Three Years Since the Launch of Swachh Bharat, A Look At Its Progress in Modi’s “Adopted” Villages of Nageypur and Jayapur

By Sagar | 2 October 2017
On 2 October 2014, just a few months into his job as prime minister, Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission—the most ambitious cleanliness campaign in Indian history. Since the launch, Modi has put enormous effort into making the Swachh Bharat Mission a flagship programme of his rule. He spoke of it in his annual Independence Day speeches, televised live from the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort, and at campaign rallies in election-bound states. The currency notes introduced after demonetisation bear the Swachh Bharat logo—Gandhi’s signature round glasses. It was a move indicative of the government’s incredible zeal for drawing attention to the campaign.

As the Swachh Bharat Mission Enters its Fourth Year, Revisiting Its Progress in Varanasi and Ahmedabad

By Sagar | 1 October 2017
On 2 October 2014, just a few months into his job as prime minister, Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission—the most ambitious cleanliness campaign in Indian history. Since the launch, Modi has put enormous effort into making the Swachh Bharat Mission a flagship programme of his rule. He spoke of it in his annual Independence Day speeches, televised live from the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort, and at campaign rallies in election-bound states. The currency notes introduced after demonetisation bear the Swachh Bharat logo—Gandhi’s signature round glasses. It was a move indicative of the government’s incredible zeal for drawing attention to the campaign.

“Barter System of Appointments”: The Debate Over The Collegium System And The NJAC

By ATUL DEV | 29 September 2017
On 25 September, Justice Jayant Patel of the Karnataka High Court submitted his resignation to the president of India, reportedly after the president proposed transferring him to the Allahabad High Court. Patel was first appointed to a high court in December 2001, as an additional judge in in the Allahabad court. He was transferred to the Karnataka High Court in February 2016, where he was the senior-most judge after the chief justice in the state. His transfer to Allahabad was proposed less than a month before SK Mukherjee, the present chief justice of the Karnataka High Court, will complete his term, on 9 October. If he had accepted the transfer, Patel would have been the third in seniority among the judges in Gujarat.

In Haryana: How the Dera Sacha Sauda’s Grassroots-Level Mobilisation Attracts Dominant-Caste Followers

By Sagar | 28 September 2017
On the afternoon of 25 August, a Central Bureau of Investigation special court in Haryana’s Panchkula district convicted Gurmeet Singh, a self-styled godman, of raping two women in 2002. More commonly known as Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan, Singh is the third spiritual leader of the religious cult Dera Sacha Sauda. Many followers reverently address him as Pitaji, or father. On the day of Singh’s conviction, immediately after the news broke, thousands of followers of the godman laid siege to several regions across Haryana and Punjab—at least 30 people were killed in the ensuing violence.

In Conversation: The Uncharted Territories Covered By “Bheda,” The First Dalit Odia Novel

By MARTAND KAUSHIK | 22 September 2017
In 2010, Akhila Naik, a writer based in Odisha’s Kalahandi district, became the first Dalit author to write a novel in Odia. His book, Bheda, follows the story of a Dalit school principal’s son, Laltu, who drops out and becomes an activist. Laltu takes on the powerful upper-caste duo of a businessman and a politically influential lawyer who runs an Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh shakha in the village.

The Professional Fortunes Of Cops, Bureaucrats and SIT Members Associated With the 2002 Godhra Investigation

By Arshu John | 22 September 2017
On 18 September, the appointments committee of the prime ministerial cabinet—which comprises the prime minister and the home minister, and is tasked with filling top posts at government agencies—named the Indian Police Services officer YC Modi as the next director general of the National Investigation Agency. YC Modi previously served on a Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court. The SIT was charged with looking into three cases arising out of the riots in Gujarat in early 2002—the massacres at Gulburg Society, Naroda Patiya, and Naroda Gam on 28 February that year, in which over 150 people were killed. At the time the riots took place, the state was under the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party, helmed by the chief minister, Narendra Modi.

“My Discussion of Yoga Was Threatening to Its RSS-Linked Administration”: Patricia Sauthoff On the Cancellation of Her Course At Nalanda

By Sagar | 20 September 2017
Patricia Sauthoff is an American PhD scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and a former faculty member at Nalanda University in Bihar. From August 2016 to 28 July this year, Sauthoff was employed as a teaching fellow at the university’s School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions. In her second term at Nalanda, which started in January this year, she taught two courses, including a course titled the “History and Politics of Yoga.” It explored the “history of Yoga in India as religious, social, and political practice.”

On the Road With the Karwan E Mohabbat, A Trail of Untold Deaths Emerges

By Kedar Nagarajan | 18 September 2017
On 14 September, over five months after a mob of cow-protection vigilantes killed the cattle farmer Pehlu Khan and injured his sons Ibrar and Areef, the Crime Investigation Department of Rajasthan announced that it was closing the investigations involving the six people that Khan had named before succumbing to his injuries. In early September, the CID submitted a report to the Alwar police, in which they stated that the six men—Om Yadav, Hukum Chand Yadav, Sudhir Yadav, Jagmal Yadav, Naveen Sharma and Rahul Saini—were not present at the site where Khan was lynched in Behror, in Rajasthan, this April. The CID reportedly cited statements from people working in a nearby cow shelter who said the six named were present on the premises of the cow shelter at the time of the attack. Of the 15 persons accused in the case, two were minors, and five were granted bail—at least one of them was visible in a widely circulated video of the attack.

Damnation: As Modi Inaugurates the Sardar Sarovar Dam, Villagers Await Rehabilitation Amid Rising Waters

By Harsha Vadlamani | 17 September 2017
In mid August, in Kakrana village in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district, local revenue officials directed its residents to demolish their own homes. Failing this, the officials told the locals, they would bring in JCB machines to tear everything down. Kirta Bhaila, a 38-year-old man who owns a small grocery shop, said the officials warned the residents of his quarter: “Nothing will be left of your belongings and the goods in your kirana store if we bring in the machines.”

The Contrasting Narratives on Upadhyaya and Ambedkar in Publications of the I&B Ministry

By Sagar | 15 September 2017
Since its ascendancy to power in the country, the Bharatiya Janata Party has made significant efforts to popularise Deendayal Upadhyaya, the ideologue behind the Bharatiya Jana Sangh—the parent organisation of the BJP. Among others, these have included proposals to rename the Mughalsarai railway station in Varanasi, the Kandla Port in Gujarat, 12 colleges in Assam, and 45 libraries in Rajasthan after Upadhyaya. In September 2016, the party announced a year-long celebration of the centenary of the ideologue’s birth. The government constituted two committees to plan the celebrations, and announced a budget of Rs 100 crore for them. On 11 September this year, Narendra Modi delivered an address that was broadcasted live to 40,000 higher-educational institutes, in which he focused on the teachings of Upadhyaya and the Hindu reformer Swami Vivekananda.
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