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Chess star Soumya Swaminathan refuses to accept Islamic hijab rule, boycotts Iran event

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Chess star Soumya Swaminathan refuses to accept Islamic hijab rule, boycotts Iran event

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Indian chess star – a woman grandmaster and former world junior girls’ champion – Soumya Swaminathan has pulled out of the Asian Team Chess Championship, to be held in Hamadan, Iran, from July 26 to August 4, refusing to accept the Islamic country’s compulsory headscarf rule.

Since the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iran has required women to wear a headscarf in public places. Women can only show their face, hands and feet in public and are supposed to wear only modest colours. There is no element of voluntariness involved.

In a Facebook post, Soumya, who had won the World Junior Girls’ Championship in Argentina in 2009, called the Iranian law of compulsory headscarf to be in “direct violation of my basic human rights, including my right to freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion.”

“It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is to not go to Iran,” said the 29-year-old in her post which went viral on social media.

She further said that the religious dress codes should not be imposed on players. “I understand the organisers expecting us to wear our National Team Dress or Formals or Sporting attire for our games during official championships, but surely there is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in Sports,” she added.

Swaminathan, ranked 97 in the world among women chess players, further remarked that she was disappointed to see that player’s rights and welfare being given scant importance while organising official championships.

Criticising chess authorities for not taking the players’ considerations into account while choosing venues, Swaminathan said: “I understand the organizers expecting us to wear our national team dress or formals or sporting attire for our games during official championships, but surely there is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in Sports.”[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][vc_column_text]Here is what Soumya Swaminathan wrote on her Facebook page:

“I am very sorry to state that I have asked to be excused from the Indian Women’s team for the forthcoming Asian Nations Cup ( Asian Team ) Chess Championship 2018, to be held at Iran from 26 July – 4 Aug 2018, as I do not wish to be forced to wear a Headscarf or Burkha. I find the Iranian law of compulsory Headscarf to be in direct violation of my basic Human Rights including my right to freedom of expression, and right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is not to go to Iran.

I am very disappointed to see that player’s rights and welfare are given such less importance while allotting and/or organising official championships. I understand the organisers expecting us to wear our National Team Dress or Formals or Sporting attire for our games during official championships, but surely there is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in Sports.

It is a huge honour for me to represent India everytime I am selected in the National Team and I deeply regret that I will be unable to participate in such an important championship. While we sportspersons are willing to make several adjustments for the sake of our sport, always giving it top priority in our life, some things simply cannot be compromised.”

Ranked 97 among active women players in the world and fourth in India, Swaminathan also criticised chess officials for allotting events to countries without taking players’ rights into account.

This is not the first time an athlete pulled out of an event over the same issue. In 2016, top Indian pistol shooter Heena Sidhu had withdrawn from the Asian Airgun Shooting Championship in Iran due to the compulsory hijab rule for women athletes, said media reports.

In 2016, Georgian-American chess champion Nazi Paikidze boycotted the world championship in Tehran, taking to Instagram to call the hijab law “oppressive”, reports said.

In 2017 the Iranian Chess Federation banned 19-year-old Dorsa Derakhshani – the country’s second woman international chess master – for attending competitions abroad without wearing the headscarf, compelling her to play from the US side, said a media report.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Manmohan Singh accuses PM Modi of using hateful language, urges voters to protect democracy and Constitution from despotic regime

Manmohan Singh appealed to the voters that they have 1 final chance to ensure that democracy and India’s Constitution are protected from the repeated assaults of a despotic regime, trying to unleash dictatorship in India.

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Manmohan Singh accuses PM Modi of using hateful language, urges voters to protect democracy and constitution from despotic regime

Former PM Manmohan Singh on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using hateful, unparliamentary language to target either a specific section of society or opposition.  He wrote a letter to Punjab’s voters ahead of the 7th phase of Lok Sabha elections on June 1.

Singh appealed to the voters that they have 1 final chance to ensure that democracy and India’s Constitution are protected from the repeated assaults of a despotic regime, trying to unleash dictatorship in India. Manmohan Singh said the prime minister indulged in the most vicious form of hate speeches. He said PM Modi has lowered the dignity of public discourse.

Singh said he has been closely monitoring the political discourse during this year’s election campaign and PM Modi has indulged in the most vicious form of hate speeches, which are purely divisive in nature. He said PM Modi is the first PM to lower the dignity of public discourse, and thereby the gravity of the office of the prime minister.

The senior Congress leader said no prime minister in the past has uttered such hateful, unparliamentary and coarse terms, meant to target either a specific section of the society or the opposition. He has also attributed some false statements to him. Singh further added that he had never in his life singled out one community from the other and this is the sole copyright of the BJP.

PM Modi had accused Manmohan Singh of saying that Muslims have the first right on the country’s resources. The former PM also criticised the saffron party for imposing the Agniveer Scheme on the armed forces, labeling it as ill-conceived. He accused the BJP of undermining patriotism, bravery, and service by limiting their value to just 4 years and highlighted it as fake nationalism. The Congress party has therefore promised to abolish the Agniveer Scheme.

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Book reviews

The Hill Of Enchantment Review: Ruskin Bond revisits his life as writer

The book not only delineates Ruskin Bond’s journey as a writer but also depicts the changing literary landscape from the 1950s to recent times.

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The Hill Of Enchantment Review: Ruskin Bond revisits his life as writer

India’s most loved and prolific writer from the hill, who wrote his first book when he was around 17, Ruskin Bond, turned 90 this year. In his seven decade literary journey, the author has written more than 500 novels, short stories, and poems set mostly in the hills and mountains of India. 

The Hill Of Enchantment published by Aleph Book Company, is a memoir of his writing journey, with the subtitle, the story of my life as a writer. Bond revisits the people, mountains, railway stations, rooms, and markets that shaped him as an author. He says, characters in his novels and short stories are mostly inspired by the people he met in his life. The author confesses that some characters also portray his adopted family, friends and colleagues. 

Expressing that if a writer wishes to create a little magic with his pen he must find a little magic in his life, Ruskin Bond shares that he only has to open his window to see a magical world – clouds racing across the sky. In the book, the author mentioned how Pari Tibba, Fairy Hill, which he could see from his window, and solitude has influenced his books.

In The Hill of Enchantment, Ruskin Bond pens about how his need for privacy and solitude have inspired his first work, The Room on the Roof, published in 1956. He also portrayed how his frequent visits to a railway station led to the story, Time Stops At Shamli and others. Sharing an anecdote, Bond wrote that his frequent visits to railway stations made him so popular, just like a coolie, he did not have to buy a platform ticket to sit at the railway station.

The book also highlights the ordeal of Indian writers in the days dating back to 1950s to get published as compared to modern writers. It pointed out the change in the literary scene in the twenty-first century, which brought literary festivals along with online forums for writers and publishers. The author says, “writers were becoming faces and mini celebrities”. 

Ruskin Bond’s book not only delineates his journey as a writer but also stresses on the changing literary landscape from 1950s to recent times. The book is an utter testament for the aspiring writers. 

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Amit Shah claims NDA has already got 310 seats after 5 phases of Lok Sabha elections

Shah was addressing 2 election rallies in Sambalpur where the BJP has fielded Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

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Amit Shah claims NDA has already got 310 seats after 5 phases of Lok Sabha elections

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday claimed that the NDA has already bagged 310 seats after the completion of 5 phases of the Lok Sabha polls. He urged the people of Odisha to free the state from babu-raj and allow the BJP to form government at the Centre and also in the state.  Shah was addressing 2 election rallies in Sambalpur where the BJP has fielded Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Shah claimed after the 5th phase of elections, the NDA has already got 310 seats and they will secure 400 plus seats after the 6th and 7th rounds of elections. The union home minister added that Odisha has been ruled by a handful of officers and this election will end the ongoing babu raj in the state.

He said that the tribals of Keonjhar get no benefit even though most of the mines and mineral reserves of the country are located in Keonjhar district. Shah enlisted Modi government’s achievements and said that the prime minister has ensured that there is no terrorism across the country. He added that PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) was with India and it would remain with India.

Shah criticized Congress of being frightened over Pakistan possessing an atom bomb and said PM Modi has given a befitting reply to Pakistan’s terror activities and he does not fear such threat of nuclear bombs. He attacked the previous Congress government for doing nothing for tribals. Shah pointed out that former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a separate ministry for tribal affairs while Narendra Modi as the PM has worked to eliminate Naxalism in Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

The Union Home Minister said PM Modi has constituted District Mineral Foundation and given crores of rupees for the development of the tribal region. Shah said the budgetary allocation for tribal affairs has been increased to Rs 1.25 lakh crore during Modi government from Rs 25,000 crore given during the previous UPA regime.

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