ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Bela BhatiaSubscribe to Bela Bhatia

Competing Concerns

There have been many layers of such injustices that have befallen the adivasis, like yet another blow of an axe on a tree. Following a commitment made in the UPA's Common Minimum Programme, the proposed Forest Rights Bill aims to give legal entitlements to forest land that the adivasis may have been cultivating before 1980 as well as forest rights such as grazing and access to minor forest produce. A unique feature of the bill will be that the rights of adivasis will come with responsibilities for conserving the forests and protection of wildlife. The bill also seeks to end the exploitative hold of the forest department over the adivasis by recognising the gram sabha as the authority to recognise and verify claims.

The Naxalite Movement in Central Bihar

The main achievement of the Naxalite movement in central Bihar is that it has empowered the labouring and oppressed classes. The equations of power have changed drastically. Yet, the quality of material life in the villages has not improved because the Naxalite leaders are not interested in 'development'. There is now a tiredness among the people, which has resulted in a stalemate. The Naxalite movement will thrive only if it lets people's concerns guide the vision of the parties. Another problem is factionalism; if the movement unites and focuses on people's concerns it could make a real difference in Bihar.

Massacre on the Banks of the Sone

Massacre on the Banks of the Sone Bela Bhatia Hundreds of people came to watch the funeral of the victims of the worst massacre in the history of Bihar. Millions others watch them die every day the dalits, the oppressed and marginalised people of the other India who are unable to live even when alive. The sudden death of the massacre victims, which did not even allow them to cry out in paint their ashes which shall soon mix in the sand of Sone ask a single question Why?

Laloo s Garib Rally Dialogues with the People

have emerged losers on the point of forming a government and are shaky even in power. The problem is further aggravated by the tact that while absence of comoination threatens existence of any government at the centre, the act of combination threatens existence of many parties in the states. So this is not a hung parliament but a hanged parliament with a very limited latitude for manoeuvring. What is in front is no reflection of plurality in our society or any new stimulating model of federalism but a show of fractured polity threatening the country, unleashing the forced of disintegration. This is no projection of unity in diversity but that of animosity with chaos. Division of parties and rise of regional forces THE 'Garib Rally' organised by the Janata Dal on March 18 in Gandhi Maidan, Patna, has been hailed by some as a grand success while others have called it a muted affair. Rallies such as these come and go leaving us an occasion for some reflection on politics today. In this essay I offer some observations based on dialogues with the people who had come to attend the rally, especially the poor in whose name the rally had been organised.

Lush Fields and Parched Throats-Political Economy of Groundwater in Gujarat

Political Economy of Groundwater in Gujarat Bela Bhatia The recent discussion on groundwater resources has raised questions of social and economic equity in the distribution of water resources as well as about the role played by water markets, state intervention and other regulatory mechanisms. However, a number of deeper questions have not received adequate attention: Who owns groundwater resources? Who benefits from their use? Who causes and who suffers from their overexploitation? How can proper utilisation of these resources to meet real needs be ensured?


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