Monday, April 28, 2008

shame beyond words,
shame beyond eyes,
shame beyond human instinct
shame on everybody,

shame on india,
shame on the land of gautama
shame on the glory of mahatma
shame on me,
shame on you,
shame on everybody who is an indian...

the continued detention without trial of dr.binayak sen is a shame without words. anant patwardan, the filmmaker, has written a thought provoking article on dr.binayak sen arrest.

even to put this mildly, india is truly in idi amin territory. no words can describe this shame of arresting a well known health and human rights activist and even worse putting him in continous detention without trial.

as an indian citizen, i am ashamed most today. as a human being i have nowhere to hide. indian government should release dr.binayak sen ASAP without conditions.

1000 criminals can escape but NOT even one innocent should be jailed said arrignar anna. in binayak case we have not arrested one innocent but we have bought the ENTIRE indian human justice system to a grinding halt.

amongst the mineral wealth in chattisgarh and amongst the continuous talk of fake development, this administration (the central government and the one at the state level in chattisgarh) has lost all its moral authority to continue in office by arresting and detaining dr.binayak sen under totally false allegations.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

they said it, they are saying now and they will say in the future. but the 'say' thing will never translate into any real action.

that is the talk of development in india and Kalingarayan canal pollution issue in tamilnadu is a classic example of that.

with hundreds of textile and dyeing units making a killing exporting textiles and garments, the Kalingarayan canal gets polluted in a very big way affecting tens of thousands of acres of farmland.

'they' i refer is the tamilnadu pollution control which keeps on posturing but doing nothing to control pollution.

nobody is against tirupur being the textile hub of tamilnadu but that textile hub should not destroy the livelihood of virtually thousands of farmers livelihood.

well, when destruction is another of development in india what can one say?
(file picture from hindu showing the polluted kalingarayan canal in tamilnadu which gives a death blow to cauvery that flow in tamilnadu side.)

gujarat, a great place with great coastal area, is well known for its development agenda. the current government-which is hugely liable and which was never taken to task on gujarat genocide- actively promotes industries of all sort right from chemical hubs to dangerous ship breaking and what not.

one huge casualty on this mindless development is the assault of coastal areas of gujarat. as the story in ibnlive tells us, even big companies with mega multi thousands crore stuff care a damn about people when it comes to their ruthless pursuit of money making.

the company in question in this case is essar. and as per the story is likely doing illegal massive dredging to facilitate movement of their vessels. any dredging activity like this done on massive scale can throw haywire the entire ecology of the region affecting the livelihood of people who depend on activities like fishing.

essar's website says 'a positive a++ttiude'. may we add 'a -ve vision'. oh yeah right, that -ve vision is called development in india.

Friday, April 25, 2008

i am a huge fan of medha patkar. the lady who bought the attention of the world to the dam madness in narmada and india is a beacon of hope for those who are fighting for just causes.

but of late she is becoming very very strict in her cause i guess. yesterday in athirappilly she had some statements and they are:

a. she wants the kerala CM and senior politician VS to do some soul searching
b. she wants to declare special environment zones in india to protect crucial ecosystems.
c. she wants india to conduct proper environmental impact assessment and public hearings.
d. she wants local people and local tribes to be taken into confidence for destructive projects.

hmmm..medhaji i think you are really serious. if all the above are done then how can fake development continue. how can the relentless pursuit of 10% gdp growth continue. how can the contracts, businessmen and politicians make money, money and more money....

all the above 4 points if ever done in india will be a miracle. a 8th world wonder. in many countries across the world the above 4 points is important (california for instance or say denmark for instance), but in india all above 4 points are non important, non entities and non existent.

when the only purpose is money, money and more money and that too in the backs of the ecosystem and poor, the media, officials, politicians and businessmen all act deaf and dumb.

you might have noticed this. you will have a fight with a weaker person (whether it is a friend or a brother or a stranger) and you will hit him/her real hard and they will cry. you will then tell 'cho cho cho..' and hit again and again till they get pummeled into submission.

you win. they lose. you are correct. they are wrong. you are an very educated person. they are stupid. you are all too powerful and all knowing. they are illiterates.

it seems to be the same logic with our industry minister who ministry has pursued the ruthless SEZ, who ministry has no idea on sustainable development and whose only goal is money, money and more money.

no latest pollution control standards being adoped by the industry ministry, small scale industries has been virtually kicked out, pollution chemical and leather hubs being touted as magic, the cruel SEZ being touted as the greatest thing ever happen to india.

after all these beatings, like the stronger person delivers to the other guy, the industry minister says 'cho, cho, cho..' and tells that india is really poor with 300 million poor people and again continues the beating saying that more people should come to industries to work.

has the minister ever known the root cause of poverty. has the minister ever wondered of creating agri zones along with agriculture ministry instead of ruthless SEZ, has the minister ever cared about how massive pollution is destroying rural india and ecosystem, has the industry minister ever visited north east india and other parts where our ecosystem is being torn down in name of massive fake dams.

but the beatings continues and also the 'cho, cho, cho....'

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

medha patkar is visiting athirappilly location to express solidarity with the protesters who have been on satyagraha since feb 25th 2008.

below is the note from chalakudy river protection forum.

Dear friends,

We are glad to inform you that,

Declaring solidarity to our movement against construction of
a dam at Athirappilly,

Medha Patkar visits Chalakudy

on 25.04.2008 at 7.30 am
When the Indefinite Satyagraha crosses two months since 25th February 2008.

We attach the poster with this mail. Please forward the same
to your friends and well wishers of nature


Murari for Chalakudyriver Protection Forum

Chalakudyriver Protection Forum


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

as india, indian upper middle urban elite, media newspapers, etc forgets what human rights out to be in tibet, in darfur, in burma, in jammu&kashmir and in other parts of the world, they need not look no further than central indian state of chattisgarh.

dr.binayak sen has been held without trial on anti terrorism charges. the word stupidity has no meaning in india as dr.binayak sen case illustrates.

a honest doctor, an ultimate human being who stood for the tribals in the remote areas of chattisgarh and who voluntarily came down from kolkatta to face false charges has been under arrest WITHOUT TRIAL for many months.

he has been awarded 2008 jonathan mann award for global health and human rights.

india should bow its head in massive shame on such a brutal action that it has committed on one of its illustrous sons. the land of buddha and gandhi should weep and beg for pardon from this great human being who worked to improve the lives and human rights of marginal mine workers in chattisgarh.

no wonder, when it comes to tibet, in iraq, in darfur, in burma and in many other places of the world, upper elite class of india, indian newsmedia and indian government has no clue on what human rights mean.

Monday, April 21, 2008

the rampant fake development that is being carried over in india has made politicians, policy makers, businessmen, media and the urban elite totally deaf. deaf in the sense that any alternative view will be dismissed as 'anti development'.

in the fight against this fake development, legal recourse (albeit as a last resort) is an important area. now the fake development camp wants to curb this legal recourse also.

now this camp wants to block PILs against big mega ruthless destructive projects. to quote,
"The petition said such PILs resulted in escalation of project cost and cited the case of the Narmada dam, Tehri dam and the Taj Corridor projects which were allegedly delayed due to litigation."

so if it is destructive ruthless projects such as narmada or tehri or athirapally or the numerous north east dams, then people with conscience and people who are affected should step aside so that big business and contractors can make a killing out tribals, environment and the ecosystem.

fake development in india seems to be having no bounds and if this crucial legal recourse is taken away, then truly law will be blind.

china finally thanked india. yep. the chinese government thanked india for putting "great efforts" for the olympic torch run in Delhi.

the olympic torch in delhi was virutally a military affair with multiple cordons of security and obviously no damage was done to the flame.

and funnily the chinese government also thanked the "warm support and participation" of indian people for the olympic torch run.

i think the chinese communist-in-facade-capitalist government is mistaken. indian people are never against china as country and the hard working honest warm chinese people as fellow citizens. what indian people should stand up is against the brutality in tibet, the cleansing that is happening tibet and other atrocious human rights behavior of the paranoid chinese government.

whether it is iraq or burma or tibet or jammu & kashmir or gujarat or north east india or chattisgarh or srilanka, wherever human rights violations occur india should express polite but strong disapproval. this is land of mahatma and buddha. this is land of thousand civilisations and ancient cultures and respect for human beings. this is the land in which tibetians, kashmiris, srilankan tamils, bangladeshis all have found refuge and have shared the meagre resources of the land.

the land that gave mahatma and buddha to the world should never turn the other way when it comes to human rights. oil, money, luxury, 'development', etc are definitely important but more super important is respect for human rights and fellow human beings.

the land that never says no to humans should never say no to human rights.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

looks like tata's titanium project that was being bulldozed in tuticorin may have hit a snag. a snag that is real welcome. i had blogged on this in end of last year. you might want to catch up on the corpwatch article also on this project.

when it comes to mega projects, all things are thrown to the wind. what is in front of the eyes of businessmen, politician, officials are nothing but rupee signs. it does not matter what the project will do and will not do, what sustainable things can be done without bringing in the destructive proejct and how will local people be impacted.

all that matters is money and this titanium project in tuticorin was an example of it.

a bad example at that and this is a welcome snag. tata is perfectly welcome to take it to any part of the world. may we recommend the coast of california or florida or european coastlines?

well those places are unviable. unviable because proper environment impact assessment (eia) would have to be done, local people have to be heard, politicians and officials cannot be bribed and of course indiscriminate mining is a big no-no.

in india all the above is called 'development' and tata's titanium project is definitely an unwanted development.

as india 'develops' rapidly, one thing that has been forgotten in lot of areas is safety. safety in anything whether it is a chemical company, or a car manufacturing plant or a sugar plant or even ferrying little kids to school is paramount.

india's record so far in safety component is zero. an absolute zero.

the tragic incident in which 44 little kids were brutally killed in vadadora in gujarat is a gut wrenching example of how safety in india depends on fate and luck. there are no rules, regulations, guidelines, incentives, monitoring, penalities, etc in safe transport of future citizens of india. for no fault of theirs they are pitted against fate everyday in many streets all across india to and from their school route.

there are many things that seperates the 'development', 'progress', 'shining' and 'rising' in india vis-a-vis amongst the many things that seperates india and the rest of the world. one thing that stands out is safety.

safety has no meaning in india's 'growth'. growth itself perhaps has no safety in india.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

sometimes a simple article can bring forward hundred truths that everybody knows but pretend not to care or not to know.

the article by agricultural scientist mr.k.p.prabhakaran nair is written smoothly but packs a punch of a monster. a monster called "fake policy", a monster called "fake development" and a monster called "take this thousands crore money and be happy you pitiful farmers policy".

when the central government and the care-a-damn-communist state government does not do anything viable but only mouths statements and sleeps the next minute, more places like kuttanad in kerala will become dust bowls consuming poor and marginal farmers along with them.

i have given below several quotes from the amazing article. if only our oxford educated prime minister and america educated finance minister reads it, they can open their closed shut eyes.

"This writer has personally interacted with hundreds of rice farmers of the region who complained that it was impossible to make a profit of even Rs 100 per day from a five-acre rice field."

"It is ironical that when rice sells for Rs 20 plus a kg in the open market in Kerala, a farmer cannot get even 25 per cent from this price-hike for his produce."

"And yet, there is no thought or word in the Union Budget on how India must face the slow but steady change in climate."

"Put another way, do we have a sensible soil conservation/soil management strategy in place so that we could capture all the water and not lose the soil in such aberrant weather situations? Do we have contingency plans in place? It is not only important to predict climate change and detail its consequences but also evolve contingency plans."

with zero policy on agriculture, soil conservation, water bodies preservation, climate change, natural resources protection, our learned prime minister and finance minister are leading us direct into dust bowls. kuttanad is just an example, there are many thousands rice bowls, wheat bowls and agricultural bowls that are being grounded to dust by careless policies of the central and state governments.
(kuttanad, the rice bowl of kerala is fast becoming the dust bowl of kerala. thanks to careless policies of central government and damn-you-farmers state communist government things are looking bleak)

Monday, April 14, 2008

we were expecting it and it has come. with inflation shooting up beyond 7%, a looming elections and a coalition government whose last five years was full turbo charge on fake development and its policies is now starting to complain and blame.

as expected our honorable finance minister, whose one sided policies has led to almost total negligence on agricultural sector with zero focus on land, soil, water, rivers and forests along with massive subsidies to fuel fake growth is taking a toll. a toll in which the abused agricultural sector has lost its wherewithal to feed india on sustainable terms.

sunita narain points out beautifully in her editorial.

let's see what PC has to say with our observations below each one.

Mr. Chidambaram said the issue of inflation raised by the Fund as it pertained to India was indeed a “very serious” concern.
there was absolutely no concern from the government when budget was announced couple of months back on inflation. how come it is so serious now? is this pointing to a huge policy and oversight gap. or is it the usual election rhetoric without even understanding about inflation and how it is going to play in coming days.

Describing inflation as “the current biggest worry,” he said: “There could be unexpected political developments and there could be natural calamities. All other factors today, I think, are positive.”
current biggest worry?? that summarizes how PC and his team has been blind to concerns of balanced economic growth. balanced in terms of sustainability, in terms of quality of life, in terms of preserving and benefiting from our ecosystem and in terms of inflation moderation. a failure on all fronts except the front of fake development is the last 5 years of the present government.

The Finance Minister said: “We can take satisfaction in the fact that our inflation is lower than the inflation in many countries. But that is of little comfort to those who suffer as a result of inflation.”
that we expected. look china is at 8 to 9% inflation and we are just 7%. so we are good to go. never mind that this 7% inflation is a killer for many hundreds of millions of indians who live a day to day hand to mouth life.

“India’s inflation is high today because of food prices, crude oil and commodity prices,” he said. If India wished to avoid the volatility in food prices, the only option was to become self-sufficient in all food items.
and dear sir, can you please explain what your economic policies has done to make sure india's agricultural sector has been energized and hence india can be self sufficient. or maybe you want to read sunita narain's editorial.

in the budget 2008 and in other budget's all we have seen is a throw-the-dog-a-meat approach for issues and problems and when it boomerangs on us then it is the usual blame game. the only grand logic, to answer sunita narain's question, is that the only grand thing is fake development and fake unsustainable policies that has become hall mark in last five years.

there is a very good article regarding proposed athirapally hydel dam in which this blog has tracked extensively. a fake project that encompasses all that is wrong about development in india is athirapally hydel dam and the shocking thing is that progressive kerala chooses to self destruct itself by abusing its vital environment.

a crucial and abused chalakudy river, lakhs of lakhs of tourists generating vital ecotourism revenue every year, a totally fake EIA report on which the dam is being bulldozed ahead, local people against the destructive project - you name it and this project has all about it to give the stamp of fake development.

and the worst thing is that the government is headed by the main communist party of india which is behaving worst than a capitalist party is at power. the conclusion of this fake development is that when money is in play there is no difference amongst politicians and their policies.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

2 quotes, one shocking and one how digressive about modern india and those 2 quotes coming from seasoned politicians.

"those who say market growth is irrelevant and it only helps the rich are the worst enemies of the poor. they only want us to distribute poverty in this country"
-p.chidambaram aka p.c

when you get boxed into a corner everybody is your enemy. in movies the angry man in amitabh, in rajinikanth, in chiranjeevi all have played this quote. and our honorable p.c is also playing the same quote.

who told market growth is irrelevant. nobody. all we are saying is equitable growth. growth that is inclusive and growth that is distributable. we don't want crazy and fake SEZ growth. we don't want fake dams growth. we don't want massive mining growth, we don't want economic policies that aid only a select few.

the sooner that educated people like p.c understands this, the better it will be.

"i like tests. i belong to that generation. when the one dayers started we said, what's this nonsense" -sharad pawar, one of the senior most politician in india.

i have never seen a good statement or policy on agriculture from sharadji. infact he is the agriculture minister. if you take a poll in india and ask who is your agri minister, 99% won't know the answer. but in the same poll if you ask you who is your cricket minister, 99% will tell it is sharadji.

sad but true. when farmers in tens of thousands have committed suicide, agriculture growth stunned all over india, escalating food costs throwing inflation haywire, false wheat import policies adding to burden, and many more issues, our agri minister is busy full time in cricket.

mark this blog. this government in coming november 2008 elections will bite the dust. it has politicians and policy makers ignoring majority of india and running a minority of india.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

there was a nice letter in the letters to the editors column from many distinguished citizens on the absurd, shocking, dismaying, totally-non-hindu editorial on tibet issue that i had blogged.

i reproduce the letter below. enough has been said. and olympics will be pure, great and supreme only if the mighty china also learn to be respectful china. to abuse the distinguished religious leader of tibet at every turn is the words of a paranoid nation and not that of a confident nation.

we want a confident, mighty and compassionate china. not a paranoid, mighty and brutal china. for communists who rule china has grown up hiding things and the world has to tell enough is enough on tibet issue and this is high time china come clean and treat tibet and tibetians with the respect, openness and honesty it deserves.


Tibet issue

The Hindu’s bias in favour of the Chinese Government in its editorial on Tibet (March 28, 2008) is dismaying. The reasons behind the recent demonstrations by Tibetans are transparent. You speak of sustained growth, omitting the fact that Han Chinese control the economy, party and government. Impartial observers have documented the onslaught on natural resources, the repression of Buddhism, the enforced denunciations of the Dalai Lama. The subjugation of Tibet is most evident in re-settlement policy.

In 1952, Chairman Mao complained that there were “hardly any Han in Tibet.” By 1953, there were 100,000 Chinese in the province of Qinghai, the renamed eastern Tibetan province of Amdo. In 1985, there were 2.5 million Chinese and 750,000 Tibetans in Qinghai. By the 2000 census, only 20 per cent of Qinghai’s population was Tibetan.

This demographic engineering undermines the comparison you draw between Tibet and Kashmir. Right-wing groups in India have long demanded the re-settlement of the Kashmir Valley. However, Article 370 disallows non-state subjects from buying land; and it is to allay Kashmiri anxieties that New Delhi has not granted autonomy or separate statehood for Ladakh and Jammu.

Beijing’s abusive denunciations of the Dalai Lama and its stonewalling of his proposals make it difficult to accept their sincerity. A just solution “within the framework of one China” is precisely what the Dalai Lama has pursued.

Sonia Jabbar, Ramachandra Guha, Mukul Kesavan, Madhu Sarin, Jyotirmaya Sharma, Dilip Simeon, Tenzin Sonam, & Shashi Tharoor

he came, he spoke and he did not conquer. infact he spoke wrong facts, he eugolised what he saw in just one place (that too a place in which industries are coming up amidst fierece local opposition against forcible land acquisition) and then made weird comments.

i am talking about industrialist swaraj paul's, Lord swaraj paul that is, comments after he visited tata's singur plant. to quote him on his weird statements i put them below,

The shift from an agricultural economy to an industrial one could cause “some little pain” but “there is no choice anymore.” “There is no way agriculture can provide jobs to the satisfaction of the new generation. They need jobs,” non-resident Indian industrialist Lord Swraj Paul told The Hindu here on Tuesday.

“In any country industrialisation is the only solution. China has shown it …they have the manpower and we in India can compete with China with our manpower resources,” he said.

On giving priority to industry over agriculture, Lord Paul said that “though there is a tragic part to it what other way do you have [but industrialisation].” “In the West we did not find any other solution.”

india needs industries. no doubt about that. but what india does NOT need is dirty industries and industries that come amidst brutal land acquisition from the government. to subsidize the 1 lakh rupee car (at that price you can bet lots of subsidies have been thrown at tata's feet) the first thing the not-so-communist government did was to throw away small farmers, contract farmers and poor villagers off their land.

is this model what the 'LORD' wants!!! i don't think so. is this the model his british government practices in britan. i don't think so.

we have another type of industrialization that sunita narain calls correctly as cheap and dirty industrialization. does the 'LORD' wants this type of industrialization. he may want it, but not many hundred millions indians consisting of small farmers, tribals and others who depend on their land.

hold on a second. doesn't this dirty industrialization give jobs. oh yeah. right. let's listen to the kalinganagar people on that: "When we asked if they would agree if the company provided jobs, their answer was equally straightforward. “We have seen the factories that have come up around us, we have seen that they had promised our people jobs when they took away our land. But our people have no jobs and no land. The factories say they cannot employ us because we are not educated, they say they do not need so many people. Why should we believe them now?”

and the 'LORD' says although it is tragic, there is no other way of progress unless industrialization takes over agriculture because 'new generation' wants industries. right. probably the new generation in chennai, in mumbai and in london wants dirty industries in rural areas so that they can sit in comfy offices in the cities and work. for the rural youth and tribals, dirty industrialization is nothing but a huge living hell everyday.

and in india, the worst thing is that all the absurd statements from the 'LORD' is already a reality and in the face of mounting food crisis, indian government is gleefully doing things that the 'LORD' is quoting.

how weird. what the businessman wants, the government is already doing!!! welcome folks on board. welcome to the fake development that we are witnessing in india every minute by politicians, by rich poor businessmen and of course by the media.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

at last a meaningful discussion with respect to olympics torch protests and china's suppressive policy in tibet. ibnlive got it right with its panelists.

this blog has been extremely critical (thank god this blog is not about china!!!) on the way china is conducting itself in tibet. a superpower country in the making cannot act like an afraid thug.

china is a great country. let there be no second thoughts about it. its culture, its tradition, its food, its language - all are thousands and thousands of years old and amazing in its richness.

chinese people are wonderful hardworking and smart people. many of the world best companies are run by chinese. their hard work and their enterprenuship is amazing.

but what is shocking is the fact that the chinese government conducts itself in a hideous, outrageous, alarming and shocking manner when it comes to human rights. it treats its own citizen with suspicion, with cowardice and with brutality. each and every packets is filtered in its routers, search engine companies threatened to open up their search results and email details and with the latest crack down in tibet it shows the chinese government headed by jintao is absolutely running scared.

ibnlive summarised it correctly:
China is a great power, its economy impressive, its 1.3 billion people a massive human resource. Now with the Olympic Games China has an opportunity to show that it is a great power in the true sense of the term, by becoming more open and tolerant of dissent and reacting with self assured confidence rather than paranoid crackdowns.

let china open up. let china treats its own people respectfully. let china talk unconditionally to dalai lama. let china open up access to tibet to outside. let china stop ethnic and cultural cleansing in tibet.

we want the greatest sport on earth, the olympics, to be hosted by mighty and compassionate china and not by mighty and brutal chinese government.

how to dispose hazardous waste stored in factories in india.

what a stupid, irresponsible, outrageous question. even a dog will know the answer for this.

just burn it baby,
burn burn the waste,
till all it leaves away,
in the air, in the land,
it gets blown away.

nobody cares,
nobody would know,
how it disappeared.

let the poor villagers,
have some development,
and some color to their lives,
with a little dose of poison.

yep, that is what seems to be happening in india in burning toxic waste from storage facility as shown by cseindia in their webpage. and the worst of it is that the waste site is bidding to get the toxic waste from the bhopal disaster zone.

we need to tell the world about this ultra modern hitech facility of disposing hazardous waste. so that the rest of the world can benefit from the development india is having!!!

what to politicians do when it comes to water. they play politics as usual.

what do politicians do when it comes to dams. they play false politics which is a new one.

this is what gujarat chief minster and gujarat genocide fame chief minister is doing. he is promising water to rajastan from the ill planned bulldozed narmada dam. now he is promising the same water, which has not reached several parts of gujarat, to his neighbouring states.

as medha patkar points out "Even Gujarat's Banaskanatha town bordering Rajasthan has not received Narmada water so far and the local people have already threated to breach the canal system, if water was released to Rajasthan," she said and questioned how 300 cusec (out of 0.5 million acre feet) was released from the Sardar Sarovar dam.

when it comes to false things, why care. just throw it out and keep on telling the same thing. in india when it comes to fake development, you can fool all the people all the time.

Monday, April 07, 2008

a very thoughtful mail from joanna levitt of the group.

the development that is happening in india, needless to say, is mindless at best.


From: Joanna Levitt <>
Date: Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 5:42 AM
Subject: Struggle and serenity in Orissa

Hello friends,

Greetings from Bangalore! I arrived here yesterday, after a week in Orissa. This past week has left me with daunting questions as well as emerging insights, sorrow but also new hope, and a general feeling of brimming over with this place. (Dan Magraw--I am starting to understand why you are a lifelong India-phile. ;) I may be on the way to becoming one as well. ;)

New photos are online, with captions that explain more of all I saw this past week.
The albums are "Dhinkia and March against POSCO" and "Kashipur and Rayagada."

I'm writing an article about my week there, which I'll send out soon. For now, here's some background to the photos:

The eastern Indian state of Orissa is often dismissed as an impoverished backwater of the country, notable only for its recently-discovered mineral wealth of coal, iron ore and bauxite. The Orissa I encountered, however, was a place of extraordinary cultural and biological diversity, of visionary philosopher-activists, and—far from a backwater—home to movements and currents that seem to form an important epicenter of the global struggle to envision and fight for alternative models of development and human life on earth.
Last Monday I flew to Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa, where I met up with Madhu--a colleague of Dana's, and her crew of fellow human rights advocates and activists (I should say "sister advocates and activists" as once again I was with a crew of all women!)

From Bhubaneshwar, we traveled by van to the village of Dhinkia to spend the night. Dhinkia is one of the many farming communities fighting to stop the massive open-pit iron ore mine and steel processing plant proposed by the Korean company POSCO. The project is a particularly striking case of the kind of aggressive industrial, private-sector-led development in India that is taking place largely on prime agricultural lands. Farmers and farmlands are displaced and destroyed to make way for industrial parks and chemical plants, which are established as "Special Economic Zones," the controversial new system here by which foreign companies can operate in virtually tax-free zones, and outside of many labor and environmental laws. It's quite stark.

My friend Madhu commented at one point with exasperation, "When will people wake up?", as we looked out over the vast rice fields surrounding Dhinkia village. The entire expanse of lushly green rice fields, dotted with palm trees and graceful white egrets, is slated for destruction, to make way for the Posco steel processing plant. "At what point will everyone open their eyes and realize that this 'development' is destroying the basis of all of our survival?"

This past week in Orissa was indeed an awakening for me, in many ways.

We joined with the people of Dhinkia and thousands of villagers from the region for an incredible march against POSCO and in defense of their lands and livelihoods. One of the more powerful days of my life. Check out the photos.

From there, I traveled to the town of Rayagada, in the mountainous interior of Orissa. High in the mountains above Rayagada, I visited the adivasi community of Kuchiepadar, which has been leading a nationally-renowned struggle against an open-pit bauxite mine on their ancestral lands. Interestingly, Kucheipadar--like Sarayaku--has been the only community left standing as all around them fell. A very moving interview with a young community leader and elder woman leader there. I have included some excerpts of the interview with the photos.

Kuchiepadar and their struggle will be featured in the People's Guide as a case study, and the folks I met in Rayagada who have been supporting the struggle are very interested to use the guide to do trainings with surrounding communities who are now facing the life-threatening impacts of displacement, and who are struggling to find ways to hold the mining company accountable to its promises of compensation and rehabilitation.

Finally, during my evening in Rayagada after visiting Kuchiepadar, I had the immense privilege of having tea and a long conversation with Professor B.P. Rath, a Ghandian scholar, and former professor of English literature at the local university, who has amassed a personal library in his humble home in this small interior town of Orissa, that felt like something out of another time. I left our talk with many new thoughts. Particularly about non-violence. And about the need to bring back to life and full-force this incredible movement and tradition brought into being by Gandhi, and his greatest disciple, Martin Luther King. On this weekend, which marks the 40th anniversary of MLK's assassination, I wonder, could we built a movement for non-violent development? Non-violent to the environment, to the people who live at the source, to those who work along its assembly lines and construction sites? Like achieving independence, or gaining civil rights, it will require a transformation and strength of spirit, a joyful willingness to make sacrifices for something far beyond ourselves, a different way of living, a sea-change in our societies the likes of which I do not think we have seen since Gandhi and MLK. Since speaking with Professor Rath, I have been pondering what it might look like for such a movement to be midwifed into being...

But as I sit here this afternoon in a loud internet cafe in Bangalore, with wealthy teenage kids yelling in designer clothes as they play shockingly violent video games, suddenly it seems hopelessly naive to even think such a transformation could be possible. Well, who knows. I suppose history and humanity constantly surprise us and offer up paradoxes, so I will not presume to think it impossible.

Hope you each are well
With love and hope,
International Accountability Project (IAP)

221 Pine Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104 USA
Tel: + 1 (415) 659-0555

(2 capitivating pictures from joanne's post. above, villagers protesting the proposed posco plant and below fertile paddy fields which will be mined ruthlessly. development, like war, has indeed no heart)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

as tamilnadu and karnataka show their fists over cauvery at hogenekal, nobody cares about cauvery at mettur which gets a good dose of pollution in mettur, another news has come.

news for many of us and old news for people who are facing the brunt of pollution in cauvery.

an illegal coal power thermal plant in the banks of cauvery being constructed by the mega multi crore sanmar groups chemplast company.

and the funny fact, yep these things are funny in india because it happens so regularly, is that no environment impact assessment seemed to have be done and no approvals were obtained for this coal power plant.

way to go india. way to develop. illegal, fraud, fake are the words that has no meaning when it comes to making money on the backs of india's rivers, forests, wildlife, tribals and environment.

at this rate why 10% gdp, india can even achieve 100% gdp!!!

the famous says goes as follows.
Until the last tree is cut;
Until the last river is dry;
Until the last fish is caught;
Until the last animal is killed;
Man will not realise that he cannot eat money.

but we indians can easily rewrite the above as
we will cut the last tree,
we will pollute every river
we will kill the last fish
and we will destroy last animal
we don't have water but we dont care
we don't have good air to breath,]
breath not we will
we need money and we will do anything

and finally veteran communist leader and one of india's leading left leader has acknowledged. acknowledged a blatant fact that 'not many benefits has come to common people'

forget 'not many benefits' to the people who live in villages, tribals or marginalised people. what these crucial sections has got is a double whammy of fake development and forced displacement.

in narmada, in athirapally, in cuddalore and in many many places across rural india, these sections are hit in the stomach and most of the time it is the comrade's own party that is in forefront supporting these fake projects.

fidel castro, the communist turned dictator has faded away. it is time for our own fake communists to also fade away.