Showing posts from August, 2019

PADS Statement in Solidarity with Shri Kumar Prashant, President of Gandhi Peace Foundation // Press statement by Shri Kumar Prashant

I would like to remind my friends of the other side that its nothing but sin to poison the  minds of innocent youths completely unaware of historical facts and lies. In fact, we actively bring  them under our influence to spread lies and hatred. It’s unholy act of ours. This is an attempt to  dehumanise the younger generation. And by doing so, we are dehumanising them, their families  and the Indian society as a whole. Mahatma Gandhi was killed by this venom. We should refrain  from getting into this vicious circle once again. May god bless us and let a good sense prevail   From Kumar Prashant's letter to friends. NB: I salute Kumar Prashant for his courage, for speaking the above words. Dilip People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism Press Release 31.08.2019 People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) expresses its concern over the two FIRS being filed in Odisha (Kandhmal and Katak) against Shri Kumar Prashant, president of Gandhi Peace Foundation,

Hong Kong protests: Joshua Wong and other pro-democracy figures arrested

Several prominent pro-democracy figures have been arrested in Hong Kong in an apparent crackdown on  protests that have plunged the city into its worst political crisis  in decades. The democracy activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, former student leaders of pro-democracy protests in 2014, were arrested on Friday and Andy Chan, head of a now banned pro-independence party, was detained by police on Thursday. The arrests come before a rally planned for Saturday that has now been called off out of concern that police will arrest participants en masse. On an online forum, some have called for demonstrators to come out anyway. Many expect the arrests will only generate more public anger and clashes with police in the days ahead. On Friday morning, Wong was bundled into a van on the street while he was talking to a subway station, according to Wong and Chow’s political organisation, Demosisto. Chow was arrested at home, while Chan, in a separate incident, was detained at  Hong Ko

How the prison economy works. By Richard Davies

Today there are  almost 2.3 million  prisoners in the US – by far the highest number of any country in the world. Louisiana today has the second-highestincarceration rate in the US (after Oklahoma overtook it in 2018), with a male incarceration rate that far exceeds the national average, and Angola is the state’s only maximum-security jail. It is also the country’s largest, covering an 18,000-acre site that is larger than Manhattan. On a mission to investigate the world’s most extreme economies, I set out for Angola. My hunch was that I would find examples of simplistic barter; what I discovered was an innovative, complex and modern system of hidden trade that offers an important lesson about the way economies work. Serving prisoners and ex-convicts say the first law of prison economics is unsatisfied demand and the innovation that it stimulates. Cut off from the outside, prisoners find themselves lacking staples and unable to make choices that they had previously taken for grante

Vineet Khare: Chinese man prevented from visiting Indian family

In 1963, a former Chinese army surveyor crossed into India and was captured weeks after a war between the two countries. Wang Qi was then left in a central Indian town for more than five decades before he was allowed to travel back home to China in 2017. The BBC reported his story at the time and videos of the emotional family reunion in China were watched by millions. But now, more than 30 months later, his story has taken an unexpected turn - Mr Wang is stuck in China and unable to return to India. He has been waiting for more than four months for officials to renew his Indian visa so that he can travel back to India where his children and grandchildren live. "Why are they doing this? I've been fighting for such a long time. How much longer can I fight?" Mr Wang told me over the phone from his home city of Xianyang. The BBC has emailed the Indian embassy in Beijing and is yet to receive a response. Chinese soldier goes home after 54 years Born to a

John Bercow is itching to stop Brexit – and there isn’t much the government can do to get in his way

NB : He has a bit more spine than our Speakers, doesnt he? DS Wh en Charles I arrived in the chamber of the House of Commons in January 1642, armed guards in tow, to arrest a group of MPs for treason, it was the speaker who stood in his way. Instead of giving up the so-called traitors, speaker William Lenthall rebuked the King and reasserted the power of the Commons, telling Charles, “I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as this House is pleased to direct me.” The struggle for power between executive and legislature is not a new one. But the possibility of  John Bercow  taking the lead in the battle to stop  Brexit  offers the prospect of a modern-day stand-off, every bit as compelling as the one that took place in the months before the Civil War. It’s not Jeremy Corbyn, Yvette Cooper or Ken Clarke who’s best-placed to stop Brexit, but Bercow himself. It’s an opportunity that Bercow plans to exploit to the full. The reaction from Bercow today to  Bor

'Why Did You Have 'War And Peace' At Home?': Bombay HC's Bizarre Question To Arrested Activist

NB : "Why were you having (sic) these books and CDs at home? You will have to explain this to the court,” said Justice Sarang Kotwal. Wouldn't it be more pertinent to ask why a person of this intellectual level is sitting on the Bombay High Court? DS MUMBAI — The Bombay High Court hearing a bail plea of Elgar Parishad- Bhima Koregaon  case accused Vernon Gonsalves on Wednesday questioned his motive behind keeping copies of some books and CDs whose titles prima facie indicated they contained material against the State.  The books and CDs the high court referred to included copies of Marxist Archives, a CD titled ‘Rajya Daman Virodhi’ released by Kabir Kala Manch, and Leo Tolstoy’s literary classic  War and Peace   among others. “The title of the CD ‘Rajya Daman Virodhi’ itself suggests it has something against the State while  War and Peace  is about a war in another country. Why were you (Gonsalves) having these books and CDs at home? You will have to explain this to

Antony Dapiran: The Hong Kong Way protest shows enchantment is a powerful weapon

The feeling of “enchantment”, according to political theorist  Jane Bennett  of Johns Hopkins University, is something that stops you in your tracks, leaving you transfixed and spellbound – a suspension of time and movement. Places or moments of enchantment can inspire a sense of wonder or awe, even fill us with overwhelming feelings of generosity and love for the world. But enchantment can also serve a political purpose. It almost felt like magic. A few people standing on the street were joined by a few more; people  lining the footpath of one block connected to those on the next block. And suddenly, there they all were. Hand in hand, chanting slogans and singing songs. On 23 August, the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way – a human chain linking the capitals of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to demand the Baltic republics’ independence from the Soviet Union – more than  200,000  people came out on to the streets of Hong Kong to form the “ Hong Kong Way ”. From the crowded stree

Scott Denning: The Amazon Fires Aren’t Depleting Earth’s Oxygen Supply

Fires in the Amazon rainforest have  captured attention worldwide  in recent days. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, pledged in his campaign to reduce environmental protection and  increase agricultural development in the Amazon , and he appears to have followed through on that promise. The resurgence of forest clearing in the Amazon, which had  decreased more than 80%  following a peak in 2004, is alarming for many reasons. Tropical forests harbor many species of plants and animals found nowhere else. They are important refuges for indigenous people, and contain enormous stores of carbon as wood and other organic matter that would otherwise contribute to the climate crisis. Some media accounts have suggested that fires in the Amazon also threaten the  atmospheric oxygen that we breathe . French President Emmanuel Macron  tweeted on Aug. 22  that “the Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire.” The oft-repe

The kindest thing I ever saw ...

Last year my daughter and I were on the train from Carlisle to Manchester. There was a stag party, loud and pretty annoying, and getting cross looks from some passengers.  Then along comes an older lady, who couldn’t find her case. She was going from compartment to compartment, desperately searching. One of the lads stands up, puts a hand on her shoulder and says: “Don’t worry love, I’ll help you find it.” The pair of them set about searching. Her station comes, and goes, and still the case isn’t found. She starts to cry. He takes her in his arms, gives her a soft hug and tells her that he’s not leaving her. He’ll stay with her till the case is found and until she’s gets to where she is going, even if it takes all day. She asks him about his plans and says that she can’t ruin his day. He says that it doesn’t matter. He won’t leave her. He tells his mates that he’ll see them tomorrow and then the pair of them go off to find the conductor. Over the next hour or so we watched as

Alex Kotch - Death and destruction: this is David Koch's sad legacy

For all his adult life, he’d led Koch Industries, a diversified manufacturing conglomerate, with his older brother Charles. Now taking in  around $110bn per year , the company creates chemicals and fertilizers; it produces synthetic materials such as Lycra; it sells lumber and churns out paper and glass products; it makes  electronics components used in weapons systems . But first and foremost, Koch Industries mines and refines petroleum and operates pipelines to spread it throughout North America. Koch Industries, a private company, is the United States’ 17th-largest producer of greenhouse gases and the 13th-biggest water polluter, according to  research  from the University of Massachusetts Amherst - ahead of oil giants Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum and Phillips 66. The conglomerate has committed hundreds of environmental, workplace safety, labor and other  violations . It allegedly  stole oil from Indian reservations , won business in foreign countries with  bribery , and

Suketu Mehta - Immigration panic: how the west fell for manufactured rage

T he west is being destroyed, not by migrants, but by the fear of migrants. In country after country, the ghosts of the fascists have rematerialised and are sitting in parliaments in Germany, in Austria, in Italy. They have successfully convinced their populations that the greatest threat to their nations isn’t government tyranny or inequality or climate change, but immigration. And that, to stop this wave of migrants, everyone’s civil liberties must be curtailed. Surveillance cameras must be installed everywhere. Passports must be produced for the most routine of tasks, like buying a mobile phone. Take a look at Hungary, where Viktor Orbán has  forced out  the Central European University and almost destroyed the country’s free press and most other liberal institutions, using immigrants and George Soros as bogeymen. Or Poland, whose ruling party purged the judiciary, banished political opponents from government media, greatly restricted public gatherings and passed a law, modifi

Tom Phillips: Mexico's 'glitter revolution' targets violence against women

Sandra Aguilar-Gomez remembers an atmosphere of camaraderie and celebration when thousands of Mexican women took to the streets for the “violet spring” protests of 2016. Three years later and the demonstrators are back to demand an end to violence against women – but this time the mood has soured.  “What I saw on the streets was rage and desperation,” Aguilar-Gomez, 28, a postgraduate student and feminist activist, said of the recent rallies in  Mexico  City. “Because things haven’t changed a bit.” Aguilar-Gomez is one of thousands of women who have joined the so-called revolución diamantina ” ( glitter  revolution ) in Mexico’s sprawling capital.  The movement earned its name after protesters  showered Mexico City’s security chief  with pink glitter during their inaugural demonstration on 12 August. That protest was a reaction to the alleged rape of a teenage girl by four police officers in Azcapotzalco, to the north of Mexico City, in the early hours of 3 August. The demonstrato

Nicholas Shakespeare: Novel explosives of the Cold War

Readers put perhaps not more trust but a different kind of trust in the perception of writers they know as novelists… What we can do, perhaps better than the next man, is smell a rat...  Written to undermine Stalinism and the rabid purges that Orwell witnessed in Spain — ‘the special world created by secret police forces, censorship of opinion, torture and frame-up trials’ —  Animal Farm  was completed in three weeks.  Nineteen Eighty-Four  took three years longer. Published in 1949, and set, not in Russia, but in a future Britain which, White nicely reminds us, had become a mere colony of the US, renamed ‘Airstrip One’, it was immediately recognised as ‘the most powerful weapon yet deployed in the cultural Cold War’. Behind the Iron Curtain, Stalin’s chief cultural propagandist, Andrei Zhdanov, insisted that Soviet literature was ‘the most advanced literature in the world’ because ‘it does not and cannot have other interests besides the interests of the state’. In pursuit of

Bharat Bhushan - How will Modi's New India look?

Prime Minister  Narendra Modi  claimed in Paris recently that the “New India” he is ushering in, will target corruption, nepotism, loot of public resources, and terrorism like never before. As his tenure is still an essay in writing, only history will judge his claims.  India, under the Modi regime, is being redefined in other ways as well. The noose also seems to be tightening around what was once a dynamic, vibrant and plural society, a culture that embraced rather than discriminated, the assurance of justice and freedom of expression. Instead, Indian society’s most violent and intolerant impulses have been let loose with impunity. The sudden dismemberment of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, its surprisingly smooth legitimation in Parliament and the overwhelming public support for locking up an entire population of the state suggests that India was never the secular, democratic, federal utopia that many imagined it to be.  It will not be easy to undo the Constitutional, legal

Quality of education in UK universities falling as institutions focus funds on marketing

The quality of education in  universities  is falling as institutions invest in marketing rather than on their staff and students, the new president of the  National Union of Students  (NUS) has said.  In one of her first interviews since taking up her post,  Zamzam Ibrahim  warned of over-stretched  academics  teaching classes of more than 150 students, who pay up to £9,250 a year on tuition fees.  The removal of the student numbers cap has increased the competition between universities to recruit, she said, forcing them to prioritise “the bottom dollar” over student experience.  Ms Ibrahim warned that some universities could have to close down in the near future amid financial pressures, which she argues are a result of the “marketisation of education”. Speaking to  The Independent,  Ms Ibrahim said universities are spending money on marketing and making sure their offers are “more attractive” in a fight for survival...

Nicole Karlis: Why Trump is obsessed with buying Greenland // Can humanity survive without the Amazon rainforest?

What exactly is this so-called economic potential? For one, Greenland’s vast mineral and energy resources include iron ore, lead, zinc, diamonds, gold, rare earth elements, uranium and oil, to name a few. As the Arctic ice continues to melt due to global warming, these minerals and natural resources will become more accessible for extraction. In other words, instead of trying to preserve what sea ice is left in the Arctic Ocean, Trump and the Republican party want to capitalize on its demise. That the majority of the Republican party, Trump included, publicly deny climate change makes this irony even richer. Can humanity survive without the Amazon rainforest? the farmers who have started the fires were encouraged by Brazil’s right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro, a climate skeptic.  In July alone, the Amazon lost 519 square miles of rainforest, an area more than twice the size of Tokyo, due to deforestation. As Salon has previously explained, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean can be

The business elite still believe the ‘greed is good’ fallacy — but this dark philosophy has brought them to the brink

Gordon Gekko found religion this week. Gekko, the lead in the 1987 movie “Wall Street” about capitalism gone corruptly amok, is most famous for his phrase: “greed is good.” On Monday, real-world Gekkos - 181 corporate CEOs who belong to the Business Roundtable - signed a pledge saying they think greed isn’t so good, after all. Instead of bowing at the altar of larger corporate profits to hand out to executives and shareholders, these CEOs declared that corporations must demonstrate some reverence for other stakeholders as well: workers, customers, suppliers, communities and the environment.  If corporations actually devoted themselves to achieving this goal, it would be a return to the decades of the 20th century between 1930 and 1970 when many corporations did, in fact, abide by these values. The American middle class was more robust then, as pay rose in tandem with productivity. Unions held a stronger position in the economy. And the disparity between CEO and worker pay was dram

Sam Dresser: How Camus and Sartre split up over the question of how to be free

They were an odd pair. Albert Camus was French Algerian, a  pied-noir  born into poverty who effortlessly charmed with his Bogart-esque features. Jean-Paul Sartre, from the upper reaches of French society, was never mistaken for a handsome man. They met in Paris during the Occupation and grew closer after the Second World War. In those days, when the lights of the city were slowly turning back on, Camus was Sartre’s closest friend. ‘How we loved you then,’ Sartre later wrote. They were gleaming icons of the era. Newspapers reported on their daily movements: Sartre holed up at Les Deux Magots, Camus the peripatetic of Paris. As the city began to rebuild, Sartre and Camus gave voice to the mood of the day. Europe had been immolated, but the ashes left by war created the space to imagine a new world. Readers looked to Sartre and Camus to articulate what that new world might look like. ‘We were,’ remembered the fellow philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, ‘to provide the postwar era with i

The fish are destroying the sushi: Twitter Wits Go Bonkers Over ‘Trump Gibberish’ That ‘Media Is Destroying The Free Press’

President Donald Trump ’s latest head-banging attack on the press served as sweet inspiration for Twitter critics Saturday when he declared in a tweet that “The Media is destroying the Free Press!” Trump apparently took time out from concentrating on the G-7 summit to watch right-wing radio and Fox News host Mark Levin bash the media and plug his book “Unfreedom of the Press” on “Life, Liberty & Levin” Saturday. Trump’s single message was enough to launch thousands of mocking just-as-confounding - and snarky - statements under the viral hashtag “ Trump gibberish .”

IAS Officer Kannan Gopinathan Resigns Over Denial Of Fundamental Rights To People In Kashmir // 'It Felt Like George Orwell's 1984': Mehbooba Mufti’s Daughter Iltija

NEW DELHI—IAS Officer Kannan Gopinathan resigned from government service on August 21 citing denial of fundamental rights to residents of  Jammu and Kashmir , and his own inability to speak freely about it, The Hindu  reported .  “We got into the service thinking that we can provide voice to people, but then we ended up with our own voice being taken away from us. In a democracy, let’s say Hong Kong or any other democracy, if the Government takes a decision, that is their right. But the response to that decision is the people’s right. Here, we have taken a decision and then we have detained everybody. They are not even allowed to respond to that decision. That is dangerous,” the 33-year-old bureaucrat told the newspaper on Saturday In a  separate interview  to the same day, the 2012 batch IAS Officer from Kerala said, “I want my freedom of expression back. I want to live like me, even if its for a day.” Government servants are prohibited by service rules to cri

Sandeep Sahu - Gagging dissent? Two FIRs filed against Gandhi Peace Foundation chief Kumar Prashant

NB : The Sangh wants to criminalise historical interpretations that contradict their view of history. Have they not been spreading their version of history, demonising Gandhi and Nehru for decades? In 2014, did their mouthpiece Kesari not publish the view that Godse should have murdered Nehru ? Their wish to prosecute Kumar Prashant, an outstanding activist for peace and communal harmony, shows that they are bent upon imposing ideological conformity upon Indian society. Madhu Limaye had warned us about them decades ago. Let there be an open debate on the doings of the RSS. What will the courts decide? That the RSS is the repository of historical truth? DS Two FIRs have been lodged in two different police stations in Odisha over the last two days accusing Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF) chief Kumar Prashant of spreading falsehoods about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and ‘conspiring against the nation’ and calling for action against the eminent Gandhian thinker. The Supre

Kerry Eleveld: Psychiatrist warns Trump may be ‘at significant risk for deteriorating into full-blown psychosis

Donald Trump’s verbal outbursts and Messianic claims of being “the second coming” and “the chosen one” have once again reignited a controversy over just what exactly is wrong with the pr*sident of the United States. Not only did he compare himself to Jesus several times in a single day, Trump also had a lot of trouble with  the basic enunciation  of words like “obstacle” and “applicable,” called the prime minister of Denmark “nasty” for declining to sell Greenland to the U.S., and declared all Democratic American Jews “disloyal to Israel.” Whatever Trump’s diagnosis, it’s particularly bleak and dangerous that this man is running the country and in possession of the nuclear codes, among other forms of recourse. Still, people are debating whether Trump is actually psychotic or narcissistic with delusions of grandeur or perhaps suffering from rabid dementia eating away at his brain and making him particularly irritable. One mental health professional and contributor to the updated

Lisandra Paraguassu: Wildfires Raging Across Amazon Rainforest Hit Record High

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest have hit a record number this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil’s space research center INPE, as concerns grow over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policy. The surge marks an 83% increase over the same period of 2018, the agency said on Tuesday, and is the highest since records began in 2013. Since Thursday, INPE said satellite images spotted 9,507 new forest fires in the country, mostly in the Amazon basin, home to the world’s largest tropical forest seen as vital to countering global warming. Images show the northernmost state of Roraima covered in dark smoke. Amazonas declared an emergency in the south of the state and in its capital Manaus on Aug. 9. Acre, on the border with Peru, has been on environmental alert since Friday due to the fires. Wildfires have increased in Mato Grosso and Para, two states where Brazil’s agricultural frontier has pushed into the Amazon basin

An appeal for Kashmiri students

Dear All,   The situation in Kashmir has deteriorated. It’s been almost two weeks since the communication blackout has been going on. Although, there has been partial removal of the blockade, it remains extremely difficult, if not impossible to get across to people there. Meanwhile, we have been receiving conflicting news about the level of the violence in the region. For a lot of the people from the region living elsewhere in the mainland, these have been trying times, so to say. Almost none of them has been able to establish any real contact with family, friends and loved ones back home. For the students of the region, it has been even more difficult, since this is precisely the time of admission and re-admission to many educational institutions. Countless students are also unable to pay their rents or everyday expenses, because of the lack of contact with their families. Since the blockade was instituted during the beginning of the month, many families had not been able to s

2084? Is Trump the one who Takes us into the Age of Big Brother? TOM ENGELHARDT

I, Winston Smith… I mean, Tom Engelhardt… have not just been reading a dystopian novel, but, it seems, living one - and I suspect I’ve been living one all my life. Yes, I recently reread George Orwell’s classic 1949 novel,  1984 . In it, Winston Smith, a secret opponent of the totalitarian world of Oceania, one of three great imperial superpowers left on planet Earth, goes down for the count at the hands of Big Brother. It was perhaps my third time reading it in my 75 years on this planet. Since I was a kid, I’ve always had a certain fascination for dystopian fiction. It started, I think, with  War of the Worlds , that ur-alien-invasion-from-outer-space novel in which Martians land in southern England and begin tearing London apart. Its author, H.G. Wells, wrote it at the end of the nineteenth century, evidently to give his English readers a sense of what it might have  felt like  to be living in Tasmania, the island off the coast of Australia, and have the equivalent of Marti

Bernie Sanders: Criticizing the Israeli Gov’t is not anti-Semitic & Palestinians Deserve Rights

US Democratic candidate and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has said that criticising Israeli government policy is not anti-Semitic. Speaking at a town hall meeting in the state of New Hampshire, on the US’ east coast, Sanders  told  the crowd that “as somebody who is proudly Jewish”, to be critical of a right-wing government led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is not to be anti-Semitic”. Sander’s comment came in response to a question from one audience member who described herself as previously “feeling really let down by politicians who only represent a Jewish voice that is completely uncritical of Israel” and as belonging to “a generation which understands that opposition to the [Israeli] occupation [of Palestinian territories] is a Jewish moral imperative”. Asking Sanders directly “why does it matter to you to fight to end the occupation,” the Vermont Senator responded: All that I have ever said about this issue is that US foreign policy should be even-ha

Harsh Bora - UAPA Amended: The Govt Is Stealing Our Liberty From Under Our Feet

Understandable concern over the events in  Jammu and Kashmir  have meant that the Indian government’s recent amendments to the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act ( UAPA)  have passed relatively unnoticed.  While a provision that gives the Central Government the power to declare persons as ‘terrorist individuals’ was the subject of heated debate in Parliament, the ruling  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ) introduced two more amendments that should give all citizens cause for concern. Both amendments vastly expand the already bloated powers of the  National Investigation Agency (NIA) , and by extension the Ministry of Home, and further entrench the problematic trend of the unfettered centralisation of power, through extending the political executive’s rein entirely unchecked. The Government claims these amendments will strengthen the anti-terror law by removing legal obstacles to combating terrorism and terrorist activity. But a closer glimpse at speeches in Parliamen

Russian history gives America an ominous warning

Russia is often in the news these days – corrupt and repressive at home, aggressive and malevolent in relation to neighbors and rivals. Yet this Russia is heir to a country that shaped the twentieth century and had a formative impact on the cultural and political history of the modern world. It cannot be dismissed as a plaything of Vladimir Putin’s arrogant ambitions. Over the past hundred years, Russia has been a bellwether, not an exception. We should take heed. Russia has more than once demonstrated the ease with which complex societies can fall apart. It has shown how difficult it is to uphold the legitimacy of nations and to install and sustain democratic regimes. The country we know as the Russian Federation changed names, borders, and political systems twice in the course of the twentieth century. We remember the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. A megapower suddenly vanished–the ideology that sustained it deflated like a punctured balloon. The periphery defected – fourtee

Book Review: Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India by K. S. Komireddi

What Komireddi’s pithiness belies - like those of so many current politicians and commentators who invoke History - is the complex subjectivity of historical data that cannot be captured in brevity… Komireddi ought to have considered that ‘Europeans’ are ‘imperialists’ because they never settled in India and made it their home; the Muslims did. And it is that choice of settlement in what was to Muslims initially a foreign land that what Komireddi sarcastically calls a ‘cultural exchange programme’ occurred. History is not for bytes, nor for the present; it is a discipline to study the past. Perhaps this is too fine a point to make here, but in a world where non-historians invoke History and its ‘wrongs’ to disaggregate the present to justify victimhood, and downward spirals of violence and discrimination against co-citizens, a case ought to be made for greater responsibility by all. In  Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India , author K. S. Komireddi examines the ri

Sickular Libtard: The power of positivity

Whenever people have gotten upset with the Modi-led NDA, Narendra Modi has told them to “be positive.” In a ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio address, he said, “Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power,” and encouraged everyone to create hashtags like ‘#PositiveIndia’ and ‘#ProgressiveIndia’ (or, as he didn’t say but probably wanted to, PI-PI).  When everyone was screaming at him about the economic slowdown, he told them to “stop spreading negativity.” Asking Indians to “make positivity viral,” he constantly reinforces the message that there’s no such thing as bad policy or governance, only bad attitude... read more: