Sunday, February 1, 2015
Sharmila's fast, one of the classic acts of satyagraha in history, has often been read as a local event. For all its drama, it is seen as a footnote to the problems of the so-called North East, a local struggle in Manipur. Yet, politics has a way of transforming itself from a local anecdote to a national symbol. Sharmila's years of fasting, protesting against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is relevant for a world which is combating terror. Terror today is not an act confined to rebels and insurgents. Terror is also a part of the policy of the state. AFSPA, formalised by Parliament in 1958, has destroyed the normalcy of Manipur. Sharmila's fast began as a simple, naive act of protest by a young girl who decides to refuse food till AFSPA is repealed. She was protesting against the rape and murder of Manipuri women by an Army which used the law to commit atrocities with impunity. Over the years, the simple message of courage has made Sharmila's act, a major message of non-violence today.
Terror and satyagraha
Terror today dominates state politics, immobilising democracies which are addicted to the security discourse. When the state mirrors the violence of the terrorists, a political impasse is born. Sharmila shows that satyagraha might be an answer to the indignity of terror. Satyagraha can fight terror and shame it into civility. Let us first examine the contrast.
Terror is contemptuous of the body, indifferent to the suffering of the victim. Satyagraha uses the body as the vehicle of truth and uses suffering to create compassion. It offers the dignity of vulnerability to the indifference of terrorism.
Terror paralyses through anonymity. It is always masked. Satyagraha is always a face which seeks to communicate. Terror paralyses discourse while satyagraha opens up conversation. A Gandhi would always talk to his oppressors while IS would at most "telegram" its ownership of the act of violence. Satyagraha seeks the ethics of responsibility. Terror owns the act of violence but disowns the responsibility for it.
Terror emphasises invulnerability. Satayagraha begins from vulnerability. Terror paralyses agency and satyagraha seeks to revive it. Watching Sharmila, one senses the vulnerability of a fragile woman and yet the strength of agency which has survived over decades.
Terror creates shock but no surprise. It fuses politics and technology into repetitive acts of cannibalising bodies. The satyagrahi is constantly inventing. Terror destroys normalcy while the satyagrahi seeks to restore normalcy and in pondering over its delights. Irom Sharmila insists that when AFSPA is repealed, she will marry a man she loves and live an ordinary life.
The satyagraha speaks truth to power while terror seeks to challenge power through violence. The women of Manipur know that insurgence is no answer to development. They are not looking for mock heroics but the ordinariness and everydayness of life and its rituals.
Satyagraha seeks justice. Terror, at the most, can speak the language of revenge. In fact, terror depoliticises politics by invoking the redundancy of security discourse, while satyagraha is an invitation to politics, to its constant reinventions. The satyagrahi summons speech while terror invites the constant noise of violence.
In terms of drama, satyagraha is the politics of theatre, but terror has no real sense of dialogue, drama or spectatorship. The protests of the women of Manipur standing naked before the Assam Rifles headquarters saying, "Rape us too" conveys drama while bin Laden, for all the publicity, conveys no sense of speech, no inventiveness of language, no sense of surprise. The redundancy and the excess of terror elude drama. Terror destroys storytelling while satyagraha unfolds as an epic story.
The message of Irom Sharmila is the message of Václav Havel, of Mahatma Gandhi, of Martin Luther King; that out of vulnerability can come the agency which emancipates, which understands the other as it battles him.
Our terrorists and our security discourses seek only dominance and control, not understanding. The discourse that Mr. Obama spouts shows little understanding of the evils enacted by the U.S. Narendra Modi shows little sense of the suffering of the North East. In fact the term North East is itself a violence to the diversity of communities in the area. The women of Manipur are asking for the gift of normalcy, the right to everydayness which allows a citizen to pursue life and liberty.
[...] At this moment one realises the voyeurism of India in seeking the same securitarian pomposity as the U.S. Yet, as spectacles, Mr. Obama will be forgotten while Sharmila's acts of conscience prompt us to rethink history.
Sharmila too talks of development but it is the story of village and family, of craft and biomass societies confronting the new developmentalist state.
New kind of democracy
Security, and its sibling, terror, create spectacles while satyagraha unfolds as a drama. Imagine for a moment that one narrowed such drama to a spectacle of tableaux on Republic Day. Imagine a Republic Day without the military, the uniforms and the preening aircraft. Think of our satyagrahis as a tableau of events beginning with Gandhi and Ghaffar Khan. Add to it Mahasweta Devi, the Bengali writer, talking of bonded labour like a sad old aunt. Think of Aruna Roy leading the protest of the poor of Rajasthan, demanding a right to information. Imagine the displaced survivors of the Narmada Dam sitting immersed in water to remind India that development is a kind of amnesia. Think of Ela Bhatt of SEWA claiming that world peace begins with women's work. Add to it the protest of Manipur and of Irom Sharmila sitting quietly, giggling over one of her drawings and surrounded by security guards. Such tableaux make words like security, development, sovereignty empty. They seek to create a new kind of democracy.
The juxtaposition of two news events this week showed us the possibility of two kinds of politics. Thereports of Irom Sharmila hardly extended to a paragraph; an indifferent footnote in some newspapers. The Modi-Obama serenade, with its chorus of commentary, swallowed our newspapers, where even attention went into First Lady Michelle Obama's dress. I do not think there was a photograph of Irom in any newspaper. I think The Telegraph was possibly the one newspaper that reported the struggle in detail.
As I sat and wrote this article on a cold winter's day, while roads all over Delhi were blocked in a display of efficiency, I wondered who would survive as history; who would be the greater exemplar of politics and the politics of hope that democracy creates.
Would it be Narendra Modi and his dreams of India as Prussian state? Was it Mr. Obama, the President, who promised so much and offered so little, desperate to create a few crumbs of history by clinching a nuclear deal with India? Or would it be Irom Sharmila and her craft of peace, seeking normalcy, an ordinariness in a society which prefers the state as a constant spectacle, and where politics is a continuous act of conspicuous consumption in terms of security, luxury and the pomposity of power? To me, the quietness of Sharmila wins over the noise of the Modi-Obama political machine.
As a satyagrahi, I am sure Sharmila would have liked to send them a greeting card, inviting them to come to Manipur. I think it is the Irom Sharmilas, the Mahasweta Devis and the Ela Bhatts who have to colour the imagination of India and take it beyond the triteness of state politics. The storyteller has to return to narrate these events, for what goes as news today is a travesty of peace and history.
(Shiv Visvanathan is a professor at Jindal School of Government and Public Policy.)
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
(Select the option with given a,e for the case where you have all
sides of set length and have to calculate everything else.)
Other solid geometries:
Actually they have calculators for everything:
Friday, January 16, 2015
PRESS NOTE: NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
Supreme Court Social Justice Bench directs GRAs to dispose of all pending complaints of Sardar Sarovar Oustees by 28th February, 2015
M.P. appoints 5 judges, Guj commits to appoint 2 judges on GRA
M.P. Maha and Guj to file Compliance Report on about 3000 complaints on 10th March : Next Hearing on 13th March
16th Jan, 2015: In a significant development with regard to the rehabilitation of thousands of families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project on the Narmada River, the Supreme Court today issued a clear directive to the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs) of the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat to dispose of all pending cases by 28th February, 2015. Delivering the Order, the Division Bench of Hon'ble Justice Madan Lokur and Justice U.U. Lalit directed the States to submit compliance reports by 10th March and has listed the matter for further hearing on the 13th March, 2015.
In compliance with the previous Order of the same Bench dated 9th January, the Govt. of M.P filed an affidavit conveying appointment of Jst. (Retd) A.K. Sharma; Jst. (Retd) S.S. Dwivedi, Jst. (Retd) Indrani Dutta, Jst. (Retd) I.S. Shrivastava and Jst. (Retd) G.D. Saxena - 5 Retired Judges of the High Court to work full time as GRA, M.P. Govt. of Guj has committed to appoint 2 Judges for grievance redressal. Govt. of Maharashtra has committed that the present GRA, Jst. Bagga would dedicate more time to hear all cases. It was also directed that the GRAs would be assisted by one Retd. Dist. Judge, 1 Addl. Collector and 2 Deputy Collectors in each state. The GRAs are also required to make filed visits, wherever necessary.
The Order was issued, by the Bench, while hearing applications filed by oustees from various affected villages and Narmada Bachao Andolan, challenging the recent decision of the Narmada Control Authority dt. 12th June, 2014 to raise the height of the dam from 121.92 mts to 138.68 mts as unconstitutional and in violation of the Narmada Tribunal's Award, previous judgements of the Supreme Court, which mandated that raise in dam height shall only be after rehabilitation of all the oustees upto full height and its back water. The Applications also challenged the false claims that there would be no 'additional submergence'.
Pleading for the oustees, Counsel Sanjay Parikh informed the Court that even as on date, the rehabilitation of thousands of oustees as per law, is pending, while the dam height has been increased and construction has commenced, leading to grave violation of the fundamental rights of the oustees. He informed the Court that the procedure for dam height raise laid down by the 2000 and 2005 judgements has been grossly violated by the Environment and Rehabilitation Sub Groups of the NCA and the NCA itself. He also questioned the legality of the ongoing dam work, when it is already proved that the conditional clearance to raise the dam height from 110.64 to 121.92 mts has been violated and thousands of oustees, already thrown in the submergence zone are not yet rehabilitated and have been defrauded by a nexus of officials and agents, whose acts are being inquired into by a Judicial Commission in M.P.
Applicant-in-person, Medha Patkar submitted that there are already hundreds of orders of the GRAs, where compliance is pending and oustees have already faced impacts of unlawful submergence. She pointed out NCA's Annual Report of 2013 which admitted more than 2300 families are yet to get land in M.P alone, more than 1000 adivasi oustees in Maharashtra and a few hundred in Gujarat are without land, civic amenities; thousands of landless, fish workers, potters are yet to be ensured alternative livelihood, as per law in M.P. The Hon'ble Supreme has assured the applicants that it would afford full hearing and deal with all substantive questions of legal violations, including the legality of raise in dam height on 13th March, 2015.
Yogini Khanolkar Kamla Yadav Bilal Khan Bhagirath
Ph: 09179148973 / 09423965153 / 09818905316
National Alliance of People's Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 24374535 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org | napmindia [at] gmail.com
Thursday, January 15, 2015
David Icke Exposes the Difference Between Judaism and Zionism, Between
War and Genocide, and Between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism
I'm only noticing this right now : Obama did not bring any other
people of colour in his staff. All the main positions are held by
people nearly identical to Bush's administration. Including people who
are publicly steadfasts zionists. It's just been a nominal
black-placement in the President's seat. If a genuinely multiracial
regime had come to Washngton, as people believed at the 2008 US
elections, we'd be seeing a totally different kind of administration
Exposing colleges' tactics of attaching the glorified pursuit of knowledge, to their high cost programs
(you'll have to watch it full, or you might misconstrue this video to
be a racist/sexist rant or so)
I liked the fact that he cut through the tactic that latches a
glorified pursuit of knowledge with spending huge amounts of money and
getting into lifelong debt, and introduced the idea that these things
can be pursued equally or even better outside of the colleges' walls.
The second part (the money and the debt!) is very casually forgotten
in many debates about liberal arts /social studies vs engineering,
medicine etc. We need to learn how to cut through the divide.
I have more to share at length; kept it after the links below.
Warning: May be uncomfortable for some.
Another film that I would recommend especially to members of the
homeschooling community who aren't yet extending their critical focus
beyond higher secondary schools:
Scholarslip: A documentary about the student debt crisis
For further more detailed investigation into the college myth, I'd
recommend the "Disciplined Minds" audiobook listed here:
http://www.unwelcomeguests.net/Category:Audiobooks (free) (the other
books there are also awesome)
Nikhil's personal, practical and no-holds-barred opinion:
I feel that parents, especially in the homsechooling community, who
want to dispute the traditional domination of
engineering/medicine/finance, are very susceptible to these programs.
In many cases, they come as a relief; as something that we can finally
show to our peers as proof that the decision to homeschool/unschool
our children was a right one. It portrays as a viable step to enable
our child's transition to being part of the real, mainstream world.
Of course, facilitating our kids to pursue their passions is
important. But I just want to point out that you don't need to spend a
lifetime's worth of savings on it; the institutions that take all this
money are NOT delivering the value you think they will, and you really
need to do the detective work and investigate exactly what kind of
damage they're causing to the children entrusted to them. Their
interests are not aligned with your children's best interests. There
ARE other ways, and just because they don't glitter as much doesn't
mean they're not good enough for your child.
And those who think that it's ok as they can afford it : that they can
afford to send their child to a liberal arts program or the like at so
and so university in US or New Zealand or UWC or wherever: I'm sorry,
but you're doing all the other parents not as rich as you a great
disservice, because you are giving credibility to the scam, and they
are getting pressured to mimic you.
Let's be practical here: If you just took all the money you're
planning on spending on your child's college and put it into an FD or
something similar that starts to give a basic monthly payout in three
or four years time (when you would expect your child to start earning
for self), and let it take care of part or all of the basic living
expenses of your child for her/his whole life, then THAT would truly
liberate your child to pursue her/his passions and find a meaningful,
fulfilling way to live their life. And the "investment" remains with
you; it's not vanished into someone else's pockets. Your kid is not
left with a lifelong burden of recovering this investment. When they
start to be financially self-sustaining, they can just return that sum
back to you.. heck, it was never gone. (Now don't get too greedy about
interest and all.. the college wouldn't even have returned you your
If that thing your child wants to do, is just not available in a
proper quality locally or in your country, then that's actually an
opportunity for entrepreneurship. Or, maybe you're not looking in the
right places. It might not be being taught here, but it might be
getting practiced, and an apprenticeship could be on the cards. Or,
maybe your kid has a multitude of interests, including things that are
locally available, and this is just one single petal in that flower
that you've fixated upon and hyped up as an adoring parent who thinks
their child is oh-so unique. (Ouch! "Jab dil pe lagegi, tabhi toh baat
And as to what all that amazing program offers : Yes, it's possible
now (maybe not in 1990 but definitely now) to find that peer group and
"exposure" and opportunities that the glitzy university program is
promising. Yes, you can let your child travel to other places that
aren't big colleges, intern with people doing the work she/he is
interested in, and learn on-the-job. And Yes, you CAN let your
children explore their sexuality closer to home, so they don't need to
take the cover of a far-away college program just to get away from you
and seek out the autonomy over their bodies that they want at this
Oh, you think that's not a primary motivating factor for an 18 year
old on par with "more learning" and "greater opportunities"? It looks
ridiculous, but we live in ridiculous and desperate times. We do spend
multiple lakhs of our parents' money just so we can get a proper
chance to explore our sexuality and the phenomenon of being in love
with someone. If we get that chance, we jump for it and cool-ly play
along and agree whole-heartedly with all the other reasonings, taking
great care that this aspect never enters the discussion. Let's admit
to it. And I hope this gets taken as a practical feedback on what's
really important in life, rather than being decried.
We're already refuting so many false assumptions of what human beings
are.. why don't we just take it logically forward and apply it to our
own children? NO, they're NOT going to become lazy bums if they know
that their basic survival needs are guaranteed. That will only bring
them closer to a state that every living being on this planet is
supposed to be in anyway : there is enough in this world for
everyone's needs but not for everyone's greed, remember? Our
conventional value of "earning a living" : which wasn't in existence
100 years ago : is what is killing our planet.That's not the primary
function, or motive, of living beings. Please do some research on this
"value" : who introduced it into popular culture and with what
motives. (The audiobook on Debt listed at that unwelcomeguests link is
a great resource in this topic)
To sum up hastily, No, human beings do not need to attend extremely
expensive college courses in order to be successful or happy or more
knowledgeable or more experienced or "exposed" in life; in simple
practical terms there's a world of better things you'd rather do with
that money / absence of debt.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Uses Black Money for Election Campaign? -> No.
Results after applying filter :
1 entry remaining: AAP.
That's it, no more comparisons possible.
Whatever else you throw up for one or against the other, this basic critical criteria has been met by one party and not the others.
"Will do dharna again" >> By what logic? Are you saying that the Central govt, ie, Modi Sarkar, is going to continue to let crimes against women : rapes, bride-burning, killing etc happen and will continue to order Delhi Police to look the other way and not do its duty? Because it was THIS situation that caused the dharna the last time. Police were kept too busy collecting bribes and facilitating black money collection, and were actively prevented from doing their real jobs. To say that this will happen again, means to say that Modi Sarkar is going to continue making Delhi unsafe for women. What would that imply about the character of the Central govt? What are you trying to imply?
There's no need to over-complicate things.
Friday, January 9, 2015
since he took office as PM this year.
Because Delhi state has been under direct Central rule since February 2013.
It can get confusing when we consider the nitty gritties of Presidents
Rule, governors etc, but here's a delineator : The President of India
does NOT have the kind of autonomy from the Prime Minister's Office as
the Chief Ministers of the various States of India do.
Which means, in comparison with a time when there was a Chief Minister
in charge of Delhi, today, it is under Central government rule. No,
the arrangement isn't such that no one is in charge : someone IS in
charge, someone IS to be held accountable for the day to day issues of
the state even if exactly WHO that someone is may be shrouded in
legalese. And as of today, those in charge of Delhi, ultimately have
to report to the Central Government.. the PMO. Such is not the case in
State governments. Though at an informal level such has been made the
case in all the states where BJP has recently won state elections by
promising Modi Sarkar.. essentially turning them into an informal kind
of Presidential Rule. Where the Chief Ministers are acting more as
Governors, where they will owe their seat's occupancy to whether the
PM approves of them or not and not to whether the people of that Sate
approve of them or not.
So whoever talks about bringing Modi Sarkar in Delhi, just a polite
reminder : It's already there. It is physically impossible to bring
something to Delhi that has already snuck in by default.
And whoever believes something great and good will happen by bringing
Modi Sarkar to Delhi, newsflash : Something in that direction should
have already begun by now.
So, do you notice anything different in Delhi?
In matters of life and death, such as safety of women or survival of
the poorest of the poor during the winter, to allege that Modi Sarkar
will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for them till after the elections happen,
and combined with the fact that the Central govt, both past and
present, and the BJP party, has very clearly had a role to play in
indefinitely delaying of elections all this time, would amount to an
act of holding the people of Delhi to ransom, and abandoning of duties
of leadership in favour of electoral politicking. In comparison,
during its 49-day stint, the AAP initiated a slew of far-reaching
measures despite having a 100% guarantee that they will not complete
their term and need a re-election to secure their position. The AAP
chose to do whatever could be done in the time given, rather than
holding the people of Delhi to ransom. So yeah, I'd caution anyone who
tries to defend the Central govt's role in Delhi so far : by giving
the election reason they'll actually be asserting something much more
In fact, the best way to keep Modi Sarkar in Delhi is to eliminate any
chance of elections forever. They've managed to get delayed
indefinitely since almost an year now through the confusing inactions
of Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung who, in accordance with the
on-the-ground reality of completely messing up the mandate of the
Constitution, should have lost his position by now but remains in
office without any enquiry or reprimand whatsoever : an anomaly that
years on people are going to point out and ask what the heck was that
all about! The rule of Constitution in that region should be
suspended; India's independent status at least over the territory of
Delhi should be revoked and it should be declared as a colony of the
Central Govt. That would be the best way to maintain "Modi Sarkar" in
Delhi. Again, just to point out to readers : The ongoing BJP campaign
(if they're campaigning then surely they know the election dates?) is
no longer a campaign to bring in something new : It is a campaign to
maintain, and strengthen, the status quo.
Disclaimer : Facts as they are on the ground are much more important
than anybody's for- or against- opinion.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
आमिर खान ने जब मँगल पाँडे बनकर अंग्रेजों के खिलाफ बगावत किया था ,जब अजय सिँह राठौड़ बनकर पाकिस्तानी आतँकवादी गुलफाम हसन को मारा था.जब आमिर ने फुन्सुक वाँगड़ू (रैंचो) बनकर पढ़ने और जीने का तरीका सिखाया था.जब भुवन बनकर ब्रिटिश सरकार से लड़कर अपने गाँव का लगान माफ कराया था। जब टीचर बनकर बच्चों की प्रतिभा कैसे निखारी जाए सिखाया था। सत्यमेव जयते । जिसको देख कर काफी जागरूकता आई तब आमिर एक देशभक्त और जिम्मेदार नागरिक था।..पर जब आमिर ने pk फिल्म से धर्म के नाम पर पाखण्ड और अंधविश्वास को उजागर किया है। तो एक देशभक्त और मंझा हुआ कलाकार मुसलमान हो गया। आमिर का मुसलमान के नाम पर विरोध वही कर रहे है जो चाहते है धर्म का धंधा चलता रहे। चढ़ोत्तरी आती रहे। लोग धर्म के नाम पर मरते कटते रहे ! OMG में भगवान पर मुक़दमा ठोकने वाले परेश रावल को तो संसद बना दिया और अब PK का विरोध , कुछ समझ नहीं आया।
Sunday, January 4, 2015
A Translation of the Declaration by Nathalie to English
(The original declaration is in German. As I did not write the original document, but only translated, I can only answer questions about the translation and cannot speak as the author.)
(I'd also like to extend a "Thank you" to #diaspora-de for ensuring that I retain the original meaning of each sentence to the highest degree we could.)
EDIT: Original translation was deleted because I needed to fix some bad mistakes. Sorry! Hopefully I fixed them all.
It makes me very happy that the amount of Diaspora users is currently increasing so quickly. The network is finally getting the attention that it deserves.
The problem is only that many who come from Facebook to escape its shamelessness bring along quite false expectations. They expect a social network in which they can read what their friends are doing, how they are, and where they are meeting. They are searching for an uncomplicated method of communication, that is more direct and faster than an email and less binding than a telephone conversation. An instrument to reach all contacts. They want to know what is happening in their social circle and what impels their friends in America. Through facebook they want to feel good and connected with their loved ones.
They will not find that on Diaspora. Here, strangers post their (usually politically left-leaning) ideals, philosophical text, calls for change, and evidence of unjust activity. And of course pictures of baby kittens.
The Facebook refugee is initially surprised by the alternative network and explains to himself the differences come from the still too small amount of members.
But in the end the foundational difference does not lie in the amount, but in the type of user. To the majority of the current active Diaspora users, it is not about the "social" in the network. They want an exchange of thoughts. That which Facebook does not provide. They don't want to see, twice per week, half-successful Instagram photos of half-botched cupcakes. And they also don't want to see photos of shit-faced people who are "enjoying" life in its full glory. And they also are not interested in whether unimportant person A is in an open relationship with unimportant person B.
All of that is not classy enough for Diaspora. But that is exactly what the upcoming converts will miss. In order to lure a large part of the now Facebook users here, and keep them permanently, it will be necessary to add exactly these things that do not fit Diaspora.
One could say that Facebook is a social network and Diaspora is a thought network. In Facebook it is about the relationships between people who post things. In Diaspora it is about what they posted.
If one takes "social network" literally, then ultimately Diaspora matches the phrase better than Facebook with its always-respectful interactions between users and the genuine interest in text that was written with blood, sweat, and tears. Here the people do not want to portray themselves as first in line, but want to share their thoughts with others. Everyone wins: One shares his convictions, gives thought-out Feedback, and gets new thoughts, new knowledge and answers, that can only come from collaborative thinking.
I believe that Diaspora should stay different and non-conforming like it is. Even if that means that, due to a lack of users, it can never be a new, better Facebook. Who cares?
Join us, on the truly decentralized, non-commercialized and free social/thought network : https://diasp.de (one pod among many.. see https://diasporafoundation.org/ to find out about this all from the beginning)
The conventional line of thinking is that it was the Western powers, primarily the US, that ended WW2. What we don't read and hear as often, is that in their haste to torment an older enemy, they're the ones who made WW2 happen!
This author's perspective focuses on transitioning society to a more sustainable state from a relative, doable standpoint rather than an absolutist, impossible one.
The author refutes the self-righteous delusion of criminalizing individual persons for the corruption present in society; rather he sees them as co-sufferers on the same boat, and there is a systemic phenomena that needs to be addressed at systemic, collective level.
The author also refutes the zero-sum-game hypothesis and insists that the much-misquoted 2nd Law of Thermodynamics does not apply to systems that have living beings in them; that it IS possible to increase order over time as exemplified by planet Earth's biosphere; to have win-win situations and increase prosperity for all.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
[Kerala] To make State fully organic by 2016
The government has initiated efforts to promote organic farming in all Assembly constituencies.
Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan said here on Thursday that the initiative was designed to encourage farmers to switch over to organic methods of cultivation, under a project to convert Kerala into a fully organic State by 2016. Kasaragod district had already switched over to organic farming in the pilot phase of the project.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting to review the performance of public sector undertakings, Mr. Mohanan said the agriculture sector in the State had registered a Gross State Domestic Product growth of 5.26 per cent over the last year. The production of paddy went up to 5.376 lakh tonnes though the acreage of 2.148 hectares showed little increase. The productivity of other crops such as coconut, cassava, mango, pineapple and other fruits and spices, including pepper, ginger, and turmeric, also registered an impressive growth. The domestic vegetable production had gone up to 11.9 metric tonnes.
The Minister said efforts were on to procure vegetables from farmers through Krishi Bhavans and market them through outlets of Horticorp and Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam. Simultaneously, Kerala Agricultural University and the Agriculture Department were involved in a drive to promote processing of agricultural products under the "Safe to Eat" brand.Vending machines
The government, he said, was planning to install vending machines in every panchayat to dispense neera, vegetable seeds and products manufactured by Kerafed. The project would be implemented by the departments of Agriculture and Panchayats. The daily production of neera was expected to go up to 20,000 litres by February with the commissioning of new plants by the Coconut Development Corporation at Aralam and Elathur and the KAU campuses at Vellanikara and Vellayani.
Mr. Mohanan said Kerala was expected to become self-sufficient in milk production in another three years. "By that time, we will have added 6,00,000 milch cows to the domestic bovine population, raising the milk production potential to 60 lakh litres."
Officials from 20 public sector units participated in the review.
Friday, January 2, 2015
getting glimpses at the extreme amounts of money being spent in
otherwise innocuous infrastructure development.
Example: The road and footpath on an average road in this city.. costs
more money than needed to feed, clothe and rehabilitate all the poor
people who will pass by that road and footpath.
Another example: Channeling a "nallah" or river with straight-line
cement embankments costs much more money than it takes to form a
living ecosystem with grassy, bushy soil gently merging into the
water-stream along a curving length, plus the ecosystem embankment
purifies the water flowing by, hence covering the cost of sewage
treatment plants; as well as slows it down during monsoons, thus
preventing drowning deaths.
The textbook assumption is that governments choose the cheapest
possible ways to accomplish things as budget is very limited. Another
textbook assumption is that the more proper solutions are more
expensive than the improper solutions. We know from real life
experience now that it is not so : There's actually huge quantities of
money in these treasuries, and the corrupt nature of our system
ensures that actually quite wasteful projects get sanctioned... all
because they yield a higher margin. This ground reality came out
incredibly in Satyamev Jayate's episode on waste management.
amazing, totally eco-friendly project that can heal huge landfills
permanently and sustainably.. owing to its dirt-cheap cost, got
rejected in favour of an unsustainable, cover-up solution that costed
ten times more money.
A common refrain I hear is that the ecologically damaging projects are
being done as they give a good "margin".
On the other hand, eco-friendly alternatives are being shown again and
again to have much lower expenses than the cement/concrete/etc
(Disclaimer: Advocates of expensive solutions like electric vehicles
and solar streetlights and complex patented materials that require
high-tech to fabricate, please walk elsewhere.. there's nothing for
you here. Sustainable means easy-to-make, locally sourced. And it
means adapting needs and ways to suit what's available rather than
stubbornly sticking to unsustainable practices disguised as needs. If
you don't get that then you don't understand sustainability.)
Well, HELLO! If it's cheaper, then why don't we make the eco-friendly,
pro-sustainability projects such that they fetch the deciding powers
even higher margin?
Example: You have a citywide urban farming project that'll cost, say,
Rs.10 lakhs. And the output looks awesome.. like most of the
sustainable solutions it's something that looks like it's grand but
actually has very simple and hence cheap origins. You take the project
to the administration, and bill it at Rs.50 Lakh, and tell them they
can keep the extra Rs.40 Lakh.
That's a freakin' 80% margin right there! Way better than most
So, how about it! Use sustainability's cheapness to make it even more
lucrative for the fat cats; get pilot, proof-of-concept projects off
the website and on the ground. Later when there is enquiry and
exposure of the gap between cost price and list price, the project
will have already proved its usefulness through its existence smack
inside the city, within easy reach of all inquisitive minds, and the
message that carries through will be : "Shit, this is so damn cheap,
AND it works! Let's do this!"
So, calling out to the regular and would-be isshmaart contractors :
Change the materials and designs you use to make an even bigger
fortune, AND build a brighter future for your children; both at the
Disclaimer : This author's perspective focuses on transitioning
society to a more sustainable state from a relative, doable
standpoint rather than an absolutist, impossible one. The author
refutes the self-righteous delusion of criminalizing individual
persons for the corruption present in society; rather he sees them as
co-sufferers on the same boat, and there is a systemic phenomena that
needs to be addressed at systemic, collective level. The author also
refutes the zero-sum-game hypothesis and insists that the
much-misquoted 2nd Law of Thermodynamics does not apply to systems
that have living beings in them; that it IS possible to increase order
over time as exemplified by planet Earth's biosphere; to have win-win
situations and increase prosperity for all. If you dispute the
solutions proposed then please provide something in exchange that is
even more easily doable, not less; and also provide your underlying