[20 Sep 2014 | No Comment | 52 views]
On why corrupt politicians win elections in India…

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan explains it lucidly…Excerpts from a recent speech (emphasis added):
*** Excerpts Begin ***
“….Even as our democracy and our economy have become more vibrant, an important issue in the recent election was whether we had substituted the crony socialism of the past with crony capitalism, where the rich and the influential are alleged to have received land, natural resources and spectrum in return for payoffs to venal politicians.
By killing transparency and competition, crony capitalism is harmful to free enterprise, opportunity, and economic growth. And by substituting special interests …

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Indian History, ToI Columns »

[7 Sep 2014 | 10 Comments | 267 views]
“A country without a memory…”

On facebook last week a reader, in response to my recent series on the Taj, asked, “Kyun Gadhe Murde Ukhadane main time waste kar rahe ho…?”.  That comment set me thinking. The phrase “Gadhe Murde” had hit the nail on the head. It summarised the way most Indians feel about history. “History is boring; It merely digs up the past; It is unnecessary; It serves little purpose”. No wonder, few Indians have a strong sense of history. And the more “educated” you are, the less acquainted you are likely to be, …

Jammu & Kashmir related »

[5 Sep 2014 | No Comment | 55 views]
Art 370, Konsar Nag @ House of Commons

Honoured to be one of the Keynote Speakers at the Meeting on J&K and Plight of Kashmiri Pandits organised by IEKF at House of Commons in London earlier today…

Here is the link to some of the slides I shared: http://j.mp/1CukK66 (embedded below). जय हिंद, जय भारत! – शांतनु

Art 370 & Kausar Nag @ House of Commons, Sept ’14 from B Shantanu
Related Posts (re. Konsar Nag): The Lies about Amarnath and this category of posts on J&K

Geo-Strategic Issues (incl. Nuclear, Oil, Energy), India & Its Neighbours »

[2 Sep 2014 | One Comment | 37 views]

Things are not looking good in the neighbourhood…Power-sharing talks between the 2 rival presidential candidates in Afghanistan appear to be on the verge of collapse, raising the real possibility of a return to chaos – this after 3500 lives lost and billions of dollars. This is not the only collapse. The economy too is on the brink. The withdrawal of foreign forces is likely to make it worse..
…The World Bank has said about 97 per cent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is derived from spending linked to foreign forces and …

Quotes »

[25 Aug 2014 | One Comment | 264 views]
Quote of the Week: Tagore on Islam and Christiantity

Thanks to Sh@sgurumurthy (for the quote) & @rajudasonline (for the source and the image) & @Jaiho_Vijayho (for the English translation):
From Rabindra Rachanavali Vol 24, see page 375, last para (emphasis added):
There are two religions on earth which have distinct enmity against all religions..These two are Christianity & Islam…The two religions are not just satisfied with observing their own religions, but are determined to destroy all other religions….the only way to make peace with them is to embrace them.
 Related Post: Gurudev Tagore on being a “Christian Hindu”

Debates & Discussions, Indian Architecture & City Planning, ToI Columns »

[22 Aug 2014 | One Comment | 177 views]
The Motifs, The Design, The Features – Was the Taj Mahal really built to be a Tomb?

In the earlier part of this series, I mentioned how there were now enough reasons to warrant a deeper investigation and a fresh look at the whole “history” of Taj. The list of reasons included the mention of an extant palace (‘manzil’) on the very same site where the Taj stands today, the implausible pace of construction, the lack of eye-witness accounts, the lack of details in Badshahnama and the extensive leaks in the structure which puzzled the ‘master-builders’.
In this concluding part, I will outline evidence & incongruities regarding design …

Current Affairs, Global Terrorism, ToI Columns »

[15 Aug 2014 | 5 Comments | 122 views]
The Yazidis, the rage, the silence of the Ummah..

Less than a week back, the world witnessed a remarkable series of coordinated demonstrations. In Washington, in London, in Paris, in Sydney and tens of cities around the world, protestors marched to express solidarity with the people of Gaza in what was widely labelled as a “Day of Rage”.

Yet, even as these protests were happening, another tragedy was unfolding less than a thousand miles north-east of Gaza. Hundreds of women and children were being summarily executed, some buried alive.  Hundreds others were being captured, branded as slaves & sexually assaulted. …