Hidden behind the shelves

The American Library Association is observing National Library Week in the United States of America from April 8 to 14. India celebrates National Librarian's Day on August 12, the birth anniversary of the great library science exponent, S.R. Ranganathan. The word 'National' in the latter instance simply means an occasion observed throughout the nation: there is no special reference to the National Library, still surviving far from the capital, in a beleagured Calcutta.
Swapan Chakravorty Apr 13, 2018 00:00 IST

Growing menace; Name game; Made to suffer

• Sir - A lot has been said and written about the bad traffic situation in the city of Hyderabad, yet nothing much has been done about the problem. Several people have highlighted the hindrance that construction works pose to the flow of vehicular traffic. It seems that almost the entire city is routinely dug up for some project or the other. As a result, commuters remain stuck in traffic for hours.
Apr 13, 2018 00:00 IST

Stand guard for the nation

A man in fatigues stood staring at the barbed wire fence. On the other side stretched the plains of Bangladesh, while behind him stood four bamboo poles, propping up a broken thatch for protection from the elements. As far as the eye could see, there was no other person on the horizon.
Sudipta Bhattacharjee Apr 13, 2018 00:00 IST

Take a fresh look

WITH RESPECT TO SEX: NEGOTIATING HIJRA IDENTITY IN SOUTH INDIA (Yoda, Rs 395) by Gayatri Reddy complicates the way in which the community is perceived across most of the country.

Apr 13, 2018 00:00 IST

The price of safety

Perhaps the most regressive and unsatisfactory measure in the budget for 2018-19 was the increase in customs duty on several items. Arun Jaitley claimed that this was a move to promote domestic industry and revive the rather dormant 'Make in India' campaign. Tariff protection and the more extreme quantitative restrictions formed an important plank of Indian economic policy till the 1980s, but were gradually given up for very good reasons. Instead, slowly but steadily, India has embraced globalization along with many other countries. Jaitley's action certainly turned the clock back.
Bhaskar Dutta Apr 12, 2018 00:00 IST

A heavy penalty to pay

What does it mean to have a fundamental right to privacy, when sharing of privacy is an everyday affair? What does it seek to protect? Can it be 'waived' or 'taken away'? When someone shares their personal information with others — including the State — for a particular purpose, does it amount to a waiver, and do they, thereafter, have no control over that information?
Nupur Chowdhury Apr 12, 2018 00:00 IST

Remote Control

The autonomy of key institutions has made it to the endangered list in India. A shadow allegedly hangs over the media and even the judiciary — that of an authoritarian central government. Some state governments are emulating the Centre in this respect. The Trinamul Congress, which carps about the strong-arm tactic of the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre, seems to have taken a leaf out of its arch-rival's book. It is being alleged, not without reason, that the TMC forced the state election commission to scrap a notification that had sought to extend the window for submitting nomination papers for the upcoming panchayat elections. There are reports that influential ministers had been dispatched to make the state election commissioner comply to the wishes of the ruling party. The state BJP had taken up the matter with the Supreme Court, which has asked the party to approach the Calcutta High Court. The latter stayed the commission's decision to extend nomination proceedings.
Apr 12, 2018 00:00 IST

Fight for logic

Matters must really come to a head for people all over the world to organize and march in protest. Last year, in the wake of Donald Trump's inauguration as the president of the United States of America, women around the globe marched to express their objections to human rights violations. Earlier this year, tens of thousands of farmers in Maharashtra marched barefoot for hours to demand government action over issues such as loan waivers and land rights. Now, India's scientific community plans to come together a second time and organize marches across cities to protest against the government's perceived attack on science and rational thinking in the country. Their worries are not unfounded; pseudoscience has been eclipsing scientific research in India. Not only has the ruling dispensation conflated science with mythology and superstition by propagating questionable theories - plastic surgery originated in ancient India, cow urine is beneficial to human health, women can decide the destinies of their children in the foetal stage - but actual funding for scientific research in India has steadily nosedived.
Apr 12, 2018 00:00 IST

Thoughtful gesture; Perilous trend; Parting shot

Thoughtful gesture

• Sir - It is generous of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to have asked thei... | Read»

Perilous trend

• Sir - Sankarshan Thakur's article, "A scorpion curled" (April 6), was hon... | Read»

Parting shot

• Sir - The chief minister of West Bengal repeatedly insists that lakhs of ... | Read»

Apr 12, 2018 00:00 IST

Controlled democracy

"Pakistani democracy is like a vehicle that the prime minister may be steering but those driving it are invisible people sitting on the backseat. Such a vehicle is doomed to meet a terrible accident," said Farhatullah Babar at the Asma Jahangir Convention on Sunday. The former senator's words are not far from the truth.
Mehmal Sarfraz Apr 11, 2018 00:00 IST

Beguiled by the world wide web

In the context of discussions on the changing role of education confronted by the apparently inexhaustible resources now available on the world wide web, I wish to pinpoint in no uncertain terms where the Web fails in the classroom, to remove the increasing delusion that it could be a panacea for all educational ills.
Ananda Lal Apr 11, 2018 00:00 IST


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