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Sarah Joseph to return Sahitya Akademi award

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Thrissur: Popular writer and Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award winner Sarah Joseph on Saturday said she would return the award to protest the lynching of a Muslim in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he ate beef.

“The country is now passing through very tough times. I feel it’s worse than the black days of the Emergency,” said Joseph while announcing her decision to return the award she won in 2003.

“I was honoured to receive the prestigious award. But now I feel we the writers have a role to play in the way things are going on in our country. So as a matter of protest, I will return the award along with the cash award that I received then,” she told reporters here.

“There is a fear that has engulfed in what one eats, when one expresses love, and there is some sort of curb on what one wants to write and speak. This does not augur well,” she said.

Referring to the lynching, Joseph said: “Our prime minister is a frequent flyer and gives big speeches on his trips abroad. The sad thing is that while he was away a man was beaten to death because he ate beef.”

With this decision, she joins other writers, including Nayantara Sahgal and Ashok Vajpeyi, former chairperson of the Lalit Kala Akademi, who returned their Sahitya Akademi awards.

Joseph, 69, received the award for her novel ‘Aalahayude Penmakkal ‘(Daughters of God the father) first published in 1999.

She heads the Aam Aadmi Party’s unit in the state and contested the Lok Sabha polls from the Thrissur constituency last year.

(IANS)

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Attention Readers! Here are Five Books to Look Forward to in November 2017

While October saw a diverse bookshelf, ranging from "Finding my Virginity," by Richard Branson to "The Bhojpuri Kitchen," by Pallavi Nigam Sahay, the upcoming month is more about concrete titles by well-known faces.

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Looking for books to read in November? We have got you covered! Pixabay

New Delhi, October 30, 2017 : With the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Prize – the two most coveted literary honors – having been awarded earlier in October, the literary season has indeed set in.

Two literature festivals have just concluded in the national capital. The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature will be announced in about two weeks, while the Jaipur Literature Festival is also round the corner. What better time for publishing houses to release the most-awaited books of the year?

While October saw a diverse bookshelf, ranging from “Finding my Virginity,” by Richard Branson to “The Bhojpuri Kitchen,” by Pallavi Nigam Sahay, the upcoming month is more about concrete titles by well-known faces.

Here are five books we can’t wait to read this November

1. “The Book of Chocolate Saints” by Jeet Thayil (Aleph)

One of the most-awaited literary books of the year by Jeet Thayil, a past winner of the DSC prize, the Sahitya Akademi Award and a finalist of the Man Booker Prize. In incandescent prose, Thayil tells the story of Newton Francis Xavier, blocked poet, serial seducer of young women, reformed alcoholic (but only just), philosopher, recluse, all-round wild man and India’s greatest living painter. At the age of 66, Xavier, who has been living in New York, is getting ready to return to the land of his birth to stage one final show of his work (accompanied by a mad bacchanal). Narrated in a huge variety of voices and styles, all of which blend seamlessly into a novel of remarkable accomplishment, “The Book of Chocolate Saints” is the sort of literary masterpiece that only comes along once in a very long time.

2. “Conflicts of Interest” by Sunita Narain (Penguin)

One of India’s foremost environmentalists, Sunita Narain gives a personal account of her battles as part of the country’s Green Movement. While outlining the enormous environmental challenges that India faces today, Narain says political interests often scuttle their effective resolution. She recounts some widely reported controversies triggered by research undertaken by her along with her team at the Centre for Science and Environment, such as the pesticides in colas report, air pollution research in Delhi and endosulfan research in Karnataka, among others. Narain also includes an ‘environmental manifesto’, a blueprint for the direction India must take if it is to deal with the exigencies of climate change and environmental degradation.

3. “Life among the Scorpions” by Jaya Jaitly (Rupa)

From arranging relief for victims of the 1984 Sikh riots, to joining politics under firebrand leader George Fernandes, to becoming president of the Samata Party — a key ally in the erstwhile NDA Government – Jaya Jaitly’s rise in Indian mainstream politics invited both awe and envy. All this even as she continued her parallel fight for the livelihood of craftsmen on the one hand, and conceptualised and ensured establishment of the first Dilli Haat in 1994, on the other. With all the backstories of major events in Indian politics between 1970 and 2000, including her experience of dealing with the Commission of Inquiry and courts regarding the Tehelka sting, the story of Jaya Jaitly makes for a riveting read. A powerful narrative on why being a woman in politics was for her akin to being surrounded by scorpions; this is one of the best books set for release and a hard hitting memoir that offers a perspective on the functioning of Indian politics from a woman’s point of view.

4. “Chase Your Dreams” by Sachin Tendulkar (Hachette India)

Why should adults have all the fun? In his career spanning 24 years, hardly any records have escaped Sachin Tendulkar’s masterly touch. Besides being the highest run scorer in Tests and ODIs, he also uniquely became the first and only batsman to score 100 international centuries and play 200 Tests. His proficient stroke-making is legendary, as is his ability to score runs in all parts of the field and all over the world. And Tendulkar has now come up with this uniquely special edition of his autobiography for young readers.

5. “China’s India War” by Bertil Lintner (Oxford University Press)

The Sino-Indian War of 1962 delivered a crushing defeat to India: not only did the country suffer a loss of lives and a heavy blow to its pride, the world began to see India as the provocateur of the war, with China ‘merely defending’ its territory. This perception that China was largely the innocent victim of Nehru’s hostile policies was put forth by journalist Neville Maxwell in his book “India’s China War,” which found readers in many opinion makers, including Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon. For far too long, Maxwell’s narrative, which sees India as the aggressor and China as the victim, has held court. Nearly 50 years after Maxwell’s book, Bertil Lintner’s “China’s India War” puts the ‘border dispute’ into its rightful perspective. Lintner argues that China began planning the war as early as 1959 and proposes that it was merely a small move in the larger strategic game that China was playing to become a world player — one that it continues to play even today. (IANS)

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Saket Suman and was first published at IANS. Saket can be contacted at saket.s@ians.in)

 

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Increase in Attacks related to Cow Vigilantism under Narendra Modi Government: Report

Out of the 63 attacks that were reported over a span of eight years, 5% faded away without any reports of the attackers being arrested

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Cow vigilantism and the crimes related to it have topped in Northern India
The threat of cow vigilantism has only been increasing. Pixabay
  • A report by IndiaSpend suggests that Muslims were the target of 51% of violence centered on issues related to cow for over eight years
  • The report is based on the survey of reports in English language media available online since 2010
  • 86% of those killed in the incidents related to cow protectionism, according to the report, were Muslims

New Delhi, August 19, 2017: Cow vigilantism and the violence related to it is not an unfamiliar story in India these days. But a report by IndiaSpend has highlighted the scale of the issue.

According to a survey that took into account the reports in IndiaSpend, the data was accessible online since 2010- it claims that Muslims were the target of 51% of violence that centered on issues related to cow for over eight years, 2010-2017, making them 86% of the 28 Indians that were killed in 63 incidents related to cow protectionism.

97% of these incidents, according to IndiaSpend, were reported after the Modi government came to power in 2014. 32 of the 63 cases were from the states that BJP governed when the incidents were reported. No less than 124 people were injured in these attacks, more than half of which were only based on rumors.

20 such attacks were reported in the first six months of 2017, more than 75% of that in 2016, making it the worst year for cow-related violence.

The attacks included a range of crimes such as mob lynching, murder, attempt to murder, harassment, assault and even gang rape. These attacks were reported from 19 of the 29 states of India, with Northern states, especially Uttar Pradesh and Haryana topping the list. 13 of the total 63 cases were reported from the Southern and Eastern states, with six being reported from Karnataka. Northeast accounted for only one incident, in which two men were murdered in Assam, on 30th April 2017.

“Lynching does not find mention in the Indian Penal Code. No particular law has been passed to deal with lynching. Absence of a codified law to deal with mob violence or lynching makes it difficult to deliver justice in the cases of riots. However, Section 223(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 says that persons or a mob involved in the same offense in the same act can be tried together. But, this has not proved to have given enough legal teeth to (the) justice delivery system. – India Today, 25 June 2017” 

Out of the 63 attacks that were reported over a span of eight years, 5% faded away without any reports of the attackers being arrested. In 13 attacks (21%), police registered cases against the victims or the survivors. In 23 attacks, the attackers were mobs or people belonging to the Hindu groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and local Gau Rakshak Samitis.

From 2010 to 2017, which is the period being considered, the first attack of cow related violence in which four people were injured and three were arrested, occurred in Joga town in Mansa district, Punjab, on June 10, 2012.

“Led by activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Gowshala Sangh, villagers gathered in the morning and broke into the premises of the factory…The mob went on the rampage damaging the factory and setting ablaze the houses of at least two of those running the unit, Ajaib Singh and Mewa Singh,” reported The Hindu the next day.

In August 2016, in Mewat, Haryana, a woman, and her 14-year-old cousin were, allegedly, gang raped after they were accused of eating beef.

On May 30, 2017, a Ph.D. scholar in IIT Madras, was attacked for eating beef, when he was at a vegetarian mess on the campus.

33 out of the 63 attacks since 2010 were based on rumors.

In a recent case on April 21, 2017, Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer from Alwar in Rajasthan was beaten to death, on suspicion of carrying cattle for slaughter.

Also Read: We need to take Action Against the ‘Communal Violence in the name of Cow’ : PM Narendra Modi

On June 11, 2017, in Rajasthan, officials of the Animal Husbandry Department of Tamil Nadu’s government were attacked by cow vigilantes, for transporting cows in five trucks, mentioned the Indian Express report. The fact that they had a no-objection certificate (NOC) and official permission from police and other authorities did not prove any help.

Massive protests have had happened in states like Kerala, West Bengal, and in the Northeast, since the Centre decided to modify an existing law against cruelty to animals, to ban sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter. The Threat of cow vigilantism, after all, has only been increasing.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Renowned Classical Singer Kishori Amonkar passes away at 84

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Classical Singer Kishori Amonkar (middle), Twitter

Mumbai, April 4, 2017: Renowned classical singer Kishori Amonkar passed away shortly before midnight, family sources said here on Tuesday.

She was 84 and breathed her last at her Dadar west home.

In her singing career spanning seven decades, she was revered as ‘Gaan-Saraswati’. Belonging to the Jaipur Gharana, she was conferred the Padma Vibhushan and Sahitya Akademi Award among many others.

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A widow, she is survived by two sons and grandchildren.

Veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar said she was depply pained to hear about Amonkar’s demise. “She was a unique and extraordinary classical singer. Her demise spells a huge loss for the world of music.”

Her funeral will be held on Tuesday evening at Shivaji Park Crematorium. (IANS)