Refugees and resources

Three kinds of argument are usually advanced against allowing an influx of refugees into a country, each of which has been invoked by the ruling party with regard to the so-called 'Bangladeshi influx' into Assam. The first of these sees a security threat to the country arising from such an influx; and the use of the word, 'infiltrator' for these hapless people, which typically conjures up images of ISI-trained terrorists clandestinely crossing from Pakistan into Kashmir to create trouble, is a deliberate and mischievous ploy to underscore this threat. But obviously nobody can seriously believe that four million people living peacefully for years in a particular region, who, let us make the absurd assumption for argument's sake, are all immigrants from Bangladesh, can suddenly pose a security threat, that too when India's relation with that country has been generally free of conflict.
Prabhat Patnaik Aug 15, 2018 00:00 IST

Two days of celebration

Post-colonial India has a few achievements to celebrate. Some of them come with a date that can be observed across the country but are not. December 16, 1971 and June 30, 1986 are two such dates Indians can celebrate.
Subir Bhaumik Aug 15, 2018 00:00 IST

Ideas at War

A statesman had once said that youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle and old age a regret. In the case of India, a septuagenarian nation - it turns 71 today- the regrets may well be explained by a peculiar set of contradictions. In spite of an impressive growth rate, the country is yet to win its battle against poverty seven decades after its creation. India possesses some of the world's richest ecological hot spots; yet it remains unmindful of the wilful decimation of its environment. Centres of quality education remain out of reach for the dispossessed. The health of this populous country is managed with meagre allocations in the budget. Discrimination on the basis of caste and gender and its attendant violence continue unabated. These failings, undoubtedly, have been shared by every elected dispensation since Independence. Curiously, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party can stake claim to a unique achievement. No other government has faced such consistent criticism for imperilling the idea of India itself.
Aug 15, 2018 00:00 IST

Guns out

It seems that the gun jammed. Therefore, the question whether Umar Khalid, a former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University against whom the still unproven charge of sedition was brought in 2016, was about to be shot or was being merely threatened cannot be answered. There is another question. Since Mr Khalid slipped away from his assailant's grasp, will this be considered a hate crime? Already Meenakshi Lekhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party member of parliament, has suggested that the police must discover whether this was a "propaganda mechanism" or a "security threat". Propaganda for what? And whose security? Mr Khalid was about to join a meeting called by United Against Hate in the Constitution Club on Rafi Marg, close to Parliament House and next to houses of MPs and certain ministries. Naturally, it is heavily policed, with security strengthened close to Independence Day. Mr Khalid's attacker, though, knew exactly whom to go for. Ms Lekhi was probably secure.
Aug 15, 2018 00:00 IST

Take care; Tall leader

• Sir - Amid the uproar over cow protection in India, it is ironic that 18 cows recently died of suffocation and negligence in a panchayat-run shelter in Chhattisgarh. Numerous cows have died in the past in the state's shelters, which are equipped to accommodate stray cows as well. India's approach towards these animals is puzzling. While they are considered sacred by many, India is one of the leading exporters of beef in the world. Until recently, the cow was mostly considered important for its cultural and economic value. Now it has been politicized, and mob violence is carried out in its name.
Aug 15, 2018 00:00 IST

Season's flavours

Well before it starts, two different sets of friends tell me they have tickets for two different days of the Lord's Test. This puts me in a bad mood. Why couldn't they have thought of asking me if I also wanted to buy a ticket at an extortionate 40 pounds? In London, I watch the first Test on TV surrounded by hot sunlight, wondering if the British security services had managed to get the Americans to use their HAARP technology to tweak the weather over Birmingham. The ball swings, our batting fails except for VK in the first innings, and we lose by not a huge margin. Ah, well, no doubt Team India will come back strongly at Lord's, what a pity about that ticket I don't have.
The Thin Edge
Ruchir Joshi
Aug 14, 2018 00:00 IST

Just Fast

Last March, the Centre admitted to the Supreme Court that 36 per cent of sitting members of parliament and members of legislative assemblies were facing trial in 3,045 criminal cases. The nation faces a peculiar dilemma here. The Representation of the People Act debars anyone from continuing as a legislator once he or she is convicted in a court of 
Aug 14, 2018 00:00 IST

Cut Off

The clarion call of 'development' in the digital age has little meaning in a nation where a significant section of the population is excluded from its ambit. This is what seems to have happened in India, as a study conducted by an information and communications technology policy think tank, LIRNEAsia, has found. According to the report, the gender 
Aug 14, 2018 00:00 IST

Power of data

India observes Statistics Day on June 29 to mark the birth anniversary of P.C. Mahalanobis, the architect of the most credible official statistical system in post-Independence India. The National Sample Survey Directorate was first set up under the ministry of finance in 1950; it aimed to collect data in the areas that are vital for developmental planning.
Sabir Ahamed Aug 14, 2018 00:00 IST

Puzzling enthusiasm; Another shock; Parting shot

Puzzling enthusiasm

• Sir - The iconic Swedish home furnishing brand, IKEA, recently opened its... | Read»

Another shock

• Sir - It is a matter of shame that incidents of sexual violence against m... | Read»

Parting shot

• Sir - It is high time that the National Highways Authority of India paid ... | Read»

In the dark

• Sir — The police are lackadaisical in their night-patrolling in Anisabad.... | Read»

Poor defence

• Sir — Justice should be meted out to the girls who were drugged and raped... | Read»

Smart move 

• Sir — The state government recently announced new incentives for doctors ... | Read»

Aug 14, 2018 00:00 IST

Nooks of the past

The last few decades, especially since the time of B.R. Ambedkar's birth centenary, have seen active interest in recovering Dalit history. Scholars and activists have shown alacrity in seeking the origins of a modern Dalit identity. An outcome of this search has been the discovery of Iyothee Thass Pandithar (1845-1914), the radical Dalit thinker who has now become a household name, at least in Tamil Nadu. 
A.R. Venkatachalapathy Aug 13, 2018 00:00 IST


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