by A K Biswas
“Courts are comparable to brothels” 
–Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (26 June 1838–8 April 1894), a Deputy Magistrate of Government of Bengal wrote celebrated novel Anandamath. The composer of the national song, “Bande Matarm” had observed in an essay that “courts were comparable to brothels.” Anybody would expose himself to be hauled over the coals for observations as such in contempt of court. Were the British more tolerant? The novelist, decorated with coveted royal titles Rai Bahadur in 1891 and Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire in 1891, retired unmolested with glory. A recent case has obliged us to recall the inherent import of what Bankim Chandra Chatterjee had written over a century ago.Read More »
Some 350 years ago people came from far west to make us ‘civilised’, because we were a potent market for them to be exploited. And now, they are trying to make us ‘Smart’, because they feel we are ready to move from mere civilisation to smart civilisation. This is from where rises the dilemma of becoming smart and defining what smartness is actually? This smartness begins from technology and ends at eviction of Urban poor. The Neo-liberal planning shift for the growth and Urbanisation has meant that evictions in cities have become a common phenomenon. It can be done for beautification, redevelopment, cleanliness, infrastructural development or other Urban Development Activity. Sometimes evictions are also done for the safety, security and well being of the residents in slums but these are very less in number. According to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, general comment No. 7 (1997) on the right to adequate housing: “Evictions are the permanent or temporary removal against the will of individuals, families and/or communities from the homes and/or land which they occupy, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection.” With the advent of Urban Rejuvenation and Transformation Programmes like PMAY, SBM, Smart City, AMRUT etc. the fear of evictions has increased manifold. It raises the concern of access and control over Space. A space which is central to the Urban Politics, Urban Sociology and Urban Economics. A space which has made cities, an engine of growth. The Labour and its relation with space, A manager and its relation with space and Government and its relation with space. Government has control over space, the Manager or Market has affordability of space but the labour or the poor are denied even the access of space.Read More »
Press Release | June 23, 2017
Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation strongly condemns the arrest of three mine workers Rabi Murmu, Abhimanyu Mohanto and Ramesh Majhi on June 12, 2017 on false and fabricated charges of conspiring to wage a war against the Indian state and inciting violence. We understand this arrest and the imposition of severe charges as an attempt by the ruling BJD and BC Mohanty & Sons, the company operating the mine in Sukinda valley to intimidate and prevent the mine workers from forming a trade union and challenging human rights violations resulting from mass tribal displacement in the region.
Rabi Murmu is the President and Abhimanyu Mohanto is the General Secretary of the Aancholiko Khoni Khadaan Mazdoor Sangh, a union that has been organizing in the pursuit of regularizing the wages of mine workers as well as their registration in the B Register. The union has also been drawing attention to rights violations of persons displaced by the mines, with an eruption in mining licenses over the past few years in Sukinda valley, which is the chromite-rich belt of Odisha in Jajpur district. Odisha has 98% of the total chromite reserve in India, 97% of which is found in the Sukinda valley. Currently, there are 14 chromite mines in the Sukinda valley of which 12 or 13 are in operation.Read More »
A Frontier Editorial | Vol. 49, No.50, Jun 18 – 24, 2017
Farmers’ suicides in various states is a legacy of the earlier regime and it continues during the present ‘achhe din’ (better days) period of Narendra Modi. Storms gathering momentum in several states have broken into open revolt in Madhya Pradesh, and in Mandsaur, a district town, six farmers have been shot dead by the security forces, but the disturbances hardly subsided propelling the Centre to rush 1000 Rapid Action Forces. It shows that farmers are prepared to defy the might of the state in order to protect their own interests. In Maharastra too, farmers have taken to the street. The demands of the farmers is for remunerative support prices and loan waivers. The way the farmers have revolted, torching vehicles and assaulting poliemen, suggests a deep rooted crisis. Although the farmers have behaved in a ‘less than orderly’ manner, their demand is in general justified, and it goes without saying that the problems of farmers have been a subject of neglect by successive central governments. This neglect was particularly acute ever since the inception of the New Economic Policy. The crisis of the agrarian sector has deepened over the years. The corporate industrial lobby has, however, reaped enormous gains, and the number of billionaires (in terms of dollars) have gone up phenomenally, which is often paraded as a symbol of India’s economic progress.Read More »
by a Fact-Finding Delegation
New Delhi | June 13, 2017: Following a call given by Jai Kisan Andonlan of Swaraj Abhiyan, NAPM, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti of MP, Bandhua Mukti Morcha and several farmer organisations, a delegation of their representatives went to visit Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh where 7 farmers were killed in a police firing on 6th of June. The delegation comprised about 25 representatives from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, UP, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi, besides local farmers and farmer leaders. These included Ms. Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh, Dr. Sunilam, Paras Saklecha, Kalpana Parulekar, Avik Saha, Ajit Singh, Balakrishnan and Yogendra Yadav.Read More »
National Alliance of People’s Movements | June 09, 2017
Badwani | June 09, 2017: The statement issued and published today by the Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Nitin Patel, followed the totally undemocratic and unexpected arrest and attack on the children participating in the peaceful rally of Sardar Sarovar oustees with supporters from across the country, on the border of MP and Gujrat (on 7th June 2017). One may say, it is either to be totally ignored or blasted. However, it is an indicator of Gujarat‘s plan with the support from the centre, getting ready with its statutory force, to stop and supress people’s power. The same state, on the other hand, seems to be expressing its cowardice by raising a false alarm that NBA is out to create a stir in Gujarat since they are opposed to Sardar Sarovar and Gujarat’s development!Read More »
People waiting to get registered at Motihari District Government Hospital in East Champaran, Bihar. With so few doctors employed to work in the public sector of healthcare in India, this scene is typical.
A report published by Forbes on 11 September 2014 still stands true as not much has changed in the access to healthcare in India. According to World Health Organization’s 2000 World Health Report ranking India’s healthcare system at 112 out of 190 countries. The below paragraph is based on a friend’s recent experience when he was spending time and energy for the treatment of his aunt.
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I have a facebook group. It is called “Life in India is cheap, Damn cheap”. I started the group after seeing the death stunts of a circus group without any protection gears in a local festival. Yes, hundreds of thousands of lives in India are lost which could have been prevented if government took proper measures to tackle it.Read More »
Naxalbari is still alive. Half a century has passed, yet the struggle is as bright as the crimson sun. Naxalbari is alive in the politics of people. The politics of dominating classes with all its power, and after so many years, is still failing to ignore Naxalbari, now, name of a politics, and has failed to wipe out Naxalbari from the map of people’s struggle.
Now, the 50th anniversary of Naxalbari, is a time to pay tribute to the path-breaking struggle that began in the area on the Mechi river along the India-Nepal border, to its architects, organizers and fighters, to the martyrs, many of them were murdered in prison cells, the poor peasants, the laborers, the women, the youth, the students, the intellectuals upholding a class line and making supreme sacrifice for the cause of the exploited. On May 25, 1967, police fired upon a gathering of people, and savagely murdered 9 including 6 rural poor women and 2 children in Naxalbari area. Martyrs are many. Aamraa to voolee naai shaheed, comrade martyrs, you are alive in our memory. (From a people’s song in Baanglaa.)Read More »