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The 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.

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...


The Horror of Crimes-Coming Home

by Jayshree Misra Tripathi
Monday , June 02, 2014 at 20 : 31

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...


Will 'development' be the new 'secularism'?

by Shehzad Poonawalla
Monday , March 24, 2014 at 12 : 07

'Secularism' perhaps has the notoriety of being the most abused word in the political lexicon of India, not just by those who have historically rejected its very inclusion in our constitutional doctrine owing to their brand of majoritarian nationalism, but equally by those, who in the garb of championing its cause, allowed it to degenerate into a reactionary minoritarianism. And ironically in the name of the same Indian Muslim, who on the eve of partition, rejected that very brand of minoritarianism, perpetuated by his co-religionists that led to the creation of Pakistan!

To be honest, the original ideal of Secularism, enshrined in our Constitution, envisaged by our founding fathers, aimed at making religion and religious based identities wholly irrelevant to the discourse of a modern India founded on equity and meritocracy, bares no resemblance whatsoever to this brand of "Convenient Secularism" (as...Read more...


The lion king

by Capt G R Gopinath
Friday , March 21, 2014 at 09 : 40

The real issue is not Advani vs Modi. The moot point is, there's no real intra party democracy in any of the three parties with national ambitions-BJP, Congress and AAP.

The unseemly drama is still unfolding between Advani, the grand old man, and Modi, the new messiah of BJP. In a series of well orchestrated moves Narendra Modi has jockeyed himself into becoming the undisputed strongman of BJP. Nothing succeeds like success. One need not be prescient. The writing is on the wall. Advani is the past. Modi is both the present and the future. And the coterie expectedly latches on to the new power base. Earlier too, by saying that the people of the country would compare the prime minister's Independence day speech with only one other speech-which he made-Modi positioned himself adroitly as the only man of consequence in the race...Read more...


Innovation has the ability to transform societies, making what once seemed unimaginable a reality. Much of what we perceive as normal today from the car to electricity resulted from groundbreaking innovations that disrupted the status quo. Specific to health, with the development of the smallpox and polio vaccines, we eradicated the first disease in history and are on the cusp of eradicating a second.

Without a doubt, these scientific and technological developments have had a profound impact, changing the perception of the population and shifting the way the world functions.

Despite these past successes, challenges particularly in the health and development space still remain. These challenges continue to impact the productivity and lives of billions of people around the world. At present, 2.5 billion people do not have...Read more...


If eye-witness accounts and independent news reports are to be believed "Aatankwadiyon ko bahar nikalo" (bring the terrorists out) seemed to be the alleged mission of the Mumbra police led by ACP Amit Kale when over 200 of them, descended, much like the "German brownshirts " in a mid-night combing operation in Rashid Compound in the Kausa area of Mumbra, which is a suburb in Thane, nearly 30kms away from 'cosmopolitan' Mumbai. Was the mission's stated motive at all tempered by the fact that 80 per cent of the 9 lakh people living in Mumbra are Muslims is a matter for us to delve upon candidly. Would the police have adopted the same approach while raiding colonies of non-Muslims? There are legitimate questions being thrown up in response to the controversial modus operandi adopted by the local police on that fateful night.

Read more...


As a keen observer of our educational systems for over the past three decades and having read numerous textbooks prescribed for our children, at various levels, I am deeply concerned. Recent reports underscore the lack of basic reading, writing and simple math-solving skills at the primary level in rural India. This morning, a TV report highlighted errors in textbooks, factual as well as proof-reading errors-how is a child to know what is right? Most of our children are not even proficient in their mother-tongue. One survey estimated this figure is as high as 50%. Children may converse in their MT but are not fluent readers. Less than half the students in Grade 5 can read words in English or explain the meaning of a slightly complex word, if asked. Answers in examinations are rolled out, commas, full-stops, page numbers..et al. Is this acceptable?

I do hope...Read more...


Understanding the natural gas price hike in India

by Siddharth Singh
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 15 : 58

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that the Delhi state government is filing a First Information Report (FIR) with the police against India's current Oil and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily, former minister Murli Deora, and the Chairman of India's largest private sector upstream oil and gas company, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), for alleged "irregularities in pricing of natural gas in KG basin". Kejriwal alleged that RIL will benefit as the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) decided to hike the natural gas price which will come into effect on April 1, 2014. Prices are set to rise to USD 8 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu) as against current USD 4.2/mmBtu.

Fuel prices are emerging to be an important political issue as over the past few years. As I wrote elsewhere (click here to read), political workers at the grassroots...Read more...



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Understanding the natural gas price hike in India

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