The Hindu Important Articles 11 November 2018

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The Hindu Important Articles 11 November 2018

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# Sri Lanka Oppn. to challenge dissolution of Parliament

High stakes legal battle in offing as parties will move Supreme Court next week
A day after Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena controversially dissolved Parliament, parties opposed to the decision are preparing for a high stakes legal battle.

Major parties on Saturday decided to move the Supreme Court early next week, challenging Mr. Sirisena’s decision that, they said, violated the Constitution.

The United National Party (UNP) of the deposed Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and its coalition partners will mount a legal challenge, according to their members.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), which is part of the UNP-led front, is contemplating court action independent of the coalition as well, a senior member said.

The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) is also preparing to petition the Supreme Court on Monday. “This is not because we fear elections, but because we think the President’s actions are completely unconstitutional and against democratic values,” ACMC leader Rishad Bathiudeen told The Hindu .

Further, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which were part of the Opposition in the House that was dissolved, are readying to file petitions in the Supreme Court on Monday.

‘Statute contravened’

The TNA will seek an interim order suspending the President’s proclamation on the dissolution of Parliament and calling for general election, party sources said.

Speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, Leader of the Opposition and TNA veteran R. Sampanthan said the action taken by the executive on Friday “contravened” the Constitution.

“I don’t think it can be constitutionally supported,” Mr. Sampanthan said.High stakes legal battle in offing as parties will move Supreme Court next week
A day after Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena controversially dissolved Parliament, parties opposed to the decision are preparing for a high stakes legal battle.

Major parties on Saturday decided to move the Supreme Court early next week, challenging Mr. Sirisena’s decision that, they said, violated the Constitution.

The United National Party (UNP) of the deposed Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and its coalition partners will mount a legal challenge, according to their members.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), which is part of the UNP-led front, is contemplating court action independent of the coalition as well, a senior member said.

The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) is also preparing to petition the Supreme Court on Monday. “This is not because we fear elections, but because we think the President’s actions are completely unconstitutional and against democratic values,” ACMC leader Rishad Bathiudeen told The Hindu .

Further, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which were part of the Opposition in the House that was dissolved, are readying to file petitions in the Supreme Court on Monday.

‘Statute contravened’

The TNA will seek an interim order suspending the President’s proclamation on the dissolution of Parliament and calling for general election, party sources said.

Speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, Leader of the Opposition and TNA veteran R. Sampanthan said the action taken by the executive on Friday “contravened” the Constitution.

“I don’t think it can be constitutionally supported,” Mr. Sampanthan said.

# The chair that changed my life

I always lusted after the different chairs produced by the great designers from the beginning of the 20th century
Are you sitting comfortably? As you read this are you at all distracted by your seat, where you are sitting, how the light falls on the paper, or by how the brightness of your screen is affected by other light sources? I’m going to assume you’re not reading this standing up and so my question is mainly about what is currently under your posterior and against your back, and your relationship with it.

As a kid I didn’t spend much time thinking about chairs. I think there might have been a kid’s chair in my house, there certainly were small chairs in the Montessori school I attended, but there was also a lot of sitting on the floor, or sitting cross-legged on big chairs, sofas, benches and beds. At some point my parents got a bit of extra money and they binged on re-doing the décor in the flat we were renting. My parents and one segment of their friends circle were devotees of modernism, of straight lines without decorative curlicues, of bold colours and minimalist design, (what would now be called mid-20th century vintage). The south Calcutta of the 1960s had a few very good furniture-makers who had understood the Scandinavian and American ethic and so the new sofas and settees that came on the thhela-gaadis were nice to look at but apparently didn’t cost the earth.

There was one big sofa, perfect for flopping on to watch TV — except TV was still quite far away in the future — a smaller sofa, and a ‘seater’ with two square Dunlopillo upholstered seats with a dropped wooden interval on which you could keep tea-cups and plates of snacks, backed with chatai pasted on wood. Above this strictly square and rectangular upholstery hung new light fittings, cones of glass with simple black topis that were attached to the wall. My parents didn’t extend to spotlights and focussed lamps but my father was very particular about the lighting for our three writing desks: the anglepoise lamps had to be on the left, since all three of us were right-handed and you couldn’t have shadows over the handwriting being formed.

Sleek, straight-lined

In other people’s flats, people far wealthier than us, I began to notice that the aesthetic had been taken further. There were variations on the sleek, straight-lined furniture, there were hanging lamps that threw light on objets d’art, contemporary and antique, there were original canvases on the walls, modern Indian paintings that served as a backdrop to all these furniturey conceits.

If our sector of Calcutta was at one level, Bombay, which we would visit annually, was somewhere else. People were far wealthier; there were works by painters such as Hebbar and Husain on the walls, there were tables made entirely of thick glass on which sat drinking glasses which even I, a child, could see were of a much higher quality than the ones we drank out of. I guess it’s an attribute of my parents’ relationship with these friends and acquaintances and of how they brought me up, that I felt no envy or unnecessary shame at experiencing all this; I was encouraged to appreciate and enjoy the textures, the scale and detail, without any accompanying baggage of aspiration or any sense of lack.

Sophisticated sophistication

It was approximately around the age of seven or eight that I came across the ‘chair that changed my life’. D-mashi and P-mama were a couple who were my parents’ friends. They lived in an Art Deco, low, fat cake of an apartment building in Sion, Bombay. When other uncle-aunties showed off their wealth and taste in serious and sometimes pompous ways, P-mama and D-mashi took their sophistication lightly, with self-deprecating humour, i.e they wore their sophistication sophisticatedly.

Unlike my parents, P-mama was an American-educated Gujarati businessman who smoked, drank and ate non-veg outside the home; he was also extremely well-read, followed the writings of Jiddu Krishnamurti, and was an atheist. D-mashi, his wife, was Marathi, kept a lower profile and was a vegetarian, I’m not fully certain but I think she also occasionally had a drink; they were not interested in having children and seemed extremely happy together. Their house was full of paintings, books, a good music system, and, of course, unfussy modern furniture. As a young boy, I felt very happy in that house and not least when I could sit in the big, crazy armchair in P and D’s bedroom and put my feet up on the matching footstool.

The armchair and stool were made from curved wood of a colour close to burnt sienna. This wood cupped leather upholstery was kept safe from the onslaught of Bombay’s humidity by serious air-conditioning. This chair somehow encouraged you to both relax and be fully alert at the same time. Much as I loved P-mama and D-mashi for themselves, I also actually looked forward to visiting them so that I could sit in this chair. All four grown-ups would laugh at me when I jumped into this chair, and they would let me be if I ensconced myself in it and went deep into a book, no doubt grateful that the chair was keeping the pesky child quiet for some time.

The lotaa

A few years later, around the age of 11 or 12, I found myself being taken around the recently opened National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Another friend of my parents had decided it was time to open up this kid’s eyes to the concepts of good design and architecture. I saw many things in that beautiful modern building that made me think, that filled me with excitement and joy. Later, I learnt that Ray and Charles Eames, the wife and husband duo and great American designers had come to NID in its earliest days. They had travelled around India looking at our traditional design traditions and one of the things they had found really fascinating was the ordinary lotaa, loving its unique marriage of form and function.

Charles and Ray were among those foreigners who really challenged Indian designers to find inspiration both in what was taking place in contemporary design internationally as well as in the traditional design genius of our own society. Whether it was an old stepwell in Gujarat or Rajasthan, a weave or print of textile or camel belt in Kutch, or the ubiquitous lotaa, Ray and Charles Eames were among those who nudged our first batches of design students to open their eyes to what was around them, to open their minds to how they could take something from tradition and innovate from it.

Eye for the aesthetic

I never became a designer or anything close to it, but I grew up to be a slightly odd teenager who’d developed an interest in the design of modern furniture and kitchen vessels, utensils and glasses. Most of the things I pored over in catalogues and annuals of Scandinavian and German design were useless and unattainable for an Indian of my generation. The casserole pots by Dansk Design or the icedrop glasses by Ittala, the Finnish glass manufacturer were, frankly outlandish things, (and, as I was learning, there was great genius in our own matkas, kadhais and steel tumblers) but the one thing I always lusted after were the different chairs produced by the great designers from the beginning of the 20th century, the Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, the ones by Marcel Breuer, Eero Saarinen or Arne Jacobsen and, yes, right there alongside these classics was the Eames Lounge Chair, and Ottoman (first released by Charles and Ray in 1956), which I had taken to with such happiness at P-mama’s as an eight-year-old.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to afford to buy a new version of the Eames lounger, or even whether the air-conditioning required to maintain its leather upholstery (it comes in cloth variations as well, but that feels like cheating) is justifiable at a time of critical environmental meltdown, but for me that one (or one and a half) piece of furniture symbolises everything that I value aesthetically in this age of extreme paucity and excess.

The columnist and filmmaker is author of The Last Jet-Engine Laugh and Poriborton: An Election Diary. He edited Electric Feather: The Tranquebar Book of Erotic Stories and was featured in Granta.

# Ahead of polls, spike in IED seizures in Chhattisgarh

Their increasing use points to changing Maoist tactics
There has been a 100 % increase in the number of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) recovered in Chhattisgarh in 2018 compared to 2013, when the State last went to the polls.

While as many as 57 IEDs were recovered in 2013, 116 have been found this year, with 84 recoveries in October and 23 in November alone. The number of Maoist-related incidents in the Left Wing Extremism-affected districts has also seen an increase from 76 in the months of October-November 2013 to 107 incidents in the same period this year.

Shrinking influence

An official said that since the area under the influence of the Maoists is shrinking — with the opening of new camps by the security forces — planting IEDs is an easier way to inflict the maximum casualty on the personnel.

“The number of Maoist-related incidents has increased as the election approaches. Overall, there has been a remarkable decrease in such incidents in the past decade,” said the official.

Eighteen constituencies in eight Maoist-affected districts — Bastar, Kanker, Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon — will vote in the first phase of the Assembly election on November 12.

Fewer civilian deaths

However, there has been a significant reduction in the number of civilians killed in 2018. While 76 civilians were killed in the months leading up to the election in 2013, the number has dropped to 11 this year. Nine security personnel though have been killed this year, compared to five in 2013.

A senior government official said the Maoists had changed their tactics this time and were striking in smaller groups.

“They have formed crack teams of not more than 15-20 people and are looking for easy targets. They are desperate to show results. The possibility of carrying out a spectacular attack involves mobilisation of manpower and intricate planning. Smaller teams don’t come under scrutiny easily,” he said. Another official said the attack on a Doordarshan team recently, in which 34-year-old video journalist Achyutananda Sahu was killed, was a case in point.

Sanitation drive

“The number of Maoists who attacked the DD team was not more than 20-25. They decamped with his camera. In a sanitisation drive, two IEDs were recovered from Nilvaya village, where the team was headed to cover a polling booth that had been set up after 20 years. They wanted to inflict casualties,” said the official. The official also claimed that this time the Maoists were warning villagers of dire consequences if they cast their vote.

# MHA didn’t refer remission plea to President

Decision to reject T.N.’s appeal for release of Rajiv case convicts taken by Ministry
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has admitted that Tamil Nadu’s proposal for premature release of convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was not sent to the President and the decision (not to concur with the proposal) was taken at the highest level in the Ministry.

In March 2016, the State sent a proposal to the Centre seeking remission of the sentences of life convicts V. Sridharan alias Murugan, T. Surendraraja alias Santhan, A.G Perarivalan alias Arivu, Nalini, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Ravichandran.

In its reply dated April 18, 2018, the MHA said the Central Bureau of Investigation had opposed the plea on the ground that “releasing the four foreign nationals who had committed the gruesome murder of the former Prime Minister of this country along with 15 others, most of whom were police officers, in connivance with three Indian nationals, will set a very dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications…”

# Drunk woman rams car into SUV, 1 dead

Victim’s 13-year-old daughter critical; accused arrested
A 38-year-old woman was killed and her 13-year-old daughter critically injured when their SUV was hit by another car being driven by a 22-year-old woman in Punjabi Bagh on Friday night.

The accused, who was allegedly drunk at the time of the incident, has been arrested, police said.

The deceased, Poonam Sardana, a boutique owner, was returning home from a temple in Chhatarpur with seven family members around 11.30 p.m. when the car being driven by Shivani Malik, a Ghaziabad resident and daughter of a deceased Delhi police officer, jumped the divider and hit her car.

Poonam died within minutes, said her husband Vimal Sardana. Their daughter Chetanya is in a critical condition in hospital.

An FIR has been registered under sections of the IPC pertaining to culpable homicide, causing death by negligence and rash driving.

# ‘The word Karnataka has existed since 1336’

While former CM D. Devaraj Urs is credited with renaming Mysore State as Karnataka on November 1, 1973, according to historians, the word ‘Karnataka’ was in vogue some six centuries ago.

# Beyond criticism?: on ‘Sarkar’ controversy

The uproar over ‘Sarkar’ reveals a strong streak of political intolerance in Tamil Nadu
Bullying film-makers into shelving projects or effecting cuts is not new in India. However, it is not often that a State government or the ruling party resorts to threat and intimidation against a commercial film. The AIADMK in Tamil Nadu has forced the makers of the Tamil film Sarkar to cut a scene and mute some dialogue, ostensibly because they are critical of government policy or offend their sensibilities. AIADMK supporters went on a rampage in cinemas that screened the film, and in chorus, State Ministers spoke of legal action against the producers, while decrying scenes critical of populist schemes. Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar’s remark that film-makers have “lost their fear” after the demise of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was a tacit endorsement of a climate of fear. This is a reminder that it does not take much to touch the raw nerves of politicians. The blowback is worse when the party in question is running the government. This film has become an easy target for the AIADMK dispensation, as it is critical of welfare schemes for which the State is renowned. Part of a woman character’s name will now be muted to avoid any impression, however unfounded, that it was a veiled reference to Jayalalithaa. Images of people throwing into the fire mixers and grinders they had got from the government have also been snipped.

Sarkar controversy: what is it all about?

# In whose name?: on BJP’s renaming spree

The BJP’s rechristening spree goes against India’s plural ethos
Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, promises to keep map-makers busy. He has not only picked up the pace in changing names of places in his State, but his colleagues in the BJP seem to be going through the atlas to identify cities elsewhere that could be re-designated in a competitive spiral of Hindutva rigour. This summer, U.P.’s Mughalsarai Junction, among India’s busiest railway junctions, was renamed to honour Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, a leading ideologue of the Jan Sangh, the BJP’s predecessor party. Last month, the U.P. Cabinet approved the rechristening of Allahabad as Prayagraj. And this week, in the midst of commanding Deepavali bustle in Ayodhya, Mr. Adityanath determined that Faizabad district, in which Ayodhya town is located, would henceforth be called Ayodhya district. Presumably reluctant to be left out of this mission to strip historical centres of association with Muslim rulers, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the State government was willing to rename Ahmedabad as Karnavati. Such moves reflect a jaundiced view of history and the Sangh Parivar’s disregard for India’s plural identity. Stripping places of names that evoke a mixed cultural heritage and replacing them with names to project a Sangh iconography or Hindu revivalism sends out a deeply prejudiced message — that one community has a greater place in society.

Changing names of cities and roads has been an ongoing process in independent India. There were, in this, anti-colonial and grassroots considerations. Place names that asserted British imperial power were replaced with names and symbols that attest to the subcontinent’s composite identity and history through the ages. British inflexions were removed — so, Cawnpore became Kanpur. In an ongoing and sometimes disputed process, names of cities have been reworked to reflect their organic origins — Madras to Chennai, Bombay to Mumbai. What the BJP government in U.P. is doing is qualitatively different. It has stepped out of the previous secular, anti-colonial, grassroots-resonant frame and is unabashedly picking names with a Muslim connection and changing them in an ‘us versus them’ messaging. The State government has not paused to consider whether Allahabad draws its name from Ilahabas, as some contend, or whether the town was founded at a remove from the Prayag confluence. That Allahabad reflects India’s heritage since Mughal emperor Akbar’s time is deemed to make it target enough. The renaming of Faizabad, in turn, comes at a time when a section of the ruling dispensation is defiantly upping the ante on seeking a Ram temple at the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya even as the issue is before the Supreme Court. It reinforces the signs that the BJP is ploughing a very polarised terrain ahead of general elections. And in the larger culture war, this renaming frenzy leaves no doubt that India’s rich legacy of assimilation and its constitutional ethos are under assault.

Reference

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