Free Press Journal
  • Big political gestures achieving little

    When the Bangladeshi leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman returned from visiting Japan in 1972 claiming to have obtained handsome aid commitments, India’s high commissioner in Dhaka wondered in his diary whether any Asian head of government ever went abroad “without creating a tremendous impact and achieving great success.” That seems especially true of today’s India with…

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  • Razia Sultan and Beewi: In a male preserve

    When General H M Ershad was the president of Bangladesh, he often boasted that Sheikh Hasina Wazed, who was then the principal challenger, could never succeed. “This is a Muslim country” he would say. “The president has to be a man because he must lead the nation in prayers.” I mentioned this to Kamal Hossain,…

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  • Need reform in the emigration policy

    The government is not so much clueless about creating employment, as Palaniappan Chidambaram says, as unable to stop boasting of imaginary achievements. If the organised sector had indeed created more than 1,100 jobs a day in 2016-17, as claimed by an official report, six immigrant workmen from Hyderabad would not have had to suffer such…

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  • Breaking heads over ailing Air India

    LEE Kuan Yew’s prescription is predictably drastic. He would “let Air India die naturally” he said, instead of breaking heads and making life miserable  trying to revitalise it. The government seems to clutch at the hope that despite being lumbered with a debt of about Rs 48,877 crore (Rs 17,360 crore aircraft loans and Rs…

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  • Asia

    Good fences make good neighbours

    Not having learnt its lesson over Iraq, the United States seems all set to kindle the fires of another West Asian conflict and possibly plunge the world into an even more dangerously widespread conflagration. The bellicose tone of Donald Trump’s 55-page US National Security Strategy document, especially over Iran and China, and his proposed action…

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  • The flame of liberty, sacrifice and integrity

    The Chinese may well read considerable political significance in the report that 18,171 young Indians are studying in China against 18,015 in the United Kingdom. Informal interaction at this level might help to bridge the gulf in understanding that today separates Asia’s two major nations, aggravating memories of the territorial dispute that led to the…

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  • New UN: An instrument of Western policy

    The United Nations General Assembly vote on December 21 may not make much difference to Jerusalem’s status. But, it did mark yet another milestone along the distance that is growing between the lone superpower and the world body. The US is the UN’s biggest contributor, and India knows from experience that he who pays the…

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  • Theological misinterpretation of minorities

    FOR someone with strong religious beliefs, anything preached by another is a theological misrepresentation. No Christmas carols were sung this month in Rashtrapati Bhavan for probably the first time since the celebration was once suspended briefly as a mark of respect for the victims of a major earthquake. The carols, Iftar dinner and a Diwali…

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  • Gujarat Assembly Elections: Obnoxious showdown of ‘RAM’ and ‘HAJ’

    The BJP poster that described the Gujarat election as a face-off between “RAM” and “HAJ” said it all. “RAM” proclaimed the valour and virtue of the blessed trio – the chief minister (Vijay) RUPANI, AMIT (Shah) and (Narendra) MODI, collective embodiment of the Ramayana epic’s heroic divinity. Across the great divide, HARDIK (Patel) of the…

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  • Deepotsav in Ayodhya

    A lingering, rankling sense of injustice

    The character and direction of the Indian state changed for ever 25 years ago this month when the Babri Masjid was destroyed on December 6, 1992. Some see that demolition as a signal for the future. It would be accurate also to call it a repudiation of centuries of Muslim control and a warning that…

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  • Obama takes off where Hamid Ansari left

    One wonders if Barack Obama’s comments about Indian Muslims were influenced by what Hamid Ansari said in Bangalore three and a half months ago. But, then, the former US president had made similar remarks when he visited India in 2015 before the former vice-president had revealed his anxieties. Mr Obama had then emphasized, both publicly…

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  • Fluid political scenario in Zimbabwe

    Predictably – and appropriately – the first British minister to set foot in Zimbabwe in 19 years stressed the need for constitutional propriety while also warning that “it will be impossible without clear resolve from the incoming government”. That message from Rory Stewart, Britain’s Minister of State for Africa, was an assurance of support provided…

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