AAP’s uncertain future, irony of being Advani, and an author seeks freedom of speech

Here is a list of stories from our magazine and website that you must read over the weekend

GN Bureau | April 22, 2017


#farmers   #Odisha   #BJP   #LK Advani   #author   #Githa Hariharan   #Aam Aadmi Party   #AAP   #weekend stories   #Tamil Nadu   #drought  


The Narendra Modi- Arvind Kejriwal antagonism has always been about two different kinds of populism. While it may not play out in a municipal election, the fact remains that a Kejriwal chastened by Goa and Punjab faces a mid-term test in the municipal elections. For a politician harbouring intentions of becoming a prime minister, it’s ironical that municipal elections in Delhi may prove a test of his political viability.
 
The ideology of Hindutva has been around since the early decades of the 20th century, but it was former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani who gave it political currency. Today, it has become the default ideology for the nation, but, as the Supreme Court puts him in the dock for conspiracy in the Babri demolition case, the man himself has nothing left but the loneliness of a futile long-distance runner in his last lap.
 
In 2015-16, over 200 farmers committed suicide in Orissa. This year, five have taken their lives in quick succession. About 83 percent of farmers in Odisha are small and marginal farmers. Then there are landless labourers who till others’ land as share-croppers. But these share-croppers hardly get any benefits from the government. The agro-policies of the state should centre on small and marginal farmers, and tenancy laws should be amended to allow landowners to lease their land for farming to others without the fear of losing their land.
 
Our cultural spaces are in a bad state – and this affects the writing, publishing and reading of literature. Over the last few years, we have seen far too many cases of the self-appointed thought police intimidating writers. From the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan to the young Kannada poet Huchangi Prasad, right-wing groups have hounded, or physically attacked, our writers for doing what they should: picking up a pen and writing imaginatively about the India they know. And in the case of the scholar and translator MM Kalburgi, the attack was fatal.
 
Tamil Nadu is facing its worst drought in over 140 years and desperate farmers are killing themselves. There are 3,600 tanks in the state and all of them are bone dry. The tanks went dry within a month of the 2015 floods. In February this year, the Chembarambakkam lake, which is one of the sources of drinking water for Chennai, recorded water that is barely 10 percent of its capacity.
 
 
 
 

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