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Tehelka August 8, 2009.

Men underestimate despair. But despair can be a deadly weapon. When you lose faith that a system will protect and play fair by you, it breeds fatal recklessness. It makes you abdicate from the rules that cement human relations. Despair can turn you from citizen to perpetrator. From the hunted to the hunter.

The Malegaon precipice

by Pratap Bhanu Mehta

“It is not overdramatic to say that we are nearing a precipice, and only something quite drastic can prevent our steep fall,” states Pratap Bhanu Mehta in an incisive and well written piece that appeared in the Indian Express on November 18th, 2008.

An extract: "Whatever may be the facts of the case, the aftermath of the inquiry in the Malegaon blasts has already become an ominous watershed in our politics. Much of the debate has centred on peripheral issues: the semantic squabble over what this kind of terrorism should be called, if the facts turn out to be true. Then there is the numerical worry: if true, how widespread is this kind of activity? But these questions simply deflect attention from the seriousness of the crisis. We are now moving towards a monumental tragedy. To see how deep the rot is, just think of the following five issues. "

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Lage Raho Munnabhai

by Dilip D'souza

Lage Raho Munnabhai is a superb film: clever, funny, fast-paced and never a dull moment. Yet I think its best virtue is what it did for one Mohandas Gandhi. I use that “one” deliberately, for this is an increasingly forgotten — and if not forgotten, reviled — man in India. In an era when a Times of India poll (October 30 2007) asks “Did Gandhi divide the country on caste lines?” and finds more people clicking “Yes” than “No”, the film put Gandhi back into public consciousness. It made people think about him and his message, and managed to do so without being ponderous at all. That’s the spirit, I believe, that was the soul of the Citizens for Peace / Times of India “Peace Mela” on October 2.

Ghettoisation and communal segregation in housing is a blot on Indian society

This article appeared in the Times of India on April 23, 2009

by Ather Farouqui

Ghettoisation is a grave and complex part of the communalism problem plaguing this country. The ghettoisation of Muslims has a decisive bearing on communalism but, unfortunately, it remains a theme ignored in public discourse. It is common knowledge that during the last two decades, Muslim families have faced enormous difficulties in renting houses in Hindu-majority areas in India, as Hindu landlords tend to shun Muslim tenants even if they belong to the same social class and enjoy an equal or better footing in society.

In Mumbai, for instance, some housing societies refuse membership to Muslims openly. In other cities too it is difficult for a Muslim to get an apartment in a housing society. In cities like Delhi, housing societies generally do not say no to Muslims openly but adopt various subterfuges.

SAHMAT Communique regarding Tendentious Reporting in Media

April 14, 2009

Press Statement on Tendentious Reporting in Media

We are deeply disturbed by the tendentious reports in the media of the Supreme Court proceedings on April 13 dealing with the S I T report on the Gujarat carnage of 2002.

This unhealthy trend in the media reporting is going to seriously compromise the credibility of the media and undermine “ freedom of expression” enjoyed by the media which we all cherish.

An impression being created in a section of the media that the former CBI director R K Raghvan who led the S I T has “told” the court that Teesta Setalvad “ cooked up macabre tales of wanton killing” is mischievious. Only the Supreme Court, the amicus curiae and the Gujarat government have access to the report. The S I T has not filed any other document in court to which the media has access nor was Mr. Raghvan in the Court. It is therefore obvious that the media is only uncritically reporting what the Gujarat government’s lawyer said in the note liberally distributed to the press outside the Court.

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