Joiningthedots

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Donald Trump, Indian news channels and Bollywood: Notes on watching people say obnoxious things loudly
World

Donald Trump, Indian news channels and Bollywood: Notes on watching people say obnoxious things loudly

The job of the American president is not to entertain the world; he is not meant to be a clown. Similarly, and at a far smaller level of impact, it is not the job of TV news channels to keep viewers engrossed in the drama of what are essentially reality TV shows.

In David Attenborough's warning about the Earth's future, a lesson for liberals who have failed to unite for the planet's cause
World

In David Attenborough's warning about the Earth's future, a lesson for liberals who have failed to unite for the planet's cause

The ability of some types of stories, such as those rooted in religion and nationalism to unite large numbers of people, has outstripped the ability of other stories, which are rooted in ideas of equality and emancipation, to bring people together.

As Rhea Chakaborty and Bollywood are vilified, silence of industry's biggest stars is no shocker
Entertainment

As Rhea Chakaborty and Bollywood are vilified, silence of industry's biggest stars is no shocker

Despite the ongoing vilification of their industry and of a young member of their professional fraternity that went on for more than three months, none of the big stars of Bollywood found the heart to speak up.

Ayodhya Ram Mandir: Symbol of 'Hindu pride' marks culmination of colonial view of Hinduism, project of Partition
India

Ayodhya Ram Mandir: Symbol of 'Hindu pride' marks culmination of colonial view of Hinduism, project of Partition

The construction of the Ayodhya Ram Temple is a symbol of the return of Hindu power in the direction of restoring a Bharat of yore — a Bharat that never actually existed.

Notes from a pandemic: On the shared experience of COVID-19, and the significance of mundane little pleasures
India

Notes from a pandemic: On the shared experience of COVID-19, and the significance of mundane little pleasures

For the first time in our lifetimes, we have a single reference point that our entire planet’s human inhabitants can relate to

As pandemic strips away accumulated inertia of decades, 'After Coronavirus' may be a whole brave new world
Arts & Culture

As pandemic strips away accumulated inertia of decades, 'After Coronavirus' may be a whole brave new world

The coronavirus pandemic, like the World Wars, is a harbinger of revolutionary changes. It is accelerating the destruction of the old, and hastening the arrival of the new.

Campaigns against fake news tackle its supply, but more vital work perhaps lies in addressing the demand for it
India

Campaigns against fake news tackle its supply, but more vital work perhaps lies in addressing the demand for it

If moral sense is innate in humans, just as a sense of language is, then it follows that fake news is appealing to the moral sensibilities of many in a way that more factual reporting is not. Without understanding and tackling this, we are unlikely to succeed in tackling the global information crisis.

Should history be revised through erasure? Defacing of Churchill statue in London's Black Lives Matter protest reignites debate
World

Should history be revised through erasure? Defacing of Churchill statue in London's Black Lives Matter protest reignites debate

The arguments over statues, as witnessed most recently in the defacing of the Winston Churchill statue in London's Parliament Square during a #BlackLivesMatter protest, are power struggles of clashing identities — black versus white, Hindu against Muslim, or communist versus capitalist.

Coronavirus outbreak has shaken our understanding of the world. Can it spark a fundamental rethinking of priorities?
Opinion

Coronavirus outbreak has shaken our understanding of the world. Can it spark a fundamental rethinking of priorities?

It used to be said that the world is one family. It took a virus to remind us of the truth behind the cliché. This virus, like all of nature, does not discriminate on the basis of man-made distinctions.

Cost-saving, flexibility and afternoon siestas? Coronavirus outbreak gives a glimpse into the future of work culture as millions are forced indoors
India

Cost-saving, flexibility and afternoon siestas? Coronavirus outbreak gives a glimpse into the future of work culture as millions are forced indoors

The coronavirus has managed to do something in a space of weeks that not even the world wars or worst natural calamities of past years managed to do – send populations of entire countries indoors.

Social distancing: If coronavirus pandemic persists, our contemporary ideas of liberty and equality may come under threat
India

Social distancing: If coronavirus pandemic persists, our contemporary ideas of liberty and equality may come under threat

The coronavirus may not discriminate between human beings on the basis of race, religion, caste, gender or class, but people and societies do.

India consumed by internal turmoil as prospects of Taliban's rise in Afghanistan appear imminent following US peace deal
World

India consumed by internal turmoil as prospects of Taliban's rise in Afghanistan appear imminent following US peace deal

International pressures on India are mounting. It is possible that external factors, including ones that nobody can predict – such as impacts of the coronavirus – may play a significant part in determining the fate and future of our country.

For leaders like Kapil Mishra, ideology is the fig leaf behind which the real business of politics is conducted
India

For leaders like Kapil Mishra, ideology is the fig leaf behind which the real business of politics is conducted

Ideology is and was a minor issue for many career politicians, whose interest is in winning elections, becoming minister, and generally in gaining and holding power. The issues they espouse and the personas they adopt are disposable. So too are the fools who die in their cause.

'Patriotic Hindu Brahmin women': On RSS' regressive obsession with purity, and its links to ancient Aryavarta
India

'Patriotic Hindu Brahmin women': On RSS' regressive obsession with purity, and its links to ancient Aryavarta

There are signs of change in the traditional order of things in society, compared to a generation or two ago. This seems to be worrying the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), whose chief Mohan Bhagwat, in a public address, recently stated that cases of divorce have increased a lot of late, because people fight over trifles.

AAP's Delhi win indicates new political path for BJP's opponents, one that doesn't counter identity with identity or ideology with ideology
Politics

AAP's Delhi win indicates new political path for BJP's opponents, one that doesn't counter identity with identity or ideology with ideology

AAP simply stuck to schools and hospitals, and lower utility bills, and ran away from the battles of ideology and identity that enable BJP to polarise Hindu votes.

Battle against fake news, 'alternative facts' can only be won if primacy of reason, science are restored
India

Battle against fake news, 'alternative facts' can only be won if primacy of reason, science are restored

Without restoring a hierarchy of ideas in which reason and science have primacy, the battle against fake news and “alternative facts” will not be won. Fact-checking and data are useless when no one wants to believe facts unless they like them.

Countering Right-wing populists requires building broadest possible alliances, and simple messaging with emotional appeal
World

Countering Right-wing populists requires building broadest possible alliances, and simple messaging with emotional appeal

A lot of liberal and Left supporters tend to sow divisions internally by othering anyone with whom they disagree. Their quest for ideological purity contrasts sharply with the Right’s, which shows no such compunctions.

Citizenship status in limbo, fate of Chakma tribe in Arunachal underscores question of who belongs, who doesn't
India

Citizenship status in limbo, fate of Chakma tribe in Arunachal underscores question of who belongs, who doesn't

The case of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh under both Congress and BJP rule proves that in actual practice, it is the state governments that determine who gets or doesn’t get citizenship.

If SC or probable referendum fail to resolve CAA issue, India will be left staggering from crisis to crisis under present govt
India

If SC or probable referendum fail to resolve CAA issue, India will be left staggering from crisis to crisis under present govt

It is now more than a month since the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by Parliament, sparking off protests around the country that show no signs of abating. If anything, popular anger against the law has hardened due to police brutality especially in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states.

No acche din in sight: With India's economy in tailspin and institutions being subverted, it's time to look beyond the right-wing propaganda
India

No acche din in sight: With India's economy in tailspin and institutions being subverted, it's time to look beyond the right-wing propaganda

The last year ended in rising protests and anger across the country. This year has begun on the same troubling note. The organised mob attack on protesting students in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University with what appears to be active connivance of the university administration and the police has torn away the last remaining vestiges of normalcy from our democratic functioning.