ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Sumanta BanerjeeSubscribe to Sumanta Banerjee

Human Rights in India in the Global Context

In this context of increasing disregard for accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws that the role and responsibilities of the National Human Rights Commission need to be critically examined. Given that the failure of the institution to develop a strong working relationship with the judiciary and bound by several constraints will the NHRC under a new chairperson be able to function more effectively?

Fighting Imperialism and Authoritarian Regimes

In denouncing Bush for threatening Iraq or Sharon for shooting down Palestinian civilians or the BJP-led government for presiding over the massacre of Muslims, it is either a despot like Saddam Hussein who provides us with a cause for fighting US imperialism or felons like Laloo Yadav who become the rallying points for the battle against the Sangh parivar's communalism. Where is the alternative?

Judging the Judges

The frequent reports of acts of impropriety by some of the most senior judges should persuade the judiciary to take steps to improve its image and restore its credibility among the people.

Two Elections - Two Sides of the Coin

The resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue appears to have been hinged on the conduct of 'free and fair' elections in Pakistan as well as Jammu and Kashmir. Now, although the US has given both Vajpayee and Musharraf clean chits on that count, there appear to be no signs of new initiatives between the two countries. In fact in the post poll scenario, the influence of the hawks on their respective governments appear to be set to increase.

Asia and US Global Strategy

To resist Washington's military and economic globalisation, it is essential to build up an equally globalised offensive. Terrorism that masquerades as anti-US war has to be ousted from the site of the contest and replaced with ideals of equality, democracy and social justice. For peace activists in Asia today it will obviously be a long haul.

Nepal: A New Flashpoint?

It is not surprising that the Nepal government is eager to brand the Maoists as terrorists and tie its actions against them to the US-led anti-terrorist campaign and obtain arms and ammunition. The Maoists have become a threat to the monarch and the ruling interests, rallying as they have the hitherto dispossessed mainly from the depressed castes from far-flung rural areas against local feudal lords.

Retributive Justice

Given the fate of the survivors of the 1984 Congress-led anti-Sikh carnage, who are still awaiting the judicial punishment of the guilty, it is no surprise that the first judicial verdict on the Gujarat riots has acquitted all accused. The list of those denied retributive justice in India runs long and is growing day by day.

Indo-Pak Brinkmanship

The ringmaster's leash is tightening on both India and Pakistan. While the US military presence has become overt in Pakistan, in India its covert hand is looming large. Instead of resisting these pressures, the two countries persist in their obduracy, refusing to follow the dictates of common sense by beginning a process of ending the 50-year old bloody dispute over Kashmir.

Naxalbari: Between Past and Future

There can be no doubt that Naxalbari was a watershed in the recent history of India in more than one sense. Most of the progressive trends in social activism today can be traced indirectly to the issues raised by or associated with the Naxalite movement in 1960s. But the disquieting trends in the movement today are actually manifestations of a deeper ideological crisis that has overtaken the old strategy and tactics of the leadership. What was appropriate in Maoist China in the 1930s cannot be replicated in the India of the 21st century. The crucial condition for the survival of the Naxalites is a new broadbased socialist movement with new organisational strategies, which would carry them forward into a wider political arena.

Gujarat Carnage and a Cynical Democracy

While pillorying the BJP - which must surely be done - there is a tendency to treat with kid gloves this gang of self-seeking politicians who have made the NDA government possible. More than the BJP, it is these elements, both within and outside the ruling NDA, who need to be branded with the badge of infamy. Systematically decimated in this game of manoeuvre and manipulation indulged in by these allies of the BJP are ideologies which bear the traces of democratic norms, moral principles, secular values and socialist belief.

When the 'Silent Majority' Backs a Violent Minority

However much liberal and Left political and social scientists may try to explain every communal riot as a conspiracy by a bunch of politicians in league with religious fundamentalists, we cannot deny the fact that such riots take place on a soil fertile with religious prejudices and hatred. Administrative interventions like prompt police action can indeed prevent riots, but can never eradicate the canker of religious communalism that has remained embedded, and is fast spreading, among the 'silent majority'.

Judging the Judges

The manner in which contempt proceedings are often initiated at the drop of a hat by some aggrieved members of the judiciary makes one wonder whether this tendency is not becoming comparable to the invocation of the blasphemy law by the religious establishment in Pakistan.


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