Category Archives: Bulletin Board

Rally for Pluralist India

Rally for Pluralist India

Sunday, July 30, 5.00 PM

Surrey City Hall Plaza

13450 104 Avenue, Surrey, BC

There has been a systematic attack on the rich pluralist society and culture of India since Narendra Modi came to power with a Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) majority in 2014. A secular, democratic republic with guaranteed citizenship rights and constitutional protection of minorities is in the process of being converted to a fascist theocratic Hindu Rashtra, a state serving a majoritarian agenda that is identified with the “nation.” Institutions are subverted, education commandeered, dissent suppressed through violence and intimidation, and Dalits and minorities increasingly subjected to mob violence encouraged through impunity. A spate of recent lynchings of Dalits and Muslims has generated a resistance movement in India under the banner of “Not in My Name” that has held demonstrations across India as well as in London, Boston, and Toronto.

Progressive South Asians in the Vancouver area came together recently in Surrey to form “Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI)” to raise our voice in solidarity with the resistance in India. We invite everyone to join us for a rally at the Surrey City Hall plaza next to the Surrey Central Library on Sunday, July 30 at 5 pm.

For more information call Gurpreet Singh at 778 862 2454 or Parshottam Dosanjh at 604 512 8371.

Conference on nuclear threat

Poster Neuclear Conference 2017-2

Gathering in the Shadows of a Nuclear Winter

Conference

 Saturday Sept 9, 2017 Rm. 1700 SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St,   Vancouver, BC (Unceded Musqueam, Sqamish, and Tsleil-Waututh  Territories)

no mouse would ever construct a mousetrap.” Albert Einstein

There is an urgent need to attend to the crisis of the nuclear threat in the world today. 2017 began with  the Doomsday Clock being set forward by 30 seconds to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight. Currently both the US and Russia are expanding their arsenals and new players are entering the field. Donald Trump’s statements have increased the threat of nuclear proliferation. One hundred and twenty countries met at the UN on March 27 to push for a ban on nuclear weapons though the nuclear-armed nations led by the US refused to participate.

The principle of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” with the apt acronym of MAD, which has been the basis of human security since the Soviet Union challenged the US monopoly of terror in 1948 has been destabilized by the current US superiority in first strike capability. The answering Russian progress in the development of hypersonic missiles only accelerates the race toward destruction. Within this global situation the escalating militarism of nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, locked in hostility since birth in 1947 and engaged in  daily border skirmishes poses an imminent danger. Apart from the increasingly shrill rhetoric of nationalism in both countries, there is evidence that India is reconsidering its policy of No First Strike, about which Pakistan has always been deeply skeptical in any case.

There is also the growing concern that the logic of development and the demands of climate change will lead to greater dependence on nuclear power plants, whose benign promise is belied by the disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima. India is moving rapidly in this direction despite protests from from environmentalists and people living in the coastal areas.

The goal of the conference  is to focus on the existential threat facing us by bringing together in conversation nuclear scientists, scholars, writers, and anti-nuclear and peace activists from India, Pakistan, Canada, and the US The purpose of the conference is to situate the extremely dangerous nuclear stand-off and hostility between India and Pakistan within the global concern with militarism and the nuclear threat, to address the dubious value of nuclear power as an answer to climate change, and to contribute to developing people’s initiative for peace and sustainable development.

Organized by South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) with generous financial Support from  Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation and Institute for the Humanities, Simon Fraser University. Co-sponsored by Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC)and School for International Studies, SFU.

Admission is free but registration required. RSVP Chin Banerjee, cbanerjee@telus.net

Lunch will be provided for presenter and organizers. Others who wish to share catered lunch should send cheque for $10.00 to SANSAD at 906-608 Belmont Street, New Westminster, BC V3M 0G8.

PROGRAM

September 9: Room 1700 SFU Harbour Centre

9.30 AM: Welcome

9.45 AM: Rap music by Jovian Radheshwar

10.00 AM – 1.00 PM: Session 1: Moderator: John Hariss. Presenters: Admiral Ramdas, Lalita Ramdas: “The UN Treaty: Nuclear Haves and Have-nots … What Next?”; M V Ramana,  “Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Disarmament: Can the two co-exist?”; Sirish Rao, Wanpovi Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez,”What we do to mother earth we add to our soul wounding”.

1.00 PM -2.00PM: Lunch

2.00 PM: Music Sejal Lal

2.15 – 5.00 PM: Session 2: Moderator: Sid Shniad. Presenters: Pervez Hoodbhoy: “Nuclear Instability in South Asia”; Robert Anderson; Annie Ross: “They have taken our Land and used it to destroy the rest of the World”; Paul Meyer: “The Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty and the pursuit of Nuclear Disarmament”; Derrick O’Keefe.

PARTICIPANT PROFILES

John Harriss is Professor of International Studies at Simon Fraser University. He was Director of the School for International Studies from 2006 until 2013 and again in 2016.

Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy is currently Zohra and Z.Z.Ahmad Distinguished Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Forman Christian College, Lahore, having taught for 44 years at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. He graduated from MIT with a Ph.D in nuclear physics. In 1968 he won the Baker Award for Electronics, and in 1984 the Abdus Salam Prize for Mathematics. In 2003 he was awarded UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for the popularization of science. In 2010 he received the Joseph A. Burton Award from the American Physical Society and the Jean Meyer Award from Tufts University. In 2011, he was included in the list of 100 most influential global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. In 2013, he was made a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs, a position he currently holds.

Paul Meyer is Adjunct Professor of International Studies and Fellow in International Security at Simon Fraser University and a Senior Fellow with The Simons Foundation Vancouver. Prior to assuming his current appointments in 2011, Paul had a 35 year diplomatic career with Canada’s Foreign Service, including serving as Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN and the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva (2003-2007). He teaches diplomacy at SFU’s School for International Studies, and his research interests include nuclear arms control and disarmament, outer space security and international cyber security.

Jovian Radheshwar is a rap artist, poet and recording artist.

Born in Bombay and raised in New York, Jovian taught Black Studies and Political Science in Santa Barbara, California. His musical inspirations include Outkast, Nas and Pink Floyd. He currently lives in Vancouver where he teaches Political Science at Douglas College. Jovian finds in rap a powerful medium for making a statement both personally and politically.

As MC Bitter Buffalo on the album “No Hooks” (2012), Jovian collaborated with Bobby Musgrave (Pensive Blue Polar Bear) and Ed Keenan (DJ California Condor) in exploring the endangered nature of existence in a technologized modern world. As part of the Endangered Species collective, he performed shows in Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, Goleta, and Los Angeles, California.

Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1953, trained as a Communication Specialist at the Royal Naval Staff College, UK, and headed the naval academy at Kochi. He was prominently engaged in the Indo-Pak war of 1971. He received Vir Chakra, Param Vishist Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, and Vishisht Seva Medal. He was the Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy from 1990 till his retirement in 1993. Since his retirement he has been deeply engaged in anti-nuclear, peace, social justice, and democratic rights issues. He received the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2004 for his work on denuclearization and demilitarization of South Asia. He is in the forefront of the movement for peace between India and Pakistan. He is a member of the Citzens Whistleblowers Forum (CWF) formed in February 2017 to track corruption.

Lalita Ramdas is an activist in women’s rights, particularly women’s education, environmental issues, peace, Indo-Pak friendship and denuclearization. She is one of the founding  members of Greenpeace India and has served as Chairperson of Greenpeace International from 2007 to 2010. She launched the Rainbow Warrior II in 2011. She has worked as an informal educator in the slums of Delhi and founded “Ankur”, a society for alternative education. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as one of “1000 Peace Women” in 2005.

M. V. Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia and the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India (Penguin Books, 2012) and co-editor of Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream (Orient Longman, 2003). He is a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials and the Global Council of Abolition 2000. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Leo Szilard Award from the American Physical Society.

Annie Ross is an Indigenous (Maya) teacher and artist working along and with community in Canada. She teaches Environmental Ethics in First Nations Studies at Simon Fraser University.

Elder Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez  MA., is an activist/ organizer who believes in beloved communities in the transformative culture of peace . Her activism on nuclear non-proliferation, human rights, and the rights of our Mother Earth, brings spirit-rooted awareness into environmental justice advocacy and policy changes to end violence against women, girls and Mother Earth. She is currently the Environmental Health and Justice program manager for Tewa Women United, NM USA  www,tewawomenunited.org

Sid Shniad is a lifelong social justice activist who spent most of his working life as a trade union researcher at the Telecommunications Workers Union. He has been active in the anti-war movement and is a founding member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (www.ijv.ca), an organization dedicated to justice for Palestine, where he is currently a member of the national steering committee.

 

SANSAD mourns Hassan Gardezi

The following resolution was adopted at the SANSAD AGM on June 24, 2017:

We deeply mourn the passing of our dear friend and comrade Hassan Gardezi in April this year and wholeheartedly endorse the following obituary penned by Zahid Makhdoom:

DR. HASSAN NAWAZ GARDEZI

(19 February 1933 – 20 April 2017)

 

It is with extreme sorrow, the Committee of Progressive-Pakistani Canadians (CPPC), announce the passing of Dr. Hassan Nawaz Gardezi, one of the founding members of the CPPC. He truly had remained a lifelong and a tireless activist for justice, peace, secularism, and socialism, a huge inspiration to its members, friends, and associates. Death of a human being is always a sad affair. Somehow death of an individual always creates big craters in the lives of those who survive to see another day. But, when a person of such an intellectual and academic presence and stature, like Professor Gardezi, leaves from our midst the void left is simply impossible to bridge, the sorrow that follows exacts an enormous toll, the scars of the loss become indelible. Although his loss is impossible to even fathom, his contributions shall forever live to produce a universe of possibilities, a pathway to a just and a fair society.

 

Professor Gardezi had taught sociology to several cohorts in the reputable Canadian, American, and Pakistani universities. A large number of his students went on to become professors, journalists, writers, judges, lawyers, trade unionists. Many developed and maintained a lifelong relationship with him and his thoughtful spouse, Rosalie Gardezi. Whether in Pakistan or in Ontario or any place else that the Gardezis lived, their home was always a meeting place where intellectuals, activists, mandarins, and bohemians congregated. Lively discussions and debates were always welcomed. Hassan and Rosalie’s calming presence and amazing hospitality was a constant at these events.

 

After his retirement from being the head of the Department of Sociology at Algoma University at Sault Ste. Marie, Dr. Gardezi and Rosalie moved to Peterborough, Ontario. The choice of Peterborough was logical to them as their children were attending at the nearby universities. During his years of retirement, Hassan, maintained an exemplary life of an intellectual. Publishing regularly, attending and presenting papers at international conferences, engaging in activism for justice, peace, secularism, and socialism. He also wrote beautiful poems in his first language, Siraiki. He translated some classic Sufi tracts from the Siraiki language into the English language. His two-volume biography of Dada Amir Haider Khan, a leader of the Communist Party of India, presents a remarkable account of the emancipatory movements in the colonized South Asia and their nexus with the workers and peasant movements throughout the world.

 

As a visionary, Hassan always encouraged younger comrades and friends to organize. He indeed played a big part in organization of numerous organisations and associations struggling for just, fair, and peaceful society. Indeed, Hassan was instrumental in the organization of the CPPC. His vision is reflected in the mission of the CPPC. While we are still struggling to cope with the loss of this remarkable person, we continue to bask in the light of his vision, his compassionate and thoughtful fellowship and friendship, his unfathomable wisdom and generosity. Our hearts are with Rosalie and their beautiful children. May we all and may the Gardezis find peace.

_____________________________________________________

 

Call to unite against fascism in India

SANSAD News-release, June 28, 2017

Unite against progressing fascism in India

The following resolution  was adopted at SANSAD AGM June 24, 2017 and is being issued as a news release on June 28 in solidarity with “Not In My Name” rallies being held in Delhi and several other cities across India as well as London, Toronto, Boston, and Karachi:

Whereas the renowned social scientist and historian Partha Chatterjee recently stated that in Kashmir, India is witnessing its General Dwyer moment given the similarity between the British army’s justifications of its mass killings in Punjab in 1919 and the Indian army’s defense of its actions in Kashmir today,

and whereas within India as a whole today there is a similar moment of Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass in Nazi Germany as the lynching of Ambedakarite Dalits and Muslims are normalised as everyday events and ordinary people desensitized as spectators,

and whereas since the coming to power of the present Hindu-fascist RSS led BJP Government in 2014 there has been an unrelenting attack on Ambedakarite student and youth movements, left and progressive political formations and Muslim minorities in general that stand in Hindutva’s way to discard the Indian constitution and turn India into a Hindu Rashtra,

and whereas India  is on the verge of a fascist takeover, with innumerable vigilante squads operating with impunity all over India under various names and organizing programmed spontaneity of mob violence against Muslim and Dalits, especially in states ruled by the BJP,

Therefore be it resolved that we call on networks of Ambedkarite Dalits, progressive people and persecuted religious minorities of South Asian origin in North America to organize against the fascist Hindutva takeover of the Indian state and in support of civil society organizations, academics, cultural groups, artists and activists in India who are resisting this murderous regime and its genocidal agenda.

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD): www.sansad.org