Friday, February 27, 2015

Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis : Somebody give this man a Nobel prize!

Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis : Somebody give this man a Nobel prize!


.."What's at issue really is a class war. It's not so much Germany versus Greece, as the papers say. It's really the war of the banks against labor. And it's a continuation of Thatcherism and neoliberalism.

The problem isn't simply that the troika wants Greece to balance the budget; it wanted Greece to balance the budget by lowering wages and by imposing austerity on the labor force. But instead, the terms in which Varoufakis has suggested balancing the budget are to impose austerity on the financial class, on the tycoons, on the tax dodgers. And he said, okay, instead of lowering pensions to the workers, instead of shrinking the domestic market, instead of pursuing a self-defeating austerity, we're going to raise two and a half billion from the powerful Greek tycoons. We're going to collect the back taxes that they have. We're going to crack down on illegal smuggling of oil and the other networks and on the real estate owners that have been avoiding taxes, because the Greek upper classes have become notorious for tax dodging.

Well, this has infuriated the banks, because it turns out the finance ministers of Europe are not all in favor of balancing the budget if it has to be balanced by taxing the rich, because the banks know that whatever taxes the rich are able to avoid ends up being paid to the banks. So now the gloves are off and the class war is sort of back."..

Well, all of a sudden the position of Spain, for instance, is, wait a minute, we're in power, we're a Thatcherite neoliberal party. If Greece ends up not going along with austerity and saving its workers, then Podemos Party in Greece, in Spain, is going to win the next election and we'll be out of power. We have to make sure that Varoufakis and the SYRIZA Party is a failure, so that we ourselves can tell the working class, you see what happened to Greece? It got smashed, and we're going to smash you if you try to do what they do; if you try to tax the rich, if you try to take over the banks and prevent the kleptocracy, there's going to be a disaster.

So, obviously, Greece and Portugal want to impose austerity on–Spain and Portugal want to impose austerity on Greece. And even Ireland now has chimed in and said, my God, what have we done? We have imposed austerity for a decade in order to bail out the banks. Even the IMF has criticized us for going along with Europe and bailing out the banks and imposing austerity. If SYRIZA wins in avoiding austerity in Greece, then all of our sacrifice of our population, all of the poverty that we've imposed, all of the Thatcherism that we've imposed has been needless, and we didn't have to do it.

So there's a whole demonstration effect, which is why they're treating Greece almost as a symbol for–the class war as a symbol for labor saying, wait a minute, we don't have to impose austerity, we can collect taxes from the tax dodgers.

Remember a few years ago when Europe said, Greece owes 50 billion euros in foreign debt? Well, it turned out that the central bank had given to the Greek parties a list called the Lagarde list (for Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF) of all of the tax dodgers, Greek tax dodgers who had Swiss bank accounts. Well, the Swiss bank accounts that the tax dodgers had ended up to about 50 billion euros. So Greece could pay off the debt that it's borrowed simply by moving against the tax dodgers.

Well, this has infuriated the banks, because it turns out the finance ministers of Europe are not all in favor of balancing the budget if it has to be balanced by taxing the rich, because the banks know that whatever taxes the rich are able to avoid ends up being paid to the banks. So now the gloves are off and the class war is sort of back."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sibel Edmonds : the most classified woman in U.S. history

Just came across an exciting source to get to know more about what's happening in the world. This in the frame of US Geopolitics, and suppressed truths about key global events. This also becomes yet another addition to my growing list of amazing women who are bringing forth a better humanity with levels of courage that breaks all records.

Sibel Edmonds : "the most classified woman in U.S. history"

Sibel Edmonds is the editor of Boiling Frogs Post and founder- director of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award. Ms. Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI where she reported serious acts of security breaches and cover-ups, and for that she was retaliated against and ultimately fired. Court proceedings were blocked by the assertion of the State Secrets Privilege, and the U.S. Congress has been gagged and prevented from taking up or even discussing her case through retroactive classification issued by the Department of Justice.

"What I find so remarkable is Sibel's persistence in trying every avenue and possible outlet in trying to get the truth out. When going up the chain of command in the executive branch and Inspector General internal mechanisms for investigating fraud, waste, and abuse went nowhere, she sought judicial remedy by filing lawsuits only to be improperly gagged by "state secrecy privilege". Along the way she also sought congressional assistance, testified to the 9-11 Commission, and engaged with various media and other non-governmental organizations. It's somewhat ironic that Sibel herself demonstrated such enormous energy and passion throughout this decade quite the opposite of the "boiling frog" idiom she uses for her website as a warning to others. If her book can inspire readers to summon even 1/100th of the determination and resolve she has modeled, there's hope for us!" -- Coleen Rowley, Retired FBI Agent & Time Magazine Person of the Year, 2002


Came across this while reading through this article that explains how Western media is so pro-war.. a very important article in itself:
(note: this source is an independent blog, not a corporate-funded big newspaper like NYTimes or Washington Post)

And I saw this some weeks back.. a book called "Bought Journalists" published by a senior journalist, blowing the whistle on massive lying to the people that he too was a part of and now wants to expose as he's only got a few more years left to live. I'd consider this to be on par with "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" (and look up that if you haven't already!).

Excerpt: "No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about the book. Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about. More shocking: We have respected journalists who seem to have gone deep sea diving for a long time. It's an Interesting situation. I expected and hoped that they would sue me and bring me to court. But they have no idea what to do. The respected Frankfurter Allgemeine just announced they will fire 200 employees, because they're losing subscribers very rapidly and in high numbers. But they don't sue me. They know that I have evidence on everything."

Note: Why I'm sharing this even in groups that might claim they hate seeing this and it doesn't involve India (you can always just press Delete my lord) : There is a growing chance that Indians might get led into joining this global conflict, on the wrong side, with full patriotism that too. Our large population of youth might get tossed into this as cannon fodder, and all their energies might end up being used to increase the sum total of bad things in this world. The same reckless development paradigm causing the problems in other countries, is also pushing us to inflict genocide : both direct and structural, upon our own brothers and sisters, and already we viciously attack those who dare to show us a mirror exposing this. There is a raging fire in the neighbour's house, and only an idiot with all senses blocked can continue sleeping peacefully. We have a responsibility towards our planet to keep and a role to play in this world, especially in promoting peace and nonviolence. We need to educate ourselves and own up to it, else soon our society too can unravel and fall apart the way other people's has. If we do not help others, there will be no one left to help us either.

On the flip side, there is a growing global movement for truth, peace, nonviolence and justice. People are shaking off all the old psychological boundaries that separated them all these centuries, including the separation of nationality, and uniting against tyranny as citizens of Planet Earth. Even a movement like AAP is just one part of a much wider global awakening. Cross-border collaboration of humanity is a natural and necessary thing, not a "foreign hand". It is time to embrace it, not shun it as "not applicable to India". India is not another planet floating elsewhere in the solar system; she is an integral part of planet Earth and always will be.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cleaner Air in cities like Delhi

We should consider the fact that clean air isn't a factory produce and so we ought to treat it a bit more holistically than.. say, roads or mobile phones. One cannot get more clean air by commissioning more man-made machines.. in fact the opposite happens.
So it's necessary for us to step out of our regular industrialized, monetized, macho, merit-based paradigm and get a little more feminine, holistic when it comes to environmental factors like air. Just putting that on the table, in case underlying assumptions were ignoring it.

Here are some measures I've come across, and these would not just improve the air quality but also help stabilize Delhi's temperature (there is a reason why it's so extreme hot and extreme cold right now) and reduce the incidence of widespread flooding of roads that happen immediately after rains: Of course, these measures apply equally to Pune also, esp for people who have to pass through junctions like Swargate daily.

1. Smart Greenery:

Rooftop solar panels laane se pehle green roofs laane chahiye! Cheaper. easier to implement, abundant cheap labour availability to get it done at mass scale, and giving so much more benefits. And no need to bother watering them... simply plant and let monsoons supply the water, let it dry off in dry season.. that will in turn contribute biomass for heating / gas / feedstock.

2. Going the whole nine yards and actually putting serious taxpayer money into promoting and enabling bicycles, cycle-rickshaws, electric rickshaw. Bike-share program had been started in DU areas.. pushing that further. Govt buying cycles and distributing to all mohalla sabhas / RWAs. If they lie idle then let them.. some poor chaps will buy them second-hand, or steal them in some months time and start using them! Bringing in unions, benefits like pensions, healthcare, group insurance for cycle rickshaw drivers. Parisar, CSE and other groups' analysis of how large sections of transport budget have been dedicated to the minority car-users in the city, can contribute a good deal to these efforts by making a case that if we don't mind spending Rs.1000 cr to help car users get to work 20 mins faster, then we should honestly have no issues whatsoever with spending Rs.50 crore on 1 lakh good quality bicycles. Take a look at the budget book : you'll find Rs.50 crore spent on seriously useless things. Can simply redirect. And remember : scams and pilfering can only happen in centralized, high-value high-margin expenditures like cement roads and flyovers and computers. With bicycles, it's physically impossible for govt babus / netas to do any sizeable scam. Aur reselling agar hoti bhi hai, at least someone will use the cycles and not emit pollutants in the process! Objective achieved.

3. Innovative ways of curtailing car use. In Paris, for example, cars with odd or even numbered plates aren't being allowed to use certain areas on certain days of the week. Here in Pune we have P1-P2 system for parking.. imagine extending that to number-plates! Other than that, the ongoing Happy Streets initiative in Pune is a great way to build collective support for car-free zones.

4. Import replacement : If you don't know what this term means, better read up! It's going to be key to transitioning to sustainable urban models, and work on it can start from now itself. I would apply this first and foremost to food.

5. Urban agriculture:
Delhi having an inherently spread-out nature with mostly low-height buildings, there's huge potential for urban agriculture : both on vacant plots as well as rooftops. Food grown closer to the kitchen translates to lower diesel consumption, lower pollutant emissions. Plus, the plants absorb particulate matter. Result : a double improvement in air quality while taking care of part of food needs for many families, hence having a net effect on food prices through dampening of demand. For a place that has a persistent presence of monkeys, any urban agriculture initiative will have to be decentralized and widespread, so that loss to monkeys per plot is reduced. On the lawmaking side, lessons can be learnt from Cuba and Venezuela on how some ingenious legislation can make vacant plots of land available for farming by local residents even if they are owned by someone else, as long as citizens can prove that the plot isn't being used by the owner. The only crunch for Delhi is water supply (not for Pune, note!).. rainwater harvesting, man-made ponds/lakes and low-water-consumption edible plants will be the way to go.

6. Man-made lakes / ponds:
The most no-brainer thing that the people of the lake cities of Rajashthan know from centuries ago : Bad ecology? Too hot in summer and roads flooding in monsoons? Then dig a big hole in the ground! Analyse your city's topography, figure out the lowest lying areas. Dig them even further. Create man-made lakes, ponds, with boundaries made of the natural mud that you excavated, not of cement, mind, so that nature can get to work at the edges. Note: There has to be dignified, just relocation of the occupants of the low-lying areas (typically these are slum settlements as they're flood-prone areas) Do a Venice if nothing else possible. There is a reason why you feel the air is so nice whenever you go to a lake or river (that isn't cement-lined, mind!)

7. Absolute ban on burning of dry leaves or any trash
Stop burning eco-gold! Just dig a hole, dump them in and cover them with a plank yaar. Or any other ways to return leaves to the soil. #CommonSense

The good part about holistic solutions is that when you go to solve one problem, you end up solving 10 other problems too. Contrast that with the typical fragmented, industrial-mindset problem-solving that creates 10 other problems when solving one.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The guy who wrote AAP's Manifesto (and did a bunch of other stuff)

Shared by Roshan on FB:

He's a great writer.. You can read his blog on:
..and connect with him on:

Pasting his FB post here:
The events of the past week have been overwhelming. Pardon me for I
have just been able to compose myself to get my metaphorical pen on

If I thought my job was done with the manifesto and white papers for
the Aam Aadmi Party, I was mistaken. I had the tiresome pleasure of
managing the emergency helpline for 60 hours non-stop till 6 pm on 7th
February 2015 where we fire fought across the city in an attempt to
stop the distribution of alcohol and money; promotion of violence and
illicit means to swing votes away from us from Badarpur to Badli, from
Babarpur to Bawana. We sat in anticipation for the verdict that the
citizens of Delhi would deliver to us, which could sound the war conch
for positive politics or the death knell to the first true political

And then, the magic happened. The political party that won a clear
majority at the Center under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit
Shah had been rejected and held back by a diminutive ragtag force of
volunteers from every class, caste, religion, gender and region of the
world. And how! 67 seats in the legislative assembly out of 70! It was
an unprecedented victory, broke the record books of Indian electoral
politics and left me stunned. Even the most conservative Fermi
guesstimate would have pegged the number of hugs and screams I let out
on 10th February 2015 at a few thousand.

I had returned to New Delhi after a few years of graduate school at
Stanford to work for a political party that was at its nadir and a
leader whose life, work, integrity and strategy at being the first
true viable alternative in Indian politics was being questioned and
ridiculed. June 2014, the month that I joined AAP, was not the best
time to openly declare yourself as an Arvind Kejriwal fanboy or fight
for the Aam Aadmi Party or as it was known in AAP-bashing circles:
"The Socialist Naxalite Communist Marxist Leninist Sexist Racist Aam
Aadmi Party." And yet every bone, muscle and tendon in my body wanted
to do it. And I did.

While some courteous and kind friends and relatives applauded my
decision as fearless and respectable, I knew that a majority thought
me to fit to be checked into a mental hospital, assumed I had received
poor grades and/or had a criminal history that I wanted to hide from
the United States. I chuckled and moved on. I was ready to slum it out
for the ideals of the man I respected and fight for the moral ethos
and genuine alternative that the Aam Aadmi Party espoused even if it
meant fighting with just a few MLAs that the Modi Wave would have left
us in Delhi. I had returned to work with a handful of MLAs and now we
have a government and 67! I was simply astonished. Hyperboles also
known as Ravi Shastri similes, for the first time, weren't enough.

My personal journey within the party has made me meet some of the best
humans and selfless individuals I've met till date on whom books
should and will be written and grown my skills in media
management/briefing, policy research, manifesto writing, data
analytics, psephology, and most importantly getting a better
understanding of the problems and solutions of the city I call home.
Somehow through a series of fortunate events that included positive
politics, coherent campaigns, mindful media management and kudrati
karishmas, we ended up winning the first battle of Delhi through the
Aam Aadmi Tsunami.

And yet it hadn't sunk in. The victory was full of joy and laughter
and incredulous looks and screams and more of all of that on loop
every hour everyday. But there was some emotion that was missing.
Something that hadn't been triggered.

And then, 14th February 2015 happened. The Aam Aadmi Party government,
nah, the Aam Aadmi was sworn in to power with Arvind Kejriwal as its
Chief Minister. 100,000 people were in attendance with millions more
in their homes and in front of their TV screens. And then Arvind
Kejriwal came and said:

"Main Arvind Kejriwal Ishwar ki Shapath Leta Hoon"

And the floodgates opened. I wept profusely for the first time in
years in what can only be described as a potpourri of emotions. I was
hugged and consoled and loved by the many selfless souls I mentioned
above with jokes and by revisiting funny moments of the campaign. And
then I slipped away to the side and wept silently for some more. For
all their jokes, even my most cheerful colleagues had a tear on their
eyelids. For months, an Aam Army had fought with a singularity of
purpose and that mission had been fulfilled. Unbelievable. For a love
story that had gone astray on 14th February 2014, Delhi received its
most beautiful reunion as a Valentine's Day gift on 14th February

The impossible had happened. And there is a lot more impossible yet to
do. My childhood dream of bringing Anil Kapoor's Nayak to life from
SET Max has gotten a start. The second half i.e. Office begins
tomorrow. To those of you still reading through this stream of
consciousness, I thank you once again for entrusting the reins of
governance in Delhi to us at the Aam Aadmi Party. We are incredibly
humbled and almost scared by the immense responsibility that you have
placed on our shoulders. However, you are also our source of strength
and we are confident that, along with your continued support and
blessings, we will make Delhi the corruption-free world class city
that you will be proud of.

Godspeed You! Aam Aadmi :)

Photo: No weeping pictures here. I share a picture from a happier
moment on 10th February 2015. That moment when even CNN-IBN, Zee News,
India TV had called my boss, Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of
Delhi. He hugged me and said "Ab yeh jo Manifesto mein tumney likha
hai, usey karna bhi padega"!

Why I refuse to bully MSG #MavericksRock
About the maker of the movie "MSG : The Messenger"

[note: you have to read the article linked if you want to read the
post below. Go.]

My opinion : Mavericks are any day welcome over bores. Especially when
all their maverick actions are only aimed at increasing the sum total
of goodness on this planet, and if they are doing things by example
instead of by coercion. This guy seems to be a product of radical
unschooling (and duh no, there's no standardization in radical
unschooling so check the assumption that all radically unschooled
people must be the same, yo). I'd choose him over the likes of [insert
names of several veteran Indian political leaders here] any day.

So I'll take a look at the movie some time. Anyways it cannot possibly
be worse than several bollywood/hollywood movies I've had to endure
lately. Something not made by the same profiteering production studios
might just be a little different. And no, I'm not going to joint the
army of self-appointed liberals/intellectuals/atheists that are
bullying it as if it's an insult to their liberal / intellectual /
atheist religion. Why? Because I'm not religious/dogmatic about being
a liberal / intellectual / atheist, lol!

I *love* the costumes I've seen being lampooned so far ~!~ And, I'm
somewhat the opposite of a Fashion Nazi.. people's clothes have never
really offended me. You should try that way of looking at the world
sometime.. might be a huge load off your shoulders.

In criticizing, we get into very dangerous territory when the people
who take a dismissive stand do not even see it fit to investigate what
they are dismissing, to do any verification at all like actually
talking with the people living around the issue in question. Very
often I see otherwise educated folks dismiss something absolutely
instead of being intelligent and selective in what aspects of a person
to disagree with and what to agree with. I call it "wholesale
criticism" and see that the practice goes very easily into dogma.

To certify these guys (yo it's always a team.. let's grow up and stop
fixating only on singular persons eh?) as completely worthless, would
require that you do the effort to prove that each and every assertion
that has been made is an absolute lie. And mind, exaggerations are not
lies; they are exaggerations. So if a group has done benefit for
10,000 people and then claiming it has benefited 1 lakh, then that
does not make the group a non-benefiter (they would have to benefit 0
people for that). If that is not the case, then you cannot be allowed
to do the complete-dismissal routine. You have no choice but to switch
into acknowledging-what-is-true mode and spreading whatever is good
and beneficial to everyone.

It goes into how were are violent or non-violent in our criticisms. Be
non-violent in your criticism. Be relativistic instead of absolutist.
Be aware of the bigger fish you're giving a free pass to while
grilling the little guy. Be appreciative of efforts made in a
direction, knowing how much more important they are in a world where
many social ills exist merely as result of not enough people making an
effort to solve them. Do not be judgemental about sincere efforts that
don't make it big. Please remember to not allow your criticism to
destroy the cause.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dear Punekar, Please stop asking for more garbage bins in your locality

One fact we stumbled upon during a participatory process in the 6 administrative zones of Pimpri Chinchwad : Vast majority of people-who-own-laptops (sorry but using this demarcating factor as it is convenient) have absolutely no clue about the massive change in sanitation policies, and the shift to a more sustainable one, that is being undertaken by most countries in the world in the domain of waste management.

One is that any sustainable model of handling waste must include the segregation of dry and wet waste at source. The wet being all bio-degradable waste.. all food waste. Even burnt toasts. The dry being all paper, plastic, metal, etc. Even if the paper or plastic is soggy, it is to be counted under dry waste. Advisable to first rinse and dry the plastic bag before throwing.
Any policy on waste management has to make this as the starting point. Only if the waste in an area is segregated with dry and wet collected separately, is there any hope at all of processing it sustainably. Otherwise, all mixed waste goes into somebody's back yard, into somebody's lungs or intestines or uterus.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fwd: Please Help crowdfund the National Organic Farming Convention, Chandigarh, March 2015


I've chipped in Rs.500 for this event. I'm not attending this time but many of my friends are. I know the organizers and can personally vouch that they'll use the contribution sincerely. Requesting you to contribute a little too.

Personal note: In a country where lakhs of farmers have committed suicide, no organic farmer has committed suicide. I personally know organic farms that are making much better money than equal-area chemical farms, that too in zero-debt models where they don't have to fork over a major portion of their earnings as interest. Against all big corporate/government propaganda and big institutional bullying, these people are working hard to bring forth the success models, spread know-how and bring safe, nutritious and cost-effective food to every Indian family's kitchen along with restoring dignity and profitability to agricultural sector. Please do your bit to help them in this journey. Please forward this to your friends too.. anyone you know who would prefer to eat organic food over pesticide-laden food. (and yes, organic can actually be cheaper than chemical food! Please help the sector grow and consolidate so it happens!)

Read Claude Alvares's more detailed note in the below.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

A Personal Appeal from Claude Alvares
The Organic Farming Association of India (India's only organisation of organic farmers)
Dear friends and supporters of organic farming,

For the last five decades, the use of chemicals in agriculture has led to increasing quantities of chemicals in your food, air and water, leading to a general state of ill-health. Which human body can tolerate indiscriminate and almost routine consumption of deadly poisons?

For thousands of years, people across the world grew huge quantities of nourishing food without choking their soils with artificial fertilisers made out of petrochemicals. How did they do that? Can't we do that all over again, and perhaps better?

Would you like to support this major endeavour? Read further.

From 28 February to 2 March 2015, a sizeable segment of India's amazing organic farming community will assemble in Chandigarh – the heart of the green revolution States of Punjab and Haryana – for a national convention. They want to change forever the way we grow our food: without chemicals, without pesticides, without genetically modified seeds, without destroying all the life in the soil. 

It's how you are going to contribute to this event that will indicate how really serious and committed you are to the idea of producing (and consuming) food grown without poisons. And supporting those who do.

The truth is that yields from organic farming – which avoids the use of synthetic chemicals altogether – are usually as good as those from chemical-based agriculture – and sustainable as well. The current model of chemical agriculture is ecologically and economically unsustainable and also a major contributor to global warming. Soil fertility and water tables have declined everywhere and farmers' production costs have simply spiralled. So now lakhs of debt-ridden farmers have been driven to despair and suicide.

No organic farmer has committed suicide. 

It is simply a grand myth that organic farming yields are lower and cannot be adopted on a large scale. The real fact is, where knowledge is effectively available to farmers – and Government policies are supportive – organic farming is known to yield better and healthier produce. 

A great example of this? Starting with just 12 villages in 2004, an innovative no-pesticide system of agriculture has today reached one million farmers managing over 3.5 million acres of land in Andhra Pradesh. As a result, a single village is now saving Rs 60 lakh every year, since its farmers no longer need to purchase expensive pesticides. Consumers are benefitted, because they can confidently access food not laced anymore with poisons. Farmers in these villages are coming out of debt, the happiness quotient has risen. Not only is the food safe, pollution of waterways is reduced and the public exchequer needs to spend less on doctors and hospitals and on fertilizer subsidies.

The Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI) is organising the Chandigarh convention as a part of civil society's movement to expand the scope and reach of such wonderful farming innovations. 

The 2015 Convention of OFAI and its partner organizations (NITTTR, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture and Kheti Virasat Mission) is being designed to bring about huge and large-scale sharing of practical experience, techniques and ideas among about 2000 people – organic farmers, agricultural scientists, policy makers, consumer groups and others. Chandigarh, Punjab, is the venue. Once considered a model of agrarian prosperity, it is now reeling under the highest indebtedness per capita, depleted soils and ground water, and increasing incidence of cancer and illness caused by pesticides.

The Convention will be held from February 28 to March 2, 2015. This could be the largest convention of organic farmers ever held in India and will directly and indirectly benefit lakhs of farmers and consumers, held re-orient agricultural policies and also impact positively on international trade.

The expected fund requirement for this mega-convention is estimated to be in the region of Rs 70 lakhs. We are depending on government and humanitarian agencies and are hopeful that about 50% of this will come through these channels. Since the convention days may face unexpected rainy days, we have had to spend extra on rainproof pavilions for the main events. We also need money to enable needy farmers to travel.

Already over 1,600 organic farmers have registered for the event and eventual number will cross 2,000. A major parallel conference is being held alongside, with farmers and scientists on the science of organic farming. There is also an organic food festival, for Chandigarh citizens; a huge seed festival with over 250 seed savers from across the country including Assam. 

All participating farmers are paying their own way and their own registration (approximately 100 get travel subsidies because of people sending money to the crowdfunding site). We are charging a mere Rs.350 for women farmers for food and accommodation all 3 days. A mere 700 for organic farmers for the same. We are not organising this event to earn money, but please help us not to lose too much!

It is not fair to burden the farmers attending the convention with the additional costs of putting up open air platforms, toilets and other facilities relating to the convention. 
As it is, they do more than enough: producing safe food while keeping the soil intact and healthy. We are therefore approaching people who stand to benefit from access to safe food to dip into their pockets and ensure that no organic farmer who wishes to attend this convention will be deprived of the opportunity.
So please help. Go to the crowdfund site below. It's easy. Put in your contribution: 1,000 or 2,000 or 5,000 or 10,000 or more. When you get up tomorrow morning you will find yourself feeling good and you won't notice really that anything went out of your account. If you don't give, your bank will loan your money to some corporate to create more nuisance. Better it go to assist those trying gallantly to provide you safe food.

Crowdfunding for the Organic Farmers Convention can be accessed at:



Math formulae using geometry

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

Creative power unleashed through AAP's election campaign

Keeping aside the other arguments (yes, so my lovely nit pickers, kindly keep your restrainers on), I'm totally loving the unleashing of creativity I'm seeing, in art, technology, processes, crowdsourcing, etc. I foresee these going a long way and having positive impacts long after this election season ends, irrespective of electoral result.

24/7 Web Radio channel:
Getting to hear so much details that are being censored by mainstream media, mixed in with good music, citizen's testimonies, etc. Did you know that lakhs of voters entered in Delhi voters lists have been found to be repeating in neighboring Haryana and UP voters lists? Or that by stopping all VAT raids and inspections during the 49-day govt, traders in Delhi voluntarily contributed Rs.1000 crore more tax than before or after that period? Or that this excess collection easily funded the ~Rs.300 crore total subsidy cost of water-lifeline and 50% electricity bill reduction doled out that was being roundly criticized as "waste" of taxpayer money? We must seriously ask ourselves why even these small 5-min clips that are freely available on youtube also, are being not covered at all by Indian TV news channels. Why are they so afraid of running the actual sentences spoken by the people they're reporting about? Anyways, glad to see the first such thing starting up in India; hoping it stays on and continues with live phone-in programs after this election.

5 Saal Kejriwal by Vishal Dadlani
Aam Aadmi Aaye Hai by Deepak Rathore, Swastik Band

..there's many more, but these two I've found the most catchy and uplifting. Aam aadmi ka aam aadmi saharaa..

So many new ways of communicating large amounts of data effectively are being explored. 

Data visualization:
Superb work by a few coding gurus, particularly a terrific team comprising a 44 yr old and a 22 yr old. This has set a global benchmark on the levels of transparency in funding and up-to-date accountability (15 mins versus several years!) a political party can achieve. If you want to show any youngster what kind of national-level impact just one 22-yr old can contribute to, please show them this website.

Dynamic timelines:
This puts various events, articles, videos in a cohesive chronological order, letting us connect the dots and see things in a long-term perspective. Awesome resource to share to bring someone who hasn't been tracking this, up to speed.

Innovating fundraising: : put your pic on a large mosaic of contributors.

Flash mobs:
Dance for Democracy AAP flash mob on '5 saal Kejriwal'

Delhi Dialogue : a first-in-India process of crowdsourced Manifesto creation and vision-setting for 2020, with 12 focus areas and several domain experts, researchers, scientists, civil society members invited. The website continues to have an open form at the bottom of each sector where anyone can chip in with their opinion or information on that sector.
The output is some of the most far-reaching citizen-centric action points prepared that can serve as a valuable list of demands for citizens groups across the country. Its value goes beyond the party manifesto part. And for those still stuck in the populism-causes-deficit worldview, I'd like to remind you that this "populist" party collected Rs.1000 crore MORE revenues in its last stint.
See the resulting 70-point action plan, copy-pasted for easy viewing, here:
Full manifesto :

An animation explaining Delhi Dialogue:

>> All of these still being done by unpaid volunteers btw!

Hijacking of phrases:
"Mufflerman Returns", "AK-49", "AAPtard", "team without a captain".. all these phrases that had previously been liability and taunts, are now being reused to turn the tables around. With AAP volunteers embracing them and joking about these themselves, their previous negative impact is evaporating into thin air. The volunteers this time are really proving the age-old wisdom that people who can take a joke are way more resilient than people who can easily get offended. (Readers kindly take the hint!)

PS: I know how to create those timelines! It's deceptively simple.. all you need is an excel sheet listing the events, with links to the article or youtube video or so. Check out

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Open challenge to political parties to meet AAP's level of transparency and proactive disclosure in funding

Open challenge to BJP / Congress / Shiv Sena / Maharashtra Navnirman
Sena / Samajwadi Party / Trinamool Congress / Socialist Party... ANY
other political party that plans to contest ANY elections in all of
India, to replicate this level of transparency and citizen-friendly
proactive disclosure in funding.

#IFundHonestParty #IFundHonestPolitics

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What happens when the criminals are in charge of the proceedings

llustrative of what happens when the criminals are in charge of the proceedings. Excerpt:

"The UN has pulled endless stunts on Syria's Ambassador, with the obvious intent of distorting reality and prolonging the proxy war on Syria.

Ambassador al-Ja'afari maintains that he is routinely assigned the worst translators, to convolute his message. "Every time I speak at the Security Council (SC), they choose a bad interpreter who is not able to fully interpret what I am saying," he said. On one occasion at the SC, the Syrian Ambassador said he saw a staff member signal to the interpreters to switch the adept interpreter for the inept. "I saw it with my own eyes. They changed the interpreter to a poor one."

Ambassador al-Ja'afari is one of the only—if not the only—ambassadors to the UN to repeatedly over the years have his microphone and/or video feed cut when he speaks.

Correspondent Nizar Abboud has been an invaluable source of footage of the Syrian Ambassador's speeches otherwise unavailable thanks to cut UN feeds. Abboud says the cuts are not due to "technical problems," but instead often done "by senior officials at the United Nations." Of one such incident, Abboud said: "The journalists were furious about it, they wanted to hear what the Ambassador was saying and suddenly he went off air."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Interesting links for January 2015

Revisiting the legend of Niyamgiri - ASHISH KOTHARI
"The rules laid down by Niyam Raja, the spiritual source of the territory, included the protection of forests and rivers, common custodianship of resources rather than individual property, and sharing of labour and its fruits. In such a situation, major incursions like mining and big roads and factories were simply taboo. Leaders like Laddo Sikaka and Dadhi Pusika were also clear that they did not want Niyamgiri to go the way towns like Muniguda and Bhubaneshwar did, where the water cannot be drunk and the air cannot be breathed without falling sick, where houses have to be locked when people go out, and where women face harassment on a daily basis. Building roads through the territory, they knew, would only bring exploitative forces in. And having realised that getting individual plots under the Forest Rights Act could encourage individualisation and more deforestation, the community has demanded that the entire territory be recognised as a habitat right under the Act, with a single title in the name of Niyam Raja."

Cows, hens, frogs, ducks and earthworms-these are only some of the 'workers' helping C. Srinivasan to convert garbage into gold. Srinivasan, who appeared on the Don't Waste Your Garbage episode, spoke about the 'Vellore model' of solid waste management which involves both animals and human beings in reusing and recycling waste. After the show, people from all walks of life approached him to learn more about handling waste responsibly. He us tells us more here.

Preamble Flash mob on 26th Jan 2015

From: Aamaadmiparty Pune 

On Republic day, to create awareness about Indian constitution and it's values, AAP volunteers performed 'flash mob dance ' at various places in city including FC road, Pantloon, Chaturshrungi, railway station, shaniwar wada, SGS mall. The Preamble of constitution was read after the flash dance performance to spread awareness about constitutional fundamentals like Justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. (photos attached) 
This was performed at 10 places and around 3000 handbills with Preamble were distributed! 
'प्रजासत्ताक दिन' निमित्त भारतीय संविधानाविषयी जाणीव जागृतीच्या उद्देशाने आम आदमी पार्टी च्या  युवक कार्यकर्त्यांनी शहरात फर्गुसन रोड , मेरिअत,चतुर्श्रुंगी , शनिवार वाद , रेल्वे स्टेशन , SGS माल आदी ठिकाणी  'मॉब फ्लैश डान्स केला . त्यांनतर भारतीय संविधान उद्देशिकेचे वाचन केले गेले.भारतीय लोकशाहीची न्याय, स्वातंत्र्य आणि समता- बंधुता या मूल्यांची जन-मानसातील जाण वाढवण्या साठी केलेल्या मॉब फ्लैश ला तरुणांकडून चांगला प्रतिसाद मिळाला. 

AAP Pune Desk
Facebook -

So you're saying you're against free markets?

"So you're saying you're against free markets? So you're against freedom and democracy? So you're for dictatorship? " 
>> I am actually disputing the assumption that the present economic system is a "free market" one. 

I believe that what we presently have is not a free market system at all. It is actually:

- a state-subsidized (free or near-free land post forceful acquisition, free freshwater in unlimited quantities with no obligations to replenishment, low-interest loans and govt-backed insurance through taxpayer bailout, indefinitely extended tax holidays, reduced or non-enforced obligations of adhering to labour rights and environmental standards) ,

- and state-protected (through police force cracking down on protests on behalf of the company, or stopping factory/land takeover by the local citizens, hence dropping the neutrality of the state in favour of the company) ,

- corporate monopoly (spurred through legalizing hostile takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, zero-cap ownership concentration) 

- coupled with strangulating and obstructive regulation and artificially higher costing (through higher interest rates, full costs for land and resources, etc) for any potential competitor to the reigning oligarch. 

I'm against corporatocracy, but you might end up believing that I'm against the free market system and democracy which you may erroneously assume is in operation.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

AAP's 70-point action plan for Delhi

1.  Delhi Janlokpal Bill: Aam Aadmi Party resolves to legislate the Delhi Jan Lokpal 
Bill after coming to power. This will ensure a time-bound investigation in matters of 
corruption. The Delhi Lokpal will have the power to initiate investigations and 
prosecution against those charged with corruption. A Citizens' Charter shall be 
introduced in all government offices in Delhi. Whistleblowers will be provided 
protection and awarded for their contribution toward creating a just system.

2.  Swaraj Bill: Aam Aadmi Party will legislate the Swaraj Act to devolve power directly 
to the people. Decisions affecting the local community will be taken by citizens and 
implemented by their Secretariat. A Citizen Local Area Development (C-LAD) Fund 
will be given to every Mohalla Sabha and Resident Welfare Association, ensuring 
funds and functions in the hands of the community. 

Contrast between Terrorism+Security and Satyagraha

Contrast between Terrorism+Security and Satyagraha, coming as a refreshing rejoinder after I saw the movie "Gandhi" one more time recently.


...But there was a second piece of drama which was relevant to the themes of the visit. Mr. Obama was searching for a new compact to fight terror. The second event challenged the security discourse he was urging by talking of peace in a different language. This was Irom Sharmila's decision to continue her fast after the High Court had cleared her of charges of suicide.

Sharmila's fast, one of the classic acts of satyagraha in history, has often been read as a local event. For all its drama, it is seen as a footnote to the problems of the so-called North East, a local struggle in Manipur. Yet, politics has a way of transforming itself from a local anecdote to a national symbol. Sharmila's years of fasting, protesting against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is relevant for a world which is combating terror. Terror today is not an act confined to rebels and insurgents. Terror is also a part of the policy of the state. AFSPA, formalised by Parliament in 1958, has destroyed the normalcy of Manipur. Sharmila's fast began as a simple, naive act of protest by a young girl who decides to refuse food till AFSPA is repealed. She was protesting against the rape and murder of Manipuri women by an Army which used the law to commit atrocities with impunity. Over the years, the simple message of courage has made Sharmila's act, a major message of non-violence today.

Aam Aadmi Aaye Hai

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