Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Request for article

Dear Friends,

We are planning to publish a book, a collection of articles on Trafficking of women and girls (children).

Trafficking in human beings is one of the most flourishing organized crime. Few studies in the past have revealed that Trafficking of human beings is prevalent in Madhya Pradesh, in all forms, but has failed to draw enough attention of either government or NGOs.

What has been the reason for Madhya Pradesh being left out, is beyond my comprehension. There are ‘n’ number of instances, highlighted by media and other sources, about how Madhya Pradesh is a place of origin, transit and destination. The question is how we can fight against this menace. I personally feel that we need a holistic approach, where the civil society, stakeholders, government agencies and the community at large, join hands to counter it. A concerted effort is only the answer to this problem. I think there is no point in playing blame game, passing on the buck on each other for the existing state of affairs. It is never late in starting intervention on such issues, as the problem keeps growing instead of diminishing.

I am of the opinion that learning and sharing experiences from across the country will help us understand the subject in a better way. It will widen our horizons, put us on common ground and help us in networking. Many factors, which perhaps must have been missed by one, will come to fore by the sharing with others. Ultimately, it will help us design a comprehensive plan, taking into consideration all the facts, to combat trafficking. If possible, we may chalk out a plan to reverse the nexus, breaking their network and establishing our own.

This book has multipronged objective. As mentioned earlier, the contributions will help us understand the subject in a better way. Secondly, case studies will educate us about the models in operation in various parts of country; enlighten us about the various success stories. Thirdly help us in networking with various agencies and field workers; fourthly a quality data bank and view point will be published which will be circulated to various agencies for sharing and finally will help us draw parallel, identify all forms of trafficking, correctly, and seek intervention in Madhya Pradesh.

We have successfully worked with CSE women of Bedia community (traditional CSW’s) in a village called Salai in Rajgarh District. We wish to carry forward our effort there. Besides, we are planning to focus on the issue of trafficking of tribal girls from tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh. An action plan is being formulated, and I hope that the articles will help us prepare it more objectively.

It will be encouraging and delightful to have contributions from committed, dedicated and passionate activist on this issue. I request you to invite contributions from all your field working friends. Let us join hands for a good cause.

We are planning to get the book published ASAP. It would be great if we can get the articles by the end of June. There is no upper word limit, as such. We are flexible to ensure that required space is assigned to explain the issue clearly. Though, we have lower word limit of two thousand five hundred (2500) words.

Please forward this mail to your friends and request them on my behalf to contribute their share of work. I heartily appreciate, in advance, for their efforts.

Just to introduce myself. I am police officer from Madhya Pradesh. I had a short story book published last year “Cracking of dawn” which was women centric. Couple of stories do mention about the plight of women of Kanjar and Bedia community. My book “Community Policing: Misnomer or Fact” is on the publisher’s desk for review. The subject of my PhD was on ‘Changing Image of Police: an empirical study’, which focused on the changing role of police and need for community participation in combating crime. One of my novel is on the editing table. On the issue of trafficking, I have been presenting papers and lecturing for quite some time. I think with my writing and academic background I will be able to do justice in editing this book and hope a quality informative product will be the outcome. We also plan to have some experts on the editing table to do the needful.



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bahut Garmi Hai

Going for morning walk is routine start of my day. “Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t do this, don’t, don’t…..” is what every child goes through since childhood. These don’ts are for simple reason, “addiction”. As a normal, obedient child, I too believed in those preaching, and consequently kept at bay all these so-called social vices.

How do we describe addiction? Anything, without which, we become unstable, for which we yearn badly, absence would stimulate unnecessary mood oscillation, affect body metabolism and to meet the addiction we do anything. I think this suffices layman’s quest for definition. Despite all my precautions, I miserably failed. I got addicted. I was addicted to morning walk. I suffered from all the symptoms mentioned above, if I failed to go for morning walk.

I browse through newspaper headlines before I step out of my home. I think most of the people do the same. The headlines indicated, Madhya Pradesh was inferno. The temperature had broken all records and reached 46 degree centigrade. It was 30+ in the early hours of morning itself. Maximum minimum temperature recorded, was another headline. The newspaper has a great say in swaying the topics of discussion for morning walkers. Today, quite pertinently, Lord Sun grabbed the attention.

Immediately after getting out of the gate I found two people greeting each other with folded hands, but instead of wishing ‘Namaskar’, ‘Ram ram’, ‘Good morning’, ‘Hari om’(as my milk vendor would do), they greeted “Bahut Garmi Hai”. Very casually, I appreciated the remark, passed a quite smile, acknowledging their knowledge on rising temperature and moved on. But, today that was not the end. As I moved forward, I found that in maximum cases, the usual greeting had been replaced by this phrase “Bahut Garmi Hai”. The walkers would start with that greeting and continue on the issue of heat for some time.

One of the very interesting observation of my wife, about men, was that there were three main topics of discussion among men, while walking- politics, money and women. I had quite closely followed it and my research had corroborated her observation. Politics could be office politics, real politics, or any other, but that majored the topic of discussion. Women being top among the close buddies of all age and youngsters. Money was cutting across age, religion, caste and class. However, today it was belied… “Bahut Garmi Hai”, had beaten all the topics on all fronts. So friends, “Bahut Garmi Hai, kuch karo yaar”.

Forged Passport-A sensitive issue

Forged passports make identification messier’ was the headline in Pioneer-May 25, 2010. At least ten victims had travelled by the Air India Express flight from Dubai to Manglore on forged passports, it read. The article was dedicated to the mess occurring due to failure in identifying the real victims, as they carried forged passport. A statement from local agent said that in and around Mangalore, forging passport for travel was a normal thing, but the magnitude did baffle him, 10 out of 160. From South India, Kerala in particular, traveling to Gulf on forged passport was rampant, is what could be perceived, from that piece of news.

Now, the issue is, are we just restricting the news to messier situation developed in distribution of compensation. If I recall well, very recently, hardly a month back, there was news mentioning Kerala as hotbed, breeding ground, for terrorists. There had been major link between big terrorist activities and Kerala. Gulf countries being main conduit for money swindling, movement of terrorist heads and other illegal activities is a well known fact. I don’t believe that intelligence units of the state and country had failed to comprehend the situation in the past. What I feel is that if the issue is highlighted, brought into the notice of common man, it will ring a bell of caution, and the perpetrators will be defensive and mass alert. I haven’t heard any news recently of any crackdown on the passport issue. That means nothing concrete has been done, as such. Let the community be educated, alerted, called to contribute in checking the menace, which has far-reaching ramifications, than what is visible in print.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Movement against trafficking in Madhya Pradesh


Trafficking of persons is a modern-day form of slavery, threatening the dignity and security of millions of people throughout the world. UN General Secretary Kofi Annan has noted "Slavery was, in a very real sense, the first international human rights issue to come to the fore. It led to the adoption of the first human rights laws and to the creation of the first human rights non-governmental organization. And yet despite the efforts of the international community to combat this abhorrent practice, it is still widely prevalent in all its insidious forms, old and new. The list is painfully long and includes traditional chattel slavery; bonded labour; serfdom; and forced labour, including of children, women and migrants, and often for the purpose of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and ritualistic and religious reasons.


Human Trafficking per se has never been a subject of aggressive debate in India. If at all there has been any deliberation it has been restricted to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) of communities such as Bedia and Bachara tribes living in certain pockets of Madhya Pradesh (Mandsaur, Ratlam, Sagar, Morena etc). The famous research book of Mr. P M Nair on trafficking in India has also not positioned Madhya Pradesh (except for few references) on the map of trafficking. Does that infer that MP is a safe place, untouched by the problem of trafficking? Facts point it otherwise. Madhya Pradesh is a potential source, transit and destination place of trafficking. The recent investigative reports of journalists have vividly shown that Madhya Pradesh is haven for the traffickers for its economic backwardness and other compulsions.

When we speak of Madhya Pradesh as place of source, transit and destination for trafficking, it becomes obligatory to justify the statement. In a nutshell we will try to comprehend the situation prevailing.

Source: Madhya Pradesh has been a place of supply of girls to the traffickers from Bedia and Bachara community for CSE, since long. In fact some study depicted that a considerable section of bar girls operating in Mumbai belonged to this community.

Transit: In the NGO Prernas’ publications on trafficking, they reported some survey claiming a sizeable number (in thousands) of girls being trafficked every year from Nepal and Bangladesh to Mumbai. It is logically understood that these girls cannot be airborne to Mumbai but have to cross MP which is on route to Mumbai from the above said source places. This clearly illustrates the situation of MP as transit place.

Destination: Due to skewed sex ratio in certain sections of society, girls have been trafficked to be married. Workers have also been trafficked from tribal and rural areas to urban centers or to owners of mines and brick kilns for cheap labour.

New Dimension: Recently a new chapter on trafficking of children from tribal areas has added into the annals of MP. In a Special Report- “Where is my daughter”, published in the National Weekly Magazine “The Week”, 10 September 2006 issue, it was reported that more than 5000 tribal girls were trafficked from tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh (Balaghat, Mandla, Dindori, Siwni). Around 500 children were trafficked from some villages of few police stations of Mandla district alone. This data they claim to be under reported and the situation is graver than we can comprehend. It was revealed that the majority of girls trafficked were minor on the pretext of being enrolled for domestic help by the agencies in Delhi and other places. The subsequent tyranny of the girls trafficked was a mystery for majority of parents. The pathetic part of the story is that despite seeing their neighbours plight these honest and modest tribal people are still falling prey to the allurements of the traffickers and children are being trafficked relentlessly, unabated.

Tribals are placed at the marginal end of development and hence are vulnerable to outside exploitation. Education is not up to the mark and those who are little educated imagine a greener pasture far from their traditional hamlets. Their susceptibility encourages the exploiters to victimize them.

Level of Operation required

work will have to aim on the issue of human trafficking at multiple levels.

1. Research and Documentation (Assess the ground situation)

§ The objective of research on the subject mentioned above would be to document the situation prevailing in the tribal areas of three districts-Balaghat, Dindori and Mandla. The socio-cultural and economic causes would be studied.

§ The role of law in dealing with this menace would be underlined and prospective mechanism to check the problem highlighted.

§ This study would be an aid to the agencies willing to come up with some projects to tackle this problem.

2. Work with the victims

§ Work concertedly towards tracing the victims. Towards this an inter-state network will need to be developed.

    • Involve police and sympathetic organisation in the rehabilitation of victims.
    • Educate and empower victims to rebuild their lives.

3. Work with communities

§ Develop an information campaign for the communities most affected by the menace of trafficking.

§ Build support groups to avoid trafficking as well as for re-integration of victims in community.

War of Languages in East Timor

Timor with a total area of 15,007 sq kms, is less than 400 km north of Australia, separated from that continent by the Timor Sea. To the northwest lie the Indonesian islands separated by as little as 50 km by the Sawu Sea, while in the northeast the Indonesian islands are separated by Wetar Strait, only 18km away from Atauro, one of the islands of Timor Leste (East Timor). Timor is a part of Australian continental shelf.

East Timor or Timor Leste is a new country with tumultuous past. As any new born country would have, Timor Leste is also facing the challenges of transition into freedom. It has a short history of seven years of independence nurturing under the umbrella of United Nations, which has been existing since 1999 in one or the other form. The UNMIT mission still continues.

The constitution of Timor Leste accepts Tetum (local) and Portuguese as the two official languages. English and Bahasa (Indonesian) have been acknowledged as working languages. It makes a very simple reading on paper, but in actuality the situation in Timor Leste has become volatile and explosive creating a chaos everywhere just because of the preference of specific languages as working and official. There is hardship faced in disbursing of official business and operational work. There is lot of uncertainty about the choice of medium of instruction in meetings; imparting education in schools, universities; conducting workshops, seminar; and consequently there is fallout on daily life. There is indecisiveness amongst the youth about the language they should focus on to build their career. The intellectuals of the country have been questioning the plausibility of the choice of language as official. There had been discussions in the past over the correctness of decision but now it has become an obscure movement questioning the very loyalty of the decision makers towards the country. This uneasiness amongst the intellectuals and discomfort of a common man is a matter of concern and is what bothers. How serious is that concern needs to be examined by understanding the history a bit and the situation prevailing in Timor Leste.


Timor had been a source of sandalwood, honey and wax for Chinese traders since at least the 1300s. The first Portuguese traders reached Timor around 1509 and gradually expanded their influence and made it a full-fledged colony. The process of decolonisation of Timor began in 1974, in the wake of Portugal’s “Carnation Revolution”. East Timorese were given freedom to form their own political parties. The two most prominent parties were Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) and the pro-independence Revolutionary Front for an Independent Timor-Leste (FRETILIN). The former supported gradual independence as well as association with Portugal, and the latter called for full independence. Portugal sought to establish a provisional government and a popular assembly that would determine the status of Timor-Leste, but civil war broke out between the two main political parties and FRETILIN was left with control of Timor-Leste. A unilateral declaration of independence followed on 28 November 1975. Before the declaration could be internationally recognised, however, Indonesian forces invaded and annexed the newly born Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste (RDTL) by making it twenty seventh Indonesian province. Some 60,000 people are believed to have died during the initial period of the invasion.

The UN never recognized this integration, and both the Security Council and the General Assembly called for Indonesia’s withdrawal. Timor-Leste’s official international status remained that of a “non-self-governing territory under Portuguese administration”. FALINTIL, the military arm of FRETILIN, began its guerrilla campaign against the Indonesian forces.

Indonesian rule in Timor-Leste was violent and dictatorial though unlike the Portuguese, favoured strong, direct rule, which was not accepted by the Timorese who were determined to preserve their culture and national identity. Death tolls between 1975 and the early 1980s due to a combination of attacks on civilian population, disease and famine went upto two lakh. In an effort to obtain greater control over its descendants new province Indonesia invested considerable financial resources in Timor-Leste, leading to economic growth averaging 6% per year over the period 1983 to 1997.

In May 5, 1999, UN brokered agreement with Portugal to hold a referendum or “popular consultation” on the options of autonomy within Indonesia or full independence. Despite a sustained intimidation campaign launched by the Indonesian military using “militia” as proxy, on 30 August 1999, the Timorese population voted overwhelmingly for independence (78.5%). The Indonesian armed forces and their militia responded with extra ordinary brutality. The entire territory was laid waste-some 80% of buildings were looted and burned, all government records were lost, and most of the physical structure was destroyed. One third of the population was forcibly displaced to West Timor and other neighboring islands. The rest of the population sought refuge in the mountains.

Independence came, officially, on 20 May 2002 with the inauguration of President and Prime Minister.

UNs Presence

United Nations since agreement signed on 5 May 1999 in New York has remained in Timor-Leste in different forms.

On 11 June 1999, United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNAMET) came into existence to conduct “Popular Consultation”, a referendum to choose between Independence and autonomy under Indonesia. After that on 25 October, the Security Council established the United Nations Transitional Administration in Timor-Leste (UNTAET) as an integrated, multidimensional peacekeeping operation fully responsible for the administration of Timor-Leste during its transition to independence. When Timor-Leste’s independence was restored on 20 May 2002, UNTAET was succeeded by the United Nations Mission of Support in Timor-Leste (UNMISET) established on 17 May 2002 to provide assistance to core administrative structures critical to the viability and political stability of the country and other mandates for post independence support.

The mandate of UNMISET completed in May 2005 and a successor political mission, the United Nations office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL), came into force on 20 May 2005 to support the development of critical State institutions. UNOTIL was scheduled to end its mandate in 2006. However, due to fresh violence and disturbance including assassination bids on President and Prime Minister, On 25 August 2006, United Nations decided to establish the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) to maintain law and order until the national police of Timor Leste (PNTL) could undergo reorganization and restructuring. If the hearsay is to be believed then UNMIT will wind up its mission by 2012.

Language situation

With brief knowledge of history, it will be easy to comprehend the prevailing complexity of languages.

The Portuguese during their colonial rule adopted Tetum as working language, one of the twenty odd local languages of East Timor, along with Portuguese. Tetum spread all over the country with almost 60% of people speaking it and 80% of area covered. Portuguese became an official language but literally understood only to those who had been part of education system or in job. Portuguese adopted a policy of non-interference and education system was not very much developed. Even the propagation of Christianity was in local language, Tetum. Therefore, only those who had been either to schools, colleges or in job under Portuguese, before 1975, knew Portuguese. Tetum however remained the most popular language.

Once Indonesian army took over in 1975, Portuguese language went into oblivion. Indonesians who believed in direct control introduced Bahasa (Indonesian language), though Tetum still continued as popular language. The educational system was developed, institutions established, and Bahasa became a medium of instruction. More East Timorese went to university in Indonesia era than pre 1975 period. Due to their direct involvement Bahasa became a very popular language and almost everybody started speaking and understanding the language. It is estimated that 60% of the East Timorese speak Bahasa. During the Indonesian tyrannical rule almost one third of the country’s population got killed. In the twenty four years of constant war for independence most of the rebels died who belonged to the Portuguese era. A new generation, which grew to become youth, belonged to Bahasa epoch. Portuguese as a language virtually had become a history for most.

In 1999 with the advent of UN mission, English became an official language of operation. It was an English speaking mission. The youth understood the charm of English and they started learning the language, which became an instant hope of employment. The Australian influence on Timor can also not be discounted. The English movies are very popular here and the mass unemployed youth whose passion is to play guitar can be found playing and singing either Bahasa or English songs. Though proper and very reliable census is not available, according to available statistics more than 70% of the population is youth, and average age of Timor Leste is less than twenty, which is more inclined to learn English than Portuguese. Every fifth youth can be seen trying hard to utter few English words to catch attention of the international in this UN Mission area.

The constitutional position

Timor Leste’s Constitution accepts Portuguese and Tetum as official languages and English is the working language. This choice of Portuguese as official language has instigated lot of debate. Here it will be relevant to enumerate the pros and cons, as discussed, for giving Portuguese a constitutional position.

In favour of Portuguese

The clique espousing Portuguese has their own grounds of justification

· Most of the Ex-Portugal colony nations are having Portuguese as one of their official language like in Angola, Mozambique and Brazil. Therefore, it was a natural consequence of decolonolisation, to adopt Portuguese as official language.

· East Timor has a history of Portugal influence for more than five hundred years, since it landed sometime in 1509. The influence still prevails over culture and acceptance of language only fortifies it.

· Portuguese was the language besides Tetum during their rule for centuries. It is argued that Portuguese language will help the youth to understand the history and struggle of East Timor

· Despite the Indonesian annexation, East Timor was considered internationally as, “non-self-governing territory under Portuguese administration”, so the umbilical cord was never severed. The importance is inferred by the fact that UN included Portugal besides Indonesia in the process of brokering for establishing peace, which ultimately resulted in “Popular Consultation” and Independence.

· Along with language, East Timor is adopting Portugal educational system, which will harmonize the development with Europe.

· Portugal will open the gates of Europe to Timor Leste. The citizens will get Portuguese passport which will help free entry into Europe

· Timor Leste still owes to Portugal because they were the first to make appearance to salvage Timor Leste, as biggest donors, when Indonesian’s left after onslaught in 1999, following ‘Popular Consultation”.

Official Position

The President of East Timor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Mr. Ramos Horta during a dialogue with students at the Timor-Leste National University, in Dili, on 03 Aug 2009, commented that students should not consider Portuguese language, which is being used in the country as a new colonial language in Timor-Leste. He stressed that Portuguese language was based on historical identity of Timor-Leste and said the Tetum language still needed to adopt many words from the Portuguese language. He further added that Timorese people should be proud, as many people in the country were mastering many languages. He added that it was necessary for the Government to really use Indonesian language [Bahasa Indonesia] and English as working languages in the country.

In opposition to Portuguese and an alternate theory

· Portuguese is no more a popular language and passed away to oblivion, now known to a few. There will be problem in official business because of dearth of knowledge of the language.

· During Portuguese era only the educated elite and few others spoke Portuguese (around 15% of population) and at the time of independence after 25 years of Indonesian governance the percentage declined to less than 5% and they were principally elders.

· Portuguese being alien to the youth it will take minimum seven to ten years before the youth will be prepared to use the language, the way it is desired. So virtually it means putting hurdles in the development for almost a decade, just because of wrong choice of language, at the time when it is expected for them to take a flying start.

· Clinging to colonial legacy and emotional decisions which may jeopardize development is not a mature decision and contrary to rules of diplomacy

· Tetum, the only language common to all eras is very limited language. The language has only seven thousand words to its vocabulary and the grammar is not developed. Sometimes it becomes very difficult to articulate things as desired in Tetum and the expression is very confusing.

· So both Tetum and Portuguese languages have their own strong limitations which cannot be overlooked.

· English is presumed to be more popular and acceptable by the youth, which constitutes more than 70% of the population.

· Now by making Portuguese a mandatory language in school with Tetum, children are forced to learn three languages minimum; Tetum, Portuguese and English. English is a language of choice of youth. This had overburdened the youth and confused them.

· Bahasa is known to youth and Indonesia being a neighbouring country, Bahasa can be a better choice.

· The door to outer world is IT- access of internet by the youth is in Bahasa language and by some in English.

· When weighed with other languages like Bahasa and English the stakes of Portuguese language is considerably poor.

Why Bahasa or English

· Bahasa is the first choice of language for following reasons.

Ø The call of the day for Timor Leste is to have strong ties with ASEAN countries than trying to woo Europe which is far off land with having nothing in common. Bahasa is the language of communication with all countries neighbouring Timor Leste. It is spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, a bit of Thailand and the like.

Ø The ASEAN countries have exemplary success story to be emulated rather than looking towards Europe which has a totally different culture.

Ø It is estimated that 60% of the East Timorese speak Bahasa and particularly the youth is very comfortable with the language, for it being the medium of instruction in schools during the 25 years Indonesian regime.

Ø 70% of the population being youth and they having knowledge of Bahasa it naturally becomes the first choice. The youth speak this language with love and comfort.

· If Bahasa is discarded by the government due to Indonesian past brutality, then English becomes the second choice for following reasons:

Ø Here the primary factor is the Employment .I have interviewed 50 Timorese boys and girls studying in the university. They prefer learning English to Portuguese. It is looked upon as gateway to employement; in UN agencies, UN and other international NGOs or an opportunity to immigrate outside.

Ø it is internationally accepted language

Ø Timor Leste has strong economic ties with English speaking Australia. Even the main economy of the country i.e. oil and natural gas is being explored by Australia.

Ø Due to presence of UN for almost ten years, English has almost become an undeclared operational language and even the constitution speaks about English being official language.

Ø If at all a new language has to be learnt by the youth then it is always preferable to learn English which is a language of communication across the world and choice of youth. English would open the floodgates of interaction with external world.

Popular opinion

To get a general opinion of the public, particularly on the issue of choice of official language, I talked with around hundred and ten people in Dili, the capital of the country, and Bacau, the second largest town of East Timor (short verbal interview with respondents). They both are the only developed cities of East Timor. 75% of the persons interacted with on the language subject were from Dili. The reason being Dili is the only place in East Timor with universities and other developed educational institutions. 20% of the population of East Timor (Country’s population is around 10 lakh) is in Dili (including floating population), though it occupies hardly any percentage of geographical area of the country. It is surprising to note that more than 70% of vehicles of the country are running on the roads of Dili. Majority of the offices of the Government, United Nations and its agencies, NGOs and other institutions are located in Dili. Despite Bacau being the second biggest and developed city of East Timor there is wide gap in comparison to the capital. This justifies for choosing majority of respondents from Dili.

80% of the selected respondents were youth, below thirty years of age. This was in proportion to the average age of people in Timor. Equal number of males and females were chosen. According to the opinion around 93% of the youth, cutting across the sex, wanted English or Bahasa to be official language. English because it will help them and Bahasa because they knew it. They did not speak Portuguese. Only 2% agreed on Portuguese and rest did not wish to respond. Amongst the 20% elderly respondents only 6% could speak Portuguese. 13% of them thought English would be good for new generation and equally opined Bahasa is language known to youth. Portuguese had historical importance to them.

Serious allegations

A certain group of intellectual who argue on the basis of above mentioned points against the acceptance of Portuguese as official language have further some very serious accusations to make, though in hushed voice and off the record. This is the statement which has all potential to cause a storm in the cup. This intellectual group, (with whom I had lively discussion and have been source of information to me, but who categorically wished to be unquoted) indict the constitutional and executive heads of having vested interest in adopting Portuguese as official language. They blame that the politicians at the helm of affairs have some Portuguese blood in them. Through either of the lineage, paternal or maternal, they are mixed descendants of Portuguese. This mixed people who are called as Mistiço by locals were the blue eyed boys of the Portuguese before Indonesian invasion and have still managed to bag the power by manipulating international support. For all the privileges of the past and present they are now trying to pay back. In fact this dissident group goes to the extent of alleging that influential Mistiço is having some sort of clandestine understanding with the Portugal government to provide them safe passage and political asylum in case of any untoward happening.


The youth of East Timor are in dilemma now. Bahasa plays an important role in the region. English has its own importance as International Language. The knowledge of English is immediately providing them jobs in this poverty stricken country where job opportunities are seldom available.

The view of politically motivated acceptance of constitutional language is finding more buyers now and the disgruntled faction of intellectuals have even started discussing of forming a political group which when time comes would attempt to grab the power. They claim to be organizing themselves and wish to come to power once the UN withdraws; the tentative year speculated is 2012. They opine that it will be a ‘popular movement’ as there is common discomfort over the choice of language. Now the million dollar question is what is going to be the mode of political upheaval, a democratic one through hustings or a coup? Can acknowledgment of Portuguese as official language have such dangerous ramifications? Is there any possibility of endangering the tranquility of a nascent country, the youngest democracy, which still has to come to terms with peace? Does this so-called ‘popular movement’ connote to looming civil disturbance or a crusade? How serious is the problem? It needs to be examined and analyzed at the earliest before it is too late. There has been precedence of countries being carved on the basis of language, Bangladesh being one….

An unfortunate saga of Naxalism

An unfortunate saga of Naxalism

The farfetched solution to the menace of naxalism is still evasive. Is it because of the failure of the repertoire of experts to deliver what was expected of them? The grim situation has further swayed towards worst. We tag it as frustrated backlash of the dominance-losing group. Are we certain if we are winning ground? Blindfolded and waxed ear policy makers, in the past, heard and eyed the expansion of red corridor, cutting across many state boundaries, as law and order problem. It has been branded as socio-economic disparity fallout, which can be settled only through sociological perspective. Is the time yet not ripe to consider it as a threat to the very existence of a State. Unfortunately, has it not snowballed afar from a simple peasant or tribal movement, seeking justice against perennial injustice. Through its modus operandi of mass brutal killing, barbarism and defying the constitutional structures in the name of equality, freedom and liberty, it has become an ultimate challenge to the nation. Even our Union Home Minister agrees that it is the biggest threat to internal security.

The death of 76 CRPF personnel in a well planned ambush and then the blasting of civilian bus, killing hapless citizens, has washed away all the illusions of possible dialogue across the table. I believe it must have left a demolishing impact on the mindset of the soft peddlers. But, in contrary, the Government has back tracked calling for truce. I wonder if it will cut ice, when time and again this approach has miserably failed and in turn strengthened the ultras.

To my surprise the media, besides asking for non-compromising action, has been deluged with the analysts opinion, totally with contrast and contradictory statements, few glorifying the assailants military skills and criticizing the ill planned movement of the victims (in case of CRPF personnel’s killings); and some stopping at the point of sympathy. The main political parties though stood united, earlier, on the issue and called “to go all out” to tackle the problem, but failed to decide on the strategy and actual realm of action. What is the definition of “all out” was left un-described. Now the real politics, which does not mind pushing the state to the verge of destruction, has come into action, calling for developmental approach. The enforcing agencies are, as usual tight lipped for facing the setback, manpower-for a massive loss, material and money- for loss of weapons, vehicles, trained men and above all mental-for a strategic fiasco and consequential all time low morale, which is half the battle in such challenges.

From sociological point of view, every action of human being is loaded with his socio-cultural and economic environment. That does not empower one to negate rule of law of the land. It does not absolve anybody of crime. In stark contrast to naxalism being called as law and order problem in vague sense, it is a direct threat to internal security, a threat to the State. Internal security, which has direct ramifications on our external strength. This is the time when the media and the speakers both should restrain themselves. Every word uttered and written should be weighed and analyzed, gauging if it will hamper, deter, stifle the operations undertaken or to be undertaken to eradicate naxalism. The havoc created by Naxals should no more be treated as action of disgruntled lot in underdeveloped area. Unfortunately, the motive has long back shifted from altruism, support to the needy to vested political interests. The development task, howsoever planned will not reach the beneficiaries because of the thwart from these extremists. They now that development will threaten their existence. The mass support, which they claim, is more under duress than willingness. There should be no compromise of whatsoever nature, and the combat should be with one and only one intention-eradication. No piecemeal approach will fetch the goal. The slogan “all out” must be defined ASAP and rising above regional, factional and political compulsions, action should be taken without wasting time. Nevertheless, the genesis has to be included in the ambit of eradication program- increasing the outreach of development. Or else it will never be weeded out or stopped from relapse.

Veerendra Mishra