Obituary: Prof Asad Ahmad

By Naved Masood,

Prof. Ahmad was Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta and a distinguished Molecular Geneticist.

The news of Prof Asad Ahmad's passing away came as a complete shock for though for the last several months we were not in touch, such 'net silence' on his part was not unprecedented. It comes out though that this time round it was his serious illness and not his occasional hibernation that led to his silence. His death gives me much thought to reminisce and introspect.

Congress heavy artillery changes Punjab equations

By Jaideep Sarin ,

Chandigarh: When ruling Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal recently assured BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi that the Akali Dal-BJP alliance will win all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, he did not perhaps have the game-plan of the principal opposition Congress in mind.

Karnataka's six former CMs in election fray

By Fakir Balaji ,

Bangalore: Six former chief ministers of Karnataka, including one who was prime minister for 10 months, are in the fray for the Lok Sabha seats from the state -- a record of sorts.

Of them, two each are from the Congress (M. Veerappa Moily and N. Dharam Singh), the BJP (B.S. Yeddyurappa and D.V. Sadananda Gowda) and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) H.D. Deve Gowda and his son H.D. Kumaraswamy.

Moily is the central minister for petroleum and natural gas in the outgoing UPA-II government.

Indian scientist contests Big Bang `evidences'

By K.S. Jayaraman ,

Bangalore: Indian astrophysicist Abhas Mitra, at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai, who had once challenged the Black Hole theory of Britain's famed Stephen Hawking is in the limelight again.

Mitra's earlier research had claimed that the so-called "Black Holes" must be grey-holes and not exact black holes, and the so-called "Dark Energy" -- a topic of Physics Nobel in 2011 -- must be an artifact rather than a real entity.

His views remain uncontested till now.

Has Modi moderated?

By Irfan Engineer,

Ashutosh Varshney in his article in Indian Express (Modi the Moderate) writes that “Modi may not have Vajpayee’s style but, substantively, his campaign over the last few months shows roughly similar traits.” Varshney gives instances of Modi paying tribute to Maulana Azad in one of his election speeches; stitching alliances with the dalit parties, including with those who fought against him and finally, Modi pointed out in one of election speeches that Haj quota from Gujarat was full whereas quotas from Bihar and UP could not be filled as Muslims were backward as compared to Gujarat. In all the three instances cited, Varshney claims that Modi’s campaign has departed wholly or very substantially from the tenets of Hindu nationalism. There are two issues here – whether the three instances cited amounts to departing from Hindu nationalist position; and second, if it does, is it merely an election strategy or a substantial ideological repositioning on part of Modi?

Slavery a disturbing truth in India

By Amit Kapoor,

The Global Slavery Index 2013, compiled by non-profit Walk Free Foundation, presents quite a dismal picture about a reality in India: Modern slavery. It estimates that 13.3 million to 14.7 million people are enslaved in India, exhibiting the full spectrum of such rights violations. It is scary, heart-rending, exposes our underbelly and gives a peep into our minds and the exploitative tendencies we have. Most of all, it depicts the feudalistic mindset we suffer from.

Exploring the Palestinian predicament with Omar Yussef

By Vikas Datta,

Their predicament is an enduring problem of our times and has resisted solution -- by violent struggle or by negotiated settlement. An unfortunate offshoot is that Palestinians have ended up being portrayed either as brutal terrorists or hapless victims.

Impact of flattening yield curve of US bonds

By Vatsal Srivastava,

In her last press conference after the minutes of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) were released, the Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen said interest rates would start rising six months after the quantitative easing (QE) program completely winds down. Bond market traders have had to adjust their positions accordingly as the rate hike is now being priced much earlier than it was previously expected. Market expectations are for the first rate hike to occur somewhere around May-June 2015.


Of indigenising military hardware and conspiracy theories

By Vishnu Makhijani,

For a country that produces just a handful of domestically-developed cars, SUVs and trucks -- two and three-wheelers are deliberately left out of this -- it would seem an extremely tall order to reduce the 60-70 percent reliance on imports for military hardware.

It was more than a decade ago that Pranab Mukherjee, then the defence minister, had rapped the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for reducing the import element by a mere five percent, from 25 percent to 30 percent, and precious little has changed since.

Shadows of an encounter

By Kashif-ul-Huda,,

East Delhi, Delhi: On Sunday March 23rd, residents of Okhla woke up to the news of disappearance of four Muslim youths in Jaipur and two in Delhi. These students were picked up by a group of people not wearing any uniform or carrying any warrants for arrest. Soon it came to be known that people who kidnapped these students were members of Delhi Police Special Cell.