“Zero Harm”: Minutes of Vedanta Resources' 2017 AGM

 

Foil Vedanta

This year was Vedanta's 14th AGM, since registering on the London Stock Exchange in December 2003, and the 14th year that dissident shareholders have attended the meeting to hold the company to account for their environmental and human rights abuses. The minutes published by activist shareholders every year, documenting the company's response to these, and other questions, represent important disclosures on Vedanta's operations, finances and legal issues. Please spread them far and wide!

vedanta1

In the beginning

1. After lengthy introductory remarks, the Chair, Anil Agarwal, opened the meeting. He called 2017 a year of great potential for Vedanta, noting they were now the sixth largest diversified resources company.  He claimed that since 2003 the group has returned over £2 billion to shareholders, and heralded Vedanta’s  positioning, because India and Africa give a unique opportunity for growth. While other companies look to China, he said, Vedanta has India, which is the fastest growing country in the world. Vedanta claims to be one of the biggest tax payers in India. By way of demonstrating his political connections in India, Mr. Agarwal noted he was able to join the Indian State visit to South Africa.

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What's caste? What's reservation?

 

Vinay Shende

Every few days, there are news and reports that come out telling us that SC/ST/OBC students committed suicide or dropped-out from College/ University due to Caste discrimination. Many of the students may not have a complete knowledge or awareness of issues like Caste/Reservation. Many students hear of taunts of Reservation right from Day one, when they enter college. Jokes float around. Heated debates go on. The SC/ST/OBC students find it difficult to react to these. Either, they go silent and completely hide their identity, or they get aggressive while responding to it. Both these reactions have many emotions and this leads to energy being spent on this rather than on academics.

Keeping this in mind, Bahujan Career Professionals (BCP), a small organization aimed at guiding young Bahujans in their careers, tried to discuss with young people of the Institute of Chemical Engineering (ICT), Mumbai, India on the 19th of August,2017. Overall about 13 students all from SC/ST/OBC backgrounds attended it.

Vonay BCP1

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The lifeless life of JNU’s politics

Ankit Kawade

ankit w I do not feel the need of reading the parchas of political organisations anymore. I think I will be speaking in tune with a lot of other students who feel similarly. The environment of disappointment, disenchantment, alienation, even hatred against the way the union has functioned last year is starkly visible and audible on the campus today. If the ruling union thinks this description is a wishful thinking of a few students, then one can only feel sorry for them. The levels of disgust against the compromises and step-backs of the union are harmful enough; what is infinitely worse is the distance one feels with all forms of political protest on the campus today. 

 The indifferent turning away of the necks at the sparse rehearsed shouting at the ad-block is visual proof for everybody who wished every passerby to heed to the appeal of common interest, yet walked on. Walking back to our hostels after every march seemed only to replicate the indifference of every passerby who did not- would not- show any interest. It takes special skills to lie to oneself of the meaning and necessity of even bothering about all this, it concerns our future yes, but why does fighting for our futures have to lead us to such a sorry feeling?

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Altering the language of Justice: State violence and Legal battles

 

Lakshmi KTP

lakshmiforartiIn a deepening environment of utter dissatisfactions, depression, and negativity with the present state of affairs in the country with the Hindu state and its Brahmanic rule, it is important to talk about what solidarities should mean. It is very natural for one to stay back and say that there is nothing we can do because of the unimaginable enormity of the enemy and lose our 'hope' in the judiciary, state and the human rights discourse itself. One can be very secular and liberal in their beliefs and stay away from the matters of state. Because the very secular state makes them more or less immune to state indulgence as they are not impending 'threats' to the national security. They are not Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis or physically as well as multiply-disabled, those who are termed to be in need of the state "protection."

Some questions of anguish are emerging from people who believe themselves to be engaging in protests against the state violence on 'individuals': Why do these people still believe in the judiciary? What gives them hope in human rights discourse? Why Abdul Nasar Madani has to still 'cling' onto his belief in the judicial system of India? Why should Hadiya seek legitimacy for her conversion and marriage in front the same state which 'victimizes' her? These are questions that provide utter hopelessness and negativity to the whole movement and transformative political engagements that are happening now. One is forced to lose hope in slower legal struggles and live in the dreams of 'radical' changes. One has to understand on a deeper level, the engagements of these 'individual victims' with the state and legality. It is always easy to ascribe victimhood, but it is also important to know what do they 'do' as active agents and citizens of a country in transforming the very language of justice that is in use.

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An Open Letter to the IIM Leadership

 

IIM Directors Meeting, 28th August 2017: An Open Letter to the IIM Leadership

Dear IIM Directors:

RE: IIM Directors Meeting, 28th August 2017: An Open Letter

We would like to introduce ourselves as Siddharth Joshi and Deepak Malghan. Joshi is a Fellow of IIM Bangalore (2017) and Malghan is on the faculty at IIM Bangalore. However, we write this to you in our personal capacities.

 As part of your packed agenda for the IIM Directors meeting on August 28th 2017, you are also slated to discuss the doctoral programmes at IIMs (currently called the Fellow Program in Management, or the FPM). We want to bring to your attention years of willful circumvention of constitutional mandates and statutory provisions governing admissions at public institutions such as IIMs. FPM admissions have for a number of years turned a blind eye to questions of diversity and social inclusion. One direct consequence of the IIM FPM programmes not making a concerted effort to recruit a socially diverse doctoral student body is the utter lack of diversity on the faculty bodies at various IIMs. Of the over five hundred faculty members at IIMs where data is available, only two are from the SC group, and reportedly IIMs currently do not have any representation from the ST group on its faculty. IIMs are not only "consumers," but also "producers" of management faculty. A third of all current IIM faculty members received their doctoral training within the IIM system. This proportion of IIM-trained faculty will only go up in the next several years as newer IIMs expand their faculty and the FPM programmes themselves expand (as discussed in the IIM Directors meeting with the HRD Minister, Shillong, September 2016). Had IIMs paid attention to questions of diversity and inclusion in the FPM programme, the acute diversity deficit on the faculty bodies would have been surely less stark.

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Independence for whom?

 

Parth Shrimali

parth shrimaliOn 14th August, a day before the 71st Independence Day, a Dalit man was assaulted in Sojitra village in Anand district of Gujarat for skinning a dead cow. Earlier this year, in May, caste violence led to the torching of 25 Dalit houses by Rajput men in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. In July 2016, 4 Dalit youth were flogged for skinning a dead cow in Una, Gujarat. A month later, two Dalits were beaten up in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh for skinning a cow, killed due to electrocution.

Over the course of the last 70 years, India has made tremendous progress. From a country that could barely feed its own people to a potential economic giant, India has engineered a dramatic turnaround of its fortunes. Yet, 70 years later, the question that continues to persist is this - prosperity, development and independence for whom?

On the question of Dalits

Violent attacks on Dalits are hardly anything new. Newspapers are rife with reports of assaults against Dalits, either by riots or by the ritualistic protection of Savarna 'honour' which often translates into death for Dalit men and rape for Dalit women. More repulsive than the grisly nature of these acts of violence are the reasons which 'provoke' these and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators.

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Women's Empowerment: History and Policy

 

Rahul Pagare

rahul pagareIt was 1848 AD when India got its first woman educator in the form of "Savitribai Phule". This year marks the rise of women's empowerment in India as Savitribai Phule busted the social norm that a woman cannot be educated. The impact of this movement was so profound that 100 years later, India, as a nation accepted the leadership of a woman and Indira Gandhi, was sworn as the first female prime minister of India. It is said that sky is the limit, but the term "women's empowerment" broke that thought and Kalpana Chawla became the first Indian woman to travel in space. All these activities are the fruits of women's empowerment.

Women's empowerment as a concept was introduced at the UN's Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985, which defined it as a redistribution of social and economic powers and control of resources in favor of women. The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNDFW) includes the following factors in its definition of women's empowerment.

 Acquiring knowledge and understanding of gender relations and the way in which these relations may be changed.

 Developing a sense of self-worth, a belief in one's ability to secure desired changes and the right to control one's life.

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