IPSG Newsletter  

Newsletter of the Indian Progressive Study Group, New York.
Vol. 10 , No. 1, February 1996

ASCII Version for Email Distribution.



Dr. Shailaja D. Sharma

The cause of women's liberation is not new to India.  It is
a cause whose echoes, however faint, can be heard even in
the dim corridors of bygone centuries. The irrepressible
urge to free womankind from the heavy fetters that time,
taboo and social organization had placed burst forth from
time to time in ways that were not similar, and in actions
that were more or less remembered, and with greater or
lesser effects on the society itself.

In the course of their long struggle, the path and forms
used by the women have been different at different times.
These have been consistent with the stage of social
evolution, including the dominant political, economic and
cultural institutions and trends that shaped those times.
Thus, the women's movement stands at the juncture of the new
millennium, bearing with it the heritage of the centuries
that have passed.

In the course of the last century and half, the women's
movement grew into a self-conscious and well-defined social
and political entity. Even so, the preoccupations and
concerns of this movement have not remained fixed or
unchanging, nor have the forms and methods it has adopted.
There has also been a varying degree of heterogeneity within
what is generally termed "the women's movement".

The most recent milestone in its evolution is generally
recognized as the resurgence that was witnessed in the
1970s, when large numbers of urban women took to the streets
in mass protests against such woman-specific instances of
oppression as dowry and rape. In this context, the women
demanded that fuller attention be paid to those specific
forms of aggression, discrimination and injustice of which
women form the victim-group. It was also a time when the
need for democratically-functioning forms of organisation
and for simpler and more participatory forms of functioning
were being articulated. The activities of the women
activists received much public attention. The publication of
a report on the Status of Women, and the formation of a
National Commission for Women all showed that the women's
question was now firmly on the public agenda. The term
"women's issues" made determined entry into current jargon.

In the years that have since passed, a large number of
University departments and research, documentation and
publication institutions have sprung up, devoted to the
study and promotion of these issues. The focus thus shifted
from "women's issues" to "women's studies". Sponsored by
government or non-governmental agencies of many types, these
institutions have witnessed a burgeoning literature on the
subject of "women's studies".

The benefits of study are not to be doubted. Research in the
social sciences is also expected to contribute to a better
understanding of our social organization, and thence to more
effective ways for achieving social justice. However, there
are some disturbing manifestations in the trend of "women's
studies" that is in current favour. These manifestations are
apparent on some of the preferences and tendencies exhibited
in the women's movement, and that is the vantage point from
which this article will address the question.

Specifically, this article will propose a critical look at
three methodological issues: first, the experience-sharing
method of social analysis, second, the compartmentalisation
of different aspects of the political economy for the
purposes of study or action and third, the emphasis on
concrete demands.  There are other methodological issues
also that are worth examining, but space constraints compel
their exclusion for the moment.

It must be stated that the observations made in this article
are not based on an examination of the theoretical
propositions of any strand of thought that is currently
orienting the women's movement. The author perceives the
absence of clearly-defined positions regarding a perspective
for the women's movement as itself a major problem to be
addressed. The comments made in this article are based
entirely on what the author sees as trends discernible in
the women's movement, which may be read as outcomes of the
philosophical premises that are currently shaping the
direction of women's studies. The author presents these
views in all humility, as tentative directions for a
critique of current methodologies.

Can experience be a substitute for science? A discussion of
the implications of the experience-sharing method
necessarily leads us to a philosophical question of this
kind. While science necessarily takes account of experience,
and is rooted in human experience, above all, the method of
science is based on the fact that human experience is not
static, but dynamically evolving, influencing and in turn
being influenced by the environment and forces within which
it is constituted. Thus the human experience of a moment is
only a part of the truth; to regard it as equivalent to the
whole would lead to gross distortions of the truth. However,
this is what is often done in the name of participation.

Experience-sharing has a definite populist ring to it: it
supposedly puts the "people" at the top and gives maximum
weightage to their "own" experience. In this way, it
pretends to empower them, to give them what social science
and scientists have denied them all along. It is another way
of saying "Look, we know what is best for us".

Not a few are being won over by this manner of seduction.
But this author feels that inherent in these overtures is a
definite attempt to subvert in the present time. The fall of
the Soviet bloc, and the supposed concomitant "collapse" of
socialism as a philosophical or economic model, are not the
smallest of the factors used to lend credence to this line
of thinking. "Nobody has been able to understand or explain
the social evolution of mankind sufficiently; nobody will.
Ideology has ended and society is only what it appears to
you to be".

The experience-sharing method leads to all manner of
"findings". These "findings" may contribute in no way
positively to resolving the problems that are being studied.
Invariably, the findings show that the people - in most
cases, poor rural people - are themselves responsible for
the problems that beset them. Group discussions on the
question of communalism, conducted in the virtuously
spontaneous manner of experience-sharing, e.g., lead to the
finding that the seeds of communalism are latent in the
inherent prejudices and religious practices of the people
themselves. In development research, it leads researchers to
conclude that, for instance, poor illiterate labourers in
such and such a region prefer to send their children to work
in the tile factories, rather than to school. In women's
groups, experience sharing could throw a flood of light, for
example, on the fact that men are totally callous and
unconcerned about the sexual needs and preferences of their
female partners.

What one does with these weighty findings, except write
books and treatises on them, it is difficult to say. But as
far as the broad movement for social justice is concerned,
it is not just a question of bad literature.  Pseudo-science
also disarms the movement for progress. If we were all to
feel with our skins only, to deny the existence of history
and of a collective conscience that has evolved through
time, space and situations, to take each moment of our
existence in its separateness, and so on, we would have to
reinvent each wheel of social science over a thousand times
within our own existence. Keeping a margin of time for
repeating all the mistakes of our forerunners and for doing
it all separately, our progress would be slow indeed.   

The philosophical issues at the bottom of the debate pertain
to whether or not there is an objective truth, or objective
reality, about our existence, which exists despite
individuals. This is a philosophical debate of great
antiquity, the classical debate between the materialists on
the one hand and the idealists on the other. The debate
about the primacy of things material over things spiritual,
or whether the world is primarily matter or primarily
"Maya". To wit, it is the debate over the materialistic
conception of history, as propounded, in recent times, by
Karl Marx.  The espousal of the "participatory method" as
the all-surpassing truth-finder about society in our times
is also thus an attempted rebuttal of historical materialism
as a world-view.
The experience-sharing method seeks to put the subjective
feeling of individuals above the objective reality. In so
doing, it seeks to downplay, underrate, or even eliminate
from the discourse, the recognition of objective reality
itself. The proposal that the "truth" can be arrived at by
experience-sharing means that scientific theory, which is
built on the premise of the existence of an objective
reality, be denied. Study is itself under-valued by this
approach.  All that is needed to complete the experience-
sharing approach is a small amount of data analysis,
summarizing the feelings expressed by the different
participants, categorized, e.g., by gender, caste, etc.

But can any serious analysis of human conditions be made by
spot studies, as is done in Gallup polls and market surveys?
Social studies need to be conducted along scientific lines.
The gap between theory and practice, or between research and
reality can be bridged not by abandoning the one to embrace
the other. The means for their synthesis lie above all in
understanding why theory and practice, or research and
reality, have been distanced from each other in the first


Another feature of the present trends in studying, analyzing
and presenting the problems of women in the society is the
division of the gamut of issues into neat compartments which
are treated separately. It has become routine, in women's
movement jargon, to talk about "themes" and "sub-themes", to
have specialists on different themes and for the gamut of
themes to be subdivided into such and such themes. In the
preoccupation with the nitty-gritties and legalisms of this
kind of compartmentalization, often sight of the wood is
lost because of the trees. Each sub-theme becomes an end in
itself, even as the impossibility of dealing thus with it is
constantly driven home to us. 
 Illustrating this trend most neatly is the great run-up to
the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women. The preparations for
this conference have been marked by a large number of
PrepComs (preparatory meetings) and a matching number of
resolutions, drafts, programmes of action and country
papers, not to mention the documents put out by sub-regional
conferences and the like. 

The preparation of these (UN) documents, by now, has become
as routine as the manufacture of factory goods on a
production line. In the best traditions of an efficient
bureaucracy, a standard format has been evolved, comprising
so many sections and sub-sections dealing with a list of
themes with the dictionary. 

Women and Agriculture, Women and Culture, Women and
Development, Women and Education/Economy, Women and
Fertility Control, Women and GATT, Women and Health/Human
Rights, ...right up to the twenty-sixth letter of the
alphabet.  Each section has several sub-themes, so that a
regular taxonomy of "women's issues" has developed as a
side-product of the Beijing and similar conferences.  Having
assigned two or three persons, by now specialists, to write
on each theme, the pages are all strung together and hey
presto! a country paper, or draft plan of action is ready! 
The emphasis thereafter is on making sure that all the
possible themes are included and that all the wording is
perfected. The eagerness with which a large number of non-
governmental organisations have taken to this kind of
exercise, which does not surprise when it comes from the
United Nations and government departments, is quite sobering
to observe.

In the above method, all aspects of society are listed and
the interaction of each vis-a-vis women is sought to be
critically considered, after which modifications in each of
the aspects are demanded. The main problem with this
fragmentary view of the world is that it fails to show the
linkages and interconnections of the different aspects that
are being examined. As a result, it produces piecemeal
specialists and piecemeal solutions.

The world has grappled long and hard with the question of
giving women their due place in society. In particular, the
women themselves have struggled much in this direction. But
there has been only limited success. Why? The piecemeal
approach may have much to do with this. For example, the law
has been made more and more sensitive to women's issues.
There is no dearth of legislation on the subject of women's
rights, and new legislation is constantly being framed. So
much the better for Women and Law. But how have  Women and
Violence, or Women and the Family, fared, nonetheless? 
While Women and Education is high on the government's agenda
at present, all the more so because "positive correlations
have been found" between female literacy and contraception
fates, how about Women and Reproductive Rights, or Women and
Unsafe Contraceptives, or Women and Health, for that matter?

If the experience-sharing approach compartmentalized events
in minute time-capsules, the compartmentalisation of the
different aspects of society into relatively unrelated and
independent parts completes the fragmentary and eclectic
view of society.

The obverse side of the fragmentary approach is the "women's
view" approach, in which a "women's angle" is to be
discovered to every aspect of society and social
relationships. The need to put on a special pair of glasses
to get a "women's view" of each and every thing in society
is useful, to my mind, only in so far as it keeps up an
adequate supply of research topics for the Universities and
research institutions. A special breed of "gender-trained"
or "gender- sensitized" persons is also being so created,
who will sit on all manner of learned and grass- roots
committees entrusted with social development, with the
specific task of pointing out the gender-issues involved in
the discussion. While this kind of fun and games go on
merrily, the real issue of the suppression of women in all
walks of life gets totally sidelined. 
The moorings of the "women's view" approach are, of course,
in the contention that there exists a feminist world-view,
or an outlook on life or philosophy based on feminism, whose
leading premise is the differentiation of woman from man. By
definition, the feminist world-view regards this
differentiation as eternal and insuperable and excludes from
its following men, unless the latter have been "feminised"
themselves. Those who subscribe to the feminist world-view
would no doubt see nothing wrong with being able to find a
women's component to everything, but the very claim that
feminism is a world-view, given its exclusivism, is worth
examining in detail.

Concrete Demands

The third and final issue that will be taken up here is that
of "concrete demands".   It is demanded of us that we raise
only "concrete demands". Our efforts are futile if they do
not help us in drafting concrete demands. Those who don't-or
can't/won't-raise concrete demands are quite useless, of no
real help to the movement.

In this view, the UN World Conferences would be the ultimate
contribution to the cause of women's liberation, for which
other forum can boast of such comprehensive and carefully
prepared sets of concrete, achievable demands, targets and
commitments from the community of the world? 

The emphasis, when one speaks of "concrete" demands, is on
the achievability, or feasibility of the demand. "Ask for
what is possible, and it shall be given", is the dictum.
Yet, there are two problems with this.

First, regarding demands that are entirely feasible from the
provider point of view. The women's groups in Delhi, and
indeed, from all over India, have been of late engaged in a
tortuous struggle to have a number of dangerous hormonal
contraceptives, such as Depo Provera and Net En withdrawn
from the market. Their efforts began well before these drugs
had even reached India. They have left no stone unturned in
their struggle to awaken the government, health authorities,
the Women's Commission, the medical practitioners, the drug
retailers, the general public and indeed the drug
manufacturers or franchisees themselves about the harmful
effects of these contraceptives and the ethical issues
involved in releasing them. It should be apparent to anybody
with the least reason that the drug companies could move
their capital into more acceptable channels of production,
as there are any number of useful or harmless chemical
combinations that can as easily be marketed in India or
elsewhere. In any case, the withdrawal of Depo Provera would
not threaten the existing free market system with collapse
or anything near it. However, the pleas, protests and
threats of the women's organisations and other like-minded
bodies have fallen largely on deaf ears.

The compensation claims filed by several individuals and
groups, including many publicly-acclaimed figures, in the
Bhopal gas tragedy and Narmada Bachao issues failed to evoke
the necessary action on the part of the offending agencies,
despite wide-spread, even global, support for the demands,
and despite the fact that such action would, far from
bringing about the collapse of the present socio-economic
system, even possibly render it a little more humane in

Similar cases abound, in which the most concrete of concrete
demands are of no use and do not elicit any action that will
ameliorate the misery of the victims. On a daily basis,
trade union workers speak bitterly of retrenchment,
persecution or denial of minimum wages, women speak with
disgust about harassment on the streets and in the public
transport, riot victims speak of punishment that was never
visited upon the perpetrators of open crimes. Clearly, the
drafting of concrete demands is not even half the battle
won, it is not even a token of victory in the long run. 
These are battles that have to be waged constantly to defend
even the rights that are supposed to exist within the
present system and its juridical framework.

The present socio-economic system, based on the institution
of private property, offers certain things and denies
certain others. It offers, for instance, however
reluctantly, tardily, the possibility of universal literacy;
it denies the possibility of universal employment. So also,
it denies the possibility of the enjoyment of freedom on par
with men, to women.

Of course, to raise such demands, to demand the guaranteeing
of the fundamental premises of our existence as human
beings, may often mean to question the premises of the
present socio-economic order itself. Indeed, why may they
not be questioned? For social science, there can be no
sacred cows, and it must be ready to view everything afresh
and free of prejudice. Which leads to the second point,
namely that if the demand that the fundamental rights of
human beings must be guaranteed by the society, or any form
of this demand, is considered to be an infeasible demand,
then the society must be reorganised to make it feasible and
indeed to make it happen.

If, in the debates and seminars that are now so often held,
un-concrete demands were heard with more patience and less
prejudice, perhaps social science could find new avenues of
growth, away from the little field of "development
research", within whose tangles it is being sought to be

(Text of Appeal Circulated by the AIPSG in November 1994)

Ten Years After the Delhi Massacres of November 1984

It is now ten years since the massacre of more than three
thousand people in Delhi and other cities following the
assassination of Indira Gandhi.  Although official and
independent inquiries have implicated police officers,
government functionaries and leaders of the Congress (I) in
those killings, no action has been taken against them. 
Individuals whose prosecution was mandated by official
panels continue to occupy positions of influence whereas
their victims have yet to be adequately compensated and

Since 1984, communal violence has been repeatedly organised
all over the country, most recently in the wake of the
demolition of the Babri Masjid.  In Bombay and Surat, for
example, various political parties and organisations -
besides the police - are known to have played a prominent
role.  Why are such incidents allowed to take place, and why
are those involved in perpetrating this violence not brought
to book?

The years following the 1984 massacres have seen four
different governments at the national level, headed  by
Rajiv Gandhi, V.P. Singh, Chandra Shekhar and Narasimha Rao. 
In addition, the BJP has held power in states such as Delhi
and Uttar Pradesh.  Despite this rotation of political
parties and leaders, the guilty have not been punished.  The
failure of successive governments to give justice to the
people suggests that there are serious shortcomings in the
ability of the present political system to protect the
rights of citizens.  Not only are the instigators of
communal violence never apprehended but it is also not
uncommon for cases of murder, disappearances and custodial
killings to go uninvestigated and unpunished - as events in
Punjab, Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere serve to
remind us.  The rule of law has, in effect, been rendered a
dead letter as the perpetrators of violence are allowed to
freely go about their business.

Ten years after November 1984, the task of ending this
appalling state of affairs remains as urgent as ever.  The
government must ensure that the rights of all citizens are
protected and respected.  No official, party or political
personality should be above the law.

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the 1984
massacres, we, the undersigned, call upon everyone to demand
that the Indian government:-

- Compensate and rehabilitate the victims of November 1984
and all  incidents of communal violence.

- Prosecute those involved in crimes against the people,
regardless of their political or official affiliation.

- Bring about an immediate end to all acts of violence
against the people.

by Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Paul Willemen,Oxford University
Press, New Delhi 1995, British Film Institute Publishing,
568 pages, Distributed by Indiana University Press,
Bloomington, IN.  $49.95.

Vijay S. Jodha

Despite its large output and significant diversity, Indian
cinema remains largely undocumented and under-analyzed. 
Although this situation is rapidly changing, especially in
India where film criticism is increasingly gaining
acceptance as a serious academic discipline and greater
effort is also being made to catalogue and preserve the
earlier films, for the present there are few reference books
for even those who may be only casually interested in Indian
cinema.  In this context, the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema
- the first of its kind, that has been co-authored by Ashish
Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen, is a commendable effort.

The idea of a distinct Indian cinema is debatable, since
some of its history or at least the history dealt with in
this 568-page work is also claimed by other countries - not
only those that came into existence since the partition, but
also Iran, Singapore, Malaysia, and Germany, to name a few. 
For instance, Ardeshir Irani, who directed India's first
full sound film, Alam Ara in 1931, also made Dokhtar-e-Lor
in Bombay in 1933, commonly acknowledged as the first
Iranian sound feature.  Or, Ellis Duncan, the Hollywood
cinematographer who came to India in 1935 and stayed on for
the next 17 years to direct major Tamil films including Sati
Leelavathi that introduced megastar and politician M.G.
Ramachandran.  The authors acknowledge the difficulties in
placing this cinema in a geo-temporal framework and take
India "not as a fixed entity, but as a socio-cultural

The first section of this work looks at the different
movements, genres, institutions and personalities associated
with Indian cinema.  There is also an year by year chronicle
of the social, political and economic developments during
the last hundred years to provide a context to the entries. 
The second section that occupies the major part of this
book, concerns itself with all the significant Indian films
made so far.  There may of course, be a few personal
favourites that one may find omitted, but the authors appear
to have done a thorough job in locating material not only
from the five principal film industries, but also from other
lesser studied regions and languages.  However, with the
exception of a few from Bombay's industry, most
cinematographers, scenarists, editors do not find a place
among the biographical entries, which seems to relegate
their role to mere technicians who made little contribution
to the cinemas of India.

Considering that most of the material from Indian cinema's
first few decades is either lost or destroyed and verifying
authenticity of information is a difficult task, a
meticulous compilation is a job unto itself.  The authors
have however gone a step further and tried to highlight the
relationship of Indian cinema with other arts and art
movements.  This is particularly useful since the role of
these in shaping Indian cinema, especially in its birth and
infancy are not widely known, the authors have meticulously
looked at this aspect.  These include, the Company School of
Painting, whose style of mythological iconography was
adapted by the cinema, and Parsee Theater - the commercial
theater movement sponsored by the Zoroastrians community who
also founded most of the film's early production,
distribution and exhibition infrastructure, and the Indian
Peoples' Theater Association (IPTA) that, with PWA,
attracted virtually all of India's cultural intelligentsia
in the early years of India's independence and influenced
the country's different cinemas.

Since Indian films often seem a mix of several different
genres and this is an area of confusion and debate,
workable, though by no means definitive, descriptions have
been provided.  These include some quintessential Indian
genres like "the All India Film", ("...mass produced film
formula pioneered by post world war-II Hindi cinema and
duplicated by regional film industries...), "Historicals",
"Mythologicals", "Saint Films", ("film biographicals of the
medieval Saint-poets"), and "Devotional" ("...in some
respects a cross between the Saint Film and the
Mythological, often closer to the former than to the

Although the authors acknowledge the help of a long list of
consultants, several of whom are cited in the different
entries, none of the entries are signed as such and there is
almost a uniform theoretical approach to the subject. 
Whether this has been done to exercise prerogative as
authors, to provide a unified understanding of Indian cinema
or to make the encyclopaedia double as a history of Indian
cinema is unclear.  However, to those who may be unfamiliar
with the authors' writings (Mr. Rajadhyaksha is an important
figure in India's present generation of film critics and Mr.
Willemen is a well co-editor of Indian Cinema, BFI, 1980,
besides other academic ventures), or do not share their
ideological perspective, the thrust of the work may be
especially troubling.  Worse, the authors attempt to pass
this off as a conventional viewpoint which is hardly the
case.  Although there may not be such a thing as a
conventional viewpoint, there is certainly a broad agreement
on certain films, personalities, policies, movements, etc.,
quite diverse from what the authors would lead us to

For instance, describing the Indian New Wave, the authors
dismiss important works of that period such as Shyam
Benegal's Ankur and Pattabhi Rama Reddy's Samskara as
articulating an "official" agenda, which is a challengeable
position and one that would find few adherents amongst the
critics.  In fact, Benegal's films come in for constant
criticism, sometimes on other grounds.  For instance, in
reviewing Manthan (1965), p.399, the authors go onto
describe at length, the history of the National Dairy
Development Board (NDDB), the film itself getting barely a
quarter of the space.  Even the points raised against NDDB
are far from settled and some of them are outright

Director (and Benegal's former cameraman), Govind Nihalani's
ventures are also dismissed lightly.  His Tamas (1985) - the
five hour television series dealing with India's partition,
is described thus: 

"The film effectively lumps together the activities of all
the various political groups involved...which it contrasts
with individual expressions of human concern that serve
sometimes to dilute a notoriously complex historical episode
into no more than a conflict between common good and
politically motivated bad." (p.445).

This, about what is perhaps still the most courageous work
dealing with communalism to ever appear on Indian
television, (thankfully not without a court injunction),
seems trivializing.  One is thankful that the authors were
covering only cinema and not Indian literature, Saadat
Hassan Manto's Toba Tek Singh, or any other well known work
dealing with the partition through the lives of common
people, which may have come in for similar treatment.

Although the authors spare no diatribe against film makers
like Mani Rathnam, Shekhar Kapoor, et al, for using
advertising film vocabulary - an amusing point, since Indian
cinema seems to display a trend common to the rest of the
world's cinemas - see for e.g. Alan Parker, Riddley Scott,
etc., little or no notice is made of the advertising
agencies that have put their money into serious cinema such
as Blaze Enterprises that funded Shyam Benegal's first
feature film effort.  Such a scenario raises interesting
questions about Indian cinema, since the Nehruite
nationalism, which the authors run down on a few occasions,
(though for different reasons), that helped create
subsidized art, design and film schools and facilities, is
itself now on the way out in India.  How the cultural
bureaucracies that had sustained themselves in elitist
enclaves created under that ideology will fare in the future
may well be worth considering.  While authors are under no
obligation to provide a comprehensive account of the history
and breadth of Indian cinema, taking a minority and rigid
ideological stand in variance with conventional views does
open oneself to such questioning.


International Conference of South Asians

Toronto, April 26-28, 1996.

South Asia is home to more than a billion people; but as an
entity, South Asia remains marginalized from world politics. 
While major conflicts and tragedies prey upon the peoples of
this region, the powers of the world carry on as if nothing
is amiss.  Today, people of South Asian origin live and work
in all parts of the globe.  They have many complex issues to
deal with, many of which are often specific to their
particular location and conditions - but there are a number
of important concerns that are common to all of them. For
example, as a collective, people of South Asian origin
everywhere find that the scope to participate in the
political affairs of the country of their residence is
limited, and they are an easy target for those who would
seek to convert them into a "vote-bank."  In a sense, this
situation mirrors that faced by the people of South Asia
themselves, who are compartmentalized into religious, ethnic
or caste-based vote-banks.  Furthermore, there are few
opportunities present that actually address such concerns as
the education of the younger generation, preserving and
developing  national cultures and fulfilling the social,
cultural and other needs of families etc.
How will South Asians enter the 21st century? Will it be a
continuation of the status-quo, in which an entire region
and the peoples from this region remain negated?  Or will it
be a new situation, where the peoples of South Asia will be
able emerge from the mass poverty, and the abuse of human
rights and democratic rights and build modern nations and
states that will satisfy their aspirations?  Will South
Asians living abroad watch helplessly as they are ghettoised
into apolitical vote-banks under the control of power
brokers?  Or will they provide themselves with a way out so
that they and their younger generation can enter the world
with confidence, ready to fight any discriminatory pressure
and participate in life fully?

The present situation presents us with these choices, and we
can consciously face the future if we come together now. 
South Asians are justly proud of what they have accomplished
with their individual efforts.  The problems that we have in
front of us require collective thinking and collective
action, and their solutions will have far-reaching
significance not just for the future generations of South
Asians but for everyone in what is already being called
"Asian Century".

Today, the geo-politics in South Asia is such that the
possibility of nuclear war in this area is not very far-
fetched.  Should South Asian people not act now and play a
decisive role in preventing such a possibility and make a
decisive contribution to world peace? Collectively, we can
become effective and defeat this threat.  This conference in
Toronto is being organized to put forward and to broaden the
discussion of these most pressing questions.  Various
organizations that are already active on issues of common
concern are coming together to work out a plan. This is the
time for all individuals and organizations to come together
and join this historic intiative and make a difference. 
Please come forward and become a sponsor of this conference,
join the organizing committee, bring your concerns and
proposals and work to make this project successful.

You can contact the organizers at:

Manzur Ejaz : (703) 569-9699, e-mail: jhora@access.digex.net
Raj Mishra :  (810) 781-2371, e-mail: ipsg@maestro.com
Barbara Seed :(905) 455 7285, e-mail: pfeidc@fox.nstn.ca

IPSG Newsletter
Newsletter of the Indian Progressive Study Group, New York
Volume 10, No. 1, February 1996

Published by:

Indian Progressive Study Group, New York
Earl Hall, Columbia University
New York, NY 10027

The Indian Progressive Study Group is an organisation of
students and members of the community from the New York
area.  The IPSG is primarily involved in raising political
issues for discussion through carrying out research,
organising meetings, seminars, and  through publications.  

Please direct any questions or comments to:

IPSG Newsletter, 
Earl Hall, Columbia University, 
New York, NY 10027.

Email: ipsg@maestro.com.  
Ph/fax: (201) 384-7331.
Home page: www.columbia.edu\cu\ipsg\  (under construction)

The 24 page printed booklet copy of the newsletter is available
from the above address by sending $2 per copy (inc. p&p).  Cheques
should be made payable to the Indian Progressive Study Group.