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Showing posts from September, 2020

Racists? Rousseau, Hegel assumed Blacks and indigenous peoples weren't dialectical

In his paper, "Philosophy’s systemic racism", Avram Alpert, lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program, controversially argues that it’s not just that Hegel and Rousseau were racists; racism was in fact baked into the very structure of their dialectical philosophy. Alpert has authored "Global Origins of the Modern Self, from Montaigne to Suzuki" (2019) and "A Partial Enlightenment: What Modern Literature". His book "Buddhism Can Teach Us About Living Well without Perfection" is expected to be published soon. The paper has been published by Aeon as an essay. Reproduced below is Alpert's paper:    *** 

Tempest in a teapot: To publish or not to articles by likes of Narendra Modi, Amit Shah

Gujarati Sahitya Parishad building in Ahmedabad  By Rajiv Shah I was surprised over what they say in the US, a “tempest in a teapot”: Counterview published an article by Dankesh Oza, a Gujarat government official who took voluntary retirement about a decade ago, stating that two “oldies” (both octogenarians) were fighting Gujarat Sahitya Parishad polls, which has over 3,000 life-time members as voters. He appeared to support a relatively younger, though retired, person who was a key government official “looking after” Gujarati literature. 

British divide and rule policy? Colonialists segregated Hindustani into Hindi and Urdu

By Rajiv Shah A few days back, India’s home minister Amit Shah, currently “recuperating at his residence” (to quote a former Gujarat official, currently in Delhi) after contracted novel coronavirus, once again raised controversy by pitching for Hindi as the only language that “can do the work of uniting the country”, because it is the “most spoken language”. He did this a year after he made a similar statement on Hindi Diwas, which falls on September 16. 

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

Reproduced below is a detailed dossier, running into five parts, on RSS, which  its author claims is solely based on the saffron organization's archives. Unpublished, it is penned by former Delhi University professor Shamsul Islam , who says, he has written it for the “benefit of civil society, political parties, intellectuals, and all those who are concerned about the rise of the terrorist/fascist organizations":  *** 

Have babus begun to sense political shift in India as farmers agitate across the country?

By Rajiv Shah As farmers’ agitation gripped the country on September 25, a retired IAS bureaucrat, whom I have known for nearly two decades, phoned me us to get a feel of what I felt would be its impact. I said, I don’t know, as it is too early to assess, but I wondered whether the fact that it shook the entire country would mean that tables have begun turning against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Would cops ever care to agree? Eve teasing isn't (and wasn't) always a case of mistaken identity

By Rajiv Shah Recently, there was some controversy (storm in a teacup?) around a photograph. A photo went viral on the social media following an unemployed youth demonstration in Lucknow, picked up by several Facebook and Twitter enthusiasts, including journalist Rohini Singh, who claimed in a tweet it was a clear case of sexual harassment of a female demonstrator at the hands of a UP cop. 

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

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)” analyses 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, passed in Parliament.  Here is the paper, which was distributed by JanVikalp for general interest in the subject:  *** 

If a chaiwala in Ahmedabad is implicated for spreading Covid, why not state BJP chief CR Patil?

A rally felicitating new state BJP chief CR Patil By Rajiv Shah This was scary: A very close friend, near and dear to me, phoned me and told me that he was in “frantic search” of a hospital bed for a relative in Ahmedabad, but to his utter surprise there is a “long queue” everywhere. The reason for the search, he said, was a relative from a neighbouring state had rung him up to inquire whether one could come over to Ahmedabad to get post-Covid treatment, as hospitals were “full” in the city where this relative lived. 

Recalling 1995, when Gujarat chief minister justified Ganesha 'drinks milk' superstition

By Rajiv Shah An interesting story  in "The Wire” on how the Sangh Parivar had “organized” the 1995 Ganesha milk miracle and why the plan flopped” a quarter of a century ago took my memory down the lane back to September 21, 1995, the day I began seeing long queues in Ahmedabad with people trying to “feed” Ganesha idols with milk in small and big temples, mysteriously wondering how the Lord was “drinking away” all the milk they were feeding. The queues must have continued for at least a week. 

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

RB Sreekumar , former DGP, 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”.  Latest in the futurological analysis is from historian Prof Yuval Noah Harari of Jewish origin who is not bound by any ideology and system of philosophy of ethnic, religious and political attachments. The books are: “Sapiens - A Brief History of Human Kind”( (2011) “Homo Deus - A Brief History of Tomorrow” (2015, Pages 448) and “21 lessons for the 21st century” (2018). "Homo Deus" published by Harper Collins makes prognostic observations about t

Why Times of India 'allowed' a story that embarrassed Yogi's Shivaji museum move

By Rajiv Shah   A few days back I wrote a blog, giving the example of Facebook ads, on how advertisement could go to some length in deterring crucial news stories which may embarrass those in power – whether in the corporate or the political world. I had cited example of my experience as a “Times of India” man, first in Ahmedabad and then in Gandhinagar, on how this happens. 

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: *** 

Do 'upper caste' Marxists still dislike Dr Ambedkar, consider him reformist, separatist?

By Rajiv Shah I was a little amused on reading Bhaskar Sur, a virulent Facebook commentator on Left, noting that “Bengali Marxists” have always hated Dr BR Ambedkar. A rather longish post, running into more than 1,000 words, While Sur observes that, to the “upper caste Marxists”, the “towering Dalit intellectual and lifelong fighter for social justice” was “a stooge of the British trying to divide the proletariat and the nationalist movement at the behest of his masters”. 

Why are Covid cases remaining around 150 in Ahmedabad, neither rising, nor coming down?

By Rajiv Shah A journalist-friend rang me up from Mumbai yesterday. A routine call, this friend wanted to know how the situation was with regard to Covid-19 pandemic in Gujarat, especially Ahmedabad. I told him that I don't have facts, as I am not in live touch with officials anymore, quite unlike earlier, when as a "Times of India", man was posted in Gandhinagar, there is reason to wonder whether the data released by the officialdom are correct.

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?”. 

Why did Facebook and WhatApp, No 1 on social media, have to advertise on Indian TV channels?

By Rajiv Shah For quite some time, sitting at home amidst coronavirus pandemic, I have been watching Facebook and WhatsApp advertisement on TV. I am bewildered: Why did Facebook, or for that matter WhatsApp, bought over by Facebook in 2014, need to propagate their business? They are, from all indications, No 1 on social media. So, why did they need to advertise?

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

Human rights on peace activist/writer   Fr Cedric Prakash SJ says bhakts of the Sangh Parivar are doing just what the Swami Vivekananda hasd condemned: *** The past couple of weeks, particularly these first days of September, have been a defining period in the history of India. It is no longer about the ‘writing is on the wall’; it is much beyond, not any more a reality show, but reality itself! It is about THE WALL which divides, denigrates, demonises and decimates. About a regime which has become completely insensitive to the cries of millions of people, which just does not care!! In the garb of ‘democracy’, it is hard-core fascism! There is however, a silver lining with more and more coming out (at least virtually in this time of the pandemic), becoming much more visible and vocal, and saying in one loud voice, “We must arise!”  The eleventh of September was a day of great significance: Several anniversaries on one day! In 1893, Swami Vivekananda gave his famous speech at the Worl

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

Pramod Ranjan*  nexus between the success of the monopolistic policies of these mega-corporations and the growing autocracy of the governments: *** 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 so-called ‘pure sciences’ and experts. We will have to tell the people that the objectivity of science, experts etc. is not beyond reproach. Here, ‘we’ means academicians, writers, journalists and other intellectuals. This is not an easy job for us as we have benefitted from our so-called ‘expertise’ in our respective fields and have, time and again, used it as a weapon to silence the doubte

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

Young professional with working experience of 8.5 years in managing various functions of supply chain, especially in oil and gas and shipping  Krishan Singh writes: *** 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.  For centuries India's diversity has being the object of fascination around the world. But the India of the past has been changing rapidly. From being seen as a vibrant democracy so far, the world today is looking at today's India with concern. As the country is being led by majoritarian politics and a party whose allegiance to principles of secularism is doubtful, we seem entering that league of nations which the world always view