National Affairs

To achieve any targeted goal, there is a need to develop infrastructure accordingly. This is with all aspects of life whether it is agriculture, industry, education, religion etc. Educational institutions are meant to shape and reshape the ideology among the educated class while remaining lot gets influenced by them in one way or the other. If these institutions fail to develop scientific knowledge to deal with the social, cultural and environmental issues related to wellbeing of human society, the very purpose of the educational institution seems to have failed. Such institutions remain as information and data collection centres and depend on interpretative centres in which analytical researches are not much encouraged. These weaknesses may be removed with scientific temper and an open mind having a suitable ambience as well as sufficient infrastructural facilities. In the absence of the above-mentioned conditions, the targeted goal will be a dream only. While changing educational institutions into true centres of scientific learning, some of the following important issues have to be considered seriously in order to improve the quality of education and scientific temper among both students and teachers.

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Tawhid is the central organising principle of Islam. In its primary meaning, it is about the absolute Oneness of God. In its extended meaning, it is about the oneness of the entire humanity, as the Quran beautifully expresses it: all humans being the children of a single set of parents - Adam and Eve - are essentially one. Further all knowledge, coming from God alone as it does, has a unity (wahdat) at its core. Thus, there is no reason why Muslims should not try to bring their main organising principle - Tawhid - to bear down on the entire body of human knowledge.

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Research has shown that sharia councils are approached voluntarily and are often progressive

Written by Faizan Mustafa | Updated: August 10, 2018 12:05:13 am

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Around the time President Barack H. Obama came to the White House in his first term a rather intriguing piece by a famous columnist appeared in several newspapers. In it he wrote something to the effect that Obama’s middle name was Hussein, and he would tilt towards Iran, the country which lives for the Love of Hussein, the martyred grandson of the Prophet (PBUH).

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When King Salman bin Abdul Aziz ascended to the Saudi throne on the death of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz the kingdom was at the cusp of great wave of far-reaching changes. A constant fall in oil revenues, expanding population, slow-down in the expansion and renovation of infrastructure and need for a fast pace of job creation had to be quickly looked into. The new administration took due note of it. The monarchy already had a blueprint for addressing some of these issues. The new order had just to improve it and quicken its implementation, besides creating newer plans and projects for an all-round security and growth and for the country to keep on playing its role on the international stage as the undisputed leader of the Muslim world.

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In the early years of his rule, sometime in 1930s, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud confided in a Western writer that he was fed up with rampant tribal raids on each other and on pilgrim caravans. He said he had been praying to Allah to send some rain so that the raiders could get busy with some form of agriculture and stay away from raids, which were desperate acts to find a living in brigandage, stealing neighbouring tribes’ cattle, looting pilgrims and trading caravans. The raids would often cause injury to both raiders and defenders, if not always death, in which a blood feud would ensue, just as it did before the advent of Islam, in the Jahiliyah, the age of ignorance.

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Think of Saudi Arabia, and you think of the holiest of holy, the land most blessed by God, the land about which the Poet of East, Allama Mohammad Iqbal, wrote:

Among all the places of worship
Stands tall the first House of God
We (the Ummah) are its watchful sentries
As it (silently) guards over all of us

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At a first glance, today’s theme is self evident and in no need of commentary. Women constitute about half of humankind and should therefore share the same responsibilities as men.

The term ‘humane’ according to the dictionary is compassion or benevolence; a humane society is therefore one that avoids pain or suffering to fellow humans. Sociologists consider a society humane if it is motivated by the most desirable of human values. It implies a society dedicated to the principles of justice, equality and fraternity and one in which its members are recognized and respected as human beings without differentiations of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

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The following are some of my thoughts regarding women’s role in the construction of a humane society.

Besides the ascriptive roles assigned to them by society which, in any case, better-educated women resent, all other roles that women seek to play will have to be chosen by them only. Issues like what will be the size of the family that she (with her husband, of course) wants to raise is to be decided by the woman alone. After all, it is her body that will carry the baby for nine months and, after birth, it is she who will suckle the baby, look after it closely for a year or two, sleep and rise with her infant, and suffer severe sleep deprivation.

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The guilt of fiendish murder of Junaid can not be sidelined by Hindu Majority under the slogan of “Not in my Name”. In fact Hindu majority will continue to be held guilty so long such devilish acts continue. These acts are a shame on our constitution and this challenge has to be met frontally.

The recital in the preamble to the Constitution that India is a secular state means that no religious group (including Hindus) can claim any special dominant position or status in the country.

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What is demonetisation? An unfamiliar term became the flavour of the season this winter, replacing surgical strikes and fake encounters. The first point to be noted in this discussion on demonetisation is the tendency now to invent catch phrases with unfailing regularity these days. There are regular new additions to our vocabulary. Beef bans. BMKJ. Digital India. Smart Cities. Yoga day. Bullet trains. 15 lakhs in each account. Strong rupee. 12 million jobs. Patel statue. Neutralising terrorists. New education policy. Sedition. Each term is ephemeral, lasts a few days till a new one takes over.

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These days prime minister is becoming ‘’emotional’ on every issue and he feel that people are after him for waging a ‘war’ against high and mighty. We do not know what does that mean but I am sure the latest demonetization has shown that this war seems to be against India’s poor as high and might friends of the prime minister are enjoying their life well. Modi ji want to dig the record of past sixty years but I wish why not of past 2000 years of brahmanical hegemony? Every day, he brings new issue to remain in the news. This government is being run through TV channels as it seems, it can’t work peacefully without speaking loud. The other day after the so called surgical strike, the prime minister said, “I want to say that India is a ready for a war… India is a ready for a war on poverty. Let both countries fight to see who would eradicate poverty first… I want to tell the youth of Pakistan, let’s have a war on ending unemployment… I want to call out to the children in Pakistan, let’s declare war on illiteracy. Let’s see who wins. Let’s declare war on infant mortality and maternal deaths’, said the Prime Minister during a Public Meeting in Kozhikode, Kerala according to a report in the Indian Express on September 25th, 2016.

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THE government, the Opposition and the public in general are rightly in panic awaiting the verdict on Babri Masjid by the Allahabad High Court – a situation brought about by the faltering non-secular stand by the governments concerned. The High Court is to give its verdict on the following points: (1) Was the place under Babri Majid the birthplace of Lord Ram? (2) Was there a temple on the land on which Babri Masjid was built?

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Education always plays a very important role in every one’s life. It makes an individual to internalize the value and norm of the society and simultaneously offers the specific skilled persons to serve different functions.

In 1950, India resolved to secure Justice, Liberty and Equality for all its citizens. Education is the best tool in hand to realise these noble goals.

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With apology to Charles Dickens, we are living in the “best of times”, and we are living in the “worst of times”. This is an age of high level of prosperity for an ever-growing number of people worldwide, and alongside it, astonishingly fast growing inequality (the greatest in history in terms of numbers). Over the last two decades India has pulled millions of people out of poverty, one of the rarest of such feats. However, India still remains home to the world’s largest number of the poor. Nearly one out of the world’s five poorest persons lives in India, thus negating the country’s spectacular economic growth that has benefited the top ten percent of the country disproportionately more than the rest.

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The Prophet of Islam (PBUH), being unlettered, told Archangel Gabriel, when asked to read, that he was unlettered and thus could not read. Following a tight embrace by Gabriel (so tight that the Prophet [PBUH] thought his ribs would be crushed), the Prophet (PBUH) began to recite the revelation after the Archangel.

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The Aadhaar Bill opens the door to mass surveillance. This danger needs to be seen in the light of recent attacks on the right to dissent. No other country, and certainly no democratic country, has ever held its own citizens hostage to such a powerful infrastructure of surveillance.

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Former president Dr APJ Kalam’s death has brought back into discussion on his work, career and mission as the middle class India fed by absolutely communalized media has spared no time in making Kalam an ‘Einstien’ of India and perhaps the greatest president of India. Many called him ‘statesman’ while other said he was the ‘greatest’ scientist of the world. Indians are habitual of using adjectives to describe someone dear to them. Kalam was darling of India whose trolls hate those on social media as well as in public life who show their dissent to their futile and superfluous ‘vision’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he has lost a ‘margdarshak’ or what we term as guide. Was Abdul Kalam really a Margdarshak of Modi or RSS or they coopted him after his massive popularity with urbanized India with his ‘nationalistic’ views which attract the communalized middle classes.

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In an open letter addressed to the citizens of the country published on 26th May 2015, i.e., on the occasion of completing one year of the Union government, the Prime Minister stated that government was dedicated to the poor, marginalised and those left behind. Sabka sath Sabka vikas, the slogan extensively used in BJP campaign, also conveyed the same idea. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna was also aimed at financial inclusion of the most deprived sections of the society.

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Senegal remains one of the most peaceful nations in the African continent. With a massive 95% Muslim population Senegal was a French colony and thousands were people were taken as slaves by the Europeans in the 17th century. The beautiful city of Dakar is a peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean with beautiful French influence on its broader roads and buildings which undoubtedly make life here fascinating with a grand mix up of French and African traditions.

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One of the most famous lines on the official All India Radio news bulletins during communal disturbances used to be ‘ Sthiti tanavpurn lekin Niyantran me hain ( the situation is tense but under control) and police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in the ‘sensitive’ areas. It was well known to us as what is ‘samvdansheel kshetra’ or sensitive areas. Most of these ‘sensitive areas’ were the Muslim localities in the walled cities, almost ghettoized in the aftermath of each ‘riots’ much to the comfort of the fanatics on both the sides who wanted to see such polarization to happen. The ‘sensitive areas’ terminology reflected the mindset of administration, police and the media in the independent India where Muslims are treated as ‘problem-makers’ and ‘obstacles’. During the ‘communal disturbances,’ the police ‘round off’ these ‘problem-makers’ and ‘obstacles’ as routine exercise to bring ‘peace’. Once when I questioned these things during a visit in the early 1990s, to Meerut on a fact finding mission, a very senior Professor in the Meerut University blamed me promote ‘Pakistanis’ in India and warned me from staying away from mini ‘Pakistan’ which was the walled city of Meerut. His argument was that Muslims are criminals and that is why they are largest in the Indian jails. I liked him because this professor did not have hypocrisy and he spoke from his ‘heart’ which is a reality of the middle classes upper caste Hindus in India at least at the moment.

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Hundreds of pilgrims seek to see the sunrise on the bank of Ganges in Varanasi and the boatmen go on live commentary of these ghats narrating the mythological details and the most poignant moment come when you see the Manikarnikaghat, Dashashwamegha Ghat and Harishchandraghat reminding you the stories of Raja Harishchandra’s loyalty to his ‘profession’. In an indirect reference, these are the same ‘preaching’ which ask you to do thy duty while ‘result’ is not thy concern. Secondly, Raja Harishchandra is ‘applauded’ because he remained defiant in ‘asking’ for ‘money’ amidst a great human tragedy in which a helpless woman does not have the money to ‘pay’ the charges for funeral which the Doms performs. It means that we should not show any human spirit and value to any one when situation warrants and just be ‘committed’ to our ‘profession’. I think that is the most dangerous aspect of a philosophy which justified discrimination based on caste and gender.

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India is included among developing nations. Of course, there are areas where we have achieved much better results than expectations but there are areas which, even after 68 years of Independence, remain neglected.

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It has been a year of disappointments and worries. The first half of 2014 was the last six months of UPA II, in which the corporate media did not see any merit. They spent those first six months ignoring the considerable achievements of the UPA government and building a crescendo of hope and hype about the next government, which they were sure would be a Modi-led one.

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1857 is a watershed in Indian history when with the fall of Delhi, British sway was fully established all over India. Men of substance and vision like Sir Syed were quick to realise that the rout had come because the Indian side had fallen behind the British in the realm of knowledge of all kinds, especially that of science and technology.

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It is a reminder bell that rings every year which has not changed us to the core. The horrific crimes against humanity perpetrated by the political goons in the dark night of October 31st till a couple of days of November 1984 after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was declared officially ‘dead’ and which remain unpunished till date is not just a matter of shame but absolute failure of our democracy. A truly democratic system would have envisaged ways and means to tackle such a situation in future but instead people became ‘football’ in the political games of those who have least concern about loss of human lives and sentiments. Punjab was bleeding when India got partitioned in 1947 and Sikh community felt betrayed as many of their issues remained unsettled politically. Sikh nationalism has to be merged into pan Indian Nationalism dictated and dominated by the brahmanical Hindus.

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Write Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh, an NGO, invited me to attend the SAARC Literary Festival in Dhaka on 27-28 February, 2014. Delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives were participants. The seminar / festival proposed a discussion / review “Beyond Borders, Trust and Reconciliation”.

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Universal adult franchise is the cornerstone of democracy. It is not restricted or conditional “democracy” like the one where franchise is limited to only propertied classes as it was sometimes in pre-Independence India, or the sham “shoora democracy” as operative in some Muslim countries, the consultative body (shoora) being only decorative.

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A dilemma of sorts is gripping the Indian Muslims these days. Communal riots are engineered to uproot and render them homeless. Sometimes, they are also alienated politically to deny them the fruits of development. These are the issues that affect the Muslims externally and internally and are discussed to find out solution to them. Steps are also taken to address these issues, though with little success. These efforts identify the plight of Muslims today but the other side of the picture is more horrendous as the challenges that confront the community defy a probable solution. Instead, external challenges are only getting more complex. Muslims in India are sitting on the horns of a dilemma and the confusion among them is worse compounded.

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The right to education is part of the internationally recognised human rights. Universal declaration of Human Rights in 1948 first recognised this as a basic human right. As a corollary, this right has been incorporated in various international conventions and plans. A vast majority of countries has signed up to, and ratified, international conventions concerning this right, most importantly the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, despite ratification and undisputed desirability of this right, very few countries have incorporated it in their domestic legal framework or created administrative frameworks to ensure realisation of this right.

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It has been sixty three years since our motherland broke the shackles and unfettered her from colonial presence. These sixty three years have not been easy. Every day, every year has been a story of relentless hard work and perseverance of each and every Indian trying to carve out a niche for their motherland in the international platform.

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In this second part of his IOS Silver Jubilee article Founder-Chairman Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam describes one of the difficult phases of Indian history, particularly from the Muslim perspective, and how the Institute responded to the challenges.

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Early years:(L-R) Justice Rajinder Sachar, Prof. Tahir Mahmood and Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam at an IOS seminar in 1990

Founder-Chairman of Institute of Objective Studies, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, reminisces about the journey of IOS through 25 eventful years of India’s history.

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We are witnessing yet another media wave, a phenomenon with which by now we are pretty familiar. This time round, quite a few of our star performers of print and electronic media have worked themselves into a self-righteous froth, baying for the blood of the carefully selected sacrifical goats to be offered on the altar of mobocracy.

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New Delhi: Abusaleh Shariff, member-secretary of the Rajinder Sachar Committee on the status of Muslims, is angry and upset. He thinks the United Progressive Alliance government has not done enough to push the cause of Muslims' welfare.

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Dr Mohammad Manzoor AlamTill as late as 1995 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its South Asia Human Development Report used to publish literacy figures among Indian Muslims that were, to say it mildly intriguing.

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In this concluding article of his three-part series on Liberhan Commission Report Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam discusses the future course of possible action on the Babri Masjid issue.

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Think for a while what is possible in 17 years. A country can rise from the ashes, like Japan and Germany did after the World War-II. Or, backward countries can surge ahead to emerge as economic powerhouses, like the South east Asian countries did between the late 60s and mid-80s, or like China did in mid-80s and continues to do now. On an individual level, a child that has joined class 1 would be an engineer and employed, ready for marriage in those 17 long years.

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Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam on the professed innocence of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee in the crime of Babri Masjid demolition

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The Delhi High Court’s judgment “reading down” Section 377, which in effect decriminalises homosexual acts between consenting individuals, has raised fears of an invasion of a different kind.

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We have seen a few disturbing trends in the recent parliamentary elections which need to be addressed before they wreak terrible damage on our society. One of these is the extensive fragmentation of Muslim leadership that surfaced in the election.

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1984 was a turning point in India’s history: Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated, Sikhs were massacred en masse (thus breaking the Hindu-Sikh understanding since 1947 to stay together), and the most divisive, violent and anti-national movement in independent India, the Babri Masjid demolition movement. The first of the destructive yatras launched by the Sangh combine in the long series of yatras, the Ekatmta Yatra, was launched in the summer of 1984.

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Developments over the last few days have left the nation breathless, petrified and clueless. A series of explosions in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, several people dead, many more injured, some critically.

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Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam expresses annoyance at the way Muslims are being presented as humorous characters in the ongoing political tragi-comedy. However, he warns against rejecting UPA along with the nuclear deal.

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Of late, Indian Muslims are in the news again. For the wrong reason, as usual. They are being held hostage to the natural and understandable differences between different political parties on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

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The Sangh, especially its political front, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been nibbling away at the roots of the Constitution over the last six decades. Fortunately, so far it has not achieved any substantial success in its efforts, writes Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam.

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Here are some eye-opening data that show food prices are not related to our over-eating.

In the first piece of this series one of the points made was that soaring prices of food were central to inflation-related concerns in India (and almost everywhere else). Of course, this does not mean that commodities as a whole, cement and steel and much else, were not getting out of reach.

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Let me begin it with an open and frank admission of my own smallness. I am here before you not as an expert, but a humble student of public affairs, an ordinary citizen of this extraordinary land. I count myself lucky to have been in the company of some of the greatest activists and advocates of human rights and civil liberties, the best legal minds of our time as well as leaders of the minorities, including their religious leaders. That long association with such worthy people as well as my own close observations of the national scene have convinced me that all is not well with our society, our polity, our public life.

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DR. MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM takes a look at the inflationary surge that has burnt a big hole in the middle class pocket and bodes greater ill for the weaker sections.

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Nearly three decades ago best-selling author and futurologist Alvin Toffler predicted quite a few "future" trends that seemed too way out to be credible. One of these was: as medical science progresses and organ transplant surgical procedures get perfected gangs of doctors, mafiosi and allied miscreants would join hands to start a new industry, that of illegal organ transplants.

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Right from the day BJP came out victorious in the Gujarat elections a clear campaign of aggression was launched against Christian community in Gujarat. In one of the most bizarre attacks in the state a priest was badly beaten up and the fingers of his hands were chopped. Everybody knows that the Sangh and its dozens of front organisations are behind the attacks.

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Aghast at the deep silence that has welcomed the Tehelka expose of Gujarat 2002 DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM is forced to conclude that the Indian state does not think Muslims are human, or they bleed, like others. The society itself seems largely anaesthetised to Muslim sorrow, he avers.

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Tehelka-Aaj Tak sting has not brought out anything that we did not know already. Its real worth lies in the clear confession by some of the major actors in the stagemanaged massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002.

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DR. MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM argues that the nuclear deal with the US is against the vital interests of India, and the people’s actual needs are not addressed by it.

The war hero and founding president of the United States, George Washington, had warned his successors not to take any country as a permanent friend or enemy. The status of a friend or enemy was a shifting category decided purely by national interest.

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The unfortunate controversy over Ram Sethu and the historicity of Shri Ram has claimed its first victims. Two Tamils travelling in a bus in Karnataka close to the Tamil Nadu border were burnt to death recently. A mob of VHP activists had set the bus on fire.

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DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM traces the roots of vigilantism to the gradual loss of faith in law and order machinery and justice delivery system.

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Denial of Justice to the Weak

 …has created the monster of police lawlessness which threatens to undermine the larger society now, argues DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM

 

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On the anniversary of Malegaon blasts Muslims note with deep sorrow and a sense of colossal betrayal that they have consistently been denied justice, writes DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM

 

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As we celebrate our 60th year of independence with justifiable pride over our achievements, we also witness an overwhelming sense of insecurity among a sizeable section of our society. It is insecurity bred by a mortifying sense of denial of justice.

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Finally, the last batch of the people found to be involved in the Mumbai blasts of 1993 have been sentenced variously (according to the degree of harm caused by them). The sentences range from death penalty to life imprisonment and relatively shorter sentences.

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New Delhi, March 12: The New Delhi-based Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) has decided to confer its first lifetime achievement award on former Chief Justice of India, Justice A.M. Ahmadi. IOS governing council reached the decision after long deliberations on the proposals of a number of organisations, scholars and intellectuals. The yearly award will go to those who have served the society in their respective fields. It will comprise Rs 1,00000 and a memento.

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In this first part of a two-part series, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam takes a look at the socio-political scenario of the country with forebodings of serious trouble ahead.

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If Congress insists on fielding people like Pareek in assembly polls, it is bound to meet its waterloo in Sikar, wites Ashfaque Kayamkhani

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Time is the original paradox. Twenty years is a substantial period in an individual human life span, but shorter than a small moment in the life of a society or nation. The two-day celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) on April 6 and 7 was marked as much by a mood of jubilation as of stock-taking. It was also a time to set new goals and establish new benchmarks.

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The following views were expressed at the two-day celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Objective Studies from April 6-7, 2007.

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The Condition of Scavenger community in India is a matter of grave concern for all the right thinking persons world over. It is regrettably noted that the official attitude of the government has not changed towards these communities. The surroundings of the community compel them think in a ghettoized fashion which is considered as if the community does not want to change. In an environment where parents do not know where would the second day meal be achieved, it would be ridiculous to think that the community would be able to rise at its own. Is it not the duty of all of us who believe in human rights, dignity and human values to come forward and help the community to delink from its traditional occupation?

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On 23rd March 1931 the British government hanged three Indian revolutionaries namely Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. All of them embraced death in an entirely heroic way and therefore became legend for the common Indian masses. None of the youth leaders of India's independence movement inspired a whole lot of generation as Bhagat Singh. Unfortunately, the ruling elite of the country reduced Bhagat Singh into a 'terrorist'. The result was that these revolutionaries who were non violent in their thought and process and wanted to change India remain outside the purview of college students, many of them liked Bhagat Singh for being 'violent' and Gandhi for being 'non violent'. However, in the absence of idealism and understanding of Indian situation, revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh are grossly under evaluated and misrepresented.

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DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM shares his anguish over the Nandigram events and asks for a political and

social consensus on the contentious issue of SEZs.

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Indian democracy is showing signs of maturity where the common man is becoming realistic in terms of taking note of the quality of governance. It is not merely personality-based approach, but the quantum of work and delivery of the party and government that would matter with the electorate. The bad showing is primarily due to failure of Congress leadership to read the facts correctly. Faulty selection of candidates, gap between the governing elite and electorate and infighting are the main causes of poor performance.

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The Congress Party has finally started looking into the causes of its electoral defeat in Punjab and Uttrakhand. This has not come a day too soon, keeping in view the next round of elections, beginning with the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh next month.

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