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   A Calendar of Resistance
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
15 Feb 2010

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Dissent strengthens democracy

At a time when opportunism is everything, when hope seems lost and when everything boils down to a sinister business deal, there emerges a ray of hope through collective dissent and peaceful resistance. It repeats itself often to lend belief in reclaiming justice, freedom and dignity. It makes common cause the driving force to understand how this big old machine called government works, by whom and for whom. It reinforces belief in democracy through an act of dissent.

The recent Bt Brinjal controversy has not only built upon the continuum of 'social resistance' but has reclaimed public space for enforcing decision in favor of larger public good. While one may not be convinced that public control by itself solves the problem but it sets the framework for transparency. Given the fact that we are operating in a risk culture where knowledge can never be certain or predictable, amplifying voices of teeming millions is critical to responsive governance. Without doubt, we need new notions of responsibility, accountability, prudence and propriety to bridge the public-private divide.

A Calendar of Resistance, a single point source for references on social movements, chronicles movements of all kinds - against social deprivation, against mindless development and against cultural oppression. The first-ever compilation of the kind will serve a primary research tool as well as an inspiration for furthering the work that has already taken place. More importantly, the book reflects that the silent majority has incredible energy to rewrite history. Such movements provide a glimmer of hope in an era when despondency is writ large on a majority. How we respond will determine the democracy of the future!

A Calendar of Resistance - Resource Book, Intercultural Resources, New Delhi, 120 pages, Price not quoted


 
 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
 
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

 
Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
Commentators
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Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
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