SACW | July-31 Aug 1, 2009 / Eroding Human Rights / Climate Change
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South Asia Citizens Wire | July 31- August 1, 2009 | Dispatch No.
2652 - Year 11 running
[NOTICE: Please note, SACW Dispatches will remain mostly interrupted
for a summer recess lasting through the month of August 2009. We will
resume in September marking the beginning of year 12 for the
[ SACW Dispatches for 2009-2010 are dedicated to the memory of Dr.
Sudarshan Punhani (1933-2009), husband of Professor Tamara Zakon and
a comrade and friend of Daya Varma ]
 Sri Lanka: Doctoring the evidence (Rajan Hoole)
+ A statement issued on July 22 by Journalists for Democracy
in Sri Lanka
 Bangladesh: What happens when protector becomes predator?
(Muhammad Nurul Huda)
 Pakistan: A circular argument (M.B. Naqvi)
 India: Unrestrained and Unaccountable Policing & Eroding Human
- The Seeds Of Wrath (Shoma Chaudhury)
- Murder In Plain Sight (Teresa Rehman)
 India: Resources For Secular Activists - Commentary / Books /
- In the absence of artistic freedom (Editorial, The New
- Violent Gods -- A ZNet Book Interview (Angana Chatterji)
- Sea Of Stories (Ananya Vajpeyi)
 Essay: Capital Gains (Rana Dasgupta)
 Climate Change & Global Warming:
- Dhaka Declaration of the International civil society of most
- 8pc climate aid to go to WB (Tanim Ahmed)
- Climate Change Impacts: North must pay ecological debts to south
+ International campaign "Don’t nuke the climate !" : we need
your support !
 Sri Lanka
Himal Southasian, August 2009
DOCTORING THE EVIDENCE
by Rajan Hoole
Colombo’s recent detention of and apparently coerced recantation by
several Tamil doctors who had reported high civilian casualties is a
potent example of the Colombo government’s determination to rewrite
the final days of the war.
The question of the Sri Lankan government’s treatment of the
detained ethnic-Tamil doctors, who served in the war zone in the
north until almost the very end, has gone far beyond the fact of the
doctors themselves, of their individual actions or sympathies. The
fact that, while in government custody on 8 July, these men recanted
what they had previously told the media while still in the war zone
regarding the conditions faced by civilians, and that they went on to
make new claims acutely at variance with basic fact, raises some
timely questions regarding the recently concluded war.
What are the real casualties that the government is intent on
suppressing? One does recognise that getting the people out of the
grip of a force totally callous about civilian life was not going to
be easy. And the purely military strategy, which did not take
adequate account of the interests of the people, was guided by
xenophobia and allowed the international community no role in
protecting civilians, distorted every issue. Shelling civilians is
criminal. But civilians trapped in the war zone later admitted that
shelling by the army sometimes helped them – sending the LTTE cadres
scurrying into their bunkers, giving civilians an opportunity to
escape from them. All the while, though, the cadres’ orders were to
The government’s unlawful refusal to accept a surrender of LTTE
cadres forced them into a desperate plight. Further, the government
announced on the afternoon of 17 May that all the civilians had left
the area under LTTE control, and that the president would make a
victory speech two days later. There were in fact more than 30,000
terrified civilians remaining in the last bit of territory. On the
night of the 17th, LTTE cadres, facing their last hours, shelled
civilian positions. The next morning the army moved in for the final
kill, without making allowances for the civilian presence.
Earthmoving equipment was later brought in to dispose of myriad
corpses. Yet little is known about the last 11 days of the war, and
one is left to judge from the testimonies of the doctors and
civilians who fled the zone from 15 May onwards.
The truth circus
During those last days, information provided by three government
doctors in particular – Thurairaja Varatharajah (the Vanni regional
health director), V Shanmugarajah (a medical superintendent) and T
Sathiyamoorthy – were heavily relied upon by the international media
and agencies. They reported not only on the dead and injured that
came within their purview as the fighting raged, but also on
shortages of infant food, drugs and medicines, and their
deteriorating ability to treat the casualties. For instance, Dr
Shanmugarajah told the media that two overnight artillery barrages on
9 and 10 May had resulted in 430 civilians, including 106 children,
either being brought to hospital for burial or dying after admission;
at that time, Dr Shanmugarajah’s clinic had an additional 1100
injured with which to deal. Dr Varatharajah likewise reported that a
mortar shell had hit the admissions ward of the makeshift hospital on
12 May, killing 49 people.
Even before the war had ended, the Health Ministry had begun accusing
the three doctors of lying, ostensibly to bring the government into
disrepute. Ministry officials threatened to sack them through means
of dubious legality, and blindly rejected reports of the horrendous
realities in which the doctors were working. Yet in general, what the
doctors said about the conditions faced by civilians has been well
corroborated. The doctors came out of the LTTE zone on 15 May, with
the first group of civilians to leave the area, when a round of third-
party negotiations had purportedly reached an understanding on the
LTTE’s surrender. The doctors were promptly arrested, though there
appears to be no real evidence of criminal misconduct. After about 54
days of detention, the doctors were produced before the press on 8
July, rehearsed and looking healthy – not in court but rather at the
Defence Ministry. They were accompanied not by lawyers but by
ministry handlers, one of whom seemed to reprimand one of the doctors
for stating that he was a prisoner, pointing out that he was looking
At the Defence Ministry event, the doctors explained that the LTTE
had forced them to lie about casualties, and that only around 750
civilians had actually been killed. This was in stark contrast to the
7,000 or more given unofficially by the UN and the 10,000 estimated
by the diplomatic community. Dr Varatharajah also said that only 600
to 650 civilians had been injured from January to 15 April. During
that same period, however, the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) reports having transported, by sea, nearly 5000 injured.
In fact, there was another piece of sleight-of-hand taking place at
the press conference, as well. Altogether there were actually five
arrested doctors, though the other two, Sivapalan and Illancheliyan,
had hardly spoken to the media from the Vanni. Yet placing the
former, who worked for an LTTE-run facility, alongside the government
doctors who spoke to the media pre-judged the government doctors as
It thus appeared that the government was playing a bizarre game,
using the doctors to knock down casualty figures to unbelievably low
levels. This game of hiding the truth is also closely tied to the
continued detention of 300,000 displaced individuals, who are being
held behind barbed wire and as yet are unable to speak with outsiders
about their harrowing experiences in the war zone – experiences with
both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Army. This perpetuation of the
state’s denial of accountability reinforces the oppression of
minorities, and ensures the destruction of any semblance of the rule
of law. Today, the government has a duty before the world, the people
of Sri Lanka and the Tamils in particular to agree to a process of
impartial assessment that would make the truth public as to the
bombing and shelling in the LTTE held areas during the spring of
2009. The state has never allowed an impartial assessment of truth in
violence against minorities in Sri Lanka, ever since the first
communal violence in 1956. The truth and corrective measures based on
this could do much to heal some of the scars of war.
A statement issued on July 22 by Journalists for Democracy in Sri
The Daily Star
August 1, 2009
PUNISH THE PREDATOR
What happens when protector becomes predator?
THE recent arrest of an Assistant Superintendent of Police, working
in Rab, on charges of robbery baffles all citizens and undoubtedly
puts the law enforcement apparatus in great shame. Such predatory
acts by higher echelons of police, though not on a disturbing
frequency shatter the much-desired credibility of the crime fighting
organidation. The element of trust assumes prime significance when
one hears exhortations of lawmen imploring members of public to
become proactive partners in the crime prevention campaign.
Unfortunately, there have been cases in which the protectors of law
have themselves turned into its prime violators. Instances of
policemen associating themselves in crimes like rape, robbery and
extortion have dangerously lowered the image of the service. False
encounters, custodial violence and trampling of human rights, which
many of the so-called successful officers rejoice in resorting to
often end up, sooner or later, in criminal proceedings against them.
The important aspect to remember in the sordid transaction is that
criminal or departmental proceedings in respect of the aforementioned
gross delinquency often lose their momentum after some lapse of time.
Experience shows that hurriedly initiated departmental proceedings
while getting rid of the delinquent often leave loopholes that the
offending functionary takes advantage of in the subsequent criminal
proceedings and succeeds in reinstating himself, much to the
discomfiture of the authority and the suffering public. Thus, it is
no wonder that the establishment on many occasions fails to
adequately check the criminal proclivities of potential and actual
It is in the background of such eventualities that this writer urges
the inspector general of police to vigorously pursue the criminal
case that must have been registered against the officer arrested on
charges of robbery. Evidence available prima facie indicates that it
should not be difficult to submit charge sheet in days and help the
court in pronouncing on the culpability. If the officer is found
guilty, it would not be difficult to dismiss him and thus there would
be no scope for a re-entry into the service.
It has to be borne in mind that the criminal depredations of police
have an extremely deleterious implication for the over-all image for
two important reasons: one, being in uniform the corrupt policeman
immediately catches public attention, and two, since the complainant
the police deal with is often a person with a grievance, any corrupt
demand imposed on him pains beyond measure.
While deliberating on the subject of police delinquency it would be
relevant to refer to the lackadaisical attitude of superior police
officers resulting in slackness and looseness in supervision. On
coming to know about criminal acts of policemen, the superior police
officers should lose no time in getting a criminal case, if prima-
facie made out by the facts of the case, registered and investigated,
if need be, by the nearest unit of CID.
The delinquent should be arrested, placed under suspension and the
case put up before court for trial. Delay in taking action should be
adjudged as supervisory negligence and the defaulting official should
be punished for that. Swift action will not only be appreciated by
the citizens but would also go a long way in serving as an effective
deterrent to other errant police officers as well.
Experience also shows that police officers guilty of inaction often
go scot-free. In reality, inaction deserves great retribution because
it amounts to gross negligence and remissness in the discharge of
duty and unfitness for the same. Therefore, when inaction is met by
severe punishment, it motivates policemen to act and take initiative;
and inaction is unmistakably an image-shattering factor. Somehow this
has become a visible part of Bangladesh's contemporary police culture.
Criminal acts by the policemen will definitely lessen and stand
discouraged if believers in the rule of law and followers of the
straight legal methods are not sidelined by the political executives
who consider such officers as "cows" and "sissies" that are not fit
enough to deal with explosive law and order situations. If we are
primarily interested in short-term spectacular but actually illusory
results then it would be problematic to check the deviant officials.
Desperate officials will naturally indulge in unlawful acts,
considering such acts as compensation for their extra zeal.
In retrospect, it would be proper and relevant to point out that
policemen's living off the land was made integral to the scheme of
police organisation designed in 1861. It was a well thought-out
decision that an adversarial relationship between the police and the
"natives" was necessary to ensure political control of and obedience
to the colonial government. The purpose was admirably achieved by
creating and sustaining an extortion-based relationship between the
police and the natives.
Corruption threatens to eat into the vitals of police working as
professionalism gets eroded and the capacity to fight against
terrorism and crime is depleted. In addition, the fact of policemen's
legitimate expectations often getting clouded by considerations
extraneous to the profession has been a damper in the fight against
corruption and highhandedness.
In Bangladesh the opportunity cost of being corrupt is very low; if
the cost of losing one's job is very low as compared to losing the
corruption related money, then the rational choice may be to accept
bribes. In such a situation if extra-departmental aspects replace
professional considerations and penalty for deviance becomes
ineffective on account of extraneous interference as in the past,
there will always be incentive for inefficiency and corruption.
A punishment and reward-based system would be critical to achieving
the goal of minimising corruption. A strong accountability mechanism
coupled with commensurate compensation polices could be the essential
elements of a desirable system.
Muhammad Nurul Huda is a columnist of The Daily Star.
The Daily Star
July 30, 2009
A CIRCULAR ARGUMENT
by M.B. Naqvi
MOST discussions in Pakistan turn toward the history of Pakistan
where military rule occupies 40 years whereas nominally democratic
governments lasted for just 20 years or so. The conundrum is; why is
it that Pakistan is so prone to military dictatorships while India
set up democracy in 1947 and is still being governed by it, except
for the blip of an Emergency. Nor did the Indians scurry around in
search of an ideal and workable constitution.
What is so special about Pakistan that military dictators tend to
takeover frequently? Today, too, there are whispers that another
might be on its way. But the question persists. Why? Pakistanis have
never had the pleasure of a generally respected constitution and a
stable democratic dispensation.
One school of thought is blunt. In the ideal Islamic dispensation,
there is no scope for democracy. After all, sovereignty belongs to
Allah and men are asked to fear Him, and not participate in
sovereignty with Him because that will be shirk or kufr (becoming
infidels). In the state of Medina, there were four non-controversial
Caliphs, while the Prophet himself ruled initially. All of them were
autocratic and had no checks and balances on them. Islam flourishes
in autocracies and military rule is in tune with democracy, if not a
part of the Islamic ethos.
There is another school that emphasises that so long as the society
remains dominated by feudal lords it can never achieve true
democracy, because democracy means wide dispersal of power. Feudalism
concentrates power in the hands of a few feudal lords. Unless
Pakistanis abolish absentee landlordism as such, hoping for democracy
There is yet another school, the Left, which says that the best
democracy will be a classless society. It says that while classes
exist, the lower classes must unite and struggle against the elite
class. The struggle for egalitarian economy is a prerequisite for
eventual democracy that will last as well as have substance. A
classless society will facilitate dispersal of power, and guarantee
that such a democracy will not be easily overthrown for fear of a
revolt by the people.
In class-based societies democracy cannot flourish, except in the
western countries. It is prospering in India because there are
virtually no big feudals. It is not that there are no intelligent
people in Pakistan. They feel pain and humiliation whenever a new
military dictator makes his first broadcast. There have been four
military adventurers who sacked a formal democratic system of
government and a constitution that was being worked upon.
True, common people were not satisfied with the nominal democratic
government of the 1950s, or failure of democratic rulers. But no
politically conscious person has ever welcomed a military dictator,
though common people remained uninterested largely because of absence
of political consciousness. It is true that common people can always
be mobilised by political workers. The people, deep down, like
equality, rule of law and a government with checks and balances. All
such ideals were present in various mobilisations that took place
even in 1950s. The people cannot be blamed for liking military
How did Ayub Khan, the first military dictator, go? The country had
shown in no uncertain terms that it did not like dictators. And, yet,
what happened? Though Ayub Khan, politically beaten, agreed to all
the demands of the opposition political parties, he was pushed out by
another general. The latter promised and indeed implemented quite a
few reforms demanded by opposition parties. He held the first free
and fair election. The feudals trick until then was to prevent the
passage of any constitution whatever.
Yahya, however, held a fair election but refused to accept its
results. The rest is history: East Pakistan rose up in revolt and
fought hard. Later, India, for its own strategic purposes supported
the Bengalis. The result was the 1971 war and the utter defeat of
Pakistan. East Pakistan became Bangladesh.
Crocodile tears are shed in Pakistan and they call it a trauma. But
the fact is that even middle and professional classes in West
Pakistan did not want to know what was going on in East Pakistan
through most of 1971. It is doubtful if any group seriously felt hurt
by the event, though there are individuals who did. Some Pakistan
army generals rose in verbal revolt against Yahya and his deputy. Two
other generals put Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on the gaddi.
Bhutto was an experienced and shrewd person. He quickly grew in his
own job and did what his nature demanded; to become another
autocratic ruler of Pakistan by concentrating all the levers of power
in his own hands. Bhutto's contribution is fine in one respect. He
helped write a democratic constitution; but he did not live under it
and made amendments forthwith. The army tolerated him for seven long
years. His own nominee, General Ziaul Haq, having superseded many
senior generals, sacked him and later hanged him.
Ziaul Haq was a typical military dictator. His ideas were in tune
with rightwing parties, particularly of the religious Right. He
favoured Jamaate Islami and formed a coalition government of all the
rightwing parties. He undertook further Islamisation of Pakistan. He
also put Islam at the service of US by helping America defeat the
Soviets in Afghanistan, and brought much travail to Pakistan.
He propagated, through the controlled press, that democracy was un-
Islamic, indeed anti-Islamic. Dictatorship suits Islam was his
refrain. He set up a Federal Shariat Court that held all land reforms
to be anti-Islamic. The result is that the structure of Pakistan
society is the same as it was in 1947 or in the colonial period. He
brutally suppressed various pro-democracy movements after misleading
the first one of 1977.
After him, the army set up a troika of power -- the army chief, the
president and the prime minister -- under the mutilated 1973
constitution. Real decision making on all key issues was done by the
GHQ. The president ensured that GHQ and America's policies were
followed. The prime minister was something of a servant to the
president. The period lasted 11 years, in which the Prime Minister
House saw five prime ministers walking in and being thrown out. This
distribution of power prevented any reforms or development of the
economy or tranquil politics.
Finally, General Pervez Musharraf, a nominee of Nawaz Sharif,
overthrew his benefactor. His regime ended only a year and a half
ago. But it did untold harm to Pakistan; runaway inflation, sinking
economy, current account deficit alongside the fiscal one. Pakistan
is at its nadir today largely because of Musharraf.
This dismal background makes the query poignant. Why is Pakistan
fated to be buffeted and misled by military dictators? The best
answer that Muslim League stalwarts came up with was that the people
of Pakistan were not prepared for independence; they lacked political
awareness or a tradition of political activity.
Why is democracy not suited to Pakistan, or why are Pakistanis not
suited to democracy? It is really a circular argument and leads
nowhere. The leftists and centrists today ask why be satisfied with
the partial democracy of today? Why not have more democracy? As I.A.
Rehman put it: if democracy is defective today, pour in more
democracy; make the dispersal of power so widespread that at least
two or three lac people feel threatened by the demise of democracy.
They will not let that happen.
M.B. Naqvi is a leading Pakistani columnist.
 India: Unrestrained and Unaccountable Policing & Eroding Human
From Tehelka Magazine, August 08, 2009
THE SEEDS OF WRATH
Our hysteria for ready answers has become a dangerous trap. A bomb
blast conspirator's explosive confession poses a challenge to us all
by Shoma Chaudhury
From Tehelka Magazine, August 08, 2009
MURDER IN PLAIN SIGHT
In Manipur, death comes easy. In this damning sequence of photos, a
local photographer captures the death of a young man, killed in a
false encounter by the police in broad daylight, 500 metres from the
state assembly. How can a State justify such a war against its own
people, asks Teresa Rehman
 India: Resources Secular Activists - Commentary / Books / Reviews]
(i) IN THE ABSENCE OF ARTISTIC FREEDOM
The New Sunday Express
1 August 2009
The absence of M F Husain’s paintings in a forthcoming arts
exhibition in Delhi will not surprise anyone. No organiser would like
to put up a show that would almost certainly be the target of attack
by vandals. The solution could lie in arranging for the posting of a
large police contingent. But, again, no organiser would like to turn
the exhibition site into a fortress if only because it might put off
some visitors. In any event, nothing can be farther apart than art
and the strong arm of the state. What is worse, even the presence of
armed policemen may not deter at least a few ruffians to sneak in
posing as spectators and then attack Husain’s handiwork.
It was probably unavoidable, therefore, for the masters of the show
to play safe. But what their capitulation to the threat of anti-
socials implies is that the politically-inspired spirit of
intolerance continues to be alive and well. The Hindutva brigade may
have suffered an electoral setback, but its followers continue to
pose a danger to any kind of art or artists of whom they do not
approve. In the social sphere, therefore, they continue to hold the
whip over a painter or writer or filmmaker who may transgress their
perception of what is permissible.
But while the thuggish behaviour of these political activists is
understandable, what is curious is the supine response of even those
governments that claim to be secular and liberal-minded. The very
fact that Husain is unable to return to his home country is in itself
an indictment of the government at the Centre for its inability to
offer him protection. As the Delhi High Court has said, “a painter
at 90 deserves to be in his home, painting his canvas”. But if this
criticism has had no impact on the powers-that-be, the reason
apparently is that they consider it prudent not to let their
political opponents exploit a controversial issue over which there is
probably no unanimity of views even in the secular camp.
The high court may have observed that “a painter has his own
perspective of looking at things” and that “it would not be proper
to hold that he (Husain) had a deliberate intention to manifestly
insult Bharat Mata” in his one of his paintings. But to the
government, the option of retreat is clearly preferable to upholding
o o o
(ii) VIOLENT GODS: A ZNET BOOK INTERVIEW
July 31, 2009
By Angana Chatterji
A Book Interview on Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India's
Present; Narratives from Orissa
Can you tell ZNet, please, what your new book, "Violent Gods: Hindu
Nationalism in India's Present; Narratives from Orissa" is about?
What is it trying to communicate?
‘Violent Gods'is an exploration of Hindu nationalism in India today.
It details the mobilization of Hindu militant organizations as an
authoritarian movement manifest throughout culture, polity, state,
and economy, in religion and law, and class and caste, on gender,
body, land, and memory... across the nation. The book explores that
ways in which Hindu cultural dominance is manufacturing India, an
emergent empire, as a ‘Hindu-secular'/Hindu majoritarian state.
As a woman of postcolonial India, of Hindu descent, ‘mixed' caste
heritage, the book is a journey in speaking with history. In freeing
itself from British dominion in 1947, the Indian nation was shaped,
in great part, by the will of the Hindu majority. Hindu cultural
dominance has substantially defined what constitutes the ‘secular'
and ‘democratic' in India today. Accountability demands that those
of us with privilege in relation to ‘nation' speak up, intervene.
Telling a story of Hindu dominance in India is an intervention,
‘telling' is a call to action.
Can you tell ZNet something about writing the book? Where does the
content come from? What went into making the book what it is?
This book maps what I have witnessed -- the architecture of civic and
despotic governmentality contouring Hindu majoritarianism and
nationalism in public, domestic, and everyday life. It chronicles the
sustained and unchecked violences against minority Christian and
Muslim communities, Adivasis (tribals) and Dalits (former
‘untouchable' groups), and women, as well as sexual identity groups
The book is a genealogical exploration of Hindu nationalism in India,
with an ethnographic focus on Orissa, in eastern India, where Hindu
nationalism's terror has been prevalent since the 1990s, and where
planned riots against minority peoples were carried out in 2007 and
2008. The research was conducted between 2002-2008 in urban and rural
settings across Orissa in 66 villages, 11 towns, and four cities. The
book records spectacles, events, public executions, the riots in
Kandhamal of December 2007 and August-September 2008, as we witness
the planned, methodical politics of terror unfold in its multiple
In writing the book, I have made eighteen research trips to Orissa,
and engaged in advocacy work on the issue. In 2005-2006, I convened
the Orissa People's Tribunal on Communalism, which was targeted, and
its women members threatened with violence, by Hindu militant groups.
See Human Rights Watch:
The book is situated at the intersections of Anthropology,
Postcolonial, Subaltern, and South Asia Studies, and asks questions
of nation making, cultural nationalism, and subaltern
disenfranchisement. As a Foucauldian history of the present, this
text asserts the role of ethical knowledge production as counter-
memory. Through situated reflection, experimental storytelling, and
ethnographic accounts, it excavates Hindutva/Hindu supremacist
proliferations in manufacturing imaginative and identitarian agency
for violent nationalism.
What are your hopes for "Violent Gods"? What do you hope it will
contribute or achieve, politically? Given the effort and aspirations
you have for the book, what will you deem to be a success? What would
leave you happy about the whole undertaking? What would leave you
wondering if it was worth all the time and effort?
At the release of the book in Orissa in April 2009, I was asked if
the book would provide solutions for undoing Hindu militancy and
dominance in India. Books, if we are so fortunate, complicate matters
further. I remain hopeful that "Violent Gods" will energize
discussion, debate, contemplation about India's present and future,
the role and violence of majoritarian states and groups globally,
about privilege and subalternity, security, rights, and entitlements,
about freedom and dissent. I remain hopeful that the many and
powerful subaltern voices and narratives in the text will compel
The learning and advocacy that led to the book has engulfed and
motivated me since 2002, and facilitated shifts in my thinking,
empowered me to act, to take risks as an intellectual and activist.
And, for people with prolific courage that supported its writing,
with their stories, their lives, at risk of reprisal -- I am grateful.
In India, we witnessed the ethnic cleansing of Sikhs in Delhi and
elsewhere in 1984, genocidal violence against Muslims in Gujarat in
2002, calculated and sustained brutality against Christians in Orissa
in 2007 and 2008, and the continued subjugation of Indian-
administered Kashmir. On and on... We need to think, act, change. NOW.
"Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India's Present" by Angana P.
Chatterji, from Three Essays Collective, released March 2009. More
To look inside the book:
o o o
July 30, 2009
SEA OF STORIES
An Indian child dressed as the 17th-century Maratha king Shivaji
rides with his mother at a procession to celebrate the Maharashtrian
new year in Mumbai. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP Photo
Ananya Vajpeyi reads Wendy Doniger’s capacious study of the
diversity of Hindu tales and traditions, which serves as a riposte to
the self-appointed guardians of Indian culture by celebrating the
multiple varieties of Hindu religious experience.
The Hindus: An Alternative History
From ancient times men have dominated the world of Sanskrit
scholarship. Originally those men were Brahmins; then they became
Europeans, then Englishmen, and finally Indians. It is only in the
past 50 years or so that women have begun to enter this esoteric
field of study, and in this regard, Wendy Doniger has been a pioneer
and a force to reckon with. Her new book, The Hindus: An Alternative
History brings 30 years of her rigorous and innovative scholarly
practice to a fitting climax – and I use the word advisedly. Doniger
has studied Hinduism in its erotic, aesthetic and corporeal aspects,
making her the target of envy as well as criticism from her
colleagues. Her work, which includes a translation of the Kamasutra
and extensive writing on Shiva, the Hindu god of cosmic destruction,
who is worshipped in the form of a phallus (linga), is often seen to
be titillating. She is interested in asceticism, but also in
sexuality; in the spiritual, but also in the carnal.
Hindu traditions are diverse and heterodox enough to incorporate a
number of parallel doctrines, theologies and belief systems, as well
as an enormous repertoire of deities, symbols, rituals and concepts
that contradict one another and yet coexist. Doniger’s openness to
the varieties of religious experience permitted under the
accommodating and multifarious rubric of Hinduism has upset all
manner of people, from devout Hindus, to the votaries of Hindu
nationalism (“Hindutva”), from American professors to German
philologists. Nearly all of them misunderstand her work, particularly
her creative ways of exploring how Hindu thought connects mind, body
and soul, rather than placing them in conflict with each other.
The rise of Hindu nationalism in the last two decades has made it
increasingly difficult for scholars of ancient India and living Hindu
traditions to do their work without fear of intimidation, harassment
and censorship, both on Indian soil and among expatriate Indians, who
tend to be aggressive about their often reactionary views. The very
elements of Hindu public culture – argumentation, rationality and
syncreticism – that Amartya Sen celebrated in his recent collection
of essays, The Argumentative Indian, have been muted by the self-
appointed guardians of India’s intellectual, artistic and religious
In 2003, the American scholar James W Laine suffered the fury of
right-wing groups in the state of Maharashtra after he published a
book on the life of 17th-century Maratha king Shivaji, a potent
political symbol in the religious nationalist discourse of
contemporary Maharashtra. (The political party led by the anti-Muslim
demagogue Bal Thackeray, who has dominated the city of Mumbai on and
off for the past 20 years, is named the Shiv Sena, “Army of
Shivaji”.) Laine’s book, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India was
banned, his Indian colleagues were physically attacked, his Indian
publisher and bookstores carrying his work faced violent
intimidation, and a major archive that he had used in the city of
Pune was vandalised. That was a low point in a long struggle between
the so-called “secular” left and the so-called
“fundamentalist” right in India to capture texts, artworks and
cultural institutions, attempting thereby to control the social and
political meanings of a number of literary, aesthetic and historical
Every democracy will see such public contests over the meaning of
national symbols and historical events, which often pose a challenge
to the freedom of expression. In India, the conflict over Hindu
culture has often taken a bitter turn, ruining many scholarly
careers, and driving writers, artists and filmmakers into
uncomfortable corners. Doniger has faced her share of vilification
campaigns, in part for her willingness to take seriously
“alternative” and “minority” interpretations of Hinduism,
coming from women, lower castes and oral traditions.
Doniger’s title, The Hindus, is a politic choice, pointing to an
old, diverse and historically complex people (numbering over three
quarters of a billion worldwide), rather than to “Hinduism”, a
colonial construct, or to “Hindutva”, a political identity
invented in the 20th century. In pre-colonial India, all manner of
folks who might have practised what we understand loosely to be
“religion” did not see themselves as part of any umbrella category
corresponding to the English word “Hinduism”. There was no
single “-ism” at play until India’s encounter with European
missionaries and colonists in the 17th century. As Doniger writes,
tongue in cheek, today we could just as well call it “the religion
formerly known as Hinduism”.
In a ground-breaking work some years ago, SN Balagangadhara, a
professor at the University of Ghent, wrote a devastating critique of
the very language we use today to describe religious phenomena in
India. In his book, The Heathen in his Blindness, Balagangadhara
questioned whether it is appropriate to use terms like
“religion”, “orthodoxy” and “Hinduism” at all. He asked
whether what are essentially Christian categories may be imputed to
non-Western systems of belief and practice without utterly
misunderstanding their content and misrepresenting their function.
Doniger, while working with the existing terminology and
translations, howsoever problematic, inadequate or inappropriate, has
not shied away from the foundational texts of a long and rich textual
tradition broadly defined as “Hindu”: she has translated the Rig
Veda, the Laws of Manu, and portions of the Mahabharata. She belongs
to a generation that has turned the study of India on its head,
raised in one paradigm and going on to invent another. This took both
intellectual dexterity and political courage. She launched her
illustrious teaching career in 1978, the same year that Edward Said
published Orientalism. In her introduction she humorously describes
herself as a “recovering Orientalist”. Together with her
colleagues at Chicago, especially in the 1990s, she has helped the
entire field of Indic Studies to recover from the malady of
Orientalism, and reinjected Indology with much-needed doses of
history, theory, criticism, feminism and, let’s face it, some actual
purchase in an India increasingly transformed by globalisation.
Doniger and others effected a paradigm shift that younger scholars of
South Asia take for granted. We’ve come a long way from Max Weber,
Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss and Louis Dumont, who could write
foundational sociological, anthropological and theoretical treatises
on India, indeed, build entire sub-disciplines around the study of
India, from afar. The compendious nature of The Hindus reflects the
versatility, breadth, depth, complexity, and cross-disciplinary
ability, not to mention the first-hand knowledge, that is now
required of anyone who may venture to write about India, especially
in its long pre-modernity, which takes up the bulk of this book. The
so-called “post-Orientalist” turn has completely altered the rules
of the game for South Asian studies.
Two aspects of Doniger’s scholarship become immediately apparent in
the current volume: her enormous erudition, and her sense of humour.
Nearly 800 pages long, the book nevertheless is fun and easy to read,
and entirely accessible to non-specialists. Fellow professors may
scoff at her breezy, chatty style, and her frequent jokes, but lay
audiences are sure to enjoy this playfulness. Isn’t “philology”
supposed to be “a love of language”?
Sometimes Doniger’s wit is not meant so much to amuse as to
translate difficult concepts into a familiar idiom. So the
Mahabharata, the world’s longest text and the more complicated of
India’s two epics, is about “the planned obsolescence of the moral
world” – “an ancient Wikipedia”. Disinterested action, action
without the desire for its outcome (nishkama karma), Krishna’s
central message in the Bhagavad Gita, gives Arjuna, the reluctant
warrior, the “moral Teflon” he needs to do battle against his
relatives and teachers.
Doniger’s stylistic preference for the humorous and the idiomatic
can be seen as a function of her earthiness, her domesticity, almost.
A sure sign of this orientation – call it “womanly” if you
will – is the almost obsessive attention paid in The Hindus to the
dog as a beast, a symbol, a character. Dogs signify many things, from
settled urban life, to accidental grace, to the hidden hand of God,
to the injustices of the caste system, to the elusive presence of
dharma as the moral regulator of human life. Doniger is surely the
first of the major scholars of matters Hindu to make this animal –
together with the cow, horse and snake – so central to our
understanding of India. Her insistence that we be attentive to animal
imagery in Hindu culture is part of her view of Hinduism, broad
enough to include folk practices, tribal cults, so-called “little”
traditions of all kinds, which often remain firmly grounded in the
domestic context and its familiar surround, binding the human and the
natural worlds closely together.
At the beginning of her book, Doniger notes, “some of those old
Brahmin males knew a hell of a lot of great stories”. Most Hindus,
in fact, most Indians of any religion, or even irreligious Indians,
will find in this book many of the stories that they already know, in
some version or other, from some source or other – stories of nymphs
and sages, beggars and demons, elephants and horses, gods and men.
Doniger manages to convey something that Roberto Calasso, too,
communicates in his exquisitely crafted book, Ka: Stories of the Mind
and Gods of India – that the deepest mysteries, the highest wisdoms,
and the most abiding truths of Hindu civilisation have been
distilled, within the multiple traditions of Hindu thought, into
stories that we all can grasp, enjoy and repeat. Hinduism as
philosophy has always been a function of elite culture; Hinduism as
storytelling is part and parcel of popular culture.
In swimming through a veritable “sea of
stories” (kathasaritsagara), Doniger remarks: “India is a country
where not only the future but even the past is unpredictable.... You
could easily use history to argue for almost any position in
contemporary India: that Hindus have been vegetarians, and that they
have not; that Hindus and Muslims have gotten along well together,
and that they have not; that Hindus have objected to suttee, and that
they have not; that Hindus have renounced the material world, and
that they have embraced it; that Hindus have oppressed women and
lower castes, and that they have fought for their equality.”
A category like “Hindu” basically ends up subsuming within itself
almost everything about the Indian subcontinent: violence,
civilisation, law, piety, sex, texts, gender, caste, colonialism,
deities, ritual, orthodoxy, cosmopolitanism, art. Doniger does not so
much take an alternative path as she draws a circle around a vast
totality that makes India quite genuinely a world unto itself – one
that we may, with care and effort, comprehend, critique and cherish.
But this style of scholarship, which combines philology, philosophy
and classics, may now be endangered. The entire infrastructure needed
to sustain such humanistic work – from university departments, to
specialised publishers, to libraries, to bookstores – is
disappearing. In a recent article, Sheldon Pollock, a Sanskritist and
long-time colleague of Doniger at Chicago, noted that as older
scholars of classical Indian languages retire or pass away, there are
no younger scholars to take their place. “Within two generations,”
Pollock predicted, “the Indian literary past – one of the most
luminous contributions ever made to human civilisation – may be
virtually unreadable to the people of India.”
Paradoxically, it is the rise of India’s economy that exacerbates
the neglect of its pre-modern heritage, a sad state of affairs if
there ever was one. In this regard, India seems to be going the way
of China, rushing headlong into the future and forgetting it is the
past that actually anchors a nation’s soul. The only glimmer of hope
comes from a nascent interest among many younger Indianists in
traditions of political thought on the subcontinent. A systematic
exploration of Indian political theory – going back at least 2,500
years, to the Buddha – would necessitate a renewed engagement with
Indic pre-modernity. This year happens to be the centenary of Mahatma
Gandhi’s path-breaking book, Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule). If
conferences and publications this year around this text are any
indication, there is a lot of new scholarship about Indian political
traditions in the works, which may be understood as Indology
refashioning and retooling itself for contemporary academic and
political contexts. More significantly, the boom in Gandhiana might
be a sign that Indians are getting over the tired contrasts between
secularism and religion, modernity and tradition, West and East that
have thoroughly debilitated genuine debate.
For decades, intellectual newcomers to the Indian subcontinent had
one go-to book: AL Basham’s classic The Wonder That Was India, an
encyclopaedic survey of Indian culture from the ancient period to the
Mughal conquest first published in 1954. A half-century later, The
Hindus is a worthy successor, a contemporary text that can transform
our perception of Indian history, Sanskrit literature and the Hindu
religious universe, all extremely important to understanding the
wonder that was, and is, India.
Ananya Vajpeyi teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.
Her forthcoming book, Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations
of Modern India, will be published by Harvard University Press.
Rana Dasgupta's recent essay about Delhi, and the culture of its new
rich, in the latest issue of Granta 107 (Summer 2009).
 CLIMATE CHANGE / GLOBAL WARMING:
DECLARATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY OF MOST VULNERABLE
Civil society representatives from 19 most vulnerable countries met
in Dhaka for a conference on climate change organised by the Campaign
for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods. The meet ended on July 29 with a
declaration calling for recognition of Most Vulnerable Countries as a
legitimate collective voice at the climate change negotiations and is
meant to lobby the governments of about 100 countries to come
together under one umbrella for a stronger collective voice.
Following is the text of the declaration
We, the civil society of the countries most vulnerable to climate
change, having met in Dhaka 27-29 July 2009 for the International
Civil Society Conference: The Rights of the Most Vulnerable Countries
in Climate Negotiations, call upon all governments to recognise the
threats to survival and development that anthropogenic climate change
poses to the most vulnerable countries, comprising Least Developed
Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and African
countries. We urge our governments to join together to raise the
voice in the international negotiations of those people whose very
survival is threatened by anthropogenic climate change for which they
are least responsible. We call on all Parties of the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to recognise the Most
Vulnerable Countries (MVCs) as a legitimate collective voice at the
negotiations, comprising the majority of Parties to UNFCCC; three-
quarters of the membership of the G77; and in excess of 1 billion
The Bali Action Plan states that the long-term cooperative action
(LCA) process under UNFCCC should:
reduce vulnerability of all Parties, taking into account the urgent
and immediate needs of developing countries that are particularly
vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change especially the
least developed countries and small island developing states, and
further taking into account the needs of countries in Africa affected
by drought, desertification and floods.
Climate change is now a reality for MVCs. Adapting to climate change
is not a choice it is a necessity. We are being hit first and worst
by the impacts of anthropogenic climate change for which we are not
responsible. MVCs must be urgently supported to adapt to the climate
change that is now unavoidable.
The amount of climate change that we must adapt to is entirely
dependent upon the level of mitigation globally. Ambitious actions
and deep emission cuts by developed countries can substantially
reduce the severity of the impacts we will face, and we call on the
Annex 1 Parties to the UNFCCC to act urgently and ambitiously.
We urge all Parties to the UNFCCC to ensure that an agreement is
reached at COP15, to ensure our continued survival.
1. We the civil society of MVCs reemphasise the principles
enshrined in the UNFCCC that the global response to climate change
should be undertaken on the basis of equity, common but
differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and that
they should not interfere with the realisation of the right to
survival and the right to equitable economic growth for developing
2. We assert the authority of the UNFCCC as the legitimate forum
for global climate change negotiations and not other foras where
those countries who are most vulnerable to climate change are
excluded. We call on our own governments to build capacity in our
delegations to COP 15 and beyond, to ensure the voices of the people
of the MVCs are fully considered in the outcomes to guarantee their
survival in a changing climate.
3. We affirm that the global response to climate change that is
agreed at COP15 must be consistent with what the science demands for
the continued survival of the people, cultures and countries that are
most vulnerable to climate change.
1. The civil society of MVCs call on all Parties to the UNFCCC to
act with renewed urgency and determination to ensure that a fair and
safe agreement is reached at COP15 which will deliver long-term
stabilisation of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at levels
that limit global average temperature increases to no more than 1.5C
compared with pre-industrial levels; that global greenhouse gas
emissions must peak no later than 2015; and must reduce by at least
95% below 1990 levels by 2050 (though this should be revised upwards
if the science so dictates).
2. In line with the principles of common but differentiated
responsibility and of historic responsibility for the causes of
anthropogenic climate change; and in line with the urgent action that
the science demands, Annex 1 Parties must reduced their emissions by
at least 45% in aggregate against 1990 levels by 2020. The majority
of this action must be undertaken domestically in order to guarantee
a low carbon global future.
3. We encourage advanced developing countries to take necessary
actions towards a lower carbon economy financed and technologically
supported by Annex 1 Parties.
4. Financing must be made available for MVCs should they wish to
prepare Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). These
plans must be fully financed, including capacity building,
formulation and implementation.
5. All NAMAs in developing countries must not count towards
fulfilment of any Annex 1 emissions reductions.
6. Three key principles crucial to adaptation must be articulated
in the text of the Copenhagen agreement:
(i) focus on the most vulnerable countries, communities and
people in all developing countries;
(ii) rights-based approach to adaptation;
(iii) transparent, participatory, sustainable, gendered,
community-based, and drawing on local and indigenous knowledge.
7. Priorities for adaptation under the Copenhagen agreement must
Adaptation should be defined in communities and countries, not globally.
Communities empowered to take local action and decide what is needed
for their adaptation.
Urgent implementation of the NAPAs in an accountable manner.
Establish an international climate risk insurance mechanism, which in
particular delivers rapid payouts for countries struck by very severe
Ensure activities related to national and international migration and
planned relocation of climate displacees from the MVCs.
8. At least USD 150 billion per year must be made available
through the UNFCCC for climate change requirements in developing
countries, of which at least USD 50 billion per year must be for
adaptation, and MVCs should be prioritised. Finance for developing
countries must not be in the form of loans and the scale of finance
required must be reviewed and revised as necessary as more
information regarding adaptation needs and the extent of impacts
become known. This finance must be raised through binding commitments
for Annex 1 Parties, based on their historical responsibility and
9. Climate finance to developing countries must be additional to,
and distinct from, ODA targets of 0.7% of GNI. It must also be
predictable, reliable, sustainable and adequate, in order to
effectively plan and implement the long-term strategies that are
required to combat climate change.
10. The particular adaptation needs of MVCs must be prioritised
11. The governance of this finance must be under the direct
control of the UNFCCC COP in a new fund for developing country
climate change actions. This fund must be managed by an executive
board with balanced representation from MVCs as with the current KP
Adaptation Fund Board, and disburse finance through windows or
adaptation, mitigation, insurance and others as are necessary, under
the guidance of an expert panel for each. Existing funding sources
should be integrated into this one mechanism to:
- ensure continuity in national climate change planning and
- to avoid ambiguity over international financial flows for
adaptation entering countries, enabling the citizenry and civil
society to monitor their own government's progress against national
- to allow for common and simplified access, including direct
access by country governments and civil society,
- to avoid a proliferation of funds.
Financing through other channels must not be counted towards
Annex 1 Parties binding commitments.
12. Recognising the delay in operationalising new finance for
adaptation under a new agreement in Copenhagen, we demand immediate
financing of NAPAs to meet the urgent and immediate needs of LDCs.
13. MVC must be prioritised for existing adaptation finance.
Existing barriers to accessing that finance, such as multiple and
complex access criteria must urgently be removed.
Capacity building and technology transfer
14. Annex 1 Parties must provide adequate support for socially
acceptable and gendered technology research, training, development
and diffusion. Emphasise and first prioritise adaptation technologies
already available in the South, including indigenous knowledge and
15. The needs of MVCs and developing countries must be provided
for through balanced representation on all technical panels.
16. Intellectual Property Rights must not hinder the access to
necessary adaptation and mitigation technologies.
17. Recognising that identification of adaptation needs will
primarily occur at the local level, capacity building, knowledge
generation, information sharing and institution building at local,
district and sub-national levels must be facilitated and financed.
We all have a role to play in combating this global challenge of
climate change. We call upon our governments to engage fully and
effectively in the international negotiations in support of our
demands herein, and we urge all Parties to the UNFCCC to work
urgently and resolutely to agree a fair and safe deal at Copenhagen
COP15 for the benefit of us all. We, the MVCs can afford no delay and
o o o
New Age, 29 July 2009
8PC CLIMATE AID TO GO TO WB
by Tanim Ahmed
The World Bank will take away $8 million from the $98 million climate
change fund pledged to Bangladesh so far, suggests a draft concept
note of the government. Of the climate aid, $5 million will go to the
global lender as administration fees, and $3 million for project/
proposal preparation, appraisal and supervision and analytical work,
and capacity building activities related to climate change. The
amount will make up more than 8 per cent of the climate fund so far
pledged to the country by British and Danish official agencies.
As the secretariat of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, the World Bank will
charge about five per cent as administration fees, according to the
draft modalities and framework of the trust fund. Insiders cautioned
that together with the World Bank, major contributors were cajoling
potential donors to make climate change funds available to the Multi-
Donor Trust Fund instead of donating them directly to the Bangladesh
government. The idea of a Multi-Donor Trust Fund was broached in
March 2008 at the Bangladesh-UK Conference on Climate Change in
Dhaka. Later, at the 'UK-Bangladesh Climate Change Conference: Facing
the Change' in London in September that year, the British Department
for International Development pledged funds equivalent to almost $96
million (60 million pound sterling) to this trust. Other development
partners pledged about $2 million. It was also at this conference in
London that it was suddenly announced that the World Bank would be
managing the trust fund despite the lack of any formal decision by
the interim government. Mehrin A Mahbub, public information associate
of the World Bank's Bangladesh office, told New Age on Monday that
the government was yet to enter into an agreement regarding the
secretariat of the trust fund. 'Till such time that we enter into an
agreement, nothing can be said for certain.'
However, she tried to clarify matters by saying that the Bangladesh
government had indeed requested the World Bank to act as the trust
fund's secretariat 'shortly after the London conference'. Mehrin also
said that there was no attempt by the World Bank, or others that she
knew of, to cajole potential development agencies to channel their
bilateral assistance to Bangladesh through this trust fund.
Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, president of the Bangladesh Economic
Association, also an author of a national adaptation action plan for
climate change, said he was strongly opposed to the idea of the World
Bank having such an important role in fund management. 'I had opposed
the idea then, at the London conference, and I still do.' Agreeing
that the World Bank would take away a sizable chunk of the funds,
Kholiquzzaman said it was not only a question of higher
administrative fees but also a matter of greater clout in the
decision-making process if all the development agencies and bilateral
donors channel their funds through the trust fund. 'It is only
natural that they would want this trust fund to grow.' Expressing his
reservations about accountability and transparency, he said, 'If the
government is not transparent, then it is our responsibility to make
it so. It certainly does not mean that funds meant for the people of
Bangladesh should be allowed to be managed by the World Bank.'
When it was pointed out that the World Bank would only house the
secretariat while the authority would rest with the policy council
and management committee on which the government is expected to have
substantial influence, Kholiquzzaman said, 'We are smart enough to
understand that the World Bank would not merely sit there waiting to
sign away cheques at the government's orders.'
CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS: NORTH MUST PAY ECOLOGICAL DEBTS TO SOUTH
Rights leaders tell discussion
Rights leaders at a panel discussion on Monday said the countries in
the south are the creditors and the north must have to pay the
ecological debts, as they are mainly responsible for global climate
change, says a press release.The southern countries are suffering
from the global climate change impacts and the northern countries
should compensate them for the ecological degradation, they
added.They said this at the discussion on 'Climate justice towards
CoP 15 Copenhagen, ecological debts: We are the creditors' jointly
arranged by EquityBD, Jubilee South (Philippines), Media Foundation
for Trade and Development, SUPRO, Voice and Unnayan Onneshan at the
National Press Club in the city.The rights leaders said they would
organise a countrywide awareness and mobilisation programme up to
December 2009 in line with the conference
of parties (CoP) to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Director Dr Sarba
Raj Khdaka of LDC Watch, an international civil society organisation
based in Nepal, mentioned that all the debts in the low-income
countries accumulated as a part of neo-colonial exploitation.
All these are illegitimate and these should be cancelled.Lidy Nacpil,
Jubilee South-APMDD, a regional network in the Philippines, referred
the example of the Bolivian government which formally placed the
demand of ecological debt to UNFCC in its Bonn conference in June.
The similar proposals also have been submitted by Venezuela,
Paraguay, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, she added.She said the north has
exploited the rights of all human beings who have equal shares to the
global commons which include ozone layer, air and on natural
resources. These global commons should be utilised in equitable and
sustainable way. The north has exploited those and also created
negative consequences like present climate crisis.
Se called on all to build up political constituencies o transform
this unjust global and local social system to a system based on
equity and justice.Presenting a keynote paper, Sayed Aminul Haque of
EquityBD said during colonial period, its master Britain repatriated
resources from the Indian subcontinent and increased their gross
national product (GNP).
Mohiuddin Ahmed moderated the programme where Uma Chowdhury, Iqbal
Ahmed, Ahmed Swapan, AHM Bazlur Rahman, Faruque Ahmed, Shamsud Doha,
Dr Pias Karim, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury spoke on the historical aspects
and contemporary movements on ecological debts in different
countries, especially in the South American countries.
o o o
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN "DON’T NUKE THE CLIMATE !" : WE NEED YOUR
In December 2009, at the next UN Climate Change Conference in
Copenhagen, it will be the world leaders’ duty to aim for an
ambitious agreement regarding greenhouse gas emissions cut targets.
They should also agree on a relevant budget to finance climate change
mitigation and adaptation.
Nuclear power has been kept outside of climate change mitigation
mechanisms like CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) and JI (Joint
Implementation) so far. However, some evidence shows that the nuclear
lobby could be preparing its comeback at the next COP to have this
dirty energy labeled as clean or carbon-free and thus benefit from
new subsidies. Will our leaders let themselves be talked into
financing a dangerous, costly and irrelevant technology, which would
divert urgently needed money from real solutions to climate change?
This is why we now propose you to support the international campaign
“Don’t nuke the climate !” which will be initiated by the
Réseau “Sortir du nucléaire” (French Network for Nuclear Phase-
out). A campaign document will be edited at a large scale (several
hundreds of thousand copies) by September 2009. It will include
petition postcards to be signed by citizens, which will be gathered
and then presented in Copenhagen during a media-oriented action.
Beside, we will ask citizens to send us pictures to make a huge
mosaic showing the face(s) of world citizens’ refusal of nuke as a
solution to global warming.
S o u t h A s i a C i t i z e n s W i r e
Buzz for secularism, on the dangers of fundamentalism(s), on
matters of peace and democratisation in South
Asia. An offshoot of South Asia Citizens Web: www.sacw.net/
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.
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