Archive for September, 2018

Friends, I am very happy that my in-law state Kerala has featured me in their leading newspaper Matrubhumi. Thank you Suneetha Balakrishnan for the effort. The article features my books and thoughts on writing. This is so lovely.

Please read more here …

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The Book Review: Communal Violence As A Pathology

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Friends, my review of a very important book for the Indian sub-continent, especially north-India given our times when as a nation we are gong through a tailspin in terms of our values and politics.

By Sanjeev Jain and Alok Sarin Sage Publications, 2018, pp. 260, R 850.00

This appeared in the recent edition of The Book Review. Thank you Adnan Farooqui for the opportunity.

As a lay person interested in mental health, personal and community, I feel this book opens a space the nation should have been discussing and sorting out ever since our blood dimmed independence.

Please read more here …

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Punjab Update: Unholy Haste to Save the Faith

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Friends, thanks to Punjab Today for carrying my recent The Hindu Businessline piece with some additions on the discussion in Panjab Assembly over the Ranjit Singh Commission report on the series of sacrilege in the state and the new Blasphemy Law. I hold that the Congress has handed over a draconian, regressive law to BJP on a platter.

‘While Punjab looks to heal from the scourge of sacrilege, the new law now forces not only the Granth Sahib but even other religious texts behind three locks. To some extent one can understand the law in the context of monotheistic religions like Sikh, Islam and Christianity but how will it work for polytheistic Hinduism with a hundred Ramayanas, a thousand Mahabharatas, a million other revered texts and icons? My aging aunts, who find it hard to walk a few steps, habitually ask a younger cousin or their kids to get them the Gutka Sahib from the shelf at home. They sit in their chairs and doze off while praying. As they nap, they leave the Gutka Sahib in their laps, or next to the pillow. Are they committing blasphemy per the new law? Aunts and uncles in Panjab carry the Gutka Sahib, the Hanuman Chalisa, the Holy Bible in their leather purses or kurta pockets. Is that blasphemy? At village Chakklan itself, a samadh – shrine on a grave – of an unknown village elder has recently become a temple with a trishul and a shivling. Is that blasphemy? On the Pakistan border in Amritsar, at village Naushera Dhaala, the 16th Century saint Baba Jallan ji’s samadh has recently turned into an elaborate Gurdwara. Have the followers committed blasphemy? When Captain Amarinder Singh took his famous oath at Damdama Sahib in December 2015 promising to eradicate drugs, he held a Gutka Sahib in his hands. Everyone on the stage were wearing shoes. Was that not blasphemy? What exactly is a ritual, a prayer, a way of life and a blasphemy? Merely inserting names of texts into a revision of law, without due deliberation, is going to be detrimental to the way of life of the people in Punjab and the nation.’

Read full story here …

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The Hindu Businessline: Unholy Haste

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Friends, on Tuesday when the news of activists being arrested drove the country into an uproar, a lot was going on in the Panjab Assembly. A marathon discussion took place on the Ranjit Singh Committee report that probed 157 incidents of sacrilege in between 2015-17 and focused on the role of the Badals and the police in the state – a force that has enjoyed unparalleled impunity ever since the days of militancy.

While the Akalis walked out, the Assembly (Congress and AAP) passed two historical resolutions unanimously – one on SGPC and another on taking back cases from CBI. To my mind these will have great ramifications in robbing the Akalis of the Panthic (Sikh religious) agenda and centre-state relations.

These developments were important for Panjab. However, at the same time, for the nation, the Congress committed a blunder by passing an amendment to the Blasphemy Law – Indian Penal Code 295 and placing texts from Hindu, Muslim and Christianity in it. The amendment to the law was an Akali face-saver in 2016, this Congress government could have just let it slide. But it did not.

Thus the Congress has now handed over a ready-made, draconian revision of law to the BJP on a platter. Beats me why Congress shot itself in the foot. The Bill only needs the Presidential nod now to become a nation-wide law. Its ramifications are massive and dangerous.

Here is my piece. I have tried to sketch the background but print media with word restrictions does limit how much one can say at a time.

Please read more here …

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