Thursday, February 28, 2008

chingari 2008

The Chingari Trust has a call for nominations for the 2008 Chingari Award.

The site mentions the following criteria for nominations:
•a woman campaigning against corporate crimes
•struggling with her community in a remote part of rural India
•waging a sustained democratic struggle of at least 5 years' duration
•non-sectarian and secular, unaffiliated with a political party
•helping to change a company's behaviour
•well-respected and supported by her community
•working at great personal risk and hardship, despite disadvantages
•whose current work would be significantly impacted by receiving the Award
•who would give inspiration to others around the country.

Last date: 15th March 2008
BHOPAL 462018.
PHONE: 0755-2747500
chingaritrust [aat] gmail [dhot] com

A community health educational poster used by Chingari Trust in their work with contamination affected children in Bhopal.

A previous post on Chingari is here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


a friend forwarded this to me ...

This poem was nominated by UN as the best poem of 2006, Written by an
African kid.

When I born, I black
When I grow up, I black
When I go in Sun, I black
When I scared, I black
When I sick, I black
And when I die, I still black

And you white fellow
When you born, you pink
When you grow up, you white
When you go in sun, you red
When you cold, you blue
When you scared, you yellow
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you gray
And you calling me colored??

Sunday, February 17, 2008

urban thinking and the farmer

read this: The idiocy of urban thinking

wrote this---

Read Sagarika Ghose's article in HT dated 15-02-08 titled "The idiocy
of urban thinking".
Her point that several schemes (like the NREGA) are just saving the farmer
from the brink and not an inch more was spot on. Further, her question about
why should the farmer not migrate to urban centers was also very valid.
But her analysis based on these points is totally baffling.

She mentions 60% population accounts for 20% GDP and we should mimic
the Chinese model and move to manufacturing/producing goods.
While this might be rosy in theory, it is not clear how it will be practical.
First of all, what will we be producing and for which markets?
How will this ensure solving the poverty problem? There are studies which show
that income disparity in China has grown over the last couple of decades and
is increasing.

Even if we consider that employing large number of people in the
manufacturing sector is possible, what do we about the energy scarcity?
The rate at which urban centers are growing and the lack of basic energy needs
in rural areas, our energy needs are only set to increase. Coupled with our
rapidly shifting to a westernised/energy-intensive lifestyle and depleting
cheap energy sources, can we afford to add to this mix an additional

The next question is about our food security and that of liberalizing
the farm sector. If farmers are encouraged to migrate, who will
produce food? The in-vogue answer is of course, the corporates. Why are we so keen on
supporting a handful of rich companies and totally ignore 60% of our population?
Instead, Why can't we make sweeping policy changes that transform the
anachronistic, rustic farmer such that he becomes proud and self-sufficient in
his profession and the rest of us become proud of him rather than hold
on to some naive romantic notions of the Indian farmer? Is it not anachronistic
that agriculture as a profession should have a secondary status as compared to any other?
Yes, education and health must be provided to all, but why does that have to be connected to a choice to leave the land?

Why can't the choice of holding on to the land and working it be made
as attractive, by introducing incentives, schemes and innovations that will help the
farmer produce more and control his own destiny? This will not only help us with our
food security, but will ensure employment to a large section of the community and in
the near future, may be our only bet to slow-down our unrealistic energy demands.

-- Anjali Kanitkar, Puru Kulkarni