Tag Archives: Gujarat

Statue of Unity: Gujarat Villagers Wrote Open Letter to Protest PM Modi’s Visit


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The Statue of Unity (Credit: https://www.livemint.com)

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The 182 metres Statue of Unity, a memorial to Sardar Patel, is situated on Sandhu island of Narmada river, an islet in Kevadiya and is touted as the world’s tallest statue. This statue was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 143rd birth anniversary of freedom fighter and India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The statue, constructed at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore, is now the world’s tallest and twice the size of the Statue of Liberty in New York.

But, do you know the sarpanches (headmen) of 22 villages situated near the Sardar Sarovar Dam, in an open letter having common content, addressed to Modi, wrote that he was not a welcome guest?

These forests, rivers, waterfalls, land and agriculture supported us for generations. We survived on them. But, everything is being destroyed now and celebrations are also planned. Don’t you think its akin to celebrating someone’s death? We feel so.  We, villagers, want to tell you with extreme grief that we will not welcome you on October 31, 2018; Even if you come here like an unwanted guest, you are not welcome here.

The sarpanches alleged that people’s hard-earned money is being wasted on projects like the Statue of Unity even though several villages of the area are still deprived of basic facilities like schools, hospitals and drinking water.

“If Sardar Patel could see the mass destruction of natural resources and injustice done to us, he would cry. When we are raising our issues, we are persecuted by the police. Why you are not ready to listen to our plight?” the letter said.

Also,  the local tribal leaders announced a boycott of the inauguration of the Statue of Unity on October 31, 2018, citing the destruction of natural resources due to the memorial?

During the month of October 2018, tribal activists had announced that people living in 72 villages near the dam will join the protest on October 31, 2018, by not cooking food.

Tribal leader Anand Mazgaokar said, “We have also urged tribals of the eastern belt of Gujarat, from Dang till Ambaji, to join our protest by observing bandh that day. We are confident that the entire tribal population will stand up against the injustice.”

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Following the protest ahead of Statue of Unity’s unveiling, in which several Ekta Yatra posters with photos of the PM and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani were damaged, new ones featuring tribal leader Birsa Munda were put up on way to the statue. Police have been deployed to protect these. (Photo: Bhupendra Rana)

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Meanwhile, unidentified persons tore and defaced posters of Modi and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in several parts of the district a few days before the inauguration. Citing these incidents, Mazgaokar said, “It happened because locals are angry. No one provoked them. We have only given a call for bandh.”

New posters featuring tribal leader Birsa Munda were put up on way to the statue. Police have been deployed to protect these.

By the way, the Statue of Unity is open to the public from November 1, 2018, on all days of the week from 9 am to 6 pm.

Entry is free for toddlers below the age of 3, and for all others, tickets are priced at Rs 350 per person. It includes entry to the observation deck, valley of flowers, the Sardar Patel memorial, museum and audio-visual gallery, the Statue of Unity site and Sardar Sarovar dam.

There is a cheaper option as well. For a basic entry ticket, which includes a visit to the valley of flowers, the Sardar Patel memorial, museum and audio-visual gallery, the Statue of Unity site and Sardar Sarovar dam, adults are charged Rs 120. For children aged below 15, the ticket price is Rs 60.

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Cricket: Scorecard of IPL 9 – Match #6 – Gujarat Lions Vs Rising Pune Supergiants on April 14, 2016


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Source: twenty20wiki.com
Source: twenty20wiki.com

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After nine long years, lead their separate teams. (Source: AFP)
After nine long years, lead their separate teams. (Source: AFP)

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Venue: Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot
Date & Time:  Thursday, April 14,  08:00 PM IST (14:30 GMT)

Umpires: Vineet Kulkarni, Nandan
Third Umpire: Anil Dandekar
Match Referee: Chinmay Sharma
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Rising Pune Supergiants Squad
Playing XI
MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Rajat Bhatia, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Murugan Ashwin
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Bench

Adam Zampa, Albie Morkel, Ankit Sharma, Ankush Bains, Ashok Dinda, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar, Irfan Pathan, Ishwar Pandey, Jaskaran Singh, Peter Handscomb, Saurabh Tiwary, Scott Boland, Thisara Perera

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Gujarat Lions
Playing XI
Suresh Raina (c), Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dinesh Karthik (wk),Dwayne Bravo, Akshdeep Nath, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Shadab Jakati, Pravin Tambe
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Bench
Amit Mishra, Andrew Tye, Dale Steyn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dwayne Smith, Eklavya Dwivedi, Ishan Kishan, Jaydev Shah, Paras Dogra, Pradeep Sangwan, Sarabjit Ladda, Shivil Kaushik, Umang Sharma
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Toss

Rising Pune Supergiants won the toss and opted to bat.

RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS Innings
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RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS R B 4s 6s SR
 Ajinkya Rahane lbw b Tambe  21 17 4  0 123.53
 Francois du Plessis  st D Karthik b Tambe  69  43  5  4  166.47
 Kevin Pietersen  b DJ Bravo  37  31  2  1  119.35
Steven Smith
 c Faulkner b R Jadeja  5 6  0  0  83.33
 MS Dhoni(c) & (wk)  not out  22  10  2  1  220
 Mitchell Marsh  b R Jadeja  7  11  0  0  63.64
 Rajat Bhatia  not out  0  2  0  0  0
 Ravichandran Ashwin  dnb
 Ishant Sharma dnb
 RP Singh dnb
 Murugan Ashwin dnb
Extras
2  (b 1, lb 1, w 0, nb 0, p 0)
Total 163 for 5 in 20 overs 163 (RR @ 8.15 rpo)
FALL OF WICKETS
1/27
Ajinkya Rahane(
(3.5 ov.)
 2/113
Kevin Pietersen
(13.6 ov.)
 3/132
Faf du Plessis
(15.4 ov)
4/134
Steven Smith,
(16.2 ov.)
5/143-5
Mitchell Marsh,
(18.4 ov.)
BOWLING O M R W Econ
 Praveen Kumar 2  0  12 0 6.00
 Shadab Jakati  4  0  40  0 100.00
 Pravin Tambe 4 0  33 2 8.25
 Dwayne Bravo 4 0 43 1  10.75
 Ravindra Jadeja  4 0 18  2 4.50
 James Faulkner  2 0 15 0  7.50

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GUJARAT LIONS Innings
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GUJARAT LIONS R B 4s 6s SR
 Aaron Finch  c Ishant &
b M Ashwin
 50  36 7  2 138.89
 Brendon McCullum  c du Plessis &
b Ishant
 49 33 3  1  158.06
Suresh Raina (c)  st Dhoni &
b M Ashwin
 24  24  1  0  100
 Dwayne Bravo  not out  22  10 3  1  220
 Ravindra Jadeja  not out  4  8  0  0  50
Dinesh Karthik (wk)  dnb
Akshdeep Nath  dnb
 James Faulkner  dnb
 Praveen Kumar dnb
Shadab Jakati dnb
 Pravin Tambe dnb
Extras 15 (b – 2, lb – 5, w – 7, nb – 1)
Total 164 for 3 in 18 over 187 (RR @ 9.11 rpo)
FALL OF WICKETS
1/85
Aaron Finch
(8.3 ov.)
 2/120
Brendon McCullum(
13.1 ov.)
3/147
Suresh Raina
(16.1 ov.)
BOWLING O M R W Econ
 RP Singh  2  0  21  0  10.50
 Ishant Sharma  4  0  39 1  9.75
 Ravichandran Ashwin  4  0 26  0  6.50
 Murugan Ashwin  4 0  31  2  7.75
 Rajat Bhatia  3 0 30  0  10
 Mitchell Marsh  1 0 10  0 10

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Aaron Finch - Gujarat Lions - IPL-2016 (Source -iplt20.wiki.in) 300x240

 Aaron Finch – “Man of the Match” for the second time.

Cricket: Scorecard of IPL 9 – Match #3 – Kings XI Punjab Vs Gujarat Lions on April 11, 2016


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Source: sportsind.com
Source: sportsind.com

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Venue: Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
Date & Time: Monday, April 11, 2016,  08:00 pm IST (2:30 pm GMT)

Umpires: Anil Chaudhary, Vineet Kulkarni
Third Umpire: Nand Kishore
Match Referee: Chinmay Sharma
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King’s XI Punjab
Playing XI
David Miller (c), Murali Vijay, Glenn Maxwell,  Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Axar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Sandeep Sharma, Pardeep Sahu, Mitchell Johnson, Mohit Sharma
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Bench
Anureet Singh, Armaan Jaffer, KC Cariappa, Farhaan Behardien, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Kyle Abbott,  Nikhil Naik, Rishi Dhawan,   Shardul Thakur, Shaun Marsh, Swapnil Singh
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Gujarat Lions
Playing XI
Suresh Raina (c), Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ishan Kishan, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Pradeep Sangwan, Sarabjit Ladda
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Bench
Akshdeep Nath, Amit Mishra, Andrew Tye, Dale Steyn, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dwayne Smith, Eklavya Dwivedi, Jaydev Shah, Paras Dogra, Pravin Tambe, Shadab Jakati,  Shivil Kaushik, Umang Sharma
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Toss

Gujarat Lions won the toss and opted to bowl.

 

KINGS XI PUNJAB Innings

KINGS XI PUNJAB R B 4s 6s SR
 Murali Vijay  b R Jadeja 42  34  5  1 123.53
 Manan Vohra c D Karthik &
b R Jadeja
 38  23 4 2  165.22
 David Miller(c)  b DJ Bravo 15 10 1  1 150
 Glenn Maxwell  b DJ Bravo 2 4  0  0  50
Wriddhiman Saha (wk) c R Jadeja &
b DJ Bravo
20 25 0  0 80
 Marcus Stoinis c Finch &
b DJ Bravo
33 22  4  0 150
 Axar Patel  not out  4 2 0 0  200
 Mitchell Johnson  not out 0 0  0 0  0
 Pardeep Sahu  dnb
Mohit Sharma  dnb
 Sandeep Sharma  dnb
Extras 7 (b – 1, lb – 2, w – 4, nb – 0)
Total 161 for 6 in 20 overs
161 (RR @ 8.05 rpo)
FALL OF WICKETS
 1/78
Manan Vohra
(8.2 ov.)
 2/91
Murali Vijay
(10.4 ov.)
3/101
Glenn Maxwell,
(11.4 ov.)
 4/102
David Miller
(11.6 ov.)
 5/157
Wriddhiman Saha (19.3 ov.)
6/157
Marcus Stoinis
(19.4 ov.)
BOWLING O M R W Econ
 Praveen Kumar  4 0  25  0 6.25
 Pradeep Sangwan  2  0  21  0 10.50
 James Faulkner  4  0 39 0  9.75
 Sarabjit Ladda  2  0  21  0 10.5
 Ravindra Jadeja 4  0 30 2 7.50
 Dwayne Bravo 4 0  22  4 5.50
 Sahu
GUJARAT LIONS Innings
GUJARAT LIONS R B 4s 6s SR
 Aaron Finch st W Saha &
b Pardeep Sahu
74  47 12  0 157.45
 Brendon McCullum st W Saha &
b Sandeep Sharma
 0  2  0  0 0
 Suresh Raina(c) c Johnson &
b M Stoinis
 20 9 1  2 222.22
 Dinesh Karthik (wk) not out 41  26  7  0  157.69
 Ravindra Jadeja runout (Johnson)  8  12  0  0    66.67
 Ishan Kishan c Mohit Sharma & b Johnson 11  8 2  0  137.50
 Dwayne Bravo not out  2  2  0  0  100
 James Faulkner dnb
 Praveen Kumar dnb
 Pradeep Sangwan dnb
 Sarabjit Ladda dnb
Extras 6 (b – 0, lb – 3, w – 3, nb – 0)
Total 162 for 5 in 17.4 overs 162 (RR @ 9.17 rpo)
FALL OF WICKETS
1/1
Brendon McCullum
(0.6 ov.)
 2/52
Suresh Raina
(5.3 ov.)
 3/117
Aaron Finch
(11.5 ov.)
4/133
Ravindra Jadeja,
(14.3 ov.)
 5/151
Ishan Kishan
(16.5 ov.)
BOWLING O M R W Econ
 Sandeep Sharma 3 0 21  1  7
 Mitchell Johnson 4  0 35  1  8.75
 Mohit Sharma  2.4 0 24  0 8.99
 Marcus Stoinis 2  0 27  1  13.50
Axar Patel 2 0 17  0  8.50
Pardeep Sahu 4 0 35 1  8.75

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Aaron Finch - Gujarat Lions - IPL-2016 (Source -iplt20.wiki.in) 300x240

 Aaron Finch – “Man of the Match”

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Paduka – The Footwear Once Worn by Men and Women in India


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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The centuries-old Hindu, Buddhist and Jain scriptures trace the use of footwear in India way back to 200 BC. Coins of the Kushan period (130 BC to 185 AD) and the Gupta period (320 to 550 AD) feature kings wearing boots.

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Kapula (Source: ehow.co.uk)
Kapula (Source: ehow.co.uk)

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From ancient times, wearing leather footwear was taboo in India because the Hindus consider the cow as sacred; and so, the use of sandals made of wood, plant  fibres, and metals was in vogue.

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The Sun god at Guda Mandap at the Sun Temple, Modhera (Source: wikimedia.org)
The Sun god at Guda Mandap at the Sun Temple, Modhera (Source: wikimedia.org)

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In the 11th century Sun temple at Modhera, Gujarat, the sun god wears a distinctive West Asian belt and lengthy footwear. And, in the 13th century Dakshinaarka temple at Gaya in the state of Bihar in India, the presiding deity Dakshinaarka, the Sun God wears a jacket, a waist girdle and high boots in the Iranian tradition.

The term paduka is a compound word made up of two Sanskrit words Namely, “pada” (foot) and “ka“, a diminutive ending literally meaning “small”.

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Paduka, Garamur Sutra (Source: majulilandscape. Gov. in)
Paduka, Garamur Sutra (Source: majulilandscape. gov. in)

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The paduka has a sole with a post and knob. The wearer of the paduka grips the post and knob between their big and second toe to  keep the foot in place.

Since the paduka do not have straps of any kind to keep them adhered to the feet, it must have been difficult to walk wearing them. The wearers would have dragged their feet along the ground accompanied by funny movements of their hips.

Paduka from the 1800s, with bone and ivory inlay in sheesham wood (Source: indiapiedaterredotcom.wordpress.com)
Paduka from the 1800s, with bone and ivory inlay in sheesham wood (Source: indiapiedaterredotcom.wordpress.com)

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Fine teak, ebony and sandalwood went into the making of the paduka for the affluent embellished with leather and fur. Large floral and leaf motifs were carved and embedded or inlaid with beads, stones, crystals,  ivory, and metals such as copper, bronze and iron.

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Fish shaped paduka inlaid with brass, and part of the Bata Shoe Museum collection, Toronoto, Canada (Source: indiapiedaterredotcom.wordpress.com)
Fish shaped paduka inlaid with brass, and part of the Bata Shoe Museum collection, Toronoto, Canada (Source: indiapiedaterredotcom.wordpress.com)

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The paduka took on a variety of forms such as the actual shape of feet, or of fish (a symbol of fertility and plenty in India), or animals.

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An antique wedding silver and gold over wood, toe-knob paduka, of the 1800s exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Musueum, London.
An antique wedding silver and gold over wood, toe-knob paduka, of the 1800s exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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In ancient times, decorated and expensive paduka formed a part of an Indian bride’s trousseau.

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A Pandit woman wearing paduka ca.1922 (Source: wikimedia.org)
A Pandit woman wearing paduka ca.1922 (Source: wikimedia.org)

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Some commoners too wore paduka, but of a simpler design.

Even today, a few Hindu and Jain ascetics and mendicants wear the paduka.

Spiked wooden Paduka of late 19th Century (Source: shoesornoshoes.com)
Spiked wooden Paduka of late 19th Century (Source: shoesornoshoes.com)

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Some masochistic Hindu ascetics wore spiked paduka for inflicting pain on themselves as an aid to performing penance.

Paduka in Hindu mythology

On certain occasions, the paduka became the object of veneration in Hindu mythology. It is significant in the epic Ramayana.

Queen Kaikeyi, mother of Bharata, at the behest of Manthara, the ugly hunchbacked, antagonistic maid, beseeched her husband, King Dasaratha to exile her step son Rama, whom she loved dearly, for 14 years and crown her own son Bharata as prince-regent.

Prince Rama, his consort princess Sita, and his step-brother, prince Laksmana went into a forest to spend their period of exile. But the good prince Bharata, who loved his older step-brother Rama, did not want to become the prince-regent. So, he met Rama on his way to the deep forest and entreated him to return to Ayodhya. When Rama told Bharata that he will return only after completing his fourteen years in the forest, Bharata requested Rama to give him his paduka to serve as an object of veneration for the subjects of the kingdom.

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Guler painting (c. 1780 AD) of Bharata Worshiping the Sandals of his beloved step-brother Rama.
Haripur Guler painting (c. 1780 AD) of Bharata Worshiping the Sandals of his beloved step-brother Rama.

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Bharata carried Rama’s pair of paduka with great reverence by placing them on his head as a mark of respect and obedience to his elder brother.  Bharata installed Rama’s  pair of  paduka on the throne and ruled the kingdom of Kosala as Rama’s proxy.

High-heeled footwear

High-heeled footwear now known as platforms did not come into our lives in the 1970’s. Our ancestors wore them in India several centuries before.

At the archaeological site at Chandraketugarh, about 35 km north-east of Kolkata, footwear with raised heel and floral motifs used around 200 BC were found.

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Indian paduka (Source: fabulousplatformshoes.com)
Indian paduka (Source: fabulousplatformshoes.com)
The sculpture at the  Ramappa Temple in Warangal

The Ramalingeswara temple also known as Ramappa gudi  is located 77 km from Warangal  and 157 km from Hyderabad. Here one can find  850 years old sculptures.

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Fashionable ladies in India wore high heels 850 years ago exemplified in a sculpture at Ramappa Temple in Warangal, Telangana, India.
Fashionable ladies in India wore high heels 850 years ago exemplified in a sculpture at Ramappa Temple in Warangal, Telangana, India.

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The above sculpture in the Ramappa Temple exemplifies the fact that fashionable ladies in India wore high-heeled paduka.

The elevated paduka must have helped the ladies to give the illusion that they were much taller than what they were!

Again,  there could have been a more practical reason – to keep their feet and clothing clean!

The elevated paduka must have helped the ladies to give the illusion that they were much taller than what they were!

Again, there could have been a more practical reason; maybe to keep their feet and clothing clean!

By the way, from ancient times, Sudras, the low caste people in India, were not allowed to wear any type of footwear on public roads. They had to carry them in their hands. One can see this phenomenon even now in many villages in India.

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Is a College Degree Necessary for Smriti Irani to hold the HRD Portfolio?


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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I do not subscribe to any political party. But, when I perceive talent in any form, I will be the first person to endorse it.

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Smriti Zubin Irani, incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India since May 27, 2014.
Smriti Zubin Irani, incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India since May 27, 2014.

Smriti Zubin Irani, a former model, television actress and producer represents the Bharatiya Janata Party and is the incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India since May 27, 2014. She is a first time Lok Sabha polls contestant and a first-time minister and the youngest in the Narendra Modi cabinet.

Born on March 23, 1976, in Delhi to a family of Punjabi–Bengali background, Smriti Malhotra is the eldest amongst three sisters. She studied up to class 12 at Holy Child Auxilium School (HCA) in New Delhi and discontinued further education.

Smriti worked as a waitress at McDonald’s before finding stardom in modelling. In 1998, Smriti was one of the finalists of the Miss India beauty pageant.

In 2000, she made her debut with TV series Aatish and Hum Hain Kal Aaj Kal Aur Kal, both aired on Star Plus. In mid-2000, Irani bagged the lead role of Tulsi Virani in Ekta Kapoor’s production Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi on Star Plus. She holds the record of winning five consecutive Indian Television Academy Awards for the Best Actress (Popular), four Indian Telly Awards, eight Star Parivaar Awards.

In 2001, Smriti married Zubin Irani, a Parsi.

Smriti Irani is a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat and is now widely acknowledged in the BJP as a key member of Narendra Modi’s inner circle.

In her message to the Subject Toppers of Senior School Certificate (Class XII) Examination, 2014 conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, Delhi, posted on the website of the Government of India Ministry of Human Resource Development she said:

I congratulate all the students of CBSE who have excelled in their schools, districts and States in different subjects.

I applaud those who have worked hard and have got good results which make them and their families proud.

Examinations, marks, and above all values and Character in life, are the means to move forward and achieve progress

I wish all the students success in achieving their dreams in whatever walk of life they find joy and fulfilment and thereby contribute to a healthy, harmonious society and a strong nation.

But, there is something to be said about Smriti Irani’s own education.

Congress leader Ajay Maken questioned Smriti Irani’s credentials to lead the HRD ministry which oversees the country’s education system including the prestigious IITs and IIMs. Hitherto, the portfolio had always been held by a person with high academic qualifications. Maken tweeted: “Smriti Irani is not even a graduate,” triggering a political row, which until then had been fuelled online solely by her main detractor Madhu Purnima Kishwar, an Indian academic, and writer, who has been going hammer and tongs at Smriti Irani since the swearing-in.

In the past, Madhu Kishwar vociferously defended Narendra Modi both on Twitter and on television channels. Now, after the swearing-in, Kishwar seems to have taken on a new role of being his critic-in-chief.

Smriti Irani seemed unfazed by the drama. However, there is more to this controversy.

Her BIODATA published in the HRD website states:

Educated at Holy Child Auxilium, Delhi and School of Correspondence and Continuing Education, University of Delhi, Delhi.

Smriti Irani has herself provided conflicting affidavits of her educational qualifications.

In 2004, in the affidavit filed with the Election Commission of India she submitted that she had received a bachelor’s degree in Arts (B.A.) in 1996 from Delhi University (School of Correspondence).

Details of school and university education - 1

 

In the affidavit filed with the Election Commission of India for the recent 2014 elections Smriti Irani claimed that she only completed Part I (first year) of her bachelor’s degree in commerce (Part I B.Com.) in the year 1994 from Delhi University’s School of Open Learning (correspondence)..

Details of school and university education - 2

 

To add venom, a leak from the School of Correspondence, as reported by a newspaper, claims that Smriti Irani had enrolled in 2013, but had not written the examination.

This incidence of doubts raised about Smriti Irani’s education leads to the perennial question “What is education?

When knowledge, skills, and habits convey from one person to another through teaching, training, or research we call it education. So, we can say that education is any experience that has a developmental effect that leads to the way one thinks, feels, or acts.

Education - 1

By the way, do you think that all recipients of diplomas and college degrees are really educated?

At present, most people look at education as commonly divided into stages: preschool, primary school, secondary school and then college, university or apprenticeship under the guidance of others. But many do not freely acknowledge that education may also be autodidactic.

Autodidacticism or autodidactism or self-education is self-directed learning.

An autodidact is a self-teacher. Autodidactism is a contemplative and absorptive process. One may become an autodidact at any point in one’s life. While one may have studied a particular field in the conventional method they may choose to inform themselves in other, often unrelated areas by self-study.

Many autodidacts have complemented their formal learning with self-study. Though I have a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, I am an autodidact in computer science. Forty-two years ago, I was not able to find any teacher who could teach computer science. So, I spent a great deal of time reviewing the resources found in physical libraries and buying whatever books on computer science that I came across in search of knowledge. I always say: “To learn, teach!” I gained most of my knowledge in computers by following this dictum — teaching others who sought knowledge in basic computer science.

Though autodidactism is only one facet of learning, many autodidacts have made notable contributions to the human race. Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci is one of history’s best-known autodidacts.

Since most autodidacts do not advertise themselves, why not we consider Smriti Irani as one such person.

On May 19, 2014, Smriti Irani hit back at Congress leader Ajay Maken’s comments on her educational qualifications. She said,

Judge me by my work, I would only say this… Attempts have been made to deviate my attention from my work. The party has always entrusted me with assignments as they have confidence in me.

The late Kamaraj Nadar, former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, India, was a 3rd grader. He was a visionary and he opened hundreds of primary schools accessible to rural kids to improve the literacy rate in Tamilnadu.

The current Chief Minister of Tamilnadu J. Jayalalitha is a 10th grader (Matriculation). She is fluent in several languages, including English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi.

So, before you write off Smriti Irani as an ‘uneducated’ person, just listen to the speech she gave before an International audience at the International Women’s Conference in February 2014, at The Art of Living International Center, Bangalore, India, a few months before she was sworn-in as the Honourable Union Minister of Human Resource Development, and then form your opinion about her.

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India and Day 26 – Part 2: Turmoil in Gujarat


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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January 26, 2001 – The Gujarat Earthquake

Earthquake in Gujarat on January 26, 2001 (Source: academic.emporia.edu)
Earthquake in Gujarat on January 26, 2001 (Source: academic.emporia.edu)

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On January 26, 2001, a strong earthquake struck the Kutch area in Gujarat at 8:46 AM local time (3:16 UTC) and lasted for over two minutes.

The earthquake had a magnitude between 7.6 and 7.7 on the moment magnitude  (Mw) scale and had a maximum felt intensity of X (Intense) on the Modified Mercalli (MM) Intensity Scale. The epicentre was about 9 km south-southwest of the village of Chobari in Bhachau Taluka of Kutch District of Gujarat, India.

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Base of this statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhidham disintegrated during the January 26, 2001 Bhuj earthquake. (Source: ceenve.calpoly.edu)
The base of this statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhidham disintegrated during January 26, 2001, Bhuj earthquake. (Source: ceenve.calpoly.edu)

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January 26, 2001, Gujarat earthquake, the most damaging to strike India in the last five decades, led to a large loss of life and property.

The earthquake turned the cities of Bhuj, Anjar, Bhachau, Gandhidham, Kottar, Kukuma, Lodai and Ratnar along with nearby villages to ruins in less than two minutes.

The city of Ahmedabad lies about 300 km east of the epicentre in the village of Chobari and falls in the seismic Zone III (IS: 1893-1976) of India. Many mid to high-rise residential buildings pancaked on their lower levels and collapsed, leading to several hundred causalities and significant financial loss.

The quake though equal in intensity to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (which had a death toll of 3,425) killed around 20,000 people in Gujarat, wounded another 167,000 and destroyed nearly 400,000 homes. The estimated economic loss was reported to be about US $5 billion.

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February 26, 2002 – Pogrom in Gujarat

On February 26, 2002, the Sabarmati Express left Ayodhya. Several passengers travelling on that train were Hindu pilgrims, returning from Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid. The following morning, someone stopped the train when it neared the Godhra station by pulling the emergency chain.

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Dousing the flames at Godhra set ablaze by a mob on the Sabarmati Express that left Aodhya on February 26, 2002. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)
Dousing the flames at Godhra set ablaze by a mob on the Sabarmati Express that left Aodhya on February 26, 2002. (Source: indyas.hpage.co.in)

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Under controversial circumstances, four coaches of the train caught fire. Many people were trapped inside the train. In the resulting conflagration, 59 people, including 25 women and 25 children, were burned to death.

In 2005, retired Supreme Court judge Umesh Chandra Banerjee, served as chairman of the committee constituted by the Government of India to probe the fire in the Sabarmati Express at Godhra. He found that the coach fire was not deliberately started, but was accidental and not started by the Muslim mob. Later, when an Ahmedabad court ruled that there was a conspiracy to set the train on fire, Justice Banerjee stood by his findings and said it was an accidental fire as there was evidence to suggest the blaze began inside the train and that it was not firebombed.

Nevertheless, it has been alleged that a large mob attacked the train and four coaches were burned as the result of a conspiracy hatched by local Muslims.

After burning the train the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) called for a statewide bandh (strike), even after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional and illegal. The bandh was followed by three days of an inter-communal bloodbath in Godhra as well as the rest of Gujarat. The state government headed by Narendra Modi did not take any action to prevent the strike, or stop the violence. Independent reports indicate that Rajendrasinh Ghanshyamsinh Rana, the former VHP president, had endorsed the strike and that he and Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, used inflammatory language to worsen the situation.

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Gujarat riots (Source: frontline.in)
Gujarat riots (Source: frontline.in)

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According to the official figures, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus died; 2,500 people were non-fatally injured, and 223 more were reported missing. However, other sources estimate that up to 2,000 Muslims died. There were instances of rape, children being burned alive, and widespread looting and destruction of property.

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The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire by rioting mobs. (Photo credit: Aksi grea)
The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire by rioting mobs. (Photo credit: Aksi grea)

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Narendra Modi has been accused of initiating and condoning the violence. Also, it has been alleged that police and government officials orchestrated the violence by directing the rioters by giving them lists of Muslim-owned properties.

In 2012, the Muslim community reacted with anger and disbelief when a Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court of India cleared Modi of complicity in the violence. In July 2013, allegations were made that the SIT had suppressed evidence. That December, an Indian court upheld the SIT report and rejected a petition seeking Modi’s prosecution. In April 2014, the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction over the SIT’s investigations in nine cases related to the violence and rejected a plea contesting the SIT report as baseless.

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 Previous ~ India and Day 26 – Part 1: India’s Independence Day and Republic Day 

Next  India and Day 26 – Part 3: The Devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami

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The Sinhalese Too Migrated to Sri Lanka from India: Postlude


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The Veddhas or Wanniya-laeto (‘forest-dwellers’) of the wanni (dry monsoon forest) are Sri Lanka’s indigenous inhabitants. According to scholars, the Veddhas of today perpetuate a direct line of descent from the island’s original Neolithic community that dates back to at least 16,000 BC.

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Wanniya-laeto ('Vedda') elders of Dambana. (Source: Vedda.org)
Wanniya-laeto (‘Vedda’) elders of Dambana. (Source: Vedda.org)

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For the past eighteen centuries or more the indigenous Veddha communities have been forced to retreat deeper into the ever-shrinking forests pummeled by successive waves of immigration and colonization that began with the arrival of the north Indians in the 5th century BC.

According to their culture the Veddhas revere and venerate their ancestors. At present, the surviving dwindling Veddha communities still live in the dry monsoon forests with their uncanny knowledge of their jungle habitat. They still retain the memory of their prehistoric culture and preserve their cultural identity and traditional lifestyle, despite facing the many challenges and relentless pressure from the surrounding dominant Sinhala and Tamil communities.

In the North Central and Uva provinces of Sri Lanka, a few Veddhas have been absorbed into the mainstream Sinhala communities and on the East Coast into the Tamil communities.

The migration routes of the ancestors of the Sinhalese and other ethnic groups into Sri Lanka.
The migration routes of the ancestors of the Sinhalese and other ethnic groups into Sri Lanka.

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Ancient chronicles such as the Mahavamsa, relate the origin of the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka to the arrival of Prince Vijaya from an area either in the northeast or northwest India, and his later affiliation with people from south India. Students of Indian history argue that the lore of Vijaya should be interpreted to favour either one or the other of the northern origins, or a mixture of people from both areas.

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W. S. Karunatillake (late), Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.
W. S. Karunatillake (late), Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.

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W. S. Karunatillake (late), Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, a Sinhala linguist, supported the hypothesis that the Sinhalese people originated in Eastern India because over 50% Sinhala words resemble words in the Bengali language. Even so, the question: “Did Vijaya and his companions migrate to Sri Lanka from Singhpur, Kalinga in northeast India, or from Sihor, Gujarat in northwest India?” still remains unresolved.

Some scholars identify the Lála country, where Sinhabahu founded Sinhapur, with the modern Rarh region of West Bengal, India that is still called Lala/Larh. Sanskrit texts refer to it as Lata-desa. Al-Biruni, a historian, chronologist and linguist of the medieval Islamic era calls it Lardesh in the extreme hilly west of Bengal where the Hooghly district and modern Singur is located. However, some scholars identify the region as modern Gujarat.

References weigh more in favor of Vijaya’s origin to lower Indus, and Sihor, which was officially known as Sinhapur in Kathiawar peninsula in ancient times. Also, the only home to Asiatic lions (locally referred as ‘Sinh‘ or ‘Sinha‘) is Gir Forest in Kathiawar peninsula in Gujarat and the approach to core Gir territory is just a few miles away from Sihor. In fact, to date, lions are sighted in rural areas adjoining Sihor.

According to the history chronicled in the Mahavamsa, Prince Vijaya and his wayward followers before landing at Tambapanni, first disembarked at the haven called Suppäraka, now identified with modern Sapporo, in the Thana district north of Mumbai. If Lála country was in northeast India, how could Vijaya and his companions dispatched from there, land at the port of Suppäraka in northwest India?

If we presume that the story of Vijaya narrated in the Mahavasa is historically correct, then, Prince Vijaya and his followers would have set sail from northwest India from a coastal harbour in Gujarat. Their contribution to the modern Sinhalese must have been erased by the long-standing interrelationship with people from Tamil Nadu for over 2,000 years.

According to the Mahavamsa, the population of Sri Lanka is heterogeneous – composed of diverse ethnic groups from India.

So far, most studies on the genetic affinities of the Sinhalese have been contradictory. Some investigators suggest a predominantly Bengali contribution and a minor Tamil and North Western Indian contribution, while others point towards a predominantly Tamil origin followed by a significant Bengali contribution with no North Western Indian contribution.

However, it is emphatically proved that the ancient ancestors of the current Sinhalese people came originally from northeast or northwest India as shown by genetic, linguistic and religious connections. After their arrival in Sri Lanka, the ancients intermarried to a minor extent with the indigenous Veddhas. Population genetic studies on the Sinhalese undertaken by various investigators show that they certainly intermarried extensively with Tamils of Southern India than with the Veddhas.

For the most part, according to the Mahavamsa, the modern Sinhalese are related to the Tamils as far back as 543 BC, with some elements of ancestry connected later with Bengalis, Gujaratis, Punjabis and Indian Moors. This is also supported by a genetic distance study, which showed low differences in genetic distance between the Sinhalese and the Tamil, Keralite and Bengali volunteers.

Because Sri Lanka lies on important sea trade routes, it has from ancient times received a constant influx of people from India and from various parts of the world, especially from the Mediterranean, Middle East, Europe, and the far-east. However, the genetic studies on the Sinhalese do not seem to show any ancestry from China or Southeast Asia.

In the 1995 study, “Genetic affinities of Sri Lankan populations” by Dr. Gautam K. Kshatriya (Source: National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Munirka, New Delhi, India) published in Hum Biol. 1995 Dec;67(6):843-66, the author says:

Mythological and historical sketches of the Sri Lankan population indicate that it is heterogeneous and composed of diverse ethnic groups. Ancient chronicles of Sri Lanka relate the origin of the Sinhalese to the legend of Prince Vijaya, who arrived on the northwest coast of the island in 543 B.C. from northeast or northwest India. … Taking into consideration mythological, historical, and linguistic records of Sri Lanka, I attempt to study the degree of gene diversity and genetic admixture among the population groups of Sri Lanka along with the populations of southern, northeastern, and northwestern India, the Middle East, and Europe.

The genetic distance analysis was conducted using 43 alleles controlled by 15 codominant loci in 8 populations and 40 alleles controlled by 13 codominant loci in 11 populations. Both analyses give a similar picture, indicating that present-day Sinhalese and Tamils of Sri Lanka are closer to Indian Tamils and South Indian Muslims. They are farthest from Veddahs and quite distant from Gujaratis and Punjabis of northwest India and Bengalis of northeast India. Veddhas, are distinct because they are confined to inhospitable dry zones and are hardly influenced by their neighbors.

The study of genetic admixture revealed that the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka have a higher contribution from the Tamils of southern India (69.86% +/- 0.61) compared with the Bengalis of northeast India (25.41% +/- 0.51), whereas the Tamils of Sri Lanka have received a higher contribution from the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka (55.20% +/- 9.47) compared with the Tamils of India (16.63% +/- 8.73).

Genetic Admixture of Sinhalese by Dr. Gautam K. Kshatriya

In the 2009 study, “Prevalence of genetic thrombophilic polymorphisms in the Sri Lankan population–implications for association study design and clinical genetic testing services” by V.H. Dissanayake, L.Y. Weerasekera, G.G. Gammulla, and R.W. Jayasekara (Source: Human Genetics Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Kynsey Road, Colombo 8, Sri Lanka.) first published electronically on July 8, 2009, is consistent with the notion that Sinhalese are closely related to other Sri Lankans. The frequencies of the alleles observed were very similar between Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, and Moors and they were also similar to those in some ethnic groups from southern India. Excerpts from the Abstract:

“We investigated the prevalence of genotypes/alleles of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and haplotypes defined by them in three genes in which variations are associated with venous thromboembolism in 80 Sinhalese, 80 Sri Lankan Tamils and 80 Moors in the Sri Lankan population and compared the SNP data with that of other populations in Southern India and haplotype data with that of HapMap populations. … The frequencies observed were similar to data from other South Indian populations; […]”

Both the above studies present almost a similar picture. Genetic distance analysis, despite the limitations imposed by the data, shows that modern Sinhalese and Tamils of Sri Lanka are closer to the Tamils and Keralites of south India and the upper caste groups of Bengal. They are farthest from Veddahs and quite distant from Gujaratis and Punjabis of northwest India.

Similarly, the Tamils of Sri Lanka are closer to the Sinhalese because they were always and are near to each other historically, linguistically, and culturally.

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← Previous:  Part 6 – Abhaya and His Sister Ummada Citta

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On Modi’s Social Engineering


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Subhash Gatade

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By Subhash Gatade

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The system of untouchability has been a goldmine for the Hindus. This system affords 60 millions of untouchables to do the dirty work of scavenging and sweeping to the 240 million Hindus who are debarred by their religion to do such dirty work. But the work must be done for the Hindus and who else than the untouchables? – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

Manual scavenging - 04

Whether Shit Collection or cleaning of gutters – which has condemned lakhs of people to a life of indignity since ages – could be considered a ‘Spiritual Experience.’ Definitely not. Everybody would yell. Well, Mr Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, has a different take on this, which he mentions in the book ‘Karmayog’ (Publication year 2007).

The said book is basically a collection of his speeches to high profile IAS officials. Herein he discusses the age old caste-based vocation of the Valmikis as “experience in spirituality’. He writes: “I do not believe that they have been doing this job just to sustain their livelihood. Had this been so, they would not have continued with this type of job generation after generation….At some point of time, somebody must have got the enlightenment that it is their (Valmikis’) duty to work for the happiness of the entire society and the Gods; that they have to do this job bestowed upon them by Gods; and that this job of cleaning up should continue as an internal spiritual activity for centuries. This should have continued generation after generation. It is impossible believe that their ancestors did not have the choice of adopting any other work or business.”

Looking at the fact that a section of the dalits themselves -especially its upwardly mobile and more articulate section – has joined with the Hindutva bandwagon, it was expected that there were no angry reaction to his utterances within the state. A section of the Ambedkarite Dalits and many human rights activists did protest but their voices got drowned in the cacophony of voices of Modi supporters. It is a different matter that when Modi’s remark got published in the Times of India in mid-November 2007, which was later translated in few Tamil newspapers, it resulted in a massive reaction of Dalits in Tamilnadu. Not only they staged protests for calling their menial job “spiritual experience” but Modi’s effigies were burnt in different parts of the state. Sensing trouble Modi immediately withdrew 5,000 copies of the book, but still sticked to his opinion. Two years later, addressing 9,000-odd safai karmacharis , (cleanliness workers) he likened the safai karmacharis’ job of cleaning up others dirt’ to that of a temple priest. He told them, “A priest cleans a temple every day before prayers, you also clean the city like a temple. You and the temple priest work alike.”

One was reminded of these ideas of Mr Modi, when news came in that the budget for the coming year passed by the Gujarat state assembly, has allocated a sum of Rs 22.5 lakhs for giving training in Karmkand (rituals) to Safai Kamdars themselves. The idea is to train them in scriptures so that they can perform pujas (organise worships). It is clear that the ‘new scheme’ as it was presented before the people was just a revised version of its earlier scheme wherein members of the scheduled communities were given training to become ‘Gurubrahmins’ so that they could also perform pujas . Insiders can also share with you that the said scheme has miserably failed and people who were trained to perform pujas   are still searching for jobs.

It could be asked if Modi values safai karmacharis so highly, why is it that he has begun outsourcing all the menial jobs for a very low pay, between Rs 3,000 and Rs 3,500 per month per worker. Why they are not being employed on a permanent basis? A leading Dalit poet raised an altogether different question “Why didn’t it occur to Modi that the spirituality involved in doing menial jobs hasn’t ever been experienced by the upper castes?”

It is worth emphasising that the day when Gujarat government declared its intention to train safai kamdars in Karmkand , supposedly to integrate them closely in the mainstream of Hindu society, also happened to be the period when the anti-dalit stance of the people in power was very much evident in two clear examples. The manner in which state officials tried to cover up social boycott of dalits in a village and the way they tried to save guilty police officials involved in dalit killings had already reached headlines.

Not very many people would have heard about village Galsana, Dhanduka tehsil, Ahmedabad district, which is around 100 kms from the city. The dalits in the village who are about 500 in numbers, are not allowed entry into any of the five temples in the village. The younger generation of dalits protested this ban which resulted in their social boycott. When the news last came in, the boycott was already few months old. Incidentally when officers from the social justice department visited the village, they even did not acknowledge that dalits are facing social boycott, forget asking the police to take action against the guilty.

The other news concerned the arrest of guilty police officials involved in the gruesome killings of Dalits at Thangarh.(Sep 2012) After four months cop Jadeja and other two accused police officials in Thangadh dalit massacre case were arrested on February 23 2013. It is reported that the killings at Thangarh were fallout of a minor clash between Dalits and Bharwads over auctioning of stalls at an annual fair organised by the Thangarh municipality. When the dalits filed a complaint against the Bharwads at the police station, the police refused to take any action ; the anger of the dalits spilled over onto the streets next day which saw participation of dalits in large numbers and police’s resorting to strong arm tactics resulting in the killings. Despite knowing the fact that the infamous police officer, had on earlier occasion also fired upon the dalits, without any provocation, the administration tried every trick in the kitty to save him and his colleagues. It was only because of judicial intervention that they were ordered to be arrested.

Galsana and Thangarh can be said to be tip of the iceberg as far as dalit deprivation and denial of justice is concerned. In fact much has been written about the way the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Atrocities prevention) act, 1989 is implemented in the state. One finds that the rate of of conviction of cases under the Prevention of Atrocity Act against SC/ST in Gujarat is mere 2.5 per cent while rate of acquittal is 97.5 per cent. A 23 page confidential report submitted by the state Social Justice Department to the State Chief Secretary and legal departments provides glaring examples of ‘mishandling of cases registered under Prevention of Atrocities Act against SC/ST. (Express, Sep 15, 2006).

The report provides details of how cases are not investigated properly by the police and the hostile role played by public prosecutors during time of trials.

– Act clearly stipulates that offences which are registered under this act cannot be investigated by an officer below the rank of DySP but more than 4,000 such cases have been investigated by Police Inspector or Police Sub Inspector.

– Acquittal of the perpetrator because victim not identified as member of SC or ST community. Reason, not attaching caste certificate of the victim with the case papers

– Public prosecutors false claims before the courts that act has been modified by the state government altough it is known that it is a central act

– Granting of anticipatory bails although there is no such provision in the act. Interestingly the Parliamentary Committee on SC and ST affairs had also expressed concern over such anticipatory bails granted ‘in atrocity cases in the state of Gujarat’.

In this backdrop it is worth underlining what little did Mr Modi knew about this important law and its implications. One could rather say that in Gujarat chief minister is directly responsible for the non-implementation of the Atrocity Act. As Raju Solanki, famous poet and dalit rights activists writes in his blog :

It was on 16 April, 2004, that a question was asked to chief minister Modi in Gujarat legislative assembly: “Honorable chief minister [Home] may oblige us to tell, is it true that the DSP is responsible for the appointment of an officer not below the rank of DySP as investigating officer in the offenses under atrocities act? The answer of our chief minister was shocking. He said: “No, but there is a provision under rule 7 (1) of SC/ST act, 1995 to appoint officers not above the rank of DySP to inquire into all cases booked under atrocities act. It is not the responsibility of DSP.”

In the end, one would like to put on record the way the presence of dalits in record is obliterated without any fuss. During panchayat elections, Nathu Vadla, a small village of Gujarat with hardly 1000 population had suddenly reached headlines. The panchayat election in this village was to be conducted on the basis of 2001 data. The village has at least 100 Scheduled Castes people and one seat was to be reserved as per law, but the census data has not been modified and in 2001 the population of SC was nil in the village, the election in 2013 was to be conducted on the basis of 2001 census. Here also courts had to intervene to stay elections in the village. Gujarat High Court stayed elections in the village saying that it would be ‘mockery of democracy’.

Subhash Gatade is a Writer and social activist based in New delhi. Subhash also edits a Hindi Journal Sandhan. His most recent book is “Godse’s Children: Hindutva Terror in India” Email. : subhash.gatade@gmail.com

Re-posted from COUNTERCURRENTS.org

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The Interview – Reel to Real !!!


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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This is Indian politics

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The Tamil movie titled “Muthalvan” (Tamil: முதல்வன், English: The Chief) a political thriller produced, co-written and directed by S. Shankar features Arjun Sarja, and V. Raghuvaran in the lead roles. This film was Shankar’s production debut. The film features an award-winning soundtrack composed by maestro A. R. Rahman.

Pughazhendi, an ambitious TV journalist (played by Arjun Sarja) working for “Q TV,” interviews Aranganathan, the Chief Minister of the state (played by Raghuvaran) after a spate of communal riots. The questions posed by the journalist are tough, and the flabbergasted Chief Minister challenges the journalist to occupy his seat and be the Chief Minister for a day to understand the enormity of the office. After a slight  hesitation, Pugazhendi agrees to be the Chief Minister of the state for a day.

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The young journalist Pugazhendi after taking over the mantle of the Chief Minister for a day does a great job, and subsequently orders the arrest of the unscrupulous Chief Minister Aranganathan.

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This high-budget film released on November 7, 1999, won positive reviews and was successful at the box office.

The film was dubbed and released in Telugu titled “Oke Okkadu.

Two years later, in 2001, it was remade in Hindi as “Nayak: The Real Hero” (Hindi: नायक, Nāyak) starring Anil Kapoor as the journalist Shivaji Rao and Amrish Puri as the Chief Minister Balraj Chauhan and once again directed by S. Shankar.

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After viewing the films “Muthalvan” and “Nayak” most Indians, including me, lauded the superb characterization of the Chief Minister enacted by the veteran actors Raghuvaran in Tamil, and Amrish Puri in Hindi; after that, we never gave them a second thought for the next six years.

On Friday, October 19, 2007, Karan Thapar interviewed Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat on CNN-IBN’s “Devil’s Advocate” program. Thapar questioned Modi about the Godhra Train Burning incident that occurred in the morning of February 27, 2002. In this incident, 58 passengers were burnt to death due to a fire inside the Sabarmati Express train near the Godhra railway station in Gujarat. Sensing that the question cornered him, the Chief Minister abruptly walked out of the interview.

Director Shankar is indeed a prophet of the modern Indian cinema proving that incidents depicted on films could become real.

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A Quantum Leap in the Field of Solar Power Generation in Gujarat


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When the entire world is engulfed by the problem of climate change, it is Gujarat’s dream to demonstrate before the world an example of climate justice. – Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat

The projects spread over several districts: Anand, Banaskantha, Jamnangar, Junagadh, Kutch, Porbandar, Rajkot, Surat, and Surendranagar, including this ‘Gujarat Solar Park’, Asia’s largest, have in total the potential to generate 30 lakh units of clean energy per day.

The ‘Gujarat Solar Park’ spread in 3,000-acre land has already attracted investments from 21 national and international companies.

“This achievement is not merely a step in the direction of power conservation but it provides the world with a vision that how the power needs of the future generations can be solved in an environment-friendly manner”, Modi said on the occasion.

“Due to the efforts made by the Gujarat government, the cost of solar power has come down to ₹8.50 per unit from ₹15 per unit,” Modi claimed adding that the cost will further go down to rupees four per unit in future once the supply of solar power increases.

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Photos: DeshGujarat