Swaminathan Aiyar is insensitive – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Swaminathan Aiyar is insensitive – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar is considered a champion of open economy, which—as a natural corollary—also implies great concern for respect for individual liberty. And since liberty is inextricably linked with individual self-esteem and the rule of law, one expects Aiyar to promote these concepts. He has, however, done quite the opposite in a recent article with self-explanatory title, ‘Slums are hubs of hope, progress and dignity’ (The Times Of India, March 31). “Yes, slums are dirty, but they are also entrepreneurial hubs where India’s poor are climbing up the ladder of opportunity and income,” he wrote. “The census report shows that 16.7% of slum households are factories, shops and offices. These are humming commercial centres, not dead-ends.” He derives a specious conclusion: “filthy slums” are the “entry-points of the poor into the land of urban opportunity. See them as havens of dignity for dalits and shudras. See them as hubs of rising income and asset ownership, which have already generated several rupee millionaires.”He goes on to show how conditions in slums are better than those in villages: “No less than 70% of slum households have TVs, against only 47% of total Indian households. The ratio is just 14.5% in Bihar and 33.2% in UP. Even Narendra Modi’s shining Gujarat (51.2%) and Pawar’s Maharashtra (58.8%) have a far lower rate of TV ownership than our slums!” That somebody should see squalid habitats as the havens of dignity for the poor is not just in bad taste; it also smacks of egregious insensitivity. In slums, men and women live like cattle, bereft of the basic civic amenities. Privacy is practically non-existent. There is scarcely any plumbing; toilets are either very dirty or in the open. The smell of garbage and excreta is all-pervading. Children have no place to play; many of them are forced to earn a livelihood; a large number of them are abused. It is a tribute to the fortitude and enterprise of slum-dwellers that many of them become rupee millionaires. But this is in spite of living in slums, not because these dwellings are entrepreneurial hubs. Slums numb human sensibilities, degrade all feelings, and create an ecosystem in which all but animal instincts are...

A Dialogue with Amin Solkar- Advocate of Kasab

A Dialogue with Amin Solkar- Advocate of Kasab

Vedchetan Patil: So, firstly I’d like to ask you about your entire inclination and background behind all your activities for the protection of the minority rights. What drove you for the same? Amin Solkar: Being a member of minority. Vedchetan Patil : (cuts in) No, of course, being a minority. But there would be something you would have felt. Some injustice which is happening in this country and which should be addressed? Amin Solkar : Which particular injustice you’re talking about? Vedchetan Patil : What is the one point where the secular India is going wrong and which should be addressed? Amin Solkar :A We are about 60 years post-independence and in the Constitution, what minorities were promised, sometimes we feel that, those promises are not yet fulfilled. Like, if you see economically, then education and appointment to an important post. Even there we basically feel that the promises are not kept. When the minorities had chosen to be in India, in 1947, a choice was given to them that, those who want to go to Pakistan can go, and those  who’d like to stay here in India can stay here. Since we were born and brought up here and had our ancestors living in India, So, we were not willing to go to a total new land. But aftersome years,  we felt, that we should fight for our rights also. Now if you see, there was no need for any minority commission. There was no need for a ministry specifically for minority affairs. What was the need? Earlier it was not there. So, this in itself  indicates that the minorities are not being treated as  equivalent. And to uplift them,  the government thought  of making a newministry or some mechanism where the upliftment can be monitored and then they have come up with some financial foundations. That was not that early. Now, whatever schemes the government is coming up with is really reaching those people or not is another question. Vedchetan Patil : So, whatever mechanism that has evolved, either by the state or by the minority institution as per the relevant articles of the constitution of India, do you think it’s working...

Vote and watch in Gujarat – Priti Jain

Vote and watch in Gujarat – Priti Jain

Accusations, allegations, denunciation, vituperation and defamations shun our politicians to the greatest abyss of their careers. They are highly talked about in the media, their parties become busy cleaning their mess up and they start measuring their words before speaking in public. And when the elections are nearing be it regional or national the action is manifold. With the upcoming elections in the state of Gujarat, taking place in two phases on the 13th and the 17th of December, the political one upping is in full swing. The popularity of the Modi government has been castigating the ill-efforts of the Congress party for a decade now. His new technological sprint in the form of 3D speeches and Google+ talks with the common man has certainly given him an edge over the opposition. No doubt this received a mixed response but somewhere down the line his experimentation is commendable. The congress may scream all it wants, disgracing him as a distant politician having no time for direct contact with the people; things are changing, unlike the wasteful tactics of Congress. If they believe in the mettle of direct contact, why have they been unable in stirring the masses? Narendra Modi has won over all the business tycoons and turned his state into an industrial haven. His state being greatly dependent on the agricultural and manufacturing sector, he took the right step in bringing in investment opportunities. Gujarat is a businessman’s land, so inviting potential investments is simply sustaining the statehood of Gujarat. Leadership can never be confined to giving speeches and setting goals, being an opportunist is equally important. A conventional economic model does not allow a state to continually depend on its primary and secondary sector. An increase in the tertiary sector is an indicator of development and growth. Modi did realize the urgent need to shift to this sector. The main and the only problem then becomes the inevitable prioritization of the latter. The failure lies in the balancing act. India itself has failed in the commensuration of the former sectors; let alone Gujarat. For one to be happy, the other person automatically has to be sad, so then what is this inclusive...

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