A perfect balance

Many Western democracies are characterized by the alternation of power at the national level between two parties, one somewhat left of centre, the other somewhat right of centre. Thus, in the United States of America, you have the Republicans and the Democrats, in the United Kingdom the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, in Germany the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats. In each case, a two-party system has given the country and its politics stability and solidity. Having a strong party in Opposition has acted as a check on the party in government. It has been a spur to efficient governance, and a deterrent to corruption and the abuse of power.
POLITICS AND PLAYRamachandra Guha May 26, 2018 00:00 IST

Treadmill time

What shines through the digital images of ministers executing strenuous drills as a part of the Fitness Challenge is the BJP's mastery of the art of political spin
May 26, 2018 00:00 IST

True crime

True crime

• Sir - I regularly travel on the Katwa-Burdwan local train. A few days ago... | Read»

May 26, 2018 00:00 IST

Everyday violence

Violence has become so ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives that, shamefully, it ceases to appal us as it should. I think of innocents killed during elections in this state; I think of young people beaten up by middle-class moral police in this city. And I see that after a few days of horror and righteous indignation, life goes on while the initiators of intimidation get away untouched, thereby encouraged to raise their fists again whenever they feel like it. The first response now appears to be to come to blows. What happened to Bengal's proverbially bhadra society? To appropriate Michael Madhusudan Dutt's title, is this called civilization?
Ananda Lal May 26, 2018 00:00 IST

Lyrical story

Lyrical and enigmatic, Odissi Vision and Movement Centre's Murchhana - the eternal spirit of music seeks to tell the story of the mrudanga. It does so in a radiantly legible calligraphy of intemperate beauty which is embellished with elegant metaphors. The theme embraces three popular myths surrounding the mrudanga and re-imagines them in a rich narrative to celebrate the soul of music.
Kathakali Jana May 26, 2018 00:00 IST

A visceral reflection

For his recent solo show at Harrington Street Arts Centre, Samir Roy channelled the darkest recesses of his imagination, his Innerscape, into his art. So overwhelming was the outpouring, so cathartic, that it demanded an outlet of different genres: drawings, assemblages, sculptures and an installation, several works quite imposing in size.
Rita Datta May 26, 2018 00:00 IST

A new pilgrimage

"You are greater than your deeds,/ That's why the chariot of your life/ Leaves your deeds behind/ time and again."
Sheikh Hasina May 25, 2018 00:00 IST

United Front

India, much to the chagrin of the Bharatiya Janata Party, is yet to be free - mukt - of an Opposition. There were signs of a resurgence in Opposition ranks at the ceremony to appoint H.D. Kumaraswamy the chief minister of Karnataka. The bonhomie that was evident among the leaders of the regional parties has, however, been necessitated by electoral arithmetic. In Karnataka, the Congress and Mr Kumaraswamy's party, the Janata Dal (Secular), had been compelled to come together to keep the BJP out of power. The template of such an unusual union had been set earlier. In the by-elections to Phulpur and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party - bitter rivals under ordinary circumstances - joined hands to decimate the BJP at the hustings. This triumph in a state where the BJP is in power had led to an important reassessment of the political situation on the part of the Opposition. Even in 2014, when the BJP swept the general elections, its vote share had only been a little over 30 per cent. This makes it clear that Opposition parties are in a position to stop the BJP juggernaut if they were to take on, not one another but, the saffron party unitedly. Regional parties, energized by the outcome in Karnataka, are working on forging a bigger confederation as the parliamentary polls draw near.
May 25, 2018 00:00 IST

Strange gap

Science can only help, but its abuse is often evil. The same holds true for technology. This is because technology can be used to violate the very principle behind its invention. The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, is, in the opinion of a group of doctors, a case in point. 
May 25, 2018 00:00 IST

Some Tumult

Battle lines are hardening after the United States of America pulled out of the nuclear pact with Iran. The most significant fault line is developing between Europe and the US. The Donald Trump administration is in no mood to relent on its decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in order to put pressure on Tehran. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed in 2015 by the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, Germany and the US with Iran to curb Iranian nuclear activities in return of the lifting of sanctions by the United Nations, the US and Europe on Tehran. After repeatedly denouncing the Obama-era pact, Trump finally decided to pull the plug on the deal. The US has sanctioned six people and three companies for their ties with Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Harsh V. Pant May 25, 2018 00:00 IST

Eating away at troubles; Tables turned; Stress factor

Eating away at troubles

• Sir - Guppies are kept mostly for ornamental purposes. But they can becom... | Read»

Tables turned

• Sir - It seems like the Bharatiya Janata Party politician, B.S. Yeddyurap... | Read»

Stress factor

• Sir - A father throwing a party to celebrate his son's failure in board e... | Read»

May 25, 2018 00:00 IST


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