President and the game of caste, India’s defence diplomacy and, a solution for Syria

Here is a list of stories from our magazine that you must read this weekend

GN Bureau | June 30, 2017


#weekend stories   #President   #defence   #Syria   #Gorkhaland   #research methodology  


After KR Narayanan, India will have a second ‘dalit’ president. Will it change the condition of one-sixth of India’s population that still suffers caste slurs and discriminations at social and economic levels? Narayanan’s being in the Rashtarapati Bhawan didn’t make a difference in their lives; Kovind’s will be no different. The education system will continue to be infested with social biases against ‘quota’ students like Rohit Vemula, leaving them bitter and regretful of their existence; the conviction of those involved in inflicting excesses on dalits will remain abysmally low. Dalits would continue to live in ghettos while leaders will be celebrating the rise of a dalit in Rashtrapati Bhawan.
 
 
Husam Alkatlaby is the executive director of the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a Syrian organisation founded in June 2011 and based in the Netherlands, with a mandate to ensure the full and independent documentation of all violations of human rights in Syria. He speaks with Governance Now on the current state of affairs in Syria. A conservative estimate by VDC suggests that at least 2,50,000 Syrians have been killed in Syria since the start of the war. He says that no party having an interest in Syria, international or domestic, has considered saving Syrian lives as an important factor in this brutal war. He is not optimistic about the July 10 talks and says that “we are very far from a solution right now”. A former Aleppo resident, he thinks it will take at least ten years for any real solution to come up for the future of Syria. 
 
 
India is increasingly turning to defence diplomacy to gain strategic depth in its neighbourhood and beyond, a move that is expected to checkmate China’s muscular domination. Defence as a tool of diplomacy is helping India to win over friendly countries who are currently witnessing a lot of Chinese investment, particularly of the strategic kind that will help Beijing get a foothold right at India’s doorsteps. A wary India has moved swiftly to lean on defence diplomacy to dent Chinese designs.
 
 
The Gorkhas and other people of Darjeeling hills feel that their aspirations will be fulfilled only through a separate state carved out of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts, as well as parts of Siliguri terai and the Dooars region. The success of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Telangana has given hope to advocates of Gorkhaland, who are confident that overall development as well as addressing of the issue of identity of Gorkhas as Indians can only be achieved through a separate state.
 
 
People toss with facts and findings very casually without realising how they unconsciously shape our lives. For instance, the fact – ‘men have monthly mood swings’ – may have been studied on 50 households or a college or a classroom of 20 students. One is also not aware of the paradigm on which this fact was established. How do we generalise this or determinately use it... It is also important to understand how policies are sculpted through research. The state authorities play a major role in framing and implementing a policy. Often a policy is not backed by an apt research methodology.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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