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United by a common purpose
Stare decisis - the legal principle of determining points in litigation according to precedent.
Maelstrom - vortex, eddy, swirl, a powerful whirlpool in the sea or a river.
Contretemp - a minor dispute or disagreement.
Expropriate - (of the state or an authority) take (property) from its owner for public use or benefit.
Derisory - ridiculously small or inadequate.
Nugatory - worthless, trifling, of no value or importance.
Innocuous - not harmful or offensive.
Vagaries - an unexpected and inexplicable change in a situation or in someone's behaviour.
Impropriety - wrongdoing, misconduct, failure to observe standards of honesty or modesty;
improper behaviour or character.
Purging - rid (someone) of an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition.

Suhrith Parthasarathy
MARCH 01, 2018 00:02 IST
UPDATED: FEBRUARY 28, 2018 23:45 IST

The Constitution Bench in the land acquisition case must show us that the court still
respects rules of precedent

E ntrenched in our commitment to a rule of law is what lawyers describe as stare decisis. That is,
in plain English, a promise to stand by things decided, to respect and honour precedent. Today, with
the Supreme Court seized by a maelstrom of crises, this principle stands deeply undermined. At
first, the latest clash between judges on the court might strike us as a simple contretemps over

theories of legal interpretation. But the consequences here are enormous and are already being felt
across the country. The Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, has now established a bench of five
judges, which he will head, and which will commence hearing arguments on March 6, to resolve the
conflict. At stake is the court’s integrity.

Provision in Land Act
The issue itself emanates out of a divisive provision in the Right to Fair Compensation and
Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act), which
replaced the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. The colonial law had codified powers of eminent domain
in strikingly draconian fashion. Landowners were placed at the state’s mercy. Government was
accorded vast discretion to expropriate land for supposed public use. Requirements of due process
were scant, and the amount of money paid in return for land was often derisory, that too in the rare
cases where it could be grasped from the exchequer’s strong hands.

Some might argue that the LARR Act, in repealing the 1894 statute, didn’t go
Judiciary in
turmoil far enough in correcting the wrongs of old, and that its basic premise, in re-
recognising a wide power of eminent domain, is inherently flawed. But there
can be little question that the number of safeguards that the law legislates has
made the process of acquisition manifestly fairer. For instance, it compels a
social and environmental impact assessment as a precondition for any
Besides, it also acknowledges a need for a system of rehabilitation and
resettlement for those whose livelihoods are likely to be affected by the transfer of land. At least
partly, these protections intend to alter the traditional relationship between the state and the
citizen, allowing communal benefit to occasionally trump interests of pure capital.

Compensation the key
One of the provisions, which seeks to give meaning to this larger aim, is Section 24 of the LARR Act.
This clause, among other things, concerns acquisitions made under the 1894 law, where
compensation payable to a landowner from whom land had been taken prior to the year 2009 has
already been determined. In such cases, the new law stipulates, the state ought to have not only
taken possession of the land but also paid the amounts determined as due, failing which the entire
proceedings will lapse. This means that even where the state has put the land acquired to some use,
its failure to pay the holder compensation would render the entire proceeding nugatory.

Plainly read, Section 24 might seem rather innocuous. But, in January 2014,
soon after the law came into force, the state sought to fashion a conservative
interpretation of the clause, only for a three-judge bench of the Supreme
Court to quickly nip such attempts in the bud. Pune Municipal Corporation v.
Two Benches
refer land
Harakchand Misirimal Solanki was a case where awards had been made by the
acquisition government prior to 2009. The state argued that each of the landowners from
cases to CJI
whom land was acquired had specifically been told about the quantum of
money that they were entitled to receive. Since they neither disputed the
amount fixed nor came forward to receive the money, the government claimed it deposited cash
payable by it into its own treasury. According to it, this action was sufficient to negate the operation
of Section 24. Or, put more simply, the landowners, the government said, were not entitled to retake
their lands by claiming that they hadn’t received their compensation. The Supreme Court, however,
thought otherwise.

Ordinarily, the court held, the state is always obligated to pay the landowner money in terms of any
award made. It was only in exceptional circumstances, defined in Section 31 of the 1894 statute,
that the government could deposit those amounts into a court of law. These included cases where a
landowner might have refused to receive compensation, for some reason or the other. But even
there, a mere payment into the government’s own treasury wouldn’t suffice. The law mandated
deposit into court. Therefore, the proceedings in all these cases under the 1894 law, the bench ruled,
had to be annulled, with lands being returned to their original owners.
High Courts across India almost uniformly adopted this verdict, reversing acquisitions in a host of
cases. Indeed, in September 2016, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Delhi Development
Authority v. Sukhbir Singh recognised the trend. The decision in Pune Municipal Corporation, it
wrote, was “now stare decisis in that it has been followed in a large number of judgments.”

A different reading
Yet, despite the law having been settled so thoroughly, with benefits from its interpretation
extending to a number of landowners, including, in particular, poor farmers, on February 8, a
divided three-judge bench departed from the decision in Pune Municipality. In Indore
Development Authority v. Shailendra, Justices Arun Mishra and Adarsh Kumar Goel, who
comprised the majority — Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar partly dissented — found that in cases
where a landowner refuses compensation, a payment into the government’s treasury was
sufficient, and that there was no attendant obligation on the state to deposit this money into court.
This reading clearly fits neither with the language of the LARR Act nor the law’s larger objectives.
But this is one part of the problem. What makes the ruling patently unconscionable, though, is that
it roundly disregards Pune Municipal Corporation, holding that the bench there showed a lack of
due regard for the law.
Stare decisis, a principle foundational to the judiciary’s effective functioning, is predicated on a
belief that settled points of law ought not to be disturbed. The idea is that a court’s rulings should
represent a consistent position. If judges are allowed to easily depart from precedent, citizens
might find themselves in an impossible position, where the statement of law remains prone to the
constant vagaries of human interpretation.
In India, since the Supreme Court declares the law for the whole country, ensuring uniformity in its
decisions is especially critical. But achieving this has proved challenging, because the court doesn’t
sit as one, functioning instead as a series of differently sized panels. Therefore, to ensure that its
decisions remain predominantly consistent, the court has carved out rules that make its judgments
binding on all benches of the court of an equal or lesser strength. This convention was even
expressly acknowledged by a Constitution Bench in Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community v.
State of Maharashtra (2004). There, the court held that a three-judge bench cannot overrule a
precedent set by an earlier bench of equal strength, but must, in cases where it thinks the previous
bench might have blundered, refer the dispute to the Chief Justice, seeking the creation of a larger
panel. Maintaining such a rule not only ensures stability in the court’s rulings but also provides the
court with the necessary flexibility to correct its errors in appropriate cases.

Ultimately, therefore, the decision in Indore Development stems from an act of impropriety. To
altogether overhaul problems such as these altogether might require a complete reimagining of the
court’s role. Only a larger purging of its jurisdiction, by relieving it of mundane disputes that clog
its docket, will allow it to function cohesively. For now, though, to restore even a semblance of
institutional integrity, the Constitution Bench must show us that the court still respects rules of
precedent, that it recognises its obligation to speak in unison, and that, most significantly, it sees
itself as an institution governed by a common and majestic purpose.

Suhrith Parthasarathy is an advocate practising at the Madras High Court


Mapping the Chinese century

Salience - the quality of being particularly noticeable or important; prominence.

Spratly Islands - a disputed group of islands, islets and cays and more than 100 reefs, sometimes grouped in
submerged old atolls, in the South China Sea. The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia,
and southern Vietnam. Named after the 19th-century British whaling captain Richard Spratly who sighted
Spratly Island in 1843, the islands contain less than 2 km2 (490 acres) of naturally occurring land area spread
over an area of more than 425,000 km2 (164,000 sq mi).

The Spratlys are one of the major archipelagos in the South China Sea which complicate governance and
economics in this part of Southeast Asia due to their location in strategic shipping lanes. The islands have no
indigenous inhabitants, but offer rich fishing grounds and may contain significant oil and natural gas
reserves, and as such are important to the claimants in their attempts to establish international boundaries.
Some of the islands have civilian settlements, but of the approximately 45 islands, cays, reefs and shoals that are
occupied, all contain structures that are occupied by military forces from Malaysia, Taiwan (ROC), China (PRC),
the Philippines and Vietnam. Additionally, Brunei has claimed an exclusive economic zone in the southeastern
part of the Spratlys, which includes the uninhabited Louisa Reef.

M. K. Narayanan is a former National Security Advisor and a former Governor of West Bengal
MARCH 02, 2018 00:15 IST
UPDATED: MARCH 02, 2018 00:20 IST

As China offers a model for developing countries to follow, India must position itself suitably

E ach succeeding week brings fresh evidence of how anarchic the international global order has
become. Quite a few nations, including many of the newer ones, are seeking a new salience in the
affairs of their region, aiming to establish their dominance. This is one cause for many of today’s

almost a surreal quality in the statements and announcements strength of or justification for.S. The Spratly Islands have been transformed into a major stage for military manoeuvres. and a ‘balance of power’ approach is no longer the norm. This has more than ordinary significance today even as global powers are beginning to shift their stance. Mr. thus. declared many times the dawn of a “new era” — an era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China is enlarging the scope of its ambitions. and the seeking of an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea at Vaulting . is that it is a big country with extensive economic. now the undisputed and unquestioned leader of both the party and the state.S. At the Party Congress. intended to buttress ASEAN’s position on their dispute with China. An expansionist power China is thus poised to set its compass to become an ideologically revisionist and an expansionist major power — one that aims to create more strategic space that would compel regional powers (India not excluded) to defer to. China appears unrivalled in Asia at present given its military might and economic power. and to have ceded ground to China.S. is no longer willing to take on responsibilities for peace. If the Party Congress marked a return to the Mao era. reinforce. The current People’s Liberation Army strategy of moving out into peripheral areas vacated by the U. for its part. Setting the rules It is China that is now beginning to set the rules in accordance with its interests and values. what should be of even greater importance is that it made little secret of China’s intention to achieve global leadership. China has . All signs point to China seeking avenues for global dominance. Xi further talked of China’s pre-eminence in the east and described its rising “comprehensive national power” as leading on to global status. can possibly stand in the way of it fulfilling its ambitions. exploiting the weaknesses and inequalities that currently plague the international system. this is proving to be a destabilising development. For Asia. For instance. but intrinsic to China’s belief. The Belt and Road Initiative is only one manifestation of its growing ambitions. especially India. and that it expects other smaller countries to accept its leadership. The recently concluded Chinese 19th Communist Party Congress (October 2017) and the developments that immediately preceded it should hence be of special significance for countries in the Asian region. None of the other claimants — or for that matter even the U. with the exception of India. India and China both adhere to a rules-based international order. — is in a position to check China’s activities. affecting peace in the region as the U. This reflects the measure of Chinese ascendance over the region. Accompanying this was a declaration of intent to make its military ‘world class’. is busy turning the South China Sea into its ‘military outpost’.jump over (an obstacle) by the ASEAN Summit in New Delhi fall into this category. China. currently the U. its wishes. the international system is unable to come up with sustainable solutions to deal with these multiple challenges.increase the There is. put forward by other Asian nations on how to limit China’s vaulting ambitions. but is unlikely to have any impact.S. fits in well with such intentions. is seen to be incapable of playing a balancing role in Asian affairs. The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. It may have been vaulting. Not explicitly stated. military and political might. and accommodate. Xi Jinping. Buttress . with the transformation of previously barren reefs into military installations. being aware that no country in the Asian region. It is setting up several military installations despite opposition from other claimants to rights over the South China Sea. but a wide gap separates their perceptions of what constitutes the international order. one that is capable of ‘winning wars’. The unfortunate aspect is that while there is greater clarity on the new challenges that nations face. The only opposition to China today comes from India.

based on notions of ‘exceptionalism’ and ‘uniqueness’. including most recently Nepal and the Maldives. Ideating . viz. Xi as President for further terms beyond 2023. It must also restrict China’s present ascendency in regard to port infrastructure and maritime commerce in the Indian Ocean that is giving China an advantage in regional affairs. island. notwithstanding India’s claims. Imbroglio . Relations with neighbours Simultaneously. and its resort to ‘salami tactics’.a ring-shaped reef. In the meantime. mainly through the provision of economic incentives. China already has a lookout in the southern- most archipelago of the Maldives and is currently seeking to establish a ‘joint ocean observation station’ in one of the northern atolls. More of this is on the anvil. India needs to urgently come up with a pre-emptive strategy to prevent China from succeeding in its efforts. The attempt should be to counter China’s vision of international relations — that puts a premium on expanding and flexing its military capabilities and provides dubious economic benefits under the rubric of trade and market access — with an alternative model.a plot nation is critical to ensure the outcome of any geo-political or geo-strategic or scheme. This posits a direct challenge to the democratic model followed by India which emphasises a more liberal order. India is the only bulwark in Asia to counter Chinese designs and expansionism. from land to sea. ideating an alternative model that is much less threatening to countries in the region. giving China a vantage point overlooking the main shipping lanes in the western Indian Ocean. Atolls . the Maldives. The Maldives imbroglio has led to the distancing from India of a long-term dependent ally. For the present. promises of infrastructure development. and in the belief that the conduct of a Machinations . There are also reports of increased deployment of Chinese ships in the Indian Ocean Region. or embarrassing situation. which seems to be moving into China’s orbit. paving the way for its leadership in the region. Doklam (in Bhutan) during 2017.a simultaneous discharge If continuity of policy is dependent on the vision of one individual — in this case of artillery or other guns in a battle. and certain ‘unseen benefits’. Rubric . already fired its opening salvos shifting focus from the East and South China Seas to the Indian Ocean.form an idea of. extremely confused. has created a degree of uncertainty about India’s ability to match China’s ambitious inroads into India’s neighbourhood. and reports of frequent underwater movements of Chinese submarines to designated ports in the Indian Ocean Region apart from the establishment of naval bases in Djibouti and Gwadar. It is steadily enlarging its concept of ‘expanded strategic space’. conflict. stable leadership until the middle of the 21st century. Salvos . viz. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (which provides China an opening to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean). and the Maldives this year are test cases in China’s determined bid to enlarge its ‘strategic space’. It alone can prevent a further expansion of China’s ‘strategic space’ and a Chinese takeover of the entire region. China is evidently working to a set plan.a set of instructions or rules. The Doklam standoff. for instance. has both an economic and a strategic imperative. China is offering ‘a new choice’ or model for developing countries to follow. India has every reason to condition of being feel concerned and be on its guard. or chain of islands formed of coral. . so as to ensure strong and Exceptionalism . imagine or conceive. The only bulwark .a defensive wall. its intentions seem to be to convince nations in the Asian region about is intrinsic superiority and exalted status. complicated. China hopes to strike a blow against India without engaging in an open conflict. it has consciously set about damaging India’s relations with neighbours. unique or exceptional. India should position itself suitably. Alongside systematic moves made to diminish India’s image in the region. India’s relations with some of its other neighbours have also suffered due to China’s machinations. President Xi — the party statute is set to be amended to ensure continuance of Mr.

Eugenics .study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population.” . The court held.Description of the structure of a DNA molecule. 2018 23:56 IST India needs a law against genetic discrimination. especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics) LEAD Staying ahead of the double helix Double Helix . There are enough models available globally T he Delhi High Court recently ruled against discrimination in health insurance by United India Insurance Company involving a person with a heart condition which was perceived to be a genetic disorder. A DNA molecule consists of two strands that wind around each other like a twisted ladder Sujatha Byravan MARCH 03. is unconstitutional. in the absence of appropriate genetic testing and laying down of intelligible differentia. 2018 00:15 IST UPDATED: MARCH 02. “Discrimination in health insurance against individuals based on their genetic disposition or genetic heritage.

or using genetic information to determine eligibility or establish premiums. Whether specific genetic tests themselves are India scientifically valid. As technology for genetic testing and tools to gather family history and compile them in databases become cheaper and more widespread. were dwarfs.. Massachusetts recorded hundreds of cases of misuse of genetic information obtained through family history. the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was signed into law in 2008. Such conditions covered those with disability. genetic tests. Questionable assumptions Genetic discrimination (GD) is understood to be differential treatment of those not showing symptoms but who are nevertheless treated differently on the basis of any real or assumed genetic characteristics. It also prohibits . researchers working with the Council for Responsible Genetics in Cambridge. the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Company settled a federal lawsuit in the U. There are many examples of employers and insurers using genetic information to engage in discriminatory policies. it becomes imperative that due social and ethical consideration be given to genetic discrimination as the implications are far-reaching and can affect everyone. although not everyone may on health insurance in associate it with eugenics. the potential complications of genetic tests and their implications. These led to laws in many States that made sterilisation compulsory for those who expressed a range of conditions believed to be inherited. or by employers and insurers accessing personal data. The company had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by threatening to fire a worker who did not give a blood sample to test whether he was predisposed to developing carpal tunnel syndrome. but whose symptoms are otherwise manageable. not just in Nazi Germany. this is a critical court decision around the broader question of discrimination on the basis of one’s genetic predisposition.S. whether they add value to those tested. A person diagnosed with a condition that causes excessive iron storage. American precedent In the U. the era of No discrimination: expanded genetic testing is already upon us. for example. In 2001. who were poor. in the 1900s. In the U. and whether they should be generalised for populations or communities raise a separate but linked set of issues that I will not cover in this article.While the specific features of this case may depend on clauses in the original policy. It prohibits insurers from “requesting or requiring” genetic tests from an individual or members of the person’s family. I will stay focussed on the issues of insurance and employment when there is family history of disease.S.S. Nordic countries.. Rather. lost her health insurance despite clear medical evidence that she was healthy. and so on. There were robust policies of eugenics in the U. GINA provides strong protection against access to genetic information and genetic discrimination in the context of health insurance and employment.S. The company conducted genetic tests on its employees without their consent as a means of thwarting compensation claims for job- related stress injuries. Eugenics was also practiced in many countries in Europe. We must recognise that GD is nothing new. had mental health problems. were promiscuous. passed eugenics laws in the 1930s and some of those stayed in the books until the 1970s.   ALSO READ With newer and cheaper methods to sequence entire genomes.

. In this era of rampant genetic testing. Most importantly. Cambridge. is an uphill battle when commercial interests such as testing have been unleashed. results from genetic tests are not to be used for health or life insurance except for Huntington’s disease. Massachusetts Moratorium .a temporary prohibition of an activity. But it must be noted here that even with the rare single-gene conditions the genetic expression varies significantly because of other factors. is not impossible as even America’s Federal Bureau of Investigations and other secure firewalls have been breached. at the moment. In the medium term. very few single-gene health problems exist and the vast array of common diseases is related to the functioning of networks of genes in the milieu of other central cellular components and also depend on lifestyle and environment. The Council of Europe has adopted a set of recommendations on the use of genetic information for the purpose of insurance. Geneticists are not in agreement on the usefulness of genetic tests or even on their veracity. everyone has genes for some predisposition or the other. are currently under a voluntary moratorium agreed upon between the Association of British Insurers and the government until 2019. Too much miscommunication Moreover. even when genetic reductionist paradigms have shifted. there is a lot of miscommunication among scientists and the media on this topic wherein a gene that codes for a protein associated with the outward expression of a condition is regarded as its cause. If companies begin to insist on tests for everyone. as we are all familiar by now. Only universal health care can therefore be a viable solution. Canada’s recent Genetic Non-Discrimination Act makes it illegal for insurers or employers to request DNA testing or results. Based on this agreement.K. Breaking into databanks. Would the court have ruled the same way if the insurance company had done a genetic test and included a clause that this particular heart condition would not be covered? Equality under the law cannot have exceptions. which is inherited as an autosomal-dominant trait. we need to prevent discrimination and uphold “equal treatment under the law”. India too needs a law that prevents genetic discrimination. Looking beyond these immediate issues.employers from “requesting or requiring” genetic information for hiring or promotional decisions. they generally use family medical history as the basis for determining premiums. the popular notion of deoxyribonucleic acid (otherwise known as DNA) being the central and only player in cellular and genetic information and disease with a mere unfolding of characteristics is deeply flawed. Correcting this perception. This simply means that there is a high likelihood that those who have this gene develop the disease. which is dominantly inherited with a high penetrance. Insurance is developed from pooling risks. then potentially no one will be insurable. this being the human condition. There should therefore be no discrimination based on genetic information. there are also serious concerns related to the protection and privacy of medical and genetic data. While there is mounting evidence to oppose this perception of DNA as a master molecule. Sujatha Byravan was president and executive director of the Council for Responsible Genetics. It is reported that insurers in the U. or when determining eligibility for training programmes. A complex future The situation is likely to get worse as people become more accepting of predictive genetic tests and insurance companies insist on them.

2018 23:15 IST Most regional parties prefer the BJP as their national partner. but managing contradictions won’t be easy O f the three States whose Assembly election results were declared on March 3. did the Left Front lose to the Congress-TUJS (Tripura Upajati Juba Samity) alliance. Since then it has been in power. Tripura’s was doubtlessly the most stunning. Tripura has been the safest Left bastion since the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front first swept to power in 1978. Only once since then. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 04. So for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to emerge out of nowhere and score a spectacular victory by getting a majority in the Assembly on its own is nothing short of a miracle. Beneath this surprise lies a cobweb of contradictions that the .LEAD The saffron breeze in the Northeast Subir Bhaumik MARCH 05. with Manik Sarkar as Chief Minister since 1998. but it returned to power in 1993. in 1988.

Sarkar’s refusal to meet the captains of IT industry during a 2015 Tripura Conclave organised to leverage Agartala’s emergence as India’s third Internet gateway did not go down well with GenNext. the BJP sent a clear message it would not be a junior partner to its ally. But by not endorsing the Twipraland demand and by not giving the IPFT the majority of the ST reserved seats (11 contested by the BJP. Sarkar. That explains the BJP sweep in Agartala and other urban areas. Bengaluru and Hyderabad. all that the BJP needed was a small swing in the rural Bengali vote. Then by absorbing almost the entire Congress-turned Trinamool Congress leadership in its fold. While much of that remained with the Left (which is marginally behind the BJP in overall vote share). seem to have managed so well. the BJP ensured that it ran away with the 30% Congress votebank. Politics is the art of managing the contradictions. Fear of the unknown always haunts the rural Bengalis who have borne the brunt of tribal insurgency since the violence of 1980 — and a dominant BJP with a majority of its own was their best bet to tame the IPFT and nip the Twipraland demand in the bud. In Tripura. With the Congress decimated and seen as the B-team of the Left. at least in India. the Bengali settlers seem to have voted against the Left. as it was seen to be no longer capable of defending them in the event of a resurgent tribal insurgency. So with the tribal vote and the middle class urban Bengali vote swinging its way. The middle class Bengali vote swung the saffron way because of the Left’s poor track record in employment generation. Mr. and the CPI(M) cadre is no match for the armed guerrillas who back the IPFT’s young militant cadres in the remote hill interiors. The IPFT has close connect to the separatist National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). nine by the IPFT). especially Sunil Deodhar. tribals and Bengalis alike. A bid for all three . Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll manager in Varanasi. the anti- Left voter had no option but to go with the BJP as it was seen as the only viable option to dethrone the Left. That got the BJP much of the tribal backing. the fight has always tended to be between the Left and the anti-Left. forcing Tripura’s best brains to seek jobs in Pune.BJP’s election managers. as in Jammu and Kashmir. the BJP assured itself of a sweep in the 20 seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes. It now seems those who swear by Kautilya seem to handle it better than those who preach Marx and Engels. The Tripura manoeuvre By striking an alliance with the tribal Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) which demands a separate tribal State of Twipraland it wants carved out of the autonomous district council of the State. in the deep interiors dominated by the IPFT’s militant cadre. with Congress president Rahul Gandhi avoiding any attack against Mr. and also of Bengalis in rural remote interiors who saw support to the BJP as their safest security option.

the Tripura results will definitely worry one Chief Minister in particular — Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. Failure to deliver a final settlement more than two years after signing the Framework Agreement would have normally jeopardised the poll prospects of the BJP. but party general secretary Ram Madhav’s political engineering in triggering a successful split and then taming the main NPF and the NSCN is something that would have done Kautilya proud. Again. In Nagaland. decommissioning the 10MW Gumti hydel project to reclaim thousands of acres of fertile tribal land that the project submerged nearly four decades ago. In Meghalaya. It is easy to see why she spoke of Left arrogance and Congress missteps in not aligning with her party in Tripura. In Tripura. it would have to hold together a coalition of disparate regional players. While IT investments would appeal to the young. the BJP will form the government in both these Christian- majority States. a former BBC bureau chief for East and Northeast India. But now the challenges. the BJP seems to have managed the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) — NSCN (IM) — to back its bid for power with its new found ally and the Naga People’s Front (NPF) may join in as well. if not all. Meanwhile. This is no easy task in a very divided tribal society. Message for West Bengal Most regional parties in Northeast now prefer the BJP as their national partner. ensuring the survival of such a coalition will not be easy in Meghalaya’s ‘aya ram gaya ram’ politics. complicated. Subir Bhaumik. the BJP has to deliver a final settlement in a way that pleases most. or embarrassing situation. and not the Congress which has a tribal base. She seems to know that she will be the next to face the saffron extremely confused. especially after it fell out with the ruling NPF. the BJP has to deliver on its development promise — the new Chief Minister may do well to go for roadshows to attract big ticket investments to leverage the IT gateway and may consider. all apparently to pave the way for a final settlement of the Naga imbroglio. but managing the contradictions will be a a full-time task.The BJP parliamentary board has expressed the hope that despite not getting a clear majority in Nagaland and also the Congress emerging as the single largest party in Meghalaya. where the BJP appears to have managed to dethrone Chief Minister Mukul Sangma (who led the Congress to emerge as the single largest party). is editorial consultant with Myanmar’s Mizzima Media Imbroglio . rebel and political factions. for instance. . both tribals and Bengalis. the dam decommissioning may open the path for ethnic reconciliation which the Marxists overlooked at their own peril by trying to play the wild card of Bengali chauvinism.

stood in the way of consumers benefiting from the lower priced supply. former dean of the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).” he wrote.LEAD It’s time to reimagine South Asia: On India-China-Pakistan cooperation Sudheendra Kulkarni MARCH 06. UPDATED: MARCH 05. Result: . “when tomatoes were selling for Rs300 a kilo in Lahore. Anjum Altaf. This kind of blind nationalism is by no means Pakistan’s monopoly. But a visceral Indo-phobia. wrote an article in the Dawn newspaper.” Many Pakistani politicians want nothing to be imported from India. shared by many of our influentials. 2018 00:02 IST Visceral . Those who watch Indian TV channels debating India-Pakistan relations routinely hear similar Pak-phobia. the enemy nation. “At the time. He also gave a revealing example of how this has become impossible because of “blind nationalism” in Pakistan. 2018 23:32 IST India-China-Pakistan cooperation can transform the subcontinent — joining a renamed CPEC would be a good start A few months ago. they were available at Indian Rs40 a kilo in Amritsar a mere 30 miles away.relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect. making a strong case for mutually beneficial economic cooperation between Pakistan and India.

it will be said that terror and trade cannot go together. If India’s foreign and defence policies proceed on this belief. resolution of the Kashmir issue has become a precondition for any substantial bilateral cooperation. South Asia too has become the least integrated region in the world. Mr. a flagship project under the BRI. who need employment. Arms manufacturers and distant destabilisers will profit by this at the cost of common Indians and Pakistanis. among other things. Ummah . which were part of a single seamless socio-economic and cultural entity before 1947. part of the solution In other words. General Bipin Rawat’s egregious remark last year about India being ready for a simultaneous two-and-a-half front war with Pakistan and China (the “half front” being our own alienated people in Kashmir) has helped solidify an impression that our two large neighbours can never be friendly towards Arabic word meaning "community". can China become a part of the solution. the most populous region in the world has also remained home to the largest number of poor people in the world. both among policy-makers and the common people. Those who are happy with this status quo have set responses. and to those narrow-minded Pakistani patriots who think they need not care for India since they now have two protectors — China and the Muslim Ummah. The frequency of Delhi- Lahore and Mumbai-Karachi flights have become minimal. Because of their unending mutual hostility. South Asia is surely heading towards a future of intensified hostilities and conflicts.4% of India’s growing global commerce. shocking. the number of phone calls between Indian and Pakistani citizens (including calls between close relatives of divided families) is negligible. not regional rivalry. Unfortunately. The Mumbai-Karachi ferry service (the two port cities. But is the status quo benefiting either country? The answer is obvious. In this age of information revolution. health care and food-and-environmental security. trade with Pakistan accounts for a meagre 0. once part of a single province. and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) provides a practical framework for such partnership. China. so far A few striking examples will show how our two countries. India and Pakistan are among the least integrated nations in the world. have now completely drifted apart. These needs can be met only through regional cooperation. has become a new factor influencing India’s negative attitude towards Pakistan. violates India’s sovereignty since it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). So near. There are no direct flights between their capitals — New Delhi and Islamabad. China. At less than $3 billion annually. On the Indian side. mostly out of fear of being questioned by their respective security agencies. on the myopic argument that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). education. Egregious -outstandingly bad. Modi has allowed himself to be misled by his advisers on the BRI. it can be said to be a supra-national community with a common history . Our Army chief. The Narendra Modi government has raised the bar higher — terror and talks cannot go together. of course. The government’s opposition to the BRI is based. Sadly. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is in a coma. On the Pakistani side.despite being neighbours. rather than being perceived as a part of the India-Pakistan problem? A three-way India-China-Pakistan cooperation is not only necessary but indeed possible. except to those arrogant ultra-nationalists who think India now has a seat on the global high table and hence need not care for Pakistan. are closer to each other than either Mumbai and Delhi or Karachi and Islamabad) was stopped after the 1965 war.

ambition and resolve. Iran. China has also expressed its readiness to rename CPEC suitably to both address India’s concerns and to reflect the project’s expanded regional scope. it would gain land access. Central Asia and western China. Third. India’s gains due to Chabahar are modest. Australia and India. CPEC does not recognise PoK to be Pakistan’s sovereign territory. and most important. Sindh and southern Punjab with Gujarat and Rajasthan. Afghanistan and several Central Asian republics have agreed to join this ambitious regional connectivity project... in which countless people have been killed — terrorism. courtesy a renamed CPEC. you have a bright new future to win. unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains. First. both China and Pakistan have stated that they are open to India joining CPEC. Kashmir and Afghanistan. Pakistan and all other countries in the region to come together and rise in shared progress and prosperity. or Pakistan ever getting the Indian side of Kashmir. If 1947 divided our subcontinent. the same short-sighted advisers who have misled Mr.S. cooperation and economic integration are the only realistic bases for any future India- Pakistan settlement of the Kashmir dispute. As Karl Marx would have said: peoples of South Asia and China. Already. Therefore. connectivity. through war or by any other means. We are also told that India does not need the CPEC since it has already partnered with Iran in building the Chabahar port. Regrettably.” Second. Article VI in the 1963 China-Pakistan boundary agreement clearly states in that “after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India. Here is another huge potential gain for South Asia.. thus creating a grand garland of connectivity and integration for the whole of South Asia. to Afghanistan. and nowhere comparable to those that would accrue by India having a direct land access to Afghanistan through Pakistan. . two obstacles will have to be removed blind nationalism and the unfriendly designs of extra-regional powers.. and Karachi with Mumbai? Interdependence vital A no less seminal benefit for India is that by joining the renamed CPEC. the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People’s Republic of China. could also help resolve three long-standing geopolitical problems in the region. through Pakistan. Japan. The proposed connectivity initiative. Iran. the two sides of Kashmir (which all Kashmir-based political parties want). This is unlikely to take off. And if our leaders show vision. which would create strong new bonds of regional cooperation and interdependence. its developmental benefits to India will be limited since it will seek to keep China and Pakistan out.Not only does this argument hold no water but it also undermines India’s long-term development and security interests. Modi on the BRI and CPEC are selling India the pipe dream of an alternative connectivity project by the “Quadrilateral” of the U. there is little possibility of India ever getting PoK. To realise this vision of a resurgent South Asia. the CPEC-plus-India can be linked to the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor. Even if it does. Will it help or hurt India if it joins this renamed initiative as an equal partner? Will it not connect Lahore and Amritsar (also Delhi and the rest of India). here is an opportunity for India. The latter is also indispensable for the success of two other mega projects that are critical for India’s energy security and accelerated economic growth — the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipelines.

A perfect storm? The first problem is that for various reasons other governments in the SAARC region are either not on ideal terms with New Delhi. or security . : free from restraint or support Suhasini Haidar MARCH 07.a sign or warning that a momentous or calamitous event is likely to happen. guidance. the K. and Kathmandu’s . invitations to China.without ties. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 07. by inviting leaders of all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to his swearing-in ceremony. or even breaking with New Delhi’s effort to isolate Pakistan at SAARC. India’s neighbourhood policy is clearly adrift. Adrift . In the Maldives. 2018 01:15 IST India is sliding towards a situation where it is neither feared nor loved by other South Asian countries A lmost four years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his term with a “Neighbourhood First” moment. whether it is on his crackdown on the opposition. or facing political headwinds.LEAD Make the neighbourhood first again Portent . Sharma Oli government is certainly not India’s first choice. New Delhi’s connect with its South Asian neighbours is weaker than it has been for a very long time. President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has gone out of his way to challenge the Modi government.P. In Nepal.

given its central location in South Asia and being the largest geographically and economically. and New Delhi’s dire warnings about Mr. upcoming elections could turn the tables on India. worse. And no matter which party is in power in Pakistan. its new interest in political mediation must be watched more carefully as a result. unfounded and not helpful. Bangladesh. In Sri Lanka. However. or host a meeting of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s foreign ministers to help calm tensions and bring both on board with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connection between them. and by refusing to play it Delhi is being shown up as unfeeling. In Sri Lanka. At present. While China’s growing presence in infrastructure and connectivity projects has been well-documented. Bhutan and Bangladesh. elections this year and the next could pose challenges for India. and the subsequent merger of Mr. cross-border railway lines to the development of dry ports. Instead of telling the Nepal government to sort out issues with India. When China stepped in to negotiate a Rohingya refugee return agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh.invitation to the Pakistani Prime Minister this week confirms the chill. partisan or. especially with the military on the ascendant once again. . where relations have been comparatively better for the past few years. the “surgical strikes” on Pakistan of 2016 have been followed by a greater number of ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltration on the Line of Control. The 2015 Nepal blockade and a subsequent cut in Indian aid channelled through the government did not force the Nepali government to amend its constitution as intended. Mr. for example. the Maldives and Pakistan. it is difficult to see Delhi pushing for official dialogue. with Bangladesh’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan describing the remarks as untrue. General Bipin Rawat’s tough talking last week about immigration has drawn ire there. China opened up an array of alternative trade and connectivity options after the 2015 India-Nepal border blockade: from the highway to Lhasa. The third issue is that the Modi government’s decision to use hard power tactics in the neighbourhood has had a boomerang effect. Modi’s decision to abruptly cancel his visit to Male in 2015 did not yield the required changes in the government’s treatment of the opposition. the Indian Army chief. the recent local election results that have gone the way of the Mahinda Rajapaksa-backed party could be a portent of his future re-election. or offer to mediate between the Maldivian government and the opposition. as it had in the past. In Afghanistan. Beijing is now taking on a role New Delhi should have been in a better position to play. it means China has a stake in the internal politics of those countries. Oli’s Communist Party of Nepal (UML) with Prachanda’s CPN(Maoist) is seen as a reversal of India’s influence there. Theoretically. ineffective in the bargain. Yameen’s emergency in the past month have led to the Maldives cancelling its participation in the Indian Navy’s “Milan” exercises. which could also be fortified militarily in the future. India should be expected to hold greater sway over each of its neighbours. The next problem is the impact of China’s unprecedented forays into each of these countries. In other parts of the neighbourhood. China holds strategic real estate. Even in Bangladesh. it wasn’t just breaking with its past policy of ignoring political dynamics in countries it invests in.

It is noteworthy that the government appears to have started this process with Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s recent visit to Beijing. India should collaborate with China in the manner it has over the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic corridor. and that there be more interaction at every level of government.” The government’s challenge is to steer India towards a course where it is both feared and loved in appropriate measure. India should make a counter-offer to the project. After the Doklam crisis was defused in 2017. the U. Japan. First.” wrote Niccolo Machiavelli. India too must take a back seat in decision-making. and Australia. suhasini. that after sharp drops in 2016 (of 36%) and 2017 (of 19%) year on year. have much more to do with its development assistance than its defence assistance.h@thehindu. the government must attempt a three-pronged approach. Kishore Mahbubani and Jeffery Sng describe in detail the need for SAARC to learn from the success of ASEAN.S. which have seen a marked slide over the past few years. when it feels a project is a threat to its interests. Realpolitik . In their book The ASEAN Miracle. and to “Making the Neighbourhood First Again”. enabling others to build a more harmonious SAARC process. Mr. the budget allocations for South Asia have seen an increase (of 6%) in 2018. for example. They also say that just as Indonesia. and this February it announced a tariff hike for energy from Bhutan’s Chhukha project. “when one of the two must be wanting. “It is much safer to be feared than to be loved. Next. while formulating a set of South Asian principles for sustainable development assistance that can be used across the region. India also moved swiftly to resolve differences with Bhutan on hydropower pricing. Third.While many of these factors are hard to reverse. where possible. if necessary in collaboration with its Quadrilateral partners. therefore.a system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or Time for reversal ideological considerations. Its successes in Bhutan and Receive the best of The Hindu delivered to your inbox everyday! . and away from a situation in which it is neither feared nor loved. the first in several years. instead of opposing every project by China in the region. and India must focus its efforts to return to a more comfortable peace. Learning from ASEAN It will also be impossible to renew the compact with the neighbours without reviving the SAARC process. India’s most potent tool is its soft power. despite conventional wisdom on the benefits of hard power and realpolitik. This will all only be possible if India and China reset bilateral ties. the fundamental facts of geography and shared cultures in South Asia are also undeniable. Second. Mahbubani suggests that leaders of SAARC countries meet more often informally. allowed smaller countries such as Singapore to take the lead. the biggest economy in the ASEAN. that they interfere less in the internal workings of each other’s To begin with. It’s heartening. India should coexist with projects that do not necessitate intervention.

A second Lenin statue was to be similarly toppled at another site in the State shortly thereafter. “Bharat Mata ki jai!” saffron- sporting men yelled as they felled the statue of the Russian communist revolutionary.act of scolding or punishing someone Digit . Tripura. cauding fires Despondent .Ardour . It did not matter to them that Lenin had hailed that same Bharat. 2018 00:33 IST The toppling of the Lenin statue in Tripura is a reminder of the grave danger to Indian democracy T here one moment.inflammatory. gone the next — statue of Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov.finger thumb / toe LEAD Be alert to Operation 'Dhakka': on the toppling of the Lenin statue Gopalkrishna Gandhi MARCH 08. in their strivings for a just Bharat. A report said the statue’s decapitated head was turned into a ‘football’.defy. power Incendiary . known internationally as Lenin.influence. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 08. What mattered to them was that Lenin had inspired the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led government in that northeastern State. for struggling to free itself from British imperialist and indigenous yokes. its revolutionary ardour. which had been un-seated after an un-broken 25 years of ‘red rule’.a firm warning / reprimand Chastisement . 2018. Flout . It did not matter to them that Lenin had been the inspiration to generations of Indians. Belonia. Visuals of the statue’s ‘slaying’ and of the ‘slain’ figure lying amidst what looks like garbage sped . openly disregard Clout . March 5.great enthusiasm or passion. leaders and led. discouraged Admonition .disheartened.

in the first place? Why do they feel they can do that and get away with it? Or that – even if the administration was to prosecute them – the dhakka has done its work and so. The list of demolitions together can be called ‘Operation Dhakka’. He has done what is only right and proper. The new Chief Minister. in continuation of his advisory to the MHA. decimates the ‘other’? Does it approve the claw that then moves the heap away? The response The nationwide response to the vandalisation rejects that despondent hypothesis. not . remembering minds of other demolitions. last year. Even in death. 2014. from the Prime Minister saying he is deeply troubled and hurt by what happened in Tripura. his stature remain stronger than any statue bulldozer. one might say. And so it will be until India gets another clear message. Those who said things that seemed to explain away the dhakka will be hopefully be sobered by the Prime Minister’s admonition. 2002. yay! The Prime Minister’s chastisement. St. Ayodhya. has asked the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to say that what has happened is not acceptable. 1992. But is the admonition enough? The questions remain: Why do supporters of his party feel that they can do what they have done.across the globe. Periyar tomorrow’ had to retract that with the speed of light. Christmas eve. Dilshad Bagh. too. The Wali Dakhani Mazaar. direct and unmistakable. begging Periyar’s atheistic pardon. What does one say to this sample scroll? That the mindset of the people of India is now happy with the bulldozer? That it now endorses the blade that cuts. and aware of the reaction to the Tripura shame. that the Bharatiya Janata Party functionary who tweeted with the speed of sound to the effect that ‘Lenin today. that no one owing allegiance to ‘saffron’ will ever conduct such an ‘Operation Dhakka’ again. Why? Because the culture of dhakka is abroad. And millions watched them in disbelief. “Ek dhakka zor se (one more shove. for Periyar’s giant stature. even before the news condensed into cold print the following day. And quickly enough. and make it strong)” was an inflammatory cry that was heard at the time of the Babri Masjid demolition. all in real time. Delhi. And the Prime Minister. So swift was the reaction. Ahmedabad. of cow vigilantism was salutary. ‘What ever happened to Tripura? Where is Indian democracy headed?’ Operation Dhakka And the chronology unfolded in thinking. March 1. just outside the office of the Commissioner of Police. deserves appreciation for his expression of disapproval. sensitive to world opinion. Thank God. of violent hate. December 6. An estimated 272 minority shrines in Gujarat over six days thereafter. He deserves to be complimented. crushes. Sebastian’s Church. The Babri Masjid. But did cow vigilantism stop? Is the cattle trade now free of fear? We know the answer. charrings that seem to belong to a family of hate. though it came not nearly as fast as his response to the Lenin dhakka.

our democracy says to the voter what a voter may or may not do as that essential digit in democracy. just because you came to power. the democratic process itself to ransom. Democracy. to borrow and adapt. incredibly. And democracy is not a bully. And that. Bullies are not democrats.just because a statue of a great world leader was vandalised but because that vandalisation reflects political coarseness. That adds up to a paradox: the bullying of democracy and the enfranchising of the bully. The communist parties of India and the Trinamool Congress can recall violence for which they hold the other squarely responsible. But surely the time has come for them and all parties that sense a new danger from dhakka-ism to democracy to now arouse India’s faith in democratic choice and thereby bulldoze bulldozing. namely.” Bulldoze bulldozing Strong words. the dicta of ‘law and order’. diplomat and Governor . for the dhakka challenge runs deeper. Operation Dhakka has therefore happened right under democracy’s nose and above governments’ heads. It threatens to erode the very fabric of our democracy. I said. and a Syama Prasad Mukherjee statue in Kolkata being black-inked. But democracy does not tell the public to not let the anti-social. Gandhi’s famous description of God.’ Certainly no flout of the scale that Operation Dhakka represents. with the defacement of a Periyar statue having been already attempted. It says to election officers what they may or may not do as the polls are on. But stopping the culture of dhakka cannot be left to the administration’s law and order maintenance mechanism. in fact. “Karl Marx or Mohamati [The Great] Lenin are not my leaders. as organised for us by our Constitution. ‘No flout without clout.” she said. Gopalkrishna Gandhi is a former administrator. Relay and retaliatory dhakkas are likely.“But they do matter in Russia. It has been allowed to happen. But that is surely an under-statement and. Treating the risk as a ‘law and order matter’ is not the answer. This is an incendiary risk which only political leadership can address. does not disentitle bullies from participating in election campaigns. peaceful change to ransom. a mis-statement. It says to the candidate and campaigner what they may or may not do in the run-up to the polls. Different people are leaders in different countries and different places formed this [the world]… but you [the BJP] do not have the right to raze the statues of Marx or Lenin. how they should and should not act when scrutinising results to see who should be called to form governments. It is imperative that all democratic forces unite in saying no one should repeat or retaliate in copy-cat shames. It has happened. begging his pardon. administrations should. electoral contests. un-democratic belligerence. through the medium of the laws. the Tripura shame. Why? Because. it has been enabled to happen. the bully is “an indefinable mysterious power… which makes itself felt and yet defies all proof…” Unveiling the electoral process for the electing population. the anti-democracy bully take the law into his hands and hold peace to ransom. It says to Presidents and Governors what they should or should not do. Democracy does not tell us that but governance can. the elector. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement has been frank and fearless.

strong curse.a kind of hammer used by a presiding officer (or auctioneer) for commanding attention Gasp . China and Russia F rom all accounts. The United States has identified both China and Russia as adversaries. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.. are strong and determined to stand up to a faltering Donald Trump. something or someone that one vehemently dislikes. shock. or pain Caveat . 2018 23:32 IST India must seek nonaligned partnerships which can work together outside the influence of the U. whose leaders.S. 2018 00:15 IST UPDATED: MARCH 08.Gavel .a warning or proviso of specific stipulations. Anathema . LEAD A new NAM for the new norm T. The Russia dare . or limitations.breathe in suddenly and loudly with the mouth open because of surprise. conditions. the Cold War is breaking out again.P. who is desperately clinging on to doctrines of ultranationalism and nuclear hegemony. Sreenivasan MARCH 09.

India insisted that it was valid whether there was one bloc or no bloc. Putin has just announced that Russia has invincible doomsday machines like an underwater drone armed with a nuclear warhead powerful enough to sweep away coastal facilities.Mr. and others to add Germany and Japan as permanent members and close the doors for further expansion. Potential allies are hedging. India had a stake in its integrity and India toiled tirelessly to keep it on the middle road.” In a situation where the world is no longer bifurcated between two dominant powers. If the Cold War is here in a new form. It was characterised as the “last gasp of the old style radicals”. NAM would have been wound up at a ministerial meeting in Ghana in 1991 soon after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. if not the leader. But the authors said India’s big challenge would be to aim at not just being powerful but to set new standards for what the powerful must do.S. Cuba is in the dog house again and the “axis of evil” has emerged once again under Iran’s leadership. India argued vehemently against those who felt that NAM had outlived its utility. We fought to keep Egypt within it when every Arab country wanted it to be ousted in 1979 after the Camp David agreements. can a reincarnation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) be far behind? NAM is anathema today even to those who helped shape it and revelled in it for years. with no viable grouping to protect the interests of the weak and the poor. not to be hijacked by Cuba to the left or Singapore to the right. The report moved the concept of nonalignment away from its origins. without any corner having committed countries to act together as military allies. India was one of its leaders. where we blocked an effort by the U. The very lack of homogeneity and unity in NAM enhanced its utility for us.0’ in the context of the new global situation. This time it is a three-cornered Cold War. Even while building alliances with others.S. we availed of the NAM umbrella to promote our national strategies when it suited us. One forum where we effectively used the NAM constituency was the Working Group on UN Reform. It reiterated that India needed to move quickly to extend its global role and influence. Since the essence of nonalignment was freedom of thought and action. aircraft carriers and a hypersonic vehicle impossible to intercept as it flies in a cloud of plasma “like a meteorite”. India’s growing importance and the rivalry between the U. India’s legitimacy in the world will come from its ability to stand for the highest human and universal values and at the global level. Hit refresh An effort was made in 2012 to craft a ‘Nonalignment 2. “India must remain true to its aspiration of creating a new and alternative universality. nonalignment today will require managing complicated coalitions and opportunities in an environment that is not structurally settled. Had it not been for India. and China. Indira Gandhi risked a bear hug from Fidel Castro as she took the NAM gavel to save it from the uncertain leadership of Iraq. the report said. The policy of .

India must sustain domestic economic growth. which conceived and nursed the concept. security.S. relations promised in 2016 has not quite materialised. and a member of the “Quadrilateral”.S. have their problems with India. the new symphony in India-U. . neighbourhood and the diaspora. The report emphasised that for its strategic and foreign policy to be successful. a revival of NAM. Doklam and the Maldives have shown that China is in no mood for a compromise. but should be able to work together without the undue influence of the three. But it has baggage. India will do well to move away from being a camp follower of one of the emerging poles to create our own fourth pole. Modi is not someone who will hesitate to think out of the box to achieve his objectives. The members may have links with the U.S. camp. it is easier to act alone rather than as the spokesperson of a group. therefore. An obvious way is to revive NAM by breathing new life into it and making it fit to deal with the new norm. India.S. world view. which may be difficult to unload. In fact. Something on the lines of the G-15 organised by India and like-minded countries some years ago could be put together with the objective of dealing with the kind of issues identified by Mr. was ready to cast it into the dustbin of history. social inclusion and democracy. Mr.. that he did not find it necessary to attend the NAM Summit in Venezuela in 2016. even with caveats of various kinds. Both China and Russia.S.. terrorism and protectionism. China has attributed the increase of its defence budget to the formation of the Quadrilateral. which have been identified as adversaries in the U. did not seem to appeal either to the Manmohan Singh government or the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Modi at Davos — climate change.“strategic autonomy” recommended that India should not take sides in the rivalry between China and the U. As he pursued his priorities of development. We began a journey from the leadership of the super poor to become a super power. which is being seen as a direct threat to China. Brazil and South Africa) with similar interests without any ideological conflict is probably the best model to follow.S. For Prime Minister Narendra Modi too. Modi’s balance sheet shows an altogether different scenario. As a close defence partner of the U. A partnership of near equals like IBSA (India. maintaining a constituency of the poor nations of the world had no place.S. NAM was nothing but a relic of the Nehruvian past and it did not form part of his vocabulary. It was no wonder. Coming as it did in the wake of a strategic partnership with the U. India is right in the U. In his transactional foreign policy. Where we stand today Into the second half of his term. A movement conceived in the context of a bipolar world may not suit a tripolar world. Mr. which could become a multipolar world. Given the present impasse in international relations with little leeway for game-changing initiatives. China and Russia. As the baton of the orchestra passed into the hands of a wayward conductor.

Camp David Accords
At the White House in Washington, D.C., Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister
Menachem Begin sign the Camp David Accords, laying the groundwork for a permanent peace agreement
between Egypt and Israel after three decades of hostilities. The accords were negotiated during 12 days of
intensive talks at President Jimmy Carter’s Camp David retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland.
The final peace agreement–the first between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors–was signed in March 1979.
Sadat and Begin were jointly awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.

A state of war had existed between Egypt and the State of Israel since the establishment of Israel in 1948. In
the first three Arab-Israeli wars, Israel decisively defeated Egypt. As a result of the 1967 war, Israel occupied
Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the 23,500-square-mile peninsula that links Africa with Asia. When Anwar el-Sadat
became Egyptian president in 1970, he found himself leader of an economically troubled nation that could ill
afford to continue its endless crusade against Israel. He wanted to make peace and thereby achieve stability
and recovery of the Sinai, but after Israel’s stunning victory in the 1967 war it was unlikely that Israel’s peace
terms would be favorable to Egypt. So Sadat conceived of a daring plan to attack Israel again, which, even if
unsuccessful, might convince the Israelis that peace with Egypt was necessary.

In 1972, Sadat expelled 20,000 Soviet advisers from Egypt and opened new diplomatic channels with
Washington, which, as Israel’s key ally, would be an essential mediator in any future peace talks. Then, on
October 6, 1973, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a joint attack against Israel. It was Yom Kippur, the
holiest day of the year for Jews, and Israeli forces were taken entirely by surprise. It took more than a week
for Israel to beat back the impressive Arab advances. A U.S. airlift of arms aided Israel’s cause, but President
Richard Nixon delayed the emergency military aid for seven days as a tacit signal of U.S. sympathy for
Egypt. In November, an Egyptian-Israeli cease-fire was secured by the United States.

Although Egypt had again suffered military defeat against its Jewish neighbor, the initial Egyptian successes
greatly enhanced Sadat’s prestige in the Middle East and provided him with an opportunity to seek peace. In
1974, the first of two Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreements providing for the return of portions of the
Sinai to Egypt were signed, and in 1975 Sadat traveled to the United States to discuss his peace efforts and
seek American aid and investment.

When talks with Israel stalled, Sadat made a dramatic journey to Jerusalem in November 1977 and spoke
before the Israeli Knesset (Parliament). In September 1978, President Jimmy Carter invited Sadat and
Israeli Prime Minister Begin to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, where dual peace accords
were hammered out under the direction of Carter. Signed on September 17, the historic agreements provided
for complete Israeli evacuation from the Sinai, laid the groundwork for the signing of a final peace
agreement, and outlined a broader framework for achieving peace in the Middle East.

Sadat and Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize, and on March 29, 1979, a permanent peace agreement was
signed that closely resembled the Camp David Accords. The treaty ended the state of war between the two
countries and provided for the establishment of full diplomatic and commercial relations.

Although Sadat was greatly praised in the West, he was widely condemned in the Arab world. In 1979, Egypt
was expelled from the Arab League, and internal opposition to his policies led to domestic crises. On
October 6, 1981, Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists in Cairo while viewing a military parade
commemorating the Yom Kippur War. Despite Sadat’s death, the peace process continued under Egypt’s
new president, Hosni Mubarak. In 1982, Israel fulfilled the 1979 peace treaty by returning the last segment
of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. Egyptian-Israeli peace continues today.

Superlative - of the highest quality or degree.
Mirthful - full of mirth; merry or amusing.
Trope - a significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
Whammy - A blow, an event with a powerful and unpleasant effect
Hoodlum - a person who engages in crime and violence
Scurry - move hurriedly with short quick steps.
Cower - crouch down in fear.


Adversity to advantage: on BJP's strategy

Vidya Subrahmaniam
MARCH 10, 2018 00:02 IST
UPDATED: MARCH 10, 2018 00:22 IST

The BJP has silenced its critics with a stunning electoral show. But can strategy
substitute for delivery on the ground?

T ripura, until recently unused to anyone fussing over it, has suddenly transformed
into a fortune-teller of India’s politics and politicians. The Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya
Janata Party’s superlative victory in the election to the Tripura Assembly has, overnight
as if, shifted the spotlight from the failings of the National Democratic Alliance
Government to the Modi-Amit Shah team’s strategic brilliance and recurring ability to
come out on top.

On the other hand, the Congress, which had appeared to be in revival mode, has begun to
be written off once again. With its vote base shifting almost en masse to the BJP, the
Congress won no seats in Tripura, which was in fact why the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front
government was defeated. This setback, in turn, has pushed the Congress out of the
reckoning for leading a united opposition. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who chose
verdict day to visit his grandmother in Italy, to much mirthful trolling by Twitterati, has

reverted to his former and seemingly default status of an ad hoc leader. The faint interest
the regional parties had begun to show in Mr. Gandhi has passed and they have moved
on to the familiar trope of forming a non-BJP, non-Congress third front.

The Tripura turn
Can so much turn on a verdict delivered by one little State? Tripura’s past elections have
barely got a mention in the media. Mr. Sarkar was expected to win and he did. The
Opposition was expected to lose and it did. The twist in the story comes from the BJP,
with almost no vote in the State, pole vaulting to a 43% vote share — more than 50% with
its regional ally — to pull off a stunning victory. This wasn’t the only shock and awe
moment, though. The BJP went on to form a government in Nagaland and also in
Meghalaya, where it won only two seats. In themselves the BJP’s Northeast manoeuvres
may be insignificant for estimating its 2019 prospects. Their importance lies in
demonstrating the BJP’s killer instinct and all-out will to power.

A little flashback is necessary here. Clouds of pessimism had hung over the Modi
government in the days before the elections in the three northeastern States. If 2017
closed with the BJP’s barely-won victory in Gujarat, the new year brought even less cheer.
The party lost critical by-elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to the Congress and
critics and admirers alike despaired at the state of the economy, seen to have been driven
to the ground by the double whammy of demonetisation and a mishandled goods and
services tax (GST). It was notable that the BJP did not fare well in the rural areas of
Gujarat, and farmer protests in different States underlined the extent of rural debt and
distress. A Lokniti-CSDS opinion poll indicated that overall satisfaction with the
government had declined from 64% in May 2017 to 51% in January 2018.

The December-January period also saw frenzied protests by the Karni Sena which
wanted the film Padmavat banned for allegedly trifling with Rajput sentiments. The
scale of violence and the tacit support offered to the Sena by sections of the BJP
discomfited many even among Mr. Modi’s legion of admirers. Unlike the spate of
lynchings by gau rakshaks and attacks on young Hindu-Muslim couples and Dalits
across much of north and west India, which the BJP and its followers blamed on fringe
elements, there was no way to defend the spectre of BJP-run State governments
scurrying to obey the diktats of the lawless Sena. The collapse of administration in these
States was chillingly brought home when hoodlums attacked a school bus carrying
children in Gurugram. The image the BJP conveyed as theatres were vandalised and
pictures flashed of children cowering in fright, was of a party condoning violence only to
appease its vote bank.

Barely had this nightmare given over when the Nirav Modi bank scam surfaced,
threatening to rob the BJP of its principal plank of fighting corruption. Nobody was
blaming the Prime Minister yet but the jeweller being able to avoid detection and his
hurried flight abroad days before the scam got outed posed serious questions to the

The economic decline, failing law and order underscored by the Padmavat violence and
attacks on Muslims and Dalits, not to mention the impression of inaction on corruption,
all added up to what looked like early signs of disenchantment with the first majority
government in 30 years. Achhe Din which the leader promised to huge expectation in
2014 increasingly resembled a bad joke on a trusting people. Against this background, it
wasn’t surprising that the Congress and its newly appointed president began to be
spoken of as an alternative. Mr. Gandhi, previously held to be without any attractions,
had shown leadership qualities during the Gujarat campaign. There was a comfortable
niceness about him which contrasted with the relentless aggression of the Prime
Minister and his party chief.
But anyone who had observed how unerringly the Modi-Shah leadership turned
adversity to advantage would have known the story wouldn’t end there. The Prime
Minister and his chief strategist had a record of ensuring every defeat — whether in
Delhi or in Bihar — was avenged the soonest. By now, it should be clear that the BJP
bosses have perfected a formula which delivers victory by any means. This comprises
punishing hard work, inducing defections to form a government with or without
election, a loyal television media ever willing to skewer the Opposition, an army of
social media trolls and brilliant use of messaging platforms like WhatsApp to
communicate both real and fake news. Add to this the backing of the razor-sharp
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Mr. Modi’s enduring charisma and way with words,
and you have a behemoth that cannot be beaten easily — certainly not by a Congress
mired in ideological confusion and possessing a lazy leadership that, despite an
astonishing run of defeats, believes 2019 is its for the asking. Consider this. In Tripura,
the BJP fielded a dozen defectors, most of whom won. Earlier, it had followed the same
strategy in Uttar Pradesh. The defectors had held important positions in the parent party,
and took with them their massive support base.
The BJP’s conquest of the Northeast started with the defection of Himanta Biswa Sarma,
who had been a minister in the Congress government in Assam. Mr. Biswa Sarma not
only strategised and won the 2016 Assam election for the BJP but went on to play a key
role in the BJP’s subsequent successes in the Northeast. The party induced wholesale
defection of Congress MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh and snatched away Manipur from
under the Congress’s nose — a feat it would repeat in Meghalaya. Mr. Biswa Sarma would
boast that he had stitched up the post-poll Meghalaya alliance in 15 minutes.

The year ahead
But can the razzmatazz of winning and snatching elections indefinitely help the BJP?
Can strategy alone substitute for delivery on the ground? And what of the image that its
cadre are inherently violent, reinforced by the recent attacks on Lenin and Periyar
statues? This can restrict the party’s expansion in the south and further alienate allies
like the Telugu Desam Party. The BJP must engage with these questions in the one year
left for the general election. For his part, Rahul Gandhi should will himself to stay the
course and borrow at least a bit of the smartness that his primary adversary seems to
possess in abundance.
Razzmatazz - noisy, showy, and exciting activity and display designed to attract and impress.

The medieval forerunner of chemistry. Trotted .500 sheets of paper Hackneyed . and try to assess what it signifies. unoriginal and trite. visible Apparatchik . is to understand how this phenomenon has come about. 2018 22:47 IST To check the increasing lurch to the right.Eject.a custom. The incumbent abrupt uncontrolled movement. What is more important in the extant situation. the left and centre-left must upgrade their toolkits R esults of Assembly elections in Tripura. Many may well deplore this state of to be discerned. or CPI(M). especially an unsteady tilt or roll. Shibboleth .an assistant or follower. however. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 12. or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people. principle.Loud & Harsh Alchemy . Jettison . Message from Tripura Perhaps the most significant of the recent victories achieved by the BJP and its allies was in Tripura.lacking interest or excitement. could win only 16 seats. In terms of . coming after the results in the 2016 Assam elections. dull. throw or drop (something) from an aircraft or ship. Wilt . winning 43 of the 59 seats up for elections. and alongside the ascendance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in as many as 17 other States gives rise to a vision of a monochromatic India. feel or express strong condemnation of (something). concerned with the transmutation of matter.abhor.having been overused. Narayanan MARCH 13. drool Strident . in particular with attempts to convert base metals into gold or find a universal elixir. the Communist Party of India (Marxist).inborn. The electoral alliance of the BJP and the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) produced a spectacular result. since democracy is generally seen as a platform to encourage the ‘blooming of a hundred flowers’ of varying colours and shapes. discharge.a member of a Communist Party Acolyte .the science of measuring mental capacities and processes. Psychometrics .go or walk briskly. especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important M. Discernible . natural. "we deplore all violence" Reams . Meghalaya and Nagaland. perceptible. Deplore . K.Limp through heat or losss of water.LEAD In a transformed electoral arena Lurch . Mundane . Innate .

but the reality is that none of them adequately answers the velocity and success of the BJP-led electoral offensive. Elections to smaller northeastern States do not normally attract nationwide attention. have hence to be found elsewhere. To use the idiom of modern politics. the BJP-IPFT combine secured a little over 50%. The new ecosystem The BJP does appear to have successfully created a new political ‘ecosystem’ that contrasts with the earlier ethos of participatory politics. the CPI(M). the alchemy seems to alter due to the impact of these newer techniques. it could be livelihood or jobs. With the BJP having repeated its earlier success achieved in Assam. Manik Sarkar (undoubtedly one of the most respected Chief Ministers till now in the country). as due solely to local or regional factors. Apart from traditional aggressive electioneering. it was the portrayal of Manik Sarkar as no longer being a ‘conviction politician’ that tilted the scale. the results were less one-sided. Yet. viz. He was portrayed by the BJP-led Opposition as a ‘status quoist’ leader of a party in decline. The usual excuses Reams have been written on the reasons why parties such as the CPI(M) and the Congress have fared poorly in Tripura. . or the traditional rivalry between the CPI(M) and tribal groups. The more strident the attack against opposing political parties. The usual hackneyed reasons are being trotted out. In Nagaland and Meghalaya. hence. had little to do with the handling of affairs in the State. The Congress and the rest of the Opposition were completely eclipsed. In the case of the CPI(M). and push other parties including the Congress to the sidelines. For instance. it is perhaps time to take serious notice of what are the underlying factors dictating the overall election scene today. Issues may remain much the same. the Opposition tends to wilt under their sustained offensive. especially the extent of victory. The solutions also may not be different. Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh. It would be an equally serious mistake to treat the results.7% for the CPI(M). It would be highly myopic to treat election results in any one part of the country. There may be some merit in these arguments. often seeking out younger leaders who can impart innate dynamism to even mundane issues. apart from anti-incumbency. though the BJP and its allies were able to stitch together a winning combination. today’s electoral dynamics include a mixture of many and different attributes. which itself was out of touch with current realities. backed by technological advances. the Congress debacle is attributed to poor election management. the greater seems to have been the impact. The CPI(M)’s defeat in percentage. as for instance in the Northeast. as of lesser national significance than elections in Uttar Pradesh. seem to produce a mesmeric effect on those listening. Tripura’s former Chief Minister. or the reasons for them. In most cases. Mega rallies with the Prime Minister himself addressing electoral audiences on a scale seldom seen previously. in the process overturning some long-held beliefs. is a case in point. the loss is being ascribed to not having provided adequate jobs for aspiring youth in the State. compared to the 42. What is seldom mentioned is that of all the parties in India (with the possible exception of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress). it is the BJP today that is a votary of the assertive leadership approach. The basic causes for the results.

As in the rest of the world. It is the right. but not in the way that he possibly meant. This. has left the latter at a disadvantage. Still. especially those who do not attend political meetings. When the Prime Minister declared at a meeting of BJP parliamentarians in Delhi (March 6) that the party’s recent victory in Tripura was an “ideological victory”. By and large. especially its leadership. tactics. or rather the signature tune of a new political era. attitudes and approach to problems. The defeat of the CPI(M) — followed by its eclipse — in West Bengal should have alerted the party to the winds of change blowing. Across the world. come up with fresh ideas. his failure to read the writing on the wall. and in some cases the far right. They have to constantly evolve and consider new ways to communicate with the people and. Political parties cannot hope to survive today’s economic onslaughts by adhering to past attitudes. The Tripura election exemplifies this. but the victory also signifies the fundamental changes taking place in public attitudes across the world. The Chief Minister seemed to be well positioned to lead the party to yet another victory. M. Prakash Karat. The BJP’s win owes a great deal to its alliance with the tribal group (IPFT). above all. beliefs and techniques. the traditional left and social democratic parties appear to have declined due to their inability to change with the times and modernise their methodologies. With the CPI(M) having been decimated in both Tripura and West Bengal. This is vitally important to check the increasing lurch to the right that is evident across the world. they are bound to wither away and become political relics. towards moderate left and social democratic parties. Their failures could also be attributed to not using modern technology to spread their message to larger audiences. and to ensure that the far right does not trample upon what we treasure as democracy. What is obvious is that traditional campaigning. psychometrics is beginning to be employed by political parties to achieve their predetermined objectives. proved to be the CPI(M)’s downfall. Unless the left and social democratic parties make certain fundamental alterations in their thinking and methodology. little fresh thinking has been induced into the party’s thinking. The success rate though is yet to be fully gauged. This is well demonstrated in the nature of the current tussle between Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury (a Surjeet acolyte) regarding the line that the CPI(M) should follow. To all intents and purposes. In a world dominated by social media and the prevalence of ‘fake news’ and ‘post- truth’. it has become far easier to do this than in the past.K. The message is loud and clear. Narayanan is a former National Security Adviser and a former Governor of West Bengal . Yet. What is again discernible today is the attempt to delegitimise the Opposition. the moderate left and social democratic parties in India are currently facing an onslaught from the right wing and similar groups. This has possibly been in the making for some time. In many cases they are being eclipsed. compounded with the inherent failure of both the Left as well as entrenched parties such as the Congress to modernise their methods. They need to jettison past shibboleths and let fresh ideas course through their minds. and despite a transition from the pragmatic Harkishan Singh Surjeet to party apparatchik. it has become easier for the right to delegitimise the left leadership. that has taken the pole position. the CPI(M) was well entrenched in the State and seemingly unbeatable.One is not certain whether parties such as the BJP are adopting the new science of psychometrics. and electioneering in the old way seem unable to withstand the ‘new wave’ that is altering electoral dynamics today. he was perhaps stating the truth. In Europe — the birthplace of the moderate left and social democratic parties — both are in a state of decline.

the Supreme Court ruled that every individual has the right to die with dignity. have slipped into a persistent vegetative state in order to allow them to die in the natural course of things — and laid down a set of detailed procedural guidelines to facilitate this process. In such situations it held that the consent of the patient’s close family. subject to the supervision of and concurrence by trained medical personnel. for the most part. and who will decide if she herself is incapacitated from giving or withholding consent. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 11. Union of India. These include “advance directives” and “living wills”. would substitute for the advance directive. which are instructions issued by a person specifying what should be done to her in the event of a terminal illness. in Common Cause v. It upheld the practice of passive euthanasia — the removal of life-support mechanisms from persons who. The court also addressed situations where a patient was terminally ill. but had not issued an advance directive. The individual’s choice . 2018 23:54 IST The Supreme Court’s judgment on passive euthanasia must compel more debate on technological self-determination L ast week.the process by which a person controls their own life. Gautam Bhatia MARCH 13.LEAD Under a humane Constitution Self Determination .

D.A number of terms have been invoked to identify the case. self-determination and choice means anything in the age of technology. Chandrachud. it surely means this: individuals have the right to engage with technological systems on their own terms. the right to opt into or opt out of such systems without suffering for it. and the right not to be subjected to technological intervention without being given meaningful choice.” The last sentence is crucial.” Justice Chandrachud took the insight one step further.Y. and to what extent. procedures. It has been called the “living wills case”. the “right to die with dignity case”. apart from a right to life enjoyment of right to be free of physical interference. While all these descriptors are accurate. on what terms. as the Chief Justice correctly put the point in his lead judgment. Each of the four opinions — authored by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. “should [the individual] be ‘guinea pig’ for some kind of experiment?” The link between the constitutional values of choice and self-determination. or even simply the “euthanasia case”. the court articulated an important insight: we live in a world where we are constantly subjected to all kinds of invasive processes. however. Common Cause represents the first important application of these general principles to a concrete situation. such arguments cannot . are expressed in the language of an individual’s choice to receive or decline medical intervention or medical treatment. And these values. and systems. Sikri. The primacy of consent Last year. in turn. This. however. and the concrete issue of the engagement between the individual and technological systems (in the context of medical intervention) was explained by all the judges. of course. the context was that of medical intervention. she will engage with technological systems. As Justice Chandrachud recognised. Let us call this the principle of technological self-determination: or the right of every individual to determine how.” Justice Sikri observed that “dignity implies. In framing the issue in terms of the individual’s choice to reject medical intervention. if the right to privacy. is closely related to the question of the relationship between technology and human empowerment. Consequently. there is. it may have been conceived in the interest of the individual. to the more complex architectures that are now used worldwide for large-scale governance and administration. Medical treatment cannot be thrust upon an individual. however. bodily integrity and human dignity. the “passive euthanasia case”. Medical intervention. in its privacy judgment. when discussing the issue of leaving life-support systems on in the hope that a cure might be found some day. because the most common justification offered in support of invasive technological intervention is precisely that it is only for the benefit of the people that it targets. and Justices A. however. a more fundamental principle that unites the four separate and detailed opinions (spanning 538 pages) in Common Cause. is only one offshoot of a world that is now defined and constituted by technology. In Common Cause. and Ashok Bhushan — are organised around the constitutional values of personal autonomy. when he wrote that “the right not to accept medical treatment is essential to liberty. Systems of technology are embedded in the very fabric of our lives.K. from something as basic as the phone that helps us find our way in an unfamiliar city. the Supreme Court affirmed that the ideas of self- determination and the right of the individual to make fundamental choices about how to use her body are at the heart of the Constitution. The Chief Justice noted that “the recognition of the freedom of competent adults to make choices about their medical care necessarily encompasses recognition of the right to make choices since individual free choice and self-determination are themselves fundamental constituents of life.

Judicial legislation As a final point. where every decision taken by persons in authority must be justified to the people. And if the court continues to apply it in the cases that will inevitably come before it in the coming months and years.ece © The Hindu . Gautam Bhatia is a Delhi-based lawyer Printable version | Mar 13. Common Cause marks the first important judicial endorsement of those principles in the privacy era. but suspend their operation for a period of a few months. That principle. Similarly. giving Parliament an opportunity to consider the guidelines. bodily integrity. and they could then acquire legal force. and human dignity “enable an adult human being of conscious mind to take decision regarding extent and manner of taking medical treatment. which had held that when there is a legislative vacuum. individuals must be empowered to engage with technological systems on their own terms. And at the heart of that engagement must be the principles of self-determination and choice. One possibility might be to consider a constitutional device used in South Africa: the suspended declaration of invalidity. therefore. And Justice Bhushan concluded by holding emphatically that the principles of autonomy. because even with the best of motives. and the court justified them by citing the famous Vishaka judgment. Just like the Constitution marks a turn from a culture of authority to a culture of justification. in cases where the Indian Supreme Court finds a legislative vacuum. and strengthen the court’s legitimacy and competence to act in difficult cases of this kind. so must the principle of justification be applied to the engagement between individuals and technological systems. Under the Constitution.thehindu. it could (like it has done in Common Cause) issue guidelines. 2018 10:27:31 AM | http://www. it could be presumed to have tacitly endorsed the court’s guidelines. but also give the legislature some breathing space to remedy the defect before the judgment actually comes into force. the state cannot subject individuals to technological intervention without their consent. and not as subjects. is an emphatic recognition of the basic principle that. Such a model would promote dialogue between the different branches of government. it must be noted that the court — speaking through the Chief Justice — laid down detailed procedures for the implementation of the advance directives. and take action. may merit some reconsideration. Common Cause might be remembered (as indicated above) as the first formulation of a core constitutional principle for the 21st century: the principle of technological self- determination. and indeed — as Justice Chandrachud noted in the privacy judgment — must take active steps to facilitate the ability of individuals to engage with such systems as citizens. the court can step in and fill the gap until a law comes into force. in today’s world. however.” Common Cause.override human freedom and human choice. The Constitutional Court of South Africa is empowered to declare a legal provision unconstitutional. These safeguards are quasi-legislative in nature. then. it involves the court stepping into the legislative sphere. Parliament fails to take action.

date back to 1983. Yet the Cold War imposed limitations on the partnership. An agreement for building six Scorpène submarines in India with French help was signed in 2005. cooperation in defence. Rakesh Sood MARCH 14. intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism has grown. culture. the detailed ‘joint statement’ and accompanying ‘vision statements’ on cooperation in space and the Indian Ocean Region. The slew of bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding signed. Cooperation in the space sector has continued since the 1960s when France helped India set up the Sriharikota launch site. Inter-planetary exploration and space transportation systems are cutting edge science and technology areas that have also been identified. it is a relationship of near equals and the ‘vision statement’ refers to world class joint missions for space situational awareness. Building a partnership With the establishment of a Strategic Dialogue. It was the first P-5 country to support India’s claim for a permanent seat in an expanded and reformed UN Security Council. and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s warmly reciprocated diplohugs indicate that the relationship has received a momentum that gives it critical mass and greater coherence. France has always been sympathetic to similar Indian claims based on its ancient civilisation. After the nuclear tests in May 1998 when India declared itself a nuclear weapon state. In these two decades. France was the first major power to open dialogue and displayed a far greater understanding of India’s security compulsions compared to other countries. This is why both countries were quick to voice support for global multi-polarity once the Cold War ended. Joint . research and development in science and technology. the boat ride in Varanasi. the India-France Strategic Partnership launched in 1998 seems finally to have come of age. space. Similarly. Today. LEAD The French Connection Slew . space. Defence cooperation with France began in the 1950s when India acquired the Ouragan aircraft and continued with the Mystères. Alizè planes and the Alouette helicopter.a violent or uncontrollable sliding movement. defence. 2018 00:02 IST The Macron visit underlined the growing strategic convergence that draws India and France together W ith French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to India. counter-terrorism. After the Cold War. education. In January 1998. urban development. France decided that its preferred partner in the Indian Ocean Region would be India. technology sharing and acquisitions of short range missiles and radar equipment were concluded. trade and economics and people-to-people contacts. President Jacques Chirac declared that India’s exclusion from the global nuclear order was an anomaly that needed to be rectified. A shared world view As a country that has prided itself on its ‘exceptionalism’.S. climate change. later christened Varuna. oceanography and cartography. both sides have gradually enhanced cooperation in diverse fields covering civil nuclear. followed by liquid engine development and hosting of payloads. Joint naval exercises.’s unipolar moment in the 1990s was evident when it described it as a ‘hyperpower’. Jaguar (Anglo-French). civil nuclear. Mirage 2000. French discomfort with the U. high resolution earth observation missions with applications in meteorology.

now with Brexit approaching. Even though these areas provided a robust basis for engagement. sanitation. and now EdF. particularly solar. etc using the public private partnership model which the French have employed successfully. soon emerged as a new plank. Trade has grown in recent years but at $10 billion is half of the trade with Germany. In recent years. With the U. Macron has cleverly pitched that India . properly implemented. was as much driven by technical requirements as by political considerations.000 French companies present in India including 39 of the CAC 40 while over a hundred Indian businesses have established a presence in France. The signing of nearly $16 billion worth of agreements at the business summit indicates that private sectors in both countries are beginning to take notice. reflecting the engagement of Indian industry. Climate change and renewable energy resources.exercises between the air forces and the armies were instituted in 2003 and 2011.. Terror strikes in France in recent years by home-grown terrorists have enlarged the scope of counter- terrorism cooperation to include cyber security and discussions on radicalisation. The ambitious offset target of 50% (nearly ₹25. There are nearly 1. transport. The signing of MoUs regarding the provision of reciprocal logistics support to each other’s armed forces. French overseas territories in the Indian and the Pacific Oceans provide it with the second largest exclusive economic zone globally. The government-to-government agreement for 36 Rafale aircraft. reflected in the multilateral initiative of the International Solar Alliance. Mr. Equally significant are the two agreements signed between EdF and other French entities and L&T and Reliance. This regional dimension is reflected in the Vision Statement on cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region. an agreement was signed about a decade ago for building six EPR nuclear power reactors with a total capacity of 9. naval cooperation has been easier with the Pacific Command which covers China and the region up to the Bay of Bengal but more difficult with the Central Command which covers western Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea because of Central Command’s privileged relationship with Pakistan.K. Therefore strengthening cooperation with France. In the nuclear field. can help in building up India’s budding aerospace industry. respectively. salvaged out of the prolonged negotiations for the original 126 which were at an impasse. Indian companies saw the U.000 crore). Like India. France has expressed concern about China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean Region. Another area identified was urban planning and management of services like housing. Macron’s visit has enabled progress to be registered across a variety of sectors including the strategic partnership areas. water. strengthening business-to-business and people-to-people relationships was essential. There has been a growing convergence of interests in maritime cooperation.S. it was clear that for a wider partnership. In the past. exchange and reciprocal protection of classified information and developing shared space studies and assets for maritime awareness provide the basis on which to strengthen joint naval exercises. it remained primarily at a government-to-government level. as the entry point for Europe. particularly in the western Indian Ocean Region makes eminent strategic sense even as India develops its presence in Oman (Duqm) and Seychelles (Assumption Island).6 GW for which negotiations have been ongoing between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Areva. It has long maintained bases in Reunion Islands and Djibouti and established one in Abu Dhabi in 2009. The agreement on the industrial way forward between NPCIL and EdF affirms that work at Jaitapur will commence before the end of 2018. Mr. respectively.

Nagpur and Puducherry is taking shape as more than half the business agreements signed related to electric mobility. Tourism is another area that has received attention. these targets may seem modest but reflect that while there are only about 20 flights a week between India and France. is a welcome move.K. the most significant was the focus on youth and student exchanges.should look at France as its entry point for Europe and Francophonie! The flagship programme of Smart Cities in which France is focussing on Chandigarh. compared to more than 250. it can add to the growing strategic convergence that draws India and France together. Rakesh Sood is a former Ambassador to France and currently Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation. The Strategic Partnership has already created a solid foundation.000 French tourists has been set for 2020. A target has been set to raise it to 10. E-mail: french-connections/ Printable version | Mar 14. 2018 10:44:42 AM | http://www. where 14 MoUs between educational and scientific institutions were signed. other aspects have now received the much needed focus and with proper implementation. Educational links Potentially. there are four times as many to Germany and 10 times as many to the U.000 by 2020. A target of a million Indian tourists and 335.000 from China. waste management and smart grids.500 Indians go to France annually to pursue higher education. water supply.ece © The Hindu . Currently about 2. The agreement on mutual recognition of academic degrees and the follow-on Knowledge Summit. Given that France receives over 80 million tourists a year and India around nine million.thehindu.

ability to deform under pressure Panacea . view.universal cure. Redistributive . wise or shrewd. a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases. the Left is on life support and its survival depends on its answer to an old dilemma: Should it ally with the Congress or not? . Ostensibly .having or showing keen mental discernment and good judgement. 30. What was that metaphor again — about the sunset being red. So. excitement. in the next Assembly election? As per the currently popular political wisdom. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 15. teeter . last weekend. isn’t the Left about to die? Wasn’t the defeat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Sagacious .000 farmers in Maharashtra marched from sunrise to sunset for days on end with a singular objective — to brandish their red flags in India’s commercial capital and demand their rights from a ruling elite that has shown scant regard for the people who produce the contents of their refrigerators. 2018 00:19 IST A wiser. but not necessarily so. etc. though counter-intuitive.sudden commotion. or CPI(M). Animus . in the recent Tripura polls a body blow to the Left? What if it loses power in Kerala. waver. The Left doesn’t need the Congress LEAD G.triumphantly joyful manner. Sampath MARCH 15. and the sunrise being saffron? Well. Purveyor .be unable to decide between different courses.stated or appearing to be true. strategy would be to present the BJP with two separate fronts I t’s hardly a week since the nation was subjected to a flurry of gleeful obituaries by self- proclaimed liberals eager to perform the last rites for the Left in India.Flurry .a person or group who spreads or promotes an idea. or confusion Gleeful .hostility or ill feeling.equalization of property and wealth ownership by direct political fiat Malleability . too.

Italy’s parliamentary Left never recovered from this alliance. the Italian Communist Party (PCI) polled 34. . it was the Communists who shifted rightward. it is the Congress that needs the Left. and the need for all the secular parties to join hands to prevent socially divisive Hindutva forces from returning to power in 2019. It would be delusional to believe otherwise. the centrist Christian Democracy (DC). and the first eight years of United Progressive Alliance rule. which the Congress claims to uphold. however. allying with the Congress could be a strategic blunder that would not only shrink the already dwindling space for progressive politics but also strengthen the purveyors of ultra- nationalist hate politics. These men were essentially articulating the interests of the Left’s core social base: landless Dalits. they went along with the Congress. the Congress would simply teeter rightward — not just economically but also socially. more than the Left needing the Congress. The largest communist party in post-war Western Europe. so as not to upset the DC’s Catholic middle class voters. It only needs to consider the history of its counterparts elsewhere. But given the Left’s near absence in Gujarat. The most progressive phases of the Congress — especially under Jawaharlal Nehru. The redistributive politics of the movements they led share a natural affinity with the Left. the loss of the CPI(M) in Tripura was a major setback. Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor.4% of the votes in the national elections of 1976. Two arguments are advanced in favour of such an alliance: the Left’s increasing marginalisation. Over the long-term. Second. The Congress has always accommodated both leftist and right-wing factions. Such political malleability is a characteristic not just of the Congress but of liberalism itself. But during the alliance. Without an influential Left to keep up the pressure. progressive PCI found itself back-pedalling on issues such as divorce and abortion. It will lose whatever progressive potential it holds at present. Both may have merit from a short-term electoral perspective. It then made a ‘historic compromise’ to ally with the then Italian equivalent of India’s Congress party. Learning from the past The CPI(M) doesn’t need ground-breaking theorisation to see what lies ahead. ostensibly to use its mandate to advance a Left-wing agenda. But it would be tragic if the loss becomes an excuse for it to ally with the Congress. and collapse into a pale version of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).Of course. until its progressive tendencies came to life last year following an understanding with the likes of Jignesh Mevani. marginalised farmers. which has rendered it too weak to mount an effective electoral campaign on its own. Its political character is a reflection of whichever faction happens to be dominant at a given point in time. jobless working classes. despite the latter’s patchy track record in protecting the interests of these groups. That’s what had happened to the Congress in Gujarat. The secular. when it passed a slew of pro-people laws — would not have happened without an ideologically committed Left within and outside the Parliament.

rather than the Congress and the Left coming together to form a single electoral block — a choice between two options also makes it easier to polarise the electorate — a more sagacious though counter-intuitive strategy would be to present the BJP with two fronts.In democracies the world over. the Left and the Centre. . from JNU to Kerala. This welfarism began to wither shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed and the Left went into a shell globally. the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. This also makes it more difficult for a Hindutva party. as the brave farmers did in Mumbai. it is a hand that can paint with any colour.contrary to intuition or to common-sense expectation. student unrest. Dalit movements. and between working class deprivation and the lure of authoritarian populism. As for India’s Left parties. and even the Shiv Sena proclaiming their support. and this was a hegemony constructed on the back of the labour movement’s victories over capital in the early 20th century. no matter how electorally The generous welfare state that defines the West’s advanced capitalist economies is a gift not of liberalism but of the Left. The reason is simple: liberalism doesn’t have the theoretical firepower to map. liberal politics could flourish only until the Left was hegemonic in the social sphere. But without an independent Left to bring out the red. history has proven time and again that it is not the liberals who are the staunchest defenders of democratic values. the organic link between big capital and right-wing nationalism (or fascism). to encroach on the centrist space. it’s been clear for some time what they need to do: go out on the streets and lend their resources and organisational skill to the multitude of people’s movements that have sprouted across the country: from farmers’ mobilisations to teachers agitations. It has the added merit of pinning the BJP to its actual locus in the socio-cultural matrix — which is at the extreme Right of the political spectrum. On the contrary.g@thehindu. with the Congress. The Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by-election results are a timely reminder that even majoritarian politics is subject to the law of diminishing returns. This is why the Hindutva brigade reserves its worst animus for the Left and not the liberals. liberalism believes that problems such as caste oppression and sectarianism can be resolved through free market therapy and homoeopathic consumerism. let alone articulate. among others. In the final analysis. We have seen this in India too. the non-Left and even ‘anti-Left’ Opposition parties were jumping into the ‘sea of red’. As for the Congress. and Adivasi struggles for land rights. From Nazi Europe to contemporary Greece and Germany. Need for an authentic Left There is also a direct correlation between the decline of the Left and the rise of right-wing hate politics. The successful farmer’s march organised by the CPI(M)-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha has shown what the Left can achieve if it sets aside its electoral anxieties and gets down to the task of political mobilisation. and take on neo-fascist elements on the streets but groups affiliated with the Left. sampath. leaving the liberals free to peddle neo-liberal austerity as the panacea for every developmental problem. As the rally entered India’s financial capital last Sunday. from where it could eventually push the Left out Counter-Intuitive . it’s only a matter of time before the whole palette is reduced to shades of saffron.

With . Many more have been injured and several civilian habitats along the border destroyed. 2018 00:15 IST UPDATED: MARCH 15. Pakistan reported 415 CFVs by India which have claimed 20 civilian lives (there is no data on Pakistani military casualties). Till the first week of March.LEAD The strategy of conflict Happymon Jacob MARCH 16. 2018 23:47 IST India must work towards some understanding with Pakistan before the situation on the border spins out of control A little over two months into 2018. the violence on the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) stretch of the India-Pakistan border has reached a new high: more than 633 ceasefire violations (CFVs) by Pakistan have been reported by New Delhi which have claimed the lives of 12 civilians and 10 soldiers. The calibre of weapons used on the border have also graduated from short-range personal weapons to 105 mm mortars. 130 and 155 mm artillery guns and anti-tank guided missiles.

Thanks to the rapprochement achieved by his visit. the period from December 2015 to February 2016 hardly witnessed any CFVs. Another phase when this strategy was evident was following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lahore. casualties and upcoming elections in both countries. and Kashmir was calm. Consider this: the two sides engaged each other in talks during this time and CFVs reduced significantly — India reported 70 violations in 2010. the costs of ‘talks over bullets’ strategy. is this: is this sheer mindless violence. There were no major terror attacks.the rising violence. While there are benefits of talks. the two Foreign Secretaries met in Thimphu. Bilateral talks drastically reduced violence during that phase. The benefits of this strategy. The question we must ask ourselves at this point. the firing on the J&K borders did not come to a complete halt. in all of which India sees significant contribution of the Pakistani establishment. The period from 2010 to 2012 seems to fall in this category. New Delhi seems to have followed three broad strategies to deal with the violence on the J&K border. however. they are neither consistent nor without political costs. and ‘disproportionate bombardment’ — have identifiable costs and benefits associated with them. fewer casualties and limited destruction. is that New Delhi feels that it tried the strategy of peace and talks several times in the past and failed to get a positive response from Pakistan. followed by the two Foreign Ministers meeting in Islamabad. then. The downside. are evident. the two Foreign Secretaries met in New Delhi. Rapprochement . Failure of this strategy has been due to the periodic terror attacks carried out against India. Engagement with Pakistan and quiet on the border are strongly correlated. though at moderate levels. Hardliners and the opposition in India criticised the Manmohan Singh government of being weak. and in 2012 the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers issued a joint statement in Islamabad. This has led to a great deal of bitterness in India. ‘Talks and bullets’ The second strategy has been to engage in talks while proportionately responding to Pakistani provocations. In 2010. 62 in 2011 and 114 in 2012. Both talks and firing persisted. This lasted roughly till 2008. Put differently. and reports indicated an increasing spate of what India refers . seem to outweigh the benefits. we may have a perfect recipe for escalation on our hands. However. minor terror attacks against India continued to take place. in New Delhi’s calculation. in particular when the beheadings of Indian soldiers took place in 2013. The benefits of this game of proportionate response — ‘talks for talks and bullets for bullets’ — which went on without much fuss are clear: very little risk of escalation. In 2011.(especially in international affairs) an establishment or resumption ‘Talks over bullets’ of harmonious relations. infiltration into J&K and the rise of militancy in Kashmir. or is there a strategy behind this violence? And if there indeed is a strategy. These three approaches — ‘talks over bullets’. While the talks went on. is it a carefully calibrated one and what are its likely outcomes? Ever since the ceasefire agreement (CFA) of 2003. this strategy comes with major political costs. The years immediately after the 2003 CFA witnessed a great deal of calm on the borders with CFVs dropping to a minimum even though infiltration into J&K and sporadic. despite the Pathankot Air Force base attack in early January 2016. adopted mostly by the previous United Progressive Alliance government and briefly by the incumbent National Democratic Alliance government. ‘talks and bullets’.

000 times. such as the surgical strikes against Pakistan in September 2016. There is then a clear mismatch between the expectations and strategies of New Delhi and Islamabad/Rawalpindi. . negotiations or concessions. there has been hardly any dialogue (barring the meeting between the two National Security Advisors in Bangkok. without giving up its claims and interests in Kashmir. creates a powerful political discourse laden with potential electoral benefits for the ruling dispensation in New Delhi. Its domestic political utility is enormous given the surprisingly few questions being asked of the government about the rising civilian and military as BAT (border action team) operations by the Pakistan army. The political costs of not upping the ante against Pakistan seemed to outweigh its military benefits. Pakistan is looking for either conflict management vis-à-vis the J&K border or a major dialogue process to resolve the Kashmir issue. ‘Disproportionate bombardment’ The third Indian strategy is disproportionate bombardment of the Pakistani side using high calibre weapons while not showing any desire for talks. and in 2017 over 2. in January. seek meaningful talks on Kashmir to turn down the rhetoric on Kashmir and infiltration into J&K. India reported 449 violations by Pakistan in 2016. Finally. The two sides must therefore try and find a via media between these two differing sets of expectations if they wish to bring down the violence on the J&K border that is increasingly spiralling out of control. CFVs since April 2016 and the current state of India-Pakistan relations are largely informed by this strategy. India. India’s reported rejection. The benefits of this disproportionate bombardment strategy are too obvious to miss. propose tactical measures to reduce violence on the borders such as DGMO talks and reduction in the calibre of weapons. the disproportionate bombardment strategy could potentially escalate to worrying levels — a rising toll could reverse popular support for the current muscular approach. according to Pakistan. Whereas India is looking for an end to cross-border infiltration and Pakistani involvement in Kashmir in return for an end to shelling on the border. In other words. First. The domestic component of this strategy also involves a great deal of politicisation of the Indian Army’s feats on or across the Line of Control. saying it first wanted to see a drop in infiltration levels is a direct outcome of this strategy. the current media frenzy surrounding the border violence and the associated nationalist sentiments could become a worry for the government if and when it wishes to negotiate with Pakistan. with the trend continuing this year. Second. combined with the ‘surgical strikes’ narrative. of a Pakistani proposal for a meeting between the two Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs). Pakistan’s three-fold strategy Pakistan seems to adopt a three-fold strategy on the J&K border informed by its conventional inferiority vis-à-vis India: keep the violence on the border carefully calibrated without upping the ante. There are inherent costs associated with this strategy. The ‘we kill more than they do’ argument. more killing and destruction would also steadily shrink the space available for negotiated outcomes with Pakistan. and shunning Pakistani suggestions thereof. which achieved precious little). Pakistan is desirous of a resolution of or meaningful talks on Kashmir in return for calm borders and cracking down on anti-India terror groups in Pakistan. and 860 in 2017.a middle way or compromise between extremes. violated the ceasefire 389 times from April to December 2016. Happymon Jacob teaches Indian Foreign Policy at JNU and curates an online archive on the India- Pakistan conflict Via Media . Despite the rising terrorist attacks inside J&K and the increasing CFVs.

Salacious .An older term that refers to such drugs derived from opium. action. Theocratic .corollary.S. 2016 when Mr.weaken. Trump’s victory on the lack of education. Undercutting . that had been declared ended.having or conveying undue or indecent interest in sexual matters. Tillerson had said. including morphine itself.S. LEAD The self-blinding Russia prism Varghese K. or series of events. The mainstream punditry in America that missed the revolt around them initially blamed Mr.relating to or denoting a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God/god.Insinuation . The Trump singularity History. Opioid . undermine Upshot . But the revival of the cult of .an increase in a particular opinion among a large section of the population. appears to have started all over again for the U. Mr. The nerve agent used to poison a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain on March 4 clearly came from Russia. racism and misogyny of his supporters. the final or eventual outcome or conclusion of a unpleasant hint or suggestion of something bad.” said House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 17. on November 8. has rendered any diplomacy between the two countries impossible M any have been quick to conclude that it was his strong anti-Russia position that led to Rex Tillerson’s dismissal as U. George MARCH 17. Secretary of State by President Donald Trump on March 13. It “sets a profoundly disturbing precedent in which standing up for our allies against Russian aggression is grounds for a humiliating dismissal. 2018 00:08 IST The ‘Russia collusion’ narrative in the U. while the White House was more guarded initially.S. Trump won the presidency. Groundswell .

56% of which happened after the election. Tillerson’s sacking would have fitted perfectly with the bizarre notion that has become the new Washington Consensus: a President allegedly helped into office by the country’s arch-enemy.000 pieces of content over the same time. Russian-linked entities placed ads that in turn led users to Facebook pages on which they ran propaganda. it needed visions of a demon at the door. to collect intelligence on the country’s political process. . Facebook told the committee that 126 million people may have seen a post generated by Russian operatives or bots. Virginia and Florida. during the same years. “Russia is at war with us right now. Mr. legislative committee through its lawyer.” the indictment says. Tillerson had questionable links to Russia coursed through reporting on him since the day his appointment was announced. former Director of National Intelligence. But for the fact that until recently Mr. Starting in 2014. What is Russia accused of? The moment he was sacked. a widely commended profile of a former British spy.000 between 2015 and 2017. discussing Mr.” Reporting on what is loosely called “Russia collusion” is largely based on selective leaks. and blamed him for not being tough on Russia. some Russians misrepresented their purpose and travelled to the U. For context. suggested that the President may have acted on the Kremlin’s advice in not appointing former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as his Secretary of State. and from unwitting Americans. and a happy one in Moscow. Tillerson became the anti-Russia hero who had paid the price for his boldness. The amount was around $100. He has charged them with “information warfare” against the U.” said James Clapper. Tillerson himself was accused of being soft on Russia.2 billion was spent on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. American users saw 11. Tillerson’s dismissal on CNN. Enter Russia. $1.liberal capitalism appeared elusive. Ms. Tillerson] was a surprise to most. Christopher Steele.S. Russians spent “thousands of dollars every month. Trump. Tillerson to the State Department’s failure to spend the $120 million available to it for countering Russian influence operations. in the New Yorker. The indictment says the Russian campaign supported Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary and Mr. The substantive allegations against Russia are in a court document filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Pelosi’s explanation of Mr. and $600 million on Mr. and “spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general” in the context of the 2016 election. Trump during the presidential election. Trump’s suspected ties with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin have remained the obsessive theme of American media almost every day for more than a year now. news reports linked Mr. They posted 80. “The choice [of Mr. Mr.” the article said. indicting 13 individuals and some entities connected to Russia.S. they learned they should focus their campaign on “purple states like Colorado. They also magnified Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and groups such as Black Lives Matter. Trump for the Hillary Clinton campaign. “He has been an advocate for more muscular response to Russia. according to Facebook — the key platform of this alleged Russian operation — which deposed before a U. As per the indictment.1 trillion Facebook posts. who prepared a salacious dossier on Mr.” Meanwhile. This March alone.S. The insinuation that Mr.

By repeatedly asserting that it is impossible to determine the extent of Russian imprint on the Sanders movement or Mr.’s political system is weakened and the world becomes a more dangerous place. Trump’s victory. though not as much as her rival. without any inputs from Russia. All of this is estimated to cost more than a trillion dollars in inflation adjusted dollars.S. undercutting it. His administration has a declared policy of “hard power. two days after sacking Mr. citizens and delegitimises its democratic process. Clapper. the White House announced a new round of sanctions against Russia. where heroin related deaths increased six-fold since 2002. the National Security Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The NPR declares that the era of great power rivalry is back. it disenfranchises U. With two documents in recent months. before the U. The ability of a journalist or a citizen to independently verify the allegations against Russia is only as much she had in verifying the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What is clear is that those who voted were Americans.S. what is unmistakable is the pervasive bipartisan push for tougher retaliation against Russia. As the only advanced country in the world where life expectancy is falling. citing Russia as the main reason. Trump relied on Russian intelligence to run a scorched-earth campaign in swing States in the last days of the 2016 campaign. but blinded vision in America. Clinton also focussed her efforts on swing States. the U. Assuming that all that has been said and all that can be said about it is true. Perhaps. slightly above China in the order.” How much more muscular could it get? On Thursday. has declared Russia as its main adversary. a second upshot of this neo-McCarthyism is that it has rendered any diplomacy between the nuclear rivals impossible. The Russia prism has not merely bent perspective. by upgrading delivery systems. Trump came to power. Tillerson. over the next 30 years. and widespread battlefield deployment of tactical nuclear weapons are part of the new posture. Trump represented the other. The theocratic enthusiasm to protect American democracy from Russian digital pamphlets is. When a democratically elected President’s authority to pursue diplomacy is undermined. First. the current obsession of the American elite with Russia is still counterproductive and potentially dangerous in at least two ways. The ‘Russia collusion’ commentaries presuppose that unless proven otherwise any contact between a Trump official and a Russian is illegitimate and treason. and has lowered America’s threshold for a nuclear first strike. invaded the country in 2003.S. and left little room open for reconciliation. It is unclear whether Mr. the onus has been shifted to any citizen critical of the American system to first prove that she is not acting on behalf of Russia or. and Mr. she is not a Russian bot. weapons and defence systems. All-round modernisation of its nuclear infrastructure. even worse. The groundswell of public outrage against America’s economic and strategic culture took two forms in 2016. assuming no cost overruns. where opioid overdose kills 115 people a day. not soft power.Whether or not all this constitutes an act of war as concluded by Mr. Ms. deliberately and conveniently. Stocks of American defence companies have consistently outperformed the market since Mr. ironically. This neo-McCarthyism While this denial of agency to its average citizens can corrode America’s democracy further. the signs of distress are unmistakable. . the U. The Trump administration is willing to oblige them.S. Mr. Sanders represented one. where 96 people die from gun violence every day.

2018 23:22 IST Voters have sent a loud message in the U. Borough .discharge slowly and steadily.dignity.LEAD A stoppable juggernaut Bearded . or cultural environment. Gravitas . Deracinated . Exudes .One/Two instance(s) of an event (such as the arrival of a single or two bird(s)) does/do not necessarily indicate a trend. Pulapre Balakrishnan MARCH 19. social. seriousness Approbation . Dalliance .approval or praise. by-elections — the Congress has to read it right T he results of the recent by-elections in eastern Uttar Pradesh have made it clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi is not invincible. Two swallows do not a summer make .P. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 18.boldly confront or challenge (someone formidable).uproot (someone) from their natural geographical. The electors of .a casual romantic or sexual relationship.a town sending representatives to Parliament.

the historical reach of the Congress party makes it better suited than any other to respond to the aspirations of the people of southern India. They must realise that it would hardly do to merely “promote secularism without giving the BJP the opportunity to label [it] anti-Hindu. Assuming that this will continue till May 2019. it is all the more reason for the Opposition parties to focus on the things that voters really care about.000 child deaths due to a deadly district public hospital in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s pocket borough. the reins to which it aspires. First. With the ending of Chandrababu Naidu’s dalliance with the BJP. Only a puffed-up intellect could imagine that India’s electorate are so naive as to not sniff fake religiosity from a distance. They have rejected Hindutva politics without any help from the Congress Party. cannot hope to fill this role. We know from the vote count that while Opposition unity helped with the victories. it is the only party that straddles the country vertically. must read this verdict. In terms of mindset. a practice that has been hailed as “smart secularism” by pundits dismayed by the supposed innocence of “Nehruvian liberals”. signalling that they are neither enamoured by what it has to offer by way of politics nor overawed of its grand success in the State Assembly elections of barely a year ago. the advisers of the main Opposition party. Nor would it help for the party president to become a serial temple-goer as he did temporarily in Gujarat in poll season. The architects of the BJP’s recent defeat in U. How can we be certain that it is Hindutva that they have rejected? Well we can’t. But if it is anti-incumbency that led to the defeat of the BJP. the Congress.P. how can a political party promote secularism when the State. As for promoting ‘secularism without appearing to be anti-Hindu’. Last year Gorakhpur saw over 1. is constitutionally bound by it? Second. whatever their faith. Neither Lalu Prasad nor . That Akhilesh Yadav did not go on a temple crawl in the Hindu-majority constituencies of Gorakhpur and Phulpur did not prevent the electors from switching their allegiance to the Samajwadi Party (SP). ALSO READ Vertical presence Why is it necessary to even consider the Congress when the possibilities for 2019 are being considered? Because even at a BJP votes intact: Adityanath miserable 40-plus seats in the Lok Sabha. why should any religious group feel threatened by a genuinely secular State for it remains the best bet for the religiously inclined. it is still the largest single Opposition party.P. what the electors of U. for it could also be anti-incumbency as the elections were to the Lok Sabha. Secularism question However. have shown is that the people of India need no lessons in secularism. And its importance stems from more than numbers. Both the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are by choice parochial entities. It is now no longer inconceivable that the BJP may face the same fate elsewhere in the country in the parliamentary elections in 2019. the entire south of the country is ruled by non-BJP parties. Hospitals are very likely among these. this is odd advice indeed. Finally. for this to happen. even though slight. there has actually been a swing away from the BJP.Gorakhpur and Phulpur have shown his party the door. They have bearded the proverbial lion in his den.” as a writer put it in this newspaper soon after the elections to the Gujarat Assembly.

Modi exudes even if his success in providing it is not so apparent four years into office. They are able to evaluate Hindutva politics for what it is. Exactly as in the former Soviet Union in the 1980s the people were able to see that the rest of Europe was far ahead of them in living standards. Modi. This requires maintaining a buoyant economy and providing the services that cannot be purchased from the private sector. Deracinated in their gated communities. Democracy is meant to deliver this better life but in India it fails to do so. the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the BSP. the Congress leadership would need more than social skills. Modi in 2014. do not signal the departure of Narendra Modi yet. they aspire to better their living conditions and expect politicians to deliver this outcome. They can learn some of this from the leaders of the SP. In fact. so the people of India today see that we lag behind the rest of Asia. Electoral history in U. it must show solutions for a better life in India. the electors need no tutoring on secularism. the elections in U. but in the upcoming political battle with the BJP. The latter bring a heft to the table which is also present in the style of Mr. something that Mr. as the electorate sharply signalled when it voted for Mr. Political parties that aspire for power need to recognise this. but in an environment of acute economic insecurity the electorate wants the latter addressed upfront. See the possibilities It would be laziness to see election outcomes as reflecting some deeper social forces including the waxing and waning of Hindutva and conveniently assume that they are unstoppable.P. And it must show an appetite for governance. On almost every social indicator India lags the global average. gravitas would be an additional asset. Just as even two swallows do not a summer make. Ms. whatever may be their limitations.P. has had more than one shot at governance. the Nehru-Gandhis mix naturally with the populace of this diverse country as if to the manner born. are anything to go by. The BJP was voted out immediately after the demolition under its patronage of the Babri Masjid and remained in the wilderness for much of the quarter century since. Rights are hardly unimportant. Mayawati came to power four times in this period and the Yadav clan. If the Congress is to lead the country once again. After all they are not engaging in a contest for the best person in the room. If the results in Gujarat and the by-elections in U. Electors look for courage of conviction in their leaders. it should offer more than just secularism. So if the Opposition wants to come to power. The Congress Party’s addiction to approbation from urban intellectuals leaves it incapable of seeing this. over the past 25 years reveals the folly in such thinking. Legislating rights as under the United Progressive Alliance II may win praise from the intelligentsia of Delhi but could prove to be insufficient.Mulayam Singh Yadav has attempted outreach south of the Vindhya. On the other hand. but they do suggest possibilities. This parade is not reflective of some grand impersonal churning at work.P. It is the electorate thrashing complacent political parties which once they come to power fail to govern satisfactorily. this group is seriously out of touch with the aspirations of ordinary people in this country. This is a rare valuable gift that they have inherited. . On the other hand. they seem to revel in the role of regional politicians apart from the unapologetic pitch to their own caste. through father and son separately. which practice does not go down as well here. And you can’t hold it against the electorate for rewarding it.

” was a headline in this newspaper on March 14. Sarath Chand’s interaction with the parliamentary standing committee on defence. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 19. Television debates which followed had the all too familiar trend. Hooda MARCH 20. India was the largest arms importer in the last five years. The ruling party’s spokespersons talked about how the government had worked to strengthen the military while the Opposition accused them of paying inadequate attention to the forces.LEAD To be fighting fit D. Reality check What is the reality? As usual.S. it lies somewhere between the two extremes. According to a recent report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. with other newspapers also focussing on the “dashed hopes” of the Army while reporting on Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt. to become the fifth largest in the world. 2018 23:58 IST The government must order a comprehensive strategic review of the future threats to India “Army critical of defence budget. accounting for 12% of global imports. The Indian defence budget has now overtaken that of the U. . Gen.K.

as the Vice-Chief of Army Staff pointed out to Parliament’s standing committee on defence. one region where such a possibility exists is South Asia.Despite this. facing the country have to be squarely addressed. and when they do take place it is generally for crisis-management. and developing a credible nuclear force. despite being the second largest economy at one time. jockeying for greater influence. As John J. the strong are hard to deter when they are bent on aggression.3% of the population living under “multidimensional poverty”. India ranked at 131 in the 2016 Human Development Report. China. Equally worrying is the adverse impact on infrastructure development and strategic roads where there is a severe shortage of funds. However. which is payments for equipment under contractual obligation. 68% of the Army’s equipment is under the ‘vintage’ category and the situation is unlikely to improve in the near future. can a weakened military support India’s ambition to achieving great power status? Japan. The two-front war The service chiefs have constantly reminded the government that a two-front war is a real possibility and of the need to prepare for it. Also. The government and the military need to quickly come together and be on the same page. Reduction in revenue allocation means cutting down on training requirements and routine replacement of items like surveillance and protective equipment. Asia is developing into a multipolar system. the current capital allocation is insufficient even to cater for “committed liabilities”. The strategic environment in Asia is well known.’s National Intelligence Council report. and thus qualify as a potential hegemon… And when you have power asymmetries. because China will be much more powerful than all other Asian great powers. But the security challenges. not long-term strategy. Regular strategic consultations between the political and military leadership are rare. “(Asia) will be an unbalanced multipolar system. there does not seem to be a coherent or common assessment. and one example of this is the debate on the two-front war. particularly between nuclear nations. and the ever-present risk of war between India and Pakistan probably represent the greatest challenge to unlocking the region’s potential. was never considered a great power because of its limited military capability.” Can India. with Russia. India faces not only a long-term strategic challenge from China but also the continuing efforts by Pakistan to somehow maintain a semblance of military balance with India by keeping the Indian Army tied down in Kashmir.” It is a reality that conventional state-on-state conflict is on the decline. It is quite obvious that the government does not take this too seriously.S. The first step to resolve this contradiction is for the government to order a comprehensive strategic review of the future threats to . At the same time. both internal and external. and with 55. An insufficient defence budget impacts not only modernisation but also the current operational readiness of the force. [South Asia’s] greatest hope is India’s ability to use its economic and human potential to drive regional trade and development. afford a higher defence budget? Conversely. as evidenced from budgetary allocations and glib statements that the forces are ‘reasonably and sufficiently equipped’. Currently. extremism and violence in Pakistan. India’s dilemma is neatly summed up in the U. “Geopolitically. ‘Global Trends: The Paradox of Progress’. India and the U. Afghanistan’s uncertain prospects.S. Mearsheimer points out in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.

S. As a RAND monograph. Military capability is not all about money. points out. of squadrons. A long-term capability development plan can then be prepared by the military and approved by the government. and also directions to the military on its doctrine and force structures. Civil-military differences over defence budgets are an inevitable part of any democracy. A country may provide its military with generous budgets and large cadres of manpower. and of the genuine requirements of the military for putting this strategy into effect. The military’s challenge The military also must understand the realities of India’s finances and look to reconstruct itself. Recently. This will provide a clear picture to the political leadership. On its part. The MoD. Not only does this reflect an inadequate understanding of how the border is to be manned but completely ignores the existing deployment of the Army. This is much more challenging than harping on raising divisions and squadrons because it confronts us with the crucial issue of defining the type of capability that India needs for future warfighting. the border is technically the responsibility of the ITBP under the Home Ministry. “Measuring Military Capability”. Hooda is a former Northern Army Commander . the military must focus on capability for future warfighting.India. administrative and logistics system is no longer affordable. but if the military’s doctrine is misguided. the Border Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Assam Rifles. the training ineffective. However.” The military must stop talking in terms of numbers. It will force us to search for the new and the unexpected. or the organization inappropriate. There is a crying need to move towards greater integration among the three services and with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). these differences can be minimised if there is a common understanding of the contours of a national security strategy. While the Army leads in responding to all Chinese provocations such as Depsang. The government must also take a holistic look at all border-guarding forces — the Army. “Military effectiveness (is) the outcome of the resources provided to the military and its capability to transform these resources into effective warfighting capability. and to look at technologies such as robotics. staffed entirely by civilians. Gen. ships and divisions. seems oblivious to defence requirements and follows a procurement process which appears completely broken. Chumar and Doklam. The annual bickering over the mismatch between what the military demands and the actual allocations made will be avoided. and focus on capability. military capability will suffer. This will form the basis for the defence budget. autonomous systems and artificial intelligence to enhance our military capability. it was announced that the government was planning to raise nine ITBP battalions to “reduce the inter BoP (border outpost) distance” along the China border. the leadership unschooled. A comprehensive and an integrated approach to border management could result in considerable savings. not mere numbers. The luxury of each service running its own training. An internal report prepared late last year by Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre pointed out that only 8-10% of 144 proposed deals in the last three financial years fructified within the stipulated time period. Lt. Greater integration could improve efficiency. (retired) D.

Rubble . a deep-seated feeling of aversion.distribute shares of something. leaving them with no option but to accept it. Volte Face .a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it. or position.inflict. LEAD Separate freedoms Posited . cause (a large amount of damage or harm). debris Suhrith Parthasarathy MARCH 21. Reneging .put forward as fact or as a basis for argument.go back on a promise. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 20. Wreak . shocking. Fait Accompli .outstandingly bad. abrupt and complete reversal of attitude.waste or rough fragments. Egregious . but refuse to grant one for welfare plans? L . Doled .hostility. opinion. Antipathy . 2018 23:46 IST Why did the court extend the deadline on linking Aadhaar to various services. or contract.

But. In its reach. however. it lacked any legislative backing. The court showed us. will always be overridden by the government’s duties in a welfare state. that a liberty of this kind.S. Nariman. in the ongoing battle over the validity of the Aadhaar programme? Here. a clear majority on the bench also placed their faith in a system that saw fundamental rights as unassailable. in commencing a project which it couldn’t have even been sure would satisfy its purported objectives. markedly. Union of India. does not recognise a fundamental right to privacy. What’s more. in a system where an individual will not be waiving her liberties simply by accepting grants and benefits from the government. Not only did the judges see a general guarantee of privacy as foundational. the state displayed a complete lack of care or concern for a person’s right to privacy. until it delivers a final judgment. The Constitution. There can be no “antipathy whatsoever between the rich and the poor. on the existence of a fundamental right to privacy. After all. it refused to grant a similar extension for notifications made under Section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies. was equally dismissive of the government’s arguments. that the inviolability of rights was not conditional on a person’s position in society. the court acknowledged that the state wasn’t doing anyone a favour by providing them benefits and subsidies — these were as much an entitlement that sprang from the Constitution as the other freedoms flowing from the document’s text. that it was willing to treat every citizen with equal dignity. One of the main planks of this submission revolved around a notion that privacy was a purely elitist concern. including one’s banking and mobile phone accounts. the judgment in Puttaswamy went even further.” Justice R. therefore. in his separate opinion. “Every individual in society irrespective of social class or economic status is entitled to the intimacy and autonomy which privacy protects… The pursuit of happiness is founded upon autonomy and dignity. he added. 2016. and as subject only to the limits on freedom expressly provided by the Constitution’s language. including our fingerprints and iris scans. including subsidy programmes. whenever and wherever it can be promised. clearly introduced without due process. Protecting privacy “The refrain that the poor need no civil and political rights and are concerned only with economic well-being has been utilised through history to wreak the most egregious violations of human rights. therefore. the Central government posited a frightening thesis. its categorical rejection of the government’s arguments was a cause for much celebration. decidedly thought otherwise. even more significantly. the government had barely conducted any disinterested study . Privacy. But there were many problems with this vision. Indeed. care and respect. by collecting biometric information from us. Selective extension Now. Chandrachud in his opinion on behalf of himself and three others. before a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court in K. however. For one. Aren’t citizens enrolled to receive benefits from government entitled to the same freedoms as others? Originally.L ast year.” he wrote. the government can ensure an equitable distribution of benefits to the poor. but. Puttaswamy v. the court extended the government-mandated deadline on linking Aadhaar to different services. Both are essential attributes of privacy which makes no distinction between the birth marks of individuals. could never be a privilege doled out only to a select few. at least in theory.Y. Benefits and Services) Act. conditional on the individual possessing an Aadhaar number. The court. in its interim order delivered on March 13. and was.” wrote Justice D. In other words. the state told us that by providing every Indian a unique identity number. we must ask ourselves this: what brought about a volte-face in the Supreme Court’s thinking. it argued.F. These notifications make a person’s entitlement to a host of welfare schemes.

undergirding the Constitution. describes enrolment with the UIDAI as voluntary. bank accounts. to food subsidies under the National Food Security Act. the court. when these cases came up for hearing before a three-judge bench. Now. to maternity benefits. at the same time. but. But. even as these petitions were pending before the Supreme Court. the Union government introduced in the Lok Sabha a draft legislation. there can be no rationale for this classification. much like the deadline for linking Aadhaar for the purposes of the schemes notified under Section 7. demands that the government must accept alternate proofs of identity from persons without an Aadhaar number. we might be tempted to ask. Suhrith Parthasarathy is an advocate practising at the Madras High Court . because the Constitution. Simultaneously. to pensions for the elderly. Unless it does so. The production of an Aadhaar card. As a result. why. Given the substantial concerns raised over the efficacy of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication. although the deadline for seeding Aadhaar with these services expires on March 31. to health care and to pensions — because of a failure in biometric authentication. directing individuals to secure an Aadhaar card and to link this number with their income tax PAN. and insurance policies. to answer what ought to really have been a rudimentary question: does the Constitution recognise a fundamental right to privacy? While making this reference. that individuals seeking benefits from the state exist purely at the government’s mercy? Is the court reneging on the glorious promises it made last year? Regrettably. a bench modified this order to include certain other schemes for which Aadhaar could be used. to food. The court has every power to now amend its interim order. Every day stories abound on denial to individuals of one benefit or another — access to rations. In October that year. Indeed. the government argued that the Aadhaar programme couldn’t be questioned. in March 2016.before the project was piloted to examine its costs and benefits. the court also delivered a brief interim order. Faced with this astonishing claim. to mid-day meals for children. The consequences of this classification are enormous. which runs the Aadhaar programme. Although this clause. Additionally. This law. such as the enforcement of schemes under the Public Distribution System. didn’t guarantee any right to privacy. benefit or service. the benefit of the Supreme Court’s interim order. among others. referred the cases to a larger bench. to public health care. was careful to clarify that the project was entirely voluntary and that no person could be compelled to enrol in the programme. for which expenses are borne from the Consolidated Fund of India. in 2015. However. in any event. and to an array of other such necessities. the social contract. in the form of a money bill. it authorises both the Central and State governments to make Aadhaar mandatory for anyone wishing to receive a subsidy. with a view to legitimising the creation of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It creates a fait accompli on Aadhaar for economically and socially deprived persons alone. faces the grave threat of being reduced to rubble. These programmes include schemes that affect access to the public distribution system. later that year. Aadhaar could only be used for a specific list of purposes. will enure only to the former. did the court separately rank notifications under Section 7? Does the court’s order tell us that rights are not sacrosanct. the order offers no explanation. cannot be made mandatory for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen. since the law’s enactment the state has notified more than 130 schemes in which beneficiaries of different welfare measures have been mandated to enrol with the UIDAI. Clause on subsidy In the meantime. it wrote. though. financial services such as mutual and provident funds. questioning the project’s constitutional validity. several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court. in Section 7. the government has also made a series of declarations under various different laws. delivered last week. at the same time. the Aadhaar Act of 2016.

discourage. In case the market price for the commodity falls below the announced minimum price due to bumper production and glut in the market. LEAD Read the distress signals Dissaude . The MSPs are announced by the GoI at the beginning of the sowing season for certain crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).misery. was unprecedented in many ways. food and water from bystanders. mostly leaderless.exist in large numbers or amounts.Farm to table Woe .extremely tiring and demanding. persuade (someone) not to take a particular course of action. on the anniversary of Gandhi’s Dandi March of 1930. Gruelling . Farm to fork . It was mostly silent and disciplined. The minimum support prices are a guarantee price for their produce from the Government. great sorrow or distress Contract Farming . 2018 00:12 IST Farming must be treated as a market-based enterprise and made viable on its own terms T he week-long farmers’ march which reached Mumbai earlier this month. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 22. Abound . free medical services from volunteer doctors.against excessive fall in price during bumper production years. . Ajit Ranade MARCH .see Annex Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a form of market intervention by the GoI to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices. MSP is price fixed by GoI to protect the producer . and also bandwagon support of all political parties from the left to the right. non-disruptive and non-violent. It received the sympathy of middle class city dwellers. The major objectives are to support the farmers from distress sales and to procure food grains for public distribution. and well organised. government agencies purchase the entire quantity offered by the farmers at the announced minimum price.

It is not as if governments of the day have not paid attention. but as head of government his job was to address their issues. not to agitate. The electoral outcome in Gujarat too was a wake-up call (if any was needed) to the ruling party to pay attention to rural and agrarian distress. the protest turned violent. led to police firing and deaths of farmers. That report is already over 10 years old. decentralising public procurement of food grain to the lowest level possible. In Madhya Pradesh. including pending transfer of forest land to Adivasis. Historically. farm prices were kept . Yet farming is a story of recurring distress. This points to the obvious conclusion. although the Chief Minister said that he had tried to dissuade the farmers from undertaking the gruelling 200 km march itself. If job opportunities abound elsewhere. Swaminathan. in Haryana and Rajasthan they tried to block highways which led to traffic chaos. reports and commissions with extensively researched policy recommendations.S. Over the years and decades. This implies that the recommendations are not working and need a paradigm change. Last year. Farming is to be treated as a business and has to be viable on its own terms. For instance. or there is a huge gap in their implementation — or a bit of both. that only extreme distress and street protests alert us to the deep and chronic problems of agriculture? Not all agitations have been peaceful or successful. The most comprehensive recent blueprint for reforms and rehabilitation of the farm sector is the report of the National Commission on Farmers. in Mandsaur district. then we should see an exodus out of farming. The biggest priority is to reduce the workforce which depends on agriculture for its livelihood. there have been numerous committees.Beyond lip service Indeed. That points to the urgency of accelerating industrial growth and improving the ease of doing business. There was ceremonial signing of acceptance of the demands. The farmers. and to ensure that they received firm (signed) and publicly visible commitment. The most remarkable thing about the march was that it was successful. even the Chief Minister of Maharashtra said he supported the cause (not the march). rather than assurances and lip service. But we also need to acknowledge that the farm sector has been shackled for far too long. were determined to march to make a point. What is the priority? The “farm problem” of India is a huge mountain. chaired by M. There is considerable underemployment and low productivity but farmers are unable to exit to other livelihood options. Recurrent farmers’ agitations in the last few years across the nation lead us to ask: why have we come to this pass. that the solution to the farm crisis lies largely outside the farm sector. The State government agreed to all the demands. however. expanding the scope of the loan waiver and ensuring higher prices for farm produce. and setting up of grain banks at the district level. but it is surmountable. Several of its ideas are yet to be implemented.

Thus. weather. Neem-coated fertilizer has reduced leakage. to also allow easier land transfers including leasing. loan waivers are a bad economic idea but often a political compulsion. Land leasing is not possible (but done informally). there is little incentive to diversify crops to suit weather and cost conditions. Some positive steps To its credit some recent initiatives of the government are laudable. Half the farmers don’t have access to formal credit. Over the years the policy framework is increasingly complex and a patchwork quilt of mutually compensating measures. pests and whims of policy and regulation. the farm problem is a huge mountain. than economic. Hence. to encourage crop diversification and land consolidation that reverses fragmentation. to remove restrictions on movement and exports of farm produce and let them tap into international market. electricity. more for moral and ethical reasons. The same is true of rewarding farmers with 50% more minimum support price (MSP). and direct benefit transfer to the farmer-buyer will reduce subsidy further. albeit with proper regulation. to create opportunities outside farming for large scale exit of the workforce. subsistence farmers. even though they might be in the best position to address credit needs. but surmountable. The APMC is not discontinued. including agribusiness. exposed to risks from prices. Soil cards ensure appropriate matching of inputs to soil conditions. credit and seeds.suppressed to keep industrial wages low. fertilizer. Ajit Ranade is a Mumbai-based economist . since most of them don’t own the land that they till. Moneylenders are taboo. to connect farmers to the value chain of farm to fork. Nor did it alter the terms of trade which to this day remain tilted against agriculture. As said earlier. Thus the farmer’s plight is full of woe. There is little progress in direct link between farmer and buyer. and loan waivers become imperative. Banks don’t issue fresh loans out of their own risk aversion. But with an assured cost plus MSP. we have ended up with all the shackles which remain intact. But this did not benefit the really needy. demand. Loan waivers punish those who worked hard and repaid. no matter what the cost. It’s no surprise that crisis is chronic. not to farmers. Sugarcane grows cheaper in Uttar Pradesh in the Gangetic plains than in drought-prone Maharashtra. This meant monopoly procurement laws and the intermediation through the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC). Contract farming remains virtually banned. Foreign direct investment in farm to fork chain is very restricted. The big agenda is to unshackle agriculture to make it a truly commercial market-based enterprise. and the cash anyway goes to banks. Monopoly procurement continues. This paradigm of cost plus pricing is bad economics. But that was compensated by providing the farmer with highly subsidised inputs — water. Giving tax holiday to the farmer producer companies is also the right fiscal incentive. but signals the right intention. The government’s aim to double farm income in the next four years is a near impossible feat.

the buyer commits to purchase the product and. land preparation and the provision of technical advice.In this model. Intermediary model . Special features of this CF model are: Small firms conclude simple. It involves various organisations such as govern- mental statutory bodies alongside private companies and sometimes financial institutions. marketing. These should meet the quality standards of the purchaser and be supplied at the time determined by the purchaser. However. Policy support 6. e. Typically.. this depends on the situation: interdependence of contract parties or long-term trustful relationships may reduce the risk of opportunistic behaviour. Challenges passing through services provided by buyers against service charges) and purchases the crop. The vertical coordination depends on the discretion of the firm. This model may also feature as farm-firm arrangement complemented by agreements with 3rd party service providers (e. Special characteristics of this CF model are: The intermediary provides embedded services (usu. Key minimum requirements for appropriate contract schemes 8. n. farmers may not benefit from technology transfer. advice is usually limited to grading and quality control. if well-designed and if incentive-structures are adequate and control mechanisms are in place. p. extension. following the privatisation of para.g.g. with a risk of default by both the promoter and the farmer” (van Gent. Contract farming business models Informal model . quality assurance and regularity of supplies.g. In turn. are limited to the delivery of basic alternative-marketing Contents 1. Agricultural produce suitable for CF 7. sometimes also processing). cooperatives) may organise farmers and provide embedded services (e.g. there is also a risk of price distortion and reduced incomes for farmers).g. Multipartite model . vertical coordination. the farmer agrees to provide agreed quantities of a specific agricultural product. fresh fruit/ vegetables for local markets. Contract farming business models 3. Special features: This model may feature as joint ventures of parastatals/ community companies with domestic/ foreign investors for processing. The success often depends on the availability and quality of external extension services. Embedded services. Advantages 4. to support production through. This model can work.Contract Farming OriginalArticle: http://vikaspedia.This model is the most transient and speculative of all contract farming models. sometimes also staple crops. in some cases.d.5). This model can bear disadvantages for vertical coordination and for providing incentives to farmers (buyers may lose control of production processes. occasionally on credit. e. logistics). extension. Typical products: requiring minimal processing/ packaging. . inputs. the buyer subcontracts an intermediary (collector. training. Separate organisations (e. credits.This model can develop from the centralised or nucleus estate models.statals. the supply of farm inputs. credits. if at all provided. Due attention has to be paid to possible political interferences. informal seasonal production contracts with smallholders. Related resources What is contract farming Contract farming can be defined as agricultural production carried out according to an agreement between a buyer and farmers. for example. which establishes conditions for the production and marketing of a farm product or products. aggregator or farmer organisation) who formally or informally contracts farmers (combination of the centralised/ informal models). What is contract farming 2.

In some cases. Goa. Typical products: large volumes of uniform quality usually for processing.g. low price and pest attack on the contract crop which raised the cost of production. Problems faced by growers like undue quality cut on produce by firms. price and marketing costs. reducing marketing and transaction costs It reduces the risk of production. breeding or piloting and demonstration purposes and/ or as collection point. credit. e. Single Buyer – Multiple Sellers (Monopsony) . This CF model can be characterised as follows: The nucleus estate usually guarantees supplies to assure cost-efficient utilisation of installed processing capacities and to satisfy firm sales obligations respectively. Contract farming can open up new markets which would otherwise be unavailable to small farmers. Make direct private investment in agricultural activities. machines. Nucleus estate model . The estate system involves significant investments by the buyer into land. This is the most common CF model.In this model. the buyer sources both from own estates/ plantations and from contracted farmers. The farmers enter into contract production with an assured price under term and conditions. tea. while exploiting the poor bargaining power of small farmers. sometimes directly implemented by the buyer’s staff. tree crops. delayed deliveries at the factory. cotton. financial support in cash and /or kind and technical guidance to the farmers. The quantities (quota). Centralized model . Himachal . This model may involve equity share schemes for producers. Adverse gender effects . staff and management. Government has been actively advocating to the States/ Union Territories (UTs) to reform their agri marketing laws to provide a system of registration of contract farming sponsors. Agri-based firms Optimally utilize their installed capacity. infrastructure and manpower. This model is often referred to as “outgrower model”. poultry. the buyers’ involvement may vary from minimal input provision (e. coffee. Producer/farmer Makes small scale farming competitive . from land preparation to harvesting). delayed payments. 21 States (Andhra Pradesh. and even written contracts often do not provide the legal protection in India that may be observed in other countries .g. recording of their agreements and proper dispute settlement mechanism for orderly promotion of contract farming in the country. specific varieties) to control of most production aspects (e.In this model. Contracting agreements are often verbal or informal in nature. In order to regulate and develop practice of contract farming. So far. marketing channels and information while lowering transaction costs Assured market for their produce at their doorsteps. Gujarat.g. qualities and delivery conditions are determined at the beginning of the season. The price fixation is done by the negotiation between the producers and firms. at right time and lesser cost. Haryana.small farmers can access technology.Women have less access to contract farming than men. medium or large farmers. In case of agri-processing level. The production and harvesting processes and qualities are tightly controlled. The farmers are at times called ‘satellite farmers’ illustrating their link to the nucleus farm. It also ensures higher production of better quality. Policy support Agricultural marketing is regulated by the States’ Agricultural Produce Marketing Regulation (APMR) Acts. The relation/ coordination between farmers and contractor is strictly vertically organised. vegetables. This model was in the past often used for state owned farms that re-allocated land to former workers. Arunachal Pradesh. it ensures consistent supply of agricultural produce with quality. and respond to food safety and quality concerns of the consumers. which can be characterised as follows: The buyer sources products from and provides services to large numbers of small. the nucleus estate is used for research. Assam. Lack of enforceability of contractual provisions can result in breach of contracts by either party. Typical products: perennials Advantages Contract farming is looking towards the benefits both for the farm-producers as well as to the agro- processing firms. dairy. tobacco. Chhattisgarh. sugar cane. Challenges Contract farming arrangements are often criticized for being biased in favor of firms or large farmers. It is nowadays also used by the private sector as one type of CF.

edible oils. Sikkim. Jharkhand. have appropriate legislation to ensure that farmers’ rights can be enforced. Maharashtra. the project should: be negotiated transparently and fairly among the parties. be regulated by a written contract spelling out the details and obligations of both the company and the out-growers. Extension of Refinance scheme for contract farming under Automatic Refinance Facility. mushrooms. Telangana. lead to higher incomes for farmers than they would otherwise earn. mandarin oranges. durum wheat. Jharkhand. The government should: act as a third party. prevent unfair practices in buyer-farmer relations. prior and informed consent of those affected in terms of project design and implementation. Maharashtra. dairy processing. Madhya Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh. promote the land rights of farmers. track and communicate performance to affected stakeholders to build accountability at the operational level. organic dyes. Goa. build in a clause for the renegotiation of the contract at agreed intervals. flowers and orchids. Haryana. NABARD’s Initiatives in contact farming NABARD developed a special refinance package for contract farming arrangements (within and outside AEZs) aimed at promoting increased production of commercial crops and creation of marketing avenues for the farmers. pulpwood. or mediator. Gujarat. potato for making chips and wafers. In relation to contractual terms. Agricultural produce suitable for CF The various agricultural produce are suitable for practices under contract farming like tomato pulp. providing adequate information at all times on the financial aspects of the project and the risks and likely impacts. Chhattisgarh. consider alternative contract farming models. RRBs and select SCARDBs (having net NPA less than 5%) Term facility for repayments (3 years) Fixation of higher scale of finance for crops under contract farming. SCBs. Karnataka. Related resources . baby corn cultivation. Odisha. Extension of refinance scheme for financing farmers for contract farming in AEZs to contract farming outside AEZs besides coverage of medicinal and aromatic plants. and compared to alternative models substantially include women farmers and promote their rights. Madhya Pradesh. Punjab (separate Act). and specify the sharing of production and market risks among the parties. exotic vegetables. the duration of the project and how production inputs and other services are to be supplied and used by farmers.Pradesh. promote sustainable farming practices and not promote reliance on chemicals or expensive seeds. Key minimum requirements for appropriate contract schemes Broadly. medicinal plants. and not prohibit or discourage farmers from associating with other farmers to compare contractual clauses or to address concerns or problems. basmati rice. Rajasthan and Telangana) have notified the rules to implement the provision. The various initiatives undertaken by NABARD in this direction are: Financial Interventions Special Refinance package for financing farmers for contract farming in AEZs 100% refinance to disbursements made by CBs. between the parties and not be a mouthpiece for the company sponsor. or lead to excessive debts. poultry. Nagaland. have clear mechanisms for settling disputes. apply free. Karnataka. Rajasthan. Odisha. the project must: not result in farmers’ overspecialisation in certain crops to the detriment of building resilience and contributing to local food security. only 13 States (Andhra Pradesh. Mizoram. be transparent about how the price is determined. onions. Tripura and Uttarakhand) have amended their Agricultural Produce Marketing Regulation (APMR) Acts to provide for contract farming and of them. and which must be written in a clear and understandable way with out- growers given sufficient time to review it. etc.

2018 00:15 IST UPDATED: MARCH 22. which views the Lingayat community as a boundless entity where there is no outsider. The Lingayats evolved elaborate rituals to mark the distinctiveness of their dharma from the Brahminical. He is one of us. offers a glimpse of the radical theology of Lingayat dharma. ‘He is one of us. shedding “disgust” towards “others” is held out as a moral imperative alongside other foundational ones that forbid theft. lies and slander for attaining inner and outer purity (shuddhi). Jaina and folk faiths existing at that time. which he founded in the 12th century.LEAD Terms of separation Chandan Gowda MARCH 23. murder. 2018 23:43 IST The move to recognise Lingayats as a separate religion must be seen in a political and historical context “Don’t say. ‘Who is he? Who is he?’ Say. In another vachana of his.’” This excerpt from a popular vachana (a saying in verse form) of Basava. Composed by men and women from all .

The Lingayats are strict vegetarians. views Lingayats and those who believe in Basava’s philosophy as belonging to a separate religion. their own cooks. which predate Basava. unlike the Lingayat texts. Further. other scholars like Chidananda Murthy have argued how to create a the concept of shoonya (nothingness) and the idea of the body in Lingayat religion: Karnataka MP theology derive. Half a dozen massive rallies followed up on that demand in different parts of North Karnataka. are said to be accommodative of Vedic . The rationale: How can Shaivites not be Hindu? Still.   ALSO READ Contested terrain The scholar M. Reflecting the changed nature of Lingayat mobilisation.M. from the Upanishads and from older Shobha discussions of yoga. Their request to be classified as a separate religion instead was turned down at the time the Indian Constitution was being finalised. Brown and Edgar Thurston! At a large Lingayat rally in Bidar last July. functioning as moral authorities in their regions has been scanty. Lingayat dharma spread across Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra and Telangana. They elevate labour to a spiritual ideal and emphasise the equal worth of different kinds of work. respectively. albeit with reduced frequency. They have their own priests to officiate over ceremonies. revere Renukacharya more than Basava. who was assassinated in 2015. historical research on the efforts of the dozens of mathas in acquiring new converts to the Lingayat faith and.“castes” (or occupational backgrounds). but bury them. The Lingayats were recorded as a caste within the Hindu religion for the first time in the 1881 census done in Mysore state. It is comical that the Ministry had based its decision on the views of 19th century British officials like C. They reject temple worship and forbid animal sacrifice. the idea that Lingayat dharma was a distinct religion stayed alive in scholarly and public discussions. In 2013. Kalburgi. Since its founding in the 12th century. the six-member Nagamohan Das committee. These are but a few ways in which they have fashioned their distinct theology and ritual life. The conversion (linga deekshe) of individuals into the Lingayat faith continues to happen in mathas. took great pains to establish the separateness of Lingayat dharma from Hinduism. and cherish scriptural texts which. more generally. had taken the old request to the Manmohan Singh government. Denying It is not the job of a government such a separation. which was constituted three months ago. he offered to consider the request. Heads of several Lingayat mathas and a few prominent Lingayat politicians from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) took the lead in mobilising the grassroots support. the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha. But using the latter as evidence for viewing Lingayat dharma as a sub-component of Hinduism would be anachronistic as those texts came to be viewed as “Hindu” texts many centuries later. Unfortunately. when Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was asked to help recognise the Lingayat dharma as a separate religion. Lingayats versus Veerashaivas The five Veerashaiva mathas. The Ministry of Home Affairs turned it down noting that Lingayats were indeed Hindu. not Sanskrit. The Siddaramaiah government has now asked the Centre to endorse the committee’s view that Lingayats form a separate religion. the extensive body of vachanas are in Kannada. The latter criterion is an opening offered to Veerashaivas who are clubbed with Lingayats in official documents despite their theological differences with the latter. the creative transformation of borrowed notions needs independent attention.P. They don’t cremate the dead. the umbrella caste association founded in the early 20th century.

the Lingayats are about 13% of the State’s population of nearly 6. The Veerashaivas. The speeches. At present. a Lingayat. Since the Lingayat support is decisive for the BJP’s electoral fortunes in Karnataka. the Lingayats moved towards the Janata Party when Chief Minister Devaraj Urs began to sideline the dominant castes within the party. in fact. were quick to express gratitude to Mr. a few Lingayat swamis accuse the Veerashaiva mathas of bringing in caste and gender inequalities. A cultural episode too With the recent consolidation of the Lingayat vote behind the BJP. Yeddyurappa’s two years away from the BJP.5 crore. temple worship and other practices inside a dharma that explicitly rejected them. But thwarting their wish to be a separate religion is not an easy option for the BJP.” Political considerations Termed “a dominant caste” in social science scholarship. in 2012. And. the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka declared Basava Jayanthi as a State holiday. In 2011. A minority religion status does mean financial gain for the Lingayat mathas which run dozens of higher education institutions. articles and interviews of Lingayat swamis bespeak a genuine concern about not letting the distinctive Basava philosophy be subsumed under “a sanatana Hindu dharma. he was among the signatories to the 2013 petition that the Centre had turned down. While the Siddaramaiah government’s support for recognising Lingayats as a separate religious group cannot be seen outside of that strategy. Mr. has offered to go along with whatever the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha decides vis- à-vis the separate religion status for Lingayats. During Mr. Deve Gowda. it cannot have come in the absence of an already existing wish for it among them.D. Indeed. the Lingayat community matters in elections. The present controversy asks the Lingayats to re-examine their relationship with their rich moral tradition. Indeed. the party’s alarm about the Lingayats pulling away from Hinduism is real. they gravitated. Bengaluru . the loss of Lingayat support badly hurt the BJP’s performance in several constituencies in the 2013 State Assembly elections. the BJP’s projected chief ministerial candidate. the Congress government mandated that a portrait of Basava adorn the walls of all government offices. After being solidly behind the Congress until the mid-1970s. are also known to discriminate against the Lingayats in marriage relations and other civil matters. a Vokkaliga. Siddaramaiah for honouring their request. 47 of the 224 MLAs are Lingayats. But this factor cannot fully explain their struggle. after he formed a separate party. Media discussions have served us poorly by keeping the focus on political motives and electoral gain.rituals. who form a tenth of the total Lingayat population. After the JD(S) became the more successful inheritor of the Janata Party under the leadership of H. The episode in question offers a precious moment for self-introspection too: what makes my community different? What lies behind the rituals at home? Why were my grandparents named that way? Chandan Gowda teaches at Azim Premji University. While the party’s spin doctors work overtime to blame the Congress for “dividing Hindus”. Electorally significant in about a hundred Assembly constituencies. The Lingayat swamis. last year. in the late-1990s.S. Yeddyurappa. the Karnataka Janata Paksha.” Concerns about how contemporary Lingayat culture has made space for casteism and other practices abhorrent to its founding philosophy are also seen. the Congress as well as the JD(S) are keen to re-establish a support base among them. The Veerashaiva responses to the recent events have varied from a disavowal of the need to become a separate religion to the religion being termed “Veerashaiva-Lingayat. Yeddyurappa. towards the BJP under B.

in or relating to the central part or main business and commercial area of a town or city. particularly over a leaked memo to officials telling them to stay away from events that commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s 1959 flight to India.dribble. reservation.very weak or slight Suhasini Haidar MARCH 24. 2018 00:15 IST UPDATED: MARCH 23. This has led to the cancellation of several public events related to Tibet.LEAD Tibet is not a card Downtown . Misgiving . Bustling . a small flow of liquid. especially because of boredom or dissatisfaction. unable to remain still. or submissive. a feeling of doubt or apprehension about the outcome or consequences of something.qualm. silent. 2018 23:50 IST India must refresh its overseas China policy and its domestic engagement with the Tibetan community T he government’s bid to ease tensions with China has been met with some criticism.(of a place) be full of activity. . Clearly. Much of the criticism stems from the perception that the government is attempting to appease China by giving up its “Tibet card”. Restive .restless. Tenuous . Trickle .

while Indian strategists have handed down the idea of a Tibet card for decades. India’s strategic shift in line with the U. All of this has made Tibet more self-reliant. Government of India) and must give citizenship to all Tibetan refugees born between 1950 and 1987. It would be simplistic to assume that these problems would go away if India were to make the Tibetan community and its leader less visible. For starters. New generations of Tibetans born in India are brought up as exiles. ties between New Delhi and Beijing have deteriorated over the past few years for a number of reasons unconnected to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan population in India: border incursions. and mainstreaming Chinese culture into the region. has changed drastically in the past two decades. now crisscrossed with railway lines.’s Indo-Pacific pivot that targets China. There’s an ongoing demographic shift in Tibet. tunnels and airports. have been replaced by Chinese and Tibetan films. Deteriorating ties To begin with. While many have written about the Beijing-Lhasa railway line. without a real sense of what Tibet may actually be like. Bollywood DVDs. the cut-off year. As a result. including over the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership and terror designations to Masood Azhar. the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) now sees many more such engineering marvels (albeit at the cost of its environment). At the same time. it is time to revise this policy with a thorough evaluation of the ground. As most live separately in about 40 settlements around India. many now in their twenties.000 or so registered Tibetan refugees are more cut off from developments in their homeland than ever before. although it lost its case in the Delhi High Court (Namgyal Dolkar v. they also have a tenuous link to the host country itself. the bigger error may be for the government to be using Tibetan refugees in India as a card in its relations with China. with more jobs for the next generation. Lobsang Sangay. and differences on the international stage. while it is a mistake to play every visit of the Dalai Lama or official meeting with the leader of the ‘Tibetan government-in-exile’. the number of new arrivals from Tibet into Dharamshala is down to a trickle and the once bustling informal trade route between India and Tibet has also dried up. and downtown Lhasa has all the trappings of a modern city. it is equally ridiculous to portray strictures on their activities as a ‘peace offering to Beijing’. However. living in this limbo. the outflow of refugees from Tibet has been curtailed by the Chinese authorities over the last decade. China’s ‘deep-pocket’ inroads into South Asia. once easily available in Lhasa’s bustling markets. . mainly by convincing Nepal to close a popular route. and as the government has said. the landscape of Tibet. including the standoff at the part of Doklam claimed by Bhutan. Second. with Beijing populating areas with majority ‘Han’ Chinese workers. where the Dalai Lama goes within India is a sovereign issue. super-speed highways.S. encouraging mixed marriages. from New Delhi to Beijing and Lhasa to Dharamshala. Therefore. The new reality means that India’s population of the 100. should they ever in to China’s aggression on the subject is the wrong pretext to nuance its Tibet policy. The government’s attitude towards giving them citizenship has been stern. as a ‘challenge to China’. It will be equally important to devise a mechanism for those born after 1987.

For those who want to make India a permanent home. one born in a “free” land. but it will need to carry the entire community with it. Samdhong Rinpoche. may be the more democratic option. the CTA is following a “five-50” path. and the government needs a proactive policy that takes into account these new realities. while committing to a struggle for a more autonomous Tibet in the next 50 years. A cryptic message from his office says he will remain in the U. the direction the community takes will be of vital interest to India as well. travelled to Yunnan last year have fuelled rumours that the Dalai Lama is preparing to re-enter talks with China. to map what the Tibetan community in India wants in its future. with no word on when he may return to India.h@thehindu. suggesting at different times that his successor may be a woman. has been abroad for the past year. . or there may be none at all. During his lifetime. his political successor presents a more difficult task — he or she needs to be both groomed and publicly presented to the community at the earliest. surveys and a referendum.The bigger question that looms over the community is that of its future leadership. to pursue talks with China in the next five years. India must reconsider its citizenship laws. recognised by the Dalai Lama as the head of the Karma Kagyu sect after he escaped to Dharamshala in 2000. the Indian foreign policy establishment needs to stop seeing the Tibetan population in India as a strategic tool. for “rest and recovery” from undisclosed “health concerns”.S. who has now secured his position for the foreseeable future. may well take a more proactive interest in the Tibet issue. which is empowered to run affairs and is headed by Mr. India” events with the Dalai Lama are minor compared to worries about the more restive Tibetan Youth Congress’s “Bharat Jagran Yatra”. suhasini. For the moment. if necessary. with rallies in several cities across the country to “raise awareness for a free Tibet”. The Dalai Lama himself has retained an air of mystery on the subject. There is an urgent need for community outreach. Of equal interest are possible talks between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government. Above all. after him. However. Another possible leader. As a result. that were dropped in 2010. Reports that the Dalai Lama’s special emissary. the government’s misgivings about officials attending the “Thank You. especially those in the new generation. there is no question that the Dalai Lama holds sway over the whole community. the Dalai Lama has been a unifying force. the past few years have seen a rise in the younger and more radical “Rangtsen” (freedom) groups that says they will settle for nothing short of an independent Tibet. the idea that India holds the “Tibet card” is out of step with all the shifts on the ground. The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).co. While his spiritual incarnation will be chosen through a religious process. In his lifetime. Chinese President Xi Jinping. which his father once discussed with the Dalai Lama. Ground realities In short. guiding the community through their struggle in a peaceful manner. Ogyen Trinley Dorje. while accepting an autonomous Tibet as a part of China.

2018 02:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 26. 2018 01:24 IST Europe’s new data protection regime offers a sound basis for India to craft its own legislation D .LEAD Controlling the machine: legislation for data protection Apar Gupta MARCH 26.

reflects an attempt to protect the rights of individuals through a data protection law.various items that have staked dominance within distinct silos of digital services. The limited protections which do exist are under the Information Technology Act. . store and analyse the online behaviour of millions of Indians. with most needing to update them and enact a comprehensive statute. they are united in a singular attempt to collect. treating the requirements of industry and state as limited exceptions. who has studied more than 50 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. enforceable data protection law. algorithms and artificial intelligence. The European template Though digital technology is finely threaded with the fabric of our lives. It’s all connected Undergird . and its subordinate regulations remain substantially deficient and practically unenforceable. The very preamble of the GDPR. ideas. or cautious manner. the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Its wide pervasive use goes well beyond public entitlements or regulated services to sundry services such as online matrimonial portals. notes the pre- existing presence of elements of European law within their national laws.” While dialogues of the past do seem distant to the rapid advances in the fields of big data. This tension is gingerly revealed in a letter from Jawaharlal Nehru to Aldous Huxley. Even as a text. Though there is friction between these global and local firms. stating that cottage industry is not to the exclusion of the power loom. an image of Mahatma Gandhi spinning khadi symbolised not only economic and political autonomy but to its critics an insular withdrawal from industrialisation and technology. India has the unique distinction of being one of the few countries that gathers vast amounts of personal data through its compulsory national biometric ID scheme. Insular . that goes into effect in a few months. when he a careful experience. This stands in stark contrast to the European Union which has taken time to develop an advanced data protection framework. but I also believe in the social control of it.ignorant of or uninterested in cultures. 2000. Graham Greenleaf. D uring the throes of India’s independence struggle. for the business model of most firms always factors in a premium for personal data. as a partial defence of the Mahatma’s position. It almost seems data is not the new oil — it is air itself. not important enough While Facebook enjoys sway over social networking. and Amazon continues a growing capture of online commerce. completely taken over online search and email.provide support or a firm basisAt present India has the second highest number of Internet users in for. Aadhaar. Another layer for the extraction of information is added by the government. There is good reason to look toward Europe. home-grown technology sector which learns not only its business models and operational strategies but even its corporate culture from such companies. the GDPR is a progressive instrument. they undergird deeper truths and surface visibly in debates over the formation of a privacy and data protection framework. professor of law and information systems at the University of New South Wales. the world. Google has to be mentioned individually. “I believe in the machine and would have it spread in India. It is immaterial whether customers pay for digital services. or peoples outside one's own Gingerly . and is an important market for many global companies Sundry . This is further supplemented by a maturing. India maintains a curious omission of a comprehensive. It is this exercise of balance which Nehru adverts to in his letter to Huxley. Australia.

and the future protection of the right to privacy within the text of a data protection of jobs law and then proceeds to exceptions which are determined under the RAGHAVAN legal doctrines of necessity and proportionality. Overcast -(of the sky or weather) marked by a covering of grey cloud. There is a credible basis for such fears as often our courts have wavered from the principle of protecting fundamental rights to permitting an expansion of limitations placed on them. with sufficient powers for the regulatory body and the courts which will function to enforce it and hold powerful corporations and governments to account. The sister doctrines of necessity and proportionality are not strangers to our own constitutional law. For instance. Many today wonder about their online safety and express a loss of control. Even prior to their express recognition and linking to data protection by the Supreme Court last August. Challenge ahead This sets up a credible challenge to the future of India’s data protection framework. Such principles find legal articulation within the GDPR which makes them practically enforceable. where necessity and proportionality are placed both as exceptions and as positive obligations on companies and governments. While we must learn and draw from the data protection principles of Europe. This will naturally be an effort in not only ensuring desirable legal language within the text of a law but also a larger environment of compliance and respect for privacy. and further support has recently come from the Supreme Court. they have found passing references through the decades. when it reaffirmed the fundamental right to privacy. dull. many rights advocates hold that a balancing exercise for these doctrines may become an unequal bargain between privacy and the demands of big data and the bigger state. In this there is an important lesson from decades past — to continue our belief in the benefits of technology. Necessity is a SRINIVASAN threshold evaluation requiring objective evidence that is matched against a proportionality exam in which the advantages due to limiting the privacy right are weighed against the disadvantages. we must continue to believe in its social control. Opportunity for positive outcomes exists in the domain of technology as India has already taken a global lead in enacting a progressive net neutrality regulation. ALSO READ Such search for balance comes from a recognition of the principled Pakodas. they are allowed to use data only for the original purpose under which they were gathered and only to the extent and amount as necessary for performing the function as specified by a user. the Supreme Court has applied proportionality to strike down a law in the 1950s which completely prohibited the manufacture of tobacco bidis. A user’s knowledge is raised to the level of control. a blanket prohibition for all months was held to be disproportionate. For instance. Apar Gupta practises law in New Delhi . we must also focus efforts to ensure their effective enforcement. These include a transparent system of data processing which makes users practically aware of what is happening with their personal information at all times. Since the basis of law was to ensure adequate labour to work in the agricultural seasons. with the exceptions gradually swallowing up the rule. But due to a lack of partnership between civil society and the government. PCs. there is a sense of cynicism overcast by the lack of a user-oriented data protection law. Though further precedent exists which limits the sweep of state action.

not candid or sincere. or social exclusion.underhand. But digging into the issue. geodatabase. it is difficult to see what is really novel in the current disclosures that was previously not known. raster image. Parminder Jeet Singh MARCH 27. work. It is not evident what the real concerns underlying the outrage are. constituted a Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Justice B N Srikrishna to study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods for addressing them. Uber. there is the important question of what it really means for countries such as India. or Alibaba. regarding the use of personal data for political messaging during the U. 'Digital Divide' is the term used to describe the growing gap. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 26. 2018 23:52 IST We need a white paper on the extensive data markets that currently exist in India W e are witnessing mass outrage over certain actions or non-actions of Facebook (FB) and a British political consulting firm.boast about or praise (something). Platforms don’t own the means of production— instead. shapefile. for socio-economic and/or geographical reasons. access important information and register companies through an online gateway that works 24/7.a government report giving information or proposals on an issue Digital Society .LEAD The non-politics of outrage Disingenuous . typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does. or even a dbf table or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Expropriation .Recognising the importance of data protection and keeping personal data of citizens secure and protected. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).A Digital Society is a modern. Geodata . progressive society that is formed as a result of the adoption and integration of Information and Communication Technologies at home. White Paper . education and recreation. they create the means of connection.A business model that creates value by facilitating exchanges between two or more interdependent groups. Geodata is information about geographic locations that is stored in a format that can be used with a geographic information system (GIS).the action of dispossessing someone of property. Protection of Data is expected to provide big boost to Digital economy of the country. Cambridge Analytica (CA).computerized geographical data. especially excessively. have limited or no access.highly detailed. It is also unclear why the facts that these disclosures centre on are more important than many other well- known facts about the underlying issue of data. on 31st July 2017. Vaunted . usually consumers and producers. digital controls and exploitation. Like Facebook. these businesses don’t directly create and control inventory via a supply chain the way linear businesses do. In a Digital Society. between those who have access to and the skills to use ICT and those who. GoI has. people avail various government services. And lastly.S. The committee will also suggest a draft Data Protection Bill. See Annex for Committee Report Platform company . having many small and distinct parts: Srikrishna Committee . Granular . . pay their bills and taxes. presidential elections. Geodata can be stored in a database. coverage.

. All these data-based controls need to be seen as of one kind. So now after a whistle-blower’s account and an undercover investigation. or even the European Union (EU) have over global data giants. the only illegal element here is that a research company transferred data to CA against FB policies. CA’s parent company also offers data-intelligence services to militaries. but also free collectively. by name. Global digital companies such as Microsoft and Google are known to cooperate closely with the American establishment.CA’s role in the U. elections has been known for quite some time.S. to education and health. which the CA issue most clearly demonstrates — and focus on the related concepts of collective (not just personal) data protection and collective data rights and . or internal and external security. as a nation and a community. for instance. remain largely out of our control or influence. and common strategies urgently devised for India to remain free — free not just in the much-vaunted “consumer choice” sense. but there are other equally important data-centric threats — from complete data-based control over all Controlling the machine: activities and actors in a sector by platform companies (think Uber.S. prioritise the latter’s interests even over their own economic ones. which is mostly the Trojan Horse. At that stage. and indeed countries such as the U. ALSO READ As this data gets converted into digitally-intelligent services in all sectors — from transport. have extensive informational warfare projects based on social media and other micro-informational sources for various countries. when insisted upon. But both the company concerned and FB itself could have legitimately used the same user data for the same purpose of psychometrics-based micro-targeted political messaging for any of their paying clients. whether they influence and control our elections. A specific privacy shield arrangement with the U. manoeuvring space for resistance will be limited. and the potential of collective damage or gains from it. Interestingly. Developing countries like India must realise that they do not have the kind of leverage that the U. All data collected in India and transported abroad (data laws being nearly non-existent). or culture. As FB has clarified. and.S. ensures special protection just to EU data in the U. on the other hand. which can wreck countries.S. whatever be their boasts. alright if FB itself did similar things for its paying clients. it is either disingenuous or unacceptably naive and incompetent. and will never have it. Political response needed First of all. It may sound rhetorical but such is the vastness and depth of new global digital controls that digital freedom from them is becoming close to being as important as freedom from physical and legal controls was in the middle of the 20th century. What exactly do we then have a problem with? Just with violation of FB’s policies. commerce and tourism.S. we need to recognise the ignored collective aspects of data. for instance. but the legislation for process will soon reach as afar as agriculture and manufacturing) to that of data protection actual informational warfare. to agriculture and manufacturing. if those responsible for data and digital policies behave as if any of this is news to them. which it has provisions for? ALSO READ Digital controls Meddling in elections is a most serious issue. we are getting structurally sucked into foreign-controlled digital value chains from which any attempts to escape Protecting our data may soon become too difficult and costly. or economics. or with psychometrics-based political messaging and the collective national damage that it causes? Is it.

and the collective rights to them instituted. India is currently devising regulation for digital geospatial data. when exceeding certain data sizes. Within such a cross-cutting framework of data laws. rather than just giving notice to CA to explain matters. including even granular data of consumer behaviour (which provides much detailed psychometric information with cross-sectoral application) need some protections. As with geospatial information. It basically means an enabling cover of jurisprudence and political economy being thrown over such data. Forget CA and FB.ownership. but resists due regulation of the digital sector because it threatens its hyper consumptive culture and runs counter to its anti-political biases.. it will be much more appropriate to route the current outrage to undertaking a thorough assessment of the role of digital data in elections over the last few years in India. Platform companies such as FB. all critical data and digital intelligence about various sectors must be designated as collective national assets. This does not mean that all such data will necessarily be prevented from being taken abroad. where needed. acting like their “brains”. The problem is. Evidently. need to be closely regulated like utility companies. specific sectors need their own regulation. the corresponding laws and regulation. In the case of election manipulation. which ensures assertion of collective rights to it. and almost all important data of Indians can be bought in this market. It still wants to savour for some more time the utopian dream that the Internet finally delivers them of governments. Russia and China know this and are investing in large-scale informational warfare and insurgency projects. putting many public interest checks on its various uses. Compulsory reporting Is the Indian government willing to come up with a white paper on such extensive data markets that also exist in India? The U. or being used by foreign companies. geodata is perhaps no longer the most strategic. The current exercise by the Srikrishna Committee on data protection seems centred entirely on personal data rights. although of varying kinds taking into account legitimate economic and global integration issues. or whatever else they wish to do). and. Such platform companies. an extensive data market with data brokers exists in India as everywhere else. even from a security point of view. A data-based digital society and economy are a completely new reality. which is insufficient. Where was the remaining 85% of the money spent? CA’s chief executive officer has claimed that it had “profiled the personality of every adult in the United States of America — 220 million people” which is considerably more that the 50 million profiles being reported as harvested from FB in the current controversy. regulation and policies. IT for Change . are we as a nation ready to develop the needed political response to it? The biggest roadblock in this necessary direction is the same upper middle-class that is currently outraged on the CA issue. Considering it of strategic value. apparently only a seventh of the budget that CA spent on acquiring personal data was used for FB data that is currently under micro-examination. and presenting it to the nation. in various sectors. including it being taken abroad. for instance.S. Advanced militaries like in the U.S. is considering legislation for compulsory reporting of all social media-related spendings by political agencies. which is also a good area for India to explore. elections. all or much of Indian social data. They form the intelligence infrastructures of the sectors concerned. Amazon and Uber are key sites of data collection and expropriation. and its conversion into digital intelligence (to influence elections. Parminder Jeet Singh is with the NGO. The question is. Social data of various kinds and sectors may be of greater strategic value. Even in the case of CA and the U.S.

” 7. It says. “The data controller should be held accountable for any processing of data. 5. however. Deterrent penalties: It proposes for “adequate” penalties for “wrongful processing” to ensure deterrence. whether by itself or entities with whom it may have shared the data for processing. It is not clear what “informed consent” means. 4. Whether it refers to collection of data from users while keeping them informed about the process of data collection or it refers to the usual sense of the word — wherein users’ permission will be sought first and they will have the right to opt out. Structured enforcement: The committee proposes to set up “a high-powered statutory authority”. also talks about “differential obligations” in case of “certain legitimate state aims”. The committee of experts.The seven key principles of Sri Krishna Committee report for data protection law in India.” 6. the data will also be collected for “and other compatible purposes beneficial for the data subject”. Controller accountability: The committee is clear on fixing accountability of data controllers. the white paper also adds. 1. Data minimization: The data collected or being processes should be minimal — only that data which is necessary for the purpose for which it is being sought. Srikrishna Committee seven major principles: Committee has issued 7 major key guidelines for framing data protection law. Technology agnostic: The data protection law must take into account the continuous change in technology and standards of compliance. Informed consent: The white paper talks about “informed consent” and not just consent. However. which “must co-exist with appropriately decentralized enforcement mechanisms. 2. . It says the consent should be “informed and meaningful”. 3. Holistic application: The law must cover both the private sector and the government sector.

Shyam Babu MARCH 28. by and large. Brimming with symbolism One must also not lose sight of the symbolism involved. who has urged the Centre to formally endorse it. It would be a terrifying prospect for those who regard India as a crumbling edifice. Protege . the recommendations were not implemented by the government Birth pangs of a new federal polity LEAD D.a meeting at which candidates in an election address potential voters. the ruling party at the Centre. Commission recommended. imposing building.pupil. or love for one’s language or way of . executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed Governor. President's rule refers to suspension of state government and imposition of direct Central Government rule in a state. especially about one's own conduct. Article 356 . in the event that a state government is unable to function according to constitutional provisions.set up in 1983 by GoI to examine the relationship and balance of power between state and central governments in the country and suggest changes within the framework of Constitution of India. cultural autonomy. Karnataka would become the second State after Jammu and Kashmir to have its own flag. role of Governors and use of Article 356. or fear. Interestingly. Qualm . worry. Sarkaria Commission .Edifice . a complex system of beliefs. He appears to have used the same logic in granting separate religion status to Lingayats. the Central government can take direct control of the state machinery. who has the authority to appoint other administrators to assist them. Subsequently. student. Steamroll . both the BJP and the Congress are united in viewing with suspicion every expression of sub-nationalism. It is widely accepted that to whatever extent the Commission suggested uneasy feeling of doubt. 2018 23:38 IST Siddaramaiah runs the risk of defeating his valid pitch for more powers to States by mixing it with electoral politics A new flag for Karnataka has been ushered in by the Congress government of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.a large. Whether the Centre accepts his demand or rejects it. 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 27. status quo in the Centre-State relations. especially in the areas. relating to legislative matters. he is bound to reap electoral dividends at the cost of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).forcibly pass (a measure) by restricting debate or otherwise overriding opposition. trainee Husting . If allowed to have a flag.Under Article 356 of the Constitution of India. a misgiving.

but he has already managed to mainstream the issues. He may or may not be victorious at the hustings. Both emblems retain ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in Devanagari more as a graphic. Siddaramaiah asked ‘anchors in Delhi studios’ in a long Facebook post. Similarly.” Mr. The flag issue is being regarded as a part of electoral politics in Karnataka. the latter has only Bengali and English. Though the emblem originally has ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in Devanagari. there is resentment at the skewed Centre-State relations wherein States find themselves as mere pillion- riders. ‘anchors in Delhi studios’ appears to be a euphemism for the Congress high command which expressed unhappiness last year over his move to have a flag for Karnataka. A pushback It is but natural that a project to steamroll the entire nation into an abstract entity of one culture and one language should have produced a backlash. to give primacy to Kannada language and to have greater say in the running of their own lives. Mr. . Siddaramaiah has managed to weave both issues into his poll plank. Telugu and Urdu. Consider the new State emblems of Telangana and West Bengal. Two. “Is the desire of the people of Karnataka to have a flag for their state. Hence the question: Why do non-Hindi States resist Hindi but have no qualms with English in State iconography/symbols? As the nation is entering the poll season leading up to the general election in the summer of 2019. but it also symbolises two broad trends in the country. Meghalaya Governor Ganga Prasad recently delivered his address to the State Assembly in Hindi and ended up inciting anti-Hindi comments from several MLAs. Prasad was oblivious of the thin line between his love for Hindi and the mindless expression of which offended legislators who could not understand him. being part of the national symbol of the Lion Capital. This concern is shared by all States but those States where the ‘national’ parties are in power are gagged by party discipline. not to mention Tamil Nadu where sentiments of cultural autonomy are strongest. we run the risk of magnifying these mundane issues of identity and autonomy into matters that put a wedge between people and regions. but in non-Hindi States as diverse as Telangana and West Bengal. “inconsistent with the objective of building a strong nation?” In fact. This is a clear departure from the earlier practice of States using Hindi along with other language(s). While the former uses English. Being a protégé of the late Ramakrishna Hegde. the new flag of Karnataka (of yellow. it is not clear whether the script has been retained in the flag. there is a widespread disquiet among non-Hindi States at the increasing onslaught of conformity. Mr. Identity politics is becoming front and centre not only in poll-bound Karnataka. white and red) contains the State’s emblem in the middle. A level-headed approach would be possible if one recognises India’s strength as a multicultural nation with parts having little in common but being proud to be its parts.

Centre for Policy Research. Ambedkar made it clear that: 1) India’s is a federal Constitution. Siddaramaiah’s push for a federation of States is perfectly in sync with the vision of our founding fathers. Centre-State balance Mr. The views expressed are personal . in addition to usual ingredients. this argument can be applied across regions and social groups. as the Centre is in the field which is assigned to it.A generation ago. Many issues that Mr. Mr. B. but a passionate appeal for India to become a federation of States.” In addition to being offensive. During the discussion in the Constituent Assembly on the draft Article 356. The nation appears to be moving towards a more dangerous counter to Hindutva having. D. and 3) “the Provinces [States] are as sovereign in their field which is left to them by the Constitution. The second group of issues pertains to the need to empower States to have a say in formulating the Centre’s economic and trade policies since they can adversely affect them. he must keep the agenda above electoral politics. It may be recalled that his guru Hegde was instrumental in mounting a nation-wide critique of the misuse of Article 356. which resulted in the appointment of the Sarkaria Commission on Centre- State Relations in 1983. Siddaramaiah has now raised fall broadly into two groups. 2) the Centre has no business in determining good governance in states. sub-nationalism and north-south divide as the rallying cry. rebalancing Centre-State relations to be in tune with the 21st century needs will also amount to restoring the original scheme of the Constitution on the subject. The least he can do to promote his cause is to refrain from his extreme partisanship displayed in his Facebook post: “Historically. the South has been subsidizing the north. So on and so forth. It would not be far- fetched for one to argue that thanks to Bengaluru south Karnataka subsidises north Karnataka. If Mr. New Delhi. Siddaramaiah’s Facebook post is not only a strong defence of States’ right to enjoy cultural autonomy (he is ‘a proud Kannadiga’ as well as ‘a proud Indian’).R.” Therefore. One group is the long-standing grievances of States such as the Centre’s mischievous practice of dictating to them (through the so-called Centrally Sponsored Schemes) how they must spend their share of Central tax revenue. though he moved effortlessly between these two poles. This practice robs the States of their right to determine how best they can utilise their money as well as helps the Centre to take credit for the success of these schemes. Nitish Kumar at that time described the paradigm so evocatively as Mandal versus Kamandal politics. the non-BJP and non-Congress parties resorted to Mandal politics to stop the Hindutva juggernaut. Shyam Babu is Senior Fellow. Siddaramaiah is serious about phase two of moving towards a federal polity.

to what Escobar was alluding to. So it came as surprise to read of events in a corner of Kerala that corresponded quite closely. . LEAD When development brings loss Searing . Bipartisanship .involve (something) as a necessary or inevitable part or consequence. I had not given it much importance at that time. Entail . Getaway .skill in managing public affairs. Abject . bias. It was searing account of the attack on the native peoples of his continent by the power elites who had commandeered it. especially after committing a crime.encourage or assist (someone) to do something wrong. 2018 23:17 IST A Kerala village’s struggle against land acquisition highlights the larger debate on striking the right balance S ome time in the 1990s the Colombian anthropologist Arturo Escobar produced a text titled Encountering Development. An Indian economist nourished by the idea of the liberating impact on the country of the Green Revolution and conscious of the role of the policies of the Nehru era in ending over a century of stagnation under colonialism.establish by calculation. Pulapre Balakrishnan MARCH 29. Statesmanship . Abetting . 2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 28.not candid / sincere.(of something bad) experienced or present to the maximum degree. typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does. Reckoned . Partisanship .prejudice in favour of a particular escape or quick departure.severely critical.agreement or cooperation between two political parties that usually oppose each other's policies. Disingenuous . in particular to commit a crime. albeit on a far smaller scale.

That the opponents of the agitation are members of the CPI(M). a temporary shelter from the heat. water sources and other natural capital that they value for its own sake. The present State government has not shown itself to be sympathetic to those who wish to hold out. The Malayalam media is often not just close to but actually part of the political establishment. the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M). there is a strong presence of a political party. Two aspects pertaining to the situation must be stated at the outset. The government must treat this proposal with seriousness and educate the public on all aspects of the issue. flagging the assault on nature that it represents. has presented to the Kerala government an alternative. not all the farmers are unwilling to sell their land. They speak not only of the economic loss that the acquisition means to them but their opposition to the loss of habitat. The farmers agitating against the acquisition have come together under the banner Vayalkillikal which translates to ‘birds of the field’. a section of farmers is holding out against the announced. First. acquisition of their farm land. their leader. It has not even publicly asked that peace be maintained. but yet to be implemented. The point to note is that a north-south highway across Kerala already exists. was stoned at night by goons who made a cowardly getaway on motorcycles. It makes little sense to insist on roads of the same specification in Kerala with its fragile ecology of laterite . gives them an unfair advantage. The samara pandal. This is to enable a bypass for the national highway that already exists. Long-cultivated farmland is to be layered over with concrete to construct a motorable road. West Bengal in 2007 when the government of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had tried to acquire farm land to be handed over to an Indonesian chemical firm. All this is of a piece with the general attitude of the CPI(M) towards those who oppose its plans. This involves building an elevated expressway that would leave the paddy fields of Keezhattur undamaged. which rules Kerala today. The Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad. erected at the site by the farmers agitating against the takeover was burned down and the house of Suresh. which is not only aggressively abetting the land acquisition but also attempting to break the opposition to it. which as its name suggests is a body devoted to bringing scientific reasoning to bear on public issues. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) responsible for highway construction in the country ought to be sensitive to both the geographies of the different regions and the aspirations of the people who populate them. It was observed at Nandigram. leave alone restrain its cadres on the ground. the coverage of this existing road should be deemed good enough given the environmental damage that a new one would entail. For a State that is not particularly wide. When alternatives exist Is it absolutely necessary to build a bypass through the paddy fields of Keezhattur? By at least one account it is not. Under the circumstances it must take immense courage to just mount an agitation. High economic rewards are said to be associated with managing the transfer of the land to the final builder and there is the ever-present threat of violence. Insistence on a national standard for our highways is a form of dogmatism. Second. No action has been left uncontemplated.Keezhattur’s case In the village of Keezhattur in Kerala’s Kannur district.

While much of this might appear mere sentimentality to the hard-boiled economist. the BJP. And a narrower access to the highway is the price you would have to pay if you want to conserve natural capital. Pulapre Balakrishnan is Professor. The paddy fields of Keezhattur are the commonwealth of the people of India to be preserved as a source of food. for which by the way a road is not a substitute. the hillocks and food-producing wetlands. At Keezhattur the local CPI(M) cadres have dubbed the protest against the land acquisition as ‘anti- development’. though perhaps a somewhat narrow one. Vijayan. said that he had spoken to the national leadership of his party. and a set of farmers has already indicated that they are ready to pay the price. Vayalkilikal. Ashoka University and Senior Fellow. in an extraordinary gesture he offered to “touch the feet” of the Chief Minister to seek a review of the present plan. Further. IIM Kozhikode . They have also stated a moral responsibility to future generations. We should aim at the highest attainable quality of road across the country but cut according to the lay of the land. ALSO READ The Chief Minister’s call It is indeed difficult to read the mind of the Pinarayi Vijayan government on this matter. It has remained aloof when it has not been disingenuous in its response. Rajya Sabha member from Kerala. It must not grant consent to the project in its present form. win the battle against an unarmed group of agitators or he could hear the birds of the field at Keezhattur and win the hearts and minds of his people. leave alone answered. it must not do so passively. Keezhattur is already close to a highway to which there is a motorable road. There is always the greater common good to be reckoned with that limits the claims of private ownership. The agitating farmers have categorically stated that they are not against roads. and that they are by no means adamant on the issue. CPI(M) on a The Home Minister has said that the State government is merely responding to collision course the demands of the NHAI. Everything — economics. even he is likely to ask the straight question: What awaits those who reach the northern extremity of the State once this bypass has been built? This is not been asked yet. only that they wish to avoid to the destruction of not just cropland but an entire ecosystem that encompasses the Western Ghats. But maybe even the farmers are not morally entitled to take the final call in this matter. It is abject propaganda. He could listen to his party members and. We are all only trustees of the natural world. At a uniquely non-party political rally held at Keezhattur on March 25 Suresh Gopi. This is proclaimed on billboards at periodical intervals leading up to the fields all the way from the main road. wielding state power. Well. natural conservation and concern for food production in a State where paddy cultivation could become extinct if current trends continue — points to the need for statesmanship on the part of Mr.formations and scattered population and the less densely populated alluvial plains of northern India.

ii) It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country. Its articles are considered a cornerstone of modern international relations. to attend the reception indicate that good sense may have prevailed on both sides. iv) As of February to attract applause or favourable attention from spectators or the media. 2018 10:26 IST India and Pakistan must seize the resolution of the diplomatic spat to normalise bilateral ties I slamabad’s decision to send High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood back to India just in time to host the Pakistan National Day reception in New Delhi. It has no identified source. a remark or statement. or attribution and no standing in the relationship involved.a petition or protest presented through diplomatic channels Notes Verbale .closest in relationship. Happymon Jacob MARCH 30. Masquerading .stop or interrupt (someone) and detain them in conversation or trouble them in some other way.cliche.piece of diplomatic correspondence prepared in the third person and unsigned: less formal than a note (also called a letter of protest) but more formal than an aide-mémoire Attache . Platitude . since the 19th of this month. Demarche . 1961 Vienna Convention i) An international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries.LEAD India-Pakistan ties: time to reach out across the border Waylaying .pretend to be someone one is not. India and Pakistan have not fired at each other across . and New Delhi’s decision to send the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. immediate. Such a text is also referred to as a non-paper in many international organizations Proximate . title. that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful. 2018 00:15 IST UPDATED: MARCH 31.a proposed agreement or negotiating text circulated informally among delegations for discussion without committing the originating delegation's country to the contents. especially one with a moral content. it has been ratified by 191 states. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Grandstanding . iii) This forms the legal basis for diplomatic immunity. More pertinently.

and yet the two Foreign Secretaries were able to reach an agreement on the treatment of diplomatic personnel. unless the two governments are willing to discuss and resolve the triggers that may have led to a series of incidents of harassment of diplomatic personnel. Over and above the political sanction given to such harassment of diplomatic personnel. The situation was far worse than it is today. Pakistan. It is also of concern that the two establishments allowed routine disagreements to become a major diplomatic stand off at a time when relations are so tense. it had become particularly difficult for diplomats to work in each other’s countries. Club membership The second issue was of club memberships for diplomats. And yet. a welcome calm after several weeks of incessant ceasefire violations. Waylaying a diplomat’s vehicle carrying young children is disgraceful. Harassment of High Commission personnel requires critical attention because maintenance of diplomatic courtesies is not just a matter of instrumentality and convenience. While letting the other side carry out construction of their respective residential complexes can be worked out at the government-to-government level. Pakistani authorities also raided the complex and expelled Pakistani service providers. India points out that the government cannot interfere with how private clubs manage their membership procedures. Put differently. argues that there should be a Memorandum of Understanding for reciprocal club memberships for each other’s diplomats. duly authorised by the Pakistani authorities. Pakistan responded that while the Indian housing complex in Islamabad is at an advanced stage of construction. there was also a feeling at the time that much of the harassment happened because the local authorities were not properly informed about how to deal with the High Commission staff of the ‘enemy’ country. despite reminders. Disruption of utilities Reports indicate that there were two proximate causes behind the recent diplomatic stand off. we may see a repeat of such incidents. the membership of private clubs is a more complicated issue. was being constructed to house its diplomatic personnel. Disagreements and spats stemming from these issues. a request by Pakistan to allow construction of a housing complex within its High Commission premises in New Delhi has not yet been approved by the authorities. Pakistan has refused to admit Indian diplomats to the Islamabad Club in retaliation for corresponding Indian clubs charging what it considers exorbitant amounts for membership. guaranteeing them freedom from harassment”. The first one appears to be the disruption of utilities to the under-construction residential complex of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. and Pakistan.the border in Jammu and Kashmir barring one exception. during the initial years of the insurgency in Kashmir and the heightened fears of an India-Pakistan military escalation. Hence the two sides further decided to translate the code of conduct into . India termed this unjustifiable given that the complex. however. treat the representatives of each other reflects what we essentially are as nations. in the generally tense atmosphere of ceasefire violations and the resultant political rhetoric. Back in 1990. They agreed to a code of conduct by August 1992 that year “to protect diplomatic personnel. a property adjacent to the present High Commission building. Aggressive surveillance of each other’s diplomatic personnel is nothing new in the India- Pakistan context. have led to highly undesirable acts of harassing diplomatic personnel who are protected under the 1961 Vienna Convention. but also represents the civility of the host state and its people. how we.

the former spies cross over to their own country to claim that they were indeed engaged in espionage on the other side. as do India and Pakistan. however.Hindi and Urdu and make it available to local police stations and lower-ranking officials. Russia and the U.S. both countries have claimed that they do not carry out espionage in each other’s countries. contacts between the respective High Commissions and the host governments have been reduced to ‘demarches’. How should India treat Pakistani spies caught in India and vice versa? For the record. we must admit and acknowledge that first. such as the visit of Pakistan's Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik to India. ‘notes verbale’ and stern warnings. While the discreet meetings of the National Security Advisors are welcome. laid out his view of the country’s future course. The two sides must build on it. that those engaged in espionage should be expelled rather than tortured or killed. Clearly. and high-level political contacts. On the positive side. something decision- makers in New Delhi should capitalise on. This brings us to an indirectly related topic — of dealing with each other’s spies. there has been some subtle messaging from the Pakistani side about its desire to normalise ties with India. However. for this to happen. the Cold War was replete with instances of spy exchanges with or without the general public knowing about it. Dealing with spies Moving forward. have been called off. The fact that the Indian High Commissioner and the defence attaché were in attendance at the military parade to mark Pakistan Day in Islamabad indicates that the channels of communication have begun to open up. General Qamar Bajwa. exchanged spies in the city of Vienna. ‘summons’. To claim otherwise would be no less than laughable hypocrisy masquerading as pious platitudes. . they routinely feign ignorance even though when released from the captor’s custody. Hypernationalism and grandstanding can make professional handling of these issues difficult. As a matter of fact. What is worse is that undercover operatives are often subjected to the most inhumane forms of torture by the captors if they happen to get caught. In a rare interaction with a group of Pakistani journalists. the focus should be on enhancing and improving communication. therefore. ALSO READ India and Pakistan should also. our countries spy. As recently as in 2010. Kulbhushan Jadhav: the story so far Sorry state of contact The state of communication between India and Pakistan is at its lowest ebb in more than a decade: the Directors-General of Military Operations (DGMOs) have not considered it appropriate to meet despite constant firing across the J&K border. look at the issue of espionage as part of essential statecraft and deal with spies in a professional and humane manner. When their operatives get caught. Second. Pakistan’s army chief. they have hardly achieved anything. Pakistan should also initiate tough action against anti-India terrorist groups based in Pakistan. Given that the year ahead is critical for India and Pakistan and the bilateral relationship. A close reading of his recent and earlier statements suggests that there is a desire on the part of the Pakistan army to normalise relations with India. Third. such thoughtful measures never stopped the habitual mistreatment of the ‘rival’ state’s diplomats. that espionage is very much part of statecraft that all modern states engage in.

2018 00:02 IST UPDATED: MARCH 31. Its CEO Mark Zuckerberg has quickly apologised. but that cannot be of much use when the outcome of Facebook’s involvement in elections has proved to be so vitally naughty as to help smuggle into the highest office in the U. social media are shaking the foundations of democracy T he Canadian economist and philosopher Harold Innis comes to mind as an aid to reflect on Facebook’s silent leap from being regarded as social media to having been proved a powerful political media.S. Of course. we will never . 2018 00:01 IST By promoting the culture of mass ‘following’.LEAD The illusion of participation: the culture of mass 'following' on social media Krishna Kumar MARCH 31. a man like Donald Trump.

The Bias of Communication. which might lead to the . They reach out to vast territories. like rock inscriptions. The Internet and the mobile phone seem heavily ‘space-biased’ in Innisian terms. And why worry only about American democracy? We too seem to have been rendered vulnerable. Innis used ‘space’ and ‘time’ as basic sources of bias in different media of communication developed down the ages. They provide huge followings to users.lasting for a very short time. Perhaps we need not worry about fair distribution of credits in this case. leaving compliance and implementation to people placed at the lower rungs. radio and television were examples of space-bias technology. and our record of self- correction is not great. This accommodating public mood has prompted the tendency among political leaders to seek more and more authority and means to create a centralised system to wield it. newspapers. Parallel and rapid growth of these two tendencies can be expected to cause significant amounts of disbalance. they create short-lived ripples that titillate and excite the public space on a constant basis. in Innis’s view. In its moment of embarrassment. in the same measure. Advances in communication technology have encouraged systems of governance to concentrate decision-making power at the higher rungs. first published in 1951. He studied different empires and concluded that the ones that developed a balance between space and time attained higher civilisational goals. Facebook has given the entire world a reason to pause and ponder. and orally stored epics were biased. the state’s ominous presence in every sphere of life has come about. Some. and. he was interested in examining the nature of a medium or technology of communication as a factor of social order. He studied the history of ancient empires and their decline by focussing on the technology of communication they used. but the messages conveyed through them need relentless repetition. On the other hand. Bias of communication Innis is best known for his book. He would also have related this increase to the diminution of memory and continuity. As the title indicates. Ephemeral . a sharp change in public willingness to put up with.know what proportion of the credit for this achieving this can be given to Facebook or Cambridge Analytica. Surveillance as a means of providing safety has gained acceptability — even legitimacy — in many parts of the world. even appreciate. manuscripts copied by hand. This duality explains the attraction they exercise despite the risk their users face of being manipulated. This disbalance gets magnified in social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Their reach is extraordinarily wide and fast. Assessing the seismic jolt America’s democracy has suffered is more important. The rise of these social media companies has coincided with major changes in the nature of the state and its duties towards citizens. In the industrially advanced bastions of liberal democracy. towards stability over long periods of time. suggesting ephemeral value. Innis would have seen this as a sign of increase in space-bias. but the content or message does not last long.

collapse of institutions that play a balancing role. but it has already acquired an ideological temper. Neurosis . on the other. Its electoral process compromised by manipulation of voters’ minds — by use of authentic data they have themselves provided — the U. It wields the power of crowds that are ready to lynch its critics. these wider tendencies can’t be attributed to Aadhaar. Therefore. Signs of political neurosis are all too obvious. A substantial part of the population of youth across the world inhabits social media platforms. On the face of it. faces a deep vulnerability. social media creates the illusion of maximal participation.S. The millions who comprise the ‘following’ of leaders can hardly be called participants in decision-making. An element of destiny has already crept in. the use of digital technology to give every citizen a unique identity number is creating new daily challenges for stemming the centralisation of authority. hypochondria) but not a radical loss of touch with reality In our own case. This is because their financial investments in the new communication order are heavy and will not allow withdrawal or slowdown in use.stated or appearing to be true. both Facebook and American democracy will survive the rough weather they are facing. Looking for sanity However. it is reasonable to hope that revelations of the kind made recently about misuse of personal data by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica will continue to rock the established systems of public communication. on one hand. but not necessarily so. It is equally likely that they will learn little from this experience. Of course. and. Long before Nandan Nilekani had gifted this shiny toy to the nation. As an institution. The use of these platforms by office-holding politicians adds to their mighty claim to neutrality. Whatever the highest court decides in the Aadhaar case. This model of communication has smoothly pushed American democracy towards an unfamiliar wilderness. social media is in its infancy. from within itself.a relatively mild mental illness involving symptoms of stress (depression. the problem of handling data about common people with integrity was quite familiar to the lower functionaries managing elections. It is based on the idea of participation of the largest number of people. ostensibly meant to improve the the state’s capacity to serve the poor. In all likelihood. their disbalancing force is equally strong and harder to hide than it was earlier. it can hardly avoid noticing the centripetal energies fast grabbing our democracy. even if that slows down decision- making. the exercise of command by those in authority. Democracy is one such institution. Krishna Kumar is a former director of NCERT . Centripetal energies anxiety. Ostensibly . but in reality it promotes the culture of mass ‘following’. giving companies like Facebook and Twitter an amount of cultural power rather unique in corporate history. An eventual opportunity for a new equilibrium and sanity to prevail is imminent.