Tulika offers books for children in Braille #DISABILITY


Books in Braille

Some of Tulika’s books are available in Braille. They have been adapted by Third Eye and are available through their website www.third-eye.org. You can find out more about the books listed below through the book search option on our website.

Bengali Titleswww.third-eye.org

Mukand and Riaz
The King and the Kiang
Who Will Rule?
Putul and the Dolphins
A Silly Story of Bondapalli
Brahma‘s Butterfly
The Snow King’s Daughter
Hanuman’s Ramayan
Vyasa‘s Mahabharata
Pavo Cavo
Pintoo and Giant

English Titleswww.third-eye.org

Mukand and Riaz
The King and the Kiang
Who Will Rule?
Putul and the Dolphins
A Silly Story of Bondapalli
Brahma’s Butterfly
The Snow King’s Daughter
Hanuman’s Ramayan
Vyasa’s Mahabharata
Pavo Cavo
Pintoo and Giant

Hindi Titles   www.third-eye.org

Mukand and Riaz
The King and the Kiang
Who Will Rule?
Putul and the Dolphins
A Silly Story of Bondapalli
Brahma’s Butterfly
The Snow King’s Daughter
Hanuman’s Ramayan
Vyasa’s Mahabharata
Pavo Cavo
Pintoo and Gian

_VISIT THEIR WEBSITE HERE

Gujarat: Myth and Reality #NarendraModi


https://i2.wp.com/egov.eletsonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/narendra_modi.jpg

Bhalchandra Mungekar, Jun 12, 2012, TNN

A war of words has erupted between the chief ministers of Bihar and Gujarat. Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar has slammed Narendra Modi for taking potshots at the state’s slow socio-economic growth. The altercation began with Modi saying that caste politics has ruined states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Hitting back, Nitish has said that Modi should look at the conditions in his own state before criticising others. For the last several years, Modi has been successful in projecting his “vibrant Gujarat” as a role model of economic growth and himself as ”Vikas Purush”. Though one must give due credit to Modi for his effective skills in making projections, one must also critically analyse this “growth story of Gujarat” based on facts and figures. Regretfully, as one examines the facts since Modi came to power in Gujarat in 2001, the story appears to be hollow and, at times, contrary to what is being projected.

First, about the rate of economic growth. During 1995-2000 and 2001-10, Gujarat increased its annual rate of growth from 8.01% to 8.68%. But so is the case with other major states such as Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. In fact, Gujarat was ranked second after Rajasthan (8.34%) in the first period and third after Uttarakhand (11.81%) and Haryana (8.95%) in the second period. What is remarkable, Bihar and Orissa, the two most backward and poverty-stricken states, have also shown growth pick up from 4.70% and 4.42% in the first period to 8.02% and 8.13% in the second period. Even smaller states like Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have registered growth of 11.01% and 8.96%, respectively. During 2001-04, the rate of industrial growth for Gujarat was 3.95%, and during 2005-09, it was 12.65%. In isolation, this appears to be a phenomenal jump, but not so when compared to some other states. During these sub-periods, industrial growth for Orissa was 6.4% and 17.53%; for Chhattisgarh 8.10% and 13.3%; and for Uttarakhand 18.84% and 11.63%. Thus, the hitherto industrially backward states have far surpassed Gujarat.

In FDI, too, Gujarat has not been a leading state. During 2006-10, Gujarat signed MoUs worth Rs 5.35 lakh crore with potential of 6.47 lakh jobs. But Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu with Rs 4.20 lakh crore and Rs 1.63 lakh crore worth MoUs, expect about 8.63 lakh and 13.09 lakh jobs. To top it all, Chhattisgarh and Orissa have signed MoUs worth Rs 3.61 lakh crore and Rs 2.99 lakh crore more than Gujarat without much fanfare and Modi’s much-hyped industrial summits. In the area of credit-deposit ratio, Gujarat is far behind other major states. In 2010, Gujarat’s share in total deposits of the scheduled commercial banks was 4.70%, as against 5.42%, 6.20%, 6.34% and 26.60% for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra, respectively. The share of Gujarat in total credit disbursed by these commercial banks was 4.22%; while the same for Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tami Nadu was 29.75%, 6.71% and 9.61% respectively. The amount of per capita deposit and per capita credit for Gujarat was Rs 37,174 and Rs 24,268; while for Tamil Nadu, it was Rs 42,580 and Rs 47,964; Karnataka Rs 49,598 and Rs 38,154; and Maharashtra Rs 1,10,183 and Rs 89,575. Even Kerala did better than Gujarat with Rs 43,890 and Rs 27,912.

In terms of per capita income (PCI), in 2011, Gujarat ranked sixth among major states with PCI of Rs 63,996, after Haryana (Rs 92,327), Maharashtra, (Rs 83,471), Punjab (Rs 67,473), Tamil Nadu (Rs 72,993) and Uttara-khand (Rs 68,292).What about inclusive growth in Gujarat? Though Gujarat, with 31.8% people below the poverty line did better than Maharashtra and Karnataka, it still lagged behind Kerala, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, where poverty levels were 19.7%, 20.9%, 22.9% and 24.1%, respectively. On three important social indicators, viz life expectancy at birth (LEB), mean years of schooling (MYS) and school life expectancy (SLE), Gujarat is far behind some other states. In Gujarat, the LEB during 2002-06 was 64.1 years and it ranked ninth among major Indian states. In the areas of MYS and SLE, during 2004-05, it ranked seventh and ninth, respectively. Kerala ranked first in all three indicators. Even Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka performed much better than Gujarat. With respect to Human Development Index (HDI), Gujarat’s story is devastating. The HDI for Gujarat, in 2008, was 0.527 and it ranked 10 {+t} {+h} among major states. Kerala stood first (HDI: 0.790), Himachal Pradesh scored 0.652, Punjab 0.605, Maharashtra 0.572 and Haryana 0.552. With respect to three HDI components – income, health and education – Gujarat does not present a shining story. In this respect, states like Kerala took the lead in every sector, while Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal did better than Gujarat. It is found that inequality with respect to income, education and health is higher in Gujarat than some of the major states. Shockingly, in terms of hunger – as revealed by the ‘State Hunger Index 2008’ – Gujarat ranked 13th among 17 big states and worse than Orissa. In Gujarat, the percentage of women suffering from anaemia has risen from 46.3% in 1999 to 55.5% in 2004, and amongst children from 74.5% to 80.1%. The conditions of dalits and women have deteriorated during the last decade; while those of Muslims and tribals are still worse.Thus,

Gujarat’s growth story as claimed by Modi is more a myth than reality. But it is also imperative that other states in the country make concerted efforts to secure higher and also inclusive growth, rather than getting enamoured with the Gujarat growth story. Also, for the people of Gujarat, it’s time for introspection and putting right efforts in the direction of making Gujarat a truly “vibrant” state.

(The writer is a member of the Rajya Sabha and former member, Planning Commission.)

Read orginal article here

Dalit paraded half-naked by cops in Gujarat #Narendramodi


Published: Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012, 14:51 IST
By Roxy Gagdekar | Place: Ahmedabad

In an incident of police atrocity, a dalit man was thrashed and allegedly paraded half-naked by the police at Ved village in Kautambha taluka of Panchmahals district on Sunday. When the dalits of the village protested, the police assaulted them in a lathicharge.

As if this was not enough, the police took the half-naked dalit to Koutambha police station and registered a case against him for obstructing a public servant in the discharge of his duties. However, the police allegedly did not allow him to wear any new clothes for the whole night.

According to eyewitness accounts, the victim, Raman Vankar (38), was brought to the center of Ved village at around 1 pm on Sunday. Here the police allegedly stripped him of all his clothes leaving him with nothing but his underwear. He was taken to the police station at around 3 pm.

Kanti Vankar, a dalit man who lives in Ved village, told DNA that he was allowed to give some clothes to Raman at the police station only on Monday morning.

Further, despite the efforts of relatives and dalit leaders, the police have not registered Raman’s complaint in the matter. The dalits have accused a retired police inspector, GP Joshi, and a head constable, Dharmendrasinh Somsinh (buckle number:1845) of stripping Raman and beating him up.

Kanti Vankar said that after Raman was taken from the village, he was kept in police lock-up from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning only in his underwear.

“I gave him his clothes on Monday morning,” Kanti told DNA. He said that Raman was picked up from Vankarvaas which is located on the outskirts of Ved village and then taken to the center of the village where he was stripped by the police and assaulted.

“The police took off his shirt and pants and beat him up in front of the whole village. No one was allowed even to go near police officials,” Kanti said.

Bharat Ghoi (40), a resident of Ved village who was an eyewitness of the incident, said that everything had happened in front of his eyes.

“Raman was brought to the centre of the village, his clothes were taken off and he was beaten up. He was then taken to the police station in the same condition,” said Ghoi, who is a labourer.

Raman was assaulted by a group of policemen who had come from the Koutambha police station.

The conflict between the dalits and the police started on Sunday morning after Joshi allegedly used abusive language against Scheduled Castes and hit one Arvind Vankar, a dalit, on the head with an iron rod for releasing drainage water on the road. When Arvind protested, he was beaten up by Joshi who also called the police, including Dharmendrasinh.

Joshi commutes through the village to his farmhouse in his car every morning. Manu Rohit, a community leader and an office-bearer of Navsarjan, told DNA that Arvind was beaten up later too.

“As a result, the dalits got angry and collected in the village only to be assaulted by the police in a lathicharge. The police nabbed three dalits — Raman, Narendra and Rama Vankar,” Rohit said. Navsarjan is an NGO which works for dalit welfare.

US signs MoU ( death certificate ) for building nuclear plants in India


Hillary Rodham Clinton (Wellesley College)

Hillary Rodham Clinton (Wellesley College) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 PTI

 

US firm Westinghouse Electric and the NPCIL today signed a preliminary pact for an Early Works Agreement (EWA) for installation of the first 1,000 MW American nuclear reactor in India under the historic 2008 Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

The announcement of the signing of the MoU, which represents a significant milestone towards the realisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal, coincided with the third Indo-US Strategic Dialogue headed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

The MoU with the Nuclear Power Company of India Limited (NPCIL) related to negotiating an EWA supporting future construction of 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors at the Mithivirdi site in Bhavnagar district in Gujarat. The EWA will include preliminary licensing and site development work.

“This(MoU) is a significant step towards fulfillment of our landmark civil nuclear cooperation agreement,” Hillary said at a joint news conference with Krishna.

Referring to the signing of the MoU, Clinton, however, said there is still lot of work to be done including understanding the implications of the civil nuclear liability law. US nuclear companies have voiced reservations at some provisions of the liability legislation.

Clinton said the MoU committed both sides to work towards the preliminary licensing and site development work needed to begin construction of new reactors in Gujarat.

“This agreement is an important step which will allow Westinghouse and NPCIL to continue the work necessary for keeping the Mithivirdi project moving forward,” said Gary Urquhart, vice president and managing director of Westinghouse India.

PUCL on conviction of Seema Azad and her husband by an Allahabad Court


PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES

Founder: Jayaprakash Narayan

270-A Patparganj, Opposite Anandlok Apartments, Mayur Vihar– Phase I, Delhi 110091


12th  June, 2012
Press Release

          On the Conviction of Seema Azad and her husband by an Allahabad Court

The news of the sentencing of Seema Azad, along with her husband Vishwavijay Kamal, charged under Sections 121, 121A and 120B of IPC and also under the relevant provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for possessing objectionable literature, to life imprisonment by a court at Allahabad on 8 June 2012 has come as a shock to the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) and thousands of human rights workers all over the country.

Seema Azad, a grassroots journalist and a well known civil liberties activist belonging to the UP State Branch of the PUCL, was returning after attending a book fair in New Delhi along with her husband when they were arrested by the Special Task Force on February 6, 2010 from the Allahabad station, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for their alleged links with Maoist organizations. The only evidence provided was a book carried by Seema Azad containing information on Maoist politics. From then on, they have been detained in custody, and have been refused bail.

It is clear to human rights activists that Seema Azad and her husband were charged under the draconian laws for political reasons. She has relentlessly raised her voice against local scams and injustices, denouncing the working condition of mining workers, exposing the practices of the local mafia and its nexus with the police force. She also edited a bi-monthly magazine – Dastak – and used it as a platform to publicize all the wrongs around her.

“On a number of occasions, she (Seema Azad) had taken up the cudgels on behalf of poor labourers and exposed the nexus between the police and the illegal contractors, who used to deploy labourers for unauthorised mining of stone or sand in various regions of Uttar Pradesh, particularly the Sonbhadra district,” PUCL UP Vice-President Ram Kumar said in a statement.

It has become a trend for the governments to book those, who criticize their anti-people policies and expose the misdeeds of politicians-police-bureaucrats and mafia nexus or give voice to the exploited, suffering, disinherited masses, under the most stringent laws, brand them as anti-national or Maoists and keep their voices muzzled by incarcerating them. What is even more miserable is that the judiciary, which is supposed to be the protector of the freedom and liberties of the people, also fails to do so. And the worst is that those who book innocent people on false and concocted charges always go unpunished even when higher courts reverse the judgment and set them free, of course, when they have already spent several years of their prime life in prisons. Seema Azad and her husband’s case has again brought these questions into focus and for all freedom loving people and human rights workers to take up the cause.

The PUCL plans to hold a convention shortly and also carry out a campaign for the release and justice of Seema Azad with other organisations.

Mahi Pal Singh

National Secretary, PUCL

Early Death Assured in India Where 900 Million Go Hungry


By Mehul Srivastava and Adi Narayan – Jun 14, 2012 12:00 AM GMT+0530

The death certificate for 3-year-old Rashid Ahmed hides more than it reveals.

It lists his name, misspells his mother’s and says he died of malaria. What it doesn’t say is how little he weighed when he was brought to hospital with the disease in New Delhi one August night, how his ribs jutted from his chest, or how helpless his doctor, 28-year-old Gyvi Gaurav, was in trying to save him.

Mohamed Hafiz Khan, left, eats lunch along with his wife, middle bottom, and four children in their rented home iin the Dharavi slum area of Mumbai, India. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

June 14 (Bloomberg) — Gyvi Gaurav, a doctor at St. Stephen’s Hospital in New Delhi, talks about the case of a 3 year-old patient that died of malnutrition, which left him unable to fight off a case of malaria. In the 2005 National Family Health Survey, when India last measured its children for signs of hunger, it found 46 percent, or 31 million, weighed too little for their ages. That’s almost an entire Canada of malnourished under-three-year-olds. (Source: Bloomberg)

Clothes are hung out in a small alley in the Dharavi slum area of Mumbai, India. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Children hold bowls of sprouts outside their home in the Dharavi slum area of Mumbai, India. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Shabana Khan makes bread for her husband and four children at their rented home in the Dharavi slum area of Mumbai, India. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

A roadside vegetable vendor arranges brinjal in the Dharavi slum area of Mumbai, India. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

“It was hunger that killed him,” said Gaurav, who worked the night of August 15 at St. Stephen’s Hospital and was on watch when the toddler died. “He was so weak, so malnourished, that he would have died the first time he ever got really sick – – from malaria, diarrhea, anything.”

For Rashid’s mother, Nazia, the three-decade road from her birth to the death of her son ran alongside a slow collapse in India’s elemental struggle to feed its people. More than three- quarters of the 1.2 billion population eat less than minimum targets set by the government, up from about two-thirds, or 472 million people, in 1983. India’s failure to feed its people came as the economy accelerated, with gross domestic product per capita almost doubling in the past decade.

“I cry every night,” Nazia said on May 15, speaking through sobs after being told her child may have lived had he eaten better. “For my wasted life, for my dead child, for the hunger in my stomach. What could I give him? I had nothing, nothing to sell.”

Calories V. Nutrition

While nutritionists and economists debate the importance of targets defined solely in calories, other data shows gains in nourishment also stalled. In the 2005 National Family Health Survey, when India last weighed, measured and counted its children for signs of hunger, it found 46 percent — 31 million — weighed too little for their ages, almost an entire Canada of malnourished under-three-year-olds. In 1999, that number was 47 percent.

Some indicators worsened: 79 percent of children had anemia, against 74 percent in 1999; 19 percent were wasted — weighed too little for their height — up from 16 percent. Anemia prevents the absorption of nutrients; as do the diarrhea and other diseases caused by poor hygiene and sanitation.

In sheer numbers, 4 out of 10 malnourished children in the world are Indian, more than in all of Africa. War-torn Sudan and famine-struck Eritrea had smaller percentages of malnourished children, at about 32 percent, according to the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute.

Cognitive Deficit

India’s hungry children are likely to have lower cognitive skills, grow up to be weakened workers, suffer from chronic illnesses and die prematurely, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. Hunger stalks them into adulthood too: 21 percent of all Indians are undernourished, according to Ifpri, up from 20 percent a decade ago. All of which costs the country about $68 billion a year, or almost 4 percent of GDP, according to Veena S. Rao, who heads nutrition initiatives for the government of Karnataka, the Indian state that encompasses the city of Bangalore.

“The problem of malnutrition is a national shame,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in January, in one of about 50 public speeches where he has mentioned the subject. “Despite impressive growth in our gross domestic product, the level of under-nutrition in the country is unacceptably high.”

India has collected reliable and consistent national data on nutrition since 1972, soon after setting minimum daily intakes of about 2,100 calories a day for city residents, who are assumed to be less physically active. The level for rural- dwellers was pegged at 2,400 calories on the basis that tilling fields, harvesting crops and drawing water require greater exertion.

Counting Error

Only in 1999-2000 did the average urban Indian meet the target — and that may have been due to a counting error, according to the National Sample Survey Office, a branch of the statistics ministry. Rural Indians never have, and have seen their intake slide to 2,020 calories in 2010, from a high of 2,266 calories in 1973, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the office.

A National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau study in nine states that make up the majority of India’s malnourished population showed a steeper decline, with average rural calorie counts falling to about 1,900 in 2005 from 2,340 in 1979. Daily protein intake dropped to 49 grams (1.5 ounces) from 63 grams.

The global average is 77 grams, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization. The worldwide average daily caloric intake is about 2,800 calories a day.

Neither the diets of Nazia nor her two surviving children meet the averages.

Hard Life

A hard life outside Nagpur city in central India, where her husband died of tuberculosis and a failing cotton crop meant work dried up in the fields, was followed by a hard life in a New Delhi slum. After arriving in the Indian capital 10 years ago, Nazia begged on the streets before landing work as a day laborer on construction sites. Her third son, Rashid, was fathered by a different man.

At 5 feet and 3 inches (1.6 meters), Nazia weighs 43 kilograms (95 pounds). Her hands, rough and torn from years of lifting bricks and balancing them on a small turban over her head, move feverishly as she rolls wheat dough into a type of unleavened bread called rotis for dinner on a recent weeknight.

Sitting on the floor in their 7-foot by 8-foot home, she and her sons, Aslam, 12, and Akbar, 14, eat a hurried dinner, a bare lamp providing the only light. The brick-built room, topped with a patchwork corrugated metal roof in a small, illegal shanty-town between the Old Delhi railway station and the tourist spots of the Jama Masjid and the Red Fort, smells of old sweat and fresh sewage.

Daily Diet

Three rotis each, a gruel of potatoes and curry powder, an onion and a chili make up a typical dinner. Once a week in summer, they share two mangoes, with Nazia sucking on the flesh left around the seed after the boys eat most of the fruit. Lunch is the same, which the boys serve themselves cold from a small steel container, and breakfast is tea and two slices of coarse white bread. It all adds up to a daily consumption of 1,500 calories to 1,600 calories of mostly carbohydrates.

That places the family in the poorest quarter of Indians in terms of nutrition, with the group averaging 1,624 calories a day, according to Bloomberg calculations based on National Sample Survey data. The poorest 10th on average consume 1,485 calories — a little more than a McDonald’s Big Mac with large Coke and large fries.

‘Blunt Tool’

Calories are a blunt tool for understanding malnourishment, according to Angus Deaton, a Princeton economist who has studied India closely. While gains against malnourishment largely stalled between 1999 and 2005, two earlier surveys showed dropping calorie counts even as nourishment indicators improved, he said.

That suggests “the real focus should be on improving health, not just improving calorie counts,” Deaton said in a May 21 interview.

Indian lifestyles have changed since the early 1970’s, he said. More people in rural areas own bicycles, saving energy moving around and transporting things. Farm machinery is more widespread, cutting down on tilling and planting by hand. Ailments like malaria and diarrhea are less common as the supply of potable water improved.

“If you’re doing less manual labor, if your children are falling sick less often, then you need fewer calories,” Deaton said. “This is a natural progression of the Indian diet. Focusing just on calories is misleading.”

‘Republic of Hunger’

Not everyone agrees. Utsa Patnaik, a professor at New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University and author of “The Republic of Hunger,” said that the decline in calorie consumption is the result of a shortage of food availability, and a capitalist economy that hasn’t spread the benefits of India’s economic boom equitably.

Her research shows that per-capita availability of rice, wheat and other food-grains in India has fallen from 177 kilograms in the early 1990s to 153 kilos in 2004 — about what it was in 1934. Much of the deterioration in food security has come after Singh began opening India’s economy to free-market competition.

“Forty years of efforts to raise how much food-grains Indians are able to eat has been destroyed by a mere dozen years of economic reform,” Patnaik said.

Riddled With Graft

The government has expanded subsidy programs, spending about $11 billion in 2011 — about 5 percent of the central government’s $231 billion budget — to buy and distribute food at below-market prices to people officially designated as poor.

More than 30 investigations by the National Human Rights Commission, the Supreme Court and anti-corruption agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation have concluded that the public distribution is riddled with graft. As much as 40 percent of food purchased for the poor doesn’t reach them, according to the UN’s Standing Committee on Nutrition.

“Subsidies don’t reach the poor. Trickle-down doesn’t reach the poor. Nothing reaches the poor,” said Yogendra Alagh, an economist in Gujarat state who first proposed in 1972 the calorie guidelines that still govern food policy in India. “In the past two or three decades, we’ve regressed backwards into a country that can’t even guarantee a poor, pregnant woman a glass of milk so the next generation isn’t born stunted.”

At the same time, the number of rich is swelling. Households with more than $1 million in assets jumped 21 percent in the past year alone, a May 31 Boston Consulting Group report shows.

Efforts to improve sanitation are struggling to keep pace with a growing population and the spread of urban slums.

Fecal Matter

More than half of India’s population defecate daily in fields, bushes, beaches and other open spaces, according to a 2012 report by the World Health Organization and Unicef. Diarrhea among children younger than 5 years accounts for more than 47 percent of the total health-related economic impact of contaminated water and untreated fecal matter, according to a 2010 report by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program.

Nazia’s family must pay to use a communal toilet. The queues are often so long, the stench so overpowering, that the boys defecate in an open sewer not far from the slum.

Every third night Nazia cooks dal, a curry of lentils common across north India, their calorie intake increases slightly, and the boys get some protein. On Fridays, after visiting a nearby mosque to pray, she makes a curry of eggs. Once a year, to mark the end of the month of day-time fasting called Ramadan, she buys some mutton.

“You should see how happy they are that day,” she said. “They talk about it for weeks before, and weeks after.”

Country Life

Nazia recalls when she first moved to Delhi she thought, if nothing else, she and her children would be eating more, if not better. Instead, recounting the meals she was able to pull together — with spinach from a small plot of land behind her hut, carrots when they were in season, coarse brown rice and yoghurt from the milk of a family goat, Nazia realizes that for her family the escape to Delhi has been a nutritional disaster.

A detailed description of her meals in the country yields an intake of about 1,800 calories a day, and far more nutrients — calcium, vitamin A and protein — than her diet in Delhi.

“If you had told me in the village that I wouldn’t get to eat any yoghurt in the city, I would have called you a liar,” she said, during one of eight interviews at the family’s home.

Richer, Hungrier

Instead, her move to New Delhi made her among the country’s biggest losers in terms of calories. The greatest drop in consumption, on average, is for village dwellers who migrated to the cities in the past 30 years. They’ve seen their intake fall to about 2,000 calories a day from about 2,200 calories in a village in the 1980s, National Sample Survey Office data show.

At the same time, Nazia’s income has doubled. She remembers living on 20 to 30 rupees (40-50 cents) a day in the village, where she didn’t have to pay rent. It’s a common trajectory, as traced out by the nutrition data: Indians like Nazia have seen measurable increases in income, with real GDP per capita almost doubling to 48,734 rupees ($873) a year in the past decade. And like Nazia, on average, they now consume fewer calories and less nourishing food.

These meals eat up almost a third of the 80 cents a day Nazia earns from her work at a construction site near the Old Delhi railway station. Nazia said she is too weak to labor more than four hours at a stretch. Because her children are young, they work only around the house, sometimes helping neighbors with chores in exchange for handfuls of uncooked rice.

The reasons behind the decline in urban calories are unclear.

Urban Costs

One theory argues that much of the increased income from moving to cities is spent on expenses forced upon slum-dwellers. Their children fall sick more often from dirty water; they must pay for transportation to work sites; they must pay rent rather than live in huts they built themselves.

“These are the costs of participating in the urban economy,” said Madhura Swaminathan, an economist at Kolkata’s Indian Statistical Institute. “Your increased income is canceled out by increased expenditure. In the end, you have even less left for food.”

That’s what happened to Mohamed Hafiz Khan, 40, and his family of five. In 1992, they moved to Mumbai, joining the economic refugees who flock to the city at a rate of one person every eight minutes. Most end up in slums, like the one where Khan lives with his wife Shabana and their four children.

Kerosene Prices

Khan, who works as a tailor, spends almost $90 out of the $150 he makes each month on food and kerosene for the family’s stove. In 1992, he paid $6.40 a month from his $38 wage for their 12-foot by 8-foot home in the Dharavi slum. This year, rent is $36 a month. His children fall sick almost twice a month, and the doctor’s fees add up. Their diet deteriorated as the price of kerosene in the slum’s black market soared.

While Singh’s government subsidizes the fuel, the Khans said corrupt local officials are siphoning off their allotment, forcing them to buy on the black market. Benchmark Asian prices of Kerosene in Singapore have risen fivefold in the past decade.

The four children used to drink Complan or Horlicks, enriched supplements their mother would mix with milk. They no longer do. The Khans used to eat rice, which used up more kerosene to cook. They no longer do. They used to eat as many rotis as they wanted to. Now they share 12 because they can’t afford the kerosene needed to roast them. They eat fruit maybe once every two weeks. The few vegetables the local market provides are withered and old.

Fresh Food

Across India, the percentage of daily calorie needs being met by fruit and vegetables dropped between 1993 and 2010, according to the National Sample Survey Office. Rural families get 1.8 percent of their energy from those foods, from 2 percent in 1993, the data show. For city-dwellers, the share fell to 2.6 percent to 3.3 percent.

In the weeks before he died, Rashid tasted his first ice cream. Older brother Akbar was given one by a foreign tourist at the railway station, and he ran back home before it could melt so he could share it with Rashid.

“It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever had,” said Akbar, describing how he and Rashid licked the inside of the cardboard container, and then saved it as a reminder.

Immune System

Both Rashid’s brothers survived malaria, common in Delhi’s slums during the monsoons, when rain water pools in potholes and open sewers for the Anopheles mosquito to breed. Rashid was weaker. Aslam, in an old picture taken for an identity card when he was three, appears to have rounded cheeks, and his arms were thicker than Rashid’s, his mother said. That may have been the result of two years when he lived with his grandparents in the village. When Akbar was 3, his father had been alive, and food was not that scarce.

Staff at St. Stephen’s Hospital weighed Rashid when his mother brought him in, shivering from eight hours of malaria- induced fevers. He weighed 12 kilos and his arms were “thin as sticks,” said Gaurav, the doctor.

Malnourishment had left his immune system too weak to fight the parasitic disease. He struggled with the richer hospital food and wasn’t able to properly absorb the chloroquine he was given for the malaria. A saline drip helped his condition a little, said Gaurav, who said he recalled the night so vividly because Rashid was the first child to die under his care. Gaurav gave the listless toddler medicines to lower his temperature, while mother Nazia tried to cool his skin with dampened rags.

To boost Rashid’s energy, Gaurav tried a trick that had worked with other children in his care: he gave an orderly the equivalent of 50 cents to buy ice cream.

“He ate three in three hours,” said Nazia.

On August 16, at about 3 a.m., Rashid died in his sleep.

In the refrigerator under the night shift nurse’s desk, surrounded by fresh syringes and medicines, a fourth cup of vanilla ice cream sat uneaten.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mehul Srivastava in New Delhi at msrivastava6@bloomberg.net; Adi Narayan in Mumbai at anarayan8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ben Richardson at brichardson8@bloomberg.net

Farmers’ bid to ‘re-capture’ Jaitapur lands foiled-22 activists detained after anti-Jaitapur protest


English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

English: Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Gefahrensymbol für Radioaktivität. Image:Radioactive.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 14:30

Ratnagiri (Maharashtra): Nearly 3,000 farmers and fishermen on Wednesday made an unsuccessful attempt to “recapture” their farms and other lands, which have been acquired for the proposed 9,900-MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) coming up here, police said.

The security forces, deployed in huge numbers around the JNPP complex, detained the marchers at various points before they could reach the site and arrested 22 activists, including local Shiv Sena legislator Rajan Salvi among anti-JNPP agitation leaders.

“The situation is under control, we have deployed adequate security and there has been no untoward incident,” an official of Ratnagiri Police Control Room said.

The farmers and fishermen on Wednesday morning started marching from 10 surrounding villages to the JNPP complex in an effort to “recapture” their lands taken over for the nuclear project.

“They wanted to go back to their lands and start sowing rice as the monsoon has just begun,” Pradeep Indulkar, an office-bearer of Konkan Anti-Nuclear Power Project Committee, said.

The marchers were detained on the roads or inside their villages and not allowed to march toward the JNPP site.
No arrest was made, but police detained 22 activists, including Rajan Salvi, MLA, for violating the curfew order.

There was tension in the area throughout the day, even as the protest fizzled out at the actual Jaitapur plant site where only around 100 local farmers, including women, gathered to protest against the forcible land acquisition and to till the land they lost to the project.

Nearly 1,500 fisherfolk protested at Sakhri Nate village to show solidarity with the farmers of Madban and Mithgavane who lost their land to the project.

“The local farmers who lost their land decided to protest by tilling the land in the project area. The protest was marked by farmers taking their cattle and farming implements to the project site and tilling the land. They wanted to protest the forcible acquisition of land by the State government,” Vaishali Patil, an activist from the region who is now facing externment, told The Hindu.

The authorities have acquired around 730 hectares of land for the nuclear power project and another 250 hectares will be acquired for constructing residential and public amenities for the staff which will live and work at the project site.

According to Indulkar, the authorities have constructed a long boundary wall, measuring nearly 40 km on three sides (the fourth side is the Arabian Sea) to protect the JNPP site.

Another prominent activist, Vaishali Patil, described the situation as “tense” with nearly 1,000 security personnel deployed and ban on any gathering of five or more people under the prohibitory orders implemented in the region.

“People along with their cattle and goats are peacefully sitting in ‘dharna’ (sit in) in their respective villages and there has been no violence of any kind. I was not allowed to enter the region by the police,” Patil said.

Response weak”

“The local farmers have now formed a Madban Mithgavane Sangharsh Samiti to do community farming at the project site. We had already issued curfew orders and orders banning unlawful assembly near the plant site. There was heavy police deployment in the area. But the response to the protest was very weak as people decided not to break the law. We have detained 22 persons for not abiding by Section 37(1) (3) of the Police Act,” Pradeep Raskar, Ratnagiri Superintendent of Police, told The Hindu.

Activists said the police also imposed Section 144 of the Bombay Police Act prohibiting unlawful assembly in the area.

“The actual plan was that farmers and fishermen from across the area will come together at the project site. But that did not happen unfortunately,” Ms. Patil said.

There was hardly any participation from other villages such as Niveli, Karel, etc.

The protesters said they planned to launch ‘Chipko movement‘ in the region from next week to block the movement towards the plant site.

IANS, AND The Hindu

Centre seeks dismissal of petitions against KNPP


English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PTI / Tuesday, June 12, 2012 20:22 IST

Asserting that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant belonged to the “highest safety category” of plants currently in operation in the world, the Centre on Tuesday sought dismissal of petitions in the Madras High Court against the Rs 14,000 crore Indo-Russian project.

In a joint counter-affidavit to a batch of petitions, the Department of Atomic Energy and Atomic Energy Commission said no technological endeavour was free from certain amount of risk, but assured that the authorities were fully prepared to meet and face any eventuality at the KNPP in Tamil Nadu.

The affidavit said since the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), empowered to enforce safety provisions under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, in all the DAE units, had been doing this in a very transparent and effective manner there was no need for fresh review of KNPP.

A high-level committee of the AERB for review and safety of nuclear power plants in the country in the light of Fukoshima accident in Japan had submitted its report and implementation of the recommendations were being pursued with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

NPCIL suggestions would be taken into account while giving clearance for subsequent commissioning of stages, as applicable, the affidavit said.

It said the 1000 MW each KNPP reactors 1 & 2 “are categorised as Generation III Plus plants meaning thereby have the latest safety features.”

The Chernobyl and Fukoshima mishaps were no doubt among the worst calamities but, KNPP had been designed in such a manner that similar disasters could not happen, it said adding it was also well protected from a possible tsunami or other disasters.

Besides, there was a full fledged ‘Crisis Management Group’, responsible to lay down guidelines, policy and procedures to be followed to meet any eventuality, it said.

Stating that already over Rs 14,000 crore had been spent on the project as on October 31 last, it said any temporary stoppage of work would result in a colossal wastage of national funds and resources.

The petitioners cannot assume and presume and indulge in wild imaginations as if everything was going to be disastrous,the counter said.

The fact that the petitioners made no representation of any kind in the last 22 years during the construction of the KNPP ‘is evident to prove the writ petition is purely a publicity oriented litigation’, the counter said and sought its dismissal with exemplary costs.

The plant had faced stiff opposition from locals on safety grounds. After remaining stalled, work on its commissioning resumed in March last after the state government gave its nod.

Mehdi Hassan- A voice that knew no border


Ziya us Salam

  • The man and his music: Mehdi Hassan went from dhrupad, through thumri to ghazal and popular film music, retaining the purity of the medium until the end.
    PTI The man and his music: Mehdi Hassan went from dhrupad, through thumri to ghazal and popular film music, retaining the purity of the medium until the end.
  • Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan. Photo: Special Arrangement
    Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan. Photo: Special Arrangement

Mehdi Hassan, the icon who mesmerised ghazal lovers in Pakistan and India

Mehdi Hassan, who died in a Karachi hospital on Wednesday after a prolonged illness, will be remembered for bringing Indians and Pakistanis together in a shared passion for his songs of unrequited love.

Hassan, 84, died of multiple organ failure at the Aga Khan hospital, where he had been admitted a few days ago.

Known as the Ghazal King, Mehdi Hassan was a Pakistani. But to say he belonged only to Pakistan is like saying the legend of Heer Ranjha is Pakistani. The roots of Mehdi Hasan’s music, which inspired generations of ghazal singers in India, lay in the ancient tradition of dhrupad. A representative of the 16th generation of the Kalavant clan, Mehdi Hassan went from dhrupad, through thumri to ghazal and popular film music, retaining the purity of the medium until the end. Hindustani classical music pre-dates the Partition of India; it stems from the soul of the subcontinent and it is to this shared past that he belonged.

His own family roots were in Rajasthan. He may have made his home in Pakistan but Rajasthan stayed with him. It was like love across the salt desert. And he made no secret of it. His concerts almost always featured Kesariya Balam, the timeless Rajasthani ode to the vastness of the desert. And his voice, especially in his classic Ranjish hee sahee conveyed the loneliness of a companion left behind in the desert.

He sought that lost companionship whenever he visited India. He was a good friend of legendary classical vocalist Pandit Mani Prasad, whose disciple Jitender Singh Jamwal told The Hindu that the two always conversed in Rajasthani.

“Once about 15 years ago he came to Delhi on the invitation of a business family. As soon as he arrived he called up my Guruji and insisted he come. When a few of us disciples and Guruji arrived at the venue, there were some 600-700 people there and the concert was on. We found a place on the far left side. Khan sahib turned towards Guruji, saying, ‘Ab sangeet hoga, kyon ki sunnewale aaye hain (The real listener has come)’.”

The ghazal maestro, overcome by nostalgia, had even once expressed a desire to be buried in his own village. When Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, he tried to facilitate Hassan’s home coming to Luna in Rajasthan where he was born. But even back then, he was too ill to travel and the plan had to be given up. Just a little before he passed away, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, offered to bear the medical expenses of the star.

His music retained an Indianness throughout. Contrary to the Islamic injunction against prostration, Mehdi Hassan often gave blessings to upcoming singers who sought them by touching his feet. He was steeped in the traditions of his music gharana. That tradition was paramount for him, not any religious dictate.

Mehdi Hassan often sang the compositions of Delhi’s resident poet Mirza Ghalib besides Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mir Taqi Mir. His Urdu was untouched by any regional accent and stayed true to the true spirit of the language.

Pakistan’s Army generals, its civilian connoisseurs of Faiz’s revolutionary poetry; ghazal fans in India – he was loved by them all. If a fringe political element in India sought to reduce him to mere nationality, even calling for a ban on his concerts in this country, there were others more sensible, like the filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and the poet Gulzar who saw him as an icon that could not be appropriated by any nation.

“Like the light of the sun, the direction of the wind, he cannot, and should not be limited to one country. Woh saari kayanat ke sitare thhe. He was the star of the universe,” said Gulzar.

A few years ago when the maestro was ailing, Gulzar composed a couplet to him: Ankhon ko visa nahin lagta, sapno ki sarhad hoti nahin, bund ankhon se roz chala jaata hun sarhad paar main milne Mehdi Hassan se.

“People like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mehdi Hassan, Lata Mangeshkar cannot be classified by their nationality,” he said.

Among his well-wishers in India was the noted ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, who passed away earlier this year. He had volunteered to foot the hospital expenses of the ailing ghazal exponent.

Bhatt said: “Let’s not fragment his memory. Like Iqbal could be a poet of Pakistan but he is still sung in our schools for Saare Jahan se Achcha, Mehdi Hassan belonged to all of us.”

To Bhatt, Gulzar, Singh, and indeed to millions of his fans across the world, Mehdi Hassan was an artiste who transcended boundaries. His music had a certain universality that defied local specifics. A couple of years ago, Lata Mangeshkar and Mehdi Hassan collaborated for an album. Called “Sarhadein,” the two legends sang a duet “Tera milana.” Mehdi Hassan composed the song and recorded it in Pakistan. Lata recorded her part in India.

 

On such delicious ironies spread the life and times of Mehdi Hassan, who was almost lost to a bicycle shop where he once had to work to make ends meet. The ghazal legend who did not have a sani (peer) to match his craft in the Indian Subcontinent, then had a stopover at a tractor mechanic shop, before finally answering his true calling.

Many years later, during a concert tour, he repaired a harmonium which had been damaged in transit. He joked to the audience: “I was an auto mechanic once and assembled tractor engines. Assembling a harmonium is child’s play.”

In Pakistan he came into the limelight in the early 1950s when he sang Gulon mein rung bharey baad-e-naubahar chaley by Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

His elder brother, Ghulam Qadir, composed that ghazal and Hafeez Hoshiarpuri’s Mohabbat karnewale kum na honge, which became synonymous with his concerts across India.

Mehdi Hassan has left behind countless fans grieving with those same words he made famous, Ranjish hee sahee…dil hi dukhane key liye aa, words that, alas, seem to epitomise the whole relationship between India and Pakistan.

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