The page of Gurcharan Das
The $74m Mars mission benefits India every bit as much as clean water
Last week India sent a satellite into orbit around Mars,with a low-cost, nimble mission that has stunned the world. At $74m over three years, the cost was roughly one-ninth that of the latest (also successful) US mission, which took six years. And in reaching the red planet on its first attempt, India’s space agency succeeded where many other leading powers – including the US, Russia,China and Japan– failed.
Cautious optimism is the verdict on Modi’s 100 days
Indians elected Narendra Modi to create masses of jobs, give good governance, and control inflation. It is too soon to tell if he will keep his three promises. The first hundred days indicate how he intends to pursue these three objectives. The verdict so far leaves us cautiously optimistic.
Two months on, mantra’s clear: Less talk, more action
It’s been a little over two months since the Modi sarkar came to power. Too soon, perhaps, for a definitive assessment, but there are signs of change; patterns are emerging; and even hints of a larger picture. Where we had expected discontinuity there is surprising continuity. This may say something about the evolution of authority, a maturing of the Indian state.
After months of talk, it’s go time for new PM
John Ruskin, the 19th century British art critic, once re marked that the greatest contribution that an aristocratic duke could make to the modern world would be to take a job as a grocer. This apparently bizarre suggestion goes to the heart of middle-class dignity -an idea that I identified in my last column to explain the significance of Narendra Modi’s victory. In our unequal, hierarchical Indian society, we need to correct our misguided notion about what constitutes a dignified life.
Modi’s moment is about middle class dignity
If Indians won their political freedom in August 1947 and their economic freedom in July 1991, they have attained dignity in May 2014. This is the significance of Narendra Modi’s landslide victory. The hopes and dreams of an aspiring new middle class have been affirmed for the first time in India’s history. Modi has made millions believe that their future is open, not predetermined, and can be altered by their own actions.
Modi shouldn't forget Fareed and millions like him
It has been an exhilarating month. We have marvelled at the sights and sounds of India's great election mela on our television screens. The image, most memorably etched in my mind is of a confident Muslim boy, Fareed, in a small town in Western UP. When the female interviewer asks his name, he retorts with a flirtatious smile, "Who wants to know?"
Secularism or growth? The choice is yours
This month’s national election may well be the most important in India’s history. Our country faces a limited window of opportunity called the 'demographic dividend' and if we elect the right candidate, prosperity will enter crores of lives. And in the course of time, India will become a middle class country. If we elect the wrong candidate, India will experience a ‘demographic disaster’ and the great hope of youth will turn into despair.
Elect to transform India with eight big ideas
The world is divided between optimists and pessimists. Optimists believe that if the government invests in infrastructure ,removes barriers facing entrepreneurs,jobs will multiply, the economy will grow and the country will gradually turn middle-class. Pessimists worry about problems — inequality, crony capitalism, degrading environment, etc. The problems are real but optimists focus on opportunities and lead nations to success. Let’s hope an optimist is elected in 2014 after a decade of UPA’s pessimism, and here are eight big ideas to help him/her restore India to health.
Modern marriages aren’t made in heaven
In the past few weeks, sexual tragedies have blighted some prominent and attractive lives. Sunanda Pushkar, wife of the writer and minister, Shashi Tharoor, died recently in Delhi. Around the same time, the French First Lady, Valerie Treirweiler, had to be hospitalized in Paris. Both events followed revelations of alleged sexual affairs.
Inflation, not corruption, will be the key issue in LS* polls
In the last assembly elections, the aam admi complained inconsolably of rising prices. TV clips showed voters quoting the prices of potatoes, onions, and dal. Pundits put it down to the ‘usual election whining’, but more than corruption, inflation turned out to be the reason for Congress’ defeat. Even though it has slowed a bit recently, all political parties are warned — the aam admi is not going to forget the pain of inflation in the coming general election.