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Showing posts from November 14, 2021

India: Women in Politics

In the 1962 Lok Sabha polls, women voters constituted 46.7 per cent of the total turnout, but by 2019, their share rose to 67.18 per cent. During the same period, mens turnout grew by only 5 per cent -- from 62.1 per cent in 1962 to 67.08 per cent in 2019. However, corresponding to that growth, there hasnt been an exponential increase in the participation of women in politics or any other law-making bodies. The data collected by the Inter-Parliamentary Union show that Indias position has worsened in terms of representation of women in national Parliaments. It has come down from 95 th  in 1998 to 148 th  in 2021. 

US and China: Ideology competition

Neican Brief is supported by the Australian Centre on China in the World, Australian National University. The idea that the US and China are in an ideological competition mirroring the Cold War has become almost an accepted narrative. Just like the previous competition between capitalism and communism, now the competition is between democracy and authoritarianism, or so the narrative goes. Recently, Anne Applebaum wrote a  The Atlantic  cover story “ The Bad Guys Are Winning ” on the decline of democracy around the world, and called for the US to promote democracy. In these narratives, the US is the beacon of democracy. However, such narratives always ignore the roles the US has played to prop up authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia. The label “bad guys” and authoritarian is usually applied to countries that are not friendly to the US. Yet,  a new study found that  the US and its allies “accounted for a significantly outsize share of global democratic backsliding in the last deca

The new airminded: Civil aviation’s post-pandemic transformation

By   Paul Saffo DOWNLOAD PDF Aviation’s future: This is not just a recovery, it’s a transformation As the world struggles to emerge from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic wave, it is evident that air transport will experience a steady rebound as leisure travelers eagerly reschedule deferred family and tourist travel, while business travelers realize that not every deal can be closed via videoconferencing. The exact timing of the rebound will be gated primarily by the rate at which new COVID-19 variants and infection rates are brought under control. In the meantime, however, look for steady increases in both domestic travel and travel within regions where infection rates are brought under control and reciprocal arrangements are in place. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts an overall return to historic trends by 2024, with international travel lagging slightly behind domestic travel. I am skeptical of the 2024 date but believe the shape of the trend line refle

A lost cause: On the Gadchiroli encounter and Maoists

EDITORIAL 15 NOVEMBER 2021 00:02 IST UPDATED: 15 NOVEMBER 2021 01:05 IST         Despite severe losses, the Maoists refuse to acknowledge the futility of their cause With the  deaths of 26 rebels in a police operation in Gadchiroli  on Saturday, the proscribed Communist Party of India (Maoist) has faced yet another setback in its “protracted armed struggle” against the Indian state. Gadchiroli, a largely forested and tribal-dominated district, is among Maharashtra’s poorest and the Maoists have sought to expand their presence extending from neighbouring Chhattisgarh. There have been major encounters in the district, with recent ones involving the deaths of 40 Maoists in two separate operations in April 2018 and  a landmine blast claiming 15 police personnel  and a driver in May 2019. Gadchiroli remains one of the few districts “severely affected” by left-wing extremism. Despite suffering significant losses to its leadership either in military operations or due to physical infirmities a

In Numbers: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

In Numbers: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor A new DRI report situates the marquee Belt and Road Initiative project within the overall state of Pakistan’s economy. By  Diplomat Risk Intelligence November 17, 2021 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, meets then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Saturday, May 13, 2017. Credit: Thomas Peter/Pool Photo via AP ADVERTISEMENT The following is an excerpt from DRI Trendlines “Here Be Dragons? Pakistan’s Economy and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.”  Access the full report here . Post implementation of BRI, Chinese overseas investment commitments in Pakistan surged and reached an all-time high in 2015. Data: American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation, “China Global Investment Tracker.” Graphics: DRI. Data: AidData, “Global Chinese Development Finance Dataset, Version 2.0.” Graphics: DRI. In 2017, a Pakistan-China Joint Cooperation Committee agreed to prioritize nine Spe

The Kumbakonam of the Kanchi Shankaracharya.

MOHAN GURUSWAMY: I got my first intimation of the importance of the Kanchi Shankaracharya when I went to meet a senior BJP/RSS leader who also became an important minister for a time in the Vajpayee government. The worthy appeared particularly cheerful and told me the reason for it was that the Shankaracharya had rid him of a serious doubt that was gnawing him for a while. Well not directly but through the columns of a magazine popular with New Delhi’s political elite – Astrology Today. It seems that the big man was unsure if a puja performed with reconstituted Mother Dairy milk was of valid sanctity or whether it required fresh cows milk to pass religious muster? Jayendra Saraswathy had apparently resolved the last of the great unanswered questions of Hindu liturgy by coming down strongly on the side of fresh unsterilized cows milk! More than telling me much about the foolish and trivial questions that keep the nations high and mighty pre-occupied, it told me more about the power and


Raza Naeem Published   April 4, 2021 Illustration by Samiah Bilal Is andhiyari, dukhi raat mein Kahaan chalay Mehar! Ab nahin saath nibhaoge kya Itna dukh de jaoge kya [In this sad night of darkness For where did you put on your harness Will you now stand by no longer Will you leave us with so much distress] Fahmida Riaz,  Nauha — Major Ishaq ke Intiqal Par  [Dirge — On the Death of Major Ishaq] Major Ishaq Muhammad was born on April 4, 1921, a hundred years ago today, in a village, Akhara, located 16-17 miles from Jalandhar. As I write this piece remembering the revolutionary founder of the Mazdoor Kisan Party, the ongoing farmers’ protests in neighbouring India have entered their seventh month. And various peasant organisations in Pakistan are planning a ‘tractor march’ to the federal and Punjab capitals if their demands for the support price of wheat, reduced power tariffs for tube-wells and fertiliser rates are not accepted. Later this month, April 17 will also mark the Internation

Hassan Nasir: A Story of McCarthyism in Pakistan

Umer A. Chaudhry Book Review:   Hasan Nasir Ki Shahadat , by Major Ishaq Mohammad. Xavier Publications, Multan; Rs. 500. The letters of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg moved the lyrical pen of  Faiz Ahmed Faiz  to write his monumental poem  ‘ hum jo tareek rahon mein mare gaye.’  The Rosenbergs were Marxists and victims of McCarthyism. A few hours before they were sent to the electric chair in 1953, they left an everlasting message of hope for their children: ‘Be comforted then that we were serene and understood with the deepest kind of understanding, that civilization had not as yet progressed to the point where life did not have to be lost for the sake of life; and that we were comforted in the sure knowledge that others would carry on after us.’ McCarthyism is widely documented as a dark chapter in the history of the U.S.A. It is considered synonymous with Communist witch-hunts, state-sponsored red bashing, illegal detentions of left-wing activists and the arbitrary use of state power to

Electoral Bonds: The Safeguards of Indian Democracy Are Crumbling

MILAN VAISHNAV NOVEMBER 25, 2019 HUFFPOST INDIA Source: Getty Summary:   India’s electoral bonds have only legitimized opacity. The government has promised reform, while doubling down on nefarious old habits, and this new instrument has intensified the crisis confronting India’s much-vaunted apex institutions. Related Media and Tools Print Page Political finance has long served as the  wellspring of corruption  in India. For the average Indian, it is hardly breaking news to learn that the murky flow of funds that fuels politicians and political parties largely explains why corruption remains endemic in India. As the costs of elections have soared, politicians—and the bureaucrats under their sway—have mastered the art of skillfully manipulating the regulatory and policy levers at their disposal in exchange for easy campaign cash. And if an aspiring candidate is so lucky as to win higher office, the quest to rebuild one’s coffers for reelection start afresh. Campaign spending is an inves