Showing posts from March, 2015

Legal leash: Rat In, Cat Out


Tallest trees dread thunder the most. No wonder personal freedom is anathema to the power placed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is no different. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, he was ever ready to stick a knife into anything remotely resembling a Sonia-Singh led Centre. Now sitting in the hot seat himself, with a majority to match, he is no better than his predecessors. Actually he is worse.
Fast on the ‘tweetstake’ opposing section 66A of the Information and Technology Act brought in by the UPA  in 2006 and  passed December 22, 2008, the BJP (read Modi, for he decides) when in power did a complete U-turn. Challenged in the Supreme Court by a 24-year-old Shreya Singhal, the Modi government  favoured  retaining the Section. A stunning slap from the Supreme Court later, both the Congress and the BJP now sit red-faced, dishing out lame duck laments. The offensive piece of legislation, which authorised police to make arrests for any social media posts it deemed offensive, has bee…

Island Of Hope In A Sea of Turmoil


When sleep beckons even the brave must lie down , for fate is fickle as  it takes back what it gives.Veteran Gandhian Narayan Desai who on March 15, chose a final wink over a weary but fulfilling journey called life, has left a treasured  legacy. For Gujarat to ponder over particularly, and for India to introspect in these troubled times. 
Just ten short of a century, the Gandhian scholar who turned simplicity into a science was not only one of the most avid practitioners of this fast fading form but a crusading link between the old and the  upwardly mobile new indian.As against sectarian preachers and political potentes ,this came in the form of a ‘Gandhi katha’ series of discourses (in fact, storytelling sessions) in which he narrated anecdotes that shed light on the philosophy, life and practical importance of gandhian values in everyday existence. He had conducted over a hundred such five- day long narrations countrywide in English, Hindi and Gujarati.
He represented an …

Media Gag And Mulish Drag


What was hard to endure is sweet to recall.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who assured Parliament that the Nirbhaya documentary,’ Storyville-India’s Daughter’ would not be aired in the country or abroad,cut a sorry figure. BBC ignored the notice,disputed  the Information and Broadcasting ministry’s claim and aired it.Downloaded extensively, it was available across viewing platforms.
Why did  the Narendra Modi- led BJP government wade into the issue all guns blazing knowing fully well that it would leave their flanks vulnerable? More so after a series of mistimed manoeuvres have paled the image of their prime mover and party as well, in the post- Delhi poll period.
It may be hard to endure but is sweet to recall that BJP leaders including those in power today, had literally made a career out of their opposition to  Indira Gandhi’s 1975  Emergency and the curbs on freedom of expression imposed thereon.The present Prime Minister who spent a fair amount of the Emergency peri…

Figures Undress Vital Statistics


Nothing is impossible for the one who doesn't have to do it. In the process, however,if careless talk costs lives and corrodes credibility, so be it!
There have been three annual budgets - Gujarat’s, the Railways and the Union Government’s - within the last fortnight. Additionally, there is a contentious land acquisition bill before the Lok Sabha. All four have only one thing in common.They carry the stamp of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governance acumen or the lack of it. The Gujarat budget, because it was the model set by Modi; and the remaining three budgets, because they are singularly credited to his account and individuality.
Analysed  in tandem, they  serve as credible indicators of where the first wholly owned BJP government in India  is headed. Figures undress the filial and the far off  without fail. Gujarat, the happy hunting ground of Modi and his first bite of the big ‘power’ apple had this ‘model’ tale to tell on February 25, 2015 when the first state bu…

Gujarat Goblin And The Sikh Scapegoat


Like a piece of ice  on a hot stove,those who heeded a national calling must now stew in their own melting. Ask the sikh farmers of  Kutch in Gujarat what it feels like to be invited and lionized one moment and shunned  and gunned the other. And therein lies a pathetic tale of  an indifferent state  and a leadership which continues to play political poker with persevering Punjabis who chose to make the inhospitable Kutch their home.
Loria, a small rural inhabitation in Kutch was in the news  recently when two sikh landowning farmers were attacked.Unknown to them,their land was being surveyed by a private but government authorized  surveyor. When they reached post-haste to enquire they were attacked by a mob led by a local BJP leader and injured, a published news report said. While the attackers complaint was taken, the police was reluctant to register an FIR on behalf of the victims.It took prodding from a member of the Minority Commission before the cops relented but neve…