The death of an Engineer (Part I)

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Engineering was once a revered title, that only a handful of people occupied. But thanks to boom of self financing engineering colleges, engineering has become a common course, that anyone could easily attain a degree in. the number of engineering graduates in our state has shot up so much that, it has become almost an obvious choice of any student looking for a graduate degree. The mass production of graduates by the self financing colleges have not only flooded the job market with a vast population of skill-less engineers, but also deeply undermined the profession’s ethics and sanctity. public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran recently called for the abolition of all self-financing colleges in the State, as they fail to make any positive contributions to society.

Securing admission to engineering colleges is in fact a difficult task, or was, a difficult task, until the self financing managements made an entry into the field. Self financing colleges provide an alternate and easy route to secure an engineering degree. Instead of preparing for months, struggling with coaching, fighting to secure high ranks in the engineering exam (KEAM), self financing colleges provide the opportunity for everyone to attain a degree, provided they simply qualify the exam, and have enough money to be dished out , which is comparatively a much easier task. Even candidates with scarce understanding of math and science, by paying higher fees, wind up with a degree and call themselves as “engineers”.

But once a student secures admission in a self financing college, soon all the promises starts to fade away. They find themselves bounded in a world of restrictions. Theses self financed colleges have become no more than an extension of school life. All the preconceptions of a college life filled with color and vibrance are fast washed away and replaced by monochrome monotonous guidelines. The life of a student in a government college and that in a self financed college is a stark contrast.

Colleges are meant to be a nurturing field. Not just an institution that produces a degree holder, but one that creates socially responsible individuals, with free thinking and intellectual capabilities, who are self sufficient in handling the difficulties of life and can bring about a change in the society. But the growth of self financing managements has successfully ended the pipe dream.

The students are regulated in every aspect. Beginning from the compulsory wearing of uniform to stemming all forms of free thinking or protests. They are forcefully confined to their classrooms, exorbitantly fined for “wrong doings”, and the right and wrong are solely decide by the management. Forgetting to wear an id card or sporting a beard are apparently grave mistakes on which the students are fined. There have been several instants of gross arrogance and unethical conduct of these management authorities. The recent death of an engineering student, Jishnu, was one of the foremost incidents.

The students find themselves trapped in a matrix of regulations and are choked in the pressure to perform. The managements have always found one way or another to stem all sorts of protests from the students. Creativity and free thinking are efficiently cut out from the curriculum. These managements function on the sole agenda of mass producing engineering graduates and maximizing their profits in the process. Many of the management boast about 100% placement in their colleges, but the truth behind this till date remains shrouded. Colleges have become more of factories that churn out a set number of graduates every year to the IT industries.

Apart from being an easy route for the richer sections to secure an engineering degree, the self finance managements have succeeded in destroying all sorts of free thinking and creativity among generations of talented students. Not only the world has lost a large number of talented artists and creative geniuses but also the engineering proffession has lost its sacred prestige.

 

Will be continued with more stories about the harsh rulings of the self finance managements…

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Paradise Burninig

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Right since independence, Kashmir has been the burning topic on the hot tables between India and Pakistan. Tracking and countering Pakistan’s interests has been a top priority task for the Indian army and the intelligence officials. Three wars and numerous terror strikes later, the controversy still burns. All grades of politicians, analysts, security officials, all seem to press on the idea that the current troubles in the valley and the widespread protests are solely due to Pakistan’s intervention and the mismanagement of the situation by Indian officials. But on a deeper note, taking into account the ground realities, it is clearly visible that the violence instigated is not the handiwork of foreign militants, but the slow evolution of people’s anger and discontent.

Passing through more than 100 days of violence and protests, spelled with widespread curfew and the death and injuring of thousands, including security officials, all the evidence on the streets point at one common fact. All through the path, no evidence of the LeT or the JeM where found, thought the Hisbul Mujahideens were commonly involved. With no evidence of foreign interventions and terrorists, who is propelling the anger and violence? This brings to light the vast population of “unattached militants”. The majority involved in protests are the common people of the valley, comprising all sections of society, from the highly educated to the unemployed and even children and teenagers.

In a pursuit for the Promised Land, both sides seem to have lost vision of what the common people of the valley desire. The streets are filled with cries for AZAADI. This freedom, is not from India or Pakistan, but from both. Popular voice of the people demand the right to a separate state and separate citizenship. The cry for their freedom to live. The Indian army has come to be perceived as an occupying force. People are fed up with the frequent curfews, break-ins, raids, constant disappearance of their loved ones, the beatings, torture and to top it off, the indiscriminate use of pellet guns for crowd control.

The uprising rocking the valley is the expression of seething anger that has been built up over the years. Ever since death of Burhan Wani, Kashmir has been in a state of complete shutdown. Only public services such as health care and public distribution seem to be functioning properly. The shutdown has gained the popular approval. The people in fact are supporting the state of numbness. Several protests have taken place around the valley at the time of shutdown. People even have a protest calendar that gives information about where, when and how the next protest is to occur.

Instead of understanding or engaging with the angers youth and the commons of the valley, the state has resorted to using force to ensure a hard and fast clamp down on the protests. Anti-Indian protests are banned across the country, no matter how peaceful they are. Armed with AFSPA and the draconian Public Safety Act, the security forces are engaged in whipping down any signs of protests. But these measures have only strengthened the public anger and are becoming the source of more and more rioting.

The youth of the valley are rising with seething anger and discontent towards the authorities that have snatched away their freedom to live. Today’s youth were born and brought up in an era where violence was a common thing in Kashmir. Even as kids, their houses where constantly raided, many of their loved ones arrested and tortured. The constant disappearances, they grew up seeing their mothers scurrying behind shadows, afraid of their families. The violence they witnessed in their adolescence has transcended to become hatred to the authorities, especially the Indian forces.

The battle for Kashmir is fast turning into a battle for the minds of kashmiri youth. The Indian security forces have resorted to using force to calm the appraisal. But using the same force, that was once used to neutralize lashkar and hisbul, on 10 year old children, has only fueled the flame. Indian forces may have won the war agains foreign militants and terror outfits in the valley, but are grappling with a graver problem; the complete alienation of the kashmiri youth. The possibility of an entire generation turning away from the motherland, itself a more frightening prospect than the protests and violence.

Treating the current unrest in the valley as a simple extension of the past, is a gross understatement of the looming threat.

Reservation system

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Reservation system was embedded in India’s constitution to ensure fair representation of all caste sections in positions of power. At the time of independence, when the socially oppressed classes where just beginning their ascent up the deep spiral of discrimination and untouchability, that had bound them for decades, reservation was indeed a boosting force to ensure better lives for them. But over the past 70 years, economic and social situations have changed and it’s time to do away with current reservation system and develop a better one that suits the economic and institutional conditions of the new era.

Reservation itself is a pre independence policy, kick started by the Government of a India Act (19350, which created the list of scheduled casts and scheduled tribes. The policy was outcome of the Poona pact between Gandhi and Dr Ambedkar, where in Ambedkar withdrew the claim to a separate electorate for untouchables, in return for the promise of guaranteed representation in legislature. Also this was followed up by a promise from Gandhi and the congress, that they would do every measure possible to end untouchability and discrimination. Thus the system of reservation was born out of a pact made on political grounds to ensure fair representation of untouchables in the electoral system and to subdue their cries for a separate electorate. 1935, was a long time ago, when the society was divided on the practices of untouchability and a vast population was denied access to even fundamental rights. The policy was acknowledgement of an era, when caste was a driving force, segregating society and denying equal opportunities to every individual. But our society has come a long way from the pits of a dark age, but even now, we are applying the same system of reservation based on caste in everyday life.

The caste based system of reservation was indeed a need in the time of its creation. In an age where education and occupation was a hierarchical monopoly, reservation was a weapon in the hands of the oppressed to secure their rights. But in the modern India, it’s not caste that creates barriers in a pursuit for a good life, but money. Education is no longer restricted to anysingle caste, jobs are no longer a family hierarchical business. Everyone has the right to secure these facilities, there are no rules restricting certain section or castes. The only factor that decides an individual’s claim to better facilities is his/her financial circumstances. Any member of the SC, ST or OBC category is already empowered by laws to secure any level of education or job opportunities. They are no longer restricted on the basis of their cultural identity. The economical distribution of the society has undergone radical changes in the past decades. It’s no longer segregated on the basis of caste. Yet reservation system is based on caste alone.

How can a candidate coming from a financially poor background, but belonging to general category, in anyway be more empowered than a candidate belonging to reserved caste , but comparatively richer? The world has evolved from the practices of untouchability and discrimination; educational opportunities are distributed on the basis of money alone. Any individual with more money can secure a better education and better life than his counterpart having lesser money. It’s a common and logical fact. Yet our nation practices reservation based on caste, saying that it is a system to ensure equality.

The reservation system needs to radically revamped, changing its foundation from caste to financial resources. The societal landscape has undergone major changes, and the system needs to be consistently evolving to cope with the changes. Reservation is meant as a tool for the weaker sections of a society to stake claim to facilities that are easily accessible to others. But, in the current scenario, the weaker sections are the financially deprived masses that comprise all castes and religious divisions. The undertone of caste needs to be erased from the system and has to be modified to cater for the economically impoverished masses.

Reservation has , over the years amounted to a mere welfare program that hands out free passes and benefits to certain caste based beneficiaries, to compensate for historical wrongdoings of the society. When the practice of reservation started, the question was, should a person be denied his rights, just because he was born into a certain cast? But 80 years later, the question is, should a person receive benefits or have an easier route to success, just because of his caste?

True equality is the equality of opportunity, not the equality of outcome.

Sex Worker

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Sex worker : A person who negotiates and performs sexual services for remuneration. Some use this term to mean only prostitution, while others use the term to refer to those in the sex industry such as porn actors, bar girls, striptease dancers, performers in peep shows, live sex shows, etc. This is not the social or psychological characteristic of a class of women, but an income-generating activity or form of employment for women, men and trans* people.

– adapted from TARSHI’s manual for trainersBasics and Beyond:

 

The sex workers’ rights movement began in the 1970s in France with hundreds of sex workers, who were reported to have occupied five influential churches of the time, demanding an end to police harassment, reopening of hotels where they worked, and the scrapping of anti-pimping laws. With time, the movement has taken over the world, with Indian women too emerging from the veils of stigma to voice their rights.

 

Sex workers have been ostracized for a long time. Treated as a section of degenerates and physically and mentally harassed over the years. In our Indian society, where everyone is judged through a visage of false morality and cultural values, the sex workers have been at the receiving end of stigma, criminalization, violence and even citizenship denials repeatedly.

 

The biggest threat to their existence is the immoral traffic prevention act (ITPA),1956. This law doesn’t directly target sex workers , but the law results in their criminalization with prohibition of soliciting, brothel and street working and is repeatedly used to deny them any protection under law. Though the law, in theory was developed to prevent trafficking and child prostitution, the wide coverage of the unspecific terms have been used over the years to exploit adult women who engage in the trade as a means of income.

 

The provision of the law to target brothels empowers the authorities to crack down on their only place of residence. Most of the sex workers live under the roof of brothels, along with their family, which includes children and elderly. The law has been repeatedly used to evict them from their residence under the false pretext of ‘closing down brothels’ and many a times even their children are criminalized.

 

The law also gives authorities the power to enter and raid brothels as per their fancy. This provision is repeatedly misused to harass and exploit these women. Even though there is no law preventing sex working, the authorities have made it a practice to arrest and criminalize them even when there is no rule preventing them from working. Even if they are arrested or evicted, the law demands them to be properly rehabilitated with adequate medical provisions.  But in reality the rehabilitation centers amount to violent spaces with sparse sanitation, surrounded by harassment and often they are forcefully separated from their children.

 

Sex workers have been repeatedly targeted by the police and vigilante groups on a regular basis. They are prevented from access to proper healthcare facilities, forced to live in inhumane conditions, fighting poverty and discrimination, they are even bypassed by the government policy including acquiring citizenship. Even local schools target their children, repeatedly denying admission to schools and they are even thrown out of hospitals on question of their morality.

Sex workers are demanding not just repealing of the law that wrongfully criminalizes them and targets their livelihood; instead they are fighting to be recognized as a human being. Their demands amounting to meager residential and rehabilitation facilities, provisions for securing education for their children, access to proper health care facilities and an end to stigma and violence that is being unleashed upon them. Demands are also being raised to provide pension facilities for them, as old age ends their only means of income and to survive they are forced to make their children work. But no mother wants her daughter to be a sex worker. The viscous cycle needs to be ended, and for that the children are to be provided with basic education.

 

Our society has a rich tradition of violating, exploiting and harassing sex workers. She is a woman, no matter what she does for a living. The society need to learn to accept them as women working for a living. The lens of morality needs to be turned away. Most of them are single mothers, forced to sell their bodies to take care of their loved ones and to protect their children. Instead of isolating and criminalizing them, the society as a whole needs to work together to provide fundamental rights of life and help the future generations to escape a cycle of poverty that has kept them tied to the work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section 377

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The Indian constitution prides itself on being a secular, democratic republic, hat strives to ensure equality for every individual. Yet our judiciary and the archaic laws paint a dark and contrasting picture to the words inscribed on our beacon of light. The most controversial section 377 of our penal code is still being upheld by the highest functionaries of our legal system. A law that has been outdated by decades, still being used to target and harass sexual minorities.

Section 377 of the Indian penal code punishes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” with imprisonment for life. Framed in the 1860s by Victorian lawmakers, this is the dread voice of Michel Foucault’s “imperial prude”. But astonishingly, Section 377 remains a rather accurate expression of modern India’s perception of homosexuality. The IPC considers penetration “sufficient to constitute carnal intercourse”. This is, therefore, a law against sodomy, most frequently invoked by the police against male homosexuals in India — and often violently, for extortion and abuse. Lesbians fall through this net because women cannot sodomize each other. The judiciary has repeatedly held up the law sighting it as their moral responsibility in protecting the cultural values of the Indian society.

The provision of the law has been repeatedly misused by the law enforcement authorities to harass and mistreat homosexuals. Around 100 cases were registered from the capital alone in the past year. Bound by the law, that sentences punishment amounting to life imprisonment, the people crippled by the law are utterly helpless. They are ostracized by our so called morality and the Indian culture. They are restricted any reprieve by the law, constantly harassed for their natural inclinations and the law even prevents them from acquiring proper healthcare facilities.

Section 377 and 124A reflect how the colonial masters shaped the Indian criminal laws, completely inconsistent with the democratic constitution we pride ourselves to be. Section 377 is an embodiment of the colonial morality, drawn from Victorian England era, that was famous for the oppression and the repressions in matter related to sex. Upholding the laws even in the 21st century, projects the deep rooted sense of a false morality and ethics that rule over our society. When our nation is on a path laid out to become a super power, set out with digitalization and a booming economy, we are still hung-over on a cultural impetus set out centuries ago.

If a man and woman can fall in love, have sex and get married, have kids and live a beautiful life, why is it denied when it comes to homosexual? Why is homosexuality being treated as a crime? The legislature and judiciary has always maintained a safe distance when it comes to matters of sex and fundamental human rights. People are still fighting for reservation and religious minorities, but what about sexual minorities? Don’t they deserve equal rights as everyone else? Just because they were born different from the masses, doesn’t mean they are any less of a human.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court let slip an opportunity to bring a change in the society. Now the opportunity has risen again, with the law being put under reconsideration once again. Hopes have risen again, it’s time for the judiciary of India to brush past all the social and cultural taboos, and provide fundamental human rights to every individual, irrespective of their sexual preferences.

Homosexuality, lived out freely and fearlessly, places before the individual and society a real set of imperatives, challenges and opportunities: to put reason and humanity before fear, habit and prejudice; to test our unexamined assumptions on the basic elements of human life — the family, marriage, parenthood, independence, loneliness, fidelity, promiscuity. To confront these possibilities in an environment of ignorance, evasion and hostility, and in a condition of vulnerability and powerlessness, with no proper legal structure to protect them, would end up crushing our possibility of building a better society.

 

Marital Rape

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Atrocities against women have been on a tremendous rise in India over the past few years.  Eve teasing, harassment, molestation and rapes are being reported all over the nation on a daily basis. Every day, news is flooded with reports on such atrocities. Faced with lack of strict rules and a prompt mechanism to contain the situation, many history-sheeters still roam free on the streets. However there is one particular section of offence , that has been grossly overlooked and left free from any sort of prosecution of the offenders, the issue of ‘marital rape’.

What is marital rape? It occurs when a man imposes his wife into sexual intercourse, either by force or threat of force or without the consent of wife. Just as domestic violence is punishable by the law, so should be domestic sexual abuse. Rape is rape, it’s no different whether done by husband or a stranger. By the end of 20th century most of the developed nations had criminalized marital rape, but however India still hasn’t.

On the question being raised in the parliament, whether marital rape should be criminalized, The Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi repeated the government’s stand in a written reply in Parliament. She said, “The concept of marital rape as understood internationally cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs [and the] mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament.”  The excuse of poverty and an array of outdated social and religious customs have always been used to stall legal reforms in India. Is poverty or lack of education a justification for a husband to sexually abuse his wife? Even sati was once an acceptable and prevalent social and religious practice in India. But that doesn’t justify or empower a husband to abuse his wife.

The opposition to criminalizing marital rapes voices the opinion that it would ruin the sanctity of the institution of marriage. In India, over the decades marriage has been used as a sexual contract which gives man an implied consent for sex. It is being used as an ownership right over a woman’s body, her sexuality and her reproductive functioning. The myth of “wifely duties” must be put to an end, marital sex and any other sex has to be based on mutual consent and pleasure and not forced out of coercion.

 

The fact that our society is vastly shrouded in superstitions and myths, it is furthermore important to establish proper rules to ensure the safety of women. Every year hospitals across the country receive married women, who have been repeatedly abused, but the cases go unreported as marital rape, as per the Indian penal code, is still not an offence.

 

Our society that openly condemns sex outside of marriage, and treats it as a great offence has lead many men to get married for the sole pleasure of enjoying sex at their disposal. This puts a great number of women in the face of grave danger, as they are forced into sex and violence and that too without any voice to complaint or legal resource to seek refuge.

 

Saying that such a rule would be threat to marriage is equivalent to saying that sex is the only factor that holds together a marriage. It undermines the love and caring and advertises marriage as a mere means to have a physical relation with a woman, without being labeled taboo by the society.Or is it because the practice of abuse is so relevant in our country, that men are afraid to criminalize it?

Even when the political parties and ministers boasting about the GDP growth and India growing to become a superpower, vast sections of our population still lives in the dark ages. Majority of the society is still swayed by religious superstitions and outdated and even in some cases, inhumane practices such as witch hunt and human sacrifices. In such a situation it is imperative for the law makers to step in and at least ensure that the voice of the oppressed are heard out loud.

 

The refusal to criminalize marital rape, is a public acceptance that sexual advances and abuse against a women, as long as blanketed by marriage, will not only remain scot-free but also be accepted by the society and government. If women are to gain control of their lives, then they should have the right to say ‘NO’ to their husbands without being socially rejected for standing up to protect themselves.

 

 

Sensible Censoring

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pexels-photo-230986The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has time and again proved themselves to be the mere puppets of the ministry. This time they have done it again, turning down Ka Bodyscapes, directed by Jayan Cherian and also attacking Lipstick Under My Burkha.  This time the board is stating the reasons that the film glorifies homosexuality, nudity and hurts Hindu sentiments about vulgarity and obscenity, and the usual slogan of being a threat to the law and order.

Despite the glorified 100 years of Indian cinema, of which a major time share was controlled by the colonial rulers, it’s ironic how the ministry still calls the shots on who certifies and sensors the films. How is it that, the Information and Broadcasting ministry decide on what is acceptable to the masses? The Indian filmscape has over the years, progressed a lot, and after decades of mass-masala films and a profit oriented business, finally films are being made on a large scale that incite creative thinking and questioning of the world around us. And then the censor board steps in to save the day and cut every bit of film that might actually get the audience to have a brainstorm.

The censor board has been built on rules and notions that have been outdated by decades. It is imminent that the board has to be revamped to meet the audience of the current generation. The Cinematograph Act and Cinematograph Rules under which the CBFC functions date back to 1952 and 1983, respectively. A passage of a 1989 Supreme Court judgment that says in part: “The combination of act and speech, sight and sound… will have a strong impact on the minds of the viewers and can affect emotions. Therefore, it has… potential for evil… Censorship by prior restraint is, therefore, not only desirable but also necessary.’’

This approach has always been based on one sentiment, the government’s fear of the audience. This fear made sense, at the time of birth of the film industry in India. In an era, where the colonial masters where trying to subdue the masses and assert control over the nation, the power of cinema was a huge threat to authoritarian government. But even after India gained independence, the new Indian government too faced the same fears. The partition, emergency ruling and the consequent storms, the government indeed feared the power of motion films. But the fear and paranoia should have been dumped a long time ago. If the government fears that a free thinking society is a threat to their existence, then the government is to be blamed for their actions and not the film industry.

Themes such as sex, homosexuality, transgender, religion have always been a taboo subject in our society. The CBFC board members are going the extra mile to ensure that these topics remain a taboo. The most recent attack on ka bodyscpaes has proven again that the ministry is afraid of the creation of a free thinking society. The board has shrugged behind the reason of religious sentiments, but it’s clearly evident that the glorification of homosexuality is what troubles them. The bollywood and mainstream media has over the years untiringly struggled to heteronomize the human relationships. The board has taken law into their hands, as there are no proper legal strictures on the representation of homosexuality. All this points to cruise of cultural fascism and the fact that the rights of an individual of alternative sexual orientation can be snatched away so casually.

Another notable incident was the ban on airing of the documentary by BBC, ‘India’s Daughter’, which was an elaborate coverage on the Nirbhaya case that shook the whole nation. The documentary was banned on the grounds of law and order issues. The story focused on the minds f the criminals, the lawyers who appeared for them and targeted the patriarchal domination present in our society. And instead of promoting the cause to ensure further incidents are prevented, the board banned the documentary saying it would cause law and order issues.

It’s a fact, that the censor board has always been puppets of the government and only functioned in the interest of the government over years. It is imminent that the system of reviewing and certification needs a major revamp to accommodate the needs and views of a modern and more educated population , rather than function on the rules established in a bygone era. The government is answerable to the people and the fear of questioning is what ensures a corruption free functioning. It’s high time they looked beyond the narrow visions and their conservative boundaries and promote growth of sensible censorship.

Holy COW and the unholy LIES.

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pexels-photo-116174The blanket ban on the beef industry has thrown a vast section of our society into a burning turmoil. Its not just about the  intolerance showcased by the Hindutwa extremists or the violence that followed, but the beef ban has made a deep impact on the existing agrarian crisis , threatening the livelihood of more than 2.5 million people.

Narendra modi’s bizarre “rampant slaughter of cows” is far away from the truth. It has been concealed that the meat of buffaloes and unproductive cattle is used for consumption and export rather than cows. The cattle census has shown that over the years there has in reality, been an increase in the cow population and amounts to around 130 million in number. This paints a picture in complete contrast to that is being used to justify the beef ban

The hate campaign that was unleashed, further goes onto state that the Muslims deliberately consume beef to hurt Hindu sentiments. However, the National commission on cattle, set u by the Vajpayee government has to reluctantly admit that extreme poverty and customary practices were the reason a large section of the population consumed beef and imposing a beef ban would have a direct impact on the nutrition of the poor

Further, the Sangh pariwar went onto declare that cattle slaughter is rampant as there’s no rule to check it. But as per the legal provisions in India, except for some states in north east, al other states have some form of anti-cow slaughter rules established.

However, the major point that the supporters of beef ban seems to deliberately forget is the classification that exists in dividing cattle into productive and unproductive. Once a cow or bull passes a certain stage and does not produce milk or of be any use in agriculture, such cattle can be slaughtered, with the ‘fit for slaughter’ certificate provided by the authorities.

The beef ban will not only fuel communalism but its major impact will be that an already chocked agrarian industry will be pushed to suffocation. More than 2.5 million people are involved in cattle rearing. With the threats are being flown at them from all sides and the extreme violence against those who attempt in the trade, the livelihood of the farmers have taken a major hit.

A ban on slaughter will force the farmers to pay for the upkeep of unproductive cattle. For a family already struggling to make their ends meet, this will amount to an added burden on their meager income. According to the cattle census there’s already an amount of 50 lakh cattle abandoned by their owners

It’s not just the farmers who are impacted, but the thriving leather industry in India will take a major blow. With a deep fall in the availability of raw materials, some of the major hide industries are in the verge of closing down. With more than 8 lakh dalits engaged in the industry, most of them have ended up losing their only source of income.

However, even when lakhs of Indians are losing their livelihoods, the government has allowed for the import of cow or bull hide with zero percent duty. This, even when the government is spearing forward with their ‘Make in India’ slogan. How is shutting down the Indian workforce and importing leather form other nations exactly make in India?

 

The Beef Ban, has not only ignited a deep communal split, but also successfully ruined the livelihood of millions of farmers and workers in the leather industry. Even when the government is busy promoting themselves, as the fighters of the poor and bringer of good times, their policy points to the ever present communalism which has always been their driving energy. With violence unleashed upon the poor who try to live through the only income source they know, it again raises the question, is cows more important than the life of those who live amongst us. Also the increasing import of leather from Pakistan and other countries, are only Indian cows sacred?

While the Hindutwa forces ignoring the entire economic angle of the issue and pushing forward with the question, “if Pakistan can ban pork on religious grounds, why can’t we ban possession and consumption of beef in India?”. It may be a good thing for them to remember that India is a secular country and while you are fighting for a religious supremacy , millions of Indians are starving in extreme poverty.

The BJP Brain wash

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The 2002 Gujarat riots, till date remains one of the major incidents of communal riots in India. Leaving more than 2000 dead and may more injured and scarred for life, the riots shook the core of the nation and questioned the souls of every Indians. Yet how does, a political party so deeply involved in the riots and the leader still questioned on his authenticity of his actions, raise up to become a national phenomenon and capture the biggest election in the country.

The Uttar Pradesh elections presented an enigma that many are yet to comprehend. The magnitude of BJP victory in sheer terms of numbers questioned all the predictions and expectations. The elections presented a rare phenomenon, where one man raises up to become a national phenomenon, and it can be safely stated that Narendra Modi was the first and foremost cause of the massive landslide victory. His words development, nationalism, “Make in India”, permeated down to  the lowest stratas of society and these words acquired a larger than life meaning among the masses.

The BJP has always worn its communal badge and flaunted it with pride and challenged the very notion of secularism. But indeed it was a surprise when the Prime Minister of the nation insisted no to bat a single Muslim candidate in U.P, but it proved to be an excellent tactical approach in breaking the opposition’s stereotypes, that have ruled the Indian politics for generations.

Demonetization, which was a fuelling topic for the election debates, seemed to have worked out in favor of BJP. Demonetization was not just devaluation of currency, but also grew to be a major change in the political functioning. Narendra Modi played the strategy very efficiently. He succeeded in making demonetization speak out in a political language rather than economic absolutes. He successfully banked his actions on the notions of patriotism and nationalism. His words were so strong that anyone questioning his actions came to be branded corrupt or anti-national. He portrayed himself as an anti-corruptions crusader, successfully striking a chord with the poor as an anti-rich activist, aimed at redistributing the nation’s wealth, thereby rendering the congress and BSP inefficient in becoming a poor people’s party

The U.P election victory was the result of a clearly laid out symbolic strategy. While Amit Shah laid out the tactics, Mr. Modi embarked on a campaign to capture the imagination of the masses. His notion to do away with hierarchical politics and build a society that was mobile and which provided more opportunities for the lower striates, captured the minds of the new generation voters and the old election houses equally. Also he developed himself into a symbol of the underdog who rose to the top notches of the political world, this combined with his oratory power and his muted muscularity swung the dalit and poor vote bank in his favor and rendered the Congress and BSP ineffective .

BJP has played very well in effecting its strategy , Modi has seduced the imagination of the masses into a wild hope of building a better future for each and every individual. The elecetions once again confirmed that BJP  has grown form a communal party to a national phenomenon and has at the same time established its feet firmly in the grass roots of Indian society. But what does all this mean for the future of our nation?

Taking the simple and evident facts into account, here is a political party that played a major role in almost every communal violence that took place in our nation, a part that flaunts its communal badge in pride, they state and exhibit an extreme religious and communal outlook and  the people have given them absolute power  now. For a country where a major fraction of people still stumble in the darkness of poverty and where superstitions and religion controls the mind of the mass, the developmental super way and a mobile society is distant and disconnected dream.

We live in a society where the women are still vulnerable and fighting for their safety, where intolerance grows day by day, where poverty and violence is common, where the rich gets richer and poor stays poor, yet people have given power to a political party that promotes religious divide and extreme communalism and violence, a party which plays hardball religious politics under the mask of developmental goals and digitalized economy.

The U.P elections present to us a juggernaut, whose presence can make or break our nation; an entity that has power to plunge is into dark ages or make India a superpower. That’s the irony the results show. We don’t know what we have given power to..