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Irony of history: From Angrez-mukt in 1942 to Congress-mukt in 2017

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On August 31, 1942, Lord Linlithgow wrote to Winston Churchill: “I am engaged here in meeting by far the most serious rebellion since that of 1857, the gravity and extent of which we have so far concealed from the world for reasons of military security.”

It wasn’t until the beginning of the following year that the British were able to quell the uprising caused by the Congress’s call on August 9 to the British to quit India, but not before the colonial rulers had had to use 57 battalions against the rebels and the administration had broken down in large parts of Bihar and what is now eastern UP.

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The British blamed the Congress for the violence, but one probable reason for the attacks on railways stations and the cutting of telegraph wires was the incarceration of virtually the entire Congress leadership which left no one in the field to control and guide the mobs.

Some historians have pointed out, however, that this wasn’t the first instance of the Congress’s absence from the battlefield which enabled its arch-opponent, the Muslim League, to gain ground.

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Moreover, the timing of the Quit India movement, which aimed at extracting a promise from the British to leave India at the end of World War II, has been questioned since it took place when the Allies were involved in a life-and-death struggle with the Axis powers. As such, it was unrealistic to expect an immediate assurance from the British, especially when a diehard imperialist like Churchill was the prime minister.

Had the Congress been the only player in the tussle with the colonial rulers, its tactics might have succeeded. But this wasn’t the case since the Muslim League had been able by then to successfully exploit the fears which the Congress ministries, which ruled between 1937 and 1939, had aroused among sections of the Muslims about the imposition of a Hindu raj via the singing of Vande Mataram, among other things.

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As a result, the Congress’s attempt to force the pace, as it were, in the advance towards independence only enabled the Muslim League to cozy up to the British with its offer of support for the war effort.

But the League might not have made any headway if the Congress had not made several mistakes, as the colonial era bureaucrat, Penderel Moon, said in his book, “Divide and Quit”. One of them was to decline “to form coalition governments with the League in those provinces in which they had a majority” in 1937.

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Then, when the war broke out, the Congress “could have retraced their steps and sought to join with the League in coalitions both in the provinces and at the centre”. At a time when, according to Moon, “moderate men were still in control of the Muslim masses both in Bengal and the Punjab, the forces of disruption could have been checked” by a “working partnership” between the Congress and the League. But fate decreed otherwise.

A relook at the events at the time of the Quit India movement suggests that partition might have been avoided if the Congress had not been driven by the belief that there were only two forces in India at the time — the British and the Congress — and that there were no third parties such as the Muslim League. Besides, Jawaharlal Nehru had dismissed communalism as a “side issue”.

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Yet, arguably, much of the country’s ills stem from the partition. Domestically, the Hindu-Muslim problem hasn’t been solved. And, externally, India has acquired an inveterate enemy in Pakistan, whose publicly declared aim is to bleed India with a thousand cuts.

India was fortunate in the 1930s and 1940s with having an array of leaders of stature like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Subhas Bose and Rajagopalachari on the side of the Congress, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah of the Muslim League on the other side along with Sir Sikander Hayat Khan of the Unionist Party and Fazlur Huq, formerly of the Krishak Praja Party, who moved the so-called Pakistan resolution in Lahore in 1940 — although Pakistan was not named in it. Even then, the country moved inexorably towards partition with the “mistakes” in the 1937-42 period playing a key role.

It is undeniable that ego clashes between Nehru and Jinnah came in the way of finding a meeting ground with the former delivering the death blow to the possibility of an agreement by virtually rejecting the British Cabinet Mission’s plan for avoiding partition even after the Muslim League had accepted it.

What history tells us, therefore, is the need for treading with caution in dealing with India’s complexity. Any attempt to project a party as the only hope for the country, as the Congress did 75 years ago, is fraught with fateful consequences.

The Congress did succeed in getting rid of the British though at the cost of the country’s unity. But any attempt to evict the Congress from the country via a Congress-mukt Bharat agenda can make the party’s opponents fall prey to the malady of hubris.

(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

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Who is Preetika Chauhan? Everything to know about ‘Savdhaan India’ actress arrested by NCB

Saavdhan India’ actress Preetika Chauhan (30) was among one of the people who got arrested after getting caught buying drugs. Here’s everything about her!

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The Narcotics Control Bureau made two more arrests in the drug supply case on Sunday. ‘Saavdhan India’ actress Preetika Chauhan (30) was among one of the people who got arrested after getting caught for buying drugs red-handed.

Who is Preetika Chauhan?

Preetika Chauhan hails from Karsog, Himachal Pradesh. She is a B.Tech graduate and had made her acting debut with the film Jhamela, which was released in 2016.

She went on to play goddess Shachi in Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanumaan.

Apart from Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman, Preetika Chauhan also had appeared in a few episodes of CID and Savdhaan India. She was also seen as Bhudevi in Star Bharat show Jag Janni Maa Vaishno Devi.

Preetika was last seen as Goddess Parvati in Santoshi Maa – Sunayein Vrat Kathayein. Preetika was also part of the TV show ‘Devon Ke Dev Mahadev’.

The case is in the ongoing investigation in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case. The Bollywood drugs nexus case came to light while a parallel investigation was being carried out by the NCB.

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Only 7% plan on going out to movie theatres in the next 60 days

Results of July, August and October survey by LocalCircles indicate that people continue to stay reluctant in going to theatres and multiplexes due to the Covid-19 scare.

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Even though movie theatres are now open, only 7 per cent people are willing to go to watch a film there in the next 60 days, as per a survey.

Results of July, August and October survey by LocalCircles indicate that people continue to stay reluctant in going to theatres and multiplexes due to the Covid-19 scare.

Cinema halls across the states were allowed to reopen after seven months of the ongoing pandemic induced by the novel coronavirus.

Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are some of the states where theatres and multiplexes have started to function. Cinema halls remain closed in states like Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and many northeastern states.

LocalCircles conducted a survey to know if citizens if plan on visiting movie theatres in the next 2 months. The survey received 8,274 responses from across the country.

In the survey, citizens were asked, “now that the multiplexes and theatres are open in many states and the remaining states will also open them soon, will they be going to watch a movie in the next 60 days?”

However, only 4 per cent said they would go to watch if any new releases come and 3 per cent said they will go regardless of new or old movie. 74 per cent said they will not go while 2 per cent were unsure and 17 per cent said they don’t watch movies in theatre.

LocalCircles had conducted similar surveys during past few months to know how people plan to go out to watch movies when the theatres and multiplexes reopen. In the July survey, 72 per cent consumers had said that they will not go to theatres or multiplexes when they open, keeping the Covid-19 scenario in mind.

This number increased to 77 per cent in August and stands at 74 per cent in October.

Cinema halls claim to have taken various measures to ensure safety, such as sanitisation of their premises and other Covid-19 safety protocols. Among others, some of them have started the movie shows with 50 per cent of the total occupancy, staggered show timings, social distancing, thermal screening, adequate protection gear for the staff, etc.

But all said and done, it looks like people continue to be reluctant in going to a theatre or multiplex in the next 60 days, the survey said.

States that are considering opening multiplexes and cinema halls in the coming weeks may want to consider this consumer feedback and accordingly make their decision.

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2020 lockdowns to drive new forms of automation: Report

Document extraction, robotic process automation (RPA) from anywhere, drones and various employee robots will proliferate.

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The ‘great lockdown of 2020 will make the drive for automation in 2021 both inevitable and irreversible and remote work, new digital muscles and pandemic constraints will create millions of pragmatic automations, according to a new report.

Document extraction, robotic process automation (RPA) from anywhere, drones and various employee robots will proliferate.

“In 2021, up to 30 per cent of organisations will ramp up their focus on quality by better planning and testing automation before deploying it to production or exposing it to employees,” said the Forrester report on automation.

Three times as many information workers will work from home all or most of the time, while many companies will institute hybrid models in which workers come to the office less often.

“As a result of the pandemic, new forms of automation will support one in four remote workers either directly or indirectly by 2022”.

Direct support in the form of giving a bot to individual workers to support their daily journey will be rare.

However, indirect support will blossom, as intelligent automation handles employee benefits questions and supports document, customer service, and line-of-business tasks that are often invisible to the home worker, the findings showed.

Recent rapid growth in the consumer drones industry has sparked momentum in the commercial drone market.

While social distancing is a factor in drone usage, two forces will accelerate adoption in 2021.

“First, governments are crafting better regulations to facilitate drone adoption and commercialization, with Amazon Prime Air gaining FAA approval for drone deliveries and India driving drone pilot training with new policies,” according to the report.

Second, the rapid evolution of computer vision and 5G will enable real-time drone intelligence over ultra-reliable, low-latency communications.

Like machine learning, RPA will become an embedded feature of many platforms by the end of 2021.

“But rushed and haphazard automation exposes systems and the business to serious risk, so the lack of focus on automation quality is alarming, the report warned.

It can lead to monumental failures that not only damage a company’s reputation and customer trust but also limit broader public trust in automation (specifically AI) as a result of media scrutiny, it added.

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