Monthly Archives: May 2017

India’s Water Crisis

India's Water Crisis

 

By degrees, water is increasingly becoming one of the scarce resources in some parts of the world. The government of India and many other Asian countries have begun finding ways to circumvent the pending water crisis in their countries, while some remained desperate. But it’s in India, a country that seems to have several uses for water than perhaps any other country in the world, where water shortage is  more pressing. The tens of millions of Temples, spread out all over India, depend on the use of groundwater. Each major Temple in India must have its own man-made lake or resevoir which it uses for many things, including for purification during ceremonies and rituals, and this is just one of many ways that Indians have involved over the centuries with the use of water. But part of the blame is on India for its ambition to become a major economic power, thereby welcoming the influence of globalization, and the result is that; more and more Indians are now using efficient means to exploit more groundwater in a short period of time than they did in the past, which helps exacerbates the water crisis.

The last two decades of the twentieth century helped propelled India well up the rank of an industrial giant on the Indian subcontinent.  With the impact of open-market economics, fair-trade deals and booming domestic high-power manufacturing plants tconstantly dumping capital goods on local markets, for the first time, more and more Indians are investing in capital, and millions of people are taking the leap from a relatively small subsistant farmings to large scale commercial farming.  Because more and more farmers are upgrading their farming capacity by drawing upon ideas of agribusiness and other Western methods– all of which in some form, needs more and more water to grow crops–  by the time the last quarter of the 20st century could see itself through, India had started to notice changes within its groundwater systems.

Much more than this, India is home to a whopping 17% of the world’s total population, and majority of the population are people who still live off the land. Most villages in India depend on groundwater to grow their own food and to feed their animals. Proper sanitation continued to be rare in India, and many homes lack indoor toilets, so  It’s very common to see people attending to nature in open spaces. Whole rivers have turned into debris of soups, filled with human remains and all sort of unimaginable filth. These elements along with poor management by local government officials, guaranteed a sustaining water problem for the country, and is surely a serious economic barrier for this emerging economy.

In 2012, India sent a special delegation to Israel, to gather information from the Israelites; about the way they have been able to successfully manage their own water crisis. India and Israel, before that year, signed an agreement to support cooperation on urban water system.  But at home in India, other steps have been put into practice in big cities, some in the form of public restrictions on water usage, but also the use of state-of-the-art technologies that can monitor and record where and how the water is being used at any given location, are at the moment under consideration.

In the meantime, according to Parthasarathy, in the New York Times, even “the Mullapreriyar Dam, a 112- year-old reservoir, located on the Periyar River in Kerala, is no different. The dispute over the dam, distinct as it may be in its historic makings, is ultimately symptomatic of a festering federalist crisis.” The mention of this truely historical Indian landmark, explains a lot more than it seems. The water crisis has sprout into a dispute between two major southern states; Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and then to the federal government. It has now become an issue of whether federal officials would consider the eminent domain clause as an option.

You often hear people refer to India as a Sub-continent, or the Indian subcontinent, but what they are referring to is a southern region of Asia that is situated on the Indian plate, and extends southward into the India Ocean from the Himalayas. The country India, is in southern Asia, and it borders the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan. The country also ranks 7th in the world in terms of size, and second, in terms of population. Indian borders six countries, China, Burma, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Both Nepal and Pakistan are in the northern part of the country. The Bay of Bengal, where Kolkata lies, is the part of India that borders the four other countries, including Bangladesh. The entire northern part of the country is home to the great Himalayas mountain ranges.

India is perhaps the most religious country in the world today. For thousands of years, religion has continued to play primary role in the lives of most Indians. Even today in modern day India, almost every home you enter there’s an altar, which is kept sacred, and is approached only for puja, or prayer. Some families set aside a special room in their home for this purpose. When it comes to religion, India has a long history of religious tolerance. For ages, the Hindus live alongside other religious groups peacefully. But there have been cases of violence sparked by religious sentiments. The most recent ones have been between adherents of the Islamic faith and members of the Hindu religion.

More than 79% of the population goes to Hindu Temples.  Islam is only 14% of the population. Christianity makes up little over 2% in this great country, and the most Christians adherents are found in Kerala; India’s southernmost State. City like Punjab and Kashmir are predominantly Muslims. The Sikh and Jain religions are perhaps the smallest religious groups in India. Buddhism is almost missing in the south, but there are few Buddhist Temples in places like Sikkim, Ladakh and Dhamasala, where the Dalai Lama stays. The government of India has no religious restrictions in place in the country, though most politicians, including the current prime minister,  belong to the Hindu faith.

 

Swedish Immigrants- A Bumpy Stay

By Samuel Collins

Utopia Challenged.  Sweden's Relationship With Refugees

 

Rinkeby, as they call it, is a small suburban immigrant enclave, located somewhere near the Mediterranean Sea, just 13 km northwest of Stockholm, and about 18 minutes subway ride to center city. Here, more than 80% of Rinkeby’s residents are immigrants from places like Iraq, Syria, Somalia, South America and Eastern Europe. But the once lovely immigrant community has become notorious for crimes, riots, police brutalities.  According to Mr. Hoge, a resident, just a mere mention of the name Rinkeby, would get people to shrink back.

 

A Pew Research Center study conducted in “2016 found that over 46 percent of Swedes believed that refugees are responsible for most of the crimes than other groups,” even though an earlier study carried out by a popular local newspaper, the Dagens Nyheter, analyzed crime statistics in the same area and came to the conclusion that refugees were responsible for only 1 percent of all incident. For a country like Sweden, where unemployment rate has alway been almost non-existent, the unemployment rate remains high within the Rinkeby immigrant neighborhood , and this is just one of many indications that immigrants in Sweden are being targeted with workplace discrimination and other related issues. Most residents from this community connect the high unemployment rate there to direct public reaction to the presence of refugees and other migrants  elsewhere in the country.

 

The city of Rinkeby has a population of approximately 48.700, with roughly even male and female residents.  The birth rate here is 16.1%, and the death rate is at 4.9%. The population pyramid of Rinkeby displays almost a perfectly shaped beehive structure, with relatively many children and adolescents. The city has a high working population between the ages of 21 to 64, and less age-dependency of people between the ages 65 and 79, and between the ages of 14 and below- all of which are positive signs that residents here should be thriving economically. For refugees, however, the recent Syrian crisis has brought enormous stress upon the country’s ability to host refugees.

 

Looking at the Rinkeby story carefully, one would see that there are a number of correlations between what happened here in the U.S. in the 1800s, during the first and second waves of Irish and Chinese immigrants. For example, the methods used here in the U.S, which included race-sensitive immigration laws which were meant to keep in check Chinese immigrant workers from becoming U.S. citizens, appear to look much like what the Swedes seem to be implementing. For instance, in Sweden, immigrants are always immigrants. If you’re an immigrant, this attitude completely ignores whether you have received your citizenship, or whether you were born in the country, they still see you as either a migrant or an immigrant.  By being born in Sweden doesn’t confer citizenship status to children of foreigners.

 

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With world population on the increase, and globalization rapidly uniting every corner of the world in ways that our ancestors couldn’t have imagined,  rich and powerful countries would have to  preparation for these types of cultural diffusions which are often the result of wars, natural disasters.  And it’s made more urgent due in part to fresh crisis now erupting throughout the world.  These new problems, in their term help to supply a constant flow of refugees from  places like Asia , Africa, including eastern Europe.The newcomers then bring along with them their own cultural elements which before didn’t exist in their host country.

Italy  is added to the list of countries which have started to see increase in the number of migrants. The country has straight laws making it illegal to enter Italy without proper papers, but the law has so far done little to stop the number of illegal migrants from coming into the country.  Unlike Sweden, which has mostly legal immigrants, and well-vetted refugees, Italy has high illegal migrant population, and this has become a subject for debate in Parliament. Critics of the new law argued that the law is in violation of basic human rights. Some politicians argued that majority of migrant workers are honest people who are willing to work for lower wages which in many cases, Italian citizens are not willing to do for the same amount. Some low income families in big cities in Italy rely heavily on  migrant workers to take care of  their ailing relatives.

And the country’s rapidly aging population has opened up a new area of employment which most migrants seek.  Still, most Italian citizens continue to exhibit strong prejudices for people of immigrant ancestry, and this gives us just one more reason to believe that hatred against people of color is alive and well on the European continent. In Mr. Hoge’s story; “A Swedish Dilemmas: The Immigrant Ghetto” he writes about how “the town has become stigmatized in Sweden as a haven for welfare cheats and a center of criminal activity.” Even though this seems to not be the case, based on credible sources.