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Women Protect Common Forest Rights in Rajasthan
by Soma KP

Nichlagarh, an adivasi village in the forest region of Southern Rajasthan, is caught between the bureaucratic regime of the Forestry Department (FD) of India and progressive legislation that claims to restore the traditional rights of commoners. While the state has its own ideas about how villagers should manage their forest commons and their lives, the women of this adivasi community have stepped forward as the knowledge keepers, managers of the forests and champions of democratic representation to protect the right to common.

… och här kan ni se Indisk demokrati in action

Hazaribgh Police Firing – Jharkhand Government Waged War On Its Own People

Days after the Jharkhand police opened fire on farmers protesting land acquisition for coal mines by the National Thermal Power Corporation in Badkagaon, Hazaribagh, on 1st October 2016 resulting in several deaths, the demonstrators are still shocked at what they claim was the excessive use of force by the administration.

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The authorities are whisking away people in overnight raids, using draconian preventive detention powers even against human rights activists


The authorities are whisking away people in overnight raids, using draconian preventive detention powers even against human rights activists

Srinagar: At 11:20 pm on September 20, as uneasy calm wrapped the streets of Kashmir as a posse of Jammu and Kashmir police barged into a house in uptown Srinagar on the banks of Doodganga stream and whisked away a young boy, Nouman Ahmad.

His mother, Maimoona, a widow, tried to raise an alarm to draw her neighbours’ attention but a policeman “shut my mouth” till Nouman was taken away.

Within minutes there was an announcement on the loudspeaker of a local mosque in old Chanpora, asking people to come out of their homes and join a protest.

Barely 15 minutes later, the streets outside Khan mohalla were filled with men, women and children who marched towards the local police station to seek the boy’s release amid anti-government slogans. However, they returned disappointed.

“The police official in-charge told us that Nouman was picked up by a police party from Raj Bagh police station. We were told to take up the matter with the SP [concerned],” Maimoona told The Wire, as she pleaded with her neighbours to support her in getting her son released.

Eighteen-year old Nouman, a school dropout, according to some local residents who spoke to The Wire, had participated in protests against the police in recent weeks though in what manner was unclear.

A man from the neighbourhood, Feroz Ahmad, said that the police picked up three boys from the area during night raids in the past 10 days but none have been released so far.

Midnight knock as ‘counter plan’

Fearing a backlash during the day, the J&K police and CRPF have been conducting overnight raids to round up those they consider “provocateurs” as well as ordinary youths accused of organising protests in the Valley. In the eleven weeks since the death of militant commander Burhan Wani, 87 civilians have died in police action while over 12000 people have been injured. The state health department records show that 837 of the injured have been hit by pellets in one or both eyes, while 4731 persons have received extra-occular pellet injuries (injuries in body parts other than eyes) in the ongoing unrest. Doctors at Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, the only hospital in Kashmir with full-fledged department of ophthalmology, fear that 70 to 80% of victims hit in the eyes will have “less than usable vision” – the human rights bodies and opposition in Kashmir have accused the state government of allowing unchecked use of pellet guns by the forces to deal with the protesters. According to the government, some 4,000 police personnel have also sustained injuries in the protests, which frequently turned violent.

A police statement on Wednesday said that 64 persons involved in “disturbing the situation and harassing people” were arrested from different districts to “curb the activities of miscreants”.

Over the past 10 days, the police have been frequently issuing statements detailing the number of arrests made during the raids.

A senior police official from south Kashmir, which is at the centre of the unrest, said that more than 600 cases have been registered against “rioters and anti-national elements” across the region, over the four districts that have witnessed 57 of the 87 civilian killings.

Since the protests erupted in the Valley on July 9, the day after Wani was killed in an encounter in south Kashmir, the J&K police have arrested over 2600 persons, including 400 youths bracketed in the ‘master-list’ prepared by J&K police headquarters in Srinagar.

Of the total arrests made, at least 600 persons are still in ‘preventive custody’.

In Shopian district, where, like most parts of the valley, the intensity of the protests has gone down for the past few days, roads lie deserted and shops are closed. While the entry and exit points are controlled by the forces inside the district, the institutions of the state continue to remain lifeless.

Deep inside the district, in villages like Rawalpora, Kapran, Trenz and Pinjoora, people said volunteers “patrol” the roads during the night to “counter” raids by police. A team of 10 to 15 people, including the young and the elderly, remain awake during the night to keep vigil. At present around 100 persons are under arrest in different police stations across the district.

According to Ghulam Mustafa, a fruit grower, the ‘plan’ has worked as the police had to retreat in many villages after the “men-on-duty” raised an alarm on the public address systems in mosques, cautioning the villagers to come out in protest.

This strategy is in fact being followed in other districts of south Kashmir and Srinagar. In the interiors of downtown Srinagar people have even set up makeshift gates at the entrances of their neighbourhoods to stop police vehicles from moving in.

But the police are adamant to go after “trouble makers” and have prepared a list for every district.

“We have been working on a multi-pronged strategy to restore normalcy. The [overnight] raids are going because there are a lot of conspirators and instigators who are still out of the police net and they need to be dealt with by law,” S.P. Vaid, special director general of police (coordinator) law and order, told The Wire.

Misusing the ‘lawless’ PSA

Apart from keeping protestors in “preventive custody” the state authorities have invoked the Public Safety Act (PSA), a law under which a person can be detained without trial for six months, to quell the protests.

Information accessed from J&K’s home department showed that government authorities in 10 districts of Kashmir have prepared cases under the Act against 327 people and at least 190 warrants have already been executed.

The Jamaat-e-Islamia, a religo-political organisation and the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat headed by the separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani have accused the government of starting a witch-hunt against their members by booking them under the Act.

The Act has been increasingly used against people in the Valley after union home minister, Rajnath Singh, asked the state government to “act tough against the instigators” last month.

Introduced for the first time in J&K in 1978 against timber smuggling, the PSA was termed as a “lawless law” by Amnesty International and has been frequently used to book separatists as well as youth participating in protests.

“Whosoever will be found involved in organising violence, irrespective of where he comes from, has to be dealt with under law,” said Vaid.

Silencing dissenting voices

The arrest of noted human rights activist Khurram Parvez, who was subsequently booked under the PSA, shows that both the state and the Centre have decided to go after voices of dissent in the Valley, rights organisations say.

Khurram, who is a coordinator for the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), was picked up by the police on the night of September 15 and placed under ‘preventive detention’. This came a day after he wasstopped from boarding a flight at Delhi airport while on his way to Geneva to attend the UN Human Rights Council session.

On September 20, the principal district and sessions judge, Srinagar, had set aside Khurram’s detention orders by an executive magistrate and had directed the police to release him. The police didn’t follow the order and instead booked Khurram under the PSA on Wednesday.

“We were told that the government has registered four cases against him for provoking the youth to indulge in stone pelting and in activities which are likely to cause a breach of peace,” said a member of the JKCCS. He said Khurram was shifted to Kot Balwal jail in Jammu around 11 pm on Wednesday night.

A journalism graduate, Khurram has been documenting human rights cases over the years and has published detailed reports on enforced disappearances, mass graves, fake encounters and ‘half-widows’ in Jammu and Kashmir. In 2006, Khurram received the Reebok Human Rights Award for his work.

In 2004, Khurram along with a colleague, Aasiya Jeelani, were on their way to monitor the assembly poll proceedings in the Lolab area of Kupwara when a hidden mine on the road exploded, throwing their car their car up in an explosive fire. Khurram was grievously injured and his leg had to be amputated while his friend lost her life.

Taking strong note of the charges against Khurram, Amnesty International issued a statement on Thursday demanding his immediate release.

Crackdown on separatists

On Wednesday, police in Anantnag issued “lookout notices” against four senior members of the Hurriyat, including the party’s district president.

A police official said they were wanted for their “key role” in organising the protests in the district. “More names are in the list… arrests will follow,” said the official.

For the first time in the past 76 days of unrest, the police have issued look-out notices against people suspected of involvement with the protests.

With number and intensity of protest going down, the government seems to have adopted a hard line against separatists and other critics in the Valley.

While senior separatists including Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik continue to be either in jail or under house arrest, the police have turned to the middle rungs of separatist groups and religo-political organisations.

On Tuesday night, the police raided the house of the district presidents of the Hurriyat for Baramulla Abdul Gani and Muhammad Yousuf Falahi. Raids were also conducted on the residence of the Muslim League’s Pulwama district president, Abdul Rashid Dar’s. However neither of them were present in their houses.

Inspector general of police (Kashmir range), S.J.M. Geelani, said that the police has identified the “trouble spots” and people who were “provoking the violence”.

“Most of these people who were fomenting trouble have been picked up but there are more people who needed to be picked up,” said Geelani.

In Tral, the native town of the slain Wani, the police arrested several Jamaat leaders, including senior members like Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Chisti, Mujahid Shabir Falahi and Tajamul Islam Mir, in an overnight raid on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, state authorities booked the Hurriyat’s chief spokesman, Ayaz Akbar and senior Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Noor Muhammad Kalwal under the PSA and shifted them to Kot Balwal jail. Several other separatist leaders, including Shabir Shah, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Ghulam Nabi Sumji and Altaf Shah from the Hurriyat and JKLF member, Showkat Bakhshi, continue to be under detention in various jails.

In a joint statement issued today, the president of the opposition National Conference, Farooq Abdullah and working president, Omar Abdullah expressed concern about the absence of any meaningful political initiative from New Delhi to deal with the political situation in Kashmir. The indiscriminate use of the PSA and mass arrests can only deepen the sense of alienation in Kashmir, they cautioned.

“These arrests will only take us further away from the goal of peace and reconciliation in the state,” said the statement while noting that despite the alarming situation and the horrifying human cost of the unrest, New Delhi continues to look at the political situation in Kashmir as a matter of security.

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Stop war on people!

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Nytt nummer till höger

2016-09-07 08_27_57-Dandakaranya - nr 1 2016.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro

Det nya numret ligger nu till höger här på sidan. Den tryckta versionen fick sig ett lyft denna gång eftersom vi tryckte den på tryckeri istället för att skriva ut den själva. Vi kommer även att sälja tidningen genom ett förlag. Man kan köpa tidningen här.

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Arundhati: “Den indiska armén har används varje dag mot sitt eget folk sedan 1947″

2016-07-29 10_16_34-Arundhati_ _Den indiska armén har används varje dag mot sitt eget folk sedan 194

The Indian Army has been used against its own people every day since 1947, writer Arundhati Roy said recently.

Speaking during the release of the Tamil translation of her annotated book on BR Ambedkar’s essay Annihilation of Caste, Roy said that the Army had been deployed in numerous places across India including Nagaland, Mizoram, Junagadh, Kashmir, and Chhattisgarh.

She also said that she would speak briefly as she was already facing a criminal case. She said that nobody could today, say what Dr. Ambedkar said in 1936. “What would happen if somebody said, like he said, in Annihilation of Caste, that to the untouchable, Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors. That person would be put into jail, right?” she said.

Watch the full video of the 15-minute speech here, uploaded on YouTube by Shruti TV.

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Neo-McCarthyism i Indien

“Allt” i Indien går åt helvete men ett är säkert, naxaliterna är fortfarande hotfulla spöken. /Einar

 The Specter Of Naxalism: The Neo-McCarthyism In India
by Ish N Mishra
The raising the scare of the specter of Naxalism by the ruling elite of the country and arrests, prosecution, and imprisonment of civil rights activists and opponents   of Corporate-oriented anti-people policies under various draconian extra-ordinary laws, reminds the state of affairs in the USA in 1950s. This phase of American history is known as the Second Red Scare, the first being immediately after Russian Revolution. In 1918 it unsuccessfully tried to attack the USSR

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Militärer ställs till svars?

Blir soldater och poliser nu ställda till svars så de inte kommer undan när de mördar folk? Hoppas det blir verklighet. /Einar

The Supreme Court Speaks, Ending Impunity For The Armed Forces
by S G Vombatkere

In a historic ruling, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice U.U.Lalit of the Hon’ble Supreme Court have spoken out in favour of democracy. The judgment came on a plea by hundreds of families in the north-eastern State of Manipur for a probe by a Special Investigation Team into 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounters involving the Army and the police.

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Will Injecting Petrol Into Anus Of Dalits Help Save Royal Bengal Tiger?


Nidheesh J Villatt | June 28, 2016

Forests officials in India’s hinterlands are a law unto themselves. Hand in glove with poachers and timber mafia, they are accused of implicating forest dwellers in fake cases, barbarically torturing villagers in secret chambers, which some times result in custodial deaths. There are allegations of fake encounters too. In the first of an investigative series, Nidheesh J Villatt takes a close look at the alleged criminal activities of forest officials in UP’s Dudhwa National Park.

Läs mer.

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Daya Ram Varma

[The Late Dr Daya Varma was born in a peasant family in a village called Narion, in UP. Starting from a one room pathshala, in a mud house with a dirt floor, he went on to complete his secondary, post- secondary and graduate education. He walked to school every day for eight kilometres and sometimes was seen taking a ride back on a bullock cart. He was known as the boy who did his homework on the cart. His father had lost the little land he had to money lenders, but taught in a primary school to pay back the money lenders. His father carried 40 kg of grains on his head and walked 30 km to deliver to Daya, when he was going to college. Daya went on to study at King George Medical College in Lucknow for his MBBS. On his part, Daya worked as a servant in households and slept in a space donated by a fellow student outside his hostel room. In 1959 Daya obtained a scholarship to McGill University, known as the Harvard of Canada and he finished a PhD in a record time of less than two years. It remains a record in McGill annals. He went on to publish over 225 scientific papers in reputable journals worldwide. He retired as a Professor Emeritus, some ten years ago. But, this is not just about Daya as the brilliant academic, although he had published over 200 articles in scientific journals all over the world. Daya was a founding leader of the Indian Peoples’ Association in North America, along with the late Hari Sharma and others. Daya was intrinsically a scientist, humanist, socialist and a deep believer that Poverty is not simply a symptom of a non-egalitarian society, but an actual disease form that manifested itself through a transmission of the health condition from generation to generation. Below is the last article he wrote and he completed it only a few weeks before he passed on. —Rana Bose]
Roy Porter titled his book “The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity”; it is an excellent book but it raises the question—is medicine the greatest benefit to humanity? It is true that medicine made gigantic progress in the second half of the twentieth century. Some of the dreaded epidemics like smallpox, plague, cholera have been tamed. Polio is on the verge of being conquered. Antibiotics have dramatically reduced mortality from infectious diseases. Longevity has significantly increased and maternal and infant morality as well as death from tuberculosis dramatically declined by the end of the nineteenth century much before the discovery of antibiotics. However, medicine has been of limited benefit. Many people never get sick enough to require medicine.

On the other hand, poverty has killed more people than all diseases combined. Indeed famines alone have taken a greater toll of the poor than the worst pestilence in history. Poverty is the number one killer in the world today, outranking smoking as the leading cause of death. More than a billion people live on less than $1 per day. Each year, 9.7 million children worldwide die before their filth birthday, and almost all of them are in poor families. No medicine can cure poverty and no medical researcher can find a solution to this greatest scourge of all times—poverty.

Non-availability of food is the extreme expression of poverty. During the Stone Age some 200,000 years ago, the sole occupation of Homo sapiens was the search for food and shelter. The success was limited, longevity was approximately 30 years and the population increase was very slow. India’s population, for example, remained stationary at approximately 100 million from 300 BC to AD 1600. Neither the Vedas nor Ayurveda and Siddha helped increase the population. The increase in India’s population to approximately 255 million by 1871 and to approximately 389 million by 1941 was due to a decrease in mortality rather than an increase in birth rate, which in turn was a consequence of increase in means of sustenance during the period of Mughal and British rule rather than improved healthcare. This has been the case despite several famines during British colonial rule, the last one being the 1943 Bengal famine. Amanya Sen (1982) argues that famines are not caused by overall shortage of food, which clearly implies that the victims of famines are the poor. Surprisingly Arnold J Toynbee (1946) does not consider poverty in his presentation of the genesis and breakdown of civilisations. Since independence in 1947, India’s population has been steadily increasing. There are more than one billion Indians now with a concomitant increase in the number of the poor.

Given the importance of poverty in human misery, many philosophers, political economists, and sociologists has dwelt on various dimensions of poverty. Adam Smith (1776) makes repeated references to the prevalence and causes of poverty in “The Wealth of Nations”. In his 1844 classic “The Condition of the Working Class in England”, Friedrich Engels gives a vivid description of poverty in rapidly industrialising Britain. Karl Marx does not deal specifically with poverty (other than in philosophy) but does talk about pauperisation; he says “they (capitalists) transform his (worker’s) lifetime into working time and drag his wife and child beneath the wheels of the juggernaut of capital….. Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore at the same time accumulation of misery, the torment of labour, slavery, ignorance, brutalization and moral degradation at opposite pole, i.e. on the side of the class that produces its own product as capital.” Marx (1853) condemned the colonial neglect of the “Department of Public Works”, which was the lifeline of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, India et cetera. About India, Marx wrote: “Now, the British in East India accepted from their predecessors the department of finance and of war, but they have neglected entirely that of public works. Hence the deterioration of agriculture….” Philosopher John Stuart Mill (1879) raised the question of poverty in England, he recognised that : “The reward, instead of being proportioned to the labour and abstinence of the individual, is almost in inverse ratio to it those who receive the least, labour and abstain the most.” Sir Edwin Chadwick advocated a drastic overhaul of the Old Poor Law and its replacement by the New Poor Law, which required regulated, centralised, government welfare of the poor, to be managed by salaried officers controlled by a central board. There are numerous books on the condition of native and black Americans. Anna Rochester (1940) deals with poverty of farmers in America, not too different from the crisis faced by the farmers of India. Amartya Sen (1982) also deals with poverty and famines. A running theme of great litterateurs like Emile Zola, John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, Munshi Premchand and many others was poverty.

Surprisingly there is a greater demand for universal healthcare than for universal eradication of poverty. In his provocative book “Revolution from Above”, Sociologist Dipankar Gupta (2013) identifies “health” and “education” as the cardinal needs of the Indian society. However, poverty and health cannot coexist and education is a luxury for the poor while suffereing is a constant companion.

There are many definitions of disease; these definitions are not identical but not substantially different from one another. The American Professor Rein examines poverty from the perspectives of the non-poor and writes: “People must not be allowed to become so poor that they offend or are hurtful to society.” According to Mario Bunge (2013), who writes extensively on philosophy of medicine, “what is common to all diseases is that they threaten life”…. healthy organ is “one that discharges all” essential (vital) functions of an organism while “disease” is a “disruption of one or more such functions”; poverty does all these.

The 1978 International Conference on Primary Health Care, held at Alma-Ata, USSR (present Kazakhstan) had declared that health “is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being (emphasis added) and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. The Declaration does not directly spell out its dimension of “social well-being” but implies eradication of poverty as an obligatory pre-condition for a healthy society. Poverty, like a disease, is invariably associated with suffering and an increase in morbidity and mortality.

Poverty is visible and a world-wide phenomenon. No skill is needed to diagnose poverty. Yet, considerable scholarship has been drawn in defining poverty and none seem fully accurate. Poverty is an object of scorn by non-poor all over the world. In India it is not unusual to find an affluent family at a picnic or a railway station shout at a little emaciated boy or girl, in anticipation of crumbs, for disturbing them during their sumptuous meal.
The British sociologist Peter Townsend (1970) has edited a book titled “The Concept of Poverty”; there are thirty-four contributors, none from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The book provides multiple definitions, all relevant but none complete. It is difficult to sum up this 260-page book, but the definition by Rowntree (1941) based on a survey of York (UK) seems most relevant to conditions in India; he writes “primary poverty line represented the minimum sum on which physical efficiency could be maintained”.

Indian economist Utsa Patnaik (2007) contends that “at least three-quarters of rural and over two-fifths of urban population” are poor; her main criteria of judging poverty seems to be caloric intake and according to the data presented by her, approximately 20 percent of the population consumes less than 1800 calories. However, the two main determinants of caloric requirement are physical activity and age. It is reasonable to assume that the poor perform greater physical activity than the rich and therefore need more than 1800 calories.

While Patnaik relates caloric consumption to income, it would have been even more useful if she related it to the profession. There are regional differences in poverty with Punjab, Haryana and Kerala being better off than other provinces. Dube (1955) dwells on the distribution of poverty; according to him, in a typical village, untouchables account for nearly 27 percent, who approximately account for all the poor; they usually own no or little arable land.

The Economic & Political Weekly editorialised (2010) that “the rapid economic growth of the past quarter century” has created “two Indias”, one of which “mainly rural but also the underbelly of the cities—has been left behind because it has neither assets nor skills. The poor also have to cope with a collapse in public services.” That there are two “Indias” is obvious but one cannot be sure if such a division of India is due to “rapid economic growth” or lack of “skill” rather than social policies behind such rapid growth. Lu and Montes argue that rapid growth in China and Vietnam has resulted in “higher household incomes, greater access to consumer goods, improvement in diet, and rising living standards, as well as sharp reduction in poverty”.

Consistent with the theme of this article it would be appropriate to consider poverty a state which compels people to eat less than they need, live in unsanitary quarters or on streets, work longer hours and harder than appropriate, resort to child labour, poor schooling, and encounter physical and verbal insults from the rich and the organs of the state such as the police, and so on. Income inequality is an important reflection of the state of economy but cannot be a measure of poverty. The income of one of the Ambanis must be many times more than that of the Vice-Chancellor of any university of India but the latter are not poor. At the same time poverty has a social context. A poor person in the USA is unlikely to match a poor person in India but still lives a life of deprivation and bears the consequences of poverty.

The book “Public Health and the Poverty of Reform: The South Asian Predicament” edited by Qadeer, Sen and Nayar (2001) elaborates on many aspects of health policies in South Asia; (unfortunately this 543-page book has no subject index, which suggests an unprofessional approach of the Publishers, Sage Publications). None of a total of thirty-three Chapters addresses the relationship between poverty and health. Whenever the term “poverty” appears it is only in relation to the atrocious policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and not to the state of the civil society.

There are two aspects to the relationship between poverty and healih. One is the infringement on the quality of life of the poor in the absence of any medically recognised disease. The other is the greater vulnerability of the poor than of the non-poor to diseases.

Poverty is a state of suffering; suffering, whatever be its cause, is a disease. The poor, especially poor women look older than their age except when they are depicted in Bollywood films. Every child birth expedites the aging process of poor women. In pour households, women have to work as labourer in addition to the routine work at home. Most affluent households in an Indian metropolis prefer to employ young women; they are in plentiful supply from Jharkhand, Nepal, tribal areas and so on. Aside from social deprivation, these bonded employees are mistreated in many households. Indian newspapers occasionally report cases of extreme abuse but in all likelihood, majority of domestic employees are underpaid and over-abused.

The prime and distinguishing feature of Hinduism is the caste system. Almost all children, women and men of the low caste are at the lowest rank in income. Many perform degrading work as scavengers. Poor are more likely than the non-poor to die during natural disasters such as floods; for example majority of the victims of tsunami of 2004 were poor as were the victims of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The list is long and the problem so massive in India that majority of non-poor have become insensitive to the plight of the poor and many believe in the Hindu doctrine that they must have done something wrong in their previous life.

Anaemia is common among the poor due to inadequate nutrition and in many cases due to hookworm infestation.

Social status also plays a critical role in epidemics. All known epidemics such as cholera, plague and smallpox preferentially kill the poor. For example, the plague epidemics in India between 1903-1921 killed nearly ten million people; the death rate per 100,000 was 53.7 for low caste Hindus, 20.7 for Brahmans and 4.6 for Parsees.

In most cultures, there existed a kind of harmonious relationship between people and nature; colonisation and industrialisation disturbed this relationship. The native population of the Americas was virtually wiped out following its discovery by Columbus; the destiny of natives of Australia, Canada and New Zealand was no different. Africa still has to undo ihe damage caused by colonisation. The formal abolition of slavery in America has yet to allow the Afro-American people to be fully integrated in the society. Natives and black people make up the bulk of the poor.

The struggle to eradicate poverty is as old as civilisation itself. This struggle has taken various forms such as slave revolts, fight for 8-hour working day, minimum wages, paid vacations, old age pension, the right to unionise, universal franchise and so on. Almost all these struggles drew some support from or were initiated by non-poor and reformers and social activists. Despite these struggles, poverty continues to prevail. It would thus seem that the system of governance rather than piecemeal efforts need be changed to eradicate poverty; it is not within the domain of healthcare.

Karl Marx and his associate Friedrich Engels had a vision of a society where poverty would not exist and freedom for one would be freedom for all. The Bolshevik revolution of 1917 accomplished some success in eradicating poverty but the sudden collapse of Soviet Union without the slightest protest by the masses implies that the state and economic structure was not to the satisfaction of the majority of the people. On the other hand, a similarly proclaimed state in Cuba seems to be doing better.

Sufficient resources and technical know-how exists to be able to eradicate poverty in most countries. Only Scandinavia seems to have greatly solved the question of poverty amongst capitalist societies. Abject poverty does not exist in Cuba and the government, unlike the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe of yesteryears, is not unpopular but dissatisfaction is obvious.

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300 miljoner flyttar på grund av vattenbrist


Inget vatten för 300 milljoner människor i Indien. Och värre blir det. / Einar

What A Water Situation!
By S.G.Vombatkere
This year has seen the globally hottest-ever April, and indications point to the worst-ever summer. The media is reporting rock bottom reservoir water levels at the start of summer, and dire predictions of worse days to come for farmers and rural people, and also urban dwellers. Due to this worst drought in living memory that has hit most of India, around 300 million people, as estimated by one source, are migrating. One can only wonder why this on-going tragedy does not make it to the front pages of newspapers.

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