Privatising war

The United Arab Emirates has exposed huge loopholes in international criminal law by announcing a $529 million contract with the Reflex Responses company for an 800-strong force of foreign mercenaries, which could be expanded to several thousand men. The firm was founded by Erik Prince, former owner of the notorious U.S. mercenary firm Blackwater. Within […]

Crime not shame: challenging the ideology of rape

When American feminist Susan Brownmiller published ‘Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape’ in 1975, thousands of women all around the world who’d been victims of war-time rape were suffering pretty much in silence.   Korean, Chinese and other women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army in World War II; Bangladeshi women raped by […]

Rapid deforestation & lucrative timber trade

The recent escalation in the price of timber at Kohima and Dimapur to at all time high of Rs 500/ (five hundred) only pre cefty of class A timber has not generated any public protest or demand for justification by the consumers, NGO’s or authorities. Like most issue detrimental to our interest as a collective […]

Mending the Food Security Act

Two years have passed since the Central government announced that a draft National Food Security Act (NFSA) would be posted on the Food Ministry’s website “very soon.” After prolonged deliberations, a detailed framework for this Act has recently been proposed by the National Advisory Council (NAC), and a draft is on the anvil. This is […]

Women Redefining Democracy

The women who attended the first international conference of the Nobel Women’s Initiative: Women Redefining Peace in the Middle East and Beyond agreed that “the root causes of armed violence are inequalities, whether of power, of control of resources, of racism, intolerance and discrimination". They also understood that to build real peace, “people-centered security” is […]

The meaning of peace in the 21st century

An essential lesson of the age is that governments acquire their legitimacy through votes of people and respect for human rights, and that this is the best guarantee of security. Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human-rights lawyer and Nobel laureate, write exclusively for openDemocracy. One of the important tasks of the 21st century is redefining social concepts. […]

Need for a coherent policy

True to form, the Government of India has been caught on the back foot over the pricing of petroleum products. Earlier this year, it formally delinked petrol from the administered pricing mechanism while retaining the more sensitive diesel, kerosene, and LPG under its control. The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) was expected to meet last […]

Where’s the British monarchy headed?

It is often said that the Americans and the French “love” the British royal family because they don’t have to “suffer” it or pay for its extravagant lifestyle. “Ask us we have to bear it and grin,” one British commentator told an American journalist who had come all the way from Chicago to cover the […]

Big Brother rules

Whatever the intention behind them, the new rules framed last month under the Information Technology Act, 2000 are likely to have a chilling effect on the development of the Internet as a medium of communication and information in India. Apart from the unreasonable restrictions on free speech they envisage, the rules raise serious concerns about […]

Rethink growth with forest capital

Can you love tigers but hate forests? This is the question that troubled me as I visited the middle of India last fortnight. I was in Nagpur, where local politicians, conservationists and officials were discussing what needed to be done in this chronically poor and backward region endowed with forests and tiger habitats.The discussion began […]

Indo-Naga political solution by 2011

The Government of India has hinted that a solution acceptable to both sides maybe round the corner by the end of 2011. An honourable solution is expected according to NSCN (IM). The problem and the irony I see here is that the G.O.I.  has time and again declared that any solution outside the Indian Union […]

Bribes: A small but radical idea

To ask a people burdened with systemic bribery to accept bribe-giving as legal is to demand they accept corruption and the existing structures of power and inequity it flows from. Let’s get this right. The Chief Economic Adviser to the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, wants a certain class of bribes legalised? And says […]