Another Disaster in India. Question Why?

Majherhat bridge collapse KolkatatodayAnother India disaster today, but nobody answers the real question: WHY?

A busy flyover collapsed in Kolkata (Calcutta) today: second such disaster in a few years. In our worst nightmares, we have never seen anything like it.

A terribly corrupt, reckless and inefficient government, unthinkable population explosion, total disregard for safety, extreme privatization, and stealing of government maintenance money — all contributed to it.

Reminds me of the overhead bridge collapse in Florida a couple of years ago, which people already forgot. Nobody talked about extreme privatization in that case, either.

In case of Kolkata and West Bengal, God forbid, more tagedies will happen in future, with such callousness. Makes it easier for Trump-supporting BJP to come to power. Their own massive corruption will be forgotten, and swept under the rug by their propaganda machine.

Another sad day. I pray to God to save the hapless. Because the people in power won’t.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo Courtesy: For non-profit, education only use: Kolkatatoday.com.

Our Children Will Live on Boats

Kerala flood 2018 Financial Express
People will live on boats. Very soon. And no such rescue would be necessary.

The only tropical rain forests and pristine nature in the Indian subcontinent are under an unprecedented, catastrophic flood. Most people still do not understand the gravity of the situation: massive man-made climate change, combined with out of control capitalism.

As I said many times, it’s profit before people. This American model that India adopted is great evil: it’s destroying America, and it’s destroying India.

Indian rulers are greedy, corrupt, fanatic, bigots, and have no regard for science. Just the same way Christian fanatics called the Connecticut and Florida school children killed by gun violence sinners, Hindu fanatics in India are calling the Kerala flood victims sinners and beef eaters. It’s not only ridiculous. It’s also cruel.

India’s BJP government also refused to receive foreign aids, adding more suffering to the marooned and hapless people. Their supporters are busy on social media, ridiculing the “Muslims, Christians, and communists of Kerala.”

Weather: Monsoon rain causes flood in Kerala
Of course, thanks to big media and corporate politicians, even today, cricket and Bollywood and such money-driven games are top news. One billion helpless people’s lives are at the brink of extinction. Those who are exposing the truth, and criticizing the greed and profit-only system — the people in power are trashing them.

Prediction is, in one generation, climate catastrophe will practically submerge Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bombay, Goa, Andhra, Orissa, West Bengal, and Bangladesh.

Read this World Economic Forum article: Why India is Most at Risk from Climate Change.

Our children will live on boats, fighting for food and water.

Kerala flood 2018 India Today

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy (only for non-profit, academic use)

  1. Boat rescue — The Financial Express
  2. Rope rescue — First Post
  3. Boat and bananas — India Today

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1924-2018)

 

 

A Brilliant Leader Who Understood Moderation

My Personal Tribute
__________________________

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born in 1924. So was my father Jitendranath. They were both lifelong RSS and BJP’s political preachers — Vajpayee as a top leader, and my father as a totally un-ambitious foot soldier. They knew each other closely for many years. My father, until his death last year, always spoke affectionately about their years together.

He fondly told his life’s story. “We were walking together, and I said to the other swayamsevaks (volunteers) with us: ‘Look, we’re now walking with the future prime minister of India.’ And the humble man would retort, ‘Come on, Jitendra-ji, what are you talking about?’ In Hindi, आरे भाई जीतेन्द्रजी, यह आप क्या बात कर रहें हैं? And we would laugh together.”

That was a day when it was unthinkable that far right RSS, its first political offshoot Jan Sangh (later renamed as BJP), and their men would ever become the thumping-majority ruling party in India. That the mighty Gandhi-Nehru Dynasty would nearly disappear. But Nostradamus (or Varāhamihira) he was not, my father’s prediction came true. In late 90’s, Vajpayee became India’s prime minister. And far right RSS and BJP were accepted as a normalized voice. People forgot about their dark, dangerous, KKK-like past. And it had a lot to do with Vajpayee, and his reasoned voice of moderation.

Leaders like Vajpayee knew that in India, you can’t run the country, and hold it together, unless you are inclusive and respectful to all religions, castes, and genders. Truly, like my father I’ve seen evolving into a mellowed, moderated voice, Atal Bihari Vajpayee became a sane, kind face — whom the Indian people, regardless of their politics, loved.

The present-day RSS, BJP, and their many powerful, well-funded organizations around India and overseas would not learn from Vajpayee’s moderation, or his personal integrity and sacrifice. Today’s right wing in India is rather strikingly similar to Trump’s right wing here in America. They thrive on violence, bigotry, fear-mongering, and hate. This BJP and its leaders cannot imagine, and would not imagine, how men like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jitendranath Banerjee lived their lives — totally free of greed, lies, and corruption.

Yes, they were both lifelong believers of Hindu fundamentalism, if not in Hindu supremacy. They were strong, ardent followers of RSS ideologue Guru Golwalkar, who once championed Hitler. Over my 15+ intimate years with RSS, I have seen them very closely: they were fiercely anti-Islam, anti-Christianity, and anti-socialism. In my book “In the Belly of the Beast: Hindu Supremacist RSS and BJP of India — An Insider’s Story” (1998), I have detailed and analyzed their social, political, and economic theories.

Islam, Christianity, and socialism — these have always been the Sangh Family’s (RSS’) three worst evils.

Vajpayee and Jitendranath were both militants in their early years: Vajpayee’s speeches were fiery, extremely eloquent, and often incendiary. He allegedly incited communal riots — in Assam and other places.

My father in his early years was also a top-notch speaker, a grassroots organizer who left his brilliant student career, and left home to preach his socio-political doctrine. He suffered greatly because of his non-completion of education, coupled with wrath he earned from the Gandhi Dynasty and their Congress government. My father was a diehard Hindu KKK, before he came to Bengal, knew my mother, and married into a family that was a symbol of love, kindness, inclusion, and secularism. He slowly but surely, steadily changed.

His early years, in his own words, were full of animosity against personalities like Gandhi and Tagore. His later years were love and respect for the great poet. Bengal’s soil, rain, and love converted him into a moderate man…well, sort of.

And I am being totally open and honest here. This has a lot to do with my tribute for Vajpayee today.

My mother, I, and our family never knew what economic stability was. But, as with most of the former RSS activists who lived for their patriotism, my father never complained about his hardship. Money was never a reason for him to live.

Both spent a few years in jail and exile, after RSS volunteer Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi, and the organization was banned. Both lived up to their deep faith and ideology, built around their personal integrity, sacrifice, and honesty.

I have forever quit RSS and their extremist, supremacist, bigoted doctrine (my old friends admonish me that I am the worst-possible fool: had I not quit, I would now have become an elected parliament member in India).

My tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee today is about the man, his mission, and his unflinching faith for what he had believed in. In a way, it’s also a personal tribute to my father. Unlike the hard left and elite center, who would automatically reject the conservatives, I have a lot of respect and acceptance for them.

But my acceptance is only for the moderates like Vajpayee and his school. I would never have anything positive about today’s extremely hateful and violent RSS and BJP leaders and followers who are destroying the social fabric of India.

I truly wish there were more conservative leaders like Vajpayee. Today’s India cries out for them.

I deeply mourn the loss of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

___________________

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

My Wife Said, “Let’s Have Some Indian Music.”

Ravi ShankarIs that a good title for today’s blog? Well, I believe it is. I’ll tell you why.

So, yesterday, Park Slope Food Coop — a member-run not-for-profit specializing on healthy foods — put her in charge of preparing meals for some of the longtime staff at the coop. Obviously, because of her new reputation with Mukti’s Kitchen, they asked her to cook Indian dishes.

She found a number of volunteers to sous-chef, and I volunteered as one too (!).

It’s a two-day process. The first day, yesterday, five or six coop members helped her to cut vegetables, boil and peel eggs, grind spices, and then cook some of the dishes. The second day, today, they are going to finish it all — to cap with a sumptuous lunch. They’re all looking forward to it.

So, a half hour into the preparation early in the morning, Mukti said, “Why don’t we play some Indian music?” I said to myself, “Why couldn’t I think of it first? It’s natural today.”

On my iPhone, I began playing a Ravi Shankar sitar. He is a legend I spoke and wrote about many times. Here’s a CNN story after his passing. Moni Basu quoted me in it.

Ravi Shankar’s sitar was the first thing that came to my mind. Salute to the great maestro, who along with Ali Akbar Khan had thought about bringing Indian music to America long time ago, back in the sixties, when the Beatles became his fans, and George Harrison took sitar lessons after the phenomenal concert in California.

Then, Nicholas took over. He was one of the sous-chefs.

Nicholas turned on the coop kitchen computer, and put on an incredible sitar off YouTube. I don’t know who the artist was: could be Ravi Shankar, Vilayet Khan, or Budhaditya Mukherjee — one of the new maestros. I am not exactly sure.

But it was absolutely beautiful. I could use other terms to describe it: magical, spiritual, divine. But I would leave it up to you to decide. Meditative and relaxing, for sure. The entire environment in the kitchen lit up. He left the music on for the entire day — it played from 8 A.M. to 1.30 P.M., when we adjourned.

Today, August 14, is the day when I left my beloved India, Bengal and Calcutta — out of emotional and political desperation — to come to USA. It was extremely difficult.

Looking back, I am deeply sad that I could not stay back in a place that I care for so much. Its people, its love, its poetry. Looking back, I am extremely happy that along with my wife, I built a life from zero in an alien land, and gained knowledge, critical thinking, and reputation. (Oh yes, I couldn’t speak a full sentence in English before; now I can — a little bit.)

Both countries have given me so much. I owe so much to both places. In our small ways, we are giving back to both of them.

My wife is giving back through teaching Indian cooking secrets to her American students — literally hundreds of them. I am giving back through teaching my labor union worker students — literally thousands of them. Writing and translating 24/7 about our culture.

Ravi Shankar did it in his magnanimous way. He brought the treasures of the Indian civilization to America. And Americans — like Nicholas — are still in love with it.

We are doing it in our little ways.

I’m glad she was the one who thought of playing Indian music in the kitchen, and we all loved to help her cook Indian food, for the enlightened and embracing American friends.

Today, August 14, is a good day for us — to celebrate.

Sincerely, in love and gratitude,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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MK foods
Courtesy: Mukti’s Kitchen, Brooklyn, New York.

A Clarion Call to Brothers and Sisters

“If My Thought Dreams Could be Seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine” — Bob Dylan, “It’s All Right Ma”, 1965.

Bernie Ocasio Fox
Look at the picture here. This is Fox news. What does it say, and how does it say it?

The way fascist Republicans and Clinton-Lieberman-DNC Democrats have targeted new, young, elected leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is unbelievable! And even though CNN aired the interview with her (click on the link above), in general, corporate media is blasting the Bernie Sanders line of humanism, and without any objective analysis, making Democratic Socialism synonymous with communism.

And U.S. people are falling for that, because to them, anything remotely connected to socialism is “Godless communism.” For decades, since the Era of McCarthyism, American powers and media have successfully made the concept of equality, peace and justice an evil. They have cut off the global knowledge base, and made Americans blind and deaf about what’s going on across the civilized world.

So, what are leaders like Sanders and Alexandria talking about that’s so loathsome and repulsive to some working-class Americans?

(1) That unlike the rest of the developed, capitalist world, USA has an out-of-control wealth and income disparity, and we need to narrow the gap, to make the middle class stronger.

(2) Unlike the rest of the developed, capitalist world, American people pay an obnoxious, outrageous amount of money for health care and education, and we must make them affordable, because health care and education are rights and not privileges.

(3) Unlike the rest of the developed, capitalist world, American corporations have caused havoc to the environment, and we must clamp down on them — fossil fuel corporations in particular — to save the earth from destruction.

(4) Unlike the rest of the developed, capitalist world, USA’s three topmost industries are arms (and gun) industry, drug industry, and sex industry, along with the prison industry, and we must move away from these industries, to bring peace and sanity to ourselves and our children.

Democratic Socialism is not communism. And Fox and other such media are purposefully scaring the American people. Reject their fear mongering and lies.

I have worked for many years, intensely, first with the right wing and then with the left wing. After almost fifty years of activism in the two biggest democratic countries in the world, I am convinced that unless we work together — making a serious effort to bring the 99% together — on a common platform of equality, peace, social justice, environmental justice, and affordable education and health care for all, we can’t save the world from the clutches of neoliberal corporate pushers and Trump-Modi-type fascists.

Americans with intelligence and political acumen must wake up now, and seize the new opportunity, recognizing the groundswell. Stop fascists and neoliberal corporate politicians from destroying this nonviolent revolution that’s sweeping across America.

Intelligent and progressive people in India can follow this new, surging young America, if they want. It’s your call.
_________________

Partha Banerjee
Wikipedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partha_Banerjee
Long Island, New York
August 11, 2018.

Remembering Kolkata…Mid-Monsoon

School end monsoon

Last year on this day, my father passed away. He lived a long, fulfilling life.

We were lucky to have been able to be by his bedside, a few days before his final departure. And, even though it was a very difficult time for me and my family, it was also peaceful for two reasons.

Crow on tree
One, it was mid-monsoon in Bengal. Torrential rain, thunderstorm, and then relentless rain all day…the crows getting drenched perched on that big Ficus tree right in front of our house…the streets are making noise with the pattering of the rain, wheeling of the rubber tires of Calcutta taxis…and the indescribable sound people make with their feet when they walk across rain-soaked alleys…occasionally leaping over the puddles…

Monsoon evening

And then, after a hard burst of rain, the sky gets crystal clear. The trees show their real lush green foliage. Pollution disappears. That’s how it has always been. That’s how it will always be.

Green Kolkata
And the second reason, of course, is that we could make it on time. Being in America, ten thousand miles away from there, we always had anxieties that when the time finally comes for him to go, we wouldn’t be there. This apprehension exacerbated after my wife could not arrive before the death of her parents. The news came too suddenly.

I have written about my father’s death, and I have written about our immigrant life in America — its isolation and melancholy — many times. I am linking up some of the articles I wrote on those subjects. You can click on the links, and read. I don’t wish to test your patience.

Window

Here I’m including a few photos we took on our trip last year. It’s a different type of a story. Or, it could be the same story, told in a different way.

You decide. I am a little out of it today.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Monsoon

Bus stand

 

 

 

 

India’s Criminal Noise Pollution

Noise Pollution in India

Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai, Benaras, Lucknow, Hyderabad…big cities. Asansol, Howrah, Ranchi, Aligarh…midsize towns. Or, no-name places in the middle of nowhere…everywhere you go. Across India. Across the subcontinent. Terrible noise. Filthy noise. Noise that makes you sick to death. Noise that keeps you sleepless at night.

I remember how my grandmother cried in fear on the eve of Diwali. Why? because local machos would explode loud firecrackers right in front of her ground-floor shack. A very religious person, she never enjoyed Diwali that coincided with Bengali Hindus’ annual worship of Goddess Kali. She would cringe. She would faint.

I remember how my father slowly went deaf. Yes, it was because of his old age. Last year, he passed away around this time at the age of 93. But over the years, his hearing sharply went down, also because of the unbelievably loud microphone blasting in his neighborhood. He was confined in his home, and even after shutting all the windows and doors tight, there was no escape for him from the horrendous noise 24/7.

And those are two minor stories, compared to the gravity of the situation. Media never talks about it: they have other pressing stories to report. Like, a film star’s third divorce. Or, a cricket or football player’s million-dollar purse. Or, the chief minister’s new antics. Or, the prime minister’s helicopter tour above the flood-stricken areas. You know, the usual routine.

Nobody is dropping dead in front of you, because of noise pollution, right? Nobody is bleeding to death. Therefore, as one of my Columbia University journalism professors used to say, “If there’s no dead bodies, and if there’s no blood…it’s not even news.”

But people are dying every single day in India — across the country — because of the grotesque violation of human rights. And it’s both Hindus and Muslims and capitalists and communists — who are responsible for this criminal violation.

Microphones blare any day, any time. Anywhere. Randomly. Unexpectedly. You don’t know what the reason is, and when it will start, and when it will stop. It’s pure nightmare.

Noise. Full blast. No questions asked. If you are a club member in the neighborhood, you can decide to turn on the pathetically high-decibel loudspeakers — on any occasion. It could be somebody’s marriage, it could be the local politician’s birthday, it could be a temple or mosque’s three-day festivity, it could be the death anniversary of a poet, or it could be one of the countless holidays. It could even be France’s winning the World Cup.

It doesn’t matter. If I have the microphone and loudspeakers and high-volume stereos, I shall turn them on. Electricity — I can steal from municipality. Any day, any time…and I shall not comply to anybody’s requests to turn it off, or turn it down.

I belong to the ruling political party. I belong to the opposition. Police would not touch me. Media would never bother to report on it. I am the king. I can do anything I want.

And I would not care if there is a sick patient. I would not give a darn if there is a group of young students studying for the final exams next day. I couldn’t care less if small children can’t sleep. Let alone the countless, hapless innocent people who do not want to be subjected to this gross atrocities on their humanity, and their right to live a quiet life at home. A small but powerful, violent and illiterate group of people has taken over.

There are rules of law. And there will be new rules of law. But in India, if you are a political mafia, you rule above all rules. Nobody can touch you.

Criminals run amuck across India. Ordinary people fear them to death.

Extremism has reached a new level — with zero action from the government, police and media. Along with many other grotesque flays of human rights in India — brutality on women and children, barbarism on poor Muslims and “low” castes, rampant destruction of the environment…etc., noise pollution and noise barbarism have become a “normal.”

There is no escape from this brutality.

India is not a civilized country. I know it’s not, however much I love my motherland. I can’t do much about it because I have no power to change things there.

This expression of my anger, frustration and hopelessness is my only power. And I know very few people actually care to read today. Or, do anything about it.

Totally aghast,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy: Hindustan Times (for one-time, educational, non-profit use).

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — Nonviolent Revolution in America

Photo courtesy Cultura Colectiva

A nonviolent, grassroots revolution is happening across America. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old woman from the Bronx, New York City is one of the frontline leaders of this revolution.

Corporate Democrats are fuming in anger.

If you follow media stories, you’ll find out quickly how angry they are. Either they are subtly expressing their disapproval — read today’s New York Times article here. They are busy to prove how “leftist” these leaders are.

Or, the other side — the Trump-variety far right-wing side — is doing their best to help their establishment Democratic buddies to bring this courageous, people’s revolution down. Read today Fox TV story here.

Or, worst, known corporate politicians such as Joe Lieberman, who won his last senate election first by losing against his Democratic opponent in the primaries, and then managing to win as an “independent” going to bed with Republicans (he went to bed with Republicans many times before) — is openly endorsing Joseph Crowley, the ten-time well-known congressman whom Alexandria defeated in the primaries. Joe Lieberman is sabotaging his own party, and Clinton Democrats are not too unhappy about it. Follow the Lieberman sabotage story here. He is endorsing Crowley over Ocasio-Cortez.

And because the above corporate powers I hate are working against Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, I’m going to be throwing my support 100 percent behind her. When I see evil forces trying to bring a young leader down, I know this leader is a people’s leader. I know she represents me, and ordinary, working-class Americans and immigrants like me.

I have never met Alexandria. And honestly, I was not following the Democratic Party’s primary elections, as they are always boring to death. Fact is, incumbents always win in New York. They have millions of dollars to spend, they never keep in touch with their people, and they take both the voters and election system for granted. My long activist experience is that in the primaries, 5 to 10 percent registered voters bother to come out to vote. It’s a disgrace for democracy. And media never talk about such apathy. They are happy with the deeply entrenched status quo, where by default, nothing changes.

And honestly, even though the ten-time incumbent Democratic bigwig Joseph Crowley took the primaries for granted, and lost to this young woman, I have worked with Crowley before. Sure, he belonged to the Clinton-Obama corporate establishment party. Yet, he came out to help us after 9/11 when we were organizing on the ground against anti-immigrant hate crimes. Crowley also was a friend of our vast Bangladeshi immigrant community. He has been a friend of our labor union. I have no personal ax to grind. He is a decent man whom I have never disliked.

But I am very excited that a young immigrant woman, who worked as a bartender and waitress (and whose her mother cleaned houses and drove school buses as they struggled to fight foreclosure of their home after her father died of cancer), caused one of the biggest upsets in recent American politics.

And also the fact that she got the second highest prize in the Intel science competition doing research in microbiology. And the fact that she did a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations.

(Wow, an immigrant activist switching from science to humanities and politics? That’s like me — twenty years later!)

Oh yes, the other reason I’m supporting her is because she is a Democratic Socialist, and on the team of my inspiration Bernie Sanders. 

I do believe taking over the corrupt and degenerate Democratic Party — one seat at a time — by young, energetic, brilliant, honest, people’s leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the ONLY way to eventually take America back from the cruel and inhumane clutches of the richest of the rich. Democracy must be returned to the people.

I do believe this is the ONLY way to save America from Trump’s fascism, and a total destruction of the world peace and environment.

I hope you understand the critical importance of this election victory, and support leaders like Alexandria across the nation.

Together, we can make this revolution happen. Let the lying status-quo cringe.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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(Photo courtesy: Cultura Colectiva. For one-time, educational, non-profit use only.)

[NOTE: I wrote this article on my own — on my personal blog.]

Croatia’s Lady President…and India’s BJP

Final France vs Croatia

I got a Whatsapp message this morning from a longtime acquaintance in Calcutta.

This man — a good man otherwise — is a diehard BJP and RSS member, and runs a party newspaper too. He was passing on a message, praising Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the woman president of Croatia, and her on-field gestures after the World Cup football final in Moscow — gestures that became viral instantly.

[If you didn’t watch it, She and France’s president Macron were standing there on the field, soaked with torrential rain, and she was hugging each of her players with a big smile and admiration.]

Now, this Calcutta newspaper man’s message said, “Did you know that Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic speaks five languages, and spoke with Putin in Russian and Macron in French, during the prize distribution?”

The message continued, “Did you know that the highly educated lady who charmed men all around the world by her beautiful body (verbatim, I’m translating from Bengali) is also a trained commando, and a sharp shooter?”

Etc. The praise went on.

In case you didn’t know, BJP is the Hindu fundamentalist party ruling India now with overwhelming majority in the parliament, and is a strong supporter of Donald Trump. BJP’s mentor is the grassroots social movement organization RSS, of which the ruling BJP is the political front. (Also, RSS’ former member Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi, but that’s another story we’ll talk about later.)

So, BJP is using the now-famous Croatia president’s World Cup gestures big time. What is the substance of the social media propaganda? That a “conservative” leader, she spent her own money to travel to Russia, sat in non-VIP gallery, and her ability to speak five languages, etc. And “her beautiful body to charm men” everywhere. Etc.

Why are they doing it? Because it helps them to blast “communist” Russia [communist Russia — what a joke!] and Putin and “leftist” France and Macron.

I thought I’d let you know where the hypocrisy was in circulating their well-organized message on social media.

First, in stark contrast with what the Croatia president did, BJP’s Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has been traveling all over the world spending billions of rupees of Indian people’s money. (That is, not his own money.)

Second, in stark contrast to Kolinda’s attire, Modi after his inauguration proudly wore a million-rupee suit presented by corporate India, and justified it when media started to criticize.

Third, Modi and BJP leaders don’t want to speak anything but Hindi, and are adamant about imposing Hindi across India to be the official language, replacing and downgrading many rich and historically precious regional languages and dialects.

Four, Modi and most BJP leaders have no idea what football is. As I said before, their mentor is Hindu supremacist RSS, and RSS doesn’t believe in “foreign” games. When I was with them for fifteen-plus years as an active member, our leaders forbade us from playing cricket or football. Foreign games were denigrated.

Five, and this is the most important thing, contrary to what they say now about the Croatian president, RSS and BJP do not want women to be so free, confident, and out on the field by themselves in the first place. And a woman hugging men, in front of the entire world, soaked in torrential rain? Ask BJP leaders, and you will find out.

Hypocrisy, lies and brainwashing all have assumed a new level. Here in the U.S., we have Trump. And back there in India, we have their counterpart.

With a deep sigh,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy: New Strait Times (for non-profit, education use.)

World Cup Football: Final Thoughts

Child labor 1Photo courtesy: for non-profit, educational use — The National.

World Cup: Thoughts on the Finals, and Some Final Thoughts.

Okay, wonderful. International Labor Organization (ILO) says Pakistan eliminated child labor in their football (soccer) manufacturing industry. If you didn’t know, small boys and girls used to make most of the $140 billion products — for very little money. I don’t know how much the adults are making now.

But I read a report in The Guardian that the ban on child labor in Pakistan football-making industry has driven the poor children into worse jobs. But nobody talks about it.

Now, Even if that ILO report is truthful assessment (which I do not believe will eliminate poverty for these families, unless there is supportive economy and government, and there isn’t any), then why can’t they use that model to end child labor in other sports and entertainment areas?

Why are they still allowing Disney to make toys and costumes in other poor countries, and in China, violating human rights? Here is a 2018 report.

Why are they not stopping child slavery in the fishery and seafood industry? Here is a 2018 report.

The chocolate industry in Ivory Coast? Here is a recent study.

Garment industry in Bangladesh? A 2016 report is here.

Firecrackers industry in India? Here’ another 2016 report.

Why is there zero media coverage on the enormous sex trafficking and porn industry? Read this 2016 story by a young woman who was a sex slave to Europe’s elite at the age of six.

Did you know that next to weapons and drugs, sex- and porn-related business is the third largest?

Before watching the World Cup final game on Sunday, can you think about the 2000+ migrant workers who already died building the football stadiums in Qatar, site of the next World Cup in 2022? Oh, you didn’t know? Okay, read this 2017 report.

Qatar’s human rights record is absolutely miserable, and they don’t care about activist pressures.

I’m telling you that unless you come up with an alternative, sustainable, humane economy, the so-called elimination of child labor and slavery — like the one in Pakistan’s football-manufacturing industry — would not work. I don’t care what ILO says.

Find out what is going on. As I tell my students every time I teach, “Don’t believe a single world I say. Do your own research.”

That is, of course, if you care. If not, have fun. Don’t even bother. Watch you finals.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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