India’s Migrants Deserve More

For some, the extended lockdown is a perfect time to revive old hobbies like stitching or collecting knick-knacks or cleaning the dust off books which they were contemplating reading for years. It is also the ideal time to try out new recipes as witnessed on social media. But for a large section of India’s population, this lockdown means losing livelihood and staring at a bleak future.

As the health crisis became worse towards the end of march, the Centre decided to impose a total lockdown across the country. Since then, two more extended lockdowns have followed. However, this is adversely affecting migrants, labourers, farmers among other vulnerable sections of India. The financial assistance under the flagship Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana has come as some sort of relief. The assistance is very negligible.

Meanwhile, as we witness a large migration of people from the urban to rural areas, the latter needs much more resources to help the migrants. Mere assurances are not enough. The need of the hour is to come out with a comprehensive package for these people in the post- corona world.

Social Distancing

As the world grapples with the coronavirus outbreak, “social distancing” has become a buzzword of these times.
   Instead of stockpiling food or rushing to the hospital, authorities are saying social distancing – deliberately increasing the physical space between people – is the best way ordinary people can help stem the spread of the virus.
   Clothing has long served as a useful way to mitigate close contact and unnecessary exposure. In this current crisis, face masks have become a fashion accessory that signals, “stay away.”
   Today, it isn’t clear whether the coronavirus will lead to new styles and accessories. Perhaps we’ll see the rise of novel forms of fashion.
   Stay at Home, Stay Safe!!!

Chaos, Confusion and Anarchy – The 3 characteristics of “New India”

A few days ago, on a cold morning here in Mumbai, I was reading the newspaper, when I heard some strange noise outside my residence. I glanced outside the window and saw an Anti- CAA demonstration holding fairly large- sized placards and marching across the street.

   Demonstrations like the above are hardly surprising. Ever since the BJP has come back to power last year, the Prime Minister and his second-in command Home Minister Amit Shah have been pushing its agenda one after the other. The manner and aggression in which the government has framed legislations and policies in Modi 2.0 and forced it upon the people, have in a way forced the latter to come out on the streets and protest against the government.

Abrogation of Article 370

   On the 5th of August, 2019, the Centre carried out the abrogation of Article 370 and split Jammu and Kashmir into 2 Union territories. In order to carry out the same, the administration detained and arrested hundreds of Political leaders and activists, prominent among them being the former Chief Ministers of the erstwhile state – Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq Abdullah along with Mehbooba Mufti.

   Even as I write this piece, the situation in the valley is quite disturbing. Publication of print media is suffering, political leaders remain under detention, businesses have suffered huge losses and people in the newly carved Union Territories have no inkling of what their future is going to be like.

    Internet services that were banned in the union territory continue to remain the same way. In what has been seen as a good sign, the Supreme Court yesterday made it official that access to Internet is a fundamental right and cannot be suspended indefinitely. Yet, access to Internet will not help to win the confidence of the people. The Centre needs long-term confidence building measures.

NRC/CAA/NPR

   Having completed the long- pending demand of the abrogation of Article 370 by its ideological mentor – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Centre embarked with yet another mission – to sort out the problem of illegal migration.

   On 31st August last year, the National Registry Citizens (NRC), which was mandated by the Supreme Court, was released for the North-eastern State of Assam. The final list for the state showed around 19 Lakh people who were excluded. What’s worth noting it that most of the excluded people belonged to the majority community, who constitute an important chunk of votes for the Bharatiya Janata Party. To give them citizenship, the government introduced the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. The legislation promises to give citizenship to members of the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Parsi, Sikh, and Jain communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, whilst excluding Muslims.  

   What followed was a massive public outrage against the legislation. It was not just the opposition parties that protested, civil society groups also came out on the streets too. A sense of anarchy was visible in Assam for some time, where the vehicles and properties of the ruling BJP’s legislators were vandalized. Elsewhere, protests were visible in Tripura, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to name a few.

   Next, the Centre came out with the National Population Register (NPR), with the Union Cabinet announcing the allocation of Rs 3,500 crores late December. Since the announcement of the NPR has come in the middle of a controversy surrounding the NRC, widespread confusion has been visible. In states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal a sudden increase in demand for birth certificates has been reported.

   Let’s not discount the fact that this government has a little more than 4 years to complete its term. Yet, the Chaos, anarchy and confusion that has come about in the governments’ second term is disturbing. Our great Indian republic, which completes 71 years very soon, is in great danger of being eroded, if the situation remains the same. Perhaps, it’s time for the Modi- Shah duo to go back to the drawing board, before coming out with contentious policy decisions in future.

Antonio Costa 2.0

A week ago, Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa, who is of Indian Origin secured another mandate to rule the European Nation. Here’s some information on the Socialist Stalwart

Early Life:

Known as “Babush” in Portugal, Costa was born in Lisbon in 1961. He also has several relatives living in Margao, Goa. His ancestral house lies on Rua Abade Faria Road.

Ancestry:

Costa is the son of Prominent Goan Novelist, Orlando Costa, whose writings included essays on Tagore. His father spent most of his early youth in Goa, then under the Portuguese

Career:

Costa has held several positions in previous governments and in the European Union. He was also the Mayor of Lisbon.

As Antonio Costa steps into his second term, we wish him all the best and hope that ties between India and Portugal continue to be strengthened with him at the helm.

EASTER GREETINGS 2019

He is not here, He has Risen.

Mark 16:6
  • E – Easter Eggs- symbolizes the empty tomb
  • A – Ascension of the Lord into Heaven
  • S – Salvation through Jesus
  • T – Truth and Life
  • E – Eternal Life
  • R – Resurrection of the Lord

            This is wishing you a blessed Easter!!!

Wayanad: Congress’ Southern Outreach

   With Congress President Rahul Gandhi filing his nomination for Wayanad Lok Sabha Constituency, all eyes have shifted towards the southern state of Kerala.
The Constituency was represented by Congress MP late MI Shanavas from 2009 until November 2018, after he passed away following a long battle with cancer. The seat has now hit the national spotlight after Congress decided to field its President. Thushar Vellapally of the BDJS is the NDA candidate, whereas the Left has fielded PP Suneer.
The Buzz is that Rahul Gandhi has chosen to contest from Wayanad, so that in the event of him being a prospective Prime Ministerial Face of the Opposition, he will have the support of the North and the South. The decision of the Congress will definitely have a spillover in the neighbouring constituencies.
Come May 23, we will know who wins Wayanad!

  

Hardik Patel – Gujarat’s Rising Star

Hardik Patel, the face of the Patidar quota agitation is all set to join the Congress party today in Gujarat.

Patel rose to fame after he spearheaded the community’s demand for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. He is most likely to be fielded from the Jamnagar Lok Sabha Constituency by the Congress party. His decision to take the political plunge was taken last month, at a rally in Lucknow. 

With Congress currently holding four out of seven assembly segments in the Jamnagar Lok Sabha Seat, it is Hardik’s best chance to win the seat for the Congress, a seat that has long been its bastion.  

  

Pulwama : The Aftermath

On 14th of February last month, 40 CRPF personnel were killed by terrorist groups in Pulwama. Days after the gruesome incident, India retaliated by conducting Non- military Air raids in Balakot. The situation has since calmed down.

Meanwhile domestically the air strikes are being used as a tool to garner votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Recently, a leader from the saffron party in Karnataka was busy calculating how many “extra seats” the party can gain in the southern state. Not just that, an MP from the same party in Delhi was wearing a soldier’s uniform to get votes.

While the country waits to see the perpetrators of Pulwama punished, the political slugfest doesn’t seem to be ending. At least for now!

Remembering the Mahatma

   It’s been 70 years since the Mahatma’s death and there is a lot of about his life and philosophy that one can learn. Mahatma Gandhi believed in Non-violence and Non-violent agitation. He also believed in communal harmony and abolition of the practice of untouchability. As the world is poised to celebrate his 150th Birth anniversary later this year, his core beliefs like tolerance, harmony and non-violence remain far from reality. If Gandhi was alive today he would not have liked the communal violence, intolerance, lynching and disharmony between communities that we see in India today. India has witnessed tremendous change in the past few decades, but this change has not been in the direction that Gandhi wanted.   

   Gandhi freed India from British Rule without any violence, why can’t we free India from intolerance, violence and lynchings?