Editorial

It is heartening to find that some eminent litterateurs and others in the cultural field have raised their voice against intolerance which is being manifested in different forms, targeting different persons. The intolerance is caused because the comments, cartoons or poems uploaded on the social media are not to the liking of certain persons. They allege such works of art hurt their ‘religious sentiments’. They not only give vent to their displeasure but go to the extent of issuing threats of physical violence to those they dislike. There is...

Ever since the UP election results were out, allegations of electronic voting machines or EVMs having been tampered with or ‘programmed’ in such a way that any button pressed would register the vote in one particular candidate’s favour have been made by Mayawati, Akhilesh and Rahul and Arvind Kejriwal. BSP leader Mayawati was the first to question the proper functioning of the EVMs. She claimed that her winning only nineteen seats in the Assembly elections defied any explanation. For many, it was a mystery why, apparently, the Muslims voted en...

The letters MP usually denote Member of Parliament – a highly responsible and respectable position – an elected represented of the people to the highest tribune of our democracy, a law-maker. But after the outrage committed by a Shiv Sena MP, Ravindra Gaikwad, many will think that MP stands for a Megalomaniac Person. The lawmaker had booked a business class ticket on a Pune-New Delhi Air India flight, knowing fully well that that particular flight had only economy class seats. On landing in New Delhi he refused to disembark, alleging that he...

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is coming to New Delhi on a four-day visit on April 7. One of the issues to be discussed by the two sides is the sharing of Teesta waters between India and Bangladesh. The Teesta water-sharing treaty between the two countries has been hanging fire for a long time, mainly due to West Bengal’s objection on the ground that the State does not have much surplus water from the river to share with Bangladesh. Now, on the eve of Hasina’s visit, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has told an electronic...

A report published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network has ranked India 122nd among 155 countries in the World Happiness Index (WHI) for 2017. Last year India ranked 118th.  In one year India has slipped by four percentage points. The ranking is based on six parameters—income, life expectancy, someone to depend on in difficult times, generosity, freedom and trust. What is more galling, all the immediate neighbours of India – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan – rank above India in WHI. The survey has...

By nominating Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has given a clear message. The message is that hard Hindutva remains its core agendum. Highlighting development during the election campaign was just a ploy to inveigle the electorate into voting for the party. That purpose having been served, development will now have to take a back seat. It is Hindutva which will be the driving force of the party not just in UP but in the country as a whole. Hindu consolidation has to be completed before the Lok Sabha elections in...

India’s rising military strength seems to have rattled both China and Pakistan. According to the Chinese Communist Party’s official organ The Global Times, China is contemplating to produce ballistic, cruise and anti-aircraft missiles in joint collaboration with Pakistan. Until recently, Beijing was in the habit of pooh-poohing India as a military power. But the Agni V missile with its five thousand plus kilometre range and the recent successful trial of the nuclear capable submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) K-4 with a reported range...

Two Indian Muslim clerics belonging to the Sufi school had mysteriously disappeared from Pakistan. While Islamabad claimed it had no inkling on their whereabouts, the clerics’ hosts in Karachi, when contacted by Indian High Commission officials, made it plain that they were under severe pressure not to open their mouths. Syed Asif Ali Nizami, the octogenarian head priest of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah of Delhi and his nephew Nazim Nizami went to Pakistan to visit the Data Durbar and Pak Pattan shrines at Lahore with which the Delhi...

Two Indian Muslim clerics belonging to the Sufi school had mysteriously disappeared from Pakistan. While Islamabad claimed it had no inkling on their whereabouts, the clerics’ hosts in Karachi, when contacted by Indian High Commission officials, made it plain that they were under severe pressure not to open their mouths. Syed Asif Ali Nizami, the octogenarian head priest of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah of Delhi and his nephew Nazim Nizami went to Pakistan to visit the Data Durbar and Pak Pattan shrines at Lahore with which the Delhi...

The Centre seems to have been impressed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s efforts at taming the predatory practices of the big corporate hospitals and make them observe some rules by enacting the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act. The National Health Policy announced by Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda in the Lok Sabha proposes, among other things, free diagnosis and medicines at all public hospitals in the next eight years which Mamata has already introduced in the State. A uniform health policy for the entire country will...

Pakistan has decided to make Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, its fifth province. A constitutional amendment for changing the status of the region is in the offing. In1970, Gilgit-Baltistan was made a separate administrative unit and named ‘Northern Areas’. Gilgit-Baltistan has a strategic importance for India. It borders PoK to the south, the Khyber-Pakhtunistan province of Pakistan to the west, the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan to the nortrh, the Xinjiang province of China to the east and north-east and Jammu and...

A vibrant democracy needs not only a strong ruling party that can hold the country together and take it forward, it also needs a strong opposition party which can keep the functioning of the ruling party within constitutional bounds and prevent arbitrary acts of the government. The Congress was the ruling party for many decades. It has lost power at the Centre and in most of the States. Its importance, even as an effective opposition party, is on the wane in national politics. Since Indira Gandhi’s time, a peculiar Congress ‘culture’ has...

The sick in this State have become targets of a whole army of cheats and fraudsters. They are denied proper and timely treatment in private hospitals and nursing homes; they are overbilled and over-charged; they are forced to spend money on totally unnecessary medical tests; their discharge from hospitals is delayed on one pretext or another to inflate their bills. And now has been exposed yet another form of cheating: selling medicines whose efficacy dates have expired by reprinting or overprinting dates. A section of dishonest drug dealers...

The BJP has performed unexpectedly well in the elections to the five State assemblies. In UP, exit polls indicate it would emerge victorious but what has happened (322 seats out of 403) is just unbelievable. The SP-Congress alliance and Mayawati’s BSP have been all but wiped out. Even in Punjab the result was very different from what was expected. Exit polls indicated a neck and neck fight between the Congress and the BJP while the SAD-BJP alliance was expected to kiss the dust with just seven seats. Actually, the SAD-BJP alliance has done...

The Kangaroos seem determined to prove that they are worse than the Pakistanis on the cricket field. They suffer from the illusion that God has sent them to Earth to rule the cricket world. ‘Sportsman spirit’ is the phrase that finds no place in their cricket lexicon. What the Aussie captain Steve Smith did at the Chinnaswamy Stadium at Bengaluru on Tuesday after being declared leg before wicket by the umpire can be stated in one eight-letter word – Cheating. The Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, just stopped short of spitting that word out of his...

Donald Trump’s election campaign was addressed not to the educated, comparatively well-off middle class Americans but to the poorly educated blue-collar people who were either low-paid or had lost their jobs or were job-seekers. Trump told them that ‘outsiders’ had usurped their jobs and, if voted to power, he would drive out the ‘outsiders’ and give them jobs. He immediately struck a chord with this section of people who believed trump would bring in better days for them. His campaigning also created a hatred for ‘outsiders’ who were...

What West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said while introducing the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill 2017, in the State Assembly on Friday will find a ready response in every heart. Easy access to healthcare and education are the two basic needs of the people. Unfortunately in a profit-driven society, both hospitals and educational institutions have become money-spinning machines. The CM’s speech left no one in any doubt that she was fully acquainted with the whole range of...

The Nationalist versus Leftist debate is degenerating into calls for violence and murder. A student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, received rape and death threats because she had dared to say that her father was the victim of the Kargil war. She was forced to leave the university and return to her home in Punjab after a public statement saying that she was withdrawing from all protest movements. Now the JNU and the Delhi University have turned into battle grounds for the ABVP and the Left students, the former declaring a war...

The Nationalist versus Leftist debate is degenerating into calls for violence and murder. A student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, received rape and death threats because she had dared to say that her father was the victim of the Kargil war. She was forced to leave the university and return to her home in Punjab after a public statement saying that she was withdrawing from all protest movements. Now the JNU and the Delhi University have turned into battle grounds for the ABVP and the Left students, the former declaring a war...

The Government has claimed that despite demonetization and consequent deceleration of economic activity, the GDP grew by seven per cent in the third quarter of the current fiscal. The claim has been disputed by the opposition parties and a number of economists. They have called the GDP estimate as ‘highly suspect’ and ‘questionable.’ The effect of demonetization is well known by now: fall in sales, fall in employment and fall in production, particularly in construction industry. The silver lining was agriculture which performed well. The Prime...

West Bengal’s healthcare system has been sick for a long time. From racketeering in kidney to selling newborns to using women as producers of babies to sucking patients dry in private hospitals – the system was stinking and nobody seemed bothered. Now Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has suddenly brought the entire healthcare system under lens. Investigations into the thriving business of selling babies have exposed the high political connections of those running the racket and minting money. Their long arms reach up to the corridors of power in...

The self-appointed champions of Hindu sanskriti (culture) have now turned rape into a political weapon. A student of Lady Sri Ram College, Gurmehar Kaur, had pleaded for peace in educational institutions following the recent spate of violence unleashed by the saffronite students’ body. Immediately, she became a target of venomous and vitriolic attack. Besides being subjected to the choices abuses, she was threatened with rape and compared to Dawood Ibrahim. Gurmehar was a kid of two years when her father, Captain Mandeep Singh, was martyred in...

Both the Election Commission and very recently the Supreme Court, too, have forbidden political parties and leaders to make ‘inflammatory’ statements aimed at influencing voters by appealing to religion, caste, creed, community and language. The directives of these two bodies have been honoured more in their breaches than in their observance. Particularly, the ongoing election propaganda in Uttar Pradesh has seen the most shameless attempts at whipping up passion by deviously making use of religion, caste and community. When the Prime Minister...

Election propaganda by different political parties has always been aggressive. But abusing and name-calling of rival political parties was avoided at least by senior party leaders. All that is changing. Even senior leaders are using language unbecoming of them. Development is supposed to be on the top of the agenda of every party.  But in their poll speeches leaders rarely spell out their development programme except giving promises. The Prime Minister says ‘scam’ means Samajwadi, Congress, Akhilesh and Mayawati. The BSP supremo retorts: the...

The Indian engineer who was killed in cold blood and the other who narrowly escaped death in Kansas were ‘mistaken’ by the murderer to be ‘Middle Easterners’. The sub-text is that if the victims had, indeed, come from the Middle East, then their murder would be fully justified. The two Indians were victims of the atmosphere of xenophobia that has been created as a matter of State policy in the United States after Donald Trump was pitch forked into the White House. What is surprising is that such acute xenophobia should get ready acceptance of...