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News : Archive (March 2003)
  • Bearing the cross of Gujarat
    Dominic Emmanuel, The Indian Express, March 31, 2003
    There was more to the clandestine survey of Christians in Gujarat (carried out for the second time in three years) than just its stated objective that ‘‘the Gujarat government is preparing to introduce the anti-conversion bill’’. After all, the the anti-conversion bill was already on the BJP election manifesto and the Tamil Nadu anti-conversion law was fully backed by the BJP.

  • Parivar now has plans for Buddhists
    Pradeep Kaushal, The Indian Express, March 30, 2003
    New Delhi, March 29: The Sangh Parivar’s expansion plan has a new target — the Buddhists. The RSS has launched a campaign to ‘‘reach out to four crore Buddhists inhabiting the length and breadth of Himalayas, 1.25 crore of them in India — from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.’’

  • Ayodhya digging reaches 13 feet
    IANS/PTI, Lucknow/Ayodhya, March 29, 2003
    Archaeologists excavating the Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri mosque site in Ayodhya have reached a depth of 13 feet but are no closer to determining whether a temple once existed at the spot, officials said.

  • A credible probe needed
    Editorial, The Hindu, March 28, 2003
    IN THE ALREADY politically volatile State of Gujarat, the murder of a former BJP Minister, Haren Pandya, a strong critic of the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, in broad daylight in a busy locality raises disturbing questions about security and the law and order situation.

  • 'Terror link' in Hindu leader's death
    BBC News Online, 28 March, 2003
    Haren Pandya: Shot in the chest and neck, reports say The Indian Deputy Prime Minister, LK Advani, has suggested the killing of a Hindu nationalist leader may have "terrorist" connections.

  • VHP launches 'satyagraha'
    By Sandeep Joshi, The Hindu, March 28, 2003
    NEW DELHI MARCH 27. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad today launched a week-long "satyagraha" here demanding that the Government immediately hand over the undisputed land in Ayodhya for the construction of a Ram temple.

  • Murder must out
    Modi is right not to trust his police with the investigation into the Haren Pandya slaying
    Editorial, The Indian Express, March 28, 2003

    The brutal murder of former Gujarat minister Haren Pandya comes as a reminder that the threat of violence in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat — even while it may not be as overt as it was a year ago — is very much a part of the state’s reality.

  • Haren Pandya murder fuels dissidence against Modi
    Shekhar Iyer/Rathin Das, The Hindustan Times, March 27, 2003
    Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who won an awesome mandate only three months ago, seems once more to be facing dissidence within the state BJP.

  • Gujarat bandh peaceful, no violence reported
    Associated Press, Ahmedabad, March 27, 2003
    The day-long Gujarat bandh called by Congress and VHP to protest killing of BJP leader and former Gujarat Home minister Haren Pandya, today evoked partial response amidst tight security across the state.

  • Gujarat violence rocks U.K. Parliament
    The Hindu, March 27, 2003
    London March 26. Even after a year, the Gujarat violence rocked the British Parliament with the Government saying that it had not received any response from India to its offer of the U.K. police assistance to probe the attack on four British nationals, two of whom died.

  • Amid Pandya chaos, Modi clears religion Bill
    Express News Service, The Indian Express, March 27, 2003
    Gandhinagar, March 26: Amid the chaos in the Assembly today over the murder of former minister Haren Pandya, the Gujarat government got seven Bills passed in 35 minutes, including the controversial anti-conversion legislation.

  • VHP's Satyagraha programme from Thursday
    PTI, March 25, 2003
    NEW DELHI: As part of a campaign to get the undisputed land in Ayodhya, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will undertake a peaceful "Satyagraha" programme in Delhi from March 27.

  • Kashmir Samiti moves NHRC on massacre case
    Times News Network, March 25, 2003
    NEW DELHI: The Kashmir Samiti, an organisation of displaced Kashmiris, has approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking its intervention and relief of Rs 15 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in Pulwama on Sunday night.

  • SC refuses to entertain plea against Ayodhya excavation
    Times News Network, March 26, 2003
    NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a writ petition challenging the Allahabad High Court order for excavation of the disputed site to determine whether a temple existed at the place where the Babri Masjid stood before its demolition.

  • Militants gun down 24 Kashmiri Pandits
    By Shujaat Bukhari, The Hindu, March 25, 2003
    NADIMARG (South Kashmir) MARCH 24. In a gruesome incident that dealt a severe blow to the "healing touch" policy of the five-month-old Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Government in Jammu and Kashmir, heavily-armed militants mowed down 24 members of 11 Kashmiri Pandit families in Nadimarg village, 65 km from Srinagar, around 2.30 a.m. on Monday.

  • Minority report
    By Vishal Arora, The Hindustan Times, March 24, 2003
    Why is the Gujarat government so desperate to prepare a community-based database of the Christians in the state and to probe the sources of funding to Christian NGOs?

    The recent discreet survey of Christians is the third such endeavour. Even the high court order of 1999, which stated that such a census was against the tenets of the Indian Constitution, did not deter the government’s intent to gather information about the Christians in the state.

  • Bhojshala: The making of communal trouble
    By Vidya Subrahmaniam, Times News Network, March 25, 2003
    BHOPAL: Chief Minister Digvijay Singh swears he will not ask for votes in the name of religion. "But yes, if they raise it, I will counter it," he says. Chief-ministerial aspirant Uma Bharati insists she will not raise Hindutva or Bhojshala in the coming elections. "But yes, if Digvijay is honest about not making the Bhojshala an election issue, let him prove it by opening its doors to Hindus," she says.

  • Foreign direct investment in hatred
    By Kalpana Wilson, The Magazine Section / The Hindu, March 23, 2003
    Pro-Hindutva organisations have come to rely on the moral and material support of the Indian diaspora. The key to this is the fostering of strong idealogical roots in these communities, especially in the U.K., and favourable State multi-cultural policies there, says Kalpana Wilson.

  • Excavation will not affect temple construction: Togadia
    The Hindu, March 23, 2003
    Baharaich March 23. The VHP today said evidence gathered during the excavation at the acquired land in Ayodhya would in no way affect the construction of the Ram temple there.

  • VHP to launch satyagrah: Togadia
    Times News Network, March 23, 2003
    BAHRAICH: Even if the report of excavation, being underway in Ayodhya, suggests existence of a temple at the site prior to the demolition of the structure, the Central government will not hand over the Ram Janambhoomi to the Hindus.

  • Hanging out with the BJP
    The Hindustan Times, March 23, 2003
    The Gujarat election result had set pulses racing in the BJP. The broad message to its NDA allies was that the BJP was quite possibly turning the corner as far as public opinion went. This fed the calculation that it might just be safe to abide with that party, after all.

  • Anti-conversion Bill tabled in Gujarat House
    By Rathin Das, The Hindustan Times, March 23, 2003
    In tune with the ruling BJP's promise in their election manifesto, a Bill to prevent religious conversion in the state would be taken up for discussion in the Gujarat Assembly on March 26. The Freedom of Religion Bill, modelled on a similar Act adopted in Tamil Nadu, was tabled in the Assembly on Saturday.

  • Advani to Kanchi seer: Centre for out-of-court deal on Ayodhya issue
    By Chandan Nandy, The Hindustan Times, March 22, 2003
    The Shankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt, Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani reportedly discussed the progress towards a "negotiated settlement" of the Ayodhya dispute, in a brief meeting on Saturday.

  • Caught in the crossfire
    By Kuldip Nayar, The Hindu, March 22, 2003
    The entire region has fallen prey to the forces of chaos... Religion is being used to divert people's attention from economic problems.

  • Togadia to impart trishul diksha in UP
    Press Trust of India, March 21, 2003
    Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international general secretary Pravin Togadia would visit Uttar Pradesh from Saturday to give trishul diksha to VHP workers in different parts of the state.

    Togadia would give diksha to 5000 VHP workers in Lucknow and Hardoi on Saturday while on Sunday he would hold diskha programmes in Bahraich and Gonda, Bajrang Dal state convener Ved Prakash Sachchan said here on Friday.

  • Parishad takes trishul diksha to UP
    Amit Sharma, The Indian Express, March 22, 2003
    Lucknow, March 21: After Rajasthan, the VHP is now set to hold its controversial ‘‘trishul diksha’’ programmes in Uttar Pradesh from tomorrow.

    VHP international general secretary Pravin Togadia is arriving in the state tomorrow on a four-day visit during which he will hold the ‘‘trishul diksha’’ programmes in seven districts of the state, including Hardoi, Lucknow, Bahraich, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Padrauna and Allahabad. The programmes will precede the ‘‘Satyagraha’’ to be held in New Delhi from March 27 to April 4.

  • The mystery of the Godhra fire
    By Dionne Bunsha in Godhra, Frontline, Volume 20 - Issue 06, March 15 - 28, 2003
    A year after the Godhra tragedy, the mystery behind the fire on the Sabarmati Express remains unsolved, despite attempts by investigators and State officials to prove the claims made by the Narendra Modi government.

  • Rationalising Hindutva
    By Ravikumar, The Hindu, March 20, 2003
    Hindutva is neither rigid nor monolithic as Mr. Pandian characterises it. It has emerged as an evil that is perverse, transparent and lucid and without morals. Such fascism cannot be traced even to Germany or Italy.

  • The great vote chase
    What do the supine ‘secularists’ have to say about this?
    By Balbir K. Punj, The Indian Express, March 20, 2003

    The idea of a Muslim political party doesn’t astonish me per se. Yet burdened with the collective memory of the subcontinental division, its prospects might appear catastrophic.

  • Punching numbers in future tense
    By Neerja Chowdhury, The Indian Express, March 19, 2003
    As Atal Behari Vajpayee completes five years in office today, the BJP has already started strategising for the next electoral round.

  • Ayodhya: Sediments Of Faith
    By Poornima Joshi,, Magazine, March 24, 2003
    For Muslim groups and many academics, the archaeological probe in Ayodhya amounts to an official kar seva.

  • RSS: Light Another Match
    By Saba Naqvi Bhaumik,, Magazine, March 24, 2003
    A more supportive RSS is all set to shed its image as a 'cabal of geriatrics' and get some young turks on board

  • Ayodhya slow on dig, high on drama
    Amit Sharma, The Hindu, March 16, 2003
    Ayodhya, March 16: A mouse-shaped stone and an earthen pot were recovered today from two different trenches during the excavation being carried out by the ASI team here.

  • Unearthing the truth
    By R. Nagaswamy, The Hindu, March 16, 2003
    The recent judgement of the Allahabad High Court, ordering archaeological excavations to be conducted at Ayodhya for ascertaining the existence of an earlier temple, has triggered great public debate on the need to undertake such an exercise and the conclusions on the issue. One of the questions relates to the time limit of one month, set for excavation to be completed, considered inadequate for archaeological diggings.

  • Repackaging the RSS
    By Manini Chatterjee, The Indian Express, March 16, 2003
    Last week in Nagpur, the RSS inducted new faces in a bid to invigorate its organisational muscle. But it may not be easy to insulate the shakha from the real world, says Manini Chatterjee

  • ‘Second-class citizenship (for Muslims) against Hindu ethos’
    Interview, Vivek Deshpande, The Indian Express, March 16, 2003
    The main priority for the RSS today is to spread the shakha network to all parts of the country by 2006, RSS’s new spokesman Ram Madhav tells Vivek Deshpande in an exclusive interview.

  • Godhra list: Railway report shifts track
    Rajesh Ramachandran, Times News Network, March 15, 2003
    NEW DELHI: Two passengers certified as "survivors" of the Godhra carnage six months ago by the railways have now been declared "dead", while one "survivor" has since gone "missing".

  • Excavation remains suspended in Ayodhya
    K G Suresh Ayodhya, March 14 (PTI)
    Security personnel in Ayodhya were put on high alert in the wake of the Mumbai train blast and Muharram even as excavation at the disputed site remained suspended on account of the public holiday today.

  • A discriminatory exercise
    Editorial, The Hindu, March 14, 2003
    THE `SURVEY' ORDERED by the Narendra Modi Government in Gujarat to collect information on Christian families and organisations has raised some disturbing questions about the real purpose behind the exercise. To begin with, it has all the trappings of a covert operation.

  • Review committee to check misuse of POTA
    By Hindu Special Correspondent, March 14, 2003
    NEW DELHI MARCH 13. Bowing to the pressure from political parties on the misuse of the anti-terrorist law, POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act), the Centre today announced the setting up of a review committee to check misuse of its provisions.

  • Ayodhya excavation order challenged in SC
    HTC and Agencies, Ayodhya/New Delhi, March 13, 2003
    The Allahabad High Court's directive to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to excavate the disputed site in Ayodhya has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

  • Cong is flattering BJP by hoisting Hindutva flag
    Balbir K. Punj, The Indian Express, March 14, 2003
    Before the next general elections, the battle has a new theme: Cong’s soft Hindutva versus BJP’s hard version

  • Ayodhya can be solved
    T. V. R. Shenoy, The Indian Express, March 13, 2003
    If the liberals on both sides have the courage and imagination

  • A Cow-Wardly Turn
    Anita Pratap, March 17, 2003
    When the rest of the world is discussing war, GDP and jobs, in India we are talking about beef and cow, its urine and dung. If ever we needed proof that Hindutva is a phenomenon that is out of sync with reality, modernity and sanity, this is it. And if you thought Hindutva was the worst thing to happen to Indian politics, think again. Far worse is "competitive Hindutva" which is plunging Indian politics to the pits. When fishing for votes, politicians stoop to unimaginable depths. After all, this is India. "We are like this only."

  • BJP’s historic obsessions
    Don’t be fooled by the HP results, Hindutva is alive and well
    Kuldip Nayar, The Indian Express, March 11, 2003

    To imagine that the Hindutva forces will be foiled by the BJP’s defeat in the Himachal Pradesh assembly election is to underestimate their strength. They have been able to catch the imagination of the middle class in most parts of the country. The extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is not liked. Yet, the spread of saffronisation by its sister organisation, the BJP, has contaminated many. The Hindu, rather than the Indian, identity has come to appeal to them as if they are trying to catch up with the ethos of Pakistan which regards Muslims and Hindus as two separate nations.

  • HC notice to Modi on survey
    HT Correspondents, Gandhinagar/New Delhi, March 11, 2003
    The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the state government and the police top brass on the alleged survey of Christians in the state.

    The All India Christian Council had on Monday petitioned the high court saying the alleged survey was 'illegal' and amounted to harassment of minorities.

  • Censor shoots down Gujarat docu film
    ‘Scenes on riots provocative, may cause problem’
    Express News Service, March 10, 2003

    Mumbai, March 10: The Central Board of Film Certifications’ (CBFC) disapproval of a documentary on the Gujarat riots has the intellectuals and civil liberties organisations up in arms in Maharashtra.

    Aakrosh (Cry of Anguish) — produced by People’s Media Initiative (PMI) — was reportedly denied certification by the Mumbai-based CBFC in February on charges that ‘‘the film depicts violence, reminds the people of the Gujarat riots and shows the government and the police in bad light.’’

  • Gujarat admits carrying out survey on Christians
    Press Trust of India, March 10, 2003
    The Gujarat government on Monday admitted that it had conducted surveys on the Christian community in the state but said that it was undertaken at the "local level" and in "response" to a parliamentary query.

  • Will digging resolve the problem?
    By Harbans Mukhia, The Hindu, March 11, 2003
    A month's digging barely touches the fringe of the site (at Ayodhya). It is unlikely that such a small amount of digging could yield anything worthwhile... In the end, it will call for a political solution.

  • Junking Moditva
    Amulya Ganguli, The Hindustan Times, March 10, 2003
    The Himachal outcome has demonstrated, however, that Modi and his party were building their Hindutva castle on sand so far as the all-India scene is concerned. But few realised it at the time. For a start, after a string of defeats in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and elsewhere, the Gujarat verdict was greeted with wild enthusiasm by the BJP and the Sangh parivar. Even the moderate PM put aside his vapid musings on communal harmony to complain that the Muslims haven’t been apologetic enough about the Godhra massacre.

  • RSS to throw its weight behind VHP
    The Hindu, March 10, 2003
    Nagpur March 9. With elections to four State Assemblies due this year and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2004, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has indicated clearly that it will throw its weight behind the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in bolstering the Ayodhya movement, and fired a salvo at the Vajpayee Government.

  • Christian council to move court against survey
    Press Trust of India, March 10, 2003
    The All India Christian Council (AICC) has decided to move the Gujarat High Court against the survey of Christians allegedly undertaken by the state police. But on Sunday, a top police official denied that any such survey had been ordered.

  • Poll perspectives
    By K. K. Katyal, The Hindu, March 10, 2003
    The Himachal Pradesh verdict would have served a useful purpose if it corrects the lopsidedness in the political discourse and the electoral politics introduced by Gujarat.

  • From Ram to GM, RSS meet pats BJP
    Vivek Deshpande, The Indian Express, March 10, 2003
    Nagpur, March 9: The 1,100-strong RSS Pratinidhi Sabha, comprising delegates from the 32 frontal organisations of the Parivar, today concluded its three-day conclave here, sending out clear signals to all concerned that the Parivar will stand strongly behind the BJP ahead of the general elections next year.

  • Pride and Prejudice
    The Sunday Story, The Indian Express, March 9, 2003
    Narendra Modi claims there is peace in Gujarat. And he’s right. But after touring the state, Amrita Shah finds that wounds will take a long time to heal.

  • RSS hints at joining Temple movement
    Press Trust of India, March 9, 2003
    With assembly polls in several key states due this year and Lok Sabha polls in 2004, the RSS on Sunday gave clearest indication of throwing its weight behind VHP in bolstering Ayodhya movement and took a potshot at Vajpayee Government.

  • Policing Hinduism
    By M.S.S. Pandian, The Hindu, March 9, 2003
    Religious rituals could be dubious. But science and humanism are no holy cows. They too could play the most dubious politics. In a perverse polity where aggressive promotion of vegetarianism dons the robes of green politics and cow protection fanatics claim themselves to be animal rights activists, this seemingly strange coming together of science, humanism and rightwing politics, may not be all that strange.

  • RSS will play Savarkar card to take on Cong, Left
    Smita Gupta, Times News Network, March 07, 2003
    NAGPUR: In an attempt to give itself and its affiliates a fresh entry point for reiteration of the Hindutva agenda, the RSS says it will adopt an "unusually strongly worded resolution" on Vinayak Savarkar at its 'pratinidhi sabha' which began here Friday.

  • RSS openly backs VHP
    Hemendra Singh Bartwal, The Hindustan Times, March 8, 2003
    The RSS has decided to support the VHP's campaign on the Ram temple issue, which is aimed at getting possession of all the land acquired by the Centre in Ayodhya.

  • Other dimensions of Ayodhya
    By Neera Chandhoke, The Hindu, March 8, 2003
    Even if the remains of a temple are found, or not found, will this negate the fact that the region of Avadh has been associated with a plural and richly textured culture?

  • SC reserves verdict in Ayodhya case
    By J. Venkatesan, The Hindu, March 7, 2003
    NEW DELHI March 6. Even as the Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on the Central Government's plea for vacating the "status quo" order in the Ayodhya case, the Government categorically stated that it had no intention of handing over the 67.703 acres of "undisputed land" to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for construction of a Ram temple.

  • Order on excavation: more questions than answers
    By Neena Vyas, The Hindu, March 7, 2003
    NEW DELHI: The order of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on excavation at the disputed site in Ayodhya to determine whether a structure or temple existed there prior to the building of the Babri Masjid in 1528 A.D. is quite unprecedented and has the potential of setting new legal precedents which could lead to many more disputes relating to places of worship.

  • Controversial Dig
    Editorial, The Times of India, March 7, 2003
    Rather than settle the Ayodhya question, the archaeological 'evidence' might well lead to more partisan political rhetoric. For another, the issue whether a temple existed at the site is hardly a clinching argument in deciding on the title suits. Finally, as early reactions to the order suggest, the excavation is likely to open a Pandora's Box, with extremist organisations within the parivar pressing for an identical course of action to be taken in other "disputes" over religious sites.

  • Consensus eluding Bhojshala issue: CM
    By Hindu Staff Correspondent, The Hindu, March 7, 2003
    BHOPAL MARCH 6. The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh, today said that representatives of the two main communities had not arrived at a consensus so far on the demand for lifting the restrictions on entry into the Bhojshala at Dhar, near Indore.

  • Vajpayee versus Modi in 2004?
    Saeed Naqvi, The Indian Express, March 7, 2003
    That George W. Bush, Ariel Sharon and Narendra Modi are strutting about their respective enclaves at the same time in history is a stunning coincidence. Obviously, the vacuum created by the collapse of the Soviet Union had to be filled by the far right because the pull which kept the right leaning towards the middle ground has disappeared.

  • How carpet-bombing bombed
    Praful Bidwai, The Hindustan Times, March 7, 2003
    The BJP isn’t a party that can take criticism, defeat or failure with equanimity or rationality, leave alone grace. It always blames the umpire, and maligns or simply shoots, the messenger. Thus, its first, instinctive reaction last June to J.M. Lyngdoh’s refusal to be stampeded into an immediate poll in Gujarat was to accuse him of an ‘anti-Hindu’ bias and of acting at Sonia Gandhi’s behest by virtue of their shared(!) Christian parentage.

  • Powell rejects plea to name India for 'religious violations'
    S Rajagopalan, Washington, The Hindustan Times, March 6, 2003
    Following the Gujarat riots, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom had strongly recommended India’s inclusion in a list of “countries of particular concern”. The commission had spoken of egregious abuses and complicity of state agencies in Gujarat.

    Acting on the commission’s omnibus report, Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday designated six nations -- China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Myanmar and Sudan -- as "countries of particular concern". He, however, declined to include India, Pakistan and four other countries in the classification.

  • Godhra panel to record statements of riot victims
    PTI, March 06, 2003
    AHMEDABAD: The two-man commission, probing Godhra train carnage and subsequent riots, will record statements of people in two North Gujarat districts of Gandhinagar and Sabarkantha on March 10 and 11 respectively, official sources said here on Wednesday.

  • Tolerance and exclusion
    By Andre Beteille, The Hindu, March 6, 2003
    Cultural diversity was always accompanied by a measure of social separation... Separation and exclusion were established features of the social structure well before the British or even the Muslims came to India.

  • Saffron South
    Editorial, The Times of India, March 5, 2003
    Without doubt, Ms Jayalalithaa is not only the all-round winner but has forged ahead of the BJP in cultivating and capitalising on Hindutva vote-banks in Tamil Nadu. This should alert those who assume that the appeal of Hindutva is restricted to what is called the ‘cow belt'. Hindutva forces are not confined to the north, nor to the familiar faces of the sangh parivar; they are emerging in different forms not only in Tamil Nadu but also in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

  • Hindu groups raising funds for violence: UK group
    PTI, March 04, 2003
    LONDON: Supporters of South Asia Solidarity, a group campaigning against the "massacre in Gujarat" a year ago, held a candlelight vigil outside the Charity Commission here on Monday evening demanding stripping of charity status given to Sewa International and the Hindu SwayamSevak Sangh (HSS).

  • An agenda that boomeranged
    By Inder Malhotra, The Hindu, March 5, 2003
    The contrast between the BJP's behaviour during the election campaign in Himachal Pradesh and that after its shattering defeat in the State Assembly poll could not have been more striking. All through the electioneering, the saffron party's leaders strutting around in the Shimla Hills were cocksure about their victory because they were playing, with all the vigour at their command, the Hindutva card that had earlier worked so well in Gujarat.

  • BJP to shun Hindutva in next polls: Mahajan
    Times News Network, March 04, 2003
    PUNE: The construction of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, introduction of a uniform civil code and an all-out embracement of Hindutva will not be on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s agenda for the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

  • Fighting Barista Brahminism?
    The VHP and the rise and rise of ‘Shudra Hindutva’
    Sagarika Ghose, The Indian Express, March 5, 2003

    The VHP-Bajrang Dal has, over the last decade, added a new enemy to their list of evil influences on Hindu rashtra. Not just the Muslim and the Christian, but also the ‘English speaking’ ‘western educated’ class, exemplified in the persona of the ‘secularist’. The secularist is not recognised merely by his stance on the Babri masjid or the Shah Bano case or on terrorism. Instead, a secularist is anyone who listens to western music, eats in Italian restaurants or does not sport a tilak and dhoti.

  • Back to basics
    Editorial, The Hindustan Times, March 2, 2003
    As far as the BJP is concerned, the elation it felt in the aftermath of the Gujarat polls may now seem to have been rather premature. In fact, the party may have realised this even before the Himachal polls, which is why Moditva — or an aggressive propagation of the Hindu ‘cause’ — did not constitute any part of its campaign in the state. Since the BJP’s and the Sangh parivar’s high-decibel rhetoric did not cross the Gujarat border to influence the voters elsewhere, the party will now have to rethink its electoral tactics.

  • Are the Sikhs Hindus?
    By Nonica Datta, The Hindu, March 4, 2003
    No matter what the RSS chief, K.S. Sudarshan, might say with regard to the origin and development of Sikhism, Sikh consciousness has invariably followed an independent course.

  • Election sub-stories
    Editorial, The Hindustan Times, March 2, 2003
    The trouncing of the BJP by the Congress in Himachal Pradesh may raise questions about the suitability of the Hindutva agenda on an all-India basis. The election results in the otherwise ignored north-eastern states, however, tell their own sub-stories. The outcome of the byelections broadly conforms to a pattern but is also not without a moral.

  • Team Secularism
    SS Gill, The Hindustan Times, March 2, 2003
    In a head-on confrontation with Hindutva, secularism has some inherent limitations. Secularism is a concept born of civilised, rational discourse. It is gentle, humane and accommodative in its approach. In this age of shrill and spicy fare, it is also somewhat bland. It lacks the emotional splendour and missionary zeal of a resurgent ideology. Thus, it lacks a springboard to whip up passions.

  • Cong sweeps saffron out of Shimla
    The Indian Express, March 2, 2003
    In Himachal, it’s all about governance as Hard Hindutva takes a knock

    The Congress, of course, will finally be able to rid itself of the ghosts of Gujarat. But for the BJP, its inability to perform a hat-trick — after Goa and Gujarat — shows both its extreme vulnerability on the key issue of good governance and its failure to overcome chronic infighting.

  • Ayodhya and the courts
    Editorial, The Hindu, March 2, 2003
    Will the apex court vacate the stay on various activities on the acquired land as asked by the Centre? And if it does will it allow the Centre to part with that land and hand it over to the Nyas? Or will it saythe land should not be touched till the final settlement and adjudication of the title suits in the case?

  • Godhra, a year later
    By Jyoti Punwani, The Hindu, March 1, 2003
    ONE YEAR after the Sabarmati Express was burnt outside Godhra railway station, the town has come full circle — almost. At that time, Hindus and Muslims would not even enter each other's areas. Today, the physical barrier no longer exists, but emotionally, the two communities are back to square one.

  • More - Archive One (February, 2003)