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Ways of seeing

At a conference high tea, a participant said, “It is scientifically proven that boys have monthly mood swings.” When probed about the source of this fact, he mentioned Google. Google, as a search engine, is accepted as the most reliable source of information, requiring no proof of credibility. Furthermore, words like “scientifically proven” or “scientifically estab

“Gandhi and Tagore are the two Indian authors who redefine civilisation as a moral compass and a space of dialogue”

Ramin Jahanbegloo is a renowned philosopher who is now associated with the Jindal Global University. His latest work, The Decline of Civilization, calls for countering the ‘decivilising’ tendencies of our times by returning to Gandhi and Tagore. Jahanbegloo answered some questions on this subject in an email interview with Yoshika Sangal.

Build a better model

From the 1990s, a large number of engineering institutions were opened in India. Most of these institutions were churning out engineers specialising in information technology and electronics and telecommunications. Over the last decade, there was a hude demand for IT professionals for routine coding jobs. So these engineers were finding employment in the many software companies that were thrivi

Too much of discussion, no action on the ground: Pradeep Chaturvedi

What ails engineering education in India? Fifteen or 20 years back, a large number of industrialists and businessmen started engineering colleges, looking at them as a business opportunity. A large number of engineering colleges came up in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and also in Tamil Nadu. However, when the IITs – which pay teachers well and have a

Stone’s throw from Pakistan

In the 1990s in Kashmir, one could meet a militant (back then we didn’t call them terrorists) as easily as perhaps one’s neighbour. Hordes of them were returning from Pakistan, where they had gone to learn how to use a Kalashnikov and lob a grenade, many of them carrying the gun and the ammo in their backpacks. Women sang songs to welcome their ‘ghazis’ (warriors), not u

Making cancer treatment accessible

 In a world that sees far-from-perfect global healthcare systems, lack of access to cancer treatment – a disease which currently is the second leading cause of death – is the most unjustifiable fissure in the global health terrain resulting in more than 8.2 million deaths every year. The inhumanity of the situation apart, where a person dies even when medicines for her cure exi

Why farmers are suddenly in rage: Yogendra Yadav explains

We have recently seen farmers from Tamil Nadu protesting in the national capital. Then Maharashtra farmers protested, deciding not to send their produce to cities. The agitation has now reached Madhya Pradesh, leading to killings. Why there is sudden farmers’ unrest in the country?  I think we tend to miss the real point behind these episodes of farmers unr

Beyond either-or, a new mode of governance

Several myths surround empowerment of women. A popular, cultural myth in India is that women cannot handle money and power, just as men cannot take care of children. However, when women are asked what they want they say they want autonomy, livelihood options, opportunities to govern and a great future for their children.  Women in some parts of the country are more empowered than

“Education is the only permanent measure to overcome poverty”

RS Praveen Kumar, a 1995 batch IPS officer, is also the secretary of Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) – a state-owned educational institution which runs residential schools for scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and underprivileged children. In a telephonic conversation with Shivani Chaturvedi, Kumar talks about how quality

Are we really connecting with Nature?

The internet is flooded with updates on activities planned for this World Environment Day (WED) for “Connecting People to Nature”. For years, activities in the name of WED are limited to tree-planting events and nature walks organised by and for all and sundry, and this year is no different. It deeply troubles me to see that people fail to realise the significance of this

You need some system of accountability: Atishi Marlena

Giving highest priority to education, the AAP government in Delhi is working towards bringing government schools at par with private schools. Atishi Marlena, advisor to deputy chief minister and education minister Manish Sisodia, talks to Jasleen Kaur about the challenges that government schools are facing.   What ails the e

‘The sense of preserving heritage is missing’

It’s said that to see as much of life as India can show, all one needs to do is visit Varanasi. The city, often called India’s cultural capital, has recorded continuous settlement of people since 1000 BC. But the modern city grew mostly in the early 18th century. It now has about 15 lakh residents. With about 3,300 Hindu shrines, small and big, and 1,388 Muslim places of wor

“How can an insurance firm promote death?”

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, a head and neck cancer surgeon at the Tata Memorial hospital in Mumbai, is a leading anti-tobacco activist. He joined hands with Sumitra Hooda Pednekar and others to file a PIL in the Bombay High Court earlier this year, questioning the state-run insurance firm LIC’s investments in a leading cigarette-maker.

Go back to the masses

Sceptics are writing the obituary of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). First came the debacle in the Goa and Punjab assembly elections, then the rout on the home ground, in the Delhi civic elections. Soon the party’s internal disputes became public. The speculation, not without reason, is that AAP will soon die a natural death.  It may however be important to look at the AAP&rsquo

The walled city by moonlight

In 1998, as a 12-year-old, I was fascinated by the spectacle on display in the streets of Chandni Chowk, where I grew up, during the Chaudhvin Ka Chand festival, which recreated the Mughal heritage and historical grandeur of Shahjahanabad. The ageing havelis were decked up wi

“In future, education will be either blended or fully online”

What restricts MOOCs’ acceptance despite having credits? It is just a matter of time. India has been used to the traditional way of education. However, the fact that India is the second biggest learner base for edX, after the United States, speaks volumes about the kind of recognition MOOCs are receiving in India. Employers are now giving importa

Why Artificial Intelligence is scaring everyone

By their own admission, Jack Ma is uncomfortable with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Elon Musk is scared. But why? Contrary to popular perception AI is old. To be precise it’s 51-years old, widely acknowledged to have been born at a conference at Dartmouth College in 1956. That conference was attended by a diverse group of people. Three of them presented the Logic Theori

Parliament can’t be run on 19th century rules: Jay Panda

Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda feels that coffee would go well with the conversation we are about to have in the elegant, wood-panelled study of his Delhi house. “Do people drink coffee in Odisha?” I ask him to break the ice. “Once upon a time, coffee was not available there. Nowadays, I am amazed to see cafes selling coffee even in remote villages,” says Panda, who r

Bhutan and the pursuit of happiness

While researching a book I was writing on Bhutan, my cousin passed along Eric Weiner’s Geography of Bliss. Published in 2007, the book is a series of articles on different countries, most of whom rank very high on the happiness index, as to why they are happy. Each chapter is titled with a whimsical title, such as “Happiness is failure” and “Happiness is efficiency&rdquo

“The idea of having a department of happiness is completely bogus”

Peter Ronald deSouza is a professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, and held the Dr S Radhakrishnan Chair of Rajya Sabha till April 2017. He works on issues of democratic politics and comparative politics of South Asia. A former director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, where he served two terms from 2007 till 2013, he was





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