TWENTY seven years ago modern India had witnessed a shocking spectacle of vandalism. Cheered by senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati, and empowered by the patronage provided by the BJP government of Uttar Pradesh led by Kalyan Singh, an organised mob of vandals demolished a sixteenth century mosque in Ayodhya in broad daylight. The demolition was watched live on television by the whole country even as the police looked away.
Editorials of the ML Update
ON the 70th anniversary of the adoption of India’s Constitution, all eyes were focused on the Supreme Court. For the two preceding days, the apex court was dealing with the writ petition filed against the Maharashtra Governor’s shocking decision to swear in Devendra Fadnavis in a most conspiratorial fashion soon after the NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress had formally announced the formation of a post-poll coalition which clearly had the required majority to form government.
THE spirited struggle of Jawaharlal Nehru University students has brought the issue of the right to education to the political centre-stage.
THE politics of the early 1990s was framed by the stealthy 1949 act of placing a “Ram Lalla” (baby Ram) idol inside the Babri Masjid, followed by a violent campaign which culminated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid by a fascist mob led by top BJP leaders. During this campaign, and immediately after the demolition of the mosque, Muslims were massacred by communal mobs all over North India. The Ayodhya ‘dispute’ was ostensibly about whether or not Babar demolished a Hindu temple marking Ram’s birthplace, to build the Babri Masjid.
RECENTLY, WhatsApp (a company owned by Facebook) has made an explosive revelation. It has reached out to several journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, and Opposition politicians in India, to inform them that a software sold by an Israeli company to Governments has been used to spy on them. Not only have their WhatsApp messages and calls been hacked; the software has used a loophole in WhatsApp’s encryption software to turn their phones and computers into spying devices.
ELECTIONS to the Maharashtra and Haryana State Assemblies were widely expected to be cakewalks for the BJP. The exit polls by and large reflected this prevalent political estimation of the corporate media. In Haryana, the BJP was predicted to win a sweeping majority, with one exit poll putting the number as high as 83 in Haryana’s 90-member Assembly. In Maharashtra, the prediction was for an independent majority for the BJP alone. The final results have turned out to be a pleasantly surprising reality check.
THE deepening crisis of the Indian economy and the absolute collapse of governance are now an undeniable everyday reality. Examples abound on every front, evidences mount in every sphere. Economic crisis is no longer a subject of academic debates that the government can deny with the help of statistical jugglery. From IMF to RBI, every international or Indian institution is daily pointing to India’s declining overall growth rate. But the most damning blow has been India’s continuing fall in the Global Hunger Index ranking.
THIS year's Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, popularly known as Nobel prize in Economics, has evoked considerable media and popular interest in India. The reason is one of the three recipients is Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, an American economist of Indian origin, who had done his graduation from Kolkata's iconic Presidency College (now University) and masters from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University. After Amartya Sen, this is the second instance of a Presidency College alumni getting this premier international award.
REMEMBER Tabrez Ansari, the young worker from Jharkhand who used to earn his livelihood in Pune and had returned home and got married even as Narendra Modi was returning to power with an emphatic majority? His marriage was of course not meant to be a newsworthy event, but a few weeks after his wedding he became a household name. Just like Mohammad Akhlaque of Dadri, Pehlu Khan of Mewat and Alimuddin Ansari of Ramgarh. Tabrez had been tied to an electricity pole, and beaten up by a mob for hours together and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Jai Hanuman’.
US President Trump’s presence at Prime Minister Modi’s rally in Houston during the latter’s US visit, underlined the ideological closeness of both the far-right, fascist politicians.