Volume 6, Issue 2 (2015)


Water, the Sacred and the Commons in Rajasthan: A Review of Anupam Mishra's Philosophy of Water
Ricki Levi and Daniel Mishori
This paper surveys Anupam Mishra's philosophy of water. Mishra works on rediscovery and revitalizing water traditions in Rajasthan, based on Gandhian values of simplicity, solidarity, mutual-dependence, traditional knowledge and practices and commons-based resource management. He explores the traditional practices and technologies of water harvesting and conservation and reveals their socio-cultural infrastructure, rooted in spiritual-religious conceptions, including the personal and social virtues necessary for surviving and thriving in the arid desert. Indian scholars and authors have contributed greatly to the criticism of globalization, have highlighted its devastating effects on society and the environment, and offer a non-Eurocentric understanding of the role of civil society and communities. Mishra's significance lies in depicting alternatives, rooted in localism, non-materialist values, indigenous knowledge and commons-based management, and as depicting the unity which exists between different facets of local communities (religion, culture, language, spirituality and ethics) and the forms and methods for managing and sustaining water as a commons, based on localism and community, and not merely economic "assets" or environmental "resources".

Ethnic Conflict and Development in Africa: a Short Critical Discussion
Rama Venkataswamy
This paper critically discusses that ‘ethnicity’ is too elusive a concept to be unproblematically pronounced as a major source of conflict that significantly impediments the process of development in African countries in particular. It argues that there are many other factors to be considered in this regard, by: problematizing the drive for modernization and development in postcolonial Africa; identifying some of the perspectives according to which the inter-relationship between ethnicity, conflict and development has been theorized and discussed; assessing and problematizing the validity of these perspectives in reference to specific African countries. And this paper also contextualizes ‘development’, in terms of its starting-point, pace and trajectory, as well as critiques ‘development’ from a ‘post-development’ perspective.

The “Newspeak” Dictionary of “Development”: Deconstructing Development Discourse and Calling Things by Their True Names
David Lempert
This article offers a short glossary of some common terminology used by governments, international organizations, economists and political scientists to describe their interventions with peoples and communities of unequal power that they currently call by the euphemism of “development”. To help practitioners and the public to deconstruct and decode the misuse of the terms and to make the hidden agendas explicit, this article presents a glossary of development “newspeak” to distinguish the misuse from the long-term perspectives of both the mass public that is providing the funding for and the victims who are on the receiving end of the interventions. A plain English “emic” dictionary of development “newspeak” is a step towards protecting cultures, human sustainability, international peace and security, progress, and the planet earth.

Burmese religion in Thailand
Sirima Ussawarakha
Thailand is the key destination for migrant workers from countries over the Mekong River, notably Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar. Among these three countries, migrant workers from Myanmar are the largest group in Thailand. Specifically, there is a concentration of up to 400,000 Myanmar migrant workers working and residing in Samut Sakhon, which is situated in the central part of Thailand connected to Tha Jeen River and surrounded by Bangkok, Samut Songkhram, Ratchburi, and Nakhon Pathom. This region is a highly industrial province where the export of seafood products is the main economic activity, which requires a massive amount of laborers. After moving to Samut Sakhon, Myanmar migrant workers negotiate their daily life to be compatible with the social situation in Thailand. A number of Myanmar migrant workers have changed their inherited practices to integrate into Thai society. One thing, however, that Myanmar migrant workers hold on to is their beliefs concerning Buddhism. Although they migrate to Samut Sakhon, Myanmar migrant workers maintain their religious activities through their local social networks. This paper focuses on one informal social network in Samut Sakhon known as the Wat Noi Nang Hong Association as a case study to reflect implicit and explicit beliefs of Myanmar migrant workers exercised through network activities. According to the situation in Samut Sakhon, this paper argues that, with the unique beliefs of people from Myanmar, social networks serve specific cultural needs of migrants due to their strong values, especially issues related to the Buddhist religion. It can also be argued that social network in Samut Sakhon provides Myanmar migrant workers with social, cultural, and symbolic capital.

Use of Assistive Technology in Inclusive Education: Making Room for Diverse Learning Needs
Fouzia Khursheed Ahmad
Technology has great potential in providing to all learners the ability to access the general education curriculum, and with effective integration of assistive technology into the regular classroom, students with special needs can have the provision of multiple means to complete their work, with greater ease and independence in performing tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish or had great difficulty in accomplishing. Approaches in the use of assistive technology in inclusive education basically focus in using technology to train or rehearse, and to assist and enable learning. Since students with disabilities are frequently trapped in a vicious cycle of exclusion from education, society and mainstream development programmes, lacking the means for equal participation; the effective use of assistive technology can help assist them in addressing the ‘functional barriers’ and increase, maintain, or improve their learning outcomes. In the much needed endeavour of accepting, respecting and celebrating diversity; this paper attempts to discuss and highlight the need and scope for the use of assistive technology in inclusive education, to help include the excluded.