Despite being a hack for more than three decades, I am yet to be invited for any political iftar party. Thereby, no one can accuse me of holding a grouse against any leader for not marking an invite to me. Throughout his 13 years as the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi never hosted one, breaking a tradition that his predecessor Keshubhai Patel followed.
Rarely in a diplomat’s career is one lucky enough to have a posting that is important and interesting, combining the elements of classic diplomacy with the new tools of development diplomacy, new media and social networks. Israel and India established full diplomatic relations just 22 years ago during the time of P.V. Narasimha Rao.
The collective moral might and high-mindedness of the Communist parties of India miserably failed the country in the critical battle of 2014. Their numbers in Parliament dropped drastically and their presence as an ideological force is dwindling day by day.
Here is something for Dinanath Batra to chew on. While he leads the charge against cakes and candles on birthdays, all things Western, including English language education, millions of Chinese college students take the country’s many standardised English tests every year, hoping to embellish their resumes with language certificates.
The conscience of Justice Markandey Katju, dormant for over 10 years, erupted recently, throwing out allegations against everyone around him — mostly in the nature of ipse dixit. His targets — three former Chief Justices of India in the collegium (Justices R.C. Lahoti, Y.K. Sabharwal and K.G. Balakrishnan) that could have but did not select Justice Katju to the Supreme Court in 2004 or earlier.
If you care about India’s children, prepare to shed a tear now. If you care about Gujarat’s children, prepare to cry buckets now. Because Dinanath Batra, ace scholar, perfervid activist, slayer of Donigers, is a revered figure in the schools of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s motherland.
Can you imagine a world without friends? Without friendships? How would you feel if all your friends suddenly sever ties with you leaving you loveless, friendless? Wouldn’t humanity be poorer without the likes of Krishna-Sudama, David-Jonathan, Laila-Majnu? While celebrating UN World Friendship Day on July 30, let’s look at true friends and vow to fortify our friendships.
In Gurez, at the upper edge of northern Kashmir Valley, a serene calm prevails along the Line of Control. The undulating rhythms of the Kishanganga river that rolls through bowl-shaped valleys surrounded by the Himalayas on all four sides put Switzerland to shame.
Besides controlling food inflation, the most challenging task before Narendra Modi is to create jobs for millions of young men and women, some of whom were responsible for his resounding victory in the elections. It is one thing to promise jobs and another to actually create them.
There is no shortage of just causes in the world, filled as it is with rising inequity, conflict and brutality. Yet, some causes seem more equal than others. The current one is the Israeli invasion of Gaza.
The Israeli assault on Gaza is horrific in its ferocity and far exceeds the limits of justifiable and even acceptable retribution.
The Supreme Court has once again opened up the interminable debate on euthanasia by asking for opinion from states and Union territories in a Public Interest Litigation pending before it.
Has Rahul Gandhi understood the magnitude of the catastrophe inflicted by Narendra Modi on the Congress? If so it is difficult to see signs of this in the young prince’s actions.
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was oracular in his prophecy: “When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago”. Sixty-two years after the Sino-India border conflict, the Indian state remains obtusely paranoid about making the Henderson Brooks Report public.
Wellington, New Zealand Rarely, if ever, have I written a self-referential essay. However, I had occasion to visit the Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand. My leisurely stroll through the museum enabled me to peruse the exhibits with some care.
“O gravity thou art so great Thou keeps me grub upon me plate And drops de apples to de ground. ’Cos that’s how Isaac Newton found That mass attracts and the world is round —
Let’s be super generous! Let’s be fair to Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare and give him the benefit of the doubt. He claims he didn’t know the name or religious identity of the man into whose protesting mouth he shoved a chapatti. Does that matter?
It is a measure of Sri Lanka’s return to “normal” democratic politics that conspiracy theories are once again resonating in Colombo.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government faces significant challenges in trying to reinvigorate India’s economy back to the robust growth it enjoyed a few years ago.
A provocative-ly titled article which appeared in a newspaper last month (No second wife, please by Jyoti Punwani), while highlighting the efforts of a Muslim women’s group, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), on finalising the final draft of the new Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, released on June 18, which makes polygamy illegal, quoted the BMMA co-founder as saying, “This is what the poor, uneducated Muslim women living in ghettos wanted… We played the Devil’s Advocate with them, asking them, wasn’t a second wife necessary if the first couldn’t conceive, for example. Their reply was, ‘No. No second wife. No woman should have to share her husband with another woman.’”
On Friday N.N. Vohra, governor of Jammu and Kashmir, delivered a speech in New Delhi that was notable for its lucid analysis of the inextricably interlinked external and internal security problems and a series of sound suggestions about how to meet the grim challenges this country faces.
One of the most fascinating things about the 21st century is what I call the return of the body to the centrality of things. The body has become the site for all the major dramas — philosophical, political and ethical.
Much as I am tempted to see the fuss over Ved Pratap Vaidik’s posturing as a warning against busybodies and meddlers, wholesale condemnation of what is known as Track Two diplomacy might be unfair.
Even a casual user of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter would have come across nasty elements who spew abuse and sometimes, threats. On Facebook, only those who you admit as friends can see what you write; Twitter is more public and seems to attracts the vilest kind of people who get their jollies only by being abusive.
I had only recently written on the question of Indian languages for this column, but I am constrained to write on a related subject again because of the reported reluctance of the UPSC to amend its Ci
Clearly nervous about the possible revelations contained in former foreign minister Natwar Singh’s forthcoming autobiography, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are learnt to have dropped in on him recently for what was ostensibly described as a courtesy call.
I got to a meeting exactly on time the other day, braving stormy weather, heavy traffic and a rather large cow that seemed to think it had been called to a higher purpose in the middle of the street.
The recent July 7 verdict by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) based in The Hague, the Netherlands, has resulted in some media and Indian think tank comments supporting the accord as a “win-win” event for India and Bangladesh, while others have lamented the loss of EEZ (exclusive economic zone) equal to the size of Bengal. Some others have called it a “civilised example of maritime dispute settlement” and asked for similar solutions to the ongoing disputes in the South and East China Seas.
The sixth Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit was significant for a number of reasons. It started the second round as all five members had already hosted one summit each.
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, will not be allowed to enter five clubs in Chennai and the premises of innumerable clubs in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Nor will be the home minister of India, Rajnath Singh.
Monsanto and friends, the biotech industry, its lobbyists and its paid media representation continue to push for monopoly control over the world’s food through its seed supply.
Violence against women has been a pressing concern since the early Eighties.
The monsoon has finally arrived but the heat and dust of elections 2014 is unlikely to settle down anytime soon.
Is Sri Lanka a “society at peace” which has made “a lot of progress when it comes to human rights and the rule of law” since the war against secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels conclu
One of the mysteries of the speech finance minister Arun Jaitley read out while presenting the Budget on July 10 was his refusal to mention the disinvestment target for 2014-15.
The first Budget of the Narendra Modi government, in its core thrust, represents continuity with the United Progressive Alliance-2 government’s Budgets.
The most direct way by which the Union Budget affects the common man is through changes in tax rates — both direct and indirect. While income tax is a direct tax on your income, indirect taxes only hit you at the time of incurring an expense, for example a service tax on your telephone, restaurant bill etc.
So what do finance minister Arun Jaitley and Bollywood have in common? They both love the number “Rs 100 crore”. Bollywood cannot stop talking about films that have done a business of Rs 100 crore or more. And Mr Jaitley, in his maiden Budget speech, uttered “Rs 100 crore” 29 times, while making allocations to various government schemes.
Every Union Budget is an opportunity to right the wrongs, make mid-course corrections and, on occasions, to even change the fate of sectors. While I would not go as far as to say that finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget squanders such an opportunity, I believe it could have definitely done much more.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley is going to read out the Narendra Modi government’s first Budget today. As is routine, industry associations and business leaders have already filed their “Budget expectations” with the media, along with, of course, policy recommendations. The difference this year lies in two things: High hopes, and the daunting volume of expectations.
Instead of stabilising the country, Afghanistan’s presidential election can destabilise it further. While acknowledging electoral fraud, the chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani, has gone ahead and announced the preliminary results of the presidential runoff.
Amdavadis should rejoice, for they will be able to whiz into Mumbai at 300 kmph if and when railway minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda’s dream project of a 540-kilometre-long corridor materialises, of course adopting the Planning Commission’s magic formula of PPP (public- private partnership) which, unfortunately, has not been very successful in past projects of both railways and the road sector.
Almost all the state capitals in the country with the exception of a few like Chandigarh and Gandhinagar are old cities which have evolved into their role for historical reasons.
Both politics and religion have long been known as the last refuge of scoundrels, which is becoming increasingly apparent as toxic waste from the Shia-Sunni conflict in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, aka ISIS, inexorably creeps towards India like a smoking flow of molten lava.
When the Land Acquisition Act was passed by the colonial British government in 1894, it was mainly used to acquire land for the then growing railway network. The sarkar’s prerogative ruled over all lowly matters like peasant rights to compensation and livelihood.
The Budget Session of Parliament, which is upon us, will reveal the mind of the newly elected Modi government on critical policy matters pertaining to the economy — from where the money will come (taxes to be imposed) and the manner in which it will be spent through the various ministries and departments.
To be a quintessential Bengali, one must love food — from the purchase of ingredients to the consumption of the finished item. The ability to rustle up a plateful is an art that the Bengali matron imbibes from infancy and Mamata Banerjee is no exception. Her exoneration of the indefensible is proof of her ingenuity in cooking up a feast.
Whether the Congress Party is introspecting on its disastrous results in the Lok Sabha election is open to question, but party veteran A.K. Antony has caused a flutter by suggesting that the perception of the party being partial to minorities — read Muslims — is harmful to its cause of secularism.
A recent newspaper cartoon in an English daily shows India’s Union health minister Harsh Vardhan teaching sex education to children: sunflowers in each hand touching each other.
The institution of governors in India is a colonial legacy. Today some people maintain that they are redundant and should be dispensed with. This is a debatable issue.
The Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen wrote very absorbing stories which not only kept his child audiences enraptured, but his stories also had some messages for adults. I find one of his stories having particular relevance to what is happening in the world of cosmology.
Very often, historical narratives need to be rewritten. Not only because the perspective changes over time, but also because research throws up fresh insights.
The formidable reputation earned by the Indian military in two great wars and many post-Independence conflicts owes much to the unquestioning obedience and loyalty that the Indian soldier, sailor and airman have traditionally rendered to their officer.
India and China’s relationship remains frozen. A few border incursions here, another stapled visa there. Our border issues are wrapped up in geopolitical rivalry and the Tibet question, with incursions catalysing media hype and suspicion.
India has vital stakes in Iraq. The whole nation is upset with the abduction of our 40 workers. Did such conditions spring overnight? Although the present Indian commercial interests are not as large as it were during the Saddam era, we have 16,000 Indians working in Iraq in various oil and construction projects.
Sir Jadunath Sarkar, the doyen of Indian historians, wrote that it was a unique fact in history that six successive generations of Mughals, from Babar to Aurangzeb, held a continental-size empire toge
When events th-at bear a striking similarity to others unfold in India’s neighbourhood, within days of a new government taking over in Delhi, it becomes clear that not only could several 26/11-like challenges lie ahead, but attempts to derail India’s global power prospects under a can-do Prime Minister like Narendra Modi are now in full play.
Mr Akhilesh Yadav, I looked away as soon as the picture came up on my Facebook feed. But it was too late. In the seconds that it took for me to realise what it was that I was looking at, the image was firmly planted in my head. And now I can’t seem to shake it off: The body of a young girl in a short, bright red kurta, her toes peeking out from her purple salwar, hanging from a tree branch.
The first time I ever had to get back to my car within five minutes of stepping out to cover an event was on April 7 this year. Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav was visiting the riot affected areas of Shamli and was scheduled to address a rally as a part of his political campaign. Teenage boys on tractors, young men on the roof of buses, men in the public ground — a total of at least 40,000 men — had gathered to attend the rally. I was the only woman amongst them.
Is this the first time?” thundered George Fernandes, then defence minister, in Parliament. “Is this the first time that such things have happened?” This was the parliamentary debate on Gujarat in April 2002 and he was referring to the sadistic rapes and murders of women during the frenzy of sectarian violence.
Those who were inconsolably dejected with the massive mandate the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance got in 2014 general elections have been blaming the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system.
It’s not every day that I take the Eurostar, but imagine my astonishment to learn that the day I head to Paris this week is the very day Her Royal Highness, the Queen of England is also embarking for France.
The aggravated sexual assault and brutal murder of two young dalit girls in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday fills us with anger, raging grief and a deep sense of failure. It is so easy to spirit girls away, like the two cousins were; so routine and everyday to torture them in unimaginable ways; and yet so easy to proclaim that India has moved beyond caste.
After losing a bitterly fought election to become “the most powerful man in the world”, John McCain was gracious enough to say to Barack Obama in his concession speech: “I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will now be my President.”
“It’s the economy, stupid.” — James Carville, campaign strategist for Bill Clinton, US Presidential election 1992 India’s general elections 2014 are over, and the vigorous, experienced and sophisticated electoral process has generated a total change in management this time around, placing an entirely new government in office.
During a public discourse, a man walked up to the Buddha and began to berate him, calling him a fake and his teachings worthless. The Buddha ignored the man, who continued to rant and rave. All those present were shocked by the man’s rudeness towards one regarded as an enlightened teacher.
And so, it begins. Even before Narendra Modi has taken over as prime minister, the speculative fears over what he might do have begun to spark off trouble. The first to get spooked into action have been the conflict entrepreneurs in Pakistan, who seem worried that Mr Modi might ruin their businesses. His invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has once again raised the (for them) frightening prospect of peace. That would lead to their shops, which bear names such as Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, shutting down.
The suspense is over. A Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party has swept back to power in New Delhi with the biggest mandate any party has won in three decades.
This is with reference to Mohan Guruswamy’s article China’s chairman is our chairman? (May 19) on interlinking of rivers in India. I plead to differ.
At first glance the 2014 election verdict confirms all the reports of a “Modi wave” that had been coming in over the past few months. There is no ambiguity in the mandate.
The antics of Gujarat 2007 are adorning India 2014. If you care for some entertainment via FM radio, you know telephone calls are being made by “development” to “Indians”, announcing its plan to arrive in the country after 10 years, now that Narendra Modi’s win is inevitable.
An election is not the best of times for fissures within a political party to get exposed — more so, mid-course. It may also be the most inappropriate of times to undertake trials in leadership with an objective to change command.
The Henderson Brooks Report remains in the news, but for the wrong reasons. A number of military historians and strategic analysts, including former Army and Navy Chiefs, have made their views public on the “leaked” report.
Though our political system is based on the Westminster system, there are many features that we have not borrowed from the mother of our Parliament. One of them is the shadow cabinet. Britain and some other countries like Australia have shadow cabinets, which are formed by the parliamentary Opposition.
What mighty contests rise from trivial things” is a line from Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock.
He has only two teeth, scanty blonde hair, can barely crawl, mostly gurgles and refuses to eat vegetables, but as the third in line to the British throne, he has been grabbing headlines ever since he
If there is no “wave” or lehar (which will produce the right parliamentary numbers), there can be no “stability” — that’s what the image-makers for a particular brand are saying to us, in effect.
Diverse, pluralistic, multi-religious India gives us all a unique Indian identity that precedes any narrow sectarian distinction. A country where every sixth citizen is a minority, whose conditions were elucidated in the Sachar Committee Report initiated by United Progressive Alliance-I, the morass has come back to haunt the UPA-II government.
Khushwant Singh would not have had to return his Padma Shri in 1984 to protest Operation Bluestar, the Indian Army’s storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, had he refused to accept the honour in 1974.
What Rahul wants, Rahul gets,” was the headline in one national newspaper. Others were not so direct, but nevertheless played up Rahul Gandhi’s outburst against the ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs.
Relationships are really the bane of our life whether they be with our loved ones and also within our so called professional lives. We’re, throughout our lives, seeking that one very right relationship with a very right person who we think is absolutely right for us.
Now, why am I not surprised? The very actors, directors and power-brokers, who had once dismissed her either as just another pretty face or as an actress who looks good but acts bad, are now eating their words for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Has Narendra Modi softened himself as his campaign continues to progress? This week we had a statement from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate that for him, toilets were the priority over temples.
A charitable interpretation of the acceptance by our leaders of Partition and the bloodbath that it entailed would be that they expected it to have, once and for all, settled communal conflict in Inde
New York Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may not be king again but he certainly can launch a guerrilla action or two.
I’m a 20-year-old college student. I was in love with my classmate. Last month I broke up with her. She cheated on me. And now it is very hard for me to face her all day in class.
Slut as in slattern “Isn’t it strange? Isn’t it rich? That Panini The Grammarian of Sanskrit Is now an Italian sandwich?” From Hai Doonya!
It is easy to be nostalgic about US-India relations. Think of the days when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would gush to President George W.
Gazing into India, on my occasional visits, standing on the Pakistani side of Wagah border, the only land crossing permitted along the border between India and Pakistan, I have inevitably, with moist eyes, remembered my late father.
Kajol, who lived on the upscale Altamount Road, had never seen life in the raw.
John Garver, a leading American expert on Sino-Indian relations, has likened Beijing’s strategy towards India to the Chinese way of cooking a frog. Plonk the frog in a vessel and turn up the heat slowly. If the water was hot to begin with or the temperature were to rise much too quickly, the frog would simply jump out and escape.
Nations on the march, or those in the dumps, have sometimes found great leaders to lift their spirits, offer a guiding vision, fuel ambition and help them leap forward. A down and out China found Deng Xiaoping, a fast-declining Britain got Margaret Thatcher, and a de-spirited America had Ronald Reagan.
In the next 10 days, Gujarat will go to polls, ostensibly to elect a legislative Assembly, but in reality to put a stamp of approval on its chief minister for over a decade, Narendra Modi. The only suspense is whether it does so with absolute conviction, that is, with a clear majority of votes cast, or through a plurality.
Once again, we are furiously debating parental abuse. A court in Norway has convicted an Indian couple for allegedly maltreating their seven-year-old son. This is the second time that Indian parents have fallen foul of Norwegian parenting laws. A furious war of words has broken out about good parenting.