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Archives for : May2018

  People who are delusional, dogmatic, or religious fundamentalists are more likely to believe fake news

Plus: “Women over 65 years write very rude things on the internet.”

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

People prone to psychosis are also more likely to believe fake news. Is there a certain kind of person who is more likely to believe fake news? Yes: “Belief in fake news was associated with increased endorsement of delusion-like ideation,” according to a working paper from Yale’s Michael Bronstein, Gordon Pennycook, Adam Bear, Tyrone Cannon, and David Rand, presented at the recent Schizophrenia International Research Conference.

From the paper:

Two studies with over 1,000 participants suggested that individuals who endorse delusion-like ideas (e.g., thinking that people can communicate telepathically), as well as dogmatic individuals and religious fundamentalists, are more likely to believe fake news.

These studies also suggested that two related forms of thinking may protect against belief in fake news: The first, actively open-minded thinking, involves the search for alternative explanations and the use of evidence to revise beliefs. The second, analytic thinking, involves deliberate thought processes that consume memory resources.

Reduced engagement in these forms of thinking partially explained the increased belief in fake news among individuals who endorsed delusion-like ideas, and fully explained increased belief in fake news among dogmatic individuals and religious fundamentalists. These results imply that existing interventions designed to increase actively open-minded and analytic thinking might be leveraged to help prevent the deleterious effects of belief in fake news.

The researchers used Mechanical Turk to study two groups of 500 people. They were asked to rate the accuracy of 12 fake news headlines as well as a set of real news headlines, and were also tested on four other measures: a shortened version of the actively openminded thinking scale, a measure of dogmatism (“The things I believe in are so completely true, I could never doubt them”), a measure of religious fundamentalism (“The basic cause of evil in this world is Satan, who is still constantly and ferociously fighting against God”), and the Peters et al. Delusion Inventory (questions like “Do you ever feel as if there is a conspiracy against you?”) And they took the cognitive reflection test. Participants in the second group of people also took two additional tests.

It turns out that people who “endorse delusion-like ideation” are more likely to believe fake news — as are “dogmatic individuals and religious fundamentalists.” “The vulnerability of these individuals to belief in fake news was fully explained by their tendency to engage in less analytic and actively open-minded thinking…” the authors write. “The present studies suggest that delusion-prone and dogmatic individuals, as well as religious fundamentalists, are more likely than others to believe fake news in large part because they exhibit reduced analytic and actively open-minded thinking. This suggestion points to potential interventions that may keep individuals from falling for fake news and lays the groundwork for future fake news research.”

It seems as if this paper could cause a lot of people to…get very angry very fast. I asked Rand to go over the biggest caveats with me — what he thinks people should definitely keep in mind before drawing big conclusions. Here’s his email back to me:

(i) Correlation vs causation — We definitely can’t (and aren’t trying) to say that being delusional, dogmatic, or a religious fundamentalist causes you to believe fake news. What we definitely are saying is that these things tend to co-occur. In terms of what causes what, we can’t say anything definitive. What we do is provide circumstantial (correlational mediation) evidence that supports a story whereby being less open-minded/reflective leads simultaneously to all of these things — delusionality, believing fake news, being dogmatic, and being a religious fundamentalist — and explains some/all of why they are correlated with each other.

(ii) The size of the correlations isn’t huge. That is, it’s not like “Oh, you scored highly on the delusionality scale, so that means you’ll believe all fake news headlines” or “oh, you are a religious fundamentalist, so you’ll believe all fake news headlines.” But at the same time, the correlations aren’t nothing.

To give a sense of the size of these relationships, see these plots which show accuracy ratings of fake news stories among the bottom 20 percent versus top 20 percent of scorers on delusionality, dogmatism, and religious fundamentalism. You’ll see that (a) even from the most delusional/dogmatic/fundamentalism subjects, a majority of ratings say fake news is inaccurate (i.e., the proportion of ratings which are ‘Not at all accurate’ or ‘not very accurate’ is greater than 0.5 in all cases); but (b) the most delusional subjects are twice as likely as the least delusional subjects to rate fake news stories as Very Accurate (and 50 percent more likely to rate fake news stories as ‘Somewhat accurate’ or ‘Very accurate.’)

“Misogyny is both the input and output that keeps the fake news industry afloat.” For Refinery 29Nicola Pardy argues that “the use of women’s imagery in the fake news industry points to a…system of gender-based degradation.” I’m not totally convinced by the stories presented here — I’m not sure misogyny is worse in this environment than it is elsewhere, and this story didn’t convince me otherwise — but I am fascinated by how gender and misogyny play into the creation and spread of, and our conversations about, misinformation, and I’d love to see more research into it.

The Nordic way. The Nordic Council of Ministers released “Fighting Fakes — The Nordic Way,” a report on what Scandinavian countries can do (building on a meeting in Copenhagen last fall). I was struck by how much gender factors into the report. From the intro, for instance: “In many decades in the Nordic countries, we have developed a system of self-regulation for the media and an environment of trust. However, this system would start to erode if we lower our guard to protect gender, and we need to make sure everyone in our society, especially children and youth, actively can participate in the public debate. Countering social media hate speech, and terror propaganda, and strongly protecting personal data from being illegally used by third parties, is key.”

And this:

“Women over 65 years write very rude things on the internet.” This somewhat surprising headline in Svenska Dagbladet was also the conclusion after one year of work by the Swedish network for research on hate on the internet, Nätverket Näthatsgranskaren. They too were surprised by this finding. Their best explanation was that these women are the true victims of ‘fake news.’ They are not accustomed to fake journalism-like content, they are not trained in investigating the sources and, they believe in what they read.

The original article is here; from what I can tell after a bunch of Google Translating, it seems that the network, which monitors social media for hate speech and threats, has traced a surprising number of these threats to older women. In 2017, the network “made 770 police reports against about 600 different people. The number of suspected crimes amounts to almost 2,000,” the Swedish newspaper Eskilstuna Kuriren reported. About 15 to 20 percent of the suspected crimes were attributed to women, according to that article

People who are delusional, dogmatic, or religious fundamentalists are more likely to believe fake news

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Karnataka -BJP fielding highest number of candidates with criminal record


In an election where the issue of corruption has been under constant spotlight, the party’s choice of CM candidate and the rehabilitation of the Reddy brothers speaks volumes.



At an election rally in Karnataka’s Gadag on May 5, campaigner-par-excellence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, attacked the Congress over graft, saying the party has built a “corruption tank that was filled with money looted from people in Karnataka, whose pipeline opened directly in Delhi”.

While the BJP has led the way, the Congress has not done much better. Photo: PTIWhile the BJP has led the way, the Congress has not done much better. Photo: PTI

The prime minister also accused the Congress of selling poll tickets and the chief minister’s post through a tender process to the highest bidder.

One wonders what the PM would say about his own party, which has given the most number of tickets to leaders with criminal backgrounds and crorepatis, a fact that was revealed after an analysis of candidates’ poll affidavits by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) along with Karnataka Election Watch.

According to the ADR report: “Among major parties, 83 (37 per cent) out of 224 candidates from BJP, 59 (27 per cent) out of 220 candidates analysed from Indian Nataional Congress, 41 (21 per cent) out of 199 candidates analysed from Janata Dal Secular (JDS), five (20 per cent) out of 25 candidates analysed from Janata Dal United (JDU), five (19 per cent) out of 27 candidates analysed from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and 108 (10 per cent) out of 1,090 independent candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.”

Among moneybags too, the BJP has led the way, though the Congress was not too far behind, in an election in which 33 per cent candidates are crorepatis. Of the BJP’s 223 candidates, 208 (93 per cent) have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore. A total of 207 (94 per cent) of the 220 candidates from the Congress, 154 (77 per cent) of the 199 candidates from Janata Dal Secular and 199 (18 per cent) of the 1,090 independents have declared assets worth over Rs 1 crore.

In an election where the issue of corruption has been under constant spotlight, the BJP’s choice of CM candidate and the rehabilitation of the Reddy brothers betrays the fact that the nexus between money, muscle power and politics is strengthening instead of weakening.

Mining taint on clean governance  

For the BJP, the report flies in the face of everything that the party professes on the national stage. The Karnataka campaign by its star campaigners – PM Modi and Amit Shah – has betrayed a rather hysterical note. While Shah has made uncharacteristic mistakes – he called the party’s CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa “the most corrupt” – Modi has accused the Congress of defaming Bellary “even though it was well-governed between the 14th and 17th centuries”.

This is possibly because the “clean governance” party has been on the back foot over its obvious inability to do without Yeddyurappa and the mining baron trio of the Reddy brothers, whose scams and scandals had brought down the last BJP government in Karnataka.

While the BJP’s fortunes in the once Congress stronghold of Bellary have been built almost entirely on the money of the mining-scam accused Reddys, the ADR report now shows criminal taint on the party in other constituencies too.  As it relentlessly chases its dream of a Congress-mukt Bharat, Karnataka is an important prize. Thus, while claims of clean governance dominate campaigns, money and muscle are deciding candidates.

The Congress has not done any better. Percentage-wise, it has fielded the most number of millionaire candidates, with the three richest candidates – Priya Krishna, from Govindarajanagar constituency, with assets worth Rs 1,020 crore, N Nagaraju from Hosakote, with assets worth Rs 1,015 crore, and the state energy minister DK Shivakumar from Kanakapura, with assets ruuing into Rs 840 crore – all belonging to it.

Karnatakas’s average per capita income, according to the state government’s latest economic survey (2015–16), is Rs 1,26,976.

It is anybody’s guess as to how much are these crorepati candidates likely to connect with the issues concerning the aam aadmi.

Criminality has long been an accepted part of Indian politics. According to a study published in The Economist, over the past three general elections in our country, a “candidate with a rap sheet of serious charges has had an 18 per cent chance of winning his or her race, compared with six per cent for a ‘clean’ rival.”

Post 2014, the country’s politics has seen a transformational shake-up, with BJP capturing state after state and reshaping the public narrative around dominant issues. However, as far as money and crime in politics are concerned, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

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Modi’s Failures: The Skill Development Disaster- Rs 12,000 crore down the drain #WTFnews

The flagship skilling program PMKVY has been a spectacular failure.
Narendra Modi
Image Courtesy: Maps of India

With Rs.12,000 crore funding from the govt., Prime Minister Modi’s favourite skill development program has turned into a disaster. Called the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), it has trained 41.3 lakh persons in the past three years. Only 6.15 lakh of them have got jobs, according to a reply given by Dharmendra Pradhan, minister for skill development, in the Rajya Sabha on 28 March this year. That’s a placement rate of a measly 15%.

skill india11.png

The objective of this much publicised program is to provide “industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood”. An ambitious target of training 1 crore youth was set spanning a period of four years, 2016 to 2020.

The program was actually launched in 2015 but very soon it became clear that it was riven with all kinds of flaws. Private entities were given roles of skill training centers, no track of their work was kept and the whole thing looked like a wreck. Then, the minister in charge Rajiv Pratap Rudy was unceremoniously sacked and the program was refurbished. It took the form of PMKVY 2.0.

It is functioning through over 500 skill development centers spread across 485 districts. Training is provided in over 2000 “job roles” which range from Electronics and Hardware, Apparel, Beauty and Wellness, Agriculture, Retail, Logistics, Leather, Telecom, Security, Textiles and Handlooms, etc. There is partnership with industry, there is use of digital portals for coordination, there is background data on which state or industry needs how many skilled people (‘skill gap’).

In short all the hallmarks of a modern, management techniques imbued data based, IT driven program of the sort that PM Modi is so enamoured of are present in PMKVY. Yet it has faltered and collapsed. Why?

There was – and remains – a fatal flaw in Modi govt.’s thinking, which is incredible if you really think about it. Skills will be useful only if there are jobs. No amount of skilling of people will help if finally they don’t find a job. And, we all know that jobs are scarce in India today. In fact, the failure of the skill program is proof of that.

Modi and his advisers probably got taken in by their dreams of ‘Make in India’ and Start Up India and MUDRA loans. They started believing that all that was needed was skilled labour because capital was just straining at the leash to get down to productive business in India.

Perhaps they thought that self-employment would explode once people have skills. This seems to be the case because repeatedly Modi and his associates talk of self-employment. In fact they have launched several schemes (about which Newsclick will report later) for promoting self-employment.

But according to the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), 76% of those who were placed after undergoing training in PMKVY got wage employment and only 24% could set up there own businesses. According to Rajesh Agarwal, joint secretary in the skill development ministry, just 10,000 of all those trained under PMKVY this year applied for MUDRA loans, meant for self-employment.

Modi and his advisers should have known better. Perhaps they were taken in by the clamour of Indian industrialists that they can’t find ‘employable’ people which actually meant that they were not willing to pay enough to get the right people. Perhaps they swallowed the prevailing thought in the West that your income and your future depends on your skills.

Whatever be the case, Modi and his advisers have made a grave mistake and the country is paying for it.

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Shattering the myth of ‘Canada the Good’

Migrant labour programmes expose the colonial construction of a country seen by many as tolerant of diversity.


Many like to think of Canada as being “tolerant of diversity”, a champion of human rights and a land of opportunity for those willing to work hard and play by the rules, which are presumed to be fair. It is the myth of “Canada the Good” and it prevails despite repeated truths to the contrary.

One of the reasons why Canada is able to maintain this international reputation is because those who live the lie are silenced. But my films try to challenge this, bringing the voices of those who have long been ignored, marginalised or erased to the foreground.

My documentary, Migrant Dreamsfocuses primarily on a group of Indonesian agricultural workers brought to Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

The film aims to start a conversation about the relationship between labour, race, class and settlement through the prism of the country’s migrant worker programmes.

I use the word “settlement” instead of “immigration” to draw our attention to the colonial history and ongoing colonial reality of the Canadian state. This is indigenous land and much of it remains unceded and stolen. “Immigration” has become a codeword for settlement – a tactic to erase settler tracks in colonial structures.

Today, there are more than 500,000 migrant workers, from more than 80 countries, with temporary status in Canada. Of that number, approximately 110,000 are low-wage and tied to one job, one location and one employer.

The threat of expulsion from the migrant worker programme hangs, like a Damocles sword, over them for the duration of their contract. If they speak out, they risk being fired and sent home.

The contemporary version of Canada’s migrant labour farm programmes began in 1966 when 264 Jamaican men came to work in Ontario, where Migrant Dreams is filmed.

Today, the federal government runs a range of migrant labour programmes – for farm workers, nannies, cleaners, fast food outlet workers – all of which fall under the TFWP.

These programmes provide employers with access to “unfree” labour, and it is their very status as “unfree” that makes these workers profitable. In Ontario, the greenhouse capital of North America, their labour has subsidised the expansion of the billion-dollar greenhouse industry.

Workers are tied to their employers during their term of employment. Their reliance on their employer for housing, transportation and access to healthcare creates a relationship that could be described as modern-day indentured labour.

The employer holds an exorbitant amount of power. They brought the worker to the country and can kick them out again.

It is a system that invites abuse: unpaid wages, limited access to timely healthcare, unsafe working conditions, overcrowded accommodation, abusive working conditions, questionable payroll deductions and non-payment of accrued overtime.

The problems these workers encounter are systemic; they are not the result of “one bad apple”. The programme legislates inequality.

A particularly egregious dimension of the TFWP is recruitment fees. Many of the migrant workers have paid fees ranging from $6,000 to $12,000 to recruiters, or brokers, in order to work in the programme. With fees so high, some arrive heavily indebted.

As the writer/filmmaker Trinh T Minh-ha noted, there is a “Third World in every First World”. Migrant workers inhabit Canada’s third world, conveniently “unseen” by Canadians. But the relationship is intimate. They pick our fruit, wash our floors and wipe our babies’ noses. They subsidise the lifestyles of Canadian households.

And the relationship is as much historical as it is contemporary. This is the same balance of power that lines the boots of Canada’s colonial footprint. Migrant workers come from the Global South, they are racialised, many are indigenous, and they are poor.

They come from regions that have been underdeveloped by global capital and dominated by foreign ownership of resources, factories and land. Whether through Canadian mining companies in Central and South America, Canadian manufacturers in Southeast Asia or Canadian banks in the Caribbean, the country’s corporate imperialism actively impoverishes communities and monopolises control of resources and production so profits flow back to Canada.

This political and economic context sets the preconditions for the movement of migrant workers to Canada.

Temporary migrant labour programmes have expanded exponentially over the years, effectively replacing immigration pathways into Canada.

The contemporary versions in practice today are extensions of historic labour schemes developed by the Canadian state to designate the “preferred citizen” according to race.

We must remember how deeply entrenched labour and immigration programmes were and continue to be in developing Canada as a white nation. In 1872, Canada passed the Dominions Land Act to give 160 acres of free land to homesteaders of European stock. Less than 10 years later, in 1885, Canada introduced the Chinese Immigration Act, to dissuade Chinese from entering, and charging a $50 head tax. Conveniently, that was only after Chinese workers had built the national railways.

Migrant labour programmes expose the colonial construction of Canada. They create categories of citizen and non-citizen with corresponding sets of rights and privileges. They normalise the racism of citizenship as a form of supremacist nation building. I have met farm workers who, despite working in the programme for 25 years, can never expect permanent status.

That “Migrant Dreams” was produced is a testament to the courage of workers who spoke out despite being told that they are disposable and replaceable, that they will lose their jobs and be deported, that there are hundreds of others lining up to take their place.

They have seen others injured on the job and sent back home without proper medical care, berated and penalised for not working fast enough, fired for speaking out about unsafe working conditions. But, despite this climate of total control, they resist because they understand justice.

The workers who appear in my films trusted me, they trusted the activists who vetted me and they believed in the power of film to inform, engage and mobilise.

With the international broadcast of “Migrant Dreams” on Al Jazeera, a long enduring myth gets its comeuppance. Canada’s international reputation as a bastion of human rights needs to be earned, not mythologised.


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India – Aadhaar’s Unabated Harassment and Disempowerment

The harassment caused to citizens for not having Aadhaar or fingerprints not matching shows no sign of abating, even as the government vociferously denies any problems with the Aadhaar scheme and stoutly defends this extraordinarily invasive programme. Here are three worrying reports in just the first two days of May.

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• On 1st May, Asia Times published a sensational and detailed report by Saikat Datta about how the ECMP software, developed to enable enrolment partners to securely register people for the Aadhaar programme (including collection of sensitive personal data, fingerprints and iris scans), has been seriously compromised. Mr Datta writes that, sometime last year, WhatsApp groups in Punjab began to offer ‘jailbreak’ version of the ECMP software. This, when installed, could bypass biometric and geo-location safeguards of the original and allow anyone posing as an ‘authorised operator’ to make changes to the data and enrol new people from anywhere and pass their information off as legitimate. It was available for as little as Rs2,000.
• On 2nd May,, which makes the Firefox browser, issued a statement saying, “Mozilla has long argued that the Aadhaar lacks critical safeguards. With the demographic data reportedly compromised, it is hard to see how Aadhaar can be trusted for authentication. Access to myriad vital public and private services which require Aadhaar for more than a billion Indians is now at risk.” Mozilla asked UIDAI (Unique Identification of Authority of India) to get a security audit done by an ‘independent firm’ and appealed to the Justice Srikrishna Committee to ensure that the “data protection bill strongly protects Indians, including from the privacy and security harms that they have already suffered from Aadhaar.”
• Also on 2nd May, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) made news when a letter by Dr VP Joy, commissioner for central provident fund, was published on social media, saying,“(EPFO) data has been stolen by hackers by exploiting the vulnerabilities prevailing in the website, of EPFO.” This time, there was no denial, only a clarification. EPFO said that it had taken “advance action and closed the server and host service through Common Service Centres (CSCs).” According to sources, the data had leaked for weeks before it was noticed.
Trawling through online complaints on Aadhaar-related issues would be enough to frighten most people. The complaints board ( of the National Consumer Complaints Forum (NCCF) makes for depressing reading. There are pages after pages of complaints from rural folks or senior citizens whose problems don’t make news but remain unresolved. Most people don’t realise that Aadhaar; as envisaged by this government, will require repeated authentication on an on-going basis with the possibility of our biometrics letting us down at any time (maybe at an airport when you are booked to travel). Each authentication will also involve a cost which is not even being discussed as yet.
The only people who may have fewer problems in dealing with Aadhaar are tech-savvy young people, with clear biometrics, living in cities with good Internet connectivity. If Aadhaar becomes mandatory, here is what most of us will deal with, on a regular basis, for every change in our bank, residence, telephone number and, maybe, more.
Biometric Failure: Inability to link phones or bank accounts because of failure to read biometrics is a frequent complaint on NCCF. Some people have updated their biometrics as many as five times; but they are still unreadable. Nobody has any solution for them, although UIDAI has floated several fanciful alternatives in the media.
Denial of Rights/Benefits: A couple of starvation death due to denial of welfare benefits made headlines, but with a 12% authentication failure, the number of people who have been denied pension or welfare benefits is huge. Those who have been refused school admissions, scholarships or stopped from appearing for entrance exams, sports events or denied death certificates or pension don’t even make news. But the harassment suffered by them is real and traumatic.
Arrogant and Unhelpful Officers: This is another big complaint on NCCF. Many Aadhaar centres process only 20-odd requests a day, despite long queues. People have made multiple trips to Aadhaar centres only to get a token. This causes serious aggravation in small towns or villages with fewer enrolment centres that require travelling long distances. Many have sacrificed several days of their wages to enrol for Aadhaar or to link phones/bank accounts, for fear of being disconnected. The alternative is to be exploited by agents.
Frequent Updates: People who are not Internet-savvy and cannot update information (change of address, mistakes in the Aadhaar card, mismatch between PAN and Aadhaar, changed telephone or bank account, the list is endless and on-going) end up being charged every time. One complainant says he paid Rs150 four times to get an Aadhaar card for his mother; but the UIDAI website still shows it as ‘under process’. Another person says he has visited 15 centres to get an Aadhaar for his daughter and failed. One Biplab Ghosh writes that he has enrolled five times and lists five enrolment numbers starting 2015, but no Aadhaar card has been generated. The UIDAI website says the enrolment is under ‘manual check’. Most enrollers have been charging Rs200 for each updation (irrespective of its success). This is extortionate for poor families with four or more members.
Humiliation: Senior citizens, who require life-certificates to get their legitimate, hard-earned pensions, report terrible humiliation. Some have been asked to wash their hands with warm water to make fingerprints more visible. Others have been told to apply oil and dip their hands in talcum powder. These desperate tricks have worked occasionally; but most people don’t realise that it is not a solution. Government pensioners will suffer this humiliation as an annual ritual. When my 85-year old mother went to submit her Form 15J to avoid tax deduction on interest income, the official threatened to block her account since she had no Aadhaar. A friend’s father, also 85, a retired Central excise officer, actually had his account blocked by a top private bank. A private bank threatened to block the bank account of a primary school of 400 students in a village unless all trustees of the NGO that ran the school linked their account with Aadhaar. Our intervention with the bank’s head-office prevented the mischief. UIDAI offers no solution to such everyday high-handed actions on the ground.
Seven years after UIDAI was set up and three years after this government began to flagrantly violate or deliberately misinterpret Supreme Court’s (SC’s) orders, there is no clear grievance redress mechanism or safeguard against corrupt or high-handed officials or data leaks and technology failures. Aadhaar linkage and tracking would expose political and social activists, or whistle-blowers to State vendetta. They can simply be shut down and denied access to their bank account or telephone and, in a broken-down legal system, it would take decades to fight this, even if that were an option. Every government will want to retain this power, unless it is politically untenable.
UIDAI was a creation of a Congress government under Dr Manmohan Singh and it gave UIDAI enormous power and resources without even the pretence of statutory safeguards. Narendra Modi was against Aadhaar, until he became prime minister. After that, it took a 15-minute meeting with Nandan Nilekani, the father of UIDAI, to do a sharp about-turn without so much as an explanation to the people.
If the BJP is voted out in 2019, even a rag-tag coalition that replaces it is unlikely to repeal or dilute Aadhaar. Every political party wants control over people and the ability to track, tag and segregate them on the basis of various metrics. Once ratified by courts, there is no way the Aadhaar genie will be put back in a bottle easily without massive public unrest.

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Aadhaar case gives SC a chance to redeem its stature

Representative image

Will the five wise men, including the CJI, assert their independence and demonstrate their impartiality? Or will they, as their critics allege, succumb to extraneous considerations and pressures?

The Aadhaar case is increasingly being viewed as the acid test of the judiciary’s independence. In normal circumstances, to even suggest that the verdict in a particular case provides the opportunity for the highest court in the land to prove that it is impartial and immune to executive pressures could be construed as contempt of court.

But these are not normal times. Rightly or wrongly, disturbing questions have been raised about the Chief Justice of India himself. Four of his brother judges have publically challenged his role as master of the roster and his fairness in allocating sensitive cases.

Moreover, more than 60 members of Parliament from seven different political parties have sought to initiate impeachment proceedings against him and, undeterred by the rejection of their motion, are reportedly exploring other ways to pursue the matter.

Amidst the upheavals within the apex court itself, and the swirling controversy over the government’s decision to block the elevation of a judge recommended by the Supreme Court collegium, the day of final reckoning is fast approaching in the contentious Aadhaar case.

The marathon hearings of the case has entered the decisive final stretch after 35 days of grueling arguments. The five-judge Bench, headed by the Chief Justice himself, will soon have to pass judgment on critical issues of far-reaching consequence – most particularly on whether biometric metadata of citizens should be mandatory or optional for services other than welfare schemes and subsidies.

Virtually every aspect of the Aadhaar conundrum has by now been
argued threadbare. Interestingly, even after a galaxy of legal brains have delved deep over the last 35 hearings into each of the pros and cons, the core issues remain exactly the same even after two years.

It was in February-March 2016 that Jairam Ramesh, at that time a Congress member of the Rajya Sabha, moved and got passed certain amendments to the Aadhaar Bill. However, since the Modi government – for ulterior motives of its own – was adamant to ram mandatory Aadhaar down the nation’s throat, it used its brute majority in the Lok Sabha to reject all the recommendations made by the Upper House.

The marathon hearings of the case has entered the decisive final stretch after 35 days of grueling arguments. The five-judge Bench, headed by the Chief Justice himself, will soon have to pass judgment on critical issues of far-reaching consequence – most particularly on whether biometric metadata of citizens should be mandatory or optional for services other than welfare schemes and subsidies.

Ironically, the very same points have come back to haunt the government in the ongoing marathon Supreme Court hearings. This time the matter will be decided not by a bunch of obedient party MPs mindlessly towing the party line but by five learned judges.

This is where the acid test comes into play. Will the five wise men assert their independence and demonstrate their impartiality? Or will they, as their critics fear and allege, succumb to extraneous considerations and pressures?

Even to contemplate such a possibility amounts – or should amount – to sacrilege. The highest judicial body is the last of the great institutions of the country that still commands respect and enjoys unquestioned credibility. Whatever the final verdict is in the Aadhaar or any other case, therefore, has to be accepted as the last word and be respected as such.

Unfortunately, in the wake of current developments and certain very recent verdicts too, it is becoming gradually more difficult for all citizens to abide by these noble precepts. Respect has to be earned; it cannot be demanded or commanded.

By the same token, justice must not only be delivered but seen to be delivered fairly and impartially, without fear or favour. The reasoning behind the dismissal of the plea for an investigation into Judge Loya’s death was, to tell the truth, less than convincing.

It was almost as if the prime concern was to avoid going against the testimony of the high court judges and thereby lowering their stature in the public eye. In the process, all the tell-tale evidence or discrepancies that might have suggested that the plea for a proper probe was not unjustified, were ignored or brushed aside.

That is now water down the river. The focus now is on the impending verdict in the Aadhaar case. Even if all the petitions are dismissed and the government’s demand for compulsory biometric verification for all citizens is upheld, the country will accept it. However, the reasoning would have to be spelt out in the text of the judgment in a lucid, logical, comprehensive and convincing manner.

Justice must not only be delivered but seen to be delivered fairly and impartially, without fear or favour. The reasoning behind the dismissal of the plea for an investigation into Judge Loya’s death was, to tell the truth, less than convincing.

It would, however, fly in the face of common sense if none of the contentions of the petitioners is entertained and the government is given carte blanche on technical grounds – that, for instance, since the official claim is that more than 90 per cent of the population has already been forced or lured into enrolling for Aadhaar, hence it would serve no purpose to declare it to be voluntary or optional.

The issue before the court is not whether it is a fait accompli or not – far larger constitutional and ethical considerations are involved, including fundamental questions pertaining to the right to privacy, democratic freedoms, human dignity and, at another level, hazards of exploitation by commercial interests and indeed the State itself.

Even on the face of it, certain provisions of the Aadhaar Act need to be struck down – section 139AA of the Income Tax Act infringes upon the right to personal liberty of those who did not enroll for Aadhaar but are compelled to do so on account of the stringent provision.

Moreover, a bare reading of Section 3 of the Aadhaar Act makes it clear that the Aadhaar number is an ‘entitlement’ of every citizen of India, as totally opposed to the idea of an ‘obligation’. This is justifiably so, as enrolment in Aadhaar mandatorily requires one to part with one’s demographic and biometric information in favour of the UIDAI, and the choice to part with one’s information would fall within the scope of ‘personal liberty’ under Article 21 of the Constitution.

There is also a strong case that Section 139AA ought to be struck down in full as it clearly violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

These are just a few of the many strong arguments that emerged during the marathon hearings. The Chief Justice and his brother judges have a golden opportunity to enhance their stature by taking cognizance of such seemingly valid points, rather than summarily rejecting the petitions as frivolous

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The Week In Lies Of The Modi Government – Yashwant Sinha

In the past, I have generally dealt with only one subject in these articles. Today, I am writing about more than one issue that may be of interest to readers and will help expose some of the hollow claims of the Modi government.

The first is the sky-rocketing prices of petrol and diesel that the common man uses almost on a daily basis. When the present government assumed office in May 2014, the price of petroleum crude in the international market was around US $105. The government was lucky and reaped a huge bonanza all these years because crude prices declined to as low as $26 per barrel and stayed below $30 per barrel for many months after it assumed office. In the course of time, prices started going up again and today may have reached around $73/75 per barrel. Earlier, when prices were climbing up, the burden was distributed three ways among the government which reduced its taxes, oil companies which assumed a part of the financial burden and the consumer who paid a higher price. By the same logic, when international oil prices declined, the benefit should have been shared equally among the three stakeholders. But the government was greedy and kept all the profit for itself. The consumer was left high and dry and continued to pay higher prices for petrol and diesel even when international prices had crashed.

On the other hand, the government was raising taxes and mopping up the entire benefit for itself. Again, when the prices have started going up, the government has allowed the oil companies to raise prices at the cost of the consumer. The recent depreciation of the rupee is another reason for the hike in petrol and diesel prices with the result that they have touched an all-time high. The Finance Secretary has already announced that the government would not reduce its taxes any time soon. Now, the prices are being revised on a daily basis so that the consumer does not feel the pinch. The government’s approach is clearly based on the principle–heads I win, tails you lose.

The other news which would have surely rattled many people is about counterfeit currency. It was claimed by no less a person than the Prime Minister himself that demonetization would break the back of the counterfeiters and there would be no fake currency in future. But according to a report prepared by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the government, the number of times fake notes have been deposited in banks has gone up to 7.33 lakh in 2016-17 compared to 4.10 lakh times in 2015-16. Obviously, the counterfeiters are one step ahead of the government at all times.

Similarly, banking frauds have nearly tripled in the last five years, the amount involved in these frauds rising from around 10,000 crores in 2013-14 to over 28,000 crores in 2017-18. The total amount involved in these frauds has crossed 90,000 crores during the last four years.

According to another report, the declining number of operators in every telecom circle in the country has led to large-scale job losses. The number of operators per circle has come down from an average of around 10 operators about a year and a half ago to only about six today. According to a report prepared by recruitment firm CIEL HR, some 80,000- 90,000 jobs could be lost as a result of this development. In the meanwhile, the government is bending over backwards to prove that new job opportunities are increasing at a fast pace and using the data available with the Employees Provident Fund Organization to prove its point. Many economists have challenged this claim of the government and have asserted that EPFO data is not employment data. It only represents formalization of those who are already in jobs by their registration under EPFO. But who can prevent the government from telling pure lies?

The government had appointed a task force led by the then NITI Ayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya in May 2017 to suggest ways to improve employment data. This panel had pointed out the serious limitation in measuring job creation based on data from EPFO, ESIC and PFRDA. According to the panel, additions to the data collected by these three agencies need not represent creation of new jobs. They can only be used to measure the extent of formalization in the work force. To illustrate the point, it mentioned that companies which employed 20 workers or more were required to make provident fund contributions under the EPFO. Thus, if a firm had 19 workers, it would not be required to make contributions to the EPFO. But the moment the firm employed one more worker and the number went up from 19 to 20, it would have to enroll under EPFO and begin to contribute to it for all its 20 employees. Thus, the addition of only one employee will lead to the formalization of the 19 earlier employees. It will be a serious error therefore to count these 19 employees as fresh recruits. Earlier, it was the Labour Bureau which through its quarterly household surveys gave out data of fresh employment, but since this did not present a flattering picture of employment generation, the government is planning to ask the Labour Bureau not to bother about collecting new job creation statistics, so that it may fully depend on the misleading EPFO data for this purpose. Its policy is- shoot the messenger if he does not bring happy tidings. This is an example of the good governance of this government!

Another example of good governance for any government is presenting time and cost overruns of important infrastructural projects. Every government in the past has wrestled with this problem but not with much success. But is not the Modi government different from all the past governments? Is it not more efficient than all of them? Then why is it that, according to a report put out by the ministry of statistics and program implementation, the cost overrun in 356 large infrastructure projects is to the extent of 2.19 lakh crore? 258 projects, out of these 356, have also suffered from time overruns.

We criticized the UPA government for time and cost overruns of the projects under execution then because this is also one of the major contributory factors for bank NPAs. Obviously, the picture has not changed dramatically after the advent of the Modi government and it is business as usual.

In the meanwhile, there is some reassuring (?) news on the non-economic front. Navinder Gupta, the newly-appointed BJP deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, has described the rape and murder of the Kathua 8-year-old girl as “a chotti si baat” (a minor issue). The BJP has also appointed Rajeev Jasrotia, its MLA from Kathua who was largely responsible for the public protests in favour of the alleged rapists, as its new minister in that state.
(Yashwant Sinha is a former Union Minister of External Affairs.)

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Karnataka -Electoral challenges faced by the transgender community

By Anita Cheria

While voter enrolment is the immediate priority of the government, “housing and government jobs, along with the proper implementation of the Karnataka State Transgender (TG) policy, are the priorities for my people,” says Jarmi, programme manager at Samara, a community-led NGO working on TG people’s rights. Nevertheless Samara has taken part in the enrolment drive initiated by the Government of Karnataka (GoK).

Even if the enrolment effort does not result in a significant increase in the number of TGs added to the voters’ list, the campaign has provided an opportunity for community-led organisations to engage with the government.  This has brought to light a number of issues that need to be taken into account in future efforts by the state to ensure the inclusion of the TG population.

The enrolment drive

To kick-start the special drive to issue voter identity cards to members of the TG community and sex workers, the Department of Women and Child Development (DCWD) of the GoK held a consultation on 12 March 2018. The meeting was meant to identify stumbling blocks in the enrolment process and to address them so as to find the best way forward. Among the issues raised at the meeting were: lack of voter identity cards (voter IDs), problems with enrolment, as well as embarrassment and discomfort in exercising the right to vote.

Mallu Kumbar at the consultation 12 March 2018Mallu Kumbar at the government consultation on 12 March 2018

The plan was to prioritise the drive and complete the process within 15 days. According to Mallapa of the Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum (KSMF), one day campaign meetings have been organised by the government in partnership with local organisations in approximately 15 of the state’s 30 districts – most recently in Nelamangala on 26 April 2018. At these meetings, government representatives highlight the importance of voting as well as of inclusion, encourage the public to participate in the upcoming elections, outline the voting procedure and demonstrate the use of electronic voting machines.  At the end of the programme the participants take a pledge to vote in the upcoming elections.

Nelamangala 1Umesh (right) from Jeeva checking names on the approved voter ID cards with local leaders

Nelamangala 2Voters taking the pledge at the Nelamangala campaign meeting

The government has also made efforts to sensitise election officers and have plans for separate booths in some wards with a significant TG population.  While the enrolment process has certainly gathered momentum with the state government taking a firm lead in prioritising it, the entire mobilisation effort was led by community organizations, with very little time or resources in hand.

Challenges and solutions

While filing applications for voter IDs, the biggest difficulty identified by community representatives was in furnishing an acceptable address proof. This is because a significant percentage of TGs are forced to leave their parental homes early in life. Subsequently they have difficulty in accessing secure housing, let alone finding a permanent address. According to Umesh, director of Jeeva, people are usually not ready to rent houses to TG persons. As a result, many of them live in groups of 10 to 12. Individual names are usually not part of the rental agreement or on other bills that are accepted as proof of address. It is a challenge for a person without a home or family support to get an address proof document.

One innovative suggestion that came up during the March meeting was to use as proof of residence a letter or parcel received by post that mentions the name and address of the applicant.  Government representatives also suggested that a letter from a local organisation on an official letterhead, mentioning the address of the applicant, gender of preference and years of residence, could be taken as address proof to support the application. These suggestion are meant to ensure that eligible voters can be enrolled on the basis of reliable alternative documents and that the absence of any of the listed options does not result in exclusion.

The second challenge highlighted during the meeting was name correction. It was suggested that the applicant should follow the legal procedure for name change that works for everyone: prepare and publish an affidavit. The KSMF, which took a lead in this, found that election officers in many districts are not sensitive, nor sensitised to, the issue of gender. As a result, these officials insist on a letter from the local organisation as additional documentation. Many officers refuse to follow the directives of the Government of Karnataka even though they have been communicated to them, arbitrarily insisting on additional documentation. This adds to delay and expense for applicants. Sometimes it also leads to loss of confidence. The supporting nodal agency often has to devote scarce resources to deal with such problems.

Sensitising officials and privacy concerns

At the district level, most officials are not aware of problems faced by the community; nor do they seem to have the training, sensitisation or inclination to provide support. Many of them refuse to follow the alternate options approved at the state consultation. Except for a few sensitive officials, the others in the revenue department demand more proof to complete the documentation, authentication and verification for the allotment of voter IDs.

Case workers at the taluk and panchayat levels, while uploading applicant details, generally send the files to local Anganwadi teachers for address checking. Since these teachers are usually not close to the TG community they are often not able to get the information and tend not to approve the address proof provided. When they go to houses for verification, they are often insensitive and use derogatory words to ask about the applicant’s gender – e.g., ‘chakka’ and ‘ombattu’ (derogatory Kannada words for those assigned the male gender at birth who identify as female). When such questions and words come from an official the experience can lead to a lot of pain for the individual concerned and disturbance in the lives of the immediate family.

If a person is rendered homeless in the process of enrolling as a voter or becomes depressed or even commits suicide as a result of negative attention in the neighbourhood, who will be responsible? In extreme cases the local organisation trying to support TGs to assert their democratic rights and apply for voter IDs may also lose face with the community. Such process issues can be easily predicted with a little design research. The administration needs to be better equipped to listen to those who can highlight genuine problems and devise suitable strategies to ensure that the necessary verification process is not compromised and, at the same time, that it is sensitive to the reality of an already stigmatised population.

What is clear about the role of the government during the current enrolment drive is that while some officials go out of their way to enable inclusion, they don’t necessarily represent the system. Best practices will need to be institutionalised incrementally but systematically so that the system works for everyone always.  For this the government needs to develop a more robust approach to actively listening and responding to the stakeholders, particularly community representatives. What we need along with sensitisation is a clearly defined and enforceable system.

Gender stereotypes and media preferences

There tends to be an oversimplification of the ‘transgender’ identity while showcasing inclusion.  The sari-clad transwoman generally represents the community in advertisements issued by both the government and the Election Commission – there is an overt insistence and preference for this particular category of TGs.  About 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the campaign meeting in Nelamangala in March, a number of cis-gender women from local Self  Help Groups (SHGs) filed into the hall. When asked if they were part of the campaign, one of the officials replied, “This programme is for ‘your people’ only, but how can we predict how many will come?” As the programme progressed, as more of ‘my people’ came in, the SHG women were told to move back, while the hijra (‘satla’) women were given the front rows. The stage unfortunately was out of bounds for them.

Pointing this out is not to reduce or belittle the effort towards inclusion made by the government. There is value in creating spaces for excluded sections of the community to interact with others, as increased awareness and familiarity as well as conversations can help build a more inclusive society. Also, it is not fair to single out the government and official bodies for assuming that sari-clad hijras represent the TG community as a whole. The media, too, often prefer to highlight transwomen in their reports. It is easier to use a quote from and photograph of a sari-clad transwoman, than to look for and showcase a pant-shirt wearing transwoman or man who may not look very different from anyone else in such regular, routine clothes.

Narrating one of her many experiences with the media, Umesh says, “I often get calls from media persons – referred to me by others – who want to write about our community issues. Recently I received a call regarding the elections and I answered the first set of questions. As the conversation progressed, I was asked if I had a voter identity card and if so what gender is mentioned on the card. When I replied that I did have a card and that my gender is male on the card, there was silence from the other side. I could sense an immediate loss of interest. Since my voice is soft and slightly feminine, it does not give away my appearance in a telephonic conversation. Once I mentioned that I identify as male, it was clear that the interviewer was looking for an excuse to end the conversation, though only after asking me for the contact of another community member – someone who identifies as a woman and is sari-clad.”

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Mona Eltahawy- I swear to make the patriarchy uncomfortable. And I’m proud of it.

The more a woman is caught in the intersections of oppressions, the more her language is policed.

Image: Profanity is an important tool in defying, disobeying and disrupting patriarchy and its rules.

Profanity is an important tool in defying, disobeying and disrupting patriarchy and its rules.Hanna Barczyk / for NBC News

Editor’s note: This piece has been edited in accordance with NBC News editorial policy. The editors appreciate the irony.

Filthy. Disgraceful. Indecent. Vulgar. That is what the powerful and their enablers will call you if you dare poke them in the eye by actually doing what you were invited to do — roast the rich and powerful at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner — rather than what women are expected to do from birth: play nice.

On April 28, comedian Michelle Wolf let loose a bipartisan evisceration on beltway politicians and media (tellingly, the notoriously thin-skinned President Donald Trump did not attend). After peppering her speech with several swear words as well as references to sex acts and genitalia, Wolf was criticized by an uneasy alliance of both supposedly free-speech obsessed conservatives and supposedly free-speech obsessed journalists. The hypocrisy was hard to miss.

“I think sometimes they look at a woman and they think ‘Oh, she’ll be nice,’ and if you’ve seen any of my comedy you know that I don’t — I’m not,” Wolf told NPR after the event. “I think they still have preconceived notions of how women will present themselves and I don’t fit in that box.”

At a time when the word “resistance” has been sanitized and neutered, a “vulgar” Wolf understood the power of words and used them to deliver a knockout punch to a crowd more accustomed to being comfortable.

It is instructive that in the era of Trump — a man who has torpedoed the notion of civility — women are still expected to be polite and demure. “She did not cater to the room” was an actual criticism of her performance.

At a time when the word “resistance” has been sanitized and neutered, a “vulgar” Wolf understood the power of words and used them to deliver a knockout punch to a crowd more accustomed to being comfortable. As one commentator put it: “She wanted to napalm the room and she did. Unapologetically.”

That is the power of profanity — and why it is important for women to not shy away from it. Indeed, whenever I stand at a podium to give a lecture, I begin with my declaration of faith: “F**k the patriarchy.” Whether I am lecturing on feminism in Lahore, Pakistan or Dublin, Ireland or Johannesburg, South Africa or New York City, my declaration never changes.

I could say “dismantle the patriarchy” but I don’t because I am a woman; a woman of color; a Muslim woman. And I am not supposed to say f**k.

In my experience, almost nothing can match the power of profanity delivered by a woman at a podium, unapologetically.

In my experience, almost nothing can match the power of profanity delivered by a woman at a podium, unapologetically. Because how many women — not to mention women of color — are ever even invited to the podium? And of those, how many, when they get on stage, still begin almost as if they are asking for permission to speak?

I say f**k to honor the power of “radical rudeness,” as perfected by Ugandan scholar and feminist Stella Nyanzi. Nyanzi was arrested in 2017 and jailed for five weeks on charges of offensive communication and disturbing the peace of President Yoweri Museveni by calling him a “pair of buttocks,” among other things.

But how does one woman threaten a man who has ruled for over three decades? After she was released on bail, Ugandan prosecutors demanded that Nyanzi be subjected to a psychiatric evaluation under the terms of a rarely used colonial-era law — because of course only a crazy woman would dare insult the president in this way.

Nyanzi launched her “rocket-propelled grenade of words” against Museveni because he had reneged on an election promise of providing free sanitary products to Ugandan schoolgirls. Girls around the world miss school days because of period poverty. Nyanzi — who also launched a campaign to collect donations for sanitary pads — wanted action.

Patriarchy punishes women for profanity because it wants us to forever remain within the straitjacket of niceness and politeness, despite the violence it subjects us to.

“What other avenues do we have left to us?” Nyanzi asked in an interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail. “We don’t have guns or money. But I can still write and think and insult and abuse.”

I say f**k because profanity is an important tool in defying, disobeying and disrupting patriarchy and its rules. Patriarchy punishes women for profanity because it wants us to forever remain within the straitjacket of niceness and politeness, despite the violence it subjects us to.

We are not fighting on an equal battlefield. The shock and the offense profanity causes are necessary and important. Surely, misogyny and the violence it visits upon our bodies are more offensive than words?

Girls missing school because they cannot afford sanitary is more offensive. Poverty is more violent than insults lobbed at any nation’s president. F**k being polite. F**k being nice.

My first language is Arabic, a gendered language in which the most powerful profanity refers to a mother’s genitals. Because of course the worst words are the ones that somehow insult or refer to women.

The shock and the offense profanity causes are necessary and important. Surely, misogyny and the violence it visits upon our bodies are more offensive than words?

I think it’s time we found more non-gendered swear words. And so in my determination to reject profanity that diminishes and insults femininity, I have started using the epithet: “F**k off, kitten.” Kittens are cute, the word itself is gender neutral yet the (mostly men) I use it against on social media know my intent.

I say f**k to challenge patriarchy’s stranglehold over what is and is not offensive. Remember that in 2012, Lisa Brown a Democrat state representative in Michigan, was banned from addressing her colleagues after it was ruled she had “violated the decorum of the house” when she used the word “vagina” during a debate over a controversial anti-abortion bill.

“What she said was offensive,” complained state representative Mike Callton, a Republican. “It was so offensive I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”

Patriarchy wants to control vaginas, but it also wants to control who has the right to even say the word vagina.

Using the hashtag #WhyISayF**k, I asked women what profanity meant to them. One woman told me that “Being a professional from a working class background I struggle with saying ‘f**k.’” It was a reminder of how the intersection of class, gender, and race and other forms of oppression are all used to police women’s language. The less power a woman has, the less freedom she has to curse. The more a woman is caught in the intersections of oppressions, the more her language is policed.

What would the world look like if the energy spent policing language, especially female language, was invested instead into policing the very real harm of patriarchal violence?

Once while standing in line at Denver airport security, a white man — another passenger waiting to go through — demanded I “prove” I was a U.S. citizen. “F**k you!” was my immediate response. Another white man immediately and predictably chimed in: “Language! Language!” But what is really more offensive here, the first man’s xenophobic prejudice or my language?

What would the world look like if the energy spent policing language, especially female language, was invested instead into policing the very real harm of patriarchal violence?

Actress Helen Mirren, who is child free, has said that if she had had a daughter the first words she would have taught her would have been “f**k off,” because girls are raised with the expectation of politeness and sometimes politeness is the wrong response. Let’s teach all our girls to say “f**k,” loudly, proudly, unfiltered and uncensored. Let’s teach our girls to be like Michelle Wolf. As one of Wolf’s friends told her before her Correspondent’s Dinner speech: “Be true to yourself. Never apologize. Burn it to the ground.”

F**k yes.

Mona Eltahawy is a feminist writer and public speaker based in New York City and Cairo. She is the author of “Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution

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PM Modi – Learn Patriotism from Dogs

Learn Patriotism From Army’s Mudhol Hound Dogs, PM Modi Advises Congress

Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: PM Narendra Modi said there had been such a ‘fall’ in the party that a Congress leader went to be amid those raising slogans like “Bharat ke tukde honge”, giving them blessings.

Learn Patriotism From Army's Mudhol Hound Dogs, PM Modi Advises Congress

Karnataka Elections 2018: PM Modi said Congress should learn patriotism from the Mudhol hound dogs



  1. Mudhol hound dogs from north Karnataka are inducted into Indian army
  2. PM attacked Congress and its leaders for “uneasiness” about patriotism
  3. PM Modi was speaking at an election rally in Karnataka’s Jamkhandi

Chiding Congress and its leaders for feeling “uneasiness” about patriotism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked them to learn it from the Mudhol hound dogs of north Karnataka, which have been inducted into the Indian army.

The Prime Minister said there had been such a ‘fall’ in the party that a Congress leader went to be amid those raising slogans like “Bharat ke tukde honge“, giving them blessings.

He was apparently referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus to be with a section of students during the controversy over anti-national slogans being allegedly chanted at the campus.

“When there is discussion about patriotism in our country, when there is a discussion about rashtra bhakti, raashtra geet, Vande mataram, some people are worried,” said PM Modi at an election rally in Jamkhandi, Karnataka.

PM Modi said the country won freedom because of patriotism, and “today if we have started a great campaign of development on the basis of patriotism, Congress and its companions feel a foul smell in patriotism… their health gets upset smelling patriotism.”

“Did anyone think that after Independence Congress has fallen to an extent that today Congress leaders are going to be amidst those who shout slogans like “Bharat ke tukde honge” and are giving them their blessings,” he said.

PM Modi also said the Congress and its leaders had ‘fallen’ to such an extent that when the Indian Army carried out a cross-border surgical strike, they asked for evidence.

“Those who felt uneasiness at the mention of patriotism, those who are averse to the talk about patriotism and for those patriotism is the reason for trouble, I want to tell them if you don’t want to learn from others, please don’t– whether it is your ancestors or Mahatma Gandhi’s Congress. At least try to learn from Bagalkot’s Mudhol dogs,” he said pointing to the induction of these dogs into the Indian Army.

“I know that their (Congress’) arrogance has reached cloud seven. The people of the country have negated them, but they are still not ready to come on ground. So I don’t expect them to even learn anything from Mudhol Dogs,” PM Modi said.

Mudhol Hound, also known as Caravan Hound, is an Indian dog breed which gets its name from Mudhol in Bagalkot district in north Karnataka.

The lean and lanky Mudhol Hound is the first Indian breed to serve the Indian Army.

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