2011

CONFLICTS IN THE PARTY WITH A DIFFERENCE

It is in the nature of Opposition parties to be agitational, to be constantly in campaign mode. The pursuit of power demands it but there is a fine line between keeping the government on its toes by demanding accountability and being churlish. The BJP’s summersaults after the sacking of CVC PJ Thomas are a case […..]

IF GI JANE CAN, WHY NOT MAJOR SEEMA?

At a time when the Army is being accused of a gender bias in denying permanent commissions to women officers, two stories have symbolised the debate this week: Major Mitali Madhusmita becoming the first Indian woman soldier awarded a gallantry award (Sena Medal) for saving lives after the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul […..]

THE COMIC MAKER OF INDIA

Late Gyani Zail Singh, then President of India releasing Mahamati Prannath in 1983 (Photo courtesy, Anant Pai)

I am a child of Amar Chitra Katha. Poring over the comics was one of the greatest delights of my childhood and Ananth Pai, who died last week, gave millions of us who grew up in the 1980s our first imaginaries of the past, our first mental maps of history and mythology. Despite the disdain […..]

OUR CELLPHONES AND US RAILROADS

What does our current telecom muddle have in common with the US railroad industry? Much like the Indian phone industry in the past two decades, American railroads expanded at an astonishing rate in the 19th century, especially after the Civil War. Like our current telecom barons, American railroad construction was also undertaken by private companies […..]

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GINI STUPID

The Supreme Court’s direction to the CBI to treat the big fish among the corporate beneficiaries of the telecom scandal exactly the same as the nameless middle-level pawns has hit the nail upon the heart of the matter. At one level, this is about following the simple logic of the law. At a deeper level […..]

OF CAMELS, A YOUTH BULGE AND US

With Hosni Mubarak still trying desperately to somehow hang on to the last dregs of power, the quote of the week comes from the Egyptian novelist Dr Alaa Al Asany. “The Egyptian people are very close to a camel,” he said in an interview to a foreign journalist. “The camel can really accept a lot […..]

DOUBTING THOMAS

Writing on corruption and probity in public life, ancient political theorist Chanakya started with a slightly banal observation in the Arthashastra: “Just as a fish moving deep under water cannot be possibly found out either as drinking or not drinking water, Then, reflecting darkly on the mysterious opaqueness of the inner wheels of governance, he […..]