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Vocal VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi today alleged that actors Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan along with SP leader Azam Khan were
Amid the raging debate over intolerance, Tibetan spiritual head the Dalai Lama today said overall Indians are religiously
Members in the Lok Sabha today deprecated attempts to take political benefit out of incidents of intolerance and underline
Lok Sabha today witnessed clashes and repeated adjournments as it took up the debate on 'intolerance' wi
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said there was "some amount" of intolerance in the society
Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur feels the solution to the ongoing intolerance debate in the country does not lie in returning awar
The government is bracing up for a tough week in Parliament from Monday, with opposition parties giving a number of notice
Opposition parties today blamed the BJP-led government for doing nothing to allay the apprehensions of the people in the p
Attacking the BJP for not acknowledging the contributions of leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru in making of the Constitution,
Under fire over 'intolerance' issue, Government today cited Hitler's actions in Germany in 1930s to target Congress in Raj
We carried a piece by Prof Pervez Hoodbhoy on the state of higher education in Pakistan yesterday. And if anyone thought that the situation in India was A-Okay, here is a reminder from Pratap Bhanu Mehta, writing in the Indian Express, as if on cue, and underlining once again how the news gets consistently worse in higher education and how there are far wider complicities than just one or two ministers. The problem, as he points out, is not just reservation, excessive government control but, behind all this, what routinely gets swept under the carpet:
...politician turned educational entrepreneurs that have the greatest vested interest in blocking competition. A bad public system and high entry barriers benefits these entrepreneurs the most. They are also, because of political connections, very adept at navigating the licence permit raj of the state, something that would deter the most formidable genuine education entrepreneur
So much of the communalisation of politics is directly linked to state arbitrariness in education. The sense amongst many institutions that they are denied basic rights of freedom of association and trade in education that are made available to so-called minority institutions has fuelled immense resentment.
But sometimes it is our secular friends’ idolatry of state power that is more worrying than the false gods of the fanatics. For nowhere in this new demand is the slightest acknowledgment that the deep communal crisis we have has its roots in the fact that small cabals of Left intellectuals so controlled narratives of history that an open and frank discussion of complex historical issues became impossible. The state of West Bengal decimated its education system by thinking of it as a handmaiden of ideology; and yet there is deep communal tension simmerin
Pratap Bahnu Mehta on how not to make it "into a high-pitched contest, supposedly between a prudish, patriarchal traditionalism on the one hand, and an assertion of freedom and progressivism on the other" and instead have a real conversation on how our sense of self and society is constituted, about "what is shaping our sense of self at different sites: family, school, religious institutions. What sense of lack and what anxieties are we encumbered with?":
If our social mores are producing characters that feel no compunction in beating up women in the name of tradition, if the mere holding of hands seems so threatening, if our sense of self esteem is so fragile that it will express itself in all kinds of violence against “outsiders”, what kind of politics are we likely to produce?
...Secularists lost political traction, because the secular/ anti-secular debate simply degenerated into slogan mongering and a show of force; secularists could not find a way of addressing real anxieties and complex issues. It became more a matter of thumping one’s own self rather than solving real problems. The debate over freedom also risks undermining the cause of freedom. The concept of freedom, in the liberal sense, is still not very deeply embedded in Indian society.
The principle of individual liberty has to be defended vigorously; no majoritarianism can take away individuals’ rights to lead the life they wish to, compatible with respecting others’ rights. On this there can be no debate. But we have to acknowledge that the culture wars we are witnessing about liquor are also about something else. Just around the time that Ashok Gehlot made his notorious statement, journalists in Rajasthan made a big fuss over Vikram Seth having wine on the podium while discussing literature. This fuss was almost laughable.