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Showing posts from January 26, 2017

Heed this 67-year-old tryst(the hindu)

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Republic Day
Our Republic and the Prime Minister were both born in 1950. An open letter, on Republic Day, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about India’s deepest oath

Dear Prime Minister

Warmest greetings to you on Republic Day.

You were born the same year as our Republic was. So, as the Republic turns 67, you do too. Twinned, by birth, to the Constitution, you have with it another bond. As Prime Minister of India you have taken an oath, in the name of God, to ‘bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India’. And from that great position, you have called it India’s holy book. You are therefore, a Constitution-person twice over, by birth and by oath.

Two and a half years after taking that oath, on this anniversary day, how do you see yourself in that bond?

You could, of course, say, “Ask the people of India, they will tell you if I have or have not been true to it.” If I were to do that, I know, there would be a torrent of appreciation for you. Not just the apprecia…

Russia then, China now(the hindu).

Ironic as it may seem, the Obama administration’s foreign policy and Donald Trump’s call for its recalibration are both inspired by the same desire to prevent any new challenge to American supremacy

In recent weeks, we have been watching an extraordinary spectacle in the country often described as the world’s greatest democracy. Barely weeks before demitting office, President Barack Obama introduced new sanctions against Russia and ordered expulsion of its diplomats from the U.S. A Congressional hearing was hastily arranged on alleged Russian hacking operations. Then came the “leaks” that Russia had compiled damaging personal information to potentially blackmail Donald Trump, the then U.S. President-elect. Their origin and authenticity remain in doubt. In a country proud of its traditional freedom of views and expression, we heard demands for action against Russian media agencies for misleading Americans about the true nature of their democracy!

It was a strange manifestation of an o…

Women and invisible work(the hindu )

The Aamir Khan film Dangal, now the highest grossing Indian film ever, is already much celebrated. In a State such as Haryana, where the most egregious forms of patriarchy operate, it is indeed exhilarating to see women, in Dangal, beat men in wrestling, a combat sport considered a male bastion. And in a nation such as India, where women’s bodies are subject to perpetual surveillance and shaming, it is definitely liberating for women to vicariously participate in the sporting triumph of Dangal.

Yet, the film throws up many interesting questions around women’s empowerment, which obviously, cannot be resolved in the context of the film, or a single film. Besides, it is illogical to expect a commercial film backed by Walt Disney Studios, the world’s largest film studio, to deal with the complexities of women’s liberation.

A critical scene in the film is Mahavir Phogat instructing his wife that the daughters will not do chulha-chowka (household work) any more, but will henceforth devote …

Towards clarity on Brexit(Hindu)

The condition the U.K.’s highest court has stipulated for London to trigger Article 50 of the European Union treaty removes any shred of doubt about the legislature being bypassed in giving formal shape to the Brexit vote last June. The crux of the majority opinion is that there needs to be parliamentary endorsement in the form of primary legislation, not merely a ministerial decision or action, for the activation of the exit provision. In arriving at this position, the justices relied on the reasoning that Britain’s domestic laws would be significantly and substantially altered as a consequence of the impending termination of its membership of the EU. The stance of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government, which appealed an earlier ruling, was that once the people had spoken their mind in the June vote on whether to remain in or leave the EU, the executive could exercise the royal prerogative on matters of foreign policy. The opposition, on the other hand, had emphasised…