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Bharat Bandh- Dalit OutRage
 Suraj Kumar  
 4 April 2018  

At least nine persons were killed and scores injured Monday as Dalit anger exploded on the streets in different parts of the country on the day the Centre filed a petition in the Supreme Court, asking it to review its March 20 order that called for changes in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.Protesting this alleged dilution of the law, Dalits tried to enforce a Bharat Bandh and its impact was felt most in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Punjab. They repeatedly clashed with police and blocked rail and road traffic at several places. In the violence that followed, vehicles and public properties, including police posts, were torched.Places in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana witnessed buses being set on fire, trains stopped, curfews imposed and internet services restricted, even as police cane-charged protesters. The Centre has already filed a review petition against the changes made to the Act by the SC to "prevent its misuse", and Union Law MinisterRavi Shankar Prasad on Monday said the government will argue the matter with “full authority”.But the protests we are witnessing across most of the country are not just over the Act. They are born of an anger that has been gathering momentum over the years — sparked by various incidents and allowed to fester, even aggravated, by an insensitive government.According to the latest available National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, crimes against SCs went up by 5.5 percent in 2016 (40,801) over 2015 (38,670). Crimes against Scheduled Tribes saw a spike of 4.7 percent, (6,568 in 2016 over 6,276 in 2015). According to a study of the same data, in India, a crime is committed against Dalits every 15 minutes, and six Dalit women are raped every day.Of these thousands of incidents, some emerged as flashpoints over the past two-three years, witnessing a coming together of Dalits and the emergence of a younger, vocal leadership.Dalit groups across the country have taken to the streets, declaring a “Bharat Bandh” in response to the alleged “dilution” of the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, after the Supreme Court on March 20, 2018, banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the legislation which seeks to protect members of scheduled castes and tribes against discrimination and abuse.On the one hand, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, under pressure from both the Opposition and within the NDA announced that the government does not agree with the Supreme Court's decision and has filed a strong, comprehensive review petition. (Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi had said, “It is in the DNA of the RSS/BJP to keep Dalits at the lowest level in Indian society. Anyone who challenges this thought is crushed with violence. Our Dalit brothers and sisters are today on the streets demanding protection of their rights from the Modi Government. We salute them.”)On the other hand, the agitations on the street have taken a turn for the violent.Madhya PradeshAs per reports, the protests have left four dead in Madhya Pradesh's Morena, adding that curfew had been imposed in the area. In Madhya Pradesh, curfew was also imposed in parts of Gwalior and Section 144 (prohibiting assembly of more than four people in the area) in Sagar. Madhya Pradesh's Bhind also witnessed stone pelting and vandalism. Shots were also fired during protests in Gwalior.PunjabIn Punjab, the Amarinder Singh government has stepped up security measures, including deferring the CBSE Class 10 and Class 12 examinations. "Taking cognizance of the letter of the director general (school education), the CBSE decided to postpone all class 12 and 10 examinations scheduled for April 2, 2018, in the state of Punjab," it said in a statement issued late in last night. The Punjab government also ordered the suspension of bus services and mobile internet services.Delhi and Uttar PradeshAs per a PTI report, Dalit protesters squatted on tracks in several places outside Delhi, stopping trains, including the Dehradun Express and the Ranchi Rajdhani, as part of their agitation. Many trains, such as Saptakranti Express, Utkal Express and the Bhubaneswar and Ranchi Rajdhani as well as the Kanpur Shatabdi, were stopped ahead of Ghaziabad in Meerut and Modinagar.Clashes also broke out between the protesters and the police in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. Mobs also disrupted trains at the Hapur station, where the movement of many goods trains was affected.Other statesAnd not just MP, things are far from calm across the country. In Jaipur, Rajasthan, a showroom was vandalized. In addition, clashes between the protestors and the police broke out in Ranchi, Jharkhand. Protestors in Odisha's Sambalpur blocked the movement of trains. As violence remains unchecked, reports suggest that at least three people, including two policemen, were injured during a “lathi charge” in Ajmer, Rajasthan after the protestors attacked first with stones.Reports also suggest that a youth died in police firing in Alwar and internet services have been suspended in the area. While there has been criticism for the arson, the vandalism, and the violence, the “Bharat Bandh” in general has received the support of many. After all, atrocities against Dalits, Bahujans, and Adivasis in the country have certainly seen a spike — it is hard to deny this sad reality considering the year began with mass violence against Dalits in Bhima-Koregaon.The merits, demerits and the inconveniences of a countrywide “bandh” can debate all day long. What is, however, more important, is to understand the potential harm caused by the Supreme Court in its attempt to “prevent misuse of law”.The SC/ST Act remains in place because of millennia of systemic oppression that continues to make its presence felt even in this supposed “post-caste” India of 2018. 

Everything you need to know about Prabhat Ranjan
 StoryMirror Feed  
 14 April 2018  

Prabhat Ranjan is a Hindi novelist from Bihar. He entered the writing scene with his debutnovel With You; Without You in the winter of 2017 and since the launch of his debut novel,his popularity as an author has only reached new heights.A less talkative person, Prabhat Ranjan comes from a family with a political background andhis father is a senior politician. An engineer by profession, Prabhat has been writing shortstories and poems way before he finally decided to enter the field of writing formally with afull-length fiction. Nevertheless, as an engineer, Prabhat did not let himself be aloof ofliterature - he is a serious reader as well as a serious author and he wants to contributemore and more with his pen.Already finished his second novel, Prabhat Ranjan's writing style is very different from otherfiction writers out there. He has uniqueness! His writings are not only meant to create abestselling fiction; he has his purposes in every word he writes. Even with the first novel,which subsequently became a bestseller, he had a very good message to deliver to the reading audience. The novel is not only about love and friendship, it is also about the depths of relationships. With You; Without You shares a message with the readers that the need of family and the need of good company in life can never be substituted with anything!To put things in a better perspective, Prabhat is from that old school of writers with hisimagination not limited to a certain theme or story. He does write with the purpose but hedoes not limit himself to write only the moral stories which seem like a preacher's sermon;his stories do have the elements which make them contemporary and offer the youngreaders something to relate to.In developing characters, Prabhat does have a speciality! In his first novel, he has proved tothe readers as well as to critics that his characterisation is unique and he gives ampleopportunity to his characters to converse, indulge, move on and eventually change. In thevery first novel, his character Nishind has impressed the readers a lot. The character ofNishind is designed in such a way that readers know he might be doing something wrongbut instead of denouncing his acts, readers develop a kind of sympathy for him. This is thebeauty of his character. Another character that impresses the readers is of Rashmi Desai -an independent working woman who braves the bad relations of her parents and the wrongdeeds of her friends but still manages to fulfil her dreams and reach the heights that she hasimagined for herself in the very childhood.In the terms of plot construction, nonetheless, the readers can surely expect somethingbetter only. As the author has himself admitted in many of his interviews, With You;Without You was just a staircase that he has used for himself to write something bigger - hisupcoming story, Priyanka - A Pakistani Girl. Therefore, the plot in his first novel does notimpress as does his story or his characterisation. Still, his plot is there to certainly be calledgood and it helps the construct of the novel; it surely holds the story and the characterstogether but can certainly be improved to betterment.Putting Prabhat Ranjan's entry into Hindi literature in a larger perspective certainly gives thereaders something new as a concept of Hindi literature. More and more young and energetic writers are coming who are willing to write in Hindi and offer the readers the works which deal with the issues other authors, in the past, did not wish to write. Prabhat's dealing with the issues like sex, love, divorce, family issues in vivid perspective is certainly new and encouraging for the overall contemporary Hindi literature. One can certainly argue that there were the authors who wrote on all these issues, but one must remember that they did not write as freely as the modern authors are doing. And it is certainly very good because of the modern readers want to read everything!And to conclude the contribution of Prabhat to Hindi literature and his current one, WIthYou; Without You, it can safely be said that he has a long road to go. Only after two of threemore of his works, a person will be in better position to judge him as an author and evaluatehis skills at writing. Nonetheless, assumptions can certainly be made based on his novelwhich has already been published and has become a bestseller! The debutants who becomebestsellers certainly require a scrutiny and one similar attempt has been made here. Wehope that we will soon have another book by Prabhat Ranjan to read!

StoryMirror in conversation with author Ankit Jaiswal
 StoryMirror Feed  
 21 February 2019  
Art

Q:Please give details about your initial education and forming years of life.A: I am a student currently pursuing my B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, BHU, Varanasi. I completed my elementary education from my hometown itself in Bihar. For my secondary education and JEE preparation, I went to Sri Chaitanya, Vishakhapatnam               Q: How did you get interested in literature? What inspired you to write? A: It was under the light of my teachers, in class eighth, where my interest in literature grew. But my maturity in poetry owes its presence to the couple of years I spent preparing for JEE. It was here when solitude became my best companion, and I composed poems prolifically. Q: What difficulties did you have to face with respect to literary work? A: I love to ponder over things and discuss about them. I am an avid reader of the writers of the Renaissance era and romantic poets, and I have found them the most difficult to comprehend. My urge to write sometimes also clashes with my academic schedule, but I try to manage both effectivelyQ: What is your view about the present-day literary work?A: When it comes to contemporary writers and modern literature, I love them equally, as I find their work symbolic of the society, I live in. I usually trifle with my mobile phone a lot these days reading random poets and authors, and it's their work only from which I learn.Q: Do you think that the emergence of digital and social media has given a new opportunity to creative writers? A: I strongly believe that the emergence of digital and social media platforms has helped budding writers to reach out to a large number of readers. It has helped them to establish themselves before they got published. I too am no exception in this.Q: Please tell us something about your literary work.A: My writings mostly reflect what an ordinary person would usually overlook. I try to find poetry in almost everything around myself. As is the case with most of the writers, initially the theme of my poems used to be centered around 'love', but now I write about a number of topics, including love, Nature, past experiences, desires etc.Q: What was your first literary work and how was it published? A: I remained a 'recluse' poet for almost over a span of five years since I began writing, but now have started reaching out to the people, thanks to the various social media platforms. My poem titled 'Meera' is getting published in an anthology by Delhi Poetry Slam soon, and I am very ecstatic about it. I also maintain a page quivering glimpses on Instagram, where I usually post most of my worksQ: Where do you see yourself after 5 years in the literary world?A There are several things on my mind which I wish to achieve in the next five years. The foremost thing is to build a readership for me. Till then I am in no mood to get myself published. Since I have started lately reaching out to people, I guess I would need some years to get recognized among the readers. But to be honest, after five years, I want myself to be sitting in the sun and reading a book of my own. Plus having completed reading around 150 books. Q: What ways would you suggest on building a community for poets?A: I strongly advocate the use of social networking sites for building a community for poets. Since the talent is strewn across the globe, to bring them together one needs a platform. And I can't think of a better option than these social sites. I also urge the conduction of various literary activities, book festivals and workshops, where poets can come together, showcase their works and learn too from others.Q: What message would you like to give to aspiring new writers? A To the aspiring new writers, I would ask them to always remember ' A writer is a reader first '. Before you write, read as much as you can. Trying to express oneself requires words, and these books are what gives you, your treasure. Additionally, never try to constrain yourself in the maze of 'writing for others'. Write what you love to write about as it what that will give you satisfaction. Be a poet at heart!Q: How was your experience of writing on StoryMirror? A: My experience of writing here was pretty good. It offers a platform for anybody who wants to write and get recognized. And since it incorporates all the major languages, you can choose any language you want to write in. There are contests too which are held regularly, so you get to learn many things which make you better.Q: Would you like to say something about StoryMirror? A: I would wish StoryMirror good luck for future and love to see it growing to one of the biggest platforms for writers across the globe.Here is the link to read my content https://storymirror.com/profile/ftlohpee/ankit-jaiswal/poems

StoryMirror in conversation with author Abhishek Gupta
 StoryMirror Feed  
 27 February 2019  
Art

Please give details about your initial education and forming years of life.I grew up in my hometown Khagaria, Bihar and got my primary education there. Then moved to Bokaro for secondary education in Commerce from Chinmaya Vidyalaya and did b.com from PGDAV College, Delhi University.How did you get interested in literature? What inspired you to write?  While reading Chetan Bhagat's 'Two States' I got the epiphany to be a writer. I firmly believe in the power of words so to spread love and bring positivity inspired me to write.What difficulties did you have to face with respect to literary work? To find a platform for sharing my contents.What is your view about the present day literary work? It is growing in India and we still need to travel a long way.Do you think that the emergence of digital and social media has given a new opportunity to creative writers? Yes, of course! Digital and social media is a perfect platform for creative writers to express themselves and reach a wider audience. Please tell us something about your literary work. My literary works are inspired by my own experiences and observations.What was your first literary work and how was it published? It was a short story titled 'Born With Enough' and it was digitally published on StoryMirror. How many ways literature can contribute to society in future? It can contribute in many ways and most importantly it can inspire every individual to become a better human being.Where do you see yourself after 5 years in the literary world?  Published author of at least three love sagas.What ways would you suggest to build a community for poets? By conducting different contests continuously.What message would you like to give to aspiring new writers? Read a lot and take time to understand the genre you want to write about. How was your experience of writing on StoryMirror?  It has been an amazing journey and most importantly through the contests StoryMirror has taught me the importance of perseverance and continuity.Would you like to say something about StoryMirror? Thank you for proving an amazing platform for amateur writers.Here is the link to read my content https://storymirror.com/profile/qbungmvg/abhishek/stories