Saturday, September 20, 2014

Salwa Judum: a factor for increase in Maoist activities

After the SC's directive to the CG government to abolish the notorious and ill-conceived Salwa Judum there has been marked reduction in the numbers of tribals joining the Maoist Cadres.

The tribals were forced to join the Maoists because of excesses perpetrated by the Salwa Judum cadets.

The Police have started giving job opportunities to surrendered Maoist cadres in the Police Force itself. This is a good move to encourage the deviated youth to come back to the main stream.

Example of caste based discrimination

Eleven children, all cousins belonging to a Scheduled Caste family, were removed from a government primary school in a village in Bikaner after two of them drank water from an earthen pot meant for an upper caste teacher.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Distress induced migration

Migrant destinations are the underbelly of our economic growth and hold a mirror to any notion that this migration is ‘aspirational’ in nature.

The migrants of western Odisha are forced to leave their homes because of endemic poverty and lack of opportunities. Around the time of harvest of the paddy crop every year comes the festival of nuakhai , meaning eating new rice, around the beginning of September. At this time, poor families take an advance from labour contractors and then migrate to pay it through their labour.

Signs of change:

The village of Kathdungri in Muribahal block, Bolangir district, has 153 households of which, in 2011, 43 were distress migrants. Civil society and administration, working together, ensured MGNREGA works were planned and opened and wages were paid on time.
No one migrates from Kathdungri now. Water harvesting structures have recharged wells and enabled farmers to cultivate their hitherto uncultivable land, thus increasing their incomes. A mahabandha (large earthen dam) constructed in village Bhutungpada of Belpada block in 2012-13 was able to provide employment for more than half the year. Migration from the village has stopped. The dam will provide irrigation to 100 acres in the coming season.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Acid Attack

Acid Attacks (One form of violence against women and children)--> 

Acid violence is the deliberate use of acid to attack another human being. The victims of acid violence are overwhelmingly women and children, and attackers often target the head and face in order to maim, disfigure and blind. Acid has a devastating effect on the human body, often permanently blinding the victim and denying them the use of their hands. As a consequence, many everyday tasks such as working and even mothering are rendered extremely difficult if not impossible.Acid attacks rarely kill but cause severe physical, psychological and social scarring, and victims are often left with no legal recourse, limited access to medical or psychological assistance, and without the means to support themselves. It is not possible to provide the support that survivors require through a single intervention like a cleft palate surgery or the construction of a water-well. In order to rebuild their lives, acid survivors need long-term access to a holistic programme of medical support, rehabilitation, and advocacy that can only be provided by a local organisation.

Acid attacks are a worldwide phenomenon that are not restricted to a particular race, religion or geographical location. They occur in many countries in South-East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the West Indies and the Middle East, and there is anecdotal evidence of attacks in other regions. In many countries acid attacks constitute a hidden form of violence against women and children that often goes unreported.

Indian Scenario: 

Stories of women suffering from acid burns abound and span diverse backgrounds; Hindu, Muslim and Christian, some poor, some affluent. Reasons of acid attacks are also different like - as part of sexual violence, as part of punishment and in some cases when women refuses to marriage or opposes the sexual advances by men. 

Victims has to face many problems like social bio-cots, not enough employment opportunity, to avoid pubic hatred they have to cover their faces all the time, financial problems to cure the acid burn because curing is a long term process. In summary, they become completely dependent on family.

Despite Supreme Court ruling, response of govt is not very effective. Their attitude of "just pass the buck" has compounded the misery of the victims. It certainly lacks the strong political will and decisive action by government.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Child Marriage

The Unicef report said that child marriage is pervasive in South Asia even though most countries in the region have a legal marrying minimum age of 18. Before the age of 18, 46 per cent of South Asian girls are married, while 18 per cent are married before age 15. The highest rate of child marriage was in Bangladesh, where two-thirds of girls are married before age 18, followed by India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

The problem is rooted in poverty and social norms, with parents marrying their daughters early “because they see it as the ‘done thing’ and because they fear the social sanctions and moral judgments they would face if they refused to follow this practice,” the report said

How to counter?

1. Education
2. Financial Support
3. Support Network
4. Birth Registration

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vijaywada: the new capital of Andhra Pradesh: Sociological Impacts

CM of Andhra Pradesh Mr. N Chandrababu Naidu announced that the new capital city of the newly formed AP state would be developed around the city of Vijaywada.

What could be the sociological impact of such move?

  1. Reduction in poverty rate
  2. Increase in Per Capita Income
  3. More employment opportunities
  4. Better education facilities
  5. More focus of the government towards overall development of the region
  6. Social mobility (Sanskritization)
  1. Rapid urbanization and associated issues: concrete jungle
  2. Straining of natural resources like Land, Soil, Water
  3. Slum
  4. Increase in Crime Rate
  5. High incidences of diseases
  6. Pollution
  7. Environmental degradation
  8. Displacement of farmers  (Development induced displacement)
  9. Migration

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Social Justice

This is a very good article appearing in today's The Hindu which discusses the failure or ineffectiveness of Govt. policies in uplifting the conditions of dalits.


  • In a new book, Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs , we [the authors] have attempted to map the trajectories of 21 Dalit entrepreneurs — their humble origins and the grit they displayed in building successful businesses. Although they are minuscule in number among the 200 million-plus Dalits, their experiences reveal that they largely succeeded despite and not because of public policy. It also shows what can now be done to pave the way for more Dalits to become job givers rather than remain job seekers, a slogan adopted by their trade body, the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI)
  • Our initial findings indicate that almost all of the respondents are first generation entrepreneurs. Most are not well-educated (in terms of fancy degrees); indeed, many have even limited schooling. The collective turnover of these 1,000 Dalit entrepreneurs is nearly Rs.10,000 crore. Almost none of them has received support or preferential treatment from the government. They did not even consider approaching institutions like the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) which is mandated to promote entrepreneurship among Dalits. The transaction costs are simply too high when compared to the very modest amounts of funds handed out by people who have little knowledge of the issues.
  • The policy discourse has so far focussed on the preferential model over and above what is practicable. Job quotas without jobs are meaningless. Dalits will find very limited economic opportunities in government jobs for the simple reason that these barely exist relative to the numbers of Dalit youth joining the workforce. The emphasis should be to ensure universal access to quality education and health care and other basic public goods for all people and ensure that all those left out due to a variety of reasons are covered.
  • Second, manufacturing offers more scope for would-be Dalit entrepreneurs for the simple reason that the children of the elite simply cannot take the heat and dust and the distant locations that are inevitable in setting up a manufacturing unit in India today. They prefer service-related occupations in metros in air-conditioned offices.
  • Third, social hierarchies are much more rigid in rural India, and an urbanising India offers better opportunities for aspiring Dalit entrepreneurs.
The challenge for policymakers is to create what de Tocqueville termed “equality of conditions” wherein anyone can chart his/her own course with initiative, tenacity and an enabling policy regime. 

Reflections on Caste: U R Ananthmurthy

Recently Mr. U. R. Ananthamurthy, noted Kannada literateur died. He was a vehement opposer of caste system. Excerpts from today's The Hindu article:

Reflections on caste
Ananthamurthy reflected on caste on many occasions, and his novel, Samskara (1965), evokes the decadent world of a brahman agrahara (settlement), much of it drawing on his own experience of growing up in one. He belonged to the Madhva tradition, a Vaishnava sect that followed the 13th century philosopher, Madhvacharya. His name, Udupi Rajagopalacharya Ananthamurthy, as professor Arindam Chakrabarti reminded me, bears the signature of Udupi Sri Krishna — the presiding deity of Madhva Dvaita Vedanta.
Yet, his novel mocks norms of purity and pollution. Naranappa, the anti-brahmin Brahmin dies, and the question is who will perform his last rites as he has no son. Till this is done there can be “no worship, no bathing, no prayers, no food, nothing.” Naranappa had not only mocked at brahmin orthodoxy, but drank liquor, ate meat, caught sacred fish with his Muslim friends and rejected his wife, living instead with a sudra woman called Chandri. Answers are sought from Praneshacharya, the head of the village, who is the crown jewel of Vedic learning. He in turn seeks answers regarding pollution from the book of dharma and then pleads with Maruti, the chaste monkey-god, but gets no answer. He comes across Chandri in the forest and both discover each other erotically in their traumatised states, giving Praneshacharya an opportunity for self-transformation.
He decides to perform the last rites, but by then the plague is manifest on Naranappa’s body and Chandri has already asked a Muslim to cremate the body. The screenplay of the film “Samskara” (1970) was written by Girish Karnad who played Naranappa.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Social Fabric and the role of modern police

Background: Recently an 18 year old black African-American was shot dead by a white police man in Ferguson (Missouri), US. This led to a tension between the black and the white community in the city. Curfew had to be imposed to maintain law and order.

Sociological perspective:
1. Communal/racial differences exist not only in '3rd world' but the '1st world' nations as well.
2. Police personnels' sensitivity towards community-sentiments is very vital for maintaining the social fabric of a multi-community/caste/religion based society.

Excerpts from the article written by Mr. R K Raghavan, former Director, CBI

"The Ferguson incident highlights the intricacies of policing in the present times, especially in a democracy that has a fractured society. It has lessons for the Indian police as well. Mindless policing divorced from the realities of social inequality can be dangerous. It can tear apart the basic fabric of unity and civilised conduct of citizens in any community. A blending of toughness with the civilised treatment of individuals is the recipe. But then this is just theory, one more easily advocated and expounded than actually possible to practise in a stressful situation that a policemen is often placed in the present day environment."

Women Issues

Unequal status tells on women’s nutrition - The Hindu

A new working paper by economists Diane Coffey, a PhD candidate at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University; Reetika Khera of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi; and Mr. Spears has shown that the younger daughters-in-law in a rural joint family have shorter children on average. While this is no longer the typical Indian family, it provides a rare econometric measure of “social status.” Sure enough, the younger daughters-in-law “report having less say in a range of household decisions; they spend less time outside the home on a normal day than [the older] daughters-in-law; and, they have lower body mass index [BMI] scores than their [older] counterparts,” the researchers find, using official National Family Health Survey data.