Monday, Apr 27, 2015
Out of the debris
Out of the debris

Resilient Nepal will reconstruct and rebuild. India must continue to lend a hand.

For all the Shah Banos
For all the Shah Banos

Constitution, not community’s code, should decide religion-based disputes.

Fifth Metro: Bangalore, 1, 2, 3
Fifth Metro: Bangalore, 1, 2, 3

Karnataka chief minister has seized control of the state’s biggest and richest civic body.

More modestly, with Kabul
More modestly, with Kabul

During Ashraf Ghani’s visit, Delhi must signal support informed by an appreciation of Afghanistan’s strategic dilemmas.

Across  the Aisle: Inflation is bad, but is deflation good?
Across the Aisle: Inflation is bad, but is deflation good?

Deflation is not an unmixed blessing. Sometimes it can be more calamitous than inflation.

Inside Track: Unconventional approach
Inside Track: Unconventional approach

PM Narendra Modi broke with convention on at least three occasions on his recent visit to France, Germany and Canada.

Out of My Mind: Playing with lives
Out of My Mind: Playing with lives

The AAP went on with its rally because that is one activity its leader enjoys the most.

Fifth Column: Lies and more lies
Fifth Column: Lies and more lies

Rahul Gandhi's lies are serious and so must be analysed seriously.

The other Parivar
The other Parivar

Bihar will be the litmus test for the Janata merger.

An inability to grieve
An inability to grieve

For political parties, ‘people’ are an abstraction. Gajendra Singh’s death drives this truth home.

No Proof Required: Some media-bashing
No Proof Required: Some media-bashing

Going by their learned comments on farmer suicide, if the Congress had won the previous election, it would have introduced a right to happiness bill to satisfy all voters.

To win the peace
To win the peace

Post-conflict Sri Lanka needs to start talking of demilitarisation

Law as farce
Law as farce

‘Court’ points to a heartening trend of questioning

Yemen’s long shadow
Yemen’s long shadow

The conflict has made Pakistan feel more divided at home.

Those paper boats
Those paper boats

European reaction to sinking of migrant ship has all the trappings of a farce.

If you want to help the farmer
If you want to help the farmer

Evidence of farm distress mounts. Government needs to broaden its policy focus.

‘Civil society is like a Socratic gadfly to the state’
‘Civil society is like a Socratic gadfly to the state’

John Hawkes professor Leela Gandhi talks about her new book, the inner life of democracy and what it means to be postcolonial in 2015.

The anti-labour mindset
The anti-labour mindset

But looking only at labour market policies will not solve low employment elasticity of growth

Web of deception
Web of deception

Arguments for state censorship of internet service providers in the name of net neutrality have an Orwellian feel.

The silencing of dissent
The silencing of dissent

Government’s treatment of Greenpeace is an example of a worrying trend.

Tele Scope: Seen and heard, again and again
Tele Scope: Seen and heard, again and again

News TV is relishing Rahul Gandhi’s return and his face-off with the government in Parliament.

The Vizag line
The Vizag line

CPM won’t separate struggle against neoliberal policies from fight against Hindutva.

Lighting up a century
Lighting up a century

How Chris Bayly redeemed modern Indian history from a damning critique.

The new progressive
The new progressive

CPM must overcome defeatism, refresh itself to dominate debate.

A tax hell on earth
A tax hell on earth

The demand of Rs 40,000 crore minimum alternate tax is the latest example of Indian tax terrorism.

A day in the fight for the right to know
A day in the fight for the right to know

An attempt on my life last year in Pakistan made me a hero for a powerless majority.

The clean energy opportunity
The clean energy opportunity

India and the US need to work together to usher in the change.

Two birds, one $46 billion stone
Two birds, one $46 billion stone

China, Pakistan have done better on security than economics. Can it be different?

Can it hit the road?
Can it hit the road?

Rahul’s challenge is not to become party president but to make a party out of Congress.

Great Chinese diversion
Great Chinese diversion

India must be prepared to deal with China’s plans to divert Brahmaputra waters.

Death by Breath: And malice towards the non-polluter
Death by Breath: And malice towards the non-polluter

Municipal policies keep street vendors and cycle rickshaws trapped in a web of illegality.

The great Game Folio: China in Bandung
The great Game Folio: China in Bandung

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

What’s Left?
What’s Left?

CPM must connect with the future. It will need hard rethinking, even harder ground work.

When a great city dies
When a great city dies

Mumbai’s long-standing tradition of openness and tolerance is fast eroding.

Radical storyteller
Radical storyteller

With Eduardo Galeano’s passing, Latin American history has lost a valued witness.

Air, an election issue
Air, an election issue

The growing public concern over pollution must enable a political moment where governments view action on air quality as a vote-getter

Rear view: An end and a beginning
Rear view: An end and a beginning

The exit of Narasimha Rao triggered the coalition era

Reimagining the triangle
Reimagining the triangle

Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan could be an opportunity to transform New Delhi’s relationship with Islamabad and Beijing.

Across the Aisle: The bugle has been sounded
Across the Aisle: The bugle has been sounded

If one compared the budget estimate for 2014-15 and 2015-16, the reduction was extremely harsh.

Fifth Column: Clarity on Kashmir
Fifth Column: Clarity on Kashmir

Nobody seriously believes that there will be another redrawing of India’s borders.

Out Of My Mind: Rest in peace
Out Of My Mind: Rest in peace

Now lo and behold, poor Babasaheb is being claimed by the BJP/RSS as a great Hindu!

Inside Track: Sticking on
Inside Track: Sticking on

Unlike others who have had to leave after completing their parliamentary terms, Amar Singh has so far managed to stay on.

In Delhi, do as Beijing does
In Delhi, do as Beijing does

Adopt more stringent fuel quality and emission standards — and push for the national automobile pollution and fuel authority.

A call to account
A call to account

Public accounting needs to reclaim its pre-eminence as a profession and as a calling.

The oil games
The oil games

N-deal with Iran opens another front in the international arena.

Worse than war
Worse than war

This year’s UN report on sexual violence in conflict documents the horror and suggests early warning systems.

GIFT that gives back
GIFT that gives back

Institutional capacity in finance SEZs will eventually reform the mainland.

The buck stops where?
The buck stops where?

While violation of approved conditions is rampant, enforcement of environmental laws is abysmally poor.

If you do not hear the farmer
If you do not hear the farmer

Rural distress is growing. Chand Committee report on MSPs shows a way out.

Not a zero sum game
Not a zero sum game

China takes the lead in Afghanistan. Why India need not feel threatened.

Let’s talk about Israel, not Iran
Let’s talk about Israel, not Iran

Tel Aviv’s unchecked nuclear capabilities, not Tehran’s pursuit of a bomb, have destabilised West Asia.

Tele scope: Follow the PM Narendra Modi
Tele scope: Follow the PM Narendra Modi

Otherwise, TV news is insular, uninterested in the world.

How we failed Ambedkar
How we failed Ambedkar

Facing up to him means confronting questions of our own complicity and guilt.

The shadows of forgotten ancestors
The shadows of forgotten ancestors

PM’s visit to ‘Komagata Maru’ museum highlights the trials of first generation Indian immigrants to Canada.

Transforming our cities: On water, Singapore shows the way
Transforming our cities: On water, Singapore shows the way

Every drop of rain that can be captured, should be captured. Every drop of wastewater that can be safely reclaimed, should be reclaimed.

What Delhi can learn from Paris
What Delhi can learn from Paris

For India, in a phase of urban transition, solutions to air pollution are both local and global.

The wild card
The wild card

Private funding is a supporting mechanism, but conservation must remain a public priority.

Ambedkar for our time
Ambedkar for our time

He will be relevant as long as concerns of most disempowered are unheard.

A very ordinary Byomkesh
A very ordinary Byomkesh

Dibakar Banerjee’s film rekindles a romance that has endured for 83 years.

Take the longer, larger view
Take the longer, larger view

If we use the corrected number for cars, we get a statistic of eight cars per hundred persons in Delhi.

A prize for bad behaviour
A prize for bad behaviour

The international community must create a viable alternative to the Lausanne deal with Iran

The great Game Folio
The great Game Folio

As they face similar threats from religious extremism and terrorism, India and Canada can significantly expand their intelligence-sharing on a bilateral basis.

For the record: ‘India’s priorities fit well with Germany’s expertise’
For the record: ‘India’s priorities fit well with Germany’s expertise’

Excerpts from PM Narendra Modi’s oped in German newspaper ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’, April 13

Lateral entry, blind alley
Lateral entry, blind alley

Far from infusing energy, it could further enfeeble the bureaucracy.

On a new track
On a new track

Railways revival could begin with reforms charted by Sreedharan, Debroy panels.

Across the Aisle-Land acquisition: Nine steps to nirvana
Across the Aisle-Land acquisition: Nine steps to nirvana

The old Land Acquisition Act of 1894 was an oppressive and exploitative colonial legislation.

Fifth column: A five-star hullabaloo
Fifth column: A five-star hullabaloo

When Modi promised to eliminate laws that came in the way of the justice system moving faster.

Inside track: Not so tweet
Inside track: Not so tweet

Some of Anil Vij’s earlier tweets can also be interpreted as innuendoes against M L Khattar.

Out of My Mind: Idealism is not enough
Out of My Mind: Idealism is not enough

AAP is of course not a political party in any ordinary sense.

The Sudeten parallel
The Sudeten parallel

How a misinterpretation of Hitler’s demand for German majority areas in Czechoslovakia influenced the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan.

A new vehicle for clean air
A new vehicle for clean air

The best way to improve Delhi’s toxic air is to massively augment public transportation systems.

Two controversies
Two controversies

Extending beef ban is unreasonable. Decision on Marathi movies was needed

Gandhis, like the Bhuttos
Gandhis, like the Bhuttos

A similar tale of dynasty and power unfolds on both sides of the border.

The write choice
The write choice

Recent spate of Bollywood films offers a new premise: story can be the hero

No, prime minister
No, prime minister

PM has talked down to the judiciary. His reference to ‘five star activists’ intimidates.

Three is not a crowd
Three is not a crowd

When Ghani visits, India should welcome thaw between Kabul and Islamabad.

And not a drop to drink
And not a drop to drink

A basic change in our attitude to water is needed.

Modi and the middle powers
Modi and the middle powers

Paris, Berlin and Ottawa can each contribute substantially to the realisation of India’s new national goals.

Friends for the future
Friends for the future

Singapore, India must keep renewing their cultural and historical links, writes Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh.

TeleScope: Beyond cricket
TeleScope: Beyond cricket

Arvind Kejriwal looked sunny. And Partition is revisited from across the border.

Why a Congress-mukt Bharat would be bad for BJP
Why a Congress-mukt Bharat would be bad for BJP

A hasty Congress decline, as in Delhi, would consolidate anti-BJP vote in states with prominent regional parties.

Creating lesser citizens
Creating lesser citizens

SC order declaring that high courts will not entertain challenges to orders of the Armed Forces Tribunal curtails military litigants’ right to justice.

Justice, bottom up
Justice, bottom up

No amount of judicial reform is likely to yield results unless legal education is also cleaned up.

My outrage and yours
My outrage and yours

Even those who rush to indict terrorism at every turn seem to treat this incident with nonchalant indifference.

Chinese Takeaway: Yemen evacuation
Chinese Takeaway: Yemen evacuation

Beijing and Delhi have regularly tasked their armed forces with evacuation operations in different parts of the world.

A greenprint for reform
A greenprint for reform

New ideas are needed to protect India’s forests, reduce horrors of climate change.

A sadness in Bangladesh
A sadness in Bangladesh

In a society split down the middle, along political lines, religious bigotry rears its ugly head.

Vision and the city
Vision and the city

Our engagement with cities must not be only about problem solving.

Over the barrel: Big problem, small solution
Over the barrel: Big problem, small solution

Government would do well to identify and take the small steps to change.

Rear View: How Narasimha Rao became PM
Rear View: How Narasimha Rao became PM

Rao was not Sonia’s first choice. The timing of his rise to power could not have been worse.

Across the Aisle: Who wants rupee at 40 to the dollar?
Across the Aisle: Who wants rupee at 40 to the dollar?

There are clouds on the horizon. The first is, what will the US Federal Reserve do? Will it hike interest rates?

Fifth Column: Meaningless hysterics
Fifth Column: Meaningless hysterics

There have been no massacres of Christians, Muslims, Sikhs or Dalits since Narendra Modi took office.

Out of my mind: Speaking of Nigeria
Out of my mind: Speaking of Nigeria

Nigeria needs India’s attention and respect. Giriraj Singh notwithstanding.

Inside Track: House on fire?
Inside Track: House on fire?

T K Viswanathan, has written to both Narendra Modi and Pranab Mukherjee that the Delhi Fire Service had refused to give a fire safety clearance to the building.

So much to gain
So much to gain

Iran n-deal is a handsome reward of diplomacy, in contrast to military options

Culture of machismo and bias
Culture of machismo and bias

More women are needed in managerial roles. It’s even good for business

Higher education, higher meddling
Higher education, higher meddling

No quick-fixes can help public universities if successive governments exercise power unbridled by reason.

That state in the middle
That state in the middle

It is not incidental that Kipling was inspired to set ‘Jungle Book’ in Madhya Pradesh.

Nextdoor Nepal: When a doctor protests
Nextdoor Nepal: When a doctor protests

Why Govinda K.C.’s fast shook the government.

Banking on change
Banking on change

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank could rearrange the global financial balance of power.

Eye on Sana’a
Eye on Sana’a

Yemen conflict is sharpening. India and Pakistan need to coordinate their response.

New world bank order
New world bank order

China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank extends its regional and global strategy.

A reality check for gau rakshaks
A reality check for gau rakshaks

Anti-slaughter laws don’t recognise the reality: the cow has a future only in states that permit at least selective culling.

Dastango and the sea of stories
Dastango and the sea of stories

The Dastangoi tradition is the confluence of many cultures and civilisations

Trust not the boat but the river
Trust not the boat but the river

Kailash Vajpeyi chose to walk a middle line that was often the most radical place to be

Crushing a broken system
Crushing a broken system

Government must step aside, not bully academic institutions into submission.

A promise to Sunita Tomar
A promise to Sunita Tomar

Her suffering will not go in vain. Solutions to tobacco are within reach.

Look again at the Middle East
Look again at the Middle East

A nuclear agreement could end the long confrontation between Iran and the West — and also open up diplomatic space for India.

TeleScope: AAP [Live]
TeleScope: AAP [Live]

We watched the party implode. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

Barefoot solar engineers
Barefoot solar engineers

A Gandhian partnership model involving women could help the electrification of villages.

A new kind of babu
A new kind of babu

The main task of the next cabinet secretary must be civil service reform.

And what about Section 377?
And what about Section 377?

As with 66A, SC could use the ‘void for vagueness’ doctrine to strike it down.

Divided government, gridlocked House
Divided government, gridlocked House

Different parties rule at state and national levels. It is not yet clear if this is a sign of maturing democracy or a crisis of governance

Closing the military loop
Closing the military loop

A chief of defence staff is a good idea. But first, let’s debate the challenges of higher defence management

Officer and a gentleman
Officer and a gentleman

Former Mizoram Chief Minister T. Sailo spoke up against the conduct of security operations during the Mizo insurgency

View from the left: Land Lies
View from the left: Land Lies

Do these changes being made by the Modi government not suggest that PM Modi is bringing them to benefit both the foreign and domestic corporates

Freedom most reasonable
Freedom most reasonable

SC’s resounding words while striking down 66A apply not just to internet but to all media.

What the states got right
What the states got right

Centre must learn from models of land acquisition satisfying both buyer and seller.

Test of a prime minister
Test of a prime minister

Last week, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was conferred the Bharat Ratna. Here, his former media advisor, Ashok Tandon, recalls the story of one of the Vajpayee regime’s biggest challenges — and achievements

The Great Game Folio: Pakistan in Yemen
The Great Game Folio: Pakistan in Yemen

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

Soul and the city
Soul and the city

Prithvi Theatre and Café Samovar — which closes down this week — are the last bastions of the city’s warm, secular spirit

Lead from the Centre
Lead from the Centre

To invest more in agriculture, Union government has to reorient food and fertiliser subsidies by moving to cash transfers.

Aadhaar, the spectre
Aadhaar, the spectre

Jean Drèze’s question ‘Is Aadhaar voluntary or compulsory?’ is disingenuous.

Empower, don’t patronise, the farmer
Empower, don’t patronise, the farmer

Challenge is to come up with a method of determining compensation that makes farmers beneficiaries, not victims or obstructionists.

In China, like Singapore
In China, like Singapore

Chinese leaders have tried to imitate, not always accurately, Lee Kuan Yew’s statecraft.

No one’s children
No one’s children

Will drastic cuts in child health, nutrition outlays really be made up by states?

Nextdoor Nepal: Fear of trial and punishment
Nextdoor Nepal: Fear of trial and punishment

A new sense of vulnerability is driving the effort to reunify the two Maoist parties.

Across the aisle - Natural resources: Fog is yet to clear
Across the aisle - Natural resources: Fog is yet to clear

Supreme Court approved of any fair, transparent and non-discriminatory method of allocating natural resources.

Out of my mind: Being a Hindu
Out of my mind: Being a Hindu

No one should be surprised that many Dalits left Hinduism. Indeed the puzzle is that so many remained.

Fifth Column: A time to lead
Fifth Column: A time to lead

Singapore has become a model for China and most Southeast Asian countries. The beacon of change was Lee Kuan Yew.

Inside track: Image conscious
Inside track: Image conscious

Sharad Yadav was at the centre of a controversy last week over his comments on south Indian women.

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.