Commentary News

Bonjour India, Namaste France

Cultural and scholarly fascination has ensured that India and France remain deeply engaged as societies. Relations between them as states have proved enduring since Charles de Gaulle's era due to a fundamental affinity born of common values and a shared passion for independence in foreign affairs. This vital relationship, showcased astutely during President Francois Hollande's recent visit to India, is characterized by three Ss - Synergy, Sovereignty and Stability. A concise 21-paragraph joint statement reflects the two governments' faith in independence, strategic autonomy and strengthened multilateralism.

Arab Spring and Maghreb: Morocco's distinctive model

The winds of the 'Arab Spring' were channeled by Morocco to expand and consolidate democracy and accelerate the pace of political reforms. His Majesty,The King Mohammed VI, announced in March 2011 a profound constitutional reform, which was largely supported by the Moroccan people through a referendum.

Time for Kerala media to introspect

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 16 (IANS) Even as the three pillars of democracy -- legislature, executive and judiciary -- come under routine scrutiny and churning, the fourth estate in Kerala, however, has few occasions to look inward and retrospect.

Mamata's Bengal: 'Pariborton' for the worse!

Nowhere is the politician-criminal nexus more apparent at present than in West Bengal. As much was evident yet again from the nonchalant manner in which a hoodlum shot dead a police officer in a crowded place in Kolkata's Garden Reach area in broad daylight during a spell of disturbances over a students union election.

Love is not blind, it's in the mind!

Though Valentine's Day originally did not have anything to do with love, today it's the symbol of romantic love. The phenomenon of love can be explored from multiple lenses like biological, emotional and mental levels.

India's universities crying for better leadership

India's higher and professional education system is passing through a phase that is turbulent, non-directional and unsustainable.

Modi and mandir: Hobson's choice for BJP

Narendra Modi may have performed with aplomb at his first appearance in Delhi after his election victory in Gujarat, but it is too early to say whether the pitch which the chief minister made for moving to the national stage will be successful.

Management lessons from Kumbh

There are management lessons for leaders in large gatherings and events. Look at an event like the Kumbh Mela in India and explore what makes it a success. This largest gathering on earth has naked sadhus to Wall Street bankers floating in a temporary city created every 12 years at the confluence of three holy rivers in Allahabad. The temporary city is laid out on a grid, constructed and deconstructed within a matter of weeks.

Afzal Guru: Ends of justice and of politics

The government took a longer time to hang Afzal Guru than it did in Ajmal Kasab's case but, ultimately, the ends of justice have been met in both instances.

No India think tank in Global 50!

Not one Indian think tank figures in the Global 50 annual list for 2012 released by the University of Pennsylvania end-January. China beats India in this area as well and so do, in some specific cases, think tanks from such countries as Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Egypt and Argentina.

Better deal in offing for property buyers

An order by anti-trust regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) against realty major DLF, amending its agreement with apartment buyers of three different projects and making it more equitable and fair, may well pave the way for a model pact for property sales to ensure fair play in transactions.

Faith stifles free speech in India

Both Hindu and Muslim fanatics are up in arms against artistic and literary freedom in India. One of their targets is the old "sinner" Salman Rushdie. But there are two others.

Beware of being catfished online!

You can't fish without bait. But in the wake of a high-profile episode involving a college athlete and his fictitious girlfriend, experts warn that "catfishing" - online romance through deception - is a rising internet risk with potentially dangerous consequences.

Cultural terrorism: Idea of India threatened

Shah Rukh Khan one day and Kamal Haasan the next. Is it mere coincidence or a sign of an increasingly knee-jerk, reactionary India that two of its most loved film icons are forced to go public to painstakingly reassert their secular identity and insist, in case the message is lost, that they are proud Indians?

What's at the core of Apple's next big thing?

A look at Apple's finances suggests the company that revolutionised the music, computer, smart phone and tablet industries is thriving. Its more than $40 billion in profits for fiscal 2012 were more than any non-oil company has earned ever.

Gandhi's saintly value system

Gandhi, the Mahatma, was truly a citizen of the world though he worked for the freedom of the Indian nation from foreign yoke. Though a Brahmin by birth, humanity was his religion.

The how and why of Shia killings in Pakistan

On Jan 10, over 100 people were killed and 200 injured in a spate of bombings in Quetta that were clearly targeted against the Shia Hazara community. Just 10 days earlier, a convoy of buses carrying Shia pilgrims was targeted at Mastung. On Jan 18, a Shia legislator belonging to the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), along with his armed security guards, was assassinated. Two members of the Sunni sectarian outfit, Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jamaat, were also killed in Karachi the same day.

India's K-15 launch: Defence scientists do nation proud

The reason why nations place a significant part of their nuclear arsenals on board nuclear-propelled ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) is because of their invulnerability, in comparison with static airforce bases and missile sites or even mobile launchers. Once at its patrol station, a few hundred meters underwater, the SSBN is considered safe from prying sensors, including satellites.

The conflict in Mali: Time India spoke, acted

"Going to Timbuktu". This bit of a statement, made often in jest in metropolitan India, refers to some distant, exotic place on a corner of the earth. But for the clued up and those who care to find out, Timbuktu is the fabled city at the southern edge of the Sahara in Mali whose commercial and cultural riches attracted many for centuries.

Obama's big plans for India: What to expect?

As US President Barack Obama heads into his legacy-shaping second term in office, assumptions, expectations and suggestions abound about what his administration could mean for India with which he professes to have enduring ties.

Winds of change are blowing, but mindsets need a changing

There is more patrolling, a 24x7 helpline, promise of gender training of police, protests and what not. But ask any young unescorted woman on Delhi's roads whether she feels any safer a month after the Dec 16 gang-rape and the answer will be a sad "No".

For political gain, government needs to act firm

Whether because of political ineptitude, administrative lapses or sheer bad luck, the government's woes do not seem to end. As a result, it always appears to be on the back foot.

Women are equal, men need to manage the change

Management of change is always a challenging task and change is always resisted in any organisation or society. What the country has been witnessing and seized with in the last fortnight after the rape and brutal injury of a Delhi girl has shamed one and all. May her soul rest in peace.

A prospective PM cannot be a part-timer

By disappearing during the widespread popular protests in Delhi against the gang-rape and death of a 23-year-old paramedical student, Rahul Gandhi hasn't done his prime ministerial chances any good.

Women's security: Time to establish accountability

Leaderless and unorganised groups of young men and women have been demonstrating demanding women's security and just punishment to perpetrators of the Delhi gang-rape.

'Worst Communicators of the Year' award should go to government

Billionaire Warren Buffet once said that reputation is built through a set of consistent actions and behaviour over decades and it is destroyed within minutes.

Piracy remains a global security threat

Somali pirates have finally released the Panama-flagged merchant vessel MV Iceberg 1, along with six Indian sailors who were on board. Taken captive in March 2010, the owner of the cargo ship had stopped negotiations with the pirates, whilst also not paying any compensation to the sailor's families. These sailors had been held hostage for 33 months, the longest captivity period inflicted by pirates till date. Most of them have suffered signs of physical torture and illness.

Ratan Tata: Responsible leadership, conscious capitalism

Much is written and known about the business success of the Tata Group, the global acquisitions and Ratan Tata's role in them. Here's a look at Tata, who steps down as chairman of this $100-billion global empire Friday, not just as a successful business leader but also as an ideal role model who is responsible and authentic, while integrating inner values with outer actions.

With 'Abenomics' back, India looks at Tokyo

New Delhi, Dec 26 (IANS) n Hopes are high in India as Shinzo Abe, leader of Japan's pro-business Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Wednesday returned as prime minister with an agenda to revive the economy and overhaul foreign policy.

Streets to Tweets: Social media topped India's tech trends

What a year! Many in India, especially youth who haven't been through worse, will remember 2012 as the worst of times. It saw serial attempts across parts of the world, and specifically in India and China, to suppress Internet freedom. The use of our Information Technology Act's draconian section 66A (finally challenged in a friendly Supreme Court) led to arrests for tweets and Facebook posts, including for pressing "like" on them.

Is Santa Claus Finn, Norwegian or Turk?

Even though my best memories of Christmas are associated with Lucknow of the '60s, a Christmas experience I find difficult to forget is my meeting with the "Real Santa Claus" some years ago. Let me share this experience with you.

Putin visit: Krishna to Kudankulam on Indian agenda

Exactly a year ago, a news-break by IANS rocked the Indian parliament about an imminent legal ban on the Bhagvad Gita, Hinduism's revered text and philosophical treatise, in Russia, forcing Moscow's intervention. The crisis blew over and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), the official name of the Hare Krishna Movement, continued to exercise the right to distribute the Gita's Russian translation.

Big B donates Rs.11 lakh to CIFF

Chennai, Dec 20 (IANS) Megastar Amitabh Bachchan donated Rs. 11 lakh towards the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) as a token of appreciation.

Modi's success can deepen BJP's divisive image

The three-dimensional images of himself which Narendra Modi projected simultaneously in several cities during the election campaign in Gujarat have been further boosted by the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) success in crossing the firewall of 117 seats which it won five years ago.

Cry of an anguished working woman

The horrific rape of a 23-year-old woman by a gang of six men, who stripped, assaulted and robbed her and then dumped her on the roadside along with her male friend has outraged the nation. But for working women in the Indian capital, it is an everyday scary situation that could happen anytime, anywhere and to anyone of them.

Is schoolhouse slaughter a tipping point for US gun reform?

Mass shootings at American high schools, colleges, movie theatres and workplaces over the past 15 years have done little to impact public opinion or national policy on gun control in the US.

What impedes Australia, India ties?

While there has been a flurry of visits to India by high-powered Australian trade delegations and politicians, observers are baffled by the slow pace at which the bilateral ties are growing.

SMS at 20: Quick, cheap, easy and here to stay

Don't let anyone tell you that SMS is dying! It's the only common medium among the 6 billion mobile-phone users on this planet after voice calls. They sent 8 trillion text messages last year. Two out of three users use SMS.

Drug pricing: Which way will India go?

Foreign investors, and not just the ones invested in pharmaceuticals, are in a tizzy. Come Nov 27, the Supreme Court is expected to decide which way India will go on pricing of drugs.

Why a military coup is impossible in Russia

Two senior officers are currently on trial in Russia for attempting to organise coups, but few believe a military−led uprising could succeed in the country in the foreseeable future.

Telecom debacle: Caught between presumptive loss and affordable services

The debacle witnessed in the latest round of auctions of precious airwaves for India's telecom sector where close to half the spectrum on offer went unsold is another rap on the knuckles of the country's official auditor and a lesson again for the government.

World callous to Tibetan self-immolations

It says something about the world that we live in that six people set themselves on fire in just about as many days to protest their diminishing freedoms and it barely captures any attention at all.

Congress should educate party, people on reforms

There is little doubt that the Congress's recent public rally in the national capital and then a Samvad Baithak, a closed-door, inner-party discussion session, in nearby Surajkund are signs that the party is gearing up for the next general election, which is only 18 months away, as Sonia Gandhi reminded the audience.

Behind the Obama win: An insider view

It was the sheer hard work of his campaign volunteers and extensive ground game that won Barack Obama his second term as US president.

Arvind Kejriwal: Can he make an impact in politics?

No individual has dominated the Indian political space more than Arvind Kejriwal in recent weeks. The reason is that he has done the unthinkable: levelled corruption charges against the family of Sonia Gandhi, the most powerful woman in India, and Nitin Gadkari, the Bharatiya Janata Party president. Next in line was Reliance Industries Ltd of Mukesh Ambani, the richest Indian. The allegations may or may not stand legal scrutiny but there is no mistaking their rattling effect.

US election: An outsider's perspective

Washington, Nov 6 (IANS) It's late September and fall has just arrived in America. The leaves are green and yellow and red and other hues that they were never meant to assume outside a Fauvist painting.

Krishna's loss may not be Congress' gain

Bangalore, Oct 29 (IANS) S.M. Krishna quit as external affairs minister ostensibly because the Congress wants the services of its tallest leader in Karnataka to recapture power in the state in the assembly polls, due early next year.

Congress, BJP on a level playing field of corruption

It is now clear that both the major parties - the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - will approach the next general election with the ball and chain of corruption tied to their feet.

Helping the world understand India's foreign policy

Our fellow citizens are much concerned today with domestic issues, but a small segment of citizenry spends its waking hours thinking largely about India's role in international affairs. Government officials apart, such people are mostly in the non-governmental domain.

Malala's tragedy a test for Pakistani society

On the morning of October 12, Malala Yousafzai had 70 percent chances of recovery; amazing, considering she was shot at point-blank range only a few days ago. Having successfully removed a bullet from her spinal cord, doctors treating her at a military hospital in Rawalpindi reportedly informed her family that her recovery in the following days would be critical. So we wait patiently for news, preferably good, from her bedside.


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