March 20, 2023

India - Gujarat: Dalit continue to join the Hindutva far-right outfits in droves


India - Maharashtra: The opposition seems quient over Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha rallies going on over the past months

 4 months, 50 rallies, one theme: ‘Love jihad’, ‘land jihad’ and economic boycott

Opposition parties in Maharashtra have largely chosen to keep quiet on the Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha rallies.


India - Mathura: Ashutosh Pandey, the new star sadhu to pressure Idgah

 The Print

Jailed for cow smuggling, dumped by VHP — Mathura gets a new star sadhu to pressure Idgah

Ashutosh Pandey shot to fame when he brought a 3-ft idol of Lord Krishna to court. He claims his Trust got the electricity at Shahi Idgah mosque cut.

20 March, 2023


India: Intelligence agencies had raised a red flag -- were the authorities sleeping at the wheel over the preacher Amritpal Singh?

 Hindustan Times

Amritpal Singh was raising own army, ‘human bomb squads': 10 points
ByAniruddha Dhar
, New Delhi
Mar 20, 2023 06:31 AM IST
Security agencies had raised a red flag after intelligence inputs suggested that Amritpal Singh was using drug de-addiction centres and a gurdwara for stockpiling weapons and preparing youths to carry out suicide attacks.


March 19, 2023

India: IMSD deplores the demonisation of sexual minorities by Kerala’s rightwing Muslims

 Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD)

March 17, 2023


IMSD deplores the demonisation of sexual minorities by Kerala’s rightwing Muslims

Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) strongly condemns the concerted effort by the Muslim rightwing in Kerala -- including leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), and some Muslim-run websites -- to ridicule, vilify, denigrate and demonise Muslims who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

It is a tragic irony that while the minority Muslim community in India is itself the target of rampant Islamophobia, the conservatives among them are hurling hate speech at the sexual minorities (minority within the minority). What logic or ethics makes Islamophobia wrong but homophobia, queerphobia or transphobia right? Not surprisingly, the Muslim right has much in common with the Hindu right.

The latest trigger for the fulminations is the news last month of a transgender couple from Kerala -- Zahad Fazil, a trans man and Ziya Payal, a trans woman – having decided to be biological parents of a baby. The couple reportedly took this decision because adoption is not an option for transgender persons.

What perhaps added to the fervour of the self-appointed custodians of morality is the fact that Kerala’s health minister Veena George promptly congratulated the couple on the phone and directed the Kozhikode Medical College to provide all treatment for free. She also arranged for breast milk to be provided to the baby from the human milk bank.

Being targets of hate politics themselves, Muslims should know the difference between free speech and hate speech. Comparing homosexuality to paedophilia, targeting members of the LGBTQIA+ community with words and expressions such as “a shame”, “mentally ill”, “worst kind of people”, “people in need of treatment” etc. are hate speech, not free speech.

The very Constitution which guarantees to Muslims the right to freely profess, practice and propagate their faith cannot but also guarantee to sexual minorities their right to publicly proclaim their presence, hold a Pride Parade.

The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) begins with the recognition “of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family…” So says the Constitution of Indian too.

Even as the humiliated, bruised and battered Indian Muslim community struggles for its own right to a dignified life, it must learn to respect and uphold the “right to dignity” of all citizens. 


1.      A. J. Jawad, Co-convener IMSD, Lawyer, Chennai

2.      Aarif Kapadia, IMSD, businessman, Mumbra

3.      Aftab Ahmed Khan, Journalist, Nasik

4.      Feroze Mithiborwala, Co-convener IMSD, Mumbai

5.      Gauhar Raza, ANHAD, Poet, Scientist, Delhi

6.      Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, Islamic Scholar, Writer, Translator, New Delhi

7.      Irfan Engineer, Co-convener IMSD, SSSC, Mumbai

8.      Javed Akhtar, IMSD, Poet, Lyricist, former MP, Mumbai

9.      Kasim Sait, IMSD, Businessman, Chennai

10. Khadija Farouqui, IMSD, Delhi

11. Lara Jesani, Lawyer, PUCL, Mumbai

12. Masooma Ranalvi, IMSD, We Speak Out, Delhi

13. Mohammed Imran, PIO, USA

14. Muniza Khan, IMSD, CJP. Varanasi

15. Najid Hussain, Water Scientist, PIO, USA

16. Naseeruddin Shah, Actor, Mumbai

17.  Nasreen Contractor, Co-convener IMSD, Mumbai

18.  Nasreen Fazelbhoy, IMSD, Mumbai 

19.  Neelima Sharma, Theatre person, Delhi

20.  (Dr) Ram Puniyani, IMSD, Author, Social Activist, Mumbai

21.  Rashida Tapadar, Academic, Activist, Nagaland

22.  Ratna Pathak, Actor, Mumbai

23.  Taizoon Khorakiwala, Businessman, Philanthropist, NRI

24.  Sabah Khan, IMSD, Parcham, Mumbai

25.  Saif Mahmood, IMSD, Supreme Court Lawyer, Delhi

26.  Saleem Saboowala, Activist, Mumbai

27.  Shabnam Hashmi, ANHAD, Delhi

28.  Shafaat Khan, Writer, Mumbai

29.  (Dr) Shahnawaz Alam, Associate Professor, UP

30.  Shama Zaidi, IMSD, Documentary Film Maker, Mumbai

31.  Shamsul Islam, Author, Delhi

32.  Simantini Dhuru, Documentary Film Maker, Mumbai

33.  Sohail Hashmi, SAHMAT, Delhi

34.  Sultan Shahin, Editor-in-chief & Publisher, New Age Islam, Delhi  

35.  Teesta Setalvad, IMSD, CJP, Mumbai

36.  Yash Paranjpe, Activist, Mumbai

37.  Zakia Soman, BMMA, Delhi/Gujarat

38.  Zeenat Shaukatali, IMSD, Islamic Scholar, Wisdom Foundation



March 18, 2023

India: We are the Mainority - Cartoon by Nala Ponnappa


March 17, 2023

RSS Chief Bhagwat on Caste System-Yet again

Bhagwat’s New Formulations on Caste: ‘Old Wine in New bottle’ Ram Puniyani “I (god) am in all beings. Whatever be the name or color, all have the same ability, same respect. All are my own. No one is superior or inferior…based on scriptures, what the Pandits say is a lie. By getting entangled in this imagination of superior and inferior castes, we have lost our way. This delusion has to be done away with.`` These are the words of Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, the Sarsanghchalak of RSS, and the parent organization of BJP and plethora of organizations working for the goal of Hindu Nation. He was talking on the occasion of Saint Raidas celebrations. Swami Prasad Maurya, the leader of downtrodden castes latched on to it and re-emphasized his call for revision of Ramcharitmanas, of Tulsidas, where there are humiliating passages for dalits and women both. On the other side the conservative Shankaryaryas and others opposed this saying that caste is created by God Himself and Bhagwat should not blame Brahmins for this. Clarifying to save his face Bhagwat went on to say that by Pandits he means scholars and not Brahmins. Surely this is the latest articulation from the Hindu nationalist stable to woo over the dalits in particular. RSS has been in constant dilemma, on one side to maintain the pre modern status quo of caste and gender on the other to win over these sections for its agenda. The articulation of RSS regarding caste has gone through various stages. One of the factors which prompted the formation of RSS was the struggle of downtrodden to break the shackles of Landlord-Brahmins. The ‘Non Brahmin Movement’, aimed against the Landlord-Brahmin combine was the major factor in some of the elite coming together to form this organization. RSS’s initial understanding was presented by its second Sarsanghachalak, Madhav Sadshiv Golwalkar. He upheld this varna-caste system by eulogizing Manu Smriti and presenting the past as Golden period as the laws of this book “We or Our Nationhood Defined’, were ruling the roost. As per him it is this Holy Scripture there is caste system and this system is based in scientific principles. Organiser, the unofficial RSS mouthpiece presented it thus, ‘If a developed society realizes that the existing differences are due to the scientific social structure and that they indicate the different limbs of body social, the diversity (i.e. caste system, added) would not be construed as a blemish.’ (Organiser, 1 December 1952, p. 7) Later another major ideologue of RSS, Deendayal Upadhyay, who was also the President of BJP, put forward the ideology of ‘Integral Humanism’. Many of those from the Sangh stable stated this is what guides their politics. As per Integral Humanism ‘In our concept of four castes (varnas), they are thought of as different limbs of virat purush (the primeval man)… These limbs are not only complementary to one another but even further there is individuality, unity. There is a complete identity of interests, identity, belonging… If this idea is not kept alive, the caste; instead of being complimentary can produce conflict. But then that is a distortion.’ (D. Upadhyaya, Integral Humanism, New Delhi, Bharatiya Jansangh, 1965, p. 43) These were articulations which consolidated the base of their politics among sections of Hindus. In the next phase, when this consolidation was established RSS went into propagating that all castes are equal. In this direction they published three major books. These books written by RSS ideologues argue that Islamic atrocities during the medieval period resulted in the emergence of untouchables and low castes. The books are "Hindu Charmakar Jati", "Hindu Khatik Jati" and "Hindu Valmiki Jati". The Sangh leaders claimed that these castes had come into existence due to atrocities by foreign invaders and did not exist in Hindu religion earlier. According to Bhaiyyaji Joshi, another RSS leader, 'shudras' were never untouchables in Hindu scriptures. 'Islamic atrocities' during the medieval age resulted in the emergence of untouchables, Dalits. Joshi further elaborated, "To violate Hindu swabhiman (dignity) of Chanwarvanshiya Kshatriyas, foreign invaders from Arab, Muslim rulers and beef-eaters, forced them to do abominable works like killing cows, skinning them and throwing their carcasses in deserted places. Foreign invaders thus created a caste of charma-karma (dealing with skin) by giving such works as punishment to proud Hindu prisoners." And now comes the latest phase where the caste system is blamed on Pandits. As such the foundations of the caste system are very old and untouchability came as an accompaniment of the caste system. The Aryans considered themselves superior, they called non-Aryans krshna varnya (dark skinned), anasa (those with no nose), and… they were considered non-human or amanushya. (Rig Veda: X.22.9) There are quotes in the Rig Veda and Manusmriti to show that low castes were prohibited from coming close to the high castes and they were to live outside the village. While this does not imply that a full-fledged caste system had come into being in Rig Vedic times, the four-fold division of society into varnas did exist, which became a fairly rigid caste system by the time of the Manusmriti. Untouchability became the accompaniment of the caste system sometime around the first century AD. The Manusmriti, written in the second–third centuries AD, codifies the existing practices which show with utmost clarity the type of despicable social practices that the oppressor castes were imposing upon the oppressed castes. Whatever the truth be, RSS after consolidating its base now wants to win over large sections of dalit-OBC to its agenda. As such earlier also it had set up Samajik Samrasta manch (Social harmony Forum) to work among Dalit-OBC and Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram to co-opt the Adivasis. Their well spread out network has made inroads into these sections of society from decades and it has yielded rich electoral dividends, apart from trying to make these sections as a part of Hindutva fold. Their work in these areas revolves around promoting Brahminical religiosity and Seva (Service, Charity) Now the electoral politics is becoming more challenging as the deprivations of the downtrodden sections are becoming clear about the RSS agenda, and so the new formulation of origin of caste. They can do now it as their core constituency is consolidated and such utterances are not going to shake that while they adopt newer language to woo over the dalits-OBC in particular.