Antara Dev Sen

Letters to Editor

Letters to Editor

Antara Dev Sen

A funfest for urban glam girls

Go for it, girls. Go have fun at your Slut Walk or “Besharmi Morcha” in Delhi. You have every right to wear what you want without being harassed. And there is a certain joy in needling the prudes who seem to rule our lives. Go get their goat!
The Slut Walk could be good fun. But let’s not lose perspective. It is not a movement to empower women in India.

Justice is rare

You can’t help marvelling at how multifariously inept we are in matters of life and death. First, the President turned down two appeals for pardon — of pro-Khalistan militant Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, convicted for killing nine people, and Assam’s Mahendra Nath Das, convicted of beheading a man in a fit of rage. The political process snatched up Bhullar’s cause, while the only thing keeping Das from being hanged was the lack of a hangman.

Elitist navel gazing

The damage control has begun. Three days after minister of state for environment and Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) alumnus Jairam Ramesh said that IITs and IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) were not world-class institutions because their faculty and quality of research were not good enough, the government has protested.

Mamata paints Bengal green

She’s done it. Mamata Banerjee has delivered on the first part of her poll promise of ushering in change — of parivartan. The Left Front government in West Bengal, the longest serving elected Communist government in the world, has been toppled after 34 years.
As the results poured in and it became clear that Ms Banerjee would be Bengal’s new chief minister, the lady thanked voters for this “victory of democracy”.

The politics of respect

Which is worse — calling one of our finest politicians and a respected elder statesman a mummified corpse, a dead man who has no business opening his mouth? Or saying that the spirited woman leader and challenger to the Communist throne of Bengal ignores funds from Bengaluru to get money from the United States, much like bazaar women

Delhi Superbug? Bah! Humbug!

Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but the superbug is here. Well, yes, it could kill you. But you know, life is so uncertain — don’t fret over these new-fangled firang studies. They just do it to discredit us. Jealousy, that’s what it is. Just because their patients come over to get complicated operations done in our super-specialty hospitals

Why cradle symbols, crush ideas?

Has Mahatma Gandhi’s charkha come full circle? Is our Father of the Nation dying of the once flourishing symbolism that he had nurtured? The state of the nation he left behind, crowned by the banning by his home state of a new biography that hasn’t yet reached bookstores, suggests as much.
Joseph Lelyveld’s Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India has just been published in the US and instantly banned in Gujarat.

Bribe-giver < bribe-taker

Talk of rotten luck. Right when the government was readying to fight bribery and corruption, it was smacked silly by the ghost of bribes past. Darn! As we say, our bad luck is worst only.
So just as Kaushik Basu, chief economic advisor in the finance ministry, stated that the government was looking at possible changes in law to give immunity to bribe-givers to help transparency, the cash-for-votes scam resurfaced with a vengeance to rock Parliament.

Integrity, non-est in India

So the Supreme Court says the decision to appoint P.J. Thomas as Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) is “non-est” in law. The Vigilance Commission is the “Integrity Commission of India”, it says solemnly, and must be headed by an unblemished person with impeccable integrity.

Treat with care, dignity

Mental health is finally getting some sarkari attention. Now, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has admitted that it is a neglected area and needs much improvement.

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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.