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Portrait of a revolutionary

Indian Express, 21 July 2010.

Locked up in an Egyptian prison in the early 1960s, Sayyid Qutb wrote a book that has inspired succeeding generations of radical Islamists.In this early phase Qutb, a Muslim who had come under the spell of Sufism, subscribed to the essentially secular nationalism of the day, the focus of which was opposition to British rule in Egypt and to Zionist colonisation in Palestine. But by the late 1940s, disillusioned with the failings of the nationalist parties, he had become an Islamist and — as exemplified in his first important book, "Social Justice in Islam" — an Islamist of originality and power.


Bill planned to ban 'defaming' books

by Swati Deshpande, Ambarish Mishra & Sanjeev Shivadekar, Times of India, 13 July 2010.

Less than a week after the Supreme Court slammed the state for banning American author James Laine's book on Shivaji, the Maharashtra government is contemplating a comprehensive legislation to stop "defamation of national, historical or community icons".

Legal and constitutional experts said the state was left with very few options after the apex court struck down the ban. "The state cannot pass a law to ban certain kinds of books based on its perception of history," said counsel S G Aney. Fundamental right to freedom of speech is circumscribed by the constitutional exceptions itself.


God and the gospel of globalisation

by Meera Nanda, March 2010, Himal Southasian

The defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India’s general elections last year was greeted with relief by secularists and democrats everywhere. Not entirely unreasonably: they read the fact that the BJP lost a solid 3.4 percent of its previous poll share as evidence that Indian voters had rejected the majoritarian politics of Hindu pride and prejudice, peddled by the BJP and the rest of the Sangh Parivar. The general consensus is that the ideology of Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, has lost its appeal among the urban youth and middle classes – that secularism has won and “God has left politics,” to borrow the elegant title of a recent essay by Delhi journalist Hartosh Singh Bal. Market reforms and globalisation emerge as the stars of this saga. Both the friends and critics of the BJP agree that it is the fervour for making money in India’s roaring economy that doused the flames of Hindu nationalism from the hearts of the middle classes. But that is not all. The ‘free’ market, we are told by a section of influential Dalit intellectuals, will not only free India from the menace of communal violence, but will also lift the curse of caste oppression. It is fair to say that the gospel of globalisation is gaining ground in India.


Kashmiriyat Revisited

by Ram Puniyani, 22 June 2010, Countercurrents.org

The local Muslims and the ministers said that all concerned should work for return of Pandits to the valley, as Kashmiiryat is incomplete without the pandits, who are integral part of the Kashmir’s culture and life. Many a pandits also promised to work towards such a goal, to over come the divides created by the militant and political forces. The return of pandits to the valley has already begun, though it is a trickle at the moment.

Kashmir issue has been seen by the two neighbors, Pakistan and India, more as an issue of ‘real estate’ only. Kashmir has been treated as the territory which has to be won over by any means. The Government of Pakistan has regularly used ‘Kashmir’ issue to retain their hold on the political power in Kashmir, while in India, for far too long the central Government ignored the aspirations of the local population. In this whole scenario the real essence of Kashmir, Kashmiriyat got undermined and the issue started being presented as a communal one and as the site of dispute between two neighboring countries.

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