A taste of judgment

The Supreme Court judgment striking down Section 377 has become a historic moment of celebration. Like any festival, there is a sense of joy, of liberation, of a storytelling that uncovers decades of silence. Between the euphoria, one senses the sulk of orthodox Muslim clerics and the disapproval of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which cautiously warns that homosexuality may not be criminal but it is definitely unnatural. Yet the judgment has struck a poetic chord of empathy among people, making one realize that in many ways the binary, homosexual/heterosexual, has been the master trope of the 21st century. As a master binary, its sense of dominant dualism has affected almost every other opposition from the natural/unnatural, private/public to masculine/feminine.
Shiv Visvanathan Sep 19, 2018 00:00 IST

Keep the curiosity alive

Somebody had asked me a few decades ago, "What kind of school do you want your school to be?" My answer was: a "thinking school". If I were to be asked the same question today, my answer would be the same. A book I read and a conference I attended, both recently, set me thinking about 'thinking' all over again. The book was Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison, and the conference was on 'The Idea of Culture' under the broad umbrella of 'History for Peace'.
Devi Kar Sep 19, 2018 00:00 IST

Hunger pangs

Correlations can be deceptive. It can be assumed, for example, that access to food would become easier with the rise in global wealth. But the reality, as indicated by a report published by the United Nations, belies such an expectation. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World has revealed that one of the main factors that have contributed to this anomaly is the iniquitous nature of global wealth. This, in turn, chronicles the sorry tale of the lopsidedness of purchasing power among different segments of society. 
Sep 19, 2018 00:00 IST

Fire city

It is ridiculous to ask what the causes are behind the Bagree market going up in flames. The question is whether there was any cause, any single cause, why the building should not have been engulfed by fire. Between April 2002 and March 2018, there have been 13 major fires in Calcutta - nine of them in markets and warehouses - with deaths, loss and waste. Now a major market has been added to the list. Calcutta's uniqueness in this sphere is hard won. The predominant causes common to all are traditional and unchanged - complete laxity in implementing fire-safety measures; blithe corruption in giving and renewing licences that ensure all requirements have been met; a total lack of monitoring; unchecked 'hooking' of electricity together with unregulated tangles of exposed wires; ancient wiring systems with increasing loads; overcrowded market spaces accommodating as many traders as can squeeze in; casually unscientific systems of storing flammable commodities so that the minimum is spent on safety, and an overall attitude of easy-going but consuming greed that ignores not just civic sense but also, stupidly enough, the future.
Sep 19, 2018 00:00 IST

Read the fine print; Missed chance

Read the fine print

• Sir - On a visit to a well-known music store, I was pleasantly surprised ... | Read»

Missed chance

• Sir - While speaking to reporters in London, Vijay Mallya stated that he ... | Read»

Sep 19, 2018 00:00 IST

The lion's share

Thomas Piketty is famous for his detailed studies of income distribution. Recently, he published his results on income distribution in India since 1922, together with his colleague, Lucas Chancel, in the World Inequality Lab. They are striking and, unless one is an unreformed rightist, disturbing.
Writing on the wall
Ashok V. Desai
Sep 18, 2018 00:00 IST

Data plans

The Original Series, and used single-handed removable read/write memory media much before the invention of the 3.5-inch floppy disks of the late 1980s. Science fiction has always showed the way for data storage, much ahead of time. For example, the Platinum Alloy Disc for data record storage in the book, Triplanetary (1934), by E.E. 'Doc' Smith, was certainly the DVDs of the 1930s.
Atanu Biswas Sep 18, 2018 00:00 IST

System glitch

The response of the former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan, to the parliamentary estimates committee's query on non-performing assets has triggered off the usual fault-finding exercise. According to the former governor, NPAs began to grow rapidly during the United Progressive Alliance government's time and then continued in the National Democratic Alliance regime. 
Sep 18, 2018 00:00 IST

More poison

The environment makes poor business sense. This seems to be the bedrock of the philosophy propounded by the president of the United States of America. What else can explain Donald Trump's repeated attempts to weaken institutions that seek to safeguard what is left of threatened ecosystems around the world. 
Sep 18, 2018 00:00 IST

New hope; Historic haul; Time for change; Parting shot

New hope

• Sir - It is a matter of great joy that a lioness in South Africa successf... | Read»

Historic haul

• Sir - India's performance at the recently-concluded Asian Games in Jakart... | Read»

Time for change

• Sir - It was heartening to learn that the Union health ministry has decid... | Read»

Parting shot

• Sir - Last month, I had left my jacket in the air-conditioned chair car o... | Read»

Sep 18, 2018 00:00 IST

Crony fugitives

Arun Jaitley, widely regarded as the most articulate minister in the Narendra Modi government, added a strange phrase - "factually false" - to the nation's vocabulary last week.
Worm's Eye View
Manini Chatterjee
Sep 17, 2018 00:00 IST


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