From memory's unmapped isles: A poet on alienation - and nature's rhythms

By Vikas Datta,

One of the rather negative aspects of urbanisation is a sense of alienation, of isolation - that despite being surrounded by masses of people, you are quite unlikely to have any meaningful connection with them. And this perception can be felt more keenly at night when walking through teeming or deserted thoroughfares and markets, brilliantly lit or gloomily dark. This motif and its stark imagery have been employed quite a bit in modern Urdu poetry by some big names. But its champion was a most highly-regarded but short-lived poet of rare sensitivity, though his fame in the non-Urdu speaking world may only rest on a haunting ghazal made popular by the unmatched Ghulam Ali.

True meaning of the Coalgate Judgement

By Jaspal Singh,

Few days ago the Supreme Court of India delivered a judgement in the case that has come to be known as Coalgate. The court in its judgement declared that all the coal allocations since 1993 have been illegal, arbitrary and ad hoc.

This verdict of the highest court has indicted all the central governments since 1993 that includes governments headed by BJP and Congress. In this period for five years government was headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and for ten years Manmohan Singh was at the helm of affairs.

Amid BJP thumbs up, son controversy dims Rajnath's smile

By Mohit Dubey ,

Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is one of the few politicians in the country to perpetually wear a smile. Be it the loss in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls when he was chief minister or the failure of the party to make a comeback at the centre in 2009, the 63-year-old former physics lecturer does not let politics affect his disposition.

Terrorism a diplomatic asset: Fair is foul, foul is fair

By Saeed Naqvi ,

The ISIS threat has been around for months. Why was it not nipped in the bud? Obama’s response in the course of a conversation with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times is revealing. “We did not start airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as the ISIS came in because that would have taken the pressure off Nouri al-Maliki”, the then Shia prime minister in Baghdad.

Modi's 100 days: Has the 'acche din' hype boomeranged?

(100 days of Modi government)

By Amulya Ganguli,

A month after assuming office, Narendra Modi had rued the absence in his case of the customary honeymoon period for a new prime minister. Now, the by-election setbacks and signs of dissonance at the top have cast a further shadow on his first 100 days as prime minister.

Conditions remain same, but Raina makes the difference

By Veturi Srivatsa,

The conditions for the One-Day Internationals (ODI) were as they prevailed for most of the five-Test cricket series against India -- typically English. Both sides retained the core of their teams and beefed up by bringing in limited-overs specialists Suresh Raina and Eoin Morgan, respectively.


Tourist haven Goa caught in its bikini politics

By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar,

A master of witty anecdotes, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar once liberally used a popular bikini adage to make a point about governance and number crunching. "Statistics are like a woman wearing a bikini. What they reveal is vital. What they hide is even more vital," Parrikar would often say to peals of laughter from his acolytes.

Divided Sri Lanka haunts a man at the wheels (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy,

Title: Noon Tide Toll; Author: Romesh Gunesekera; Publisher: Penguin Books: Pages: 237; Price: Rs.299

How does Sri Lanka fare after the end of a quarter century of ethnic conflict? Vasantha ferries visitors all around the island in a van bought with savings after retiring early. The road journeys are as much an eye opener to the Sri Lankan driver as much to the men and women he transports - mainly foreigners and Sri Lankans now settled abroad. The still bruised north, the Sinhalese south and the now carefree Colombo come alive as Romesh Gunesekera, a gifted writer, uses Vasantha to take readers from one spot to another, from one saga to another.

High prices possible cause of BJP bypoll defeats

By Biswajit Choudhury,

New Delhi:With explanations like the missing Modi factor or local conditions unable to fully explain BJP's by-election losses in light of its recent overwhelming win nationally, the phenomenon of inflation, especially of food prices hurting people everywhere, has emerged as a possible answer to this poll puzzle.

In this season of deficient rainfall, consumer price (CPI) inflation accelerated to a two-month high of 7.96 percent in July against 7.46 percent in June, pushed up by rising prices of vegetables, fruit and milk, government data shows.

Shaitan ki khala: Washing Brains the ISIS Way?

[A take on the attempted brainwashing of our young minds and the sexist nature of some religious speeches]

By Asma Anjum Khan,

This happened a few years ago.

It was the usual hurried Jumma. My 12 year old boy looked solemn in his long, pale white kurta. His usual fervor for the special Jumma lunch [Daal Gosht with piping hot fried rice] was absent and I found him sitting at the corner of our large mahogany bed. He seemed contemplative, very unusual for him. When asked to join, he looked up and asked, Mom, why do you work? And before I could react and open my mouth to say Whatttt and look gawky; I heard this next.