Sarayu Pani Profile picture
Dreamer, do-littler and ex-lawyer, she/her
22 Feb
On March 3, 1921, Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Shaukat Ali visited the Nankana Sahib Gurudwara near Lahore. They dropped everything relating to non-cooperation on receiving a wire that informed them of the massacre and rushed to Lahore.

Gandhi spoke to the congregation.
"It seems almost unbelievable that not a man died at the hands of the Akali party. Did not the brave men who were armed with kirpans and battle-axes retaliate even in self-defence? If they did not, it is an event that must electrify the whole world."
"I hope that you will not take the credit of the bravery for the Sikhs only, but that you will regard it as an act of national bravery. The martyrs have died not to save their own faith merely but to save all religions from impurity."
Read 5 tweets
30 Dec 20
Looking at the stories coming out of China, it’s increasingly clear that we were rather shortsighted in 1999 in fighting to keep labour standards out of the mandate of the WTO.

A thread
In 1996, in the inaugural WTO ministerial in Singapore the US tried to introduce what would be called a “social clause” in multilateral trade agreements. This would make certain labour standards mandatory in all member countries.

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The motion failed in Singapore. It was defeated mostly by developing countries who saw it as a means to negate their low cost labour advantage. They argued it amounted to using labour standards as a form of protectionism.

(An understandable argument at the time.)

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Read 17 tweets
28 Dec 20
Leaving aside the rather childish retort at the end, there are some flaws in this common line of thinking that I’d like to address.

Thread

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It basically starts from the belief that an electoral mandate legitimises all legislative actions by the government.

It doesn’t. First, we have anti- defection laws and limited scope for MPs to vote against the party position on anything.

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Second, consultation and convincing stakeholders (ideally prior to enacting the laws) is an important part of the any legislative process which should never be skipped or bulldozed, no matter what the majority is.

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Read 8 tweets
12 Dec 20
Ok, quick question: how many people rely on the PDS today? 67% of our population - that’s right. Over 900 million people. Anything that affects this is pretty terrifying, right?

Read on

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(Remember that in addition to the PDS, all of us rely on some sort of price control over food. That’s why we are all conditioned to protest to the government about rising onion prices.)

But how exactly does the government manage the PDS and control prices?

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First, procurement and MSP. Originally, this covered only rice and wheat - this now covers a series of other food crops, including pulses and oils. The state procures specified produce at a “minimum support price” announced at the beginning of each season.

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Read 22 tweets
12 Dec 20
Ok, out of curiosity (and nerdiness) I looked at 2014 NCRB data. That's just a year picked randomly (within the years looked at in the Ravi paper).

The NCRB does do the sensible thing, and further breaks down farmer suicides into sub categories

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Poverty, illness, marriage related issues (I'm assuming this includes dowry harassment), family problems, farming issues including crop failure, indebtedness, fall in social reputation, alcohol abuse and other causes.
Economic distress manifests in different ways. The last straw for different farmers killing themselves might be different - illness without the option to stop working, family harassment, alcohol addiction, fall in social reputation, indebtedness, crop failure etc

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Read 4 tweets
12 Dec 20
Ok, I actually read the paper and maybe I missed it but it doesn’t seem to ask the question of what % of these housewives come from farming households.

How do you build this entire argument without addressing that?
Housewives certainly do an incredible amount of work, but it’s unpaid. So analysing them as a seperate occupation without looking at their source of family income (I.e. what does the breadwinner do?) seems like a pretty big omission here?
She goes on to talk about the leading reasons for suicide as “family problems” and “illness” but completely refuses to engage with the fact that both of these factors can be and often are linked to a lack of economic well-being.

So puzzling!
Read 5 tweets
12 Dec 20
In 2019, a law firm that worked for Adani Australia faced investigation by the Australian legal services commission for saying they will use the legal system to "wage war" on people threatening Adani- it was termed the "trained attack dog strategy"

abc.net.au/news/2019-02-2…
Since then, their lawyers in Australia have hounded activists, with legal charge after legal charge to the point of bankruptcy.

sbs.com.au/news/adani-ban…
They've tried to barge into activists homes

theweek.in/news/biz-tech/…
Read 4 tweets
12 Dec 20
So basically now tweeting against Adani and/or coal is also an attempt to destabilise the country? And the government should intervene?

Terrifying stuff. They're literally calling a tweet-storm a plan by "outside forces"

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Also, if they're convinced a cyber crime has been committed, shouldn't they should file an FIR? Why are they writing to the union government?
I mean, how do you say "look, people on twitter are falsely calling us crony capitalists" and then immediately urge the government to treat an attack on your company as an attack on the stability of the state??
Read 4 tweets
10 Dec 20
The interesting thing about the new farmer protest slogan, apart from Adani and Ambani is the focus on "Jamakhori" or hoarding.

Thread
We became independent barely 4 years after the Bengal Famine of 1943, which killed between 2.1 and 3 million people in Bengal alone.

Amartya Sen demonstrated that the famine was not driven by food availability. Rice supply was in fact exceptionally high in 1942.
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The initial price rise was due to war related inflation - essentially the British printed a ton of notes to cover war expenses. These were spent in the urban areas, which pushed food prices up.

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Read 11 tweets
6 Dec 20
The KRRS has also been protesting since September - hopefully they’ll be heard more now

citytoday.news/karnataka-band…
Remember that they’re also protesting amendments passed by the state government to the Karnataka Land Reforms Act which lifts restrictions on individuals purchasing agricultural land

business-standard.com/article/curren…
Read 4 tweets
6 Dec 20
So why is the government so focused on Love Jihad in UP when it faces a massive threat on the farm bills? Well, the two are somewhat connected.

Thread

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Chaudhary Charan Singh originally forged what was called the MAJGAR alliance (Muslim, Ahir (Yadav), Jat, Gujjar and Rajput) to advocate middle farmer interests in UP. It was based more on interests than on identity.

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The Muslims and the Jats were the cornerstones of this alliance, which through fractured by various factors including Mandal endured almost up to 2013 riots, and still voted together.

thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/…
Read 9 tweets
5 Dec 20
This @ShekharGupta peice is exactly the sort of writing you get when you prioritise the “legacy” or reputation of a leader over the future of the country.

The Welsh still live with the devastating effects of some of Thatcher’s policy.

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theprint.in/national-inter…
There is nothing wrong with a leader who listens to the people- frankly all democratically elected leaders should.

To mock that ability or demean that like this peice does for MMS is sickening.

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The farm bills will most likely lead to large scale rural unemployment and devastation - that’s the only consideration here. The future of 35-45% of our population is at stake.

It’s not about Modi or his legacy, FGS.
Read 4 tweets
1 Jul 20
To understand Sudha Bharadwaj’s position, it is important to understand the conflict between tribal land rights, acquisitions, adequate compensation and what the state perceives as development, particularly in relation to mining in Chhattisgarh.

A thread.
To begin, here are her views on some of the cases that her team was fighting at the time of her arrest in 2018.

She directly challenges the interests of large Indian corporates including the Birlas, the Adanis and the Jindals.

counterview.org/2018/02/15/how…
The scale of these investments and the amounts at stake are also huge - for example, Adani’s mines around Prasa East and Kete Besan are being developed at a cost of ~2300 crores.

theweek.in/news/india/201…
Read 9 tweets
9 Jun 20
So in the context of Darren Sammy’s recent allegations, and #BLM , i think it’s finally time to re-examine the infamous racism scandal of the 2008 Australia tour- aka Monkeygate.

A thread
On January 4, 2008, on an acrimonious day of play, during a gritty 8th wicket partnership between Harbhajan and Sachin, words were exchanged between Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan. H allegedly taunted Symonds with the word “monkey”
It’s useful to remember that there was background to this. Indian crowds had taunting Symonds with the racially charged insult in Vadodara and Mumbai in 2007. smh.com.au/sport/symonds-…
Read 20 tweets