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Vol. 77 No 2

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THE RADICAL HUMANIST (Since April 1949) Formerly : Independent India (April 1937- March 1949) Founder Editor: M. N. Roy

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Remembering M.N. Roy on his 125th Birth Anniversary during an International Seminar held on 16th & 17th March 2013 at India International Centre, New Delhi


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A film on M.N. Roy ‘The Comintern Brahmin (The Untold Story Of M.N. Roy)’ directed and produced by Vladimir Leon being shown in the International Seminar organised by the Indian Renaissance Institute on the occasion of Roy’s 125th Birth Anniversary celebrations at India International Centre, New Delhi, on 16th March 2013.


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www.theradicalhumanist.com

The Radical Humanist Vol. 77

Number 2

2013

May 2013

Contents

Monthly journal of the Indian Renaissance Institute Devoted to the development of the Renaissance Movement; and for promotion of human rights, scientific-temper, rational thinking and a humanist view of life. Founder Editor: M.N. Roy Editor: Dr. Rekha Saraswat Contributory Editors: Prof. A.F. Salahuddin Ahmed, Dr. R.M. Pal, Professor Rama Kundu Publisher: Mr. N.D. Pancholi Printer: Mr. N.D. Pancholi Send articles to: Dr. Rekha Saraswat, C-8, Defence Colony, Meerut, 250001, U.P., India, Ph. 91-121-2620690, 09719333011, E-mail articles at: rheditor@gmail.com Send Subscription / Donation Cheques in favour of The Radical Humanist to: Mr. Narottam Vyas (Advocate), Chamber Number 111 (Near Post Office), Supreme Court of India, New Delhi, 110001, India n.vyas@snr.net.in Ph. 91-11-22712434, 91-11-23782836, 09811944600

Please Note: Authors will bear sole accountability for corroborating the facts that they give in their write-ups. Neither IRI / the Publisher nor the Editor of this journal will be responsible for testing the validity and authenticity of statements & information cited by the authors. Also, sometimes some articles published in this journal may carry opinions not similar to the Radical Humanist philosophy; but they would be entertained here if the need is felt to debate and discuss upon them. 1

1. From the Editor’s Desk: Some serious thinking about the movement —Rekha Saraswat 2 2. Guests’ Section: Degeneration of Political Morality in India —Uday Dandavate 3 Globalization and its effects on Humanism — Sundri Bala Sharma 4 3. Current Affairs’ Section: Thatcher feared Islam Salaam to Slum Dwellers —Kuldip Nayar 6 Could a Muslim be entitled as a Secularist? Predominance of ‘Petty-Bourgeoisie’ —K.S. Chalam 10 4. IRI International Seminar Photographs —Day Two (17.3.13) 17-24 5. IRI / IRHA Members’ Section Working Towards Ambedkar’s vision of ‘Prabuddha Bharat’ —V.B.Rawat 25 6. Teacher’s & Research Scholar’s Section: Practise Of Untouchability: A Grave Human Rights’ Violation An Overview —Vijay Jashwal 29 7. Book Review Section: In Quest of the Cosmic Soul —Anurag Banerjee 35 The Progressive War on Science —Kenneth W. Krause 35 7. Humanist News Section: 38


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our society viz. of minorities, Dalits, women, children etc. in relation to the problems of their basic human and fundamental rights under the Radical Humanist banner. Coming to the crux of the problem, the number of members who call themselves first Radical Humanists then by some other institution’s name which they support and work for can be counted on our fingers; those too, going back fast to their elements one after the other. Why the situation has come to such a pass is known to all of us and it can be redefined in another editorial on every one’s behalf in the coming months. Under these circumstances many of us are often repeating that we have no alternative but to work with and for some already established flourishing group which propagates ideals similar to us. Does that mean our movement has already failed its purpose? And, pray, what was the purpose of beginning the Radical Humanist Movement? What was the reason for establishing the Indian Renaissance Institute? Why was the RDP disbanded and dissolved? How are we different from the others; may they be social activists, politicians, whistle-blowers or members of various pressure groups? These are questions we need to reply to ourselves again and again to clear our own doubts before we embark upon the purpose taking the movement forward. Till then, we may continue to publish and republish literature by M.N. Roy and his intellectual allies in the fold, get it translated into different languages of the world and in many Indian regional languages and simply concentrate upon propagating the principles of Radical Humanism through study camps, workshops, seminars and conferences. We may entertain students, researchers and intellectuals to discuss, debate, counter, contradict, reform and assimilate our philosophy and keep putting it to the test of contemporary times after a break of short intervals.

From the Editor’s Desk:

Rekha S.

Some serious thinking about our movement per the present scenario what can be the Asways to make a move forward in our movement? One, we may pick up regional, national and international issues, as and when they arise, or the perpetual problems faced by the contemporary society and actively involve ourselves in them becoming grass-root pressure group activists in the process. Some of us have already aligned ourselves with such groups outside the humanist fold and are successfully playing their roles sometimes with or many times without the Radical Humanist banner. Two, we may locate and align or merge ourselves with some political party or parties which seem to believe (to some or to a great extent) in democratic and humanist values with or without the Radical Humanist banner. Three, we may try to form our own political party in our own name - The Radical Humanist Party, to give an ideal alternative to the already existing plethora of inadequate parties. Four, we may play the role of effective whistle-blowers against the misuse of power in all government bodies under the Radical Humanist banner. Five, we may specifically divide our group into various sections catering to specific problems of

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Guest’s Section:

From San Francisco, U.S.A.

Uday Dandavate

[Uday Dandavate studies people, cultures and trends worldwide and uses the understanding gained from such studies to inspire people centered innovation strategies. He heads up a design research consulting firm called SonicRim in U.S.A. He frequently writes and speaks on topics related to people centered design and innovation in international journals and conferences.]

Degeneration of Political Morality in India the past the rich in India were satisfied in Inenjoying influence over the government by bankrolling politicians. In early years after independence they operated away from public gaze, since politician-industry nexus often was viewed as immoral by the public. During the prime ministership of India Gandhi, the process of institutionalization of corruption began. While there was greater explicit acceptance of corrupt means by the congress party other parties continued to raise voices against corruption. The

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role of money in electoral politics continued to grow over the years. Several decades ago, Naval Tata a member of the Tata industrial family tried contesting against George Fernandez, and openly demonstrated the lurking aspirations of money power for political status. Since Naval Tata's defeat, many industrialists have used their patronage to the political establishment to gain political offices- blatantly touting their hold over political apparatus. Political leaders, in the meanwhile have grown accustomed to the role of big money and have shamelessly put their political affiliations for auction from time to time. Mukesh Ambani, the richest Indian industrialist has today managed to make a second statement of arrogance in a row that will be known for moral decadence of Indian political establishment. After building a palatial home for himself in Mumbai several years ago Mukesh has today managed to secure Z category security cover from the government, reserved only for cabinet ministers and judges of Supreme Court. For a man who can afford the best security services in the world, getting Z security cover is another expression of his power- it says he can get the government of India — a position once enjoyed by Sardar Patel — to accord him a status only enjoyed by constitutional authorities. It's a statement that shows Mukesh Ambani's craving for touting his power and political establishment's willingness to accept being demeaned in public eye. Unfortunately, this news appears during a week when Delhi is protesting against the rape of a 5 year old girl in Delhi. While citizens suffer from lack of security, cops turn their heads away from helpless citizen's cry for help, the government is willing to acknowledge its subservience to money power.

Dear Editor, Thanks for your email. Few days back I read the Radical Humanist April 2013 issue. ‘Who do I vote for Modi or Rahul?’ and ‘Forgotten Bhagat Singh’ both articles by Kuldip Nayar are very appropriate in the present condition of our country. I also want to convey my sincere thanks to you for organizing the 125th birth anniversary of Hon. Shri M.N. Roy Saheb. —Atul Kanaiyalal Raval, ; 91-9409541385

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incorporation of the non-western world “into a globalized economy”. Surely globalization here becomes the generic game plan of the 500 or more multinational corporations that roam around the planet, seeking new markets for their goods and services. According to New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman “Globalization is the defining feature of world affairs at the end of the 20th century with the United States optimally positioned to compete in a world where information and financial network intersect to internet”. Globalization has a different meaning for different people. The economist, sociologist, politician, businessman, journalist, and environmentalist each defines it in his own way. The dominant issues may range from genocide to drug trafficking to child prostitution to integration with global market. Globalization is the magic word today. Economic development in the Third World Countries, we are told, is possible only if they link up with the global economy through the global market. Globalization is also a cultural as well as political reality of money. Ecological crisis, information technology and other aspects of modern life know no boundaries. They are now global issues. Therefore, it is not surprising that theological thinking and mission praxis in recent years is influenced by globalization. 1.Globalization an analysis of the phenomenon: Political and economic changes taking place in one corner of the world affect the life of people in the other. Seldom do we realize that a drop of a few cents in the stock market in New York has drastic effects on the economy of major cities in the Third World. The process of globalization from the beginning was fraught with competition, conflict, domination and exploitation. Certainly there has been an exchange of ideas and customs between peoples of different countries. And this has been mutually beneficial but the ambiguous character of the process of globalization is quite obvious. 2.Globalization and the Third World: When the Third World nations become independent of

Research Paper contributed for the International Seminar organised by Indian Renaissance Institute:

Sundri Bala Sharma

[Dr. Sundri Bala Sharma is HOD, Education

Department, R.G. (P.G.) College, Meerut]

Globalization and its effects on Humanism “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the confines of his individualistic concern to the broader concerns of all humanity” — Martin Luther King Jr. ‘My main contention is that the concept of open society which not only recognizes the multiplicity of cultures and traditions but actively advocates pluralism could serve as a unifying principle for our global society but the trouble is that the concept is neither recognized nor accepted’ – George Soros lobalism is an emerging sensibility of our post-modern, post-industrial, post-ideological era; Paul Kurtz spoke about “global humanism” with great anticipation. The current issue of a radical labour publication derives the corrosive effect of “global capitalism” on Europe’s social welfare status. A renowned journalist warns against the unrelenting

G

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colonialism after long periods of freedom struggle they embarked upon massive efforts to develop their reserves and to eliminate poverty. Development by economic growth based on rapid industrialization was the magic word. Three ingredients of the programme were local elite (rulers), external resources and trade. The goal was not only to eliminate poverty but also catch up with the First World in modernization. But the net results of the past few decades of the development have well summarized in the cliché, that ‘the poor is becoming poorer the rich is becoming richer’. 3.Globalization and the Indian economy: In 1991 the Government of India introduced drastic reforms in its economic policies which had far reaching implications upon the lives of the countrymen.The involvement of the World Bank and the IMF was acknowledged as crucial in structured adjustment and it was a deliberate move to take the country right into the process of globalization. 4.Globalization has become the vehicle of cultural Invasion: The idea of progress is decisively shaped by western lifestyle and its structures. Air travel, Colour T.V., Super computers and space technologies are the symbols of progress . When a nation opts for T.V. not just the technology but all the cultural and social life that nurtures it also comes with it. Technology is power and power is nerves-neutral. It becomes the carrier of those systems and ideologies (values and culture) within which it has been nutured. The tendency is to create a mono-culture. 5. The search for alternatives: The Third World perspectives on the global unity are made clear.

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The present global order controlled by the MNC’s neo-colonial forces and the elites of the countries does not ensure the values of justice and plurality. The ecological crises have further accentuated the problem of global injustice. The search is for a global order where life affirming values are preserved and strengthened. This would mean an economic system that is free of oppression. Conclusion: In our social and economic life we shall by reason of our social & economic structure continue to deny the principle of one man, one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions, we do not understand. B.R. Ambedkar has already said that “..if we continue to deny it for long we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which their assembly has so laboriously built up. Alas we have scientific advancement which out distances our moral maturity and therefore, we have missiles but with misguided commanders. References: 1.A.K. Das Gupta “Science and economic development, in technology for development perspective on Northern India –Ed. S.B. Rangnekar and others, Vol. I. P. 180. 2. Myrdal, G. (1964). An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and modern Democracy .New York, N.Y Harper and Raw. 3.Russwurm, J.B. (1827 March ibid). Editorial freedom journal 1.

Dear Friends, Please email your articles at: rheditor@gmail.com. Send them by post (if you are not able to email them) at: C-8 Defence Colony, Meerut, 250001, U.P., India. Please try to keep them within the limit of 1500-2000 words. You should also inform me whether they have been published elsewhere. Do email or post your passport size photographs as separate attachments (in JPG format) along with your brief introductions, if you are contributing in the RH for the first time. Please feel free to contact me at 91-9719333011 for any other querry. —Rekha S.

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Current Affairs Section:

Thatcher feared Islam met Mrs Margaret Thatcher for the first Itime when I was India’s envoy at London

From New Delhi—

in 1990. At that time she was counting on her achievements, including the triumph in the cold war. I sent her a congratulatory message for having vanquished the communist ideology. But she said she had even bigger enemies to defeat and mentioned Islam. I have always wondered whether the stirrings in the Islamic world were the doing of Great Britain’s. Around the same time, I knew that Prime Minister Thatcher too was losing her job because the men in “grey suits” had tapped on her shoulder and told her to quit. It was apparent that she had too many enemies in the party. Mrs Thatcher’s sense of self-righteousness and her penchant for the spotlight had made even her most eminent colleagues feel small and deficient. Many of them would have liked to have pulled her down earlier, but they were pygmies who could not measure up to her, colossus that she was. Mrs Thatcher was required to poll 15 percent more than the majority for an outright win, but she lost the election by five votes. The goings-on behind the scene were as murky as in India. Never once did her party men tell her that she was fighting a losing battle. She did finally send her resignation after ascertaining the facts from intelligence sources. I had heard from her Conservative Party colleague, who later became a minister in Prime Minister John Major’s cabinet, that they wanted her to go in the interest of party unity. But it was her party men who betrayed her, as one minister confessed to me, for she made them what they were. A ruthless stripping of subsidies, a dose of privatization and a head-on collision with the trade unions had succeeded in sloughing off many of the ills that had made Britain economically stagnant. But the price paid was high—unemployment and a divided nation. I wish Mrs Thatcher had retired after coming back with a majority of over 150 seats

Kuldip Nayar [Kuldip Nayar is a veteran Indian journalist, syndicated columnist, human right activist and author, noted for his long career as a left-wing political commentator. He was in Indian Foreign Service a diplomat and also nominated as a Member of the upper house of the Indian Parliament in 1997. He is also a human right activist and a peace activist. He was a member of India's delegation to the United Nations in 1996. He was appointed High Commissioner to Great Britain in 1990 and nominated to the upper house of Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha in August 1997. He writes columns and op-eds for over 80 newspapers in 14 languages including The Daily Star, The Sunday Guardian, The News (Pakistan), Express Tribune (Pakistan), Dawn (Pakistan). Every year since 2000, Nayar has been leading peace activists to light candles on the Independence days of Pakistan and India (14/15 August) at the Attari-Wagah India-Pakistan border near Amritsar. He has been working to free Indian prisoners in Pakistan and Pakistani prisoners in India, who have completed their sentences, but have not been set free. He has also authored 15 books, including “Beyond the Lines”, “Distant Neighbours: A Tale of the Subcontinent”, “India after Nehru”, “Wall at Wagah, India-Pakistan Relationship”, “The Judgement”, “The Martyr”, “Scoop” and “India House” kuldipnayar09@gmail.com.]

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in the 1987 election. That was her third consecutive During President R. Venkatraman’s visit to the victory. UK, I had another chance to interact with Mrs

In 1990, she seemed like a person who had stayed too long in power, just as Jawaharlal Nehru did in 1962, after India’s debacle at the hands of China. She should have taken the opinion polls seriously as the Conservatives had lagged behind by a greater margin than any political party ever had in the past. Nobody backs a losing leader, whatever his or her contribution at one. How can one forget that Winston Churchill was thrown out despite his victory in the Second World War? My first political report was on the defeat of the Conservatives in a by-election in mid-Staffordshire within days of my arrival. I had a feeling this might turn into a similar situation as the Allahabad by-election after which the caravan of V.P. Singh started rolling till Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress (I) government fell in 1989. However I wished that the rule of Conservatives did not end during my tenure as High Commissioner, Mrs Thatcher lost her prime ministership just before I left London. I must, however, admit she was fairly warm in dealing with me when I first met her. The Iron Lady had forgotten what I had written about her. What I noticed during my stay in London and surprised about was that the diplomatic corps openly discussing the challenge that Mrs Thatcher posed to the Queen’s position, considered not only improper but also sacrilegious. There was no love lost between the two. Mrs Thatcher was blamed for it as it was common knowledge that she did not appreciate rivals to her popularity, not even the Queen. I recall a story told and retold is about a party where the Queen and Mrs Thatcher wore identical dresses. After that, Mrs Thatcher’s private secretary wrote to the Palace asking to be informed beforehand what the Queen would wear at a particular official function so that Mrs Thatcher could avoid being similarly dressed. The Queen’s reply was that she never bothered to even look at what Mrs Thatcher wore!

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Thatcher more closely when I sat next to her chair and discussed on different subjects for two hours. She told me that she had refused to visit a gurdwara despite many invitations. “Those people killed Mrs Gandhi,” she said, adding, “What kind of people must they be!” Mrs Thatcher compared the violence in Punjab with the Irish Republican Army’s terrorism. “Of course, yours is on a bigger scale,” she remarked. But she was reticent on Kashmir, though she did say that nothing should be done at the expense of India’s unity and integrity. I remarked that ethical standards were disappearing from politics and that our own experience in India was that politicians enjoyed hitting each other below the belt. Mrs Thatcher said that in Britain it was worse. They would ‘kick you’ and even when you had fallen, they would not stop hitting you. She fondly recalled her intimate relationship with Mrs Gandhi. “Even when we differed, our personal equation did not suffer,” she said. As our conversation progressed, I also happened to see the softer part of the Iron Lady and felt how vulnerable she had become. She began talking about various issues before shifting to her personal problems, pouring her heart out to a person who had met her only a few times before. Her son, she recalled, had to move to America because of the “wild charges” (of using her position to get favours from the government) made against him. She said she missed her grandchildren but she considered it a price she had to pay to be in politics. She would often admit that she was not a consensus politician, but a “committed politician.” She, indeed, was but nevertheless the one who made Britain click. II

Salaam to Slum Dwellers recently, one refrain of a song in Until praise of slum dwellers was on most Indian lips. The refrain, Jai Ho-Jai Ho, had attracted so much attention that it fetched an Oscar Award. What the song conveyed was how those


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possible only when the builders have had on their side the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) officials, who preferred to remain silent even after the locals had complained about an illegal building coming up in their vicinity. This goes on to establish how the realtors and municipal officials in the state or, for that matter in any other part of the country where space comes at a premium, connive at each other. In the Mumbra case, the TMC officials just ignored the complaints that the tower had come up on tribal or forest land. One thing that has come out clear is that the building has come up on a reclaimed land under which ran a nullah, which carried drainage water, after the TMC officials and a local corporator, who have now been arrested along with a senior police official, had helped. The two builders, who were slapped with culpable homicide charges, too have been taken into custody. Understandably, chief minister Prthviraj Chavan has ordered an inquiry into the collapse. But what is tragic is that the chief minister became wiser after the event to admit in the state assembly that the building was completely illegal and may have come up on tribal or forest land. He further informed the house that Thane had 57 “very dangerous” and 1,159 “dangerous” buildings that were illegal and in which nearly 88,000 people lived. But if one were to take the entire figure of illegal structures in Thane district alone, as submitted by the state government to the Bombay High Court three years ago, it had touched the five-lakh mark. It must have multiplied into several more lakhs in and around Mumbai by now. No doubt, the Indian real estate market is vibrant in nature. Since majority of people prefer to invest in real estate sector, more for long-term investment than for accommodation, those in real estate business are out to make quick bucks. The only solution to this escalating problem is a stringent law that will make builders wary of certain standards. In fact, the Union Housing Ministry has proposed a specific clause to be included in the

who were on the margin were doing their best to come up, without challenging the society. There was no demolition of houses or buildings which had come up illegally. The worst came only a few days ago. True, natural calamities are hard to avert. But what happened at Mumbra, in the Thane district of Maharashtra, could well have been avoided but for the administrative inadequacies. It was more of a man-made crisis. Greedy real estate owners, contractors, politicians and bureaucrats, who maintain their regular liaisons, will have to share the blame for the tragedy which took the toll of 74 people and injuring 61 others. When an eight-storey tower for slum dwellers comes up in a record three-four months, it is understandable how the building may have been raised. It is not easy obtaining approvals from civic authorities or getting a plan passed, let alone going ahead with the construction of a multi-storey building. It takes several rounds of trips to the municipal offices, spread over months, and that too only after greasing the palms of officials can one think of obtaining approvals from various officialdoms. This brings us to the basic problem that most metros in the country face today: acute shortage of housing. Obviously, the cake is small and the number of people wanting a slice has been on the increase. Had the size of the cake grown larger there would have been something for everybody to take home. But those in Mumbai know that the tragedy was due to the acute need for housing in Thane and its suburbs and the flourishing land-grab business patronized by the powerful politico-builder-police-civic official nexus. The nexus makes it easier for the builders to “manage” things the way they want. Apparently, in the Mumbra case the builders have made all arrangements, including providing electricity and water to the residents, without any legal paperwork so that the flats can be occupied by the unsuspecting owners. But such a thing became

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revised Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill it is likely to introduce. If the proposed bill gets the cabinet and parliament nod, the builders will have to utilize 70 percent of the money collected for a particular project to spend it in that project and it would to avoid delays. The bill seeks to establish a regulatory body for the real estate sector to ensure transparency in property or real estate transactions, besides other benefits which are aimed at protecting the consumers. But, as would one expect, there is a widespread opposition from the builder lobby. What happened in Mumbra is not unique. There have been several such cases of official apathy in the past. One such instance that comes to my mind is another seven-storey structure that that came down like a pack of cards in the Lalita Park area of the national capital a few years ago. In this unauthorized East Delhi colony, the building had come up using substandard material. Thirty-four people had died and more than 60 people were injured in that accident. An inquiry was ordered by

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chief minister Shiela Dikshit then, but nobody knows what happened after that. However, I do hope the probe ordered by Prithviraj Chavan does not meet the same fate. In most cases only a cursory inquiry is made and notices serviced on illegal constructors or, at worst, penalties levied. The builders after paying up penalties go scot-free. The builder lobby is so strong and powerful that politicians cannot survive without its patronage as they look up it to fund them during elections. Corruption and greed is such a deep-rooted disease in our body politics that it can’t be pumped out of our system overnight. It needs the biggest political will. But which party has the courage to bell the cat? Still the remarkable thing about the efforts of living at the grassroots is the salutation to these people who have no resources. Jai Ho has become a salutation to a large extent. If the worst could be avoided, the slum dwellers would come out of the bondage of poverty as the days go by.

— THE RADICAL HUMANIST SUBSCRIPTION RATES— In SAARC Countries: For one year-Rs. 200.00 For two years-Rs. 350.00 For three years-Rs. 500.00 Life subscription-Rs. 2000.00 (Life subscription is only for individual subscribers and not for institutions.) Cheques should be in favor of The Radical Humanist. For outstation cheques: Please add Rs. 55.00 to the total. In other Countries: Annual subscription (Air Mail) $ 100.00; GBP 75.00 Note: Direct transfer of subscription amount from abroad may be sent to: SWIFT Code: CNRB0000349, MICR Code: 110015012 in the Current Account Number 0349201821034 at Canara Bank, Maharani Bagh, New Delhi, 1100014, India. Cheques and money transfer details from abroad may be sent to: Mr. Narottam Vyas (Treasurer), Chamber No. 111, (Near Post Office) Supreme Court of India, New Delhi-110001, Ph. Chamber 91-11-23782836, Res. 91-11-22712434, Mob. 09811944600

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From Hyderabad, A.P.—

K.S. Chalam [Prof K.S.Chalam is a former Member, Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi. He was Vice-Chancellor, Dravidian University, Kuppam, A.P. and earlier Prof of Economics at Andhra University. He was the first Director of Swamy Ramanand Tirtha Rural Institute, Bhoodan Pochampally during 1997-98. He is known as the pioneer of the Academic Staff College Scheme in the country as the scheme was strengthened by UGC on the basis of his experiments in 1985. He became the first founder director of the Academic Staff College at Andhra University in 1987. He was actively involved in the teachers’ movement, secular and rationalist activities and served as the National Secretary, Amnesty International during 1984-85. chalamkurmana@gmail.com] I

Could a Muslim be entitled as a Secularist? memory is very short and we have Public ignored an important political excitement in the form of a statement by Shiv Sena Chief Udhav Thackeray recently at the time of Pakistan Prime Minister’s visit to Ajmer. Thackeray was all the praise for Diwan Zaimul Abedin Ali Khan of Kwaja Moinuddin Chisti Dargah in Ajmer for his daring statement that the P M should bring the severed head of the Indian soldier before entering Indian soil. Thackeray has recommended that he should be awarded a Bharat Ratna. There are usual brickbats on the statement of both Thackeray and

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interestingly even on Ali Khan. Ajmir Dargah according to some scholars is a symbol of composite culture of India. I had an opportunity to visit the Dargah as I was made to visit it in one of my official tours. I was generally reticent in refusing to visit a religious place as part of protocol (I am called as secular fundamentalist by my friends) and keep it discrete. However, I use the opportunity to learn more about the place from the locals. In my recent visit to Tiruchangode in Tamil Nadu, I was taken to a shrine known as Ardhanariswara, a Sangam period temple. Interestingly, the transformation of the temple from that of the original Tamil god Muruga becoming Ardhanareeswara in the same place with two entrances, was found interesting. I have noted the significance of the temple. Similarly, I visited Ajmer and found lot of our Hyderabadi culture in and around the Dargah and felt very happy that we have our share in this glory. My wife bought typical Hyderabadi bangles. The criticism against a Muslim head for his patriotism, and his offensive against another Muslim simply on an emotional tip about his motherland is found to be really arcane. This is contrary to the stereotyping of Muslims. In fact, religion never united the Muslims. If it were so, we would not have seen Bangladesh nor the Arab problem .Why is it that our so called secularists have not recognized the importance of the statement of Ali Khan, the Khadim, even if there is some theatrics? Are the Muslims not qualified to be patriotic and remain secular in their approach to international relations? We have seen how Modi has become secular for the Americans now. In fact, most of our current debates on secularism in this country are wonderful examples of political drama and intellectual disgust without practical programme of action to sustain secularism in a pluralistic country. Then what is the harm in appreciating the khadim for his secular postures. The situation was different during the freedom movement. Scholar statesmen like M.N. Roy, B.R. Ambedkar and a forgotten Telugu Bidda K.B.


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Krishna had provided sincere and honest analysis of the Muslim problem and the need for secularism in India. K.B. Krishna, who taught Marxism to A.K. Gopalan in Jail was a Harvard university scholar and produced a dissertation on “Communal Representation in India’ for his Ph.D. degree. He has added some essays and published “The Problem of Minorities or communal Representation in India” in London in 1939. After a survey of the situation in different countries in the British colonies including Kenya, Krishna concluded that, ‘the only solution is to demand independence for India from British imperialism’. He has analyzed that, “Hinduism and Islam represent different stages of human development. The Islam of immigrant Moslems was divorced from its natural surroundings and transplanted in to Indian surroundings. The association of Moslems with non-Moslem communities in different localities created different situations and outlooks. This also accounts, in addition to educational and economic factors, for cleavages of opinions and interests in the political classes of the same faith. The differences between general Islam and Hinduism and between particular local Islam and Hinduism is expressed in the relationships of classes belonging to these faiths…..Moral ideas are the outcome of material needs. Religion is the organization of such moral ideas. At some stages of human development moral ideas and needs coincide…. The contradictions between morality and practice are becoming deeper with the growth of class antagonisms.” Around the same period M.N. Roy had also expressed similar opinion and lamented that we generally do not try to understand the conditions and the situation of our own Muslim neighbor and alienate them. B.R. Ambedkar has in a way drawn some of his insightful thoughts from the experiences of Muslims and his dialogues with Jinnah and others. He has narrated how ‘every change, executive, administrative or legal inflicted a series of blows on the Muslim community’. The exclusion of 11

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Muslims from political power was “the essence of the distinction” between the ruling group and the subject group. Thus, he had an inexplicable longing for the Muslim community. Was it a historical slip that Ambedkar was allowed to embrace Buddhism rather than Islam, which he was at one time contemplating? It also shows that Islam, compared to other Religions is far from open proselytization. Then why the Muslim is stereotyped compared to others. In fact, Religion is not a full time activity of people except the priest class and most of the conflicts are confined to the vested interests amongst them. K.B. Krishna said that ‘the Arab-Jew problem like the Hindu-Muslim problem is neither racial nor religious. It is struggle between two classes belonging to different faiths accentuated by the political policy of imperialism’. The imperialists have gone now and we do not know who fastened their boots? Abundant wisdom had gone in to the Constituent Assembly debates in formulating certain Articles relating to secular nature of the state. Though, secularism is added as part of the preamble during emergency, there was already a basic structure to entail secularism and socialism. The Constitution makers were not guided by the medieval feudal practices of some Muslim or Hindu princes and even English officers having wives from different religious groups to declare their neutrality. It was a depraved kind of an approach to a serious issue that was later theorized as “Sarvadharama samabhava” by some disingenuous scholars. In a country which was converted as a colony of several alien settlers and their belief systems, it was inevitable for the Native Indians to absorb unfamiliar practices sometimes with persuasion and many a times with force. Could it be due to their large heartedness in embracing different faiths without any prejudice and still remained at the bottom of the society to guard it? Or is it their vulnerability? Otherwise, how can one think of respecting an animal that is adorned by one community and abhorred by others? Our principle of equality of treatment of all religions does not work like this. It might operate


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among those classes or groups who were from a same stock of people, but spread in to different faiths over a period of time and have come to an understanding to rule together. This feudal business is gone and India has become a democratic and secular state. Therefore, we need to practice rigorously what secularism stands for. It is neither atheism nor irreligiousness. It is detaching all the personal beliefs and practices including non-belief from public/ state functions, if someone represents the state. This is a private affair. It is not vulgar display of personal beliefs as we see frequently now by responsible people like Presidents, Prime Ministers, Judges, Governors and others. This is against the principles of secularism, if not unconstitutional. The statement of the Khadim of Ajmir come under secularism as he kept his faith as a private affair and attacked his fellow Muslim. The ideal combination of socialism, equality, democracy and secularism are the basic principles of our legacy and not the so called protection of mathadipathis like Kesavanada Bharati. This is because of our long history of colonization by different alien powers and imposing different belief systems on the Native Indians. One should appreciate that the local beliefs of common people who are in a majority follow their traditional practices, if necessary translate Allah, Jesus, and Vishnu in to their own forms of worship. They just do not mind adopting some alien elements as seen from Peerla festival incorporating Muslim and Hindu practices in the South. The common people are not fundamentalist in their approach as it is one of the many events in their cultural life and not a fulltime activity like the religious fundamentalists. This is taken as a point for the priest class in every religion as the fragile point to exploit. It is noticed that the fundamentalists keep on inventing different kinds of festivals, rituals and stories and with the support of obtuse urban Intellectuals like Nandys, they perpetuate their hegemony. I do not know much about the international angel in this business. But one can say that the experience of the West is different from India due to this fact. 12

The secularists and the leftists who claim to be secular have failed to develop an alternative culture and allowed the religious fundamentalists to flourish with the aid of modern technology. We have seen debates by some Marxists defending Religion on dubious grounds as they have failed to practice what they taught. This is contrary to the theories that religion will disappear with the advent of capitalism and modernization. Is there any country where god’s birth, marriage, nuptial, love affairs and in different guises and in different regions with diversity, interpreted as universal to carry out rituals/ ceremonies throughout the year? They are all now being broad casted and televised with innovative and creative works in the dedicated TV channels and special programmes in regular channels. It has a cascading effect on the gullible and ordinary people as seen from the amount of money spent on religious festivals increased enormously after the advent of ICT revolution (as found in some NSS studies). It appears that no social psychologist has studied the impact of this innovation on the religious intolerance of people. On the contrary, we have several scholars and prize fighters justifying the acts of religious fundamentalists. One must appreciate the vision of our founding fathers in projecting the secular nature of our polity and to sustain it, the mandatory socialist and democratic stipulation with an ideal to create equality of opportunity. They are inseparable; one cannot survive or exist without the support of the other two values in a pluralistic country like India. Secularism has become a way of life in India unlike religious wars, crusades in Europe. It is purely based on Indian value system founded on its geography and history. This needs to be protected and imbibed as a value, through constant efforts of Intellectuals, Government, Political Parties and Civil society. There is no other way as of now and any public servants including the judiciary found undoing it should be severely dealt with. It is the principle of proportional representation in a democratic polity based on equality of economic


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opportunity together with scientific temper that would ultimately make religious problems trivial, as seen from the experience of the developed West. Till then, we need to cultivate constantly the feeling of brotherhood in an unemotional environment to build a nation called India. II

Predominance of ‘Petty-Bourgeoisie’ or ‘Middle Castes’: notion of caste and class is so Thedominant that no intellectual discourse is comprehensive without referring to them in India. But, when we refer to Hindus, Muslims, Christian, Jain, Parsi or Buddhist, we consider all of them as a homogenous group. This is problematic when we discuss critical issues like Communalism, Casteism, Secularism or political ideologies. People are lumped together and the good, bad and ugly are attributed to the whole community that they might belong or were born. Therefore, when incidents like the so called terrorist activities or fundamentalist outbursts happen, we tend to attribute them to the religion or social group to which they subscribe or fit. This is largely being followed in our media reports and the message is distorted or imperfectly communicated. In fact, everyone knows that we have economic or social groups within each category and if communicated properly, we can reduce the pervasive damage. India, unlike other countries is identified with caste system while all others are signified with class categories. However, academics and activists have been using both the categories in understanding our socio-economic and political issues during the modern period. We have noted that there are around nine theories of caste in India. Interestingly, there is ambiguity about the theories of class applicable to India. Though the term class was used by Plato, the interpretations have been deployed by Marx, Weber, Davis and Moore, Nicos Poulantzas etc. The concept is being liberally used by laymen,

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experts and activists without sometimes knowing what they mean by that. Are they referring to Marx, Weber or others? But, the mainstream discourse appears to be related to Marxian classes as it was the Marxists and their critiques who brought the concept in to popular public discourse in India. Marx used class in the context of production relations with in a particular mode of production. Weber attributed different classes based on positive and negative privileges held by people in a market economy. The characteristics like quality, performance and possession are considered to determine the functional character of a class in Davis and Moore. It was perhaps the Greek-French scholar Nicos Poulantzas who has creatively elaborated the concept of ‘classes in contemporary capitalism’ by incorporating the advances made by Gramsci and others. As he was working on the theme in 1975 when capitalism has reached its zenith, his contribution seems to be more relevant and up to date. Poulantzas has advanced the concept of ‘New Petty Bourgeoisie’. His analysis of class rests on three principles. 1. Classes cannot be defined outside of class struggle. Elaborating between class-in-itself and class for itself, Poulantzas has said that classes exist as antagonistic and contradictory quality of social relations. 2. Classes take objective positions in the social division of labour and are independent of their will. The reproduction of the actual positions occupied by the social classes (as bourgeoisie, proletariat, poor peasant, petty bourgeoisie) depends on the class contradictions and class struggle. 3. The social classes are structurally determined by the economic, political and ideological levels. Like Gramsci, Poulantzas has given importance to the political and ideological factors as they are as important as the economic factors in MOP. The traditional category of petty-bourgeoisie comprising independent artisans, small shop keepers etc are dwindled and replaced by ‘new petty bourgeoisie ‘consisting of white collar employees, technicians, supervisors, civil servants


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etc. Poulantazas has brought in the idea of functional relationship with capital as one of the criterion in determining the class position of a group. For instance, experts (including economists and social scientists) at all stages of production process help to legitimize the subordination of labour to capital by making it appear natural and theorise workers are incapable of organising production themselves. Even low-level clerks and secretaries share the ideological positions of mental labour and thus belong to the Petty Bourgeoisie and not the proletariat. The Bourgeoisie is defined not only in terms of property ownership, but also in terms of the substantive dimensions which characterise the social relations of production. Thus, Managers fulfil the functions of capital and the heads of state apparatus in a capitalist state do manage the state functions in the service of capital and thus come under bourgeoisie. There are several other issues that Poulantzas has discussed in the elaboration of classes in the advanced capitalist system that are substantially transformed from the time of Marx. Social scientists in the West have used his categories to arrive at the proportion of each class in the economies on the basis of secondary data. It is found that the new petty bourgeoisie is 70 per cent of the economically active population in the USA. Income is taken as a criterion in India to define classes. It is noted that pundits of some political parties dictate castes and classes are comparable, one cut across the other (with base-superstructure allegory). This seems to have dented the efforts of some scholars/activists to understand our realities. Ketkar’s and Ramakrishna Mukherjee’s efforts to classify castes as “division of labourers” did not reflect facts. The nomenclature upper, lower and middle castes are being used to showcase Indian society. The data generated by scholars, government and private agencies on income and socio economic groups give us a fair view of the middle classes in India. If the first 5 per cent of the rich and the 30 per cent below poverty line are set aside, the rest of 65 14

per cent are the New Petty Bourgeoisie? It is close to the proportion of people who have access to TV and Mobiles, important factors that mould the new petty bourgeoisie. We know how friable is the petty bourgeoisie? How can we understand this phenomenon? The caste system based on the ‘varna’ is hierarchical/ ritual and the class, based on relations of production is economic. Given the present situation in India after 65 years of independent capitalist development and links with the international division of labour, castes have gained vibrancy. It is possible to identify the castes that were benefitted by the policies and attained upward mobility. If we keep the dvijas aside for the moment who are calling the shots at centre, the states are now increasingly captured by the Sudras, the fourth varna (panchamas are outside except occasionally in UP). There is internal differentiation with in Sudras with the rise of OBCs as petty ruling castes. This is very complex situation to understand. The middle castes seem to have marginalised the economic agenda of emancipation for which the socialists and communists have been campaigning in India for quite some time. It is now confined to those who are social proletariat or scheduled castes and Adivasis who do not come under either class or caste (Internal differentiation is low). Therefore, the traditional struggles look to be nonchalant and might soon become obsolete? What is to be done? III

Should Dalits Remain Ugly? recent dreadful incident in the Paris of TheAndhra and pride of upward mobile shudras of our state, Tenali made all of us who love the town, hang our heads in shame. A 45 year old lady was ghastly killed in the presence of her daughter for preventing the felonious animals not to sexually abuse her daughter, a good looking B. Tech student. In the eyes of the beasts, the pretty looking mother and daughter were found without a male companion as hapless dalits. They were


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coming from shopping when the incident took place just opposite the statue of the father of the nation. Though the media has not revealed the background of the incident, but circumstantial evidence lead us to the specifics that they were easy prey due to their social background. Strangely, a section of the media was busy with the news of a missing film star indicating the blatant discrimination and frivolity. Katti PadmaRao, President of Dalit Maha Sabha informed us that he got the couple married in 1985 and the family is well educated, the fact that the two daughters studying science and engineering courses demonstrate. The incident in Tenali, Guntur after a gap of around two decades in the neighbourhood of Chunduru amply show that economic growth did not bring any social change, but led to further nasty feudal depths of despair. Now, we have entered a different dimension of caste atrocity. This reminds us why Dr Ambedkar wanted annihilation of castes. In his most famous speech prepared but not delivered at the Jat-Pat-Todak Mandal, Lahore in 1936, he cited a press report of 4th January 1928 about the conditions imposed by upper caste Hindus on Balais, a dalit caste in 15 villages in Indore district. Out of 8 conditions, two are related to women that they should not wear gold and silver and fancy gowns etc, perhaps to keep them as their slaves. Is there any change in the mind set of people as far as women, particularly lower caste is concerned? There are several studies to indicate how the lower castes fought against the so called upper caste/ brahminical values. It is recorded that the lower caste Nadars and Ezhavas of Tamilnadu and also in Travancore presidencies resisted the inhuman condition that the women folk of the community were made not to wear any upper garments, to entertain the lust of the upper castes. The leaders of the Nadars and Ezhvas appealed to the British and defied the upper caste dictates by wearing upper jackets. This has exasperated the ego of the dominant castes leading to a caste battle during 1818-19. Army was called in by the British to abate the situation. Of course, this revolt of the 15

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Ezhvas and Nadars made them to unite under Narayana Guru and shifted their traditional occupation to other callings to emerge as one of the most upward mobile community in the post independent India. We just do not have instances of such revolt from lower castes or dalits in Andhra? Does Sunila symbolise this? In this context, we may reflect here on the notion of beauty and aesthetics in relation to the social composition of our society. It is strange that the younger generation with the so called development oriented mind set think about beauty and glow of women in terms of the standards offered by the Anglo-American or white skin cultures. They consider under the influence of beauty market that all others like the dark skinned African-Americans are slaves meant to serve the rest. Hindi channels (some Telugu) have almost banned dark people. There seem to be no change in the attitudes and values of people even in an era of globalisation. However, the local people with dark, brown etc, skins have proved the indoctrinated upper castes wrong through their intelligence and charm, if opportunities are democratically thrown open. In fact, Ram Manohar Lohia in his article on “Beauty and Skin Colour� published in March 1960, narrated how the greatest woman of Indian myth, Draupadi was dark and charming. He narrated the beauty of fish eyed Meenakshi of Madurai telling the rest of the World how her beauty bit more to the heart than the eye. The grace of Tambaram Lalita, a Tamil beauty seem to have attracted the attention of Lohia who lamented how the aesthetic judgment of the whit-skinned Europeans dominated the world and distorted our aesthetic sensibilities. In fact, there are historical records to evaluate the Native Indian beauty and wisdom of the women folk. I remember that I had the occasion to officially interact with the most beautiful woman in my life was a dark person and could relate her to the Yakshini kept in the Patna museum (see Basham A L). The Yakhshini figure, a first century AD sculpture was a chance discovery of a British officer who found it in a dhobhighat about a


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century ago and recovered it to Patna. The woman I was referring to was also a Bihari and there are absolute resemblances with the living beauty to the Yakshinini of ancient India. It is appropriate to bring to focus that the Native Indians or the so called lower communities were more attractive than the aliens who came here and enslaved the locals resulting in destitution and physical devastation of people. It is with the advent of democratic government and adequate food; the downtrodden are slowly recovering from the damage and restoring their original charm. You can see this happening to Chenchus of Kurnool. It is not only in the physical elegance but even in the exposition of their knowledge and wisdom, the women belonging to this community is exemplary. Srimati Panabaka Lakshmi, M.P from Bapatla, Guntur, a Post graduate from Andhra University has been a parliamentarian for two decades and has

proved her calibre and competence as a Minister in the central government. The Prime Minister has recognised her skills and efficiency in dealing with whatever subject assigned, is now entrusted with two important portfolios. This shows that the women of the lower communities are as competent as anyone else if chances are given. This trend appears to be the crux of the problem? The upper caste crooks of Tenali seemed to have a crush for the women and were waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Interestingly, there is very little analysis by our Intellectuals who were very critical about the increasing menace of dalit lumpen elements when Chunduru occurred. Is there any parallel in recent period where a mother lost her life defending the honour and chastity of her daughter? Is it not our responsibility to make Sunila’s sacrifice a symbol of self-respect and esteem of the new generation of women we should be welcoming!

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Mr. Sudhir Gandotra (President Humanist Party, New Delhi), Prof. Abdus Samad Gayen (West Bengal), Prof. Amit Kumar Singh (U.P.), Mr. Vijay Deshwal (Law Intern, Nepal), Prof. Suresh Chand Patel (Odisha) & Prof. Madhusudan Pal (West Bengal) presenting their papers in the 1st and 2nd

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Prof. Anjali Chakraborty (Agartala, Tripura), Prof. Hem Lata Sharma (Morigaon, Assam), Mr. Vinod Jain (President IRHA, Mr. Bhagvanji Raiyani (President, Forum For Fast Justice, Mumbai), Mr. Bhaskar Sur (Chandannagar, West Bengal) and Mr Subhrojit Bhattacharya (Chandannagar, West Bengal) presenting their papers and views in the seminar.

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Chairperson of the 1st technical session Mr. Somayya Ravela (Veteran Radical Humanist, A.P.) and Key-note Addressee Mr. Gumma Veeranna ( President, A.P. Rationalist Association) being felicitated. Both delivering their lectures on “Role of Humanist Movements�on 17.3.13. Dr. Jugal Kishore (President CFI, N. Delhi, India) & Mr. U. Kalanathan (Patron FIRA, Kerala) speaking on the topic.

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Senior Scientist Prof. Shubhankar Ray, Chairperson of the 2nd technical session held on 17.3.13 on “Effect of Science & Technology on Human Value System� and Chief Guest Prof. Dhruv Raina being felicitated . Prof. Raina delivering his Key-note address and Prof. Ray giving his concluding remarks. Adv. Atul Wadera and Mr. Jasthi Jawaharlal (Author) presenting their views on the topic.

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Adv. Abhay Joshi (Rajasthan), Mr. Aamir Khan (Social Activist, N. Delhi), Ms. Tanya Wadera (Computer Science Student, N. Delhi), Ms. Arshi Ansari (Political Science Research Scholar, U.P.), Mr. A. Jami (Student Leader, N. Delhi) and Vladimir Leon(Film Director, France) giving their views on “Effects of Science & Technology on Human Value System” in the 2nd technical session on 17.3.13.

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The Radicals & the Participants in full concentration!

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The Guests & Audience in full attention!

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Mr. Jasthi Jawahar Lal informing about the two books he has published recently: one was released in Hyderabad on M.N. Roy’s biography and ideology written by Mr. K. Radhakrishnamurthy and the other written by Mr. Jasthi Jawahar Lal on Ellen Roy’s life was released in the Valedictory session by Adv. B.D. Sharma, Mr. Gautam Thakar (Gen. Secretary PUCL) and Adv. N.D. Pancholi (Secretary, IRI) on 17.3.13

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IRI / IRHA Members’ Section: From Ghaziabad, U.P.—

V.B. Rawat

Working towards Ambedkar’s vision of ‘Prabuddha Bharat’

[Vidya Bhushan Rawat is Director at Social

Development Foundation, a non religious secular human rights organisations working on the issue of Dalits, tribals and other marginalised communities particularly on the issue of hunger, starvation, land rights and rights over natural resource. www.thesdf.org] I am prepared to pick and choose from everyone, Socialists, Communists or others. I do not claim infallibility and as Buddha says there is nothing infallible, there is nothing final and everything is liable to examination’: (Dr Ambedkar speaking in Rajya Sabha on 19th march, 1955 on Article 31 or Right to Property.) A vicious debate started by some fringe groups about a month back that Ambedkar has not worked for the cause of Dalits and all his actions failed in its mission. Some said, he was influenced by American Economist in Columbia University and has depended too much on the state while others felt that it is time to call Ambedkar bluff as it has not done anything for the Dalits and time has come to ‘ideologically’ fight against it. It is not new for the ideologues of left, right and centre to denigrate Ambedkar as he is a challenge to their ‘intellectualism’. There are many intellectuals who were shocked to hear that Ambedkar could be blamed as an anti-communist while the so-called communist leadership just blamed him as ‘agent’ of capitalism which emerged from his forthright debate on the

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issue of right to property and on the issue of Ceiling Surplus Land. Anyone who understands and if he or she is honest to the village system in India, would subscribe to what Dr Ambedkar said and suggested on the issue in the Constituent Assembly debates. We all know that Baba Saheb Ambedkar wanted nationalization of land and was against individual farming. In fact, he stated that though he was not a communist, he supported the Russian model of state farming. A right wing author once wrote a book on him claiming he was a ‘British’ stooge while Gandhians have their own problems as Ambedkar rarely called Gandhi a Mahatma and trashed his formulations of India’s great culture and village republics. ‘Although, I am not a communist-the Russian system of collective farming is the only way by which we can solve our agricultural problem. To create peasant proprietorship and to handover land to peasants who have not got any means of production in my judgment would bring a complete ruination.’ In the backdrop of this, I wish to say that it is not necessary for Ambedkar to be a communist or a Gandhian or a socialist for being right or wrong. The attempt to fix Ambedkar in any of these fixed modes is nothing but belittling his contribution to the society. Countries and societies do not depend on ideological framework but work on pragmatism and local needs of the people. The intellectuals frame those positions to the benefit of their masses but if they become enslaved to a dogma then that perception is bound to fail. Today, one has to see who has won in India. Those who wanted revolution for the proletariat actually ensured that their caste brethrens remain in safe heavens and rather than launching an anti-caste movement they started questioning others who fought against it and brought radical changes in society. The successful anti-caste movements in India were never lead by the so-called champions of the proletariat. Rather people like Ambedkar, Periyar, Phule, Sri Narayan Guru, Birsa Munda , Sahuji Maharaj, Ayyan Kali and many others were never actually proclaimed


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communists though they were influenced by some of the traits of communism and socialism, as Ambedkar had mentioned many time, the issue of Dalits and other oppressed masses. It was strange that the meeting did not discuss what failed communism in India and rather it focused more on Ambedkar’s failed mission and his ideology. It is normal practice for any group to discuss the issues related to their ideology and introspect about it as how much it has succeeded. It is therefore legitimate for the Ambedkarites to discuss how much they have succeeded and where they failed. Introspection of any ideology is an occasion for all kinds of discussion without any hero-worshipping and with an agenda on future of the ideology. One does not know as how many times our friends who initiated discussion in Chandigarh did that about Marxism. Why is Marxism failing world over and how can they make the labour movement a truly inclusive movement and not just event management on a certain date? How many times did we discuss as why Maoism could not go beyond China and why the Chinese governments have themselves abandoned Maoism and its basic principles and why is China today focusing on liberal principles of global economy ignoring the Maoist principles. Can they tell us as why Europe has adopted the name democratic socialism and not communism as most of the communist governments in Eastern European nation were deeply fascist in nature who denied freedom of expression and freedom to organize political dissent? It would be good for our Marxist friends to discuss the failure of Marx, Mao, Lenin and Stalin and think beyond them as why these legends are persona non grata even in Russia today and no other Eastern European country wants to listen about them? Hence, it is unusual for the ‘revolutionaries’ to discuss on the issue which is not their own. They never considered Ambedkar their own so what is the problem? The brahmanical communists who love their ‘Janus’ more than their ideology can never ever do justice to the issue of the marginalized. Most of the communist leaders 26

not only hailed from the upper castes but also upper classes. A number of times, we are asked question that Ambedkar always used caste as the main identity and we were told that communists believed in classless system. I want to ask how many of the top leaders of the all the major communists parties hail from the so-called ‘proletariat’ classes. Despite my high respect for many of them, in terms of both class and caste, they hail from upper echelon of our society and betray the facts about classes which they claim. For years, we know that major communists’ parties in Uttar-Pradesh and Bihar were dominated by the powerful Bhumihar group which owned the maximum area of land. Similarly in Andhra Pradesh, they were led by powerful Reddys who were the biggest land owning community in their region and even today hold Andhra Pradesh to virtual ransom. Why didn’t the issue of caste identities come in the minds of our comrades while taking a political decision? Was not that an identity politics when power elite joined the parties? Where are proletariats in the leadership of the communist parties? All those who claim to work in the name of proletariat in these parties are either the too rich landed peasantry or the middle class bhadraloks of brahmanical variety who are expert in ‘articulations’ but their relationship with the Dalits and Shudras remains as it was always. Hence, ‘who failed whom’, is a question they should ponder upon as to how much they succeeded. Ambedkar was clear about his mission. He knew very well what his people needed. It is not that he was not aware of Marxism but he knew its danger for India. He did not want to talk in jargons and rhetoric as he wanted pragmatic and immediate solutions for his people. And he knew very well the hypocrisies of those who were talking about ‘international politics’ yet were unable to focus on the hidden apartheid in the country. Is it not treacherous for the historians who never focused on the wide ranging discrimination based on caste and issue of untouchability in India? Gandhi was speaking about foreign power but Ambedkar knew


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well that the transfer of power from British to Indian hands would be more dangerous if the interests of dalits were not negotiated. He had this fear of a Hindu Raj which he said would be a calamity if it came to India and hence he was not very keen on buying Gandhi’s Swaraj which was being projected as end of ‘all kind of discrimination’ in India. Ambedkar said that ‘this view would be correct if it could be proved that with the disappearance of Imperialism all vestige of capitalism will also disappear from India. But it does not require much intelligence to realize that even if the British would depart from India, the landlords, the mill owners, and the moneylenders would remain in India and would continue to bleed the people and that even after Imperialism will have gone labour will have to fight these interests just as much.’ Ambedkar was an iconoclast who never believed in hero worshipping. He exposed the holy text written in our religious books. He challenged them with greater articulations. He knew how Gandhi was being worshipped by the people and how any question to Gandhi was considered as a ‘challenge’ to loyalty to the nation. He cautioned India against hero worshipping. ‘For in India, ‘Bhakti’ or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship, plays a part of its politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other part in the world’. Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti, or hero worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship’, warned Ambedkar. Yes, some of our friends may be unhappy with Ambedkar’s constitutionalism but one must understand what he meant by that and why. He knew that now we have a constitution where negotiations are part of political process hence it was important to fight a political battle and not use the extra constitutional methods to get your demands fulfilled. Today, we have seen mass protests in India which actually are aimed at undermining its democratic process and bringing the American model of corporate version totally in 27

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the hands of the caste Hindus. Today, with more and more participation of Dalits and OBCs in our power structure, we are realizing that democracy is being undermined by the same political class who sings ‘songs’ of ‘greatness’ of Indian democracy and who is afraid of such wide scale participation from India’s diverse marginalized communities. ‘We must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the methods of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was some justification for unconstitutional methods for achieving them. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives. These methods are nothing but Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned the better for us.’ I would again emphasise that we have to see Ambedkar in his true perspective who admitted in the Constituent Assembly debate that there was nothing final and things have to be decided based on situations according to time. That is why the Constitution provides opportunity to amend our laws according to the needs of the time which change with the passage of time. It is not that Ambedkar was saying that we must not engage in political protest. His warning was clear that there would be many forces who would be afraid of democracy and they could always bring such huge crowds to the ground. We know the dangers of Anna and Kejriwal movements which threatened the very basis of our Constitution. We need to understand as why such movements became popular with our middle classes as well as media because there was a feeling of disgust with participation of India’s Dalits and Shudras and Anna and Arvind, they thought, would undo all the ‘provisions’ meant for the Dalits and OBCs. All the right wingers in India hate our Constitution. They want to continue to shout that it has failed but they don’t know what they are going to give us. What


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kind of governance model the RSS or Hindu Mahasabha would like to give us? What is the structure that a Maoist can provide us? Will that be like the ‘democracy’ in China? So, it is important to understand who are the forces who are talking about all these ‘changes’. In the name of change, we must not succumb to brahmanical lies and to all those jargons of internationalism, imperialism and what not, which ignore the Hindu imperialism of India, its hidden apartheid, its caste structure. Yes, Ambedkar never said that this Constitution is the greatest. He felt that it was the responsibility of the Constituent Assembly to make it and there were lots of issues. He also said that if the Constitution would not work well he would be the first to burn it but he always felt that it is not the Constitution which would fail us but if the Constitution went in the hands of those people who did not respect democracy, it was bound to fail. For that he said that India’s political democracy will never succeed unless we have social democracy. And today, if we see India and its abject failure, we have to salute Ambedkar for his forthright thoughts as why India is unable to stand up as a society because religious thugs have made hell of this nation. Caste system, untouchability and discrimination is still the order of the day. Ambedkar did what he could do and much more than his strength could allow him to. He was all alone in his struggle and yet could change so much. If the Constitution is failing, it is not the fault of Ambedkar. If the Dalit movement is not growing, it is not the fault of Ambedkar. It is not the time to find fault with Ambedkar. It is time to understand him well. Ambedkar is not just the Father of Indian Constitution but the father of modern India after renaissance which could be called as a humanist India. Actually, we need to do much social churning so that the real leaders

emerges who have vision to carry forward that legacy of Dr Ambedkar which he espoused saying that without a social revolution, India’s political democracy will be at peril. All those ‘champions’ of ‘democracy’ are failing India who are feudal in their personal lives and using democracy as a tool to push forward their retrogressive dubious religious agenda on the country. Gandhi’s India is the nation that glorifies caste hierarchies and village communes. It is an India that believes in the finality of religious text and hence suitable to all kinds of religious thugs who promote Gandhism to fulfill their own religious agenda. Ambedkar’s India will be an enlightened India which does believe in freethinking traditions, where you can challenge the religious books and restore the freedom to each individual to decide about his life and choices. Ambedkar’s India does not believe in the ‘sanctity’ of ‘dogmas’ whether political or religious. The centrality of Ambedkar’s India would be the restoration human dignity and human rights for all and without that all ideals and political philosophies would be clear humbug. Clearly, Ambedkar’s India wants to restore the values of democracy, social justice and equality for all and hopefully once we achieve that, India would find its place in that comity of nations which can claim proudly to be a group of civilized countries. In the absence of that, we will head for anarchy and chaos and the forces of religious nationalism will take over and the only state that we will have then will be the Hindu Rashtra, which would be the greatest calamity that India can face as Ambedkar said. It is time we heed his warning. It is time we work hard to achieve Ambedkar’s vision of Humanist India or what he termed as Prabuddha Bharat.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS: 1) A report of the International IRI Seminar held on 16 & 17 March 2013 at India Internatuonal Centre, New Delhi will be published in the June 2013 issue of The Radical Humanist. 2) The remaining papers and speeches presented and delivered on both days( 16th & 17th) will also be published in the June & July 2013 issue of RH. 3) From May 2013 (i.e. this month onwards) RH will be posted on the 10th of every month.

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Teachers’ & Research Scholars’ Section:

From Nepal—

Vijay Jashwal

Practise Of Untouchability: A Grave Human Rights’ Violation —An Overview— Abstract: “Janmen Jayat Sudra, Karmen Uchyete" (It means that the people take birth in Sudra but through the work and skill he/she becomes Brahman)” It wouldn’t be denying the fact to say that the practice of untouchability in human civilization is not the outcome of modern development but a trace back to early civilization of human kind. It had varied its shape from country to country, place, residence, degree of civilization, access to information & knowledge in the beginning of civilization of human beings. In the Western world, the presence of untouchables is still there basically in the European community and also in Japan where it is called Burakumin. Humanists, realists, materialists and many others have tried to figure out why this unpalatable development takes place even in the era of growth of Science and they came to the concusion that hierarchy in social system gives rise to untouchability. In simple word, where there is superior-inferior dynamics, there is prevalence of untouchability. Such as, ancient writings of Manu and divide of social system into

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four castes or categories in the east supports the practice of untouchability. Another instance can be drawn in relation of untouchability from the age of war. Some of the Aryans came in from Central Asia via Iran and they conquered the peaceful inhabitants of an indigenous community. The conquered became the slaves and the rest were treated as untouchables. The concept of caste was not understood as a professional categorization of people but as a rigid traditional hierarchical system which is found in the Hindu caste systems of Nepal and India. This system is ranked as an endogamous division of society in which membership is permanent and hereditary. For references to illustrate the violation of human rights through the persistent practice of untouchables can be seen in context of Nepal when Nepalese caste system was codified in the National Legal Code (Muluki Ain) of 1853 by Nepal’s Rana rulers. The Muluki Ain discriminated among Nepalese on the basis of caste. For example, Brahmans, as the highest rank caste were exempt from carillon taxes and compulsory labor (for government projects’) that were required from members of other castes. Punishment for some crimes also varied depending on what caste the culprit belonged to. Brahmans, for example, were exempt from capital punishment, while members of other castes were not. But for some other offenses the punishment for Brahmans (and other Tagadhri Nepalese) was actually more severe than for members of lower castes. Brahmans were not subject to capital punishment they could be stripped of their high caste status and brought down to the rank of untouchables for certain offenses including incest, murder, rape, marrying an untouchable or accepting water from them. The Constitution of 1963 abolished the Muluki Ain and, further outlawed all discrimination on the basis of caste. And yet there is still a caste system in Nepal. The strength of the system varies in a certain degree from one part of the country to another. And there is considerable variation in the extent to which individual Nepalese follow caste-based principles.


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But the fact remains that untouchables in Nepal continue to be discriminated against in a variety of ways, and that this is one major reason why their socioeconomic status as compared to that of other castes remains poor. There was no scope of social mobility of any type, vertical or horizontal, particularly for the lower or untouchable’s castes. The entire society was paralyzed by the effect of sterilization of the potency of growth of the immense majority, the lowest stratum of the society. It is also believed that the water of Ganges can purify any thing that is sprinkled with it. But neither blessings nor favor from Almighty God (if he exists) nor the purifying water of the Ganges could reduce the polluting power and elements of untouchability of the ati-shudras. The reference of untouchability is available in the religious scriptures and not in the secular literature. Everything changed on the earth in course of the uninterrupted flux of change. Monkey’s evolved into human beings, in course of time. But all natural forces and laws of physics and fundamental principles of Bio-Science lost their effectiveness in solving the problems of untouchables. Neither could they change the mind-sets of the casteists. They kept saying that it was well-planned by the so called Devatas or God to keep a large portion of society as slave. And, thus, they could be objects of mercy but were not to be liberated from their unchangeable tag. Untouchabilty is nothing but the denial of the benefits of socialization process to a group of people who were declared as untouchables. Those who are treated as untouchables and kept outside the pale of social interaction cannot get the benefit of socialization process and they remain as animal beings. By imposing such a cruel punishment upon the innocent people of the country the Hindu creators have committed crime against Humanity and against the civilization. Concept of Untouchability:The practice of the untouchability is status-led ostarcization, which prevents a group of people from privilege of having

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the benefits of becoming an independent and perfect personality. Obviously, untouchability is an anti-justice concept or a circumstance in which justice is inaccessible. The object of European renaissance was to rescue the positive contributions of ancient European civilization, which were lying buried in the Middle Ages owing to the dominance of the Church. Roy had something similar in his mind about India. According to him, one of the tasks of the Renaissance movement should be to rescue the positive outcome and abiding contributions of ancient thought – contributions, which just like the contributions of Greek sages, are lying in ruins under the decayed structure of the Brahmanical Society – the tradition of which is erroneously celebrated as the Indian civilization. The concept of untouchability is believed to have its roots in ‘Orthodox Hindu Religion’ which believes in the hierarchical structure of society. Virtually practice of untouchbility has been found in: ‘monopolization of the state power, creation of status governed personality, legitimization of the exclusive privilege of hierarchical superiority and creation of service provider population for exclusive use of the elitist class’. In Nepalese context untouchable is known as Dalit. Actually Dalits were and are the most vulnerable groups of society and out of the mainstream of development. The distinction of hierarchy in the social ssystem was not based on the platform of birth. The Perversion of Professional Division to “casteism” was an outcome of the monopolized interpretation of professional divisions during Puranic era. The brahmanical school or society very scrupulously refused to accept untouchables and their merits. Shudras according to the doctrine of Brahamanism are the divine slaves, one of the natural means of production. Themeselves being used as ‘property’ of their owners, created by the divinity to serve the gods of the governing classes they were denied any property rights of their own. The genisis of Hierarchaical structure of social order i.e Shudras, Vaisyas, Kshatriyas, and Brahmans have been traced in the Purusa Sukta of


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the 10th Mandal of the Rigveda. It has been opined that the supreme creator of this universe, produced everything out of His own body, the Virat Pursa, created Brahmin from his mouth; the Rajnya from his arms; his thighs became the Vaisyas and the Shudras sprang out of his feet. This is the mythological supportive document for the prevalence of the untouchables. Have a look on the development of Science which says that there is a single species formed through the anthropological cells called as the Homo Sapiens. The practise of untouchability differentiates one human being from, and subordinates to, the other human being. The treatment is inhuman and cruel. It stratifies the human beings into superior or inferior categories and subject the latter’s life to the mercy of the former. Untouchability is a practice against the universality of equal human dignity. The Hindu Vedic philosophy taught us about the presence of atma (soul) in each individual which is divine and eternally perfect. No soul or atma is superior or inferior as per the Vedic philosophy but the practise of untouchability makes someone superior and inferior so that it is absolutely against their own doctrine of divinity of atma and the whole Hindus philosophy. Foundation of Untouchability Practice in Society: Dalit” refers to one’s caste rather than class; it applies to members of those menial castes which have born the stigma of “untouchability” because of the extreme impurity and pollution connected with their traditional occupations. Dalits are ‘outcastes’ falling outside the traditional four-fold caste system consisting of the hereditary Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra classes; they are considered impure and polluting and are therefore physically and socially excluded and isolated from the rest of society. Dalits represent a community of 170 million in India, constituting 17% of the population. One out of every six Indians is Dalit, yet due to their caste identity Dalits regularly face discrimination and violence which prevent them from enjoying the

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basic human rights and dignity promised to all citizens of India. Caste-based social organization extends beyond India, finding corollaries in Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, as well as other countries outside of South Asia. More than 260 million people worldwide suffer from this “hidden apartheid” of segregation, exclusion, and discrimination. The beginning of the writings of Rig Veda has only mentioned about the three categories of caste in the 1st Mandal of the Veda. So there was no caste called as Sudras or untouchables in the Hindu philosophy. All the human beings were divided on the basis of their work and skills into different groups. In the later part, in the 10th Mandal of Rig Veda, the four categroies of caste were mentioned and they are called as Sudras and Ati-sudras. These people were and are the victim of untouchablity. Manu Smiriti says that the first part of a Brahimin’s name should denote something auspicious, that a Kshatriya’s name should be connected with power, and that the Vaisyas name should denote wealth. The first part of Sudra’s name should express something contemptible and the second part should denote service and humility because of Sudra’s low origin. Following are some of the postulates where the issue of untouchability has created problems for the enjoyment of human rights: Monopolization of State Power: According to it untouchability reduces certain people to inferior class, making them incapable to exercise the right to participate in government functioning. Thus, the stationary condition of human race is the rule, and progress is only an exception. Creation of Status-Governed Personality (Status Quo): Untouchability is an instrument to create status-governed personality of human being. For example: personality is determined by his/her platform of birth. So the rights and duties are determined through the birth-station. Status governed personality maintains status quo on


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human personality for reinforcing hierarchical positions. Legitimization of privileges: The religious belief of fatalism is created as the ground philosophy for maintaining untouchability. For example, in hierarchical superiority ostracization of one person is necessary for giving exclusive privilege of absolute power to the other. Creation of service provider: Untouchability helps to create a recognition basis of population, i.e. the belief of fatalism. They are service providers for the privileged class. This objective is colored by religious interpretation. Fatalism is taken as an instrument for internalization of perceived inferiority. They regarded it as norms and values For example: Shudras are defined as the untouchable-people because they are described as ‘born out of the foot of Brahma’. He/she considers himself/herself being born as Shudra as a consequence of punishment of his bad works of his previous life. Human Rights Violation of Untouchables:This discrimination means that access to housing, education, health services is limited, as are the opportunities in the job market. In addition, cases of violence, assault and abuse against Dalits are common and frequent. Caste discrimination has been receiving more international attention lately, which raises hope for a possible improvement in their situation. Legislation can provide an important legal tool to support the human rights of Dalits, but legislation is not the sole solution. As Moni Rani, a Dalit woman, said in an interview to the Guardian in autumn 2009: “If you are not considered to be human, human rights do not apply to you” and a more extensive approach is needed to lift Dalits out of their segregated and discriminated status in their own societies”. Human rights abuses against these people, known as Dalits, are legion. A random sampling of headlines in mainstream Indian newspapers tells their story: “Dalit boy beaten to death for plucking flowers”; “Dalit tortured by cops for three days”;

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“Dalit ‘witch’ paraded naked in Bihar”; “Dalit killed in lock-up at Kurnool”; “7 Dalits burnt alive in caste clash”; “5 Dalits lynched in Haryana”; “Dalit woman gang-raped, paraded naked”; “Police egged on mob to lynch Dalits’’. Nearly 90 percent of all the poor Indians and 95 percent of all the illiterate Indians are Dalits, according to figures presented at the International Dalit Conference that took place May 16 to 18 (2003) in Vancouver, Canada. Statistics compiled by India’s National Crime Records Bureau indicate that in the year 2000, the last year for which figures are available, 25,455 crimes were committed against Dalits. Every hour two Dalits are assaulted; every day three Dalit women are raped, two Dalits are murdered, and two Dalit homes are torched. Despite the fact that untouchability was officially banned when India adopted its Constitution in 1950, discrimination against Dalits remained so pervasive that in 1989 the government passed a legislation known as The Prevention of Atrocities Act. The act specifically made it illegal to parade people naked through the streets, force them to eat feces, take away their land, foul their water, interfere with their right to vote, and burn down their homes. Since then, unfortunately, violence against them has escalated, largely as a result of the emergence of grassroot human rights movements among Dalits to demand their rights and resist the dictates of untouchability and the so called superior class takes revenge through violence. Conclusion:Some of the histrocial landmarks which were exceptions to the practise of unouchables were for example, in the Islamic society where there was no institution called as Slavery and no species of slavery were found. Even the enslaved had the right to freedom, like the slave of Sultan Mahmmud became the first Sultan of Delhi and even a slave girl Razia became the Sultan of India. According to religious provisions Shudras were not eligible for the kingship. On the contrary Manu, the Hindu law-giver prescribed that the Brahmans must not live in a country where a


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Shudra becomes a ruler. The Brahman devatas enjoyed divine prerogative to rule over the 97% of the society. They were microscopic in number and composed of not more than 3% in population. The philosophy of inequality in getting better and greater opportunities became the essence of Hindu Devatas. Bibliogrpahy: 1)http://humanrightshouse.org/Articles/14735.htm l;2)http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/200 3/06/0602_030602_untouchables.html 3)http://sikhspectrum.com/2003/06/internationaldalit-conference-vancouver-declaration/ 4) Dr. S.N. Dhyani, Fundamentals of Jurisprudence, Central Law Agency Allahabad reprint 2007 Pg.260 5http://www.ncdhr.org.in/ncdhr/general-info-misc -pages/wadwiu 6) Babu Gogineni, “Untouchability in India- An Overview” published by Hema, Rationalist Humanist Publications, 2006 pg-71 7) Narayan Sharma, Asst. Professor. Handouts on Casteism Untouchability Marginalization and Legal System, LL.M (2008) Kathmandu School of Law, Bhaktapur. 8) Swapan Kumar Biswas, “ Gods,False-Gods And the Untouchables” published by Smt Maya Devi on the Behalf of Dalitbahaujan Intellectuals Forum of India,1999, pg-55 9) http://www.iep.utm.edu/roy_mn/ 10) Dr. Yubaraj Sangroula, Teachning Material on ‘Comparative Study III Part, LL.M Level, Kathmandu School of Law, Dadhikot, Bhaktapur. References: 1) http://www.iep.utm.edu/roy_mn/ 2) Dr. Yubaraj Sangroula, Teachning Material on 'Comparative Study III Part, LL.M Level, Kathmandu School of Law, Dadhikot, Bhaktapur. 3) Ibid; 4) The term 'Dalit' originates from a Sanskrit word 'dal', which means 'to split, crack and open'. 'Dalit means according to Sanskrit Scripture, "things or persons who are cut, split, broken or torn 33

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asunder, scattered or crushed and destroyed."4 Though there is no unanimous meaning of the word 'Dalit' somebody says a person living in a swamp is called Dalit, some argue, ‘a person who has been forced to live in oppression and hard work is Dalit’. 'Dalit' refers to a group of people who are religiously, culturally, socially and economically oppressed, who could belong to different language and ethnic groups. In Nepal and India untouchable people are segregated into different castes on the basis of their inhabitant occupation. Race is a different thing. It is similar to those people who are also discarded from the society due to occupation, colour, appearances etc. 5) Narayan Sharma, Asst. professor. Handouts on Casteism Untouchability Marginalization and Legal System, LL.M (2008) Kathmandu School of Law, Bhaktapur. 6) Swapan Kumar Biswas, “ Gods,False-Gods And the Untouchables” published by Smt Maya Devi on the Behalf of Dalitbahaujan Intellectuals Forum of India,1999, pg-55 7) The practice of untouchability has continued and Dalits continue to live outside villages, excommunicated from society. They are denied entry into temples, they are not allowed to share community wells, they are forced to drink water from separate glasses in some of the rurals cafes, and they are frequently attacked or abused if any sign of defiance is shown. When they cross an upper caste house they routinely alight from their bicycles and push the bicycle rather than ride it. When walking in front of the powerful upper caste man’s house, they take off their footwear till they cross the exclusion zone. Number of inhuman activites were and are frequenlty made to the untouchables. Even the punsihments for the criminal activities were different to the untouchables and they were harsher. These are some of the examples where the Dalits are treated as second class citizens in their country.


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8) Yubraj Sangroula , “Concepts and Evolution of Human Rights: Nepalese Perspective” published by Kathmandu School of Law, 2005 A.D. pg-73 9) These are some of the examples where the Dalits are treated as second class citizens in their country. Such as, Rwanda: Twa community (at bottom of social hierarchy with no legal protections from discrimination and no representation in positions of power/authority) Senegal: Neeno & Nyamakalaw communities (largely blacksmiths and leatherworkers, they are considered impure and face explicit segregation and exclusion) Somalia: Midgan community (minority outcaste group facing violence, refusal of rights, and possessing no legal protections) Sri Lanka: Rodi/Rodiya & Pallar/Paraiyar communities (these groups face discrimination in employment, practices of social distance, and denial of access to resources. 10)http://www.ncdhr.org.in/ncdhr/general-info-mi sc-pages/wadwiu 11) Babu Gogineni , “ Untouchability in India- An

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Overview” published by Hema, Rationalist Humanist Publications, 2006 pg-71 12)Dr.S.N.Dhyani,Fundamentals of Jurisprudence, Central Law Agency Allahabad reprint 2007 Pg.260; 13) Ibid; 14) ibid; 15)http://humanrightshouse.org/Articles/14735.ht ml; 16)http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/200 3/06/0602_030602_untouchables.html 17)http://sikhspectrum.com/2003/06/international -dalit-conference-vancouver-declaration/ 18) No one believes these numbers are anywhere close to the reality of crimes committed against Dalits. Because the police, village councils, and government officials often support the caste system, which is based on the religious teachings of Hinduism, many crimes go unreported due to fear of reprisal, intimidation by police, inability to pay bribes demanded by police, or simply the knowledge that the police will do nothing."There have been large-scale abuses by the police, acting


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in collusion with upper castes, including raids, beatings in custody, failure to charge offenders or investigate reported crimes.

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but also to introduce the ‘complete Prithwindra Mukherjee’ to all those readers who primarily know him as an erudite historian. ‘In Quest of the Cosmic Soul’ comprises of 463 pages and is available at a price of Rs. 595 (Five Hundred and Ninety Five) only. —New sent by Anurag Banerjee, Founder, Overman Foundation

Book Review Section: I

In Quest of the Cosmic Soul

II

The Progressive War on Science: Kenneth W. Krause

March 2013 Overman Foundation Onhas29published its new book ‘In Quest of the Cosmic Soul’ authored by Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee, eminent historian, researcher, musicologist who is the recipient of the prestigious ‘Sri Aurobindo Puraskar’ and *Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres* (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters). This anthology is a selection of Dr. Prithwindra’s writings written between 1955 and 2012, thus, covering a span of almost six decades. It includes along with several of his articles written on a varied range of subjects—biographies (written under the pseudonym of BobClive for Wikipedia), short stories, reviews, translations and a drama penned by him. Some major attractions of this volume are his unpublished articles on Anilbaran Roy (1890-1974), the erstwhile member of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Swami Vivekananda (written on the occasion of his 150th Birth Anniversary) and music (*Towards a New Tonal Music*) as well as his reminiscences of Pandit Ravi Shankar (1920-2012), the great sitar maestro, who passed away very recently. Through this volume an attempt has been made not only to reintroduce the reader to the multifaceted genius of Dr. Prithwindra 36

[In eSkeptic, Kenneth W. Krause reviews Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left, by Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell (NY: Public Affairs, 2012 ISBN-13: 978-1-61039-164-1). Kenneth W. Krause is a contributing editor and “Science Watch” columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer.]

settle this thing once and for Let’s all—right here, right now. Who are more anti-scientific—Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or progressives? Conventional wisdom would have us believe—or at least so says science writer Chris Mooney—that Republicans have waged an unparalleled and all-out war on science. Indeed, certain big business interests continue to


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see basic climate science as an entirely too inconvenient truth. And, yes, some religious leaders will likely always deny the facts of human evolution, abortion, homosexuality, and stem cell procurement and therapeutic cloning. Responsible journalists have documented and exposed these affronts to reason quite thoroughly with appropriate vigor. But are progressives really so different? Not according to Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell. In Science Left Behind, the authors contend that American media have long bestowed a “free pass” on the political Left (primarily progressives), who are just as likely to “misinterpret, misrepresent, and abuse” science to advance their ideological agendas. In fact, the authors say, progressives are currently waging an “undeclared war on scientific excellence itself.” They accuse progressives of propagating a number of socially destructive myths, among them the assumptions that everything “natural” is good and everything “unnatural” is bad. Accordingly, homeopathy is just as good as or better than traditional medicine, vaccines actually harm children, and nuclear energy promises unprecedented sickness and loss of life. And despite studies showing conventional crops to be equally nutritional and both personally and environmentally safe (never mind vastly less expensive), “organic” foods—whatever that means in a shamefully unregulated industry—are somehow superior products. Ditto for raw, unpasteurized dairy products and juices left untreated for foodborne illnesses. Meanwhile, genetically modified foods are decried as both personal and environmental menaces. Never mind that years of testing has yielded no evidence of risk. Forget about the potential of drought-resistant wheat and wilt-resistant bananas to feed starving Africans. And, please, don’t be fooled by researchers’ allegedly noble intentions to use GMOs to combat disease, reduce the use of pesticides, increase agricultural efficiency, and

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feed starving millions who would otherwise go hungry. Ideologues also continue to berate scientists for considering cultured, or in vitro meat. Technophobic and anti-corporate, say Berezow and Campbell, progressives claim that laboratory amino acid production will always be more expensive and resource intensive than the obviously foul and unsophisticated system we use on farms today. They have even threatened legal action and years of red tape to discourage the research itself. But the facts of “slow-grown” meat are compelling, to say the least. Gorging themselves on 40 percent of the planet’s cereal grain, livestock also use and despoil about 30 percent of the earth’s surface, 70 percent of its arable land, and eight percent of its water supply. The world’s 1.5 billion livestock are responsible for between 15 and 24 percent of all anthropogenic greenhouse gasses, and beef ranching accounts for 80 percent of Amazon deforestation. Cattle dump 64 million tons of sewage in the United States alone, and pigs, of course, are no less prolific. The antibiotics we use on farm animals contribute mightily to the emergence of multi-drug resistant strains of bacteria. And what are the most common causes of food-born diseases in the U.S., EU, and Canada? That’s right—contaminated meats and animal products. In rather stark contrast, meat grown in culture doesn’t poop, burp, fart, eat, overgraze, drink, bleed, or scream in agony—and it’s a great deal less likely to poison or infect us. Unsurprisingly, progressives have corrupted the social sciences too, perhaps to the point of permanent reputational taint among both the general public and the scientific community. Recall, for example, the oppressive and unscholarly manner in which Harvard president Lawrence Summers was vilified in 2005 for merely suggesting that, one, men and women might have distinguishable natural abilities related to math and science, and, two, that personal preference rather


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than discrimination might account for female “underrepresentation” in high-end STEM careers. “Summers learned the hard way,” the authors say, “that the feel-good fallacies of progressive thought are stronger than the values of free inquiry and the primacy of the scientific method.” Indeed, where was the intellectual debate before Summers’ resignation in 2006? Is it really so improbable that different genders evolved or learned different talents? Or is it more likely, perhaps, that academics have been bullied into the “gender equality” camp with threats of being branded as sexist? Berezow and Campbell refer to a “mountain of scientific data” that refutes the unlikely notion of biological gender equality. First, controlling for body size, men’s brains are 100 grams heavier than women’s brains, which results in a 3.6-point intelligence difference. Second, although women have more white matter, men possess more gray matter, which is related to information processing. The jury is still out on the issue of aptitude, the authors admit, but progressives seem to want to “cut science out” of the deliberations altogether. And the problem appears to reemerge when the question centers more specifically on careers in science. Though progressives continue to “blame sexist men or an oppressive society” for female “underrepresentation” in the high-end STEM fields, say the authors, it has become “increasingly clear” that biology strongly influences our personal preferences. Cornell University researchers Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams recently published a hard-hitting and no doubt divisive paper addressing this very issue. After reviewing 20 years of data, Ceci and Williams—married with three daughters of their own—decided that the evidence of discrimination against women in math-intensive fields is “aberrant, of small magnitude” and “superseded by larger, more sophisticated analyses showing no bias, or occasionally, bias in favor of women.” In agreement with their previous analyses, Ceci and

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Williams surmised instead that the gender gap results primarily from women’s career preferences and fertility and lifestyle choices. In other words, adolescent girls tend to gravitate toward careers focusing on people as opposed to things, and female Ph.D.s interested in childrearing are less likely to apply for or maintain tenure track positions. Incidentally, as a secondary explanation, the duo pointed to evidence for upper tail disparities in cognitive ability. Richard Lippa, a psychologist at California State University, Fullerton, has recently observed that “[c]ontemporary gender researchers, particularly those who adopt social constructionist and feminist ideologies, often reject the notion that biologic factors directly cause gender differences.” Feminist beliefs are so contrary to mainstream biology, Berezow and Campbell concur, “it is fair to compare their anti-science rhetoric to that of evolution-denying creationists.” So let’s return to our question—who are more anti-science, conservatives or progressives? Frankly, Berezow and Campbell go too far in their criticisms and provide too little evidence for their claim that all Lefties are “social authoritarians” bent on an everlasting “culture war.” The fact is that all ideologues are impediments to science, whether libertarians, religious zealots, and free-market fundamentalists on the one hand, or environmentalists, feminists, and social engineers on the other. Science—indeed, truth generally—is served mostly by those who conceive of themselves as individuals first and group members second (if at all). But seldom if ever are its ends advanced by committed disciples to any idea or cause. The authors are entirely correct, however, in illuminating a salient distinction between politics and science. The former consists of “gotcha” moments and scoring points against the other team. The latter is about proceeding openly and vigorously wherever the data lead, and allowing others the same courtesy.


THE RADICAL HUMANIST

MAY

Humanist News Section:

Convention Report - 8th April Concerned Citizens Convention: Outcry against self-centered People’s Govt. Peaceful breach of law against the statutes, if called for The bill of The Gujarat Lokayukta Ayog Bill-2013, the bill for Amendments in the Gujarat University (Amendment) and the bill on Gujarat Irrigation and Drainage Bill-2013 (which have now become Acts), reflect unilaterally arbitrary, anti-people, autocratic mentality of the Govt. which are indeed distressing the pro-democratic citizens. To discuss and deliberate on this issue, a Convention of the concerned citizens was held 8th April, under the chairmanship of Chunibhai Vidhya, at Menhdi Navaz Jang Hall at Ahmedabad. About 200 representatives from different districts of Gujarat had attended the same. This Convention was addressed by the leaders of various NGOs, intellectuals, farmers’ leaders, renowned lawyers and leaders of different political parties. While addressing the Convention, former Chief Minister Shri Keshubhai Patel lambasted that in the Legislative Assembly, falsehood or gossip cannot be tolerated and if used, same is removed from the record. But in to-day’s meeting, I want to clearly state that the Government makes only and merely false promises in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly. The Chief Minister frequently finds fault with the Central Government regarding the Narmada Project but the fact is that by failing to make available drinking water from the Naramada Project, this C. M. is cheating the people. In fact, the gates of Narmada Dam will be erected as per the instructions of the Narmada Authority Tribunal which is functioning under the supervision of the Supreme Court. Even then, if the C. M. is harboring a feeling of injustice then he should make the representation before the Supreme Court. In the Irrigation

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Bill, position of a farmer has been reduced or degenerated as a thief. Renowned Educationist Rohit Shukla told that teachers have been reduced to the position of canvassers or campaigners of Government’s schemes and as organizers of fairs and events aimed at praising or admiring the Government. Because of this, the standard or quality of education has degenerated and to hide or camouflage this, is staging governmental dramas in the names of Praveshotsava or Gunotsava. Presently, in many of the Universities, Vice Chancellors are not necessarily from among the educationists but are the people suited and puppets of the Government. With the commercialization of the education, it has gone from bad to worse. Former Chief Minister, Suresh Mehta told that on the strength of majority, unconstitutional bills are enacted which are anti-people and are forcibly passed in the legislative assembly. The present Government is not pro-people or people oriented but merely and only self-centered. In the matter of appointment of Justice Mehta as the Lok-Ayukta, Government is throwing hurdles by wasting people’s money and frittering away public fund by filing wrong petitions up to the Supreme Court. Congress leader, Siddharth Patel told that for want of planning, majority number of dams in Gujarat have become dry and empty. The dams going dry or empty even after good rainfall during last 11 years speaks volumes and reveals the mismanagement and corruption in the Government. Sujalam, Sufalam and check dams had become means of corruption rather than means or measures of water conservation or storage. The gates of Narmada Dam have nothing to do with the availability of drinking water. It will merely result in 15 % more availability of power or energy to Gujarat. The fact is that works up to 80 % of the Narmada canals are incomplete. The bad smell of English style of functioning has been done away


THE RADICAL HUMANIST

MAY 2013

In the convention, following programmes were unanimously chalked out. (1) To organize meetings on the above subject in the districts of Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat and Narmada; (2) To spread and disseminate legal information or awareness, camps of especially the farming community be organized; (3) To bring out easily understandable pamphlets, (4) to organize people’s awareness programmes and if found necessary to politely and peacefully launch breach-of-law campaigns, and (5) Campaign committees under the chairmanship of Chunibhai Vaidhya were formed in which are included representatives of Gujarat Sarvodaya Mandal, Paryavaran Mitra, Lok Andolan, Gujarat, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Gujarat Lok Samiti, All India ‘Save Education’ Committee and Opposition parties of Gujarat. Shri Gautam Thaker will be the convener of this campaign or protest Committee. At the outset, Mahesh Pandya had delivered Key Note address to explain the purpose and need for organizing the convention and Rajani Dave had expressed vote of thanks. Entire compeering of the Convention was ably handled by Gautam Thaker. [Rajani Dave, President, GujaratSarvodaya Mandal (Gujarat), Gautam Thaker, General Secretary, PUCL (Gujarat), M-09825382556, Mahesh Pandya, Editor, Paryavaran Mitra, M-09714839280, 6-7, Rangoli Complex, Opp.

with but now the label or impression of Hitler’s dictatorship has been left behind. Former Finance Minister, Sanat Mehta told that despite availability of water, Gujarat is thirsty to-day. Former, M.L.A., Kanubhai Kalsariya told that in to-day’s State, the advice advocated by Ravishankar Dada to come clean by sacrifice and self-sufferings has been forgotten or given a go-bye. Senior journalist, Prakash N. Shah added that to-day’s convention assumes special importance because; all the parties except B.J.P. have remained present to share their interests and concerns in the people’s problems. The veteran Gandhian and Chairman of the Convention, Shri Chunibhai Vaidhya added that there is autocracy or orthodoxy rule in Gujarat. Let the elected MLAs and MPs declare in writing as to who are the owners of the natural resources? Whether the Government or the people? While recollecting the truthful salt protect (Dandi March), he advocated to make use of Gandhiji’s peaceful and polite battle of breach of law to protest against the irrigation bill. In this Convention, Communist Party leader Shri Arun Mehta, Shri Dwarikanath Rath, Shri Ramsagarsinh Parihar, Kishor Desai of Aam Aadami Party, representatives of NCP, Shri Vinubhai Gandhi of Bhavnagar, Vinubhai Amin of Dahegam, and farmers’ leader Jayesh Patel had participated in the discussions.

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THE RADICAL HUMANIST

MAY

2013

Mr. Gautam Thakar (Veteran Radical Humanist) being felicitated and delivering his Valedictory Address on ‘Relevance of Radical Humanism’. Adv. B.D. Sharma (President IRI) chairing and summing up the session. Adv. N.D. Pancholi (Sec. IRI) & Dr. Rekha Saraswat (Editor, The Radical Humanist) on behalf of the Seminar Organising Committee (which also included Adv. B.D. Sharma & Adv. Narottam Vyas) thanking the guests & members of IRI/IRHA for their active participation & cooperation.


RNI No. 43049/85 Post Office Regd. No. Meerut-146-2012-2014 To be posted on 10th. of every month at H.P.O. Meerut Cantt. Last but not the least some scenes of the seminar venues at India International Centre, New Delhi on 16.4.13 & 17..4.13 The banners welcoming the participants, the daises in both the halls & mementoes waiting for the guests and Mr. Pramod Mishra ready with the books and humanist literature authored by and on M.N. Roy and by other humanists.

Published and printed by Mr. N.D. Pancholi on behalf of Indian Renaissance Institute at S-1 Plot 617 Shalimar Garden Extension I, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad-201005 Printed by Nageen Prakashan Pvt. Ltd., W. K. Road, Meerut, 250002 Editor-Dr. Rekha Saraswat, C-8, Defence Colony, Meerut, 250001

MAY 2013 RH  

Editor: Rekha Saraswat Monthly journal Published by: Indian Renaissance Institute (IRI), New Delhi

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