Posts Tagged ‘Democracy’
The Hindu Cartoonscope and Amul Butter cartoons continue to be a great way to capture news in India with humor and satire. This Year in Review presents a montage of cartoons from the two sources to present the highlights of what happened in India in 2011.
Reports of political scams and corruption continued to surface throughout 2011. 2G allocation, hoarding of balck money and illegal mining at Bellary were some prominent ones. Continue Reading
Palagummi Sainath a renowned journalist and rural affairs editor of The Hindu delivered the First Maharaj Kaul Memorial Lecture at University of Berkeley, California on April 11. Sainath has written extensively on farmer suicide and paid news, issues that have not been widely reported in the mainstream Indian media. At Berkeley, Sainath choose to speak on the issue of paid news prevalent in Indian media. He particularly highlighted the problem of political paid news (reported for the first time during Maharashtra State Assembly elections in 2009) described as the phenomenon where money is paid by candidates contesting elections to representatives of media companies for favorable coverage. P. Sainath’s views during the lecture and expressed elsewhere point to a grave crises confronting the state of Indian media.
[Photo Courtesy: The Hindu]
It is important to keep Gandhi untarnished. The Gandhian can be negotiated with.
Two developments in India during the past week convinced me of the above approach in Indian politics. American journalist Joseph Lelyveld’s book The Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India created furore in the country. The book has been banned in Gujarat and Maharashtra is considering a ban. The Central government has serious objections to the book.
Anna Hazare, a Gandhian and social activist, began his fast unto death on April 5 to pressurize the Government to legislate a rigorous anti-corruption bill.
Protest or advocacy, Gandhi continues to occupy the centre stage in India.
India has an inclination for strengthening democracy as opposed to spreading it.
With the recent flurry of popular protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other countries of the Middle East it looks like balancing support for democracy with strategic national interests has emerged as the central theme for contemporary global relations. The United States while expressing support for democracy movements will restrain active involvement in such campaigns. President Obama’s cautious reaction to the uprising in the Arab world reflects America’s less intrusive approach to democracy promotion. Given these realities, India’s support for democratic values, sans the missionary zeal to promote democratic regimes is fast emerging as a reasonable response to the surge in democratic aspirations across the globe.
It would be an understatement to suggest that the Tahrir Square protests in Egypt have profound implications for the theory and practice of democracy. Commitment to democracy has assumed dramatically different connotations both in terms of adherence by national governments and support of the international community. Removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is only the short term result of the 18 day uprising, the long term outcome including the conception and growth of democratic norms shall emerge with time. However, the apparent ‘success’ of the uprising has fired the imagination of the people not only in autocratic regimes but in functional democracies as well. One such instance is that of India. Social and mainstream media in India has suggested the possibility of emulating Egypt type uprising in India to challenge the corruption and inefficiency of the Government. Many observers have even drawn parallels between the Tahrir uprising and public protests in Srinagar in the summer of 2010. Though Egypt like uprising is unlikely in India, yearnings for such ‘revolution’ shall remain strong among the Indian populace. Click to continue…
Struggles for democracy and struggles of democracy may be different but are struggles nonetheless.
The civilian protests in the Kashmir region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir have been accompanied by a proliferation of literature on the intra-national dimension of the dispute, especially the issue of Human Rights. If you happen to read the columns by likes of Pankaj Mishra or Basharat Peer it is likely that your sympathies will lie with the people of Kashmir. Many others are of the opinion that the violent protests should stop to allow the Government to discuss the popular grievances. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has agreed that New Delhi is open to discussing the autonomy issue. Amendment of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is also under consideration. For the protestors, Prime Minister Singh’s assurance is another addition to similar pledges in the past. The Kashmiri youth demand ‘aazadi’ and refuse to be pacified by piecemeal political and economic packages. The Government fears that accepting the demands of the protestors at this juncture would legitimize violent protests as an instrument of popular pressure. Click to continue…
For all those who are wondering why M.F. Husain “abandoned” India, here are a few thoughts (in words and pics) from an equally confused Indian.
According to Husain it was impossible for him to express his creativity in India. So what does this say about India’s claim as an open democratic society? Is Qatar more democratic than India?
Indians and Pakistanis are discussing the leadership crisis in their respective countries, but for different reasons and with different implications. India’s inability to wield influence on the world stage is being blamed on the lack of good leadership. In Pakistan, people feel that the political leaders have failed to instill confidence and provide direction when the country is consumed by the threat of terrorism. Are these leadership demands signs of widening and maturing democracy in the two countries? Or are the Indians and Pakistanis wanting to re-live the hope and optimism characterizing the era of Nehru and Jinnah? Whatever may be the rationale, the demand for better leadership is showing different traits of the public in India and Pakistan. Click to continue…
Nicolas Sarkozy is the first French President since 1848 to address both Houses of the French Parliament. The speech at Château de Versailles was expected to elaborate the President’s policy plans for the second half of his tenure. True to reputation, President Sarkosy’s utterances have evoked another controversy. According to the President, “The burqa is not welcome on French territory. In our community, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen; cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity.”
The President’s comments have been condemned by Islamic groups across the globe, reminiscent of the protests in 2004 against the French law prohibiting the display religious symbols in public places. Click to continue…
A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll finds Egyptians continue to view US foreign policy quite negatively and see President Obama as closely aligned with it. At the same time, Obama has much better ratings than Bush had, and there are signs of thawing feelings toward the US. Excerpts from the Opinion Poll are presented here.
Asked how much confidence they have in Obama to do the right thing in international affairs, 39 percent say they have some or a lot of confidence–up sharply from the 8 percent who viewed George W. Bush positively in January 2008. Views of the United States government have also improved with favorable views rising to 46 percent from 27 percent in an August 2008 WorldPublicOpinion.org poll.
There has been little change in the views of US foreign policy. Sixty-seven percent say that the US plays a negative role in the world.