Interview

I never diluted my gayaki: Girija Devi

Girija Devi is one of the finest classical and folk vocalists in the country. Born and brought up in Varanasi, she took forward the legacy of Benaras gharana and mastered semi-classical forms of music like thumri, kajri and tappa. She received Padma Vibhushan earlier this year. At 87, the Queen of Thumri as she is fondly called, shares her thoughts with Swati Chandra on the

This government wants to make us brain-dead: Actor MK Raina

The very thought of meeting the genial father-figure of many a Bollywood flick and one of the better known theatre personalities of India, MK Raina, was exciting. We met over lunch in Delhi’s Le Meridien on a hot summer afternoon. “I have no idea of what you are going to speak to me about,” Raina said, as he kick-started the conversation bypassing all formalities of a first-ti

The Left reunification is possible: CPI leader Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy

Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), is confident about the revival of the Left. Reddy, who has been a member of Lok Sabha twice, believes that  reunification of the Left parties can help consolidate the communist movement. Talking to Pankaj Srivastava, Reddy discusses the problems and prospects of the Indian Left.

“Uttarakhand should be allowed to have more seats in the assembly”

Harish Rawat has seen more ups and downs in two months than many see in decades. He is back in power in Uttarakhand, but facing a CBI inquiry over the alleged horse-trading sting. Ahead of his CBI quizzing on June 7, Rawat found time to answer a few questions from Aasha Khosa. Edited excerpts:  How do you look back at the two months of political developments in Ut

“Those who sold liquor will now sell milk in Bihar”

Bihar’s liquor ban was spearheaded by excise minister Abdul Jalil Mastan. The six-time Congress MLA talks about the state’s plans to overcome the challenges in implementing this difficult move – from providing alternative employment opportunities to opening de-addiction centres.   What made you enact a law which completely banned liq

Why he opted for IRS instead of IAS

Dr Sri Vatsa Sehra cracked the civil services examinations, considered one of the world’s toughest, and did the unthinkable by deciding against joining the much sought after Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Instead, the doctor from AIIMS told Pankaj Kumar that he opted for the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) as it provides an amazing opportunity not just to administe

“Right to education should be from age three”

The UPA government’s big initiative in education was the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The NDA government’s big initiative promises to be the new education policy. A five-member committee, headed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian, was set up last year to draft the policy. The committee had submitted its report on May 27. In early June, however, the matter became conten

“India could also be a target [of the Daesh]”

The news from war-ravaged Afghanistan is not encouraging: a resurgent Taliban, an increasing Islamic State footprint, a fractious government and a weak security force. This year has already seen the Indian consulate in Jalalabad being targeted by a suicide attack. Meanwhile, Afghanistan is very much on top of India’s diplomatic engagements. Economic cooperation with Iran and A

Equipping girls on how to live and prosper

The Women Deliver Conference of 2016 is one of the largest gatherings focusing on women’s and girls’ health, rights and general well-being to be held in a decade – though the conference is being held every two years since 2007.  More than 5,500 delegates – including policy makers, business leaders, health workers, activists and celebrities – from about 167 cou

“If a worker dies of TB, the committee should be held accountable”

The risk of TB infection among healthcare workers (HCWs) is largely understudied and preventive measures are clearly not in place. Blessina Kumar, chair, Global Coalition of TB Activists, discusses with Sakshi Kuchroo the problems in areas which need immediate attention from the government as well as the hospital managements. What do you think is

Documenting her way to filmmaking

Pushpa Rawat comes across as a girl next door until you get to know her and her work better. Rawat makes documentary films, but not just any. It is the unusual style of her films that makes this 28-year-old woman from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, stand out. Her journey so far, however, has not been a cakewalk. Coming from a humble background, Rawat did her masters in philosophy fro

What it means to be an administrator at Lakshadweep

Have you ever thought of the Lakshadweep islands beyond a paradise in the midst of the sea? What are the governance challenges in this remote archipelago? To know the answer to these questions, Governance Now sat down with Esha Pandey, additional DCP II, central district, Delhi police. Pandey was posted in Lakshadweep f

Our development spending has gone up by more than 50%: NHAI

NHAI chairman Raghav Chandra talks about steps taken by the highway authority to speed up highway construction projects, improve maintenance of highways and make them safer and more user friendly. Excerpts from an interview with Yogesh Vajpeyi. How much highway construction was done last year and what are the plans for this fiscal? We have

There is a water emergency now: Rajendra Singh

Are you aware of the MIT study which projects acute water stress in India 35 years from now? Why wait for 35 years? Even now 11 states are facing a water emergency. It is a crisis. And we should consider ourselves lucky if we survive till 2050. It is a terrifying situation. Where is it more severe? Almost ent

Bring law to allow women inside places of worship

Bhumata Brigade founder Trupti Desai, sporting a short haircut and wearing a Nehru jacket, led a group of women into the sanctum sanctorum of Maharashtra’s Shani Shingnapur temple, dramatically ending a 400-year-old ban on the entry of women. Desai talks about her firebrand activism that has caught the imagination of people. Are you crusading against gender divide

Making India a cultural power

A dancer, choreographer, art administrator, organiser of Delhi Art International Festival and a writer with a mission, Pratibha Prahlad, was honoured with Padma Shri this year. In conversation with Geeta Sahai, she talks about the importance of cultural diplomacy, managing cultural scenario and encouraging the promotion of arts and art forms. She also candidly shares notes

“Concept of smart city is to develop city around citizens”

Dehradun is among 23 cities which have been asked to resubmit their proposal for the smart city project by the ministry of urban development. The Uttarakhand government carried out an opinion poll to get public feedback, which would help in revising its proposal. As per reports, approximately 26,000 votes were received by the authorities. Dr R Meenakshi Sundaram, IAS, the nodal officer of t

Meet our reservation demands or face protest: Jat leader Yashpal Malik

After the violent Jat agitation held earlier this year, the Haryana government agreed to give 10% reservation to the community in special backward class category. However, the Jats aren’t satisfied with this development at all. The Akhil Bhartiya Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS) has recently threatened the government to fulfil their demands of reservation under OBC category or witn

Drug regulatory structure is not sound: Whistleblower, Dinesh Thakur

Dinesh Thakur, 48, first hit headlines in May 2013, when his campaign against his former employer Ranbaxy’s unsafe practices and lax quality control in its US facilities concluded successfully: the drug-maker was forced to pay $500 million to the authorities. Thakur, as the whistleblower in the case, received $48.6 million. He has since turned his energies to researching and campaigni

Giving people’s money back to them to spend on their own

AAP’s original concept of mohalla sabha has undergone some changes this year. Atishi Marlena, who is advisor to the deputy CM and is spearheading the initiative, talks about the emergence of a new brand of grassroot politics and reaching out to people through mohallas across the city.   How will the exercise of people’s participation be di

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