By Mark Engler and Paul Engler for Waging Nonviolence – At the end of 1930, India was experiencing disruption on a scale not seen in nearly three quarters of a century — and it was witnessing a level of social movement participation that organizers who challenge undemocratic regimes usually only dream of achieving. A campaign of mass non-cooperation against imperial rule had spread throughout the country, initiated earlier that year when Mohandas Gandhi and approximately 80 followers from his religious community set out on a Salt March protesting the British monopoly on the mineral. Before the campaign was through, more than 60,000 people would be arrested, with as many as 29,000 proudly filling the jails at one time.
By Colin Todhunter for Counter Currents – We don’t have to dig too deep to see where Modi feels at home. Describing itself as a major ‘global communications, stakeholder engagement and business strategy’ company, APCO Worldwide is a lobby agency with firm links to (part of) the Wall Street/US establishment and functions to serve its global agenda. Modi turned to APCO to help transform his image and turn him into electable pro-corporate PM material. It also helped Modi get the message out that what he achieved in Gujarat as Chief Minister was a miracle of economic neoliberalism, although the actual reality is really quite different. In APCO’s India brochure, there is the claim that India’s resilience in weathering the global downturn…
By Vijaya Kumar Marla for Counter Currents – As per mythology, one demon king, Bhasmasur had undertaken tapas to attract the attention of Shiva. His tapas was so powerful that earth and heaven were shaken and pleased with his devotion, Parameshwar appeared before him. Bhasmasur asked for a boon from Shiva, that he should have the power to destroy anything he lays his hands up on. Having promised, Parmeshwar had no option but to grant it. This demon king wanted to test whether the boon really works and so, he chased the Lord himself to put his hand up on his head. Bhasmasur had left a trail of death and destruction in his wake.
By Jim Naureckas for FAIR. When tens of millions of workers go out on strike in the second-largest country in the world—and the third-largest economy in the world—resulting in what may be the biggest labor action in world history (AlterNet, 9/7/16), you’d think that would merit some kind of news coverage, right? Not if you’re a decision-maker at a US corporate media outlet, apparently. Not a single US newspaper found in the Nexis database—which includes most of the major papers, like the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today—reported an original story on the strike. (Associated Press had a brief, 289-word report, which ran on the New York Times‘ website and was doubtless picked up by other papers.) The Wall Street Journal, whose full text isn’t on Nexis, also skipped the Indian strike story.
By Eric Scott Pickard for Mint Press News – Mumbai, India – The All India Strike, conducted across India, is likely the largest labor strike in human history, with some estimates putting the figure of striking workers at 150 million. Occurring during the fanfare of the United State’s Labor Day holiday, a long weekend mostly known in American culture as a time to drink beer and grill hot dogs, the All India Strike has disrupted many public sector industries and brought Indian workers into the international spotlight.
By Michael Safi for the Guardian. A nationwide strike by tens of millions of Indian public sector workers has been hailed by union officials as “the world’s largest ever” industrial action, and cost the economy up to 180bn rupees (£2bn), according to an industry group. Last-minute concessions by the finance and labour ministries, including a 104-rupee rise in unskilled workers’ daily minimum wage, could not ward off the strike against what unions said were the “anti-worker and anti-people” policies of Narendra Modi’s government. State banks and power stations were shut and public transport was halted in some states on Friday, and 20 protesters were arrested in West Bengal after allegedly damaging government buses, police official Anuj Sharma told the AFP news agency. Schools and colleges in Bangalore were closed as a precautionary measure, and 4,200 buses sat idle in Haryana. Mumbai and Delhi avoided major disruptions but surgeries were delayed at a major hospital in the capital while nurses demonstrated outside.
By Vijay Prashad for AlterNet – Colonialism made us feel backward. It was always Europe that was advanced and enlightened, and it was always the East that was backward and wretched. Rather than honestly say that they had come to plunder, the colonial rulers said that they had come to school the East – it needed to be civilized. Every European colonizer used the phrase – the French called it mission civilisatrice, the Portuguese called it missão civilizadora and the English called it liberalism.
By Mari Marcel Thekaekara for New Internationalist Blog. While most of India was busy celebrating its 70th Independence Day, many people were trying to comprehend and make sense of a sudden Dalit uprising in Gujarat. Gujarati Dalits had begun a huge march for dignity and respect culminating in a rally on 15 August, Indian Independence day. They were demanding justice for four young Dalit men who had been stripped, tied to a car and viciously thrashed for hours in public on 11 July, by cow vigilantes, known locally as gau rakshaks, for skinning a dead cow. Every single day I receive a report of collated Dalit stories. With sickening, mind boggling regularity I read about Dalits who have been raped, flogged, humiliated and murdered, every single day, in some part of the country. Yet this particular incident, the flogging of four young lads from the leather tanning community, for doing a job their forefathers have done ever since anyone can remember, that is, skinning two dead cows, created an uproar not just in Gujarat but in Dalit circles all over India.
By Staff of Barrow Press – The U.S. has recently shown its official stance on Kashmir again, by avoiding any appearance of taking sides on the conflict and restating that it is up to India and Pakistan to resolve the issue. It’s been stated by other countries as well. But that’s hogwash. The interest of other countries in the Kashmir dispute is warranted and highly recommended. The Kashmir dispute is not simply to be left to India and Pakistan, and the interest of other countries does not represent unnecessary interference in the internal affairs of India
By Ashish Kothari for Local Futures for Economics of Happiness – In India, economic development and modernity have transformed livelihoods into deadlihoods. They are wiping out millennia-old livelihoods that were ways of life with no sharp division between work and leisure, and replacing them with dreary assembly line jobs where we wait desperately for weekends and holidays. Economic progress, we are told, is about moving from primary sector jobs to manufacturing and services. And so the livelihoods that keep all of us alive – farming, forestry, pastoralism, fisheries, and related crafts – are considered backward.
By Ankit Panda for The Diplomat. Two days ago, in Moscow, the foreign ministers of India, Russia, and China released a joint communique outlining areas of trilateral agreement between the three countries. As I discussed in The Diplomat, the three countries have met annually since 2002 to discuss issues of regional and global importance. While the trilateral hasn’t addressed the issue in the past, this year, the three foreign ministers included the South China Sea disputes in their joint communique. Specifically, the portion of the communique on the maritime disputes there said the following: Russia, India and China are committed to maintaining a legal order for the seas and oceans based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS). All related disputes should be addressed through negotiations and agreements between the parties concerned. I
By Vijay Prashad for AlterNet – What data set she peered into is not clear. India continues to top the UN Food & Agricultural Organization’s hunger list (195 million undernourished people in the country). On UNESCO’s list of adult illiteracy, India sits on top, with 287 million people. Growth rates might rise, but its advantages sneak into the coffers of the über-rich. Indians will not necessarily lead the names in the Panama Papers, but this is after all only one law firm from one country. “Black money” is a scourge of India, as the current government suggested when it came to office.
By Rick Cohen for NPQ – Although many people admire Arundhati Roy for her Booker Prize-winning novelThe God of Small Things, those of us who have followed her career know that for the past two decades, she hasn’t been writing novels. Her life is devoted to anti-capitalist and anti-corporate political activism; it’s worth reading her latest book,Walking with the Comrades, for an example of her trenchant analysis, whether you agree with her perspective or not. In a recent long-form posting on ZNet, Roy takes on wealth disparities in India and the role of capitalism in creating and perpetuating them.
By Bhavana Mahajan for Waging Nonviolence – A new era in public debate and polarization has dawned in India over the last few weeks following the government’s crackdown on students and universities across the country under the guise of protecting “nationalist sentiment.” In May 2014, the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, came to power in India with an absolute majority.
By Vijay Prashad for Counter Punch – Indian political culture sits atop a fine edged blade. Pushing down on it is the Extreme Right, whose political wing – the BJP – is currently in power. Intolerance is the order of the day. India’s celebrated Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen recently said, “India is being turned intolerant. We have been too tolerant with the intolerance. This has to end.” In the marrow of the Extreme Right is a demand for discipline enforced by violence. Anyone who strays from the authority of its world-view – Hindutva – is either anti-national or a terrorist.