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for your interest, re: the Chandrakant Shourie case



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     Following our earlier discussion of this matter, for your general 
     information, I thought all of us might like to know of the following.
     
     prabhu guptara
     
     
     
     
     INDIAN GROUND WORK GRANTS 2000 TO VICTIM OF FASCIST ATTACK
     
     
     The UK Charity Indian Ground Work today announced a grant of 2000 for 
     Mr Chandrakant Shourie, victim of the New Year's attack by fascists in 
     the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
     
     The grant is in recognition of Mr Shourie's educational work and is 
     meant to further his educational work.
     
     (The original press release which informed us of the attack is 
     attached for your interest).
     
     Indian Ground Work is a charity whose funds are obtained entirely and 
     wholly from donations by Non-Resident Indians.
     
     
     ENDS
     
     
     
     PRESS RELEASE
     
     Famous Indian Journalist's Nephew Suffers New Year's Attack by 
     Fascists 
     
     Arun Shourie's nephew suffers New Year Attack by Fascists
     
     
     RELEASE DATE: 12 JANUARY 2000
     
     
     Chandrakant Shourie, the nephew of one of India's most prominent 
     journalists, Arun Shourie, was attacked by fascists on New Year's Eve 
     in a remote part of Central India. Chandrakant, his wife, their son 
     and friends and neighbours suffered in the attack which also damaged 
     Mr Shourie's house and property.
     
     
     MAIN STORY FOLLOWS....
     
     
     Chandrakant Shourie's friends, Sudhir Mishra and Sanjeev Shrivastava 
     and family were celebrating New Year together with them. At about 
     11.30 another neighbour, Jagat Ram with his wife and two small 
     children, also arrived as they had also been invited. Mr Shourie came 
     out to welcome them when Pappu Singh, Dibbu Singh, Ganesh Dheemar, 
     Vinod Singh, Vasudev Singh and Sharad Singh attacked Mr Shourie. 
     However, everyone in the house rushed out to Mr Shourie's rescue and 
     when this was done, the party belonging to the house went back into 
     the house, before going to report the matter to the Police. 
     
     At 12.05 a.m. Mr Shourie returned from the Police Station along with a 
     Police escort. As soon as he stepped out of the car at his gate, he 
     was attacked afresh by Ashok Singh, Babu Lal Patel as well as some or 
     all of the earlier attackers and possibly some others.
     
     On hearing the uproar, some of the friends and Mrs Shourie and son 
     Ashish Shourie ran out, managed to rescue Mr Chandrakant Shourie 
     again, brought him inside the house and locked him in one room for his 
     own safety. The attackers then charged the house armed with sticks and 
     other lethal weapons and started beating up everyone in sight 
     indiscriminately.
     
     
     Mrs Shourie suffered a wound on her hand and was protected by others 
     even at risk to their own lives. Son Ashish had to get 5 stitches on 
     his right hand. Friend and neighbour Sanjeev Shrivastava was hurt in 
     his hand also; Mr Shrivastava's father as well as his brother were 
     badly beaten up and both sustained head injuries.
     
     "All this hapenned in the presence of the Police personnel" says Mr 
     Chandrakant Shourie, "They were either unwilling or unable to protect 
     us".
     
     Then began the process of lodging police records and undergoing 
     medical
     examination. They returned home, exhausted and traumatized at 4.00 
     a.m., unlike most people in the world on New Year's Night who were 
     able to welcome the dawn of the year 2000 with street parties, or 
     special excursions or safely in their own beds.
     
     Ten days after the incident, the main culprits are still roaming 
     freely and are threatening the witnesses and going around saying that 
     they will kill Mr Shourie, and cut him into pieces!
     
     What could cause such strange things to happen?
     
     When Chandrakant Shourie graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering 
     Degree from one of India's premier Engineering Institutes (BIT 
     Pilani), he surprised everyone by idealistically deciding not to 
     pursue a career in engineering or computing or management but to move 
     to Nagod, one of India's most remote and backward places in India 
     (1000km south-east of Delhi), to set up a school for the most 
     disadvantaged groups of people there. The Shouries belong to the 
     Brahmin caste (the top caste, of priests) which has traditionally been 
     scholarly and idealistic. But with financial support only from a few 
     family friends, the "school" was much too idealistic and not at all 
     scholarly. At the start: Mr and Mrs Shourie's bedroom served as the 
     only classroom and the school library was the few books that the 
     family itself possessed which they shared with the students who came 
     to them.
     
     But for the poor and the oppressed in Central India - that is, the 
     lower castes, the Shudras, the virtual slaves and the untouchables - 
     even that little was an enormous boon! No one had taken interest in 
     their troubles for hundreds if not thousands of years.
     
     These "lower caste" people have very little education and capability. 
     The higher caste people (Thakurs) enjoy all the priveleges and hold 
     all the power in the administration and the police. So when an 
     injustice is perpetrated, the poor have no voice.
     
     Over the twenty years that the Shouries have run their school in 
     Nagod, some of these poor people have started turning to the Shourie 
     family for help, and in a number of cases they were able to help the 
     poor people get redress through proper legal and administrative 
     procedures . The people have begun to trust them and come to them in 
     their times of trouble. As they help the poor, the Shouries have begun 
     to be seen by the ruling castes as a challenge to their centuries-long 
     hold over the poor people.
     
     According to Mr Shourie, "This incident was designed to send a message 
     to the poor and the oppressed: 'if we can do this to an educated 
     Brahmin like Mr. Shourie in his own home, you poor people are 
     certainly not safe from us and should expect no help from them'. This 
     incident has nothing to do with personalities but with principles. It 
     is a sign of the desperation of the old order as it continues to try 
     to prevent education and liberty and market forces from eroding the 
     reign of terror which the ruling caste has exercised over this land 
     for centuries. If they kill me and my wife and my entire family, will 
     they prevent education and liberation from coming to this dark part of 
     India? By disabling or removing us from the scene they will limit or 
     deprive the poor people of the little help that we have been able to 
     give them. But the powerful and the mighty should realise that history 
     is against them and they should do as feudal elites in Northern Europe 
     for example did when they were in a parallel situation. The Northern 
     European elites chose to go along with change and even sponsor change. 
     That way their whole land benefited and they themselves are still 
     there as the richest sections of their societies. But in other parts 
     of Europe, for example Russia, the elites did resisted change. The 
     result was that their whole land still suffers from backwardness and 
     their traditional elite classes have in any case been completely 
     eliminated. In a globalising world, there are new opportunities, we 
     should be working together to produce more wealth for everyone, not 
     continuing the centuries old game of mystification and oppression".
     
     Mr and Mrs Shourie's work is extremely highly regarded and the 
     prize-winning Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi dedicated his book on 
     the New Age to them.
     
     The left-wing threat from Marxist and Maoist groups in the Sixties and 
     Seventies has now been replaced by the threat from fascists who want 
     to take over the country, destroy the tradition of Hindu tolerance, 
     replace the secular constitution, and take India back into some 
     version of the middle ages.
     
     Fascist activity has been building gradually over the last several 
     years but the last year was the worst year on record.  
     
     This new year attack threatens even more fascist activity for the 
     festive year 2000.
     
     
     BACKGROUND NOTES:
     
     The Thakurs are the caste of erstwhile feudal landlords of the whole 
     of Central/Eastern Inda. They have enslaved the people through fear 
     and deception for ages. Many of them are very insensitive and brutal 
     people. They are often used by the other high caste people to spread 
     terror amongst the poor and the backward caste people. Their rule over 
     the people lasted right through the centuries of the Mughal period as 
     well as through the centuries of British rule because the British as 
     well as the Mughals preferred to rule through existing structures. It 
     is only now as Independent India has been able to mobilise resources 
     for national reconstruction that the unassailable power of the Thakur 
     caste has come under challenge as a result of communication, 
     education, transportation, modern finance and market forces and so on. 
     Most of the attackers of Mr Shourie were Thakurs (indicated by the 
     surname "Singh" in this part of India, but not to be confused with 
     "Singh" families from the Punjab who follow the Sikh religion).
     
     
     
     Contact details: 
     Mr and Mrs Chandra Kant Shourie, Tel: + 91.7673 -32354; email: 
     cshourie@rediffmail.com
     
     
     ENDS


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