Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
The politics of othering
The politics of othering

Strategies of anti-conversion and reconversion harden religious boundaries while undermining religious plurality

An unconstitutional proposal
An unconstitutional proposal

The freedom to profess a religion implies freedom to change religion. An anti-conversion law is a dangerous idea

Don’t press send
Don’t press send

It’s hard to summon up persuasively witty, insouciant prose when you are burning with offended pride.

One for the road
One for the road

Solving the problem of the uninsured e-rickshaw should be at the heart of any regulatory strategy

Such a long nightmare
Such a long nightmare

The Pakistani state must find the will to confront not just jihadist fighters, but also their project

Broadband connectivity key to rural development
Broadband connectivity key to rural development

The benefits of the broadband connectivity to the rural population are immense with the convergence of voice, data and video.

The other Indians
The other Indians

Lost in Khobragade clamour was plight of migrant workers abroad. It still is.

Strategic assets no longer maintainable
Strategic assets no longer maintainable

I once asked a senior military commander if the army had a button to ensure that those who joined the good Taliban would not turn bad later.

Song of forgetting
Song of forgetting

The dominant history of the Chennai music season has excluded a more encompassing chapter of its past.

Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy

Lima failure was foretold. A robust climate change regime must be based on equity

The weakest link
The weakest link

RuPay debit cards could be the Jan Dhan Yojana’s undoing

Solar power can be the game-changer for inclusive growth
Solar power can be the game-changer for inclusive growth

Solar power can ease up the availability of these resources to the rural population.

Pakistan’s greatest enemy is denial
Pakistan’s greatest enemy is denial

December 16 attack is the result of a sustained national policy gone wrong.

This terror has a name
This terror has a name

The violence of the Taliban has been internalised. Religion has been twisted beyond recognition.

Together we can
Together we can

It has taken more than 60 years to make this mess. It will take time to fix it.

By the states, for the states
By the states, for the states

The Planning Commission has increasingly become an anachronistic behemoth, although it did play a crucial role in the initial years.

Crude opportunity
Crude opportunity

A cess on petrol/ diesel to bankroll infrastructure projects is an idea for this moment.

Too harsh to work
Too harsh to work

The call to ‘shun drugs, not addicts’ makes little sense as the narcotics law criminalises drug use.

Laying new tracks
Laying new tracks

A railway university would promote synergy between operations and academia.

The clamour, the silence
The clamour, the silence

The second conceptual breakthrough was in framing sexual assaults as expressions of power, not crimes of passion.

Not the same thing
Not the same thing

For the most part, certainly in most STEM disciplines, good research often requires expensive infrastructure — labs, equipment, libraries etc.

Forty-three years of denial
Forty-three years of denial

Imran Khan had to reschedule his plan to shut down Pakistan on December 16.

About  men
About men

Interventions that address ‘masculinity’ seem more effective than those that ignore influence of gender norms in sexual violence.

The jihad on Twitter
The jihad on Twitter

When journalists are kept away from the frontline, propaganda and disinformation can rush in.

Revisit the endgameplan
Revisit the endgameplan

Washington should let conditions on the ground determine US policy and presence in Afghanistan, not the electoral calendar in America

Good Serviceable Tax
Good Serviceable Tax

Five challenges the Centre needs to address before GST can be rolled out.

United by IS
United by IS

If a nuclear deal remains uncertain, future military cooperation between Iran and the US is even harder to expect.

A kiss isn’t just a kiss
A kiss isn’t just a kiss

Cinema may not have invented kissing, but movies helped make it more essential

309 reasons why
309 reasons why

Repeal of the inhuman provision criminalising suicide is long overdue

Out of my mind: The idea of Pakistan
Out of my mind: The idea of Pakistan

It is a distant dream and, more than that, they know in their hearts they will never have it.

What if whites were the minority?
What if whites were the minority?

The big inequality debate is about rich and poor, and some folks don’t seem to notice all the inequality that comes with race.

Fifth column: Stop Hindutva now
Fifth column: Stop Hindutva now

Why is the Prime Minister not publicly rebuking them for dragging Hindutva into his mandate in the ugliest way?

Flip side: Nobel intentions
Flip side: Nobel intentions

Since Narendra Modi gifted the Bhagawad Gita to US President Barack Obama, it has already received the honour of a national scripture.

From the discomfort zone: Challenge to exit mediocrity
From the discomfort zone: Challenge to exit mediocrity

'Make in India’ is the start of solving our country’s major problems.

Movie without a script
Movie without a script

In six months of NDA, the bad fight scenes are piling up.

Standards, not rules
Standards, not rules

We need to rethink regulation of online businesses.

War, peace, language
War, peace, language

In Pakistan, there is a large difference between growing up with Urdu or with English

Raj and Simran, a subversive story
Raj and Simran, a subversive story

DDLJ-discouraged-dissent argument misunderstands ways in which we resist and express disagreement in everyday, ordinary lives.

Only if daddy says ‘yes’
Only if daddy says ‘yes’

DDLJ captured essence of post-liberalisation generation: economic liberalism within framework of social conformism

Being SMART, after Uber
Being SMART, after Uber

India cannot be policed with 19th century laws and mindsets.

No proof required: Move from NREGA to cash transfers
No proof required: Move from NREGA to cash transfers

Because, for too long, the government and economists have only played at helping the poor

The primary focus
The primary focus

A national health assurance scheme could start with basic services.

The road from Lima
The road from Lima

Instead of meeting climate benchmarks set by others, India should lay out its own.

The great Game Folio
The great Game Folio

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

The Lashkar project
The Lashkar project

Its unleashing is rooted in the existential crisis faced by Pak’s army-led establishment.

Sanskrit by diktat
Sanskrit by diktat

We need to critically analyse our pedagogy and teacher-education programmes.

Delhi, Dhaka and a new moment
Delhi, Dhaka and a new moment

If land boundary agreement can clear remaining hurdles, India’s leaders will have shown they can come together on matters of national security.

A fertile mess
A fertile mess

Administered prices and subsidy policies have landed the fertiliser industry in trouble. It is time to decontrol and unshackle.

Telescope: And may the loudest win
Telescope: And may the loudest win

Sangh Parivar stirs up controversy, and free-for-alls on TV.

Course correction needed
Course correction needed

It’s time for Modi to be the Modi the Indian electorate voted for.

Beyond Uber outrage
Beyond Uber outrage

Once the clamour dies down, there will still be the dispiriting trade-off for the working woman in the city — between freedom and security.

Beijing’s southern moves
Beijing’s southern moves

India must factor China’s new South Asia policy into its own neighbourhood diplomacy.

India, Russia, here and now
India, Russia, here and now

Modi and Putin must acknowledge the changed dynamic around them

The only way up
The only way up

We need to remove obstacles in investment process, ease financing

A new deal for the states
A new deal for the states

As states face a renewed fiscal crisis, the Modi government should shed Delhi’s old patronising ways, restructure states’ debt.

Old, old war
Old, old war

Instead of narratives that advance the cause of war from the perspective of the state, we require those that lay out its full costs.

What Uber knows
What Uber knows

Numerous companies make it their business to track what we do. We need oversight mechanisms that cover all of them.

Jammu vs Kashmir?
Jammu vs Kashmir?

Why 2014 bears an uncanny resemblance to 1983, and why that’s troubling

No conditions apply
No conditions apply

Unconditional cash transfers empower the weakest, enable income-earning work

I am Sanskrit
I am Sanskrit

My tragedy is I have to fear my supporters more than my attackers.

The GM bogey
The GM bogey

If an anti-technology mindset spreads, we will have to pay for it dearly.

Rear view: The era of the politics of appeasement
Rear view: The era of the politics of appeasement

Rajiv Gandhi’s attempt to please conservatives among Muslims and Hindus cost him the support of both

The fifth metro: In another club
The fifth metro: In another club

Days after ADGP Sharma was suspended by Bangalore Club, it was raided by officials of the state excise department, who cancelled its liquor licence.

Next door Nepal: The price of instability
Next door Nepal: The price of instability

A constitution by any means will likely ignore public opinion and cost India further credibility

Out of my mind: Hard work forever
Out of my mind: Hard work forever

On the centenary of the First World War, where are we now? Asia has emerged as an economic miracle.

Fifth column: Not either or
Fifth column: Not either or

There can be no ‘make in India’ at all if we do this.

From the discomfort zone: Socially disgracing women
From the discomfort zone: Socially disgracing women

The consumer forum can stop such products that feed on people’s sense of worth and horribly humiliate women.

Flip side: Sale of the year
Flip side: Sale of the year

There are a wide range of objects on sale, some exclusive to a particular site, leading to cries of “arre sale”.

Rebel with a cause
Rebel with a cause

Justice Iyer believed in the human right to have rights

A judge’s judge
A judge’s judge

Justice Iyer gave a purposive and expansive interpretation to the Constitution

Justice for the helpless
Justice for the helpless

With his unshakeable independence and commitment to human rights, Justice Iyer disappointed government, surprised critics

The illusion of spring
The illusion of spring

Turkey’s backsliding into religion frames the reversals in the post-Arab Spring Middle East

Old new war
Old new war

Maoist hold is shaken in former bastions. For security forces, question is: What next?

Errors of commission
Errors of commission

Successor to plan panel must focus on original 1950 mandate, eschew later add-ons

Prime minister’s choice
Prime minister’s choice

On the sadhvi hate speech issue, Modi must act to uphold the Constitution.

Dividend or nightmare
Dividend or nightmare

How government addresses the jobs challenge will make the difference.

Be ambitious at Lima
Be ambitious at Lima

Larger promises of emissions reduction would benefit India. But any agreement must also be fair.

Upstream superpowers
Upstream superpowers

Chinese and Indian policies on river systems are more alike than different

Independent or interdependent?
Independent or interdependent?

Agriculture practices may explain why some cultures are more individualistic than others.

Fools rush in
Fools rush in

RBI is right to hold off on rate cuts. Inflation must hit a sustained low first.

It’s complicated
It’s complicated

Blasphemy sentences aren’t really proof of a more intolerant Pakistan.

What Modi could learn from Deng
What Modi could learn from Deng

Keep a low profile while growing your strength. Keep the focus on domestic development

An over-reliance on fencing
An over-reliance on fencing

Since 9/11, foreign policy is about putting up walls in an age of fear

TV’s bravehearts The Rohtak sisters’ videos provoked much anger — and some questions
TV’s bravehearts The Rohtak sisters’ videos provoked much anger — and some questions

TV’s bravehearts The Rohtak sisters’ videos provoked much anger — and some questions.

Mapping exclusion
Mapping exclusion

Notions of purity, pollution and untouchability are still a long way from being exorcised in modern India

Chinesetakeaway:  Modi’s Buddhism
Chinesetakeaway: Modi’s Buddhism

The PM’s overt expression of his Hindu religiosity has been controversial, but not surprising.

View from the left: Agenda Unmasked
View from the left: Agenda Unmasked

“If any reconfirmation of this was ever necessary, it has now come.

Lost in the pond
Lost in the pond

The English language demands a different character of its speaker on either side of the Atlantic

Disaster in progress
Disaster in progress

Bhopal is a reminder that crime knows no borders, punishment does.

Good road sense
Good road sense

This winter session, Parliament must pass the Road Transport and Safety Bill.

Beware great expectations
Beware great expectations

BJP won handsomely in LS polls and Modi government’s ratings remain high. But BJP supporters should worry.

Exploitation, by law
Exploitation, by law

Legalising prostitution will be a blow to the struggle led by women’s organisations, NGOs.

A canyon of disparity
A canyon of disparity

Cross-racial conversation on crime and punishment will remain difficult as long as the gap between communities is not bridged.

Why we walk
Why we walk

India must notice Delhi’s queer pride parade. Because it stands up for the idea of India.

Making the cut
Making the cut

The RBI should only ease for the right reasons.

Modi’s NRI, NRI’s Modi
Modi’s NRI, NRI’s Modi

The courtship is on. Will it lead to a partnership?

Dhaka Boundary Settlement: Narendra Modi bites the Bullet
Dhaka Boundary Settlement: Narendra Modi bites the Bullet

Constructing a border of cooperation should liberate India from one of major geopolitical constraints imposed on it by the Partition of Bengal.

An Indian Information Technology Service
An Indian Information Technology Service

Government needs to establish it as lack of progress on modernisation of governance will make it difficult to deliver on the promise of ‘achhe din’.

Obama’s crown of thorns
Obama’s crown of thorns

The US president’s letter to Khamenei could explain the resignation of his defence secretary.

Problem of the past
Problem of the past

Tapan Raychaudhuri upended and clarified key debates of Indian history writing.

Modi among  the pigeons
Modi among the pigeons

India’s PM reminded Nepal’s parties of their constitutional promise. But it may be too late.

Putting a human face on history

That’s what art does. But we are in the midst of hard times now, and it feels as if art is failing us.

Parivar’s diversity in unity
Parivar’s diversity in unity

Modi government, BJP and RSS share more than what meets the eye

Out of my mind: Bombay dreams

Murli Deora was the last link with the Congress past of powerful middlemen in South Bombay.

From the discomfort zone: What will people say?
From the discomfort zone: What will people say?

In India’s contemporary situation having an affair need not translate to marriage, an area that’s not under control.

Fifth column: Hope and audacity
Fifth column: Hope and audacity

Ministers, high officials, clerks and peons now report for duty on time and are no longer to be seen taking long lunch breaks to soak in winter sunshine in Delhi’s parks.

He imagined a  different Australia
He imagined a different Australia

Gough Whitlam’s vision of a productive and peaceful Indo-Pacific region remains a tantalising prospect.

Dressed by Oscar
Dressed by Oscar

De la Renta loved women. And they loved him back.

Centre according to Modi
Centre according to Modi

There are major changes afoot. But they have more to do with politics than policy

Power to the people
Power to the people

Even if villages are on the grid, a political push is needed to get them electricity

A dynasty is born
A dynasty is born

By the time Indira Gandhi was hit by tragedy, it was already clear that her family would inherit control of the party and the country.

A way out of alienation
A way out of alienation

The Maharashtra assembly election has again proved that Muslims do not vote as a block

China tells Nepal what to do
China tells Nepal what to do

Beijing wants a secure environment for its investments and an extradition treaty.

Out of my mind:  Snow White and the dwarves
Out of my mind: Snow White and the dwarves

It took three generations for the Congress to run out of talent. With the Shiv Sena, the memory of Balasaheb is the only asset.

Flip side: The festival seasoning
Flip side: The festival seasoning

In India, we have more festivals than there are days in the year, but Diwali is really when indulgence violates the urban ceiling act.

Fifth column: Real change please
Fifth column: Real change please

The Prime Minister has repeated often that he believes the government has “no business to be in business”, but his ministers are not listening.

Inside track: Uplifting desire
Inside track: Uplifting desire

The biggest problem Dikshit is facing is climbing the stairs. She wanted to install a lift, but her neighbour downstairs, IAS officer and author Upamanyu Chatterjee, was not agreeable to the idea as it would block his living room view.

From the discomfort Zone: Digital skeleton
From the discomfort Zone: Digital skeleton

So many artistic domains are getting massacred due to the over-usage of digi-tech, the killer of human passion, craftsmanship, knowhow and creative distinction.

Less LoC, more FTA
Less LoC, more FTA

Trade talks are crucial to normalising bilateral ties. Kashmir can wait.

Two laws on censorship
Two laws on censorship

Documentaries are held to a different standard than Bollywood films.