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Maoist Supporters Hoist Black Flags to Unsung India’s Independence Day as Black Day

Maoists released an audio tape calling on people to celebrate August 15 as a ‘black’ day

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Maoist supporters at rally in Kathmandu. Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, August 14, 2017: CPI’s Bolangir-Bargarh-Mahasamund divisional committee today released an audio tape ahead of the 71st Independence Day celebration across the country on Tuesday calling on people to celebrate August 15 as a ‘black’ day, mentioned Odhisatv.

“The Independence Day is being celebrated only for namesake,” the Maoist leader said.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

What urged people to hoist black flags on August 15 in place of the tricolor?

ALSO READ: The Dangerous Ideology behind Communism: Why is it a Delusion? 

A spokesperson for the Maoist division claimed an increase in illicit activities, cases of torture on villagers and exploitation in the State, Budhuram Paharia. In the audio tape, the Maoist division mentioned about a rise in farmer suicides in the region.


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Rajkummar Rao is India’s ‘Newton’: Watch Trailer and Latest Updates | Hindi Movie News

From the very first glimpse, Rajkummar Rao in and as Newton makes the trailer appear extremely promising

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Like Newton's law, Rajkummar Rao's character in this film also attempts to find order in chaos. Twitter
  • Rajkummar Rao starrer-Newton draws attention to the clan of Indians who do not vote during elections
  • The film strikes a balance between humor and the urge to tell the real story of the group of Indians who choose not to participate in the decision-making process
  • Newton will have a theatrical release on September 22

New Delhi, August 30, 2017: In the beginning, the name “Newton” may stir thoughts about the great Scientist and his philosophies, but one you get a glimpse of the trailer, you will understand that Rajkummar Rao starrer “Newton” is a dark political comedy going by the simple rule “If you don’t change nothing, nothing will change.”

From the very first glimpse, Rajkummar Rao in and as Newton makes the trailer appear extremely promising.

Imagine sitting in a remote village somewhere in Chhattisgarh, far beyond the reach of technology and any worldly interference.

Imagine being surrounded by impassive villagers on one end and Maoists and police forces on the other, with both competing for cooperation and power among local people.

Now, what if you were to conduct election voting in such a scenario?

The Maoists would want the villagers to boycott the elections.

As per the trailer, this film is about the people living in villages, who hardly have any idea about exercising their right to vote, and showcases various shades of human emotions blended with humor.

Newton, a political satire starring Rajkummar Rao in a titular role, tells the story of an oddball named Nutan Kumar who is a stickler for rules and principles- this is revealed from the very first frame of the trailer when he refuses to marry an underage girl.

ALSO WATCH:  “Newton” Trailer Starring “Rajkummar Rao”  

The film is an intimate portrait of a government clerk with the single-minded agenda to conduct free and fair elections in a village riddled with conflict in Chhattisgarh. However, amidst violent clashes between Maoist guerrilla armies and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans, Newton is exposed to a bigger problem- villagers who are not aware of their “right to vote”.

ALSO READ: Bollywood Film “Pink” focuses on India’s Struggle with sexual violence against Women

The film reflects an underlying social problem of the contemporary Indian society- the unrelenting saga of ignorant citizens who do not exercise their voting rights; of people who cannot make sense out of elections and those who deem it unnecessary and treat it like a joke.

What Inspired ‘Newton’ ?

In an interview with LiveMint in January, writer-director Amit Masurkar had said “the only day people feel powerful and really a part of the democratic process is Election Day: regardless of caste, gender, religion” which prompted him to make Newton.

The young director drew inspiration from the Indian Constitution and its Preamble. According to him, these are great documents but there exists an inherent gap between the virtues upheld in the Constitution and the reality of India that could make for quality cinema.

In another interview, Masurkar said, “the humor is incidental and the subject is serious. Some may find elements of a thriller. I would call it a ‘dramedy’.”

Newton Gives Hope To Bollywood

Newton comes at a time when Bollywood is slowly transitioning towards impactful cinema. With films like Nil Battey Sannata and Toilet : Ek Prem Katha, that lend support to adult literacy, and Clean India campaign respectively, ‘Newton’ also aims to impart awareness, however of a different kind. It belongs to the selective category of cinema that entertains yet provokes a viewer to reflect on what he saw, even long after the film has ended. 

The film very conveniently aims to give a wake-up call to everybody who considers voting as an insignificant activity. The trailer exposes how people in villages fail to exercise this right due to deep-embedded fear and hence, continue to stay defenseless.

With Rajkummar Rao’s words echoing in your ears “If you don’t change nothing, nothing will change”, the trailer comes as a gentle reminder that the power lies right in our hands.

The trailer looks quite promising and the film is all set to release on September 22.


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India’s First Partition Museum in Amritsar to Mark 70 Years of Independence From Colonial Rule

The museum is a nonprofit trust that has raised money from companies including the Hindustan Times and Airtel and individuals such as Suhel Seth

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Refugees en route to Pakistan during partition. Wikimedia
  • To mark seven decades of India and Pakistan as independent nations, a new museum has been inaugurated
  • The last of the 14 galleries of the museum is known as the Gallery of Hope, where visitors are invited to write down messages
  • Ahluwalia said she wanted to establish the museum after hearing her 83-year-old grandmother’s stories of the subcontinent for years

Amritsar, India, August 18, 2017: 70 years have passed since Pakistan and India were made from the former British colony. Until now, there had never been an avenue to know about the memorabilia and stories of those individuals who lived through the horror of partition. For marking seven decades of these two nations as independent countries, a new museum has been inaugurated.

“If you look at any other country in the world, they’ve all memorialized the experiences that have defined and shaped them. Yet this event that has so deeply shaped not only our sub-continent but millions of individuals who were impacted has had no museum or memorial 70 years later,” said the Partition Museum’s CEO, Mallika Ahluwalia.

The exhibitions that are held in red-brick building of Town Hall in Amritsar, the border city of north India, include proofs like newspaper clippings, personal items donated and photographs, which show how the area’s freedom fight from colonial rule developed into one of the most violent scenes witnessed by it, as communal clashes killed numerous people of Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs communities and an additional 15 million dislodged from their ancestors’ homes.

ALSO READ: Top Highlights of PM Narendra Modi’s Speech on India’s 71st Independence Day

An ancient pocket watch belonging to a person killed in Pakistan during mob violence. A traditional cot of rope carried across the border by a refugee. Fabrics which were woven from craftsmen of the time. And various old family photos.

Screens are put that display video interviews of the now-elderly people who survived. The last of the 14 galleries of the museum is known as the Gallery of Hope, wherein visitors are summoned to write down messages of peace and love on papers in the shape of a leaf before putting them on a tree with barbed-wire. The idea, as said by Ahluwalia, was to invite visitors to contribute in the tree’s “greening” and to reflect and encourage peace between the nations.

“You end up feeling so grateful to that generation who, I think, helped rebuild the nation, despite having suffered such trauma,” said Ahluwalia.

She said she wished to establish the partition museum after hearing the stories of her grandmother who is 83-years-old about the subcontinent before the splitting took place and before she was forced to leave her home in Pakistani as a girl of 13 years.

“What must it have felt like for her, to one day come from, you know, a relatively affluent family, have a normal background, and the next day all you have left of your things is a small suitcase,” Ahluwalia said. Her personal experience made her think it was essential to build the museum, “especially as we saw that generation leaving us.”

This museum is more crucial as it is the first partition museum of India, she said. The tickets are rated low in order to motivate people to visit the museum. It is a nonprofit museum and companies like the Hindustan Times and Airtel and individuals like Suhel Seth have helped it raise money. The place was donated by the government of Punjab.

Shiv Visvanathan, a sociologist said that the subject has been painful for several people, and that reconciliation needs the work of both the sides. The museum too, should reveal realities of both sides, he said.

“If a nation-state becomes the repository of memory, it becomes a one-sided memory,” Visvanathan said. “We have to acknowledge the mutuality of violence. There is no one truth. No one victim.”

This museum is situated in Amritsar, well-known for the famous Golden Temple as this city of Punjab marks one of the first arrival points when refugees made their way to India.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025

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UP Madrasas Defy CM Yogi Adityanath’s Independence Day Orders to Sing National Anthem and Record Proof of Celebrations

The question is, why would BJP-led UP state government issue guidelines exclusively for madrasas to celebrate Independence Day?

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BJP government in UP released an order definiting protocol for independence day celebratin
Madrasas in UP were asked via a government order to record 'evidence' of Independence Day celebrations (representational image) VOA
  • BJP-led UP state government released celebration protocol for August 15
  • Madrasas across different cities of UP decided against singing the Indian national anthem as part of the celebrations
  • Indian Independence Day is celebrated annually on August 15

Uttar Pradesh, August 17, 2017: As India celebrated its 71st independence day, celebrations took place in all states of the country. However, some discrepancies were observed in various cities of Uttar Pradesh, where madrasas celebrated the day following ‘confusions’ created by Uttar Pradesh government’s recent orders on the celebration protocol in Islamic schools.

Madrasas are a specific type of religious school or college for the study of Islamic subjects, though it may not be the only subject studied there.

The UP government had issued a notification to all madrasas across the state ahead of the Independence Day, devising guidelines for the celebration of Independence Day. According to the government circular, flag hoisting and the recital of the national anthem must take place at 8 am on the Independence Day across all madrasas. In addition to this, they were also instructed to film the events organized to celebrate the day as proof.

Though many madrasas paid heed to the government orders, some maintained that they never received any official intimation of the celebrations.

According to Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahli, head of Darul Uloom Firangimahal, an “unnecessary hype” had been created in the context of the government order as Independence Day has always been celebrated across all madrasas with zeal and enthusiasm.

Sharing similar views, Ashraf Usmani, spokesperson of the Darul Uloom Deobandh insisted that the protocol of the celebrations had been the same in the past too. He also added that none of the madrasas in his knowledge had received any such circular.

According to Usmani, there was no need to give an “evidence” of the celebrations. “This is the function of our freedom, why will we not celebrate it” he added, mentioned PTI report.

Asserting the same opinion, Firangimahli, who is also a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, also believes that the BJP-led state government should not have issued the order specifically addressing the madrasas but instead released it for all schools, colleges, and universities.

The Yogi Adityanath-led state government’s orders had created ripples immediately following its release and there were reports of clerics divided upon it.

Following this, about 150 madrasas connected with the Barelvi sect had decided to defy the orders of the government. It was decided in a meeting held on August 14 that celebrations were to take place with gusto, and the events of the day would include unfurling the Indian tricolor and distributing sweets to pay tribute to the freedom fighters. However, according to a PTI report, Maulana Shahabuddin Rizvi, national general secretary of All India Jamat Raza Mustafa had said that “No action will be performed which goes against the Shariat like the singing of the national anthem and videography.”

According to them, the word ‘adhinayak’ in the Indian national anthem was originally written in praise of the British in 1911, which is against the shariat.

Prohibitory orders were immediately promulgated in Bareilly district on the night of August 14 after a few Muslim organizations decided to defy government orders.

ALSO READ: India Celebrates its 71st Independence Day: What People Want Freedom From?

As per reports, on August 15, in Kanpur, Meerut and Bareilly, three of the biggest madrassas of the state, a majority of the madrasas celebrated the Indian Independence Day by unfurling the national flag, however decided against signing the national anthem. The students are believed to have sung Sare Jahan Se Achha, a 20th century patriotic song and not record the proceedings of the event.

Minority Welfare Officer of Bareilly, Jagmohan Singh was later quoted by PTI reports, saying that a formal report on the recitation of the national anthem and the videography of events undertaken to mark the Independence Day was being sent to the government for scrutiny.


 

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