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Saturday, October 31, 2015

India's government criticized over growing religious tensions


India's government criticized over growing religious tensions
 

http://secure.campaigner.com/Campaigner/Public/t.show?91p4b--5slyb-178t84e3&_v=2

 growing religious tensions.jpg

A leading economic analysis group warned Friday that rising communal tensions in India were damaging Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reform plans and could scare off investors.

A report by Moody’s Analytics said members of Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, were fueling strife with provocative comments, an apparent reference to recent controversies over beef consumption and other domestic issues that have riled minorities, particularly Muslims.

“While Modi has largely distanced himself from the nationalist gibes, the belligerent provocation of various Indian minorities has raised ethnic tensions,” the group said. “Modi must keep his members in check or risk losing domestic and global credibility.”

The comments by Moody's Analytics, a research division of the corporation that operates a separate credit rating agency, add to a growing debate in India over Modi’s policies and allegedly pro-Hindu rhetoric. The Indian leader took office in May 2014 promising to focus on economic growth. However, his conservative party, which has ties to hard-line Hindu groups, has garnered more headlines for pursuing laws seen as catering to India’s Hindu majority and for questionable statements by its politicians.

Some BJP-led states have banned the consumption of beef on the grounds that it’s offensive to Hinduism, which regards the cow as sacred. In September, a Muslim in northern India was lynched by a Hindu mob on suspicion that he ate beef; eight of 11 men accused in the death reportedly are relatives of a local BJP worker.

A BJP lawmaker, Sakshi Maharaj, said afterward: “We are ready to kill and get killed for cows.”

Modi did not appear to help matters when he finally spoke on the issue three weeks later, calling the killing “sad and undesirable” but saying his political opponents were trying to exploit it.
In recent weeks, scores of leading scientists and artists have returned awards given to them by government bodies in protest of what they call a growing climate of religious and cultural intolerance.

n August, a 76-year-old secular writer and critic of Hindu fundamentalists, M.M. Kalburgi, was gunned down in his home in southern India. This week, students at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India finally called off a strike they launched more than four months ago in protest of the government’s appointment of Hindu conservatives to lead the institution’s governing body.
An Indian activist participates in a candlelig.jpg

Modi, a canny communicator who has cultivated a relationship with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, has sought to project an image of a muscular, modernizing India, which plays well among his many middle-class supporters as well as audiences overseas.

But the Moody’s report, titled “India Outlook: Searching for Potential” and written by Sydney-based economist Faraz Syed, could rattle Modi’s government by drawing a connection between the sectarian strife and India’s lagging economic performance.

The report said India’s economic growth rate of 7.3% in September was “below potential” and the country’s exports could be hurt by a slowdown in global demand. It also noted that India’s stock market, which boomed on excitement over Modi’s victory, has fallen 11% because of the government’s “consistent failure to deliver key economic reforms.”

Modi faces another key test in early November with elections in Bihar, one of India’s largest and most impoverished states, where the BJP is locked in a tight battle with a coalition of rival parties.

Modi, who has campaigned vigorously in the state, drew criticism this week when he told a rally that the BJP’s opponents would take affirmative action slots from Hindu lower classes and give them to “another community.” Commentators said it was an unspoken reference to Muslims, who make up a large minority in Bihar and about 14% of India’s 1.2 billion population.

“Overall, it’s unclear whether India can deliver the promised reforms and hit its growth potential,” the Moody’s report said. “Undoubtedly, numerous political outcomes will dictate the extent of success.”

Special correspondent Parth M.N. contributed to this report.

Rajan bats for greater tolerance

Thank you Rajan, we have to save India, we have to believe an indivisible India, an India that is good for her people and welcomes diversity. 

Mike Ghouse
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com  


Rajan bats for greater tolerance

Quick resort to bans will chill all debate, RBI governor says at IIT-Delhi convocation
http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/rajan-bats-for-greater-tolerance-115103100596_1.html 

Raghuram Rajan
Raghuram Rajan
In a rare speech that was silent on the economy or the financial world, Reserve Bank of India Governorchose a convocation at his alma mater, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, to speak his mind on the need for greater and respect for varied views.

Excessive political correctness, he said, stifled progress. He called for an improved environment for tolerance and mutual respect, adding protection of the right to question and challenge was essential for India to grow.

The governor’s views assume significance in the backdrop of a growing debate over intolerance creeping into Indian society at large. Though Rajan didn’t mention any political groupings, his statement comes only a day after global ratings agency research arm, Moody’s Analytics, said Prime Minister had to keep the extreme elements within his party in check or risk losing credibility in India and abroad.

On whether ideas or behaviour that hurt an intellectual position or a group should be banned, Rajan said: “Possibly, but a quick resort to bans will chill all debate, as everyone will be anguished by ideas they dislike. It is far better to improve the environment for ideas.” It was by encouraging the challenge of innovative rebels that society developed. India always protected debate and the right to have different views, he said.

The first essential, Rajan said, was to foster competition in the marketplace for ideas. This meant encouraging challenge to all authority and tradition, even while acknowledging the only way to dismiss any view was through empirical tests. “What this rules out is anyone imposing a particular view or ideology because of their power,” Rajan said in his speech, titled ‘Tolerance and Respect for Economic Progress’.

“Sexual harassment, whether physical or verbal, has no place in society. At the same time, groups should not be looking for slights any and everywhere, so that too much is seen as offensive; the theory of confirmation bias in psychology suggests once one starts looking for insults, one can find them everywhere, even in the most innocuous statements,” he said.

Tolerance, he added, could take offence out of a debate and instil respect. “If I go berserk every time a particular button is pressed, rebels are tempted to press the button, while mischief-makers indeed do so… But if I do not react predictably and, instead, ask button pressers to explain their concerns, rebels are forced to do the hard work of marshalling arguments. So, rebels do not press the button frivolously, while mischief makers who abound in every group are left without an easy trigger,” Rajan said.

The convocation, held in a large amphitheatre at the institute, was jam-packed, even as new graduates, resplendent in their orange graduation gowns, posed for selfies with proud parents.

Rajan recalled his college days (he graduated in electrical engineering in 1985) and admitted he wasn’t a good actor. “Everyone did something ranging from photography to publishing. Of course, we all aspire to join dramatics where we get to spend long hours with members of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, I was not good at acting. So, I had to look elsewhere for self-actualisation. But there were enough places to look,” Rajan said.

He added IIT-Delhi “replaced our naivety with a more confident maturity. We came in as smart boys and girls and left as wiser young men and women”. He concluded by exhorting the students to uphold India’s traditions of debate in an environment of respect and tolerance. The deafening applause that followed was a clear signal to which way the wind was blowing.

Bihar Elections: Modi stoking communalism


There was no need for Modi to stoop so low to say this, '...that the Grand Alliance is plotting to deprive SCs, STs and OBCs of their job quota and give it to ‘a particular community’. I can understand him using Amit Shah to do the dirty work, but this is beneath the office of the Prime Minister. Amit Shah said, that Pakistan will celebrate if BJP loses, how divisive can one get?   He has a hell of a nerve to ax mother India, these guys will sell their mother if there is gain for them. Can Modi and his men ever take a pledge that they will stand by "One nation under the Tiranga, indivisible with liberty and justice to all."

There are some Indian Americans who need to learn about Democracy, they want to have all the rights here, but deny  the same to the others in India.

Mike Ghouse
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 
  
# # #

Muslims in Bihar Elections 2015
By Naushad Ansari 

After two phases of Bihar voting, the NDA is finding itself in choppy waters.  The Hindustan Times, a leading English daily of Patna, reports that an internal assessment by the BJP has the party worried about its prospects in the crucial Bihar election with two phases of polling out of the way. (H.T., Oct. 18)  In phase – 1, the BJP was expecting a difficult battle in JD (U) strongholds.  But a seat-by-seat analysis suggests the party fared worse than expected with the Grand Alliance firmly in the lead.  The phase – 2 was considered Majhi’s stronghold, but report suggests that the BJP faces a tight race even there.  Alarmed by this report the BJP has completely changed its strategy, starting with replacing hoardings and banners with the pictures of the PM and Amit Shah with local leaders.

Using a different card the PM, at a public meeting in Buxar on October 26, alleged that the Grand Alliance is plotting to deprive SCs, STs and OBCs of their job quota and give it to ‘a particular community’. Unveiling a new strategy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi further stated that ‘this son (himself) of a poor EBC tea-seller will put his life on the line to protect your job quota’.  Rebutting this Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accused Prime Minister of changing his caste profile to suit BJP’s electoral needs. “From a development driver, he became OBC and now he is calling himself an EBC.  We don’t know if Gujarat has EBCs.  Don’t be surprised if he becomes a Dalit also in course of polls,” Kumar added.

On the other hand Muslim named leaders of the BJP are campaigning in Muslim localities on war footing.  They are appealing, through personal contacts and also using Urdu dailies, to come out of the vote bank era and to vote for the BJP.  They are trying to convince that Muslims have equitable share in the development and are quite safe in Gujarat, and that India had thousands of communal riots and why should one remember only 2002 Gujarat riot!

But there are few takers of such statements and appeals and it will hardly affect a single secular-justice-loving voter, Muslim or non-Muslim.  Today the voters know the clear line of demarcation between secularism and communalism, between Hinduism and Hindutva.    They will never betray the country’s ethos of communal harmony.  They are aware that the secular parties are, more or less, governed by the Constitution.  But for the communalists, Gujarat pogrom is what the Muslims deserved; Babri Masjid demolition is moral and a matter of belief; no democratic rights but majoritarianism, law or no law.  The PM’s long time silence on lynching incidents is very fresh in their mind.  They can foresee major changes in the Constitution suiting to the whims of the parivar.

The BJP leadership shed tears on how powerless the Muslims have been treated as mere vote banks by the secular parties.  But the same party opposes implementation of Prime Minister’s 15 points program on the development of Muslims.  Even the government of Gujarat has challenged the legality of ‘Sachar Committee’ report. This confirms that they have no real interest in the welfare of Muslims.  Indeed, the scale of killings, rapes, physical loss and property destruction in Gujarat pogrom was so huge, in terms of time and geographical spread, that this could never have been occurred without the collusion of the Government machinery.

As for the development, the CAG reports and data on economic and social development from various sources make it evident that the much-touted “Gujarat model” of development is non-inclusive, socially divisive and highly ineffective in key areas.

Representations made to Sachar committee reveal what issues the Muslims think are important to them.  For no other state, security was such an important issue as Muslims of Gujarat, they ranked it as their third most important issue while the all India level this issues was placed fifth out of the nine categories.  Again, poverty incidence is 34 for Muslims of Gujarat residing in urban areas, which is better than many states but almost double the state (Gujarat) average of 18.
Unfortunately, by stages, the communal extremist forces have come to challenge the very fabric of secularism.  The Bihar election shall be a test of the political maturity and wisdom of the people of Bihar.
(Author is the President of Peace Foundation, Patna) 
http://beyondheadlines.in/2015/10/muslims-in-bihar-election-2015/
http://muslimmirror.com/eng/muslims-in-bihar-elections-2015/


--

M Naushad Ansari
President (Hon'y),
Peace Foundation,
Patna

Friday, October 30, 2015

Moody’s to Modi: Save India from becoming Langda India

If Prime Minister Modi does not speak up on the issue and stop the extremists of his party members to run over him, he will make India, a Langda India. That is a limping India.

A solid India stands on two firm legs; 1) Prosperity and 2) Social Cohesion.

Prosperity is creating jobs, raising income levels, pulling the ones in ditches onto a level playing field to build a larger Middle class and create an expanded consumer base, whose consumption will create jobs and the economy will multiply and the standards of living will go up. The more people do well, the better the nation does.  Modi is talking big about it and we can give him two years to produce results.

Social Cohesion on the other hand is like human body cohesion - heart, brain, kidneys, liver, vision, nose, tongue, touch, hearing, and the flow of blood, breathing and all parts of the body need to function cohesively to be normal. One failure can cause the whole thing to fail or make the body ineffective. If you think the discharge part of the body is less important, wait till it stops, it will cause the whole or part of the body to malfunction.  Like wise, all people have to function well, and it is in the interest of the body that it makes up the deficiencies, so we as humans, as Indians have to meet those deficiencies in fellow Indians.

Those of you who are blinded by the love for Mr. Modi, I appeal to you to look for greater love for the nation. Modis will come and go, but the Nation will continue. I am challenging your patriotism, none of us want India to go down, so let our loyalty be to India and not Modi, until he proves that he can keep these two functions in shape, I will hold my praise for him, will you?

I don't want my India to be a Langda India, neither do you? If we all wake up and criticize Mr. Modi, guess what will happen? He will be compelled to do the right thing. Don't you want that? 

Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached
. Swami Vivekananda must have meant this for us in 2015 and 2016.

 

Mike Ghouse 
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.Blogspot.com 

# # #
Moody’s to Modi: Keep BJP members in check or risk losing credibility
http://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/moodys-to-modi-keep-bjp-members-in-check-or-risk-losing-credibility/article7823019.ece?homepage=true#comments


Reuters
Moody’s Analytics said in a report that the Narendra Modi government has not helped itself in recent times with controversial comments from various BJP members. File photo

Moody’s Analytics, the economic research and analysis division of Moody’s Corporation, is the first major global institution to comment on the recent political controversies in India.

Referring to the “ethnic tensions” in the wake of controversies over beef and other issues, Moody’s on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must keep the BJP members in check or risk “losing domestic and global credibility”.
Stating that the BJP does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha to pass crucial reforms and the Opposition was being “obstructionist”, Moody’s Analytics said in a report that the government has also not helped itself in recent times with controversial comments from various BJP members.
“While Modi has largely distanced himself from the nationalist jibes, the belligerent provocation of various Indian minorities has raised ethnic tensions.
“Along with a possible increase in violence, the government will face stiffer opposition in the upper house as debate turns away from economic policy.
“Modi must keep his members in check or risk losing domestic and global credibility,” the report said.
The comments from Moody’s Analytics, the economic research and analysis division of Moody’s Corporation, are the first by any major global institution over the recent political controversies in India.
Moody’s Analytics, however, said “its commentary is independent and does not reflect the opinions of Moody’s Investors Service, the credit ratings agency which is also a subsidiary of Moody’s Corporation”.
The report titled “India Outlook: Searching for Potential” further said that the ongoing Assembly elections in Bihar could “prove pivotal to Modi’s leadership”.
“The BJP is not the incumbent (in Bihar), so a win here would help secure an upper house majority... Overall, it is unclear whether India can deliver the promised reforms and hit its growth potential. Undoubtedly, numerous political outcomes will dictate the extent of success,” it added.
Moody’s projected India’s GDP growth for September quarter at 7.3 per cent, while for the full fiscal it would be 7.6 per cent.
It, however, cautioned that Indian equities have also suffered from a loss in domestic sentiments and the failure to deliver on key reforms has faded the optimism.

Donald Trump’s Burqa comments

“Women like Burqas as they don't need to wear makeup.” Trump – Times of India. The response will be in Indian context.  

Burqa is a cultural wear and not a religious garment, over a period of time; culture and religion have blended and have become inseparable. It is cultural as it varies from country to country and even within India – not all Muslim women wear Burqa and many wear a simple scarf to wrap around scarf to shuttle cock covering. 

Burqa to no Burqa
Mike Ghouse, July 4, 2007

Some times,  the attachment to culture is much deeper than the religion; culture is a way of life practiced among your families and friends. 

Whether you go to Jain Temple, Hindu Temple, Gurdwara or a Mosque – men and women sit separately, it is cultural and not a religious thing.  When devotional songs are being played, or prayers beging all these women cover their head with aanchal (extended garment to cover hair) – very few of them don’t. Indeed, Catholic women also cover their head and Jewish women do it in their own way, at one time they wore wigs.

Except the Dilli and Mumbai waliyan, most Indian women will not wear a mini-skirt when they are here in America, you cannot get them to wear it either, and that is is their comfort zone. 

Women have been wearing different forms of head coverings among Muslims, a woman who covers her full face will not take it off – and that is her comfort zone.

My daughter, who grew up in completely western environment, still will not wear a mini-skirt, and that is her comfort zone.


I took my kids to every place of worship so they can grow up to be accepting of the others and be familiar with different forms of worship. When I went to the Baptist Church with my wife I wore casual clothes and my Jeans had a hole on the back pocket, I was comfortable but she was not, so disappears my favorite Jeans!. Culture is conformity with others in a given situation.

Our mothers (other than some professionals) will not cut their hair short, no matter where they are – in urban India or New York.

Every woman has her own comfort zone.  Most of us men from the Subcontinent will not walk around naked in our homes, a few may do, but most of us don’t and that is our comfort zone. Muslim men will not take their shirts off in presence of female members of the family nor will they wear half pants in their homes, and that is their comfort zone.

Once the late illustrious Khushwant Singh wrote that Muslims need to get modern and get out and drink alcohol and be with friends, and I wrote back to him, modernity is not defined by drinking alcohol, or dressing less… it is defined by how open you are in accommodating the differences of people, and added, it is funny that you wear the traditional turban, do not shave your facial hair and yet you call on others to get modern?

Personally, I am not in favor of Burqa, but several years ago, my late wife Najma had given me a panic attack. She never wore any kind of Hijab other than covering her head during the prayers, which all Desi women do. One day, she announced that she will start wearing the Burqa… and I was dumbfounded, and acted like a snake has bitten me. I had to arrest myself from speaking… am I a brute to tell her not to wear? Can I compel her not to wear? Will I go out with her in that Burqa? It was quite a mental exercise for me, and I am glad I was put to the test and finally said, “Najma, that is your choice”. She was probably testing me to see if the man who believes in equality will act his words.

Women should not be a play for men – they should have the freedom to wear what gives them comfort. No man should tell her to wear or not to wear the Burqa. Neither the Turks nor French have a right when they compel women not to wear.

When we understand true freedom, we will learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the uniqueness of each individual. We all need to grow up and shed our biases towards any one and any culture.

We ought to take the steps to prevent anyone from forcing their values onto others. Remember, most men are civil, and only a few are bad guys. It has nothing to do with religion, culture, income level; it has to do with how they were raised.

 It is utterly wrong to conclude that Muslim, Sikh, Hindu or Christian men treat their women badly… no, that is not the truth, you will find a similar percent of men in all groups treating women badly. It has got to go.

What is it to you if a woman wears Burqa or not, what is your gain or loss?

Thank you,

Mike Ghouse

Women like Burqas as they don't need to wear makeup: Donald Trump


US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a campaign. (Reuters photo)

Courtesy of Times of India -http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Women-like-burqas-as-they-dont-need-to-wear-makeup-Donald-Trump/articleshow/49555522.cms
NEW YORK: In yet another controversial jibe, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has said women in the Islamic world like wearing burqas because it is easier as they do not have to wear makeup.

During a New Hampshire rally, Trump briefly spoke about his belief that the United States imposes its own version of Western democracy upon cultures that do not necessarily want it.

Citing failed interventions in Libya and Iraq, Trump suggested it has been futile to try to export "freedom" to Muslim countries.

READ ALSO: The rise and rise of Donald Trump

"I saw somebody say 'We want it over there where the women don't have to wear the you-know-what,'" Trump told the crowd, wiping his hand in front of his face to mimic the look of a burqa.

"And then I saw women interviewed. They said, 'We want to wear them, we've worn them for thousands of years. Why would anyone tell us not to?' They want to!" he was quoted as saying by CNN.

"Fact is, it's easier. You don't have to put on makeup. Look how beautiful everyone looks. Wouldn't it be easier? Right? Wouldn't that be easy?" the real-estate mogul joked.

"I tell ya, if I was a woman, I don't want to. I'd be like, bwah (gesturing the burqa), 'I'm ready, darling, let's go.' It's true!" he said.


Trump has a history of making controversial remarks about immigrants and other groups.

Top Comment

THIS BLOKE TRUMP IS GOING BERSERK. HE HAD TAKEN LEAVE of his senses. such bizarre statements are meaningless and insulting to Muslim women. Rajesh Vyas

Earlier on in his campaign, Trump had made controversial statements about Mexican immigrants and did not dispute a man's assertion that US President Barack Obama was a Muslim.


READ ALSO:World would be better place if Saddam, Gaddafi still in power, Donald Trump says

Last week Trump said the world would be a better place if dictators such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were still in power.

If BJP Loses Bihar Elections, Crackers Will Go Off in Pakistan: Amit Shah

If BJP Loses Bihar Elections, Crackers Will Go Off in Pakistan: Amit Shah


Amit Shah is a politician and would say anything to get elected.  He can fool the public once more, what has Pakistan got to gain from this… unless he is communalizing the elections.

The only way to counter Amit Shah is to appeal to the Indians, that Indians across the length and breadth will celebrate if BJP loses.

If BJP loses democracy wins.

When the States reject the Party that runs the Central Government, they are establishing their independence and it brings humility to BJP, and it will make them reflect the mistakes and promises they are yet to fulfill.  A giant loss for BJP will be a wakeup call for them, and that is good for India and India should celebrate it.

Mike
If BJP Loses Bihar Elections, Crackers Will Go Off in Pakistan: Amit Shah
Click to Play

# # #

Addressing a rally in Raxaul, a day after Bihar voted in the third of five phases in the assembly elections now being held, Mr Shah said, "If by any chance the BJP loses this election, while winning and losing will happen in this country, crackers will be burst in celebration in Pakistan. Would you want that to happen?"

"No," roared the crowd.

Rival parties have criticised Mr Shah's comment as an attempt at polarising voters. KC Tyagi of the ruling Janata Dal United said the party would complain to the Election Commission on Friday. "The BJP had started with campaigning with the talk about development. But as the BJP started trailing it has decided to totally communalise the campaign," Mr Tyagi told NDTV.




If BJP Loses Bihar Elections, Crackers Will Go Off in Pakistan: Amit Shah

NEW DELHI:  BJP chief Amit Shah has in a controversial comment said that if his party loses in Bihar, "crackers will be burst in Pakistan."

Addressing a rally in Raxaul, a day after Bihar voted in the third of five phases in the assembly elections now being held, Mr Shah said, "If by any chance the BJP loses this election, while winning and losing will happen in this country, crackers will be burst in celebration in Pakistan. Would you want that to happen?"

"No," roared the crowd.

Rival parties have criticised Mr Shah's comment as an attempt at polarising voters. KC Tyagi of the ruling Janata Dal United said the party would complain to the Election Commission on Friday. "The BJP had started with campaigning with the talk about development. But as the BJP started trailing it has decided to totally communalise the campaign," Mr Tyagi told NDTV.
"This is the old practice of the BJP. They practiced it in Gujarat as well. They always wanted to play this communal card to win elections. Questioning the mandate of elections, they are dividing Bihar," alleged the Congress' Tom Vadakkan.

Amit Shah has, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fronted the BJP's campaign in the Bihar elections, with the party choosing not to project a chief ministerial candidate. The BJP is locked in a very close battle in the state with what is called the "Grand Alliance" made up of the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's JDU and Lalu Yadav and the Congress.

Voting has been held for a little over half of Bihar's 243 seats in three phases. The last two phases will be held within the next week and votes will be counted on Sunday, November 8.

Winning Bihar is crucial for the BJP, which needs to boost its numbers in the Rajya Sabha or Upper House of Parliament, the members of which are elected by legislators in states. The Narendra Modi government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha and has found it tough to push through key reforms.

The BJP, which had won a series of state elections after it came to power at the Centre last year, was crushed by the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi this year, the last assembly election it contested. It would like a win in Bihar also to set the tone for important state elections in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu next year and then the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2017. 
Story First Published: October 29, 2015 18:31 IST

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Padma-winning scientists protest 'a rash of bigoted acts'

I am proud of the Patriotic Indians, and good Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims, Dalits and others who are standing up and protesting against the freedoms that are being usurped. If we don't save the nation now, it will be difficult to redeem it. 

God bless India and Indians, and only God can change the heart of our Prime Minister to prevent the nation from going down the tube. All he needs to do is speak up and say, I am the Prime Minister and no one dares mess my nation, every Indian has the right to speak, read, write, eat, drink, wear or believe what ever he or she has come to believe, and no one will mess with them.

Really, that is all it takes, people are losing hope in the Prime Minister and it is time for him to speak up.

Mike Ghouse
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 

Over 100 eminent and distinguished scientists issue a joint statement against 'intolerance and rejection of reason' by 'important functionaries of the government'.

Photo Credit: Representational Image
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Over 100 eminent and distinguished scientists, many of them recipients of Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards, have issued a joint statement expressing their deep concern with the "climate of intolerance, and the ways in which science and reason are being eroded in the country".

"It is the same climate of intolerance, and rejection of reason that has led to the lynching in Dadri of Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi and the assassinations of Prof Kalburgi, Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Shri Govind Pansare," the scientists said in their statement, taking the government to task for a "rash of bigoted acts, attacks on minorities and Dalits, which show no signs of abating."

Invoking Article 51 A (h) of the the Indian Constitution, the scientists pointed out that it demands, as a part of the fundamental duties of the citizens, that we "...develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform."

"Unfortunately," they went on to add,  "What we are witnessing instead is the active promotion of irrational and sectarian thought by important functionaries of the government."

This statement follows another group of over 130 scientists who had urged President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday to take “suitable action” to stop incidents of “intolerance, polarisation and [the spreading] of communal hatred” from “taking our country, which has a rich heritage and cultural diversity, backwards.”

Earlier, artists and sociologists had expressed their support of over 35 writers across the country, representing several linguistic groups, who returned their Sahitya Akademi awards or resigned from their positions at the country's top literary body to protest what they perceived as the rising tide of intolerance and the shrinking space for free expression.

The avalanche of these protests was triggered off by Hindi writer Uday Prakash who was the first to return his award to Sahitya Akademi, which was soon followed by noted writer Nayantara Sahgal and former Lalit Kala Akademi chairman Ashok Vajpeyi.

"The writers have shown the way with their protests," the statement by scientists said. "We scientists now join our voices to theirs, to assert that the Indian people will not accept such attacks on reason, science and our plural culture. We reject the destructive narrow view of India that seeks to dictate what people will wear, think, eat and who they will love."

The full text of the statement is given below.
The scientific community is deeply concerned with the climate of intolerance, and the ways in which science and reason are being eroded in the country.

It is the same climate of intolerance, and rejection of reason that has led to the lynching in Dadri of Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi and the assassinations of Prof Kalburgi, Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Shri Govind Pansare. All three fought against superstition and obscurantism to build a scientific temper in our society. Prof Kalburgi was a renowned scholar and an authority on the Vachana literature associated with the 12th-century reformer Basava, who opposed institutionalised religion, caste and gender discrimination. Similarly, Dr Dabholkar and Shri Pansare promoted scientific temper through their fight against superstition and blind faith.

The Indian Constitution in Article 51 A (h) demands, as a part of the fundamental duties of the citizens, that we '...develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform'. Unfortunately, what we are witnessing instead is the active promotion of irrational and sectarian thought by important functionaries of the government.

The Indian civilisation is a truly plural one. We have always had many practices and communities that have allowed space for each other; we celebrate the festivals and anniversaries of all faiths. This unity and peace has now been disturbed by a rash of bigoted acts, attacks on minorities and Dalits, which show no signs of abating.

The writers have shown the way with their protests. We scientists now join our voices to theirs, to assert that the Indian people will not accept such attacks on reason, science and our plural culture. We reject the destructive narrow view of India that seeks to dictate what people will wear, think, eat and who they will love.

We appeal to all other sections of society to raise their voice against the assault on reason and scientific temper we are witnessing in India today.

The views expressed in the statement are individual and do not reflect views of the institution a signatory is affiliated to.

Dr Alladi Sitaram Visiting Professor, Chennai Mathematical Institute; Professor Emeritus, Indian Statistical Institute, Bengaluru
Dr Ashoke Sen, Padma Bhushan, Fellow of Royal Society (FRS), Distinguished Professor, Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad
Dr Ashok Jain, Former Director, National Institute of Science Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS), New Delhi
Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Government of India
Dr D Balasubramanian, Padma Shri Research Director, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, & former Director Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad
Dr Madabusi Raghunathan, Padma Bhushan, Fellow of Royal Society (FRS), Professor, National Centre for Mathematics, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
Dr PM Bhargava, Padma Bhushan, Former Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad (one of the original signatories to the 1981 Scientific Temper Statement)
Dr P Balaram, Padma Bhushan, Former Director, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Dr Satyajit Mayor, Foreign Associate, US National Science Academy, Director, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr Spenta Wadia, Emeritus Professor and Founding Director, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr AP Balachandran, Joel Dorman Steele Professor of Physics (Emeritus), Physics Department, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA.
Dr Abhishek Dhar, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr Alak K Ray, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Dr Alok Laddha, Chennai Mathematics Institute, Bangalore
Dr Amit Sengupta, National Convenor, Peoples Health Movement
Dr Anna George, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi
Dr Arnab Bhattacharya, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Dr Arvind, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali
Dr Ashvin Vishvanath, University of California-Berkeley, USA
Dr Avinash Dhar, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr B Ravindran, Institute for Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar
Dr BLS Prakasa Rao, CR Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Hyderabad
Dr B Ananthanarayan, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Dr B Rajeev, Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore
Dr B Ekbal, Former Vice Chancellor, Kerala University
Dr B Sury, Indian Statistical Institute, Bengaluru
Dr Chandrasekhar Khare, Fellow of Royal Society, Professor of Mathematics, University of California-Los Angeles, USA, and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Mr D Raghunandan, Director, Centre of Technology and Development, New Delhi
Dr DP Sen Gupta, Visiting Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru
Dr Debashis Ghoshal, School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Dr Dhruv Raina, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Dr Dilip Ahuja, Profesor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru
Dr Dinesh Abrol, Institute of Studies in Industrial. Development, New Delhi
Dr Dipendra Prasad, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Dr Firoza Sutaria, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru
Dr Gadadhar Misra, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Dr Gautam Mandal, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Dr Hema Murthy, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai
Dr Joseph Samuel, Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru
Dr Justin David, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Dr Kapil Paranjape, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali
Dr LS Shashidhara, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune
Dr Leena ChandranWadia, Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai
Dr MG Narasimhan, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru
Dr MRN Murthy, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Dr MVN Murthy, Professor Emeritus, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
Dr Madan Rao, Raman Research Institute and NCBS-TIFR, Bengaluru
Dr Mangal C Mahato, Department of Physics, North East Hill University, Shillong
Dr Nilmani Mathur, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Dr P Ajith, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr Pallab Basu, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr Partha P Majumder, National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani
Dr Parthib Basu, Department of Zoology, Calcutta University, Kolkata
Mr Prabir Purkayastha, Chairperson, Knowledge Commons, New Delhi
Dr Prajit K Basu, Centre for Neural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Hyderabad
Dr Prajval Shastri, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru
Dr Pramathanath Sastry, Chennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai
Dr Pravabati Chinganbam, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru
Dr Probal Choudhuri, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
Dr Purushottam Kulkarni, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
Dr R Ramanujam, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
Dr R Shankar, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
Dr Rahul Roy, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi
Dr Rajat Tandon, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Hyderabad
Dr Rajesh Gopakumar, Director, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr Rama Govindarajan, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Hyderabad
Dr Ranjini Bandyopadhyay, Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru
Dr Ravinder Banyal, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru
Dr Riddhi Shah, School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Dr Ronnie Sebastian, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune
Dr Rukmini Dey, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr S Chakrabarti, Department of Chemistry, Calcutta University, Kolkata
Dr S Ranganathan, National Institute of Advanced Studies Bengaluru
Dr Sabyasachi Chatterjee, Formerly Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru; and President All India Peoples Science Network
Dr Sachindeo Vaidya, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Dr Samriddhi Sankar Ray, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr Sandeep Krishna, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr Sanjib Sabhapandit, Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru
Dr Santanu Datta, Chief Scientific Officer, BUGWORKS Inc., Bengaluru
Dr Satyajit Rath, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi
Dr Saumen Datta, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Dr Shamsher Singh, Indian Statistical Institute, Bengaluru
Dr Sharada Srinivasan, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru
Dr Shiraz Naval Minwalla, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Dr Shrikrishna, G Dani Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
Dr Shyamala Mani, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Dr Siva Athreya, Indian Statistical Institute, Bengaluru
Dr Sorab N Dalal, Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and
Education in Cancer, Navi Mumbai
Dr Sriram Ramaswamy, Director, TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Hyderabad
Dr Subhro Bhattacharjee, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research,
Begaluru
Dr Sumati Surya, Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru
Dr Sumathi Rao, Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad.
Dr Sunil Mukhi, Indian Institute of Science Education and
Research, Pune
Dr Suresh Govindarajan, Dept of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology,
Chennai.
Dr Suvrat Raju, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research,
Bengaluru
Dr T Jayaraman, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social
Sciences, Mumbai
Dr TR Govindarajan, Chennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai
Ms Tejal Kanitkar, Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Dr Tiju Thomas, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai
Dr Todadri Senthil, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
Dr Vani VC, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Dr Venkatesh Athreya, Adjunct Professor, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai; formerly President All India Peoples
Science Network
Dr Vidita Vaidya, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Dr Vijay Kumar, Krisnamurthy, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru
Dr Vineeta Bal, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi
Dr Vishal Vasan, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Dr Vivek Borkar, Institute Chair Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai