Monday, May 3, 2010

Dimdim Event Widget

Dimdim Event Widget

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Naxalite Movement

For someone who knows not a word:

Naxalism, which started as a small uprising led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal against the landlords who got the peasants attacked in West Bengal's Naxalbari village, has gradually grown into a massive mass movement engulfing around 180 of India's 626 districts.

And presently, Naxal violence is more rampant in more than seven states. It starts from Andhra Pradesh and runs through Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Maharashtra. This stretch has been termed as the 'Red Corridor.'

The incident that had sparked the Naxal movement was started on May 25, 1967 by Communist Party of India (Marxist) and was headed by Charu Mazumdar and others. The CPI (M) was greatly impressed by the philosophies of Mao Zedong, a Chinese national, and propagated and practiced his ideologies.

Later, Charu spread the Naxal movement through his write-ups of which the 'Historic Eight Documents' became the bedrock of Naxal ideology.

The main premise of the Naxals was the upliftment of the poor peasants and they wanted the land tiller to be the land owners. But with time, the list of their demands kept growing.

Now, following are the main demands:

A democratic atmosphere should be created in the State. The government should respect people's right to fight for their democratic demands.

Implement reforms in the agricultural sector like Land Ceiling Act.

Implement policies of industrialisation and other schemes based on local resources in place of the liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation policies being followed now.

Recognise the tribal people's rights on forest.

Form a separate Telangana State.

Cessation of atrocities on Dalits.

Recover money from the affluent who evade taxes.

Naxals never had a peaceful approach to attain their demands. They often resorted to violence. It's an irony that they soon started following what they had set out to crush--atrocities. Available statistics reveal horrific picture.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, following are numbers of people killed by the Naxals.

1996: 156 deaths
1997: 428 deaths
1998: 270 deaths
1999: 363 deaths
2000: 50 deaths
2001: more than 100 deaths
2002: 140 deaths
2003: 451 deaths
2004: more than 500 deaths
2005: 892 deaths
2006: 749 deaths
2007: 384 deaths

According to various sources, it is believed that more than 6,000 people have been killed in the Naxal violence in the last twenty years. That's the reason why the govt has finally woken up to the Naxal threat and has described it as the greatest threat to India's internal security.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chipko Movement (Source: Wikipedia)

The Chipko movement or Chipko Andolan (literally "to stick" in Hindi) is a socio-ecological movement that practised the Gandhian methods of satyagraha and non-violent resistance, through the act of hugging trees to protect them from being felled. The modern Chipko movement started in the early 1970s in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, with growing awareness towards rapid deforestation. The landmark event in this struggle took place on March 26, 1974, when a group of female peasants in Reni village, Hemwalghati, in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India, acted to prevent the cutting of trees and reclaim their traditional forest rights that were threatened by the contractor system of the state Forest Department, and transpired hundreds of such grassroot level actions, throughout the region. By the 80s, the movement spread throughout India, and led to formulation of people sensitive forest policies and stopping of open felling of trees in regions as far reaching as Vindhyas and the Western Ghats.

The first recorded event of Chipko however, took place in village Khejarli, Jodhpur district, in 1730 AD, when 363 Bishnois, led by Amrita Devi sacrificed their lives while protecting green Khejri trees, considered sacred by the community, by hugging them, and braved the axes of loggers sent by the local ruler, today it is seen an inspiration and a precursor for Chipko movement of Garhwal.

The Chipko movement, though primarily a livelihood movement rather than a forest conservation movement, went on to become a rallying point for many future environmentalists, environmental protests and movements the world over and created a precedent for non-violent protest, It occurred at a time when there was hardly any environmental movement in the developing world, and its success meant that the world immediately took notice of this non-violent Tree hugging movement, which was to inspire in time, many such eco-groups, helped in slowing down the rapid deforestation, exposed vested interests, increased ecological awareness, and demonstrate the viability of people power. Above all, it stirred up existing civil society in India like never before, which started looking towards tribal, and marginalized people and their issues like never before. So much so that, quarter a century later, India Today mentioned, the people behind the "forest satyagraha" of the Chipko movement, as amongst "100 people who shaped India". Today, beyond the eco-socialism hue, it is being seen increasingly as an ecofeminism movement, as though many of its leaders were men, women were not just its backbone, but also its mainstay, because they were the ones most affected by the rampant deforestation, leading to lack of firewood and fodder as well as water of drinking and irrigation. Over the years they also became primary stakeholders in majority of the afforestation work that happened under the Chipko movement.


The Himalayan region had always been exploited for its natural wealth, be it minerals or timber, including by the British. The end of the nineteenth century saw implementation of new approaches in forestry, coupled with reservation of forests for commercial forestry, causing disruption in the age-old symbiotic relationship between the natural environment and the rural peasant, both in Kumaon and Garhwal. The few peasant protests that arose during this period were crushed severely. Notable protests in 20th century, were that of 1906, followed by the 1921 protest which was linked with then independence movement imbued with Gandhian ideologies, the 1940s was again marked with a series of protests in Tehri Garhwal region.

Post-independence period, when waves of a resurgent India were hitting even the far reaches of India, the landscape of upper Himalayan region was only slowly changing, and largely remained inaccessible. But all this was to change soon, when an important event in the environmental history of the Garhwal region occurred in the India-China War of 1962, in which India faced heavy losses. Though, the region was not involved in the war directly, the government wisened by its losses and war casualties, took rapid initiatives to secure its borders, set up army bases, build road network, deep into the upper reaches of Garhwal, on India’s border with Chinese-ruled Tibet, an area which was till now all but cut off from the rest of nation. However with construction of roads, and subsequent developments also came mining projects for limestone, magnesium, and potassium, timber merchants and commercial forestry which now had access to forests inaccessible till now.

Soon, the forest cover started deteriorating at an alarming rate, resulting in hardships in labour intensive fodder and firewood collection. This also led to a deterioration in the soil conditions, and soil erosion in the area as the water sources dried up in the hills, and water shortages became rampant. Subsequently, communities gave up the raising livestock, adding to the problems of malnutrition in the region. This crisis was heightened by the fact that Forest conservation policies, like Indian Forest Act, 1927, traditionally restricted the access of local communities to the forests, resulting in scarce farmlands, in an over populated and extremely poor area, despite all its natural wealth. Thus the sharp decline in the local agrarian economy, lead to migration of people into the plains, looking for jobs, which created several de-populated villages in the 1960s.

Gradually a rising awareness about the ecological crisis, which arose from an immediate loss of livelihood caused by it, resulted in initial activism sparks in the region. Starting in 1964 with the establishment of Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS) (“Dasholi Society for Village Self-Rule” ), set up by Gandhian social worker, Chandi Prasad Bhatt in Gopeshwar, and inspired Jayaprakash Narayan and the Sarvodaya movement, with an aim to set up small industries using the resources of the forests, their first project was a small workshop making farm tools for local use. Its name was later changed to Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS) from original Dasholi Gram Swarajya Mandal (DGSM) in the 1980s. Here they had to face the restrictive forest policies, a hangover of colonial era still prevalent and on top of it the "contractor system", in which these pieces of forest land were commodified and auctioned to big contractors, usually from the plains, who brought along their own skilled and semiskilled laborers, leaving only the menial jobs like hauling rocks for the hill people, which paid next meagrely. On the other hand, hill regions saw an influx of new population, which added to already strained ecological balance and cracks started showing everywhere.

Hastened by increasing hardships, the Garhwal Himalayas soon became centre rising social ecological awareness against reckless deforestation which had denuded much of forest cover, which eventually resulted in the devastating Alaknanda River floods, in July 1970, when a major landslide blocked the river, and effected an area starting from Hanumanchatti, near Badrinath to 350 km downstream till Haridwar, further numerous villages, bridges and roads were washed away. Thereafter incidences of landslides and land subsidence became a common feature in an area which was experiencing rapid civil construction.

Soon villagers, especially women had started organizing themselves under several smaller groups, taking up local causes with the authorities, and standing up against commercial logging operations that threatened their livelihoods. In October 1971, the Sangh workers held a demonstration in Gopeshwar to protest against the policies of the Forest Department. More rallies and marches were held in late 1972, but to little effect, that is when the decision to take direct action was taken, and first such occasion arrived when the Forest Department turned down the Sangh’s annual request for ten ash trees for its farm tools workshop, and instead a awarded contract for 300 trees to Simon Company, a sports good manufacturer in distant Allahabad, to make Tennis rackets. In March 1973, the lumberers arrived at Gopeshwar, and after a couple of weeks, they were confronted at village Mandal on April 24, 1973, where about hundred villagers and DGSS workers beating drums and shouting slogans, forced the contractors and their lumberers to retreat. This was the first confrontation of the movement, and finally the contract was cancelled and awarded to the Sangh instead. Though by now, the issue had enlarged from procuring the annual quota of three ash trees, and encompassed a growing concern over the commercial logging, and forest policy of the government, which the villagers saw as unfavourable towards them. The Sangh also decided to resort to hugging the tree, Chipko as a mechanism of non-violent protest.

But the struggle was far from over, as the same company was awarded more ash trees, in the Phata forest, 80 km away from Gopeshwar. Here again, due to local opposition, starting 20 June 1973, the contractors retreated after a stand off that lasted a few days. Thereafter the villagers of Phata and Tarsali, formed a vigil group and watched over the trees till December, when they had another successful stand-off, when the activists reached the site in time, and the lumberers retreated leaving behind the five ash trees felled.

The final flash point began few months, when the government announced an auction scheduled in January 1974, for 2,500 trees near Reni village, overlooking the Alaknanda River. Bhatt set out for the villages in the Reni area, and enraged the villagers, decided to protested against the move of the government by hugging the trees, over the next few weeks, rallies and meeting continued in the Reni area, and the villagers were prepared for the stand-off.

On March 26, 1974, the day the lumberers were to axe the trees, the men of the Reni village, and DGSS workers, were in Chamoli, diverted by state government and contractors to a fictional compensation payment site, while back home labourers arrived a truckload to the start logging operations.Finally when a girl on seeing them rush to inform Gaura Devi, the head of the village Mahila Mangal Dal, at Reni village (Laata was her ancestral home and Reni adopted home). Gaura Devi led 27 women of Reni village, reached the site and confronted the loggers. When all talking failed, and instead loggers started shouting and abusing the women, threatening them with guns, the women resorted to hugging the trees to stop the them from being axed. This went on into late hours, and the women kept a whole night vigil guarding their trees from the cutters, till a few of them relented and left the village. The next day, when with the men and leaders back, the news of the movement spread to the neighbouring Laata and others villages also Henwalghati, and more people joined in. Eventually only after a four-day stand off, the contractors left.

The news reached the state capital, and then state Chief Minister, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, set up a committee to look into the issue which eventually, ruled in the favour of the villagers [8]. This then became a turning point in the history of eco-development struggles in the region and also across the world.

The struggle soon spread across many parts of the region, and such spontaneous stand-offs between the local community and timber merchants occurred at several locations, with hill women demonstrating their new-found power as non-violent activists. As the movement gathered shape under its leaders, the name Chipko Movement got attached to their activities. As per Chipko historians, the term originally used by Bhatt was the Garhwali lanaguge word, "angalwaltha", or embrace, which later adapted to Hindi word, Chipko, which means to stick.

Subsequently, over the next five years the movement spread to many districts of region, and within a decade throughout the Uttarakhand Himalayas. Larger issues of ecological and economic exploitation of the region were raised. The villagers demanded that no forest-exploiting contracts should be given to outsiders and local communities should have effective control over natural resources like land, water and forests. They wanted the government to provide low cost materials to small industries and ensure development of the region without disturbing the ecological balance. The movement took up economic issues of landless forest workers and asked for guarantees of minimum wage. Globally Chipko demonstrated a clear link between environment concerns till now considered a luxury of the rich, in a new perspective as a matter of life and death for the poor, always the first ones to be devastated by an environmental tragedy, and several scholarly studies were made in the backdrop of the movement. In 1977, in another area, women tied a sacred threads, Rakhi, around trees earmarked for felling, in a Hindu tradition which signifies a bond between brother and sisters.

Women’s active participation in the Chipko agitation was a very novel aspect of the movement. The forest contractors of the region usually doubled up as suppliers of alcohol to men. Women held sustained agitations against the habit of alcoholism and broadened the agenda of the movement to cover other social issues. The movement achieved a victory when the government issued a ban on felling of trees in the Himalayan regions for fifteen years in 1980, by then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, until the green cover was fully restored. One of the prominent Chipko leaders, Gandhian Sunderlal Bahuguna took a 5,000 kilometre trans-Himalaya footmarch in 1981-83, spreading the Chipko message to a far greater area. Gradually, women set up cooperatives to guard local forests, and also organized fodder production at rates condusive to local environment. Next, they joined in land rotation schemes for fodder collection, helped replant degraded land, and established and ran nurseries stocked with species they select.

One of Chipko's most salient features was the mass participation of female villagers. As the backbone of Uttarakhand's agrarian economy, women were most directly affected by environmental degradation and deforestation, and thus connected the issues most easily. How much this participation impacted or derived from the ideology of Chipko, has been fiercely debated in academic circles.


One of Chipko's most salient features was the mass participation of female villagers. As the backbone of Uttarakhand's agrarian economy, women were most directly affected by environmental degradation and deforestation, and thus connected the issues most easily. How much this participation impacted or derived from the ideology of Chipko, has been fiercely debated in academic circles.

Despite this, both female and male activists did play pivotal roles in the movement including Gaura Devi, Sudesha Devi, Bachni Devi, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Sundarlal Bahuguna, Govind Singh Rawat, Dhoom Singh Negi, Shamsher Singh Bisht and Ghanasyam Raturi, the Chipko poet, whose songs echo throughout the Himalayas. Out of which, Chandi Prasad Bhatt was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1982, and Sundarlal Bahuguna was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1987, and Padma Vibhushan in 2009.

Module Two - Social Movements

Classical Collective Behaviour Theory:
  1. Collective behaviour is a unitary concept which is manifested in many ways. However, it can be understood by applying a single explanatory logic.
  2. Collective behaviour is seen as essentially non-institutional. It is very different from the patterns and rhythms of normal everyday life.
  3. Collective behaviour can be understood as a reaction to societal stress. Societal breakdown creates a state of anomie or normlessness - this triggers various other forms of collective behaviour.
  4. The discontentment and anxiety of individuals gets translated into a collective action.
  5. Collective behaviour is essentially psychological and not political in nature.
  6. Sometimes, collective behaviour can be dangerous, threatening, extreme or irrational.
All these assumptions were challenged by critics. Most critics do not agree that collective behaviour is a unitary concept.
There are several theorists who view collective behaviour through distinct conceptual frame-works.
  • Symbolic Interactionism: It emphasizes the active and creative role of individuals in symbolically defining the world and selecting courses of action within that world. It gives importance to fluid and dynamic social processes and not the fixed and static social structures.
According to Herbert Blumer,
  1. People act towards things on the basis of the meanings the things have for them.
  2. These meanings arise out of social interactions.
  3. Meanings are created, sustained and transformed through an ongoing interpretive process.
Collective Behaviour refers to forms of group activity that are not regulated by social rules or common understandings but are spontaneous, unregulated and unstructured. Movements begin as amorphous, poorly organized, and formless although they may develop into virtual mini-societies with many of the features of complex organizations.
General social movements -> Vague, Indefinite, Unorganized manifestations of broad cultural trends.
Specific social movements -> Well-defined goals, Explicit organization, Designated Social leaders, A Division of Labour, a very distinct we-feeling. They develop through distinct mechanisms:
Agitation provides arousal + direction by translating inequality and powerlessness into action. Morale provides persistence and determination to a movement through a set of convictions and a faith in the rightness of the cause. Group ideology specifies the purpose of the movement and provides justifications for the movement's beliefs and myths.
A Specific Social Movement goes through the following stages -> Social Unrest, Popular Excitement, Formalization and Institutionalization.
Blumer also describes Revolutionary, Reform and Expressive Movements based on the degree and locus of changes they seek in society.

According to Turner and Killian,
  1. Collective behaviour is the spontaneous development of norms and organization that contradict those of the larger society.
  2. It is sparked by changes in the social organization, and especially by processes of social disintegration that provoke diverse individual reactions to critical unstructured situations.
  3. These diverse responses eventually give rise to new, emergent norms that develop through collective behaviour BUT this can happen only if there is some shared image of a better future and some we-feeling in the group.
  4. They believe that crowds do not just react to stimuli: they develop and interpret symbols to orient their action. It is an interactive and 'rational' process of communication that confers meanings on the environment and the crowd itself.
This theory emphasizes on communication and rationality. They also feel that movements follow a certain life-cyle and can become institutionalized if they have an ongoing function to perform and when they continue to benefit the members.
They classify movements as Value-Oriented Movements, Power-Oriented Movements and Participation-Oriented Movements. Value-oriented movements make promises of social betterment, and have a clear hierarchy of goals and there is some resonance with socially accepted values. Power-oriented movements are exemplified by control movements and their main goal is to dominate a larger group. They are often authoritarian in nature and are based on a belief that the end justifies the means. They may also take the form of separatist movements. The main purpose of Participation-Oriented Movements is member satisfaction and not external goals. Such movements may prepare people for the coming changes, provide status to their members, or foster personal goals.

  • Structural-Functionalism: Looks at society as a social system made up of different parts. Each of these parts must function independently and in relation to other parts to ensure the smooth functioning of society.
According to Smelser,
  1. Social movements was one type of collective behaviour alongside others such as panics, crazes and fads. All these types were considered spontaneous, short-lived, disorganized, and deviant behaviour.
  2. Participants in social movements subscribed to fundamentally irrational beliefs that short-circuited appropriate channels of social action.
According to Smelser, all collective behaviour emerged through an identical, value-added process of individually necessary and collectively sufficient steps.

Step 1: Structural Conduciveness which refers to a set of structural conditions that permits or encourages - but does not determine - some forms of collective behaviour.
Step 2: Structural Strain refers to ambiguities, conflicts, deprivations and discrepancies.
The existence of Strain with Conduciveness increases the likelihood of collective behaviour.
Step 3: Generalized beliefs that supply meanings, motivation and orientation to potential actors in collective behaviour.
Step 4: Precipitating Factors could refer to specific events or actions that provide direct catalysts for collective behaviour. These factors serve to condense the prior elements of conduciveness, strain and generalized beliefs into a potent manifestation of the problem that provokes collective behaviour.
Step 5: Actual Mobilization of participants for collective behaviour.
Step 6: Operation of Social Control which must be at least temporarily absent or disabled if the collective behaviour is to manifest itself fully.
An episode of collective behaviour may be read as signifying the relative absence of various social controls that might have precluded such an episode in a more smoothly functioning social system.
Collective behaviour emerges only when all 6 of these elements occur in conjunction with one another.
There are 5 forms of collective behaviour: panics, crazes, hostile outbursts, value-oriented movements and norm-oriented movements.

  • Relative Deprivation Theory which sees relative deprivation as the motivating force behind participation in collective behaviour.
Reference Groups are external groups to whom people refer in order to judge their own position. When people judge themselves as lacking resources enjoyed by their reference group, relative deprivation may be said to be present.
Absolutely deprived people or groups have the greatest incentive to engage in collective behaviour to change their situation.
According to the degradation thesis, people will revolt as their condition worsens.
According to the improvement thesis, people are more likely to revolt as they see their situations improving.
Davies - J-Curve Theory: When a prolonged period of social and economic development is followed by a sudden and sharp reversal, rebellion is most likely to occur. This is because people's expectations are shaped by the relatively long period of gradual improvement and they expect more improvement in the future. When this does not happen and people are not actually getting what they expect to receive, they are motivated to participate in collective behavior to alter their situation.

According to Geschwender,
  1. There is an image of a state of affairs that a person believes is possible to attain.
  2. There is a belief that he is entitled to that state of affairs.
  3. There is the knowledge that he is not currently enjoying those state of affairs.
Resource Mobilization Paradigm

  • Emerged in the 970s.
  • According to this perspective, social movements are an extension of politics by other means and can be analyzed in terms of conflict of interest just like other forms of political struggle.
  • Movements are seen as structured and patterned. Thus they can be analyzed in terms of organizational dynamics.
  • It views social movements as rational, normal, institutionally rooted.
  • It takes a distinct position on questions of recruitment, motivation and participation. Individuals are viewed as weighing the relative costs and benefits of movement participation and opting for participation when the potential benefits outweigh the anticipated costs.
  • There are two camps of the resource mobilization theory:
  1. Entrepreneurial Version
    >> Originators and Major Practitioners: Carthy and Zald.
    It argued that grievances cannot be a critical factor in generating social movements. It is group access to and control over the various resources that is necessary for social movement activism. They believe that aggregation of resources is crucial to social movement activity. This resource aggregation requires some minimal form of movement organization without which protest will not occur. The role of outside groups is often crucial in determining the flow of recipies of supply and demand as that influences the flow of resources toward or away from a given social movement organization. Finally, the involvement of both individuals and organizations in protest is best explained in terms of the balance of costs and rewards.
    This model blends economic + organizational theory to understand collective action.
  2. Political Version
    >>Tilly: Two models of collective action: The polity model
    describes a bounded population that is divided internally between polity members and challengers. Polity members have routine, low-cost access to power-holders while challengers must engage in collective action to have any influence. The mobilization model identifies the key elements involved in collective action:
    1st Element: Group Interests conceptualized as the gains and losses for a group resulting from its interaction with other groups.
    2nd Element: Organization and the highest degree of organization is possible when people of similar status interact intensively with one another.
    3rd Element: Mobilization which is a function of both the resources under group control and the probability that they will be delivered in an episode of collective action.
    4th Element: Opportunity which can be sub-divided into 3 components - repression/facilitation, power, and opportunity/threat.
    >>McAdam: In his political process model, the essential elements of collective action begin with the structure of political opportunities. While this factor is not under the control of the activists, it largely shapes their potential for success. Political opportunities improve when the power difference between authorities and challengers is less - this improves the bargaining position of the challengers. Indigenous organization strength is the second factor that shapes collective action. This internal factor is in control of the activists and is a product of interaction between members, leaders, incentives and communication. The third element involved is cognitive liberation. This refers to a change in group consciousness whereby potential protesters see the social order as not only illegitimate but also subject to change.
    It is the interaction of these three factors that shapes the emergence of social movements.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

symbolism in doll's house

neruda's poetic style

this is not a lot but it has references to neruda's style and surrealism.hope it will help you people:)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some notes I found useful on Requiem

This link is about the poem and the poet

This link is about might want to go through a little

This link is all about the poet......also unless you know how to read Russian....don't click on the "Requiem" Hyperlink in this's of no use.....

I'll put more on if I find....