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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

CPCB report on polluted cities

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has carried out an extensive survey of pollution in cities across the country. It lists out 43 cities which have a very high-level of pollution (scoring above 70 on a 100-point scale). When this report was presented a little over a month ago, the government immediately put a ban on setting up new industries in these cities until August 2010.

"Bundelkhand model could be replicated"

Buoyed by the experience of the central monitoring committee to oversee the development of Bundelkhand region, the planning commission is actively considering the idea of replicating the model in other backward regions of the country. The decision to form the monitoring committee for Bundelkhand came last year in November following opposition from the Uttar Pradesh and the Madhya Pradesh govern

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

Groundwater irrigation report by IIM-A

An IIM-Ahmedabad report says that groundwater irrigation is heading for a crisis in India as the number of irrigation blocks is increasing at an alarming rate of 5.5 percent per year. It says over-extraction has caused the water table to fall by as much as 40 to 60 meters in many places. Heavy dependence on ground-water-fed irrigation may lead to food crisis and will have very serious i

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

"Let farmers decide on Bt Brinjal"

Biotech veteran Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw has slammed attempts to politicise the Bt Brinjal issue and said the decision to opt or desist from cultivating the genetically modified crop should be left to farmers. "I have always maintained that Bt crops need to be scientifically evaluated," she told PTI. "It is impossible to have a sensible discussion on GM crops when it is

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

“Two-party system would be ideal"

Nitin Gadkari, 52, belongs to a new generation of BJP leaders on whom the party has pinned high hopes. When he succeeded Rajnath Singh as the BJP president, there was skepticism all around. Some described him as a rubber stamp of the RSS which is hell-bent on controlling the country’s second largest national political party. In an interview with managing editor Ajay Singh

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

State of education report by Pratham

India’s progress in the education sector hasn’t been exactly stellar. Although the latest Annual Status of Education Report brought out by Pratham, a leading NGO in the sector, says that 96 percent of children in rural India in the age group of 6-14 years are now enrolled in schools, the quality of education remains dismal. The report says that just 69 percent of class I stu

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.

Toxic Toys

Do you know the toys that your child plays with can cause asthama, other lung problems and stunt growth of reproductive organs? Well, this is what a study by the Centre for Science and Environment has found. The CSE picked up plastic toys randomly from the markets in Delhi and found that they contained a toxic chemical, phthalates, in much higher amounts than what

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

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