|You can't tell the players without a programme, and it's no wonder that people feel confused by the plethora of names the terrorist groups use. To make matters worse they keep splitting, and sometimes they change their names just for the hell of it. So here's a guide you can stick on your wall.
In the beginning there was Al Qaeda, starting in about 1989. There were lots of other terrorist start-ups in the Arab world around the same time, but eventually almost all of them either died out or joined one of the big franchises. Al Qaeda is the one to watch, since the success of its 2001 attacks on the United States on 9/11 put it head and shoulders above all its rivals.
When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and foreign jihadis flocked into the Sunni Arab parts of the country to help th...|
|Rahul Gandhi reinvents himself to revive Congress|
|Can the country's oldest party-the Indian National Congress, which gave its worst electoral performance being reduced to a double digit of 44 seats in the Lok Sabha in 2014 general elections, be revived and reenergized under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi?
This is a question which is being asked by every politically conscious citizen and is being debated hotly among political circles these days. Rahul Gandhi, who had been reduced to butt of jokes and had been written of politically when Lok Sabha results were declared on May 16 last year, is the focus of media attention since his return from a 56 days mysterious sabbatical from abroad,
Immediately upon his return from an unknown destination abroad, he met and interacted with farmers and then addressed an 80000 strong rally on April 19 a...|
|Left turn-around in Indian politics is still possible|
|Yechury has to adopt a three-pronged approach|
|A big debate has started in the Indian left movement about the possible political and tactical line of the CPI(M) after the election of Sitaram Yechury as the new general secretary of the Party following the conclusion of the 21st Congress of CPI(M) at Vizag on April 19 this year. Expectations are high among the well wishers of the Left movement in India that Yechury will be innovative in his approach and he will impart new impetus to the ailing left movement of the country which has been witnessing a declining phase in the last few years. Yechury, soon after his election as the CPI(M) general secretary enthused the Congress delegates by declaring that he considers the 21st Congress as the Congress for the future. He has come out more openly favouring cooperation with the Congress in fi...|
|Mercury in the Mist: Holding Unilever in India to account|
|Scientists in India and the UK recently joined together to express solidarity with ex-employees and local residents exposed to toxic levels of mercury in Kodaikanal, India. Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) is a subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever and is being held responsible for dumping toxic mercury close to human settlements, polluting the ecosystem and placing workers' lives in danger.
These actions relate to HUL operating a mercury thermometer factory in Kodaikanal between 1986 and 2001. According to a Government of India report submitted to Madras high court in 2011, 30 people died and 550 ex-workers are suffering due to mercury exposure.
Indian scientists recently wrote to colleagues associated with the Unilever-funded Leverhulme Trust in the UK to pressurise Unileve...|
|Rahul Gandhi in new aggressive Avatar|
|He has to be a 24x7 politician now|
|Will the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi seize the moment of opportunity, which has come his way after his return from the mysterious sabbatical? This is the question that is being asked within the Congress, as the party men are not sure how determined or how serious he is about his future role. What is the guarantee that he will not disappear again?
After a long time Gandhi has hit the front page for the right reasons. But it would take more than a few speeches of this kind and convincing sound bites to the television to make his party men believe in his metamorphosis to a serious leader. They are skeptical about his intentions but are willing to give him a trial.
His admirers believe that Gandhi made an impressive show in Parliament in two of his rare speeches - one on land acq...|
|Mamata's electoral triumph and ordeals|
|Saffron is still not the new red in Bengal|
|The euphoria of saffron being the new red in Bengal lies shattered on the Chowringhee Square. The municipal verdict has indeed been a rude shock to the BJP's Chanakya, Amit Shah. In January this year, at a rally in Burdwan, Shah, a stockbroker by profession who knows the value of keeping blue chips in one's portfolio, has made his intentions clear to the people of Bengal that pursuing the political line of his mentor Narendra Modi to make a Congress Mukta Bharat, he would ensure Trinamool Mukta Bengal.
But his first move has met with Waterloo. The people of Bengal overwhelmingly voted for Mamata's Trinamool. Shah, the master strategist, for accomplishing the goal had tried to cobble up a winning formula by inducting apolitical individuals, cine stars and political turncoats, pushing t...|
|Courage Chronicles: Women Who Spoke Up Against Sexual Harassment|
|When Rupashree Dasgupta was offered the job of an Associate Professor at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna, Bihar, she did not know that tough times were in store for her in the future. In less than a month of joining, one of her senior colleagues asked for a sexual favour. Her outright protest only led to more physical and mental abuse followed by a termination letter. Instead of taking things lying down she decided to approach the Complaints Committee for redress. However, to her utter surprise, her complaint was dismissed without even so much as a hearing. For three years, Dasgupta kept up the fight for her job and justice even as 11 court cases, countless threats, a well-planned defamation campaign and the apathetic attitude of government officials brought her t...|
|Of forced birth control and voting rights in modern India|
|The latest suggestion from a BJP parliament member that the voting rights of minorities should be nullified and Muslims must be subjected to forced birth control points to the heights of madness that the saffron brigade in India has of late scaled given the power they enjoy in the Modi-led government. It also points to the backward mentality that the saffron brigade has developed over the years as they have now started openly questioning the fundamental democratic rights of minorities in India. Prior to this, somebody among the brigade had made the poisonous comment that "Masjids are mere structures, hence can be demolished at will."
Who can speak such madness?
Such statements, if analyzed psychologically, can be spoken by organizations and men who either suffer from intellectual const...|
|SIGNS OF THE TIMES|
|Shattering realities of disasters natural and man-made|
|Nature's fury. Rulers' ruthlessness. This lethal combination is proving to be deadly. We know earthquakes cannot be prevented but shouldn't adequate hurdles be placed to lessen the aftermath? Poor soil coupled with substandard building norms are taking more lives than ever before. Thousands perishing with entire structures collapsing! High rise seem to be the order of the day; many of those lofty buildings assembled almost overnight. To say that norms are flouted would be an understatement; as rulers are thriving on corrupt moves …the course of rivers and streams changed, lakes made to shrink so that extra land stretches out, many more new townships, smart cities, multistoried structures to come up in the midst of forest lands, more mining and digging …this list is as long as the corrupt ...|
|Farm Sector Crisis|
|AID to small farmers vital|
|Several programmes have been launched by the Modi Government, and some aggressively, but it has to be admitted that the farm sector remains neglected. The crisis of our farming community is an accepted fact today for which the previous UPA government is no less responsible. According to latest reports, over 1000 farmers have already committed suicides this year due to crop loss and non-repayment of dues. Besides, between 1997 and 2013, an astonishing figure of over 300,000 farmers, have taken their lives, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
While blaming the UPA for lack of irrigation, the Agriculture Ministry has directed States to help farmers affected by rains and hailstorms. They lost 93.81 lakh hectares of land across 14 States when the weather took turn for the worst f...|
|Modi sarkar reworks emergency|
|Authoritarianism stains governance|
|It is not the 1975-77-like Emergency in India. But actions of some of the Modi government's ministers and Sangh Parivar and its allies' leaders are reminiscent of the Emergency period's mindset - perhaps even worse.
In what way the situation is likely to influence the future political scenario? An answer to the question cannot be attempted without a postmortem of the Modi government's rule which completes its first year in office on May 25.
To begin with, take a couple of positive developments under Modi's one year rule.
The prime minister has improved India's relations with neighbours and has also some foreign policy successes to his credit despite flip-flop on Pakistan. Though his frequent foreign trips have prompted some observers to sarcastically describe him as India's "NRI ...|
|Depriving Kashmir; political treachery and institutional depravity|
|The cost and consequences of conflict have been borne by Kashmir on more than one front. Not only has this conflict erased too many lives, pushed the population to psychological trauma and economic depravity, it has also been used as an opportunity by certain political forces to steal of the valley whatever meager resources or opportunities it rightfully owned, all these decades. While other regions prospered over past decades, political chancery and trickery ensured Kashmir was pushed to a ruins, as if it had not been maimed enough already.
Recently the Union government announced two more IIM's, one each for Jammu & Kashmir and Andhra, and AIIMS for five states, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam. Within J&K, an IIM was proposed to be setup in Jammu while...|
|Can Yechury revive a sagging Left?|
|CPI(M) needs to recover lost ground|
|The old order has given way to the new order in the Communist Party of India (Marxists) with the 62-year-old Sitaram Yechury taking over the reins on Sunday at Visakhapatnam. He is the fifth general secretary of the party. He has taken over at a time when the party is facing its struggle for survival. The CPI (M) has not only lost the national status but also gasping even for its regional space. It had been a coalition partner leading the Left Front in the National Front, United Front and supported the Congress in the UPA 1. From 2011, it had lost even the regional space when Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee threw it out in West Bengal after 34 years of the left rule. It also lost Kerala where it was leading the LDF coalition. Only in Tripura the left is ruling. In a severe jolt, the Lef...|
|"What's emerging is what we need,which is a comprehensive plan, going after the criminal gangs, going after the traffickers, going after the owners of the boats...and stabilising the countries from which these people are coming." And when you have finished "stabilising" Syria, Somalia and Libya, overthrowing the Eritrean dictatorship, and ending poverty in West Africa, could you drop by and fix my plumbing? Oh, and Yemen. Fix Yemen too.
"These people" are the 1,300 refugees who drowned in the Mediterranean in the past two weeks, the 30,000 who will drown by the end of this year while trying to cross if nothing more is done - and of course, the estimated half million who will make it safely to Italy, Malta or Greece. The speaker was Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, but he was just...|
|Road to death|
|Do we really live in 21st century? The basic facilities of health care, education and transportation are in shambles in our state. The hollow slogan of infrastructure development, better road connectivity has been exposed with even few hours of downpour resulting in closure of roads even highways. Last year few days of rainfall resulted in the submergence of the entire valley. How much and how far have we reached in terms of development.
The NH-1A which is the life line of valley and other areas remains closed for days together disrupting life across valley. The road to erstwhile district Doda not only remains closed periodically but has become a death trap. One can see the kind of disaster along the route. On the way home instead of enjoing driving and serene beauty along the road, th...|
|Judicial Activism Vs. Administrative overreach|
|Two vital arms of our Constitution, judiciary and administration, often are in clash with one another mainly over the issue of jurisdiction and the bitterness it generates often goes to strengthen the quality of democracy. Judicial activism and administrative overreach often leave victims helpless, with no remedy worth the name. the sparring between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India H. L. Dattu at a recent conference over judiciary often being influenced by "five star" activists in pronouncing judgments and the administration exceeding its legal powers has raised certain basic issue calling for introspection into their respective roles. Such clashes have erupted in full public view, betraying an unwelcome tendency at point scoring without restraint or regard to the h...|
|Muslims under siege|
|As if gone berserk, almost immediately following September 11, 2001 attacks, the western world seems to have been hell bent to create misunderstanding of Islam. Amidst the rancid prejudice, it started with the prominent evangelists like Franklin Graham, the spiritual advisor to George Bush, to publicly call Islam an evil and wicked religion. The intemperate, but popular conservative columnist Ann Coulter even proposed that the west invades Muslim countries, kills their leaders and converts them to Christianity. It could be found inside the prisons of Iraq and Afghanistan where Muslim prisoners were forced, under threat by their captors, to eat pork, drink liquor, and are blasphemous towards the Prophet Muhammad ?. And in the name of the much clichéd 'freedom of speech' the brazen Western ...|
|Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th Birth Anniversary - The Real Tribute|
|All newspapers on 15th April, 2015 were full of all parties in the country, though normally at each other's throat, vying with each other in their full throated praise for Dr. Ambedkar as one of the greatest Indian leader of the country. The tribute to Dr. Ambedkar is fully deserved, but one is skeptic of the genuineness and sincerity of this by most of these parties. Though the average person in the country unhesitatingly rightly accepts him as the leader in framing our Constitution, all parties except the Socialist party of Jay Prakash Narain, Dr. Lohia, ignored rather reviled his contribution.
Dr. Ambedkar was many faceted personality which is quite rare. His massive treatise on Annihilation of Caste was the subject of ridicule by RSS, the ancestor of Bhartiya Janta Party. Even now M...|
|Growing perception that BJP is pro-rich & anti-poor|
|In politics perception works more than reality and there is little doubt that in general public a perception has grown that the Government led by Narendra Modi is anti-farmers and anti-poor. This is in contrast to earlier perception during the poll that UPA Government led by Dr Manmohan Singh was involved in scams and had gone into coma and lost all ability to tackle the situation.
On the other hand Mr Modi was seen as a strong administrator, who could check corruption, turn around economy, provide jobs and make country safe. It was also felt that UPA in its second term had failed to perform, to carry out reforms and lost opportunity to make Indian economy strong. The result was that BJP won by a huge majority while Congress suffered a humiliating defeat as it could not qualify even t...|
|Can NDA Govt provide relief to distressed farmers|
|Farmers and agriculture have never had it so bad. As we enjoyed the cool weather in April, at times surprised by the use of quilts this summer month in Delhi, the farmers were cursing the rain gods and their own fate. Never has the country in recent living memory witnessed so much of rains at this time of the year as it did in March and April.
Between March 1 and April 15, the country normally received about 48 mm of rainfall on an average, but this time round it received almost 97 mm, with over one-third of India getting more than five times the normal rainfall. And so much of unseasonal rains, which were accompanied by hailstorms, left so much destruction in its wake that standing Rabi crops on more than 100 lakh hectares of farmland spread across 14 States were lost to bad weather.