Archive | South Asia

Countering Hate Politics

NOVANEWS

 

Simin Akhter Naqvi

Supremacist forces essentially play on our sense of vanity and our desire to externally reinforce parochial notions of cultural identity. When we see our immediate identities threatened, we are bound to react in self defence. The victory of divisive communal forces is in being able to make us see ourselves essentially and primarily as Hindus and Muslims, Men and Women, Hindi speaking and non-Hindi speaking, and as beef eaters and non-beef eaters, much before we see ourselves as rich or poor, workers or owners of capital, or as privileged elite or marginalized underclasses. Having achieved this, it is then not too difficult for them to turn this sense of exclusivist identities into antagonism and hatred. It is therefore necessary, that to counter supremacist arrogance we turn hatred around into constructive social dialogue and respond to propaganda with humility and sanity.

According to the Sachar committee report, Muslims in India are by far the poorest and educationally most deprived. More than 46% of Muslims concentrated in self employment in urban India in 2011 and only 13.5% employed in regular wage employment (NSSO, 2011). Educationally, 42.7% Muslims are illiterate as opposed to a figure of 36.4% for Hindus, according to census 2011 data. Only 2.75 % of all Muslims have studied till graduation or further and according to a Ministry of Minority Affairs report uploaded on the Ministry’s website n the 27th of July, 2017, “The recruitment of minorities in Government, Public Sector Banks, Public Sector Undertakings was 8.57% in 2014-15. Religion-wise data as well as employment in Private sector are not maintained”. Who then, can this deprived and backward community of barely 14% of all people, threaten?

It was also asserted that Muslims are all set to witness some sort of a population explosion in the decade to come. 2011 census data pertaining to population growth of Muslims was released by the government in 2015, stating that the average rate of growth of Muslim population for the decade 2001-11 was 24%, 6 percentage points higher than the national average of 18%. A Times of India report asserted that the rise was mostly due to an explosion of Muslim population in Assam and deliberately linked the increase to illegal immigration of Bengali speaking Muslims from Bangladesh into West Bengal and Assam. What was however, not reported was that the rate of growth had actually come down from 29% in the previous decade (1991-2001) to 24% in 2001-11, a natural correlate of increasing levels of educational attainment, and economic and social mobility. Is it not then, well within the interests of those who feel threatened by a rise in Muslim population to in fact help provide the community greater access to education and formal labour markets, in keeping with the spirit of Article 46 of the Constitution which states that, “The State shall promote, with special care, the education and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people”, so that like any other socio-religious group they transit to a higher average level of income and educational attainment, and consequently to a greater degree of secular social integration and smaller average family size?

The All India Muslim Personal Law board has taken a very bold and long overdue step in accepting and undertaking in an affidavit to the hon’ble Supreme Court in May this year, that ‘talaq e biddat’ (or instantaneous triple talaq) is an undesirable practice, and that the board will issue an advisory against it. Similar reflection and reform must also be carried out on questions of Polygamy and ‘nikah halala’, for though politically tragic and unfair, it is only then that the community can raise the more important questions of educational deprivation and denial of equal work opportunity. The terrain of this argument may not be rational, given that polygamy by way of illegal second marriage is more a matter of economic affordability than religious sanction and is common among people of all religions in India, if NFHS data is to be considered. Culturally, however, this is the only way the right wing’s propaganda can be challenged. Hate can only be countered with humility and criticism must be turned around into constructive reflection.

Alienation and ostracization of Muslims or any other social group, based on cultural and religious practices only leads to social disintegration, ghettoization of living spaces and only furthers the cause of exclusion in education and economic marginalization. The more the minority community closes up within, in response to attempts at communal polarization, the more it serves the ends of divisive communal forces. Majoritarinism cannot be countered by a similar ‘minoritarian’ assertion of cultural supremacy or rigidness, for they follow the same inverted logic of non-tolerance of difference and negates the continent’s long history of syncretic socio-cultural evolution. Which means, any attempts being made to overarch a pan-Hindu unity in the face of a projected cultural/economic threat from the Muslim ‘other’, must be countered with a secular socio-political mobilization of the working poor; Dalits, Mahadalits, Muslims, women, Tribals, Transgenders and everybody else on the margins of society. It is not coincidental that from Rohith Vemula to Akhlaq and Junaid, and from Dadari and Mewat to Una, Mehsana and Rajkot, those who have been persecuted and lynched at the hands of bigotry and hate were all from a certain economic strata. They were Dalits and Muslims but before that they were poor, which is what made them vulnerable; and so it is in this understanding of the class-dynamics of the practice of politics of hate and bigotry, that the answers to the ongoing attempts of communal polarization of society must be explored.

Migrant Bengali workers are being projected as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and held down in despise as the social benchmark ‘other’. The working classes are thus, being divided into ‘our poor’ and ‘their poor’ and it is this aspect of our social identity that secular forces need to reclaim. When social sector budgets are rolled back, it is the ‘poor’ who are hit. When expenditure on public health and NREGS was cut down, it is the poor who were thrown off the social security net, it is the poor who were hit by loss of jobs when demonetization was enforced last year and it is the poor who will be hit when higher education is privatized. An appropriation of the identity of the ‘poor man’ (and by deliberate corollary that of the ‘poor woman’) by the right wing in popular imagination is what will ultimately fulfill their political project of divide and rule and it is precisely this that needs to be resisted, by forging a strong and politically robust social and cultural unity of the social ‘underclasses’, for the project to be defeated.

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The Story of Independent India

NOVANEWS

The Story of Independent India: Capitalist Accumulation Grapples with Semi Feudal Dis-Accumulation.

Book Review

Nasir Tyabji

Chirashree Das Gupta State and Capital in Independent India: Institutions and Accumulation (Delhi, Cambridge University Press: 2016) hb. pp. xiii+315. Rs. 795

Chirashree Das Gupta’s book can be read at two levels: firstly, as an account of India’s industrial growth experience from the time of independence to the 1980s; and secondly (and to this reader, and hopefully to readers of RD, more profitably) as an examination of the features of the capital accumulation process that led the country to be what it was, at the beginning of the neo liberal phase, starting with Indira Gandhi’s return to power in 1980. Colloquially put, while in the first phase the state led the accumulation process, in the second it acquiesced in the private accumulation decisions of capitalists, particularly those representing large capital.

Of course, as Das Gupta observes, throughout the post-independence period there were zones of engagement, and zones of disengagement where through conscious choice, the state chose to let private decisions prevail. Foremost of these, of course, was the agrarian sector where pre-existing structures of land ownership were left undisturbed, along with the social relations that these structures underpinned. The impact of this feature on industrial capital accumulation, which Das Gupta has not explicitly examined, will be discussed later in this review.

In the industrial sector, skilful use was made by policy makers of the Gandhian inspired sympathy for the village artisan to create within the category of “cottage and village and small-scale industry” an arena within the economy where small capitalist enterprise could develop and grow, outside the purview of licensing regulation and, indeed, free of the responsibility of providing welfare provisions to workers employed in these enterprises. Over time, the investment limit that defined what constituted a small scale industrial unit was raised. While this practice was justified in terms of the effects of inflation, it also ensured that the arena of small enterprises was continually enlarged, leading to the charge of “once a small unit, always a small unit.” More seriously, while the original intention had been to extend support to the person of small means, the porous boundaries of a definition which depended on a scalar value such as investment, allowed large capital to enter the field of the small-scale sector.1

If this was one aspect of the functioning of a zone of non-intervention, a more serious encroachment on the state’s intentions in guiding capital accumulation lay in the distortions in the allocations sought by industrial licensing, by which the more powerful blocs of industrial capital gained disproportionate opportunities for investment and accumulation. As far back as 1939, Asoka Mehta had determined that the form of operation of Indian big capital was not through a diversified enterprise, or a limited number of enterprises, but by a conglomerate of firms straddling industrial and commercial activities, as also firms in traditional banking which extended to money lending.2 Despite the widespread awareness of this feature of big capital’s operations, and the controversies over the functioning of managing agencies, which bound many enterprises to centralised decision making, industrial regulation legislation confined its attention to discrete enterprises. This allowed many fractions of large capital, particularly the Birla Group to concentrate enormous economic power.

Although RK Hazari began his work on business group in the late 1950s, it was not for more than a decade subsequently that parliamentary pressure, after the findings of the Mahalanobis Committee on Incomes and Wealth, and the Dutt Committee on Industrial Licensing, led to regulatory innovations. It was with the passing of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act in the early 1970s, that the state took official cognisance of the business group.

If big capital used these methods to thwart the accumulation priorities of the state, Das Gupta points to another feature which, by boosting the rate of surplus, increased capital accumulation. This lay in the inadequate legislative support for ensuring fair wages to workers, even in the organized sector. She points out that for 9 years, between 1947 and 1956, the concept of the workplace was not defined. Later, this was narrowed to exclude a substantial portion of workers. The implication of this was that welfare measures provided by law were available to a small section of workers. Unlike the common perception that informalisation of the workforce is a recent phenomenon, it has been a feature of the Indian economy virtually since independence.

If the operation of big capital in the form of the business group is by now well known, an original contribution which Das Gupta has made to our understanding of the role of the state in moulding the capital accumulation process is that of identifying the institution of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF). Although the HUF gained recognition in the process of the late 19th century codification of Hindu personal law, it was subsequently incorporated within the Income Tax Act in 1922. After independence, the state granted special privileges to the HUF, including in the initial years, a taxation level lower than for individuals. It is significant that the term “Hindu” is defined negatively, as incorporating all those who are not Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews. It may be noted in passing that this definition makes followers of Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and all those who are followers of theistic practices outside organized religions, also Hindus. Conversely, there is no institutional mechanism for non- Hindus to benefit from institutional arrangements corresponding to the HUF.

So, Das Gupta points out, big capital operates not only through the various forms of corporate bodies, share market listed and non-listed public limited companies, private limited companies, and unincorporated partnerships and proprietorships: nested within such interlocking entities are HUFs, whose internal financial operations are more opaque than those of even partnerships or proprietorships. In a subsequent paper, Das Gupta has elaborated on the consequences of the legal recognition of the HUF to the enhancement of the private aggrandizement of those privileged to operate such institutions.3 The word aggrandizement is used advisedly here, as there is no method to establish that the resources that remain tax free are actually utilized for accumulation of productive assets.

Fundamentally, then, the opaqueness permitted by law in the operations of a HUF lends opaqueness to the entire financial operations of the business group and thus to the overwhelming mass of large capital operating in the economy. The most that can be done is for the tax authorities to examine the accounts of individual enterprises. They have no way of determining how funds may be diverted for personal ends or in furtherance of non-productive expenditure. In the paper mentioned earlier, Das Gupta has described the structure of a Mumbai based business group which she surveyed as part of a study of 150 business families which had as many as 7500 firms, corporate and non-corporate, affiliated to these families. Significant here, in a group whose large enterprises were integrated into the global textile industry, was the inclusion of a partnership firm (i.e. a firm subject to no formal financial scrutiny) engaged in financial services. And thereby hangs a rather large and disturbing tale.

The 1967 report of the Congress Parliamentary Committee recommending bank nationalization suggested that one important reason for bank nationalisation was that integrating the organized banking sector with the cooperative banks4

would also help to curb the flow of financial resources into the unorganized money market which plays havoc with the economy in the present situation of acute scarcities and shortages

and further

Moreover, in the presence of such a unified financial system, the unorganized money market would lose much of its attraction and concealed power to engage any financing operations which will be beyond the purview of the organized financial system.

Finally:

Let us not imagine that the unorganized money market in the country operates entirely outside the banking system. There are strategic points of linkage between the unorganized money market and the banking system.

Around the same time, Charles Bettelheim had pointed to the fallacy of the argument that the large differences between interest rates in the urban and rural money markets implied that these markets were entirely distinct. On the contrary, he used evidence provided by the Banking Enquiry reports of the 1930s, and the RBI credit survey of the early 1950s to argue that urban resources, including surplus value generated by industrial production was flowing through a number of intermediaries to highly profitable rural money lending activities.5 In other words, a process of capital dis-accumulation was taking place, a truly ironic feature of an economy where the state was otherwise encouraging capital growth.

Lending credence to this apprehension is a relatively recent RBI Survey that points out that the non-institutional share (i.e. the share of private money lenders)in rural credit), which had fallen consistently after bank nationalization, had begun to increase again after the 1991 series of structural reforms.6 In other words, 70 years after Independence the semi feudal structure of the agrarian sector is not only the cause of continuing mass misery, but also allows for a drain on industrial surpluses and so on capital accumulation. It is not fanciful to suppose that the money trail spreading out from Ramalingam Raju’s collapsed Satyam Computer Services would have led to rural money lending operations, if the entire circuit could indeed have been traced.

At the time of writing this review, new information has emerged that indicates that the effects of demonetization and the introduction of GST has had profound implications of feeding further into the flow of urban funds into the informal money-lending market. An informal survey of small scale industry shows that7

In Punjab, Odisha and Tamil Nadu as well, businessmen were putting their money into speculative schemes instead of factories. In Punjab, businessmen diverted working capital loans for their sinking businesses to land purchases. In Odisha, earnings from the state’s iron ore boom were funnelled into gold, real estate, apartments, education and chit funds. In Tamil Nadu, money-lending appeared to outperform more productive enterprises in terms of returns.

It may be noted that as early as 1931, capitalists were aware that their cohabitation with landlords might allow the latter to use their position to siphon off not just part of the peasants’ necessary product, but also capitalist surplus. In a note to the FICCI executive before the Karachi session of the Congress, Ambalal Sarabhai had suggested nationalization of land (with compensation) for non-cultivating landlords as this class “…gives no service whatever, while on the other hand it consumes a lot which it neither earns nor tries to earn.”8

This review has concentrated on the points that seemed to this reviewer to be the more significant features of the accumulation process that Das Gupta’s book has pointed towards. Taken together with the more factual data on industrial performance that also forms a part, this is a monograph of considerable value, more so because its approach to the subject it covers is now a rarity.

References:

1. Nasir Tyabji “Nature of Small Enterprise Development: Political Aims and Socio-Economic Reality” Economic and Political Weekly 19 (1984): 1425-1433; S.K. Goyal et al Studies in National Development: Small Scale Sector and Big Business (New Delhi, Corporate Studies Group, IIPA: 1984)

2. Originally published under the title of “India Comes of Age,” the article was republished along with a similar study of the situation in 1949 in Asoka Mehta Who owns India? (Hyderabad, Chetna Prakashan: 1950)

3. Chirashree Das Gupta and Mohit Gupta “The Hindu Undivided Family in Independent India’s Corporate Governance and Tax Regime” South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal 15/2017

4. Congress Party in Parliament Banking Institutions and Indian Economy: A Critical Review (Delhi, CPP: 1967): 65-66. The Report was commissioned by Chandra Shekhar, then Secretary of the Congress Party in Parliament and authored by H.K. Manmohan Singh of Patiala University, V.B Singh of Lucknow University, S.C Gupta of the Agricultural Economics Research Centre of Delhi University with S.K. Goyal of IIPA as convenor

5. Charles Bettelheim India Independent (New York, Monthly Review Press: 1968): 74-76

6. Narayan Chandra Pradhan, Persistence of Informal Credit in Rural India: Evidence from ‘All-India Debt and Investment Survey’ and Beyond Working Paper Series, Department of Economic Policy and Research, No 05/2013 (Mumbai, Reserve Bank of India: 2013)

7. https://scroll.in/article/851343/why-small-businessmen-in-gujarat-are-leaving-industry-for-financial-speculation, accessed on September 26, 2017

8. Ambalal Sarabhai Note to FICCI Executive, pp. 12-13 enclosed with FICCI letter F. 1306 dated 16.10.1931, Walchand Hirachand Papers, File 8 (Part II), pp. 92-93 Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi

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Genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar: The Hindutva Imprints

NOVANEWS

Shamsul Islam

Currently, one of the worst post-World War II genocides is underway in India’s neighbourhood. In Rakhine Province of Myanmar (Burma) cleansing of people belonging to the Rohingya Tribe (mostly Muslims and few Hindus and Buddhists), has been going on for last two decades. But this cleansing project of Rohingyas is in full steam now by the Myanmar army and foot- soldiers of the Fascist Buddhist organizations with coming to power of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Prize recipient for fighting against military rulers of the country. Ironically, this Nobel laureate now supervises genocide of Rohingyas in collaboration with the country’s army and fascist Buddhist cadres.

The rampaging killer/raping/maiming/burning gangs sponsored by the Burmese State, Army and Fascist Buddhist organizations have evoked worldwide condemnation including severe repudiation from world forums including UN. However, Indian PM Modi who visited Myanmar recently instead of expressing concern on the cleansing of Rohingyas expressed solidarity with the Killer State. He and Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a joint statement said, “It is important to maintain security and stability along the long land and maritime borders of India and Myanmar… India stands with Myanmar over the issue of violence in the Rakhine state which has led to loss of innocent lives.” This statement remained silent on the mass cleansing of the Rohingyas but expressed grave concern on the ‘terrorist’ activities of a section of Rohingyas in self-defence. In a more shocking development the RSS/BJP Indian Government has issued instructions to deport nearly 40,000 Rohingyas who escaped to India while under attack for being security threat.

The inimical attitude of the Indian rulers towards Rohingyas is neither accidental nor sudden. It does not seem to be the fall-out of some grave security threat which might have cropped up in the recent past. We need to investigate whether this cleansing got impetus with the political ascendancy of fascist Buddhist organizations in Myanmar and Hindutva fascist organizations in India.

The world obsessed with Islamist terrorism has not bothered to take any notice of a new terrorism network developing fast in India and its neighbourhood between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and two ultra nationalist Buddhist groups of Myanmar and Sri Lanka against minorities in the area. In a startling and focussed disclosure The International New York Times (October 16, 2014) in an editorial titled ‘DEADLY ALLIANCES AGAINST MUSLIMS’ disclosed how fascist Buddhist groups in the region; Sri Lankan Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena, Myanmar’s Wirathu Group 969’ [run by Ashin Wirathu a so-called monk from Myanmar who has preaching hatred toward Muslims and is the spiritual leader of a movement to boycott Muslim businesses] were in contact “at a high level” with the right-wing Indian Hindu group Rashtriya Swayam Sevak to form what he called a “Hindu-Buddhist peace zone” in South Asia which meant a Muslim- Christian free zone in the area. The editorial concluded with the following alarming words:

“It is folly for the governments of Mr. Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka, President Thein Sein of Myanmar [both headed their respective countries in 2014] and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India, or their political allies, to give even the appearance of tolerating these Islamophobic groups in a region that has too often been convulsed by religious sectarian violence. They should condemn this mad alliance before it can spread further.”1

This network though prioritizes Islamic/Muslim threat as the main concern but also treats Christians and other ethnic minorities as dangers and wants to control them. They refused to accept that this region was multi-religious area. Ashin Wirathu is committed to get rid of Muslims and other minorities of the area. They have killed hundreds of Muslims, raped Muslim women, burned hundreds of mosques and destroyed large number of Muslim properties and businesses.

For public consumption RSS has denied the claim of Gnanasara that they were in discussions “at a high level” with the right-wing Indian Hindu group Rashtriya. Rashtriya Swayam Sevak spokesman, Ram Madhav, promptly denied that there were any such discussions. But according to NYT Madhav, a senior RSS/BJP ideologue of India’s ruling oligarchy, “has written comments sympathetic to Bodu Bala Sena and Mr. Wirathu’s group 969 in Myanmar on his Facebook and Twitter accounts”. He lauded the plan of “Hindu-Buddhist peace zone” in South Asia which means an area free of minorities specially Muslims. In his posting [March 28, 2013 on Facebook] he agreed with the propaganda that

“The Muslim population in Sri Lanka is growing fast…. There are mosques and madrassas sprouting everywhere in the country. A rough estimate suggests that of the 1.2 million Muslim populations every 50 households have a mosque. In Colombo itself a new magnificent mosque is coming up, so are in many other places. Increasing number of burqa-clad women and skull cap-wearing men can be sited [sic] on the streets of Sri Lankan cities and towns now.”

Ram Madhav also noted that Muslims in Sri Lanka have been insisting on halal products. He noted approvingly that “the Bodu Bala Sena essentially talks about protecting the Buddhist culture of the country from foreign religions. By this it also means the Christian missionaries who are trying to convert people”.

He was happy to note that “the Bodu Bala Sena has maintained that Hindus and Buddhists of the country should work together on these issues.” He ended by commending, “So far, the issues raked up by the BBS are worthy of active and sympathetic consideration. Bodu Bala Sena is able to capture the attention of the Buddhist population of Sri Lanka.” It was atrocious on the part of Ram Madhav, a leader of the ‘largest Hindu organization in the world’ to overlook the fact that the Sri Lankan State in connivance with such Buddhist fascist organizations of Sri Lanka killed, raped and maimed lakhs of Hindu Tamils in the area. In one of the Tweets he wrote: “BODU BALA SENA – A NEW BUDDHIST MOVEMENT IN SRI LANKA Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) – a Buddhist organisation many wish”.

It is to be noted that RSS historically has been close to the ruling military dictators in Myanmar who have encouraged characters like Ashin Wirathu to propagate hatred for minorities in the country. How close RSS was to the military junta which now shares power with Aung San Suu Kyi can be known by the following report which appeared in the official organ of the RSS, Organiser dated February 28 March 5, 2000:

“The 50th anniversary of the Sanatan Dharma Swayamsevak Sangh (SDSS – the RSS counterpart in Burma) was held at the National Theatre on Mayoma Kyaung Street, Yagnon, recently. Secretary-2 of the State Peace and Development Council, Lt. Gen. Tin Oo attended the meeting. The programme was attended by ministers and senior military officers. Minister for Commerce, Brig. Gen. Pyi Sone; Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Maj. Gen. Sein Htwa; Minister for Health, Maj. Gen. Ket Sein were among the prominent persons who attended the function…. The Secretary-2 delivered speech at the function.”

This report appeared with two photographs. In one photograph five military Generals including second in command of the military junta, Lt. Gen. Tin Oo, were seen standing on the stage in the midst of SDSS leadership wearing khaki shorts. In the other photograph leading lights of the Burmese military junta were seen sitting in the front row of the auditorium.

This terrorist network exposed by the New York Times may have many other layers as was made clear by neo-Nazi mass murderer of Norway, Breivik who glorified Indian ‘Hindu Nationalists.2 He opened Pandora’s box when declared ‘Hindu Nationalist’ movement as a key ally in a global struggle to bring down democratic regimes across the world. Just before he went to massacre a large number of people in Norway he released a ‘manifesto’ of 1,518 pages, of which 102 pages dealt with the glorification of Hindutva movement of India. It declared support to “Sanatana Dharma movements and Indian nationalists in general.” This manifesto also laid down a plan of co-operation between neo-Nazi movements of Europe and ‘Hindu Nationalist’ organizations of India. This neo-Nazi document emphasised that it was essential that these two “learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible” as “Our goals are more or less identical’. This manifesto specially mentioned the name of the fountain head of the Hindutva politics like RSS and its subsidiaries like BJP, ABVP and VHP in this regard.3

Importantly, the manifesto pledged military support “to the nationalists [RSS] in the Indian civil war and in the deportation of all Muslims from India’ as part of a larger campaign to ‘overthrow of all western European multiculturalist governments.”

Imagine if such conspiratorial revelations were made against some Muslim/Christian/Sikh individuals or organizations, the Indian intelligence agencies would have dug the areas inhabited by them to find out the linkages. Unfortunately, these startling disclosures about RSS’ linkages with a developing terror nexus internationally, are no cause of worry for the Indian State. This silence gives the conspirators legitimacy to play havoc with the region.

The International Court of Justice at The Hague must immediately constitute a team to unearth the nefarious role of fascist religious and cultural organization behind genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar. Apart from looking into the role of such organizations in this genocide, this UN organ must also find out whether this cleansing is taking place to facilitate the capture of oil resources in this region and land grab by the Chinese and Indian corporate giants.4

Endnotes:

1) https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/16/opinion/deadly-alliances-against-muslims.html?_r=0
2) http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/norwegian-mass-killers-manifesto-hails-hindutva/article2293829.ece
3) http://ibnlive.in.com/news/norwegian-killer-anders-breiviks-manifesto-supports-hindutva/170496-3.html
4) https://qz.com/1074906/rohingya-the-oil-economics-and-land-grab-politics-behind-myanmars-refugee-crisis/
http://www.hastakshep.com/englishopinion/venkaiah-naidu-for-gandhi-s-ram-rajya-versus-pracharak-venkaiah-naidu—15513

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Behind the rise of the Indian labor struggle

NOVANEWS

On Nov. 9, 2017, 70,000 workers from all corners of India came together in New Delhi for a three-day sit in. Workers from rail, telecommunications, defense, construction, ports and docks, energy, and many other sectors associated with some the largest unions in India joined together to protest the anti-worker, anti-people, and anti-national policies of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If their demands are not met, the unions have plans for an indefinite countrywide general strike. The growing unity and militancy of the Indian labor movement are welcome developments and a possible sign of future militant actions.

Among the major unions taking part are:

  • All India Trade Union Congress (The oldest trade union in India; associated with the Communist Party of India)
  • Hind Mazdoor Sabha (Indian Workers Assembly; unaffiliated)
  • Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Associated with the Communist Party of India — Marxist)
  • All India United Trade Union Centre (Associated With Socialist Unity Centre of India — Communist)
  • Trade Union Coordination Centre (Unaffiliated)
  • Self Employed Women’s Association (Unaffiliated)
  • All India Central Council of Trade Unions (Associated with the Communist Party of India [Marxist-Leninist] Liberation)
  • United Trade Union Congress (Associated with the Revolutionary Socialist Party);
  • Labour Progressive Federation (Associated with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a regional left-wing party in Tamil Nadu)
  • Mazdoor Ekta Committee — Workers Unity Committee (Associated with the Communist Ghadar Party of India)
  • Indian National Trade Union Congress (associated with Indian National Congress Party)

Those protesting had several demands, including but not limited to an end to speculative trading, an end of privatization and selling of public assets to foreign capital, a higher minimum wage, enforcement of already-existing labor laws, schemes to end unemployment and a universal social security system. The protesters also highlighted the plight of minorities: dalits (“untouchables,” or peoples belonging to the lowest social caste) and adivasi (tribal groups) — both of whom have been under attack by the ruling party and right-wing street gangs supportive of the BJP. Those protesting called for unity among all oppressed people to oppose the religious fundamentalism and bigotry of the ruling BJP and Modi government. The unions’ anger was summed up time and time again by pointing out the anti-worker, pro-capitalist, anti people, bigoted, and pro-international capital policies implemented by the Modi government.

The BJP is a Hindu-Nationalist party and the political wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (meaning National Volunteer Organization, simplified as RSS) a paramilitary right-wing organization heavily influenced by Italian and German fascism. They promote Hindutva (Hindu-ness), the idea that India is a Hindu Rashtra (a Hindu nation). This notion is completely the opposite of what is written in the Indian constitution, that India is a secular nation.

As with most fascist or semi-fascist political formations, the BJP implements laws to benefit the ruling class. India’s working class and the left in general have been on the defensive since India’s adoption of neoliberal economic policies in the early 1990’s under the leadership of the Indian National Congress Party, which had governed India since independence. The BJP has intensified the class struggle — in part by exacerbating social struggle along caste lines — with an all-out attack on the working class, lower castes, dalits and non-Hindu religious practitioners. Even the BJP’s main social base — small shop owners — has not been spared from the attack, which is carried out in service of big capitalists and foreign capital.

Anti-worker attacks

The two outstanding examples of the BJP’s anti-people attacks — besides near-complete inaction over the murder of journalists, communist cadres and Muslims — are demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Demonetization and the GST, both touted as master strokes by the BJP government and its lackeys in the Indian corporate media, have destroyed the lives of many ordinary Indians. Demonetization was an attempt to force people in the informal economy into the formal economy. The informal economy, in which a significant portion of people in South Asia work, operates on a cash-only basis and is not well-documented and thus not easily taxed. Many people still lack bank accounts and keep their savings physically in high-denomination rupee notes.

In order to force Indians into the formal economy, the government ruled that the 500- and 1000-rupee notes would become officially worthless. Instead, they could trade in their old currency for a new 2000-rupee note. Overnight, 80 percent of the entire Indian currency stock was worthless. Lines formed across the country as people tried to gain access to their own money. Banks ran out of the new currency notes, while, strangely enough, BJP party members and allies never seemed to have a problem obtaining the new notes. Meanwhile, ordinary Indians were forced to spend weeks in line to access their own money.

After this ‘masterstroke’ came the GST, an attempt to standardize the notoriously complicated tax system. Although the GST might not have had a negative effect on the big corporations in the formal economy, it has hit the small capitalists in the informal economy — such as small shopkeepers, restauranteurs, etc. —particularly hard, which in turn has forced many small producers to fire workers. These attempts by the Indian upper classes to force the working and middle classes in line with their dreams of a neoliberal India are beginning to backfire.

India is a country of extreme wealth disparity. The richest 10 percent of Indians own 80 percent of the wealth in the country, whereas the poorest 50 percent control 3 percent of the wealth. This wealth disparity did not start when the BJP came to power but rather has been a feature of Indian society since the time of the British rule. Joblessness and lack of opportunity has plagued poor and working Indians as food and housing prices have skyrocketed in recent years. Tens of thousands of farmers, unable to pay their debts, have committed suicide as a protest of last resort.

Meanwhile the BJP and Modi in particular have opportunistically used pro-Hindu identity politics (often referred to as “communalism”) and religious intolerance to demagogically pander to its base, as well as a
divide-and-conquer tactic. Whenever there has been economic trouble or an upcoming election, the BJP consistently whips up anti-Muslim sentiment to try and gain the support of the Hindu middle classes. This has unfortunately worked before, but it seems that the economic onslaught has taken its toll and the BJP is losing support.

Rise of left opposition

Meanwhile, the Indian left and formerly-obscure parties are on the rise. The show of unity of India’s major unions is an important development.

India is an incredibly diverse country with thousands of ethnic groups and languages. In response, various unions have spent the previous three months intensively campaigning, spreading information in all major regional languages to activists in all corners of the country. These unions coming together have formed a pole to which activists from all the struggles facing the Indian working masses and oppressed peoples can gravitate towards. The unity of the main unions in the country was apparent in the November mass actions and their call for a continued unified struggle is a real accomplishment, so much so that the unity impressed several independent worker federations who have recently joined.

Continued actions to pressure the government to give in to the demands of the workers are on the horizon. If these demands are not met, the unions have all agreed to launch an indefinite countrywide general strike. This general strike will be the third in 4 years following nationwide strikes of 80 million in 2015 and 150 million in 2016 that took to the streets against the anti-people policies of the Modi government. This time, the workers intend to sustain the general strike until their demands are met. The unions also have plans for sector-/industry-wide strikes across India if the government moves to privatize any more public firms or if any anti-worker laws are passed in the union budget.

Posted in IndiaComments Off on Behind the rise of the Indian labor struggle

Afghan Refugees Feeling the Heat as US-Pakistan Geopolitical Tensions Rise

NOVANEWS

Last week, the Pakistani government callously doubled down on its strategy of using Afghan refugees as pawns in its ongoing political dispute with Afghanistan when it refused to grant a long-term extension of their stay in Pakistan. Islamabad’s move will anger Kabul, which has struggled to absorb and reintegrate the massive influx of Afghans returning from Pakistan in recent years.

On December 31, the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards of 1.4 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan expired after the federal government refused to provide an extension on time.  The PoR cards allow the refugees to live in Pakistan “legally” and avoid harassment by the state. On January 3, the long-suffering refugees learned they would only be given a 30-day extension, rather than the 1-year extension the government had been considering under a trilateral agreement with Afghanistan and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  The decision to limit the extension to 30 days was made during a meeting of the federal Cabinet in Islamabad which was chaired by Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

There are currently 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented refugees also living in the country.  The first wave of refugees began came over from Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War, with many more arriving during the bloody civil war of the 1990s.  In 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan, beginning the longest war in American history. The 16-year neo-colonial occupation has devastated the lives of the Afghan people and created a new generation of refugees.

Many of the refugees have lived in Pakistan for decades and have had children in the country. There are indeed children among the 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees. A large number of refugees have established firm roots in the country and have lost all ties to Afghanistan. Kabul has struggled mightily to reintegrate the refugees into Afghan society, repeatedly insisting that Afghanistan does not have the resources to deal with massive numbers of returnees from across the border. Many refugees are also terrified at the prospect of returning to war-torn Afghanistan.  Civilian casualties due to the war reached a 16-year high during the first six months of 2017, according to the UN.

Pakistani politicians often scapegoat the refugees as “terrorists” and charge them with being a burden on the state.  Indeed, while Islamabad has agreed not to forcibly return refugees to Afghanistan, in recent years, it has resorted to a policy of intimidation and harassment of the refugees, so as to bring about their “voluntary” repatriation to the country.  In mid-2016, Pakistan launched what Gerry Simpson, a refugee expert at Human Rights Watch, described at the time as the “world’s largest recent anti-refugee crackdown.”  Afghan refugees have told human rights organizations about the cruel methods used by Pakistani authorities to coerce them into leaving for Afghanistan, including deportation during the winter and police abuses like arbitrary detention, extortion and nocturnal police raids. In fact, during the recent three day period during which 1.4 million refugees lost their documented status, the refugees were reportedly harassed by security personnel, leading them to confine themselves in their homes until the 30-day extension was granted.

In seeking to build domestic support for the forced repatriation of refugees to Afghanistan, Pakistani officials have described the refugee camps where the Afghans live as “safe havens” for terrorists. There is no doubt, however, that Islamabad hopes to use the refugee crisis to punish Afghanistan for shifting ever closer towards it arch-rival, New Delhi.

The deepening alliance between Afghanistan and India is viewed by Pakistan’s ruling elites as a vital security threat due to their fear of “strategic encirclement” by India, but Washington has turned a blind eye to Islamabad’s concerns and has encouraged the two countries to further enhance bilateral relations.  Moreover, US President Donald Trump has recently adopted a hardline stance towards Islamabad, with Washington suspending military aid to Pakistan on January 4.  The increasingly belligerent approach of the US towards Pakistan, where anti-US sentiment remains high, has forced the country’s ruling establishment to adopt a defiant stance towards Washington. Pakistan’s working-class majority remains steadfastly opposed to America’s imperialist war in Afghanistan, and to their government’s role in supporting and facilitating the ongoing occupation. With few options available to hit back at the US and Afghanistan, there is a danger that the Pakistani government may decide to throw the Afghan refugees to the wolves.

*

Posted in Afghanistan, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Afghan Refugees Feeling the Heat as US-Pakistan Geopolitical Tensions Rise

Pakistan: China to Build Second Foreign Naval Base

NOVANEWS

Image result for Pakistan: China CARTOON

China is planning to build its second foreign naval base in Pakistan following the ribbon cutting ceremony for its first overseas base in Djibouti last July.

Sources close to the People’s Liberation Army have confirmed to the South China Morning Post that a Chinese naval port is being built at a strategic location on Pakistan’s southern coast.

“China needs to set up another base in Gwadar for its warships because Gwadar is now a civilian port,” Zhou Chenming, a Chinese military analyst, told the South China Morning Post on Friday. “Gwadar port can’t provide specific services for warships,” Zhou said; hence the need for a new base.

Gwadar is less than 50 miles east of the Pakistan-Iran border and sits in Balochistan Province, where fiercely independent Baloch nationalists have waged guerrilla wars against both the Pakistani and Iranian governments. “Public order there is a mess,” Zhou said.

“China and Pakistan have found common ground in terms of maritime interest in the region,” Pakistani analyst Sheikh Fahad says. “Gwadar port can be used for joint naval patrols in the Indian Ocean, further increasing the naval outreach of China and Pakistan in the region. Gwadar port will increase the countries’ naval movements and further expand defense cooperation, especially in the naval field,” Fahad noted.

In mid-December, Lawrence Sellin, a retired US Army Reserve colonel, reported for the Daily Caller that high-ranking Chinese and Pakistani officials had met in Beijing to discuss future projects.

Last June, a Pakistani diplomat said China’s help was needed as an “equalizer,” pointing to the naval base as all-but-inevitable. “Previously it was the US and Saudi Arabia… Now it’s China,” the diplomat told NBC. A Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman later dismissed the report as “pure guesswork,” but now it seems the port will, in fact, be built.

Experts have noted that India is keeping a close eye on the development of China-Pakistan relations. “China finds it very useful to use Pakistan against India and ignore India’s concerns, particularly on terrorism issues. That has created a lot of stress in the relationship between Beijing and Delhi,” Rajeev Ranan Chaturvedy, a researcher at the National University of Singapore, told SCMP.

But “Indian naval capabilities and experience in the Indian Ocean region are fairly good — much better than Pakistan and China,” Chaturvedy said.

Posted in China, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Pakistan: China to Build Second Foreign Naval Base

Trumpeting Hostility Toward Pakistan

NOVANEWS

Featured image: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (Source: India Today)

 

Post-9/11, Bush/Cheney deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage warned then-Pakistani president Musharraf his country would be “bombed back to the stone age” if he didn’t ally with Washington’s imperial agenda – its war OF terror, not on it.

It was an offer he couldn’t refuse, costing Pakistan threefold or more than it got in US aid, given solely to serve its imperial interests.

Assistance given should help both countries. One analyst called Washington’s strategic relationship with Pakistan “muddled, deceptive, complicated and dangerous” – pre-and-post-9/11, especially in its aftermath.

Aid has gone largely to its military and Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) to help America’s war OF terror – massacring civilians and causing vast destruction on the phony pretext of combating terrorism.

The bilateral relationship harms Pakistan more than helping it.  Straightaway in the new year, Trump tweeted:

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”

“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

In response to Trump’s insult, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi convened an emergency cabinet meeting.

America’s ambassador David Hale was summoned to explain Trump’s hostile remarks. Last week, Pakistan’s Senate passed a resolution, calling for Islamabad to demand compensation from Washington for slaughter and destruction caused by US drone attacks on its territory – largely killing civilians.

PM Abbasi and other Pakistani officials are well aware of Trump’s loosened combat restrictions, delegating authority to hawkish generals and field commanders, letting them operate unrestrained.

According to Reprieve human rights lawyer Jen Gibson, Pakistan is heavily pressured to served US interests. Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastagir slammed Washington, saying US administrations “have given us nothing but invective and mistrust. They overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis.”

In early December, Pakistan’s air force chief Marshal Sohail Aman addressed the issue of his country’s security, saying

“(w)e will protect the sovereignty of the country at any cost.”

He warned Washington its drones operating in Pakistani airspace without permission will be shot down.

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Nuzhat Sadiq said

“(i)t is the policy of the government not to allow any more US drone strikes on our soil, and the air chief has effectively conveyed it to the Americans.”

She indicated foreign policy changes in bilateral relations with Washington are coming.

Post-9/11, US drones killed thousands of Pakistani nationals, largely civilians, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Retired General Talat Masood warned that

“the superpower is not going to digest this change in policy easily.”

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif slammed Trump, tweeting:

“We will reveal the truth to the entire world. We will separate fact from fiction.”

He accused Washington of aiding terrorists, not combatting them.

 

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Trumpeting Hostility Toward Pakistan

‘Not enough even for coffee’: UK troops in Afghanistan get £1 each to celebrate Christmas

 NOVANEWS
 Christmas in Vietnam was different, girls brought in, all of us got to meet Bob Hope personally, hot turkey dinners, christmas carols.
The military wouldn’t have sent every combat unit into the bush before the holiday so that the REMF contingent of service academy types could celebrate in total safety.
The truth is a thousand times worse than this.g

As PM May praised the military for keeping the UK safe in her Christmas message, troops abroad were not exactly in a festive mood. It has emerged that 500 soldiers in Afghanistan received just £1 each to celebrate the holiday.

Five hundred British troops deployed to Afghanistan were allocated a total of just £500 ($700) for Christmas, the Sunday Times revealed.  Some said the defense chiefs’ frugality left the troops lagging far behind their foreign counterparts as soldiers from the  American contingent reportedly received eight Christmas trees, decorations, turkeys, numerous gifts, and even a copy of the new Star Wars film.

“The contrast between the American and British approach is staggering,” said a British officer stationed in Kabul. “As an army we don’t have as much money as the US, but even the Danish and Mongolians seem to be doing more,” he noted.

The tight Christmas budget has affected morale, one soldier told the newspaper: “They haven’t even sent us enough for a coffee. The Americans send in more money to feed the stray cats on their compound.”

Christmas festivities for troops from the Yorkshire Regiment have been limited to sneaking out and swapping the stars on the American trees for Yorkshire flags, the paper said. The ministry of defense said arrangements for Christmas festivities “are made locally,” it added.

While cash-strapped, the troops did not feel completely forgotten. “It has been staggering to see the number of parcels that have arrived for us from friends and family,” said the officer. In addition, Christmas lunch was still served on Friday, complimented by snow, which fell last week in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Посмотреть изображение в Твиттере

This  our UK Armed Forces will be deployed around the world on 25 operations in more than 30 countries. Take a look at just a few of the many places that they’ll be spending Christmas this year. 

The report on Christmas allowances came shortly after UK Prime Minister Theresa May stressed the “enormous debt we owe to our armed forces and veterans” in her Christmas message to the military.

“Whenever you are called upon – regulars or reserves – you always give of your best and inspire us all with your service,” May said, adding, “the valiant hearts of our servicemen and women, many far away from their own loved ones at this special time of year, are working to keep us safe.”

Посмотреть изображение в Твиттере

It was lovely to spend time with the families of our Armed Forces stationed in Cyprus today and wish them all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Посмотреть изображение в ТвиттереПосмотреть изображение в Твиттере

I was pleased to arrive in Cyprus last night, to today let our brave armed forces know just how vital their work is – and how much I appreciate the sacrifices that they and their families make in the service of our country, particularly at Christmas. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-address-to-troops-at-raf-akrotiri-22-december-2017 

Afghanistan remains Britain’s largest overseas deployment.

Follow news the mainstream media ignores: Like RT’s Facebook

Posted in Afghanistan, UKComments Off on ‘Not enough even for coffee’: UK troops in Afghanistan get £1 each to celebrate Christmas

Make 2018 A Year Of People’s Unity and Resistance Against Fascism!

NOVANEWS

Image result for HIDOVA Fascism CARTOON

The year 2017 will be remembered for some of the worst attacks on Muslim and Christian minorities, on Dalits, on critics of the Modi regime, and on the secular, democratic character of India’s Constitution and polity.

Christmas this year has been heralded by a spree of attacks by Sangh mobs on Christians. Carol singers were attacked 10 days before Christmas, and their car burnt inside the premises of a police station in Madhya Pradesh. In what has become a predictable pattern, the police did not arrest the assailants, and instead booked the carol singers for “forcible conversions”. Carol singers were also attacked with a knife in Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, days after the Hindu Jagran Manch, a Sangh outfit, sent letters to Christian schools in Aligarh warning them against celebrating Christmas, claiming this would “lure Hindu students towards Christianity”. In Mathura in UP, Christians praying inside a home were arrested on charges of “forcible conversion.” An study tracking attacks on Christians globally found that in India in the first six months of 2017, as many attacks on Christians took place as had taken place in the whole of 2016.

Just as activists raising issues of atrocities against Dalits were accused by the BJP of “casteism” in the Gujarat elections, it is the religious minorities – not their attackers – who are accused of being “communal” by the BJP leadership. Sending a subtle message of approval for such attacks on Christians, the President of India Ram Nath Kovind refused to continue the tradition of hearing carol singers on Christmas Eve. His excuse was that to do so would be improper since India is a “secular state”. Ironically, even as the President of India invoked “secularism” as a pretext to shun Christmas celebrations, his party colleague, Union Minister Anant Hegde made in a speech in poll-bound Karnataka, warning that those who identified as “secular” rather than by their religion or caste, would face “trouble” since the BJP was “here to change the Constitution”.

December 2017 will also be seared in public memory for the horrible video-graphed murder of Afrazul in Rajasthan. It is clear by now that the killer Shambhulal, fed on a non-stop diet of Sanghi hate-videos, killed Afrazul because he wanted to figure in a similar video and become a “hero” for the fascist hate groups. Not only did those groups make the video go viral; they were allowed by police to defy prohibitory orders and hold a violent demonstration in support of the killer, even hoisting the saffron ‘Hindu nation’ flag atop the Udaipur court house. While these fascist goons were released on bail after a belated, token arrest, Muslims who protested the killing were arrested and denied bail, as Left groups were even denied permission to hold a Peace March!

Afrazul’s killing was one among a string of attacks on Muslims in BJP-ruled Rajasthan – many of whom were killed by lynch mobs in the name of ‘cow protection.’ As we approach the New Year, BJP’s Rajasthan MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja has openly defended such killings and warned of more, saying, “If you smuggle or kill cows you will of course be killed.” Meanwhile, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has stopped the salaries of 298 madrasa staff, claiming the madarsas failed to submit requisite documentation. Also in December 2017, a Telangana BJP MLA called upon Hindus to take up swords to “wipe out” anyone who came between them and the goal of a Hindu Nation.

In Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, a BJP leader led an attack on a wedding, declaring that it was a case of “love jehad” since the Muslim groom and the Hindu bride had not secured “permission” from the BJP for the wedding! 2017 will also be infamously remembered for the failure of India’s courts to uphold the autonomy of women and their choice instead to legitimize the poisonous patriarchal and Islamophobic myth of “love jehad”.

2017 will also be remembered for the assassination of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, and the manner in which Sanghi cadres celebrated her killing, for the killing of Junaid – and for the countrywide citizens’ protests these soul-searing events generated.

The year 2017 ended with a silver lining, however – with the voters of Gujarat putting up a remarkable fight against communal polarization and highlighting the issues of unemployment and agrarian crisis. If the year 2017 was a year of firings on peasants, it was also a year of peasants and workers asserting unity against divisive violence, fighting back, and putting their issues back on political centre stage. If Dalits were attacked in Saharanpur by BJP-backed mobs for refusing to become footsoldiers of communal violence against Muslims, 2017 also saw the emergence of the Bhim Army as an inspiring movement of Dalit youth. The arrests of peasant leader Akhil Gogoi and Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar Azad Raavan under draconian laws, and the arrest of employees’ union leaders in Patna when they had been invited for talks with the Government on health workers’ issues, and repeated attempts to use assassinations and defamation laws to chill investigative journalism that question the Government: all point to an attack on democracy that even exceeds the shameful legacy of the Emergency.

2017 has also called the bluff of the Modi Government’s tall claims of ending corruption. The acquittal of all the accused in the 2G scam is squarely due to the calculated apathy of the CBI “caged parrot” even under the Modi regime, which helped to protect the likes of Anil Ambani. The manner in which Jagannath Mishra (now in the BJP embrace) has been acquitted in the Fodder Scam while Opposition leader Laloo Yadav was convicted, also reeks of the manner in which investigative agencies and corruption cases are selectively deployed as political weapons by the BJP Government. Meanwhile, grave corruption and conflict of interest charges involving Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah and Ajit Doval’s son Shaurya Doval, as well as the suspicious death of Justice Loya in a manner that was highly convenient for Amit Shah in the custodial killing cases he faced, are not deemed to merit any investigation.

With every passing day, the Modi regime’s claims of fighting corruption are being exposed even further. Modi had claimed last year that demonetization would clean the economy of black money since black money tended to be stored in big (Rs 500 and Rs 1000) notes. A year later, in December 2017, it is apparent that this claim is bogus. Big denomination notes now constitute no less than 93 per cent of the total currency in circulation: higher than the pre-Note-Ban levels of 86.4 per cent. In fact, it is the first time that high-denomination notes have crossed the 90 per cent mark in 15 years!

Anti-fascist fighters in India are entering 2018 filled with a new sense of determination and confidence. It is apparent that in spite of captive media houses serving as his personal propaganda machinery, and the unrelenting campaign of communal hate and violence, Modi’s stature stands eroded and he is facing resistance from almost every section of India’s people. Let’s make the coming year one of intensified unity and resistance against the fascists!

Posted in IndiaComments Off on Make 2018 A Year Of People’s Unity and Resistance Against Fascism!

Birth Anniversary: Quaid-e- Azam Emphasized on National Unity

NOVANEWS

Image result for Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s CARTOON

By Sajjad Shaukat
Besides Christmas, every year, on December 25, Pakistanis celebrate Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad
Ali Jinnah’s birth anniversary with every possible way of showing reverence to their country’s
founder. It is called the Quaid-e- Azam Day. Jinnah was born on December 25, 1876 and founded
Pakistan in 1947. On this very day, seminars, debates and programmes are held to remember the
services of the founder of the nation.

Although various programmes are held about the personality, vision and the hard work of this
great leader who struggled a lot to get a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Sub-continent,
yet the best way to celebrate Quaid-e- Azam Day is to pledge national unity which was
emphasized by Quaid-e- Azam and to promote the soft image of Pakistan, as envisaged by the
founder of the country.

This very day has come at a time when Pakistan is facing multiple threats of grave nature
internally and externally, which are not only worrying all the citizens, but are also creating
divisions among the federal and provincial governments including political parties. This drastic
situation is distorting Pakistan’s image abroad.

While, it was due to the selfless practical unity among the Muslims under the leadership of
Quaid-i- Azam that Pakistan became a tangible reality, on August 14, 1947. But that unity started
declining after passing through various crises, and the result was separation of East Pakistan in
1971, as India manipulated differences between East Pakistan and the West Pakistan.

However, Pakistan’s security forces have been facing a different war against the enemy which
employs subversive activities of various kinds which also include internal and external
challenges. Pakistan is in the state of new war, being waged by the Armed Forces and
intelligence agencies against terrorists. In this regard, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully
broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e- Azb and
Radd-ul- Fasaad. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist
groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has
been restored in various regions of Pakistan.

But, external elements have, again, started terror attacks in Pakistan to weaken it. India intends
to obtain various hidden purposes by blaming Islamabad for terrorism. Foreign intelligence
agencies such as American CIA, India RAW and Israeli Mossad which have well-established
their network in Afghanistan are fully assisting cross-border incursions and terror-activities in
various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements, Jundullah, Tehreek-e- Taliban
Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL) including their
affiliated outfits. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for
their acts of sabotage.

With the backing of CIA and Mossad, India is also trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC). Recent terror-attacks in various regions of Pakistan and particularly
in the Balochistan province might be noted as instance.

Externally, Pak Army has boldly been responding to India’s unprovoked firing at the Line of
Control (Loc) in Kashmir. While, the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi is implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. They leave no stone
unturned in distorting Pakistan’s image.

Unfortunately, it is because of lack of unity among our politicians, leaders and media that foreign
opportunists have been manipulating the chaotic situation of Pakistan in order to fulfill their
secret agenda by destabilizing the country which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic
World.

Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, but covertly, they
continue to destabilize it to obtain the illegitimate interests of Israel. American top official have
also been accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan so as to conceal their own
terrorism-related assaults in Pakistan, while insisting upon the country to do more against
terrorism. Besides, the US-backed propagandas campaign also continues against Pakistan.
Taking cognizance of Pakistan’s internal and external challenges, addressing the
participants on the event of commemorating the Defence Day, Pakistan’s Army Chief
General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on September 6, 2017, “Pakistan has done enough in’ the
war on terror and now it is time for the world to do more…Pakistan has made numerous
sacrifices fighting terrorism but today the country is being accused of not doing enough to
eradicate the menace.” He praised PAK Army for defence of the country and its response to
Indian perennial violations at the LoC.

Referring to Afghanistan, he remarked, “Pakistan has tried to support its neighbouring
country beyond its means…But we cannot fight the Afghan war in Pakistan…The
international powers should not hold us responsible for their shortcomings.”
Without naming the US-led intelligence agencies, Gen. Bajwa reminded the nation and the world
that “Pakistan is aware of all the conspiracies against the country and CPEC and its soldiers are
ready to sacrifice their lives for the people of Balochistan like people of Balochistan did for
Pakistan…they are closely observing those who want to stir unrest in the province.”
According to the press-statement of the ISPR, Gen. Bajwa reiterated army’s determination
to eliminate terrorism from the country.

Nevertheless, although Quaid-e- Azam supported the Two Nation Theory which was basis of the
Ideology of Pakistan, yet some hostile elements misinterpret it including the vision of Jinnah. In
fact, Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was against every sort of extremism, had favoured a moderate
Pakistan where other religious communities and minorities would also live without any
restriction, along with the Muslims.

It may be recalled that August 11 was official declared National Minorities Day by the former
government in 2009 in line with the historic speech of founder of the nation Quaid-e- Azam
Mohammad Ali Jinnah at the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947. In his speech, Quaid-e-

Azam said, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques
or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste
or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

In the same speech, Quaid-e- Azam said, “We are starting in the days where there is no
discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between
ones caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all
citizens, and equal citizens of one state.”

It is mentionable that in accordance with the vision of Quaid-e- Azam, the Constitution of 1973
protects the real rights and interest of minorities, living in Pakistan.
While, India which claims an arch secular state has surprised the world because of continued
attacks on other minority groups, especially Christians, Muslims and Sikhs—and events of
forced conversion of Christians and Muslims into Hindus.

Unlike India, where religious minorities are being targeted by the Hindu fundamentalist outfits
like the ruling party BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena etc., all the minorities such as Christians, Ahmadis,
Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists enjoy fundamental rights in Pakistan, including all other
rights of citizenry in Pakistan.

It is noteworthy that the founder of the country had strongly supported the idea of peace in the
world as well as with other countries. In this respect on August 15, 1947 Quaid-e- Azam stated,
“Our object should be peace within, and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain
cordial friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large.”

Regarding the status of women, Mohammad Ali Jinnah pointed out on March 25, 1940 at Islamia
College for women, “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by
side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are
shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the
deplorable condition in which our women have to live.”

In accordance with Quaid-e- Azam’s vision, now, Pakistani women are not only working in
various public and private sectors, but also in the armed forces of the country.
Notably, Pakistan which came into existence on the basis of Islamic principles to provide respect
and protection to all the segments of society is giving full safety to all the minorities as
mentioned in the Constitution. Besides other minority groups, particularly Christians are not only
serving in the armed forces, but are also working in other departments. Without any
discrimination by the Muslims, they also run their own business and are working in private
sectors.

Nonetheless, while commemorating the Quaid-e- Azam Day, let us use this opportunity not only
to bring ourselves closer to each other by displaying selfless national unity, but also to promote
soft image of Pakistan in order to castigate the conspiracy of our external enemies.

 

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Birth Anniversary: Quaid-e- Azam Emphasized on National Unity

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