Archive for India

Vandana Shiva: There Is No Reason Why India Should Face Hunger and Farmers Should Commit Suicide – EcoWatch

Vandana Shiva: There Is No Reason Why India Should Face Hunger and Farmers Should Commit Suicide

There is no reason why India should face hunger and malnutrition and why our farmers should commit suicide. India is blessed with the most fertile soils in the world. Our climate is so generous we can, in places, grow four crops in a year—compared to the industrialized west where sometimes only one crop is possible per year. We have the richest biodiversity of the world, both because of our diverse climates and because of the brilliance of our farmers as breeders. Our farmers are among the most hardworking, productive people in the world. Yet India faces an emergency, in our food and agricultural system. This emergency is man-made.

Firstly, the poor and vulnerable are dying for lack of food. According to the Deccan Herald, Lalita S. Rangari, 36, a Dalit widow and mother of two children of the Gondiya tribal belt, allegedly died due to starvation. Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Indu Jain of the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court have served notice to the government of Maharashtra seeking its reply to the starvation death of a Dalit widow.

Photo credit: Nourishing Revolution”Even as India gets richer, we have emerged as the capital of hunger and malnutrition. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 42.5 percent of children under five years old were underweight. This is more than double the African average of 21 percent, which until recently was the face of hunger.

The second tragedy is that our food producers, the small farmers who have provided food to more than a billion Indians and hold the potential to provide healthy food for all, are themselves dying because of agriculture and trade policies which put corporate profits above the rights and well being of our small farmers. More than 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1995, when the rules for the globalization of agriculture of the World Trade Organization (WTO) were implemented, transforming food into a commodity, agriculture into corporate business and shifting control over seeds and food from farmers to a handful of giant multinational corporations.

The third tragedy is that even those who get food are being denied their right to healthy and nourishing food. The explosion of junk food, of pesticides and toxics in our food, have created a disease epidemic that is a human tragedy and an economic burden. There is an epidemic of diseases related to our lifestyle and food, such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, infertility and cardiovascular diseases.

The recent Maggi noodle scandal highlights the rapid invasion of junk food in the Indian diet. We are what we eat. When we eat food full of toxic chemicals, we pay the price with our health. India has emerged as the epicenter of diabetes.

In 2004, 8.2 lac Indians were diagnosed with diabetes and 2.6 lac succumbed to the disease. In 2012, the diabetes numbers jumped to 180 lac diagnosed and 7 lac dead. In 2010 alone, India spent 32 billion dollars on diabetes care. Cancer has also seen an increase by 30 percent in the last 5 years, with 180 million people affected in India. At 10 lac treatment per cancer victim this multiplies to 300 billion dollars, or 18 lac crores in rupees.

In extensive studies reported in “Poisons In Our Food” by Navdanya, elevated levels of PCBs, DDE and DDT have been found in the blood of women suffering from breast cancer. Studies show that 51 percent of all food commodities are contaminated by pesticides.”

Source: Vandana Shiva: There Is No Reason Why India Should Face Hunger and Farmers Should Commit Suicide – EcoWatch

Posted in: Agriculture, Climate Change, India

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59000 farmer suicides in India over 30 years may be linked to climate change- study says – By Vidhi Doshi – The Washington Post

August 1, 2017


A farmer sits on a dried-up patch of land in the southern Indian state of Karnataka in May 2015. (Jagadeesh Nv/European Pressphoto Agency)

“Every year, thousands of Indian farmers commit suicide. Now one researcher thinks it may have something to do with climate change.

Tamma Carleton, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, compared almost five decades worth of suicide and climate data and concluded that temperature variations in India may have “a strong influence” on suicide rates during the growing season.

In her study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Carleton estimates that more than 59,000 farmer suicides over the past 30 years can be linked to global warming.

Carleton’s findings are particularly worrisome and come just two months after the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris climate accord, which was adopted by 196 countries, including the United States under the Obama administration in December 2015. As part of the agreement, world leaders committed to holding the average global temperature rise to “well below” two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. After President Trump pulled out of the accord, many countries, including India and China, said they would continue to honor their commitments under the accord.”

“. . . . High temperatures in the growing season reduce crop yields, putting economic pressure on India’s farmers, she writes. “These crop losses may also permeate throughout the economy, causing both farming and nonfarming populations to face distress as food prices rise and agricultural labor demand falls.”

Rainfall in the growing season, too, is important, Carleton suggests. More rain means higher yields, she writes, noting: “Suicide rates fall as growing season rainfall increases.”

According to the World Health Organization, India accounts for the highest number of suicidesin the world. A staggering 133,623 people took their own lives in 2015, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau. More than 12,000 of those were farmers and agricultural laborers, almost one-tenth of the total.

According to Indian authorities, bankruptcy and indebtedness or farming-related issues are cited as the major causes of suicide among farmers in India.”

Source: 59,000 farmer suicides in India over 30 years may be linked to climate change, study says – The Washington Post

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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Opinion | That Thing That India and Pakistan Do – The New York Times

By Mohammed Hanif

Mr. Hanif is a Pakistani novelist.    Sept. 26, 2018

Image
The Pakistani military in Karachi this month commemorating its second war with India in 1965. Both sides claimed victory.CreditCreditAsif Hassan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“KARACHI, Pakistan — Four years ago when India elected the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) to power, Pakistan’s iconic feminist poet and peace activist Fahmida Riaz recited a poem of despair, comparing new India to old Pakistan:

Turns out you were just like us,

Where were you hiding all this time, brother?

In Pakistan, Ms. Riaz is not only considered a hopeless peacenik but also a bit of an India lover. She has reason to be. In the 1980s, like many writers and activists, Ms. Riaz was made to leave Pakistan by the then military regime. While others took refuge in Western countries, Ms. Riaz chose to go into exile in India, where she then lived for more than six years. She is a much-loved poet who is not afraid of speaking truth to power at home and abroad. She is also not afraid of hoping.

Last Thursday other peaceniks in Pakistan and India were hoping, too, as the two countries agreed to resume talks. The wave of optimism lasted a day.”

Source: Opinion | That Thing That India and Pakistan Do – The New York Times

Posted in: India

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How WhatsApp Pushes Mobs to Murder in India – By Vindu Goel, Suhasini Raj and Priyadarshini Ravichandran – NYT

By Vindu Goel, Suhasini Raj and Priyadarshini Ravichandran July 18, 2018

In India, false rumors about child kidnappers have gone viral on WhatsApp, prompting fearful mobs to kill two dozen innocent people since April. One of the first to be killed was a 65-year-old woman named Rukmani. She and four family members were driving to a temple in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in May. A mob on this road mistook them for “child lifters” and assaulted them.

Source: How WhatsApp Pushes Mobs to Murder in India – The New York Times

I came to breakfast, and read about the EU fining Google 5.5 Billion dollars for using the Android OS for phones to force sellers and customers into Google search and apps. I need more information, and don’t understand it clearly.

I thought about posting to my Facebook page, that we should copy the EU, and make a $50 Million dollar fine for companies like facebook, if they don’t identify and take down fake news within 24 hours. The EU passed such a law this spring, and voila, facebook set up a 2000 person emergency center in Germany, which takes down all fake news inside of 24 hours.
We should follow the EU in regulating facebook, and possibly google, et cetera.
Then, I get to the story below, about WhatsApp abuse in India leading to mobs killing innocent neighbors. Guess who owns WhatsApp. Facebook. They should have to pay costs and penalites for crimes of neglect, carelessness and recklessness. They started making obvious improvements overnight. I don’t want to quit facebook, I want strong goverment regulations to protect the public from themselves and Russian trolls, bots and hackers.

Posted in: India, Journalism, Media and Social Media, Law and Order

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Deadly Tensions Rise as India’s Water Supply Runs Dangerously Low – The New York Times

By Maria Abi-Habib and Hari Kumar

“SHIMLA, India — The people of Shimla haven’t agreed on much lately. A drought in the Himalayan resort has had residents blaming farmers, the tourism industry and one another for depleting the strained water supplies.

And everyone’s been angry at the key men.

Shimla’s decrepit network of water pipes, built under British colonial rule more than 70 years ago, depends on the civil servants known as key men to open and close the valves that supply each neighborhood. The current shortage, which in May left some homes without water for 20 days, has led to such fury toward the key men — accused, in just about every neighborhood, of depriving it of its fair share — that a court ordered police protection for them.

“I was getting angry phone calls calling me everything — stupid, worthless — at one or two in the morning,” said Inder Singh, 44, who has been a key man for 24 years. “I would be mobbed by dozens as I was trying to leave my home for work,” he said, inserting his key — a meter-long metal contraption — into the ground to open a valve.

Tourism is the mainstay of the economy in this mountain city, which the British colonial authorities made their summer capital so they could escape the brutal heat of New Delhi. But the drought — accompanied by unusually high temperatures, above 90 degrees Fahrenheit — has been so severe that in May, some residents took to Twitter to ask tourists to stay away and leave the water for local residents. Many in Shimla call it the worst shortage they can remember.”

Source: Deadly Tensions Rise as India’s Water Supply Runs Dangerously Low – The New York Times

Yes, thank you  Maria Abi-Habib and Hari Kumar and the NYT for excellent reporting. Here are some of the NYT comments I recommeded:

Mr. Reeee

This is ALL about overpopulation.

Here is a prime example of overpopulation creating conditions where dwindling resources are strained to the breaking point.

About the only solutions are massive desalinization projects or cutting the population.

Meanwhile, the US government has been cutting funding for programs that encourage and enable easy access to birth control across the globe.

Here’s the result. Get ready for more and more stories of similar situations involving arable land, water and food shortages and spiraling death tolls as a direct result.

Christine commented 1 hour ago

Christine
Haleiwa, HI

Drought and climate change set the teeth of displacement in motion in Syria. Mass migration to cities like Aleppo occurred which put extreme pressure on the existing infrastructure and jobs economy. This current wave of war and atrocity in places like Syria and Sudan are initiated by drought and famine. The oil wars were bad. The water wars will be so much worse.

Phyllis commented 52 minutes ago

Phyllis
Gainesville, FL

It’s about over population AND increasingly inappropriate and/or arcane institutional arrangements for using water. Sections of North America and the US will come to similar situations as global warming intensifies. How sad that we “intelligent” humans can know what is happening and project what will happen, but seem incapable of acting effectively to avoid the collapse of not only civilization but the biodiversity of our beautiful and unique planet.

Greed triumphs all.

RLG commented 1 hour ago

RLG
Norwood

Finite resource, poor climate awareness, inadequate storage, poor meteorological forecasting but the main reason is

OVERPOPULATION

They are boxed in. Expect more loss of life and livelihood, social unrest, international conflict (no transboundary river and storage management) as Kali takes her toll.

This is only the beginning. The entire region is at fault. My sympathy is running as low as their decreasing per capita water supply.

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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Opinion | #MeToo Goes Global – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

She was an 8-year-old girl with thick brown hair, large brown eyes, a purple dress and a fondness for running through the fields in northern India where she tended horses.

Then a man called her into the nearby forest, grabbed her by the neck and forced her to take sleeping pills, according to police accounts. The man dragged the girl, Asifa Bano, to a Hindu temple, where he and other men raped her repeatedly over three days, before murdering her — after one man insisted on raping her one last time. Asifa’s body was left in the forest.

Murder and rape happen in all societies, but this girl’s body was a battleground: Hindu extremists were trying to terrorize and drive out the Muslim community that Asifa belonged to. The killing triggered a huge controversy in India, with some Hindu lawyers and housewives protesting against prosecution of the murder suspects and Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeping shamefully silent for too long. To their credit, many middle-class Indians, including Hindus, mobilized to demand justice for Asifa.

Source: Opinion | #MeToo Goes Global – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval at the NYT Comments.
So much pain, suffering and humiliation. I applaud Nicholas Kristof. He writes about things that are hard to read and difficult to comprehend. The comments are also excellent. While I will consider supporting organizations that help women and the poor around the world, I will continue to stay focused on driving out of the US Congress men and women who oppose family planning and population control, and attempts to stop the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change, including ocean acidification and global warming with the expected sea level rise. Replacing these anti-science ideologues with representatives that respect science and environmental issues and data-based truth will make a big difference in ameliorating some of the suffering that Kristof describes. And, if we don’t curb out of control population control, while causing sea level rise, the suffering ahead will make the misery index today look look very low.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com

Posted in: Bullies and Scoundrels, David Lindsay, India, Nicholas Kristof

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The Uninhabitable Village – by Geeta Anand and Vikram Singh – NYT Oct 26 2017

Beautiful photography, heartbreaking story:

Each sentence below has a photo video clip:

“This is S. Periyanayaki in the rice field in southern India where her husband died.

The worst drought in more than a century killed his rice crop, and he blamed himself.

A farmer found Periyanayaki’s husband, K. Suresh, lying in the barren field. He had drunk pesticide.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers have killed themselves in the past 30 years, and some climate researchers believe hotter weather has driven crop failure and made the problem worse.”

Source: The Uninhabitable Village – The New York Times

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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Feature: Heat and drought drive south India’s farmers from fields to cities – April 2017 Reuters.com

NAGAPATTINAM, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Vinod Kumar remembers a time, not so long ago, when the fields in his village in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were green all year round.

His family lived comfortably from its farmland of just over 2 acres (0.8 hectares), growing vegetables, coconuts and millet irrigated by the Cauvery river and the rain.

Kumar grew up believing the farm would be his life.

But today, the 30-year-old drives a car for a living in the city of Chennai, 250 km (155 miles) away. His family joined him two years ago, abandoning what had been for generations their home and their land.

On a recent journey back to the area where he grew up, he said he was far from the only migrant.

“At this time of year, these fields should be green with paddy shoots – but no one seems to be farming,” said Kumar, as he drove past arid fields overgrown with scrub and thorns one sweltering July afternoon.

“We haven’t had enough water for many years. It has become impossible to make a living from farming, and a lot of people have moved to cities to do other jobs.”

Source: Feature: Heat and drought drive south India’s farmers from fields to cities

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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India drought: ‘330 million people affected’ – BBC News 20 April 2016

I am looking for evidence to support the report in the NYT last month, that 100,000 Indian farmers had committed suicide because of the drought in Southeast India.  This old article in the BBC sheds some background light on the disaster.

“At least 330 million people are affected by drought in India, the government has told the Supreme CourtAuthorities say this number is likely to rise further given that some states with water shortages have not yet submitted status reports.The drought is taking place as a heat wave extends across much of India with temperatures crossing 40C for days now.An 11-year-old girl died of heatstroke while collecting water from a village pump in the western Maharashtra state.

Yogita Desai had spent close to four hours in 42C temperatures gathering water from the pump on Sunday, local journalist Manoj Sapte told the BBC.She began vomiting after returning home and was rushed to hospital, but died early on Monday.Yogita’s death certificate says she died of heatstroke and dehydration.

The pump was a mere 500m from her house, but a typical wait for water stretches into hours.India is heavily dependant on monsoon rains, which have been poor for two years in a row.The government said that nearly 256 districts across India, home to nearly a quarter of the population were impacted by the drought.Schools have been shut in the eastern state of Orissa and more than 100 deaths due to heatstroke have been reported from across the country, including from the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh which saw more than 2,000 deaths last summer.”

Source: India drought: ‘330 million people affected’ – BBC News

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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Google Missed Out on China. Can It Flourish in India? – The New York Times

“JODHPUR, India — Every month, about four million more Indians get online. They include people like Manju, a 35-year-old seamstress in this city of ancient palaces, who got her first internet phone last week.

“It’s necessary for me to learn new things,” said Manju, who uses only one name. She was so thrilled to discover YouTube and other streaming video services that she quickly burned through her monthly data plan. Now her phone carrier, Reliance Jio, has relegated her to a trickle of low-speed data until next month, when her plan resets.

“It’s all finished,” she complained on Monday when a Google researcher came to visit to ask about her online habits.

Photo

Manju, who uses only one name, holding her Reliance Jio phone on Monday, when the visiting researcher, Ted McCarthy, showed her how to use Google Assistant.CreditRebecca Conway for The New York Times

Source: Google Missed Out on China. Can It Flourish in India? – The New York Times

Posted in: India, Information Technology

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