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October 2010

The Kashmir Interlocutors’ Panel: Doomed before it starts?

'When the Cabinet Committee on Security announced "a new political initiative" on Jammu and Kashmir on September 25, it was expected that high-level interlocutors would soon begin a dialogue with the state's parties and civil society.

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Poor recovery, high costs

The Great Recession shows no clear signs of ending, but conservative solutions to it have already wrought great long-term social damage.

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India relishes its growing power—not debate over its purposes

When India got elected last week to the United Nations Security Council as one of its five temporary members for two years, Foreign Minister SM Krishna was ecstatic. He termed this a “big day for Indian diplomacy” and a “reflection of the expectations that the world has from us”. The media joined the chorus to celebrate this “monumental” victory, which will give India a chance to “showcase its eligibility to become a permanent member” of the Council. New Delhi has long nurtured this ambition and backed it indefatigably, while throwing its lot with the other G-4 aspirants (Japan, Germany, Brazil).

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Collapse by design in Kashmir?

The Kashmiri people have seen so many botched attempts at dialogue and mediation to resolve the thorny dispute of which they are the victims that the collapse of such (usually half-hearted) efforts doesn’t strike them as remarkable. Nor does the mindlessness of the “packages” of poorly formulated financial and development measures which every government at the Centre periodically throws at them.

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After the Games, the Blame Game

The Commonwealth Games have proved the Cassandras right. Every single dire forecast and dismal prediction has turned out to be correct and every dark fear has come true. The mis-planning and mismanagement of the event was gross, the scale of corruption staggering, the profligate spending on the international sports bureaucracy unparalleled, and the brutalisation of Delhi and its suburbs complete.

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Restoring Public Faith In Rule of Law: Justice in Ayodhya

How should India's Supreme Court treat the appeals certain to be filed before it against the Allahabad High Court judgment on the Babri Masjid issue, which dismisses the Sunni Central Waqf Board's title suit and says the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram? Should the Court strive to reconcile the Vishwa Hindu Parishad with the Waqf Board? Or should it overturn the judgment?

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Remove the smokescreen

The disclosure by the Centre for Science and Environment that 11 of the 12 leading brands of honey sold in India contain high levels of harmful antibiotics should make us acknowledge our failure to evolve and enforce environmental and health standards. Similar disclosures were made about pesticides in soft drinks and coliform bacteria in 'safe' bottled water. More distressing is the documentation since the 1980s of high content of pesticides and other toxins, including lead, in a majority of samples of foodgrain, vegetables, meat, eggs and milk tested by public laboratories.

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