Reflex Action

P. Sreekumaran
There is no mistaking it. The Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has lost the political initiative because of its shockingly inept handling of the Supreme Court verdict on the Sabarimala temple. The government’s unseemly hurry to implement the verdict lifting the age restrictions on women entering the shrine has touched off a wave of indignation across the state. And adding insult to injury was the Chief Minister’s pressure on the Travancore Devaswam Board (TDB) to drop its plan to file a review petition. The clumsy...

Nitya Chakraborty
The CPI(M) leadership is at crossroads again. The majority of the politburo  led by the former general secretary Prakash Karat is putting barriers in the way of an electoral understanding with the anti-BJP forces led by the Congress and in the process obstructing the course of building an all out unity of the opposition parties against the BJP and its allies in the coming assembly elections as also in the Lok Sabha poll in 2019.The issue of giving primary importance to the defeat of the BJP in the coming elections, approved at the CPI(M)’s...

L S Herdenia
As the Assembly poll dates are coming nearer, the electoral scenario has become more complicated. One month ago it was thought that the poll battle will be fought between BJP and the alliance of Congress, BSP and SP. The hopes of such a united front were dashed with BSP leader Mayawati’s decision to join hands with Ajit Jogi, former Congress chief minister of Chhattisgarh who has floated a new party after severing ties with Congress. Since Jogi has floated an anti-Congress front, chances of BSP joining hands with Congress in Madhya Pradesh...

Harihar Swarup
The 2019 Lok Sabha elections have been shaping as the battle of alliances. The most important player in battle of alliances is BSP supremo Mayawati. Also, on these alliances depend the future of the BSP leader. Seat sharing arrangement between Mayawati and Janata Congress, Chhattisgarh, floated by the Congress rebel, Ajit Jogi, raises the possibility of a triangular contest, which may be advantageous to the BJP. Ajit Jogi’s party, even in alliance, may not make much difference; his imagine is not good, and Mayawati’s party is virtually non-...

Sushil Kutty
The Supreme Court is on a roll and women everywhere are on fire with #MeToo turning into a #WeToo chorus. As far as court judgements go, when they ring false on one thing, they ring false on all things. So, if the verdict on Sabarimala rang false for those opposing women’s entry to Sabarimala, the ruling on Bhima Koregaon didn’t strike true for rights activists. Both rulings left in their wake also anger. Will feminist Trupti Desai be able to gather courage to head for Sabarimala in this life? Doubt it, for there is a sneaking feeling that...

Anjan Roy
There is a Moorish footprint in India which India does not much remember though Morocco does somewhat endearingly. That long-forgotten link was recalled by members of a Moroccan delegation which visited this country on the occasion of opening of its National Tourism’s office in New Delhi. Almost a hundred years ago, Maharajah Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala had conceived of consecrating a mosque for his loyal Muslim subjects. As were the Maharajah’s wont, Jagatjit Singh commissioned a French architect for his mosque, obviously at a hefty...

B. Sivaraman
“Stop killing us!, screamed the banner at the exceptional protest at Jantar Mantar on 25 September 2018. The protest by Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA) led by Bezwada Wilson was a unique event at many levels. It is a rare event where students from JNU, considered to be the most elitist bastion of the radical intelligentsia, were rubbing shoulders with safai karamcharis, considered to be the most downtrodden among the labour force. An unusual event indeed in which the most informalised and marginalised sanitation workers, even written off by...

P. Sreekumaran
The Church leadership does not seem to be in a mood to learn lessons from the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of repeatedly raping a nun, if the initial response is any indication. The Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Council (KCBC) has, for instance, denounced the fast undertaken by five sisters in support of the nun who was allegedly sexually abused by Franco. The fast, it said, tarnished the image of the Church, adding that the arrest of the bishop was painful. The nuns have only played into the hands of the enemies of the...

Amritananda Chakravorty
“It is directed under Article 142 that the existing data which has been collected shall not be destroyed for a period of one year. During this period, the data shall not be used for any purpose whatsoever. At the end of one year, if no fresh legislation has been enacted by the Union government in conformity with the principles which have been enunciated in this judgment, the data shall be destroyed.” With these words, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud concluded his judgment, while writing a seminal dissent in the history of India’s constitutional...

Dr. S. Ganesan Regional Director, IGNOU Ms. Sangit
Every one of us familiar with our school education system and its process. The moment when we move from school to college/university level education, we find the differences and the difficulties linked with it. To facilitate the fresh students, the college administration organize a ‘Fresher meet or Introduction meeting to orient the new comers. Being regular campus life, the student gets adequate opportunities to learn from seniors also. Whereas, in Open and Distance Learning environment, the learner is separated by quasi-permanent distance...

Avi Sengupta
It is an alarming sign when a life-long, banker decides to be an entrepreneur in an area in which he knows nothing off, which in this case is online entertainment and decides to build a company in a country that he left more than two decades back. Well, that’s me, Avi Sengupta, founder of a small software company, Zivanta Analytics based out of Kolkata, India. And my full time job is being a banker at one of largest banks in USA managing a very complex financial portfolio. I am aware that with my full time job and family commitments in US,...

Raman Swamy
The Supreme Court has laid down important checks and balances to ensure that Aadhaar is used only for the genuine purposes for which it was created - for targeted delivery of financial benefits for the poor and the underprivileged. The Modi government was trying to widen the original scope of Aadhaar by making it mandatory in a variety of activities and transactions for which it was never intended. The apex court has put a stop to such brazen attempts to use it as an instrument in the hands of the government to gain control over the lives of...

L.S. Herdenia
The BJP-sponsored ‘Maha Kumbh’ on 25th September was indeed a huge affair. There are varied claims about the turnout. BJP claims that more than five lakh party men came. Originally it has fixed a target of ten lakh. But despite its best efforts, the target could not be achieved. One of the factors which came in the way of achieving the target was the refusal of bus operators to make buses available. They refused to lend buses because they are already owed crores of rupees for carrying people to various programmes. Narendra Modi was the star...

Sushil Kutty
As is 'five' is an odd number and one of the five justices stood up and asserted his uniqueness, he dissented! Four justices ruled Aadhaar is constitutionally fair, Justice DY Chandrachud raised his hand in class and proclaimed, “No it’s unconstitutional!” But people who went to bed Tuesday night thinking come Wednesday morning “I’ll flush the card down the toilet” found they might still have to hold on to it because there is no guarantee about fortunes. Vagaries plague man like it does the Monsoon, and he could be among the “marginalized” in...

W. T. Whitney Jr
September 11 was also a day of terror—in Chile in 1973. “I’ve been through this before,” Chilean author Ariel Dorfman wrote of the 2001 U. S. terror day. “The world will never be the same,” he recalls Chileans saying after their September 11. President Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity movement was the product of long, peaceful political struggle on the part of justice-hungry compatriots who came together as diverse leftist currents. Amidst great hopes, Popular Unity took charge of the government in 1970, through elections. Three years later a...

Barun Das Gupta
Last week Nepal signed a Transit and Transport Agreement with China which will give the land-locked country access to four Chinese seaports. These are: Tianjin (3276 kms from Nepal), Liyanyugang (3379 kms), Shengzen (3064 kms) and Shenjiang (2755 kms). As against these, the Kolkata seaport which had all along served as the port for all imports by Nepal, is just 775 kms away. The signing of the transit agreement, Nepali newspapers reported, ended China’s ‘sole dependence’ on India by opening up alternative transit facilities. Nepal felt that...

Aditya Aamir
Amit Shah says the BJP will rule for 50 years, i.e., till 2069 from 2019. By then Amit Shah will be history as will Narendra Modi along with an entire generation. Whether Modi and Shah get to become statues on the Sabarmati will depend on whether 50 years is time enough for the BJP to reverse Nehruvian socialism and transplant it with a ‘Hindu soul’. Note that 50 years is less than the 70+ so far after Independence. Of course, all this could be just poll-related rhetoric. The BJP has chosen “confidence” to win 2019 when it should be cringing...

Paras Nath Singh
After months of speculations that were not entirely unjustified, Justice Ranjan Gogoi is at last set to adorn judicial firmament as the 46th Chief Justice of India (CJI). The incumbent CJI, Dipak Misra has officially recommended the name of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, as his successor. Finally, this clears the dark clouds of doubt that had surrounded Justice Gogoi’s appointment as the next CJI ever since his participation in the unprecedented January 12, 2018 press conference by the four senior-most...

Dr. S. Ganesan Regional Director, IGNOU
Both the wire-phone (land line) and wireless phone (mobile) are giving same audio signal for voice communication purpose. In similar manner, the regular colleges and distance education institutes provide learning experiences, (knowledge) for students. How can we say one mode is superior or inferior to other? Is it wise to differentiate? Let us try to understand the concept of Open and Distance Learning System.     One can easily define Correspondence Education as simple postal mode delivery of printed material to students from...

Gyan Pathak
On the eve of the assembly election, Rajasthan has become a political hot-pot in which both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are performing a tight-rope walk. Communal polarization has somewhat weakened giving way to a stronger caste polarization on the issue of reservation. The prospect of the BJP losing the state has prompted Sangh Parivar to conspire large scale misuse of the provision of NOTA. If it succeeds in Rajasthan, it will be applied all over India for the Lok Sabha election in 2019. Campaigns have already started for it...

Harihar Swarup
The tenure of Justice Dipak Misra, who retires as Chief Justice of India on October 2, was mired in controversies, but he firmly stood against all the odds and had ultimately his way. The Opposition led by the Congress sought to bring an impeachment motion against Justice Misra but the motion was rejected by Rajya Sabha Chairman, Venkaiah Naidu. Naidu observed that the motion lacks substantial merit. “We cannot allow any pillars of governance to be weakened by any thought, word or action.” The Congress and other Opposition parties were piqued...

Mark Gruenberg
Two of the Senate’s top supporters of workers, Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, have gone on the attack against corporate subsidies and irresponsibility. And though their legislation will go nowhere in the GOP-run 115th Congress, the two lawmakers are laying down markers for future legislative action to help workers. Sanders’ bill is a direct attack on corporations – with Walmart and Amazon in the lead – whose wages are so low their workers must also use federal subsidies to survive. It would...

K Raveendran
The BJP’s disconnect with Dalits is well-known. So, nobody can be faulted for seeing a sinister move in the I&B ministry’s advisory to media units not to use the term Dalit while referring to Scheduled Castes. The Dalit word has been posing the ruling establishment a challenge of unprecedented proportions, even threatening the chances for a second term for the Modi government. The word symbolised an emerging new identity for India’s oppressed people, seeking to catch up with an order that perpetrated centuries of exploitation and injustice...

P. Sreekumaran
The sexual harassment complaint against P K Sasi, the CPI(M) MLA representing the Shoranur constituency, has put the party in a tight spot. What has invited people’s wrath is that the party took almost three weeks – that is the public perception although the party has denied it – to look into the complaint. Whatever the truth, it ultimately took a directive from CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to the state CPI(M) to stir the party into action. The complainant woman, a DYFI member, had written to Yechury as her complaint to the state...

Sankar Ray
There is no denying that Pakistan’s charismatic Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi will leave no nerve unstrained to carve a niche to prove that he is not just another premier while it will be naïve to speculate that he plans to get out of the cocoon of rightwing populism. Nonetheless, the impression is that the kaaptan will not indulge in dynastic or nepotistic politics nor give in to the lure of corruption. Some decisions, already announced, are unprecedented. Ban on foreign trips for ministers and bureaucrats for the next three months (likely...