On a recent trip to the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, I visited a village called Bamhni. The Jan Swasthya Sahyog (JSS; People’s Health Collective, a rural hospital) of Ganiyari runs an outreach clinic there. Every Tuesday, one or two JSS doctors and a small team of health workers get into a Mahindra Bolero SUV in Ganiyari and drive an hour-and-a-half to reach Bamhni.
I spent much of the day with an even smaller JSS team that reaches out even beyond this outreach clinic. The area we were in is part of the Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary, which has existed since the mid-70s. As happens with several Indian wildlife reserves, this one has several villages located inside its boundaries. In 2009, Achanakmar was declared part of Project Tiger, the more stringent Indian effort to save that splendid animal. More stringent, that is, in the conditions it spells out for villages in designated sanctuaries. When Achanakmar joined Project Tiger, the residents of Bamhni and several other villages were told they would have to move out of the “core zone” of the sanctuary, so as to leave the tigers an area where they would be undisturbed. Continue reading What Development Means: Dilip D’Souza→
A Statement issued by the Chennai Solidarity Group
For more than a year the people of Idinthakarai village, along with fellow citizens from nearby villages have been protesting the setting up of a nuclear power plant at Koodankulam in Southern Tamil Nadu. The protests have been peaceful and have included people from different strata of society. Women have been in the forefront of the struggle, and over the last year even children have learned about the perils of nuclear power plants and the need to look for alternative energy sources.
In spite of this being a peaceful citizens’ protest, the state has chosen to treat it as dangerous – and arrested hundreds of people, intimidated many others and have more than once treated Idinthakarai village and its environs as if it were ‘enemy’ territory. Sedition charges have been slapped against the protesters, along with other criminal charges. The legality of these measures has since been subject to questioning. A high level Public Hearing, presided over by Former Chief Justice A B Shah has in fact called attention to the manner in which the law has been misused in this instance, and in fact abused to harass and prevent ordinary citizens from exercising their right to protest, and defend their constitutionally guaranteed right to life and livelihood. Continue reading On the Violence Unleashed against Protesting Citizens in Koodankulam: Chennai Solidarity Group→
After armed forces, nuclear establishment is another holy cow in the post-independence India. Our media does not only outsources all final judgements on nuclear issues to the nucleocrats, but has also happily joined them in slanders against the grassroots anti-nuclear movements.
We have seen the media discourse on nuclear weapons being shadowed almost entirely by national security and nuclear deterrence arguments. On the recent upsurge of mass protests against nuclear energy projects across the country, media is playing the official tune where people challenging these projects are reduced to illiterate crowd, foreign-funded groups, religious identities and even anti-nationals. On 24th this month, the Tamil newspaper Dinamalar published a story titledTruth and hype behind the Koodankulam row. This report is nothing but an utterly malicious piece of journalistic writing with ugly slanders against the leading activists of the ongoing anti-nuclear movement in Koodankulam – S P Udayakumar, M Pushparayan and M P Jesuraj.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia (MSA) has taken over the English news channels [okay, perhaps not all, but two “exclusive” interviews to Headlines Today and CNN-IBN’s FTN (F stands for ‘Face’, btw)] tonight to shoot back at his opponents and detractors, the likes of Roys, Drezes, Aiyars. The discourse had three parts: the sermon, gloss and proto-penance, and the affirmation of the revealed Truth.
The Planning of Commission of the sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic of India is not a Stalinist Planning Commission. It has the solemn duty of finding India’s rightful place in the world at the average rate of 8% per year. But India is a poor country [exclusive news which cannot be shared at Davos]. The GDP has to enlarge. Market is what will make it happen. But market has limits. Hence, welfare. But MSA is not happy that the Growth-Decline story did not work out as he would have wished. But that is no reason to be anti-Growth [now go to the first line of the para and read it all over again.]
The following is the statement issued by the POSCO PRATIRODH SANGRAM SAMITI on the latest decision of the Environment Ministry on POSCO. The image below from an earlier round of land acquisition attempt is a telling illustration of how the ‘free market’ functions. Received via Shankar Gopalakrishnan.
Jairam Ramesh and the UPA government have shown their true colours with their decision today on the POSCO project. Ignoring the reports of its own advisory bodies and enquiry committees, violating its own orders and the laws of the land, this Ministry has shown that the naked face of corporate greed – it is not the “rule of law”, the “aam aadmi”, “inclusive growth” or any of these other lies – that rules this country. The decision today can be summarised in one sentence:”Repeat your lies, give us promises that we all know are false, and then loot at will.”
We repeat: we will not give up our lands, our forests and our homes to this company. It is not the meaningless orders of a mercenary government that will decide this project’s fate, but the tears and blood of our people. Through the road of peaceful demonstrations and people’s resistance we have fought this project, in the face of torture, jail, firings and killings. If this project comes it will come over our dead bodies. Continue reading A “Green Signal” for The Rape of Justice and the People: POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti→
David Harvey published his piece Right to the City in the New Left Review Issue of September-October 2008. Briefly, he describes the capitalist process and how the city has been the space for investing surplus capital. Specifically, this is done through the constant construction boom, be it housing or infrastructure creation. Harvey is suggesting that the global crises which has affected cities across the world (also because these cities were deeply implicated in the conditions that produced the crisis) is now offering an opportunity for the marginalized “classes” of the world to come together and take control of the “surpluses” which are generated at the expense of the cities. He proposes that if the marginalized people across the world were to unite, they could probably demand a human right to the city which goes beyond merely accessing individual urban resources. The right to the city involves re-creating ourselves in the process of re-creating our cities, in consonance with the higher values of equality and social justice. Continue reading Right to the City? Rethinking Urbanization, Urban Restructuring, Change and How the City is Accessed Physically and Symbolically …→