Articles by: Bharat Dogra

Why Albert Einstein Went to Meet Mahatma Gandhi in Heaven?

Why Albert Einstein Went to Meet Mahatma Gandhi in Heaven?

This is the third in a series of heaven-based stories, written as fantasy but very relevant to our times. The first story titled Mahatma Gandhi Returns to Earth was published in Countercurrents.org on December 11 2020 while the second story titled Mahatma Gandhi Meets Shahid Bhagat Singh was published in Countercurrents.org on January 16 2021. It was a nice relaxed[Read More…]

by January 17, 2021 Arts/Literature
Linguistic Deception Used Against People and Environment

Linguistic Deception Used Against People and Environment

Linguistic deception has been increasingly used against the interests of common people and environment protection, and to advance the interests of big business, on a vast scale although in subtle and veiled ways. The most common example of this is the way in which the word ‘reform’ has been used, particular in economic discourse. The general meaning of ‘reform’ is[Read More…]

by January 17, 2021 India
For Farmers’ Movement, This Time is Ripe for Consolidation, Not Confrontation

For Farmers’ Movement, This Time is Ripe for Consolidation, Not Confrontation

The ninth round of talks between the farmers’ movement and government representatives on January 15 again did not yield any breakthrough, but kept some hopes alive by scheduling a next round of discussions—the tenth one—for January 19. In the meanwhile the farmers’ unions and organizations will be deliberating on the course of actions during the next few days. As they[Read More…]

by January 16, 2021 India
Mahatma Gandhi Meets Shahid Bhagat Singh in Heaven 

Mahatma Gandhi Meets Shahid Bhagat Singh in Heaven 

This is one of a series of heaven-based stories, written as  fantasy yet very relevant to our times. The first part of the series appeared in  Countercurrents.org dated December 11, 2020 under the title ‘ Mahatma Gandhi Returns to Earth’. Gandhi had managed to get the clearance from heaven authorities for his one-day visit to Earth ,but after returning from[Read More…]

by January 16, 2021 Life/Philosophy
Photo by George M. Groutas

Yearnings for Alternative Food and Farming Systems

           “Men who can graft the  trees and make the seed fertile and big can find no way to let the hungry people eat their produce . Men who have created new fruits in the world cannot create a system whereby their fruits may be eaten. And the failure hangs over the State like a great sorrow.” – John Steinbeck[Read More…]

by January 15, 2021 Counter Solutions
We Need Multi-Disciplinary Approach For Better Understanding of Crucial Issues

We Need Multi-Disciplinary Approach For Better Understanding of Crucial Issues

The importance of a multi-disciplinary approach for understanding crucial issues is well-established both at academic and policy levels. Nevertheless we need to ask, despite the need for this being well-established, whether this is being neglected frequently in public discourse, and perhaps to a lesser extent, even at policy and academic levels? One reason for this unintentional neglect is that public[Read More…]

by January 15, 2021 Life/Philosophy
Today India Needs Both Gandhi and Bhagat Singh, and the Unity of Their Followers More Than Ever Before

Today India Needs Both Gandhi and Bhagat Singh, and the Unity of Their Followers More Than Ever Before

In recent times India has been passing through the most difficult period of its post-independence history. The most sacred constitutional precept of social  (including inter-faith) equality and harmony is badly threatened, while economic inequality and the grip of a few top billionaires on economy have been increasing like never before. Destruction of environment and bio-diversity are rampant, and the safeguards[Read More…]

by January 14, 2021 Life/Philosophy
Two Streams of Freedom Movement Often Supported and Complemented Each Other

Two Streams of Freedom Movement Often Supported and Complemented Each Other

An aspect of freedom movement of India which deserves to be better known in India, particularly among youth, is that various streams of freedom movement in  India often supported and complemented each other. This is particularly true of the two most important streams, one identified mainly with Mahatma Gandhi and the other predominantly with  Shahid Bhagat Singh. In a very[Read More…]

by January 14, 2021 Book Review
Reason Wounded—Government and Judiciary Miss the Essence of Farmer Protests

Reason Wounded—Government and Judiciary Miss the Essence of Farmer Protests

The stalemate in resolving key issues relating to farmers’ movement continues, even though millions and millions of people in the country want the prolonged stalemate to end on a note of satisfaction for farmers. Although attempts are being made repeatedly to depict the farmers as being unreasonable and obstinate, in fact they have displayed remarkable maturity as well as foresight[Read More…]

by January 13, 2021 India
A Non-Partisan View of Farmers’ Movement

A Non-Partisan View of Farmers’ Movement

The ongoing farmers’ movement in India has evoked strong feelings on both sides. This has been praised to an awesome extent; on the other hand very unfair criticism has been inflicted  on it repeatedly. It will be useful at this stage to attempt an unbiased appraisal of this movement. Strengths of Movement The most persistent demand of this movement for[Read More…]

by January 11, 2021 India
Now is the Time to Press for Long-Needed Rural Changes Based on Justice and Protection of Environment

Now is the Time to Press for Long-Needed Rural Changes Based on Justice and Protection of Environment

The ongoing farmers’ movement has led to the coming together of many farmers’ organizations and this unity has been sustained despite several efforts to divide them. As many farmer representatives have stated repeatedly, the mobilization of farmers on Delhi borders would have seen even greater participation from various parts of the country but for the fact that travel conditions in[Read More…]

by January 10, 2021 India
The Debate Between Violence and Non-Violence in Social Movements

The Debate Between Violence and Non-Violence in Social Movements

In history there has been a long debate between violence and non-violence in the context of social movements. Some very great persons who brought very beneficial and durable change chose the path of non-violence and peace. Some very courageous and capable leaders and their followers, on the other hand, had no hesitation in using violent methods and they too achieved[Read More…]

by January 9, 2021 Life/Philosophy
How Social Movements Can Make Durable, Wider and Definite Contribution to Creating a Better World

How Social Movements Can Make Durable, Wider and Definite Contribution to Creating a Better World

Social movements have a very important role in society, a role that has to assume  even more significance if our deeply troubled world has to find a way out of the survival crisis in which it is entangled very badly at the moment. Of course we are  here talking of only sincere movements, and not of those movements which are[Read More…]

by January 9, 2021 Life/Philosophy
 Women protesting against the Farm Bills (Image for representative purpose)

Refusal of the Government to Repeal Farm Laws is Proving Very Costly

Disappointing the very large number of people who had high hopes that the stand-off with farmers’ organizations will be resolved soon, the government has not accepted this main demand after even 44 days of peaceful and disciplined protests by farmers at five places on Delhi border. The talks today on January 8 were particularly dismal as the farmer representatives, judging[Read More…]

by January 8, 2021 India
Immediate Demands of Farmers’ Movement are Important, but so is a Longer-Term Agenda

Immediate Demands of Farmers’ Movement are Important, but so is a Longer-Term Agenda

Almost all social movements set a lot of emphasis on their immediate demands. These are obviously very important and often the success or otherwise of a movement is almost entirely judged in terms of the realization of these demands. Such a view, although very common, is not entirely correct. The achievements of social movements can also be very important, sometimes[Read More…]

by January 8, 2021 India
Growing Distance and Conflict Between Real Needs and Actual Policy in Food and Farming Systems

Growing Distance and Conflict Between Real Needs and Actual Policy in Food and Farming Systems

It is easy to have  very wide agreement on the obvious fact that food and farming sector is one of the most important sectors, perhaps the most important  sector, of human efforts and needs. But while the realization of this importance should lead to very caring and careful attitudes, the realization of the importance is actually being interpreted by very[Read More…]

by January 7, 2021 India
Increasing Need for Unity of Social Movements

Increasing Need for Unity of Social Movements

While the need for unity of various social movements has always existed, in more recent times this has become much more compelling. This increasing need has coincided with and is related to the accentuation of some very serious problems to the extent that these have now taken the form of a survival crisis, the very serious endangering of basic life-nurturing[Read More…]

by January 7, 2021 India
Towards Greener and Cleaner Cities, With Special Care For The Poor

Towards Greener and Cleaner Cities, With Special Care For The Poor

Sanitation has been perhaps the weakest link in the urban development effort of India. The path towards better cities involves above all a big breakthrough in decentralized sanitation solutions and linking these with increasing greenery. First and perhaps foremost, there should be waste segregation at source level, whether home or workplace, so that we have at least four categories –[Read More…]

by January 6, 2021 Environmental Protection
How and Why Farmers Lose Their Land

How and Why Farmers Lose Their Land

In many countries with varying levels of development, a large number of farmers have been losing their land , sometimes to the extent of even losing their status as independent landowning farmers. Various economic, technological, social, political, legal and other factors are involved, and one is hesitant to generalize or oversimplify a complex situation. Nevertheless this much can be stated[Read More…]

by January 6, 2021 India
Take Ecologically Protective Methods to Farmers in Ways Which Benefit Them

Take Ecologically Protective Methods to Farmers in Ways Which Benefit Them

Recently Sant Seechewal, saint and award winning eco-activist of Punjab, visited protesting farmers at Delhi border with the  precious gift of a truckload of healthy food. However the message he brought him was even more precious—he called upon them to shift to natural farming and mutually  cooperative farming in order to find more reliable and sustainable solutions to their problems.[Read More…]

by January 6, 2021 India
Bursting the Myth That Farmer Numbers Must Inevitably Decline in Course of Progress

Bursting the Myth That Farmer Numbers Must Inevitably Decline in Course of Progress

One of the most widely prevalent beliefs of development discourse is that the number and share of farmers and farmer households in total population must inevitably decline in the course of progress. This is based on historical experience as also the fact that technological change and rising productivity make it possible to produce necessary food and raw materials by a[Read More…]

by January 5, 2021 India
Government Should Appreciate the Rationality of the Stand Taken by Farmers on Three Farm Laws

Government Should Appreciate the Rationality of the Stand Taken by Farmers on Three Farm Laws

High hopes reposed in the talks between the representatives of farmers’  organizations and the government on January 4 were not fulfilled and the entire issue got postponed to the next round of talks scheduled for January 8. This is very disappointing. Why is the stalemate persisting? The statements made by both sides after this round may help us to understand[Read More…]

by January 5, 2021 India
Myth That Progress Necessarily Involves Shift of People From Village To City Should Be Challenged

Myth That Progress Necessarily Involves Shift of People From Village To City Should Be Challenged

One of the most persistent beliefs in development discourse has been that progress inevitably involves shift from rural to urban areas. This is largely rooted in the historical industrial path of progress. But there are a number of important reasons led by environmental ones why the past models of development which have brought us to the brink of a survival[Read More…]

by January 5, 2021 India
Farmers of Intensive Green Revolution Areas Should Also Look Beyond the Current Paradigm of Development

Farmers of Intensive Green Revolution Areas Should Also Look Beyond the Current Paradigm of Development

There are several areas of India which follow intensive green revolution path of farming , based generally  on very heavy use of agro-chemicals, high levels of mechanization and overexploitation of water. Among these areas perhaps the belt of a major part of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh is perhaps the best known. This belt accounts for a very significant[Read More…]

by January 4, 2021 India
In Democracy Respect For Government Increases If Unpopular Laws Are Taken Back

In Democracy Respect For Government Increases If Unpopular Laws Are Taken Back

As India debates the repeal of three controversial farm laws and critical negotiations for this are scheduled to take place today on January 4, it  needs to be asserted that in democracy when a government take a decision to repeal unpopular laws, its true respect and honor  among people are likely to increase, not decrease. However this is true only[Read More…]

by January 4, 2021 India
High Hopes From New Year Farmer Talks  Should Be Fulfilled With A 7-Point Agreement

High Hopes From New Year Farmer Talks  Should Be Fulfilled With A 7-Point Agreement

The last round of talks between farmer and government representatives had ended on a note of partial optimism, with some negotiators from farmers side saying that they expected a  clincher agreement in the next round of talks in the new year on January 4 Monday. Even ministers on the government side voiced expressed high hopes of final agreement, one Minister[Read More…]

by January 3, 2021 India
Sincere Spirituality For A Better World

Sincere Spirituality For A Better World

Spirituality has always been a very important part of human progress, but these days when we talk about spirituality we feel the need to prefix ‘sincere’, an indicator of how much hypocrisy has been practiced in the name of spirituality in recent times. Hence it is better to state  at the outset that here  we are discussing sincere spirituality only.[Read More…]

by January 3, 2021 Life/Philosophy
Eight Essentials of Human Progress, Always Crucial But Often Neglected

Eight Essentials of Human Progress, Always Crucial But Often Neglected

While there are so many factors which are important for true progress of humanity, some of these can be identified as the most crucial and essential. Firstly, there should be a widespread sincere belief in and commitment to equality and justice. There should be absolutely no room for  any discrimination, any deprivation or any denial based  on race, religion, color,[Read More…]

by January 3, 2021 Life/Philosophy
Increasing Importance and Relevance of the Left in India

Increasing Importance and Relevance of the Left in India

India is passing through very difficult times in terms of economic and livelihood crisis, threats to plurality and ‘unity in diversity’, as well as erosion of democratic rights and norms. Tens of millions of working class people are deeply worried about threats to their livelihood and loss of income. Even millions in the more secure middle class are worried about[Read More…]

by January 2, 2021 India
Contribution of Farming to Checking Climate Change Can be Immense, and Traditional Wisdom Can Contribute Much

Contribution of Farming to Checking Climate Change Can be Immense, and Traditional Wisdom Can Contribute Much

Keeping in view the importance of checking climate change , all sectors must contribute to he reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In this context the extremely important contribution which the food and agriculture  sector can make was underestimated initially but more and more research is now indicating that the contribution of this sector can extremely important. In fact if all[Read More…]

by January 2, 2021 Counter Solutions
How to Face Climate Change Challenge While Enhancing Welfare of Farmers At The Same Time

How to Face Climate Change Challenge While Enhancing Welfare of Farmers At The Same Time

Climate change has emerged as one of the most critical problems of our times. Its disrupting impacts on farming and related activities is already being felt by farmers, pastorals and others in the form of highly erratic weather, extremes of weather and rise in the intensity and frequency of various disasters. Hence two big questions arise—How can farmers make an[Read More…]

by January 2, 2021 Climate Change
Wider Social Benefits Apart, Ecologically Protective Farming Can Also Be Economically Attractive

Wider Social Benefits Apart, Ecologically Protective Farming Can Also Be Economically Attractive

While the social benefits of ecologically protective, organic and/or natural farming are so obvious, it is sometimes said that in economic terms this may not be so beneficial for farmers and this thinking becomes a big hurdle in the spread of ecologically protective farming. However the advocates of ecologically protective farming and low external input farming give several important reasons[Read More…]

by January 2, 2021 Environmental Protection
Education for a Better World Needs New Thinking, Not a Polishing of Old Systems

Education for a Better World Needs New Thinking, Not a Polishing of Old Systems

The disruption of education in Covid times has caused serious concern, and there are well-justified calls for  urgent corrective action. Along with this, however, there is compelling reason to give much more thought to where exactly business-as-usual education systems are taking us and to what extent, if at all, these are capable of contributing to the creation of a better, [Read More…]

by January 1, 2021 Life/Philosophy
The Promise and the Limitations of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration

The Promise and the Limitations of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration

It is certainly good news that the United Nations has declared 2021-30 to be the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration. At the outset as a justification for this it can be stated without risk of contradiction that the need for ecosystem restoration was never greater than in present times. There has been so much devastation, and taken together this has[Read More…]

by January 1, 2021 Environmental Protection
Can 2021  Bring Hope With An Increasing Role of Social Movements in India

Can 2021  Bring Hope With An Increasing Role of Social Movements in India

The last five weeks of 2020 were dominated by a re-assertion of social movements in India. Can the country build further on this strength in the new year 2021? To answer this question we must look first at the overall situation in the country. The foremost concerns of people appear to be economic ones. A very large number of people[Read More…]

by January 1, 2021 India
Settlement on Farm Issues Should Have A Clause Each on Ecologically Protective Agriculture and Landless Farm Workers

Settlement on Farm Issues Should Have A Clause Each on Ecologically Protective Agriculture and Landless Farm Workers

The farmer-government talks on December 30 indicated that some progress on a negotiated settlement is being made. This is good for farming and good for democracy. However even at this advanced stage of negotiations there is no clear reference to two very crucial issues. It will be very useful if at least a reference regarding their importance and a commitment[Read More…]

by December 31, 2020 India
Emerging Unity of Farmers and Workers Will Strengthen Our Democracy

Emerging Unity of Farmers and Workers Will Strengthen Our Democracy

After many distressing developments in the country some good news had to simply emerge during 2020 to end the year on a note of hope and it has finally emerged in the form of a growing unity of farmers and workers. This will strengthen our democracy and increase the ability of people to defend themselves and crucial national  interests from[Read More…]

by December 29, 2020 India
Diversion of Food Crops to Industrial Use Can be Very Harmful

Diversion of Food Crops to Industrial Use Can be Very Harmful

There has been an increasing tendency worldwide to divert a lot of high-nutrition food crops to industrial uses. In addition many other food crops are not being used as staple foods but instead are being processed in many complicated ways to serve as raw materials for food industry in very different forms. What impact will this have on food security [Read More…]

by December 29, 2020 World
Budget Analysis is Important, But We Must Also Realize Its Limitations

Budget Analysis is Important, But We Must Also Realize Its Limitations

Budget analysis is an important and increasingly frequent part of economic analysis. In the days preceding and following the presentation of the union budget in particular the discourse on economic issues is often dominated by the tax announcements, allocations for various sectors or schemes, the deficit , subsidies and related fiscal matters. All this is useful and fine. However problems[Read More…]

by December 28, 2020 India
Why Immediate Resolving of  Farmer Issues is A  Must—New Talks Bring Hope

Why Immediate Resolving of  Farmer Issues is A  Must—New Talks Bring Hope

New hopes of resolving the important issues raised by the farmers emerged on December 26, with both sides agreeing to restart of talks, after stalemate- like conditions had emerged following the breakdown of the earlier round of negotiations. Now this new opportunity of resolving the stand-off should be clinched, with the new year beginning on an optimistic note for the[Read More…]

by December 27, 2020 India
Where is Justice?—Most Farmers and Informal Workers Have No Pension After Toiling All Their Life

Where is Justice?—Most Farmers and Informal Workers Have No Pension After Toiling All Their Life

Girdhari worked as a farmer for over four decades, toiling in scorching summers and shivering winters. At the age of 62 he could no longer work and was confined more or less to his home. Savitri, who had contributed no less in the farm apart from shouldering heavy household responsibilities,  had even more health problems. They now often longed for[Read More…]

by December 25, 2020 India
Compelling Need to Widen the Paradigm of Nutrition Debate

Compelling Need to Widen the Paradigm of Nutrition Debate

Latest data on the highly worrying nutrition situation in India is shocking and following the availability of this data the debate on nutrition has intensified again. There has been an increasing unfortunate tendency in recent times for some powerful commercial interests to push their narrow selfish interests  in the name of improving the nutrition situation. Sometimes these interests try to[Read More…]

by December 24, 2020 India
Growing Problems of Farmers of Punjab Should be Understood and Solved Carefully

Growing Problems of Farmers of Punjab Should be Understood and Solved Carefully

            As Punjab was selected for early introduction of green revolution and the accompanying investments and subsidies, and the state also receives more remittances from family members who work abroad or have settled there, there has been an exaggerated perception of farm-related prosperity in Punjab, while the reality for many of the small and marginal farmers has been that of[Read More…]

by December 24, 2020 India
Silent Sufferings of Children Increased Greatly This Year

Silent Sufferings of Children Increased Greatly This Year

While the sufferings of several sections of population increased this year in India, perhaps it is the silent sufferings of children and students which increased the most. Whether it is nutrition or health or education or exposure to special risk situations and violence, from all points of view there appears to have been all-round deterioration in the condition of children.[Read More…]

by December 24, 2020 India
Covid Relief: Need for Big Increase To Prevent Hunger and Distress

Covid Relief: Need for Big Increase To Prevent Hunger and Distress

As  Covid and lockdowns increased distress and deprivation in many countries, governments in most countries including India responded with relief packages aimed at directly helping the poor and vulnerable sections as well as reviving the  economy. However there are several indicators that the actual relief which reached needy people in India was much less than what was suggested by official[Read More…]

by December 23, 2020 India
 Women protesting against the Farm Bills (Image for representative purpose)

A Comprehensive Analysis of Three Controversial Farm Laws

Introduction It is rare for any legislation to become the rallying point of such large-scale and prolonged opposition as the three farm laws enacted together this year in India have become. The biggest  farmers’ movement of recent times in India has emerged to protest against this ‘kala kanoon’ or black laws as these three laws have been repeatedly labeled by[Read More…]

by December 23, 2020 India
Need to Check Wasteful Food Processing and Promote Rural Livelihoods With Small and Cottage Industries

Need to Check Wasteful Food Processing and Promote Rural Livelihoods With Small and Cottage Industries

         While agriculture has been much in discussion, the related work of food-processing has hardly received any attention, even though there is a huge scope for providing millions of rural jobs while at the same time also improving the nutrition situation very significantly by moving from present-day large scale big-business controlled food processing to food crop and other crop processing[Read More…]

by December 22, 2020 Counter Solutions
Better Understanding Needed of Close Link Between Soil Health and Nutrition

Better Understanding Needed of Close Link Between Soil Health and Nutrition

           While the critical importance of soil health for good farming is well-established and  widely recognized, one aspect which has not received adequate attention is the link of soil health to nutrition of crops. This aspect needs to be explored further and the already available evidence should also be better appreciated and collected. In a note of the Food and[Read More…]

by December 21, 2020 Counter Solutions
Beyond Economic Issues, There is Need to Also Look Carefully at Social Distress and Disruption in Villages

Beyond Economic Issues, There is Need to Also Look Carefully at Social Distress and Disruption in Villages

Debates on rural distress generally take place only or mainly in the context of economic issues. Certainly economic issues, and related issues like those of technological change, are very important for understanding rural distress but at the same time it will not be proper to try to have an understanding based only on economic issues while ignoring important aspects of[Read More…]

by December 21, 2020 India
Let  Millions of Kitchen-Gardens Bloom

Let  Millions of Kitchen-Gardens Bloom

While issues relating to farmers are being discussed widely these days, we need to also discuss issues concerning landless farmer households. The fact that the landless also need to be provided at least small plots of cultivation land had a lot of acceptance till the not-too-distant past. Around this acceptance policies were framed, legislations were enacted and special drives for[Read More…]

by December 20, 2020 Counter Solutions
Reforms Which Can Help to Improve Crop Procurement Significantly

Reforms Which Can Help to Improve Crop Procurement Significantly

Procurement of various crops from farmers at a fair price by the government is an integral part of the farm and food system of India. This can be reformed in various ways—reducing costs while improving income of farmers and overall food security. When various crops are being harvested in a village, the government should procure a part of the staple[Read More…]

by December 20, 2020 India
Encourage and Increase Procurement of Millets, Pulses and Oilseeds at Fair Price

Encourage and Increase Procurement of Millets, Pulses and Oilseeds at Fair Price

One of the several important aspects of debate on farm and food sector is that there should be more encouragement to increasing production of pulses, oilseeds and millets. This will be very good for nutrition and health of people, good for farm ecology and good for the self-reliance ( atma-nirbharta)  of the country as well as its rural communities. One[Read More…]

by December 20, 2020 India
Covid Response Marred Badly  by Corruption in Health Systems

Covid Response Marred Badly  by Corruption in Health Systems

There are increasing apprehensions worldwide that the ability to minimize pandemic related distress and damage is being compromised seriously by widespread corrupt practices at various levels. Several warnings have being voiced already that this is leading to very heavy costs and even loss of precious human lives. In order to appreciate how heavy  such costs can be, some key information[Read More…]

by December 19, 2020 World
Kakori Martyrs Are Symbols of Courage, Unity and Harmony

Kakori Martyrs Are Symbols of Courage, Unity and Harmony

In the year 1927 a glorious chapter of the freedom movement came to an abrupt end as four young men were hanged to death for their courageous contribution to the independence of their country from colonial rule. Three of them attained martyrdom on December 20 and one on December 17, all in jails of the then United Provinces ( present[Read More…]

by December 18, 2020 India
We Need Wider Opposition Unity, Denigrating  Gandhi-Nehru Family and  Congress Will Not Help

We Need Wider Opposition Unity, Denigrating  Gandhi-Nehru Family and  Congress Will Not Help

India and Indian democracy have been passing through difficult times. A many –sided effort is needed to check the decline and take effective steps to protect democracy, plurality, harmony, equality, justice, environment and livelihoods. Public spirited intellectuals, like various other sections of society, can contribute much to this effort, if they are suitably  humble and polite, do not try to[Read More…]

by December 18, 2020 India
Wider Implications of Controversial Farm Laws Also Need Attention

Wider Implications of Controversial Farm Laws Also Need Attention

There have been widespread and prolonged protests by farmers against three controversial farm laws enacted this year in a great hurry in India , the primary reason being that these are widely perceived by protesting farmers to be against their interests. This has been widely discussed, but it is necessary to look also at some of the wider implications of[Read More…]

by December 17, 2020 India
Most Important Aspects of Nutrition Are Also the Most Neglected

Most Important Aspects of Nutrition Are Also the Most Neglected

In India we have the biggest programs on nutrition and we have also have some of the highest rates of malnutrition. Despite the expanding nutrition programs (checked for the time being by Covid related factors ), malnutrition levels remain high, as revealed also in the latest surveys. This curious and sad phenomenon has been examined by several learned experts, but[Read More…]

by December 16, 2020 Life/Philosophy
A Kind Heart is Needed to Resolve Issues of Farmers, Workers and Troubled Fellow-Citizens, Not A 56 Inch Chest

A Kind Heart is Needed to Resolve Issues of Farmers, Workers and Troubled Fellow-Citizens, Not A 56 Inch Chest

In democracies leaders are called upon time and again to resolve protests of people. In fact this is a primary responsibility of democratically elected leaders and the sense of responsibility should be all the greater for leaders who have received  enormous respect and trust of people, like a leader like Shri Narendra Modi of India. Time and again people of[Read More…]

by December 16, 2020 India
Urgent Need to Extend Free Food Rations for At Least Six Months

Urgent Need to Extend Free Food Rations for At Least Six Months

When the government announced special Covid relief and stimulus package, perhaps the most welcomed feature was that of free food grain ( mainly cereals and a little pulse ) for the needy sections of society. Despite several limitations, this fulfilled an important need in a society experiencing widespread hunger in Covid times. When this provision was extended up to November[Read More…]

by December 15, 2020 India
 Women protesting against the Farm Bills (Image for representative purpose)

Immediately Repeal Three Farm Laws, Withdraw Cases, Lift Dharna; Then Have Wide-Ranging Democratic Debate

It is inexplicable why the union government is taking so long to resolve an issue which is  so simple to resolve . Millions and millions of people including farmers put their faith in wisdom of Narendra Modi in the last general elections; he was without doubt the biggest vote catcher for the BJP and the NDA. This faith is now[Read More…]

by December 14, 2020 India
Citizen Groups and Experts Call for Increasing Transparency and Accountability  in  Covid Response

Citizen Groups and Experts Call for Increasing Transparency and Accountability  in  Covid Response

All over the world there is increasing concern over the misuse of special difficult conditions created by Covid-19 pandemic by corrupt and authoritarian elements in various countries and societies. To counter this and to ensure a need and evidence based, honest response,  many citizen groups and independent experts have called for increasing transparency and accountability in various aspects of Covid[Read More…]

by December 13, 2020 World
Suppression, Corruption and Deception—Experts Condemn Response to Covid-19

Suppression, Corruption and Deception—Experts Condemn Response to Covid-19

While questions have been raised regarding the response to Covid19  in many parts of the world, it has still been rare for a medical journal of international repute to take a strong stand on this issue. It is in this context that the publication of a recent editorial in the famous medical journal BMJ has attracted a lot of attention.[Read More…]

by December 12, 2020 World
Mahatma Gandhi Returns to Earth

Mahatma Gandhi Returns to Earth

Introduction–While this story is written more as a fantasy on what happens when Mahatma Gandhi decides to come back to earth, it is at the same time related to serious contemporary problems and issues. Among the many distinguished residents of heaven, Mahatma Gandhi was regarded as among the most peaceful and patient ones. Yet even he had of late shown[Read More…]

by December 11, 2020 Life/Philosophy
International Experts Issue Important Warning on Non-Ionising Radiation

International Experts Issue Important Warning on Non-Ionising Radiation

            In recent years a lot of  attention has been drawn to the high hazards of non-ionising radiation which have unfortunately been ignored for too long. Adding in a very significant way to these warnings last month an organization of prominent international experts  issued an important statement on serious and adverse health impacts of Non-Ionising Radiation (NIR). This statement has[Read More…]

by December 11, 2020 World
Hindi Literature and Journalism Will Always Remember the Rich Contributions of Manglesh Dabral

Hindi Literature and Journalism Will Always Remember the Rich Contributions of Manglesh Dabral

A Poet and Editor Who Was the Voice of the Marginalized Poet and editor Manglesh Dabral passed away at the age of 72 at AIIMS Delhi due to  Covid related complications. In Hindi literature Manglesh Dabral is widely known as a poet of great sensitivity who gave voice to the main marginalized sections of society. He is also known for[Read More…]

by December 11, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Many-Sided Rural Crisis and 12 Groups

Many-Sided Rural Crisis and 12 Groups

An important strength of India is that about two-thirds of its people live in villages. As the world grapples with life-endangering environmental problems, the rural base of a country can be an important source of resilience in protecting life-nurturing conditions and getting close to self-reliance in terms of meeting basic needs. However in the absence of proper priorities and policies, [Read More…]

by December 10, 2020 India
How Growing Corporatization Has Harmed Farmers and Farming

How Growing Corporatization Has Harmed Farmers and Farming

The most prominent feature of world farming in recent decades has been that of growing corporate control, and this has often been at the expense and interests of farmers. It is important to understand the wide-ranging adverse implications of this  corporatization of farming for the sustainability of farming systems, for the welfare of ordinary farmers and for food-security of the[Read More…]

by December 9, 2020 India
Photo by George M. Groutas

To Resolve the Farming Crisis We Need A Different Paradigm

Whenever we hear about serious problems relating to farmers and farming and how to resolve them, we hear this generally in the context of three versions. One version is of existing and upcoming big business interests who want to have an increasing role and ultimately domination in the farming sector. The second version is of the government which while supporting[Read More…]

by December 9, 2020 Environmental Protection
India’s Farm Policy Should Get Rid of its Green Revolution Myths

India’s Farm Policy Should Get Rid of its Green Revolution Myths

            One of the biggest and most persistent myths of the discourse on agriculture relates to the success of the so-called green revolution. Let’s look at the actual experience of the green revolution (G.R.) in India. In agriculture the period after mid-sixties is generally regarded as the ‘green revolution’ phase of Indian agriculture. The most important feature of this technology[Read More…]

by December 8, 2020 India
We Shall Overcome

We Shall Overcome

This is a six-part novella about the struggles of young people to save their endangered housing complex, symbolic of the much bigger efforts needed to protect the badly endangered life nurturing conditions of our planet. Here fact and fantasy are combined  to create interesting situations which are  symbolic of the  wider critical issues of our times.  1 The Inspector from[Read More…]

by December 8, 2020 Arts/Literature
Essential Concerns and Priorities of Social Movements

Essential Concerns and Priorities of Social Movements

There are  many kinds of social movements and it is understandable that social movements are often preoccupied with their immediate demands which are likely to be of a very specific nature. At the same time  there are some very basic concerns and priorities which should be common to more or less all social movements on an enduring basis. No matter[Read More…]

by December 7, 2020 Counter Solutions
Undue Delay by the Union Government in Accepting the Key Demands of Farmers’ Movement is Harmful for Everyone

Undue Delay by the Union Government in Accepting the Key Demands of Farmers’ Movement is Harmful for Everyone

There is growing unease at the inexplicable delay on the part of the union government in accepting the well-justified demands of the farmers’ movement. It is by now widely recognized that the three controversial farm laws are not justified and were somehow pushed through with undue hurry. The government representatives have already accepted the need for several amendments and the[Read More…]

by December 7, 2020 India
11 Significant Reasons Why Government Should Entirely Rule Out  Use of Force in Dealing With Ongoing Farmer Protest

11 Significant Reasons Why Government Should Entirely Rule Out  Use of Force in Dealing With Ongoing Farmer Protest

On December 5 the 5th round of talks of farmers’ representatives  with the government in Delhi  was not successful, but the situation was redeemed somewhat by a statement made by the Union Agriculture Minister at the end of the 5 hour talks. Speaking in a very gentle voice he told media persons that he would like to thank farmer leaders[Read More…]

by December 6, 2020 India
5 Crucial Reasons Why the Farmers’ Movement, Despite its Limitations, Deserves Wide Support

5 Crucial Reasons Why the Farmers’ Movement, Despite its Limitations, Deserves Wide Support

The movement of farmers, with its epicenter on the borders of the capital city but also having manifestations in many parts of the country, has attracted widespread attention. This is clearly a very important movement. It is attracting a large number of farmers and getting strong material and emotional support from several sections of society. However attracting a large number[Read More…]

by December 5, 2020 India
21 Compelling Reasons Why the Modi Government Should Accept the Demand for Repealing the Three Farm Laws

21 Compelling Reasons Why the Modi Government Should Accept the Demand for Repealing the Three Farm Laws

On Saturday December 5 the Government of India is scheduled to hold the 5th round of talks with protesting farmers’ movements. There are at least 21 compelling reasons why the government should accept the main demand of farmers for repealing the three controversial laws. These reasons relate mainly to the fact that acceptance of this key demand will be good[Read More…]

by December 4, 2020 India
Farmers’ Organizations  Can  Strengthen Rural Communities on the Basis of Justice, Environment Protection and Social Reform

Farmers’ Organizations  Can  Strengthen Rural Communities on the Basis of Justice, Environment Protection and Social Reform

Recent events have again demonstrated the strength of farmers’ organizations as a force of resistance, as organizations that have the economic means, social base and moral strength to  offer strong resistance to authoritarian regimes. Hence those interested in bringing more broad-based social change in India should engage with farmers’ organizations on a more regular basis so that justice and equality[Read More…]

by December 4, 2020 India
 A Day in 2071 –  Chapter- 5 :  Dream

 A Day in 2071 –  Chapter- 5 :  Dream

A novelette by Bharat Dogra Introduction–How different will be the world 50 years from now? If the tendencies of domination and exploitation which are a major cause of distress even today get aggravated greatly in the future conditions of escalating climate change and other serious threats, how will life shape up then, and where will humanity then search for hope?[Read More…]

by December 3, 2020 Arts/Literature
A Day in 2071 – Chapter 4: Battle

A Day in 2071 – Chapter 4: Battle

 A novelette by Bharat Dogra Introduction–How different will be the world 50 years from now? If the tendencies of domination and exploitation which are a major cause of distress even today get aggravated greatly in the future conditions of escalating climate change and other serious threats, how will life shape up then, and where will humanity then search for hope?[Read More…]

by December 2, 2020 Arts/Literature
What Is the Alternative Farming and Food System That India Needs?

What Is the Alternative Farming and Food System That India Needs?

As the attention of people of India is focused on agriculture in the context of the farmers’ movement, this is a good time to initiate a debate on exactly what sort of alternative system of farming and food the country needs. It is not enough to criticize the existing system, we should be clear about what we actually need. If[Read More…]

by December 2, 2020 Counter Solutions
 A Day in 2071 – Chapter 3- Revolt

 A Day in 2071 – Chapter 3- Revolt

A novelette by Bharat Dogra Introduction–How different will be the world 50 years from now? If the tendencies of domination and exploitation which are a major cause of distress even today get aggravated greatly in the future conditions of escalating climate change and other serious threats, how will life shape up then, and where will humanity then search for hope?[Read More…]

by December 1, 2020 Arts/Literature
Yes, The Three Controversial Farm Laws Should be Scrapped, But We Also Need to Look Beyond This

Yes, The Three Controversial Farm Laws Should be Scrapped, But We Also Need to Look Beyond This

An important farmers’ movement has emerged in India around the opposition to the three recent controversial farm legislations which are widely alleged to advance corporate interests at the expense of jeopardizing a fair deal to farmers. This has support of many important farmers’ organizations and in addition sections of other social movements have also extended support to the demand for[Read More…]

by December 1, 2020 India
Number Has Decreased But the Overall Threat From Nuclear Weapons Is Increasing

Number Has Decreased But the Overall Threat From Nuclear Weapons Is Increasing

            While it is true that the total number of nuclear weapons at world level has decreased significantly compared to the days when the number had peaked, nevertheless in several important ways the actual threat from nuclear weapons has increased in recent times and is increasing . It is very important to recognize this and not go by numbers alone.[Read More…]

by November 30, 2020 World
A Day in 2071 – Chapter 2- Conflict

A Day in 2071 – Chapter 2- Conflict

A novelette by Bharat Dogra How different will be the world 50 years from now? If the tendencies of domination and exploitation which are a major cause of distress even today get aggravated greatly in the future conditions of escalating climate change and other serious threats, how will life shape up then, and where will humanity then search for hope?[Read More…]

by November 30, 2020 Arts/Literature
Government and the Old Woman in Forest

Government and the Old Woman in Forest

In the not-too-distant past, there was a very senior official .  He was an official of his own kind, very devoted to the welfare of the poorest people. He led a most simple life, so that he could devote himself single-mindedly to the dearest objective of his life which was to work for the welfare of poor and oppressed people,[Read More…]

by November 30, 2020 India
November 30  is Guru Nanak Birthday – Essential  Message of Guru Nanak

November 30  is Guru Nanak Birthday – Essential  Message of Guru Nanak

Our deeply troubled world today badly needs the essential message of peace, simplicity, equality and inter-faith harmony which Guru Nanak, the great spiritual leader and social reformer, spread with so much skill and even greater courage during the greater part of his eventful life. It may be unconventional to speak of human right activism in those times but  giving specific[Read More…]

by November 29, 2020 Uncategorized
 A Day in 2071 – Chapter 1

 A Day in 2071 – Chapter 1

Introduction How different will be the world 50 years from now? If the tendencies of domination and exploitation which are a major cause of distress even today get aggravated greatly in the future conditions of escalating climate change and other serious threats, how will life shape up then, and where will humanity then search for hope? This is a day[Read More…]

by November 29, 2020 Arts/Literature
While Confronting New Challenges, Social Movements Must Also  Consolidate Old Commitments and Strengths

While Confronting New Challenges, Social Movements Must Also  Consolidate Old Commitments and Strengths

The world has been changing fast, and so must social movements, to keep up with the emerging challenges. The most significant aspect of the fast-changing world is the emergence of very serious threats to the basic life-nurturing conditions of earth, and in keeping with the recognition of this as the most important issue, social movements must prepare in many creative[Read More…]

by November 28, 2020 Counter Solutions
GNP and the Tribal’s Flute

GNP and the Tribal’s Flute

The senior official  rose from his seat to welcome the visiting consultant from New York. This consultant had just submitted a report on stepping up GNP growth. After exchanging a few pleasantries the official came to the point . –We sent the consultancy fee cheque of 30000 dollars promptly. Did you receive this ? –Yes, Yes, no problem about that,[Read More…]

by November 27, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Survival Crisis Has No Technological Fix; Resolving This Needs Changes in the Way People Live and Think

Survival Crisis Has No Technological Fix; Resolving This Needs Changes in the Way People Live and Think

Although there is increasing recognition among many eminent scientists and learned scholars ( and of course many environment and disarmament activists )  that the world is now faced with a very serious human-made survival crisis, which has no comparison in  the  history so far, no credible road-map has  yet emerged to avoid this many-sided, very serious crisis. We have some[Read More…]

by November 26, 2020 Counter Solutions
Social Agro-Ecology Is The Key To Real Progress and Security of Food and Farming Systems

Social Agro-Ecology Is The Key To Real Progress and Security of Food and Farming Systems

Despite some local differences, the  food and farming systems of most countries have suffered from somewhat similar serious problems in recent decades. Firstly, the problems of ordinary farmers have intensified despite government claims of increasing farm support. In many cases this is related to heavy escalation of costs, in turn leading to debts. Many have lost the status of owner[Read More…]

by November 25, 2020 Counter Solutions
Why Are Activists and Scholars Devoted to Inter-Faith Harmony  Being  Accused of the Opposite

Why Are Activists and Scholars Devoted to Inter-Faith Harmony  Being  Accused of the Opposite

Inter-faith harmony is of great importance in all parts of the world, but its importance increases further in a country like India which is home to people of so many religions and sects. Hence those who devote their life to protecting and promoting inter-faith harmony are performing a very important role for unity of our country and the peace and[Read More…]

by November 25, 2020 Communal Harmony
Workers Need Immediate Relief and Wider Role for Trade Unions

Workers Need Immediate Relief and Wider Role for Trade Unions

Workers in India have suffered a lot in recent Covid times, particularly all the workers, migrants or others, who do not have security of employment and a regular salary. Nutrition levels for most of them were inadequate earlier too, but now these have suffered a further steep decline. Access to all other basic needs has also been adversely affected for[Read More…]

by November 25, 2020 India
Photo by George M. Groutas

An Appeal To Farmers’ Movement –Kindly Give A More Central Role to Ecologically Protective Farming

The farmers’ movement in India has a historically very important role in protecting the small ( and medium ) farmer base of agriculture in the country. In recent times the movement has done well to oppose the corporatization trends as these ultimately present a threat to small farmers, as has been evident from the historical experience of many countries. This[Read More…]

by November 24, 2020 Counter Solutions
Fear–A Parable For Our Times

Fear–A Parable For Our Times

Once upon a time there was a village called Jaampur. This  village was dominated by a few powerful persons, the headman and some moneylenders who took away a big part of the produce of the hard work of people. Whether it was farming or forests or quarries , these few big men were dominant everywhere. However more recently people fed[Read More…]

by November 23, 2020 Arts/Literature
Thinking Out of the Box  on Climate Change Needed for Timely Solutions to Emerge

Thinking Out of the Box  on Climate Change Needed for Timely Solutions to Emerge

Climate change provides the  strangest example of a problem which is very widely and increasingly recognized by the best available scientific opinion to be a huge and definite danger to basic life nurturing conditions of our planet, and yet, in the decades after this became convincingly established, the emissions which cause this have been permitted to increase beyond dangerous limits.[Read More…]

by November 22, 2020 Counter Solutions
India’s Economy Needs A Great Green Stimulus

India’s Economy Needs A Great Green Stimulus

In the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic the crisis in Indian economy has accentuated and this deepening  crisis has  most adversely affected some of the poorest sections of society. While the need for government policy to deliver an adequate stimulus package for the economy is felt widely, there is wide difference of opinion regarding the precise form this should[Read More…]

by November 21, 2020 Counter Solutions
Changes in Value Systems A Must For Resolving Big Problems

Changes in Value Systems A Must For Resolving Big Problems

Today in our deeply troubled world  several problems have reached a situation where the basic life-nurturing conditions of our planet are threatened. These include serious environmental problems like climate change and the accumulation and the race for weapons of mass destruction. In addition there are the long-persisting problems of injustice, inequality and exploitation which are  perhaps the most common cause[Read More…]

by November 20, 2020 Counter Solutions
Photo by John Vetterli

Never Give Up!—How A Small Glimmer of Hope Can Light Up Human Lives in the Darkest Situations

*Sushanti Marandi was born blind in a remote village of Dumka ( Jharkhand). To make things even more difficult, her father died when she was still a small child. Now her mother had to go on daily wage work to meet subsistence needs and the blind child grew up alone in a small lonesome house in the most difficult situation[Read More…]

by November 17, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Photo by George M. Groutas

Organic Farmers Need  Support and Linkages to a Fair Market

There is worldwide realization that food system has been  becoming less safe and healthy. This is to a large extent because of the use of excessive  chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Some of the inputs used in fact have been found to be so poisonous and harmful that it is a very sad surprise how their use in food and[Read More…]

by November 15, 2020 Counter Solutions
When Role of Vaccines as Public Health Clashes with Their Role As Source of Super Profits

When Role of Vaccines as Public Health Clashes with Their Role As Source of Super Profits

          Vaccines have performed an important role in improving public health and saving human lives. All the scientists, labs, manufacturers and medical personnel who contributed to this deserve our deepest thanks and gratitude. However in recent years a different role of vaccines started emerging– vaccines as a source of huge profits. Things became more worrying when this role of vaccines[Read More…]

by November 9, 2020 India
Linking Justice  to Environment Protection –  Meeting Basic Needs of All While Also Reducing GHG Emissions

Linking Justice  to Environment Protection –  Meeting Basic Needs of All While Also Reducing GHG Emissions

            While the very pressing need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is very widely recognized at the scientific level, this can become an issue of mass mobilization only if this is also linked to justice based issues. When world level planning for reducing GHG emissions is linked to meeting the basic needs of all people, then this will be[Read More…]

by November 5, 2020 Counter Solutions
First and Foremost Responsibility is to Protect Earth for Children

First and Foremost Responsibility is to Protect Earth for Children

    Our children and their children’s grandchildren have the right to hold us to a high standard of accountability when their future—and maybe their survival—is hanging in the balance. They  too deserve something more than a generation of political leaders who look at the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced and then sit on their hands. – Human Development Report[Read More…]

by November 3, 2020 Counter Solutions
Serious Threat to Food and Farming – GM Lobby Plans New Offensive With Gene Edited Crops

Serious Threat to Food and Farming – GM Lobby Plans New Offensive With Gene Edited Crops

            As these are increasing warnings of distinguished scientists against Genetically Modified (GM) crops, the strong GM lobby led by some of the biggest corporate interests (who are bent on dominating world food system using GM technology) is now using several tricks to find a way past these warnings based on growing scientific evidence against GM crops. Dr. Pushpa M.[Read More…]

by November 3, 2020 Environmental Protection
Scrapping of Five-Year Plans Has Proved Very Costly at a Time When More and Better Planning Was Needed

Scrapping of Five-Year Plans Has Proved Very Costly at a Time When More and Better Planning Was Needed

If the path of planned economic development based on five-year plans had not been arbitrarily given up in August 2014 by the newly elected Modi  regime , today India would  be in the middle of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2017-22), the mid-term evaluation report of the 13th Plan would have just arrived and  preparations would be in full swing for[Read More…]

by November 1, 2020 India
Mangal Turbine –Neglected Innovation of Great Potential

Mangal Turbine –Neglected Innovation of Great Potential

Why  An Innovation That Can Reduce Vast Amounts of Farmers’ Costs, Foreign Exchange and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Still Continue to  Suffer From Official Neglect and Apathy After Repeated Official Confirmation of Its Great Value?             If an innovation can save billions of Rs. worth of diesel for farmers while at the same time cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, then[Read More…]

by October 29, 2020 Counter Solutions