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Poem on Pollution

For a change we had Pollution for last 42 months of diff kinds

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Air-pollution

We faced #Pollution of air for last 20 years

But that isn’t necessarily the only Pollution

For a change we had Pollution for last 42 months of diff kinds

We have #Pollution of thought

We also have #Pollution of speech

And what about #Pollution of conduct

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Analysis

Rupa to Publish Spectrum Politics: by Salman Khurshid and Daksha Sharma

Spectrum Politics: Unveiling the Defence is a maiden attempt in the direction of removing avoidable confusion being piled up in the minds of the people of India.

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Salman Khurshid

In November 2010, a leaked CAG report on the 2G spectrum policy suggested that ₹1.76 lakh crores were lost (described as ‘presumptive loss’) to the government exchequer because of myopic, even legally questionable policies of the then UPA government in handing out valuable spectrum resource in 2007–08 at the price of 2001. Soon, the 2G episode was proclaimed to be the ‘Mother of all Scams’. Seven years later, in December 2017, a special CBI court pronounced the verdict in this case in just a single line: ‘The prosecution has miserably failed to prove its case, and all accused are acquitted.’

Spectrum Politics: Unveiling the Defence is a maiden attempt in the direction of removing avoidable confusion being piled up in the minds of the people of India. The book establishes the hard facts of the 2G case—from the origins of spectrum policy under the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government from 1998 to 2004 to the findings of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) set up to investigate the matter—and enlightens readers that this case was far from a scandal rather a corporate battle to scuttle the allocation of spectrum licences.

Rich in its detail and insight, Salman Khurshid channels his remarkable expertise in policy matters to highlight how deliberate distortion caused endless anguish to individuals, the Congress and indeed the country. Every citizen concerned about our polity should read and reflect upon the lucid and incisive narrative of this book, which is, in a sense, about the past, present and equally about the future.

About the authors: Salman Khurshid is a former Union Law Minister and External Affairs Minister, residing in Delhi. Daksha Sharma is an advocate and a professor of law, based in New Delhi.

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Kavita Seth finds good poetry always appealing

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Kavita Seth

“Iktara” hitmaker Kavita Seth has often collaborated with poets including Rehman Faris from Pakistan. The singer says good poetry always appeals to her.

Asked what pulls her towards poets and their work, Kavita told IANS: “A good poetry always appeals to me. How I create the melody is still a mystery for me. It just happens, it flows with the words.”

“I attribute it to the divine energy. I met Rehman Faris about five years ago in Mumbai. He recited some of his work and sent some on email too. When I read ‘Yeh Jo Mujh Par Nikhaar’, I instantly fell in love with it.

“And in no time, the tune fell in place. It started growing over me and took a beautiful shape,” added the artiste, who also “fell in love” with writer-poet Amrita Pritam’s work.

“I have an album of my compositions of her beautiful work ready to be released,” she shared.

Her next concert is also with a poet.

“‘Luminance of Verse’ is happening on May 6 at Pranganga Auditorium, Bhavan’s College in Mumbai. The concert is with the celebrated poet Dipti Misra. It will be a rendition of her work with a unique Sufi feel. It will be an evening of fearless words and soul-stirring compositions. Diptiji will also be launching her book titled ‘Yahaan Wahaan Kahaan’,” she shared.

“Diptiji’s words very easily express what most of us women think, feel and experience. I admire how beautifully and effortlessly she pens them. It is going to be about the emotional roller coaster journey a woman experiences, the strength of a woman and the true aura she holds,” she added.

Is women empowerment important to her because of her gender?

“Being a woman certainly gives me a clear perspective of what a woman endures, feels and achieves. A woman needs to stand for and be the support system for another woman,” said the “Tumhi ho bandhu” singer.

A lot of women are sharing sexual harassment stories in the entertainment industry across the globe. Her suggestion – “Stand up and speak up”.

“That should be a mantra that we all have to follow. Being silent is not the solution. We need to talk about these issues so that there is awareness,” said the singer, who has sung in Bollywood films featuring actresses like Deepika Padukone, Konkona Sen Sharma and Sonam Kapoor.

Would she like to make a song on the issue by collaborating with the victims in Bollywood?

“Definitely! Why not?”

By : Natalia Ningthoujam

(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected])

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Is Sonia the answer to ego hassles in non-BJP camp?

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Sonia Gandhi

An indication as to how difficult it is going to be for the opposition at the national level to get its act together was available after K. Chandrashekar Rao met Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata to lay the foundation for a federal front.

However, even before the proposed alliance could get off the ground, the differences about its framework were visible. While the Telangana Chief Minister wanted it to be a non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), non-Congress group, his West Bengal counterpart kept her options open about including the Congress.

A feature of these alliances is that each of their constituents is guided by the ground realities in their own states which may be at variance with the political condition in some other state. For instance, the Congress may be a more formidable adversary for Chandrashekhar Rao in his state, but it isn’t so for Mamata Banerjee. So, while the Telangana Chief Minister wants to keep the 133-year-old Grand Old Party at arm’s length, Mamata Banerjee, a former Congress person, is more accommodative.

Similar conflicting perceptions are known even within one party such as the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) where the Kerala comrades are against any proximity to the Congress, obviously because the latter is a force to reckon with in the southern state, but the Marxists in West Bengal are keen on a tie-up with the Congress against the BJP since they no longer face any major threat from their old opponent in the state. Rahul Gandhi’s hope, therefore, of forming a “workable” anti-BJP alliance with other parties faces considerable roadblocks.

Yet, the BJP’s current vulnerability is obvious to its political enemies. At the same time, the non-BJP parties know that none of them is capable on its own of offering a serious challenge to the ruling party at the Centre. Banding them together is the only alternative. The egos of individual leaders are also a problem, for none of them will be willing to concede the role of a leader to another.

Difficulties of this nature have plagued earlier such formations. In the Janata Party (1977-80), the duel was between Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Jagjivan Ram. In the Janata Dal (1989-91), it was between V.P. Singh, Devi Lal and Chandrashekhar.

It was to overcome similar confrontations in the confused post-1996 scene that the name of then West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, was proposed by United Front leaders like H.D. Deve Gowda, Mulayam Singh Yadav and others, but was rejected by the CPI-M. The BJP, on the other hand, has been fortunate in having an unchallenged leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996 and in Narendra Modi now.

Who can be the unchallenged leader in the non-BJP camp at present? Although the leaders in a federal front are highly influential in their home provinces, none of them measures up to the popular image of a Prime Minister who is a sober, sophisticated, well-educated, widely respected, trustworthy and unbiased person with a clearly identifiable vision.

To start with Sharad Pawar, who is among those who have shown an interest in leading the charge against the BJP, there has been a question mark over his reliability ever since his party was seemingly regarded by the BJP as a prop against the Shiv Sena’s machinations in Maharashtra. He is generally seen as too clever by half and too much of a deal-maker to be trusted as the guiding light for the nation.

His age — Pawar is 78 — is also against him. India appears to be coming around to accepting Modi’s view, as articulated by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, that a politician is “brain dead” after 75.

Rahul Gandhi at 48 is safe in this regard as is Mamata Banerjee (63), whose case is being energetically pushed by one of her lieutenants in Delhi. But while the Congress president is still considered not “grown-up” enough, the West Bengal Chief Minister is too immersed in her own province to be seen as a national leader.

Akhilesh Yadav (45) and Mayawati (62) have the same disadvantage of being rooted in the Hindi belt with its concomitant of casteism. Though also from the same region, 67-year-old Nitish Kumar was once considered a possible Prime Minister “material” before he shot himself in the foot with his politics of perambulation, forever looking for green pastures.

The bare cupboard of PM hopefuls leaves only 72-year-old Sonia Gandhi, who has been engaged in dinner diplomacy to cobble together an anti-BJP formation, as a possible candidate. But her minus points are obvious.

For one, she does not appear to be in the pink of health. For another, any whiff about her aspirations will make the Hindu Right revive the “foreigner” debate with great gusto with Sushma Swaraj perhaps once again threatening to shave her head as in 2004. For a third, she may not be interested as she is seemingly intent on paving the way for her son’s elevation.

Yet, the former Congress president is possibly the only one with a much wider acceptability in the non-BJP camp than anyone else and also among the Dalits, backward castes and minorities as well as a section of the traditional Congress supporters in the upper caste though not among the middle class. In a way, she offers the best of a bad bargain with the resultant turmoil proving to be one of the worst in recent years.

By : Amulya Ganguli

(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

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