December 13, 2015

Across the Aisle: Sputter, stop. Then, suddenly, start

Pakistan is there. It is on India’s western border (and until 1971 was also on the eastern border). It cannot be wished away; nor can India pretend it will go away. On the very day the two countries became independent, they inherited a clutch of problems that was the inevitable result of Partition. I know of no example in history […]
December 6, 2015

Across the aisle: How to lose a friend and alienate people

How did the ‘high’ of India-Nepal relations collapse to a point when all observers are agreed that they seem to have reached the nadir?… The Congress and the Communist parties that have an international outlook have a special responsibility to initiate a debate on India-Nepal relations. A message must go that India is a good neighbour and a reliable friend […]
November 29, 2015

Across the Aisle: What is economic reform, what is not

Post-Bihar, there is talk of returning to the development agenda. I would be the happiest person if the energies of the Government and Parliament can be channelised into implementing a solid agenda of development. Development has many models. There is a capitalist view of the market economy that lays emphasis on growth, especially growth of GDP. Growth will indeed add to […]
November 22, 2015

Across the aisle: There is a mountain to climb

Parliament has been summoned to meet on November 26, 2015. The state of the economy requires more than a summons to the Members of Parliament. Contrary to what the Government’s ministers may say in public — and more in line with what some ministers, many officials and practically all businesspersons and bankers say in private — the economy is in poor […]
November 15, 2015

Across the aisle: The ethos of India wins the election

Every student of political science will try to make sense of the outcome of the election in Bihar. It is easy to make nonsense of the result, as the BJP’s Parliamentary Board did, blaming it on the “arithmetic”. What arithmetic? They added the vote shares of the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress in the Parliament election of 2014 — […]
November 8, 2015

Across the aisle: Win or lose, Mr Modi will be on test in Bihar polls

When you read this column on the morning of 8th November, the air will be thick with suspense. Who will win the elections in Bihar is the question uppermost on everyone’s mind. There are two principal formations: the NDA led by Mr Narendra Modi and the Grand Alliance led by Mr Nitish Kumar. I think one of the formations will […]
November 1, 2015

Across the aisle: The NJAC conundrum

Imagine that we are citizens of a nation that has just won independence and tasked to write a new Constitution. Imagine we are now drafting the chapter relating to the judiciary. The main questions that will arise are (1) How will we secure the independence of the judiciary? (2) Who would qualify to be judges? (3) How will the judges […]
October 25, 2015

Across the Aisle: Paradise lost, will it be regained?

There cannot be a better moment for our closest neighbour Sri Lanka where all the planets seem to be smiling in the right houses. Before 1947, the phrase “neighbouring country” stood for Sri Lanka and, some distance away, Burma. Pakistan and Bangladesh are latter-day neighbours. We had little contact with Bhutan until Jawaharlal Nehru made his famous visit riding on […]