Browsing articles tagged with " Community "

Seeking Wisdom in Tribal Storytelling

There was a beautiful girl called Ramenhawii who was famous for her very long hair. All the young men in the village desired her but none could win her favour. One day she was washing her hair in the river, a fish swallowed her hair. A strand of the hair found its way to the plate of the king of the valley as he was being served dinner by the palace cook. Filled with curiosity at the sight of the beautiful hair the king ordered his guards to look for the owner of the hair as he wished to make her his queen. After a long search, the guards at last found the place where the girl lived but they were unable to approach her as she lived protected by barricades around her.

“Oh! Please tell us at least your name” implored the king’s guards.

She replied: ‘No name, no name have I, I live on pure water, I live on pure vegetables.’

Mizo tale of “Ramenhawii.”

“If the end of nineteenth century underlines the distressing effects of industrial revolution and colonialism, the end of twentieth century witnesses the emergence of two paradoxical processes: (i) globalization: a process that cuts across the boundaries of nations, cultures and societies privileging a move towards larger integration of the world and facilitating interdependence moving towards a global culture; and (ii) resistances to globalization: in the form of a vehement articulation of the local  for preservation of indigenous cultures and identities,” writes Kailash C. Baral, Director of Northeast Campus of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) at Shillong in his essay Globalization and Tribes of  Northeast India . There is no escape from the emerging reality that the ‘Global Village’ is a community stripped of all heterogeneity of cultural and traditional flows of life – life here is equated with economic aspirations of market that sell a pipe dream of prosperity while hiding the bleak future. And such realization cannot be disposed off anymore as alarmist.

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‘The authorities in New York are discovering what Egypt also learned — that it’s not as easy to regulate or arrest journalists when everyone is a journalist. But while that may make our lives a little more complicated, it is fundamentally a good thing for society,’ writes Mathew Ingram in his post ‘ What happens when journalism is everywhere.

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The Uncomfortable Truth

The time has come for you to see
That love is something else you practise it to be
The line is long
For you and me
That leads us to the very debt of our hearts
We’re still on the surface deceiving ourselves…

The Uncomfortable Truth  by NNEKA

This is a reworked old post. I hope that it did not lose it’s ‘punch’ in 15 months while it gathered 2657 page views in Think About It Water . I am inspired by Somnath’s comment in my last post ‘ Eradicate Excess Wealth alongside Poverty ‘ where he suspected my content as hard core communism, almost Pol Potish.

Any suggestion about examining limits of personal wealth is decidedly unlikable. Pol Pot is a fair measure of such distaste. Possibly communism as well. Read more >>

Eradicate Excess Wealth alongside Poverty

The world leaders will discuss sustainable development, the bedrock of 1992 Rio vision this June in Rio+20. A greater political convergence is urged by the UN for the matter because the ‘needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ has not gained much traction since the 1992 conference – largely because countries continued to equate development with economic growth, and sustainable development languished as a fringe environmental concern. Twenty years after Rio 1992, “sustainable development remains a generally agreed concept, rather than a day-to-day, on-the-ground, practical reality,” says a report by the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability.

May be Millennium Development Goals were set up prematurely, too? Read more >>

Why a Doughnut Now?

Kate Raworth Photo : IISD http://www.iisd.ca/

Kate Raworth is a Senior Researcher of Oxfam Great Britain. In a recent discussion paper she has proposed a metaphorical doughnut as a safe and just space for humanity to thrive (Full discussion paper can be downloaded here ). ‘Can we live within the doughnut?’ Kate asks, presenting a visual framework – shaped like a doughnut – which brings the concept of planetary boundaries together with the complementary concept of social boundaries, creating a safe and just space between the two, in which humanity can thrive.

​Kate argues primarily from the perspective of social equity and the foreword of her discussion paper says, ‘ Humanity’s challenge in the 21st century is to eradicate poverty and achieve a prosperity for all within the means of the planet’s limited natural resources. In the run-up to Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, this Discussion Paper is an exploration of what such a model of prosperity might look like.’ It also says, ‘ Moving into this safe and just space demands far greater equity – within and between countries – in the use of natural resources, and far greater efficiency in transforming those resources to meet human needs.’ Read more >>

Limits To Growth And Beyond – Part II

Affluence is a relative term in societal contexts because in each society standards there are rich and poor. But there are few in the world, as many from North as from South, who are rich by any standard. Similarly, despite raised standard of living, there are under-privileged people in both the developed and developing nations, people who lack jobs, health security, education, food and home. And there are a large number of people under famine, malnutrition, water and sanitation stress and vulnerable to diseases and death. When world economy collapses and industrial output plummets down the curve, it is the most vulnerable section of humanity that receives the mortal blow first. But for now, the Limits to Growth are felt by the affluent societies of the developed world more than the developing world.

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Climate Literacy

It was a rainy afternoon when my friend Anupama Sen and I were stuck in the small coffee-shop in south Calcutta. Anupama is my childhood friend, now a renowned physician in the city with a neat six figure private practice – I recalled her super sharp mind and fierce debating skills from the high school days. We seemed to meet each other couple of years by jolly coincidence in all unlikely places and the current being in the boring office of Motor Vehicles department where we both turned up for renewal of our driving licenses. As old friends we fell prey to the temptations of catching up with one another in a CCD shop and an unexpected November shower stranded us up.

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Can Water Dissolve Geo-Political Boundaries? Part 2

Transboundary Water Conflicts

Transboundary Water Conflicts are different from Water Conflicts. Water Conflicts are commonest of social and territorial disputes between ‘users’ of water in history. You can imagine the definition of ‘users’ as extensive as you want. Water is required for consumptive use (drinking, sanitation, washing, agriculture etc.) but it is also required for fishing, drainage, navigation, industry and ecology. The list of beneficiaries can be massive and for rivers at least the context of river basin can extend far from the flowing rivers. It is easy to understand that for such a valuable resource, different groups of people on account of their strategic locations of varying degrees of benefits will have differing interests which may conflict. Read more >>

Can Water Dissolve Geo-political Boundaries? Part 1

Water can dissolve material boundaries – well known

Water is known as universal ‘solvent’ as it can dissolve a lot of substances. This is a scientific fact but even if not very clearly realized, this scientific fact works subtly in our cultures and societies since prehistory. The whole idea of cleaning things by washing and letting the dirty water flow into streams or seas works on the idea that given sufficient ‘dissolution’ the ‘dirt’ will be rendered harmless. This is not untrue so to say, as it is easily understandable that when the concentration of a solute becomes negligibly low, the solution is considered effectively harmless and suitable for human use. For less scientifically oriented:

Solution = Solvent + Solute Read more >>

To Drink Water From Air

The picture shows an atmospheric water generator, commercially known as Yeti AC-12, which can sit snugly in the corner of a room and generate as much as 10 gallons of pure drinking water per day just from atmospheric moisture. It runs on electricity and the power consumption is well within affordability of most people. If you are interested look up Everest Water here .

Though our water planners largely neglected the unseen Green Water (or more fashionably White Water, which is that part of the vertical unseen water that large water bodies evaporate away into atmosphere, you are not stealing from plants’ water so do not need to feel bad at all), human ingenuity saw this source right from antiquity and tapped it with innovation, as and when required. It’s just that this common wisdom was not trumpeted big time in the name of TECHNOLOGY, as our modern planners love to do. Read more >>

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All opinions are solely those of the author. Reader's discretion necessary for using any of the contents of this website. (c) Pabitra Mukhopadhyay 2011
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