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

Mukul SharmaSubscribe to Mukul Sharma

The Day the Muse(ic) Died

As computers take on grandmasters and often beat them convincingly, the game of chess has undergone a significant transformation.

Dalits and Indian Environmental Politics

Indian environmental paradigms and politics, frequently conceptualised and expressed in terms of India’s glorious past, often render questions of caste and dalits invisible. However, it needs to be recognised that caste is one of the central categories that frames environmental politics. Dalit thinkers, organisations and movements have had a wider perspective and critique of environmental articulations that require deeper investigation. On the one hand, we see a caste-blindness in current environmental politics. On the other, we see dalit views on Indian environmentalism, reflected in their works, words and movements in different parts of the country. This brings forth not only new dimensions on both environment and dalits, but also helps us in redefining certain key categories such as development, modernity, community, livelihood and social movements.

The Vrindavan Conservation Project

The Vrindavan Forest Revival Project, later called the Vrindavan Conservation Project, was launched in 1991 by the World Wide Fund for Nature, to restore ecological order in the region. A study of the project shows certain processes of religious revivalism in environmental politics. The power given to place imagination and the effective use of the symbol of Krishna as an environmentalist in this project finds resonances in sectarian Hindu politics. There appears to be an implicit affinity between the two, often creating a common language.

Passages from Nature to Nationalism: Sunderlal Bahuguna and Tehri Dam Opposition in Garhwal

This paper focuses on the shifting contours of the anti-Tehri dam movement in the past three decades. It examines the changing declarations of environmentalists, especially Sunderlal Bahuguna and other leaders of the movement on the one hand, and the involvement of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the anti-dam politics on the other. Exploring the evocations of nature, religion and nation in different phases by these two groups of actors, it argues that through a regular use of certain mythical beliefs and simplified dichotomies, there was an inadvertent collaboration between green and saffron. The Tehri dam became a means of combining sacredness with impulse, gravity of high politics with solemnity of daily worship, and nature with nationalism.

How Not to Fight Terrorism

The "war on terror" launched by the United States of America has undermined the rule of law, and poses significant challenges to the protection of human rights worldwide. Ignoring all of this, following the November 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, the government of India has rushed through the problematic Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill 2008, and there are calls for tougher measures on the lines of those implemented by the US. It is time to take stock of the key elements of Washington's "war on terror" with a brief review of the type of human rights violations committed in the pursuit of counter-terrorism measures by the US regime.

Seeking the 'Truth' in Truth Commissions

Truth commissions as a means for justice and reparation for victims of severe human rights violations are being set up in a number of Asian countries. In Nepal, debate on the truth and reconciliation commission bill is throwing up many insights and concerns.

Bangladesh's Repressive Regime

Under the guise of tackling corruption, army and police personnel aided by hired criminals are arresting and torturing all those who are protesting the caretaker government's authoritarian measures in Bangladesh.

Impartiality at Stake

In November 1984, following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, almost 3,000 Sikhs were slaughtered and burnt to death in Delhi. Witnesses and survivors of these killings categorically indicted the Delhi Police and some leaders of the Congress (I) for permitting the mobs to kill with impunity...

Search for Answers at India Social Forum

The India Social Forum 2006, held in Delhi in early November was a veritable carnival - of discussions, debates and meetings on subjects ranging from migratory labour, displacement and trafficking to children's rights, special economic zones and issues of sexuality and gender - held in an atmosphere of heady optimism and attended by thousands. But it was not merely a talking shop, infused as it was with organised and spontaneous cultural performances that celebrated peoples' struggles, rights and identities.

The Making of Moral Authority

Anna Hazare has emerged as one of India's leading environmental warriors. His initiatives in the village of Ralegan Siddhi have inspired the state government to replicate them in neighbouring villages, to make all of them adarsh gaon or "ideal villages". This success also has a lot to do with Annaâ??s personality and the authority that he exercises in his village, which is both absolute and complex. It is characterised by culture, tradition and religion, including much persuasion and notably, some coercion.

Blurred Borders

Coastal fisherfolk of India and Pakistan are often arrested for crossing borders. They are victims of defined and undefined boundaries and borders in the seas, and increasing conflicts over renewable resources. These coastal conflicts need to be understood from several overlapping but distinct perspectives. Low-intensity conflicts over environmental concerns are as serious as conventional war and simultaneously question cartographic and border anxieties of these countries.

Sonmanki 'Mela':Preventing Erosion

Along the Kosi a village has decided to celebrate its vital links with the river through a newly organised 'mela'. This, the local people hope, will go some way towards controlling the increasing land erosion and the river's seasonal change of course.

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