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POLICE 45-46









HINDU, FEB 22, 2016

Govt. blinks, Jats to get OBC status


The Jat agitation in Haryana claimed one more life on Sunday, taking the death toll to 11, as the State remained on edge even as the government decided to bring a Bill to grant other backward class (OBC) status to Jats.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Home Minister, the National Security Adviser, the Army chief and the Delhi Police Commissioner with Jat leaders.

BJP leader Anil Jain, in-charge of party affairs in Haryana, told reporters that the Jat community would get reservation in jobs, and a Bill would be brought in the next session of the Haryana Assembly.

After the meeting, most Jat leaders appealed for an end to the quota agitation, saying the communitys demands have been met.

All India Jat Sangharsh Samiti, led by Hawa Singh Sangwan, toldThe Hinduthat Jats should trust the government and give it time to implement the decision. I appeal to everyone to stop the agitation. They [the government] have given us an assurance, so we should wait and see.

Fresh incidents of violence and arson were reported in the State as the agitation entered the ninth day. Rohtak, Bhiwani, Jhajjar, Jind, Hisar, Hansi, Sonipat and Gohana continue to be under curfew.

A security guard of the State Bank of Patiala branch in Jhajjar was trapped on Saturday night, after a mob surrounded it. Police persuaded the mob to let him go before it torched the building.

(With additional reporting by Ashok Berwal)

HINDU, FEB 22, 2016

Unreasonable demands

The recurrence of violent protests led by relatively well-off communities demanding reservation, be it Patidars in Gujarat last year or Jats in Haryana this year, is perplexing. The Jats are a relatively prosperous land-owning community in Haryana and are regarded as being high on the social ladder in the region. Their political and social might is even more evident in the influence they wield in rural areas and in the leadership of the dominant political parties in the State. The National Commission for Backward Classes had in the past come out with specific reasons against the inclusion of the Jats in Haryana in the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) list. This was overruled by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre through a notification in March 2014, promising a special quota for Jats over and beyond the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in jobs and higher education. It was left to the Supreme Court in March 2015 to reiterate the reality and to quash the decision of the UPA to include Jats in nine States among OBCs, stating that caste alone could not be the criterion for determining socio-economic backwardness. Clearly, even if the demands do not make any constitutional or legal sense, the bipartisan consensus over extending reservations has emboldened protestors among the Jat community. After all, the Bharatiya Janata Party in power too had voiced support for the implementation of the March 2014 notification.

Yet, the demands for reservations from these powerful communities is also a consequence of the success of the system of reservations that formed the most significant component of the Mandal Commission recommendations, implemented for the past 25 years, apart from the 65 years of reservations for Dalits and Adivasis. The larger goal went beyond the uplift of the underprivileged and the historically backward; the purpose was to reduce the gap between the upper and the lower strata in the social hierarchy. That communities which have identified themselves with the upper strata of society also seek backward status suggests that through public sector representation and expansion in access to higher education the economic gap has been narrowed, or is at least seen to be narrowing. Specifically in the case of Jats, despite higher economic and social standing, there has been a reduction in landholding owing to distribution over generations and a squeezing of rural incomes due to the persisting sluggishness in the agrarian economy. It is a combination of these structural issues over time, besides the relative success of the reservation programme, that has fuelled the unreasonable demands made by Jats. In the case of the more prosperous and diverse Patidars in Gujarat, the demands for reservation were a thin pretext to do away with the system of reservation itself. The agitations, in a way, point to the need to review the list of castes counted as OBCs and to deepen the definition of creamy layer. An opportunity for this was provided through the Socio-Economic and Caste Census, but it was missed.

TRIBUNE, FEB 22, 2016

Peace first: Violence solves no problem

A progressive state like Haryana cannot afford to lose its peace. Arson and communal clashes have disgraced the state and it will take quite some time to undo the damage. What the state is witnessing right now can by no stretch of imagination be called an agitation to demand reservations for Jats. Over the past few days it has transformed from a demonstration against the government to a grave communal situation. The Khattar government has been found wanting in responding to the situation, despite the 'minute-by-minute' monitoring by the Centre. At many places the ordinary citizens were left at the mercy of marauding mobs. The BJP leadership failed to see it coming, and when it did, the administration stood almost paralysed.

The blame for the tearing apart of the uneasy social harmony that Haryana has lived with for decades has to be taken equally by the government and the opposition parties. Unless a major intervention is made to restore the peace and communal equilibrium, the political leadership across the board will have to live with the consequences for a long time. The BJP has failed to give the Jats the confidence that they have a stake in the government; while some of its own Jat leaders have tried to fish in troubled waters to further their interest. One non-Jat MP openly inciting caste hatred needed to be restrained right at the start. The Opposition shares the blame at two levels. Congress and INLD Jat leaders first backed the protesters, and then made only half-hearted appeals for calm.

The most distressing part is that all stakeholders are aware that giving reservation to the Jats under the OBC category will not clear the Supreme Court test, even if a law were to be passed. It is incumbent upon the non-political Jat leadership to present demands that can be worked upon. Instigating or indulging in violence will not further their cause. Haryana has for long known underlying social tensions emanating from the amalgam of diverse communities, but these have been precipitated by the daily discourse of personal, religious and caste identities since the advent of the BJP in the state as well as at the Centre. The sooner the state returns to normal life the better for all.



Air India to hire all pilots oncontract

In a departure from its current practice, state-owned carrier Air India has decided that in the future, it will hire all pilots on contract, thus doing away with the permanent-employee status for them.

By:Malyaban GhoshandBilal Abdi

In a departure from its current practice, state-owned carrier Air India has decided that in the future, it will hire all pilots on contract, thus doing away with the permanent-employee status for them.

Sources said that the airline is set to hire 532 pilots in the future and of these, 200-250 will be recruited in the current year. The practice of hiring pilots on a contractual basis was started last year when Air India recruited 70 pilots who are currently undergoing training. Now, the airline has decided to institutionalise this practice.

The fresh decision comes after the carrier recently rationalised the pay structure of the pilots of Air India (AI) and the erstwhile Indian Airlines. It has laid down certain rules and regulations that pilots have to adhere to in order to be eligible to draw their allowances.

For instance, if pilots refuse to fly at the last moment and therefore have to be replaced by other pilots, the former will stand to lose their flying allowance. In order to avail of full benefits, a pilot needs to complete 40 flying hours per month and should be available for 150 days in six months, and cannot refuse to fly four hours before the take-off.

We are trying to use our manpower in the most efficient way possible. We have seen instances where pilots have refused to come on board just an hour before the take off. It results in delays and decreases operational efficiency in a highly competitive market, AI officials said.

Recently, Air India has taken a number of steps to ensure discipline of its employees. For instance, it has increased the bank guarantee and service surety bonds of new pilots to R1 crore from R50 lakh earlier, to discourage pilots from moving out of the organisation after completing their training.

According to officials, it is also trying to fully automate its rosters for duties of pilots, ground staffs and engineers like private airlines.



NonIAS officers are top choices for Modi government for the crucial Joint Secretary positions

NEW DELHI: Call it a nudge from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) or a default choice for government given Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers seem unwilling to join the Centre officers from nonIAS services have never had it as good as now for the crucial Joint Secretary positions. ET studied all appointment orders issued for Joint Secretary posts under the Modi Government to find that out of the nearly 260 such appointments made so far, as many as 100 posts were bagged by nonIAS officers, who for long have been considered the poor cousins of the elite IAS. Key ministries like Home, Petroleum, Defence, Mines, Road Transport and Power have seen multiple nonIAS appointments as Joint Secretaries the key policymaking position in the bureaucracy hierarchy at the Centre. "It is a matter of suitability for the post, as well as availability," Minister of State for Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Personnel, Jitendra Singh told ET, when asked if there was a conscious decision on appointing more nonIAS officers to JS level posts. The offer list with the Centre explains Singh's comment. Out of 38 officers on the offer list as on date for JS level positions, only 5 are IAS officers. This indicates not many IAS officers fancy central deputations currently and wish to stay put in their respective states. "We see two reasons behind this one a nudge from PMO to accommodate other services at Joint Secretary post but the real reason seems the sheer shortage of IAS officers on offer list. The government has little choice," a senior government official told ET, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He explained that while nearly 75 IAS officers either opted for premature repatriation to their state cadres in 2015 or were sent back to states by the Modi Government, there was no matching offers from IAS officers to come for central deputation at JS level posts.


LIGO-India, a victim of red tape

Indian bureaucracy is infamous for its procrastination tactics. The delay may be justified sometimes, for better cross-checks and reviews, but there are ample number of occasions when mere red-tapism blocks progress. Given that background, the NDA government's recent announcement of establishing a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India (LIGO-India) may appear prompt as it comes within a week of physicists spotting the elusive gravitational wave that had escaped detection for the last 100 years. The project, in reality, was a five-year-old one and cleared by the Planning Commission as one of the mega-science proposals, which the science departments were pursuing in the last decade. Since the commissions approval, the LIGO-India project document was gathering dust till the time the Internet grew abuzz with the news of an exciting possibility of gravitational-wave detection. Due to inaction on the proposal for five years, the government now has little other option but to accord an in-principle approval as the cost of the Rs 1,260 crore project needs to be recalculated taking inflation and increased land price into account. The observatory requires 300 acres of land.

LIGO-India is not an isolated case. The same trend was seen with other mega-science projects like the Indian Neutrino Observatory (proposed in 2002), which after receiving the Cabinet's approval in January 2015, is now stuck with the Tamil Nadu government. There is no clear answer from the government on why it took such a long time to formalise India's linkage with prestigious international projects like Square Kilometre Array, Thirty Metre Telescope and why the government is still sitting on the proposal of upgrading Indias membership at CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research) to the level of an associate member. Notwithstanding its significant contribution in particle physics research at CERN, India continues to be an observer while Pakistan and Turkey are now associate members. It is not that associated costs are prohibitory, but the government has remained silent for the last three years. Scientists in biological or medical laboratories recount numerous stories when they received the approval to import reagents or biological material many months later, by which time rival groups in Western laboratories had already conducted that particular experiment.

Since time is of vital importance in a fiercely competitive scientific world, Indias researchers are always handicapped thanks to the bureaucracy. In almost every Indian Science Congress over the last 15 years, successive prime ministers promised reduction of red-tapism in research. On the ground, however, changes are little and cosmetic. Unless the government prioritises science and sensitises officials, Indian scholars are unlikely to deliver world-class science and bright students will tend to migrate abroad.

TRIBUNE, FEB 16, 2016

Punjab: IAS officer refuses to obey transfer order for 10 days

Unseen dedication

Ten days after his transfer, Gurdev Singh Ghuman refuses to relinquish the important charge of Joint Director in the Rural Development Department and continues to clear files, attend office even on weekends (which otherwise is a holiday) and has even issued sacking orders for some contractual employees all in back date!

Ruchika M Khanna & Rajmeet Singh

An IAS officer of the Punjab cadre transferred with immediate effect following the registration of two FIRs against him refuses to obey the state governments orders.

Ten days after his transfer, he refuses to relinquish the important charge of Joint Director in the Rural Development Department and continues to clear files, attend office even on weekends (which otherwise is a holiday) and has even issued sacking orders for some contractual employees all in back date.

Sounds unbelievable, but its true! The officer, Gurdev Singh Ghuman, who was booked by the Vigilance Bureau in two cases last month in a disproportionate assets case and under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been attending office in the Rural Development Department though he was transferred with immediate effect on February 4. He was then transferred as Special Secretary, Programme Implementation.

It was only this evening, after The Tribune went to the office of the Rural Development Department in Mohali to investigate how he was continuing on a post from which he was transferred, that he finally relinquished charge.

Though The Tribune team tried to meet him in the office around 3 pm, it was told by his personal staff that he was busy.

Surprisingly, the officer continued to attend office, which is right next to the office of his immediate superior/reporting officer the Secretary, Rural Development but the matter was not reported either to the Personnel Department or the Chief Secretary.

Though no one mentions this on record, sources say that the proximity of this officer to a senior minister in the state government was the reason that he continued to work so blatantly despite being transferred.

Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal initially told The Tribune that he would get the issue immediately verified. Later, he said that he had ordered two inquiries against Ghuman.

The Secretary Personnel has been asked to inquire into how the officer did not comply with his transfer orders and relinquish charge immediately. I have also asked the Secretary Rural Development to examine all the orders passed by the officer between February 1- 15. All these orders will be re-evaluated, he said.

Ghuman was first booked by the Vigilance Bureau on December 28, 2015 for having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. He has been accused of having spent Rs 1.64 crore more than his income. The second FIR was registered against the IAS officer on January 13 on charges of submitting fake travelling bills. He has been booked under various Sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


NonIAS officers are top choices for Modi government for the crucial Joint Secretary positions

NEW DELHI: Call it a nudge from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) or a default choice for government given Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers seem unwilling to join the Centre officers from nonIAS services have never had it as good as now for the crucial Joint Secretary positions. ET studied all appointment orders issued for Joint Secretary posts under the Modi Government to find that out of the nearly 260 such appointments made so far, as many as 100 posts were bagged by nonIAS officers, who for long have been considered the poor cousins of the elite IAS. Key ministries like Home, Petroleum, Defence, Mines, Road Transport and Power have seen multiple nonIAS appointments as Joint Secretaries the key policymaking position in the bureaucracy hierarchy at the Centre. "It is a matter of suitability for the post, as well as availability," Minister of State for Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Personnel, Jitendra Singh told ET, when asked if there was a conscious decision on appointing more nonIAS officers to JS level posts. The offer list with the Centre explains Singh's comment. Out of 38 officers on the offer list as on date for JS level positions, only 5 are IAS officers. This indicates not many IAS officers fancy central deputations currently and wish to stay put in their respective states. "We see two reasons behind this one a nudge from PMO to accommodate other services at Joint Secretary post but the real reason seems the sheer shortage of IAS officers on offer list. The government has little choice," a senior government official told ET, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He explained that while nearly 75 IAS officers either opted for premature repatriation to their state cadres in 2015 or were sent back to states by the Modi Government, there was no matching offers from IAS officers to come for central deputation at JS level posts.


Officers can now get sevenyear foreign posting tenure: Government

NEW DELHI: The Centre today eased norms to allow officers to stay on foreign posting and central deputation for a maximum period of seven years from the existing five years. It has been decided that if the administrative ministries and other borrowing organisations wish to retain an officer beyond five years, they may extend tenure of deputation, where absolutely necessary in public interest, upto a period not exceeding seven years at a stretch, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said. This shall be done with the approval of the minister of the borrowing ministry or department concerned with which the officers are administratively concerned, it said. The move comes after various ministries and organisations approached DoPT for relaxation of the fiveyear deputation tenure condition citing "exigencies". DoPT has now asked all ministries that "no case of extension shall be referred to it". Further, in cases where the necessity to have deputation tenures longer than seven years is felt, the administrative ministries, departments or borrowing organisations concerned may amend the relevant recruitment rules of such deputation post accordingly, after following the requisite procedure. "No extension of deputation beyond seven years is to be allowed unless provided in the relevant recruitment rules of such deputation post. It is reiterated that no case for extension beyond five years shall be referred to DoPT," the latest directive issued to all central government ministries said. DoPT had last year issued a directive and warned officers that they may lose their job for overstaying on foreign posting. Some babus had termed it as a harsh rule and were allegedly lobbying for its revision, official sources said. In a related development, the Finance Ministry recently issued guidelines on foreign tours. Bureaucrats can go on a maximum four overseas trips in a year, as per the new norms


2,200 senior central government officials under CBI lens

NEW DELHI: As many as 2,200 senior central government officials are under the scanner of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for their alleged malpractices including corruption. In past one year, CBI has registered FIR against 101 such officials that included senior bureaucrats, officials from public sector undertakings, defence personnel and bank officials. CBI director Anil Sinha said there has been a quantum jump in number of cases registered using the surveillance mechanism. "The registration has increased by 94% from 2014 when CBI had registered only 52 cases to 101 cases this year," Sinha said. Some of these cases being investigated by the agency include a case against IAS officer Sanjay Pratap Singh which was raised in December last year and disproportionate assets case against Himachal Pradesh chief minister Veer Bhadra Singh. The agency said the cases were registered after it came to the light during its monitoring that the concerned officers had demanded bribe to grant favours. CBI also filed 1,044 charge sheets last year which is the highest by the agency during the last five years. This includes chargesheet against former congress MP Naveen Jindal, former MoS coal Dasari Narain Rao among others.


Over 3,500 government employees arrested

Over 3,500 government employees were arrested today in three districts of Coimbatore, Tirupur and Nilgiris, when they attempted to stage picketing in front of the respective district collectorates, to press their charter of demands, police said. The employees, affiliated to different unions, raised slogans in support of their 20point charter of demands, including old pension scheme and filling vacancies, for which they were on indefinite strike for the last one week. While over 1,000 were arrested in Coimbatore, some 1,500 were arrested in Tirupur and about 1,000 in Udhagamandalam in Nilgiris district, police said.



Amitabh Kant gets twoyear tenure as Niti Aayog CEO

NEW DELHI: Amitabh Kant, who was recently named as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Niti Aayog, will have the tenure of two years. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the appointment of Kant as CEO, Niti Aayog with a tenure of two years, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training said today. He will assume the post after his retirement as Secretary in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), this month end. Kant, a 1980 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre, was in January appointed as first full time CEO of Niti Aayog. The Centre had in January last year appointed former Planning Commission Secretary Sindhushree Khullar as the first CEO of the National Institution for Transforming India (Niti) Aayog. After completion of Khullar's tenure as Niti Aayog CEO in December last, Kant was given additional charge of the post



Smriti Irani gives slacking vice-chancellors an earful

Neelam Pandey

A day-long conference meant for vice-chancellors of central universities on sensitisation and promotion of equity in higher educational institutions had them under fire from the HRD minister for not performing up to the mark, sources said on Thursday.

The ministry had organised a conference of all central university VCs in Surajkund, Faridabad which was chaired by HRD minister Smriti Irani.

Sources said that the minister expressed her displeasure over the fact that most of the VCs had not responded to queries sent by her department for putting in place a grievance redressal mechanism.

Soon after the first session on sensitisation of administrators on issues faced by SC/ST began, Irani hit out at the officials and told them to set their house in order.

Addressing the VCs in her 15 minutes long speech, Irani asked them to perform better and scolded them for not responding to the queries sent by the ministry regarding appointment of ombudsman, equal opportunity cells as mandated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) among others.

Sources said that she even threw out a member of the faculty that had organised the event for attempting to take her picture. The minister was angry over delay in updating the curriculum and asked them to look into the issue immediately. She reprimanded a few VCs who had reportedly dozed off during one of the sessions too and scolded them for interrupting the presentations.

In the meeting it was decided that an anti-discrimination officer will be appointed in every university, a grievance redressal system will be put in place and new courses will be introduced on various subjects such as inter-faith studies, dialogue of culture and civilizations, citizenship and value education among others.

To increase Gross Enrolment Ration in higher education from the existing 23.6% to 30% it has been decided to run evening colleges. Vice-chancellors and senior faculty members will be sent on a week long course on leadership and management at two select IIMs.


A V-Cs denouement

As distressing as the allegations against the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of Visva-Bharati University were the crass expressions of celebration and angst, even assaults on faculty members, that greeted Mondays dismissal of Prof Sushanta Datta Gupta, indeed the first instance of the head of a central university being moved out. A not dissimilar and ugly response had greeted the previous V-Cs exit as well. It is more than just a coincidence that two central universities are now contending with campus turmoil, not to forget the tragedy at Hyderabad Central University. The controversy in Santiniketan could well have been settled last September had the VCs resignation been accepted by the HRD ministry after Calcutta High Court had turned down his petition challenging the Centres fact-finding committee. By asking him to continue despite the welter of charges and the judiciarys response, the Centre has merely prolonged the crisis and uncertainty at the top to the detriment of academics. Sure, the President as Visitor must of necessity take a call on the issue. Mr Pranab Mukherjee was initially against his removal, pending a more thorough enquiry and a hearing (of the VC) in person. Apparently, the immediate provocation for the dismissal was the Attorney-Generals presentation. The nearly six-month gap between Prof Datta Guptas resignation and dismissal has prompted the campus circuit to engage in puerile speculation, in effect lend a political spin to the matter. It was even alleged in certain circles that Rashtrapati Bhavan - with a Congressman at the helm - was opposed to his replacement as it feared that the BJP dispensation would appoint a pro-party academic to head Visva-Bharati. This is direly presumptuous and the campus circuit must await the next appointment before jumping to conclusions. Less easily explained is the fact that it took the HRD ministry five years to realise that while the V-C was drawing his pension from JNU, he was accepting his salary from Visva-Bharati. The audit and accounts mechanism of the central government ought to have flagged the anomaly much earlier. Added to the major charge of financial irregularity are those on dubious appointments, fairly common in the Santiniketan context.

In the net, the campus atmosphere has been vitiated yet again. The episode appears to have split the faculties and employees union and the student fraternity no less. And regrettably, the academic schedule has been the major casualty in Tagores creation. On closer reflection, this isnt a matter that can be of overriding concern to students, the different factions of teachers and non-teaching staff. They can well avoid their contrived distraction. The search for learning is the primary casualty; and this is the strand that binds the three central universities - JNU, Hyderabad Central University, and Visva-Bharati.

ASIAN AGE, FEB 19, 2016

Varsities to fly tricolour on 207 ft mast on campuses: HRD ministry

The resolution is applicable to JNU too as it is a central university, officials said.

Surajkund: All central universities will fly the national flag on a 207 feet high mast at a prominent place on their campuses, HRD ministry said on Thursday, a move that comes in the backdrop of the massive controversy over alleged anti-India protests in JNU.

Officials said that a "unanimous" decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of Vice Chancellors in Surajkund, which has been called by Human Resource Development Ministry led by Smriti Irani.

"A proposal had come on raising the national flag on University campuses which was accepted at the meeting," a senior HRD ministry official said.

The resolution is applicable to JNU too as it is a central university, the officials said.

Sources said that the move has been taken to instill a "sense of unity and integrity" among students in institutions of higher education.

The HRD ministry called the meeting of VCs after the death of dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad triggered a massive controversy and brought the spotlight on problems faced by disadvantages sections.

However, days before the proposed meeting, a demonstration in JNU triggered another row as alleged anti-India slogans were raised at the campus after which Delhi police arrested the JNU students union president on charges of sedition.

The government has come under attack after the arrest of JNSU leader Kanhaiya Kumar and subsequent attack by lawyers on students and mediapersons in Patiala courts. Protests have also been held in many parts of the country including in Jadavpur University in West Bengal.


JNU: Freedom OfScreechAs a police officer, and citizen, I find JNU debate an assault on public interest

Written byAbhinav Kumar

India is bitterly divided about the arrest of the JNU students union (JNUSU) president, Kanhaiya Kumar. The tendency to paint the issue in black and white is regrettable. For detractors of JNU, it is a clear case ofsedition. For supporters, it is about the autonomy of a university and freedom of speech. Both are absolutist positions, and from the point of view of a concerned police officer and citizen, both are an assault on the public interest. Unfortunately, our shrill public discourse allows for few nuances. It is now a debate less about the freedom of speech and more about the freedom of screech. Caught in the middle is Delhi Police and its leadership. It has been called a stooge of the ruling party and worse. On the other side, people are decrying its actions as too little, too late.

The Constitution, CrPC and IPC do not treat freedom of speech as absolute and subject it to various restrictions. Article 19(2) provides for reasonable restrictions. The CrPC provides for preventive arrest when a breach of peace is apprehended, whereas the IPC contains several sections that provide for punishment for different types of hate speech. India is not unique in providing for legal restrictions on certain types of offensive speech. Of course, the sedition law is a legacy of the Raj. But successive governments of all political persuasions havent removed it from the statute books, and have invoked it. This says something about its continued relevance. In Kedar Nath, the Supreme Court not only circumscribed Section 124A, it also held it to be constitutionally valid. This was in 1962, decades before Punjab,Kashmirand countless other terror strikes that India has faced.

HINDU, FEB 16, 2016

What is a university?


Vice chancellors hold charge of the university in trust. To give the police a free hand militates against the very spirit of the university as a space for critical engagement

We live in strange and difficult times. The elected national government, holding office under an oath of allegiance to the Indian Constitution, proclaims commitment repeatedly, and without exception to Bharat Ma, the Hindu scriptures and divine intervention. It governs in the name of Hindutva and criminalises all dissent using the slogan of national interest, by which it means the interest of the Hindu Rashtra.

Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom to organise are guaranteed as fundamental rights under the Constitution. The right of dissent and agitation are ingrained in the fundamental rights. The Constitution sets out a plural framework and refuses any scope to define the country in religious terms. The national interest in this scheme is constitutional rule. To recall B.R. Ambedkar, it is only constitutional morality that must guide the government, not any whimsical invocation of narrow-minded, parochial figureheads and mythical characters.

It is time to remind the holders of public office that once they have formed government, whatever their personal politics might be, they are constrained to rule in strict accordance with the constitutional framework. Mere assumption of political power does not confer the power to propagate narrow party and supra party ideologies in derogation of constitutional principles. It is a matter of deep regret that today we have actually fallen to the level where even this simple fact needs to be stated.

Tolerance of intolerance

It is our right as citizens of this free country to question the government, to question arbitrary and capricious rule, and to organise against injustice and demand the supremacy of the Constitution above all else. For us to allow the untrammelled use of the charge of sedition to quell dissent and freedom of expression amounts, to reiterate Amartya Sens words, to being too tolerant of intolerance. Indeed, I would even say that it amounts to us abdicating our collective responsibility to uphold the Indian Constitution. It is time to recall Mahatma Gandhis historic defence of seditious speech: I have no desire whatsoever to conceal from this court the fact that to preach disaffection towards the existing system of government has become almost a passion with me I hold it to be a virtue to be disaffected towards a Government which, in its totality, has done more harm to India than any previous system (Mahatma Gandhi before Judge Broomfield, March 10, 1921). We have come full circle.

The orchestrated trigger for the Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentarians and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in both the University of Hyderabad and in Jawaharlal Nehru University was student protest and debate against the death penalties awarded to Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru. These are issues that have already been subjected to public debate and they consist of two parts: first, whether the death penalty constitutes judicial murder; second, whether Memon and Guru were given a fair trial. The debate has involved a close study of jurisprudence, international human rights standards and the fair conduct of the trials. A sizeable section of intellectuals and human rights defenders from across the country expressed the view that the death penalty without exception violates the constitutional guarantee of the right to life. Others held the firm belief that both Guru and Memon were executed without a fair trial. This is a debate that must be carried out, not only in this case but in every case where the death penalty is ordered. There was even a debate on this very question following the December 16, 2012, gang rape in Delhi and before the Justice J.S. Verma Committee. While the victims parents demanded the death penalty in the rape case, in the case of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi herself wrote to President K.R. Narayanan requesting clemency for those convicted for killing her husband. These are difficult, heart-wrenching, but necessary debates and no repressive clampdown can suppress the flow of ideas, questions and fundamental interrogations of the meaning of justice.

Asking questions

An important part of education, particularly higher education, is to learn to ask questions and to develop the capacity for disobedience and reasoned arguments. What is the promise of the university? Lest we forget: Where the mind is without fear/ and the head is held high/ Where knowledge is free/ Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls/ Where words come out from the depth of truth/ Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection/ Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way/ Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit/ Where the mind is led forward by thee/ Into ever-widening thought and action/ Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, Let my country awake.

Vice chancellors (VC) hold charge of the university in trust not of political powers but of the university community in which students are the core. To call in the police or act on their advice and abdicate responsibility, or to give the police a free hand militates against the very spirit of the university as a space for critical engagement and free-flowing debate. The reduction of the position of VC to being a watchdog of the government is a danger of unimaginable magnitude and destructive of the fabric of higher education the structure will determine form, content, possibilities and importantly, futures.

Finally, back to the question of national interest. The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha observed Republic Day as a black day in Meerut and has been consistently organising protests against the Constitution of India. The leaders of this group have also declared their intention to install a statue of Nathuram Godse. This was a public show of strength in the service of a Hindu Rashtra widely reported in national newspapers but clearly none of our ministerial compatriots saw this either as an assault on national interest or as an incitement to violence. Yet, when Rohith Vemula organised a protest against the execution of Memon and JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar spoke out in defence of the Constitution of India, our parliamentarians and ministers rose to defend the nation.

Which nation is this? Whose country? To end with Faiz Ahmad Faiz: Hum dekhenge, laazim hai ki hum bhi dekhenge...

(Kalpana Kannabiran is Professor and Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad. She is an alumna of the University of Hyderabad and of JNU.)

No repressive clampdown can suppress the flow of ideas, questions and fundamental interrogations of the meaning of justice

HINDU, FEB 16, 2016

Sedition and the government


The arrest by the Delhi Police, at the behest of the Home Ministry, of Kanhaiya Kumar, president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students Union, on complaints of sedition, represents the latest deplorable attack on free speech by the Indian state. The move presents with vivid clarity the governments pointed efforts at quelling any and every form of dissent. It also, through the invocation of Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, provides a stark reminder of the sheer depravity of some of our antiquated, colonial-era laws.

Mr. Kumars arrest followed a complaint made by assorted members of the right-wing students body, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). According to the ABVP, Mr. Kumar was present at a meeting inside the JNU campus organised to protest against the hanging of the 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, in which several anti-national statements were supposedly bandied about. Thus far, the evidence presented fails to point to Mr. Kumar having actually uttered anything remotely bordering on the controversial. But even assuming he went as far as to question the integrity of the Indian state, his arrest ought to be viewed as a serious affront to liberal democratic values.

In the case of Section 124-A of the IPC, which defines sedition in wide, expansive terms, and punishes the act with imprisonment for life, the danger doesnt lie merely in its abuse, or even in its potential for causing anti-democratic mischief. Unlike other provisions that might assume a pitiless character based on the nature of their usage, Section 124-A is intrinsically draconian. The problems in the clause are obviously apparent in its wordings, and the purpose that it unequivocally seeks to achieve: a suppression of all kinds of opposition.

A relic of our colonial past

Although sedition was originally a part of the IPC, as drafted by Thomas Macaulay, it was bizarrely dropped from the law when it was enacted in 1860. A decade later, the offence was introduced into the IPC as Section 124-A, following explicit recognition from the colonial government that the earlier omission was based on a mistake. The provision, as it reads today after some amendments, defines sedition as any action whether by words, signs or visible representation which brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India. Tellingly, the section also contains a clarification to the effect that the word disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.

This definition of sedition, as is only plainly evident, is exceedingly broadly worded. Its vagueness certainly did wonders for the colonialists. They famously used the clause in three separate, successful trials of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and, also, later, in prosecuting Mahatma Gandhi in 1922. Section 124-A under, which I am happily charged, is perhaps the prince among the political sections of the IPC designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen, said Gandhi, in response to the charges made on him.

During the course of the British rule, there was a general consensus that Section 124-A was intended to indict any speech that as much as questioned the moral superiority of government, that harboured any sentiments of ill feeling towards the state. Policies of government, the judiciary largely agreed, could be questioned, so long as one didnt excite hatred, contempt or disaffection. As the lawyer and jurist A.G. Noorani once wrote, what this really meant was that the government had to be loved, not hated.

The limits of free speech

In 1942, for the first time, the courts in India raised pressing questions against the use of sedition as a weapon to chill all innocent forms of dissidence. Sir Maurice Gwyer, the chief justice of the Federal Court, ruled that public disorder, or the reasonable anticipation or likelihood of public disorder, is the gist of the offence. In so doing, he drew a necessity for a link between words uttered and actual threat of violence for maintaining a prosecution of sedition. But Gwyers ruling fell short of devising any rational test to determine how this link had to be drawn, as to how imminent an act of violence had to be for the state to prosecute a speech or expression. Nonetheless his reasoning gave to the offence of sedition an iota of legitimacy. Just years later, though, before the Constitution came into force, Gwyers good work was undone by the Privy Council. The offence of sedition, it wrote, in 1947, was concerned only with the exciting or attempting to excite in others certain bad feelings towards the government. Any requirement for a connection between speech and violence was nonchalantly dispelled.

After the Constitution was adopted in 1950, it appeared Section 124-A would soon be denounced as an abhorrent relic of our colonial past. After all, efforts made by some members of the Constituent Assembly to include sedition as an express ground for limiting speech in Article 19(2) had been successfully resisted. Moreover, the reasoning adopted in the two earliest free speech cases decided by the Supreme Court Brij Bhushan v. State of DelhiandRomesh Thapar v. Union of India also pointed to the incompatibility of laws of sedition with the Constitution. In both these cases, efforts to ban publications on the purported threats that they posed to public safety were ruled unconstitutional, since the exception in Article 19(2), as it read then, was restricted to dangers to the security of the state. When the first amendment to the Constitution was introduced, to include public order as a specific limitation to free speech, Prime Minister Nehru was still categorical in his belief that the offence of sedition was fundamentally unconstitutional. Now so far as I am concerned [Section 124-A] is highly objectionable and obnoxious and it should have no place both for practical and historical reasons, if you like, in any body of laws that we might pass, he said, in Parliament. The sooner we get rid of it the better.

Yet, more than 65 years later, sedition continues to not only remain in the IPC, but also occupies a pride of place in the states arsenal. This is because, astonishingly, in spite of two different High Courts having found sedition unconstitutional, in 1962, the Supreme Court upheld Section 124-A, inKedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar. Here, the court adopted a flawed premise that the law was enacted in the interest of public order, which was by then one of the specifically recognised limitations to free speech. Although this ruling is in accord with elements of Gwyers reasoning, it is clear, as we saw earlier, that the colonial government thought of seditious speech as punishable on its own accord. They saw no requirement for the establishment of any link between such expressions and the maintenance of public order. Even when the first amendment specifically included the interest of public order as a recognised limitation to free speech under the Constitution, seditious speech was still considered as being outside the contours of such constraints. In other words, our lawmakers at the time thought of sedition as being antithetical to the guarantee of free speech. But the court inKedar Nath Singhignored all the apparent contradictions in allowing sedition to remain on the IPC. While grounding the legality of the provision on supposed public order considerations, the court also failed to establish any rational test on how to determine when speech in disaffection of the government could be construed as causing a disruption of public order.

A weapon to crush opposition

In the decades sinceKedar Nath Singh, Indian free speech jurisprudence has gone through substantial change. The court has proceeded towards expounding something resembling a practical theory that distinguishes advocacy and incitement. In 1995, the court acquitted some men who had raised a number of seemingly incendiary slogans in the wake of Indira Gandhis assassination, on the grounds that there existed no link between the slogans and actual threats to public order. Last year, inShreya Singhal v. Union of India, in declaring unconstitutional the notorious Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, the court ruled that speech howsoever offensive, annoying or inconvenient cannot be prosecuted unless its utterance has, at the least, a proximate connection with any incitement to disrupt public order.

However, in spite of the Supreme Court narrowing the scope of sedition, and in spite of the more recently evolved tests to determine when mere speech or expression can be prosecuted, governments have routinely invoked Section 124-A with a view to restricting even benign forms of dissent. To argue against sedition does not tantamount to arguing in favour of absolute free speech. That words which directly provoke violence or which directly threaten the maintenance of public order deserve censure is unquestionable, especially given Indias constitutional structure. But thats not what the offence of sedition seeks to achieve. At its core, it is a devastating provision that is meant to assist in crushing all opposition to the ruling dispensation. Its use continues to have the effect of chilling free speech and expression in India. Section 124-A of the IPC negates the right to dissent, which is an essential condition of any reasonable government. Viewed thus, it is Section 124-A that is anti-India, that is opposed to the idea of a legitimate, liberal democratic state.

(Suhrith Parthasarathy is an advocate practising at the Madras High Court. He is also currently working on a biography of the Supreme Court.)

At its core, Section 124-A is a devastating provision that is meant to assist in crushing all opposition to the ruling dispensation. Section 124-A of the IPC, pertaining to sedition, negates the right to dissent, which is an essential condition of any reasonable government. Viewed thus, it is Section 124-A that is anti-India, that is opposed to the idea of a legitimate, liberal


President approves sacking of Visva-Bharati V-C Dattagupta

President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday approved the dismissal of Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor Sushanta Dattagupta, the first instance of sacking of the VC of a central university. Dattagupta was scheduled to retire in November this year.

Earlier this month, the HRD ministry had sent the file recommending the dismissal of Dattagupta to the President, who is the Visitor of all central universities. Dattagupta is facing charges of administrative and financial irregularities. The Presidents approval came after the Union law ministry and the attorney-general said there was nothing illegal about the recommendation seeking the removal of the VC.

President Mukherjee had twice returned the file relating to Dattagupta to the HRD ministry, the latest in November last year, asking whether denying the VC a hearing in person on allegations levelled against him was legally tenable.

HT had reported several times that Dattagupta was facing charges of serious financial irregularities. Even though he was drawing his salary from Visva-Bharati, he continued to draw pension from an earlier assignment. Under the law, he was required to have his pension amount deducted from the pay he received from Visva-Bharati as the VC.

Dattagupta was also charged with making several irregular appointments by creating post for which he had no sanction.


Delhi University gets Yogesh Tyagi as vice-chancellorYogesh Kumar Tyagi was selected by the President to head the university from among four names

No DU Vice Chancellor's tenure has been a cakewalk: SinghHyderabad Central University campus divided by casteYale University, Ashoka University to expand collaborationABVP sweeps Delhi University students' union pollHRD Ministry sends proposal to sack Visva-Bharati VC back to President

South Asian UniversityprofessorYogesh Kumar Tyagihas been appointed the new vice-chancellor ofDelhi Universityafter his name was selected by PresidentPranab Mukherjeefrom among four persons. Last week, the human resource development (HRD) ministry had forwarded the four names to the President who, as Visitor of Central Universities, makes the final selection.

Apart from Tyagi, who is the Dean of the Law Faculty at South Asian University, the other names on the panel were JNU professor Rameshwar Nath Kaul Bamezai, former IIT professor and UPSC member Hemchand Gupta and Bidyut Chakraborty, a professor in the DU Political Science department. According to reports, Tyagi was the front-runner for the position as he was the HRD ministrys choice.

Earlier, it was reported that while appointing the JNU Vice Chancellor, the President had ignored the HRD ministry's preference and appointed IIT professor M Jagadesh Kumar to the post. Tyagi will assume charge of the new assignment from Dinesh Singh, whose tenure saw controversy over the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP), which was later rolled back after intervention by University Grants Commission.

TRIBUNE, FEB 23, 2016

Surendra S. Jodhka

Nurture & protect JNUs constructive nationalism

Institutions like the JNU have expanded the idea of India. If not in a varsity, where else can we debate our differences? Rulers cannot have a selective approach to citizens rights and entitlements. Citizenship cannot be a privilege only of those who vote for the political party in power.

Much has been spoken and written on the recent events in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), following a protest by a small groups of students on February 9, 2016. These have been both critical as well as supportive of the university. The fact that some students appear to have raised slogans in support of Kashmir's azaadi, and also celebrated Afzal Guru, those critical of the university were quick to brand it an institution that encourages and nurtures separatist elements and therefore the entire university was a den of anti-nationals. Some have gone to the extent of suggesting that it should be shut down.

However, the number of those who defended JNU is also not small. Universities everywhere have students with a range of political opinions and occasionally they do come to confront each other or the local authorities. Unless there is a threat of violence, such cases of "indiscipline" are dealt with by the internal process of inquiry and punishment. Like other such institutions, JNU not only has such provisions, they have been working quite actively and effectively. Despites its charged political atmosphere, rarely have we heard of any cases of violence being reported from

JNU. What was the need then to not allow the university to sort out its issues internally?

Allowing dissent

A large section of people with liberal opinion, from India and abroad, has also spoken in support of JNU. And they are not all Leftists or uncritical of the so-called anti-national tendencies. They have pointed to the legitimate role of the university in allowing political disagreements and dissents of all kinds, as long as they do not resort to violence. If not in a university, where else could we discuss and debate our differences? If Kashmir is an integral part of India, not only do Kashmiris have a legitimate right to study in the universities and colleges across the countries but should also have the right to debate and discuss issues that concern them.

The popular opinion outside its campus views JNU as a "den of Leftists," where the teachers and students all subscribe to the Communist ideology. This is far from true. Like any other universities, in India or abroad, the JNU faculty holds a wide range of political opinions and, as elsewhere, some of them would be Left-leaning political opinions. But the numbers of those who would openly subscribe to Right-wing politics is also not any less significant. JNU, indeed, has a large number of Left-wing groups, who compete with each other but also with others, the "free-thinkers", the Congress and AAP-affiliated student bodies and the ABVP.

As would be the case with other campuses, common students do not necessarily align completely with one or the other organisation. Candidates and their personalities also matter. During the last elections of their union, JNU students elected three of their representatives from different Left-wing organisations but also elected one from the ABVP. Some other candidates of the ABVP also polled a good number of votes.

More interestingly perhaps, unlike most other university campuses, JNU students' union elections are an entirely students' affair, with no involvement of the administration or the teaching faculty. Political campaigns are also carried out without the use of money and muscle power, again a rare thing in Indian university campuses. These are undoubtedly the best liberal democratic practices that every university in India should imbibe. How would these make JNU students anti-national?

By now we also know that some of the videos that were initially shown in the electronic media as evidence of anti-India sloganeering by the JNU students were in fact morphed and doctored. While the actual truth would hopefully emerge in due course, these revelations have already shocked many people and the number of those speaking and writing in support of JNU is steadily swelling. Hopefully, the controversies currently surrounding the university will soon die down. The popular media will soon find other compelling issues confronting the people of India, with its ever-restive populace. The powerful and violent agitation of Jats in Haryana for their inclusion in the OBC list is already making big news.

Lessons for the nation

However, what is currently happening in JNU has many important lessons for us as a nation. Perhaps the most important one is to learn to recognise the value of being a Constitutional democracy. Even when elected by a sizeable majority, those in power have to swear by the Constitution and its substantive provisions. Political ideologies could influence the nature of economic policies or styles of governance, the rulers do not have the right to be selective in their approach to rights and entitlements of citizens. Citizenship cannot be a privilege only of those who vote for the political party in power and share their political ideology.

The same holds true for institutions. All institutions, not only the judiciary and the bureaucracy but also the university, need to be treated with a sense of purpose and autonomy. It is through these institutions that a constitutional democracy delivers its promise of citizenship. This becomes even more critical in countries like India, marked by a range diversities and vicious forms of inequalities. Public universities like the JNU have played a constructive role in the process of nation-building through its admission policy of giving opportunities to those from historically deprived regions and communities and friendly environment. It has helped in producing a new elite that has expanded the idea of India and made it more inclusive.Institutions like JNU need to be celebrated for their positive role in instilling among its student a sense commitment to the empowerment of the poor and the marginalised. For this to continue, the autonomy of institutions like JNU needs to be protected from external pressures that is founded on a mistaken and a fragile notion of national identity.

The writer is a Professor of Sociology, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU and a Senior Fellow, Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities, New Delhi.



No state civil service officers over 52 for poll duty: Centre

NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked states not to recommend state civil service officers, especially those above 52, for general observer duties in a directive before the forthcoming assembly polls. Such officers were not found in good health in earlier assignments, the advisory said. Establishment Officer (EO) Rajiv Kumar's January letter to all states and the Union home secretary said the Election Commission had sought a panel of 1,100 IAS officers of 1988 2007 batches for appointment as general observers for assembly polls to Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry to be held in the first half of 2016. "It has been noticed that there is a tendency on part of some state governments to nominate large number of state civil service (SCS) officers. Some of these officers are found either not in good health or above 52. The Election Commission of India has, therefore, desired that if the state governments nominate some SCS officers, then they should take care to ensure that they are preferably not over 52 years of age and are in good health," says the letter written by Centre's EO Rajiv Kumar. The letter says "names of officers who are on long leave, long term training, within the country or overseas, who are having medical illness and hence will not be in a position to do field election duty during this period have to be avoided." Officers facing any disciplinary action as recommended by ECI or any department are also not to be recommended. It has also been pointed that ECI wants to deploy IAS officers falling within the allottment year 1998 to 2007 and they only may be considered for nomination. "In case your State has difficulty and would like to nominate the officers outside this zone of consideration, you may do so by relaxing one or two years maximum. However, that would be subject to the final approval of ECI," the letter says.



Remembering an extraordinary man

KK Khullar

Of an angel were to descend from the heavens and proclaim from the heights of Qutab Minar: Discard Hindu-Muslim unity and within 24 hours Swaraj is yours, I will refuse the preferred Swaraj but shall not budge an inch from my stand. The refusal of Swaraj will affect only India while the end of our unity will be the loss of our entire human world. It is a fact of history that while other leaders accepted partition of the country on the basis of the Two-Nations Theory of Jinnah, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, whose death anniversary was on Monday, stood firm and steadfast.

In his famous book India wins Freedom he wrote: It is one of the greatest frauds on the people to suggest that religious affinity can unite areas which are geographically, economically and culturally different.

His mastery over history was unparalleled. Born in Mecca on 11 November 1888, his father Maulana Khairuddin was a noted scholar, a sufi and a strict disciplinarian. His mother Alia was the daughter of Shaikh Mohammad Zahir Vatri of Medina. His original name was Feroze Bakht but he became Abul Kalam and the name stayed. Educated within the four walls of his house in Calcutta he was well-versed in Persian, Arabic, the Holy Quran and later in English and French.

His early influences were Maulana Shibli Naomani and Altaf Hussain Haali, the two great pillars of Urdu literary criticism. An ardent votary of freedom from a very young age, Azad often quoted Lok Manya Tilak who said Freedom is my birthright. Allama Iqbal inspired him whom also he quoted:

Bandagi mein ghut key reh jati hai ik Joo-i-Kam-Aab Aur Azadi mein Behr-e-Bekaran Hai Zindagi (In servitude life is reduced to a tiny stream while in freedom it becomes a boundless ocean).

Azad made his debut in politics when the British Government partitioned Bengal in 1905 on religious grounds. The Muslim middle class supported the partition but Azad rejected it outright. He took active part in the agitation, joined secret societies and revolutionary organisations, came in contact with Sri Aurobindo Ghosh and Shyam Sundar Chakravarti. He stood for a united iNdia and never deviated from his resolve. He was firmly of the view that India has kept its unity by its composite culture and liberal education.

At the age of 20 he went on a tour of Iraq, Syria and Egypt and met the young Turks and Arab nationalists including Christian radicals. The tour proved very useful to crystallise his thoughts on neo-colonialists who were exploiting those countries and how India could help them. On return he started a journal in Urdu named Al-Hilal in 1912. It was this journal where he aired his liberal views.

Rationalist in outlook and profoundly versed in Islamic lore and history, wrote Nehru in Discovery of India, he interpreted scriptures from the rationalist point of view. Soaked in Islamic tradition and with many personal contacts with prominent Muslim leaders of Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Iran, he was profoundly affected by the political and cultural developments in these countries. He was known in Islamic countries probably more than any other Indian Muslim.

The journal Al-Hilal became extremely popular and in two years its circulation rose to 30,000 while the British Government watched with suspicion. The inevitable happened when in 1914, the Government confiscated the press and banned the publication of the journal under Defence of India Act. Azad was arrested and sent to Ranchi jail where he suffered untold hardships.

Released from jail he resumed his educational and cultural writings which were formerly confined to the editorials of Al-Hilal. He spoke in a new language, wrote Nehru. It was not only a new language in thought and approach, even its texture was different for Azads style was tense and virile though sometimes a little difficult because of its Persian background. He used new phrases for new ideas and was a definite influence in giving a new shape to Urdu language as it is today.

The older conservative Muslims did not react favourably to all this and criticised Azads opinion and approach, and yet not even the most learned could meet Azad in debate and argument, even on the basis of scriptures and tradition. Azads knowledge of these happened to be greater than theirs. He was a strange mixture of medieval scholasticism, 18th century rationalism and modern outlook. There were a few among the older generation who approved of Azads writings, among them being Shibli and Sir Sayyaid Ahmad Khan of Aligarh Muslim University.

After the confiscation of Al-Hilal, Azad brought out a new weekly called Al-Balagh but that too came to an abrupt end when Azad was interned in 1916. He remained in jail for four years. When he came out he was an acknowledged leader and took his seat with the great and mighty of the Indian National Congress. In 1920 he met Tilak and Gandhi which was the turning point of his life. Meeting them, he said, was like meeting Himalayas.

Gandhi had launched the Khilafat Movement under the Deoband School. In Firangi Mahal, Lucknow, Gandhi and Azad met almost daily. His popularity was so high that at 35 he was elected as President of the Indian National Congress, the youngest ever to hold that august office. In 1942 during the Quit India Movement he was elected as chief spokesman of the Congress, a distinction he also had during negotiations with the cabinet Mission in 1946 at Simla.

But his most glorious period came when in 1947 an Interim Government was formed with Azad as a Member for Education and Arts. On 15 August 1947 when India attained independence he became free Indias first Education Minister with a cabinet rank where he achieved a number of distinctions and established many institutions of excellence to promote education and culture.

Among the new institutions were Indian Council of Cultural Relations (1950), the three National Akademis viz Sangeet Natak Akademi (1953), Sahitya Akademi (1954) and Lalit Kala Akademi (1954). The Maulana felt that the cultural content in Indian education was very low during British rule and needed to be strengthened through a curriculum which should be enriched in as many manifestations as possible. Children should be enabled to develop sensitivity to beauty, harmony and refinement. Education must bring out the fine synthesis between change-oriented technologies and the countrys continuity of rich cultural traditions. In 1956 he was responsible for the establishment of the UGC (University Grants Commission) for disbursement of grants to Indian Universities and maintainance of standards by them. He believed, like any great educationist that if universities discharged their functions well, all will be well with the nation.

Apart from being a great scholar in Urdu, Persian and Arabic he wanted the retention of English language for educational advantages and national and international needs. However primary education should be imparted in the childs mother-tongue, in particular of the linguistic minorities as guaranteed in the Constitution of India. On the technical side he established the IITs, at Kharagpur in 1951 followed later by those at Bombay, Madras, and Delhi. A school of planning and architecture came into existence in 1955. He stood for the Common School System, the Neighbourhood Schools and School Complexes to remove segregation in Education.

As Chairman of the CABE (Central Advisory Board of Education) he stood for free universal elementary education for all children irrespective of caste, colour, creed, sex and location upto the age of 14 which became a cardinal principle in the National Policies of Education 1968, 1986 and 1992. He often said that the benefits of education and the penalties of ignorance run concurrently. But there should be no compulsion on parents in education, it should be persuasion, by motivation, by incentives or what is being called today as Inclusive Education. In his vision of education compulsion should be on the Government to provide enough schools to accommodate the challenge of over-population.

But he was always worried about students' unrest. Secular to the marrow of his bones, Maulanas advice to students was Bury communalism once for all. Presiding over the meeting of the CABE on 7 February 1954 he said: What worries me most is the extent and magnitude of student unrest and the fact that it is very often without any relation whatsoever with the supposed cause. Such unrest among the students strikes at the root of our national culture. The student of today is the potential leader of tomorrow. He will have to sustain the social, political and economic activities. If he is not properly trained and does not develop necessary resources of character and knowledge he cannot provide the leadership which the national will need.

As an orator Azad had no equal among his contemporaries. When he spoke the audience listened to him spell-bound. Recalling the memories of the Roman and the Greek orators, there was magic in his words, his language was chaste, civilised, dramatic. Words came to him as in a fountain. In October 1947 when Delhi Muslims were leaving for Pakistan, tens of thousands of them, he spoke from the ramparts of Jama Masjid like an ancient oracle: Behold, the high towers of Jama Masjid are asking you: Where have you lost the pages of your history? Only yesterday your caravans had performed Wazu (Ablutions) on the banks of Jamuna. And today you are afraid to live here. Remember that you have nourished Dilli with your blood. Now you are afraid of tremors. Time was when you yourself were an earthquake. You fear darkness while you yourself symbolised light only recently. The clouds have poured only dirty water and you have raised your trousers for fear of being drenched. Your forefathers had dived deep into the seas, cut across the mighty mountains, laughed away the lightnings, answered the thunder of the skies with the velocity of your laughter, changed the direction of the winds and turned the typhoons that they have been misled to a wrong destination. It is an irony of fate that those who played with the destinies of kings are victims of their own destiny today. And in doing so they have become so forgetful of their God as if it never existed. Go back, it is your home, your country. It looked as if a teacher was reprimanding his students for doing something wrong and was putting them on the right path. the teacher in him was always alive whether it was a cabinet meeting, a dining table, an office file.

The effect of this speech was dramatic. Those who packed up their baggage to migrate to Pakistan returned home with a new sense of freedom and patriotism. There was no mass migration thereafter. In the history of oratory, the Jama Masjid speech of Maulana Azad can only be compared with the Gettysburg address of Abraham Lincoln, Birla House speech of Nehru on Gandhis assasination and Martin Luthers speech I have a dream.

Azad was a voracious reader and a prolific writer, in Urdu, Persian and Arabic. India wins freedom (1960), his political biography was translated from Urdu to English. His translation of the Quran from Arabic to Urdu in six volumes was published by Sahitya Akademi in 1977. Till today it is considered as the best translation of the Holy Book of which several editions have come out. Titled Tarjaman-e-Quran continues to be his Magnum Opus. His other books include Gubar-e-Khatir, Hijr-o-Visal, Hamari Azadi, Mera Aqeeda.

At the time of his death he had neither any property nor any bank account. No AC, no fixed or unfixed deposit, no car, no fridge. In his personal almirah were found some cotton Achhkans, a few Khadi kurtas and pyjamas, some desi chappals, two pairs of sandals, an old dressing gown and a used brush but there were hundreds of rare books which are now the property of the nation.

The writer is a former Director, Ministry of HRD, Department of Education.



World over, these are hothouses of discontent

Asoke Basu

Political leaders of the world beware! Today, irrespective of your type of government, the unemployed and underemployed youth in your countries are a disruptive force that may dishevel your robe of legitimacy and grip on your power. These are the frustrated young men and women, from school dropouts to college graduates, who are being ignored by their governments. For many of them, access is blocked to the full rights of citizenship and economic mobility.

Who are these youth? According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, some 75.1 million young people around the world were looking for jobs in 2010, and the number is growing. Instead of getting an early start in life, according to the ILO report, these youth are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. The report predicts a scarred generation of young workers facing a dangerous mix of high unemployment, increased inactivity, and menial work in developed countries, as well as persistently high working poverty in the developing world.

In the underdeveloped economies of the world, the situation is especially dire. Nearly 80 per cent of unemployed people in those countries are youth between the ages of 15 and 24, of whom a third have only ten years of schooling or less. Moreover, the ratio of unemployed youth to unemployed adults in these nations is growing. For example, in Thailand at present, there are 6.1 unemployed youth for every unemployed adult. In Indonesia, that ratio is 5.6 to 1; and in the Philippines, the ratio is 3.4 to 1. The situation is even worse for girls than it is for boys. The ILO report concludes that being young and female continues to pose a double challenge for the current generation of young women looking to find decent jobs.

The noted social scientist Robert Solow considers labour market as a social institution, which he argues is more realistic because work and the loss of it should be far removed from the textbook measures and models. Sociologists have found that the social origin of unemployed workers is heavily tilted toward minorities, the rural poor, and women. In a study commissioned by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the authors found that unemployment begets unemployment, by what sociologist Mira Komorovsky called the multiplier effect. In other words, attitudes toward work are shaped by joblessness over months and years, breeding hopelessness over time.

In the West, minority youth is most alienated. They lack analytical skills to meet the demands of post-industrial societies. This situation is particularly noticeable among the new immigrants in the advanced economies of the West. The youth unemployment data sets from the Netherlands illustrate our point. Joblessness increased for those who immigrated from Turkey (+13 %), Morocco (+51%), Surinam (+4%) and the Antilles (+75%).

In the United States, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics that in January 2016 although the unemployment rate was 4.9 per cent, African-American population was double that of the white. Moreover, this situation has remained the same for the past six decades. Much of the ethnic division can be attributed to the amount of education. While overall jobless rate in 2014 was 5 per cent, for those who did not complete high school diploma, the unemployment rate was 9 per cent.

As long ago as 1895, the French sociologist Gustav Le Bon noted that collective protests begin with a small, amorphous, disenchanted youth group that ventures beyond reasonable social norms. Often, these nascent movements sprout from unemployed masses who make up the rules of the game as they go along. However, at some point, a demagogue emerges who coalesces these aimless youth into a critical mass. Thats when the discontent becomes explosive.

Sociologists are hesitant to draw global generalizations about the specific factors that contribute to the rise of protest movements, since nations and cultures are different. Nevertheless, they have found a common theme in the way self-identity becomes submerged in collective movements. Disaffected youth are the most vulnerable idealists to be manipulated by leaders who invoke the mantra of change, or even revolution.

Consider the case of Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates from Hausa to Western education is a sin. This terrorist organization is a renegade group of armed men (and even some women), who are routinely recruiting disaffected youth from Nigeria and the bordering countries of Benin, Chad, and Niger. The Global Terrorist Index estimated that Boko Haram, which was initially organized by a charismatic cleric, killed 7,000 innocent people in 2014 alone. Tunisia is another tinderbox. It has been estimated that more than 50 per cent of college graduates in Tunisia are out of work. One could argue that the solution to terrorism is jobs. In fact, Haouas, Sayre, and Yagoubi (2012) have attributed the lack of job creation in Tunisia to inefficient educational planners who ignore the sizeable mismatch between productive vocations and market demands.

In India, according to the census of 2011, more than a quarter of the nations youth, identified as individuals between the ages of 15 and 29, are perennially unemployed. There are two sharp edges to their woes. First, since labour is cheap, the formal and informal business sectors, especially the small mom-and-pop stores, survive by paying minimum wages that do not cover their workers living expenses. Second, the educational system favors wage manipulation, if not outright stagnation, by producing graduates who lack needed skills. In fact, the unemployment graph looks like an inverted pyramid, with unemployment higher for college graduates than for illiterate youth.

As long ago as 1986, Lakshman drew an abysmal profile of the human cost of underemployment and the loss of self-identity in India. More recently in 2006, Pal has noted that Indias unemployed youth must be considered a distinct social category, whose anger and frustration against the government and the system of education are the seeds of protest movements. For these marginal classes, democracy is a pure fiction. They would agree with Wittgenstein (in Tractus 1922) that in order for ideal language to have pragmatic teeth it must be proportionate to the real life.

In modern-day India, college and university campuses are political hothouses of discontent. The vestigial youth parties, once encouraged by independence from Britain movements, have hit an ideological pothole. If the state party bosses agree that socioeconomic mobility for all youth is a constitutional obligation, the first and most pragmatic way to resolve both intra- and inter-party chaos on campuses is to agree, however voluntarily, to cease all political activity there. By all account, this suggestion is not Pollyannaish; instead, it must be considered by the political leaders as an urgent appeal to commit youths crumbling future to the common good of all. That will free educators to prepare their students to see the world through clear lenses of critical thinking and logical analysis. Academics, likewise, must avoid rehashing the arcane rhetoric which argues that the Indian people are the trolls of postcolonial elites. India needs only to claim that customs, beliefs, and traditions can complement civic motives while meeting manpower targets for the good of the country.

Genuine education means that youths are given full moral rights of citizenship. Then the air of openness and inclusiveness will fill the hearts and minds of all. Long ago, Buddha had it right: Bahujana sukhaya, bahujana hitaya, For the happiness of the many, for the welfare of the many.

The writer is an emeritus professor of sociology.


PIONEER, FEB 16, 2016


The apex courts verdict in the Arunachal Pradesh case must reinforce the gains in constitutional law made in the post-Bommai era so as to curtail political mischief and uphold the best traditions of democracy

Although the era of reckless use of Article 356 is now behind us ever since the significant judgement of the Supreme Court in the Bommai case, there is no running away from the fact that political ingenuity can manufacture situations that no legal draftsman or judge can ever anticipate. The latest imbroglio in Arunachal Pradesh, leading to imposition of Presidents Rule in the State is a case in point.

The State has come under Central Rule following a bizarre turn of events last December following dissensions in the ruling Congress. The drama unfolded as follows: Rebel MLAs wanted the Assembly to be convened to vote out the Government; the Government was in no hurry to convene the Session; the Governor bypassed the State Government and summoned the Assembly; the Speaker, aligned to the Chief Minister, disqualified 14 of the rebels and locked the State Assembly complex; Congress rebels teamed up with Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs in the opposition and some independents, convened the State Assembly in a community hall and impeached the Speaker; thereafter, they met in a local hotel and voted out the Chief Minister and elected a rebel Congress MLA in his place.

Following these events, the Governor sent a series of report to the Centre and informed it of the constitutional breakdown in the State and the Centre responded by imposing Presidents Rule in the State. The Assembly has been kept in suspended animation. The matter is now before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court virtually put an end to the gross misuse of Article 356 by the Union Government when a nine-judge bench delivered its verdict in 1994 in what is popularly known as the Bommai case. The conclusions of the court in this case can be summarised as follows:

i) The validity of the proclamation issued by the President under Article 356(1) is judicially reviewable to the extent of examining whether it was issued on the basis of any material at all or whether the material was relevant or whether the proclamation was issued in themala fideexercise of power. When aprima faciecase is made out in the challenge to the proclamation, the burden is on the Union Government to prove that the relevant material did in fact exist and such material may be either the report of the governor or other than the report.

ii) Article 74(2) is not a bar against the scrutiny of material on the basis of which the President had arrived at his satisfaction.

iii) It will not be permissible for the President to exercise powers under sub-clauses (a), (b) and (c) of clause (1) of Article 356 to take irreversible actions till at least both the Houses of Parliament have approved of the proclamation. It is for this reason that the President will not be justified in dissolving the legislative Assembly by using the powers of the governor till at least, both the Houses of Parliament approve of the proclamation.

iv) If the proclamation issued is held invalid, then notwithstanding the fact that it is approved by both Houses of Parliament, it will be open to the court to restore thestatus quo anteto the issuance of the proclamation and hence to restore the Legislative Assembly and the Ministry.

v) In appropriate cases, the court will have the power by an interim injunction, to restrain the holding of fresh elections to the Legislative Assembly pending the final disposal of the challenge to the validity of the proclamation to avoid thefait accompliand the remedy of judicial review being rendered fruitless.

vi) While restoring thestatus quo ante, it will be open to the court to mould the relief suitably.

vii) Secularism is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. The acts of the State Government which are calculated to subvert and sabotage secularism as enshrined in our Constitution, can lawfully be deemed to give rise to the situation in which the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

This is now the law of the land and this judgement has the following implications in respect of the developments in Arunachal Pradesh. Article 74(2), which shielded the advice given to the President from judicial scrutiny, stands partially breached. This Article says The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the President shall not be inquired into in any court. The Bommai judgement has declared that Article74 (2) is not a bar against the court scrutinising the material on the basis of which the President arrived at his satisfaction. Therefore, unlike in the pre-Bommai phase, the reports submitted by the Governor of the Sta