Gullible and malleable: Pilot’s rebellion reveals Rahul’s tragic flaws

Why does Rahul Gandhi invariably get betrayed by the people who are his closest friends or aides? What is about him that has turned his life into a Julius Caesar-like tragedy with a Brutus in every act?

India should fear UP’s ‘sabka Vikas (Dubey), sabka encount...

Welcome to Uttar Pradesh, a state that guarantees sabka Vikas, sabka encounter. 'Sabka (everybody’s) Vikas' because it is a state where Vikas, not development, but the archetypal criminal, belongs to everyone. 'Sabka encounter' because this is how the criminal justice system works in Uttar Pradesh.

An art president Trump excels in… Shooting yourself in the foot

It was a bombshell that n...

Unless border dispute is resolved, expect more Galwans

The Galwan crisis may be ending with troops from China and India disengaging after a two-month standoff. But, it is neither the first nor will it be the last. As long as the border dispute between the two neighbours continues, the conflict will continue to simmer, and at times boil over. The next one is even possibly round the corner. Unlike ear...

India may tango with US, but won’t sever ties with China’s comrade Russia

India’s relation with Russia has lost much of its sheen since the end of the Cold War, as both countries looked to adjust to a new world order. The rise of an assertive China, ready to assume its place in the world, has changed equations across Asia. India is getting closer to the US, while Russia has been forced to turn to China for economic and s...

Joe Biden is emerging from his basement, but has a long way to go

The former Vice President, Joseph Biden, has been in Washington since the early 1970s and in the political establishment for close to five decades. And he knows better than to start celebrating his string of polling victories nationally and in the swing states, particularly in the Red States that the incumbent Donald Trump was placing his bets on. ...

China’s friendly grip may end up ‘swallowing’ Pakistan

If India is locked in a messy wrangle with China on the border issue, Pakistan too is in a peculiar soup of sorts caused by its close friendship with Beijing. The bear hug of friendship from across its northern border is squeezing Pakistan, sparking fears that the country may be heading into a giant debt trap with China, to a point where the bon...

Coal blocks auction in tribal areas: Modi govt jettisoning Fifth Schedule

The Narendra Modi government’s cavalier approach to issues concerning the environment is well known. Equally subversive is its naked attempt to disregard a Constitutional provision that enjoins the state to safeguard the rights of tribal populations.

TOP 5 FOR THE DAY

Army to induct Israeli kamikaze drones, US UAV to amp up armoury

The Indian Army is planning to acquire Israeli Spike Firefly, also known as loitering munition or kamikaze drone, remotely-controlled, unmanned aerial vehicle Raven from the US, and long-precision artillery shells with a range of over 40 km to amp up its artillery, Hindustan Times reported.

We’re a family, Congress’ door is open for Pilot: Surjewala

Even as the political cri...

MG Motor launches Hector Plus; price starts at ₹13.49 lakh

British automotive compan...

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Vikas Dubey encounter: Many questions left unanswered

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Dreaded gangster arrested after a five-day run

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In PV Narasimha Rao’s legacy, parties find a political opportunity

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), whose interests and inspirations are purely subnational, just as the BJP’s interests are national, have both now found a common cause in Narasimha Rao who wasn’t even given a decent burial in Delhi but had to be taken to his home state. 

TN lock-up deaths: As work pressure mounts, cops prone to behaving brutally

The deaths of a father and his son in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu allegedly due to police torture gives me indescribable pain. All civilised human beings wherever they are should also be in equal pain. Unlike many other observers, I won’t like to rush to the media with my condemnation of the Tamil Nadu police as we are still short of a fe...

How shoddy COVID response corrodes EPS’s ‘good governance’ badge

One of the abiding facts about Tamil Nadu is that it has been a well-governed state. Over the years, the epithet gained currency as the state managed various crises admirably. Whether it is natural disaster, social development, public health, education or economic governance, Tamil Nadu has been the best among the large-sized states. But the cur...

Govt claim of having halted corona a joke, India worst performer in Asia

By comparing India with the West and Brazil, where the President acted like an idiot, we are ignoring the fact that countries falling in the Indian subcontinent and in our eastern neighborhood have also done well, and some phenomenally better than us.

With COVID knocking on their doors, red states are not smiling anymore

No state in America has the luxury of taking things lightly anymore. Infectious disease specialists are warning of a second wave of COVID-19 starting this fall and something that is going to be far more virulent than what the country has been exposed to since the middle of February.

Did India learn anything from the horrors of the Emergency?  Nope

If there’s one issue on which there is rare unanimity in the country, it is on the folly of the Emergency in 1975. Even the Congress today is probably ruing the decision of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi to suspend fundamental rights and democracy, that lasted 21 months, as it has permanently scarred its reputation. But, 45 years later, t...

Healer, heal thyself! Ramdev should volunteer for trial of his corona kit

Baa, Baa black sheep, Do you have a cure? Yes, sir, yes, sir Three herbs pure… One for the night, And one for the day, And one for the idiots Who believe everything I say. Baba Ramdev’s attempt to peddle a cure for COVID-19 could have been a worthy subject of a nursery rhyme if not for the sheer scale of its opportunism an...

A look back at Chinese intrusions along the Line of Actual Control

The India-China border marked with blood after the death of 20 Indian soldiers following an interregnum of peace resembles the India-Pakistan border where soldiers are killed again and again. Over the last two decades, China has increasingly transgressed Indian territory to intimidate India and assert its boundary claims with military muscle. Eac...

We can shun China all we like, but remember India’s just its alter ego

Whenever there is a confrontation with the Chinese on the borders or when China thwarts India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, blocks our attempts at securing permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) or swats down our efforts at isolating Pakistan by getting the UN to designate it as state-sponsored terrorism,...

Tibet ‘slips out’ of India’s hands; it’s advantage China on the border

The border clashes between India and China, that has cost the lives of troops on both sides, is a pointer to the larger seesaw power game between the two countries for over six decades now. It is all about bargaining power and the degree of leverage one country has over the other.

Will Trump gracefully leave town if he loses US polls or dig in his heels?

That scenario is not far-fetched at all, given what Trump is made out of; or for all the things that he has said in the recent past. In a recent interview, Trump has said that he will find something and move on. But his Democratic opponent this November, former Vice-President Joseph Biden, is not so sure and has said that if it comes to that situation, the military will escort Trump out of the White House.

Marathi nationalism to Hindutva: Shiv Sena’s sphere of influence shrinks

Shiv Sena — the words carry different meanings for different audiences; not only for those from outside Maharashtra or India, but also for those from various districts of the state. Shiv Sena has now existed for over half a century and has undergone a transformation at the cost of its very essence and ethos.

How to take a shorter route to ‘Koyampuththoor’

The Tamil Nadu government's decision to change the names of 1,018 villages, towns and districts in the state has been met with derision on social media mainly because of the high usage of 'aa's and 'oo's. This prompted the state on Thursday (June 19) to withdraw the order in this regard. However, the stretching of the words could create quite a fe...

Revelations of John Bolton: Not a Bolt from the blue

John Bolton, the former National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, is perhaps seven months late. Had he voluntarily come before the Congressional panels enquiring the impeachment charges against Trump what he had to say then as opposed to what he is saying in his book now would have raised a lot more noise in Washington DC. Even then i...

China’s paranoia, aggression stem from its troubled past

India is reeling under the clashes with a belligerent China in the Galwan valley that caused the deaths of several soldiers. At the same time, Beijing has expressed its wish to de-escalate tensions and resolve the border stand-off through negotiations. This confusing signal of diplomacy and aggression can be traced to a deep-seated insecurity that ...

India left with few options in dealing with China, Nepal

The tragic confrontation at Galwan valley with Chinese troops that left an Indian army colonel and at least 20 soldiers dead besides unconfirmed casualties on the other side should ideally lead to soul-searching between the two countries. Since there are no clear markings delineating much of the 3500 km border between the two countries, such fla...

If territory is what China wants, is India equipped to fight it and Pakistan together...

China is upping the ante all along the LAC. The violent and primitive physical clashes between the Indian and Chinese soldiers have left three - an officer and two jawans -dead. The casualties on the Chinese side are not known. This is the first time in 45-years that fatalities have been reported from the Line of Actual Control and point to China’s...

Sushant Singh Rajput: The cursed prodigal son of fate

In the opening scene of one of Sushant Singh Rajput’s greatest films, titled Sonchiriya, a band of dacoits is walking through the Chambal valley. The gang comes to a halt as someone spots a dead snake ahead. But its leader Malkhan Singh, essayed by the magical Manoj Bajpai, presses ahead and removes the carcass with the bayonet of his gun from the ...

The occasional huffing and puffing about H1B visas amid pandemic

US President Donald Trump is once again thinking of suspending H1B visas and a host of other work-related permits ostensibly to address conservative concerns of rising unemployment in the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Statue toppling: Britannia’s reckoning with its imperial past?

If the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis had created a national outrage in the US, the reverberations of that tragedy have been felt across the Western world, in unexpected ways, that have shocked the ruling elites and triggered calls for national introspection by many colonial powers. The protests, this time not restricted only to the black ...

UNSC non permanent seat is symbolic – more noise than substance

India will be elected unopposed as no other country has put up a candidate. The 55-countries of the Asia Pacific group, including China and Pakistan had agreed to back India.

In Rajasthan’s horse race, there is only one jockey — Ashok Gehlot

A wily politician, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot through resort politics could be using the BJP to show the strength of Congress in his state and convey that Rajasthan is not Madhya Pradesh

Attn Trump: The US stands to lose more by ‘withdrawing’ from WHO

Its a fortnight since the United States President Donald Trump, in his usual unpredictable manner, announced his country’s withdrawal from the World Health Organisation (WHO), on the specious grounds that it favoured China.

Dear Trolls, take a break. In an ideal world we all should be feminists

The hostility towards the feminist movement over the years is nothing new. But in today's age of internet, even the simple act of a woman, even more so a non-conformist, doing a comedy routine on the gender pay gap, speaking about an unpleasant dating experience online or even saying that she does not enjoy cooking is bound to be attacked by men (also women) in the comments section which can vary from personal remarks to abusive rants.

Joseph Biden is climbing the charts, thanks to Donald Trump

For the first time in some four months, things seem to be looking up for Joseph Biden, the soon to be formal nominee of the Democratic Party for the November 3, 2020 showdown with the sitting incumbent Donald Trump.

The reality is slowly dawning, even for Donald Trump

The road to the White House for Donald Trump and in his ability to get 270 Electoral College votes is getting more and more difficult as the days roll by. The coronavirus that is raging in America and steadily getting past the 100,000 lives it has claimed is bad enough for a President who claims that had it not been for his administration’s interve...

India, Australia agreement could be a red rag for China

India’s landmark agreement with Australia on defence cooperation comes at a time when New Delhi is engaging with its northern neighbour China on resolving a spat on the border at Ladakh. In disputes like these with China, will the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) with Australia in any way help India? Does it boost New Delhi’s strength t...

For now, it suits Modi and Trump to stand against China

China’s aggressive action in Ladakh seems to have forced India’s hand. India was normally reticent about ruffling China and always down-playing the People's Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) incursions into Indian territory, and not bringing in a third country into the equation.

A virus deadlier than COVID-19: Racism and police brutality

The brutal slaying of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the violence that followed in the cities of America, brings to memory something that happened in the country some 29 years ago with a person called Rodney King.

Infodemic: The pandemic of lies that clouds intelligence during COVID-19

Misinformation has acquired epidemic proportions. It has a new name: Infodemic. Four Vs characterize it. Velocity, which is the speed with which misinformation travels. Volume, which is the sheer size of it. Variety, which is the form and shape it takes, whether textual or visual. And, finally, veracity, which is the truth quotient in it. Mis...

Friends India and Nepal in danger of falling out over 372 sq km of land

Since last November, when India came up with its latest political map that incorporated a small but strategically important Limpiyadhura-Kalapani-Lipulek (L-K-L) region to the north-west of Nepal, the mood has soured in Kathmandu.

Why Baba Ramdev hunting for corona cure is the best news this pandemic

Baba Ramdev once fled Delhi’s Ramlila Maiden dressed like a woman. Many critics still rib him for draping a chunri around his legendary beard and morphing into an invulnerable babe from a venerable Baba. But, the Baba’s quick lingaparivartan aasan, a yogic posture known only to ascetics like him or to Lords like Vishnu (remember the Mohini avata...

Free speech and the freedom to peddle lies and disinformation

A full scale war in social media is in full swing and it has come to be known as the “Tweet War” pitting the U.S. President, Donald Trump and his White House on one side and Twitter on the other prompting many to come to the conclusion that finally somebody had the guts to stand up to the whims and fancies of Trump.

GDP@4.2: Modi govt has flattened economy with just a nudge from COVID

Once upon a time in India, the BJP’s pet riff was whether the US dollar would hit 75 before the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Since economy is best understood by many through such jokes, here is one for the ages: What will hit zero first, the coronavirus graph or the Indian economy? The answer, if you have been following the phrase of the ...

The Poes Garden muddle, legal imbroglio: AIADMK has egg on its face

The quixotic manner in which the AIADMK government has gone about the task of trying to take possession of the Poes Garden residence of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, and convert it into a memorial has come as a shock to those still sticking to the old-fashioned values of due process of law.

India, China’s choreographed disputes on border seem risky, but safe

Ideally, there should have been no hostility between two countries that share a civilisational relationship over centuries, sharing cultures, religion and cuisine among others. But that is not the case. For several decades, the two have found themselves politically in opposing camps marked by a war in 1962 whose scars still run deep.

India-China stand-off could continue as an assertive China marks time

Is the current India-China stand-off on the border mere shadow-boxing by the two Asian giants, or are the transgressions along the Line of Actual Control this time much more serious?

A milestone US would rather not want: COVID deaths cross 1,00,000

The clock is ticking and the seconds are painfully going by slowly. Very soon, or already, the number of deaths in the United States as a result of the coronavirus has breached the 1,00,000 mark, a so-called milestone that America and Americans wished had not taken place even in their wildest dreams.

Supreme Court ceding its terrain to high courts on migrant issue

The role of the judiciary, in particular the Supreme Court, in monitoring the measures undertaken by the central government to mitigate the hardships of migrant workers seems to have fallen short of public expectations. The completion of two months of lockdown as of now, a measure imposed suddenly by the central government to contain the spread of ...

COVID-19 vaccine may be ready in a year or two, but not anti-vaxxers

The world is waiting anxiously for a COVID-19 vaccine. Some diehard optimists say it will be ready by the end of the year. Others are cautious. They say the entire process of running a series of trials before the vaccine is found safe and effective will take at least a year or more. Its large-scale production and distribution will increase the time...

Waiting for the bell: COVID-19 and uncertain face of global education

Never before in the recent past has the world seen such a transformation. In a span of about five months, the international system is literally standing on its head, not knowing when the worst is about to come or if it has indeed passed by

India needs to be sensitive to smaller neighbours or China can step in

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s remark against India in Nepal Parliament was not unexpected. India-Nepal ties have been on a slippery slope for some time and his caustic reference to the Indian version of the Coronavirus being more lethal than either the Chinese or Italian strain is in keeping with the general anti-India feeling encouraged by the Ne...

Companies to desert China and come here? Dream on, India

The coronavirus pandemic has done what the United States government has been trying for some time now: show up China in bad light. The debate is still on whether Beijing is the culprit behind the COVID-19 pandemic but one consequence being prophesied is that it will propel American manufacturers to pull out of China. While it is a trifle early t...

COVID lockdown has been a failure; it has flattened just the economy

The bad news at the beginning of the fourth round of lockdown in India is similar. The doctors have given up hope and announced the country now needs dua more than dawa. In short, the country is now at the mercy of its destiny.

COVID-19 pandemic a mere excuse for BJP to scuttle labour laws

Under the cover of darkness, using the pandemic as a convenient excuse, all the BJP-ruled states of India are demolishing the entire edifice of labour regulations in the country. What the BJP government at the Centre could not achieve through the parliamentary legislative process, the BJP states are realising through the ordinance route. And this h...

The unfolding Trump strategy: Willing to go to any lengths

There is an old maxim that a drowning man will catch hold of even a straw to save himself; meaning that the person is so desperate that he will do anything to save himself. And barely six months to go before the November 3 elections, President Donald Trump, is giving every indication of a drowning man who is willing to go to any extent of politically saving himself even if that meant taking the country with him in the process.

How will India play its cards at the WHO?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is coming more and more into focus, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take lives and crowd hospitals. Its omissions and commissions are under public scrutiny as never before. The director-general of the WHO has been personally attacked by none other than US President Donald Trump for colluding with Chin...

Part 2: For farmers, time to reap the real benefits is finally here

For ages, a farmer in India has always had the highest emotional space because he is perceived to be willing to feed everyone without distinction. Although we became a free nation in 1947, the farmer continued to be chained by shackles. The inherited laws did not allow the farmer to sell his produce to a place or person of his choice. There were...

Part 1: Farmers needed instant relief, but govt handed them a new policy

The financial measures announced by the Finance Minister for the farmers fail to provide relief for the losses a section of them suffered during the lockdown. While legal changes to usher in agri-marketing reforms though ambitious might falter if not diligently implemented and states are not taken into confidence. 

Making laws during lockdown against spirit of democracy

Law-making through the ordinance route is a right vested in Central and state governments under Articles 123 and 213 of the Constitution respectively. It is to be used as an emergency measure when Parliament and legislatures are not in session.

Modi’s self-reliant India needs more than his ₹20-lakh-crore slogan

Those of you who remember Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind would know that every calamity brings two kinds of people into focus. One category is dominated by people like Scarlet O’ Hara—the ones whose lives are turned upside down but they continue to battle on in the hope that tomorrow is another day.

US, China spit fire, blow kisses in attempt to outsmart each other

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic holds the world to ransom, on the sidelines the United States and China continue to joust – in a relationship that seems mutually contradictory yet beneficial with no way of knowing whether the two are friends or enemies. Even the mandarins in Beijing or Washington probably can’t exactly say where they stand vis-a-vis each other.

Time India took US advice, forged diplomatic ties with Taliban

With Washington keen to pull out the remaining American troops from Afghanistan, sooner rather than later, the question whether India should talk to the Taliban is being debated in official circles in Delhi. A post Ashraf Ghani strategy needs to be worked out, as parties prepare for the elusive intra- Afghan talks. The talks between the Taliban ...

If PM’s call for self-reliance means self-sufficiency, we’ll be worse-off

Food security is not a grain in the granaries but dollars in the treasury, Manohar Singh Gill had told me when he was agriculture secretary between 1992 and 1993 (He later became the chief election commissioner and sports minister during the Commonwealth Games). Those were the heady days of economic liberalisation. Agricultural economist Ashok Gul...

For BJP, migrants’ plight may cause collateral damage sans political cost

The thousands of migrant workers walking back to their village homes hundreds of kilometres away from the cities they were working in, braving deprivation, injury and even death on the way, may not have upset Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government since the reverse migration has been largely peaceful and apolitical.

A President in denial and a Republican party jittery of a trifecta

It is not the first time that Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, has been in denial in the last three and a half years he has been at the Oval Office. But this time around even his cheerleading team is reluctant to go about with the routine.

The curious case of AP PCB letting LG Polymers function without eco nod

LG Polymers, which gave ‘capital punishment’ to the freshly minted ‘capital of Andhra Pradesh,’ Visakhapatnam, has no valid environmental clearance.

COVID and American higher education: Standing on in its head?

With a death toll nearing 75,000, close to 35 million people joining the ranks of unemployment over the last six weeks and the economy showing a negative growth of 5 per cent in the last quarter, the Trump administration is truly looking at a crisis whether it would like to see it that way or not. A nearly US$ 25 trillion economy has literally b...

Seamy side of Aarogya Setu app needs patch up for seamless experience

On May 5, 2020, when a noted ethical hacker from France, known by his pseudonym Eliot Anderson, claimed that there was a security issue with the Arogya Setu App officially introduced by the Modi government, the team at the National Informatics Centre (NIC) which developed the app and the scientific advisor to the prime minister went into a tizzy. ...

Lockdown for the good of people not a weapon of impunity

The current lockdown in India has unraveled an “interpretation creativity” i.e. it is an opportunity for different groups to interpret the lockdown in their own creative ways. When the people interpreting the lockdown are also in power, casteist, Islamophobic, patriarchial, and ideologically inclined to non-Constitutional behaviours, then the lockdown becomes a weapon.

As a young woman ‘enters’ the bois locker…

A few days ago, late at night, I saw someone reposting a bunch of Instagram stories and asking the followers to read the full thread. It was captioned 'when will this objectifying of women ever stop'. My normal reaction to that rhetoric would have been to skip it. But at that boring night, I decided to read through every screenshot, googling the me...

COVID-19, overseas remittances, and that elusive dream

Forget the economic growth numbers coming out on a daily basis. There is only one common denominator for the whole world: we are in for a spin that no one knows how it is going to stabilize eventually and at what point of time.

Drinking alcohol, a habit India loves to hate yet can’t do without

The shutdown on liquor vends, ultimately, was lifted not because of any earth-shaking argument on the innocence of the drink habit or the absence of righteous opposition to it.  The clincher, cynical as it may sound, was the hard cash that the trade brings in.

Far-reaching effects of the lockdown on landlords and tenants’ policies

The immediate strategy for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is the lockdown, suspending all economic activities other than essential services. One of the consequences of the lockdown is the adverse effect on tenancies, affecting both landlords and tenants. Basically, a lease is an agreement by which the owner of an immovable property gives ...

‘Missing’ Kim resurfaces and peace gets a chance again  

In the end, it turned out to be a non-story. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un appeared in public and cut the ribbon to open a fertiliser factory and, with that, snipped all speculation over whether he was dead or alive.

Looking past 60K deaths: Trump still refusing to come to terms with reality

The first of May is here and the President of the United States, Donald Trump, is hell-bent on sticking with his date on opening up the country to back to where it was prior to the deadly pandemic taking an ugly toll.

Rishi Kapoor: The Dorian Gray of Indian cinema who made romance timeless

For several decades it was difficult to imagine there would ever be a wrinkle on Rishi Kapoor’s face. Till a few years ago, he was romancing debutants like Divya Bharti, Zeba Bakhtiar, and Tabu, singing memorable songs in the Alps, bringing into fashion colourful pullovers slung over his shoulders.

Irrfan Khan: The legend whose life and time resembled destiny of kites

The last time I saw Irrfan Khan in person, he was flying kites at his home in the old city of Jaipur. Khan had returned to his hometown after completing one of his greatest films, Paan Singh Tomar, and looked every bit of an athlete — lean, tanned and super fit, ready to run a steeplechase and climb the podium. Who could have imagined that just a f...

Data breach row haunts Kerala CM amid battle against COVID-19

If the COVID-19 epidemic raging through Kerala wasn’t enough trouble for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, a controversy has ignited criticism of his hiring a US firm to analyse data about the viral infection. Already, there have been reports of data breach. For nearly two weeks, Vijayan has been attacked relentlessly by politicians and the media...

India faces a Hamletian moment – to lift or not to lift the corona lockdown?

Let’s face it. No one knows when the shutdown will be lifted; whether it will be lifted; if it should be lifted and if so, how it should be lifted. It was easier on March 24 to announce a lockdown across the nation. Most people sagely nodded their heads at what they considered was a wise act of the government.

Trump’s poll numbers falling even without Clorox, Lysol and Dettol

Chennai: Now with the Nobel Peace Prize turning out to be an elusive dream, President Trump better not be attempting to win a Nobel Prize in Science for his loud thinking on ways to come to terms with the coronavirus, a pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 53,000 Americans so far and leaving more than one million infected.

Left unattended, mental health issues threaten a silent pandemic

The human mind has to deal with a lot more when living through a pandemic, disease outbreaks, disasters, wars and conflicts.

New law or not, lynch mobs need to be brought to justice

The gruesome lynching of two innocent Hindu monks and their driver in Maharashtra’s Palghar district on April 16, not only calls for the enactment of an anti-lynching law, but also to use existing laws to bring offenders to justice until the former comes into force. Calling such incidents as “horrendous acts of mobocracy” the Supreme Court in 20...

A very rare genius: Coronavirus, immigrants and Donald Trump

Recently two journalists in The Washington Post wrote a gripping book titled, “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J Trump’s Testing of America”. The “Very Stable Genius” part of the title is not what the authors complemented the President of the United States with; rather it is a term that Trump has been using for himself, and over and over again, perhap...

Some Indians enjoy Arab hospitality but can’t give up Islamophobia

A spate of Islamophobic messages on social media in the Gulf by expat Hindu-Indians, in combination with the anti-Muslim slant given to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, could have adverse consequences on an otherwise-peaceful coexistence of the two communities in the Arab region. The latest was Bala Krishna Nakka who was sacked from...

COVID-19 and global education crisis is shattering dreams of many young minds

The world continues to reel under the coronavirus and it is only monotonous to put out statistics every day of the number of people infected and the death toll. And, in the midst of all this, almost every international economic agency has come up with a sober assessment of what is in store for 2020, 2021 and beyond.

Action against The Wire: Abuse of authority throttles the voice of criticism

The Uttar Pradesh government’s action against Siddharth Varadarajan, the founding editor of web portal The Wire, has shown how the political authority arrogates the legal power to itself to supress the voices that criticise the ruling dispensations.

Coronavirus and the great lockdown: Bracing for tougher times

The pandemic that has overtaken the world has very few parallels in world history. Some 200 nations and territories have been affected leaving behind a staggering death toll that is only increasing by the hundreds every day. The developed worlds of Europe and America are worse off than the developing countries, and there is not one sector of living...

India’s ‘invisible’ people grease nation’s wheels, get misery in return

Scenes of migrant workers in their hundreds, nay thousands, abandoned on the streets and left to fend for themselves across India, is in sharp contrast to those ensconced comfortably in their middle-class homes in this time of the COVID-19 induced shutdown. Rarely has the sorry plight of crores of fellow-Indians in the unorganised sector appeare...

Modi frozen under COVID-19 headlights, India locked but he needs to move

Since epics are back in vogue, it would be apt to compare Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s coronavirus strategy with the story of Abhimanyu in the Mahabharata. Like Arjuna’s warrior son, Modi has been able to figure out an effective opening move against the pandemic, but he doesn’t know how to get out of the coronavirus chakravyuh. Everybody would...

From 1918 to COVID-19, world has been asleep on pandemic threats

If Rip Van Winkle, a fictional character from a famous short story, had gone to sleep at the height of the 1918 flu and woken up in the middle of the current coronavirus pandemic, instead of 20 years later, he would have noticed nothing had changed.

SC rises to the occasion with order on COVID-19 free testing

The court alluded to the fact that despite various measures taken by the government of India and different state governments/Union territories, the number of patients and deaths was increasing day by day.

Finalising the dream ticket: Joseph Biden’s time to choose the right mate

Anyone seeking the highest position possible in politics or business will naturally be irritated if asked whether they will settle for number two. And Senator Kamala Harris was no different when, at the peak of the campaign trail last year, she was asked to comment on reports that she would be the ‘perfect’ running mate for former Vice President Jo...

2021: Through the crystal ball, life in the times of coronavirus

On a cold January morning, I woke up to the whirr of a drone outside my window. As I stepped into the balcony, the sun was trying to break through the winter mist. A cold, clear zephyr burst through my ribs and rolled down the spine. My first impulse was to slip back under a furry quilt and gulp down a shot of vodka. But, the drone was hovering over my head.

India awaits… the flattening of the COVID-19 curve

Prime Minister Modi does not seem to be his usual self of late. He has toned down his language vis-à-vis the opposition, calls for an all-party meeting and even personally talks to the key opposition leaders and the chief ministers. But the corona magic that has brought about this behavioural change appears to have landed him on the horns of an acute dilemma as well.

Blame the coronavirus on China, and then stand in line for Beijing’s help

When the coronavirus struck China earlier this year, the world sat up and took notice. But there was little sympathy. And now, when China is offering help to other nations, there is no gratitude, only resentment if not suspicion about its motives.

Sanders’ exit from US prez race will mount pressure on Trump, Biden

Trump must be rejoicing in the fact that he did not have to face Sanders this Fall, something the former Vice President Biden does not have. And this is precisely what Biden needs to work on—connecting with Sanders’ base— between now and election if there is to be any meaningful shot at the White House.

Crisis response to COVID-19 will not be a 100-metre sprint

The coronavirus pandemic has spotlighted the vital work of nurses and frontline health and humanitarian workers. Never acknowledged during easy times, health and humanitarian workers are often defined for their courage and compassion while working on the frontline of a crisis. This is what elevates them to superheroes.

Funds aplenty for political defections, but none to fight COVID-19

When it comes to building statues, buying big ticket defence equipment or, for that matter, spending money on legislators to defect, there is never a shortage of funds. But if a fraction of that money has to be spent on healthcare or education, each paise is carefully calibrated, complex accounting is done and the government throws up its hands.

Endgame nears for democrats, as Biden closes in on Trump

Political strategists of President Trump are said to be getting very uncomfortable with the fact that Biden is getting stronger in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the three states Republicans managed to get by a narrow margin in 2016. The particular worry for the Republicans is Biden’s ability to garner Unionists, an indication that the empty scare tactics of the Grand Old Party are not making any inroads.

Extending lockdown not a good idea, may invite compliance issues

Notwithstanding the momentary pain, hopefully the lockdown duration was the right strategy and it really flattens the curve. Otherwise the consequences of an extended lockdown could be dire, particularly from a compliance point of view, as has been proven in countries like Italy, shows a latest research by a group of economists.

Trump and coronavirus: Finally coming to terms with reality

What goes around comes around. In January when coronavirus was spreading rapidly, the US President Donald Trump lavished praises on China and its President Xi Jinping. All this changed in March when Trump started making the point that if only China had confined the virus to one area.

COVID-19: Filled with hate, the Hindu mind is beyond repair

The numbers rose slowly at first. So did the rumours. There were whispers that a few people have spread it in some private parties. And before we could realise, a huge wave came crashing down on us, much like the novel coronavirus.

US’ Trumpidity is why India needs to extend COVID-19 lockdown

The US is already paying a huge price for their President’s inept, almost comical, handling of the coronavirus pandemic. There is a lesson for India from the US tragedy — don’t let Trumpidity define your coronavirus strategy.

Modi’s 9 o’clock corona event is pure astronomy, astrology, math, biology

Wah, Modi ji, wah! You really are a genius. This morning you appeared on national television at exactly 9 o’clock and asked all of us to light candles and torches for exactly 9 minutes at 9 o’clock this Sunday (April 5). Wow! 9, 9 and another 9. Like a trail in teen patti.

The world is staring at depression, though only for a short period

It is official! We are in a global recession. That the global health crisis has morphed into a global recession was driven home last weekend by the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. This round would be worse than the previous recession during the financial crisis of 2009, she warned. A day before Goldman Sach...

Divine tragedy: Humanity as illness, COVID-19 as vaccine

A few days ago, a cruel question popped up on some WhatsApp accounts: What if humanity were a disease and the new coronavirus a vaccine against it? In response, someone shot back: What if God is complicit in punishing the “virus” called humans?

In shutdown, Cauvery breathes life; shows dispute has little to do with river

The lifeline of the two southern states, the much-abused Cauvery river is now reportedly flowing free — with clear waters and sparkle — something not seen in many years, thanks to the shutdown of polluting industries and free flow of effluents into the water body.

COVID-19: It’s time a national unity government is formed in India

Narendra Modi is one leader who enjoys immense public goodwill. It will be in national interest if he considers forming a ‘government of national unity’ with representatives of a wider spectrum of the polity till the coronavirus crisis passes.

Lockdown decided in opaque manner has come back to bite nation

These are unprecedented times. More than one-third of the global population is under complete lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 which has already touched 600,000 lives with a death toll of over 26,000.

States need to be heard for ‘Team India’ to win COVID-19 challenge

Kolkata: The government, anticipating the hardship migrant workers would face by such a sudden and prolonged shutdown, should have made arrangements to take these stranded people home, as many states, including West Bengal, did to facilitate intra-state movement of migrants during lockdown period.

A global battle awaits the world beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

The amazing resolve that the world’s governments have shown in four quick weeks has to be strengthened to wage the more serious battle of addressing the gigantic scales of physical and chemical transformation of materials.

Like demonetisation, lockdown turns farcical, sparks humanitarian crisis

The ongoing lockdown in India is turning into another demonetisation experience — a farce that is unlikely to produce the desired result, a tragedy likely to destroy the lives of millions of people and the economy, and an incident that has all the hall-marks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s style of functioning.

COVID-19: Vigilantism or enforcement? Villa managers go overboard with lockdown

Apartment associations and gated communities across the country have sought to cocoon themselves fearing the marauding coronavirus. In their over-enthusiasm, excessive zeal or the chance to wield raw power, many have imposed their own rules ostensibly to enforce the ongoing nationwide lockdown. In doing so, it may just be possible that some of them...

Frustrating times for Biden as COVID-19 puts campaign on slow lane

Only some two weeks ago the man seemed to be on a roll. He got over bruising losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, stunned his political opponents in South Carolina and went on to crush them in the Tuesdays of March 3, March 10 and March 17.

In COVID-19, a silver lining for diversity and inclusive employment

With the need to ensure social distancing and lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have been forced to go online, with their staff working from home, to ensure functioning. What was earlier a conditional scenario has now become the standard. About 10 years ago, long before the advent of the “coronisation” prelude, the MD of an MNC...

Trump, Modi, Xi or Johnson, COVID-19 is testing their mettle

If United States President Donald Trump famously called the coronavirus pandemic a “hoax” until his country was rudely shaken by a spike of infections, his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro termed it a media-fuelled “fantasy” only to find his personal secretary test positive for Covid-19 the next day.

In a bid to flatten corona curve, India may end up flattening its economy

Nobody can put a finger to the financial cost of the pandemic, but the US government’s decision to give $2 trillion package (almost a tenth of its GDP) is a good indicator of the extent of intervention required.

Modi must listen to corona alarm bells, not claps and thaalis

Now that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has got his corona thaalibration, can we expect him to come up with a serious strategy to deal with the pandemic? It is becoming more and more apparent that Modi’s only solution to a problem is turning it into an event through mass mobilisation.

COVID-19: Kanika and Raje parivar highlight smugness of Indian elite

Coronavirus may not be entertainment but it India should be grateful to the world of entertainment for making it mainstream. And singer Kanika Kapoor should immediately be announced as the poster girl—maybe Baby Doll, in deference to her famous song— of the current epidemic.

Coronavirus: The pandemic the world asked for

Did the global community leave the doors wide open to the deadly coronavirus despite warnings by the scientific community on possible pandemics due to unknown strains of the virus? A reading of transcripts from past scientific meetings and research archives indicates so.

Coronavirus should force India to shore up rickety public health system 

As the days go by and the number of COVID-19 cases go up, the cracks are already beginning to show in the rickety Indian healthcare system – suspected patients are being asked to remain in isolation wards that have no basic facilities, checking at airports and public transport terminals are inconsistent at best and chaotic at worst.

Cajolery won’t suffice, PM Modi should take COVID-19 head on

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known for his penchant for unexpected disruptions, leading to fear and anxiety every time he announces plans to address the nation. But, on Thursday (March 19), when disruption was expected and even warranted, he let the country off with just a mild sermon.

Justice Gogoi, is your Rajya Sabha election just?

The central government and former chief justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, who was sworn in as a member of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday (March 19), after being nominated by the President, albeit amid criticism, have a duty to answer four pertinent questions: Does the act of nominating and accepting the nomination as Rajya Sabha MP, within fou...

Has judiciary lost perception battle over Ranjan Gogoi Rajya Sabha nomination?

The nomination of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Justice of India (CJI), as a member of Rajya Sabha by the President of India appears to have been well worked out by both the incumbent and the Union government.

Amit Shah’s promises on CAA, NPR, NRC cannot alleviate people’s fears

The Union government led by Narendra Modi seems to be waking up to the fact that it cannot be perpetually ‘doubting’ the citizenship of its own people. The government has not explicitly said that it would go back on the CAA, NRC, and NPR.

How can an Indian establish citizenship with baggage of CAA?

Responding to an RTI application seeking a copy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s citizenship certificate, the PMO promptly replied that he does not need such a certificate as he is a citizen by birth according to Section 3 of Citizenship Act, 1955. So far so good.

Is Rajini testing waters by indirectly propping Kamal for CM role?

Is film actor Rajinikanth testing the waters by indirectly projecting Kamal Haasan as the chief ministerial candidate of his front? This is the question uppermost in the minds of political parties and observers as Rajini appears to be reluctant to join the race for chief ministership while limiting his role to party chief. The Rajini statemen...

Biden may be on a roll, but Sanders not ready to give up yet

Super Tuesday Two was as good, if not better, for Joseph Biden than Super Tuesday One of March 3, 2020; and if the present momentum holds yet another Tuesday, March 17 may finally set the stage for the crowning of the former vice president as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate to take on the incumbent Donald Trump in November. For a p...

Ambition, factionalism, intrigue and betrayal mark decline of Cong

Indian astrologers believe two shadow celestial entities play an important role in every person’s life. The story goes that these entities sprang from a demon who drank amrit—the mythological elixir of life —during the churning of the ocean and was decapitated for it by Lord Vishnu.

Congress needs an internal purge if it wants to run the show 

The Congress party, witnessing the disintegration of its government in Madhya Pradesh, resembles Tesla’s self-steering car – with no driver at the helm and some backend machinations working furiously to keep it on the road.

In the Russian roulette called coronavirus, India has a lot at stake

Living in the age of the new coronavirus is like playing the Russian roulette. It is true that the virus will not kill everyone, but nobody can predict which unlucky person, like in the roulette, will get the only bullet in the chamber. So, theoretically, everyone in this world is at risk.

UN knock on Supreme Court’s door on CAA vital to secure human rights

The decision by the Geneva-based United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to file an intervening application before India’s Supreme Court in the cases that seek to examine the constitutional validity of the  Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) in many ways is unprecedented.

When the BJP bells toll for the Congress govt in Madhya Pradesh

The BJP machinery has revved into action. Congress legislators from the state have reportedly been flown into the Sangh Parivar territory of Bengaluru and the by-now déjà vuesque sequence of events are starting to unfold.  

Coronavirus: Contagion now threatens the health of Indian economy

If further proof was ever needed that the world indeed is a small place then this is it. The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China’s Wuhan city, the epicentre of the virus, is such that the world is now on notice. This is a contagion in ways more than one.

Super Tuesday sweep a shot in the arm for Biden in US presidential race

For all those pundits who had started writing the political obituary of Joseph Biden, Super Tuesday of March 3 would certainly have come as a jolt. Biden not only hammered away at the opposition but went on to get 10 out of the 14 states including all of the south.

The US misjudged the Taliban, and lost the plot in Afghanistan

The United States has signed a peace deal with the Taliban, after a 19-year war of attrition. So, who’s the winner?  Obviously it is the Taliban.  The US, leading a pack of major military powers, has been unable to remove from the equation the Islamist group and the former Afghan ruling party.

Amit Shah is loud and clear: BJP will hold on to its Hindutva plank

“Mamata Banerjee is opposing a law passed by Parliament. But, nothing can stop us from embracing our immigrant brothers. Tell Mamata didi she is ruining the legacy of Rabindranath Thakur, Mahatma Gandhi...” For those of you who missed his goli-maaro rally in Kolkata, this is the gist of Hindutva-icon Amit Shah’s speech at Kolkata on Sunday.

Govt can’t hide behind collegium over Judge Muralidhar’s transfer

The legal fraternity was shocked when, by a midnight notification, the Government of India transferred Justice Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court within hours of him pulling up the Delhi Police for its silence on hate speech by four BJP leaders.

Gully Boy deserved all 13 Filmfare Awards; the outrage is uncalled for

Gully Boy impressed critics and audiences alike; India sent it as the official entry in the Best Foreign Language category at the 92nd Academy Awards. The fact that this movie won 13 Filmfare Awards should, therefore, come as no surprise.

India should not succumb to US pressure on pharma price control

Amidst the spectacular roadshows, and big-ticket arms deals during the Trump visit, the proposed mini-trade deal between the US and India has gone into limbo. Considering India’s annual trade of $88 billion with the US and annual US trade volume of $4.2 trillion, a mini trade deal worth $10 billion is no big deal.

Finally, citizenship proof will boil down to moral judgements of officials

The common people of India strongly believe in three things: a) Documents like voter ID, ration card, or school records are sufficient if ever they have to prove their citizenship, b) the CAA is only meant for illegal immigrants, and c) the NRC will help identify the immigrants and pack them off to their countries.

Nader Shah then, Amit Shah now: Identical reign of two Shahs in Delhi

Once upon a time, the colloquial wisdom in Delhi suggested it was better to eat, drink and be merry because whatever else people had would anyway be taken away by the Iranian invader Nader Shah. We may, fortunately, not have been born in Nader Shah’s Delhi. From what we are witnessing today, it can easily be presumed that it would not have been too different from Amit Shah’s Delhi.

Advantage Pakistan as US to sign Taliban deal over Indian objections

The optics surrounding the just-concluded visit of United States President Donald Trump indicates India is an important ally for Washington. Important ally, yes. But there is a limit to how much influence India wields over the US.

With India visit, Trump eyes diaspora votes for a second term

Unlike governments in the past, the Modi sarkar is clearly betting on a second term for Trump. It is still not clear if the Modi government is backing the right candidate — the race, according to polls, is tight but Trump’s graph is showing an uptick — but it is certainly doing its best for the current incumbent.

Shaheen Bagh: Testing the legal limits to peaceful protest

It is not always that the Supreme Court of India, the highest court of the land, appoints interlocutors to negotiate and moderate a protest. This is what the Court actually did in the context of Shaheen Bagh protests on 17th February 2020 setting out mildly the legal and factual matrix for dealing with a protest.

Slapping sedition charges in Bidar case an act of unprecedented oppression

Inciting violence against the state is a crime, but expressing a non-violent opinion is a democratic right. Slapping of sedition charges, in the Bidar case, is an act of unprecedented oppression of expression by police and serious lack of application of mind by the prosecution and adjudicatory authorities.

Trump’s no fool, no point whitewashing India’s poor away

For most of India, United States’ president Donald Trump’s visit is a spectacle to be watched in passing on a television screen. But for some unfortunates, his arrival is a curse that has overturned their fragile lives and thrown them to the wolves.

SC decision on women officers an instrument of social change

The Supreme Court's decision to entitle women Army officers to be elevated to command positions will change the culture of patriarchy that characterises the Indian armed forces.

Between atmospherics and substance: India waits for President Trump

Every American President starting with Bill Clinton have visited India during their tenure in office; and so will President Donald Trump. Having skipped his Republic Day invite last year, POTUS will be coming to India on February 24 and 25 and spend time in Ahmedabad, Agra, and New Delhi.

Will the ‘new outsider’ revive nativist politics in Mumbai?

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS)’s decision to shed their pretentions of inclusive politics and explicitly embrace Hindutva ideology is yet another desperate attempt to revive their presence in Maharashtra’s political landscape.

Where is Arvind Kejriwal headed after the victory in Delhi?

Let’s start by tweaking an old aphorism: When reality knocks on the door, idealism goes flying out of the window. And if that idealism is called Arvind Kejriwal, it flies towards the right, because this is where he can hope to fulfil his dreams and ambitions.

Justice delayed is justice denied, but who cares?

The delay in decision-making at the level of Speakers or Governors has been a matter of debate. In the case of the 11 MLAs, whose membership of the Tamil Nadu Assembly on the ground that they defied the ruling AIADMK whip and voted against CM Edappadi Palaniswami govt on the floor of the House, the matter has been pending for over three years.

When at fault, Jinping, Modi both have someone else to take blame

Had the BJP managed to win, Shah would have been called the “Chanakya” of politics and the prime minister would have made many subtle appearances on TV, with the cadres chanting ‘Modi-Modi’ in the background.  But, for the moment, the Jinpings have found their Keqiangs to deflect the blame.

Delhi mandate: Why BJP isn’t disappointed and what oppn must learn

One of the biggest reasons for AAP’s victory in Delhi is the complete decimation of Congress. From the 10% vote it secured in 2015, the Congress plummeted to 4.5% this time. But, this happened primarily because Congress did not contest the polls seriously, in all likelihood because of a tactical alliance with AAP.

Pinarayi gives Modi ammo on CAA, pins hopes on finance dues

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seems to have been forced to temper his criticism of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) after his comments provided fodder for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to try to discredit the protests. In his reply in the Rajya Sabha, Modi took a shot at the Communist leader, quoting him as saying that certain extremi...

After futile impeachment trial, is US getting ready for 4 more years of Trump?

Only the politically very naïve would have thought that the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who had been impeached in the House of Representatives last December was going to be convicted in the Senate and thrown out of office.

Gusts of change in automobile industry all set to transform our cities

So what happens to the oil industry which is so wholly dependent on consumption by these ICE-based cars? Clearly projections show that demand for oil in any form will peak by 2021-22 at about 100 million barrels a day. but will go downhill by about 70 per cent by 2030.

Trump’s pro-Israel deal snuffs out flickering Palestinian hopes

While India is in the midst of a turmoil over its Citizenship (Amendment) Act, something of a global charade was unfolding in the United States’ capital Washington DC – where in the guise of a “deal of the century” the fate of Palestinians was being sealed tight forever.

Why India should be grateful to Kerala’s war on coronavirus

A few days ago, a district administration official in Rajasthan’s Udaipur got a surprise call from Kerala. The person at the other end of the line told the Udaipur official that they need to track down three persons who had flown to India with a Kerala student who had just tested positive for the novel coronavirus that emanated from Wuhan.

Budget 2020-21 will neither resuscitate economy, nor tackle unemployment

The Union Budget 2020-2021 is not merely clueless in both diagnosis and response. It is positively harmful for the people and seriously flawed in its design as well as its data.

Union Budget: Reading between the lines, the joke is on you

The problem with India at the moment is that nobody is buying anything, because there is no money left in the pocket of consumers. And since demand has fallen, the growth rate is down to less than 5 per cent, the lowest in the Modi raj.

In its desperation to win Delhi, BJP trying to turn Indians against Indians

Till a few years ago, the BJP wanted everyone to believe it would make their lives better through “vikaas.” Then, once ideas like vikaas and achche din started sounding like vacuous jumlas (slogans), it turned to its favourite bogey — the threat of Pakistan.

If it’s coronavirus today, it was SARS earlier. What tomorrow?

China’s coronavirus in an unknown form (novel) is the latest in a series of newfangled viral ailments that have struck the world in the last two decades, created panic, and then disappeared as mysteriously as they appeared.

Kejriwal may win 2020, but he is becoming politically irrelevant

If politics were cricket, in the 2020 elections for Delhi, the AAP would certainly have been cast as India, the BJP as Sri Lanka and the Congress as one of the qualifiers. For those who do not follow cricket, the simple explanation is this: the AAP would be the favourite to win; the BJP would have an outside chance, and the Congress would be hoping for a miracle.

Kerala train users can’t digest BJP’s parotta politics

While Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman was busy serving halwa to her staff ahead of the budget preparations, the Indian Railways was playing culinary politics by dictating what the people of Kerala should eat on trains.

How Kerala churches’ ‘love jihad’ claims strengthen Hindutva agenda

The Christian community has been under flak in Kerala for being silent on the contentious CAA or the NRC. The Synod’s allegations of love jihad could possibly be a way to win favours with the BJP as church groups from Kerala have been active for decades in proselytising tribals in the Northeast.

When they came for the children of Shaheen Bagh

So, next time we see the children of Shaheen Bagh chanting azadi, let's not forget that in Bapu's fight for azadi, in his non-violent civil disobedience, men, women, and children took part equally. What do we call a Rajkumari Gupta, who managed to supply firearms during the Kakori conspiracy, with her three-year-old son in tow?

Jamia, AMU, Shaheen Bagh: Muslim women are heroes of resistance

The heroes of the protests against CAA, NRC and NPR that are raging across the country are undoubtedly the women of the country. However, the most surprising heroines of this agitation are the ordinary Muslim women who have come out in huge numbers to finally take their place in the sun.

Promulgation of NSA in Delhi bodes ill for civil liberties, betrays streak of Sultan

Imposition of the draconian National Security Act (NSA) in Delhi shows the project of turning India into a police state is complete. Or, perhaps we can say now all of India is Kashmir, accept that the jackboots are not on the ground but watching us from a distance.

The royal crisis in United Kingdom blows over – for now?

With Queen Elizabeth agreeing to support the decision of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to “step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent” the so-called Royal crisis seems to have blown over, at least for now.

US Presidents’ power to wage war overseas needs to be checked

US President Donald Trump will most certainly veto the restraint, leaving it up to the Democrats to come up with a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate to override the veto and make it law.

Smriti Irani’s attack on Deepika is typical right-wing mix of canards and bluster

Responding to Deepika’s gesture of support to the JNU students, Smriti Irani has hit back by arguing that the actor is a Congress supporter (which, in the worldview of the rightwinger is tantamount to supporting Pakistan since the only legitimate option available to a patriotic India is his own party).

Statelessness stares at one lakh Sri Lankan Hindus

The Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) is discriminatory on several grounds. It does not promote equality but violates it. It destroys the secular character and Article 14, as ‘religion’ is made basis of discrimination.

Catch your breath before the next round of US-Iran conflict in Iraq

For the time being tempers and tension seem to have come down in the Middle-East over the US’s assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. But this is just another episode in the quagmire that Iraq finds itself in since the US invasion in 2003. No one can be sure what can crop up next and where that will lead to. When the US invaded Iraq ...

Rhetoric: An effective arm of the war machinery

If there is anything more devastating than war, it is war rhetoric. As the world witnesses rising tensions and the nations watch the unfolding of war-like events involving Iran and the US, the rhetoric on both sides seems pumped up. The intentions of rhetoricians could be multifold – from mopping up support for a cause to amplifying the need for...

Bolton could turn tide against Trump in impeachment trial

There is the creepy feeling in some quarters that had it not been for the riveting testimony of John Dean, Richard Nixon’s White House Counsel during the Watergate Scandal, the former President would never have resigned and would have manoeuvred to complete his term in office.

Those silently watching JNU attack are like Dhritrashtra’s darbaris

The India of today has begun to resemble Kuru king Dhritrashtra’s darbar. Its honour, traditions and pride are being disrobed, its students are being attacked and girls are being manhandled with impunity by thugs. And the people responsible for speaking up and taking a stand are watching in silence. Some of the darbaris of the Kuru kingdom at le...

For British India and BJP, students in politics are anti-nationals

Attitude of the BJP government towards students’ protests is eerily similar to the way the British government in pre-independent India treated them. Narendra Modi who promised students that they will be stakeholders in the political process has now left them with broken bones. It appears for the British and BJP, protesting students are anti-nationals.

Soleimani killing: Has Trump stirred up a hornet’s nest?

The targeted killing of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani by the US has threatened to throw the already volatile political situation in West Asia in deeper turmoil. The drone attack on Friday (January 3) by the US near the Bagdad international airport, which killed the charismatic Soleimani, has shocked the Iranian establishment, which has vowed “s...

US shocks world by killing Soleimani; Does sovereignty matter?

The United States’ assassination of Iran’s top security official Qasem Soleimani does not seem to have evoked any condemnation from most of the world, as it is by now expected, or taken for granted, that Washington will have its way in any power struggle with a rival country.

Between a gift and the message: What does Kim Jong Un really want?

For about a week before the dawn of the new decade, the world — especially the United States and East Asia — was on its edge and for good reasons. The North Korean strongman, Kim Jong Un promised a “Christmas gift” to the American President Donald Trump.

CAA: Time India wakes up to the mistakes of other nations  

The protests against the latest amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955, stand out for their spontaneity, the absence of any identifiable leadership and mark the first time that a decision of the Modi government has met with popular resistance of this magnitude.

In 2020, we stand at the doorsteps of 2002 and its culture of hate

The beginning of 2020 is as ominous as the end of 2002—it portends the complete degeneration of India into an authoritarian state where the only instrument of mass subjugation will be hate.

CDS will need maturity to overcome resistance from Services, bureaucracy

In a major reform of the country’s military leadership, the government has attempted to define the role of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to ensure greater operational synergy and financial management between the Army, Air Force and Navy. Towards this objective, the government will create a new organisation called the Department of Military Affai...

J’khand rout should teach BJP to choose between Shah ‘neeti,’ real ...

The Jharkhand loss for the BJP is significant because it comes bang in the middle of countrywide protests against the changes in citizenship law. The BJP has lost in spite of the prime minister’s attempt to monetise the controversial law during the campaign in Jharkhand, and his crass remarks on the identity of protesters.

CAA-NRC: The ‘ploy’ to divide masses is actually uniting India

Kolkata: While the ruling dispensation and its digital army are trying to defame the dissents on the streets by giving it a communal colour, the anti-CAA-NRC protests across the country are blurring many old fault lines, at least as of now.

On India’s streets, youth push back BJP’s politics of hate, fear

The BJP has ruled so far through fear and its majoritarian agenda, even as its government failed on many fronts. But it knows that the cocktail of a prolonged conflict with its own citizens and a falling economy can be lethal for its longevity.

Death for Musharraf, Pak judiciary cuts military down to size

Whether former Pakistan president Parvez Musharraf is eventually executed or not, the fact that a special court sentenced him to death is in itself stunning. For, such an outcome was extremely unexpected in a country where the military has dominated almost all aspects of political life since its birth in 1947.

Resistance to CAA shows how to deal with BJP’s Gujarat model of conflict

The BJP can be countered today only through a sustained attack on its policies that have derailed the economy. Its opponents have to be relentless in talking about the fall in GDP—at 4.5 per cent, it has been sliding for eight quarters.

Citizen science: Lessons from the Vikram episode

New Delhi: The recent discovery of the site where Vikram Lander – a key segment of the Chandrayan-2 mission of the ISRO – had hard-landed, by a Chennai-based software engineer has brought into focus an emerging trend of ‘citizen science’.

When will anti-rape laws instill fear in perpetrators, shield victims?

The phrase ‘nirbhaya (fearless) women’ has become an empty rhetoric, as it has failed to make women fearless. With around two-thirds of judicial officers not presiding in courts, both in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and because of pending vacancies, around 60 per cent of criminal cases are unable to go on with the routine trial. In such a situat...

Nitish Kumar, the clever Ku-Ku squished by Hindutva CAB

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is a kurmi — a backward class that’s almost six per cent of Bihar. Though he hasn’t confessed yet, but his creed must be kursi (chair) — a faith practiced by 100 per cent politicians of India. Every politician in India flocks to kursi. But, this Ku-Ku, as in NaMo for Kursi Kumar, is a bird of such unique feather...

Citizenship Act may find it tough to clear ‘basic structure’ doctrine

Last week’s controversial amendment to the Citizenship Act has had everyone scouring the statute books to see if it has in any way altered the “basic structure” of the Constitution.

Citizenship law is just a gimmick, BJP only wants to distract

The BJP loves to thrive on disruptions, chaos, panic and uncertainty triggered by its politics. It always follows the simple strategy of creating a divide, manipulating the majority through hyperbole, fiction and fact, and, by the time people understand its real motive, the absurdity of the disruption caused by it, moving on to something else. S...

Deconstruction of India through Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), which will soon become law, will turn India into a ‘Hindutva Republic’, and in utter disregard to the secular tenets of our Constitution. CAB simply means that if a Hindu from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan comes to India to settle with his relatives or friends from whom he was separated in 1947 or la...

British elections, a de facto referendum on Brexit

The British general elections on December 12 is for all practical purposes one more referendum on Brexit but in a barely-made up disguise.

Hyderabad exposes hypocrisy of the angrier-than-thou like Jaya Bachchan

Once upon a time in India, its streets echoed with chants of “Bofors ke dalalon ko, joote maaro saalon ko (beat up the middlemen in the Bofors deal with shoes).”

Saudi Aramco’s IPO may help oil giant try new businesses

Saudi Aramco’s recent initial public offering (IPO) that helped it raise $25.6 billion, by selling 3 billion (1.5%) of its 200 billion shares, makes it the most valued company in the world at $1.7 trillion surpassing Apple Inc.

Hyderabad encounter isn’t justice, it replaces one monster with another

The encounter killing of four men in Hyderabad on Friday morning is cold-blooded murder served on demand by the local police to satisfy the blood-lust of a crazed public and its cheerleaders. The purported justice for rape and murder of a veterinarian is, ironically, rape and murder of the justice system.

Whether Nirmala eats onions or not, I want them back on my plate

As a daughter of refugee parents – both my parents moved from East to West Bengal following the partition of India – there are certain staple refugee romanticisms we grew up on since childhood. One of those stories was about their staple diet, panta bhaat. We were told how people in East Bengal ate panta bhaat every single morning for breakfast. Pa...

How FSSAI’s warning to junk food makers is mere shadow-boxing

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country’s apex food regulator, appears to be running around like a headless chicken when it comes to dealing with junk food. Its actions and words don’t match with regard to its stand on food products considered unhealthy. The regulator has been preaching about eating right and nutritiou...

When will we go beyond drama to end rapes?

In a week, India has witnessed at least six incidents of rapes. Although it takes us a ghastly Nirbhaya, a Kathua or a Disha rape and murder case to happen, to wake up to the fact how India is in the throes of a rape crisis, rapes in the country are not as seasonal as the media portrays them to be, in the wake of a sensational case.

MPs bay for blood, but aren’t cops too guilty for Hyderabad rape?

Parliamentarians, while demanding tough punishment for those who raped and murdered Disha in Hyderabad, seem to have overlooked how existing penal provisions were violated, facilitating the crime to happen in the first place. Disha, the name given to the veterinary doctor who was killed last Thursday (November 28) brought back memories of the br...

Work permit, not NRC, is the solution to problem of illegal migrants

The hush-hush manner in which India reportedly carried out pushback of 59 alleged illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the wee hours of of Friday (November 29) speaks volumes about the handling of an emotive issue, which is currently dominating Indian politics, particularly in eastern India. The clandestine operation was in sharp contrast to how 150 ...

Democrats and the tough road to the White House

It is not going to be easy for the Democratic Party to take the White House in November 2020, not because of an invincible incumbent in President Donald Trump, but because the party is still in the search for a viable messenger and a powerful message. What started off with some 24 candidates in the fray for the nomination, has dropped down to ab...

Is this endgame for secularism in Indian politics?

Is secularism as a component of political ideology headed for death in India? The coming together of ideological poles in Maharashtra will suggest so. The last citadel of the Indian version of secularism, the Congress, has all but crumbled with the Grand Old Party readily agreeing to sup with the ‘devil’, the Shiv Sena, in Maharashtra. The Co...

Maharashtra ends BJP monopoly over ‘Jai Shree Ram’ brand of politics

A man once woke up from sleep screaming and shouting. When asked what the ruckus was all about, he replied, a mouse just passed over his stomach.

On Constitution day, Maharashtra exposes inept, immoral institutes

On the occasion of Constitution Day, in deference to the prevailing culture, politics and morality of India, it is fitting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is exhorting us to protect, preserve and honour India’s constitutional legacy. Within 24 hours, we would have the privilege of watching the PM’s solemn advice put into practice in Maharashtr...

Chronicle of Maharashtra Assembly’s fate foretold

The way now seems clear for the Shiv Sena-led combine to form government in Maharashtra following the resignations of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and renegade NCP deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday. But, if this coalition imagines that the path is smooth for the next five years, it is living under a delusion. All that the alliance ...

For Indian Political League, auction top option for getting horses of our choice

It’s all a game of numbers, right? In the end, the ones who score the maximum number of MLAs get to win the Indian Political League. So, why not revamp the entire process, and make it similar to the cricket IPL. Start by creating a pool of people for sale, set a reserve price for them and open the auction window.

Impeaching a President: Fact, fiction and lessons from history

Always give your best. Never get discouraged; never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them and then you destroy yourself. — Richard Nixon’s last address to staffers at the East Room of White House. Lawmakers, especially those involved in the impeachment of United States President ...

Beyond Hindu-Muslim binary: The Buddhist Claim on Ayodhya

The Babri Mosque-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute may have reached its climax after a 140-year-long legal battle. But has it really ended? Is the verdict really about ‘equity and good conscience’ as pronounced by the Supreme Court? Was the mob which demolished the mosque right in its claim? Has the unanimous judgment by a five-judge constitution bench ...

Clean chit to ex-CJI in harassment case leaves room for corrections

For every woman who dares to speak up and is silenced through institutional harassment, there are ten other women watching her journey, and believing that speaking up about sexual harassment is not worth the pain.

BHU students protesting Muslim Sanskrit teacher a blot on Indian culture

For the nincompoops refusing to learn Sanskrit from a Muslim teacher at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), the only fitting advice is the one sung by Lata Mangeshkar to the divine music of Jaidev: Allah tero naam, Ishwar tero naam, sab ko sanmati de Bhagwan. (Allah and Ishwar are both your names, O Lord, give wisdom to everyone). Apart from bei...

Why CPI(M)’s U-turn on Sabarimala is a victory of its critics

The refusal of the Kerala government to give police protection to young women visiting the Ayyappa shrine reverses the stand it took last year when the Supreme Court threw out a 1991 High Court ban on women of menstruating age from visiting the hill temple. Amid violent protests, it had sneaked in two women into the temple under heavy police protection late at night.

Muslims don’t want compensation, they want justice

The Babri mosque was more than just a mosque to Muslims in India. It represented the community’s position as equal citizens in the secular, democratic country they had chosen to live in. After its highly visible and violent destruction in 1992, the Babri mosque became even more important because it was the litmus test for justice – whether Muslims ...

Pawar politics could see Maharashtra getting Thackeray ‘Sarkar’

Only two factors keep coalition governments alive in India — fear and greed. Smart investors may have noted that these two are the driving forces of the stock markets too, and that’s exactly the point: in the end, both are about maximising returns (greed) and minimising losses (fear).

Lanka polls to decide who is winner – India or China?

For India, there is more to it than just a change at the helm in Sri Lanka when it goes to polls for a new president on Saturday. While the presidential elections are obviously important for Lankans, given the new China-centric power equation in Asia, the outcome is crucial to India too which is struggling to regain its once-powerful influence over its island neighbour.

SC’s Rafale verdict does not help transparency in arms purchase

The Supreme Court decision to reject the review petition on the Rafale deal only adds opacity to the defence procurement process synonymous with a history of corruption in the country. Soon after independence, the first defence scandal was over procurement of jeeps from Britain in 1948.

Evolutionary logic and history contradict belief Rama was born in Ayodhya

Is Ayodhya really the birthplace (janmbhoomi) of Lord Rama? A lot can be written about the Ramayana being an epic inspired by myths and fantasies that should not be taken literally. Some historians argue it was written as a counterpoint to the teachings of the Buddha and Mahavira and was meant to be seen as a moral code for rulers, their familie...

Bengaluru’s Bangladeshi labourers should be proud; the shame is ours

Life for Bangladeshi waste pickers in Bengaluru appears to have become like the plastic and paper scraps they collect from the city’s dumps: used and thrown. The city they saved from decay is now disposing them. A fortnight ago, the police, under pressure from the state and central BJP governments, arrested 60 undocumented Bangladeshi waste pick...

Seshan died now, his strict system of poll conduct died earlier

Former Chief Election Commissioner TN Seshan physically exited from this world on Sunday but he must have died a thousand deaths witnessing the dismantling of the strict regulatory system he had enforced in the conduct of India’s elections. In 1991 when Seshan, a career bureaucrat, took over the Constitutionally-created autonomous Election...

Kamal Haasan’s Hey Ram: An excavation of uncomfortable, honest truths

Anand Patwardhan's 1992 documentary, Ram Ke Naam, tracks the right-wing nationalist movement's campaign to build a Ram temple at the site of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. It begins with LK Advani's Ram Rath Yatra and follows the outbreak of riots across the Hindi belt. It explores the mood and ideology behind the movement. The movement is nothing new...

It’s not possible for any forum to decide on grounds of faith, belief

The apex court, putting an end to the litigation over the birth place of Lord Ram paved way for construction of temple as dreamt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).

To BJP or not: Rajinikanth’s dilemma over political stance

At the back of his mind, Rajinikanth is well aware of the BJP’s limitations in a state dominated by regional parties like the DMK and the AIADMK, and other Dravidian forces. Like in Kerala, the minorities have voted in large numbers against the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

Ayodhya: Congress created an opening, BJP scored the goal

The BJP has every reason to be happy with the Supreme Court verdict, allowing a Ram temple to come up at the disputed Ayodhya site. If it needs to thank anyone for this turn of events, it is its arch-rival, the Congress party.

Maharashtra should teach cagey Cong to buck up and strategise better

Less than expected, the results of the Maharashtra assembly elections might have caused headache and embarrassment to the top brass of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but it is the Congress leadership that needs to deal with a chronic migraine and uncertain future.

Like it or not, India will not benefit from large free trade deals

This may be a hard one to swallow, but the fact is India does not appear ready to get into free trade agreements with bigger powers, like in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and benefit from them.

One cannot ask Why, What, Where, When, Who and How in Kashmir

‘Kyoun bhi kehna jurm hai Kaise bhi kehna jurm hai’ (To ask questions is a crime here, to ask why and how is also criminalized.) When renowned Italian writer and survivor of the Holocaust Primo Levi passed away, The Guardian paid tribute to him through the following words, “The death of Primo Levi robs Italy of one of its finest writers…...

In Maharashtra, the BJP is learning the dangers of riding a ‘tiger’

Followers of Indian politics must have noticed that the BJP has not exhibited its characteristic brag-and-bully brand of politics in Maharashtra since the results threw up a mixed mandate.

Prosecuting journalists in the name of false news will stifle dissent

A recent Government Order (GO) issued by the Andhra Pradesh government threatening to initiate criminal prosecution against media persons for “false”, “baseless” and “defamatory” news items raises apprehension on the government's intent. Given the pendency in courts and delay in dispensation of cases, there is every possibility to fear that the ...

Why the govt could look at MNREGA in the time of distress

Argentina’s unemployment climbed to 18%, further jumping to 39% in 1996-97 which was said to be the poorest decile. To curb the turmoil, the Argentinian government introduced a reformed wage for work programme with the assistance from World Bank (Trabajar II) which provided temporary work for those who sought it, at relatively low wages ­­— set ...

Tamil parties up in arms against ‘saffronisation’ of Thiruvalluvar

It is strange that the BJP picked up Thirukkural as a vehicle to boost a Hindutva campaign in Tamil Nadu, given the Kural’s (a poetry meter comprising two lines) emphatic message that all human beings are equal at birth and professing values like universal brotherhood.

Modi govt’s moves on Kashmir will please Pakistan

If there’s one individual who should be happy with the Modi government’s actions on Kashmir, that must be Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan. For, the BJP-led Indian government has managed to do what Islamabad has been striving for many years — to internationalise the Kashmir dispute. First, it was the United States' president Donald Trump, wh...

Police-politician nexus making good governance a mirage

The Karnataka high court recently directed the Police Establishment Board to clarify if the transfers and retention of police officers were made on the recommendation letters given by 21 MLAs, for posting police officers of their choice in their respective assembly constituencies. The Court observed that “both the state government and the Police...

Information Commissions now just toothless tigers

The states’ autonomy over their Information Commissions was destroyed as the Union government was determined to take away the independence of the State Information Commissions all over India.

‘Friendly’ EU team to whitewash Modi govt actions in Kashmir

The Indian government’s move to allow a delegation of European Union members of parliament into Kashmir amounts to “internationalising” the issue, something that upends a long-held policy of maintaining the dispute as a bilateral issue with Pakistan, no more no less.

US follies created ISIS, bred Baghdadi, Trump shouldn’t boast but introspect

Donald Trump’s favourite reply to any question on any subject under the sky—economy, Iran, terrorism, nukes, women, Ukraine — is usually this: “Nobody knows it better than me.” Let’s take this claim on face value and put a few questions to the omniscient President of the US states. 1) Who created Daesh, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? 2)...

Why BJP is still unable to find its way in Andhra

Defeat of the Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the last Assembly elections has opened up space for the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) in Andhra Pradesh, but the saffron party does not seem to have made much progress so far. Like in other southern states where the regional political culture had taken deep roots, Andhra Pradesh cont...

With Kanda and danda, Shah proves elections a farce, BJP always wins

You’ve got to give it to Shah for two stellar qualities. One, he is clued into the history and dynamics of not just people, but also entire families and states. Two, he has made elections redundant in India. For, whatever be the process, in the end it is always Shah who wins.

Layman lays the rules: A message loud and clear in Maharashtra, Haryana

People are the new Opposition, that’s the overarching message that comes out of the results of Maharashtra and Haryana elections. In both the states, the Opposition had capitulated to such an extent that it was displaying no will to put up even a decent fight leave alone a contest.

Modi govt attempts to ‘arm-twist’ Malaysia, Turkey on Kashmir

The Indian government appears to be moving beyond diplomacy into the realm of arm-twisting to express anger at two friendly countries — Malaysia and Turkey — for their pro-Pakistan position on Kashmir and for supporting Islamabad at the recent FATF meeting in Paris. Unlike in the past when Indian governments would react diplomatically, the curre...

Future of farming: Charging growers for outcomes instead of inputs

Advances in computing and communications technology is making possible a new business model where companies engaged in selling seeds, traits and crop protection products may charge for outcomes.

Maharashtra, Haryana polls will prove we are a single-party democracy

In a few hours from now, news channels will tell us what we already know about the ongoing round of elections—that the BJP is sweeping both Maharashtra and Haryana. Whatever be the individual numbers, the BJP tally is likely to be humongous in both these states.

US does a Vietnam in Syria; unable to oust al-Assad 

In a move reminiscent of Vietnam, United States President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of troops from embattled Syria, defeated in his attempt to oust President Bashar al-Assad. The US exit has left Syria in a deeper mess than when it needlessly intervened in that country.

Nobel laureates and their experimental economics

That Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee would receive the Sveriges Riksbank Prize for the Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel in their lifetime was never in doubt. That Michael Kremer would join them to receive this honour is unsurprising. That it should have come so soon is a matter of considerable surprise, since it is rare for winners to ...

What’s behind Dada’s appointment as BCCI chief? A hint of politics and lu...

In sports, it is often said that you need to focus more on the process, and the results will have no choice but to follow naturally. In politics, sometimes it is the end that justifies the means. With regard to the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India, a bit of both was at play as Sourav Ganguly was elected president, unopposed. Clearly,...

Kashmir, Hong Kong seem similar, but in reality are different

It is tempting, as many have attempted, to compare the ongoing uprising in Hong Kong and the siege-like situation in Kashmir after the removal of special status. At most, there are points of similarities and elements that tempt comparison, but they are dwarfed by the many differences between the two.

‘Casteing’ a discriminatory gaze on classical and traditional folk arts

Social media went abuzz after the Modi-Xi meet at Mahabalipuram finally came to an end, debating whether or not casteism was on display during the cultural programmes presented specially for the occasion. Singer TM Krishna triggered the debate with a post in which he said from what he saw, it was clear that discrimination of the arts and its pra...

US braces for a crisis as Trump faces impeachment pressure

America is yet to recover from the rancor in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election where nearly everyone, excepting of course the President, was convinced of Russian meddling to the advantage of Donald Trump.

Maverick petitioners misusing sedition law to throttle dissent

On October 9 the Senior Superintendent of Police, Muzaffarpur, Bihar, Manoj Kumar Sinha closed a sedition complaint against 49 celebrities for writing an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticising the unhealthy atmosphere prevailing in the country over gruesome lynching incidents. A first information report was filed at Sadar police st...

Potsherds in Keeladi site not as old as 6th century BC

My earlier piece on Keeladi, which said that the excavations have raised more questions than providing answers, has stirred up a hornet’s nest. There are many hornets buzzing around trying to sting me and those who agree with me. Not one of them, even the archaeologist who carried out the excavations earlier, Mr Amarnath Ramakrishna, has chosen to ...

Modi, Imran compete to sup with Trump, dine with Xi

If you thought India and Pakistan competed only in the cricket field, you are wrong. In politics too, the two rivals seem to be elbowing each other for the attention of world leaders like Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.

Rafale and Rajnath: When life gives a jet, why not make lemonade!

If life gives you a Rafale, use it to make lemonade. Unless Rajnath Singh believes in this old adage, it is kind of surprising that he stopped at sacrificing just a few lemons while taking delivery of a magnificent creation like the Rafale in Paris on October 8.

British PM pushes Brexit recklessly, unmindful of consequences

He is a populist leader who is using nationalism to divide the country into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ for his own political gains. He has tried to tear down democratic institutions and broken the law in the bargain but refuses to apologise when caught, using offence as the main form of defence. Opponents are called ‘traitors’ and his inflammatory language...

India, China need each other; Chennai meet to reinforce that

Anyone well-versed in realpolitik will know that nations ultimately look to see what they gain in a relationship and both the Indian and Chinese leadership over the last several decades have demonstrated this in a variety of ways.

Modi’s love of ‘idli-dosa’ hides his govt’s liking for ‘dal-r...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have warmed the hearts of Tamil enthusiasts with his “love” for their tongue and cuisine, but lurking underneath is an intriguing dalliance with Hindi, a language that his government is trying hard to promote at the expense of other languages.

Dream on India, the US will never let go of Pakistan

US president Donald Trump is two-timing between the two South Asian rivals, Indian Prime Minister Modi and Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan since the US needs both.

River water disputes Bill puts states at Centre’s mercy

The three bills introduced by the BJP-led NDA government in 2019 – River Basin Authority Bill, National Dam Safety Authority Bill and Inter-state River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill – dilute state’s rights over the river water and concentrates decisions in the hands of the Centre. Though water is state subject, inter-state rivers and river val...

History’s fools: Lessons for Pak, Imran Khan from failed romance with US

Just before his bilateral talks with Donald Trump in Washington on September 23, Pakistan’s prime minister gave the world a peek into his psyche that seems tormented by regret over his country’s doomed romance with the US.

Full marks to Trump for guest appearance in opera starring Modi

On Sunday, while Donald Trump was listening to paeans in his praise by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, the intrepid US press was busy digging details of his scandalous conversations with the Ukrainian president.

Pak, Kashmir, US polls: Howdy Modi was an event destined to happen

Modi’s Houston event is being held in the backdrop of the decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status. The international media, especially the press in the US and London, has been brutally critical of the Indian decision and its impact on the life of Kashmiris.

FM gifts corporates with ₹1.45 L cr tax cuts leaving consumers in a lurch

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is the butt of plenty of jokes these days. One of them envisions her at a bank without an ID. Asked to prove her credentials the FM pleads her mind is completely blank and she has absolutely no clue what to do. The cashier immediately identifies her as the finance minister blessed with the ability to do nothing, ...

US, Saudi seething over drone attacks; what next?

The irony of extended conflicts is they invariably move out of the front pages and media attention thereby receding from public memory. Until a major development yanks them back into the limelight – like the drone attacks on the Saudi oil fields that made the world sit up and take notice. The oil market is in a tizzy, prices have gone up and que...

Mix of economics, politics leading to new high in crude prices

A number of micro economic factors like the advent of more fuel efficient automobiles, and transportation in general, better infrastructure and growth in alternate sources of energy like solar have resulted in continued lower oil prices.

Happy birthday Modi ji, thanks for teaching us how to be in news

If you have been following Modi, you would know what is the purpose of life —to stay in the news. Or, even better, be the news, create the news. Except for media, everything else is just maya.

Howdy! Houston ‘jugalbandi’ to massage Narendra Modi image

Never mind the economic gloom in India, unsettling political events in Kashmir and the NRC fiasco, Indians now have something to look forward to: the September 22 “Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures” event at Houston in Texas.

Raised in feudal politics, why Jagan can’t shake off his vengeance for rivals

“There is nothing wrong if Chandrababu Naidu is shot in the middle of the road for all his misdeeds,” YSR Congress Party supremo Jagan Mohan Reddy had said, while addressing an election rally at Nandyal in the faction-ridden Rayalaseema region in August, 2017. The shocking outburst in full media glare reflected the nature of rivalry between the ...

Finance minister’s wisdom turning episodic and sporadic 

A few days ago, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was asked an out-of-syllabus question on the impact of the decision to roll back of the surcharge she had proposed on the foreign portfolio investors in her Budget. The minister first fiddled with a water bottle, perhaps in a bid to remove its cap, which, rather fittingly for the occasion, ...

Should judges go by rule of law or rulers’ law?

“The power of transfer is a highly dangerous power involving great hardship and, injury to the judge transferred including a stigma on his reputation in cases where the transfer is not effected pursuant to any policy but the judge is picked out for transfer on a selective basis and to my mind, it makes no difference whether the transfer is made by ...

18 years after 9/11 attacks, US war on terror goes haywire

Eighteen years ago, on this day, the world took a sharp, unexpected and irreversible turn. The al-Qaeda engineered attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York and the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, while puncturing the aura of invincibility of the global superpower, and managed to awaken “the sleeping giant” for the second time ...

Modi govt can’t get it wrong; even its failures are successes

Three days after ISRO failed to land Chandrayaan-2 “softly” on the Moon, news has started filtering out that it was indeed a success. Despite the inability to carry out the soft landing, which was the most important element of the exercise, it now appears that it should still be considered a success as Vikram, the lander, which crashed on the moon from around a kilometre in space has been located. 

100 days of Jagan: Vindictive, populist politics hinder development

Amaravati: YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh is a shining example of how a smashing electoral victory does not necessarily entail good prospects for the development of a state. A hundred days in the saddle, the young chief minister has offered little to cheer about the fledgling state. A slew of decisions that smacked more of a political ve...

Chaos, clash and slowdown: Why it’s time to revisit Manmohan’s legacy

History, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh once poignantly said, would be kinder to him than the media. He might have been rephrasing the old argument that some people are born ahead of their time and, thus, not fully understood by their contemporaries.

When will Kashmiris see a normal, peaceful day again?

Apparently, people themselves are refusing to come out in protest despite lifting of restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, though it is not clear whether there is an organised effort behind the self-imposed boycott.

Why BJP may play ‘illegal migrant’ card in Telangana next to counter KCR ...

After Assam, it may well be the turn for Telangana to play out bitter politics over undocumented immigrants. The state BJP unit has demanded that the National Register for Citizens (NRC) updation be replicated in Telangana, the country’s youngest state. The saffron party, which is making desperate attempts to make inroads into Telangana, has lat...

If you can’t give them bread, give them beads and boost GDP again

Since unreal times call for unreal measures, the time is real right for some out of the bed, er, out of the box ideas for reviving the Indian growth story. Here are some suggestions with the tongue firmly where it belongs.

India punctured Pakistan’s political prestige with Article 370 repeal

For Pakistan, the Indian move which abrogated Article 370 in August 2019 to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), punctures its political prestige vis-a-vis India and more importantly its people.

Pak’s Kashmir hour: Imran’s rhetoric must be making Jinnah turn in his grave

If the pain of leaving the mortal world without setting his foot in the Valley were not enough, Mohammad Ali Jinnah would have been turning in his grave at the Mazar-e-Quiad in Karachi listening to paeans for Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi in his own backyard on Friday.

‘Illegal’ migrants yes, but unfair to assume they are evil 

August 31 will be a “dread”-letter day for lakhs of people who will see if their names figure on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. For those who will not be on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) overnight their status will be open for questioning — creating uncertainty, tension and fear for their future in India. The governm...

Press council cannot act as Centre’s puppet, it has to be on people’s side

The intervention of the chairman of Press Council of India (PCI) in a writ petition filed by the executive editor of a Kashmir daily, challenging the restrictions on media movement in the Valley in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370, has elicited sharp criticisms from the media fraternity. While such a step taken by the PCI chairman, without...

Uncle Sam messed up Afghanistan; now wants others to clean it up

US President Donald Trump’s crib that his country, though 7,000 miles away, was fighting terrorism in Afghanistan while neighbouring Pakistan had done little and India had done nothing about it hides more than it reveals.

PM’s population scare: Self-interest, not patriotism, should guide family size

Prime Minister Narendra Modi created an unnecessary scare about India’s population exploding in his Independence Day speech. By mixing it up with patriotism, he provided an opportunity for the communally-minded to indulge in minority bashing. The very next day, according to news agency PTI, the Shiv Sena gave vent to prejudice in its mouthpiece,...

EPS-OPS: A dual leadership in public, a duel in private

When the CM leaves on his UK and US tour on August 28, the simmering differences will be too obvious as Palaniswamy is not inclined to have OPS take over in his absence, though it would be only for a few days. Instead, he is planning to have a team of three ministers to handle any exigency while he is away.

Had there been paradise, Khayyam would have been its music composer

Had paradise existed anywhere in the cosmos, Mohammad Zahoor Khayyam would have been its principal music composer. He would have sat in the middle of it with a dholak, a jal tarang or a flute and created its mellifluous sounds, rhythms and cadences. Khayyam would have been the sound of the music played in the Gardens of Eden, he would have been god...

Taliban’s likely return to Kabul will go against India

Eighteen years after the Taliban government in Afghanistan was violently ejected from power by the United States-led coalition, the radical Islamic group is set to make a political comeback — a development that does not bode well for India. On October 7, 2001, when a United Nations-empowered coalition swooped on Afghanistan in retaliation agains...

Chief of Defence Staff, a decision better late than never

In his sixth Independence Day address to the nation from the Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the setting up of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) post over the three military chiefs. However, controversy characterises the creation of a CDS, considering that the move has been opposed for over two decades due to inter-services rivalry...

UNSC’s move to discuss Kashmir not a good sign for India

The United Nations has been a bit of a paper tiger since the days the US started getting its way in geopolitics. When the US started pounding Iraq, dismantling Libya and meddling in Syria, the only legitimate arbiter of world’s conflicts has been just a notice board for countries willing to resort disputes through their military might. Once the ...

Aadhaar for face detection: Good to nab criminals, bad for common man’s privacy...

Chennai Police could be the pioneers in deploying face-detection technologies on a large-scale. But deployment of these technologies is neither limited to Chennai now, nor is it confined to facial detection. With almost all states, except some northeastern states, now deploying the technology and the government seriously considering the request ...

Kashmir ‘fully integrated’ with India even before Article 370 was dumped

The biggest peg, on which hangs the BJP government’s decision to neutralise Article 370 and scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, is integration. Now that Article 370 is all but gone, Kashmir is “fully integrated” into India, goes the argument of the BJP, its mentor RSS and all their supporters. And not just supporters, even some in the opposit...

Pak has no locus standi on Kashmir, it can only kick itself for self goal

If India attacks Pakistan, if the conventional war is going against us, we would have two choices. One would be to act like Bahadur Shah Zafar and give up without a fight. The other would be learn from Tipu Sultan and fight till the last drop.

Being Modi: The political dynamics of abrogating Article 370

Was it coming? Some would claim they were the first to predict. They got it right only partially though. They could not imagine the government could actually repeal the controversial Article 370, granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and go on to bifurcate the state to the extent of downgrading the status of a full-blown state to a centrall...

Article 370: India should dread outsourcing its fate to 3 men in a hurry

Three men, guided by myopic agendas, notions of muscular nationalism, and inspired by the pursuit of power at any cost, are steering the destiny of India, a country of nearly 1.3 billion people. India should be extremely worried. The tools being employed by these men are simple but lethal. They are preying on the two most primal fears of humanki...

BJP dumps Article 370 and political niceties; portends ominous possibilities

Article 370 is dead. The article that gave special rights to Jammu and Kashmir has always been a bee in the bonnet of the political right that wanted the provision to go.

Modi-Shah surgical strike on Article 370 exposes Constitutional flaw

Finally, the BJP has had its way in doing away with Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. More than the act of neutralising the contentious piece of legislation that was part of the Indian Constitution for seven decades, the manner in which it has been done raises questions over the robustness ...

For India’s sake, leave Article 35A alone, let Kashmir be

Practically speaking, the existence of Article 35A in no way affects Indians in the rest of the country. Scrapping it too is not going to benefit anyone. Even if some see benefits, the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Why KCR helped Modi govt pass contentious bills in Parliament

Going by the BJP’s plans to emerge as the main challenger to the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, one would have expected his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to strongly oppose some of the contentious bills passed by Parliament recently. However, KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, sprang a surprise by supporting the RTI ...

More to VG Siddhartha’s death than what meets the eye, CBI should step in

As developments regarding the alleged suicide of VG Siddhartha, the founder and owner of Coffee Day Enterprises, unfolds, it is becoming extremely clear that the charges of harassment claimed in a letter written by him, may just be the tip of the iceberg.

How turncoats sully parties: Lessons from rape-accused Kuldeep Sengar

BJP MLA from Bangarmau in Unnao, Kuldeep Sengar was suspended from the party long ago and remains under suspension, Uttar Pradesh BJP President Swatantra Dev Singh clarified on Tuesday. Seems to be a clear afterthought after the Unnao rape case, in which this MLA is a prime accused, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons yet again. It happe...

Triple talaq law a travesty of justice but triumph of politics

For those who find the issue of triple talaq complex, the easiest explanation is in the 1980s BR Chopra blockbuster originally titled, ‘Talaq, Talaq, Talaq’ but was later released as ‘Nikaah’.

Karnataka ready for Yediyurappa 2.0; will it be a rewind of 2008-13?

The good-natured gesture of newly sworn-in Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and former chief minister Siddaramaiah in posing for a “friendly” photograph masks the tensions, acrimony, bitterness and rivalry that preceded the return of the BJP government in the state. After 13 years, Karnataka will have a government at the centre and state ...

Unnao case: Was it a mishap or an orchestrated accident?

On Sunday (July 28), a speeding truck hit a car, critically injuring the Unnao rape survivor and killing two of her aunts while they were on their way to Rae Bareli. The rape victim who is battling for life in the Trauma Centre of a Lucknow hospital had alleged in 2017 that she was raped by BJP lawmaker Kuldip Singh Sengar, a four-time MLA from ...

Jaipal Reddy, a wordsmith detached from local roots 

What Shashi Tharoor is to the internet generation, Jaipal Reddy was to the pre-liberalisation generation: a walking Thesaurus, an eloquent speaker with felicity for English expressions that leaves any audience awe-struck. The septuagenarian Congress leader, who passed away in Hyderabad on Sunday (July 28), was known for his rich repartee, provoc...

Misogyny in Parliament, a narrative of deep rooted malice

Chennai: If the Parliament is the microcosm of the nation, then Indians need to hang their heads in shame. The impunity with which sexism and misogyny continue to be practised in the 'temple of democracy', may not have a parallel anywhere in the world. Samajwadi Party’s MP Azam Khan delivered the latest on Thursday (July 25) during the debate on the trip...

Trump ‘revelation’ on Kashmir mediation a test balloon?

In December 2001, soon after the attack on Parliament in New Delhi,  the militaries of India and Pakistan  were on an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation across the border. A wrong move by either could have resulted in a major war. Intervention by the then-United States President George W Bush doused the fire and the troops were pulled back. This w...

In Karnataka’s game of ‘karma’, a 5 star CM, an old man in haste

Thank god for 'kar nataka'! For Indian hearts bleeding after the loss in the semi-final of the cricket World Cup, it was a godsend, a manna-esque morning after pill that cured the Old Trafford injury. 'Kar nataka' started a lot like IPL though. Its hallmark being the trademark transfer of players from one side to another before every session, er, edition.

BJP’s Karnataka coup shows no govt safe, anti-defection act in coma

Fourteen months and seven attempts since May 2018, the BJP on Tuesday finally managed to oust the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka in a protracted act of political aggression that leaves in its wake a trail of detritus of parliamentary norms and the democratic process. The political coup of sorts, where at least 15 rul...

RTI Amendment Bill 2019 is a direct attack on India’s federalism

The Union government has usurped the power of the legislature by amending the Right to Information Act 2005. The RTI Amendment Bill 2019 also takes away the authority of States to decide the term of a State Information Commission. It has replaced the term clause with an expression “as may be prescribed by the Centre.” This means that a State ...

On Kashmir, Trump is talking like Hogwarts’ hat—only to himself

Kashmir is like the holy grail of diplomacy. Almost every politician with an imagined or real stake in the dispute dreams of finding a solution to it and, thus, becoming immortal in the hallowed annals of history. The quest has singed many politicians and statesmen in the past. It ruined Jawaharlal Nehru’s legacy, shattered Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s...

Probe against RSS could be last straw that may break Nitish’s ties with NDA

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seems to be heading towards a serious crisis in the wake of the Bihar police ordering an investigation into the activities of the RSS and its 18 affiliates. The BJP treats the RSS, its ideological mentor, as the “mother organization” and thus, it can be well imagined how much the investigation order has unsettle...

Sheila Dikshit: Chief minister who redefined Delhi’s destiny, paid for it

Sheila Dikshit started as a reluctant politician, as an aide to her father-in-law Uma Shankar Dikshit. But over a period of time, she emerged as a leader in her own right. She not only managed to negotiate the complex and treacherous ways of Delhi politics adroitly, but also mastered the art of governance.

It’s worse than just Kar’nataka’; politics as farce

Imagine a middle-aged man standing outside the grand Vidhan Soudha building in Bengaluru and thinking aloud about the goings on inside the hallowed premises. I or for that matter anyone else won’t blame him if he wished to see them all out.It’s been weeks since an unseemly drama started in Karnataka.

Track Two diplomacy can put India-Pak ties on track

The proposed Kartarpur Peace Corridor between India and Pakistan, a product of Track Two Diplomacy between the two South Asian neighbours, is a welcome step to increase people to people contact and thereby ease tensions between the two neighbours. The Kartarpur Peace Corridor will allow Sikhs visa-free access from India to the Gurdwara Darbar Sa...

New edu policy draft reads like pamphlet filled with resounding emptiness

The part II of the draft policy which covers the important segment of higher education is in fact most disappointing. It waffles unendingly about liberal education and its supposed benefits. It is so full of shibboleths that it reads more like a pamphlet than a serious policy document. Breathless verbiage For example, read this: “Higher educati...

Uncle Sam dictates terms of endearment to India

United States president Donald Trump is proving to Indians it is not easy to be in a relationship with his country. The latest round of trade talks between senior officials of the two countries have ended, expectedly, with no result. The tug-of-war, meanwhile, continues. The issue is, on paper, fairly simple. The US wants India to reduce, if not...

Sidhuisms return to bite Sidhu’s back, a chronicle of disaster foretold

A maverick with words and the bat – during his cricketing days – Navjot Singh Sidhu’s political career is like an interesting seesaw T20 match, just that, in his case, the 55-year-old plays the batsman, bowler, fielder and the umpire. “Wickets are like wives – you never know which way they will turn,” is one of cricketer-turned-politician’s famo...

Navjot Sidhu quits Punjab govt, keeps inevitable tryst with ‘le phad’ mom...

If Navjot Singh Sidhu were a brand, spinning a tagline for him would have been a cinch for copywriters. Without a shade of doubt, without a breath of dissent, the choice would have been unanimous: Le phad (Punjabi for I quit). Because, le phad, is what Sidhu does every few months. Le phad is what Sidhu says every time his ego is hurt. Le phad, a...

Greed vs Fear: Decoding the Congress-JD(S) gameplan in Karnataka

Politics has given the Congress-JD(S) coalition a lemon in Karnataka. Together, like true optimists, its leaders are trying to make a lemonade out of it. And the Supreme Court status-quo till Tuesday (July 16) on the resignations by rebel legislators has added a bit of sugar to their efforts. It is clear by now that the Congress-JD(S) government...