We, the Guinea Pigs of the World

As the pandemic hit, governments all over the world imposed severe lockdowns, clamping down everything to naught. This was a mega experiment of making people sacrifice their freedom of movement, right to livelihood, and right to learning in order to save their lives. Did community transmission help in checking the spread of the virus? We have no conclusive evidence of that. Did it help in developing immunity from the virus amongst a large section of the population? We can’t say. If there was some immunity amongst some people, was it lasting and reliable? We don’t know. These were all experiments conducted on people who were treated no better than guinea pigs.

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J Sai Deepak’s ‘India that is Bharat’ Attempts a Fresh Look at the Issue of Coloniality and Decoloniality

Raagini Shekher Sharma reviews the book titled-“India that is Bharat – Coloniality Civilization Constitution” written by J. Sai Deepak

The strength of the book lies in its total focus on the central theme and the same has been described and written in vivid detail without digressing from the subject. Being a lawyer, J Sai Deepak has a logical and incisive mind and that reflects too in the tone and tenor of the book as it is replete with facts, and research work that is amply seen. Lot many times, the tone becomes a little authoritative and the baritone springs up.  Overall, the book is written succinctly, presenting the facts, the research that has gone into writing and the analysis have been done in an exciting manner. Once, picked up, it cannot be put down unless fully read.

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Caste-based Reservation and Discrimination: An Equitable Social Order?

Based on an open-house discussion, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay is planning to introduce a mandatory course on caste awareness and racial discrimination to increase awareness and eliminate the caste-based and racist slurs that have entered into colloquial language. Indisputably, the statutory provisions of reservations based on caste and economic status have been created to facilitate in reduction of the social and educational gaps as envisaged by the enabling provisions of the Constitution of India. The presupposition of OBC, SC, or ST candidates spoiling the merit is not appropriate. The transformations are happening and the comparable performance by reserved category candidates indicates their competency upgradation and forthcoming change in the social order that is free from discrimination and has equity and access at its core. Sensitizing the community about the relevance of caste reservation for the deprived classes of society on social and educational fronts has to be talked about continuously along with checking the discrimination for a healthy society.

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Major Shift to Vegetarian Diet Needed for a Healthy Life and Mitigating Climate Change

The global community is facing some of the most monumental challenges that relate to the herculean task of mitigating climate change and mopping out enormous air and water pollution with which many nations of the world, including India, are suffering. A 2019 IPCC report states that non-animal sourced food, including meat, poultry, and seafood alone account for reducing eight gigatons of CO2 per year. Further, the World Cancer Research Fund has recommended that people around the world should reduce their intake of red meats to less than three portions per week, and all intake of processed meat should be eliminated. Today, when the dependence on allopathic medicines for curing ailments and diseases is causing a serious concern due to multi-drug resistance and their side effects, the natural system of a healthy vegetarian diet integrated with herbs and spices forms a more natural solution for creating high immunity and, thus, assuring good health and longevity. Be Vegetarian, Be Healthy.

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Local Communities Key To India’s Wildlife Conservation

In a country with a burgeoning human population, creating or extending such protected areas is not feasible. Several Indian communities, like Bishnoi, Maldhari, Mumbai Adivasi, and people of Sundarbans, have deep-rooted beliefs that allow them to live with wild animals, including large predators. Such an attitude toward wildlife has allowed the world’s second-most populous country to protect and preserve its biodiversity to a significant extent. As Indians, we all have a duty and a role to play in fostering community-based conservation in our country to allow our rich biodiversity to thrive in the coming decades.

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Publicizing Caste and Religion in Electoral Politics: Representation or Appeasement?

Dependence on caste and religion to win elections is observed frequently in India. Few call it appeasement while few others call it representation. Is it not paradoxical? Classification of victorious public representatives by their caste/religion tacitly enhances their importance in the country’s democracy. Apparently, it messages about corroborating the wide representation of communities through the leaders belonging to them. But at the same time, it evinces the unfading pertinence of caste/religion in our society. It is inevitable to delve into the disquietude nucleating from the issues of publicizing representation and appeasement of communities based on caste/religion for strengthening coherence in the society.

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Women Economic Empowerment by the Private sector: A Beacon of Hope?

The private sector is emerging as a powerful participant in the design of policies and regulations as economic growth is one of the most critical outcomes targeted by policymakers. The innovation & execution capabilities of the private sector can unlock the impact potential of new technologies & business models which have the potential to support millions of women in India, especially from low-income households.

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Impact of COVID-19 on Women Self Help Groups of Odisha

This International Women’s Day, we look at the impact of COVID-19 Women Self-Help Groups of Odisha. While several studies have been done highlighting the role of WSHGs in providing support and sustaining livelihoods during the tough times of the pandemic, not much has been looked upon with regards to the impact on these WSHGs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic seems to have altered many facets of the lives of the WSHG members. However, a majority of them are optimistic about their activities and income returning to pre-pandemic levels in the near future.

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Shift Focus Away From Latrine Construction to Achieve an Open Defecation Free India: Swachh Bharat

*This is Part Two of the Two-Part Article Series on India’s ODF Challenge.* Human behavior is dependent on culture, with culture adapting to available resources along with cost and benefit of using a technology. In spite of 22 years having elapsed since the Total Sanitation Project started, India is still struggling with open defecation. The focus on the technology of individual household latrines construction seems to be misplaced. The talking points of the Indian Sanitation Campaigns have been handed down by the western agencies which were initially in the sanitation campaign and the message has remained constant. To achieve an open defecation free country, India must look at the state of its communities across the country rather than impose a ‘one-nation, one-fit’ solution or a western model. The only way ahead is to focus on health and hygiene by focusing on the accessibility and availability of water and soaps, and not on latrines.

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Why Swachh Bharat’s Latrine Construction Focus Will Not Achieve An ODF India? – Introspecting Constraints

Human behavior is dependent on culture, with culture adapting to available resources along with the cost and benefit of using a technology. In spite of 22 years having elapsed since the Total Sanitation Project started, India is still struggling with open defecation. The focus on the technology of individual household latrines construction seems to be misplaced. The talking points of the Indian Sanitation Campaigns have been handed down by the western agencies which were initially involved either in funding or handholding during the initial start of the sanitation campaign and the message has remained constant and the focus again seems to be on latrine construction rather than on health and hygiene. The local population, which is supposed to take benefit of a particular development, is not being considered as a stakeholder by the Government of the country

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Brain Drain: An Apparent Loss to the Nation May Prove Lasting Gain to the Profession

According to an old adage, says that as soon as a student gets into an IIT his soul emigrates to the US; and the moment he graduates, his body too migrates to join the soul. The phenomenon is not confined to the domain of engineering and technology alone. The situation with the Indian scientists and academicians is no different. Many of those who went abroad for higher education and chose to make a career there, were recognized for their accomplishments and rewarded with coveted positions. How come most of the Indian Nobel Prize winners and Fields Medal awardees are those who left the country and were able to make their marks on foreign soil? They might appear a loss to the nation but are a gain to the profession that they wish to pursue and excel!

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Wildlife Biologists: A Case for Inducting Them for Scientific Management of Forests

Wildlife biologists can save India’s ecology by bringing in scientific know-how to assist the administration in the scientific management of forests. The wildlife biologists can be absorbed by the Forest Departments as biologists, endangered species specialists, and conservation education officers. Inducting new services will not interfere with the power and administration of our current forest management system.
The Union and State Governments should build confidence on this matter in view of the changing roles in present-day science.

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The Dead Cannot Cry Out for Justice

Death robs you of dignity but in this case, it robbed you of personhood – you were just a statistic in the hospital register or the crematoriums, and the illusion of governance that had existed till now showed itself for the sham it was.

The “System’ has gone into hibernation fulfilling a dream for an “atmanirbhar” Bharat. “Don’t expect hand-holding folks, go deal with the Pandemic yourself. Manage your own oxygen and hospital beds and if you fail, don’t act like a cry baby. Just die quietly and be done with it” the ‘System’ seems to be telling us in no uncertain terms. Add to this, the fancy house the ‘System’ is building -it will see the demolition of our colonial past and will usher in the legacy of the great majoritarian premier. If this isn’t good news, what is? Haters and corrupt foreign media might talk about the stench of death all around but who cares for them anyway? You and I can only hope that the palace has enough mirrors where the “System” can see itself stark naked just for once.

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A Spine-Chilling Moment for India: Will Hathras become an eye-opener?

The brutality of the Hathras rape was mind-boggling. The questions that beg asking are these: Could the behaviour of the police have been the same if the girl belonged to an upper class and caste? Would the media have maintained a dogged silence for 2 weeks if this had happened in a metropolis? And would those in power remain silent if the incident had happened in a state ruled by the Opposition?

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Introspecting the COVID-19 Lockdown in India

After the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by WHO, India underwent lockdown starting last week of March 2020 and stopped all the ongoing activities considering that there was no other alternative to prevent community transmission. Now with the beginning of unlocking, introspecting the handling of COVID-19 lockdown holds relevance.
The continuation of the lockdowns one after the other caused the uncertainty to grow exponentially. This resulted in the migrant population making their own arrangements in the absence of any public transport. The instances of people travelling by trucks, loaders, rickshaw, auto, motorbike, cycle, and foot have been witnessed which proved more challenging than COVID-19. Travelling back to native places became a psychological challenge to them. The country witnessed a good number of deaths during such a mass movement.

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