an "a to z" of thoughts, conversations, remarks, observations,musings about

Friday, April 28, 2006

"The Mythical Man Month"

I was browsing through the net and caught a reference to "The Mythical Man Month" and it was nice to be reminded of this awesome book which will teach you all you ever need to know about project management. I had read it a long time back and I used to watch people mismanaging their tasks and projects and wonder why they kept making the same mistakes. All they had to do was read this book, no need for an MBA or PMP or whatever, and yet the same mistakes happen again and again. Look at Vietnam and Iraq or IBM and Microsoft. Then I went to Wiki, and there the following paragraph was a rather neat explanation. ( see part in italics ). You should check out the entire wiki entry here too...its a good read.

Brooks's observations are based on his experiences at IBM while managing the development of OS/360. To speed development, he mistakenly attempted to add more workers to a project falling behind schedule. He also asserted that writing an Algol compiler would require six months—regardless of the number of workers involved. The tendency for managers to repeat these errors led Brooks to quip that the book is called "The Bible of Software Engineering" because "everybody reads it but nobody does anything about it!"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spirituality in Music

Mulla Nasruddin is sitting in the village square one evening plucking the strings of the sitar. Little by little, as expected a circle of friends gather around him. He keeps on strumming just one note. Finally, one villager musters enough courage to inquire,

‘‘that is a very nice note you are playing, Mulla, but most of the musicians use all the notes. Why don’t you?’’
“They are still searching for the note”, says the Mulla calmly, “I have found it’’

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

my hometown on wiki

well, let me put down what wiki has to say about my hometown, the city of Gorakhpur, about 50 miles from the Nepal border. I hope they dont mind me copying it off their site and pasting it here, here goes....


Gorakhpur is a city in the eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. It is the administrative headquarters of Gorakhpur District and Gorakhpur Division

It shares a border with Nepal. It is famous for Geeta Press which publishes Hindu religious texts. It is also seat of Nath sect (Gorakhnath Temple). Many historic Buddhist sites (Kushinagar) are nearby. It is also the headquarters of the North Eastern Railways.


2001 census: 624,570

Origin Of Name
The district of Gorakhpur is named after a renowned ascetic Gorakshnath. He is an eminent saint of a Hindu religious group known as Nath Sampradaya. Gorakhnath Temple exists on the same spot where he practised austerities.

In ancient times the geographical area of Gorakhpur included the modern districts of Basti, Deoria, Azamgarh and parts of Nepal. The entire region had been an important centre of Aryan culture and civilization. In ancient times Gorakhpur was a part of the famous kingdom of Koshal, one of sixteen Mahajanapadas (states) existing in India in 6th century BCE. As per Vedic history, the earliest known monarch ruling over this region with his capital at Ayodhya was Iksvaku. He founded a solar dynasty of rulers. The solar dynasty produced a number of illustrous kings. Rama was probably the greatest ruler of this dynasty. In more recent ancient history, Gorakhpur remained an integral part of the erstwhile empires of Maurya, Shunga, Kushana, Gupta and Harsha dynasties. In the 10th century, the Tharu king Mausen of Madan Singh ruled over Gorakhpur city and the adjoining area.

In the medieval period, when the entire northern India lay prostrate before the Muslim ruler, Muhammad Ghori, the Gorakhpur region was not left out. For a longer period it remained under the sway of the muslim rulers, from Qutb-ud-din Aybak to Bahadur Shah. Tradition has it that Ala ud din Khilji (1296-1316) ordered the conversion of old shrine of Goraksha ( a popular deity ) of Gorakhpur into a mosque. However, on Akbar's reorganisation of the empire, Gorakhpur gave its name to one of the five Sirkars comprising the province of Awadh.

Cultural and historical importance

The city of Gorakhpur has left an indelible mark on the religious history of the world. The city has close ties with two major world religions: Buddhism and Hinduism. It is also associated with Jain and Sikh religion.

Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism, renounced his princely costumes at the confluence of rivers Rapti & Rohini and proceeded further in the quest of truth in 600 BCE. It is also associated with Lord Mahavira, 24th tirthankar, founder of Jainism.

The next event of importance was the association of Gorakhpur with Gorakhnath. The date and place of his birth have not yet been finally settled, but it was probably in the twelfth century that he flourished. His samadhi at Gorakhpur attracts a large number of pilgrims every year. The most significant event in the medieval period, however, was the coming of mystic poet and famous saint Kabir to Maghar. Born in Varanasi, his workplace was Maghar where most of his beautiful poems were composed. It was here that he gave the message to his countrymen to live in peace and religious harmony. The co-existence of 'Samadhi' and 'Makbara' at his burial place in Maghar attracts a large number of followers.

Gorakhpur is also identified with the Gita Press, the world famous publisher of the Hindu religious books. The most famous publication is 'Kalyan' magazine. All 18 parts of Shree Bhagwat Gita is written on its marble-walls. Other wall hangings and paintings reveal the events of life of Lord Ram and Krishna. The Gita Press is forefront in dissemination of religious and spiritual consciousness across the country.

Gorakhpur is also the birth place of King Vikas Sankrityayan Ji.

Gorakhpur rose to great eminence due to the historic 'Chauri Chaura' incident of 4 February 1922, which was a turning-point in the history of India's freedom struggle. Enraged at the inhuman barbaric atrocities of the police, the volunteers burnt down the Chauri-Chaura Police Station, killing nineteen policemen at the premises. With this violence, Mahatma Gandhi withdrew the Non-Cooperation Movement launched in 1920. Another important event took place at Doharia kala ( In Sahjanwa Tehsil ) on 23 August 1942. In response to the famous Quit India Movement of 1942, a meeting was held to register its protest against the British Government at Doharia but the latter responded with unprovoked firing, killing nine and injuring hundreds. A Shaheed Smarak, in their memory, stands there which still today keeps their memory alive. The trial of Jawaharlal Nehru took place in this district in 1940. Here he was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of 4 years.

quote of the day

"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."

John Lennon

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nepal - a clear look

According to the State Department’s “Supplemental Funding Justifications,” the financing had two premises. The first is that the “Maoist insurgency seeks the overthrow of Nepal’s constitutional monarchy and the establishment of a republic.” Responding to this, two Congresspeople remarked, “What would Thomas Jefferson say…226 years after ousting King George III, the American republic is in the business of propping up monarchies.”

excerpted from a great article by Jason Andrews. Very well written, showing a clear grasp of the situation, empathy with the protagonists and a dry wit. Read it here!

psychic links

kinda neat ....dunno how it works.... try it out.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

against the grain

A little off subject, there is a book out talking about WTO and how it has allowed for the patenting of GRAIN so that food supply in places like India are completely controlled by five companies. Ouch. These guys didnt come up with the idea. I'd rather see little people fight these monopolies on ideas than back down and be intimidated by giant corporations.

In Stolen Harvest, Vandana Shiva charts the implacts of globalized, corporate agriculture on small farmers, the environment, and the quality of the food we eat. With chapters on genetically engineered seeds, patents o life, mad cows and sacred cows, and the debate on shrimp farming, this is an impassioned and inspiring book that will shape the debate about genetic engineering and commercial agriculture for years to come.

Quotes from Stolen Harvest
"Over the past two decades every issue I have been engaged in as an ecological activist and organic intellectual has revealed that what the industrial economy calls "growth" is really a form of theft from nature and people.

"It is true that cutting down forests or converting natural forests into monocultures of pine and wucalyptus for industrial raw material generates revenues and growth. But this growth is based on robbing

Vandana Shiva is one of the world's most dynamic and provacative thinkers. A physicist, ecologist, and activist, she won the Right Livelihood Award in 1993. She directs the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi, India, and is an Associate Editor of The Ecologist magazine. Before becoming an activist, Shiva was one of India's leading physicists

Quote from Vandana Shiva -

"The primary threat to nature and people today comes from centralising and monopolising power and control. Not until diversity is made the logic of production will there be a chance for sustainability, justice and peace. Cultivating and conserving diversity is no luxury in our times: it is a survival imperative."

Her books include:

Water Wars
Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply
Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge
Ecofeminism with Maria Mies
The Violence of the Green Revolution : Third World Agriculture, Ecology and Politics
Monocultures of the Mind : Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology
Biopolitics : A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, editor with Ingunn Moser
Biodiversity : Social and Ecological Consequences

Read more about her here

read her interview here -

the war machine

In more painfully personal terms, Cindy Sheehan writes, “Looking back on my life up until Casey was killed in Iraq, on 04/04/04, I have tried to analyze over and over again what went wrong. I knew that our leaders were bought and paid for employees of the war machine, and yet, when Casey came of age, he put on the uniform and marched off to another senseless war to bring his employers that rich reward of money and power. The warning for American mothers and fathers is this: the war machine will get your children, if not now, then your grandchildren. It is a hard and steep price to pay for the certain knowledge that the people in power think of us, not as their employers and electorate whom they swear to serve, but as their tools to be used as cannon fodder whenever the impulse strikes them.”

will u marry me

isnt this a cool way to ask someone to marry on link here ....and zoom a little bit.

spotted this on sphenes blog.

On Water

Barely 15 months ago, Uruguay made history with its referendum on the issue of water. The outcome was a first-ever in the world. Close to two-thirds of voters came out in favour of an amendment to their Constitution (now Article 47). One that would assert: "water is a natural resource essential to life." Also that access to water and sanitation are "fundamental human rights." And that "public service of water supply for human consumption will be served exclusively and directly by state legal persons." (Which rules out a private takeover of water.)

Among the many burning issues of the day, is the issue of water. As the referendum in Uruguay showed, there is a very simple way to tackle this problem at its very root. We cannot expect Madame Sonia, or Master Rahul or Sri KamalNath or Mr Jaitley or Missus Sushma or Hon. Arjun Singh to consider this of any importance. Let alone holding a referendum or having MP's support a similar amendment to the constitution. However, the insidious activity of elected hooligans selling off state assets will reach to a point when they will sell off all the water to Bechtel and Haliburton and Coca Cola and whatever. The rivers will be stored in huge concrete dams and sold at a rate of $ per drop. So get the message out to every man in india who drinks water...maybe this can be stopped.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


"I'm not an American. I'm one of the twenty-two million Black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million Black people who are the victims of democracy--nothing but disguised hypocrisy. So I'm not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver--no, not I. I'm speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don't see any American dream; I see an American nightmare."


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Rachel Corrie

And few other American activists have been willing to expose themselves to the kind of risks that Rachel Corrie took when she sat between a Palestinian home and a Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza three years ago.

The bulldozer, driven by an Israeli army soldier on assignment to demolish the home, rolled over Corrie, who was 23 years old. She had taken a nonviolent position for human rights; she lost her life as a result. But she was rarely praised in the same U.S. media outlets that had gone into raptures over the image of a solitary unarmed man standing in front of Chinese tanks at the time of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

In sharp contrast to the high-tech killers who run the Israeli military apparatus and the low-tech killers who engage in suicide bombings, Rachel Corrie put her beliefs into practice with militant nonviolence instead of carnage. She exemplified the best of the human spirit in action; she was killed with an American-brand bulldozer in the service of a U.S.-backed government.

As her parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, said in a statement on her birthday a few weeks after she died: "Rachel wanted to bring attention to the plight of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, a people she felt were largely invisible to most Americans."

In the United States, the nonstop pro-Israel media siege aims to keep them scarcely visible.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

stop this madness

Day after day, scores of Iraqis -- mostly Sunni victims of Shiite gangs -- turn up bound and gagged, with electric drill holes in their bones, and bullets in their brains. They are found in mass graves, in vans stuffed with bodies, in ditches. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are fleeing cities and neighborhoods in which they are a minority or feel unsafe, becoming refugees in their own land.

i use a electric drill sometimes...and that part just was too much to imagine


Rumi was born in 1207 in Afganistan and until the age of thirty-seven was a brilliant scholar and popular teacher. But his life changed forever when he met Shams of Tabriz, of whom Rumi said, "What I had thought of before as God, I met today in a human being." From this mysterious and esoteric friendship came a new height of spiritual enlightment.

When Shams disappeared, Rumi began his transformation from scholar to artist, and his poetry began to fly. After a very prolific life as a poet and Sufi mystic, Rumi died in Konya, Turkey where he had lived most of his life.

in the sufi tradition, the idea is to be so in love with the divine that one loses oneself...and is nothing but pure love....

sufi's were known for their rough woollen coat, the "saf" ...and lived in voluntary poverty, looking like a happy drunk, in love with everything and forever seeking to feel god rather than think about him

in 1200 AD in afghanistan...this was the peak of the flowering of the sufi tradition...amid the beauty of the green valleys, the flowing rivers, the majestic mountain peaks came the realization to men, that this beauty was divine and the divine was beautiful.

the currents from different directions came and mixed among each other, and a cry for peace, for brotherhood and for love went out from the poets. The love of allah from arabia met the concept of the absolute brahman in india and mixed with the beauty of the persian love traditions. So was created sufi poetry.

and there has never been or will ever be a sufi like jalaluddin rumi. The mystical poems of Rumi with their simple lines which sometimes smile, sometimes brood, sometimes sing and sometimes slyly mock.

Who looks out with my eyes?
What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord,
and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have
to take me home.

Open Secret

Looking For Your Face

From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face
but today I have seen it.

Today I have seen
the charm, the beauty,
the unfathomable grace
of the face
that I was looking for.

Today I have found you
and those that laughed
and scorned me yesterday
are sorry that they were not looking
as I did.

I am bewildered by the magnificence
of your beauty
and wish to see you with a hundred eyes.

My heart has burned with passion
and has searched forever
for this wondrous beauty
that I now behold.

I am ashamed
to call this love human
and afraid of God
to call it divine.

Your fragrant breath
like the morning breeze
has come to the stillness of the garden
You have breathed new life into me
I have become your sunshine
and also your shadow.

My soul is screaming in ecstasy
Every fiber of my being
is in love with you

Your effulgence
has lit a fire in my heart
and you have made radiant
for me
the earth and sky.

My arrow of love
has arrived at the target
I am in the house of mercy
and my heart
is a place of prayer.

Monday, April 10, 2006

funny quote

Rodney Dangerfield - "I haven't spoken to my wife in years. I didn't want to interrupt her."

pics of soldiers

just so we dont forget that theres a war on in babylon...two pics which i got in an email recently. I wonder if americans who look at this picture feel proud of their soldiers and say the slogan " support our troops" or do they feel that these pictures would be so much better without the uniforms, the soldier would look so much better at home in civilian clothes, playing with kids, petting his cat and leading a normal life. So is it "support our boys" or is it "bring the boys back home".

The kid playing with the cat really shouldnt be in a dehumanizing war, where years down the line he still cant escape the memories of blood and bombs..he shouldnt be at risk of getting his limbs blown off or worse.. why couldnt he be part of the peace corps teaching kids in africa to read, why is he being made to carry a rifle around?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

isnt communism the opposite of democracy?

Police arrested about 300 activists from different parties early Thursday, the first day of the opposition's anti-monarchy demonstrations across Nepal's capital, a top opposition leader said.

Top students leaders, women's activists and members of the country's seven main political parties were among those arrested, said Khadga Prasad Oli, a top communist leader and one of the organizers of the four-day nationwide strike to pressure King Gyanendra to restore democracy more than a year after he seized control of the government

A communist leader wanting to restore democracy??
The statement of a communist leader wanting to restore democracy sounds strange to a lot of us who think that communnism is the opposite of democracy. I too used to think that, till one day a communist student leader gently told me something about what he did.

communism is the opposite of capitalism, not democracy.

in a country, profits are divided between the labour and the
capitalist ( owner ). This was true in classical industrial situations
like factories, mills, agriculture etc.

Now in america you see wages remaining stagnant or even going down a
little while companies report enormous profit growth ( eg Walmart ).
The share of profits going to the labour force used to be very small
earlier, then came the unionization, government regulation and then
shortage of labor force, which led to a steady increase in the share
of profits that went to labor. Now with India and China entering the
global labor pool, employers in developed countries, like US, are
moving their production/work to cheaper locations. This has led to the
decline in the share of profits going to labor in the last 10 years or

Communism emerged as an alternative to this model, where it was the
vision of Karl Marx that workers of the world would unite and take
control of the means of production ( employee owned factories /
collective farms ). During the Clinton era, surprisingly, a
lot of communist principles were in play in the market, like employee
ownership of their companies ( stock options ). Communism also aims at
a fair redistribution of wealth. They talk of taking all the land from
the landowners and then redistributing it equally to all people. Also
of free education, free healthcare, free housing etc etc to all people
provided by the state. This means that the difference in standard of
living between the upper layer and the bottom layer is very less.

What they did say was that in most capitalist countries, democracy has
become controlled by people with money. There has emerged a upper
elite of rich men who control most things. In such cases if there is
no other way then it is better to bring a revolution and change the

As with most systems, the practical implementation of these ideals
proved to be difficult. Once the communist systems were in place,
there emerged a ruling elite who started to control the system and
dictators like Stalin, Mao gave it a bad name.

The lessons the communists learned from the previous century ( which
can also be called the communist century ) were many. One lesson, was
that a communist movement must remain connected to the poor, the
workers, the labor and the countryside. This was shown in Vietnam and
in China, where peoples armies won victories and ended up ruling the
country. Another lesson learned is that there is a tendency of
communist systems to become like dictatorships, so there must be
strong democratic systems inside the communist party which allow the
people to have a strong voice in the system. The third lesson learned
was that even though communist systems are unglamorous, with run down
cars and industrial style buildings, they still do a very good job of
providing education, security and healthcare to their citizens.

The crime rate in USSR was very low, Cuba has excellent healthcare and
education. Earlier jokes were made about east european and soviet
countries, about how people stood in line for hours etc. and how their
cars were tincans on wheels. Capitalism swept into these countries
after the fall of the berlin wall. Then came the mafia, prostitution,
homeless, breakdown in healthcare for the poor, drop in literacy
levels and enornous amounts of theft, robbery and bribery. Say what
you may about Cuba, but the same hurricanes hit Cuba and Louisiana.
The poor and underpriviliged were left exposed in US and their
condition was exposed for everyone to see.

For a long time in many countries, the communists have entered the
mainstream, formed political parties and fought elections aiming to
use the democratic structure to come into power. In India, communists
have consistently ruled two states, through victories in elections, a
good organised grassroots party structure and consistent pro poor
policies. Kerala and Bengal have had communist party governments and
they have not done too badly. In fact kerala has education and
healthcare levels comparable to the best in the world. In bengal, it
has been a mixed success, capital and factories fled when the
communists came to power. They however did carry out a successful land
redistribution programme among the farmers and landless labourers.
There is a marked difference visible in the living standards and
mentality of the poorest of the poor in these places. There is a lack
of mercedes benzes and five star hotels though and the flight of
capital has led to tremendous unemployment. Still now, with education
levels and basic infrastructure being very good in Bengal, factories
and software companies, outsourcing shops etc are returning there and
they are very much part of the boom.

Communism probably should be understood as "community ruled" or
"community based". It emphasises the role of communities and groups
and unions and collectives. Capitalism emphasises individuality and
money, capital and millionaires. Therefore to think that communism
automatically rules out democracy is a wrong assumption. Communism has
slogans like " Power to the people". Capitalism has slogans like "
Survival of the fittest".

In nepal, the communist party fought elections whenever possible. The
party had been formed to struggle against imperialism and feudalism,
as symbolised by the rule of the Rana kings in Nepal. Their moment of
truth came in 1991 elections. The results of the elections,
demonstrated that a coalition of various communist parties was a major
political force in Nepalese politics

Now in Nepal, there was an incident which makes a mockery, both of
free speech, media reporting, law and order, international diplomacy
and many other things. Having turned over most power to the parliament
and democratically elected governments, the king was taking a backseat
in politics. This was a threat to the entrenched vested interests,
like the Generals in the army, the large landowners, the power brokers
et al. So one fine day, a few years ago, the entire royal family was
gunned down at their own dining table. The story was released that the
crown prince had a tragic romance, which upset him, and he killed his
whole family and then shot himself. Of the people in the room, only
one cousin survived. Co incidentally that cousin is now the crown
prince of nepal and his father Gyanendra is now the new king.
Gyanendra gradually consolidated power, dissolved parliament and
kicked out all elected representatives. The political parties could do
not much but protest, since the Royal Nepal Army was on the side of
Gyanendra. It was the communists who retreated back into the
underground, into the villages and hills and launched a grassroots
movement, which has been fighting the Army for control of the land. At
last estimates, the communists controlled more than 60% of nepal,
running parallel governments, collecting taxes, running tribunals,
hospitals, courts etc.

The support for the King is dwindling. India which had earlier
supported him, now strongly urges him to hold elections again and
restore democracy. China too, does not look too kindly on his
activites. To continue the fight against the Communists, the King
needs weapons. China and India both are reluctant to give them to him.
Who else can he turn to. Surprise!, there is one country which is
willing to support him and send him weapons, the USA. They probably
feel that having a brutal despotic murdering ruler is preferable to a
democratically elected communist government.

Thats what my opinion of the situation in Nepal is. I grew up about 50
miles from the india - nepalese border. I travelled through its roads
and villages and mountains a lot and some of my best friends are
nepalese. It was indeed a sad day for all of us, and a dark day for
justice and truth, when the royal family was massacred and the new
king siezed power. That is the relevant question, of why the world
stood by and let it happen. The fact that communists are fighting him
and want to restore democracy and fight elections is not such a
strange thing.

read my earlier blog entry

for the interview with Prachanda who is heading the communist party
movement in nepal.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

plans under development - house in gurgaon

finally the plans for the house in gurgaon are for the " look "

this is going to be tricky.

now comes the first view -

this is how the look is on any image to enlarge

update - medha patkar arrested

In a dramatic swoop late Wednesday night, Delhi police arrested Medha Patkar, leader, Narmada Bachao Andolan and took her to a hospital, following extreme deterioration in her condition. Patkar was arrested on the charge of attempting to commit suicide. The scores of NBA activists who clashed with the police, shouting anti-government slogans and protesting Patkar's arrest were also arrested on charges of rioting. They were taken to the Parliament Street police station. To arrest a weak Patkar, police had to broke the cordon of these activists, who had surrounded her; she was lying on a bed on a pavement near Jantar Mantar. Even an hour after the arrest, several activists continued to protest and the area has remained tense.

quick and dirty operating system.

During one of those last long nights working to deliver DOS 2.0 in early 1983, I am told that Paul Allen heard Gates and Ballmer discussing his health and talking about how to get his Microsoft shares back if Allen were to die.

after a long time, cringely returns to what he does best, anecdotes about the people in the tech world. Here he dissects Microsoft and serves up some tasty morsels like the one above. Read the full piece here

News - Who has the most oil?

Analysis by the US Department of Energy (DoE) - seen by Newsnight - shows that at $50 a barrel Venezuela - not Saudi Arabia - will have the biggest oil reserves in Opec.

Venezuela has vast deposits of extra-heavy oil in the Orinoco. Traditionally these have not been counted because at $20 a barrel they were too expensive to exploit - but at $50 a barrel melting them into liquid petroleum becomes extremely profitable.

The DoE report shows that at today's prices Venezuela's oil reserves are bigger than those of the entire Middle East - including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Iran and Iraq.

read the BBC's article on its interview with Chavez here.

Another forceful quote from Chavez :

Mr Chavez does not accept UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's criticism of him for lining up with Mr Castro.

He told Newsnight: "If someone is sleeping together it is Bush and Blair. They share the same bed."

quote of the day

Napoleon Bonaparte - "Courage is like love; it must have hope to nourish it"

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

dont worship the the living

The construction of large dams on the River Narmada in central India and its impact on millions of people living in the river valley has become one of the most important social issues in contemporary India.

The recent decision by the authorities to raise the SSP dam height to 121m is in violation of the Supreme Court rulings of Oct 2000 and March 2005 that unambiguously state that further construction cannot happen until rehabilitation of temporaorily and permanently affected families is completed as per the Narmada Tribunal Award. Families are yet to be rehabilitated even at the 110m level.

Three representatives from the Narmada valley (Jamsing Nargave from village Amlali Badwani district, Bhagwatibai Jatpuria from village Nissarpur Dhar district and Medha Patkar) are on indefinite hunger strike at Jantar mantar.

Medha Patkar shown in the photo opposite has a simple point. How can a state, flood thousands of villages and cities, submerge temples, inundate ancestral land, uproot a whole population without even consulting them. What manner of arrogance is this.

After peaceful protests, approaching the courts and arguing their case in a civilised way there had been some headway. Then came the decision last week, by the government to raise the height of the dam another 12 metres. This would increase the area being flooded and uproot even more villages. This while the earlier villagers hadnt been resettled and rehabilitated yet. This move is also in direct violation of the Supreme courts orders, which had stopped further construction till the displaced people were resettled. The nonviolent protests earlier were dealt with brutally by the authorities. So, in the oldest tradition of India, this frail old woman lay down in the capital city and stopped eating. Its been seven days and counting and she is there, doing a gandhi.

We still worship Gandhi, pay lip service to his ideals and declare him the father of our nation. The man who wished to live as poorly as the rest of his countrymen, who fasted to stir the conscience of his people and their rulers, who felt the pain of the downtrodden. We admire him today. We call his path the right path. He is dead and long gone, killed by an assassins bullet.

Medha has gone 7 days without food. Let us try to imagine what that means. Let us probe further into why an old lady is starving herself to death in the heart of the capital city. Let us stop worshipping the dead and look at the living. All those who can, please visit the Jantar Mantar in CP in Delhi and show your solidarity, if not for her cause then at least for her courage.

related links -


Medha Patkars press release

Visit the Narmada Bachao Andolan website here ( Save Narmada Movement )

The build up to this protest, when everything else fails.

an interview with Medha a few years ago.

Medha Patkar turns down PM’s request

Arrested and released.

Editorial in HT - For many Indians, the word ‘development’ sends a shudder down their spines. What should have been a term eliciting optimism and giving flesh to progress has become a cuss word. One prime reason for things coming to such a pass is that governments have allowed development to become synonymous with misery for many. One key element of many a developmental project involves mass displacement. This involves necessary social disruption that requires compensation and rehabilitation of the displaced. On paper, all public developmental projects have rehabilitation measures built into them. But the reality is that while successive governments have tom-tommed their socialist credentials, the second part of the development-rehabilitation exercise is either forgotten or is forcibly jettisoned. That is the reason why people like Medha Patkar are forced to go on a hunger strike so that the injustice meted out to the displaced in the name of development is addressed and corrected.

Read More of " Development and People"

BBC Widget