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1. My blog in Jansatta on Vidhroi, a poet in oblivion in JNU
2. Calling all dancers: Apply for the Gati Summer Dance
3. RMS Interview in Frontline (A. Mani)
4. Latin American "New Left" (A. Mani)
5. Reg: Series of Articles on India & Its Development - 1
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मैं तुम्हारा कवि हूं
‘वे एक उदास गिरगिट से बात कर सकते हैं.’ ऐसा उदय प्रकाश ने केदारनाथ सिह की
कविताओं पर टिप्पणी करते हुए लिखा है.
केदारनाथ सिंह एक बड़े कवि हैं. उदय प्रकाश भी.
मैं जिनकी बात कर रहा हूँ वह केदारनाथ सिंह के छात्र और उदय प्रकाश के समकालीन एक
अलक्षित कवि है. आपने शायद ही रमाशंकर
यादव ‘विद्रोही’ की कविताओं को सुना हो यदि आप जेएनयू के बाहर रहते हैं. पर जेएनयू
के परिसर में विद्रोही आपको जब तब
गोपालन की कैंटिन में, टेफ्ला के बाहर और शाम को गंगा ढाबा पर एक अंधेरे कोने में
पिछले दस सालों से लगभग हर शाम इस अंधेरे कोने में अपनी मंत्र कविताओं को
बुदबुदाते विद्रोही जी मुझे एक उदास गिरगिट से बात
करते दिखे हैं.
चेथड़ी लपेटे, रसहीन चाय के प्याले को हाथ में थामे वे कहेंगे ‘ मैं तुम्हारा कवि
वे अपनी लय और ताल में कहेंगे-मैं किसान हूँ/ आसमान में धान बो रहा हूँ/ कुछ लोग
कह रहे हैं/ कि पगले! आसमान में धान नहीं
जमा करता/ मैं कहता हूँ पगले!/ अगर ज़मीन पर भगवान जम सकता है/ तो आसमान में धान
भी जम सकता है/ और अब तो दोनों
में से कोई एक होकर रहेगा/ या तो ज़मीन से भगवान उखड़ेगा/ या आसमान में धान जमेगा.
विद्रोही जी केदारनाथ सिंह की कविता 'नूर मियां' से आपको आगे ले जाएँगे और बार बार
पूछेंगे- क्यों चले गए नूर मियां पाकिस्तान/
क्या हम कोई नहीं होते थे नूर मियां के
अडर्नो ने पूछा था कि ' ऑस्वित्ज़ (Auschwitz) के बाद कैसे कोई कविता लिख सकता
है.' इस सवाल में ध्वनी यह थी कि कैसे
ऑस्वित्ज़ यातना शिविर की भयावहता को हमारे सामने रखा जा सकेगा. इस कविताहीन,
बिकाऊ समय में सवाल मौजू है कि कैसे कोई
कवि नूर मियां की पीड़ा को शब्द दे सकेगा.
पर विद्रोही जैसे कवियों को सुनते हुए आशा बची रहती है.
युवा फिल्मकार नितिन पमनानी ने हाल ही में एक डॉक्यूमेंट्री फिल्म बनाई है- मैं
तुम्हारा कवि हूँ’. इस डॉक्यूमेंट्री के केंद्र में विद्रोही हैं.
कवि विद्रोही और उनकी कविताओं के ताने-बाने से हमारे समकालीन समाज और व्यवस्था पर
यह डॉक्यूमेंट्री एक सार्थक टिप्पणी है.
लगभग तीस सालों से विद्रोही जी ने जेएनयू को अपना बसेरा बना रखा है. अगस्त 2010
में जब उन्हें जेएनयू प्रशासन ने अभद्र भाषा
के इस्तेमाल के आरोप में परिसर से निकाल दिया था तब मैं उनसे जेएनयू के नजदीक
मुनीरका में मिलने गया था. एक आशियाने की
तलाश में वे भटक रहे थे.
जेएनयू के एक पुराने छात्र के अंधेरे बंद कमरे में वे एक कुर्सी पर उकडू बैठे थे.
परिचय देते हुए जैसे ही मैंने कहा कि मैं बीबीसी के
लिए लिखूंगा...तो छूटते ही उन्होंने कहा, 'तुम्हें देख मुझे प्रसाद की पंक्ति याद
हो आई है...कौन हो तुम बसंत के दूत, नीरस पतझड़
में अति सुकुमार....'
मुझे लगा कि यदि एक कवि विक्षिप्त भी हो तो वह गाली नहीं देता...कविता की पंक्ति
उन्होंने कहा था 'जेएनयू मेरी कर्मस्थली है. मैंने यहाँ के हॉस्टलों में,
पहाड़ियों और जंगलों में अपने दिन गुज़ारे हैं. हर यूनिवर्सिटी में
दो-चार पागल और सनकी लोग रहते हैं पर उन पर कानूनी कार्रवाई नहीं की जाती. मुझे इस
तरह निकाला गया जैसे मैं जेएनयू का एक
खैर, कुछ दिनों के बाद जेएनयू ने अपने निर्णय को वापस ले लिया और विद्रोही जी
कैंपस वापस लौट आए.
कल शाम गंगा ढाबा पर विद्रोही जी मिले. मैंने उनसे कहा, 'बधाई हो. नितिन की फिल्म
को मुंबई अंतरराष्ट्रीय फिल्म समारोह में बेस्ट
डॉक्यूमेंट्री अवार्ड मिला है और पाँच लाख रुपए नकद.'
चाय के प्याले को थामे, जैसे उन्होंने मेरी बात को अनसुना कर दिया और उसी अंधेरे
कोने में वे पहले की तरह एक उदास गिरगिट से
बात करने लगे....
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Call for applications: The Gati Summer Dance Residency
The Gati Dance Forum is a Delhi-based organisation, which was formed in 2007,
to support, facilitate and promote emerging artists working in the field of
dance. In 2009, they organised a residency programme for emerging
choreographers giving them an opportunity to interact with senior mentors in
the field. They have organised a residency every year since. IFA has offered
its partial support towards this residency for the third consecutive year.
If you are a dancer who has always wanted to create your own work; if you think
you would benefit from exchanging ideas and receiving feedback from peers and
experienced artists in the field; if you seek to discover a personal dance
language; if you are trained in a form and want to experiment with it or extend
its boundaries; if you want to explore the space between dance and other
disciplines, then the Gati Summer Dance Residency may be for you!
The residency includes financial support, individual mentoring, rehearsal
space, production assistance, final performance.
For a glimpse of the outcome of last year’s residency click
Call for applications
Deadline for submissions: March 1, 2012
For details call: +91 99714 06113
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CU, ASL, CLC, AMS, CMS
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Two Articles on the Latin American "New Left"
CU, ASL, CLC, AMS, CMS
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*The Planning Commission's Approach Paper to the Twelfth Plan sticks with
the neoliberal agenda despite claims of inclusive growth.
INCLUSIVE was one word that came up time and again in the early
announcements of the Planning Commission on the Twelfth Five-Year Plan.
“Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth” was the slogan coined for
the Plan and there was the promise of widespread consultations as never
before as part of the processes involved in the exercise this time. The
Commission created a page on the social networking website Facebook and
solicited comments on what should be incorporated in the Plan. The
consultative process also involved interaction with civil society groups,
social activists, academics and political activists.
The Commission's own claims on this process were as follows: “In preparing
the Approach Paper, the Planning Commission has consulted much more widely
than ever before recognising the fact that citizens are now much better
informed and also keen to engage. Over 950 civil society organisations
across the country have provided inputs; business associations, including
those representing small enterprises, have been consulted; modern
electronic and social media are being used to enable citizens to give
suggestions. All State governments, as well as local representative
institutions and unions, have been consulted through five regional
consultations.” On the basis of all this, there were also claims that this
would be “truly a people's plan”.
However, as the exercise draws to a close with the Union Cabinet approving
the Approach Paper in mid-September and the National Development Council
(NDC) scheduled to consider it on October 15, the “inclusive” tag being
appended to it increasingly appears hollow. A large majority of the civil
society organisations and social and political activists involved in the
consultations, which were initiated in October 2010 and went on for nearly
a year, are dismayed at the projections made in the Approach Paper.
According to many organisations and individuals who were involved in the
consultations, approximately 40 issues, including land rights, poverty
alleviation, unemployment, food and nutrition security, health, right to
education, ensuring transparency in governance, Dalit empowerment, minority
welfare, and conflict resolution were taken up for discussion with the
promise that the Approach Paper would reflect the spirit of these
negotiations. “There was also the assurance that some specific proposals
would certainly be incorporated. However, what has been prepared belies our
expectations. The document does not speak much about human rights or
livelihood of the people, but says a lot about growth and market. The slant
towards more privatisation is evident and public-private partnership (PPP)
is being projected as the basic model for common resource management,
health care and education. This was not what we had in mind when we
participated in the consultations,” said P.V. Rajagopal, president of Ekta
Parishad, to Frontline.
The Approach Paper, as it has been presented now, contains 15 chapters
apart from the overview. These chapters address the following issues:
macroeconomic framework, energy, transport, sustainable management of
natural resources, rural transformation, farm sector, manufacturing sector,
health, social and regional equity, urbanisation, science and technology,
services, governance and innovation.
The Paper also claims that “based on the intensive process within the
Planning Commission” it has identified 12 strategy challenges in some of
the core areas that require new approaches. One such strategy is about
using “markets for efficiency and inclusion”. The strategy is explained as
follows: “Open, integrated and well regulated markets for land, labour and
capital and for goods and services are essential for growth, inclusion and
sustainability. We have many sectors where markets are non-existent or
incomplete, especially those which are dominated by public provisioning.”
According to a number of activists and organisations who were consulted,
while strategy challenges such as enhancing the skills for generation of
employment, decentralisation, empowerment and managing the environment do
find mention in the Paper, the specific proposals on the same have fallen
short of expectations even as those relating to the use of markets and PPP
are etched out prominently.
After the nearly year-long consultative process, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan
(WNTA), a collective of a number of civil society groups, compiled the
recommendations and proposals that came up through the exercise into a
document. Titled “Approaching Equity, Civil Society Inputs for the Approach
Paper – 12th Five Year Plan”, it summarises the recommendations and
thematic inputs in as many as 40 categories.
According to the WNTA, the broad approach that the civil society
organisations presented in the conclusions raised the question: Who is to
be served and empowered by development? It said the concept of inclusion in
the planning process should be centred on mobilising the excluded as active
agents of their own development and making their participation central to
the design of the development process. It further pointed out that certain
groups and communities faced social and economic exclusion and political
marginalisation owing to their caste, class, gender, age, religious
affiliation, region, sexuality, disability, marital status, education, or
HIV infection and/or other stigmatised health conditions.
“Consequently, our primary attempt has been to focus on developing plans,
policies and schemes to address this gap. All our thematic papers and
inputs adopt approaches that specifically take into account the needs and
desires of these socially, culturally, and economically marginalised groups
and communities and attempt to work towards mitigating the effects of this
marginalisation/exclusion to ensure social and distributive justice. In our
view, these groups have so far been regarded as ‘not quite citizens' and
certainly not full citizens,” the WNTA compilation stated. According to
Amitabh Behar, convener of the WNTA, the participating civil society groups
and social and political activists had doubts and apprehensions about the
final outcome of the consultative process as also “the size of the window”
that the process offered. However, he added, the Approach Paper in its
present form marked a further downslide in terms of these apprehensions.
Failure on main concerns
Addressing the contents of the Approach Paper more specifically, the Centre
for Budget, Governance and Accountability (CBGA) pointed out that in terms
of policy action, the Approach Paper failed to address the major concerns
of the marginalised sections such as Dalits, Muslims and women and children
as well as the persistent problems in major sectors such as health,
education, rural development and decentralisation, and water and
sanitation. It also pointed out that “a critical aspect worth highlighting
is the progression towards greater participation of the private sector in
its various forms and avatars not only in implementing the various
programmes and schemes but also in designing and developing initiatives in
critical sectors that impact human development indicators”.
The CBGA note further states as follows: “Ironically, for instance, the
subsection on ‘Land' under the chapter ‘Sustainable Management of Natural
Resources' recognises that a lot of the productive/forest land belongs to
tribal people and Dalits but ‘a fair land acquisition law' is the ‘way
forward'. There is no mention of rightful ownership over land or forests
and how the land acquisition law will be ‘fair' to all. The management of
this natural resource is about managing to take it away from the rightful
owners for ‘public purpose', which includes infrastructure and industry. In
reality, this can mean shopping malls and hotels, maybe to generate
non-farm jobs! The subsequent subsection on ‘Food Security' also seeks to
ensure a no-barriers approach to land acquisition even in districts where
the net sown area is less than 50 per cent of the total geographical area
(the national average).”
The Approach Paper does raise concerns about the weaknesses in the process
of implementation of policies and programmes meant for the Scheduled Castes
and the Scheduled Tribes and even talks about devising a new system to
overcome the difficulties experienced in this sector, but fails to give any
specific suggestion on this front. While the S.C. and S.T. communities at
least get a sympathetic presentation, the development of Muslims is not
addressed specifically. Clearly, the Planning Commission has not taken into
consideration the 2006 recommendations of the Justice Rajinder Sachar
Several women's groups have pointed out that while women have been
recognised as one of the excluded groups and it has been acknowledged that
special measures are needed in relation to women's health, there is no
gender perspective in the Approach Paper. Women's issues do not find a
mention in critical sectors such as employment and agriculture and even in
basic services such as water supply and sanitation.
Similar are the Approach Paper's formulations on education. The persistent
demand for allocation of 6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for
education has been left unaddressed yet again. The document identifies
secondary and technical education as the key sub sectors. While making this
projection, the paper advances strongly the case for an increased role in
them for the PPP model. The Paper does acknowledge that “rural local
self-governance is critical to rural transformation”. But there are no
concrete suggestions for enhancing rural self-governance.
There are more than 60 references to strengthening the market and its
forces in the Approach Paper. One of these calls for the creation of a
vibrant and liquid corporate bond market “on priority basis”. It also
states that “reform of the government securities market is also essential
for the establishment of a government securities (G-Sec) yield curve for
all maturities against which corporate bonds can be priced. It also
suggests shifting the system of fertilizer subsidy to a fixed subsidy with
market determined pricing.
Commenting on this market-oriented thrust, Y. Venugopal Reddy, former
Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, observed in a different context that
the Twelfth Plan ignored the risks of a market economy and raised
apprehensions about a lack of immunity in case of a meltdown. “Above all,
India has many, very many, poor people whose capacity to assume or manage
risk is extremely limited. The strategies for inclusive growth should,
therefore, analyse and account for both macro and micro risks,” Reddy
In the context of all this, the WNTA's Amitabh Behar asked: “Was this
participation and consultation just to hear others or was it a serious
process of taking inputs to design the Approach Paper and subsequently the
Plan?” Only the Planning Commission can tell.
In the meantime, opinion is divided among participants and observers of the
consultative process about what the future holds. Many like Behar wish to
see the current engagement and the disappointment that followed as part of
a comprehensive process that has to be followed up beyond the Approach
Paper in the steering committees in the Planning Commission, the NDC and in
the various Ministries.
There are also those like Manish Kunjam, president of the Adivasi Mahasabha
and CPI leader, who feel that in the absence of a larger pro-people policy
orientation such engagements and consultative processes will have to be
seen essentially as platforms for airing one's opinions and grievances.
Commenting on the processes and their results as an observer, Professor
Sudhir Kumar Panwar of the Kisan Jagriti Manch pointed out that this show
of transparency and consultation was a game of neoliberal ideologues much
in the manner of the much-touted ‘trickle-down effect' in core development.
Panwar told Frontline: “In many ways this is a continuation of the same
line pursued in the laughable affidavit that the Planning Commission filed
in the Supreme Court, which claimed a person living in an urban area
earning Rs.32 and a person earning Rs.26 in a village a day would not be
counted as below poverty line (BPL). The advocates of neoliberal policies
know that they have not achieved much in terms of key concerns such as
poverty alleviation in the last two decades and they are looking at new
methods to advance their agenda. If the Planning Commission is serious
about decentralising the planning process, what it should encourage is
micro-planning and greater public monitoring.”
Similar proposals have been advanced in other forums, including
Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance. The Chairman of the Standing
Committee, Yashwant Sinha, has made a report on behalf of the committee
recommending changes in the structure of the Planning Commission and
calling for a redefinition of its role and responsibilities. The committee
has also sought decentralisation of the planning process and enhanced
public monitoring. Obviously, these proposals will not be taken up as part
of the Twelfth Plan exercise. But the debate on the consultative process,
the disappointment it has generated and the quest for some course
correction at the level of NDC and the steering committees may well lead to
a more involved engagement with fundamental changes too.
Rakesh Krishnamoorthy Iyer
IIT Madras Research Park, Chennai
Phone no: 044-66687245
E-mail ID: rakesh.rn...@gmail.com
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