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Public Seminar: Tobacco and Heart Disease: Countering the Global Threat July 10, 2015

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Presenter: Professor K. Srinath Reddy, President, World Heart Federation and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)
When: Wednesday 22 July 5.30pm to 6.30pm
Where: Legislative Assembly Reception Room, London Circuit, Canberra City (Opposite the Canberra Museum and Gallery)

Having trained in cardiology and epidemiology, Professor Reddy has been involved in several major international and national research studies including the INTERSALT global study of blood pressure and electrolytes, INTERHEART global study on risk factors of myocardial infarction, national collaborative studies on epidemiology of coronary heart disease and community control of rheumatic heart disease. Widely regarded as a leader of preventive cardiology at national and international levels, Professor Reddy has been a researcher, teacher, policy enabler, advocate and activist who has worked to promote cardiovascular health, tobacco control, chronic disease prevention and healthy living across the lifespan. He edited the National Medical Journal of India for 10 years and is on editorial board of several international and national journals. He has more than 400 scientific publications in international and Indian peer reviewed-journals.
Tel: 02 6269 2628

Public welcome

South Asia Masala recommends… April 23, 2015

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Negotiating the politics of knowledge and re-imagining the university

Meera Ashar in converstion with Ashis Nandy at The Australian National University

Ashis Nandy, preeminent cultural and political theorist, has not hesitated to venture into areas previously unvisited by normal social science. His research interests include the political psychology of violence, cultures of knowledge, utopias and visions, and human potentialities and futures. In this video he talks to Dr Meera Ashar about the modern university system and the challenges that it faces.

SAM recommends June 2, 2014

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Narendra Modi rides technological wave to power in India

Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey

Technology alone did not win India’s general election for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Narendra Modi. But it played a huge part, and the surprisingly decisive results mark the country’s full-scale embrace of the digital age. Indian elections will never be the same.

Modi and his party used the spinal cord of India’s remarkable mobile phone network, with its more than 900 million connections, and added Facebook, Twitter, live 3-D “hologram” appearances in country towns and a gang of tech-savvy young enthusiasts. Read the full story: The Age, 27 May 2014.

Assa Doron, College of Asian and the Pacific, Australian National University, and Robin Jeffrey, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, are authors of The Great Indian Phone Book.

Landslide victory history in the making

With the election of Narendra Modi, India faces a critical turning point which could see not only greater prosperity but also sectarian violence, writes Ian Hall, a senior fellow in the Department of International Relations, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

Read the full story 

SAM recommends May 22, 2014

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David Brewster, visiting fellow, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, The Australian National University, examines the geopolitics of the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, the role of India and Australia, and implications for regional cooperation in Indian Ocean maritime security.

‘The geopolitics of flight MH370′, by David Brewster. Pragati, 2 May 2014.

David Brewster is the author of a new book, India’s Ocean: the story of India’s bid for regional leadership.

SAM recommends… September 13, 2012

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An article in East Asia Forum on the recent religious violence in Assam, which draws parallels with the Rohingya issue in neighbouring Myanmar.

SAM recommends… August 23, 2012

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A provocative essay about Gandhi by Perry Anderson appeared in the London Review of Books in July. Ananya Vajpeyi has written a response (Seminar, August 2012)

Also published this month, two interesting angles on India’s national day: “Independence Day: why Partition was a good thing for India”, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, The Economic Times, 16 August, 2012, and “Choosing our symbols”, Sohail Hashmi, The Hindu, 18 August, 2012.

SAM recommends … ‘Indian mining out of control’ June 15, 2012

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Sandy Gordon

Items on corruption surrounding mining in India have featured prominently on this site. In that context, we are now drawing attention to an important new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on corruption in mining and its human consequences.

The HRW report chronicles instances of the Indian mining industry being ‘out of control’ – that is, virtually unsupervised by the state and federal authorities responsible for it. The human and environmental consequenses have been dramatic.

The HRW report also suggests some remedies: upgrade resources in the relevant environmental and forestry departments, which are woefully inadequate; remove responsibility from mining companies for funding and commissioning environmental impact statements (EISs), many of which have been fraudulent; and review past EIS reports, with prosecutions and cessation of mining where they are found to be fraudulent. For the full report, click here and follow the links.

SAM recommends: ‘Reaping gold through cotton, and newsprint’ May 11, 2012

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Sandy Gordon

P. Sainath is a well known journalist whose forte is exposing rural misery. In this detailed and well researched article he deals with a push by Monsanto to have legislation passed to support the introduction of genetically modified cotton seeds, including through good news stories in Sainath’s former paper, The Times of India. Sainath shows the original Times of India story was subsequently ‘cannibalised’ in the form of advertisements.  The stories point to the apparent success of GM cotton in two villages in Maharashtra in preventing farmer suicides and debt, two acute and related problems which many commentators, including P. Sainath, have attributed to globalisation.

In this article, Sainath is able to show that suicides and debt are, indeed, acute problems in the two villages and that the profits claimed for GM cotton are simply absurd.

But the article is much more important than that.

India is caught up in a long-running debate about the supposed benefits and woes of globalisation. Recently the battle ground concerned foreign direct investment in retailing, with a move by Congress, which is a minority in the Lok Sabha, to allow 51 per cent FDI in retailing being overturned in the Parliament – a move widely seen as a signal that India’s economic reform process has stalled.

As to agriculture, India continues to have relatively high sets of agricultural tariffs and a range of other government controls.  Popular concern about farmer suicides and the role of globalisation have played a significant part in maintaining that position. Many economists, however, argue that more, not less, reform of agriculture would be the best medicine against farmer poverty, debt and suicide.

Read P. Sainath’s article here.

SAM recommends …’India: The Next Superpower?’ March 21, 2012

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Two recent works are of great interest to those of us who have traced India’s rise to power over the years.  The pieces question whether India will ever become a superpower, and even if it should aspire to that role.  One is a single authored article by the eminent Indian historian, Ramachandra Guha, titled ‘Democratic to a fault’, and the other a more in-depth analysis by a team put together by the London School of Economics and including Guha, on the subject: ‘India: the next superpower?’.

The pieces argue that India should concentrate on its manifest internal problems of governance and related issues before it can hope to rise as a world power.  These problems have recently been highlighted by the massive 2G scam and other cases of mega-corruption.  Such pathology and corruption is, in turn, closely connected to the social dislocation engendered by poor performance in areas such as nutrition, health and education at the grass-roots.  Failure to share the benefits of development, not so much through lack of policy but more because of issues of governance, has  in its turn been a significant factor in the Maoist insurgency – to take one of a number of available examples – now troubling nearly a third of India’s districts.  And development itself is leading to substantial  environmental problems, which will need to be addressed before India can advance on a sustainable basis.

SAM leaves the reader to judge for herself.  And we would also welcome any opinion or commentary.  For references, see below:

Guha, Ramachandran, 2012, ‘Democratic to a Fault?’, Prospect Magazine, 25 January 2012, as at  http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2012/01/democratic-to-a-fault-ramachandra-guha-indias-future/.

LSE Team: ‘India: The Next Superpower’, as at http://www2.lse.ac.uk/IDEAS/publications/reports/SR010.aspx and follow the links.

South Asia Masala Recommends … November 22, 2011

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A Pakistan spring?

Although one swallow certainly doesn’t make a spring in this case, see this report of an article in the New York Times repeated in the now more accessible Indian Express.  It deals with two very different Pakistani video clips, both of which have gone ‘viral’. As the piece points out, while originating from opposite ends of the political spectrum, each illustrates the current dissatisfaction within Pakistan’s enormous youth ‘bulge’ with the government, corruption and general use of conspiracy theories to explain all Pakistan’s ills.  As the friend who passed this on remarked of the video mocking the military and misuse of religion: “what guts.  Let’s hope they get to keep them …” But judge for yourself.  First read the article in the first link then watch the video.