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Showing posts from June, 2023

Uniform Civil Code 'politically motivated': Adivasis, Mizo people oppose uniformity

By Dr Abhay Kumar*  The call for Uniform Civil Code is politically motivated, Flavia Agnes, eminent scholar and women's rights lawyer has said in an interview with me. Flavia Agnes has expressed disappointment that while the 21 Law Commission underscored the importance of ending gender discrimination and economic inequality against women, the Government has not taken a single step to implement the 21 Law Commission’s report.

Rewrite Indian history by all means. But do commissioned historians have open minds?

By Mohan Guruswamy*  There is one advantage that less educated people have over the highly educated. It is that they are more likely to have open minds. But there is always the danger that the open mind can actually be an empty mind. When the RSS' exercise of rewriting history began, Smriti Irani (then HRD minister) requested us not to judge her by her meager education but by her performance. But the RSS has on its agenda to rewrite Indian history and complete the project begun by the astrology believing physics professor from Allahabad University, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi. Historical revisionism is the process of rewriting history to correct the misinterpretations of the past or for an ideological purpose. Plato wrote that: “those who tell stories also hold the power.” The corollary to this is that those who hold power inevitably want to re-interpret old stories. British scholars, who seemed genuinely interested in how this country evolved, wrote most of modern India’s history. Ind

US Indo-Pacific strategy: 'Anti-China' military move defying UN Laws of Sea convention

By Vijay Prashad*  On June 3, 2023, naval vessels from the United States and Canada conducted a joint military exercise in the South China Sea. A Chinese warship (LY 132) overtook the U.S. guided-missile destroyer (USS Chung-Hoon) and speeded across its path. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command released a statement saying that the Chinese ship “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner.” 

Masses of Favela in Brazil resist attacks after the killing of a worker by Civil Police

By Harsh Thakor  Between the night of June 22nd and the morning of June 23rd inhabitants of the Três Pontes Favela, in the western Rio de Janeiro, rose up in revolt after the killing of a worker during an operation by the Civil Police. The murdered Guilherme Morais (22) was in the process of delivering food when the operation began. The cops used armoured vehicles, helicopters and troops from the Civil and Military Police.  Operations were also undertaken in the Antares and Aço Favelas, also in the west of Rio. The masses heroically withstood the attacks, confronted the police and the troops finally were forced to flee the neighbourhood with the people raising slogans. The torpedoing began with the onslaught of rifle fire, an invasion of armoured vehicles and helicopter flights, when the streets of the Favela were still flooded with residents, including children. The reason for the attack by the reactionary armed forces was to secure the arrest of alleged militia leaders who supposedly

How neoliberal globalization, hybrid economic model benefited China 'disproportionally'

By Richard D Wolff*    The year 2020 marked parity between the total GDP of the G7 (the U.S. plus allies) and the total GDP of the BRICS group (China plus allies). Since then, the BRICS economies grew faster than the G7 economies. Now a third of total world output comes from the BRICS countries while the G7 accounts for below 30 percent.  Beyond the obvious symbolism, this difference entails real political, cultural, and economic consequences. Bringing Ukraine’s Zelenskyy to Hiroshima to address the G7 recently failed to distract the G7’s attention from the huge global issue: what is growing in the world economy vs. what is declining.

Modi trying to woo Pasmanda Muslims? They won’t join communal forces: Ali Anwar

By Dr Abhay Kumar*  A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to woo Pasmanda Muslims during the BJP workers' meeting in Bhopal, former Member of Parliament and leader of the Pasmanda Movement Ali Anwar has said that Pasmanda Muslims will not join the communal forces because secularism is in their DNA.

India fifth largest economy in the world? IMF's per capita data say something else

By Rajiv Shah  Forbes India, an obvious subsidiary of Forbes, one of America's top business magazines, has clubbed India among top 10 largest economies of the world in 2023, with India being the fifth largest. I was a little surprised when I read this. However, as a read through the news story , my apprehensions appeared to be correct. First let me quote from the story itself. It says, "The United States of America, China, Japan, Germany, and India are the largest economies in the world in 2023, as per their GDP data. GDP serves as a key metric for assessing the magnitude of a nation's economy." It even describes the methodology of its calculation: "The conventional approach for gauging a country's GDP involves the expenditure method, wherein the total is derived by aggregating expenditure on fresh consumer goods, new investments, government outlays, and the net value of exports." It praises India in following words: "India's economy boasts dive

South Asian University adopts punitive approach towards students and faculty

A civil society petition to Professor Dr. Dev Raj Adhikari, Chair, University Grants Commission, Nepal; and the Chair, Governing Body, South Asian University, New Delhi *** As concerned scholars and academics with deep connections to South Asia, we are taking the liberty of writing to you about the troubling events at the South Asian University (SAU), New Delhi. We urge you to intervene as the Chair of SAU’s highest decision-making body, the Governing Board, to prevent lasting damage to the proud history of SAU as a unique South Asian institution of higher learning. At the heart of our concern about what is happening in SAU is the punitive approach adopted by the university authorities towards both students and faculty. Student protest and faculty dissent are a normal part of the life of an institution whose mission is to encourage independent enquiry and foster an intellectual climate where the freedom to express varying opinions is assured to all regardless of rank or position. Unf

At the core of 'irregular' plastic pollution in Ganga basin: Irresponsible tourist behaviour

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  These are some initial thoughts, ideas and approach of applied research on tracking plastic pollution for tackling plastic pollution. An all-women research team has started this endeavor to join the global movement on #beatplasticpollution. This writeup is meant to seek more support for peer learning and sharing and simultaneously encourage youth enviropreneurs and hydropreneurs to take up the burning issue of plastic polluting our land, water and all creatures.

Brazilian peasant leader Luzivaldo de Souza Araújo, brother Roelio face fabricated charges

By Harsh Thakor  Democrats worldwide should in no uncertain terms defend the freedom of Brazilian peasant Luzivaldo de Souza Araújo, 42 years old, and his brother Robélio, 30 years old. They are languishing behind in prison unjustly since 2019, being framed of staging a conspiracy, where the big landlords are in complete control of the region. Peasant Luzivaldo de Souza Araújo and his brother Robélio, were be taken to a jury on June 26, in Campina Verde, Minas Gerais according to information from the Brazilian Association of People's Lawyers Gabriel Pimenta. Luzivaldo is amongst people’s fighters in Brazil, who are waging a battle for the destruction of the large estates and preservation of secular system of land concentration in the country. The framed charges imposed against Luzivaldo and his brother, symbolise an integral plot manipulated by big landlords in the region, to try to subvert the struggle for a piece of land to intensify.. Luzivaldo was the shield obstructing the l

Govt's tall claims on renewable energy 'not supported' by plan of action, timeline

By Shankar Sharma*  Many of the opinion pieces, official claims, and sponsored articles, being noticed recently in our national media, can be said to suffer badly from the absence of a holistic view of true welfare of all sections of our society on a sustainable basis.

Mercenaries played important role in US military inventions in Iraq, Afghanistan

Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin By Bharat Dogra  Yevgeny Prigozhin may not have succeeded in realizing his ambitions, but his revolt had the unintended impact of focusing worldwide attention on the wider and serious problems involved in increasing dependence in many countries on mercenary fighting forces. Russia had used the soldiers of the Wagner PMC (private military company) in several military campaigns in recent times. While this may have served narrowly perceived objectives from time to time, Russia and Putin were rudely reminded of the dangers of allowing a private army to grow too big. However, serious dangers of private mercenary armies exist not just for Russia but several other countries as well, and above all such armies are a menace for the prospects of world peace. While mercenaries have played an important role in various conflicts in world history, their recent emergence as an important military phenomenon started with the USA military inventions in Iraq and A

Indian corporates 'guilty of using' deadly asbestos mostly imported from Russia

By Dr Gopal Krishna*  Responding to a letter addressed to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on the subject of "Why India must support inclusion of Chrysotile asbestos in the UN’s list of Rotterdam Convention", Hazardous Substances Division, Ministry of Environment Forests & Climate Change has informed on 26 June, 2023 that “the decision to include chrysotile asbestos in the UN list was deferred at the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (RC COP-11) in Geneva during 1-12 May 2023.”

Political chaos, conflict, violence around West Bengal Panchayat elections 2023

By Harasankar Adhikari  In representative democracy, an election is the most important democratic tool for the selection of representatives from the lower to upper houses. In India, an election is considered as the ‘vote festival’ because of people’s active participation, whether voters are politically aware or not about their democratic rights. It might also be an important question for all. People participate because they want to gain something as per their desires. However, in this democracy, the opposition is the vital pillar of the government because the opposition’s involvement, role, and responsibility also determine the success or failure of a government. The filing of a nomination of candidature in the election is the first step of the electoral process. We observe in the concurrent Panchayat Election of West Bengal, 2023 that there is a political warming throughout the state in relation to the filing of nominations. Every day, political chaos, conflict, violence, injury, an

Mamata is right, we submitted 2,000 cases of BSF atrocities; but will she act?: MASUM

Counterview Desk  Commenting on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement that the Border Security Force (BSF) is responsible for atrocities at the Indo-Bangladesh border, human rights leader Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has said that it is an acknowledgement of the “heinous torture” is happening at the behest of the BSF.

India is walking on tightrope between US and Russia vis-à-vis Moscow-Kyiv War

By Prof Sudhanshu Tripathi*  The more than a year-long ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has obviously created tough situations for India many times over. And that had led to cause crucial dilemma for India’s foreign policy, having foundational pillar of non-alignment which is meant for strategic autonomy of the country as regards independent decision making on all international and global issues. While united Russian Soviets as United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) that emerged after the second-World War had always extended the much needed due help to India on almost all international issues, except during Sino-Indian war in 1962, along with the required military hardware and logistical support for its army and overall national security and that Moscow continues to provide to New Delhi still today, thereby characterizing the USSR and its successor Russia as a trusted friend of India, barring few exceptions during closing years of 2010s, the US has all along been skeptical of In

Sarva Sewa Sangh building to be demolished following takeover, Gandhians protest

By Rosamma Thomas*  Mahatma Gandhi had plans for an independent India, and called a meeting at Wardha in Maharashtra on February 2, 1948 of workers who planned to collaborate for the achievement of Swaraj (self-rule) through the philosophy of Sarvodaya (universal uplift).

Religious intolerance: US must pressure Modi about rights of the minorities

By Mohammad Abdullah  In the midst of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US, questions about the rights of Indian Muslims have started to be raised in the US. Many US leaders have raised this question. The former president of the country, Barack Obama, also made a statement in this regard. With Modi's visit, the debate about Muslims and minorities in India started. Several US lawmakers, including Ilhan Omar, boycotted Modi's speech, accusing him of oppressing minorities. Barack Obama has spoken about India's 'religious intolerance' and has said that if the human rights of religious minorities and other races are not protected, then India may be divided in the future. Commenting that Biden should discuss this issue with Modi, he also said, "If I had the opportunity to discuss with Prime Minister Modi, I would have raised the issue of the protection of Muslims in India." In the middle of this controversy, when Modi appeared at a joint pre

India one of 5 countries yet to ratify UN convention against torture: Asian NGOs

Counterview Desk  Several Asian advocacy groups have come together to take note of the fact that in India there is no special anti-torture laws “which can bind the arms of the perpetrators.” Their statement says, “The persistence of inhuman treatment by the police and state officials makes it apparent that India is determined to protect violence by the police”.

Hyderabad law varsity 'enforcing' caste-class segregation in serving meals to workers

By Ajay Kranthi, Sandeep Pandey*  Students coming together for a progressive cause is nothing unusual. Most students are inspired by some idealism, and at times, putting their careers at risk, they take up social issues. Sometimes they coalesce as part of formal organisations; at other times, they may assemble as a loose coalition. Most political parties have their student wings which exist on major academic campuses.

How Mahakavi Sri Sri defined political and cultural metamorphosis of Telugu society

By Harsh Thakor  Srirangam Srinivasarao, popularly known as Sri Sri, or called Mahakavi (The Great Poet), held a reputation like no other Telugu poet. Today, on June 15th, we commemorate his 40th death anniversary. Sri Sri transcended heights in revolutionary creativity or exploration, unparalleled, in Telegu poetry, giving it a new dimension. His poems projected the theme or plight of the oppressed people at a scale, rarely penetrated by poets, giving revolutionary poetry it’s soul. In the 1950s and ‘60s, he was a voice that manifested the anger and frustration of the people and fostered spirit of rebellion. Sri Sri’s call to rise up and give birth to an egalitarian world emancipated of exploitation and deprivation, touched the core of the soul of young men and women who were swayed by the wave of Communism. His voyage as a poet and later as a Communist political propagandist defined the political and cultural metamorphosis in Telugu society in the 20th century. Sri Sri above all,

What RSS archives say about its 'betrayal' of struggle against Indira-imposed Emergency

By Shamsul Islam*  On the 48th anniversary of the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi [June 25, 1975-March 21, 1977] we are witnessing once again the farce of RSS claiming that it opposed it with full might. PM Modi described it as the “darkest period” in Indian history in his weekly radio talk, ‘Mann ki Baat’ on June 18, 2023.

Fighting remilitarization in Japan even as US wages new Cold War against China

By Dae-Han Song, Michael McGrath  Seishi Hinada is a National Executive Committee member of ZENKO (National Assembly for Peace and Democracy). ZENKO emerged in 1970 out of the student movement in the 1960s. He joined ZENKO in 1981 as a university student activist in Hiroshima’s anti-nuclear peace movement. The International Strategy Center’s Dae-Han Song and Michael McGrath interviewed Seishi online. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. We began with a brief background on post-World War II Japan, summarized here. According to Seishi, at the root of the Japanese public’s acceptance of the 55,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan, despite the wartime destruction inflicted on Japan by the United States, is a wartime compromise: in exchange for Japan adopting a peace constitution and renouncing war and military force, the United States would absolve it and its Emperor Hirohito for war crimes (i.e., the colonization of Korea and the invasion of China and other Asian countri