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FYI on India
Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 11:48:15 +0100
The following news release may be of interest to you, so I am passing
it on to you. Do use it as you see fit but all follow-up questions
please to Mr Chandra Kant Shourie, Tel: + 91.7673 -32354; email:
Professor Prabhu Guptara
Director, Executive and Organisational Development
Wolfsberg Executive Development Centre
(a subsidiary of UBS AG)
RISING FASCIST THREAT TO INDIAN DEMOCRACY
Famous Indian Journalist's Nephew Suffers New Year's Attack by
Arun Shourie's nephew suffers New Year Attack by Fascists
RELEASE DATE: MONDAY 10 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
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
Then began the process of lodging police records and undergoing
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, 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.
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).
Mr Chandra Kant Shourie, Tel: + 91.7673 -32354; email:
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