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South Asia Times

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South Asia Times

PUBLISHER/EDITOR Neeraj Nanda M: 0421 677 082

EDITOR (Hindi Pushp) Mridula Kakkar

SAT NEWS BUREAU/Australia (Melbourne) Neeraj Nanda

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Scott Morrison on India visit: My visit will be another step in cementing India in the top tier of Australia’s partnerships

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DISCLAIMER South Asia Times (SAT) is a monthly newspaper published in English (2 pages in Hindi) from Melbourne, Australia. Contributors supply material to SAT at their own risk and any errors will be corrected as quickly as possible. SAT does not accept responsibility for the authenticity of any advertisement, text content or a picture in the publication. No material, including text or advertisements designed by the SAT or pictures may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the editor/publisher. Opinions/stories/ reports or any text content are those of the writers/contributors and not necessarily endorsed by the SAT.

By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE, 15 December: Australia’s Prime Minister Mr. Scott Morrison will visit India in January 2020. The PM disclosed this in his speech at the Lowy lecture, “In our interest “at the Sydney Town Hall on 3 October 2019. He will deliver the inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue during his India visit. “The visit will be accompanied by a business delegation that I have invited Ashok Jacob, Chair of the Australia-India Council Board, to lead. This will bring Government and business together to pursue our India Economic Strategy that has captured the attention of our Indian partners and must now be realized. My visit will be another step in cementing India in

the top tier of Australia’s partnerships,” he said. The recently held Australia-India Roundtable (13 November 2019) and the Australia-India Leadership Dialogue 2019 (8 & 9 December 2019) give littleindication of what is going to transpire in New Delhi when Prime Minister Scott Morrison is there. An email from the office of the PM, Scott Morrison on Dec 11, 2019 says, “the program is still being finalised and no details are available as yet.” Australia-India Roundtable The Australia India Roundtable touched topics like Foreign and Security Policy Changes, Recent Developments in the IndoPacific, and India-Australia Bilateral Relations. Ambassador Mr. T. K. Singh (Director General) and Ambassador Biren Nanda (Senior Fellow) of the Delhi

Policy Group attended among others. Ambassador G.K. Singh in his short speech at a concluding networking event said the past of 'ups and downs' in India-Australia relations are gone and ties between the two countries are upbeat. Mr. Singh told SAT that relations now will go 'up and up' between the two countries. Australia-India Leadership Dialogue 2019 The Dialogue co-chaired by Mr Ross Fitzgerald, Director, Visy Industries and Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Founding Director, Australia India Institute concluded with in-depth discussions on key areas – Bilateral Economic Strategies, Increasing Australia India Economic Cooperation, Evolving Security Architecture in the Region and Domestic Politics and Bilateral Opportunities, - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

says an Australia India Institute media release. The media release does not give details as to what transpired at the Dialogue attended by prominent personalities from both Australia and India. A report in the Weekend Australian (Dec 15, 2019) says the Australian PM will visit New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and a MOU will be finalised, committing Australia’s Defence Science and Technology group to working with India’s Defence ­Research and Development Organisation.” “The leaders will commit to ¬restarting negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement, and sign new agreements on critical technologies and minerals to counter Chinese dominance in hi-tech ¬sectors, “the report says. India on its part will reveal its Australia Economic Strategy (AES), the first for any country.

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SPEECH TO THE AUSTRALIA INDIA LEADERSHIP DIALOGUE on 9 December 2019, Melbourne (Acknowledgments omitted)


he variety and depth of expertise in this room is a testament to the growing peopleto-people links between Australia and India. Amidst the fast pace and chaos of the day-to-day, this forum provides muchneeded time and space to think about the relationship with India and how we can do more together to further our interests. China has dominated Australia’s foreign policy debate and media coverage in recent years. For much of that time, the focus has been on China’s remarkable achievement in lifting hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty, and the economic opportunity that has presented for Australia. China is Australia’s primary trading partner and will remain crucial to our prosperity. As it has grown, China’s role in the region has been a

bigger focus, especially given the increasing assertiveness China has evinced under the leadership of President Xi. Reports of foreign interference and human rights violations have illustrated that the relationship with our major economic partner is in a new, more complex phase. But differences between our respective systems are not new, and a singular focus on China has never been in Australia’s interests. Too often the foreign policy discussion is focused on one country — like China or the US — while at other times it is framed as a binary between China and the US. SHAPING THE REGION WE WANT It is true that the growing strategic competition between the US and China is the defining narrative of these times. It warrants our attention,

but not always in the way it is given. The strategic competition in our region means we need to think carefully and engage actively to avoid becoming collateral. Great powers will do what great powers do – assert their interests. But we are not without our own agency. The choice is whether we are to be spectators to the competition between the United States and China, or active players. As the balance of economic and strategic power is changing, the US and China are both — in different ways — choosing paths that challenge the status quo. And in the international system we see the erosion of support for international norms, rules and institutions. With our Indo-Pacific region being the focal point of disruption and competition, we must do more than simply

navigate the slipstream of great power competition. We must do what we can to shape the region we want. Both Dr Jaishankar and I have spoken about a vision for a multipolar region as a way to realise our objectives. A multipolar region in which the US remains deeply and constructively engaged. A region in which China is a positive contributor and in which the perspectives of all powers are respected and valued. A region that retains a system of institutions, rules and norms to guide behaviour to enable collective action and to resolve disputes. A region where outcomes are not determined only by power. India is a crucial part of the multipolar region we want. OPPORTUNITIES IN DISRUPTION As the world’s biggest democracy, it is no surprise - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

that India not only values the global rules-based order but seeks to strengthen and shape it in its own right. We have a common interest in being constructive internationalists in our region and in the world. 80% of the world’s maritime trade transits the Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean littoral states are home to 2.5 billion people, with an average age of under 30. The Indian Ocean region is central to both of our interests — our prosperity and security are tied to its success. So while this might be a time of disruption and chaos, I agree with Dr Jaishankar when he says that there are great opportunities in disruption. India — given its geography and history — is no stranger to strategic competition. CONTD. ON PG 4

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SENATOR THE HON. PENNY WONG, LEADER... CONTD. FROM PG 3 And India’s rise is a major component of the changing economic and strategic realities of the region. India is an Indo-Pacific power in its own right. Australia’s relationship with India is central to the region we want and we have a strong stake in each other’s prosperity and security. As Dr Jaishankar has said, the really important relationships in the world are the less transactional ones. The really important relationships in the world are driven by congruent global assessments and shared values – and are based on strengthening each other. Australia not only shares democratic values with India. Our growing economic and business links mean we have a stake in each other’s prosperity. But we also have converging strategic interests and a shared desire to shape our region. India and Australia can give form to these converging interests not only through inclusive regional institutions that promote economic integration and resilience. But also by building a partnership based on strengthening each other, rather than a series of transactions viewed only through the prism of strategic competition. Which is why we should be wary of the notion that there is a binary choice between India and China. And we should avoid glib analysis. India is not ‘the

new China’. India is charting its own course, maximising its strategic autonomy, asserting its interests and unlocking its economic potential. India is leading the way in its immediate neighbourhood. Prime Minister Modi has set a feverish pace of outreach across the Indian Ocean. From infrastructure investments in Mozambique to a deep sea port in Indonesia’s Sabang, India’s strategic footprint across the region is expanding. And it is giving impetus to regional architecture, such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative, to boost economic cooperation on the blue economy. India and Australia should draw on our shared interests in the region’s security and prosperity by strengthening this architecture and ensure new economic opportunities provide benefits to all our citizens. As I foreshadowed in recent speech in Jakarta, a focus for Labor in the coming year will be how Australia should seek to position itself within the region and its architecture — including ASEAN, EAS and IORA — to enable more opportunities to work actively and cooperatively, rather than being a spectator. Australia is also wellplaced to meet India’s economic aspirations and its demand for better goods and services. I don’t think anyone would doubt that our trade relationship has untapped potential.

As our fifth-largest trading partner, two-way trade reached $29.1b — a significant way behind China ($194b), Japan ($77b) and the US ($70b). Peter Varghese’s comprehensive India Economic Strategy rightly identifies our education sector, together with our agriculture, resources and tourism credentials as the frontrunners of cooperation and growth. We should also be taking advantage of India’s growing innovation and technology credentials. India has become a global research and development hub — it accounts for 27 per cent of Asia’s new innovation centres and spends more on R&D than France and the UK. CHALLENGES And with a large, young population, India’s demographic dividend will drive huge demand for education and jobs. India’s working age population will reach one billion over the next two decades. According to the World Bank, India needs to create 8.1 million jobs per year just to maintain its employment rate. Demography is both an opportunity and a challenge. This has undoubtedly raised expectations of Prime Minister Modi and for future leaders to create jobs and harness the ambitions of India’s people to create sustainable and inclusive economic growth and opportunities. With growth tapering and consumer confidence cooling, we shouldn’t underestimate the scale of India’s economic challenges.

These challenges underlie the need for structural reforms and to strengthen the capacity of the state to implement these reforms. We also recognise India’s security challenges. We encourage the peaceful settlement of the final status of Jammu and Kashmir, underscored by the protection of human rights that will ultimately ensure the region’s stability and economic recovery. More broadly, it is clear that Australia’s broader understanding of India — beyond foreign policy, academic and business circles — is shallow. We need the conversation about our ties to go beyond the three C’s — cricket, curry and the Commonwealth. Boosting India-literacy in Australia should be a priority. We should elevate the voices of the 700,000-strong Indian-Australian diaspora in thesediscussions. It is a diaspora that will continue to grow: India is currently the largest source country of migrants to Australia. The diaspora will drive deeper engagement between our two countries as a matter of course and necessity. But this also requires a deeper effort from the media and arts sectors to build deeper cultural understanding and exchanges. We need to amplify our stories and messages in order for Australians to understand India’s place in the world and vice-versa. CONCLUSION Because it’s clear from

our discussions today and from the current geopolitical realities that India and Australia have a bright future together. Our personal ties are growing, our strategic interests are converging and our economic opportunities are immense. The numbers speak for themselves: by 2035 India will overtake China as the most populous nation and by some predictions will become the third-largest economy by 2030. With the global liberal order under strain, some countries are tempted to look inward — this is not Australia’s approach and it is not India’s approach. We look to India for a partnership not based on transactions but based on strengthening each other and strengthening our region. India’s character as a secular, liberal democracy is central to the way Australia imagines this partnership with India. We can work together to achieve our objectives through a multipolar region that is less a contest about who should be or will be number one, than how we foster partnerships of enduring connection and relevance. Amidst the disruption that characterises our present, this will require creativity, focus and dedication. And I thank the organisers and participants at this dialogue for helping us on our way. Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra. Source: Senator Penny Wong, Labor Senator for South Australia, Media Hub.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan visits India By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE: Minister for Education Dan Tehan visited India to strengthen the relationship with an important regional partner, creating new jobs and business opportunities in the education sector. Our Director and CEO Professor Craig Jeffrey delivered welcome and introductory remarks at the India Australia International Education and Research Workshop 2019 in New Delhi. We are very pleased the Minister announced that "The Morrison Government has provided funding to

the Australia India Institute to design and deliver a researcher hub in Delhi to support academics and students to engage with Indian colleagues." According to Mr Tehan, “India has one of the fastestgrowing economies in the world and increasing demand for education services. The delegation to India will be an important opportunity for Australian education providers to showcase the excellence of our education and research sector and to forge new relationships between our two countries that are mutually beneficial.” Source: Australia India Institute - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082


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New Labor Multicultural Taskforce to consult communities across Australia

By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE, 11 December: In a bid to woo multicultural communities towards its policies, the Federal Labor, has embarked upon a nationwide plan to engage, learn and discuss issues effecting these communities and tune Labor policies towards solutions for them. For this it has launched a new Multicultural Engagement Taskforce that will travel to capital and regional centres consulting with multicultural communities until May 2020, with a final report in July 2020. “The purpose of Labor's Multicultural Engagement Taskforce is to engage multicultural Australia to help inform, with as many voices as possible, Federal Labor's policies - the role of

multiculturalism in fostering social cohesion and Australian identity, “says a combined federalLabor media release by Senator Kristina Keneally (Dy. Labor leader in the Senate & the Shadow Minister For Immigration and Citizenship), Andrews Giles MP (Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs), Pater Khalil (Member for Wills) and Anne Stanley MP (Member for Werriwa). The taskforce will be chaired by Peter Khalil MP and Secretary Anne Stanley MP. The Taskforce launch media release says, “Labor believes in opportunity for all - that's why we are listening to multicultural Australians. People of all cultures deserve the opportunity to thrive in Australia and Labor wants to ensure our policies are informed by all Australians.”

The new Taskforce, Labor says, “will complement the work of Labor's new Multicultural Policy Caucus Committee by examining policies affecting multicultural communities. For example, we know that women and children from culturally diverse backgrounds often have limited access to support services and are less likely to seek assistance - so we will examine new ways of tackling this issue. The taskforce will also focus on the support available to multicultural small businesses and entrepreneurs.” “The Taskforce will examine policies affecting multicultural communities and provide advice to the Multicultural Policy Caucus Committee, Shadow Minister and Shadow Cabinet a report

and recommendations, in the areas of: Quality of access to Commonwealth government services for multicultural communities. Current Commonwealth support provided to multicultural communities in the areas of small business, entrepreneurship and innovation. Barriers and needs of multicultural communities regarding access to Commonwealth government services. Networking and partnership opportunities to help multicultural business and community groups to succeed, the media release reveals.” Submissions in English or different languages and mediums can be made to Labor's Multicultural Engagement Taskforce at: - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

The purpose of Labor's Multicultural Engagement Taskforce is to engage multicultural Australia to help inform, with as many voices as possible, Federal Labor's policies - the role of multiculturalism in fostering social cohesion and Australian identity.



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Alan Tudge is also the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs

By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE, 13 December: Alan Tudgethe current Australian Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure since 2018, will also be the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced, that Alan Tudge will have these additional responsibilities as the Member for Banks David Coleman has been given a leave of absence due to personal reasons. A media release from the PM’s office says, “I have appointed the Hon. Alan Tudge to take on Mr Coleman’s ministerial


responsibilities in an acting capacity effective immediately until such time as Mr Coleman is in a position to return. Mr Coleman will continue to perform his local responsibilities as Member for Banks. Mr Tudge has previous experience in this portfolio area in Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and will continue with his current responsibilities as Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure. To assist Minister Tudge I have tasked the Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien to lead the Government’s negotiations in relation to the South East Queensland City Deal. This new responsibility will complement his existing role representing the

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Australian Government in relation to the 2032 South East Queensland Olympics and Paralympics. Minister Tudge will also be supported in his new responsibilities by Assistant Ministers Wood, Gee and Morton.” Welcoming Mr. Tudge’s appointment, Mr. Vasan Srinivasan, Chair Confederation of Indian Australian Association says, “As a member of the Australian Multicultural Commission, I have had a number of interactions with Minister Tudge and is a very capable seasoned individual who works for the benefit of the larger community and is good supporter of Multicultural communities in Victoria.”

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Swranjali Beat celebrates evolution of Indian song and dance

This musical event was held on 19th Oct 2019 with fanfare and success at the Renaissance Theatre, Kew High School. Chief Guest Jaya Manchikanti, President of the IndianCare was presented a cheque of $250 by Sangeeta Varma, President of Swaranjali. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082



Victoria Police fights cybercrime

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By Neeraj Nanda


ELBOURNE, 13 December: Cybercrimes are rising all over the world as more and more people are connected online. Australia is no exception. Internet, computers, smartphones, iPad and many similar devices are essentials of our life. Suspicious emails, identity theft, online fraud etc. are common to hear. Senior citizens or anyone are often ripped off by online scams. The issue seems to be never ending. And solutions hazy or nothing. Such crime is not even reported. Being online seems not to be safe. Then what is to be done to make being online a happy experience? Detective Acting Sergeant Bec Stokes of the Victoria Police says, “Victims can be elderly who are not very familiar with technology. But people of any age group are potential targets.” “For example, one Cybercrime could be the ‘email compromise scam’ where an email with an invoice is hacked and the bank details on the invoice changed and resent leading the money going to someone else,” Bec says. Bec advises “Never allow remote access to your computer”. In fact, the list of cybercrimes is a long and complicated one. Bec wants people to get hold of ‘The Little Black Book of Scams’ published by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), a pocket sized guide so that you can protect yourself against such scams. The guide deals with investment scams, dating and romance scams,

For example, one Cybercrime could be the ‘email compromise scam’ where an email with an invoice is hacked and the bank details on the invoice changed and resent leading the money going to someone else. money scams, online shopping scams, Identity theft, employment scams among others. In the end the most important chapters – The golden rule to protect yourself, Where to find help or support and Where to report a scam. The guide is available online in PDF (or audio) format at https:// More information about cyber scams can be found at www. and www.cyber. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

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Australia disappointed at India not joining the RCEP

By Neeraj Nanda


ELBOURNE, 5 November: Australia has finalised the text of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with 10 members of the ASEAN alliance. The other partners include Japan, South Korea, and China. The text of the pact is not likely to be revealed until it is signed in 2020. The name missing is India, where PM Scott Morrison is going in January next year. India not signing the RECP pact in Bangkok, creates a big headache for Australia. And, naturally, it is disappointed. PM Modi is reported to have said that the pact talks failed to address India’s ‘outstanding issues and concerns’. “Leaked documents reveal the industrialised countries, including Japan, South Korea and Australia, have been pushing non-tariff rules that suit their major corporations, similar to those in the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). These have been resisted by developing countries, which

have more vulnerable populations, and wish to preserve regulatory space to develop local industries. The contested proposals include foreign investor rights to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in international tribunals if they can argue a change in law or policy will harm their investment. This is known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement or ISDS.” reveals an article in The Conversation (India’s not joining the latest free-trade deal which limits Australia’s market access by Pat Ranald, Research Fellow, Sydney University, November 5, 2019 12.22pm AEDT) India signing the RCEP would have benefitted Australia immensely giving it more access to dairy, agricultural and other products to one of the world’s fast growing economy, though passing through a rough patch at present. Senator Birmingham, Minister for Trade, on the line from Shanghai in an interview on 2GB, minced no words today when he said, “But we would have liked India to keep up pace

Leaked documents reveal the industrialised countries, including Japan, South Korea and Australia, have been pushing nontariff rules that suit their major corporations, similar to those in the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). with everybody else. They've said it's not the time for them to sign at present, and we respect that decision. The door remains wide open to India. And separately what we had already done knowing that trying to get trade agreements with India is a very difficult proposition,

was our government commissioned an India economic strategy.” “It has many, many different recommendations that we're acting on. And it's not just been sitting within my space as the Trade Minister. We have the Agriculture Minister, the Energy Minister, the Education Minister, the Foreign Minister, all acting as champions of working in this space, driving home new opportunities for us to deepen that engagement with India,” he said. He added, “And our relationship there is very, very strong. Prime Minister Morrison is heading to India in January at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi. And that's a real demonstration that we're seeing strong indications of cooperation on a range of levels including economic levels from India. They’ve said they’re going to shortly complete a complementary reverse strategy. So I [indistinct] a strategy at how to deepen our economic ties with India, and they’ve done- done completing one on how to deepen their ties with us, and we warmly - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

And our relationship there is very, very strong. Prime Minister Morrison is heading to India in January at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi. And that's a real demonstration that we're seeing strong indications of cooperation on a range of levels including economic levels from India. welcome that. So we’re a bit disappointed that they’re not at the RCEP table, but very pleased that we’re continuing to find new ways to strengthen trade deals.”


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Celebrate India's Diwali 2019 @ Federation Square lights up Melbourne

The best ever Diwali festivities took place at the Federation Square on 19 October 2019. It was the culmination of week-long activities marking the festival of lights. It saw thousands celebrating and enjoying music, dances, food, and fireworks in a family atmosphere. The Celebrate India team needs to be commended for the successful and good job done. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

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FIA Diwali Lights Competition 2019 prize distribution at the Parliament House

By Neeraj Nanda


ELBOURNE, 15 November: This is for the third consecutive year the FIA Diwali Lights Competition lighted up many homes in Victoria. Spread out into all suburbs, the competition, held each year during the festive season and Diwali, saw many entries with participants sending in their videos. The winners, naturally, are happy with being facilitated at the Parliament Houses’ Federation Room today. According to organiser Kartik Arasu, “the competition involved Melbourne residents from all backgrounds to light up their front home facades in the lead up to Diwali from 20th October and this year being Guru Nanak Devji’s 550 Birthday it was conducted till 10th November.” Those who addressed the select gathering were Hon. Kaushaliya Vaghela MP, Hon. Bruce Atkinson and the Indian Consul General here, Hon. Raj Kumar. In his address, - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

Bruce wished a time will come soon when the Victorian Parliament will be illuminated for Diwali. Kaushaliya talked about the various support schemes including grants the Victorian Government was doing for various community organisations. Mr. Raj Kumar wished everyone a happy Diwali and detailed some of the issues being addressed by the Indian Consulate here. Those who got the prizes were: - Guru Nanakji Special Prize $500 to Dilsher Singh Gill from Tarneit - Judges special prize $500 to Anuj Gupta from Point Cook - South East Metropolitan $500 to Shobhit Asthana from Oakleigh South - Western Metropolitan $500 to Shalveen Vijay Lal from Point Cook - Northern Metropolitan $500 to Sunny Dutt from Wollert Appreciation certificates were also awarded to the sponsors and others supporting the event.



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Ten volunteers from the ‘Officer Sikh Gurudwara’ honoured with the 2019 Premier's Volunteer Champions Awards By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE, 1 December: Ten volunteers from the Sikh temple in Officer are now proud Volunteer Champions. These Volunteer Champions from the Siri Guru Nanak Darbar (SGND)- the Officer Sikh Gurudwara, Officer are among the 57 recipients of the 2019 Premier's Volunteer Champions Awards who were honoured at Government House on 1 December 2019 for their unwavering passion, commitment and dedication to serve.The awards were presented by the Governor of Victoria, The Honourable Linda Dessau AC at the Government House. While presenting the award, the group received a warm and commending mention which says, “Going beyond their mandate of 'a

place of worship', the Officer Sikh temple has undertaken several social cohesion activities that have created bridges of trust between multi-cultural communities. This group has showcased how sharing and caring can win hearts”.

The recipients were Madhu Bhatia, Navpreet Dhanoa, Ramandeep Kang, Harjinder Kaur, Harjit (Ravneet) Kaur, Brijai Parikh, Randeep Saini, Avtar Singh, Manjinder Singh and Ramneet Kaur Walia. The ‘Officer Sikh Gurudwara’ has been active

through its volunteers this year by providing free meals to BlazeAid volunteers, collecting donations for Bunyip bushfire relief and contributing hay to the Need for Feed movement, tree plantation, participating in different local and state

functions, organising prayers for families affected by bushfires, Christchurch attacks and Sri Lankan church attacks,providing food donations to 4Cs and Baptist Church among others. A media release from the Officer Sikh temple says, “To weave unconditional love in the very foundation of all the activities. Noteworthy is that SGND does not have any formal committee. It is run by a group of volunteers who work in diverse professions Most of these volunteers have young families and still manage to dedicate significant amount of their after-work hours to help with every day running.” The ‘Officer Sikh Gurudwara’ is situated at 33 Officer Road, Officer, Victoria 3809. And can be contacted at 0447028688 or info@sgnd. Website is – www.

“Australia as a nation utterly rejects racism and religious discrimination of any kind.”

Federal Government appalled at rising ‘examples of discrimination against Muslim Australians’ contained in a report released by the Charles Sturt University

By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE, 18 November: The Federal Government has slammed the incidents of Islamophobia in Australia, calling them ‘completely unacceptable’. A media statement today from The Hon David Coleman MP Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs refers to the report (Islamophobia in Australia-2- 2016-2017) released by the Charles Sturt University today. The 2019 Islamophobia in Australia report suggests that hate incidents are not just a problem for Muslims, but will need national engagement if Australia is to maintain social cohesion and live up to its multicultural legacy. • The second Islamophobia in Australia report cites 349 incidents reported in 24 months (2016-17) • This and previous reports indicate only the ‘tip of an iceberg’, as under-reporting of hate crimes and related incidents is an ongoing problem worldwide • Islamophobia is not just a problem for Muslims, but requires national engagement

if Australia is to maintain social cohesion The 2019 Islamophobia in Australia report suggests that hate incidents are not just a problem for Muslims, but will need national engagement if Australia is to maintain social cohesion and live up to its multicultural legacy. The report, which was led by chief investigator Dr.DeryaIner from Charles Sturt University’s Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation, offers a multifaceted analysis of verified incidents reported to the Islamophobia Register Australia by victims, proxies, and witnesses in the two-year period of 2016-17. A news report in the CSU website says, “The report shows predominantly Muslim women and girls are being targeted with verbal abuse, profanities, physical intimidation and death threats in public places, most often while shopping, and most often by Anglo-Celtic male perpetrators. Insults targeting Muslims’ religious appearance and religion was the highest in both reports online and offline, with almost all women respondents (96 per cent)

targeted while wearing hijab.” It adds, “The situation for Muslim children was particularly concerning and underscores the need for prevention strategies in schools. The report shows that experiences of Islamophobic abuse start for children in pre-school years, when they were accompanied by their identifiably Muslim parents.”

Intensity of hate rhetoric The report shows the alarming intensity of hate rhetoric that groomed the Christchurch terrorist who carried out terrorist attacks in New Zealand earlier this year, as active in Australia three to five years ago. Online and offline, people have detailed how they would like to murder all Muslims and yet there appeared to be no investigation or prosecution, raising serious questions about the fitness of existing laws. Following the previous report’s trend, the most severe level of hate, wanting to kill and/or harm Muslims, was the most dominant rhetoric, consisting of one-quarter of the entire online cases. Online, there were dynamics

of contagion at play with online communities reacting to the perpetrator’s posts with supportive emojis, comments and shares. Sadly, the intensity of hate rhetoric was also present in physical cases, with 11 per cent of the 202 offline cases including death threats. The fact some Australian Muslims could not go about their ordinary life without receiving a death threat from a stranger opens serious questions about how Muslim identity has been publicly crafted.

‘Tip of the iceberg’ Dr Iner noted that the number of incidents discloses only the ‘tip of an iceberg’, as under-reporting of hate crimes and related incidents is an ongoing problem worldwide. “This is especially the case where continuous anti-Muslim sentiment in political and media discourse becomes normalised, desensitising the public,” she said. “With Christchurch in our minds, we cannot afford to be complacent. “Social cohesion is something that must be nurtured and repaired by all of us for the well-being and - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

security of Australia.” The Hon David Coleman MP says, “Freedom of religion is fundamental to Australian society. Australians of all religions should be able to practice their faith free of prejudice. The instances of discrimination against Australians of Islamic faith which are documented in the report are completely unacceptable. The Morrison Government has no tolerance for racial or cultural prejudice against any group. In this year’s Budget, the Government invested $71 million into a package of measures designed to strengthen our social cohesion. The behaviour outlined in the report is condemned in the strongest terms – Australia as a nation utterly rejects racism and religious discrimination of any kind.” The Islamophobia Register Australia is launching a crowdfunding campaign as it relies on community funds to maintain its independence. The next report will include data from before and after the Christchurch tragedy. Copies of the report are available at www.islamophobia.

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Australia to return Indian artifacts during PM’s India visit in January 2020 By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE, 27 November: The Australian Government will return three culturally significant artifacts during the Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit to India in January 2020. The artifacts, which were held by the National Gallery of Australia (Gallery), were purchased in good faith, but extensive research undertaken by the Gallery has led to its decision to voluntarily return these artifacts to India, says a media release from the Australian Prime Minister’s office. The artifacts being returned are: • Pair of door guardians (dvarapala) 15th Century, Tamil Nadu, India – (two

Photos: Press Office of the Australian PM

The serpent king (Nagaraja) 6th to 8th Century, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, India. works); and • The serpent king (Nagaraja) 6th to 8th Century, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, India. Criminal law proceedings are currently underway in India and the United States against former New York art dealer Mr. Subhash Kapoor, from whom these artifacts were purchased. The Australian Government does not have any role in these proceedings, says the media release.

Wipro Cyber Defence Centre in Melbourne to protect organisations from cyber-attacks

By Neeraj Nanda


ELBOURNE, 4 December 2019: One of India’s top tech companies is expanding its operations in Victoria. Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas today announced that Wipro Limited will establish a state-of-theart, $1.5 million Cyber Defence Centre in South Melbourne where local tech experts will help to protect organizations from cyber-

attacks. Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas, “Melbourne is Australia’s leading tech city and we welcome this reinvestment by Wipro – one of India’s top tech companies.” “Setting up the Asia Pacific Defence Centre will strengthen Victoria’s capability in cybersecurity and draw on the local expertise to help Wipro protect Australian organizations from cyberrelated incidents.”

Supported by the Victorian Government, the investment is likely creating up to 100 new tech jobs, including internship opportunities for Victorian university graduates pursuing a career in cybersecurity. The Centre will help the company service its clients across a range of sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, energy, and utilities, as well as Government organizations. Wipro is a leading global

information technology, consulting and business process services company and one of India’s top five listed technology companies by revenue. It has more than 175,000 employees serving clients across six continents and has been operating in Melbourne for over 15 years. Wipro Senior Vice President Raja Ukil, “The launch of the center in Melbourne showcases Wipro’s commitment to leverage local talent and - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

specialized expertise to cater to the cybersecurity needs of the region. The company has fostered strong relationships with Victoria’s tertiary sector, including establishing the SwinburneWipro Chair on Artificial Intelligence with Swinburne University. Melbourne is Australia’s leading tech city, as confirmed by the Savills Research Tech Cities in Motion global report released earlier this year.



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Sri Lankans trigger ICC T20 World Cup 2020 excitement

By SAT News Desk MELBOURNE: The ICC T20 CWC Australia 2020 - (Women’s) Multicultural community launch took place on 5th Dec 2019 at the Grand on Princes in Melbourne. ICC CEO Mr. Nick Hockley and Sri Lankan Consul General Mr. Kapila Fonseka were present at the event as chief guests. This event commenced the awareness campaign of T20 CWC Women's games among the multi-cultural communities. More than 200 people from different communities attended the colourful event. Beautiful cultural dances were also presented. The event was organised by the ICC T20 CWC 2020 (Sri Lanka) Multicultural Team with media partners -, The BIG News, SNNI Australia and the Lanka Times. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

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Dr Kaushal Srivastava honoured with the' Victoria Multicultural Award for Excellence 2019' By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE: Dr Kaushal Srivastava received the prestigious ' Victoria Multicultural Award for Excellence 2019' at a reception hosted by the Governor of Victoria on 19 November 2019. The citation says, "For his service to maintaining the cultural identity of people of South Asian heritage and encouraging local youth and

emerging writers to engage in South Asian literature and creation of Hindi works in Victoria." On behalf of South Asian Public Affairs Council of Victoria (SAPAC) Dr. Srivastava has been organizing an annual Literary Event of South Asians for the past several years. This event promotes South Asian literature including Hindi; and also serves as a window for cultural understanding through literature.

Indian Overseas Congress Australia holds ‘Bharat Bachao’ rallies in Melbourne and Sydney

By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE, 14 December: The Indian Overseas Congress Australia (IOCA) today held a solidarity rally - Bharat Bachao (Save India) at the Federation Square, Melbourne. Those gathered were addressed by Suresh Vallath and Telengana MP Mr. Komat Venkat Reddy among others. The speakers raised issues that included criticism of the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Bill, rapes and violence against women, agrarian crisis and unemployment. A similar rally was also held today in Paramatta Park, Sydney and led by Manoj Sheoran. IOCA organized these protest rallies in response to the call by Indian National Congress for protests worldwide, says an IOCA media release.

The speakers raised issues that included criticism of the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Bill, rapes and violence against women, agrarian crisis and unemployment. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082



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First ever Bangladeshi Prof. Amit Chakma appointed UWA Vice-Chancellor in Australia By SAT News desk


he Senate of The University of Western Australia has appointed Professor Amit Chakma as its next and 19th ViceChancellor commencing in July 2020. On 30 June this year Professor Chakma completed his second term and 10th year as President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Ontario. Prior to that time he served from 2001 to 2009 as Vice-President (Academic) and Provost of The University of Waterloo in Canada. Professor Chakma was Inaugural Chair of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. He has served as Chair of the Canadian Government’s Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, helping guide the development and launch of the Strategy in 2014. He is a past Chair of the World University Service of Canada and a past member of the Science Technology and Innovation Council of Canada. He has a solid record of achievement in senior leadership roles at both universities. At the University of Western Ontario he led a researchintensive university of more than 30,000 students, 2000 academic and professional

staff and a budget in excess of $1 billion. Professor Chakma has a substantial record of research. He is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and holds a Master of Applied Science and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of British Columbia. His research has covered greenhouse gas control technology, energy and environmental model system modelling, petroleum waste management, gas separation and processing and mass transfer. UWA Chancellor,

Robert French AC, said the appointment by the University Senate was based on Professor Chakma’s high level and wide-ranging skills and, importantly, his whole of institution expertise as a leader who has set and shaped direction and built a strong culture to sustain it. “Professor Chakma comes to UWA with demonstrated success in developing high quality teaching and learning while building research capability and important partnerships across academic, government and industry sectors,” Mr French

said. “He is committed to combining research excellence with outstanding student experience. “He has proven commercial acumen and intellectual capacity and has also demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and equity in access to higher education. “Professor Chakma’s appointment brings to UWA a person with a proven track record who has the necessary combination of experience, skills and capacity to lead the University at this important time in its history.” Professor Chakma said that before his official July 2020 start he planned to visit UWA several times to meet with colleagues and community leaders, to learn and to seek counsel. “I am honoured to have been given the privilege of leading The University of Western Australia, one of the world’s great institutions,” he said. “I am inspired by UWA’s mission, vision and values, and energised by its strong desire to pursue excellence and am very much looking forward to working with students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners in the broader community as well as governments, to help guide the University to even greater heights.” Professor Chakma said that he and wife Meena had

visited Australia frequently over the years, for work and to stay with family, and were eager to join the UWA community and to make Perth their new home. Mr French paid tribute to outgoing UWA ViceChancellor, Professor Dawn Freshwater. “Professor Freshwater, who leaves UWA on 13 March 2020, does so with the thanks and best wishes of the Senate,” he said. “Appointed as Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2014, she has led a process designed to transform the University’s structure, services and systems to better place it in the years ahead. “She continued pursuing that purpose from her appointment as ViceChancellor in 2017 with the framing of a vision for the next decade - UWA 2030, as well as the enabling 20202025 Strategic Plan. “Professor Freshwater has established a foundation upon which her successor can build and we wish her well in her next appointment as ViceChancellor of the University of Auckland.” An interim ViceChancellor will head the University during the period March to July 2020 and will be announced in due course. Source- University News, UWA, 10 December 2019.

Melbourne’s ‘Clean Technology’ ties up with US based ‘Utech Products’

By SAT News Desk


ELBOURNE: Clean Technology Equipment Pty Ltd, a local company from Melbourne has joined hands with renowned American Scientific and Laboratory equipment provider, Utech Products Inc. (New York) to support the needs of the local scientific community with scientific and laboratory equipment including the latest technology and solutions for the Australia/NZ and Fiji region. Utech Products Inc is a global one-stop solution provider for all types of

Manoj Kumar (Director of Clean Technology Equipments Pty Ltd, Australia) & Rakesh K Madan (CEO of Utech Products Inc) at Utech House, Albany, New York. scientific and laboratory equipment and their

equipment is supplied to many prestigious laboratories

around the world. This partnership will help further strengthen and grow the existing scientific - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

equipment industry in the region by combining their trusted knowledge and experience in the field.

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William Dalrymple’s relentless expose of the East India Company’s colonial grab By Neeraj Nanda


illiam Dalrymple’s ‘THE ANARCHY – THE RELENTLESS RISE OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY, Bloomsbury, pp 522, released recently, is making global waves among readers. The India based Scottish writer is well known for his earlier prize-winning works, White Moguls, The Last Mogul and Return of a King among others. The author through this book tells the story of the East India Company (EIC), tracing its history replacing the decaying Mogul Empire up to India’s First War of Independence (The British called it The Mutiny) in 1857, after which the British Crown took control. It’s the story of how the EIC became the world’s first global corporate power, financed by none other than Indian trading communities. This riveting book has incredible details which reveal how an unregulated private enterprise became a colonial ruler. Its parallels in the 21st century are there but global companies no more need armies and territories.

I CAUGHT UP WITH WILLIAM DALRYMPLE AT THE SOFITEL, MELBOURNE, JUST BEFORE THE LAUNCH OF HIS BOOK ON 30 OCTOBER, WHERE HE ANSWERED MY QUESTIONS SMILING, EXPLAINING AND WITH PASSION. HIS LUCID REPLIES MESMIRISED MY HISTORICAL CONCIENCE. Excerpts from the interview: Q: You talk of ‘corporate violence’ of the East India Company (EIC) in your book. But it’s still there in the 21st century. What’s so unique about the ‘corporate violence’ of the ECI? A: Nothing unique about that. It’s very much the norm in many ways but, it’s the beginning. Where it began? It’s where corporations start. It was a new business

model. It was not the first corporation, probably the fourth. In their very first charter in 1599 they got the ‘right to wage war’. By 1718 they were growing opium in Bengal, selling it illegally in China, buying Chinese tea and selling it in India and Europe. The Tea in the Boston Tea Party was exported by the EIC. This is the seed of many of our problems today. Along the way between 1740 and 1800 they have rivalry with the French and train 200,000 Indians. To finance that they borrow money from Indian money lenders. They conquer the whole Mogul empire. It was not just corporate violence but corporate lobbying too. It even uses corruption. In 1687 it gives the British Parliamentarians share options. So, this is the seed of many of our problems today. A warning from history. Q: So, who are the modern parallels of the EIC? A: Today, the biggest corporations, the Exxon or Walmart or Google or Facebook have nothing like that. There is no such example now of a company holding sovereign territory as its right. Exxon and Shell have small private armies but no corporation

now does that and in parallels now they hold private guards only. It’s more subtle. Now, actually they do not need to do that. Corporations now are extremely powerful and do data harvesting. They reproduce and can target even SAT recording this interview and send advertising to it. All these are variants of the same drive. And, corporations just as humans, have the DNA to eat, reproduce and survive. They have the thrust towards maximum profits they compulsively get away with. Q: Who are their victims now? A: Again, it is more subtler. The bulk of the book is about history and not an act of prophecy or journalism. But I do point out the largest corporations have an inspiration of a role model in the EIC. It needs to be understood that it was not the British who ruled India from 1600 -1947 as taught in the text books but the British ruled only from 1848 onwards and that is only 90 years. And the company period is between 1600 and 1857, that is about 250 years, more than double the Raj. The corporate nature of that period of Indian history was a corporation, a new factor in world history.

Q: Are you condemning colonialism and the later capitalism emerging through the prism of the EIC? A: It’s not a polemical book like Shashi Tharoor’s book and not trying to make an argument. I am trying to tell history as it happened. The book is not an argument. It’s an attempt to understand what happened. It’s been mythologised in both countries. In Britain it’s been forgotten and ignored and have a romanticised view of our colonial encounter with India. In India, conversely, what has been forgotten is the level of collaboration. The book tells us how that happened. How on Earth a company which did not have more than 2,000 men on its rolls and its London head office never more than 35 people got away using Indian bankers to loan money to it to train other Indians to fight as mercenaries and to build up an army of 200,000. And they were able to fight the large Indian armies of the Marathas, Tipu Sultan and the Moguls. I am trying to understand how and why did it happen? It’s uncomfortable for both the nations. The British are quite vocal - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

in talking about bringing civilisation, democracy and the railways. In fact, the company did nothing. What they built were very few public buildings, communications, hospitals or universities. In fact, you have two very different periods. In the company period it is business extracting, it starts as a shipping and trading company and becomes a colonial occupier and taxes Indians to buy the investment of Silks, Kalamkari, cotton etc. for trading. This period is also collaborative, the money is being borrowed from financiers, the Jagat Seth, Gokul Das of Beneras and one third of company employees are married to Indian women producing Anglo-Indians. Contrast this with the Raj proper which is not collaborative but imperialist. This period you get whites only clubs, Cantonments and the Civil Lines. That makes the British and the Indians completely apart. But you get universities, schools and the railways. I can’t say which is worse or better. Q: When you talk of anarchy. What exactly do you mean? A: This is not my invention. Anarchy is the old phrase for the period after the breakup of the Mogul empire. It comes through Persian from Darab Khan and then to Urdu and then to French and English where they talk about the age of anarchy. Historians use it for the period of warfare and inter-state fighting after the Mogul empire declined. It also means the anarchy created by the EIC in Bengal. Bengal survived as an incredible industrial power with a period in history when China is overtaken by India as an industrial producer for 90 years, i.e., 1760 to 1850, mainly in textiles. Q: Shashi Tharoor also talks about this in his book? A: Shashi and I are on similar turf. Though, I disagree with him on his reading of the Raj. But the two books are similar. CONTD. ON PG 19



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William Dalrymple’s relentless expose of the East India Company’s colonial grab


EIC bonds. They were the dollars of those times being traded. So, the company raised money to buy arms to extend its power coming from Bengali investors.

Q: Just like the ‘Return of the King’, The Anarchy has massive details. But there is a criticism that ‘analysis’ is missing? A: There are tons of analysis. You only have to read from chapter 2. Q: What was your way of working and those you use as models for writing this book? A: It took six years, starting from 2013. I drew sources from the British Library in London and the Indian National Archives (INA) in New Delhi. There are two separate bodies to draw the texts from. London has the records of the EIC head office. And, the INA has the records which were shifted from Port Williams (Bengal) to the INA. The British Library records are, if spread, about 35 miles long. The Mogul stuff is in Persian in the INA’s first floor. Some other documents are in libraries spread around Tonk, Patna, Rampur (Khuda Baksh Library) etc. EIC documents are easy to use but Mogul material is Persian material. The best out of it are the memoirs and histories which remain untranslated. And, in India, these days, few people read Persian. I work with a scholar who does the Persian language and I do the history part. But, it is time consuming.

We can criticise this decision from our perspective but they did it as a business decision, according to the times they were operating in. Just like companies do it today to prefer one party over the other. By 1780 the company is resurgent and confident. The company was very clever. The big Mogul ‘jagirs’ are broken up and then these financiers’ buy them and are made to become a part of the company and take the decision that the company is the lesser evil compared

to the Marathas and the Moguls. We can judge them today as traitors but they thought their capital etc. was safer with the company. Q: So, finance was important? A: At that time India had two important financers –Indian bankers and the company itself. The EIC issued company bonds and asked the Indian financers to invest in them with guaranteed return. So, there was no safer investment in the anarchy and then the

Q: What was the role of technology? A: Technology was a crucial factor to begin with. Between 1700 and 1740 there were two important wars in Europe. In these wars, military technology becomes hyper just like the Atom bomb in the second world war. Both the French and the British could now train Indians in new military technology. By 1780 both the Marathas and Tipu catch up with the EIC in military technology with French support. Hence two things become crucial for the EIC - the richest territory of Bengal and the biggest financiers with them. Q: Hindu nationalists believe the British did good by removing the Moguls? What’s your comment? A: Certainly, Jagat Seth would say that. Jagat used the company to remove the Moguls. It’s different

Q: Why did the Marwari bankers back the EIC? A: It’s not new. But something hushed up. Clive going to return to Madras after destroying Chandranagar. It’s Siraj uddaula who pays him to go. The company was of a different religion, language and colour so, Jagat Seth and the EIC merged as they knew the interest rates, share prices, fluctuations of the world economy, the world they both swam in. And, then the Hindu bankers of Patna, Banaras and Allahabad, in the century that followed, made the decision to cut back with the Marathas and Moguls and go with the EIC to keep their capital safe. That’s a business decision they made. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

from the modern Hindu nationalists. Many Bengalis also have the same opinion despite the company plundering and looting. Q: Tell me about your love for Delhi? A: Delhi is the most maligned city in India. Calcuttans are proud of Calcutta and Mumbai people love their city, but everyone is rude about Delhi. But I love it and it is the most beautiful city. I have a beautiful farm in Mahrauli. I am so lucky. Delhi is now the centre of the arts as once Calcutta was. It’s become like New York. Three quarters of Indian writers in English live in Delhi. Q: What next? A: Another book coming out next month. It’s called ‘Forgotten Masters’ and is about the Indian painters who painted for the EIC. When the Moguls were running out of money, some EIC individuals employed these painters. Their works have never been seen. So, I am putting up an exhibition in London next month. It’s a short book mainly with pictures.

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southSouth asia times 21 Asia Times - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

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So, who are we Indians, really? Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From; By Tony Joseph; 262 pages; Juggernaut, 2018; ISBN 938622898X, 9789386228987

By Neeraj Nanda


ELBOURNE, 7 July: It’s handy for a person living here to say he/she came from a particular country with the passport stamp giving the date and year of entry into Australia. That makes easier to chart out Australian demography with extensive census statistics. But Tony Joseph answers a similar question in this multi-disciplinary book in a different context. His area is the Indian subcontinent steeped in prehistory (the one before ancient, medieval and modern) trying to establish the different migrations that shaped Indian demography and population structure. What the subcontinent population are now is a consequence of these migrations. A conclusion offensive and toxic for those who stick with the view that the Aryans are the original inhabitants of

the subcontinent. Tony demonstrates with recent DNA, archaeological and linguistic evidence the migrations from Africa, Iran, Central Asian Steppe and others going back to 65,000 years in prehistory. To understand this the book relies on new findings made possible by ancient DNA, archaeological discoveries, anthropologists, epigraphists, linguists, palaeoscientists and historians to analyse the ancient past. So, to appreciate and understand Tony Joseph’s

book one needs to have a fair idea of what DNA is or what the many subjects (previous paragraph) he mentions for our understanding. The result is the diversity seen now in the subcontinent. “What accounts for this level of diversity, this distinction, of India? In a sense, this is the story of this book. A large part of the genetic diversity is due to South Asia being second only to Africa in having being occupied for the long time by a large population of modern humans,” (Chapter 2, page 62).

The book is divided into four chapters – The First Indians, The First Farmers, The First Urbanites: The Harappans and The Last Migrants: ‘The Aryans’. These chapters are preceded by ‘A short chronology of the Modern Human in Indian Prehistory’. And in the end we have the Epilogue, Appendix, Bibliography, Acknowledgements and the Index. Every chapter is compulsive reading. I am sure many will disagree with the conclusions. Tony calls his research the Indian ‘pizza’ that got into the act 65,000 years back as the base. The sauce then got made with the Harappa Civilisation, then came the Aryans spread as cheese more in the North and the toppings came as Greeks, Syrians, Mughals, Portuguese, British, Siddhis leaving small marks over the Indian pizza. And there is much more. The Epilogue (Seeing History the Right Side Up) - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

discusses the origin of the ‘caste’ and supports Ambedkar as saying, “So, Ambedkar was right when he said the Sudras were genetically not different from the rest of the Indian caste society” but disagrees with him for “… denying ‘Aryan’ migrations altogether…”. This, Tony feels, came about because “… he did not have the genome data that we have today.” Basically, this well researched book deals with – Who were the Harrapns?, Did the ‘Aryans’ migrate to India? And When did the caste system begin? These are all dealt with caution and deep analysis of recent DNA evidence. The approach is scientific and rational making it a path breaking book on the prehistory of the Indian subcontinent. Well done, Tony Joseph. Lastly, the author himself asks the question – So who are we Indians, really? And answers it- We are all Indians. And we are all migrants.

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Why India needs an absolutely free public education system

In order to make all public institutions of higher learning and research absolutely free, the government has to pay hardly 1% of GDP (i.e. less than Rs 2 lakh crore or USD 30.76 billion) By Surajit Das*


ovember 24, 2019: In the backdrop of student agitations in various institutions over massive fee hikes (JNU, Jadavpur, Uttarakhand Ayurveda Colleges etc.), it is pertinent to flag why free public education is a must for a country like India, which still excludes a vast section students from vulnerable segments of society from going in for higher studies. Let’s begin with the government’s own periodic labor force survey (PLFS). According to PLFS July 2017 to June 2018, the estimated number of households in India is 257 million, with a population of 1.07 billion, comprising 176 million rural and 80.5 crore urban households. The average sex ratio in the country is 956 females per 1,000 males and the average family size is 4.2 members. According to this survey, 53% of rural males, 43% of rural females, 66% of urban males and 65% of urban females aged between 15 and 29 years have achieved secondary or higher level of education. The labor force participation rate, as per the PLFS, is around 50% for the population aged more than 15 years in India and the worker-population ratio is around one-third (34%). The worker population ratio is 47% for the population aged 15 years and above (excluding children below 15 years of age). This is 58% for people with post-graduate and above educational qualifications. A total of 51.7% rural and 53% urban males and 17.5% rural and 14.2% urban females are in the workforce. Since, the estimated rural and urban population is 759 million and 315 million, respectively, and the rural and urban sex ratio is 952 and 965, respectively, the rural male and female population is 389 million and 37o million crore, respectively. The urban male and female population would be around 160 million and

155 million, respectively. Therefore, the size of the rural male workforce is around 200 million and that of the rural female workforce would be around 65 million. In urban India, the male and female workforce sizes would be around 85 million and 22 million, respectively. Hence, the total estimated size of the workforce in India in 2017-18 is 372 million. Among these are 22.8% regular wage/salaried employees, 24.9% casual labor and the rest 52.2% are self-employed. Therefore, there are 85 million regular employees, 93 million casual laborers and the rest, around 194 million people, are self-employed. In the self-employed category, 116 million are males and 37 million are females in rural India, with average monthly earning of Rs. 8,955 (USD 124.73) and Rs. 4,122 (USD 57.42), respectively. In urban areas, there are 33 million males and 7.6 million females who are self-employed, with an average monthly income of Rs. 16,067 (USD 223.8) and Rs. 6,994 (97.42), respectively. In the wage-salaried employee segment, 28 million are rural male and

6.8 million are rural females, while in urban areas, 39 million are male and 11 million are females. The average wage/salaries are Rs.17,990 (USD 25058), Rs.14,560 (USD 202.81), respectively for urban males and females, and Rs.13,533 (USD 188.5) and Rs.8,939 (USD 124.51), respectively, for rural males and females. As far as casual laborers are concerned, there are around 56 million males and 2o million female workers in rural areas, and 13 million males and 2.9 million females in urban areas. The per day average wage rate for rural male workers was Rs. 268 (USD 3.73), that for female was Rs.173 (USD 2.41), while for urban male, the daily wage was Rs.324 (USD 4.51) and for urban female casual laborers, Rs.194 (USD 2.7) per day. Even if we assume, 25 workdays in a month for which they have got work to do, the average monthly income of rural male, female would not exceed Rs. 6,688 (USD 93.16), Rs. 4,325 (USD 60.24), respectively, while in urban areas the figure was Rs.8,094 (USD 112.74) for males and Rs. 4,856 (USD 67.64) for females, respectively.

Therefore, the common people of India earn less than Rs.10,000 per month (USD 139.29) (see table below), on an average, as per the PLFS. Pub Ed India Since, the worker population ratio is around one-third in India, in per capita terms, the average monthly income would be Rs.3,300 (USD 45.97) or Rs. 110 (USD 1.53) per day per head. Obviously, some of us earn much higher than Rs.3,300 per head per month. But, there is huge inequality in income distribution. In India, less than 3% people come under the direct tax bracket. Even if we include the agricultural rich, complete direct tax evaders etc., and if the average family size is assumed to be 4.2, or even if we assume there is only one earning member in each family, the direct tax payee population would not exceed 15% of the total population in India (who earn more than Rs.20,000c(USD 278.58) per month, per family). Therefore, 85% of India’s population is practically poor. Their average per family monthly income - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

would be below Rs. 10,000 for sure. Higher Education, a Far Cry for 85% Families Now, the question is whether children born in these 85% families should get some opportunity for higher studies (forget equal opportunity/ level playing field etc.), or not. A median Indian family (which is exactly at 50% of income-wise population distribution) earns less than Rs.5,000 (USD 69.65) a month or less than approximately Rs. 60 per head (USD .84), per day. Obviously, children from these families would not be able to study unless education is made absolutely free in an underdeveloped, poor country like India. Therefore, the question arises whether the State has any responsibility here or not. Whether taxpayers (everybody pays indirect taxes) are paying taxes only for internal and external security, running the bureaucracy, judiciary and legislature or also for government-sponsored health, education, infrastructure etc. CONTD. ON PG 24

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Why India needs an absolutely free public education system

CONTD. ON PG 23 The Indian state has traditionally taken the responsibility and also passed the Right to Education Act in 2009, which ensures free and compulsory education for all children up to 14 years of age. But, what about after the 8th standard (upper primary level)? There are serious issues about the quality of education and there is always room for further improvement. A lot of private educational institutions are operating in India without any quality check. Those, who can afford it, they are sending their children to these institutions. However, a majority of Indians cannot afford to send their children to private places due to the high cost of education. A majority of Indians, therefore, depend on the free public education system in India. Education is not only important for upward mobility for the poorer sections but has wider ramifications, too. The national common minimum program of the Congressled United Progressive Alliance-1 government promised 6% of GDP spending on education. This was 15 years ago, in 2004. At present, government expenditure on education is only 3% of gross domestic product (GDP). This includes Central and state governments. Some states (like Punjab, Haryana and Karnataka) are talking about providing free education up to the PhD level for girls, but this should be done for all the students/research scholars across states. Income

class-wise targeting does not work in our country because of type 1&2 errors (i.e. exclusion of deserving and inclusion of nondeserving), plus, BPL (below poverty line) is defined as the poorest of the poor. Moreover, unhealthy classbased differences should not be created among students within the same

academic institutions. The Real Issue The real issue is that the government is failing to mobilize resources, given the tax base, despite having fairly high tax rates, because of corruption and loyalty to the big corporates. Salary, pension and interest payments on

past debts are beyond the government’s control. There is a cap on the fiscal deficit to GDP ratio. That is why social sector and capital expenditure of government are becoming soft targets for squeezing funds. Private educational institutions are anyway reserved for those who can afford them. Unfortunately, - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

public higher educational institutions are also slowly being made ‘self-financed’ to a large extent and, in effect, also being made inaccessible to the bottom 50-60% of population. In a nutshell, higher education would be reserved only for the richer section of population unless it is made absolutely free for everybody in the country. If we choose the future of the country from less than half of the population then, apart from being disgustingly unfair, there would be a huge efficiency loss in the country, and for civilization as a whole. India’s public educational institutions were built in the past by using taxpayer money. In order to make all public institutions of higher learning and research absolutely free, the government has to pay hardly 1% of GDP (i.e. less than Rs 2 lakh crore or USD 30.76 billion) extra and increase the education expenditure from 3% to 4% of GDP. This money can easily be raised by reducing corporate tax concessions and by improving tax compliance (by improving efficiency of tax collecting authority, tax information network and by reducing the degree of corruption). A majority of countries in the world spend more than 4.5% of GDP on education (see graph below for government education spending of 170 countries). We should not mix up our priorities, if we want to create an equitable, knowledgeable and stronger India. *The writer is Assistant professor, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. The views are personal.

south asia


southSouth asia times 25 Asia Times

Bringing Silicon Valley to the Kathmandu Valley

By Sonia Awale


ATHMANDU, Nov 18 2019 (IPS) - For those who think that Nepal is too underdeveloped to make full use of artificial intelligence (AI), think again. That is exactly what they used to say about computers and mobile phones in the 1990s. It may come as a surprise to many that Nepal has been gaining ground in AI, developing not only software using machine learning algorithms but producing world-class engineers. One company at the forefront is Fusemachines Nepal, which has started using industry experts to train AI students with cutting-edge technology to deliver intelligent solutions. “I wanted to see if I can contribute in bringing the best AI education to Nepal and make Nepal known around the world as one of the best sources of AI talent,” says the Nepali founder of Fusemachines, Sameer Maskey, a professor at Columbia University. This is the age of surveillance capitalism, where algorithms determine election outcomes, Siri knows what you want before you do, wearables correctly deduce the state of the heart and Facebook recognises friends. AI simply imitates human thinking by recognising patterns in data, so that repetitive everyday work can be done by machines that learn as they go along. Nepal missed the

bus on natural resource processing, manufacturing and information technology. But experts say that training a critical mass of engineers in AI can allow the country’s economy to leapfrog and become globally competitive. Fusemachines Director of Academic Affairs Bülent Uyaniker, who was in Nepal recently, rejects the notion that Nepal is not ready for artificial intelligence applications. “It is happening already, it is inevitable. If there can be 8.5 million Facebook users in Nepal, then it has the special conditions for AI.” Proof of this is the increasing number of software companies in Nepal using local engineering talent to work on software solutions for customers in North America or Europe. However, most of the engineers and recent graduates need training in AI to keep up with customer requirements. America alone will need 200,000 data scientists in the next five years, and most of these will come from the UK, Finland, Canada, Singapore, China and India. Which is why Fusemachines Nepal is also emphasising education. Says the head of its global operations and strategy, Sumana Shrestha: “You cannot learn AI in a one-day bootcamp, it needs intelligent mathematics, but there is a huge demand versus supply gap for engineers proficient in machine learning or other AI components everywhere.” Nepal established itself

America alone will need 200,000 data scientists in the next five years, and most of these will come from the UK, Finland, Canada, Singapore, China and India. as a sought after destination in the past 20 years for outsourcing services such as software and app development, website design and big data management to overseas clients, mostly due to the country’s inexpensive English-speaking workforce. This move from IT to AI will not just create jobs in Nepal, but also allow the country to increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace. General practitioners in rural hospitals will be able to make diagnoses faster so they can spend more time with patients, high-risk individuals can be identified with cancer screening, and targeted advertising and customised itineraries will lure potential tourists during Visit Nepal 2020. Recently, a group of

engineering students developed a model to help poultry entrepreneurs understand fowl behaviour and the state of their animals’ health, helping them to raise the farm’s business profile. “With precision livestock farming we can generate patterns to help farmers recognise symptoms before an outbreak of a disease by implementing AI components such as image processing and deep learning,” explained engineering student Sajil Awale at Pulchok Engineering Campus. “This allows for timely intervention to prevent mass deaths and reduce losses.” Computer vision (which enables computers to see and process images as humans would) can also help identify rotten fruit swiftly, and prevent misuse of pesticides by identifying areas on the farm that require chemicals, and the amounts needed. AI can also estimate future harvests, allowing farmers time to find markets for produce. Engineers at Fusemachines Nepal are working on Nepal’s first optical character recognition (OCR) system so forms filled out with Nepali handwriting can be digitised and translated into English. This will have huge scope in Nepal’s banking, hospital and government sectors, where pen and paper continues to be the norm. Sixit Bhatta, CEO of ride-sharing startup Tootle, says Nepal is ripe for AI applications: “Our efforts now should be on - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

AI simply imitates human thinking by recognising patterns in data, so that repetitive everyday work can be done by machines that learn as they go along. preparing for a world in which machines perform skills-oriented tasks and for humans to take on the roles that require creativity and empathy. But before that, the government should design policies that allow AI to grow, and not restrict it.” Sumana Shrestha at Fusemachines Nepal says that as long as salaries for clerical staff are low, there is less potential for AI to flourish. But she adds: “The curse of cheap labour means companies will prefer to employ people to do repetitive work. But sooner or later, AI will be here. Nepal needs to develop despite government. And the private sector needs to prepare itself for disruption.” This story was originally published by The Nepali Times

south asia 26 South Asia Timestimes



Be The change you wish to see - but how? By Rashmi Oberoi


s I reflect on 2019 in the last month of the year, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, there were a few wins in terms of women sparkling in different roles but on the other hand, it seems like we have a lot of work to do. Our leaders continue to objectify and demean women, relegating them to second-class citizenry. This cannot continue if we want to live in an inclusive world. Since it is that time of the year where we reflect on our achievements in the past year and make plans for the New Year, we must make a combined effort to see how every person and institution can be the driver of change when it comes to the safety of women. It must first start at home and continue via education. Since the brutal rape and subsequent death of the young veterinarian and prior to that rapes and abuse taking place on a daily basis, thousands of women in India, who are increasingly working and studying, have repeatedly taken to the streets to express anger over attitudes towards women, calling for major change. It is imperative to note that there has been no action on the part of the government at all… In fact, the silence is deafening. How can you respect a leader of a country and all his henchmen/women when issues like rape are brushed under the carpet and no action is taken? These issues call for swift decisions, stringent laws and harsh punishments. A woman is raped in Delhi, the country’s capital city, every 18 hours, according to official figures, and when you start considering collective figures across the country, it is ghastly and deplorable. Women across India say they are often subjected to sexual intimidation and violence - the picture is grim and depressing. Women from all walks of life — urban and rural, poor and privileged, across all generations – believe the time has come to take measures to stop the seemingly unabated violence against women. But one of the major obstacles is the political culture across party lines that openly reflect the archaic patriarchal attitudes in India today. Politicians have earlier stated that women demonstrating are ‘painted, dented women’, women must wear

It is apparent that a certain class of men are deeply uncomfortable with women displaying their independence, receiving education and joining the work force.

traditional saris and salwarkameez and be stopped from wearing skirts as their clothes attract rapists to them. As women in India are becoming more educated, finding jobs outside the home, and starting their own businesses, they are doing so in the face of a culture where sexual harassment is widely accepted and personal security is a major concern. Women’s safety is taken for granted. Corruption and a dismissive attitude by police toward crimes against women leave many with little faith in those meant to protect them. The ascension of the role of women in India is an outright threat to our patriarchal society. Women are proving to be better than men in all fields and are becoming educated and know their rights. That is in stark contrast to a culture of female oppression, built over centuries, where women are treated as inferior beings suited for housework, raising children and taking care of their husbands and families. It is apparent that a certain class of men are deeply uncomfortable with women displaying their independence, receiving education and joining the work force. Rape becomes a form of subduing women and establishing their male superiority. Changing that culture may very well prove to be the most difficult challenge in India but it is heartening to

see young people ready for change. They are ready to accept a girl be looked upon as an equal human being and not as some subservient object for the male to treat as he wishes. At the same time, there is pessimism that underlies what the professional Indian women believe can realistically happen to change long entrenched views. Changing attitudes toward sexual crimes will be difficult: The nexus between politicians, judicial system, popular and influential personalities is so deep rooted that it will take a marathon and an era of effort on the part of the Indian public to make positive changes. Many studies reveal that both professional and non-professional women experience heavy stress due to gender bias. Although women have proved the best of their abilities in various fields of work at par with men, they still continue to be given second importance in their field of work. Patriarchy and gender inequality in society is the main cause of women’s deprivation by way of health, food and nutrition, more susceptible to mortality and contributing to unbalanced male female ratio as well as in the sphere of education, employment, wages and that of political representation. Women are treated by men only as consumers, sex objects or reproductive machines as a

result of which their status in the family and society has been demoted. Subsequently this has led to increasing violence and denial of human rights, liberty, equality, justice. Women safety: what can you and I do? Every citizen has the right to be safe. Our constitution states that every single person is equal before the law. So why should it not be reflected in practice? Women and girls must be allowed to exercise their rights and be given the respect they deserve. They cannot be subjugated because of the choices they make. Education in this regard is the need of the hour to dispel taboos around the issue, and also help men in the country understand about respect, boundaries, and consent so that they do not violate women’s rights. As individuals, each of us must be active in preventing sexual violence and intervene when we see it happening and most importantly report it. The government must ensure that the legislation in effect is enforced. What is the point in having laws for the protection of women if the system is restrictive and inhibiting? Clearly, there has to be an upgrade of infrastructure to protect the rights of women. It has been reported that half the Nirbhaya fund is lying unutilised despite the desperate need for effective helplines, fast-track courts, - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

sensitive justice officials, widespread and quality one-stop crisis centres and shelter homes, and funding for programmes to educate and advocate on women’s rights. The police must ensure police stations are welcoming places for women to make complaints. It does not serve anyone well that official statistics on crime against women are severely under-reported. Suppressing these complaints only weakens the system and encourages perpetrators. Effective policies at work can play their part by ensuring there is a system in place to deal with sexual harassment. Representation of women on screen needs to change at once - Bollywood must stop the culture of objectifying women. The item girl has to be passé. Instead they should focus on strong lead roles for women and portray them in real, everyday roles that is the norm. Let’s face it – the masses are influenced by Bollywood and most often than not in a derogatory way. If we have to shift the mindset of society at large, the film industry can play an influencing role. If the ruling government wants to “be the change you wish to see”, as said by Mahatma Gandhi, then they need to wake up and end the horrific violence against women and girls by taking action. My fear is that the government is silent, indecisive and reticent in passing laws as more than half of their merry band of scoundrels would be behind bars! So then who are the tainted ones I ask? Source- The Citizen.



southSouth asia times 27 Asia Times

The ignoble fall of a Nobel Peace Prize winner

By Thalif Deen


NITED NATIONS, Dec 12 2019 (IPS) - Appearing before 17 judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto civilian leader of Myanmar, became a public apologist for the military government of Myanmar which has long been accused of genocide and forcing over 730,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since a 2017 crackdown. She was now ingloriously reduced to the point where she was defending the same military junta she battled for decades, which helped her win the Nobel Peace Prize back in 1991, while she was campaigning for democracy at the same time. And her appearance before the ICJ was also meant to boost her popularity at home while plotting a meticulously laid path for re-election in 2020—this time misusing the halls of justice in The Hague? Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, told IPS: “This case marks the final ignoble fall of Aung San Suu Kyi from Nobel Peace Prize winner to genocide denier and defender of Myanmar’s murderous military.” It is a shocking fall from grace and dignity in the pursuit of domestic political power, he added. He also pointed out that this case is “truly historic”. “Myanmar’s responsibility for genocide is being discussed in front of the International Court of Justice and the eyes of the world. The Gambia should be congratulated for having the intestinal fortitude to take this case forward when so many states and superpowers did not,” he added. He said any other signatory to the Genocide Convention could have filed this case but only The Gambia had the courage to do so. This case is about establishing the historical truth of Myanmar’s state responsibility for genocide against the Rohingya. Dr Adams said the ICJ could issue provisional measures that actually have an impact on the ground inside Myanmar and could

help ease the persecution of the Rohingya. And symbolically this ICJ case is devastating for Myanmar’s military. The whole world is discussing their atrocities. Their sense of impunity is looking a little less flimsy than they hoped, he declared. Responding to the statement made by Aung San Suu Kyi at the ICJ, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director, said: “Aung San Suu Kyi tried to downplay the severity of the crimes committed against the Rohingya population. In fact, she wouldn’t even refer to them by name or acknowledge the scale of the abuses. Such denials are deliberate, deceitful and dangerous.” The exodus of more than three quarters of a million people from their homes and country was nothing but the result of an orchestrated campaign of murder, rape and terror. To suggest that the military ‘did not distinguish clearly enough between fighters and civilians’ defies belief, Bequelin noted. “Likewise, the suggestion that Myanmar authorities can currently and independently investigate and prosecute those suspected of crimes under international law is nothing but a fantasy, in particular in the case of senior military perpetrators who have enjoyed decades of

total impunity,” he declared. Dr Tawanda Hondora, Executive Director of World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP), the organisation that houses and coordinates the work of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), told IPS Aung San Suu Kyi’s concession that “… under the circumstances, genocidal intent cannot be the only hypothesis” is reason enough for the ICJ to impose an injunction against Myanmar for the well documented atrocities that have been committed in the country. He said Aung San Suu Kyi must do the right thing and concede to the imposition by the ICJ of interim measures against Myanmar prohibiting its security forces from persecuting the Rohingya.” “The Gambia must be applauded for lodging a complaint calling for the protection of the Rohingya in Myanmar.” “The Rohingya minority in Myanmar have suffered terribly at the hands of the military regime but unlike Aung San Suu Kyi’s they are not in a position of power and have needed the goodwill of The Gambia.” Referring to the paralysis in the UN Security Council , Dr Hondora said the leaders of the US, Russia, China, the UK and France

– countries that constitute the UNSC P5 – should be ashamed that it has fallen on the Gambia a small country struggling with the aftereffects of the rule by a tyrant, Yahya Jammeh, to seek justice for the Rohingya” The World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy has called on the UN General Assembly to stand as one against states and others that commit offences that shock the conscience of humankind. “The UN General Assembly must push for real and effective reforms of the UN system so that we can realise our collective ambition for the world to Never Again suffer such unimaginable atrocities,” he said. Meanwhile, in a statement released here, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect said a decision on the request for provisional measures can be expected within weeks. According to Article 94 of the UN Charter, judgments of the ICJ are binding and the UN Security Council can take collective action to ensure that they are upheld. Members of the Security Council should name the crime committed against the Rohingya and actively ensure that any provisional measures imposed by the Court are expeditiously implemented. - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082

During her remarks the Nobel Peace Prize winner acknowledged the disproportionate use of force in the context of an “internal armed conflict,” but denied genocidal intent, the Global Centre said. Tellingly, Aung San Suu Kyi did not use the word “Rohingya” once during her statement. Human rights specialists have argued that Myanmar’s official denial of Rohingya identity is inextricably linked to their policy of persecution, the denial of universal human rights and ultimately to the genocidal actions of the military in Rakhine State during August-December 2017. On 9 December Canada and the Netherlands issued a joint statement welcoming the ICJ case and expressing their “intention to jointly explore all options to support and assist The Gambia in these efforts.” All other parties to the Genocide Convention should also meaningfully support the case through public statements and legal interventions at the ICJ. The international community failed to prevent a genocide in Myanmar, but it can still act to hold the perpetrators accountable, the statement added. The writer can be contacted at

south asia 28 South Asia Timestimes


october-november 2019

Lessons for Journalism in the age of rage – & where lies travel faster than truth By Karin Pettersson*

scrutinised, not only from the ‘tech’ angle. Some media organisations have come a long way in this regard but many are still lagging irresponsibly far behind. The tech giants’ operations affect democracy, innovation and politics here as well, and the coverage needs to reflect that.


TOCKHOLM, Dec 3 2019 (IPS) - The newsmedia industry has long lamented how the digital revolution has broken its business models. Today, a majority of digital advertising money goes to Facebook and Google, and media companies are struggling to reinvent themselves through digital subscriptions. But the disruption hasn’t only affected advertising: it has also fundamentally changed and challenged journalism itself. Historically, journalism has played a central role in shaping public discourse. News organisations have served as gatekeepers and chosen what to amplify. They have always been good at catching the audience’s attention and driving engagement. This has, however, also been about ethics and purpose. But the new public sphere has a different logic from the old. Today, journalism is just one of many actors providing information on what is going on in the world — only one of many providers of content, in an ecosystem which optimises for anger, fear and other strong emotions and where lies travel faster than the truth. In this new world, journalism needs to change, and journalists need to learn the landscape and avoid the pitfalls. If we don’t, journalism risks becoming a mirror to the anger-driven, socialnetwork logic — instead of a counterweight on the side of truth and reason. Given these new challenges, here are five lessons for journalism in the age of rage. Don’t get your news, angles or sources from Twitter Twitter is, compared with the bigger social-network platforms, a small shop. But in the news ecosystem it is hugely important, and unfortunately often in a destructive way. Politicians and pundits are over-represented on the platform; so are propagandists and manipulators. Still, many journalists spend a disproportionate amount of time on Twitter, looking for angles and

topics. Since the platform is easy to manipulate for anyone with access to money or a network of bots, this makes them easy targets for manipulation. The architecture of the new public sphere makes life harder for journalists. But it also makes their job more important than before. Twitter also distorts journalism in more subtle ways. Journalists love engagement. Due to the nature of the platform, the content to which journalists get the strongest reactions on Twitter tends to be variations on the big topic of the day — the stories everyone is already covering. When journalists spend too much time on Twitter, this can lead to a dumbing down of coverage, in a time when what we need is independent, thoughtful journalism, looking for the untold stories. Don’t be a useful idiot The tools of social networks were built to connect people and give them means of expression. It was never the plan, as the American tech journalist and thinker Danah Boyd says, that these ‘tools of amplification would be weaponized to radicalize people towards extremism, gaslight publics, or serve as vehicles of cruel harassment’. That, however, is what has happened. The hard part for journalists is how to learn to avoid

becoming useful idiots, playing into the hands of those using the platforms to amplify their agenda. To do that, journalists need to understand how manipulation works on social networks. Boyd uses the example of the anti-Muslim pastor Terry Jones, who in 2010 began using social networks to threaten publicly to burn the Qur’an. His goal was to attract the attention of mainstream news media to promote his congregation, which had around 50 members. A network of bloggers started to write about him, and finally the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, issued a statement condemning him — which led to massive media coverage. When he finally burned the Qur’an, the event was covered by every news outlet. The incident led to riots in Afghanistan, and the deaths of 12 people. The question is: was it necessary and important to cover this spectacle? Should the media report on intolerant provocations by marginal figures? Distinguish political dismissal from relevant critique The architecture of the new public sphere makes life harder for journalists. But it also makes their job more important than before. It’s harder not only because they can’t singlehandedly set the agenda but also because the

undermining of journalism is a central part of the political programme of many right-wing populist parties currently on the rise. The attacks on journalism — as ‘fake news’ — by government heads Donald Trump in the US, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and Viktor Orbán in Hungary are not isolated events: they are part of a pattern. The undermining of the free press is at the centre of the political agenda for authoritarians across the globe. It is a difficult balancing act to be aware that journalism is under attack yet, at the same time, to stay open to justified criticism. Cover Big Tech better The rise of Big Tech is one of the most important stories of our generation. Facebook has over 2.3 billion monthly users and YouTube last year had 1.8 billion logged on. The majority of Americans get their news from social networks and the same is true of most European countries. Individually, journalists need to find the strength and the motivation to go on, without retreating or becoming overly defensive. Never in the history of humankind have companies existed with such reach and impact on information and human communication. These new global superpowers need to be reported on and - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

Get used to the hatred Journalists who learned the trade in the old days are not used to the hatred, criticism, threats and aggression, directed towards them, which flourish on social networks and elsewhere today. Since many of the attacks are politically motivated, it is unrealistic to believe they will simply go away. Instead, journalism needs to learn how to thrive and stay focused in this new environment. On an organisational level, editors need to deal with the consequent stress and psychological pressure, and media organisations should set up smart and efficient security routines for their employees if they haven’t already done so. Individually, journalists need to find the strength and the motivation to go on, without retreating or becoming overly defensive. While it may be small consolation, at the end of the day the attacks are testimony to the importance of the work they do. Good journalism has never been as important as now, and never so hard. Journalism can and will survive. But it needs to learn how to navigate this new environment. This article is a joint publication by Social Europe and IPS-Journal. *International Politics and Society (IPS) is published by the International Political Analysis Unit of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Hiroshimastrasse 28, D-10785 Berlin. * Karin Pettersson is director of public policy at Schibsted Media Group and chair of WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Board. She is a 2017 Nieman-Berkman Klein Fellow at Harvard University and former political editorin-chief at Aftonbladet, Scandinavia’s biggest daily newspaper.


october-november 2019

south asia times 29

Cricket Australia earns $ 18.2 million profit in 2018-19 By Neeraj Nanda


ELBOURNE, October 31: Delivering its financial results for the full year ending 30 June 2019, Cricket Australia (CA) today announced a strong result in line with budgetary expectations and CA’s five-year strategy: 4The 2018-19 financial year resulted in an operating surplus of $18.2 million, more than double the operating surplus of the year prior ($8.3 million). 4At 30 June 2019, 705 international and domestic sanctioned matches were played over 255 days of cricket here and abroad. 4More than 2.166m people attended

international cricket, BBL and WBBL across the 201819 season, making it the highest ever attended

cricket season in a nonAshes year. 4The first women’s international match of

the season was the most watched women’s cricket match in Australia, with a peak audience of 1.3 million (average audience 609k). Cricket Australia Chair, Earl Eddings, said, “In my first year as Chair I have been humbled by the commitment, passion and resilience of the thousands of people who work across Australian Cricket. There is no doubt the past 12 months have seen some critical milestones for our organisation and the sport. “While we will never forget the lessons of the past we want to reassure the Australian cricket community that we have listened, and we – from the players to the administration - are genuinely committed - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

to earning back the trust of cricket fans across the country, he said. Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Roberts said, “With a focus on rebuilding trust and improving performance on and off the field, we are pleased to announce another year of strong financial performance.” “Increasing funding for States and Territories over the next four years, from $350 million to $450 million, Australian Cricket has attributed a significant portion of this uplift to community cricket infrastructure and development. This includes 58 new community roles to support cricket in local communities, he said.

south asia 32 South Asia Timestimes - (03) 9884 8096, 0421 677 082


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