The page of Gurcharan Das
Elusive tryst with destiny: Sixty-eight years into Independence, the market still remains in chains
An approaching Independence Day is a good time to pause, extend our circle of concern beyond day-to-day events, and reflect upon our nation`s journey over the past 68 years as a free nation. As i look back on our confused history as an independent nation, i discern in the fog three great milestones: in August 1947 we won our political freedom; in July 1991 we gained economic liberty; and in May 2014 we attained dignity.
Wanted: Vyapam reforms to overhaul our democracy
Something has gone terribly wrong with our republic. There are ominous clouds over the approaching monsoon session of Parliament. When MPs should be deeply concerned with the fragile nature of our economic recovery, debating how to create a million jobs a month, they are straggling back to work in a stupor having forgotten why they were elected.
Modi is building on India’s wondrous trading past
Last week’s historic accord with Bangladesh erased a dispute as old as Kashmir while nudging the subcontinent towards a common market.Trade and investment have been the refreshing focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomacy. He understands instinctively that power emanates from a bowl of rice, not from the barrel of a gun. In this respect, he is following an ancient tradition that once made India a great trading nation that carried its amazing soft power on merchant ships.
One-year itch: Modi shift to political centre angers both right and left
Politics is a short game while economics is a long one. Both tend to converge in the end but in the interim they pull in opposite directions. Because of this mismatch, most of the people are invariably disappointed. This is Prime Minister Modi’s problem on the first anniversary of his government. Although his record is reasonably good, he has neither met the extraordinary expectations of his supporters nor followed through on key priorities.
Ten steps that can put the railways back on track
Once upon a time we used to proudly call Indian Railways the ‘nation’s lifeline’. Today, we are embarrassed by it. Every Indian had an impossibly romantic railway memory. Today these memories have faded as successive politicians have played havoc with a grand old institution. The root problem is that railways is a state monopoly, starved by politics of investment and technology, and prevented by a pernicious departmental structure from becoming a modern, vibrant enterprise.
Land agitators forget even a farmer’s son needs a job
India elected Narendra Modi to control inflation, restrain corruption and bring back jobs. Inflation has come under control; there has been no corruption scandal in the past ten months; but jobs are nowhere in sight. Modi is banking on his ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme to revive manufacturing and deliver a million new jobs that are needed each month.
AAP staged PM must heed a Mughal prince
On the fateful day that the Aam Aadmi Party won a stunning victory in Delhi’s state election, I was captivated by the tragedy of ‘Dara’, a superb play by Pakistani writer Shaheed Nadeem, which opened recently at the National Theatre in London.
Dharma vs desire, therein hangs a morality tale
For the past few weeks Shashi Tharoor, the celebrated writer and politician, has been the victim of a phenomenon called trial by media. The media can be unkind when life takes a bad turn. It delights in raising celebrities to the sky on one day, and with equal glee brings them crashing down the next. If you live your life under the glare of publicity, you must be pre pared to be tried by the public.
To fulfil his economic agenda, Modi must manage his party’s cultural right
It has been a brilliant year for BJP and Modi’s great achievement is to have broadened its appeal to bring in a vast number of aspiring Indians who have effectively become the ‘economic right’ of the party. Having risen through their own efforts they were uncomfortable with Congress’s leftish policy of giveaways. Many, however, do not subscribe to Hindutva. Modi may have filled a political vacuum but he has created tensions in his party between the ‘economic right’ and ‘cultural right’.
Sanskrit, taught well, can be as rewarding as economics
There was a time when I used to believe like Diogenes the Cynic that I was a citizen of the world, and I used to strut about feeling that one blade of grass is much like another.