Revolution in South Asia

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Archive for March 18th, 2010

GN Saibaba on the Economic Crisis and Op Green Hunt

Posted by Ka Frank on March 18, 2010

Interviewed by Wilhelm Langthaler, 21 February 2010

G.N. Saibaba is Assistant Professor of Literature at Delhi University.  He is one of the most vocal voices of the democratic opposition and has played an important role in bringing together diverse trends against the ruling elite. Saibaba represents the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF).

Q: The “India Shining” campaign promised industrialisation and increasing wealth for the poor majority. Did this become true?

The application of globalisation policy in India meant benefits first of all for the ruling oligarchy. A handful of families are in full control of the levers of power. Thanks to their position they could amass huge fortunes, particularly in the last twenty years. Eventually among the list of billionaires there are a lot of Indians. The concentration of wealth has been growing rapidly while some 80% of the population has to live on less than half a dollar a day and can hardly afford a daily meal.

According to the government’s own statistics this was not the case two decades back. India pursued globalisation policies in the most aggressive way, as there are vast untouched resources available on which the western powers and especially the U.S. want to get a hold. But huge poverty also evokes huge conflicts. In the last six years we entered a new phase called “Second Generation Reforms”.

Q: What is the difference with its predecessors?

The first phase was marked by the liberalisation of the economy and the legal framework. It was mainly based on the IT sector. But there was little foreign investment. This has been changing. Several hundreds of memoranda of understanding (MOU) with multinational corporations (MNC) have been signed, mostly related to the exploitation of natural resources. Mainly in central and eastern parts of India there are enormous deposits of iron ore, coal, bauxite, limestone and other minerals the western powers want to tap. Thus incredibly huge swathes of land are being awarded to the MNCs.

We are faced with an unprecedented sell-out of land, forests, minerals and water which did not even happen under British colonialism. So the last half decade also saw growing resistance by the people against land grab, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and industrialisation projects. Given the intransigent reaction of the elites these often turn violent and armed – with or without leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India Background, India News | Leave a Comment »

Indian Newspapers Spread Claims of Urban Maoist Menace

Posted by Ka Frank on March 18, 2010

Delhi Rally against Op Green Hunt, December 17, 2009

This article appeared in Tehelka on March 16, 2010.

The Maoists And Us

PK Vijayan, Asst. Prof., Dept. of English, Hindu College, Delhi University

Could the cry of “Maoist terrorists” be the Congress led UPA governmet’s equivalent of the cry of “Islamic terrorists” during the BJP led NDA government? — asks PK Vijaya

On 20th February, the Hindustan Times, reporting on the chargesheet produced by the Delhi Police against Kobad Ghandy, stated that Ghandy was alleged to have been in direct contact with GN Saibaba, a professor in Delhi University, and who is alleged to be in control of the CPI (Maoist)’s tactical counter offensive against Operation Greenhunt.

Reporting on the same chargesheet, on the same date, the Times of India reported the investigators’ claim that civil rights groups like the PUDR and PUCL were actively helping the Maoists to spread their base; while Mail Today stated that there was an active Maoist operation amongst Delhi University students, specifically identifying the Democratic Students Union (DSU). Elaborating on this same chargesheet report the next day, the HT adds that a prominent research scholar and a human rights activist have been specifically identified by Ghandy as Maoist leaders in the capital, although they are not named by the newspaper.

Interestingly, each of these details appears only in the particular newspaper mentioned, and not in any of the other papers: like the blind men and the elephant, it is as if each has ‘found’ something unique in the chargesheet, that characterises the contents of that document – but unlike the blind men in the story, who after all are each seeking to describe the same beast but end up describing only the part that they sense, these newspapers presumably all have access to the same ‘beast’ in its entirety (i.e., the chargesheet), but have chosen to report only on specific – but different – aspects of the extensive Maoist network that it alleges exists in Delhi. What, we may ask, is going on?

Very simply, if each newspaper reports on any one branch of this alleged Maoist network, each will have apparently reported something unique; further, each newspaper’s readership will have been made aware of one crucial way in which the Maoist ‘menace’ is apparently already in their neighbourhood, and spreading like a virus. But the total effect of all the reports is the imaging of a hydra, a Ravana, a many-headed monster conceived in the savage and distant tribal terrains of Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh and Orissa, and that is now slouching towards the safe cosmopolitan world of the NCR to be born. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in India News | Leave a Comment »

UNMIN Claims It May Not Be Able to Stay in Nepal For Long

Posted by n3wday on March 18, 2010

This article was published in Telegraph Nepal on March 15, 2010.

UNMIN with limited mandate prefers to quit Nepal

The United Nations’ Political Mission in Nepal, UNMIN, which has been in controversy since its official arrival, 23 January 2007, for its presumed pro Maoist posture has threatened to pull out from Nepal.

Karin Landgren, the UNMIN Chief accompanied by some UNMIN officials held consultations with major political parties of Nepal, Sunday March 14, 2010, over matters pertaining to integration of Maoists’ militias, wherein it is reported that the UNMIN officials conveyed Nepali political actors that in the prevailing circumstances with little capacity to assist the peace process, the UNMIN cannot stay longer in Nepal.

The UNMIN representatives held the meeting at a five star hotel somewhere in Lalitpur wherein leaders like Krishna Prasad Sitaula of Nepali Congress, Ishwor Pokharel of United Marxist Leninists and Krishna Bahadur Mahara of Unified Maoists’ Party attended the meeting. Mr. Mahara had earlier claimed that, India-Nepal’s southern neighbor was not in favor of UNMIN’s presence in Nepal and that anti-UNMIN remarks were being made as per the diktats of India.

Samuel Tamrat- deputy head of UNMIN had directly asked the leaders during the meeting to provide alternative to UNMIN. But Tamart, as reported by the media, made it clear to the leaders that the UNMIN with its limited mandate cannot continue with its Nepal mission for long.

The local media here in Nepal, The Peoples’ Review English Weekly and The Jan Manch vernacular Weekly, to be precise in the year 2006, had claimed that it was Tamrat’s excessive hobnobbing with the leaders of Nepal and India during his fortnight stay in the region, encouraged the Nepali leaders to declare Nepal a secular State.

Posted in Nepal News | Leave a Comment »

Ben Peterson in New Zealand on Nepal Speaking Tour

Posted by n3wday on March 18, 2010

This article was published on Scoop Independent News.

Eyewitness to a Revolution in Nepal

Young Australian activist tours NZ recounting his experience of a peoples’ movement

In 2006, a peoples’ movement overthrew Nepal’s hated King Gyanendra and the oppressive monarchical structure. Today, the Nepalese people are striving to build a new and better society.

We in New Zealand now have a chance to find out more about what’s happening in Nepal. Ben Peterson, a young Australian activist who spent 4 ½ months in Nepal witnessing first hand the revolutionary struggle, will be on a speaking tour of New Zealand from 21-27 March.

Ben says of his experience: “When I was in Nepal I met amazing people, peasant farmers, workers, students, youth, and the elderly, all fighting for a democratic future. Everywhere I went there was a common desire for something better. They’re fighting to build a new Nepal free of poverty, oppression and discrimination by sex, caste or race.”

“It was mind blowing to see the level of popular engagement with politics,” says Peterson. “Every little village had a union office, or a party organization, or something. It was amazing to see real revolutionary changes happening before my eyes. They’re fighting to build a new Nepal free of poverty, oppression and discrimination by sex, caste or race.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nepal News | Leave a Comment »