Your Laughter by Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda


laughter

Poster by  Kamayani Bali Mahabal

 

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
… do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.

Pablo Neruda

 

‘India needs a fresh approach to health sector’


Amartya_Sen, Indian economist and Nobel prize ...

 

18 February 2013

 

statesman news service

 

KOLKATA, 18 FEB: The country needs a “completely fresh approach” to health care Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said today, as an over-reliance on the private sector and lack of commitment from the state means it has gone “really, badly wrong”.

 

At a press conference this evening at the Taj Bengal hotel in Alipore to round off two days of discussions as part of his Kolkata Group workshop ~  an annual brainstorming session on pressing social issues for policymakers and activists ~ Mr Sen said the state needs to express a commitment to universal health care for all.

 

This could come in the form of legislation setting out a right to health, along the lines of the Right to Education Act, he said, although this wouldn’t in itself solve everything. “It alone will not cure the problem, and it will not become a perfect right to health just through the declaration. A number of ancillary things have to happen, including greater allocation of public funds to health care, which are woefully poor now.”

 

While other countries are moving to spend more resources on healt care, India is “totally stationary,” he said. “India is an outlier. I mean very little government commitment on expenditure and delivery.”

 

He said there is also “a very nasty and costly misunderstanding” that private health care can step in to bridge any health services gaps. There are also problems with relying on private medical insurance as a model, he said, pointing to difficulties that some people have been getting coverage if they have pre-existing conditions. “The reliance on private health care and the illusion that that can solve the problem is a major issue,” he said. “No country has been able to have a transition from bad health to good health on the basis of private healthcare.”

 

There are many good doctors working in the country, Mr Sen said. But he also expressed concern over “lack of professionalism in the medical community,” a problem he says needs to be tackled.

 

Mr Sen and his colleagues at the Kolkata Group also issued a declaration based on the debates they have had over the last couple of days. It not only called attention to the “abysmal state of health care” in the country, but also “the slow and very limited progress in women’s rights that includes a host of inequities, insecurities, and injustices.”The group in its declaration called upon the government to “recognise the recommendations of the Justice J S Verma Committee Report promoting women’s bodily integrity, dignity, and sexual autonomy.”

 

 

#DeathPenalty Doesn’t Serve as Deterrent: Amartya Sen


.

Kolkata, Feb 7, 2013, Outlook
Amid the nationwide debate over giving rapists the death penalty, Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen is not in favour of capital punishment, saying it does not serve as a “deterrent” and “preventive function”.Sen at the same time said today he was not against “severe punishment” in critical cases.

In an oblique reference to the Delhi gangrape case, he said, “I am not for letting them (culprits) go.”

“Death sentences do not serve as a deterrent and its efficacy as a capital punishment is doubted based on empirical grounds and is not a preventive function,” Sen said addressing a seminar on ‘Realisation of Justice’ organised by the Calcutta High Court here.

Sen said, in India, awarding of death sentences was much lower than China where it was the highest in the world.

“In India, death sentences are awarded, but not executed except for recently in the case of Mumbai attacks,” he said.

“I am not against severe punishment in case of critical cases,” he added.

In the course of his lecture, he also referred to the Sanskrit play Mrichhakatika (The Little Clay Cart) where Charu Datta set the criminals free instead of punishing them.

“The play showed that tit-for-tat justice does not bring well to the world in the realms of prosperity, happiness and security for all,” Sen said.

 

Cash transfer may hurt girls and kids, says Amartya Sen #UID


SANDEEP JOSHI, The Hindu

Amartya Sen:

Amartya Sen: “We should not accept corruption on some fatalistic ground that this is the way things are in our country.”

Eminent economist and Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen has said the Union government’s cash transfer scheme can be a useful system to supplement other ways of making India a less unequal society, “but it is not a magic bullet, and its pros and cons have to be assessed and scrutinized with an open mind.”

In an interview to The Hindu, Dr. Sen said the modality of cash transfer is not the only issue “but also how much, and for whom, and also, instead of what?”

He sounded a note of caution in cash transfer of food subsidies, saying direct access to food often helps reaching nutrition to children and girls. But when the subsidy is given as cash directly it may benefit adults and boys more due to biased social priorities in Indian society.

Dr. Sen said the transition delays in cash transfer could cause extreme hardship to people, many of whom lead a hand-to-mouth existence.

 

Nobel Peace Prize Jury Under Investigation


By Karl Ritter, Associated Press

02 February 12

The nomination deadline for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize closed Wednesday amid renewed criticism that the award committee has drifted away from the selection criteria established by prize founder Alfred Nobel.

Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Cuban rights activists Oswaldo Paya and Yoani Sanchez are among the candidates who have been publicly announced by those who nominated them.

The secretive prize committee doesn’t discuss nominations – which have to be postmarked by Feb. 1 to be valid – but stresses that being nominated doesn’t say anything about a candidate’s chances.

Its choices often spark debate – the world rarely agrees on who’s most deserving of the $1.5 million award – but this year the committee is facing criticism even before the deliberations have begun.

Stockholm’s County Administrative Board – the authority that supervises foundations and trusts in the city – has formally asked the Nobel Foundation to respond to allegations that the peace prize no longer reflects the will of Nobel, a Swedish industrialist who died in 1896.

The move comes after persistent complaints by Norwegian peace researcher Fredrik Heffermehl, who claims the original purpose of the prize was to diminish the role of military power in international relations.

“Nobel called it a prize for the champions of peace,” Heffermehl told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “And it’s indisputable that he had in mind the peace movement, the movement which is actively pursuing a new global order … where nations safely can drop national armaments.”

Since World War II, especially, the prize committee, which is appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, has widened the scope of the prize to include environmental, humanitarian and other efforts.

For example, in 2007 the prize went to climate campaigner Al Gore and the U.N.’s panel on climate change, and in 2009 the committee cited President Barack Obama for “extraordinary efforts” to boost international diplomacy.

“Do you see Obama as a promoter of abolishing the military as a tool of international affairs?” Heffermehl asked rhetorically.

Nobel gave only vague guidelines for the peace prize in his 1895 will, saying it should honor “work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Geir Lundestad, the nonvoting secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, dismissed Heffermehl’s claims.

“Fighting climate change is definitely closely related to fraternity between nations. It even concerns the survival of some states,” he told AP.

Still, the county administrative board decided it was worth raising the matter with the Stockholm-based Nobel Foundation, which manages the prize assets.

“We have no basis to suggest that they haven’t managed it properly. But we want to investigate it,” said Mikael Wiman, a legal expert working for the county.

The board has an obligation to make sure Nobel’s will is respected, and has the authority to suspend the foundation’s decisions, going back a maximum of three years, if they do not, Wiman said, adding that such measures were highly unlikely.

“The prize committee must always adjust its rules to today’s society,” he said. “But peace work has to be at the core – it can’t deviate too much from that,” Wiman said.

The peace prize and the other five Nobel awards are always handed out Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

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