Category Archives: Centre watch

India is Hungry: Who is Listening?

Hunger is a matter of structural anomalies. It cannot just be explained away by who holds the reins of power.

Starvation Deaths Continue to Occur in UP

Image Courtesy: Sabrang India

The “good news” is that India now stands at the 94th position on the Global Hunger Report 2020’s ranking of 107 countries. India has improved several notches over its 102nd rank last year, but is still firmly in the category of countries with a “serious” hunger problem. Only a handful of countries are doing worse than India, such as Rwanda (ranked 97), Afghanistan (99), Mozambique (103) and Chad (107).

The “good news” cannot hide the fact that that with an overall score of 27.2 India has performed worse than its neighbours, Pakistan (ranked 88), Bangladesh (75), Nepal (73) and Indonesia (70).

Seen any way, India has spent yet another year failing to tackle its massive chronic hunger problem. According to official figures, more than 14% of the population is undernourished and the child stunting rate is over 37.4%. One supposes this fits in with the strong belief in some quarters that India is a Vishwa Guru—teacher to the world—and can boldly claim to be a superpower in future.

The situation is such that news of starvation deaths is not uncommon despite excess of food grains stored in the godowns of the Food Corporation of India. Thousands of tonnes of these food grains go waste every year for a number of equally unjustifiable reasons.

(Read the full article here)

Unpacking Religious Nationalism

Review of ‘Religious Nationalism – Social Perceptions and Violence : Sectarianism on Political Chessboard‘- Ram Puniyani (Media House 2020)

“Blatant dictatorship – in the form of fascism, communism, or military rule – has disappeared across much of the world. Military coups and other violent seizures of power are rare. Most countries hold regular elections. Democracies still die, but by different means.

Since the end of the Cold War, most democratic breakdowns have been caused not by generals and soldiers but by elected governments themselves.”

(How Democracies Die, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt)

The contrast had never been so sharper.

Continue reading Unpacking Religious Nationalism

जेपी से अण्णा : आख़िर भ्रष्टाचार विरोधी आंदोलन किस तरह दक्षिणपंथ का रास्ता सुगम करता आया है

हम बारीकी से विश्लेषण करें तो हम पाते हैं कि वर्ष 2014 के बाद भारत में लिबरल जनतंत्र के बरअक्स हिन्दुत्व की जो बहुसंख्यकवादी सियासत हावी होती गयी, उसके कई तत्व इसी आंदोलन /सरगर्मी में मजबूती पाते गए हैं।

अण्णा
वर्ष 2011 के जनलोकपाल आंदोलन के दौरान अण्णा हजारे (फाइल फोटो)। साभार : गूगल

ग्रीक पुराणों में मिनर्वा को ज्ञान, विवेक या कला की देवी समझा जाता है, जिसका वाहन है उल्लू।

उन्नीसवीं सदी के महान आदर्शवादी दार्शनिक हेगेल का ‘फिलॉसाफी आफ राइट’ नामक किताब का चर्चित कथन है, ‘‘मिनर्वा का उल्लू तभी अपने पंख फैलाता है, जब शाम होने को होती है’’; (Only when the dusk starts to fall does the owl of Minerva spread its wings and fly.) – कहने का तात्पर्य दर्शन किसी ऐतिहासिक परिस्थिति को तभी समझ पाने के काबिल होता है, जब वह गुजर गयी होती है।]

अपनी अतीत की ग़लतियों की तहे दिल से आलोचना करना, साफ़गोई के साथ बात करना, यह ऐसा गुण है, जो सियासत में ही नहीं बल्कि सामाजिक जीवन में भी इन दिनों दुर्लभ होता जा रहा है। इसलिए अग्रणी वकील एवं नागरिक अधिकार कार्यकर्ता जनाब प्रशांत भूषण ने अपनी अतीत की ग़लतियों के लिए जब पश्चताप प्रगट किया तो लगा कुछ अपवाद भी मौजूद हैं।

दरअसल इंडिया टुडे से एक साक्षात्कार में उन्होंने ‘इंडिया अगेन्स्ट करप्शन’ आंदोलन जिसका चेहरा बन कर अण्णा हजारे उभरे थे – जिसकी नेतृत्वकारी टीम में खुद प्रशांत शामिल थे – को लेकर एक अनपेक्षित सा बयान दिया। उनका कहना था कि यह आंदोलन ‘संघ-भाजपा’ द्वारा संचालित था। ईमानदारी के साथ उन्होंने यह भी जोड़ा कि उन्हें अगर इस बात का एहसास होता तो वह तुरंत अण्णा आंदोलन से तौबा करते, दूर हट जाते।

विडम्बना ही है इतने बड़े खुलासे के बावजूद छिटपुट प्रतिक्रियाओं के अलावा इसके बारे में मौन ही तारी है या बहुत कमजोर सी सफाई पेश की गयी है।

( Read the full article here)

State of the judiciary and reforms required : Prashant Bhushan

Democracy Dialogues Lecture Series Organised by New Socialist Initiative – 3 rd Lecture

Topic: State of the Judiciary and Reforms Required
Speaker: Prashant Bhushan, eminent Supreme Court lawyer and civil rights activist
Date and Time: Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 6 PM IST

Zoom and Facebook Live details in the poster below.

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says 'Democracy Dialogues 3rd Lecture State of the Judiciary and Reforms Required Time: 20 Sep 2020 06:00 PM India Join us on Zoom!! Meeting ID: 848 2963 1643 Passcode: 799603 f fb.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi Live link: Prashant Bhushan Public Interest Lawyer and Civil Liberty Activist New Socialist Initiative A World for the Workers! A Future for the World'

[New Socialist Initiative Presents Democracy Dialogues – Lecture Series

The idea behind this series – which we call ‘Democracy Dialogues’ – is basically to initiate as well as join in the on-going conversation around this theme in academic as well as activist circles.

The inaugural lecture in the series was delivered by Prof Suhas Palshikar on 12 th July 2020. The theme of Prof Palshikar’s presentation was  TRAJECTORY OF INDIA’S DEMOCRACY AND CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES, Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta delivered the second lecture on THE STRUCTURAL CONTRADICTIONS OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY AND THE RISE OF THE BJP on 16 th August 2020 ]

How to really compensate for injustice committed

It is disheartening when the Constitution is not followed in letter and spirit, but the balm of monetary compensation will not fix the problem.

Dr Kafeel Khan Speech allahabad hc

Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K, he knew he had done nothing wrong but one morning, he was arrested.

These opening lines of Franz Kafka’s classic novel, The Trial, published just over a century ago, in 1925, still ring true. 

Joseph K, the novel’s protagonist, is cashier at a bank. On his 30th birthday, two unidentified agents arrest him for an unspecified crime. The plot of the novel revolves around his efforts to deduce what the charges against him are, and which never become explicit. Joseph K’s feverish hopes to redeem himself of these unknown charges fail and he is executed at a small quarry outside the city—“like a dog”—two days before his 31st birthday.

Kafka, a major figure of 20th century-literature died of tuberculosis in 1924, when he was barely 40 years old. He had wanted all his manuscripts, including of the unfinished The Trial, destroyed after his death, but close friend and executor of his will, Max Brod, ignored the instruction and the world gained a strong literary indictment of an apathetic and inhuman bureaucracy and how completely it can lack respect for civil rights. 

Kafka’s novel resonates with us today for it is not difficult to spot people who have been wronged by our system. Their endless wait for justice, especially those charged with petty crimes, or those who spend the prime of their lives behind bars on concocted charges, is on open public display. 

( Read the full article here )

केन्द्रीय विश्वविद्यालय: वर्चस्वशाली जातियों के नए ठिकाने ?

अगर हम प्रोफेसरों के पदों की बात करें तो यूजीसी के मुताबिक अनुसूचित जाति से आने वाले प्रत्याशियों के लिए आरक्षित 82.82 फीसदी पद, अनुसूचित जनजाति तबके से आने वाले तबकों के लिए आरक्षित 93.98 फीसदी पद और अन्य पिछड़ी जातियों के लिए आरक्षित 99.95 फीसदी पद आज भी खाली पड़े हैं। असोसिएट प्रोफेसर के पदों की बात करें तो स्थिति उतनी ही खराब दिखती है: अनुसूचित जातियों के लिए आरक्षित 76.57 फीसदी पद, अनुसूचित जनजातियों के लिए आरक्षित 89.01 फीसदी पद और अन्य पिछड़ी जातियों के लिए आरक्षित 94.30 फीसदी पद खाली पड़े हैं।

क्या हम कभी जान सकेंगे कि मुल्क के चालीस केन्द्रीय विश्वविद्यालयों में नियुक्त उपकुलपतियों के श्रेणीबद्ध वितरण- अर्थात वह किन सामाजिक श्रेणियों से ताल्लुक रखते हैं- के बारे में ?

शायद कभी नहीं !

विश्वविद्यालय अनुदान आयोग के केन्द्रीय विश्वविद्यालय ब्युरो में ऐसे कोई रेकॉर्ड रखे नहीं जाते।

किसी बाहरी व्यक्ति के लिए इन सूचनाओं का अभाव बेहद मामूली लग सकता है अलबत्ता अगर हम अधिक गहरे में जाकर पड़ताल करें तो हम पूछ सकते हैं कि सर्वोच्च पदों की यह कथित ‘जातिविहीनता’ का सम्बन्ध क्या इसी तथ्य से जोड़ा जा सकता है कि इन चालीस विश्वविद्यालयों में- सामाजिक और शारीरिक तौर पर हाशिये पर रहने वाले तबकों से आने वाले अध्यापकों की मौजूदगी नगण्य है। फिर वह चाहे अनुसूचित जाति, जनजाति हो या अन्य पिछड़ी जातियां हो या विकलांग तबके से आने वाले लोग हों। इन तबकों की इन पदों से साद्रश्यता के अभाव का अन्दाज़ा इस बात से लगाया जा सकता है कि इन श्रेणियों से आने वाले तबकों के लिए आरक्षित प्रोफेसरों के 99 फीसदी पद आज भी खाली पड़े हैं।

दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के एक कालेज में, एडहॉक/तदर्थ अध्यापक के तौर पर कार्यरत लक्ष्मण यादव द्वारा विश्वविद्यालय अनुदान आयोग को सूचना अधिकार के तहत जो याचिका दायर की गयी थी, उसी के औपचारिक जवाब के तौर पर ऐसे कई सारे अचम्भित करने वाले तथ्य सामने आए हैं। अगर हम प्रोफेसरों के पदों की बात करें तो यूजीसी के मुताबिक अनुसूचित जाति से आने वाले प्रत्याशियों के लिए आरक्षित 82.82 फीसदी पद, अनुसूचित जनजाति तबके से आने वाले तबकों के लिए आरक्षित 93.98 फीसदी पद और अन्य पिछड़ी जातियों के लिए आरक्षित 99.95 फीसदी पद आज भी खाली पड़े हैं। अगर हम असोसिएट प्रोफेसर के पदों की बात करें तो स्थिति उतनी ही खराब दिखती है: अनुसूचित जातियों के लिए आरक्षित 76.57 फीसदी पद, अनुसूचित जनजातियों के लिए आरक्षित 89.01 फीसदी पद और अन्य पिछड़ी जातियों के लिए आरक्षित 94.30 फीसदी पद खाली पड़े हैं। असिस्टेंण्ट प्रोफेसर पद के लिए आरक्षित पदों के आंकड़े उतने खराब नहीं हैं जिसमें अनुसूचित जातियों के लिए आरक्षित 29.92 फीसदी पद, अनुसूचित जनजातियों के लिए आरक्षित 33.47 फीसदी पद और अन्य पिछड़ी जातियों के लिए आरक्षित 41.82 फीसदी पद खाली पड़े हैं। (देखें- मीडिया विजिल की रिपोर्ट)

Continue reading केन्द्रीय विश्वविद्यालय: वर्चस्वशाली जातियों के नए ठिकाने ?

Trajectory of India’s Democracy and Contemporary Challenges : Prof Suhas Palshikar

[Inaugural Lecture of ‘Democracy Dialogues’ Series ( Webinar)
Organised by New Socialist Initiative, 12 th July 2020]

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( Prof Suhas Palshikar, Chief Editor, Studies in Indian Politics and Co-director, Lokniti at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, delivered the inaugural lecture in the ‘Democracy Dialogues’ Series initiated by New Socialist Initiative.

In this lecture he attempted to trace the roots of the current moment of India’s democracy in the overall global journey of democracy, the extra-ordinarily ambitious and yet problematic foundational moment of Indian democracy and the many diversions India’s democracy has taken over time. He argued that unimaginative handling of the extra-ordinary ambition and Statist understanding of the ‘power-democracy’ dialectic formed the basis for easy distortions of democratic practice and that while populism and majoritarianism are the current challenges, they are by no means only special to the present and therefore, even as critique and course-correction of present political crisis is urgently required, a more long-term view of the trajectory of Indian democracy is necessary.

Here follows a detailed summary of his presentation prepared by Dr Sanjay Kumar)

Continue reading Trajectory of India’s Democracy and Contemporary Challenges : Prof Suhas Palshikar

वरवर राव को रिहा करो!

भीमा कोरेगाँव मामले तथा अन्य सभी मामलों में विचाराधीन लेखकों-मानवाधिकारकर्मियों को रिहा करो !

(न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनिशिएटिव, जन संस्कृति मंच, दलित लेखक संघ, प्रगतिशील लेखक संघ, जनवादी लेखक संघ, जन नाट्य मंच, इप्टा, प्रतिरोध का सिनेमा और संगवारी की ओर से जारी साझा  बयान )

State trying to kill Varavara Rao in jail, he needs immediate ...

( Photo Courtesy : New Indian Express)

‘…कब डरता है दुश्मन कवि से ?

जब कवि के गीत अस्त्र बन जाते हैं

वह कै़द कर लेता है कवि को ।

फाँसी पर चढ़ाता है

फाँसी के तख़्ते के एक ओर होती है सरकार

दूसरी ओर अमरता

कवि जीता है अपने गीतों में

और गीत जीता है जनता के हृदयों में।’

–वरवर राव, बेंजामिन मोलेस की याद में, 1985

देश और दुनिया भर में उठी आवाज़ों के बाद अन्ततः 80 वर्षीय कवि वरवर राव को मुंबई के जे जे अस्पताल में शिफ्ट कर दिया गया है। राज्य की असंवेदनशीलता और निर्दयता का इससे बड़ा सबूत क्या होगा कि जिस काम को क़ैदियों के अधिकारों का सम्मान करते हुए राज्य द्वारा खुद ही अंजाम दिया जाना था, उसके लिए लोगों, समूहों को आवाज़ उठानी पड़ी। Continue reading वरवर राव को रिहा करो!

Shadow of Laxmanpur Bathe on Bihar Election

An unpredictable element has found a new lease of life thanks to the coming Assembly election.

Laxmanpur Bathe on Bihar Election

The outlawed Ranvir Sena—the private army of upper caste landlords of Bihar—is in the news again. It recently threatened the Bihar chief of the Bhim Army, Gaurav Siraj, and one of its activists, Ved Prakash, through a Facebook post. The so-called army has “ordered” its “sainiks” to “arrest” him dead or alive. The sena is apparently peeved over how the young dynamic leader of the Ambedkarite organisation has described Brahmeshwar Singh, their slain “Mukhiya” who was killed in 2012.

Will there be any action against those who have threatened the young leader? If history is any guide then there is little possibility of this.

Merely two years ago, Nawal Kishor Kumar, Editor Hindi, Forward Press was targeted by this “sena”. The aggrieved journalist had lodged a police complaint but there has been no progress in the investigation.

It is not that there is no law to punish such miscreants. Social media posts of the threatening kind relate to various offences under the Indian Penal Code, from criminal intimidation punishable under section 503 to section 505 related to creating mischief in public, to section 506 which awards punishment for criminal intimidation and section 153A which relates to penalties for promoting enmity between different groups and so on. In fact, based on its activities, the Ranvir Sena is also liable to be prosecuted under section 3 of the Bihar Control of Crimes Act, section 3 of the Arms Act and section 3 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.”

( Read the full text here)

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 ?

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

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/)

The Ferocious Face of Class War – Rekindling the Revolutionary Imagination

 

Pyramid of Capitalist System, 1911 image from Industrial Worker (paperof Industrial Workers of the World)

Face of Class War in Contemporary India

It is time again to state one thing absolutely clearly. ‘Class struggle’ or ‘class warfare’ were not invented by Karl Marx, for he and his predecessors merely identified and named the beast. It is something that the rich and the powerful always did and continue to do as we speak. Look at the way the Indian lumpenbourgeoisie has bared its fangs, even as the country is reeling under the deadly impact of COVID 19; look at the way it is sharpening its knives, waiting for its opportunity to make a kill – and you will know what class war is all about. Look at them and it will be crystal clear that it is not the hapless migrant worker and the poor – or the peasant who silently commits suicide – who  indulge in this thing called class war, but they who prey on the weak and the dispossessed. They are once again preparing to make good their losses by yoking in workers as slaves, not allowing them to travel safely back to their homes, keeping them hostage to lumpencapital and ready with  their plans to make them work for 12 hours a day. There isn’t even a pretense – barring an Azim Premji here or an Asian Paints there – of recognizing workers as partners or stakeholders in business.

In a sense, ‘lumpencapitalism’ and the ‘lumpenbourgeoisie’ are the general form of Indian capital, pioneered by Dhirubhai Ambani and his Reliance Industries (interested readers can  read The Polyester Prince by Hamish McDonald) and its arrival with Gautam Adani whose recent rise to front ranks is generally understood to be linked to his closeness to the present regime. And in between, we have conglomerates like Sahara India, whose ‘primitive accumulation’ is alleged to have come almost entirely through chit fund theft.

Continue reading The Ferocious Face of Class War – Rekindling the Revolutionary Imagination

भारत की कोरोना नीति के चंद नुक्सानदेह पहलू: राजेन्द्र चौधरी

Guest post by RAJINDER CHAUDHARY

कोरोना से हमारा वास्ता अभी लम्बे समय तक चलने वाला है. काफिला पर छपे पिछले आलेखों में (यहाँ एवं यहाँ) में हम ने इस के सही और गलत, दोनों तरह के सबकों की चर्चा की थी पर भारत की करोना नीति की समीक्षा नहीं की थी.  आपदा और युद्ध काल में एक कहा-अनकहा दबाव रहता है कि सरकार को पूरा समर्थन दिया जाए और उस की आलोचना न की जाय पर कोरोना के मुकाबले के लिए भारत में अपनाई गई रणनीति की समीक्षा ज़रूरी है; यह समीक्षा लम्बे समय तक चलने वाली इस आपदा में रणनीति में सुधार का मौका दे सकती है. कोरोना से कैसे निपटना चाहिए इस में निश्चित तौर पर सब से बड़ी भूमिका तो कोरोना वायरस की प्रकृति की है- ये गर्मी में मरेगा या सर्दी में या नहीं ही मरेगा; बूढों को ज्यादा मारेगा या बच्चों को, इन तथ्यों का इस से निपटने की रणनीति तय करने में सब से बड़ी भूमिका है. इस लिए भारत में कोरोना की लड़ाई के मूल्यांकन से पहले हमें वायरस की प्रकृति के बारे में उपलब्ध जानकारी को रेखांकित करना होगा.

कोरोना वायरस के नए स्वरूप की बुनियादी प्रकृति

कोरोना किस्म के वायरस वैज्ञानिकों के लिए नए नहीं हैं. ये पहले भी उभरते रहे हैं और वैज्ञानिक इन का लगातार अध्ययन करते रहे हैं. परन्तु हाल में कोरोना किस्म के वायरस का एक नया स्वरूप सामने आया है, जिस से उत्पन्न होने वाली नयी बीमारी को कोविड नाम दिया गया है.  इस लिए कोरोना के इस नए वायरस के बारे में अभी सब कुछ पक्के तौर पर नहीं कहा जा सकता. अभी इस की पड़ताल चल रही है.  फिर भी दुनिया भर के वैज्ञानिकों के मिले जुले काम से और कोरोना के पहले से उपलब्ध वायरसों के जीवन चक्र को ध्यान में रखते हुए कुछ बाते काफी हद तक स्पष्ट हैं.  इन के बारे में आम तौर पर वैज्ञानिकों में सर्वानुमति है. हालाँकि विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन को सर्वज्ञानी तो नहीं माना जा सकता परन्तु काफी हद तक इस द्वारा प्रदत जानकारी पर भरोसा किया जा सकता है.

Continue reading भारत की कोरोना नीति के चंद नुक्सानदेह पहलू: राजेन्द्र चौधरी

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)

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)

E-commerce platforms: Corona Warriors or Disaster Capitalists?

This is a Guest Post by ANITA GURUMURTHY and NANDINI CHAMY

 

In 2007, in her book, ‘Shock Doctrine’, Naomi Klein argued that history is a chronicle of “shocks” – the shocks of wars, natural disasters, and economic crises, but more importantly, of their aftermath characterised by disaster capitalism, calculated, free-market “solutions” to crises that exploit and exacerbate existing inequalities. This is why Big-Tech-to-the-rescue in times of the virus does not strike the right chord. It started with the lockdown order issued by the central government on March 24 with the exemption for essential services and supplies getting extended to delivery of foods, pharma products and medical equipment through e-commerce channels. The upper classes had to be assured that their means of shopping would not be affected. Notably, the order issued no such explicit exemption on the movement of foodgrains through Food Corporation of India channels, integral to the Public Distribution System. The lockdown order was a candid admission that e-commerce companies have now become infrastructural utilities indispensable to India’s aspirational middle class.

Continue reading E-commerce platforms: Corona Warriors or Disaster Capitalists?

An Open Letter to the Kerala Governor Sri Arif Mohammad Khan About Our Fight Against the Virus, But Also About Our Resistance to CAA-NRC

Dear Sir

First of all, thank you for acknowledging, even praising,the efforts of the government of Kerala and the people to protect ourselves and humanity against the threat of the corona virus. It is true that Kerala’s efforts and achievements are being lauded the world over, but those voices are never going to make any impact on the supporters of the Sangh parivar in Kerala. But your views cannot be dismissed so easily as ‘Western’ or ‘leftist’ (though they may still murmur about your Muslim name). What has really riled me in the recent past is their systematic effort at downplaying Kerala’s achievements, heaping abuse on our effort to help migrant workers, and raising baseless allegations against those who are working to mitigate the crisis. So as a historian of modern Kerala, I am writing this to offer some insights into why we have been able to do this, in the hope that you may be able to see what they will never tell you — simply because they are so sadly blinded by hate. Continue reading An Open Letter to the Kerala Governor Sri Arif Mohammad Khan About Our Fight Against the Virus, But Also About Our Resistance to CAA-NRC

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

Statement on the imminent arrest of Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde : Alan-Thaha Human Rights Committee, Kerala

The Alan-Thaha Human Rights Committee, Kerala, expresses its deep concern and anguish over the imminent arrest of prominent intellectuals Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde in the Bhima-Koregaon case.

Continue reading Statement on the imminent arrest of Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde : Alan-Thaha Human Rights Committee, Kerala