Movement of thought

December 23, 2009

ENEMIES OF THE STATE -Ashok Mitra

Filed under: Politics — movementofthought @ 11:25 am

हमने सुधा भारद्वाज का लेख ‘‘ग्रेवेस्ट डिस्प्लेसमेंट-ब्रेवेस्ट रेज़िस्टेंस’’ इस ब्लाॅग में पिछले दिनों प्रकाशित किया था। हाल में ही इस लेख के हिन्दी अनुवाद का दूसरा संस्करण प्रकाशित हुआ जो प्रगतिशील और जनवादी ताकतों के बीच काफी पढ़ा और सराहा जा रहा है। इस दूसरे संस्करण में प्रसिद्ध अर्थशास्त्री अशोक मित्र का एक लेख भी है जोे सुधा भारद्वाज के संघर्षमय जीवन की कहानी बयां करता है। सुधा भारद्वाज छत्तीसगढ़ मुक्ति मोर्चा की प्रतिबद्ध योद्धा हैं और इस समय छत्तीसगढ़ में आदिवासियों के खिलाफ चलाए जा रहे सैन्य अभियान ‘‘ग्रीन हण्ट’’ के खिलाफ एक बुलन्द आवाज हैं। आदिवासियों के विस्थापन और शोषण के खिलाफ लड़ रहे तमाम जनवादी एवं प्रगतिशील ताकतों के लिए सुधा भारद्वाज की यह किताब ‘बर्बरतम विस्थापन – बहादुराना प्रतिरोध’ एक हथियार बन चुकी है। सुधा भारद्वाज से अपने पाठकों को परिचित कराने के लिए हम अशोक मित्र का टेलीग्राफ का यह लेख साभार प्रकाशित कर रहे हैं – सम्पादक।

ENEMIES OF THE STATE

– Women and men who choose the margins

Cutting Corners Ashok Mitra

She was born Krishna Chandavarkar. Love for music ran in the family. She had, even as a tiny tot, a deep, rich, sonorous voice. Rigorous training undergone in the early teens strengthened its texture; it also helped her to negotiate effortlessly the hills and valleys the scales encompassed. The cadence of sensitivity was, however, her very own. Demand for her renditions was intense in the neighbourhood. Another Kishori Amonkar, many thought, was about to emerge. She disappointed them. The prowess of her will nudged her away from music to pursuits of the intellect. There was, in addition, an innate concern for social issues.

Ideology is not an inherited property, it is a gift of the environment one breathes in. In Krishna’s case it was perhaps the influence of an uncle or a cousin coming home full of radical ideas after a term in prison. The stirrings were yet vague, but Krishna had already sorted out in her mind the dilemma of choices and decisions. She opted for economics; the intent was to use the knowledge acquired from this branch of study to advance the cause of the nation’s under-privileged. Krishna turned out to be a star student in the Bombay School of Economics and Sociology and began her teaching career there. She married a fellow economist, Ranganath Bharadwaj, and the two of them decided to travel to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for further research. The wife was indisputably more brilliant than the husband. This could have been a factor, or it could have been something else; they separated soon after their daughter, Sudha, arrived. Krishna got her PhD, returned to Bombay and kept winning laurels for her forays into hitherto unexplored frontiers of economic theory. Simultaneously she continued work on issues of income inequalities and the production function in Indian agriculture.

While all this was happening, a curious incident took place. The economist, Piero Sraffa, friend and confidant of both Antonio Gramsci and Palmiro Togliatti, was a recluse in Cambridge, England, silently toiling away on editing the works of David Ricardo. He was widely known for both the profundity of the wisdom he tucked into himself and his reluctance to transcribe this wisdom into writing. It was general knowledge though that he was trying to build a halfway house between Marx and Ricardo. His little volume, crammed with insight, Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities, got published in the early Sixties and took the world of economics by storm. Few could grasp its implications and long critiques were written here and there, with the object of interpreting Sraffa’s point of view. Sachin Chaudhuri, editor of Bombay’s Economic Weekly, had an unerring instinct for discerning who could do what most effectively. He gave the review copy of Sraffa’s book to Krishna Bharadwaj. The review article Krishna wrote created a flutter in the academic dovecots: the world now knew what Sraffa meant. Krishna’s piece became a classic, perhaps the only instance of a review article being set down as compulsory text in university curricula.

Krishna moved from Bombay to the Delhi School of Economics and, after a few years, to the Jawaharlal Nehru University. She lectured, researched, produced papers and, during sabbaticals, dug roots in Cambridge to edit the collection of Sraffa’s writings. Sraffa, who had become Krishna’s close personal friend, had meanwhile passed away, but she took upon herself the Sraffa quest of establishing a bridge between Ricardo and Marx. Her life was, however, cut short in the early Nineties, by the virulence of a malignant brain tumour.

It is not so much of Krishna, but of her daughter, Sudha, that one wants to talk about though. Sudha was a prodigy in every sense of the term. For instance, while still barely seven or eight, she would engage in debates on logical positivism, mercilessly laying bare the entrails of the doctrine. The only child of a busy, divorcée mother, she had to create her own world and build her own hypotheses. She sat through all her examinations with an easy nonchalance, topping in each of them. Her five years at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, were a repetition of the story. A piping first class resting in her pocket, the world was at her feet, more so since, by virtue of the place of her birth, she was the possessor of an American passport.

She could have gone away to the US, earned academic plaudits and plenty of money in a university position. She could have joined a transnational corporation as some sort of a technical apparat. She could have become a management guru in India itself, or travelled high along the totem pole of the Indian administrative service. She did none of these. Once she reached the age of 18, she walked to the US embassy in New Delhi, disowned her American nationality, and returned her passport. Sudha then slipped away into the wilderness of the Chhattisgarh forests.

She was, for a time, associated with Shankar Guha Neogi’s devoted group at Bhilai, fighting against the rampant corruption indulged in by middle- and low-level bureaucrats and local contractors. To wrest proper wages for the toiling workers in the mines and plants located in the region was a major item on her agenda. She soon branched out to the wider issues of Dalit and tribal rights. Sudha began living with the adivasis, and learnt fast to think in the manner they do. She and her husband adopted an adivasi child as their daughter. It has been a life of relentless struggle: to establish and protect the rights of the Dalit and tribal population, the right for land, the right for education, for health and for security against marauding landlords and rentiers.

Which is to say, Sudha is engaged in the same kind of activities Binayak Sen was more or less engaged in, again in Chhattisgarh. The authorities have a particular way of sizing up individuals like Binayak Sen and Sudha Bharadwaj: these people mix too much with the tribals, therefore they are dangerous. Any person or group of persons working for the cause of tribals is officially ordained enemy of the State, any agitation to establish tribal rights is reckoned as insurrectionary activity. Sen was taken in precisely on this ground. His sphere of work was providing health facilities, and the dissemination of information about such facilities, among the tribal population. He was therefore a marked man and was arrested. Conceivably, Sudha’s fate will be no different.

For every 9,999 young Indians from affluent families who either fly away to the US or join a trans-national corporation or choose to be a programming boss in an IT outfit or aspire to be top brass in the government system, there will still be a Binayak Sen or Sudha Bharadwaj. This is bound to be so since, every now and then, rationality, which is an integral element of the human mind, tends to assert itself against the rampant asymmetry of the human condition. True, not all rational minds always think rationally. One or two nonetheless do.

The 9,999 young Indians who choose the primrose path will, it goes without saying, roll in money. A Binayak Sen or a Sudha Bharadwaj will live a hard, marginal existence. A question will still keep nagging. If economists and mathematicians succeed in arriving at a common measure for accretions to national welfare on the basis of today and what would accrue in the future and are, at the same time, able to assign comparable weights to contribution by individual citizens, will not the contributions of Binayak and Sudha far outflank those by the rest of the crowd?

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December 17, 2009

परमाणु महाशक्ति की पोल -किसलय

Filed under: Politics — movementofthought @ 6:30 am

यह लेख ‘दस्तक’ अंक 43 से साभार लिया गया है। इस लेख में लेखक ने बहुत ही चुटीले तरीके से भारत के परमाणु महाशक्ति बनने के दावे की पोल खोली है।- संपादक

परमाणु महाशक्ति की पोल -किसलय

बचपन में एक कहानी सुनी थी। एक गांव में एक आदमी ने कान पर हाथ रख कर चिल्लाना शुरू किया कि कौवा उसका कान लेकर उड़ गया है। बस फिर क्या था, गांव वाले लाठी बल्लम लेकर कौवे के पीछे दौड़ पड़े। काफी देर बाद एक आदमी ने ध्यान दिया कि कान तो सही सलामत अपनी जगह पर है। और तब सबको अपनी मूर्खता का एहसास हुआ कि वे बिना तथ्य को परखे व्यर्थ ही इधर उधर भाग रहे थे।
ठीक इसी तरह 11 मई 1998 को अचानक देश भर की मीडिया एक सुर में चिल्लाने लगा कि भारत ने अपना पहला हाइडोजन बम का सफलता पूर्वक पोखरन में कर लिया है।
बस फिर क्या था, रातों रात भारत सुपर पावर बन गया। एक दिन पहले तक भारत भूख और गरीबी से होने वाली मौतों के लिए जाना जाता था लेकिन परमाणु क्षमता हासिल कर लेने की ब्रेकिंग न्यूज़ ने इन सारे तथ्यों को एक बार में ही ब्रेक कर दिया।
लेकिन इस कहानी में मोड़ तब आया जब अगस्त 2009 में डीआरडीओ के भूतपूर्व वैज्ञानिक के. संथानम, जो कि पोखरण 2 विस्फोट के समय फील्ड डाइरेक्टर भी थे, ने एक सेमिनार के दौरान यह रहस्य खोला कि पोखरण2 केे समय किया गया भारत का पहला हाइडोजन बम का विस्फोट असफल रहा था। दरअसल हाइडोजन बम विस्फोट के समय जिस थर्माे न्युक्लियर उपकरण का इस्तेमाल किया गया था उसकी अपेक्षित उत्सर्जित उर्जा 45 किलो टन थी। लेकिन संथानम के अनुसार इस परीक्षण से सिर्फ 20 किलो टन की उर्जा ही उत्पन्न हुयी। यानी आधे से भी कम। लेकिन ‘देश भक्ति’ के भाव से ओतप्रोत हमारे राजनेताआंे ने इसके बावजूद भी पोखरण-2 की सफलता की घोषणा फटाफट कर दी।
संथानम ने यह भी कहा कि हाइडोन बम के विस्फोट के बाद मिले आंकड़ों के अनुसार उन्हे उसी समय पता चल गया था कि यह परीक्षण असफल रहा है। और उन्होने इसकी रिपोर्ट भी बाजपेयी सरकार को सौंप दी थी। लेकिन सरकार ने तो जैसे शुतुरमुर्ग की तरह अपनी गर्दन जमीन में धंसा ली थी और आंख मूंद कर यह मान लिया था कि पोखरण-2 परीक्षण पूरी तरह से सफल रहा है। क्यांेकि उस समय उसे इस तथाकथित सफलता की बहुत जरूरत थी।
देश के सुरक्षा सलाहकार एम के नारायनन संथानम की इस घोषणा से इतने विचलित हुए कि उन्होने संथानम को एक सनकी इंसान तक कह डाला। मनमोहन सिंह ने भी इस प्रकरण पर मात्र यह कहकर चुप्पी साध ली कि इस समय यह रहस्य उद्घाटन ‘अनावश्यक’ है।
दरअसल यह घटना इस बात की एक हल्की सी झलक भर ही दिखलाती है कि किस तरह से हमारे देश में होने वाले वैज्ञानिक प्रयोग, जो कि तथ्यों पर आधारित होने चाहिए, भी देश के राजनेताओं और नौकरशाहों की ‘भावनाओं, उनके स्वार्थों और एजेण्डों के हिसाब से पूर्वनिर्धारित कर दिये जाते हैं। वैज्ञानिक प्रयोगों के वास्तविक परिणाम चाहे कुछ भी हो, हमें वही दिखाया जाता है जो हमारे देश के राजनेताओं और नौकरशाहों को ‘सूट’ करता है और फिर सारे देश को बचपन की उस कहानी की तरह ‘कान’ के पीछे दौड़ा दिया जाता है लेकिन इस बार संथानम ने बोल ही दिया- ‘कान तो अपनी जगह ही है।’

The AfPak Train Wreck-by Conn Hallinan

Filed under: Politics — movementofthought @ 3:54 am

Obama’s  Af-Pak policy is a adventure in south asia and it is bound to fail in its every aspect. This well articulated article clearly stated that. This article is originally  published on www.fpif.org. -Editor

When President Barack Obama laid out his plan for winning the war in Afghanistan, behind him stood an army of ghosts: Greeks, Mongols, Buddhists, British, and Russians, all whom had almost the same illusions as the current resident of the Oval Office about Central Asia. The first four armies are dust. But there are Russian survivors of the 1979-89 war that ended up killing 15,000 Soviets and hundreds of thousands of Afghans as well as virtually wrecking Moscow’s economy.

One is retired General Igor Rodionov, commander of the Soviet’s 120,000-man 40th Army that fought for 10 years to defeat the Afghan insurgents. In a recent interview with Charles Clover of the Financial Times, he made an observation that exactly sums up the president’s deeply flawed strategy: “Everything has already been tried.”

Three Flawed Goals

The president laid out three “goals” for his escalation: One, to militarily defeat al-Qaeda and neutralize the Taliban; two, to train the Afghan Army to take over the task of the war; and three, to partner with Pakistan against a “common enemy.” The purpose of surging 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, the president said, is to protect the “vital national interests” of the United States.

But each goal bears no resemblance to the reality on the ground in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. Rather than protecting U.S. interests, the escalation will almost certainly undermine them.

The military aspect of the surge simply makes no sense. According to U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones, al-Qaeda has fewer than 100 operatives in Afghanistan, so “defeating” it means trying to find a few needles in a 250,000 square-mile haystack.

As for the Taliban, General Rodionov has a good deal of experience with how fighting them is likely to turn out: “The war, all 10 years of it, went in circles. We would come and they [the insurgents] would leave. Then we would leave, and they would return.”

The McClatchy newspapers reported this past July that the Taliban had successfully evaded last summer’s surge of U.S. Marines into Helmand Province by moving to attack German and Italian troops in the northern part of the country. Does the White House think that the insurgents will forget the lessons they learned over the last 30 years?

Growing the Afghan Army?

Another major goal of the escalation is to increase the size of the Afghan army from around 90,000 to 240,000. The illusions behind this task are myriad, but one of the major obstacles is that the Afghan army is currently controlled by the Tajik minority, who make up about 25% of the population but constitute 41% of the trained troops. More than that, according to the Italian scholar Antonio Giustozzi, Tajiks command 70% of the Army’s battalions.

Pashtuns, who make up 42% of Afghanistan, have been frozen out of the Army’s top leadership and, in provinces like Zabul where they make up the majority, there are virtually no Pashtuns in the army.

The Tajiks speak Dari, the Pashtuns, Pashto. Yet Tajik troops have been widely deployed in Pashtun areas. According to Chris Mason, a member of the Afghanistan inter-agency Operations Group from 2003 to 2005, Tajik control of the army makes ethnic strife almost inevitable. “I believe the elements of a civil war are in play,” says Mason.

Matthew Hoh, who recently resigned as the chief U.S. civil officer in Zabul Province, warns that tension between Pashtuns and the Tajik-led alliance that dominates the Karzai government, is “already bad now,” and unless the Obama administration figures out how to solve it, “we could see a return to the civil war of the 1990s.”

It was the bitter civil war between the Tajik-based Northern Alliance and the Pashtun-based Taliban that savaged Kabul and led to the eventual triumph of the Taliban.

Obama’s escalation will target the Pashtun provinces of Helmand and Khandahar. The Soviets followed a similar strategy and ended up stirring up a hornet’s nest that led to the creation of the Taliban. U.S. troops will soon discover the meaning of the old Pashtun axiom: “Me against my brothers; me and my brothers against our cousins; me, my brothers and my cousins against everyone.”

Pashtun Pushback

Afghanistan has never had a centralized government or a large standing army, two of the Obama Administration’s major goals. Instead it has been ruled by localized extended families, clans, and tribes, what Hoh calls a government of “valleyism.” Attempts to impose the rule of Kabul on the rest of the country have always failed.

“History has demonstrated that Afghans will resist outside interference, and political authority is most often driven bottom-up by collective local consent rather than top-down through oppressive central control,” says Lawrence Sellin, a U.S. Army Reserve colonel and veteran of the Afghan and Iraq wars. “It is absolutely clear that the path to peace in Afghanistan is through balance of power, not hegemony.”

Yet a powerful Tajik-controlled army at the beck and call of one of the most corrupt—and isolated — governments in the world has been doing exactly the opposite in the Pashtun areas. A Pashtun pushback is inevitable. According to Hoh and Mason, it has already begun.

Partnering with Pakistan

The goal of a U.S. “partnership” with Pakistan is predicated on the assumption that both countries have a common “terrorist” enemy, but that is based on either willful ignorance or stunningly bad intelligence.

It is true that the Pakistan army is currently fighting the Taliban. But there are four Talibans in Pakistan, and their policies toward the Islamabad government range from hostile, to neutral, to friendly.

Pakistan’s army has locked horns in South Waziristan with the Mehsud Taliban, the Taliban group that was recently driven out of the Swat Valley and that has launched a bombing campaign throughout the Punjab.

But the wing of the North Waziristan Taliban led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur has no quarrel with Islamabad and has kept clear of the fighting. Another South Waziristan Taliban, based in Wana and led by Mullah Nazir, is not involved in the fighting and considers itself an ally of the Pakistani government.

Washington wants Pakistan to go after the Afghan Taliban, led by Mullah Omar and based in Pakistan. But Omar has refused to lend any support to the Mehsud Taliban. “We are fighting the occupation forces in Afghanistan. We do not have any policy whatsoever to interfere in the matters of any other country,” says Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousaf Ahmedi. “U.S. and other forces have attacked our land and our war is only against them. What is happening in Pakistan is none of our business.”

The charge that the Taliban would allow al-Qaeda to operate from Afghanistan once again is unsupported by anything the followers of Mullah Omar have said. Gulbuddin Hekmatyer, a former U.S. ally against the Soviets and the current leader of the Taliban-allied Hizb-I-Islam insurgent group, told Al-Jazeera, “The Taliban government came to an end in Afghanistan due to the wrong strategy of al-Qaeda,” reflecting the distance Mullah Omar has tried to put between the Afghan Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s organization.

The “other” forces Ahmed refers to include members of the Indo-Tibetan Border Patrol, an Indian paramilitary group defending New Delhi’s road-building efforts in southern Afghanistan. The Pakistanis, who have fought three wars with India — including the 1999 Kargil incident that came very close to a nuclear exchange — are deeply uneasy about growing Indian involvement in Afghanistan, and consider the Karzai government too close to New Delhi.

In short, Obama’s “partnership” would have the Pakistanis pick a fight with all four wings of the Taliban, including one that pledges to remove India’s troops. President Obama did not explain why the Pakistanis should destabilize their own country, drain their financial reserves, and act contrary to their strategic interests vis-à-vis India.

Escalation’s Negative Consequences

Will the escalation have an impact on “vital American interests?” Certainly, but most of the consequences will be negative.

Instead of demonstrating to the international community that the United States is stepping away from the Bush administration’s use of force, the escalation will do the opposite.

Instead of bringing our allies closer together, the escalation will sharpen tensions between Pakistan and India — the latter strongly supports the surge of U.S. troops — and pressure the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to scrape together yet more troops for a war that is deeply unpopular in Europe.

Instead of controlling “terrorism,” the escalation will be the recruiting sergeant for such organizations, particularly in the Middle East, where the administration’s show of “resolve” on Afghanistan is contrasted with its abandonment of any “resolve” to resist Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. 

And finally, the deployment will cost at least $30 billion a year on top of the $70 billion the United States is shelling out to support its current force of 81,000 troops. In the meantime, the administration is too starved for cash to launch a badly needed jobs program at home.

And keep in mind that the president said such a July 2011 withdrawal would be based on “conditions on the ground,” a caveat big enough to drive a tank through.

“More soldiers is simply going to mean more deaths,” says Gennady Zaitsev, a former commander of an elite Soviet commando unit in Afghanistan. “U.S. and British citizens are going to ask, quite rightly, ‘Why are our sons dying?’ And the answer will be ‘To keep Hamid Karzai in power.’ I don’t think that will satisfy them.”

Looking back at years of blood and defeat, General Rodionov put his finger on the fundamental flaw in Obama’s escalation: “They [the U.S. and its allies] have to understand that there is no way for them to succeed militarily…It is a political problem which we utterly failed to grasp with our military mindset.”

That misunderstanding could become the epitaph for a presidency

December 14, 2009

Free software as a political movement

Filed under: Technology — movementofthought @ 1:53 pm

since the inception of monopoly capital every field is controlled by the monopoly finance capital..information technology is no more exception…but like everywhere, here is also a scope for  progressive radical intervention.. big corporations are having copyright on each and every software, but now free software movement is challenging the notion of copyright with their unique and emerging concept of copyleft…this article talks about this new kind of copyleft movement.–EDITOR

The Spark 9 February 2005

When people think of political movements, they rarely think of computer programmers, and no one would think that a movement would have started with a faulty laser printer. But one did, and grew to be just as important politically as it is technologically.
When Richard Stallman, at the time a staff software programmer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, had problems with the lab’s printer jamming, he set about fixing the software. He had done this before with the lab’s old printer, but this was new, a donation from Xerox Corporation. He ran into a problem – he couldn’t alter the programme, the machine readable programme was there, but the source code (the set of commands that make up a computer programme) was not.
Stallman contacted other universities in search of the source code for the printing programme; when he couldn’t find it he began to grow suspicious. The year before, Stallman had met a student, Brian Reid, who was the author of a useful text-formatting programme called Scribe. Reid had made a decision to sell Scribe to a software company called Unilogic and had agreed to insert a set of time-dependent functions – “time bombs” – that deactivated freely copied versions of the programme after a 90-day expiration date. To avoid deactivation, users paid the software company, which then issued a code that defused the internal time-bomb feature.
As Stallman’s attempts to track down Xerox laser-printer source code continued to fail he began to sense a similar money-for-code situation. But before he had said anything about it he heard that a scientist at the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University was working on the laser printer in question.
Upon asking the scientist for the source code he was refused. The scientist had signed an agreement with Xerox to not share the programme with anyone. Although it is standard practice today for a software company not to give away source code, in the early days of the computer industry computer programmes were regarded as communal resources, something which anyone with the skills could freely modify and improve, use, and distribute.
“It encouraged me to think about something that I’d already been thinking about,” says Stallman. “I already had an idea that software should be shared, but I wasn’t sure how to think about that.”
Stallman began to campaign for free software, with source code available to anyone. The book Free as in Freedom describes him as “a crusading activist applying traditional notions of liberty, equality, and fraternity to the world of software development”.
The free software movement officially began in 1983 when Richard Stallman announced the GNU project; the goal of the project was to create an entirely free version of the Unix operating system. The goal of the movement is to give freedom to computer users by replacing software which has restrictive licensing terms with free software; free not only in monetary cost, but free of restrictions.
In the 1985 document “The GNU Manifesto” Stallman outlines the need for free software, “I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a programme I must share it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to divide the users and conquer them”.
Although the GNU project never took off, others agreed with Stallman’s philosophy, and the operating system Linux, originally written by a Finnish student in 1991 and improved on by thousands of programmers collaborating on the Internet, is now emerging as a real alternative to Microsoft Windows. It is unlikely that Stallman or Torvalds anticipated that by the early 21st century Microsoft would have such a monopoly on computer operating systems and software, yet it has been this that has drawn many users to free software. As Microsoft continues to strengthen its grip on the software market (and its users) and the price of Microsoft software continues to rise thanks to its monopoly control of the software market, many computer users look for an alternative. Software companies have attempted to create alternatives, but have usually failed in the market dominated by Microsoft.
Linux, and other free or “open source” software is different in that it is not competing in the market, but against the market.
“Writing non-free software is not an ethically legitimate activity, so if people who do this run into trouble, that’s good! All businesses based on non-free software ought to fail, and the sooner the better.” says Stallman about the software industry.
Users are attracted to free software not only because it’s free, but because of the strong community of users and programmers that are constantly working to improve it. Many advocates of free software believe that it is not only ethically better than commercial software, but technologically superior as well, thanks to the community developing it with the idea of programming for need, not profit. This idea has been proven in a least some situations. Earlier this year when a security flaw was found in both Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and the Open Source web browser Mozilla, the flaw in Mozilla was fixed in a matter of hours, though Microsoft didn’t release a fix for Internet Explorer until the next “system update” weeks later.
It’s these ideas of community and creating software for need rather than profit that have led right-wing fanatics (and Bill Gates) to dismiss the Linux community as “communist”. Linux.com journalist Maurice Entwistle notes; “This label does fit the Linux community in many ways…. …If we take the motto, ‘From each according to his ability. To all according to their need’, we can see that Linux fits this statement very well.”
Many Linux users (myself included) do realise the socialistic nature of free software, yet unlike Bill Gates, we don’t see this as a bad thing; whether you call it “communist” or simply “community” it’s hard to find a problem with a community of people working together to create software to fulfil the needs of that community. Richard Stallman has a simple message for the pro-capitalism critics of the movement; “If cynics ridicule freedom, ridicule community… if ‘hard-nosed realists’ say that profit is the only ideal… just ignore them, and use [free software] all the same.”

December 7, 2009

curfewed night- basharat peer

Filed under: Uncategorized — movementofthought @ 7:51 am

 

kashmir is burning fire of our hearts…basharat peer has poured all his fire and luv for kashmir in his book CURFEWED NIGHT,. here is an interview with author..originlly published in http://www.funonthenet.in– editor

Very early on in Basharat Peer’s Curfewed Night, there is a part about probably the greatest moment in India-Pakistan cricket history. Chetan Sharma bowling a delivery he will never forget to Javed Miandad at Sharjah.

That passage sort of says a lot about everything that will follow. Peer is an author who will show, not tell; Nights is all about people’s stories, which is always a greater service to the reader than the academic drone usually associated with non-fiction; and most of all, that Peer is a narrator par excellence.

The book is about the author’s experiences in the Kashmir valley at a time which saw the birth of militancy. He leaves the valley for a few years and later, quits his job in Delhi to come back and goes in search of the protagonists of the stories that dominated his childhood.

In this interview to Krishna Kumar, Peer — a former correspondent at rediff.com — talks about the book, his childhood and the dynamic that is at work between India and Kashmir.

What’s happening in Kashmir right now mirrors the days just before the birth of militancy…

There is a major difference between the 1990s and the recent protests. Though the slogans and demands are the same, the 1990s saw the arrival of the gun. The current protests are peaceful. The number of militants has gone down to hundreds and they too have taken a backseat. I see this as the time when non-violent politics becoming a main feature in the culture of protests in Kashmir.

Also, there is the initiation of a new generation. Those who were two or three years old in 1990 have now grown up and are at the forefront of the protests.

In your book you mention, had the protests been peaceful, the problem could have been solved through dialogue.

I said had violence not been used against the protestors and the protests were allowed to take a peaceful direction, there might have been a chance.

But again, this time the response has been similar, but the people have had a lot of time to think about what’s happening and have learnt that non-violent politics and unarmed protests might help Kashmir get more than what a few hundred people with guns can.

What do you think is the motivation for the youngsters now? Is it again something historic that they have inherited?

The motivation comes from a feeling of injustice. When you live in an extremely militarised society, the daily humiliations are reason enough to motivate people to come out in the streets. And then there is the larger historic long pending desire to gain independence.

It is also hearing stories of what has happened in Kashmir. A teenager in Kashmir doesn’t have the life that a teenager in Lahore, Delhi or Bombay has, but he has the same aspirations.

When he goes out to school he has to look 15 soldiers in the eye. When you have to raise your hands and show your ID, that teaches you a lot about things. It is a lived experience. You don’t need anyone to tell you that.

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