Association for India’s Development – MIT, Boston & Metro west Chapters and the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
Inequality and Agrarian Crisis in Rural India
A talk by P. Sainath
Thursday, September 28th, 7:00pm MIT #6-120 182 Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA 02139
(Walkable from Kendall and Central T-stops)
P.Sainath, the winner of the 2007 Magsaysay Award and former Rural affairs editor of The Hindu is here to talk about the agrarian crisis and the growing inequality in India. He was the first Indian to win the Magsaysay in that category in nearly 25 years (after R.K. Laxman). He was also the first reporter in the world to win Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Journalism Prize in its inaugural year in 2000. Sainath’s work includes a series on the devastation of Indian agriculture by anti-farmer policies this past decade, which runs in The Hindu. Consisting of detailed reports from the households of landless laborers and marginal farmers across the country, the series has set the agenda for investigative rural reporting.
One of his hallmark projects, the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) was launched on Dec. 20, 2014. The PARI website is aimed at recording the everyday lives of everyday people; it hosts the video, still photos, audio, and text articles. The website is not-for-profit and free to view; techies, lawyers, and accountants – are volunteers. The website hopes to grow by all the contributors – journalists, writers, film-makers, editors, translators, public participation. Anybody can send pictures, text articles, photo stories, films – as long as they fit PARI’s mandate – ‘the everyday lives of everyday people’. You can read up more about the website here: PARI
Jayanta Bandyopadhya, environmental activist and professor, author of fourteen critically acclaimed books, is the former head of the Center for Development and Environment Policy at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.
The Himalaya is the climate maker and water tower of Asia. Himalayan rivers feed the large economies of Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. About 3 billion people depend on waters from the Himalaya. The rivers are diverse and feed into the lives and livelihood of vast populations in the countries of South Asia – peaceful sharing of water across boundaries is therefore imperative.
Following the Look East policy of the Government of India, attention has been focused on the Brahmaputra and future options for its governance. Challenges include floods and erosion; hydro-power projects, possible transfer of water outside the basin, water-based transportation, and ecosystem services in all parts of the basin.
A trans-boundary organization among Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India is proposed for future governance of the Brahmaputra sub-basin.
Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
The South Asia Forum at MIT Women’s and Gender Studies at MIT
Sunday 2 PM, February 19, 2017 @ MIT 77 Mass Ave Room 4-231
Bangladesh made significant strides in a number of areas since its emergence as a country in 1971, but its achievements have been marred by political instability and the suppression of civil and human rights. Attacks on workers, critics, and political opponents by state forces have seen a steady rise through different administrations. The latter meanwhile has failed to protect bloggers, publishers, and minorities from attacks by religious extremists. Often the only recourse to persecuted individuals and groups has been the work of independent lawyers, activists, and groups.
Sara Hossain has consistently challenged discriminatory laws against women and secular activists, including “fatwa”s issued to mete out degrading and violent punishments to women and girls. She is a lawyer at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and an honorary executive director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST). Her awards include the 2016 International Women of Courage Award, the Ananya Top Ten Leading Women Award in 2005, and the Human Rights Lawyer Award by The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First).
Women’s and Gender Studies Program South Asia Forum at MIT
Book Presentation: Bil’in and The Nonviolent Resistance
Iyad Burnat is the coordinator for the Popular Committee in Bil’in, Palestine. For 10 years, Iyad and the Popular Committee of this small village have held weekly non-violent demonstrations against the confiscation of their land. They have repeatedly been met with violence by the Israeli military. Iyad is coming to the Boston area to describe what life is like under Israeli occupation, his village’s ongoing struggle for justice and freedom, and what inspires him to continue non-violent resistance.
Iyad is the winner of the 2015 James Lawson Award for Achievement bestowed by the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict during its summer institute at Tufts University.
Cosponsors: Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia; Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine; American Friends Service Committee; Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights; Friends of Sabeel – New England Chapter; Interfaith Peace-Builders; Jewish Voice for Peace, Boston
The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
Invites you to a screening of the film – What the Fields Remember
Room 3-133 MIT Saturday October 8, 3 PM, 2016
On 18th February 1983, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, more than 2000 Muslims were killed in the town of Nellie and its surrounding villages in Assam, India. People’s homes were burnt down and their fields destroyed. Most of those who died were old people, women, and children. To date the Nellie massacre remains on the margins of India’s public history and is virtually wiped out from the nation’s collective memory.
The documentary film What the Fields Remember revisits the massacre three decades later. From the survivors’ – Sirajuddin Ahmed and Abdul Khayer – a retelling of the event, and their struggles of coping with loss and memories that refuse to fade away, the film attempts to explore ideas of violence, memory, and justice. What the Fields Remember also attempts to raise larger questions around collective memory – of what we choose to remember and why we choose to forget.
Subasri has been a filmmaker for more than a decade. She also heads the Media Lab of the Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS). Her documentary films deal with contemporary politics. Her first documentary film “Brave New Medium” on internet censorship in South-‐East Asia, has been screened at film festivals, both nationally and internationally.
Sponsored by CGIS/Harvard Supported by the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
Governance for Development: Political and Administrative Reforms for Bangladesh
by Dr. Nazrul Islam
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 4:00 pm, Friday, September 30 CGIS South S354, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA
Governance problems are possibly the main constraint on the realization of the socio-economic potential of Bangladesh. Based on his recently published book, Governance for Development: Political and Administrative Reforms for Bangladesh (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016), Dr. Nazrul Islam will present an analysis of Bangladesh’s governance problems and discuss some reform options for the electoral process and of the civil service in Bangladesh.
About the Speaker
Nazrul Islam is currently a Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the United National Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Previously, he taught economics at Dhaka University (Bangladesh), Emory University (USA), and Kyushu University (Japan). He has published eleven books and numerous articles in reputed international journals. His most recent book is Economies in Transition: China, Russia, and Vietnam, published by Eastern Academic. Dr. Islam is also the founder of Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN) and is playing a leading role in the environmental movement of Bangladesh.
Harvard Square “T” stop, Cambridge MA Wednesday 7 PM – March 2, 2016
Please bring candles, signs, songs, chants…and please spread the word!
In response to an event organized on 9th February against the execution of Afzal Guru, Delhi Police have arrested The JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy, largely based on false and doctored video evidence. Subsequently, other student leaders from JNU have been arrested and sedition charges brought against political leaders speaking in support of Mr. Kumar. Indian citizens, expatriates, academics, and activists from around the world have condemned the growing intolerance and attack on free speech by the current BJP Government. Several statements in support of the JNU students have been released, one including leading scholars such as Noam Chomsky, Orham Pamuk, and Akeel Bilgrami censuring the “shameful act of the Indian Government” in invoking an outdated sedition law from the colonial era to silence critics.
Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia presents “Development and Dispossession: The Indian Case” March 12th, 2PM, MIT 2-105 Prof. Amit Bhaduri
Amit Bhaduri is an economist and a consistent critic of mainstream neoclassical economic theory. He exposes its logically flawed foundations – including ‘corporate-led growth strategies’ and ‘developmental terrorism’, ideas that have emerged in India and other developing countries in the wake of globalization.