Call For Action: Occupy EWS Flats in Delhi

I read with alarm that our honourable Madam Sheila Dikshit and her government have failed to allocate 14,000 flats to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) people in Delhi. Reason? The incompetent government doesn’t know the definition of EWS or can’t make up its mind who it should award the flats to or which section will vote for her if they get the flats.

For the ones who don’t know who exactly can fall under EWS category, here is a note from the Government of India –  “The Minister of State in the Ministry of Urban Development Shri Saugata Roy has said that the Government has recently revised the income ceiling in respect of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) from the earlier limit of ‘upto Rs. 3300’ to ‘upto Rs. 5000’.” This was later revised to 6,000 a month.

Lets take a snapshot of EWS people and those who live in Delhi-

Our maids who cleans our houses, to the garbage collector, to the rickshaw puller who drives us to all the bylanes of Delhi, they all fall under this EWS category. So where do these people live? They live in the many unauthorised slums scattered around the city, they live next to the big garbage dump in Jahangirpuri and many other unknown places. In summers they face the scorching heat, in monsoon their little encampment gets flooded with rain water, in winters they shiver under the chilling Delhi cold. Now all these people would not have to face these difficulties for the last five years if the Delhi government was competent enough and distributed the EWS flats to the people who had duly filled up the forms. I am sure they had to make dozens of rounds of various departments and definitely some small bribe had to paid to get things done. But what do they get after all this? An endless wait because the government can’t decide who falls under EWS. Ask a primary school student and he/she will tell you who is poor.

Power to the people-

Its times like these that the people themselves have to take power in their own hands. If we look back we can see this happened during the Salt March, Civil Rights Movement, Chipko Movement and many more. More important people have waited long enough. 5 years is a long time. People who have registered to get these flats and people who fall under the EWS category should non-violently occupy these flats. They should be steadfast in the non-violent principles, even if they face violence from the authorities. People outside the EWS category (read: civil society, enlightened middle class, social media generation) should come out in support and form the outer layer of occupation.

Yes there will be repercussions from the government. A violent and of course a legal one. But are we afraid? No I am not and I hope neither is anyone. A time comes when silence is betrayal. Lets not betray our future generation, our ideals and surrender to this corrupt and incompetent system.

Shibayan Raha

About.me/shibayan

“There is a point when anybody can become an activist. I mean you see something happen that is so wrong, you have to act. Even if it means the end of you.” – Edge of Darknesss (2010)

More information-

14,000 EWS flats lie vacant for 5 years in Delhi

http://www.firstpost.com/economy/14000-ews-flats-lie-vacant-for-5-years-in-delhi-745611.html

Govt can’t decide who is poor, so 14,000 new flats vacant for 5 years

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/govt-can-t-decide-who-is-poor-so-14000-new-flats-vacant-for-5-years/1109974/

Open Letter To Swami Agnivesh: I Am A Meat Eater But Not A Rapist

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To Swami Agnivesh,

Bandhua Mukti Morcha 7,

Jantar Mantar Road,

New Delhi-110001

Date- April 27, 2013

Namaste Swamiji,

Apologies for writing in English Swamiji. Since we are uneducated, urban, not-so-young people who eat meat and drink beer all the time; we prefer English as well. You might not remember me, though we have met quite a few times. I have even come to your office in Jantar Mantar. But that’s okay. I am one of those many meat eating, alcohol friendly youth whom you always dislike :)

I happened to read your statement in Times of India, “Rapes will come down if people shun meat, alcohol: Swami Agnivesh”. I won’t go into your reasons behind it as you know it much better than me. Your statement didn’t sound astonishing to me at all. Actually, you also followed the tradition of our dear politicians and some other swamiji’s who had taken the easy way out to blame women and other useless factors for the ongoing rape culture in this country. Let me give you some brief information about me and my Bengali culture. We are hardcore fish and mutton eaters. It’s like our religion. Bengalis can shun vegetables but they will never shun fish. My father is also one of them. But guess what Swami Jee, my father never indulged in any kind of violence against anyone, forget women. The work I am doing today is also because he inspired me in a way. He leads a righteous life and eats a lot of fish and meat. I his son, an organiser/activist, am also a hardcore non-veg consumer and a hardcore drinker in a way. I can drink beer like its water. Vodka and Gin are like amrit to me. But guess what? Till today I haven’t been involved in any kind of violent acts, forget about violence against women. I have drank and ate meat with my female friends but they have all been safe in my company. Actually, friends call me a ladies man since my quota of female friends is more than male friends. No one has ever complained that Shibayan is a misogynist or a violent man.

You have also quoted some report by a Japanese scientist. May I request you to make it public and put it forward for public debate? If nothing, but just for the sake of vindicating your stand. Will you please do it Swami Jee?

Let me quote my Kashmiri friend here to put everything in context: “Rape happens because rapists can get away with it. Everything else is just eyewash”

If time permits, I and a couple of friends are planning to organise an open air party in Jantar Mantar right outside your office. We plan to bring lot of meat and plenty of alcohol. We will send you a proper invitation to join us. Please do attend when it happens. Don’t worry, we will include some tasty vegetarian dishes too since we respect your choice.

With Love and Freedom,

Shibayan
Meat eater and Lover of Corona Beer

 

The Open Letter was also published by Youth Ki Awaaz: Mouthpiece for the Youth

 

A Reply to Dhruv Arora

Taken into preventive custody for posing a National Security Threat, Le Meridian Hotel, New Delhi, April 17th, 2008, 4.50am.

Taken into preventive custody for posing a National
Security Threat, Le Meridian Hotel, New Delhi, April 17th, 2008, 4.50am.

Namaste Dhruv Jee,

You might not know me well though we have met quite a few times but I do hope that you will take some time out of your busy schedule to read my mail. I happened to read your post on Gotstared.at regarding your protest on 21st April –  21st April 2013: The Day I Realized I Am No Longer a Part of a Democratic Nation. It was profound and I hope your post inspires many others in this country to do what is needed today. Though I must say that I am in a way quite happy about how things are happening. Happy in the sense that young people like you and many others are realising that democracy in this country is more or less dead. But for me this democracy died long back. As the nation and its youth are seeing today how the political masters of this country behaves when their rule is questioned, we have witnessed this long back. For me and many of the refugees staying here, democracy is more or less non-existent.

Every time a Chinese leader visits India restrictions are placed on movements of Tibetans and supporters. The Tibetan colony in Delhi is sealed and RAF battalion is placed. No one is allowed to come out or go in. Our phone communications are monitored and so is our movements. For me democracy died that day when I was picked up in the middle of the night in April 2008 while I was addressing the press near Jantar Mantar. The ones who took me away were wearing civilian clothes and neither had any id with them. For 24 hrs or less I was in a cell in Parliament street which even lacked the basic amenities like proper drinking water and a functioning loo. We were not taken to any court but rather forced to sign a paper which was written in India. When asked the ACP told me that we have become a threat to national security and the government is sending us to 14 days preventive custody. We were sent to Tihar Jail, Ward no. 7. My democratic rights were taken away that day in full public glare. Indians young and old told me that day well you have to behave you know. The chinese are our guests and we believe in Athithi-Devo-Bhava. Democracy died again in jail (if there is anything called 2nd death), when I had a severe asthma attack and instead of a proper check up I was declared to be an acute TB patient and send to the Delhi TB hospital. Luckily for me the attending cop in the van decided to show me the papers and ask what exactly was wrong with me. I was saved but there were four inmates who were not lucky that year. Allegedly they died of wrong TB treatment. In jail I met a Tibetan who had nothing to do with protests. He was simple guy who was coming back from home along with his Nepali colleagues from Noida after work. The cops picked all of them but later let the Nepali folks go. The SHO told their boss that the Tibetan guy couldn’t be released since he has orders to put any Tibetan in jail for next many days. But no written copy of the order was shown. We heard similar stories from other Tibetans in Tihar and trust me there were close to 700 Tibetans in Tihar then.

Brother for us democracy died long back. I am in no way trying to put your efforts down. But rather I must say that I am happy about what you did and that you have inspired me.  As I say in my talks with young people that at least once in a lifetime you should be imprisoned for a good cause. These experiences teach us a lot of valuable things.

I am ready and can’t wait for the day when I will walk with you and many others to break laws, barricades that are unjust, be tear gassed, be water hosed and if needed to be shot at for defending and upholding our rights. Our rights to a non-violent protest, our rights to bring back our much cherished democracy

Here is a quote that defines me and many others – “There is a point when anybody can become an activist. I mean you see something happen that is so wrong, you have to act. Even if it means the end of you.” – Edge of Darknesss (2010)

With Love and Freedom,

Shibayan

P.S- Since I am a school dropout I have no sense of grammar or knowledge of punctuation. So there will be many errors and I request you to ignore them. Also if you feel there is a problem with what I have written please get back to me. Don’t file a defamation suit or an application under IT Act. I can’t afford to hire a lawyer now

This letter got published in Gotstared.at.

The Power to Change the World is Within Us!

Yesterday I posted this image on a Facebook page I manage. Within minutes I could see many likes and dozen more shares. After 24hrs the virility went up to 36%. Here the question comes why did it resonate with people so much ? Answer is simple.

People in India and around the world tend to forget the power to change something lies within us. We elect politicians but we forget that they are answerable to us. We forget the moment the politicians go astray we can pull them down by their collar. This picture depicts an image where an individual is standing on a plank shouting on a mike. He seems to forget the moment his audience starts walking away he will just fall down. One man starts walking and it will only be a matter of time the rest follows him. Once no one is balancing the plank he will just fall down.

 

If you feel motivated, eager to learn more then you can join the Facebook Page and tell others to like it.

The Pune Blasts that broke my Heart Again !!

Just as all us who work closely with the Tibetan Movement was gearing up for Losar the next day, a blast ripped off the popular German Bakery in Pune on Saturday evening killing eight people instantly and injuring many others including many foreigners. Among the victims were three youngster’s from Kolkata. The news ripped my heart again as does any other cases of violence. I remembered my visit to Pune in August 2009, when I had gone to visit the new formed SFT Pune chapter. It was the height of swine flu pandemic in Pune and everyone around was wearing mask on their face. Instantly I liked the place, small and pleasant it was, people were friendly as were the autowallahs. My hosts, the students studying in different colleges in Pune told me that the city was the hub of international students as students from France, Ghana, Senegal and even China come there to study. After our meetings got over they also took me to the German Bakery where the blasts happened. It was a quiet, lightly dimmed place with the smell of freshly baked cakes, coffee’s which made me fall in love with that  place. I  don’t remember what I took but we sat in the corner and as Tselha and Pelzom was talking I just looked around seeing every corner of the place, the décor, the glasses,the walls, people sitting and reading books, talking or couples talking to each other. At the bus stop I told Tselha that I will come again if not anything but to see the city and visit the Bakery again.

I skipped the next days newspapers as I do after any blasts that happen. I don’t have a specific reason for this but maybe I don’t like how the media rakes up people’s emotions, bringing stories how the victim’s families have cried or a near one collapsed.

But my eyes caught  the picture of the youngster’s from the city who died. Youngsters who had a long life before them, a life they wanted to live, do what they want, become something or someone and looking at their pictures made me even more sad. After all why ?? Why some people needs to bomb innocents caught so harm ?? As usual the extreme right are calling for war with Pakistan or a stop to recently accounced talks.

Fundamentalists, who did this blast and the ones before call this “Jihad” or Holy war against infidels. If I ever meet these guys I will surely ask them what do they mean by Jihad?? I am not a religious one and neither I am muslim, neither I have any particular religion. For me any worship place of any religion is a place for me too. My knowledge tells me this-

Jihad is the fight against your inner self, the negative energy that’s inside you

Jihad is to bring the purest form in you.

No religion has ever said to kill people from other religion. For God we are all his/her child. We are all the same. Its us who have started this and its us who have to stop this.

Let us not talk of violence when something violent like this happens. Let us not talk about vengeance or retribution. Let us all come together and pray for the departed souls and for those who have some been swayed into these heinous acts, for them to realize their true being and realize their mistake.

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In Memory of the blast victims in Pune. My dear brothers and sisters you will always be remembered in our hearts and prayers.