The consumerism of our lives is chasing us

 

“We have created abundant crap in order to live under abundant crap”

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from NYT

The Indian government has declared dangerous levels of toxic air pollution where an “emergency situation” must be taken in control. Pollution measurement in India is currently too focused on a few cities. India can come up with effective measures to fight air pollution only if the CPCB improves coverage and encourages research on the data it generates.

  • Dirty old town: India has 13 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities says the World Health Organization.
  • Collision course: Calls for tighter environmental rules are coming up against the government’s growth plans.
  • A love supreme: Petitioners have taken to the Supreme Court in an effort to reduce emissions and boost air quality.

This is the India now a days as the environmentalists see;

In 2013, Indian schools were shut down for a couple of days and traffic was rationed due to high levels of contamination that could not even be measured by most air quality instruments. The situation has reached levels of PM2.5 pollutants, which are the most harmful because they can reach deep into the lungs and reach the blood-brain barriers, causing mortal atrocities. More than half of the 5.5 million deaths related to air pollution in 2013 happened in India and China, according to a new study and the Indian and Chinese fatalities accounted for 55% of such deaths worldwide, said the study.

India’s air pollution is so bad that it’s reducing life expectancy by 3.2 years.

“You can almost think of this as the perfect storm for India,” said Michael Brauer, a professor of environment and health relationships.

The World Health Organization recently published data on pollution around the world, focusing on airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers (known as PM2.5). These particles come from coal plants and vehicles, and, at high levels, have been linked to serious respiratory problems.

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“One of the unique things about air pollution is you cannot run, you cannot hide from it”.

Pollution levels are getting worse in India, in Asia and in the world, as countries are trying to industrialize more and more and one thing is clear, there is no way of stopping such will, we will indeed want more machines, new cars and of course, little effort when things are not needed anymore.

Over the years we have taken into consideration the utopia of recycling, of taking care of our world, our beloved planet.

Now a days our vision should be even more critical about the repercussion our acts have but reality nullifies any hope, therefore, some questions run into my mind, is all these effort even worth it? Are we not already dying of hunger? Do we not have other enemies such us terrorism, rapists, even cancer? Maybe we have to accept all of them. Maybe pollution should be part of such category.

A simple enemy which if it catches you, that’s it, you just were not lucky enough. The change in the environment due to human labor has always been a concern even though we got conscience of it back in the 2000.

It is a matter of unavailability, it is not possible to get back in time, we have come to a point where an airplane is needed to travel no matter what is being left behind it, we need machines to survive and we are just not ready and not willing to leave all of it behind. We have shown ourselves, even the world that we are not capable of leaving our personal interest apart in order to save this world of ours, therefore why even make the effort when deeply we know there is no point.

It is time to realize we are part of destruction and we should keep it this way. We should not worry about pollution, at least we should not lie to ourselves because we can make it part of us as it has always been. We like to live in a constant state of hope, and for me, it´s just a waste of time as we are probably here to exploit the planet after all.

Modi’s Operandi: A fresh Wind moving through Asia

INDIA seems to formally gain on optimistic politicians, but no one nearly as Hindu & nationalistic as Narendra Modi.

The recently elected 14th prime minister (see Picture 1) is going to swear him in on May 26th. Being a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or also called Indian People’s Party, he’s trying to bring a ‘fresh wind’ into India’s political & economical system.  

According to ‘The Economist’, it is necessary to mention that India is the world’s third largest economy. However, its regional position is not an easy task, as the government is also likely even to deal with iron-ore mafias and there may be some kind of conflicts with its neighbors in Pakistan due to religion.

Anyway, what is clear is that Mr. Modi wants to ‘repair’ India – eradicating hunger, cleaning the famous Ganges River and creating jobs. To do so, the contribution to GDP from the industry will be necessary, and to some extent – and not to pretend – loans to zombie firms too. A deep financial reform has to get started, but… Are banks fit enough for that?

In the first year of Mr. Modi’s term, he needs to stabilize banks and to manage inflation, in order to help India’s economy to boom again. Mr. Mobi ensures in his speech an effective government, providing for example clean & drinkable water and a powerful and flourishing industry. Reforms that can be crucial for India’s future.

The new prime minister strives to achieve an effective and decisive government in order to confront all upcoming challenges, which before have been quite unable to overcome.

The parliament itself has fewer Muslim delegates than ever since 1952.Despite the Islam being the second largest religion in India, and it being the 3rd largest country in number of Muslims (13.4% of the population), after Indonesia and Pakistan, only 7 of the 482 candidates were Muslims and none of them won.

The BJP, or also referred to Hindutva, appealed to his Hindus voters to be proud of their heritage and their country, but trying to avoid the anti-Muslim language. Unlike other parties, Mr. Modi didn’t do any special actions for religious minorities. Supported by the Supreme Court, the BJP tells that the Hinduism has, since its inception, instilling principles of tolerance and compassion plurality – unlike the Muslims, who only appealed to believers in order to get votes. Many Muslims can identify a clash of inclusive tradition and the authoritarian nature of Mr. Mobi.

As for India’s foreign policy, it starts seeing ‘fresh winds of change and openness’, inviting some leaders of South Asia, including the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, to his swearing-in on May 26th. Although Mr. Modi lacks of experience abroad, just as Gujarat’s Chief Minister, he tries to work intensively with foreign companies, in order to seek more trade and investments.

Apart of this, further actions are essential to improve India’s economy. For example, taxes seem to be very speculative, so foreign companies prefer to export their products to other countries. In this sense, India’s government has to improve its tax net.

Closing, we can also identify two important aspects that have to get improved or even completely changed. The first one is India’s reputation – in order to enhance businesses.

The second aspect is that India seems to go only in two directions: It might observe itself without doing anything, or it may create a valuable private sector to promote more jobs.

What will be the government’s final decision?

 

India’s Mission to Mars: Science or Glory?

India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, Mangalyaan (Space.com)

India’s Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, Mangalyaan (Space.com)

There is speculation that India’s Mars mission is aiming for glory, however we believe that there is a great deal of scientific information to be gained from the journey.  The chairman for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Dr. K Radhakrishnan stated that the mission and the information gathered from it should “give a clue regarding biological or geological phenomenon on Mars” (BBC News).

India’s history with space expeditions is proof that there is much to learn from these types of journeys.  According to Aljazeera, the nation sent their first unmanned spacecraft on a lunar mission in 2008.  This mission returned results that provided the first evidence of the presence of water on the moon.  Although it is likely that, if successful, India will gain a certain amount of glory and prestige for being the fourth country (after the United States, Russia, and the European Space Agency) with a successful Mars orbit or landing, India’s prior success and interest in space exploration is proof that the glory is not their primary goal.

The ISRO has stated that there are technical and scientific objectives for this mission.  The technical objectives are the “Design and realization of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound maneuvers [and] cruise [for a] phase of 300 days, deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management, and to Incorporate autonomous features to handle contingency situations” (isro.org).  The Scientific objective of the journey is the “exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments” (isro.org).

India’s Mission to Mars, Independent Television News (itn.co.uk)

The Mangalyaan spacecraft, which is expected to journey for a total of 10 months, is carrying five scientific instruments intended to achieve the objectives of gathering information about the red planet (BBC News). According to the ISRO website, the five instruments on board and their uses are as follows:  A Mars color camera for optical images, a thermal infrared imaging spectrometer (TIS) for mapping the composition and mineralogy of the planet, a methane sensor for detecting the presence of methane gas, and two tools used for studying the neutral composition escape processes of the upper Martian atmosphere.  The results to be found by the TIS and methane sensor may give more information relating to the possibility of the presence of life on the planet and how Martian weather systems function (USA Today).  Although India’s Mars mission has been launched at a cost of almost €54.4 million which is far less expensive than that of the United States, we believe that these expensive scientific instruments would not be so important to the journey.

With India’s successful history of information and advances from past space endeavors, along with the stated objectives of the mission from the ISRO and the high cost of scientific tools on board the spacecraft, it is not reasonable to believe that the sole, or even primary goal for India’s mission to Mars would be glory or prestige. The intent of India’s unmanned journey to Mars is evidently to gain new and previously unknown scientific and technological information about the red planet.

Terror strikes again, Maoist guerrilla ambush kills 27

A tribal woman (left) picks tomatoes lying scattered on a road as a security person looks on after suspected Maoists set on fire four trucks from Andhra Pradesh at Bundu, Jharkhand, on August 25, 2009.

Source: AP

On Saturday 25th of May a group of Naxalite Maoist guerrillas attacked a motorcade of important political leaders in the state of Chhattisgarh, India. Sources report that ambush has left at least 27 people dead and 32 injured.  No arrests have been made yet, however the government is conducting a thorough investigation to bring those responsible to justice. Included in the casualties were 3 members of the Indian National Congress Party, police officers and some villagers.

The conflict between the Maoists and Indian government, known as Naxalite-Maoist insurgency, takes over 40 years. “The Maoists frequently accuse activists of being informers and warn them against implementing government programs. The police demand that they serve as informers, and those that refuse risk being accused of being Maoists supporters and subject to arbitrary arrest and torture.”- released Human Rights Watch in their report. Naxalities want to make India a communist country. According to The economist, the main target of latest attack was Mahendra Karma, Congress parliamentarian, who was responsible for plundering the state’s tribal areas for their natural and mineral wealth. Moreover, he started vigilante force in 2005 and founded Salwa Judum militaria to combat the rabels. „We are devastated” – said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who claims assault of Maoists to be an attack on democracy. According to the Guardian, the attackers barred the road by using felled trees across the road. After that, the guerrillas launched a landmine and that blew up one of the stopped cars and opened the fire at Congress leaders and their supporters and ran into a forest. According to New York Times “Officials estimated that 200 to 300 guerrillas were involved

According to the BBC news the suspects are yet to be found, but investigations and lots of efforts are being organized by the government who have made a commitment to find the suspects; but what is clear is that the attack was perpetrated by the far-left wing lobby, the rebels. From the decade of 60s, the militants have said that they are fighting for the underdogs. The authorities suspect that the Maoists possess the support not only in the poorest areas and in the indigenous communities, but also among the young and the intellectuals.

A questioned to be posed now concerning the attacks regards the consequences on the upcoming elections, which will take place in November 2013. . According to The Economist the ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP was expected to keep its power. However now there is more sympathy for Congress, “which may field relatives of the slain as candidates, is quite possible”. Along with that there many doubts have raised about the effectiveness of the long-ruling government of the BJP. We will see the outcome of this event in the months to come.

For a visual report on this story by Al Jazeera click the play button:

Written by Emanuele del Tufo, Heli Haapanen, Maria Torres, Izabela Lowjeska and Dimitar Shadoura

Street children in India

Date: May 18, 2012

By: Ananda Araujo Cerdan,Ibón Joung, Sara Setién, Eduardo Márquez and Virginia Mazón

   An estimate number of 17 million children spend their day lives on the streets in India.

These kids are all very young, without any reason of life. They spend every day begging, picking trash, sleeping in concrete culverts or at railway stations. Although some have homes in the slums but they still on the street during daylight.

It is usual and not strange to see not only a children but the whole family living on the sidewalks or longs queue of kids sleeping around the railway stations.

 “They don’t live, they survive”

Street children in India usually are homeless because reasons such as: family poverty, migration or others like when the kids have been abandoned, they are sent to an orphaned or the most common, the child runs away from their parents or host family. They don’t know what will happen tomorrow, will they eat? Will they get education? Will they have any medical treatment? Or will they have the lucky of not get infected? … These kids are at high risk of suffering addiction, illness or even abuse. Every single child alone in the street is especially vulnerable.

Poverty is the main reason or primacy cause of the street children dilemma. Poverty gives children uncountable problems, in order to survive a child will probably be forced to slavery, prostitution, begging, robbery, cheating… They may be unable to attend to school because their parents cannot afford the uniform and book fees or may send them to the streets to help raise money for the family to live on.

The appearance of these children deteriorates rapidly without access to sanitation or clean clothes. They work helping in tea stalls, cleaning shoes, in catering, as tourist guide kid… being exploited enough to survive. These, affects to the society appearance that gives to India an image of vagrants, drugs addicts and criminals, main reason of exclusion.

Everything can be reduced to a cycle. The loneliness, the inability to sleep well and escapism leads many young people with drug and this enforces the cycle. The lack of social identity causes for example not to open a bank account, which leads to the inability to save. This leads in turn to alcohol and drugs: better to spend the money after losing it when it gets stolen. And the cycles are repeated and repeated.

Fortunately, there are developing some organizations to help on this such as: Saathi. This is an NGO that devote their efforts to get these guys in the street. Saathi, unlike other organizations, does not offer shelter to the expectation that their children attend, they are social workers who take to the streets to find them. They earn their trust and help when someone needs medical attention or have trouble with the police. And others like, NICF (Namaste Indian Children’s found) which provide safe housing, a nurturing environment, and educational opportunities for the street children of India.

These children have their whole lives ahead. And except for their circumstances, they are no different from other kids of his same age. Some wasted the opportunities arise; others try not to see the bad things. But any of them, given the right circumstances, could become profitable and an adult to realize their aspirations. .

Given street children a future in Jaipur

What is India? and How it looks like?

THE CONFLICT OF KASHMIR

Kashmir is a region located in the northern Indian subcontinent, is currently divided between India, Pakistan and China, is one focus of international disputes more important today.

The border between the two sectors is at a height of over 6,000 meters above sea level, so it is called the highest battlefield in the world.Image

Since 1947, date of creation of Pakistan and India, both countries maintain a constant conflict over the region of Kashmir that has caused numerous diplomatic bickering and fighting. The territory has been divided between India and Pakistan since 1947.India controls most of Kashmir, a territory organized as the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Since then they have fought three wars and several smaller conflicts, not yet found an effective solution to a dispute that is causing many casualties and human rights violations both by the Indian armed forces and armed groups from Pakistan.

The conflict between India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan have fought two wars since independence from Britain over the Kashmir issue.The conflict began in 1947 when the Maharaja of Kashmir, has decided to include the territory toIndiato prevent the triumph of the guerrillas, pro-Pakistan. Under the terms of Indian independence, the Muslim-majority territory to Pakistan would.Since then,Pakistanand the UN have repeatedly demanded a referendum on the status of Kashmirnever held.

The problem in Kashmir is not religious diversity that occurs throughoutIndia, but a political conflict arising from a disastrous territorial partition by Western powers during the process of decolonization.The set of people in Kashmir want to belong toIndiaorPakistanis less than 10% of the population. The vast majority of it would simply self-determination, be independent as a people of both states and the Chinese state. However, none of the political parties in India or Pakistan supports this because only defend their interests.

The violation of human rights in Kashmir

Various international organizations have been denouncing for years human rights violations, both by Muslim militants fighting for independence and which are supported byPakistan, as by the Indian security forces.

In their reports include torture, abuse, rape, disappearances, summary executions, the repression of democratic freedoms and restrictions on the media. So far, the conflict has killed more than 60,000 people, most of them civilians. Thus, in one of the most militarized in the world, its inhabitants are deprived of all hope to self-government, of a cultural project that respects the particularities of the population and an economic program that can bring development.

Current situation of conflict

In November 2003,Pakistandeclared a cease-fire that was quickly matched byIndia, and the following month, both countries agreed to establish direct air links and to allow its aircraft flights in the airspace of the other, after two years of prohibition.

Another step forward to establish relations between the two countries came in April 2005 when for the first time in 60 years, a bus service was established between Muzaffarabad in Pakistani control area, andSrinagarin the Indian area.

Thus, as seen in recent years there have been some advances necessary to maintain the hope of peace talks betweenPakistanandIndia. However, so far not been taken into account too the Kashmiri independence groups who consider leaving India to join Pakistan would move from oppression to another, and no doubt, are key players in any peace process conduct intended to Kashmir.Image

The solution of this conflict is linked to nuclear disarmament in both India and Pakistan, which, personally, I see very difficult. This is because the new multipolar system prevents nations afford to lose elements that ensure the security and national integrity. On the other hand, we can not deny the omens about the wars of the new century for natural resources will, so that the jurisdiction of Kashmiris disputed even by the Siachen glacier.

By Andrea Sánchez, Marta Saguar, María Cortés y Víctor Corvera.

Soluciones para Cachemira

Este jueves el gobierno de la India declaró tener las soluciones adecuadas para acabar con las protestas que llevan varios meses en la zona de Cachemira y cuyo objetivo es la independencia. Sin embargo los principales grupos separatistas dicen no saber nada sobre cualquier movimiento en la zona desde meses.

Es una lucha renovada desde Nueva Delhi para acabar con las insurrecciones en virtud de una mayor presión desde la oposición en el propio gobierno sobre una serie de acusaciones de corrupción que han estancado el parlamento durante casi un mes, paralizando todos los trabajos legislativos.

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