All posts by Aditya Nigam

As Migrants Begin their Long Trudge to Nowhere, A Note on Migration in Delhi: Jamal Kidwai

Guest Post by JAMAL KIDWAI

Most of the people in Delhi, like in rest of India (according to official estimates, 92 per cent of India’s work force comprises of informal labour) earn their living from working in the informal sector. There is extensive academic literature on this subject.  Typically, informal economy is that which does not find mention in official data, is not formally registered and regulated and falls outside the tax regulation.

The concept of informality became current in economic and social thought in the early 1970’s. It has since been re-considered and re-interpreted. The idea that the informal sector presented a liminal space for workers waiting to be absorbed by the formal sector, has been negated. Instead, current trends suggest that a majority of the Indian work force (approx.92%) labour under short-term informal contracts.  Well-known labour historian Jan Bremen has somewhere written that the fact the informal economy is not officially regulated does not imply a complete absence of regulation. There are many unofficial means of regulation. Quite often activities that do not possess registration and legal sanction get denoted as informal or ‘underground’. This practice results in the official erasure of the economic value of the goods and services produced therein. It also serves the purpose of masking the over-exploitation and socially-levered extortion to which the most unprotected and vulnerable members of the working class are subjected.

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Appeal for Contributions – A Citizens’ Initiative to Provide Humanitarian Relief to the City’s Working Classes

In the wake of the health and subsistence crisis triggered by the rapid spread of Covid-19 in India, the Citizen Collective for Humanitarian Relief, in association with the Centre for Education & Communication, is organizing emergency distribution of food among the working-class families of Delhi NCR. As part of this initiative we have set up a Mazdoor Dhaba (workers’ kitchen) in Delhi University.

Our aim is to provide two cooked meals a day to those families who have lost all source of livelihood following the complete nation-wide lockdown ordered on 25th March. The cost for one family’s meal (5 persons) is about Rs. 250, and as of today we are able to reach 500 people every day. We need your help and financial support to sustain and expand this effort.

On behalf of the Citizen Collective for Humanitarian Relief

Apoorvanand, Aruna Roy, Avinash Kumar, Lokesh, Najma Rehmani, Naveen Chander,  Rahul Roy, Richa Jairaj, Satish Deshpande, Usman Jawed

If you wish to assist us, please transfer money to the following accounts. If you are an Indian citizen (even if you live abroad), then please make sure to transfer money only to the Corporation bank account. If you are a foreign national, please transfer money to the SBI account.

Bank details for INDIAN CITIZENS:

Centre for Education & Communication

Corporation Bank

SB Account No: 520101261257941

IFSC Code: CORP0000286

Branch: Greater Kailash, New Delhi

 

Bank details for FOREIGN NATIONALS:

Centre for Education & Communication  

State Bank of India

Current Account No: 10786724071

Swift Code: SBININBB710

Branch: Green Park Extension, New Delhi

If you are sending money to these accounts, please inform us of the same by sending an email to the following ID along with your name and address. If you want to send more than Rs 5,000/-, please send us your PAN number. We request the foreign nationals to send a copy of their passport.

Donor Information required for Foreign Citizens

Name:

Address:

Amount donated in foreign currency:

*Please attach copy of valid passport.

Please inform us when you make contribution to following email ids:

accounts@cec-india.org/ finance@cec-india.org

workersdhaba@gmail.com

For queries regarding the relief work, and how you can support it, please contact

workersdhaba@gmail.com

Avinash – +918010833325

Naveen – +919013074978

Praveen-  +919911078111

Richa-     + 919820027364

Usman –  +919953947739

 

For queries the money transfer, please contact the Center for Education and Communication (CEC) by email or on phone

accounts@cec-india.org/ finance@cec-india.org

Ruchika – +919899230545

Corona Biopolitics and Life After Capitalism – A Manifesto of Hope I

 

‘It seems we are massively entering a quarantine of consumption where we will learn how to be happy just with a simple dress, rediscovering old favourites we own, reading a forgotten book and cooking up a storm to make life beautiful. The impact of the virus will be cultural and crucial to building an alternative and profoundly different world.’ – Li Edelkoort, trend forecaster and fashion advisor

As large parts of the world reel under the impact of a lockdown that has prompted several people to recall the great lockdowns during the early twentieth century Spanisht flu and even the 14th centry plague, my thoughts in fact strayed in another direction. With international and national air traffic down to the barest minimum, with arenas of conspicuous consumption shut down, zillions of cars of the roads and construction activity to a halt, I was suddenly struck by a not-so-crazy thought: with all the suffering that a lockdown necessarily entails for the poorer sections of the population in particular, there might still be a silver lining here. Perhaps the temperature of the earth will have come down a few notches by the time we are done with this crisis and what is more, it might initiate a different mode of being in the world. It might give the world an opportunity to see what is continuously being denied by climate-deniers (as Naomi Klein recorded, backed by huge funds from right-wing US based foundations and  corporations). It might – it just might – reconnect us with what we have long left behind and have been longing for – a different pace of life where slow is beautiful, as it were.

Continue reading Corona Biopolitics and Life After Capitalism – A Manifesto of Hope I

A Memorandum to Delhi Govt on Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation in North East Delhi

Date: 20/03/2020

To,

Mr. Arvind Kejriwal

Chief Minister,

Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi

 To,

Mr. Manish Sisodia,

Deputy Chief Minister,

Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi

 

Subject: Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation in North East Delhi

Memorandum of Demands to the Delhi Government

The communal violence in north east Delhi that took place in the last week of February is the most disgraceful event in the recent history of the city. Scores of people have lost their lives and thousands are displaced. The observations and evidence from the last three weeks suggest that the violence was not sporadic, but was organized and targeted particularly at Muslim residents in various colonies of the area. There are serious question marks on the role of the Delhi Police during the whole affair. An unbiased and thorough investigation in the matter is necessary to bring the guilty to book.

Based on observations and initial attempts at data collection from the last three weeks, the scale of devastation (material and human costs) is understood to be huge and merits a detailed assessment. While community members have been generous in opening their homes to fleeing families and civil society efforts have tried to fill in for immediate relief, the state government needs to step in to address the concerns of the affected people. There are two reasons for this. One, the crisis is the result of a state failure and has resulted in grave deprivation among the citizenry. The state thus has a moral and administrative duty to compensate and rehabilitate those affected in a compassionate and humane way. Two, the scale of the crisis is such that only the state can address it. Civil society and community effort should not be seen as a substitute for what is the state’s responsibility. While the state government had been conspicuous by its absence in the first three days of the violence, it has been trying to coordinate relief efforts since. A comprehensive plan needs to be put in place with short, medium and long term targets for which the state must take responsibility and invite non-state actors from community organisations to individual citizens that are willing to lend support to such a state led process.

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The Need for a New Political Platform

 

[Beginning this week, ‘Parapolitics’ will be a fortnightly column appearing on the second and fourth Thursday of every month.]

We were never so helpless, never so bereft, never more in need of a platform of struggle. The need for a new political formation is acutely felt today as never before. And by a new formation I do not mean a party of the Left in any traditional sense but a different kind of left-wing formation that can act resolutely in defense of democracy.

Two developments of the past week – the crisis of Yes Bank and the defection of 22 Congress MLAs, led by Jyotiraditya Scindia, to the BJP – signal the deep crisis that we are in today. Reports suggest that each MLA was offered something like Rs 100 crore by the BJP to defect. These developments come close on the heels of a horrendous anti-Muslim carnage in Delhi where we have been witness to the the total collapse of all institutions. From the complete paralysis of the elected AAP government in the state and a Supreme Court that simply pretends not to see what’s going on, to a lapdog ‘media’ actively engaged in promoting violence – this collapse was perhaps never so evident in our history.

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Khureji Crackdown Fact Finding Report: Lawyers Against Atrocities

[The followng is a report of the police crackdown on the peaceful protest in Khureji, against the CAA-NRC-NPR that had been going for quite some time. The team of Lawyers Against Atrocities comprising Ashutosh, Harjot, Harshita, Nasir and Rahul visited Khureji on 29 February 2020]

Brief Overview of the Situation in Khureji Khas

Since the 14thof January 2020, Khureji Khas in North East Delhi has witnessed peaceful protests against the divisive Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR). The people of the locality, especially women,had been congregating day and night at an open site adjacent the Hindustan Petroleum pump on the Patparganj Road. On the 23rdof February 2020, responding to the Bhim Army’s call for a Bharat Bandh, the people of Khureji Khas conducted a sit-in protest on the Patparganj Road. On request from police officials to allow for the flow of vehicular traffic, the protesters complied by first allowing road access to the nearby Vivekananda Yogashram, then vacating half the road by the night of 23rd February and finally the entire road by noon of the following day.

Despite returning to the protest site to continue the peaceful protest, heavy police deployment continued in Khureji Khas. On Monday and Tuesday (24th and 25th of February), the Delhi Police were a constant presence at the protest site. Lining the roads, the police intimidated protestors, especially women. Suddenly without provocation, on the morning of 26th February 2020, the police personnel, many of whom did not bear their name tag, stormed into the protest site brandishing and discharging firearms and proceeded to evict the protestors, beating and injuring several in the process. It is reported that during this process, the police were seen destroying CCTV cameras, notably the one in front of the Hindustan Petroleum Pump. The police arrested several protestors, from the protest site and from their homes including Ishrat Jahan, Khalid Saifi, Mohammed Salim, Vikram Pratap, Salim Ansari and Sabhu Ansari among others taking them to the Jagatpuri Police Station.

Continue reading Khureji Crackdown Fact Finding Report: Lawyers Against Atrocities