Shinde’s lie helps jihadists – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Shinde’s lie helps jihadists – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

The new Bharatiya Janata Party president, Rajnath Singh, should be lauded for daring Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to ban his party along with the RSS if the two organizations are involved in terrorist activities. At a recent Congress meeting in Jaipur, Shinde had said, “We have got an investigation report that be it the RSS or BJP, their training camps are promoting Hindu terrorism. We are keeping a strict vigil on all this.” I’ll use the reductio ad absurdum form of argumentation to prove that Shinde was lying. Reductio ad absurdum, which means ‘reduction to absurdity’ in Latin, is a form of argumentation often used in mathematics and philosophy. The assertion is proved by showing that the opposite of the assertion leads to an absurdity or impossibility. Let us assume that Shinde is speaking the truth and the saffron bodies are indeed involved in terror activities. The minister should have shown evidence to substantiate his statement. The fact, however, is that even though he made the comment over a week ago, he neither backed his allegation with any evidence while making the statement nor has he done the same since he uttered those words. Further, the natural corollary of the monumental revelation would have been a massive drive against both the BJP and the RSS. Singh said exactly this in an interview to PTI, “If, as Home Minister, you think that the RSS and BJP are churning out terrorists, then we have also attended such training camps. Are we also terrorists? Do you consider us terrorists? Then put us also in jail.” There has been neither any action against the BJP and the RSS nor any evidence against has been made public. Shinde and his party can argue that there is evidence but it would not be proper to disclose it at this point of time. But it gives rise to the more disturbing question: if you have evidence but it is not firm enough to convict the guilty, why do you make it public? I don’t’ recall a single instance in which a law-enforcement or prosecuting agency revealed the name of an accused in a heinous crime but did not detain him. In...

Nandy’s pigheadedness – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Nandy’s pigheadedness – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

The unedifying spectacles Ashis Nandy’s stupid remarks have generated are as much symptomatic of the perversity of public discourse as of the pettiness of politicking. On the face of it, his statement seems to indicate that dementia has afflicted the academic. But a little analysis will show that dementia is the logical culmination of the axioms, lemmas, theorems, and theories that infest academics in our country. But let’s begin with Nandy’s statement. “It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from OBCs [other backward classes] and Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the Scheduled Tribes,” he said at the literary event in Jaipur. He went on the buttress his questionable thesis: “I will give an example. One of the states with the least amount of corruption is state of West Bengal when the CPI(M) was there. And I must draw attention to the fact that in the last 100 years, nobody from OBC, SC and ST has come anywhere near to power. It is an absolutely clean state.” Apart from factual inaccuracies, blaming members of SCs, STs, and OBCs for being most corrupt is in bad taste. It is unbecoming of a renowned sociologist to make such disgraceful remarks. Nandy has been roundly, and rightly, condemned for the outrageous comments. However, the way many people are baying for his blood and trying to harass him legally is not in consonance with the highest principles of liberal democracy. In fact, their efforts can be self-defeating: the scholar has exposed himself; his half-a-century-old work and reputation are in tatters; persecution may end up rehabilitating him. It is better to let him perish in the perdition of ridicule and irrelevance. His journey to perdition, however, began when he unquestioningly accepted the premises and dogmas of dirigisme: the state, like God, is omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent; the individual is weak, helpless, unimaginative, unintelligent, and incapable of redeeming himself; the state has to redeem the individual; and long is the list of dirigiste principles. It is not that Nandy never showed brilliance. In an article a decade ago, he wrote that it is only the Hindu nationalists who “have been left pleading for a uniform civil code. Almost...

Delineating Pakistan’s History of Military Messiahs – Hissan Hasan Haqqani

Delineating Pakistan’s History of Military Messiahs – Hissan Hasan Haqqani

Anyone with even a slight grasp of Pakistan’s political history knows that whenever the political scene starts turning sour, our search for a new face begins. Doubts and ambiguity about our future become a platform for attention-seekers who do nothing but fool the awam into believing that they are the next best messiahs, and concordantly, will be able to bring to fruition the utopian visions and values everyone craves for. Let us jog our memories and recall our first such savior; Field Marshal Ayub Khan. On October 7, 1958, President Iskander Mirza abrogated the constitution and declared martial law in the country. This was the first of many military regimes to follow that would wreak havoc on Pakistan’s cause for sustained democracy. As with all martial laws, the constitution of 1956 was abrogated, ministers were dismissed and all assemblies were dissolved. Any kind of political activity in the state was also forbidden. As soon as martial law was declared, the then commander-in-chief of armed forces, General Muhammad Ayub Khan, became the chief martial law administrator. The reason put forth for such a move was ‘incompetency and corruption’ of politicians. Ironically, these same reasons along with pressure from opposition alliance of Maulana Bhushani and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto were the reason that Ayub Khan on 25th of March 1969 handed over control of Pakistan to his commander-in-chief General Yahya Khan. While this military regime did give a slight appearance of stability and the impression of development, it is important to remember that not only did Ayub Khan’s authoritarian regime mange to deepen social inequalities resulting in an increasingly greater divide between the rich and the poor, but 5 million people fell below the poverty line. Ayub Khan is also criticized for ignoring to address the significant economic disparity between East and West Pakistan of the time. This reign would last for roughly 10 years when Field Marshal Ayub Khan would hand over charge to General Yahya amid increasing pressure and popular public resentment. This brings us to his successor and our second ‘messiah’ General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan. He was the second military dictatorof Pakistan from 25th March 1969 until the 20th December 1971 when he...

Pakistan’s Specter of Political Instability – Adfar Shah

Pakistan’s Specter of Political Instability – Adfar Shah

Adfar Shah  There seems no end to the sufferings of democracy in Pakistan. After the recently ousted PM, Yusuf Raza Gilani, the present Prime Minister is now too in quandary and thus Pakistan maintains its perpetual failure of democracy and legacy of political instability. Are Pakistani institutions themselves impoverishing democracy by trying to collapse the system, still remains to be analyzed. Also will the Qadri factor (Dr Tahirul Qadri’s long march for system change and the resolution made thereof) cast any effect or prove merely a failed attempt of a clergy coup after the legacy of the plethora of military coups and judiciary interventions. All remains to be observed as Raja Parvez Ashraf, the PM faces the court for the alleged corruption charges on him in the past. To the dismay of the State, Pakistan has been struggling with political unsteadiness since the very dawn. There have been serious and threatening problems in its political and social system recurrently which have had its ramifications upon the socio-economic development of the state and the general repute before the international community. The sociological fallouts of the identity and legitimacy crisis of democracy in Pakistan be that trust deficit among masses in successive governments, political leadership crisis, the democracy and law and order deficit  leading to the routinization of political coups (now some christen as judiciary coups) and subsequent forming of military governments and dictatorships, the saga of rampant political corruption, poor economic development, dismal human development indices, poor health care and concern, power woes, sense of alienation among  the common masses, flourishing violent sectarian crisis and hatred, alarmingly growing religious fundamentalism, secessionism and creation of terror factories, maintaining fear psychosis among commons by vested interests, suppression of minorities and general security flaws, etc, have actually manifested as both the means and end products  of the sustained political instability in the south Asian nuclear armed state. Needless to mention that Pakistan is a state of a strong political culture in terms of the political awareness/sensitivity among the general masses out of the vicious and turbulent historical past. But despite being the zone of high political culture, the nation created in the name of God is a fragile,...

Work in progress? – Priti Jain

Work in progress? – Priti Jain

There is nothing called absolute freedom in this world. We have freedom of speech and expression but cannot express what we honestly feel with a free will, at least in public; we also have freedom of movement and residence in any part of the Indian territory but get scorned by the regional politicians for migration. We got freedom from the British in 1947, but was it an absolute freedom? I’m afraid no. We, in the name of ease of functioning and wont adopted their Constitution, their Bureaucracy and Education system. Though the constitution provides us with the know-how of our working, the bureaucracy is the working. It has fully been adjusted according to the need of our nation, but somewhere down the line we still get the reminiscence of the British Raj. We are well aware of their general apathy and indifference towards our needs, their red tapism and importantly their corruption levels. But delving into this will be a complete waste of our own time. It’s just like whining and grumbling about something we feel feeble about.  Instead, we need to vindicate ourselves with regards to the small role played in warming their pockets and indirectly encouraging this behavior. A strong negative point of the globalization with its new companies, brands and the likes is providing us with a choice. This includes not only the common man but also the not so common bureaucracy. Even if we are law-abiding citizens and staunch proponents of honesty, leaving no room for corruption, there always exists a rebel who will wreck the system. Well, sadly the proponent is the new rebel and the common man has succumbed to the ailing system. We are generalists; we tend to fit everyone in the same umbrella for our ease of understanding. We think every politician is corrupt, every policemen rowdy and every bureaucrat a puppet in the hands of the politicians. We are not always right. It’s true that we sample out the whole population and then make our inferences; there is a need to look beyond that sample. Let me refresh your memory, the Robert Vadra land price misappropriation case brought forward an IAS officer Ashok Khemka. Working...

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