The column may begin by recalling quotations from two illustrious sons of pre-Independence India who were under no obligation to make any ‘appeasing’ comment. Noted Urdu critic, Dr. Abdur Rahman Bijnauri, made the following opening remarks, exactly a hundred years ago in 1920, in his book on Ghalib’s poetry: “India has two revealed books – Ved Muqadd
Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, as one of the top lawyers at the Supreme Court, has helped shape the contemporary trends. In his latest work, ‘From the Trenches’ (co-authored with Satyajit Sarna, published by Juggernaut), he revisits eight defining cases of our times, and presents a view, as it were, from the trenches. Here is an excerpt from the book relating to one of them, Naveen J
Anil Swarup, an IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre who retired in 2018, is a model bureaucrat who retained his optimism right till the end of service and exemplified dedication and commitment. His excitement at the opportunities that a job in the IAS provided is evident on every page of his new book published this year. Anil is not afraid to speak the truth an
Shouting vengeance at all and sundry while wriggling out of holes of our own making seems to be our very special national characteristic. Some recent instances are illustrative of this attribute. A number of business tycoons with thousands of crores of unresolved debts have fled abroad with the government desperately trying to bring them back by expensive and protracted litigation in foreign co
With highly appropriate lyrics at the start of every chapter, combined with deep insights from rigorous analysis of data – Citizen Raj is an absolute delight to read. In Citizen Raj, Surjit Bhalla, well known economist and commentator, looks at Indian elections from 1952 till 2019 and he does what he mentions to be his hobby which also happens to be his
As we come to the close of this election season, what cannot escape even the indiscriminate eye is the decline of the organized left parties in India. Between 2004, when the Left Front had 59 MPs in the Lok Sabha, to 2014, when it had 11 MPs, the decline has been rapid and palpable. Both its national space and regional presence are shrinking.
The ongoing parliamentary elections are in the concluding phase/ stage. Eventually, the results will be out on May 23. A huge number of candidates are, as usual, in the fray. There are claims and counter-claims, declarations and bolder declarations, promises and astronomical promises, narratives and counter-narratives galore. Some will win - to be specific 543 - and all others will lose. Conseq
In book publishing, one of the trends for the past couple of decades has been to pick out pearls of wisdom from well known sources – philosophers, sages, novelists, economists – and package them as easy reads. Thus, we have ‘How Proust Can Change Your Life’ as well as ‘How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life’. In a series called ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern
Voices say now that three honourable judges have spoken against the charges levelled against the CJI; therefore, quietus be given to the whole affair and let the matter rest there. They say the report need not be disclosed to public in view of the judgement in the case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India & Anr. (2003), which said disclosure to public would do more harm than good to
The family group on WhatsApp went into a buzzing frenzy. Thumbs-ups, happy emojis, congratulatory messages. All in response to a message that made it seem as if the BBC was reporting on a survey conducted by...hold your breath...the CIA and the ISI, predicting a victory for the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Only a few wondered why the spy agencies of the US and Pakistan would conduct a s
The nature and impact of legislations promulgated by the national government is an interesting topic for study as it is possible to evaluate the quality of governance and the care and concern of elected representative towards the people of India. In the 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19), 133 bills were passed, with a substantial number of them relating to the financial sector. They include the GST bill,
Long-time residents of Varanasi say that among their fondest memories is of sitting on the ghats and watching dolphins frolick in the Ganga. These days though, no one sees them. “Some 25-30 years ago, dolphins were a common sight here at Assi ghat,” says Ram Kishan Nishad, a boatman. “Now, they have moved towards Chunar (upstream from Varanasi).” And Kavita Sha
What’s common between Shabnam Bano, Joyita Mandal, Prithika Yashini, Manabi Bandopadhyay, Jiya Das, Kalki Subramaniam, and Laxmi Narayan Tripathi? They all are women and all ‘firsts’ in their respective fields. All of them have battled several odds to make a foray into the mainstream. They are all transwomen! Shabnam mausi is India’s first transgender MLA; Mand
It’s early summer still in Odisha, but the state is already in the grip of an intense heat wave. In the last few weeks, many places have been regularly recording temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and above. That doesn’t seem to have dampened the spirits of the four crore people of this state, where elections to the assembly and the Lok Sabha are being held simultaneously. Polling w
In a 1992 Lok Sabha by-poll, voters of New Delhi – the power hub of the capital – were faced with an enviable choice: Rajesh Khanna of the Congress versus rising-star Shatrughan Sinha of the BJP. The voters preferred the superstar over the non-superstar. It is not clear how Rajesh Khanna discharged his duties as an MP and served the constituency. At any rate, the choice was fr
“Kos kos par badle paani, chaar kos par vaani,” goes the old adage, encapsulating the diversity of languages, cultures and geographies in India. At every couple of kilometres, water tastes different, and the dialect itself changes at about eight kilometres, we are told. Now that adage itself should change, because India is changing. Ironically, the change is bringing more
What are 600 million people? Almost twice the population of the US. What are 500 million people? About three-fourth of the population of Europe. Why are we talking about these numbers? Well, because as per a study by Sandhya Krishnan and Neeraj Hatekar (‘Rise of New Middle Class in India and Its Changing Structure, Economic and Political Weekly, June 3, 2017), 600 million is what
Abright yellow van with figures of children playing with a whirligig, a Newton’s cradle, a magnetic compass rolls into the Government Higher Primary School in Kittaganahalli, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Students in the playground leave what they are doing and mill about it in excitement. For they know some interesting lessons, with hands-on practice, will soon follow.
While the entire nation is agog with political grapevine, political parties are weighing on all options to lure voters by touching upon issues that impact their lives. Several parties, including the BJP and the Congress have released their manifestos while many are about to join the bandwagon. The common agenda for the parties is to win hearts, minds and their votes.
Chandramouli Vashisht, 29, an engineer who lives in Madhu Vihar, in the middle-class Patparganj locality of east Delhi, says that during the last Lok Sabha election, he voted for the BJP, but the very next year, during the state assembly election he cast his vote for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). This year, as the nation goes to the polls, he is not sure if he wants to vote for AAP, which has fiel