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An eye on AI

Google Assistant, Rekognition and Tay. All these, often seen in news, have a common thread – they are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Only difference is that while some have been in news for right reasons, some others have made it to the headlines for all the wrong reasons. For instance, Google Assistant is an AI assistant that connects with several devices. Other companies are n

Data-powered economy

1.33 billion. Let that large number sink in. That number is nearly 18 percent of the total global population, and almost the number of people estimated to currently reside in the republic of India, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies. These 1.33 billion people are spread across an area of more than 3.28 million square kilometres, speak 22 major languages in over 1,600

Imagining the worst

Love Sonia is not a film you would want to watch if you knew its subject: sex trafficking. Without even a scene experienced, the subject induces visceral revulsion. However optimistic the screenplay, it can only deal in ugly dregs and bring up retching bile. Even so, Love Sonia, gritty and traumatising, is a movie you must force yourself to watch. Much in the way some of its a

AFSPA: Constitution, civil society and armed forces

Understanding civil-military relations brings to mind the story of the three blind men examining an elephant. Since each can only sense what he is touching and has no concept of the elephant as a whole, each concludes that the beast is something different from what it really is. In general, there are two lenses through which to examine these questions. The first is the military as an org

Modi raises battle cry with power packed slogans

In politics, the coining of slogans is nothing less than the work of literature. Like any good and creative piece of poetry or prose finds resonance with people, smart slogans set the political mood for the nation. ‘Ajeya Bharat, Atal BJP’ is one such smart slogan coined at the party’s national executive that concluded on Sunday. Of course, this is just the begi

The question of environmental governance

The development trajectory for most nations has come at the backbone of a strong ecological resource base. In fact, economies such as those in the Middle East are largely based upon exports of crude oil and thus in effect are dependent upon their endowment of natural resources. This illustrates why natural resources are now considered a part of capital stock (natural capital) of a country. This

Banking on service

Personalised banking, relationship managers, courteous but insistent calls to sell cards, insurance and other services – these are the positives one has come to associate with private and multinational banks. Equally, they have become notorious for making hidden charges, not warning customers about ruthless penalties, and dealing with complaints opaquely. What is worse, if one were to go

A vote against democracy?

Democracy, in its broad sense, tolerates dissent, allows freedom of expression and hence diversity of views by protecting minority views and human rights. The functioning of any democracy is characterised by checks and balances between legislative, executive and judicial organs of the state on the basis of rule of law. In contrast, authoritarian regimes enforce strict obedience to authority at

`Theatre is the world`s greatest guru`

Govind Namdev`s performances, whether on stage or in films, are always memorable for their fine touches of characterisation, presence, style. He attributes them to his rigorous training at the National School of Drama (NSD) and long years as a stage actor. His most well-remembered performances on stage are as Ashwattama in Dharamvir Bharati`s Andhaa Yug and later as an emot

The buck must stop somewhere

 We are now faced with a situation in which senior officials across government are not doing their duty. That role has shifted to the next higher level, the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) and the judiciary, and that is the real ‘system failure’.  The state government of Uttar Pradesh has rightly transferred and will charge-sheet the district magistrate of

Mahanayak: Vajpayee, the leader and his legacy

Defining moments of history often leave images that linger on in collective memory for generations. Among them, one category is the image of a leader walking in the street with a sense of sheer triumphalism. The people of Paris erupted with joy and gave vent to their suppressed emotions when Charles De Gaulle walked on the street to reclaim France’s freedom towards the end of World War II

RaGa puts a Cheshire cat on Rajiv’s big tree

You needn’t be thoroughly familiar with Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to know about the Cheshire cat. Characters like Humpty Dumpty, the Red Queen and the Cheshire cat are part of the kit of popular idiom. Alice encounters the Cheshire cat sitting on a tree, fading into and out of view, leaving only a lingering smile, prompting her to say, “I&

I’m a theatre monk: Faezeh Jalali

Faezeh Jalali is an actor, director, playwright and dramatist who garnered appreciation after her role in Slumdog Millionaire. Her plays Shikhandi – The Story of the In-Betweens and 07/07/07 received immense appreciation from critics.   Your stories are unconventional, advocate equality and human rights. Why? Whenever I create

For a 360-degree view of Indian judiciary

While judging a book by its cover is considered unfair, judging it by its title should not lead to the same charge, especially when the author – a veteran of legal profession, an acclaimed commentator or a widely acknowledged academic – decides to warn the reader at the onset, through the title itself, that the pages that follow shall tell a story of a decay in an institution.

“Twenty years from now India should become a large defence exporter”

The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) helps the two countries in managing its strategic partnership by promoting bilateral trade and also works on finding ways to bring business and governments together to create meaningful opportunities. Mukesh Aghi, president, US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), in interaction with Praggya Guptaa talks about various bilateral trade

What could have prevented starvation deaths?

On July 24 a horror story gripped the capital. Three minor girls died of starvation in East Delhi’s Mandawali. Since then speculations are rife over the role of the girls’ father, a rickshaw-puller, who is said to have given them some medicine a day before their death, and the responsibility of the state to protect its children. The father has been missing since the

How Mahatma Gandhi spent I-Day

On August 15, 1947, he woke up at 2 am, an hour earlier than usual. The whole nation – nearly a fifth of the humanity – was soon to gear up for its greatest moment in history, but Mahatma Gandhi was in no mood for celebration. A lifelong witness of the desolate darkness that always preceded the dawn, he wanted to face it up once again, inside out, before India woke u

I’m a victim of misgovernance. All of us are: Vishal Dadlani

Vishal Dadlani is a versatile musician who composes, sings as well as writes lyrics. He is  the co-founder of electronica/indie-rock band Pentagram – the first Indian band to perform at the Glastonbury Music Festival in the UK in 2005. He formed a music producing duo with musician Shekhar Ravjiani in 1999 and produced notable works in films like Jhankaar Beats, Dus, Bluffmaster,

India mourns leader with exterior of a lotus but inner strength of Vajra

"Acche Vajpayee ka kya karoge (what will you do with a good Vajpayee)?" Atal Bihari Vajpayee once responded to the Opposition`s barb that he was "a good man in the wrong party" in his inimitable style during the trust motion in 1996. The style of delivery was such that the house plunged into a peal of laughter. The Vajpayee government lasted only 13 days but the Lok Sabha wi

Start-ups and IP: The ‘secret’ formula for success

The term ‘start-up’ allows for a certain leniency in expectations. It refers to a company that is a “a fledgling business enterprise”. A ‘start-up’, as defined by the government in the Start Up India scheme, is entitled to various concessions, including reduced income-tax liability and cutting down red-tape in other compliance requirements. Th

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