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Monday, 8 May 2006
Education barrier for India's poor
Jill McGivering
By Jill McGivering
BBC News, Delhi
A woman walks past hi-fashion boutiques in New Delhi
Hi-fashion boutiques in New Delhi
Luxury goods and exclusive brands are all wooing the new rich
It was a glamorous evening in one of Delhi's most exclusive venues.
As the music played, the rich and fashionable gossiped and waiters moved through the crowd with silver trays of drinks and canapés.
Before dinner was served, the main lights dimmed and the master of ceremonies announced the star of the show, businessman Lovy Khosla.
Standing in a cascade of glitter, he launched his latest venture, Elvy — described as India's first lifestyle catalogue.
After the presentation, I asked Mr Khosla what kind of people he hoped would buy the bone china, platinum-stemmed wine glasses and other luxury catalogue items.
"Aspiring Indians", he said, "the new emerging middle-class".
He admitted the divide at the moment between rich and poor was huge — but eventually, he said, everyone in India would prosper.
'Brain industry'
At times, optimism like Mr Khosla's does seem justified.
More and more people nowadays have the means to buy the international goods now available in India's cities.
A call centre in Bangalore
A call centre in Bangalore
There is demand for educated workers for the booming IT sector
The IT shops I visited in Delhi, for example, were buzzing with all the latest technology.
The IT sector itself is still small but clearly booming, a key part of India's new wealth.
But there's a clear mismatch between the hinterland of rural unemployed and the IT sector's demand for educated workers.
Kiran Karnik, the President of India's National Association of Software and Service Companies, told me one of their biggest problems is finding enough suitable recruits, people with the right education and skills.
"You have a lot of people with minimal or sometimes no education," he said.
"And the industry we work in requires at least a certain minimum level of knowledge.   It's not a brawn industry, it's a brain industry.   That means we're looking for people who are by and large graduates."
But why, in a country of more than a billion people, are graduates relatively hard to find?
Why do about some 93% of Indians never progress beyond secondary school?
Poor education
I travelled by train into rural Uttar Pradesh, one of India's biggest and poorest states to see the education available for children in villages there.
Children from slums in New Delhi in a charity school
Children from New Delhi in a charity school
Despite ambition many children will give up studies to earn a living
I was taken to a small village by Sandeep Pandey, one of the founders of the educational charity Asha (Hope).
There I came across about 50 children, of all ages from about three to 15 years, sitting under the trees chanting their lessons.
They have to learn together like this because there is only one teacher.
There was also a government school nearby but some parents in the village complained that they did not send their children there because the standard was so low.
When I asked the children what they would like to do as adults, they crowded round, faces beaming.
"Teacher!" cried one.   "Doctor," said another.   They were full of enthusiasm.   But privately Sandeep was pessimistic about their chances.
"The children saying they want to be doctors or teachers or engineers, they'd never be able to make it," he said.   "In the end they'd end up being unemployed or underemployed."
Most of the children, he said, dropped out before they finished primary school.
Their parents knew they would eventually work on the land so more than a basic education seemed a waste of resources.
"The only hope," he said, "is that by learning to read or write, they will check corruption.   We don't have any hope beyond that."
'Living hell'
Those who do leave the countryside without higher education, in the hope of finding greater opportunities in the cities, often end up living in slums.
Asia's largest slum, Dharavi, in Mumbai
Asia's largest slum, Dharavi, in Mumbai
Many villagers who migrate to cities end up living in slums
I visited Banwal Nagar, a sprawling slum on the outskirts of Delhi, a labyrinth of narrow lanes with no running water, stinking open drains and massive overcrowding.
There I met Babloo, a shy 18-year-old who came here from a village in Uttar Pradesh a year ago.
He told me he came with his brother who is earning just enough as a tailor to feed them both.
Babloo said they were always hungry in the village, there was no work there.   Now Babloo is helping out — unpaid — in a mechanic's shop, trying to learn the trade.
Sitting with us, listening to Babloo's hesitant story, was an old-timer in Banwal Nagar, Anrud Mandel, who came here 25 years ago.
I asked him if he thought Babloo and his brother had done the right thing in coming to Delhi.
His answer was emphatic: "No.   Like all of us, he had to leave his village because there wasn't work there."
"But we'd all be better off in our villages if we could earn enough there to feed and clothe our children and ourselves."
He gestured to the conditions all around us, the air thick with flies.   "This place is a living hell."
There is no doubt India's impressive economic growth is providing new opportunities.
But the challenge is finding ways to put them within the reach of the children in India's poorest villages.
The Deadly Gambles of Farming in Rural India
Russian Roulette in Vidharbha
By P. SAINATH Nagpur Rural (Maharashtra)
I t is a kind of rural Russian roulette.
Only there is more than one bullet aimed at the player.
Vidharbha's farmers are involved in a deadly gamble that concerns the monsoon but goes far beyond it.
No one is sowing till the last minute.
Those who have purchased seed are holding back.
Many are yet to buy their inputs for the season.
Some have not even decided on what they will sow.
As Vijay Jawandia, a farmers' leader in Wardha, puts it: "Most do not know till the day before whether they are cotton growers or soybean farmers."
Gamble One
The immediate gamble is on the rains.
"Last year's pre-monsoon showers caused a lot of confusion," says Yavatmal Collector Harshdeep Kamble.
"So they are being extra cautious this time. I am really worried about how the rains will work out."
Many farmers in 2004 sowed not once but three times in this region.
Like Namdeo Bonde in Kothuda village.
"He sowed three times, you might even say four," says his brother Pandurang. But the showers only misled him.
"He got a little bit with the third sowing. But the costs were killing. By his third try, input dealers were charging 50 per cent to 80 per cent more. And then his crop failed."
Sunk in debt, Bonde took his life last November.
Gamble Two
"No one has sown a seed so far in this village of Durga-Vaidya," says Vinayak Gaikwad, a farmer in Buldhana.
Gaikwad, a kisan sabha leader, says: "Even when the rains come, people might wait a bit longer to make sure."
Hippo?
We know
But it's cute
That is Gamble 2.
"Equally," says D.B. Naik farm activist in Bham in Yavatmal.
"If you buy and sow after the first showers and the rains stop, you're finished."
That is what drove Laxman Wankhede of Ejani village to suicide last October.
Gamble 3:
"Acting late gives you some flexibility," says Gaikwad.
"You can decide at the last moment what you will sow.
"If the rains are bad, you choose what needs less water."
With three failed sowings himself last year, he should know.
"Also, by waiting you can switch from `late' to `early' varieties of seed."
‘Late’ varieties yield more but take much longer, up to six months.
‘Early’ types yield less but are out in under five months.
When the rains are late, farmers switch to the ‘early’ type.
Gamble 4:
"Buying inputs too early means your loan burden is higher," says Ramesh Deshmukh in Talegaon village, Yavatmal.
"What if the rains come in July? A farmer buying inputs in May pays interest for two extra months."
This is a big problem where perhaps 90 per cent of crop loans are from moneylenders. Their interest rates vary from 60 per cent to 120 per cent per annum.
Deshmukh's brother Suresh ended his life last year, crushed by his debt burden.
This `flexibility', as many point out, can be a forced one.
"I have no money to buy the inputs," says Ranjana, widow of Suresh Deshmukh. "Who will offer us loans now?"
Given her husband's fate, lenders see the family as a high-risk client.
"Also," says Ramesh, "dealers first attend to cash-paying clients. Those needing credit come much later."
Gamble 5:
Those who have bought seeds are betting heavily on BT cotton.
K.R. Zanzad, quality control inspector at the Agricultural Office, Yavatmal, says: "Last year, 7,000 bags of BT cotton varieties sold in this district. This year — so far — one lakh."
At around Rs.1,600-Rs.1,800 a bag of 450 grams, BT cotton costs three times or more what non-BT cotton does.
This raises cost per acre massively.
In Andhra Pradesh next door, BT cotton results have been disastrous.
And approval has been cancelled for some varieties.
Yet Vidharbha could see 70 per cent or more of farmers opting for BT in despair-driven hope.
The risks are enormous.
Gamble 6:
Buying inputs late could jack up prices as everyone scrambles for seeds and fertilizer at the last moment.
Unless, of course, the monsoon fails and there is no demand.
Just now, it seems prices will go up.
There will also be a last minute rush for labour as all seek it at the same time.
Many small farmers work on the fields of others as well.
But with a late start, all will be tied down to their own plots.
That means a rise in cost of labour — and not getting it when you need it.
Moreover, the last minute rush for crop loans will push up already high interest rates.
So while holding back saves a month of interest, last minute credit comes at higher rates.
The banks play no role at all in this.
Gamble 7:
Striking late deals could well force the farmer to sell his crop to the input dealer at way below the minimum support price (MSP).
Last year, suicide victim Suresh Deshmukh sold his cotton at Rs.1,600 a quintal.
The MSP for his type was Rs. 2,300.
Gamble 8:
"If it rains well today, the farmer just has to buy seeds," says Sanjay Bhagat in Mahagaon tehsil, Yavatmal.
Bhagat, a veteran journalist, is also a director on the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) here.
"Those pushing an artificial shortage can then sell at any price."
This means many could end up buying spurious seeds.
A fast emerging problem in the region.
Fake seeds have been linked to several farm suicides across the country.
Gamble 9:
Late sowing could also expose the crop to higher risks of disease and pest attack.
That again feeds into higher costs.
What policy has done to the farmer
The great gamble.
"The great gamble is farming itself," says Vijay Jawandia.
"This is what policy has done to the farmer. Be it on credit or support price."
Some are cracking under the tension.
Like young Abhay Shamrao Chavan in Mulawa village, Yavatmal.
"The rains were just the last straw," says his brother Vasantrao.
"He was in real despair about credit."
"Yet if it had rained on June 12, he would have been here to tell you about it himself."
P. Sainath is the rural affairs editor of The Hindu and the author of Everybody Loves a Good Drought.
Imposed will of ruthless merchant-adventurers
In Western Kenya, a quarter of a million families earn their living from sugar-cane farming and six million depend on it for their livelihoods.
Cheap imports are likely to destroy the Kenyan sugar industry and leave many of these families destitute and starving.
In India, thousands if not millions of lives will likely be affected and India's self-sufficiency in food destroyed, all for a few more H1B visas and some outsourcing businesses.
And the sordid distinction of entry into the Big Boys Club of the WTO mafia.
Strike Two: Tariffs on industry were reduced and the coveted services sector was opened up like a brothel in Kanthipura.
Public health, education, telecom, banks, water, all pimped by the state.
And by failing to bring up TRIPS (The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) for review and amendment, India — junior Big Boy — ensured that prices of patented drugs will continue to soar, affecting the common people in poor countries.
The length of patents, the patenting of life forms, health and food security — all this might have been reviewed with ease.
Not one was.
 
Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Child labour — India's 'cheap commodity'
Child Labor in India

Campaigners say that many children work in appalling conditions
Campaigners say that many children work in appalling conditions
Navdip Dhariwal
By Navdip Dhariwal
BBC News, Tamil Nadu
Farm workers toil long hours in the fields in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu for little reward in the intense heat.
But it is often their only means of survival.
Cheap labour is one commodity India has in abundance.
Hidden from public view though, is another workforce.
CHILD LABOUR 2006
218m aged 5-17 in work
126m in hazardous work
Almost 50m work in Africa
122m work in Asia
70% of workers in agriculture
Estimated cost of ending child labour: $760m over 20 years
Source: International Labour Organisation

In an isolated spot, miles from the nearest town, is a thriving matchstick industry.
Here inside makeshift straw huts — and in the small dwellings that neighbour them — we found some of India's youngest workers.
Rows of exhausted young girls — up to 20 and as young as five are working alongside their mothers.
For 16 hours a day their tiny blistered fingers skilfully turn out matches for export.
Ordered to leave
The toxic smell of sulphur is overwhelming in the windowless room.
Twelve-year-old Sindhu dips the tips of the sticks into hot sulphur.
"I start work early but don't finish until late into the night.   I get paid less than two dollars a week."
Our presence was clearly not welcome.   As we were speaking to the girls the owner came in and ordered us to leave.
Within walking distance are other factories.   But again, when we arrived, the youngest workers were quickly led away.
While the factory owner denied he was employing underage workers, almost every single household in this part of Tamil Nadu has one or more children working long hours in appalling conditions.
Campaigners say over 11 million children are forced to work in India.
Lighting a fire for a rare family meal, Sarojama gathers her five grandchildren around her.
Exploited
She has barely been able to feed them, so she was forced to borrow money from a local factory owner.
Child labor worker in Indian match factory
Campaigners
say
over
11
million
children
work
in
India
Unable to pay back the loan she sent her young grand-daughter to work.   Parimeeta was taken out of school and has been working 12 hour days for two years.
The debt is less than $20.
Campaigners fear that as India's economy continues to boom, children are increasingly being exploited to meet the country's hunger for global success.
In a recent raid in the capital Delhi, police rescued a large number of boys from local sweatshops.
Agents had lured them from India's poorest regions, promising the children that they would be taken care of and paid well.
They were found hidden on the top floors of garment factories — held captive in filthy cramped rooms under lock and key.
They painstakingly spent hours applying crystals to garments.   Many of the clothes end up being sold in shops in the UK.
Ineffective
These are places the authorities say are difficult to close down.
But Swami Agnivesh of the Bonded Liberation Front says that hundreds of children are kept hidden from public view in the buildings of crammed alleyways.
Child labor trends
"They are kept in the most appalling conditions and not enough is being done to help them," he said.
India has laws in place to protect children and bans the use of young workers, but they remain pretty ineffective.
The United Nations Children's' Fund says that the sheer volume of children engaged in work is living proof of the world's failure to protect them.
That is the reason why the agency's work is focused on building a protective environment which safeguards children from exploitation and abuse.
In Tamil Nadu local charities have helped pay off families' debts so that at least some children can be released from the matchstick factories.
Finally freed from the shackles of work, they now have some hope of reliving their childhood.
Bu it is often a dream that is short-lived.
Charity workers admit most of the children are likely to find themselves forced back into a life of bondage.
Date:24/11/2006 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2006/11/24/stories/2006112402491500.htm
Human rights cannot "be imposed with cluster bombs": Shirin Ebadi
When it comes to humanity the borders are still intact, says Nobel laureate

  • Criticises U.S.-sponsored "war on terrorism"
  • Opposes forced wearing of the hejab
    — Photo: SUSHANTA PATRONOBISH
    Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi with West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi in Kolkata.

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 spoke in Kolkata, India November 23, 2006

Today fighting terrorism has become a pretext to violate human rights. And states use national security to increase their power and control of the people. None of this will reduce terrorism.

Under that pretext of fighting terrorism America invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is no question that Saddam [ Hussein ] was a dictator but my question is, was Saddam the only dictator in the world?

Unfortunately we have many.

The difference was that in Iraq oil can be found and in many other places it cannot.

Controlling the lives of citizens, listening in to their phone conversations, interfering with the private lives of people and limiting social and individual freedoms is not the answer.

Human rights cannot be imposed with cluster bombs.

What needs to be globalised is human rights.
    A CRUSADER: Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi with West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi in Kolkata on Thursday.
    KOLKATA: For Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi "human rights is a package....a way of seeing the world, a culture, which cannot "be imposed with cluster bombs" and brought to countries "in tanks".
    "The world is turning into a unified village.   We can see that in finance borders are eliminated.   But when it comes to humanity the borders are still intact."
    "And the problem is here.   What needs to be globalised is human rights", the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, said in conversation with a select media group here on Thursday.
    Known for her crusade on human rights, Ms. Ebadi, who practises law in her country Iran where she "magically" escaped two assassination attempts, is particularly critical of the U.S.-sponsored "war on terrorism" and its effect on human rights.
    Violence always brings violence
    "Violence always brings violence."
    "Have we found the roots of terrorism?" she asks.
    "Unfortunately today fighting terrorism has become a pretext to violate human rights."
    "And states use national security to increase their power and control of the people."
    "None of this will reduce terrorism," Ms. Ebadi who is on a brief visit to the city observed.
    Has it been reduced?
    "Under that pretext of fighting terrorism America invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.   Has it been reduced?"
    "Unfortunately it is only augmenting and increasing by the day.   This can only mean that they have forgotten addressing the roots [of terrorism] and focusing on the end results... ." she said.
    "We need to fight terrorism at its roots.   Humanity is now on a boat.   Everyone's fate is inter-related."
    Not the answer
    "Controlling the lives of citizens, listening in to their phone conversations, interfering with the private lives of people and limiting social and individual freedoms is not the answer.
    Human rights are inextricably linked with the question of democracy.
    "Today the U.S. claims it is in Iraq because it wants to put democracy on the pole.   There is no question that Saddam [Hussein] was a dictator but my question is, was Saddam the only dictator in the world? Unfortunately we have many."
    Iraq oil can be found
    "The difference was that in Iraq oil can be found and in many other places it cannot."
    She is both "against the forced wearing of the hejab as well against forcing women not to wear it... .women's rights, according to a famous saying, are human rights."
    "All the limitations have always been imposed on women, men are free to wear whatever they want to — whether in Islamic countries or western countries, it always depends on who benefits from such impositions."
    As for her views on the Shariat, "we need an interpretation of Islam which complies with human rights."
    Has the Nobel Prize changed her life?
    "An award does not change one's personality.   It has only increased my work.   I still go to court, I still cook... Of course many doors have opened in the international arena and I am able to bring my voice to a lot many people" Ms. Ebadi, who has almost completed her next book on "fighting poverty."
    "But I always wish that a day would be made up of 48 hours.   The reason is, I have many thoughts that I can't find time to put down on paper."
    To her a writer "does not write anything, it is the pen which does the writing."   "I must abide by the pen and see where it takes me," she says.   Her last book titled `Iran Awakening; A Memoir of Revolution and Hope' has been translated into 18 languages.
    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu
  • Traprock Peace Center April 10, 2005
    Deregulation, Accumulation of wealth — India's resistance to corporations
    By Vandana Shiva Director and founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology
    I was doing studies on mining in my valley and I remember sitting in the archives and finding all these attempts to try and make people try and hate each other.
    Make people afraid of each other.
    And people are coming and saying, "No, I did not write that pamphlet."
    "I love my Muslim neighbor."
    "I did not do this."
    "I did not throw a pig in front of his front door."
    "I did not butcher a cow."
    For more than twelve years attempts were made to pit people against each other on the basis of religion.
    But after '42 when Gandhi very clearly said to the British — Quit India.
    You are killing us.
    You are denying us our very basis to live — that's the time this divide-and-rule was intensified.  
    By the time '47 came we had killings.
    We then had the partition.
    Most people don't realize that Pakistan, Bangladesh, India before that we were one.
    We still are when it comes to the way we eat, the way we drink, the way we cloth ourselves.
    Our languages are the same each side of the border.
    The same Bengali spoken, the same….
    That some people go to a Mosque and others don't hardly makes any difference.
    The 1942 Bengal famine also created the economic responses.
    The system of landlordism that the British had put into place to collect rents from land, is what had made hunger happen.   Because people had to give away everything they grew.
    And even while they grew enough rich they couldn't keep enough for themselves.
    So we had a movement for [rent] abolition.
    We had movements for the right to food, out of which came an amazing public distribution system.
    From 1942, to about four or five years ago, nobody starved in our country.
    No one starved to death.
    We had malnutrition.
    Not everyone was perfectly well fed.
    But we didn't have famine debts.
    That's come back.
    It's come back because the public distribution system created for all of society as a reflection of the right to food was suddenly being called a monopoly.
    Society being served its basic needs was defined as a monopoly.  
    And Cargill coming in to monopolize was now our liberation.
    Similarly the fact that farmers grow their own seed — we had a government corporation which ensured that farmers got varieties of seeds that were tested, that were adapted to their particular local region.
    That were necessary for food.
    That was called a monopoly too.
    The [government] seed corporation was dismantled.
    And Monsanto monopoly is called competitiveness.
    Today Monsanto controls ninety-four to ninety-five percent of all genetically engineered seeds sold anywhere in the world.  
    Anywhere in the world.
    As they have gone on record — we know we will not make money through the selling of seed.
    We will make money through the collection of royalties.  
    If you look at the projections they have made, the projections shoot up after awhile as farmers get absolutely locked into dependence on the seed supply.
    We are fighting in India right now not just the new patent law that has been introduced — and the history of this patent law changes, very interesting.
    India had a wonderful patent law, which kept agriculture out of patenting.
    And in medicine you could only have what were called 'process' patents, a method of making a medicine.
    Which means you could start making cheap medicine.  
    The WTO treated this as illegal and forced us to introduce patenting of seed, and product patent of monopolies in medicine.  
    What does that mean?
    It means that for agriculture, that Indian farmers are today buying cotton seeds for a thousand six hundred rupees a kilo, for the same price at which American farmers are buying.  
    Just before coming we were watching this video where Monsanto are selling this very costly seed and the ad is not about agriculture.
    It's about an Indian wedding you know.
    Wonderful groom and a beautiful bride, and it's all happiness and joy, and that's what buying that seed will bring you.
    I have watched Monsanto ads using Guru Nanak, the sheik guru in Punjab, Hanuman in south India, where Monsanto's seeds are brought as a mountain.
    You know when Lakshman was wounded in the fight against Rahman, he was told to bring a certain herb and he didn't know how to identify it so he brought the whole mountain.  
    Monsanto sells its seeds as if that global mountain is now Monsanto's seed.  
    All this hasn't happened suddenly.
    It has happened beginning with the nineteen-eighties where small groups of corporations, of people who own the corporations — its very interesting over the last few decades we've stopped seeing people behind economic interests.
    They are now 'the market.'
    They are 'The corporation.'
    Or they are they are 'The sector.'
    The agriculture agreement in WTO — No it's the Cargill agreement in WTO.
    The trade related intellectual property rights of WTO — it's the Monsanto agreement of WTO.
    And while they were fixing all this through multiple channels.
    One channel was using the financial institutions — The World Bank, and IMF, which were created exactly for this, just north of here in New Hampshire, in Bretton Woods, in that tiny little hotel.  
    In '44, in Nineteen forty four, the war was about to end.
    They could see countries like India, ex colonies breaking free.
    And as I read when I went for the fiftieth anniversary of the Bretton Woods, in the basement of the hotel is a gift shop.  
    In the gift shop you can find envelopes which are first day covers.
    I don't know how many of you remember things like first day covers.
    When a new stamp was released they had these envelopes with the stamps — for collector's items.
    The one released — the founding of the World Bank and IMF and GAT was called 'The Money Men of the World Meet.'
    They got together and said how do we keep running this world as we run it, even when we don't have the old instruments of imperial control.  
    So they created the Bretton Woods Institutions, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund.
    All of them looked liked such legitimate global institutions to have.
    Published on Saturday, April 8, 2006 by OneWorld.net
    Many More Join Protest and Hunger Strike over Indian Dam Project
    by Rahul Kumar and Jeffrey Allen
    NEW DELHI - The hunger strike led by Indian civil rights leader Medha Patkar got a boost Friday — two days after she was forcibly hospitalized by the Indian government — as student unions, academics, and other organizations joined the protest over the Indian government's failure to properly compensate tens of thousands of farmers displaced by floodwaters from a rising dam.
    Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy joins Narmada Bachao Andolan activists in a traditional dance during a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday.

Arundhati Roy has been supporting NBA leader Medha Patkar, who is on fast.

Photo by R.V. Moorthy
    Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy joins Narmada Bachao Andolan activists in a traditional dance during a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday.
    Arundhati Roy has been supporting NBA leader Medha Patkar, who is on fast.
    Photo by R.V. Moorthy
    Patkar, 51, who is the leader of the people's rights group Narmada Bachao Andolan (Campaign to Save the Narmada Valley, or NBA), launched an indefinite fast along with two colleagues, Jamsingh Nargave, 50, and Bhagwatibehen Patidar, 45, on March 29.
    Although the government took little action at the outset of the hunger strike, it seemed rattled after Patkar's health deteriorated.
    A strong contingent of police arrested and forcibly took her to the hospital Wednesday, leading to resentment and heightened protests among sympathizers.


    We are told that displacement of people is necessary for development and they will be rehabilitated.
    But many states in India do not even have fertile land to rehabilitate people.
    People are being forced to migrate to cities where they live in slums.
    And then in the name of beautification of cities, their slum dwellings also are destroyed.

    Kavita Krishnan, All India Students Association
    Professor of International Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Kamal Mitra Chenoy, who has been on a hunger strike for the last two days, said:
    "If the government thought the Narmada agitation could be stopped, it couldn't be more wrong. We joined the fast to show solidarity and support to NBA's struggle.   "
    According to NBA activist Deepti Bhatnagar, "Patkar has continued with the fast at the hospital.   She is taking only water, salt and lemon at the hospital.   Our agitation will continue till the Narmada valley oustees are rehabilitated properly."
    The NBA had met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 25 asking for the rehabilitation of some 35,000 families displaced as a result of the construction of the controversial Sardar Sarovar dam on the river Narmada in central India.   When the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) did not respond by March 28 as promised, Patkar and two others went on an indefinite hunger strike the next day.
    The government is supposed to provide a minimum of two hectares of cultivable land for farming and a plot for a house to each family that is displaced due to the dam project, according to Indian Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Parikh.
    For families that owned more land the government is supposed to either provide more land or cash compensation.
    A new proposal to raise the height of the dam from its current 113 meters (370 feet) to 121.9 meters (400 feet) is at the heart of the most recent protests and hunger strike.
    The proposed dam expansion would cause the destruction of the homes and fields of those living in an additional 220 nearby villages, according to an NBA press release.
    Though the Indian government sent a three-minister delegation to the Narmada valley, it failed to pacify the protestors.   The three ministers who went to the valley are: Union Water Resources Minister Saifudin Soz, Minister for Social Justice Meira Kumar, and Minister in the PMO Prithviraj Chauhan.
    When environmental activist Medha Patkar began a hunger strike on a dirty New Delhi sidewalk demanding help for villagers displaced by a dam, nobody in India paid much attention, but people began to sit up and take notice when her health began to fail.

Photo: AFP/Raveendran
    When environmental activist Medha Patkar began a hunger strike on a dirty New Delhi sidewalk demanding help for villagers displaced by a dam, nobody in India paid much attention, but people began to sit up and take notice when her health began to fail.
    Photo: AFP/Raveendran
    Patkar's arrest only brought more people to the site of the agitation, which is very close to the Indian Parliament.   Teachers from the University of Delhi and students from three city schools came on Friday morning to express their support for the movement.
    Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president Mona Das and vice president Dhananjay also joined the fast with Prof. Chenoy.   Das developed stomach problems on day two of their fast.
    Das said: "After Medha was handled brutally, we thought that the agitation might fizzle out but as we were in support of the issues and the cause that she has raised, we decided to pitch in.   Teachers from the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) also visited us."
    National convener the All India Students Association (AISA) Kavita Krishnan said: "This is not merely a struggle about one dam.   It is a debate on development that causes the destruction of people's livelihoods."
    Krishnan added:
    We are told that displacement of people is necessary for development and they will be rehabilitated.
    But many states in India do not even have fertile land to rehabilitate people.
    People are being forced to migrate to cities where they live in slums.
    And then in the name of beautification of cities, their slum dwellings also are destroyed.
    Activist Rajendra Ravi from New Delhi-based development organization Lokayan said:
    The government is trying to side-step the issue.
    We wonder what the three-member delegation of ministers to the Narmada valley will find.
    They do not even plan to spend two days there.
    We can tell them right here that people have not been rehabilitated and that is what needs to be done."
    An activist with the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), a New Delhi-based organization that monitors dams and rivers on a daily basis, summed up the whole agitation:
    The Narmada dam project, which has been in the throes of a controversy ever since it was conceived, is the single biggest issue on development, human displacement and rivers.
    © Copyright 2006 OneWorld.net
    Common Dreams © 1997-2006

    Imposed will of ruthless merchant-adventurers
    Strike Three: On the other side, the senior Big Boys got away with unctuous promises to ease out export subsidies by 2013 knowing full well that export subsidies are only a drop (2%) in the total subsidies to agriculture.
    Even the vaunted "Aid for Trade" is smothered in conditional loans contingent on further breaking open the markets of poorer countries.
    And what gains were made in market access in the developed world went largely to agri-exporters like Argentina and Brazil, not to poor countries.
    And not to the lost leader of the third world.
    None of this need have been.
    India might have stood with the Caribbean, South American, and African countries and galvanized the G 110.
    Cuba and Venezuela clearly drew the line on service liberalization and India might have joined them.
    But the current Congress administration, which took the place of the BJP with a mandate to resolve India's growing agrarian crisis, has proved itself if anything less concerned with the country's welfare.
    One could well ask if a nationalist BJP government would have had the ideological stomach to betray the heartland of India.
    Monday, 16 May, 2005
    Britain blamed for India suicides
    Indian agriculture workers
    Christian Aid is calling for changes in UK laws
    Free trade policies backed by the UK government have caused a crisis in India leading thousands of farmers to commit suicide, a charity has said.
    Christian Aid has examined the impact of market reforms in Ghana, Jamaica and India in a report.
    It blames 4,000 suicides in India's Andhra Pradesh state on policies inspired by the IMF and World Bank.
    The UK government says the criticism is "behind the times" and aid is not tied to conditions such as privatisation.
    Christian Aid has urged the government to stop linking its aid to developing countries to free trade initiatives and wants the UK to use this year's presidency of the G8 to encourage change.
    'Not free, not fair'
    The report claimed western nations were backing free trade policies devised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, aiming at an end to barriers, tariffs and subsidies.
    In Andhra Pradesh from 1999-2004, many farmers killed themselves because policies followed by the former state government resulted in increased debts.
    In Andhra Pradesh the result was the complete erosion of all the safety networks for farmers
    John McGhie
    Christian Aid report author
    In Jamaica, similar policies meant sugar cane production fell, driving women into prostitution and drug smuggling, it said. In Ghana legislation to protect farmers has been dented.
    "Free trade today is not free and it's not fair for developing countries," said report co-author John McGhie.
    "When rich countries ask poorer countries to open up their markets, they remove their protection from vulnerable industries"
    "It's not a level playing field and poor people are the ones that suffer."
    Review promised
    But Britain's minister for international development, Gareth Thomas, said: "Christian Aid seems to be behind the times, because our aid isn't tied to conditions such as privatisation."
    He said the World Bank had agreed to review its terms after the government called on it and the IMF for a review.
    The Department for International Development has said it is wrong to attribute blame for the deaths on the market reforms.
    Mr McGhie said the government had made a recent "huge 180 degree" turn on the issue, which was welcome — but aid had been tied to liberalisation and privatisation for years.
    "In Andhra Pradesh the result was the complete erosion of all the safety networks for farmers, which contributed to debt and an epidemic of self-killing in the fields of India," he said.
    He called for legislation to underline the government's change.
    Thomas Friedman's Imaginary World
    In the Naidu [Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh 1995 — May 2004] years at least 5,000 Indian farmers committed suicide.
    Across India, they're still killing themselves.
    A Kisan Sabha ­ farmers' union ­ survey of just 26 households in Wayanad, in northern Kerala, that had seen suicides shows a total debt of over Rs. 2 million.   Or about Rs. 82,000 per household (which is the equivalent of just under $2,000.   The average size of these farms is less than 1.4 acres.   And a good chunk of that debt is owed to private lenders.)
    Millions more lives millimeters from ruin and starvation.
    For hundreds of millions of poor Indians, Friedman's brave new world of the 90s meant globalization of prices, Indianization of incomes.
    The state turned its back on the poor.
    Investment in agriculture collapsed as rural credit dried up.
    As employment crashed in the countryside to its lowest ever, distress migrations from the villages ­ to just about anywhere ­ increased in tens of millions.
    Foodgrain available per Indian fell almost every year in the 90s and by 2002-03 was less than it had been at the time of the great Bengal famine of 1942-43.
    New user fees sent health costs soaring, and such costs have become a huge component of rural family debt.
    ...Remember, India has a billion people in it.
    Maybe 2 per cent of them get to fly in a plane or go online. Around 10 per cent are well off, another 10 per cent doing okay.
    On the most optimistic count we're left with over half a billion of the poorest people on the planet.
    You could build call centers every mile from Mumbai to Bangalore, stuff teenagers with basic American slang in there working Friedman's stipulated 35 hours a day servicing American corporations and you wouldn't make a dent in the problem, which is that you can't dump an agricultural economy, build a couple of Cyberabads and say with any claim to realism that a New and Better India has been born.
    New, yes.
    Better, no.
    Imposed will of ruthless merchant-adventurers
    The Indian government's cowardice at Hong Kong matches it's cowardice over the Iraq war, which it could have opposed more vocally, and the vote against Iran, which it need not have joined.
    But the Cambridge-educated economist Manmohan Singh seems to have decided to put opportunism before principle.
    For our elites, perhaps it' OK just so long long as it's Cambridge-bred, not Varanasi-bred. (4)
    The betrayal of Hong Kong is the background against which events in Bangalore must be viewed.
    Having reneged on its public duties, the government of India is bound to release a flood of propaganda intended as a smoke-screen and a distraction from its own craven performance.
    MON 863 — Rats fed Monsanto GM corn due for sale in Britain developed abnormalities in blood and kidneys
    Kite flown to protest cultivation of GM maize.
    A kite is flown to protest against the cultivation of GM genetically modified maize.

France is Europe's top agricultural producer.

In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway will soon begin squirreling away the world's crop seeds in case of disaster.

Dynamited out of a mountainside on Spitsbergen island around 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the store has been called a doomsday vault or a Noah's Ark of the plant kingdom. 

The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.

Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.

The 16 September 2007 Arctic minimum ice extent falls below the minimum set on 20-21 September 2005 by an area roughly the size of Texas and California combined, or nearly five UKs.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC, judges the ice extent on a five-day mean.

Arctic sea ice shrank to the smallest area on record in 2007, US scientists have confirmed.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said the minimum extent of 4.13 million sq km (1.59 million sq miles) was reached on 16 September, 2007.

The figure shatters all previous satellite surveys, including the previous record low of 5.32 million sq km measured in 2005.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Northwest Passage was open.

Image: DDP/Michael Kappeler

    A kite is flown to protest against the cultivation of GM genetically modified maize.
    France is Europe's top agricultural producer.
    In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway will soon begin squirreling away the world's crop seeds in case of disaster.
    Dynamited out of a mountainside on Spitsbergen island around 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the store has been called a doomsday vault or a Noah's Ark of the plant kingdom.
    The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.
    Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.
    The 16 September 2007 Arctic minimum ice extent falls below the minimum set on 20-21 September 2005 by an area roughly the size of Texas and California combined, or nearly five UKs.
    The National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC, judges the ice extent on a five-day mean.
    Arctic sea ice shrank to the smallest area on record in 2007, US scientists have confirmed.
    The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said the minimum extent of 4.13 million sq km (1.59 million sq miles) was reached on 16 September, 2007.
    The figure shatters all previous satellite surveys, including the previous record low of 5.32 million sq km measured in 2005.
    Earlier this month, it was reported that the Northwest Passage was open.
    Photo: DDP/Michael Kappeler
    Rats fed on a diet rich in genetically modified corn developed abnormalities to internal organs and changes to their blood, raising fears that human health could be affected by eating GM food.
    The Independent on Sunday can today reveal details of secret research carried out by Monsanto, the GM food giant, which shows that rats fed the modified corn had smaller kidneys and variations in the composition of their blood.
    According to the confidential 1,139-page report, these health problems were absent from another batch of rodents fed non-GM food as part of the research project.
    The disclosures come as European countries, including Britain, prepare to vote on whether the GM-modified corn should go on sale to the public.
    A vote last week by the European Union failed to secure agreement over whether the product should be sold here, after Britain and nine other countries voted in favor.
    Forced into retirement
    ...That research, which was roundly denounced by ministers and the British scientific establishment, was halted and Dr Arpad Pusztai, the scientist behind the controversial findings, was forced into retirement amid a huge row over the claim.
    Dr Pusztai reported a "huge list of significant differences" between rats fed GM and conventional corn, saying the results strongly indicate that eating significant amounts of it can damage health.
    Freeze on commercial genetically modified crops not allowed under EU rules
    French anti-globalization icon Jose Bove takes part in a demonstration against the Genetically modified crops in 2006.

A total freeze on commercial genetically modified crops is not allowed under EU rules, the European Commission said Friday, September 21, 2007.

France is Europe's top agricultural producer.

In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway will soon begin squirreling away the world's crop seeds in case of disaster.

Dynamited out of a mountainside on Spitsbergen island around 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the store has been called a doomsday vault or a Noah's Ark of the plant kingdom. 

The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.

Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.

The 16 September 2007 Arctic minimum ice extent falls below the minimum set on 20-21 September 2005 by an area roughly the size of Texas and California combined, or nearly five UKs.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC, judges the ice extent on a five-day mean.

Arctic sea ice shrank to the smallest area on record in 2007, US scientists have confirmed.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said the minimum extent of 4.13 million sq km (1.59 million sq miles) was reached on 16 September, 2007.

The figure shatters all previous satellite surveys, including the previous record low of 5.32 million sq km measured in 2005.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Northwest Passage was open.

Image: AFP/Olivier Laban-Mattei

    French anti-globalization icon Jose Bove takes part in a demonstration against the Genetically modified crops in 2006.
    A total freeze on commercial genetically modified crops is not allowed under EU rules, the European Commission said Friday, September 21, 2007.
    France is Europe's top agricultural producer.
    In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway will soon begin squirreling away the world's crop seeds in case of disaster.
    Dynamited out of a mountainside on Spitsbergen island around 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the store has been called a doomsday vault or a Noah's Ark of the plant kingdom.
    The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.
    Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.
    The 16 September 2007 Arctic minimum ice extent falls below the minimum set on 20-21 September 2005 by an area roughly the size of Texas and California combined, or nearly five UKs.
    The National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC, judges the ice extent on a five-day mean.
    Arctic sea ice shrank to the smallest area on record in 2007, US scientists have confirmed.
    The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said the minimum extent of 4.13 million sq km (1.59 million sq miles) was reached on 16 September, 2007.
    The figure shatters all previous satellite surveys, including the previous record low of 5.32 million sq km measured in 2005.
    Earlier this month, it was reported that the Northwest Passage was open.
    Photo: AFP/Olivier Laban-Mattei
    The new study is into a corn, codenamed MON 863, which has been modified by Monsanto to protect itself against corn rootworm, which the company describes as "one of the most pernicious pests affecting maize crops around the world".
    June 23, 2005
    But It Does Have "Snow" and Water Parks
    Vidharbha: No rains and 116F
    By P. SAINATH Nagpur Rural (Maharashtra)
    E ven when it's 47 degrees Celsius in the rest of the region, it's cool here.
    A little away from us is a patch which clocks in at minus 13 degrees.
    This is "India's first Snowdome" — in burning Vidharbha.
    Keeping its ice rink firm costs Rs. 4,000 a day in electricity charges alone.
    Huge water crisis
    Welcome to the Fun & Food Village Water & Amusement Park at Bazargaon in Nagpur (Rural) district.
    A portrait of Mahatma Gandhi greets visitors in the office of the huge complex.
    And you're assured daily disco, ice skating, ice sliding and 'a well stocked bar with cocktails.'
    The 40-acre park itself offers 18 kinds of water slides and games.   Also services for events ranging from conferences to kitty parties.
    The village of Bazargaon (pop 3,000) itself faces a huge water crisis.   "Having to make many daily trips for water, women walk up to 15 km in a day to fetch it," says sarpanch (village government head) Yamunabai Uikey:
    This whole village has just one sarkari (government) well.
    Sometimes, we have got water once in four or five days.
    Sometimes, once in ten days.
    Bazargaon falls in a region declared as scarcity-hit in 2004.
    It had never faced that fate before.
    The village also had its share of six hour — and worse — power cuts till about May.
    These affected every aspect of daily life, including health, and devastated children appearing for exams.   The summer heat, touching 47, made things worse.
    All these iron laws of rural life do not apply within Fun & Food Village.   This private oasis has more water than Bazargaon can dream of.   And never a moment's break in power supply.
    "We pay on average," says Jasjeet Singh, General Manager of the Park, "about 400,000 rupees [about $9,500] a month in electricity bills."
    The Park's monthly power bill alone almost equals the yearly revenue of Yamunabai's village government.
    Ironically, the village's power crisis eased slightly because of the Park.
    Both share the same sub-station.
    The park's peak period begins with May.
    And so things have been a little better since then.
    The Park's contribution to the village government's revenue is Rs. 50,000 [$1,190] a year.
    About half what Fun & Food Village collects at the gate in a day from its 700 daily visitors.
    Barely a dozen of the Park's 110 workers are locals from Bazargaon.
    Growing number of such water parks for those who can afford them
    Water-starved Vidharbha has a growing number of such water parks and amusement centres.
    In Shegaon, Buldhana, a religious trust runs a giant "Meditation Centre and Entertainment Park."
    Efforts to maintain a 30-acre 'artificial lake' within it ran dry this summer.
    But not before untold amounts of water were wasted in the attempt.
    Here the entry tickets are called "donations."
    In Yavatmal, a private company runs a public lake as a tourist joint.
    Amravati has two or more such spots (dry just now).
    And there are others in and around Nagpur — which lies in the centre of India.
    Ongoing farm crisis
    This, in a region where villages have sometimes got water once in 15 days.
    And where an ongoing farm crisis has seen the largest numbers of farmers' suicides in the state of Maharashtra.
    "No major project for either drinking water or irrigation has been completed in Vidharbha in decades," says Nagpur-based journalist Jaideep Hardikar.   He has covered the region for years.
    Maintaining gardens
    Mr. Singh insists the Fun & Food Village conserves water.
    "We use sophisticated filter plants to reuse the same water."
    But evaporation levels are very high in this heat.
    And water is not just used for sports.
    All the parks use vast amounts of it for maintaining their gardens, on sanitation and for their clientele.
    "It is a huge waste of water and money," says Vinayak Gaikwad in Buldhana.
    He is a farmer and a Kisan Sabha leader in the district.
    That in the process, public resources are so often used to boost private profit, angers Mr. Gaikwad.
    "They should instead be meeting people's basic water needs."
    Back in Bazargaon, village government chief Yamunabai Uikey isn't impressed either.
    Not by the Fun & Food Village.   Nor by other industries that have taken a lot but given very little.
    "What is there in all this for us?" she wants to know.   To get a standard government water project for her village, we have to bear 10 per cent of its cost.   That's around Rs. 450,000 [c.$10,750].   "How can we afford the Rs. 45,000 [$1,075]? What is our condition?"
    So it's simply been handed over to a contractor.   This could see the project built.   But it will mean more costs in the long run and less control for a village of so many poor and landless people.
    In the Park, Gandhi's portrait still smiles out of the office as we leave.   Seemingly at the 'Snowdome' across the parking lot.
    An odd fate for the man who said: "Live simply, that others might simply live."
    P. Sainathis the rural affairs editor of The Hindu and the author of Everybody Loves a Good Drought.
    Wednesday, 6 December 2006
    Tribe blesses lesbian marriage
    By Sanjaya Jena
    Orissa, India
    The two lesbian women have had unhappy experiences with men in the past.

Picture: Pramod Samantray
    The two women have had unhappy experiences with men in the past
    Picture: Pramod Samantray
    An Indian tribe has given its consent to a lesbian 'marriage' in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.
    A priest belonging to the Kandha tribe led the ceremony between Wetka Polang, 30, and Melka Nilsa, 22, in Koraput district recently.
    Both the women are day labourers and now live together in Dandabadi village.
    Same-sex relationships are outlawed in India.   The 145-year-old colonial Indian Penal Code clearly describes a same sex relationship as an "unnatural offence".
    Sociologists say that a community blessing a same-sex 'marriage' is unheard of in India.
    It was not easy for Wetka and Melka to convince their tribe that they wanted to get married and live together - the local community at first fiercely protested at the idea.
    The two women then eloped to another village to escape the wrath of their neighbours.
    Lesbian Wetka Polang, marries with blessing of her tribe.

Photo: Pramod Samantray
    We love each other very much.   We are leading a blissful married life
    'Unhappy'
    After much persuasion by family members, Kandha villagers of Dandabadi finally gave consent to the formal wedding.
    "They [Wetka and Melka] wanted to prove that they can live without the help of men.   They also love each other very much.   So we decided to forgive them," said village elder Melka Powla.
    But the two tribal women had to pay fines to their community to get it to bless their union — they offered a barrel of country liquor, a pair of oxen, and a sack of rice and hosted a family feast.
    Eventually, last month, Wetka applied vermillion on Melka's forehead in the tradition of Indian marriage ceremonies before a disari or community priest, said village elder Dalimangi Chexa.
    Now the couple say they are happy.
    "We are leading a blissful married life.   We love each other very much," Wetka told the BBC.
    Both the women have had unhappy experiences with men in the past.
    Wetka says she walked out of her marriage to an alcoholic after years of abuse.
    Melka's family had arranged her marriage with another local man much against her wishes — she managed to break the engagement by telling the man's family that he was mentally "not normal".
    The two women now hope to extend their family by adopting the son of Wetka's elder brother.
     
    January 18, 2008
    Pity the Brahmins
    The WSJ Discovers "Reverse Discrimination" in India
    By P. SAINATH
    How many Brahmins or Thakurs get beaten up, even burnt alive, for drawing water from the village well?
    How many upper caste groups are forced to live on the outskirts of the village, locked into an eternal form of indigenous apartheid?
    Now that's discrimination.
    A signal achievement of the Indian elite in recent years has been to take caste, give it a fresh coat of paint, and repackage it as a struggle for equality.
    The agitations in the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and other such institutions were fine examples of this.
    Casteism is no longer in defensive denial the way it once was.
    ("Oh, caste? That was 50 years ago, now it barely exists.")
    Today, it asserts that caste is killing the nation — but its victims are the upper castes.
    And the villains are the lower orders who crowd them out of the seats and jobs long held by those with merit in their genes.
    This allows for a happy situation.
    You can practise casteism of a visceral kind — and feel noble about it.
    You are, after all, standing up for equal rights, calling for a caste-free society.
    Truth and justice are on your side.
    More importantly, so are the media.
    The upper castes are suffering, is catching on.
    Remember how the AIIMS agitation was covered?
    The idea of "reverse discrimination" (read: the upper castes are suffering) is catching on.
    In a curious report on India, The Wall Street Journal, for instance, buys into this big time.
    It profiles one such upper caste victim of "reverse discrimination" with sympathy. ("Reversal of Fortunes Isolates India's Brahmins," Dec. 29, 2007.)
    "In today's India," it says, "high caste privileges are dwindling." The father of the story's protagonist is "more liberal" than his grandfather.
    After all, "he doesn't expect lower-caste neighbors to take off their sandals in his presence."
    Gee, that's nice.
    They can keep their Guccis on.
    Dalit students routinely humiliated and harassed at school
    A lot of this hinges, of course, on what we like to perceive as privilege and what we choose to see as discrimination.
    Like many others, the WSJ report reduces both to just one thing: quotas in education and jobs.
    No other form of it exists in this view.
    But it does in the real world.
    Dalit students are routinely humiliated and harassed at school.
    Many drop out because of this.
    They are seated separately in the classroom and at mid-day meals in countless schools across the country.
    This does not happen to those of "dwindling privileges."
    Acid thrown on their faces
    Students from the upper castes do not get slapped by the teacher for drinking water from the common pitcher.
    Nor is there much chance of acid being thrown on their faces in the village if they do well in studies.
    Nor are they segregated in hostels and in the dining rooms of the colleges they go to.
    Discrimination dogs Dalit students at every turn, every level.
    As it does Dalits at workplace.
    Yet, as Subodh Varma observes (The Times of India, December 12, 2006), their achievements in the face of such odds are impressive.
    Between 1961 and 2001, when literacy in the population as a whole doubled, it quadrupled among Dalits.
    Sure, that must be seen in the context of their starting from a very low base.
    But it happened in the face of everyday adversity for millions.
    Yet, the impact of this feat in terms of their prosperity is very limited.
    836 million Indians live on less than Rs.20 a day
    The WSJ story says "close to half of Brahmin households earn less than $100 (or Rs. 4,000) a month."
    Fair enough.
    (The table the story runs itself shows that with Dalits that is over 90 per cent of households.)
    But the journalist seems unaware, for example, of the report of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector, which says that 836 million Indians live on less than Rs.20, or 50 cents, a day.
    That is, about $15 a month.
    As many as 88 per cent of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (and many from the Other Backward Classes and Muslims) fall into that group.
    Of course, there are poor Brahmins and other upper caste people who suffer real poverty.
    But twisting that to argue "reverse discrimination," as this WSJ story does, won't wash.
     
     
    TAKE THE RECENT BRAHMIN SUPER-CONVENTION IN PUNE
    More so when the story admits that, on average, "[Brahmins] are better educated and better paid than the rest of Indian people."
    Oddly enough, just two days before this piece, the WSJ ran a very good summary of the Khairlanji atrocity a year after it occurred.
    That story, from a different reporter, rightly suggests that the economic betterment and success of the Bhotmange family had stoked the jealousy of dominant caste neighbors in that Vidharbha village.
    But it ascribes that success to India's "prolonged economic boom which has improved the lot of millions of the nation's poorest, including Dalits."
    This raises the question: were other, dominant caste groups not gaining from the "boom?"
    How come?
    Were Dalits the only "gainers?"
    As Varma points out, 36 per cent of rural and 38 per cent of urban Dalits are below the poverty line.
    That's against 23 per cent of rural and 27 per cent of urban India as a whole.
    (Official poverty stats are a fraud, but that's another story.)
    More than a quarter of Dalits, mostly landless, get work for less than six months a year.
    If half their households earned even $50 a month, that would be a revolution.
    Let us face it, though. Most of the Indian media share the WSJ's "reverse discrimination" views.
    Take the recent Brahmin super-convention in Pune.
    Within this explicitly caste-based meeting were further surname-based conclaves that seated people by clan or sub-group.
    You don't get more caste-focussed than that.
    None of this, though, was seen as odd by the media.
    Almost at the same time, there was another high-profile meeting on within the Marathas.
    That is, the dominant community of Maharashtra. The meeting flatly demanded caste-based quotas for themselves.
    Again, not seen as unusual.
     
     
    How a possible exodus looms of the gentle elite of Shivaji Park, in fear of the hordes about to disturb their sedate terrain
    But Dalit meetings are always measured in caste, even racist, terms.
    This, although Dalits are not a caste but include people from hundreds of social groups that have suffered untouchability.
    The annual gathering in memory of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on December 6 in Mumbai has been written of with fear.
    The damage and risks the city has to stoically bear when the noisy mass gathers.
    The disruption of traffic.
    The threat to law and order.
    How a possible exodus looms of the gentle elite of Shivaji Park, in fear of the hordes about to disturb their sedate terrain.
    And of course, there's the sanitation problem (never left unstated for it serves to reinforce the worst of caste prejudice and allows "us" to view "them" as unclean).
    Take contemporary Maharashtra, home to India's richest
    But back to the real world.
    How many upper caste men have had their eyes gouged out for marrying outside their caste?
    Ask young Chandrakant in Sategaon village of Nanded in Maharashtra why he thinks it happened to him last week.
    How many higher caste bastis have been torched and razed in land or other disputes?
    How many upper caste folk lose a limb or even their lives for daring to enter a temple?
    How many Brahmins or Thakurs get beaten up, even burnt alive, for drawing water from the village well?
    How many from those whose "privileges are dwindling" have to walk four kilometres to fetch water?
    How many upper caste groups are forced to live on the outskirts of the village, locked into an eternal form of indigenous apartheid?
    Now that's discrimination.
    But it is a kind that the WSJ reporter does not see, can never fathom.
    In 2006, National Crime Records Bureau data tell us, atrocities against Dalits increased across a range of offences.
    Cases under the Protection of Civil Rights Act shot up by almost 40 per cent.
    Dalits were also hit by more murders, rapes and kidnapping than in 2005.
    Arson, robbery and dacoity directed against them — those went up too.
    It's good that the molestation or rape of foreign tourists (particularly in Rajasthan) is causing concern and sparking action.
    Not so good that Dalit and tribal women suffer the same and much worse on a colossal scale without getting a fraction of the importance the tourists do.
    The same Rajasthan saw an infamous rape case tossed out because in the judge's view, an upper caste man was most unlikely to have raped a lower caste woman.
    In the Kumher massacre which claimed 17 Dalit lives in that State, charges could not be framed for seven years.
    In a case involving a foreign tourist, a court handed down a guilty verdict in 14 days.
    For Dalits, 14 years would be lucky.
    Take contemporary Maharashtra, home to India's richest.
    The attention given to the Mumbai molestation case — where 14 arrested men remained in jail for five days after being granted bail — stands out in sharp contrast to what has happened in Latur or Nanded.
    In the Latur rape case, the victim was a poor Muslim, in Nanded the young man who was ghoulishly blinded, a Dalit.
    The Latur case was close to being covered up but for the determination of the victim's community.
    The discrimination that pervades Dalit lives follows them after death too.
    They are denied the use of village graveyards.
    Dalits burying their dead in any place the upper castes object to could find the bodies of their loved ones torn out of the ground.
    Every year, more and more instances of all these and other atrocities enter official records.
    This never happens to the upper castes of "dwindling privileges."
    The theorists of "reverse discrimination" are really upholders of perverse practice.
     
    Why don't you change your copyright laws so they can't sue, India!
    Do you think they won't sell their product to you anymore?
    Ha!   Ha!
    [Note! A court in Delhi has rejected a claim for breach of copyright brought by lawyers acting for author JK Rowling.]
    Very good Indian courts.
    Keep it going!
    BBC — Thursday, 11 October 2007
    Harry Potter and the Hindu gods
    The structure in Calcutta built to resemble Hogwarts castle.

The Hindu version of Hogwarts, under construction.
    The structure in Calcutta built to resemble Hogwarts castle
    The Hindu version of Hogwarts, under construction
    A community group in the Indian city of Calcutta says it has been sued by JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, for breach of copyright.
    The group has been building a huge model based on Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as part of celebrations for a Hindu festival.
    A court in the capital, Delhi, will start hearing the case on Friday.
    Next week's Durga Puja festival is a huge event in eastern India - thousands pay homage to the Hindu goddess Durga.
    Targeted
    The BBC's Chris Morris in Delhi says that popular themes are recreated using massive models made of canvas, wood and papier mache.
    Our correspondent says that the festival has never been a problem before.
    The community group is being targeted by lawyers representing Penguin India on behalf of JK Rowling and Warner Brothers who hold the rights to Harry Potter in India.
    Members say that they make a different model every year - in the past they have built the Titanic.
    This year they chose Hogwarts School - as well as life-size models of Harry Potter and his friends.
    JK Rowling.

JK Rowling is one of the world's most successful authors.
    JK Rowling
    JK Rowling is one of the world's most successful authors.
    Organisers said a mock steam engine train is also being constructed next to it, to resemble Hogwarts Express.
    Correspondents say the construction is nearing completion and is expected to cost around 1.2 million Indian rupees ($30,000).
    But it is argued that the organisers did not seek permission, and so are being sued for breach of copyright.
    'Protect fans'
    If the court orders any payment to be made, the group says it cannot afford it.
    "The summons has come at a time when the pandal (decorative structure) is almost ready. We don't know what to do now as we cannot afford to pay the fine," chief organiser Harinmoy Roychowdhury said.
    Media reports in India suggest that possible fines could amount to two million rupees ($50,000).
    The Durga Puja in Calcutta.

The Durga Puja festival is avidly celebrated in Calcutta.
    The Durga Puja in Calcutta
    The Durga Puja festival is avidly celebrated in Calcutta
    Lawyers for JK Rowling say the money could well be donated straight to charity, but our correspondent says that plenty of people in Calcutta argue that JK Rowling and her lawyers are simply spoiling their fun.
    Penguin India's spokeswoman Nirmalya Roychowdhury told the Associated Press news agency that Delhi High Court has already ruled that the organisers of the Durga Puja festival must remove the display or pay the fine for copyright violation.
    "Sadly, the organizers of this large-scale commercially sponsored event did not approach us for permission to go ahead," Warner Brothers said in a statement in London.
    "This event falls outside the guidelines set up by Warner Bros., JK Rowling and her publishers to help charitable and not-for-profit organizations to run small-scale themed events that protect fans and allow everyone to enjoy Harry Potter books, films and events in the spirit in which they were created," the statement said.
    The four-day Durga Puja festival begins on 17 October and is the biggest Hindu festival in east India.
    In Calcutta alone, more than 10,000 structures have been set up.
    Retired US Army Col. Ann Wright
    Retired Army Col. Ann Wright is removed by Capitol Hill Police on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007, as Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker testified on the future course of the war in Iraq before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Candidate Clinton whacked presumptive candidate Petraeus with Coleridge’s definition of “dramatic truth”.

To believe his report, she said, would require “the willing suspension of disbelief”, a line which duly made its way onto the front pages and news headlines, as did Candidate Obama’s theatrical question, “At what point do we say, Enough.”

Mrs Clinton’s problem is that she very willingly suspended disbelief in 2002.

When it came time to deliver her Senate speech in support of the war, she reiterated some of the most outlandish claims made by Dick Cheney.

In this speech she said Saddam Hussein had rebuilt his chemical and biological weapons program; that he had improved his long-range missile capability; that he was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program; and that he was giving aid and comfort to Al Qaeda.

The only other Democratic senator to make all four of these claims in his floor speech was Joe Lieberman.

But even he didn’t go as far as Senator Clinton.

In Lieberman’s speech, there was conditionality about some of the claims.

In Senator Clinton’s, there was none, though even the grotesque war hawk, Ken Pollack, advising Senator Clinton prior to her vote, had told her that the allegation about the Al Qaeda connection was “bullshit.” 

Picture: AP/Gerald Herbert     

    Retired Army Col. Ann Wright is removed by Capitol Hill Police on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007, as Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker testified on the future course of the war in Iraq before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    Candidate Clinton whacked presumptive candidate Petraeus with Coleridge’s definition of “dramatic truth”.
    To believe his report, she said, would require “the willing suspension of disbelief”, a line which duly made its way onto the front pages and news headlines, as did Candidate Obama’s theatrical question, “At what point do we say, Enough.”
    Mrs Clinton’s problem is that she very willingly suspended disbelief in 2002.
    When it came time to deliver her Senate speech in support of the war, she reiterated some of the most outlandish claims made by Dick Cheney.
    In this speech she said Saddam Hussein had rebuilt his chemical and biological weapons program; that he had improved his long-range missile capability; that he was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program; and that he was giving aid and comfort to Al Qaeda.
    The only other Democratic senator to make all four of these claims in his floor speech was Joe Lieberman.
    But even he didn’t go as far as Senator Clinton.
    In Lieberman’s speech, there was conditionality about some of the claims.
    In Senator Clinton’s, there was none, though even the grotesque war hawk, Ken Pollack, advising Senator Clinton prior to her vote, had told her that the allegation about the Al Qaeda connection was “bullshit.”
    Photo: AP/Gerald Herbert
     Malabar Exercise
    Involving aircraft carriers, submarines
    and fighter jets
    Chennai
    A protest by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) during a protest rally in the southern Indian city of Chennai September 5, 2007.

About two dozen ships from five nations, led by the United States, began their most ambitious exercises in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday, as Indian communists opposed to strategic ties with Washington launched protests.

The naval drill, called the Malabar Exercise, is the seventh involving aircraft carriers, submarines and fighter jets of India and the U.S., whose friendship has blossomed this decade after they were on opposite sides of the Cold War.

Candidate Clinton whacked presumptive candidate Petraeus with Coleridge’s definition of “dramatic truth”.

To believe his report, she said, would require “the willing suspension of disbelief”, a line which duly made its way onto the front pages and news headlines, as did Candidate Obama’s theatrical question, “At what point do we say, Enough.”

Mrs Clinton’s problem is that she very willingly suspended disbelief in 2002.

When it came time to deliver her Senate speech in support of the war, she reiterated some of the most outlandish claims made by Dick Cheney.

In this speech she said Saddam Hussein had rebuilt his chemical and biological weapons program; that he had improved his long-range missile capability; that he was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program; and that he was giving aid and comfort to Al Qaeda.

The only other Democratic senator to make all four of these claims in his floor speech was Joe Lieberman.

But even he didn’t go as far as Senator Clinton.

In Lieberman’s speech, there was conditionality about some of the claims.

In Senator Clinton’s, there was none, though even the grotesque war hawk, Ken Pollack, advising Senator Clinton prior to her vote, had told her that the allegation about the Al Qaeda connection was “bullshit.” 

Picture: REUTERS/Babu     

    A protest by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) during a protest rally in the southern Indian city of Chennai September 5, 2007.
    Candidate Clinton for the US presidency whacked presumptive candidate General Petraeus with Coleridge’s definition of “dramatic truth” during a Senate hearing in which Petraeus testified to the US 'surge' in Iraq, as 'working'.
    To believe his report, she said, would require “the willing suspension of disbelief”, a line which duly made its way onto the front pages and news headlines, as did Candidate Obama’s theatrical question, “At what point do we say, Enough.”
    Mrs Clinton’s problem is that she very willingly suspended disbelief in 2002.
    When it came time to deliver her Senate speech in support of the war, she reiterated some of the most outlandish claims made by Dick Cheney.
    In this speech she said Saddam Hussein had rebuilt his chemical and biological weapons program; that he had improved his long-range missile capability; that he was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program; and that he was giving aid and comfort to Al Qaeda.
    The only other Democratic senator to make all four of these claims in his floor speech was Joe Lieberman.
    But even he didn’t go as far as Senator Clinton.
    In Lieberman’s speech, there was conditionality about some of the claims.
    In Senator Clinton’s, there was none, though even the grotesque war hawk, Ken Pollack, advising Senator Clinton prior to her vote, had told her that the allegation about the Al Qaeda connection was “bullshit.”
    Photo: REUTERS/Babu
     Malabar Exercise
    Involving aircraft carriers, submarines
    and fighter jets
    Many protesters were arrested by new US Police State laws
    Iraq war protestors Christina Cauterucci, of Bedford, N.H., right foreground, and Christopher Dicks of Worcester, Mass., left foreground, join a 'die in' protest on Capitol Hill, Saturday, Sep. 15, 2007, in Washington.

Many protesters were arrested Saturday by new police state laws as thousands demanded an end to the Iraq war. 

Candidate Clinton whacked presumptive candidate Petraeus with Coleridge’s definition of “dramatic truth”.

To believe his report, she said, would require “the willing suspension of disbelief”, a line which duly made its way onto the front pages and news headlines, as did Candidate Obama’s theatrical question, “At what point do we say, Enough.”

Mrs Clinton’s problem is that she very willingly suspended disbelief in 2002.

When it came time to deliver her Senate speech in support of the war, she reiterated some of the most outlandish claims made by Dick Cheney.

In this speech she said Saddam Hussein had rebuilt his chemical and biological weapons program; that he had improved his long-range missile capability; that he was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program; and that he was giving aid and comfort to Al Qaeda.

The only other Democratic senator to make all four of these claims in his floor speech was Joe Lieberman.

But even he didn’t go as far as Senator Clinton.

In Lieberman’s speech, there was conditionality about some of the claims.

In Senator Clinton’s, there was none, though even the grotesque war hawk, Ken Pollack, advising Senator Clinton prior to her vote, had told her that the allegation about the Al Qaeda connection was “bullshit.” 

Picture: REUTERS/Babu     

    Iraq war protestors Christina Cauterucci, of Bedford, N.H., right foreground, and Christopher Dicks of Worcester, Mass., left foreground, join a 'die in' protest on Capitol Hill, Saturday, Sep. 15, 2007, in Washington.
    Many protesters were arrested Saturday by new police state laws as thousands demanded an end to the Iraq war.
    Candidate Clinton for the US presidency whacked presumptive candidate General Petraeus with Coleridge’s definition of “dramatic truth” during a Senate hearing in which Petraeus testified to the US 'surge' in Iraq, as 'working'.
    To believe his report, she said, would require “the willing suspension of disbelief”, a line which duly made its way onto the front pages and news headlines, as did Candidate Obama’s theatrical question, “At what point do we say, Enough.”
    Mrs Clinton’s problem is that she very willingly suspended disbelief in 2002.
    When it came time to deliver her Senate speech in support of the war, she reiterated some of the most outlandish claims made by Dick Cheney.
    In this speech she said Saddam Hussein had rebuilt his chemical and biological weapons program; that he had improved his long-range missile capability; that he was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program; and that he was giving aid and comfort to Al Qaeda.
    The only other Democratic senator to make all four of these claims in his floor speech was Joe Lieberman.
    But even he didn’t go as far as Senator Clinton.
    In Lieberman’s speech, there was conditionality about some of the claims.
    In Senator Clinton’s, there was none, though even the grotesque war hawk, Ken Pollack, advising Senator Clinton prior to her vote, had told her that the allegation about the Al Qaeda connection was “bullshit.”
    Photo: REUTERS/Babu
     
    June 12, 2007
    Outraged by Prime Minister's Gentle Prod
    India's Plutocrats and the Press
    By P. Sainath
    "THE PRIME Minister wants CEOs to create wealth for the nation.
    Then he wants them to take pay cuts."
    That's a slogan gracing the huge hoardings put up by a Mumbai newspaper.
    It's over two weeks since Manmohan Singh asked the Confederation of Indian Industry's annual general meeting "to resist excessive remuneration to promoters and senior executives and discourage conspicuous consumption."
    But the cries of wounded crorepatis still rent the air.
    [A crorepati has an annual income of more than 10 million rupees — 1 crore — which is just under $250,000.
    There are about 50,000 crorepati households in India now. AC/JSC.]
    I t must intrigue Dr. Singh that the media have been far more hostile than industry itself.
    After all, the CII had invited him to speak on `inclusive growth.'
    This is the politically correct jargon of our times.
    His speech at the event was as vanilla as it gets.
    It bore no strictures, carried no warning.
    In effect, the super-rich were told it was okay to be quite greedy, but not obnoxiously and conspicuously greedy.
    The subtle distinction escaped his audience and enraged the media.
    The speech drew more editorials in a week than the subject of inequality did all of last year.
    India Shining campaign was a media mission
    The front page stories were more editorials than news reports.
    Dailies ran whole pages of "debates" on inequality and CEO pay packets.
    Pages with headlines such as "India Inc & India Red Ink."
    Most concluded that, actually, we're not so bad after all on the inequality front.
    The odd dissenter was published, giving the rest of the rant a focal point and a soft target.
    The media see themselves as the cutting edge of India's Brave New World.
    So it was earlier too, when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance hogged massive publicity for its India Shining campaign, far beyond even what they had paid for with countless crores of public money.
    For the media, it was and is a mission, one which produces that warm and righteous glow that only the happy wedding of Cause & Commerce can.
    The poll debacle of 2004 earned us a brief respite from the mantra.
    Egrets on banks of River Brahmaputra
    Classes and the Masses
    Weeks ago, Mani Shankar Aiyar made a far more devastating speech on the "classes and the masses."
    It drew a scathing picture of the state of things.
    The media absorbed that more calmly.
    After all, Mr. Aiyar was not the "architect of the reforms."
    Dr. Singh was, so the sense of betrayal still pours out from the television screens.
    One thing stands out, though.
    The most hated line of the Prime Minister's speech (apart from daring to suggest that CEOs might survive on a few rupees less) was this:
    "Such vulgarity insults the poverty of the less privileged."
    That annoyed the media.
    Should the `reforms' be derailed because of the `resentment' of some over the success of others?
    This is the debate at its lowest.
    Inequality has many faces.
    The kind we have nurtured in the `reform' years does a lot more than "plant seeds of resentment in the minds of the have-nots."
    It destroys millions of lives, devastates the access of the poor to basic needs, dehumanizes both its victims and its votaries, and undermines democracy itself.
    It was there earlier, of course.
    What's new is the ruthlessness with which we have engineered its growth these past 15 years.
    No power cuts in elite sections of Mumbai
    This week's big news is that Mumbai has topped Maharashtra's HSC results with a pass percentage of 76.67.
    That should not surprise us.
    The metro's schools and facilities outclass those of other regions.
    True, even this time, the State toppers are not from Mumbai.
    They are from Wardha (in Nagpur division) and Amravati.
    Both in Vidharbha.
    But at 47.5 and 51.08 per cent, the overall pass percentages of those divisions are dismal.
    They are way below the State average of 64.25 per cent.
    And both have fared worse than they did last year.
    Here's one reason why.
    Vidharbha, always electricity starved, saw 12- to 17-hour power cuts at the time the children were studying for their examinations.
    (It's a region where schools re-open weeks late to avoid exposing children to excessive heat.)
    The great metro of Mumbai was spared this "power crisis."
    (Some of the well meaning did write articles on how to be a good citizen and use your air conditioners more efficiently.)
    In one estimate, a 15-minute power cut in Mumbai could give Vidharbha two hours of electricity.
    Half that would have helped the students with their examinations.
    Further, malls and multiplexes lead Mumbai's biggest power guzzlers.
    But this is the city of 25,000 of India's 83,000 dollar millionaires, not only home "to the largest number of affluent individuals," as an American Express study puts it, but also having "the fastest growing affluent population in the world."
    So the darkness is banished to zones such as Vidharbha — which produces more power than the other regions of Maharashtra.
     
    In health, a fifth of Indians no longer seek any kind of medical treatment
    Inequality in the context of growing commercialization of education means that millions of bright and talented students are shut out from a better future for want of money.
    That rubs in an old truth.
    Merit = accident of birth + electricity.
    (And maybe a dash of geography.)
    In health, a fifth of Indians no longer seek any kind of medical treatment.
    Because they cannot afford it.
    Obscene corporate salaries
    In law and justice, each month brings us a new and shameful example of how the law is not an ass but a far more malleable creature.
    Still, what outraged the media most was: CEO salaries.
    To touching them is "against the spirit of the reforms."
    Earlier this year, a program on an English TV channel asked: Has the reform process largely favoured the rich and corporations?
    Close to 70 per cent of an audience of younger generation corporate executives answered `yes.'
    The anchor's own take was revealing.
    When one of the tycoons argued for `inclusive growth' she laughed and told him:
    "You're sounding like a politician.
    That's the language they use."
    This fortnight's debate did have its moments.
    Its highlight: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia defending the Prime Minister's statement on television.
    Endorsing a call for corporate restraint must have been embarrassing for Mr. Ahluwalia.
    He said that, er, well you know, ahem, the Prime Minister did not quite really, in his view, uh, say, exactly what was being ascribed to him.
    Then he brightened up.
    "It's an issue even in America," he said, quite rightly, of obscene corporate salaries.
    Real wages in manufacturing fell 22 per cent
    Well, it's been an issue there for two decades or more.
    Five years before Mr. Ahluwalia stumbled upon the debate in the United States, Merrill Lynch, Lucent Technologies, Citigroup, and AT& T axed over 91,000 workers between them.
    The same year, their four CEOs took home more than $130 million in pay, plus more millions in stock options and other sops.
    Lucent Technologies in fact (as the New York Daily News pointed out) reported a $17 billion loss and sacked 56,000 workers.
    Then it gave its CEO a $22 million payoff.
    Management guru Tom Peters long ago suggested that CEOs be called CDOs: that is, chief destruction officers.
    Because "you essentially get paid for blowing up your own business before the competition does."
    In India, the ILO reports that labour productivity shot up 84 per cent between 1990 and 2002.
    But real wages in manufacturing fell 22 per cent in the same period.
    It sees this as "an indication of deterioration in the incomes and livelihoods of workers.
    Despite the increasing efficiency of their labour."
    This was also a period when CEO salaries had begun clocking all-time records.
    Even now, top-end compensations in India are growing much faster than in the U.S.
     Malbari
     
    First trillionaire
    Meanwhile, two days after the Prime Minister's speech, the media hailed the New Dawn, being the emergence of India's first trillionaire in the form of Reliance chief Mukesh Ambani.
    As one writer puts it:
    "...expressed as a percentage of profits, Indian company heads are far above their global counterparts ...
    "For every Rs.1 crore earned as profit, the Indian CEOs take home Rs.16,800."
    "Global CEOs take home Rs.9,900.
    "Government cannot legislate CEO salaries."
    That's a line running through most attacks on Dr. Singh.
    They do legislate taxes, though.
    And also a low-end wage.
    About the one thing Tony Blair can look back on without shame is his government's minimum wage law.
    The Guardian points out that as a result of it, "Britain's lowest-paid workers enjoyed a higher improvement in their standard of living since 2003 than those in any other European country."
    Over five years ago, Paul Krugman, in a devastating piece on inequality in the U.S., found it obscene when a CEO there earned a thousand times what an ordinary worker did.
    What about us?
    Presently, the average package of the top five Indian CEOs is around Rs.13.5 crore.
    The lowest paid workers in their own companies would earn 15,000-20,000 times less.
    If we compare these top incomes to those of agricultural workers, the gap would be 32,000:1 or worse.
    Dr. Krugman argued that it was not simply economic well-being that such levels of inequality threatened.
    It was democracy itself.
    He's in good company.
    Decades ago, the architect of a very different kind of reforms than those Dr. Singh represents, put it sharply.
    Dr. Ambedkar warned that a lack of economic and social democracy would spell doom for our political democracy.
    In Dr. Krugman's own nation, long ago, Justice Louis Brandeis said the same thing:
    "We can have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few or we can have democracy, but we cannot have both."
          P. Sainath      www.counterpunch.org      June 12, 2007
     
    This is how your do it Indian Government:
    You levy a special tax on the top 5% of income earners in India.
    The tax pays for the cleanup Tatum talks about below.
    You continue with your law suits against the conglomerate corporation.
    It did take on responsibility when it assumed control of the corporation responsible.
    This isn't rocket science Indian government.
    Billionaire Offer to Clean Bhopal derided as Front for Chemical Firm
    NEW DEHLI — One of India’s richest men has been lobbying for the Indian government to drop a court case against an American multinational to pay for the clean up costs of the world’s worst chemical accident, according to letters obtained by campaigners.
    The documents, acquired under India’s right to information law, show industrialist Ratan Tata writing to ask whether the Indian government could “withdraw [an] application” to make Dow Chemicals pay $22m [£12m] as an initial deposit against “environmental remediation costs”.
    Dow owns Union Carbide, whose pesticide plant leaked deadly white gas killing thousands in Bhopal in 1984.
    The company claims it bears no liability for the site as it has since sold up and left India.
    After an international outcry that the site had not been decontaminated more than 20 years on, the Indian government launched a legal case to recoup money from Dow in May 2005. Campaigners say there is evidence that the disused plant still has 170 tonnes of toxic waste leaching into the soil and poisoning groundwater.
    Studies show that 57 out of 120 children who grew up near the abandoned plant suffered from cerebral palsy. More than 26,000 people still drink “dirty” water.
    Mr Tata, who runs the £30bn Tata group, says his company could break the “dead lock” and fund a clean-up of the site.
    A letter from Dow says it is “critical” the government of India drops its legal action and that the resolution of the issue must be seen as a “tangible, deliverable outcome” of a newly formed US-India business forum which Mr Tata oversees.
    Tata group said its chairman’s suggestions were “totally independent of the issues being addressed in the courts. It is imperative some initiative be undertaken to clean the site.”
    Campaigners said Dow Chemicals was using an “Indian front company to do its dirty work”.
    To repeat — because we know you have difficulty with these things — this is how your do it Indian Government:
    You levy a special tax on the top 5% of income earners in India — corporations too if you wish.
    You clean up the site.
    You continue with your law suits against the conglomerate.
    This isn't rocket science Indian government.
    India 2017
    India Illuminati policy — no cash banks
    Fears Grow for India’s Cash-Based Economy as the Effects of Modi’s Ban Begin to Ripple
    The 35-year-old mother of four set herself on fire on Nov. 20 last year.
    She died two weeks later. She told reporters she did it because her children hadn’t eaten for three days.
           Sheep and cashless banks.      
           Washington Secretly Behind Cash Ban In India       
         Death of a cashless woman in India      
         Razia’s was one of the scores of deaths — Narendra Modi’s decision to scrap high-value bank notes      
    India 2014 — Corporate — State corruption
    Withdrawing support from the poor to subsidizing elite
    A staggering USD 123 billion was lost in the last decade which is 30 times the amount New Delhi spent on social services like health care and education last year
    Forced into criminality by a system of governance built on dishonesty, exploitation and greed
    Over 75 per cent of slum dwellers report having paid a bribe to secure basic necessities such as kerosene or medical care.
    While India’s billionaires wallow in complacent luxury, two-thirds of the population live in dire poverty, almost half the nation’s children suffer from malnutrition and tens of millions, mainly Adivasi and Dalit people have been displaced by mining and infrastructure projects
    Vandana Shiva — Globalization project is creation of corporate states
    India 2012
    India 2011
    Antibodies from women with infertility used in creation of GMO food
    IMF through their implementation of austerity policies defacto exploit and loot the wealth of Third World nations and facilitate the long term asset stripping and resourcing stealing of such unfortunate countries
    Quite a lot if you look at the whole Capitalist Western system which is rigged to exploit the masses and especially vulnerable Third Word nations in favor of the few, again in the West.
    Globalization, Monetarism and Deregulation all sounded so great when they are expounded enthusiastically from the early 1980's, by the USA and their well funded fronts in academia and the global media as a globalist International Banker policy.
    Anglicised elite of India lording it up in London, NY and heaven knows where with looted assets.
           Illuminati manipulation of oil energy resources      
           World rich elite taking advantage of middle class and poor      
         India and corporations 2011 — Deregulation, oil price, elite accumulation of wealth      
         In India a bill was introduced to make it a crime to question the safety of GMOs      
    Andrew Kimball GMO Summit October 25 2013  mp3 download
    mp3 right click on images for download
    GMO bioweapons gene modification and food
    Roundup weedkiller found in 75% of Air and Rain Samples — environment saturated with GM agrichemical farming grid
    By using genetic methods that are standard procedures in thousands of labs worldwide bioweapons can be made more virulent easier to handle and harder to fight.
    Using genetic engineering techniques antibodies from women with infertility have been inserted into genes of ordinary corn seeds used to produce corn plants
    What they do not tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 — human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors.
    In 'defense' war programs researchers in the USA UK Russia and Germany have genetically engineered biological weapons agents building new deadly strains
           Antibodies from women with infertility used in creation of GMO food      
           Aborted fetal cells used in research of flavor enhancers      
         Scientists putting genes from human beings into food crops in dramatic extension of genetic modification.      
         Body Burden — cumulative synergistic effects      
    ISRAEL MASS WAR CRIMES CONTINUE
    January 2nd week 2009
    ISRAEL MASS WAR CRIMES CONTINUE
    January 2009 — Click here
    Oxam America: Free Trade Agreement Bad Deal for Poor Countries
    WASHINGTON — April 20, 2005 — International agency Oxfam called on U.S. Members of Congress today to reject the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Central American countries and the Dominican Republic (DR-CAFTA.)
    Oxfam believes that the agreement, in its current form, will do more harm than good and will endanger the livelihood of thousands of small farmers who already live in poverty.
    Oxfam joined numerous other non-governmental organizations and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle at a press conference today, calling for the rejection of DR-CAFTA.
    The trade agreement is under consideration by both the House and the Senate and is expected to come up for a vote in the U.S. Congress before the end of May.
    "Fair trade rules and practices have the potential to lift millions of people out of poverty, as trade and development are intimately linked," said Stephanie Weinberg, Trade Policy Advisor at Oxfam.
    "But DR-CAFTA will only hurt these countries as it puts the needs of U.S. agribusiness, pharmaceutical companies and foreign investors above the basic needs of citizens in the region."
    The U.S. trading partners in the DR-CAFTA region, with a population of 42.5 million, are the poorest countries in the hemisphere and have unequal distributions of income and wealth.
    They depend heavily on agriculture for the livelihood of significant portions of their populations.
    These countries are ravaged by curable diseases due to poverty and inadequate health- care coverage.
    They sorely lack public infrastructure and, in several cases, are highly indebted.
    Highly unequal societies,
    "Those who stand to lose in the DR-CAFTA are the ones who are already disadvantaged in these highly unequal societies, where the majority of poor people live in rural areas, rely on income from agriculture and must pay for medicines out-of-pocket," continued Weinberg.
    "Instead of establishing fair and equitable rules for trade, the agreement will institutionalize an uneven playing field."
    Dumping of US rice
    The regional trade agreement will require these developing countries to open their markets to dumping of US rice and other commodities and forbid use of adequate safeguards to ensure food and livelihood security and rural development.
    Monopoly held by brand-name pharmaceuticals
    DR-CAFTA imposes strict new rules that extend the monopoly held by brand-name pharmaceuticals, which will limit generic competition and reduce access to affordable medicines in the future.
    Special rights and privileges to foreign investors
    The trade agreement provides special rights and privileges to foreign investors that can create major new liabilities to governments and undermine efforts to protect public health, the environment, and workplace safety.
    U.S. farmers receive extensive subsidies
    DR-CAFTA also blatantly ignores the fact that U.S. farmers receive extensive subsidies and domestic supports, estimated to be around $18 billion this year alone.
    "DR-CAFTA is a bad deal for millions of farmers, workers, and consumers in Central America and the Dominican Republic and should therefore be rejected," added Weinberg.
    "Instead of pushing through bad deals like DR-CAFTA, the US should invest in the WTO and the Doha Round, as that is the best path to build a rules-based trade system that provides more opportunity and stability for both the U.S. and developing countries."

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Oxfam's written testimony before the US House Committee on Ways and Means on the Implementation of the DR-CAFTA can be found on Oxfam's Web site at:
    NATO's silent toxic air-spraying planes
    Chemtrails HAARP and the full spectrum dominance of planet earth.

Image: internet
    Climate engineering weather warfare collapse of civilization

Image: internet
    “I had a Sunday dinner a few weeks ago at the house of my dad’s and stepmom’s neighbors.
    The man and woman of the house are in their 60’s and both proud liberals.
    The man said he was a ‘Berkley liberal.’ He supports Hillary, she supports Bernie Sanders.
    Towards the end of the dinner he expressed the opinion that a few nuke bombs on some of the major cities in Iraq would be a good idea.
    Previous to that, he defended the dropping of nuke bombs on Japan.
    The guy’s wife, the Bernie supporter, added something about the barbarous tribal nature of Iraqi society.
    She quoted Deepak Chopra on the [evil] nature of Mohamed.
    Their son is a fighter pilot who is thinking about joining the top gun program.
    He is gay but is too scared to come out to his work colleagues.”
    Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics — click here
    P.S. from Kewe to the above article written by Paul Street.
    I accept the sun is a much greater factor in global weather than human-made activity.
    That it is possible climate change will become a bigger problem but also more probable the sun is presently taking us into a mini-cold period.
    That the increase in human-made carbon dioxide combined in the stratosphere with other Earth-releasing-of-warmth blocking chemicals is causing a wave of new tree/plant growth in areas not seen for many millennium.
    That seeding of the clouds being done by NATO with its toxic compounds is completely destructive to the soil, seas and inland waters beneath, and many vulnerable humans and varied life, and that the politicians responsible for this NATO destructive activity should be held accountable for such as being enemies of Earth's eco-structure and livability.
    From the video 'Holes in Heaven' — Brooks Agnew, Earth Tornographer
    In 1983 I did radio tornography with 30 watts looking for oil in the ground.
    I found 26 oil wells over a nine state area.
    100 hundred percent of the time was accurate, which is just 30 watts of power beaming straight into solid rock.
    HAARP uses a billion watts beamed straight into the ionosphere for experiments.
    Picture these strings on the piano as layers of the Earth, each one has its own frequency.
    What we used to do is beam radio waves into the ground and it would vibrate any 'strings' that were present in the ground.
    We might get a sound back like ___ and we would say, that's natural gas.
    We might get a sound back like ____ and we'd say that's crude oil.
    We were able to identify each frequency.
    We accomplished this with just 30 watts of radio power.
    If you do this with a billion watts the vibrations are so violent that the entire piano would shake.
    In fact the whole house would shake.
    In fact the vibrations could be so severe under ground they could even cause an earthquake.
    Download or watch movie on HAARP — Advanced US Military research weapon on behaviour modification
    weather change, ionesphere manipulation — click here
    Download or watch audio of Dr. Nick Begich talking on HAARP
    — The 2006 update to 'Angels Don't Play This HAARP'.
    'Angels Still Don't Play This HAARP: Advances In Tesla Technology'.
    Planet Earth Weapon by Rosalie Bertell
    ozone, HAARP, chemtrails, space war — click here
    What HAARP Is.. And Everything Its Used For
    Full HAARP Documentary — click here
    Angels Dont Play This HAARP weather manipulation
    1 hour 36 minutes video — click here
    (poor quality to watch but well worth listening)
    Dr. Nick Begich, his book and his articles can be found here
           http://www.earthpulse.com/      
    Article on Chemtrails — unusual cloud formations in the US.
          Torture and Bush — White House legal architect Yoo on       

    US soldiers committing suicide Afghanistan Iraq — Most Recent
    Psychologist Pete Linnerooth was one of three who were part of a mental health crew in charge of the US 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in the Baghdad area of Iraq.   Pete Linnerooth committed suicide by turning a gun upon himself in January of 2013
    Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes.   More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.
    Mary Coghill Kirkland said she asked her son, 21-year-old Army Spc. Derrick Kirkland, what was wrong as soon as he came back from his first deployment to Iraq in 2008.   He had a ready answer: "Mom, I'm a murderer."
    A military base on the brink
    As police agents watched he shot himself in the head
    Murders, fights, robberies, domestic violence, drunk driving, drug overdoses
    US soldiers committing suicide Afghanistan Iraq II
    U.S. Soldier Killed Herself After Objecting to Interrogation Techniques
    Private Gary Boswell, 20, from Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, was found hanging in a playground in July
    She is Jeanne "Linda" Michel, a Navy medic.   She came home last month to her husband and three kids ages 11, 5, and 4, delighted to be back in her suburban home of Clifton Park in upstate New York.   Two weeks after she got home, she shot and killed herself.
    Peterson refused to participate in the torture after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage
         United States Numb to Iraq Troop Deaths       
         All papers relating to the interrogations have been destroyed     
          We stripped them and were supposed to mock them and degrade their manhood     
    US soldiers committing suicide Iraq Vietnam
    The Iraq War — complete listing of articles, includes images
    The House of Saud and Bush
           All with U.S. Money:       
           US and Israel War Crimes       
    All with U.S. Money:
    Israel agents stole identity of New Zealand cerebral palsy victim.
    (IsraelNN.com       July 15, 2004)       The Foreign Ministry will take steps towards restoring relations with New Zealand.   New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced she was implementing diplomatic sanctions after two Israelis were sentenced on charges of attempting to obtain illegal passports.   Despite Israeli refusal to respond to the accusations, the two are labeled in the New Zealand media as Mossad agents acting on behalf of the Israeli intelligence community.

    Foreign Ministry officials stated they will do everything possible to renew diplomatic ties, expressing sorrow over the "unfortunate incident".
    Projected mortality rate of Sudan refugee starvation deaths — Darfur pictures
    Suicide now top killer of Israeli soldiers
    Atrocities files — graphic images
    'Suicide bombings,' the angel said, 'and beheadings.'
    'And the others that have all the power — they fly missiles in the sky.
    They don't even look at the people they kill.'
           The real Ronald Reagan       
           — Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, South Africa        
    Follow the torture trail...
           Photos August 2004
            When you talk with God        
             were you also spending your time, money and energy, killing people?         
           Are they now alive or dead?       
           Photos July 2004
    US Debt
           Photos June 2004
    Lest we forget — Ahmed and Asma, story of two children dying
           Photos May 2004
    American military: Abu Gharib (Ghraib) prison photos, humiliation and torture
    — London Daily Mirror article: non-sexually explicit pictures
           Photos April 2004
    The celebration of Jerusalem day, the US missiles that rained onto children in Gaza,
    and, a gathering of top articles over the past nine months
           Photos March 2004
    The Iraq War — complete listing of articles, includes images
           Photos February 2004
    US missiles — US money — and Palestine
           Photos January 2004
    Ethnic cleansing in the Beduin desert
           Photos December 2003
    Shirin Ebadi Nobel Peace Prize winner 2003
           Photos November 2003
    Atrocities — graphic images...
           Photos October 2003
    Aljazeerah.info
           Photos September 2003
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