Browsing articles tagged with " Politics "

The King is Dead, Long Live the Queen?

Ambika Mahapatra. Photo Courtesy Facebook/HT

A recent arrest of Ambika Mahapatra, a professor of Physical Chemistry in the Jadavpur University of Kolkata left the city agitated with protests from student and teacher communities and civil society organizations. The social media sites like Facebook buzzed with angry to humorous protests by netizens mocking and rediculing the Police and the State Administration for excessive regulation of freedom of expression and political over-lordship. Ms. Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and her less than one year old administration came under severe criticism as well.

News here. Prof arrested, univ rises in protest against Mamata – Hindustan Times .

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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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Limits To Growth And Beyond – Part 1

In my post ‘ Darker side of growth ’ in European Journalism Centre I asked a question: In a pond if lotuses grow such that every next minute they double and if this minute the pond is half full, how long will it take for the lotuses to fill the pond?

While it sounded like a quiz to some, I intended to impress my readers about the scary aspect of exponential growth in any finite system. Such growth is certainly runaway and anything designed to grow in that manner is easily unsustainable. I cannot take Kenneth Boulding lightly. Meanwhile I found a more impressive audio visual way to carry the message home.

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A Truth Of Folly

Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice. Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results, because there follows immediate peace.

Bhagavad Gita

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When Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900), a Sanskritist at Oxford was speaking of Indians as “our elder brethren”, much to the displeasure of the colonial and missionary authorities who ruled India, he hardly knew his idea could spark off a meme that would, in a span of 100 years, challenge the Nehruvian ideal of a Secular Democracy for India. Many British administrators despised the dark-skinned natives, while Christian priests were horrified by their “idolatrous errors, senseless mummeries… and bloody barbarous sacrifices”. The popular belief of the West had been that the Colonial West represented a racial supremacy over the Indian people in the east but this belief drew strength from a much recent Christian world view and 200 year history of Industrial revolution.

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Will James Inhofe Have The Last Laugh?

So what did the world get out of COP 17 at Durban? And more specifically what did the developing countries, which are just about appearing over the horizon of the greenhouse emissions historically created by the developed and rich nations already? It will be hard not to speculate how exactly the ravages of global warming and climate change will be dealt at our own doorsteps, be it mountainous states of Himalayas or the coastal provinces of the subcontinent. Hard, because, at the end of the day nobody will be truly interested in the political byplay of words, ricocheting statistics of carbon in the air, increase in the average temperature of earth. And everybody is interested to see positive changes towards an old and wasteful business as usual scenario. Everybody wants to see the arrest of increasing livelihood stresses, growing periodicity of extreme weather, nagging poverty, lack of health, food, water and everybody looks up to the leaders to find ways and means for those. Where does COP 17 stand in light of those expectations?

As K.N.Vajpai of Climate Himalaya summarizes , the agreed upon courses of discussions and resolutions of Durban meet had been: the next commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, the process on Kyoto Protocol in longer run on binding regime and the future course of actions decided at Cancun and as Bali action plans. The possible answer of my question can be found if we follow Vajpai’s threads.

It was fairly well known that EU would influence the conference for a new legally binding emission cutting deal after Kyoto protocol. What emerges is that the emission limits for the new deal lacks a basic foundation for the historical responsibility sharing. Indian minister for Environment and Forests has defended the development space for India in a narrowing emission sphere on the basis of equity and if spontaneous cheer and applaud by many countries be any indicator, equitable sharing of responsibility in emission cutting appears to be a fairer point rather than hastily imposed population weighted limits. “I was astonished and disturbed by the comments of my colleague from Canada who was pointing at us as to why we are against the roadmap. I am disturbed to find that a legally binding protocol to the Convention, negotiated just 14 years ago is now being junked in a cavalier manner. Countries which had signed and ratified it are walking away without even a polite goodbye. And yet, pointing at others.” She said.

This makes me disappointed in the context of either next commitment period of Kyoto Protocol or any binding treaty in the long run. Though the final decisions of the meeting have yet not emerged and Durban meet is working overtime, it looks like the conference in large part has failed.

What remain are the related issues of Climate Funds, Institutional Arrangements, Technology Mechanism and Adaptation Framework. But these appear to be discussions for arrangements between divorcee parents about child care.

Interestingly, a major polluter and the most significant economic power of the world, the USA has not sent a single delegation to this conference. Without it, UN is trying to sit on a three legged chair. What is most concerning is that this country has people in power who are either deniers or passive supporter of business as usual paradigm and if you doubt it, please check what Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma state of US had said about COP 17 here .

I didn’t expect much from Durban and I shall not be looking expectantly at Doha either, but true to my premonitions the world is fast heading towards an impasse on Climate Justice which may create an environmental anarchy that only the most resilient people can see through. The population denominator, in this scene, will be more crucial than technical supremacy.

Image Credit: SustainAbility

The Science of Conscience

Since our childhood we grow with various consciences! We have memories of success and failure, and we live and grow with them. We explore things, love and hate them, as per our consciousness.

We become conscious about the happening around with all sorts of awareness and our ability to cope and live with.  Up to a certain extent we understand the science and it sounds like an endless journey to know the fullest of it.

I am talking about the science behind our conscience, where we try to do things as per our need and moderate them as per our deed. We sometimes interpret science in our own way and oppose it as well. We talk pro about big hydro-power projects in mountains when we need a contract and about its fatal consequences when we need a social project. And in this way we encourage others to do the same way as we feel about the consequences of development.

In majority of cases we have different dimensions and values in different aspects. Our scientists and researchers working on various socially linked projects speak about their science to a person who is not in real need of it. But, their conscience allow it to do so, as he gets more benefit out of it by doing so, rather taking it to the people in need of it. Our politicians speak the language of a ‘King’ when they are in power politics and the language of a beggar when they seek votes for them to become so. At time they say ‘we will think about your problem’ and time again ‘ ek bar sewa ka awasar de’ [give us a chance to serve you].

Is it something to deal with our conscience or the science that we need to survive on this earth. Whatever, we see it, feel it and live it!

We have various arguments to support our stand and references to prove them, but, does our conscience allow it always?

I feel that the science of our consciousness needs further exploration, as what happens when our consciousness doesn’t allow us to do what we do generally.What side effect we have when this happens and how it impacts our overall life and generations. What happens to our voices when we pledge our truthfulness while taking a job and what happens when we don’t do so. Where those words go! Why doesn’t our own inner voice allow us to do things that helps others!  Which are the forces those distract us to do wrong!

We need to consider this dimension of science seriously to overcome from various ongoing problems around the world.

I wish to know more about the science behind our conscience!

Feature Image Courtesy: All things Wildly Considered

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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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