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Mass Protests in the Spanish State

Massive outrage

Notes on the day of 19J in Barcelona
Josep María Antentas, Esther Vivas

 

The level of outrage has once again exceeded all expectations, taking to the streets en masse, and showing the gap that exists between those who are angry and political institutions. From the 19 May (15M) to the 19 June (19J), forces have come together and unity has been created, not just the local areas (protest camps and neighborhood groups), but broader segments of society who identify with our fierce condemnation of the political class and the financial and banking system which are responsible for this crisis. The slogan "we are not commodities in the hands of politicians and bankers" summarizes both demands.

The indignad@s (indignants) have unambiguously pointed the finger at those who have buckeld under the pressure of the "markets" and who in demanding that others tighten their belts, have not done so themselves. "We want to see politicians earning pitiful salaries of 1,000 euros a month" was one of the enthusiastically applauded slogans at the rally. This democracy has proved increasingly empty of content for a public prepared to take control over their own lives. One vote every four years is not enough for those who argue that politics must involve the daily exercise of their rights, from day to day and from the bottom up.

The attempt by the authorties to contain the movement, following the action at the Catalan Parliament on 15J, has not been able to cope with the collective social outrage that surpasses even that of the men and women who were in the protest camps. Anyone who believes that the movement is merely a passing phase of youthful activists was wrong. So are those who consider it to be simply a problem of public order. The usual suspects have turned into a multitude. Two years and nine months of crisis weighed heavily. The current movement expresses a deep social malaise that has finally emerged into the open and, as usual, without warning and in new ways. We are not part of a cyclical or passing phenomenon, but instead privy to the first stirrings of a new cycle of political activity, of which 15M and the protest camps acted as a springboard.

Over the last month we have regained confidence in collective action. It has gone from skepticism and resignation to "yes we can". The riots in the Arab world, mass demonstrations in Greece and "will not pay for your crisis" of the Icelandic people have weighed heavily on the collective imagination and have given impetus to a restoring of confidence in the "we", the colective political subject. The "globalization of resistance" of that anti-globalization movement, dating back more than ten years, has been revived again in a very different scenario, marked by the crisis.

After a day of 15J, where the movement was engaged in a battle for legitimacy, 19J was presented as a test for the movement to show its strength in the face of the attacks it has received. It needed to translate into action in the street the popular support that it has awakened. And that is exactly what it has achieved. The 19J has shown the expansion of the movement, its ability to mobilise en masse and its explosive expansion in a very short time. Its growth since the 15M is not only quantitative but also qualitative in terms of the diversification of its social base and its generational composition.

Now what? The challenges of moving to strengthen its roots involve strenthening the grassroots, establishing local assemblies and strengthening stable organisational mechanisms. The movement also needs to try to develop links with the working class, sectors in struggle and militant trade unionists, and to keep up the pressure on the main trade unions, who are puzzled by a change in the social and political landscape that they had not anticipated. It is necessary to achieve concrete victories. The prevention of several evictions, although they may be small and very defensive gains, point the way and bring new energy. More generally, the movement faces the challenge of combining its general character, its critique of the current global economic model and the political class, with the strengthening of concrete struggles against the cuts and policies that seek to transfer the cost of the crisis on to those who can least afford it.

The 19J has marked a turning point that ends the first phase which started with the 15M, and prepares the next phase of a movement that has only just begun.

-Josep María Antentas is a member of the editorial board of the magazine Viento Sur, and a professor of sociology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

-Esther Vivas is a member of the Centre for Studies on Social Movements (CEMS) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She is author of the book in Spanish “Stand Up against external debt” and co-coordinator of the books also in Spanish “Supermarkets, No Thanks” and “Where is Fair Trade headed?”. She is also a member of the editorial board of Viento Sur.

Massive popular uprising in Greece

Massive popular uprising in Greece

Hundreds of thousands of Greek “Outraged” walk out to wage war against their neoliberal persecutors
Yorgos Mitralias

 

Two weeks after it started the Greek movement of ‘outraged’ people has the main squares in all cities overflowing with crowds that shout their anger, and makes the Papandreou government and its local and international supporters tremble. It is now more than just a protest movement or even a massive mobilization against austerity measures. It has turned into a genuine popular uprising that is sweeping over the country. An uprising that makes it know at large its refusal to pay for ‘their crisis’ or ‘their debt’ while vomiting the two big neoliberal parties, if not the whole political world in complete disarray.

How many were there on Syntagma square (Constitution square) in the centre of Athens, just in front of the Parliament building on Sunday 5 June 2011? Difficult to say since one of the characteristic features of such popular gatherings is that there is no key event (speech or concert) and that people come and go. But according to people in charge of the Athens underground, who know how to assess the numbers of passengers, there were at least 250,000 people converging on Syntagma on that memorable night! Actually several hundreds of thousands of people if we add the ‘historic’ gatherings that took place on the main squares of other Greek cities (see map).

At this juncture we should however raise the question: how can such a mass movement that is shaking the Greek government (in which the EU has a particular interest) not be mentioned at all in Western medias? For these first twelve days there was virtually not a word, not an image of those unprecedented crowds shouting their anger against the IMF, the European Commission, the ‘Troika’ (IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank), and against Frau Merkel and the international neoliberal leaders. Nothing. Except occasionally a few lines about ‘hundreds of demonstrators’ in the streets of Athens, after a call by the Greek trade unions. This testifies to a strange predilection for scrawny demos of TU bureaucrats while a few hundred yards further huge crowds were demonstrating late into the night for days and weeks on end.

This is indeed a new form of censorship. A well-organized political censorship motivated by the fear this Greek movement might contaminate the rest of Europe! Confronted as we are with this new weapon used by the Holy Alliance of modern times, we have to respond together both to expose this scandal and to find ways of circumventing such prohibition to inform public opinions, through developing communication among social movements throughout Europe and at once creating and reinforcing our own alternative media…

Going back to the Greek ‘Outraged’, or Aganaktismeni, we have to note that the movement is getting more and more rooted among lower classes against a Greek society that has been shaped by 25 years of an absolute domination of a cynic, nationalist, racist and individualist neoliberal ideology that turned everything into commodities. This is why the resulting image is often contradictory, mixing as it does the best and the worst among ideas and actions! For instance when the same person displays a Greek nationalism verging on racism while waving a Tunisian (or Spanish, Egyptian, Portuguese, Irish, Argentinian) flag to show his internationalist solidarity with those peoples.

Should we therefore conclude that those demonstrators are schizophrenic? Of course not. As there are no miracles, or politically ‘pure’ social uprisings, the movement is becoming gradually more radical while still branded by those 25 years of moral and social disaster. But mind: all its ‘shortcomings’ are subsume into its main feature, namely its radical rejection of the Memorandum, of the Troika, the public debt, the government, austerity, corruption, a fictional parliamentary democracy, the European Commission, in short of the whole system!

It is surely not by chance if for the past two weeks demonstrators shout such phrases as ‘We owe nothing, we sell nothing, we pay nothing’, ‘We do not sell or sell ourselves’, ‘Let them all go, Memorandum, Troika, government and debt’ or ‘We’ll stay until they go’. Such catchwords do unite all demonstrators as indeed all that is related to their refusal to pay for the public debt. [1] This is why the campaign for an audit Commission of the public debt is a great success throughout the country. Its stall in the middle of Syntagma square is constantly besieged by a crowd of people eager to sign the call or to offer their services as voluntary helpers… [2]

While they were first completely disorganized the Syntagma Aganaktismeni have gradually developed an organization that culminates in the popular Assembly held every night at 9 and drawing several hundreds speakers in front of an attentive audience of thousands. Debates are often of really great quality (for instance on the public debt), actually much better than anything that can be seen on the major television channels. This in spite of the surrounding noise (we stand in the middle of a city with 4 million inhabitants), dozens of thousands of people constantly moving, and particularly the very diverse composition of those huge audiences in the midst of a permanent encampment that looks at times like some Tower of Babel.

All the qualities of direct democracy as experimented day after day on Syntagma should not blind us to its weaknesses, its ambiguities or indeed its defects as its initial allergy to anything that might remind of a political party or a trade union or an established collectivity. While it has to be acknowledged that such rejection is a dominant feature among the Aganaktismeni, who tend to reject the political world as a whole, we should note the dramatic development of the Popular Assembly, both in Athens and in Thessaloniki, that shifted from a rejection of trade unions to the invitation that they should come and demonstrate with them on Syntagma.

Obviously, as days went by, the political landscape on Syntagma square clarified, with the popular right and far right located in the higher section, in front of Parliament, and the anarchist and radical left on the square itself, with control on the popular assembly and the permanent encampment. Of course, though the radical left is dominant and tinges with deep red all events and demonstrations on Syntagma, this does not mean that the various components of the right, from populist, to nationalist, to racist and even neonazi, do not further attempt to highjack this massive popular movement. They will endure and it will very much depend on the ability of the movement’s avant-garde to root it properly in neighbourhoods, workplaces and schools while defining clear goals that throw bridges between huge immediate needs and a vindictive outrage against the system.

While fairly different from the similar movement in Spain through its dimensions, its social composition, its radical nature and its political heterogeneity, the movement on Syntagma shares with Tahrir square in Cairo and Puerta del Sol in Madrid the same hatred against the economic and political elite that has grabbed and emptied of any significance bourgeois parliamentary democracy in times of arrogant and inhuman neoliberalism. The movement is stirred by the same non violent democratic and participative urge that is to be found in all popular uprisings in the early 21st century.

Our conclusion can only be provisional: whatever is to come (and the consequences may be cataclysmic), the current Greek movement will have marked a turning point in the history of the country. From now on everything is possible and nothing will ever be the same again.

Athens, 8th of June 2011

* Translated by Christine Pagnoulle (CADTM).

-Yorgos Mitralias is founding member of the Greek Committee Against the Debt, which is affiliated to the international network of CADTM (www.cadtm.org ). See the web site of the Greek Committee : http://www.contra-xreos.gr/

NOTES

[1] See Greece the very symbol of illegitimate debt.

[2] See Why a debt audit in Greece.

ENDLESS WAVE OF BRUTALITY AGAINST WOMEN IN HARIPUR WHAT’S THE WAY OUT…?




ENDLESS WAVE OF BRUTALITY AGAINST WOMEN IN HARIPUR
WHAT’S THE WAY OUT…?

Three consecutive incidents of violence against women in a short span of two weeks in Haripur district is indication of centuries’ old vicious culture of treating woman with contempt and exposing them to harsh punishment for the “mistakes” they are hardly responsible. In all of the three cases male members of the victims’ families emerged as the root cause of the barbaric treatment the poor women faced.
Haripur based civil society organization, SAHARA Development Foundation (SDF), Human Development Organization (HDO), and Rural Development Project (RDP) to the best of their efforts contesting these cases by supporting the victims and their traumatized families, mobilizing media both at national and international levels, extended them help in registration of cases against the perpetrators and affording them facility of free legal assistance.

Husband disfigures spouse to punish for being issueless
Ansar Bibi 35 daughter of Muhammad Afzal of village Choee Khanpur was married to a truck driver Muhammad Riaz about 20 years back when she was barely 15 years old while her spouse was 25 years older than her.
A house, one kenal of land and 10,000 was fixed as her dower at the time of nikah. They enjoyed very good marital relations to start with, but with the passage of time the relations started getting bitter as Riaz behaved with more harshly, used abusive language, thrash her almost every second day without any rhyme or reason. And each quarrel rooted in the taunts of being issueless. She applied all the available methods of treatment, but to no avail. During this period Riaz used every tactic of persuading her for the second marriage that he wanted to solemnize with a woman of a neighboring village with whom he fled the home and got married in Karachi about a year back. Now they have a girl child. After some time when he got back home his behavior got further hostile and after second marriage Riaz, on the instigation of his second wife started a vilifying her on a baseless relation that he often accused her of having illicit relation with one of his first cousins namely Ashiq Hussain. But every time she denied and proved it wrong.
However on the evening of June 17 when Ashiq was again in their home Riaz locked him in a room and started crying that Ashiq and Ansar were caught red handed in indecent condition. As he had already made of plan of getting rid of her he with the help of two cousins namely Sakhawat and Khalid both are the retired army personnel chopped her nose with knife and handed himself and Ashiq over to the police narrating the same fictitious story of catching them from a room. They also deprived her of the gold rings that she was wearing at the time of attack.
“He should have better finished my life rather than exposing me to the trauma of living with the stigma of a woman of bad character”, said Ansar Bibi talking to the officials of local NGOs from the bed of ENT ward of District Headquarter Hospital Haripur.

Handicap girl sexually assaulted by her uncle dies under unexplained circumstances
This second case was reported from the suburban limits of Haripur where a handicapped girl was raped by her uncle (husband of her paternal aunt). The girl died at a private hospital after ten days.
Mahvish Bibi 20, daughter of Muhammad Arif a Rickshaw driver of Muhalla Babu was born as deaf and dumb and due to these complications she was physically frail and abnormal than other three siblings. She was student of 6th grade at the school of special children in Khalabat Township.
One June 8 when her mother Shamim was out of the home in connection with the death of a relative in village Malikyar, leaving behind Mehvish Bibi with her grandfather Taj Muhammad and his son in law Jamil Ahmed son of Faqeer Muhammad of Taxila.
Mehvish was sleeping in a room while her grandfather and the accused were in another room during the day time. Her grandfather left the home for getting milk from a nearby shop when the accused, who was also a bus driver, entered the room of the Mehvish and raped her.
When her mother got back she noticed that the girl was terrified and her shalwar was carrying blood stains and the accused was also missing. The victim narrated her ordeal through sing language who later took her to local police station where the case was registered against the accused and police arrested him. He was now in jail while the medical of the victim confirmed that she was raped.
The traumatized victim, according to her mother stopped taking meals and her condition started getting bad to worst and on 18 June she was admitted at a local hospital with the complaint of severe stomach pain but she died on 19th of June. According to doctors report cardiovascular pulmonary arrest was the cause of the death however her parents did not agree to carry out autopsy of the body.

A 45 year old woman was paraded naked
The third case of violence was occurred in Neelor Bala village of union council Beer. In this village a woman namely Shahnaz Bibi 45 wife of Muhammad Sarwar was stripped and paraded naked in the village alleys on June 7. She was punished for her son’s“offence” who, along with his cousin Rashid, was accused of having illicit relation with a married woman Shumaial w/o Suleman. The woman got pregnant and her husband divorced her on the decision of a jirga headed by a local landlord Bahseer Abbasi. The jirga also reportedly instigated Suleman and his brothers Manzoor, Imran and Arslan for settling scores with the Shahnaz’s family. Four brothers also set on fire the house of Rashid who had already fled the village out of the fear of backlash.
Woman was approached by the officials of SAHARA, HDO and RDP organizations and her statement was recorded before the press and in the court. With active advocacy the victim women was relocated to the official residence of district government where she was provided with police security and three times meals. Alleged rape victim Shumaila was also approached and two police cops were also got deployed at her residence in village Bandi Mughlan for her security.
All the victim women are being given the facility of free legal assistance and the case was likely to come into trial within couple of weeks and the victims would be represented by the legal committee of above three organizations.

We heartedly request Govt. bodies, civil society organizations and media for the collective efforts to support these victims. All of these victims and their families are in need of legal and social protection, financial and livelihood rehabilitation and compensation against their social disgrace.
Together we can pressurize Govt. bodies, judiciary and law enforcing agencies for the fair and unbiased trial which could enable victims and their families in accessing justice and lead culprits towards due punishment; otherwise this wave of brutality against women would remain endless…

M. Rafique
SAHARA Development Foundation
Naseem Town, Sector B
Sawat mill colony
Haripur (KPK) Pakistan

Core vs Periphery in the EU

Core vs Periphery in the EU

Eric Toussaint[1] (CADTM)

 

From 1980 to 2004 joining the European Union was quite popular among large sections of the populations in concerned countries. Portuguese, Greek and Spanish citizens regarded their countries’ participation in the European integration both as a guarantee of democratic stability (indeed all three of them were emerging from a period of dictatorship[2]) and as a real opportunity to improve living conditions (there were significant transfers from richer countries in the EU towards the new members from the Mediterranean region during the first years of their adhesion[3]). Their joining the euro zone during the 2000s was also well received since it went together with increased consumption levels, albeit financed on credit. Something similar occurred among countries of the former Eastern bloc: there too, people saw joining the EU as a guarantee of democratic stability, a perspective of transfers, the possibility to move around within the Union, perhaps even of finding a better paid job in the West, and access to credit to finance consumption. However, very soon, the transferred amounts were drastically reduced and some productive sectors, particularly farming, were badly affected by competition with much more industrialized and competitive West European agrobusiness.

 

The years 2008-2010 marked a turning point in the perception European peoples have of the EU. Many became quite critical, which was largely a result of the European Commission accumulating neoliberal measures while claiming to promote the notorious ‘free and undistorted competition’, to which were added from 2009-2010 the crisis of the euro and the deep impact of the economic crisis.

 

Core and Periphery within the EU

 

The hierarchical relationship at global level with a ‘Core’ consisting of the US, the EU andJapan (the Triad) and a Periphery consisting of so-called ‘developing’ countries is reproduced within the 27 member states of the EU. The Core consists here of the most powerful countries among which Germany and France, but also the UK, Italy and the former Benelux (the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg). The Periphery is subjected to decisions made by this hegemonic Core and mainly consists of countries lying to the south and east of the EU, not forgetting Ireland to the West. At the more limited level of the euro zone (16 countries),[4] the same distinction resulted in the acronym PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain), that has prompted outragously racist puns.

 

The EU’s refusal to develop genuinely common policies to help new members reduce their economic drawbacks compared with the Core is largely responsible for structural discrepancies that work against the process of European integration.

 

Over the last ten years Germany (as well as the Netherlands and Austria) has developed a neo-mercantilist policy: it has increased its exports particularly within the EU and the euro zone by reducing workers’ wages. In September 2010 in Germany 7.3 million wage earners only had a small part-time job paid 400 (four hundred) euros a month.[5] So its competitiveness has clearly increased compared with its partners, particularly countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, but also Romania, Bulgaria or Hungary (which do not belong to the euro zone). Those other countries had to face a growing trade deficit towards Germany and other countries of the Core. Their current balance-of-payment deficits reflect surpluses in countries of the Core, especially Germany. Such financial deficits, which can be either private or public, have to be compensated for by external contributions: foreign investments or debts, i.e. loans. The current balance deficit can be traced for the most part to private deficits, a majority of which were financed by loans from banks of the Core, for investments were relatively limited (except in the case of Spain) or were neutralized by significant capital outflow in the guise of TNCs taking their profits home. In some Eastern European countries (Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) such profit repatriation (capital outflow) have been definitely more significant than investments (capital inflow).[6]

 

It can thus be argued that the debts to be paid by countries of the Periphery are essentially due to the behaviour of the private sector within the EU. Unable to compete with the Core, companies of the private sectors have contracted debts with banks of the Core but also with internal agents as the economy of these countries is increasingly controled by the financial sector since they joined the euro zone. Consumption boomed in those countries and in some of them (Spain, Ireland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria) a real estate bubble finally burst.

 

Higher and higher interest rates paid by countries of the Periphery for new loans contracted since the crisis started will further drain capital from the Periphery to the Core (to the private financial institutions that buy debt securities issued by countries of the Periphery orgovernments of the Core that are involved in ‘aid plans’ by lending money at 5.2% interest rate in the case of Greece). Germany, France and Austria, for instance, borrow at 2% and lend at 5.2%. This is a highly profitable move. Financial markets demand double or triple interest rates compared with 2007-2008 and the borrowed amounts are impressive. The money lent by countries of the Core to Greece, Ireland or Portugal is paid back to private banks in countries of the Core, and interest rates with these banks are 10% or more. There is indeed a drain on resources from the Periphery to the Core.

 

On the other hand, given the productivity edge of Germany and of other countries of the Periphery, financial drain also occurs through trade exchanges according the mechanism of unequal exchange Marx describes in Das KapitalCapitals invested in foreign trade can yield a higher rate of profit, because, in the first place, there is competition with commodities produced in other countries with inferior production facilities, so that the more advanced country sells its goods above their value even though cheaper than the competing countries. [. . . ] The same may obtain in relation to the country, to which commodities are exported and to that from which commodities are imported; namely, the latter may offer more materialised labour in kind than it receives, and yet thereby receive commodities cheaper than it could produce them.[7]

 

Democratic foundation of another European Union based on solidarity

 

Several provisions in the treaties that preside over the EU, the euro zone and the ECB have to be cancelled. For instance, we must do away with articles 63 and 125 of the Lisbon Treaty that prohibit any move of capitals as well as any aid to a state in difficult circumstances. We should also do away with the Stability and Growth Pact. And replace the current treaties with new ones in the context of a genuinely democratic constituent process so as to achieve a pact of solidarity among peoples that is mindful of both employment and the environment.

We must thoroughly revise the monetary policy as well as the status and practice of the ECB. The inability of the political power to force the ECB to create money is a heavy handicap. When it set the ECB above governments and thus above the peoples, the EU made a disastrous choice: it subjected man to money instead of the other way round.

A Europe based on solidarity and cooperation must allow us to turn away from competition, which draws all standards down. The neoliberal logic has resulted in the crisis and proved a failure. It pushed social indicators down: less social protection, fewer jobs, less public services. The minority that benefited from the crisis did so by tramping on the rights of others. Those who are guilty are rewarded while victims have to pay! We must change this untenable logic, on which all founding texts of the EU are based, with the Stability and Growth Pact in the lead. More than ever, we must strive toward another Europe, based on cooperation among states and solidarity among peoples.

 

This new democratized Europe must strive to establish non negotiable principles. It must uphold and improve social and fiscal justice, make choices that will raise the standard of living of its inhabitants, engage in arms reduction and a radical decrease in military spending (including withdrawing European troops from Afghanistan and leaving NATO), choose sustainable energies so as to avoid nuclear power, and refuse genetically modified organisms (GMO). Furthermore, Europe must resolutely put an end to its "besieged fortress" policy regarding candidates for immigration, so that it can become a partner trusted for its fairness and true solidarity towards the peoples of the South.

 

Translated by Christine Pagnoulle.

 



[1] Éric Toussaint, doctor in political sciences (universities of Liège and Paris VIII), president of CADTM Belgium, member of the President’s Commission for a full audit of Ecuador’s debt (CAIC), member of ATTAC France’s scientific council, author or co-author of several booksDebt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers (Monthly Review Press, New York, 2010, with Damien Millet), Your Money or Your Life!: The Tyranny of Global Finance(Haymarket Press, Chicago, 2005), The World Bank: A Critical Primer (Pluto Press, London, 2007). Most recent book (June 2011): La Dette ou la Vie, Aden-CADTM, 2011 (collection of essays edited by Damien Millet and Eric Toussaint, not yet published in English).

[2] Salazar’s and Caetano’s regimes in Portugal (1933-1974), Franco’s dictatorship in Spain (1939-1975), military junta in Greece (1967-1974).

[3] Belonging to the EU was definitely less popular in rich countries of the north of Europe (UK, Scandinavian countries).

[4] In 1999 the euro zone included eleven countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. They were joined by Greece in 2001, Slovenia in 2007, Cyprus and Malta in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, and Estonia in 2011.

[5] Frédéric Lemaître in Le Monde, 17 May 2011

[6] Ozlem Onaran, “Fiscal Crisis in Europe or a Crisis of Distribution?”, Department of Economics, SOAS

Discussion Paper n°18, 2010.

 

[7] Karl Marx, Vol. III, Part III, Chapter V, Foreign Trade

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Capital-Volume-III.pdf

Narendra Modi and Climate Change-- A Response


Mr. Narendra Modi - ‘CONVENIENT ACTION – Gujarat’s Response To Challenges of Climate Change’ has conveniently ignored the level of irreversible environmental degradation in the State of Gujarat.


Convenient omission of the inconvenient truth and reality in the book. 

Rohit Prajapati

Environmental Activist of Gujarat and Member of Radical Socialist

The book of Mr. Narendra Modi ‘CONVENIENT ACTION – Gujarat’s Response To Challenges of Climate Change’ is extraordinary. In the beginning of the book, on unnumbered page 4, the author has quoted Swami Vivekananda: “All nature is bound by law, the law of its own action; and this law can never be broken. If you could break a law of nature, all nature would come to an end in an instant. There would be no more nature.”  One can only wish that the spirit of this quote should be reflected in the policies and actions of the government. The book has a lot of selectively presented information and data which are convenient to defend the ‘development model’ being pursued by the state. The author of the book has conveniently ignored the level of irreversible environmental degradation in the state of Gujarat.

Reading the book one gets the impression that the author is not acquainted with the bare-minimum basic grassroots level reality of Gujarat. The book completely ignores the fact that it is written about one of the leading industrialised states in the country. It appears as if the author has not had a chance to visit the “Golden Corridor” of Gujarat. The author seems not to have had access to information from the ‘Gujarat Ecology Commission’ of the Government of Gujarat, and to press coverage on pollution in Gujarat by almost all newspapers over the last 15 years. Even a Google search on 'pollution in Gujarat’ would have provided him lots of information to do just ‘cut and paste’ into his book. The author could also have used the Right to Information Act to get basic information from the Central Pollution Control Board and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board to find out the status of the environment of Gujarat State. Perhaps the limited access to information led the author to include on page 132-133 a photo of the “Common Effluent Treatment Plant” of Vapi, a facility which is not able to fulfil the environmental norms prescribed by Gujarat Pollution Control Board since many years. While the photo is very large, there is no discussion about the functioning of CETP of Vapi. The author completely ignores the failure of all major ‘industrial effluent treatment facilities’ of Gujarat. This is one of the major failure of Gujarat state which should not be ignored or bypass by any author who write about the environment of Gujarat.

The functioning of Gujarat Pollution Control Board and the effectiveness of the effluent treatment plants in key chemical industrial areas like Vatva, Nandesari, Ankleshwar and Vapi also remain outside the purview of the book. It would have been interesting to read what Mr. Modi would have had to say, since the industries are undergoing moratorium from the Ministry of Environment and Forests for unabated cycle of pollution which continues to impact adversely all kinds of lives – human, agriculture and livestock.

The forward written by Steve Howard states: “I would call this unique compendium of action a ‘Green Autobiography’ of Narendra Modi who has shown a definite path and determined strategy to meet the Challenges of Climate Change, as we approach Cancun for COP16[1].” Mr. Howard is evidently equally ignorant about the level of irreversible environmental degradation in the state of Gujarat.

In reality, Gujarat’s environment needs immediate firm affirmative action to stop the degradation of environment, but for Chief Minister and industries of Gujarat it is not convenient to their profit, investment, and “development model”.

The author’s introduction of the book is deliberately silent about the environmental impact of industrialisation of Gujarat. While the book’s first chapter ‘From Water Riots to Water Security’  discusses on page 25 that ‘The number of fluoride affected habitations increased from 2,826 in the year 1992 to 4,187 by the year 2003’, it conveniently ignores the contamination of surface and ground water of Jetpur and from Vatva to Vapi. On  page 40 a data table is provided about the ‘Status Of Fluoride Affected Habitations’, but similar data available with the title ‘Critical Pollutants in the Critically Polluted Talukas’ in ‘State Environmental Action Programme - Industrial Pollution’, April 2002 a report of ‘Gujarat Ecology Commission’ prepared by Tata Consultancy Services, is conveniently omitted. The soft copy is available and the author could have used simple ‘cut and paste’ for the table, and could also have inserted the Gujarat map showing contamination of ground water in Gujarat from the report.

In the chapter ‘Big is Also Beautiful (Sardar Sarovar Project)’ the author states “Narmada water been released in the dry beds of Heran, Orsang, Karad, Dhadhar, Mahi, Saidak, Mohar, Sedhi, Watrak, Meshwo, Khari, Sabarmati and Saraswati rivers. The ecology and water quality of these rivers have drastically improved over the last couple of years. In addition to minor rivers, around 700 village tanks have also been filled-up with Narmada water as part of drought management measures, which has substantially improved the water availability for irrigation purpose in these villages.” First a small correction – Mahi River is known as Mahi Sagar and is not a Minor River. The author conceals the fact that Sardar Sarovar Dam has affected the downstream ecology, and that the quality and quantity of water of the downstream villages has got severely affected. The author also conveniently ignores the fact that Sardar Sarovar Project had submerged the rich forest and had displaced lakhs of people.

In the chapter ‘Silenced River Springs Back to Life (reviving Sabarmati river by inter-basin water transfer)’ the author very rightly becomes emotional and states ‘One day while passing through one of the bridges of Sabarmati River that connects eastern Ahmedabad with its ever expanding Western side, I show a few children playing cricket in the dry riverbed. […] On the other hand in absence of regular release of water from Dharoi dam in upstream, this river practically remained without any source of water. […] The river samples taken in November 2003 showed a high level of Bio Oxygen Demand, Chemical Oxygen Demand, Chlorides, Sulphates, Total Dissolved Solids, Suspended Solids, Fecal Coliform and very less Dissolved Oxygen, all of which cause water-born diseases and have an adverse impact on aquatic life.” The concern of the author is laudable, but if he had then visited the Sabarmati River downstream of Ahmedabad, he would have witnessed contamination of the river, where farmers are forced to use this contaminated water for agriculture and buffalos and cows drink the same water. The author further states in this chapter  “During last three years on an average, 600 to 1,200 MCM of water [From Narmada Canal] was released every year in the dry bed of river Sabarmati, which gets stored in a stretch of 10.6 km – right upto Vasna Barrage.” This conveniently ignores the fact that the Sabarmati River is not just 10.6 km long and does not end at Vasna Barrage of Ahmedabad but flows beyond this through various villages, where people are facing severe problems because of contamination of the river. The Sabarmati is 371 kames. long, the stretch from Ahmedabad to Vautha being 52 km long and Vasna Barrage to Vautha being identified as a polluted stretch. Even photos from Google Earth would have given the author some idea about the contamination of Sabarmati River. Even today he might do well to visit the complete Sabarmati beyond Vasna Barrage of Ahmedabad, or even to look at the river in ‘Google Earth’. The author also ignores the fact that the Narmada also does not have an infinite quantity of water and because of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, what had happened to the Sabarmati River has started happening to the Narmada River as well.

The author also states: “The primary objective of this escape structure was to safely release the canal water to Sabarmati River in the event of any sort of mismatch between demand and supply which could cause a potential threat to the safety of the canal. […] With the stage-wise increase in the Sardar Sarovar Dam height and associated enhancement in available storage, this escape structure became a perennial source of water for Sabarmati River.” The author appears to have forgotten the real purpose of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which is to supply water to Saurashtra and Kutch as tom-tommed by all Governments including the present one. Secondly and most importantly the Narmada does not have an infinite quantity of water and cannot become the perennial source for the Sabarmati.

The author is shockingly and surprisingly proud of converting 10.6 km of Sabarmati River flowing inside Ahmedabad into a canal. In my view, conversion of the river into the canal is a major environmental disaster in the long run. The author is less concerned about the river and its ecology than with the ‘River Front project’, which is all about money, real estate, investment and profit. This is nothing short of investment-mania.

Predictably the Sardar Sarovar Dam and river linking projects are cited in with details of so-called benefit it will accrue, but not a word on their adverse impact, reported in so many downstream studies not only in case of Narmada, but Sabarmati and Mahi as well. While there is complete silence on the industrial contamination of their waters in downstream areas, how big dams and river linking projects can be an ideal intervention programmes in face of climate change remains unclear.

In the chapter ‘Reducing Urban Warming’ the author states: “To ease the traffic congestion and simultaneously reduce the GHG emission, we have carefully planned and executed the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) at a cost of around Rs. 9,820 million. This would ultimately reduce the movement of 400,000 vehicles per day and carry 100,000 additional passengers through BRTS buses over and above AMTS buses.”  Development of better public transport is indeed an urgent need for all major cities of Gujarat, and BRTS is a step towards this. However, it would have been nice if the author had provided data on the alarming rise in the number of vehicles from 2000 onwards. The ‘family planning’ of the number of private vehicles being added to the roads is an urgent necessity. The Government of Gujarat does not have an affirmative policy for this. It is understandable that the government that invited Nano cannot afford to think about this.

The author has talked a lot about Carbon Credit with reference to Gujarat State. The concept of ‘Carbon Credit’ is an academic cover up for a failed anti-environmental capitalism. A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon or carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). The academic jugglery hides the destruction of the climate. Under the Kyoto Agreement, every country has a “carbon quota”, i.e., the right to further degrade the environment is distributed globally. Carbon credit and carbon trading are then the mechanisms by which the environment itself is used to further capitalist goals. The more wealthy and more industrial powers can buy the carbon credits of the less developed. Carbon credit and carbon trading thus constitute a right to pollute arrogated by the powerful to themselves. Such carbon credit is imaginary credit and by doing so you are reducing the moral standard set for normal individuals, or for any fair and just society. The author in the book has used the term carbon credit casually and in a perfunctory manner. I can understand if you are taking any extraordinary step to reduce the green house gasses and then you talk about carbon credit for such action. But Gujarat State has to take lot of steps and drastically introduce a turnaround before it can use the term credit in conjunction with carbon. ‘Carbon Debit’ might be a better word for what Mr. Modi has inspired capitalists to do in Gujarat.

In the chapter ‘Green (Golden Jubilee) Pledge’ to protect the environment, the author’s main focus is only on people; the chapter is completely silent about the pledge for industrialists of Gujarat who are major culprits for environmental degradation in the state. This is hardly surprising, given the silence on the burning issue of industrial pollution in the state throughout the book.

I broadly agree with the author’s one statement in conclusion which states: ‘For readers of this book my advice is to pause for a moment and think about all that we take from nature in a day to live and then to realize that it does not ask for anything in return. That is what is known as true giving. Then let us not be too selfish to exploit nature mindlessly when the very foundations of our civilization rest on the harmonious co-existence with nature.’ Keeping aside the content and half truth of the book this statement is for the Government of Gujarat and its industrialists to take to heart and it may be hoped that they will understand its real meaning.
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[1] Conference of the Parties of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change

In Memory of Bijon Sharangi

A tribute to Late Bijan Sharangi, a brave soldier of People's Science Movement of West Bengal and founder editor of 'TOP QUARK' a popular Bengali science magazine.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

প্রমিথিউসের পথের পথিক বিজন ষড়ঙ্গী



বিজন ষড়ঙ্গী
জন্ম- ১৭ আগস্ট ১৯৬৩
মৃত্যু- ২২ মে ২০০৭

জীবন উৎসর্গ করে
সবহারা জনতার তরে, মরণ যদি হয়--
ওরে তাহার ভারে হার মানে ওই পাহাড় হিমালয় রে
সব মরণ নয় সমান। - প্রতুল মুখোপাধ্যায়
বাবাই আমাকে শিখিয়েছেন, প্রকৃতিকে ভালোবাসতে, আর ধনী মানুষদের শোষণযন্ত্রে ক্রমাগত পিষ্ট হওয়া এই মাটির মানুষগুলির হয়ে ধনতান্ত্রিক সমাজব্যবস্থার বিরুদ্ধে লড়াই করতে -- সংহতি ষড়ঙ্গী (বিজনের আদরের “মাম্মা”)
ছেলেটা বোকা ছিল না। ছিল ভীষণ আবেগপ্রবণ। যেটুকু বুঝি-- সেই দুরন্ত ছেলেটাও ঝাড়গ্রামের টাঁড় মাটিতে একাই পাথর সরাতে গিয়েছিল...। --অর্ক চৌধুরী
প্রগাঢ় যুক্তিবাদী বিজনের কাছে বিজ্ঞান ছিল চলার পথের একমাত্র সাহারা। সমাজের বহুদিক আছে। রয়েছে কুসংস্কার, লোকভয়, সামাজিকতার মিথ্যাচার এবং ভণ্ডামি। আমি খুব নির্ভয়ে বলতে পারি, বিজন এর বাইরে ছিল। উলঙ্গ সত্য আমাদের কাছে হাহাকার, তার কাছে পূজা। -- সুকোমল বসু
বিজনদা নেই। অথচ বিজনদা রয়েই গেলেন। আমাদের স্মৃতিতে---শ্রদ্ধায়। বিজনেরা থাকেন। রয়েই যান মানুষ ও পরিবেশ বাঁচানোর লড়াইতে, প্রতিবাদে। --সব্যসাচী চট্টোপাধ্যায়
আজ ২২ মে ২০১১। পশ্চিম মেদিনীপুর জেলার ঝাড়গ্রামের বিশিষ্ট শিক্ষক, গণবিজ্ঞানকর্মী, পরিবেশবিদ ও বিজ্ঞান বিষয়ক পত্রিকা “টপ কোয়ার্ক”-এর প্রাণপুরুষ বিজন ষড়ঙ্গীর চতুর্থ মৃত্যুবার্ষিকী। ২০০৭ সালের ২২ মে, ঝাড়গ্রামের  রঘুনাথপুরের “কোয়ার্ক সায়েন্স সেন্টার”-এর সম্পাদক বিজন মাত্র ৪৩ বছর বয়সে প্রয়াত হন। ঝাড়গ্রামের কলাবনী জঙ্গলে ওঁর মৃতদেহ পুলিশ উদ্ধার করে। খবরে প্রকাশ, বিজন গলায় দড়ি দিয়ে আত্মহত্যা করেছেন, যদিও বিজনের ঝুলন্ত মৃতদেহর কোনও প্রত্যক্ষদর্শী নেই । যিনি প্রথম ওঁর দেহটি সনাক্ত করেন তাঁর নাম কাজল সিন্‌হা। উনিও বিজনকে গাছে ঝুলন্ত অবস্থায় দেখেন নি। কিছু পুলিশ বেষ্টিত অবস্থায় মাটিতে বিজনের মরদেহ শায়িত ছিল। গাছের নীচে (মতান্তরে ঘটনাস্থল থেকে ১ কিলোমিটার দূরে) পাওয়া যায় ওঁর মোটরবাইক আর বাজারভর্তি ব্যাগ। পকেটে ছিল পিন দিয়ে আটকানো একটি সুইসাইড নোট। কেউ বলেন,“মানসিক অবসাদজনিত কারণে আত্মহত্যা”, আবার এখনও বহু মানুষের প্রশ্ন “ওকে মেরে ফেলা হয়নি তো?”কেউ আবার অনেক সন্দেহ-সংশয় ও নিরুত্তর জিজ্ঞাসার দোলাচলে রয়েছেন। বিজনের “অস্বাভাবিক” মৃত্যু আজও গভীর রহস্যাবৃত।
আজ বিজনের চতুর্থ প্রয়াণ বার্ষিকীতে দীর্ঘদিনের গণবিজ্ঞানকর্মীবন্ধু “চাকদহ বিজ্ঞান ও সাংস্কৃতিক সংস্থা”র বিবর্তন ভট্টাচার্য দূরভাষে আমাকে আকুলকন্ঠে প্রশ্ন করেন, “রাজনৈতিক  পালাবদলের পর নতুন পরিবর্তিত বাংলার স্বচ্ছ, সৎ, সুশাসনে বিজন ষড়ঙ্গীর মৃত্যু রহস্যের কিনারা হবে তো? ঝাড়গ্রামের সবুজ শাল বনাঞ্চল ধ্বংস করাকে রুখতে গিয়ে যে শালগাছ মাফিয়াদের সাথে বিজনের বিরোধ তীব্র থেকে তীব্রতর হয়েছিল, সেই গাছ-মাফিয়াদের হাত থেকে বিপন্ন বিপর্যস্ত প্রকৃতি ও পরিবেশ রক্ষা পাবে তো? তাদের শাস্তি হবে তো? যে স্পঞ্জ আয়রন কারখানার দূষণের বিরুদ্ধে বিজনের আপোসহীন নির্ভীক সংগ্রাম ছিল, আজ তা ক্রমশ ভয়াবহ হয়ে উঠছে। এই দূষণ কবে বন্ধ হবে?” এই কথাগুলো সব শুভবুদ্ধিসম্পন্ন, গণতন্ত্রপ্রিয়, পরিবেশ ও সমাজসচেতন মানুষের কাছে পৌঁছে দেওয়ার জন্য বিবর্তনদা আমাকে আন্তরিকভাবে অনুরোধ করেছেন।
বিজনের মৃত্যুর পর ‘বিজ্ঞান অন্বেষক’ পত্রিকার প্রকাশক কাঁচরাপাড়ার ‘বিজ্ঞান দরবারে’র পক্ষ থেকে জয়দেব দে এক শোকবার্তায় বলেন--“শ্রী ষড়ঙ্গীর অস্বাভাবিক মৃত্যুর সঠিক কারণ আমরা জানতে চাই। তাঁর মৃত্যুর জন্য যদি কেউ দায়ী হন তবে দৃষ্টান্তমূলক শাস্তি কাম্য।” (স্মৃতিতে বিজন, সম্পাদনা- সব্যসাচী চট্টোপাধ্যায়, পৃষ্ঠা-৪৯ প্রকাশকাল- ৩ আগস্ট ২০০৮) ৪ নভেম্বর, ২০০৭-এ ঝাড়গ্রামের দেবেন্দ্রমোহন হলে বিজন ষড়ঙ্গীর স্মরণ সভায় তাঁর মৃত্যুর সঠিক তদন্ত হওয়া দরকার বলে দাবি করেন ভারতের মানবতাবাদী সমিতির চিররঞ্জন পাল। (কালান্তর, প্রকৃতি ও মানুষ, ১৯ নভেম্বর, ২০০৭)
বিশিষ্ট চিকিৎসক ও বিজ্ঞান লেখক জয়ন্ত দাস লিখেছিলেন--“বিজনের মৃত্যু নিয়ে প্রশাসনিক তদন্ত রীতিমাফিক চলবে এবং ‘একটি আত্মহত্যা’ বলে ফাইলটি বন্ধও হয়ে যাবে। আমরা যারা প্রশাসনের নিরপেক্ষতা ও দক্ষতা সম্পর্কে ততটা নিঃসন্দেহ নই, তারা কি একবার চেষ্টা করব না যাতে তদন্ত করার একটা চেষ্টা অন্তত হয়। আর যদি সত্যিই আত্মহত্যাই হয় এটি, তাহলে কীভাবে এমন একটি প্রবল আশাবাদী মানুষ লড়তে লড়তেই নৈরাশ্যের অন্ধকূপে একা একা ঝাঁপ দিয়ে পড়ে, তার ইতিবৃত্তও কি আমরা জানব না কোনওদিন? বিজনের মুখ তো কমবেশি আমাদেরই মুখ।” (স্মৃতিতে বিজন, সম্পাদনা- সব্যসাচী চট্টোপাধ্যায়, পৃষ্ঠা-১৭ প্রকাশকাল- ৩ আগস্ট ২০০৮)
এই জ্বলন্ত প্রশ্নগুলো ও তদন্তের দাবি শুধু বিবর্তনদা, জয়দেবদা, চিররঞ্জন বা জয়ন্তদার নয়, এই প্রশ্ন আমাদের সকলের। পরিবেশ রক্ষা আন্দোলনে বিজনের অসমাপ্ত লড়াইকে এগিয়ে নিয়ে যেতে হলে এই প্রশ্নগুলোর জবাব পেতেই হবে। দুনিয়া জুড়ে বিশ্বায়িত পুঁজিবাদ ও সাম্রাজ্যবাদের ভয়ংকর আগ্রাসনে প্রাকৃতিক, সামাজিক ও সাংস্কৃতিক দূষণের বিরুদ্ধে সঙ্ঘবদ্ধ সার্বিক গণপ্রতিরোধ গড়ে “মায়ের আঁচলের মতো” সুন্দর পৃথিবী গড়ার স্বপ্নকে সার্থক করতে, সবরকম দলীয় আত্মাভিমান ও রাজনৈতিক সংকীর্ণতার ঊর্ধে উঠে এই প্রশ্নগুলোর জবাব খুঁজে নিতেই হবে। বৃহত্তর গণবিজ্ঞান, মানবাধিকার ও গণতান্ত্রিক আন্দোলনের সংগ্রামী ঐক্য ও সুদৃঢ় সংহতিকে সুরক্ষিত করার স্বার্থেই উত্তর খুঁজতে হবে।
চারু মজুমদার, সরোজ দত্ত থেকে তাপসী মালিক, রাজকুমার ভুল...রিজওয়ানুর রহমান থেকে বিজন ষড়ঙ্গী--“অস্বাভাবিক” মৃত্যুমিছিলের “রহস্যময়” ও “অমীমাংসিত” প্রশ্নগুলো অনন্তকাল ধরে কি আমাদের বিবেককে দংশন করে যাবে?
পশ্চিমবঙ্গ সরকারের পরিবেশ দপ্তরের তৎকালীন মুখ্য আইন আধিকারিক বিশ্বজিৎ মুখোপাধ্যায় গভীর উদ্বেগের সাথে লেখেন--“বিজনের মৃত্যু আমাদের অপরাধী করে দেয়। আর ভয় হয় যারা পরিবেশের জন্য এখনও লড়ছে তারা কি সবাই বিজনের পথ বেছে নেবে। বিজনের মৃত্যুতে জয়ী হয়ে যায় সবুজ ধ্বংসের মানুষজন। কিন্তু ওদের কিছুতেই জয়ী হতে দেওয়া যায় না। যারা বিজনের মৃত্যুর জন্য দায়ী তারা যদি পৃথিবীর বুকে জয়ী হয় তা হলে সভ্যতার সর্বনাশ। বিজনের চোখের মধ্য দিয়ে আমরা সর্বনাশের বার্তা বহন করতে চাই না। বিজনের আন্দোলনের চোখ হাজার চোখে জ্বলে উঠুক মোমের আলোর মতো। একটি মোমের আলো দিয়ে আর একটি মোম জ্বালালে যেমন মোমের কোনো ক্ষতি হয় না, তেমনই বিজনের মৃত্যু উস্কে দিয়ে গেল মানুষের ভেতরে জমে থাকা পরিবেশ ভাবনা”। (স্মৃতিতে বিজন, সম্পাদনা- সব্যসাচী চট্টোপাধ্যায়, পৃষ্ঠা-২১ প্রকাশকাল- ৩ আগস্ট ২০০৮)
বিজন ষড়ঙ্গী কোনো ব্যক্তিমানুষের নাম নয়। বিজন সমাজের অন্যায়-অবিচার-অত্যাচার-শোষণ-বঞ্চনা ও দুর্নীতির বিরুদ্ধে একটি আপোসহীন বিদ্রোহের নাম। বিজন মানে একটি দুর্বার প্রতিবাদ, একটি দুর্মর প্রতিরোধ। ধর্মান্ধতা, মৌলবাদ, সাম্প্রদায়িকতা, ভাববাদ, কুসংস্কার, অবিজ্ঞান-অপবিজ্ঞান, প্রাকৃতিক ও সমাজ-সাংস্কৃতিক পরিবেশদূষণ-এর বিরুদ্ধে এক অবিচল আদর্শনিষ্ঠ প্রত্যয়ী সংগ্রামের নাম। এক প্রখর যুক্তিবাদী ও বৈজ্ঞানিক অন্বেষা, এক অনির্বাণ দীপশিখার নাম। মানবিক চেতনা ও সমাজ পরিবর্তনের একটি শাশ্বত স্বপ্ন আর সেই স্বপ্নসন্ধানে ক্লান্তিহীনভাবে নিরন্তর পথচলা “প্রমিথিউসের পথে”র পথিকের নাম। অসত্য থেকে সত্যে, অজ্ঞানতার অন্ধকার থেকে জ্ঞানের আলোকে, মৃত্যু থেকে অমরত্বে উত্তরণের এক দিশার নাম --বিজন ষড়ঙ্গী।
তাইতো বিজনদের মৃত্যু নেই, ক্ষয় নেই, ধ্বংস নেই। বিজনেরা অপরাজেয়, অপ্রতিরোধ্য। যতদিন শ্যামল বনানীর গাছপালা সমুন্নত শাখাপ্রশাখা আর সমাজ পরিবর্তনকামী মেহনতী সংগ্রামী মানুষেরা উদ্ধত মুষ্টিবদ্ধ হাত মেলে দেবে উদার-উন্মুক্ত সুনীল আকাশের দিকে, ততদিনই অগণিত বিজনেরা থাকবেন ওঁদের অদম্য জেদ ও দুর্নিবার লড়াইয়ের ইস্পাতকঠিন নিশিত সংকল্প নিয়ে।
আজ শোকমগ্ন এই বিষণ্ণ দিনে বিনম্র শ্রদ্ধায় ও নিবিড় মৌনতায় আমরা স্মরণ করি আমাদের সংগ্রামের সাথী, আমাদের প্রেরণা বিজনদাকে। তাঁর অমর স্মৃতির প্রতি প্রণাম জানাই। আন্তরিক সমবেদনা জানাই বিজনদার জীবনসাথী শুভ্রা বৌদি, ওঁদের একমাত্র কিশোরী কন্যা সংহতি আর শোকসন্তপ্ত স্বজন-পরিজনের সবাইকে।
আর এই “আলোর পথযাত্রী”র উদ্দেশে সকৃতজ্ঞ চিত্তে বলি,“সুচেতনা, এই পথে আলো জ্বেলে, এ পথেই পৃথিবীর ক্রমমুক্তি হবে...।“
প্রতিবেদক- রাজেশ দত্ত, চন্দননগর, ২২ মে ২০১১
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কিছু শ্রদ্ধার্ঘ্য
“ছোট থেকেই বিজন জেদী এবং অভিমানী। কোথাও হেরে যাওয়া যেন তার অভিধানে ছিল না”। --বিকাশ ষড়ঙ্গী (বিজনের মেজ ভাই )
বিজন আর কোনওদিন ফিরবে না, কিন্তু সময়ের ডাকে আরও অনেক বিজন জন্ম নেবে -- নন্দীগ্রামে বা সিঙ্গুরে। আমরা সেই অষ্টমগর্ভের সন্তানের অপেক্ষায়...”।-- কল্যাণ রুদ্র (অধ্যাপক ও নদীবিশেষজ্ঞ)
“ভারতবর্ষের শ্রম ইতিহাসে এ (চেঁচুড়গেড়িয়ার পাথরখাদানে সিলিকোসিস রোগগ্রস্ত শ্রমিকদের ক্ষতিপূরণ এনে দেওয়া) এক অসাধারণ কীর্তি। বুঝে বা না বুঝে আমরা যারা শ্রমিকের স্বার্থ নিয়ে কিঞ্চিৎ হলেও ভাবতে চেয়েছি, তাদের কাছে এ এক সূর্যোদয়। এই জায়গা থেকেই বিজনের ঢুকে পড়া পরিবেশ আন্দোলনের বৃহত্তর বৃত্তে, বিশিষ্ট জন হিসেবে।”--মানসপ্রতিম দাস (বিজ্ঞান সাংবাদিক ও লেখক)
“আমরা মধ্যপন্থী। শ্যামকে রেখে কুল রক্ষা করি। এই দ্বিচারিতাকে বিজন ঘৃণা করত, অবজ্ঞা করত। তার তেজী, উদ্যমী, নির্ভয় স্বভাব এগিয়ে চলার শিক্ষা দিয়েছিল।” ---দীপক কুমার দাঁ (বিজ্ঞান লেখক ও “পূর্ব ভারত বিজ্ঞান ক্লাব সমিতি”র সভাপতি)
নজরুল যুবাদের প্রতি এক ভাষণে বলেছিলেন, যে হাতে শোভা পায় খর তরবারি সেই তরুণের কাঁধে ভোট ভিক্ষাঝুলি তুলে দেয় এদেশের দেশনায়কেরা দেখায়ে চাকুরির লোভ। কোন লোভ বিজনকে বিচলিত করতে পারে সে বিশ্বাস জন্মাবার আগে আমাদের কণ্ঠ যেন চিররুদ্ধ হয়ে যায়”। --মাধব বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় (প্রাবন্ধিক ও এন এ পি এম-এর সঙ্গে যুক্ত গণআন্দোলনকর্মী)
“ঝাড়গ্রামের মতো মফঃস্বল শহরে বসে নিয়মিত পত্রিকা প্রকাশ করা মোটেই সহজ কাজ নয়, বিশেষত যদি সে পত্রিকা প্রতিষ্ঠানবিরোধী হয়। তবু বিজন প্রায় একা হাতে লড়াই চালিয়ে ‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’ পত্রিকাকে তুলে নিয়ে গিয়েছিল এক সম্মানজনক অবস্থায়।” -- উৎপল মুখোপাধ্যায় (বিজ্ঞান লেখক)
“নিজের সংগ্রামী কর্মকাণ্ডকে দৈনিক জীবনাচরণের অবিচ্ছেদ্য অঙ্গে পরিণত করা মুষ্টিমেয় ক’জন মানুষের একজন পৃথিবী থেকে হারিয়ে গেল চিরতরে। এ ক্ষতি কেবল ঝাড়গ্রাম, পশ্চিম মেদিনীপুর, পশ্চিমবঙ্গ বা ভারতবর্ষের নয়। অপূরণীয় এ ক্ষতি সভ্যতার।” --শমীক মুখোপাধ্যায় (সম্পাদকমণ্ডলীর সদস্য, ‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’)
“বড় অদ্ভুত দু’টো গভীর চোখ ছিল বিজনের। যে চোখ ছবি থেকে আজও আমাকে কি যেন এক অমোঘ আকর্ষণে আকৃষ্ট করে।” --শুভেন্দু চট্টোপাধ্যায় (সম্পাদকমণ্ডলীর সদস্য, ‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’)
“রক্তের সম্পর্কে বিজন আমার আত্মীয় ছিল না। কিন্তু আমরা দুটো পরিবার নিবিড় আত্মীয়তায় যুক্ত হয়েছিলাম। সেই কথা ভাবলে মনে হয় আমি এক মূল্যবান রত্নকে হারালাম।”--নজলুর রহিম (সহ সম্পাদক,‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’)
কৃতজ্ঞতা স্বীকার - টপ কোয়ার্ক, উৎস মানুষ, মন্থন সাময়িকী, আকিঞ্চন, একক মাত্রা ও সোনার বাংলা বিজ্ঞান সঞ্চার গবেষণা সমিতি প্রকাশিত “স্মৃতিতে বিজন” সংকলন গ্রন্থ
বিজন স্মরণে, সংবাদ দর্পণে

‘কোয়ার্ক সায়েন্স সেন্টারে’র মুখপত্র ‘কোয়ার্ক’ প্রথম প্রকাশিত হয় ১ জানুয়ারী ২০০২ সালে। ‘কোয়ার্ক’ নামে দ্বিমাসিক এই বিজ্ঞান পত্রিকাটির ষোলোটি সংখ্যা প্রকাশিত হয়। ১৯৯৫ সালের ফেব্রুয়ারী-মার্চ থেকে‘কোয়ার্ক’-এর নাম পরিবর্তিত হয়ে নতুন নামকরণ করা হয়-‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’। একাদশ বর্ষের (ডিসেম্বর ২০০১- মার্চ ২০০২) সংখ্যা থেকে ‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’-এর প্রচ্ছদে “দ্বিমাসিক বিজ্ঞান পত্রিকা”-র পরিবর্তে “গণবিজ্ঞান পত্রিকা” কথাটি মুদ্রিত হতে থাকে। বিজন ষড়ঙ্গীর মৃত্যুর পর ৪ নভেম্বর, ২০০৭-এ ঝাড়গ্রামের দেবেন্দ্রমোহন হলে বিজন ষড়ঙ্গীর স্মরণ সভায় ‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’-এর শেষ সংখ্যাটি প্রকাশিত হয়। এই পত্রিকাটি বের করার জন্য প্রায় সব কাজটুকুই বিজন সম্পূর্ণ করে রেখে গেছিলেন। “তীব্র মানসিক অবসাদ”-এ আক্রান্ত একজন মানুষ কীভাবে পত্রিকা প্রকাশের স্বতস্ফুর্ত উদ্যোগ নিতে পারেন, তা নিয়েও প্রশ্ন তুলেছিলেন বিজনের কিছু ঘনিষ্ট বন্ধু।
বিজন ষড়ঙ্গী সম্পাদিত ‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’ পত্রিকার পঞ্চদশ বর্ষ সেপ্টেম্বর-ডিসেম্বর ২০০৫ সংখ্যার প্রচ্ছদ। বিষয়- পশ্চিমবঙ্গে সাম্রাজ্যবাদী অনুপ্রবেশ।

‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’ পত্রিকার প্রথম বর্ষ পঞ্চম সংখ্যার প্রচ্ছদ। বিজন ষড়ঙ্গীর প্রচ্ছদ নিবন্ধ- সবুজ অরণ্যে মৃত্যু মিছিল। বিষয়- চেঁচুড়গেড়িয়ার পাথরখাদানে সিলিকোসিস রোগগ্রস্ত শ্রমিকদের জীবনযন্ত্রণার ইতিকথা। প্রকাশকাল- অক্টোবর-নভেম্বর ১৯৯৫।

‘টপ কোয়ার্ক’ (তখন নাম ছিল ‘কোয়ার্ক’) পত্রিকার জুলাই-আগস্ট ১৯৯৩ সংখ্যার প্রচ্ছদ।
স্মৃতিতে বিজন
৩ আগস্ট ২০০৮, “পূর্ব ভারত বিজ্ঞান ক্লাব সমিতি”র উদ্যোগে আয়োজিত ২৯ তম বিজ্ঞান ক্লাব সম্মেলনে প্রকাশিত “স্মৃতিতে বিজন” সংকলন গ্রন্থের প্রচ্ছদ। সম্পাদনা- সব্যসাচী চট্টোপাধ্যায়। প্রকাশক- সোনার বাংলা বিজ্ঞান সঞ্চার গবেষণা সমিতি, গড়িয়া, কলকাতা-৭০০০৮৪। প্রচ্ছদ- রাজেশ দত্ত পরিমার্জন- দেবযানী সরকার।
যোগাযোগ- সব্যসাচী চট্টোপাধ্যায় (৯৪৩৩৩ ৫৩৩৪৯) ইমেল হদিশ -  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
শুভেন্দু চট্টোপাধ্যায় (৯৪৩৩৯ ৩৬৪৬৭)

'স্মৃতিতে বিজন' সংকলন গ্রন্থ থেকে কিছু নির্বাচিত লেখা


জয়দেব দে-র ইমেল হদিশ-  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From http://bijansharangi.blogspot.com/2011/05/blog-post.html

REVOLUTION WILL BE FEMINIST OR IT WON’T BE

TODAY’S AFTERNOON, FEMINISTS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE FEMINIST ALTERNATIVES WORKSHOP HAVE REFLECTED AND WRITTEN THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC DECLARATION:


“Feministes indignades” (indignant feminists) at Plaça Cataluya (acampadabcn), May 20th, 2011 

REVOLUTION WILL BE FEMINIST OR IT WON’T BE 
We are here because: 

* we want a society centered into people and not marketplaces. This is why we vindicate: free public and basic services like education, health, and childhood and special needs care in opposition to social budget cuts, and the new employment and pension reforms. 

* we want the whole people commitment to build a society where no male violence will take place in any of its forms: in economy, aesthetics, employment, institucions, religions or in its physical or psychological forms, as well as in its sexual or work exploitaition forms... 

* we want to freely decide about our own body, enjoy and relate with it and whoever we want. 

* we want to freely decide about free abortion and sexual and affective education. 

* we want a diverse society to be respectful with any form of living sex and sexuality (lesbian, gay, intersex, bisexual, transexual, transgender, ...) and we want the right to sexuality at any stage of life to be recognized. We demand the dispatologization of trans identities. 

* we demand that the state and the ecclesiastical state don’t interfere in our lives. 

* to incorporate a feminist perspective is essential for a change in an economic and social model thought and done to serve people and the planet; it is also essential in public services, in the making of another city and land gestion model, and in environmental and food policies. 

* it is also essential that woman become main agents in the social, politics and economy transformation processes and the decisions taken for it. It is also essential for the design, review and execution of the resultant policies. 

* for a real society change decisions should be agreed upon consensus and women have to participate decisively in them. 

* subjects that affect women affect society and we want them to be in the very heart of the political, economical and social agenda. 

* we demand that housemaids and every kind of domestic worker to be included in the Social Security general regime and the right to negotiate as a collective. We demand domestic work to be counted as a part of the country wealth. 

* we demand the recognition of the person, house, and life care jobs and their complete socialitzation: we also demand the right to choose freely if we want to care or not, the right to be looked after in adequate conditions and the right to care por oneself. Summarizing, the right to citizenship. 

* we demand the distribution of wealth and jobs. Work less to make all people work. Quality working and professional conditions. Equal distribution of productive and reproductive work, equal recognition and compensation for work between men and women. And we want wealth at the service of popular classes. 

* we demand recognition of the sexual workers’ rights. 

* we demand the citizenship recognition for people without legal conditions or norms, the elimination of Foreigners Law and the Stranger Internation Centers. 

* we demand the use of a language that denominates all people free of homophobia, male discrimination, classism or racism. 

* we vindicate to be praised and recognized women knowledge and wiseness and their main function as culture transmitters. 

* we want a co-educative education. 

* we want a society where any kind of family and/or living group can take place. 

* we dismiss heteroregulation and obligatory femininity. 

* we are against war, we reject the use of women bodies as a weapon or loot of war and we don’t believe any military intervention will lead to or warrant peace. No society militarization, no gun trade or production. We encourage to fiscal objection. 

* we vindicate abroad feminist solidarity as a way to change the world. Teased feminists are everywhere, we join to their vindications and we give them all our support. 

THERE IS NO REVOLUTION WITHOUT WOMEN 

REVOLUTION WILL BE FEMINIST OR IT WON’T BE 

We express our support to our feminist partners in Madrid, in presence of the agression they suffered last night.

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