By Ramaa Vasudevan, Sanhati
The threat of a full-fledged trade war between US and China no longer seems so imminent. The battle over the China’s exchange appears to have been averted. The biannual report on exchange rate which was to be released on April 15th has been strategically postponed once Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, announced his particpation at the April nuclear summit. There has been a mounting pressure to name China as a currency manipulator in this report, and unleash a battery of trade sanctions. The US has stopped ratcheting up the pressure and China has sent out cautious signals that suggested that the peg was just a temporary special measure and it was considering letting the remnibi float up. Ruffled feathers seem to have been smoothed and the strategic summit currently underway, is not raising any diplomatic dust. The euro woes might postpone the loosening of the remnibi peg, but for the time being a truce has been declared.
So what was the storm all about?
By Saroj Giri
Abstract: The Maoist movement and state violence as also corporate plunder are often opposed from the standpoint of ‘peace and democracy’, ‘social justice’ and so on. Civil society rightly highlights structural violence but they quite naively oppose it from the standpoint of democracy. However, the armed state, ‘peace and democracy’, and structural violence feed into each other. Thus the Maoists could not have challenged structural violence, silently sanctioned by the armed state, without breaking the legitimizing norms of democracy, peace and order. Peace and democracy needs serious unpacking, if one needs to come to terms with the nature of structural violence – with some urgency now, as none other than ‘Maoist sympathizers’, and not the hawks of the Home Ministry, themselves have revealed the sinister power of democracy: democracy at the service of counter-insurgency. With democracy like this, we don’t need dictatorships, and with sympathizers like these the Maoists need no enemies!
By G Sampath
Every once in a while there comes a commercial pot-boiler of a film that knocks you cold with its understanding of contemporary politics. It reminds you that filmmaking is not only about camera angles and cinematography and script and direction and acting and special effects and edge-of-the-seat thrills. It reminds you that cinema is also, nay, essentially, about something that camera-enslaved filmmakers tend to forget: thought, and politics.
On the one hand, you have Hurt Locker, a film based on the US occupation of Iraq that deliberately ignores why the US is in Iraq and what it is doing there: zero politics, and all cinema, we’re told. We all know (but won’t admit it) what kind of politics ‘no politics’ means. And on the other hand you have a film, a sci-fi Vampire film, Daybreakers, which stays true to the genre of vampire thrillers and is yet a scathing commentary on the world we are living in. A world where the value attached to the life of a human being is by no means absolute, and is contingent on and directly proportional to the said human being’s ability to act as a consumer.
Gurgaon Workers News, May 2010
The industrial development and proletarian unrest in Gurgaon did not remain unnoticed. We talked to three communists who decided to focus their political activity on the vast landscape of working class formation. The comrades are part of the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist current left of the CPIs, belonging to three different political organisations. We decided to not mention the party names in the individual interviews, based on the experience that way too often the left focuses more on internal ideological quarrels than on the exchange and reflection of practical experience.
By Siddhartha Mitra, Sanhati
35 human beings perished in the IED blast near Dantewada on May 14th, 2010. Who exactly died? This article explores the main targets of the attack, the Special Police Officers or SPO’s – the identity conferred on the SPO’s by mainstream reporting, and the politics behind that identity.
The Media and the Victims: Civilians or Not?
News sources across India reported on the Maoist attack at great length, and condemnations by various civil liberty groups poured in. This attack was somewhat different in nature from earlier Maoist attacks, not only because of the number of casualties involved: this was a rare occasion when the attackers had full knowledge that civilians would be among the victims, and because the intended targets themselves were not from the military or the armed forces. The attack that claimed the lives of 76 paramilitary personnel a month earlier did not kill any civilians, and earlier incidents involving Maoist violence on civilian personnel had been claimed to have been carried out in error, with the true targets being personnel in the armed forces.
Sanhati and Canvas invite you to a screening of the film “Inside the Revolution” and a discussion with the film-maker Roberto Navarrete Venue: Theosophical Society Hall, Kolkata Time: Wednesday, 12th May, from 5:00 pm Click here to read details of program [PDF, English] » ******** Sanhati Panel at Left Forum 2010 Venue: Room W503, Pace […]
Demonstration at Gujarat Bhawan, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi on Friday, June 4 at 12 noon. About a month back all of you may have been informed about the arrest of Avinash Kulkarni, a widely respected activist who has been working on the human rights of Adivasis in Gujarat. His contribution to the formulation of […]
[On May 25, Mumbai saw a lively protest demonstration, under the banner of the Anti-POSCO Struggle Solidarity Front, outside the Churchgate Railway Station, the virtual heart of the city, for more than an hour during the evening. At least eighty activists from a broad spectrum of organizations gathered. Full throated slogans were raised against the […]
Gyaneshwari Express Sabotage Indefensible – Institute Inquiry and Discourage Rumour-mongering and Witch-hunting
People’s Union for Democratic Rights Press Statement 30.5.2010 Friday morning’s derailment of the Gyaneshwari Express either due to sabotage or explosion as per media reports in which so far 136 people have already lost their lives is highly reprehensible and completely indefensible. PUDR strongly condemns whichever organization is responsible for the carnage as we believe […]
By Amit Basole, Sanhati
This is planned as a two-part article on the politics of global higher education today. In the first part I discuss the Euro-US movements against the University. In the second part I will talk about the Indian higher education context and what the Euro-US movements mean for us.
The University is the most prized product of the capitalist age. It is sometimes thought to represent the highest achievements of modern culture and via a judicious mixture of consent and dissent it provides the intellectual atmosphere necessary for the preservation of capitalist society. As California’s militant student movement puts it, the [modern] university’s history is the history of capital itself. Not surprising then that the fortunes of the university are tied to the fortunes of capital. The protracted crisis of global capitalism, which started in the 1970s, and to which Neoliberalism was the response, resulted in the Neoliberal University that we know today.
By Deepankar Basu, Sanhati
The Eurozone seems to have temporarily averted a serious sovereign debt crisis in its periphery. This sovereign debt crisis had the potential to quickly spread from Greece to Portugal, Spain and possibly even wider afield while morphing into a full-blown banking and financial crisis – with a nearly 750 billion euro bail-out plan . The plan requires European governments to commit about 500 billion euros for emergency loans through a special purpose vehicle (SPV), the IMF to promise another 250 billion euros if the need arises, countries receiving emergency loans to agree to harsh “austerity measures” and the European Central Bank to agree to purchase bonds of member countries. With the real fear of contagion spreading across the Atlantic, the US Federal Reserve has reopened swap lines to provide dollar funding to European banks, again, if needed.
By Kushal Debnath, Marxist Intellection
The vast areas of Jangal Mahal including Lalgarh have been in the grip of unbridled state terror for the last few months. There is a total ban on any meeting or rally. The media persons also are debarred from entering into those areas. Three villagers were brutally killed by the joint forces on 2nd January last. In the name of arresting the Maoists, witch-hunting is going on in various villages. Very recently a meeting was taking place in the premises of Bulanpur High School organized by a newly formed platform of the peasants called “Chashi Banchao Committee”. The purpose of the meeting was to put forward some demands of the peasants. The Joint Forces encircled the meeting and carried on an inhuman torture on the peasants. Chhatradhar Mahato, the leader of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), arrested under UAPA was served with the charge-sheet within an astonishingly short time. A few days ago the Joint Forces arrested two members of the PCAPA, but they were not produced in the court. It is suspected that they were killed in cold blood. It can be said, in brief, that the Left Front government, aided by the Congress-led central government has unleashed an unprecedented state-terror in Jangal Mahal (including Lalgarh) to crush the resistance struggle that has been developing in the area for a year.
By Rahul Varman
We at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK henceforth) today are dependent upon contingent workforce for most of the work and services and a large amount of such work has been contracted out. Today the campus, where close to 10,000 of us work and stay, is almost completely dependent on contract workers, whether for cleaning, horticulture, security, messing, civil & electrical maintenance, construction, laying cables, research assistance, the list can go on. By reliable estimates, as the institute has no system to keep consolidated records of such workers, the contingent workforce can be as high as 3000 . Given such a large workforce and given the fact that they work without any framework of rights and responsibilities, we keep hearing of arbitrary hiring and firings, accidents, grievances, signature campaigns, office orders, reports, and so on relating to the contingent workforce, and yet we do not seem to be any closer to addressing the ‘problem’. The present write-up is based on my  interaction with various constituencies on the issue during the last 15 years. Over these years of my stay in the campus I have primarily endeavoured to understand the problem from ‘below’ by interacting fairly closely with various kinds of workers. In the process I have also engaged with different constituencies on the issue – students, staff, faculty colleagues, authorities at various levels, contractors and have also been involved with minimum wage monitoring, handling worker grievances officially, etc. In this brief piece I am attempting to understand various aspects of the problem and what can be the possible ways of addressing them as I have understood personally with all its biases and limitations.
By Gail Omvedt. Also published in Frontier and Forward
“See no caste, hear no caste, speak no caste.” The policy of the Indian elite towards the issue of caste has been that of the three monkeys: one of denial. It doesn’t exist; if it does it is not so bad; it should not be talked about, and those who do talk about it or try to act on it are the ones who are “casteist.” The entire onus is placed on the victims of the system trying to fight it.
Do 600 Million Cellphone Accounts Make India a Rich Country? A Lesson in Economics for Mr. Chidambaram
A note prepared by Sanhati members
A sizeable section of the poor, predominantly the urban section, does own mobile phones. A mobile phone has become a necessity for the poor because of their very vulnerability and the precariousness of their employment in an unorganized and informal labour market. The very recent surge in poor people acquiring mobile phones has been facilitated by the dramatic reduction in the prices of such services and even a minor increase in prices may drive a lot of such users to give up using them.
As asides, we mention that bizarre anomalies arise if one uses mobile phones as markers of affluence – for example, one concludes that there is no poverty in Delhi. And finally: land-lines are probably a more plausible indicator of the middle class.
By Prafulla Samantra, Asit Das
Odisha – An Introduction
Odisha is known for its different aspects in historical periods. It was known for its brave resistance and sacrifice confronting Asoka’s army and ultimately transforming him. Odisha’s literary history, especially its folklores, depicts the glorious tales of its traders and sailing to far off lands like Java, Borneo, Sumatra, etc. It had a thriving trade. It is famous for its temple architecture, traditional culture, music and dance, which includes highly developed craftsmanship and cottage industries. Odisha had a lightly developed silk and cotton fabric industry whose highly skilled craftsmen were working on innumerable village looms. Oriya artisanship is globally famous, including excellent silver filigree jewellery. Odisha has a glorious anti-imperialist history fighting British colonialism.
The Fight for Social and Community Rights’ Saturday, 22 May 2010, 10am – 6pm Venue- Seva Kendra, 52B, Radhanath Chowdhury Road, Tangra, Kolkata 700015 BACKDROP The people of this country – especially the marginalised and the deprived – are under attack. The State is aggressively promoting mines, large dams and polluting industries at the cost […]
Source : Countercurrents New Delhi: We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the unprovoked firing and arson carried out by the Orissa state police against a dharna of farmers and fisher folk opposed to the proposed POSCO steel project in Jagatsingpur district. As per latest reports, today over 100 people have been injured and many shops and […]
A Statement by Coordination of Democratic Rights Organizations 7th May 2010 The most recent alert (regarding use of section 39, UAPA) issued by the government in so called public interest has brought out in the open what had so far been implicit in its anti-Maoist policy. The purpose of the circular is to intimidate voices […]
Organized by SANSKRITI PARISHAD Date/Time : 8th May 2010, 3:00PM Venue : University Institute Hall Speakers : Abhee Dutta Mazumdar / Kalyan Rudra / Partho Sarothi Ray / Tushar Chakrabarty / Partha Sarathi Dasgupta / Leaders of various peasants’ organizations Click here to read the announcement in Bengali Friends, You are probably aware that the […]
This article has been received from Nagarik Mancha. It is in a continuing series of articles on the mounting displacement of the urban poor in Kolkata, West Bengal.
The Kolkata Environment Improvement Programme: A Multi-faceted programme of the ADB
Written for People’s Resistance, April 2010
Gurgaon, a satellite town in the south of Delhi became the symbol of ‘Shining India’. Many people are dazzled by the glass-fronts of shopping-malls and corporate towers and fail to see the development of a massive industrial working-class behind the facade of ‘post-fordist’ display of consumerism. Together with industrial centres like the Pearl River Delta in China or the Maquiladoras in Northern Mexico the Delhi industrial belt has become a focal point of global working class formation.
A Global Working Class in Local Formation
In the industrial areas of Gurgaon a very particular class composition (1) emerged. Hundred of thousands migrant garment workers work next to the assembly lines of India’s biggest automobile hub and next to hundred thousand young workers sweating under the head-sets of Gurgaon’s call centres. We are forced to re-think our traditional understandings of what ‘workers’ are, how they struggle and how this struggle can become a process of self-empowerment towards self-emancipation.
Adivasis in Central and Eastern India 7
Adivasi People and Forests 11
Mad Rush for Mining and Adivasi People 18
Exploitation: Economic and
The adivasis of Lalgarh of West Midnapore district rose up against police brutalities in November, 2008, in a historic uprising that has been continuing for more than a year now. The police atrocities, indiscriminate raids and brutal beatings, resulting in serious injuries to many people, mainly women, took place in the wake of the landmine blast near the West Bengal chief minister’s convoy, as he was returning from inaugurating a SEZ in the Salboni area. There is a perception that the police atrocities were a result of the landmine blast, and many have even accused the Maoists, who triggered the landmine blast, of deliberately drawing the ire of the police on the adivasis. However, police atrocities have been the reality in the lives of the adivasis in this region for the past decade and more.
As the following series of reports, titled “Inside Midnapore”, by the veteran journalist and Sanhati member Nilanjan Duta, which appeared in the Times of India, Kolkata, in 2002, show, the poor adivasis of jangalmahal have borne the brunt of similar atrocities for a long time. They have been subjected to beatings, torture, molestation of women and false cases, all of which give us a sense of déjà vu today in 2010. And there was no landmine blast which caused these atrocities; it was their demand of simple development measure such as health centres, schools and roads and the basic means for survival, such as proper prices for forest produce such as the tendu leaves and babui grass, and an end to harassment in the hands of forest officials, timber mafia etc. that drew the ire of the state on them. Today, the home minister P Chidambaram and the West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee say that operation Green Hunt, and the operations of the combined forces in Lalgarh, is to pave the way for “development” of the adivasis. We run this series of reports again to remind the readers what the adivasis have got from the state when they have demanded the same development in the past.
Andal, near Asansol and Durgapur, in Burdwan district is the site of another major land acquisition in West Bengal where 3500 acres of land is being acquired to set up the first airport city in India, named as the “Aeretropolis”. The anger of local agriculturalists at the proposed project erupted in the form of a major unrest on 24th March 2010 which was suppressed by brutal police action. We publish a fact-finding report on Andal prepared by the SEZ-Birodhi Prachar Mancha.
Translated by Siddhartha Mitra, Sanhati
Letter From Peoples’ Commiittee Against Police Atrocities to Association for Protection of Democratic Rights( APDR), Lalgarh Mancha and Intellectuals
The operation of the Joint Task Force has been continuing for last ten months in Jangal Mahal. In the budget session Mr. Manmohan Singh has declared that for now six thousand jawans are going to be deployed in Jangal Mahal. Mr. Chidambaram has advanced that the deployment will be according to the necessity; if it demands more force to be deployed, it shall be so. This Joint Force along with the C.P.I. (M) Harmads is oppressing the people, destroying their life and property. The administrative authority along with the Chief Minster of W.B. and the Union Home Minister has created the blueprint of attack sometimes in the Righter’s Building and sometimes in Midnapur, Lalgarh or Ghatshila. The war waged by the State and the Central Govt. in the name of “Operation Greenhunt” is directly destroying our lives and livelihoods in jangal mahal. The ultimate objective of the State and the Central Govt. is to loot the immeasurable natural resources of the Jangal mahal and the entire country for the Jindal, Mittal, Tata, Pasko, Sail, Ambani, Birla and other M.N.C.s, killing and obliterating the entire Adivasi population.
By Rukmini Sen
March 8 this year marks 100 years of women’s struggles for a just and egalitarian society. For some of us, who are young and new to the women’s movement and also have a women’s studies background, March 8, 2010 was a time to understand the past and also realize the current issues of concern affecting women in India. It is keeping this in context that I shall compare the leaflets/campaign material to remember March 8 by the Centenary Committee to Celebrate International Women’s Day and the National Women’s organizations both from my current location in Delhi. This is an effort to document the contemporary diverse concerns of women’s groups in the country.
By Shiv Sethi, Sanhati
The recent crisis in Greece is the new addition to the long list of casualties of the global financial and economic crisis that started in 2007. It has called into question financial institutions as diverse as the public accounting system to the common currency policy of the Euro zone.
In October 2009, the newly-elected government of Greece revealed that the country’s budget deficit was far higher than previously thought: more than 12% as opposed to less than 3%, as required for membership in the EU. Ever since, the deficit has been revised upwards and currently hovers around 13.6%. In addition, the sovereign debt of Greece is nearly 400 billion dollars, close to 120% of its GDP and it runs a current account deficit of nearly 14% in the Euro zone. These data together strongly imply that Greece has invested more than it saved (i.e.,private and public sector savings taken together), supporting this extra investment by borrowing from the rest of the world. In short, Greece appears to have lived beyond its means.
By Gladson Dungdung (Guest Contributor, Sanhati)
I appeared in the public life through my human rights works, writings and speeches. However, I reached to the larger audience when I had got a chance to appear in CNN-IBN and NDTV-24×7 debates on the issue of Naxalism last year. After these debates, I got immense positive and negative responses from across the country. I was upset for sometime precisely because of the most negative responses I got from those youth, who are running behind the market forces unknowingly. They ruthlessly questioned me about whether I get money from Pakistan, Nepal or China for speaking against the Indian State. I responded to a few of them with detailed explanations, but many believe P Chidambaram’s theory of this side or that side; therefore they are not ready to accept my rational arguments.
By Saroj Giri (Guest Contributor, Sanhati)
Congress heavy-weight Digvijay Singh’s attack on the pro-corporate and hawkish Home Minister Chidambaram’s approach to the ‘Maoist problem’ seems to strengthen civil society initiatives calling for talks and dialogue. However in declaring that the Maoists are not really against corporate interests and are integrated in business as usual at the local level, Singh revealed attempts at a liberal-left appropriation of Maoists, in order to settle scores with the Chidambaram faction. If Operation Civil Society is the name for such an appropriation, then this might prove as dangerous for Maoists as Operation Green Hunt. This means that unless they are able to advance the (class) struggle into new areas and new classes, it might be difficult for their ‘correct line’ to stop them from going the way of the Nepali Maoists. Physical liquidation of the Andhra model might be replaced by democratic liquidation.
Organised by Paramanu Bidyut Birodhi Prachar Andolan (Campaign Against Nuclear Power) Venue – Metro Channel, Esplanade Time – 4pm to 8pm Friends, Most of the policies that the government has adopted in the name of development, are detrimental for the people and the environment. One such policy is the the expansion of nuclear power generation, […]
Organized by Forum Against War on People 3PM-8PM, 24TH APRIL 2010 Gandhi Peace Foundation, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, ITO, DELHI SPEAKERS Randhir Singh, Justice Rajender Sachar, PK Vijayan, Madan Kashyap, Sumit Chakravorty, Varavara Rao, Neelabh, B D Sharma, S A R Geelani, Aparna, Darshanpal, Arundhati Roy, Ravinder Goel, Karen Gabriel, N Venuh, Kalpana Mehta, Kabir […]
While there are several attempts to organize and protest, the voices of dissent are sometimes incoherent and disarrayed. In the midst of this, we revisit the classic essay “The Responsibility of Intellectuals” written by Noam Chomsky which was published by The New York Review of Books on the 23rd of February 1967.
As the Indian state pours in more and more soldiers to fight the war for the multinationals, perhaps voices like Chomsky’s will be an inspiration to walk the streets chanting and unitedly demanding an end to the war, as the anti-war voices had done during the days of Vietnam.
Source: Gurgaon Workers News, April 2010
In April 2010 the government announces that inflation will cross the 10 per cent mark. For proletarian goods inflation has gone way beyond this mark already, particularly when looking at prices of vegetables, sugar, rice, pulses. In March the transport costs on most routes within Gurgaon doubled. Cooking gas price will increase by about 40 Rs per cylinder; diesel and petrol prices will be increased on 1st of April.
By Anand Teltumbde. EPW April 2010.
It is rather telling that the ire of the people that was building up against price rise all over the country was so easily punctured by the government with the help of the women’s reservation bill. In a break with its tumultuous history of 14 years, the bill has already been passed in the Rajya Sabha and could well be passed in the Lok Sabha but for the opposition from the Yadavs and Mayawati. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has decided to table it in the next session, perhaps to use it to overcome some other crisis. Reservation has proved to be a potent weapon in the hands of the ruling classes to raise public passion and control the political barometer. Indeed, it is strategic that the UPA holds on to the bill as long as possible. Because if it is passed and made into law, it will lose a weapon in hand until it can create another reservation bill. Of course, there is no dearth of demands for reservation; going by the trend they may rather outlive the polity.
Andal, near Asansol and Durgapur, in Burdwan district is the site of another major land acquisition in West Bengal where 3500 acres of land is being acquired to set up the first airport city in India, named as the “Aeretropolis”. The Aeretropolis is a concept put forward by US urban planner John Kasarga, which envisages building up a huge urban hub, with all commercial, residential and entertainment entities centered around an airport. Interestingly, there have been very few takers of this concept in the western world, and most of the airport cities in use, or under construction, are in South East Asia or the Gulf. The West Bengal government has adopted this as a major project in its scheme of neoliberal “development”. The Aeretropolis in Andal is being built by a joint venture of the West Bengal government agency HUDCO and a number of large private real estate companies, with foreign collaboration.
Analytical Monthly Review Editorial, April 2010.
There are points when long-term trends emerge openly in the present, and a process normally visible only from a distance becomes an unmistakable part of daily life. The displacement (or better dispossession) of rural petty cultivators and producers became noticeable with the adoption of “Green Revolution” expensive technical farming in the 1960s and 1970s, and gathered speed from the time of the neoliberal “reform” regime adopted by the ruling class in 1991. Claims were often made that expanded production for export would create industrial jobs for the masses expelled from the countryside. Such claims were false. Instead vast slum belts surround the cities, and brazen claims of employment gains are falsified by the word “informal” and the misery it denotes. The anguish of this immiserated population echoes with every price rise of foodstuffs, while yet more cultivators are dispossessed.
Stories of Kolkata’s Urban Poor – How are the “rehabilitated” residents coping with their new life after being evicted?
Sriman Chakraborty and Shamik Sarkar travels to the rehabilitated colonies and talks to the residents. The reports appeared in two issues of Sangbad Manthan dated 1st and 16th March, 2010. They have been combined and translated by Suvarup Saha for Sanhati.
On both sides of the railway tracks from Ballygunge (South Kolkata) to Budge Budge (suburb of Kolkata) there were several thousand families – the residents of Gobindapur Rail Colony – who were living there for generations. When the railways decided to evict them, about 1700 of these families were ceremoniously rehabilitated in Nonadanga beside the EM Bypass Road. Bapi Mondol of Nonadanga Rights and Public Service Association informed us. The small make-shift tarpaulin shelters that were provided at the very beginning are still all they have. The buildings where they are to be rehabilitated are still under construction.
By Debarshi Das, Sanhati
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, in many ways, is an anomaly in Assam. This is a land which finds national attention only in times of blasts, floods, massacres. KMSS breaks the media orientalism and manages to make news. KMSS launches agitations on patently non-exotic issues such as Public Distribution System thefts, construction of big dams in fragile seismic territories, non-implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Rights to Information Act etc. Aside from these issues, the other feature which sets KMSS apart in the political landscape of the state is its non-alignment. KMSS is not close to any political party. And more importantly it does not swear by any tribal, linguistic, religious group. This is something of a miracle in a region almost balkanised by identity politics.
On March 9 2010, activist Himanshu Kumar gave a talk in Kolkata at a public meeting organised by Ekhon Bisanbad, speaking about his experiences in Dantewada over 18 years, and about the ongoing “Operation Green Hunt” being conducted to ostensibly root out left wing extremists. The following is his speech, transcribed and edited by Sanhati members Ishita Das and Suvarup Saha.
Merely the other face of Congress?: Probing the real motive behind the Left Front’s land reforms in West Bengal
By Krishanu Mandal. April 16 2010 I Introduction It is well known that the non-left electoral political parties – Congress, BJP, Trinamool, etc. – represent the different faces and facets of the Indian ruling class: the coalition of dominant powers in non-urban areas maintaining a stranglehold on inputs for production (including, but not exclusively, land) […]
By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati. April 16 2010.
“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” – Joseph Goebbels
Propaganda is one of the main weapons of the government of India’s Operation Green Hunt. The propaganda war is being waged in order to mould public opinion and turn liberal voices against the enemy, the Maoists. As part of this propaganda campaign, the government has brought out large, full colour advertisements (paid for by taxpayers’ money) in major newspapers which have portrayed the Maoists as “ruthless killers” and as destroyers of public property.
However a more insidious, and clandestine, part of the propaganda war, is to plant stories in the mainstream media in the form of “news”, which the average reader, having faith in the objectivity of the media as the main source of information, will take at face value as the truth.
Organised by 14th April Committee Venue – University Institute Hall Time – 5:00PM Speakers – Arundhati Roy, Gautam Navlakha At 2pm, they will adress a press conference at the Kolkata Press Club. Mahasweta Devi Tarun Sanyal Bibhas Chakrabarti Sujato Bhadra (Conveners, 14th April Committee)
Organized by MASUM Date – 19th April Time – 5pm Venue – Bengal Theosophical Society Hall, College Square Click here for the Bengali pamphlet for the meeting ********************************************************************* Statement from MASUM Eminent Human Rights defender Kirity Roy arrested Well-known human rights activist Mr. Kirity Roy, Secretary of Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) and National Convenor, […]
Film Festival organized by Silpi Sanskriti Karmi Buddhijibi Mancha, Saltlake Shakha and Media Solidarity Dates : 3rd & 4th April 2010 Venue : Rabindra Okakura Bhavan, Salt Lake —————————————————————————————————————————————————— Day 1 (3rd April) 05: 00 pm to 09:00 CRUDE /104 min./Dir: Joe Berlinger Crude is the epic story of one of the largest and most […]
[In January 2010, leading democratic rights activist Gautam Navlakha accompanied Swedish writer Jan Myrdal to the jungles of Central India, and engaged in conversations with the leadership of CPI(Maoist). In the following essay, being published exclusively at Sanhati, he explores further the various facets of Maoist politics and the socioeconomic and cultural life in the […]
The All-India Coordination of Movements against SEZs, Displacement and Land-grab, an initiative to coordinate between the various movements against SEZs and corporate land grabbing in various parts of the country, invites you to a meeting in solidarity with the anti-POSCO resistance struggle being waged by thirty thousand farmers and fisherfolk in Jagatsinhpur District in Orissa […]
Radical Humanist Association cordially invites you to M.N. Roy Memorial lecture to be delivered by Dr. Felix Padel, eminent anthropologist and activist. The lecture will be held at Radical Humanist Hall, Coffee House 2nd Floor on 27th March at 5 pm. Felix Padel is the author of ‘Sacrificing People: Invasions of a Tribal Landscape’ (Jan […]
By Gautam Sen. Published on RadicalNotes. February 2010.
The present essay has been written with the object of examining the ongoing war-like situation between the Indian State and the CPI (Maoist) [henceforth referred to as the 'Maoists']. We ought, therefore, to begin our discussion with a description of this war-like situation.
Madan Lal Dhingra (1883-1909)
Madan Lal Dhingra was born on February 18, 1883 to an affluent Hindu-Khatri family of Amritsar, Punjab. As a college student in Lahore, he was closely associated with the extremist political activities of Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh. In 1906 he moved to London for higher studies where he came into contact with a group of militant nationalist Indians and joined India House, the hub of Indian independence activities in London. During this period, Dhingra, V D Savarkar and other members of the group were enraged by the execution of militant leaders such as Khudiram Bose in India. In reaction to this, on 1st July 1909 Dhingra killed Curzon Wyllie in London, the political assistant to the secretary of state for India. Dhingra was arrested and after a brief trial he was hanged in England on August 17,1909.
The NBRAI, the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill, and the Foreign Education Institutions Bill: A Portmanteau Critique of Recent Legislation
The National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill 2009
The Civil Nuclear Liability Bill: A message by NAAM
Foreign Education Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010
By Siddhartha Mitra, Sanhati
In the beginning
“Bhago, bhago, usko leke bhago!” Trilochon urged me. (Run, run with it!)
I ran. The soft sand of the beach gave way under my feet. My right hand was tightly clutching the end of a string, the other end of which was attached to the box-kite.
Interview: Dr. Hiren Gohain (published in ‘Eka Ebong Koyekjon’, Autumn issue,2009, Guwahati). Translated by Soumya Guhathakurta, Sanhati.
Hiren Gohain had been one of the very few brave and clear voices during the Assam movement turmoil (1979-1985). This earned him respect, hostility and even physical assault. His erudition and fearlessness have fruitfully combined with a left orientation to become an indispensable ingredient of the nation’s collective conscience. In this candid interview the professor delves into issues both regional and national: the left’s neglect of the nationality question, trajectory of Assam movement and the rise of semi-fascist nationalism, internal democracy in leftist parties, the present state of CPI (M) and the future ahead. – Ed.
By Ruchira Goswami, Guest Contributor
Upheld and sanctioned by traditional customs, child marriage is still significantly practiced across India.
The 205th Law Commission Report cites significant statistics on the scale of child marriages in India . According to the report, in a study carried out in 1998 to 1999 on women aged 15-19 years, it was found that 33.8% were currently married or in a union. In 2000 the UN Population Division recorded that 9.5% of boys and 35.7 % of girls aged between 15-19 were married. The National Family Health Survey of 2005-2006 (NFHS-3)  carried out in twenty-nine states confirmed that 45% of women currently aged 20-24 years were married before the age of eighteen years, with 58.5% in rural areas and 27.9% in urban areas (27.9%) and exceeded 50% in eight states. Only five states of Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Kerala, Goa and Jammu and Kashmir report less than 20% of women married before 18. A Unicef Report prepared for a state consultation on Child Marriage in West Bengal in November 2009 states that over 39.5% of Indian girls are married before they are 18 years and 25.4% of girls are married by the age of 15. West Bengal has the 7th highest percentage of under age marriages amongst all states, where one in every two girls are married during childhood. In West Bengal 56% of girls are married by the age of 18 according to NFHS(3). Districts of Malda, Birbhum, Bankura, Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, Puruia, South 24 Parganas, Nadia and Cooch Behar have the highest incidence of child marriage. The Unicef report significantly mentions that even in the non slum areas in Calcutta where families are wealthier and girls are likely to have better education, more than a quarter of girls are married in childhood. In West Bengal, more than 25% girls are married to men who are ten years older or more. 7% of girls begin child bearing by the time they are 15, 34.8% by the age of 18 and almost 50% of girls are pregnant by the age of 19 in this state. The NFHS-3 findings further revealed that 16% of women aged 15-19 were already mothers or pregnant at the time of the survey. The NFHS(3) stated that more than half of the Indian women in the age group of 20-49 were married before the legal minimum age of 18 compared to 16% of men in the similar age group who were married by 18.The 2001 Census of India revealed that 300,000 girls under 15 had given birth to at least one child.
By K. Balagopal
This 2005 EPW article, in which the late democratic rights activist, K Balagopal, reflects on the peculiarities of the “peace talks” between the CPI(Maoist) and the Andhra Pradesh government in 2004, assumes relevance in today’s situation. With the CPI(Maoist) offering to participate in talks but the Indian government dragging its feet, the “peace talks” this time seems to have been stalled even before it started. The responsibility for this failure lies squarely with the government, as it did, according to Balagopal, in AP in 2004. The article provides a much needed counterpoint to the interpretation of the AP talks being propagated by the media these days – the interpretation favoured by the repressive apparatus of the State – that the Maoists used the talks to gain strength and stalled the process with their impractical demands. Balagopal’s article shows very clearly that the Maoists broke off talks only after it became clear that the government had no intention of stopping the killing of their cadre. The government’s attitude, the Central government today, does not seem to have changed much over these 6 years.
By Debarshi Das, Sanhati
Elaborating on how in a democratic republic capital exercises its power by means of corruption and by an alliance of the government and the stock exchange, Lenin writes “[a] democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell … it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it.” (The State and Revolution, 1917)
Amazing continuity of neo-liberal policy for the last two decades is a testimony that capitalism is getting ever more entrenched in India. Phases of NDA, UF, UPA + Left, UPA sans the Left notwithstanding, each budget has become a familiar exercise for redistributing wealth of the nation to the already-wealthy, thus securing domination of the powerful over the powerless. Strange too is the reiteration of phrases such as inclusive growth. One finds it right at the top of the budget documents: as one of the three priorities of the government. The substance of the budget, of course, flies in the face of this putative priority. Let us see how.
It is very sad to inform you that Mr Prakash Korram, one of our social activists has been arrested by the police during operation “Green Hunt”. As you know, operation “Green Hunt” is launched by both the state and central government. Prakash Korram was picked up at Damkasa, Kanker on 12th March 2010. He is […]
By Nilanjan Dutta (Source : Current News) The Maidan around the Shahid Minar is the Hyde Park of Kolkata – an old favourite with political parties for holding rallies. But on 11 March, the gathering looked a little different. There were no banners or signs of an ‘organised’ rally. Instead were people who had come […]
Gandhian social activist Himanshu Kumar will speak at a public meeting organized by Ekhan Bisangbad on 9th March 2010 in Kolkata to share his personal experience of the ongoing “operation green hunt” ostensibly to root out left wing extremists from the guts of the vast forests and lands of at least four states of India […]
March 5, 2010 It has been reported in The Wall Street Journal that India’s Mines Ministry will soon approve a diamond mining lease for global miner Rio Tinto Ltd. in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The Madhya Pradesh government has already recommended the mining lease and an approval from the federal mines ministry is […]
By Panayiotis T. Manolakos, Sanhati
What is Neo-liberalism, Practically? – A Picture of Finance Capital, or The Income Pyramid Under Capitalism
By Deepankar Basu, Sanhati
The ideology of neoliberalism: trickle down theory of growth and distribution. The reality a tad different: the gushing up of income and wealth. But, in a manner of speaking, we always knew that this is what neoliberalism was all about; we knew, in other words, that the neoliberal turn of the late 1970s was meant to facilitate the flow of income, wealth and power up the societal pyramid, that it was meant to restore the economic and political clout that “finance capital” had lost during the post World War II period. We knew that it was meant to efficiently pump the economic surplus out of the working people and channel it up the income ladder to the top fraction of the capitalist class. That neoliberalism performed this role even more effectively than expected by its hardest-core champions emerges clearly from recent studies of income and wealth trends of the past few decades.
Chhattisgarh Updates: Supreme Court directive on petition by Sundar and others, and PUDR letter to PM
Supreme Court directive on petition by Nandini Sundar, Ramachandra Guha and E.A.S. Sarma against the activities of Salwa judum in the state of Chhattisgarh
PUDR letter to Prime Minister on breakdown of constitutional order in Chhattisgarh
February 25 2010. Analytical Monthly Review Editorial
Orissa is the poorest State with official estimate of 39.9 per cent of people living below the poverty line, yet in regard to proposed investment stood at second position after Gujarat. According to Assocham Investment Meter, recorded investment proposals in Orissa reached Rs. 2,00,846 crore (roughly 40 billion USD) in 2009. The cause is the availability of rich mineral resources such as coal and iron ore along with cheap availability of manpower. Steel and power were among the sectors which attracted maximum proposed investments in the state.
February 25, 2010. Editorial from Aspects of India’s Economy, Research Unit for Political Economy (R.U.P.E)
The Copenhagen Climate Summit of December 2009 has brought out starkly the price to the Indian people of the Indian rulers’ aspirations to ‘global power’ status, and the real character of that status. To see how this is so, we need to look at the sequence of events leading up to the Copenhagen Climate Summit.
This article appears in Canvas: Films of Movement, A movement in Films
Tracing the beginnings
Saumen Guha is the one person who can be undoubtedly attributed the credit of introducing the Super 8 mm format among some interested students in Calcutta. To a large extent, he also initiated the culture of hands-on independent film making in Calcutta in the early 1980s. Saumen Guha is however better known for following up the historic Archana Guha case against the former deputy commissioner of police Ranjit Guha Neogi. Strangely enough, this historic legal battle has an interesting relation to the history of independent film making movement in Bengal.
By Sushovan Dhar
Jute mill workers in West Bengal called off their indefinite strike after signing a tripartite agreement in the presence of the minister in charge of the labour department at Kolkata on February 13, 2010.
February 23, 2010
There has been a recent attack on a Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) camp in Silda in West Midnapur district, West Bengal, in which 24 EFR jawans have lost their lives. It is necessary to examine the function of this particular camp and its relation with local politics, to understand the tactical reasons behind the attack conducted by the Maoists.
Feb 15 2010. From the Brihottoro Kolkata Khalpar Basti Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (Greater Kolkata Slum Eviction Resistance Committee), an organisation resisting the eviction of slums in Kolkata.
India is the biggest single recipient of British aid, with £1 billion spent between 2003 and 2008 through the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID). This article, written for Corporate Watch by Richard Whittell, introduces a series of short films and interviews about the DfID in India to be published over the coming weeks, which were shot by Whittell and Indian activist Eshwarappa M during a trip to various parts of the country affected by British money. Their experience meeting people whose lives have been directly affected by DfID activities, as well as evidence and opinions provided by activists, academics, journalists, state employees and DfID staff, did not tally with the claims made for British aid by DfID’s publicity.
Date – 11 th February Venue – Room No. 56, Arts faculty, Delhi University Time – 11a.m.-3p.m. Speakers: Amit Bhaduri (JNU), Sudha Bharadwaj (Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha) , Venuh (NPMHR), Tridib Ghosh (PUCL, Jharkhand), Kumar Hassan (writer, Orissa) Operation Green Hunt: Displacement and genocide of tribals • More than 100,00 paramilitary troops in addition to police […]
By Radha D’Souza
The devil’s advocate?
It was a bizarre spectacle, Karan Thapar interviewing Dr. Binayak Sen on CNN-IBN on Maoist violence in India. The subject of Maoist violence, more than any other at present, agitates the powers that be, including the media. The choreography of the debate follows a similar pattern. Invite a respectable person(s) for a “debate” on the issue of violence, lure them into believing they are invited because the media wants to present a contrary point of view; once there, corner the person, prevent them from making their point of view, heckle them if necessary, and somehow wring a statement, even if by slip of tongue, that can be bandied about as endorsement for the military offensive against the Maoists, as a moral justification for the so called “war on terror”. This desperation for moral endorsement from respected citizens like Dr. Sen, is itself evidence of the moral bankruptcy of the powers that be.
The feminist perspective to family is very different from the original male stream sociological discourse on family which considered it as a group of individuals related to one another by blood ties, marriage or adoption, who form an economic unit, the adult members of which are responsible for the upbringing of children . Juliet Mitchel provides the radical feminist understanding of the family.
This page is a mirror of the January 2010 update of the Gurgaon Workers News blog. Contents: 1) Proletarian Experiences – Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective *** Garment Export Workers’ Reports and Escapist Hopes of the Export Regime – These reports were told by workers during the distribution of Faridabad Mazdoor […]
This study, from Nagarik Mancha and NESPON, outlines the causes behind the closure of tea gardens in North Bengal, the demand of workers from the ground, the extent of implementation of schemes like NREGA and the role of NGO’s, and the functioning of Operative Management Committees (OMC) which are often glorified as outstanding workers’ initiatives.
Organised by PERSPECTIVES COMMUNITIES, COMMONS AND CORPORATIONS The Struggle for Rights and Resources Date : 24th and 25th February, 2010 Venue : Room No. 22, Faculty of Arts North Campus, University of Delhi PROGRAMME SCHEDULE Wednesday, 24th February – 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm Arundhati Roy, Activist and Writer Usha Ramanathan, Law Researcher and Lecturer […]
By Amit Basole, Sanhati.
I live in the United States and often bring almonds as gifts when I visit India. They are cheaper in the United States I say. It seems one reason they are cheaper is because my countrymen process them for two dollars a day, among other places in a locality in northeast Delhi, called Karawal Nagar.
By Erinc Yeldan, Bilkent University. February 7 2010.
“A specter is haunting Turkey, the specter of the proletariat…” these are the words singing from ear to ear in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, since December 15 2009.
Since that day, despite the severe cold, poor conditions of the street-life, and brutal assaults of the ruling AKP government and its leader Tayyip Erdogan, the workers’ of TEKEL (the recently privatized public enterprise producing cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol and spirits) had taken the streets of the main district of Ankara as the center of resistance. The workers have been taking turns in shifts in their tents of resistance day and night, and receive tremendous support from all over Turkey –ordinary citizens, University students, workers from all other unions. National support for their cause has now spread out over international borders and is assuming non-traditional displays of solidarity such as exhibit of supporting banners in the European football stadiums during the games over the weekend of January 30-31.
GM crops: A Few Questions to the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee and the Hon’ble Supreme Court
By Sailendra Nath Ghosh. February 7 2010.
In April last year, the Supreme Court, in response to a public interest litigation filed by Gene Campaign (whose convenor is the internationally known geneticist Dr Suman Sahai), directed the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) to consider the toxicity and allergenicity of GM crops and to post the relevant material on the web so that independent experts could examine these. The Supreme Court asked the GEAC to study also the isolation distance of experimental fields to prevent contamination.
“Naxalites are our stray brothers and sisters therefore we will address the issues of Naxalism through dialogues”. These are the holy words of Jharkhand Chief Minister Sibu Soren, who repeatedly told us even after swearing in as the guard of the state for 3rd time. However, the unbearable pressure from the central government and the corporate houses made him completely helpless. Consequently, he took u turn and attended a special meeting with our ‘Corporate Home Minister’ P. Chidambaram in Delhi on January 27th on the issue of so-called ‘Operation Green Hunt’. After his return from Delhi, he started dancing in different tune, saying, operation green hunt will be started if the Maoists do not abjure violence.
Citizens protest against war orchestration of Chidambaram and chief ministers in Kolkata: A report By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati. February 9 2010 The citizens of West Bengal again came out on the streets, braving state repression, to loudly declare that they will not allow P Chidambaram and the chief ministers to plot their genocidal plans […]
Balitutha, Orissa: The threat of state and company sponsored violence looms large over hundreds of farmers sitting on an indefinite dharna at Balitutha in Jagatsinghpur district against the Orissa government’s pet POSCO steel project. Since 26 January this year the farmers have been carrying out their peaceful protest against fresh attempts by the Naveen Patnaik […]
Concerned Citizen’s Forum, Chandigarh And CRITIQUE Organises a Public Meeting On State’s War against People: Operation Green Hunt, Myths and Realities Speakers : Prof.Amit Bhaduri (J.N.U, Delhi) Sudha Bharadwaj (Advocate and Activist, Chhatisgarh Mukti Morcha, Raipur) Date: 8th Feb, 2010; Venue: Sociology Seminar Hall, Arts Block-4, Ground Floor; Time: 3:00 pm (sharp) Amit Bhaduri was […]
Swapan Dasgupta, editor and publisher of the Bengali edition of the political magazine People’s March passed away on 2nd February, while he was in the custody of West Bengal police. He had been arrested in October 2009 under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), for allegedly publishing Maoist literature, along with other political activists. Till date, he had not been chargesheeted. As per the official records, People’s March is a legal publication and therefore not a banned literature as claimed by sections of mainstream press.
Downright Assault on Human Rights, Extra Constitutional Exercise of Constitutional Powers — a Shame on the Anarchic Governmental Leftism
National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), West Bengal strongly condemns the blatant attack on the Fundamental Rights of the people of the
country guaranteed by the Constitution made by the police and administration of the state of West Bengal by illegally detaining and finally arresting
with some false and frivolous allegations the human rights activists and the renowned members of civil society on their way to visit Lalgarh for access of the situation over there and in their peaceful and lawful demands of withdrawing Joint Force from Lalgarh, release of political prisoners of Lalgarh and withdrawing the preventive orders U/S. 144 of Cr.P.C. from the area.
[Recently, Mamata Banerji had offered to mediate negotiations between the agitating adivasis of Lalgarh and the government. In response, Chhatradhar Mahato, the imprisoned leader of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), responded from the jail via an open letter which was published in the Bengali daily newspaper Pratidin. A translated version of the letter is published below.]
This booklet, published in Bengali by the Forum Against Anti-People South City Projects, traces the activities of South City Projects, a real estate giant in Kolkata [company logo: Live the way the world does]. This literature is a part of the South City page at Sanhati.
Included is a collage of leaflets and news pieces dating back from 2002 to the present.
At the time when the movement for the State of Telangana reaches its peak, and even as the leaders of this movement craft the contours of this state that is one step towards liberating the people of this region from a history of economic, political and cultural oppression, it is important to think about which way we would like to go. As somebody who believes in Telangana statehood, not as part of a general argument about the efficacy of smaller states alone, but as indispensable to the dignity of the region, I raise these questions with the aim of pushing for a greater democratization of the movement. There are unresolved issues that need to be addressed and there are leaders of integrity, with a radical vision and political astuteness like Kondandram and Ratnamala, who have the capacity to take difficult questions on board and turn them into strengths.
An Analytical Monthly Review editorial. Dec 2009.
The establishment media is for most the source of our daily information. Even if we manage to be continually conscious of the embedded commercial and class bias, the picture received is chaotic and fragmented. To make a credible narrative of events we need the left — or left-influenced — journals, both in print and on the web (though internet access remains quite limited). Left sources are especially needed for events intentionally underreported by the establishment media, above all the daily acts of resistance to the oppression of capitalist social relations. We are therefore pleased to recommend the excellent weblogs of the GurgaonWorkersNews (”Workers News from the Special Exploitation Zone”) and Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar (Faridabad Workers News) to our readers. The perspective from Gurgaon is of importance; the processes visible there are both more intense and innovative than elsewhere. In more than one sense one might say that the Gurgaon proletariat is a leading element.
This set of articles charts out recent Gandhian modes of dissent centered mainly around the activities of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, in the backdrop of Operation Green Hunt, in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh. A planned padyatra was scuttled by the administration, a Jan Sunwai, already operating under conditions of intense repression, has failed to materialise. At the current juncture, January 11 2010, Himanshu Kumar has exited Dantewada under imminent threat of arrest under false charges; activists and journalists who had been present at the VCA premises have been hit with a dacoity case; a senior VCA activist has been imprisoned on charges of murder. These developments bring into sharp focus the barbed perimeters of activism, in a region of India where the contradiction between the State and the masses is so acute. – Ed.
In the Land of Gandhi – Preeti Chauhan. Jan 3 2010
Chhattisgarh cops slap dacoity case against visiting activists – Jan 6 2010
Life Behind The Iron Curtain – Tusha Mittal, Tehelka. Jan 11 2010
Over the last 60 years, there has been a gradual increase in the numbers of people in the UK from the Indian subcontinent. These communities have settled here and brought with them their own social habits, norms and religious customs including the Caste system.
The Hindu Council UK and the Hindu Forum of Britain have both acknowledged in their reports that the Caste system exists in the UK. However, both bodies argue that Caste discrimination is not endemic in the UK, and only plays a role in social interactions and personal choices like marriages, conversations and friendships. A number of academics and UK organisations, including the Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA), Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN), Federation of Ambedkarites and Buddhists Organisations (FABO) and CasteWatchUK (CWUK), argue otherwise. They say that the Caste system and the discrimination associated with it impacts in some form or other on the two million or so people in the UK from the Asian Diaspora and extends beyond social interaction.
By Amit Basole, Sanhati. Photos by Rudra Rakshit Saran.
“Because God is in favor of equal distribution of everything, so God is a Maoist. Arrest God.” Proclaims Himanshu Kumar dramatically, an impish grin on his face, to reporters gathered in front of him. We are all sitting in the sun outside the rented premises of the Vanavasi Chetna Ashram (VCA). Himanshuji and his co-workers rented this house in Dantewada to continue their work after the Chhattisgarh Government sent a force of around a 1000 men and 4 bulldozers one early morning in May, 2009 to demolish the old Ashram situated in Kovalnar, about 12 kilometers from the district town of Dantewada in the Bastar region of the state. There is a formidable tree outside the house, with a chabutara, a platform built around it. Here Himanshuji sits early in the morning and plies his charkha. He continues dialog about this work and about the political situation in Bastar with people, adivasis, activists, reporters, who come and go.
By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati. A part of the Lalgarh page.
Lalgarh – the name resonates in the hearts and minds of struggling people all over India: adivasis and dalits, farmers and fisherfolk, workers and students. In West Bengal it has taken its place along with Singur and Nandigram in songs and slogans of resolve and resistance. Wherever people are fighting for their livelihoods and their dignity, resisting the onslaught of state and capital, Lalgarh now provides inspiration and courage. Most importantly, for the long-oppressed adivasis, Lalgarh has already entered the annals of legendary struggles of the likes of the santhal “hul” led by Sidhu and Kanhu, and the historic rebellions led by the likes of Birsha Munda, Tilka Majhi and Chand Bhairab.
In Dantewada yesterday a team of around 30 activists from NAPM and other organizations, Medha Patkar and Sandeep Pandey among them, were heckled, pelted with eggs and sewage and attacked by a large gang of tribal youth, accusing them of being Maoist sympathizers. The activists were simply walking peacefully to the SP’s office to ask him about the on-going repression in the area. Instead of curbing those who perpetrated the violent and unlawful assault, the police focused on sternly reprimanding and pushing back the social activists who were carrying out legitimate activity and demanding the restoration of basic constitutional rights. This impunity enjoyed by these attackers from the so called custodians of law has to be strongly condemned. This impunity is symptomatic of the bizarre situation that has been developing in Chhattisgarh, which seems out of bounds for all fundamental rights and principles of natural justice. Ironically it is the state, the supposed protector of these rights that has been the biggest offender in this regard. This state of undeclared emergency in Chhattisgarh is destroying the basic fabric of democracy in the country. It has to be exposed immediately and stopped firmly.
The Indian ruling classes and the central government they have set up to serve them have very recently declared one of the most unjust and brutal wars against the people which is quite unprecedented in the history of our country. Such a massive mobilization of armed forces, paramilitary forces, police forces and air forces totalling around 1 lakh personnel, along with US-Israel military assistance of various types only highlights the magnitude of the war.
The Strange Case Of Sodi Sambo
Who is Sodi Sambo? – A Background
The silence of the media in the case of Sodi Sambo
The detention of Sodi Sambo: A minute-by-minute account
Obituary: Sambhu Singh (Sambhu Singh vs. South City: the battle against corporate retail and real estate in a microcosm)
By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati.
Since December 25, something is happening in Kolkata which might turn into a major battle against corporate retail and real estate. Many of you, who are from or have stayed in Kolkata, know about the huge South City complex (company logo: Live the way the world does), consisting of the largest mall in Kolkata and a huge residential complex consisting of 4 tower buildings. The complex has come up on the grounds of the erstwhile Usha Engineering works, a factory employing around 7000 people, which was shut down and the land handed over to South City. The workers were all thrown out and their living quarters were demolished.
By Sirisha Naidu, Sanhati
On December 29th 2006, the Indian parliament promulgated a legislation to “recognise and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling” to adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers, “who have been residing in forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded”. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, not only recognises individual land rights, which in principle must be jointly registered in the names of the spouses in case of married persons, it also recognizes community rights to use, manage, and protect forest resources. Further, this Act stipulates the conditions for relocation and rehabilitation in “critical wildlife habitations” with the requirement of “free informed consent” from the displaced and the offer of alternative land. The Act, moreover, holds precedence over all other forest and wildlife related laws.
`We can’t shop our way out of the ecological crisis’ – John Bellamy Foster
The Story of Cap & Trade – Annie Leonard
Fate of Planet Rests on Mass Movement for Climate Justice – Naomi Klein