Sunday, August 31, 2014


-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

‘Fascism’ is best described as a kind of “radical authoritarian nationalism” which saw its roots in the early 20th century of Europe. It thrives on ‘majoritarianism’, where the more powerful (either with numbers or with resources) genuinely feel that there is no place for the weaker or for the minority sections.  In the wake of neo-fascist trends emerging in several parts of the world today, it is good to take a close look at some of the characteristics which are embodied in this ideology; these include:

·         to create a false sense of ‘nationalism’
Fascists normally try to unite their followers by creating a feeling that they and the country are one.   They use loose terms like “they are the nation”, “they are for all”, “the country comes first”. These terminologies are conveniently lapped up by their followers.  Sooner or later, they create the bogey of an “outside” enemy which helps in rallying the people.

·         to denigrate the minorities / weaker sections
In the context of the above, fascist ideologies subtly and openly denigrate, demonise and attack the minorities and the weaker sections of their society. These groups just do not have a place in their scheme of things. At times, they are conveniently ignored and at other times, they are made to feel as though they are a major burden in the country; they are “terrorists”, “they are out to convert you” are familiar words.  The way Hitler exterminated the Jews, the Catholics, the gypsies, the nomads, the homosexuals, the writers and the poets of his times helps to illustrate this point.

·         to take-over / use the media for their agenda
Among the first take-overs by the fascists is that of mass media and communication. They do so either directly or through one of their honchos from the corporate sector. Once media is in their control, it is easy to manipulate gullible citizens.  The way Josef Goebbels, the propaganda minister of Hitler regime was able to use the media so effectively on behalf of the Nazi regime is today termed ‘Goebbelsian’. The fundamental axiom is “to tell a lie a thousand times and people believe it as the truth”.  What fascists conveniently do is to highlight issues of others and sweep under the carpet their own; eg. a gangrape which takes place in an area which is not ruled by them is highlighted several times over by the media whereas a dozen more serious crimes in their own territory hardly find a mention.

·         to intimidate and harass independent writers / poets and social media activists
Even in the most totalitarian State, there will be those who cherish freedom of speech and expression and will not hesitate in writing about the truth and what will ultimately help others; fascists cannot tolerate such people and they are systematically hounded, denounced and even put in jail. 

·         to take on human rights defenders and others who take a stand
Fascists brook no dissent. They are unable to deal with those who highlight their shortcomings and take a stand about it and also those who support the victims of injustice and accompany them in their struggle.  So what is foisted on these groups of people are false cases, subtle leaks of “abuse” of power and money.  Human Rights Defenders are always on the radar by fascist forces. Fascists are always afraid of the truth!

·         to manipulate education and distort school textbooks
This is one of the easiest ways by which fascists manipulate tender minds and provide them with an ideology which is one-sided, subjective and even perverted.  History becomes something to be tampered with; replete with lies and falsehood.  School textbooks then seriously violate the rights of children.  Fiction is highlighted as historical facts. Those who conform to the ideology are made the editors / writers of school textbooks.

·         to divide and rule
This is a time-proven strategy of fascists anywhere - their ability to play one against the other; very specially from among those who seek to oppose them. Their methodology is very simple: they co-opt a few, through favours and other privileges and make these co-opted their ‘spokespersons’.  This creates great confusion among the rank and file of the opposition and it also helps in quelling voices of dissent.

·         to create fear and panic
Fascists are known to create fear and panic among sections of the masses.  They normally start the fire but conveniently blame the other for this.  Vulnerable groups (particularly the marginalized and minority communities) are really afraid to take on fascist forces because of long term repercussions to their lives, families, possessions, their work and livelihood. Panic and fear put people on the back-foot. Often key leaders or spokespersons are either killed or literally made ‘impotent’ through false cases and frivolous charges.

·         to infiltrate realms of governance
Fascism is not a phenomenon that happens overnight. It begins in innocuous and subtle ways; those who follow their ideology are placed in ordinary and in key positions in the bureaucracy, in the judiciary, in the media, the police and in other significant institutions. Over the years, these officials are able to deliver; before one realizes fascists have their people running and controlling everything that matters. 

·         to be wedded to the corporate sector
The corporate sector which is normally market-driven and who seek their own profits are normally wedded to fascists who can take quick and hard decisions on their behalf.  So if a certain environmental clearance is needed, a multi-national knows that they will easily have the clearance even if they violate standard norms or their land acquisition is faulty.  Several from the corporate sector will do plenty of flag-waving for fascists who are able to deliver on their terms and conditions. Fascists have plenty of resources available to them.

·         to defocus from ground reality
When the ground reality becomes too hot for them to handle, fascists normally try to defocus in a very clever way – they change not only the tune but also the song. If one group is affected, they cleverly speak about “the whole country”. If the issue is about communal violence, they use concepts like ‘development’. Simultaneously, they will also ensure that their affiliates and associated organizations propagate their agenda blatantly. 

The above are just some key characteristics to enable us to understand how the fascists operate. It is important that all of us look around and in a calm and mature way, do our part to ensure that the values enshrined in democratic traditions and upheld by the fabric of pluralism, are not compromised anywhere.

30th July, 2014

(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)

Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road,  Ahmedabad - 380052
Phone: (079) 27455913, 66522333   Fax:  (079) 27489018  Email:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

India: It is Time for the Establishment of a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism

India: It is Time for the Establishment of a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism

For Immediate Release

(Delhi, 30 August 2014) – The Regional Initiative for a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism along with one hundred civil society organisations and individuals from twenty States across India called on the government to work with other South Asian States towards the establishment of an independent and effective inter-state South Asian regional human rights mechanism.

The participants at a national consultation jointly organised by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) expressed deep dissatisfaction with the current state of human rights in the region and in India.

Given the lack of accountability and commitment to human rights by the governments in the region, we the participants at the national consultation have resolved to establish a people’s mechanism in the interim and strongly advocate for the States to set up a regional mechanism for South Asia with strong enforcement powers.” said Ms. Teesta Setalvad, prominent activist and advocate for accountability. The participants had drafted and adopted a Delhi Declaration expressing their resolution to work towards such a mechanism. A working group comprising of twelve persons was also formed to ensure implementation of the declaration.

With preparations for the SAARC summit in Kathmandu in progress, the participants emphasised the need for proper implementation of human rights instruments adopted by SAARC and its member States. “Regional cooperation is incomplete and meaningless without committing to protection of human rights at the regional level. SAARC will continue to be a muted organisation unless it takes a proactive role in the promotion and protection of human rights in the region.”insisted Gayatri Khandhadai, South Asia Programme Officer, FORUM-ASIA.

From Sri Lanka to Afghanistan people suffer while perpetrators enjoy impunity. The people and governments of South Asia must come together immediately to prevent any further violations. This is the only way in which we can ensure peace and stability in the region.” explained Mr. Henri Tiphagne, Convenor, WGHR.

While Europe, Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia and Arab States have been successful in evolving regional mechanisms, South Asia lags behind with no serious dialogue on regional human rights issues. “The regional mechanisms in other parts of the world have made considerable contributions to promoting and protecting human rights and democracy. SAARC, which is best poised to host such a mechanism in South Asia must also follow the good practices in other regions. SAARC member States must thus formally engage in discussions for the establishment of a South Asian human rights mechanism at the upcoming SAARC summit.” urged Mr. Miloon Kothari, Convenor, Task Force – Regional Initiative for a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism.

On completion of the national consultation on 26-27 August 2014, a delegation of persons from Afghanistan, India and Nepal met with the National Human Rights Commission of India, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Parliamentarians and some Ambassadors of South Asian States in the Capital advocating for the establishment of a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism and greater cooperation in the protection and promotion of human rights. The delegation was thoroughly encouraged by the support and response of the civil society and officials.

About the Regional Initiative for a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism:

The Regional Initiative for a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism is a civil society forum that was created subsequent to the sub-regional consultations held in Kathmandu in 2010 and 2011. This forum is a collaborative platform of civil society and individuals from the region committed to the cause of furthering human rights and peace in the region. The mission of the forum is to advocate for, and help create an environment conducive for the establishment of a South Asia Human Rights Mechanism. The Regional Initiative is guided and led by a Task-Force comprising of one representative of each SAARC member State.

FORUM-ASIA, a regional human rights organisation with 47 members in 16 countries across Asia is the Secretariat of the Regional Initiative. WGHR, a national human rights organisation in India is the Office of the Task Force.

The Regional Initiative has convened several national consultations in Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan over the last few years. The consultation in Delhi on 26-27 August is a part of this series of consultations in South Asia. The Delhi consultation was attended by over a 100 participants from 20 States across India where detailed discussions relating to future strategies, wider consultation and basic standards for an effective regional mechanisms took place.

For further inquiries, please contact:

·       Gayatri Khandhadai, South Asia Programme Officer, FORUM-ASIA,, +91 9176690532
·       Henri Tiphagne, Convenor, WGHR,, +91 9894025859
·       Krishnamoorthy, Secretary, WGHR,, +91 9910301147

Gayatri Khandhadai
South Asia Programme Officer
66/2 Pan Road, Silom, Bang Rak, 
Bangkok, 10500 Thailand
Tel: +66 2 637 9126 | Fax: +66 2 637 9128 | Mob: +66 090 653 8263

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

The Gujarat Government has done it again! That it does so, is on expected lines; but that it is doing so, by throwing all caution and Constitutional propriety to the wind, should be a cause of great concern to every citizen who values the principles of democracy and pluralism, which are the heart and soul of India. The topic in question is the approval and introduction of nine books (eight of which are written and edited by Dina Nath Batra) in more than 42000 Government-run primary and secondary schools all over Gujarat. 

In a circular dated June 30th, 2014, the Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB) states, “These books on supplementary literature are aimed at imparting quality education. They will be provided free of cost to all government primary and secondary schools, public libraries and will be also available at GSSTB, Gandhinagar, for individuals interested in these books.  These are to be incorporated from this academic session.”

Dina Nath Batra has earned his “fame” as the founder of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti and who thinks that he and his organization will “save” the Hindu religion and culture. Sometime ago, he succeeded in getting ‘Penguin’ to pulp the famed historian Wendy Doniger’s book on ‘The Hindus: An alternative History’ and later because of his threats, ‘Orient Black Swan’ undertook ‘a comprehensive assessment’ of Megha Kumar’s book, ‘Communalism and Sexual Violence: Ahmedabad since 1969’.

Batra, at 85 years - has become the rallying point for the right-wing forces in the country; today they leave no stone unturned to seize every opportunity they get to mainstream the Hindutva ideology; manipulating the educational system is an easy first step for them.

It is interesting to note that these books were officially published (in Gujarati) in January 2014 with laudatory messages from the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi (today the Prime Minister of India) and also from the Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and his ministerial colleagues Prof. Vasuben Trivedi and Mr. Nanubhai Vanani. After a formal launching in March 2014, they were kept in cold storage till after the General Elections and very surreptiously introduced in the schools only early in July 2014!

The set of nine books are ‘Shikshan nu Bhartiyakaran’ (Indianisation of Education), ‘Tejomay Bharat’ (Shining India), ‘Prernadeep’ 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Inspirational Light), ‘Vidyalaya: Pravrutiyon nu Ghar’ (School: House of Activities), ‘Shikshan ma Triveni’ (Trinitarian Education) and ‘Vedic Ganit’ (Vedic Maths). The titles in themselves are seemingly innocuous but a careful analysis of these books indicate that their contents are capable (according to a well-known intellectual) of taking India “back into the dark ages”. The books are replete with myths and falsehoods, with superstitions and prejudices, with gross distortions and manipulations - propagating an ideology which is fascist and totally against the grain of all that Indian culture represents: inclusiveness, pluralism and the rights of all.

The books are clearly violative of Articles 28 and 29 of the ‘UN Convention of the Rights of the Child’ since their contents are not only sub-standard but are also not a source of qualitative, accurate and objective knowledge to a growing child. Unfortunately, the children who are targeted by these books are those who go to Government schools (and most of them are surely from the poor and marginalized sections of society); the major objective of those who propagate such pervert knowledge seems to keep these sections of society ‘in the dark ages’.

The contents of these books will surely shock any right-thinking citizen!

‘Racism’ seems to be high on the agenda.  An anecdote entitled ‘Courageous Gurudevsinh’ in Prernadeep – 2 (pg. 3) reads thus “An aeroplane was flying at a height of thousands of feet. A strong and well-built Negro reached the back door of the plane and attempted to open it. The air hostess stopped him. The strong Negro knocked down the delicate-bodied air hostess.  “Beware, if any one dares to move forward towards me”.  An Indian jawan (soldier) came forward and hit him such a sweeping blow that the Negro’s firm feet were shaken. The Negro tried all kinds of boxing stunts but the grip of the Indian youth was so firm that the Negro could not free himself.  In the meanwhile, the pilot also joined the jawan and both of them gave him a good thrashing and tied him up with a rope. The murderous terrorist struggled like a tied up buffalo. The plane landed at Chicago. All the passengers alighted safely and expressed their gratitude to the Indian jawan. The Negro turned out to be notorious criminal in the Chicago police records. The one who had the Negro arrested was an Air-India employee Gurudevsinh.”

In Prernadeep – 3 (pg. 8) there is an obnoxious passage citing our former President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan “Once Dr Radhakrishnan went for a dinner. There was a Briton at the event who said, “We are very dear to God.” Radhakrishnan laughed and told the gathering, “Friends, one day God felt like making rotis. When he was cooking the rotis, the first one was cooked less and the English were born. The second one stayed longer on the fire and the Negroes were born. Alert after His first two mistakes, when God went on to cook the third roti, it came out just right and as a result Indians were born!”

There are several stories / examples that advocate shunning of anything that is ‘western’; so an Indian according to Batra’s philosophy should not blow candles on one’s birthday but instead feed cows and listen to songs produced by Vidya Bharati (the RSS mouthpiece); he cites the example of Swami Vivekanand who apparently told an Englishwoman that he wore foreign shoes because that was where foreigners were meant to be – on his feet! While trying to propagate a disdain for anything ‘western’, Batra’s fantasies include that the motor car was invented first by the Indians during the Vedic period; research on stem cell began in India thousands of years ago, because in the Mahabharata, it is said that a holy man was able to convert a mass of flesh into hundred babies or Kauravas; that India has been using television, centuries before the rest of the world invented it because again in the Mahabharata it is written that Sanjaya sitting in the Hastinapur palace would give a live telecast of the Mahabharata battle to Dhristarashtra (who was blind) by using his ‘divya shakti’ (divine powers).

In keeping with the general trend of these books, it is natural that the English language should come under attack. Sanskrit shlokas are freely used throughout.  He takes a categorical stand against the domination of the English language which he feels has sidelined the learning of Sanskrit.  When the children do not know Sanskrit, he believes they will not be able to imbibe the pure ‘Indian culture’ and the vast knowledge that comes from the great epics.  Added to Batra’s philosophy is the manner in which the Gujarat Government is also trying to promote Vedic Maths among the students. 

The books are very communal in nature. Muslims and Christians are sometimes blatantly and other times subtly denigrated. Prernadeep – 2 narrates how Swami Vivekanand systematically exposed the selfishness and evil deeds of Christian missionaries (pg. 45).  Tejomay Bharat emphatically states “it is better to die for one’s religion; a foreign religion is a source of sorrow” (pg. 118). The caste system gets legitimized in several ways; though the British are to be blamed for giving the lowly name ‘Shudra’. 

The books also suggest the redrawing of geographical boundaries.  Batra suggests that the students should now think of ‘Akhand Bharat’.  In Tejomay Bharat, he says “Students, how would you go about drawing a map of India?  Do you know that countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma are part of undivided India?  These countries are part of Akhand Bharat.”  (pg.49).  In another chapter, the students are told that “a divided India is a lie, whereas undivided India is the truth; the division of India is unnatural and India can easily be united again.”

Inspite of his unabashed attack on “western” culture, language, inventions, people and even on what he calls “non-Indian” religions, Batra seems to ignore the fact that all his books are being printed in printing presses invented by the West.  He does not call for a ban on the railways or on industries, he does not speak against cricket or tennis or for that matter against the computers, mobile phones and thousands of other things which India has happily adopted from the West. While PM Modi has blessed Batra and his books, it would be interesting now to see what is Batra’s take on Modi’s invitation to the rest of world “to come and make in India” from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day.  Very significantly, ‘Manogat’ (August 2014), the BJP mouth-piece, openly endorses Batra’s books and its contents; highlighting their two-pronged strategy, ‘to simultaneously run with the hare and hunt with the hound’.

Much of the content of Batra’s books are laughable and could even pass off as third-rate joke books; but the attacks both direct and subtle on several sections of society are certainly no laughing matter. Given the fact that they target formative minds should be serious enough for civil society to voice their protests strongly on this matter.  Mitali Saran in a very telling article entitled ‘Back to School’ (Business Standard, Ahmedabad August 2/3, 2014) sums it up “A poor education teaches children disdain, excessive pride, exclusionary or majoritarian thinking, outright fiction in place of facts, and an inability to tolerate dissent or to think for themselves.

Can we continue to remain silent when, the Gujarat Government violates the ‘Rights of a Child’ – in such a blatant manner?

21st August, 2014

(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)

Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052

Phone: (079) 27455913, 66522333 Fax:  (079) 27489018 Email:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Indian Muslims Condemn the Brutal Atrocities by ISIS against Minorities in Iraq and Syria; denounce religious intolerance, persecution and violence in the name of Islam

Indian Muslims Condemn the Brutal Atrocities by ISIS against Minorities in Iraq and Syria; denounce religious intolerance,
persecution and violence in the name of Islam 

Indian Muslims are shocked and pained by the brutality and atrocities being perpetrated by the ISIS (Islamic State of Syria and Iraq) against Christians, Shias, Kurds, Yazidis and other minorities in the regions now under their control. We strongly condemn such barbarism which is against the teachings of Islam. We express our heart-felt sympathies and solidarity with the survivors of those whose near and dear ones have been mercilessly butchered, and the tens of thousands of Iraq’s minorities who have been dispossessed, forced to flee their homes and are now living in extremely difficult circumstances.
 The barbaric conduct of the ISIS is all the more reprehensible because its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaims to be the ‘Caliph’ of the entire Muslim world and his armed group are supposedly acting in the name of Islam. We welcome the fact that most religious leaders and Islamic scholars from across the world, including India, have debunked al-Baghdadi’s claim of being a Caliph.
 Alongside the ongoing tormenting of common citizens and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities in areas under their control, the ISIS has been enforcing its own intolerant, extremist, violent, distorted interpretation of Islam on Muslims who are also Sunnis. This too deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible words. We call upon Muslim religious leaders in India and elsewhere to add their voice to that of Muslim organisations and individuals who have already denounced al-Baghdadi and his ISIS for distorting Islam’s message for peace and for their barbaric conduct.
 The unspeakable atrocities and mass crimes against Iraq’s minorities are nothing short of ‘crimes against humanity’, ‘religious/ethnic cleansing’. We appeal to the United Nations to urgently intervene, create the circumstances where those forced to flee feel secure enough to return to their homes and cities with full honour and dignity, and hold the ISIS accountable for its heinous acts.
 While the ISIS must be held fully responsible for its unconscionable acts, the United States, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait etc. cannot escape their share of the blame in fuelling the flames. The worsening plight of Iraq’s Christians is but a legacy of America’s illegal, unwarranted and criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its subsequent engineering of sectarian strife to divide the Iraqi resistance to the occupation.
 Dictator Saddam Hussain was no angel but under him the country’s 1.4 million Christians were free to practice their faith. Many occupied high government posts. It is ironic that the US is now bombing the very ISIS to which it had earlier provided training, arms and ammunition in an attempt to dislodge Syria's authoritarian President, Bashar al-Assad. For their own myopic ends, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait etc have been backing an array of radical Islamist outfits of which the ISIS -- a monster now seemingly out of control -- was an integral part.
 We urge a global condemnation of the ISIS and all its allies, overt or covert.
 Endorsed by:
1.      A.J. Jawad, Advocate, Chennai
2.      Aamir Edresy, President, Association of Muslim Professionals, Mumbai
3.      Abbas Shamael Rizvi, Cinematographer & Photographer, Delhi
4.      Abdul Mannan Prof, Gauhati University, Assam
5.      Abdul Salam Prof, President , Justice and Equity Demand Samiti, Assam
6.      Abusaleh Shariff Dr., Executive Director, US-India Policy Institute, Washington DC
7.      Akhtar Husain Akhtar Gen. Secretary, All India Momin Conference, Kanpur
8.      Amir Rizvi, Communication Designer, Mumbai
9.      Amjad Ali Dr., Assistant Professor, Jaunpur
10.  Arshad Ajmal, Social Activist, Patna
11.  Asad Ashraf, Social Activist, Delhi
12.  Asad Zaidi, Writer and Publisher, Delhi
13.  Asif Iqbal, Director, Dhanak, Delhi
14.  Asif Naqvi   Professor, Aligarh
15.  Bader Sayeed, Advocate & Former Member Legislative Assembly Tamil Nadu
16.  Faizur Rehman, Islamic Forum for Promotion of Moderate Thought, Chennai
17.  Farhat Amin, BIRD Trust, Cuttack
18.  Farrukh Warris Dr., Educationist, Mumbai.
19.  Fazlur Rahman Dr, Principal, Govt Degree College, Moradabad
20.  Feroze Mithiborwala, Muslim Intellectual Forum, Mumbai.
21.  Hanif Lakdawala, Executive Director, Sanchetna, Ahmedabad
22.  Hasina Khan, Women Activist, Bombay
23.  Imanul Haque, Prof, Kolkata
24.  Iqbal Ahmad Niazi, Retired Professor Emeritus of Zoology, University of Rajasthan
25.  Irfan Engineer, Director, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai
26.  Ishaq Dr, Social Activist, Azamgarh
27.  Jameela Nishat, Shaheen Women's Resource Centre, Hyderabad.
28.  Javed Anand, Muslims for Secular Democracy, Mumbai
29.  Javed Malick Dr, Retired Academic, Delhi University, Delhi
30.  Juzar Bandukwala Dr., Retired Professor, Vadodara
31.  K.K. Mohammad, Senior Archaeologist, Hyderabad
32.  Kamal Faruqi, Former Chairman, Delhi Minority Commission
33.  Kamal Siddiqui, Businessman, Khushinagar, UP
34.  Kasim Sait, Businessman & Social Activist, Chennai
35.  Mairajuddin Ahmed Dr. , Former Cabinet Minister, UP
36.  Mazher Hassain, Social Activist, COVA, Hyderabad
37.  Md. Aftab Alam Dr., Assistant Professor, Delhi
38.  Mike Ghouse, President, World Muslim Congress, Dallas, Texas
39.  Mohd Aamir, Human Rights Activist,  ANHAD., Delhi
40.  Mohammad Arif Dr,, Chairman, Centre for Harmony and Peace, Varanasi
41.  Mujataba Farooque, President, Welfare Party of India
42.  Mujib Kidwai, Marketing Management, Jeddah
43.  Mushirul Hasan, Prof. , Former Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi
44.  Nasiruddin Haider Khan, Journalist, Delhi
45.  Navaid Hamid, Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians (MOEMIN), Delhi
46.  Noorjehan Safia Niaz, Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Mumbai
47.  Ovais Sultan Khan, Social Work Professional, Delhi
48.  Qurban Ali, Journalist, Delhi
49.  R Jeibunnisa, Manitham Trust, Tamil Nadu
50.  Rahima Khatun, NSKK, Kolkata
51.  Rubina Parveen, Social Activist, Varanasi
52.  S. Akhtar Ehtisham Dr, Academic, Delhi
53.  SM Hilal, Social Activist, Kanpur
54.  S Irfan Habib, Prof, Maulana Azad Chair, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, Delhi
55.  Safdar Khan, Former Chairman, Delhi State Minorities Commission, Delhi
56.  Sahir Raza, Independent Cinematographer, Mumbai
57.  Salar M.Khan, Lawyer, New Delhi
58.  Sania Hashmi, Director, Anhad Films, Delhi
59.  Sarah Hashmi, Actor, Mumbai
60.  Semeen Ali, PhD student, University of Delhi, New Delhi
61.  Shabana Azmi, Actor, Mumbai
62.  Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist, ANHAD, Delhi
63.  Shahin Ansari, Social Activist, Saharanpur
64.  SMS Firdausi, Advocate, High Court, Allahabad
65.  Sohail Hashmi, Filmmaker, Delhi
66.  Syed Shahid Mahdi, Former Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi
67.  Syeda Hameed, Former Member, Planning Commission, Delhi
68.  Tanweer Fazal, Academic, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi 
69.  Tanveer Nasreen Prof, Academic, Bardman, WB
70.  Tariq Ashraf Dr, Academic, Delhi    
71.  Wahad Ahmad, Social Activist, Bijnaur
72.  Waris Mazhari Dr., Department of Islamic Studies, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad
73.  Wizarat Rizvi, Academic, Delhi
74.  Zafarul-Islam Khan Dr., Delhi
75.  Zaheer Ahmad, Social Activist, Varanasi
76.  Zaheer Ahmed Sayeed Dr., Neurologist, Chennai
77.  Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, Editor, Siasat, Hyderabad
78.  Zahid S Kamal, Retired Govt Officer, Delhi
79.  Zakia Soman, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Gujarat
80.  Zamser Ali, Journalist, Gauhati, Assam, President, BTAD Citizen Rights Forum, General Secretary, Centre for Minority Studies, Research and Development, Assam
81.  Zeenat Shaukat Ali Dr. , Director General, The Wisdom Foundation (World Institute of Islamic Studies for Dialogue, Mediation, Gender-Justice and Peace), Mumbai
82.  Zoya Hasan Prof. , Former Member, National Minorities Commission, Delhi

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


we cannot eat money Lets Make it Clear: We Can Not Eat Money !
“Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught, will we realise that we can not eat money

Friday, August 08, 2014


Logo of the indigenous people by Lebang Dewan.gif

2014-08-08 20:12 GMT+05:30 xavier Manjooran <>:
Dear Adivasi friends and friends of Adivasis,

9th August was declared the international Indigenous people's (Adivasi) day by the United nations in 1994

12 October was celebrated in America as "Columbus Day" to comemmorate the so called "discovery of America" by Columbus. In fact this so called "discovery" had caused great injustice to the original inhabitants of America. They were subjugated, killed and pushed out of their own  land and made slaves. So the indigenous people and those who understood the real situation objected to the celebration of "Columbus day". They started celebrating "Anti columbus Day" which was later (in 1992) termed as "INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S DAY". 


There is a misunderstanding, propagated and spread by some people, either knowingly or unknowingly,  that the logo of the indigenous people (Symbol of Adivasi ) is a LEFT FOOT.. This is unfortunate and unfair. Left foot in Indian cultural understanding is a sign of bad omen (apshukan). Besides according to Manu Smruthi (the scripture which explains  and supports  the caste system  says the 'varnashankar' (now called dalits) were born from the feet of Brahma. thus giving the lowest place to them in the caste hierarchy which also justifies the unjust system of caste discrimination and the untouchability practices. Therefore any . association of adivasis with left foot is to include them in the caste system and consider them the lowest group in the discriminative varna system. Adivasis do not belong to this system at all. 

So even if any body accepts foot as the symbol, the adivasis will not accept it as their symbol. Some people say it was the symbol adopted by UN when it announced 9 August as the international Indigenous day.This was surely not the case. There must be some mix up or wrong understanding  in this matter. If you search all over the net and all the portals you will NOT FIND anywhere even a mention of the LEFT FOOT AS ADIVASI (INDIGENOOUS PEOPLE'S) SYMBOL. So kindly do not mislead people and propagate wrong thing for adivasis. they are noble people, people of nature. .Caste system and hierarchical discriminations were not part of their culture. (Now unfortunately this attitude has got into adivasi communities also- ).Let us not add  "THE FOOT" also and aggrevate the matter and  insult adivasi community. 

I am enclosing the actual and official symbol for adivasis (indigenous people) declared and adapted by UN indigenous peoples forum. In fact the art work was done by Mr. Rebang Dewan, a Chakma boy,  of Bangladesh. Kindly open the attachment and communicate to people and spread the right information and idea about Adivasis and Adivasi day.


with best wishes and in SOLIDARITY,

Xavier Manjooran,SJ

આદિવાસી મિત્રો અને આદિવાસીઓના મિત્રો,

જય આદિવાસી 

૯ મી  ઓગુસ્ત અંતરરાષ્ટ્રીય આદિવાસી દિન તારીખે  સંયુક્ત રાષ્ટ્ર સંઘે ૧૯૯૪ માં જાહેર કર્યું હતું. એટલે આવતીકાલે અખા વિશ્વમાં 'આદિવાસી દિન' ઉજવાય છે. તમે પણ ઉજવાતા હશો. ઉજવણી માટે શુભેચ્છાઓ  અને જય આદિવાસી.

આદિવાસીઓ માટે અને આદિવાસી દિન માટે  અમુક જગ્યાએ અને અમુક લોકો  ડાભા પગનું ચિહ્ન  આદિવાસીના પ્રતિક તરીકે વપરાય છે.  તે ખોટું  છે અને ગેરમાર્ગે દોરનાર છે. ભારતીય સંસ્કૃતિ માં ડાબો પગ એટલે અપશુકન! અને વર્ણવ્યવ્સ્થાને સમજાવતા અને તેનો પ્રચાર કરવા મનુસ્મૃતિમાં એવું લખ્યું છે કે વર્ણશંકર (એટલે કે દલિતો) બ્રહ્માના પગમાંથી જન્મેલા છે.!!! તો આપણે આદિવાસીઓ માટે ડભા પગની નિશાની અપનાવીએ તો શું સમજવાનું? આદિવાસીઓ આ દેશમાટે  અપશુકન ??? તેને દુર કરવા જોઈએ?  અને આદિવાસીઓ વર્ણવ્યવસ્થામાં આવતા નથી છતાં તેમને પણ અંદર ઘાલીને એમને છેલું સ્થાન અને આભડછેદમાં ભાગીદાર બનવવા છે? તેથી કોઈ સંજોગમાં પગની નિશાની અપનાવશો નહિ.

વળી, એવું કહેવામાં આવ્યું છે કે સંયુક્ત રાષ્ટ્ર સંઘે આ પગની નિશાની અપનાવી છે. તે તદ્ધન ખોટું છે અને હકીકત વિરુધ છે. ઈન્ટરનેટ માં તપાસ કરો તો તમને કોઈ જગ્યાએ પગ કે પગની નિશાનીનો ઉલ્લેખ સુદ્ધા જોવા નહિ મળે. કોઈએ ગેર સમજથી કે ખોટી રીતે આ ગેરસમજ ઉભી કરી છે. તેથી મહેરબાની કરીને આદીવ્સીઓને અપમાન થાય એવી નિશાની વાપરશો નહિ.  સાચી નિશાની, જે સંયુક્ત રાષ્ટ્ર સંઘની સત્તાવાર નિશાની (logo) છે તે આ સાથે હું મોકલું છુ. attachment ખોલીને જોઈ લેજો અને વાપરજો.

આશા રાખું છુ કે આવતીકાલના આદિવાસી દિનની ઉજવણીમાં આ સત્તાવાર નિશાનીનો ઉપયોગ કરશો અને લોકોને સમજાવશો.

જય આદિવાસી અને આદિવાસી દિનની ઉજવણી માટે તમામ શુભેચ્છાઓ સાથે વિરમું છું.

ફ. ઝેવિયર  (ઝેવીયરભાઈ) 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Reflections on Hiroshima Day 2014

Reflections on Hiroshima Day 2014
-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

Today, August 6th 2014 marks the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing on the city of Hiroshima in Japan. Three days later on August 9th, Nagasaki met with a similar horrific fate. News reports tell us that since early morning hundreds and thousands of people have gathered in Hiroshima for peace ceremonies. More than three hundred thousand people were killed and thousands more were maimed for life in one of the deadliest attacks on humankind.  The world will never forget this!

Today, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have become symbols for the anti-nuclear movement, the world over.  In 2011, an earthquake-sparked tsunami left more than 19,000 dead around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in Japan. The reactor melt-down spread radiation over a significant area and forced thousands of Japanese to leave their homes in the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.  The Chernobyl disaster (in today’s Ukraine) on 26th April 1986 apparently killed less than hundred people, but affected more than five hundred thousand with all kinds of radiation – related illnesses particularly cancer and other physical deformities. 

The lessons from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, from Chernobyl and Fukushima are amply clear: nuclear energy is not safe; that hundreds and thousands of people are not only killed but have also been affected for life by radiation. The land and the waters around nuclear plants are not able to sustain life; livelihoods of the poor and the marginalized are destroyed.

Closer home, a massive People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) attempted to shut down the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, South India. Inspite of this people’s movement, and much other opposition to this plant, Kudankulam, had the go-ahead from the Supreme Court and the Governments of the day; to top it all, in June 2014, an Intelligence Report targeted among others, several of the anti-nuclear activists both in Kudankulam and other parts in India. 

On this day, we need to ask ourselves how safe is nuclear energy? Can we not learn from the lessons of the past?  It is true that our world today needs and consumes more energy and on this we need to ask ourselves, why do we not tap and harness more efficiently other sources of energy like wind, solar, bio-mass? These are safer and cleaner.  Could we take a cue from the German Government which announced that by 2022, it would close down all its nuclear plants?  In other parts of the world, anti-nuclear activists are neither hounded nor threatened. Governments respect the legitimate rights of people to take a stand on what they believe would be harmful to them.

In 1979, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, the then Superior General of the Society of Jesus spoke to hundreds of youth gathered in Assisi, Italy. In 1946, he was the Novice master of the Jesuits in Hiroshima. This is what he shared, “the atomic bomb had exploded at 8:10 on August 6, destroying the whole of Hiroshima, reducing it to ashes and killing at one blow eighty thousand people.  Our house was one of the few that remained standing, even though it was badly damaged. There were no windows or doors left, all had been torn away by the violent wind caused by the explosion. We turned our house into a hospital and assembled there around two hundred who were injured in order to nurse and assist them. On the following day, the seventh, at five in the morning before beginning the work of helping the wounded and burying the dead, I celebrated Mass in our house. It is certain that in the most tragic moments we feel nearest to God and the importance of his assistance. Actually, the external surroundings were not much adapted for fostering devotion during the celebration of the Mass. The chapel, half destroyed was fully packed with those who had been injured.  They were lying on the floor close to each other and they were obviously suffering from the torments of their pains.  I began the Mass as best I could in the midst of that crowd which did not have the least idea of what was taking place upon the altar. I cannot forget the frightful impression I had when I turned towards them at the “The Lord be with you” (Mass was then said with one’s back to the congregation) and saw that sight from the altar. I was unable to move and remained as if I were paralyzed with my arms stretched out as I contemplated that human tragedy: human knowledge, technical advance used for the destruction of the human race.  All looked at me with eyes filled with anxiety, with desperation, as though expecting that some consolation would come to them from the altar. It was a frightful scene!”

Do we have the courage to learn from the blunders of the past? Today, as we commemorate the pain and suffering visited on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on Chernobyl and Fukushima, we all need to pledge and act in whatever way we can, to make our world safer for the generations to come.
6th August, 2014

(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)

Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052
Phone: (079) 27455913, 66522333 Fax: (079) 27489018 Email: