Crucial days ahead for CPI-M in Kerala (New Analysis)

The coming days are going to be crucial for the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in general — and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in particular — with the state party conference scheduled to be held in Thrissur from February 22 to 25. The CPI-M’s current leadership may have successfully silenced …

The sublime joy of translations (Translating India-10)

(ATTN EDITORS: This is the last in a 10-part “Translating India” series where noted translators — in articles written exclusively for IANS — share their experiences of translating from their respective languages.) By Arunava Sinha I began as an organic translator, without any awareness of the “larger issues of translation” (and there are several of …

Weighty reading: Books which provide physical exercise too (Column: Bookends)

Someone once quipped that the “universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle” and devoted book readers know it too well. Any of the (sadly-diminishing) tribe would be familiar with responses of wonder over the fact that they manage to read even a modestly-long work in a day or two. Wonder what …

Hashimpura, Srebrenica and Rohingyas: Similar and so different (Comment: Special to IANS)

Incidents, similar in their chilling monstrosity, came to mind when I saw photographs of a row of Rohingya Muslim young men, on their knees, hands tied behind their back. Gun-wielding military police, lurking within the frame, eventually mowed them down. This is the face of the horror the world will remember. In a state of …

Hashimpura, Srebrenica and Rohingyas: Similar and so different (Comment: Special to IANS)

Incidents, similar in their chilling monstrosity, came to mind when I saw photographs of a row of Rohingya Muslim young men, on their knees, hands tied behind their back. Gun-wielding military police, lurking within the frame, eventually mowed them down. This is the face of the horror the world will remember. In a state of …

Hashimpura, Srebrenica and Rohingyas: Similar and so different (Comment: Special to IANS)

Incidents, similar in their chilling monstrosity, came to mind when I saw photographs of a row of Rohingya Muslim young men, on their knees, hands tied behind their back. Gun-wielding military police, lurking within the frame, eventually mowed them down. This is the face of the horror the world will remember. In a state of …

The emerging India-U.S. role reversal in world leadership (Comment: Special to IANS)

For the last half of the 20th century, the United States was the world’s beacon for democracy and economic development and India was a laggard. These roles are reversing as the end of the second decade of the 21st century approaches. India is becoming a beacon and the US is becoming a flashlight. In large …

Love profane and sacred – the message of romance from Urdu poetry (Feb 14 is Valentine’s Day)

Another Valentines Day is on us, and will be enthusiastically observed by those who want against the backdrop of usual noises about it being a “western custom”, “against Indian traditions” and the efforts of the ‘moral’ vigilantes. But the opposition seems perplexing given how avidly we look to love in cinema, celebrity culture, popular literature …

After reverses in Syria, Afghanistan, a quest for propaganda equaliser (Comment: Special to IANS)

Conspiracy theorists, who prove mostly right in the topsy turvy post-9/11 world, are these days busy switching channels — Syria, Afghanistan, Korean peninsula and, yes, one more theatre which will be in heavy focus in June-July. All these narratives have Russia in them, including, quite surprisingly, South Korea where the media will gloat over the …

With his Parliament speech, Modi undermined his own case (Column: Political Circus)

There are three aspects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in parliament — which was probably his most combative in recent times — that deserve attention. First and foremost is the undeniable fact that he is today by far the most effective speaker in Indian politics. His oratory has the potential, therefore, of carrying the …

In the footsteps of Hollywood, homoeroticism hits Bollywood (Column: Bollywood Spotlight)

In the West it’s Armie Hammer and Timothy Chalamet giving interviews as a couple for their gay love story “Call Me By Your Name”. We haven’t reached that nirvanic stage in India. But Ranveer Singh and Jim Sarbh’s homoerotic act in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmaavat” comes closest to obtaining a kind of legitimacy for same-sex …

Trump signs budget deal, bringing end to second shutdown of 2018

United States President Donald Trump on Friday signed a combined funding and budget bill that was passed by Congress hours earlier and will increase federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars, bringing an end to the second government shutdown this year. Friday’s shutdown lasted just a few hours, while an earlier partial government shutdown …

Why this journo no longer trusts international media (The Funny Side)

This columnist no longer listens to the international media; luckily I still have the voices in my head. Which leads me to the following query. Question: What is the main activity of the trained accountant’ Answer: Embezzling money from clients, governments, charities and pretty much anyone who wanders by. “Wait,” says the nearest bean counter. …

India’s insular dilemma in Maldives (Comment: Special to IANS)

One hopes that Indian diplomats and national-security managers are doing some serious soul-searching about how and why events spun, so swiftly, out of control in neighbouring Maldives. Given India’s self-assigned role of regional “net security provider”, the Integrated Defence Staff, in New Delhi, must be reviewing their plans for launching what they term an out …

More equalising paradigm of Indian growth story vitally required (Column: Active Voice)

About 82 per cent of the growth in global wealth accrued to the world’s top one per cent over the last year while the bottom 50 per cent saw no increase at all. This one per cent of the population continues to own more than the rest of humanity combined. These ominous findings emerge from …

The city of Stalin that defied and defeated the Nazis — myths and realities (Column: Bookends)

When we happen to recall the Second World War’s notable battles, the emphasis is more on those fought by the Western Allies — Dunkirk, Pearl Harbor, El Alamein, Midway Island, D-Day landings and Arnhem, et al, given the large amount of books and films they have inspired. The Eastern Front rarely gets the same attention, …

If Woody Allen Is boycotted, why are we still watching Sanjay Dutt’s films? (Column: Bollywood Spotlight)

The grossly lopsided witch-hunt that has already claimed the likes of Kevin Spacey and Michael Douglas now threatens to claim the 82-year old movie-making marvel Woody Allen. One of my favourite directors, Woody Allen became a victim of the current upsurge of witch-hunting where women, and men, come forward to claim they were groped/fondled/raped 20-30 …

Outcome in Rajasthan: Is the Modi magic fading? (Column: Political Circus)

The signs which were available about the decline in the influence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat’s rural areas during the state assembly elections have been substantiated by the drubbing which the BJP has received at the Congress’s hands in the byelections in Rajasthan, where the saffron party is in power. Earlier, the …

Brazilian court returns passport to ex-President Lula

A Brazilian court has cancelled the decision to confiscate the passport of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to stop him from travelling abroad. Judge Bruno Apolinario on Friday reversed the decision, made last week by a different federal court, with Lula being able once again to leave the country, Xinhua news agency reported. …

Canadian, Mexican FMs confident of new NAFTA deal

The foreign ministers of Canada and Mexico have said the current renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will end up with a “win-win-win” situation for North America. Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, admitted on Friday the talks with the US and Mexico were complicated but the three countries would take the time …

Pentagon updates US Nuclear Posture Review

The US Defense Ministry has published the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the guiding principle for the future US policy seeking enhanced nuclear deterrent which is already the world’s most powerful. “The United States now faces a more diverse and advanced nuclear-threat environment than ever before, with considerable dynamism in potential adversaries’ development and deployment …

US, Mexico agree to work together on bilateral security

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has met his Mexican counterpart, Luis Videgaray and they agreed to continue cooperation on bilateral security. During a brief visit to Mexico in a five-country tour of the region, Tillerson discussed regional topics with Videgaray, including development in Central America. “Foreign Minister Videgaray reiterated the shared commitment which Mexico …

Safexpress announces Rs 100 cr investment in northeast

Ahead of the much hyped Global Investment Summit, Safexpress, India’s largest Supply Chain and Logistics company on Friday announced an investment of Rs 100 crore in the northeastern region. Safexpress, which has the largest Logistics Network in the northeast, is representing the Logistics industry at the Global Summit, which will be held in Guwahati from …

Government addresses affordable housing, but larger issues remain unanswered (Comment: Special to IANS)

Much on expected lines, the government in Budget 2018-19 has continued with its thrust for Affordable Housing and Housing for All scheme. The government has been consistent with its efforts in addressing affordable housing in 2017 — be it giving infrastructure status to this segment in the previous budget, to helping increase the quantum of …

National security: India needs to nurture indigenous-technology driven policy focus (Comment: Special to IANS)

India’s overall financial outlay in the national budget offers some instructive insights about the constraints and the opportunities in which national security, in its most comprehensive definition, is pursued at the policy level. A brief comparison with the allocation announced on February 1 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley illuminates certain trends, particularly the steady increase …