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April 13: We Know How to See You – A Writer for the Poor Celebrating Eduardo Galeano

“FOUR and half centuries before, (on this day) in that very place (the atrium of the convent of Mani in the Yucatan) another Franciscan brother Diego de Landa, had burned the Maya's books and with them eight centuries of collective memory”. This memory of the Mayan civilisation would have been lost, but for Eduardo Galeano's entry for April 13, in his Children of Days. In our books, a post script should be added for this day – the day Galeano left, leaving us to celebrate his memories.

70th Anniversary of the Victory over Fascism

ON this 9th of May, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War will be observed. The rising of the Red Flag on the Reichstag, a day before in 1945, signaled the end of the war and the decisive defeat of the Nazi, fascist forces. Hitler, who symbolised the evil Nazi-fascists, committed suicide in his bunker on April 30, 1945, with the Red Army only streets away in Berlin. He was unable to digest the reality of his faltering dreams and failed ambitions.

Manu Decides Menu

STOP! What are you eating? Let me see the sastras and find out if it is allowed.
Stop! What are you wearing? Let me see the puranas and find out if it confirms to their specifications.
Stop! What are you seeing? Let me find out if you are allowed to watch it.
Stop! What are you hearing? Let me find out...
This is what is happening in our country – an independent, democratic and secular republic. Our country, the biggest democracy in the world, is facing a severe attack that is threatening our inherent values and legacy – tolerance and syncreticism.

More to Lose than Chains

THE other day, I was helping my child in learning paryayvachi shabd (synonyms) in Hindi. The children in the class were taught that the synonym for stree (woman) is abala (the meek). I was trying to convince my child that this is wrong and in fact this should be brought to the notice of the concerned teacher. In spite of the best of my efforts, my child, all of Class V too was not convinced that women are not meek and refused to discuss this with the teacher.

Dismantling National & Household Food Security

THERE is much that is wrong with the entire system of food security in India – procurement is far too focused on a few crops (rice and wheat) and regions (alluvial irrigated valleys) to the neglect and detriment of the rain-fed dry undulating areas, pulses and oilseeds. Thus, large sections of producers are excluded from the advantages of MSP and government procurement.

Contemporary Hindutva and The Murder of Gandhiji

ON October 2, 2014 the Modi government launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and dedicated it to Gandhiji. A sketch of the bust and the spectacles of Gandhiji were used by the government to appropriate the legacy of Gandhiji. This attempt to appropriate Gandhiji by the political representatives of the Sangh Parivar was exposed two months later. Sakshi Maharaj, a member of parliament from the BJP, called Nathuram Godse, the murderer of Gandhiji, a patriot and a martyr.

The Criminal Approach of the Shanta Kumar Committee Report

ON January 1, 2015 there were 3.68 crore tonnes of foodgrains in India's godowns. This is around one third more than the January buffer stock norm. Buffer stocks are decided for four different quarters of the year. Recently the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs reduced the norms for the buffer stock for two quarters. It was brought down for the January to April quarter from a norm of 25 million tonnes to 21.4 million tonnes, the norm for the quarter starting April has been reduced from 21.20 million tonnes to 21.04 million tonnes. The reduction of the norm has policy implications.

Government, or Real Estate Agent for Big Business?

IN India, there are no systematic official records of the total extent of land acquisition or displacement. Non-official studies quoted by the now wound up Planning Commission suggest that the total number of persons displaced/affected by projects for the period 1947 to 2004 is around 60 million, involving 25 million hectares of land, including 7 million hectares of forest and 6 million hectares other common property. The adivasis constitute 40 per cent of the total displaced/affected persons by projects, while dalits are 20 per cent.

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