Anti-BJP Fight Goes from Telangana to Bharat; Naughty Words from the Mouth of the Oracle: Why Now?
Garba becomes flashpoint, Sony-Zee merger to challenge Star Disney, dollar billionaires hold 1/4 of GDP, TRS going pan-Indian, TN ‘caste wall’ down, Durga Puja as crucible of ephemeral art and craft
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Snapshot of the day
October 5, 2022
The police in Kheda, Gujarat, publicly flogged some men for allegedly throwing stones at some participants of a Garba event on Monday. On Monday night in Undhela village, at least six people were injured during Navratri celebrations. The police detained nine persons and yesterday, brought them before the other villagers. The flogging videos travelled widely. A commentator remarked that such things were a feature of General Zia’s administration. “Looks like India caught up with Pakistan finally.” In Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, the homes of some men accused of getting into a fight near a garba venue have been peremptorily demolished.
In his Vijayadashami address in Nagpur, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has called for population control and the empowerment of women. Women are banned from even the basic activity unit of the RSS ― the morning shakha drill. Needless to say Bhagwat’s dystopic demography does not survive a simple fact-check.
Meanwhile, in Kolkata:
The Opposition has lost the chair of the important Parliamentary committees of Home Affairs and IT. Brij Lal, a BJP MP who was UP DGP, will head the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, earlier headed by Abhishek Singhvi of the Congress. The IT panel will be headed by Shiv Sena’s Prataprao Jadhav in place of Shashi Tharoor. TMC, the third largest parliamentary group, has no chairperson. The Congress lost the chair of External Affairs and Finance after the last general elections.
The Shiv Sena’s factions have organised rival Dussehra shows of strength today in Mumbai ― Uddhav Thackeray at Shivaji Park and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at the Bandra-Kurla Complex, not far from the Thackeray residence ‘Matoshree’. It’s yet another opportunity to show who’s the real sainik.
Ejaz Khan (29) was lynched by villagers of Neemgaon and Patratoli in Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh over suspicion of “goat theft”. Jashpur shares a border with Jharkhand. The bill against mob lynching passed by the Jharkhand Assembly in December last year is awaiting the President’s consent.
Makepeace Sitlhou’s investigation in The Baffler on Assam and the question of citizenship establishes that in recent years, the state’s institutions have been systematically used to target and disenfranchise Bengali Muslims, who have been reduced to “strangers in their own land”.
Six years after a seven-foot ‘caste wall’ was built near a Dalit settlement in Thokkamur village in Tamil Nadu’s Thiruvallur district, the barrier was finally demolished on the morning of October 3. District Collector Alby John said, “The wall stood between the Dalit settlement and the adheenam land belonging to the temple across the road from the settlement. Some residents alleged that the wall was raised in 2016 for flood control, but in the past few weeks, people from the settlement made representations to the tahsildar to bring it down because it was discriminatory.” The News Minute traces the history of Tamil Nadu’s ‘caste walls’, built to keep part of the community out of public spaces and places of worship.
PUCL Delhi has requested the Police Commissioner and DG Prisons Delhi to consider the request of the family of Altaf Ahmad Shah, a Kashmir Hurriyat leader in jail since 2017, to meet him, as his condition is very serious. His daughter Ruwa Shah had tweeted that her father has been diagnosed with renal cancer that had metastasized and spread even to his bones, necessitating immediate medical attention.
Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement yesterday in Jammu and Kashmir about reservation for Paharis means many upper caste persons will be designated as Scheduled Tribes and earn benefits intended for marginalised sections. The Paharis of J&K are a linguistic group that includes both Muslims and Hindus. Many Hindu Paharis are Brahmins or Rajputs. Muslim Paharis include the high-ranking Syeds and the descendants of upper caste Hindu converts. The Gujjars of J&K are all Muslim. Angry Gujjars and Bakerwals, who already have ST status, have protested the move.
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Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait yesterday trashed the UP government’s move to ban the use of tractor trolleys as public transport, following a fatal accident in Kanpur. Trolleys have been the trademark transport of farm protesters, and the newspaper recording their movement in Delhi was called Trolley Times. Tikait asked: “Are trains and other modes of conveyance banned after accidents? The government is disallowing the use of tractor trolleys for conveyance as part of a well-planned conspiracy so that tractors are not used in farmers’ agitations.” The BKU leader was on his way to Uttarakhand after observing the first anniversary of the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri.
Economist Kaushik Basu on why India can’t create jobs: he reckons that since the biggest driver of an economy is the investment rate, its sharp fall from 39.3% in 2009 to 30.7% in 2019 (government data) is a serious factor. In the five years before Covid-19, domestic investments averaged less than 29% of GDP. This is almost five percentage points below the average for 10 years of the UPA, writes Salman Soz. Feeble rural demand has affected sales of fast-moving consumer goods in September as compared to August, which saw heavy stocking ahead of the festival season, according to retail intelligence platform Bizom. Sales in rural India fell 14.3% while urban sales grew 1.1% in September, as compared to the previous month.
For many, the movement to save Aarey in Mumbai is about protecting the world’s last forest within a megacity. For its Adivasi residents, it is a struggle to protect their very identity, reports Nolina Minj.
The SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for 2022 will be awarded to China-born Yunqing Tang, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. The award, instituted by the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) in 2005 with a cash prize of $10,000, is presented annually to individuals aged 32 and below, who made outstanding contributions in the field of mathematics, broadly influenced by the genius Srinivasa Ramanujan.
In India, academic unfreedom has been a running theme for years. The Wire has six tables tracking the loss of freedoms in India’s universities.
France’s Alain Aspect, who won the Nobel Physics Prize on Tuesday with John Clauser of the US and Austria’s Anton Zeilinger, urged the scientific community to stand against rising nationalism. “It’s important that scientists keep their international community at a time when the world is not so nice, and where nationalism is taking over in many countries,” Aspect said in a phone interview with the Nobel Foundation, published on its website. Here’s a guide to the path-breaking work of the three physicists.
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