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Showing posts from October, 2022

Nothing could have been more tragic than to feel like being ‘abroad’ in Bangladesh

River Buri Ganga, lifeline of Dhaka, and the port at Gatboli By Vikas Bajpai*  Earlier this month I was in Dhaka to attend a one on one photography workshop with an extremely talented Bangladeshi photographer GMB Aakash. As I was set to leave for Dhaka a student of mine remarked – “Comrade, tussi abroad challe ho” (comrade, you are going abroad)? Nothing could have been more tragic for me than to feel like being ‘abroad’ in Bangladesh. I told my student friend – “I would just like to feel like being at home in Dhaka; like an overdue homecoming.” My affliction here does not owe to any reason endogenous to me; it simply is for the reason that we are the same people either across our western border or the eastern border, united by a shared history extending over thousands of years. The borders albeit are only 75 years old and it is my belief that if people across the sub-continent could have their way, the borders, as a barrier to free intermingling of the people, would be gone sooner tha

Nehru was a complex person, 'embodying' clash of Eastern and Western cultures

By Moin Qazi*  The story of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, is the story of early modern India. There is scarcely any public institution or aspect of the republic that Nehru did not shape or influence. He was an accomplished politician, writer, orator whose contemplative and scholarly books on various subjects are widely read. He wrote and spoke in impeccable English, a language that came naturally to him, because of his education at Harrow, Cambridge and the Inner Temple. His sentences were finely made and always memorable. Nehru was perceived as a complex person, embodying the clash of Eastern and Western cultures which, many felt, impeded India's attempts to leap ahead and catch up with more advanced nations. However, several supporters believe that this approach helped promote indigenous talent and helped India in the long term become self-reliant. Nehru’s importance in Indian history is primarily because he imported and imparted modern values and ways of thinki

'Irresponsible': Niti Aayog favouring energy technologies sans cost-benefit analysis

By Shankar Sharma*  Whereas most of the recent projections done by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for India (by 2030), should have been clear to any modest observer of the Indian energy/ economy scenario, some of the data mentioned in this scenario projection should be of lot more concern to our people as compared to what has been said so far by the domestic media houses on the topic so far. Some of such disconcerting facts, as highlighted by IEA, are: India is likely to see the world's biggest rise in energy demand this decade, with demand climbing 3 per cent annually due to urbanisation and industrialisation. While the push for renewable energy will see it meeting as much as 60 per cent of the growth in demand for power, coal will continue to meet a third of overall energy demand by 2030 and another quarter will be met by oil. Even though India continues to make great strides with renewables deployment and efficiency policies, the sheer scale of its development means tha

Why no one in US, Britain will scream at Harris, Sunak: Return to your motherland

  By Dr Mike Ghouse* Not only do I congratulate Rishi, but the Hindu and the Indian community as well for giving some of the best political and business leaders to the world. It's supreme joy when one of our own makes super significant accomplishments; not only the Hindus but Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and others feel elated. It is the beauty of democracy; every capable citizen can become whatever he or she wants to be. Let's hope he will work on building stronger economic ties between his motherland and his homeland and bring prosperity and sustainability to both democracies. We, the Indians of all hues, will support him in working toward strengthening democracy and bringing peace and prosperity to the world. 36% of American and British Indians need to reflect on their privileges and hypocritical attitude towards minorities in India USA and UK are not perfect unions but are models for the world and other authoritarian rulers to emulate. No American or Britisher will scream at

GN Saibaba, others called new generation freedom fighters, victims of state terror

By Our Representative  A Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) meeting on 28th October at the Gandhi Peace foundation on, ‘Dangerous Brain: Saibaba and Others', held to scrutinise the Supreme Court judgement suspending Bombay High Court's acquittal order of Prof GN Saibaba, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Vijay Tirki and Mahesh Tikri, has demanded that the Apex Court should uphold the Bombay High Court’s order granting acquittal to Saibaba and others. Seeking compensation to family of Pandu Narote, CASR sought initiation inquiry into the custodial death of Narote and hold the officials responsible. Other demands put forward by CASR -- which is a network of several civil rights groups -- included repeal the anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and release all political prisoners. Addressing meeting, senior advocate Colin Golsalves talked about the two judgements on GN Saibaba and Umar Khalid, explaining how the Indian courts are giving judgements politicall

BSF 'not allowing' Dalit, OBC farmers to freely reach up to farmlands: Complaint to NHRC

By Our Representative  Complaining against "severe restriction of movement and illegitimate restrictions on livelihood" of the villagers of Bohar, Bindol gram panchayat, Raiganj block, Uttar Dinajpur district, a senior West Bengal-based human rights activist has blamed Border Security Force (BSF) personnel for "not allowing" the local farmers to "take tractors, chemical fertilizers and pesticides in their respective farming lands." In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairman, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, most of the farmers of the 3,400-stong village are Dalits owning 198 acres of cultivable land, located outside the border fencing. "The BSF regulates the ingress and egress of the villagers to their own agricultural land through the fencing gates according to their whims", he regretted. Pointing out that the distance between the border fence and the International Border Pilla

Important intervention for 'positively shaping' water diplomacy in South Asian region

By Dr Ruchi Shree*  Book Review: Venkatesh Dutta (ed.) (2022), "Water Conflicts and Resistance: Issues and Challenges in South Asia", Routledge, New Delhi The recent arrival of this edited volume on changing nature of water conflicts in South Asia is a significant addition to the increasing literature on politics of water. I can recall two more texts namely "Unruly Waters: How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons have Shaped South Asia’s History" (Allen Lane, 2018) by Sunil Amruth and "Water Issues in Himalayan South Asia: Internal Challenges, Disputes and Transboundary Tensions" (Springer, 2020) an edited volume by Amit Ranjan. In the last two decades, politics of water has emerged as an interdisciplinary area of study and the framework of this book also suggests the same. The contributors range from water experts, govt. professionals to civil society activists and they capture the nuances of water conflicts at local, regional and transboundary scales. This book

Corporates pushing domination of GM crops, ‘gravely harming' farmers, food, health

By Bharat Dogra*  Recent times have witnessed constant constant lobbying by very powerful corporate interest lobbies for the introduction of GM (genetically modified) crops and technology in India. These corporate interests have been promoting GM technology and GE (genetic engineering) technology in food and farming which has been exposed by eminent experts to be extremely harmful for food, health and farmers and useful only for strengthening corporate grip on world farming and food system. On the other hand various groups struggling for the protection of farmers and farming, as well as for protecting health and environment have been opposing these powerful corporate lobbies. Unfortunately some scientists (in fact one hesitates to call them scientists) devoted only to career and narrow benefits have sold their soul to the corporate lobby, looking only to find excuses dressed up as evidence to promote corporate interests. As there are increasing

'Unscientific, irresponsible, shocking': NGO on Govt of India approval to GM mustard

By Our Representative  GM mustard approved by India’s top regulators “will be resisted strongly”, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has warned the Government of India (GoI). Calling the clearance given by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) “unscientific and irresponsible”, the top organic farming advocacy network said, the clearance, was given for the “second time, that too without a single additional basis for decision making.” The Coalition, in a statement, said, the approval “will be met with serious resistance by citizens all over India”, adding, it is confident and hopeful that “right-thinking state governments will stand on the side of public interest in this matter.” “What has happened is shocking in its lack of scientificity or responsible regulation. Nothing has changed from 2017 when GEAC gave its approval to GM mustard commercial cultivation, when the regulator gave a green signal but the decision was not cleared by the ‘competent authority’ i.e., Minister/

Hindutva paradox: 'Proud' of Sunak, Kamala Harris, not Mother Teresa, Sonia Gandhi

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  With Rishi Sunak having become the Prime Minister of UK, India's 'bhaktmandali' is in a celebration mood. Even the 'liberals' are celebrating it. For the record, people of Indian origin have become leaders in various countries, including Mauritius, Suriname, Fiji, Trinidad etc., yet we never felt proud of them. Most of these Indians were basically related to the families of 'indentured labourers', or what was termed slave trade, but that was never celebrated, despite the fact that these leaders have been proud of their Indian origin, and rightly so, because colonisation uprooted them from their roots and identities. Their love for India needs to be understood in their attempt to trace their roots which the brutalities of colonisation inflicted upon them. Kamala Harris became vice president of gthe USA, though that position is not so powerful. Yet, Indians 'celebrated' her being installed as vice-president. Now it is Sunak, wh