Comments : 8 Comments »
Tags: Imperialism, International Relations, NATO, Non-Aligned Movement, Soviet Union
Categories : Politics, The Post Column, War and Imperialism
With the collapse of the USSR and other socialist States in the late 1980s and early 1990s, multipolarity became the much sought after ideal for almost all progressives as they sought resources to counter the rampant global strides of the sole superpower, the USA. Today when a return of the former socialist States is neither possible nor perhaps even desirable, multipolarity is seen as perhaps the only option to hedge in the arrogant brutality of the US war machine. I would like to argue that multipolarity is like the “opium of the masses”, it is merely a “sigh of the oppressed creature” which provides fleeting relief in times of trouble, but like opium it is a poison which may even prove fatal in the long run. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 7 Comments »
Tags: marriage, monogamy, nag, patriarchy, wife
Categories : History, Pop goes the Culture, The Post Column, Wo/Men, Feminism, Gender
The nagging wife is the universal villain of married life. From the earliest pages of human history there is perhaps no literature and folk tradition where the character of the nagging wife is not found widely. Along with the sacrificing mother, forsaken lover, tragic hero and evil lord, the nagging wife will be found in all societies and cultures at all times in history. Even in today’s world, irrespective of the differences of race, wealth, religion, culture, language and social reform, the character of the nagging wife is universal. She keeps popping up in jokes, films, songs, novels and other cultural cultural creations.
Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher, is supposed to have had a nagging wife who drove him to spend his time in the city squares and gymnasia, much to the benefit of philosophy. The figure of the nagging wife finds mention in the Bible, (indirectly) in the Quran and is a crucial moment in the story of the Ramayana. She is to be found in renassaince Italy, in medieval England, on the expanding border of America’s “wild west”, in the bedrooms of colonial India and in the sit-coms of post-modern Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 9 Comments »
Tags: Imperialism, India, Left politics, national interest, Nuclear Weapons, US
Categories : India - Pakistan, Marxism and Marxists, Politics, The Post Column, War and Imperialism
The India-US nuclear deal, which faced stiff and unprecedented opposition inside the country was finally smuggled through the Indian Parliament by the ruling combine. It is quite interesting that the main opposition to this deal came from within the country and not from the international community. The passage of the deal, despite the stiff resistance from the Left in India, also marks a watershed of sorts in the political landscape of the country and will have implications well into the future. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 3 Comments »
Tags: Denuclearisation, India, Nuclear war, Nuclear Weapons, Pakistan, Weapons of Mass Destruction
Categories : Energy and Environment, India - Pakistan, Politics, The Post Column, War and Imperialism
Ten years ago, on the occasion of the birth celebrations of India’s own prophet of peace – Gautama Buddha – the Indian State exploded nuclear warheads under the sands of Rajasthan. Pakistan responded to it in a predictably unfortunate manner by exploding a set of nuclear warheads of its own. We complete a decade of living under the nuclear shadow in the sub-continent of South Asia and it’s a good time as any to remind ourselves of what this means. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 12 Comments »
Tags: Capitalism, China, cultural revolution, Femicide, Feudal Mentalite, girl child, India, Missing Women, patriarchy, primitive accumulation
Categories : Demography, India - Pakistan, Marxism and Marxists, Politics, Pop goes the Culture, The Post Column, Wo/Men, Feminism, Gender
In the past two weeks, this column has tried to understand why is it that China and South Asia (historical India) account for a 92 million out of the 100 million “missing women” of the world. Patriarchy is common to all historical societies yet it is the civilisations of these two regions which have developed this ghastly tradition and not others. While the reasons may be numerous, it seems that there was something common in particular forms of feudal culture which developed in these two civilisations which have promoted this particularly vicious and murderous form of patriarchy. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 5 Comments »
Tags: Capitalism, China, Femicide, Feudal Mentalite, India, Missing Women, sex ratio
Categories : Demography, History, India - Pakistan, Pop goes the Culture, The Post Column, Wo/Men, Feminism, Gender
Last week this column had spoken about the fact that there are about 100 million women less on this earth than there should be. Women who are “missing” since they are aborted, burnt, starved and neglected to death by families who prefer sons to daughters. This column had also identified the countries of South Asia, East Asia, West Asia and Saharan Africa as the main regions which were missing most of these women. The estimated number of women who are missing are 44 million in China, 39 million in India, 6 million in Pakistan and 3 billion in Bangladesh. This is the single largest genocide in human history. Ever. Some researchers have coined a word for this phenomenon: Femicide, or the killing of the human female because she is female.
Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 11 Comments »
Tags: dowry, female Foeticide, Female Infanticide, genocide, girl child, maternal mortality, Missing Women, patriarchy, sex ratio, son preference
Categories : Demography, India - Pakistan, Pop goes the Culture, The Post Column, Wo/Men, Feminism, Gender
It is estimated by historians that about 72 million people were killed during the second World War. Of this number 25 million died in combat, as much as 11 million were killed in the Nazi Holocaust and another 20 million perished in war induced famine. But this is not the single event with the largest killing of human beings in history.
Demographers and economists estimate that today over a 100 million women have been killed globally by societies which prefer sons over daughters. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 6 Comments »
Tags: africa, indian capitalists, indian foreign aid, underdevelopment
Categories : Back-of-the-envelope Economics, India - Pakistan, Politics, The Post Column, War and Imperialism
Last week India announced a line of credit of US $ 5.4 billion to African countries for developing their infrastructure and meeting other development goals as well as duty free import scheme for 50 Least Developed Countries, of which 34 are in Africa. Apart from this the Government also announced a grant of US $ 500 million to African countries and doubled the number of fellowships given to students from African and Asian countries.
This was startling news for a country which has for long being among the largest recipients of foreign aid in the world. From the time of its independence till the early years of this century, billions of dollars have been sent to India by global development agencies and NGOs to finance a range of development work. From the large donors like USAID to small donors like the Swiss and Swedish agencies, India has for long remained the largest aid recipient in their annual budgets. Even in 2006-07, the Government of India received US $ 1.83 billion in net external aid, not counting the amount received by non-governmental bodies in assistance. But according to some estimates, India’s annual aid to other countries equals US $ 1 billion. These figures include loans and other credit instruments. Even if one considers only grants (which have no repayment), the Government of India receives about US $ 654 million from the world and gives out something in the range of US $ 150-200 million to other developing countries.
It is not that India has solved its problems with regard to poverty, malnutrition, health, shelter, education and public infrastructure. Read the rest of this entry »
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Categories : Marxism and Marxists, Media, Mobilisation and Movements, The Post Column, War and Imperialism
On 6th March this year over 4,000 workers of the Casio Electronics Company’s factory in Panyu, China marched the streets and fought battles with over 1,000 riot police. The workers had come out in spontaneous protest when they realised that while they had been given a 90 yuan raise in their wages, the company had cut between 80 to 150 yaun from their bonuses and their “official” trade union had acquiesced in this daylight robbery. They did what any self respecting worker would and refused to work, came out of their factory and were marching towards the Mayor’s office. They were met by a wall of riot police and other security officers who dispersed them with baton charges in which about two dozen workers, including women, were injured.
This was no flash in the pan incident. Over the past decade and more workers, farmers and students are increasingly coming out on the streets to protest and often turning violent. Almost always, their protests are met with severe police action and an information black-out in the Chinese media which is dutifully replicated in the West’s free media. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 13 Comments »
Categories : History, Marxism and Marxists, Media, Politics, Religion, Secularism, Secularisation, The Post Column, War and Imperialism
The recent protests in Tibet have again put the spotlight firmly on China and its politics. By global standards, both the violence and the Chinese Government’s efforts to control it are not unprecedented. More people die in the US colonies of Iraq and Palestine in a week than have been reported killed in Tibet over the past week by even staunchly pro-Tibet information sources. Even the information clampdown and externment of foreigners ordered by the Chinese authorities, pales in comparison to the track record of the US and its allies in media manipulation. Moreover, it is also likely that Governments and media in the US and Europe are encouraging a bigger coverage of the events in Tibet for clearly political reasons. It is easy to do this since unorganised citizen protestors facing heavily armed soldiers and armoured personnel carriers readily lends itself to heroic adulation. Read the rest of this entry »
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Categories : India - Pakistan, Marxism and Marxists, Muslims and Islam, Politics, The Post Column, War and Imperialism
At the beginning of the new year, just a few days after the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto, this column had written about why democracy has been structurally weak in Pakistan and the threat of religious fundamentalism gaining power in Pakistan. This column had argued that the dominance of landed property, the weakness of an independent industrial capitalist class and the merging of the armed forces with the landed ruling class had created conditions where it would be near difficult for democracy to strike roots. It had further argued that this array of conditions made the likelihood of a fascist takeover of power a credible threat in the near future.
It was a gloomy prognosis to say the least and it is with undiluted glee that I have welcomed the resounding defeat of the religious fundamentalists and those political parties which were aligned to military rule. These electoral results have reverberated all over the world and have been seen as the beginning of a new chapter in the political history of Pakistan. It truly is a moment for democrats and progressive forces all over the world to savour when the people of Pakistan, braving the bombs, bullets, sundry threats and inducements of the establishment and of the fundamentalists, comprehensively voted both out. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 1 Comment »
Categories : History, Politics, The Post Column, Wo/Men, Feminism, Gender
Some months ago, during the Lal Masjid standoff in Islamabad, the world was treated to sights of burka-clad women with sticks coming out to impose their version of morality on the city streets as well as to defend the Masjid from the police. In neighbouring Iran, women have been in the security forces and participate in public activities, albeit under segregation from men. Over India, a significant number of women have come out to actively work in the public sphere for militant Hindu nationalist organisations like the Durga Vahini and other such organisations. Similar examples can be found in almost every country of the world where women have become active in the public sphere on an agenda that is conservative and celebrates the traditional roles assigned to women in society. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 1 Comment »
Categories : Marxism and Marxists, Politics, The Post Column
This line, which was supposedly spoken by Ernesto Che Guevara before his departure for Africa to fight with the anti-colonial revolutionaries there, is a fitting slogan to bid adieu to one of the greatest revolutionaries and Marxists of our times. This line would roughly translate as “Until [we achieve] victory forever! Comrade Fidel”. Yesterday, Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, announced his decision to step down from the top post bringing to an end an entire era which he straddled like a colossus.
Clichés often belittle a person’s contribution but it would not be incorrect to state that Fidel Castro is among those few world historical individuals whose contribution to human history will resonate long after the writer and the readers of these words have turned to dust. Read the rest of this entry »