I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.
Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.
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!
The personal is political. And the political is personal too. Only the incurably innocent or doggedly somnambulant would refuse to recognise this.
Here is a question for Prime Ministers-in-waiting, king-makers and youth leaders who talk about a new, resurgent India.
In January 2014, mathematical enthusiasts will be celebrating the ninth centenary of Bhaskaracharya, an Indian scholar and astronomer who is recognised as a mathematical genius of his time.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Washing-ton on September 27 on a day’s working visit before heading to New York for the 68th session of the UN General Assembly. It would be his sixth bilateral summit with a US President, starting with George W. Bush in 2005, and his last address to the UNGA in his current incarnation.
There were no communal riots in India during the medieval period. Also very rare in the 19th century, they became common in the 20th century. In the previous centuries, communal atrocities were committed by rulers or invaders but there were no communal riots as such.
A long-delayed election to the Provincial Council on September 21 in formerly war-devastated Northern Sri Lanka could have been a harbinger of justice. But it may well turn out to be a false promise that further alienates the Tamil minorities.
Why has the Rashtriya Swayamse-vak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party taken, what would seem to many, such a big gamble by projecting Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate?
Ok folks so, out here in the United States, I have to admit that the big news is not that Miss America 2014 is of Indian descent. Had the twitter trolls not been at work, few would have really noticed. So, can one say that there is nothing as helpful as a little controversy?
Now that the dust has settled, and issues heatedly debated, it’s time for reflection and ask the question: in the end, what did it prove? That there was a clash of cultures? That when two determined men collide with diametrically opposing points of view, there can be no common meeting ground?
Come mid-October, and there’s pure oxygen in the air. Read: International film festivals, the only opportunities to catch up on the best of world cinema. That’s been my survival kit actually, over three decades, in cities as diverse as Mumbai and New Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram and Goa. No need to jet to the Cannes, Venice or Berlin fests, it’s all here.
A few days back, India in general and Andhra in particular woke up to the news that a Vijayawada girl Nina Davaluri from AP India won the Miss America pageant... I was very happy for her and also happy for whoever likes her kind of beauty... but if you ask me personally I saw a more beautiful girl than Nina Davaluri in Central Mall in Hyderabad yesterday.
Let’s take a look at the three big challenges that Narendra Modi faces in the time that remains to the 2014 election. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate will be filling in his schedule for the next seven months, and he will need to spend energy and effort on these, his main concerns.
This past week, I spent a day with Jonathan Finnigan, a Singapore-based British filmmaker who is in India to make a documentary on the Kolkata Knight Riders and through it examine this country itself. Finnigan is famous for a series of three films he made on China for National Geographic.
Many moons ago when I was in school, this was the question (“Whose side are you on, anyway?”) that used to get my goat and annoy me the most. Generally, it was asked by the class bully and the rest of us were expected to meekly go along with the popular vote on whichever issue was being debated.
Over a quarter of a century has elapsed since Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayawardene and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi inked the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord in a strife-torn Colombo on July 29, 1987.
“Oh Bachchoo Bachchoo Slave to your desires — So many frying pans So many fires….” From The Regretnama of Bachchoo
The Bharatiya Janata Party is barking up the wrong tree in making an ostentatious effort to woo Muslims. It might offer free skull caps and burqas to augment the minority components of gatherings listening to Narendra Modi’s public speeches.
In diplomacy, timing is everything. Who would have guessed even a few weeks ago that the Syrian government would agree to get rid of its chemical weapons with such alacrity?
Within the media, there is always a fierce debate on what constitutes “news”. More to the point, the discussions invariably centre on the hierarchy of news.
Senior members of the Congress Party jumped at the opportunity this weekend to lecture the Bharatiya Janata Party on dealing with dissent. Out of curiosity, I scrambled through the archived sources and sepia scrapbooks to list instances of exemplary handling of dissent within the Congress Party.
An eye for an eye, a death for a death, and the nation’s soul rests in peace. Or so it seemed as we watched the applause that broke out inside and outside the fast-track court, when judge Yogesh Khanna pronounced the foregone verdict, “Death for all”.
One aspect of the Delhi gangrape that touches a chord in London where several high-profile sexual offence cases are in the news, is the question of naming the people concerned.
As events in Syria are overshadowed by “breaking news” elsewhere, what lessons can and should India learn from Syria? Clock and calendar alike are moving on, re-emphasising the iron fundamentals of international geopolitics — when the chips are down, you’re on your own.
Living traditions that are neither precariously poised on the verge of extinction nor languishing, and not thriving either, are notoriously difficult to fit into the mould of policy and prescriptions. Especially so when every weaver worth his name declares himself to be an “artist” rather than a humble artisan.
The imagery of a sad, old man who has been betrayed by his protégé and is now, in the winter of his life, nursing his wounds forgotten and discarded is a compelling one.
Us President Barack Obama, who had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, moved with some dispatch to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite the continued American military involvement in Afghanistan it is apparent that come 2014, the very substantial presence will dramatically shrink.
With the BJP projecting Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate, the issue of secularism appears to have come into the spotlight. Congress leaders maintain that there would be sharp polarisation, particularly in Uttar Pradesh where there are 80 Lok Sabha seats at the stake, and the party could benefit in the end.
One of the most frustrating stories that one went chasing after in edgy, pre-war Baghdad was the hunt for Saddam Hussein’s elusive stockpile of chemical and biological weapons through February-March of 2003.
The National Food Security Bill, passed by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, marks an important chapter in our struggle to end hunger through appropriate social protection.
The suave and articulate Manish Tewari, minister of state for information and broadcasting, stirred up a hornet’s nest recently by suggesting a common qualifying examination and licensing for journalists.
I am 18 years old and I want to start something new and on my own but my parents are against it. I need financial support. My dad is not very supportive and doesn’t approve of the idea. How shall I convince them or what else can I do? Prateek
We live in a deeply unequal world, where some people have far more of everything — money, status, opportunities, importance, recognition — than others. Their stories are heard more seriously, and more widely. We all know this to be true from our daily lives. For example, if a beggar is raped or murdered, it is not news.
On Thursday, the Rajya Sabha, with the “co-operation”, or, perhaps, connivance of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, passed the Constitution (120th Amendment) Bill which seeks to delete Articles 124(2) and 217(1) and introduce a new Article 124-A.
Satyajit Ray's Mahanagar (The Big City), which released exactly half a century ago, in September 1963, is about a Calcutta housewife who steps out to work for the first time, and the tumult t
The current debate on the Food Security Bill, due to become an act soon, is based on myths on both sides.
The ambush of an Indian Army patrol by a Pakistani Border Action Team (BAT) near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector of Kashmir on August 6 is typical of the “small war” between India and Pakis
The recent attempt by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) with the backing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to undertake a yatra to Ayodhya raises important issues.
The crisis in the Indian economy is deeper than it seems.
A 22-year-old man, along with three of his brothers and mother, stabbed a 40-year-old small-time businessman to death over a four-year long past enmity in the Malwani area of Malad (west) early on Tue
Like other stars, even Salman Khan is doing everything possible to market his films in the best possible way. Perhaps that’s why he’s asked his brother Sohail to change the name of their film from Mental to Azaad. The name was changed after the release date of the film was fixed for Republic Day 2014.
His art unleashes an interesting colour scheme. From the jugglery of monochromatic black and whites to a mixed palette of bright, vivid hues, talented young artist Nandan Purakayastha has ambled in abundance to conceive an assorted array of evocative paintings and drawings.
Hyderabad: Former minister Mopidevi Venkataramana Rao on Monday resigned from the post of Member of Legislative Assembly in protest against the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. According to so
Jaipur: Left-arm medium pacer Aniket Choudhary, who was recently selected in India A team to face the visiting New Zealand A side, has won the Mathura Das Mathur Award established by Jaipur Blues Cri
The Sun has unleashed a powerful storm, sending an enormous cloud of superheated particles rocketing towards Earth at a mind-boggling speed of 3.3 million kilometre per hour.
Indian and Pakistani troops have again exchanged small and medium arms fire at a couple of places along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, including Kargil, killing a Pakistani Army official and injuring another.
The Opposition on Monday vociferously raised in the Rajya Sabha the issue of crucial files related to coal block allocations going missing, alleging it was a conspiracy to save the Prime Minister in the multi-crore coal block allocation scam being probed by the CBI.
Arsenal endured a calamitous start to the Premier League season after conceding two penalties and having Laurent Koscielny dismissed in a 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday.
Chennai: Despite the falling rupee, which makes courses in the USA more expensive, Indian students, especially from Tamil Nadu, continue to see it as their dream destination for higher education. Goi
New Delhi: For the first time in 14 years since the 1999 Kargil war, Pakistani troops violated ceasefire in the higher reaches of Ladakh with its troops opening fire with small and automatic weapons
“The historical people prefer the hope of the future to the blessing of presence”. — Stanley Rosen
Expressing concern over the fire on board the Russian-made submarine Sindhurakshak at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, Shiv Sena’s Bharat Kumar Raut and BJP member Chandan Mitra on Wednesday demanded a statement from defence minister A.K. Antony in the Rajya Sabha.
The Russian shipyard which upgraded INS Sindhurakshak, Wednes-day said it had installed advanced weaponry, both Indian and foreign systems, to enhance the submarine’s “combat capability and safe operation”.
Islamabad/New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday sought to assuage feelings in India by expressing 'sadness' over the recent incidents on the LoC and 'loss of precious human live
S. Sarath Kumar’s bike racing career has received a fillip. The Chennai youngster will represent India in the Asia Dream Cup series with support from Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India and SKSarath6
Mumbai: In what may come as a relief to borrowers, State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday said it is not considering an increase in lending rates even though some private lenders have resorted to that
Indian women’s hockey coach Neil Hawgood has always been straightforward in assessing his wards. “Pathetic”, “just not there”, “learning, but lacking in mental strength...” are some of the terms he had used to describe their performances in the recent past.
Bihar education minister P.K. Sahi, under fire for the death of 23 schoolchildren soon after they ate a contaminated midday meal, on Thursday refused to resign even as calls for his dismissal grew and autopsy reports confirmed the presence of an insecticide in the children’s meals.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that there can be no reservation in appointment for faculty posts in speciality and super speciality courses in medical colleges including the prestigio
Indian batsman Manoj Tiwari who plays for Kolkata Knight Riders has tied the knot with his girl-friend, Susmita Roy in Kolkata in a private ceremony. Tiwari is currently recovering from a knee-injury
Daredevil bull-runners were crushed in a pile-up in Pamplona on Saturday on the seventh day of Spain’s famed San Fermin festival, and at least one man was carried away unconscious.
It is that time of the year, when my ears strain to hear the plaintive and wistful song of the koel and the papiha as they play hide-and-seek amid the mango trees outside my window.
The Enforcement Directorate, probing multi-crore rupees scam by Saradha Group, has suspicion that majority of the money, collected by the chit fund company from its depositors, was laundered across th
Johannesburg: Nelson Mandela's condition is 'very critical' and 'anything is imminent', his daughter Makaziwe Mandela said Thursday. "I can reiterate that Tata (father) is very critical, that any
Pop star Katy Perry has revealed that she finds reading difficult as she did not go to school much. The 28-year-old singer’s education suffered because she was brought up in a strict Christian household who did not believed in public education, reported Contactmusic.
Thiruvananthapuram: The sea eats up the beaches during each monsoon causing immense hardship to coastal folks. And the only solution seems to be the seasonal mending of seawalls. Though the irriga
The self-exiled BCCI president, N. Srinivasan is set to emerge from his break from cricket administration.
Laying of the foundation stone for the Indian National Defence University (INDU) by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 23 has been a seminal step in creating a national-level defence education infra
Over the years, Rituparno Ghosh and I had many discussions about films, their music — we mostly discussed the craft of films.
The visit of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang from May 19-22 had to compete for space with the unfurling Indian Premier League scandal — an admixture of the sublime and the ridiculous.
Travelling and reading travelogues remain a bigger passion for me than writing. And reading travellers like Ibn Battuta is akin to travelling in the time machine.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said in the Legislative Assembly that it has plans of setting up a new metro rail project connecting South Mumbai and Thane.
Following are the edited excerpts from a speech delivered by the Union finance minister at Harvard University on Tuesday:
The Bengaluru and Boston blasts have proved how it is almost impossible for even the best intelligence agencies to detect and prevent terror attacks. In Bengaluru, eight of the 16 injured were police personnel.
As El Nino and La Nina are stable with no activity over the Pacific Ocean, India is expected to have a good monsoon this year.
The humble bullock, a fast dwindling breed of bovine in Bihar getting increasingly replaced by tractors used in agriculture and transport of rural goods, has now been bestowed with the exalted status
The cyber crime police of Mumbai crime branch arrested a man for allegedly transferring `5 lakh using an online banking login ID of a Worli-based private company and recovered `1.99 lakh from him.
Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf has admitted his regime had secretly signed a deal with the United States government on drone strikes. This is the first time that any present or past ruler has accepted the secret deal, which has always been officially denied.
An international rights group says the Syrian regime has been carrying out indiscriminate and sometimes deliberate airstrikes against civilians that have killed at least 4,300 people since last summer.
“When a virus (HIV) and a bacteria (TB) can work so well together, why can’t we?” — Michel Sidibe
Habemus papam: Franciscum.” These early-morning words on Thursday hit me like a torpedo. It took me time to realise that the new Pope — Jorge Mario Bergoglio — was assuming an unused papal name, Francis, mine!
Director Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che, based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel, The 3 Mistakes of My Life, has had the box office ticking and social scientists blogging. There have been angry opinion pieces on whether the film does justice to the Gujarat riots, whether its writer has toned down the riot depiction to placate a Prime Minister-prospect, whether it depicts the “Indian Muslim community” accurately and more.
Two of the major themes in the season of Lent, which the Christians are piously observing these days as preparation for the Holy Week leading up to Easter, are renunciation and prayer. Like the other world religions, Christianity has a strong tradition of renunciation by men and women who renounce worldly attachments to spend the rest of their lives praying in monasteries.
Chuck Hagel — the successor to Leon Panetta as America’s secretary of defence — has caused a bit of a furore in India with his two-year-old remarks. For the record, Mr Hagel had, in 2011, said: “India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan.” The media in India and sections of the political class have called these remarks “anti-India”. This is a classic case of a storm in a teacup.
With the Union Budget around the corner, organisations across sectors are looking forward to renewed measures to support and grow the business ecosystem.
The recent military crackdown on the Kachin Independence Army in Burma (KIA) is again drawing attention to the need for more focused political reforms in Burma. Since the end of the ceasefire in June 2011, approximately 700 Kachin fighters have been killed (government sources claim the figure to be 300).
The ambivalence and hypocrisy of many Indians’ attitude towards the US can’t be summed up more tellingly than the way Jairam Ramesh, currently minister for rural development, once did while speaking a
More than three weeks after the December 16 gangrape in Delhi, the nation continues to be outraged over incidents of sexual assault against women. Even those who have never heard anything about either feminism or gender justice are aghast by the utter insensitivity betrayed by some individuals.
The good cop-bad cop routine is a common practice that investigative and interrogating agencies adopt to break a suspect. This technique is often used by others — politicians and diplomats — to convey a message and deny it subsequently. Pakistan has perfected this to a fine art.
He can be located at his apartment in an upscale Mumbai suburb, still itching to make yet another film, in half a shoestring budget. And quietly, he often takes off to Kolkata to confect a Bengali film, which requires neither outlandish finance nor brain-curdling plots.
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things and producing amazing results are known as winners.
Recently, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj ranted on television that the name Radha had been used out of religious context in the new Karan Johar film Student of the Year, and that she and her party would take legal action against the director.
Though son Uddhav and nephew Raj will try to continue Balasaheb’s legacy by way of promoting his two pet issues — son of the soil and militant Hindutva — they will be operating in a different Maharashtra; a Maharashtra that has lost the enigmatic and powerful Bal Thackeray.
“Jack Sprat could eat no fat his wife could eat no lean. And so between them both, you see, they licked the platter clean.”
Ajmal Amir Kasab, the butcher of Mumbai, is finally dead. His hanging has brought a measure of closure for families of victims of the attack on 26/11/2008 in which 166 people were killed.
The arrest of two women in Mumbai for posting their views on their Facebook profiles regarding Bal Thackeray’s funeral has drawn attention to the draconian provisions of Section 66A of the Information
Poignancy over the death of Balasaheb Thackeray is now slowly fading and hard reality has begun to dawn on the political class in Maharashtra.
We live in a complicated world. That’s what makes it all the more interesting to discuss, as the participants of the Asian Forum on Global Governance, which concluded this week in New Delhi, discovered during nine days of deliberation and debate in the Indian capital.
On October 15, 2012, the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a landmark agreement that marks a watershed in the move towards establishing peace in the troubled regions of Southern Philippines.
Despite the US justice system somehow finding a way to arrest the fraudster behind the horrific hate-video Innocence of Muslims there seems to be something sinister about the regularity with which hat
Bangladesh, born of a brutal and tragic civil war in 1971, is finally trying to come to terms with its violent past. The Awami League government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed has put into motion a judicial process to identify and punish the prominent individuals who had collaborated with the Pakistan Army in 1971 to torture and eliminate pro-independence supporters.
The state of morale in the armed forces in general, and the Army in particular, should be a cause for worry because of the latter’s rapidly declining combat capability. Moreover, an Army with low morale, insufficient manpower and lacking in the required combat equipment is a recipe for national disaster at the hands of foreign invaders.
One of my favourite Hollywood comedies is Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie made in 1976. As its name suggests, the film had no dialogue and the only audible word in the movie is spoken by Marcel Marceau, a famous mime artist, when he utters the word “No!”
The protests in Koodankulam have brought the entire debate over nuclear energy into sharp focus. The nuclear energy debate spans questions of safety, environment, ethics, energy-economics, development perspectives and undoubtedly it includes the question of social justice as well — after all the issue of who faces the risks and who benefits from the fruits becomes a contentious one in a country like ours.
India’s external affairs minister S.M. Krishna, who is in Pakistan on a three-day visit, will meet his Pakistani counterpart in Islamabad on September 8. Their meeting will review the progress of the post-Mumbai resumed composite dialogue, which covers all the main bilateral areas of interaction and chart the way forward.
I have been impelled to write this short article after closely following the reportage in your and other newspapers of the evolving military situation in Syria, citing dispatches by the British news agency, Reuters. As I went through my clippings of such Reuters reports over the last one month, I could not but be hit by a distinct and consistent negative orientation of the reports towards the Army and the government of President Bashar al-Assad, not reflected in the reports of, say, the AFP.
The recent news about the alleged torture and killing of a resident in a Mental Health Centre in Peroorkada, Thiruvananthpuram, has yet again shocked the nation. From time immemorial, mental hospitals seem to be places that perpetuate atrocities and violate human rights instead of heal minds. In the 14th century, the first mental hospital, Bedlam, was set up in London in the absence of any scientific method of caring. What began as a refuge or asylum ended up being associated more with cruelty and ill-treatment of the mentally ill — a tradition one finds hard to break away from even today.
We the people of India, that is Bharat, have paid a heavy price in the last few days to realise the power of whispered words — or, as they are often referred to, rumours. Wild forest fires cannot match their pace or the scorching they leave behind as they spread far and wide.
There have been two, by and large, peaceful summers in Kashmir. However, during the current season there have been some targeted killings about which the police have no clue.
On August 15, 1947, Indians secured for themselves much more than the mere right of electing a government of their choice. We earned for ourselves the sovereign right to shape our political destiny and broke free from the shackles of subjugation that accompanies the status of being a dominion or a colony. Independence, in that sense, for the very first time marked a formal unleashing of the latent, creative energies of a nation long suppressed.
Though we are citizens of a free nation, there is a different kind of bondage experienced by most of us because of suffering born of various worldly ills. Spiritual masters have often linked such suffering to the ignorance of their disciples and suggested the path of experience-based knowledge as the best possible remedy to deal with these dilemmas.
Almost all significant events of the last one and a half year in South Asia have put a laser-like focus on Pakistan’s “politics of deception and disinformation” and its accompanying military strategy of nurturing and deploying Jihad-oriented terrorist outfits to attain its goals with regard to Kashmir/India and Afghanistan.
With Team Anna’s U-turn from their “anshan” approach to weeding out corruption, a new epoch is visible in Indian politics, and the electoral battle for the 16th Lok Sabha is bound to be an interesting event. Like the UPA-1, the Anna Hazare movement also started with a big bang, thanks to media activism, eventually to take a steady dive into oblivion as the movement’s second phase failed to elicit both media enthusiasm and public warmth.
In our networked world, there are fashions that grip a majority of people of a certain class and background everywhere around the world at certain times. It could be an item of clothing, or a gadget, or even a worldview such as “Left liberalism”, which is the prevailing intellectual fashion among cultural elites.
Every country has its historical moments, moments when it rises to demonstrate its true character and mettle. July 26, 1999, was one such day when, faced with a sudden and unprovoked attack against the backdrop of peace talks, Indians from all walks of life united in their support for the brave men and women of our armed forces as they fought to first beat off the intruders, and then to win a proud victory.
A lot is happening in the Pinki Pramanik case.
It is with a deep sense of malaise that I respond to Gen. S.K. Sinha’s article (J&K: New Compact goes nowhere, June 20) on the report of the group of interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir. The general was generous with his time when he shared his insights with us about the complexities of the issues confronting the state.
Another round of defence secretary level talks on Siachen concluded on June 12. This time the talks were held against the backdrop of over 130 casualties suffered in April this year by Pakistani troops in a major avalanche on the Pakistani side of the Saltoro Ridge that divides the two armies.
The talks between the defence secretaries of India and Pakistan were held on June 11-12 in Islamabad sans the usual hoopla.
For the poor, opportunities matter the most, because one good opportunity can change the course of their lives.
Approval of the New Telecom Policy (NTP) by the Cabinet on May 31 gave the Indian telecom sector something to cheer about as it has been embroiled in a number of controversies recently.
There are many instances, from ancient history to recent events, where a certain kind of individual, when angered by someone’s behavior, will invoke the wrath of God to descend on his/her enemy’s head
Help! I’m going through a mid-life crisis, is the title of a new self-help book that has just hit the stores. The book was written by Dr Anand Balakrishnan and Prof. Cajetan D’Souza.
What do you do if you’re the high-caste leader of a democratic party faced with a vote that will end your caste’s supremacy? You avoid voting at all costs.
Recently a journalist friend phoned me and said, “I have been to this ashram and that ashram, read spiritual books but I didn’t find any peace anywhere. Can I come and do some Osho meditation?”
Democracy without accountability is a contradiction in values. Every profession or instrumentality of state is answerable to the people, not arbitrarily but on just and reasonable grounds.
In the space of two days, two lectures have informed the aam aadmi all that the entire Opposition and the media have tried to say about the state of the nation.
The results are in and you can’t argue with mathematics. In political terms, the IPL is doing worse than the UPA.
It is hard to say when it is that the military stopped being the paragon of propriety in a social milieu increasingly bereft of basic values that people once saw reflected in the men in olive green (or in Air Force blue and Navy white), such as honour and honesty. There are still many officers of the old school for whom military is a career, yes, but also an orderly world of do’s and don’ts and simple pleasures and simpler certainties. There have been service chiefs who after demitting office rode bicycles because that’s all they could afford (Adm. R.L. Periera), or repaired without fuss to living in small, cramped apartments because anything grander their pensions wouldn’t allow (Adm. Vishnu Bhagwat). But the officer cohorts that produced a Periera or a Bhagwat also threw up service chiefs — no names, please, they have law on their side! — verily Kubla Khans who have built pleasure domes, allegedly on a service chief’s salary and pension.
What does it take to go from good to great? Corporate leaders pay good money to find out the secret. Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee would not have added much to the fiscal deficit if he had hired someone to help him turn a good Budget speech into a great one. Little wonder then that so many analysts have given him an “average” to “bad” score despite what he must regard as a heroic attempt at boosting growth while reducing the deficit. A decade from now if someone were to ask what Mr Mukherjee said this Friday presenting his seventh Budget speech in Parliament, few would remember.
Budget 2012-13 reflects the pragmatism of the man who presented it. You will need to appreciate the tough macroeconomic background and political instability in which this Budget has been presented. No one expected big bang reforms given the political constraints. The finance minister has done well given the cards that have been dealt to him. The arithmetic behind the Budget looks more credible than last year. There is focus in controlling revenue deficit.
Union Budget 2012-13 has a number of measures for supporting investments in infrastructure and resolving some of the constraints. The Prime Minister had earlier talked about $1 trillion investment during the Plan. Effective policy interventions have been outlined by the finance minister in his Budget speech. An important initiative to promote investment in the sector in the past has been tax-free infrastructure bonds. During past year this limit was set at `30,000 crore; it has now been increased to `60,000 crore. This covers road, rail, power plants, housing and other infrastructure areas.
A man with only 10 flowers is given a challenge to decorate his room in the best possible way. He juggles with his kitty, toys with new permutations, and finally settles down with one. I felt finance minister Pranab Mukherjee was akin to that man, who, while reading out the Union Budget on Friday for the financial year 2012-13, was trying hard to sound good — by resorting to statistical jugglery.
Over the years, especially with the arrival of 24-hour TV news channels and the desperate hunger for bytes, the run-up to the Union Budget as well as the Budget itself has acquired all the trappings of a mega event. With some budgets, at the end of the day, one has often wondered if the event was “full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing” as the old Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon might have put it. But there are also budgets that do not even evoke a sound, let alone fury.
The Indian police, whose structural framework was defined in 1861, has completed 150 years of its existence. Normally, this would have called for some kind of celebration. But there is hardly any talk of observing the anniversary. Reason is not far to seek. These have been years of serfdom for the police. The British raised a police which would be “politically useful” to the imperial masters. It would enable them to keep the empire intact. The police would carry out their orders, right or wrong, lawful or unlawful, constitutional or otherwise. Tragically, the arrangement has continued even after Independence.
New Delhi Will history repeat itself at the United Nations Security Council? The last time India was called to vote on a resolution on Syria, October 4, 2011, it chose to abstain, with South Africa and Brazil. By doing so, the Indian government empowered Russia and China to veto a draft resolution designed to pressure the Syrian government into ending the violence against its own people. The civilian toll in Syria was, according to the UN, close to 2,700 dead, including many children and women.
Sixty three years ago, Dr B.R. Ambedkar spoke of the “life of contradictions” into which the Indian Republic would enter on January 26, 1950. He underlined the need for eliminating, at the earliest, the contradictions in the social and economic sphere lest they should imperil our political freedom and democracy. Were he to come alive today, he would be appalled to see the extent to which the contradictions have deepened and, that too during the period when the Republic saw one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Suo moto declarations are as valid as appraisals by external agents; by that reckoning, the eight-month-old government of chief minister Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal has delivered on each of the campaign promises as listed in the manifesto and the chief minister is confidently asserting “touch me if you can,” which is a paraphrase of a Bengali idiom that describes towering, spectacular achievement.
Urban India is in the throes of an obsessive examination of the corrupt nature of the polity and governance of our country. Anna Hazare’s movement against the corrupt has galvanised our cities into examining the state of our nation with missionary zeal. Some zealous followers of Team Anna tell us that our nation’s culture itself is corrupt. After all, don’t we sell our precious votes for bottles of liquor from a person from our “community”?
If I had to pick out one person, place or event of the year, one thing that truly defines what it means to be young today, it has to be this scene between Katrina Kaif and Hrithik Roshan in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Hrithik has just experienced deep-sea diving for the very first time, and his eyes shine with a new and different light. He understands the philosophy of the scuba chick, the idea of living in this moment — the only moment you truly have. It’s a philosophy which pretty much sums up the mood of a generation. And this mood is reflected in just about everything you do with your life.
Christmas is meant to be a season of goodwill but each year I find it more and more difficult to feel any sympathy for those in Europe who would like to ruin the festival. I am referring to those who say we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas openly because it is a Christian festival. Some argue that to celebrate Christmas openly breaches the secular principle that religion should have no place in public life. It is also argued that celebrating Christmas offends believers in other religions.
The news of the government’s possible attempts to enact a law to monitor social media has understandably ignited a debate. There seem to be few takers for the government’s motives in the enactment of such a law. Governments across the world have rather low levels of credibility on such contentious issues as the expectation of the public usually is that their deeds are going to be different from their words. The general feeling is that the law might be a fig leaf for the government to muzzle anything on the Net and social media that they find inconvenient.
The rise of social media has created global communities and new ways of interaction. All over, this has helped to give a voice to millions of people, largely the youth, and democratised society; in the recent past it has even helped change governments.
As a Pakistani it is difficult for me to talk about the ghastly attacks on Mumbai three years ago and the response of its vibrant citizens. This is not simply due to the nationality of Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured after the 26/11 Mumbai
In the last three decades, HIV/AIDS, a disease first reported in humans in 1981 in the United States, has spread across all continents and claimed millions of lives. It has posed one of the biggest public health threats known to man, and changed the course of history. HIV proved to be a formidable enemy, resisting drugs quickly and evading potential vaccines. But the story of HIV/AIDS is also a tale of triumph of human ingenuity, determination and commitment. Infection with HIV was once considered a death sentence.
The emerging geopolitics of Asia envisages greater role for South Asian regionalism in strategic terms. The region seems to hold the key to stability in Asia and beyond. This larger context should not be missed in evaluating the recent 17th Saarc Summit in Maldives and assessing the Asean and East Asia Summit meetings in Bali. The Maldives summit also proved the considerable default value of Saarc as an institution once again.
A week from today, it will be exactly three years since the blasts went off in Mumbai to thwart what was perhaps the most promising peace process ever in the relations between Pakistan and India. The relations went into a spin. The impasse is not yet quite resolved though the improvement in the relations has been significant enough for India’s minister for external affairs S.M. Krishna to say at Addu Atoll in the Maldives on November 9 that India’s “trust deficit with Pakistan is shrinking.” What can now be done to ensure that the deficit is completely overcome?
Pursuing human development — defined as an enhancement of capabilities, an expansion of freedoms, an enlargement of choices and an assurance of human rights — is a laudable goal for a
As the political process unravels with renewed vigour, the politics over Telangana has reached a tipping point. The outpouring of sentiments reflecting the deprivation faced by the people of Telangana has paralysed Andhra Pradesh for close to a month now. The current impasse seems to be over the status of Hyderabad, a city that has come up as a global hub and has a large population from the Andhra region. However, we know that there is broad agreement amongst political parties on the imperative to create Telangana state, and now it is not a matter of whether, but when.
How will history judge Anna Hazare? As a person who started the process of bringing down corruption? Or as a leader who breathed new hope and fire into rebuilding India?
Greece is a country rich in history and culture that is peopled by a warm and friendly race. It is a must-visit nation for any tourist. Is it an important country, though? Not really. In European terms its economy is an insignificant rounding off error, contributing merely two per cent to Europe’s GDP (gross domestic product, a representation of national income). And yet, Greece is threatening to begin a financial domino cycle of chaos in Europe.
It is no secret that India is doing quite poorly on a number of development counts. According to the Human Development Report, India languishes at around 130th rank among of 177 countries. The International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index ranks India 94th among 118 countries surveyed. The World Food Programme estimates half of our children suffer from severe or moderate malnourishment.
As long as men are born, men will die. No matter how hurtful to the immediate family, it's as simple as that, all of the time. But every now and then a man dies leading to countrywide mourning of unknown magnitude. A few days ago a very special Indian slipped away quietly and with great dignity, leaving behind a billion vulnerable Indians exposed to their own mortality! Tiger Pataudi was that Indian. The entire family stood by as morphine made his departure less painful. The disease takes time to take life yet there was no sign that it would gallop the way it did. The nawab, mamoojan to me, was too intelligent to be an escapist and knew his days were numbered yet he stood tall, giving his family the strength to deal with his departure.
There are cricketers, personalities, and then there is Tiger. One uses the present tense as Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi aka Nawab of Pataudi junior aka Tiger will always remain in the minds and hearts of those privileged to have met him.
In whose favour did the Supreme Court’s September 12 order in the Zakia Jafri case go? Was it Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi or Ms Jafri? Too early to say one way or the other. The starting point of Ms Jafri’s appeal to the Supreme Court was her private complaint, dated June 8, 2006, seeking prosecution of Mr Modi and 61 others for allegedly orchestrating the post-Godhra communal riots in connivance with police officials and senior bureaucrats in which her husband Ehsan Jafri, former member of Parliament, was killed in the Gulberg Society carnage.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has just concluded a visit to Dhaka. Sadly, exchange of visits between the Indian PM and his counterparts in South Asia are not as frequent as they should be. Perhaps the weight of expectations precludes this. The previous bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Dhaka was in 1999 when Atal Behari Vajpayee went over to inaugurate the Dhaka-Kolkata bus service. Deve Gowda had visited in January 1997 in the wake of the historic Ganga Waters Agreement the previous month. Morarji Desai visited in March 1979 to underline his commitment to good neighbourly relations.
The recent developments around the Lokpal Bill have captured the imagination of India’s middle class, which clearly perceives poor governance and corruption to be a threat to its global aspirations. The middle class has demonstrated that it intends to play a decisive role in determining the terms of the national political discourse.
To most Sri Lankans, Anna Hazare’s name would be unfamiliar, his Jan Lokpal Bill even more so. But the veteran social activist’s marathon fast did have an (unintended) effect on Sri Lanka.
Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption in New Delhi has ignited a debate in neighbouring South Asian countries on the role that civil society can play in a democracy. Mr Hazare’s “apolitical” stature is built on the
Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form. (Bhagavad Gita 4.6). As the world heralds another Janmashtami, Sri Krishna Himself sets the tone for His appearance on Earth.
Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption has gathered momentum. Arousing the conscience of the nation on the issue augurs well. But the spontaneous response of people to his detention and fast needs to be guided in the right direction. Peaceful protest is permissible and Mr Hazare’s motive in undertaking the fast is laudable, but compelling Parliament to enact his Jan Lokpal Bill is not constitutionally permissible.
Bahawalpur state in Pakistan and Hyderabad state in India have interesting parallels. Both states were founded in the early 18th century — Hyderabad in 1724 and Bahawalpur in 1727 — by Muslim dynasties.
If one issue has been grabbing the headlines every day in Tamil Nadu, apart from Samacheer Kalvi (uniform education system), it is the spate of arrests for alleged land-grabbing by members of the DMK. In the past two months, according to the state police, nearly 1,000 cases have been lodged with
A practitioner supposedly of iron-clad Leninist organisational principles, Kerala Opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan has been a cunning playmate of “bourgeoise” democracy, all along trying to subserve his chequered proletarian career, spanning some 70 years. Facets of the political persona of Mr Achuthanandan, popularly known as “VS”, still remain inscrutable.
DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi has always been passionate about monarchies and mythologies despite living in a democracy and being a self-proclaimed rationalist. He often deludes himself in believing that he is a reincarnation of Rajaraja Chola. Mr Karunanidhi, known for revivalism, promoted rituals like the crowning of political leaders with laurels and sceptres.
Just last week the Union minister for rural development, Jairam Ramesh, found himself at the centre of a controversy. Having been greeted with a garland of khadi yarn at a meeting, Mr Ramesh used it to wipe his footwear! If nothing else, this insult points to an immense gulf of cultural values between the hosts and the guest.
A recent Bollywood film was feted, along with its cinematic accomplishments, for its extensive and unabashed use of abusive words and bad language.
The formal powers conferred on an institution are relevant, but what’s more important is how the head of an organisation functions to achieve its stated objectives. Power is assumed by the individual in most situations, though it’s rarely granted to a person for free exercise.
In Masoom (The innocent one), his brilliant debut film as director, Shekhar Kapoor had three children sing a nonsense rhyme, which remains popular to this day. “Lakdi ki kaati, kaati pe ghoda” was an ode to the rocking horse once all too familiar to children across the subcontinent of South Asia.
Are you aware of the greatest corruption of all? This is a corruption that goes on throughout the day. This is a corruption that almost all people indulge in. This is the costliest corruption of all.
After attaining enlightenment, Buddha was inspired to share his learning with the five monks who were his fellow seekers prior to his awakening.
I was not particularly astonished to find that the word “slut” does not have a male equivalent. In many languages other than English, there is no male word for “prostitute” or “widow”. Thus the entire debate over the “slut walk” is obviously centred on the rights and current disempowerment of women.
If democracy is a shared value among many of the world’s states today, they still differ substantially in the tolerance of civil freedoms often granted to the citizens by their respective Constitutions. Let me pick up three out of numerous instances. In the late 1970s, M.F. Husain paints the Hindu goddess Saraswati in the nude. Nothing unusual.
The passing of Maqbool Fida Husain on Thursday in a London hospital marks the end of an epoch in Indian art. Husain’s enormously vibrant palette — more devoted in recent times to the Arab civilisation than to subjects Indian, will be laid to rest. With it will also go silent the debates around the status of a minority artist’s engagement with Indian mythology, and the failure of the modern Indian state to protect him.
How can he be gone? The man who never grew old? He strode across the firmament of Indian art for three quarters of a century like a colossus. Always one step ahead of his detractors, Maqbool Fida Husain continued till the very end to re-invent himself. Apart from a brief illness, he went out like a light, incredibly, at the age of 95, still at the peak of his abilities, his fame, his charisma.
Tanuja and Rajesh Khanna starred in the immensely popular ’70s flick Haathi Mere Saathi. The hero can do no wrong in a Bollywood film and in this one the elephant could do no wrong either. Rajesh Khanna sang and wooed, fought and emerged victorious with the haathi by his side. Little wonder then that Jairam Ramesh, the ebullient green hero of today, wishes to emulate the evergreen hero of yesteryears in adopting the elephant as the
If there is a fire next door, the neighbours are bound to get worried. The latest terrorist attack, on a major naval station near Karachi, may have been frustrated by the government forces but the crisis in Pakistan is much more serious than the events of the last two days portray. It should worry India, other countries in the region, the United States and other world powers.
Those who were following reports in the press about the controversy in Karnataka, between chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and state governor H.R. Bhardwaj, were happy and relieved when the two called truce. However, it was soon clear that hostility between Mr Bhardwaj and Mr Yeddyurappa persists.
Each religion has his favourite animal. Hinduism, which has a broad-minded ecological outlook, adores many animals. But still the elephant is one of the favourites since it is used in temples to carry the image of the deity. Also, the elephant is considered to be a symbol of Lord Ganapati. Elephants are a fixture in temples of Kerala.
The narrow majority obtained by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala spells more problems for the victor than the vanquished. The choice of the chief minister may not be difficult, but trouble will start with the selection of the deputy chief minister. The Muslim League, being the second largest party in UDF, will assume that that post is naturally theirs.
The recent Assembly election in Assam was the most tense in recent memory. Almost all polls and media reports suggested a hung Assembly, which meant that the Congress and its principal opponent, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), would have to look for coalition partners to form the next government. The hectic efforts in this direction
The people of Tamil Nadu have dethroned the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in a decisive mandate, and All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader J. Jayalalithaa is the prime beneficiary. But this is not a vote in her favour. The vote is essentially against the DMK. It is up to Ms Jayalalithaa to make it a positive vote by providing good governance.
The killing of Osama bin Laden comes at a time when India-US relations are at a low point of the roller coaster ride to which they have often been compared. After the visit of US President Barack Obama, which kindled hopes of raising relations to a higher level, it appeared as though India was distancing itself from Washington to assert its independence.
A celibate for the greater part of his life, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi continues to attract nearly unrivalled attention — apparently for the sex that did not take place. Even his friends and admirers, who revered him for bringing ethics to the political life, or for never demanding of others what he did not first demand of himself, were quite certain that Gandhi was unable to comprehend that a woman and a man might enjoy a perfectly healthy sexual relationship with each other.
The remarkable shift in the locus of global economic dynamism over the last two decades has paralysed multilateral rule-making on a range of economic issues. The stalemate in the World Trade Organisation and the climate change negotiations, as well as the lacklustre showing of the Group of Twenty (G20), are symptomatic
Sixty-three momentous years ago an ancient civilisation blossomed into a nation-state with a million promises to keep. But the lack of a strategic culture and unity in thought and action has haunted and weakened India over the years and it is now time to seriously address our endemic and congenital shortcomings
The issue of freebies being offered at election time in Tamil Nadu cannot be isolated from the wider canvas of changes taking place in the state’s economy and its society. The pace of these shifts has indeed been rapid. The agricultural sector is under stress whereas the other two sectors are expanding rapidly, notably the service sector. People, in general, prefer to move away from the drudgery of agriculture to the more “modern” or “comfortable” non-agricultural sector. But this shift is painful and time-consuming, especially for the poor and the vulnerable.
Dear Damu and Shanu, The day before yesterday your grandmother went to an event organised by a local non-governmental organisation. It was meant to felicitate and honour women of her generation who had been active in the movement for women’s rights. She was delighted to be there. Along with her were a handful of other women, some in their
The “Continuing Budget of the United Progressive Alliance-II” is a slow and steady march towards crony capitalism without declaring the country a “capitalist nation”. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s Budget 2011 will lead the country nowhere but towards the path on which the American and European economies got beaten black and blue.
The Budget is not as popular in developed economies as it is in developing countries like ndia. This is a reflection of people’s expectations and a Budget’s impact on their lifestyle. Hence, in our country, the Budget is not just a statement of accounts — it is about reforms in sectors that touch the economy, inflation, taxation and a whole lot of other things that impact the common man and businesses.
The main challenges we face today are to constrain inflation, particularly food inflation, moderate fiscal deficit to low inflationary expectations, deal with corruption and promote growth while improving the welfare of aam aadmi and aam aurat. One Budget cannot deal with all these issues. However, a Budget is an opportunity to provide a roadmap of how the government plans to deal with them.
The last few Budgets have had the recurring theme of inclusive growth, strengthening the social and physical infrastructure, and preparing the country for a set of institutional reforms. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s Budget 2011 continues the tenor, which, by itself, is reassuring.
There is nothing for us in this Budget. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee should have seized the day to safeguard the decade. But he has not. Nothing has been done to incentivise biotechnology or to ensure actual inclusive growth. For how long will we take incremental steps and avoid taking exponential steps? This Budget presented a platform to be strong not only in views but also on reforms.
April 16, 2007, was like any other spring day on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Seung-Hui Cho, carrying a Walther P22 and a Glock 19 semi-automatic, opened indiscriminate fire, first in a residential dorm and later in several classrooms of Norris Hall. Cho was an English
Healthcare is the most important, but highly neglected sector in India. Neither people nor the government focus their attention adequately on the issue of healthcare. Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee have always said that health and education is their priority, but it’s time to make this into a reality. In order to address the challenges in the healthcare sector, one needs to have primary understanding of healthcare. No individual or nation can treat all sick people
With The export sector looking at a resumption of 20 per cent-plus growth, the surge in domestic spending on information technology (IT) by the government and the corporate sector, the accelerating demand for IT hardware and software, the IT sector in India is witnessing a resurgence in fortunes.
The one lesson that emerges from the tsunami that is sweeping across the Arab space is that in today’s inter-connected world no nation can remain an island any longer.
That a country is theoretically governed by a just code of law does not necessitate rule of law or justice. It can safely be said that an accessible, affordable and quick justice delivery system is the foundation of the freedom of an individual against the excesses of a state or powerful individuals within it. It is no surprise that the first charter of liberties, the Magna Carta, guarantees in Clause 40, “To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right or justice”.
It’s been a frenetic year, closing a volatile decade in which the rapidity of economic and social change in some areas has been almost as remarkable as the continuing stagnation and decline in others.
October and November 1962 were unforgettable months for those who lived through that era. On October 20, the Chinese crossed the Namka Chu and disseminated a brigade of the Indian Army. A month later, on November 19-20, they crossed the high mountain passes and came to the foothills of ranges on the north bank of the Brahmaputra river. It was the gravest moment in India’s post-Independence history.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement in Parliament that “in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council (UNSC) that includes India as a permanent member” was greeted with immediate euphoria. However, its highly nuanced formulation has subsequently raised many questions.
Dilma Rousseff may have failed to secure the widely expected absolute majority in the first turn, yet she seems certain to beat her rival, José Serra, in the run-off on October 31 and become Brazil’s
One striking aspect of the last US presidential election was Barack Obama’s ability to connect with young Americans, and draw them into the political process. Alas, this kind of political engagement is entirely missing in Pakistan.
It is a strong logic. The answer to a dispute from mediaeval India might eventually lie in a mediaeval practice. Simultaneum mixtum first came to be used in the Europe of the Reformation less than five years before the conqueror Babar, or his general Mir Baqi, raised the Babri Masjid in 1528 AD over an area where Hindus believe a temple
I pass the Yamuna en-route to my office everyday. For the past few years it has had the look of an affluent drain, or, perhaps, I should say effluent. It snakes timidly past the grandeur of the Akshardham Temple, slithers away from the frenetic bustle of the Commonwealth Games Village and slips under the vast spans of the DND flyover.
The Roma or Romanies (in the singular Rom or Romany) have been in the limelight since July 2010 when their camps in France were demolished and they were sent back to Romania, France’s fellow member of the European Union (EU). The deportees are citizens with Romanian passports and full civil rights like any other EU or Romanian citizens, though heavily discriminated against.
In my article in The Asian Age of September 21, 2009, Naxal violence is a cry to be heard, I came in full support of the Prime Minister’s statement of 2009 on Naxal violence, calling it one of “gravest internal security problems” the country faces. Indeed, the Naxal problem is much more serious than the external threat of militants from
The 16th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is due to begin in less than four months from now, at Cancun, Mexico.
Many photographs in newspapers and TV channels of 14- and 16-year-olds aiming bricks or stones at the security forces have filled our minds over the last few days as street violence in the Kashmir Val
It is premature to sing dirges for the European Union (EU), but the path-breaking grouping that blazed a new trail after World War II and took a war-spattered Europe to a new trajectory of peace and prosperity is facing an existential crisis. What started as Greece’s financial meltdown impacting on the common euro currency has spawned an unprecedented soul-searching for answers.