REFORMS TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY GOVERNANCE
Published 28-07-2014 11:01 GMT-0000
Mr. Deng Xiaoping’s leadership in China is juxtaposed by two legendaries. He was one of the greatest revolutionary in the long march to set up a proletarian society and conversely, at same time, was a great reformer of the Chinese economy. He portrayed himself as Marxist- Leninist as a man of revolution. But, as a reformer, he opposed Mao’s egalitarianism and upstaged economic reforms with foreign capital.
INDIAN DEMOCRACY FACES A TOUGH CHALLENGE
Published 20-05-2014 11:40 GMT-0000
It’s a sign of the pathology of much of India’s mainstream media that it displays the rise of the speculative-trader-industrialist Hinduja brothers to the top of Britain’s (not India’s) billionaire list on the front page, as many papers did on May 12, while blacking out the shamefully persistent phenomena of grinding poverty and rapidly growing income inequalities in this country.
BEING HUMAN, BEING CITIZENS OF NATION
Published 01-05-2014 10:36 GMT-0000
At the very outset, I should make my position on certain things very clear. I believe that there are many, many ways of being human – none of them being ‘better’ or ‘worse’, ‘progressive’ or ‘regressive’, ‘forward’ or ‘backward’ than others. There is no rank order of ‘civilizations’, cultures, millennia and the like. For that matter, I am not sure what ‘civilisation’ means, unless you define it by a set of arbitrary parameters and ascribe those parameters some kind of inherently positive value, just because you fancy them. This line of thought may be particularly irritating to those who, after their unfortunate birth in brown-land, were born-again when exposed to White people’s worldviews.
ECHOES OF LONG BOSTONIAN ACCENT
Published 23-04-2014 14:57 GMT-0000
The greater Boston area of the United States of America has a very good public transportation system. This comprises of buses, local trains, boats and the metro rail. The Red line is one of the metro routes, stopping at Harvard and MIT, the two institutions where I have spent all of my academic-professional life outside Bengal. This means that I have taken the Red Line metro many, many times. One of the stations on the route is called Porter Square. Soon after the metro leaves a stop, there is a recorded voice which lets the passengers know what the next station is. The way that voice said ‘Porter Square’ was in what can be called a Bostonian accent. That is apt since the metro is in Boston, most users of the metro are from Boston and that is the accent they are most comfortable with.
MANY FACETS OF 1971 BANGLADESH WAR
Published 11-03-2014 13:58 GMT-0000
Bangladeshi youth are protesting against a new Bollywood action thriller that portrays 1971 struggle for independence from Pakistan wrongly. The thriller, titled Gunday, depicts the bloody creation of Bangladesh as a byproduct of a 13-day battle between India and Pakistan beginning on 3 December 1971. According to the viewers, the film apparently indicates that Bangladeshis were involved in crimes like arms smuggling while there were insinuations that they preferred identifying themselves as Indians.
BRINGING NADELLA DOWN TO EARTH
Published 18-02-2014 12:35 GMT-0000
“India makes a power point”, announced a front-page Times of India headline with triumphant finality when Hyderabad-born Satya Nadella was named the CEO of the global software giant Microsoft, referring to the company’s well-known “Power Point” programme. “India on the move!” and “India raises [its] toast”, exulted other major papers.
LET CREATIVITY NOT MASK PERVERSITY
Published 12-02-2014 11:08 GMT-0000
Woody Allen is quite an idol to many people. They like what films he makes, what he says, and often nod at what they think are ‘deep’ statements on life itself. Recently, he has denied the allegations by his foster daughter that he had sexually molested her when she was 7. She describes the sickening details and bit-by-bit the pretension behind the awkward, bespectacled one comes apart. When such idols are exposed, the reaction of idol-worshippers are a good clue to how sections of society are happy to look away from the sins of one person, if they like some other aspect of the person. Whether these aspects are different from each other is a different matter.
BATTLING RELIGIOUS CENSORSHIP FROM BOTH ENDS
Published 27-12-2013 12:31 GMT-0000
Taslima Nasreen, one of the most famous Bengali authors alive, had scripted a TV serial named ‘Doohshahobash’ (Difficult intimacies) portraying 3 sisters and their lives – standing up to kinds of unjust behaviour that are everyday realities in the lives of women in the subcontinent. Nasreen has long lent a powerful voice to some of the most private oppressions that women face, often silently. The private channel of Kolkata where the serial was slotted ran a very visible advertising campaign – Nasreen’s name still has serious pull among Bengalis. Nasreen had made it clear that the serial had nothing to do with religion.
COULD THEY BRING ABOUT AN EARLY THAW?
Published 28-11-2013 10:29 GMT-0000
India was as much shocked as the rest of the world when the news of the tragic assassination of the US President John F Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Kennedy’s fiftieth death anniversary was recently celebrated with the top leadership of the Democrats including President Obama and former President Clinton and his wife Hillary present on the occasion. There are many who believe that had Kennedy lived longer, the Indo-US relations would have bloomed and taken a different direction. During his brief tenure, besides food aid, there were several US projects that emerged including the Tarapur plant, Kanpur IIT and Nagarjuna Sagar project in Andhra Pradesh.
HOW THE CITY INFANTILISES RURAL LIVES
Published 08-11-2013 11:01 GMT-0000
In my childhood years in urban Bengal, ‘Boshe Aanko’ (sit and draw) painting competitions were a rage among the pre-teens. Anecdotes gathered from others make me think that this was prevalent in many areas of the subcontinent. Today, the definition of ‘coolness’ does not include such things, especially among the more Anglo-Americanised segments of society, but that was then and there. A ‘village scene’ figured among the most popular themes that one would draw.