• stumble
  • youtube
  • linkedin

Archives for : Facts

Why TAXAB is wrong about demanding #Bharat4PopulationLaw #WorldPopulationDay

by National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights

The World Population Day is celebrated every year on the 11th of July as a result of a UN Resolution in 1990 seeking to enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development. In India the World Population Day has more often than not been an occasion to highlight the ‘overpopulation’ in the country with a focus on the total number of people living in India and that this number is ‘too much’. This year this focus on overpopulation has been reinforced by a new group of concerned citizens called TAXAB or the Taxpayers Association of Bharat who are calling for a new population control law under the hashtag #Bharat4PopulationLaw.

The overall logic of this campaign is two-fold – the first part argues that as tax-payers of India we should be concerned about the misuse of our taxes by the system towards the development of Bharat. The second part explains the nature of the misuse which manifests as lack of good roads, joblessness, increasing poverty, lack of good food, clean air etc. And this lack of good infrastructure and facilities as well as pollution is due to increasing population – primarily among the BPL.

In quick strokes it creates a division between the tax-payer who is being short-changed by the poor who are growing in numbers, and secondly it attributes all the ills of the country to growing population, though it first argues that there is mismanagement by the system. The problems in the country are there for all to experience, and urban overcrowding is a phenomenon nearly all taxpayers are facing daily – so the logic is bound to be extremely attractive.

However this entire argument is based on myths.

The population growth rate in India is not growing but instead has been slowing for the last few decades. From a high of 2.3 percent per year in the 1970’s and 80’s it is now down to 1.2% per year. At the level of the family the Total Fertility Rate or number of children a woman has in her life has reduced from 5 in the 1970’s to 2.2 in 2015-16. The total wanted fertility is below 2 but women do not receive the contraceptive services that they want. The population growth rate is a function of birth, death and migration. In India, the birth rates are still a little high, but not because women are having more babies but because the number of young couples in India is higher than ever before. And this large number of young couples even when they have fewer babies each, the total adds up. This will come down as the babies born in the heydays of population growth and their children become older. In other words there is not much we can do to reduce their reproductive rate other than provide them with spacing methods. Now understand the various problems that have been attributed to population growth. India was a poor country in 1947 when India became independent, now it is no longer a poor country.

By expert estimates the GDP growth between 1951 and 2011 was over 20 times and food grain output grew by over 4 times while population grew by a little over 3 times in the same period. Clearly the total amount of food or income available per head has grown but poverty seem to be all around us. The TAXAB campaign has highlighted the bad state of roads and infrastructure as a result of overpopulation, highlighting the poor state of infrastructure in cities. This overcrowding of Indian cities is not a result of overpopulation but migration from villages to cities. This migration is often as a result of rural distress, and lack of employment opportunities which is highlighted by the continuing news of farmer suicides from across the country.

The TAXAB campaign also makes reference to pollution in the name of ‘shudh’ and ‘ashudh’ food, water and air. Pollution in India is undeniable, but is overpopulation the cause behind it as the #Bharat4PopulationLaw seems to imply? Pollution is most often contributed by the burning of fossil fuels, either for transportation or for factories or for generating electricity which then powers our air conditioners, or factories. We need to understand that the poor, who are a much larger proportion of the population, require very little fossil fuel generated energy. Their requirements for water too are very little. Research shows that the richer countries and the rich in countries like ours consume 20 – 30 times more energy in their whole lifetimes than the poor. Here if the population of people is to be seen as a problem, it is the fewer rich who pose much more problems for the absolute consumption of resources as well as the contribution to pollution.


The overall logic of the #Bharat4PopulationLaw campaign seems to imply that the taxpayers need to be worried because not much has happened through their taxes in the last seventy years. And this is where the campaign organisers have been completely misled. While overcrowding is a fact, it does not indicate a failure of contraceptive related practices among the people. Overall contraceptive usage rates have increased from 13% in the 1970’s to over 56% now. Infant mortality rate, or number of children who die before reaching the age of one year has reduced from over 130 per 1000 children to 41 now.

Overall life expectancy has also increased from less than 40 years at the time of independence to over 64 years now. More people are living, less people are dying, fewer children are being born but more people are crowding to cities where there is inadequate infrastructure, few job opportunities and we see more poor people in our streets.

A population control law is not the solution to the problems that have been indicated by TAXAB. A population control law as we have seen in China will lead to further decline in the number of girls in the country, a problem that our society is already facing. It will lead to reducing opportunities for the poor, and marginalized, including the dalits, as such laws deny benefits to those with more children. Data shows the poor have more children, but not because they want it, but because they don’t receive the appropriate services.

Women bear the disproportionate burden of population control laws, as they bear children and can be faced with repeated abortions or even desertion as men take desperate measures to keep their family size small and qualify for positions for which they can become disqualified. Yes we need changes in policies and the way they are implemented to address the issues that TAXAB has highlighted but the approach is misplaced. . The problem lies not in the population related policies but in economic policies which have not focused adequately on health or education or economic opportunities for the poor.

Yes tax-payers need to rise up and make demands from our government to increase the investment of healthcare so that not only the poor but we all are healthier and more capable, without become penurious due to healthcare costs.

We need to make demands to increase the quality of standards of the government schools so that children educated there are more empowered, and we are all confident enough to send our children to these schools rather than the very expensive private schools that are coming up every day.

Our family planning programme needs to be reoriented towards the needs of younger couples through increased availability of spacing methods. Men need to involved in discussions around family planning.

And last but not the least we need to ensure all young people have adequate knowledge and information about their bodies, and reproductive health which enables them to take decisions that will enable them to live healthy and productive lives.


NAMHHR is an  Alliance of  members from 14 states of India, as well as expert advisors working with research, Right to Food, public health, right to medicines and budget accountability.

Dr Abhijit Das, NAMHHR Convenor

Related posts

Ten Things to Remember about Syria #mustread

By- Robin Yassin-Kassab

I edited the Critical Muslim’s Syria issue, which includes excellent essays by Amal Hanano, Rasha Omran, Itab Azzam, Maysaloon, Malu Halasa, poetry by Golan Hajji, prose from Zakkariya Tamer, and much more. I contributed an essay on Syrian culture revolutionised, and I wrote the following list:

yerba mateIn the old days Syrians were ready to list their ten favourite picnic spots, their ten favourite restaurants, or even ten of the sects participating in the imaginary happy mosaic. Today lists of traumatisation leap to the mind: the ten largest refugee camps, or ten major massacres, or perhaps ten of the numerous new militias.

This list tends towards the positive (only number 10 is a bad thing – it’s something that can’t be ignored). It focusses on those aspects of Syrian reality that can’t be destroyed by war, those things which will survive (with the exception, we hope, of number 10).

1. Maté

Along with Turkish Coffee, Argentinian Yerba Maté is Syria’s quintessential drink. Drink it strong and sugary in a gourd or a glass, through a silver straw from the Qalamoun region; keep the water hot for continual fill-ups; and you’ll be telling Homsi and muhashish jokes all night. Maté connotes conviviality, and sometimes more specifically the Druze, Christian and Alawi mountain communities. When the martyred Free Army commander Abu Furat appealed to the Alawi community, he did so in terms every Syrian would understand: “I know the Alawis well. I’ve visited them in their houses. We’ve drunk maté together. We lived together before and we’ll live together again, despite you, Bashaar.”

How did a South American drink become a Syrian (and Lebanese) staple? The answer is in the late 19th/ early 20th Century mass migration of Syrian-Lebanese to South and North America, the Caribbean, and west Africa. A couple of hundred drowned with the Titanic. The ‘Street of the Turks’ in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Macondo is so-called because the people were Ottomans when they arrived in Colombia, but they were Syrian Ottomans, Arabs. Today 20 million people describe themselves as Syrian-Brazilians. Guyana’s richest family is the Maqdeesis. Carlos Menem, former Argentinian president, is of Syrian origin too.

Abdul-Qadir al-Jaza'iri

2. Migrants

Abdul-Qadir al-Jaza’iri led a long and heroic resistance against the French occupation of Algeria. Eventually captured and brought to Paris, he was given the choice of exile elsewhere in the Arab world. Abdul-Qadir chose Damascus, where he wrote Sufi poetry in the shrine of the mystic Ibn ‘Arabi, who was an earlier migrant, from Andalucia. In 1860, when the Christian quarter of the Old City was burnt in sectarian rioting, Abdul-Qadir protected hundreds of Christians in his house and garden.

The tomb of Ibn ‘Arabi stands between two inner-city neighbourhoods climbing the slope of Mount Qassiyoun: ‘Muhajireen’, or Migrants, is so-named because it once housed Muslim refugees from the Balkans; and ‘Akrad’ means Kurds – still a Kurdish area, it was first built for the Kurds who came with Salahudeen al-Ayyubi (Saladin’s) armies.

Who else? Armenians, descendants of those who survived the forced march from Anatolia. Half a million registered Palestinian refugees and many more Palestinian-Syrians (Yarmouk camp in Damascus, Syria’s largest Palestinian population, is nearly empty now – its population refugees for a second time, mostly in Lebanon). Over a million and a half Iraqi refugees until Damascus and Aleppo became even less secure than Baghdad and Basra. And in 2006, a million refugees from the Lebanese South (fleeing Israeli bombs), who were welcomed in mosques, schools and private homes. Syrians angrily compare the way they welcomed refugees with the way they are now (not) welcomed, in their hour of need.


3. Sufis

Talking of Ibn ‘Arabi… That most famous, and strangest, of mystics is by no means the only holy fool buried in Syria. The tombs of the friends of God crowd old markets, dot hilltops, sit next to streams. From Ghazali to Suhrawardi, some of the most prominent figures of both sober and drunk traditions of Sufism passed through the country, considering it a way station to Mecca and a holy land in its own right.

‘Drunken’ Sufis were still a common feature of Syrian streets until recent decades. Private zikr sessions and Sufi-influenced nasheed and moulid singing continue to play an important role in urban life.

But Ibn Taymiyya was in Syria too. In Aleppo he decided the blame for the Mongol sack of Baghdad lay with Shi‘ism and othersuch heresies. His anti-Shia, anti-Sufi theology led eventually to Wahhabism. Today the quietism of the traditionalist ulema – most notably Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun and the assassinated Shaikh Ramadan Bouti, both of whom preached loyalty to the regime even as the regime murdered, burnt and raped – has been a major factor in the spread of activist Salafism amongst Syrians. Other clerics of Sufi background, however, such as Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, who speaks intelligently against the regime and against sectarian extremism, have taken much more positive positions.


4. Poetry

And talking of Sufis… Syrian poet Adonis, in his wonderful book “Sufism and Surrealism”, holds that ecstatic Sufi pronouncements as well as the self-consciously ‘written’ court poetry of the classical past represented a subjective counter-culture to Arab-Islamic literalism and orthodoxy. Over the centuries, Syria has certainly suffered no shortage of flamboyantly subjective poets, Nizar Qabbani and Muhammad al-Maghut the most important of the late twentieth Century.

Tenth Century poet al-Mutanabbi (his name means ‘the pretend prophet’, because he made messianic claims while leading a Qarmatian revolt) came from Kufa in Iraq but spent his most productive period in Aleppo – before being killed by a man insulted by his verses.

The eleventh Century blind poet Abu Ala’a al-Ma‘arri was a vegan and an atheist. He witnessed religious war, including Crusader cannibalism in his home town Ma‘arat al-Nowman. None of it endeared him to religion:

‘Humanity follows two global sects:

One, man intelligent, without religion,

The second, man religious, without intellect.’

Despite his unorthodox views, al-Ma‘arri was highly respected at the time. But Salafist extremists beheaded al-Ma‘arri’s statue – to great local outrage – in 2013. The statue of the great ninth Century poet Abu Tammam was also executed in his southern hometown, Jassim. And the revolutionary poet Ibrahim Qashoush’s vocal chords – flesh, not metal – were ripped out by the regime.

Abu Ala’a al-Ma‘ari provided a warning for today’s desperate situation:

‘But some hope a divine leader with prophetic voice

Will rise amid the gazing silent ranks.

An idle thought! There’s none to lead but reason,

To point the morning and the evening ways.’

5. Fatteh

Damascus and particularly Aleppo are famous for their haute-cuisine, and used to boast some truly world-class restaurants, but the ‘working man’s food’ of Syria is just as good in cheap cafés. The queen of cheap dishes is fatteh – strips of bread and chickpeas soaked in oil and yoghurt, with hummus paste and pomegranite, sometimes with mince or even sheep’s feet. It’s supposed to set you up for solid work, but has the exact opposite effect on me.

Syrian olive oil is good enough to drink neat, and some country people do. The eggs – I swear – are richer and tastier than eggs anywhere else, the chickens less bland, the fruit more juicy. Ask any Syrian, they’ll tell you the same.

6. And Makdous.

This is one of the things that makes exile so hard for Syrians – the makdous you find outside the country is never like the makdous inside. Like araq, makdous is best made at home. Most Syrian families know someone who knows someone who makes makdous – stuffing aubergines with nuts and peppers and pickling them in olive oil.

Shingleesh, Syria’s uranium (actually balls of strong rotten cheese impregnated with spices, best eaten with tomatoes, onions, and oil), is the same – best home-made, and never as good outside the country.

7. ‘amiyeh

From the Damascene drawl (lek shooooooo? Waaaaaynaaak?) to Beduin ‘hasaniya’, the various Syrian colloquialisms make up Syrian ‘amiyeh, the common speech. Textured with pre-Arabic Semitic, especially Aramaic, words and rhythms, and laced with endearments (men as well as women address each other as ‘my dear’, ‘my moon’, ‘my life’, ‘o love of my heart’), polite formulae, gritty obscenities, and pepperings of poetry and scripture, it’s no surprise the other Arabs prize Syrian Arabic in particular – a boon to the country’s actors, poets and news presenters.

Syria is also a great place to study Arabic – not only are the people hospitable, they’ll even go out of their way to speak fus-ha (classical Arabic) to students. For that matter, it’s a great place to learn some Kurdish, Armenian, Turkmen, Syriac, or Aramaic (which still survives in the Ma‘aloula region) – there’s just a little problem with bombs at the moment…

Umayyad-Mosque-58. Upsidedown Writing in the Walls

You can see Greek script upside down in the walls of the Umawi Mosque in Damascus. Before it was a mosque it was a cathedral (it still houses the head of John the Baptist); before it was a cathedral it was a Roman-style temple to Jupiter; before that, a temple to Haddad, the Aramean thunder god. Those ancient stones are beneath and around you as you sit in the prayer hall.

Syria contains remnants of Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hittite, Greek, Roman, Persian, Macedonian, Umawi, Ayyubid, Zengid, Ottoman and French civilisations, among others. The world’s best preserved medieval European castle – Qala‘at al-Hosn or Krak des Chevalliers – is not in Europe but near Homs, on the edge of an old Crusading principality. The world’s first alphabet (Phoenician) was excavated north of Lattakia. The country is pocked with tells, hills made of millenia of human habitation. The pebbles beneath your feet are not pebbles but the shards of ten million pots manufactured and discarded generation after generation after generation.

9. The Nowfara

The Nowfara, for example, because it’s the best-known of the traditional cafés, in Damascus at least. Here you can hear the hakawati (storyteller) roar and clatter his sword while you sip at your zuhurat herbal drink, puff the argileh water pipe, and watch the world pass. In every city and town there’s a café on every street, a place where you (if you’re a man, usually) can refresh yourself while reading the newspaper, playing games, or gossiping. There are bars and restaurants which serve araq, Syria’s favourite spirit, and there are musical nights, either in a restaurant or laid on at home alongside someone playing an oud. Along with weddings, family visits and picnics, the Eids and Christmas, Syria’s social life is rich.

10. Men in White Socks

The antithesis of social life, the various branches of the mukhabarat or secret police, and their network of informers, were omnipresent in Assad’s Syria. Some wear white socks and shiny suits; some leather jackets hoisted to show a gun. Some are enormous, and many Syrians have formative memories of their fists. Some drive the Mercedes ‘Ghost’ – and that’s one origin of the shabeeha word used to describe pro-Assad death squads today, from shabah, ‘ghost’. Many informers are taxi drivers, or school teachers, or the shopkeepers who stay open long hours, and at least one colleague in your office environment. You never quite know who might be writing a report…

Syria’s revolution was not provoked by an American-Zionist-Saudi cabal, as the conspiracists claim, but by these men in white socks, and their clumsy, casual brutality.


Read mor eher-

Related posts

Some shocking facts about Maharashtra’s Muslims the state does not want you to know

The Mahmoodur Rahman Committee report on the socio-economic conditions of the state’s Muslims is yet to be officially released, but it reveals that the community has very poor social indices.

Maharashtra’s urban Muslims are poorer than even members of the scheduled castes and tribes. They tend to live in ghettos because they can’t find homes anywhere else, and banks are wary of giving them loans.

These are among the findings of a report prepared by a five-member committee headed by retired bureaucrat Dr Mahmoodur Rahman, which was appointed in 2008 by the Maharashtra government to study the social, economic and educational condition of Muslims in the state. However, though the report was submitted to the state’s Congress-led government in October 2013, it has not yet officially been released or tabled in the Assembly.

Since the Maharashtra government showed no signs of releasing the Mahmoodur Rahman report, which Maharashtra’s version of the pioneering Sachar Committee report on the status of Muslims across India, community organisations filed RTI queriesto find out the causes for the delay.

Last week, the Movement for Peace and Justice, a non-profit organisation, finally managed to obtain a copy of the report, seven months after applying for it. The contents reveal that Maharashtra’s 10.2 million Muslims struggle with the debilitating consequences of poverty, prejudice and discrimination on almost every aspect of their lives.

“The state of Maharashtra has witnessed the highest number of Hindu-Muslim riots post-Independence,” the report says. “Displacement and subsequent ghettoisation has been a result of communal riots. Ghettoisation has made it easier for state authorities to neglect Muslim concentration areas and not provide them with adequate services.”

The report says that one-fifth of Muslims in the state do not have a ration card, making it difficult for them to access government schemes for health, education or employment.

Here are some of the findings of the Mahmoodur Rahman report, which is based largely on data from the 2001 census.

Poverty: Maharashtra performs worse than the rest of India when it comes to urban poverty rates among Muslims. Urban Muslims in the state are also much poorer than members of scheduled castes and tribes:

About 45% of Muslim households have a per capita income of less than Rs 500 a month, and only 10% of Maharashtrian Muslims own land. Only one-third of Muslim households in the state have a bank account, and just 6.8% are able to obtain credit from banks or cooperatives. According to studies commissioned by the Minorities Commission, banks tend to be reluctant about granting loans to Muslims, on the assumption that that they will not pay back their loans.

Housing: Most Muslims tend to live in ghettos because of the fear of riots and discrimination in the housing market. In urban Maharashtra, 90% of them live in Muslim areas, 8% live in mixed areas and 2% in areas that have just a few Muslim families. Banks are reluctant to give members of the minority community housing loans, because they tend to declare Muslim localities as negative areas. In fact, 58% of urban Muslims live in slums. Meanwhile, only 18.5% of rural Muslims live in pucca homes.

Education: Maharashtrian Muslims have a total literacy rate of 78.1%, which is higher than the state average of 76.9%. But the Sachar report points out that these numbers are not a true measure of a community’s educational status, because most of these literates are not able to apply their reading and writing skills in real life and slip back into illiteracy in a few years of leaving school. In addition, barely 3% of literate Muslims manage to obtain graduate degrees.

The performance of women here is even worse: only 19% of urban Muslim women, and 10.9% of rural ones, are enrolled in secondary and higher secondary school. Only 1% of rural Muslim women in the state get college degrees.

Employment: While 32.2% of Maharashtra’s Hindus are farmers, only 8.1% Muslims cultivate land, because land ownership is low among Muslims. In fact, 44.4% of rural Muslims land up working as agricultural labourers, compared with 36.1% of Hindus. Because of a severe dearth of formal employment opportunities in Muslim areas, most of them work in the informal, unorganised sector.

Muslims also have very poor representation in government and semi-government jobs. Their share in government services is just 4.4%. In 2012, there was not a single Muslim in the entire cadre of the Indian Administrative Services.

Health: One of the few positives that emerge from the report is that the fertility rate among Maharashtra Muslims has been steadily declining, even though it is above the state average.

The use of contraception has also been increasing, although Muslim women commonly report being mocked about the number of children members of the community have. While trying to access public healthcare services, Muslim women often report facing stereotypical attitudes, like being called dirty or being constantly asked to remove the veil.

Discrimination: Muslims form 10.6% of Maharashtra’s population, but form 27% of its prison population. The report found that overwhelmingly, Muslims feel that Muslim youth are wrongfully targeted.

Infrastructure: On an average, in urban areas, bus stops are located at a 1.3 km distance from Muslim areas, and discussions with transport authorities revealed that they avoid planning bus routes in those areas because Muslims are considered socially problematic. In addition, frequency of buses in these areas is low.

Read mor ehere–’s-Muslims-the-state-does-not-want-you-to-know

Related posts

#India – Before going to Vote listen to Muck Fodi #Hiphop #NaMo #Feku


Ashwini Mishra, the Raptivist  says —   I state facts in my songs. So if my music offends you, it’s the facts that offend you. So terrified of the truth.

Muck Fodi.



Muck Fodi, Muck Fodi
Put your thugs on me,
I don’t give a fuck homie,
Yo Muck Fodi (X2)

Muck Fodi or Guck Fandhi,
Thugs only, cannot trust hardly,
Never just, largely, just us can’t see,
As they rush past we and crush heartbeats,
This is crazy though, a crowd of fools,
Took ’84, traded it for a 2002.
What the crowd can do, this is hazy bro,
Bring up 2002, they mention 84,
What is crazy though,read each page see,
Suspects from ’84 in BJP,
What is crazy bro,read each page see,
Suspects from ’84 in BJP,
Real thug homie, no rest, he is crazy yall,
Tried to arrest Arvind Kejriwal,
Modi is the king, arrest you before dinner’s through,
He can do anything, except an interview,
Every bar hurts, what I pursue strongly,
Ran from Thapar, dodged News Laundry,
And this is just true, yes it’s heard,
Only interview he gives is Madhu Kishwar,
Development but lowest wages in the nation,
Who develops them, who changes the equation,
Corporate Friendly, come on man, drop it sunny,
We know Ambani gives you pocket money

Muck Fodi, Muck Fodi
Put your thugs on me,
I don’t give a fuck homie,
Yo Muck Fodi (X2)

Ab Ki Baar Modi Ke Sar Pe Kaar,
Puppy Kare Woof Woof,
Metaphor in the bar,

This man, Modi yaar, what can I tell you sir,
Thought Gandhi was Mohanlal, Bhagat Singh was in Cellular,
Plays dangerous games, have you missing in a riot,
So strange he would claim malnutrition as a diet,
For girls in Gujarat, you see he has a image,
With facts and digits and drastic visits,
From PR teams, fantastic gimmick,
But our dream has it’s massive limit,
Bahut Hua Aurat Pe Atyachaar,
Ab Ki Bar, sach bolna hain bekaar
Bahut Hua Aurat Pe Atyachaar,
Ab Ki Bar, sach bolna hain bekaar
Seems we forgot all about these thugs,
Babu Bajrangi pushed a sword in a foetus,
Murder and rape, do it so calmly,
Amit Shah, Maya Kodnani.
I hear every lie they do state,
Safety for women, just like SnoopGate,
What of caste, he rocks the Varna system,
Means do what he asks, or varna prison,
Mass Murder, yes I see,
How the Fuhrer bought out the SIT,
They can kill, arrest and harass we,
No justice for Zakia Jafri

Ab Ki Baar Modi Ke Sar Pe Kaar,
Puppy Kare Woof Woof,
Metaphor in the bar,



Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

Gujarat – A Look In The Mirror #Sundayreading #NOMOre_2014

Two academics hold Gujarat up against other states to see if it grew more in the Modi decade than in the preceding 20 years
<b>Gujarat shining?</b> The state’s growth is neither universal nor exceptional

Gujarat shining? The state’s growth is neither universal nor exceptional
Magazine | 31 March 2014

Maitreesh Ghatak, Sanchari Roy

The forthcoming election, it seems, will be fought mainly on issues of governance and economic performance. To the extent there is a focus on the personalities involved, such as Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi or Arvind Kejriwal or potential ‘Third Front’ candidates such as Nitish Kumar or Mamata Banerjee, most of the discussion is about their economic track record or lack thereof. This is a welcome development. However, in the grand theatre of Indian politics, facts often take a backseat to slogans, and opinions get sharply polarised. For example, we either hear that Gujarat’s economic performance has been nothing short of miraculous due to the magic touch of Modi or that Gujarat’s so-called growth story is all hype and a PR campaign aimed at covering up a dark underbelly of poverty, inequality and low levels of human development indicators.

A lot of this debate reflects disagreements about two sets of issues. First, there are many dimensions of economic performance—we could look at the level of per capita income, the growth rate of per capita income, human development indices (HDI) that put weight on not only income but also on non-income measures like education and health, the level of inequality, percentage of people below the poverty line, and many others. Which index we choose to emphasise reflects either our preferences as to the aspect of economic performance we value the most, or our views as to which dimension has to be improved (say, per capita income) for bettering the dimension we care about (say, poverty alleviation).

Secondly, even if we focus on one particular dimension of economic performance, how do we attribute changes in this dimension to the role of a specific leader? For example, how do we isolate the contribution of Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar to the growth of Gujarat and Bihar, respectively, in the 2000s, especially as the country as a whole experienced a growth spurt in this period?

Therefore, the first issue is how to separate the leader’s contribution from other factors driving his or her state’s performance, for example, a general improvement in the economic environment of the country that benefits all states. The solution to this problem is to calculate the difference between the growth rate of the state for the years this leader was in power and the average growth rate of the rest of the states during the same period of time. If this difference is positive, then it is safe to say that the state under this leader grew faster than the rest of the country.

However, this is not enough. What if the state in question was always growing faster than the rest of the country? How can we then isolate the specific role of this leader?

To give an analogy, to show that a company’s performance under a new CEO has improved, it is not sufficient to show that the performance of the firm has been above average rel­ative to that of other firms after the new CEO took over, as it is possible that this firm was already ahead of others. Sim­ilarly, if we find that a firm beat its past record under the new management, we cannot automatically attribute this to the CEO, as it is possible that all firms performed better in this period due to positive changes in the economic environment. To claim that this CEO had a transformative impact on the firm, we need to show not only that this firm stayed ahead of other firms after he took over but that its performance margin relative to other firms improved significantly under him.

Thus, returning to the example of Modi, in order to claim that his leadership had a significant impact on Gujarat’s economic performance, it is not enough to show that the state did better than the rest of India after he came to power in 2001. We have to demonstrate that the gap between Gujarat’s performance and that of the rest of India actually increased under his rule. This is a statistical method called ‘differences in differences’. It is routinely used to evaluate the performance of organisations under a particular management or the effectiveness of a particular government policy.

Turning to evidence, we look at the following key indices of economic performance—level of per capita income, its growth rate, HDI, inequality and the percentage of population below the poverty line—for the major Indian states. All through, we have focused on the major 16 states in terms of population. The larger a state, the harder it is to achieve improvements in per capita average economic indicators. Therefore, comparing a large state like Uttar Pradesh and a small one like Nagaland can be misleading; it is better to compare like with like. However, we have to keep in mind that even among the major states, turning around a state with a larger population is a harder task.

We begin by looking at the most obvious economic indicator—the level of per capita income. In terms of average per capita income ranking of states over the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s, the top three states are Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra (see Table 1). Gujarat’s average rank is 4. On the other hand, Bihar, which has been in the news lately due to its spectacular turnaround over the recent years under the leadership of Nitish Kumar, has been consistently at the bottom of this league with a rank of 16, below UP, which too has remained steady at number 15.

In terms of improving their relative ranking over the three decades, the top performers among the leading states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Between the ’80s and now, Maharashtra has moved from 3 to 1, Gujarat from 4 to 3, Kerala from 10 to 5 and Tamil Nadu from 7 to 4. Interestingly, the rise in the ranks of these four has been accompanied by the relative decline of Punjab, which went from being the very top state in the ’80s and ’90s to No. 7 in 2010. This suggests that, as in athletic races, the relative rank of a state may go up or down either due to a change in its own performance or due to a change in the rival’s performance.

Thus, to obtain a fuller picture of the economic performance of these states, we also need to consider their relative growth performances. The relative ranking at a given point of time as in Table 1 gives only a snapshot of where states stand in terms of economic performance. But as we know from athletic races, unless that point happens to be the finishing line, it is the rate at which an athlete is accelerating that determi­nes the final outcome. While there is no final finishing line in the race of economic development, the current growth performance of a state can give an indication of its potential position in the future. Is the rise in rankings of states like Maharashtra and Gujarat also matched by a faster growth rate on their part? Also, are there states that are lower down in the ranking but are growing faster than average and so can hope to improve their ranking in the future?

Table 2 documents the annual average growth rates of states which have performed better than national average (leaders) in each of the three decades. Only three states have had above average growth performance in all three decades: Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. They were joined by Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Kerala in the 2000s.

Interestingly, the growth rate of Punjab, initially one of the top-ranked states in terms of per capita income level, has been below the national average in the last two decades. Thus it is not surprising that it is slipping down in rank below other faster-growing states. Bihar, on the other hand, is poised to rise up the ranks with a higher than average growth rate of per capita income in the 2000s. In a way, Bihar’s story is the opposite of Punjab’s: while it is still at the bottom of the chart in terms of the level of per capita income, it can expect to improve its rank if it maintains its recent high growth rate.

Now we come to one of the key questions. Which are the states that improved their performance in the 2000s both with respect to their past performance in the earlier two decades, and with respect to the performance of other states in the 2000s? Table 3 graphically plots the average annual growth rates of five states against the national average over time. This graph shows an interesting trend: while Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have been going neck and neck (and Haryana, which is not shown in the figure), and as already mentioned, have consistently performed above the national average, none of them has experienced a huge acceleration in growth rate in the 2000s. In contrast, Bihar, which was consistently doing worse than the national average through the ’80s and ’90s, shot up above the national average in the 2000s, converging to rates achieved by established leaders like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

To sum up, we see that Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have been among the richest states in the last three decades. In the 2000s, the big news was Punjab dropping from the top 5 and Kerala breaking into this select group. Among the rest, Maharashtra ended as the topper in the latter half of the 2000s, and Gujarat at a very respectable number 3, after Haryana. In terms of growth performance, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra were the toppers over the last three decades but in the 2000s, three other states raised their game to join the list of fastest-growing states: Bihar, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. However, if any state could claim that its performance relative to the rest of India actually improved in the 2000s, that state is Bihar.

Therefore, if awards must be given, Bihar deserves the prize for the most dramatic turnaround in the 2000s. Gujarat gets credit for having steadily been on top of the league in terms of both the level of per capita income and its growth rate, but has to share the honours with Maharashtra and Haryana in that category. However, there is no evidence of any significant growth acceleration in Gujarat in the 2000s.

One could argue that it is easier to turn around a state that was at the bottom of the league like Bihar than to maintain, or to marginally improve, the performance of a state already at the top of the league, like Maharashtra, Haryana or Gujarat. After all, there is greater scope for improvement in the former case. Conversely, one could also argue that it is more challen­ging to turn around a backward state, because if it were easy, someone would have done it already. This is reinforced by the argument that Bihar is the third largest state, whereas Guj­arat’s rank is 10th in terms of population, and it is difficult to achieve sharp improvements in a larger than a smaller state.

Be that as it may, many would argue that per capita income and its growth—the indices we have considered so far—are only partial measures of economic development. Among other things, these indices ignore aspects of development that are not captured in income, for example, life expectancy or education. Nor do these take into account income inequality or the extent of poverty. Therefore, we now turn our attention to the performance of the states in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI), level of inequality and the percentage of people below the poverty line.

Table 4 highlights HDI scores of the seven states with HDI scores above the national average over the last three decades. These are Kerala, Punjab, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka. Table 5, on the other hand, plots the performance of some selected states with respect to the all-India average in terms of HDI. As we would expect, Kerala’s performance is literally off the charts. Maha­rashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat,  on the other hand, appear to have been going head to head. Their trends tell an interesting story. While Gujarat’s HDI performance was above the national average in the ’80s and ’90s, it decelerated in the 2000s and came down to the national average. In contrast, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, which started off at a similar level of HDI as Gujarat in the ’80s, have continued to perform better than the national average in the 2000s. Bihar, on the other hand, has consistently been below the national average, but it has made significant improvements over the last decade and shows signs of catching up to the national average.

Thus, the HDI rankings of states present a different story than their rankings of per capita income levels or growth rates, with one exception. The only state that is in the top 3 in all the rankings so far is Maharashtra. Otherwise, the top prize for HDI goes to Kerala, and “the most improved in the 2000s” prize goes to Bihar.

Next, we look at a few states’ ranking in terms of level of inequality (see Table 6) based on consumption expenditure. Assam and Bihar have consistently had the lowest levels of inequality according to this index. However, the state that really stands out, both in terms of relative ranking and absolute decline in inequality, is Rajasthan. Between the early ’80s and late 2000s, Rajasthan’s relative ranking improved from 15th to third, while its inequality measure fell by 14 per cent, the largest decline for any state. On the contrary, states that are leaders on the growth dimension are found to perform worse on inequality. For example, it’s evident from Table 7 that while inequality in Gujarat was lower than the national average in the ’80s and ’90s, it actually rose to levels above the national average in the 2000s. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, too, have consistently recorded higher levels of inequality than the rest of India, with Kerala showing a sharp spike in the 2000s.

Lastly, we consider the percentage of population below the poverty line (see Table 8). We find that Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala, Gujarat, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have consistently had lower levels of poverty than the all-India average. Gujarat’s performance in poverty reduction over the years has been similar to that of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. However, if we look at improvements in performance over the last decade, then Tamil Nadu is one of the top performers. Starting from a level of poverty that was higher than the national average in 1983, it ended up at a much lower level, similar to those of Gujarat, AP and Kerala, in 2009 (see Table 9). Bihar, although well above the national average in terms of poverty levels all through the three decades, has shown a sharp improvement over the last decade.

Is there, then, a clear answer to the question we had started with: did Gujarat truly outshine otherstates in the 2000s in terms of economic development? If we simply look at the figures, four facts will jump out: first, Bihar has improved the most in the 2000s, even though it has been at the bottom of the list for all indicators and still has a fair distance to go before it can go above the national average; second, Kerala has far outpaced other states in terms of HDI all through; third, Rajasthan was the star performer in terms of reducing inequality; and fourth, Maharashtra and Gujarat have consis­tently been top performers in terms of per capita income and its growth, with Haryana and Tamil Nadu deserving mention too. All these achievements are noteworthy but it is hard to single out any state as the top performer in the 2000s.

To the extent this assessment goes against the view held by many people independent of their political leanings that Gujarat has done spectacularly well under Mr Modi, the explanation lies in our ‘differences in differences’ app­roach.

In particular, this is what we tried to figure out: did a state that has for a long time been one of the most developed states in terms of per capita income, and was already improving at a rate higher than the rest of the country, accelerate further and significantly increase its growth margin under Modi’s stewardship? Our analysis shows that this did not happen. Both Maharashtra and Gujarat improved upon an already impressive growth trajectory in the 2000s, but the margin of improvement was too small to be statistically meaningful. So while Gujarat’s overall record is undoubtedly very good all through the last three decades, its performance in the 2000s does not seem to justify the wild euphoria and exuberant optimism about Modi’s economic leadership.

Of course, it is possible that there are trends that this evidence cannot capture. Maybe with a longer time horizon, the effects of some of Modi’s policies will show up in the evidence, although given that he is now in his fourth consecutive term of power, this argument is not very strong. It is also possible that if Modi comes to power at the Centre, he may well achieve a turnaround of the Indian economy due to his governance style. All that is possible in theory, but the existing evidence is insufficient to support these views.

As John Maynard Keynes had famously said in the context of stockmarket bubbles, often our decisions to do something, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be “taken as the result of animal spirits”—a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction or rational calculation. In politics, too, maybe it is animal spirits that rule, not rational calculations based on statistical evidence. However, while election campaigns are run on slogans and sentiments, good governance depends on facts and figures. Bubbles eventually burst, waves of euphoria recede. At some point, the numbers need to add up.

By Maitreesh Ghatak and Sanchari Roy

(Maitreesh Ghatak is Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics; Sanchari Roy is a research associate at the Department of Economics, University of Warwick, UK.)

Read more here —

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

Women Organisation seeks apology from #SatyamevJayate on Fudging Facts #Vaw

The episode of Satyamev Jayate on Sexual Violence – State Response,  though claiming to showcase ground level reality had a number of factual errors.
The Government of Maharashtra in 2013 issued standard protocols for “Forensic and Medical Examination of Sexual Assault Cases. An instruction manual and proforma, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Director of Health Services, Govt of Maharashtra 2013″ CEHAT and  other NGOs were part of this process.
Health is a state subject and protocols have to be passed by each State Government and Maharashtra has done so. Even though some groups have issues with the protocols, to state that no standardised protocols exist except the CEHAT protocols  is incorrect.
In Maharashtra through the sustained campaign of various women’s rights organisations’  several positive measures have been introduced. The Schemes and initiatives include
1. ‘Manodhairya’ – A scheme for financial assistance as well as medical, social and legal support for victims of sexual violence. Victims have started receiving financial compensation. (A similar scheme  proposed by the Centre has to still see the light of day)
2. 103 a police helpline for immediate response to women victims
3. ‘RAHAT‘ a pilot programme in Mumbai offers support to victims of sexual violence throughout investigation and trial. The programme has supported more than 200 victims till date
4. ‘Five One Stop Help Centres’ have been introduced in five major public hospitals to help victims for medical treatment and forensic. Standard Operating Procedures have been evolved to support the victim as soon as she enters the hospital
5. A State Level Consultation of all stakeholders – Police, Medical, Prosecution was held to discuss gaps and challenges in convergence to ensure dignity to victims during investigation and trial. A report outlining the critical Interventions which need to be taken by each stakeholder was published. A follow up meeting is scheduled in March 14
6. Special Court Guidelines – A report of the functioning of Special Courts to try cases of women and children of sexual violence was presented to the Chief Justice. The Bombay High Court has set up a committee to frame guidelines on effective functioning of Special Courts.
7. Police Commissioner Mumbai has issued a circular on the immediate response by police in cases of sexual violence. it includes that a victim of sexual violence does not need to come to the police station to record an FIR.  Victim can record their statement in a place convenient to them by a woman officer in civilian clothes. This is being monitored closely by the Commissioner. This initiative is will soon be reproduced at the State level
The demand for One Stop Crisis Centre involving Police Medical Counsellor and Support Person as proposed by the show is in fact already a work in progress as part of Maharashtra’s District Trauma Team (Manodhairya Scheme)
It is also part of  the National Mission for Empowerment of Women Scheme a programme initiated under the chairmanship of the PM.
The program could have been effectively used to create awareness about such initiatives  and  to see how these can be extended to other states.  Unfortunately it choose to be unnecessarily provocative without accurate research and sensationalise issues that are critical to the work being done on the ground by several organisations.
It is important to record this as the producers may later claim that these changes have been brought about due to the impact of the show. They have done this in the past by claiming that the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 was due to the impact of their show on child sexual abuse, even though the bill was already placed before parliament at the time of airing of this show.
We request the producers to put out an apology regarding the inaccuracies project on the show and ensure that accurate information is conveyed through the programme. 

Majlis Legal Centre, 
Tel: 022 26661252 / 26662394

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

What if Modi becomes premier? #NaMo #Feku


By Fr. Cedric Prakash
Ahmedabad:As a Christian and particularly a Jesuit priest, I take stands and believe that while being open to dialogue and reason, one has to be unequivocal about what one stands for. So, I take a stand against politicians or political parties that are sectarian, corrupt, casteist and above all those who indulge in the criminalization of society.

I do not espouse any political party. All have their own drawbacks. A reality check would show that each one has failed the people of India in some way or another, especially the poor and the marginalized, either because of their particular ideology or because they have catered to a particular class or caste.

All this brings to mind the powerful words of Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) in which he condemns “the economy of exclusion and inequality” and “a financial system which rules rather than serves”.

We have to accept that genuine fears and anxieties exist about Narrndra Modi, the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate and three-time chief minister of Gujarat becoming prime minister, after the general election due in May.

However let me clarify some matters about Modi and his rule in Gujarat.

Myth 1: Modi is a development man

This cannot be further from the truth. Gujarat has always been a developed state from the time it was carved out of Bombay state in 1960. Economic indicators clearly show that Gujarat under Modi has been ‘worse off’ than under previous governments (even the BJP one before him).

The fact is that foreign direct investment in Gujarat has taken a severe beating in the last few years and even local investment is far below what is being flaunted. Regarding social indicators, Gujarat fares poorly.

A UNICEF report published in 2013 says social development in the state has not kept pace with economic development; almost every second child in Gujarat under five years old is undernourished, while three quarters are anemic.

Myth 2: The Gujarat carnage is a thing of the past and Modi has been given a “clean chit”

Many believe the courts exonerated Modi of involvement in the Gujarat anti-Muslim riots in 2002. The hard facts are, however, very different. First of all, no court has given Modi a clean chit.

True, there is a Special Investigation Team (SIT) report that says there is not enough evidence against Modi.

But this has been challenged, with the petitioner Zakhia Jafri being given leave by Ahmadabad magistrates to question the merits of the SIT report in a higher court.

Raju Ramchandran, appointed by the Supreme Court as amicus curiae for many of the Gujarat riot cases, asserts that there is enough evidence to prosecute Modi on several counts with regard to the violence in 2002, in which more than 1,000 people died.

Modi has neither shown any remorse nor taken responsibility for the killing of innocent people under his watch. The least a chief minister could have been expected to do was to enforce law and order and protect the life and property of every citizen in his state. That he ignored this responsibility, there is no doubt among many. That he has denigrated minorities has been documented by the print and the electronic media.

Myth 3: Modi has “made up” with the minorities

There are some claiming to be representatives of minority Christian and Muslim communities who sing Modi’s praises.

A careful analysis indicates these people have vested interests, especially in business, and are not really interested in their community or what is happening to minorities in the country.

In 2003 Modi introduced an anti-conversion law and established rules to govern the implementation of this law in 2008.

It is perhaps one of the most draconian laws in the history of democratic India. It forbids a citizen from converting to another faith unless she/he has permission from civil authorities.

Even now, police and intelligence officers constantly visit Christian institutions and Christians in general, making all kinds of inquiries and demanding to check baptism registers and other records.

Myth 4: Modi is not corrupt

In May 2012, anti-corruption campaigners Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal visited Gujarat. They came away declaring it the most corrupt state in the country. Why they have not continued to highlight corruption in Gujarat is anyone’s guess.

Several years ago, the Tata Motor Company was allowed to establish a plant to build the “world’s cheapest car” in Gujarat with surprising ease, flouting every rule in the book and even the state’s industrial policy.

It is alleged that the Adani Company controls the price of compressed natural gas, amassing huge profits. In addition, the role of the Ambanis in mega projects in Gujarat is being questioned. The way environmental laws are flouted and the terrible ecological degradation that is taking place all over the state, all point to the fact that corruption is alive and kicking in Gujarat.

Another indicator is the way land has been handed to big corporations, displacing thousands of small farmers across the state. There have been huge protest rallies, but they were not covered by a media, which by and large seems to have been muzzled in Gujarat.

These four myths provide an insight into the grim reality in Gujarat under the leadership of Modi. No one really knows if he will become prime minister. But India deserves better leaders. Indian politics revolves around regional parties. As of now, the BJP has practically no allies from several states. Most regional parties are obviously waiting to see which party will emerge as the single largest party in the 2014 elections.

Fr Cedric Prakash SJ is the director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace.

Read more here —

Related posts

#India – Modi Makes History and Facts be Damned #Namo #Feku

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Long years ago, at a cultural event in a European country, the then Indian Ambassador (let him not be named) introduced the modernist Hindi novelist and poet, Agyea (who also carried the name Vatsayan) as the famous author of the Kama Sutra. As was to be expected, his subsequent career in the foreign service receives a set back.

Unlucky man, born at the wrong time among the wrong set of rulers whose fetish about factual accuracy in public pronouncements after all thwarted his flamboyant leap of imagination, whereby a modern day writer was transmogrified into an avatar of the ancient Vatsayan. You might say, what could have been a more telling remark on the unbroken continuities of the Sanatan Dharma wherein time and space are but ephemeral shadows skimming as mere superficial illusions  over the the deep mysteries of the timeless and the spaceless? Yet, far from being rewarded, the poor servicer was to suffer pedestrian rebuke.

Think how this victim to facticity might have flourished under a prospective Narendra Modi prime ministership of Bharat.

Months before being sworn in as prime minister of this land of no beginning and no end (Hegel was to write “India has no history; it is a repeat of the same old majestic ruin”), Mr. Modi has been giving us glimpses and intimations of how a creative and esemplastic (to use Coleridge’s famous description of the “Primary Imagination”) Mind (as opposed to mere mind) may with a wave of two majestic fingers alter time and space at will to suit a great vision.

Thus, among the fanciful gems that he has thus far strewn among the public spaces and at thousands of gawking hoi polloi are the following:

–that the Macedonian warrior-king, Alexander, was defeated in a battle along the Ganges river proximate to the Indian state of Bihar; fact: Alexander never crossed the Setluj in western Punjab, returning westward to die of an affliction in Alexandria (Egypt);

–that the ancient seat of learning, Taxila, was also in Bihar, when in fact that also was in western Punjab (now Pakistan);

–that the Mauryan emperor, Chandragupta (emperor Ashok’s grandfather) was actually Chandragupta II of the Gupta dynasty; between the two lay some eight centuries of historical time;

–that the first Prime Minister of India (who, don’t you know. was the chief wrecker of India’s domestic and foreign fortunes, however great a man and world leader you might have thought him) did not have the grace to attend the funeral (1950) of the then Home Minsiter/Deputy Prime Minsiter of newly Independent India  as a last expression of his sibling resentment, as it were; fact: not only did Nehru love and admire Patel, as Patel did him, despite many principled differences on policy, but was the chief distressed mourner at the latter’s funeral;

–that the late Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, a born and bred Bengali, was a “great son of Gujarat”; that he it was who established the “India House in London under the very nose of the English”; that he was considered the “guru of Indian revolutionaries”; and that the said Mookherjee “died in 1930, but before he did so, he expressed the wish that his ashes be kept carefully so they could be returned to a free India.”

Poor Mookherjee was of course innocent of all these attributions; he was a Bengali, who first joined the Congress party, then switched to the right wing and became the founder of the Jana Sangh (1951); he died in a hospital in Srinagar, Kashmir in the year 1953.

The man Modi was speaking of was Shyama Krishna Varma.  But as the Bard queried, “what is in a name?”  For all you know, Germany might have been England, and India the Soviet Union; thus, Hitler may have been Churchill, and Gandhi may have been Stalin. Which tells us how limiting, after all, dry -as -dust facts can be when, in fact, there need be no end to what the mind may do with history and/or geography, from time to time as the “national interest” dictates.

Mr.Modi is slated to address we are told more than a hundred rallies more till the time arrives for the General Elections to India’s Parliament in early 2014. Minds bogle in salivating anticipation of how many creative splendours yet await us. At the rate he is going, it is a safe bet that by the time we come to the event, our inspired head-pieces may have learnt to reformulate the history and geography of this ancient land in ways that the rest of the world may have become part of the Sanatan landscape of our refurbished Hindutva vision.

Remember, after all, what a not-so-old document of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad told us:

–that  “Jerusalem was actually Yedu Shalyam, which means the shrine of the Lord of the Yadus i.e. Krishna”;

–“that the Dome on the Rock in Jerusalem and the nearby Al-Aqsa mosque, are ancient temples of the Hindu deity, Krishna”;

–“that St.Paul’s Cathedral in London was originally Gopal Mandir”;

–“that the Notre Dame church in Paris was actually the temple of Devi Bhagwati, Parvati alias Durga”;

–that “Paris itself was actually the Hindu city of Parameshwariam”;

–that “the K’aaba at Mecca was originally a gigantic Vishnu temple”;

–and, to cap all history, that “in pre-Christian times all people everywhere in the entire world were Hindus.”

(Cited from H.K.Vyas, VHP, Communist Party of India Publication, 1983; Vyas sources these gems to the Hindu Vishwa,journal of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.)

Clearly, then, Mr.Modi’s reconstructions of facts issue from well-established tradition of the Hindu right wing, wherein historiography is more often a matter of unanalyzed prejudice and timely convenience than of adherence to fact and evidence.

What wonders then might be unleashed on domestic and foreign fora once Mr.Modi becomes India’s  most erudite first executive; and, alas, what a future the unlucky afore-mentioned Ambassador may have been thought to have lost by having done service under mere mortals who had not the largesse to leap the fact to make a “new heaven and a new earth” (quoting now both Coleridge and Wordsworth, who in turn drew from the Book of Revelation.)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

40 facts you didn’t know about Sachin Tendulkar #Sundayreading


Tendulkar has announced his retirement from Test cricket, leaving his millions of fans disappointed. His 200th Test, to be played against the West Indies, will be his last.Below are  40 facts you didn’t know about this living legend.
1: Named after legendary music director Sachin Dev Burman by his father
2: Grew his hair and tied a band around it to copy idol John McEnroe. Was even called ‘McEnroe’ by his friends. Admires Boris Becker,Pete SamprasRoger Federer and Diego Maradona.
3: Wanted to be a fast bowler and even went to the MRF Pace Academy but head coach Dennis Lillee asked him to concentrate on batting.
4: Has scored big runs on Indian festivals like Gokulashtmi, Raksha Bandhan, Holi and Diwali
5: Loved to have ‘I-can-eat-more-vada-pavs-than-you’ competitions with cricket buddies Vinod Kambli and Salil Ankola
6: Loves sea food. Owned a restaurant.
7: Loves playing at Sydney Cricket Ground.
8: Loves Kishore Kumar and rock group Dire Straits. Was extremely possessive about his personal stereo.
9: A devout worshipper of Lord Ganesha, he often visits Siddhivinayak temple in the early hours of the morning.
10: Wears his left pad first. Has the Tri-colour pasted inside his kit bag.
11: Remembers every dismissal and even the bowler who dismissed him.
12: Likes to dunk his glucose biscuits into his tea and have them with a spoon.
13: He is ambidextrous. Bats with his right hand but autographs and eats with his left.
14: Used to sleep with his cricket gear on during his junior days.
15: Refused to shoot for a soft-drink ad that showed him smashing cricket balls with a fly swatter. He reportedly told film-maker Prahlad Kakkar, “That would make me greater than the game.” The ad was modified: he hit the balls with a stump.
16: Loves to zoom across Mumbai in his swanky cars in the wee hours.
17: Fell from a tree one Sunday evening during his summer vacations, when the movie ‘Guide’ was showing on national TV. It infuriated brother (and mentor) Ajit, who packed him off to cricket coaching class as a punishment!
18: Came back from the four-month tour of Australia after the 1992 World Cup and turned up to play for Kirti College in April 1992.
19: Was without a bat contract during the 1996 World Cup in which he emerged highest run-getter. A famous tyre company promptly signed him on soon after.
20: His coach at Shardashram, Ramakant Achrekar, used to offer a one rupee coin as prize to any bowler who dismissed him. If he remained not out, the coin belonged to Sachin. Still has a good bunch of those coins.
21: Fielded for Pakistan as a substitute during a one-day practice match against India at the Brabourne in 1988.
22: Was a ball boy during the 1987 World Cup match between India and Zimbabwe at Wankhede.
23: The first ad he shot was for sticking plaster.
24: In school, he was once mistaken for a girl by good friend Atul Ranade because of his long curls
25: After watching Deewar and Zanjeer, he became a fan of Amitabh Bachchan
26: Played tennis-ball cricket and darts during rainbreaks
27: Sang and whistled with Vinod Kambli during their 664-run record stand in the Harris Shield in 1988 to avoid eye contact with the coach’s assistant, who wanted to declare while the duo wanted to bat on.
28: Teammate Praveen Amre bought him his first pair of international quality cricket shoes.
29: Was a bully at school but was kind to cats and dogs. His first captain, Sunil Harshe, said that he loved to pick a fight. Every time he was introduced to someone, his first reaction was, ‘Will I be able to beat him?’
30: Used to go fishing for tadpoles and guppy fishes in the stream that ran through the compound of Sahitya Sahwas, his apartment in Bandra East.
31: Once made his mother look for a frog bhaji recipe.
32: The nanny who looked after him is now universally called Sachuchi bai
33: Colony watchman’s son Ramesh Pardhe, who was his playmate, said Sachin would ask him to dip a rubber ball in water and hurl it at him. He wanted to see the wet marks left on the bat to find out whether he had middled the ball correctly
34: An incorrigble prankster, he once put a hose pipe in Sourav Ganguly‘s room and turned on the tap. Ganguly awoke to find his gear floating. Calls Ganguly ‘Babu Moshai’. Sourav calls him ‘Chhota Babu’.
35: Great spinner of yarns. If he had a cut on his finger it was because it had been chopped by a helicopter flying low!
36: Sachin Tendulkar’s debut Test also was legendary allrounder Kapil Dev’s 100th.
37: Sachin faced his first ball in Tests from legendary Pak pacer Waqar Younis, who was also making his debut.
38: Sachin scored the first-ever double hundred in ODIs on February 24, 2010, 22 years to the day that Kambli and Sachin had put on 664.
39: He equalled Sunil Gavaskar’s record of 34 Test hundreds and went past the record on the same date, December 10. His 34th ton came against Bangladesh in Dhaka on 2004 and the 35th was against Sri Lanka at the Kotla in 2005.
40: During an under-15 tour in Indore, he couldn’t sleep and woke up in the middle of the night to shadow practise. As the flooring was wood-based, the noise that emanated from the bat hitting the flooring disturbed the other tenants. As the hotel manager went to complain to coach Vasu Paranjpe, he was ticked off by the coach and told to ‘Go and bowl to him’.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

World Mental Health Day- You know the facts or believe the Myths ? #mustread

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Every year on 10th of October, The World Health Organization joins in celebrating the World Mental Health Day. The day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health and WHO supports this initiative through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe. WHO also develops technical and communication material and provides technical assistance to the countries for advocacy campaigns around the World Mental Health Day.

The theme of World Mental Health Day in 2013 is “Mental health and older adults”.

Mental Healthcare in India

There are only 5000 mental health professionals in India.

One in five people in India live with a mental illness.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), countries like India devote less than 1% of their health budgets to mental health compared to 10%, 12%, 18% in other countries.

While there are as many as two crore (20 million) Indians suffering from mental illnesses, the country has only 3,500 psychiatrists and 1,500 psychiatric nurses to treat them.

Medical Statistics states that one in four people globally experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In India prevalence of mental disorders is six to seven percent for common mental disorders and about two percent for severe mental disorders.

The Government of India has also introduced The Mental Health Care Bill 2013 in Parliament on 19 August 2013. The bill seeks to safeguard the right to access mental healthcare, right to protection from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and right to equality.

Some commonly myths that relate to mental illness are below, along with the facts:

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Fact: Most people with mental illness are not violent; only 3%-5% of violent acts are committed by individuals living with a serious mental illness; people with severe mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violence than the general population.

Myth: People who go to a psychologist/psychiatrist  are  mad

Fact: People come to see a psychiatrist for many reasons. Some people have severe mental illnesses whereas some people are simply having trouble coping with the many stresses of modern life. Most people who see a psychologist/psychiatrist are simply trying to find ways to cope better with difficult feelings or behaviours and see psychiatric treatment as an opportunity to improve their lives.

Myth: People with mental health needs are weak and they cannot tolerate any kind of stress and are unable to hold a job.

Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as others.Mental health problems have nothing to do with being weak and many people need help to get better. There are many factors that contribute tomental health problems including biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, and injury. Life experiences, such as trauma, or a history of abuse, a family history of mental health problems, can all serve as contributory factors. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely. Many people with mental health problems are highly active members of our communities, therefore you may know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realize it.

Myth: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?

Fact: Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual; and could include medication, therapy, or both. Many individuals work with multiple support systems during the healing and recovery process.

Myth: Children cannot be depressed.

Fact: Young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable.

Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.

Myth: I can’t do anything for person with a mental health problem.

Fact: Friends and family can be important support systems, to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:

Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help

  • Being available to listen to them and their stories
  • Helping them access mental health services
  • Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn’t true
  • Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
  • Refusing to define them by labels such as “crazy” or “mad”

Myth: It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.

Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders focuses on addressing known risk factors such as exposure to trauma that can affect the chances that children, youth, and young adults will develop mentalhealth problems. Identifying the vulnerable and encouraging help-seeking goes a long way in preventing mental illness.

Myth: One needs to take medicines for life and mental illnesses are not cure able

Fact: Sometimes medicine might not be necessary and only therapy can help. Medication may be necessary for controlling the initial stages of mentalillness. It is not necessary that medication used is habit forming. Mentalillnesses are manageable, just as one manages diabetes. There are people like Abraham Lincoln and John Nash who have been successful in their respectable fields, despite their illness.

Myth: Marriage will resolve everything: “Shaadi kara do; sab theek ho jayega”

Fact: Marriage does not resolve or cure mental illnesses.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), countries like  India devote less than 1% of their health budgets to mental health compared to 10%, 12%, 18% in other countries.



Befrienders India – National Association 
c/o Sneha, 11 Park View Road
600 028


Lifeline Foundation 
17/1A Alipore Road
Sarat Bose Road
700 027
Hotline: +91 33 2474 4704
Hotline: +91 33 2474 5886
Hotline: 2474 5255

A-4, Tanwar View, CHS,
Plot NO – 43, Sector 7
400 701
Contact by:
Hotline: +91 22 2754 6669
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 09:00 – 21:00

255 Thyagumudali Street

Hotline: +91-413-339999
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 14:00 – 20:00

1-8-303/48/21 Kalavathy Nivas,
Sindhi Colony
S.P. Road
500003 A.P.

Hotline: +91 40 7904646
E-mail Helpline:
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat: 11:00 – 21:00

B12 Nilamber Complex
H.L. Commerce College Road
380 006
Hotline: +91 79 2630 5544
Hotline: +91 79 2630 0222

11 Park View Road
(Near Chennai Kaliappa Hospital)
R.A. Puram
600 028

Hotline: +91 (0) 44 2464 0050
E-mail Helpline:
24 Hour service: 

The Samaritans Sahara 
Sir J-J. Road
Byculla Bridge
400 008

Hotline: +91-22-2307 3451
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 15:00 – 21:00
 Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 21:00

1 Bhagwandas Lane
Aradhana Hostel Complex
110 001
Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter: 
Hotline: 2338 9090
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 14:00 – 22:00
 Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 22:00

MAITHRI – Cochin 
Ashirbhavan Road
Ernakulam Kochi
682 018

Hotline: +91 239 6272
E-mail Helpline:
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 20:00


Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts