Free Press Journal
  • Secular media ignores Hindu disquiet

    It is extremely unlikely that the average reader of newspapers—whether in English, Bengali or Hindi—would have anticipated the violence that broke out in Asansol and Raniganj in the aftermath of the Ram Navami celebrations on March 25. The media, among other things such as entertain, shock and build public opinion, is also meant to inform its readers. Unfortunately, readers, or even viewers of local television channels, had absolutely no clue that the

  • Parliament paralysis: Democracy loses vigour

    Even by the whimsical standards of India’s 24×7 TV news channels, the coverage of the Rajya Sabha elections, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, was exceptionally bizarre. Whether the Bharatiya Janata Party would manage to secure eight seats or nine in UP was, of course, a matter of some interest. But the coverage was laced with an amazing measure of micro coverage of individual MLAs who boasted about their preference and, in some cases,

  • Delegation of Indian MPs meets Pak’s NA speaker

    Islamabad: A three-member Indian delegation of MPs today met Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq who said greater interaction and dialogue between the two sides can play a pivotal role in strengthening ties. The delegation headed by Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor included Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Lekhi and Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta.

  • BJP favoured by lower echelons?

    IF we assume that a section of the BJP’s traditional supporters in the places municipal polls were held, shied away from supporting the party, it implies that newer voters must have rallied behind Modi. This in turn raises an interesting possibility: has demonetisation changed the nature of support for the BJP and made the party more acceptable to those lower down the income ladder? The BJP was always a party that epitomised middle class

  • Demonetisation: Narendra Modi’s monumental political gamble

    Since he dropped the demonetisation bombshell on a Tuesday evening (November 8), sending India into a state of shock and awe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again become the focus of sustained attention. As Indians, both very rich and those barely above the poverty line, have grappled with the realities of a draconian demonetisation that has put nearly 86 per cent of the cash supply of India out of circulation, there have been

  • Demonetisation: Modi’s landmark move, to leave a revolutionary impact

    Ever since he came to power in May 2014, there has been a fierce debate on the political nature of the Narendra Modi government. His supporters have stressed the charismatic and even inspirational role of the Prime Minister. At the same time, they have appeared hesitant in signalling whether his government is merely blessed with integrity and efficiency or is indeed transformational. This uncertainty has also been a feature of the many critics who,

  • It’s time dissident media came clean

    What appears to have vitiated the media environment is not divisions on professional considerations. There may be odd disagreements over according the oxygen of publicity to terror groups (including Maoists) but these are few and far between. The real schism is over domestic politics and quite extraneous to media concerns.

  • Right wing conclave in Goa starts today

    Around 350 have accepted the invitation; that include government leaders, corporate leaders, scholars, journalists, politicians and social activists. (more…)

  • Preserving the spirit of Diwali

    The report that the body of an Indian soldier was decapitated by Pakistani soldiers that had crossed the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir is calculated to send a shiver down the spine of a country that is in the midst of Diwali celebrations. As much as a religious festival that commemorates Lord Rama’s triumphant homecoming to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and a grand victory over the King of Lanka, Diwali

  • Delusional grandeur could beat the dust

    THERE is enough political space available for the Congress to query the future course of Indo-Pakistan relations and even pour cold water on reckless war talk. However, to debunk an audacious anti-terrorism initiative of the government using unfamiliar filmi dialogue is beyond the pale.

  • Kashmir Issue: India’s response to Pakistan

    The debate over possible Indian responses to identifiable terrorist attacks appears to have now reached inflection point with the Indian army’s ‘surgical strike’ across the LoC in the early hours of September 29. Regardless of whether or not such Special Forces operations were carried out in the past, the open admission of last Thursday’s raid on terrorist staging posts inside enemy territory symbolises India’s reversal of the doctrine of ‘strategic restraint’ and the


    Stable, united Pakistan: India’s answer?

    In a week that has been dominated by concern, if not rage, over India’s relationship with a truculent Pakistan, I am reminded of a telephone conversation I had with a retired chief of Pakistan’s infamous Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

  • Samajwadi Party’s tale of missed opportunity

    For the section of ‘modern’ India that seeks to discard ‘feudal’ relics and move to a more merit and ideas based politics, the recent turbulence in the Samajwadi Party is a source of intense disgust. Regardless of the issues involved, there is something grossly unappetising about a political battle that involves members of one family.

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    Remittance can’t make up for brain drain

    IN a bid to add value to domestic economic activity, the export of highly skilled Indian professionals to foreign shores ends up adding to the country’s skill deficit. It is one thing to export unskilled labour but there is little justification in facilitating a brain drain at this juncture.

  • Varying hues of the Kashmir Valley imbroglio

    There are many themes that define the ongoing troubles in the Kashmir Valley and it is important to acknowledge the different strands.

  • Baluchistan Issue: Stable, united Pak? Not interested!

    The Pakistan military has  made a transition from being a professional army to being the instrument of an Islamic jihad against India. Today, it reflects many of the ugly facets of the Islamist radicalism that is sweeping across the world.  It is in this context that we  should read Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expression of solidarity with the peoples of Baluchistan and Gilgit-Baltistan who are waging their own battles with the Pakistani

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    Can Hindutva withstand vigilantism in India?

    The past three weeks have witnessed considerable disquiet in both Parliament and among the commentariat over atrocities committed on Dalits, particularly in the village of Una in Gujarat. The anger has acquired a political dimension following revelations that the perpetrators of the attack in Una were members of a self-professed gau rakshak samiti (cow protection organisation), an identification that has seen the protests being directed at the BJP, believed to be the

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    Foreign NGOs: Lobbyists’ grandstanding takes a hit

    My suggestion in the Rajya Sabha last Thursday that the gravely titled Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill 2016 be, instead, referred to as the Prayashchitta Amendment invoked some uncomfortable laughter in the House. The second point, a reminder to MPs that the original 2013 legislation had been enacted by Parliament at “gunpoint” got the Deputy Chairman a little agitated, until the vocal Samajwadi Party backbenchers intervened to say that I had said

  • Kashmir Violence: Romanticising the idea of ‘azadi’

    At the risk of some mild exaggeration, let me make an observation that is certain to make me thoroughly unpopular with a section of my former professional colleagues. In recent years, I have noticed that control and decision-making in the newsrooms and the umpteen online news portals that have mushroomed since 2014, has passed to a breed of individuals whose Indian-ness is emotionally at variance with the rest of the country. Some