Columns

Gandhigiri, chamchagiri and the spinning-wheel doctors

There are two kinds of acts from the so-called fringe elements of the BJP: one embarrasses only the secular-liberals but resonates well with the party’s core constituency, and the other embarrasses the party more than the rest. Sakshi Maharaj’s latest rant is of the first type. The KVIC calendar goes into the second slot. Prime minister Narendra Modi h

Benami property, black money and demonetisation

The Demonetisation, the black money and the benami property, the three vibrant words in the Indian economy, has impacted the life of people across the country. In the fight against black money, prime minister Narendra Modi had already announced that people holding black money and the fictitious assets through unaccounted wealth will be affected. The government notified this with effect from Nov

Join the club, letís discuss biodiversity!

At a time when the biggest seller of weapons is bestowed with the Nobel Prize for Peace, when a narcissist and

Govt must not renege on the commitment made on November 8

People may recall the passionate justification that prime minister gave on November 8 when he announced the decision to demonetise currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination. The entire country was thrown into a financial turmoil because more than 85% of the currency notes in circulation had suddenly stopped being legal tender, except in a small set of transactions permitted by the gove

When Netaji wrestled his son for the UP pie

In a swift series of events, the SP patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav, fondly known as Netaji, expelled his son, Akhilesh Yadav from Samajwadi Party. After a prolonged internal struggle of power, and the family feud playing itself out it public, the battle got murkier when Akhilesh Yadav’s list of candidates for the 2017 elections was shredded by his father, in favour of belligerent Shivpal

The mind, the heart, and two great cities

I am made of both Delhi and Mumbai.  Intellect will tell you sharply that Mumbai and Delhi are two cities. Nothing more and nothing less. Instinct will whisper softly that Mumbai and Delhi are two beings caught in a passionate embrace that’s part love, part hatred and fully viscera

Why sexist humour isnít so funny

Humour is a form of communication. There are several healthy forms of humours which can be critical, reflective and constructive for the society.  Unfortunately there is one form of humour that does not serve this purpose and has often been overlooked or trivialised. That is sexist humour. This form of humour in public domain is increasingly becoming widespread and controversial. Comedian

Nursery admission blues

 On Christmas eve, I met a close friend at a party. As we greeted each other, her face looked grim. I could not figure out the reason for the unusual tension on her face. When I asked, she said she was worried about her daughter.   Her only daughter, who is turning 3 in March next year, is all set to face the biggest test of her life. She would soon b

The political anatomy of Modiís surgical strike

Concerned about the abuse of power, French sociologist David Émile Durkheim in 1912 wrote that there could be no society which, at regular intervals, did not feel the need to uphold and reaffirm the collective sentiments and the collective ideas that made up its unity and personality. Opposition to corruption in India, especially after the 2011 Anna Hazare movement, gave b

Civvies wonít march, fatigues wonít scribe

Civil-military relations is not a happy phrase because it suggests a basic dichotomy and opposition between the civilian and the military perspectives. Differences in viewpoints give rise to typical controversies in the modern state everywhere. What is different here is the distinction that is sought to be made between “democratic”, “bureaucratic” and “civilian&rdq

More lies ahead

“It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be moulded until they clothe ideas and disguise.” — Joseph Goebbels Truth is stranger than fiction. It is also less palatable and less pliable than fiction. Truth,

Propitious neem

In agriculture, neem oil, fruit and the different byproducts such as seed cake are used as bio-pesticides, fungicides and organic manures. Neem is decomposed slowly, leading to a slower release of nutrients contained in it. The slow release of nutrients is attributed to the presence of extractives used as rewarding adjuvant for nitrogenous fertilisers such as urea. It is estimat

Why Nagrota attack should worry security mandarins

Till a decade ago, Nagrota was a quaint town one would pass through when travelling on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. From Jammu, it’s an enjoyable drive on the 20-km road snaking along the Ramnagar wildlife sanctuary – a trekkers’ paradise – to Nagrota. For the people of Jammu, the Ramnagar forest, spread over 30 sq km, is the source of ‘manda’, the Do

Labyrinths of governance

The year 2014 saw the publication of the memoirs of a former CAG of India, Vinod Rai, and this year another former member of this prestigious constitutional body has penned an account of his time as an auditor (and also administrator while on deputation). Parimal Brahma’s book tal

Why you must spare a thought for this poor farmer...

Emotional appeal is one of the sharpest swords of advertising. That it is double-edged becomes evident only when it fails. One such failure is an ad from the Federation of All-India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), displayed of late on the rexine hoods of some auto-rickshaws in Delhi. It shows a turbaned tobacco farmer, hands folded in supplication, and is captioned: `Protect our livelihood. Save l

Right wing trumps liberalism?

As the dust settles on the US presidential elections and analysts discuss Donald Trump’s victory threadbare, the larger question on what this upset victory portends for the US and for the world at large will continue to be a part of the intellectual discourse and common man’s discussions. For sure, the world we live in today is very different from what we had imagined. Eminent comme

Black money debate in black and white, with a touch of saffron

“It’s a war; it’s a mahayajnya. You have to decide on whose side you are.” -- M Venkaiah Naidu, in parliament on November 17   In its well-intentioned but misconceived war on black money, the government has obviously bitten off more than it can chew.   A wide spectrum of people and political leaders (includin

Debating freedom of press and expression

The recent decision of the central government to ban NDTV India has raised concerns regarding the rights of free press in India. Mostly, people are using the ‘freedom of speech & expression’ interchangeably with the rights of a free press.  But are both one and the same?   The constitution of India guarantees freedom of speech and expr

OROP issue is not dead

Subedar Grewal’s decision to consume poison and kill himself over One Rank One Pension (OROP) has brought back into sharp focus an emotive issue that has seen veterans waging a battle over what they perceive as something that is unfair and unjust. The veterans are right. The government needs to pay serious attention to their demands and quickly remove the ano

Tata-Mistry fallout: Independence of independent directors

The Tata-Mistry melee prompts a reassessment of the institution of independent directors and the role they play in ensuring effective corporate governance in India. Though independent directors are often expected to protect the interests of minority shareholders, their foremost duty is to act for the benefit of the company as a whole.    The independent director

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एक प्रतिशत लोगों के पास देश की 58 प्रतिशत संपत्ति

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