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Time to fight against destructive elements in society: Amjad Ali Khan(Interview)
New Delhi, Nov 19: Veteran sarod player Amjad Ali Khan feels that it's high time everyone stood up against "disturbing elements that are trying to take away peace from the world" -- and artists should show the way. "Creative freedom needs some space. No world can stay united if you are not together from heart and soul. It's time for us to stand together against terrorism and other destructive elements that are curbing our growth and making us go back in time," Amjad Ali Khan told IANS when asked about his take on the backlash faced by some artists from a section of society. "How can someone disturb the peace, tranquility and why is nobody reacting to it? Education is important, but that is not the only way to bring compassion in a human being. It's time to raise a hand and fight against destructive elements as we all know that it's just one section of the world which is committed to destroying it," he said, adding that "it's time to fight ag...




There is no enmity between Hindus and Muslims in Ayodhya: Chief Priest of Ayodhya
Saurabh Katkurwar, Ayodhya, Oct 22: Politics over the Babri dispute, including the hate campaign by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), has only complicated a possible amicable solution, contends Mahant Satyendra Das of the makeshift Ram Mandir at the disputed site here, saying there was no enmity here between the two communities over the issue. He said the apex court's verdict was likely to be in favour of constructing the Ram Mandir at the disputed site -- where once stood the 16th century Babri Masjid that was demolished by Hindu fundamentalists in 1992 -- as evidence "clearly showed" the existence of a temple at the spot in the past.Satyendra Das said the court's decision was expected soon, thus facilitating the construction of the "long-cherished" grand mandir at the birthplace of Lord Ram in a year's time."The court's decision is expected soon. All things are in place and all evidence has been presented by the Hindu side to prove that the Ram Mandir exi...




Lack of jobs will be major issue in next LS polls: Yashwant Sinha
Sinha said there was no clear policy emerging on how to tackle the distress in various sectors. He referred to the way the share market was behaving and called it a case for study. RBI has said it will prevent volatility from market. V.S. Chandrasekar and Meghna Mittal,New Delhi, Oct 6: Dissident BJP leader Yashwant Sinha remains unfazed by all the criticism he has faced for his strong critique of the economy and asserts that lack of jobs will be a major issue in the next Lok Sabha elections.He also feels any attempt at polarising voters on issues like the Ram temple or Article 370 of the Constitution will not work on a country-wide basis.On demonetisation, which he has been strongly critical of, Sinha says he would have opposed it "tooth and nail" had he been the Finance Minister."I feel vindicated (on the Indian Express article attacking the government's handling of the economy). My first satisfaction is that the issue is being debated. There is quite an inform...




They are destroying India's great achievement of unity in diversity: Writer Nayantara Sahgal
Saket Suman, New Delhi, Oct 3: She grew up during India's fight for freedom under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi and is among the country's foremost writers with feminist concerns. But Nayantara Sahgal, a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family, says that contemporary Indian history is being fantasised, the minorities are under threat and there's a long fight ahead to preserve the "true meaning of India"."In the BJP-ruled states, history is not just being rewritten. It is being fantasised. The Mughal empire is being ruled out of it. (Jawaharlal) Nehru has been wiped out of it. A fictitious narrative is being created in place of history, just as mythology is being promoted as science."The threat to the minorities and attacks on them, especially Muslims, and all others who do not fall in line with the ruling (party's) ideology are destroying India's great achievement of unity in diversity and the democratic freedoms and equality that Indian citizens have enjoyed since indep...




India is secular because most Hindus are secular: Former CEC Quraishi
Mohd. Asim Khan, New Delhi, Oct 1: Intolerance is indeed rising in society but it is not likely to last long as communal polarisation has been a cyclic phenomenon in the country and most Hindus are secular, former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi has said.He also stressed that hate-mongering is not likely to go very far as "the basic ethos of India is secular, which stays", adding that Muslims in India are still better off than they are in several Muslim countries."Yes, intolerance is actually rising... may be for last 5-10 years. It has been in phases. It started with the Babri Masjid dispute, then it subsided. Then it rose again. Elections and vote bank politics perpetuate it," Quraishi told IANS in an interview.He blamed the divisive vote bank politics for the rising intolerance."Have no doubt, India is secular because Hindus are secular. The hate discourse, to my mind, is temporary. It comes and goes, but the basic ethos of India is secular, which ...




Enormous fear among minorities, but more frightening is silence of majority: Harsh Mander
I observed that in the minority community, particularly among Muslims, but also among Christians in tribal areas and among Dalits in some areas, there is enormous sense of fear all across the country. They are living everyday with fear: Former IAS officer Harsh Mander  Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, Sep 25: There is enormous fear among Muslims, Christians and Dalits, but more frightening is the silence of the majority community on the murderous attacks and killings by cow vigilantes or Gau Rakshaks, former IAS officer Harsh Mander says in an exclusive interview with IndiaTomorrow.net, after leading Karwan-e Mohabbat (journey of love) in eight states of the country.   "Our call in the Karwan is for the majority community to look into their own hearts and see what is explaining their silence - is it fear, indifference or is it hate," asks Mander.   Excerpts from Interview:   "We started from Assam, then went to Jharkhand, fro...




Time for India to Review its Electoral System, says Former CEC
Mohd Asim Khan, New Delhi, Sep 21: It's high time India reviewed its first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system that is increasingly emerging as flawed and imperfect, former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi has said."Till a few years back, I would defend the FPTP as a simple, practical system that has stood the test of time. But after the 2014 elections, I had to change my position. Why? Because in 2104 the party which got the third-largest vote-share got zero seats. That is the BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party)," Quraishi told IANS in an interview."Around 20 per cent of the Uttar Pradesh voters voted for the BSP, but they could not elect an MP. Now this is very unfair to those 20 per cent voters, besides the party. The voters feel cheated. This is surely a flaw in the system," he said.He said that the system is also being debated in Britain -- from where India adopted it."The British parliament is discussing the FPTP yet again. In India, too, a Parliamentary...




It's Time for India's Intellectuals to Unite and Protest: Author K.R. Meera
"I think it is the kind of book you can never write again in your life. It was a complicated experience, which I am reluctant to relive or revisit," Meera explained on her experience while writing the book.Somrita Ghosh, New Delhi, Sep 13: With dissenting voices being ruthlessly silenced by right-wing radicals, author K.R. Meera believes that it is again time for India's intellectuals to stand united and raise their voice -- as they did in 2015."With the murder of (journalist) Gauri Lankesh, I think it is time for another wave of protests from the authors and artists of this country," Meera, who earlier worked with the Malayala Manorama, told IANS in an interview.Meera was honoured with the Sahitya Akademi award in 2015 for her book "Aarachar" in Malayalam whose English translation is "Hangwoman" -- at a time when "award-wapsi movement" by the dissenting voices was at its height.However, there has been a deafening silence from th...




If You Stay Silent, You Lose Right to Complain: Filmmaker Govind Nihalani
Kishori Sud, Lonavla, Sep 10: Veteran filmmaker Govind Nihalani, best known for rousing socio-political movies like "Ardh Satya" and "Aakrosh", raised pertinent questions once again with his Marathi film "Ti Ani Itar", about people debating whether to raise their voice against violence or not. The 77-year-old auteur says in real life, if people choose to stay mum, they have no business complaining about it."Ti Ani Itar" (she and others), which features Sonali Kulkarni and released in July, is based on Manjula Padmanathan's play "Lights Out", inspired by a real-life incident that took place in a suburban train in a metro city in the 1980s.While the film is based on a play and an incident which took place 37 years ago, the message and the situation unfortunately seem to be the same today, says Nihalani, who, in fact, believes it has become worse now."In bigger cities as the population increases, rough elements increase. Police become...




Where Are The Achche Din? Govt. Has No Clue About Economy: P. Chidambaram
Chidambaram said it seemed that even after so much was being written and said, the government had no concept of what black money in India was.V. S. Chandrasekar and Brajendra Nath Singh,New Delhi, Sep 5: Slamming demonetisation as a major factor responsible for the current deceleration in the economy, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram says the government was "clueless" about the causative factors on why the GDP was declining and unless these are addressed the Indian economy would be stuck at six per cent growth. He also said that if the government that came on the promise of "good days" (achche din) cannot deliver on growth and jobs in 1,200 days in power, it cannot do so in the next 600 days."Therefore, he (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) has cleverly shifted the goal post to 2022 as though his five-year term is beginning in 2017. It is for the Opposition to expose this," Chidambaram told IANS in an interview.Reacting to the latest Central Statis...




Breaking Pre-Poll Alliance: Should Anti-Defection Law be Amended?
The current law disqualifies legislators when they break away from their party with less than two-third of its legislators.  Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net,   New Delhi, Aug 26: Since Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke away from the public-mandated pre-poll Grand Alliance or Mahagathbandhan in July and overnight formed a new government with BJP - the party he and the Grand Alliance had fiercely fought against and defeated in the 2015 Assembly polls - some political and social circles have had a debate whether the anti-defection law that regulates legislators' political loyalty should be amended to cover political parties that break a pre-poll alliance. The current law disqualifies legislators when they break away from their party with less than two-third of its legislators.   In a conversation with IndiaTomorrow.net, some eminent academicians and civil rights activists said that in wake of the recent political development in Bihar, the anti-defection law sh...




Note Ban was Not Required, I Would Not Have Approved: Bimal Jalan
However, the disruption of demonetisation, which resulted in GDP falling to 6.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016-17, would not impact the long-term growth of the country: Former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan By Meghna Mittal and V.S. Chandrasekar  New Delhi, Aug 9: Though demonetisation had some positives, former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Bimal Jalan says he would not have approved it had he been at the helm of the country's central bank.There is need to tackle the problem of black money at the root and see whether taxes are high, he feels."On balance, if a rupee has been guaranteed by the Government of India and issued by RBI, I should not demonetise it unless there is a crisis," Jalan told IANS in an interview ahead of the release of his book 'India: Priorities for the future' on Wednesday.Asked if there was a crisis that necessitated demonetisation, he emphatically said, "No."Similar was his reply when asked if he would have approved of de...




Deeply disturbed over increase in bigotry under Modi government: Gopalkrishna Gandhi
Sidhartha Dutta and Prashant Sood, New Delhi, Aug 3: The opposition's vice-presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi says that he is deeply disturbed over increase in bigotry and suppression of dissent under the Modi government. Gandhi, 72, who faces the ruling National Democratic Alliance's candidate M. Venkaiah Naidu in the Aug 5 vice-presidential election, also feels that there is need to be vigilant against cow vigilantism."I am deeply disturbed over the increase in bigotry, intolerance and the direct and indirect suppression of dissent. This is not democratic. This is not republican," Gandhi said in an interview to IANS.Answering a query on incidents of cow vigilantism, Gandhi said, "Be vigilant against vigilantism, our former President said. I believe that."Gandhi said the objective of his contesting elections was to offer a choice to the electors worthy of their attention. "And to respond to the invitation from several parties to contest as an inde...




Academicians Urge Citizens to Rise Up Against Mob Violence, Hate
Expressing their concern over the incidents of mob violence, academicians said that time has come that all the people must break their silence over the issue and unite against hate to save the country.  Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, July 30: On weekend when most people either take rest at home or go for outing with their family and friends, the heart of Delhi on Sunday witnessed a unique gathering - where teachers, students and civil rights activists had assembled for a cause.   It was the occasion of a grand bike rally of youths where eminent academicians jointly urged the people to rise up against growing communal hatred and culture of lynching in the country.   Expressing their concern over the incidents of mob violence, academicians said that time has come that all the people must break their silence over the issue and unite against hate to save the country. Some of them strongly criticized the BJP government in the centre and some states ...




BJP Using PMO to Destabilise Tripura: CPI-M Chief Whip
Averring that the BJP was trying to exploit the current situation in Tripura to expand its footprint in the northeast region, Choudhury, a former state minister, said the saffron party is tying up with local parties such as the IPFT to destabilise the state government.Rupesh Dutta,New Delhi, July 26: With the Centre promising negotiations with leaders of the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) -- organisers of the recent 10-day-long economic blockade demanding a separate state for the tribals of Tripura -- CPI(M) senior leader Jitendra Choudhury has accused the BJP of using "unethical and undemocratic" means to destabilise the state.Choudhury, CPI-M Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha, also took a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying it was using the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to instigate the IPFT and other tribal forces against the state government in Tripura, where his party has been in power for two decades.Averring that the BJP was trying to exploit the curren...




Free Speech Faces 'Real Danger', Says Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
Thakurta said the magazine had received a notice from the Adani group that sought an unconditional withdrawal of the two "defamatory and harmful" articles co-authored by him. Sarwar Kashani, New Delhi, July 24: India faces a "real danger to freedom of expression", says Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, a veteran journalist, who quit as editor of Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) after he was asked by the trust that manages the internationally respected journal to withdraw two articles critical of the government for favouring the Adani business group."I do believe that in India, there is real and present danger to freedom of expression, which you and everybody know is fundamental right of every citizen" guaranteed by the Constitution, Thakurta told IANS in a chat over the circumstances that led him to quit the academic journal, known for its strong editorials, scholarly pieces and political commentaries.The editor resigned on July 18, minutes after his meeti...




How MASUKA - a Comprehensive Legal Package to Deal with Lynching - is Need of the Hour, Explains Adv. Sanjay Hegde
Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, July 16: MASUKA or Manav Suraksha Kanoon, a draft law prepared by concerned members of civil society, is the result of an effort to have a comprehensive law to deal with mob violence and lynching, said senior lawyer of Supreme Court Sanjay R Hegde while talking to IndiaTomorrow.net on the sidelines of Jamia Collective event where he spoke on why there is a need for a new lynching law.   "The entire effort is to have one comprehensive package legally which deals with mob situation where the mob tries to take the law in its own hand. The mob and members of the mob will finally come to know that the law is there for everyone including the victim and including the smallest minority," said Adv. Hegde.   In the last three months, around two dozen people have been killed in mob lynching in different parts of the country on suspicion of cow theft, beef or child theft. Most of the lynchings were carried out by self-styled g...




Rahul Gandhi Will Be Face of Opposition in 2019 Election: Jyotiraditya Scinda
Prashant Sood and Sidhartha Dutta, New Delhi, July 9: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi may be elevated as party chief on completion of the organisational election process in October and he will be the opposition's face in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has said.Scindia, 46, who is party's chief whip in the Lok Sabha, also said that the time for introspection is over and the party has to act soon on a gameplan to improve its prospects in the 2019 elections.He claimed that the Narendra Modi government will face defeat in the next elections in the same way as the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had lost power in 2004 despite its "India Shining" slogan."Rahul Gandhi is leading the party and he will be leading the party," Scindia told IANS in an interview when asked who will be the party's face in the next general elections.To a question if Gandhi will also be the face of the larger oppo...




Hold BJP Responsible for Breaking Kashmir Promises: Yashwant Sinha
The "only way out" of the Kashmir problem was to have talks "not only with internal stakeholders but also with people across the LoC, which means Pakistan" as agreed to between the BJP and the PDP -- Yashwant SinhaSarwar Kashani and V.S. Chandrasekar, New Delhi, July 6: The BJP should be held to its promise of dialogue with all stakeholders, including Hurriyat, and even Pakistan, as that is the only way out of the present imbroglio in Jammu and Kashmir, says senior party leader Yashwant Sinha.He feels that after having promised dialogue, citing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, somebody should ask why the Centre is going back on the agenda of the alliance with the Peoples Democratic Pary (PDP)."We should hold them (the BJP) to their own promise in the agenda of the alliance where they have said they would talk to all internal stakeholders. After praising Vajpayee for doing what he did, they were saying that we will do the same thing. Somebody s...




Vigilante Killings Will Damage India's Economy: Yashwant Sinha
My view is that all such incidents, and certainly a clutch of such incidents, create a bad image of the country. Not only within country but also abroad -- Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha  Sarwar Kashani and V.S. Chandrasekar, New Delhi, July 5: In strong disapproval of the recent spate of lynchings in the name of cow protection, veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has said the such incidents create a bad image for the country abroad and serve as disincentive for foreign investments."My view is that all such incidents, and certainly a clutch of such incidents, create a bad image of the country. Not only within country but also abroad," Sinha told IANS in an interview."I am relating it to economic activities and I am saying that it has an adverse impact on the economic activities. As far as lynching per se is concerned, you know unfortunately in our society, such lynching has been going on. It is not always communal," he said.He recalled...




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