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

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Planting of Illegal Crops

The need for technology in agriculture is often confused with giving farmers access to genetically modified crops. Rarely is the performance of the country’s first GM crop, Bt cotton, examined under a critical lens. Instead, the backdoor entry of illegal GM seeds is gaining momentum in the name of progress and of giving farmers a choice. The absence of a strict regulation regime is sorely felt. Research on agriculture and sustainability is the need of the hour.

Baloch Separatist Movement

The Genesis of Baloch Nationalism: Politics and Ethnicity in Pakistan, 1947–1977 by Salman Rafi Sheikh, Routledge India, 2019; pp 254, ₹ 895.

The Tuber of Contention

The controversy over PepsiCo’s filing of cases against potato farmers for growing a particular variety highlights issues beyond just legal rights. It can have far-reaching consequences for farmers’ rights under the law, seed sovereignty and even livelihoods.

A Mediatised Half-decade

Media’s Shifting Terrain: Five Years That Transformed the Way India Communicates by Pamela Philipose, New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 2019; pp 302, ₹ 575.

Pakistan’s Sticky Wicket

As the subcontinent debates whether Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan can again demonstrate his well-known kaptaani élan to pull his country out of the crossfire of fundamentalism, terrorism and problems of development, one should not disregard that it is the mounting burden of fiscal mismanagement, among other factors, that has rendered various pro-poor strategies inert. Choosing the right options for fiscal management will be the most pressing policy decision facing him.

Dadaji Khobragade

In a life that epitomised the struggles of the small Indian farmer, Dadaji Khobragade, the prolific rice breeder and farmer, strove against all odds to practise and uphold the core of traditional farming.

Over the Years, Bt Cotton Has Exacerbated Vidarbha's Existing Vulnerabilities

Cotton has been both a bane and a boon in the Vidarbha region. Much was expected of Bt cotton's ability to beat the American or green bollworm and reduce the cost of pesticide sprays, when it was approved in 2002 but over the years, the pink bollworm has developed resistance to both types of Bt cotton (Bollgard 1 and 2) and secondary pests have increased the spraying of insecticides. In 2017, an alarming number of farmers were poisoned by the toxic fumes of the same organophosphate compounds they sprayed on cotton. How has Bt Cotton exacerbated Vidarbha’s location-specific vulnerability since 2002?

The Shadow of Violence

The 1992–93 communal riots in Bombay scarred the cosmopolitan nature of the city, leading to greater ghettoisation, discrimination, and communal division. Yet the city bears stories of hope and sorrow, of alienation and hurt, all swallowed up in the vigour of eking out one’s daily existence.

A Dirge for Kashmir

Kashmir’s summer of 2016—and since—has been marked by events that will not be easily forgotten: the killing of Burhan Wani; the intensified people’s resistance that it triggered; the killing of over a hundred people by state forces; the indiscriminate use of the Public Safety Act; and, above all, what is being called “the world’s first mass blinding.” This is the gist of a recently-released report by a fact-finding team.

No Country for Afghans

Afghanistan is clearly unprepared for a massive influx of refugees, and human rights groups have raised concerns about their future in a country ripped apart by war and terrorism with a worsening security situation. Many of the refugees are likely to join the ranks of close to a million internally displaced people in Afghanistan and live in inhuman conditions by all accounts.

In the Name of God

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been condemned and criticised but they remain unchanged and are used to incarcerate and even kill those accused. Many of the complaints are based on made-up evidence and the real causes are personal vendetta or gains. The case of Asia Bibi, a mother who has been on death row for six years, is a classic illustration.

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