SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 177 January 2017
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)


INSAF wishes its readers a Happy 2017! Hang in there, comrades, the ride may get a bit rougher, but we will have one another!

EDITORIAL: CASHLESS SOCIETY AND CLUELESS PATRIOTISM

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Narendra Modi’s recent acknowledgement that the aim of demonetization is to usher in a “cashless society” is a tacit admission of the fact that the goal is to greatly expand the fledgling financial product industry of credit cards, e-wallets, paytms and more and thus divert more resources from the pockets of the great masses of the poor to add to the fortunes of those atop this sector. For example, in every transaction of Re. 100, the aam aadmi will now have to lose Re. 2.50 or so paid as “transaction” fees to those who issue the plastic cards or their electronic equivalents. Considering that almost 90% of transactions in the Indian economy were carried out in cash, converting even a fraction to cashless forms is guaranteed to generate a bonanza for current and future cronies of Modi who stand to prosper from his risky diktat even as the masses suffer and the economy itself declines in the interim. This upward redistribution of resources, while shedding crocodile tears for the state of the poor, is the hallmark of Modi’s economic policies. Read more…

DEMONETIZATION: THE MOTHER OF ALL DISRUPTIONS

Jean Drèze

 

The tremendous power of the software industry in India may help explain why the disruptive effects of demonetisation are being taken lightly. Read more…

PRESS RELEASE: Kashmir Concerned Citizens’ Collective

SRINAGAR, December 16: The Concerned Citizens’ Collective team that visited Kashmir from 12 to 16 December 2016, expressed deep dismay to observe that the people of the Kashmir valley have been entirely abandoned by their central and state governments, in this time of their great suffering. The only face of government that the people of the Valley encounter is of a repressive security establishment, they declared. Read more…

‘CASHLESS? THAT’S A JOKE’

Bashaarat Masood, Kuwar Singh

 

Lanura, with a population of around 1,500, has only six shops — a chemist and five grocers. None of the shopkeepers has a card machine or has ever used Net banking. Read more…

PAKISTAN: UNION LEADERS LAMENT STRIPPING LABOUR ADVISER OF HIS POWERS

Leaders of trade unions and labour associations lamented on Tuesday that provincial labour adviser Saeed Ghani, on court orders, had been restrained by the government from exercising any executive authority in the affairs of the Sindh Employees’ Social Security Institution (SESSI). Read more…

BANK ‘GANDHIGIRI’, CASHLESS HARA-KIRI IN MARATHWADA

P. Sainath

 

A farmer in Nagur holds up an extract of his loan account from the credit cooperative society; further interest of 2-4 per cent gets added at the level of the societies. Read more…

PROMOTING ANTI-SCIENCE VIA TEXTBOOKS

Pervez Hoodbhoy

 

A biology textbook is normally expected to teach biology as science, meaning a scientifically based study of the structure, growth and origin of living things. But what if such a book instead says science must follow ideology and loudly denounces the core principles of biology, condemning these as wrong and irrational? Read more…

FAITH, DISSENT AND EXTREMISM: HOW BANGLADESH IS STRUGGLING TO STAY SECULAR

Samia Huq

 

The recent violent attacks on a Hindu temple in Bangladesh’s Netrokona district, and previous assaults on temples and homes in October in Brahmanbaria are a troubling illustration of Bangladesh’s struggle to protect two of its fundamental values: secularism and pluralism. Read more…

NEPAL: A COSTLY CONSTITUTION

Anurag Acharya

 

Crucial issues ignored in the debate over the constitution will create faultlines in Nepali politics once it’s passed. Read more…

PAKISTAN’S SECTARIAN CONUNDRUM

Umar Riaz

 

Samuel P. Huntington in his celebrated theory of the Clash of Civilisations declared in 1996 that the Islamic Civilisation has bloody borders and ‘bloody innards’. Sectarianism embodies those bloody innards within the body of Islam. Almost all current religious schools of thought and denominations are universal in theory and sectarian in practice. They might be exclusive or inclusive, but there is none which is not distinctive or not possessive of its group identity. In our country, the sectarian fault lines are too deep, fissures too vast and consensus on exclusion too solid. These sectarian faiths have political, social and violent capital at their disposal and they wield all three, or any one, depending upon the situation. Read more…

REAL CAPITALISM: TURBULENT AND ANTAGONISTIC, BUT NOT IMPERFECT

Michael Roberts

 

A review of Anwar Shaikh, Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises (Oxford University Press, 2016), £35.99 Read more…

Top