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December 31, 2012
Why no law against rape will work
There are at least two reasons why no anti-sexual violence law, however stringent, will work. One is our police. The other is, sadly, ourselves, says Sumit Bhattacharya When our government isn't ours anymore
In Delhi this December, we understood how many others from Kashmir to Koodankulam have long felt, says Shivam Vij Be the story you want to tell
2012 marked the shift of the news media becoming the story rather than reporting it, says Mihir S Sharma Make 2013 the year of Angst, Revolt and a New Order
Preserve this rage. Learn to be more angry and dissatisfied with the status quo. Revolt against all boxed sacredness. Nothing is sacred except the People of India, says Tarun Vijay, MP. Go, get out there with a placard
Mitali Saran believes that a little yelling in the streets can help the government to prioritise the work it does or facilitates on the ground View: Is Rape a new Development Indicator?
If rapes are rising dramatically in India over the last 20 years, is it logical to blame traditional Indian culture, asks Sankrant Sanu. What kind of a nation fails to protect its women?
'Good bye little Angel. Fly away from the dirt, din and mire of this Republic that neither could protect you in life nor allow you to breathe your last on your own soil. Protecting their own hides,' says Sudarshana Dwivedi, 'has become more important to our protectors.' For the Lionheart Who Wanted to Live
'How can a group of men GANG-RAPE a woman? How can a father rape his daughter? Or an uncle his niece? Or a brother his sister? And, as it happens in most cases, how can a mother stand by and just allow it to happen? Does it not rip their soul to shreds?How are they able to sleep, or eat, or breathe, or live after committing such a heinous act?'
December 30, 2012
Crime against women in Delhi: What next?
The government should separate the recommendations relating to the Delhi police from those relating to other states and set up a fast-track implementation mechanism to tackle crime against women, says security expert B Raman
December 29, 2012
The Delhi rape: Why we need to move beyond protest
The current wave of protest, like almost every public dialogue in India, has a tendency to invariably degenerate into a clash of personalities that usurps centerstage and relegates the issue at hand to the backburner, warns Vivek Gumaste
December 28, 2012
It won't be easy for Modi to be BJP's nominee for PM
'No BJP leader trusts him. His bid for the position will sharpen inner-party rivalries. The RSS is wary of him because he is too much of an individualistic autocrat and has destroyed the Sangh in Gujarat,' says Praful Bidwai. It is time Delhi's protesters went home
The protest against the gang rape itself is not bad. But to provoke the police, to disobey the law and to insist on protesting wherever they want, whenever they want and however they want is not done, says S Pushpavanam. Gimmicks do not save India and its people from terror
'Some said this wild goose chase was a deliberate ploy of Chidambaram, a reluctant home minister, who believed that keeping all the agencies and forces spinning around all the while, would ensure him a safe career in an otherwise dicey charge, no matter how much enduring damage it did to the institutions.' R N Ravi, retired special director, Intelligence Bureau, assesses how India can meet the challenges of terrorism in 2013.
December 27, 2012
The undisputed vote ka 'Saudagar'!
The 2012 results show that, although the Congress could not have defeated the BJP, it could surely have narrowed the margin of victory if it had galvanised the state unit ahead of the poll, says A Surya Prakash India vexed by Pak manoeuvres to gain Afghan centre stage
The removal of the terrorist state tag from official Pakistani entities and allowing Islamabad a free run in negotiations on Afghanistan's future has strained India-US relations, says Nilova Roy Chaudhury
December 26, 2012
Be very angry every time
The uproar over the Delhi bus rape case left me feeling a little perplexed. I could not help but think as to why there is so much outrage only for this case, says G Hemanth Kumar India at Raisina: The People were the Heroes
'The youth atop the poles on Raisina Hill need respect and an accommodating attitude. Not lathis and water cannons,' says Tarun Vijay. Alliance reality dawns on Congress
The change in the Congress's approach to alliance politics is a sign as much of the party's growing recognition of the rise of regional forces as of India's evolving polity, says A K Bhattacharya Wanted: An ambassador to Russia
A course correction is urgently needed to arrest and reverse the free fall of the Indian-Russian relationship through the past decade, says MK Bhadrakumar
December 25, 2012
The two kinds of violence on display at India Gate
There were certainly two kinds of violence at India Gate: one avoidable, another reprehensible, notes Mahesh Vijapurkar. UPA government continues to remain clueless
The Union government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi continues to be clueless on how to deal with the situation arising from the mass outrage of the youth of the country in the wake of the gangrape of a 23-year-old girl in the national capital, notes B Raman. Modi has arrived. But is India ready?
Modi has arrived. Probably the country is not yet ready. Modi knows it. If Modi destroys the existing political consensus he will have to quickly replace it with another, notes M R Venkatesh.
December 24, 2012
A new phase in Indo-Japanese ties?
Of all recent Japanese leaders, new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been the most enthusiastic about the future of India-Japan relationship and gave it an entirely new dimension. New Delhi now has a chance to greatly improve its ties with Tokyo. It must seize the moment, say Harsh V Pant. When justified outrage degenerates into anarchy
It is important for our youth to realise that whatever be their anger and outrage, they cannot take the law into their own hands. The police have a duty to perform in maintaining law and order and should be allowed to do so, says B Raman Rape is about power. Learn to wield it to fight rape
The empathy that the vocal, opinion-making class now feels for the 23-year-old student in Delhi, bravely fighting for her life, has kindled something. But is it enough, asks Sonali Ranade. Delhi rape: We should hang our heads in shame
The newly elected Legislative Assembly in Himachal Pradesh has seen a decline in the number of members who are facing criminal cases. Of the 68 newly elected MLAs, 14 MLAs or 21 per cent have declared criminal cases against them. In the 2007 assembly elections, 26 MLAs or 39 per cent of the MLAs had declared criminal cases against themselves as per the analysis of the Association for Democratic Reforms.
December 21, 2012
View: Why Narendra Modi spoke in Hindi
To assume that Narendra Modi chose Hindi only to reach out to a national audience because he had prime ministerial ambitions was more than a stretch, says Mahesh Vijapurkar. 115 seats. Is this the best Modi can do?
Now that the numbers are out and it is nowhere near as spectacular as expected/feared by some or hyped by many -- it is Narendra Modi's lowest in three elections -- it is a sobering thought. Is this the best he can do, wonders Saisuresh Sivaswamy.
December 20, 2012
View: Poll outcome validates Modi's claim to lead BJP
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's graduation to the Centre will end drift and confusion, says Virendra Kapoor View: What Narendra Modi needs to do now
Chief Minister Narendra Modi needs to win over either the RSS or his rivals in Delhi to emerge as the undisputed leader within the Sangh Parivar. Without one or the other, he cannot win. This triangular contest is what constrains Modi's emergence as a national leader in his own right, feels Sonali Ranade. Gujarat 2012 tells us a larger story beyond Modi
'This victory effectively applies closure to 2002. It is unlikely that Modi will offer anything more than a purely symbolic doffing of his cap to heal the hurts of that calamitous year in his pursuit of greater glory,' says Shreekant Sambrani.
December 19, 2012
Politics behind quota in promotions bill
The controversial quota in promotions bill's partially passed status suits all political parties at the moment, says Neerja Chowdhury View: Absurd to deny Narendra Modi a US visa
The move by four US Congressmen to deny Narendra Modi a US visa is a disrespect to India's free and fair ballot and even its Supreme Court, says Aseem Shukla. 'If Modi wins, he will stake claim for PM's post'
BJP appears likely to win its third consecutive election in the state, although it faces newfound opposition, says Milan Vaishnav. It is actually Modi vs Modi in Gujarat
The Gujarat elections 2012 are not a contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress and the Gujarat Parivartan Party. It is not between Narendrabhai and Keshubhai. Nor is it between Modi and Rahul or Sonia Gandhi. It is a contest between Modi that is seen as a symbol of Vibrant Gujarat, and a Modi that is deeply resented Parakala Prabhakar. Why not treat rape as an offence like terrorism?
If rape is categorised as a heinous offence to be treated on par with terrorism, this would lead to changes in the way we react and deal with it. B Raman examines What needs to be done to make Delhi a safer city
Society must share the blame with the police who have at least quickly identified and nabbed the culprits. Let us see how fast the other wheels of the criminal justice system grind to award the accused exemplary punishment, says retired Indian Police Service officer Anil Chowdhry.
December 18, 2012
How Kamal Nath left Mulayam high and dry
Mulayam has no options but to continue supporting the government -- while Mayawati reaps the benefits. Kudos to Kamal Nath but you wonder if Mulayam has been left stranded while his rivals float across the river, says T V R Shenoy. Rowdy Rehman and the mealy-mouthed Shinde
With Sushil Kumar Shinde as the new home minister, Rehman Malik probably felt he could force his way into India and get away with saying the sort of things he said on Indian soil without any fear of being put in his place, says Sushant Sareen Rapes happen in India, because we are a callous nation
'Look at the woman sitting next to you, or any of the women in your family, your friends, or ANY woman for that matter. I can guarantee you that she has been abused, molested or eve-teased at some time.' Mayawati's bill has sown the seeds for a caste divide
Its passage, argues Sharat Pradhan, will only give rise to more bitterness and sharper social conflict, overcoming which might be easier said than done.
December 17, 2012
'O Jacintha, we're just kidding...'
Could there have been just a hint of that subtle British complex that still sometimes treats former colonial subjects as the chattel they once were, surmises George Abraham
December 11, 2012
The futile row over renaming Shivaji Park
No doubt in the Shiv Sena's history, the party has close links to the Shivaji Park but does that make it Sena's own? asks Mahesh Vijapurkar.
December 10, 2012
Why young people from India-Pak need to talk
As India faces increasing dissonance and even hostility from its neighbours, there is increasing recognition that only government efforts are far from adequate. Assertive people-to-people contacts are essential to supplement and even supplant government efforts to normalise some inter-state relations, says Nilova Roy Chaudhury. Narendra Modi is part asset, part liability
Narendra Modi has not yet shown signs of being a likely statesman or leader of vision and wisdom. We must avoid a judgement on his suitability till we have seen more of him as a leader outside Gujarat, says B Raman
December 08, 2012
Revenge of the fallen: Yeddyurappa back with a bang
The BJP has less than five months to straighten things out to taken on the Lingayat strongman in the May 2013 elections, says Aditi Phadnis
December 07, 2012
Parliament debate wasn't about FDI, but about polls
The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party saved Dr Manmohan Singh's chair today; will they tug it away from under him tomorrow, asks T V R Shenoy. India's growing interest in the South China Sea
At a time when China's bullying behaviour has been evident in its actions and pronouncements, India is signalling that it is ready to emerge as a serious balancer in East Asia and Southeast Asia, says Harsh V Pant.
December 06, 2012
20 Years After Ayodhya: India will go on
Twenty years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, India is in rebirth mode. Whether there is a Babri Masjid or a Ram temple or not in Ayodhya, India will go on. And it will see many tomorrows, says Syed Firdaus Ashraf.
November 29, 2012
View: Thackeray, a close ally of the capitalists
'Many people are in awe of the power wielded by Thackeray. I found that even R K Laxman shared this feeling though both he and Thackeray began as cartoonists in the 1940s. "See how far ahead Thackeray has gone. And here I am," he told me one day in a sad tone,' recalls Vidyadhar Date who assesses Balasaheb Thackeray's political legacy. Egypt returns to centre stage
Events around the Gaza flare-up reveal that Iran is ceding space to a resurgent Egypt under President Morsi, says Claude Smadja
November 28, 2012
Challenges before India's new intelligence chiefs
Protection of our national security and other critical infrastructure from cyber threats orchestrated by State and non-State actors is now an important task of the intelligence community as a whole. The new chiefs of Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing will be required to play a leadership role in the matter, says B Raman
November 27, 2012
All in the name of the one true faith
'We need to celebrate those that buck the stereotype, such as Malala, Toorpekai, and Ziauddin Yousufzai in Pakistan. But, by the same token, we also need to condemn blind adherence to tradition in the urban, civilised areas of the West as in the case of Savita Halappanavar,' says T V R Shenoy. The Gadkari issue: The facts without comments
We must understand that we live in extremely cynical times. If it is a politician he must be corrupt. If he is a businessman, he must be equally corrupt. Poor Gadkari, he is a politician and a businessman. That compounded matters for him, says M R Venkatesh.
November 26, 2012
Why house stalemate does not suit the Congress
A prolonged political stalemate does not also augur well for the government. It is caught between the devil and the deep sea -- unless its managers can somehow bring a rabbit out of the hat, in terms of the right numbers in a vote on FDI, says Neerja Chowdhury. How delimitation will affect the election in Gujarat
Overall picture indicates that the BJP is more prepared, organisationally, to take advantage of delimitation. Congress infighting has increased as a result of this delimitation. 26/11, four years on: The unfinished tasks
As India observes the fourth anniversary of the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, there are many unfinished tasks to which attention needs to be drawn, says B Raman, India's leading expert on couter-terrorism. Carving communal constituencies: Countdown to 2014
Saeed Naqvi writes about the deteriorating communal situation in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh.
November 23, 2012
View: In a way, India has given moksham to Kasab
'If Ajmal Kasab had spent his youth in solitary confinement, away from people and society, that would have been the biggest punishment India could have meted out to the terrorist,' feels Shobha Warrier. View: Our death penalty laws need to be revisited
In the case of people acting at the behest of a foreign State or non-State organisation, there should be special exceptions to carrying out the death penalty to prevent internal disharmony, says B Raman
November 22, 2012
How family feuds drive Indian politics
After Bal Thackeray, what consumes most political observers is his immediate political legacy. What is happening in Maharashtra is hardly unique to the state -- indeed, with regional parties increasingly becoming family businesses, such feuds are likely across the country, says Rohit Pradhan. India needs to TAKE OUT terror targets in Pakistan
Lashkar founder Mohammad Sayeed and 26/11 attacks accused Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi must be neutralised one by one if Pakistan does not act against them, says Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retd). A very restrained funeral, but Sena's stripes remain
The spectacle of lakhs of followers of Bal Thackeray silently congregating for his funeral and leaving without any violence was hitherto unseen. Just when people were beginning to wonder if the Shiv Sena was changing came the attack on a hospital in Palghar following a Facebook post by a young girl. Mahesh Vijapurkar on what to expect of the Sena after Bal Thackeray.
November 21, 2012
The politics behind the hanging of Kasab
The Union government seems to have chosen its timing with care. Parliament begins its winter session on Thursday and the BJP would have used the issue during the Gujarat elections. Hanging Kasab was politically expeditious for the shaky ruling coalition, says Neerja Chowdhury. View: Why I am saddened by Kasab's hanging
'I thought we were a legitimate democracy anyway, why do we have to prove it by hanging a terrorist we captured alive,' asks Shivam Vij Kasab's execution: BEWARE of revenge attacks
The Lashkar and organisations associated with it would want quick retaliation for Kasab's execution, warns counter-terrorism expert B Raman.
November 20, 2012
Gadkari may sink the BJP with him
'The Gadkari issue is not about staying on the right side of the law, it is about public perception. How does the public perceive Nitin Gadkari?' asks T V R Shenoy. Decoding Bal Thackeray: Bindhast!
Most people trying to decode the Bal Thackeray phenomenon tend to see him in either black or white probably because they want to arrive at a simple conclusion. I for one believe he was the curious combination of both, but mostly he was all in the grey area, writes Pramod Pagedar Goodbye Mr Thackeray, you taught me how to love
'I write this piece,' says Javed Iqbal, 'not just to come to terms with my childhood, but to speak about those who were once Shiv Sena loyalists, whose dreams did not die with the passing away of Bal Thackeray, but were dead long before he was gone.'
November 19, 2012
Balasaheb Thackeray: An unending journey to eternity
He challenged the establishment in many unconventional ways. His style was unique. He was a great orator, prolific writer, stupendous organiser, a fearless leader, an extremely gracious host and was always willing to help anyone who reached out to him. Suresh Prabhu, former Sena MP, pays tribute. Obama in Myanmar: The reality and the mirage
The statements made by Obama and Suu Kyi during his Myanmar visit highlighted the differing perceptions of the two over the sustainability and durability of the actions taken by the Thein Sein government, notes B Raman. Why we must acknowledge the blunders of the 1962 war
The 1962 conflict with China was a painful military debacle, but it must be stressed that one can learn more from a defeat. The problem in India has been that we are in the first place not even ready to acknowledge our history, thus making sure that we do not learn from it, says Colonel Anil A Athale (retd)on the day one of the Indian Army's famous batallions lost an uneven battle 50 years ago. In life and in death, Thackeray kept the fire alive
The sea of humanity that turned up on Sunday to bid Bal Thackeray farewell wanted to resurrect the legend that he once was, says Prasanna D Zore Why Mumbai needs a Bal Thackeray
'Bal Thackeray may have loved Hitler, but I don't think he was one. The fact is, if you put a city like Mumbai, and its numerically dominant single largest group, in chains, intended or not, democracy itself is called into question,' says Sonali Ranade.
November 18, 2012
After Thackeray, a feeling of darkness
Sena Bhavan in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena headquarters, will carry an empty feeling similar to what Raigad fort must have felt after the death of Shivaji Maharaj, feels Sumit Rajwade. Balasaheb, the roar of the Lion King
'It is difficult to imagine such a phenomenon anywhere else. From being a cartoonist to becoming an agenda personified, outshining everyone else, is the unique distinction that Balasaheb created.' Tarun Vijay explains why Bal Thackeray was a unique leader. The Man Who Rode The Tiger
'Thackeray could organise, but lacked a vision and wisdom to take it further. The man who boasted that if he were prime minister for a day, he would solve the Kashmir problem permanently, could not halt Mumbai's slide into an urban nightmare despite his wielding supreme authority over the city government for decades,' says Shreekant Sambrani. Bal Thackeray, a mystery inside an enigma
Bal Thackeray described himself as a missionary warrior for the cause of Marathi, but what it meant could never be deciphered by anyone, writes Kumar Ketkar Thackeray, first to use language as political weapon
Bal Thackeray never considered caste while giving tickets or appointing ministers when the Shiv Sena came to power, notes political commentator Prakash Bal Joshi. 'He had the guts to take decisions against popular sentiment on the basis of his convictions.'
November 17, 2012
Bal Thackeray: An era ends, a vacuum is created
With Bal Thackeray's demise the Shiv Sena does not cease to be but it does weaken substantially. And it will take the two heirs to his legacy to overcome the setback together, says Mahesh Vijapurkar
November 16, 2012
Five truths about India
India's politics have grown more regionalised, yet powerful forces of centralisation remain intact, says Milan Vaishnav.
November 15, 2012
Let's avoid romanticising Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi has had no qualms over taking decisions and advocating policies on the basis of her perceptions of Myanmar's national interests and the interests of herself. Why then should India have a guilt complex for having allowed realpolitik considerations to influence our priorities and decisions, argues B Raman Handling Pakistan: Dr Singh's only achievement
Now if only Manmohan Singh showed such acumen in dealing with other crises his government is facing, says Shivam Vij.
November 14, 2012
India Real is the most fascinating country in the world
I know something about such stories. They thrill me, they give me goose pimples, and then they fill me with despair. Because they are also a commentary, says Dilip D'Souza about one such India story.
November 13, 2012
Challenging the Pakistan army
The structural trends in Pakistan raise the possibility that the army's opinions may increasingly have to parallel, not shape, the public's, says Ajai Shukla
November 12, 2012
Obama's visit to Myanmar could turn out to be tricky
US President Barack Obama's proposed visit will be coming less than a month after a new spell of violence between the native Buddhists of the Rakhine State and the Rohingya Muslims, points out B Raman Why Girish Karnad is wrong
Karnad's invective is not a fact based logical rebuttal of Naipaul's ideological variance. It lacks the grace or elements of an intellectual discourse, says Vivek Gumaste. Who next if Rahul says 'no' to top job?
If Home Minister P Chidambaram is to win acceptability for the top job, he needs to demonstrate that he can establish working relations with people of different political persuasions, says TN Ninan The elite's classrooms
The government is internationalising Indian higher education in quite the wrong way, says Devesh Kapur
November 11, 2012
Petraeus failed to impart his stamp on the CIA
The case brings out continuing deficiencies in the functioning of the counter-intelligence divisions of the CIA and the FBI, writes security expert B Raman
November 09, 2012
US poll: A divided nation faces an uncertain world
Though Obama's second term will be very much like his first in so far India is concerned, New Delhi has significant stakes in almost all the issues which will be the focus of Obama's second term, says Harsh V Pant. How Barack Obama can calm Muslim anti-Americanism
Obama has to recognise the reality: 90 percent of the world's 2.3 billion Muslims nurse varying shades of anti-Americanism. It cannot be a comfortable feeling that two fifths of the world population has a negative focus on a nation of which you are the leader, says Saeed Naqvi. What we can learn from the US elections
There are some interesting, and even educative, takeaways from the US elections, says Mahesh Vijapurkar.
November 08, 2012
Strange case of Gadkari -- and why Gurumurthy mattered
In contrast to the Congress that settles most of its internal quarrels through a reference to the ubiquitous party high command, the BJP has not yet evolved a mechanism to resolve its internal conflict. And that is the crux of the issue, says MR Venkatesh What the relaunch of Obama 2.0 means for the world
Now freed of the daunting task of running for office again, will the original inspirational Obama resurface? Wonders Shreekant Sambrani
November 07, 2012
Will Obama re-election lead to GOP soul-searching?
As much as it was a thumping victory for Barack Obama, the election results were also a repudiation of the current Republican Party, held hostage by a rabid tea party, that has alienated minorities and women, who delivered for Obama despite an unemployment rate of over 7.8 percent, says Aziz Haniffa.
November 06, 2012
Governments have no business running temples
'Governments have no business running temples. Governments certainly have no business deciding who is a Hindu and who is not a Hindu.' Our intellectuals are in a state of denial
After 800 odd years of Islamic and British rule, the Indian elite and intellectuals are copybook examples of the Fanon phenomenon: Living, breathing purveyors of a sordid ideology, says Jay Bhattacharjee
November 05, 2012
Paybacks from the hustings
In the US as in India, policy outcomes are linked to election funding Taking long view on India, Canada's Harper comes knocking
The eastward shift of the global fulcrum of power has something to do with Harper's six day-long visit to India, but more importantly, Harper's calculations have some math behind them
November 03, 2012
Message from Beijing: DO NOT expect a 'Chinese spring'
The importance of political reforms to sustain economic reforms, which was the keynote of the policies advocated by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, has been given less importance in the deliberations preceding the new Party Congress, says B Raman
November 02, 2012
Why Syria's fragmentation is Turkey's opportunity
As Ankara's long-standing Kurdish conflict continues, its neighbour's breakup could create unexpected allies. Obama or Romney: It's all good for India
If either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney wins, there is unlikely to be any significant change in America's India policy post 2013. Given the scale of economic problems facing the US, India is not going to be a very high priority for some time but there is little likelihood of a downgrade in India's importance, says Harsh V Pant. Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India
India should probably be glad that it was left out of the discussion, says the Brookings Institution's Tanvi Madan.
November 01, 2012
What Modi displayed was chauvinism of the worst kind
Calling the very much married Sunanda Pushkar a 'Rs 50 crore girlfriend', though, is not just crude but is meant to demean her. Women may come for a price in Modi's world but that's hardly the mindset we want to see in a modern day leader, says Sherna Gandhy. Kapil Sibal's Law: Tweet and go to jail
'Kapil Sibal has passed a law that anyone posting anything "offensive" on Twitter can be jailed for three years. That's section 66A of the IT Act amended by United Progressive Alliance II in 2008. It's a cognisable offence so you have to be arrested and apply for bail. As though you had committed murder!' notes Shivam Vij. The 1962 war -- Where did India go wrong?
As India failed in its negotiations with China, the 'border issue' became a Greek tragedy with a preordained outcome, notes Kishan S Rana.
October 30, 2012
How diplomacy and poetry are linked
It is widely accepted that the greatest literature is born when cultures, civilizations or worldviews come together. This often happens in case of diplomat-poets who often find themselves in exotic milieus, novel circumstances and in company of people with diverse viewpoints, says Abhay K. Wake up, generals!
It is difficult to remain idealistic, motivated and dead straight -- the defining characteristics of young Indian Army officers -- when so much wrongdoing is evident at the top. Even honest officers are inevitably corrupted by a system in which outright financial dishonesty is condoned as "perks and privileges of office", says Ajai Shukla The secret diary of Vijay Mallya
Sherna Gandhy's tongue-firmly-in-cheek, look at the King of Good Times.
October 29, 2012
5 things science, tech & earth sciences minister must do
The new Science, Technology and Earth Sciences minister Sudini Jaipal Reddy can contribute to undo India's pathetic scientific reputation in terms of invention and innovation, says Gopal Krishna Why 'forgotten' Sardar Patel is still relevant today
What Patel perhaps symbolises most today are the near lost virtues of a firm political will and a solid sense of national unity, says Anirban Ganguly. If Gadkari resigns, it may end up hurting the UPA
It is left to the BJP to bolster its claim of being 'a party with a difference' by adhering to minimum standards of political morality. Given the long series of multi-billion-rupee scams of the UPA, the principal opposition party would undermine its anti-corruption campaign by persisting with Nitin Gadkari as its president, says Virendra Kapoor. Nitin Gadkari must answer, so should several agencies
All charges against Nitin Gadkari and Robert Vadra are being hurled on the basis of documents available in public domain with government authorities. The watchdogs that were supposed to react, act and prevent financial wrongdoings on real time basis have steadfastly done nothing. Their silence is deafening as much as the silence of Gadkari, says M R Venkatesh. The controversy around Messrs Gadkari and Vadra
We should not judge the Congress or the BJP by a Robert Vadra or a Nitin Gadkari. We must measure them by the standards set -- or claimed -- by the top leadership, namely the RSS and Sonia Gandhi. If one claims to be a moral exemplar, the other is the chief political leader in this country, says T V R Shenoy.
October 27, 2012
What is the difference between Cong and BJP? Not much!
There is this sudden silence after the cacophony following scam disclosures, with both the BJP and the Congress reeling under the impact. Seema Mustafa listens in.
October 26, 2012
Is Sonia Gandhi abdicating her leadership?
To put it starkly, the Congress, and with it, the United Progressive Alliance, is sleepwalking into a minefield by blundering on land and Aadhaar, says Praful Bidwai
October 24, 2012
A Dussehra with no hope and not ENOUGH anger
When we wake up every morning, what we see on the horizon are not messages of hope and good cheer, but forebodings of more bad things to come, laments B Raman The politician's hunger for wealth cannot be satisfied
Recent events underscore the belief that wealth and politics go together. You have wealth and get into politics. Or, you are in politics, so naturally accumulate wealth, writes Mahesh Vijapurkar.
October 23, 2012
What was missing in both Obama and Romney was humility
What came through from both candidates instead, was America's exaggerated sense in seeing itself as arbiter of justice, democracy and safety in the world. And a worrisome dismissal of one major truth -- anti-Americanism as a result of its sometimes ill strategised interventions in the affairs of another country which is perhaps as grave a threat to America today as international terrorism, says Maya Mirchandani. Obama-Romney: Who can better manage the same old world?
When the three presidential debates are taken as whole, it is clear that a fortnight before the polling day, the campaign is shaping up to be a contest between the lack-lustre record of an incumbent president and the lack-lustre policy vision of his challenger, argues B Raman. The Obama-Romney final debate: And the winner is...
The consensus put Barack Obama ahead again in this final debate, not by much, but sufficiently to make it possible that he was the net leader of the three debates, writes Shreekant Sambrani
October 22, 2012
Scarred by war, Nehru destroyed message from Zhou
'He struck a match, and held the paper to the flames... He said it would take more than a quarter of a century to return to any substantive negotiation, provided the Chinese refrained from another attack on India.' The scars of the 1962 war with China ran too deep for Jawaharlal Nehru, recalls former diplomat Kishan S Rana. 'They all asked about Pele and said they loved Brazil'
'Fiqui tranquilo' is the Brazilian mantra that I have learnt living here: 'Keep cool' is its colloquial translation to do justice to the spirit of Brazil.' B S Prakash bids goodbye to Brazil after a four-year stint as India's ambassador. Rape: Advice from Mamata, Khap leaders, Republicans
In Khapistan, where rape is a cottage industry, a local politician paraphrases the Manusmriti and suggests that boys and girls should be married off as soon as possible to prevent rape, says Devangshu Datta
October 19, 2012
If UID is voluntary, why is it used to deliver services?
How can Aadhaar be deemed 'voluntary' if service delivery is being made dependent on it, asks Gopal Krishna Dr Manmohan Singh salutes the armed forces
I do not need to emphasise that leadership is the touchstone that will define the end result of any conflict and the outcome we are able to achieve. Technical excellence and domain knowledge are important in this regard, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh told a meeting of commanders of the three wings of the armed forces. Three scenarios how India and China could clash again
While a full-fledged war between the two nuclear and rising powers in Asia is highly unlikely due to the costs of war, yet a scenario of a quick land grab by China to humiliate India again cannot be rule out in future, says Srikanth Kondapalli.
October 17, 2012
Why Congress's code of Omerta did not apply to Vadra
Rajeev Srinivasan wonders why the Nehru Dynasty's usual Teflon isn't working for Robert Vadra Romney wilted under relentless pressure from Obama, but...
If one takes into consideration the accumulated voter impression of the two rounds, Republican nominee Mitt Romney would appear to have succeeded more in planting seeds of doubt in the minds of the voters regarding US President Barack Obama's economic record and promises than the other way round, writes B Raman The second debate: All is not yet over for Obama
A combative US president on this morning's debate made him recall the Obama of 2008, moving us to think lofty thoughts, says Shreekant Sambrani The press cannot be at the whims of a few
The whole gamut of media needs to be looked into to determine, among other things, the relationship between owner and editor, journalist and owner, says Kuldip Nayar
October 16, 2012
We are all Dhritarashtra
The one overweening concern of most Indians -- leaders of statecraft, captains of industry, matinee idols, paragons of professions, and common citizens alike -- is the future of their progeny, says Shreekant Sambrani India was whipped in 1962 war, but won the peace
It is important to remember the lessons of the 1950s in planning how to counter any Chinese adventurism, says Ajai Shukla
October 15, 2012
The Nobel: A compliment and warning to European Union
Like it gave the prize to Barack Obama to make him fulfill the promise of change, the Nobel Committee has given it to the EU to remind it of its huge responsibility to maintain unity within the organisation, says T P Sreenivasan. Little Malala is the new face of Pakistan
If we really want to prove that we are all like Malala, then we have to stand up for our rights like Malala did, says senior Pakistan journalist Hamid Mir Why India MUST take advantage of Australia
The Australian government's decision to sell uranium to India is one of the many changes in the evolving India-Australia relationship, says Harsh V Pant. The stars are not shining for the Nehru-Gandhi family
'Mango men in a banana republic.' That one phrase by Robert Vadra gave more insight into the man, than years of Vadra watching by inquisitive scribes, says Seema Mustafa The risks of sticking by Robert Vadra
Various people have admitted -- off the record -- that the BJP had the same 'Vadra File'. Why did the BJP not speak out, asks T V R Shenoy. Congress, corruption and political morality
The 'disheartening' aspect of the post-Independence period was that Jawaharlal Nehru was unwilling to take action whenever a favourite politician, minister, or officer was involved in corrupt practices. The tendency continues to this day, the pattern however was set then, says Anirban Ganguly A Kejriwal is necessary for the system
For the idea called Arvind Kejriwal to succeed, it is important that he has a Rahul Dravid approach to the game. A Yusuf Pathan like pinch-hitter innings won't do, says TS Sudhir
October 13, 2012
Stabilise North East before Looking East
The northeastern states can take advantage of the liberalisation that is taking place in Myanmar only if New Delhi starts looking at the region as an important starting point of India's 'Look East' policy, notes Nitin Gokhale
October 12, 2012
SPEAK UP! Pakistan. Before it is too LATE
The Malala Yusufzai shooting reveals yet again how Pakistan is held hostage to religious bigotry, warns A Jillani. Not by development alone: Unravelling the Modi juggernaut
As the battle in Gujarat unfolds, it will be skills, craft, and language, as much as the plank of development, which are likely to decide who the winner is, says Dr Manisha Priyam Standing committees for the awesome threesome
Suresh Kalmadi, Kanimozhi and Andimuthu Raja -- none of whom need an introduction -- have been appointed to three standing committees. A Ganesh Nadar says they are the best fit, and explains why
October 11, 2012
Why is there 'negativism' Mr Prime Minister?
Banish corruption, investigate corruption cases honestly and punish the corrupt -- that will create a more positive environment. If you put a lid on cases of corruption, the cynicism and negativism will grow, says Arun Jaitley. Why the Congress must not defend Robert Vadra
It is for the Congress to ensure that the revelations do not eat into its vote bank in the crucial assembly elections. And it can do that by one, instituting a transparent and credible inquiry into the allegations; two, by taking action where it is due; and three, by disassociating itself from Vadra, says Seema Mustafa. Questions of propriety in Vadra affair
Mihir S Sharma asks a few questions on l'affaire Vadra, and makes notes on who should answer them and why The dangers of neo terrorism in Punjab
The situation that we are likely to face in Punjab and Delhi in the coming months due to the attempts being made by some elements to revive anger in sections of the Sikh community in Punjab and abroad would be qualitatively different from the situation that we faced during the Khalistan movement between 1981 and 1995, notes B Raman.
October 10, 2012
What India's defence ministry urgently needs to do!
'The central concern in the Services HQ over the last 40 years or so has been a frustrating lack of appropriate and timely government response to many crucial military issues, often till these turn into a full blown crisis.' Air Marshal Satish Inamdar (retd) discusses the many challenges and issues confronting India's defence establishment in the light of the recent Naresh Chandra report. To fell the giant, take the baby steps first
Mahesh Vijapurkar's advice on Arvind Kejriwal entry into politics: No need to squirm at the idea of baby steps. After all, the voter too has to be educated, his apathy eliminated. Had he been, we would have had a better political arrangement that worked for the people.
October 09, 2012
L'affaire Vadra shows up the BJP as Congress's B team
With an opposition party so compromised and so complicit in the rampant loot and corruption that we have witnessed in recent years, isn't Roberrt Vadra quite on the mark when he calls India a 'banana republic', asks Sushant Sareen Varsha Bhosle was a fearless warrior
'We were optimistic that if only that single missing, magic ingredient were to be found -- leadership -- India would once again rise from the ruins. We looked forward to the day that India became a leading economy and power in the world.' Rajeev Srinivasan's personal tribute to his late friend Varsha Bhosle. Dear Varsha, I'm So Damned Sad
'Even while I was bothered, I knew she was doing what any fierce opponent should and must: Forcing me to be clear in my thinking, to spell out my own arguments and reasoning to the best of my abilities. I know I was doing the same to her (how I know, also later). That she pushed me to be at my best is something I am grateful for to this day.'
October 07, 2012
Mitt Romney's ambivalence on India
No strong indicators from Romney on his policy towards India, the Pakistani use of terrorism against India and the Indian interests in Afghanistan, says B Raman.
October 05, 2012
Brajesh Mishra forged a national security state
Amidst the glowing tributes for National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, who died last week, it must not be forgotten that he was pivotal to bringing about far-reaching but questionable shifts in India's security and foreign policy stances and forging a hard-line national security apparatus, says Praful Bidwai.
October 04, 2012
Brajesh Mishra: India's first intelligence tsar
Brajesh Mishra was without doubt an iconic figure. This was due not merely to the enormous influence he wielded with former Prime Minister Vajpayee but also because of his clarity of thought, his intellectual eminence, his can do spirit and his ability to command the loyalty of those who worked with him, notes Satish Chandra. The debate: Weary CEO vs business-like opponent
Obama this morning was worse, a lot worse, than his poorest performance until now. On his own, Romney was better than before. Even if that was not a lot, the juxtaposition of the two opened up a wide gulf, says Shreekant Sambrani Post-debate, Romney is very much in the fight
Mitt Romney came to the first debate with the image of a potential loser in the elections. He managed to have this perception of himself changed and left the debate with the image of a candidate who might repeat the challenges of Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Bill Clinton to George Bush Sr in 1992, says B Raman
October 03, 2012
Indiscipline in armed forces: Where lies the blame?
Over-stretched middle rung officers, high stress levels and the fragile officer-jawan relationship are increasingly taking a toll on discipline, the cornerstone upon which the tradition name, fame, and valour of the armed forces is built, says Colonel John Taylor (retd). Political forces regroup post-Mamata and pre-Gujarat
The old order is changing, but the new one is yet to take shape, and this is expected to firm up after the Gujarat polls. Much will depend on how Narendra Modi fares, and whether he clicks with a disillusioned urban middle class in the country, says Neerja Chowdhury. Should our aging heroes be left to defend themselves?
It is unfair to abandon national heroes like Lt General Kuldip Singh Brar when they travel aboard on personal visits. The government should step up and provide them with security cover, says Anil Chowdhry Gen Brar's lack of security in London needs to be probed
Military officers, who spend their career mostly in barracks or cantonments, intimate their travel plans to the Army unit responsible for their security in India and presume that necessary follow-up action will be taken, says B Raman
October 02, 2012
Operation Blue Star: Lingering anger?
The anger and the hurt caused by the military action in the Golden Temple in 1984 continue to linger, says senior analyst B Raman.
October 01, 2012
Congress' litmus test on corruption issue
Politicians need to wake up. Many of them have functioned as though they were above the law -- and indeed they were. But things have changed -- substantially, not wholly, notes T N Ninan. Brajesh Mishra combined guile with generosity
India's first NSA Brajesh Mishra's combination of hard-headed realism and outspokenness ensured that he always spoke up for India -- not necessarily for the BJP, notes Jyoti Malhotra. Brajesh Mishra: Steely determination and a kind heart
Brajesh Mishra had his own frustrations in his personal and official lives, but he did not allow those to affect his style or confidence. His compensation came ultimately in the role he played in national and international affairs and the high award that a grateful nation bestowed on him, recalls diplomat TP Sreenivasan, who knew him for more than three decades
September 29, 2012
Brajesh Mishra, India's first NSA, as I knew him
Senior analyst B Raman assesses Brajesh Mishra's role as India's first National Security Advisor, his part in the 1998 nuclear tests, the Kargil conflict and more.
September 28, 2012
Why Hu Jintao is keen to finish Bo Xilai case
Hu Jintao is keen to have the proceedings against Bo Xilai, the party boss of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, completed before handing over as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China to his expected successor Xi Jinping, notes B Raman. Why the Maharashtra crisis is a win-win for Ajit Pawar
By resigning, the former deputy CM has struck pre-emptively against Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and used the opportunity to demonstrate that it is he who calls the shots in the state unit of the Nationalist Congress Party, says Neerja Chowdhury.
September 26, 2012
Why Ajit Pawar's resignation gives rise to cynicism
Instead of simply accepting the resignation of Ajit Pawar and appointing a new man in his place, Maharashtra Chief Minster Prithviraj Chavan's dilly dallying has left room for political posturing, says Mahesh Vijapurkar. US presidential elections baffle Al Qaeda and Taliban
The Al Qaeda and Taliban are unclear whether it would be in their interest to work for the defeat of Obama by stepping up acts of terrorism, says B Raman. The Ajit Pawar bomb: Will it explode or fizzle out?
A swift move by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Ajit Pawar's resignation could have thrown the too-clever NCP into utter confusion and secured a belaboured Congress an opportunity to come out smelling of roses, says Mahesh Vijapurkar
September 25, 2012
The Kasab case and why India needs judicial reforms
Ajmal Kasab's trial was no triumph of justice but a shameful demonstration of our inferiority complex, argues Colonel Anil A Athale as he makes a case for reforming our judicial system. Are Maoists 'political prisoners'?
Recent court decisions have granted 'political prisoner' status to arrested Maoists. Bibhu Prasad Routray examines how that decision will affect India battle to control the Maoist menace.
September 24, 2012
Why be surprised: The Cong dumped the Mahatma long back!
The Congress deviated from the path envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi the moment the country got freedom, says Anirban Ganguly. Closer China-Afghanistan ties will stem Pak-based terror
The formal establishment of a liaison relationship between China and Afghanistan would enable the two countries to exchange intelligence regarding the activities of the extremist organisations of the Xinjiang province of China and the Central Asian Republics, notes B Raman. India after the Bandh: Let the people roar
Is it that the entire Opposition is misleading the people with falsehoods, and the only repository of patriotism, truth and national interest is the Congress party, asks Tarun Vijay In Tamil Nadu, the CM has power, the people don't
As Tamil Nadu reels under power cuts, A Ganesh Nadar wonders: Is the crisis being manipulated? With TV address, PM has only begun his new task
The image of a government which is all the time reticent, over-cautious and over-defensive has to be changed quickly, says B Raman
September 20, 2012
Pakistan's burning in sectarian violence
The aggravating sectarian violence threatens to increase the conflict within the Pakistani society and destabilise it, writes Alok Bansal A direction-less govt, flailing out against anyone
Why is the UPA seemingly bent on pumping the oxygen of publicity to its critics? If you judge the result of an action by the results you must admit that the UPA has scored some spectacular own goals.
September 18, 2012
Wishful thinking over China's military capabilities
If there is another military conflict between India and China, it is not going to be a replication of the 1962 war, warns B Raman
September 17, 2012
Is freedom of speech a principle worth defending?
Freedom of expression cannot be constrained when it comes to books and encouraged when it comes to violence, says Mitali Saran Cong's Mr Nice Guy to the rescue in UP?
The Congress may finish last in UP despite the non-controversial image of its new chief, notes Aditi Phadnis. Why now? Mysterious visit by Chinese defence minister
The low profile nature of the visit and media's virtual silence could well have been orchestrated by the Indian government. But the visit indeed ought to be taken seriously and an analysis of the possible motivations and likely discussions between the two sides is necessary as it can directly affect national security, says Colonel (retd) Anil Athale. KS Sudarshan: A leader who broke barriers
Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief KS Sudarshan, who passed away on Saturday, broke the barriers of past burdens, dogmas and ritualism and often faced severe criticism from various quarters. But once he took a stand, no one could make him go back on it, says Tarun Vijay in tribute
September 15, 2012
Will Manmohan finally have his own way?
If Congress President Sonia President succumbs under pressure and forces the government to roll back the bold steps it has taken in the last couple of days, the resulting loss of face for the government and the party could have incalculable consequences for the economy and for its political fortunes, writes B Raman
September 14, 2012
All parties need to be blamed for coal scam
Contrary to the CAG report, the true scam is not exclusive to the UPA, or one for which it bears the prime culpability. Rather, it's a collective or collusive scandal, with both the UPA-ruled Centre and the non-UPA states reaching a nice 'match fixing'-style arrangement to snatch away coal mines from public sector companies and allot coal-mining leases to shady business interests, says Praful Bidwai. 9/14 -- we shall never forget
This September 14, our Martyrs Day, we pledge that one day we will be back in our homeland, with our heads held high and honour in tact. We will reverse our exodus but only at our own terms and at a time of our choosing. That will be the most appropriate homage to our martyrs, says Lalit Koul Was commando-style attack on US consulate planned?
The events in the coming days and weeks may take a course similar to what happened in the Islamic world after the publication of caricatures in a Danish newspaper in September 2005, notes B Raman.
September 13, 2012
The shame of Sivakasi: Dead eyes in its living children
That Sivakasi has also killed over time, albeit very slowly, numerous child-workers engaged in matchbox production is scarcely registered on the national conscience, says Shreekant Sambrani Is Mumbai's infrastructure only for the Gods?
Why do Mumbai's civic authorities only ensure pothole-free roads only during the Ganapati season and not the year around, asks Mahesh Vijapurkar. Aseem Trivedi and the guardians of good taste
The problem with the debate on freedom of speech and expression in India is that we don't debate what is "reasonable restriction" and what is censorship. We examine every cartoon, painting, film and book through our ideological prism, says Shivam Vij
September 12, 2012
New trends in Qaeda terror: Local targets, easy missions
After the Afghan and Pakistani Talibans, the LeT and the LeJ, the most capable and lethal terrorist organisation today is the Al Qaeda of Arabian Peninsula, says B Raman
September 07, 2012
Why the Naroda-Patiya verdict is a big blow for Modi
Narendra Modi will find it impossible to wash away the bloodstains from Independent India's worst state-sponsored pogrom. His image will remain sullied no matter how many Sadbhavna campaigns he organises, says Praful Bidwai. Why Muslims are critical of the media
The Indian Muslims must get out of the syndrome of victimhood and persecution and do some self introspection. They must change their attitude towards national issues and political parties. The media can only mirror a reality, it cannot change it, says Shahid Siddiqui. Indo-Pak ties: Fewer allegations, more friendly notes
For India and Pakistan, the divergence on traditional issues remains, but there is a search for new areas of convergence, believes B Raman
September 06, 2012
The PM has been reduced to levels never seen before
The prime minister should resign with the admission that he is not fit for the job assigned to him. He and his party must realise that there cannot be a government of any merit, without a prime minister to guide it, says Seema Mustafa. India should not heed Tamil Nadu rabble-rousers on Lanka
India should reach out to Sri Lanka and not push it into the dragon's arms, says Ganesh Nadar
September 05, 2012
What to expect from Krishna's visit to Pakistan
There is no doubt that if peace prevails between India and Pakistan there is no dearth of benefits to be derived, but even one terrorist attack could derail the whole process, says Alok Bansal. Why is officer-men relationship declining in the Army?
Is the Indian Army feeling the heat of being in perpetual operations? Are our soldiers' stress levels peaking dangerously? Making them prone to acts of indiscriminate violence? Kasab, Bajrangi and the case against the death penalty
We should put Ajmal Kasab in jail until he dies a natural death, just like Babu Bajrangi. Rotting in jail knowing you are never going to be a free man again is worse than the finality of death. The punishment for crimes against humanity should be in this world and not the next, says Shivam Vij. Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu: A messy situation
If the political parties in Tamil Nadu do not conduct themselves with a sense of balance and responsibility and indulge in competitive exploitation of the discontent in certain sections of the population over Sri Lanka-related issues, they may end up by creating passions beyond control in both countries, notes B Raman.
September 04, 2012
How Modi got the media to acknowledge his hangout
Who can motivate and appeal to the young and idealistic who are willing to work hard to create an India that matches their ambitions? Who is their role model? Someone like Modi who has worked his way up from the lower middle class, and has shown steely leadership and produced results? Or some child of privilege? You be the judge, says Rajeev Srinivasan. Illegal immigration is a volcano waiting to explode
Is it time to grant more powers to individual Indian states to detect, obstruct, and capture illegal immigrants? No takeaways for India from the NAM summit
There were hardly any positive outcomes at the summit -- what we had instead were rants. We had despots, dictators, autocrats and leaders of banana republics rubbing shoulders with each other, talking of providing a new management for a global order, says Smita Prakash from Tehran.
September 03, 2012
Don't pseudo-sentiments get hurt, not even pseudo-hurt?
Right-wing politics all over the world seeks to victimise the weak and powerless by falsely claiming victimhood, says Shivam Vij Is Mulayam positioning to lead a third front in 2014?
Mulayam Singh's bid to get a third front on his side is to get into a position where he can barter for the prime minister's job with the support of either the BJP or the Congress, says Seema Mustafa. Respecting differences in a globalised world
Incidents such as the violent clashes in Assam only tell us that we need to sensitise the youth about our country -- especially the borders states -- of which they have very vague notions, says educator Chitra Jeyakumar
September 01, 2012
Modi's acceptability outside Guj will remain uncertain
The involvement of some Hindutva top-guns in the 2002 massacre and the fact that the massacre took place under Narendra Modi's watch are bound to add to the feelings of disquiet about his acceptability as a pan-Indian and all-communities leader in other parts of India where emotional attachment to Modi does not play the same role as in Gujarat, notes B Raman. What to expect from Chinese defence minister's visit
Some bold measures from Chinese Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie and his Indian counterpart A K Antony are essential to make the former's visit successful, notes Srikanth Kondapalli.
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