BHALCHANDRA MUNGEKAR (for Info only, not official)

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BHALCHANDRA MUNGEKAR

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    ...On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his decision to deprive Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes of their “legal tender” status and removed them from circulation. These notes accounted for 86 per cent of the total value of the currency with the public. By any measure, the PM’s decision was incomprehensible and, in view of its adverse effects revealed subsequently by the Economic Survey 2016-17, the annual report of the Reserve Bank and other reliable sources, demonetisation turned out to be a monumental failure. The PM had three objectives in mind: Flushing out fake currency, attacking terrorism and, most importantly, flooding out black money. None of these was fulfilled. For instance, as the RBI revealed, fake currency worth only Rs 41 crore was found out. This was contradictory to the estimates of about Rs 4-5 lakh crore given by Mukul Rohatgi, the then Attorney General, in the Supreme Court on November 23, 2016. Terrorist activities are far from controlled, let alone eliminated. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 15, 2017, 12:35 a.m.

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    ...The word “Dalit” refers to castes stigmatised in the socio-economic, political and cultural discourse of Indian society. The “untouchables”, until the Constitution abolished untouchability. Gandhi glorified them as “Harijans”, the term Ambedkar vehemently denounced. It was the British government that categorised them as the “Scheduled Castes.” The same was done in the case of the Scheduled Tribes. When the BJP declared Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA’s presidential candidate and since he belongs to a Dalit caste, it was as if “being Dalit” suddenly became a virtue in Indian politics. ...

    Indian Express on June 28, 2017, 12:20 a.m.

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    ... The anti-Dalit violence in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh does not augur well for the Narendra Modi government that came to power with the slogan, sabka saath, sabka vikas. The violence reportedly started with the dominant Thakur community preventing the Dalits in Shabbirpur village from installing a statue of B.R Ambedkar at the Saint Ravidas temple on the occasion of Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, though they had got the necessary permission from the authorities. The Dalits could not reconcile with this outrage. Therefore, when the Thakurs took out a procession to celebrate the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap, they opposed it. The Thakur community treated this act of resistance as a challenge and took to violence. Dalit houses were torched, their cattlesheds ransacked, and belongings destroyed. Two Dalits were killed; one of them, a 22-year-old, while returning from a public meeting addressed by Mayawati. The Yogi Adityanath government has taken some action. ...

    Indian Express on June 7, 2017, 12:05 a.m.

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    ...At the end of his political career, S.A. Dange, one of the founders of the Communist movement in India and a veteran trade union leader, discovered “Marxism in Vedanta”. I, like many non-communists, respect Dange’s progressive thinking. But this “invention” was most disappointing. I recollect Dange here because recently, Sanjaya Baru has come up with the innovative idea, “Developmental Hindutva” (IE, April 14). Briefly put, Baru finds Jawaharlal Nehru’s emphasis on “composite culture” as “ a clever cop-out which avoided a direct link between India’s civilisational attributes and its ancient, dominant and, in many ways, defining religion, namely Hinduism”. Baru says Modi came to power on a “developmental” plank, while Yogi Adityanath won on a “Hindutva plank”. He considers this dichotomy false and ventures to strike a balance between the two. Baru considers “teaching of yoga and singing Vande Mataram as aspects of Hindutva” and expects the non-Hindus “to easily live with” them. Baru’s innovation is absurd. No modern Indian political leader, including M.K. ...

    Indian Express on May 9, 2017, 12:10 a.m.

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    ...This could indeed be the most innovative, laudable idea, not only for India but for the whole world as it embodies the “essence” of human activity, that is, earning one’s livelihood. After delineating the UBI’s philosophy, rationale, logistics and feasibility, the ES boldly states that “it is a powerful idea whose time… is ripe for serious discussion.” Hence, this attempt at the same. ...

    Indian Express on March 28, 2017, midnight

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    ... The Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has been taken aback by lakhs of people belonging to the Maratha community taking to the streets, unprecedented in the socio-political history of the state since it was formed in 1960.This has happened after the murder of a Maratha girl in Kopardi village of Ahmadnagar district on July 13.More than 150 incidents of atrocities were committed against Dalits, some brutal murders, in Ahmadnagar district in the last four-five years.Yet, not a word of protest was uttered by any section of society in the state, let alone the Maratha community, other than the Dalits.This once again underlines that community sensitivity or conscience even in the crime of rape is determined by one’s caste.This time, four Dalit youths have been accused of the crime.I visited the village on July 26 and met the girl’s parents, both poor brick-workers.With no words of consolation, I met some villagers. ...

    Indian Express on Sept. 22, 2016, 1:48 a.m.