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Tired of Democracy?

by  GAIL OMVEDT

Why are such masses of people (apparently: in our village some came out for a morcha organized by the Maharashtra Navnirman Samiti) following Anna Hazare, when it is now clear that his Lokpal is an authoritarian, centralized and undemocratically pushed proposal?

Several articles, including those by Arundhati Roy and Aruna Roy, have made this clear by now. I can find only one point to disagree with in the otherwise excellent article by Arundhati: that, like the Maoists, the Jan Lokpal Bill seeks the overthrow of the state. It does not. The movement wants to keep the state, in an even more centralized form, but replace its current rulers with a new set. And Ranjit Hoskote’s comment that “Anna Hazare’s agitation is not a triumph of democracy [but] a triumph of demagoguery” deserves to be remembered. The increasingly authoritarian, even fascist forms of activities are disturbing even many of its supporters.

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Ambedkar's way & Anna Hazare's methods

By Sukhdeo Thorat

Following Dr. Ambedkar's example, Team Anna should use constitutional methods and enhance people's faith in them. Otherwise it will convey the message that only coercive and unconstitutional methods work.

A group of people, with placards showing Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, staged a demonstration in Delhi a few days ago against Anna Hazare's proposals on the Lokpal and the methods used by his team. More often than not, Dalits look with suspicion on any attempt to tamper with the Constitution. Team Anna has, however, suggested that its Lokpal bill would benefit Dalits more than anyone else. This led me to look at Dr. Ambedkar's position as compared to the mode of agitation being deployed by Anna Hazare and his team.

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Don’t ban Aarakshan, it’s just upper caste

by Kancha Ilaiah 

The debate around Aarakshan, Prakash Jha’s movie on reservation, has several major implications for our civil society and state. The objections raised by several organisations, individuals and also the ban imposed by three state governments — Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab — because of their suspicion that the film is against the interests of pro-reservation forces, made it controversial.

The film has been seen by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and certified U/A without any cuts. But the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes demanded to see it before it was released. After the viewing the commission felt that there are many dialogues that were objectionable from the dalit point of view. However, the CBFC felt that the SC/ST commission’s opinion was not binding on them, and they did not agree to cut some of the dialogues suggested by the commission and other organisations. However, after some cuts were made, the film was released in Andhra Pradesh.

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Annihilating caste

by Bhalchandra Mungekar 

B.R. Ambedkar's passion for the abolition of untouchability and the eradication of caste is as relevant today as it was 75 years ago.

THE Jat Pat Todak Mandal, a social reformist organisation of Lahore, had, in 1936, invited Dr B.R. Ambedkar to deliver the presidential address of its annual conference on the topic of the caste system in India. Ambedkar sent the manuscript of his speech titled The Annihilation of Caste. However, the organising committee found some of his views, particularly his critique of the Vedas and his inclination to leave the Hindu fold, unacceptable.

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UP and 'untruthful' political players

by Chandra Bhan Prasad

Now that the Election Commission (EC) has decided to hold the UP Assembly polls in February, the accompanying trauma is all set to begin. Political parties will spend many sleepless nights while political analysts, in particular psephologists who seem to do brisk business via the electronic medium, will certainly also have their share of nightmarish moments.

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Who’s afraid of caste census?

-- Kancha Ilaiah

Ever since the Centre announced that it would collect data on various castes during the ongoing Census, the media has created a hue and cry saying that this would harm the nation and open a Pandora's Box of caste conflicts. On the other hand, those who seek caste enumeration are of the view that this would clear the cobwebs and deliver proper data on other backward classes (OBCs) that will help implement reservation policies and welfare schemes better.

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