Thursday, April 21, 2011

David Vs Goliath. Revolution at stone’s throw??? On Kashmir

Among many correct observations of Marx one is that, “revolutions are locomotives of history”. According to Theda Skocpol, “social revolutions are rapid, basic transformations of a society’s state and class  structures; and they are accompanied and in part carried through by the class based revolts from below”. In Why Men Rebel? Ted Gurr argues that political Ted Gurr argues that political violence occurs when many people in society become angry. And people became angry when there occurs a gap between the valued things and opportunities they feel entitled to and things and opportunities they actually get –a condition that could be referred to as ‘relative deprivation”.

Chalmers Johnson adds that when such a situation arises then new and popular leaders emerge on the scene and at first a situation of multi-sovereignty or ‘state within state’ is created; then pre -revolutionary authorities lose their legitimacy to rule; and finally give way to the new leadership. Gurr has classified political violence as per to their spontaneity, leadership, planning and scale. For him ‘turmoil’, ‘conspiracy’ and internal war are different from each other. When the discontent in the masses pushes them to resort to the internal war category, large scale terrorism, guerrilla wars, civil wars become order of the day that finally give birth to a revolution. Internal war is different from just turmoil because despite all its disorganisation and spontaneity it is fairly organised and planned; and it is different from conspiracy as it enjoys huge popular support and mass base.

Thus if judged from the Gurr’s premises, the primary causal sequence in political violence is first the development discontent, second the politicisation of the discontent, and finally its actualisation in violent action political objects and actors” – the violence shrouding Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir are by all criteria political violence. People are resentful; they are fighting for their rights, recognition and self-rule. And strange enough they appear fairly successful- stoning their way to freedom despite all the armed might of adversary powers. In this issue, we will glance through the prevailing conditions in some of these areas, the progress of people’s resistance, their sacrifices, its significance and off course possible way outs.

Scholars like James Manor have argued from the outset that Indian state has failed to manage Kashmir. Now this is the least what we could say. The recent agitations rather revolts too were tried to be suppressed with states brutal coercive power that proved too short to meet the will determination and resistance of the stone pelting Kashmiris. 

In words of an Urdu Poet;
Every tyrant of the day considers his strategies impregnable
But the time will tell him that; “your sword was blunt’.
Tell the enemy to refill his quivers whenever he wishes
There are thousands of chests by our side if he has countless of arrows.

What should be done is the question that baffles the mind. Simplistically arguing imperialist powers should simply (and truly) pull away from Iraq and Afghanistan. Pre-1948 status quo should be achieved in Palestine. The governments of India and Pakistan must at least show the courtesy to give up their illegitimate and procrastination conditions and come to the negotiating table with Kashmiris to come up with some sort of permanent solution’ once and for all. Afterwards initiatives must be taken to ensure self-government and that will be the end of the ghost of Kashmir Dispute.

However, we are aware of that its not going to be that simple. The current upsurge of the kashmiris is spontaneous and leaderless. And so it is argued that people have no particular end in their mind; they are just angry. The popular passage of the time and so there is no need for any ‘drastic ‘ policy change. ‘beating around the bush’ will once again save the day. We can counter this line of bureaucratic argument with the statement of Jeremy Brecher that “revolutionary  movements rarely begin with a revolutionary intention; this only develops in the course of the struggle itself”. Thus; if this discontent is allowed to boil up to its logical conclusion- i.e. revolution- the indian state has all to blame itself and its false sense of arrogance and pride. Like Katherine Chorley all those who believe that, “ no revolution will be won against a modern army when that army is putting out its full strength against the insurrection” will be wonder- and thunderstruck when the inevitable will happen.


In a move that is supposed to abet protectiomism and regulate the press freedom, the Union Cabinet passed the amendments to the Press and Registration of Books Act,1867. The proposed legislation, which has already done the rounds of various concerned ministries is currently being scrutinised  by the law ministry. The main purpose of the act is to limit the foreign content(syndication) and bar terror convicts from bringing out any publication. The proposed law, among  other things, also makes it mandatory for an editor of a publication or a newspaper to be a citizien of India. The legislation is expected to be tabled in the Budget Session of the Parliament. The Act will hold good for both traditional and new media, which makes it an important attribute of internet freedom, once it comes into force.

The name of the act is to be revised to Press and Registration of Books and Publications Act(PRBP) and the Press Registrar is to be called as the Press Registrar General. According to a suggesgtion made by Information and Broadcasting Ministry, publication will also include electronic media, more pertinent to films and documentaries.To be more precise, it means reproduction of publications, stored in media, magnetic, optical computer memory, micro film, computer generated micro fiche or similar device or in the world wide web. New definitions have been put forward for 'editor', 'newspaper', 'publication', 'journals' and 'newsletter'.

There is also a provision for making mandatory the circulation verification and filing of annual statements by publishers. There are punishments ranging from banning the newspaper to thirty days to cancelling their licences. Cancellation of licences will only take place, if the publisher fails to file the annual statements for three consecutive years. For Title verification, the publications has to be a legal entity registered under Indian legislation, or a citizen of India in case of an individual. Minors, persons of unsound mind; insolvents; persons convicted for a cognizable offence; and persons not Ordinarily Resident in India won't be legally allowed to bring out their publication or newspapers. The owner of any proposed publication  may propose one or more titles in the order of preference but not in excess of five titles. The citizen of India who intends to bring out a publication and who is also the owner, then shall make an application to the Magistrate in the prescribed form, accompanied by a nominal fee for his request to be processed.The Magistrate will recommend or reject the application within a period of 3 months. Titles which match other publications, are obscene, similar to symbols of terrorist organizations will not be registered.

There are also provisons in the amended Act to regulate the foreign content or syndication, and foreign investment in a publication. Foreign investments are to be limited by laws prescribed by the investing country for such purpose and 'fascimile edition' or replica of foreign newpaper or publication with minor changes, can be printed after getting sanctioned by GOI.

Whenever any owner or printer or publisher prints or publishes any publication that do not conform to the  Act and the Rules made under this Act, he/she shall be liable for penalties ranging from suspension of the publication for a period up to 30 days or a fine of up to Rs. 5000 (five thousand) or both for first offence to cancellation of registration or a fine of up to Rs. 50000 (Fifty thousand) or both for third offence.

The Government is being blamed by various stakeholders for not taking into account their interests and objections, although it invited their suggesgtions and recommendations. Meanwhile, the Association of Indian Magazines(AIM), at their meeting came down heavily on the Government. Paresh Nath, Editor & Publisher, Delhi Press, said, “The proposed amendment by the Government is unnecessary. The old Act was working well during the British reign and after independence also it had been satisfying so far. The industry doesn’t need any amendment which will restrict the fundamental right to freedom of expression in any way.”

INS president Kundan R Vyas, who maintained that the purpose of legislation ought to be to remove anomalies, charged that some of the provisions were still draconian and violative of the Constitution. Vyas urged Soni to take a serious view on concerns of the industry and initiate consulations with the industry. “The suspension of a publication is too wide a power to be granted to a magistrate or even Press Registrar. Any provision that causes cessation of a publication has no place in democracy and is violative of the right to freedom of speech under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution,” he said.

Dr. Binayak Sen Is Speaking Up A Crime?

A review by MassCoMedia Trainee

A person who fights for Human Rights and Questions the Government policy will be sentenced to life imprisonment. This is what the Law says. According to Section 124(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), “ Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by Law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.” Same was the law (of sedition) that was used to convict Mahatma Gandhi during British Rule. After independence and happily, we inherited the British system.
Dr. Binayak Sen, a doctor by profession is a noted Human right activist who has dedicated his life for a Cause. He worked for the tribal people of Chhittisgarh who are devoid of the basic amenities. On 24th Dec, the Session court of Raipur found him guilty of sedition and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
His only crime is that he raised his voice against the ‘salwa judum’, a private force armed by the Chhittisgarh Government to take on the Tribals and Maoists, forcing them to leave their land to the big-shot Mining companies. Salwa Judum has committed many crimes, the list of which is endless; burnt houses, looted tribal’s property, raped women and killed people. Though government admits all of these crimes, not a single case has been registered against Salwa Judum, only because it is backed by the state government.
Der. Sen fought for people who have been exploited over years, who are deprived of Education, Healthcare and resources needed to ensure their Sustainability. What they want is not ‘Development’ but protection of their ‘land’ and basic amenities.
In spite of Dr, Sen’s statements that he neither condones the Naxalites nor approves of their violent method, speaking strongly against them several times, he gets falsely accused of sedition and conspiracy.
The evidence that was presented against Dr. Sen is:
·        A post card dated 3 June 2006 written to Dr. Sen by Narayan Sanyal (while lodged at the Raipur Central Jail), regarding his health as well as lagal case, which is duly signed by the jail authorities carrying the Seal of the jail Authorities
·        A booklet “ on the Unity between CPI (Peole’s War) and Maoist Communist Centre” in Hindi.
·        A letter written by Mdanlal Banarjee( a member of the CPI-Maoist) from jail addressed “ Priya Comrade Binayak Sen”
·        A photocopy of an article in English titled “ Naxal Movement, Tribals and Woman’s Movement”
·        A hand written photocopied note “ how to build an anti-US imperialist Front”
·        Eight page article titled “ krantikari Janwadi Morcha (Revolutionary People’s Front) Vaishavikaran Awam Bahrtiye Seva Kshetra (Globalisation and the Service Sector in India)
What is the reason of Dr. Sen’s life-time imprisonment? Is it because, he visited Narayan Sanyal in jail 33 times? Is talking to a prisoner with prior police permission a Crime? The Post card written by Mr. Sanyal was duly signed by the jail authorities. Mr. Sanyal was being treated by  Dr. Sen for fibromatosis. Is treating a prisoner a Crime?  Moreover, Mr. Sanyal was not jailed as a Naxalite, rather, he was accused of murder. Most importantly, all the meets of Dr, Sen with Mr. Sanyal was under the strict supervision of jail authorities. All that they talked was about Mr. Sanyal’s health and his case. When they never met alone, how is Dr, Sen accused of conspiracy?
Refuting to follow his party’s line in Chhattisgarh, Ram Jethmalani, eminent lawyer and BJP member says that “it is a case of low evidence”
The hard –to-belief reality is that the Chhattisgarh government has signed hundreds of MoUs(Memorandum of understanding) with many Mining companies and other MNCs. It is public that there have been many visits of American Ambassadors to Raipur and other cities of Chhattisgarh in the recent times. All of this suggests that Dr, Sen’s  arrest is nothing but a Capitalist agenda in the disguise of ‘development’. As Arundathi Roy suggests, it isn’t Maoist corridor, rather, it must be called a ‘MOUist corridor’.
In this regard, india should not follow the path of China by turning down the Voices raised against the Government. When the Human Rights activist of China, Liu Xiaobo called for the end of communist one-party rule in China, he was incarcerated as a political prisoner. Is India-walking into the foot-steps of China-not ridiculing the “Right to Freedom of speech”  by convicting Dr. Binayak Sen of being a conduit between the Naxalites? His is one such case of excesses on basic human rights of the citizens of India, there are thousands such cases but who cares.
It’s high time that we analyze our shortcomings, raise our voices for this cause and let would hear it!! Cry Out!!!

A twinge of Democracy

Dhairya Maheshwari, Media Trainee, MassCoMedia

Changes,however trivial or revolutionary are often tumultuous and sweat is
 their provender. And they go in proportion with their magnitude. National
or regime changes,as history suggests, are always accompanied by chaos, din
and some amount of blood-shedding.For blood is what instils fear and anger,
the two drivers behind revolution.

The Day of Anger, or January 25th, the day when it all started. Egyptians, in
flagrant disregard of their autocratic laws, defied the thirty-year old 
emergency-rule and took to streets irrespective of their class or age.Under
 the law, police powers are extended, constitutional rights suspended, 
censorship is legalised, and the government may imprison individuals 
indefinitely and without reason. The law sharply limits any non-governmental
 political activity, including street demonstrations, non-approved political
 organisations, and unregistered financial donations.Although socially 
liberal than most of other Muslim-regimes and having a more inclusive society,
Egyptian people toiled with shackles of poverty and oppression(mostly police)
holding them from integrating with rest of the world.Human rights organisations estimate that in 2010 between 5,000 and 10,000
 people were in long-term detention without charge or trial. They could not express 
themselves, and number of government dissendents inundated the jails.Egyptian
youth, which was continuously growing restless due to rising unemployment and
social oppression, and not being able to decide its country's fate unlike 
elsewhere in the world decided to give it back to the government and take its
rights, forcefully.President Mubarak, no doubt, did a commendable job by 
laying emphasis on education. As a result, literacy rate in Egypt is pretty
high as compared to other parts of the Arab World. But even Britishers built
railways in India hoping to gain from it, and it was one reason that led to 
their doom. Similarly, Mubarak could not take into account rising aspirations
of the educated youth and it could,very well, be his last fight.
The Sarajevo moment of the uprising is attributed to the Alexandria Church 
bombings just after the New Year's eve.The inability of the Mubarak-led 
National Security Forces to protect the Church was seen as a breach of trust 
by Egyptian people and Christians, along with Muslims, marched to streets 
condemning the Mubarak govenrment. The bomb was alleged to have been planted 
by Gaza-based Army of Islam and killed 23 people.
The Egyptian Army, after exercising much restraint, had to take up to streets
on January 30th. They have not fired at the protestors, and see this as an 
oppurtunity to outster Hosni Mubarak, who has tried in the past to lessen
its influence by forming his own Security outfits. The Army, which enjoys
good rapport with the people of Egypt,in a sign of solidarity with the people
helped them in organising themselves and has really prevented the matters 
from going bad to worse. It has thwarted attempts by pro-Mubarak rabble 
rousers to cause mayhem. To paraphrase Manu Pubby of Indian Express, who is 
reporing from Cairo, there is a  carousal atmosphere prevailing with people
singing patriotic songs. They are assisting the army in checking credentials
of foreign journalists and preventing pro-Mubarak supporters from entering
the crowd beyond certain vantage points.The Army, which has direct linkages 
with US Defense Department, is closely being scrutinised by all around the 
world. It is the single most important entity, whose action or misactions 
could change the course of the revolution. It is being alleged that US$1.3 
billion of military aid each year in addition to economic and 
development assistance from the US has kept the Army quiet until now.The 
American clout is clearly visible here. And so is its flak toward a 
dictator it has backed for the last thirty years.US have supported the people
and called for a peaceful transition as early as possible. But Mubarak wants
to complete his term and go in September citing instability and chaos that
would follow his retirement.He has made encouraging overtures that suggest
change of guard is imminent in near future.A statement issued from Suleiman's 
office after the meeting said that the
 government had offered to form a committee to suggest required 
constitutional amendments by the first week of March, pursue corrupt 
officials, undo curbs on media freedom, liberalise communication, lift an 
emergency law in the country and open an office to look into the release of 
political prisoners.But people want an immediate switchover.
Another important player in the uprising is Muslim Brotherhood. They have
a considerable presence in Egypt and are leading from the front.The MB stands
for Islamic Law and that is what is feared most by its critics. But MB insist 
that they will run their society on tenets of Islam, which stands for tolera-
nce and peace. Women will have a choice to wear what they want. Secularism
will be the order of the day.But they have been involved in violent activit-
ies in the past and thats what is worrying about them.We do not want a second
Who gains from this uprising? Well,ideally it should be the people. But bomb-
blasts from MB dominated Gaza-strip or military suppoting the people and 
reverberating the US. It can make one ponder. President Mubarak may be right
to not to relinquish power immediately as it may lead to power struggle in 
which people may be left unattended,but who can trust him or his motives
either. One thing is for sure, somebody is gaining big time from this turn 
of events. 


Neha Kedia, Media Trainee, MassCoMedia

After a nonstop 98 hour fast unto death, Social activist, Anna Hazare was successful in getting the Government to agree on his terms and conditions towards the formation of Joint Drafting Committee for the Lokpal Bill.
Hazare called of his fast on Saturday morning when government agreed to issue an official order to set up a 10-member joint committee of ministers and civil society activists to draft a new Lokpal Bill. The drafting panel is to be headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and include Hazare himself as one of the member from the crusading camp. The panel has given the deadline of June 30 to complete its work so that the Bill can be introduced in the monsoon session of the parliament.

Facebook, Twitter and Short Message Service (SMS) played an important role in making people aware and urging them to fight against corruption. Arvind Kejriwal, the prominent member of the crusading camp, said that the idea to use Facebook and Twitter came from the protests of Egypt and Libya to communicate with the masses and making people to take some action against corruption.

Anna Hazare employed Gandhian way of protest against corruption in India. Last time when Anna sat on fast­ in 2006, Central Government withdraw its proposal to amend Central RTI Act; in 2002, Maharashtra RTI Act was passed; 400 corrupt officers were dismissed from job; six corrupt ministers in Maharashtra had to resign. “Anna hazare is reborn as Gandhiji. So I am supporting him through my brush by making a potrait of Gandhiji” Tabrez Alam, a painter who came from Bihar said.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Audi TT-Vishal Bawa( MCAJ 1st sem)(MassCoMedia Student)

German car manufacturing company, Audi launched its latest model - luxury 'TT Coupe' in India in March 2008. Latest technology has been used in the engineering of the car, to produce ultimate driving pleasure. It is dynamic from the outside, roomy and luxurious on the inside. The four-seater coupe comes with all the safety equipments that can provide all-round protection to the passengers. Audi TT Coupe is truly a fascinating car from every perspective. The petrol-driven vehicle offers mind-blowing top speed. The powerful engine of TT coupe is surprisingly agile.

Under the hood of Audi TT coupe lies a powerful 3.2L Quattro engine, which generates a power of 250 PS @ 6300 rpm and a peak torque of 320 Nm @ 2500 rpm. The car accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds and promises to deliver a top speed of 250 km/h. The engine is linked to six gears automatic transmission.

Design And Comfort
Audi TT coupe combines the luxury of a sedan with the functionality of a coupe. With a low roofline, the coupe features short front and rear overhangs, which add to its sporty elegance. Adding to the dynamic stance of the vehicle are the prominently flared wheel arches. The ergonomically-shaped folding seats, provided in the rear side of the car, provide comfort to its occupants. The rear seat occupants enjoy equal level of comfort, with ample leg and head room. The seats are positioned at a low level, with effective lateral support that can be adjusted as per the individual's convenience.

The plush interiors of Audi TT coupe are neatly appointed. The cabin is characterized by leather trimmed sports seats in the front and foldable seats in the rear side. The front seats are electronically adjustable, with electric lumbar support. The cabin gets a luggage compartment, which offers ample boot space. The seats are upholstered in finest nappa leather. The trendy instrument panel features audio system and a radio symphony with 6-disc CD changer. It also gets a driver information system.

Ride And Handling
The finely tuned suspension system of Audi TT coupe, with Mc Pherson strut with lower wishbones in the front and four-link suspension with separate spring/shock absorber arrangement in the rear, work in combination to absorb the bumps on uneven roads. The coupe also features an 'Audi magnetic ride', which offers crisp handling. The ventilated discs, which act as the front as well as rear brakes, provide forceful stopping power to the automobile.

Audi TT coupe is fully loaded with advanced safety features. The standard safety equipments, safeguarding the occupants, include Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), dual stage airbags for the front seat passengers, radio remote-controlled central locking, anti-theft device and tyre mobility system. The electro-mechanical steering wheel comes with speed-dependent power assistance.

Variants, Price And Color
Audi TT 3.2 Quattro, the only model of the car available in India, is priced at Rs 46 lakh (approx). It comes in five dazzling colors, including Phantom Black, Sprint Blue, Solar Orange, Brilliant Red and Ibis White.