Open letter: How can you justify killing humans in order to protect cows?

Open letter: How can you justify killing humans in order to protect cows?

(This is the full text of the Open Letter, an edited version of which was first published by Express Tribune) Dear Mrs. Vaidya, I saw your post on ‘Indian Liberal Intellectual’, through a dear friend of mine who is an ardent advocate of Hindutva. I must confess, before I begin to put forward my points- cum- reply on your ‘Indian Liberal Intellectual’ post, let me confess, I do agree with you partially considering the facts, but I do disagree with your intentions and also of those whom you support. And this disagreement in terms of intentions itself draws me to write this reply to your post. To being with you dedicate your post to ‘Indian Liberal Intellectual’, and blatantly describe them to be “neither Indian, nor Liberal, nor Intellectual!” Well Mrs. Vaidya, can you please define “Indian”, “ Liberal” and “Intellectual” so that we get some clarity on the issue and can examine your allegation of somebody not being ‘Indian’ ‘Liberal’ and ‘Intellectual’ can be verified. Or is it the case, that you subscribe to our Governments attitude where everybody in dissent is advised to go to Pakistan, or is it the case that your post is a corollary to the theorem put forward by new Government, if people are not going to Pakistan, just call them ‘not Indians’ or ‘pseudo-Indians.’ Mrs. Vaidya probably you have devised a new law to decide about the citizenship of this country. What makes a man pseudo Liberal Mrs. Shefali, condemning Dadri Lynching, if that is what makes a man pseudo liberal, then perhaps Mr. Advani and now the Prime Minister Mr. Modi is also pseudo liberal, as atleast for the sake of Bihar elections he condemned the Dadri Lynching. Yes you are right, when you point out that the prize money too should be returned by those who returned their awards, and I in no way want to justify or take side as to why the said prize money was not returned but there could be more than one reason for not doing so, and the very idea of returning the awards is to register protest, the sanctity of award is in award itself and not in...

Kashmir: Repenting for Madness

 Sahil Mushtaq  It was one of the very unfortunate days of my life because a social activist like me stood as a bystander, and a mute spectator to the sight of school being set on fire.  I am aware about the anguish prevailing in the entire or some parts of Kashmir over the death of two youth from Sumbal area during the Army operations. I have also witnessed all the extremes of madness, often served as the justification to cause turmoil or as a reaction to the turbulence caused by the State Government or Security Forces. But over the years, I had grown to believe that while peace may continue to elude Valley, madness knows some bounds.  I had also established an understanding that there is some sort of social tide which will act as a pressure to deter mob mentality against children, educational institutions, medical establishments, and so on.  But what I saw that day, shook me up to my roots. A mob of local persons, mainly the youth, grew violent in Hajan and took to stone pelting.  Soon, some one suggested “lets go after Army Goodwill School of Hajan and burn it to ashes”. For a while, I thought that someone will counter this thought and condemn those who were party to such an evil mentality.  My belief had also gained strength because there were a number of people among the crowd who had kids from their families studying in the same very school.But alas, I was proved wrong. I mustered little courage to voice my opinion against such a sinful suggestion, but my so called well-wishers pushed me aside and ensured that my voice gets drowned into nothingness. The crowd finally moved towards the school.  It started throwing stones, hitting at the structures and other add ons located on the periphery of the School.  The gate, signboards and window panes were the first to face the brunt. I thought the madness will be overtaken by sanenes.  Again, I was proved wrong.  Then I saw a group heading towards one of the  classrooms with all the arrangements required to torching the school building.  There were slogans, abuses, stone-hurlings, and so on.  The ultimate passion...

Nitish visits ruins of socialist shibboleths – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Nitish visits ruins of socialist shibboleths – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tried to achieve many goals at the recent rally in Delhi, but the portrait of the ambitious leader that emerges is not very flattering. As we shall see, his objectives, statements, and demands lack any novelty; any chief minister of any state could have said similar things 10, 20, or 30 years ago. It is an open secret that Kumar aspires for the office of Prime Minister, something that is being viewed with expectation by ‘secular’ parties, including the Congress. There were enough hints of Kumar’s ‘secularism’—many Muslim supporters sitting in the front row, an Urdu prayer, a placard thanking the Bihar government for providing land to the Aligarh Muslim University, and so on. The dominant theme, however, was his reiteration of the demand for the special status for Bihar. Unsurprisingly, histrionics were the hallmark of his address: “We are not begging for special status. It is our right.” In a bid to elicit support from Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Orissa and Rajasthan—the states which have earlier sought special status—Kumar said, “We are happy that UPA government has agreed in-principle to grant our demand. But now we want it to be implemented soon. Do it now or it will be inevitable after 2014 elections. Only he who holds the hands of backward states will sit in Delhi.” Kumar’s bombast and symbolism emanate from his dirigiste ideology. The basic premise of this ideology is that only a few divinely ordained Wise Men and Women in New Delhi know what is good for the country and the people. They are in-charge of all the resources; in their wisdom, they distribute or redistribute these resources to states which, in turn, have their own Wise Men and Women. Growth, development, progress—everything is a function of the wisdom of these divinely ordained beings. Problems do arise because of the differences among Wise Men and Women, despite their divinity. But these problems, according to the dirigiste canon, can be resolved by fine-tuning the terms of engagement. The fundamental flaw of this ideology is that the supposedly Wise Men and Women happen to be politicians, bureaucrats, and hangers-on; and one has to be gullible to expect wisdom...

Women’s Day: Let Us Think Positive Today – Adfar Shah

Women’s Day: Let Us Think Positive Today – Adfar Shah

Are women really so disempowered the way we are discussing today on Women’s Day? I think ‘not’. Or is it their sense of internalization of violence, self domestication and psyche of being a weaker sex that has rendered them confused? I think ‘yes’. The term Empowerment or equality holds different meanings to different people and is dependent on people’s ways of interpretation. However, it is mostly the academic and political domains that over-exaggerate and represent gender issues in a more belligerent format. I think we have lost the real vision of understanding both the women suffering and their empowerment because we always compare more than conceptualize the various and distinct contexts of their empowerment and mere imitation to us is almost synonymous to development or women’s being at par either with men or western women. An important perspective of women’s self evaluation, perception of self-satisfaction and self actualization is still missing in the dominant gender discourses. To a larger section of the populace and so called social analysts, rural or tribal women are disempowered perhaps because they do not go to beauty parlors every week or attend meetings or conferences but lie at home, rare cattle, work in fields, take care of children, or do not know how to prepare ice creams or foreign recipes, etc,. A researcher on women on finding women working in fields in villages, abruptly concludes that they are slaves, made to work by men, lack government jobs, are illiterate and thus disempowered and disadvantaged, etc, ignoring the fact that wonen keep on motivating their family members to work hard for the family’s progress.The basic facts remain hidden like the fact of the people’s sense of empowerment in different contexts and geographies, the sense and sprit of coexistence and division of labour among people, women’s own sense of empowerment and their consciousness of responsibility towards home, culture of work and hard work among women, women’s working alongside men in fields also means equality to them. The so called revolution/delusion of igniting women against men or awakening them to strive for their rights was feminism that even attacked the institutions of motherhood and marriage, is now breathing its last. Even those...

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