After Rohith Vemula: the Sunday Magazine team discovers the new contours of discrimination

Not every Dalit student leaves a well-written and poignant note in English that will be considered worthy of sympathy and outrage by social media, but our colleges and universities leave behind many

Source: After Rohith Vemula: the Sunday Magazine team discovers the new contours of discrimination

As customs duty exemption goes, 76 life-saving drugs to get costlier

Here is Acche Din of Modi:
In a move that could inflate the cost of essential life-saving imported drugs, the Finance Ministry has withdrawn exemption of 76 medicines from customs duties. The list includes 10 HIV drugs and at

Source: As customs duty exemption goes, 76 life-saving drugs to get costlier

When my hesitations turn out to be Manjadikuru – little red seeds


Nearly half the Winter Quarter is over at Seattle University. And it’s been a one great experience for me.

My primary jobs at Seattle University are two: to teach a course and deliver a Public Lecture as part of LeRoux Chair. That’s huge responsibility and privilege. A privilege I dreaded to begin with. And not very much at home with!

Thanks to my students -first of all- at St Josephs College! When I sounded them (not in any certain terms; far from it!) they bombarded me with ideas! The senior Mass Communication (Masters) students showed much interest to begin with. Some delivered handsomely. Thanks to them. The first years – of course, they are first years! Anyone would envy their inputs. They would be proud of their Dear Teacher putting their suggestions (of film titles) to real good use! And remembering them gratefully from 13,000 miles!

And then, there was one more former student from St Aloysius College – Arron Menezes. The 2004-07 batch of B.A. Journalism. He “flew up” to Bangalore from Mysore (!) to discuss films with me and spent one full day of his office life!

Students here at Seattle University have been absolutely brilliant! Far exceeding my expectation in their cooperation and open-to-learn attitude. Well, I expected them to be academically good and professional, but had reservations about openness to learn and be “good”! They defy it all – they are simply amazing! By the end of Winter Quarter, I will have -something like today’s Malayalam film- Manjadikuru (Little Red Seeds; Anjali Menon, 2012) – plenty of those precious, innocuous, cute, red seeds as memory strands to pick up and cherish!

Thanks to Fr Tom Lukas – I visited Berkley in California in the last week of January. And, it is always nice to have one of your own – Shantharaj Thomas in Berkley. From there we visited San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara and other places. Within these, Google, Facebook, Stanford University, California University, Santa Clara University (none of which we entered for the obvious reason – what else (save computers!) do you see in an IT company!?) But the campuses were good enough to get a feel. I was sad to miss Twitter (later heard that one of my friend and school classmate’s sister works in it!)

There are so many people who have been making this a memorable, meaningful, and cherish-able experience – both in India and Seattle, California (and next in Los Angeles – Cali.!) – my friends, family, students, Jesuits and well wishers. But the best one has been AB the Great. Nothing to beat! What more? Everything else!

(oh, before I forget: it rains a minute, and the next – it shines bright in Seattle! It’s about 0-5 degree celsius one day and 10-12 another. Something like one day it’s Vietnamese cuisine, the other day Thai, third day Indian, interspersed with thoroughly American delicacies!

And last one thing, lest you should accuse me of not sharing with you: I am teaching a course “Visions of Progress in Indian Cinema,” a newly designed course for this purpose. And my students just love it.

Wanted agent: PM offered to trade marines for proof against Sonia

A British arms agent wanted by Indian investigators in a helicopter scam has accused the Narendra Modi government of offering Italy the freedom of two marines in exchange for evidence linking Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her family to the corruption that hit the headlines in 2013.

Source: Wanted agent: PM offered to trade marines for proof against Sonia

10 accused in blast cases have RSS links: R.K. Singh

A slightly older post, since under the current federal regime people can’t expect fairness.
(Advocate Ujjwal Nikham, the prosecutor in the Ajmal Kasab -who attacked Mumbai- case and who also falsely claimed that Kasab demanded Mutton Biriyani before his execution was conferred Padma Shri award on this Republic Day (26/1/16). The lawyer later -much after the execution- claimed that he had told a lie to deflect the attention of people from the execution and emotion it might have carried!)
Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh said on Tuesday that at least 10 people having close links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliated organisations were named accused in various ac

Source: 10 accused in blast cases have RSS links: R.K. Singh

A Padma for the prosecutor: Casting prejudices in stones

A Padma for the prosecutor
Sandeep Joshi

IN the feudal times, kings and monarchs were known to reward with royal honours those whose loyalty and performance they approved of. The modern democratic state, too, carries in its copious bag of tricks a number of medals and awards that it hands out to a handful of citizens. The award of state honours is not a matter of simple choice. When a regime singles out individuals for state honours, in a way, it identifies itself with the performances, preferences and prejudices of those selected. The Padma awards, our republican version of the Queen’s Honours List, too, carry with them a sense of approval and appreciation of the honoured individual’s presumed achievement. No Padma list is ever perfect. Nor can it be. A Padma list reflects choices made — or, not made by a government, which in turn is a political arrangement. This year, too, on the eve of Republic Day as many as 83 men and women were picked for the Padma honours. As in the previous years, the awards reflected the incumbent government’s sense of affiliation and solidarity with those on the list. However, there is one name among the 83 awardees that particularly demands attention because it is as revealing as it is disquieting. Ujjwal Nikam gets the Padma Shri in the public affairs category. Nikam is a lawyer for the state of Maharashtra. There is no doubt that he is an accomplished legal hand and that he has a natural courtcraft, an asset that eludes very many in the world of lawyers and judges. But he is no legal luminary. He is not an MC Setalvad nor a CK Daphtary nor a Fali Nariman. Nikam is a very public prosecutor, seeking vengeance on behalf of the State against those who defy the magistracy of the law. In a society that normally cheers those who stand by and seek insaaf for the underdog, Nikam stands for punishment to one and all. Severe and harsh. An equivalent of the ‘hanging judge’. As a public prosecutor, he demands, loudly and insistently, vengeance and retribution on our collective .. (read more)

Nikham – Kasab’s prosecutor told a lie

The Right-Wing Attack on India’s Universities

India’s Upper Caste Consensus

File – PTI Photo
India’s Upper Caste Consensus
​The events in Hyderabad show that there is no unanimity or consensus of Hindu opinion…
The 2011 census in India showed the population of Indians belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as being over 25 per cent of the population. Of these 16.6 per cent are dalits and 8.6 per cent are adivasis. These are the other names by which these communities (whom the British called Untouchables and Tribals) are known.

One fourth of India means 300 million or 30 crore people. If they were a nation by themselves, they would be the fourth largest in the world, after China, India and the United States. But in our white collar economy they have almost no presence.

The main reason for this is lack of access to quality education and historical lack of opportunity for employment. The constitution has tried to correct this by introducing reservations in educational institutions and government jobs. But the middle class (which means upper caste) Indians of our cities feel that they are discriminated against by reservations and that their ‘merit’ should not be sacrificed.

I can guarantee that in any major, urban, white collar office the most likely place to find ​D​alits is in the list of grade 1 employees. This comprises those who clean. There is absolutely no shame that is felt by these institutions over this fact. Such things are not even thought about. Both ​D​alits and adivasis are totally marginalised in our economy and our media.

I am writing about this because of an event in Hyderabad where a ​D​alit student killed himself. Rohith Vemula, a PhD student, and four others were expelled from their hostel after pressure