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

C R BijoySubscribe to C R Bijoy

Great Opportunity, Serious Danger

The Anna Hazare situation invites two common reactions among progressives and those concerned with social change: some dismiss it as a middle class “urban picnic” and others acclaim it as just short of a revolutionary movement to establish “people’s power”. Strategies d iffer on the basis of where...

The Great Indian Tiger Show

Thirty-seven years since the Project Tiger, the decline in numbers is shocking - 1,827 tigers in 1972, only 1,411 today. Forest rights implementation has been sluggish with rampant violations and large-scale denial of rights, mostly by the forest bureaucracy, the revenue and tribal departments. An analysis of the legal provisions under various Acts reveals that none of the 39 notified Critical Tiger Habitats have obtained the consent of the forest dwellers and the gram sabhas, and are thus illegal. An elitist conservation policy, which has so far targeted only the tribals, has resulted in illegal encroachment and activities in the tiger reserves by the State.

The Plachimada Struggle

The Plachimada Struggle C R Bijoy The media as a coveted instrument in distortion offacts and misinformation while, at the same time, ensuring legitimacy by informing the public and commenting has been overlooked, particularly when This book emerged out of research funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and Swiss Development Cooperation through the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR), North-South and Development Study Group, and the Institute of Geography, University of Zurich. It attempts to address livelihood strategies and vulnerabilities of Plachimada in Palakkad district of Kerala in the context of the role of Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCBPL) in precipitating water insecurity, institutional failures in resolving this insecurity, collective strategies and action in coping with and mitigating the crisis, and the lessons that could be drawn from the ongoing experience. The Plachimada struggle, as it has come to be known, is perhaps one of the best battlefields that the researchers of the Centre for Development Studies could have chosen.

Kerala's Plachimada Struggle

The struggle in Plachimada, Kerala, against Coca-Cola not only raises issues of mindless destruction of groundwater by a multinational company, but also exposes the gross inadequacies in the laws of governance and the rights to water. It also exposes the inability of political democracy, as we know it, to address weaknesses in law and governance. The state government meekly surrendered the opportunity that the struggle bestowed at the altar of the judiciary, rather than take advantage of it for bold political decision-making. The Plachimada struggle calls for the recovery of the commons by communities.

Muthanga: The Real Story

The tragic events at Muthanga in Kerala earlier this year were a culmination of adivasi frustrations over the failure of successive governments in the state to restore adivasi land despite several judicial directives and the existence of laws enacted for the purpose, such as the KSA Act of 1975. Instead attempts were made to amend the act which was later wholly repealed. The protest of the adivasis at Muthanga met with brutal repression by the government. But chastened by the public anger at the police action, the government now remains immobilised in the face of a series of fresh land occupations by adivasis in the Kerala part of the Western Ghats. If the government were to handover the land in Muthanga to the adivasis and make other lands available to landless adivasi families and bring all adivasi regions under Schedule V of Article 244 which provides for participatory self-rule and autonomy, it would herald a new era in adivasi history.

Adivasis Betrayed: Adivasi Land Rights in Kerala

Over the past century and more, tribal lands have been bought by non-tribals at throwaway prices. There has been legislation to check this trend and also to restore alienated lands to tribals. But the will to implement these laws on the part of the government has been missing. Kerala has recently passed a bill, purportedly to protect the interests of the tribals, which makes restoration of land to tribals almost impossible.

Emergence of the Submerged-Indigenous People at UN

The declaration of 1992 as the International Year of the Indigenous People by the UN came after a long struggle. But there is now the danger that with the revival of colonial ambitions under the US leadership in the UN, the real issues of the submerged will be exploited by imperialist forces to subvert their genuine attempts at social transformation.
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