Experimenting with Gandhi

the thousand children gandhis

Gandhi is a popular symbol and brand like Rajnikanth. It is quite hard to look at such a brand as a human being who breathes, sweats, defecates, ponders, falls in and out love, explores his own body and so on. We almost want to deny him that. As a public collective we expect each other to limit criticism or investigation, and instead encourage ourselves to build a delusional patriotic awe for a diluted version of Gandhi’s value system and historical doings.

Luckily, some people think it is necessary to talk about him in all ways possible. Whether it is Hitler, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Rajnikanth, Modi or Jayalalitha it is counterproductive and dangerous for our own understanding to flatten such public symbols to just a bunch of iconic events and actions remembered in strange costume parties as above.

In a ‘series of dialogues on belief’ LILA Inter-actions, which is like our local Edge, invited Pritham K Chakravarthy and Amitabh Mitra to experiment with Gandhi – the icon, the man, the philosophy and anything else they pleased to understand. Pritham leaves this man in the books and goes in search of Kasturba, whose role is usually limited to wife or a facet of his story – the woman behind his greatness. How much do we know or remember of Kasturba? Amitabh Mitra, on the other hand, finds himself quite confused about Gandhi’s relevance in contemporary South Africa, especially among the Indians and blacks. His article makes us look at the political necessity for violence and trauma in par with Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence in South Africa and India.

Read this dialogue here and participate in the comments section.

samyuktha pc. 

Anugundu – The Atom Bomb | Documentary

Anugundu – The Atom Bomb ( Tamil with English subtitles) – YouTube. 48 minutes.

A film by Manila Mohan, a journalist with a Malayalam literary magazine, who visits the protesters in Koodankulam. The documentary details many pitfalls in the building and commissioning of the nuclear power plant in Idinthakarai, Koodankulam. It interviews many of the villagers, including women and children, who express concerns about their safety, the stupidity of such an unsafe technology, and question for whom is this development and electricity that the States promise.

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Sea Siege in Koodankulam 08 October 2012

(Photographs by Amirtharaj Stephen)

Launching another phase of their anti-nuclear protests in Koodankulam, thousands of fishermen from Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts began a day-long siege by placing themselves in fiber boats surrounding the area shouting slogans from 500 metres in the sea. This is a token siege as they will not be allowed to get any closer to the power plant.  PMANE convenor S P Udayakumar (quoted from Firstpost) said –

“We have been appealing to the state and central governments that this power plant is not in the best interest of safeguarding the livelihood interests of the people in the area”, he said.

Udayakumar added that the entire world was shunning nuclear power, and it was imperative that the government did not drag India in the opposite direction. “We are all for power and development but not this costly and dangerous exercise,” he said.

Speaking to the media even as the villagers of Idinthakurai prepare to launch a jal satyagraha 500m away from the site of the Kudankulam plant, PMANE convenor Udayakumar said that they were demanding that the heavy police presence at the village be withdrawn, and that charges against them be dropped.

NDTV reports

The protesters are demanding the closure of the plant, citing safety concerns. The locals say they are worried about ecological damage by radioactivity which could affect the livelihood of thousands of fishermen around the plant. Activists have also cited the Fukushima disaster in Japan, triggered by a tsunami last year, to draw parallels about the dangers of a nuclear plant. 

The villagers are also demanding the release of those arrested in an earlier protest, and taking back what they term as false cases against activists. They also want the police to be withdrawn from their villages.

The sea siege happened from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on 08 October 2012. Over 5000 security personnel, including the Rapid Action Force, had been deployed, besides the five coast guard vessels monitoring the sea.

(click on image to view gallery)

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People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy – Press Release September 12, 2012

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
Idinthakarai 627 104

PRESS RELEASE
September 12, 2012

Let us Do Some Soul-search and Talk Again!

Just like a hapless wife brutally assaulted by her male chauvinistic and drunken husband, like an innocent little child beaten up by his abusive parent, our honest, hardworking, and pious people have been violated, their possessions vandalized, their 400-day long nonviolent movement vilified. By our own government! By our own Chief Minister who we brought back to power to rescue us from corruption, power abuse, nepotism, dynastic rule and double speak! An overwhelming majority of the Tamil voters including almost all the coastal communities voted for the Chief Minister’s party.

When the biggest nuclear power plants in the country or the largest nuclear power park is being set up on our seas that will have deleterious effect on our sea and seafood, land and crops, water bodies and ground water, on our livelihood and on our progeny, we have opposed peacefully, democratically and nonviolently. Don’t we have at least that much freedom in our country?

In fact, the Chief Minister sympathized with our cause in the beginning. She had objected to the Chennai visit of the nuclear-armed ship, the USS Nimitz; and she had opposed the India-US nuclear deal with so much conviction. Our team met with the Chief Minister twice and the Prime Minister once at her own personal initiative. The Chief Minister kept talking about solar power and other renewable sources of energy, kept demanding more electricity from the central pool and more finance for electricity projects in Tamil Nadu. She even said that she would be one among us in our struggle.

We took to the streets, voiced our concerns to the Central Government and asked them to stop the Koodankulam nuclear power project, change our energy policy and to save our natural resources. The District Collector, Dr. R. Selvaraj, entertained us in his office and served us tea and biscuits. The Superintendent of Police, Mr. Vijayendra Bidari, gave oral ‘go-ahead’ every time we sought permission over phone for our demonstrations, agitations and public meetings. But they kept on filing false cases on us all with serious charges such as sedition, waging war on the state and so forth.

The ‘love scene’ changed to ‘hate scene’ in March 2012! The script changed! The situation, the lighting, and the overall direction changed! The Chief Minister alleges that we are all in a ‘maya valai’ (mystical net). Maybe she is referring to nuclear radiation that is indeed like a ‘maya valai’ you cannot see, hear, smell, taste or touch.

Today we are surrounded by police, beaten up by police, harassed by police, accused of committing all kinds of crimes by police, arrested by police and above all, mentally, emotionally, spiritually assaulted by police. And the Chief Minister is the police minister!

We are all fisherfolks, shopkeepers, agricultural laborers, beedi-rolling women, and to be brief, working class people. We do not steal public money, we do not amass wealth through illegal business deals, and we do not plunder the nation’s natural wealth. But we are treated like criminals; dangerous, seditious, violent, vicious and wicked lawbreakers. Our leaders, who have been invoking the names and wisdom of Thiruvalluvar, Buddha, Mahavir, Ashoka, Guru Nanak, Mahatma Gandhi, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Mother Teresa, are treated like dreaded terrorists. Our people who worship Sage Vishwamitra, Lord Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohamed are treated with contempt and dislike. The St. Lourdes Church at Idinthakarai has been desecrated by urinating and a holy statue destroyed. Naval boats are patrolling our seas; air force planes are hovering over our villages; the police are blocking our roads; we are short of food, water and other basic essentials; and the state is waging a war on us! But we cannot do a thing!

The global nuclear mafia sees our people as their sworn enemies. The KGB, the CIA and other international intelligence agencies consider us serious threats to their respective ruling cliques. The Delhi Government is infuriated with us as they are worried about their billion dollar nuclear business deals and commissions and kickbacks. The Tamil Nadu Government also tends to treat us like dreaded terrorists and dangerous criminals.

The police have shot down an unarmed civilian Anthony John at Manappadu coastal village. Several people including a small baby are said to be missing. Some 53 nonviolent protesters, men and women, are charged with sedition and waging war on the State cases and are languishing in distant prisons in Tamil Nadu. Thousands and thousands of families are living in fear and despair.

We do not expect or want any awards or accolades for practicing democracy and protesting in a nonviolent manner. But can’t we be treated with a little bit of humanness, civility and dignity? Who should we turn to? Who could we talk to? The Chief Minister may not even see this. Her arrogant upper caste advisors may say everything bad about us and our lower caste people.

We would request the Chief Minister to stop fuelling the KKNPP, remove police from our area, provide compensation for the people who lost their boats, vehicles and household items, and release those who are arrested.

We thank all the leaders and members of various political parties, social movements, lawyer associations, fishermen associations, student groups, labor unions, village committees and other organizations in Tamil Nadu and other states for organizing various demonstrations and agitations in support of our struggle. We would solicit their continued support for our struggle and for the above-mentioned immediate demands as well.

The Struggle Committee
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy

Mass RTI Campaign Seeking Urgent Information Under Life and Liberty for Koodankulam

for updates KOODANKULAM SPEAKS

WHAT: Mass Right to Information Campaign seeking information within 2 days, invoking the “Life and Liberty” clause under Section 7 or RTI Act.

WHEN: 3 p.m. 10 September, 2012

WHERE: NPCIL Office. 51 Montieth Road

Egmore, Chennai 600 008

NPCIL proposes to commence initial fuel loading even as more than 20000 children, women and men are camped in the scrub jungle barely 500 metres from the nuclear power plant. International Atomic Energy Agency and India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board regulations require an exclusion zone of 1.5 km around the plant, within which no human population can be present.

In its hurry to commission the power plant and prove a point to its detractors, the Central and State Governments have thrown caution to the winds. In the event of a disaster during initial fuel loading, the NPCIL, the district administration and the people living in the vicinity are not equipped to cope. There are no medical facilities capable of handling radiological emergencies in the vicinity. Emergency drills have not been conducted in any sincere manner. The AERB’s stipulation on the minimum quantity of stand-by fresh water storage onsite has not been complied with.

The nuclear establishment’s “commission-first, safety later” is putting the lives of 1000s of people at risk. We request all concerned citizens to gather at NPCIL’s office at 3 p.m. with a Right to Information Application as follows:

DRAFT APPLICATION

To: Public Information Officer

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd

c/o Liaison Office, 51 Montieth Road

Egmore, Chennai 600 008

10 September, 2012

Sir/Madam:

Subject: Right to Information Application — Concerning Life and Liberty of more than 8000 people gathered near Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant — request for information within 2 days 

More than 8000 people, including women and children, are currently camped outside the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tirunelveli. International Atomic Energy Agency and India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board regulations require an exclusion zone of 1.5 km around the plant, within which no human population can be present.

In its hurry to commission the power plant and prove a point to its detractors, the Central and State Governments have thrown caution to the winds. In the event of a disaster during initial fuel loading, the NPCIL, the district administration and the people living in the vicinity are not equipped to cope. There are no medical facilities capable of handling radiological emergencies in the vicinity. Emergency drills have not been conducted in any sincere manner. The AERB’s stipulation on the minimum quantity of stand-by fresh water storage onsite has not been complied with.

Given the above situation, the loading of fuel puts the lives of thousands at risk, and I request the below information to be given to me within 2 days as this information concerns the “life and liberty” of many thousand people.

1. Kindly list out the various recommendations of the AERB committee in its post-Fukushima review on safety and emergency preparedness, and the status of compliance to each recommendation related to the Koodankulam Power Plant.

2. Kindly state the AERB guidelines stipulating any restrictions for the total number of people present within the exclusion zone at the time of fuel loading or commissioning.

3. What is the minimum quantity of onsite water storage that has been mandated by AERB for KKNPP?

4. What is the total capacity of onsite water storage for KKNPP?

5. Kindly provide a list of medical facilities in Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi districts capable of handling a radiological emergency.

6. Kindly provide a list of places (in the following format) identified as temporary shelters for people in the event of a radiological emergency:

a) Name of Place, Address

b) Distance from Koodankulam

c) Capacity

d) Number of bathrooms

e) Number of latrines

f) Details of water facilities for bathing and toilets

g) Details of drinking water facilities, including capacity

Application fee of Rs. 10 is being presented as cash/postal order.

Sincerely,

POOVULAGIN NANBARGAL

MAY 17 IYAKKAM


IDINTHAKARAI, KOODANKULAM UPDATE. 09 SEPTEMBER 2012

2:33 pm – Nity just spoke to a protester who’s at the siege site (east end wall of the nuke plant) on Idinthakarai seashore. There are atleast 8000 people at the siege site now facing severe weather. Drinking water is not available at the site but arrangements are being made to arrange for the same.    The protesters seek the support of all groups and organisations to organise solidarity events and meetings all over India.

12:48 pm – Tirunelveli SP Vijeyandra Bidari has reached the spot. The police are right next to the protesters now. Protesters say that the SP is making some announcement on the megaphone but they are not able to hear anything

12:30 pm – Thousand people from Periya thaalai village who were on their way to Idinthakarai were stopped by the police. The people are now on their way to attend a hunger protest held in Pani maya madha church in Tuticorin. Fishermen from Tuticorin are already on a hunger protest at the church. The police is not allowing protestors to head towards Idinthakarai to participate in the protest.

(CHENNAI SOLIDARITY GROUP)

MORE ON KOODANKULAM SPEAKS

My Nagaland

by Vibi Yhokha

“The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes  is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story….Stories matter, many stories matter, stories have been used to dispossess and to malign but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize, stories can break the dignity of a people but stories can also repair that broken dignity…..”

– Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi, The Danger of a Single Story

People, especially mainland Indians, have only a single story of Nagaland. No, in fact they have different single stories. They associate the Nagas with headhunting, Hornbill festival, Rock music, fashion and yes, Conflict. Nagaland the land of myths, where life is one long festival but is also a place where life is one long, long war….

Naga Youth ready to perform their cultural dance at Hornbill festival

But there is so much more to Nagaland than just conflict, music, fashion and headhunting. There are so many things that India and the world should know. What they know is just the single story, a stereotype, a mindset. They need to know the whole. To explain the whole is complicated, it is too broad, but let me tell you of what I know, about the Nagaland I grew up with.

Nagaland is a beautiful mountainous place, located in the northeastern part of India. It is a land rich in flora and fauna. Yet it is a land torn between two worlds. It struggles between modernity and tradition; it struggles between India and Nagalim; it struggles between conflict and peace. And it struggles with so many diversities in culture, in tribes…

I’ll be talking on three current issues – Corruption, Factional clashes and armed conflicts, and Identity crisis.

4th Dec 2007. A Peace Rally call by NSUD (Naga Student Union Delhi).

Today, Corruption and Nagaland have almost become synonyms. From the politicians to the civil society, from the bureaucrats to the student union, corruption has become too common, to the extent, that it is almost becoming normal. Naga elders often use the phrase, “Today, everything has to be bought with money,” meaning that even jobs have to be bought with money. In Nagaland, if you have the money and the contacts, you get the job!! Classism is slowly emerging and now we can see a clear division between the rich and the poor. There is a huge increase in unemployment and privatization. Public hospitals, industries are being privatized. The Nagas were once known for their integrity and honesty. The Naga society had its own flaws yet it was based on equality and democracy and was corruption-free. But now, within a span of 15 years especially after the Ceasefire agreement between the NSCN (National Socialist Council of Nagaland) and the Government of India, corruption has become more prominent than before. The Government of India is pouring in a lot of money for development, but we can hardly see development. What I see is development from the top of the ladder and not from the bottom up. Our health, living standards, education, the roads, electricity and water supply has not improved at all.

Factional conflicts and military conflicts – In Nagaland, armies patrolling is normal. Every single day armies patrol right at the road near your house. If you are traveling by car you’ll be checked at least once a day. In the locality where I live, I cannot enjoy an evening walk – an activity which most people take for granted – because of the fear of being hit by a bullet due to factional clashes. There are also cases where young men are beaten up by the paramilitary forces for no reason. These paramilitary groups, the Indian Reserved battalions recruits our own people. On one hand we have the factional clashes where the different insurgent groups have started waging war against each other, disrupting the public life. On the other hand we have the Indian armed forces (The Assam Rifles) who were once a terror for the Nagas, and who by the way killed 200,000 Nagas between 1950  and the late 1980s but have now so easily labeled themselves as the “Friends of the hill people.” It confuses me why the most developed and largest growing sector in Nagaland has to be the police forces and the paramilitary forces such as the Indian Reserved Batallions. We have reached a situation where we don’t know who is by our side…The Indian army or the Naga army.

5th May 2010. Student Welcoming Th-1. Muivah (NACN-IM) at Viswema Village, Kohima

Identity crisis – My grandparents’ generation and my parent’s generation were pretty confident of their identity because they all had seen and experienced the Naga independence struggle unlike my generation today. My grandmother still considers India as a separate country and Nagalim as a separate nation. Like my grandmother, all Naga elders have the same ideals, they refer to Indians as “they” and Nagas as “us.” However, today my generation is faced with an identity crisis. If you walk down the streets of Kohima, the capital city or Dimapur, the commercial hub, you will find confident fashionistas strutting down the road full on high street fashion. Yet these are the same people struggling with their identity, an identity lost between India and Nagalim. They do not know who they really are. Do we call ourselves Nagas or Indians? For many of us, we feel calling ourselves Indians is a forced identity. We might be forced to call ourselves Indians but when we move to metro cities, many mainland Indians have no idea of who the Nagas are. In schools, right from the beginning, we were made to study the history of India, the Indian freedom struggles, draw the Indian map, sing the Indian anthem. Hindi is a compulsory language you have to take up till your 8th standard. However, our history and our culture were never taught. This crisis has been manifested because on the one hand, we have the section of Nagas who wants complete sovereignty for the Naga nation whereas there is the other group of Nagas who are willing to compromise and become a part of India. Our generation has been kept in the oblivion; we’re just hanging in there. I have often come across so many young people and even kids questioning “Are we Indians or are we Nagas?” You will notice this confused identity in music, art, lifestyles and even in the way we dress.

10th May 2010 A Rally call by NSF condemning the killing of two inocent student by Security forces in Mao, Manipur

To end, I leave my confusion with you. I, like my generation, am equally confused with the things happening in Nagaland. We do not know who is responsible for whatever is happening. Is this society just evolving, or is this a tactic played by the Indian Government to suppress our struggle for freedom? The freedom movement which has become diluted and has almost become a lost cause? I am confused. Yet what I know is that I want normalcy — a normalcy where my generation can be sure of who they really are and be proud of our identity; a normalcy devoid of army patrols and checkings every single day; that kind of normalcy where I can enjoy a cool evening walk without the fear of being killed; that normalcy where jobs are not bought but achieved. That kind of normalcy which you take for granted…..

*** *** *** *** *** ***

On 13 August 2012, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, organized a discussion – Does non violence have a future in India? – conversations with Sudeep Chakravarti, the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country and Highway 39: Journeys through a Fractured Land (Travels through Nagaland and Manipur). Beginning the evening, Vibi Yhokha, a student of journalism in the college, spoke about how her Nagaland is caught in an identity crisis, pressured by corruption, army and paramilitary violence, and nationalist sentiments.

A brief background on the discussion –  The Government of India has negotiated or is negotiating peace accords with several dozen armed insurgent groups in the Northeast. In what is called the ‘Red Corridor,’ State and Central governments continue their racist policies towards indigenous peoples in their efforts to free up access to natural resources for corporate grab. Here too, a violent conflict continues well into its fifth decade, with periodic agreements of ceasefire and deals between the maoists and the government. Simultaneously, though, non-violent struggles such as the decade-long hunger strike by Irom Sharmila, the 28-year old struggle by Bhopal survivors and the 2-year dharna by Haryanavi farmers against the Gorakhpur nuclear plant are first visited upon by violence, then humiliated , and finally ignored. In Koodankulam, cases of sedition and waging war against the state have been made out against more than 8000 people. In all, nearly 70,000 people (mostly unnamed) are charged with various crimes ranging from protesting without authorisation, to rioting and waging war against the Government of India. Considering the markedly different response of the Government to non-violent and violent struggles, is it safe to say that non-violent struggles have no future?

Since, history textbooks in schools or colleges, mainstream media will not suffice as sources for news or analysis to further this discussion, along with the help of Sudeep Chakravarti, Vibi Yokha and Nityanand Jayaraman, we have compiled some related links and readings.

Morung Express (Nagaland): A local daily online newspaper that covers current affairs in Nagaland. 

+ Color-speaking people by Al Ngullie writes on the prejudices within the tribes in Nagalim.

+ Are Naga leaders listening to the voices of the younger generation? Weekly Poll.

+ Quo Vidas Naga Nationalism? Ambraham Lotha. Perspective.

+ A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission.

Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR):

+ A Brief Paper Presentation in a Seminar on Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Presented by Neingulo Krome, former Secretary General, NPMHR. Festival of Hope, Justice and Peace held at Imphal from November 2 – 6, 2010.

+ Operation Bluebird. – Area of Operation Within 24 hours of raiding, the Assam rifles have sealed off the area, and on July 11, 1987 an extensive combing operation was launched with the code name “Operation Bluebird” with a view to genocide the Naga public under the cover of recovering the looted arms and ammunition. Operation-Bluebird was carried out in surrounding thirty villages of Oinam- Oinam, Thingba Khullen, Thigba Khunou, Khabung, Sorbung, Ngamju, Purul Akutpa, Purul Atongba, Koide Maiba, Phuba Thapham, Phuba khuman, Liyai, Chingmei khullen, Chingmei khunou, Phaibung khullen, Phaibung khunou, Lakhamai Sirong, Sirong Shofii, Kodom Khravo, Khongdei khuman, Khongdei Shimgphum, Khonggei Ngawar, Thiwa, Ngairi Khullen, Ngairi Leishang, Ngiri Raiduloumai, Tingsong and Khamson. The Operation carried out for nearly four months lasted till the end of October 1987.

Seven Sisters Post The Newspaper of the Northeast:

+ South Asian History did not begin with India’s Independence. 22 August 2012. Kaka D Iralu.

+ Naga People’s right to nationhood. 24 July 2012. Kaka D Iralu.

+ Know the ‘Northeast People’. 24 August 2012. Teresa Rehman.

E-Pao.netNow the World Knows (Manipur):

+ E Pao Radio. (music)

+ Profile of Ratan Thiyam and Chorus Repertory Theatre Company. By Donny Luwang.

+ Profile of Heisnam Kanhailal and his theatre group Kalakshetra. By Donny Luwang.

Books (links to Flipkart):

+ Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. by Sudeep Chakravarti. Penguin. Blurb – Spread over fifteen of the country’s twenty-eight states, India’s Maoist movement is now one of the world’s biggest and most sophisticated extreme-left movements. Hardly a week passes without people dying in strikes and counter-strikes by the Maoists— interchangeably known as the Naxalites— and the police and paramilitary forces. In this brilliant and sobering examination of the ‘Other India’, Sudeep Chakravarti combines reportage, political analysis and individual case histories as he takes us to the heart of Maoist zones in the country— areas of extreme destitution, bad governance and perpetual war.

+ Highway 39: Journeys Through a Fractured Land. Fourth Estate. Blurb – In Highway 39, Sudeep Chakravarti attempts to unravel the brutal history of Nagaland and Manipur, their violent and restive present, and their uncertain and yet desperately hopeful future, as he travels along Dimapur, Kohima, Senapati, Imphal, Thoubal, and their hinterlands – all touch points of brutalized aspiration, identity, conflict and tragedy. These are the lands that nurture deadly acronyms –like AFSPA, an act of Parliament that with impunity hurts and kills citizens. Lands where militants not only battle the Indian government but also each other in a frenzy of ego, politics and survival, and enforce ‘parallel’ administrations. Sudeep Chakravarti’s journey introduces the reader to stories that chill, anger and offer uneasy reflection. Chakravarti also interacts with security and military officials, senior bureaucrats, top rebel leaders, and human rights and social activists to paint a terrifying picture of a society and a people brought repeatedly to breakdown through years of political conceit and deceit, and stress and conflict. (Click to read review of this book in BIBLIO)

+ Durable Disorder: Understanding the Politics of Northeast India. Oxford University Press India. by Sanjib Baruah. Blurb –  This book explores the political meaning and significance of prolonged low-intensity conflicts in Northeast India. The author argues that if peace and development are to be brought to the region, India’s policy will have to be reoriented and linked to a new foreign policy towards Southeast Asia. The paperback edition includes a new preface where the author discusses issues of the insider/outsider and the politics of location in response to reviews of his work. 

Uramili (the song of our people), a travel and film project by Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar:

+ Sangai Express, song by Rewben Mashangva. 17 August 2012. Friday Release. (Youtube)

+ Tetseo Sisters, Nagaland. April 20th 2012. Friday Release. (Youtube)

Countercurrents:

+ Tale of Two Gandhians: Anna Hazare and Irom Sharmila. 22 April 2011. Mahtab Alam

+ Of Hotel Jantar Mantar and Irom Sharmila’s Prison Cell. 09 August 2011. Samar

Locales or Mapping Indian Theatre. Presentation by Samik Bandhopadhyay. (Audio – Part 1 and Part 2). Not the Drama Seminar, March 2008 Ninasam, Heggodu. Indian Theatre Forum. (theatreforum.in)

La Mashale. A one woman play on Manipur devised and performed by Ojas Sunity Vinay. The play has been re-interpreted and now performed in Tamil by Jeny, produced and toured by Marapaachi, a theatre group in Chennai. Ojas has opened the play to be re-interpreted by women performers in their native languages all over the country. Recording of Ojas performing Le Mashale, 10 December 2010. World Human Rights Day. (English and Hindi. Youtube)

Approaching a Tipping PointMassive dislocation of people in parts of lower Assam masked a familiar and muscular play elsewhere in the north-eastern region. writes Sudeep Chakravarti. 23 August 2012. Live Mint. Columns – Root Cause.

Home is Hardly the Best.  The moral of the story: there are multiple visions of Indian citizenship, and the state’s promises to protect and secure citizens have remained an illusion for the majority of the people who are often swept under the grand narrative of citizenship and equality. writes Dolly Kikon. 20 August 2012. The Hindu. Op-Ed.

Engaging Naga NationalismAny resolution of conflicts in the north-east, including the Naga one, could begin when both sides negotiate from a position of equals, and by an end to the process of militarisation that has tended to largely view dissent as a sign of subversion and anti-nationalism. writes Dolly Kikon. 25 June 2005

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Recent photographs from Idinthakarai, Koodankulam

Amirtharaj Stephen shares with us some of his photographs taken during the last few months covering events regarding the Anti-Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Protests.

Click on any thumbnail to view Gallery 

UPDATE FROM DIANUKE.ORG

With the Idinthakarai-based anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) protestors gearing-up for their ultimate agitation to ensure the permanent closure of the ready-to-be-commissioned nuclear power programme within a next few days, Collector R. Selvaraj has extended the prohibitory orders promulgated under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code to seven km from the KKNPP site.

The announcement was made last night shortly after 10 p.m. that enabled the officials to implement the orders from the existing 2-km radius from KKNPP site to 7 km. It will be in force till 6 p.m. June 7. After the district administration received intelligence reports that a few thousands of protestors, mostly from coastal hamlets, might block the roads leading to the KKNPP site and lay siege to the nuclear power project site, the existing prohibitory orders was extended up to 7 km under which Idinthakarai, the protest hub, also falls.

Additional reinforcements are being rushed to Kudankulam and its surroundings. Armed Reserve Police, 100 personnel from Tamil Nadu Commando Force and 100 personnel from Tamil Nadu Special Task Force had been deployed till Wednesday evening.

KOODANKULAM SPEAKS – Bookmark this page to follow Dianuke.org’s live stream from Idinthakarai and find other links relating to anti nuclear protests in Koodankulam and other parts of the world. 

Urgent Message from Idinthakarai – Koodankulam Update

Arrest Alert

Curfew orders have just been promulgated in our area once again right after our planning meetings with the youth, women, community elders and the Idinthakarai village committee on May 8, 2012. Thousands of police personnel are being posted in and around Koodankulam in haste. We get reliable tips that the authorities are planning to clamp down our protest and arrest all of us, possibly tonight. Such a pre-dawn operation that the government usually does could be bloody as thousands of men, women and children from several villages are sleeping around the Church at Idinthakarai.

This action may be planned to cover up a recent accident at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP). It is said that two young men, Sivakumar and Esakkimuthu, were injured on May 4 in an alleged blast at KKNPP and they were admitted in a private hospital at Anjugramam. Dr. Tamilarasu who treated the men confirmed the accident according to a newspaper report (The Indian Express, May 8, 2012). One of the young men’s fathers talked to the Puthiya Thalaimurai television on May 8, 2012 that he was not even allowed to see his son.

On May 8, 2012, we also held a Press Meet at Idinthakarai at 4:00 PM in which we produced the ledgers with tens of thousands of signatures of people from some 60 villages opposing the KKNPP. This is a clear proof that the central and state governments are acting against the will of the local people and are thrusting the dangerous nuclear power project down our throats in an authoritarian and arrogant manner. We also produced some 24,000 voter ID cards that the people had surrendered in protest against the governments’ callous attitude towards the 302 women and 35 men indefinite hunger strikers. As the Indian government and the state governments do not respect ordinary people’s lives and interests in India, we also launched the “Respect India” Campaign along the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s “Quit India” campaign of 1942.

The Tamil Nadu police have been harassing local people when they close their shops in support of our protests or when they travel to neighboring villages. The police take individual pot shots of the people, shoot group photos, take down the vehicle numbers, abuse with foul language and intimidate them. When a curfew was imposed earlier on our area by the Tamil Nadu government on March 19, 2012, the authorities divided the local communities by announcing a Rs. 500 crore bribery package to the local bodies, stifled news reports on us by silencing the media and isolated the people by distancing the Church.

It is so strange and unfortunate that the central and state governments treat us, nonviolent and democratic Gandhian activists, as some kind of dangerous extremists. The hunger strikers are very weak and feeble but they refuse to give up without getting our demands fulfilled. Instead of talking to us, the Tamil Nadu government seems to be preparing for a highhanded behavior and violence to put us all down.

 

Please contact the following officers and demand justice for our people:

[1] Dr. R. Selvaraj, District Collector, Tirunelveli District, Tirunelveli. Phone: 91-462-2500828; Fax: 91-462-2500224; Mobile: 91-9444185000; Email:collrtnv@nic.in

[2] Mr. V. Varadharaju; Phone: 91-462-2568031; Mobile: 91-9840970530; Email: digtinrg@yahoo.co.in

[3] Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Fort St. George, Chennai 600 009, India; Phones: 91-44-25672345 (W); 91-44-25670215 (H); Faxes: 91-44-28133510; 25676929; 25671441; 28130787.

[4] Mr. Debendranath Sarangi, Chief Secretary; Phone: 91-44-25671555; Fax: 91-44-25672304; Email: cs@tn.gov.in

[5] Dr. Sheela Priya, Additional Chief Secretary; Phone: 91-44-25674234; Fax: 91-44-25675163. Email: cmcell@tn.gov.in

 

The Struggle Committee,

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy

Art as a Weapon

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Jeff Durkin’s new work is a documentary about the intersection of human rights, Buddhism and art as a weapon for peace in Burma. With only three more days to collect funds on KICKSTARTER, here’s their statement and teaser for you:

“Art as a weapon” will look at the connection between street Art, Buddhism and the struggle for Democracy by using the closed country of Burma as a case study. The film will follow a Buddhist monk poet who’s building a library, artist Shepard Fairey painting a 30′ tall mural, and a elementary school art class learning how to use spray paint- giving the audience a peek into the the lives of artists and how art has the power to move people. Interviews include Shepard Fairey and Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Why we need to tell this story

Art has the power to shift paradigms, and images have the power to change the way people think about things. I believe in the power of film to do that, and to help shed a positive light on the country of Burma, a country that has been defined so much by it’s problems. With the non-violent spirit of A Nobel Peace Prize winner, the philosophy of the Buddhist monks, and the background of a country devastated by war, the film will show the beauty and fragility of life. Our goal is to create and Academy Award quality film about the roots of raw creativity, in one of the most censored and closed off countries on earth. This is more than just a movie, it’s a movement that will help MILLIONS of people…..and be seen by MILLIONS of people worldwide. 

Visit their KICKSTARTER page and donate anything beginning from $1. This is how it all began:

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