Friday, September 13, 2013


           TODAY WE PLEDGE

That we will do ALL WE CAN to preserve the LOFTY IDEALS
Enshrined in our sacred CONSTITUTION

That we will strive to ensure for ALL-specially the poor and marginalized

That Democratic values and SECULARISM
Will ALWAYS be the corner-stone of our country

That we will  do ALL WE CAN- legitimately and non-violently
To prevent fascist and fundamentalist forces from ruling our country

That we will continue to strive for JUSTICE
Till a mass murderer and other perpetrators of injustice are brought to book

That we will continue to wipe the tears
And heal the wounds of the victims of  all violence,particularly communal hatred

That corrupt, vested interests who thrive on lies, myths and propaganda
Will no longer dictate or make us  pawns in their divisive,selfish agenda

That despite apparent odds we will not be cowed down till
                                                                                                    Fr Cedric Prakash sj
                                                                                                    13th September, 2013
Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
PRASHANT   (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052,
Tel :079-27455913/66522333


Please get your name registered as an elector NOW to participate in Lok Sabha Elections, 2014

Please get your name registered as an elector NOW to participate               in Lok Sabha Elections, 2014

Dear ALL,
Here is a message from the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat State, Ms Anita Karwal.
Kindly read it carefully and ensure that you/your family/your community/the people you work with- are REGISTERED as ELECTORS immediately!
If you need further information or have a question- kindly send an email to Ms Karwal directly and copy the same to us-so that we can follow- up matters
Kindly share this information with as many others as possible ,in Gujarat
warm wishes
Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India

Phone : +91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : +91  79  27489018

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: anita karwal <>
Date: 13 September 2013 11:41
Subject: Fwd: Please get your name registered as an elector NOW to participate in Lok Sabha elections, 2014
Dear Friends/Colleagues/Bankers/members of corporate bodies/friends from media/office-bearers of CSOs,
To be able to participate in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, 2014 you have to first ensure that you are registered on the Rolls as an ‘elector’. There will be a small window from 6th September to 5th October, 2013 when the Rolls will be updated in campaign mode (it is called Summary revision). I am making this personal appeal to ensure that you, your eligible family members, your eligible office staff, your eligible friends and neighbors, etc all understand the process of registration and take advantage of it. Through this e mail, I hope to enlist you as a partner of the Election commission of India in trying to ensure greater participation in democracy by our fellow citizens. Here is what you have to do:
  1. Even if you ‘think’ you are registered in the Rolls and possess an Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC), FIRST OF ALL do check your name in the Rolls by:
·         Calling Helpline number 1950 from landline or mobile on any working day during office hours, or
·         Searching online on, or
·         Sending SMS – “epic <space> your EPIC number” to 9227500958 (EPIC stands for Electors Photo Identity Card commonly known as Voter I Card), or
·         Visiting any Matdar Suvidha Kendra in any Collector’s Office, or
·         Visiting any e-gram center in the state after 10th September, 2013
Remember, mere possession of an EPIC does not enable you to cast your vote on poll day. It is necessary that your name should figure in the Electoral Rolls that are updated every year.
  1. There are four kinds of Forms that you need to know about (they are attached below and you can use their print-outs):
·         Form-6: this form is for registering your name in the rolls
·         Form-7: this form is for deleting names from rolls for the reason of death, migration, marriage and shifting, etc.
·         Form-8: this form is for those who find that their names are registered, but certain details need to be corrected (such as name spelling, address spelling, age, etc)
·         Form-8A: this is for those electors who wish to change their address from one Polling Station area to another, within the same Assembly Constituency.
  1. The age criterion for registration is that the applicant must have completed the age of 18 years on or before 1st January, 2014.
  2. If you find that you are not registered, or if you want to register as you have just become eligible, then you may:
·         Take a print out of the attached Form-6 from this e-mail, fill it up, attach requisite proof of age and residence, attach latest photograph and deposit it at the nearest Matdar Suvidha Kendra in Collector's Office or hand over to your Booth level Officer (BLO). The Photo Voters Slip that you got at your residence has the contact details of your BLO. Do NOT forget to take a receipt of your application.
·         Or apply online on during the campaign period in Form -6, or
·         Visit the Matdar Suvidha Kendra and take hard copy of application Form-6, fill it up and submit at the Kendra itself, or
·         Visit any e-gram center in the state after 10th September, 2013 and apply through the center on nominal payment of Rs.10, or
·         Visit the Polling Station where your fellow society resident's go out to vote on 8th, 15th. 22nd or 29th September, 2013. You will find the concerned Booth level officer camping there from 9.30am to 6pm on these dates, and s/he will be able to guide you, provide you forms and even collect them from you. Do not forget to take a receipt of having submitted your application.
·         Or take help from our helpline number 1950
  1. For contacting your Booth Level Officer (there is one for each Polling Booth) you may either:
·         Call Helpline number 1950 from landline or mobile on any working day during office hours and obtain her/his details, or
·         If you possess a valid EPIC, send an SMS to 9227500958 - “blo <space> your EPIC number”, or
·         If you know your Polling Station, go to the icon “Information linked to Polling Station maps” on Election Commission of India’s website – – and see details of BLOs on the GIS map of your Polling Station, or
·         Search your BLO on, or
·         Dial the number of the BLO made available to you in the Photo Voters Slips distributed house to house in June-July this year.
  1. If you are a college going student, there are special facilities for you in your colleges. One person from your college administration has been trained by the election machinery to facilitate you. He is the Designated Officer for this purpose. Check out his contact details on the “Youth Corner” on or simply ask your institution’s management.
  2. Remember that those who are applying during this period will see their names in the Rolls (including online on only on or after 6th January, 2014 and as a consequence will receive their EPIC (cards) after the said date.
If you miss this period of registration from 6th September to 5th October, the next opportunity will come only after this campaign (Summary Revision) is completed. So why miss?
And in case of any complaints/issues, feel free to e mail to me at this ID or call me at 079-23250318 (office), or call the Collector of your concerned District as s/he happens to be the District Election Officer and therefore represents the Election Commission of India at the District level as I do at the State level.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pope Meets with Refugees at JRS Centre from ANERICA Magazine(Sept 11, 2013)

Pope Meets with Refugees at JRS Centre

Yesterday the Pope visited the Centro Astalli, a center for refugees in the city of Rome run by the Jesuit Refugee Service.  While there he spoke with the refugees and the JRS workers.  
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good afternoon!
First of all I greet you, men and women refugees. We heard Adam and Carol: thank you for your strong, deeply-felt testimonies. Each one of you, dear friends, bears a life history that speaks of the tragedies of war, of conflicts, often linked to international politics. But every one of you bears, above all, a human and religious richness, a richness to be received, not feared. Many of you are Muslims or of other religions; you come from several countries, with different situations. We must not be afraid of differences! Fraternity makes us discover that they are richness, a gift for all! We live fraternity!
Rome! After Lampedusa and the other places of arrival, for many persons our city is the second stage. Often – as we heard – it’s a difficult, extenuating journey; what you face can even be violent – I’m thinking above all of the women, of mothers , who endure this to ensure a future for their children and the hope of a different life for themselves and their family. Rome should be the city that enables you to rediscover the human dimension, to begin to smile again. Instead, how many times here, as in other places, so many people who have in writing “international protection” on their residence permit, are constrained to live in hard situations, sometimes degrading, without the possibility of beginning  a fitting life, of thinking of a new future!
Thank you, therefore, to all those, such as this Center and other ecclesial, public and private services, which work to welcome these persons with a plan. Thank you to Father Giovanni and to fellow Jesuits; to you, workers, volunteers, benefactors, who don’t just give something or time, but who try to enter into a relationship with those asking for asylum and with refugees, recognizing them as persons, committed to finding concrete answers  to their needs. Always keep hope alive! Help to recover trust! Show that with welcome and fraternity a window on the future can be opened – more than a window, a door, and even more so if there can be a future! And it’s lovely that those working for the refugees with the Jesuits are Christian men and women and also non-believers or <members> of other religions, united in the name of the common good, which for us Christians is expression of the love of the Father in Christ Jesus. Saint Ignatius of Loyola wanted a space to be made to welcome the poorest in the premises where he had his residence in Rome, and in 1981, Father Arrupe founded the Jesuit Refugee Service, and wanted the Roman headquarters to be in those premises, in the heart of the city. And I think of that spiritual leave of Father Arrupe in Thailand, in fact in a center for refugees.
Serve, Accompany, Defend: the three words that are the program of work for the Jesuits and their collaborators.
Serve. What does it mean? To serve means to welcome the persons who arrives, with care; it means to bend down to one in need and to extend your hand to him, without reservations, without fear, with tenderness and understanding, as Jesus bent down to wash the feet of the Apostles. To serve means to work beside the neediest, to establish with them first of all human relations, of closeness to establish bonds of solidarity. Solidarity, a word that elicits fear from the more developed world. They try not to say it. It’s almost a dirty word for them. But it’s our word! To serve means to recognize and welcome the demands for justice, for hope, and to seek ways together, a concrete course of liberation.
The poor are also privileged teachers of our knowledge of God; their fragility and simplicity will unmask our egoisms, our false securities, our pretenses of self-sufficiency, and guide us to the experience of the closeness and tenderness of God, to receive His love in our life, His mercy of a Father who with discretion and patient trust, takes care of us, of all of us.
From this place of welcome, of meeting and of service I would like you all, all persons who inhabit this diocese of Rome, to ask yourselves this question: do I bend down to one in difficulty or am I afraid to soil my hands? Am I closed in on myself, in my things, or do I notice the one in need of help? Do I just serve myself or am I able to serve others as Christ did who came to serve to the point of giving his life? Do I look into the eyes of those who ask for justice or do I look the other way so as not to look into their eyes?
Accompany. Over these years, the Astalli Center has had a journey. In the beginning it offered first reception services: a refectory, a place to sleep, legal aid. Then it learned to accompany persons in their search for work and social insertion. And later it proposed cultural activities as well, to contribute to the growth of a culture of welcome, a culture of coming together and of solidarity, beginning with the protection of human rights. Hospitality alone isn’t enough. It’s not enough to give a bun if it isn’t accompanied by the possibility to learn to walk with their own legs. Charity that leaves the poor as they are isn’t enough. True mercy, which God gives and teaches us, calls for justice, for the poor to find the way so that they are no longer poor.  It calls for – and asks us, the Church, us, the city of Rome, the institutions – calls for no one being in need of a refectory, of chance lodgings of legal aid service to have his right to live and to work recognized, to be fully a person. Adam said: “We, refugees, have the duty to do our best to be integrated in Italy.” And integration is a right! And Carol said: “Syrians in Europe feel the great responsibility not to be a weight; we want to feel an active part of a new society.” This, too, is a right! Look, this responsibility is the ethical basis; it’s the strength to builds together. I wonder: do we accompany this way?
Defend. To serve, to accompany means also to defend; it means to be on the side of the weakest. How many times we raise our voice to defend our rights, but how many times we are indifferent to the rights of others! How many times we don’t know or do not wish to give voice to the voice of those  who – like you – have suffered and suffer, those who have seen their rights trampled upon, those who have lived so much violence that has suffocated even their desire to have justice!
It’s important for the whole Church that the welcome of the poor and the promotion of justice  are not entrusted only to “specialists,” but that they focus the attention of the whole pastoral, of the formation of future priests and Religious, of the normal commitment of all the parishes, Movements and ecclesial groups. In particular – and this is important and I say it from my heart – in particular I would also like to invite  the Religious Institutes  to read seriously and responsibly this sign of the times. The Lord is calling us to live with more courage and generosity the welcome in the communities, in homes, in empty convents … Dearest men and women religious, the empty convents are useless to the Church if they are transformed into hotels and earn money. The empty convents aren’t ours; they are for Christ’s flesh, which the refugees are. The Lord calls us to live with generosity and courage hospitality in empty convents. It certainly isn’t something simple; we need criteria, responsibility, but also courage. We do so much, perhaps we are called to do more, welcoming and sharing with determination what Providence has given us to serve; to overcome the temptation of spiritual worldliness to be close to simple persons and especially the least. We are in need of solidaristic communities that live love concretely!
Every day, here and in other centers, so many persons, mostly young people, queue for a hot meal. These people remind us of the suffering and tragedies of humanity. But that queue also tells us that it is possible for all of us to do something now. Suffice it to knock on the door, and try to say: “I’m here. How can a give a hand?”
. . . . . 
Here is some background on the visit from the Vatican:
Pope Francis made a private visit on Tuesday afternoon to the Centro Astalli – a soup kitchen and shelter for refugees operated by the Italian branch of the Jesuit Refugee Service [JRS], an international network that assists forced migrants and refugees. In Rome JRS services include three shelters, an Italian language school, a health facility with special attention for victims of torture, legal counseling services and a soup kitchen which is precisely where Pope Francis came to share a meal with the Centre’s guests.
Last year, the Jesuit-run Centro Astalli assisted 21 thousand people. It is one of hundreds of JRS initiatives worldwide: they are found in 50 countries, providing assistance to refugees in camps and cities, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, and people in detention centres. The JRS provides emergency assistance, but not only: their main areas of work include education, healthcare, vocational training and social services. At present, more than 600 thousand people directly benefit from JRS projects. The director of JRS international , Fr. Peter Balleis SJ, told Vatican Radio the work of the organization is deeply rooted in the charism of the Society of Jesus. “250 thousand [direct beneficiaries] are in educational activities,” he said. “So, [as a matter of fact], we fulfill very much the image of the Society of Jesus as being a teaching, an education order – that is what we do.” Fr. Balleis SJ went on to speak of a specific initiative: an educational partnership between JRS camps in Jordan, Kenya and Malawi and Regis University in Denver, Colorado, which allows refugees to be regularly enrolled students in undergraduate programmes. “It’s about the future,” said Fr. Balleis SJ, about, “helping people reflect better, to think better, [to] become different leaders, in order to make a difference when they go back.”
At present, some of the most intense work JRS is doing is in and around war-torn Syria, where they are currently providing accompaniment, emergency items, and psychosocial support for displaced Syrians, as well as educational services for children. 
The text is also found on Vatican Radio webpage and webpage:

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Pope Francis' homily during Peace Vigil(September 7th 2013) "War is a defeat for humankind!"

                                                      September 7, 2013
                      Pope Francis' homily during Peace Vigil
                   " War is a defeat for humankind"

 “Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation.  Look upon your brother’s sorrow and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this achieved not by conflict but by encounter!”, asserted the Pope during this Saturday's peace vigil.  


“And God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:12, 18, 21, 25).  The biblical account of the beginning of the history of the world and of humanity speaks to us of a God who looks at creation, in a sense contemplating it, and declares: “It is good”.  This allows us to enter into God’s heart and, precisely from within him, to receive his message.  We can ask ourselves: what does this message mean? What does it say to me, to you, to all of us?

It says to us simply that this, our world, in the heart and mind of God, is the “house of harmony and peace”, and that it is the space in which everyone is able to find their proper place and feel “at home”, because it is “good”.  All of creation forms a harmonious and good unity, but above all humanity, made in the image and likeness of God, is one family, in which relationships are marked by a true fraternity not only in words: the other person is a brother or sister to love, and our relationship with God, who is love, fidelity and goodness, mirrors every human relationship and brings harmony to the whole of creation.  God’s world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other.  This evening, in reflection, fasting and prayer, each of us deep down should ask ourselves: Is this really the world that I desire?  Is this really the world that we all carry in our hearts?  Is the world that we want really a world of harmony and peace, in ourselves, in our relations with others, in families, in cities, in and between nations?  And does not true freedom mean choosing ways in this world that lead to the good of all and are guided by love?

But then we wonder: Is this the world in which we are living?  Creation retains its beauty which fills us with awe and it remains a good work.  But there is also “violence, division, disagreement, war”.  This occurs when man, the summit of creation, stops contemplating beauty and goodness, and withdraws into his own selfishness.

When man thinks only of himself, of his own interests and places himself in the centre, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power, when he puts himself in God’s place, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined; then the door opens to violence, indifference, and conflict.  This is precisely what the passage in the Book of Genesis seeks to teach us in the story of the Fall: man enters into conflict with himself, he realizes that he is naked and he hides himself because he is afraid (cf. Gen 3: 10), he is afraid of God’s glance; he accuses the woman, she who is flesh of his flesh (cf. v. 12); he breaks harmony with creation, he begins to raise his hand against his brother to kill him.  Can we say that from harmony he passes to “disharmony”?  No, there is no such thing as “disharmony”; there is either harmony or we fall into chaos, where there is violence, argument, conflict, fear ....

It is exactly in this chaos that God asks man’s conscience: “Where is Abel your brother?” and Cain responds: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9).  We too are asked this question, it would be good for us to ask ourselves as well: Am I really my brother’s keeper?  Yes, you are your brother’s keeper!  To be human means to care for one another!  But when harmony is broken, a metamorphosis occurs: the brother who is to be cared for and loved becomes an adversary to fight, to kill.  What violence occurs at that moment, how many conflicts, how many wars have marked our history!  We need only look at the suffering of so many brothers and sisters.  This is not a question of coincidence, but the truth: we bring about the rebirth of Cain in every act of violence and in every war.  All of us!  And even today we continue this history of conflict between brothers, even today we raise our hands against our brother.  Even today, we let ourselves be guided by idols, by selfishness, by our own interests, and this attitude persists.  We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves.  As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain, death!  Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death!  Violence and war are the language of death!

At this point I ask myself:  Is it possible to change direction?  Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death?  Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace?  Invoking the help of God, under the maternal gaze of the Salus Populi Romani, Queen of Peace, I say: Yes, it is possible for everyone!  From every corner of the world tonight, I would   like to hear us cry out: Yes, it is possible for everyone!   Or even better, I would like for each one of us, from the least to the greatest, including those called to govern nations, to respond:  Yes, we want it!  My Christian faith urges me to look to the Cross.  How I wish that   all men and women of good will would look to the Cross if only for a moment!  There, we can see God’s reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death.  In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken. 

This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace!  Let everyone be moved to look into the depths of his or her conscience and listen to that word which says: Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation.  Look upon your brother’s sorrow and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this achieved not by conflict but by encounter! 

May the noise of weapons cease!  War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity.  Let the words of Pope Paul VI resound again: “No more one against the other, no more, never! ... war never again, never again war!” (Address to the United Nations, 1965).  “Peace expresses itself only in peace, a peace which is not separate from the demands of justice but which is fostered by personal sacrifice, clemency, mercy and love” (World Day of Peace Message, 1975).  Forgiveness, dialogue, reconciliation –  these are the words of peace, in beloved Syria, in the Middle East, in all the world!  Let us pray for reconciliation and peace, let us work for reconciliation and peace, and let us all become, in every place, men and women of reconciliation and peace!  Amen.

Friday, September 06, 2013

No model state by Christophe Jaffrelot :( Fri Sep 06 2013)

                   No model state

Christophe Jaffrelot : Fri Sep 06 2013, 03:57 hrs

In Gujarat, growth relies on indebtedness. And relegates development.
The Gujarat pattern of development has often been arraigned from the left because of its social deficits. Indeed, the state's social indicators do not match its economic performance. With 23 per cent of its citizens living below the poverty line in 2010, Gujarat does better than the Indian average — 29.8 per cent — but it reduced this proportion by less than 10 percentage points in five years. This poverty reduction rate has something to do with the wages of casual workers. According to the 68th round (2011-12) of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), Gujarat has among the lowest average daily wages for casual labour (other than in public works) in urban areas: Rs 144.52, when the national urban average is Rs 170.10. This kind of poverty goes with malnourishment. One of the social indicators where Gujarat shows the most dramatic lag is the hunger index — only about 43 per cent of children under ICDS in the state are the normal weight, according to an Indian Institute of Public Administration report.
These indicators are aggregates. Their break up is particularly enlightening. The urban/rural divide is pronounced in Gujarat. This is evident from NSSO data, including estimates of the average monthly per capita expenditures (MPCE). The urban MPCE was 49 per cent higher in towns and cities than in villages in 1993-94. Fourteen years later, the urban MPCE was 68 per cent higher. In 2011-12, the difference stabilised at 68.1 per cent. Certainly, the operationalisation of the Narmada dam has improved circumstances for some people living in rural areas, but only in part, because the canals have not reached the fields, especially in Saurashtra. This has happened not only because of bad planning, but also because the supply of water to cities (including industry) was prioritised. Second, cash crop farmers have been affected by the low level of agricultural prices. Cotton is a case in point: prices did not go up, whereas inputs became costly because of inflation. Third, prime agricultural land has been given to industry and the latter's activities have affected the natural environment. In Mahua, where the Nirma group had been given 3,000 hectares for mining activities and a cement factory, BJP MLA Kanubhai Kalsaria objected that the water tank the villagers depended on would be badly damaged. He was sidelined and subsequently, he resigned from the party to fight the government's policy.
Among the rural groups that suffered from the state's policy, Adivasis are a case in point. According to a World Bank report, between 1993-94 and 2004-05, the share of those who lived below the poverty line increased from 30.9 per cent to 33.1 per cent — 10 percentage points below the national average. The Modi government has been criticised for not allocating to Adivasis and Dalits funds in proportion to their population. While the former represent almost 18 per cent of the state population, they were allocated 11.01 per cent of the total outlay in 2007-08, 14.06 per cent in 2008-09, 13.14 per cent in 2010-11 and 16.48 per cent in 2011-12. Moreover, actual expenditures were even lower. The same was true of the Dalits, who represent 7.1 per cent of the state population and who were allotted 1.41 per cent of the total outlay in 2007-08, 3.93 per cent in 2008-09, 4.51 per cent in 2009-10, 3.65 per cent in 2010-11 and 3.20 per cent in 2011-12.
Generally speaking, Gujarat has not spent as much as other states on the social sector. In a report, the Reserve Bank of India showed that Gujarat spends less than several other states in this area. Take education — in 2010-11, Gujarat spent 15.9 per cent of its budget in education, when Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal spent between 16 and 20.8 per cent. The national average was 16.6 per cent.
While these criticisms from the left are well known, those on the right, especially the liberals, could also have indicted the Modi government for its lack of financial discipline. The Gujarat growth pattern relies on indebtedness. The state's debt increased from Rs 45,301 crore in 2002 to Rs. 1,38,978 crore in 2013, not far behind the usual suspects, Uttar Pradesh (Rs 1,58,400 crore) and West Bengal (Rs 1,92,100). In terms of per capita indebtedness, the situation is even more worrying, given the size of the state: each Gujarati carries a debt of Rs 23,163 if the population is taken to be 60 million. In 2013-14, the government plans to raise fresh loans to the tune of Rs 26,009 crore. Of this amount, Rs 19,877 crore, that is 76 per cent, will be used to pay the principal and the interests of the existing debts. Gujarat would fall into the debt trap the day this figure reaches 100 per cent.
This fiscal crisis has been caused by several factors. First, many Gujaratis who are supposed to pay taxes don't, whether they are at the helm of companies or ordinary citizens. In 2010, the total amount from taxpayers in Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda and Rajkot alone was Rs 7,555 crore. This was more than the annual tax collection of Bihar at the time.
Second, the exchequer has been directly affected by the business-friendly attitude of the Modi government. To woo investors, it has indulged in tax deductions and low interest rates, and sold land at throwaway prices. Take the example of the Nano factory. If K. Nag's biography of Modi is to be believed, the Gujarat government made unprecedented concessions to Tata Motors, including the sale of 1,100 acres of land at Rs 900 per square metre, when its market rate was around Rs 10,000 per square metre, a Rs 20 crore exemption on stamp duty levied on the sale of land, a 20-year deferral in the payment of value added tax on the sale, and loans amounting to Rs 9,570 crore against an investment of Rs 2,900 crore (330 per cent of the investment) at 0.1 per cent interest rate over 20 years. Most of the big companies investing in Gujarat — Adani, Essar, Reliance, Ford, Maruti, L&T and others — have been offered special conditions, especially under the SEZ framework.
Certainly, to attract investors is a good way to prepare for the future and heavy debts are not a problem if these investments generate tax revenue. But how productive these investments will be remains to be seen. Many of them are at least partly speculative. The SEZ Act allows the owners of large SEZs (above 1,000 hectares) to use 75 per cent of their superficy for non-industrial purposes (for the smaller ones, up to 50 per cent of an SEZ can be devoted to non-processing areas). SEZ owners have been quick to indulge in real estate speculation and to lease at market price land that they've bought at throwaway prices. Interestingly, the corporate sector is not covered by the RTI. We wonder why.
Those on the right, who overlook the fact that the Modi government is more business-friendly than market-friendly (surprisingly, for liberals), claim that the way Gujarat is attracting investors is good for development. But it is only good for growth. For development, investing in education would make much more sense.

The writer is senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS, Paris, professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at King's India Institute, London, and non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

POPE FRANCIS Calls for Day of Prayer and Fasting on September 7th for PEACE in SYRIA, the MIDDLE-EAST & throughout the WORLD .

Calls for Day of Prayer and Fasting on September 7th
for PEACE in SYRIA, the MIDDLE-EAST & throughout the WORLD
Pope Francis: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
      Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.
      There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.
      I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.
      With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.
      May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.
      What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April 1963]: AAS 55, [1963], 301-302).
      All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs to all of humanity!
      I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.
      May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
      To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle Eastand throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
      On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
      Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may She help us to find peace; all of us are Her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

UN Dedicates International Day of Charity to Blessed Mother Teresa -September 5th

UN Dedicates International Day of Charity to Blessed Mother Teresa -September 5th
Initiative to Promote Importance of Benevolent Giving
 September 05, 2013 - Today, the United Nations (UN) commemorated the anniversary of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta by declaring September 5th as the International Day of Charity. According to the UN website, the initiative was proposed by Hungary ”with the goal of creating a universal platform to raise awareness about the importance of benevolent giving.”

The UN headquarters in New York will commemorate the day with panel discussions that will highlight the role of charity in alleviating poverty and promoting access to clean water and sanitation in the world.

“On this International Day of Charity, the United Nations invites all Member States and all international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to commemorate the Day in an appropriate manner, by encouraging charity, including through education and public awareness-raising activities,” the UN stated in a communique.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who passed away on September 5th, 1997, worked tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of the poor in the streets of Calcutta. The order she founded, the Missionaries of Charity, was established in 1950 and spread all over the world to serve “the poorest of the poor.”

Blessed Mother Teresa was beatified on October 19th, 2003 by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

Holy See Statement on United Nations' 1st International Day of Charity
"The Church is particularly happy that the international community, by designating precisely September 5th ... wishes to recognize the extraordinary witness of charity exemplified in recent times by Blessed Mother Teresa"
September 05, 2013 - Here is a statement from the Holy See's mission at the United Nations, regarding today's celebration of the 1st International Day of Charity. 

In recognition of the role of charity in alleviating humanitarian crises and human 
suffering within and among nations, as well as of the efforts of charitable organizations and individuals, including the work of Mother Teresa, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated the 5th of September, the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, as the International Day of Charity.

* * *
Thoughts for the International Day of Charity
Despite tremendous progress in science and technology, countless millions continue to endure various forms of poverty, not only material but also – and increasingly – spiritual. Thanks in large measure to the means of social communication, the plight of the poor and suffering is no longer a distant cry for help but one that reaches the attentions of many. A growing sensitivity to those in need and a willingness to respond is becoming universally perceptible. This heightened solidarity with the less fortunate and desire to share in their situations and difficulties is heartily to be welcomed.
Two reasons for this increase in solidarity on the part of so many people and organizations engaged in charitable works were identified by Pope Benedict XVI. First among these is the innate desire in every human being to love and be loved. This urge to love is inscribed in the nature of everyone, regardless of their religion. Ultimately, it is love, in all its multifaceted shades, that drives or animates us in all of our activity. The second reason is more explicitly religious, for it is the Christian impulse in the world which “constantly revives and acts out this imperative, so often profoundly obscured in the course of time" (DCE n. 31).
With its deeper understanding of love, Christianity has made significant contributions to the culture of humanity. The ancients interpreted love either as eros , a self-seeking impulse, or alternatively, as philia , a sentiment characteristic of friendship. The Christian understanding of a God-who-is-love reveals how each human being has love as his very raison d’ĂȘtre and requires in response that this love be transformed into its highest form, agape , namely: the gift of self to the other. This notion of love, accordingly, no longer is satisfied with self-seeking ( eros ) or even reciprocity ( philia ), but demands true concern for the other – even a willingness to sacrifice one’s own self for the other. The novelty of this Christian notion of love ( caritas ) is found in the figure of Christ crucified: the one who holds back not even his own life for the sake of the world.
From the beginning, the Church, following the instruction and example of her Founder, and in His name, has never wavered in tendering whatever material and spiritual comfort she could offer to the poor and suffering. For, beyond the merely pragmatic (or philanthropic) aspect of helping one's neighbor, the Church seeks more profoundly to manifest to the world God's enduring love for humanity. Few are those who are not moved when confronted with the suffering neighbor; but fewer yet are those who grasp that Christian charity pursues a meaning that supersedes the risk of paternalism inherent in philanthropy. Charity manifests a truer sense of care and compassion, communicating authentic love to the poor and suffering, since it stems not from excess or return but from the very sacrifice of self. In the exercise of Christian charity, the Church gives on what she has herself received from God.
This Christian notion of charity, furthermore, is authentically at the service of integral human development. Charitable activities in our times require from their agencies both high degrees of professionalism and constantly enhancing and empowering structures. Whereas this is, doubtless, necessary, it is scarcely of itself sufficient. Dealing with transcendent human beings means grappling with actual persons who always need something more than merely technical assistance or philanthropic care. People cannot be compartmentalized into their constituent parts: public or private, physical or psychological, earthly or heavenly, religious or secular. Rather, each person can only truly be seen in their wholeness and integrity. Only a holistic approach to the person permits of solutions to the root causes of their problems and helps them develop fully in their corporeal and incorporeal dimensions.
Countless men and women throughout the history of the Church have given witness to an heroic degree of selfless love toward their neighbors.
The Church is particularly happy that the international community, by designating precisely September 5th as the first International Day of Charity, wishes to recognize the extraordinary witness of charity exemplified in recent times by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The motivation and reason for the Church’s mission of charity is none other than Jesus Christ Himself, and the desire to bear witness to His love. In her tireless work for the poor and the outcast this was also Blessed Mother Teresa's inspiration and strength. Her life’s witness of love derived from what Christ taught. In the service of charity, Mother Teresa sought not merely to provide humanitarian relief or to change social structures. As she clearly stated at her Nobel Lecture: "We are not just social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of the people, but we are really contemplatives in the heart of the world, for we are touching the Body of Christ twenty-four hours" (December 11, 1979). Her life and example continue to challenge the Church’s charitable organizations to be faithful to their specific identity and in their work to always defend and promote life.
The Catholic Church is grateful that an International Day of Charity is introduced for the first time into the calendar of the United Nations in memory of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Honoring her person, life and legacy also means recognizing the innumerable charitable works the Catholic Church carries out daily in favor of the poorest of the poor, ever faithful to the commandment and example of her Founder. In fact, the Catholic Church remains the world’s largest non-governmental provider of education and health service delivering no less than 26% of the world's health care. So many Catholic charitable organizations work indefatigably for humanitarian relief and development throughout the poorest regions of the world.
We are proud to commemorate this day as an act of recognition and esteem on the part of the international community for the service and dedication of countless individuals, Catholic organizations and religious men and women, who like Blessed Mother Teresa, have brought the light of their selfless love to those in need. 

Words Of Wisdom From Mother Teresa
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”


Thursday, September 05, 2013


Press Release

5 September 2013
Advocate for Complainant Smt Zakia Jafri assisted by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), Yusuf Shaikh, today filed an application before Magistrate Judge Ganatra pointing out that a biased SIT was deliberately distorting Orders of higher Courts and actually committing Contempt of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. They urged the Magistrate to ensure that the SIT put down their spurious arguments in writing. Annexed to the application were several relevant Orders of the Supreme Court also supplied to the Court before.
The Text of the Application argued today is below :-

By repeatedly bringing up an Order of the High Court of November 2007, that was overturned by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, when it first issued Notice to the Gujarat on 3-3-2008, directed SIT to “look into” the Complaint dated 8.6.2006 first on 27-4-2004 and then through repeated orders directed Investigations through 2010 and 2011, expressly directing Further Investigations on 15.3.2011 –including directing the Amicus Curaie Raju Ramachandran to meet senior police officer witnesses bypassing SIT and seeing whether an offence has been made out (5.5.2011)—the SIT has been, and is, repeatedly committing contempt of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

The SIT is deliberately not reading from the 12.9.2011 Order of the SC, and bypassing that Order, that differed with the Findings of the Gujarat High Court and remanded the Complaint to a Magistrate’s Court, and explicitly preserved the Complainant Smt Jafri’s right to file a Protest Petition after accessing all the Investigation Papers.

This Hon’ble Court is being misled and contempt of the SC is being committed by the SIT. These aspects of the SIT need to be recorded in writing. The Complainant is placing her strong objections to this stratagem of the SIT and prays that the Ld Magistrate record these spurious and misleading arguments by the SIT.

Even after proceedings in the Ld Court began, the SIT instead of functioning like an Independent Investigating agency has been doing the job of shielding the powerful accused and has strongly resisted supplying Investigation Papers to the Complainant expressly violating Paras 8 and 9 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court Order dated 12.9.2011.The SIT cited ‘confidentiality’ of its Reports filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court as being the prime reason for withholding them. The Complainant had then argued that when the Reports of the Amicus Curiae dated 20.1.2011 and 25.7.2011, also in the first instance supplied in the ‘sealed cover’ to the Hon’ble Supreme Court, were thereafter, directed to be handed over to the Complainant by the Hon’ble Supreme Court itself, how could Investigation Reports be treated as confidential?

Since 9.2.2012, the Complainant through her advocates, has rigorously argued this point, citing Paras 8 and 9 of the Final Orders of the SC dated 12.9.2012 (attached yet again). Lengthy arguments, including in writing were given to the Court on 15.3.2012. Finally on 10.4.2012 Judge Bhatt granted the Complainant’s prayers and 65 Files of the Investigation papers were supplied to the Complainant on 7.5.2012.

On examination it was found that Previous Statements and Investigation reports concerned with the Investigation were deliberately not part of the Papers released to the Complainant. Specifically, IO AK Malhotra’s Report dated 12.5.2010, Chairman SIT remarks dated 14.5.2010 and Further Investigation reports dated 17.11.2010, 15.3.2011 and 24.4.2011 were requested and urged by the Complainant before this Ld Court.  An examination of the documents provided by the SIT also found that the SIT had also excluded several Previous Statements of Accused and Other Witnesses from the records of the Investigation provided to the SIT.

SIT continued with misleading this Court as to its role and its investigation, continuing to shield powerful accused following which an Order turning down these requests was passed by this Ld Court on 16.07.2012.

The Complainant, aggrieved by this Order moved the Hon’ble Supreme Court through SLP 8989/2012, a copy of which was also supplied to this Ld Court at the relevant time. During the pendency of this SLP, the SIT in a thoroughly malafide manner pushed this Court to deny the Complainant her lawful right to file a Protest Petition.

Four hearings of this SLP 8989/2012 (3.12.2012, 10.12.2012, 17.1.2013, and 7.2.2013) restored the right of the Complainant to access all documents denied by the SIT and also restored her right to file the Protest Petition. Only chairman SIT’s remarks dated 14.5.2010 were kept confidential by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.The SIT today is deliberately ignoring all arguments on merit including the lawful right of the Complainant to file a Protest petition.

The Complainant is once again providing relevant Orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

The request is that these arguments of the SIT be recorded in writing. All aspects of the Complainant’s submissions have been made in detailed and in writing but the SIT, by deliberately making spurious oral arguments is committing a contempt of the Supreme Court. 

Taizoon Khorakiwala         Nandan Maluste              Teesta Setalvad
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Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai – 400 049. Ph: 2660 2288 email:,

Teesta Setalvad
'Nirant', Juhu Tara Road,
Juhu, Mumbai - 400 049