This is the world today

Stop All The Clocks

Leila Seth wanted to be here, push back at the evil of the day, be part of the healing


Why does every one want me to write about Leila Seth: What do I want to share? Nothing really. She was life’s private gift to me. My private lucky chance friend: Valued all the more because she had come to me so late in my life and I into hers. I want to hold her in my heart without having to give away any part of her.

Why do we use moments of loss to acknowledge so much that we willingly ignore in life? Why does she have to be forced, through more and more words, into some devised pantheon of the greatest and goodest when it is enough to be just good. God knows it’s hard enough.

I don’t know if she was wiser than Portia, I only know she was a slow, deliberate and thoughtful judge. The first time I came before her was in a custody matter where the husband had played every dirty trick in the book to get a five-year-old away from his mother. She spent a long time with the child in chambers to arrive at…


Look at the facts of demonetisation, not politics

Six months later, it is clear that it achieved next to nothing, and inflicted a large cost on the poor and the informal sector.

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It was six months ago, on November 8, that India hit the headlines the world over, with its sudden demonetisation. It was announced in the evening that, at the stroke of the midnight hour, all bank notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 would cease to be legal tender. People would have the option, till December 30, to deposit these notes in the bank or change them for other notes, including newly-minted 500 and 2000 rupees.

Since then, a wealth of analysis and data have become available. Demonetisation’s half-anniversary is a good time to take stock of this historic decision. The verdict is clear. It was a monetary policy blunder. It achieved next to nothing, and inflicted a large cost on the poor and the informal sector.

India’s GDP growth rate of around 7 per cent over 2016-17 is commendable; tribute goes to policy initiatives such as the GST and the new bankruptcy law. However, these policies, coupled with two global trends, should have propelled India to a…


The Difference In Justice For Nirbhaya And Bilkis Bano

In Bilkis Bano’s case, there was no national outrage. Since March 2002, she has fought virtually alone in the most adverse of circumstances, helped mainly by a band of human rights champions like Teesta Setalvad, who themselves became victims of the processes of injustice, precisely because of the help. extended in cases like Bilkis’. After 15 years, Bilkis’s quest for justice is still not over.

Two judgements within a day of each other have caught national attention. The first is the Supreme Court judgement in the Nirbhaya case. The second is the Mumbai High Court judgement in the Bilkis Bano case. Two cases, two women, two standards of justice.

The Nirbhaya case aroused the conscience of India in an unprecedented way, calling into action thousands of young people who had perhaps never earlier joined street protests. The bravery and courage of the young woman, Jyoti, the brutality of the crime against her, now detailed in the judgement, the utter injustice and horror of her death symbolized so much that is rotten in our system, it reflected so many real fears and experiences of young women, it was a case with universal relevance across social boundaries. The Nirbhaya case and the public outrage forced the then government and all political parties to set up a commission led by the former Chief Justice JS Verma which made important recommendations, not only for amendments to the law, but also for steps on behalf of authorities for the prevention of sexual crimes against women and to create a secure and safe environment for women to exercise their equal right to public spaces. Some of the…NDTV

The Kushners and Their Golden Visas


The Kushner family has been caught in a shameless act of name-dropping. It has been highlighting its White House connections to entice wealthy Chinese investors and promising them green cards in return under a special government visa program. That’s pretty bad. But it’s also a scandal that Congress allows real estate developers to use the American immigration system to pad their profits.

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser, is officially no…


Iqbal’s wrong turn

Pakistan is grappling with the boundaries of his idea of religious toleration. India is going down the same path


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Muhammad Iqbal was one of the most incandescent intellectuals that India has produced. Every work of his sparkles: From the deep meditation of Asrar-i-Khudi, to the remarkable reflections on time and experience in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Modern Islam, from the stunning acuity of his essay on McTaggart to the corpus of poetry. His philosophical recasting of Islam, his advocacy of the individuality and creativity of the self, and his engagement with the ideals of modernity is one of the most significant intellectual projects of the twentieth century.

And yet, there is deep political tragedy inherent in an intellectual turn Iqbal took. This tragedy haunts Pakistan, but casts its shadow on India as well. I am not referring to the creation of Pakistan, a complicated historical story. I am, rather, referring to the paradigm of toleration and religious community that eventually resulted from Iqbal’s works. That paradigm has torn Pakistan asunder. It has been…THE INDIAN EXPRESS

Me-too ideas fail to start up India


Latha Jishnu
APRIL 14 2017

A majority of the start-ups in India are failing the innovation test because of their copycat mentality

We spend hundreds of crores of rupees on a cleanliness campaign (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan) with celebrity politicians taking up the broom to sweep city streets or filmstars urging rural folk to build more toilets. Prime Minister Narendra Modi sweeping a Delhi street and using a shovel to clean the Ganga at Assi Ghat in Varanasi is reflective of the government’s inability, or more likely its refusal, to look at a problem in its entirety. The lack of sewerage systems across the country and the absence of robust finances for urban garbage disposal are not concerns that appear to have crossed Modi’s mind as he launched these much-advertised programmes. Ditto for the big push on digital payment systems—close to a hundred crore rupees were spent on the ad blitz—when 40 per cent of the country is unbanked and Internet connectivity is a distant prospect for huge swathes of India.

What policymakers fail to factor in is the ecosystem in which grand projects are expected to take off. So it should not come as a surprise that Startup India, too, is faltering. An industry-tracking report reveals that the bulk of companies that hoped to capitalise on the hugely hyped up initiative launched by Modi in January 2016 have failed to make the cut. It turns out that the…DOWN TO

All the President’s Flip-Flops

The simplest explanation for Donald Trump’s new positions on everything from Syria to interest rates? Ignorance.

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In February 2017 Jon Stewart noted that Donald Trump had a remarkable affinity for a certain phrase: “Believe me.”* Trump used it over and over, which made Stewart wary: “Nobody says ‘believe me’ unless they are lying.”

Whether Trump was intentionally misleading or not, he has offered reason to question the credibility of his campaign promises this week. In recent days, the president has changed positions on a range of issues, from fiscal policy to foreign wars and taxes to trade. Here’s a quick rundown.

Chinese Currency Manipulation

During the campaign, Trump railed against China’s economic policy, saying Beijing was keeping its currency artificially low as a way of getting a leg up on the U.S. In an August 2015 Wall Street Journal op-ed, for example, he promised, “On day one of a…


Lessons From Ambedkar

A fitting tribute to him would be forging unity of progressive forces against Hindutva

B R Ambedkar, Ambedkar nationalism, BJP nationalism, Ambedkar freedom struggle nationalism, Sangh parivar nationalism, Hindutva nationalism, BJP Hindutva, BJP communalism, Express column, Indian Express

Demanding justice for their community following the Una flogging incident, hundreds of Dalits and members of various civil rights organisations began the ‘Dalit Asmita Yatra’, a foot march from Ahmedabad to Una town of Gir Somnath district. (Express Archive Photo) / PICTURE FROM INDIAN EXPRESS

D.RAJA | APRIL 14 2017

Years ago, Ambedkar had predicted that a time would come when the downtrodden and suppressed classes and castes would launch their own movements. Manuvad fascism, which spells anarchy across the country and endangers our social fabric, has to be countered by education, organisation and agitation as advocated by Babasaheb Ambedkar. The imminent danger to our country posed by manuvad fascism has to be met with redoubled force by upholding the Constitution and our pluralistic values. It has to be fought by forging the broadest possible unity of the working people and secular, democratic forces. This would the appropriate tribute to Ambedkar…


BJP, not Congress-mukt

By accepting its ‘notables’, the ruling party is starting to resemble its political rival.

Christophe Jaffrelot | APRIL 13 2017

As early as the 1930s, the Congress had let small and middle zamindars join the party. This trend accelerated before the 1937 elections. After Independence, Jawaharlal Nehru turned to former maharajahs of Rajasthan and MP, where they had supported the Ram Rajya Parishad and the Hindu Mahasabha; this is how Vijaya Raje Scindia got a Congress ticket in 1957. Even after the 1969 split that resulted in most of the party notables rallying around Congress (O), Indira Gandhi continued to indulge in vote bank politics. She won the 1971 elections on a populist mode, but let former Congress (O) notables return to her party to win the 1972 state elections.

This party-building pattern largely explained the conservative overtone of Congress…INDIAN EXPRESS

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