The Telegraph – This is a Kashmiri & an Indian speaking

Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami, the first detained Kashmiri politician to address a media conference, said people in his state were ‘suffocating’ in the lockdown

Pheroze L Vincent

New Delhi – India, 18 September 2019. Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami, the first detained Kashmiri politician to address a media conference in New Delhi in more than a month, on Tuesday made an impassioned appeal to fellow citizens in the rest of India to speak up for the right to life in Kashmir.

“This is a Kashmiri, an Indian speaking. We must also get the chance to live,” said Tarigami, a CPM central committee member who was allowed to travel to Delhi for medical treatment after party general secretary Sitaram Yechury approached the Supreme Court.

“We only ask you to take us along. An average Kashmiri asks for nothing, we don’t ask for the stars, we don’t ask for the heavens. We just want the chance to merge with you,” Tarigami, a four-time MLA, told reporters in the national capital.

He had been detained at his Srinagar residence since 05 August, although no case has been filed against him. Tarigami has been under police guard in hospital with restrictions on meeting journalists. Discharged last week, he is staying at the Jammu and Kashmir Guest House here. On Monday, the court said he was free to return to Srinagar.

Speaking to reporters at the A K Gopalan Bhavan office of the CPM central committee, Tarigami said people in his state were “suffocating” in the lockdown.

“Please listen to us. You have listened to one version. Please listen to the version of the people of Kashmir as well. We don’t have to be killed. Farooq Abdullah and all others (in detention) are not terrorists. Tarigami has not turned to be an alien element for my country. I am not a foreigner.

“Today it has been over 40 days of the clampdown, and we are told this is normality. Try it in Delhi or any other city. If your Internet and telephone do not work for a week, what will be your condition, how will businesses function, what will be the plight of children, of newspapers, the media?”

Referring to Kashmir, he added: “Today, are shops open? No. Are schools open? No. How many beneficiaries have availed themselves of the national health insurance scheme since 05 August 5? None at all. Yet, they say everything is normal.”

Seated beside Yechury, Tarigami said: “All they say is that no one is dying. People are dying slowly. There is suffocation. And that’s why I appeal, not to the rulers to whom my voice may not reach, but to the common public and the poor that we also want to live.

This is a Kashmiri, an Indian speaking. We must also get the chance to live.”

Tarigami expressed concern over a possible fallout. “What has happened on 05 August, how the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been humiliated that does not create confidence, that reduces whatever little was available here and that can only oblige those who want to further destabilise Kashmir, who want more alienation in Kashmir, who want more turmoil in Kashmir, provide fodder to the forces who want to encourage violence in Kashmir,” he said.

Tarigami said that he felt more disturbed now than when his relatives were assassinated by separatists. “Taaliyan baj rahi hain sarhad paar se, ‘Marhaba, Dilli waalon, jo hum na kar paye wo aap kar rahe hain (there is clapping across the border, ‘Greetings Delhiites, you are doing what we could not)’.”

Yechury told reporters that Tarigami would also be filing a writ petition challenging the removal of the state’s special status and its bifurcation without the changes being brought before the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. – Against India’s occupation of Kashmir, Sikh and Tamil groups to hold public demonstration in Delhi on 26 September

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 16 September 2019. Perturbed over the stubborn attitude of the Indian government with regards to the situation in Kashmir, its unrelenting role of disrespecting human rights in the region where the special status of the people and the state has been unilaterally abrogated, political parties from Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kashmir will hold Justice March and Rally in Delhi on 26 September.

The March and rally will be organized jointly by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Dal Khalsa in which representatives of United Akali Dal, Sikh Youth of Punjab will also participate.

Leaders and activists of political party Naam Tamilar Katchi from Tamil Nadu and Committee for Release of Political Prisoners from Delhi will also participate in the public demonstration at Jantar Mantar on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the UN General Assembly, scheduled for 27 September.

While addressing the press conference in Chandigarh on 15 September, leaders of all the parties declared that minorities and nationalities will speak in India’s capital to uphold the right of the Kashmiris to speak.

While Prime Minister of India will present his side of story on Kashmir’s so-called integration into India at the United Nations session, we will speak on behalf of the population, who have been detained at gunpoint and their lives paralyzed since 05 August.

The leaders announced that in India they would hold the demonstration and at international level our aligned group Sikh Youth of America and our own organizational units in US will join with Sikh, Tamil and Kashmiri Diaspora outside UN headquarters to protest against India’s highhandedness against minorities and lockdown in Kashmir.

SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann said with more than 40 days of continued incarceration of an entire population of the valley, concerned political groups, human rights bodies, civil liberties champions and those who love Kashmir as much as they love Kashmiris have decided to converge on Jantar Mantar to express their solidarity with the people of Kashmir and protest against the continued subjugation by the Indian state.

This Justice Rally will serve as a rallying point to unequivocally declare that the problem of Kashmir, the rights of the people of Kashmir is an international issue and not a bilateral one as India, the Security Council or the United Nations think it to be, said Dal Khalsa head Harpal Singh Cheema.

While we are comforted that the United Nations is raising its pitch of consternation against India on the overall situation in Kashmir, there is still a vast room to do more, added party spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh.

UAD president Gurdeep Singh Bhatinda said the whole country is shrouded in fear. Opposition parties, non-governmental groups, individual human rights defenders are all reeling under the stress caused by the Indian state.

A state of numbness, pseudo-nationalistic and ultra-nationalism is sweeping the country, said Paramjit Singh Mand, president of Sikh Youth of Punjab.

Against India’s occupation of Kashmir, Sikh and Tamil groups to hold public demonstration in Delhi on Sep 26

Dawn – ‘They gave me electric shocks in a dark room’: Screams in the night in occupied Kashmir

Around two dozen young men in the villages of Shopian tell stories of severe torture at the hands of the Indian army.
Disclaimer: The contents of the article below might cause distress to some readers.

AFP Updated 17 September 2019

The soldiers came after midnight, Abid Khan says, his hands trembling, one of around two dozen young men in just one part of occupied Kashmir who say they have been tortured by the Indian army.

The alleged abuse, residents say, is aimed at creating a climate of fear after India stripped the long-restive, blood-soaked Himalayan region of its autonomy on 05 August.

Khan, 26, from Hirpora village in Shopian district, says he was dragged out and blindfolded along with his brother, who has learning difficulties, on 14 August.

“They gave electric shocks to my brother right on the road outside. I heard him scream painfully,” Khan told AFP, showing marks on his arms, legs and buttocks.

Read: Stories of torture following annexation by India emerge from occupied Kashmir

Once inside the nearby Chowgam army camp, Khan said soldiers stripped him naked, tied up his legs and wrists, suspended him and beat him with rods.

The camp major, Khan said, accused him of inviting Riyaz Naikoo from Hizbul Mujahideen, one of several armed groups fighting Indian rule, to his recent marriage.

An uprising in occupied Kashmir has killed tens of thousands since 1989, mostly civilians.

“I kept repeating that it was not true,” Khan said. “Then they gave me electric shocks again on my genitals and wounds. One of them said ‘I will make you impotent’.”

After being released at dawn and barely able to stand, Khan says he kept vomiting for 10 days and only managed to start moving around again after 20 days.

“I can’t eat properly anymore,” he said. “I don’t go into the room my wife sleeps in anymore. It’s better to die with a bullet than undergo such torture.”


New Delhi says its Kashmir lockdown since last month, with mobile service and the internet still snapped in most areas, is to prevent “terrorists” from stirring up trouble.

See: How India is seeking to portray ‘calm, normalcy’ in locked-down occupied Kashmir

India’s national security advisor has denied that the military has committed any atrocities, a statement echoed by Colonel Rajesh Kalia, an army spokesman in Kashmir.

“All counter-terrorist operations are conducted in the most professional and people-friendly manner. Allegations of manhandling levelled against the army are completely baseless,” Kalia told AFP.

But people in Hirpora say they often hear screams from the army camp at night.

Three other villagers told AFP they were also tortured. In total, around two dozen young men in the villages of Shopian told similar stories.

“The army is making examples of two or three young men from each village,” said one resident of Shopian who has compiled a list.

The pattern is often of soldiers raiding homes, taking identity cards and mobiles and telling young men to report to the camps to retrieve them.

One 21-year-old, who declined to be named but shared with AFP photos of his wounds, said he has reported to the Pahnoo camp three times since 27 August and was abused each time.

An officer accused him of giving food to Kashmiri fighters and then offered him money for information, he said. Another time, he was grilled about a former classmate who is now a fighter.

“They gave me electric shocks inside a dark room for about two hours,” the man said, showing scars on his forearm.
In this photo, Abid Khan shows his medical record during an interview with AFP at Haripora village in Shopian district.

‘Come back with names’

Obaid Khan, also 21, from Gugloora village said he had to go to the same camp to retrieve his ID and phone on August 26.

“Eight soldiers kept beating me with rods for a long time. Before they let me go, they asked me to come back with names of stone throwers in my village,” he said, referring to protesters who clash with security forces.

Related: Genocide Watch issues alerts for occupied Kashmir and India’s Assam state [centre/italics]

Sajjad Hyder Khan, a local official in Pinjoora village, told AFP he has seen a list of 1,800 people detained by police and soldiers from Shopian alone, one of the four districts in the southern Kashmir Valley.

Not far from his home in Shopian town, five soldiers in black with “COMMANDO” on their sleeves and carrying assault rifles were going house to house, seeking details of residents.

“In my humble subdued voice, all I can say is that the pressure is there in order to prevent people from protesting,” said Khan, the Pinjoora official.

And it has worked.

The official added: “There has been no stone pelting on the soldiers since August 5.”

The Tribune – In Haryana, NRC just a loud thought

Human rights panel’s former chief Justice Bhalla says yet to draw blueprint

Sushil Manav, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Haryana – India, 16 September 2019. A day after Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Haryana with Justice (Retd) HS Bhalla on board, the latter today said the idea was just a loud thought so far and the blueprint of the NRC was yet to come up.

Justice Bhalla, a former chairman of the Haryana Human Rights Commission (HHRC), said that though the CM had discussed the issue with him on Sunday, people would have to wait for some time for the finer details of the proposed NRC.

“From my discussions with the CM, I have gathered that the Haryana Government wants to provide identity cards to all families in the state. Assam is the only state in the country to have implemented the NRC so far, where the issue of foreigners is a cause for concern.

Haryana does not seem to have any such issue. The discussion the CM had with me on this issue yesterday was more of a loud thought. So, wait for sometime before I am able to provide the exact contours of Haryana’s plans,” said Justice Bhalla.

Contacted by The Tribune today, Khattar said the issue of foreign nationals settled in various parts of the country was a cause for concern for all states, and not merely for some.

“Though the number of foreign nationals in Haryana is not very large, but still we need to have in place a mechanism to identify them. This is an issue of national security and safety,” Khattar added.

The Opposition parties in Haryana, however, are not amused with Khattar’s announcement, as most of them have termed this as a ploy to divert attention from real issues. State Congress president Kumari Selja today alleged that the BJP government in the state had no other issues to talk about, hence it had raised this issue.

“During their five years in office, they have done nothing which they can talk about during the elections. People want jobs, development and business and not the NRC,” Selja added.

Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda asked: “If the BJP government wants to put in place a mechanism for this purpose now, were they sleeping all these five years?”

Dushyant Chautala, convener of the JJP, however, welcomed the announcement, though he said it was needed more in Punjab, J&K, Bihar and other states sharing boundaries with other countries.

The Statesman – Ensure normalcy is restored in Kashmir, SC tells Centre; CJI to visit J-K HC ‘if needed’

Ranjan Gogoi said that he will visit the Jammu and Kashmir High Court after allegations were put forward that the people in the Valley are unable to approach it.

New Delhi – India, 16 September 2019. The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir to “ensure that normalcy is restored” in Jammu and Kashmir even as it asked the institutions to be mindful of national safety and security while doing so.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said that he will visit the Jammu and Kashmir High Court after allegations were put forward that the people in the Valley are unable to approach it.

“If requirement arises, I may visit Jammu and Kashmir,” CJI Gogoi said.

Ensure normalcy is restored in Kashmir, SC tells Centre; CJI to visit J-K HC ‘if needed’ – “This is India, not Hindia,” Tamil Nadu tells Amit Shah

Sikh24 Editors

Chennai – Tamil Nadu – India, 15 September 2019. Despite adopting every cheap tactic, the BJP led Indian government doesn’t appear achieving its goal of fulfilling RSS’ dream of Hindu, Hindi and Hindustan.

The Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has come under fire after giving a call to make Hindi, the unifying language of India, by taking it to every individual and home and using it in every aspect of life.

Amit Shah said this while addressing the ‘Hindi Divas Samaroh’ in New Delhi on September 14.

Going across the party line, the political leaders of Tamil Nadu have slammed Amit Shah for giving this call. Both the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK have been observed on the same page on this issue.

Warning the Centre of another language war, DMK president M K Stalin demanded Amit Shah to take back his statement on Hindi as they were detrimental to national unity and integrity.

“This is India not Hindia. The DMK will not hesitate to unite states which might lose their legitimate rights on account of Hindi hegemony. The party’s high-level policy making body will meet on Monday to decide on the future course of action,” he told the media.

The Education Minister of Tamil Nadu K A Sengottaiyan has asserted that the state is wedded to the teaching of two language formula (Mother tongue Tamil and English) which was being implemented since the days of Anna, the Dravidian stalwart and former Chief Minister C N Annadurai.

“Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had made it clear to the PM and the Home Minister during his interactions that Tamil Nadu would follow only the two language formula,” he said, accompanied by Fisheries Minister K Jayakumar.

Minister for Tamil Development and Culture Mafoi K Pandiarajan said that the Centre shouldn’t impose Hindi at this juncture. “…All the 22 languages should be nourished and people in due course will opt for one among them as the national language,” Pandiarajan said.

Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko is of the view that imposing Hindi would Balkanise the nation.

“Imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states would lead to the Balkanisation of the country with only the Hindi speaking states remaining in the Indian Union,” Vaiko said.

“Hindi can never be the identity of India on the global arena. Amit Shah is wrong as it contains the seeds of divisiveness,” tweeted PMK president S Ramadoss.

“This is India, not Hindia,” Tamil Nadu tells Amit Shah

OFMI – Tulsi Gabbard refuses invitation to “Howdy Modi” event in Texas

Gabbard drops out after Hindu-American congressman’s call to “reject Hindutva”

Houston – Texas – USA, 15 September 2019. An anonymous source within Tulsi Gabbard’s 2020 presidential campaign has confirmed to the Organization for Minorities of India that, despite widespread reportage by Indian media that she will attend, the US congresswoman has refused an invitation to join Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 22 September pep rally in Houston, Texas.

Gabbard’s decision to drop out of the event, dubbed “Howdy Modi,” follows on the heels of Congressman Ro Khanna’s statement, issued last month, that “it’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians.”

Her action marks a significant change in engagement with India’s controversial premier considering she has previously met with him on four occasions.

“Khanna’s statement was immediately recognized by South Asian politicos as a seismic shift in Indo-centric politics,” wrote Amar Shergill on September 3.

An attorney who serves as an executive board member of the California Democratic Party, Shergill continued, “He is the highest ranking American elected official of Indian origin, with a deep understanding of and connection to South Asian politics, and, yet, he stated in decisive moral terms that the dominant political ideology of India must be rejected as a matter of fundamental human rights.”

Hindutva, defined by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom as an ideology that treats non-Hindus as foreign to India, is the guiding philosophy of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP’s Modi, who campaigned as a Hindu nationalist, stated in 2013, “My identity is of a Hindutvawadi [follower of Hindutva].” V D Savarkar, who popularized Hindutva as a religious nationalist political ideology in his 1923 book of the same name, stated, “India must be a Hindu land, reserved for the Hindus.”

In 2014, Gabbard appeared at events celebrating Modi’s election, even wearing scarves bearing the BJP logo. Later, at their first meeting, Gabbard gifted Modi her childhood copy of the Bhagavad Gita on which she had taken the oath of office.

In 2016, she called Modi “a leader whose example and dedication to the people he serves should be an inspiration to elected official everywhere.”

Since 2018, the Hawaiian congresswoman has faced repeated protest for her long-term association with American Hindutva groups, particularly the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.

HSS is the international wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a paramilitary founded on Savarkar’s Hindutva ideology and inspired by fascist movements in Europe. Gabbard’s oldest and most faithful donors include HSS Vice-President Ramesh Bhutada of Houston, who joined BJP (and former RSS) spokesperson Ram Madhav at her 2015 wedding in Hawaii.

Bhutada, as reported by a recent profile of Gabbard, worked from Texas to help elect Modi in India. He reportedly organized a phone bank of 700 volunteers and described US-based preparations for supporting Modi’s campaign as “almost like that for an Indian wedding.” He later called Modi’s election “a second independence for India.”

Several of Gabbard’s other Houston-based donors, such as Bhutada’s relative and business associate Vijay Pallod, traveled to India to campaign for the BJP.

“This is the second time I’ve seen Tulsi drop out of an RSS-sponsored event at the very last minute,” says Jada Bernard, an activist who has protested Gabbard on the presidential campaign trail. In September 2018, Bernard explains, Gabbard announced her withdrawal from the World Hindu Congress in Chicago just three days before the event began.

“Tulsi only withdrew after months of fierce protests by Indian minorities and her own constituents.” he adds. “Because the RSS chief was the keynote speaker, several other Hindu politicians also backed out. We’re seeing Hindus around the world speaking out against Hindutva and reject it as an embarrassment to their religion.”

“As the American public grows more knowledgeable about the violence and hate produced by Hindutva, Congresswoman Gabbard has faced increasing pressure to disassociate from groups that embrace this supremacist ideology,” remarks OFMI’s Arvin Valmuci.

“As Modi’s regime has done nothing except fuel the rise of the RSS and its vicious atrocities against India’s Dalits, Sikhs, Christians, and Muslims, we are encouraged to see Hindu politicians like Ro Khanna and Tulsi Gabbard rejecting association with him.
We call on all other American politicians of every background to follow their lead and abandon their support for Modi and his agenda of supremacy.”

Balbir Singh Dhillon, president of West Sacramento Sikh Gurdwara, says he wants more congressional representatives to speak out against Modi. “This is such a risky situation that Modi has created in South Asia,” comments Dhillon.

“Look at how his policy in Kashmir has caused tension between these three nuclear-armed powers: China, Pakistan, India. Standing up against Hindu nationalism is a matter of grave concern for American foreign policy.”

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity.

Visit for more information.

The Tribune – Supreme Court to hear on Monday pleas against abrogation of Article 370 provisions, curbs in J&K

New Delhi – India, 15 September 2019. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday pleas challenging abrogation of provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, validity of imposition of President’s rule and the related restrictions imposed in the state.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer will be also hearing a bunch fresh petitions, including the one filed by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad seeking permission to visit his family members and relatives.

Azad, who had tried to visit the state twice after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions in Jammu and Kashmir but was sent back from the airport by the authorities, has sought a nod from the top court to visit his family members.

Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference party led by Sajjad Lone has also challenged the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and the validity of the state Re-organisation Bill.

Child right activists Enakshi Ganguly and Professor Shanta Sinha have also filed a plea against the alleged illegal detention of children in Jammu and Kashmir since the revocation of special status.

A plea of Rajya Sabha MP and MDMK founder Vaiko is also listed for hearing, in which he has sought a direction to the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir to produce former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, allegedly under detention following abrogation of Article 370, before the court.

In his plea, Vaiko has said authorities should allow Abdullah to attend a “peaceful and democratic” annual conference, being organised in Chennai on September 15, on the occasion of birthday of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C N Annadurai.

The plea of CPI(M) Sitaram Yechury who had moved the apex court seeking to see his ailing party colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami is also among the batch of petitions listed for hearing.

The top court had allowed him to pay a visit to Tarigami but with certain conditions and had granted him liberty to file a report on his return.

The plea of Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin seeking removal of media restrictions imposed in the valley after the abrogation of Article 370 will also be taken up along with some other petitions.

OFMI – Democratic Party’s “Silence” on Tulsi Gabbard’s RSS links condemned

Over 120 Indian academics and journalists call
US Congresswoman to denounce RSS

New Delhi – India, 14 September 2019, Over 120 Indian academics and journalists have issued a statement denouncing US Congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s “sullied association” with the RSS, an Indian paramilitary, and demanding that the Democratic Party “cut all ties with her” unless she denounces it.

“We, the undersigned, condemn the immoral silence of the Democratic Party and its members on Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s association with the Hindu-militant organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and its American affiliates,” says the statement.

Signatories include Ashok Swain (Professor, Uppsala University), Richa Nagar (Professor, University of Minnesota), Chaman Lal (Retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University), Ram Puniyani (Retired Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay), Umar Khalid (United Against Hate), John Dayal (Spokesperson, United Christian Forum), and Shabnam Hashmi (social activist).

“The rise in the world of politics for Gabbard, who projects herself as a progressive espousing ‘American liberal values’, was made possible by a network which unapologetically professes an ideology of hate-and-divide which is enshrined in their supremacist beliefs,” continues the statement.

Citing a recent profile of Gabbard published by India’s Caravan magazine, it explains, “Since the beginning of her political career, Gabbard has been funded by members of groups like Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, Overseas Friends of the BJP, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Ekal Foundation, which have direct links with the RSS.”

Noting that Gabbard “benefited from her close association with BJP-RSS and their affiliates,” the statement argues, “It would be a moral failure of members of the Democratic Party to have within their ranks a person like Gabbard who has supported and is backed by a network under whose rule India has witnessed increasing violence against Christians, Muslims and Dalits, disenfranchising of minority groups, illegal detention and clampdown on human rights of Kashmiris, and crushing of rational and progressive voices.”

The statement concludes: “We demand that unless Gabbard unequivocally and publicly denounces the hate politics of RSS, the Democratic Party leaders hold her accountable for being hand-in-glove with forces of hate and cut all ties with her.”

“We welcome this broad coalition of voices from India speaking out against Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s extensive ties to the RSS,” comments Arvin Valmuci, a spokesperson for Organization for Minorities of India. “The RSS has led pogroms against minorities in India on multiple occasions and is responsible for the gruesome massacre of Christians and Muslims.

It has a vast network within the United States which has worked closely with Gabbard to whitewash its crimes in India. The Democratic Party must speak out against her association with these supremacist groups.”

Gabbard, who is also known for her close association with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will join Modi in Houston, Texas on September 22 for a pep rally organized by various US affiliates of the RSS.

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity.

Visit for more information.

The Hindu – One nation-one language will never be a reality: Jairam Ramesh

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 15 September 2019. Amid a raging debate over Hindi as a common language for the country, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said it would never be a reality.

The Rajya Sabha member also noted that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was under attack daily by forces out to “denigrate and obliterate” his legacy and the very idea of India would “die” if his ideas were abandoned.

“We may have one nation-one tax, but one nation-one language will never be a reality. We are one nation, we are many languages,” he said.

Mr Ramesh was delivering the Sir M Visvesvaraya memorial lecture, A Prime Minister and an Engineer, at an event organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry to commemorate the birth anniversary of its founder Visvesvaraya, who was also the Diwan of Mysore State.

Mr Ramesh, who began his speech by addressing the dignitaries, including the Governor and Chief Minister, and the audience in English, Kannada and Hindi, said “I have spoken in three languages in one minute, just to give you a message”.

“We may have one nation-one tax, one nation-one election, but under no circumstances can we have one nation-one culture, one nation-one language,” he added.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday had pitched for Hindi as a common language for the country, reigniting the debate on the issue, as parties in the South said they would oppose any attempt to “impose” the language.

Congress, too, had cautioned against stirring up “emotive” issues “settled” by those who framed the Constitution, after Mr Shah said that while diversity in languages is India’s strength, a national language is needed so that foreign languages and cultures do not overpower the country’s own.

Listing out various accounts related to Nehru and Visvesvaraya, Mr Ramesh said he was a perfect model of intellectual integrity and financial probity, both values that are endangered today.

“Today we recall this remarkable man as an annual ritual. How much our country would gain if we were to follow his example the other 364 days as well,” he said.

Mr Ramesh said Nehru, the architect of the modern Indian nation state, had anchored in an open, liberal, representative democracy, that was also a celebration of diversities amidst unity, scientific temper and planned economic development, all of which were now under “daily attack” by forces out to “denigrate and obliterate” his legacy.

“As an unabashed but not uncritical admirer of his, I must say that the very idea of India will die if we abandon the ideas of Nehru. Recognising his contributions and standing up for the causes he championed would be the best tribute we would be paying to Visvesvaraya himself,” he added.

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala and Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa were present at the event, where Advaith Hundai director Dr S V S Subramanya Gupta was conferred with the Sir M. Visvesvaraya Memorial Award, 2019.

Referring to Dr Gupta’s request to the Chief Minister for better infrastructure in Bengaluru, Mr Ramesh mocked Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol’s recent comment that good roads were responsible for accidents, without taking his name.

“There are some people who think that good roads in Bengaluru lead to more deaths,” he said.

Amid calls that the government should first improve road infrastructure before imposing hefty fines for traffic violations, Mr Karjol had recently said good roads were responsible for accidents.