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The Egg Debate – Missing the Bean in the Room? Dr Arun R, Ashraf Mohammed and Sejal Parikh

July 31, 2015

Guest Post by Dr ARUN R, ASHRAF MOHAMMED, SEJAL PARIKH

The Madhya Pradesh government’s recent decision to continue avoiding eggs in children’s mid-day meal schemes sparked off heated debates in newspapers, social media and the television. There are several facets to the inclusion of eggs in mid-day meal schemes. This article examines those, and sheds light on facts and perspectives ignored by most parties involved in these debates.

Opponents of the government decision have rightly pointed out the resistance to certain food options for the midday meals scheme in schools is largely due to caste oppression and class privilege. In India, diet has indeed been used, historically and now, as a tool in oppressing dis-privileged caste and minority-religion groups. These groups comprise a huge chunk of India’s impoverished people who must get all the government support possible for meeting their dietary and other needs. Interestingly, governments which oppose eggs on the basis that they are not vegetarian do not have any problem with dairy, when dairy also involves the killing of spent cows and male calves (apart from the forced impregnation of cows every year). While we must acknowledge and oppose these forms of bigotry steadfastly, the way we do it should be such that we don’t uphold one good cause at the expense of another. Read more…

All That Remains for Us to Consider in the Wake of the Death of Yakub Memon

July 31, 2015

Yakub Menon was murdered yesterday morning. Apparently it was his birthday. When his brother Suleman and his cousin Usman met him on Wednesday afternoon his words to them, as reported in today’s Indian Express, were – “Agar woh mujhey mere bhai ke gunahon ke liye sazaa de rahe hain, toh mujhe kabool hai. Par agar unko lagta hai ki mein gunehgaar hoon aur sazaa de rahe hain, toh yeh galat hai. Main bekasoor hoon.” (If they are punishing me for the sins of my brother, then I accept this verdict. But if they are punishing me because they think I am guilty, then it is wrong. I am innocent.)

Read more…

Tough Girls in a Rough Game: Normalizing public discussion of ‘She things’ in Bangladesh — Nazia Hussein

July 30, 2015

Guest post by NAZIA HUSSEIN

On 28- 29 May, 2015 the play titled It’s a She Thing was first staged in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Inspired by Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, eleven young Bangladeshi women decided to develop a local adaptation with their own accounts of sexual, aesthetic, psychological and emotional experiences of being a woman. Many of the stories were written by the performers themselves while some were taken from Naripokkho, a nationwide women’s advocacy organization. Read more…

Goodbye Dr Abdul ‘Strangelove’ Kalam: Satya Sagar

July 29, 2015

GUEST POST by SATYA SAGAR

They say one should not speak ill of the dead. And yet I propose to do precisely that about Dr Abdul Kalam, the `Austere, Hardworking, Diligent’ and now recently departed ‘Missile Man’.

I am willing to break convention on this occasion for several reasons.

The first one is a very simple and practical one. I have always found it very safe to speak ill of the dead. For, not only do dead men ‘tell no tales’, they also ‘pull no triggers’. And since neither me nor Dr Kalam (as far as I know) have ever believed in ghosts I doubt he is coming back to haunt my house anytime soon.

Secondly, I find it difficult to subscribe to the popular media fiction that Dr Kalam rose from a modest background to the highest positions in the country merely through dint of learning, commitment and a burning passion for great achievements in his heart. While there are many good, sincere, hard-working scientists in the variousinstitutions Dr Kalam was part of,mostof themwill not rise to any big administrative or political positions as only afew know howto play the game of ‘patriotism’ to promote their own careers. Read more…

Teesta, Yakub and Hijab – The Triple Tests of Nationalism: Saif Mahmood

July 28, 2015

Guest post by SAIF MAHMOOD

If you are Indian but not a supporter of the present Government, on social media your loyalty to your country will be tested on the following touchstones :

  1. Have you said anything against the CBI’s palpably malicious agenda against Teesta Setalvad or even hinted that, even if the CBI’s allegations are taken on their face value, she is entitled to anticipatory bail ?
  2. Do you think that the decision to hang Yakub Memon deserves one last re-look ?
  3. Have you criticised the manner in which female Muslim and Christian PMT aspirants were told to take off their hijabs and scarfs if they wished to take the test and / or the intemperate language in which the Supreme Court refused to interfere in the matter?

If the answer to any of the above questions is in the affirmative, you have just failed the loyalty test; and failed you have, irrespective of the reasons that you may have for your answers. Read more…

याकूब मेमन को फांसी – न्याय के लबादे में अन्याय ?

July 28, 2015

Sify.com cartoon on Yakub Memon hanging by Satish Acharya

(courtesy : sify.com cartoon by satish acharya)

‘क्या आतंकवाद से जुड़े मामलों में अदालतें एवं अधिकारी भारतीय समाज की रक्तपिपासा की भावना से सामंजस्य दिखाने की कोशिश करते है ? आतंकवाद से जुड़े लोग, फिर भले ही वह उपरोक्त अपराध को अंजाम देने में हाशिये पर रहते आए हों, उन्हें दोषी करार देकर सूली पर चढ़ाया जाता है ?’

वरिष्ठ पत्रकार मनोज जोशी ने याकूब मेमन को फांसी देने के निर्णय को प्रश्नांकित करते हुए यह बात पिछले दिनों लिखी। /देखें http://www.thewire.in व्हाय याकूब मेमन शुड नाट बी हैंग्ड, 17.7.2015/ गौरतलब है कि 1993 में मंुबई में हुए बम धमाके के एक आरोपी याकूब मेमन की प्रस्तावित फांसी के प्रति असहमति प्रगट करने में महज जनतांत्रिक अधिकारों के लिए समर्पित लोग एवं संगठन ही आगे नहीं आए हैं बल्कि सिविल सोसायटी के अन्य लोग मसलन पत्रकार, लेखक, अभिनेता आदि भी आगे आए हैं। Read more…

The courts of this country are on trial, not Teesta: Indira Jaising

July 27, 2015

INDIRA JAISING writes in The Times of India

The hounding of Teesta Setalvad is timed to coincide with the publicly articulated urge of the Prime Minister to get a “clean chit” from the courts in relation to the ongoing cases in Gujarat, which Teesta has been doggedly pursuing. She is the victim of the pursuit for justice.

We are being asked to roll back the clock, consign the 2002 Gujarat carnage to the dustbin of history and replace Teesta Setalvad as the villain, who hounded the then chief minister…Can the collective amnesia on the Gujarat riots, and the view that we must move on be legitimized?

All this could possibly happen if Zakia Jafri and Teesta Setalvad, who are doing everything constitutionally and legally possibe to hold the head of the then government accountable, are checkmated, preferably gagged, and put into jail.

Read the rest of this damning indictment of the Indian justice system here.

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