The India BlogThe India Blog is about the socio-political-economic landscape of the country, its cultural moorings and the challenges it faces – whatever affects the lives and future of the people living within its boundaries and beyond.
"We are not given a short life but we make it short wasteful... Life is long if you know how to use it".
Seneca, Roman Philosopher,
c BC 4 65 AD
Nearing sixty, I am trying to make the most of Seneca's words, in my own inimitable way. To make the most of silence, to charge it with creativity, reflection and innovation. But then there is just too much noise all around!
New Delhi has changed in the past five years. In the shaded by-lanes of the bureaucratic roads fanning the heart of India Gate, there are unfamiliar sounds, even at six in the morning. On one such lane, I can hear sounds from the domestic quarters across the lane, songs at full blast on a radio or the television. Moments later,...Read more...
Prime Minister of India has give clarion call to all citizens, policy makers and corporate houses to contribute to the realization of the dream of Mahatama Gandhi of a swachch or clean Bharat.
Responding to the call of the CEO of the country, the corporate world has committed large sums for creation of toilets for girls in schools and women in rural India where such facilities are unheard of and this fifty percent of our population, in the words of NaMo "waits for the dark to answer the call of nature". Only one third households have toilets in India. Urban areas may have more toilets but sanitation and waste disposal still continue to be challenges. Water borne diseases in rural areas due to open defecation and contamination of water sources are other resultant menaces of lack of hygienic private and public toilets.
Love Jihad and conversions have seen an open public debate in all kinds of media in recent weeks. Re-conversion of Hindus, particularly, Dalits from Islam or back to Hinduism called 'ghar wapsi' has increasingly been reported in media and points to the malaise that afflicts our socio-religious fabric. The recent re-conversion of some dalits in Shivpuri in M.P. and slitting of wrists of a dalit lad for wearing a watch scream in one's face and point to a grave issue that has not been addressed so far.
The four converts of a Jatav family claimed that they had converted to Islam to escape discrimination by upper castes. Forceful or voluntary conversions and re-conversions may take place but the unresolved issue is of discrimination based on the varna system of Hinduism.
Hinduism was regarded as one of the most...Read more...
Fed on our masala hindi films and spicy gossip in Page 3 column of the print media, the Indian palate seeks a lot of masala in real life. Everybody in public life is known to court controversies but we have mastered the art of creating a controversy around anything or utterance or event of whatever importance. The whole world can learn the art of making a hill out of a mole from the Indian thought process.
We have been celebrating Teachers' Day since long. In fact, Teachers' Day on 5th of September every year marks the birthday of our 2nd President Late Dr. S. Radhakrishnan who was a great man of letters and philosopher. Celebrating the contribution of teachers or 'gurus', as they were known in the past, is not new to modern India. Guru-purnima on the...Read more...
An interesting phenomenon happened in social media over the last few weeks: the news feed flooded with images of people dumping ice-cold water on their heads. At first look it seemed to be a plea to the weather gods to cut short this brutal summer; but turns out people were doing it to raise awareness and funding for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; a rare disease that is universally fatal.
The videos started snowballing and then came the critiques: what will happen to the money that has been collected??? Photographs of impoverished children without water started trending and the Facebook debates have begun. In between all the noise it is important to highlight an important aspect of the campaign: the increasing importance of private funding in scientific research. Government funding for medical research is stagnant in the US; whereas in India it has been...Read more...
August 18 marks a significant marker to 500 days left to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets. Today, the world is on the brink of a major breakthrough to ensure mothers, newborns and children everywhere survive. If there's one place to trace the seeds of this brewing revolution, it's India.
MDGs: the world's "to do list" to improve lives agreed upon in the year 2000 by representatives from 189 countries including India to framework that would steer development agenda for the next 15 years.
Celebrating success, building momentum
Today, the world is on the brink of a major breakthrough to ensure mothers, newborns and children everywhere survive. If there's one place to trace the seeds of this brewing revolution, it's India. It is heartening to note that India is on track to meet...Read more...
Several college students have been injured when Sikkim police lathicharged them while they were protesting against the recent hike in college fees in capital Gangtok. Agitated students were demanding a roll back in the four fold increase in semester fees of state run colleges in the state.
Students had blocked National Highway 10 for over two hours after their meeting with state HRD officials over the fees hike failed. Sikkim Police arrived at the spot and resorted to lathicharge to disperse hundreds of college students.
Policemen led by East District Police superintendent Manoj Tiwari were seen indiscriminately lathi charging both boy and girl students at the Sikkim Government college at Gangtok on Monday evening.
Thousands of students from various government...Read more...
There are passionate voices extolling the virtues of professions over motherhood, of choices made, with the support of a husband or joint family, but are these coloured with a twinge of melancholy or is it guilt?
A doctor has to make a choice between serving her patients and her children. A business woman does feel pangs of unhappiness as she juggles her dual roles, while the two men on the panel offer us balanced views on the topic. Education, one says, is what will help. A woman in the audience reveals her husband asked her to stay at home with her children and she professes no regrets. The anchor smiles as she deftly moves from her spectators to her panellists, with just a glint of knowledge in her eyes. One of America's highest paid women executives has recently created a furore with her choice of words:...Read more...
Two months back here and there is a sense of desolation.
Every day one fact stares us in the face - in this our homeland - the horror of crimes against women and children. No longer hidden away in dusty storerooms or barnyards, thrown into the depths of village wells or rivers, but right in our faces on national media. Can anyone, male or female, turn away from the horrific sight of those two young girls, hanging from a tree? Their hair tied in pigtails, thin young girls, dressed decently in traditional salwar-kameezes - yet to blossom into womanhood. Perhaps some macho types will shrug it off as what they deserved. Whether it is an honour killing for marrying out of caste, or for giving birth to girls (why is it still not public knowledge that it is the MALE chromosomes that determine...Read more...
Twenty two years ago when Bill Clinton won his first Presidential election, he instantly did two things, one of his close advisors who was later my professor would tell me. First, President Clinton sent some of his senior advisors straightaway into action to plan for winning the next election that was four years away. Second, he began questioning his advisors on how to shape his legacy as a President. The outgoing Prime Minister of India does not seem to have planned ahead for either his partys re-election or his own legacy. The incoming Prime Minister, however, has tremendous opportunities to do so.
Mr. Modis legacy has been defined so far by what he did, or did not do, in Gujarat. Now, he has an extraordinary chance to write a new history for himself, which could obscure everything that has been said about him...Read more...
An interesting phenomenon happened in social media over the last few weeks: the news feed flooded with images of
August 18 marks a significant marker to 500 days left to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets. Today, the
Several college students have been injured when Sikkim police lathicharged them while they were protesting against the recent hike
Twenty two years ago when Bill Clinton won his first Presidential election, he instantly did two things, one of