Author: Samuel Mathai

Kerala Deluge Man-made disaster adds to nature’s fury

The great deluge and massive landslides in almost all the districts of Kerala are more of a man-made disaster than a natural calamity. Illegal constructions on the river beds, unauthorised stone-quarrying and human intervention contributed to the catastrophe. Had the State and the Central authorities paid attention to the alarm bells sounded by the ecologists, environmental scientists and the Meteorological Department, heavy casualties could have been avoided. The great deluge has left hundreds of people dead, rendered lakhs homeless, destroyed large number of livestock and wildlife. Intense rain and landslides have left Kerala, the ‘God’s Own Country’, in ruins....

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Modi’s confidence fails nation

Amid ranting and raving Opposition members, Prime Minister Narendra Modi succeeded in winning back the trust of his party members, and of course, of some of his allies during the discussion on the no-trust motion in Parliament. Though he could shut the mouth of his opponents with his two-hour usual sarcastic rhetoric, but, in reality, he’s all hat and no cattle. He couldn’t riposte and refute any of the charges made by the Opposition against his government, especially about the political brinkmanship. On the contrary, though the outcome was predictable, the Opposition successfully put the failures of the BJP...

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Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir

President Ram Nath Kovind on June 20 approved the imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect. Governor NN Vohra had sent a report to Union Home Ministry on Tuesday evening recommending Central rule in the State after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation soon after the BJP pulled out of the alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). As Kovind is on a three-nation tour, the proposal was sent to Suriname, his current stop. “When the Governor sent the proposal, the President was already in transit from Athens to Suriname. As soon as he...

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Indian Democracy Laid to Rest

Many government efforts to subvert democracy are “legal” in the sense that they are approved by the legislature or accepted by courts. They may even be portrayed as efforts to improve democracy – making the judiciary more efficient, combating corruption, or cleaning up the process… write Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt in “This is How Democracies Die.” 10:55am: It was October 30, 1922. A thin fog was hanging in the air. Clad in black suit jacket, a black shirt, and sporting a matching black hat, a gentleman got off an overnight sleeping car in Rome. The city was in...

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Billionaire ‘godman’ to spend life in jail

A Rajasthan court on Wednesday (April 25, 2018) jailed self-styled ‘godman’ Asaram Bapu for life for raping a teenage girl at his Ashram at Jodhpur. It’s a classic example of Indian heartland’s fascination with spiritual gurus, who wield immense influence for their ability to mobilise millions of adherents, amass untaxed funds and find favour with politicians. The judge delivered the guilty verdict at a jail in the city in Rajasthan, where Asumal Sirumalani Harpalani, commonly known as Asaram Bapu, has been held since September 2013. The 77-year-old, who has more than 400 ashrams across the world according to his...

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Cartoon by V.K. Ogale


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