Vinod Raina

Vinod Raine (1950-2013)

Vinod Raina, a physicist by profession, resigned from Delhi University to devote full time to grassroots work. He was one of the pioneers of the People’s Science Movement in India that attempts to empower people to plan and implement their own developmental ideas and needs, so as to reverse the trickle-down paradigm of development. He was founding member of Eklavya, an NGO which has been advocating alternative education for more than two decades, whose curriculum was adopted in the state school educational system. Vinod had helped set up the All-India People’s Science Network (AIPSN) and the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS). He was a member of the apex educational body of the Government of India, the Central Advisory Board for Education (CABE).

Vinod Raina was a Homi Bhabha Fellow, a Fellow of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, and an Honorary Fellow of the Indian Science Writers Association. A member of ARENA (Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives) Executive Board 1994-2000, he was the Chair of the ARENA Council of Fellows for the term 2003-2006. His involvement with ARENA began after the Bhopal Gas Disaster and the anti-Narmada dams campaign. He helped conceptualize the Victims of Development project and co-edited the subsequent volume The Dispossessed. He was also a member of the International Coordination Committee of Jubilee South; a member of the India Organising Committee, and the International Council of the World Social Forum which he had written regularly about.

He served as one of the speakers in the 8th Crossroads in Hong Kong in October 2010, and the First and Second South South Forums on Sustainability in December 2011 and 2012, co-organized by the Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University. He taught CUS512E Selected Topics in Cultural Representation and Interpretation : Technology, Sustainability and Education (2006-2007 and 2010-11) in the Master of Cultural Studies Programme, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University.

Resources of Vinod Raina
About Vinod Raina

In Memory of Vinod Raina
Facebook Memorial Page
Memorial Blog
Special Issue,Cultural Studies @ Lingnan

Message from National and International Organizations and Friends

Message from Dr. Li Siu Leung
Dr Vinod Raina’s passing away came as extremely sad news. We lost a most respectable and admirable intellectual, teacher, activist who fully devoted his knowledge, time, and energy to and for the underprivileged. We were so fortunate and it was our blessing to have Vinod teaching regularly for our Master of Cultural Studies program. We also had precious time with him at many conferences and other occasions in Hong Kong. It is a tremendous loss to us all that Vinod left. At 63, it is way too soon to depart. Dr Vinod Raina’s legacy will live on.

Message from Mr. Ma Kwok Ming
Dr. Vinod Raina passed away on 12 September 2013. It is only fitting that Cultural Studies@Lingnan devotes the present special issue in his memory. Trained as a physicist, Dr. Vinod Raina apparently devoted much of his life work to the question of technology. For those MCS students who attended his lectures on “Technology, Sustainability and Education”, his passion for making society as a whole to come to an adequate understanding of the nature of technology is unequivocal and contagious. The same goes with the twelve articles by Dr. Vinod Raina contained in this special issue. As someone from Bhopal, the site of one of the worst disasters that occurred when the supposedly advanced and safe technology went horribly wrong, Dr. Vinod Raina had been at pain throughout his adult life to expose the myths of technology.

Needless to say, Dr. Vinod Raina came from a culture distinctly different from one that is almost completely dominated by the looming figure of mainland China, which is now routinely hailed as the second largest economy in the world. Here in Hong Kong, there seems to be no escape from mainland China’s looming figure. The last few years saw China successfully launching astronauts after astronauts into outer space. All these astronauts made it a point to pay visits to Hong Kong after their successful missions. They all said flattering words about Hong Kong. But the unsaid message was loud and clear. Technologically, China is fast catching up with the latest technology on offer. The irony, however, is that until the modern period, China had always been the world leader in technological knowhow. The one thing lacking is that throughout China’s long and so-called unbroken history of dynastic rule, there had never been a Dr. Vinod Raina, who tried to make society understand the nature of technology.

As the article, “Feeding World’s Hungry-Food Security or Food Sovereignty”, contained in this special issue, amply shows, while the world produces enough food to feed every mouth on earth, the world’s hungry stands at a staggering 925million. The reason for this seeming contradiction is not at all difficult to understand. In recent years, with the “Rise of China” (known locally as the “Rise of Great Nation”), the rich farm land in Latin America, which used to produce grain, has been converted to produce soy, hailed as the new miracle crop. What is miraculous about soy is simply that it is the main ingredient of cheap cattle feed which in turn feeds the growing demand for meat that accompanies the “Rise of China”. Similarly, the rich farmland in Southeastern Australia happens to sit on rich deposit of coal coveted by giant mining companies which mine raw materials to satisfy the demand of a rising China. Luckily, the local farmers are putting up stiff resistance, at least for now.

As Dr Vinod Raina rightly points out in his article, food security is simply a false issue. The real issue is food sovereignty. Here in Hong Kong, with the “Rise of China” constantly humming around our ears, the least one can do is to remember Dr. Vinod Raina’s distinction between food security and food sovereignty. However, the more pressing question is to keep his spirit alive. Better still is to follow in his footsteps and continue his work of elucidating the nature of technology.

Other Resources

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Monday, December 12th
10:45 AM

Challenge of inclusive growth : global capitalization : institutional cost transferring and the economic of being poor = 包容性增長的挑戰: 全球資本化: 制度成本轉嫁與貧困經濟學

Tiejun WEN (温铁军), Renmin University of China

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Saturday, December 8th
10:30 AM

主权外部性与币缘战略 : 关于发展陷阱的案例研究 = Sovereignty externalities and currency-strategy development trap case studies

Tiejun WEN (温铁军), South University/ Renmin University of China

10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Sunday, October 20th
10:20 AM

Concert in memory of Dr. Vinod Raina

South South Forum Team, Lingnan University

Lingnan University, Hong Kong

10:20 AM