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I am author of the books Political Internet(Routledge, 2017), Intimate Speakers ( Fingerprint! 2017), has finished the typescript of three books—first, on Internet and sexuality; second, on the negative impacts of social media; and third, a novel—and is presently working on a narrative non-fiction with the working title Lovescape: Why India is afraid of love.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

One Day National Seminar on Changing Dimensions of Party Politics in India on 10 January 2014(Dept. of Pol. Science, Govt. Brennen College, Thalassery, India)



Changing Dimensions of Party Politics in India
One-Day National Seminar on 10 January 2014

DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
GOVERNMENT BRENNEN COLLEGE.

Reaccredited by NAAC with “A” Grade
Affiliated to Kannur Univesity,Kerala,India.


                                                             Venue
              Hindi seminar Hall


Seminar Concept Note



Over the six decades, the nature of our electoral democracy seems apparently changed. One major change reflected over the years was the party system. Beginning from a Congress dominated ‘One Party Dominant’ system, now it has extended on to an unwieldy multiparty system. In between, party politics in India has seen many ebb and flow.

Now party politics characterises many players. It composes a wide stream of groups such as umbrella system like Indian National Congress to single-issue system like Aam Aadmi Party. In between, the party politics inhabits political parties in which one person pulls all the strings, parties having pre-election agreement with smaller parties on joint candidates, Cadre parties, regional parties, identity parties, and so on.

Dominated by issues such as inner party democracy, gender, professionalism, funds, ideologies, values, leadership quality, campaigning methods, regionalization, caste; now the spectre of party politics in India over the fifteen general elections dissected call for vital scrutiny. On this backdrop, the One-Day National Seminar on Changing Dimensions of party Politics in India seeks to uncover the trends and tendencies found in our party politics and the electoral scenario.
The whole issues briefly pinpointed here cover up in the sub themes pertaining to (1) Political Parties and Elections; (2) New Media and Political Communication; (3) Party System in India; (4) State, Political Party and Market.

How to send abstract

The scholars planning to present papers have to send an abstract of 300 words, Times New Roman, 12 font size, single line space, with key words. The last date for submission of abstract is 15 November 2013.

Abstract should be sent to bijugayu@gmail.com. Acceptance of paper will be communicated on 20 November 2013.

How to send full paper

The scholars, whose abstract got approval letter has to send the full paper to bijugayu@gmail.com on or before 20 December 2013.

Style sheet

Times New Roman, Font size 12, Single Line Space (with Alignment Justify) and Author Date System, 8000 Words. End Notes with 11 Font Size at the end of the paper (Alignment Text Left), Reference with 12 Font Size (Alignment Text Left).

Publication

Quality papers will be considered for publication with ISBN Number.


Contact

Convener







Biju P R,
Assistant Professor,
Department of Political Science,
Government Brennen College, Thalassery,
Kannur, Kerala. 670 106,
Mobile: 9847477116,

How to Reach the College

The college is situated on the NH 17; 5 KM away from Thalassery Railway Station; roughly 60 KM away from Calicut Airport and 167 KM away from Mangalore Airport.

ATOMS TO BITS: PROTEST AND POLITICS IN INTERNET INDIA. P.R.Biju, O. Gayathri (Polit Book, Institute of Social and Political Sciences, Russia)

Hate or love: What we click on the social media? | BIJU P R

Hate or love: What we click on the social media? | merinews

Why Social media must be regulated? | BIJU P R

Why Social media must be regulated? | merinews

Social media under fire in electoral heat BIJU P R

Social media under fire in electoral heat

Connecting Alone: India's life style activism in social web BIJU P R

Connecting Alone: India's life style activism in social web

Digital Diva: Women sexuality and Indian Internet BIJU P R

Digital Diva: Women sexuality and Indian Internet

Indian Politics warming up to social media BIJU P R

Indian Politics warming up to social media

Government 2.0 in India - Part 2 BIJU P R

Government 2.0 in India - Part 2

Government 2.0 in India - Part 1BIJU P R

Government 2.0 in India - Part 1

Is our political class credible? BIJU P R

Is our political class credible?

Internet activism is a myth BIJU P R

Internet activism is a myth

The wired politics: Shrinking Internet public in India BIJU P R

Short Notes on Multilateral Forums for Degree Students



The Group of Eight (G8)

The Group of Eight (G8) refers to the group of eight highly industrialized nations--France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, Canada, and Russia--that hold an annual meeting to foster consensus on global issues like economic growth and crisis management, global security, energy, and terrorism. The forum enables presidents and prime ministers, as well as their finance and foreign ministers, to candidly discuss pressing international issues. Its small and static membership, however, excludes emerging powers from key talks concerning the global economy and international security, and as an informal grouping, states have little leverage over other members with which to secure compliance on agreements beyond imposing reputational costs.
           There are no formal criteria for membership, member states are expected to be democracies and have highly developed economies. The G8, unlike the United Nations, is not a formal institution, and there is no charter or secretariat. The presidency, a position responsible for planning ministerial meetings and the annual summit, rotates among the member states.

The Group of 15

The G15, a group of 17 developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America, was set up to foster cooperation and provide input for other international groups, such as the World Trade Organization and the Group of Seven rich industrialized nations.
The G15 is comprised of Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe
The Group of Fifteen (G-15) was established at a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries in September 1989, following the conclusion of the Ninth Non-Aligned Summit Meeting in Belgrade. The Group was originally founded by 15 developing countries. While there are now 17 member countries, the original name of the Group has been retained.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES 

1.To harness the considerable potential for greater and mutually beneficial cooperation among developing countries.
2.To conduct a regular review of the impact of the world situation and of the state of international economic relations on developing countries.
3.To serve as a forum for regular consultations among developing countries with a view to coordinating policies and actions.
4.To identify and implement new and concrete schemes for South-South cooperation and mobilize wider support for them.
5.To pursue a more positive and productive North-South dialogue and to find new ways of dealing with problems in a cooperative, constructive and mutually supportive manner.

G20

The G20 was formally established in September 1999 The G20 was created in 1999 in response to the financial crises in the late 1990s, the growing influence of emerging market economies on the global economy, and their disproportionately modest participation in the decision-making process. G20 Leaders met for the first time in 2008 in Washington, D.C. And at that time the G20 was to play a pivotal role in responding to the global economic and financial crisis. The main objective of upgrading the level of consultations within the G20 was to cope with then current and set a framework for preventing future financial crises, while securing sustainable and balanced global growth and reforming the architecture of global governance.
The G20 brings together finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America plus the European Union.

The objectives of the G20 refer to:

1. Policy coordination between its members in order to achieve global economic stability, sustainable growth;
2. Promoting financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises;
3. Modernizing international financial architecture.


The BRIC countries label refers to a select group of four large, developing countries (Brazil , Russia, India  and China ). The four BRIC countries are distinguished from a host of other promising emerging markets by their demographic and economic potential to rank among the world’s largest and most influential economies in the 21st century (and by having a reasonable chance of realizing that potential).  Together, the four original BRIC countries comprise more than 2.8 billion people or 40 percent of the world’s population, cover more than a quarter of the world’s land area over three continents, and account for more than 25 percent of global GDP.

Brief introduction to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Silence has long been confused with neutrality, and has been presented as a necessary condition for humanitarian action. From its beginning, MSF was created in opposition to this assumption. We are not sure that words can always save lives, but we know that silence can certainly kill.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation creation of which was proclaimed on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. Its prototype is the Shanghai Five mechanism.
The main goals of the SCO are strengthening mutual confidence and good-neighbourly relations among the member countries; promoting effective cooperation in politics, trade and economy, science and technology, culture as well as education, energy, transportation, tourism, environmental protection and other fields; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region, moving towards the establishment of a new, democratic, just and rational political and economic international order.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Election Commission instruction for political parties and candidates while using social media, in fact resonates an acknowledgement towards the assuming significance of social web in reconfiguring democratic engagements and deliberative politics. With the Commission instructions over social media use, now the question on the regulation of social media debate got a new vantage point, which already reverberated in Parliamentary deliberation.
Internet connection penetrating among over sixteen crore, more than eight crore people accessing social media sites, and studies confirming Facebook influence over 150 urban electoral constituencies in the forthcoming general election in 2014, new form of class antagonism has resurfaced at the trajectory of electoral politics and social media ecology in India.
Recognising this budding class relation in the electoral arithmetic of India, Election Commission (EC) has issued instructions to the chief electoral officers in States and Union Territories and Presidents and General Secretaries of Political Parties on 25 October 2013, regarding the use of social media sites in electoral environment. 
Broadly classifying social media in to five categories, EC has taken a bold approach towards the ‘pre-certification’ (regulation?) for political advertisements in Internet. The directive to seek pre-certification of advertisements over Internet platforms makes the political class to be more cautious while migrating to connective spaces. The instruction also requires furnishing the expenditure for creating social media accounts, salaries paid to staff that maintains and operates it and cost incurred to Internet companies; all this falls under election expenses of a candidate.
However, the decision has kicked the holy cow again: freedom of speech. Regulating social media, the debate has been prevailing for sometimes now, ever since Government attempt to ban selected Internet sites following social media powered hate speech and consequent violence on Northeast people in south Indian States in 2012.
Discussion were in Parliament on August 2012 when morphed pictures used by tomfoolery makers in forms of multi-media messages (MMS) and social networking sites to buff communal tension targeting people from the northeast India in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai. In addition, social media has become fertile ground for breeding communal tensions, opines Akhilesh Yadav and confirmed its scrupulous configuration in inflaming communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar, which killed nearly 50, and displaced 40,000,in Uttar Pradesh. Role of social media in glowing communal tension was one of the focal challenges haunting India, confirmed a summary of the chief Ministers’ speeches, at the National Integration Council meeting held on 23 September 2013.

The Practical issues
Certainly, the decision of the Commission to bring social media based electoral advertisement in tandem with political campaign in traditional media platforms such as TV and print carries some practical difficulties. Connective spaces are uncensored, and nebulous. Free space that goes unchecked and unmonitored is often everywhere in Internet. Social web that we count for advocacy, protest groups, social movements, social activists, subcultures and sometimes fan activism, life style activists, Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) and hobbyists have voluntarily understood as mechanics of political engagements and democratic engagements and will have enough conduits that somehow lead to electoral manipulations otherwise. Surely, this, in part, cannot bring under the radar.
Yet, the legal provision on campaigning via traditional media has now extended to social media. The practical issue raised pertains to the profiles and web pages created by “third person” for candidates and political parties concerned. However, EC reserves the matter for scrutiny under the table of Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
Of course, only a minuscule fraction of the political tribe is online but their social media presence could influence voters, for instance, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi  chat on social network Google+ and reportedly received questions and comments with millions watching across other media platforms. L.K. Advani shares political as well as personal thoughts through blog and Twitter profiles but the focus remains on politics.
Facebook is a pet device for many politicians to connect with their electorate and communicate with them, from big players like Mamata Banerjee  to the young and not much known politicians like Jose K Mani from Kerala. Facebook has been more useful in the sense that youth access it from mobile.
Few of political class have taken a step further and created Twitter accounts. Talking about twitter, there is no dearth of politicians on Twitter.Narendra Modi, Mamta Banerjee, Sushma Swraj, etc., are few examples.From famous and well known political bigwigs like Shashi Tharoor  who is illustrious for his tweets to Narendra Modi and from lesser known politicians like captain Gopinath  to Meera Sanyal, Twitter has constituted a ‘twittersphere’ for the participatory engagements in politics.
Yet, another class of Indian political tribe who has taken a step further to connect with citizens online was websites and blogs. Narendra Modi, Omar Abdullah , and Nitish Kumar and a few more connect with internet users through expensive websites.
Political parties are not far behind in using social media sites. Congress, Bhartiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party etc., each of these and the remaining ones has their own websites, which not seen some years back. Several political parties have their official presence on social media sites in a bid to connect with the critical online youth population. If compared, the two major parties, i.e. the Indian National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party  (BJP), the latter clearly emerges as a winner.
Campaigns from the streets have moved to print, radios, TV and now onto the digital space and here it displays the party profiles, ideologies, their mission and vision and what the public can expect from them. At this point, they interact with the electorate.
The deeper debates
Nevertheless, the decision will highlight some deeper issues unnoticed. In fact, the real issue at stake is not freedom of speech, but speech and medium itself. The pompous side of digital democracy has spotted in by a host of incidence very recently in social media platforms. Therefore, the question comes, does our mouse click of any kind really facilitate political engagement and deliberate politics.
Communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and violence on Northeast people reflected the vulnerability of social media spaces. The connective spaces do have no precise boundary in our cultural vocabularies and everyday life experiences regarding the doable/undoable and hate/love speech online. The instruction of the EC needs introspection in this background.
A spectacular reflection of connective spaces often provides us the other side of the story of digital democracy in India. In fact, Internet has done little to thicken political dialogue in India. Disaster or collateral damage, Internet has been in news for reasons that frowned people over the last few years.
New forms of control and domination prevail in connective spaces. Proprietary ownership is reflective of its capitalist character. A Google search with keywords ‘social media and Election Commission’ finds us 93,900,000 results (0.45 seconds), but the web link goes to big players, Economic Times, NDTV, Times of India, DNA, Business Standard, etc. Funneling web traffic to the platforms of big players by search engines like Google and Yahoo connective spaces now show cases the bourgeois character it has. 
Links appear structured in Internet as well as filtered about how citizens search for political content and how leading search engines like Google and Yahoo funnel traffic to popular outlets. The connective space is iniquitous and unjust.
A new kind of “searcharchy” prevails in Internet and search engines are funneling traffics to the websites, news portals, and other web platforms of big players that are already the monopolies of our social space before the coming in of Internet, Google and Facebook. It resound what US Political scientist, Mathew Hindman, said in his book, The Myth of Digital democracy (2008).The public sphere as a discursive space in Internet is often doubtful since the space is already monopolised by corporate interest and search engines. Discussions are always mediated for the interest of proprietary owners and the Internet space is undergoing a new kind of structure and domination in India as said by Lawrence Lessig (2001) in his book, The future of ideas: the fate of the commons in a connected world.
Internet is the cultural space of winner-take-all symptom and the space has funneled by the interest of the holy cows. Political class uses their cultural and money power to redefine the codes in Internet and used a new kind of stenography to attract the digital voters. Film stars use their star value to sell out their products. Celebrities colonize the connective spaces to fortify their undisputed marketability. Celebrities, political classes, film stars, and traditional monopolies have configured a loose but unholy alliance in connective spaces.
Tens of thousands of anonymous and strange people do not get their alternate space here. No more solidarity resounds here in this space. On this background, the decision of the EC to put qualifications on the use of social websites during electoral campaign is timely, wise and appreciative. However, the curb on social media use during election time will not carry any restraint on freedom of speech. The instructions are rather qualitative. Of course, the decision will strengthen Indian democracy and it pinpoints the health of our polity.
- See more at: http://www.merinews.com/article/social-media-under-fire-in-electoral-heat/15891480.shtml#sthash.5flfBbMp.dpuf
Now connection works like a credo, but not a panacea and our unvarying, thoughtless impulse to connect shapes a new way of being. Think of it as 'I share that you share that you share that I share that we share. ' Are the new technologies leading to new forms of social inclusion or exclusion and creating new forms of togetherness or divide?

Few letters on Facebook Wall has become sufficient reason for massive scale violence, intimidation, death threat by miscreants. The consequence Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan from Mumbai, had to face and that took them behind bars proves, yes!
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Personal dissent goes to dimensions, when we heard Kanwal Bharti and Jaya Vindhayala’s Facebook arrest, Aseem Trivedi’s arrest for Internet cartooning, Ambikesh Mahapatra and Subrata Sengupta’s email arrest, Ravi Srinivasan’s Twitter arrest, S Manikandan’s blog arrest. Dissent or hate, K H Muhammed, Henna Bakshi, and many more has become victims or heroes for Internet freedom. Twitter comment by celebrity author Shobhaa De becomes prime time news hour debate and views on naming the proposed anti-rape law after the 16 December rape victim on Twitter; Shashi Tharoor makes the agenda of the nation wide political debate. L K Advani and Narendra Modi, etc., many leading Indian politicians make their political commentaries on social profiles such as Twitter, blogs, that attract commodious public attention.
We have transformed our sentiments in to the text we make in the smart devices we have and in the nebulous radical media platforms, we have inhabited. Connecting alone structures that the lone attempt at protesting, collaborating, publishing and networking from the tiny devices have resulted in the making of ‘alone together’ in Indian Internet. From atoms to bits, liberally we have reproduced and echoed the otherwise not possible usual life style practices. Of course, large and expanding sections of Indians, moving on to social web, are a political choice, personal dissent, individual resistance, personalised political action.
Following Anna Hazare led anti-graft movement and Delhi gang rape; social media began to address a ‘critical mass’. The emerging online social spaces for story telling have reflected the growing sentiments of middle classes, academic, the intellectuals, advocacies, activists and journalists that look at the west.
Cell phone embedded second People Power Revolution in Philippines, anti-government movement online following death of Neda Agha Soltan in Iran, YouTube video showing self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi in Tunisia, Egypt’s 2011 unrest consequent to video tape showing the death of Khaled Said; all show the power of social media in effecting political changes across a broad spectrum of countries recently. The Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, The UK Uncut have co-opted digital media, for protest movements that raised convergence-divergence debate by focusing on how network structures at the international level affect policy outcomes, activist propaganda, advocacy and politics in native society.
Illusion or certainty, a growing sense of delegitimisation of protest paradigm has resurfaced when our life gets akin to petition sites, email lists, online fund raising, social networking sites, blogs and micro blogs, video sharing sites, photo uploading and content sharing sites in the native context.
The popularity of Web 2.0 lifestyle technologies such as what-to-buy- blogs, how-to-cook-it-healthy portals, how-to-wear-eco-friendly blogs, why-I-am-against-nuclear-energy communities, etc., all of which tell us how to fashion our life to fine-tune planet for sustainable living. The style guide and shopping apps available for smart phones, good book read applications on social profile, the habit website bookmarked, news updates subscribed to personal computer, etc., demonstrate millions of people want the life style technologies to express their personal political choices.
The hidden networks of groups, secretive circuits of solidarity, meeting points, all that reformulate profoundly the image of a new political actor; YOU, i.e., the life style activist at Net.Life style politics such as veganism, bicycle and pedestrian culture, ethnic food activism, government schooling, love for mother toungue, thoughts about alternative energy, lamenting ‘Bandh’ and ‘Hartal’, arguing for hand made ‘Khadi’ clothing, and so on, we practice every day have teleported to the social web.
The complex social structure of India being inhospitable to ‘low’ cultures historically had always co-opted the high cultures in the communicative spaces. Discursive practices in social web, in fact, destabilised India's social structure that in the past represented privileged few at the cost of a majority at the fringe margins.
In fact, Internet provides sexual minorities space for share, network, and collaborate with like-minded people, which otherwise not possible in the offline world. Internet is a safe refuge of marginalised sexual minorities to search for new relationships that are out of scrutiny by the draconian laws and hostile social structure.
From chatting to blogging to posting, to Facebook, to Twitter, the solo dissenters of Indian Internet from marital displeasure, disharmony with family, dissatisfied with social structure, has began to find a new ‘self’ cross across potentially inhospitable social structure, taboo ridden social order and patriarchal world.
Greater the embedding of digital platforms in the political subjects in Internet, higher the illusion about cyber unreal. Even though, electronic device for political communication has exploited in electoral democracy, it amounts to brazen imitation of American electoral eco-system. India is facing the Americanisation of political communication largely fed up by social media platforms.
Here in India, too, discussion surfaces projecting social media as town square, India Against Corruption as Arab Spring and Jantar Mantar as Tahrir Square of India. Anna Hazare led anti-graft movement gave a new label to them. A significant component in the mounting hegemony in global homogenising culture is the dominance of the English language in computation, Internet and international electronic communication, American cultural products, etc., that provokes a flat public with digital media being a symbolic carrier.
In a time when politics becomes decidedly hierarchical and feudalistic, engaging with the citizen is almost an ancient ideal. Open Government is an indicator of democratisation of democracy and the incorporation of connective spaces for citizen engagement. The degree to which governments deal with social media is now part of how they deal with privacy, civil liberties, press freedom, and freedom of expression in general.
Elephant, Lotus and Bicycle, we know that political symbols of identity formations. The phantom advances in technology, in particular affect the social construction of identity. More often, identity enabled political sphere will take new dimensions since digitalisation of democracy and online political engagement in India.
Obviously, in the physical social world, sexual identities and deprived sexual minorities discriminated, silenced and marginalised, but Internet offers them, connective spaces to thicken intimate relations. We still live in a society where LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) people attacked in the street, unrepresented in the media, bullied in schools, and oppressed in many other ways.
Yet, the western notions of human nature reflected in the founding philosophy of social web mirrors its insufficiency to reconfigure, in Indian context, our cultural diversity. Our engagement with social media public sphere amalgamation has just an imitation and reproduction of Americanism.
A disturbing set of literature has grown up that both criticise and appreciate social media’s political potential. Yet, with gnawing gap and barbed continuity, social media and social change tie-up has not grown up of age in the womb of India’s digital mind but reproduced the ambush of good vs. bad binary debate prevailing all over the world.
- See more at: http://www.merinews.com/article/connecting-alone-indias-life-style-activism-in-social-web/15890108.shtml#sthash.ubKd5cre.dpuf

Social media under fire in electoral heat

The Election Commission instruction for political parties and candidates while using social media, in fact resonates an acknowledgement towards the assuming significance of social web in reconfiguring democratic engagements and deliberative politics. With the Commission instructions over social media use, now the question on the regulation of social media debate got a new vantage point, which already reverberated in Parliamentary deliberation.

Internet connection penetrating among over sixteen crore, more than eight crore people accessing social media sites, and studies confirming Facebook influence over 150 urban electoral constituencies in the forthcoming general election in 2014, new form of class antagonism has resurfaced at the trajectory of electoral politics and social media ecology in India.
Recognising this budding class relation in the electoral arithmetic of India, Election Commission (EC) has issued instructions to the chief electoral officers in States and Union Territories and Presidents and General Secretaries of Political Parties on 25 October 2013, regarding the use of social media sites in electoral environment. 
Broadly classifying social media in to five categories, EC has taken a bold approach towards the ‘pre-certification’ (regulation?) for political advertisements in Internet. The directive to seek pre-certification of advertisements over Internet platforms makes the political class to be more cautious while migrating to connective spaces. The instruction also requires furnishing the expenditure for creating social media accounts, salaries paid to staff that maintains and operates it and cost incurred to Internet companies; all this falls under election expenses of a candidate.
However, the decision has kicked the holy cow again: freedom of speech. Regulating social media, the debate has been prevailing for sometimes now, ever since Government attempt to ban selected Internet sites following social media powered hate speech and consequent violence on Northeast people in south Indian States in 2012.
Discussion were in Parliament on August 2012 when morphed pictures used by tomfoolery makers in forms of multi-media messages (MMS) and social networking sites to buff communal tension targeting people from the northeast India in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai. In addition, social media has become fertile ground for breeding communal tensions, opines Akhilesh Yadav and confirmed its scrupulous configuration in inflaming communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar, which killed nearly 50, and displaced 40,000,in Uttar Pradesh. Role of social media in glowing communal tension was one of the focal challenges haunting India, confirmed a summary of the chief Ministers’ speeches, at the National Integration Council meeting held on 23 September 2013.

The Practical issues
Certainly, the decision of the Commission to bring social media based electoral advertisement in tandem with political campaign in traditional media platforms such as TV and print carries some practical difficulties. Connective spaces are uncensored, and nebulous. Free space that goes unchecked and unmonitored is often everywhere in Internet. Social web that we count for advocacy, protest groups, social movements, social activists, subcultures and sometimes fan activism, life style activists, Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) and hobbyists have voluntarily understood as mechanics of political engagements and democratic engagements and will have enough conduits that somehow lead to electoral manipulations otherwise. Surely, this, in part, cannot bring under the radar.
Yet, the legal provision on campaigning via traditional media has now extended to social media. The practical issue raised pertains to the profiles and web pages created by “third person” for candidates and political parties concerned. However, EC reserves the matter for scrutiny under the table of Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
Of course, only a minuscule fraction of the political tribe is online but their social media presence could influence voters, for instance, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi  chat on social network Google+ and reportedly received questions and comments with millions watching across other media platforms. L.K. Advani shares political as well as personal thoughts through blog and Twitter profiles but the focus remains on politics.
Facebook is a pet device for many politicians to connect with their electorate and communicate with them, from big players like Mamata Banerjee  to the young and not much known politicians like Jose K Mani from Kerala. Facebook has been more useful in the sense that youth access it from mobile.
Few of political class have taken a step further and created Twitter accounts. Talking about twitter, there is no dearth of politicians on Twitter.Narendra Modi, Mamta Banerjee, Sushma Swraj, etc., are few examples.From famous and well known political bigwigs like Shashi Tharoor  who is illustrious for his tweets to Narendra Modi and from lesser known politicians like captain Gopinath  to Meera Sanyal, Twitter has constituted a ‘twittersphere’ for the participatory engagements in politics.
Yet, another class of Indian political tribe who has taken a step further to connect with citizens online was websites and blogs. Narendra Modi, Omar Abdullah , and Nitish Kumar and a few more connect with internet users through expensive websites.
Political parties are not far behind in using social media sites. Congress, Bhartiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party etc., each of these and the remaining ones has their own websites, which not seen some years back. Several political parties have their official presence on social media sites in a bid to connect with the critical online youth population. If compared, the two major parties, i.e. the Indian National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party  (BJP), the latter clearly emerges as a winner.
Campaigns from the streets have moved to print, radios, TV and now onto the digital space and here it displays the party profiles, ideologies, their mission and vision and what the public can expect from them. At this point, they interact with the electorate.
The deeper debates
Nevertheless, the decision will highlight some deeper issues unnoticed. In fact, the real issue at stake is not freedom of speech, but speech and medium itself. The pompous side of digital democracy has spotted in by a host of incidence very recently in social media platforms. Therefore, the question comes, does our mouse click of any kind really facilitate political engagement and deliberate politics.
Communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and violence on Northeast people reflected the vulnerability of social media spaces. The connective spaces do have no precise boundary in our cultural vocabularies and everyday life experiences regarding the doable/undoable and hate/love speech online. The instruction of the EC needs introspection in this background.
A spectacular reflection of connective spaces often provides us the other side of the story of digital democracy in India. In fact, Internet has done little to thicken political dialogue in India. Disaster or collateral damage, Internet has been in news for reasons that frowned people over the last few years.
New forms of control and domination prevail in connective spaces. Proprietary ownership is reflective of its capitalist character. A Google search with keywords ‘social media and Election Commission’ finds us 93,900,000 results (0.45 seconds), but the web link goes to big players, Economic Times, NDTV, Times of India, DNA, Business Standard, etc. Funneling web traffic to the platforms of big players by search engines like Google and Yahoo connective spaces now show cases the bourgeois character it has. 
Links appear structured in Internet as well as filtered about how citizens search for political content and how leading search engines like Google and Yahoo funnel traffic to popular outlets. The connective space is iniquitous and unjust.
A new kind of “searcharchy” prevails in Internet and search engines are funneling traffics to the websites, news portals, and other web platforms of big players that are already the monopolies of our social space before the coming in of Internet, Google and Facebook. It resound what US Political scientist, Mathew Hindman, said in his book, The Myth of Digital democracy (2008).The public sphere as a discursive space in Internet is often doubtful since the space is already monopolised by corporate interest and search engines. Discussions are always mediated for the interest of proprietary owners and the Internet space is undergoing a new kind of structure and domination in India as said by Lawrence Lessig (2001) in his book, The future of ideas: the fate of the commons in a connected world.
Internet is the cultural space of winner-take-all symptom and the space has funneled by the interest of the holy cows. Political class uses their cultural and money power to redefine the codes in Internet and used a new kind of stenography to attract the digital voters. Film stars use their star value to sell out their products. Celebrities colonize the connective spaces to fortify their undisputed marketability. Celebrities, political classes, film stars, and traditional monopolies have configured a loose but unholy alliance in connective spaces.
Tens of thousands of anonymous and strange people do not get their alternate space here. No more solidarity resounds here in this space. On this background, the decision of the EC to put qualifications on the use of social websites during electoral campaign is timely, wise and appreciative. However, the curb on social media use during election time will not carry any restraint on freedom of speech. The instructions are rather qualitative. Of course, the decision will strengthen Indian democracy and it pinpoints the health of our polity.
- See more at: http://www.merinews.com/article/social-media-under-fire-in-electoral-heat/15891480.shtml#sthash.5flfBbMp.dpuf

Social media under fire in electoral heat

Social media under fire in electoral heat

Biju P R, Article Posted on Merinews, Social media under fire in electoral heat 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Population growth in India, Lecture Notes





According to 2011 census Population of India  was 121,01,93422.Current Population of India 2013 will be 1,239.26 Millions . India’s population growth caught a faster pace in the third decade of 19th century. Until 1920, India’s population growth was steady due to heavy loss of human life due to wars, famines and epidemics. The population level arouse since 1921 due to advancement of technology and control forms to combat famine and epidemics making such high losses of mankind.
For the first time since the setup of systematic census in 1881, Indi’s population enhanced by more than 10% in a decade with census,1931 enumeration a population of 279 million. When India attained independence with a population of 345 million it faced a series of challenges in every aspect of statecraft. Due to much controversial partition 8 million refugees had come into the country from what was now Pakistan, which was population surplus. At the time of independence, India was termed as an agricultural country because of the vast majority of masses residing in rural areas while few percent of the population dwelled in urban towns and as agriculture was the chief source of income-India being a fertile land.
Since independence, the population of India has more than tripled itself. Since 1950, India’s total fertility rate accounted to 6(children/woman) approx. Since 1952, India has been continuously trying to control its population growth which was increasing at an uncontrolled rate. In 1983, Country took up a national health policy to have a decreased value of total fertility rate of 2.1 by the year 2000 which concluded to be a hypothetical assumption. During late 1980s, an aim to have two children/couple by 2000 was declared but results as being too ambitious. In 2000 India’s population crossed the billion mark. All figures with respect to population are large in India: 2.7 million annual births; 8.7 million annual deaths and 1.5 million infant deaths.
Growing population of India attracted concern since 1947 followed by innumerous policies none of them which qualified to attain expected results. Above all there has been huge growth in the population over the decades. As of 2007, United Nations human development index ranked India 126th, which takes into account social educational and other human living aspects with Population growth bearing a direct impact on socio-economic level.

India's total population stands at 1.21 billion, which is 17.7 per cent more than the last decade, and population growth of females was higher than that of males. The density of population in the country has also increased from 325 in 2001 to 382 in 2011 in per sq km. Among the major states, Bihar occupies the first position with a density of 1106, surpassing West Bengal which occupied the first position during 2001. Delhi (11,320) turns out to be the most densely inhabited followed by Chandigarh (9,258), among all states and UTs, both in 2001 and 2011 Census. The minimum population density works out in Arunachal Pradesh (17) for both 2001 and 2011 Census.
REASONS FOR INCREASE IN POPULATION:

BIRTH RATE
Poverty
    According to ABC News, India currently faces approximately “… 33 births a minute, 2,000 an hour, 48,000 a day, which calculates to nearly 12 million a year”.
India currently faces a vicious cycle of population explosion and poverty. One of the most important reasons for this population increase in India is poverty. According to Geography.com, “More than 300 million Indians earn less than US $1 everyday and about 130 million people are jobless
Religious beliefs, Traditions and Cultural Norms
India’s culture runs very deep and far back in history. Due to the increased population, the educational facilities are very scarce. As a result, most people still strictly follow ancient beliefs. According to ABC News, the famous Indian author, Shobha De said, “God said ‘Go forth and produce’ and we just went ahead and did exactly that.”
DEATH RATE:
Although poverty has increased and the development of the country continues to be hampered, the improvements in medical facilities have been tremendous. This improvement might be considered positive, but as far as population increase is considered, it has only been positive in terms of increasing the population further. The crude death rate in India in 1981 was approximately 12.5, and that decreased to approximately 8.7 in 1999. Also, the infant mortality rate in India decreased from 129 in 1981 to approximately 72 in 1999 (Mapsindia.com, Internet).
MIGRATION:
In countries like the United States (U.S.), immigration plays an important role in the population increase. However, in countries like India, immigration plays a very small role in the population change. Although people from neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal, migrate to India; at the same time Indians migrate to other countries like the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. During the 1971 war between India and Pakistan over Bangladesh, the immigration rate increased tremendously. However, currently the migration in India is –0.08 migrants per 1000 population (AskJeeves.com, Internet), and is decreasing further. This is definitely good for India. This way, the population might eventually come close to being under control and more people may get better job opportunities and further education. For example, the students in my university from India, like myself, have better chances for job opportunities and better education outside India than we would have had in India.

Anxieties of population growth

In India today, the problem has assumed serious proportions. There has been phenomenal increase of population within the last few decades, reaching upto one hundred crore at the turn of the century. The density per square mile is about 350. In USA, it is about 41 per square mile, while in Britain it largely approximates to the figure in Kerala and West Bengal. In Britain, there is less than one acre of cultivable land for each individual. Necessarily if the density of population be large, the pressure on the means of subsistence will also be unduly heavy. There will not be enough food to go round, and high prices of foodgrains will keep the lowest income groups on the verge of starvation. The other risk is that of limited living space. In the past, the plundering nations solved this by grabbing lands from weaker people, living in under-developed or undeveloped countries. That is how the Dutch and the English grabbed South African lands, forced out her peoples or reduced them to slavery. But colonial expansion is now no longer possible. Hence, the alternative today is to fix attention to the reclamation and resettlement of waste lands.

EFFECTS OF POPULATION EXPLOSION:

 The current rate of population growth in India is 1.58% and the total fertility rate is 3.11 (AskJeeves.com, Internet).Although the total fertility rate has decreased, due to the increase in the total number of women between the ages of 15 and 44 (reproductive ages), the total number of births has increased. This has lead to the current enormous population size of approximately 1 billion. This has greatly hampered the development of the Indian economy. The amount of resources that could have been available to one person a few years ago now need to be shared between two people, which is not sufficient for either of them. The population increase has lead to air and water pollution, unemployment, poverty, lack of educational resources, and even malnourished women and children.
Air Pollution:
 The technological development of India has lead not only to medical advancements, but also to an increase in the number of factories. That has lead to air and water pollution. More energy needs to be produced to power these factories. When fossil fuels - the world's major source of energy - are burnt, gases are added to the atmosphere. Many cities in India have crossed the limits of suspended particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants due to vehicular and industrial emissions.
As the population grows, more and more forests are cleared. The two most common reasons for deforestation are to make houses for increased number of people to live in, and to use wood as a fuel in the industries. Some of the diseases caused by air pollution are “respiratory diseases, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer of the lung” (World Health Organization, Internet). Due to the tropical climate of India, air pollution also causes smog which may result in headaches, dizziness, breathing difficulties, or even mass illness due to carbon monoxide. This slow murder goes unnoticed because people die of diseases like cancer, asthma, and heart problems after long exposures to deadly air pollutants.
Besides the untimely deaths of several thousands of people every year due to air pollution, the pollutants also have a deadly impact on our national heritage – the historical monuments that have made India proud for centuries. A classic example of the air pollution effect is the Taj Mahal in India. The sulfur dioxide in the air because of the pollution caused by the neighboring industries mixes with atmospheric moisture and settles as sulfuric acid on the surface of the tomb, making the smooth white marble yellow and flaky, and forming a subtle fungus that experts have named “marble cancer” (Central Pollution Control Board, Internet). Trying to save the monument might mean closing down several industries in the neighborhood. However, this means that several thousands of people would lose their jobs, resulting in eventual poverty. This again brings us to the same problem that is the root of all the problems – population increase.
One of the major issues that have lately been bothering environmentalists all over the world is global warming. Like glass in a greenhouse, gases like carbon monoxide admit the sun's light but tend to reflect back downward the heat that is radiated from the ground below, trapping heat in the earth's atmosphere. This is called the greenhouse effect.
Water Pollution:
Air pollution is not the only environmental damage being done by the increasing population. Nowadays water pollution is also one of the increasing problems due to the population explosion. Water is considered the essence of life. There is no life without water. One might think that 70% of the earth is covered with water, so, why worry about the water problem? In fact, 3 sides of the Indian subcontinent is surrounded by water.
Some of the major types of pollutants are:
Petroleum products required for automobiles, cooking, and other such human activities.Pesticides and herbicides used for agriculture by the Indian farmers.Heavy metals from industries, automobiles’ exhausts and mines. Hazardous wastes.Excessive organic matter like fertilizers and other organic matter used by farmers.Sediments caused by soil erosion produced by strip mines, agriculture and roads.Thermal pollution caused by deforestation.
One of the classic examples of water pollution in India is the river Ganga.    As we can observe, the increased population size is leading to increased pollution, which in turn is leading to a more hostile environment for human beings themselves.
Unemployment and Illiteracy:
Resources of all types are limited, even employment, especially in India. India, being a developing country, has a limited number of jobs available. Due to the increasing number of people, the competition for the most menial jobs is also tremendous. According to EconomyWatch.com, in 1972-73, unemployment rates in rural areas were 1.2 for males and 0.5 for females, and in urban areas, it was 4.8 for males and 6.0 for females. This unemployment rate rose to 2.3 for males and 1.5 for females in rural areas and 4.9 for males and 8.2 for females in urban areas in 1998-99. With the increasing population, unemployment rates are bound to rise even further. Several highly educated people with Bachelors and Master’s degrees in India sit at home, because they cannot find jobs.    Unemployment, or underemployment, further leads to poverty. This again starts the vicious cycle of poverty and population explosion discussed above. Poverty leads to an increase in the population, because poverty leads people to produce more children to increase the earning members of the family. This increases the population size of India, which further increases the unemployment rate and lack of educational facilities leading to poverty that started this whole cycle.
Food Resources
Resources are always limited. And in a developing and highly populous country like India, resources are even scarcer. Population explosion results in the shortage of even the most basic resources like food. According to an article by World Bank Group, “…more than half of all children under the age of four are malnourished, 30 percent of newborns are significantly underweight, and 60 percent of women are anemic.” Resources are limited everywhere. Thus, unless we can develop a technology that would enable us to live on just one grain of wheat, the population increase remains a serious problem in India. India spends approximately $10 billion each year on malnutrition (World Bank Group), and even then the government of India cannot provide the everyday nutritional requirements to everybody in India. If you walk on the street of Calcutta or Delhi, you would notice several children fighting with each other for a small piece of bread that they found in a dumpster. While this might be shocking to most people, this is a daily routine and the only way to survive for many people in India. Survival of the fittest finds its true meaning on the streets of the urban cities of India. Just writing this, brings tears in my eyes remembering the scenes I have seen all my life on the streets of India. Something like food that most of us consider as a basic necessity, is a privilege for most of the children of India who are homeless because their parents cannot give them the basic necessities of life. I was raised in a well-to-do family, so I never had to think about food. As long as I was living in India, it was normal for me to see poor people fighting for food. But recently when I went back to India, and noticed the difference between the streets in the U.S. and India, one major difference struck me. That difference was not the pollution on the streets, but the kids who were only begging for food and nothing else, and the ones who were fighting next to the garbage cans for food. If the population continues to increase at the rate it is currently increasing, then the future of India is what we see today on the street of the country. Is this what we want for our children?