2810SACW - 31 Dec 2013 | Bangladesh: The Red Herring / Pakistan's Denial over 1971; The Polio Jihad; Vigil aunties / India: 377 ways to Love; CJP Press Release after Zakia Jafri Judgment; Maoist rationalisations; hysteria over Khobragade / Do Elephants Have Souls?
- Dec 30, 2013South Asia Citizens Wire - 31 December 2013 - No. 2803
1. Bangladesh: The Red Herring (Salma Sobhan)
2. Pakistan's State of Denial (Tahmima Anam)
3. Bangladesh war: The article that changed history
4. On Sri Lanka Labour Migration to the Maldives (Miyuru Gunasinghe)
5. India: Citizens for Justice and Peace Press Release after Zakia Jafri Judgment 26 Dec 2013
6. India: Murder and Maoist rationalisations - The killing of Sai Reddy (Javed Iqbal)
7. India: ‘The Road to Equality has Never Been Straight'— Supreme Court's Verdict on S 377 - Rukmini Sen
8. India: Muzzling Expression - 'postponing' of a TV serial scripted by Taslima Nasreen and the refusal of the intelligentsia to speak out for her (Garga Chatterjee)
9. Pakistan - India: Our neglected have-nots (I.A. Rehman)
10. Pakistan: The Polio Jihad (Omar Ali)
11. In Pakistan, one school of thought dominating entire curriculum (Meena Menon)
12. Media/Pakistan: Worse than Maya Khan. The vigil-aunty TV moral brigade strikes again
13. India: Armed Conflicts and the Protection of Non-combatants - PUDR Press Release on Killing of Media Persons by CPI (Maoist)
14. USA: Mounting evidence of Hindu American Foundation's links to violent Hindu Nationalist Movement (CAG report II)
15. India: Citizens first - Muslims, Modi and brutal rapes of Muzzaffarnagar (Lakshmi Chaudhry)
16. India: When Nagas follow the constitution and ruffle the centre (Garga Chatterjee)
17. India: Cartoons on Modi by Orijit Sen, Manjul and by unnamed
18. Stop killing and arresting fishermen; Fishworkers Demand Governments of India and Pakistan
19. India: 377 ways to love - Maya Rao performing at Global Day of Rage protest on 15 Dec 2013 [Video]
20. Announcement: 5th National Convention on The Right to Food and Work (Ahmedabad, 1-3 March 2014)
21. India: Silence of the workplace (Naina Kapur)
22. India: Khobragade and nationalist hysteria (Praful Bidwai)
23. USA - Devyani Khobragade Case : Letters by Unions + Full text of legal complaint
24. Indian Government's Apathy towards Indian Workers' Abroad: Delhi Protest Call by Domestic Workers Union
25. India's National Fishworkers Forum Demand release of all Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails / Families from coastal villages in Pakistan protest fishermen's arrest
Full text + URLS for Long reads :
26. Book Review: Opening New Horizons (Rudrangshu Mukherjee)
27. Book Review: Robinson on Chatterjee, The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power
28. India: Coca Cola Workers Flash Strike Over Indo US Spat on Treatment of Indian Diplomat and Not For the Rights of The Domestic Worker
29. Japan's homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up (Mari Saito and Antoni Slodkowski)
30. USA: Los Angeles Times announced in 2013 that it will no longer publish letters from climate change deniers
31. [Long good read] Do Elephants Have Souls? (Caitrin Nicol)
1. BANGLADESH: THE RED HERRING
by Salma Sobhan
[From SACW Archives - 1996]
To paraphrase Voltaire: “If Taslima Nasreen did not exist, the Jamaat would have had to invent her.” The focus by the international media and national and international human rights and feminist activists on her plight – the threat to her life and the warrant for arrest for a statement which she denied having made – was very necessary and needs to continue despite her recent surrender to the court and release on bail.
2. PAKISTAN'S STATE OF DENIAL
by Tahmima Anam
When the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report was published in 1974, it documented how, under the pretense of quashing a rebellion, the Pakistani Army had planned and carried out the execution of intellectuals, soldiers, officials, businessmen and industrialists, and had buried them in mass graves. The commission recommended that the Pakistani government set up a special court to further investigate misconduct by the army. This never happened, and the report remained classified for nearly three decades. Five Pakistani heads of state have visited Bangladesh since 1971 without extending a formal apology.
3. BANGLADESH WAR: THE ARTICLE THAT CHANGED HISTORY
BBC report and also the full text of Anthony Mascarenhas's 1971 article in the Sunday Times
4. GILDED CAGE IN AN OCEAN PARADISE; SRI LANKA LABOUR MIGRATION TO THE MALDIVES
by Miyuru Gunasinghe
The phenomenon of mass migration for labour from Sri Lanka to the Maldives is however a relatively new trend and is primarily the outcome of economic growth witnessed in the Maldives after 2005, an increase in rebuilding and construction activities after the devastation caused by the Tsunami in 2004, augmented foreign direct investment in the export fishing industry, and rapid development of the hospitality sector through an increase in foreign investment and government initiatives to promote the tourism industry.
5. INDIA: CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE PRESS RELEASE AFTER ZAKIA JAFRI JUDGMENT 26 DEC 2013
On behalf of thousands of survivors of the 2002 genocidal pogrom that took place in Gujarat from February – May 2002, the Citizens for Justice and Peace expresses deep disappointment and anguish at the verdict of the Magistrate Court, Judge BJ Ganatra accepting the dismissal of serious criminal charges of criminal conspiracy against chief minister Narendra Modi and 59 others. The Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation team (SIT) had filed a closure report in this case, despite finding many of the serious allegations in the Zakia Ahsan Jafri complaint dated 8.6.2006 to be true. The Judge on 26.12.2013 accepted the closure report of the SIT.
6. INDIA: THE KILLING OF SAI REDDY - MURDER AND MAOIST RATIONALISATIONS
by Javed Iqbal
One doesn't need to be a state apologist to find something extremely perturbing about just another murder of an unarmed man.
7. INDIA: ‘THE ROAD TO EQUALITY HAS NEVER BEEN STRAIGHT'— SUPREME COURT'S VERDICT ON S 377
by Rukmini Sen
One of the posters of the campaign against 377 carried the sentence in the title within quotes. Notwithstanding the fact that there may be ideological questions raised about whether there should at all be a sexual category called ‘straight', I use this poster quotation in the literal meaning to indicate how meandering, complex and conflictual -as opposed to smooth, unidirectional, straight - a legal journey it has been . But I use it also in the symbolic meaning that the struggle for equality is for everyone, irrespective of one's sexual orientation. One of the first impressions one gets after going through all the 98 pages of the SC judgment on S 377 (Suresh Kumar Koushal v Naz Foundation) is that this is a good text for teaching how not to write a judgment.
8. INDIA: MUZZLING EXPRESSION - 'POSTPONING' OF A TV SERIAL SCRIPTED BY TASLIMA NASREEN AND THE REFUSAL OF THE INTELLIGENTSIA TO SPEAK OUT FOR HER
by Garga Chatterjee
Calcutta, the so-called ‘cultural capital', has demonstrated the increasing emptiness of the epithet, yet again. Taslima Nasreen, one of the most famous Bengali authors alive, had scripted a TV serial named ‘Doohshahobash' (Difficult Cohabitations) portraying three sisters and their lives— standing up to kinds of unjust behaviour that are everyday realities for the lives of women in the subcontinent. Nasreen has long lent a powerful voice to some of the most private oppressions that women face, often silently. The private channel where the serial was slotted ran a vigorous and visible advertising campaign— Nasreen's name still has serious pull among Bengalis and the channel knew it. Nasreen had made it clear that the serial had nothing to do with religion. However that was not enough for the self-appointed ‘leaders' of the Muslims of West Bengal who issued warnings to the effect that the serial not be aired.
9. PAKISTAN - INDIA: OUR NEGLECTED HAVE-NOTS
by I.A. Rehman
The Indian fisherfolk leaders have also asked their government to unilaterally and unconditionally release the Pakistani fishermen held in Indian prisons and their boats. The Pakistani fisherfolk will make a similar plea to their prime minister if they could gain access to him.
10. PAKISTAN: THE POLIO JIHAD
by Omar Ali
Today, there are only 3 countries where polio still remains endemic: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Unfortunately, the reason in all three is the same; the moronic wing of the international Jihadist movement has somehow picked up bits and pieces of chatter about risks from oral polio vaccine, combined it with pre-existing paranoia about modern international institutions, and created a robust anti-vaccine meme that is able to draw upon the ruthless killing power of Jihadi militias to effectively stop polio eradication campaigns in their area of influence.
11. IN PAKISTAN, ONE SCHOOL OF THOUGHT DOMINATING ENTIRE CURRICULUM | MEENA MENON
Authors have also been selective about historical facts. In describing the events of 1971, Prof. Nayyar says “Our textbooks put the entire blame on Hindus of East Pakistan, and never mention the atrocities committed by the Pakistani military and its collaborators.”
12. MEDIA / PAKISTAN: WORSE THAN MAYA KHAN. THE VIGIL-AUNTY TV MORAL BRIGADE STRIKES AGAIN
(Via Beena Sarwar)
As if there aren't enough human rights violations in Pakistan, sections of the media have joined the ranks of the violators, accosting people on the streets, barging into private homes, accusing people of being gay or bullying them to prove otherwise. The show, part of a vigilante series sensationally titled Khufia
13. INDIA: ARMED CONFLICTS AND THE PROTECTION OF NON-COMBATANTS - PUDR PRESS RELEASE ON KILLING OF MEDIA PERSONS BY CPI (MAOIST)
Peoples Union for Democratic Rights condemns the killing of Sai Reddy, a correspondent of Deshbandhu, a Hindi newspaper, based in Bijapur in south Bastar, Chhattisgarh on December 6, 2013. PUDR is convinced that death sentence meted out by CPI (Maoist) held People's Court cannot be defended because all death sentences are arbitrary, subjective and irrevocable.
14. USA: CAG PUBLISHES PART II OF ITS HAF REPORT - HINDU AMERICAN FOUNDATION FAILS TO COUNTER MOUNTING EVIDENCE OF LINKS TO VIOLENT HINDU NATIONALIST MOVEMENT
The Coalition Against Genocide (CAG - http://coalitionagainstgenocide.org/), today published "Part II" of its report on Hindu American Foundation (HAF) titled "Affiliations of Faith - Joined at the Hip" - with further evidence of HAF leadership's ties and dedication to the global Hindu Nationalist Movement that functions under a conglomerate of organizations known as the Sangh Parivar.
15. INDIA: CITIZENS FIRST - MUSLIMS, MODI AND BRUTAL RAPES OF MUZZAFFARNAGAR
by Lakshmi Chaudhry
If Modi wants to put Godhra behind him, and articulate a new secularism that moves away from vote bank politics, this is his chance. Why not take as active an interest in relief operations in Muzaffarnagar as he did in Uttarakhand — all are citizens of the Indian state, and equally deserving of his attention, after all.
16. INDIA: WHEN NAGAS FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION AND RUFFLE THE CENTRE / AT THE MARGINS OF HOMOGENEITY / WHEN THE STATE OF NAGALAND UPHOLDS THE CONSTITUTION (Garga Chatterjee)
The Union of India is not a homogenous union. It never was. What I mean by this is that its constituent parts are not created equal nor does the law of the land treat them equally. There are a host of special provisions that apply to specific constituents only – thereby removing any chance of homogeneity. There is indeed a great deal of homogeneity of law – but that is in ‘mainstream India'. ‘Mainstream India' has typically been those parts of the Union where the Indian Army is not deployed at present.
17. INDIA: CARTOONS ON MODI BY ORIJIT SEN, MANJUL AND BY UNNAMED
Cartoons mocking India's famous RSS activist now packaged as the contender for the top post to lead India in future.
18. STOP KILLING AND ARRESTING FISHERMEN; FISHWORKERS DEMAND GOVERNMENTS OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN
Experts, activists and fishworkers hold one-day consultation on the issue of fisherpeople who are caught between the marine forces of India and Pakistan.
19. INDIA: 377 WAYS TO LOVE - MAYA RAO PERFORMING AT GLOBAL DAY OF RAGE PROTEST ON 15 DEC 2013 [VIDEO]
As the Indian Supreme Court rules to make LGBT identities illegal via Section 377, one woman talks about 377 ways and more to love.
20. ANNOUNCEMENT: 5TH NATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE RIGHT TO FOOD AND WORK (AHMEDABAD, 1-3 MARCH 2014)
The Steering group of the Right to Food Campaign invites you and your organization to the Fifth National Convention on the Right to Food and Work in Ahmedabad from 1-3 March 2014. The last convention was organized in Rourkela, Odisha, in July 2010 where more than 2500 people from 18 States participated. The context of the last convention was to push for a comprehensive food security law.
21. INDIA: SILENCE OF THE WORKPLACE
by Naina Kapur
By doing nothing, institutions foster hostile sexual environments.
22. KHOBRAGADE AND NATIONALIST HYSTERIA
by Praful Bidwai
It speaks poorly of India’s public discourse that the slightest perception or allegation of “hurt” to “national prestige” instantly produces a disproportionate, indeed hysterical, reaction. Take the arrest of India’s deputy consul-general Devyani Khobragade on charges of visa fraud and non-payment of statutory wages to her domestic help Sangeeta Richard. no word of sympathy was uttered for Richard, her labour rights, and their place in “nationhood”. Labour rights don’t figure in the imaginary of the upper-middle-class elite that dominates our coarsening public discourse, where domestic maids are seen as “greedy” exploiters—not their masters. In India, domestic workers are rapaciously exploited for a pittance, and have no rights. Why should they have any rights overseas?
23. USA - DEVYANI KHOBRAGADE CASE : LETTERS BY UNIONS + FULL TEXT OF LEGAL COMPLAINT
We express strong outrage at the Indian government's reaction to the case of visa fraud and exploitation of her domestic worker against Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade in the United States. In its dealing of the case, the Indian government has sought only to protect the reputation of Ms. Khobragade, and has shown a complete lack of respect for the underlying issue – that of the abuse and exploitation of a domestic worker by a senior official.
24. INDIAN GOVERNMENT'S APATHY TOWARDS INDIAN WORKERS' ABROAD: DELHI PROTEST CALL BY DOMESTIC WORKERS UNION
The Indian government's reaction to the case of visa fraud and exploitation of her domestic worker against Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade in the United States is outrageous. In its dealing of the case, the Indian government is only seeking to protect the dignity and honour of Ms. Khobragade, and has shown a complete lack of respect for the underlying issue – that of the abuse and exploitation of a domestic worker by a senior official. What Ms. Khobragade has done is not an uncommon practice among diplomats and government officials. It is difficult to expose such crimes as domestic workers, in their vulnerable and terrified state, are unable to bring such employers to justice.
While the alleged strip search that Ms. Khobragade was subjected to is condemnable, the outrage over her arrest and mistreatment by officials cannot camouflage the deeper questions raised by the case.
25. INDIA'S NATIONAL FISHWORKERS FORUM DEMAND RELEASE OF ALL PAKISTANI FISHERMEN IN INDIAN JAILS / FAMILIES FROM COASTAL VILLAGES IN PAKISTAN PROTEST FISHERMEN'S ARREST
* New Delhi – 19th December 2013: Today, a ten member delegation of fishermen of Saurashtra, along with leaders of Pakistan India Peoples' Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD), National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF) and a delegation of MPs from Gujarat, met with the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh at the latter's residence.
* KARACHI: Men, women and children from Atharki, Shah Bunder, Keti Bunder, Chach Jehan Khan and Jati in Thatta and the coastal villages of Karachi who have been separated from their family members gathered outside the Karachi Press Club here on Tuesday to raise their voice against the injustice that fishermen on either side of the Pakistan-India border are subjected to as a result of their straying into the neighbouring country's territorial waters.
26. BOOK REVIEW: OPENING NEW HORIZONS (RUDRANGSHU MUKHERJEE)
(The Telegraph, December 13 , 2013)
Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century India: The Girl-Child and the Art of Playfulness By Ruby Lal, Cambridge, Rs 895
Ruby Lal’s engaging new book is an experiment in history writing. She carries out, very consciously, the experiment at two levels. One is in her choice of the theme. She deliberately chooses a subject about which sources, in the conventional sense that historians view the archive, are entirely absent. She has not consulted official files and records, the staple of the historian. The other is the way in which she treats chronology. Historians’ notions of time are almost by definition linear. This is how historical narratives are constructed. Lal does away with the standard chronological framework and moves from the second half of the 20th century into the beginning of the 19th century.
At the heart of her analysis is a marginalized entity — the figure of the woman. Using the margins as her location, she traces how women negotiate the structures of power into which they are born and in which men attempt to keep them. The margins, Lal asserts, are realms of the possibilities of playfulness.
Playfulness is of critical importance in Lal’s analysis. What does this mean or entail? Playfulness is seen by the author as “a characteristic feature of women’s/girl’s lives — it is an art that combines the social and the sexual without asserting authority or disciplining other forms of self-expression.” Is playfulness often a vehicle of subversion? Playfulness is also the repository of female agency. The concept of playfulness also serves for Lal as an interpretive move that allows her to unpack the texts that she reads.
This book is also an exercise in the reading of a variety of texts. The point about the absent archive has already been made in the opening paragraph. She counters the absence by looking at a variety of 19th-century discourses — manuals, novels, textbooks, readers, stories, reformist treatises and so on. This reading leads her to argue that “there are only certain kinds of books or stories — and certain kinds of female figures and subjects (girl-child, girl, woman) — that have survived in our more recent histories and memories.’’ This propels her backwards in time to a tale of the early 19th-century. This break in chronology shows that there were elements in pre-modern times that resist the classificatory urges of late 19th-century disciplines and reform projects.
Much that Lal writes forces the reader to think with her about the ways history can be written. History, as we understand it, seems elusive here, always inconveniently slipping through the readers’ fingers and hard to pin down. Against the grain of Lal’s text and its intentions an attempt can perhaps be hazarded to recover “history’’.
Lal’s point of departure is not a corpus of texts but an identifiable human being. Her name is Azra Kidwai, a scholar, teacher, mother born in 1945, who has lived in Delhi since her marriage in 1966. She hails from a sharif landowning background from the outskirts of Lucknow. She was brought up in a highly literate environment and is well-read in literature. She also kept a diary (as yet unpublished). Lal draws on Azra Kidwai’s reminiscences, oral and written. Lal thus came upon what most historians would consider a treasure trove — a body of memories with the ring of truth. It is this and the conversations she had with Azra Kidwai that set her off on her quest. Azra, as Lal writes, “opens the door’’. Azra Kidwai’s memories pertain to the second half of the 20th century but they enable Lal to interrogate the 19th century past. This is emphatically not an exercise in extrapolation from the 20th century back into the 19th. Lal writes, “Azra’s life, and her telling of it, provides an arc that enables me to think about the place and production of girl-child and woman in the nineteenth century — giving clues to an understanding of the past and of our present in complex and deeply contested ways.’’
Azra Kidwai said to Lal, “The world of books gave me access to worlds outside my own. Unwittingly my father gave me these books. My horizon grew from there. Some kind of idealism was created.’’ This was the beginning of Azra Kidwai’s journey in which Lal became a self-conscious fellow traveller. This is part Azra Kidwai’s narrative overlaid by Lal’s own questions, interpretations and reconstructions. This is history twice-told as it were, a mirrored narrative.
A key phrase in this book is “opening up’’. Azra Kidwai opened up a world for Lal. Azra Kidwai’s own world was opened up to other horizons by her father, who gave her books to read. Lal, in turn, opens up her readers’ worlds by persuading them to question their assumptions about the girl child, about what lies at the heart of history and about history itself.
This is, by no means, an easy book to read. Lal invites her readers to come with her, to question and explore with her. Reading history becomes an exercise in participation. Readers might make ineffable bonds of trust and comradeship with Lal and through her, with Azra Kidwai. After such gifts for reading, what gratitude?
27. BOOK REVIEW: ROBINSON ON CHATTERJEE, THE BLACK HOLE OF EMPIRE: HISTORY OF A GLOBAL PRACTICE OF POWER
Partha Chatterjee. The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. xiv + 425 pp. $80.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-691-15200-4; $29.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-691-15201-1.
Reviewed by Marsha R. Robinson (Miami University (Ohio))
Published on H-Empire (December, 2013)
Commissioned by Charles V. Reed
The Bengali Cradle of Modern British Imperialism?
Partha Chatterjee’s The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power is less a Gramscian analysis of the British East India Company’s evolution to its role as professional administrator of colonized Bengal, as interpreted by a renown contributor to subaltern studies, than it is a Kautilyan analysis of the 1756 fall of British Fort William in Calcutta first to Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah and again to the British. Even this is insufficient to capture the tantalizing multilayered narrative of the history of British and Bengali constructed memories of the Black Hole of Calcutta. Here is the strength, and perhaps the frustrating challenge, of reading this book: Chatterjee speaks to many audiences of several scholarly levels in multiple discursive styles.This story of the Black Hole of Calcutta begins as a standard Western military history of a real battle resulting in the British evacuation of treasure and garrison staff and families at Fort William because hosting monarch Siraj ud-daulah refused to tolerate the excessive liberties that the British East India Company had taken in its tax-farming franchise. Some 143 British, mostly men, surrendered and Nawab Siraj ordered them to jail for the night of June 20, 1756. Instead of being held overnight in the jail outside of the fortress walls, they were pushed into a 14’ x18’ cell that was designed to hold four or five drunken soldiers. Poor ventilation, dehydration, and panic resulted in the deaths of 123 persons in that hot black hole of a prison cell that resembled for one night the concurrent conditions suffered by other people caught in other imperial struggles at the slave castles of Gorée Island and the Gold Coast.In this microhistory, Chatterjee pulls from several primary sources, including the published narrative written by John Holwell, who was the leader of the 143, to give so many details of that fateful week that one can imagine the faces and smell the perspiration of those who evacuated and of those who remained behind. Martyrdom memorialized in a Trafalgar Square-type obelisk outside of old Ft. William masked the drain of wealth from Bengal to Britain for eighteenth- through twentieth-century merchant audiences. Chatterjee’s narrative in chapters 1, 2, and 4 squares with other histories of colonial India and the British East India Company by Tripta Desai, Philip Lawson, Penelope Carson, Christopher Bayly, Niraja Jayal, and Sunil Agnani.
In his third-chapter analysis of Indian-language contemporary histories of this time period, Chatterjee argues that India was experiencing its own modernity in which absolutism and anti-absolutism were debated by Mughal intellectuals, putting this book solidly in conversation with John Clarke’s Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter between Asian and Western Thought (1997). It is in this third chapter that Chatterjee reprises his earlier career as a military historian, for he chooses to present Haidar Tipu Sultan of Myesore, whose army included French military veterans. Readers familiar with Kautilya’s Artha-shastra (fourth century BCE) recommendations will recognize them in Haidar’s conduct of foreign policy and warfare against the Firanghees/British (p. 68). This Indocentric military subtext is interwoven so subtly that one could overlook it until one arrives in chapters 5 and 6, where it is cultivated further until it becomes a subject of other chapters.The long war sparked by the 1756 falls of Fort William continues in later chapters but it is a war differently fought. In the seventh chapter, Chatterjee marshals James Dalhousie and Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington through primary and secondary sources into the conceptual terrain of the logos of the law of nations (a European ideology bruised to the bone by Napoleon Bonaparte) that limped into the pens of Thomas Macaulay, Henry Maine, Carl Schmitt, and Charles Henry Alexandrowicz. This thoroughly researched chapter illuminates a war on the imperial British psyche in the form of the “normalization” of “the degree, sequence, combination, and points of application of the pedagogical techniques of violence and culture” (pp. 186, 187). Is it traditional to infer that the British East India Company violated the British citizen?
The war continues in the eighth chapter, “The Pedagogy of Culture,” with Shakespeare dueling Bengali traditional jatra theater. In this chapter, the straightforward, linear military history about the memory of the Black Hole of Calcutta seems to enter postcolonial and postmodern conceptual space, which some expect of Chatterjee. One could comfortably complete the reading of this book on that pathway. However, Chatterjee’s study of Bengali Othello productions (p. 229) attracts another audience, a diaspora audience, to regard this story in the context of W. E. B. DuBois, Jawarhalal Nehru, and the Bandung Conference. It is a disconcerting chapter.Chatterjee the political military anthropologist goes even further in his nontraditional assemblage of traditional historiography and theory in the ninth chapter, “Bombs, Sovereignty and Football.” On this field he assembles Leopold II, Joseph Schumpeter, John Hobson, Rudolph Hilferding, and Rosa Luxemburg in his discussion of Bengali terrorism and football as presented in English and Bengali newspapers between 1905 and 1917. The imperial narrative is present, the Cold War historiography of the Communist Party in Bengal is rendered irrelevant, Mohandas Ghandi is decentered in the Indian independence movement, and the Western, social Darwinist myth of the effeminate Indian race is shattered as collateral damage, but to what end? The end, indeed several ends, are clearly identified in the tenth and concluding chapter, ends that evolve the discourse on globalization from Western imperialism to twenty-first-century realities that are reshaping the behavior of the United Nations.
Chatterjee suggests that India’s early modern period was underway earlier than the British one and that historians should leave “the earlier period of British rule [in India] from the mid-eighteenth century to the 1820s or so open to an exploration of historical possibilities of transition not teleologically predetermined by the ascendancy of the colonial modern” (p. 76). Chatterjee gingerly digresses from the traditional interpretations of British imperialism in India and Bangladesh. He also recenters this imperial narrative by including some Indocentric tropes, distinguishing an informative bibliography of Indian-language books and articles from those in European languages, and omitting a glossary. Some will see Partha Chatterjee’s The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power as a military anthropology of the Bengali civilization of British imperialism.
. Tripta Desai, The East India Company: A Brief Survey from 1599-1857 (New Delhi: Kanak Publications, 1984); Philip Lawson, The East India Company: A History (New York: Longman Group, 1993); Penelope Carson, The East India Company and Religion, 1698-1858 (Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2012); Christopher A. Bayly, Recovering Liberties: Indian Thought in the Age of Liberalism and Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Niraja Gopal Jayal, Citizenship and Its Discontents: An Indian History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013); Sunil M. Agnani, Hating Empire Properly: The Two Indies and the Limits of Enlightment Anticolonialism (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013).
Citation: Marsha R. Robinson. Review of Chatterjee, Partha, The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power. H-Empire, H-Net Reviews. December, 2013.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
28. INDIA: COCA COLA WORKERS FLASH STRIKE OVER INDO US SPAT ON TREATMENT OF INDIAN DIPLOMAT AND NOT FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE DOMESTIC WORKER
Labour Notes South Asia - Year 13
[Nationalist chest thumping wins. Shocking to see the Coca cola workers union side with the Indian diplomat who was arrested for Visa fraud and for not paying minimum wages to her employee a domestic worker.]
Devyani episode: Workers take fizz out of Coke plant
TNN | Dec 24, 2013, 02.00 AM IST
VIJAYAWADA: Workers at Coca Cola's plant at Atmakuru in Guntur district forced the management to shut down the unit on Monday by going on a flash strike to protest the humiliation of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in the United States.
About 1,200 regular and contract workers participated in the strike demanding that the Obama administration immediately withdraw cases against the Indian consulate official. The workers raised slogans outside the local plant and warned that they would intensify the agitation. The plant reportedly lost production of nearly 60,000 litres of soft drink because of the flash strike.
Stung by the sudden strike, the plant management sent an SOS to state government's labour department officials in Hyderabad and Guntur. The management representatives asked the officials to intervene because the flash strike would cause them huge loss as the 'concentrate' readied for preparation of the soft drink would go waste if not used within 24 hours of mixing.
Following a directive from Hyderabad, local labour officials visited the plant and held discussions with the agitating workers. However, the workers refused to end the strike arguing that the loss due to a day's strike is nothing compared to the humiliation of the Indian diplomat by the US government.
The workers' leaders threatened that they would continue the strike if they were not allowed to mark their protest for the day. "We will not allow the management to run the plant if the US government continues to humiliate and harass Indian diplomat Devyani. We demand that the Obama administration immediately withdraw all the cases against the Indian official," said K Sridhar, the leader of the recognized workers union of the Coca Cola plant.
Workers affiliated to all the three unions in the plant participated in the one-day strike. Sources said the flash strike had affected transport of already manufactured stocks to various destinations. It is learnt that labour department officials reportedly counseled the plant management not to complicate matters by being harsh with the workers as they had promised to return to work on Tuesday.
Local deputy superintendent of police Madhusudan Rao said policemen from the nearby rural station were deployed but there was no trouble. Coca Cola local plant manager Narayana Rao was circumspect but confirmed that some people had tried to create unrest in the plant. "We have overcome it," he said.
The deputy labour commissioner at Guntur, Esuf Shaik, said the management had brought the issue to his notice and sought his intervention as the strike was in violation of the contract. Following this, the local assistant commissioner of labour, and assistant labour officers visited the plant but said that workers' union representatives told labour department field officers that the 'dharna' would be for only one day and not indefinite as the management had made it out to be.
29. SPECIAL REPORT: JAPAN'S HOMELESS RECRUITED FOR MURKY FUKUSHIMA CLEAN-UP
by Mari Saito and Antoni Slodkowski
(Filed December 30, 2013 | Reuters)
SENDAI, Japan - Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men.
He isn't a social worker. He's a recruiter. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan's nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head.
"This is how labor recruiters like me come in every day," Sasa says, as he strides past men sleeping on cardboard and clutching at their coats against the early winter cold.
It's also how Japan finds people willing to accept minimum wage for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.
Almost three years ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami leveled villages across Japan's northeast coast and set off multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Today, the most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted is running behind schedule. The effort is being dogged by both a lack of oversight and a shortage of workers, according to a Reuters analysis of contracts and interviews with dozens of those involved.
In January, October and November, Japanese gangsters were arrested on charges of infiltrating construction giant Obayashi Corp's network of decontamination subcontractors and illegally sending workers to the government-funded project.
In the October case, homeless men were rounded up at Sendai's train station by Sasa, then put to work clearing radioactive soil and debris in Fukushima City for less than minimum wage, according to police and accounts of those involved. The men reported up through a chain of three other companies to Obayashi, Japan's second-largest construction company. Obayashi, which is one of more than 20 major contractors involved in government-funded radiation removal projects,
has not been accused of any wrongdoing. But the spate of arrests has shown that members of Japan's three largest criminal syndicates - Yamaguchi-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai and Inagawa-kai - had set up black-market recruiting agencies under Obayashi.
"We are taking it very seriously that these incidents keep happening one after another," said Junichi Ichikawa, a spokesman for Obayashi. He said the company tightened its scrutiny of its lower-tier subcontractors in order to shut out gangsters, known as the yakuza. "There were elements of what we had been doing that did not go far enough."
OVERSIGHT LEFT TO TOP CONTRACTORS
Part of the problem in monitoring taxpayer money in Fukushima is the sheer number of companies involved in decontamination, extending from the major contractors at the top to tiny subcontractors many layers below them. The total number has not been announced. But in the 10 most contaminated towns and a highway that runs north past the gates of the wrecked plant in Fukushima, Reuters found 733 companies were performing work for the Ministry of Environment, according to partial contract terms released by the ministry in August under Japan's information disclosure law.
Reuters found 56 subcontractors listed on environment ministry contracts worth a total of $2.5 billion in the most radiated areas of Fukushima that would have been barred from traditional public works because they had not been vetted by the construction ministry.
The 2011 law that regulates decontamination put control under the environment ministry, the largest spending program ever managed by the 10-year-old agency. The same law also effectively loosened controls on bidders, making it possible for firms to win radiation removal contracts without the basic disclosure and certification required for participating in public works such as road construction.
Reuters also found five firms working for the Ministry of Environment that could not be identified. They had no construction ministry registration, no listed phone number or website, and Reuters could not find a basic corporate registration disclosing ownership. There was also no record of the firms in the database of Japan's largest credit research firm, Teikoku Databank. "As a general matter, in cases like this, we would have to start by looking at whether a company like this is real," said Shigenobu Abe, a researcher at Teikoku Databank.
"After that, it would be necessary to look at whether this is an active company and at the background of its executive and directors."
Responsibility for monitoring the hiring, safety records and suitability of hundreds of small firms involved in Fukushima's decontamination rests with the top contractors, including Kajima Corp, Taisei Corp and Shimizu Corp, officials said.
"In reality, major contractors manage each work site," said Hide Motonaga, deputy director of the radiation clean-up division of the environment ministry.
But, as a practical matter, many of the construction companies involved in the clean-up say it is impossible to monitor what is happening on the ground because of the multiple layers of contracts for each job that keep the top contractors removed from those doing the work.
"If you started looking at every single person, the project wouldn't move forward. You wouldn't get a tenth of the people you need," said Yukio Suganuma, president of Aisogo Service, a construction company that was hired in 2012 to clean up radioactive fallout from streets in the town of Tamura.
The sprawl of small firms working in Fukushima is an unintended consequence of Japan's legacy of tight labor-market regulations combined with the aging population's deepening shortage of workers. Japan's construction companies cannot afford to keep a large payroll and dispatching temporary workers to construction sites is prohibited. As a result, smaller firms step into the gap, promising workers in exchange for a cut of their wages.
Below these official subcontractors, a shadowy network of gangsters and illegal brokers who hire homeless men has also become active in Fukushima. Ministry of Environment contracts in the most radioactive areas of Fukushima prefecture are particularly lucrative because the government pays an additional $100 in hazard allowance per day for each worker.
Takayoshi Igarashi, a lawyer and professor at Hosei University, said the initial rush to find companies for decontamination was understandable in the immediate aftermath of the disaster when the priority was emergency response. But he said the government now needs to tighten its scrutiny to prevent a range of abuses, including bid rigging.
"There are many unknown entities getting involved in decontamination projects," said Igarashi, a former advisor to ex-Prime Minister Naoto Kan. "There needs to be a thorough check on what companies are working on what, and when. I think it's probably completely lawless if the top contractors are not thoroughly checking."
The Ministry of Environment announced on Thursday that work on the most contaminated sites would take two to three years longer than the original March 2014 deadline. That means many of the more than 60,000 who lived in the area before the disaster will remain unable to return home until six years after the disaster.
Earlier this month, Abe, who pledged his government would "take full responsibility for the rebirth of Fukushima" boosted the budget for decontamination to $35 billion, including funds to create a facility to store radioactive soil and other waste near the wrecked nuclear plant.
‘DON'T ASK QUESTIONS'
Japan has always had a gray market of day labor centered in Tokyo and Osaka. A small army of day laborers was employed to build the stadiums and parks for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. But over the past year, Sendai, the biggest city in the disaster zone, has emerged as a hiring hub for homeless men. Many work clearing rubble left behind by the 2011 tsunami and cleaning up radioactive hotspots by removing topsoil, cutting grass and scrubbing down houses around the destroyed nuclear plant, workers and city officials say.
Seiji Sasa, 67, a broad-shouldered former wrestling promoter, was photographed by undercover police recruiting homeless men at the Sendai train station to work in the nuclear cleanup. The workers were then handed off through a chain of companies reporting up to Obayashi, as part of a $1.4 million contract to decontaminate roads in Fukushima, police say.
"I don't ask questions; that's not my job," Sasa said in an interview with Reuters. "I just find people and send them to work. I send them and get money in exchange. That's it. I don't get involved in what happens after that."
Only a third of the money allocated for wages by Obayashi's top contractor made it to the workers Sasa had found. The rest was skimmed by middlemen, police say. After deductions for food and lodging, that left workers with an hourly rate of about $6, just below the minimum wage equal to about $6.50 per hour in Fukushima, according to wage data provided by police. Some of the homeless men ended up in debt after fees for food and housing were deducted, police say.
Sasa was arrested in November and released without being charged. Police were after his client, Mitsunori Nishimura, a local Inagawa-kai gangster. Nishimura housed workers in cramped dorms on the edge of Sendai and skimmed an estimated $10,000 of public funding intended for their wages each month, police say.
Nishimura, who could not be reached for comment, was arrested and paid a $2,500 fine. Nishimura is widely known in Sendai. Seiryu Home, a shelter funded by the city, had sent other homeless men to work for him on recovery jobs after the 2011 disaster.
"He seemed like such a nice guy," said Yota Iozawa, a shelter manager. "It was bad luck. I can't investigate everything about every company."
In the incident that prompted his arrest, Nishimura placed his workers with Shinei Clean, a company with about 15 employees based on a winding farm road south of Sendai. Police turned up there to arrest Shinei's president, Toshiaki Osada, after a search of his office, according to Tatsuya Shoji, who is both Osada's nephew and a company manager. Shinei had sent dump trucks to sort debris from the disaster. "Everyone is involved in sending workers," said Shoji. "I guess we just happened to get caught this time."
Osada, who could not be reached for comment, was fined about $5,000. Shinei was also fined about $5,000.
'RUN BY GANGS'
The trail from Shinei led police to a slightly larger neighboring company with about 30 employees, Fujisai Couken. Fujisai says it was under pressure from a larger contractor, Raito Kogyo, to provide workers for Fukushima. Kenichi Sayama, Fujisai's general manger, said his company only made about $10 per day per worker it outsourced. When the job appeared to be going too slowly, Fujisai asked Shinei for more help and they turned to Nishimura.
A Fujisai manager, Fuminori Hayashi, was arrested and paid a $5,000 fine, police said. Fujisai also paid a $5,000 fine.
"If you don't get involved (with gangs), you're not going to get enough workers," said Sayama, Fujisai's general manager. "The construction industry is 90 percent run by gangs."
Raito Kogyo, a top-tier subcontractor to Obayashi, has about 300 workers in decontamination projects around Fukushima and owns subsidiaries in both Japan and the United States. Raito agreed that the project faced a shortage of workers but said it had been deceived. Raito said it was unaware of a shadow contractor under Fujisai tied to organized crime.
"We can only check on lower-tier subcontractors if they are honest with us," said Tomoyuki Yamane, head of marketing for Raito. Raito and Obayashi were not accused of any wrongdoing and were not penalized.
Other firms receiving government contracts in the decontamination zone have hired homeless men from Sasa, including Shuto Kogyo, a firm based in Himeji, western Japan.
"He sends people in, but they don't stick around for long," said Fujiko Kaneda, 70, who runs Shuto with her son, Seiki Shuto. "He gathers people in front of the station and sends them to our dorm."
Kaneda invested about $600,000 to cash in on the reconstruction boom. Shuto converted an abandoned roadhouse north of Sendai into a dorm to house workers on reconstruction jobs such as clearing tsunami debris. The company also won two contracts awarded by the Ministry of Environment to clean up two of the most heavily contaminated townships.
Kaneda had been arrested in 2009 along with her son, Seiki, for charging illegally high interest rates on loans to pensioners. Kaneda signed an admission of guilt for police, a document she says she did not understand, and paid a fine of $8,000. Seiki was given a sentence of two years prison time suspended for four years and paid a $20,000 fine, according to police. Seiki declined to comment.
UNPAID WAGE CLAIMS
In Fukushima, Shuto has faced at least two claims with local labor regulators over unpaid wages, according to Kaneda. In a separate case, a 55-year-old homeless man reported being paid the equivalent of $10 for a full month of work at Shuto. The worker's paystub, reviewed by Reuters, showed charges for food, accommodation and laundry were docked from his monthly pay equivalent to about $1,500, leaving him with $10 at the end of the August.
The man turned up broke and homeless at Sendai Station in October after working for Shuto, but disappeared soon afterwards, according to Yasuhiro Aoki, a Baptist pastor and homeless advocate.
Kaneda confirmed the man had worked for her but said she treats her workers fairly. She said Shuto Kogyo pays workers at least $80 for a day's work while docking the equivalent of $35 for food. Many of her workers end up borrowing from her to make ends meet, she said. One of them had owed her $20,000 before beginning work in Fukushima, she says. The balance has come down recently, but then he borrowed another $2,000 for the year-end holidays.
"He will never be able to pay me back," she said.
The problem of workers running themselves into debt is widespread. "Many homeless people are just put into dormitories, and the fees for lodging and food are automatically docked from their wages," said Aoki, the pastor. "Then at the end of the month, they're left with no pay at all."
Shizuya Nishiyama, 57, says he briefly worked for Shuto clearing rubble. He now sleeps on a cardboard box in Sendai Station. He says he left after a dispute over wages, one of several he has had with construction firms, including two handling decontamination jobs.
Nishiyama's first employer in Sendai offered him $90 a day for his first job clearing tsunami debris. But he was made to pay as much as $50 a day for food and lodging. He also was not paid on the days he was unable to work. On those days, though, he would still be charged for room and board. He decided he was better off living on the street than going into debt.
"We're an easy target for recruiters," Nishiyama said. "We turn up here with all our bags, wheeling them around and we're easy to spot. They say to us, are you looking for work? Are you hungry? And if we haven't eaten, they offer to find us a job."
(Reporting by Mari Saito and Antoni Slodkowski, additional reporting by Elena Johansson, Michio Kohno, Yoko Matsudaira, Fumika Inoue, Ruairidh Villar, Sophie Knight; writing by Kevin Krolicki; editing by Bill Tarrant)
30. USA: ON LETTERS FROM CLIMATE-CHANGE DENIERS
by Paul Thornton
(Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2013)
A piece this weekend debunking the claim that Congress and the president are exempted from Obamacare has drawn a harsh reaction from some readers and conservative bloggers. But their umbrage wasn't with the piece's explanation of why letters making this claim do not get published.
Rather, they were upset by the statement that letters "[saying] there's no sign humans have caused climate change" do not get printed. Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters blogged about it over the weekend:
"It's one thing for a news outlet to advance the as yet unproven theory of anthropogenic global warming; it's quite another to admit that you won't publish views that oppose it.
"As amazing as it may seem, that's exactly what the Los Angeles Times did Saturday in an article by editorial writer Jon Healey....
"So letters to the editor 'that say there's no sign humans have caused climate change ... do not get printed.'
"That's quite a statement coming from an editorial writer not named Al Gore."
Point of order: Jon Healey didn't write that intro, and neither did Al Gore; as The Times' letters editor, I did. It ran without a byline because it was intended to be a straightforward editor's note introducing the piece; my apologies if that caused any confusion. Healey was responsible for everything beneath the boldface subhead, "Editorial writer Jon Healey explains why this claim in the debate over the healthcare law is off-base."
As for letters on climate change, we do get plenty from those who deny global warming. And to say they "deny" it might be an understatement: Many say climate change is a hoax, a scheme by liberals to curtail personal freedom.
Before going into some detail about why these letters don't make it into our pages, I'll concede that, aside from my easily passing the Advanced Placement biology exam in high school, my science credentials are lacking. I'm no expert when it comes to our planet's complex climate processes or any scientific field. Consequently, when deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I must rely on the experts -- in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review.
And those scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change. Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- a body made up of the world's top climate scientists -- said it was 95% certain that we fossil-fuel-burning humans are driving global warming. The debate right now isn't whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us.
Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying "there's no sign humans have caused climate change" is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy.
source URL: latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-climate-change-letters-20131008,0,871615.story
31. DO ELEPHANTS HAVE SOULS?
by Caitrin Nicol
The birth of an elephant is a spectacular occasion. Grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and cousins crowd around the new arrival and its dazed mother, trumpeting and stamping and waving their trunks to welcome the floppy baby who has so recently arrived from out of the void, bursting through the border of existence to take its place in an unbroken line stretching back to the dawn of life.
After almost two years in the womb and a few minutes to stretch its legs, the calf can begin to stumble around. But its trunk, an evolutionarily unique inheritance of up to 150,000 muscles with the dexterity to pick up a pin and the strength to uproot a tree, will be a mystery to it at first, with little apparent use except to sometimes suck upon like human babies do their thumbs.
FULL TEXT AT: http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/do-elephants-have-souls
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