Release Teesta and Sreekumar
The Gujarat Law enforcement agency demonstrated quick alignment–and cleverness in reading not-too-subtle signals from the vendetta-filled home minister leading to the infuriating farcical detention of Teesta Setalvad and RB Sreekumar in the wake of the Zakia Jafri case judgement. That this is but the last step in a long road to the chilling effect on constitutionally protected freedoms is less obvious. It completes the complete gutting of Article 32 of The Indian Constitution–one that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar called–“the soul of the constitution”. It powerfully empowers every citizen the right–and this next part is crucially important–without fear of judicial punitive retribution–to move the Supreme Court–no less–in pursuit of justice involving violations of fundamental rights–such as Right-to-life and Habeas corpus. The police action in this case converts seekers of justice–victims really–instantly into accused–without any investigation–a truly Kafkaesque situation. Where does the Indian citizen go if it is the Supreme Court–the supposed guardian of the constitution–that’s telegraphing this message to the land? Which citizen in their right mind would approach the SC for recourse?

The indisputable conclusion is that the regime’s institutional capture of every type–judicial, law enforcement, regulatory and media is complete. The very definition of totalitarianism.

Teesta is paying the price for merely invoking a constitutionally protected right in Article 32–that of Supreme Court access for remediation of violation of fundamental rights. Instead, that she and others languish in jail is testament to the continued unchecked brazenness of this saffron ruling regime.

The average Indian is an unwilling participant in a roiling sea of oligarchic distractions involving bread and circuses. But what about intellectuals l? What keeps them generally well-to-doers indoors, quiet, subservient and supplicant? What’s the excuse? They seem to be at best armchair social-media warriors. And at worst, as primarily self-interest-driven-elites

For all these reasons, Teesta needs people’s unqualified voice and support for the fight she’s waging against the tyranny. There is ample prima-facie evidence that even procedurally her detention was illegal. Due process rights were violated from the start. Procedure matters–especially for law enforcement. Moreover, it is high time that Sanjiv Bhatt's persecution should also end.
Sandip Pandey

Caste System Will Continue
Actually, the Dalits are never interested in ending the caste system, of which they are now beneficiaries. The so-called caste discrimination is nothing more than playing the victim card. Ask how many want to forego the caste benefits and live in a genuine caste-less society. None will raise their hands.

And upper castes among Dalits do not treat castes lower than them any differently than so-called upper castes.

Since all the so-called lower castes are lumped together a few 'Upper castes' among Dalits - like the Mahar community of Dr. Ambedkar corner all the benefits given to the Dalits and those really deserving languish for decades. It is politically incorrect and against vote bank politics to even mention rabid casteism among the Dalits, which is far more severe than among so-called upper castes.

Dalits only want to turn the tables and not end the caste system. That is the beauty of the Indian caste system. No one wants to end it in a real sense. They want only beneficiaries to change. Hence no matter how many generations pass caste system will continue because so-called victims are actually the beneficiaries of the caste system.
Sanjeev Kulkarni

Lenin and Deng
Chinese scholars and some foreign scholars compared Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening up with Lenin's new economic policy and provided theoretical support for China's socialist market economy theory. They believe that the reform and opening up are similar to the new economic policy, mainly based on the following points:

1.   Both are reform movements in socialist countries, and the starting point of reforms is to change the institutions and mechanisms that are not suitable for the development of productive forces.
2.   Put development productivity first. Deng Xiaoping proposed that the fundamental task of socialism is to liberate productive forces, and that the superiority of socialism over capitalism is mainly reflected in productive forces. Lenin also believed that improving productivity is the fundamental task of socialist construction.
3.   Use capitalism to build socialism. Deng Xiaoping's reform, opening up, and introduction of foreign capital and market-oriented privatisation were all aimed at building capitalism. Lenin also compared the new economic policy to state capitalism.
4.   All use commodities, markets, and currencies to build socialism.
5.   They all start with agricultural reform. The reform and opening up first reformed the countryside, allowing home-to-house production and household-to-house work, and changing the rural agricultural commune system to a household joint production contract responsibility system. The core was to give farmers freedom and mobilise their enthusiasm. The new economic policy first replaced the system of collecting surplus grain with a tax on food, giving farmers freedom of trade and circulation.
6.   Same background. The reform and opening up and the background of the new economic policy were forced to be carried out under difficult circumstances in the country. Before the reform and opening up, China experienced the civil unrest of the Cultural Revolution, and the country's society and economy were hit hard. Before the implementation of new economic policy, Soviet Union and Russia suffered from the civil war, and the economy was hit hard. As a result, farmers were dissatisfied and some workers were dissatisfied. It was in this case that Lenin proposed the new economic policy to restore the national economy.

However, the nature of the two is different on two points:

i.    The aim of the two was different. Lenin's new economic policy had two functions. The first was to consolidate the worker-peasant alliance. The second was to transition to socialism with the help of new economic policies. The main role of Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening up was to increase the level of productive forces and people's living standards as quickly as possible.
ii.  The economic foundations of the two reforms are different. One is mixed economy dominated by capitalism and small production, the other is planned economy based on nearly public ownership.
A Chinese Student

Zail Singh to Droupadi Murmu
Droupadi Murmu made history after winning the presidential election. She was the candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Not only are the Adivasis being forcibly evicted in the name of development, throughout their mineral-rich traditional lands by the extraction industry, with the backing of the Centre, but any voice of dissent from within the community is suppressed with the help of police and paramilitary forces. Often, they are branded as Maoist insurgents and thrown in jail under draconian laws, simply because left wing radical groups are active in the tribal areas. Human rights defenders fighting for their rights are being incarcerated under trumped up charges.

Propping up Murmu as an Adivasi face of the government is thus a part of a well calculated move on Modi’s part.

However, the pattern is neither different nor new. The predecessor of Murmu, Ram Nath Kovind, was from the oppressed community of Dalits or so-called untouchables, who are discriminated against under a brutal caste system practised by the orthodox Hindus. If Kovind’s appointment couldn’t stop the repression of Dalits, nothing is going to stop the repression of Adisasis with Murmu as President.

India appointed its first turbaned Sikh President in 1982, under a self-proclaimed secular Congress government.

Zail Singh was elected to the office when the Congress government in New Delhi was locked in a political tussle with the Sikh leadership of Punjab. The government bypassed Zail Singh while allowing the army to assault the Golden Temple Complex in June 1984.

The ill-conceived military action led to the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, culminating into the state sponsored massacre of Sikhs across India. All this happened on the watch of Mr Zail Singh.

In July, 2002 India elected A P J Abdul Kalam as its President.

A Muslim man, Kalam’s appointment followed the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat early that year. Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat when thousands of Muslims were slaughtered by BJP supporters.
Gurpreet Singh

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Vol 55, No. 6, Aug 7 - 13, 2022