Category Archives: Capitalism

Alternative Futures – India Unshackled

Alternative Futures
Alternative Futures – India Unshackled

After the Berlin wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, many consigned ideologies and alternatives to the rubble of history. The end of the cold war was explained as the victory, not just of liberal ethos and individual freedom, but of dynamic, market-driven capitalism championed by likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Manmohan Singh. India’s left also embraced this belief in practice, promoting foreign and national capitals and capitalist-led industrialization. They hoped market miracles would generate employment and wealth. Women such as MedhaPatkar, a social activist and a fierce opponent of the globalized developmental model and Sudha Bhardwaj, a trade union activist in Chhattisgarh seemed as thoroughly on the wrong side of the history as it was possible to be. Continue reading Alternative Futures – India Unshackled

Effects of Climate Change are not Contained within Nations – The Impact on India: Nagraj Adve

Guest post by NAGRAJ ADVE

This post is the second part, excerpted and slightly adapted, from the booklet by Nagraj Adve, Global Warming in the Indian Context: An Introductory Overview (Ecologise Hyderabad 2019). The first part appeared in Kafila on 1 July 2019

While the earlier post covered the basic science of global warming, the roots of the problem, and how inequality relates to climate change, this part focuses on key impacts of climate change in India, on humans and other species, and the reasons for urgency in tackling the problem. 

Villagers try to catch fish in drying pond in West Bengal, image courtesy Science News

Before we consider impacts in India and elsewhere, a few things are useful to keep in mind:

– Unlike most other forms of pollution, the source of carbon dioxide and where its effects are felt can be very far apart. Carbon dioxide generated in the United States affects people on the Orissa coast.

– A significant portion of carbon dioxide emitted today will remain in the atmosphere for centuries, influencing future climates.

– Even after the world ceases to emit carbon, higher average temperatures are “largely irreversible for a thousand years” because the gains of lesser radiation being trapped gets offset by the reduced loss of heat to the oceans. Hence, climate change is the new ‘normal’.

– Impacts will worsen because of the time lag between emissions and warming. Some of it is unavoidable. Our urgent intervention is needed to make sure they do not get much worse, and that the situation does not spiral out of our control. Continue reading Effects of Climate Change are not Contained within Nations – The Impact on India: Nagraj Adve

Global Warming – The Disaster that has Long Been Brewing: Nagraj Adve

Guest post by NAGRAJ ADVE

This essay is the first of a two-part excerpt from the booklet by Nagraj Adve, Global Warming in the Indian Context: An Introductory Overview (Ecologise Hyderabad, 2019). This covers the basic science of global warming, the roots of the problem, and how inequality relates to climate change. The  second piece, to appear soon, will focus on impacts in India, both on humans and other species, and the reasons for urgency in tackling the problem. You can read the second part here.

 What they told us in Gujarat

A few years ago, a group of us went to northern and eastern Gujarat to find out how climate change was affecting small farmers there. In villages in eastern Gujarat, they told us that the wheat and maize crops had been getting hit for some years during winter. Wheat and maize are important sources of nutrition for poor households in these and nearby regions. But because winters have been getting warmer, the dew (os) had lessened, or stopped entirely for the last few years. For those without wells—most of them poor households—dew is the only source of moisture for their crop. With less or no dew falling, either their crop dried up, or they were being forced to leave their lands fallow.

When we asked them why the winters had been getting milder, the people’s response there was interesting: “Prakruti ki baat hai (it has to do with Nature).” They did not consider it imaginable that human beings had the power to alter Nature on this scale. We do.

 

Sick Earth
Sick Earth, image courtesy Epispastic clipart (UI-Ex.com)

Continue reading Global Warming – The Disaster that has Long Been Brewing: Nagraj Adve

Picking Humanity Over Religion: A Small but Critical Step

The idea of education being imparted without any compulsion to declare one’s religion is definitely a welcome thing

Bethune_College_Kolkata

Principal’s office of Bethune College, Kolkata, which included Humanity as an option under the religion category. Image Courtesy: college dunia

 

A college admission form introducing new options under ‘religion’? Talking about humanity, secular, non-religious, atheism!

Well, in an ambience loaded with religiosity and its increasing conflation with the State, it is rather difficult to believe that some colleges may take such a creative step to convey how they see what is happening around them? No doubt this is a small step but, as noted by analysts, this is an attempt to break/challenge the ‘construction of identity, thought and social and political space, indirectly conveying the vision of a secular and diverse India.’

The significance of this little step can be better understood if one looks into the fact that the elections held to the 17th Lok Sabha — which has returned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power — have demonstrated that BJP is ‘the most preferred party of young India’. It drew support cutting across caste as well as class lines. This is the same BJP which, along with its ‘Parivar’ siblings, has consciously tried to conflate religion with exercise of power and has been successful in collapsing the majority faith into rabid nationalism that targets differences and dissent and other specific groups, as the ‘other’ according to its worldview.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Religion-Humanity-College-Admissions-BJP-School-Education)

Dear Hitler

Why does Hitler’s legacy in India greatly differs from that in the West. More removed from the traumas associated with World War II and the Holocaust  

…………………………………………………………………….

..An innocent question sometimes comes up with very troubling answer(s).

J’admire ( I admire)… a simple exercise given to students to know from them whom they appreciate as a great historical figure or a hero, became a great learning experience for a teacher who taught French at a private school.

Writer and Journalist Dileep D’souza, who has authored many books, and writes on social-political causes shared the experience of his wife who posed the said question before them during a discussion. What she was expecting that they would mention Gandhi or Bhagat Singh or other luminaries of India’s struggle for freedom and progress but none of her predictions came true. There was a lone student whose choice was Mahatma Gandhi but nine out of 25 students in her class admired Hitler as hero or as a great historical figure. Continue reading Dear Hitler

‘Patriotism’ Made Easy in Times of ‘WhatsApp Elections’

A WhatsApp-sponsored report, prepared in partnership with Queen Mary University, has raised the alarm that the 2019 elections in India, which already has cleavages on lines of caste, race, gender, religion, would be a fertile ground for damaging fake news.

‘Patriotism’ Made Easy in Times of ‘WhatsApp Elections’

There was a time when ‘Good Morning’ messages were causing much “pain” to internet giants?

It was the beginning of last year when the obsession of Indians with starting their day with a deluge of ‘Good Morning’ messages flooded WhatsApp, and generated a lot of chuckle. But it but also raised serious concerns such as the overloading WhatsApp servers, and clogging Android phones.

We were told how millions of Indians were getting online for the first time and how everyone was getting hooked on to WhatsApp. Their obsession with sending such messages was causing “..[s]ome serious pain for Internet giants.” Not only WhatsApp but even Google researchers in Silicon Valley had noted how “[I]nternet newbies are overloading their Android phones with Good Morning messages.”

Nobody then had any premonition that India would shortly come under scanner for the spread of online disinformation and fake news resulting in a string of murders and growth of anti-minority sentiments. A report published by BBC’s Beyond Fake News Series had tried to corroborate this.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/patriotism-made-easy-times-whatsapp-elections)

 

Will MIT Show Swamy the Door like Harvard Did?

A campaign is gathering steam against MIT inviting BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for a conference on February 16

Subramanian Swamy

Image Coutesy: Scroll

‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides — on many sides,”

– Donald Trump on Charlottesville violence

The year was 2017 when the Charlottesville violence happened, when White Supremacists – supporters of Ku Klux Klan or KKK – killed a young man and wounded several others, by ramming a car into a rally of counter protesters. What had further shocked people was that instead of condemning this planned, one-sided violence, President Donald Trump had tried to ‘discover’ equivalence by talking about ‘violence on many sides’ for which he received enough opprobrium.

Yes, there was a single Indian politician who had come out in full support of Trump’s stand who had urged US-based Indians ‘to stand with Trump’ when he was being ‘hunted by cockeyed liberals and Left wing loonies on racism’.

Not a long ago, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy was in the news again when he targeted Priyanka Gandhi, younger sister of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, when she was appointed as the general secretary of the Congress Party. He had alleged that she ‘suffers from bipolar disorder and beats up people’, and that she was misfit for public life. He had no qualms about thus humiliating the entire community of ‘specially abled people’, and had exhibited his utter ignorance about the fact that with proper diagnosis and treatment, people with such a disorder can lead healthy and productive lives.

Variously described as a political maverick, a ‘Muckraker-in-Chief’ or a colourful politician, Swamy is in the news once again.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/will-mit-show-swamy-door-harvard-did ?)