Fight the ban, expose the slander

Fight the ban by the Government of the film “India’s Daughter,” and expose the slander against film-maker Leslee Udwin (a curious case of convergence between Hindutva and people who should know better).

Read N. Ram’s comprehensive analysis of the case today, Parvathi Menon’s interview with Leslee Udwin, and Jason Burke’s exceptional 2013 article on the issue:

pdf icon NRam-NoLegToStandOn.pdf
pdf icon ParvathiMenon-InterviewWithLesleeUdwin.pdf
pdf icon JasonBurke-HowIndiasOtherHalfLives-2013.pdf

Work in the new “sharing economy”

“These are not jobs, jobs that have any future, jobs that have the possibility of upgrading; this is contingent, arbitrary work…It might as well be called wage slavery in which all the cards are held, mediated by technology, by the employer…”

Despite its ambivalent title (“In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty”), this New York Times article by Natasha Singer gives useful insights into current trends in the labour market in the United States today.

The article is at

From the New Left Review: “Unexpected Cuba”

From the Introduction to an important new article by Emily Morris:

“What is the verdict on Cuba’s economy, nearly a quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet bloc? The story generally told is a simple one, with a clear message.…After the dissolution of the Comecon trading bloc, U.S. Cuba watchers were confident that the state-socialist economy faced imminent collapse. “Cuba needs shock therapy—a speedy shift to free markets,’ they declared. The restoration of capitalism on the island was ‘inevitable’; delay would not only hamper economic performance but would inflict grave human costs and discredit Cuba’s social achievements. Given his stubborn refusal to embark on a course of liberalization and privatization, Fidel Castro’s ‘final hour’ had at last arrived.

“The problem with this account is that reality has conspicuously failed to comply with its predictions…”

Read the whole article at

(via Deepak Kumar)

“Notes on a Death: The Real Tragedy of Mohsin Shaikh”

Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph

“…We should remember that Mohsin’s death was the epicentre of a larger ripple of violence. The Times of India reported that rioters attacked mosques and madrasas both in Pune and in Solapur, Satara and Raigarh. There were reports of attacks on Muslim bakeries and Muslim neighbourhoods.

“Why is this important? It’s important because one of the things we should be alert about in the aftermath of a decisive and divisive election is the way in which the result is received by political extremists and the thuggish fringe. In the wake of the BJP’s sweeping win, in the new world of the Modi sarkar, are violent Hindutvavadi sectarians testing the waters to see what they can get away with?”

Full story at the following link:

Counterview: Senior journalist who broke fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh “sent” to Dhanbad in “punishment posting”


With Brazil 2014 now in sight…

A philosophy Professor’s slightly over-written, but still very readable, essay on football and Liverpool:

A do-read tribute to Uruguayan football (and apologia for Luis Suárez):

And thirdly, “The Beautiful Language”:  a lovely title for an article on the vocabulary of football in Brazil, on “nicknames, analogy and lore.” What do they mean — cow-dribble, lettuce hands, chicken, flannel, “where the owl sleeps,” “by the smell of the mortadella” – or where does the name Galinho come from?

A new biography of Eleanor Marx

A new biography of Marx’s daughter: Eleanor Marx: A Life, by Rachel Holmes.

From the review by Lisa Jardine in the Financial Times:

“Eleanor was a more agitprop version of the bookish Karl. She led striking dock workers and gas workers, organising their emerging unions’ activities and joining their demonstrations. She ghosted any number of articles and manifestos for male union leaders and political activists. She addressed a crowd of 250,000 at the first May Day rally in London and toured the U. S., speaking out against the conditions of manual labourers.

“Intellectually, what she brought of her own to the political arena was a vision that incorporated the rights of women. As she wrote in 1886 in The Woman Question, ‘For women, as for the labouring classes, no solution of the difficulties and problems that present themselves is really possible in the present condition of society.’”

Full review at

The promise of BJP obscurantism

BJP Manifesto promise:

“We will start integrated courses for Indian System of Medicine (ISM) and modern science and Ayurgenomics.”

Science blogger at on “Ayurgenomics”:

“Every so often, I come across something in the world of woo that leaves my jaw dangling from its joint in utter astonishment that anyone could think such a thing was a good idea. Sometimes these things are investigations into various paranormal phenomena. Sometimes, it’s the latest anti-science denialist screed from a creationist. Other times, it’s a contortion of science so egregious that I can’t believe anyone would actually do it – or that anyone would actually mistake that woo for good science.

This time around, it’s genomics that’s being abused.”

 “…Why it is necessary to use a religion-based system in order to ascertain information about a patient’s body habitus, familial characteristics, ethnicity, and other traits relevant to disease, I don’t know… ”

Read the excellent full blog at:

Santana Mondal, Symbol of Courage

Santana Mondal, Dalit woman agricultural worker, who suffered grievous injuries when she was attacked on May 6 by Trinamul Congress goons:

“Why should I be afraid of anyone? My sister and I work so that our families can live. We don’t have to bow before anyone.”

“You will burn my house, I will sleep in the open. What will you do? You will kill us all, but how many will you kill, there are still many more who will hold the flag.”

60th Anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory

May 7 was the 60th anniversary of the victory of the Vietnamese people against the French colonial army.

One of Vietnam’s last surviving veterans of the battle of Dien Bien Phu recounts with pride the day in May 1954 when, aged 19, he captured General Castries, commander of the French colonial forces…who “put his hands in the air and said ‘Don’t shoot — I surrender.’”

“‘Would you like two atomic bombs?’ These are the words that a senior French diplomat remembered US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles asking the French Foreign Minister, Georges Bidault, in April 1954. The context of this extraordinary offer was the critical plight of the French army at Dien Bien Phu.”

Photographs from the 60th anniversary commemoration events:

Still more smoke and mirrors from the Gujarat model

The Chiranjeevi Yojana programme in Gujarat claims to reduce infant and maternal deaths in rural India by encouraging mothers to deliver in private hospitals.

The programme “received the Wall Street Journal Asian Innovation Award in 2006 and has been hailed by some as a model for wide adoption throughout India.”

Narendra Modi’s website has a page on the scheme (, which, it claims, was a “massive success.”

Not quite.

A Duke University study published in 2013 found the programme “has been unsuccessful, despite the investment of more than $25 million since 2005.”

The research team “found no statistically significant change in the probability of delivery in health care institutions, the probability of obstetric complications or the probability that physicians or nurses were present during childbirth.”

The researchers were “surprised to find, as well, that even among those who delivered at health care facilities there were no significant reductions in households’ out-of-pocket expenditures for deliveries.”

Research article from the Bulletin of the World Health Organization here:

Article titled “Maternal Health Program In India Failing To Deliver, Study Shows” on the website of the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, here:


via NR


“The Dangerous Compromises of a Harvard Professor”

Vijay Prashad on the candidature and allies of Sugata Bose, Trinamul Congress candidate from Jadavpur constituency.

N. Ram: “We need to talk about this Manifesto”

What does the failure to present a serious Manifesto this time mean for the party that hopes to lead the next government?

The Sangh Parivar has a “well-known repertoire of core issues: the concept of Hindutva; the project of building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya (on the grave of the Babri Masjid); the abrogation of Article 370, which confers a special constitutional status on Jammu & Kashmir; coming up with a Uniform Civil Code; banning religious conversions, cow slaughter, and so forth.”

The author writes: “It would be naïve to think that the failure of the BJP to come up with a serious Manifesto in time…means the side-lining of core Hindutva in the event of the NDA forming the next government. Recent developments, including the Parivar’s highly communal campaign in Uttar Pradesh and Amit Shah’s inflammatory rhetoric are intimations that the BJP, the most prominent member of the family of Hindutva organisations, is not about to change its spots.”

Right on target.

Read the article at

Left Candidate Wins El Salvador Elections

The winning candidate and new President, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, was “an important commander of Marxist guerrilla forces which fought against a series of extreme right wing, military-dominated governments supported by the United States.” His running mate for vice president, Oscar Ortiz, is “the popular mayor of the city of Santa Tecla, and was a member of the same guerilla group as Sanchez Ceran during the civil war.”

(The article below was written after votes were counted, but before El Salvador’s election tribunal ratified Salvador Sanchez Ceren’s victory.)

Black Panther Eddie Conway, free after 44 years

From People’s World:

“After serving nearly 44 years for a crime he did not commit, Marshall Eddie Conway finally walked out of the Maryland House of Corrections, March 4, a free man.”