Editorial

The Kerala police have charged a Malayalam writer with sedition for writing a Facebook comment on the recent arrest of some cine-goers accused of not standing up when the national anthem was being played. The writer Kamal Chavara’s arrest was the sequel to a complaint filed with the police by the Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP. What is shocking is that while the cine-goers were arrested under Section 188 of the IPC for ‘disobeying’ an official order (that spectators should stand up when the national anthem is being played), the writer...

Scams involving politicians and political parties have cropped up many times in post-independence India’s history, but seldom have the alleged wrong-doers been punished. The first was the jeep scandal during Pandit Nehru’s Prime Ministership and involved his close confidant V. K. Krishna Menon. There was much sound and fury but little of substance. The next big scandal was the Bofors scam. A huge kickback was said to have been paid in finalizing the deal for the acquisition of 155mm Bofors field howitzers from a Swedish company. It was alleged...

The contours of a strong Opposition unity at the national level were emerging on the demonetization issue, due mainly to the seminal role played by the Trinamool Congress. Given the nature of the BJP Government and the authoritarian style of functioning of its Prime Minister, the Opposition unity is the need of the hour. The BJP is an ideologically-driven party as all parties are. But the difference is that the ideology of the BJP is out of sync with the values and ideals enshrined in our Constitution – values and ideals that formed in course...

The Supreme Court has directed the governments of States and Union Territories to remove all bars from national and state highways by March 31 next year, by at least 500 metres or half a kilometer. The apex court was startled by the fact that around one and a half lakh people died every year due to accidents caused by drunken driving. These are fatal cases. But there are innumerable cases in which drunken driving has caused accidents that disable many for the rest of their lives. Though the Constitution under Art. 47 enjoins on the State to...

The Supreme Court has directed the governments of States and Union Territories to remove all bars from national and state highways by March 31 next year, by at least 500 metres or half a kilometer. The apex court was startled by the fact that around one and a half lakh people died every year due to accidents caused by drunken driving. These are fatal cases. But there are innumerable cases in which drunken driving has caused accidents that disable many for the rest of their lives. Though the Constitution under Art. 47 enjoins on the State to...

Over the years and especially since the UPA regime, Indo-US relations have become all-embracing. The professed objective of the UPA Government under Manmohan Singh was to widen and deepen India’s strategic partnership with the US. India under UPA and the US under a Democratic Party-led Government got used to each other. Except for occasional and minor irritants like the Devyani Khobragade incident, the relationship was smooth and more or less mutually accommodative. But all this may change once Donald Trump becomes the new tenant of the White...

One of the professed objectives of demonetization was the unearthing of black money. In the six weeks since November 8, there has not been a single case of seizure of money labelled ‘black’ nor has anyone been arrested for possession of black money and produced before a court of law. But new two-thousand-rupee notes running into crores of rupees have been recovered by the CBI or Income-tax authorities from Chennai, Bengaluru, Erode. Delhi and even from Guwahati which is considered to be a business backwater. While common people, young and old...

Toward the end of the Left rule in West Bengal when the Left Front was fast losing its support among the people, it had become a daily habit of the CPM leaders to target Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee personally, in vulgar and obscene language. CPM leaders like Binoy Konar, Anil Basu, Shyamal Chkarabarty and others earned notoriety for abusive language against Mamata. With the end of the Left rule, chastened CPM leaders desisted from using foul language against their political opponents. It created a healthy climate in the State’s...

It goes to the credit of the AIADMK that the political transition after Jayalalithaa’s death was smooth. As it now transpires, the announcement of Amma’s death was delayed to ensure that her successor was nominated and elected first without any hassle. In this, Jaya’s close friend and aid Sasikala Natarajan took a prominent part. There is speculation whether she would be formally elected to the all-powerful post of party general-secretary which Jayalalithaa occupied. Whether she occupies that office or not there is little doubt that she has...

A group of self-appointed vigilantes belonging to a little known outfit in Rajasthan vandalized the Jaipur Art Summit on Thursday. Delegates from twenty-five countries are participating in the five-day Summit. Art works from twenty-nine countries are on display. According to news reports, the members of the vigilante group took particular objection to a painting done by a London-based Indian artist. The organizers were roughed up and the painting forcibly taken away. It was only with the intervention of the police that the painting could be...

US President-elect Donald Trump’s choosing of Scott Pruitt as the man to run the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is bad news not only for the Americans but for the world as a whole. During his poll campaign, Trump has repeatedly said that all talk of climate change and global warming is a ‘hoax’. He has rejected scientific evidence that climate change is, indeed, a stark reality. He has not flinched from announcing his intention of scrapping the Paris Agreement. His nominating Pruitt to be in charge of the EPA is of a piece with his...

US President-elect Donald Trump’s choosing of Scott Pruitt as the man to run the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is bad news not only for the Americans but for the world as a whole. During his poll campaign, Trump has repeatedly said that all talk of climate change and global warming is a ‘hoax’. He has rejected scientific evidence that climate change is, indeed, a stark reality. He has not flinched from announcing his intention of scrapping the Paris Agreement. His nominating Pruitt to be in charge of the EPA is of a piece with his...

One month has passed since the Prime Minister’s declaration on November 8 evening that currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 denomination would stand demonetized from that midnight. A stock taking may be made of its impact on the recovery of black money (the professed purpose for taking the step) and in general on the national economy. As print and electronic media reports say, contrary to the Government’s daily claim, the queues before bank counters and ATMS continue. Money that comes every morning to the banks is exhausted quickly and many...

Trafficking in women has been known for long. That there is a thriving business in   trafficking in babies and children – not only living but also dead children – was totally unknown. The contours of it have just begun emerging. From stealing and selling babies at a high price to rich customers at home and abroad for lakhs of rupees to ‘hiring’ wombs of destitute and mentally unsound women, the business involves a whole host of men and institutions – doctors, nurses, attendants, nursing homes and hospitals. There are fake doctors without any...

The declaration from the sixth Heart of Asia (HoA) Conference held at Amritsar on December 4 gave emphasis on the twin challenges of terrorism and better and speedier connectivity between the countries of the Region. But the main concern was undoubtedly on terrorism. This was unequivocally expressed by the member and participating countries. The Declaration stated:  “We remain concerned by the gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan in particular and the region and the high level of violence caused by the Taliban, terrorist groups...

What US policies will be when president-elect Donald Trump assumes office has been a matter of intense speculation in world capitals ever since the election results were announced. Trump has projected an image of himself as a hawkish, no-nonsense leader who is set to change many of the policies followed by his Democratic predecessor. His decision to appoint retired General James Mattis as his Defence Secretary and his warning to big corporations against outsourcing of jobs to other countries are significant straws in the wind. General Mattis...

What US policies will be when president-elect Donald Trump assumes office has been a matter of intense speculation in world capitals ever since the election results were announced. Trump has projected an image of himself as a hawkish, no-nonsense leader who is set to change many of the policies followed by his Democratic predecessor. His decision to appoint retired General James Mattis as his Defence Secretary and his warning to big corporations against outsourcing of jobs to other countries are significant straws in the wind. General Mattis...

J. Jayalalithaa’s death was formally announced on Monday-Tuesday midnight by the authorities of the Apollo Hospital, Chennai, where she had been admitted on September 22. But from the news about her health condition emanating from the hospital sources over the last few days everyone except the most gullible was prepared for the inevitable, especially after the AIADMK lawmakers hurriedly met and unanimously elected O. Panneerselvan as Jayalalithaa’s ‘successor’ on Monday even when she was alive. Arguably, Jayalalithaa was the most charismatic...

Almost a month has passed since the Prime Minister’s announcement on demonetizing 500 and 1000-rupee currency notes. Several things have become clear by now. First, that the decision was taken hastily without giving adequate thought to its likely consequences and without making necessary preparation. Second, that as things stand now, the problem of acute shortage of new notes of 500 and 1000 and even lesser denomination will continue, not for weeks but for months, may be for another six to seven months. Banks are running short of enough 100-...

The main agendum of the sixth Heart of Asia conference opening at Amritsar today is terror. It is taking place at a time when tension between India and Pakistan has escalated to a dangerous extent. The violation of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir by heavily-armed terrorists supported by Pakistan army is taking place regularly, taking a toll of soldiers and civilians. Apart from India the only other country which is facing a grave threat from Pakistan-sponsored terrorists is Afghanistan. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s adviser...

The main agendum of the sixth Heart of Asia conference opening at Amritsar today is terror. It is taking place at a time when tension between India and Pakistan has escalated to a dangerous extent. The violation of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir by heavily-armed terrorists supported by Pakistan army is taking place regularly, taking a toll of soldiers and civilians. Apart from India the only other country which is facing a grave threat from Pakistan-sponsored terrorists is Afghanistan. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s adviser...

The Delhi High Court has ruled that an adult son has no legal right to live in his parents’ self-acquired property; he can live only at his parents’ ‘mercy’. Fathers and sons have faced many problems in living together – the problems differing from age to age. But basically the reason has remained unchanged: the conflict between the views, outlooks and lifestyles of the old generation and the new. In Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons the conflict was between the conservative ideas of the father and the non-traditional views of the son. In the...

There is some speculation in India about the likely impact of the appointment of Gen. Qamar Bajwa as Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff in place of the retiring Raheel Sharif on Indo-Pak relations. The fact that he has superseded four generals, each of whom was a likely claimant to the coveted post has given rise to speculation in Pakistani media also.  It is being suggested that Bajwa’s ‘pro-democracy credentials’, low profile and his perceived proximity to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made him the obvious choice. It has also been reported that...

There is some speculation in India about the likely impact of the appointment of Gen. Qamar Bajwa as Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff in place of the retiring Raheel Sharif on Indo-Pak relations. The fact that he has superseded four generals, each of whom was a likely claimant to the coveted post has given rise to speculation in Pakistani media also.  It is being suggested that Bajwa’s ‘pro-democracy credentials’, low profile and his perceived proximity to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made him the obvious choice. It has also been reported that...

The all-India Aakrosh Divas observed by the united Opposition on Monday was the first organized expression of public anger at the thoughtless decision of demonetization taken without any preparation. Even on Monday, full nineteen days after the Prime Minister’s nightly announcement, bank counters and ATMs became ‘cashless’ within a short time of opening. The more fortunate customers who had gone to withdraw much-needed money at the month-end were told to try their luck after 2 O’ clock. The elderly chose to call it a day and return home broken...