All posts by subhash gatade

Can Rest of India ‘Do’ a Mallapuram ?

Ruins of an ancient Jain temple in Arimbra

Ruins of old Jain Style Temple at Arimbra 

Mallapuram, Kerala’s lone Muslim-majority district, made history recently.

The 5,000 mosques in the district would remain closed indefinitely.

Logic behind this decision is simple.

As the state is witnessing spike in Coronavirus infection recently, it was found more prudent to keep the doors closed for devotees. Panakkad Sayyed Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, a leading Islamic Scholar and Malappuram district president of the Indian Union Muslim League, shared this news with a section of the media.

Thus while the rest of the country is witnessing opening of places of worship under Unlock 1, Mallapuram has decided otherwise. Continue reading Can Rest of India ‘Do’ a Mallapuram ?

Truth Behind India’s Hierarchies of Pain

Perhaps celebrities know that talking about the plight of an animal—who died in a state not ruled by the ruling dispensation at the Centre—is a safe bet

Migrants

Migrants wait for a means of transport to travel to their native places during the fourth phase of the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, at Kundali Industrial Area in Sonipat. (Photo: PTI)

The killing of a pregnant elephant has caused national outrage. The elephant had strayed into a village in Palakkad, Kerala, and is said to have been fed a fruit stuffed with firecrackers, which exploded in its mouth. It is impossible to comprehend the tremendous suffering of the elephant, who died a painful death. It is also learnt that people in the region have in the past used incendiary materials to protect their crop from animals, particularly wild boar.

One person was arrested after the matter came to light and few others have been identified. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has promised “justice will prevail”, but one does not know if that includes legal action against the hatemongers—including a former cabinet minister who gave the incident a communal colour by claiming, incorrectly, that the incident occurred in Muslim-majority Malappuram. A sitting cabinet minister also retweeted this fake news, which further vitiated the atmosphere.

In a complaint to the Malappuram Police, a lawyer has urged the police chief to file an FIR against the former minister and others for a “derogatory” campaign against the district.

Now, many Indian celebrities, for example Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, have said that they are “appalled” by the incident. The chairman of India’s biggest corporate giant, Ratan Tata, has compared the “criminal act” with “meditated murder”. The celebrities, the anchors of 24/7 news channels and many other prominent figures are undeniably upset by the plight of the elephant. But do they also feel the same kind of outrage and disquiet over the communal overtones being imparted to it?

( Read the full article here)

Public Display of Faith Can Wait, Humanity Cannot

It is inevitable that the virus will spread anywhere people gather in numbers.

Faith in India

Representational Image

India went for the world’s toughest lockdown in March, when just about 500 Covid-19 cases had been reported. And it has started withdrawing the lockdown when India has become the seventh-worst pandemic-affected nation, with over 1.91 lakh infections and close to 5,500 deaths. India is registering giant spikes in active cases of Covid-19, but the home ministry has come out with a phased plan to unlock India. The current phase of re-opening will focus on the economy. It has been decided that malls, hotels, restaurants and places of worship will reopen from 8 June onwards.

Concerns over the economic downturn are understandable. The latest GDP data shows the slowest pace of growth in 11 years in the last quarter of 2019-20, and the economy has been hit hard by the Covid-inspired sudden and complete lockdown. But one fails to understand the decision to open religious places at such an early date.

It remains unanswered whether religious places are being thrown open to pre-empt Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, who has announced that her state would open all places of worship from 1 June. It is also not known whether this is being done, as BS Yediyurappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister, because devotees are insisting that religious sites be opened.

( Read the full article here )

SAB YAAD RAKHA JAEGA: Nationwide Protest against repression on anti-CAA activists and democratic voices of dissent

WhatsApp Image 2020-06-01 at 15.33.28

Guest Post by PEOPLE UNITED AGAINST REPRESSION ON ANTI CAA PROTESTERS

Over the past two months the Delhi Police has arrested Jamia students Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Asif Iqbal Tanha, JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita along with activists Ishrat Jahan, Khalid Saifi, Gulfisha Fatima, Sharjeel Imam and hundreds of other Muslim youth. Some among them have been booked under the amended UAPA as a means of punishing the widespread protests against the CAA-NRC that emerged across the country in December last year. Most recently AMU students Farhan Zuberi and Ravish Ali Khan have been arrested by the UP police for participating in the anti-CAA protests. It is clear that the spate of arrests are far from over and new names of democratic activists are likely to be added to this already long list. Meanwhile those openly advocating violence against peaceful protesters such as Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur have gone scot-free. Continue reading SAB YAAD RAKHA JAEGA: Nationwide Protest against repression on anti-CAA activists and democratic voices of dissent

Crisis for the People, Opportunity for the Corporate-Government Nexus : NSI

Statement of New Socialist Initiative (NSI) on India’s ‘war against Covid 19’

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Today, India has emerged as a new epicentre for the novel corona virus in the Asia Pacific region.With 1,58,333 confirmed cases of Covid 19 and deaths of total of 4,531 people after contracting the virus, it has already crossed China’s Covid-19 numbers.

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New Socialist Initiative (NSI) feels that the grim news of steadily rising infections and fatalities reveal before everyone a worrying pattern but the government either seems to be oblivious of the situation or has decided to shut its eyes. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Union government has used incomplete national-level data to justify arbitrary policy decisions, defend its record and underplay the extent of Covid-19 crisis.

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Absence of transparency vis-a-vis data collection of Covid infection levels could be said to be the tip of the iceberg of what has gone wrong with India’s ‘war against Covid 19’.
The Prime Minister’s announcement of a 21-day countrywide lock down came with a mere four-hour notice. It was done without engaging in any collective decision-making process with states to honour and enhance the spirit of “cooperative federalism” between the Centre and the States. Continue reading Crisis for the People, Opportunity for the Corporate-Government Nexus : NSI

असहमति के दमन के लिए मानवाधिकार-कर्मियों और लेखकों-पत्रकारों की गिरफ्तारियों का सिलसिला बंद करो! 

राजनीतिक उत्पीड़न और साम्प्रदायिक ध्रुवीकरण के लिए तालाबंदी के इस्तेमाल के ख़िलाफ़ सांस्कृतिक-सामाजिक संगठनों का संयुक्त आह्वान

महामारी से मुक्ति के लिए जनएकजुटता का निर्माण करो!

तालाबंदी के दौरान जेलबंदी

महामारी और तालाबंदी के इस दौर में समूचे देश का ध्यान एकजुट होकर बीमारी का मुक़ाबला करने पर केन्द्रित है.

लेकिन इसी समय देश के जाने माने बुद्धिजीवियों, स्वतंत्र पत्रकारों, हाल ही के सीएए-विरोधी आन्दोलन में सक्रिय रहे राजनीतिक कार्यकर्ताओं और अल्पसंख्यक समुदाय के युवाओं की ताबड़तोड़ गिरफ़्तारियों ने नागरिक समाज की चिंताएं बढ़ा दी हैं.

बुद्धिजीवियों और राजनैतिक कार्यकर्ताओं की गिरफ़्तारियां सरकारी काम में बाधा डालने (धरने पर बैठने) जैसे गोलमोल आरोपों में और  अधिकतर विवादास्पद यूएपीए क़ानून के तहत की जा रही हैं. यूएपीए कानून आतंकवाद से निपटने के लिए लाया गया था. यह विशेष क़ानून ‘विशेष परिस्थिति में’ संविधान  द्वारा नागरिकों को दिए गए मौलिक अधिकारों को परिसीमित करता है. जाहिर है, इस क़ानून का इस्तेमाल केवल उन्हीं मामलों में किया जाना चाहिए जिनका सम्बन्ध आतंकवाद की किसी वास्तविक परिस्थिति से हो. दूसरी तरह के मामलों में इसे लागू करना संविधान के साथ छल करना है. संविधान लोकतंत्र में राज्य की सत्ता के समक्ष नागरिक के जिस अधिकार की गारंटी करता है, उसे समाप्त कर लोकतंत्र को सर्वसत्तावाद में बदल देना है.

गिरफ्तारियों के लगातार जारी सिलसिले में सबसे ताज़ा नाम जेएनयू की दो छात्राओं, देवांगना  कलिता और नताशा नरवाल के हैं. दोनों शोध-छात्राएं प्रतिष्ठित नारीवादी आन्दोलन ‘पिंजरा तोड़’ की संस्थापक सदस्य भी हैं.  इन्हें पहले ज़ाफ़राबाद धरने में अहम भूमिका अदा करने के नाम पर 23 मई को गिरफ्तार किया गया. अगले ही दिन अदालत से जमानत मिल जाने पर तुरंत अपराध शाखा की स्पेशल ब्रांच द्वारा क़त्ल और दंगे जैसे आरोपों के तहत गिरफ़्तार कर लिया गया ताकि अदालत उन्हें पूछ-ताछ के लिए पुलिस कस्टडी में भेज दे. आख़िरकार उन्हें दो दिन की पुलिस कस्टडी में भेज दिया गया है. Continue reading असहमति के दमन के लिए मानवाधिकार-कर्मियों और लेखकों-पत्रकारों की गिरफ्तारियों का सिलसिला बंद करो! 

Lockdown 4.0 – A Tribute to Labourers by Navchintan Kala Manch

नवचिंतन कला मंच द्वारा – बीते दिनों में अपनी ही धरती पे बेगानेपन का अहसास कर हज़ारों किलोमीटर दूर अपने घरों की उम्मीद के निकले लोगों के साथ हुए हादसों की दास्तान ज़रूर देखें।

प्रार्थना स्थलों पर लाउडस्पीकर पर प्रतिबंध

news on judiciary

कांकर पाथर जोरि कै मस्जिद लई बनाय.
ता चढि मुल्ला बांग दे क्या बहरा हुआ खुदाय

क्या अपने ‘खुदा’ को आवाज़ देने के लिए बांग देने की जरूरत पड़ती है ?

आज से छह सदी पहले ही कबीर ने यह सवाल पूछ कर अपने वक्त़ में धर्म के नाम पर जारी पाखंड को बेपर्दा किया था. पिछले दिनों यह मसला नए सिरे से उछला जब इलाहाबाद उच्च न्यायालय ने इस बारे में एक अहम फैसला सुनाया. अदालत ने कहा कि अज़ान अर्थात प्रार्थना के लिए आवाज़ देने की बात इस्लाम का हिस्सा है लेकिन वही बात लाउडस्पीकर के इस्तेमाल के बारे में नहीं कही जा सकती, लिहाजा रात 10 बजे से सुबह 6 बजे तक किसी भी ध्वनिवर्द्धक यंत्र का इस्तेमाल के इजाजत नहीं दी जा सकती.

अदालत के मुताबिक मुअज्जिन मस्जिद की मीनार से अपनी मानवीय आवाज़ में अज़ान दे सकता है और उसे महामारी रोकने के लिए राज्य द्वारा लगायी गयी पाबंदियों के तहत रोका नहीं जा सकता, अलबत्ता उसके लिए लाउडस्पीकर का इस्तेमाल वर्जित रहेगा.

ध्यान रहे कि अदालत यूपी पुलिस द्वारा जगह-जगह मनमाने ढंग से अज़ान पर लगायी गयी पाबंदी के खिलाफ दायर याचिका पर विचार कर रही थी. हाथरस, अलीगढ़ आदि स्थानों पर महामारी के कानूनों का हवाला देते हुए पुलिस वालों ने अज़ान देने पर ही पाबंदी लगायी थी, जिसके खिलाफ याचिकाकर्ताओं ने अदालत का दरवाज़ा खटखटाया था.

उम्मीद है कि अदालत के फैसले के मद्देनज़र यूपी पुलिस मनमाने तरीके से अज़ान पर नहीं रोक लगाएगी, निश्चित ही यह सुनिश्चित करेगी कि इसके लिए किसी ध्वनिवर्द्धक यंत्र का इस्तेमाल तो नहीं हो रहा है.

गौरतलब है कि अदालत ने संविधान के तहत प्रदत्त बुनियादी अधिकारों में शामिल आर्टिकल 19/1/ए का हवाला देते हुए जो इस बात को सुनिश्चित करता है कि‘किसी को भी यह अधिकार नहीं है कि वह अन्य लोगों को बन्दी श्रोता (captive listeners) बना दें’ यह निर्देश दिया.

निश्चित ही मस्जिदों में जहां बिना अनुमति के लाउडस्पीकरों के इस्तेमाल पर पाबंदी रहेगी, वही बात मंदिरों, गुरुद्धारों या अन्य धार्मिक स्थलों पर भी लागू रहेगी ताकि आरती के बहाने या गुरुबाणी सुनाने के बहाने इसी तरह लोगों को ‘बन्दी श्रोता’ मजबूरन न बनाया जाए. ( Read the full article here :https://hindi.theprint.in/opinion/allahabad-high-court-ban-loudspeakers-at-prayer-places-exposes-hypocrisy-in-the-name-of-faith/140765/)

Community-Based Mapping of Covid: Nothing Official About it

No doubt the clarification that India will not map Covid-19 infections on the basis of religion has many heaving sighs of relief. But will the peace last?

Community-Based Mapping of Covid: Nothing Official About it

Image Courtesy: AP

Move for community-based mapping of coronavirus?” a recent news item in a prestigious daily asked, getting tongues wagging about “closed-door meetings at the highest level”, though no “official” decision had been taken in themThe Ministry of Health declared that any such news is “baseless, incorrect and irresponsible”. Lav Agarwal, the top bureaucrat in the ministry—who interacts with the media on Covid-related developments—called such news reports “…very irresponsible”. “The virus does not see people’s caste, creed or religion,” he said, quoting the Supreme Court’s directions on controlling non-factual or fake news.

No doubt the official clarification has many heaving sighs of relief.

The relief is understandable, because it was only last month—when the Novel Coronavirus pandemic had started taking a toll—that Muslims were being stigmatised as “super-spreaders” of the disease.

Taking a grim view of the situation, in its press conference o6 April, the World Health Organisation had given the Indian government some simple advice. The WHO said, in response to an India-specific question, that countries should not profile Covid-19 infections in religious, racial or ethnic terms. The WHO Emergency Programme Director Mike Ryan also underlined that every positive case should be considered a victim.

( Read the full article here)

निरंकुशता के स्रोत, प्रतिरोध के संसाधन : रवि सिन्हा

Guest Post by Ravi Sinha

राजनीति का आम सहजबोध यह है कि सत्ता की निरंकुशता लोकतंत्र का निषेध है। लोकतंत्र राजनीतिक सत्ता का गठन तो करता है, लेकिन उसे निरंकुश नहीं होने देता। यदि किसी लोकतांत्रिक व्यवस्था के अंतर्गत निरंकुश सत्ता का उद्भव होता है तो उसे लोकतंत्रा की दुर्बलता, उसके विकार या उसमें किसी बाहरी अलोकतांत्रिक शक्ति के हस्तक्षेप के रूप में देखा जाता है। यदि लोकतंत्र का अर्थ यह है कि सत्ता के स्रोत लोक में स्थित हैं तो यह स्वयंसिद्ध है कि लोकतांत्रिक सत्ता निरंकुश नहीं हो सकती।

इसी तरह राजनीति का सहजबोध यह भी है कि सत्ता की निरंकुशता प्रतिरोध को जन्म देती है और प्रतिरोध की जड़ें लोक में स्थित होती हैं। निरंकुशता यदि लोकतंत्र का निषेध है तो यह भी स्वयंसिद्ध है कि लोक या जन ही प्रतिरोध के मूल आधार और उसके प्रमुख संसाधन हैं। यह दूसरी मान्यता पहली के साथ जुड़ी हुई है। यदि पहली मान्यता टिकती है तो दूसरी की सत्यता भी साबित होती है। यदि पहली संदेह के घेरे में आती है तो दूसरी के स्वयंसिद्ध होने पर भी प्रश्न खड़े होते हैं।

और, प्रश्न तो खड़े होते हैं। वास्तविकता की प्रकृति ही ऐसी होती है कि वह मान्यताओं की परवाह नहीं करती – बहुप्रचलित और स्वयंसिद्ध प्रतीत होने वाली मान्यताओं की भी नहीं। दूसरी तरफ़, मान्यताओं की – ख़ास तौर पर बहुप्रचलित मान्यताओं की – बनावट और उनकी ज़मीन ऐसी होती है कि वास्तविकताओं के उलट होने के बावजूद वे चलन में बनी रहती हैं। ऐसी स्थिति में पहले तो यह देखना होता है कि वास्तविकता क्या है और संबंधित मान्यताओं से उसकी संगति बैठती है या नहीं। फिर यह अलग से देखना होता है कि मान्यताएं जब ग़लत होती हैं, तब भी उनके चलते रहने के कारण कहां पर स्थित हैं। एक तरह से यह सहजबोध की जांच-पड़ताल का समय होता है। और कभी-कभी नये सहजबोध के निर्माण का समय भी होता है।

भारत की आज की हक़ीक़त यह तो है ही कि मौजूदा सरकार के अधीन राज्य और राजनीतिक सत्ता निरंकुश हो चले हैं। संवैधानिक, संस्थागत तथा लोकतांत्रिक नियमों, नियंत्रणों और परंपराओं को रौंदा जा रहा है और व्यवस्था तथा समाज, दोनों क्षेत्रों में मनमानी की जा रही है। कश्मीर से कन्याकुमारी तक, असम से गुजरात तक, संसद से और भीमा कोरेगांव से तीस हज़ारी तक और तिहाड़ तक नंगी निरंकुशता के उदाहरण सभी के सामने हैं। लेकिन क्या सभी को यह सब दिखायी दे रहा है? Continue reading निरंकुशता के स्रोत, प्रतिरोध के संसाधन : रवि सिन्हा

Colours of Trolls and Harassment :Vatya Raina

Guest Post by Vatya Raina

The fight for half the Earth and half the sky is never at rest around the globe. Women of the world are constantly fighting their oppressors in different colours. The debate around #BoisLockerRoom stories on Instagram and the trolls concerned about the marital status of a pregnant woman in jail, for practising her right to protest are of similar nature.

In 2017, The Jawaharlal Nehru University’s administration under the command of Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar arbitarily dismantled the GSCASH (Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment). At the same time, women of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) were leading the movement against sexual harassment.

Today, when a pregnant student activist is fighting for her rights inside the jail, some women are continuing to resist and expose a group of young boys, by revealing the screenshots of an Instagram chat screen, where the participants of the group named ‘Bois Locker Room’ shared some non-consensual pictures of women as well as underage girls. After the screenshots went viral, these boys expressed their anger by suggesting gang-rape of all the women who shared it. On the other hand, Safoora Zargar, a research scholar of Jamia Millia Islamia, who was associated with the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), and was part of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests organised by university students in December and January has been charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and is send behind the bars. She has been arrested for allegedly leading the anti-CAA protest at Jaffrabad metro station in February.  Turning a blind eye to the medical condition of the student, the trolls are busy assassinating her character. Continue reading Colours of Trolls and Harassment :Vatya Raina

Operation Eklavya in Action at Premier Institutes

India is neglecting caste-based discrimination in higher educational institutions at its own peril.

AIIMS Caste Discrimination

It was exactly 13 years back that the Thorat Committee, constituted in September 2006 to enquire into allegations of differential treatment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students at the premier medical institute, AIIMS—was released.

The first of its kind in independent India, this three-member committee led by then chairman of the University Grants Commission, Sukhdeo Thorat, had looked deeply into the many shades of discrimination faced by students of non-elite castes in the institute.

What it discovered after talking to students and faculty was, to say the least, shocking. Some 72% of SC/ST students mentioned facing some discrimination during the teaching sessions. Second, caste-based discrimination was prevalent in the hostels, for instance around 88% students reported experiencing of social isolation in various forms. The committee’s report also outlined the discrimination faced by SC/ST professors.

This context frames the alleged suicide attempt of a female doctor a fortnight ago in the same institute. The doctor, who worked at the Dental Research Centre of AIIMS, was allegedly facing sexual harassment and caste discrimination. This is another reminder that there has not been a qualitative change in the institute in the long years since the Thorat Committee report.

( )Read the full article here)

Public Statement on Alternate Cures

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, several statements have been propagated about “immunity boosting” substances such as mustard oil, hydroxychloroquine and tea; alternative remedies claiming to provide either immunity or cure; and remedial effects of cow urine or even taweez. Some of these assertions were also supported by a few government functionaries at the centre and in various states. We, the undersigned, wish to put the following scientific facts in the public domain.

–> As of now, no scientific studies show that any substance boosts the immune system specifically against COVID-19, be it modern medicines like hydroxychloroquine or homeopathic solutions like Arsenicum Album D30 or Ayurvedic preparations.

–> Scientific evidence for the efficacy of any of these substances can only be obtained by rigorous testing through randomized clinical trials with COVID-19 patients, and additional laboratory analyses. Anecdotes of cure or temporary relief from symptoms or usefulness against similar diseases are not scientific proof of efficacy against COVID-19.

–> Specific immunity against a bacterium or a virus can only arise in two ways. Either we were infected and recovered from the illness, or we are vaccinated; in either case we develop antibodies that can target the specific virus or bacterium.

Continue reading Public Statement on Alternate Cures

Why Activists Want Prisons Decongested

The Supreme Court also wants to reduce the Covid-19 risks posed by overcrowded jails, but there is little progress so far.

Navlakha and Teltumbde

Late in March, Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor from Iran, who is at present detained by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), had warned about the “inhumane” conditions at the ICE facility that could turn it into a hot spot of Covid-19 fatalities.

April has made his worst nightmares come true. Asgari, who has a history of respiratory problems, has been infected by the Novel Coronavirus, which causes the Covid-19 disease. The news created international outrage last month. Not only the Iranian foreign ministry, many United States lawmakers and human rights groups also demanded his release, but it was not to be.

At the facility in which Asgari is still lodged (though he has been exonerated of all the charges he faced in the United States), people are usually detained for no more than 72 hours, but the Coronavirus outbreak has delayed deportations. People like him are simply caught up in the system. Asgari can leave the United States and resume work in Iran—where the viral epidemic has already claimed more than 60,000 lives—because he simply isn’t being taken before a judge.

Asgari’s plight reminds of another incarceration, this one in an Indian jail; that of Anand Teltumbde, who has been arrested in the Bhima-Koregaon case. On 26 April, noted activist-filmmaker Anand Patwardhan had, in a Facebook post, expressed deep concern about the health of 70-year-old Teltumbde, who also suffers from respiratory problems.

( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/Prisons-during-lockdown-needs-to-be-decongested)

The Many Debts We Owe to Lenin

‘The workers’ and peasants’ government… calls upon all the belligerent peoples and their government to start immediate negotiations for a just, democratic peace.

By a just or democratic peace, for which the overwhelming majority of the working class and other working people of all the belligerent countries, exhausted, tormented and racked by the war are craving [we mean] an immediate peace without annexations – that is, without the seizure of foreign lands, without the forcible incorporation of foreign nations and without indemnities.’

The ‘just and democratic peace’ sought by the workers and peasants government never arrived.

It was on 26 th October 1917 when Lenin, the 47 year old leader of this nascent Government, read out the Bolshevik Decree on Peace. This appeal fell on deaf ears.

The many players and participants in the first World War,  the imperial powers fighting for a re-division of the world, which had already claimed millions of lives, refused to put a halt to their killing machines and the war continued for more than a year, adding menacing figures to the tally of the dead as well as the wounded. Students of history tell us that this ‘War to End Wars’ as it was termed then culminated in the deaths of more than nine million combatants and seven million civilians as a direct result of the War and the resulting genocides and related 1918 influenza pandemic causing another 20-50 million deaths worldwide.

Otis Historical Archives, modified, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emergency_hospital_during_Influenza_epidemic,_Camp_Funston,_Kansas_-_NCP_1603.jpg, CC 2.0, modified

Looking back one knows that if this decree on peace had been positively responded, few more million deaths in the ongoing war could have been avoided and deaths due to the pandemic of Spanish Flu ( 1918) could have been contained more effectively. Experts can tell you how the trenches of the western front proved ideal for spread of the virus as “[t]renches were flooded much of the time. Blood and bodily remains from people and animals that had been blown to pieces, along with faeces and rotting food, formed the pathways and shelters for troops going to and returning from, the front.”

The World War I which eclipsed all previous wars by its scale of destruction finally came to an end in 1918. Continue reading The Many Debts We Owe to Lenin

‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ : Team Umang Library

Guest Post by Team Umang Library

Remembering Great Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan
on his hundredth death anniversary                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (Watch the video on Youtube uploaded by Umang Library:
First Part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rehg3WtiBKc
Second Part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1I1NaWoajY

Srinivasa Ramanujan Facts: 40 Facts on Self-Taught Mathematical Genius

Photo Courtesy : https://factslegend.org/

It was the year 1913 when Srinivasa Ramanujan, then an ordinary clerk in Madras Port Trust, drafted letters to Prof G H Hardy, then a leading mathematician at Cambridge University, containing his mathematical theorems.

The rest as we know is history.

Continue reading ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ : Team Umang Library

Brutalising Labourers, Jailing Dissidents

A medical emergency is no pretext to impose a political emergency.

A medical emergency

How many policemen in civil clothes are required to deliver a mere summons to an editor of a web journal 700-k away in an age of email and WhatsApp? The recent action of the Uttar Pradesh police, where it sent a posse of 7-8 policemen, in civil clothes, in a black SUV with no number plates, to Siddharth Varadarajan’s residence in Delhi to deliver a summons has prompted this question.

Definitely the police did not bother to ponder over how Varadarajan, editor of The Wire, will present himself to the authorities during a lockdown which has brought trains, flights and even private transport to a standstill.

The manner in which the issue has unfolded has caused an international uproar with 3,500 jurists, scholars, actors, artists and writers condemning Uttar Pradesh Police’s actions against The Wire, and saying that a “medical emergency should not serve as the pretext for the imposition of a de facto political emergency.”

How Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s government will respond remains to be seen, but the story in The Wire on the Tablighi Jamaat, which also noted that “Indian believers” responded late to the viral epidemic obviously provoked the powers-that-be into action. The episode has brought into sharp focus the priorities of the government during the epidemic, which it is supposedly fighting a “war” against.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Brutalising-Labourers-Jailing-dissidents)

Mainstream Myths Versus Scientific Collaboration

The rediscovery of scientific collaboration across borders is a welcome development.

Fake News on COVID

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

– Marie Curie.

Does the 5G network have any link to the novel corona-virus outbreak?”

Well, any sane person on this part of Earth would readily laugh at this outrageous claim. But this claim has “gone mainstream” leading even to bomb attacks on phone masts. So one has to sit up and analyse.

No doubt, when “psychological states peak and people’s anxiety levels are high,” as one expert puts it, one can easily become prey to such conspiracy theories. And as right-wing or conservative ideas have growing legitimacy in society, things can get even worse. Remember how for a long time Iran’s theocracy was in denial about the Corona-virus threat?

India is no exception to such false claims. All sorts of home remedies are being offered as a definite cure to the disease. We saw Gomutra parties where cow urine was drunk, supposedly as protection from this highly-contagious disease which has taken more than 100,000 lives and infected more than 1.7 million. No doubt it is an arduous task for progressives to counter all the rubbish being peddled around the pandemic and prepare people to take proper care while pressurising the powers-that-be to make public health a priority.

Such struggles can be better fought if individual scientists or groups of scientists join hands to sensitise and educate people.

The recent launch of a pan-institutional CovidGyan website (https://covid-gyan.in/) which is a brainchild of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) is a welcome step in this direction. Other key members of this initiative include Vigyan Prasar, IndiaBioscience, and the Bangalore Life Science Cluster (BLiSC, which comprises InStem and C-CAMP, in addition to NCBS-TIFR).

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Mainstream-Myths-Versus-Scientific-Collaboration)

After Covid-19, We Should All Be Cuba

The pandemic has exposed wealthy states’ neglect of healthcare. A new medical internationalism is needed.

Cuban doctors prepare to leave for Italy to provide medical aid.

Image Courtesy: Malpensa airport website

Rare are those photographs which can be declared iconic right after they are taken, without awaiting the approval of the connoisseurs, critics or people. It is an ordinary-looking photo, of a large team of people, dressed in white robes, disembarking from a plane and being welcomed by someone wearing a white coat too. Take a closer look at the frame and you will note a mood of jubilation among the people who are watching them from the airport’s lounge.

The photo is of Malpensa airport at Milan, an alpha-global city recognised so far as one of the world’s four fashion capitals and the capital of North Italy’s Lombardy region. Today, it has also come to be known as a hotspot of Covid-19 infections, a site where thousands have died of the infection. The picture we are talking about is of 52 doctors and nurses from Cuba who arrived in Italy on invitation from the regional Italian minister of health and welfare, Giulio Gallera.

Italy, ironically, has been party for a long time to the economic sanctions imposed by the United States on this tiny Caribbean nation with a population of around 1 crore (10 million). The sanctions have been declared “illegal” by the United Nations time and again. But the anti-humanitarian attitude of the Italian ruling classes could not stop Cuba from sending its medical team there to combat Covid-19. Media reports tell us that Italy happens to be the sixth country—after Venezuela, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname and Grenada—on the current itinerary of Cuban medical teams flying around to fight the pandemic.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/After-Covid-19-We-Should-All-Be-Cuba)

Corona, Capitalism and Civilisation : Ravi Sinha

Guest Post by Ravi Sinha

“Who do you blame it on? For a while it was China, until the most favourite target for the Indians appeared on the scene – you know who. When it comes to the business of blaming, Indians (a large percentage of them) would have loved it if the virus had originated somewhere in the Middle East or in Pakistan.

But new viruses have always appeared in human history, some more deadly than others. This one is the newest such calamity. Sure enough, humanity will be found standing on the other side of this crisis. But, how shall we count the losses after this mayhem is over?

Continue reading Corona, Capitalism and Civilisation : Ravi Sinha

Weaponising Idiocy: Milk-Drinking Ganesha to Taali Bajao

Then and now, a conservative Hindutva organisation had a role in spreading rumours.

coronavirus and cow urine

Representational image. | Image Courtesy: Deccan Herald

 

Yad ihasti tad anyatra, yan nehasti na tat kavcit. ‘Whatever is here might be elsewhere, but what is not here could ever be found’.—The Mahabharata, 1.56.33, from Meera Nanda’s The God Market: How Globalisation is Making India More Hindu, Random House 2009.

It was the fag end of the 1st decade of the 21st century when the historian Rink Shenkman wrote his marvellous book, Just how stupid Are We? Facing the Truth about the American Voter. In an interview, he said that Americans are “ill-prepared” to guide the world’s “most powerful” democracy. The book points out the astounding inability of even “two of five voters” to name three branches of the federal government, the fact that half of Americans think that their president can suspend the Constitution, and a large section’s ignorance of the 9/11 attack and the Iraq war that followed.

His concern was the mass of people who could easily, repeatedly and systematically be misled and manipulated by politicians and further “dumb down” American politics.

This “stupidity” was on full display in images of rowdy college crowds hitting California’s beaches during spring break, prompting the governor to close them down. New York governor Andrew Cuomo warned that “young people are not Superman/woman” when it turned out that people, especially the young, are not socially distancing themselves. But only Americans are not to blame. Media tells us that “virus rebels” are displaying their stupidity virtually all over the Western world, prompting crackdowns by authorities.

There’s perhaps no similar study for South Asia, especially India, probing our “stupidity” in this crisis-time, though there’s immense fodder for it.

( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/Hindutva-Coronavirus-COVID-19-WhatsApp-Fake-News)