Live Encounters Magazine – Human Trafficking

Live Encounters Magazine September 2013

Veerandra Mishra, Assistant Inspector General of Police Madhya Pradesh, India, on Human Trafficking
Ivo Coelho, Philosopher and Priest, Do We Have to be Religious to be Moral?
Emma Larking, Regional resettlement – solving the ‘refugee problem’ at any price?
Natalie Wood, Commemorated Thus Beautifully
Terry McDonagh, Ripple Effect
Christopher Tolkien, Foreword to The Fall of Arthur
Mark Ulyseas, Book review – The Fall of Arthur
Anat Hoffman, Gender Segregation in Israel
Christoph Sperfeldt, The Long Way from Rome to Jakarta
Candess M Campbell, Healing Trauma

Live Encounters Magazine August 2013

Live Encounters Magazine August 2013

Mark Ulyseas – Whose swastika is it anyway?
Joo Peter – Bali Swastika
Randhir Khare – Singing the Sea
Farrukh Dhondy – Prophet of Love
Terry McDonagh – In the end…
Dr Peter Phipps – Indigenous Festivals in Australia: Performing cultural survival
Raphael Susewind – Being Muslim and Working For Peace –Ambivalence and Ambiguity in Gujarat
Chris Hedges – We Are All Aboard the Pequod
Natalie Wood – Israel’s Stumbling Block Before The Blind
Candess M Campbell – Prayer and Meditation

Has the social contract been abrogated?

Pic by Mark Ulyseas

The news these days is all about people on the streets protesting about a government‘s actions or inaction. Many are beaten, arrested, incarcerated. The existence of the Surveillance State is confirmed. Not that anyone doubted its existence. The move towards religious fundamentalism is growing and this violent energy fuels the politics of hate and divide.

The common thread that was used to weave the social fabric of a society is defective…the weft is warped and warp is knotted and frayed. There is no intrinsic strength, no value to this social fabric.

Borders are being defined be it in the bedroom, work place, city, country and even cemeteries…who gets to be buried with dignity and who gets to be chucked on the roadside. Life value is based on twisted concepts of civilised behaviour and contorted cultural notions of heritage.

Social structures are being dismantled and make shift ones are replacing them at a frightening pace, thereby uprooting time tested values of family and country. The new rules are being written as we go along, day by day, by anyone and everyone. Ad hocism is the order of the day.

So has the social contract been abrogated or are we in the midst of renegotiating this contract to suit not the needs of all but those of a few?

Live Encounters Magazine June 2013

Live Encounters Magazine June 2013twitter

Randhir Khare – A poet’s journey across Ladakh

Chris Hedges – Death of Truth – interview with Julian Assange

Tapan K Ghosh – author of Bollywood Baddies

Natalie Wood – Karmiel Railway

Candess M Campbell –  Health

Philosopher Ivo Coelho – What is Truth?

Anat Hoffman – Answered Prayers?

Terry McDonagh – Elder Tree rejuvenated (Poem)

Robin Marchesi – Grey Hounds – Barcelona

Photo Gallery – Portraits of Bali

Spread of armed insurrection by Maoists in India


Heavily armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district on Saturday 25th May, killing 27 people including State Congress Chief Nand Kumar Patel, senior leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar besides leaving 36 others injured including former Union Minister VC Shukla. LINK

Power flows from the gun – this is the belief of the Naxals (Maoists) who are ‘apparently’ fighting for the rural poor in India – lower castes, advasis(tribals) etc. They have established a network across 170 districts in 15 States. The Naxals have been known to attack police stations, destroy government infrastructure, kidnap government officials, extortion, torture and murder. There are areas in these States that are so dangerous that State governments have advised extreme caution for those politicians or government officials travelling through them; they are often accompanied by heavily armed paramilitary forces.

The Naxals have set up bases across many States and from there have greatly increased their influence. There are ‘liberated zones’ where no one dares enter without adequate armed back-up by State forces. This is a Class struggle that targets ‘upper castes, zamindars (feudal landlords), commercial interests and of course the security forces.

These Maoist guerrillas are called the Red Taliban for the laws they enforce in the ‘liberated’ zones. They pose a serious threat to the very fabric of the democratic process.

There are claims from some sources that these Naxals are being given ‘support’ in man, weapons and finance from the ‘leftovers’ of the LTTE (who blame India for their defeat by Sri Lankan forces), Philippines communists, erstwhile militant groups in India and across the border in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma.

So why have the Naxals been able to gain ground over the years?

Some determining factors:

–          Corruption : at all levels : Primary Health Centres which in most cases are non-existent, local governance,

–          Caste System: This plays an important part in the rural set up. Upper castes are known to dispense their own justice when it comes to the tribals etc. enforced slavery, rape, beatings and more only alienate them (tribals) for they cannot turn to the government system for justice as this too in many cases is ‘ruled’ by the upper castes’ and further are corrupt. In some areas the tirbals are treated like savages with no civil or human rights.

–          Politics: The wishy washy attempt to resist the ‘red embrace’ by countering with largesse – hand outs to tribals that are either ill conceived or merely ‘band-aid’. The inherent problems are not tackled nor is there a concerted effort to do away with wretched ancient caste system.

–          Commerce/industry: The tribals fight a losing battle against the conglomerates who ‘legally’ get access to their land for setting up one industry or another. This is theft. No one seeks the tribals approval nor do they get any compensation whatsoever. One must admit that there are feeble attempts to bring them (tribals) into the social mainstream of the country.

So how does the Indian Government tackle this situation?

–          Police stations in the affected areas have been ‘reinforced’ with watch towers etc.

–          Paramilitary forces often ‘encounter’ the naxals who use  tribal women and children and shields…a bloody collateral damage.

–          The Indian Air Force has deployed its latest Mi-17-5 helicopters in Nagpur to cover Chhatisgarh (who the massacre took place on Saturday 25th May) and Madhya Pradesh. The (SOP) Standard Operating Procedure laid by the Defence Ministry – Fire in self defence only. Doesn’t this defeat the purpose?

–          The red menace has encouraged the growth of non-state anti-naxal groups e.g. Salwa Judum in the State of Chattisgarh. Interestingly the government has supported such ‘extra-judicial groups’ which has resulted in tribals being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. These groups unwittingly have also committed serious human rights violations like summary executions (like the Naxals). This has generated ‘criticism’ from the honourable Supreme Court of India and the Central government.


A shining example –

May 25, 2013 – According to reports, about 250 suspected Naxals, blasted a heavy Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to stop a convoy of about 25 cars carrying Congress leaders in the state and then fired upon them. Although the security men travelling with the Congress convoy fired back, they soon exhausted their ammunition and were cornered in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, killing 27 people including State Congress Chief Nand Kumar Patel, senior leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar besides leaving 36 others injured including former Union Minister VC Shukla.

The personal security officer of senior Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla who had run out of ammunition and was crushed under a car, shouted out to VC Shukla,

 ”Sir, I have not been able to protect you. I take your leave.” He then shot himself. And so did the driver of the vehicle for fear of being caught alive by the Naxals who administer special treatment to captured security personnel.

The security forces are still looking for an abducted policeman.

So how should India fight the Red Taliban?

Ask any social activist or NGO and this will be their answer.

–          The tribals need to be treated like humans and not animals. Thereby utmost care and attention must be given to their roti,  kapada and makaan (food, clothes and shelter – a euphemism that also includes healthcare and social acceptability).

–          The existing laws in the country include jail time for those using derogatory words/actions against a person of a lower caste: this should be enforced and seen to be enforced.

–          Tribal lands must not be unilaterally acquired and the tribals must be informed and their interests protected by the State and given precedence over commercial interests.

–          The civil and human rights of the tribals and other lower castes must be protected and those abusing it even though they may include government or security forces must be punished.

–           Human slavery/bondage must end. Whole families, veen children as young a 2 years are human slaves. The Internaitonal Justice Mission, among other NGOs operating in india have been instrumental is saving/rescuing hundreds of families from slavery. This must end.

–           Support for the subsistence farmers/families whose crops have failed due to drought etc. It is claimed that more than 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the years due to failure of crops etc. Their families are left in penury and are then easy targets for slave owners/Red Taliban.

–          Corruption is endemic in India – it has not left anything untouched. Monies and other welfare schemes for tribals are often ‘looted’ by vested interests. This should stop and those found dipping their hands into funds allocated for the tribals must be prosecuted.

The danger that the Moaist pose to Indian democracy is best reflected in these chilling words uttered by a Chinese official– “We can break India anytime we want”


What is British Culture?

Is it










What does it mean to be British?

–          Dress?

–          Food?

–          Religion?

–          Language?

People from far away dominions of this once great empire are now compressed on an island north of Europe. The result – cultures jostling for space any which way, even if it means encroaching into areas once reserved exclusively for the natives. The borders have become blurred.

So confrontations do occur, cultural confrontations.  And religion has become a weapon of mass destruction by those seeking to impose their culture. And they will succeed not because their culture is stronger in terms of beliefs or customs but because the native culture has actively permitted itself to be diluted into a tepid cup that cheers, apologetics abound while those resisting are not actively involved in  countering the emerging dominant culture and its side kick religion.

Thus, the inevitable will happen and change will come.

Unless of course the talkers become doers

Note: Religion cements cultures. It is the eternal spring that satiates those seeking a meaning to their existence. The resident culture is failing, giving up ground because its nucleus has been, over the years, gradually been replaced by a ‘me’ factor. While the merging dominant culture is still very much centred around ‘we’. Curiously, the emerging culture is an amalgamation of many cutlures cemented together by one powerful adhesive – religion. Unfortunately, the resident culture has all but given up on its religion and thus forfeited its right to exist.