Columns

Can Trump rein in Pakistan?

Pakistani leaders must be feeling frustrated after US president Donald Trump warned Islamabad that America would not remain a silent spectator if Pakistan continued to be a safe haven for terrorists. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said Pakistan could lose the privilege of being a US ally if it “failed to change their posture”. These two statements mirrored New Delhi’s l

If Prabhu is really angry, why is he not taking on the railway board?

Gone are the days of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Madhav Rao Scindia and Nitish Kumar who hogged the limelight and even moral space by resigning after train accidents that claimed human lives. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu is made of a different stuff. Despite a series of accidents under his watch, he is content to punish officials, forcing a member of the railway board and senior officials to go on

Quantum urbanism: Step three, don’t reinvent the wheel, learn from masters

To get to a point where anything quantum must move from a theoretical possibility to an applied end state requires the use of bizarre props where every leap of logic is also a leap of faith. It stands steadfast even when the intent is to prove the sheer absurdity of it all. Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger used an imagined cat for a thought experiment with an intent to prove that quant

Governance in India: 70 years and counting

India began her tryst with destiny almost seventy years ago, in the midnight intervening 14th and 15th August 1947. The country the British left behind was but a collection of over 600 native states and principalities, driven by internal differences, caste prejudices and severe social infirmities. The idea of India was yet to emerge. The literacy rate was 18% and the average life expectancy was

Quantum urbanism, step two, let it roll counterintuitively

Only that exceptional logician and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein could have brought forth the limitations of human intellect in such a pithy and matter of fact manner: the limits of my language are the limits of my world. ‘What is quantum urbanism?’ is a question that has the same quality as Wittgenstein’s deep reading of the human condition. In exploring that question, we w

The wolf and the lamb

At no other moment in the history of Indian national life after Independence the dalits are as oppressed as this moment: dalits are set ablaze, slaughtered like animals on the slaughtering bench of history, and humiliated like slaves in the marketplace in full daylight. When the social hierarchy is interiorised and reduplicated within the institutionalised life of higher education like the univ

Deadly smoke signals

There are a zillion secret reasons why people start on the one habit that has not even a single benefit, worsens their health from the very first day, uglifies their teeth and makes them smell unbearably foul, and what’s worse, is a major cause of cancer. We are speaking, of course, of smoking or otherwise ingesting tobacco. (Even alcohol in strict moderation is supposed to be good for th

Quantum urbanism: Step one, dismantle systems thinking once and for all

Feel your favourite city. The words that typically come to your mind are liberally fused with adjectives in a valiant effort to give shape to our deeply felt emotions. It is quite common to find descriptions that are a chaotic and joyful mix of traits and idiosyncrasies that one can mistake for a good friend rather than a city. Now, think your favourite city. The words that spring up are analyt

Timely delivery

Government projects typically suffer from time overrun and cost overrun. There appears to be no project management discipline, and extension of time and escalation of cost rarely attract the kind of serious attention they should. There is no system of fixation of accountability for these substantial deviations which, as a result, become the norm rather than an exception. Apart from being a refl

What India needs to do to finally become a superpower

For the past 25 years, India has been rising in stature. It is continually called an upcoming superpower but has been unable to reach the promised status. India’s importance in the world is more due to its immense population and potential as a market than any objective assessment of development. India is classified by the World Bank as a lower-middle income country below the likes of Nami

To understand Modi saga, look at the Vaghela story

Back in the early 1990s, Shankarsinh Vaghela was (or at least perceived to be) more popular of the two people running the BJP show in Gujarat. Today, the other man is the prime minister, and Vaghela is reduced to a footnote – albeit an important one – in the Narendra Modi saga.   On Friday, at a grand meeting in Gandhinagar to celebrate his birthday, V

Making words count

In 2016, 38 bills were enacted in parliament. During that year, on average, the time spent on legislative debate (without interruptions) was 23 percent in the Lok Sabha and 16 percent in the Rajya Sabha (calculated from the PRS Legislative Research data).  Time is, however, just one measure of the quality of legislative debate. Analysing the content of the debates would provide a

How to put the Maharaja out of his misery

The imminent sell-off of Air India (AI) has evoked a wave of nostalgia, particularly in people of the older generation. There was a time in the 1950s and 1960s when Air India and its country cousin, Indian Airlines, were the pride of the nation; AI was our own airline which was giving tough competition to first-world airlines. Though few Indians could afford to fly then, all Indians took immens

What Kovind’s rise tells us about Modi’s leadership

Ram Nath Kovind is widely tipped to get elected as the 14th president of India. His elevation will not be without surprise. Prior to his nomination as the NDA’s candidate, few in the political circles had any idea that he would emerge as the final choice for the office of the president. The entire process leading the election of the president brings out the manner in which Narendra Modi

The missing links

At its most basic level the union budget is a laundry list of the government’s projected receipts and expenditure – just like a typical household budget. But it is a document which all Indians eagerly wait for because everyone expects a discount, an exemption or a freebie. If you are slightly more curious and want to know the rationale behind the budget you would refer to the econom

Uniform civil code: Why and why not

The debate, arising out of the apprehensions regarding the imposition on our country of a code of conduct prescribed by the nationalist right-wing elements of society which has so far described itself as a proud, plural and diverse society, is not new. It is closely related to the movement for the creation of a Uniform Civil Code for the country that has been debated and discussed for over a hu

“CVC has no teeth, but it has dentures”

After the Narendra Modi government was formed in 2014, a series of measures have been introduced, like the legislative initiatives of amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act, which are very encouraging. Today, a public servant finds corruption a risky proposition. Let us not forget that the CVC is only one of the many institutions in India with a defined charter. I am confident that we a

Restating the Indian urban problem one more time anew

Here’s a quick brainteaser. Where is the world’s largest mass migration ever in human history taking place? No, it’s not from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan to Europe. No again. It’s not from the climate distressed African countries or from a destroyed Libya. No, yet again. It’s not from the seemingly volatile Latin American countries and Mexico to the United States an

The president who knew his way

President Pranab Mukherjee, who demits office in July, has been known as a man “of the constitution”, a believer in it, and was called to be its custodian during the last five years. His familiarity with the country’s constitution, as also the constitution of the Congress, was legendary and ‘Pranab da’ was the man to go to if any clarity was required on a provision

Not above caste, but about it

In our system, the president is the head of the nation and the first citizen; his role and powers are almost akin to that of the queen of England or, say, kings in some other countries – ceremonial duties and safeguarding the constitution. Very often he is a public person with experience in politics, education (such as S Radhakrishnan) or maybe science (like APJ Abdul Kalam), who the ruli



Video

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter