Thursday, December 8, 2016
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TN politics at crossroads after Jayalalithaa
Panneerselvam will be facing tough test to prove his worth
By Amulya Ganguli
It is a paradox of the Indian social and political scene that in a country where female infanticide is not uncommon, there have been women leaders who have attained the status of goddesses. Indira Gandhi was one of them, who still comes out on top in popular polls on prime ministers. Now, Jayalalithaa will join the ranks of those who are revered for their achievements for decades. Although like Indira, the Puratchi Thalaivi or the revolutionary leader of Tamil Nadu, was also known for her authoritarianism and was not free of the taint of corruption, she was still seen as someone who had dedicated her political life to the welfare of the poor. A standard way of consolidating a person's political position, populist schemes initiated by her had ensured her party, the AIADMK's electoral succ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Is Narendra Modi the new Indira Gandhi? Not really
What set her apart was her genuine compassion and empathy for the poorest citizens of India.
By Sidharth Bhatia
From the time he became the prime minister of India, many pundits and analysts have compared Narendra Modi to Indira Gandhi. For the critics, Modi has the same disregard for institutions and a similar tendency to over-centralise, while some supporters and even 'neutral' analysts tend to point to his alleged resoluteness when it comes to taking difficult decisions. These were the hallmarks of the late Indian prime minister, who is now recalled as someone who imposed her will not just on her own party colleagues but also a hapless country, and not often for the best reasons. It is not a comparison Modi would particularly mind. Much as he and his party dislike - detest is a more accurate word - the Nehru-Gandhi family and would like to obliterate them from the nation's memory, they have a d...
Kashmir Times News Report
The National Anthem..!
By Robert Clements
Even as the Supreme Court insists we play the National Anthem before watching a movie, I have one request, please learn how to sing it, otherwise stand at attention and just listen to it. We are not a nation of good singers and very often we make this joyful song into a sorrowful one. We take away from it all the patriotic passion that normally accompanies a national anthem. There should actually be a proud lifting of chin, a steeliness in the eye and a vibrancy in the voice. Instead our pitch slouches, our tune changes and our voice rambles, settling down finally in the last line of Jaya Hai out of sheer relief! Most of us are basically a tuneless people and that spoils that which is meant to inspire. Have you ever played antakshari? The game in which one group ends with a certain sylla...
Kashmir Times News Report
'Temporary hardships in lieu of a better tomorrow'
By Rakesh S
At a time when the whole of India is busy standing in ATM and Bank queues for few quantities of currency notes, South Koreans are out on the streets protesting against their scandal-mired president. The wave of protest has grown over the last few days. More than 1.5 million people thronged on the streets demanding the resignation of the President. This is not a small number considering the fact that, the country has a total population of just 50 million. What's happening right on the streets of South Korea is not just a demand for the removal of president, but it is a clash between a Korean society trying to move forward and a Government creeping backward. We can sense a similar situation prevailing in India now, where the government seems very keen on pushing the economy backwards, but t...
Kashmir Times News Report
Today Dear I didn't..!
By Robert Clements
Many years ago a friend of mine who I've lost touch with, was planning to get married, "She should be a working woman," he said very definitely. "Why?" I asked, "I'm sure you're doing well, why do you need her to go out and work?" "For her sake," he said. "And how's that?" "I don't want her at home, doing nothing!" Ah my dear friend, I don't know where you are this moment, I don't even know whether you are married or not or whether she works, but I wish you could read this piece: A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the ent...
Kashmir Times News Report
Political Diary
It is only a song: Much ado about National Anthem
By Poonam I Kaushish
What's in a song? Everything if it is the national anthem. This was strummed by the Supreme Court last Wednesday to instill "committed patriotism and nationalism". Its another matter that the beautiful and melodious Jana Gana Mana is being turned besura by our judicial drumbeaters. The Apex court ordered the "national anthem to be played before the start of a film in all cinema halls with all present obliged to stand up to show respect as part of their secret obligation to abide by the ideals engrafted in the Constitution" on a PIL filed by a retired engineer from Bhopal. Sic. Underscoring that "Bharat is the epitome of gyaan and vigyaan…people must feel this is my country…You are an Indian first." It further prohibited the anthem's "commercial exploitation" for incurring commercial b...
Kashmir Times News Report
Old, Gnarled Hands..!
By Robert Clements
So often our success is because of the hard work of a mother, father or elder brother or sister, maybe a wife or a husband. Sometimes we forget, and tell the world we are self made people, hopefully this story behind 'The Praying Hands' will make us acknowledge the people who have worked behind the scenes for our success: Way back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the children wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy. After many long discussions at night, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down in...
Kashmir Times News Report
A Good Move: Migration Gives Girls A Taste of Independence
By Rakhi Ghosh
After finishing her Class 12, Shalini Das decided to step out of the protected environs of her home and small hamlet in Odisha's Kendrapada district and shift to state capital Bhubaneswar to look for work. Her father had abandoned her mother when she was born and the older woman had raised Das into a strong young woman in spite of the crushing poverty and social struggles. "My father had wanted a son so he left us as soon as I was born. My mother worked as a farm labourer and she had to face many difficulties to raise me. It is my turn to take care of her," she says emotionally. It was an uncle who informed her of a possible opening in a marine export company in the city and she decided to take the leap of faith. "He suggested that I go for an interview and assess my prospects. So I came...
Kashmir Times News Report
View from the gallery
Resentment against demonetisation will grow unless checked in time
By Brij Bhardwaj
A million dollar question being asked by all for which there is no ready answer is why the resentment in the country as witnessed on ground level is not getting reflected in the recent polls held in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The BJP leaders look at the results as a vindication of the steps taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite handicaps like people having to stand in long queues to draw their own money and amount that can be drawn is also rationed. There are reports of acute hardships being faced, salaries denied, medical care not being given in his absence of inability to pay in new currency notes. The distress in rural and distant area is much more as compared to urban pockets. The answer is not simple as general rule is that any attempt by authorities to attack the rich and po...
Kashmir Times News Report
No tears for Myanmar's Muslims
By Aijaz Zaka Syed
In the wake of Hitler's genocidal campaign that nearly wiped out the Jews from across Europe, the world community vowed to never let history repeat itself. It promised itself to "never again" remain silent in the face of genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass persecution and other crimes against humanity. Indeed, one of the main reasons that the United Nations came into being was to prevent such crimes against humanity. Yet an indifferent world has seen this commitment broken again and again, from the Middle East to the killing fields of Rwanda and Darfur to the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It is the same chilling apathy coupled with helplessness that you see over the murderous campaign Myanmar has unleashed against its Muslims. The ethnic and religious minority has long been the tar...
Kashmir Times News Report
Why Me..!
By Robert Clements
I wondered what example to give for today’s piece when I remembered something that happened to me in which I too cried out, “Why me?” It happened some years ago when my wife and I had driven down to the sea side with a group of friends for a holiday. One morning we decided we would go down to the wharf and buy crabs. We bought the crabs from Alibaug and were returning in a Maruti van when a state transport bus stopped in front of me. I saw that most of the people in the bus were getting off and switched off engine and waited. Suddenly the bus started reversing and reversed right onto my van. It happened in a moment and the next second I was sitting in my seat with the bus nearly on my lap, windshield smashed, pedals twisted and dashboard broken. I got out, luckily unhurt looked up and ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Deadlock in Parliament disrupts business
By Shastri Ramachandaran
The continuing disruption of proceedings in Parliament - over the Prime Minister's absence and an adjournment motion being disallowed -- in the winter session, which began on November 16, does little to serve public interest. Even before the session commenced, from the night of November 8, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the ban on old currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500, it was a foregone conclusion that the this session of Parliament would witness significant levels of sound and fury. However, not everyone expected that the stalling of Parliament's business in both Houses would go on for so long. As such, those who looked forward to hearing a variety of views during intensive debates on the merits and demerits were disappointed. Demonetisation is an issue that ought to ha...
Kashmir Times News Report
God's Idiot..!
By Robert Clements
From balcony of hotel room in rural Ratnagiri, I saw the idiot. He walked up and down the road downstairs, there was smile on face though addressed to no one. He wore simple clothes, clean yet not the latest fashion and with stick in hand chased cows and dogs away from shops and garbage dumps. He saw me watching and waved stick at me, I waved back. "Good Morning," he shouted and I saw the people below looking up. I felt self-conscious, the idiot didn't. He walked to an Udipi Hotel, Ganesh Bhuvan it said, and a waiter came out with a glass of water. He yelled and the proprietor spoke to him in Marathi and told the waiter to give him a cup of tea. He sipped the tea and looked up at me and waved again. I waved back and then watched as the owner of the hotel gave him half a coconut. He wav...
Kashmir Times News Report
Demonetisation: How to fool a nation and get away with it?
By Nijam Gara
After successfully convincing the naïve among the Indian electorate in 2014 that he would usher in "Acche Din", the campaigner-in-chief is now in phase 2 of his grand project. As he would like to remind the nation time and again, the blow was struck on November "8th at 8 pm". The much-hyped sudden demonetization of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 currency notes that account for up to 87% of circulating currency with the purported aim of weeding out 'black money' has created chaos in the lives of ordinary Indians on an unprecedented scale. To date, more than 80 lives have been lost - some waiting in serpentine queues to legitimize their own hard-earned money, some overworked in disbursing the new currency notes and some others just unable to pay in the new format even though they had enough of the old...
Kashmir Times News Report
Forgiveness with God's help…!
By Robert Clements
Something I find very hard to do is to forgive. I try but fail, and have realized that forgiveness, real forgiveness can only happen with God's help. In the midst of tragic fighting in Lebanon in the 1970's, a seminary student was walked from one village to the next when he was ambushed by an armed guerilla fighter. The man ordered his captive down a mountain trail where he was to be shot. But an amazing thing happened. The seminarian who had received military training, was able to surprise his captor and disarm him. Now, the table was turned, and it was the guerrilla who was ordered down the trail. As they walked, however, the student of theology began to reflect on what was happening. Recalling the words of Jesus, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, turn the other cheek...
Kashmir Times News Report
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