And aesthetic judgements, especially literary judgements, are often corrupted in the same way as political ones. It would be difficult for an Indian Nationalist to enjoy reading Kipling or for a Conservative to see merit in Mayakovsky, and there is always a temptation to claim that any book whose tendency one disagrees with must be a bad book from a literary point of view.
They have an exalted place in virtually every spiritual and religious tradition, in their civilisational history, mythology and folklore, scientific traditions, and even in its politics.
So when any government announces a new National Forest Policy, there should be widespread dialogue around the most important question: From an examination of the draft policy put out by the government on 14th Marchthe answer is a resounding no. The draft National Forest Policygives the following justification: India has been participating in several international summits and conventions and has Rhetoric the political sleight of hand itself to various such goals.
But we need to pause and ask: Protecting industrial-commercial, not community, interests For the last two decades, we have had some major legislations that have been enacted to safeguard the interests of adivasi and other forest dwelling peoples — arguably the most marginalised populations in the country — such as the Panchayat Extension for Scheduled Areas Act PESAand the Forest Rights Act FRA.
Unfortunately, commercial-industrial, not community, interests have been supported by the state quite openly, especially in the last three decades of economic globalisation. Examples are coal mining in northern Chhattisgarh, bauxite mining in Odisha, granite quarries in Andhra Pradesh, hydro projects in the western and eastern Himalaya, industrial leases in Jharkhand, economic-industrial corridors in western India, and many more.
More than one observer of adivasi affairs in central India has traced the cause of their alienation and the ongoing insurgency in much of that region to the callousness of the Indian state when dealing with the adivasi people.
Similar discontent, though remarkably not yet violent, has been brewing amongst non-adivasi forest-dependent people in other parts of India, such as nomadic pastoralists in Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
A sacred grove in Bastar, Chhattisgarh. Author provided Despite provisions in the law, and the use of the Right to Information Actthe government has paid insignificant attention to the interests and the well-being of the forest peoples of the country. Annual reports of the Community Forest Rights Learning and Advocacy Network have shown state-wise neglect or obstructions in implementation.
One such instance was in the Surajpur district of Chhattisgarh, where the predominantly adivasi population protested against the IFFCO power plant, and the chief minister Raman Singh announced the change to bypass panchayat powers!
State after state has lagged behind, with some of them openly opposed to the FRA as it prevents the opening up land for investments.
Proper implementation of the FRA, especially of its community forest resource rights provisions, has the potential of addressing the twin issues of conservation as well as livelihoods. But even as communities are filing their community claims, or struggling to get themselves recognised, the state comes along with new plans, such as the CAMPA Compensatory Afforestation Fund to compensate for forest lands that have been diverted for non-forestry purposes with plantations.
These plans contradict completely the rights that ought to be recognised or have been granted under the FRA. Lands claimed by adivasi people have been forcibly taken over for reforestation through the CAMPA scheme, creating conflicts in Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and elsewhere.
Water-guzzling commercial plantations Another major obstacle to sustaining forests and forest rights is the proposed plan to cover one million ha of land under oil palm plantations byfrom about one lakh ha today.
An oil palm plantation in Theni, Tamil Nadu. Author provided In AprilNarendra Modi chaired a Union cabinet meeting to approve some of the measures to increase oil palm production in the country.
These measures include the relaxation of the land ceiling limit for oil palm cultivation, and subsidies for planting materials, maintenance, inter-cropping and bore-wells. Here too the corporate sector is being encouraged with lands and subsidies for them to invest in.
At present there are 19 states where this programme is being implemented, of which seven are northeast states which are supposedly to be protected according to the draft Forest Policy. Some of the areas where this experiment is being tried, especially in Telangana and Tamil Nadu, are severely drought-prone.There are three problems increasingly evident in ‘tobacco control’ science when it comes to tobacco harm reduction: Contrived and phoney research designed to support pre-existing policy preferences (see previous post).; Spin by scientists and activists designed to create some sort of moral panic or adverse change in risk perception out of absolutely nothing.
INCONVENIENT TRUTHS "You can either be informed and be your own rulers, or you can be ignorant and have someone else, who is not ignorant, rule over you.".
Stay engaged in the DC political debate by following the news as it break at the Washington Times. Rhetorical sleight of hand. From dKosopedia (Previously part of the Kossary) Here is sampling of common rhetorical techniques used to promote weak or false positions or dismiss an opponent's arguments.
"The great betrayer and liar, Franklin D.
Roosevelt, who promised to drive the money changers from the temple, had succeeded [only] in driving the farmers from their homesteads and the citizens from their homes in the cities. On every occasion that the state has tried to hand over forest lands to corporates, widespread national protest has forced it to withdrawal.
Hopefully this latest cynical move will receive the same outrage, and the state will be forced or guided to look at democratically and ecologically meaningful alternatives based on the wisdom, .