Interview

“Education is the best antidote to child labour”

How can we ensure that children taken away from labour will have a better future? By making education a fundamental right. After enacting the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act), it is a state obligation to do all that is necessary to get a child to school. Indeed, the amendment to the Child Labour Act, 2016 complemented the RTE Act in

“I don’t see in the next ten years any real solution for the people of Syria”

The seventh round of the Syria peace talks will begin on July 10 in Geneva which will be convened by the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. Violence and persecution in places like Syria and South Sudan have displaced a record 65.6 million people worldwide who are either refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced, the UN refugee agency said in June. In the meanwhile, t

“Gandhi and Tagore are the two Indian authors who redefine civilisation as a moral compass and a space of dialogue”

Ramin Jahanbegloo is a renowned philosopher who is now associated with the Jindal Global University. His latest work, The Decline of Civilization, calls for countering the ‘decivilising’ tendencies of our times by returning to Gandhi and Tagore. Jahanbegloo answered some questions on this subject in an email interview with Yoshika Sangal.

Too much of discussion, no action on the ground: Pradeep Chaturvedi

What ails engineering education in India? Fifteen or 20 years back, a large number of industrialists and businessmen started engineering colleges, looking at them as a business opportunity. A large number of engineering colleges came up in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and also in Tamil Nadu. However, when the IITs – which pay teachers well and have a

Why farmers are suddenly in rage: Yogendra Yadav explains

We have recently seen farmers from Tamil Nadu protesting in the national capital. Then Maharashtra farmers protested, deciding not to send their produce to cities. The agitation has now reached Madhya Pradesh, leading to killings. Why there is sudden farmers’ unrest in the country?  I think we tend to miss the real point behind these episodes of farmers unr

“Education is the only permanent measure to overcome poverty”

RS Praveen Kumar, a 1995 batch IPS officer, is also the secretary of Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) – a state-owned educational institution which runs residential schools for scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and underprivileged children. In a telephonic conversation with Shivani Chaturvedi, Kumar talks about how quality

You need some system of accountability: Atishi Marlena

Giving highest priority to education, the AAP government in Delhi is working towards bringing government schools at par with private schools. Atishi Marlena, advisor to deputy chief minister and education minister Manish Sisodia, talks to Jasleen Kaur about the challenges that government schools are facing.   What ails the e

“How can an insurance firm promote death?”

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, a head and neck cancer surgeon at the Tata Memorial hospital in Mumbai, is a leading anti-tobacco activist. He joined hands with Sumitra Hooda Pednekar and others to file a PIL in the Bombay High Court earlier this year, questioning the state-run insurance firm LIC’s investments in a leading cigarette-maker.

“In future, education will be either blended or fully online”

What restricts MOOCs’ acceptance despite having credits? It is just a matter of time. India has been used to the traditional way of education. However, the fact that India is the second biggest learner base for edX, after the United States, speaks volumes about the kind of recognition MOOCs are receiving in India. Employers are now giving importa

Parliament can’t be run on 19th century rules: Jay Panda

Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda feels that coffee would go well with the conversation we are about to have in the elegant, wood-panelled study of his Delhi house. “Do people drink coffee in Odisha?” I ask him to break the ice. “Once upon a time, coffee was not available there. Nowadays, I am amazed to see cafes selling coffee even in remote villages,” says Panda, who r

“The idea of having a department of happiness is completely bogus”

Peter Ronald deSouza is a professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, and held the Dr S Radhakrishnan Chair of Rajya Sabha till April 2017. He works on issues of democratic politics and comparative politics of South Asia. A former director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, where he served two terms from 2007 till 2013, he was

“Govts can provide proper conditions that facilitate individual well-being”

Matthieu Ricard, 71, was dubbed the world’s happiest man after scientists carried out intensive research on him as he meditated. He is an author and holds a PhD in molecular genetics. Yet he gave up a promising career and became a Buddhist monk. An associate of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, Ricard now lives in a monastery in Nepal. In an email interview, the man with a

Writing novels is more satisfying: Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat started as an investment banker, before turning to writing. His first novel, Five-Point Someone, sold briskly, and one bestseller followed another. Finally, The New York Times called him ‘the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history’.His books have inspired movies like 3 idiots, Hello and the upcoming movie Half Girlfriend. Bhagat has also

“A mentally ill patient has the same right of freedom as any Indian”

In March, parliament passed the Mental Health Care Bill, which among other things decriminalises suicide and bans the use of electric shocks for children. To understand the new law, Archana Mishra turned to psychiatrist Vikram Patel, former chairman and co-founder of the Centre for Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Patel, named among the Time magazi

Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya on India’s growth prospects

Arvind Panagariya’s is one of the most elegantly done up offices in Lutyens’ Delhi. Its modern furniture is arranged to create multiple work areas, and the spacious office is enlivened by the Madhubani paintings on the walls and miniature potted plants placed in nooks and corners of the room. The get-

"Most important players were the peasants and their voice should be heard"

Tell us about the documentation work of indigo farmers’ testimonies. The testimonies of indigo farmers of Champaran were placed before the agrarian commission in 1917 but afterwards there was no study. These testimonies are housed with the National Archives of India. The National Archives and the Sabarmati Ashram have entered into a kind of partnership by w

A small beginning apparently, but a crucial one: Irfan Habib on Champaran Satyagraha

Champaran was Gandhi’s first political campaign in India, and he chose to work in rural areas and for farmers. Can you tell us more about this context – how unusual was this for the mainstream political leadership back then? Gandhi had already travelled through the rural side of India and he never took up politics. It’s wrong to say it was a politica

“The focus area is to minimise pendency, do more quality work”

The functioning of a national commission, be it NHRC, NCSC or NCST, depends on its head. Being the chief information commissioner (CIC), what is your vision for CIC?  And what has been your experience so far? The chief information commissioner and ten information commissioners (ICs) are creation of the Act. What the Act defines is general superint

Freedom of speech is an index of maturity of a society: Author Githa Hariharan

How do you view the state of contemporary Indian literature? Our cultural spaces are in a bad state – and this affects the writing, publishing and reading of literature. Over the last few years, we have seen far too many cases of the self-appointed thought police intimidating writers. From the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan to the young Kannada poet Huchangi

For healthy and mature future leaders

In a bid to educate the adolescent population of India – the largest in the world, the health ministry, in partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), rolled out a nationwide programme in February, under which around 1.6 lakh boys and girls will work as peer educators in the country. The programme called Sathiya – a part of the centre’s Rashtriya Kisho



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Grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhaya on eve of diwali

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