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Opinion

Song sung true

In some Western countries, copyright to an author's work lapses 75 years after his or her death. In India, the time period is slightly shorter: 60 years. Thus, until 2001 the copyright in Rabindranath Tagore's writings was vested with Santiniketan; till 2008, it was Navajivan Press which controlled access to Mahatma Gandhi's oeuvre. The copyright in Jawaharlal Nehru's writings will be with Sonia Gandhi until May 2024.
Politics and play - Ramachandra Guha Jun 23, 2018 00:00 IST

Come together

No matter how many walls are built, the power of food crosses borders and brings people together. This month, the third annual Refugee Food Festival is being celebrated around the world. It was started by French citizens in Paris in 2016, and developed by the non-profit group, Food Sweet Food, in collaboration with the United Nations Refugee Agency, also known as the UNHCR. It aims to help change the perception of refugees in France and to bring people together over food.
Suhashini Sarkar Jun 23, 2018 00:00 IST

A haunting refrain

When a gallery is small and the show conceived is biggish, hosting it in instalments turns a drawback into a strategic deviation from the norm. Which is why Art Multi-disciplines decided that the five young participants it wished to present mustn't be herded into a single show because they deserved exclusive exposure as Raconteurs in a string of five 'episodes' to tell their separate stories at length.
Visual Arts - Rita Datta Jun 23, 2018 00:00 IST

Polar opposites

Two modern classics in Bengali avatars, about famous artists at the ends of their lives, exemplify the polar opposites of theatrical transference. Jadavpur Manthan merits plaudits for choosing Ibsen's final testament, When We Dead Awaken, neglected because it transcends his usual realistic perimeters. A double ovation because Rajib Bardhan opts for a translation (Satya Bhaduri's Jaganiya Mritajan), not adaptation, given Indian directorial apprehensions against the former approach. But one should always consult a recent translation, in this case the New Penguin Ibsen, for greater accuracy.
Theatre - Ananda Lal Jun 23, 2018 00:00 IST

Fare fright; False, says MoH; Parting shot

Fare fright

• Sir - The article, "Taxi torment: Fare up, meter up" (June 18), was timel... | Read»

False, says MoH

• Sir - This has reference to the news item titled "In the hot seat but 'ke... | Read»

Parting shot

• Sir - It was heartening to learn that the superintendent of the Bolpur su... | Read»

Jun 23, 2018 00:00 IST

One Nation, One Leader

The rise of authoritarianism around the world, as is evident from new research, holds a mirror up to democracy's failings
Jun 23, 2018 00:00 IST

Out of depth and content

Chalochitre Rabindranath will always be a clincher, not for the novelty of the theme but for the sheer magnetic connection. The event held by Radius at the G.D. Birla Sabhaghar held immense potential. But it kept meandering in the labyrinth of depth and content.
Music - Samarjit Guha Jun 23, 2018 00:00 IST

The violence within

Religion is supposed to offer two things to ordinary mortals. The first is a prescription for living well in the here and now, with the general guidelines supposedly given by a supreme power beyond our ken. The second thing most religions offer is the comfort of a better future, or a new life, under the care of the supreme being. There are, of course, variations on this theme. The major Western religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam offer an interpretation of the world as it is and emphasize the importance of prayer and social rules that improve the quality of the present life. Eastern religions, on the other hand, like Hinduism, Buddhism or Confucianism only offer rules for a better individual way of living, which, if everyone followed them, could make the world a better place. No version of the good life includes violence and coercion as permissible features. If nobody wishes to be at the receiving end of violence and coercion then it cannot be acceptable as a rule. Yet we do see frequent and pervasive violence and coercion in the name of religion. That of course leads to the well-known argument that a god or the supreme being is either not all-powerful or not all-good. The purpose here is not to get into the philosophical debate about the existence of god. Rather, the purpose is to examine the roots of violence that religion breeds across the board.
Anup Sinha Jun 22, 2018 00:00 IST

Wrong Number

Hatred has the attribute of erasing some differences in order to emphasize others. It relies on this paradox to impel acts of discrimination in the most unexpected spheres. How it poisons all transactions, social and professional, was exemplified by the exchange between a telecommunications company and one of its customers, presumably a professional person from Lucknow. The customer complained about the telecom company's direct-to-home service, at which the company sent a standard message about looking into it. The name appended at the end of the message was one from the minority community, leading the customer first to express her lack of faith in the executive's "working ethics" and then to demand a "Hindu" representative. In this first stage, what is obvious is that the frank hatred permeating the country since 2014 is encouraging crude expressions of hostility at the drop of a hat. The invisible guard of propriety, the desire to appear educated and modern, the unthinking reflexes of civility have all vanished.
Jun 22, 2018 00:00 IST

Distant hope

The cure for a lot of illnesses is sometimes a simple pill. At present, the ailing healthcare system in India could use a similar prescription. According to a study conducted in three blocks in Tamil Nadu, improving the condition of health sub-centres in the country can lead to a marked reduction in medical expenses. If HSCs are properly functional, out-of-pocket expenses would fall from an average of Rs 336 to less than five rupees for each patient. This is particularly relevant for India, where such expenditure comprises almost 62 per cent of total medical costs. Moreover, the government also stands to benefit by empowering HSCs. It will save at least Rs 200 in the cost of care for every out-patient diverted from higher public medical facilities to HSCs.
Jun 22, 2018 00:00 IST

Big worry

The theme of World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5, was plastic pollution. While this is a major global environment concern, there are several other local issues that need immediate attention. In West Bengal, this is the groundwater crisis. According to the state Pollution Control Board, in more than half of the blocks of Bengal, the water level is falling by 20 centimetres a year on average. In tandem, arsenic and fluoride contamination is also increasing. In rural areas, drinking water supply is largely dependent on non-electrified tube wells. Many such tube wells have already failed, while many of them are yielding contaminated water, creating a drinking water crisis. The falling water table has also led to the drying up of many water bodies, with a serious impact on local flora, fauna and the ecology.
Nitya Nanda Jun 22, 2018 00:00 IST

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