Monday, May 16, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Gujarat High Court has observed that though majority of people in India have accepted Hindi as a national language, there was nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a national language of the country.
The observation was made by division bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and justice A.S. Dave recently while rejecting a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by one Suresh Kachhadia.
Mr. Kachhadia had filed the PIL last year seeking direction to Central and State government to make it mandatory for manufacturers to print details of goods like price, ingredients and date of manufacture in Hindi.
The court observed, “Normally, in India, majority of the people have accepted Hindi as a national language and many people speak Hindi and write in Devanagari script but there is nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a national language of the country.”
“No mandamus can be issued on any manufacturer or others for giving details or particulars of package in Hindi in Devanagari script,” it further said.
It was contended by Mr. Kachhadia’s lawyer that Hindi was the national language and was understood by a large number of persons in the country.
The Counsel representing central government submitted that specific provision has been made under the Standard of Weight and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules of 1977 that particulars of declaration should be in Hindi in Devanagari script or in English.
The court said that the Constituent Assembly while discussing the Language Formula noticed the recommendation of the Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights, which recommended the formula as per which, “Hindustani, written either in Devanagari or the Persian script at the option of the citizen, shall, as the national language, be the first official language of the Union. English shall be the second official language for such period as the Union may, by law, determine.”
However, in the constitution, Hindi was declared as an official language and not a national language.
The court in its order said Part XVII of the Constitution deals with Official Language. Under Article 343, official language of the Union has been prescribed, which includes Hindi in Devanagari script and English. (THE HINDU)
Saturday, April 9, 2011
By MUHAMMAD HUMAIDAN | ARAB NEWS
Published: Mar 21, 2011 00:05 Updated: Mar 21, 2011 00:05
JEDDAH: The junk foods has banned the sale of
and sugary beverages at all public schools.
The banned items include cookies, chocolates, chips, chewing gum, power drinks, canned foods, fruit juices, carbonated drinks and meat dishes, including liver. The ban order also covers various kinds of pastries.
School canteens are not supposed to sell junk food and supply only balanced food to students.
A dietitian in Jeddah, Fatimah Bukhari, stressed the significance of educating children on nutrition and eating balanced meals and learning healthy food habits. They should also be able to distinguish between good and harmful foods, she said.
The traditional Arab diet is healthy, especially when coupled with the more active outdoors lifestyles of the past. But the modern advent of consuming and foods heavy with sugars, oils and fats — coupled with a far less active lifestyle — has created a health crisis.
Diet-related diseases like is rapidly approaching endemic levels in and other countries.
She recommended that the Education Ministry should resume the free supply of balanced meals to students particularly at the primary and intermediate schools.
Anna Hazare was born on 15.01.1940 in Bhingar, near Ahmednagar city, Maharashtra in India. Anna's father Baburao Hazare worked as an unskilled labourer in Ayurveda Ashram Pharmacy. Anna's grandfather was in the army and was posted at Bhingar when Anna was born. He died in 1945 but Anna's father continued to stay at Bhingar. In 1952 Anna's father resigned from his job and returned to his own village, Ralegan Siddhi. At that time Anna had completed his education upto 4th standard and had six younger siblings. It was with great difficulty that Anna's father could make two ends meet. Anna's aunt (father's sister) took Anna to Mumbai. She was childless and she offered to look after him and his education.
From a tenacious soldier to a social reformer, and a right to information crusader, Anna Hazare’s journey of four decades has been unprecedented in terms of a non-violent yet effective campaign of resurrecting a barren village into an `ideal village?model and empowering the faceless citizen through pioneering work on Right to Information. His efforts to empower grampanchayats, protect efficient government officers from frequent transfers and fight against the red tapism in government offices have also received accolades.
His tryst with the army came when many Indian soldiers became martyrs in the Indo-China War of 1962 and the Government of India had appealed to young Indians to join the Indian army. Being passionate about patriotism, he promptly responded to the appeal and joined the Indian Army in 1963. During his 15-year tenure as a soldier, he was posted to several states like Sikkim, Bhutan, Jammu-Kashmir, Assam, Mizoram, Leh and Ladakh and braved challenging weathers.
At times, Hazare used to be frustrated with life and wondered about the very existence of human life. His mind yearned to look out for a solution to this simple and basic question. His frustration reached the peak level and at one particular moment, he also contemplated suicide. For this, he had also penned a two page essay on why he wants to live no more. Fortunately for him, inspiration came from the most unexpected quarters ?at the book stall of the railway station of New Delhi, where he was located then. He came across a book of Swami Vivekananda and immediately bought it.
He was inspired by Vivekananda’s photograph on the cover. As he started reading the book, he found answers to all his questions, he says. The book revealed to him that the ultimate motive of human life should be service to humanity. Striving for the betterment of common people is equivalent to offering a prayer to the God, he realized.
|More than 30-35 such dens located in and around the village had tarnished the dignity of the village and marred the social peace. Small scuffles, thefts and physical brawls resulted in loss of civic sense. Morality had reached such a nadir that some of the residents stole wooden logs of the temple of the village deity Yadavbaba to burn the choolah of one of the country liquor outfits.|
|This resulted in increase in the ground water level. After that, Hazare along with his team worked out the cropping pattern suitable to the quality of soil and the water volume available for farming. This led to increase in the water table by making water available for 1,500 acres of land instead of 300 acres. As a natural sequel, this effort led to yielding of food-grains and the villagers became self-sufficient in terms of food. The table turned turtle ?earlier there was no work available for the villagers, now manpower was required to be imported from neighbouring villages.|
The changes in the economics brought all the villagers under one roof of unity and people voluntarily contributed in terms of labour and money to build a school, a hostel, a temple and other buildings. Mass marriages, grains bank, dairy, cooperative society, self-help groups for women and youth mandals helped develop the village in all aspects and gave a new face to it.
Creation of a human idol should be the main objective rather than creating towering buildings. Surely, one needs to live for oneself and the family but simultaneously one owes something to your neighbour, your village and your nation too. For this, you need an idol who could lead to this goal. Such leadership is not created by power or money but only by virtues like pure thinking, matching action and willingness to sacrifice. It is the thumb rule of farming that ?When a seed buries itself, it leads to a better yield. in order to get better yield of grains, one single grain needs to burry itself.
The society needs such volunteers who are ready to get buried in selfless service for the better future of the society.’’
Hazare’s Ralegan Siddhi became the first role model of an ideal village and has become a tourist spot for many visitors across the nation, since it shows the metamorphoses from the worst village to an ideal village. Visitors include politicians, researchers, social workers and students. Four postgraduate students have completed Ph. D. thesis on Ralegan Siddhi.
|He further went on an indefinite hunger strike in Alandi on the same issue. Finally, the government woke up from deep slumber and took action against the culprits. Hazare’s sustained campaign on this issue had a great effect - six of the ministers were forced to resign and more than 400 officers from different government offices were sent back to home.|
Finally, again he went on an indefinite hunger strike at Azad Maidan in the last week of July 2003. At last, the President of India signed the draft of the Right to Information Act after his 12-day-long hunger strike and ordered the state government to implement it with effect from 2002. The same draft was considered as the base document for the making of the National Right to Information Act-2005.
After the implementation of the RTI Act-2005, Hazare travelled for more than 12,000 Kms across the state creating awareness about the Act. In the second phase, he interacted with more than one lakh college students and also conducted mass public meetings across 24 districts of the state. The third phase included daily 2-3 public meetings in more than 155 tehsil places. In this massive campaign, posters, banners were displayed and more than one lakh booklets of the provisions of the Act were distributed at a nominal price.
What is the aim of Anna Hazare’s fast? He says it is to bring about a Lokpal Bill which can effectively fight corruption at all levels. And what is the main opposition party, namely the BJP’s, agenda these days? To expose corruption in govt and ensure that guilty are punished. They’ve even said that they’ll take this fight to the streets and have already many rallies to highlight their case. So if the aim of both Anna Hazare and opposition parties are the same why are they together? Well, that’s because Anna Hazare says that BJP too is corrupt, or for that matter every political party is.
Well, he may well be right. There are indeed politicians on both sides of our political divide who may be guilty on this count. But didn’t the BJP try to reach out to him to show their support in this fight against corruption? While BJP may not have overtly expressed their support to Anna Hazare as yet but the visit of Uma Bharti to Jantar Mantar was an indicator of that. In fact, she had just gone there to test the waters but came back disappointed.
And therefore the real question is- Is this just a fight against corruption or does it also has a personal dimension to it? If the aim is not personal gratification then I feel that Anna is just being naive in this endeavor because can he or for that matter even Congress, if it were to give in, bring about as important a legislation as Lokpal Bill without the support of the main opposition party? You got to be absolutely naive so. Please note that Congress has not been able to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill despite having the support of BJP on this issue. And don’t worry about the loss of face which BJP might have to face if they oppose this bill. They can always claim to support the call for Lokpal Bill but at the same time point out some reservations about it’s provisions.
courtesy: Hot Trends and www.annahazare.org
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
|True emancipation of women requires a politics that has been shed of its masculinity to pave the way for socialism for women and men equally.|
At a rally on International Women's Day in Chandigarh on March 8.
THIS year, March 8 marked a century of the celebration of International Women's Day (IWD). But aside from a few publications and websites of women's movements, this event went largely unremarked in the mainstream press and also in the public consciousness.
The idea of International Women's Day was born in the socialist movement in the first decade of the 20th century. Clara Zetkin, socialist leader and head of the Women's Office of the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – to be known as Women's Day – to recognise the social contribution of women and to press for their demands.
As a socialist and an early (but not self-acknowledged) feminist, Clara Zetkin saw this as part of a broader anti-capitalist movement that would also foster cooperation between women in unions, women's organisations and socialist parties so they would unite and fight jointly in the class struggle for a more progressive society.
This suggestion was accepted unanimously at the second international conference of working women in Copenhagen in 1910, which included over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs, as well as the first three women elected to the Parliament in Finland.
The first International Women's Day was honoured in some European countries (Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland) in 1911 on March 17. Rallies were held involving more than a million people (both women and men), raising demands for women's right to work and be given equal wages, to vote, to hold public office and to end other forms of discrimination. The Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai described one of these rallies as composed of “one seething, trembling sea of women... certainly the first show of militancy (in Europe) by working women” (www.leftwrite.wordpress.com).
The demands raised at those first demonstrations still resonate today: an end to imperialist wars; better social and economic conditions for women and children; controls on rapidly rising food prices.
In the United States, in March 1908, socialist women and women workers from the clothing and textile trades had organised a mass meeting for an eight-hour day and women's suffrage. But less than a week after the first IWD in Europe in 1911, on March 25, the tragic “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire” in New York City in the U.S. led to the deaths of more than 140 working women, mostly recent migrants into the U.S. This led to greater attention to working conditions and labour legislation for women in the U.S. and other developed countries, and these also became important rallying points for the demands made for women on IWD in later years.
The reason that the date was shifted to March 8 is of great relevance for the global women's movement. In 1917, in tsarist Russia, Russian women went on strike for “bread and peace”, partly in response to the death of over two million Russian soldiers in war. The strike began on the last Sunday of February (which was March 8 by the Gregorian calendar used throughout most of the world).
The strike continued despite state repression and personal hardship endured by the women. This was the catalyst for – and effectively became the first stage of – the Russian Revolution. Four days later, the tsar was forced to abdicate and the provisional government granted women the right to vote. Ever since, IWD has been celebrated on March 8 not only to press for demands for gender equality but, importantly, as recognition of the tremendous power that women can wield when they unite.
The association of IWD with broader struggles of working people has remained a critical part of its essence. The slogan most often used on IWD was “Class struggle is women's struggle – women's struggle is class struggle!”
It was, therefore, very much part of the activities of trade unions and workers' organisations, which recognised that women's emancipation cannot occur within a social and economy system that denies the emancipation of workers in general, and vice versa. But as IWD became more international (taken up by the United Nations in the second half of the 20th century) and even “official” in scope, this critical link between the emancipation of women and broader economic and social emancipation of all has often been sidelined.
This reflects a general tension that, unfortunately, still remains between feminism and other progressive Left movements – a tension that persists all the more because the Left is the natural and inevitable home of those aspiring to the liberation of women.
Women have been part of the working class since the beginning of capitalism, even when they have not been widely acknowledged as workers in their own right. Even when they are not paid workers, their often unacknowledged and unpaid contribution to social reproduction and to many economic activities is absolutely essential for the functioning of the system.
However, it did take a long time for women's struggles to be accepted as an integral part of working class struggles for a better society. For many decades, even after the first IWD was celebrated to highlight the demands of women, trade unions and other worker organisations tended to be male preserves based on the “male breadwinner” model of the household in which the husband/father worked outside to earn money, while the wife/mother did not earn outside income and handled domestic work.
It has taken prolonged struggle and determined mobilisation to generate greater social recognition of the role of women as wage workers in different forms, as well as to bring out the crucial economic significance of unpaid household labour and community-based work that is dominantly performed by women.
Even so, it must be admitted that a major problem for many women activists has been the fundamental inequality in the alliance between feminism and socialism. Donald Sassoon notes in his magisterial history of the European Left in the 20th century ( One Hundred Years of Socialism, The New Press, New York, 1996, page 419): “It was accepted by socialists only on their own terms, namely that the social struggle between capital and labour was to be recognised as fundamental; the emancipation of women as women depended on the victory of the working class.”
Partly this reflected a concern that “bourgeois” feminism would distract from the critical question of class struggle, which is why even someone like Clara Zetkin could insist that socialist women should avoid cooperating with other feminist groups. But the social reality of the experience of socialist countries in the 20th century has also shown that the breaking of gender stereotypes and domestic division of labour are not necessarily achieved through the dictatorship of the proletariat, even when significant strides are made in gender equality in other ways.
For socialist feminists, this has meant a dual and more complex process of struggle: the need to address and confront the unjust economic order that is expressed in class societies, and the simultaneous need to address and confront the constantly regenerated patterns of gender inequality and subordination that are expressed not just in economic terms but also socially, culturally and politically. The complexity is usually made more intense because the second type of struggle involves taking on not only opposing class forces but also elements within parties, trade unions and other organisations of the Left.
The fact that this second kind of struggle is happening more and more in India and elsewhere may appear to be divisive of Left and progressive movements, but it is actually a sign of great vitality.
True emancipation, obviously, requires a politics that has been shed of its explicit and implicit masculinity, to pave the way for socialism for women and men equally. For that reason alone, it is probably important for socialist men to remember and celebrate International Women's Day.
courtesy: FRONTLINE (Fortnightly)
Saturday, March 12, 2011
End of Nuclear Dreams: Fukushima warns us about the threat of atomic greed. We have one at Koodankulam which is close to tsunami vulnerable area. Our state may have its mechanical justifications to go on with this type of projects. But people, judging factor in democracy, must rise up against unscientific and inhuman developmental strategies. Technocrats and the people who are wrongly tuned by media and state campaigns may disagree with me. But the ones who are hopeful about humanity will not disregard my word. Once India government had a plan to start a nuclear project at Peringom, Keralam with the support of Kerala state. Even recently Mr. A K Balan just shared his supporting attitude to construct a plant in the same place. Once we people had collected signatures statewide against the project. Now this is a right time to rethink about the dangers of nuclear plant. What you say?
O V Vijayan once told: I would rather become superstitious than a rationalist if the former does not support nuclear power and the latter support the same.
What we have to say?