Gandhi–the Villain
Successive governments and all political parties in India have somehow projected Mahatma Gandhi like a political deity to be worshiped like god as if freedom of this nation was solely because of efforts of so-termed Father of the Nation, sidelining others including also Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpatrai, Shaheed Bhagatsingh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Rajguru, Ashfaqulla Khan and numerous others who laid down their lives by becoming martyrs for freedom of nation.

Now at least a prominent BJP-minister Anil Vij has openly and boldly spoken that Bhagatsingh and others would have not been hanged to death by British rulers if Mahatma Gandhi would have so desired. There have been similar other stories about other Congress leaders of pre-indepcndence India. Union government should probe all such aspects raised by Anil Vij and others to expose the real truth about projected versus real heroes of country's freedom.

Currency-notes, coins, stamps in different denominations should bear photos of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpatrai, Shaheed Bhagatsingh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Rajguru, Ashfaqulla Khan and others having martyred for country's freedom.
Madhu Agrawal, Delhi

Banning Old Vehicles
The decision to ban, in Delhi, petrol vehicles older than 15 years and diesel vehicles over ten years old makes age the sole determinant of polluting ability. It is irrational, because two vehicles of the same age may be as different from each other as chalk and cheese, depending on how they have been run and maintained. The decision also says clearly that the Pollution Under Control checks that motor vehicles must undergo every three months, for which an extensive mechanism is in place, are without meaning.
Mukul Dube, New Delhi

Bose Files
After selective disclosure of files revealing snooping of family of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose during the years 1948-1968, now BJP-government has refused to enquire into the whole episode. Earlier BJP-government took surprise U-turn on declassification of all files relating to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, which was its pre-poll promise.

Such surprise U-turn of BJP-government puts weight in arguments of Congress which is now forcefully demanding declassification of these files that while before polls BJP was anticipating something which could adversely affect image of Congress-leaders by declassification of files, may perhaps not be there in those files. Or is it that present political rulers are under a sort of blackmail from their predecessors to expose something which might affect existing political rulers?

Both Congress and BJP are now jointly guilty in keeping people of this great country in dark about their favourite hero of country's freedom. Netaji is not a personal property of any political party or even of warring factions of his own family on the matter.

It is time that President of India may intervene for making government declassify files relating to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. With colour of governance-system globally drastically changed from then dictatorship to now democracy in last seven decades, there is absolutely no weight in keeping these files in secret-box in name of adversly affecting relations with foreign countries.
Subhas Chandra Agrawal, Delhi

Land Rights Day
23rd March 2015. On the day when Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru laid down their lives for freedom of India, people's movements remembered their sacrifice by pledging to intensify the struggle against corporate loot of land and natural resources. While the country is free from the imperialistic powers, the poor and marginalised of this country are still not free from the clutches of exploitative policies that in the name of 'development' snatch away hard-earned rights and national resources. Making mockery of democracy that requires a space for dialogue, debate and also dissent, the Government is hell-bent on passing anti-farmer-worker Land Bill that will prove to be disastrous for lives and livelihoods, agriculture and nature.

Celebrating this historical day as the 'Land Rights Day', people's movements, organisations and networks across the country organised programmes, rallies and also Mashaal Julus to remind the government that their anti-people moves shall be met with fierce opposition. A signature campaign has also been started all over the country to demand cancellation of land bill and assert land rights. Land Rights Day was celebrated as part of the larger, countrywide call of resistance that has been given out by the Joint Forum against the Land Acquisition Bill-2015.

In Delhi, senior activists Medha Patkar, Bhupendra Singh Rawat, Rakesh Rafiq and many others participated in the programme organised by the youth involved with people's movements. Cultural activist Arvind Gaur and his team 'Asmita' set the tone of the event by performing a street-play and songs of resistance. Speaking at the programme, activist Medha Patkar said that yesterday's statement of the PM Modi where he argued that the Land Bill is not anti-farmer is both inaccurate and propagandist. She asserted that the Bill is completely anti farmers-workers and is meant only for easy transfer and forcible acquisition of land for corporations by the government, without any consent of the land owners and those dependent on it for their livelihood or conducting any social impact assessment.
Roma, Sanjeev, Madhuresh, Shweta, Krishna Prasad, Vijoo Krishnan, Pratap, Satyam, Meera, Rajiv
Joint Forum Against the Land Acquisition Bill, 2015

Election Commissioners
It refers to appointment of Achal Kumar Jyoti, the former Gujarat Chief Secretary in regime of Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat as new Election Commissioner of India. Prime Minister Narender Modi during campaign for Lok Sabha elections had criticized Election Commission for bias. Such criticism was not new with some earlier Chief Election Commissioners having been criticized as 'men' of ruling political rulers having appointed them. But none of the party or alliance having ruled the country ever tried to take legislative measures to avoid such controversies.

Election Commissioners should be appointed by a collegiums consisting also of Prime Minister and Leader of largest Opposition Party if possible by consensus in a manner Central Information Commissioners and Chief Vigilance Commissioner are appointed. It is indeed shocking and surprising that such a necessary legislative measure has till now been not considered for post of Election Commissioners requiring total unbias for these sensitive postings. It gives bad name to the constitutional body and also world’s largest democracy that Election Commissioners are criticized for a procedure which certainly requires modification.
Subhas Chandra Agrawal, Delhi

Vol. 47, No. 46, May 24 - 30, 2015