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The East African gambit

India has been consistently forg ing closer ties with African states since the India-Africa Forum Summit of taneously, there has been notice able emphasis on the eastern and october 2015. Simultaneously southern coastal states of the continent abutting the Indian ocean region. owing to the presence of the Indian diaspora in these countries for more than a century, India has been able to facilit

Kodnani’s acquittal raises doubts about criminal justice system

 Maya Kodnani, a BJP leader who was the MLA from Naroda when this locality on the outskirts of Ahmedabad witnessed one of the most gruesome episodes during the Gujarat riots of 2002, was acquitted by the Gujarat High Court on Friday. Her acquittal in the Naroda Patiya massacre case is only a sequel to a series of such exonerations of those named in collective crimes.   

Energy as the new value system for redesigning daily life

Remember Kardashev scale? For the uninitiated, it’s a method of measuring a civilization’s level of technological advancement, based on the amount of energy it is able to use for communication. We will get to its unconventional relevance to the big urban questions at the end, but just keep it at the back of your mind and dig it out when we get to it. All serious urba

A rare peek into the mind of Modi

It’s always lonely at the top. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s marathon townhall event at the Central Hall Westminster, titled ‘Bharat ki Baat, Sab ke Saath’, was nothing but his way of shedding that loneliness, communicating and mingling with people and showing his vulnerable side.   “I am one among you and I have all weaknesses that anyone has.&

From ‘Nirala’ to Kuldeep Singh Sengar, Unnao has come a long way

“Sadak par todti patthar, Dekha maine use Allahabad ke path par (She was breaking stones, I saw her on footpaths of Allahabad)”. This verse by Hindi poet Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’ is not alien to anyone conversant with elementary Hindi literature. Nirala revolutionised Hindi poetry by penning in simple words a complex concept of individualism a

Sengar episode once again highlights the perils of Yogi’s macho statecraft

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath can be singularly credited for borrowing the phrase, `thok denge`, from Bollywood flicks and introducing it right in the mainstream governance discourse. The phrase is a Bollywood euphemism for eliminating somebody. Yogi used this expression last year ("Agar aparadh karenge to thok denge (if they commit crime, they will be bumped

Painting RSS as anti-dalit is prejudiced –and contrary to facts

Disparate attacks on dalits over the last three years read with the supreme court’s recent ruling switching off the automatic arrest of an accused in an Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Atrocities Act complaint, have had opposition parties and political commentators jump to very facile and specious conclusion: that this is hardly surprising because the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), th

Being responsible, the corporate way

Corporations have a critically important role to play in a nation’s roadmap of development, and it is a fundamental, undisputed fact. Development that is not limited to financial growth alone but one with an enhanced vision, leads to an informed, healthy and progressive society. The industry, along with the state, is an equal partner in this endeavour. In India too, like in the rest of

The will to die

Death is an inevitable consequence of birth and evokes as much a sense of mystery as it inspires awe and fear. In the Kathopanishad, Nachiketa considers knowledge of death and the beyond as the only truth. The idea of invoking death by choice, or ichchhamaran, is unique to the Indian ethos. But it has taken decades of struggle to legalise the idea of a ‘living will’ (which sets out

The law, dignity and death

The supreme court’s recent ruling on the right of a person to make a ‘living will’ has underlined the inevitable. The petition, filed by registered society Common Cause, was about the right of a person to decide on the chain of events that would determine the future course of treatment should that person become incapable of making such a decision. In the unanimous judgment by

Why Karnataka vote is no pointer to 2019 elections

In India, every election is unique in its own way. Each can be called a trendsetter for future politics, although the reality is that an election often resets established political equations. Those who think that the Karnataka Assembly election, to be held on May 12, will set the tone for national politics are bound to be overwhelmed by the next set of political calculations that may emerge fro

The key is to change bureaucrats’ mindset

For quite some time now there has been a lot of talk and focus of the government on the ease of doing business. Recently, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report showcased the progress India has made by making a 30-point jump in its rank. Though there are about a 100 countries performing better than us, yet the improvement is significant. Similar efforts are being made by the states t

Peak performance

What is Narendra Modi’s biggest electoral success during the current term as prime minister? At first blush, most would say the Uttar Pradesh victory. That would be looking at the obvious (UP is the heart of the Hindi heartland) and at mere numbers (it has the maximum Lok Sabha seats). Yes, it was a tough fight, it came past the mid-way mark of his term, and regaining the state with mammo

Juvenile crime and punishment

Like our jails, our correction centres for juvenile offenders are hardly conducive to bringing about positive change. No one will dispute the fact that an underaged criminal, especially if he or she is a first-timer, needs to be given a chance to reform, however heinous the crime. Unfortunately, society’s ideas of justice are so linked to punishing the offender that we do not give a chanc

The aam aadmi’s maverick

His green turban and bulky body used to define his persona. Raj Narain was not an ordinary leader. For his political adversaries, he was a foe who would ignite terror in their hearts. In the 1970-80s, many had learnt the lesson that it would be a mistake to cross paths with the Lok Bandhu, as he was popularly known.

With equal measures of hope and despair

Through a curt two-paragraph letter on December 11, 2017, Rajeev Dhavan, senior advocate of the supreme court, informed chief justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra about his decision to quit legal

Naidu’s habitual brinkmanship won’t work with Modi

Just a few months before the Lok Sabha elections of 2004, the BJP had held its national executive in Hyderabad to chart out the future course of action. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu was then the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. He was at the peak of his popularity as a "cyber CM" and had a certain flamboyance that literally intimidated friends and foes alike.

What ails the latest Economic Survey?

The preface of the current Economic Survey concludes with the words of TS Eliot: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice”, which is highly apt considering the change in narrative from the last year’s Survey. For example, while last year’s survey portrayed demonetisation as an impet

Deconstructing bank ‘scams’: Decline and fall

Modern banking in India is just about 250 years old. In the interim, we have witnessed dozens of crises, scams and scandals of varying degrees. In many cases, dozens, even more, banks failed. The reasons for the runs on the banks, or their subsequent ‘saviour’ decisions, were many. But ironically, and possibly not coincidentally, two themes have been recurring for at least 150 years

Akhilesh-Mayawati`s social coalition might not take wing

Political seismology is an inexact science. Underneath the social sea, tectonic shifts happen as silently and stealthily as you can get. Any effort to predict it often brings grief to Mr Know-All of politics.   The scenario unfolding in Uttar Pradesh conforms to this thesis. The coming together of the SP-BSP in the by-elections for two Lok Sabha seats, Phulpur and Gorakhpur,

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