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Indian Railways need profile-change
2014.07.14 19:08:31

Derailment of the prestigious New Delhi- Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express the other day near Chhapra in Bihar is virtually a wake-up call for the Indian Railways and its newly appointed minister. It is not yet certain what caused the accident that reportedly took four lives. Whether it was sabotage or plain neglect and incompetence on the part of the tracks inspection staff is yet to be ascertained. Inquiries are going to be conducted but a later report said that the Intelligence Bureau had sent an alert about a Maoist threat. The area is Maoists-affected. Nonetheless, it would be premature to arrive at any conclusion.

Tags: india

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Neymar's injury: increasing aggression in sports
2014.07.13 15:20:29

The Colombian Zuniga’s downing of football’s superstar Neymar that broke the latter’s vertebra took away bit of sheen from the “Beautiful Game”. The violence of this kind does not quite mix with sports, be it football or sport of any other kind. The Brazil game against Colombia was particularly rough with as many as 54 fouls whistled down and of them 31 were committed by the Brazilians. If this is reckoned as beautiful, one wouldn’t know what beautiful is. Fouls are certainly committed in inadvertence but, as one noticed, players were being pulled away or being deliberately downed to prevent them from carrying on with the game. And this happened not once, or twice; it happened umpteen numbers of times in the games I happened to watch. To me, this does not appear like sport. One plays a game, after all, for pleasure and to extend pleasure to the spectators. It is neither a matter of life and death nor is it a matter of national prestige. Then why go and do something like breaking somebody’s back – literally?

Tags: aggression | sports

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Indian Railways need to change its profile
2014.07.13 15:16:37

Derailment of the prestigious New Delhi- Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express the other day near Chhapra in Bihar is virtually a wake-up call for the Indian Railways and its newly appointed minister. It is not yet certain what caused the accident that reportedly took four lives. Whether it was sabotage or plain neglect and incompetence on the part of the tracks inspection staff is yet to be ascertained. Inquiries are going to be conducted but a later report said that the Intelligence Bureau had sent an alert about a Maoist threat. The area is Maoists-affected. Nonetheless, it would be premature to arrive at any conclusion.

Tags: india

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Tea in Indian politics
2014.04.09 18:57:01

By being undiplomatic in his language in a talk he delivered at a recent All India Congress Committee session Mani Shankar Ayer, a Cambridge graduate, a former career diplomat and a Tamil Brahmin to boot brought chai (tea) back into politics. Ayer promised to the gathering that the BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi would never become prime minister of the country in the 21st Century. And, he went on to add, “But if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him."

Tags: india

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India falteringly heads towards sustainable transport
2014.03.05 19:49:44

Almost every city in India is being choked today with traffic. There has been an automobile revolution since the economy was opened up and infestation of automobiles in Indian roads has progressively increased to an alarming extent. While before 1991 only a few thousand vehicles used to be manufactured, that number went up to 3.9 million in 2011. Almost all major producers have descended on the country to establish manufacturing facilities. Despite a claimed slow-down in off-take in the succeeding years a few more lakh vehicles must have been added in 2012 and 2013.

Tags: india

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India's North-East needs separate time zone
2014.01.30 19:36:09

It is good to hear that the demand for a separate time zone for the North Eastern states of India has been revived. The proposal, it seems, is with the government and is in active consideration.  It had to be so, as no less a person than Tarun Gogoi, chief minister of the state of Assam, the biggest north-eastern state, has taken up the matter. In any case, regardless of what happens to the proposal, the Chief Minister is reportedly set on introducing the “Garden Time” in Assam soon. Introduced by the British tea planters over a century and a half ago for the tea garden workers it would be an hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time (IST).

Tags: north-east | zone | time

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India could help save Sumatran tiger
2013.12.21 16:11:16

Looks like our escalating imports of palm oil from Indonesia will see the end of the Sumatran Tiger. While we in India would seem to be lucky in still hosting some tigers, we, however, might well be the reason for extinction of the tigers in Sumatra.

 



Tags: tiger | sumatran

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Dreams sold by ad world
2013.12.13 18:48:39

The recent elections in Madhya Pradesh set off a veritable ad war. In making extravagant claims of accomplishments of the government during the last five years the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took recourse to exaggerations and bluffs. Photographs of green farms and silky smooth highways were picked up from the internet and passed on as achievements of the government. Keeping a keen eye, the men of the Opposition – the Indian National Congress –pounced at the opportunity screaming that the ads of the saffron brigade were a “collage of lies”. The Congress in the opposition has been quite bitchy even otherwise. This was election time and it lost no time to go all out to embarrass the party in power and unleashed a frontal attack.

Tags: lies | ads

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Indo-Pak peace process -
2013.11.11 19:42:17

Why flog it when it is lifeless

Arun Jaitley, leader of the Opposition in the Upper House of Indian Parliament, very tersely said recently in New York that “terror and dialogue can’t coexist”. This was in the context of the Indian government’s keenness to continue Indo-Pak dialogue. Even as he was speaking infiltration bids continued on the Line of Control (LoC), the border between the two Kashmirs.



Tags: process | peace | pak | indo

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A take on Indian politicians
2013.08.29 19:34:23

“I spoke to Mulayam-ji at 10.30 PM. Then I spoke to CM (chief minister) Akhilesh Yadav. And at 11.11 PM the Collector received the SDM’s suspension order – within 41 minutes the order came. This is the strength of democracy” thundered Narendra Bhati, a Samajwadi Party member, in a rally he organised at Gautam Budh Nagar in NOIDA  in the state of Uttar Pradesh on July 28, 2013.

Tags: politician

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Uttarakhand tragedy - 'development' wreaks havoc
2013.07.20 19:44:29

Any talk of “development” today sounds ominous and one tends to visualize the motives behind it that are sinister. Our political masters (mis) understand by the word development only growth and expansion that is mostly spatial in the context of a city. That there are other meanings also attached to the word, like improvement in quality, refinement or even an attempt to attain fullness, do not seem to occur to them.



Tags:

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The tiny kingdom of Swaziland
2013.07.03 19:51:38

The Swazi King Mswati III of Swaziland was in the news recently. Polygamous to the core, he wanted a 22 year old girl as his 14th wife. He got smitten by her when she was just 15 and kept making advances. Made of sterner stuff, she had no intentions of joining the millionaire king’s harem of 13 wives (with their individual palaces and luxury cars) several concubines. She, therefore, fled to Britain and currently living in Birmingham has sought asylum in the country. The 45 year old king lost a wife, his sixth, last year who escaped from his harem citing years of emotional and physical abuse.

Tags:

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Indians' craze for gold hurts their economy
2013.06.27 14:24:29

I found it rather odd that the Indian Finance Minister had to be beseeching people of the country not to buy gold. He has requested everyone not to buy gold for at least one year in view of the mounting current account deficits. Rising demand for the precious metal, he said, is met increasingly by imports which push up the trade deficit, impacting on balance of payments. The consequential mounting current account deficit is causing scarcity of dollars weakening the rupee. Lately the rupee has lost heavily against the dollar and is now pegged around 58 to 59 to a dollar.

Tags: gold

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Fall of the Indian Rupee
2013.06.16 19:11:15

A report appeared recently of a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) study about the share in circulation of various currency denominations in 2010-11. The study effectively reflects how the value of the country’s currency unit, the Rupee, has gradually eroded. The erosion seems to have picked up pace since the economic reforms process began in 1990-91 and was, seemingly, accentuated since 2003-04.

Tags: rupee

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'Amazing Thailand'
2013.06.12 15:02:28

The blurb of Tourism Authority of Thailand sells the country as “Amazing Thailand”. Thailand, indeed, amazes you. Endowed richly by nature and coupled with its cultural heritage the place offers all that makes an attractive destination. It has everything – beach tourism, adventure tourism, nature tourism, temple tourism and what have you. All those have been remarkably exploited to give tourists an unique experience. Welcoming as the Thais are one feels like going there over and over again.

Tags: thailand

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Vote against Sri Lanka - India's muddled diplomacy
2013.04.20 14:40:38

News came in the other day that the already agitating students of Chennai are going to launch protest rallies when the internationally popular Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty-20 cricket matches take place at the city’s hallowed Chepauk ground. They have also decided to pressurise the Hyderabad Sunrisers, a participating IPL team owned by Kalanidhi Maran, brother of Dayanidhi Maran who represented Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a Tamil party, in the Union Government, to sack Kumar Sangakkara, a Sri Lankan cricketer.



Tags:

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A rape that shook India
2013.01.13 19:03:27

It was different; it was a different kind of gang-rape that shook not only the nation but also the Diaspora, besides evoking strong and sensitive reactions from abroad. It even prompted the Secretary General of the United Nations to write to the Indian Prime Minister for ensuring greater security for women. It was a different kind of rape in that it was not like the ones that are reported almost every day in the newspapers. It was different because it was an uncommonly and excessively brutal and beastly assault, which tore up the insides of the 23-year old bright and ambitious paramedic, eventually taking her life despite the best efforts of medicine men in the country’s capital and abroad.



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The end of 'Indian Spring'
2012.11.27 19:27:14

Arvind Kejriwal, of the erstwhile NGO India Against Corruption, has made quite a splash since he went political. Even before he named his outfit as “Aam Aadmi Party” (AAP) he had commenced his campaign against the entrenched political establishment. His exposes, virtually like serial ‘bombs’, have already scorched Robert Vadra, the son in-law of Sonia Gandhi,  Chairperson of the ruling formation United Progressive Alliance, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, the suave but loyal to the point of being a sycophant of Sonia Gandhi, Nitin Gadkari, the reigning president of the principal Opposition,  the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Reliance Chief and the richest Indian Mukesh Ambani, and, lately, sugar mill owners of Western Maharashtra, presumably targeting the Maharashtra strongman Sharad Pawar, currently Agriculture Minister at the Centre. The Ambanis came in for further treatment in Kejriwal’s accusations regarding their alleged unaccounted wealth in foreign banks details of which, though suppressed, were allegedly available with the government.



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On the edge - the Great Indian Bustard
2012.10.14 22:38:00

With a rapidly growing population, increasing pressures of development and unconcerned public authorities wildlife in India do not seem to have a chance. A recent list of most threatened species of animals, plants and fungi jointly compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Zoological Society of London includes four Indian species. Questioning whether these are “Priceless or worthless” species and, therefore, whether we have the right to drive them to extinction the two organisations have surmised that humans seem to care more for economic benefits that certain species provide if they are conserved. The rest, it seems, could be left to their native ingenuity to either adapt to the ever-changing environment or to perish.



Tags: on | edge | bustard

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Radios of yore - an eulogy
2012.10.04 19:36:17

The other day while listening to a programme on the fm of Radio Mirchi my mind traveled back long years to 1948 when we got the first radio in our house. My late second brother got a first division in his intermediate examination. The examinations were held then by the Ajmer Board of Secondary education to which a number colleges in Rajputana, United Provinces, Central India, etc were affiliated. With thousands of candidates competing, getting a first division in those days in any board or university examination was no ordinary matter.  Elated by the distinction achieved by him, my father went and bought a radio as a gift for him – a small one, of five valves made by Phillips of Holland. Its price was Rs. 350/-, an amount that was more than my father’s monthly salary.

Tags: valve | radios

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