Reflex Action

Sankar Ray
Political breeze in Islamabad stinks as the foul smell of many a compromise takes away fragrance from the hitherto street-smart Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf president Imran Khan Niazi as he had to compromise unethically to ensure a stable government. If all goes well, the formal announcement of Prime Minister (obviously ‘King Khan himself) will coincide with finalised results of National Assembly and provincial assemblies. The PTI chief will swear in at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the residence of President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain on 11 August. The...

Gyan Pathak
Poverty is no crime, because a poor man does not commit a crime by not being able to overcome his poverty. He is rather a victim of the complex socio-political system that makes him poor, keeps him so, and exact penalty for not being able to overcome his poverty. The banks in India under the present dispensation is precisely doing the same. They have raised about Rs 5,000 crore in penalty from the poor account holders in the financial year ending March 31, 2018 for their failure to maintain sufficient bank balance. On the other hand, the same...

Sushil Kutty
Guess governments start to get more and more influenced by the party that forms the government as general elections approach. Witness the BJP-led Modi government. It has become more party-focused than country-concerned these last several months. The impression gaining ground is that the party’s base is dictating the government’s behaviour. Like in the appointments of Supreme Court judges. Ideally, the government should not be seen playing politics in such serious endeavours. But the way the government has treated Justice KM Joseph’s...

Aditya Aamir
The Supreme Court of India has ‘reserved’ its judgement on the petition seeking entry of women of all ages to Sabarimala. It is gender-equality versus religious privilege/isolation. So far, there is no constitutional right for women of certain ages to enter Sabarimala. The Supreme Court has been requested to make it into a couple of articles. The fight is enshrined in the entry ban of women between 10 and 50 years of age into Sabarimala. Women between those ages are banned because of the menstrual cycle. Malayali women have for centuries...

Mark Gruenberg
It’s been 44 years, come August 8-9, 1974, since Republican President Richard M. Nixon resigned in disgrace – before being thrown out of the Oval Office via impeachment and conviction – due to the accumulated scandals, constitutional crimes and cover-ups collectively known as Watergate. And now, the parallels to that era, but this time involving Republican President Donald J. Trump, are getting pretty long, and pretty obvious. The only thing missing so far? A Congress, with the notable exception of the Senate Intelligence Committee, willing...

Nitya Chakraborty
If the reports about the negotiations among the leading opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh- Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal, on seat sharing for the coming Lok Sabha poll are any indication, the opposition parties have made a major breakthrough in achieving their objective of unitedly ousting the Narendra Modi government from power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Once, the deal is officially announced, possibly before the coming assembly elections in the three BJP ruled states by the end of this year...

Barun Das Gupta
The second National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was published on July 30. (The first one was published way back in 1951) After its publication, 40,06,707 residents of Assam, many of them living there for several generations, found that their names “had not appeared” in the NRC. They have now been given time till September 28 to apply for inclusion of their names with documents. What happens to those lakhs who will presumably fail to make the mark even then? They will become stateless. They will cease to be citizens of India. Losing...

Subrata Majumder
BRICS accounted for 23 percent of world economy, 16 percent of world trade and contributed 50 percent to global economic growth. Given these high stakes in global economy, trade war opens a new opportunity for BRICS to play a dynamic role to protect the global multilateral trading system, which is in jeopardy after USA signaled trade unilateralism. A Chinese media suggested that China should solidify BRICS and resist protectionism in three ways. First, China should gather support from BRICS members for its role against the US unilateralism....

Amritananda Chakravorty
After reserving judgment in Section 377 case, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has embarked on the contentious case of challenging the prohibition of the entry of women (from 10 years to 50 years) into the famous Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, Kerala [Indian Young Lawyers Association v State of Kerala, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 373 of 2006]. The petition is filed by Indian Young Lawyers Association and other groups who are challenging restrictions based on menstruation on women’s freedoms and access to public spaces, including...

L S Herdenia
There are now clear indications of MP Congress chief Kamal Nath and campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia working in greater coordination. Even there are no negative reports about coordination with Digvijaya Singh. A high level meeting was held in New Delhi to discuss the kick-off of the Congress campaign in the state. According to reports, the Congress president will launch a state-wide tour in September. A senior leader confirmed that Rahul will launch the campaign from Omkareshwar temple in Khandwa district. Details of Rahul’s...

Sushil Kutty
In Dante’s hell corrupt politicians end up in a lake of boiling pitch. Demons with evil claws and grappling hooks guard the lake. Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman looked like she saw Dante’s Hell when Rahul Gandhi accused her of speaking ‘untruth’ in the Rafale deal? UPA-II was sent to Purgatory in 2014 for being corrupt. Now, a year short of another General Elections, the Congress is doing its best to parcel BJP to the same hell with Rafale. And the BJP is pinning its faith on Westland Agusta to do the same. One a jet, the other a chopper!...

Arun Srivastava
Bihar used to be notorious for being the most politically violent state, but now sex-related violence has replaced political violence. Probably such violence is not a major crime in the eyes of the Bihar police and the chief minister, which is why every time Nitish Kumar faces the press, he boasts of a crime-free state. Even after a fortnight of the gruesome crime of the rape of 29 inmates out of 43 of the Shelter Home in Muzaffarpur being reported, Nitish remained unperturbed. Even his own party men concede that since the husband of a senior...

Martha Mendoza And Larry Fenn
Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the United States that now reaps $1 billion annually—a tenfold increase over the past decade, an Associated Press analysis finds. Health and Human Services grants for shelters, foster care, and other child welfare services for detained, unaccompanied, and separated children soared from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million in 2017. The agency is also reviewing a new round of proposals amid a growing effort by the White House to keep immigrant children in government custody....

Shameem Faizee
While writing on the occasion of the 75th birth anniversary of Dr. Raj Bahadur Gour, famous Urdu satirist Mujtaba Hussain wondered how Dr. Gour had turned to be 75 and was much senior to him. He thought somebody must be joking as Dr. Gour himself never appeared to be so senior. That perfectly reflects the jovial nature of Dr. Gour. With him I had the opportunity to work and interact for over three decades while being a functionary of Ajoy Bhavan, the headquarters of the Communist Party of India in Delhi. I too never thought that his birth...

S. Sethuraman
Time for the Congress and regional/state parties to set about seriously on building the much talked of “anti-BJP alliance” at the state and national levels. It could proceed in stages but with necessary speed and determination to maintain momentum and establishing credibility for the alliance and for the nation as a whole. They must not let being caught off guard with a sudden Prime Ministerial announcement on advancing the May 2019 poll. Vigorous moves of the Opposition at the national level would also help galvanise their leading cadres in...

G. Srinivasan
Being the world’s largest rail network with 67,368 km of route length spread across the continental-sized country of ours, the Indian Railways (IRs) today is on the threshold of a challenging phase ahead, as it has taken multiple tasks on hand with no matching resources to execute them with tenacity of purpose and result-orientation. With its more than 150 years history and heritage of pre-colonial past, the baggage it suffers, operating as it is as a departmental commercial undertaking of the Government of India under the overall control of...

G. Srinivasan
The seventh review of China’s trade policies and practices held under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva on July 11 to 13 highlighted the Middle Kingdom’s growing clout and heft in the global economy ever since it became a member of the WTO way back in 2001. Being the world’s biggest merchandise trader and one of the larger recipients of foreign direct investment (FDI), its commercial engagement with the rest of the world counts a lot for the health and wealth of the world economy, particularly at a time when...

K R Sudhaman
There is a saying that common sense is nonsense in statistics. To prove this point often a well known example is given. That is: a group of men wanted to cross a river. Before crossing, a statistician in the group calculated the average height of the group and average depth of the river and said it was safe to cross the river. At one point the river was 8 ft deep and in the end the group got drowned. Statistics does not convey anything at times and this is very much true of job creations as data can be interpreted to show jobs are being...

Dr. S. Ganesan ** Uma Maheswari Astrologer
How much time we spend to consult a Doctor? Getting ready, travel time to reach the hospital and waiting time for our turn to meet the Doctor etc, takes few hours of ours. Part of such duration if spent for physical activity at home itself, will keep your health in good condition. Regular, Yoga activity activates the different parts of our body, both internally and externally.  Its contribution gradually nullifies the requirement of medicines. This health fact has been experiment by many patients suffering from BP, diabetics and other health...

Kalyani Shankar
Is there politics behind the Triple Talaq Bill, which the Modi government is keen to push through in the ensuing Monsoon session? Will it be passed or sent to the select committee for further scrutiny or will it be buried? The Lok Sabha passed the Bill in December 2017, where the BJP has majority but it is difficult to get it through in Rajya Sabha where NDA does not have the numbers. While the measure was allowed to sail though in Lok Sabha, the Congress led opposition now wants the bill to be sent to select committee. The government...

Sukumar Damle
It all started in 1990s with the advent of ‘Structural Adjustment’ agreed to by the then Congress government at the Centre. Sukhram, the then telecom minister, presented a Bill in Parliament, to turn the department of telecommunications into a corporate body. BJP, whose strength had gone up to 88 by then, opposed the bill, holding up Parliament for a spell of 14 days. The Congress government was forced to withdraw the Bill. When the government was replaced by the NDA government, led by the BJP, it brought the same Bill before Parliament. So,...

Ashis Biswas
At long last, the gloves have finally come off in the highly intriguing political face-off between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal. Three statements and two recent visits by Union ministers to Kolkata, slamming the Bengal government for its less than stellar administrative record, provided evidence that the central BJP leaders felt they have had enough of TMC’s tantrums. With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections approaching, TMC can no longer count on Mamata Banerjee’s self-proclaimed ‘personal equation’ with...

K Raveendran
A day before senior Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjan Gogoi spoke about the need for ‘noisy judges and independent journalists’, describing them as democracy’s first line of defence, a bench of the apex court made noise over Taj Mahal. It was not clear whether the noise was of he same type that Justice Gogoi, in line to become the next Chief Justice of India, had referred to. But it was some unseemly noise. “Either we will shut down the Taj Mahal or you demolish or restore it”, a two-member bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Deepak...

Gyan Pathak
The ambitious reform agenda under implementation since 2014 in India, if carried forward without modification, may push the country into great trouble. The country is going to be the world’s most populous country within ten years, and by 2050 even China’s population will be only around 65 per cent of the population of India. Demand for food is to rise sharply putting great pressure on agriculture and food supply of the country. This stark reality cannot be allowed to terrorized the people of the country, but it should not be allowed to veil...

Harihar Swarup
The Supreme Court is rightly concerned over the “apathy” of the Centre and the U.P. government towards preserving the Taj Mahal. It gave an ultimatum to the government--- either restore the pristine beauty of the Taj or demolish it. The apex court has been monitoring preservation of the world heritage site for 31 years and has passed a slew of orders from time to time for preservation of the monument. But the court’s efforts seem to be futile with the Taj being damaged by rising pollution level. The monument is becoming green and blue in...