ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Whither Gujarat?

Large-scale looting, arson and even mass burning are not new for Gujarat. But last fortnight, the violence took unbelievably brutal forms. The collapse of the state was evident - even the symbols of the institutions of the state were under attack . What kind of forces have generated this ugly metamorphosis in Gandhi's Gujarat? Perhaps more than anything else it is the changing self-perceptions of the modernising and rapidly growing middle classes, their search for a new identity and structures of domination and the lack of a significant radical challenge from below.

GUJARAT-Holiday from Labour Laws

GUJARAT Holiday from Labour Laws Shalini Randeria Achyut Yagnik THERE was a time when the feudal lords approached the Pope for Dispensations from the rigours of Canonic Laws. To prop up the Papal System these Dispensations were granted for a price. Fortunately for the powers that be, such medieval practices have not died out in present- day Gujarat, as may be seen from the following report from the Ahmedabad editions of Times of India of August 6:

GUJARAT-Paradoxes of Populism

GUJARAT Paradoxes of Populism Achyut Yagnik THE present battle royal between the two bosses of Gujarat Congress (I), Madhavsinh Solanki, the chief minister, and Zinabhai Darji, the Executive Chairman of the 20-Point Programme Implementation Committee, which started in the first week of August 1983 will decide, in the end, not only the political future of these bosses but the future character and culture of Congress (I) in Gujarat The immediate result might be a reshuffle of the cabinet and/or a changing of the guard at GPCC(I), but as Solanki and Darji are both aiming at the next election, the winner will decide the caste-class composition of the Congress (I) candidates and in the process will redefine or readjust the social base of the party. Since 1980, the power struggle in Gujarat Congress (I) has taken dramatic twists and turns with leaders rapidly changing places. During the last general election there were three established bosses in Gujarat Congress (I): Ratubhai Adani from Saurash- tra, Zinabhai Darji from South Gujarat and Madhavsinh Solanki from Central Gujarat. Each of them had been at one time GPCC(I) president and belongs to a common political clan, that of Morarji Desai. They divided amongst themselves not only the respective areas of their operation but also their quota of candidates for the 1980 election. Additionally, there was another small group, that of the ex- PSP members led by Sanat Mehta. the present finance minister and No 2 in the cabinet, the Harijan leader, Nar- sinh Makwana, MP, and Sarvodaya leader Harivallabh Parikh. These three were associated with Darji since 1975 and were close to him within Congress (I).

GUJARAT- Mobilising Rural Dalits

GUJARAT Mobilising Rural Dalits Shalini Randeria Achyut Yagnik THE anti-reservation movement in Gujarat ended in April 1981, but the social and economic boycott of Dalits in rural areas continues. In a climate of increasing mistrust and widening social distance between upper castes Dalits, the latter are subjected to continual , harassment, being refused work, denied milk and newspapers in the villages, In central Gujarat, in southern parts of Mehasana district and in areas around Ahmedabad, Dalit landless labourers are being replaced by Bhil tribals of Panchmahal With growing awareness among the Dalits, and the demand for statutory minimum agricultural wages (revised from Rs 5.50 to Rs 9 in 1982), the offensive against them has assumed serious proportions. According to official statistics, last year on an average, one Dalit was murdered in Gujarat every fortnight. Any one familiar with rural Gujarat will realise that tin's is a grass underestimate, as most murders of Dalits by high-caste landlords are passed off as 'accidents'. The modus operandi of the rural elite, and the complicity of lower-level bureaucrats and politicians in the atrocities on Dalits, is illustrated by these two incidents in Sabarkantha District which these correspondents visited recently.

GUJARAT-Second Phase in Caste War

WITH the unconditional withdrawal or the strike by the non-reserved Gujarat Sachivalaya employees on May 23, the second phase of the agitation also seems to have ended. During the second phase, the issue changed from reservation in post-graduate medical education to promotion by roster system in government services; the venue shifted from Ahmeda- bad to Gandhinagar; and the agitators were not medical students but government employees. The target had however remained the same

GUJARAT-Spectre of Caste War

tolerant and non-violent has been exploded. The anti-reservation stir of the medicos which began in Ahmedabad on December 31, 1980, has now acquired an anti-government thrust, replacing the anti-Harijan thrust that was dominant till about a fortnight ago.

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