Grinning malice

Sometimes the news cycle makes you feel like you were living under a rock. I had never heard of Anthony Bourdain till he died. I felt ambushed by the avalanche of praise and lamentation that his suicide set in motion. I thought to myself, for heaven's sake, the man wrote about restaurant food. I read a blurb that claimed reading him was like reading Elizabeth David channelled by Quentin Tarantino which made me feel even more hostile because everyone knows (or should) that David on food (like Pauline Kael on film) stands alone on Everest.
Mukul Kesavan Jun 21, 2018 00:00 IST

Endgame in Syria

The most complex problem in international relations today is Syria. What in 2011 began as a peaceful manifestation of grievances stimulated by the Arab spring against the regime dominated by a minority Alawite elite led by the president, Bashar al-Assad, was transformed by an excessive show of government force into a bitter civil conflict that attracted the interventions of regional and international powers.
Krishnan Srinivasan Jun 21, 2018 00:00 IST

Running away

There is no doubting the Bharatiya Janata Party's fleet-footedness. What else can explain its decision to jump ship - the metaphorical vessel, in this case, being restive Kashmir? Many things were, of course, uncommon between the Peoples Democratic Party and the BJP that had come together to rule Jammu and Kashmir with a commitment to honour the 'common minimum programme'. 
Jun 21, 2018 00:00 IST

Well promoted

The government of West Bengal has legislated a separate West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act, distinct from the Central Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, which protects homebuyers from the pressures exerted by promoters and developers. Three distinct clauses in the West Bengal act have caused concern among buyers in the sense that there might be a dilution of the provisions of the Central act.
Jun 21, 2018 00:00 IST

Felled giants; Cruel practice; Downward slide; Water woes

Felled giants

• Sir - The democratization of football is evident not from quantity but qu... | Read»

Cruel practice

• Sir - The number of manual scavengers across 12 states in India has incre... | Read»

Downward slide

• Sir - The number of Master's degree holders who appeared for the Group D ... | Read»

Water woes

• Sir - The Telegraph has rightly highlighted the problem of waterlogging i... | Read»

Jun 21, 2018 00:00 IST

The invisible class

G.K. Chesterton has a well-known detective story involving Father Brown called "The Invisible Man", where 'invisibility' is supposed to characterize the postman: one is so used to seeing the postman come and go that one scarcely ever notices him. 'Invisibility' in Chesterton's sense, however, can get attached not just to an individual but to a whole class; and in our country, the peasantry undoubtedly is the 'invisible class'. The peasantry has been called many things by many people, from "a sack of potatoes" to "an awkward class". But it is above all an 'invisible class' whose presence, and providing of essentials to the urban population, is taken so much for granted that it is scarcely ever noticed by those who get these essentials. How else can one explain the fact that literally all discussions of the economy occur these days with no reference whatsoever to the plight of the peasantry?
Prabhat Patnaik Jun 20, 2018 00:00 IST

A different kind of motherhood

Now that we have finished with our commercially-dictated tributes to mothers and motherhood - May 13 was 'Mother's Day' - it is time to look at the real situation of mothers in our country. Mothers cannot live only on yearly declarations of love. Their families as well as public servants need to be more accountable to their well-being. India has a rich tradition of worshipping 'mothers', so rich that we even venerate another species. It is worth exploring how this worship translates into the lived experiences of mothers in India.
Alaka M. Basu Jun 20, 2018 00:00 IST

Tight squeeze

The Reserve Bank of India has started to tighten the screws on companies that depend on large working capital limits to run day-to-day operations. Back in April, the central bank had ordered large borrowers to pay a fee and commit to a withdrawal of the sanctioned funds in an ostensible move to tamp down on the volatility in utilization of cash credit limits. Companies usually tap this short-term financing window to tide over cash shortages that arise because of the cyclical nature of their business. Most borrowers with a good credit history have been able to access the working capital tap without having to stump up collaterals. But this credit revolving facility had thrown up problems for banks at a time when they were flush with cash but had started to see tepid growth in corporate credit. The RBI stepped in by first forcing banks to charge a commitment fee for working capital sanctioned limits. It also said that large borrowers would have to stipulate a 'loan component' in their fund-based working capital finance.
Jun 20, 2018 00:00 IST

New lesson

There need not be only one way to inculcate patriotism, although certain parties may disagree. The Catholic church in India has decided to do this by introducing its two-year-old plan of giving lessons on the Constitution in the schools it runs, beginning with a detailed study of the Preamble. The constitutional values of equality, secularism, justice, unity and freedom would not only be absorbed by pupils through academic lessons, but they would also be made part of their lived experience through various activities. This cannot be anything but laudable, although ordinarily such a programme might not have attracted much attention. Many of the schools do learn constitutional values in their moral science classes but, clearly, this is a far more methodical exercise. What is most interesting about it is the timing. The bitter accusations from the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party and his less decorated colleagues that greeted the pastoral letters of the archbishops of Delhi and Goa that mentioned turbulent political times, danger to the Constitution and 'monoculturalism' seem to be the immediate context of the church's decision. Nothing in India is untouched by politics in these times.
Jun 20, 2018 00:00 IST

Scorching heat; Violent move

Scorching heat

• Sir - It is almost July but it feels like May. That is because Calcutta, ... | Read»

Violent move

• Sir - The murder of the editor and founder of Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Buk... | Read»

Jun 20, 2018 00:00 IST

Improved model

After Independence, India got Congress governments bent on doing something for the poor. None of their schemes quite worked for the poor; each one worked for one or other politician. So they started scheme after scheme; by the time 
Writing On The Wall
Ashok V. Desai
Jun 19, 2018 00:00 IST


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