Sainath & Varadarajan
Two of my favourite journalists are back in action. P. Sainath writes about the plight of farmers in Wayanad in Kerala:
Media reports reckon that some 120 farmers have taken their own lives in Wayanad since January 9 this year. The Government admits to no more than 50 distress suicides in that time. On the surface, the figure of 120 may seem small beside, say, the suicides in Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh. That district saw an average of 600 each year during a five-year period. Yet, at one level, Wayanad's suicides are almost as intense. Anantapur has nearly 37 lakh people. Wayanad has some seven lakh. On that base, its 120 suicides add up to nearly the same as Anantapur's. (The data in both cases are flawed, but give us some sense of the trend.) [So near to God, so far from Heaven, The Hindu.]
At a time when most countries are vying with each other for a place under Pax Americana, the Venezuela of Mr. Chavez is an aberration, a rude and insistent interruption in the otherwise triumphant march towards the End of History. From the war on terror to free market economics, privatisation, cutbacks on social expenditure and the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, Mr. Chavez opposes the Washington orthodoxy on just about everything.
"Some people say, hey Chavez, why are we spending so much on adult literacy and not on physical infrastructure," he said later. "My answer is that before buildings and highways, we have to build a sovereign people who can live with dignity." [The Chavez phenomenon and the U.S., The Hindu.]