Showing posts from February, 2015

Chhattisgarh govt says staff can join RSS, service rules don’t apply

Kicking off a political storm, the Chhattisgarh government has issued a notification that allows government servants to join RSS and participate in its activities. The Chhattisgarh Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1965 prohibit a government servant from taking part in politics. “No government servant shall be member of, or be otherwise associated with, any political party or any organisation which takes part in politics nor shall he take part in, subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or activity,” states Rule 5(1). ***************************** NB: The 'parivar' repeatedly flaunts its political interests, intervenes in selection of senior BJP functionaries, campaigns vigorously in elections; and then claims it is non-political. Who are they trying to fool? Why not be honest for a change, instead of clever? This same controversy happened in t he year 2000, when the Gujarat government of Keshubhai Patel with the support of the Vajpayee g

Meet the people the government won't allow Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai to talk about

A Greenpeace photographer captures the lives of mahua collectors in Mahan forest, which is at risk of being turned into a coal block. Every year in March, the tribal residents of the Mahan forest in Madhya Pradesh gather mahua fruits falling off trees and sell them to make a living. But this year, as they wait for the collection season to begin, there is a threat real looming over them: the Indian government is considering allocating a coal block in the region that is bound to have ruinous effects.  It was this danger and these people that Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai had wanted to bring to attention last month when the Indian government had muscled in.  In January, Pillai was offloaded from a flight to London on the orders of the central government. She was travelling there to testify before a British parliamentary committee on the impact that a coal mining project by the London-based company Essar would have on the tribal population of Singrauli near the Mahan forest. The gover

सत्य की हत्या

This is a translation of my article  The Abolition of truth   posted on January 29, 2015  The translation may be read  at: article10709.html

Tea garden workers struggle for better wages

Statement of Tripartite Wage Agreement  We are shocked by the tripartite wage agreement signed on 20.2.2015 in the presence of the State Government in West Bengal. The agreement has provided a raise of Rs.37.50 over three years to tea plantation workers in Terai and Doars and Rs.42.50 to workers in Darjeeling. Workers will therefore be paid a miserly amount of Rs. 112 .50 in the first year, Rs.122.50 in the second year and finally Rs. 132.50 in the third year.  These amount to starvation wages and are likely to worsen conditions of poverty and malnutrition amongst tea plantation workers. We are thus likely to continue to get shameful reports of starvation deaths in an industry that is a huge export earner and has a flourishing and ever expanding domestic market. By no logic can such an increase be justified. Firstly it comes nowhere near the repeatedly articulated demand by the workers for minimum wages, which all unions had calculated to be between Rs.285 and Rs.345.

'Syriza wins time—and space' by Étienne Balibar and Sandro Mezzadra

By  Mike Watson  / 23 February 2015 Alongside the comments made by  Costas Lapavitsas  and  Stathis Kouvelakis  on the Greek government's "capitulation" in the Eurogroup negotiations,  Étienne Balibar  and Sandro Mezzadra argue for a different approach to the present moment. ‘How I became an erratic Marxist’ So is it true, as many of the papers tell us, that Athens has given in to the Eurogroup’s demands (as  La Repubblica  puts it) or that it has take the first step toward returning to austerity policies (as the  Guardian reports)? If we believe certain leaders of the left wing of Syriza, the new government’s courage didn’t last long, and the ‘capitulation’ has already begun… It is a little bit early to pass judgement on the agreements made at the Eurogroup meeting. Only in the next few days will the technical details be published, and only then will we be able to gauge their full political meaning. However, in the meantime, here we are going to suggest a diffe

R K Misra - Pinstripe Politics And The Deadly Design

Put up along with 400 other gifts received by Modi after taking over as PM, the suit remained the focal point of attraction for the rich and the famous as well as the poor and the bunched. In the fray were textile magnates and diamond merchants and even a school teacher. Was it a mere coincidence that many of these who went around with cheque in hand had figured in income-tax raids and records? “I have been absolved,” said one under media questioning, while the other claimed no misdemeanor was proven. Nursery school teacher Rajesh Maheshwari who offered Rs 1.25 crore claimed to have stitched the bid through a collection of Rs 50,000 from 250 people! The coming events were casting their shadows ahead on media persons’ ‘whatsapp’ groups in Gujarat much in advance. That a Rs 5 crore target had been fixed  in deference  to instructions ‘from above’ was known on Day-2.Gujarati daily Divya Bhaskar carried a pictorial report by its Surat correspondent showing undated but signed cheques w

Isis burns thousands of rare books and manuscripts from Mosul's libraries

Isis militants have reportedly ransacked Mosul library, burning over a hundred thousand rare manuscripts and documents spanning centuries of human learning. Initial reports said approximately 8,000 books were destroyed by the extremist group. However,  AL RAI ’s chief international correspondent Elijah J. Magnier told  The Independent  that a Mosul library official believes as many as 112, 709 manuscripts and books, some of which were registered on a UNESCO rarities list, are among those lost.  Mosul Public Library’s director Ghanim al-Ta’an said Isis militants then demolished the building using explosive devices. “People tried to prevent the terrorist group elements from burning the library, but failed,” a local source told . READ MORE:  MILITANTS KIDNAP UP TO 90 ASSYRIAN CHRISTIANS ASSYRIAN CHRISTIAN MILITIA KEEP WELL-ARMED MILITANTS AT BAY Other reports indicated that Isis militants later broke into the library and constructed a huge pyre of scientific

Govind Pansare consigned to flames, his voice echoes in supporters

The social activist and veteran Communist leader is no more. But his voice will live on. His supporters are ensuring that it will. They had launched a fast-unto-death after Govind Pansare and his wife were shot at when they were returning from their routine morning walk in Kolhapur. In Pune, supporters of Pansare and his views started the fast in protest against the attack. The leader passed away in Mumbai on Friday and his mortal remains were consigned to flames on Saturday in Kolhapur. There is anger among the activists. They have resolved to continue their agitation until the state government “wakes up and acts decisively against the killers”.  Harshal Lohakare, Ashwini Satav Doke, Rajan Dhandekar and Hanumant Pawar started their fast on Monday, seeking immediate arrest of the killers of Pansare. On Saturday afternoon, blood tests on the activists showed a fall in blood sugar. They were advised by doctors to get admitted to hospital. The activists refused to comply. “We are her

Protest march in Mumbai University, Kalina against the killing of Comrade Govind Pansare - Feb 26, Kalini campus, I pm


Priya Pillai: 'Speaking out is the most patriotic thing I have ever done'

Priya, a Greenpeace activist, was offloaded from a flight to London where she was to address a group of British parliamentarians about tribal and environment violations in India. The Indian government, on its part, defended the Look Out Notice against her saying her 'deposition' before a British parliamentary committee would have been 'prejudicial to national interest'. By Priya Pillai Over the last few weeks, I have been branded anti-national, a conspirator, a paid mercenary, a mole and a  doodh mein makhi –  and all because I was going to talk to an All Party Parliamentary Group of MPs in London about the violations of Indian laws by a multinational company with a registered office in London. I have watched as BJP spokespeople spout the letters ‘APPG’ in TV debate after TV debate, as if the All Party Parliamentary Group is the powerful instrument of global foreign policy making. I have read the government's affidavit which espouses confidently that my ‘depo

Mark Lindley - Islam and the military in modern Turkish politics

Turkey's military officers are all secularists (unlike many American military officers), and there is a clear historical reason for this. Their predecessors a hundred years ago were in the service of a decadent imperial regime—Westerners called it "the sick man of Europe"—which was hanging on partly by claiming that the sultan was the caliph, the successor to Muhammed. That claim entailed for the Ottoman state the task of defending Muslims against Christians in a vast geographical area including the Crimea, Bulgaria, Egypt, Lebanon, Greece etc.; and a group of Turkish generals, among whom most brilliant politician was later named "Atatürk," meaning "father of the Turks," saw that that task was too much; so, after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I and then the allies occupied Istanbul for four post-war years, the Turkish army not only drove them out of Istanbul but also overthrew the sultan and founded the republic in 1923 with a new capit

John Naughton - Google and tech’s elite are living in a parallel universe

The gap between the richly rewarded few of tech firms and banks and the rest of us is growing wider. Blame the digital revolution Someone once observed that the difference between Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher was that whereas Thatcher believed that she was always right, Blair believed not only that he was right but also that he was  good . Visitors to the big technology companies in California come away with the feeling that they have been talking to tech-savvy analogues of Blair. They are fired with a zealous conviction that they are doing great stuff for the world, and proud of the fact that they work insanely hard in the furtherance of that goal. The fact that they are richly rewarded for their dedication is, one is given to believe, incidental. The guys (and they are mostly guys) who manage these good folk are properly respectful of their high-IQ charges. Chief among them is Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and a man who takes his responsibilities seriously.

Gujarat protest march against Modi government’s land acquisition ordinance

“They talked about land rights and development, food and what not. But when they become kings they do not remember us lesser mortals. If he does not give us land rights, we will go to Delhi, throw him out of his house and say we will live here now.” - Maya, a sharecropper from Jhansi Yatish Mehta is a diamond merchant. He has had three bypass surgeries and has walked 33 km in the last three days in a procession of 5,000 against the Narendra Modi government’s land acquisition ordinance. He hails from Surat, the city from where another businessman has paid more than Rs 4 crore for a suit with a name weaved in it. “I handed over my business to my sons and joined Ekta Parishad some years back. I am working with weavers in Mahakoshal in Madhya Pradesh, trying to build a market for their products. I am walking ahead of these people because I cannot walk fast; I have a heart condition and diabetes. I start before the others,” he says, while the crowd breaks into yet another song abou

VRINDA GOPINATH - Chasing The Wrong Story Using the OSA in the “corporate espionage” case is a bad idea. Journalist Santanu Saikia must be released

Media ignorance and incompetence is evident from its hysterical reporting of the “corporate espionage” in the Petroleum Ministry. Now, ministry officials who have been stealing the documents (two serving and two former employees) have been duly arrested by the Delhi Police, should a journalist who runs a petroleum website be arrested too? For starters, every media organization refers to journalist Santanu Saikia, who runs Indian Petro Group, a web portal that disseminates oil and energy news, as a “former journalist.” In fact, Saikia is an accredited journalist with the Government of India, and is listed in the Press Information Bureau as “Correspondent.” If this is not a case of stupidity, then is it deliberate ploy to confound the issue? After all, there’s nothing like including a hack to primp up a story of corporate espionage, document stealing, illicit trade, etc. More importantly, which newspaper, news television channel or news organization has not brandished official and cl