“Over the last year or so, Mr. Bhagat has tried, painstakingly, to be seen as respectful of Mr. Modi, whose rise from the ashes of 2002 has seemed inexorable. From praising Mr. Modi’s vision for development to acknowledging the emotional pull he exerts on many middle-class Indians, Mr. Bhagat has repeatedly endorsed the proudly nationalist chief minister in public.”
India’s Department of Telecommunications yesterday issued instructions to Internet Service Licensees to block access to 78 URLs from India, and what is evident from the list of URLs is that 73 of these are related to the educational institution IIPM. The order is signed by Subodh Saxena of the DoT.
Most surprisingly, the block covers the University Grants Commission, wherein a notice from the UGC pointing towards the unrecognized status of IIPM has been ordered to be blocked.
Veteran readers of this site will remember why this news is worth linking.
Or take the case Kamal Hassan and the recent controversy over his movie Vishwaroopam. Yes, it is easy to criticize his surrender to fanatics—and I happily did the same—but what are his choices when the state pleads its helplessness in the name of communal harmony while the courts openly defy the orders of the highest court in the land. (And the Supreme Court, usually so quick to take offense, happily ignores this insult). Sure, he could have stood by his principles and risk the livelihoods of many or he could attempt to rescue what he could from the unfolding disaster. Hassan’s ultimate capitulation was frustrating but entirely understandable.
Locals call the plantation Poopanie Estate, a literal translation of Flowerdew. ‘Poopanie’ is also perhaps a picturesque reference to the thick grey mist that covers the hills around the hotel at all times of the day. The next morning I wake up to see blanket upon thick blanket of white cloud outside my window. Our plan is to head out to nearby Ella, certified by Lonely Planet as one of the prettiest spots in all of Sri Lanka, but the idea of driving on the steep narrow mountain roads in such poor visibility is not a welcome one.
In death as in life, Bal Thackeray brought Bombay to a standstill. Thousands of policemen were called up to maintain order on Sunday, the day of his funeral. They needn’t have bothered, as the streets were deserted out of fear. Most residents chose to stay home rather than risk the wrath of Thackeray’s supporters.
On the other hand, a sizeable fraction of the population felt genuine grief at the death of the founder of the Shiv Sena party that governed Maharashtra state from 1995-99. More than one million people lined the streets to bid Thackeray farewell. So why did his nativist rhetoric resonate so widely over the last half century in India’s most open, meritocratic and vibrant city?
This was a selective but not unrepresentative sample of the mails I have received over the years from the intensely chauvinistic tribe of Internet Hindus. I have replied, as courteously as I possibly could, to each e-mail I received (a practice I still maintain), but discontinued the correspondence if (as was often the case) the mailer proved incapable of reasoned discussion or debate.
Every year thousands of westerners flock to India to meditate, practice yoga, and seek spiritual transcendence. Some find what they’re looking for. Others give up and go home. A few become so consumed by their quest for godliness that it kills them.
Dasrath Manjhi, the ‘hillman of Bihar’ who single-handedly cut through Gehlaur hill from 1960 to 1982, chip by chip with a chisel, to build a road to connect Atri block and Wazirganj, lives on three years after his death. After building pucca roads between Atri and Wazirganj and Atri and Gaya, the government is about to open the six-bed Dasrath Manjhi Hospital, which will cater to at least 50 villages.