very clean image.

After a decade, I encountered VP Singh face to face in Bareilly in Mid term elections once again, this time Chandrashekhar lost the majority support in the Parliament. I interviewed him for dainik Amar ujala where I worked during 190 to 91 as chief sub editor. I had no note pad, no recorder with me. VP was very disturbed as I was asking questions and noted nothing. The Interview was published in Full Page length in the paper. Within a week I met him once again late in the night in the Air Force Aerodrome in Bareilly where he landed with Lalu prasad Yadav and chowdhuri Ajit Singh. I interviewed Lalu and Ajit. We all had live discussion in the lounge!

VP Singh was very Clean in his speech and behaviour. He never deviated.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the tributes to the former premier, calling him a "great son of India" and a "builder of the nation."

"As finance minister and prime minister of India, he consistently strove to translate his convictions into public policy," Singh said.

Another former prime minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, praised Singh for his "probity in public life" and his attempts to radically change the lot of those on the lowest rung of India's ancient caste hierarchy.

Shri. V.P. Singh - A Profile

Born on June 25, 1931 at Allahabad, Shri V.P. Singh is the son of Raja Bahadur Ram Gopal Singh. He was educated at Allahabad and Poona Universities. He was married to Smt. Sita Kumari on June 25, 1955 and has two sons.

A scholarly man, he was the proud founder of Gopal Vidyalaya, Intermediate College, Koraon, Allahabad. He was the President of the Students Union at Udai Pratap College, Varanasi in 1947-48 and was the Vice-President, Allahabad University Students Union. He actively participated in Bhoodan movement in 1957 and donated a well-established farm in village Pasna, District Allahabad.

He was the member of All India Congress Committee; Executive Body, Allahabad University, 1969-71 and Legislative Assembly, Uttar Pradesh 1969-71. He was the Whip, Congress Legislative Party, 1970-71; Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), 1971-74; Union Deputy Minister of Commerce, October 1974-November 1976; Union State Minister of Commerce, November 1976-March 1977; Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), January 3-July 26,1980. He was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, June 9, 1980- June 28, 1982; Member, Legislative Council, Uttar Pradesh, November 21, 1980-June 14,1981; Member Legislative Assembly, Uttar Pradesh, June 15, 1981-July 16, 1983.

As a Union Minister of Commerce in January 29,1983, he also held additional charge of the Department of Supply in February 15,1983. He was the Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) in July 16, 1983; on September 1, 1984 he was elected President, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and on December 31, 1984 he became the Union Finance Minister.

Why V P Singh Remains Relevant

Praful Bidwai

July 03, 2006

If one were to identify just five leaders who have decisively shaped Indian politics since Independence, and given it its distinctive character, Vishwanath Pratap Singh will surely figure among them.

Singh rose to national eminence in the early 1980s as a leader of exceptional sincerity and personal integrity. A quarter century on, he not only retains an untarnished personal reputation, but more important, remains a towering political personality, far more important than any former prime minister in India's history, with the exception of Indira Gandhi in the period 1977 to 1980.

Even more significant, Singh continues to have considerable political influence, especially in the Hindi heartland.

His abiding relevance was reaffirmed when he turned 75 on June 25 and was felicitated by a cross-section of people from different walks of life, including former civil servants, academics and the poorest of slum-dwellers from Delhi.

His birthday celebrations turned into a major occasion for leaders from different political currents, ranging from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] to Ram Vilas Paswan to the Communist parties' A B Bardhan and Sitaram Yechuri, to express solidarity with Singh and to show that they are willing to explore ways of working with him.

The event signified that Singh will have a major role in any political regroupment that occurs on the Centre-Left in the near future -- despite his rather complicated relationship with the Congress, which bristles each time he mentions Bofors. (In his just-released biography by journalist Ram Bahadur Rai, Singh claims that Bofors was willing to disclose the names of the recipients of the kickbacks in 1989-1990, but that the Congress scuttled the move.)

As noteworthy as the presence of an impressive spectrum of leaders at Singh's 75th birthday was the absence of both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Samajwadi Party, who were at one time crucial to the formation and (brief) survival of the National Front government which Singh headed at the Centre in 1989-1990. Until recently, the Samajwadi Party and Singh were politically close to each other.

The reason for Singh's continued political relevance is not that he held power for long as India's prime minister. In fact, the National Front stayed in office for just 11 months, one of the shortest tenures of any government in New Delhi.

Nor would it be right to attribute Singh's relevance largely to his stature as the 'Mandal messiah', who extended affirmative action, in particular reservations in government employment, to the lower and lower-middle strata of society, or the Other (educationally and socially) Backward Classes -- OBCs.

That action of 16 years ago cannot alone explain the present.

The real reason for Singh's relevance lies in his special, probably unique, role as The Transition Man, who has bridged or spanned many divides in India. Singh was influenced in his youth by Socialist thought, but joined active politics under the Congress banner.

Yet, he quit the Congress in 1987 and became the biggest rallying point for non-Congress parties in the 1989 election. He has since continued to be a focal point in all attempts to mobilise Centre-Left forces on a broad anti-communal platform. No other person has offered so many links or bridges across different parts of the political spectrum.

Singh stands at another junction, marking India's shift from a leader-driver, top-down, manipulative system of politics, to a politics of self-assertion by the plebeian classes, which is more democratically accountable.

It is not that leaders no longer matter -- of course, they do. But in relation to the period until the 1980s, the masses, especially subordinate groups like Dalits and OBCs, have become far more vocal and demanding. They want self-representation, rather than patronage-based indirect representation on their behalf by others.

This is altering the character of Indian democracy by increasingly reshaping it into a system that is seen by the people as capable of empowering them -- not just as a system of exercising power over them. The change has helped formal democracy, based on procedures such as representation and elections along with Constitutional rules and parliamentary norms, acquire a more substantive character.

This shift makes India's current politics -- with its many flaws, but also with its robust, rambunctious and vibrant character -- qualitatively different from the anaemic democracies of numerous countries, including many developed ones. Singh is one of the leaders who catalysed this shift.

Singh forms another bridge: between public morality and politics, symbolised by Bofors and his resignation over the issue of lack of probity in public life. Bofors was not only India's largest corruption scandal until the mid-1980s. It was located at many crossroads: that between military and civilian decision-making, between foreign arms manufacturers and potential domestic recipients of bribes, and between them and middlemen like the Hindujas.

The Bofors investigation by the media, and by official agencies, turned up an unprecedented wealth of information, rare in such cases. Equally unprecedented was the public outcry over the scandal. With Bofors, V P Singh too became a household name.

Equally important is the link Singh has formed through his work in the last five years or more between political parties, on the one hand, and people's movements, non-party political groups and NGOs, on the other. Singh has tirelessly worked to defend the rights of slum-dwellers, rickshaw-pullers and other informal sector workers in the cities, and landless workers, Dalits and victims of displacement in the villages.

No political leader has done more for the Right to Information campaign in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh or Bihar than him. Whenever movements of the downtrodden and the desperately poor need help, he tries to reach out to them.

Only his amazing dedication to the underprivileged can explain why 12 years after he was detected to have a nasty cancer, as well as kidney failure, he continues to be extremely active among groups who are nobody's constituency.

Every week, he addresses dozens of public meetings and activists' discussions in different cities and towns, taking a break only for his thrice-weekly dialysis. It's the energy that he gets from these flesh-and-blood people, the salt of the Indian earth, that keeps him going.

None of this minimises the importance of Singh's decision to implement the Mandal Commission report. This was done at a particular juncture partly to counter the growing influence of Kamandal or Hindutva politics, which was then making thrust after offensive thrust against the secular pillars of Indian politics.

But the real significance of Mandal lay neither in this, nor in the circumstance that it opened 15 per cent of all central jobs for OBC recruitment -- barely 14,000 positions a year, or a drop in the ocean.

Rather, Mandal's true significance is that the decision held up a mirror to society as regards entrenched discrimination and mainstreamed the principle of affirmative action. Since 1990, wider acceptance and extension of affirmative action has become irreversible.

Only a highly regarded upper-caste leader of impeccable reputation like Singh could have dared take such a bold step given that violent opposition to it was a foregone conclusion. It redounds to his credit that he did so knowing this would topple his government.

As he himself dramatically puts it: "I scored a difficult goal, but in the process, I broke my leg irreparably!"

After the collapse of the United Front government in 1998, Singh concentrated on building up the political resources of secular parties although, in keeping with his decision to take sanyas from competitive politics, he didn't join any of them or create a new party. He brought to bear the power of his informal-sector mobilisation on the task of building a broad anti-communal front.

In the 2002 Uttar Pradesh election and in the last Lok Sabha campaign, he worked closely with the Centre-Left and regional parties, including the Samajwadi Party --because he regarded that as crucial to 'unhinging' the BJP from power. His input altered the outcome in a number of UP constituencies.

Now Singh has revived his Jan Morcha by joining hands with Raj Babbar, who was recently expelled from the Samajwadi Party. This has set him on a collision course with the Samajwadi Party and its backers. How this will influence the outcome of next year's election in UP is a big question. It seems likely that the Jan Morcha will erode the Samajwadi Party's base to some extent while indirectly helping the Congress and other non-BJP forces.

The outcome will also determine whether and how soon a Third Front independent of both the Congress and the BJP can be formed.

Whatever happens, platforms like Jan Morcha and poor people's organisations like Sajha Manch will continue to reshape public thinking in parts of India along broadly progressive lines. With them, the political space that V P Singh has come to represent will also expand.

One can only wish Singh well as he continues to fight for an equal, just and cooperative social order in which the poor can live with dignity and pursue the agenda of social emancipation.

Praful Bidwai

An open letter to West Bengal Governor

Excerpts from an open letter from Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer to Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Governor of West Bengal, on October 31, 2007:

Venerable Gopal Gandhi: I write this letter reluctantly but feel it my duty to request you, as the head of the State of West Bengal, to consider what measures, if any, may be taken to see that the people of the State, particularly of Nandigram, enjoy security and liberty. Possession of property, without threat of deprivation in the guise of land acquisition for industrial development, and assuring peaceful co-existence of progressive agriculture and industry with promise of more employment, is true rural-urban harmony. Perverted priority for advanced technology inhibiting the peasantry from their traditional agrarian operations can provoke tension and showdown. Large investments with machine-oriented technology offers little prospect of new employment. The rich become richer, the poor poorer.

Nandigram is a traumatic mix of these confusing conflicts, maybe. This complexity of issues bringing into focus the Gandhian vision of advanced agrarian India is the central object of modern development and the reverse reality of villages suffering a setback on account of aggressive pressure of the technological illusion that foreign-funded profit-hungry, ‘Westoxicated’ Industrial Renaissance is the only salvation from privation for the Indian humanity. A magnificent compromise between these two rival views is possible if state violence for land acquisition and terrorism of unruly hostile political elements taking the law into their hands are controlled with social justice as the goal. That is statesmanship through a creative policy revolution.

It is unfortunate that disproportionate emphasis on industrial progress and disorganised political conflict opposing even necessary industrialisation have given rise to human casualties and damage to property in Nandigram and other parts of India. Development is not of things but of man, as the Cocoyoc Declaration by the U.N. defined it. The landless and the lawless create havoc in Nagaland making use of country-bombs. Is bomb-making a cottage industry, menacing peaceful rural life and productive activity?

Such a grave bedlam situation arose some time ago in Nandigram, which alerted political parties about escalating tension and terror and eventually generated restorative policies and humanist strategies. I thought -- and there are many like me -- that a positive resolution will come into play and Nandigram may emerge again as a symbol of developmental statesmanship and peaceful peasant-industrialist amity. That would be a tribute to the State’s political leadership and glory of governance.

Political polemics has the potential to create chaos and let loose anarchical forces lying latent in society. Whether the claims urged by politicians are just or not, resort to violence should never be even a last refuge. Even otherwise, incisive observers have described India as a functioning anarchy. All the more reason why traumatic tendencies injurious to peaceful public life, which make proclivities of tranquillity a lost cause, should be resisted by the state and by parties and right-thinking people.

A constructive process of reconciliation between rival political groups, a humanist perspective which envisions a happy accommodation between industrial and agrarian sectors, and, above all, an awakened public opinion which frowns upon any form of violence in public life which mars activities in public institutions and social centres, and rejects the bomb culture, the barbarity of explosives, must be a unanimous conviction.

Maybe the beginning of a new Nandigram initiative for a brave, patriotic Bharat is the desideratum of our time. A high-level commission, with the cooperation of political parties, may be one method of establishing a democratic Gram Swaraj process. Maybe there are other alternatives. This country’s politics and economy are not bankrupt yet and it is my conviction that West Bengal should blaze the trail consistently with the constitutional imperatives of a socialist, secular, democratic republic, being truly non-aligned and independent of foreign investments and lobbies with imperial intentions.

I submit to you, respected Governor, and through you, the innovative Marxian Chief Minister, to command the resources of the people for constructive ends so as to redeem our historic ‘tryst with destiny’. We are no longer feudal or colonial and must generate a great drive in fulfilment of social justice and distributive development, which is the first promise of our Constitution and the paramount obligation of Swaraj.

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Few Indian political leaders have been as reviled as V.P. Singh. Few have made as lasting a contribution to Indian nation building. I refer, of course, to his decision in August 1990 to implement the Mandal Commission's recommendations and reserve 27 per cent of the jobs in Central government for the backward classes. I was privileged to witness the paradox at close quarters. This is how it happened.
Contrary to the impression that was assiduously spread by the media, his decision was no last minute, knee-jerk attempt to shore up his shaky minority government. VP had implemented the recommendations in Uttar Pradesh when he was its chief minister in 1980. In 1989, when the National Front obtained only seven seats in the south, 81 of its 144 MPs were backward-caste members of the Janata Dal. As a result the question of not implementing Mandal simply did not arise. What was knee-jerk was VP's decision to announce the implementation of the Mandal award without any warning on August 7. For this the coming confrontation with the BJP over the Ram Janmabhoomi temple issue was mainly to blame. In the beginning of July, I was asked to join a meeting between VP and the cabinet secretary, Vinod Pande. Apparently (this was when I was not present) the government had come to know that the BJP was going to break its pre-election promise not to allow the Ram temple to become an issue in its continued support of the government.

VP had called the meeting to work out a strategy for countering the threat to the government that this would pose. By then he had held around a dozen meetings with members of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) and had got nowhere. It had become apparent to him that the roadblock was no longer technical, but the determination by the Sangh Parivar and the BMAC to piggyback on the issue to build their bases among Hindus and Muslims.

To avoid a confrontation with the BJP, VP first pinned his hopes on squeezing a decision out of the Allahabad High Court on the cases that had been before it for 41 years. Any decision from it would have given him moral and legal foundation for forcing his ruling upon the contending parties. It would have given the BJP a fig leaf it needed to not bring down the National Front government. But the court, which had slept over the issue for years, continued to slumber.

Pande must have reported to him sometime in July that the court was not willing to oblige. That was when VP decided to bring forward the Mandal decision. He knew the chances of his government surviving beyond October 30 were slight. He wanted to implement this part of the programme before it fell, partly because it was covered by his 61-point action programme, and partly because it would help consolidate a base for the Janata Dal. Where he went wrong was in the way he announced his decision. Instead of listening to Pande, and his principal secretary B.G. Deshmukh, and leaving open the proportion of reservation and other contentious issues to be decided after a national debate, he announced the figure of 27 per cent, and stuck to it till forced by more than a hundred deaths to refer the issue to the Supreme Court in October.

Hindsight also suggests that had he taken the BJP challenge head on, accused it of breaking faith when it announced the decision to support the temple agitation on September 14, and dissolved Parliament he would have come back with his strength enhanced. But he chose to present the people with a fait accompli and fell right into the BJP's trap.

The blame for this lies to a great extent on VP's tendency to seek reassurance from close advisers. This made him vulnerable to sycophants. Two of his ministers, Sharad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, prevailed on him to go for broke on Mandal. As Yadav told a crowd in Patna on October 8, 1990, the "Mandal rath" would crush the "Ram rath". Ironically Yadav and Paswan are now ministers in a BJP-led government.

In the end, however much VP may have erred in the way he implemented Mandal, he will go down in history as a key architect of a new, egalitarian and vibrant India. Far from having started a rebellion that he could not control, he stopped a revolution that would have plunged India into anarchy and threatened its disintegration. What Mandal did was to stop the gap between power and entitlement from widening to the point where those who wielded the former would smash the political system that made possible the latter. That was the democratic Indian state.

Ever since the '60s the middle castes had been accumulating economic power by virtue of the green revolution. But they had been shut out of the power elite because they lacked access to modern, English-based education. This was available only in the cities and therefore by default to an affluent, upper caste, bureaucratic elite. Mandal is giving access to the cities and therefore to the elite to the newly empowered backward classes. What is more it has started a chain reaction in which the Scheduled Castes and Tribes have joined. A grossly iniquitous system of stratification that made some humans inferior to others by birth is breaking down at a dazzling speed. And although a billion people are involved, it is happening almost without violence.

Prem Shankar Jha is a columnist and former media adviser to prime minister V.P. Singh.

The Fall of VP Singh and After
[From Liberation, January 1991.]

The euphoria is over. By its very nature a euphoria is always short-lived, and, if VP Singh could survive for nearly eleven months it is no mean achievement for a politician who has had no roots in Indian politics, more so in "opposition" politics. Ironically, the man who had excelled in the art of resignation, eventually earned the distinction of being the first prime minister who was voted out on the floor of Parliament.

VP Singh is gone. Shall he make a comeback soon or be reduced to an ideologue of peripheral politics? It is too early to predict anything on this score; let us confine ourselves to the age-old wisdom of "wait and see".

VP Singh repeatedly claims to have sacrificed his government for the sake of the high principle of secularism. His line of argument is that he could have saved his government by conceding the BJP’s demand. He is projecting himself as a martyr for the great cause of secularism and, describing the vote of confidence as a battle between communalism and secularism, he even appealed to the MPs to vote according to their conscience.

The pattern of voting, however, revealed that the battle-line or rather lines were drawn at different planes, and the party whip was defied by nearly half of his own party MPs. If VP Singh is to be believed, the overwhelming majority of the MPs sided with communalism. Then how can one explain the split in the Janata Dal, especially when Mulayam Singh and Chimanbhai Patel, who are facing the BJP’s wrath as well, have opted for the Chandrashekhar camp? Chandrashekhar, the new prime minister, too is talking in a similar tone on the secularism-communalism issue. Actually, had VP Singh conceded the BJP’s demand, his government would have fallen with still more disgrace. Because, in that case the Left would have been compelled to withdraw its support and the Chandrashekhar-Devi Lal camp would still have rebelled, and that too with a greater moral authority. There was no course open to him to save his government at that juncture. In fact, he tried his best to come to a deal with the BJP till the last moment, the promulgation of the controversial ordinance being a proof of this. VP Singh is telling only the politician’s truth, the truth that suits him best. However the real reasons behind his fall are different — very different — and are rooted deep in the social divisions, in the traditional rivalries between different political parties and between various factions within his own party. The balance of social forces, and as their reflection, that of political forces within the Parliament, weighed against him and brought about his downfall.

The whole phenomenon cannot be explained simply as the bourgeois politicians’ lust for power, by invoking questions of norms and morality, and by overplaying the role of money power. All this amounts to a layman’s understanding of politics and a liberal-moralist approach which fails to understand that political parties are not any artificial creations of some professional politicians, but are the inevitable and natural products of modern-day societies, through which (political parties) various classes and strata of the society articulate their interests and compete with each other for share in power. Individual politician’s lust, scramble for loaves and fishes, money power etc., can operate only within the parameters of realignment of social forces. Let us begin with an analysis of the VP phenomenon in Indian politics.

VP Singh should be given the credit for making a serious attempt to build a bourgeois alternative to the Congress at an all-India level. Being pushed to the opposition politics, he mercilessly renounced his Congress past, and projected himself as the inheritor of the anti-Congressism of Lohia and Jayprakash and thereby as the natural leader of the opposition. Starting as a recruit of Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency, his rise to UP chief ministership where his ruthless encounter campaign liquidated hundreds of youth belonging primarily to backward castes (incidentally, Mulayam Singh’s rivalry with VP Singh dates back to that period), then to an ardent advocate of economic liberalisation as Rajiv’s finance minister, and finally, his overnight transformation into the central opposition figure was in itself a wonder of Indian politics. He termed the Left as his natural ally and developed a good rapport with various non-party political formations and grassroots movements which had sprung up as antitheses to the Congress authoritarianism. He brought them all to the mainstream of political process. Most importantly, he successfully developed a National Front with important parties of regional opposition (to the Congress). He envisaged a political combination that would replace Congress not only in numerical terms in Parliament, but would also signal a new kind or political formation more suited to the present-day Indian conditions. His position within the Janata Dal was all along vulnerable as he was the commander of an alien army. The Janata Dal was an eclectic combination of several traditionally well-entrenched factions whose first loyalties were to their own chieftains rather than to the supreme commander. However, he hoped to keep the factional divisions in his own party within check by pitting one faction against another and, more importantly, by using his clout with the National Front allies against any challenge from within his own party. The BJP had no place in his original scheme of things and he carefully maintained a distance from it during the election campaign.

His AJGR combination worked well from Gujarat to Bihar. A good majority from the kulak lobby of backward castes as well as the old and new rural gentry of his own caste of Rajputs backed the Janata Dal. The Muslims, getting alienated from the Congress after the Bhagalpur riots and the controversial Shilanyas decision, voted for the Janata Dal. In Orissa, where the Janata Dal variety has all along been the natural opposition to the Congress, it gained the most from the anti-Congress wave. The Left recovered its positions in Bengal which it had lost to the Congress in 1984, and with some losses here and gains there, managed a fair representation in the parliament.

However, VP suffered his biggest setback in South India. The wave in South India was in direct opposition to the one in the North and was more sweeping too.

The electoral pattern in South India, which no one expected and which continues to puzzle political analysts, coupled with a satisfactory performance in Maharashtra, made Congress the single largest party Parliament.

The other unexpected development was the meteoric rise of the BJP. The BJP has always been a strong force in North and West India on its own and in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, it has traditionally been the main opposition to Congress. Every anti-Congress wave has meant its rise in those states. However, in 1989 elections, backed by its expanded network and by fully exploiting the Ram card, it surpassed the wildest expectations of its own leadership. Results have shown that it has expanded into several non-traditional areas as well and spread its wings among the peasantry and among backwards, dalits and Adivasis as well. The Left, the only consistent anti-BJP force, could do practically nothing to check the advance of the BJP in the Hindi belt and its slogan of ‘isolate BJP’ fell flat on its face. The BJP’s performance was more or less its own independent showing and the Ram card had yielded rich dividends.

Thus two adverse factors, first, the emergence of Congress(I) as the single largest party and thus its retaining the trump-card to exploit any situation to its favour, and second, the spectacular rise of the BJP, which fuelled its desire to play the trump-card, handicapped VP Singh from the very beginning. Moreover, deprived of the crucial support from his regional allies of the National Front within Parliament, his capacity to play down the factional squabbles within the Janata Dal was reduced to a minimum.

Here one must note the crucial difference between the objective placements and subjective ambitions of the BJP and the Left. Whereas the traditional strongholds of the Left such as Bengal and Kerala are areas where Janata Dal is virtually non-existent, the Left has no strong presence in the Janata Dal strongholds. The Left has virtually resigned itself to playing second fiddle to the Janata Dal in national politics and, whatever expansion it dreams of in the Hindi belt as well as in states like Andhra, Orissa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu etc., it does so only through following behind the tail of the Janata Dal and its National Front allies. The Left, therefore, can live in long-term harmony with the Janata Dal.

The situation is entirely different for the BJP. Its areas of operation overlap with those of the Janata Dal and its existence and expansion can only be at the cost of the Janata Dal. The rivalry between the two is an in-built objective phenomenon. Moreover, the BJP, driven by the aggressive Hindu Rashtra philosophy and backed by a well spread-out network of ideologues and propagandists and by the well-organised RSS cadre force, aspires to occupy the centre-stage in Indian politics. The rise of religious fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan, collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, serious setbacks in the Soviet Union coupled with the church assuming a crucial role — all these have provided it a conducive ideological environment. Back home, its success in exploiting religion for political ends has emboldened its spirits.

The 9th Lok Sabha, a hung one, was quite reflective of the major contradictions of Indian society, and of the emerging trends. If the South versus North contradiction was reflected in the pro- and anti-Congress waves, the rise of Hindu fundamentalism was represented by the rise of the BJP. The traditional Left’s resigning itself to the subsidiary role vis-a-vis Janata Dal had become quite apparent. The Akali Dal (Mann) swept the polls in Punjab, the BJP and even the IPF got their representations on their own independent planks.

VP Singh was faced with a Hobson’s choice. There was no way he could form government without BJP support. Overnight the formulations were changed ostensibly on ‘people’s pressure’.

Realisation dawned on him that there is nothing called value-based politics, rather values are based on the contingency of practical politics and that politics is nothing but the art of managing contradictions. In a fine acrobatic feat, the Left which had hardly anything to differentiate between the Congress and BJP, ‘between cholera and plague’ as described by EMS, changed its slogan from one of isolating the BJP to collaborating with it. Attempts were made to differentiate between BJP, the political party, and VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, the communal outfits. Rajeswar Rao even talked of positive socio-economic content in the BJP’s programme. The slogan of national unity and integrity came handy in justifying this collaboration and indeed Advani remarked that BJP’s views on national unity, on Pakistan, Punjab etc. are more akin to that of the Left than that of the Janata Dal. In private, left leaders went on claiming the success of their strategy in forcing the BJP to be responsible to the government and thus putting a brake on its communal frenzy, while at the same time keeping it out of the government. History has shown that actually this was a political fraud perpetrated on the people. A definite illusion was spread regarding the BJP and people were kept off-guard.

It was sheer naivete to expect BJP to give up the very Ram card that had paid it rich dividends and to believe that it would faithfully serve the Janata Dal government in the fashion of the Left. The BJP had made its intentions very clear from the very first day when it refused to accord unconditional support to the Janata Dal government and Advani declared his intention of acting both as the brake and the accelerator of the government. Things have moved only in the predictable direction. If the Left fails to find an explanation there is none to be blamed but itself for the political naivete it exhibited, for its political pragmatism, for its crime of diluting the struggle against religious fundamentalism. I still feel that the best tactics for the Left would have been to allow the Janata Dal and BJP to form the government at the Centre, and to reserve the role of playing as "the accelerator and the brake" for itself. This would have refurbished the independent image of the Left.

VP Singh began the second round of his political career with politics-based values and with skills in managing contradictions. His very ascendancy to prime ministership was a result of the shrewd gameplan of pitting Devi Lal against Chandrashekhar. Every support exacts its own price and at a juncture, despite all his attempts, it became impossible to contain the irrepressible Devi Lal, Chautala and company. One crisis after another rocked the Janata Dal and, ultimately, he had to part company with Devi Lal.

He rushed to implement all the unimportant declarations of his manifesto with which the people at large were least concerned. On the major issue of Bofors, his government failed to come out with any further evidence. On the contrary, the period of his rule has only swung the pointer away from Rajiv Gandhi in the Bofors case.

On Punjab he failed to take any initiative and soon lost rapport with Akali Dal (Mann) taking Punjab back to square one. Militant activities rose to a very high pitch in Kashmir as a reaction to the crucial presence of BJP, with its avowed demand of scrapping Article 370, in central power. VP Singh sought to tackle the problem the BJP way through Jagmohan, and thus, all semblance of political process was destroyed in Kashmir.

The economic situation worsened further and prices rose to astronomical proportions. The economic problems of Rajiv Gandhi’s period have only been compounded further and in the background of the Gulf crisis, Indian economy stands at the brink of collapse with the dangerous prospect of India joining the list of debt defaulters.

VP Singh’s style of all-party consensus soon became a farce. Forced to operate within a grim economic situation, encircled by the Congress waiting in the wings on the one hand, and on the other hand,the BJP bent on playing a decisive role, and threatened by the emerging Chandrashekhar-Devi Lal gang-up from within the party, his survival instinct led him to a sudden declaration of implementing the Mandal Commission report. It was a clear attempt at carving out a political territory for himself, enhancing his position within the Janata Dal and putting all his adversaries on the defensive. As the events proved, he had grossly miscalculated and, eventually, the implementation of Mandal recommendations signalled his downfall. His social base among his own castemen, Rajputs, dwindled. Powerful Jats of Haryana, UP and Rajasthan and several other major castes which had hitherto formed social base of the Janata Dal in the Hindi belt shifted their allegiance and the Chandrashekhar-Devi Lal company shot back into prominence.

Students and youth, particularly in and around Delhi, felt badly betrayed by a man on whom they had reposed great faith as an ideologue and had been expecting some sort of enhanced job opportunities as a result of his promise of making the right to employment a fundamental right. Instead, they found in him a scheming politician who was robbing them of whatever little job opportunities that were there. Their utter sense of frustration was reflected in the form of ‘self-immolation’ by scores of middle-class and lower middle class young boys and girls — a form so unusual with youth. The implementation of the Mandal report did consolidate his position among certain major backward castes but in no way was it a new addition. On the other hand, he lost a considerable segment of social support and, then, this angry outburst of students and youth in the form of self-immolation posed a serious moral question before his continuation in the office too.

The powerful media went against him and the Congress, the BJP as well as the Chandrashekhar-Devi Lal group shrewdly exploited his predicament.

VP Singh’s line of argument was that certain backward castes had already attained sufficient economic and political clout — due to the green revolution etc. — and were eligible to get a proportional share in the higher echelons of bureaucracy. Historically, as they had been socially and educationally backward, they could not compete on the basis of merit for a long time and the only way to ensure their representation wss through job reservations.

He further argued that it was not only a question of social justice but more that of social harmony: "Within the family whereas the elder brother should continue to enjoy greater power and authority, he should also grant some right to the younger brother, involving him too in the decision-making process."

Limited by the vision of a bourgeois politician, his essential concern was to incorporate within the ruling system those sections of backward castes who had already attained sufficient economic and political clout, i.e., the representative interests of the kulak lobby. Championing these narrow class interests in the name of common masses and even, revolution, has always been the art of bourgeois politics! Of course, this process of integration is an objective natural process and VP Singh or no VP Singh, it shall go on — sometimes through tension, and at other times with some adjustments here and there. Supporting this measure from a very different premise of advancement of class formation within castes, class polarisation and class struggle is an altogether different thing, but taking VP Singh on face value, terming the implementation of the Mandal Commission as some sort of revolution and rallying behind him, is tantamount to political foolishness and renouncing the class position of communists.

VP Singh’s expectation of political polarisation on backward-forward basis at an all-India level cutting across party lines reflects the wrong and narrow understanding of Lohiaite politicians. He was behaving in a foolhardy manner when he expected a split within the Congress and BJP on these lines, while calling for a conscience vote. Forward-backward caste contradiction is definitely one of the major social contradictions in Indian society, and in some states, particularly in Bihar, it does decide the mainstream of politics, but this is not an all-pervading contradiction. Viewed in isolation, the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu symbolises the rise of backward castes against the forward castes, but then, the Tamil national identity, the South Indian identity, plays a still bigger role there. Dravid movement too has got divided into two major streams of DMK and AIADMK, and, in recent years the rise of other backwards like Vanniyars has been an important phenomenon.

Then again, backward castes do not operate as uniform single entities and are themselves engaged in internal rivalries even within Bihar. These often result in various alliances between certain forward and backward castes against such other combinations. In states like Bengal there is no distinct category of powerful backward castes and no forward-backward rivalry.

In UP, certain analysts believed Mulayam Singh to be the representative of the backward among backward castes, and he was supposed to be organising the poor and middle peasants against the kulak Jat lobby. By all accounts, be it on the issue of Mandal Commission or Ram Janmabhoomi, he was seen as the staunchest ally of VP Singh. However, traditional political rivalry reigned supreme here and VP’s attempts were objectively intended to carve out his own base in Uttar Pradesh at the cost of Mulayam Singh. The Mulayam Singh-Ajit Singh controversy too is a known affair and, essentially, the split in Janata Dal in UP is along the same lines. There is some substance in Mulayam Singh’s allegations that VP Singh through various manoeuvres did try to topple him. The Mulayam Singh-Chandrashekhar-Kanshi Ram alliance was taking shape in UP as against the VP-Ajit combine for some time and no serious political observer would have ignored the presence of the three on the dias of the 12th October central anti-communal rally. The rally was, at the same time, the indication of the sharpening factional struggle within the Janata Dal. Strangely, Messers Jyoti Basu and Indrajit Gupta, who too adorned the dias and sang laurels in praise of Mulayam, failed to notice the real politics behind this anti-communal fanfare. Modern political parties are not, and cannot be, simply the parties of backward or forward castes. Various caste and class combinations operate within them and their sum total reflects their bias towards a particular caste-class, more pronouncedly at particular junctures, and in essence only. Thereafter, they again move back to normalcy. For instance, the Hindu and forward caste bias is definitely the essence of Congress but it exhibits itself in a very complicated process.

The Mandal Commission did threaten the BJP in North India to some extent as it went against the latter’s drive towards Hindu unity. Its calculated move of Rathyatra and associating it with extreme positions was definitely a counter move. Advani had said that his arrest would prove disastrous. He proved prophetic. The VP government at the Centre fell, the Janata Dal split into many factions and the VP faction could ultimately retain power only in Bihar. The BJP has emerged as the main opposition in Parliament. Socially and politically the sum total of contradictions had already started operating against Mr.VP Singh. The withdrawal of BJP’s support was its outcome and provided the necessary catalyst for his fall. It was not simply the question of withdrawal of support by the 90-odd members of the BJP-Shiv Sena combine; it was, at the same time, the break up of Janata Dal and a new-found equation with the Congress.

The Chandrashekhar-Congress(I) combination essentially means the return of Congress rule through the back door. It is definitely an unstable alliance because Devi Lal and a section of the Janata Dal(S) cannot cooperate with Congress for long even if Chandrashekhar is absorbed within the Congress. We must therefore go to the masses both in anticipation of elections and for developing mass struggles.

VP Singh’s Janata Dal and the Left are back to the position of natural opposition, where we had already been waiting for them. To be sure, now there is greater scope for joint activities, collaboration and alliance between us and them, and, we must fully explore these possibilities. However, we must say some words of caution here. The menace of communalism and its representative party, the BJP, is no doubt threatening the very fabric of the Indian society. The left parties have made it the sole plank of their propaganda thrust. We must not forget that in practical politics this is a clever ploy to sell their line of trailing behind this or that bourgeois-landlord combination. The parallel efforts to unite and mobilise the masses on their basic issues, in democratic struggles and militant mass movements — the traditional and time-tested forms of the Left’s most effective challenge to fundamentalism and communalism — have been given a go by and they are not even considered as forms of struggle against communalism. Therefore, whereas the opportunist Left rests its hope on bourgeois politicians in anti-communal struggles, and keeps itself busy with facades like human-chains, seminars etc., fundamentalism continues to spread its tentacles into the minds of people at grassroots.

This ideological environment, the grim and hopeless economic crisis, the erosion of national identity built during anti-British struggles — all prop-up religious ideology as a force: Religion brings solace, Hindu identity appears as the only means of preserving national-identity and the BJP goes marching ahead towards its die-hard anti-communist and fascist goal. Revival of the Left’s legacy, its ideological and political offensive, its course of militant mass movements on basic and democratic issues is the only way to take on communalism. It is the backward social conditions, the lack of democratic consciousness, and economic desperation that provide fertile ground for the rise of fascism. The same conditions are also conducive to the advance of revolution provided the communists shed off all social-democratic and parliamentary illusions, if they dare to march independently and with the masses.

VP Singh and Laloo Yadav may go with us only to an extent. They and the BJP, now thrown into opposition again, may, step by step develop a rapport again under the banner of anti-Congressism. It began from Lohia who formulated this theory first in the 1960s and developed coordination with the then Jan Sangh. The same was repeated in 1977 within the Janata Party, and again in 1989 in a different form. While in opposition, they get closer, once in power they fall out. This is how the things stand. The CPI and CPI(M) are again spreading illusions about a decisive anti-Congress, anti-BJP secular combination having taken shape which can now only develop in a unilinear direction. If we allow ourselves to be misled by the appearances and place all our cards at the disposal of Messers VP Singh and Laloo Yadav, the Left would again be destined to suffer a rude shock. While keeping our doors open for any tactical, temporary and transitory alliances with secular and liberal forces of the bourgeoisie, let us march independently. The revolutionary situation has advanced in a favourable direction. The ruling classes are facing deep political instability. Instead of confining our activities within the bounds of parliamentarism and formalism, the time has come to boldly arouse the masses and daringly go in for militant mass struggles.

Let us hold high the banner of independence and of mass struggles.

Vishwanath Pratap Singh
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Vishwanath Pratap Singh
विश्वनाथ प्रताप सिंह


10th Prime Minister of India
In office
2 December 1989 – 10 November 1990
Preceded by Rajiv Gandhi
Succeeded by Chandra Shekhar


Born 25 June 1931 (1931-06-25) (age 77)
Allahabad, United Provinces,
Died 27 November 2008

Political party Janata Dal

Vishwanath Pratap Singh (Hindi: विश्वनाथ प्रताप सिंह) (25 June 1931 - 27 November 2008) was the 10th Prime Minister of the Republic of India.

1 Early life
2 Cabinet Minister for Finance and Defence
3 In Opposition
3.1 Janata Dal
3.2 General Elections of 1989
3.3 Election as Prime Minister
4 Prime Minister
4.1 Punjab and Kashmir
4.2 Reservation for Backward Classes
4.3 Tussle with Dhirubhai Ambani
4.4 Babri Masjid
4.5 Chandra Shekhar
5 Aftermath
6 Jan Morcha relaunch
7 Agitation at Dadri
8 Death
9 References

[edit] Early life
V. P. Singh entered local politics in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh during the Nehru era. He soon made a name for himself in the state Congress Party for his unfailing rectitude, a reputation that he would carry with him throughout his career.

He was appointed by Indira Gandhi as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1980, when the Congress came back to power after the Janata Party interregnum. As Chief Minister, he cracked down hard on the dacoity, or banditry, problem, that was particularly severe in the rural districts of the south-west. He received much favourable national publicity when he offered to resign following a self-professed failure to stamp out the problem, and again when he personally oversaw the surrender of some of the most feared dacoits of the area in 1983.

[edit] Cabinet Minister for Finance and Defence
Called to the Centre following Rajiv Gandhi's massive mandate in the 1984 General elections, he was appointed to the pivotal post of Finance Minister, where he oversaw the gradual relaxation of the license Raj as Rajiv had in mind. During his term as Finance Minister, he oversaw the reduction of gold smuggling by reducing gold taxes and the excellent tactic of giving the police a portion of the smuggled gold that they found. He also gave extraordinary powers to the Enforcement Directorate of the Finance Ministry, the wing of the ministry charged with tracking down tax evaders, then headed by Bhure Lal. Following a number of high-profile raids on suspected evaders - including Dhirubhai Ambani [1] and Amitabh Bachchan - Rajiv was forced to sack him as Finance Minister, possibly because many of the raids were conducted on industrialists who had supported the Congress financially in the past. However, Singh's popularity was at such a pitch that only a sideways move seemed to have been possible, to the Defence Ministry.

Once ensconced in North Block, Singh began to investigate the notoriously murky world of defence procurement. After a while, word began to spread that Singh possessed information about the Bofors defence deal that could damage the Prime Minister's reputation. Before he could act on it, he was dismissed from the Cabinet and, in response, resigned his memberships in the Congress Party and the Lok Sabha.

[edit] In Opposition

[edit] Janata Dal
Together with associates Arun Nehru and Arif Mohammad Khan, Singh floated an opposition party named the Jan Morcha. He was re-elected to Lok Sabha in a tightly contested by-election from Allahabad, defeating Anil Shastri. On 11 October 1988, the birthday of the original Janata coalition's spiritual leader Jayaprakash Narayan, the Janata Dal was formed by merger of Jan Morcha, Janata Party, Lok Dal and Congress (S), in order to bring together all the centrist parties opposed to the Rajiv Gandhi government, and V. P. Singh was elected the President of the Janata Dal. A federation of the Janata Dal with various regional parties including the DMK, TDP, and AGP, came into being, called the National Front (India), with V. P. Singh as convener and N. T. Rama Rao as President.

[edit] General Elections of 1989
The National Front fought the elections in 1989 after coming to an electoral understanding with the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Left Front that served to unify the anti-Congress vote. The National Front, with its allies, earned a simple majority in the Lok Sabha and decided to form a government. The Communists and the BJP declined to serve in the government, preferring to support it from outside.

[edit] Election as Prime Minister
In a dramatic meeting in the Central Hall of Parliament on 1 December, V. P. Singh proposed the name of Devi Lal as Prime Minister, in spite of the fact that he himself had been clearly projected by the anti-Congress forces as the 'clean' alternative to Rajiv and their Prime Ministerial candidate. Devi Lal, a Jat leader from Haryana stood up and refused the nomination, and said that he would prefer to be an 'elder uncle' to the Government, and that Singh should be PM [2]. This last part came as a clear surprise to Chandra Shekhar, the former head of the erstwhile Janata Party, and Singh's greatest rival within the Janata Dal. Shekhar, who had clearly expected that an agreement had been forged with Lal as the consensus candidate, stormed out of the meeting and refused to serve in the Cabinet.

[edit] Prime Minister
Singh held office for slightly less than a year, from 2 December 1989 to 10 November 1990.

[edit] Punjab and Kashmir
He faced his first crisis within few days of taking office: terrorists kidnapped the daughter of his Home Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir). His government agreed to the demand for releasing militants in exchange; partly to end the storm of criticism that followed, he shortly thereafter appointed Jagmohan, a controversial former bureaucrat, as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, on the insistence of the BJP who were concerned that an insufficiently hard line was being taken with the separatist elements in the state. Jagmohan subsequently inflamed opinion in the Valley when he ordered troops to fire on the funeral procession of the unofficial head of Kashmiri Islam, the Mirwaiz, and shortly thereafter the Kashmir insurgency began in earnest. In contrast, in Punjab, Singh replaced the hardline Siddhartha Shankar Ray as Governor with another former bureaucrat, Nirmal Kumar Mukarji, who moved forward on a timetable for fresh elections. Singh himself made a much-publicised visit to the Golden Temple to ask forgiveness for Operation Bluestar and the combination of events caused the long rebellion in Punjab to die down markedly in a few months. V. P. Singh also withdrew the IPKF from Sri Lanka.

[edit] Reservation for Backward Classes
Singh himself wished to move forward nationally on social justice-related issues, which would in addition consolidate the caste coalition that supported the Janata Dal in North India, and accordingly decided to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission which suggested that a fixed quota of all jobs in the public sector be reserved for members of the historically disadvantaged so-called Other Backward Classes. (Generally abbreviated OBCs, these were Hindu castes, and certain non-Hindu caste-like communities, which, though not untouchable, had been socially and educationally backward). This decision led to widespread protests among the youth in urban areas in North India.

[edit] Tussle with Dhirubhai Ambani
In 1990, the government-owned financial institutions like the Life Insurance Corporation of India and the General Insurance Corporation stonewalled attempts by the Reliance group to acquire managerial control over Larsen & Toubro. Sensing defeat, the Ambanis resigned from the board of the company. Dhirubhai, who had become L&T's chairman in April 1989, had to quit his post to make way for D. N. Ghosh, former chairman of the State Bank of India.

[edit] Babri Masjid
Meanwhile the BJP was moving its own agenda forward: in particular, the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation, which served as a rallying cry for several radical Hindu organisations, took on new life. The party president, Lal Krishna Advani, toured the northern states on a rath - a bus converted to look like a mythical chariot - with the intention of drumming up support. Before he could complete the tour by reaching the disputed site in Ayodhya, he was arrested on Singh's orders on the charges of disturbing the peace and fomenting communal tension. This led to the BJP's suspension of support to the National Front government. V. P. Singh faced the vote of confidence saying that he occupied the high moral ground, as he stood for secularism, had saved the Babri Masjid at the cost of power and had upheld the fundamental principles which were challenged during the crises; `What kind of India do you want?', he asked of his opponents of various shades in Parliament before losing the vote 142-346[3]; only the portion of the National Front remaining loyal to him (see below) and the Left front supported him in the vote.

[edit] Chandra Shekhar
Chandra Shekhar immediately seized the moment and left the Janata Dal with several of his own supporters to form the Samajwadi Janata Party or the Socialist People's Party. Although he had a mere 64 MPs, Rajiv Gandhi, the leader of the Opposition, agreed to support him on the floor of the House; so he won a confidence motion and was sworn in as Prime Minister. He lasted only a few months before Gandhi withdrew support and fresh elections were called. He tried his level best to get support till last minute but failed.

[edit] Aftermath
Singh decided against contesting the new elections and retired from active politics. He spent the next few years touring the country speaking about matters related to issues of social justice and his artistic pursuits, chiefly painting. In the H. D. Deve Gowda and I. K. Gujral governments of the late 1990s, Singh acted as a sort of elder statesman and adviser for the successors to the National Front coalition. In 1992, Singh was the first to propose the name of the future President K. R. Narayanan as a (eventually successful) candidate for Vice President. Later the same year in December, he led his followers to Ayodhya to oppose the Kar seva proposed by L. K. Advani, and was arrested before he could reach the site; the Masjid was demolished by the kar sevaks a few days later. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1998 and ceased his public appearances.

[edit] Jan Morcha relaunch
When his cancer went into remission in 2003, he once again became a visible figure, especially in the many groupings that had inherited the space once occupied by his Janata Dal. Ironically, his caste-based social justice policies had caused the rise of parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party that were formed around caste identities; his own notion of populist socialism was thus squeezed out of the electoral marketplace. To remedy this, he relaunched the Jan Morcha in 2005 with Raj Babbar as President, and began the slow process of aggregation of smaller parties in the North with a view to contesting the Uttar Pradesh elections.

[edit] Agitation at Dadri
Singh was placed under arrest in Ghaziabad as he and his supporters were proceeding towards a hauling where prohibitory orders under Section 144 had been imposed to join the farmers agitating against the acquisition of land at Dadri by the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Industries and demanding adequate compensation.[4]. Later, Singh and CPI General Secretary A. B. Bardhan [5] were again arrested on the U. P. border when they were proceeding to Dadri. However, Singh and Babbar were later able to evade the police, reaching Dadri on 18 August 2006, and ploughing the land in solidarity with the farmers.[6]

[edit] Death
V. P. Singh died after a long struggle with blood cancer and renal failure in Apollo Hospital in Delhi on 27 November 2008.[7]

[edit] References
^ In May 1985, Singh suddenly removed the import of Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) from the Open General License category. As a raw material this was very important to manufacture polyester filament yarn. This made it very difficult for Reliance Industries under Dhirubhai Ambani to carry on operations. Reliance was able to secure, from various financial institutions, letters of credit that would allow it to import almost one full year’s requirement of PTA on the eve of the issuance of the government notification changing the category under which PTA could be imported.
^ Man in the News; V. P. Singh: Low-key Indian in high-anxiety job - New York Times report
^ India's cabinet falls as Premier loses confidence vote, by 142-346, and quits - New York Times report
^ V. P. Singh arrested on way to Reliance plant
^ V. P. Singh, Bardhan held on U. P. border
^ V. P. Singh, Raj Babbar spring a surprise at Dadri
^ Former PM VP Singh dies at Delhi's Apollo Hospital
Political offices
Preceded by
President's Rule Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
9 Jun 1980 – 19 Jul 1982 Succeeded by
Sripati Mishra

V P Singh was protector of social justice: CM,leaders grieve

Chennai, Nov 27 : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and leaders of various political parties in the state today expressed shock and grief over the death of former Prime Minister V P Singh and offered their condolences.

Mr Karunanidhi, in a message here, said the death of Singh, who was a symbol of culture, tradition and principles, was an irreparable loss to the country.

Describing him as the protector of social justice, artist and his best friend, the Chief Minister said he was deeply grieved by his death.

His contributions to Tamil Nadu when he was Prime Minister were historic, he said adding that the state was indebted to him for constituting a tribunal to resolve the Cauvery dispute, implementing the Mandal Commission recommendations on Reservation for Backward Classes and naming the airports after Anna and Kamaraj.

He would remain alive for ever in the history, Mr Karunanidhi said and offered his condolences to the latter's family members.

Expressing shock and grief, TNCC President K V Thangabalu said he buried all his political differences and was friendly with leaders of all political parties. His death was a great loss to the country, he said.

--- UNI

V.P. Singh a champion of social justice

Anita Joshua


He was highly sensitive to social realities: Somnath

A leader who stood for principled politics: CPI(M)

NEW DELHI: Leaders from across the political spectrum were one in hailing the former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, as a champion of social justice and secularism who was willing to sacrifice the highest office for his convictions.

In his condolence message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the country had lost a great patriot and nation-builder whose empathy for the weaker sections would always be etched in national consciousness.

“As Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and later as Finance Minister and Prime Minister, he consistently strove to translate his convictions into public policy. Even after being afflicted with a debilitating disease, he continued to be at the forefront of the struggle for social justice.”

Ansari’s condolence

Vice-President Hamid Ansari said V.P. Singh had carved a niche for himself as an honest and dedicated parliamentarian.

Recalling his long association with Mr. Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said: “He had always been highly sensitive to the social realities of the country and he refused to compromise when the secular fabric of the country was sought to be threatened and readily sacrificed the prime ministership for the sake of the unity and integrity of the country.”

While the Congress described him as a leading political light of several decades, the BJP remembered Mr. Singh for his high level of personal integrity and commitment for the cause of social justice.

“He was a leader who set certain norms for himself and lived by them,” said BJP leader Arun Jaitley.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) hailed Mr. Singh as one of the few contemporary political leaders who stood for principled politics. “The country has lost a leader of rare distinction and commitment,” the CPI(M) said in a statement.

Condoling his death, the CPI said he was one of the rarest politicians who did not forget the mandate of the electorate while in office. “It is a matter of shame that the Congress and the BJP had combined together to remove him from office.”

Secular nationalist

Mourning the passing away of a comrade-in-arms against the Rajiv Gandhi dispensation, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad described Mr. Singh as a truly secular nationalist who was committed to people’s welfare and national development.

“Throughout his life, he constantly strove for the betterment of the poorest among poor, especially those who belonged to the deprived sections of society and minorities.”

According to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, India has lost a distinguished and an eminent social and political leader who had actively participated in the Bhoodan Movement and worked hard for the uplift of the socially disadvantaged sections of society.

“Committed activist”

Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav — who was a Minister in Mr. Singh’s cabinet — remembered him as a committed activist for social change and a crusader against corruption. “In his death, the country has lost an honest politician, a statesman and a true champion of social justice and secularism.”

Another fellow traveller and Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said Mr. Singh gave a new dimension and new direction to the Indian polity by supporting empowerment of marginalised sections through the electoral process and affirmative action.

“He will for long be remembered as a champion of communal harmony and social justice.”


Lately, India has received a great deal of attention in the Western media as an ‘emerging knowledge superpower’, and as ‘a potential economic giant.’ Aside from being routinely described as the ‘world’s largest democracy’, India is now being touted as the poster child for the success of globalization. While some euphoria seems understandable, what is often ignored is that India’s economic prosperity has not translated into a better quality of life for most of its citizens. That its human development indicies are low is quite well-known. A lesser known fact is that India’s justice system has become largely dysfunctional and moribund. Plagued by rampant corruption, nepotism, procedural inefficiencies, archaic laws, interminable delays, and outright subversion by the rich and the powerful, the justice system has not been able to uphold, in several cases, even symbolic notions of social justice and the rule of law. The deinstitutionalization of the justice system is apparent from the fact that the conviction rate for criminal cases is just around six percent.

More disturbing is the fact that initiatives of the state and the verdicts of the judiciary, particularly in the recent times, have overwhelmingly redounded to the benefit of the elites of the propertied castes and classes. Thus, on the one hand, a predatory form of globalization is exacerbating socio-economic inequalities; and, on the other, the actions of both the state and the judiciary appear to be in favor of the ruling elites and their agenda of globalization. Globalization has, thus, aggravated social tensions and profoundly compromised the human rights of millions of marginalized Indians. Not surprisingly, therefore, the legitimacy of the state and the justice system has severely eroded.

In this paper, based on a detailed, critical analysis of the socio-legal initiatives of the state and the judgments of the courts, I wish to argue the following:

a. The policies, statutes, and institutions of the state, though ostensibly meant to uphold social justice and the rule of law, have failed to accomplish their objectives.

b. The judiciary, though quite progressive in an earlier phase (1980s to mid 1990s), lately, appears to have diluted its commitment to the voiceless and marginalized sections of society. Its recent verdicts on issues such as the resettlement of the evacuees of the Narmada dam project, workers’ right to strike, and the ‘right’ of private educational institutions to charge exorbitant capitation fees – to cite some prominent examples - all seem to suggest that the judiciary appears to be eager to further the agenda of globalization, often times regardless of its consequences for the poor.

c. All told, the perfunctory policies and interventions of the state and the tepid response of the judiciary in providing relief to the ‘victims’ of globalization, have resulted in the abrogation of inalienable human rights and civil liberties and jeopardized the human dignity of millions of hapless citizens.

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A low-caste poverty-stricken street dweller.
An Ancient Institution
While scholars differ on the origins of the caste system in India, they agree that it is a very ancient institution. Some speculate that both the complexion and the occupations of the Aryans who invaded India around 1500 B.C. contributed to the growth of the caste system. The Aryan invaders, who spoke Indo-European languages, are believed by some to have been a fair-skinned, blue-eyed ethnic type. They dominated the darker-skinned original residents and made them subservient, much as the British did many centuries later.

According to the traditional Hindu view, human beings were divided into four categories on the basis of their intrinsic qualities. The highest caste, the Brahmins, were the thinkers, philosophers, and priests whose role was to provide both spiritual guidance and intellectual sustenance to the society. Originally, they lived on the charity of the people, given in return for the performance of various rites.

Next came the Kshatriyas, or Warriors, who were primarily concerned with the defense and governance of the state. The kings and rulers belonged to this caste. The third caste consisted of the Vaisyas, or Traders, who were involved in agricultural and commercial operations. In the fourth category were the Sudras, or Laborers. This caste, at the lowest rung of the hierarchical ladder, were responsible for various services, including menial jobs like scavenging and cleaning. They were considered "untouchable" and the three higher castes were not permitted to mingle with them. Marriage across caste lines was forbidden, and even now this taboo persists. Those who fall in love and marry in spite of the taboo risk excommunication from their castes.

This social system of gradation was given religious sanction by a verse in the ancient sacred writings of Hinduism and the earliest document of Indian history called the Rig Veda. Believed to have been composed between 1500 and 1000 B.C., it records that Brahmins came from the face of the creator, Kshatriyas from his arms, Vaisyas from his thighs, and Sudras from the soles of his feet. Members of the lowest caste were subjected to many restrictions in society.

Lower-caste women work all day picking weeds for a wage as low as 50 cents a day.

There are also references to the four castes in the ancient epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. A detailed description of the caste system is found in the Manusmriti (Ordinances of Manu), named for its author. The Manusmriti, which dates from A.D. 700, is the most authoritative work on Hindu law. Centuries later, it was adopted by the British rulers in India.

The status of the low caste continued to be degraded by the Brahmins. Even revolts against the high castes by religious leaders such as Mahavira (540-468 B.C.), the founder of Jainism, and Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.), the founder of Buddhism, failed to reduce the rigidity of the caste system because caste distinctions persisted in both religious sects.

Caste distinctions persisted even during the period of Muslim rule in India (1206-1862). The attempts of other religions, including Christianity and Judaism, to eradicate the caste system did not succeed because class distinctions persisted even in their folds.

The Beginnings of Change
It was the Industrial Revolution that finally made a dent in the caste system and brought a new awareness to Indians that social mobility might be possible. Industrialization encouraged urbanization, as villager dwellers of both high and low castes moved into the cities for better jobs. There, they were introduced to new technologies. In the urban areas, the rigid, age-old ,caste- centered thinking gave way to a more liberal outlook, encouraging the mixing of castes without distinction. Trade unions and other associations had members from all castes working together.

The British government of India had a considerable, transforming impact on the country's Hindu social structure. The British brought change by passing many important laws designed to aid the marginalized lower castes--laws such as the Hindu Act, the Caste Disabilities Act, and the Widow Remarriage Act. But the British could not find a lasting solution to the problem of castes, particularly since the British saw themselves as a privileged ruling class.

The strongest, most systematic attack on the caste system has come in the twentieth century through the Constitution of India, adopted on November 26, 1949. India's constitution guarantees the right of all its citizens to justice, liberty, equality, and dignity. It has been a long and arduous journey from ancient caste distinctions based on Hindu philosophy and religious traditions to the constitutional pledge of a democratic government with equality, dignity, and justice for all human beings.

The Caste System Today
Today, many lower-caste people--especially in rural villages--are still marginalized, with little access to education, limited resources, and unskilled or menial jobs as their only option. However, thanks to a long history of missionary schools and to various changes in government-sponsored education, many have become better educated and hold higher-paying jobs.

The "Holy Bath," a Hindu ritual, is a purification by water before worship. Large numbers of Hindu worshipers bathe in the Narmada River for the festival of Makar Sankranti.

At present, Indian society is characterized by an obsession with the kinds of development that would lead to a free-market economy. The growing economic success of some in India has created a chasm separating the rich from the poor, who make up about 56 percent of the population. Economists describe "two Indias"--one rich and one poor. India's caste system can no longer fully contain the socioeconomic change that the country is undergoing. Different religions, occupations, and levels of education are no longer correlated with caste. A high-caste person cannot be born a chief executive, for example, but must work to become one. A person of low caste may now get a good education and become an executive, a college professor, or even a government leader.

Indians who belong to the lower castes that were once considered "untouchable" now choose to call themselves by the name Dalit, meaning "oppressed," and signaling that they are actively resisting injustice.

Dalits make up 18 to 20 percent of India's population. Only about 3 percent of India's population is Christian, but 50 percent of the Christian population is Dalit, according to Ms. Soosai Raj Faustina, a teacher and member of the Dalit Solidarity Peoples (DSP) National Working Committee. Foreign Christian missionaries have also had a history of helping Dalits with education and with economic development.

Rural India still presents a dismal picture of life for its low-caste people, though. A friend of mine, Dharamnath of Jagdalpur, a member of the Methodist Church and an excellent vocalist, says that the typical low-caste village family may have only one sari (a draped dress using several yards of cloth) for all its women. So, while one woman comes out the hut draped in the sari, four other women must wait inside for their turn to wear the same dress. They can only come out one by one.

Faustina explains that, even though she teaches in a mixed school run by the Roman Catholic Church in Ongur, Dalits are still separated in the village. "Normally, Dalits are put on the east side of the village," she reports, "because the wind blows from west to east, and non-Dalits don't want to be contaminated by wind that has touched Dalits. All the institutions are in the non- Dalit area of the village. We are resisting these things," she adds.

The Supreme Court of India in Delhi.

Migrant populations flock to the outskirts of cities to find work.

A village girl holds her little brother.

In fact, empowered by India's constitution, the Dalits have organized to push for change through legislation and social institutions. Public transportation, radio, and television have begun to have a modernizing impact, especially on children and youth, even in rural villages. But a lack of political will on the part of the state prevents some recommendations from being implemented. Also, villagers who travel to large cities in search of job opportunities are likely to encounter crime syndicates and mafia organizations there. Even in small towns, gangs have proliferated. Last year, the worst-ever massacre of Dalit and landless men, women, and children occurred in Bihar. Sixty people were killed by the Ranvir Sena, a self-styled armed militia of the upper-caste landed gentry, formed to crush the movements of Dalits and agricultural laborers.

Dr. James Massey, a minister of the Church of North India and a Dalit, is a member of the government-sponsored National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in India. This commission is responsible for investigating incidents of religious violence in India. Massey says that religious violence in India is fueled by hatred and fear, not outside influences. The NCM investigated the highly publicized murder of Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines and his two young sons, Philip (age 9) and Timothy (age 6), who were burned alive in their jeep on January 22, 1999, while they were sleeping. Staines was in Orissa working among patients with leprosy. The NCM team concluded that the incident was part of a definite plan on the part of militant Hindus to create insecurity among Christians.

This gruesome act, however, evoked unprecedented condemnation from all sectors of Indian society, including the ruling Hindu Bhartiya Janata Party. The majority of Hindus do not subscribe to these violent methods of reinforcing the nationalistic ideal of creating a Hindu state.

Christian leaders in India have appealed for safety and security not only for Christians but also for indigenous people, regardless of their religion. One banner carried by a child at a mass rally read: "Burn Hatred, Not Children." In a secular society, tolerance and coexistence are two sides of the same coin. Under Article 25 of India's constitution, a citizen has the freedom to profess, practice, and propagate any religion.

Dr. James Massey
Dr. James Massey, a minister of the Church of North India and member of India's National Commission for Minorities (NCM), visited New York recently as part of a delegation from Dalit Solidarity Peoples (DSP). His visit was cosponsored by the National Council of Churches' Southern Asia Office, the United Church Board for World Ministries, and Union Theological Seminary. NCM conducts on-site studies of the most severe incidents of anti-minority violence in India.

The idea that India's Dalits might be united "creates the greatest fear in the minds of the upper classes," observed Professor N.G. Meshram, a Buddhist who is national treasurer of DSP. But he said that DSP is not seeking revenge. "All we want is to be able to identify ourselves." he said. "Enough misery has been suffered for all the ages."

The NCM issues detailed reports on its findings, including extensive recommendations to the government. In the report on the minority situation in Gujarat, 20 recommendations were advised, including those that follow.

Convene meetings of nonpolitical representatives of all religious communities to discuss ways to create, promote, and preserve harmony.
Order proper, effective, and time-bound enquiries into all incidents of anti-minority violence and vandalism that have occurred since March 1998.
Award deterrent punishment to all those found guilty of crimes against minorities.
Pay adequate compensation to victims of anti-minority violence.
Set up a Minority Welfare Department in the state government secretariat.
Protect all places of worship.
Implement the provisions of the Constitution of India, provisions of the Indian Penal Code relating to offences against religion, and other relevant legislative enactments.
"Politically and economically, the upper castes hold the power," said Ms. Soosai Raj Faustina, a member of the DSP National Working Committee. "So the fear is always there, especially among those of us who resist."

Dr. Massey encourages US church members to learn about the Dalit situation in India and to support organizations like DSP, along with schools and other institutions that support the Dalits.
The Methodist Church in India
The present Methodist Church in India (MCI) is a partner of The United Methodist Church through the General Board of Global Ministries. It began as the Methodist Church in Southern Asia. In the early years, pioneer missionaries such as William Butler, the founder of the Methodist Church in India in 1856, made a profound impact on the Indian psyche with their total commitment to bringing Christ's Gospel of love and service to India. They were held in high esteem for their integrity and selfless service by national leaders. Dr. James E. McEldowney, now 92 and living in Florida, spent more than half a century of his dedicated life in India and made remarkable contributions to the Methodist Church. His ministry led many young men and women to accept Jesus Christ. Some became bishops and leaders of the church.

The ongoing task of the Methodist Church in India is to realize the Kingdom of God, which the Hindus call Ram Rajya, meaning "Reign of God Rama." The Kingdom of God is understood as being identical with the presence of Christ here and now. As all are children of God, all are equal in the sight of God. There are no distinctions of race, caste, or status. The concept of the Kingdom of God corresponds to liberation theology in Latin America, in which it is believed that God works through the liberation of peoples to establish His Kingdom of peace, justice, equality, and prosperity, as promised in the Gospel.

The eschatological reality that is to come has another dimension--the concept of restoring justice to the oppressed. This concept of restorative justice must become a real experience in the life of India's society, which is culturally, religiously, linguistically, and ethnically pluralistic. Only with restorative justice can the Kingdom of God become a reality in India, especially when we witness all around us the denials of social entitlements and the struggles of the oppressed. A parallel can be seen in the oracle of the prophet Amos, admonishing the people who tried to please God with the best sacrifice and music but with no thought of justice for the poor and the oppressed (Amos 5:24). It is also a reminder to the present materialistic society that God's desire is to see that the oppressed and poor are given justice to ensure peace and prosperity.

The new paradigm of the Kingdom of God transcends national and political orders. An encounter with Christ in the post-resurrection period means accepting the marginalized and oppressed, embracing the concept of servanthood, and working to improve the status and rights of women and children. These are among the issues that must be owned, understood, and proclaimed by the church. It is the mission of the church to hold high the vision of the Kingdom of God, thereby countering the 3500-year-old social institution of caste.

Economic growth without social justice: EU-India trade negotiations and their implications for social development and gender justice
This paper attempts to place the EU-India FTA negotiations in their historical and topical context, and questions the coherence between the development aid agenda on the one hand, and the trade and investment agenda on the other.

Economic growth without social justice: EU-India trade negotiations and their implications for social development and gender justice.

Author: Christa Wichterich, with input by Yamini Mishra, CBGA, New Delhi, and Pam Rajput, University of Chandigarh.

On 28 June 2007 negotiations on a bilateral trade and investment agreement between India and the EU were launched in Brussels. The negotiations have to be seen have to be seen in the context of fast-changing global economic relations and the growing significance of the emerging markets in Asia. Both sides consider an export-led and free-trade-oriented strategy a powerful driver of economic growth, development, and employment. India is in the process of adopting in a “grand leap forward” the liberalisation model, enhancing its export industries in manufacturing and information technologies, and its access to foreign markets. It has already become an important production base and outsourcing destination for EU operators. The EU wants to maintain its competitiveness in the world economy by gaining access to the large Indian market, expanding investment, the export of goods and services, and ensuring favourable trade rules and regulations.

While the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) is supposed to prepare the ground for a “strategic partnership” in trade and investment, India is still a major recipient of EU development aid. The Country Strategy Paper for India 2007-2013 provides 470 million euro for both economic and development co-operation. While in the past decade Indian economic growth rates rank second in the world behind China, UNDP ranked India’s human development at 126, and gender-related development at 96 in its global comparison. One quarter of the population of India lives below the poverty line.

This paper attempts to place the EU-India FTA negotiations in their historical and topical context, and questions the coherence between the development aid agenda on the one hand, and the trade and investment agenda on the other. Does it still hold true what the European Commission stated in 1996 aiming at enhancing the EU-India partnership: “The European Union firmly believes that social development must be a parallel objective to economic development”? Exploring the main interests behind the FTA on both sides, the paper asks whether considerations regarding social inclusion, poverty eradication, and gender equality are informing trade policy-making. It looks at trade liberalisation and the FTA procedures through the prism of social justice and human development. Since bilateral trade negotiations are held in great secrecy, the paper wishes to provide civil society actors in the EU and India with background information and to build their capacity to engage critically in policy-making on trade and development and in transregional networking.

To access the publication online, please go to:

Changing Economic Scenario and Social Justice in India/Mahabal Ram. New Delhi, Dominant, 2003, xxxii, 296 p., $28. ISBN 81-7888-050-4.
Contents: Preface. Introduction. 1. New economic policy : meaning and concept. 2. Compulsions for adopting new economic reforms. 3. Visionless political decisions. 4. Disinvestment policy and selling of crown jewels. 5. Danger of liberalisation. 6. Challenge to democracy. 7. Multinationals as civilizers. 8. Invasion of capitalism. 9. Lack of preparations. 10. Mockery of tryst with destiny : poor and Dalits alienated. 11. Folly of new economic reforms. 12. National agenda for collective economic emancipation of poor and Dalits. References.

"Soon after independence the nascent Indian nation adopted semi-socialistic (state controlled) mix-economic system for the reconstruction of its economy with justice as its main objective. It worked well for 43 years (1947-90) and a lot of wealth and employment opportunities were created which of course could not percolate to the bottom rung of the Indian society due to political and bureaucratic corruption. The ruling elites both Congress as well as BJP, votary of Swadesi replaced the existing Nehruvian economic system with the capitalistic new economic system so called liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation and opened its economy and its market to the foreign players, the Multinational Corporations (MNCs) under the pressure of World Bank, IMF and WTO, the tentacles of the Developed Countries (G-7) without laying down proper guidelines and conditions. The new economic system lack social justice.

"Thus Indian economy is already under invasion by the Capitalistic west, which has accelerated not only poverty, hunger, unemployment and debt but also crisis of confidence in our polity and the bureaucratic system. The present book focuses on the merits and demerits of old and this new economic reform policy and its fallout. It also suggest ways and means to came out of present crisis without tremoring national unity and integrity." (jacket)

Constitutionalising social justice in India: the role of the Supreme Court

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Bidyut Chakrabarty
24 Apr 2008

Reservation is an empowering device in India. In a landmark judgment in April, 2008, the case of Ashoka Kumar Thakur versus Union of India validated the Ninety-Third Amendment Act with the Indian Supreme Court endorsing the demand for reservation for the demographically preponderant Other Backward Castes (OBC) in higher education. Reiterating its views on the Indira Sawhney versus Union of India (1992) the Court denied reservation to those who had already attained economic well-being or educational advancement as ‘it would be unreasonable, discriminatory or arbitrary, resulting in reverse discrimination’.

With the approval by the highest court of justice, the Ninety-Third Amendment to the Constitution (2005) is the culmination of a process that began with the acceptance of the Mandal recommendations by the VP Singh-led National Front Government in 1990, in light of massive opposition by caste groups, including OBCs.

The Mandal scheme was justified because it recommended reservation for a group that constituted more than half of India’s population that remained excluded from government jobs. The Ninety-Third Amendment Act is thus a continuation in the sense that it extends reservation for the same group, this time in the realm of higher education.

From the point of social justice, these schemes seem legitimate because the state potentially has the power to adopt discriminatory measures to favour one group of people against another in a multicultural society. In order to neutralise inequality, the state must provide resources to the underprivileged ‘on non market principles – free education, assured income, nutritious food and health’. Can reservation serve as an appropriate scheme to accord recognition to the disadvantaged due to historical reasons? Perhaps yes. A politically ‘liberal’ society however does not endorse social discrimination because citizenship, conceptually speaking, is universal. Hence ascribed identities are completely disregarded in defining citizenry. One may perhaps theoretically defend this position.

But, given the peculiar evolution of societies in various socio-economic and political contexts, this position may not appear tenable simply because identical rights for all are inadequate in protecting cultural-minorities. What is therefore required are ‘special’ rights for minorities who are identified as ‘disadvantaged’ groups. The argument that justifies discriminatory laws draws on the idea that since citizens are ‘differentiated’ and thus ‘unequal’, different communities should have different rights as citizens.

There is a historical dimension that has underpinned India’s caste-based discourse. Different communities undergo a variety of social churning processes through time. Hence some are deemed to be ‘privileged’, while others are seen as ‘marginalised’. A society that rejects ‘differentiated citizenship’ and appreciates universal citizenship seeks to insist that the latter give up their identity and submerge with the majority. Purportedly, this is how a society flourishes. From the multicultural point of view, this position smacks of ‘cultural imperialism’ because the prism through which a society is uniformly viewed insists on treating un-equals equally. Here, the norms and values of the privileged majority acquire salience given their well-entrenched nature and therefore any opposition to them provokes consternation among those who tend to belittle the importance of historical processes that have divided mankind.

There are thus strong arguments in favour of reservation in a multicultural country like India. But the difficulty arises when groups or communities that deserve reservation are identified on the basis of ascribed identity, namely caste. Apart from the 1931 census of India, caste was never a criterion in classifying the Indian population. So if caste is a defining category, the 1931 index is hardly persuasive because as the census was guided by imperial priorities and may not have reflected India’s actual demographic profile. Furthermore, since the criterion of ‘backwardness’ is historically-conditioned, it is doubtful whether it remains valid even in the twenty first century.

Similarly, reservation in higher education appears to be an empty slogan in the light of the fact that seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes remain vacant owing to a lack of applicants. Even after more than half a century of reservation for these communities, the number of beneficiaries remains abysmally low.

As evident in the latest educational statistics, released by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development, while 73% of Scheduled Caste (SC) students quit school before taking the class X final examination, the figures for the Scheduled Tribe (ST) students (79%) are worse. Interestingly, the drop-out rates are not so high among the children who are in class I-IV. Only 37% of the SC students discontinue, while 59% of the ST students fall under this category. If contrasted with prevalent high Gross Enrolment Ratio, which is 83% for the SCs and 86% for the STs, the drop-rates reveal the unfavourable socio-economic circumstances in which these same students are forced to take-up odd jobs just to survive. Since the majority of SC and ST population draw on agriculture for livelihood, these children are roped in to farm the land once they reach 10-12 years.

Given this reality, reservation in higher education makes no sense so long as drop-out rates in schools are alarmingly high. In order to translate the scheme into practice, the pursuance of a ‘literacy mission’, especially among the downtrodden by creating conditions, where the benefits of going to school outweigh the forced-alternative of working in the field. Otherwise, the benefits of reservation continue to be ‘uneven’ among those who can avail them and thus, the social justice agenda will always remain a distant goal.

Despite having stirred the sensibilities of both the socially advantaged and disadvantaged sections of society, the 1990 Mandal reservation scheme has brought about radical changes in Indian polity and society. The grammar of entitlement has now become an integral part of the language of politics in contemporary India.

There can be a debate on how to execute the decision, but all political parties are unanimous in accepting the logic and reality of the Ninety-Third Amendment Act (2005) confirming reservation in all institutions of higher learning. Nonetheless, the Mandal debate marks an important shift in the public justification for reservations.

After Mandal, caste as a basis of collective struggle for gaining equality in positions and social status became a respectable term among the marginalised. It is now being seen as an empowering device to enhance one’s meager entitlements in society. While the first phase of reservation under the Mandal Commission represented the politics of caste assertion or the politics of identity, the second phase is one defined by castes that assert their right to power.

The 2008 decision of the Supreme Court constitution bench in the case of Ashoka Kumar Thakur versus Union of India is undoubtedly a watershed judgment seeking to redefine the normative subjectivity of formal democracy. This involves the critical reformation of the institutions of public and private life and requires new frameworks for the accountability of government to the people. The recent judicial verdict is not merely a meaningful political statement, it has moved a step closer to the constitutional goals of a more equal and just society.

The Withering Social Justice in India: A Case for Diversity
By: Dr Ramaiah Avatthi
To add a paper, Login. The policy of reservation and other opportunities of development guaranteed in the Indian Constitution for the SCs and STs (Dalits) are increasingly becoming redundant in view of the ever-increasing process of liberalization, privatization and globalization. Moreover, the very castes and communities that opposed such measures have now started demanding for it. In this changing circumstances Dalits and other marginalized groups need to aim at diversifying national assets and opportunities of development among all castes and communities rather than aiming at the mere continuation of the existing Reservation policy. The paper in the process portrays how the state has failed in protecting the Dalits' dignity, human rights and in meeting their basic needs. The paper suggests that in the changing context, Dalits should prevail upon the State to adopt Diversity policies which are popular in US and other developed countries as means to ensure social justice to all communities in a dignified manner.

Keywords: Social Justice, Dalits, Globalisation, Wealth/Asset Diversity, Reservation/Affirmative Policies

Stream: Politics of Diversity
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English

Paper: Cultural Diversity Acclaimed but Social and Economic Diversity Ignored

Dr Ramaiah Avatthi
Reader, Unit for Social Policy and Social Welfare Administration, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Dr A. Ramaiah has been engaged in teaching and research in the fields of social work and social sciences in the last 15 years. He obtained his Bachelor Degree (1981) in Economics from Madurai University and Master Degree (1984) in Social Work from University of Madras, India. He obtained his M.Phil in Population Studies (1987) and Ph. D in Sociology (1999) from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Soon after his master degree, he had also undergone a six-months management training on the rehabilitation of the physically handicapped. Later, for about 5 months, he worked as a Project Coordinator of an NGO viz., Service Civil International - India (a rural development project in Tamil Nadu). During this period he was primarily involved in initiating and executing community development programmes, besides managing the organization. Ramaiah joined the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai on July 1, 1991 as a Lecturer. He was promoted to the position of Senior Lecturer in July 1998. Currently (since December 10, 2001) he is a Reader. His responsibilities include teaching subjects such as development of Indian marginalized communities, management and evaluation of not for profit organizations, social welfare organization and social policy issues to the master level students of social work. He has also been involved in supervising and guiding the students in their field and dissertation works. He has also been involved in organizing seminars and workshops. He has handled independent research projects. His recent research, which is on the use and abuse of laws for protection Dalit human rights, is shortly coming out in a book form. He has written extensively for the reputed journals and books on issues pertaining to the marginalized communities. Ramaiah has traveled twice (1995, 1998) in most of the European countries and once in Zimbabwe articulating Dalit concerns.

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