Erasing glorious history, bit by bit

Author Amit Chaudhuri’s heart sinks every time he sees a sign up on the boundary walls of old Kolkata bungalows, announcing their impending demolition. He sees the sign as an obit notice for another building that has long been a part of the city. 

Pitter-patter of the first monsoon rains

After three of the past four monsoons fell short, plunging parts of the nation into severe drought, the outlook for 2018 is better. Early forecasts call for rainfall close to the 50-year average. That would be a relief after recent disappointments: The 2015 monsoon was the driest in six years because of El Nino and followed a poor monsoon in 2014, leaving major cities such as Mumbai rationing water supplies. 

The Swift scam

Indian banks, known for their robustness and dexterity have traditionally commanded respect and trust of their customers across the board. In 2008, when the global financial crisis spared none, it was the sharp foresight of RBI, which caused it to issue an advisory to banks against excessive exposure to high risk sectors like real estate. Indian banks survived the trans-national crisis on the back of strong fundamentals and adherence to procedural requirements of the regulator. This further enhanced confidence of customers in the banking system.

Change the Kashmir policy

Anti-terrorism units of Army, police and the other operational security forces/agencies have termed/described the elimination of more than a dozen terrorists and arrest of one, on Sunday, as a major success in anti-terrorist operations. “Indeed it is” – but with a caveat that its collateral damage of death of civilians and security personnel and damage to civilian property is painful.

Human rights fighter wins ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’

Colin Gonsalves, no relative of mine, is an extraordinary human being. His heart is in the right place and it beats for the poorest of the poor, the dispossessed and the marginalized of India irrespective of their caste, creed and colour. No wonder, the senior Supreme Court lawyer and founder of the Human Rights Law Network was recently awarded the prestigious 2017 Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’. He shared the 3 million kronor ($374,000) cash award with Azeri journalist Khadija Ismayilova and Ethiopian lawyer Yetnebersh Nigussie.

Impact of Internet on agriculture

Sukhwinder Singh is a re-born farmer from district Sangrur in Punjab – from conventional to organic farming. Born in post green revolution era which specialised in usage of fertilisers and pesticides, he had never thought of farming without using urea, the popular chemical fertiliser in the rural hinterland of Punjab and Haryana. Urea is popularly known as ray-spray in Punjab. His father and three uncles had nearly 100 acres of farm and enjoyed the surplus from green revolution and were able to send Sukhwinder and his cousins to study in good colleges and universities.

15th Finance Commission mired in controversy

The ruling BJP is always seen as a party of North Indians despite all its efforts to create a Pan-India image and the controversy over the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission has only given credence to the feeling that it is a party of the Hindi speaking cow-belt. The changed population criteria in the 15th Finance Commission to consider 2011 census for arriving at population weightage for devolution of central funds instead of the earlier practice of 1971 census will definitely benefit North Indian states, which are ruled by BJP.

Cut & Thrust: Why Chanda Kochhar must go

Propriety demands that Chanda Kochhar, member of Kamath’s Angels (K V Kamath headed ICICI for many years and both Chanda and Shikha Sharma were his proteges) quit post haste. While she chose not to make her presence felt at a FICCI event last week, she remains underground and incommunicado. Amazingly, she has chosen to maintain a sage like silence and simply refuses to quit. Meanwhile people continue to spitball, more so after Shika Sharma was literally given marching orders by RBI.

Bail for Salman Khan

The totemic animal appears to us in many ways. The Sikhs have their lion, Singha. The Hindus have the cow, Gaumata. The Zeno cow is found wandering the streets of Delhi and has been the subject of much sociological discussion. Are they owned, are they retired cows, do they go home every evening after having eaten plastic in the city’s garbage? The continuous representation of other animals sacred to the Indians such as the peacock, the black buck, the tiger is part of how we understand the relation between nature and culture. Hindu Gods and Goddesses always have vahanas or carriers.

Disequilibrium: Lack of Kashmir policy

 As the dreaded Saudi political Wahabi Islam takes root in Kashmir more aggressively than ever before, replacing the strong Sufi moorings that existed for years, it is ironical that Moulvis from Bihar and UP are spreading the new cult in the madrasas and masjids. Socmedia has done irreparable damage in furthering this Islamic sect of Salafi Wahabism.