During the 2009 assembly elections, Sharad Pawar was rather annoyed by a pesky reporter who would not let go of a question on Maratha reservations. No matter how satisfactorily Pawar answered one question he came up with another pointing to the NCP’s duplicity on the issue. Finally, Pawar was compelled to ask him which paper he worked for. “Sakal,” said the reporter and there was a hush in the room. For Sakal was a paper owned by Pawar’s family and now everyone was sure the reporter would lose his job.

This can get a bit confusing.

Closing Gitmo is not a win-win plan

Monday, 29 February 2016 00:00

At the end of his second term as President of the United States of America, Barack Obama has decided to close the detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay in US territory in Cuba. Speaking to the media on this on Tuesday, he said he would approach the US Congress. He said it was an opportunity to finally eliminate a terrorist propaganda tool, strengthen relationships with allies, enhance national security, and, most importantly, save the taxpayer millions of dollars. In an appeal to the nation Mr Obama said, “For many years it has been clear that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security...it undermines it.”

For the past few years, director Shekhar Kapur has been trying to make a film set in Mumbai of 2040, with a Romeo and a Juliet caught in bitter water wars. Not land, money or musclemen but water is the weapon of social-economic control in this land.

The sons of Bharat Mata have put their love on public display and it is not a pretty sight. At the Patiala House district court, men in black shout Bharat Mata Ki Jai as they assault journalists, students, teachers and even a panel of senior lawyers sent by the Supreme Court.

Those who heard Smriti Irani’s speeches in Parliament this week may have discovered some new facets to her personality. “I am a practicing Hindu. I am a Durga worshipper,” the human resource development minister informed the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

The ‘JNU row’ is now an inflection point. What should and could have been resolved as a university-level disciplinary issue has been allowed to snowball into a media controversy, a challenge to the legitimacy of the courts, a dramatic loss of trust in policing and critically as well as a seemingly irreparable polarisation around what constitutes democracy, dissent and freedom. This full-blown crisis will now loudly ring through Parliament in the coming weeks with public money and time used over what need not have become a contentious issue in the first place.

On December 8, 2010 Ratan Tata wrote an open letter to businessman-turned Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar. “Dear Rajeev,” began Tata, “I am currently overseas and have just seen a copy of the open letter you have addressed to me with copies to the entire media community.” Chandrasekhar’s letter had asked why the house of Tatas, with its impeccable reputation, had chosen to ally with Niira Radia. Radia was in the eye of a storm for leaked tapes in which she was heard lobbying with a range of people to influence the government’s work.

For the sake of analysis it is sometimes tempting to divide the world into two broad groups: Those that export basic commodities and those that buy these. In an increasingly integrated world, where goods travel across borders seamlessly, the volume and direction of commodity shipments can prove to be a useful guide to gauge the health of economies.

Nepal-India ties remain stuck on constitution

Thursday, 25 February 2016 00:00

Nepalese Prime Minister KP Oli’s six-day visit to India ended on Wednesday evening, but no joint statement was signed between the two sides due to differences over the constitutional process in the neighbouring country.