Politics & the Nation
  • How should India deal with Pakistan? It is understood in some quarters that the writ of the Pakistani government doesn't run entirely in its territory and on some sections of the society too. Given that situation, how can India deal with a troubled Pakistan?
    • The answer for this can be an excerpt from today's op-ed article from ET.
    • One is engagement with the nominal government of Pakistan to ensure that it retains whatever legitimacy before its own populace while trying to act against radical elements. The other, more substantial and difficult way in which India can help democratise Pakistani society is to steadfastly stay democratic within India itself.
    • The idea on which Pakistan was founded is anti-democratic, namely, that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together as part of a common nation and prosper with dignity. The only way to disprove this anti-democratic notion is for Hindus and Muslims to actually live together in harmony in India and prosper with dignity. So far, this democratic ideal has not been realised in practice. If the Indian polity strives hard to attain this ideal, much of the ground will wash away from under the feet of religious radicals in Pakistan.
    • While this process is on, India has to deal not only with Pakistan but also with the rest of the world. India matters to the world, in a positive sense, in a way in which Pakistan right now cannot. For India to play that role on the world stage, it cannot stay hyphenated with Pakistan in the world’s eyes. Indian politicians who obsess about diplomatic concessions to Pakistan are relics of India’s hyphenated past. India has to engage Pakistan’s nominal government from its actual position of superiority and encourage it to work for democracy, while freeing itself to deal with the rest of the world. And this is precisely what the present government has been doing.
Finance & Economy
  • Ever heard of NREGA plus?
    • Today's ET op-ed by Sameer Sharma discusses about it along with a few other similar programmes being taken up many other developing countries. Worth a read. Take a look.
    • He sums up the benefits of NREGA plus thus:
    • In short, the NREGA-plus development doctrine holds much promise to reduce the vulnerability of poor households to shocks. By making choices available to the poor the NREGA plus avoids the assumption that all poor are ready and willing to engage in physical work, only. Furthermore, contextual conditionalities, which are usually ignored in development programmes, are expected to account for the varying needs of diverse communities and unique characteristics of local areas; therefore, avoid a one-sizefits-all approach. Finally, NREGA plus will broaden and deepen the stimulus and meet the human and social needs of the disadvantaged, also.
    • Some of the social development programs taken up in other countries include:
    • Oportunidades (Mexico), Social Protection Network (Nicaragua), Bolsa Escola and PETI (Brazil), Family Assignment Program (PRAF — Honduras), Chile Solidario (Chile), and Program of Advancement through Health and Education (Jamaica).
Obituary: Rajmata Gayatridevi
  • Many of you might not have heard about this Queen. A reading of this obituary column will tell you something about her.
  • It is not just Vogue, we are sure all of you would agree that she is indeed a beautiful lady. Explore her photographs here.
  • Known for having shot a tiger at the age of 13, she was a keen sportsperson and fell in love with a King who already had two wives!
Language lessons
  • feisty: Adjective
    • Showing courage; Quick to take offence
  • ineptitude: Noun
    • Unskillfulness resulting from a lack of training; Having no qualities that would render it valuable or useful
  • kerfuffle: Noun
    • A disorderly outburst or tumult
    • eg: The kerfuffle over the weight of the doctor nominated by President Obama seems to be a case of much avoirdupois over nothing.
  • avoirdupois: Noun
    • Excess bodily weight
  • sylphlike: Adjective
    • Moving and bending with ease
    • We have had health ministers who are hardly sylph-like but that has not deterred them from weighing in on major health issues and assuming larger than life public images in a country where so many people are on subsistence diets.
  • jaw-jaw
    • Noun: talking or conversation, especially when long-winded or pointless
    • Verb: to talk, especially in a long-winded or pointless way
    • eg: Diplomacy is extension of politics by jawjaw.