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Subhajit Sengupta
Monday , February 02, 2015

Game changer of a poll

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Delhi is heading for a game-changer of an election but it is not why you think it is. In 1973, one of the greatest social scientists of India, late Rajni Kothari explained the ever so important 'Caste' factor in Indian Politics, in an aptly named book 'Caste in Indian Politics'. Years later, the relevance of the book can hardly be contested. Even after liberalization 'Mandal, Kamandal and Market' have continued to explain every election in the country. Mandal (Mandal commission) represents caste, Kamandal (closest English word probably will be 'stoup') which represents the right wing forces and Market is self explanatory. But this Delhi election is, for the first time, witnessing a phenomenon which is beyond all three of them. It is a battle of class. Irrespective of the caste equation we are going to see a huge mobilization of the lower and lower middle class towards Aam....

Monday , April 07, 2014

A date with a RSS pracharak

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I was sitting inside the BJP office in Ghaziabad waiting for the coordinates of the General, candidate from the area, for yet another interview. I realized all the party workers were reverentially talking to one rather energetic old man. I realized he was a senior RSS functionary and now been given the responsibility of the all important state of Uttar Pradesh. I chanced upon this opportunity to figure out what led to this spectacular turn around of hope among the party workers of the state. Though a little reluctant initially, he did open up after a couple of cups of tea. He spoke about the booth management programme, about how the party and the parivar have 15 cadres dedicated to every booth in all the 80 constituencies. Each booth roughly has about 900-1000 voters. Each worker is given a sheet of electoral rolls which has 60 names. Basically....

Tuesday , July 16, 2013

Uttarakhand floods: The voices from the hills are seething in rage, lend an ear

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The rain fall hasn't stopped in the last 24 hours. The mule and doli owners' strike has just been sorted, but given the weather conditions no chopper could land today. Dolis too are reluctant to move . It doesn't rain this heavily so early in the year. As the night grows, there comes a loud noise. The lake behind Kedarnath lost its leash, then the water levels rises and took everything away with it - markets, temples, lodges and people. Everything swept away. (Kedarnath on 15th and 16th June) On the night between 15th and 16th June, the icy cold water washed away everything. So much so that even a month later those hit are unsure of what was it that hit them. The state is going to declare the final death figure. Those not found yet - would be declared dead. This, in a sense, brings the first....

Sunday , April 22, 2012

Right to dream...a reality?

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The ever growing education business received a jolt when the Supreme Court upheld the Right to Education Act and its mandate that 25 per cent of the seats in all private unaided schools need to be reserved for the economically weak or socially disadvantageous groups. To the schools it meant loss of revenue and no wonders they are fighting tooth and nail to get the Supreme Court to alter it. A review petition has been filed by the private schools on this historic Supreme Court judgment. The impact of RTE in the field of education is subject to intense scrutiny and much of a debate is already on it... my two words would only add to the cacophony. Hence I would like to limit myself to what I see as an absolute positive of this law...for the first time ever the economically weak too can dream....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Journey of a comeback man

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In the years to come, cricket lovers of the world will remember there was a man who achieved greatness. Well, almost. Away from the muck that IPL is generating off the field, the final touches are being given to the story of an extraordinary life, that of an artist whose canvas has one recurring stroke - 'almostness'. Every time he's been dumped in the bin he has hit back, in style, and with vengeance; but has never quite been the champion that he has always aspired to be. At the onset of his career, he, like the epic poet Milton, was crystal clear on intention: 'No middle path, I intend to soar'. But his epic has been left bereft of the final heroic triumph. The man, Saurav Ganguly, first appeared on the cricket scene in the '92 Australia World Cup. Buoyed by a great domestic season, he was the....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fighting the war within the BJP

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The BJP is finally getting more footage across all networks, than the ruling Indian National Congress. But it would be safe to assume that the party would have preferred a complete media blackout instead of the kind of headlines they are making now. The party with a difference has now become the party of differences as no one knows where the next revolt will come from. But why is it in such a state? The reason can be best found in cricket. After AB Vajpayee & LK Advani's golden generation, there came a series of players who would play well but could not captain the side. Although Sehwag, Zaheer and Yuvraj were present, yet none were able to take over the reigns. Till one Dhoni came from nowhere to rescue the team, there was serious doubt over what would happen once the Fab Four left. But unlike our cricket....

Tuesday , March 03, 2009

A fragmented nation state?

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The time has come to choose the ruler of the nation. India will vote again in another two months and choose whom to thrust the responsibility of running the central government. Unlike the other years, this time the verdict of a billion voters has been relegated to the battle of states. The party or the coalition which picks up stakes in most number of states (with due importance given to their sizes) stands the brightest chance to rule over the Delhi Sultanate. This election has no wave, no major national issue and no starkly opposite stance taken by the two camps, namely the UPA and the NDA. It looks like the modern day nation state has begun to resemble Eliot's modern man... fragmented. The unitary nature of our federal structure is losing out to its constituents. Almost every election till date in the history of Indian democracy has....


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