Firstpost Editor's Picks: Indian democracy in disarray, SC verdict on dance bars, Pahlaj Nihalani on reuniting with Govinda; today's must-read stories

  • Any entity or individual that opposes the authoritarian tendencies of the Centre is branded 'anti-national'.

  • In Mumbai, under the then Congress government, dance bars were first banned around 15 years ago.

  • Manor is just one example of the damage illegal mining has caused in Panna.

BJP's bid to polarise populace, aided by silent and complicit media, has left Indian democracy in disarray

Any entity or individual (whether it is a journalist, academic, political activist or ordinary citizen) that opposes the authoritarian, communal, casteist or neoliberal tendencies of the central government is branded “anti-national” in order to manufacture public consent, discredit the contents of their critique and suppress the like-mindedness that might emerge in society.

The unanswered questions on who exactly is responsible for which changes echo hollow in the chambers of establishment media houses. There is indeed a war on the India we used to know, but the media is silent on whom exactly is waging it.

SC verdict on Maharashtra dance bars may disturb many, but challenging notions of morality essential for progress

In Mumbai, under the Congress government of Vilasrao Deshmukh, dance bars were first banned around 15 years ago. This happened at the insistence of then home minister RR Patil, who was from a village and did not like the ways of the big city. His particular objection was to women working at night and claimed he was doing it to protect them. The bar dancers, who were aware of the politics around their issue, protested to him, but he did not listen.

Dance bars went underground after this, though the famous ones in Central Mumbai had to shut down or change the nature of their work, because they were operating legally.

Meghalaya mining tragedy lessons go unheeded in MP as labourers face death and disease in quest for diamonds

Manor, a small village 15 kilometres from the district headquarters of Panna, India’s only diamond-producing region, bears witness to the heavy price paid for mining the coveted stones. On entering the village, one would be hard-pressed to find a man above the age of 45. Yousuf Beg, an activist with Prithvi Trust and a resident of Panna, said Manor is called the village of widows.

Manor is just one example of the damage illegal mining has caused in Panna. This region has India’s only mechanised diamond mine at Majhgawan, operated by the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).

Pahlaj Nihalani on being 'kicked out' of CBFC and reuniting with Govinda for Rangeela Raja

Pahlaj Nihalani is one of the last bastions of single producers whose worlds are far removed from the much in-vogue corporate functioning. He believes that corporates believe in projects, as opposed to films, with big stars as their final objective. “Instead of one person, 50 people do the same job in a corporate set up. Individual producers can’t afford that. It all boils down to public funding and thus, they have no hesitation in spending money on stars and their films. Individual producers think about the story first and then actors follow," he says.

Australian Open 2019: Two years after harrowing knife attack, Petra Kvitova gets back to her physics-defying power tennis

It didn't matter how cleanly Anisimova struck the ball or how hard she served; whatever she did, Kvitova was ready on the other side of the net, waiting to hit even harder.

More strikingly, she didn't put a foot wrong with her serve. She got a staggering 86% of first serves in, which is a particularly outlandish stat because Kvitova is not the kind of player who'll just roll the serve in. She aims for the lines at all times and hits with pace too, which actually makes her serve a bit of an unreliable weapon; she can get free points off it when it lands in, but it doesn't always land in.

Updated Date: Jan 20, 2019 20:02:22 IST