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Showing posts from July, 2024

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

54% of firms report ‘less than normal’ or lower sales, subdued profit margins: IIM-A survey

By Our Representative  The high profile Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmdabad (IIM-A) has revealed that About 54% of the firms are still reporting ‘somewhat less than normal’ or lower sales, even as pointing out that overall, the profit margins expectations have remained subdued.  

Why today notion of free market, touted as free and fair, is far from reality

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Historically, markets were established by working people to serve their everyday needs and desires. These markets were grounded in the local communities they served, reflecting the economic and social realities of the time. People would come together in these markets to trade goods and services, fostering a sense of community and mutual dependence.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Defeat in Badrinath, Ayodhya suggests Hindutva 'losing' its political currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The recent decline in the BJP’s seat numbers in the Indian parliament, along with their electoral losses in the latest bypolls, indicates a diminishing marginal utility of Hindutva politics. The defeats in significant temple towns such as Badrinath and Ayodhya suggest that Hindutva is losing its political currency.

Despite global trend to the contrary, blind faith in babas has 'lately picked up' in India

By Ram Puniyani*  In Hathras in Uttar Pradesh in a stampede nearly 121 people died. Most of these were women, mostly Dalit and poor. It was at the Satsang (Holy Discourse), organized for Bhole Baba, or Narayan Sakar Hari. He was earlier in the police force. It is alleged that he had charges of rape against him. Later he took voluntary retirement 28 years ago and turned to preaching. 

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

Meaning of setback to aspirations of extreme right in French elections: Options before Left

By Harsh Thakor*  The results of the parliamentary elections in France created a major setback to the aspirations of victory for the extreme right. The Left-wing New Popular Front coalition upset the polls and knocked the neo-fascist Rassemblement National party of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella out of first place in the final round of parliamentary elections.  It was the result of broad unity, organization and mass mobilization. Through following a popular front approach, they have enlarged the space for escalating democratic struggle. 

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

After India visit twice, Hasina’s China visit a ‘pragmatic balancing act'

By Ozair Islam*  On July 10, Bangladesh's prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, concluded her three-day official visit to China from July 08-10. The leader of Bangladesh made a successful maiden trip to China after being re-elected in January. Following two trips to India in June, Sheikh Hasina's journey to China might be characterized as a balancing act. 

An all weather friend? Chinese investment in Bangladesh reach seven billion dollars

By Arafat Islam Joy*   Bangladesh and China have enjoyed friendly relations since establishing diplomatic ties in January 1976. Since then, associations between China and Bangladesh have risen exponentially. Bilateral ties between the two countries started solidifying, identifying each other’s interests and priorities. The relationship has undergone a tremendous transformation to the extent that China is now considered by many in Bangladesh as an ‘all-weather friend.’ 

Maharashtra govt's proposed bill may be used against 'dissenting' journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists

Counterview Desk  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, strongly objecting to what it calls “repressive and unconstitutional” Maharashtra Special Public Security Bill 2024, has demanded the proposed law be scrapped in its entirety. In its Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill, PUCL noted,  the broad and non-descript label of ‘urban naxal’ has been used, which is actually a “common slur used for any citizen who expresses their opposition to state policy or is not aligned with right-wing majoritarian views."

Pervasive, systemic labour violations in this hospital of Bengaluru: NGO team

Counterview Desk Following the non-payment of wages for two months and the refusal of employment to 55 ward attendants from Victoria Hospital, Bengaluru on May 8th, 2024, and the subsequent protest waged by these workers, a fact-finding team was constituted to investigate potential labour rights violations at the hospital. 

A supporter of Chinese path, this Communist didn't pay much attention to caste question

By Harsh Thakor*  On July 12th a section of the Indian Left commemorated the 40th death anniversary of Devulapalli Venkatestwara Rao or DV, who expired from heart attack in 1984. He was one of those who sought to integrate the Mao Tse Tung thought with the peculiarities of the Indian conditions with the aim of enriching the theory of the massline and agrarian revolution in order to offer a new dimension to the Indian Communist movement. 

Slaty breasted rail: Freshwater species at home in Rajasthan?

By Rosamma Thomas*  Kishan Meena lives on the edges of Lake Chandlai, about 30 km from Rajasthan capital Jaipur. He is well known to wildlife and nature enthusiasts, since he spends much time outdoors, on the fringes of the lake, taking note of the large number of birds that arrive at the lake or breed there. When he sets eyes on a bird he has not seen before, he alerts other birder friends and sets about learning more about his new acquaintance. 

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

Tribals from 60 villages observe seed festival to 'protect' diversity of indigenous seeds

By Bharat Dogra*  Nearly sixty villagers are sitting on an open floor covered by a roof for shade but otherwise open on all sides. Women and men are present in equal numbers but the visibility of women is higher because of their colorful dresses.

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Allahabad HC judge 'exposes' his communal mindset by criminalizing conversion

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  On 1 July 2024, Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal of the Allahabad High Court in a bizarre comment said:  “If this process (religious conversion) is allowed to be carried out, the majority population of this country would be in minority one day, and such religious congregation should be immediately stopped where the conversion is taking place and changing religion of citizen of India.” 

Justice eludes murdered Dalit youths' families despite political arbitration

By Adv Mohan Dixit, others*  In August 2023, 18 year old Dalit youth, Nitin Ahirwar, was lynched by the dominant "lambardars" (upper caste, landed elites - in this case, Thakurs) of Barodiya Naunagir in Sagar, MP. When his mother tried to save him, she too was beaten, her hand was broken and her sari was stripped off. Their home was smashed as was that of Nitin’s uncle Rajendra Ahirwar. Just 9 months after Nitin's murder, his uncle, 26 year old Rajendra Ahirwar, a key witness in his murder was also murdered on 25 May, 2024. 

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

August 9 to be observed as Corporates Quit India day: Top farmers' group

By Our Representative A recent general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the top farmers' organisation, stated hat "there is no need for any illusion of change in the pro-corporate policies of the BJP-NDA government" following the recent elections in which BJP failed to achieve even simple majority. It insisted,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is hell bent" to continue 'business as usual' policies.

'Fake encounter' of 4 Adivasis, arrest of 90 as Maoists: A 'McCarthyian tactic' of 1950s in US?

Counterview Desk  In a statement, the civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM) has alleged a fake encounter in which four Adivasi peasants were killed in the Ghamandi forest, following which there were arrests of 90 Adivasi peasants in Usur, Bijapur. The Adivasi peasants are being equated with the Maoists, ensuring their criminalisation, FACAM said, calling it similar to the McCarthyian tactic of 1950s in the US. Text: With the beginning of this month, the state yet again unleashed its attack on the Adivasi peasantry with the killing of 4 Adivasi peasants and arrested of about 90 Adivasi peasants after red tagging them. It continued its genocidal attack on Adivasi.  On 3rd of July, as part of the “Maad Bachao Andolan” operation of the paramilitary, ironically the name used by mass movements in Abujhmad to oppose genocidal military operation, big combing operations have been launched to displace the Maoists from the hills of Chhattisgarh where they

Dual dependency on religion and alcohol among working class: Hathras, Kallakurichi

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  More than one hundred and twenty-one people died recently in a stampede at a religious gathering in the Pulrai village of Hathras district, located in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This tragic incident highlights the deeper economic, social, cultural, and spiritual crises that India faces today. 

'Genocidal violence in Bastar': Civil society groups ask UNHRC to intervene

By Our Representative  The civil rights network Forum Against Corporatisation and Militarisation (FACAM), along with the Foundation The London Story, Netherlands, International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India, India Justice Project, Germany and London Mining Network, UK, in a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has complained of "genocidal violence" allegedly being unleashed on the Adivasi peasants in Bastar. Stating that the violence has intensified in 2024 since the Indian state launched the draconian Surajkund Scheme, the representation said, as of now, close to 200 individuals have been killed in Bastar. Along with this, multiple human rights defenders, ground activists and peasant leaders such as Surju Tekam, and Suneeta Pottem, have been arrested in Chhattisgarh based on falsified charges of being associated with the proscribed Communist Party of India (Maoist) under anti-terror and sedition law, it added. Seeking periodic review of th

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

Truth behind BJP projecting itself as leader of struggle against Emergency

By Ram Puniyani*  Om Birla, the speaker of Lok Sabha is mired in many controversies. When he started his 2nd term as Lok Sabha (Parliament) Speaker he read out a resolution against Emergency which was imposed in 1975 by Indira Gandhi. The background of that emergency was the rising Sampoorna Kranti (Total Revolution) Movement, led by Jaya Prakash Narayan (JP). The movement of students of Gujarat which began to protest against the rise in mess bill, was soon joined by the students of Bihar. This spiraled into students requesting JP to lead the movement at national level.

Whither pride in India being mature democracy? Cases against Arundhati Roy, Medha Patkar

By Bharat Dogra*  In a recent article , ‘When the Process is The Punishment’, former judge of the Supreme Court of India Justice Madan B Lokur has made some comments on the cases against the renowned writer Arundhati Roy and reputed social activist Medha Patkar which deserve wide attention.

Kishna Singh, who took to task feudal practices, Bihar landlords' authority

By Harsh Thakor*  On 17th June we commemorated the 40th death anniversary of Krishna Singh, who was one of the pioneers in igniting the spark of the peasant movement in Bihar. His  martyrdom planting the seeds for many red roses to bloom. The Jehanabad-Palamau region was one of the most backward regions of Bihar. In this area the rule of the landlord lay unchallenged. The scenario received a dramatic transformation with the integration of the Unity Organisation (later CPI-ML Party Unity).

Chandra Shekhar’s anti-globalization drive wasn't verbal, rejected Deoras' swadeshi plank

By Prem Singh*   I was not close to Chandra Shekhar and was not quite sure that he would even know me as a socialist activist and writer. But once a friend told me that Chandra Shekhar would like me to meet him some time. I was told that he wished to discuss his approach to the problem of corruption about which I was very critical in my writings. But I could not meet him then and he became the Prime Minister of India. 

When ‘We the People’ stand up and make demands, defend streams, trees and animals

By Rosamma Thomas* When a black deer was shot and killed on July 5, 2024 at village 9 DD in Padampur, Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan, local people set out in protest in large numbers and blocked the road; the hunter was arrested, and the weapon he used was recovered. Anil Dharniya, a local wildlife activist who has long been taking care of sick animals, rushing them to rescue centres and arranging for treatment, was quick to inform local reporters, and new reports of the protest and the killing appeared in local newspapers soon afterwards.

When judges' perspective, personal views, prejudices influence judgments

By NS Venkataraman*  In all democratic countries, including USA and India, judiciary has become a very decisive and powerful entity, often directing the course of events, sometimes even more than the governments by over ruling the decision of the governments. Some discerning observers think that the limits of power of judiciary are blurred and unclear.

Women's emancipated under Mao: Girl completed primary school, began working in farm collective

By Harsh Thakor*  The book “New Women in New China”, a collection of articles projecting dramatic transformation -- political and economic -- in the status of Chinese women after liberation, originally published in 1972, and reprinted in 2023 by the Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, encompasses the period between 1949 and 1972, seeking to give justice to the subject of women’s emancipation in China after the 1949 revolution.

Ethnocide? Great Nicobar project to destroy lifeworld of unique tribes: Book

Counterview Desk  A new book,  curated by Pankaj Sekhsaria, peeling the multiple layers of what is called unfolding tragedy because of the Great Nicobar Development Plan seeks to argue that the mega-project constituting a port, airport, city and power plant poses grave ecological, geological, economic and legal concerns.  "Its impact on the indigenous people need careful review", its authors say.

Next door neighbour, a WB cop, threatens Dalit small business owner, files 'false' criminal case

By Kirity Roy*  This is about an incident of continuous threat, harassment, intimidation and subsequent false implication in a criminal case. The victims of continuous ill treatments belong to Malo, a scheduled caste community of West Bengal. They are father and son duo, Ganesh Halder, aged 70 years, and Pintu Halder, aged 35 years. Both are residents of village and post Puratan Bongaon, under Bongaon Police Station of 24 Parganas (North) district of West Bengal.  The perpetrators of these illegal and unjust acts are a serving police constable attached with the Bongaon police station and his wife, who are neighbours of the victims. The victims own a Ghani (oil extracting mill from mustard) and rice and flour huller in the locality. The perpetrators are living behind this mill with many others. The locality has many business establishments and shops. Though the mill is running for more than 20 years, nobody opposed its function. All of a sudden, three months back, the police personnel s

New MVA-INDIA MPs asked to raise Maharashtra milk farmers' demand

By Our Representative  All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) national president Dr Ashok Dhawale and AIKS Maharashtra general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale have asked three newly-elected MPs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-INDIA) from the milk belt of Maharashtra Dr Amol Kolhe (NCP),  Bhausaheb Wakchaure (SS), and Nilesh Lanke (NCP), to take up the cause of milk farmers of Maharashtra in Parliament.  After congratulating them on their resounding victory over their BJP-NDA rivals, the AIKS leaders apprised them of the milk farmers struggle which is intensifying in the state under the leadership of the AIKS and the Milk Farmers Joint Struggle Committee, and requested them to support it. All three MPs agreed not only to support, but also to take the initiative in this struggle, an official AIKS communique claimed. Farmers in Maharashtra are currently getting as low as Rs 24-27 per litre for cow milk, which is being sold in the market for Rs 56-60 per litre, the AIKS leaders noted. The low price to farmer

Why's Govt of India reluctant to consider battery storage system for renewal energy?

By Shankar Sharma*  If having so many small size battery energy storage system (BESS) at different locations of the grid, as in the report from Australia (a portfolio of 27 small battery storage projects across three Australian states that will total arounds 270 MWh), is considered to be techno-economically attractive in a commercially driven market such as Australia, the question that becomes a lot more relevance to Indian scenario is: why are our planners not in favour of installing such small size BESS at most of the distribution sub-stations not only to accelerate the addition of RE power capacities, but also to minimise the need for large size solar/ wind power parks, dedicated transmission lines and pumped storage plants; which will also minimise the associated technical losses.

Report suggests Indian democracy 'hasn't achieved' equitable economic decentralization

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram  The news that the current economic inequality in the country is worse than during British rule is unsettling. This suggests the harsh reality that our democracy has not achieved equitable economic decentralization. A recent report by Thomas Piketty and three other economists reveals shocking findings: in 2023-24, the top 1% of the wealthiest people in India hold 40% of the nation's wealth, with a 22.6% share in income. 

AI's 'positive role' during Indian polls amidst deepfakes disinformation

By Vandinika Shukla, Bruce Schneier*  As India concluded the world’s largest election on June 5, 2024, with over 640 million votes counted, observers could assess how the various parties and factions used artificial intelligence technologies – and what lessons that holds for the rest of the world. The campaigns made extensive use of AI, including deepfake impersonations of candidates, celebrities and dead politicians. By some estimates, millions of Indian voters viewed deepfakes.

Hathras stampede 'stark reminder' of Yogi government's negligence: AIDWA

By PK Sreemathi,  Mariam Dhawale*  The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has expressed its shock and outrage at the devastating stampede that occurred on 2 July in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh in a Satsang by self-styled godman, Narayan Saakar Vishwa Hari aka Bhole Baba. Nearly 121 people, mostly women, lost their lives in this stampede. The number of injured is known.

British victory of conservative values? Labour to establish 'ideologically free zone' in politics

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The crushing defeat of the Conservative Party and their local version called Scottish National Party in the UK general election may be a cause for celebration for many. The Labour Party has returned to power after fourteen years of Tory rule. It is a clear electoral victory for the Labour Party under the leadership of Keir Rodney Starmer, who is now the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. 

From purity to pollution: Journey along Ganga from Uttarakhand plains to Varanasi and beyond

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* The video above is about my Ganga journey from the plains of Uttarakhand to the ancient city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The journey starts from Lakshaman Jhula in Rishikesh and then moves to Har Ki Pairi in Haridwar and give you a glimpse of its purity and energy till it is in Uttarakhand. The river enters in Uttar Pradesh via a village in district Bijnor. The first major railway bridge on Ganga happened to be at Balawali. 

NGO-supported informal schools help fight dropout of children from poorest communities

By Bharat Dogra*  Children in remote villages, and within these villages in the hamlets of the poorest communities, face several difficulties in going regularly to school. In the case of migrant labour households these difficulties are compounded further by the parents of children leaving for several weeks along with children, in the process also disrupting the continuity of the education of children.  These problems can be reduced considerably if there is a well-functioning informal school within the hamlet of the poorest communities which can help children to maintain continuity of education. 

Farmers 'rapidly removing' trees viewed as hindrance to raise rice production

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*  A new study has found that millions of large trees have disappeared from Indian farmlands over the past decade, raising concerns about the impact on the environment and agricultural practices. Researchers have noted that more than half of the large trees in farmlands have been destroyed in many areas between 2010 and 2018.

Defamation case against Medha meant to 'divert attention' from battle for social, environmental justice

Counterview Desk  Condemning the conviction of prominent social activist Medha Patkar for defamation, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in a statement has sought the repeal of the defamation law, calling it "a colonial vestige". 

Stan Swamy's Spirit 'radiates' among marginalised and exploited millions

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  When on 5 July 2021, the fascist regime of India, killed Jesuit Fr. Stan Swamy, they succeeded only in destroying the frail body of an 84-year-old Catholic Priest. Today, three years after that fateful day, the Spirit of Stan Swamy lives on. Millions of people: the Adivasis and the Dalits, the excluded and the exploited, the marginalised and the exploited, the displaced and the denied, the poor and other vulnerable, the academics and the writers, human rights defenders, other civil society and political leaders remember him fondly. The fascist regime has not been able to destroy the Spirit of Stan Swamy – they will never be able to do so! His Spirit lives on forever: millions today celebrate it and try to emulate his Spirit! The Spirit of Stan Swamy will never be killed! His spirit is radiated through the five inter-related dimensions of Symbol, Servant, Shepherd, Singer and Saint!

Second only to Bradman, Gavaskar took concentration to realms untouched

By Harsh Thakor*  On July 10th   we commemorate the 75th birthday of legendary Sunil Gavaskar whose name will shimmer till the game of cricket lasts, like an inextinguishable star in the galaxy. Indian cricket virtually revolved around him, who singlehandedly bore its mantle like no cricketer of his era. No great batsman faced as lethal fast bowling like Sunny, who broke batting records escalating a tempo unscaled since Bradman, in mythical fashion.

Samsung workers' unionization challenges as they go on strike for their demands

By Pranjal Pandey*  On June 7, Samsung workers in South Korea embarked on their first-ever strike, organized by the Nationwide Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU). This historic event involved approximately 28,000 union members, representing about one-fifth of Samsung’s workforce in South Korea. 

'New feudal landlords of digital age': Tech corporations, online platforms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Feudalism managed to survive in different stages of its history. As a social, economic, political and cultural system that emerged in the Middle Ages, it has shown remarkable resilience by adapting and transforming throughout history. In contemporary times, it has reinvented itself in the form of techno-feudalism. This modern iteration is dominated by platform companies that dominate and control various aspects of economic activities of producers, consumers, and distributers. 

'Unorthodox cricketer': Garner took accuracy in pace bowling to realms

By Harsh Thakor*  Joel Garner played an integral role in making the West Indies pace attack in the 1980s, the most lethal battery ever in the history of test cricket and make West Indies arguably the best ever team in the history of test cricket.