Jayanthi Natrajan


Jayanthi Natrajan

The Second Chamber

The Tamil Nadu Legislative Council Bill was enacted in Parliament during the last two days of the Budget Session and the debate on the Bill was not just reflective of party positions but also thr

Ipl at cricket’s cost

April.26 : Perhaps it was inevitable that the Indian Premier League (IPL), with its unprecedented high profile at the time of its creation, the extraordinary publicity around the spectacle of our nationally iconic cricketers being “sold” and “bought” by equally iconic filmstars and corporate heads, should also stir up the most hysterical and feverish speculation when controversy reared its ugly head.

A national challenge

April 12 : The day the Maoists struck mercilessly at a convoy of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans was a heartrending day for our democracy. Rarely has there been a time more stark or poignant for those of us who follow the news and care about our polity. Numb with shock

Mumbai, Jai Ho!

Feb.15 : A very moving TV image of a young woman with her baby and husband outside a Mumbai multiplex to watch My Name is Khan moved me enormously. I know that it is not fashionable to applaud the spirit of Mumbaikars because many eminent citizens furiously replied to me during 26/11 terror attacks that “enough is enough”. At that time I felt uncomfortable and unhappy that applauding and encouraging a resilient spirit that refuses to be cowed down by terrorism, but resolves to pick up the pieces and fight back, was a great asset to any society and, should be limited by the indignation of feeling “enough is enough”. Mumbaikars have time and again proved their resilience, courage, never say die spirit and indefatigable helping nature, even in the face of the worst possible odds, including terrorist attacks. This time the people of Mumbai have come out openly in defence of democracy.

Congress: A party with a conscience

Jun.8 : The President of India addressed a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament in an impressive ceremony that saw the inspiring spectacle of newly-elected members of the Lok Sabha come into Parliament for the first time.The gathering was inspiring in more ways than one the largest number of women ever had been elected to the 15th Lok Sabha, now just crossing 10 per cent of the strength of the House. A large number of young persons and first-time MPs have been elected. The Congress came to power with a decisive mandate from the people of India and the President’s address marked the first step in the determination of the new government to fulfil the promises made to the people of India who reposed their faith in the Congress.

Moral police gets its knickers in a twist

The angry women who created the "Pink Chaddi" campaign on FaceBook, as a means to protest the fascist goings on of Pramod Muthalik and his Sri Ram Sene (SRS) in Mangalore, probably did not imagine how effective their novel protest was going to be. As their initiative drew immediate response, and over 30,000 pink chaddis flooded the Mangalore post office, en route to Muthalik and his cahoots, the response of the SRS-faithful ranged from defiant bluster to an embarrassed silence. They announced a campaign of sending pink saris to these women, but after a feeble attempt this tapered off as the Pink Chaddi campaign knocked the socks off these self-appointed custodians of our culture.

Blurring lines between the IPL and Polls 2009

March.30 : It is a truly amazing concept. Perhaps even a measure of the awesome impact of corporate power and glamour upon the psyche of the media in our country. The woeful minority which was not breathlessly glued to TV screens or eagerly watching the IPL matches last year, will instantly identify with the outrage that some of us feel when discussion after discussion equated the General Election with the second season of the Indian Premier League. I repeat, the General Election to the Lok Sabha, a massive rededication and renewal of our democratic system of governance, is the sacred time when the average voter, gets a chance to make his/her voice heard in our polity. And every single time, s/he never fails to send an unmistakable message to erring politicians to shape up or ship out.

Nothing honourable about honour killing

Aug 03 : The term honour killing is at best a cruel and tragic irony, because there is nothing remotely honourable about the brutal murder of a young man, woman or couple, by an entire caste, community or village, merely because they dared to challenge some archaic and meaningless code set down by some village elders for the village and its residents.

Secure future health, strike the right ‘cord’

Augest.31 : Here are some facts some of which are well-known and others not quite public knowledge. All of us are aware that the population of our country is well over one billion. Many are aware that there are probably 10,00,000 reported births every month, but certainly only a miniscule percentage of us will know that every year, we have about 1,00,000 children with blood cancer and 10,000 with thalassemia. For the parents of these children these are not mere statistics but painful and living reality. In the chaotic pace of our daily lives and the riotous crises of politics and governance, the daily trauma of our civil society and even the ordinary drudgery of the day-to-day grind, it is easy to forget or ignore that there live among us these families who are in terrible pain and who deal with the brutal reality of seeing their young children waste slowly away from the ravages of blood cancer or thalassemia.

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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.