Sand Tracks or Proper Rails?


Some one once asked Archimedes, "People say you are a great scientist, can you move the earth?". He replied confidently “Yes, give me a place to stand on and a long enough lever and I will move the earth”

A Dozen Years of Dramatic Change


The dawn of the twenty-first century brought to us vividly the dangers inherent in our modern world. The terrorist attacks in the US on the 11th September, 2001, the Second Gulf War now raging in Iraq, and the rapid spread of Severe Accuse Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) from the first reported infections in Guangdong province in China to over a dozen countries across continents – all these illustrate the perils confronting us in a shrinking world.

Politics of Tokenism


One should set their course by the twinkle of the distant stars and not by the lights of a passing ship

Last week, chief minister Chandra Babu Naidu has suddenly decided to bless us with a shower of gifts to make up for the sweltering heat wave that we are going through. He has announced a package of sops worth Rs 700 cr for the farmers, Rs 300 cr for fishermen and agriculture labour, Rs 1000 cr for artisans and weaker sections. He has also resolved to gift every girl child attending a government school with a bicycle!

“Water, water everywhere - But not a drop to drink!”

Most of the state, including the residents of the twin cities got a respite from the sweltering heat-wave with the onset of the Southwest monsoon. But for the majority of the people, the wait for safe, accessible, affordable and assured drinking water supply is going to be much longer. Decades ago, the traditional source of drinking water used to be a small lake or a nearby stream or a bore well. Thanks to the chaotic and unplanned growth, most of the lakes are in a state of utter disrepair and are close to dying.

“Good old days”, or Sheer Nostalgia?


How often have we heard people glorifying the past and their own generation and lamenting the rotten conditions in the present and despairing that things can never improve.

Reclaim “Swarajya”


I would like to narrate an event that took place in Calcutta some 80 years ago. Sri Chittaranjan Das (C R Das) was elected as the  Mayor of the newly constituted Municipal Corporation of Calcutta in 1924. He argued with the British Governor of the province that as the elected head of the local government he should have the right to appoint his own chief executive officer (Commissioner). Even though the British offered him any ICS official of his choice, Das declined and won the right to appoint his own man. Das selected a bright 27 year old as his Commissioner.

AAG and VIP Culture

International athletes waved goodbye to Sheroo in an impressive event, but the real chunk of Hyderabadi sports-lovers was not even there.  Only around 2000 tickets were sold to the enthusiastic public for the Afro-Asian Games’ (AAG) closing ceremony on November 1, even though the GMC Balayogi stadium can seat around 30,000.  The VIPs and their dear ones filled up almost the entire venue.  Even more shameful is that some people with valid tickets (costing 500 rupees, each!) were denied entry to the grand show staged at great public expense.

Religion – Ennobling or Disabling?


Religion has a powerful hold over most Indians. A survey conducted in the 80's in non-communist countries revealed some surprising facts about modern world. Japan, had the lowest proportion of believers, and Britain ranked only next! India, with about 99% believers, was the most god-fearing, and the US was ranked second!.

Narcissism of Small Differences

Over the past few years, in the course of my travels across the country, I had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with innumerable dedicated, brilliant and competent individuals who care deeply for the country. I am at once elated and depressed when I talk to them. I am delighted to see them willing to do something about our problems, but am depressed at their inability to overcome minor differences and work together for the cause of the nation.

The Art of Conversation


A friend once advised my wife: ‘never choose an end seat at a party. If the lady next to you doesn’t talk, you are finished. At least if you are between two people, your chances for a successful conversation are improved’. She wasn’t assuring an interesting conversation, just some conversation.

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