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Showing posts from January 19, 2017

Safe childhoods for a safe India (Hindu.)

Though belated, the decision to ratify two key ILO conventions on child labour makes clear India’s intent of zero tolerance for the exploitation of children

After a long wait of almost two decades, the Government of India finally decided last week to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour and Convention 138 on Minimum Age of Employment.

I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Ministry of Labour and Employment on the firm decision which will soon catapult India from the status of a ‘developing’ nation to a ‘developed’ one. Most of all, I would like to congratulate the children of our country. This decision will have a path-breaking impact on the lives of those who are forced to remain on the margins of society and subject to exploitative conditions. About 4.3 million children wake up to a day of labour and not school. Another 9.8 million are officially out-of-school.

Child labour perpetuates illite…

Autumn and its discontents (Hindu.)

Donald Trump’s talent lay in finding the words — howsoever wild, inaccurate, or untrue — that amplified the resentment of large swathes of American voters with the political establishment

In the second volume of Ian Kershaw’s monumental biography on Adolf Hitler, there is a throwaway description of Nazi electoral strategy: “The appealing counter-image of national rebirth”. This promise to dust away historical humiliations is a political stratagem that has launched numerous electoral campaigns since 1933-34 when Hitler came to power.

What makes these refrains of renaissance ominous sometimes is that nostalgia for national glory is entwined intimately, like a strand in a double helix birthing identity, with vilification of select groups. In our times, we have seen this logic unfold starkly in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, Viktor Orban’s Hungary, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, or Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Implicit in the deployment of such a vocabulary is an ef…

The hard road to Brexit(Hindu.)

Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on her government’s plans for Britain’s exit from the EU was many things at once — a declaration of intent, a warning, a motivational talk and a balancing act with several contradictions. She painted the first stroke on the negotiation canvas: Britain had chosen a “hard Brexit”. It would leave the single market and with it gain more control over its borders and its laws, some of which are currently under the oversight of the European Courts of Justice. This, Ms. May said, is what the people had chosen. At the same time, the U.K. would seek to negotiate a deal that would give it as much access to the single market without being a part of it. It would seek a modified customs union membership to be able to negotiate its own trade treaties with non-EU countries, and build what the Prime Minister called a “truly global Britain”. This vision had been built up by Ms. May since the June 2016 referendum, and her speech reiterated it was the alternative, and…