Dr Muhammad Allama Iqbal, who wrote 'Saare Jahan Se Achha', may be dropped from DU syllabus

News Network
May 27, 2023

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New Delhi, May 27: The Academic Council of Delhi University has passed a motion to remove a chapter on globally acclaimed poet Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal, from the political science syllabus, members of the statutory body confirmed.

Born in 1877 in Sialkot in undivided India, Iqbal wrote the famous song 'Saare jahan se achha'. He is also known for giving birth to the 'idea of Pakistan'.

The chapter titled 'Modern Indian Political Thought' is part of BA's sixth-semester paper, officials said, adding that the matter will now be presented before the Executive Council of the university that will take the final call.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), meanwhile, welcomed the development.

"A motion was brought regarding a change in the syllabus of political science. As per the motion, there was a chapter on Iqbal that has been removed from the syllabus," said an Academic Council member.

A unit on Iqbal titled 'Iqbal: Community', which is part of the syllabus was reviewed by news agency PTI.

There are 11 units as part of the course with the objective to study important themes through individual thinkers.

Other thinkers that are also part of the course include Rammohan Roy, Pandita Ramabai, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, and Bhimrao Ambedkar.

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News Network
May 14,2024

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Mangaluru, May 14: The Met department has sounded a yellow alert in 13 districts of Karnataka including the three coastal districts of Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada for next four days. 

The other districts are Belagavi, Dharwad, Haveri, Chikkamagalur, Chitradurga, Hassan, Kodagu, Mandya, Ramanagara, Shivamogga. These districts are expected to received 6-11 cm of rain, the department said.

On Monday Dakshina Kannada and Udupi experienced a monsoon-like atmosphere. Rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, began in most parts on Sunday evening. In Udupi, rain showered in the early hours of Monday. While Kundapur and Udupi received moderate rains, Karkala experienced a heavy downpour.

The showers lowered the daytime temperature in both districts. Light rain fell in Mangaluru and its outskirts early Monday morning. Mangaluru city recorded a maximum temperature of 33.4°C and a minimum of 23.2°C on Monday. This is expected to decrease by two to four degrees in the next four days, according to the weather department. 

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News Network
May 22,2024

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New Delhi: Acting on a one-month-old notice it sent to the BJP on complaints over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s provocative and communal remarks, the Election Commission of India on Wednesday directed the saffron party’s star campaigners not to make speeches along 'religious/communal lines' and desist from statements that may 'divide the society'.

Separately, it also asked the Congress' star campaigners not to give 'false impression' of abolishing or selling the Constitution, make speeches that create 'mutual hatred or cause tension' between religious or linguistic communities or 'potentially divisive statements' regarding the socio-economic composition of the armed forces.

The EC’s letters to BJP president JP Nadda and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge conveying its directions came 27 days after it issued separate notices to them on complaints against Modi, Kharge and Rahul Gandhi. Though the complaints were annexed in the notice that were sent to party chiefs and not the alleged violators, the names of violators were not mentioned.

It also comes ten days before the seven-phased elections are ending on June 1 though the notices were issued a day before the second phase of polls on April 25. While Nadda had responded to the letter on May 13 after seeking two extensions, Kharge submitted his arguments on May 6 after seeking one extension. They were initially given time till April 29.

In its letter to Nadda, the EC said he has not denied the utterances mentioned in the Congress complaint though it 'stoutly defended' the campaign methods and remarks while invoking a 'unilateral drawing of inferences and interpretations' of star campaigners of opponents. It said its star campaigners continued with objectionable utterances even after the April 25 notice.

The latest communication came against the backdrop of complaints by Congress and other parties which referred to Modi’s speech in Banswara as “communal” where he spoke about Congress seeking to redistribute people’s wealth to “infiltrators”, in a veiled reference to Muslims, and that women’s ‘mangalsutras’ will be snatched.

Emphasising that Nadda’s defence was 'not tenable', the EC said, 'directs you as party president to also convey to all star campaigners to not make speeches and statements, which may divide the society. Directs BJP and its star campaigners to refrain from any campaigning methods/utterances along religious/communal lines'.

In its letter to Kharge, the EC said Kharge too has justified Congress star campaigners’ contentious remarks while claiming that the complaint had 'wilfully extracted only specific portions, devoid of context, to mislead the Commission'. Kharge also claimed that the BJP leaders were making 'motivated statements' invoking religious sentiments to attract voters.

The EC, which had taken cognisance of complaints against Kharge and Rahul, said the assertion of Congress’ star campaigners about the BJP attempting to change the Constitution was allegedly instilling fear in the minds of voters about an uncertain future and an attempt to spread anarchy in the country and could be considered as “corrupt practice” under election laws.

While insisting that it cannot accept the Congress arguments and find it untenable, the EC directed Kharge to convey to all star campaigners that they do not make statements which give a 'false impression such as the Constitution of India may be abolished or sold'.

Amid the Congress making a campaign point on the controversial Agniveer scheme, it also directed him to convey to star campaigners that they should not indulge in political propaganda involving the military and not make 'potentially divisive statements' regarding socio-economic composition of defence forces.

Both the party presidents to ensure that star campaigners refrain from making any statement that may “aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic”.

The EC also referred to controversial statements after the April 25 notice by star campaigners from both sides in its letters, referring to complaints and counter complaints.

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News Network
May 21,2024

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India is currently polling in the Lok Sabha elections, and AI-generated videos that spread disinformation have emerged as a major threat. As per a report, Meta approved several political advertisements manipulated by Artificial Intelligence that spread disinformation during Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Facebook reportedly approved ads that contained slurs towards Muslims in India like “let’s burn this vermin” and “Hindu blood is spilling, these invaders must be burned” along with disinformation about political leaders and other messages with Hindu supremacist language.

Another advert approved by the owner of Facebook and Instagram called for an opposition leader's execution who as per a false claim sought to “erase Hindus from India”. This ad contained the image of a Pakistan flag alongside the message.

The report comes at a time when the social media platform X had to recently take down an animated video shared by the Karnataka unit of the BJP after an Election Commission direction.

India Civil Watch International (ICWI) and Ekō, a corporate accountability organisation created and submitted these adverts to Meta's ad library to test the company's mechanism to detect and block harmful political content.

All adverts “were created based upon real hate speech and disinformation prevalent in India, underscoring the capacity of social media platforms to amplify existing harmful narratives," the report mentioned.

The researchers submitted 22 adverts to Meta in English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Kannada, of which 14 were approved. Another three were approved with small tweaks. However, once approved, the researchers immediately removed the ads before their publication.

The research concluded that Meta failed to detect the presence of AI-manipulated images in all of the approved ads.

While five of the adverts, including one with some allegations against PM Modi were rejected on charge of breaking Meta's policy on hate speech, the report noted that the 14 others approved targetted Muslims and “broke Meta’s own policies on hate speech, bullying and harassment, misinformation, and violence and incitement."

“Supremacists, racists and autocrats know they can use hyper-targeted ads to spread vile hate speech, share images of mosques burning and push violent conspiracy theories – and Meta will gladly take their money, no questions asked,” the Guardian quoted Maen Hammad, a campaigner at Ekō as saying.

In response, Meta clarified that they require advertisers to disclose their use of AI.

“When we find content, including ads, that violates our community standards or community guidelines, we remove it, regardless of its creation mechanism. AI-generated content is also eligible to be reviewed and rated by our network of independent factcheckers – once a content is labeled as ‘altered’ we reduce the content’s distribution. We also require advertisers globally to disclose when they use AI or digital methods to create or alter a political or social issue ad in certain cases," the company said in response.

Meanwhile, Meta has been accused in the past of failing to curb Islamophobia on its platforms.

“This election has shown once more that Meta doesn’t have a plan to address the landslide of hate speech and disinformation on its platform during these critical elections,” Hammad said questioning how one can trust Meta if it fails to detect even a handful of AI-generated images.

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