Verbatim
Editorial, NewIndianExpress - India has a plethora of scientific institutions, funded by the state, whose contributions to the advancement of science amounts to a big zero. The state of science can be gauged from the fact that there are virtually no takers for basic science courses. Even the most talented who graduate from the IITs prefer to obtain a degree in business management to get a lucrative job in a multinational.
Ravi Shankar - UPA I inherited a strong economy from the Vajpayee-led NDA, with a subsidy average of 2.79 per cent of the GDP. Under UPA II, it rose to 4.71 per cent. Vajpayee’s government was a coalition too, which functioned sans the excuse of “coalition compulsions”. Did the Congress deliberately leave behind a ruined economy to make Modi fail, and make a comeback in 2019? Big income tax refunds were unpaid. Modi has inherited `60,000 crore of oil subsidies. For 2013-14, fiscal deficit was 4.8 per cent, due to drastically reduced plan and capital expenditure, which slowed growth.
Sushil Kumar Modi - The jungle raj-II has begun. The crime graph has soared. Siwan is again becoming a terrorised district and Rs 2.5 crore was paid to abductors for the release of a kidnapped businessman in Muzaffarpur. Doctors of Patna are being forced to pay extortion money. A DSP was killed in daylight. The strong-arm tactics of persons like Rit Lal Yadav and Prabhunath Singh can be seen everyday. Nitish ji has not been able to stop these things."
KN Bhat - Secularism is one of the biggest humbuggery in the name of which people take offence or pretend to take offence at the smallest possible difference of opinion. It is the pretension which is more dangerous than the real indignation. Taking offense against a movie like PK in the name of your almighty God’s honour, Comedy Central, or cartoons or jokes or mimicry intended to evoke some laughter in this otherwise dreary world are unfortunately becoming all too frequent. Left alone they would have passed off into history without causing any harm to any one, but our intolerance and desire to make non-issues in to sensations makes immortalises them.
Arup Chandra - The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was handed over a list of more than 100 JuMB terrorists by Bangladesh’s premier intelligence agency, the National Security Intelligence (NSI) when its team had gone to Dhaka last month. It included the names of seven top JuMB leaders who crossed over to Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi officials had told the NIA all these JuMB terrorists were wanted for heinous crimes in the neighbouring country and they had close connections with politicians in West Bengal and in other parts of India. All of them had first taken shelter in West Bengal, but after the Burdwan blast, they might have fled the state.
Editorial, Pioneer - Assam has been on the edge for years now and Mr Tarun Gogoi, who has been in power since 2001, has failed to bring about any kind of reconciliation or peace between the warring factions. Additionally, the nexus between politicians and militant groups has made matters worse. This latest round of bloodshed in Assam must be reason enough to replace the outdated ‘ethnic conflict’ label with the one of ‘terrorism’. The term ‘ethnic conflict' puts both parties on an equal footing. This is not the case in Assam, where militants ruthlessly attack innocents to secure their political interests.
Raghu Raman - India and Pakistan have very real and intractable differences on many issues ranging from Kashmir to the Pakistani penchant of using non-state actors as strategic assets against India. And even though Pakistani citizens have been bearing the high cost of this misguided strategy, the Pakistani military has a tiger by the tail which it can’t let go or destroy easily. A force as lethal and fragmented as Taliban in its many flavours could take several years of sustained military and non-military operations to even contain, let alone eradicate. An agitated bellicose neighbour is a serious distraction. And that is what we should not be.
Editorial, IndianExpress - Much of Mamata Banerjee’s anxiety about Trinamool leaders on the CBI radar stems from the rise of the BJP in West Bengal. The leap in the BJP vote share in the state and fears that it is weaning significant sections of Left and Trinamool supporters lie behind Banerjee’s haste in spotting a BJP-Modi conspiracy in the Saradha probe. But the political challenge posed by the BJP’s rise in Bengal must be fought politically. Being seen as a patron of politicians accused of corruption is unlikely to help Banerjee in the battle against the BJP.
NitiCentral - So far, Congress’s major schemes have proved disastrous. In fact, Congress’s such schemes were more about garnering votes and most probably Food Security Act too will meet the same fate as other mindless so-called welfare schemes like MNREGA. The Congress has always insulted poor by launching such schemes in the name of upliftment or welfare but its real motive has always been to misuse common man’s hard earned money to preserve its vote-bank. While the Food Security law was passed by Parliament in September 2013 at Sonia Gandhi’s insistence which entitles every identified person or beneficiary to get 5kg of subsidised foodgrain per month at the rate of Rs 1-3 per kg no mind was applied on who would bear the cost?
Harsh Pati Singhania - The present government has inherited a huge set of problems and systemic deficiencies. The problems were divergent and difficult to address. Given this, the Modi government had to decide on the road map for growth and stability. It had to also prioritise the things to be done. The Prime Minister has been going about his task meticulously and reaching the people by way of communication and enhancing accessibility, bringing about more transparency in working of the government.
Oped, Pioneer - They are telling us that Sanskrit is being imposed at the cost of German. They forget that Sanskrit is the mother of a majority of the modern Indian languages, and though the HRD Minister has made it amply clear that Sanskrit is not at all being imposed, and all classical and modern Indian languages will be offered as the third language option in the Kendriya Vidyalayas, we cannot help notice a sudden Hindu-phobia in this anti-Sanskrit attitude. The pseudo-secularists are trying their best to confuse us. We must note that this is not a case of imposition of Sanskrit, but of revoking the illegal move of the previous Union Government which violated India’s own education policy without any proper consultation.
Editorial, Mint - What has happened to Mallya in the past few weeks shows that various parts of the system have reacted in the correct way. The bankers who say he is a wilful defaulter, the ministry that has used its powers to deny him another term at the helm of Kingfisher Airlines and shareholders who have voted against what many critics believe were a string of sweet financing deals for Mallya from a liquor company he once controlled.
Virendra Kapoor - Take Salman Khurshid first. He earned prime-time television mention for his most inventive remark in recent times, suggesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi lugs his own audiences with him whenever he goes abroad. Clearly, Khurshid's remark stemmed from a grudging acknowledgement, albeit unstated, that Modi's rallies of the Indian diaspora, be it in New York or in Sydney, are very well attended. But to suggest that these are a global extension of the rent-a-crowd rallies that Khurshid's leaders were good at organising at home until the crowds refused to attend, even if offered good money, is to betray a lack of common sense.
Editorial, Daily Pioneer - The high 71 per cent voter turnout in the first phase of Assembly election in 15 constituencies that went to poll on Tuesday in Jammu & Kashmir is a resounding victory for democracy and for the mainstream political parties and leaders who motivated the people to cast their franchise. Equally resounding, it is a slap on the face of separatists and their sympathisers who had called upon the voters to boycott the election. Separatists are now going around saying that they had actually suggested a “100 per cent boycott”, failing which the people were free to vote!
Editorial, NewIndianExpress - The obstructionism of the opposition parties shows that they are guided by nothing other than a sense of cussedness, which is motivated by their inability to get over the defeats they experienced in the last general election and also in the state assembly polls before and after the May results were declared. Their attempts to thwart the government on measures such as the insurance bill underline their meanness because the parliamentary select committee’s approval should automatically lead to its passage. What these hindrances show is that many of the parties haven’t yet understood the cooperative essence of democracy and have carried their street-fighting instincts into parliament.
Ravi Shankar - India’s ancient gurukuls perpetuated the oral tradition much before Sanskrit acquired a script. To make it accessible today, introduce folklore in formal education. Include the Bhagavad Gita in textbooks. By evolving from recitation to understanding, the imagination of eternal India will be rekindled.
Swapan Dasgupta - Modi has made the Indian tricolour more than just a national flag; he has made it a symbol of a global identity. Not since the state of Israel tapped into Jewish emotions throughout the world has diaspora politics seen anything so audacious — and minus all elements of controversy. The mobilization of overseas Indians has become a new facet of India’s public diplomacy. It could yield handsome returns.
Meeta W Sengupta - It is easy to leap at the slightest link between current scientific discoveries and similar references in Sanskrit texts — both ancient and recent ones. Sanskrit was one of the languages of the erudite. It had a discipline and process that enabled dense conversation and communication of deep knowledge. So much so that unraveling it is a science in itself. This is where there is a huge gap in our understanding of the achievements of the past. Just an assertion in a text, or a verse from a mythological or literary text is not enough to claim it as ‘Indian' knowledge. There needs to be a much more rigorous research process that builds the arguments towards such claims.
MJ Akbar - Nehru’s distrust of capitalism prevented the rise of an innovative and competitive private sector. In theory, Nehru did not want India’s wealth to be shared between the traditional inheritance sector and a new acquisitive class. He also shared the Marxist notion that capitalism, driven by multinationals, was an engine of neo-colonisation. What he could not imagine is that the dead hand of the state would prove worse than either. By the 1960s, both socialism and peace were in tatters. The Indian economy moved from the virility of hope to floundering collapse. Militant trade unions, revved by infantile domestic versions of Marxism, ravaged what remained of the private sector’s confidence in a highly developed state like West Bengal, with consequences that still keep a hugely progressive region in regression.
Swapan Dasgupta - Had the intellectual alertness that characterised Nehru been carried over down the generations, the Congress could have persisted with its dominant party status. However, the injection of the dynastic principle ensured that Nehru’s legacy became a family trust. Even the private papers of Nehru, lovingly preserved at Teen Murti at state expense, are treated as family property, access being allowed to only those who have been vetted.
Arjun Subramaniam - I have always wondered: why has the discipline of military history, particularly in the post-independence era, remained a laggard in India’s contemporary historical discourse? Has it to do the ‘pacifist’ tag attached to modern Indian strategic thinking or to a reluctance to showcase the exploits of a military that still carries a perceived colonial legacy? Having taught extensively at one of India’s flagship institutions of Professional Military Education, I remain unhappy at the manner in which modern India’s military history is being studied at our war colleges and universities — not a single university or college has a department dedicated to it like the ones at King’s College, London (War Studies); and Oxford University (Changing Character of War). Strategic studies, which allows scholars to prognosticate about the future rather than rummage through archives for lessons from the military past, seems a more fashionable genre.
Swapan Dasgupta - For the past four years at least, Bangladesh has been expressing concern over Bangladeshi radical Islamists crossing the porous India-Bangladesh border and setting up base in West Bengal, apparently with local political patronage. Their movement to safe havens in West Bengal was a direct consequence of the Awami League government’s crackdown on organisations that had a history of “collaboration” with the Pakistan state during the Liberation War of 1971. If some of the disclosures in the media of the investigations into the Saradha chit fund collapse are to be believed, the sanctuary in West Bengal wasn’t entirely governed by misplaced humanitarianism. There are now suggestions that the masterminds of the ponzi scheme despatched gunny sacks of Indian currency to Bangladesh for hawala transactions to a third country. The allegation that Islamist political outfits in Bangladesh were the facilitators of hawala is serious. It would suggest that there are politicians in West Bengal and, perhaps, even linked to the governing establishment who are entirely at ease compromising national security for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.
Shivanand Tiwari - The BJP and the Sangh have understood the reality of India’s changing society and an organisation that was considered Brahmin-centric put up a backward caste leader like Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. Modi is not an ordinary man. The journey of this man, who began earning his living by selling tea, to the prime minister’s chair is no less than that of the hero of a novel. I had warned Nitish that Modi is not an ordinary man, he must not be underestimated. In return, he not only turned me out of the Rajya Sabha, but also expelled me from the party. This is the Tughlaqesque style of running party and government.
Brahma Chellaney - The Modi government, by building a range of options, including to neuter Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail, is indicating that Pakistani aggression will attract increasing costs. If the ISI is planning new attacks in India, with the intent to fob them off as the work of al-Qaeda’s supposed new India franchise, it can be sure that it will invite an Indian response imposing serious costs on the entire Pakistani security establishment. Mr. Modi is clearly signalling that India’s response to the Pakistani strategy to inflict death by a thousand cuts will no longer be survival by a thousand bandages, but punitive so as to bolster deterrence and mend conduct. Given that the “do nothing” approach allowed India to be continually gored, prudent gradualism has been a long time coming.
Subramanian Swamy - For decades the Congress party has used its power to make Nehru appear as a giant rendering all other political personalities small before him. The fact is that the greatest achievements of the past 67 years of our recent history do not belong to Nehru or to his family — the credit for the integration of over 500 independent princely states in 1947-49 by their merger from what then was divided India to make it what it is today is due solely to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. After the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was merged with India on October 26, 1947, Nehru completely mishandled the territorial dispute issue by taking it to the U.N. and that too without Cabinet approval. The mess that Kashmir is in today can be attributed to Nehru’s lack of national vision. 
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