Reflex Action

Raman Swamy

It was one of those surreal moments in Parliament.  Outside more than two crore workers of the country were on an all-India strike.  Inside the Lok Sabha, a bizarre Bill to amend the Trade Unions Act was being discussed to determine the criteria for recognition of a trade union.
The irony was highlighted by the fact that the government seemed determined to push through the TU amendment on the very last day of the winter session and that too just 100 days before its term would end and fresh elections are due.

The tall figure that he was mesmerized every soul with his presence . Sardar Beant Singh was a great reformer. He laid the foundation of education in these isles. He was humble and kind at heart but a strict disciplinarian too. He believed in the philosophy that life is a call to share it in the world’s making. My association with him was from 29th June 2005 to 10th January 2018. In these years when we were together, I only saw him taking the best out of me. We were generations apart, but we existed as friends.

Nitya Chakraborty

What should be the primary agenda of the year 2019 which is the last year of the second decade of the 21st century?.The outgoing year was marked by the farmers distress, job losses and the talk about widespread insecurity among both farmers and workers in terms of their livelihood. Forget talking about improving the lot, the immediate issue in 2018 was the constant battle of the common masses to maintain their existing level of financial viability.

B. Sivaraman

Some strikes stand out as unique in terms of their overall impact. Take the case of 26 December 2018 strike by a million bank employees. Disrupting nearly 30 lakh cheque clearances worth anywhere between Rs.20 lakh and Rs 25 lakh crore in the estimates of bank union leaders and much more in terms of online transactions, it is akin to a de facto mini-general strike with huge losses all around.

P. Sreekumaran

A deft political move from the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has knocked the stuffings out of the criticism levelled by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Sangh Parivar against the move to organize a women’s wall on January 1, 2019.

Sushil Kutty

Ayodhya, Sabarimala, Gurugram, Akbar Fort, Noida, lunatic asylum, pilgrimage centre, women’s right to pray, Muslims’ right to pray… Since May 26, 2014, ever since BJP won the rulers’ grubstake, religious issues have acquired a political colour, which has gotten a deeper shade with general elections 2019 approaching. The Sangh Parivaar is basically a politico-religious configuration. It mirrors monotheistic religions, which themselves are not beyond politics. But the name of the game in India is religious polarization to win elections.

BJP president Amit Shah acceding to the demand of JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar to let him contest 17 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has not come as surprise. Even before the seat sharing process began, it was known that BJP would not engage Nitish on this issue; instead it would settle down to his demands.

John Bachtell

The warning signs of a planetary emergency abound: Record heat, massive wildfires, extreme weather events, declining agricultural yields, sea level rise, spreading diseases, mass species extinction, and a climate refugee crisis. The latest report by the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ominously warns the Earth’s inhabitants have 12 years to avert the worst climate catastrophes and “must act on a scale that has no documented historical precedent.”

Matein Khalid

The current balance of payments crisis in Pakistan evoked my memories of visiting Argentina as a Chase Manhattan derivatives banker in the 1990s. Domingo Cavallo’s artificial peso peg against the US dollar led to a currency collapse, banking failures and political chaos (five Presidents in a single year!). The analogy with the abandonment of Pakistan’s rupee peg in early 2018 is unmistakable. The scale of monetary mismanagement in Pakistan ensures a systemic external debt meltdown in 2019. Why?

L.S. Herdenia

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has accomplished a Herculean task. Although in theory the chief minister alone has the prerogative about the formation of the ministry, the ground reality is totally different. The chief minister has to play a delicate balancing act and by and large he has performed very well.