The criticality of education to Indian Society can never be underestimated. Illiteracy is the biggest challenge that we need to tackle in India. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said " Let every lamp be lighted". We appeal to every Indian to do their little bit to "make literate" the lesser privileged around you.
Monday, November 25, 2002
Catch one of the best interviews given by an Indian policy maker in a long time: Dr.Yashwant Sinha with Tim Sebastian. It is a classy interview laced with repartees. Here is a sample : Tim: "Why is India not talking to Pakistan?"; Sinha shot back "Is the West talking to Osama bin Laden?" Mr.Sinha also echoed views very similar to Dr.Kalam on the nuclear policy of India. Atleast on the nuclear policy front, there is a single voice emerging out of India.
Judicial activism is at its historic peak in India. The Supreme Court had questioned right of Karanataka Govt to continue in the Cauvery Issue; it had asked the State Governments to decide on percentage of seats for minority students in institutions. Supreme Court is clearly taking the executive head on. Mr. President its time for you to take a cue from the Supreme Court. We do not want you to be a mere ceremonial head.
| S Anand
The Kashmir Times discusses the powers of our President to implement his vision. Turns out that he can address the Parliament on any issue he feels like. Not surprising, perhaps, but no President has done it so far. It would be good if Dr. Kalam could ignite some passion in the minds of our leaders.
| S Anand
A summary of Dr. Kalam's 11 weeks of Presidency by The Straits Times. I found two pieces of information interesting: that he conducts classes at Anna University (Madras) through video-conferencing. And that he plans to establish centres with video facilities across the country so that students everywhere can communicate directly with him.
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
| S Anand
In response to Dr. Kalam's 3 questions on polls in Gujarat, the Supreme Court decided that it's OK to have elections till December, and will think about the rest of the questions on September 17th.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
In India we have freedom of speech. But we do not have freedom after speech! (Fear of life!) Hence no comments on this
On May 2nd 2002, the Supreme Court said: "Candidates must reveal if they were arrested (and why), and the state of their finances." Logical, because you need this to figure out whether the candidate can contest or not.
On August 16th 2002, the Government discussed and approved an ordinance on poll reforms. They made it clear that even if a person is arrested twice for "heinous crimes", he/she could contest. It's only if the person is convicted that he/she cannot. And that financials would have to be fully disclosed. But, the ordinance went clearly against the SC order (and was intended to nullify it).
On August 16th 2002, the National Campaign for Electoral Reforms approached the President and laid out the conflict. The SC says, "thou shalt reveal your convictions and thy spouse/dependents' finances." The Ordinance says, "No matter what the SC or the EC or anyone says, thou need not reveal more than what this Ordinance says." Specifically, the some details on convictions and dependents' finances need not be revealed.
On August 23rd 2002, as we know, the President sent the Ordinance back, seeking clarification on the conflict. Now, this was probably only a clarification. But the Cabinet sat, discussed it as if the President returned the Ordinance, and sent it back in the same form.
Now, the President has to sign it. The Act will be passed.
Now, this is a tricky issue. The SC said something. The Lok Sabha said the opposite. Which view should prevail? And what should the President's role be in all this?
President Abdul Kalam seems to have garnered more visibility than any of the previous Presidents. He definitely is seeking to redefine the role of the President in Indian Polity. Whether he succeeds remains to be seen
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
| S Anand
Sathish found a hoarding for United India Insurance featuring the President.
Did it happen with the President's consent? If not, is it legal?
1. Can the Election Commission say "no elections" even if it means no Government for more than 6 months?
2. If yes, should President's rule be imposed in Gujarat?
3. Or should it just carry on the election as best as it can?
The Gujarat assembly was dissolved on 19 July. So a new assembly is needed before 19 Jan 2003. I guess that's enough time to figure out what to do, and have the elections.
| S Anand
I finally figured what the issue at Gujarat is. The EC says "Don't have elections in Gujarat. The place is in a mess." But Article 174 says, "You can't have no Government for more than 6 months." BJP says, "Hey, we want elections, because we'll win." But that's not good enough. So they say, "Article 143 says the President can stop everything and check the Supreme Court what they think, if he thinks necessary.
I don't know if the President thought it necessary. But he has agreed to check with the Supreme Court.
It is probably a safe decision. After all, the Supreme Court's decision is binding. But was it necessary? More importantly, whose decision was it, really?
| S Anand
Satyen Mohapatra writes about Y S Rajan, Dr. Kalam's friend, who accompanied him on his Gujarat visit.
What I find interesting in the article is that "Kalam’s Hindi is poor." That's interesting. I can relate to that, but I definitely did not expect it.
BJP was sure of winning, so didn't like the result. Now the matter will be referred to the President and the Supreme Court. The decision will be made on Wednesday. How independent will Dr. Kalam's decision be?
Saturday, August 17, 2002
| S Anand
PakNews doesn't like it that Musharraf "shamelessly greets the enemy" on Independence day. Pretty strong. I suppose the Pakistan press would be at least as biased against India as the Indian press is against Pakistan.
My view is that Dr. Kalam talks about freedom in the sense of fundamental rights -- along the lines of Tagore and the American declaration of independence. That all men are created equal, free to pursue their "inalienable rights".
China traded this freedom for economic development. Somewhat like Sparta in 500BC. India has chosen democracy. Somewhat like Athens. In the war between Sparta and Athens, Sparta won. (In a few centuries, neither kingdom existed.)
But I'd rather live in a civilisation like Athens. Better culture. Greater equality. And less chance of a civil war.