Browsing articles in " Global Issues "

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 Purple Frog and Development

The rain stopped a while ago. It sat inconspicuous on the mulch and turned its small head towards the distant haze, sensing for the direction of the sea with its ancient amphibian wisdom. It is the sea that came up 150 million years ago separating the great Sahyadri from Madagascar and Seychelles – a time far in the past ruled by the dinosaurs.

It sat confused, its frog brain registering the melancholy of losing out to time and survival. Time spent futilely searching for a female to pass on its genes. The earth beneath its short limbs is shaking as the coffee plantations approach nearer and it is slowly losing its will to look for a new place to hide, a safer home under the warm folds of the soil. It is confused because the rain comes now and then with no certainty that its million year old adaptation is failing to read these days.

Times are changing but its time is up. Dams are coming up, forests are vanishing and the great wheel of destiny is demanding more coffee, more cardamom, more ginger, more crops – development is here.

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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 >>

Love the Country, Can’t Stand the Scene

I don’t really know why I am writing this.

I drove roughly two hours today seeking a tea stall where I can have a cup of sweet and hot tea, deshi style, to enjoy the drizzle and the much waited rains after a week of stifling heat of Kolkata April.

My city mates might be frowning by now. Driving two hours looking for a tea stall? Well, in Kolkata every block has two of them. Read more >>

Harvesting Hope

“Green water is ignored by engineers because they can’t pipe or pump it, by economists because they can’t price it, and by governments because they can’t tax it.” -David Dent, Director, Green Water Credits

Worldchanging guest writers David Zak and Chad Monfreda write in their article “If green is the new black, then water is the new oil. With climate change threatening harsher droughts and water scarcity facing nearly 60% of humanity, water is critical to any vision of sustainability.”

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Earth Day 2012 on top of the World

I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests

Pablo Neruda

It was almost 9.30 p.m  as Jan Shatabdi Express from Delhi sluggishly rolled in alongside Dehradun. I left the comfort of the air conditioned chair-car, anticipation eating into me and was breathing the familiar Indian Rail station smell. No, I did not grow up in this town and my poetry is novice. But I am in eternal tug and pull between hill and river; I saw life in great river country of Bengal and fell in love with it. Yet Himalaya with its lofty heights and ancient stories beckoned me all my life. Presently, on this railway platform, I was going to meet a friend whom I have not seen with my eyes. It could not get any more exciting!

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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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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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