Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nokia worker dies trapped in faulty machine

S Ambika, a 22 year old woman factory-worker, was a permanent employee of Nokia Telecom Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Sriperumbadur in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, India. Her agonising death was due to a fatal accident at a panel loading machine in the factory.

Only a power shutdown could have stopped the system, a decision no one was willing to take. Agitated workers asked the technicians to break the machine so that Ambika could be taken out, but the line managers dismissed the demand by saying that the “machine was too costly”. Fifteen minutes after Ambika was taken to the hospital, all the faulty sensors were rectified, Ambika’s bloodied machine was cleaned and workers were ordered to resume work. Agitated workers were told that the company will incur losses if they stop the work. Ambika died later in the night.

Ambika, like rest of her fellow workers, risked accidents daily on these machines when the magazine rack on which the metal panels are loaded gets stuck many times a day. Ambika was working on the loader machine, which loads metal panels into a magazine rack which then moves through a conveyor belt into a blade (metal box). It is a closed loop system that works through sensors. For each such cycle, 100 mobiles are produced. At around 6.45 pm on 31st Oct, Ambika’s machine jammed. The conveyor belt got stuck and the sensor stopped functioning. “Out of 25 such assembly line machines, which are all new models, 8 machines have been regularly getting stuck atleast 20 times a shift due to malfunctioning of the sensors”, informed some of the assembled Nokia workers outside Apollo. “We have repeatedly complained to the technicians and the line managers about this for past several months. But they have not paid any attention. They are aware that we were risking our lives everyday.”

When Ambika put her head inside under the metal box to pull the magazine rack, the conveyor belt came unstuck. Immediately the sensor started functioning and the blade (metal box) came down to load the panels. The process was so quick that before Ambika could pull her head out, the metal box fell on her head and neck. The machine got jammed again, this time with Ambika’s head inside it. Ambika could not reach the emergency button behind the small door on the machine. Even if she could have, the button would not have helped as the blade would have come down to its ‘ideal’ position before stopping.  Alarmed co-workers called the technicians who for 25 minutes could not figure out how to get Ambika’s head out of the machine. Nor were tools available which could pry open the blade. In those 25 minutes Ambika fainted bleeding from her nose and mouth. Her neck had got crushed under the metal box. 

“We keep working like machines in these assembly lines. We have to meet our production targets at all costs. Injuries are very common. In the stamping room, hand injury is very common where fingers get crushed inside the stamping machines” said one of the workers. “It depends on the demand for a particular model. For model no. 1616 we need to assemble 40,000 handsets per day, for some models it can be 12,000 sets per day”.

Nokia’s Sriperumbadur plant produces the largest number of mobile handsets in the world. The unit, capable of producing 7.5 lakhs units per day, has produced about 350 million units since the production started in 2006 as reported by Economics Times in June 2010. Grief stricken and in a state of shock, Ambika’s parents, farm labourers from Puttithangal village in Vellore district, stood outside the hospital waiting to take their dead daughter’s body home. Nokia management had not even informed the parents about their daughter’s accident till late in the night. Under pressure from the trade unions, Nokia finally conceded to give compensation of Rs 10 lakhs and a job to a family member.

Ironically Nokia’s website claims that the Sriperumbadur plant has ‘world class’ safety systems and has been designed keeping in mind ‘worker’s safety’. Joint investigation launched by the State Labour Commissioner and Factories Inspectorate is yet to come out with its findings of the accident. No action has been taken against the management and maybe it never will. Similar investigations of accidents in Sriperumbadur area, the SEZ heartland of Tamil Nadu, haven’t even yielded a single report let alone action against any company. In July this year, 200 workers in the assembling unit of Taiwanese MNC Foxconn India Private Limited, which supplies mobile components to Nokia suddenly fell unconscious while working inside the factory in two different shifts. A few vomited blood and complained of giddiness, some suffered breathlessness, coughing, pain in the chest. They complained of ’poisonous gas leak’ inside the factory. Some of the workers had to be hospitalised for 15 days. A team of ‘experts’ led by Chief Inspector of Factories (CIF) investigating the incidence could not ascertain what caused the workers to faint. A shoddy government investigation attributed the ‘probable’ cause to a pesticide leak during a pest control operation. The CIF team gave a clean chit to the factory which reopened within a few days after being shut temporarily.

It left one wondering if it were indeed a pesticide leak then how did the management allow pest control operations while hundreds of workers were inside the factory? Foxconn management went unaccounted for exposing their workers to unsafe work conditions. Till date the real reason behind the incidence is not known.“There are accidents everyday in these SEZ units in Sriperumbadur and Oragadam. These hi-tech multinational companies flout safety conditions and labour regulations on a daily basis. In most cases accidents are not recorded or registered. These companies are getting away with murder. How can you say that an accident has taken place if it does not even get registered?” asked Soundararajan, state general secretary of Centre for Indian Trade Union (CITU).

Complaints of striking women workforce of Chinese company Build Your Own Dreams (BYD) Electronics India (P) Ltd, another supplier to Nokia in the neighbouring Oragadam industrial area, are a testimony to the sweatshop-like working conditions in some of these factories. BYD workers have 12-hour work shifts, with very little breaks in between, and no holidays for weeks. Workers are made to work even on festivals and national holidays. Worse still, they suffer all manner of injuries such as heat blisters in their hands due to handling of hot mobile covers while taking them out of the moulding machines manually. Loss of fingers and hand injuries are common accidents amongst workers, for which no compensation is given, only medical treatment in some private hospital is provided by the company.

Workers from Caparo, a fully owned subsidiary of Caparo UK, also allege that when they are injured at work, the company immediately gives them a notice of negligence at work without any investigation.

“We are told we have ESI (Employees State Insurance), but we do not have cards or ESI numbers, we don’t even know where the ESI hospital is,” lamented a woman worker who has been on strike in front of the factory  since October  28. “We face hostile attitude from the line supervisors. They use abusive language when we spend a few extra minutes in the bathrooms during our menstruation. In the assembly section, we cannot even leave our spot even to go to the bathrooms till someone else replaces us”, complained another worker.

BYD has over 50% women workforce, but all the supervisors and managers are men. “Women workers from Salcomp, a Nokia component supplier inside Nokia Telecom SEZ have privately complained to us about sexual harassment and poor working conditions inside the factory. Workers from American company Sanmina-SCI have told us of similar situation. But they all are too scared to come out openly and lodge complaints. The work situation is hostile in these SEZs,” said Soundararajan.

Incidences of accidents and poor working conditions abound in Sriperumbadur area. Hyundai Motor India’s car manufacturing facility in Irungattukottai had seen seven workers severely injured in a fire in the paint shop in 2008. The accident happened nine months after four workers died in the factory while cleaning the tank which stored waste paints. For a region with more than 200 industries, the lack of adequate health facilities in the area is quite startling, not to say alarming. The local private hospitals are hardly equipped to treat any major accidents as it happened in Ambika’s case or the Foxconn gas leak.It is interesting to note that Apollo hospital is now planning to set up a 60 bedded hospital inside Nokia Telecom SEZ. It has sought exemption from the central Board of Approval in Ministry of Commerce for a waiver to treat patients from outside SEZs.

Ambika’s tragic death and the stories of working conditions in this rapidly industrialising town have thrown up a lot of issues regarding the worth of a worker’s life.  The morning after Ambika’s death, listening to workers narrating their work woes outside Apollo hospital reminded one of scenes from Charlie Chaplin’s famous movie Modern Times, which showcased the desperate economic situation during the Great Depression,  a direct consequence, as many have argued, of the ‘efficiencies of modern industrialisation’. Similar scenes seem to be playing out again 70 years later in these hi-tech modern industrial zones of Tamil Nadu. Efficiency and production target is given primacy over safety and dignity of the workers. The only difference being that here women are main protaganists–over 70% of the workforce in this area are women.

Source: Ambika’s Death: Madhumita Dutta & Venkatachandrika Radhakrishnan

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fishermen-turned-garment workers demand fair wages

Operations at the Brandix Apparel City (BAC) in Vizag came to a standstill as villagers from Pudimadaka staged a protest at the site demanding a hike in their salary. The apparel city employs over 6,000 people, mostly women, in its six units. Of these, 300 are from Pudimadaka village. Since they had to give up their land for the special economic zone, these villagers, who were basically fishermen, were given jobs in ACL Apparels of the Brandix group a year ago for a salary of Rs 3,150 per month.

Though the management has agreed to hike the salary according to the Labour Act, the workers are demanding Rs 5,000 per month. On Thursday, they staged a dharna in front of the premises. To scatter the mob, police resorted to lathicharge in which about six workers were injured. To protest this and to support the workers of Pudimadaka, today more than 2,000 villagers gathered at the apparel city with sticks and stones and stopped other workers from entering the units. This brought the entire operations to a standstill.

This is the same place where fishermen in 2008 had protested against laying of a pipeline by Brandix to release discharge from its effluent treatment plant into the sea.

Read more

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why are we recalling this man?

The Indian government's reaction to the Anil Verma row seems typically South Asian. "Hush it up, it's between them" etc rather than take the upfront legal path. The Indian High Commission in London's first reaction underlines this. "It involves sensitive and personal issues pertaining to the individuals. It is premature to make any further comment at this stage." [Domestic violence in India]

Anil Verma, a 1986-batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre and third-ranked diplomat in the Indian High Commission, is accused of assaulting his wife. Verma's wife Paromita, covered in blood, was found screaming by neighbours on December 11. When the police arrived, 45-year-old Verma, a minister in the Indian mission, claimed diplomatic immunity and escaped action. Verma, an IAS officer from the West Bengal cadre, had earlier worked in Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's office when the Congress leader was India's Foreign Minister.

However, UK is not buying this route. “The Foreign Office does not tolerate diplomats working in the UK breaking the law,” said a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Spokesperson. Foreign Office officials met staff of the Indian High Commission in London to discuss the matter and to emphasise the serious nature of the allegations. British High Commission staff in Delhi also met officials of the Ministry of External Affairs. Yesterday, UK asked India to waive the diplomatic immunity for Verma, saying it does not tolerate envoys working in the UK breaking the law. “We can confirm that we have formally requested the waiver of diplomatic immunity for a diplomat posted at the Indian High Commission in London”, the spokesperson said.

India, however, has vetoed the request, stating precedent and common practice, to establish that a diplomat is to be tried according to the laws of his or her country. Verma was transferred back to India on Sunday. In addition, the government sources say that the transfer orders also apply to Paromita Verma since she's on a diplomatic passport. The Daily Mail reported over the weekend that Verma's wife, Paromita, has gone into hiding with their young son, fearing reprisals from her husband for going public on the matter.

One wonders if any criminal action will be taken against Verma once he is home and dry.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Swami Asimananda: Abdul Kaleem had been made to suffer for my wrong work

‘The Muslim boy Kaleem pierced my conscience. I understood that love between two human beings is more powerful than the hatred between two communities’

Swami Asimananda had devoted his life to the cause of ‘Hindutva.’ After setting up the Shabri Dham Ashram in 1997, he worked zealously at reconverting tribal Christians into Hinduism. He regularly mobilised violent mobs, attacked Christian missionaries and captured their churches. According to reports, Asimananda had forcibly occupied over two dozen churches in Dangs. At one point he had even refused to listen to the pleas of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had reportedly asked him to refrain from violence and coercion while carrying out the anti-conversion work. But in a curious twist of fate — and in a development that no investigative agency could ever have anticipated or imagined — this intractable zealot was profoundly transformed by a chance encounter in prison with a courteous young Muslim man, wrongly arrested and tortured for the Mecca Masjid blast — a blast, which in truth, the Swami and his co-conspirators had committed. Intensely moved and gripped by a desire for penance, Swami Asimananda apparently requested a confession before a magistrate. “I know I may be served a death sentence for this, but I still want to confess,” he told the magistrate. Published by TEHELKA last week, this confession, which is the first legal evidence to show the involvement of RSS pracharaks in the Malegaon 2006 and Samjhauta Express blasts, has had wideranging political and diplomatic impact. But this was not all. In an astonishing gesture, apart from his confession before the magistrate, Swami Asimananda also wrote to the President of India and the President of Pakistan, admitting to his crimes and detailing the encounter with the Muslim boy that changed his heart. “Abdul Kaleem pierced my conscience,” he wrote. “After all, he had been made to suffer for my wrong work. I understood that love between two human beings is more powerful than the hatred between two communities.” 

After TEHELKA published Asimananda’s confession last week, several Hindutva apologists asserted the confession was coerced out of him. His counsel also belatedly asserted — 20 days after the event had taken place — that the confession was false and would be retracted. But the letters to the Presidents of India and Pakistan give the lie to all that. Swami Asimananda wrote them two days after he made the confession under Section 164 of CRPC. He had given these letters on a jail visit to his brother to post. TEHELKA procured them from him. The tone and tenor of these letters exactly match his confession. However, his lawyer did not mention them last week as part of the CBI’s alleged coercion. These letters present a fresh challenge to those who would deny all that Swami Asimananda has confessed to. TEHELKA wrote to the office of the President of India seeking a confirmation that they had received the letter. At the time of going to press, the President’s office had yet not responded.

Terror, it seems, has finally fallen prey to something mightier than it: the power of human conscience.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Most elected women reps put their signatures, while their menfolk retain power

However, there are exceptions. Like Amarbati Markam.

Amarbati is a young Gond tribal woman from Dindori district in Eastern Madhya Pradesh. She had been leading a typical rural housewife's life till suddenly there came an unexpected upheaval in 2009. Panchayat elections were announced and this time around 50% of the seats were reserved for women. The Panch seat from the ward in which she resides in her village Jata Dongri of Samnapur Panchayat was reserved for women. Her family members decided to put her up as a candidate as she was slightly school educated. She campaigned and won the seat. However, she had no idea as to what the duties of a Panch were beyond putting her signature to proposals in the Panchayat meetings.
Then Amarbati was selected for training by The Hunger Project. This organisation in partnership with various NGOs works intensively to train elected women representatives of Panchayats throughout the country. There is first a residential training course and then the trainees are provided support in their work as Panches after they return to their villages. Amarbati learnt about the various laws and rules of Panchayati Raj and the political techniques of getting community work done through the Panchayats. She became the confident and articulate woman seen in the picture below.
However, when she returned to her village and tried to implement all that she had learned for the development of her community she came up against the intransigence of the Panchayat Secretary. This worthy who is appointed by the government to help the elected representatives to carry out development works in the Panchayat instead in most cases works so as to further his own development and that of his superior officers in the Janpad Panchayat to the detriment of the people in the Panchayat.
A dour battle then ensued and Amarbati marshalled the other eight women panchayat ward members and filed a complaint against the corrupt practices of the Panchayat Secretary to the Subdivisional Magistrate. When this did not work she went with her team of women panchayat members to the District Collector and complained to him in writing with support from The Hunger Project. After repeated petitioning supported by documentary evidence of corruption by the Panchayat Secretary the Collector finally removed him from service.
This is a huge achievement by Amarbati and her co-panchayat members and its great importance can only be gauged in the context of the reality that prevails with regard to Panchayati Raj in Madhya Pradesh. Dindori like Alirajpur district where the Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath is active is a Schedule Five Tribal Area and so in accordance with the provisions of the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act 1996, the Gram Sabha or general body is the most powerful body in Panchayati Raj. However, taking advantage of the illiteracy and general lack of awareness of the tribals the Chief Executive Officer of the Janpad Panchayats at the Block level through their minions, of whom the last link with the citizens is the Panchayat Secretary, effectively wields all the powers and together these officials defalcate funds at will. The Panchayat Secretaries are paid only Rupees Two Thousand Five Hundred a month as salaries. Yet they do not reside in the Panchayats but in the nearest market villages or the Block headquarters where they have built big pucca houses and commute occasionally to the Panchayats by motorcycle. The big house of the Panchayat Secretary of Umrali Panchayat in Sondwa Block of Alirajpur district is shown below.
The Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath has been waging a long drawn battle against the corrupt Panchayat bureaucracy for quite some time now and has managed to remove only two Secretaries so far. The main reason for this lack of success is that the corrupt Panchayat bureaucracy manages to coopt the elected Sarpanches or Panchayat Chairpersons and Panches into the system of graft and so thwart the decisions of the Gram Sabha. Thus, Amarbati's determination and success in the face of this kind of corrupt intransigence on the part of the Panchayat bureaucracy that must be there in her area also in getting her Panchayat Secretary removed is indeed a commendable achievement. All the more so because most elected women representatives throughout the country just put their signatures and it is their men folk who actually exercise their powers due to the overwhelming patriarchy that rules rural Indian society. This is anarchist and feminist activism of the highest quality. There are lakhs of women Panches and Sarpanches throughout the country but very few of them are provided with the training and later support that Amarbati has got due to the intervention of The Hunger Project. Otherwise Panchayati Raj in this country and especially in tribal areas would have transformed the face of the rural countryside and the lot of its oppressed women.

Source: a wonderful blog by an irreverent but cheerful sceptic

If we preach to people that they are helpless, we make them helpless

An interview with Elinor Ostrom
by Rukmini Shrinivasan

What are the implications for commons governance when people who use common resources neither live in the area of the resources nor own them? 

The presumption has been that poor people don't have any knowledge and they shouldn't have any authority. But we find that when poor people have reasonable forms of authority, they frequently - not always - do a much better job than if you have a top-down solution. This is why i very strongly support indigenous people's movements in India. I'm not trying to say that all mines are bad, but i object to this form of organising which is intended purely to help the entry of mining companies into rural areas. But it's also naive to assume that once the communities are given rights through NGOs, they can just be left on their own to negotiate with well-experienced negotiators as has happened in places like Bolivia. We can't romanticise something that worked 500 years ago by saying it's going to work in developed economies. We're going to have to innovate and find new ways of doing these things.

Since the effects of environmental damage are not necessarily felt locally, are we going to need several layers of environmental governance? 

The only unit of environmental governance so far has been seen to be the international. I and many other people who have worked in the field are challenging this, and saying that a lot of environmental governance should be taking place at the local level, that is, the community and even the individual level. Even emissions reductions can happen at the local level, if local-level incentives are offered. My country, the United States, is irresponsible as heck and it makes me very angry, but if i sit around yelling at elected officials all day, then that's irresponsible too. The risks of not acting are catastrophic.

Are you encouraged by the fact that indigenous people's rights, environmental concerns and the developmental logic are being contested so vociferously in India? 

I hope 10 years from now we can really get the sense that we've moved ahead and indigenous people's rights have been well represented and indigenous people now have more effective rights rather than just paper. I'm encouraged to see that with the Indian Forest Rights Act (FRA), for example, some communities are using it to have their rights recognised. However, others don't even know about it. I'm against the FRA if it is seen as a panacea, because i'm against panaceas. We have to get away from the notion that top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions always work.

As the first woman to win the Nobel prize in economics, do you think things need to change for women in academia? 

I came from a generation where women in academia really had to struggle hard. I was told repeatedly that i should not be in academia and should not teach, that my place was "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen". I didn't take no for an answer and struggled. Fortunately, my early experiences taught me not to be dissuaded and to stand up for my rights, which is why i'm always talking about 'empowering'. And that's what we need for some aspects of this problem. If we preach to people that they are helpless, we make them helpless.

Read more: 'My country, the United States, is irresponsible as heck'

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Obesity now appears alongside malnutrition in the developing world

Two of the greatest issues facing humanity are hunger and obesity. "Perhaps, most bizarrely, obesity now appears alongside malnutrition in the developing world....Food, its production, distribution and consumption are receiving more attention than ever before. Talk of food crises is appearing in all major media outlets and debate still rages on over the collapse of the Doha round of the World Trade Organisation in 2008. As affluent customers agonise over food miles, millions still struggle to command a basic diet. Quite clearly, the paradox that exists within the global food system is one that the world urgently needs to resolve.”

Through her teaching, research, articles and publications, Dr Liz Young, Senior Lecturer in Geography at Staffordshire University, UK, is increasing the understanding of these inextricably linked problems and encouraging changes that might reduce some of the worst aspects of our contemporary diets. 

“My work is all about food and what people eat,” she says. “Specifically, it is about why some people have too much food and others have too little. My teaching explores the geography behind the supermarket shelves and the networks that link us and our food to people and places around the world. Most importantly, it examines the implications of global dietary changes over recent decades. I try to understand why and how diets have changed and investigate whether these changes are good for us, others and the environment. I also investigate how today’s changing diets in China, India and Asia are resulting in a greater incidence of the so-called ‘diseases of affluence. The most blatant weakness of our current food system is that it fails to feed approximately one billion people adequately each year, yet manages to overfeed 800 million people worldwide,” she adds. 

Read More

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I am still alive

Amitava Kumar on the reality of being a poet in Ahmedabad

Aqeel Shatir writes poetry in Urdu. He has five children. He owns a STD/PCO (telephone call) shop, but this is barely enough to make ends meet. His father was a weaver and, when Aqeel was still a boy, the family migrated to Ahmedabad where the father found work in a textile mill.

The poet has now been asked to pay for an anti-Narendra Modi remark by another writer, in his anthology, Abhi Zindaa Hoon Main (I Am Still Alive).

Abhi zindaa hoon main, dekho meri pehchaan baaki hai
Badan zakhmi hai lekin abhi mujhmein jaan baaki hai
Tum apni hasraton ko zaalimon marne nahin dena
Shahadat ka mere dil mein abhi armaan baaki hai
I am still alive, the person I was is left in me 
This body is wounded but there is still life left in me 
You, my killers, don’t let your ambitions die 
The desire for martyrdom is still left in me.

The Gujarat Urdu Sahitya Akademi had issued a notice to Shatir last month, asking him to explain why he shouldn’t have to return the award of Rs. 10,000 that he had been given to assist in the publication of his 2008 collection. The reason for this notice, apparently, was the presence of a few lines in a critical essay about Shatir’s poetry included in the volume. The essay’s writer, Raunaq Afroz, had been critical of Modi in these lines which I offer in an approximate translation: “May good come the way of Narendra Modi who, as soon as he came to power, killed Urdu in Gujarat. Not only did he do that, but in 2002, under a well-thought-out plan for the whole of Gujarat, Modi played so nakedly with violence and barbaric riots that he shamed the whole of humanity. Everywhere, with loot and killings, murder and mayhem, rape, burning and genocide of the minority community, he created a climate of terror in the entire country.”

At the book’s release function, an official from the Akademi advised that these words should perhaps be whitened out. Without much hesitation, Shatir deleted those lines and got the page reprinted. Only the copies that had been inscribed and distributed at the release function retained the attack on Modi. The copies in the market, about four hundred in all, came out in the new format. That, perhaps, would have been the end of the story. But earlier this year, Shatir began to file, under the Right to Information Act, a series of official inquiries into the accounting practices of the Gujarat Urdu Sahitya Akademi. He told me he had first submitted sixteen questions and then, perhaps a bit eccentrically, a hundred and thirty-five questions. The recent notice against him was a way that the Akademi had found to tell him to desist. The debate over Modi was almost a diversion: the real struggle was about transparency and access to funds.

I asked him if he thought his work was compromised when he cut the passage from his book that the Akademi member had found troubling. “This gentleman was an elder,” Shatir said to me, “and I didn’t think anything would be lost if the words were cut.” So much for my concern about censorship!

And Narendra Modi? Were Raunaq Afroz’s words about his role in the riots incorrect? “No,” Shatir replied, “Raunaq Afroz’s views were no different from my own. And yet, if one were to remove that one page about the riots from the book of Modi’s history, it could be said that Gujarat had never found a better Chief Minister.” I thought he was being very kind to Modi and decided to test his limits. I said to Shatir that Modi might have been responsible for the death of Muslims, but was there any evidence that he had also killed Urdu. Again, Shatir was forthright. He said, “If the Muslim is killed, then his tongue, his zubaan, will die too.”

Which made me think, again, of Shatir’s declaration: “Abhi zindaa hoon main.” I had begun to think that in his fight with the Akademi, we were seeing a poet in distress. A poor man wanting, demanding, his share of public funds. That might still be true. But let’s also ask in what circumstances would a declaration about being merely alive appear even significant? When he was reciting his lines on the phone, I tried to imagine Shatir reading them at a mushaira in Ahmedabad to an audience of riot victims. Think for a moment about the atmosphere at such a gathering in Gujarat where people, listening to a man reciting poems in Urdu, hear that despite the injury done to them they are still very much alive.

Source: Kafila guest post by AMITAVA KUMAR

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Migrant Bias

Your car is Japanese. Your pizza is Italian. Your potato is German. Your wine is Chilean. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Colombian. Your tea is Darjeeling. Your watch is Swiss. Your fashion is French/Italian. Your shirt is Indian. Your shoes are Thai. Your radio is Korean. Your vodka is Russian. And then you complain: your neighbor is an immigrant? Pull yourself together! 

Read more on this issue: 
Neelabh Mishra on the prejudice against migrants