Free Press Journal
  • Rewarding dal badal devalues party loyalty

    DNA as a criteria for getting a party ticket is offensive to party workers, particularly those who joined the RSS parivar for ideological reasons. Modi’s moral authority and RSS discipline may hold their anger in check for the moment, but loyal party workers cannot be treated as bonded labour in the long term – as the Congress discovered, to its cost. It may also spawn a host of rebels, to the detriment of the

  • Ruminations on re-moo-netisation

    De-moo-netisation, or cow deprivation, was a terrible crime in ancient India, when ownership of cattle was the measure of wealth. Kings gained karma points by gifting cows to brahmans. Conversely, a king stealing a cow from a brahman got it in the neck, as we learn from the story of King Kartavirya, who nobbled Sage Jamadagni’s cow and got his head chopped off by Parasuram.

  • The demon in demonetisation

    The entire burden of the 2017 assembly elections has been placed on the PM’s Atlas-like shoulders. Is that fair? Should he be expected to stake his prestige on state elections, which are fought on local issues? The PM is not averse to leading from the front. We get that.

  • Looking forward to succour, not gaffes from opposition

    IF only Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi could rein in his alchemical urge to turn political capital into dross and advantage into affliction, the Congress can parley public discontent over demonetisation into majorities in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur and a good showing in Uttar Pradesh.

  • Demonetisation effect: Laughing all the way to the bank and back

    The gelastic release of tension through social media buffoonery shouldn’t lull the government into a false sense of security. Humour speaks truth to power. It ridicules and undermines the powerful. It is a potent form of vox populi, beyond the scope of repression. The hilarity doesn’t make it any less serious a commentary on the performance of the ruling dispensation.

  • Giriraj Singh: Surgical strike against overpopulation

    Union minister Giriraj Singh’s proposed surgical strike against overpopulation, intended to snip and clip the very roots of social disharmony and economic disparity, meets the gold standard in terms of policy. To overcome Johnny Public’s Emergency-induced shivers of apprehension at the mention of nasbandi, the political class must lead the way.

  • Like black-money clean-up, get rid of tainted politicians too

    What do all political parties have in common, other than oodles of unaccounted cash and a predilection for untruths? No prizes for guessing: a decided propensity for law-breaking over law-making, for the strong-arm over the long arm of the law. Some have more than their fair share of white-collar offenders, others enjoy the services of mafia “dons”.

  • Is the world losing faith in democracy?

    Is the world losing faith in democracy? Confounded by recent political trends like Brexit and the electoral success of right-wing leaders and parties, notably India’s Narendra Modi, France’s Marine Le Pen, USA’s Donald Trump, Germany’s AFD and Poland’s Law and Justice Party, liberal intellectuals fear that democracy is under threat.

  • Decoding Amar Singh

    Wikipedia describes Amar Singh as a “politician”. How will history refer to him? Part-politician, part-fixer, the SP general secretary and RajyaSabha MP exhibits traits of both, but in so potent a blend as to render him unique. He is a species unto himself, defying nomenclature.

  • UCC: An idea whose time has come

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume a UCC — a key point in the BJP election manifesto of 2014, so hardly a rabbit it has suddenly pulled out of its hat — is a part of the RSS agenda. So what? The RSS has, on occasion, come up with some pretty good ideas. Like backing the Congress on the Land Acquisition and Food Security Acts and on the shelving of Bt Brinjal. To junk

  • War on air, this festive season

    The ten evils represented by Ravana’s decimvirate of heads – ego, cruelty, injustice, lust, anger, greed, pride, jealously, attachment and selfishness – are on full display this Dussehra, thanks to the array of on-air politicians. Unlike Ravana,  they will not go up in smoke.

  • Akhilesh Yadav hamstrung by the chacha brigade

    Breaking news junkies are getting a taste of ye olde cinema staple, the Bollywood Family Drama, on news channels. Kyonki Netaji bhi kabhi CM thhe threatens to displace Kumkum Bhagya as the most-watched TV drama series. The script is riveting: a politically influential khandaan, with a colorful partriarch, blessed with two sons, one from a wife and the other from a mistress (later wife). The supporting caste comprises a motley crew of

  • From liberal democracy to nanny state with surrogacy bill

    India appears to have made a seamless transition from liberal democracy to nanny state, judging by the provisions of the proposed Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016. In its zeal to put a lid on perceived exploitation of fertile poor women by their wealthy but infertile counterparts, the Union government has come up with a legislation that smacks of bigotry and discrimination.

  • Safeguard Right to Justice with more judges

    Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur is miffed and doesn’t care who knows it. He rapped Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharply on the knuckles for failing to touch on the contentious matter of judicial appointments in his Independence Day speech. Rightly so, given that – with 20 million cases pending in the courts – there simply aren’t enough judges to go around. And by stalling further appointments, the government is exacerbating

  • Political heft of the holy Indian cow

    The Indian cow, Bos indicus, has multiple identities: sacred animal, economic animal and more recently, political animal. She is venerated in all three roles and thus worthy of protection. However, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently reminded us, the law bans cow slaughter but does not mandate cow protection. So gau rakshaks are free to assault suspected cow killers while turning a blind eye to cow abuse, like stuffing them full of

  • Thriving misogyny in Indian politics must end, period

    Misogyny thrives under the skin of Indian politics, bubbling to the surface at the slightest provocation. Caste, class and even gender appear to have no bearing on gender sensitivity. The ‘liberals’ who frown on Narendra Modi’s “50-crore ki girlfriend” remark crack sexist jokes at Smriti Irani’s expense and refer to his female supporters as “hate hags.” In politics, my neta’s womanhood is more sacrosanct than yours.

  • Sidhu: Fresh humour to return to grim Punjab?

    One who doesn’t throw the dice can never expect to score a six. – Navjot Singh Sidhu The cricketer-politician has thrown the dice, in every expectation of a sixer. If Sidhu ends his self-imposed exile from state politics by uniting with the Aam Aadmi Party, as his wife indicated on Tuesday, cricket’s favourite jester may well have the last laugh. And get a few from the Punjab voters as well.

  • BJP’s new script for UP assembly elections

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-awaited “Cabinet: the Reshuffle” was a ho-hum exercise, a box-office flop scarcely worth months of intense build-up – or even the effort of watching a supporting cast of 19 ministers of state take oath. The Union Cabinet showcases the same old ageing talent, featuring just one new entrant – Prakash Javadekar, bumped up from sidekick to star billing as full-fledged mantri.

  • Penchant for flawed appointments

    The exit of Raghuram Rajan from RBI and the entry of Chetan Chauhan to NIFT, on Saturday last week, is an example of synchronicity — simultaneous events which have no direct causal relationship but are somehow connected. “Meaningful coincidences,” as it were.

  • Simhastha Kumbh 2016: Modi repackaging India for West

    Google Kumbh Mela and the images that pop up are of naked Naga sadhus coated in ash, long matted locks flying as they rush headlong into the river. The accompanying text is invariably “the largest Hindu pilgrimage of faith”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a gathering of academics, activists and politicians at the Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh 2016, put it in another context altogether.