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Showing posts from 2020

Dossier on RSS explains: Saffron organization is modelled on German, Italian fascism

Reproduced below is a dossier, running into five parts, on RSS, solely based on its archives, penned by former Delhi University professor Shamsul Islam, for the “benefit of civil society, political parties, intellectuals, and all those who are concerned about the rise of the terrorist/fascist organizations:  ***

Food Bills open doors for global merchants of grain, their Indian corporate partners

Reproduced below is well-known environmentalist and scholar Dr Vandana Shiva's  unpublished briefing paper “Protecting the Rights of Small Farmers (our anna datas), the Right to Food of All Citizens to Create a Food Sovereign, Food Self-Reliant India (Atmanirbhar Bharat)” on the potential impact of the dismantling of India’s food sovereignty and food security regulatory and legal infrastructure framework through three food and farming Bills. The paper has been distributed by JanVikalp:  ***

Dataism threat: Highly intelligent algorithm knows us better than we do ourselves

RB Sreekumar, former Director-General of Police, Gujarat, reviews the book “Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow” (2015), authored by Prof Yuval Noah Harari, published by Harper Collins: ***   Reputed historian Arnold Joseph Toynbee authored “The Study of History” analysing the causative factors behind rise and fall of civilisations for formulating ‘lessons of history’. Later futurologist Alvin Toffler wrote 3 books narrating the impact of science and technology on all facets of human activity. These are, “Third Wave”, “Future Shock” and “Power Shift”.

Land rights: State should be referee in fight between big companies and communities

Constance Galeo Mogale, an experienced South African land activist who has played leading roles in several campaigns and initiative, in conversation with Vidya Bhushan Rawat, on various issues of land rights, gender issues and racism and why she feels so much about them:

Indians could not complain of racism while practising untouchability, believed Gandhi

Reproduced below is the paper “Thinking with Gandhi on racism and violence: A letter to a friend”, by Ajay Skaria, Professor of History and Global Studies at the University of Minnesota, author of “Unconditional Equality: Gandhi’s Religion of Resistance” and “Hybrid Histories: Forests, Frontiers, and Wildness in Western India”, currently working on a book, “What is Democratic Secularism?”.

Like Phoenix, the mythological but legendary bird of ancient world, 'We must arise!'

In this article, "We Must Arise", Fr Cedric Prakash SJ, human rights on peace activist/writer, analyses how the situation in the country is becoming more and more serious -- on every possible front, highlighting how the reality has been unfolding recently:***

Need to reflect why debates, discussions being barred in the name of COVID

Reproduced below is the unpublished paper by “COVID-19, Science and Responsibility of the Intellectuals” by Pramod Ranjan, whose interests lie in subaltern studies, development of modernity and philosophy of knowledge. A Hindi writer, he has authored “Sahityetihas Ka Bahujan Paksha”, “Bahujan Sahitya Ki Prastavna”, “Mahishasur: Mithak Va Paramparayein” and three volumes of Periyar writings. Currently, Ranjan teaches in Rabindranath Tagore School of Languages and Cultural Studies of Assam University. The paper has been distributed by JanVikalp. 

Public health in India: Addressing issues of politics and multiple hierarchies of knowledge

Leading Indian professional associations of public health have released two joint statements on the COVID-19 pandemic and its management in India. The central issue they raise is to ignore the technical advice of the country’s leading experts and institutions in decision-making about strategies for handling the pandemic.

Modern-day crusaders of Hindu nationalism running the country on theocratic lines

Krishan Singh, a young professional with working experience of 8.5 years in managing various functions of supply chain, especially in oil and gas and shipping, has penned a detailed analysis on what he calls "the rise of Hindu nationalism and modern crusaders":
*** While Nationalism is concerned with a country's identity with respect to other nations, the idea of Hindu nationalism is only concerned with taking only one faith's population into account and promoting it as whole nation's identity. For a country as diverse as India, a home to people from various religions, languages, culture, and tribes, this is a very problematic idea.

Right to the City: Question is being raised whether migrants are citizens of the country

Excerpts from “Migration, Migrants and Right to the City” by RB Bhagat, Professor and Head, Department of Migration and Urban Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, based on his lecture at the Centre for Work and Welfare, Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi:

When Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, DGP failed to blunt Gujarat bloodbath of 2002

Excerpts from, “Passport to Gujarat: Hazardous Journeys”, a biographical book authored by Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat (1975 batch) Alexander Luke, published by Manas Publications, Delhi, 2015:
***  On 27th February (2002) the Godhra incident took place and after that it was difficult to hold hearings because of the continuing violence. When I drove to the office the next morning, I saw the Topaz restaurant being burnt by a group of men. A few others were attacking a cloth shop nearby. Reaching the office I and another officer were the only ones present and the watchman had to open the gate. When I phoned up a senior police officer about what I had witnessed he advised me to go home as the situation was bad.

The Prashant Bhushan case: Why Re 1 coin is the symbol of change, of a New India!

Detailed commentary, “One Rupee for a New India”, by Fr Cedric Prakash SJ, human rights and peace activist/writer, on what led to the controversial and high profile contempt of court case against top Supreme Court lawyer, Prashant Bhushan:
***  Just a couple of days before his retirement from the Supreme Court, Justice Arun Mishra gave (perhaps unwittingly) the people of India a very special gift: a one rupee coin (coin because the one-rupee note has totally disappeared!) It was in the form of the ‘punishment’ meted out to senior public interest lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan for the contempt of court case against him. Bhushan was already found ‘guilty’ and the quantum of ‘punishment’ was only to be given. It was done on 31 August a little after the clock struck twelve noon!
The 82-pages sentencing judgement concludes with:
“We, therefore, sentence the contemnor with a fine or (SIC) Re 1(Rupee one) to be deposited with the Registry of this court by 15.09.2020, failing which he…

ADB report: COVID-19 impact on international migration and remittance in Asia

Excerpts from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) brief, “COVID-19 Impact on International Migration, Remittances, and Recipient Households in Developing Asia”, by Aiko Kikkawa Takenaka, Economist; Raymond Gaspar, Consultant; James Villafuerte, Senior Economist; and Badri Narayanan, Consultant, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, ADB:  

A journalist's first person account of what happened in Kashmir around August 5, 2019

Reproduced below are excerpts from "Letter from Kashmir: Valley of Unrest", by Sonia Faleiro, published by “Harper’s Magazine” (July 2020) with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Faleiro (born 1977) is an Indian writer of narrative non-fiction, and has been acclaimed for her novel “The Girl” (Viking, 2006), followed by “Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay's Dance Bars” (2010), and “13 Men” (2015). This article is on her impressions of Kashmir Valley around the events that took place around August 5, 2019:

Impact of internet shutdown in Kashmir: Losses Rs 178.78 billion, 500,000 lose jobs

Reproduced below is the chapter “Enterprise runs Aground” in the 125-page report “Kashmir’s Internet Siege”, published by the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), calling the communications blockade as an act of “digital apartheid”, a form of a form of “systemic and pervasive” discriminatory treatment and “collective punishment”:

Dalits, 75% of Christian community, being denied their Constitutional right

Madhu Chandra, a freelancer and social worker based at Hyderabad, argues in the following article, distributed by the Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC, that even after 70 years, Constitutional right of reservation has been denied to 20 millions Indian Dalit Christians:
*** “Commission for Minority Religion and Linguistic Minority” known as “Misra Commission” was setup by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government in 2005 to study and report on socio-economic condition of Christians and Muslims converted from Scheduled Caste origins. The Justice Misra Commission report was submitted on May 22, 2007. Since then UPA Government has delayed to give its consent that Supreme Court of India could give its verdict to 60 years denial of constitutional Rights to 20 million Indian Christians from Scheduled Caste origins.
The commission report has suggested to De-link Religion from Scheduled Caste and Dalits who, irrespective of their religion, suffer caste stigma and Schedul…

How Government of India stonewalled RTI applications on PM Cares Funds

A series of RTI applications were filed in mid-June 2020 seeking information regarding the deliberations related to setting up of PM Cares Funds and allocations and use of funds from these PM Cares Funds. A summary of the RTI applications and replies and key observations about each one, compiled by Anjali Bharadwaj:
*** RTI 1- Prime Minister’s Office An RTI application was filed to the PMO seeking a copy of all files held by the PMO related to the PM CARES Fund. The PMO refused access to information citing that “PM CARES Fund is not a Public Authority under the ambit of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005.”
Click here for copy of RTI application and reply.
Observation:The PMO is obfuscating the matter by providing an incorrect and misleading response. The RTI application explicitly sought a copy of records related to the PM CARES Fund HELD BY the Prime Ministers Office (PMO). The PMO is a public authority under the RTI Act and is statutorily obligated to provide information. The issue of …

Not just India, countries across the world use COVID as excuse to curb media freedom

Reproduced is translation of Hindi  article by Pramod Ranjan, who at the Rabindranath Tagore School of Languages and Cultural Studies of Assam University, “COVID-19, science and responsibility of the intellectuals”, distributed by Jan Vikalp. Ranjan’s interests lie in subaltern studies, development of modernity and philosophy of knowledge. Books by him include “Sahityetihas Ka Bahujan Paksha”, “Bahujan Sahitya Ki Prastavna”, “Mahishasur: Mithak Va Paramparayein”, three volumes of Periyar writings edited by him, and “Shimla Diary”.
***  The coronavirus-induced lockdown hasn’t just eroded our physical liberty; it has also eroded our intellectual freedom. Our freedom to think has been put under lock and key. Clearly, we are on the threshold of a dangerous phase. Which way we go from here will depend on how soon and how well we gauge the danger and start exploring the ways to counter it.
The success or failure of our endeavour will depend on how much time we take to raise questions on the …