The Times of India – Instead of cow slaughter, ban manslaughter: Activists

I P Singh

Jalandhar, 14 August 2014. As representatives of Sikh, Dalit and Muslim organizations gathered at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Mission at a function and later a protest march organized by Dal Khalsa on the eve of August 15 celebrations, they took serious note of misuse of archaic sedition laws, lynching of Dalits and Muslims by cow-vigilantes and imposing “pseudo-nationalism” on minorities.

Taking a dig at the Sangh Parivar, the speakers held that that Sangis on the pretext of protecting the animal were using it as an electoral milch cow.

“Even the Congress is soft-peddling Hindutva,” they said. They questioned that why cow slaughter ban in India and why not a man slaughter ban in the country while referring to mass killings of minorities and Dalits by frenzied communal mobs with the logistics support from mainstream parties and the establishment in different parts at different times.

Punjab and Haryana High court advocate and noted human rights lawyer Rajwinder Bains said that while there were talks about sscrapping Article 370 of the Constituition but instead this Artucle should be implemented across the country to give more rights to the states.

“This would rather help to check calls for separation. The states wouldhave more rights and they would also remain together and parts of the same country,” he argued.

He also held that sedition law was a tool in the hands of authorities for harassment and to stifle dissenting voices. The resolution adopted in the gathering stated that it was a matter of shame that India failed to scrap the colonial-era law in the first few years after Independence.

Britain and many other countries have abolished their sedition laws and it’s time India should join their ranks.

Meanwhile JNU student leader Umar Khalid also participated in the function. He heldt that what happened in Gorakhpur was not a tragedy but a man made major disaster which led to death of several little kids.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/instead-of-cow-slaughter-ban-manslaughter-activists/articleshow/60064071.cms

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Sikh24.com – SGPC upset at rumours of low salary SGPC employees

Sikh24 Editors –

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 15 August 2017. Taking strong notice of the rumors being spread about low salary of employees, the SGPC has clarified that rumors being spread were solely focused on defaming the apex Sikh body and don’t have any factual base.

In a press note addressed to media, the SGPC Secretary Dr Roop Singh has said that salary of each employee is fixed as per the grading specified by the Punjab government. He further said that appraisal is also added to the employee’s salary after a specified time period or on promotion.

Denying allegations of paying Rs. 10 / Kilometre to a Principal of an SGPC run school, Dr Roop Singh said that the rumour being spread about was totally baseless. He added that some employees in SGPC were receiving a monthly salary more than Rs. 50,000 as they have been working within the body for a long time.

Dr Roop Singh has said that the SGPC was an institution of Sikh devotees and it had come to existence after long and hard struggle by the Sikh community. He has appealed to Sikh masses to be wary of the rumors being spread to defame the apex Sikh body.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/08/15/sgpc-upset-at-rumours-of-low-salary-sgpc-employees/#.WZJ5pelLfIU

Den Haag: Kalvermarkt – Centraal Station

Kalvermarkt
14 July 2017

Tram 9 to Scheveningen Noorderstrand

Tram 12 to Duindorp

Centraal Station
14 July 2017

Trams serving high level platforms
Tram 2 and 6
RandstadRail 3 and 4

Tram 17 to Den Haag Centrum

Tram 17

Tram 12 to Den Haag Centrum

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Dawn – 70 years on, India and Pakistan have successfully de-humanised each other in popular imagination

Anam Zakaria

Op/Ed, 14 August 2017. On the 70th anniversary of Partition, intellectuals, analysts, writers, artists and engaged citizens seem driven to try to understand 1947, to make sense of the bloodshed and trauma, to explore the legacy of Partition, and to uncover the personal stories that were far too often sidelined in favour of grand state narratives on both sides of the border.

The first Partition Museum is being inaugurated in Amritsar this month while the 1947 Partition Archive, the largest repository of Partition interviews, has just moved forward to release the narratives for public consumption.

This is indeed imperative, 70 years on, we are on the brink of losing the Partition generation and there is an urgency to record their stories, to understand history more holistically, to uncover the nuanced experiences Partition survivors had, and to try and challenge one-sided jingoistic state narratives.

This is even more important because Partition is not just a static event that took place in 1947 that we can move on from.

Even as we lose the Partition generation, Partition will remain a centrepiece in our history and in our present day discourse, it will continue to inform our politics, our media debates, our nationalism, our external affairs and most importantly our identity formation.

Partition is very much an ongoing process, its journey after 1947 only becoming more complex. The residue of Partition is perhaps most acutely felt by divided families, separated by hostile politics, visa hurdles, wars and mounting India-Pakistan antagonism.

A couple of years ago, I had interviewed two sisters in Lahore. One held an Indian nationality while the other was Pakistani.

They spoke to me about not being able to meet each other for years, of missing out on special occasions, of the blackouts during war, and of the breakdown in communication channels. They spoke of the pain of being kept away from the countries they saw as home, from their family and their friends.

Another man I interviewed told me of how he’d opted to move to Pakistan when he was barely 18-years-old even though his family supported the Congress and decided to stay back in Nagina, Uttar Pradesh.

He spoke of how much independence meant to him, of the freedom Pakistan symbolised, and of how he thought he’d continue to have two homes, one in Nagina and the other in Lahore. And for many years, it stayed that way. He could easily travel back and forth and felt that he really belonged to both worlds.

But over the years, wars, terrorism and growing animosity between India and Pakistan left imprints on his life. When his parents passed away, he was unable to get a visa to attend their funeral. Such was the price he had to pay for his country.

He told me, “You have to fight a constant struggle every day, to visit, to be one with them. I don’t regret my decision [of moving to Pakistan] but I had never realised how much I would have to give up for Pakistan.

I had no idea that things would ever become so bad… I was unable to make it for my parents’ funerals. I didn’t have the visa to go. I was their son and I couldn’t go…”

However, the impact of Partition and its ongoing journey doesn’t only affect Partition survivors and their families. The communal identities and resulting communal tensions, which were crystalised at Partition, have penetrated deep into the fabric of society today.

Both India and Pakistan currently define nationalism in terms of religious identity. To be Pakistani has become synonymous with being Muslim, ideally Sunni Muslim, and even more ideally Sunni Muslim hailing from Punjab.

In India, religious nationalism is also on the rise, with extremist Hindutva ideology making inroads into all segments of society.

Textbooks are hence revised on both sides of the border in an effort to purge Muslim and Hindu influences respectively, trying to carve out national identity premised on religious fervour, teaching children that a particular religion or civilisation has always been superior to the other.

Hindus are cast away as deceitful and treacherous in Pakistan and Muslims as barbaric and savage in India. Mob lynchings become increasingly common, whether on blasphemy allegations or in the name of gau raksha.

Patriotism is questioned at whim and it becomes all too easy to be charged with the anti-national label. Cricket matches become a war of civilisations, people feeling dishonoured and resorting to burning posters and pelting stones after losing at the hands of the enemy nation.

In short, Pakistan and India define themselves in opposition to each other, both nations determined to justify that they are better than the other: they insist they are more pious, more righteous, more prosperous, mightier and stronger than the enemy lurking across the border.

Not only is the Two-nation Theory still endorsed at the state level in Pakistan, the rise of the Hindutva movement in India is also premised on a similar idea that to be Hindu is somewhat superior, and distinct to Islam.

Both countries are clinging on to Partition to convince their citizens that they are indeed better off than the other, and without the other.

Over the years, the consequences of this rhetoric have been felt by millions of people on both sides. The same narrative of otherisation was used to demonise the Bengali Hindus and their influence over the Muslim population of East Pakistan after the creation of Pakistan.

The indigenous resistance movement was sidelined in favour of grand narratives of Indian-funded separatism, encouraging the public in West Pakistan to turn a blind eye to the civil unrest and violence brewing in the other part of the country.

Today, the war is taught as an Indian conspiracy, with Pakistan refusing to introspect upon its own unjust policies that may have led to 1971. This holds an eerie resemblance to India’s narrative in Kashmir, which dismisses local grievances and struggles and labels the movement for freedom as Pakistan-funded terrorism.

By blaming the other both states are able to shrug off any responsibility for their own actions and inactions.

Today, minorities on both sides have to constantly prove their patriotism, the vulnerability they face palpable. The Gujarat riots of 2002, the recent lynchings of Muslims in India and attacks on Hindu temples and forced conversions in Pakistan are all residues of Partition.

Children in Pakistan today openly call Indians infidels and demons. In India, students have come to believe that all Pakistanis are savages and fanatics. Many of them even refuse to talk to each other, holding their biased textbook curriculum and media reports as sacred opinions of the other.

70 years later, both nation-states are holding onto Partition like an existential imperative; it helps them define national identity, lead antagonistic state policies, and instill patriotism in citizens – patriotism based on the hostility of the other.

The pity is that the Partition narratives they cling onto are myopic and simplistic understandings of a complicated past. These metanarratives are bent upon juxtaposing one religious community as triumphant and humane over the other.

Nowhere in these narratives do we find the possibility of understanding the complexities of Partition, the diversity of experiences, the coexistence of fault lines and inter-communal harmony, of violence and rescue stories.

Linear, simplistic versions of 1947 are promoted on both sides, with clear lines between victims and perpetrators. And these versions are here to stay for they serve as the raison d’être of both nations, instilling hostile and jingoistic ‘national spirit’ in post-Partition generations.

70 years later, Partition lingers on, its shadow deformed and distorted but stubbornly looming over us for the years to come.

Did you, or anyone in your family, have to leave home due to Partition? Share your story with us at blog@dawn.com

Anam Zakaria is the author of Footprints of Partition: Narratives of Four Generations of Pakistanis and Indians and an upcoming book on Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1351505/70-years-on-india-and-pakistan-have-successfully-dehumanised-each-other-in-popular-imagination

The Black Prince

The Black Prince

Posted to Facebook by Amandeep Singh Madra

22 July 2017

The Black Prince is pure entertainment, I get that, and I am sure that it does entertain brilliantly. But film does have a massive influence over perceptions of historical figures. This film, and many other fan-boy biographies have cast Duleep Singh as a tragic hero, a Punjabi nationalist, a good family man and (absurdly) even a proto-anti-imperialist.

In reality Duleep Singh was like every other Indian royal of his generation; spoiled, disconnected from people, deeply self obsessed, grotesquly self-indulgent and politically naive in the face of Imperial Britain.

Here, with his wife and six children, he is the complete family man. However, in reality, very shortly after the event depicted in this scene Duleep Singh completely abandoned his family in London without any means to maintain them. He moved into Parisian apartment with one of his ongoing mistresses.

His family, now penniless, was reduced to begging for money from the government. His wife (Bamba) who was completely unsupported turned to alcohol for relief, old friends took in the now confused children, while Bamba, neglected, humiliated and totally abandoned by everyone around her drank herself to an early death within a year.

Duleep Singh the family man ?

Any reading of his letters betrays his total obsession on the return of his wealth as opposed to some kind of desire for a return of Punjabi rule. He bankrupted himself in England and only at that point turned to an agenda for the return of his wealth and property. Duleep Singh the frustrated King ?

His return to the Sikh faith was short-lived and undoubtedly purely political. He was used by the deeply political Sandhanwalias who had lost their position of nobility and influence with the end of Sikh Raj (remember these were the same cousins who treacherously murdered Duleep Singh’s brother Sher Singh and his son).

His Khalsa initiation in Aden was part of his hopelessly naive attempt to return to India. When he returned to Paris he clearly abandoned his very brief interest in being Sikh; he cut his hair, drank and never wrote a word about his faith. He died leaving a will that quite clearly demanded to be buried. Duleep Singh the Sikh ?

If there is a golden thread that runs through his life, it is that he was used by those around him; by his mother for her own legitimacy, by his cousins as a rallying point for their political ambition, by the British as a fig-leaf for their humanity, by evangelicals to Christianise India, by Queen Victoria to humanise imperialism, by British nobility as an Indian bauble, by his cousins to regain their status, by Fenians and Russians to poke Britain in the eye.

Even after his death his rotting body, buried (as was his wish) is being used by a Sikh ‘heritage’ group for a grand political tamasha by retuning his decomposed body to Amritsar for cremation. He continues to be used even in death.

The real Duleep Singh is much more interesting than the very simplistic, anodyne character depicted in art.

The one very serious objection I have of this film is the choice to cast Bamba using a white actress while the real Bamba was mixed race. Duleep Singh met Bamba when she was 15 years old, she was the illegitimate child of a German and one of his Somali/Eritrean servants.

Bamba was dark skinned, half-caucasian half-Somali, and the film makers have very deliberately chosen a white actress because they couldn’t stomach their hero being seen to marry a dark skinned half-African.

Depicting Duleep Singh as a political hero is an artistic decision, casting Bamba as white underlines Indian racism towards Africans, and I think is completely inexcusable.

Published in: on August 15, 2017 at 4:55 am  Comments (1)  
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