Thursday 9 August 2012

Edu institute in K’taka makes bindi, bangles a must

In the guise of discipline, an educational institution in South Kannara district has enforced a rule that women – students, teachers and staff – wear bangles and sport bindis on the campus from the next academic year. The board of the Vivekananda Vidyavardhaka Sangha, Puttur, near Mangalore has circulated a notice directing the heads of its institutions to adhere to the new rule. The May 25 notice makes uniforms compulsory and says women must wear bangles and tilak on the premises, disregarding the sensibilities of the women from other communities who may be not in favour of donning a tilak on their forehead. This is asking for trouble and creating an atmosphere of mistrust. The local administration should look in to this. And it is high time the present Karnataka government take proactive measures regarding the moral policing incidents, and ask the institutions to do away with such parochial rules and regulations which may be a cause for flare up in the community.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Banish the guardians of morality

Few days ago there were reports that Muthalik, leader of a local right-wing group is keen to spread his wings and introduce his own brand of moral policing in the adjoining state of Goa. The otherwise peaceful Goa was aghast, the Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Goans in one voice have made it clear they don’t want this man or his moral policing disturbing the secular fabric of the peaceful state. With BJP in power in Goa, Muthalik felt he would be welcome in Goa.
Until a few years ago nobody had heard of him. It is only after the BJP came to power in 2008 in Karnataka has he raised his head. He came into the limelight with the earlier pub attack. In 2009 – on January 24, forty activists claiming to belong to Sri Rama Sene, a right-wing Hindu fundamentalist group assaulted young men and women at a pub in broad daylight, saying that these youngsters were violating traditional values.
On July 28, as per reliable sources, a group of youngsters comprising eight boys and five girls, celebrating a birthday party were assaulted, molested and robbed by a mob claiming to belong to Hindu Jagarana Vedike, a right-wing organization. The police arrived on the scene after nearly half an hour and arrested eight people, including ring leader Subash Padil. On July 30, colleges remained shut as students protested against the incident urging police to take swift action. Satyajit Suratkal, Southern head of Hindu Jagarana Vedike, denied that his group had planned the attack, but he admitted that some attackers, such as Padil were its members.
Times have changed, so should traditions. Who are they to judge and arrogantly undertake moral policing, by attacking soft targets – students going to pubs or celebrating birthday parties. The street-smart attackers are either, small-time local goons and uneducated youths who are used by these petty leaders and so called guardians of morality, are coaxed to sabotage and attack in the name of Indian culture and tradition. Is it Indian culture to attack youths having fun? Who are they to decide, what is good and what is bad for Indian society. The authorities should act promptly and take strict action against the perpetrators of this ghastly act.
Mangalore, a fast developing city is known to be an educational hub, with major companies and IT giants like Infosys having their corporate offices. Mangalore is in a state of shock and it is in danger of losing its status as a peaceful student city where student from all over India and foreign countries come to study in the numerous top colleges and educational institutions. The self-appointed moral policing should be banished.

Friday 3 August 2012

The Arrogant Cowboys

The Arrogant Cowboys

Now with the killing of Osama bin Laden, it is time to ponder on the American policy, action and the politics involved in the entire episode. Was he a military target?

Hundreds of years ago, cowboys roamed the American landscape after either killing or driving out the native Red Indians from their land. And years later, generations of Americans have grown up on the staple diet of cowboy comics and films of the gun totting wild west heroes. And in modern times, it is reflected in their policies and actions.

Even in death, Osama bin Laden created a rift. The Fort Sill Apache Tribal leaders want an apology from Barack Obama for use of the code name ‘Geronimo’ for Osama bin Laden operation. It also created a raging trans- Atlantic divide.

US and Europe can’t see eye to eye on different outlooks on terror attacks. Given the celebrations around the US, the objections from France, Germany, Spain and UK came as no surprise. 

Tony Metcalf, British editior-in- chief of the Metro newspaper in US ran a Reuters story on European qualms over what a former German Chancellor called a breach of international law.  Jubilant Americans poured into Times Square to chant “USA, USA, USA!”. And, crucially, not a few began to question the legality and morality of the killings and the risk of revenge attacks.  That attitude simply outraged many Americans.

Europeans admire American commitment to shared values and democracy and the rule of law but fear US policy, particularly towards Muslims, creating problems for the future.

Metcalfe states,  “Democratic states do not execute people without first going through the judicial process”. He wrote, “If that process is circumvented then you are no better than the terrorists.”

If the yardstick is applied the Mumbai terrorists attack survivor, Ajmal Kasab should have been shot dead after interrogation process.  Why spend millions on him to uphold democratic values of the state.  Americans have different laws for different people.  If somebody else does a cowboy act it is a big human rights issue.

I am not sorry for Osama bin Laden. But if he was unarmed, why not the American Seals capture him and go through the judicial process. Now as reports are leaking, he was unarmed and did not resist.  What was the hurry to kill and bury him at sea.  Is there something more to it than meets the eye?

The cowboy trait of the Americans is seen all over Osama’s death; unarmed, killing at the hands of Americans has brought a new wave of contrasting emotional responses across the Atlantic.

Barack Obama says the US has meted out justice to Osama. Will the Americans allow or approve India’s action  to do similar justice to Dawood Ibrahim and others involved in the Mumbai bomb blast?

India has over the years, been a victim of Islamic terrorism. US is hardly concerned about terrorism that effects other countries.  It keeps on asking India  to talk to Pakistan.  India has the military might to seek out Dawood Ibrahim and others 26/11 accused and bring them to book.  Would they support India’s plan?  It is a million dollar question?

Did Osama’s killing violate human rights?  “Justice has been done,”  Barack Obama’s proclamations within  hours of Osama bin Laden’s killing has come under attack since Washington admitted the most wanted fugitive was unarmed. Despite the scale of Al Qaida’s crimes, legal opinion is divided on whether Osama can be passed off as military target exempting Americans the burden of showing he had no intention to surrender or could not have been overpowered without being shot.