Wednesday, 15 October 2014

History of Mumbai's waste management

Work for Food with Dignity in Mumbai

Work for Food with Dignity in Mumbai

I am not a scholar, historian, expert or activist. I see history or its result or its residue in the Present, which is in flux.

In one word, it is mismanagement. Mumbai, like India, is large, too large, for Agencies to manage on borrowed models of development from the Waste, and information from text books. It is not based on the study and field work of ground realities, success and failures.

Squatters working on waste collected-1
However, I may add an important aspect that is rarely mentioned. In Mumbai's 130 million people, there are about 60 % people who are squatters and slum dwellers. They struggle, not fight, but to save their lives from being 'wasted'. They 'recycle' the inorganic waste of the city, and even organic waste in the city.

Squatters working on waste collected-2
They have a tragic history behind them of hundred years, perhaps more. They show 'life wasted’ living in subhuman conditions in the 20th & 21st centuries in one of the ancient civilized societies! They are the residue of the modern industrial development begun by the British Raj and continued by the First World India, which is a powerful minority.

Twenty years ago I thought if Mumbai recycled human excreta, it could replace five mega- factories that make chemical fertilizers, today many more with increasing population.

Squatters working on waste collected-3
Mumbai's Slums & Squatters display their faith in Indian Democracy by being Self-reliant with Dignity more than the elite.
Mumbai's more than 60% citizens are Slum dwellers & Squatter, a fall-out of The First World India's Development & Progress: What an irony!
Slums in Mumbai are self-help townships, where many skilled, semi skilled & unskilled building workers live, who built Mumbai over decades.
(06-03-2011 | Revised: 22 July 2014)

©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Why wage Energy Wars?

Why wage Energy Wars? End the Work of Evil Wants!

Image: Why wage Energy Wars? @Remigius de Souza

Work expends energy.
But to question the two aspects, the Work and the Energy, the logic rarely reaches its inevitable end or to its Death.
If all must die, why should not their logic die first or come to an end?
Any action or work ― cook, eat, drink, wash, bath, walk, mate, farm, garden, read-write, see TV... make money or artefacts in real or virtual world - consumes energy.
Some works are for mental and physical need; some are mere wants, which are transient.
Some actions are constructive.
The destructive acts too are easily called creative!

Why wage Energy Wars? End the Work of Evil Wants!
(Wed, 07-09-2011)

Related Post: Karma-sannyasi's Self-immersion in Water (Poem)

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Many Avatars of Corruption

The Worst Form of Corruption: the Intellectual Corruption of the Elite

1. Congress stalwart hijacked by BJP

Power breeds Corruption; to put it other way: ‘hunger for power (and profit)’ breeds corruption.

Corruption is not limited only to 'cash and kind' as is popularly known or assumed. There is also 'Intellectual Corruption' caused by ideologies – isms, dogmas, religions, colour, race, language, regions, cults, faiths and greed for Power & Profit.

Intellectual Corruption, which is mainly noticed among the elite, is immeasurable form of corruption. History is witness; for example, ‘Holocaust’ in Nazi Germany, in the recent times.

In modern times, of course, the forms and vocabulary in these contexts have changed. For example, goons/mafias/slumlords extort money by terror from the wealthy as well as weaker sections of society.

The Intellectual Corruption of the Elite

While Food, Shelter and Clothing are primary needs of all the living beings, including humans, they are also equipped by Nature with FIVE AUTONOMOUS FUNCTIONS – WORK, LEISURE, HEALTH, LEARNING and PROPAGATION for their sustenance and survival. There is no other authority over these autonomous functions.

However, the civilized societies in general, and now, in modern times the Industrial Civilization, through its tentacles or tools (governments, institutions, legal aids, science, technologies, industry, trade and market) has taken control over these Autonomous Functions, even of the humans, to capitalize for power and profit. These tools encroach upon even in private domains of an individual and the collective.

Civilized Society by its very structure of centralized power of class/caste has the seeds of this corruption from its beginning 5000 years ago. The ruler class/caste collected taxes from the ruled – the weaker classes/castes for their protection, and the clergy class/caste performed worships, sacrifices and offerings on the altar of deity for the salvation after death of the believers — the so-called commoners.

Corruption in the Governments

If the personnel of a democratic government (legislators – ruling and opposition, executives, judiciary, law & order and other dept.), the government undertakings and institutions, planners and experts, during their duties could remember and think that they too are citizens of the nation, much of the burden, e.g., corruption, on the heads of the ‘Other’ citizens will be reduced.
“Constant Surveillance is the Price of Power.” — Alistair MacLean
Unlimited Power — Unlimited Piracy
Antidote: If people want to keep the power in their hands, they must continue to exercise constant surveillance over the governments, at least in the age of democracy.

Corruption starts at the Top rungs of societal organization. It then trickles down, like infamous theory of 'Trickle-Down Economy'.
Therefore, the movement against corruption, also, must start from grassroots – the masses.
Nelson Mandela too started the fight against corruption — the Appertained, which is intellectual corruption — at the bottom, the Masses.

But where is such a charismatic leader like Mandela or Gandhiji, who is ready to go for the personal suffering? Mandela had suggested: ‘study – study – study (the ways of the enemy)’! Who is the enemy in a democratic nation? What about Anti-corruption Law? But who shall enact such a law?

The moral of all the flashing media stories at present 2014 Election Season is: As a saying goes, one may fool many, but one cannot fool all, all the time. Politicians' Hidden Agendas (of ideologies and/or practices) is a known issue. Particularly ryot — India's large majority — cannot be fooled, though silent they may seem. Because they are witness to the ground reality they face daily.

Do the media adequately represent rural population of 833,087,662 persons living in the 638,588 villages, spread over 3,287,240 km2 area (Census 2011)? This large majority compels the power-hungry politicians to run to form alliances.

2. Big, Bigger, Biggest (Image Source: Hindustan Times)

We Indians may be theist, atheist or agnostic. Some may or may not believe in deity-worship, yet we believe in hero-worship, by our mindset of ages. The politicians take advantage of this Indian mindset (See; Illustrations).
In the present election propaganda, BJP or NDA has fielded a prime ministerial candidate; Congress or UPA has fallen for the bet!
Imagine, among 1200 million people there are only two candidates posing themselves to be Prime Ministerial candidates! It reminds us of Team India’s 12 cricket players out of 1200 million citizens!!

None thinks about our democratic setup is for electing a prime minister from the elected MPs; it is not like electing a presidential candidate as in the US. This indeed is a bad precedent, which could lead to a dictatorship of a dogma. This is dangerous for Democracy.

The worst example of Intellectual Corruption 

Human Energy

Industrial Societies monopolize earth's resources that belong to all the living beings that terrorize life on earth. It also colonizes weaker regions. Their modern creed – Science – so far could not discover how to use Seven Billion-plus ‘Human Energy’.
Is elite India following its lessons from the West? This calls for our unbiased introspection.
Illustration 1- Image Source: Internet
Illustration 2- Image Source; Hindustan Times | READ MORE >> BJP links campaign to Sardar Patel statue | 28 Nov 2013 | Hindustan Times (Mumbai)

Remigius de Souza

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Monday, 23 December 2013

HOUSE OF BAMBOO (Video Presentation)

Tribal House and Habitat – Presentation

Bhill House in Satpura Ranges, India
House of Tetya Nusa Koli
Built by self-help and Community Participation

House of Bamboo

More PowerPoint presentations from Remi de Souza


  • Aborigine – Adivasi – Cultures are so rich with their time-tested wisdom that it should be understood as World Heritage and should be preserved.
  • For more than 10K years, or perhaps from unknown time, they have been living in Harmony with Nature.
  • Now in the hurricane of development on western model it is doubtful how long will they last!
  1. All the photographs are by Remigius de Souza, Mumbai
  2. Copyright Remigius de Souza, 2009
  4. Bhill's Holi Festival in Satpura Ranges, India 
  5. See Tag: Aborigines-Adivasis on ARCHETYPES INDIA for MORE.
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Parenthood as Vocation! Any takers!!

Momonkey, Image Source: Internet

Career oriented parents

In a faculty room, once a gossip was going on. I'm half attentive to their talk, while going through exercise papers. Someone, a married lady said, 'better take a baby from shelf'. It caught my attention, but I didn't move my head. It was an unfamiliar elite talk in fashion. There was a lump in my throat. A feeling of nausea was building up inside. At last, humans too are commodity now!

The statement, ‘Taking a baby from shelf’ is like taking ready food packets from a grocery shop; It is an occupation, not a profession, and not at all vocation; it is a labour unpaid-for.

It amounts to building up career, by default, if not design! What is the   motivation behind this temptation? If it is a newly found freedom by the elite, it amounts only falling in fire from frying pan! To understand this, we need to go beyond established rationale of our decadent, fragmented mass society.

Without going into details such as, single mother or single father, live-in relationship, contract marriage, family planning, population explosion, sperm donator, surrogate mother, child adoption etc. We go straight for the parenthood.

Propagation is a plan by Nature

Procreation or Propagation is directly related to the survival of species. It is one of the Five Autonomous Functions bestowed by Nature to all the living beings – plants and animals (human animals included). The other four autonomous functions are Work, Leisure, Learning and Health. These, of course, are facilitated by Nature's schema of Environment, Ecology and Energy for the survival of species.

For example, a cat shift her just born kittens (they are born blind) to safe places to protect them from male cat eating them. Birds – male and female parents – feed their chicks in the nests, until they learn to fly. A lamb, as soon as born, stands on four legs and starts jumping and running around. Fishes lay eggs or fries in shallow waters among reeds etc., in hundreds or more; their survival rate is unenviable.

A plant in summer
And plants! They are the most blessed species: they propagate in various ways. Some of them are pollination by birds, animals, insects who survive on them! Dormant seeds, in millions, germinate as soon as rains begin. If uninterrupted by humans, the plants could grow into wild forests. They could engulf mighty buildings, monuments such as, Angkor in Asia.

Perhaps the human infant faces most precarious conditions from the birth. S/he is fully dependent for their survival on others. Tarzan myth indeed is exemplary, about parenthood.

Formative Age and Learning

The most pertinent question remains. Can social institutions, such as schools, orphanages, hospitals, homes for the aged etc. compensate the need for parenthood?

Family is not an institution, it is basically a unit of a community — a cohesive collective — which gives identity to every individual. The Institutions such as schools, governments etc. are faceless enteritis, where an individual cannot have ethical or moral relationship. For this reason they offer titles and awards.

Formative Age
Family and Community, both, offer building up and flowering of the new born persons at their Formative Age, with culture, values, morality, character, altruism, life supporting skills. This is best illustrated among adivasi – tribal communities. This 'action of building and flowering' of a person is not possible for any school in 'mass education system', even if one may claim to be progressive! They produce 'graded stereotypes'.

Thus teaches Buddha
By our mass education system, designed by the experts who are brought up by the same system, we too think within the same system — within the box. This goes on and on for decades, except for few adjustments and re-adjustments.

Family or Household

Thankfully Industrialization has successfully turned traditional societies into homogenised mass society, split the joint family into nuclear families, and finally, ended the family too.

Now, a 'family' is popularly called 'household'. It is a unit in the 'Mass Society' not a Community’. Household could be anything: even a group of migrant youths or adults in search of skills, jobs in towns or cities. They have no identity other than their 'occupation'. It is variously called, for example, 'housewife', not mother or grandmother. There the matter ends for the purpose of various surveys; it is useful data for the managers of the country's affairs.

In a country like India, there is so much diversity because of disparity in access to education. It is not that the so-called masses are uneducated: they do sustain by their education, though unrecognized by the system or the government!

Who is supposed to think in such a scenario? Any person — a citizen, young or old — can use creative thinking going beyond the stereotypical daily actions and notions. Everyone is blessed by creativity and personal space; even while doing daily mimicry in occupation.

If everyone practices Creativity, then perhaps Democracy shall begin at grassroots, not at the top rungs of social hierarchies!

And the children! We make them carry heavy school bag packs, books, notebooks and the  subjects... added by the periodical whims of the educationists, and now gadgets such as mobile phones and computers. We want them to be better citizens, before they come of age! In return what do they receive? Chaos perennial!

Complexities of modern urban society pose many challenges to parents. By admitting children to schools at age of three, their social life begins even before they have developed many physical and mental faculties. They enter into an alien world. We hardly know how it influences their Formative Age. A child depends fully on exposure s/he gets, first, at the family and immediate neighbourhood (streets included), then follows the peer group. Later on their public life that begins in formal education which is ready to influence them!

Parenthood is Vocation, not an Occupation

We need to assess and re-asses social situation again and again in the present flux. It may vary for each person or family in each strata of society. The overall situation, however, creates Alienation and Identity Crisis. In such a situation, parenthood is not an occupation, but a vocation which calls for attention, thinking, and meditation; and to reach wise strategies; it may change with every child, and every parent!

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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.