'Even America' is Theocratic
"We [India) said we would not discriminate among religions. Why did we do that? Our neighbouring country [Pakistan] has declared that their state has a religion. They have declared themselves a theocratic state. We didn't declare so".

The Defence Minister should tell us whether thieves and murderers go around declaring who they are and what they have done? Do his colleagues in the Cabinet ever speak the truth about this CAA-NPR-NRC racket or are expected to think only what "our saints and seers" pronounce?
Mukul Dube, Delhi

Periyar Controversy
Tamil superstar Rajnikanth is in controversies due to his statement on EV Ramasami Periyar. Even FIR has been lodged against them. He has not regretted his statement and refused to apologize. DMK President M K Stalin also advised Rajinikanth to take precautions by making such statements. He said, "My friend is not a Rajinikanth leader, he is an actor. "I urge them to think first before speaking about a personality like Periyar." On Tuesday, Rajinikanth said, "I cannot apologize for what I said.

The complaint against Rajinikanth sought registration of a case under section 153 (a) of IPC. It may be recalled that Periyar is called the father of the Dravidian movement. Rajinikanth had said that Periyar was a staunch critic of the Hindu gods. During an interview in the past, Rajinikanth had said that Periyar was constantly making rhetoric against Hindu deities, but then nobody said anything about it. In fact, in an interview with the Tamil magazine Tughlak', Rajinikanth mentioned a rally by Periyar in the year 1971. According to him, Periyar had a rally in Salem in 1971. There were nude pictures of Lord Rama and Sita. The same statement Rajnikanth was expressed.

Dr Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial Award
Centre for Study of Society and Secularism along with Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community (CBDBC), Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) and Bohra Youth Sansthan (BYS) is pleased to announce that K P Ramanunni has won the first Dr Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial Award constituted in 2019.

K P Ramanunni is a prolific writer whose award winning works including Sufi Paranja Katha and Daivathinte Pusthakam have contributed immensely to the sphere of religious and communal amity. They invite readers to the similarities in the religions of both Hindus and Muslims, in their rituals and in the teachings of wise Gurus in both the traditions. Ramanunni's very first novel Sufi Paranja Katha won the two most prestigious awards for Malayalam Literature—The Kerala Sahitya Akademi award and the Edassery award. Sufi Paranja Katha has been translated to English, French, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Konkani, Telugu and Bengali. The Hindi and Kannada versions were published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.

Ramanunni's third novel 'Jeevitha-thinte Pusthakam' has won one of the most prestigious National literary awards, Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award and Malayattoor Award. His selected Short Story collection has bagged C V Sreeraman Award of 2009 & TV Kochubava Award of 2009. His latest novel 'Daivathinte Pustakam' has won Abudabi Sakthi award for Novel 2016. Apart from the works mentioned above, Ramanunni has authored many short stories and essays bring him more accolades and recognition as a writer. Ramanunni has participated in many National and International Literary Seminars. As a senior fiction writer in Malayalam he has represented the language in the international Katha Seminar in New Delhi.

Ramanunni is an activist working in the field of communal harmony in India and has led so many campaigns against the communal division of the society. He has addressed the communal problems from the standpoint of a real believer. His initiative in this field has been duly acknowledged throughout India. When communal riots broke out at Maradu in Kerala, Ramanunni conducted a symbolic pilgrimage with a Muslim writer named C Ashraf to Sabarimala, which has been the centre of religious amity in the state.

Dr Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial award is constituted to acknowledge and promote legacy of Dr Engineer and his work in the areas of liberation theology, religious reforms in any community.

CSSS, Mumbai

"In July, the teenager wrote to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, claiming that she had told the local police that she was allegedly raped by Sengar before she was allegedly kidnapped and gang-raped, but the police did not file an FIR against him".

The word "allegedly" is used twice here. Of late, it has been appearing in all news reports about all kinds of crime, usually in the wrong place. Who made the allegation is never disclosed either; although here it is clear that the teenager made it. Other forms of the same word have apparently been forgotten. The sentence quoted could have been simpler and more accurate:

The example used is from "HuffPost" India, date 16 Dec 2019, but the disease has spread widely in the English language media.
Mukul Dube, New Delhi

Thirty years ago, the Iron Curtain that separated the East and West for decades begun to lift as revolutions swept through the former Soviet states. Can Europe Make it? Has run a series of articles reflecting on the anniversary and its legacy.

There has been much commentary on the illiberal turn in countries like Poland and Hungary, where the memory of authoritarianism has not yet faded.

But Tom Junes argues that this narrative rests on a false assumption that anti-communism was a liberal, rather than nationalist, project.

Michael Hauser reaches a similar conclusion: he identifies the roots of today's illiberalism in the 'non-political' politics forged by Czechoslovakia's post-communist leader, Václav Havel.

Anna Krasteva, writing from a-Bulgarian perspective, assesses the failures of the country's democratic transition and the emergence of nationalist populism.

Maik Fielitz writes about growing up in east Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in a rural community where Nazi skinheads roamed the streets.

In the UK, meanwhile, there is just under three weeks left until the country goes to the polls in a volatile general election.

There are broken stories about the influx of Russian donations to the Conservatives, revealed that the Liberal Democrats sold voter data and raised the alarm on far-right-Facebook adverts.
A Reader, London

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Vol. 52, No. 35, Mar 1 - 7, 2020