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By Prachi Mishra
In most of the companies today, there’s a hierarchical managerial structure, which places the employees in a subservient position. Then, there are some companies, which follow the socialist agenda, i.e. the government making the decision for the company and deciding what is beneficial for the company.
These two models are the most common in business enterprises to earn profit.
Mondragon’s unique cooperative structure separates it from the rest of the global companies. Instead of giving authority to a selected few, Mondragon’s cooperative structure takes into account the decisions of its employees. It is owned and managed by the people working in the company.
Despite setting up a different structure from the rest, Mondragon Corporation Cooperative has become one of the biggest and the most successful global cooperative corporation today. Its total asset volume amounts to more than nine and half billion Euros.
The idea of Mondragon Cooperative is not about solely earning profit, it is more about the social good. The corporation also provides many non-monetary benefits, like access to education, free health care, and social security, which are much more important for some members than having higher salary.
Genesis of Mondragon Cooperative
The Mondragon Corporation Cooperative began in the early 1950’s in the Pais Vasco, a region in the North of Spain. The idea of its structure was conceived by Father Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta. During that time, Spain was coping with economic difficulties, which Arizmendiarrieta believed could be resolved with community solidarity and action. He started imparting the necessary skills to create a corporation to the youth that would not only help to support themselves, but also the community.
Five of his students, Usatorre, Larrañaga, Gorroñogoitia, Otmaechea and Ortubay followed Arizmendiarrieta’s steps, and created the financial basis for Mondragon. They put their savings together to make a collective investment.
In order to increase the financial support, they went to seek aid from the public of the area. Every day, these five entrepreneurs would go to the bars and cafes, and talked to the villagers about their idea of creating a company that would focus not on only creating employment and profits, but most importantly would focus on the people of Mondragon.
They were successful in persuading the people of Mondragon as they loaned amount of 11 million pesetas, a huge amount for the Spain of 1959, to the five entrepreneurs. After raising the funds, the entrepreneurs opened their first factory called Ulgor, which is now called Fagor Electrodomesticos, which employed 24 worker members, and started manufacturing paraffin stoves and heaters.
Cooperative Structure of Mondragon Corporation
At present, Mondragon comprises of 218 operational bodies, all Cooperatives have the same unique basic structure.
This structure consists of a General Assembly, which consist of all the worker-members of the cooperative. This assembly has the power to nominate and dismiss the members of the second category of the cooperative structure, the Governing Council.
The Governing Council selects the members of the Management Council and make sure that all of the plans and objectives proposed by the General Assembly are correctly followed.
At the next level, there is a Social Counsel whose main function is to inform the members of the cooperative about all the issues and proposals that are going to be discussed during the annual meetings. Lastly, there’s a Management Council and the General Manager, which are business professionals, elected by the Governing Council to perform all the basic functions of the cooperative.
The corporation has also laid down certain principles for the workers, some of which are listed below:
1. Sovereignty of labor: Labor is the main factor for transforming nature, society and human beings themselves. As a result, the systematic recruitment of salaried workers has been abandoned, full sovereignty is attached to labor, the wealth created is distributed in terms of the labor provided and there is a will to extend the job options available to all members of society.
2. Participatory Management: The steady development of self-management and, consequently, of member participation in the area of company management which, in turn, requires the development of adequate mechanisms for participation, transparent information, consultation and negotiation, the application of training plans and internal promotion.
3. Payment Solidarity: Sufficient and fair pay for work as a basic principle of its management, based on the permanent vocation for sufficient collective social promotion in accordance with the real possibilities the co-operative has, and fair on an internal, external and MCC level.
4. Inter- Cooperation: As the specific application of solidarity and as a requirement for business efficiency, the Principle of Inter-cooperation should be evident: between individual co-operatives, between subgroups and between the Mondragón co-operative experience and Basque co-operative organizations, and co-operative movements in Spain, Europe and the rest of the world. (Content courtesy- www.mondragon-corporation.com)
How can one become a member of the cooperative?
The new member is required to pay a specific amount decided by the General assembly. It is around €12,000, which can be paid over a period of thirty months.
Is Mondragon’s cooperative model, the ideal business model?
In the cooperative everyone is treated as an equal and have the same power of their votes. In most of the corporations, where the work- force is treated only as a means of production, in Mondragon corporation power is provided to the work force.
NewsGram asked a few people whether Mondragon cooperative is an ideal model.
Himanshu Lohani, an IIM Bangalore alumnus said, “Yes I think it can be considered as an ideal because when employees have a major role in the decision making of the company, they are more willing to work harder.”
Anukriti Kumar, a management student echoed the same thought. She told NewsGram, “I won’t mind receiving a bit less salary, if my opinion is considered important during the decision making process of the company. I think India should also follow the same suit and try to adopt this model.”
However, Nripen Mishra, an Indian School of Business alumnus had a different point of view. He said, “I won’t consider it ideal as it too comes along with a set of disadvantages. Some shareholders might have more involvement with the project than the rest, however, regardless of their efforts; they still will have only one vote. Also it might get difficult for the cooperatives to attract investors who are primarily interested in earning profit through financial return.”
"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."
Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.
Pseudo feminists state that women deserve more respect and rights, any other gender deserves no respect. They feel that women should be the ones ruling the world and at higher positions. When feminism takes a turn for extremities it becomes pseudo-feminism and people who label themselves as feminists will bash anyone who speaks against even the wrongdoings of a woman. They'll bash women who're wife and sisters for not speaking up and support any women criticizing political leaders even if it's completely irrational. This is where hypocrisy and pseudo-feminism merge with each other.
They take advantage of the rights given to women to protect themselves to threaten other genders. The rights given to women are supposed to make them feel reassured that they can reach out to the judiciary if their rights are being hampered not to threaten to make the victim sound like the culprit.
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Indian Feminist Movement has made significant progress however, even in the modern world women are still unsafe and are discriminated against when it comes to getting a job, land ownership, and access to education. While filling the official papers it is still asked "Wife of /Daughter of:….."
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family. Such injustices make feminism such an important movement, gender equality is worth fighting for to create a safe environment for women. Feminists over the years have been criticized for focusing on the rights of privileged women and not giving equal representation to poorer and lower caste women, which has led to separate caste-specific feminist organizations and movements.
Some notable milestones in the Feminist Movement
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned against Sati Pratha (practice in which a widow sacrificed herself by sitting atop her deceased husband's funeral pyre) and child marriage
- Savitribai Phule started the first school for girls at Bhidewada in Pune city in 1848.
- In 1972, SEWA, the biggest trade union for women was set up by Ela Bhatt for women working in the informal sector.
- The Chipko Movement was launched and led by women in 1973.
- #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse was started in 2006 and revived in the year 2015.
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family.Unsplash
Feminism is often misunderstood as pseudo-feminism and hence, becomes the target for public hatred and is accused of wronging other genders under the façade of feminism. It is misunderstood by Indians as female domination instead of gender equality. Indian society and Indian feminists believe that only men are perpetrators of a heinous crime like rape and they refuse to even recognize the men who say they were raped and it's the toxic masculinity in the society that believes how can a woman rape a man? Reality is different from what we believe, women can be the perpetrator too, women threaten to file a case of domestic violence, or sexual assault against innocent people just to fulfill their ego.
Thankfully feminism and pseudo feminism are two separate concepts and feminism is just about equality and not judgment. Indian society and feminists actually need to understand the difference between the two and stop tarnishing the Feminist Movement as a whole.
Keywords: Feminism, World, India, Pseudo-Feminism, Gender
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.
But the question is, "was India always against homosexuality"? Has the concept of homosexuality being unnatural existed forever? No, in Indian history and Hinduism homosexuality has never been an offense, in fact in several instances it has been depicted how people embraced their identity, be it sexual identity or gender identity. Section 377 was brought to India by the British in 1862, while India was colonized. Even after the Independence, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court ruled it as irrational and illogical.
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Homosexuality in Ancient India
When Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in India, there was an uproar about it being a western ideology and liberalism. But in reality, homosexuality has existed since the time of the Vedas. The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) researched and discovered that it was around 3102 B.C. (during the Vedic Age) that homosexuality or non-normative sexual identity was recognized as "Tritiya Prakriti", or the third nature. Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.
Hinduism is the most vastly followed religion in India. Hinduism does not explicitly mention homosexuality however it does contain a homosexual theme and characters in its text. There have been various instances in our scriptures and texts that have introduced us to LGBT+ characters such as the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati Ardhanariswara meaning "the half-female lord". One of the most popular and ancient texts on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment of life, "Kamasutra" has a complete chapter dedicated to homosexuality and homosexual sex. Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities.
Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities. Facebook
Our Mughals were Queer
Mughals are often seen under the light of cruelty, rigid ethics, nobility, and polygamy. Simultaneously, Mughals are also the ones credited for the emergence of Sufism, abolished jizya tax, love beyond religion, classes, and gender.
In the Baburnama written in memoirs of our very first Mughal ruler Muhammad Babur, several instances documented Babur's infatuation and affection towards a teenage boy named Baburi. We also have multiple Persian couplets as evidence of Babur's affection for Baburi. Mughals engaged in homosexuality and pederasty, and they believed that later was a form of "pure love".
But as time passed homosexuality was suppressed more and more though people practiced it in secret if revealed they were punished. According to the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri Sharia-based text of the Mughal Empire, there is a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
British Raj and Independence of India
In 1862, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual sex came into force. Even after Independence in 1947, the section remained a part of the Indian Constitution. There were protests all over the country to give people of the LGBT+ community basic human rights but it was not until 2018 that The Supreme Court of India ruled the portion of Section 377 has unconstitutional and struck it off. One judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future.". With Section 377 gone are LGBT+ people allowed to fall in love freely? No, people are still afraid to love because of the stigma in our society when it comes to homosexuality; they are seen as lesser humans.
ALSO READ: Significant Support for Rights for LGBTQ+
Although the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexual activities, same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country. Homophobia is still prevalent in India, and homosexual children would rather commit suicide than come out to society with their true identity, that's how harsh of a world we live in. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. In 1977, writer and Indian mathematician Shakuntla Devi published "The World of Homosexuals". It was the first study in the Indian context; the book contains interviews with homosexual men set in the years of Emergency. She wrote, "rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist it is time we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for homosexual people." We've had small victories in our fight against homophobia and getting LGBT+ community the rights they deserve as humans, but we still have a long and exhausting fight ahead of us.