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Tuesday , May 15, 2012

The hullabaloo over a cartoon

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What has happened to the nation? The Parliament is scared of cartoons while the government resents freedom of press. News broke on Friday that the parliamentarians are upset with a cartoon depicting Babasaheb B R Ambedkar and that they want HRD Minister Kapil Sibal to resign. Even a Congress leader, P L Punia, asked Sibal to either resign or apologise to the nation. Prabha Thakur says all the officials behind the cartoon must be suspended. BJP and BSP were speaking in the same tone. Neither they knew, not they understood anything about what the cartoon is about, who drew it, and when was it published first. What's the personality of the man who drew the cartoon? It was made by one of the best cartoonists the country has produced, Shankar Pillai, who happened to be a friend of Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru himself is believed to have told Shankar, "Don't spare....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Narendra Modi and the trap of his paradox

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Narendra Modi always hogs the headlines and always generates sharp responses of two kinds. One from the people who believe Modi is the future of India, natural choice for the Prime Ministership, India's development-man, modern, determined and decisive. Industrialists say he made Gujarat an ideal state for their industries where decisions are not dependent on red-tapism. Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani see a PM in Modi. He is the only leader in BJP with a mass following and admirers outside the party. Modi is perhaps the only Indian politician to have a cult status on the social media. You may not get any feedback when you write on other leaders on Twitter or Facebook, but one piece on Modi and there is a barrage of hate- or fan-mails. Modi, of course, has another image too. The villain of the 2002 riots. The man who divides the Hindus and the....

Monday , February 13, 2012

UP elections 2012: trial by fire

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A teary-eyed Congress as election fever heats up in Uttar Pradesh. Two rounds of votes have been polled. Congress continues to cling on to its only hope called Rahul Gandhi. The party brings up Batla House time and again - sometimes to clarify, at other times to retract the earlier clarification! We don't know when Law Minister Salman Khurshid saw tears in the eyes of party president Sonia Gandhi after the encounter, followed soon by the original Batla House vigilante, Digvijaya Singh. Singh quickly denied any tears from Sonia after the Batla incident. Now whether or not Sonia cried after the encounter is something only she knows. But it's clear now that Congress needs the Batla tears in UP elections 2012. The government has clarified long time ago that the Batla House encounter was genuine. Then why does Congress raise it? Simple. For Muslim votes. UP has 18.5....

Monday , January 30, 2012

Akhilesh's biggest challenge: Undo Mulayam's politics

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He was a school teacher, with a love for wrestling. He entered politics and became the Chief Minister of UP. That is a brief introduction of Mulayam Singh Yadav. The forthcoming Assembly elections may mark the end of Mulayam's political career. He has reached an age where a leader has to pass his legacy on to his successor. Mulayam was remarkably prompt in this regard. Today, Akhilesh Yadav runs the Samajwadi Party. Mulayam was a socialist. However, to call him a socialist today would be a travesty. Mulayam may not like me saying that, but still, truth must be told. Politics had killed the socialist in him long time ago. He joined the league of those extraordinary men in politics who say one thing and do another. Mulayam represented a possibility. But the compulsions of polity killed that possibility. Mulayam was a Lohiaite. Lohia loved him too.....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If Uma wins UP, BJP will be the loser

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It was nice to see a confident and animated Uma Bharti on TV, again. There was a time when Uma ruled the roost, but soon she ran out of luck. First she lost the Chief Ministership in Madhya Pradesh, then she was chucked out of the party. She formed a new party, but it didn't work. People started forgetting her. The firebrand BJP leader, who once made headlines with her vitriolic speeches on Ayodhya started making news for slapping her party worker. The Sanyasin of the BJP seemed to have taken a real political 'sanyas'. Well, she is back in the party as well as in the news, thanks to party president Nitin Gadkari. When the Ram Temple movement was at its peak, a young Uma was the face of the party, loved by both L K Advani as well as the RSS. Both saw the future of....

Monday , January 23, 2012

Longing for Kanshiram

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It's election time in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati is trying hard to get back to power. However, whenever I think of Maya, my thoughts go to Kanshiram, the man who founded Bahujan Samaj Party and more than that, dreamt of an India where Dalits could also run governments and rule. Not that Kanshiram was the first to nurture that dream, but he was undoubtedly the first to realise it. Kanshiram was originally from Punjab. He started his Dalit movement from that state. The first of BSP MPs also came from the same state. But Kanshiram always had Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra - and above all, UP - on his radar. The irony is that the BSP today has hardly any presence in Punjab. I met Kanshiram several times and also had been with him a few times during his various election campaigns. He was a thinker first, but....

Monday , March 09, 2009

Advani's date with history, and BJP's too

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May 16 -- a date like any other day but not this time around. This year, May 16 will herald a new beginning or ink a new end. The day will decide if the UPA will come back to power or if it will sit in the Opposition. It will also decide if the NDA will be third-time lucky or if it will have to wait for another five years. Perhaps, voters will choose a third alternative, after all. Come what may, all the major stakeholders in the democracy will anxiously wait for this day. But, for someone, May 16 will be a matter of life and death. And if the NDA is lucky, this day will end one of the longest waits by any leader aspiring for the Prime Minister's post after the late Morarji Desai. However, if the UPA succeeds, then this man will never achieve his....

Tuesday , February 17, 2009

Lalu who gave credibility to Constitution

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I was in university when I got to know somebody called Lalu Yadav is in the race for chief ministership. He was being backed by the then strongman of Indian politics and self-proclaimed kingmaker, Devi Lal. Prime Minister V P Singh was not in his favour. His candidate was Ram Sunder Das, a Dalit leader. Nobody took him seriously then and nobody thought he will complete his tenure. But defying all logic and all political calculations, his government remained in power for another fifteen years. I am talking about the same Lalu Yadav, who last week presented the 6th Rail Budget in a row and supposed to be one of the pillars of Manmohan Singh government. In his Budget speech he was talking about bullet train and also how Railways became a profit-making enterprise. He is the same Lalu Prasad who is credited for all the ills for....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama is not Bush but Barack is American

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"United States today spends approximately as much as the rest of the world combined on its military establishment, yet it is worth pondering why it is that after nearly four years of effort, thousands of American lives lost, and perhaps a half trillion dollars of outlays, the United States has not succeeded in pacifying a small country of some 24 million people, much less in leading it to anything that looks remotely like a successful democracy." These words were written by Francis Fukuyama in 2006. One of the most prominent thinkers of modern times and proponent of End of History, Fukuyama sums up the real agony of US and its tragedy as a nation and also all the problems its facing now. It is not a co-incidence that President Obama in his inaugural speech has said: "We are in the midst of crisis is now well understood." Francis....

Thursday , October 23, 2008

Sachin Is Not The Greatest

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Somebody once asked me, 'is Sachin the greatest Indian batsman'? I said "NO". He asked, 'why'? I said there can be a thousand reasons. I know it's not politically correct to say so and more damaging if you write the same. But those who know me and have interacted with me know I have been saying this for a long time and had received equal amount of both outrage and ridicule. You can argue that even Sir Don Bradman had said 'Sachin plays like me'. Shane Warne puts him on top in his list of greats. Sachin is the one who has the maximum number of runs in ODI and also in Test cricket and he has also scored the highest numbers of centuries in both types of the game. But, I will still say he is not the best. In my opinion Sunil Gavaskar is not only the....


More about Ashutosh

Ashutosh, one of the best known faces in TV journalism today, is the Managing Editor of IBN7.


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