breaking news

Communal polarization in Trimbak City over Shri Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is harmful to the social fabric

By Irfan Engineer The city of Trimbak, which is also taluka or block headquarters, has recently courted media-manufactured and politically patronised controversy where there was none. Media is gaining TRPs, and a certain political party is gaining an advantage from political polarization at the cost of the Muslim community. The community is once again being demonized, and there is a threat of arrest of some Muslim youth for no plausible offence committed by them. They merely followed an age-old tradition on 13th May 2023 of fanning dhoop (fumes from incense in a container) in the direction of the Shri Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple from its northern gate temple and carrying chadar cloth sheets (a cloth sheet that is normally offered at sufi dargahs to the pir buried) on their heads on the day of annual urs (death anniversary of a sufi saint). The Shri Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples in the country. There is a notice on the gate that non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple. A section of the Media proclaimed that Muslim youth residents of the town tried to enter the temple. The youth are seen in the videos, repeatedly played by the electronic media, near the northern gate of the temple with the chadar on their heads and later returning. That act was declared by the media as an attempt to forcibly enter the temple and desecrate it. The hyperactive section of the media also extracted a statement from one of the priests of the temple demanding that the motives of the Muslim youth on “attempting to enter” (not forcibly enter) the temple should be investigated. Where is Trimbak? Trimbak, is about 28 km from Nashik. Nashik City is the district headquarters, and it is itself a temple town and one of the 4 cities which holds the Kumbha Mela once every 12 years. The origin of the sacred Godavari River is near Trimbak. Who built the Kusavarta Kunda? Shrimant Sardar Raosaheb Parnerkar, Fadnavis of Indore State, built the Kusavarta kunda (sacred pond) in the temple premises, which is the source of…

Dr. Syeda Hameed

75 years of independent India through the eyes of a Muslim woman

Dr. Syeda Hameed Interview by Shikhar Sachdeva Dr Syeda Hameed, referred affectionately as Apa by those closest to her, has donned various hats throughout her long and successful career. She has at various times during her lifetime been an academician, an author, an educationist, a women’s and social rights activist, a writer, and a member of the Planning Commission. Dr Syeda Hameed biography Born in 1943, Apa’s life story has coincided with the story of independent India, and this provides her with a unique perspective on the struggles of her generation, be it the bloodshed of the partition, the Nehru-Gandhi era, or the growing intolerance in the BJP era. Her identity, not only as a woman but as a Muslim woman, has shaped people’s perspective towards her as it has shaped her perspective towards the goings-on in our country. Dr Hameed was born in 1943 in the state of Kashmir in a family where her father was an educationist and a high ranking official in Nehru’s cabinet. She was brought up in Delhi, did her graduation (BA) from Miranda House, Delhi University and MA from the University of Hawaii, and later began her career as a lecturer at the Lady Shri Ram College. Dr Hameed later became a part of the Planning Commission of the Indian Government, undertaking responsibilities revolving around issues such as the health and rights of children, women, and minorities. Currently, she has been appointed as the Chancellor of The Maulana Azad National Urdu University – known for providing higher education to women. She has been a founding member of many groups aimed towards improving policies pertaining to women’s education. Her career portrays a long but fruitful commitment towards sustainable development and women’s education. Apa’s forefathers had migrated from Persia to Herat in Afghanistan in the 10th century, and from there to India during the Delhi Sultanate period. As missionaries of Islam, they had been allocated land by the Sultan in the Panipat region near Delhi and that was where the clan prospered for the next 800 years. Apa was a 4-year-old in 1943 when the country…

Akhilendra Pratap Singh

Akhilendra Pratap Singh on a Political Platform

Along with broader movement against the authoritarian project of RSS and BJP, emphasis must be laid on the politicisation of society and balance of social forces must be changed Akhilendra Pratap Singh Swaraj Abhiyan Recently, senior journalist Santosh Bhartiya interviewed me on the contradictions of the left movement. Responding to his question, I said that for me left movement in India, is a democratic movement which stands for the democratisation of state and society. I also said that call it Irony of history or Tragedy that the three major streams of democratic movement could not evolve mutual political understanding for a broad political coalition. Coming together on a common political platform of CPI formed in 1920, CSP led by Acharya Narendra Dev, also based on Marxist philosophy and Independent Labour Party like streams formed by Dr Ambedkar was very much needed. At least after independence, in my view, it was primarily the responsibility of the Communist Party to form such a political platform as it was strongest in terms of mass base and organisation, compared to other democratic formations. I also said that to portray Gandhi as a revivalist against modernity or he was opposed to land reforms is not true as the objective reading of history. We must understand that the ideas of Gandhi were continuously evolving. The idea which Gandhi expressed in Hind Swaraj in 1909 had changed a lot by 1948. In his talk with Louis Fischer, an American journalist in 1942, Gandhi said that peasantry will take the land of landlords. When he asked regarding paying compensation, he replied, how can that be given. When Fischer asked him regarding violence in 1942 Quit India movement, Gandhi didn’t answer. He was very clear about the form of struggle. While accepting his differences with Subhash Chandra Bose, he regarded him as the greatest one among all patriots. In fact, the first and foremost agenda before Gandhi ji was how to liberate the country. He wanted ouster to British ruling class at any cost. He even said that let them go and if it means anarchy for some time,…