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There are two narratives about the Russia-Ukraine war in circulation. One is projecting invading Russia as the villain and demanding immediate cessation of hostilities. Second is holding United States foreign policy responsible for this which even after the cold war got over in 1991 was unnecessarily trying to provoke Russia by trying to expand North Atlantic Treaty Organisation making the new states which emerged from Union of Soviet Socialist Republic as its members. Russia felt insecure at the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO and this became the cause of present war.

It is interesting to recall that when USSR was dissolved its 35,000 nuclear weapons were shared by Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The last three nations did not find any use of them and handed them over to Russia. Although, Ukraine did ask for security assurances and an agreement was reached with the mediation of US and United Kingdom.and US also helped Ukraine dismantle its nuclear weapons. Ukraine realised that it was not feasible for it to maintain the nuclear arsenal as well as guarantee its security. Moreover, US and USSR/Russia entered into treaties which reduced the number of nuclear weapons significantly.

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This reflects the mood of the time when cold war ended, especially the countries part of former USSR did not expect to get involved in wars in near future and were ready to give up their weapons. Ukraine assumed that in exchange for giving up its nuclear arsenal its security would be ensured.

However, the US and Russia continued to hold on to about equal number of nuclear weapons, around 5000-6000, amounting to 90% of total nuclear weapons in existence. This has ensured that total and lasting peace would not prevail. Moreover, while the five permanent United Nations Security Council members, all of them nuclear weapons states, did not give up their nuclear weapons, they expected other countries to sign Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Non-Proliferation Treaty abjuring the right to possess these weapons. Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Iran defied this order and produced or have the capability to produce their nuclear weapons.

US ambition to remain the only super power post cold war and its reluctance, along with that of other permanent UNSC members, to completely dismantle their nuclear arsenal as well as other weapons of mass destruction, triggers wars every few years somewhere in the world and sustains the military-industrial complex, backbone of its economy.

Rajeev Gandhi was the last Indian Prime Minister who attempted convincing nuclear powers to give up their weapons in United Nations General Assembly. Being unsuccessful, the Indian government decided to go ahead with production of its own nuclear weapons. Indira Gandhi had already carried out the tests two decades earlier.

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With the adoption of neo-liberal economic policies India decisively moved from the Non-Aligned Movement camp to being a friend of the US. Had India been part of the NAM, it would not have found itself facing the predicament where it cannot criticize the aggressor Russia in the present conflict and will possibly annoy US for not supporting Ukraine.

Traditionally, India is known to stand for the right of oppressed. Mahatma Gandhi criticized the forcible creation of Israel in Arab land and India boycotted the apartheid South Africa. It gave refuge to Dalai Lama and allowed Tibetans to form a government in exile, which still exists, and stood in support of Bengali nationalism facing attacks in Pakistan.

Today the world is devoid of a moral voice. UN has been made irrelevant first by US, UK and China and now by Russia because of the veto power possessed by permanent UNSC members. The powerful countries give two hoots to the international opinion. Unless the UN, especially the UNSC, is democratized there is little hope that international opinion can prevail and halt wars like the present one.

Had India followed the principle of non-violence, for which Mahatma Gandhi is revered globally and is an inspiration for all oppressed people, we would not be seen as soft towards Russia, clearly the oppressor in the current conflict. Had India persevered with NAM and built it as a block of nations which could have exerted pressure on the powerful countries to change their behaviour it could have resulted in a qualitatively different world order. Instead, India is pursuing a self-defeating dream of a permanent seat in the UNSC and realsing that it’ll never be part of G8 it has chosen to be part of alliances like BRICS and Quad to fulfill its ambition of being a second rung power in the world, if not the first.

It is not just the Indian students stranded in Ukraine who deserve our support, where all our attention is presently focused. We need to think about those Ukrainians who do not have the luxury of fleeing their homeland. Their lives have been devastated by the Russian attack and their future is uncertain. To be without a shelter in extreme cold can be a very miserable feeling. They have already started running out of food supplies. And there are little children among the stuck population.

It is a humanitarian crisis. We need to stand solidly with Ukrainians and compel Russia to stop this war. War can only beget violence and misery. It cannot be justified in any name. Instead of trying to imitate the world powers, India would do well to take an independent stand and work towards a word free of dangerous weapons. Only in a world free of weapons and armies can we hope to have enduring peace and friendship between countries.

 

By- Atam Jeet Singh

The Indian government is turning the evacuation of students from the war-torn country into a massive public relations exercise, blaming students for studying abroad. The government should not forget that they did not say a word against the Russian military offensive.

Putin’s war on Ukraine has entered its next phase, responsible for the destruction of civilian facilities. The Indian Aviation Ministry says 17 flights with around 3,500 Indians are expected to arrive in India on Friday. War is going on in Ukraine and Prime Minister Modi is holding an election meeting in Banaras.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at a rally that “If you have such good relations with Putin then you already knew that war was going to happen, then why didn’t you bring Indian students back home?”

Viral Videos

A video has gone viral of an Indian student in Kharkiv, Ukraine, saying, “I am trying to enter a train. We are here in Kholodna. Waiting for help but we are not being allowed on the train from Kharkiv to Leiv.” A student shared a video of a blast at the campus in which more than 400 Indian students trapped in Ukraine’s Sumy University have alleged that there has been no help being provided since the start of the war.

In another video, an Indian student from Vinnytsia University has sent the video from the Romania-Ukraine border. He says students waited in queues for 36 hours to enter Romania.

There are about 700-800 Indian students at a shelter in Pisochin, near Kharkiv. They have no blankets and almost no food. They had reached there yesterday after a warning from the Indian embassy. At present there is no help from Indian authorities what should they do now?

Watch this:

In a recent tweet, the Indian consulate in Ukraine has asked all Indian citizens who are in Kharkiv, except Pisochin, to fill up the registration form on an urgent basis.

The Ministry of External Affairs says that fifteen flights were landed in India during the last 24 hours and more than 3,000 Indians have been brought back safely. In fact, the citizens of most countries had already left Ukraine because their embassy gave directions in time.

A student said through a TV interview that she did not get any help from the Indian embassy and reached the border with other students, and got flight facilities from Romania to reach back home. She said, “immigration is a government’s duty, not a favor”.

Read also:
Ukraine-Russia War: Did Putin make a tactical mistake?
Russia-Ukraine War: Indian student Naveen shot dead

No wonder Uttar Pradesh is said to be the “Road to Prime Minister’s Chair” as the most populous state of India has 80 Loksabha Seats 403 Assembly Seat and winning or losing this giant has a lot more meaning than any other state in India. 

As UP Assembly Elections 2022 are in culminating on 7th of March and so far the news for BJP has not been good, rather there is an apparent edge to Samajwadi Party in the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav.

2 ladies are also grabbing their bite as Congress in the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Bahujan Samaj Party led by Mayawati are also seem to perform better than hoped. At least, they are no good news for BJP.

Now if BJP loses UP Assembly Polls, there are going to be cascading effects for BJP, and let’s have a look at them-

1- Question mark on Hindutva Politics

Let’s go to the memory lane when after winning the 2017 Assembly Elections with a thumping majority, BJP tried to make Manoj Sinha (now the Lt. Governor of Jammu & Kashmir UT) but it is said that Yogi Adityanath put his foot down and snatched the CM Chair from Sinha. 

There was no problem for BJP Leadership as Yogi Adityanath suited them to pursue their Hindutva agenda as a saffron-wearing seer Yogi Adityanath carried an image of hardcore rightwing politics and a descendent of Mahant Avaidyanath, who was one of the most instrumental leaders in Ayodhya Ram Mandir Movement.

For the last 5 years, time and again Yogi Adityanath proved his utility and remained the biggest mascot of Hindutwa. He used to go to other State Assembly Elections and as usual, he delivered speeches he is known for. Amusingly, he was sent to Kerala Elections where there is no such politics is praised. However, BJP’s narrative proved to be disastrous for them.

So, if BJP loses UP Polls 2022, there will be a big question mark on Yogi’s style of politics which is limited to 80% vs 20%, Thoko (Encounter) Policing and demolishing houses by Bulldozers as he never focussed on real issues like employment, stray cattle, and infrastructure. Taking inspirations from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he also organized large-scale events like Investor Summit and Defence Expo which yielded nothing, and taxpayers’ money was wasted like anything.

Also read:
UP Elections 2022: 11 Reasons why Akhilesh Yadav is ahead of BJP | Watch Video
UP Assembly Elections 2022: Where is it going after 2 Phases of polling?

2- Tough days ahead for Narendra Modi

Elections are fought on perceptions and there is a general perception across the country that if Yogi Adityanath is going in 2022, Narendra Modi is also not coming back to power in 2024. This is going to be the biggest challenge for BJP to save itself from this perception. 

Narendra Modi, who once used to have remedies for every illness, never lived up to the people’s exceptions. Now, he doesn’t talk about some of his most shouted issues like Black Money, Corruption, China, etc. He could not make a single start which is his own brainchild or implemented successfully and the public at large are benefitted. 

He just remained the old schemes of the UPA Government (some with the malign intension) and one thing which he did from his own idea was Demonetisation which proved to be disastrous for the people of India. The economy almost collapsed and businesses like real estate are yet to recover from this ‘masterstroke’ of Narendra Modi.

Implementing GST with 4 slabs in one stroke was another classic example of Narendra Modi’s bad governance and there are numerous such actions of him, some known to common people, some not. 

As of today, people don’t seem to be angry with Narendra Modi but they are sitting on the verge of getting angry. People have lost their jobs due to mishandling of Indian Economy, people have lost lives, their kins due to Covid Mismanagement so there are enough reasons when people can start thinking that enough is enough, let’s stop talking about Ram Mandir & Pakistan and start talking about jobs!

So, UP Assembly Polls are going to be the most crucial juncture for Narendra Modi as if BJP loses 2022 UP Elections, this can wake people up and start asking for jobs.

3- Presidential and & Vice-Presidential Elections

Another challenge that is BJP is going to face is the Presidential and & Vice-Presidential Elections which are due in July and August 2022, respectively. Looking at the current numbers of MPs, MLAs, and MLCs in states, BJP will be struggling to win these elections if they lose UP Elections 2022. The UP loss will certainly affect the fence-sitting parties who had supported NDA in Presidential and & Vice-Presidential Elections last time but if BJP loses UP Elections and the mood of the nation changes against BJP, it will be hard to anoint a President and Vice President of BJP’s choice.

As data suggests, if BJP comes below 150 in UP, the President will be elected from the opposition side and this will be a big blow to BJP. To understand the arithmetic of Presidential Elections, Watch this episode of What Does This Data Say-

It is the 7th Day since Russia invaded Ukraine but the way Ukraine fought against Russia in the first week of the war was contrary to the expectations of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the situation is different from what Russian military officials had predicted.

However, this is just the beginning of the war, which can turn into a fierce battle. Putin will hope that Russia will capture Kyiv within a few days of the attack. They will be confident that Western countries will be divided out of fear and will accept their claim over Ukraine, which they consider to be part of Russia.

Russia’s economy has also been badly affected by this war. There are also concerns in Putin’s big ally China that increased anger in Western countries could also go against China, causing serious damage to the Chinese economy. He has distanced himself from this attack.

At the same time, NATO can be stronger and both Finland and Sweden can join NATO for their own security. Putin waged this war so that Ukraine does not become a part of NATO. But, on the contrary, it may happen that NATO may get more member countries.

All these things can create problems for Vladimir Putin. All this is the result of Putin’s miscalculations. They trust very few advisors who just say yes to their yes. Now he will have to look at other options too.

Use of Lethal Weapons

Ukraine’s ambassador to the US claimed that the Russian military had already used thermobaric weapons. This weapon is also called a ‘vacuum bomb’, which absorbs the oxygen present in the atmosphere and makes a big explosion with a lot of energy.

Although ambassadors make tall claims at such times, videos of Russia’s thermobaric rocket launchers moving towards Ukraine have been seen.

There are also pictures that cluster bombs that have been used against civilians in Kharkiv. When these bombs explode, they take out small sharp pieces and injure the people around them.

They were banned in 2008 at an international convention but Russia did not sign it. He claimed that he would use cluster bombs in accordance with international humanitarian rules. But, the people of Kharkiv would have a different experience.

Vladimir Putin never hesitated to use dangerous weapons. He is believed to have approved the use of radioactive polonium to assassinate former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

It is also feared that he had given the Russian military intelligence agency permission to kill another former spy, Sergei Skripal, in 2018 in Salisbury, Britain, with the toxic nerve agent Novichok. A woman also died due to this nerve agent.

It does not appear that the danger to ordinary citizens bothers Putin. These killings were planned and the large-scale attacks in Ukraine are different. But, one thing is common that the lives of ordinary citizens do not matter before the larger interest of Russia.

Watch Third Eye with Anand Vardhan Singh

Nuclear Attack Threat

Is Putin ready to use nuclear weapons to conquer Ukraine? There may be such a possibility, but many experts say that the situation has not reached here yet.

It is true that Putin has clearly said that if anyone tries to interfere in Ukraine from outside, he will have to face more dire consequences than his history.

He has often said that if Russia is not included in the world, then why should the world continue to exist? But, history can repeat itself. When Stalin invaded Finland in 1939, he expected to lay down his arms within days. But, Finland retaliated strongly and the Russian army suffered heavy losses.

It was almost a year before the end of the Cold War. Finland lost its territory but remained an independent country. It is likely that the war in Ukraine will end in the same way.

It’s just the beginning. Ukraine has been standing still for six days, but that doesn’t mean it can hold Russia any longer.

But it is true that the first round of the war has not been one-sided. The response of Western countries has been stronger than people’s expectations, especially Putin’s.

Also read:
Russia-Ukraine War: Indian student Naveen shot dead

The direct impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine is also visible in India. An Indian student has died in the war that broke out in Ukraine. The deceased student has been identified as Naveen, who hails from Karnataka.

So far it has not been confirmed from whose side Naveen was killed in the attack. On behalf of the Indian students, a request has been made to the embassy for help. The death of the student has also been confirmed by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. Arindam tweeted, “We confirm with great sadness that an Indian student has lost his life in a shootout in Kharkiv this morning. The ministry is in touch with the family of the deceased student.

The ministry said that we express our condolences and sympathies to the family regarding this tragic incident. Not only this, he said that the foreign secretary has issued summons to the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine. Demands have been made from both countries to make arrangements for the safe evacuation of Indian students. Some Indian students are still trapped in Kharkiv and other cities and efforts have been stepped up by the government to rescue them. Today the Air Force has also been ordered to join Operation Ganga on behalf of PM Narendra Modi. Indian Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster aircraft will be engaged in the work of evacuation of Indians stranded in Ukraine.

20,000 Indians live in Ukraine, half still waiting to return

There are around 20,000 Indians living in Ukraine. Most of these people are students, who were living in Ukraine to study medical and other courses. Since the war in Ukraine and Russia, about 10,000 Indians have returned home so far. Of these, 8,000 people have returned on their own, while 1,500 have been brought back through the efforts of the Government of India. Meanwhile, a warning has once again been issued by the Ministry of External Affairs to the Indians living in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a warning has once again been issued by the Ministry of External Affairs to the Indians living in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The Embassy in Ukraine has issued an advisory to Indians to leave Kyiv immediately and exit by any means possible.

 

As the Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh are undergoing and 2 Phases of polling have been completed, the third phase of polling is due on 20th February 2022. Looking at the current scenario, Akhilesh Yadav, National President of the Samajwadi Party seems to be ahead of BJP. Reportedly, when the elections began, BJP hoped to get a pace from Jat land of Western UP but things didn’t go as per the BJP exceptions. Let’s understand in 11 points, why Akhilesh Yadav is ahead of the BJP.

1- Anti-incumbency of Double Engine: Although BJP claims double engine as their strength of development on the ground but proving to be the weakest point for BJP as the public is annoyed by inflation & unemployment. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has nothing to tell about his achievement except polarisation in the name of Hindus & Muslims and ramming bulldozers on criminals while PM Narendra Modi doesn’t give any clear roadmap of development. He has failed on many occasions to deliver his promises.

2- Covid Mismanagement: Yogi Adityanath’s biggest failure was the Corona Mismanagement and the public has not forgotten the havoc they faced in the second wave of Covid Pandemic in 2021. People are running here and there for oxygen cylinders and the government’s health infrastructure had completely collapsed. People still remember those scary days which BJP wants people to forget as soon as possible.

3- Farmers Agitation: Farmers’ Movement against 3 Central Farm Laws is another reason which makes BJP lose UP Assembly Polls. Sanyukt Kisan Morcha is also involved in campaigning against Narendra Modi Government as it has not fulfilled its promise made to farmers in order to end the farmer’s movement on the border of Delhi. 

4- Jayant Chaudhary Factor: Akhilesh Yadav’s alliance with Jayant Chaudhary is also proving to be helpful to him as Jayant brings the goodwill of Chaudhary Charan Singh with him. His father Chaudhary Ajit Singh who passed away a few months back has played a very crucial role in order to support Rakesh Tikait.

5- Elections Manifesto: BJP has released a vague manifesto with nothing specific commitments while Samajwadi Party has given a detailed Election Manifesto with certain and quantifiable commitments. 300 Units of free electricity and restoration of the old pension scheme may prove to be the trump card for him.

6- Akhilesh’s restraint: Though BJP has been providing Akhilesh Yadav by several name callings like Abbajaan, Tamachawaadi, or Namazwaadi, so far Akhilesh Yadav has shown tremendous restraint and not reacting any of these frivolous provocations. 

7- Azam Khan: One of the senior-most leaders of the Samajwadi Party, Mohd. Azam Khan is in jail for the last 2 years and there are about 87 cases lodged against him. However, he has been given bail in 87 cases but the Yogi Adityanath Government is anyhow stalling his bail in the last 3 cases. These actions of the BJP are whipping lots of sympathies in favor of Akhilesh Yadav, especially in the regions where the Muslims are in pretty good numbers.

8- Tickets Distribution: Ticket distribution to candidates is another reason where Akhilesh Yadav has gained lots of strength. Where BJP has faced feud due to tickets distribution and its rebels are leaving the party, Akhilesh Yadav has managed this crucial factor very well. He is meeting all the aspirants and making them understand the importance of remaining united. His pacifying skills are making him a leader of tomorrow.

9- Pre-Poll Alliances: This is the biggest advantage Akhilesh Yadav gained over BJP and he was able to stitch with small parties, especially the OBC parties like SBSP, Mahaan Dal, and Apna Dal (K), He did not go for the alliance with larger parties like Congress in 2017 and he was able to bring OBC Leader Swami Prasad Maurya on his side.

10- Attack on BJP Policies: Akhilesh Yadav is clear about his political enemy in UP so he is taking head-on with it. He is systemically attacking BJP’s policies while BJP is busy with its negative campaigning.

11- Akhilesh Yadav’s good work in the last term: Akhilesh Yadav has done some really good jobs during his last term as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2012 to 2017 and he is asking people to vote for him on those developments. Lucknow-Agra Expressway, Metro in Lucknow, Laptop Distribution, Dial 100, 1090 Women Power Line, 102 Ambulance Service are a few of the good works done by Akhilesh Yadav.

Watch Video:

Read More:
http://UP Assembly Elections 2022: Where is it going after 2 Phases of polling?

The ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 are in the interesting condition where the ruling BJP is claiming to return to power on his good work, however, the ground situation is different from their claims. Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party seems to be leading in the first 2 Phases of polling in western UP. BJP claims that they will make a come back in the later phase of elections but issues of the general public are far more serious than BJP’s claims. Anand Vardhan Singh counts a few deeds of BJP while in power and people should or shouldn’t vote for BJP.

Senior journalist Prof. Abhay Dubey, former Professor at CSDS, New Delhi, and now with Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University about the ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 in which they discuss the scenario after 1st Phase of Polling in UP Polls 2022. In the 2017 Assembly Elections BJP has swept this region where it got 53 Assembly Seats out of 58 Seats. But this time the wave is Anti-BJP and the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal SP-RLD alliance have an advantage. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is facing anti-incumbency and this is mainly because of farmers’ protests against 3 Central Agri Farm Laws which were brought by Narendra Modi Government. It is apparent that BJP’s tactics to polarise in the name of Hindu-Muslim is not working and Jat and Muslim voters are coming along to defeat BJP. BSP has also got a stronghold in this region which may also become a reason to substantial dent of BJP.

Hijab Controversy in Karnataka where female students were stopped entering college with Hijab on. 2 Days a Muslim girl wearing Hijab entered her college and several Hindu demonstrators heckled her chanting Jai Shri Ram while the girl replied to them by shouting Allah Hu Akbar. As the controversy arose, the matter has been taken to the High Court of Karnataka where a larger bench of Judges is hearing the matter. Anand Vardhan Singh explains the whole matter and he also talks about the bail granted to the son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra alias Teni, Ashish Mishra alias Monu in the Lakhimpur Case where he allegedly moved over his Thar on the innocent farmers who were returning from a peaceful protest. He also talks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interview with ANI in which he gave an election-like speech despite the model code of conduct in force.

the BJP Manifesto, popularly called Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra for UP Assembly Elections 2022 in which it has made some vague promises. BJP has made promises like 200 Buses, doubling the State GDP of UP, creation of job opportunities, free bus rides for women above 60 years of age, etc. Few promises are made on communal lines like Live Jihad or free LPG Cylinders on Holi and Diwali which shows that BJP has released a manifesto on communal lines.

While Akhilesh Yadav has released Samajwadi Party’s manifesto which is more concrete and quantifiable. SP has promised free electricity up to 300 units and Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme just like MNREGA. While Akhilesh Yadav’s announcement of bringing back the old pension scheme might prove to be a trump card in UP Assembly Polls 2022 and BJP Manifesto seems to be a sheer communal Jumla.

Amid the Ukraine-Russia crisis, the Russian President statesman has same Russia has partly withdrawn its troops from land borders however in step with USA President Joe Biden, their square measure still one,00,000 to 1,50,000 soldier prepared for the attack on Kyiv, the capital of the land. However, a national leader has claimed that they’re able to speak with the USA and international organizations. Meanwhile, a series of cyberattacks weekday knocked the websites of the Ukrainian army, the defense ministry, and major banks offline. a minimum of ten Ukrainian websites were unreached thanks to the attacks, together with the defense, foreign, and culture ministries and Ukraine’s 2 largest state banks. One European diplomat told Reuters that cyberattacks were a long part of Russian strategy, and had been employed by Moscow in past military confrontations with Georgia and land. “It’s a part of their playbook,” the official same. Russian President statesman is same that Moscow is prepared for talks with the North American country and international organization on limits for missile deployments and military transparency. Speaking once talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, national leader same the North American country and international organization rejected Moscow’s demand to stay land and alternative ex-Soviet nations out of the international organization, halt weapons deployments close to Russian borders and roll back alliance forces from Japanese Europe.

The wicked witch of Wall Street waved her ursine broomstick over the global financial market in mid-November and all hell broke loose on the US equity indices. The Nasdaq was slammed by 18% at its recent 13,350 low and has broken its 200-day moving average and dozens of its high multiple components are down 30, 40, and even 50% from their highs.

The S&P 500 index has lost 8% since its early January high and small caps, recent IPOs, and cryptocurrencies have been crushed in the risk of tsunami, thanks to Putin’s Ukraine Anschluss and a dismal 7.5% Jan annualized CPI. Angst in the stock market has swung from greed to fear now that the Volatility index has spiked to 29 and Brent crude traded at 95 this morning in Singapore.

Sergei Lavrov’s comments do not convince me that a diplomatic rapprochement to the Ukraine crisis is imminent. In fact, a lifetime of reading Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pasternak, and Gogol has only convinced me that the arc of Russian history does not tilt towards justice, that the demons of war invariably strangles the angels of peace.

Yet it is undeniable that the stock market now offers an incredibly bullish risk/reward calculus in selected companies, sectors, and industries with both growth and pricing power. Even the S&P 500 index now trades at a 19.4X multiple and is no longer hostage to the narrow breadth of its FAANG+MSFT mega-cap generals, unlike last summer.

The seven-year high in crude oil prices is nirvana for both the Seven Sisters and the Permian Basin shale oil drillers like Devon, Oxy, and EOG. The geopolitics and mining economics of the green energy/EV revolution also leads me to Dr. Copper and thus Freeport McMoRan. The steeper yield curve amid accelerating loan growth is a compelling argument for US regional banks, especially those that are takeover bait in the Sunbelt states.

The world is desperately short of inflation hedges and geopolitical hedges, which lead me to believe that a commodity supercycle is an embryonic theme despite a stronger US dollar and the Conradian heart of darkness in vast swathes of the emerging markets constellation. Lagging commodities that benefit from Tsar Putin’s antics? Auric and Argentum.

Given the horror show on Wall Street, it is nice to see Brazil up 19% in 2022 on its tracker EWZ, while the Morgan Stanley EM index is in the doghouse. The case for Brazil was anchored by the 7% rise in the real and the Sao Paulo Bovespa’s value-centric sectors. In any case, Brazil’s bear market long preceded the bloodbath on Wall Street and thus created a number of bombed-out value beauties.

It is ironic that Brazil’s stock market only popped 20% after the central bank in Brasilia raised its benchmark Salic rate by 800 basis points in response to an inflation surge in a country whose hyper-inflationary past I personally experienced on a memorable trip to Rio de Janeiro in the 1990s.

So will the endgame of the Fed rate hikes in 2022 be a major bull-run in the US stock market? Time will tell.

Some people are disheartened with the disruption in children’s education due to the menace of Covid and the successive lockdowns. While a number of children are getting used to attending online classes, their counterparts from weaker socio-economic backgrounds continue to struggle either because of unfamiliarity with technology or because of having to share a single device with their siblings and/or parents. More unfortunate ones have been completely pushed out of the system which has resulted in the virtual drop in the rate of enrolment. 

Despite the unforeseen severance in the accepted paradigm of education, the positive trend to have emerged from this chaos, is the cancellation of examinations, sending a wave of relief amongst the students as well as their parents. (The only disappointing lot are the parents, who feel robbed off the glory their kids bring by acing the exams.) It may have been inconceivable before Corona to think of an examination-free education system, but now we are coerced into exploring the possibility of such an option. Just imagine how much unnecessary stress it will save the children, parents, and teachers while freeing up time to pursue personal interests and hobbies.

It is high time that examinations be recognized as the biggest scam in education. And this is not in referral to the mass-copying or buying the certificate in Board examinations at the Class X and XII level, or several other malpractices employed to clear the finals.  In fact, as a civilized society, we should be questioning the very raison-d’être of this unnecessary evil of the prevailing system.  Why do we need examinations? A teacher should be the best judge of a student’s level of understanding. An evaluation, if at all, should be assignment-and-participation based instead of the one based on written/oral tests. As Albert Einstein once said while elaborating on how a student’s overall performance is a far better gauge of her efforts and abilities. “The teachers’ impression of a student derived during the school years, together with the usual numerous papers from assignments, which every student has to complete, are a succinctly complete and better basis on which to judge the student than any carefully executed examination.

 Moreover, if we are truly interested in children succeeding in school then the need of the hour calls for an education rich in content and relevance accomplished through quality instructional time. Unfortunately, as the use of testing becomes the norm to evaluate students, more and more classroom time is being dedicated to helping kids prepare for the examination, which can often result in a narrowing of the curriculum. And, if we are interested in success for ALL children then we need to be aware that the current testing regime does nothing to address social and economic inequalities; it only reinforces them. 

Read also:
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Education System: Beyond the Board Exams
Will the “New Education Policy 2020” bridge the gap between Educated and Literate?

Last but not the least, examination represents a cruel process of elimination. Why should any child be eliminated from her birthright of getting an education? If the purpose of education is learning, then the task of a teacher is to ensure that the students learn, irrespective of the time and effort it might require. The fact remains that an examination system introduces competition, which in turn kills the spirit of learning. It prioritizes individual achievement over collaborative learning, thus defeating the very premise of education with its accent on cooperation over competition. Creating an environment, where every existing member is both a teacher and a student, presents a momentous opportunity to continually learn, not only from each other but also from every situation.  Once such dynamics are evolved, even interaction with everyday people, such as the milk person, gardener, farmer, craftsperson, musician, etc. can transform into a mutually enriching learning experience and help develop skills that go beyond the drab walls of a classroom. 

The damage being done by a culture of education built around examinations can be observed both on the surface as well as at the subliminal level. While on the surface, it automatically divides the children into achievers and non-achievers from a young age, at the subliminal level its effects can be traumatizing, to say the least, resulting in a complete erosion of self-confidence for some, and brutalization of personality for others. 

Since the model of modern education finds its roots in the industrial revolution, it tends to treat an individual as a product, and educational institutions as brands, and together they navigate the existing job market. Interestingly, it is hardly unusual that education itself has become a vast market up for grabs for the affluent. Educational institutions, especially the coaching centers which at times don on the dual responsibility of coaching as well as ‘education,’ have become mechanical factories that are expected to produce a definite quality of the product. Commercialization has led to mechanization which has a harmful effect on human intellect and emotions. 

More from Dr. Sandeep Pandey
Who Will Clean The Deep Root of the Indian Education System?
How students may be selected for IITs without any entrance examination in the time of pandemic and beyond

Again Covid has coerced us to pause and rethink the way we have shaped our concept of education. Do we really have to mass educate? Luckily, with an inadvertent by-product of Covid being social distancing, in a school environment, it has paved the way for fewer students per classroom. This, in turn, should hopefully result in a more empowering teacher/student relationship and put the brakes on the mechanized version of teaching that we see today. This model would very much be in sync with the one pioneered by our ancient gurukuls. Certainly, such a model calls for many more qualified and dedicated teachers. But if this is the model which will save us from the menace of Covid then we should also consider this as the model to save us from the disaster called education.

By Sandeep Pandey, Seema Muniz, and Gopal Krishna Verma

e-mail ids: ashaashram@yahoo.comseemamuniz24@gmail.comkrishnagopal25963@gmail.com

Note: Sandeep Pandey is General Secretary of Socialist Party (India), Seema Muniz is a blogger and an artist who homeschooled her child and Gopal Krishna Verma is a socio-political thinker.