Sunday, August 5, 2012

Editorial, "SAAHASA LAKSHMI PASSES AWAY," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 31 July 2012 issue (Vol. 8, Part 2, No. 14)


The springing tigress of the Azad Hind Fauz (INA) is no more amidst us. One of the loyal aides of Netaji’s stupendous effort to free the country by armed struggle and war from outside the borders, she was humane to the core and an able, kind-hearted physician. A faithful partner of Colonel Sahgal, of the same INA fame, and an affectionate mother to Subhashini Ali and Anisa, she always held the whole world a family and assiduously worked in her clinic for the cure and alleviation of health problems and social miseries of the poor people. She was quite vocal and steadfast in her politics and pedagogy of the oppressed and that was what brought her into the communist movement. Even so, she was never, to our knowledge, a doctrinaire, authoritarian party-boss but an affectionate and helpful guide to several young and active militants working for the cause of socialism and democracy. Her faith and confidence in the democratic destiny of the country and her devotion and commitment to the cause of the unity and integrity of the nation spurred her, at a definite juncture, to contest for the Presidency of the country locking horns with the esteemed Abdul Kalam-ji in the electoral battle and it was then that this editor wrote, “Springing tiger was the emblem of the Indian National Army led by that valiant tiger of a man, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and his illustrious disciple, Dr. Lakshmi only inherited that ferocious grit. … Knowing full well that the odds are heavily against her, she has now sprung up like a tigress to counter the foxy maneuvers of the Indian bourgeois classes and to champion the causes and claims of the downtrodden people of India,” that “her contest itself will be more glorious than any victory” and that “One need not worry that the wall on writing is obvious and defeat is certain, for the very endeavour itself is noble to be undertaken in the spirit of Karmanyevaadhikarastae maa phaleshu kadachana {Worry not for the fruit of action, you have only right to do the action}!She always lived, served, fought, sacrificed and ultimately breathed her last in the same spirit, leaving a huge void in the leftist political circles and profound sorrow in the hearts of all lovers of socialism and democracy. To try to emulate her example by deed would be the best possible tribute to her indeed. §§§

Editorial, "Police atrocities in political wilderness," in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 July 2012, Vol. 8, Part 2, No. 13 issue.


 The indirect ‘spat’ between Kishore Chandra Dev, Union Tribal Minister,  and the Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, has laid bare the hollowness of the official claims that the 29 June 2012 raid on suspected Maoists in Bijapur district of Chattisgarh was a real encounter between armed Maoists and the CRPF and State Police. Of course, the Police insist that Maoists use people of the region as human shields while confronting the security forces and hence innocent people also do or may suffer in the process, but there are some salient norms to be followed in armed conflicts when innocent or ignorant people are used in such a manner. Reckless or ‘panicky’ firing responses are not called for in such eventualities even if the first shots may be from the rebel groups. If the police had information that Maoists are holding a meeting in a village, they should have been amply forewarned that many innocent villagers would participate in it, especially in an area claimed and unofficially recognized as a Maoist liberated area. Contrary to the claims of the Director General of CRPF that the police conducted themselves with extreme restraint and the backing by Mr. Raman, Chief Minister of Chattisgarh, that it was a real encounter in which people could have suffered due to the human shield tactics of the Maoists, we find the firing being wild and jumpy with even women and children killed in its course. Though Kishore Chandra Dev has tried to downplay their internal differences saying he acted according to ‘the inputs he got’ and the Home Minister as per ‘information he got’, the conduct of the Home Minister is hasty, cold and totally unjustified. The callousness of the bureaucracy in the entire affair is truly revolting. And we do agree with Swami Agnivesh that the Prime Minister should rise to the occasion and apologize – at least for the deaths of innocent women and children and duly compensate them. The Judicial enquiry ordered may bring out the real facts and reasons for this gory killing but there is urgent need to curb the ‘panic reflexes’ and ‘trigger happiness’ of the police forces also. Finally, this acute armed conflict should be viewed more as a socio-economic problem to be solved than a mere law and order or security concern to be overcome by the use of superior armed force §§§

Editorial, "Whither Sustainable Development?" in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 30 June 2012, Vol. 8, Part 1, No. 12 issue


 Is it the ‘Future we want’ – as the final document passed in the Rio+20 Earth Summit attended by about 100 Heads of State and Government and others in the largest ever organized environmental conference, emphasizing the goal of sustainable development asserts – that matters, or does it amount only to the ‘Future we bought’ as lampooned and torn to pieces by protesting social activists outside the main conference on 22 June 2012, and deserves to be condemned by all protagonists of equitable eco-friendly development. We too are not happy with the progress in inches projected by this document while people need to swiftly traverse miles and miles for effective remedy of ages-old injustices and injuries against the ‘commons’. Truly, the outcome of this much vaunted conference is “nothing but a political surrender to the forces of ecological destruction that now put human civilization as we know it at stake.” Talking about ‘Green economy’ involving capitalist corporations, absence of emphasis on non-capitalist development models and allusions to ‘unsustainable consumption and production patterns’ etc. only aggravate further the current globalized capitalist depredations. Perhaps the real clue lies, as one astute eco-critic (Rikard Warlenius) contends, in recognizing the ‘ecological debt’ owed by the affluent North to the deprived South. As he rightly says, “From colonial days until today, raw materials and energy from the South and the global commons, as well as their sink capacities, have been expropriated for the social metabolism of the North without properly compensating material losses, ecological degradation, labor and lost development opportunities. This has been crucial for the North's ability to secure world dominance as well as welfare and prosperity for most of its citizens, while the South's efforts to catch up constantly have been undermined. The ecological debt is hard to measure in full extent, but attempts at quantifying one important part of it, the climate debt, show that most African countries are creditors rather than a debtors, while all Northern countries have a huge debt not only to the South, but also to future generations everywhere... This debt should be acknowledged and compensated for… While repayment of the ecological debt could and should enable (sustainable) development for those who need it most, it is also clear that the capitalist economic growth in both North and South has a very high social cost and is environmentally disastrous. In the end, a new development model is needed.” Also, “Rio de Janeiro also hosted a parallel People's Summit… [where] "green economy" was rejected for a localized economy in harmony with nature and ideals of consumerism and growth abandoned for the adoption of liberated time and basic income as a prerequisite for "good life – buen vivir" for all” – and we do approve this course. §§§