Friday, August 17, 2018
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Literary icons: from Naipaul to Gulzar
By Humra Quraishi
"Are you planning to switch over to politics? I ask because you aired, rather too blatantly, some Right -wing views recently?" "No, no politics." - V.S. Naipaul V.S. Naipaul gone. Memories left back…I had met him on several occasions at Khushwant Singh's home and then the last time in 2004 at another friend's home. I had then written about it, but today writing once again as it relays the political streak in Naipaul. Around the take-off time for the 2004 elections , V.S. Naipaul and spouse Nadira were camping in New Delhi ( even visiting the BJP headquarters ). A common friend had invited him and several others for supper ... And as Naipaul and Nadira strode in, I began looking for an opportunity to begin throwing queries at him, but Nadira took charge. Of filling up his plate! And the...
Kashmir Times News Report
Kanwariyas, not Gau rakshaks, have put centre on dock
Hindu mob vandalism now comes to bite the hand that fed it
By Amulya Ganguli
Why has the vandalism of the Kanwariyas and not the violence of the gau rakshaks made the government aware of the near-anarchic conditions in the country, as a petitioner to the Supreme Court has alleged? The reason is that while the targets of the gau rakshaks are only Muslims, the rampages of the Kanwariyas affect all communities, especially the Hindu middle class who have to be careful while driving lest their cars brush against some of the pilgrims, arousing their wrath. Even when the Kanwariyas walk peacefully in towns and villages, or pass by motor cycles or trucks, they make the others nervous as a large group of people united by a common objective nearly always does. The government can ill afford to allow such uneasiness to persist, especially when the number of Kanwariyas appear...
Kashmir Times News Report
Shah commits blunders in his bid to checkmate Mamata
BJP ends up further fortifying Didi's support base
By Arun Srivastava
The moves by Amit Shah, the so-called Chanakya of BJP, are no more invincible and his charisma is on the decline. Recent defeats of his party at the by-polls have shaken his confidence. It is perhaps this sense of loss that has prompted his frequent Kolkata visits. For his brief stay Shah is contemplating to take a small room on rent instead of staying in a hotel or guest house. Though he claims to have taken this decision to reflect the affection shown by the people, the real reason is his keen desire to reach out to the Bengali people. He has come to realise that the non-Bengali voters could not ensure a victory for the party in the state. If at all the BJP sincerely intends to defeat Mamata Banerjee, he must penetrate the Bengali middle class, the Bhadralok, which, unlike their count...
Kashmir Times News Report
Controlling media from the 10th floor
Kind of emergency that needs no declaration
By Aditya Aamir
"Okay. One meeting? Or two? One for the papers and one for the TV?" "One, I think. The TV people like to be in the same discussions with the newspaper guys. Makes them feel like journalists." "What about radio?" Daniel asked. "@*#k radio." That's dialogue straight out of a New York Times bestseller and sets succinctly the hierarchy among news providers. Print is by far the tops. Web doesn't figure and television plays second fiddle to newspapers - quite satisfied with being in company. In India, however, these last couple of weeks, television and the net media are making news, especially in the context of coverage given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It has been divulged by a fairly popular TV anchor that the Modi government is monitoring the media from the 10th floor of Soochna Bh...
Kashmir Times News Report
The Bugles Are Calling For War
By T J S George
The big question is finally being addressed: who will be the Opposition's candidate for the Prime Minister? It will be unrealistic of course to expect an answer at this stage. But the unexpected flexibility in the Congress' position tells its own tale. Two days after taking a stand firmly in favour of Rahul Gandhi, it said the party would be accommodative, that it saw itself as a facilitator of alliances, that it was ready to accept "any non-RSS candidate" as the Prime Minister. In a more sensational policy shift, Mamata Banerjee said that she would organise an Opposition rally in Kolkata in January to which she would invite the CPM, a sworn enemy against which she had a fought a bitter war and won. She called for an "inclusive Opposition". At the other end of the country, Mehbooba Mufti...
Kashmir Times News Report
Duterte and the ICC
By Gwynne Dyer
Here's the good news. Last February the International Criminal Court at The Hague opened an inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity committed by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines as part of his 'war on drugs'. Now for the bad news. True to form, Duterte replied that the Treaty of Rome which created the ICC was "all bullshit" and that the court was only backed by "white idiots". He then announced that the Philippines was withdrawing from the ICC "effective immediately". Actually, he may not be able to do that unilaterally, because the Rome Treaty was ratified by the Senate of the Philippines and probably has to be abrogated by the same body. (Legal opinions vary.) But Duterte does control the Senate and could do it eventually, if he cared about legality. He'd still hav...
Kashmir Times News Report
Spending on ads by political parties…. Isn't it a waste of money?
By Sheshu Babu
'Beware of false knowledge: it is more dangerous than ignorance' —George Bernard Shaw Even before official announcement of dates of elections in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh or elections to the Lok Sabha, campaigns, rallies and advertising have already started. Politicians are already beginning to woo voters. Parties have begun to promote fake news and disseminate false information with contrived statistical data to convince people. Huge money is being spent on advertisements. Money wasted The BJP seems to be in the forefront on spending money for advertisement and publicity. Aam Admi Party member Ashutosh questioned in 2014 itself on spending Rs 400 crore on ads ( Aam Admi Party question BJP's 400 crore spending on ads, February 20,2014, - vide...
Kashmir Times News Report
Communal Harmony
Hindutva terrorism on the Prowl in India
By Syed Ali Mujtaba
"The origin of Hindu terror activity can be traced to the rise of Hindutva politics in India that fanged since 1990. The collective Hindutva masculinity manifested itself in the demolition of the Babari mosque in 1992. In its aftermath, the Mumbai communal riots that took place, was an organized terror act orchestrated by Hindu groups." The ugly face of Hindutva terrorism has once again come to limelight with the arrest of three persons in Maharashtra for conspiring to carry out "terror activities" in several of places of the state. According to Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), it has recovered 22 items from the accused home in Pune. These include; 20 crude bombs, two gelatine sheets, a note on how to prepare bombs, one six-volt battery, a few loose wires, transistors, glue...
Kashmir Times News Report
Shah on an impossible mission uproot Mamata
Trinamool roots run deeper every time BJP makes a bid
By Sushil Kutty
'Mission Uproot Mamata' got going Saturday. BJP President Amit Shah arrived in Mamata-land past high noon, well past the hour to make a fight at 'OK Corral'. But Mayo Road, where Shah addressed BJP's Paribortan-types, was choc-a-bloc, shoulders rubbing shoulders. Mamata's TMC decided not to spoil the show for Shah. What's a rally when all of Bengal's pally to Mamata! Shah started his harangue against Mamata with cherubic gusto and, as expected, went on the offensive with the call for an NRC for West Bengal to get the "Bangladeshi Ghuspetiya" out of Shyamaprasad Mukherjee's home-state. Quite extraordinarily, while claiming that "Mamata 'Ke Kaan Behre Hain", Shah had difficulty hearing the crowd's response to his many anti-Mamata one-liners. Time and again, he told the crowd, "Mujhe Sunay...
Kashmir Times News Report
Time to check vandalism in streets
By Brij Bhardwaj
Who will stop the growing lawlessness in streets of India in the name of religious pilgrimage, saving cows or any other pretext which is endangering law abiding citizens and destroying public and private property. Suddenly we find that police instead of protecting citizens has become mute spectators or has got busy showering flowers on pilgrims or Shiv Bhakts which include hooligans. These hooligans riding on bikes without helmets, carrying lathis have chosen to attack locals while passing through towns of U.P and parts of Delhi. They are backed by groups travelling in vans fitted with loudspeakers. Unlike pious pilgrims who walk the entire distance but these hooligans who are high on drugs and liquor dance their way and attack anyone who dares to come close to them, burning cars includi...
Kashmir Times News Report
Dam it, nature is a real rascal
God’s own country goes underwater
By Sushil Kutty
Time 12.20 pm. Twitter handle @pendown warned "4.25 lakh liters of water is gushing out per second from Idukki dam. In four hours waters will reach Aluva." And Aluva is not far from Kochi. From the Kerala Express, sight of the chimneys of brick mills signal the train will soon brake at Ernakulam South Junction. @pendown could have told the world Aluva was already underwater. In fact, most of God's Own Country was immersed in rainwater and whatever left, under dam-water. Release and be damned; don't release and be damned! That was Idukki Dam's fate. The water-holder was up to the brim with dilemma. Hamlet would have jumped into the pool. Suicide was the third option. Add to the downpours, gushing dam waters and it was 'after me the deluge!' Landslides were another feature reducing land f...
Kashmir Times News Report
Rafale deal shows Modi's utter dislike for Public Sector
High performing HAL was denied job to please a crony capitalist
By Nitya Chakraborty
More and more details are coming out of the controversial deal concluded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jet planes for the Indian defence forces and it is apparent that the Prime Minister has totally sacrificed the interests of the high performing public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to patronize a company of an industrialist which has no experience in the area and which set up the unit only ten days before the deal was conncluded. The most astonishing part of the developments is that the Prime Minister took unusual initiative in announcing the deal excluding the HAL and this was not known even to the highest ranking officials days before it was announced. Only two days before the Indian PM announced the deal, the then foreign secre...
Kashmir Times News Report
Big confusion over minimum wage implementation in Delhi
Kejriwal has to share responsibility for the mess
By B. Sivaraman
"The Hurrier I go, the behinder I get." Repeating these words of Lewis Carroll from Alice in Wonderland, the Delhi High Court in its judgment on 4 August 2018 set aside the 14 September 2016 Delhi government notification on minimum wages, which increased the minimum wages in Delhi to Rs. 13,350 to the unskilled, Rs. 14,698 to the semi-skilled and Rs. 16,182 to the skilled. Early media reports, however, were a bit vague and suggested that the court had set aside the notification because "it was a 'hurried' decision taken without hearing the employers or employees who would be affected". Delhi Labour Minister. Gopal Rai said in a statement, "The Delhi government disagrees with the Delhi HC verdict and views with extreme disappointment the erroneous conclusion arrived at by the court, after ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Move to monitor social media given up by Govt
By Lalit Sethi
Has the government of the day reached the sensible conclusion that with a General Election round the corner, it might as well abandon the move to set up social media hubs? Is it in this light that the Attorney-General considered it prudent to inform the Supreme Court that it had decided to drop the move to set up a new regulatory authority called the Data Protection Agency? On August 2, the Supreme Court was informed by the government that it had no intention of pursuing the proposal to create social media hubs across the country, perhaps realizing that they would be tools to monitor online activities of the citizens. The Court was hearing a petition by a Trinamool Congress MLA, Ms. Mahua Moitra, challenging what she called the intrusive moves. The Chief Justice, Mr. Dipak Mishra, and tw...
Kashmir Times News Report
Hothouse earth
By Gwynne Dyer
It would be churlish to ask what took them so long. Let us be grateful, instead, that the climate scientists are finally saying out loud what they all knew privately at least ten years ago. What sixteen of them are now saying, in an article in the 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences', is that if we don't soon get off the highway we are currently travelling on, we will be irrevocably committed to a 'Hothouse Earth'. How soon is 'soon'? Probably no more than ten to twenty years away. That's the last exit. The article has the usual low-key scientific title: 'Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene'. The authors never raise their voices, but they do point out that the likeliest of those trajectories - the one we will stay on even if all the promises in the 2015 Par...
Kashmir Times News Report
Whitewashing India's religious freedom
By Dr Mike Ghouse
India has an impeccable history of welcoming the stranger and giving refuge to the oppressed, rejected and the evicted. She has welcomed Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and the Baha'is. Indeed the very first mosque built outside of Arabia was in India by a Hindu King in the state of Malabar. The Tibetan Buddhist refugees found a home in India; the Ahmadiyya Muslims felt secure, so were the displaced Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees. This beautiful pluralistic 5000-year-old tradition of India is in peril now. BJP and its affiliates (The Sangh Parivar) that govern India "currently" are hell-bent on destroying that heritage. They want to force non-Hindus into obedience and tell them what they can eat or believe, and whom they can marry or live as 2nd class citizens. They want to free India fr...
Kashmir Times News Report
India and Trump's trade war gamble
US moves away from competition to tariff brinkmanship
B. Sivaraman
"US-China trade war can make Indian products competitive"- declared some newspaper headlines on 5 and 6 August 2018, reproducing verbatim the press release of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). One started wondering why the premier industry chambers in the country should just restrict itself to seeing only new opportunity opening up due to the unfolding trade war instead of expressing concern over the possible overall adverse fallout of it. After examining 818 product lines where the US has raised tariffs for imports from China, the CII claimed that "top exports from India to the US which are covered in the list of items for which tariffs have been hiked include pumps, parts of military aircraft, parts for electrodiagnostic apparatus, passenger vehicles of 1500-3000 cc, valve bo...
Kashmir Times News Report
Modi-Shah desperate to muzzle free press before polls
ABP news resignations are just the beginning of the progrom
Nitya Chakraborty
The latest reports about the resignations of two leading respected journalists of a national TV channel ABP News following the high pressure from the BJP ministers and the party bosses on the company management, only indicate that the ruling party leadership is becoming more and more desperate to muzzle whatever has remained of the independent press through its strong arm tactics and this will be stepped up more in the coming months preceding the crucial Lok Sabha polls in April/May 2019. All indications suggest that the action was the result of the journalistic audacity of the ABP News anchor Punya Prasoon Bajpai to carry out investigations on the spot to verify the claim made by a peasant woman of Chhattisgarh about the doubling of her income in a organized programme for the Pri...
Kashmir Times News Report
A beard is definitely a matter of identity!
Humra Quraishi
"I have every right to look a Muslim but, then, I could be attacked by Right -Wing goons prowling around with perhaps the sole objective to hound a Muslim." Last week's incident in Haryana's Gurgaon, of a teenaged Muslim boy, Jaffaruddin, subjected to not just communal onslaught but also forcibly pushed into a saloon and his beard shaved off, left me shaken. After all, this incident cannot be viewed in isolation. This entire summer the Muslim population of Gurgaon was apprehensive and worried of offering the Jumma namaaz/ Friday prayers. What, with Right-Wing goons all set to hound them. In fact, in a couple of places they were openly attacked. As Muslims had confided: it gets difficult to walk down on the streets of this suburb, if you happen to "look like a Musalmaan"! Bearded Muslims ...
Kashmir Times News Report
With a pinch of salt
World-Historical leaders
By Badri Raina
There is one thing common to Donald Trump, Narendra Modi and Imran Khan: they see themselves as world-historical leaders, above and beyond decrepit old systems and habits of thought and governance. Unburdened by the deep structures of history, they relish attacking problems in direct and uncomplicated ways. Thus, who would have thought Trump would set aside so much animosity and go meet with the dangerous Kim in Singapore? Or tell off his European allies on the issues of trade practices and NATO funding? Or break the Iran, the NAFTA, the Paris Accord agreements without winking an eye to established opinion? Likewise, who would have thought Modi would do a prime-time Demonitisation, a hug in Lahore, a Surgical Strike across the border, and what else? Ah yes, demolish the legacy of...
Kashmir Times News Report
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