Saturday, September 21, 2002

An American anniversary, Sep.11

“Nobody who saw the second plane going into the World Trade tower - and nearly all of us saw the footage after it was repeated endlessly on every channel - will forget the power of that image. Nor will we forget the carnage …that followed: the loss of thousands of innocent lives, the collapse of the towers and the cloud of dust and debris that enveloped downtown New York...”

“You will note that nobody in America mentions the one-day that really did change the world: when the Enola Gay dropped its nuclear payload on the city of Hiroshima. Surely, by any objective standards - number of deaths, level of destruction, the launch of the nuclear age etc. - that was a much more significant event than an air raid on a US naval base or a terrorist attack on a New York office block…” - (Hindustan Times, Sep. 08, 2002)
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Does anyone remember Dec. 03?

“There’s much, so much hype over the first anniversary of the terrorists attack on America. Perhaps the Indian media should be held responsible for this. No one’s debating 9/11 saw one of the most horrific crimes. But why is it called the day that changed the world? How is our world any different from what it was a year ago? The only difference is that we get some dope on a guy called Osama. Sometimes they say he is alive, sometimes they say he is dead. If there’s one day that changed the world, it was Aug 6th, 1945, the day when the first atom bomb was dropped on humanity. And why are Indians so bothered about 9/11? Does anyone remember 12/03/1984? (Keeping the date in American format) That day, more than 2,500 innocents died in Bhopal because of criminal negligence of an American multinational called Union Carbide. Several thousands are still bearing it out. When did you see an Indian mourning the Bhopal victims in any city than Bhopal? Even in disaster we prefer the foreign to the desi.” - (Indian Currents, Sep. 22, 2002)
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The endless battle of SWADESHI vs VIDESHI !

“What gives an individual the right to the highest office of governance? Is it one's origin or citizenship? Mrs.Gandhi is an Italian born and she cannot be the Prime Minister. Ms. Jayalalitha is a ‘Kannadiga’ Brahmin and hence not eligible to rule the Dravidian State of Tamil Nadu. Both lack patriotism since they are not born in the territory of their rule is the argument. People's mandate does not matter. It is a pity that the country has permitted conservative, regressive and revivalist forces to set the agenda for a discussion on who can rule and who cannot rule the country…”

“If she cannot be the Prime Minister, what gives Atal Behari Vajpayee the right to be the Prime Minister or L.K. Advani to be his Deputy? Both are members of the RSS, an organization that was banned three times since Independence, massively involved in crimes on the minorities in Gujarat and the rest of the country… In a democratic country, people should have the right to decide who should govern the country and who should not. But to dub a citizen an alien and to initiate propaganda against the person as ineligible to govern without constitutional backing is a mark of viciousness…”

“In the final analysis, it is not hatred; animosity and greed for power and wealth that make individuals and groups citizens, but concern, compassion and conscience that provide the moral right to be citizens… That is why Mother Teresa is more an Indian though born outside the country. In sharp contrast we have the lathi-wielding Shiv Sainiks or Bajrangis with `trishuls' and weapons of murders, hate-mongers and divisive groups bent upon breaking the country. Can we call them patriots? Are those politicians involved in loot of public wealth, massively involved in corruption and mortgaging the country to multinational companies be termed patriotic and permitted to set the agenda for discussion and debate on citizenship? They are more foreigners given their nexus with the MNCs and TNCs.”

“Citizenship is not merely legal. To be perceived as a citizen, individuals and groups should have concern for the country, especially for the weak and the downtrodden, respect for public wealth, compassion for the discriminated and the marginalized and a strong conscience to stand up against all the forces, determined to divide the country on the basis of caste, religion or race. Citizenship is respect for local governance, local people, panchyati raj institutions, people's culture, pluralism and secularism.” - (The Hindu, Sep. 08, 2002)
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UNCERD equates casteism with racism

“The United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) has condemned the descent-based discrimination practiced as casteism in India and passed a resolution against it. The Indian Government had vehemently opposed the move arguing that the country had on its own initiated several measures that were having a positive effect; hence it was against the very discussion. The resolution came at its convention in Geneva (the meet was held from Aug.5 to 23, 2002)…“That discrimination based on descent includes discrimination against members of communities based on forms of social stratification such as caste and analogous systems of inherited status, which nullify or impair their equal enjoyment of human rights.”
- (Dalit Voice, Sep. 16-30, 2002)
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Beware of the prowling caste virus

“In mid-August, the Madhya Pradesh countryside was plunged into a deep social crisis, with Dalits being violently attacked. The conflict between Dalits and non-Dalits had been triggered by the question of agricultural land. The MP government had identified 6.98 lakh SC/ST (Dalit) families as landless labourers. Digvijay Singh had envisioned turning MP into the first Indian state where no Dalit would remain a landless labourer. To accomplish this gigantic task, the government explored several options, including the ‘liberation’ of grazing land...”

“Up to the middle of August, the government distributed 5.20 acres of land amongst 2.52 lakh Dalit families, at an average of about 2.02 acres. While this mammoth exercise was being carried out, the MP High Court stayed distribution. The opposition BJP set its rumour-mongering mill in motion, making people believe the High Court had cancelled all pattas distributed so far. The landlords who had earlier held these lands, illegally, began to think about taking them back. Dalits were attacked in 48 villages. In 46 of these, Shudras were the culprits, and in only two villages, Rajput landlords. The question is, why did Shudra, and not Dwija, landlords take the lead in attacking the Dalits?” - (The Pioneer, Sep. 14, 2002)

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Legal Matters
Supreme Court upholds education policy

“The Supreme Court upheld the National Curriculum Framework for Secondary Education (NCFSE) rejecting the contention that it was an attempt to ‘saffronise’ education by the BJP-led NDA Government.”

“Dismissing a public interest litigation writ petition from Aruna Roy and others, a three-Judge Bench said “the NCFSE nowhere talks of imparting religious instructions as prohibited under Article 28 of the Constitution…”

“It also pointed out that “there is a specific caution that all steps should be taken in advance to ensure that personal prejudices or narrow-minded perceptions are (not) allowed to distort the real purpose. Dogmas and superstitions should not be propagated in the name of education about religions. In our view, the word `religion' should not be misunderstood nor could the contention be raised that as it is used in the national policy of education, secularism would be at peril. Value-based education is likely to help the nation to fight against all kinds of prevailing fanaticism, ill-will, violence, dishonesty, corruption, exploitation and drug abuses.”

“The new curriculum was designed to enable the learner to acquire knowledge and was aimed at self-discipline, courage, love for social justice etc., truth, righteous conduct, peace, non-violence which are core values that can become the foundation for building the value-based education. These high values cannot be achieved without knowledge of moral sanction behind it.”

“The Bench observed ‘let knowledge, like the sun, shine for all and that there should not be any room for narrow-mindedness, blind faith and dogmas. If basic tenets of all religions over the world are learnt, it cannot be said that secularism would not survive’...”

“The Bench said, ‘knowledge of various religious philosophies was material for bringing communal harmony as ignorance breeds hatred because of wrong notions, assumption, preaching and propaganda by misguided interested persons.” - (The Hindu, Sep. 13, 2002)

Notable Quotes

· “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.”
- (Helen Keller, Sunday times, Sep. 15, 2002)

· “The Brahmana Jati Party (BJP) faced with gloom and doom and the Congress wave sweeping, the vaidik wicked brains are back on their crooked game. They have engineered a conspiracy aided and abetted by their brahminical toilet papers to scuttle Sonia Gandhi becoming the next Prime Minister…Vaidiks have no permanent party. They have only permanent interests.” - (Dalit Voice, Sep. 16-30, 2002)

· “September 11 is also the anniversary of M.A. Jinnah’s death. And it marks the Pentagon’s founding stone was laid.” - (India Today, Sep. 16, 2002)

· “I have never seen jawans being so insensitive and greedy. They are stealing money and ornaments from the dead and the injured. I have ordered that they should not be allowed near the damaged compartments.”
- (Sunil Sengupta, Indian Currents, Sep. 22, 2002)

· “Whether the desired result follows from your action or not, so long as your motive is pure, your means correct... things will come right in the end if you take care of means.”
- (Mahatma Gandhi, Times of India, Sep. 12, 2002)
Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God, and perhaps not a religion in the strict sense. Now the Kingdom of God is not a place we are hoping for rather it stands for the values of Justice, Peace and Love. Anyone who follows Jesus should be able to strive to establish these values in our personal lives, families, community, society and the whole world. And it will be heaven here on earth. In fact this is the meaning of heaven. This is a spirituality that all can follow no matter to which religion, caste, class, nationality that one belongs.