This book 'Why People Protest' extensively and intensively deals with six ecological movements in developing countries like India, Brazil, Malaysia and the Philippines. Over the years, ecological problems like climate change, global warming, pollution and natural disasters have increased manifold in different parts of the world. Globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation have further compounded the situation, bringing the world to the brink of catastrophe. Time and again a number of activists, NGOs and Governments with their mass movements, have shown their concern to these changes and have tried to mitigate the situation. Being associated with critical issues like livelihood, culture, flora and fauna, these movements have a vision for an alternative development paradigm. The book takes a peek at these movements.
By providing a critical disempowerment approach in the book, the author Dr Subhash Sharma engages with the NGOs, activists, intellectuals, teachers and students and is able to generate public awareness on environmental issues. The book, written lucidly with updated facts and figures, would no doubt broaden the vision of the readers on an important issue like ecology and inspire the coming generations.
About the Author
The author, Dr Subhash Sharma has written many literary and analytical books on education, labour and linguistics, both in Hindi and English. A prolific writer, with more than twenty books to his credit, he is a recipient of many awards including an award for his book on Human Rights in India, by National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi. His works have been translated into many Indian languages. Well versed on social aspects of development, Dr Subhash Sharma has written extensively on ecological and social movements and contributes regularly to reputed journals.
I have an interest in ecology for quite a long time. Over the years I have seen that the environmental damage is increasing in my neighbourhood, village, agricultural fields, district towns like Sultanpur, cities like Patna and mega cities like Delhi where I have lived at different periods of time. Earlier, there were many lush green trees (fruit bearing, fuel wood and resin providers) and ponds in my village itself, i.e. adequate common property resources. But the patch of the village forest is no more. Similarly, all the six ponds in the village are almost non-existent due to encroachment. On the other hand, there is no new tree plantation there for several decades, that is, like the post-modernists we are only 'de constructing' and destructing, not reconstructing (for which Gandhiji had emphasised and even in India, there used to be Ministry/ Department of Rural Reconstruction). Gomati river flows through my Gram Panchayat but it has been reduced to a ganda nala (dirty drain). Even at Sultanpur and Lucknow, it is reduced to a cesspool. The situation of Ganga and Yamuna (and other rivers) is no better. Further, we have been constructing large dams on various rivers ignoring the 'critical life issues' of the local people in the name of development wherein anything 'concrete, grand and visible' is justified by the elites and experts in one way or the other, forgetting that the local people have their time-tested experienced indigenous knowledge against such concrete, grand and visible structures. Actually, the main issue is who gets what in such a dominant model of development - whose development and at whose cost? Whose views ultimately count in development? Is there an alternative development paradigm possible where the local people with indigenous knowledge critically participate and share in different stages/ processes of real social development?
This book is basically borne out of my research work at the University of Manchester (UK) that has been updated. However, I have used my experiences also in different ways. This book would not have been ready without the cooperation of many important persons directly or indirectly. Amongst them Dr. Philip Woodhouse, Professor Yogendra Singh, Prof. K. L. Sharma, Prof. Avijit Pathak, Prof. David Hulme, Dr. Stephen C. Young, D. N. Tripathi, K. K. Mishra, H. C. Sharma, Anant Kumar Singh, Francoise Sullivan and Peter O'Brien deserve sincere thanks for their genuine motivation and encouragement from time to time. At this moment I also remember my two friends (late) Surendra Sharma and (late) Rajendra Shukla as well as my parents who would have been happy seeing my work. Further I owe a lot to the leaders and activists of various ecological movements who have sacrificed for such a great cause over a long struggle in their everyday life.
I express my thanks to my sister, wife and children. I also thank all of my other well-wishers in the fields of literature, sociology and social action who have time and again helped me in various ways. Last, but not the least, I sincerely thank Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, for its commitment and cooperation in bringing out this book.
Preface to Second (Revised) Edition
Over the years several ecological problems like climate change, global warming leading to melting of glaciers, pollution, natural disasters, etc. have increased manifold in different parts of the world. Globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation have compounded such problems leading to the brink of catastrophe. Therefore, movement activists, NGOs and several national governments, especially from the South, have genuinely shown their concerns to mitigate anthropogenic ecological problems.
I am glad to present the second revised edition of my book 'Why People Protest' that has carved out an appropriate space amongst the academia of social sciences, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), researchers, students and the general readers. The feedback given by a galaxy of intellectuals like Prof. Y. Singh, Prof. K. L. Sharma, Prof. Anand Kumar, Prof. Avijit Pathak (all from J.N.V.), Prof. N. K. Chaudhury (Patna University), Prof. B. K. Singh (BBA Bihar University, Muzaffarpur), Prof. R. N. Sharma (Patna University), Prof. Ajit K. Pandey & Prof. A. P. Pandey (both from BHU, Varanasi), Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty & Prof. K. B. Saxena (both from Council for Social Development, New Delhi), (late) Dr. B. D. Sharma, Dr. D. M. Diwakar & Dr. B. N. Prasad (both from A. N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna), Dr. Bijoy K. Choudhury (K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna), Prof. Hetukar [ha (Patna University), Prof. Anirudh Prasad & Dr. Sudeep Kumar (both from Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi) and so on and so forth. It is quite satisfying that hundreds of NGOs and movement activists from different parts of India have not only appreciated the book but also have purchased personally and collectively and used it for generation of public awareness on environmental issues even in remote villages. Further, various intellectuals, teachers and students of different parts of India have approached me time and again for its translation into several Indian languages to benefit the masses. I hope their desire will be fulfilled in near future. For instance, its Hindi translation is already in the pipeline.
Last, but not the least, I have tried my level best to revise it thoroughly by incorporating new facts and figures so that it is updated. It has been made more user-friendly by incorporating some relevant and contextual photographs/artistic presentations. I am sure that the intelligent readers will find it more engaging and useful on the issues concerned. I thank Dr. Sadhana Rout and her team of Publications Division for their meticulous efforts in publishing this revised second edition. The views expressed here are personal.
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