A recent ‘Newshour’ non-debate on Times Now on whether or not an order emanating from the Ministry of Human Resources Development to erect 207 feet high steel flagpoles and giant tricolour flags in Central Universities across India featured a wonderful intervention by Sambit Patra, BJP spokesman and digital magician extraordinaire.
A Letter in solidarity with Library genesis and Sci-Hub
In Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s tale the Little Prince meets a businessman who accumulates stars with the sole purpose of being able to buy more stars. The Little Prince is perplexed. He owns only a flower, which he waters every day. Three volcanoes, which he cleans every week. “It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them,” he says, “but you are of no use to the stars that you own”.
Why the Silicon Valley (Generally) Loves Narendra Modi
“Indians are the most prosperous group in the United States of America,” said comedian Rajiv Satyal, the compère of the Narendra Modi speech at the San Jose Arena in the Silicon Valley on Sept. 27. No flash of Gandhian embarrassment stood in the way of the booming cheer that followed. Later on when repeated technical bungling (ironic next to the tech bombast of the setting) led the compère to step back on stage, he kept repeating this idea alongside “Bharat Mata ki Jai!” to keep the ardor up among the 17,000-strong crowd. There appeared to be a few thousand more outside, either supporting or protesting the event. Several U.S. legislators were present, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“The manner in which the state is intervening in higher education is causing concern and even alarm in the academic community. Both the unlamented UPA—II regime and the current NDA government have been remarkably similar in their authoritarian impatience to introduce wholesale changes without adequate or careful preparation. This position paper is the collective product of roughly six months of discussion among teachers of several central universities in Delhi. It is an attempt to participate in the process of critical self evaluation of the university system as it is today. It is also our considered response to the many policy statements and directives issued by the MHRD and the UGC recently”
Please click on the link below for the complete position paper on proposed reforms in higher education, prepared by Delhi-based Academics for Creative Reform and released at a press conference today:
Political Social Media had a minor event this week. The world’s two most followed elected leaders on social media, shared the media centerstage. Barack Obama, with 45 million fans on Facebook and 54 million followers on Twitter, and his Indian counterpart Modi, with 27 million on Facebook and another 9.8 million on Twitter, together command the arguably most powerful political brands on social media. In a rare moment of realpolitik bromance, Narendra Modi sent Barack Obama a smiley for quoting Shah Rukh Khan in the Lok Sabha. A day later, Narendra Modi became the first Indian politician to use Twitter’s new video feature in a carefully cut 30-second monologue.
Modi campaign’s exceptional presence on social media is not news. He is India’s most “liked” person on Facebook. While he still trails actors Amitabh Bachchan the Khan troika and the Dalai Lama from among India’s resident Tweeters, his average of adding 20,000 followers daily for much of the last year should put him safely past his competition by the end of the year.
An Urgent Alert has been posted by NITYANAND JAYARAMAN in DiaNuke.org on an accident that occurred in Koodankulan sometime in the afternoon today.
After initially flashing news about the incident, the media is now reportedly playing NPCIL’s statements denying and downplaying the incident. If NPCIL’s past record is anything to go by, truth will be a while in coming. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was unavailable for comment.
Today’s accident comes less than a week after the Honourable Supreme Court ruled that it was satisfied with the safety features installed at the plant. Read the rest of the report here.
We have reported earlier in Kafila on the ongoing struggle of the local people against the establishment of the nuclear reactor in Koodankulan here, here and here.
A version of this essay appeared in the Kashmir Reader, 10 December 2013
Guest Post by Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh
On the road to the city from Srinagar Airport, I recently saw a billboard. Beneath the radiantly beaming faces of Manmohan Singh, and Sonia Gandhi, it bore the declaration ‘One Nation. One Card. AADHAR.’ Public Service advertisements in the same cheery vein have been airing on Radio Kashmir, and the state owned TV station Doordarshan- Kashir. Its critics assert that the AADHAR (‘its not a card, just a number!’) scheme exemplifies the financialisation of citizenship (each AADHAR number will require a corresponding bank account), a regime of biometric surveillance, the creation of a database nation and an expansion of the global corporate- military-intelligence empire. But AADHAR is only the latest chapter in the largely undocumented history of India’s intimate stranglehold over Kashmir through identity documents. It is a history told anecdotally, through stories about the sinking feeling of being stopped at a barricade and rifling through empty pockets, of cold hours spent pleading on a street or at a police station, of late night rescues of hapless friends from lonely check points, of miraculously narrow escapes despite having left home without it.
Though no Kashmiri adult I know leaves home without their ID, no one can seem to pin point exactly when the carrying of a photo-identity card became mandatory. Trying to understand the basis for the practice, I asked a friend under what law it was required that every person be able to prove their identity at all times. ‘Under the gun law!’ he replied succinctly. While its legal origins are uncertain, what is quite clear is that by the early 1990s no Kashmiri male could afford to be, quite literally, caught dead without one. As my plain speaking friend explained, “the most important reason for carrying one was if you were killed, somebody would hopefully find your card and inform your family.” The ID card was the tenuous piece of laminated paper that stood between him and an unmarked grave, an unmourned death.