Author: A. G. Noorani
Publisher: Tulika Books
Release Date: 2014-12-02
Destruction of the Babri Masjid: A National Dishonour is a sequel to The Babri Masjid Question 1528-2003: 'A Matter of National Honour', published in 2003 in two volumes - a compilation by A. G. Noorani of documents and primary source material on various aspects of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, covering the demolition of the Masjid on 6 December 1992, and the legal proceedings in the civil suits and criminal cases up to mid-2003. The present volume brings the narrative up to date. It covers the three Allahabad High Court judgments, the Liberhan Commission Report, the tortuous course of the criminal cases, and disclosures and developments in the last decade - from 2003 till the end of 2013. An introduction surveys the events before and after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and analyses the judgments delivered by the three judges of the Allahabad High Court in 2010. "In the courts of law and justice, the civil and criminal cases concerning the title to the Babri Masjid and accountability for its destruction, on 6 December 1992, have all but run their course. Neither legality nor justice has been conspicuous in the proceedings or in the many judgments delivered. On past form, there is little hope for redress in legal proceedings after that grave and utterly wasteful crime.... The forces of India's secularism can ignore the challenges ahead only at the nation's peril. At stake is the survival of India's democracy and its corollary, secularism." (From the author's preface)
Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhumi issue is the most complicated and tension provoking in India, as whole of the country was in the grip of communal tension and hatred for the last three decades. It was a matter of grief that Ramjanmabhumi i.e. the birth place of Ram (according to Hindu community), which ought to be a sacred place of worship, took the shape of battle-field for both, the Hindus and the Muslims.1 The communal fire lit from here spread to the whole country. Ayodhya is now in every one's mind, not due to its affiliation with Ram the God, but due to the fact that communal forces in various political parties made it their main political agenda for obvious electoral gains. This dispute, in recent years has become the most important reason for a deep deterioration of inter-communal relationship and communalisation of Indian political process. This dispute, undoubtedly one of the most sensitive communal issues after partition and biggest controversy after the Shah Bano case. In the year 1986, the doors of the disputed shrine (Babri Masjid) were opened for the Hindus, so that they may be enabled to perform worship of deities, enshrined there, on the order of Faizabad court,2 emotions were aroused on both the sides. The Hindus felt a new courage for they had won a long fight, fought to regain their lost heritage, while the Muslims considered it, their defeat, as they were forced to lose control over a place of worship, they claimed to belonged to them. During the year 1992, the dispute took the form of a national crisis, when the Masjid was demolished with an intention to build a temple at that very site. Still it did not conclude the controversy, whether the mosque was constructed first or the temple was already present there. There are also conflicting records put fourth, by different groups about the question of Mandir or Masjid. The situation became more curious and multi dimensional because of the involvement of different actors like, state, political parties, religious leaders, media and intelligentsia. The identification of present Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) with Ramjanmabhumi is based upon the faith of the Hindu community and has no solid evidence. There is no conclusive proof that the mosque build at the time of Babar, was on a temple site or that a temple had been destroyed to build it.3 Outwardly, it was a dispute fought for mere ownership of a piece of land, but in a deeper sense, it was related with the right to freedom of religion, guaranteed in Article-25 of the constitution. Compared to Shah Bano case, and the discussion on Uniform or separate Civil Codes, this controversy is not a clear cut matter of legislation on the minority rights, rather, it deals with the legal practices of supposedly secular state India and the need to practically secure the minority rights.4 Because the Ramjanmabhumi movement lays emphasis on myths and beliefs, rather than facts and democratic decisions, the issue also includes confrontation between religious and secular ideals within politics.
Author: Dhirendra K Jha
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 2012-12-14
Genre: Political Science
As the trespassers walked towards the mosque, the muezzin [...] jumped out of the darkness. Before the adversaries could discover his presence, he dashed straight towards Abhiram Das, the vairagi who was holding the idol in his hands and leading the group of intruders. [...] The sadhu quickly freed himself and, together with his friends, retaliated fiercely. Heavy blows began raining from all directions. Soon, the muezzin realized that he was no match for the men and that he alone would not be able to stop them. 22 December 1949: A conspiracy that began with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi culminated in the execution of the Ayodhya strategy. Late that night, a little-known sadhu, Abhiram Das, and his followers entered the Babri Masjid and planted an idol of Rama inside it. While it is known that the Hindu Mahasabha had a role in placing the idol in the mosque, the larger plot and the chain of events that led to that act have never been subject to rigorous scrutiny. Through intrepid research and investigation, Krishna Jha and Dhirendra K. Jha bring together the disparate threads of the buried narrative for the first time. Through a series of first-hand interviews with eyewitnesses and the unearthing of archival material, the authors take us behind the scenes to examine the motivations and workings of the Mahasabha members who pulled the strings. They also examine the liaison between Mahasabhaites and Hindu traditionalists in the Congress - an association that Jawaharlal Nehru sought to break in his cautious battle with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and the right-wing forces. Ayodhya: The Dark Night uncovers, in vivid detail, what really transpired on the fateful night that was to leave a permanent scar on the Indian polity.
Author: A.G. Noorani
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2014-11-03
On 26 January 1950, the Constitution of India came into force with a unique provision—Article 370. The special status accorded to the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the article meant that its people lived under a different set of laws while being part of the Indian Union. Alternating deftly between history and politics, A.G. Noorani examines a wide range of documents pertaining to Article 370. He incisively analyses the implications and consequences of the article for the constitutional democracy of the state and the nation. From Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India in 1947 to the various negotiations thereafter; Sheikh Abdullah's arrest to the framing of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the replacement of Sadar-i-Riyasat, this book impeccably documents the little-known constitutional history of the state. Noorani underscores the politics behind the gradual erosion of Article 370 and the need for restoration of autonomy. Critically analysing the various judgments relating to this constitutional arrangement, he suggests a framework for resolving the 'Kashmir problem'. Collecting together rare, often unseen and unnoticed, letters, memoranda, white papers, proclamations, and amendments, this book will be an indispensable resource on Kashmir.
Author: Partha Chatterjee
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2012-04-08
Genre: Social Science
When Siraj, the ruler of Bengal, overran the British settlement of Calcutta in 1756, he allegedly jailed 146 European prisoners overnight in a cramped prison. Of the group, 123 died of suffocation. While this episode was never independently confirmed, the story of "the black hole of Calcutta" was widely circulated and seen by the British public as an atrocity committed by savage colonial subjects. The Black Hole of Empire follows the ever-changing representations of this historical event and founding myth of the British Empire in India, from the eighteenth century to the present. Partha Chatterjee explores how a supposed tragedy paved the ideological foundations for the "civilizing" force of British imperial rule and territorial control in India. Chatterjee takes a close look at the justifications of modern empire by liberal thinkers, international lawyers, and conservative traditionalists, and examines the intellectual and political responses of the colonized, including those of Bengali nationalists. The two sides of empire's entwined history are brought together in the story of the Black Hole memorial: set up in Calcutta in 1760, demolished in 1821, restored by Lord Curzon in 1902, and removed in 1940 to a neglected churchyard. Challenging conventional truisms of imperial history, nationalist scholarship, and liberal visions of globalization, Chatterjee argues that empire is a necessary and continuing part of the history of the modern state. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
Author: A. G. Noorani
Publisher: Hurst & Company Limited
Release Date: 2014
The fascinating story of the fall of the Indian princely state of Hyderabad has till now been dominated by the 'court historians' of Indian nationalism. In this book A. G. Noorani offers a revisionist account of the Indian Army's 'police action' against the armed forces and government of Hyderabad, ruled by the fabulously wealthy Nizam. His forensic scrutiny of the diplomatic exchanges between the government of India and the government of Hyderabad during the Raj and after partition and independence in 1947 has unearthed the Sunderlal Committee report on the massacre of the Muslim population of the State during and after the 'police action' (knowledge of which has since been suppressed by the Indian state) and a wealth of memoirs and first- hand accounts of the clandestine workings of territorial nationalism in its bleakest and most shameful hour. He brings to light the largely ignored and fateful intervention of M. A. Jinnah in the destruction of Hyderabad and also ac- counts for the communal leanings of Patel and K. M. Munshi in shaping its fate. The book is dedicated to the 'other' Hyderabad: a culturally syncretic state that was erased in the stampede to create a united India committed to secularism and development.
Contributing to debates on feminism, this book considers the impact made by feminists in India from the 1970s. Geetanjali Gangoli analyses feminist campaigns on issues of violence and women’s rights, and debates on ways in which feminist legal debates may be limiting for women and based on exclusionary concepts such as citizenship. She addresses campaigns ranging from domestic violence, rape, pornography and son preference and sets them within a wider analysis of the position of women within the Indian state. The strengths and limitations of law reform for women are addressed as well as whether legal feminisms relating to law and women's legal rights are effective in the Indian context. The question of whether legal campaigns can make positive changes in women’s lives or whether they further legitimize oppressive state patriarchies is considered. The recasting of caste and community identities is also assessed, as well as the rise of Hindu fundamentalism and the ways in which feminists in India have combated and confronted these challenges. Indian Feminisms will interest researchers and students in the areas of feminism, law, women’s movements and social movements in India, and South Asia more generally.
The Shade of Swords is the first cohesive history of Jihad, written by one of India's leading journalists and writers. In this paperback edition, updated to show how and why Saddam Hussein repositioned himself as a Jihadi against America, M.J. Akbar explains the struggle between Islam and Christianity. Placing recent events in a historical context, he tackles the tricky question of what now for Jihad following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. With British and American troops in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and once again in Iraq, the potential for Jihadi recruitment is ever increasing. Explaining how Jihad thrives on complex and shifting notions of persecution, victory and sacrifice, and illustrating how Muslims themselves have historically tried both to direct and control the phenomenon of Jihad, Akbar shows how Jihad pervades the mind and soul of Islam, revealing its strength and significance. To know the future, one needs to understand the past. M.J. Akbar's The Shade of Swords holds the key.
Author: Abdul Gafoor Abdul Majeed Noorani
Release Date: 2012
Genre: Cold War
"Islam, South Asia & The Cold War" is a collection of articles written by A. G. Noorani over the last twenty-five years, and published in various dailies and journals to which he has been a regular contributor, including "Frontline, The Statesman, The Indian Express, The Illustrated Weekly of India" and the Islamabad quarterly "Criterion." The book is divided into three thematic sections - Islam and Muslims, South Asian Themes, and Ravages of the Cold War - and provides interesting insights into the issues dealt with, from the perspective of a leading political commentator and legal expert of our times.
Author: Brenda Deen Schildgen
Release Date: 2008-06-15
This is an account of the roles of local and national movements, and of memory and regret in the destruction or preservation of the architectural, artistic, and historic legacy of Europe in which the author examines what is cultural heritage and why it matters.
M.G. Vassanji’s magnificent new novel provides further proof of his unique, wide ranging and profound genius. The Assassin’s Song is a shining study of the conflict between ancient loyalties and modern desires, a conflict that creates turmoil the world over – and it is at once an intimate portrait of one man’s painful struggle to hold the earthly and the spiritual in balance. In The Assassin’s Song, Karsan Dargawalla tells the story of the medieval Sufi shrine of Pirbaag, and his betrayal of its legacy. But Karsan’s conflicted attempt to settle accounts quickly blossoms into a layered tale that spans centuries: from the mysterious Nur Fazal’s spiritual journeys through thirteenth century India, to his shrine’s eventual destruction in the horrifying "riots" of 2002. From the age of eleven, Karsan has been told that one day he will succeed his father as guardian of the Shrine of the Wanderer: as the highest spiritual authority in their region, he will be God’s representative to the multitudes who come to the shrine for penance and worship. But Karsan’s longings are simpler: to play cricket with his friends, to discover more of the exciting world he reads about in the newspapers his friend Raja Singh, a truck driver, brings him from all over India. Half on a whim, Karsan applies to study at Harvard, but when he is unexpectedly offered a scholarship there he must try to meld his family’s wishes with his own yearnings. Two years immersed in the intellectual and sexual ferment of America splits him further, until finally Karsan abdicates his successorship to the eight hundred-year-old throne. But even as Karsan succeeds in his "ordinary" life – marrying and having a son, becoming a professor in suburban British Columbia – his heritage haunts him in unexpected ways. And after tragedy strikes, both in Canada and Pirbaag, he is drawn back across thirty years of silence and separation to discover what, if anything, is left for him in India. Both sweeping and intimate, The Assassin’s Song is a great novel in the grandest sense: a book that captures the intricate complexities of the individual conscience even as it grippingly portrays entire civilizations in tumult.
Author: Rana P. Behal
Release Date: 2014
This book presents a hundred-year history of tea plantations in the Assam (Brahmaputra) Valley during British colonial rule in India. It explores a world where more than two million migrant laborers worked under conditions of indentured servitude in the plantations, producing tea for an increasingly profitable global market. Behal traces the genesis and early development of the tea industry; the links between the colonial state and private British capital in fostering plantations in Assam; the nature of the 'tea mania, ' and its consequences, which led to the emergence of the indenture labor system in Assam's tea gardens. The book describes process of labor mobilization and the nature of labor relations in the tea plantations. It deals with the operational aspects of labor recruitment, which involved the transportation and employment of migrant laborers, from the 1860s until the the indenture system was formally dismantled. It focuses on the power structure that ruled over the organization of production and labor relations within the plantations. This power structure operated at two levels: around the Indian Tea Association, the apex body of the tea industry, and the tea planters' coercive authority. The book examines the role of the colonial state and provides statistics on production, while also telling the story of everyday labor life in the tea gardens, and of the resistance to the oppressive regime by 'coolie' laborers who had been coerced into generational servitude. It analyses the forms of their protests, and raises the question whether the transformation of these migrant agrarian communities working in conditions of unfree labor was proletarian in nature.
Author: Tathagata Roy
Release Date: 2002
Gives An Overview Of Bengal Society And Hindu-Muslim Relations In Bengal From The First Partition Of The Province In 1905 - Traces The Events Leading To The Partition Of The Province In 1947 - Describes The Persecution And The Exodus Of The Hindus From East Bengal In Different Phases - Analyses The Course Of Events Why Hindus Could Not Resist - Why There Was No Recipocal Movement As In Punjab - Why Bengali Hindus Swallowed The Insult And Ignonminy And Why Interested Quarters Sought To Obliterate This Sad Chapter Of History. 11 Chapters - Appendix - Bibliography - Index.