The Two-day Bank Strike in India

September 25, 2008 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Banks | Leave a comment
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Beginning with their 4th January 2002 all India strike to protest the transfer of 24 employees of the Standard Chartered Bank to outside Kolkata (the 24 affected employees refused to participate in the Strike), government bank unions in India have been abusing their consolidated might in a perverse manner. In an age of global competition, when they should be trying to take government banks to better strength in the competition with new private banks, they have been frequently striking work in a whimsical manner as if they have some thing against PSBs and something for the new generation banks that get more and more big customers every time the PSBs do not function. This week’s two-day strike is an example.

 

Among others, the strike was also against merger of Subsidiary banks with SBI. The merger would give Pension as a third Retirement benefit to Subsidiary bank employees. Consolidation of banks would help take PSBs, especially SBI that has lost the race to ICICI, ahead of new generation global banks. In a market economy, a few bank employees cannot stop FDI in any sector by striking. With new technology, Office-based banking has disappeared and expansion of branch network is no longer relevant. As long as RBI stipulates lending priorities, priority sector lending would not be affected. The grounds cited for the strike thus fail to convince.

 

The only outcome of the strike four days ahead of half-yearly closing is paralysis of transactions for two whole days in a fast moving world. Government did not act because they are also for the new generation banks. As with every PSB strike, a large number of big customers have switched to new generation banks this time also. One wonders who the dubious strike was actually for.

 

GLOSSARY OF WORKPLACE TERMS

September 16, 2008 at 11:51 pm | Posted in BULLY | Leave a comment
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GLOSSARY A-J | K-Z

360 review:  A 360 review is a performance appraisal process that gathers input from a number of an employee’s peers and subordinates as well as the employee’s supervisor. Each of these evaluators completes an anonymous questionnaire rating a number of areas of the employee’s performance. A summary report is produced, which is then discussed by the employee and supervisor, and incorporated in the development of a performance improvement plan. Adapted from the San Francisco Chronicle,
Abuse Abusive behaviour humiliates, degrades, or shows disrespect for the dignity and worth of another person. (, Alberta Association of Registered Nurses cited by ILO, 2002)

Abuse of authority:  Abuse of authority happens when someone misuses their power and authority to threaten someone’s livelihood, put someone’s job at risk, make it unnecessarily difficult to do that job, or interfere in any way interfere with someone’s career. It includes intimidation, threats, blackmail, or coercion. Such behaviour serves no good purpose. A reasonable person would be expected to realize that it’s inappropriate. Adapted from the Harassment in the Workplace Policy – New Brunswick Public Service

Advisory committee:  An advisory committee is usually made up of people outside the organization who provide advice on matters of policy, management, program development, or other specifics. They may perceive impacts of an organization’s actions in relation to their own domain and may inform decision making from their perspective. An advisory committee is often an ongoing group.

Alternative dispute resolution/restorative justice Alternative dispute resolution:  is a process undertaken, outside of the formal court system, to bring the parties in a dispute together to face one another. The intent is for them to work out their differences with the help of a structured process and a trained mediator. It can take a variety of forms ranging from mediation to talking circles, corporate circles, or community conferencing (where all of the parties who have been impacted by the conflict, and sometimes representatives of the larger community of interest, are present at the table to participate.)

Appropriate information sharing:  Appropriate information sharing involves determining what can be told to others considering the limits of confidentiality. It is an important aspect of postvention when a negative workplace event has occurred. Employees need to be reassured about what action has been taken, and that they have an opportunity to express any lingering concerns that they wish to see addressed.

Assault:  Assault is any behaviour that makes someone fear for their safety, whether or not a physical or psychological injury actually occurs. Examples of assault include: Kicking, hitting, biting, grabbing, pinching, scratching, or spitting Using an object, such as a chair, cane, or sharps container, or weapon, such as a knife, gun, or blunt instrument, to injure or threaten someone. Verbal hostility and abuse. Adapted from WorkSafe BC, 2000.

Code of conduct:  A code of conduct is a document developed to let employees know what behaviour is expected of them within a workplace and what behaviour is unacceptable. It may also inform employees about the range consequences for inappropriate behaviour

Confidentiality rules:  Confidentiality rules describe what kinds of information can be held private, and what kinds of information must be reported and to whom. Limitations to confidentiality need to be considered in relation to threat assessment, duty to warn, debriefing, and postvention.

Constructive dismissal: Constructive dismissal is the term for a situation in which an employer makes working conditions so awful that an employee feels they have no choice but to quit. Examples include: removing all the enjoyable parts of the job, overloading a worker with unreasonable responsibilities or removing all responsibilities, forcing an employee always to work difficult shift rotations, assigning an employee to an unpleasant, uncomfortable, or unhealthy work space, or assigning humiliating tasks. The employer may also cut back work hours or wages, or change the employee’s job title. All of these things are done without employee consent or agreement. Adapted from Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Corporate circles:  A corporate circle is a process which brings together those affected by a work situation in order to engage in group problem solving. It can be useful in situations of bullying or harassment, abuse of power, ongoing disputes, discrimination, general mistreatment, slow simmering conflict, or damaged work relations. It is appropriate only when the group is ready to have an honest conversation aimed at transforming the conflict. In a corporate circle, everyone affected by the conflict helps to diagnose and solve the problem. People disclose the hidden causes of conflict. It’s safe to talk about emotions. Participants learn how to resolve future conflict. As preparation, a facilitator conducts individual interviews ( roughly an hour long )with each of the people involved in the situation. Then selected participants come together for a group session. They sit facing each other. Each participant is invited to speak openly and candidly about: What has happened, How it has affected them, and What they would like to see happen in the future. The process allows the group to work together to Figure out the hidden causes Come to a shared understanding about what happened Create a solution A corporate circle process is a good choice when people have been punished for behaving badly, but continue to behave in the same way afterward. People are more likely to change their ways when they understand how their behaviour has affected others. Having a chance to repair the hurt they’ve caused makes them more hopeful about the future. When people have helped to come up with a solution, they’re more likely to follow through with it. [Adapted from Fitzgerald, M. F. (2006). Corporate circles: Transforming conflict and building trusting teams. Vancouver, BC: Quinn Publishing. See also  http://www.centerpointinc.com/.]

Co-worker harassment:  Co-worker harassment is a situation involving a harassment allegation between two members of the same union. By law, unions have a legal duty to provide fair representation to everyone in the bargaining unit. In a case of co-worker harassment, the union must represent the target, but it may also be asked to represent the alleged harasser. Unions have to make sure that the process is fair to both co-workers. In some cases, the union may be able to resolve the problem informally, but in doing so, it can’t allow anyone’s rights to be compromised. In more serious cases, the employer is usually involved. (Adapted from Equality Branch, CUPE, Stop harassment: A guide for CUPE locals)

Critical incident:  A critical incident is a workplace event — such as an accident, injury, fatality, or robbery — that causes emotional or psychological trauma in people exposed to the incident directly, or even indirectly. It is a sudden, powerful event outside the range of normal experience — and outside workers’ control. A critical incident will often overwhelm a worker’s ability to function in a normal way by causing strong emotional reactions. (WorkSafe BC )
 

Critical incident stress:  Critical incident stress is a normal emotional and physiological reaction to a stressful or abnormal situation. Some common reactions to a highly stressful event are: Feeling jumpy, anxious, moody, or irritable Having difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or thinking clearly Having trouble going near the accident scene or to places that trigger memories of the accident oar incident Having trouble being around people Having difficulty being alone (WorkSafe BC

Critical incident debriefing:  (CID) or critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) Critical incident debriefing or critical incident stress debriefing is an individual or group process in which one or more service providers help the affected worker(s) cope with the continuing effects of a traumatic incident. A CISD should occur within 24 to 72 hours after the event. Participation is voluntary. The purpose of the debriefing is to alleviate the trauma of affected workers and speed up their recovery process. Debriefing focuses on the well-being of the workers; it does not attempt to find the cause of the incident or assign blame. The intent of the debriefing is to address and respond to the emotional and psychological consequences resulting specifically from the workplace incident. Debriefings should be led by trained, qualified professionals who can guide strong emotions such as guilt, sadness, or anger that workers may be experiencing. Defusing and debriefing sessions are not “therapy” and are not a substitute for therapy. Individuals requiring further support should be directed to a mental health professional. (Adapted from WorkSafe BC – 

Cyberbullying:  Cyberbullying is a new form of bullying and harassment of workplace colleagues that involves the use of technology. It can take place via cell phone, e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, Web 2.0 sites, blogs, chatrooms, Websites, and virtual social space (FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube, etc.) The basic rule is this: if the behaviour would be inappropriate face-to-face, then it’s equally inappropriate online. (Adapted from “Bullying: Tackling tormentors“, PersonnelToday.com, December 20, 2007) 

Cyberharassment and cyberstalking:  Cyberstalking and cyberharassment are similar abusive behaviours. Most people use these terms interchangeably, but there is a subtle distinction, typically relating to the perpetrator’s intent and the original motivation for their behavior. While the two situations usually involve many of the same online tactics, cyberstalking is almost always characterized by the stalker relentlessly pursuing a victim online and is much more likely to include some form of offline attack, as well. This offline aspect makes it a more serious situation as it can easily lead to dangerous physical contact if the victim’s location is known. [Adapted from Parry Aftab, cited in Information Week – August 23, 2004, ]

Cyberterrorism:  Cyberterrorism can be defined as the use of information technology by terrorist groups and individuals to further their agenda. This can include use of information technology to organize and execute attacks against networks, computer systems and telecommunications infrastructures, or for exchanging information or making threats electronically. Examples are hacking into computer systems, introducing viruses to vulnerable networks, web site defacing, denial-of-service attacks, or terroristic threats made via electronic communication.[National Conference of State Legislatures

Debriefing:  Debriefing is a process of talking with workers who have experienced a negative event to attempt to assist them for a variety of purposes, such as to alleviate stress related to a recent workplace incident, to review what went wrong and to determine how to prevent a recurrence, or to rebuild trust and repair damaged workplace relationships.

Discrimination:   Discrimination means treating people in a negative or hurtful way because they are different. The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on these established grounds: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, pregnancy and childbearing, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability or a pardoned criminal conviction. (Canadian Human Rights Commission: http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/discrimination/discrimination-en.asp) The Human Rights Act of New Brunswick currently protects against discrimination and harassment based on: age, marital status, religion, physical disability (including HIV\AIDS), mental disability, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, national origin, social condition, political belief or activity, sexual orientation, and sex (including pregnancy). (New Brunswick Human Rights Commission )

Discriminatory practices:  According to the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is discrimination to: treat someone differently for any of the reasons noted above; harass anyone for any reason; set up a policy or practice that places a group of people at a disadvantage; and retaliate against someone. Here are some examples: A person cannot be denied a job because of a disability that does not affect job performance or for which reasonable adjustment can be made. In employment applications and advertisements , federally regulated employers cannot include requirements that are not clearly related to the job, such as previous Canadian experience. A job performed mostly by women cannot be paid less than a job of equal value done mostly by men. Examples of jobs that might be of equal value are nursing assistants and electricians, or secretaries and maintenance staff. Where unions have a monopoly on referring job applicants to employers, it is discriminatory for them to exclude candidates from designated groups. A bank cannot ask a married woman for her spouse’s signature when she is applying for a loan. An individual unable to work certain days for religious reasons may not be denied employment unless the employer can demonstrate that it would cause undue hardship. A poster that encourages discrimination is illegal. Internet and pre-recorded telephone hate messages are forbidden. No one is allowed to make demeaning comments because of someone’s colour, ethnic origin, age, disability, sex or any of the other prohibited grounds. An employer cannot fire an employee because he or she has filed a human rights complaint. It is also a criminal offence to threaten, intimidate or discriminate against a person who files a complaint or a person who serves as a witness. (Adapted from Canadian Human Rights Commission: )

Diversity competency or cultural competency:  Diversity competency or cultural competency refers to the insights and skills needed to communicate effectively across cultural diversity and other forms of difference. These would include, for example, awareness of culturally based assumptions about eye contact, social distance, taboo topics of conversation, and attitudes towards time, and factors to be sensitive to in interacting with a person who is visually or hearing impaired or a person who is economically disadvantaged.

Duty of care : Duty of care sets out expectations that every employer must take every reasonable precaution to avoid injury to any person or their property. This includes employees, people providing contracted services, volunteers, clients, patients, students, and members of the general public. Any unintentional but careless act which results in injury or loss is considered to be negligent, and fails to meet the requirement of duty of care. (Adapted from Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) Legal Information Service )

Duty to accommodate:  Duty to accommodate is the obligation to meaningfully incorporate diversity into the workplace. The duty to accommodate involves eliminating or changing rules, policies, practices and behaviours that discriminate against persons based on a group characteristic, such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, marital status, family status and disability. Sometimes, workplaces have rules, policies, practices and behaviours that apply equally to everyone, but that can create barriers based on a group characteristic. For example, if an employer requires that employees wear a certain uniform, this may create a barrier to someone whose religious practice requires a certain manner of dress. The duty to accommodate requires employers to identify and eliminate rules that have a discriminatory impact. Accommodation means changing the rule or practice to incorporate alternative arrangements that eliminate the discriminatory barriers. (Canadian Human Rights Commission )

Duty to warn:  Duty to warn is a legal concept that expresses the idea that, if people have not been told about serious or hidden dangers and get hurt, those who knew about the dangers can be held responsible, either civilly or criminally. An evaluation of possible violence in the workplace will require a discussion of who needs to be informed under the duty-to-warn concept and what they need to be told. Actual victims or directly named potential victims are the centermost circle. Members of the immediate, physical workgroup on the same floor or in the same building as the victims are in the next circle. Any employees on the same corporate work site are in the next circle. Finally, all employees in the entire company are in the last circle. Depending on the level of risk, visitors to the work site, such as customers, vendors, or subcontractors may need to be considered as part of this process as well. The higher the assessed probability of physical harm, the more important the need to consider notification. The important issues with duty to warn are privacy, confidentiality and defamation, and recognizing that the duty to warn needs to be balanced with the reality that information can increase anxiety in the workplace. Misjudging the balance point may cause more harm, in some cases physical harm, than not saying anything at all. This concept is embedded in every workplace violence-related case. The employer must provide identified victims with information that will allow them to take measures to protect their own safety. [Adapted from Corcoran, M.H. and Cawood, J. S. (2003). Violence assessment and intervention: The practitioner’s handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, pp. 201-202)]

Facilitated discussion:  Facilitated discussion is a structured dialogue process led by a person skilled in group processes and dialogue techniques. It can be used at various stages in a conflict to allow for information sharing, clarification, mutual understanding, and rebuilding of working relationships.

Harassment:  Harassment is any unwanted physical or verbal conduct that offends or humiliates a person, or interferes with ability to do a job or obtain a service. Harassing behaviours include such things as: berating someone in front of others making fun of someone’s accent blocking someone’s career advancement withholding information & resources deliberately encouraging inappropriate attire sexist, racist, & homophobic remarks or graphics unpredictable, explosive outbursts inflammatory remarks in e-mail or blogs tampering with someone’s work station imposing unsafe working conditions setting impossible deadlines & expectations hiding someone’s personal belongings constantly changing performance evalution criteria taking credit for someone else’s ideas rudeness & abusive language scapegoating, unfairly blaming micromanaging & constant fault-finding withholding formative feedback abusing personal information discrediting someone’s skills & qualification hounding staff outside of office hours spreading rumours, gossip & innuendo threats & intimidation blatant favouritism unnecessarily harsh & hurtful feedback ridiculing or destroying someone’s work undermining professional or personal reputation taking away a worker’s responsibilities without cause underwork, making someone feel useless scapegoating & constant fault-finding blocking applications for training, leave, or promotion hounding staff outside of office hours rumours, gossip & innuendo threats & intimidation unwelcome comments on personal appearance Harassment can consist of a single incident or several incidents over a period of time. Harassment can create a negative or hostile work environment which can interfere with a person’s job performance and result in being refused a job, a promotion or a training opportunity. The harasser, who could be of the same or opposite sex as the person harassed, may be a supervisor, a co-worker, or someone providing a service, such as a bank officer or a clerk in a government department. If a reasonable person ought to have known that the behaviour was unwelcome, then it is considered to be harassment. (Adapted from the Canadian Human Rights Commission)

In good faith:  In good faith is a term which expresses the intention of all parties involved in a dispute resolution process to participate, motivated by a sincere wish to resolve the matter and a willingness to make a sincere effort to find common ground. Mediators must ensure this intent prior to initiating an alternative dispute resolution process.

Just cause:  Just cause is described as very serious conduct that can be considered grounds for dismissal. It can include theft, serious dishonesty, sexual harassment, conflict of interest and other types of highly inappropriate conduct. It is very difficult in Canada to successfully prove just cause. If an employer’s claim of just cause is disproven, then they may have to pay extra wrongful dismissal damages for making allegations in bad faith. http://www.joblaw.ca/index.php?view=dismissal

HOW TO BEAT A BULLY

September 16, 2008 at 11:42 pm | Posted in BULLY | Leave a comment
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How to Deal With a Bully

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

An editor has suggested that this article be merged with: “How to Deal With Severe Bullying Per the merge policy, if these topics are determined to be similar but distinct, then the articles will remain separate. Please comment on the discussion page. Notice added on 2008-08-07.
Too many people are bullied in school nowadays.It has to stop.Here are the ways to deal with a bully.Just follow these steps to be bully free.

Steps

  1. Never let them get to you.The more they upset you the more they will do it.
  2. Never keep it a secret always tell someone e.g family teacher friends or get someone you can trust to tell your parents if you don’t have the courage.
  3. Avoid the Bully.
  4. If they move onto someone else stop here.If they don’t read the next step.
  5. Please note only do this if nothing else has worked before getting anyone else like police or child-line involved.The next time the hurt you just turn around to them and say “That’s enough” or “Stop it!” and then just clench your fist.Make sure if you look at it from above you can see the side of your hand with the palm on it.Then bring it up nice and fast and twist it on the moment of impact to their face.The most effective punch.No matter how many times teachers say “Violence isn’t the answer”If bullying gets to circumstances like this violence is the answer.Only do this if it has been going on for weeks or months not just an argument.

Tips

  • Always tell someone.
  • If you have to use step 5 and your teachers put you in a detention or whatever just get your parents into school and make sure they know.
  • You are always stronger than them.
  • Step 5 will shock them more than anything.

Warnings

  • Don’t punch them too hard!!!!!!!!!!!!

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Deal With a Bully. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

HOW TO BEAT A BACKSTABBER

September 16, 2008 at 11:37 pm | Posted in BULLY | Leave a comment
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How to Confront a Backstabber

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Backstabbers. Everyone hates them. Either the person was your friend and now isn’t, or they keep pretending to like you and then spread rumors about you. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll find your way to a backstabber-free life.

Steps

  1. Find the problem. It could be anything. The person could be jealous about something you did or possess, or maybe you did something to him.
  2. See if there is a solution. If it is something you did to him, try to apologize or correct it. Try to talk to that person, or if you have common friends, ask them to talk to him.
  3. If all else fails, tell a teacher or a trusted adult.
  4. If the problem involves both of you, accept your share of the deal and put it right. That way you’ll be blameless.
  5. If anything you do doesn’t work, just ignore the person.

Tips

  • Don’t let anybody say it’s your fault. If you are blameless, ignore them.

Warnings

  • Never get into a fight. If you do, you’ll be the one in deep trouble and they’ll be let off the hook.

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Confront a Backstabber. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Chengara : A Culture and A Conspiracy

September 9, 2008 at 10:23 am | Posted in Issues, Kerala | 1 Comment
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Kerala is a place where you cannot get agriculture labourers because everyone is literate and thinks manual labour is unbecoming. The minimum wages that you have to pay to any manual labourer is Rs. 250/- a day – for 6 hours of what they deem to be ‘work’. The carpenter gets Rs. 300/- to Rs. 500/- a day. A live-in maid comes at not less than Rs. 4500/- plus food and clothes, a month. If you use her for other things, you pay extra. All labourers come to work in motorcycles or scooters.

Kerala is ‘Gulf’ to manual labourers from other states. There is practically no unemployment here after 2000, if you are ready to work. The greediest of young men work in ‘quotation gangs’ that recover money for banks like ICICI, HSBC, HDFC etc, or beat up people for politicians or similar others. They quote in 10000s to lakhs.

Malayali workers including head loaders, and employees including college teachers are, within Kerala, a disgrace to world labour. To them, work is worship of selfish indolence, and exercising of the tongue. Chaathans, created by the great VKN is the best possible presentation of our poor farm labourer.

The Communist parties profess the raising of the living standards of the working class and their leaders. They have thus managed to raise the lifestyles of even coolies or head-loaders to Star levels. Clerks and peons of government departments like Revenue, Registration, and Transport etc earn much more than MNC CEOs, thanks to their unions’ protecting bribe-taking. College lecturers earn at UGC levels without possessing the stipulated qualifications, only because of their Left unions. Secure monthly salary earners are deemed the genuine working class because they pay more and regular Union levies.

Kerala has a population of about 4 % of the country. Projected population for 1st March 2008 is 3, 42, 32,000. We have land of 1.18% of India. The quantum of land 38863 sq. kms or 9 603 00000 cents cannot change.

Of this geographical area, 48% is mountainous or hilly. 12% is the coastal lowlands. The remaining 40% of midlands alone is suitable for human dwelling. That is to say, for 4% percent of the country’s population, only about 0. 45% of its land is available for living and surviving.

In land-starved Kerala, the largest landowners are the government, the Christian plantation owners and the Church. Every time that the CPM has been in power, grabbing of government land by the party workers is usual. The party, however, is now no longer of the poor; it is now a party of contractors, brokers and businesspersons. The CPM thus having moved away from the downtrodden, new forces like the Muslim Solidarity, Catholic Infam and foreign-funded environment organizations moved in to rescue the poor. The Sadhu Jana Vimochana Samyukta Vedi (SJVSV) that has started the Chengara land-grab is one such saviour-outfit of dubious origins.

The pressure on land is our greatest weakness. Our earlier planners did not give this matter honest consideration. We should have planned for development without disturbing or destroying the highlands and lowlands. You meddle with mother Earth and you suffer – our planners ignored this old rule.

Institutional support by the Church to encroachments is responsible for the destruction of our hills. Muthanga was the zenith of their achievement under a Catholic ruler. Sex tourism is responsible for the vandalisation of our coasts.

Land belongs to all of us equally. We also have responsibility to it. Calculating on 960300000 cents and 34232000 humans, individual share comes to 28 cents each. Permissible human usage-share is 40% of that total. Thus, each of us has a birthright to only 11 cents of the land area in Kerala. If you allow a further deduction of 30% to man-made infrastructure like roads, public grounds and buildings, other public utilities etc, a Keralite can claim or own to himself only 7 cents or so.

It is against this ground reality that Chengara orphans demand five acres of land suitable for agriculture and Rs.50,000 in cash for each landless family among them [The Hindu 04.06.2008]. The demands are typically Malayali – similar to demanding that you shut your thattu-kada, stop plying your autorikshaw or not take your ill child to the hospital, for ‘their’ Bandh. It is mere bullying. And we would not dare to do it outside Kerala borders. Meeting the demand would need only about 40000 acres of land!

I heard Laha Gopalan say many times on TV that the Chengara camp has people of all castes, and that it is only an agitation of people who do not have as much land as their birthright [they having only 4 to 10 cents] and the landless. This might mean that it is not an agitation of landless Dalits; or at least, not any longer. Laha Gopalan himself has by his own admission, only one hectare or 247 cents valued at Rs. 24, 70,000/-

In 3 years, 30% of the active population in Kerala would be non-Malayali or immigrant labour. The Chengara model would serve them well. TRESPASS, SQUAT, GRAB! We need not stop with land alone in the Chengara culture.

There are reports that the organisers of the land-grab collect admission fees ranging from Rs.6000/- upwards from the squatters. As per the Vedi’s claims, as many as 24,000 people belonging to 7,282 families are occupying about 14,000 acres of land at the Kumbazha Estate. The number of makeshift huts pitched at the estate will be around 7,800. The money collected might thus come to crores of Rupees, exclusive of financial assistance received from various Agencies.

Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy and similar mega-stars’ going to Chengara to proclaim support was only like Henry Kissinger’s having come to New Delhi in November 2007 on behalf of the NSG corporates, to sort out the Left’s misgivings about the reciprocal arrangements for their agreeing to the Nuclear Deal. Such initiatives need spending.

Harrisons Plantations is a company of the RP Goenka group. It is not a foreign company, as depicted by the activists and the media. From 2005, they have been selling off pieces of the Estates in Kerala to real estate companies. The land was not theirs; and their lease with the owners, the Kerala government, had run out years ago; in 1996, according to Laha Gopalan. However, neither Left nor Right, or activist raised any voice against the fraud.

The Harrison’s Kodumon Estate land grab by Laha Gopalan and his group in 2006 and the Chengara land-grab of 2007 might thus have been some trick by some real estate group to force a cheap sale of the land. The huge funds spent in mobilising media and activist support could have come from that group. Alternately, it might have been a trick by RPG themselves to escape from Kerala without paying the rent to the government [they have reportedly not paid it for 20 years] and the employee benefits to the labour. After the lease ran out, RPG had availed a loan of Rs. 100 crores from the ICICI Bank on the security of the Estate, on which they had no rights at that point of time. The land grab might also have been to avert having to repay the Bank.

AK Balan, Kerala’s Minister for SC/STs, has already called Chengara a ‘state-sponsored agitation’. It is like Kerala’s Private Bus operators’ agitating and frequently stopping services to make the public agree in agony to fare-hikes by an eager ministry. In the name of settlement of Chengara orphans, government land elsewhere would soon be allotted. The Estate might also be divided and allotted to different employees’ co-operatives, to benefit all the political parties. On 17.9.2008, Laha Gopalan categorically said on Doordarshan that they would not accept land at Chengara, even if no other land were given.

The rehabilitation initiative would be used more as a ploy to allot land to LDF cadres. Each party would have quotas, as had been with the Plus 2 allotment. Anyone that would pay the leaders would get choice real estate ‘free’. By 2010, the plots thus allotted would be consolidated to build resorts, amusement parks or professional colleges. Either the Party leaders themselves or Comrades like Farris Aboobacker would be the entrepreneurs on the land. Chengara would thus be revealed as a Total4 U, in a few more months.

On 20th September 2008, AK Balan, Kerala’s Minister for SC/STs, announced that beginning October 5th, the government would begin a massive Scheme for allotting land to the landless all over the State. A total of 15000 acres would thus be disposed off. Houses would also be built for the beneficiaries. Chengara squatters would be the first to benefit under the Scheme, he said.

What is to happen to the landless among the middle classes of Kerala, who are unable to have houses of their own because of the inhuman cost of land in Kerala? Would they also have to squat and threaten suicide to have 7 cents for a house each?

Average minimum cost of land in Kerala is Rs.10 lakhs per acre in the rural parts. In places like Kochi, it is around half to one crore a cent. How much of public wealth would be lost when 15000 acres is freely given away to squatters?

The intellectual activists ought to answer these doubts of the real landless of Kerala. Would they?

KERALA – BANDHS AND GUNAS

September 6, 2008 at 11:43 pm | Posted in Kerala | Leave a comment
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After the Aryans intellectually overcame the Malabar of those times, they imposed Varna Ashrama in the land. They studied the people and socially categorized them into layers that would ultimately benefit the Aryan scheme of things. The Aryans naturally took the highest level of Brahmins for themselves. All those that aligned with them like the Ambalavasis or temple workers, were made half or quarter Brahmins. The Nairs were the warriors and kings and could not be antagonised. The money and lands were with them. Therefore, the next rung was practically theirs. Nevertheless, only the Kings among them were made temporary Kshatriyas through elaborate rituals.

The Varna categories had to be justified through genetic dispositions or gunas of the people. In Samkhya philosophy a guna is one of three “tendencies”: tamas, sattva, and rajas. These categories were a common means of categorizing behaviour and natural phenomena in Hindu philosophy, and in Ayurvedic medicine, as a system to assess conditions.

The Brahmins had to have the Sattva element, translated to mean balance, order, or purity; in their genes. The Kshatriyas had to have Rajas or activity; the Vaishyas were of Rajas or Tamas, and all the rest possessed only the Tamas quality.

The Aryans in their wisdom attributed the Tamas disposition to the majority of Malabaris. In fact, except for the Aryan Brahmins or Namboodiris, all others in Kerala are Shudras and Chandalas. While this might all be traced to political considerations, the ‘scientific’ basis of the classification cannot be merely wished away in view of the general personality make-up of Mallus as seen in their current bandh/hartal/strike culture.

Tamas (originally “darkness”, “obscurity”) has been translated to mean “too inactive”, negative, lethargic, dull, or slow. A tamas quality can imply that a person has a self-destructive or entropic state of mind. That person is constantly pursuing destructive activities. Indologist Georg Feuerstein translates tamas as “inertia

Tamas, or tamo-guna, is the lowest of the three gunas. It is a life force or energy   that is characterised by one or more of the states of: (1) darkness, (2) death, (3) destruction, (4) ignorance, (5) sloth and (6) resentment. Tamas is static, unlike rajas or sattva. This most negative guna rejects Karmic Law and the central principle of dharma that one’s Karma must be acted out and not ignored.

Now to Kerala’s all-paralyzing Bandh culture. Kerala celebrated its 78th all-state Bandh of the year on 20th August 2008 as part of the national strike by Left unions. There had also been several ward/pachayat/village/constituency/district bandhs in the State in between. Being too usual, these are not enumerated anywhere.

Keralites are said to actually celebrate Bandhs. The cable TV and the Internet have made the salaried middle classes look forward to days of such enforced leisure. Kerala Civil servants do not have a dies-non on Bandhs. The government pays them salary for striking work and joining Bandhs. The manual labourers of Kerala are higher paid than their counterparts anywhere else in the world and they too do not mind a day without work. The characteristics of the tamo-guna are thus strongly exhibited in the work culture and lifestyle of Mallus at home. They themselves thus prove the Aryans right in classifying them all as Shudras and Chandalas.

What lets such forces of darkness, death, destruction, ignorance, sloth and resentment colonise the fertile brains of Mallus, only when they are within Kerala? It could all merely be the effects of the extreme humidity of the climate and the radiation from the coastal mineral sand in God’s own country! The evil forces of Globalisation that are said to be attempting exploitation of this labour paradise ought to research this.

The Three Gunas

September 6, 2008 at 11:24 pm | Posted in ANCIENT INDIA | Leave a comment
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The Three Gunas

In Hinduism,Buddhism, and Sikhism Tamas, or tamo-guna, is the lowest of the three gunas. It is a force which promotes one or more of the following: (1) darkness, (2) death, (3) destruction, (4) ignorance, (5) Sloth, (6) resistance. Tamas is viewed as being more negative than either rajas or sattva. Tamas has also been translated as “indifference”. This is the most negative guna because of its rejection of Karmaic Law and the central principle of dharmaic religions; that one’s Karma must be worked out and not ignored.[citation needed]

The three gunasSattva, Rajas, and Tamas are described and detailed in Samkhya – one of the Six Indian Schools of Philosophy. Each of the three gunas has its own distinctive characteristics and it is believed that everything is made up of these three. Tamas is lowest, heaviest, slowest, and most dull (for example, a stone or a lump of earth). It is devoid of the energy of the Rajas and the brightness of Sattva.

Quotes

  • “You should know, O Arjuna, tamas as the cause of delusion enslaving all embodied beings born of nescience; by negligence, listlessness and somnolescence.” (BG 14:8)
  • “O Arjuna, nescience, inertness, neglectfulness and also illusion; when these arise tamas predominates.” (BG 14:13)
  • “Succumbing to death in rajas one takes birth among those beings attached to fruitive activities; similarly, dying in tamas, one takes birth from the womb of an animal” (BG 14:15)
  • “The Fourteenth Day: One who enters into the fourth state, overcomes time, and the three qualities of raajas, taamas, and satva”(SGGS [1])
  • “Those who embody the energies of sattva-white light, raajas-red passion, and taamas-black darkness, abide in the Fear of God, along with the many created forms.” (SGGS [2])
  • “Your Power is diffused through the three gunas: raajas, taamas and satva” (SGGS [3])
  • “Raajas, the quality of energy and activity; Taamas, the quality of darkness and inertia; and Satvas, the quality of purity and light, are all called the creations of Maya, Your illusion. That man who realizes the fourth state — he alone obtains the supreme state” (SGGS [4])
  • “Raajas, the quality of energetic activity shall pass away. Taamas, the quality of lethargic darkness shall pass away. Saatvas, the quality of peaceful light shall pass away as well. All that is seen shall pass away. Only the Word of the Holy Saint is beyond destruction” (SGGS [5])

tamasic foods

Tamas cannot be counteracted by tamas. It might be easier to counteract it by means of rajas (action), and it might be more difficult to jump directly from tamas to sattva. The result of a life led by tamas is demerit: demotion to a lower life-form. Persons who are “couch potatoes” may be characterized as tamasic. Overeating (i.e. gluttony) is tamasic.

The Sanskrit word gua has the basic meaning of “string” or “a single thread or strand of a cord or twine”. In more abstract uses, it may mean “a subdivision, species, kind”, and generally “quality”.

In Samkhya philosophy there are three guas (based upon the three “tendencies”), tamas gua, sattva gua, and rajas gua.

 

In classical literature

In classical literature (e.g. Mahabharata, Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita), a gua is an attribute of the five elements, five senses, and five associated body parts:

  • ether, associated with the gua śábda (”sound”) and with the ear.
  • air, associated with the gua sparśa (”feeling”) and with the skin.
  • fire, associated with the gua rūpa (”appearance”, and thus color and tangibility) and with the eye.
  • water, associated with the gua rasa (”taste”, and thus also flavor and tangibility, as well as shape) and with the tongue.
  • earth, associated with all the preceding guas as well as the gua gandha (”smell”) and with the nose.

In Samkhya philosophy

In Samkhya philosophy a gua is one of three “tendencies”: tamas, sattva, and rajas. These categories have become a common means of categorizing behavior and natural phenomena in Hindu philosophy, and also in Ayurvedic medicine, as a system to assess conditions and diets. Gua is the tendency of the mind and not the state of mind or action itself. For instance, sattva gua is that force which tends to bring the mind to purity but is not purity itself. Similarly rajas gua is that force which tends to bring the mind to perform some action but is not action itself.

  • Sattva (originally “being, existence, entity”) has been translated to mean balance, order, or purity. This typically implies that a person with more of Sattva has a positive or even orderly state of mind. Such a person is psychologically kind, calm, alert and thoughtful. Compare also the bodhisattvas in Buddhism. Indologist Georg Feuerstein translates sattva as “lucidity“.
  • Rajas (originally “atmosphere, air, firmament”) leads one to activity. This type of activity is explained by the term Yogakshem. Yogakshem is composed of two words: Yoga and Kshem. Yoga in the present context is acquiring something that one does not have. Kshem means losing something that one already has. Rajas is the force that creates desires for acquiring new things and fears for losing something that one has. These desires and fears lead one to activity. (Rajas is etymologically unrelated to the word raja.) Feuerstein translates rajas as “dynamism“.
  • Tamas (originally “darkness”, “obscurity”) has been translated to mean “too inactive”, negative, lethargic, dull, or slow. Usually it is associated with darkness, delusion, or ignorance. A tamas quality also can imply that a person has a self-destructive or entropic state of mind. That person is constantly pursuing destructive activities. Feuerstein translates tamas as “inertia“.

In Nyaya philosophy

In Nyaya philosophy, 24 guas are enumerated as properties or characteristics of all created things, including śábda, sparśa, rūpa, rasa, and gandha.

1.        rūpa: appearance (shape and color).

2.        rasa: taste.

3.        gandha: smell.

4.        sparśa: feeling (touch).

5.        khya: amount.

6.        parimāa: dimension.

7.        pthaktva: distinctness.

8.        sayoga: conjunction.

9.        vibhāga: disjunction.

10.     paratva: remoteness.

11.     aparatva: proximity.

12.     gurutva: weight.

13.     dravatva: fluidity.

14.     sneha: viscidity.

15.     śábda: sound.

16.     buddhi/jñāna: enlightenment/knowing.

17.     sukha: pleasure.

18.     dukha: pain.

19.     icchā: desire.

20.     dvea: aversion.

21.     prayatna: effort.

22.     dharma: merit or virtue.

23.     adharma: demerit.

24.     saskāra: the self-reproductive quality;

In grammar

In Sanskrit grammatical tradition (Vyakarana), gua is a technical term referring to the vowels a, e, o,( i.e. the full grade ablaut stages; see Ashtadhyayi).

See also

External links

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