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“Extreme weather is the new normal”

Climate change is for real. And the recent Kerala floods and the deepening farm crisis make this a dreadful phenomenon for India. IMD chief KJ Ramesh talks about how well- or ill-prepared the country is to deal with the change in climate.   From cyclones to unexpected snowfall, 2018 witnessed some severe weather events. Climate ch

"An artist has to feel and behave responsibly"

Famously known for his onscreen role as ACP Pradyuman in the popular TV series CID, Shivaji Satam is a veteran who has worked in theatre, television and films. Before taking up full-time acting, Satam worked as a cashier in Central Bank of India. His performances in many Hindi and Marathi movies have been appreciated. He has twice won the Maharashtra State Film Award for the best actor.

India on a right track with Train 18

In just 18 months the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai has rolled out the country’s fastest train. The engine-less ‘Train 18’ has even crossed the speed of 180 kmph in a trial run. ICF GM Sudhanshu Mani talks about the factory’s future plans where it plans to not only manufacture more trains like Train 18 but also manufacture sleeper class train sets fit for r

A limp loss, a paltry victory

The Rajasthan assembly election outcome has thrown up many curious surprises. It was a near-unanimous prognosis, both of poll pundits and pre-poll surveys, that ruling BJP under Vasundhara Raje would suffer a massive defeat. The reasons attributed were that the people were angry with Raje’s style of functioning and administration, the BJP rank and file was cut up with her, and the state

Back to ‘lamppost politics’

The Indian electorate’s tryst with cyclical elections invented a phenomenon called ‘lamppost elections’. Implicit in this formulation was the notion that the people would elect a minion against a titan if they decide to do so. Irrespective of the stature of a leader in front, even a lamppost can be a victor.   Of late this lamppost syndrome is forgot

"Fitter, healthier people deal better with any kind of pollution"

Supermodel Milind Soman takes on other roles too: actor, film producer, fitness icon. A competitive swimmer in school and college, Soman was a national champion and won a silver for India at the South Asian Federation Games in 1984. He now completes marathons barefoot. In 2015 he prevailed in the Ironman triathlon in Zurich, swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles, and running 26.22 miles in

Yogi Adityanath and the law of karma

Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, a BJP poster made news for showing Yogi Adityanath riding a tiger and other parties’ leaders riding a donkey each. Yogi’s fondness for tigers is well known, but in hindsight, the chief minister seems to be riding a metaphorical tiger – and does not know how to get off its back. The tiger here is the utter disregard for rule of law

Quantum urbanism in action: To protect earth, rethink waste

How can Quantum Urbanism help us rethink waste? It is as much a question as it is an open invitation to explore our relationship with waste and how deeply wedded that relationship is to systems thinking and everything else that comes bundled with it.    Simply put, Quantum Urbanism is a way of reconfiguring urban life at the level of each individual’s s

MP assembly polls: Of frogs, scales and upper caste equations

Driving down from Indore to Bhopal, my driver Roop Singh gave me a lesson in sociology and politics when I asked him about the elections. The lesson I learnt from Roop Singh was quite instructive in understanding the post-poll scenario. “You see, sir, upper castes are like frogs in a taraju (scale), and each of them jumps habitually to disturb the scale,” he said while talki

The Master Sahib effect

During his stint as BJP general secretary (organisation) and in-charge of Madhya Pradesh affairs in the late 1990s, Narendra Modi had acquired a new nickname. He was called “master sahib”, because of his persuasive way of running the party’s organisation and reshuffling the support base.   Of course, in 1998, Madhya Pradesh emerged as a strong ba

Why the bureaucracy needs to re-learn to work

“You will soon be talking to a new foreign secretary,” said prime minister Rajiv Gandhi announcing the sacking of the incumbent at a televised press conference in 1986. Foreign secretary AP Venkateswaran was a distinguished diplomat with 36 years’ service but was not getting along with Gandhi on various issues. Hence the swift and clinical retribution. Venkateswaran resigned

Science and art are not separate: Jayant Kaikini

Jayant Kaikini was recently honoured with the Atta Galatta-BLF Prize and Lifetime Achievement Award Kannada for 2018. Born in Gokarna in Karnataka, Kaikini is one of the prominent young writers in Kannada. He is also a poet, playwright and lyricist and received the Filmfare Award for the best lyricist in 2009.  Your first Karnataka Sahitya Akademi award was when you were 19

MP voters want to bake bread on the other side

Sharp, funny, vicious and raucous as the political discourse is on social media, it is no match for rural India`s pithy street wisdom. A few kilometres away from the Datia constituency in a rural setting, a villager gives me a taste of this when I enquire about which way the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha election is headed. “Roti dono taraf se senkna chahiye. Ek taraf jyada senkne se jal ja

MP assembly polls: Closed sugar mills spell trouble for Shivraj Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is in the reckoning for a record fourth term in office. In the middle of his hectic campaigning, it will do him good to snatch a few hours of rest to watch Saudagar, a 1973 Bollywood movie starring Amitabh Bachchan. Saudagar is a great story around the issue of making jaggery. A widow, played by Nutan, is skilled in m

Language Bar

I heard this interesting anecdote from a dear colleague in Lucknow, late Tahir Abbas. His father had attended a meeting addressed by Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Lucknow before Partition and returned quite dismayed at the great leader’s anglophile conduct. But the maulvis who attended the conference were quite impressed and heard saying, “Mian, Angrez bhi aisi angrezi nahi bol paate (Ev

Here and now: Life lessons from Adi Shankara

The mind often goes blank – no thoughts, no sense of self. This does not last long; we ‘wake’ up and get back into the normal mode with the first-person-singular in the role of protagonist, thinking of the past or the future, planning, fantasising, imagining dialogues. Or the incessant background noise in the head, if nothing else. That blank state, the one without the weight

Making Mumbai trains efficient and economical

MRVC is executing a number of suburban rail improvement projects in Mumbai to reduce over-crowding and meet future traffic requirements. The corporation is also involved in the planning and development of a Mumbai Suburban Rail system. With new foot-over-bridges and AC trains planned, MRVC CMD RS Khurana talks about the slew of initiatives being undertaken.     

Nature vs. human nature

A shocking sight greets the visitor in Rishikesh: At the main ghat, the Ganga spans no more than 10 feet with less than a foot in depth. A larger stream, though, flows on the other side, in full spate, but a sizeable island of sand and stones lies between the that Ganga and the ghat. It was not many years ago that a pilgrim would prefer Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh over Har-ki-Paudi in Haridwar

With Sardar statue, Modi builds a legacy and dwarfs Congress too

Before he laid the foundation for the world’s tallest statue of India’s first deputy prime minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, on October 31, 2013, Narendra Modi (then chief minister of Gujarat), used to keep a small-scale prototype of the proposed statue on the desk in his office. When hosting foreign dignitaries in the office, he would spend considerable time in explaining the sig

The making of the Banana Republic

 In political discourse, the term ‘Banana Republic’ defines a state with a high degree of political instability, societal violence and oppressive inequality. American author O Henry, describing the central American country of Honduras in his ‘Cabbages and Kings’, coined the phrase and it stuck. It gained currency in India in the mid-1980s, when some commentators jok



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