Columns

BJP`s return to roots, or to RSS?

At Indore, the BJP`s national council is displaying an unmistakable imprint of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. For a beginning, tents have been erected to house 3,000-odd delegates away from the city and its five-star luxuries. But tents are only a glimpse of the party`s vision to take leaders back to the roots. The entire area has been converted into a model village where delegates are living

A Yen for Maharashtra

It was probably our Pune generation’s first exposure to governance of the demonstrative kind. The year was 1989 and the Christian school we studied in had punished a few schoolgirls for turning up with mehendi on their palms. The Christian school is over 100 years old and despite the changing diktats of the fashion world, had managed to uphold the simplicity that education requires. The l

They, the politicians of India...

Governance was the buzzword of the 1990s. The Cold War was over and ideology was dead. There was no battle about grand issues. Markets were here to stay as were governments. Governments were to regulate markets. But citizens were to be treated like sovereign consumers. Hence the quality of government had to be improved. As no one wanted to be judgmental about the bewildering variety of governme

Shaheen should not be alone, Mr Chavan

The expected has happened. My Name Is Khan opened across the country this morning but in its place of birth, Mumbai. Shamefully, Bal Thackeray had his way this morning. The Congress government in Maharashtra showed it has no steel in its spine to uphold the rights and freedoms of its citizens guaranteed in the constitution. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has paid lip service to th

Rahul…where love has gone

Here we go again. Rahul Gandhi takes a local train in Mumbai, defies the Thackeray family and a nation hits the rafters with self-congratulation. A leader has been born. God is in his heaven and all is right with India! We have been saved. One more dictator knocking on the door of democracy, his sycophants already jostling for position. He is young, has a nice face and, above all, is fai

Look who`s talking

Ignore the self-congratulatory statements from Pakistan soon after India offered to resume bilateral talks suspended in the aftermath of the 26/11 massacre in Mumbai. Turn a blind eye to the anti-India terrorist organisations that openly paraded in Pakistan on the day India sent out the invite. Pay little heed to Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qures

Sham secularism just has to go

Secularism as practice and approach has ancient linkages to our glorious past where the concept of ‘sarva dharma sambhav’ has been enshrined in the sociological fabric of our nation. The term ‘secular’ was incorporated into our constitution to effectively weave this fabric closer and achieve plurality in our new system which would form the foundation of our governance, w

Omar fiddles as Valley burns

Only a year ago young Omar Abdullah rode on the crest of popularity in Jammu and Kashmir generating hope and expectation. But Omar has frittered away all the goodwill that he had accrued from the election which saw an unprecedented 70 percent turnout. Not only he turned out to be administratively  inept, he is also inaccessible, ringed with a self-preserving coterie.   I

The way to deal with Shiv Sena

It is about time we stamped out political terrorism, or terrorism by political parties. The Thackeray family has made a political fortune by intimidating people and governments alike, the latest threat being directed at Shah Rukh Khan. The star has been warned that his film will not be allowed to screen unless he apologises. His unmentionable crime, he said he felt bad for the Pa

Amar`s devious divide-UP plan

Even before he was expelled from the Samajwadi Party (SP), Amar Singh set the ball rolling for his future course of action. He is working on the adage that “enemy`s enemy is a friend” and co-opting dissidents with the SP. He is goading a few influential leaders in eastern UP to float a political platform to raise the demand for separate statehood for the region. Ther

Edged out of the Republic

Abraham Lincoln had the right idea but he wasn’t able to offer the complete recipe for the magic potion called democracy in creating a government for the people, by the people, of the people. Just the fond hope that somewhere, like the fleece and the grail, it existed. So, all these many years down the road in the world’s largest democracy you get the distinct feeling that it is mor

Governance for the game

Each year the Indian Premier League brings forth new complexities to cricket. This is only natural, just as been the experience for all modern sport.  However, in India this experience is turning out to all the more complicated for a variety of reasons. The latest controversy in the IPL is, of course, all about the exclusion of Pakistani players from the most recent round of player

The Gandhi nobody wants to know

The year was 1909. Forty-year-old Mohandas Gandhi wrote incessantly for ten days on board the steamer Kildonan Castle, like the mythical Savyasaachi, using both hands. He wrote because he could no longer “restrain himself.” At the end of this restless period he made a claim, utterly unlike him, “I have written an original book in Gujarati.” This book was Hind Swaraj (or

Shiv Sena makes it 3 Idiots

Shiv Sena forgot to count itself in when it accused actors Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan of idiocy over the Indian Premier League (IPL) controversy. While idiocy is not a crime, though, vandalism certainly is. So, while you may disagree with Shah Rukh Khan`s duplicitous show of support to the Pakistani cricketers, you can only deride the Shiv Sena`s reaction as downright unpardonable.

Rekha`s honour, or insult?

Rekha, Muzaffar Ali`s immortal Umrao Jaan, has finally won the Padma Shri. The recognition may have come 29 years after her arguably most memorable screen performance, but she has joined a truly illustrious group. Sahir Ludhianvi, Hindustani cinema`s social conscience and greatest poet, is a member. So are a few legends of screen acting, including Balraj Sahni and Suchitra Sen, as is the melodi

Monumental Obsession

In course of an argument, UP chief minister Mayawati`s counsel in the supreme court contested that the erection of her statues in Lucknow and Noida was part of Mayawati`s political project to empower marginalised social sections through symbols. This argument implied that despite her four stints as the chief minister of the country`s most populous state, Mayawati still considered symbolism as a

Agri sector: Basic flaws persist

Sixty years into the Republic, India’s agriculture sector is serving up some rather unpalatable facts: we have not eliminated hunger; we are not self-sufficient in food; we have not bettered farm incomes. On the other hand, we have bankrupted our natural resources and created a system which is ecologically and economically unsustainable. The absence of famine has not transl

From Republics to Republic

The release of this inaugural issue of Governance Now, on the completion of sixty years of the Republic of India, naturally raises the obvious question as to what have been the achievements, or failures, of our republic in these sixty years. This logically leads to the still deeper question that comes to the mind, viz, did India become a republic only on the adoption of the constitution which d



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