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Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 225

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page of backlog opinions and events is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory

Every society has gone through the same historical development and experienced with feudal systems, caste systems, monarchies, and oligarchies.
China has the mentality of becoming a superpower at par with the USA.  Everything that China is doing is at a gigantic measure such as the biggest dam with all the subsequent mass transfer of people, traditions, and customs.
The focus on urban centers and industrialization in China is diverting water from agriculture, the source of its initial prosperity and social stability.
A 7-month dry season in the northern part of China, the wheat basket region, is sending shivers of forthcoming famine. The rivers in China are heavily polluted and the western diseases from water and land pollution are harvesting thousands of young lives. Over 25, millions were forced to vacate the urban centers to their remote villages after this financial crisis.
Shanghai alone has more high rises than New York and Los Angeles combined or 5,000 high-rises.
China and India are two powers that have the technologies, the know-how, and the resources in raw materials and human potential to rival the economies of the western nations.  It is no secret that the hurried frenzy of Bush Junior to unilaterally invade Iraq had the main purpose of dominating oil reserves and blackmailing China and India.
Within a century, 50 millions middle class families in the USA and Europe almost exhausted earth minerals and energies.
Currently, over 150 millions middle class families in China and India, and increasing steadily, can afford and demand the same consumer items that the USA and European middle classes enjoyed for a century, and they want them Now.
Just in fiscal 1997 alone, Israel received from a variety of other U.S. federal budgets at least $525.8 million above and beyond its $3 billion from the foreign aid budget, and yet another $2 billion in federal loan guarantees. So the complete total of U.S. grants and loan guarantees to Israel for fiscal 1997 was $5,525,800,000
Although Congress authorizes America’s foreign aid total, the fact that more than a third of it goes to a country smaller in both area and population than Hong Kong probably never has been mentioned on the floor of the Senate or House. Or that Israel standard of living is higher than Spain and Ireland. Yet this influx of financial support has been going on for more than a generation.

Shou hal fawda wal zolm? Leish elleh ma t7aakamo min sneen laazem yentro al “3afou al 3aam”?

Fi 4 voitures biya3touni sha2leh lal maktabeh iza mara2o. Al bakiyya bi kazbo 3ala nafshon “Adonis 7abeb yetmasha”. Ma 3edon jalad yed3esso frem wa yerj3o ye al3o.

Ahssan di3ayat la Hezbollah woukouf Saad Hariri doddahou: Kel Tareek Jdideh, bi omha wa bayya, badha t7ot warakat baydaa2. Kel sawt moush lal Moustakbal houweh sawt la Hezbollah. Sawto lel fassad wa ma tsadko Hassan

Samir Gea3ja3: Akeed, akeed, “Bad. Hezbollah very bad”. Sa3d Hariri: Kel sawt moush la eli houweh la Hezbollah

 

 

 

In 5 days, 4 people in India government will delete 7 million Muslim citizens from their register

The Indian government is feeling the heat! of our campaign.

And now we have 5 more days to stop them deleting millions of Muslims from its citizenship register!

Officials have attacked Avaaz, but privately we’re hearing they’re keeping more people on the list because of our global outcry.

If we ratchet up the pressure during this critical time before deadline day on 30th July, we can literally save lives.

Four men control the fate of millions.

Let’s put them under massive pressure by writing to them at this critical decision-making time. The more personal your message the better.

Write from the heart and share on:. TwitterFacebookEmail

Below are some questions you can use, but the more personal your post or tweet, the more impact it’ll have.

Think about the poor, illiterate people trapped in this heartless bureaucracy that’s destroying lives by deleting names on a computer!

Then write from that place.

  • Why is India making millions of people, mostly Muslims, stateless?
  • Why is the government so biased against Bengali-speakers?
  • How many people will be left off the 30 July list?
  • Why are you building a new prison camp for “foreigners”?

Local officials, who have never before faced international scrutiny, are now racing to limit the number of people kept off the list.

It’s happening because of our campaign! In these critical 5 remaining days, they need to know the world is watching.

To share the original petition with friends and understand more about the issue, please click here.

With hope and determination,

Antonia, Emma, Nate, Nataliya, Laura, Wissam and the rest of the Avaaz team

As in India, US Farmers Caught in Crushing Agribusiness Debt Trap Turn to Suicide in Spiking Numbers

With Bayer-Monsanto now the largest seed and agro-chemical company in the world, its near monopoly on prices and its disregard for farmers and environmental health mean that the despair that has consumed India’s farmers will soon be planted in the United States.

Over 12,000 farmers in India still committing suicide every year. US farmers developing a farmer-suicide epidemic 

June 27, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS – Over a decade ago, a disturbing trend among farmers in India captured headlines, as suicides among Indian farmers began to spiral out of control.

Many of those farmers were indebted to giant agribusiness corporations like Monsanto, which – after gaining access to India’s seed sector in 1998 – enticed poor farmers to buy new “bio-engineered” seeds every planting season along with the associated agro-chemicals required to grow them, promising bigger yields that would offset the costs.

When such benefits failed to materialize, many farmers – confronted with an ever-growing debt snowball – were faced with losing their land, leading many to take their lives by drinking the very same agro-chemicals that had helped trap them in debt.

Though it has faded from the headlines, the crisis has continued unabated, with over 12,000 farmers in India still committing suicide every year.

While the crisis in India may seem a distant problem to many Americans, new reports have indicated that the U.S. is developing a farmer-suicide epidemic of its own.

A new report in CBS News notes that farmers in America now die at a rate higher than that of any other occupation and 5  times higher than that of the general population, even as the national suicide rate as a whole has jumped over the last few decades.

As CBS notes, the increase in suicides mirrors a similar phenomenon in the 1980s, when U.S. farmers faced economic hardship related to debt, and suicides spiked.

Jennifer Fahy, communications director with Farm Aid, told CBS at the time that “the farm crisis was so bad, there was a terrible outbreak of suicide and depression.” Fahy now warns that the current situation is “actually worse.”

The newly reported increase in U.S. farmer suicides — much like the crisis for India’s farmers – is related to debt, specifically to global seed and agribusiness corporations that continue to raise prices as farmers’ incomes fall.

Farm income has been dropping steadily since 2013, with the average this year set to be 35% less than it was five years ago.

Meanwhile, farmers have seen a 300 % price increase in recent years on products like seeds, fertilizer and agro-chemicals produced by giant agribusiness corporations like Monsanto, Cargill, Syngenta and others.

Many farmers in the U.S. are dependent on “bio-engineered” seeds and their requisite chemicals, molded by decades of U.S. policy that pushed for farm consolidation and favored the adoption of these products.

As a result, most American farmers have become dependent on these commodities and, because they must be purchased again every planting season, have been taking out loans just to be able to plant. (In order to get subsidies, farmers must cooperate with these agro multinationals?)

As Todd Eney, a fourth-generation farmer in central Montana, told Business Insider last month:

Our farm has been out here since 1935, and I’m 40 years old and I’ve watched a lot of small family farms in our area go under. They can’t compete because they can’t pay the price of input because of what these companies are wanting to charge for input now.”

The growing debt burden has been known for some time, with reports warning five years ago that U.S. farmers would be the next group to “be slammed by debt.”

Yet now — in addition to the massive debt accumulated by many farmers — President Trump’s trade and tariff war, as well as the Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates, have compounded to put even more financial pressure on the nation’s farmers.

Bayer-Monsanto merger leaves American farmers fearing worst is yet to come

Activists protest against the acquisition of the US agrochemical company Monsanto by the German Bayer company outside the annual shareholders meeting of Bayer in Bonn, Germany, Friday, May 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Activists protest the acquisition of the US agrochemical company Monsanto by the German Bayer in Bonn, Germany, May 25, 2018. Martin Meissner | AP

Unfortunately, the situation for American farmers is soon likely to get much worse, thanks to the merger of agribusiness giants Monsanto and Bayer, which concluded earlier this month.

The resulting mega-company now controls around a third of the U.S. seed and pesticide market and has inspired the other largest agribusinesses in the world to plan mergers, including Dow Chemical and DuPont.

After the merger was announced, many farmers voiced their concerns that it would allow Bayer-Monsanto to consolidate even more of the seed market and use its privileged position to further increase prices.

Beyond an imminent jump in prices for farmers, the merger affects farmers in yet another way, as their products, time and again, have been shown to cause mass die-offs of farmers’ most important pollinator: bees.

Many Bayer and Monsanto products have been found to harm bee populations, even in studies they themselves funded. As a result, over 340 native bee populations are facing extinction and over half of all bees in the U.S. are actively declining.

With the bee population facing unprecedented die-offs, any worsening of their precarious situation will have a major impact on U.S. farms and, by extension, farmers.

With Bayer-Monsanto now the largest seed and agrochemical company in the world, its near monopoly on prices and its disregard for farmers and environmental health mean that the despair that has consumed India’s farmers will soon be planted in the United States.

Top Photo | File – A 70-year-old former farmer at his farm north of Hope, N.D. Ann Arbor Miller | AP

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

Fact check: India wasn’t the first place Sanskrit was recorded – it was Syria

As the Narendra Modi government celebrates Sanskrit, a look at the oldest known speakers of the language: the Mitanni people of Syria.

How an ancient language, which no one speaks, writes or reads, will help promote India’s affairs abroad remains to be seen.

After yoga, Narendra Modi has turned his soft power focus to Sanskrit.  The Indian government is enthusiastically participating in the 16th World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok.

Not only is it sending 250 Sanskrit scholars and partly funding the event, the conference will see the participation of two senior cabinet ministers: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who inaugurated the conference on Sunday, and Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, who will attend its closing ceremony on July 2.

Inexplicably, Swaraj also announced the creation of the post of Joint Secretary for Sanskrit in the Ministry of External Affairs.

How an ancient language, which no one speaks, writes or reads, will help promote India’s affairs abroad remains to be seen.

On the domestic front, though, the uses of Sanskrit are clear: it is a signal of the cultural nationalism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Sanskrit is the liturgical language of Hinduism, so sacred that lower castes (more than 75% of modern Hindus) weren’t even allowed to listen to it being recited.

Celebrating Sanskrit does little to add to India’s linguistic skills – far from teaching an ancient language, India is still to get all its people educated in their modern mother tongues. But it does help the BJP push its own brand of hyper-nationalism.

Unfortunately, reality is often a lot more complex than simplistic nationalist myths. While Sanskrit is a marker of Hindu nationalism for the BJP, it might be surprised, even shocked, to know that the first people to leave behind evidence of having spoken Sanskrit aren’t Hindus or Indians – they were Syrians.

The Syrian speakers of Sanskrit

The earliest form of Sanskrit is that used in the Rig Veda (called Old Indic or Rigvedic Sanskrit). Amazingly, Rigvedic Sanskrit was first recorded in inscriptions found not on the plains of India but in in what is now northern Syria.

Between 1500 and 1350 BC, a dynasty called the Mitanni ruled over the upper Euphrates-Tigris basin, land that corresponds to what are now the countries of Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.

The Mitannis spoke a language called Hurrian, unrelated to Sanskrit. However, each and every Mitanni king had a Sanskrit name and so did many of the local elites. Names include Purusa (meaning “man”), Tusratta (“having an attacking chariot”), Suvardata (“given by the heavens”), Indrota (“helped by Indra”) and Subandhu, a name that exists till today in India.

Imagine that: the irritating, snot-nosed Subandhu from school shares his name with an ancient Middle Eastern prince. Goosebumps. (Sorry, Subandhu).

The Mitanni had a culture, which, like the Vedic people, highly revered chariot warfare.

A Mitanni horse-training manual, the oldest such document in the world, uses a number of Sanskrit words: aika (one), tera (three), satta (seven) and asua (ashva, meaning “horse”). Moreover, the Mitanni military aristocracy was composed of chariot warriors called “maryanna”, from the Sanskrit word “marya”, meaning “young man”.

The Mitanni worshipped the same gods as those in the Rig Veda (but also had their own local ones).

They signed a treaty with a rival king in 1380 BC which names Indra, Varuna, Mitra and the Nasatyas (Ashvins) as divine witnesses for the Mitannis.

While modern-day Hindus have mostly stopped the worship of these deities, these Mitanni gods were also the most important gods in the Rig Veda.

This is a striking fact.

As David Anthony points out in his bookThe Horse, the Wheel, and Language, this means that not only did Rigvedic Sanskrit predate the compilation of the Rig Veda in northwestern India but even the “central religious pantheon and moral beliefs enshrined in the Rig Veda existed equally early”.

How did Sanskrit reach Syria before India?

What explains this amazing fact? Were PN Oak and his kooky Hindutva histories right? Was the whole world Hindu once upon a time? Was the Kaaba in Mecca once a Shivling?

Unfortunately, the history behind this is far more prosaic.

The founding language of the family from which Sanskrit is from is called Proto-Indo-European. Its daughter is a language called Proto-Indo-Iranian, so called because it is the origin of the languages of North India and Iran (linguists aren’t that good with catchy language names).

The encyclopedic, Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, edited by JP Mallory and DQ Adams, writes of the earliest speakers of Proto-Indo-Iranian emerging in the southern Urals and Kazakhstan. These steppe people, representing what is called the Andronovo culture, first appear just before 2000 BC.

From this Central Asian homeland diverged a group of people who had now stopped speaking Proto-Indo-Iranian and were now conversing in the earliest forms of Sanskrit. Some of these people moved west towards what is now Syria and some east towards the region of the Punjab in India.

David Anthony writes that the people who moved west were possibly employed as mercenary charioteers by the Hurrian kings of Syria. These charioteers spoke the same language and recited the same hymns that would later on be complied into the Rig Veda by their comrades who had ventured east.

These Rigvedic Sanskrit speakers usurped the throne of their employers and founded the Mitanni kingdom. While they gained a kingdom, the Mitanni soon lost their culture, adopting the local Hurrian language and religion.

However, royal names, some technical words related to chariotry and of course the gods Indra, Varuna, Mitra and the Nasatyas stayed on.

The group that went east and later on composed the Rig Veda, we know, had better luck in preserving their culture. The language and religion they bought to the subcontinent took root. So much so that 3,500 years later, modern Indians would celebrate the language of these ancient pastoral nomads all the way out in Bangkok city.

Hindutvaising Sanskrit’s rich history

Unfortunately, while their language, religion and culture is celebrated, the history of the Indo-European people who brought Sanskrit into the subcontinent is sought to be erased at the altar of cultural nationalism.

Popular national myths in India urgently paint Sanskrit as completely indigenous to India. This is critical given how the dominant Hindutva ideology treats geographical indigenousness as a prerequisite for nationality. If Sanskrit, the liturgical language of Hinduism, has a history that predates its arrival in India, that really does pull the rug from out under the feet of Hindutva.

Ironically, twin country Pakistan’s national myths go in the exact opposite direction: their of-kilter Islamists attempt to make foreign Arabs into founding fathers and completely deny their subcontinental roots.

Both national myths, whether Arab or Sanskrit, attempt to imagine a pure, pristine origin culture uncontaminated by unsavoury influences. Unfortunately the real world is very often messier than myth.

Pakistanis are not Arabs and, as the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture rather bluntly puts it: “This theory [that Sanskrit and its ancestor Proto-Indo-European was indigenous to India], which resurrects some of the earliest speculations on the origins of the Indo-Europeans, has not a shred of supporting evidence, either linguistic or archeological”.

As the Narendra Modi government celebrates Sanskrit, a look at the oldest known speakers of the language: the Mitanni people of Syria.
SCROLL.IN
Note: It is my conjecture that 12,000 years ago, most of the current land were under water and that countries with high plateau witnessed the first new human resurgence before it transferred to lower fertile lands.

India has 63 million ‘missing’ women and 21 million unwanted girls, government says

  January 29

The Indian government said Monday that there were more than 63 million women “missing” from its population and that 2 million go “missing” across age groups every year because of abortion of female fetuses, disease, neglect and inadequate nutrition.

There are also 21 million unwanted girls, the government said.

The 2017-18 estimate, released as part of the country’s annual economic survey, reinforced the work of researchers and social scientists, who have argued that decades of son preference in India and its parallel in China, the One Child policy,

The One Child policy has produced a man-made demographic bubble of excess males — those now under 25 top 50 million — in the two countries and may have long-term impacts on crime, human trafficking, the overall savings rate and the ability of these excess males to find brides.

“We know that the sex ratio in India is highly skewed,” the government’s chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian, said at a news event Monday, noting that the study further showed that Indians have a “meta” son preference, which means that if they have girls, they’ll keep on having children until they get a boy.

This has led to an estimated 21 million “unwanted” girls in India, who often get less nourishment and schooling than their brothers.

The study, comparing data from 1991 and 2011, showed that the sex ratio for different states in India worsened even as incomes improved.

Sociologists have long argued that India’s son preference not only occurs in poor rural families but also in middle and upper-middle classes, where tradition dictates a son will carry on the family business or inherit property, though legally, a daughter can do so, too. (Kind of murdering slowly the many girls?)

In the northern farming states of Punjab and Haryana, for example, the sex ratio among infants to 6-year-old is 1,200 men per 1,000 women, even though they are among the wealthiest states.

“Perhaps the area where Indian society — and this goes beyond governments to civil society, communities, and households — needs to reflect on the most is what might be called ‘son preference’ where development is not proving to be an antidote,” the survey suggested.

The survey — which was given a pink cover as a nod to women’s empowerment — said the country has made improvements in most overall gender indicators as the country’s wealth has grown, meaning women have better education and have greater agency over purchases and other decision-making in their households.

Yet the percentage of those working has declined over time, from 36% of women being employed outside the home, to 24 percent in 2015-16, largely because rising incomes of men have allowed wives to withdraw from the labor force and focus on child-rearing.

Note: Son preference is common in most societies because patriarchal systems are hard to change

Toda tribe in India southern Nilgiri plateau

On the secluded Nilgiri plateau in the hill country of Southern India, there is small pastoral tribal community known as the Toda.

They reside in small Toda Huts, also referred to as “Toda Hamlets.”

These structures, set at a distance of around 5.6 km from the mainland of Ooty, are an original representation of a Toda community still in existence.

A man and woman of the Toda tribe standing in a photographic studio, with a dog lying at their feet. Photograph, ca.1900. Iconographic Collections
A man and woman of the Toda tribe standing in a photographic studio, with a dog lying at their feet. Photograph, ca.1900. Iconographic Collections.Photo Credit

Until the 18th Century, before the British colonization of India, the Toda peoples coexisted locally with other communities, including the Kuruba and the Kota, in a loose caste-like society, in which the Toda were on top.

A Toda hamlet or Mund. Edgar Thurston in The Madras Presidency
A Toda hamlet or Mund. Edgar Thurston in The Madras Presidency. Photo Credit

The Toda population has drastically (dangerously?) hovered in the range between 700 and 9oo during the 20th Century.

Even though the tribal community is an irrelevant fraction of the massive population of India, since the late 18th Century ” they have attracted “a most disproportionate amount of attention because of their ethnological aberrancy” and “their unlikeness to their neighbours in appearance, manners, and customs.”

Dressed stones (mostly granite) usually make up the front and back of the hut
Dressed stones (mostly granite) usually make up the front and back of the hut Photo Credit

Buffalo is the sacred animal and an instrumental element of Toda Religion. Toda faced a lot of changes in their lifestyle and culture as a result of forced interaction with other peoples with technology.

Photograph of two Toda men and a woman. Nilgiri Hills, 1871.
Photograph of two Toda men and a woman. Nilgiri Hills, 1871.

Toda used to be pastoral people, while now are increasingly venturing into agriculture. Even though the vast majority of Toda tribe are meat eaters now, they used to be strict vegetarians.

Toda mund (hamlet) and barrel-vaulted houses in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, 1869.
Toda mund (hamlet) and barrel-vaulted houses in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, 1869.Photo Credit

The study of Toda culture by linguists and anthropologists proved very important in developing the fields of ethnomusicology and social anthropology.

Toda people in front of their hut in the Nilgiri Hills.
Toda people in front of their hut in the Nilgiri Hills.

By the end of the 20th century,  some Toda pasture land was overtaken by outsiders who used it for agriculture.

Here is another story from us about the Toda people: Toda huts – The original homes of an ancient Indian tribe.

This has endangered Toda society and their culture, as vast buffalo herds have been diminished.

At the beginning of the 21st Century, Toda culture has been the primary focus of an international effort at culturally sensitive environmental restoration.

The dire consequences of India’s demonetisation initiative

Withdrawing 86% by value of the cash in circulation in India

Was a bad idea, badly executed

Trust is fragile, and precious?


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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