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  • Author: Kathryn Tidrick
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: When I last spoke at the India International Centre, in 2007 after the publication of my biography of Gandhi, I was asked during the question period how anyone who was not a devotee of Gandhi could possibly understand him well enough to write a book about him. The chairman, Professor Madan, politely moved on to the next question before I had a chance to reply. But I wanted to reply and said to the questioner that Gandhi was an important historical figure as well as an object of devotion, and his life required the kind of scrutiny customarily given to such figures. I remember adding that though I had begun to think about the book while I was living in India, I had sometimes felt as I was writing it, after I had left India, that I was glad not to be experiencing the weight of Indian devotion to Gandhi as I wrote. That was the only occasion, to date, on which the legitimacy of my undertaking a piece of writing, my entitlement to do so, has been questioned to my face, though the poor sales and few reviews of the book suggest that some other people may have found the undertaking presumptuous.
  • Topic: History, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Bharat R. Sharma
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: Since this lecture is part of a series dedicated to water, I will try to give a complete flavour of this natural resource. Water has also been called amrit in Indian mythology and is seen in many cultures as the nectar, or elixir of life. Earlier, when there were few large cities or industries, people were poor and their requirements were modest. Yet while the demand for water has risen in the recent past, it is important to bear in mind that since the time the earth was created, the total amount of water has remained almost the same except during the last few years when climate change has brought about certain variations, but little perceptible change, in the total amount of water available for human and ecological use. We all know that sufficient water is not available for producing enough and quality food for all of humankind. Presently, there are about 6.5 billion people on the planet and we grew by almost twice during the last fifty years. The present world population is expected to further double in the next fifty years. The big question, therefore, is whether there shall be sufficient water to grow enough food for all of us in the future.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Water, Food
  • Political Geography: India, Global Focus
  • Author: Venkat Dhulipala
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: Towards the end of a rather long day of research in the Oriental and India Office Collections at the British Library in London, I stumbled upon a rather unexpected document in the private papers of Qaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Dhulipala, 2014:1). The handwritten document, with its ink fading, was the record of a special séance with Jinnah’s spirit held on 13 March 1955, nearly seven years after his death and eight years after the birth of Pakistan. The séance was conducted against the backdrop of Pakistan’s first constitutional crisis, by a spiritualist hired by a government officer, a certain Mr. Ibrahim who was at hand to direct the questions. After initial pleasantries, Jinnah’s spirit was solicitously asked if it wanted to smoke a cigarette since in life the Great Leader had been a heavy smoker. On the basis of an affirmative answer, a cigarette was lit and fixed on a wire stand for the spirit to smoke while it answered questions. Mr. Ibrahim began, ‘Sir, as a creator and father of Pakistan, won’t you guide the destiny of the nation now?’ The spirit reacted testily saying that it was not its responsibility to guide Pakistan’s destiny any more. A worried Mr. Ibrahim enquired, ‘Don’t you think there is a prosperous future for Pakistan?’ The spirit responded icily, ‘I don’t think so. Prosperity of a country depends on the selflessness of people who control its Destiny. None at all is eager to be selfless there.’ Mr. Ibrahim pressed further. ‘What advice would you give to the present rulers of Pakistan?’ Prompt came the response: ‘Selflessness, selflessness. That is the only advice I can give them now.’ Jinnah’s spirit then made a telling remark.‘ It is easier to acquire a country, but it is extremely difficult to retain it. That in a nutshell is the present position of Pakistan to gain which rivers of blood flowed.’ As the interview drew to an end, Mr. Ibrahim finally asked ‘How are you spending your time nowadays?’ Jinnah’s spirit replied gloomily, ‘Not very well friend. Evil pictures regarding Pakistan are badly in my mind every now and then and I cannot live in mental peace here.’
  • Topic: Religion, History, Spiritualism, Spirituality, Libraries
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India
  • Author: Shantanu Chakrabarti (ed), Kingshuk Chatterjee (ed)
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Institute of Foreign Policy Studies, University of Calcutta
  • Abstract: This volume of essays comes out of a seminar organized by the Institute of Foreign Policy Studies, Calcutta University as a part of its UNAI program. The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), officially launched with a two-day conference in New York City, 18–19 November 2010, is a UN global initiative that seeks to align institutions of higher learning with the United Nations in actively supporting ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution. The Academic Impact also asks each participating college or university to actively demonstrate support of at least one of those principles each year. Academic Impact is a program of the Outreach Division of the Department of Public Information. It is open to all institutions of higher education granting degrees or their equivalent, as well as bodies whose substantive responsibilities relate to the conduct of research. It's essential frame of reference is:  To bring into association with the United Nations, and with each other, institutions of higher learning throughout the world; To provide a mechanism for such institutions to commit themselves to the fundamental precepts driving the United Nations mandate, in particular the realization of the universally determined Millennium Development Goals; To serve as a viable point of contact for ideas and proposals relevant to the United Nations mandate; To promote the direct engagement of institutions of higher education in programs, projects and initiatives relevant to this mandate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Education, Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: New York, Calcutta
  • Author: Mari Luomi
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS), Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Abstract: Growth in Qatar in the past decade has been tremendous: the total population has increased by one million and the economy has grown four-fold, leading to the skyrocketing of energy and water demand and greenhouse gas emissions.2 This research paper argues that a crucial question in need of answering is: how important is the environment for Qatar? Fast growth in population and natural resource consumption, together with a pronounced emphasis on economic growth, have had devastating impacts on the country’s environmental and sustainability performance. Recently ranked as the country with the world’s highest ecological footprint,3 Qatar urgently needs to balance its natural resource use with the local environmental and ecosystem limits so as to ensure prosperity for its people and the environment far into the future. The same question applies to Qatar’s neighboring monarchies, which share very similar economic and demographic dynamics as well as similar political and climatic conditions.
  • Topic: Environment, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Qatar
  • Author: Neera Chandhoke
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: In 1989–90, the Valley of Kashmir erupted in a series of violent protests. The scale and the intensity of the protests involving bomb explosions, closures, strikes, arson, attacks on government offices, bridges and buses, and murders, took everyone by surprise. It seemed to have even astonished the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) which had initiated and spurred the popular unrest in the Valley. For instance, on 1 March 1990, a crowd of more than one million from every part of the Valley, many wrapped in shrouds, gathered at the headquarters of the UN Military Observers Group in Srinagar and there was only one demand on their lips—freedom or azaadi. 1 If the JKLF was astonished at the intensity of anger against the Government of India (GOI), presumably the members of the Indian political establishment were also taken aback. The political elite seemed to have forgotten that the accession of the state to India in 1947 was disputed by many. They also seemed to have forgotten the special conditions on which the state had acceded to India. But now the people of Kashmir had stood up, spoken back to history, and refused to accept the way in which their state had been treated since 1947, through a combination of corruption, mis-governance, electoral mismanagement, closing off of the political space to new political agents, and violations of democracy by the Government of India and the regional government. This paved the way for the slide into political violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Nationalism, United Nations, Sectarian violence, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Douglas Saltmarshe, Abhilash Medhi
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU)
  • Abstract: This report finds that insufficient attention has been given to local governance in Afghanistan, despite the fact that most Afghan citizens encounter the state in provinces and districts. This neglect is inhibiting the significant efforts made in Kabul from having much impact on the ground. The research was undertaken over a 14 month period finishing in December 2010. It took place in 47 districts of Samangan, Jawzjan, Sar-i-Pul, Laghman, Wardak and Day Kundi Provinces, with additional time spent in two districts of Helmand. Key findings are presented under the following themes: Local Government Administration, Security and Justice, Service Delivery, and Representation.
  • Topic: Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Felix Reategui-Carrillo
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: The main focus of my presentation will be the experience of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru, which worked for 26 months, from 2001 until 2003, in order to investigate the period of armed struggle and terrorism undergone by my country during the 1980s and the 1990s. It might be useful to mention that the decision to create a truth commission in Peru during those years, as well as the methods and purposes of this commission’s work, were closely related to the field that is now widely known as ‘transitional justice’. Working under the assumption that past wrongdoings cannot simply fall into oblivion, because victims always remember, and that the building of strong and sustainable democracies demands some action against impunity and a significant degree of satisfaction to the victims, many societies around the world have embarked for the past few decades in the recovering of truth and the delivering of justice, which includes criminal trials and reparations for the victims. Among the ideas related to the process of dealing with the past, the notion of reconciliation is possibly one of the most problematic since it admits a wide variety of definitions. Some of these are related to forgiveness of serious crimes for the sake of peace and of bringing together mutually aggrieved parties, while some emphatically demand the realization of justice as a previous step to any kind of societal understanding.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Transitional Justice, Truth
  • Political Geography: Peru
  • Author: Dilip K. Chakrabarti
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: India International Centre (IIC)
  • Abstract: The question 'who owns the past' is not a rhetorical question. On the one hand, itis tied to the issue of identities, which have played a major role in archaeological research since its very inception, and on the other, it is bound up with the various features of cultural resource management including the thorny relationship between mainstream archaeology and the rights of indigenous people in countries like the USA, Australia and Canada. There is a vast amount of literature on both themes. The first one, i.e. the question of identity, is linked to the establishment of national identity as well as various other collective identities like gender, ethnicity and religion. The issue of identity may assume many forms and generatemany debates. In the context of Israel and the Palestinian territory, it has been argued/ for instance, that there are four types of 'desired pasts' there: (1) the Israeli desired past which is sought by the Israeli state and the Jewish organizations of the United States; (2) the conservative Christian past which is championed by the Christian fundamentalist organizations, the American School of Oriental Research and the Biblical Archaeological Society; (3) the Palestinian desired past, favoured by the Palestinian rights organizations and Palestinian archaeologists and intellectuals; and finally, (4) the diplomatic desired past, as represented by the appointed officials of the US State department.
  • Topic: Religion, History, Israel, Judaism, Christianity, Civilization, Palestine
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Christopher Boucek
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of a wave of deadly terrorist attacks that began in 2003, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia launched a wide-ranging counterterrorism campaign. Central to Saudi counterterrorism efforts has been the use of unconventional “soft” measures designed to combat the intellectual and ideological justifications for violent extremism. The primary objective of this strategy is to engage and combat an ideology that the Saudi government asserts is based on corrupted and deviant interpretations of Islam. The impetus for this soft approach came in large part from the recognition that violent extremism cannot be combated through tradition security measures alone. This Saudi strategy is composed of three interconnected programs aimed at prevention, rehabilitation, and post- release care (PRAC). Although only in operation for the past four years, the Saudi strategy—es- pecially the rehabilitation and counter-radicalization programs—has generated very positive and very intriguing results. To date, recidivist and rearrest rates are extremely low, at approximately 1 to 2 percent. Similar programs designed to demobilize violent extremists and their supporters are increasing in popularity, with a number of countries adopting comparable counter-radicalization pro- grams. Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia have all established rehabilitation and engagement programs, as has the U.S. military through Task Force 134 in Iraq. As such, the importance of understanding the Saudi strategy, and counter-radicalization broadly, is increasing in relevance in the fight against violent radical Islamist extremism.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Terrorism, Governance
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia