Dadabhai Naoroji
Dadabhai Naoroji, the Grand Old Man of India, played a significant role in shaping British public opinion in favour of India. Dadabhai and WC Bonnerjee founded the London Indian Society to facilitate the exchange of views on India between Indians and Englishmen. He also established the East India Association in London to hold wide-ranging discussions on Indian issues.

From 1892 to 1895, Dadabhai was a member of the British House of Commons. His interventions in the House ensured an inquiry into Indian expenditure. In this, he was helped by British men like Samuel Smith. In 1895, the British government set up the Royal Commission on the Administration of Expenditure of India. Dadabhai not only served as a member of the commission but also testified before it as a witness. His main submissions to the Commission were as follows: The British rule in India is central to the prosperity of the British nation. Hence, Britain must pay a fair share of the cost of administration in India. In the case of war, India should not be burdened with the cost of wars fought for British imperial interests. But in frontier wars where British and Indian interests are involved, the cost of war should be divided between Britain and India in a just manner.

Dadabhai, through his writings and speeches, familiarised the British public with the Indian National Congress. To attract the attention of the British Parliament and British public to Indian interests, a British Committee of the Congress was formed in London in 1889. Dadabhai cooperated with this committee. The British cotton trade, centred in Lancashire, had severely undermined Indian trade interests. To counteract it, Dadabhai started a propaganda campaign in Britain to inform the British public about India’s financial condition and trade needs. W.A. Chambers, Romesh Dutt, and Bipin Chandra Pal participated in this propaganda.

Dadabhai Naoroji’s lifelong effort to bring to the attention of the British public the needs of India earned him the sobriquet "Unofficial Ambassador of India".
Visakh S M, Kaithamukku, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Condemn Police Action
While the Prime Minister, who would say Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, was busy inaugurating the new parliament building, his party colleague and prime accused, Brij Bhusan Singh, was seen moving around with other members of parliament during the inauguration programme. On May 28, Olympic medalist and Padmashree awardee Sikhs Malik said it was a ‘sad day’ in the history of Indian Sports. “A sexual abuser, Brij Bhushan, is sitting in Parliament today while national wrestlers are being dragged on the road. Sad day for Indian sports”, Malik said.

The vindictive Delhi police have also removed the makeshift tents, tarpaulin camps, mattresses, etc., from Jantar Mantar, where the wrestlers have been protesting. Not just that, Dependra Pathak, Special CP, Law and Order, Delhi Police, who was also at the spot to monitor the situation, said that the wrestlers had been detained for violating law and order. “We will take legal action after an inquiry in due course of time”, the senior police officer said.

Not just that the protesting wrestlers were detained, but the supporters, who came in large numbers from different walks of life and in individual capacities or as parts of democratic organisations and farmers’ groups, were heckled and arrested. Some of these supporters were arrested on May 27 in a bid to prevent them from joining the mahapanchayat.

CDRO calls upon all democratic-minded people to support the wrestlers’ protest and expose the patriarchal tendencies of the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). CDRO urges people to come out openly against the highhandedness of the Delhi police as a mark of solidarity with the wrestlers.
Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO)
(Asish Gupta), (Tapas Chakraborty)
(Kranthi Chaitanya)
Coordinators, CDRO

Police Brutality
Behind the façade of the inauguration of the new parliament building people witnessed the most brutal form of crack-down on the peacefully protesting wrestlers in broad day-light at the heart of the national capital. Behind the curtain of the “dance of democracy” Indians saw, the “Champions of India” are being dragged through the tarred road of Delhi and thrown into the police vans. Masum strongly condemns this act.

Since last few months the top-tier wrestlers of India have been staging a sit-in demonstration demanding justice in the case of alleged sexual abuse by the president of Wrestling Federation of India, Mr Brij Bhushan Singh, also a leader of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. During their planned march to the new parliament building, they were intercepted by Delhi police and manhandled to detention.

In the last few years, India has seen these same faces of the wrestlers on the victory ramps singing the national anthem proudly. The persons like Ms Shakshi Mallik, Ms Vineesh Phogat and Mr Bajrang Punia et al have raised the Indian flag multiple times in the international arena. But, now the government is paying them back with the brutality in order to hide a crime of someone who is part of the ruling establishment.

When this police brutality was taking place, only a few kms away, the prime minister of India Mr Narendra Modi was engaged in a façade of celebration on the occasion of the inauguration of the new parliament building with saffron clad religious leaders. The parliament is a symbol of pluralist democracy in India. By engaging in the showcase of majoritarian communal power when the protesters were being manhandled on the roads, the PM is actively engaging in saboteur acts against democracy itself.

If the government really wants to secure the well being of the citizens of India, they should empathetically look into the accusation of sexual harassment against Mr Brij Bhushan Singh and book him under relevant charges to let the justice prevail. Instead of that, the government is steamrolling the voices of the survivors to protect the perpetrator, which is severely detrimental to the democratic environment of the country.
Kirity Roy, Secretary
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)

Not a Tactical Victory
Despite Moscow’s claims of victory, Igor Girkin, nom de guerre Strelkov, a former Russian soldier and intelligence officer who led the original 2014-15 uprising of east Ukrainian separatists, painted a bleaker picture to his nearly 800,000 Telegram subscribers.

He describes the capture of Bakhmut as not a victory in any tactical sense, but part of the Kremlin’s policy of “freezing the conflict through a compromise agreement”, and as such, only intending to wear the enemy down until Kyiv and its Western allies agree to let Russia keep Crimea and the Donbas. Strelkov is a hardline Russian nationalist who believes Moscow is not taking the conquest of Ukraine seriously enough.
Al Jazeera

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Vol 55, No. 50, Jun 11 - 17, 2023