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Going organic in Goa

I am not a farmer. But two years ago, I planted a small organic garden to grow some tomatoes, spinach, beans and brinjals without agro chemicals, fertilizer or pesticides— what Vandana Shiva in her recent talk at the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas rightly labels as poisons. Being health conscious I had decided that the least I could do to take care of my family’s health was to feed us fewer poisons.

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The best things in life are free

I recently returned from Jaipur, the city of pink palaces, which hosted the world’s largest free literary festival in the world. I couldn’t count the numbers, all I saw was thousands and thousands of young people thronging through the gates and security checks as if they were attending a fair. They were. Except this one was literary. I went with a mixture of curiosity and some fear, particularly fear of crowds. Last year a quarter million people attended the festival.

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A Turning Point in Indian democracy

India’s democracy is at a turning point. The Indian nation and democracy came into being as a result of a mass political movement, the freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi. This mass movement involved the masses, the illiterate, the uneducated in villages, small towns and the big cities. It was based on the vision of direct participatory democracy, Swaraj, self- rule at the local level.

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Will Ladli Laxmi Change attitudes?

Chief Minister Manohar Parikar and many others have recently expressed concern at the worsening child sex ration in Goa. At 92/1000 the ration has declined to lower levels than in Bihar, 933 girls per 1000 boys. Put in Crude terms between 3000-5000 girls may be "missing" in Goa. So it is the time to ask the question : what policy interventions can reverse these alarming numbers?

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Gender bias knows no class

As I travel across the coun- try, I am struck by the differences across states, yet also by the depress- ingly unchanging similarity of deep- seated cultural issues around gender. Gender bias has no class bias. It is as prevalent among the middle classes as among the poor. In Hyderabad I travelled with 38 year old Chandrashekhar Chakrala who has worked on empowerment of poor women in Andhra Pradesh and more recently with its national expansion in other states.

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The 'missing girls' Phenomenon

In Goa uniquely inviting and welcoming to the rest of India and the world, but not to to its girls and woman which constitutes half its population? Was Portuguese rule better for girls and women than Indian rule? Will young girls from Goa be safer in Bihar?

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Band-Aid Politics

The egocentric Western world view has boosted poverty and inequality. Instead of reshaping the system, the centers of power still support the “colonization of the mind”.

Our world today is a reflection of a world view and consciousness – including values, beliefs, habits, routines, rules and organizations – shaped particularly by the ‘Western world’.

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Drawing a Line Under Poverty in India

It's tempting to ask the World Bank for a few hundred copies of their new study, "Moving Out of Poverty: The Promise of Empowerment and Democracy in India," and mail them to the Prime Minister and every Cabinet minister, minister of state and state chief minister in the nation. Unveiled last week, the study tracks the fate of 30,000 rural Indians in 300 villages in four states from 1995-2005.

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The Taliban Solution

WASHINGTON — A powerful grassroots movement has blossomed in Afghanistan, giving its people new hope, self-esteem and a sense of belonging. The problem is that this movement is the Taliban.

As President Obama and his advisers ponder a new Afghan strategy, the conventional wisdom is that this bottom-up insurgency must be attacked with top-down solutions: a stronger central government, a decline in regional warlordism, a more loyal national army.

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Poverty’s Two-Way Street

The world is agog with tales of the “nouveau poor.” The well-to-do are tightening their belts: Wealthy women are reappearing in the same designer dresses, shoppers are shyly pulling coupons from their pockets, and flying commercial is back in style.

But the rich and the middle class are not the only ones losing money. Millions of poor people around the world have been plunged even further into deep poverty...

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