Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Friday, July 27, 2007

the invisible government

a telling speech/essay on the role of media over this century. by john pilger, a noted anti-war journalist and film maker.
while we here in india are slowly becoming aware of the commercial bias and bent of the likes of TOI and most others (except perhaps the hindu), the more damaging role that could be underway is exemplified in his critique.

In 1983 the principle global media was owned by 50 corporations, most of them
American. In 2002 this had fallen to just 9 corporations. Today it is probably
about 5. Rupert Murdoch has predicted that there will be just three global media
giants, and his company will be one of them.
Take the invasion of Iraq. There are two studies of the BBC's reporting. One
shows that the BBC gave just 2 percent of its coverage of Iraq to antiwar
dissent—2 percent....A second study by the University of Wales shows that in the
buildup to the invasion, 90 percent of the BBC's references to weapons of mass
destruction suggested that Saddam Hussein actually possessed them, and that by
clear implication Bush and Blair were right.
his experiences from vietnam and cambodia add to the argument

There were 649 reporters in Vietnam on March 16, 1968—the day that the My-Lai massacre happened—and not one of them reported it.
I've made a number of documentaries about Cambodia. The first was Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia 1. It describes the American bombing that provided the catalyst for the rise of Pol Pot. What Nixon and Kissinger had started, Pol Pot

he has also quoted from the 2005 nobel prize for literature winner, harold pinter's, acceptance speech. brilliant.

and some facts on the rapaciousness of the US is startling.

Last year a study published by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found
that since the invasion of Iraq 655, 000 Iraqis had died as a direct result of the invasion.
...what so few people know is that in the last half century, United States
adminstrations have overthrown 50 governments—many of them democracies. In the process, thirty countries have been attacked and bombed, with the loss of
countless lives.
this is a really long piece and requires time to just read, leave alone the time it would take to understand the depth. am also not finished.

1 the video is available here

Thursday, July 26, 2007

trickle down theory - finale post

i had written earlier on the trickle down theory here and here.

here is one more expert viewpoint on the same.
robert frank is writing from a taxation viewpoint. and it is an economist's argument. so expect theoretical fundas.

this is the last on the td theory series. enough has been said.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

garbage terrorism

brahmapuram - a village in kerala is at the receiving end of garbage terrorism.
the 'bin laden' in this case is bins laden with kochi city's garbage .

here is the whole story.
The stench emanating from the garbage for hours made the locals sick. Some
fainted; some others had severe headache and nausea. By evening 30 of them were hospitalised. Ignoring the peoples' protests, the Corporation continued dumping waste for five days on the site acquired for setting up the garbage treatment plant.

seriously, the idea of cleaning is actually only a transfer of dirt from one place to another. be in sweeping ones house or a whole city.
minimising garbage should/can be the solution.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

malnutrition deaths

i wrote on the musahars and the rate of malnutrition in their community some time ago here.

here are some scary news right from round the corner-in mumbai.
one child has died 'officially'.
this is the report on the entire city.
this comment is just incendiary.
State health officials also confirmed two additional cases of malnutrition,
terming the phenomenon as “common”.

here are more news articles on the same.
july 22, july 23, july 24 from TOI.

the ICDS concept was introduced in 1975 'to provide an integrated package of services in a convergent manner for the holistic development of the child.'
in the 32 years of their operations, they have barely gone beyond the surface. the world bank has a detailed report on nutrition status, current ICDS set up and how to improve the ICDS scheme. some startling highlights are:
1. The prevalence of underweight among children in India is amongst the highest in the world, and nearly double that of Sub-Saharan Africa. In 1998/99, 47 percent of children under three were underweight or severely underweight, and a further 26 percent were mildly underweight such that, in total, underweight afflicted almost three-quarters of Indian children.
2. The percentage of administrative blocks covered by ICDS has reached almost 90%.
However, the percentage of children who actually take services provided by the program is , by December 2002, only 25% of children aged between 6 months and 6 years, benefited from the supplementary nutrition component of ICDS.

there is still some hope. local innovations and some inspired policies/administrators are helping certain areas to take care of their children. our children.

Monday, July 23, 2007

nature fresh

these are 2 articles i got today. totally awesome stuff around organic farming and a zero pollution island.

sharma and andersen are new-age heroes who embody the the philosophy of 'oneness with nature'.
“Land,” says Sharma, “is the source of life for all creatures, and when you co-exist with them, all prosper. But when man arrogates everything to himself, he can’t survive either. Life, you see, sustains life.”

beautifully put and inspiring.
interestingly, each were driven by almost opposite needs - desperation and being challenged.
and more interestingly, these needs typically kill people.

man is also part of nature/life, at least some are.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

powder power

saw a poster for amrutjal - powdered coconut water. eyes popped out.
shopkeeper thought he had 2 sachets, but could not find.
blackled it and found this link.

what next, powdered water. to mix in water and drink for pure water.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

killed, killed and KILLED

i got this on my mobile today - a news alert

lashkar-e-tayiba country coordinator killed in JK
200 killed in brazil plane crash
shilpa shetty gets doctorate. (sanity KILLED)

bad world

Monday, July 16, 2007

farmer suicide rate

sainath is still in andhra.
here is his latest on the story of the women/families left behind from the spate of farmer suicides.
the strength of these women is just herculean. even sainath's calibre can hardly do justice to their amazing resilience. they are the reason it still rains - (old tamil phrase).

this one statistic tore me apart.
Krishnamma is one of more than a lakh of women who have lost their husbands to
farm suicides across the country in the past 14 years.

the math works outs to 7150 suicides a year, 20 a day everyday for 20 years.
what country are we living in?

panagal park

panagal park is now 'pagal na' park in my dictionary.

it is in t nagar in madras.

it is the heartland of shopping in madras.
i am told that the one stretch of around 0.25 sq km has around 200 jewellery shops.
there are tons of other shops for sarees, dresses, household stuff and you name it.

was there visiting a friend (bad place to have a house). just was the most horrendous 200 metres to walk. ever...unbelievable level of congestion and cramping. and mostly due to encroachments of pavements by shopkeepers, encroachment of roads by pedestrians and illegally parked vehicles and the resultant mish mash is the 'worst place on earth' (it gets doubly bad during deepavali times).

while at the house, it started raining and heavily at that.
so now we had the 'wettest worst place on earth'. had the good chance to acquaint myself with 'utter chaos'.

one auto driver commented that it is impossible to stay away from pagal na park - if you are single. willing to take that on.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

dharavi redevelopment

certainly the most well known slum in india and probably in asia and the world too!!
has tags of the world's largest slum, asia's largest, etc. there is even a movie by its name.

national geographic has done a great cover story on dharavi in may 2007.
some photos are on this cbc news item.

over 10 years, this area has been under the redevelopment scanner.
the slum rehabilitation agency has this on their site as plans for dharavi.

sparc is one of the leading citizen agencies trying to ensure a fair deal for the residents. their short assessment is here.

kalpana sharma shot to fame with her rediscovering dharavi. here is a review by dilip.

dilip himself is doing a series on dharavi. here is part 1 and part 2. watch his blog for more.

for me this redevelopment will be a benchmark on how this city moves ahead with humane development.
if this flops, i am gettting out of here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

bandra worli sea link

i have been seeing this almost religiously everyday.
it is just outside of my window.
quite a sight.

a detailed explanation of the project can be found here. the official site is not that great

some beautiful pictures are here and here .
hat tip to mumbai matters and all his stuff on the sea link.

this is full monsoon time and there is a cessation of all construction work.
and here is the absolute latest from TOI.
while the ingenuity of the gentry is heartening, one only hopes that this kind of enterprise could be put to use in legal work.

Friday, July 06, 2007

black + google = blackle

search now has a super cool page from, who
go to blackle for a new search experience (visually only).

and the logic is here.
this is one thing which is brilliant and not at the same time.

in sivaji-the boss, rajini becomes fair when the heroine says his black colour is a mismatch. and he goes "oru koodai sunlight, oru koodai moonlight, idhudhane yen white" (one basket of sunlight and one basket of moonlight equals my white).
while the mathematics is suspect, the concept is colour transformation and the song is one rocking hip hop number.

and google goes the other way from white to black. just as rocking :-)

summa athirathu illa.
more later on this !!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

double press

imagine walking into a multi storey building.
you walk up to the lift and press the 'lift-call' button (lcb).
the red dots flare up.
clearly indicating that the button has been pressed.

another person comes.
he quickly glances at the top of the lift-doors (to see which floor the lift is at) and then at the lcb.
he observes it is red and lit up.
he deftly steps up to the lcb and jabs it again.
just to make sure that the lift now knows that there is one more in the queue.
just to make the lift wince in pain as the metallic callipers squeeze the ball bearings. as if to say, "come down you SOB, now."

same scene is re-created inside the lift too. the ground floor button is ablaze for everyone to see.
the new entrant glances at it, furrows his brow and thinks, "i can get it to move faster". and jabs at the button again.

morons. they make life interesting.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

WTF school

this is utterly disgraceful - the other extreme example from the earlier post. (photo courtesy anahita mukherji)

read here the full article on TOI epaper.
am so grateful to anahita for writing on this topic.
and am so grateful to technology to allow such hidden camera possibilities.