Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Why free public transport for women is a move in the right direction?


Arpita Biswas

Ever since Delhi Chief Minister announced his Party’s decision to make public transport free for women, there has started a great deal of debates around it. While AAP is projecting safety and security of women as the primary aim of this policy proposal, many are objecting to it on the grounds that it would impose huge costs on Delhi government’s fiscal health and overcrowd the metro, along with being administratively tedious. Also doing the rounds is the criticism that it is a pre-election gimmick by Mr. Kejriwal, especially in light of AAP’s poor performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections. Though it is not advisable to disregard the immediate political backdrop, can we afford to analyze the proposal and its suitability against just that? Do the potential demerits and implementation hurdles imply it is a botched-up scheme unworthy of sincere attention and attempts?

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Why is the proposal of fare-free public transport for women in Delhi a welcome move?


Ashmita Sharma

The recent proposal of the Delhi government to provide free access to women in state-run public transport has created furore on social media. Well, if you ask me, I think it is an excellent idea because it will have far-reaching implications for women! At the outset, the very conception of 'free access' to public transport shows how the government is ‘encouraging’ the use of state-sponsored services free of cost. Even if it is only for women, it is the first step ahead. And I don’t understand why is there such hue and cry on the 'hows' and 'whys' of it? Free public transport is not new and the move is already gaining a lot of support worldwide. Luxembourg is set to become the first country to make all its public transport free by 2020. Whereas, cities like Dunkirk in France, Hasselt in Belgium, and Tallinn in Estonia are already providing free commuting. Even in Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark and Sweden, public transport is highly subsidised. Now people will say, but those are small countries/cities with less population and a more developed economy unlike India. Yes, agreed, but knowing that the economy is in crisis, unemployment highest at 6% in the last 45 years, there is increase in jobless growth, this very section of the population still chose to vote Modi to power for the second term; but when the Delhi government shows a progressive attitude to public transport, their nerves wreck? 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Reclaim the ‘political’!


Satyaki Roy


The Verdict 
Election results of 2019 and the emphatic victory of BJP seems to be a mandate which is not only about forming a government; it rather appears to be a popular sanction towards a long term reorganizing of Indian society and polity. The verdict is loud and clear. The Indian people will not empathise any view that questions and contests, raise slogans and lead protests against what PM Modi decides to be good for the country. Such voices would be identified with the 'tukde tukde' gang and for such creatures slapping unfounded allegations and legal cases is part of building new India! Remember, election, once in five years is at best what Indian democracy can afford to and nothing beyond that. Intellectuals and urban elites of Delhi got a new name in this election, they are the Khan market gang who are the greatest liability of this country who read and write mostly with a critical perspective and even if historically they had been beneficiaries of being close to power but at the same time demand unconditional freedom to raise their voice whenever individual liberty is at stake. Silence is virtue in this model of new India! This verdict seems to have put a seal on the brand of nationalism which is predicated against Pakistan; there is no harm in denouncing the idea of secularism and being anti-Muslim is the sufficient condition to prove one’s nationalist credentials.So military threat from China or that of trade sanction from the US has no qualms to the idea of new India, the equation is plain and simple, new India has to be anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan and a strong decisive government is what this country needs the most. Hence Modi emerges to be the tallest leader in this election. The government can be generous at times to accommodate the minority but that can’t be taken as a right among equals. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

US-China Trade War: An Inevitable Contradiction of Neoliberal Economics


Abdul Rahman
Ongoing economic tensions between China and the US, world’s two largest economies have intensified. Since last year, blaming China for indulging in “illegal trade practices” Trump administration has increased tariff rates on imports from the country ($ 539 billion in 2018-19). This was done in different phases, the latest was on May 9 this year. In return, Chinese have imposed similar tariffs on the imports from US ($ 120 billion in 2018-19). In addition to this US has also restricted functioning of some of the Chinese companies such as Huawei which buys technologies from US firms such as Google on charges of spying and helping Iran. There has been attempts to resolve the issue through talks between both the countries. However, it has failed to get any results so far. It has been projected that this trade war will adversely affect the global economy which is already suffering from a long recession. However, this can have even greater impact on the future of globalisation, so-called process of economic integration of the world.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Ram Mohan Roy and Widow Immolation: The return of Sati under Hindutva


Malini Bhattacharya
Payel Rohatgi, an actress who promotes BJP on social media, has recently abused Ram Mohan Roy. It is surprising that Bengali intellectuals are yet to condemn this. Using a saffron video on twitter, Rohatgi has argued women enjoyed a superior status in ancient India. ‘Satidaha’ or immolation of the widow at the funeral pyre of her husband is a lie manufactured by the British colonisers. Hindusashtra (Hindu lawbooks) do not mention widow-burning (sati-daha). In special situations, this was voluntarily practiced by Hindu women. These circumstances were when they tried to save themselves from assault by Muslims (though Jahar and Sati are not the same) or to prevent young widows from becoming prostitutes. According to Rohatgi and her saffron sources, to be a ‘sati’ is to spend life as an ascetic widow and devote oneself to customs and rituals related to chaste worship of various Hindu deities. Ram Mohan was a ‘chamcha’ (bootlicker) of the British and a ‘traitor’. That is why he insisted that women were being forcibly burnt along with the corpses of their husbands.