|Left wind sweeping Europe|
|Portugal joins Greece, Spain may follow|
|A powerful leftist political surge is being witnessed in the recent Parliamentary elections of the European countries with Portugal being the latest to have a left coalition government after the centre right President Anibal Silva was forced to invite on November 24 the leader of the Portuguese Socialist Party Antonio Da Costa to form the coalition government along with the Left block and the Portuguese Communist Party. In October 4 general elections, the ruling Social Democratic Party led by the Prime Minister Pedro Coelho lost majority but he was allowed to form the Government though the Socialist Party came to an understanding with the Left block and the Communist Party to have an anti-austerity coalition government. The Left coalition had 122 seats as against 107 seats secured by the ...|
|Govt has lost control over expenditure management|
|Swachh Bharat cess raises big concern|
|It seems that a 14 per cent service tax is not enough for the government to provide a minimum service to keep the country clean. And, hence is the new 'Swachh Bharat' cess of 0.5 per cent over and above the service tax. Few will disagree that the services provided by the Indian government to its people are little if compared with those by other nine countries above India in terms of normal GDP in US dollars. This is despite the fact that India boasts among the highest national service tax regimes in most major economies. The worst still is the end-of-the-year extra-budgetary imposition of service tax or cess from Mid-November to ostensibly keep the country clean (Swachh Bharat) is meant to collect Rs. 3,800 crore or more in just 4.5 remaining months of the current financial year.
|Aamir's angst and incredible India|
|Aamir successfully tried it on screen through his popular television show 'Satyame Jayete' (truth always triumphs) by speaking out on issues like corruption, violence against women and governance etc., and won all-round applause. In real life though, as the actor is unlikely to learn, here's a price to pay for speaking truth to power.
In Bertolt Brecht's poem Die Lösung ("The Solution"), written after the 1953 uprising in East Germany, a government functionary hands out bulletins informing the people that they have cost themselves the trust of the government. The poem concludes by demanding:
Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
At the rate Indian intellectuals, artists, scientists and men of letters are protesti...|
|I'll take the risk..!|
|A few months ago, I lent a friend some money and he hasn't been able to pay me back.
"You're a fool Bob!" said many of my friends, "you knew it was a losing proposition, why did you venture where angels fear to tread?"
I shrugged my shoulders and smiled; all I know is that I took a risk and lost but I took the risk for a friend and for me that was what mattered!
Asks an interesting writer without a name:
Have you ever had an embarrassing moment? One of mine occurred a few years ago. I was driving through a seedy side of town one day and spotted a young woman hitching a ride. I honestly believed she just wanted a ride! So I stopped the car to let her in. It happened during rush hour heavy traffic. I pulled over, but not out of the lane, for there was no shoulder on the road. As I reach...|
|The Fall of the Tinsel God|
|How the mighty have fallen fits in completely with the rout of the BJP in the recently held elections to the Bihar Assembly! To any analyst it looked that it was going to be a close fight -it is no hidden secret that progressive forces in the country like academics, writers and social activists, who were passive at the start, were forced to be active as the real face of the BJP through its boss, the RSS, emerged threatening the very core values guaranteed by Indian Constitution, and thus posing a danger to the integrity of the country.
Jayaprakash Narayan, the Socialist leader, had as far back as 1965 given the warning. He said: "Some like the RSS might do it openly by identifying the Indian nation with Hindu Rashtra, others might do it more subtly." JP warned that "those who attempt to ...|
|Acceptance not Tolerance..!|
|Parliamentary affairs minister of the present government in the wake of the Aamir Khan controversy is said to have exclaimed that the, "People of India are tolerant!"
Tolerance and intolerance sadly is the issue today. What is tolerance? Tolerance is when in spite or despite something we don't like, we still our anger and keep silent about it. But is that what the minority religious communities are asking from the majority religious communities? "Maybe you don't like the way we worship. Maybe you don't like who we worship, and you are angry about it, but you will tolerate us and keep silent!"
"Don't irritate me anymore," shouts the mother to her child, "I will not tolerate your behavior and will spank you!"
Tolerance is being irritated but not taking action about that irritation.
|Just some questions on Obama speak|
|Why, we ask and wonder, is it heinous for any Muslim, literate or not, liberal or not, peace-loving or not, to raise a question about what was done to Iraq in 2003 when in fact a vast number of Americans themselves, including such Presidential aspirants as Berni Sanders, have held that event and American foreign policy generally since the creation by the ISI and the CIA of the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan chiefly responsible for having spawned the mayhem that now embroils parts of
President Obama has invited the Muslims of the world not just to some introspection but, however suavely said, some self-flagellation as well after the terror attack in Paris. The inference here seems inescapable: whatever may have been done to the "Muslim" world, beginning from the...|
|A step into the past..!|
|Suddenly mushrooming all over Mumbai's skyline are scores of skywalks: Walk out of any railway station, climb stairs and hey presto, suddenly you are walking and walking and walking and panting and walking till you are unloaded by skywalk a couple of miles away.
"This is the most revolutionary plan any government has thought off!" said my friend, retired government officer, P.K Bole.
"They're spiraling, zigzagging, cutting across and zooming all over the city!" I said looking at the yellow pedestrian footbridges, a little worried.
"What a boon they've become," said P.K, "No more getting out of station, looking for cab or rickshaw or boarding crowded bus, just put your best foot forward onto skywalk and zoom!"
I looked at all the weary people on the skywalks, treading and trudging thei...|
|BETWEEN THE LINE|
|Has Modi's magic waned?|
|Modi-Shah duo had taken things for granted. Their arrogance, reflected during the campaign, could be one sole reason for the party's rout. Of course, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat added fuel to fire by raising the issue of reservation. Even the BJP leadership in Bihar has come out with statements that point out how the party went overboard on certain issues and seems to underline that the remarks of the RSS chief did not go well with the Biharis.
Whether or not the Narendra Modi magic has waned or whether the strategy of campaigning had been faulty, the fact remains that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been routed in Bihar. The BJP is putting up a brave front and feels its loss is because of the Opposition unity.
The Bihar Assembly election results have, nevertheless, delivered ...|
|All that attention..!|
|"Hotel sir, hotel?" he asked desperately.
"You want to take me there and give me a haircut?"
The man fled.
"Where to sir?" asked the cabby.
"Why are you smiling?" I asked him.
"I am a honest cabby sir! I go by meter!" he said.
"It's not that long!" I told him, "maybe a few inches less than a foot, maybe a little more, its grown a week you know! But not a metre, definitely not a metre! Would you like me to grow it a metre?"
"He's mad!" said the cabby.
"Are you mad?" asked the policeman
"Do I look mad? Are you saying I'm mad because of my beard?"
"Sir let us go!" said my driver who had come to pick me up.
"Where?" I asked, "Barber shop?"
"Home!" he said, taking me to the car.
"Why are you staring at me?" I asked, seated inside.
"I am not sir, I am only looking at the traffic...|
|Davids Versus Goliath!|
|How Yogi Adityanath had to 'Go Back ' to .....(err not Pakistan but) Gorakhpur
For Yogi Adityanath, the firebrand MP of BJP, who is widely known for his controversial statements as well as acts and who every other day asks dissenters to 'go to Pakistan' , it was his comeuppance moment when he was rather forced to 'go back' to Gorakhpur.
The Pandal was ready.
The Sainiks with their saffron bandanas - who were scattered here and there - were eagerly waiting to listen to another fiery call from their Senapati.
Time was already running out but the 'Star Speaker' was nowhere to be seen.
Little did they knew that their Senapati had already made an about turn and was headed back home as the district administration had 'advised' him against entering the district and was told that...|
|The Kohinoor on the Queen's head..!|
|Most in India thought Modi would step out of the plane in Delhi, with the Kohinoor diamond. Some even thought he would set in on his turban and walk with the sun glistening on it. They are disappointed he didn't try. According to the chief butler who allegedly discussed it with a chamber maid, who has an aunt in Chennai, and who was in attendance at the meal hosted by the queen, he did try. "What are you looking at Mr Prime Minister, you are staring at my head?" said the queen.
"Oh I am so sorry you do have a lovely forehead your majesty!"
"What a lovely thing to say. Philip, did you hear what this wonderful man from, from, where are you from Prime Minister?"
"India!" said the Prime Minister stiffly, "Everybody knows I am from India, Obama knows, the German chancellor knows, the French...|
|VIEW FROM THE GALLERY|
|Need to check loud mouths in BJP and Congress|
|The Congress party has a good case if it accuses BJP of treating minorities in unfair manner and denying them opportunities for development but any attempt to praise Pakistan leaders who are guilty of waging a war against India or to praise criminals irrespective of their religion will not win them any kudos.
Loud mouths have created problems for BJP and now it is the turn of the Congress party which is being hit by same disease. Likes of Mani Shankar Aiyar and Shakeel Ahmad head the list of loud mouths in Congress. While Mani has a long history of offering off the cuff remarks which had given a live issue to BJP when he suggested that a tea seller that is Narendra Modi cannot be the Prime Minister of India.
His statement was used by BJP in campaign in the poll for ...|
|Teach a man to fish..!|
|"..Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Provide him with a net and you feed him for a lifetime…"
—Adapted Chinese proverb.
Something that bothers me as I hear about a world that is getting more economically sound is that the rich get richer and the poor poorer. We give lip service to thoughts and ideas on how to help the poor; put down our car windows at signals as we hand a few coins to beggars and that's all!
We the well off minority care a damn for the economically backward majority!
Over thirty five years back, a young professor of economics went for a walk in a village adjoining his university in Chittagong, Bangladesh. While there, he met a poor widow, Sufiya Begum, who tried to make a living by constructing and selling bamboo stools. She worked hard the whole ...|
|Killings: Lexis of twenty first century |
|Freedom is a timeless value. The United Nations Charter encourages respect for fundamental freedoms. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights mentions freedom more than twenty times. All countries have committed to protecting individual freedoms on paper - but in practice, too many break their pledge, these were the words of current Secretary General of United Nations; but Mr. Ban Ki-moon, these declarations and charters are being torn apart every day in today's world.
Presently, killing is living and living is killing. Killings, particularly of the innocents have become a daily ordeal. People who take to the streets for their legitimate reasons are also being killed by the so-called security forces of the so called democratic states. Such killings are a routine phenomenon from the l...|
|AAP National Council meeting|
|Time to revive the dream|
|India Against Corruption (IAC) - the anti-corruption movement- that preceded the formation of Aam Aadmi Party saw millions of Indians take long sabbaticals from their jobs and occupy the streets, demanding a corruption free India. When the Aam Aadmi Party came into being, it aimed at filling a vacuum. A vacuum created due to non existence of honest political parties in the country. AAP was an outcome of relentless efforts put in by millions of unpaid volunteers over several months. When the party achieved a historic clean sweep in Delhi in February this year, it looked all set to take forward its indigenous brand of clean politics all over the country and live up to its hype. The journey started with a dream, but mutations have already started becoming visible under the leadership of Arv...|