|December 31, 2009|
India in 2010: Ready for the big league|
To command credibility on the external front, it must get its act together on the domestic front, in terms of both honest and effective governance and tolerant and mutually accommodating political culture.
|December 30, 2009|
Why the Congress cannot erase Narasimha Rao|
Rao has only received contempt from his party colleagues. Being one of the most successful Indian prime ministers from a non-Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is not something that Congress-wallahs can accept easily.
Election laws need new dimensions
A law making it compulsory to vote, a none-of-the-above feature, as well as the right to recall and neutral democracy at the grassroots can go a long way in stimulating the democratic processes, writes Mahesh Vijapurkar.
|December 29, 2009|
Congress@125: A chequered history|
The Congress might take pride from its apparent revival but unfortunately in the process it has further marginalised the poor and the oppressed of India, writes Seema Mustafa
India gets younger as years go by
Today's India is vastly different from the one most of us grew up in. There is a new India that is rising, a young India that is yearning to join the international ranks of the brightest and best.
|December 24, 2009|
Is it the endgame for Pakistan?|
India can only hope that the Pakistani generals crackdown on the Taliban under sustained US pressure. But that seems too much to hope for. India needs to prepare for the likelihood that Pakistan will shortly commence its own 'political solution' to the Afghan problem, built around a so-called reconciliation effort under some sort of 'Islamic' auspices.
|December 18, 2009|
An avoidable mess over Telangana|
A new state cannot be created in the ad hoc manner like the demand for Telangana was conceded, writes Seema Mustafa.
|December 14, 2009|
Obama's Afghan strategy: Surge or retreat?|
In case of a premature US exit from Afghanistan, Indian policy makers will be confronted with tough policy choices, writes Dr Shanthie Mariet D'Souza.
|December 11, 2009|
The Congress has messed up the Telangana issue|
'On the face of it, the Congress, which took the decision without even consulting its allies, does not have a road map. That is why it is unable to deal with the present explosive situation.'
The end of the Second Telangana Movement
Soon, KCR will realise that he will not be the next chief minister of Telangana, and a dyed in the wool Congressman will take that position. And there will still be room for another Congress CM in the truncated Andhra state.
|December 03, 2009|
The lessons not learnt from Bhopal|
Dow and Bhopal together illustrate vividly how the authority of nation-states and their government is being usurped by the corporations of all hues giving birth to a perverse trans-nationalism, writes Gopal Krishna.
|November 30, 2009|
Colonel Anil Athale (retd): Making sense of the Af-Pak cauldron|
The best way to understand the happenings in Pak-Af is to see it as a second jihad. The first jihad was fought between the Soviet Union and Af-Pak combine. Once the Soviets were out of Afghanistan, the US was content to cede control to Pakistan. The elephant in the room that no one saw was the 'fundamentalist Islam' with its dream of a Pan-Islamic world.
|November 26, 2009|
Drift prevails a year after 26/11|
Our enemies can run rings around India because half of Indian political leadership has lost its intelligence and the other half has lost its nerve.
|November 19, 2009|
For Mumbai, slum-free plan may not work|
It is surprising that the slum dwellers have so far not revolted and asked the government to pack up and go because, from their point of view, the slums are not a problem but a spontaneous solution to the housing problem in Mumbai which has always been behind the demand curve, the supply kept short deliberately so that progressively higher prices can rule.
|November 17, 2009|
Will Bonapartist Foneska outgrow Lankan democracy?|
'There is nothing necessarily fatal if a soldier develops a passion for politics. An Indian commentator pointed out that, after all, there is the precedent of Dwight Eisenhower. But then, the nagging worry remains whether in the South Asian clime, like the sapling brought in from distant China, Fonseka, a US Green Card holder, may blossom and outgrow the botanical garden that Sri Lankan democracy used to be.'
Indian democracy at the crossroads
Some measures like conducting candidate debates, fixing the terms for elected representatives, having a constitutionally empowered political finance regulatory authority and effective policing of campaigns and elections by the Election Commission will go a long way in making India a truly functional and thriving democracy.
|November 16, 2009|
Decoding the Headley-Rana case|
The key to the conspiracy hatched by David Headley and Tahawwur Rana may lie in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
|November 12, 2009|
Defeating 'new terrorism': India must act|
'There is no option but to successfully defeat the terrorist organisations inimical to India's national security and determined to create a communal-sectarian schism with a view to destabilising India on behalf of the ISI and the Pakistan army.'
|November 11, 2009|
How India must face the Chinese threat|
'India needs to aggressively counter China's imperial ambitions and its plans to encircle and break up the country.'
An open letter to Raj Thackeray
'Your militia can rampage outside the legislature, but it can, and will, be thwarted entry into the legislature. You cannot carry your grudges on any aspect of life in Maharashtra there in the fashion your men have done.'
|November 10, 2009|
Chinese media builds up anti-India rhetoric|
'There is an upsurge already in Indian and Chinese nationalisms and the attitudes of the two peoples get sharpened on issues like that involving territory, affecting public sentiments.'
Every Indian language is a great one
'Why should we have to complain about its forced usage or suffocate having someone pushing it down our throats?'
|November 09, 2009|
Proud to sing Vande Mataram!|
'At the far end we have the likes of Maulana Madani with their separatist agenda, but that does not mean every Muslim is persuaded by the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind's bunkum.'
Aren't we all minorities, Mr Chidambaram?
A secular state cannot subscribe to the concept of a majority and a minority for it is that very inequity that a secular state strives to eradicate, argues Vivek Gumaste
Tibet, India's legitimate ticket to own Arunachal
'As a responsible law abiding nation, India has a moral responsibility to tell the truth that Tibet is an occupied country.'
|November 03, 2009|
Talks with Pak will only end in frustration|
'The dialogue process is just too inadequate to meet the challenges from Pakistan.'
Why India needs to crush the Maoist insurgency
'It is a blatantly illegal and no holds barred war against the Indian State, against the idea and existence of the Indian democracy and must be dealt with an iron hand.'
Why the Thackeray cousins love the media
'If the Thackeray cousins love the media, the media too adores the two bespectacled Thackeray scions, who in their bid to espouse their Marathi manoos agenda, have become an easy bait for a medium that depends for its survival on high TRPs and ad revenues.'
Dealing with Maoists: Pragmatism setting in
If the Maoists do not respond positively but on the other hand, persist with their campaign of violence, the home ministry could, perhaps, do well to first weaken the Maoists -- not by force alone -- but through curtailing their violence as well as systematically reaching out the fruits of development to the remote and interior areas, rejuvenating the institutions of governance and re-occupying the space that it vacated and which the rebels have occupied.
|October 27, 2009|
Why India should worry about turmoil in Pakistan|
India needs to be aware of the potentially catastrophic implications of the collapse of governing authority in Pakistan and the possibility of its nuclear assets falloing in the wrong hands, writes Harsh V Pant.
|October 21, 2009|
Straws in the wind from China|
An article in the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party reveals China's thinking on its security environment in its neighbourhood. It may indicate a shift in thinking towards strategic cooperation and operation of soft power by China, writes D S Rajan.
|October 14, 2009|
Why does Mumbai refuse to vote?|
Mahesh Vijapurkar says the people who do not vote are often the people who complain the most about governance.
|October 09, 2009|
Why India's diplomacy is in disarray|
Like autumn leaves, we are left with a huge, miserable-looking heap of broken dreams. Whoever thought a day would come when we couldn't even agree with the Americans as to who were the Taliban we both have been fighting against all these years?
|September 25, 2009|
Why India needs nuclear weapons|
India should shift to a 'flexible response' from the current no first use and minimum deterrence posture. Against China it would be a strategy of dissuasion based on survivable second strike force that could threaten Chinese high value targets. In case of Pakistan, the flexible response strategy would be based on ambiguous no first or second use and a 1,000 point targeting with the aim of annihilation of that entity.
Essential to strengthen India's nuclear deterrence
'In the absence of any further testing of nuclear warheads, it is essential to focus upon the associated structures of nuclear defence.'
|September 24, 2009|
China worried over US-India military cooperation|
A recent article in the Chinese Communist Party newspaper appears to be more categorical in conveying a message: US-India 'unified strategy' on all major regional issues is possible and that may change the strategic situation in South Asia. This shifts the focus on indications to China's possible counter moves in the future.
Why peace seems elusive in Sri Lanka
'It will be a double tragedy for Sri Lanka if making peace proves more difficult than making war.
|September 23, 2009|
Why seat sharing and nominations take time|
The Congress and NCP are partners for a decade but both share the same political and ideological space but compete for growth. That implies one trying to grow at the expense of the other partner. Which, in turn, means identifying seats which can be assuredly won, improving the hit-rate so that when the final tally comes in, claims can be made about the which of the two is leading the other.
|September 22, 2009|
Emerging India: Insecure and unsafe|
Our strategy of retaliation with surgical strikes or the new strategy of 'cold start' remains moribund and ineffective for the enemy believes and rightly so, that we lack the will and wherewithal to implement it. Our conventional retaliation strategy lacks 'credibility' and therefore is no deterrent.
Thermonuclear fizzle: India needs to test again
The question before the country is: Do we need thermonuclear weapons as part of our arsenal for deterrence? If the answer is yes, India must conduct further tests, irrespective of any promise that might have been given to the Americans.
Twittering about Shashi's tweet
'It would be a pity if Tharoor were to be punished for a tweet, no matter how cheekily offensive it may appear to our home-grown politicians. He has said and written far worse to merit retribution for something which is at best a sarcastic comment on dubious austerity.'
|September 18, 2009|
Holy cow! Congress and the power of 71 characters|
'In the days since September 14, have you heard of one 'common man' or common woman even, getting his or her truss in a knot over Tharoor's remark? No, because the common man/woman/person has much larger issues to worry about -- unlike some of our elected representatives.'
|September 17, 2009|
So who was really responsible for Partition?|
Jaswant Singh's book has raised a fresh controversy on who was responsible for the Partition of India. Some think it was Mohammed Ali Jinnah; others say Jawharlal Nehru/Sardar Patel. The truth is that the seeds for Partition were sown at least 80 before Partition actually happened
|September 16, 2009|
Politicians care a damn about our money|
'Whoever lives and works close to New Delhi's seat of power knows what a humbug it is when ministers and political leaders announce that he or she will travel by economy class or, worse, travels by train while living in the cosiest homes and the most secured zones in an insecure India.'
Maharashtra poll: Trying times for troubled allies
The 2009 edition of the elections to Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, where 288 seats are up for grabs, promises to be different. There are many interesting facets to ensure that. The main thing is that each of the major players is going into the fray with troubles of their own.
Hypocrisy of the 'austerity drive' must stop Now!
Plainly put, this austerity drive is being carried too far and it has become a macabre Dickensian joke. Stop it and let us turn to serious business. Not only are the political class and their handmaidens in our media making much ado about nothing, they are insulting our common intelligence.'
|September 15, 2009|
Are Nepal's Maoists a threat to India? |
One wonders whether the Communists in India are still at their old game: ostensibly nurturing democracy (in Nepal) but in reality waiting for the right moment and the right circumstances to launch an armed bloody revolution in India via Nepal with the backing of China
|September 09, 2009|
A penchant for pelf and ostentation|
Once in power, status and style matter and in this the politicians are not to be found wanting. Not at all, they like to flaunt it.
|September 04, 2009|
Why Mumbai needs to look outwards|
The wisdom lies in shifting the investments to rest of Mumbai, and restrict the Mumbai-centric investments to fill the gaps, catch up with the graph and not for the future. The investment in Mumbai later should be only towards maintenance.
|August 31, 2009|
Why Pokhran yield does matter now|
The current trend worldwide is to move away from the high yields of thermonuclear devices. These were useful in the Cold War environment and not applicable now. It is feasible to achieve yields of a few hundred kilotons with fission weapons.
US shouldn't manipulate Karzai's ouster
'The Obama administration must show the sagacity to cooperate with Karzai's strategy.'
Does it matter if Advani knew or not?
we need to remember one thing. Kandahar is not about Advani. Neither can it viewed through the partisan politics of the BJP and the Congress. It was and must remain one with India's battle with terror.
India, a reluctant and tentative nuclear power
'More than a decade after Pokharan II, India doesn't have much to celebrate. It still doesn't have minimal, let alone, credible deterrence.'
|August 26, 2009|
Why we should heed navy chief's warning on China|
If Admiral Mehta's warning that India is long way off from catching up to China can generate the requisite debate in the Indian political establishment about the rise of China and its implications for Indian strategy, he would have done his bit for the nation.
We need a drinking water security act
A concerted bid to seek the government's total and unremitting attention to solving for ever the drinking water problem has never been seen though even now, in some parts of the country, people have begun to protect their wells using armed guards.
|August 25, 2009|
Jaswant Singh's expulsion: Why the BJP was right|
In summary the BJP cannot be faulted for acting in its own interest. Jaswant Singh's expulsion was an act, Machiavellian in its concept that combined political expediency with shrewd political insight; a move designed to shore up the sagging image and morale of a fractured entity that had lost its verve and was drifting aimlessly.
|August 21, 2009|
Why India needs the BJP|
'Liberty can have no alternative. And that's exactly the most powerful factor that makes the BJP indefatigable and invincible. The party's inner core promises to rise like a Phoenix if the outer shell fails to translate the ideals it was born to achieve.'
|August 19, 2009|
Afghan polls: Democracy in difficult times|
What would serve New Delhi best is a relatively peaceful election that places in office a legitimate government committed to bringing stability and development to conflict ridden Afghanistan.
Civic irresponsibility and scandals
Scandals and civic bodies, given the official venality, political corruption and builder's avarice, are not far apart.
|August 18, 2009|
Affirmative action more important than the Arihant|
A democracy can only thrive when there is real unity based on common identity. India is still more than 85 percent Hindu and unless there is renaissance in Hindu society and peace between Hindus and Muslims, India cannot exploit its creative and intellectual strengths
|August 14, 2009|
A long wait for Independence|
The country may be independent for the past 62 years but these Dalit families of Jajupur would not yet testify that they have had a chance to enjoy the fruits of freedom.
|August 13, 2009|
The flu, the scare and the confusion|
Closing schools can take away the children from peer contact. But what about the parents who commute in overcrowded crowded trains, who may bring the infection home? Cinema halls may be closed for a few days -- strangely, the suggestion is a week's break for schools and just three days for the theatres! -- but what about the all pervasive crowds across the city? Perhaps the only way is to shut down entire cities where the flu has taken a grip. Nothing else makes sense.
|August 12, 2009|
Talks with China head nowhere|
A "political" solution to the boundary issue has to ride on decisive improvement in the political ties between India and China. If in the last six years no such amelioration has occurred, then to expect the boundary resolution track to move faster or even independently of such progress would be wishful thinking.
|August 11, 2009|
Not enough teeth in Green Tribunal Bill|
The bill must answer categorically as to whether or not it would be able to stop another industrial disaster. The usefulness of any such bill lies in its affirmative response.
|August 10, 2009|
Pakistan doesn't need secret deals with militants|
'Nobody is sure if Baitullah is dead or alive. For me, he is still alive. He can be considered dead when the national flag of Pakistan is hoisted on the buildings of all the schools in south Waziristan and students celebrate August 14 without any fear.'
|August 07, 2009|
Cultural nationalism is not anti-Muslim|
'The government seems inclined to 'settle' the Kashmir issue in blatant violation of the unanimous resolution by both Houses of the Indian Parliament in 1995. The country must be vigilant about this.'
|August 05, 2009|
Why Indians need to get angry|
I want the Indians to be angry and demand their right. It calls for simple assertion, and willingness to stay the ground and defeat the insouciance of the guy on the other side by showing that you have patience to deal with him, not cash to grease his palm.
|August 04, 2009|
Why not a military option against Pakistan?|
India's naivete and Pakistan's deceit have inadvertently conspired to produce a stalemate that maintains a dangerous status quo between Pakistan aided terror and India's inertia. To break this logjam, we need to be pragmatic. A military option kept hanging like a Damocles sword in tandem with an ongoing dialogue is vital to ensure results.
How the govt can reform the defence set-up
Will only a Kargil-like bombshell goad the languid government into reforming the defence set-up?
|July 31, 2009|
Let's talk about Baluchistan|
Now that the prime minister has put into his mouth what should have been firmly planted on the ground, if the Pakistanis insist on talking to us about self-determination for Kashmir, lets then also talk self-determination for Baluchistan
|July 30, 2009|
Indo-Pak dialogue: Reckless gamble or cautious first step?|
The criticism of the Indo-Pakistan joint statement is largely misdirected and based on the misperception that the composite dialogue has already been resumed and will continue full tilt no matter what Pakistan does. In fact what Dr Singh and Gilani agreed to was much more limited and laced with caution.
Dr Singh breaks new path in Indo-Pak relations
What Dr Singh has achieved as a statesman is that he has set out to define a new paradigm in which India-Pakistan relations will be discussed. For the first time in the history of the two nations he has laid the grounds for India and Pakistan to work together to solve the common problems, including that of terrorism.
|July 29, 2009|
Why the Thackeray cousins must unite|
It is collective positive action that will enable the warring cousins to carry forward the Thackeray mantle in 2010 and beyond. Fighting over a limited votebank could see their downfall just like what befell Shivaji Maharaj's successors till the Peshwas came on the scene decades later.
Mumbai's neglect of slums
I would like to judge the state -- here the civic body is also to be treated as a proxy to the state -- on two yardsticks. One is the benign approach to the issue of slums and their proliferation, not because it is a humane way of civic governance but because of the mendacious greed of its politicians and officials who become rich because of the slums. The second is the pretence of providing services to the slum populations.
Why 'Kashmir's Obama' failed his state
Asiya Jan lived in the Kashmir, where the head is not held high and the mind is full of fear. I have lived in that Kashmir. Millions of others have. Omar Abdullah has not. That is why he failed Kashmir.
|July 28, 2009|
India scoring own goals against Pakistan|
What we need to understand is that when Pakistan feels cornered its leaders will seek assistance and sympathy and export mangoes; their purpose served, they will revert to form and export jihadis. The way to handle Pakistan is not through kind gestures and misplaced magnanimity; these are taken as signs of weakness and generally used to bargain for more.
Call for Pashtun nation is not far away
For the last 30 years, Afghanistan has been beset by a cruel and callous war, the likes of which the modern age has not seen. Afghans are now seeking to determine their own future. But the Pashtuns still remain a divided people by an arbitrary Line of Control scratched across the heart of their nation.
|July 20, 2009|
Good intention, bad drafting|
For once, the Indian diplomats have been outsmarted by the Pakistanis in Egypt, says T P Sreenivasan.
|July 15, 2009|
Why Kashmir has no case for self-determination|
What people of Kashmir need is not freedom from India but an enlightenment that clears their cloudy perception and releases them from the clutches of terrorism, religious fundamentalism and unscrupulous politicians making them law abiding citizens of a democratic, secular and economically resurgent nation: a win-win situation.
|July 15, 2009|
Dry or wet? Gujarat's prohibition conundrum|
Do the thought leaders and policy makers (and presumed enforcers) have the courage to decide which way to go? I do not think they have. But the farce should end one day.
|July 09, 2009|
Why outcomes and not govt spending are important|
Outcomes alone matter. It is the outcomes that are important to know if the money was spent wisely and efficiently and this is what neither the CAG nor MOSPI do not seem to do very well though the MOSPI does not have a wider mandate to poke anywhere like the CAG could do.
|July 01, 2009|
An Aam Aadmi's letter to the PM|
'We, the People,' the acknowledged sovereign masters in democracy, can only hope that your own vigilance and the idealism and acute sense of right and wrong of the young blood you have inducted into the ministry, as also of the 226 newly elected MPs who are below 50, will help nip in the bud any acts of malfeasance and misuse of power.
The rot in our jail system
Little wonder, the Human Rights Watch eloquently said in that report cited earlier that "Although prison systems everywhere are marked by inertia, few can match India's in immutability of practice."
|June 29, 2009|
View: Why dialogue with Pakistan is futile|
In his book Shadow War -- The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir, Pakistani journalist Arif Jamal, unveils the involvement of Pakistan in the insurgency and provides some new and quite startling details of the jihad that Pakistan waged against India in Kashmir.
|June 22, 2009|
Footpaths are for walking only
One gets the impression that most of the skywalks that are coming up in Mumbai are tethered in the philosophy that if you cannot provide a safe passage for the pedestrians on the cluttered sidewalks, provide a skywalk. It costs much more, renders the skyscape uglier but then the pedestrian deserves a new uplifting experience. So, take him skywards.
The three dangers that India faces
'Very few policy makers in India dare to acknowledge the danger to the nation's territorial integrity. The security and integrity of the nation has become hostage to vote-bank politics. Democracy and more than eight percent economic growth will be of no avail if the country as such withers away.'
|June 22, 2009|
Double games don't work in Pakistan|
President Zardari is losing political support very fast not only in public but also in Parliament. A majority of the people of Pakistan supported the latest offensive against the Taliban in Swat valley. This offensive displaced about 3.5 million people. More than five weeks have passed and the operation is not yet complete.
|June 17, 2009|
What is Mayawati up to?|
A good leader owns up sole responsibility, especially for failure. Had Mayawati done honest introspection and owned responsibility for her party's failure, all would have appreciated her honesty for once. By refusing to gracefully accept defeat, Mayawati exhibited her woeful lack of political maturity and leadership qualities.
|June 11, 2009|
The knives are out in the BJP|
'The BJP's leadership is suffering from a disease called 'last bus syndrome': If it can't catch this bus to power, then it will never get to be in power.'
|June 10, 2009|
Of patronage and failed civic governance|
And we call this devolution of powers, and on paper exult that we have local self governments while what is happening is that a whole new mafia of officialdom and politicians with nexus to every unholy aspect of civilised life flourishing.
|June 05, 2009|
Five things the environment minister must do|
Nothing short of the death of old industrial policies of pre-climate crisis era and rebirth of enlightened policy making that takes into account intergenerational equity with regard to natural resources would be sufficient.
|June 04, 2009|
Is it the end of the LTTE?|
While the LTTE may have been neutralised, an organisation like the Palestinian 'Black September' may well have taken birth.
Congress's secret weapon in UP
Panna Lal Punia is a man who knows too much. What he doesn't know about Mayawati and her secrets is not worth knowing. Now, that very man is determined to take up cudgels against her. Getting wind of Punia's chances of being inducted into the Union ministry, a desperate Mayawati 'threatened' to withdraw support to Manmohan Singh's government!.
|June 03, 2009|
Politics -- now a closed, charmed circle|
At this rate, it would not before the country from a constituted republic of the people of India would metamorphose into a dynastic democracy where some 600 dynastic families would rule the roost.
Cyclone Alia exposes Left
'Even before the Left could come to terms with the disastrous results of the Lok Sabha election, Cyclone Aila wreaked havoc in West Bengal, exposing the callousness and inefficiency of the state machinery.'
|May 29, 2009|
BJP lags behind, but Rajnath races ahead|
The BJP president wants to be head and shoulders above possible rivals like Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, and Murli Manohar Joshi
|May 28, 2009|
The signs of change in Bihar|
So if politics drove, or good politics, I must say, drove Nitish Kumar to the issue of bijli, pani and sadak so be it for that is the least that is needed to be done before talking of other issues.
Why security must top the government's agenda
In international relations there are very few accidents and the bunching of these anti-India actions in our neighbourhood could not be just coincidence but show a design and pattern.
|May 26, 2009|
UPA must move quick on national security|
With explosive flashpoints around India and an unstable internal security environment, the new government has its work cut out. Right on the top of its defence and security agenda should be the formulation of a comprehensive National Security Strategy, including internal security.
PM has opportunity to improve quality of governance
By fixing a minimum tenure for secretaries in key ministries, Singh can ensure continuity of policy.
|May 25, 2009|
The Binayak Sen factor
While celebrating our democracy and its biggest rituals we also need to think about the kind of society we are building.
The DMK overplayed its hand
It was clear that with its preponderant numbers, the Congress, is not going to be the same old diffident, submissive push-over that it was in the lean days of the first term of the United Progressive Alliance. The DMK, in particular, needed to be circumspect in making its demands, not only to avoid giving the impression of having its eye only on 'juicy' ministries, but also because it had a weak suit.
|May 23, 2009|
Isn't India greater than us all? |
'The chips are down for the BJP today, it doesn't show that the issues have been rejected. People have supported it because it is perceived as the only party that doesn't feel embarrassed to protect the Hindu ethos.'
|May 19, 2009|
Blood on our hands, but this too shall pass|
Not only our hands, but our whole body and deeper down, our conscience -- what remains of it after the mundane battles of our day-to-day life -- is also dripping with blood. Prabhakaran's blood. No, it is not only Prabhakaran's, but also of 70,000 Sri Lankan Tamils who have perished in the unspeakable violence through the past quarter century
The day I met Prabhakaran
'Prabhakaran strode in, wearing his trademark safari suit. Well built, very sure of himself. He put his hands on the table and looked around the hall scanning the entire area slowly. There was pin drop silence. We had been told not to get up but those on stage had risen.'
|May 18, 2009|
Re-centering the Congress Party|
The verdict of the 2009 general election has once again brought the 'centre' in Indian politics to centre-stage. India has returned to an even keel.
|May 17, 2009|
Why PM must send Anees Bazmi flowers|
The filmmaker is now the unlikeliest part of Dr Singh's political life, thanks to his blockbuster.
Telecast news just twice a day
'Perhaps it is too much to expect the channels which run on celebrity content and arrogance to say that they had to eat crow. But because television news networks are arbiters of the moral and the political right and who dare ask them questions?'
|May 16, 2009|
Fissures in CPI-M over poll debacle?|
'What political analysts and party insiders predicted long back will soon be a reality, the CPI-M would be divided into two groups: Pro-Karat and anti-Karat.'
A thoughtful verdict for stability
The Congress has proved once again that they have ways of handling people's dreams and realpolitik and the BJP is still an apprentice.
|May 14, 2009|
Why is Dr Singh smiling?|
A senior Congress leader argued that if the BJP doesn't find enough allies it may rush to support Mayawati because the BSP and BJP fear defections in Uttar Pradesh. Many experts and political leaders are drawing a dreadful scenario devoid of any morals.
Not political spokespersons, only spinmeisters!
Their brief is to talk away and give a spin. It is intended these days less to helpfully inform to further their party's ends and the more to hold the attention of the television audiences. Especially in this election season where everyone is trying to do the arithmetic without knowing the actual numbers and the scene full of self-serving, self-appointed spinmeisters, this breed has become endemic.
|May 13, 2009|
Colonel A Sridharan VSM (retd): Have we forgotten Kargil already?|
'India and Indians need to change their attitude towards its soldiers, both serving and retired. Indians need to remember the families of those who made their supreme sacrifice in conflicts like Kargil or anywhere while performing their duty.'
A head start for India's next prime minister
We have to wait until May 16 -- or perhaps even longer -- to know whether India's next prime minister will be the incumbent, Manhmohan Singh, or his Hindu nationalist rival, L K Advani, or someone from a smaller party. But this much is already clear: the new prime minister will almost certainly have to deal with four emergencies in the course of his term.
Is Mamata Banerjee the change Bengal seeks?
Can the Trinamool-Congress alliance, which is being sneered at as nothing but a marriage of convenience dish out a magic pill to cure the ills of a Left Front-ruled state gasping for air? Is this pre-election tie-up going to be a long-lasting one? No one seems to know for sure. Yet everyone wants 'change'.
Mayawati will be shocked on May 16
Mayawati has wantonly frittered away her phenomenal goodwill of 2007. Indira Gandhi was taught a harsh lesson in 1977. She had misjudged the public mood and was doomed. Mayawati shall, also, be 'educated' and 'taught a lesson.'
|May 09, 2009|
Pakistan's military, mullah, ISI mix|
'Instead of emerging as a more cohesive unit geographically, politically, economically and in orientation, nearly 55% of Pakistan is witnessing vicious insurgencies which could lead to further vivisection. More than half the country has slipped into anarchy and the remaining may also follow if Islamabad does not carry out a drastic reassessment of its nationhood.'
|May 08, 2009|
The disconnect between urban and rural schools|
So there are schools, swanky, modern, well-equipped -- though without a full-time doctor in attendance -- and expensive, the fees often being multiple times the earnings of any middle-class family. And there are schools which are mere shells of the concept where nothing is done, not even providing simple, basic, even ordinary education.
|May 07, 2009|
On water issues, the UPA has failed us|
The continuing spate of farmer suicides is significantly linked with irrigation issues, where the UPA's failure is clear. A study by South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People in 2007 showed that after spending over Rs 99,610 crores (Rs 996.10 billion) on big irrigation projects up to 2004, the net area irrigated by big irrigation projects actually dropped by 3.17 million hectares.
|May 06, 2009|
The Kafkaesque streak in Indian politics|
'The real problem is that India has been colonised for too long, contrary to China whose people remain proud of their culture and intensely nationalistic. It has resulted in a deep-rooted inferiority complex in the Indian psyche, where every intellectual is always looking towards the West for approval and Indians are so obsessed with having the Western type of democracy without adapting it to Indian conditions.'
|May 05, 2009|
The day Rahul moved centre-stage|
'The day Modi wriggles out of the shadows of the Gujarat riots, the real battle with Rahul Gandhi will be joined. Till then, Rahul is taking a five-star excursion into the hurly-burly of Indian politics.'
Heartland trio puts up 'No Entry' sign for Mayawati
'Trust the resilient team of Mulayam, Lalu and Paswan to poison the Third Front's mind against the totally unpredictable and unreliable Mayawati. The rest will be taken care of by the wily Maratha fox Sharad Pawar as well as the ever-resourceful Amar Singh.'
|May 04, 2009|
Nepal is at war with itself|
There were rumours of the army going for a coup, but for now it does not appear to be so. But the conditions for a civil war exist. If the Maoists decide to take to the streets to counter the rallies and demonstrations of the opposition parties there will be violence. If violence escalates, the army could intervene
|April 29, 2009|
The CBI is a habitual offender|
If one puts in sequence what all this agency has done in the disproportionate assets case of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in the Supreme Court, it speaks volumes about the Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi-led UPA government's questionable politics.
|April 25, 2009|
Implications of Talibanised Pakistan for India|
In an impending Talibanisation of Pakistan, we face hordes entering our country to carry out mayhem. Once the state of Pakistan is taken over by the Taliban, we face a prospect of use of nuclear weapons against us, either through direct or indirect means of delivery.
|April 24, 2009|
By default, the BJP gains ground|
'As the second and largest phase of Lok Sabha polling ended on April 23 sealing the fate of 264 constituencies one could see clearly that only two general secretaries -- Prakash Karat of the CPI-M and Arun Jaitley of the BJP -- were smiling.'
Taliban takeover of Pak is inevitable, imminent
Recently, Australian and American security experts have given only six months for this to happen. This 'point of no return' was crossed when the Pakistani national assembly approved the 'deal' with Taliban that for all intents and purposes handed over the Swat valley to the extremist rabble.
|April 23, 2009|
The shoes are a-raining! And how!|
The instances of shoe throwing help shape a trend to which the politicians had better get wise to. If they don't, it would be only at their peril. Who knows, when the anger among the people wells up, worse things could follow.
|April 21, 2009|
UP Muslims seek protection against BJP|
'Only those with a demonstrable and proven clout to defeat the BJP will stand to gain Muslim voters' support. And this support or its withdrawal is bound to play a decisive role in many a seat in UP.'
|April 18, 2009|
Let's have sharper debates|
The main protagonists have not jousted enough to help voters make up their minds on the real choices being presented.
Dilemma of the Delhi voter
Hundreds of thousands of voters in Delhi - and in other cities - are trying to figure out which LS constituency they now fall under.
|April 16, 2009|
Why Dr Singh and Advani need to talk|
Only the petty feel surly, not great men. Imagine the future if the two continue in this fashion in the new Lok Sabha when the country has a continuing agenda to progress and things need to be talked over, not just across the well of the House but in behind-the-scenes to get things moving.
|April 15, 2009|
Why Polls 2009 could be the Jaya and Maya show|
Are we headed for two extra-constitutional, autocratic power centres for the price of one government?
How we can reform the politician
With the 15th general election under way, with the squeaky system crying for purgation, the time is ripe to resume the debate on electoral reforms, seriously, not as pastime, and to infuse a self-sustaining momentum to the quest for an equitable polity.
|April 14, 2009|
Election 2009 seems like 543 mini elections|
In spite of the absence of a focused attack against the incumbent government there is a pattern emerging from the complex play of events. More or less, it is apparent that Election 2009 is an 'anti-Congress' election. The heat is less against the UPA and more against the Congress.
Why did Holbrooke visit India on poll eve?
In the interests of public accountability and transparency, as also to avoid any future controversy, Narayanan and Menon should, with the permission of the government, come out with what actually transpired during their elaborately set-up discussions on the eve of election with Holbrooke and Admiral Mullen.
|April 10, 2009|
Why politicians get richer after every term|
If India is going to get into this mode of wealth being a determinant, where even those who managed to come in with a modest background but because of some political patronage but then grew in every which way, then the Lok Sabha could well be called a House of Lords!.
|April 09, 2009|
Why we should fear the Talibani mindset|
There are many who wish to imitate the Taliban and their subversion of the secular State and destruction of civil society in the name of practising Islam and enforcing Islamic injunctions.
|April 06, 2009|
Maya, Mulayam battle for the Muslim vote|
This is Mulayam's last major political battle for survival. His loyal supporters are desperately trying to retain his earlier score of 35 MPs. But Mayawati wants to eliminate him politically and aims to surpass his previous score and to reduce Mulayam's tally.
|April 02, 2009|
Why Varun Gandhi's voice may be stilled|
Varun's foray into politics may turn out to be a one-shot affair just as Rithambara hasn't been able to repeat her blood-curdling call for a communal holocaust -- one last khoon-kharaba -- in recent years.
|April 01, 2009|
What do Varun Gandhi's pronouncements mean?|
One only hopes that the damage caused by him will be contained and he will not become a model to be imitated by other youth in society. If his performance from political stage were to be repeated by lesser mortals in real life it could cause havoc with peace and harmony in society.
The BJP's dilemma over Varun Gandhi
In the people's court, Varun Gandhi is already guilty. Inside the BJP and the RSS, there is little sympathy for his arrogant ways.
|March 31, 2009|
Why UPA's farm policy won't win votes|
The UPA agricultural policy, in all its crucial features an extension of the National Democratic Alliance's, will end up eroding the farmers self-reliance and promoting industrialised agriculture. The farmer will be reduced to a labourer on his own land, kept alive by subsidised foodgrains.
|March 30, 2009|
Pakistan: On the brink again|
The international community, including India, must offer the Pakistan government all the help and encouragement that it needs to fight and root out the menace of radical extremism, or else the terrorists will spread their tentacles far and wide -- including, eventually, into India.
|March 27, 2009|
Family legacy and the Varun effect|
It is the hurt and bewilderment over the loss of a Gandhi to the saffron brigade that has made the media and anti-Hindutva politicos react with such venom and acid. He was not heard, not given a chance to present his case, nor did forensic experts examine the so-called proof in the form of a CD containing his speech.
Figuring out Arun Jaitley's googly
Is it not rather strange and perplexing that Jaitley attends 'informal' meetings to firm up candidates and manage the party's "election war room"? More so, when the very responsible senior leader sulks and 'boycotts' his own party's crucial and formal central election committee meetings? Double standards? Oh, no. Just Jaitley standards.
|March 25, 2009|
Terrorism: Are infantry commandos the answer?|
Without looking for extra land and locations for the NSG hubs as proposed by the home minister, if every infantry battalion gets a well-equipped commando platoon, the needs of security will be met. The NSG will remain a special force that can build on the commando platoons should the task be beyond their capability, says Col Anil Athale (retd).
Six reasons why Congress will lose Election 2009
There is a simple rule that governs whether an incumbent government wins or loses its bid for a renewed mandate. If the people are happy with its performance, it wins. If they are not, it loses -- except when there is no other viable alternative. Apply this test to the Congress party's bid to win a second term, and you will see that it does not have the ghost of a chance to return to power, says Sudheendra Kulkarni.
The tantalising promise of the next election
Voters distinguishing good from bad incumbency would be the best outcome
|March 24, 2009|
The CPM's duplicity in Kerala|
How much criticism have you heard about the blatant interference in politics of the Roman Catholic clergy in Kerala, or of the CPI-M's hobnobbing with a party that even the CPI denounces as "communal"? Or is it only Hindus and the BJP that must always prove their adherence to 'secularism'?
Limited choice for next IAEA chief
There is disappointment that such a high profile agency with great potential for peace and development has not attracted the enormous talent available wide world outside the Vienna International Centre, says T P Sreenivasan.
|March 23, 2009|
Why India needs its regional parties|
It is time for the elite to shed its prejudice and intolerance, and realise that India is best represented through the regional parties. And that if these did not exist, violent struggles would have broken out in different parts of the country as the deprived are learning to recognise their rights and are not willing to be shackled and silenced by a two party system that does not meet their aspirations and does not recognise them as equals.
|March 18, 2009|
India's new-found irrelevance in US policy|
It would be exceedingly short-sighted of the Obama administration to ignore India in searching for a balance of power in Asia. India, however, needs to put its own house in order before crying hoarse over the changing winds in Washington. Global reassessment of India is primarily predicated on its recent economic rise, but India's rise will remain incomplete in the absence of a credible vision with a larger purpose.
What choices does a voter have?
Experience has shown that nowhere can a political party be trusted. Much less the leaders, especially of the smaller parties who are on a regional plank.
|March 12, 2009|
The BJP should drop its alliance with Shiv Sena|
If Pramod Mahajan were to be alive today, the Bharatiya Janata Party would have shed the long-time ally Shiv Sena and gone it alone in Maharashtra.
Madhyamam: A Muslim media success story
Madhyamam has ambitious plans for the future, says Abdur Rahman. These include a daily English newspaper, with simultaneous editions from Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai and a regular television channel.
|March 10, 2009|
Is India ready for Pakistan's coming collapse?|
The end game that the West is seeking in Pakistan and the region is different from the one that India seeks, despite certain congruence in their objectives. India will have to think more clearly about its strategic objectives vis-a-vis Pakistan and how best to achieve them. The barbarians are at India's gates, there is no time to lose.
|March 09, 2009|
Elect those who choose India as life-force|
Surrounded by failed States and terror dens, India needs a strong leadership that will not hesitate to take punitive action against the erring State or non-State 'player' and organise the strength to withstand a spill over. Wars and inner conflicts are not won with machines. You got to have a heart that's firm and courageous. The war machine's role is secondary.
Is BJP's 'muscular' foreign policy the answer?
Brawn triumphed over brain last week as the Bharatiya Janata Party announced, after "consultations" with "foreign policy experts", that it was for a "muscular" foreign policy so that "nobody thinks they can mess with India".
President Obama's challenges in AfPak
President Obama has this historical opportunity to rescue the world from an economic morass and an Islamist nightmare and put his stamp on world history.
|March 07, 2009|
Rogue Pakistan's biggest victim is India|
The only sensible alternative is a regional approach to isolate the jihadis who menace all of South Asia. For this to materialise, the India had responded appropriately by calling for dismantling of the terror infrastructure in Pakistan. It needs to be proactive in isolating and pressuring Pakistan, says Ram Madhav
The end of the immigration boom
The global recession is beginning to seriously hurt international migration, and many migrants are forced to go home again.
|March 04, 2009|
Lankan view: Why the Lahore attack hurt|
We can make a boastful claim that we are a nation that has not been cowed even by the worst forms of terrorism. Yet, on Tuesday morning, when we heard that our cricketers were attacked by terrorists in Pakistan, we were shaken and plunged into a state of shock, something which hundreds, if not thousands, of Tamil Tiger bombs had failed to achieve.
|March 02, 2009|
Analysis: Parties jostle for election allies and issues|
The Congress party is displaying a studied confidence that people will appreciate its rule of the past five years. It is projecting a more coherent image than its nearest rival the Bhartiya Janata Party but this could very well be a contrived posturing by way of creating an air of confidence limited to New Delhi.
|February 27, 2009|
26/11: A Taj survivor's untold story|
'I am sure there were more than three terrorists in the Taj --we ourselves saw quite a few.' Also, Erika Mann feels there may have been more victims than the government allows: 'We saw so many bodies taken out.'
How India can hasten its climb as a superpower
In the next 25 years, we are looking at a maritime force that is truly a large blue water navy and an air force that is in reality an aerospace force
|February 20, 2009|
Afghan troop surge: Good, but not enough|
'The surge is unlikely to change the security scenario in Afghanistan, and the region, unless President Barack Obama disentangles his administration from his predecessor's unilateral policy of military interventions in sovereign nations.'
Why China could have a difficult 2009
Despite the phenomenal rise of the People's Republic, all is not rosy in the Middle Kingdom and the Ox Year may be one of the most difficult of the People's Republic's 60 years of existence. The economic crisis has also brought its tale of desperation, not only in China, but also in Tibet. China watchers agree that it could be a time bomb.
|February 19, 2009|
Barbarians at the gate, are we ready?|
'The recent surrender by the Pakistani State to the Taliban in the Swat valley may well turn out to be a watershed in the history of the Indian subcontinent. In terms of long-term impact, this may even overshadow the recent Mumbai massacres. All signs point to the Talibanisation of Pakistan.'
|February 13, 2009|
Trying Ajmal in India is not a good idea|
'It will merely give him a forum to make political statements before an international audience. Even if he were to recant, the sceptics may still scoff. He is a small fry in any case.'
Taliban spreads into Pakistan's heart
The recent attacks in Pakistan's Punjab should be taken as warning shots of an impending battle which will further destabilise that country and the region.
How the UPA devalues democracy
By repeatedly denigrating our democratic institutions, the UPA government has explicitly demonstrated its complete disdain for healthy democratic traditions. But what should worry the nation most is the fact is the silence of our intellectuals, media and our opposition parties.
|February 12, 2009|
Defence R&D: What India needs to do|
'India cannot leap-frog to a higher plane virtually overnight. The immediate requirement is to think big in keeping with the country's growing international status and to plan for the future with a level of confidence that policy planners have not dared to do before.'
|February 11, 2009|
In Swat, Pakistan army faces 1971-like situation|
A furious Taliban leadership has decided to send their fighters to Islamabad as a reaction to the army operations in the Swat valley on the troubled border with Afghanistan.
|February 10, 2009|
Pakistan resurrects an Al Qaeda ghost|
What Richard Holbrooke is going to deal with in Pakistan is far beyond the realms of cognitive processes. There is nothing like this in the Balkans where he impressed with his forceful diplomatic skills. The Khyber is a mysterious place that breeds poltergeist stories. Yazid's reappearance testifies to the region's strange powers.
|February 05, 2009|
Dame Luck favours Dumb Congress in UP|
There is a mild breeze blowing in the Congress party's favour in UP, much to the chagrin of Mayawati, the Bharatiya Janata Party and even Mulayam Singh. That mild breeze is indifferent to everything else in the field. Dame Luck and the mild breeze seem to have teamed up to turn the tables against everyone else in the fray in UP.
|February 02, 2009|
Unfair to impute motives to CEC|
It is incumbent on mature and dispassionate analysts not to look at the CEC's report through political or ideological spectacles and import into it hidden purposes and meanings, says B S Raghavan.
Why New Delhi fiddles when Lanka burns
Local politicians who thundered repeatedly of giving their life for the LTTE and Tamil cause have not even been able to give up even their government and the perks associated with it. No wonder, cadres will commit suicide, leaders will continue to deliver elegy in chaste Tamil.
Why are women always the target?
'Do these worthies have a right and a moral authority to tell women all these codes of conduct while they flounder and abuse every bit of simple, civil behaviour in their life?'
|January 23, 2009|
Why Obama must deliver fast|
Being a historic first and endowed with qualities making for inspirational leadership also raises expectations to fever pitch. The nation would demand from Obama far more than they would from others, and within a much shorter time.
|January 21, 2009|
Obama should carry on Bush's India policy|
India needs to be assertive in its stance that it will not sit down for a dialogue where it is treated at par with its anarchic and erratic neighbour.
|January 20, 2009|
British kite-flying on Kashmir|
By a coincidence, the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband was in India during the annual kite flying festival and he did indeed do some of his own on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. He proffered unsolicited advice that in order to deal with terrorism India must 'solve' the Kashmir problem, says Col Anil Athale (retired)
|January 19, 2009|
Obama and hope: Some personal observations|
As priorities go, if the new White House can prevent girls schools from being closed down and burnt by the neo-Taliban and their ilk, life will be more 'hopeful' for a whole generation in Pakistan-Afghanistan that is already paying a heavy gender price.
|January 14, 2009|
How Behenji became Madame Mayawati|
Mayawati's assets were amassed possibly only when she conceived and decided to auction her solid chunk of trusting Dalit votes to the most suitable bidder. Rather, than the most opportunist politician in exchange for her transferable Dalit vote bank during polls.
|January 09, 2009|
UP could well be the BJP's Waterloo|
Petty-minded infighting, ego clashes, lack of finances, failed poll planks/issues, ineffective leadership, confused and demotivated cadres, and acute casteism are some of the causes dragging this national party down in UP.
|January 06, 2009|
Mumbai faces a war without frontiers|
'What will happen to Mumbai if it continues to be attacked mercilessly? It is easy to say that Mumbai is unstoppable. But with each attack our city is finding it more difficult to pick up its pieces. Can this city break? If it breaks what will happen? Will there be schisms that will pit people again each other?'
|January 01, 2009|
Perk up, the best is yet to be!|
Nothing is lost, as far India is concerned. It has braved oil shocks, Asian meltdown, jihadi depredations, insurgencies, insurrections, the works. When they struck, they looked like the end of the world. Can anyone bear to recall with equanimity the baptism in blood of independent India at the time of its birth, the massacre of the millions and the influx of refugees and their settlements all over North India and in West Bengal?