The liberal and the Islam puzzle

heaven_hellThe recent Charlie Hebdo tragedy witnessed mass protests and solidarity parades across political borders and ideologies. Although there was a huge outcry over the violent means the Islamic fundamentalists resorted to; liberals across the world were divided on whether to criticize the incident outright, or to consider the social conditions of Muslims in France while criticising the incident. While this diversity of opinion is our biggest strength, more often than not, it also shows our blind spot. Continue reading

Back to colonial ways?

farmerIt is often said that a just land acquisition – with all the involved parties satisfied – is an impossibility. However, Considering the aspirations of Indian economy and the interests of farmers and land owners at stake, a democratic and progressive legislature governing the consent, compensation, resettlement, and resolution of conflicts on land acquisitions is long overdue. And with the ordinance which passed early this year; on the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2013; looks like we have taken a major step backwards. Continue reading

History of Indian left in 25 tweets

Shahid-bhagat-singhBeing a prominent part of the freedom movement against the British Raj – India’s left front – over the past century, has espoused the causes of India’s farmers and labourers. Although the electoral left front has seen its ups and downs; a welfare state with affordable education and healthcare, gender and economic equality, annihilation of caste, and a classless equal society remains the idea of India for many. Here is a small attempt at narrating the story of Indian left in 25 tweets. Although this leaves out many details and tries to be as discerning as possible, I hope I will be forgiven, given the scope and limitations of Twitter. Continue reading

Plastics, a**holes!

plasticI am not a mall person. But a recent visit to the super market is an experience worth sharing. Unlike the local kirana store where the shopkeeper greets me every time, the very entrance of the mall had hostility written all over it. I was thoroughly searched by a security guard who had no clue what he was looking for. This is when I realized that I have ceased to remain a customer and have descended to being a consumer. You are a customer only as long as the business needs you, you see. Continue reading

A programmer’s null and a philosopher’s nihilism

null_nihilBeing software engineers, we use null as a value that is unavailable, unassigned, unknown, or inapplicable. It is neither a zero nor a blank space. A database designer uses a null to indicate a data value that does not exist in the database. A programmer uses a null pointer for an uninitialized, undefined, empty or meaningless value. It is believed that a null reference is probably the worst mistake made in programming. I will argue otherwise. Continue reading

Does NREGA make workers lazy?

a-worker-relaxingNREGA is a social security measure that aims to ensure livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. Started in 2006, for many years, the annual budget allocated to the scheme was frozen around Rs 33,000 crore. States projected an estimated 278 crore person-days of work for this year, which would amount to an estimated cost of Rs 66,000 crore. Even as the Ministry of Rural Development accepted this figure, the budget allocation was increased to Rs 34,000 crore for this financial year. Continue reading

Who is Dr Swamy?

swamyDr Subramanian Swamy is probably the only Indian politician who has more Twitter followers than voters. Every major Indian political event since the emergency has his name written on it. Here’s an analysis on why this dangerous and controversial person must be avoided. Read full article on the NRI magazine