Remembering Immanuel Sekaran

Even if we do not have freedom, we should stand up with valour for our rights: Immanuel Sekaran.

 

'How much repression to keep his memory down!'

It is strange that a  man whose memory attracts over a million people, and increasing every year, on his death anniversary to his memorial in a village in interior Tamil Nadu over half a century after his brutal murder should only attract concerns over 'security' and 'tension' in the mainstream brahminized media. Over the last couple of years, Round Table has linked to five news items that referred to Immanuel Sekaran, and each one of them revealed the ruling classes' attempts, and barely concealed anxieties, to throttle his defiant spirit and message. To re-enact his assassination again and again, year after year. As a fellow contributor remarked, 'How much repression to keep his memory down, amazing!'

Repression hasn't managed to kill Immanuel Sekaran's memory, but mainstream discourse, especially in the English language media, has carefully weeded out any but the barest references to him. Every exercise to make them forget Immanuel seems to have only strengthened the resolve of the Dalits of Tamil Nadu to remember him, cherish his memory. And today, yet again, they've braved bullets to prove how priceless his memory is.   

Today, on Immanuel Sekaran's 54th death anniversary, repression seems to have struck again, with renewed force. Police firing on participants observing the memorial day in Paramkudi has claimed three lives. We condemn this brutal act of repression. We mourn the lost lives. We shall remember those martyrs. We shall remember Immanuel Sekaran. We shall never forget. 

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Mayawati and WikiLeaks: How Media lies to you

by Dilip Mandal, translated from Hindi by Ritu Ranjan Kumar

[A set of unverified gossipy statements about the UP Chief Minister Mayawati from unnamed journalists forms the basis of the WikiLeaks cables released a few days ago. Yet, the Indan media went to town about the contents being the truth. For, it only extended the Indian media's sustained gender, caste, class stereotyped campaign on the UP Chief minister, Mayawati- Round Table India]

Look at what is in the Wiki cable and how media misinterpreted it:

(Some journalists from UP supplied several pieces of information to the US Ambassador and based on that information, the Ambassador sent a report to Washington, which is now shamelessly being projected as a major leak by WikiLeaks. This is not a leak by WikiLeaks: instead it's a set of statements made by the UP journalists in the year 2008.)

Assessing the political atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh just before the (2009) Lok Sabha elections, the US Political Consul to India wrote a report. Later, he sent his confidential report to the US Government. The report is dated 23 October 2008. This confidential cable got leaked by WikiLeaks on 30 August 2011. Immediately after realizing that Mayawati is mentioned in the leaked cable, the Indian media gathered together like hungry wolves and started spreading sensational and misleading news about Mayawati. The most observable headlines in media are as follows:

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Jan Lokpal Bill Contains Draconian Clauses

Press release by Citizens for Social Justice  

Jan Lokpal Bill Contains Draconian Clauses.

Team Anna’s Civil Society Does Not Represent the Nation.

Let 2014 General Election Decide on Jan Lokpal Bill.

Citizens for Social Justice consisting of Prof Kancha Ilaiah, Dr. John Dayal – member of National Integration Council, Dr. Joseph D’souza – President of All India Christian Council and many eminent leaders from Muslim, Dalits and OBC address a press conference held at Hyderabad on Jan Lokpal Bill. 

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No Lokpal, says Kancha Ilaiah

[ A Round Table India report]

August 30: At a public meeting at the Hyderabad Press Club today, Kancha Ilaiah emphasized that the Team Anna sponsored Jan Lokpal bill was a direct attack on representative democracy and the constitution and it should be opposed vigorously. 'No Lokpal' should be the Dalit-Bahujan demand, he said.

The well attended meeting, organized by the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes Welfare Association and Andhra Pradesh Ambedkar Yuvajana Sangham, to discuss 'Caste, Corruption, Constitution' threw up a wide range of dissenting views on the proposed Lokpal bill, particularly the Jan Lokpal version. Bojja Tharakam, senior advocate, human rights activist and Dalit intellectual, G. Shankar and Bharat Bhushan of the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes Welfare Association, D.C.Rosaiah, retired IAS officer, Asifuddin Mohammed of the Islamic Academy for Comparative Religion (IACR) apart from Prof.Kancha Ilaiah, were among the key speakers at the meeting. Present at the meeting were many activists, students, employees and others.IMG_2457_copy

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Memorandum of Views & Suggestions on Lokpal Bill: Samvidhan Bachao Andolan

by Samvidhan Bachao Andolan

To,

Shri K P Singh,

Director,

Rajya Sabha Secretariat

201, Second Floor,

Parliament House Annexe,

New Delhi – 110 001

MEMORANDUM OF VIEWS AND SUGESTIONS ON LOKPAL BILL 2011 (BILL NO 39 OF 2011)

Sir,

This is in reference to the Newspaper advertisement No davp 31202/11/0019/1112, where in Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievance, Law and Justice have invited views and opinions on the Lokpal Bill that is posted on the website of Rajya Sabha. I have read the bill in detail and my views and suggestions are as follows:

(1) The heart of the Lokpal bill is to constitute a mechanism for dealing with complaints of corruption against public functionaries in higher places. However there are many instances of corruption by functionaries in the corporate sector which had duped the public in the past. To cite a few examples – Harshad Mehta scam, Satyam, Telgi, Citibank scams and school admission donations. At the moment, accountability is disproportionately inclined towards public functionaries in comparison to corporate. Also the Right to Information Act 2005 is not applicable in corporate or private institutions. Hence it is suggested to include corporate and private functionaries within the ambit of Lokpal Bill.

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Bahujan Lokpal Bill: some suggestions

 

Dinesh Maurya

dinesh maurya[Presenting the Bahujan perspective i.e., the views of the SC/ST/OBC and religious minorities, on the proposed Lokpal legislation, the writer makes some useful suggestions to make the bill more inclusive- Round Table India]

We want to submit some suggestions regarding the Government of India's proposed Lokpal Bill. Like Anna's Lokpal Bill, our Lokpal Bill, named as 'Bahujan Lokpal Bill', should also tabled in the parliament and should be discussed in the same way as the other Bill.

We are demanding that following provisions should be taken into consideration when making the Government's Bill:

1. Like the Public Sector (PSUs), private sector companies, NGOs, Media groups should also be brought under the purview of Article 12 of the Constitution as 'other authority', and also be brought under the purview/jurisdiction of Lokpal.

2. Religious & Charitable Trusts, Maths, Mandirs, Waqf Boards, Churches, Gurudwaras and other religious entities should also be brought under the purview of the Lokpal Bill or a Religious Property Accountability Bill, like the Judicial Accountability Bill, should be mooted.

3. Representation for all communities -Dalits, Backward Classes, Adivasis, Religious Minorities etc- should be ensured in the Lokpal Selection Committee.

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A Lokpal Critique

by Vaibhav Wasnik

The following is a collection of points from online debates that I have been part of, consolidated as an article. That corruption is a problem in India or most developing economies is not anybody's secret. But the rampant misusing of the power of suggestion by a "corporations'' backed media to counter the electorate process by promoting a non-ballot based center of power is even more mischievous. The Jan Lokpal Andolan with an old simple looking man called Anna Hazare as its poster boy, heavily publicized by the national media is the talk of the day in India today.

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Hindu, savarna, urban, elite media: an X-ray, CT Scan, ECG, MRI report

By Dilip Mandal

As expected, large sections of the media, especially the Hindu (sorry, Hindi) newspapers have adopted the policy of turning a blind eye towards the 'Save the Constitution' rally led by Dr.Udit Raj held on 24th, August in Delhi. A few newspapers seemed to be merely going through the ritual of reporting it.

For the English language media, this rally became news only because 'traffic was hit'. Look at what the media has done to this piece of news! As they say, the media never lets go of any opportunity to show its true caste.

(This report had to be written in some haste: please suggest any modifications/revisions, if needed. This analysis examines the content of the Delhi editions of all major newspapers dated 25 August, 2011).  

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Corruption, an empty signifier: the need for a Bahujan Lokpal Bill

 

Khalid Anis Ansari

I agree broadly that a caste slant will not help much even when it is writ large in the agenda of the forces that are supporting Anna. This is out and out a populist movement and populism has coexisted along with formal democracies right since its inception. In a way populism is also the barometer of democratic functioning and its emergence signals the lacunae in the principle of representation. The basic problem is that peoples' concerns and issues are not finding expression in the formal democratic apparatus and so this movement is a reality check for the system and must pressurize it to deepen democracy by initiating and launching debates on electoral, judicial and other much needed reforms.

gandhi hazare parliament

 It is not only the mechanism of Lokpal which finds mention in the Constitution but other important features like the setting up of an All India Judicial Commission on the patterns of UPSC (Article 312), etc, are also there. Why a certain issue (corruption) becomes a matter of life and death and other equally relevant issues (Article 312, etc) are marginalized are political moves and are governed squarely by class/caste interests.

Obviously, corruption is a grave problem. But corruption is also an empty signifier and its meaning is fixed and produced through the hegemonic struggle. From the vantage point of dalit-bahujan politics the first task would be to contest Anna's articulation of corruption and then to indicate its superficiality and class/caste character. Then a counter-hegemonic bahujan populist movement can be launched that focuses on systemic reforms in a more substantive manner.

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Jan Lokpal or Janvirodhi Lokpal?

By People for Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights (PCDHR, Nagpur)

Recent stir by Anna Hazare (Original name unknown/ Education unknown) & Co. for an Ombudsman for corruption in the name of Jan Lokpal is an 'extra-constitutional method', bypassing the Parliamentary process which is at the heart of Constitutional Democracy which 'We the People' of India have adopted.

Secondly the demand in their version of Lokpal, Jan Lokpal, to bring the Judiciary and Members of Parliament under the ambit of anti-corruption law is anti-Constitutional. This will make the Lokpal superior to the parliament & judiciary and snatch the sovereignty of the people of India which is exercised through elected representatives and judicial exercise to protect the Constitution.

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No Way But Onwards-The Anna Hazare Context

by Ashok Yadav 

"No way but onwards" was the title of a chapter I had read in English coursebook of Class XI which taught that problems arising out of applications of science and technology cannot be solved by bypassing them but on the contrary by more and more engagement with and application of the same. Likewise the problems that have arisen in India in an environment of parliamentary democracy can only be solved by more and more democracy, social justice, social reforms, more institutional reforms etc. The Anna Hazare method of taking on corruption is to set up a super body and legislation called Jan Lokpal bill which will oversee prime minister, higher judiciary, cabinet ministers, MPs etc like an eagle perched on a high rise building.

The Anna Hazare method to combat corruption is not to engage with systemic failures and distortions, devise and explore ways and means to correct the distortions and effect the necessary reforms to arrest the failures. The formation of a super body and legislation called Jan Lokpal is to bypass parliamentary democratic process. The supporters of the Jan Lokpal bill argue that parliament, judiciary and executives have all become corrupt, so India needs to have an omnipotent Lokpal to prevent and cure corruption.

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Caught in a Traffic jam: Liberation in Malayalam cinema

 

Rupesh Kumar

The Malayalam movie 'Traffic' has the actor Sreenivasan essaying complex roles; narrator, convict and the hero. I find it significant to analyze his role transformations and examine the explicit and implicit messages being conveyed in the movie as a reflection of Malayali society. 


The Narrator         traffic malayalamWhy was Sreenivasan chosen to be the 'philosophical' narrator in ‘Traffic’? Perhaps, as a part of the ongoing image building exercise of the Brahmanical hegemony in Malayalam cinema and cultural spectrum to construct him into a reference point as 'the' satirical intellectual. How does he get this image? When we closely look at the characters/scripting/directorial efforts of Sreenivasan, through his thirty year long film career, there is a clear and consistent brahmanical narrative that disparages the body, mind and culture of dalit bahujan. His characters animating the black/dalit body languages were either failures, fools or cowards. His scripts were usually aimed at ‘killing’ dalit bahujans on screen. In popular culture he is celebrated as Kerala's ‘Charlie Chaplin’ and a media savvy intellectual. One who can simultaneously critique and promote Malayalam cinema and its fraternity by playing to the gallery via numerous interviews, reviews, criticisms and television programs. 

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