Category Archives: Technology

Accident at Koodankulan Nuclear Reactor, at least 6 Injured

An Urgent Alert has been posted by NITYANAND JAYARAMAN in on an accident that occurred in Koodankulan sometime in the afternoon today.

Koodankulan protest, courtesy New Indian Express
Koodankulan protest, courtesy New Indian Express

After initially flashing news about the incident, the media is now reportedly playing NPCIL’s statements denying and downplaying the incident. If NPCIL’s past record is anything to go by, truth will be a while in coming. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was unavailable for comment.

Today’s accident comes less than a week after the Honourable Supreme Court ruled that it was satisfied with the safety features installed at the plant. Read the rest of the report here.

Koodankulan protest 2, image courtesy The Hindu
Koodankulan protest 2, image courtesy The Hindu

We have reported earlier in Kafila on the ongoing struggle of the local people against the establishment of the nuclear reactor in Koodankulan here, here and here.

Documented Lives: Aadhar and the Identity Effect in Kashmir: Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh

A version of this essay appeared in the Kashmir Reader, 10 December 2013

Guest Post by Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh

On the road to the city from Srinagar Airport, I recently saw a billboard. Beneath the radiantly beaming faces of Manmohan Singh, and Sonia Gandhi, it bore the declaration ‘One Nation. One Card. AADHAR.’ Public Service advertisements in the same cheery vein have been airing on Radio Kashmir, and the state owned TV station Doordarshan- Kashir. Its critics assert that the AADHAR (‘its not a card, just a number!’) scheme exemplifies the financialisation of citizenship (each AADHAR number will require a corresponding bank account), a regime of biometric surveillance, the creation of a database nation and an expansion of the global corporate- military-intelligence empire. But AADHAR is only the latest chapter in the largely undocumented history of India’s intimate stranglehold over Kashmir through identity documents. It is a history told anecdotally, through stories about the sinking feeling of being stopped at a barricade and rifling through empty pockets, of cold hours spent pleading on a street or at a police station, of late night rescues of hapless friends from lonely check points, of miraculously narrow escapes despite having left home without it.

Though no Kashmiri adult I know leaves home without their ID, no one can seem to pin point exactly when the carrying of a photo-identity card became mandatory. Trying to understand the basis for the practice, I asked a friend under what law it was required that every person be able to prove their identity at all times. ‘Under the gun law!’ he replied succinctly. While its legal origins are uncertain, what is quite clear is that by the early 1990s no Kashmiri male could afford to be, quite literally, caught dead without one. As my plain speaking friend explained, “the most important reason for carrying one was if you were killed, somebody would hopefully find your card and inform your family.” The ID card was the tenuous piece of laminated paper that stood between him and an unmarked grave, an unmourned death.

Continue reading Documented Lives: Aadhar and the Identity Effect in Kashmir: Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh

The Public Secret of Savita Bhabhi: Jyoti Singh

This is a  guest post by JYOTI SINGH

In May 2013, makers of the erotic comic strip came out with the Savita Bhabhi movie, where apart from Savita Bhabhi doing what she is best at, she also helps the two nerds, who mistakenly teleport her into their Orwellian India of 2070, take their revenge upon the notorious I&B Minister who bans all online porn but engages in all offline porn. With this, Savita Bhabhi was back in our ever-so-fickle public memory after 4 years of ban, but yet not quite. Her resurfacing was not as resounding as her going away. One could ascribe this to the spoken language of the movie being Hindi instead of English, which is the original language of the strip and also the official language of all modern day revolutions of the middle class on social media. Perhaps they misjudged the ‘maximum reach’ bit, which rendered her an orphan. Nevertheless, that aside, why isn’t Savita Bhabhi missed enough anyway?

Continue reading The Public Secret of Savita Bhabhi: Jyoti Singh

People’s Victory Against Chutka (Madhya Pradesh) Nuclear Power Plant: Lokesh Malti Prakash

Guest Post by Lokesh Malti Prakash

The People of Chutka and adjoining villages in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh won another victory against the Chutka (Madhya Pradesh) Nuclear Power Plant (being imposed on them by Congress-led Central government in active collusion with BJP-led state government) as the government was forced for the second time to postpone its farcical public-hearing on the project that was scheduled on 31st July. After a sustained protest by people of the region that was actively supported by almost every section of left-democratic forces in the state and beyond, the district administration called off the public-hearing on 29th July.

Burning the Effigy of Nuclear Power at Chutka
Burning the Effigy of Nuclear Power at Chutka

Continue reading People’s Victory Against Chutka (Madhya Pradesh) Nuclear Power Plant: Lokesh Malti Prakash

The Changed Face of the Newsroom: Monobina Gupta

 Guest post by MONOBINA GUPTA. DelhiUniversity teachers are fighting back to hold on to the fast vanishing autonomy of academics and academia. For me, this is a significant moment. Not just because the teachers are setting an example in their refusal to submit to the destructive moves disguised as ‘reform’, slammed through by well-connected and powerful authorities at the top. I must confess to my own selfish reasons for celebrating this moment. As a journalist, I can’t but think of all that we too could have held on to had only we walked this path of resistance, stalled the first assault on the newsroom, resisted the first strike, shrinking what I would describe as our ‘journalistic territory.’

Had we moved in that difficult yet honourable direction, we too might have guarded our space, not allowed non-journalists to take it over, bit by bit. Is it too late to recover and reclaim what was once an autonomous, if not a radical newsroom? Maybe. Maybe not.

For journalists like me who entered the newsroom in the 1980s, it’s the transformation of that space that I find both fascinating as well as frightening, in equal measure. Tune out the deafening noise of  24×7 news – cut the frills – journalism emerges in all its bare bones as the craft it really is or should be: an incisive tool for chronicling and analysing events. Ring side spectators or distant observers, members of the media, under all circumstances, are supposed to have their ear to the ground. In an ideal world, these couriers of news – mostly nasty and brutish these days – shouldn’t be attuned to corporate boardroom culture or its fiat.  Continue reading The Changed Face of the Newsroom: Monobina Gupta

On Passport Divas, ‘We are Like That Only, But We Want to be Superpower’!

‘It happens only in India’ – so goes the refrain. Because we are extra special. Yes we are. In our smugness and in our conceit. In our bloated sense of Self that will stop short of nothing less than the status of the next ‘superpower’ – without anything to show for it though. Wonder where all this actually comes from? Chala Murari Hero Banane. Years ago, we were told, we had colonized Silicon Valley. Our software writers, the best in the world, had placed India in the world map of rising powers. So much had it impressed the leaders of this country that they decided that all their higher education would be geared to producing more and more such labour for the new global economy (no offense meant to the software people). However that is another story. Right now I want to tell a different one – partly out of frustration but partly because I consider it my duty to forewarn others who might be in for a similar experience as mine. Continue reading On Passport Divas, ‘We are Like That Only, But We Want to be Superpower’!

Aadhar/UID is Against Equality and Democracy: Moiz Tundawala

Guest Post by Moiz Tundawala

After the suppression of the 1857 Mutiny and the British take over of Delhi, Mirza Ghalib was once asked by a military official whether he were Muslim or not. Ghalib is said to have quipped: “Only half Muslim; I drink wine but refrain from swine.” For me, this ripost evinces a flippant disdain for modern forms of rule which essentialize persons and groups purely based on certain attributes which are deemed definitive and prioritized over others. As far as Ghalib’s case was concerned, the idea may have been to find out based on his religious identity if at all he could pose problems for the newly established colonial regime. In later years, this policy, which African intellectual Mahmood Mamdani has recently termed ‘define and rule’, gradually became integral to governmental practices in most parts of the modern world; today, populations are ever so readily classified and enumerated based on empirically observable characteristics in order to make them amenable to effective government. The Aadhaar project of the Unique Identification Authority of India clearly falls within the gamut of such practices, marking a transition to modernity in a radical break from the past. So my reservations with it are just the same as those with any other modernity inspired programme wherein personal and collective identities are reduced to a somewhat arbitrarily determined bare essence which may have no real connection with lived experiences of fuzzy and contextually constructed identities.

Continue reading Aadhar/UID is Against Equality and Democracy: Moiz Tundawala