Saturday, Mar 28, 2015
Faults and lines
Faults and lines

Parties have split before. But AAP’s internal dissension doesn’t look fundamental.

The judge, my hero
The judge, my hero

I filed a petition against 66A. But SC judges made us all win.

Unfair House
Unfair House

Parliament condemned my statements on Gandhi and Bose without giving me a hearing, writes Markandey Katju.

A story of Bhuttos, and South Asia
A story of Bhuttos, and South Asia

A new book recounts the turbulence in the life and times of Benazir Bhutto.

A mixed record on freedom
A mixed record on freedom

Supreme Court has upheld civil liberties in Section 66A judgment — unlike during Emergency.

Torchbearer for a progressive politics
Torchbearer for a progressive politics

Tahira Mazhar Ali struggled to reclaim spaces for a secular, pluralistic Pakistan.

It pays to be smart
It pays to be smart

But will there be takers once states realise a Smart City isn’t a ticket to Central funds?

The Farkhunda shame
The Farkhunda shame

Women pallbearers of her coffin have signalled a new moment in Kabul.

Speaking for freedom
Speaking for freedom

The most shining moments of Section 66A judgment lie in its articulation of what freedom of expression means in India.

But what about Section 69A?
But what about Section 69A?

In upholding blocking rules, the Supreme Court has commented only on their legality — not their desirability.

An epic forgetting
An epic forgetting

In framing its land law, NDA ignores lessons from the Mahabharata.

Supreme redemption
Supreme redemption

Battling a mixed record on civil liberties, SC decision couldn’t have come at a finer time.

Getting RBI out of debt
Getting RBI out of debt

The Public Debt Management Agency is a good idea. It is time government managed its own debt.

TeleScope: All in the game
TeleScope: All in the game

World Cup has taken over TV — if we’re not watching it, news channels are talking about it.

Secularism has weak roots
Secularism has weak roots

The nation is looking increasingly parochial. Was pluralism only a Nehruvian concept?

Sad day for the pompous
Sad day for the pompous

Freedom to mock and ridicule the powerful has thankfully been restored.

Dimapur snapshots
Dimapur snapshots

Why did a lynch mob feel compelled to take photographs as it killed?

The postmodern leader
The postmodern leader

Cleverly, ruthlessly, Lee Kuan Yew ensured Singapore punched above its weight.

Three finals in 2015?
Three finals in 2015?

Cricket World Cup so far has been humdrum. But next three ‘finals’ have the potential to make this a cup to remember.

Her peace
Her peace

Gender concerns must be mainstreamed in conflict-transformation processes.

Chinese Takeaway: Border Paradox
Chinese Takeaway: Border Paradox

China has long seen Myanmar and Pakistan as gateways to the Indian Ocean.

Faith in the prime minister
Faith in the prime minister

PM is trying to find the right measures to check religious fanaticism and intolerance.

The Hindalco contradiction
The Hindalco contradiction

On coal, Manmohan Singh made the case for auctions. And also took the discredited allotment route.

Redoing India-China sums
Redoing India-China sums

Both countries must use economic cooperation to de-emphasise disputes.

Once upon a division
Once upon a division

Remembering the Pakistan Resolution, 75 years later.

So who needs reservations?
So who needs reservations?

Supreme Court does well to throw up the question. The search for answers need not be caste-centric

Mandal vs Mandir
Mandal vs Mandir

The V.P. Singh government was the biggest casualty of this confrontation.

Delhi’s power play
Delhi’s power play

If it wants to reduce electricity bills, Delhi government has no option but to offer a subsidy. But is that warranted?

Across the Aisle: Equity suffers  Rs 75,000-crore blow
Across the Aisle: Equity suffers Rs 75,000-crore blow

The Finance Minister listed thirteen points for his Vision 2022.

Out of My Mind: The irrelevance of being Rahul
Out of My Mind: The irrelevance of being Rahul

Being the president of the Congress party used to be just a temporary job.

Fifth Column: A bunch of hypocrites
Fifth Column: A bunch of hypocrites

I understood again why India gave Narendra Modi a full mandate.

Inside Track: Sobering sartorial style
Inside Track: Sobering sartorial style

Ever since there was a hue and cry over his dressing, there has been a subtle change in Modi’s sartorial style.

Fine-tuning democracy
Fine-tuning democracy

Law Commission report frames crucial issues but reaches hasty conclusions.

Breaking mis-news
Breaking mis-news

Without knowing it, we have learned to live in a daily crossfire of the ridiculous and the absurd.

A tale from Karakalpakstan
A tale from Karakalpakstan

What connects a desolate Central Asian region to Pakistan?

Recalling the political Gandhi
Recalling the political Gandhi

Narayan Desai’s ‘Gandhi Katha’ was a response to the communal violence in Gujarat in 2002.

They don’t need no 100-crore club
They don’t need no 100-crore club

‘NH10’ confirms a growing trend of young Bollywood actors unafraid to break the mould.

Failing the fairness test
Failing the fairness test

The legality of Manmohan's summoning order will be tested on the touchstones of our constitutional and criminal jurisprudence.

#Indiasdaughter
#Indiasdaughter

The documentary and the global campaign have brought to the surface an old fault line along which global North-South relations are being reconfigured.

Reservations, questions
Reservations, questions

SC judgment points to new social justice frameworks struggling to take shape.

The MOOC point
The MOOC point

Massive open online courses could radically change higher technical education.

Unique identity dilemma
Unique identity dilemma

Sold as a voluntary facility, Aadhaar is turning coercive — despite judicial intervention.

Poor transmission
Poor transmission

Too often, radio is a medium for airing majoritarian, bigoted social beliefs.

Going nuclear at sea
Going nuclear at sea

Launch of ‘INS Arihant’ is only the first step in what promises to be a long and onerous process for the navy.

How to be smart
How to be smart

First, India must clearly articulate its vision of what constitutes a smart city.

Last machine standing
Last machine standing

We must draw up living wills on what should be done when there is an end-of-life event.

Tele Scope: Hooked to the telly
Tele Scope: Hooked to the telly

What is it that we gain from listening to the likes of Abhishek Manu Singhvi (Congress) and Sambit Patra (BJP) discussing Sonia Gandhi’s birthmark?

Lay of the land
Lay of the land

We need to rethink the nature of state intervention in the land market.

Talking to the generals
Talking to the generals

India must find a way to make the Pakistan army an interlocutor.

Reimagining Dimapur
Reimagining Dimapur

Lynching episode underlines the need to bring in a politics based not just on memories of shared ethnic pasts, but the vision of a common future.

The story of shunya
The story of shunya

How Indian mathematicians defined zero as a concept.

Beijing unravelling
Beijing unravelling

India must invest more deeply in understanding the rumblings in China.

Secrets and spies
Secrets and spies

More openness, not more monitoring, is the answer to corporate espionage.

Three is a crowd
Three is a crowd

SC decision on polygamy significantly advances Muslim personal law reform.

Building on Aadhaar
Building on Aadhaar

How direct benefit transfers have run into implementation hurdles.

Mahatma’s storyteller: Narayan Desai
Mahatma’s storyteller: Narayan Desai

Like all true Gandhians, Narayan Desai lived a life of simplicity and dedication

The great Game Folio: How to Intervene
The great Game Folio: How to Intervene

A fortnightly column on the high politics of the Af-Pak region, the fulcrum of global power play in India’s neighbourhood.

The urgent need for fast bankruptcy
The urgent need for fast bankruptcy

Finance minister is right in wanting to create a modern bankruptcy law and procedures. It is a reform long overdue .

I feel I am on a hit list
I feel I am on a hit list

And, as a Christian, suddenly a stranger in my own country.

The fifth Metro: Given by women, received by men
The fifth Metro: Given by women, received by men

Economic, social and cultural factors combine with coercion to tilt kidney donation numbers against women.

Going back in time
Going back in time

Land law amendments imply that state, not market, knows best.

Trader and the king
Trader and the king

Our kings didn’t build systems to mobilise savings or mop up revenues. We haven’t learned from history.

Nextdoor: Nepal wants to know, India must tell
Nextdoor: Nepal wants to know, India must tell

Was there an understanding with Gyanendra in 2006 to continue with the constitutional monarchy?

Piety wins, work ethic loses
Piety wins, work ethic loses

Pakistan is going against the grain of the modern state that legislates on the basis of ethic

Down to earth
Down to earth

To claim that heavenly law is supra-constitutional is to live in a fool’s paradise

Something borrowed
Something borrowed

A little Gandhian, a little socialist — can AAP be both, without conflict?

Where the state protects those it bans
Where the state protects those it bans

Mumbai attack mastermind Lakhvi’s release is part of a larger story

Cash vs kind
Cash vs kind

It is no wonder that the report considers the PDS broken and recommends its gradual replacement by cash transfers.

A battle half won
A battle half won

Sri Lanka has a real shot at an inclusive political settlement. Delhi can help it happen.

Not easy to take a break
Not easy to take a break

Like Rahul, I too have soul searched on a break. Now I know better than to try again.

For the Record: ‘To me, the blue chakra or wheel in India’s flag represents the potential of the blue revolution, or the ocean economy’
For the Record: ‘To me, the blue chakra or wheel in India’s flag represents the potential of the blue revolution, or the ocean economy’

Excerpts from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the commissioning of the ‘Barracuda’ in Mauritius on March 12.

Aryans and Others
Aryans and Others

How Europeans and Indians deployed myths regarding ancient Aryans in their various reform and nationalist projects.

A new bridge to  Sri Lanka
A new bridge to Sri Lanka

The Tamil issue has subsided for now. For Modi government, what matters most are Delhi’s business interests.

Modi and the Ocean: Maritime power and responsibility
Modi and the Ocean: Maritime power and responsibility

It is not easy to recall the last time when an Indian Prime Minister articulated India’s objectives and policy for the Indian Ocean.

Objection, your Lordships
Objection, your Lordships

The Supreme Court judgment that a Dalit Christian or Muslim who converts to Hinduism will qualify for reservation benefits if his forefathers belonged to a Scheduled Caste amounts to an incentive to ‘ghar wapsi’.

A battle Bangladesh must win
A battle Bangladesh must win

Behind Avijit Roy’s murder lies a story of spreading extremism. A fatal flaw in the government’s counter-militancy strategy is its over-reliance on law and order agencies.

Competing communalisms
Competing communalisms

BJP-PDP alliance is marketed as a historic reconciliation. But it could firm up long-running processes of communal mobilisation.

Losing the plots
Losing the plots

NDA’s casual amendments do not address core issue of consent in land acquisition.

Media and the accused
Media and the accused

Do the accused have the right to express and publicise their views?

Modi’s Sagar Mala
Modi’s Sagar Mala

Whatever its name, Delhi needs a more purposeful engagement in Indian Ocean.

Progress on the farm
Progress on the farm

But budget could have gone further if it had listened to farmers.

How Jaitley squared the circle
How Jaitley squared the circle

There were complex and conflicting demands on the budget. It resisted the temptation to take the blatantly populist route.

Who killed Govind Pansare?
Who killed Govind Pansare?

He waged a long battle against superstition. He was the communist who also engaged with the caste question.

The real UN question
The real UN question

Debate over veto restraint is a distraction from the broader dilemmas of UN Security Council reform.

Money well spent
Money well spent

Union budget’s principal positive measure was the significant outlay for infrastructure.

Government gains, country loses
Government gains, country loses

Coal auctions are no panacea. The challenge of revitalising the priority sectors of steel, power and cement has become more difficult.

Chinese Takeaway
Chinese Takeaway

While most of India’s immediate neighbours are eager to join the Silk Road orchestra, New Delhi has chosen to stay out of the symphony for now.

Caste and the Parivar
Caste and the Parivar

BJP has become adept at quota politics but a deeper awkwardness remains.

Budget silences
Budget silences

It has left out key concerns of agriculture, environment and women.

The elephant and the windsock
The elephant and the windsock

Budget gave clearance for the take-off. But let’s watch out for turbulence.

In the mirror, Mukesh Singh
In the mirror, Mukesh Singh

The criminal justice system in many countries has acted with resolve to address sexual assault. A large part of that effort has been built on getting to know rapists.

Across the aisle - Budget 2015: Good, bad & ugly
Across the aisle - Budget 2015: Good, bad & ugly

I am an honorary member of both. I am also the selector who will unhesitatingly axe that which is plain ugly.

Fifth column : India defamed?
Fifth column : India defamed?

India’s Daughter holds up a mirror to Indian society and it does this with compassion and sensitivity.

Out of my mind : What are we afraid of?
Out of my mind : What are we afraid of?

The world will think India has some secrets to hide which are worse than what is already known.

Inside track
Inside track

Kejriwal called Hazare his guru during the Lokpal campaign, which he exploited to become a nationally known figure.

From Congress to AAP
From Congress to AAP

Can our political parties manage their internal affairs democratically, viably?

Border in the middle
Border in the middle

Beijing’s reaction to Modi’s Arunachal Pradesh visit was unusually strong.

No Proof Required: So why not ban the RSS?
No Proof Required: So why not ban the RSS?

It is wrong to ban ‘India’s Daughter’, wrong to extend ambit of cow-slaughter ban, and wrong to ban extremist political organisations.

Face the truth
Face the truth

Descriptions of the ‘monster’, the ‘evil one’, for the rapist tend to ignore that we are creating, replicating, encouraging misogyny and its violent expression.

A lively, literary Lahore
A lively, literary Lahore

The literary festival hosted by the city saw a coming together of creativity, eclecticism, ideas and dialogue.

Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia: Pakistan’s Leverage in the Gulf
Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia: Pakistan’s Leverage in the Gulf

Sharif owes big to Saudi Arabia, which sheltered him at the darkest moment of his political career.

States in charge
States in charge

The changing electorate and competitive federalism will be checks on their profligacy.

Against the grain
Against the grain

In a country like India, inflation targeting could create anti-farmer policy bias.

Putting the ‘universal’ in healthcare
Putting the ‘universal’ in healthcare

India needs prudent compromises to achieve its health coverage goals.

A policy of spectre-mongering
A policy of spectre-mongering

Sangh Parivar has zeroed in on Census 2011’s data on religion. But Modi government needs to go back to the Sachar report.

Tele scope: Moving eastward
Tele scope: Moving eastward

In television entertainment, it is goodbye Viranis, hello Shuklas and Mathurs.

‘Baba planted seeds of independent thinking in my mind’
‘Baba planted seeds of independent thinking in my mind’

Slain Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy wrote about the inspiring patriotism of his father, Ajoy Roy, a physics professor at Dhaka University.

Taking charge
Taking charge

Prime minister’s success in securing the release of a priest from the Afghan Taliban points to India’s new clout.

The great Game Folio: Kashmir gambit
The great Game Folio: Kashmir gambit

All of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s predecessors, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh, have had to deal with this external dimension to Kashmir.

Two experiments
Two experiments

With the budget, BJP-PDP alliance, Modi may be charting a new course.

Many small bangs
Many small bangs

A reformist budget was tripped up by short-run pressures.

Why I am a dissenter
Why I am a dissenter

Finance Commission initiated shift to greater federalism. But let’s hasten slowly.

Have money, won’t spend
Have money, won’t spend

Defence ministry shows a troubling inability to spend budgetary allocations.

Northwest turbulence
Northwest turbulence

A new regional dynamic is shaping India’s relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Delhi needs a new strategy for this critical sub-region.

Prime minister’s Pakistan project
Prime minister’s Pakistan project

Like his predecessors, Narendra Modi may yet discover that the road to peace has led to a minefield.

Unspectacular, but in the right direction
Unspectacular, but in the right direction

For the budget to succeed, government needs to build institutional capacity to carry through proposed public investment, step up divestment.

The twain shall meet
The twain shall meet

BJP-PDP is the most difficult alliance in J&K. It could also be the most durable.

Silence on the farm
Silence on the farm

Budget should have rationalised food-fertiliser subsidies to raise agri-investment.

Provider to facilitator
Provider to facilitator

After nine months of tinkering, with this budget, the government has begun institutional change. Yet, reneging on the promised fiscal consolidation is a problem.

A triumph for plumbing
A triumph for plumbing

This budget makes a radical new promise — policy will pray at the altar of jobs.

Over the Barrel: Green fig leaf
Over the Barrel: Green fig leaf

Finance minister’s focus on growth and equity is incomplete. He should have acknowledged the trade-off between the need for energy and the imperative of environmental protection.

Across The Aisle - Fourteenth FC: Generous to a fault?
Across The Aisle - Fourteenth FC: Generous to a fault?

Abhijit Sen can take heart that he may not be alone when he wrote his four-page dissent to the Report of the FFC.

Out of my mind: A house of illusions
Out of my mind: A house of illusions

Every country which is rich today was once poor and agrarian. It got rich by using land for industry.

Inside Track: Yadav weds Yadav
Inside Track: Yadav weds Yadav

Lalu once hoped that his eldest daughter Misa would marry Yadav’s eldest son Akhilesh.

Fifth column: Not Jantar Mantar again
Fifth column: Not Jantar Mantar again

The land law is not the only bad piece of legislation that the last government bestowed upon us.

Whose national interest?
Whose national interest?

Home ministry’s affidavit in Priya Pillai case is a study in irony.

The frailty of judges
The frailty of judges

It is increasingly difficult for Pakistan to punish those who kill for religious reasons.

#RahulWillBeBack
#RahulWillBeBack

Change is not easy, and the Congress flirts dangerously with obsolescence if it cannot reinvent urgently.

No clean slate
No clean slate

Budget 2015-16 will be watched for how much it breaks from the past.

Track changes
Track changes

Indian Railways should decentralise by using PPPs in a big way.

Running late
Running late

Rail budget missed the opportunity to lay out an agenda for the future.

Put the scissors away
Put the scissors away

If promoting obscurantism is a concern, TV is far more guilty than films.

Finance minister’s Victor Hugo moment
Finance minister’s Victor Hugo moment

Post-reform India has had three gamechanging budgets. Will Arun Jaitley’s be the fourth?

Chugging ahead
Chugging ahead

Rail budget makes many right moves. But beware of rail ministry’s ‘implementation bug’.

The investment quandary
The investment quandary

Union budget will be watched for the incentives it offers to encourage private investment.

Meeting point Srinagar
Meeting point Srinagar

A PDP-BJP coalition could help heal the rift between Jammu and Kashmir.

Engines of growth
Engines of growth

Real challenge for railways is to keep pace with a fast expanding economy.

‘The man I offered my complaint to smiled it off... I regretted having spoken to him at all’
‘The man I offered my complaint to smiled it off... I regretted having spoken to him at all’

A victim of sexual harassment speaks out about why most women choose to remain silent.

The case against private coal
The case against private coal

It will increase the price of coal and eventually the price of power.

View from the right: PM on tolerance
View from the right: PM on tolerance

The Organiser editorial interprets Modi’s recent speech on religious freedom not as a message to Hindutva outfits.

Tele scope: Once again
Tele scope: Once again

Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal rolled back the years with a return to protests, and TVs.

Me and my mandate
Me and my mandate

How Nitish, Rahul and Modi have overplayed their hand

All that glitters
All that glitters

Budget offers government a chance to tap gold stocks, monetise them.

Off the coal blocks
Off the coal blocks

Aggressive bidding and transparency in the auction process have rescued the sector from the uncertainty caused by the cancellation of allocations.

Chinese Takeaway: Railway Lessons
Chinese Takeaway: Railway Lessons

By the turn of the 20th century, the subcontinent had nearly 15,000 km of railway track, in comparison to just 600 km in China.

A time to bid
A time to bid

There is no going back to corruption in coal allocations.

Come to the House
Come to the House

Government must avoid the temptation to bypass the legislature.

A taxing matter
A taxing matter

Both form and content of GST Constitution amendment bill need to be re-thought.

Nalanda’s cosy club
Nalanda’s cosy club

The revival of a university in Nalanda is a noble mission. But the past seven years have seen a hijacking of the project by a small clique.

An icon for Swachh Bharat
An icon for Swachh Bharat

To sustain the abhiyan, we should draw inspiration from beloved saint-reformers like Sant Gadge Maharaj.

The immunisation imperative
The immunisation imperative

A renewed commitment will improve India’s record on combating childhood diseases and help set the global agenda on child health.

A distorted landscape
A distorted landscape

Land markets are skewed by policies that urgently require correction.

Unequal opportunities
Unequal opportunities

Why Rajasthan’s recent ordinances limiting who can run for local office are flawed.

The new normal in MP
The new normal in MP

A Hindu majoritarian cultural agenda seems to be entrenched in the state.

A climate of bilateralism
A climate of bilateralism

India should be wary of acceding to US demands on emissions cuts.

Victory signs
Victory signs

Despite AAP’s Delhi win, if strategies are put in place to deliver on promises by his third year, Modi may well preside over a 10-year transformation of India.

Across the Aisle: What will the fm do with 282?
Across the Aisle: What will the fm do with 282?

Mr Narendra Modi and his ministers started by believing their election rhetoric that the Indian economy was in the doldrums.

Inside Track: Potential Recruits
Inside Track: Potential Recruits

Long ago, when they were buddies, Pravin Togadia rode the bike with Narendra Modi as pillion.

Out of my mind: Secular, not socialist?
Out of my mind: Secular, not socialist?

How many of us are aware that the Election Commission requires every political party to affirm that it is socialist?

Fifth Column: Crusaders in a time warp
Fifth Column: Crusaders in a time warp

It is true that in elections past, the RSS helped the BJP win, but it is not true of the last general election.

Becoming what we hate
Becoming what we hate

India’s democracy did not have Pakistan’s flaws. Why, then, would India want to imitate Pakistan?

The great Game Folio: Defence Diplomacy
The great Game Folio: Defence Diplomacy

Addressing the gathering, Xi underlined the importance of military diplomacy in achieving Beijing’s larger national goals.

Avoid the fast track to reform
Avoid the fast track to reform

Higher education should not be overhauled by overemphasising technical skills and employability.

Voting in Brazil
Voting in Brazil

Its electoral process faces two challenges: party fragmentation and campaign finance.

For a clean bill of health
For a clean bill of health

Public health policy needs political leadership, not another please-all document.

The new normal in Madhya Pradesh
The new normal in Madhya Pradesh

A Hindu majoritarian cultural agenda seems to be entrenched in the state.

Thus spake Modi
Thus spake Modi

Now he must outmanoeuvre the politics of resentment and zealotry in his parivar.

Far from the horseshoe table
Far from the horseshoe table

Despite US support, permanent Security Council membership may prove elusive.

For The Record: Full text of Amartya Sen's letter
For The Record: Full text of Amartya Sen's letter

The governing board was kept completely in the dark about an attempted unilateral move by the government to rapidly reconstitute the entire board.

Halting the demolition derby
Halting the demolition derby

AAP’s move is welcome. Now, it must extend secure tenure to slum dwellers to build a more inclusive city.

Whose biryani  is it anyway?
Whose biryani is it anyway?

The dish has come to telegraphically signal ‘anti-national’.

Reconfiguring the military
Reconfiguring the military

India needs a matrix structure where the operational and support roles are separated.

Roads to a comeback
Roads to a comeback

Nitish Kumar’s elevation and then his attempt to oust Jitan Ram Manjhi may have been a blunder.

Telescope: ‘Blowing off’ Pakistan
Telescope: ‘Blowing off’ Pakistan

From coast to coast, that’s what India appears to have been doing of late.

What Delhi rejects
What Delhi rejects

Hindu right’s conduct put off voters who had supported BJP for growth, governance.

No more economic bandaids
No more economic bandaids

View from the right: Freebies Vs Growth
View from the right: Freebies Vs Growth

The Organiser cautions people against the distribution of freebies by the Arvind Kejriwal regime at the cost of India’s economic growth.

‘My government will not allow any religious group majority or minority to incite hatred against others’
‘My government will not allow any religious group majority or minority to incite hatred against others’

Excerpts from PM Narendra Modi’s speech at the national celebration of the elevation to sainthood of Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia on February 17 in New Delhi.

No such thing as free water
No such thing as free water

AAP should scrap free water policy for all and target poor localities, and those with no access to piped water.

The road to safety
The road to safety

India needs a two-pronged approach: it must reduce the risk of fatality and encourage public transport.

Remaking the Centre
Remaking the Centre

Union government is changing old ways. It is yet to find new equilibrium.

Some fresh GIAN
Some fresh GIAN

Can India support a global network of academics to teach in its universities?