Ideas

Aadhaar: surveillance, Exclusion

Prashant Reddy
[ March 30, 2017 ]
The Finance Act, 2017 which was passed by the Lok Sabha last week has now made it mandatory for people to disclose their Aadhaar numbers while filing their income-tax returns. This move by Parliament comes close on the heels of a slew of notifications by several Central government ministries making Aadhaar compulsory for almost three dozen schemes, including for accessing grain under the public distribution scheme. Since its inception, the ...
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Mapping out the police overhaul in U.P.

R.K.Raghavan
[ March 30, 2017 ]
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, has his tasks cut out. His taking charge of the Home portfolio, a subject that is crucial to any State, especially in one such as U.P., which is riven by caste and religious intrigue, is noteworthy. How he is going to reshape the U.P. police force, which has serious issues with integrity and human rights, will be watched keenly.The State has the largest police force in the country, with ...
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Turning the clock back

Prabhash Ranjan
[ March 29, 2017 ]
Come April 1, the Narendra Modi government would have taken India back to the pre-1991 inward-looking economic era as far as India’s approach to bilateral investment treaties (BITs) is concerned. Till the early 1990s, India didn’t sign BITs because foreign investment was not considered significant in a statist India. The absence of BITs meant foreign investors couldn’t use international arbitration to hold India accountable under internatio...
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Saffron storm, hard cash

VIEW FROM PAKISTAN

Jawed Naqvi
[ March 29, 2017 ]
A young man described himself as a dejected Muslim, and punctured the sharp analysis that was under way about the Uttar Pradesh defeat. The venue was a well-appointed seminar room at the India International Centre. Why don’t we show our outrage like they do in America, the young Muslim wanted to know. People in America are out on the streets fighting for the refugees, Latinos, Muslims, blacks, everyone. One US citizen was shot trying to pro...
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Opposition prospects 2019 & beyond?

Santosh Desai
[ March 28, 2017 ]
What does the Opposition do now? It has been thoroughly out-thought and outplayed by a combination of charismatic leadership and meticulous on-ground implementation. As Omar Abdullah confessed on Twitter, the Opposition does not have a chance in 2019; perhaps building for 2024 is the only option. The Congress may not, in any real sense last till then and the AAP’s early promise has fizzled out in a tame haze of small-mindedness. If one were...
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Behavioural accountability for politicians

Pankaj Vohra
[ March 28, 2017 ]
It is not for the first time that a Member of Parliament or a politician has been involved in an unpleasantly unpardonable incident. There is sufficient prima facie evidence to proceed against Shiv Sena leader Ravindra Gaikwad, who allegedly repeatedly thrashed an elderly Air India staffer with his sandal after he was allotted an economy category seat on a flight that did not have business class. Air India authorities have filed two FIRs ag...
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Censoring MPs

A.G. Noorani
[ March 26, 2017 ]
Right at the outset, India decided to have a “parliamentary system of constitution, the British type of constitution, with which we are familiar,” as Vallabhbhai Patel said in June 1947. This emulation went to unusual lengths, the British model getting a specific mention in the Indian constitution, which came into effect on Jan 26, 1950. Articles 105(3) and 194(3) of the constitution empower, respectively, parliament and state legislatures...
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Fighting BJP's tsunami

S Nihal Singh
[ March 26, 2017 ]
There is a sub-text to the surprise elevation of the hardline Hindutva icon, Yogi Adityanath, to the post of Chief Minister of UP after the BJP's sweep in the assembly election. The RSS, the party's mentor, is spreading its wings in the country on the strength of it providing the sinews in the shape of foot soldiers in the mechanics of winning elections. So far, it has planted RSS men first in Haryana and now in Uttarakhand and UP in chief ...
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BJP’s increasing influence

Seema Mustafa
[ March 25, 2017 ]
Today what is absolutely clear is that the Congresss' organisational structure is no match to the BJP-RSS organisational structure. They are able to turn out the vote and pull in the vote much stronger,” former Finance Minister and Congress leader P.Chidambaram just said in Kolkata. What he did not say perhaps directly, but clearly implied, that the Congress is being swallowed up by the BJP in the states, not just where it was in power but...
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Liberals In Shock

Harish Khare
[ March 25, 2017 ]
Most liberals in India are in a state of blue funk. Publicly and privately they bemoan the demonetisation of secular ideas and values after a working mahant from Gorakhpur got anointed as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. There is among the liberals a sense of isolation, even what the French call depaysement. One liberal writes to lament that the new Chief Minister in Manipur is the same person against whom in 2011 the BJP had kicked up a sh...
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Controlling the tongue-Avoid social disease

Dr. Bilal A Bhat
[ March 24, 2017 ]
Almighty Allah had sent Prophets and Messengers from time to time for our guidance. Their mission has always been to reform society, purify it from corrupt practices and set it on a course which Almighty Allah has defined for it. Man’s status as Allah’s vicegerent on earth requires him to follow a certain code of conduct to deserve this title. The last in the chain of Messengers of Allah, our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has given us gol...
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Limits Of Modi's Power

Jyoti Malhotra
[ March 23, 2017 ]
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made his first mistake by helping appoint Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. By installing a man as polarizing and malignant as the five-time MP and head of the Gorakhnath Peeth, Modi has told us that the gloves are off. That, just like Adityanath himself promised, the installation of a Hindu Rashtra has begun. This article isn't about Adityanath. Commentaries and rancorous quotes from Ajay ...
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Electoral coup against a community in UP

Hasan Suroor
[ March 23, 2017 ]

It's official then. Any lingering confusion about the direction of Modi's vision for a new India should be cleared up finally with the coronation of Yogi Adityanath as UP’s Chief Minister after a deeply divisive and exclusionist campaign fronted by the Prime Minister himself. It has been reported that Adityanath was the source of his notorious “Kabristan/Shamshan ghat” line. Recently, a senior journalist asked on Facebook: “How would...
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Now, a Warning from Hindutva Hegemons

S.P.SHUKLA
[ March 22, 2017 ]
Even while politicians and pundits are engaged in analysing the sweeping victory of the BJP at the polls in UP and are still discovering the lessons to be drawn , Hindutva forces have sent a ringing message, a warning, to the entire country. It is not so much what was stated at the elite conclave by the supreme leader. It is not the latest slogan of “New India” laced with the gross rhetoric of everything having gone wrong in the last seven...
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Hindutva as development

Seema Chishti
[ March 22, 2017 ]
With 312 seats for the BJP in the Uttar Pradesh assembly of 403, it is easy to argue that anybody picked to head the state by those MLAs has electoral, and therefore, public legitimacy. But that argument reveals more than it conceals, especially when the BJP fought the UP elections — as it did Bihar in 2015 — on only Narendra Modi’s name, without announcing a chief ministerial candidate. Fully cognisant of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, an...
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Yogic madness

Pratap Bhanu Mehta
[ March 21, 2017 ]
The elevation of Yogi Adityanath as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh is an odious and ominous development. It is an odious choice because the BJP has picked someone who is widely regarded as the single most divisive, abusive, polarising figure in UP politics. He is a politician who has, for most of his political career, been the mascot of militant Hindu sectarianism, reactionary ideas, routinised conflict and thuggery in political discourse,...
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Teachers, teaching and teachers unions

Shabeer Rather
[ March 21, 2017 ]
The common news we read in almost every newspaper and almost every day is like ‘The employees of department X protested under the union Y under the leadership of Mr A to press for their demands'. 'Mr A president of union Y has given ultimatum to the government to full fill their demands'. And all that. Yes! I am talking about trending union culture in Jammu and Kashmir. The general line teachers’ union, ReT teachers’ union, non - gazetted e...
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The two Punjabs

A.G. Noorani
[ March 19, 2017 ]
Last month, the government of Indian Punjab asked the central government to negotiate with Pakistan to allow the transportation of exports through Pakistan’s land routes. It said this would also improve India’s trade with the Commonwealth of States countries. What is far more significant is that Punjab also wants the centre to invite it to future trade meetings with Pakistan. The centre conceded that this issue would be taken up when trade...
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Cong’s poll debacle

S Nihal Singh
[ March 19, 2017 ]
The grim showing of the Congress in the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Assembly elections has been magnified by the laconic comment of Mr Rahul Gandhi, the torchbearer of the party’s campaign, as a minor dip in its fortunes. Immediately, both the Congress vice-president and other Congress leaders resorted to using medical terminology of surgery, the former on the organisation and the latter on various parts of the party anatomy. The key ques...
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Back to Hindu Paani, Muslim Paani?

Kuldip Nayar
[ March 18, 2017 ]
There was politics even during the period when I was in college before partition. But it was not on communal lines as it is today. Then the enemy was the British and all were at a struggle to oust them. It was in the 40’s when Qaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah came to the Law College at Lahore and exhorted all of us to make a joint effort to drive out the British. Subsequently, things came to such a pass that even water was divided into Hindu...
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Shooting the EVM

S Y Quraishi
[ March 18, 2017 ]
The electronic voting machine (EVM) controversy has raised its head again. Ever since EVMs were introduced in 1982, they have been surrounded by challenges. The Election Commission of India has demonstrated time and again how the system is safe and fool-proof. A combination of safeguards ensures that these machines are fully tamper-proof. Broadly, these can be summed up in four categories: Software and technical, administrative, independent...
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Concept of leadership as defined in Islam

Dr Bilal.A.Bhat
[ March 17, 2017 ]
There was no moral code, no punishment for adultery, nor any moral sanction against it, practically no faith on Allah, life after death, no feeling of responsibility for one’s actions when Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) was born Mohammad (S.A.W) in the year 570 of the Christian era, in Makka Arab. He (S.A.W) was an orphan from his birth, who lost even his mother when six years old. He came of the noblest family of Arabia, the Quraish, who were ...
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The PM’s gang of four?

Sunil Sharan
[ March 16, 2017 ]
Finally, he’s not leaving Goa. Manohar Parrikar that is. All heave a sigh of relief. The prime minister, the military, everyone, except the Goans. Never in recent memory has a key minister, armed with his IIT armory, promised so much and delivered so little. The PM reportedly wanted to sideline him for quite some time, but the RSS shielded its protectee. Now in his hour of mesmerizing triumph, the PM can do what he wants. Seventy years ago,...
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Fear of Hindu Rashtra

Ajaz Ashraf
[ March 16, 2017 ]
Four months before the Uttar Pradesh election results sent Muslims in India reeling in shock, former Rajya Sabha MP Mohammed Adeeb delivered a speech in Lucknow, which, in hindsight, might be called prescient. “If Muslims don’t wish to have the status of slaves, if they don’t want India to become a Hindu rashtra, they will have to keep away from electoral politics for a while and, instead, concentrate on education,” Adeeb told an audience c...
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Victor and the vanquished

Pratap Bhanu Mehta
[ March 15, 2017 ]
Narendra Modi has scripted another spectacular political triumph. Before the election, there was a lot of hollow speculation; after the election, there will be many post-mortems. But there is no denying one straightforward fact: Modi is an unprecedented phenomenon in the annals of popular politics. He has reduced his competition to minions fighting over scraps. He has weathered every criticism. He has taken every risk and put himself on the...
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Modi real, the wave unreal

Jawed Naqvi
[ March 15, 2017 ]
Punditry notwithstanding, all five Indian states that went to polls recently saw their governments getting evicted. The victims included the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and the Uttar Pradesh-based Samajwadi Party. In a direct contest between the BJP and Congress in four of the states, it was two each. The BJP was ousted from Goa, which gives Prime Minister Modi his handpicked defence minister. The BJP and its Akali allies were sh...