Kolkata treats Darjeeling as a colony

The Gorkha community has umbilical links with soldiering, hard work, honesty, dedication and national service. As a veteran I see two events occurring simultaneously – firstly the assault on the Army and secondly, the perils of the Gorkha community. Suddenly a section of intellectuals are passing most untenable remarks at the Army and its chief.  Spiritual Guru Vasudev Jaggi was sought to be dragged into controversy seeking his opinion on the action of a young officer taken in the heat of the moment on the battlefield in Kashmir.
The reply is now viral on the Fauzi circuit. Was there a sinister motive to link the action to religion, or else why seek opinion of a Guru? When one adds the fact that the questioner also wrote on the so called coup attempt by the Indian Army, one wonders, whats wrong with our intellectuals, why are they behaving like their Army’s enemy?  
Historian Partha Chatterjee should look within, the Bengal government is violating human rights in Darjeeling, the actions and historical perspective that he describes are being enacted in his own state. He needs to put the house in his state in order. There is violence all over the hills, and it has travelled all the way down to the Dooars region.
The Gorkhas are indigenous people. The Indian subcontinent houses a large number of nationalities. The same stock of people has different nationality thus there is “unity in diversity”. It’s another matter that citizens of Pakistan are trying to find a Saudi connect which never existed.


‘Courts have not been just to Uphaar victims’

Victims of the Uphaar Fire Tragedy who have waited tirelessly for two decades were deeply disappointed and distressed by the judgement they finally received from the highest court in India on February 9, 2017. We believe that the verdict is certain to go down in the history as a travesty of justice.
The judgement is both unfortunate and terrible and one which shows the pro-establishment mindset of the Supreme Court. Such a judgement will only embolden the owners of public spaces to violate safety rules and compromise on safety, with no thought of endangering human lives. It is a well-known fact that law breakers are always ahead of law makers, but it is for the courts to see that justice is done and law breakers are brought to book.
Our courts have not learnt from their counterparts in other countries who have dealt sternly and swiftly to deal with tragedies involving human lives. It is as if the law is being administered by our courts to nurture corporate interests and not to deliver justice.
Punishment should always be proportionate to/commensurate with the gravity of offence, and factors such as economic or social status of the accused, their age, or long pendency of criminal trial cannot be construed as factors for reducing the sentence.

V Srinivas

Consistent Fiscal Policy Support Must For Low Inflation Economy

One of the major objectives of Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India is achieving durable inflation. Inflation in India had reached 10-11 percent in 2008 and remained elevated for several years. Over the past 3 years, inflation has come down from 9.4 percent in 2013 to 5.9 percent in 2014 to 4.9 percent in 2015 to a projected value of 4.7 percent in 2017. There has been a persistent demand for lowering policy rates. The dilemma is low policy rates are not possible with low inflation. The paper seeks to explore the challenges for RBI to lower policy rates.
The increase in inflation from 2008-13 coincided with rapidly rising food and commodity prices. Food prices rose sharply from 2008 and by the end of 2013 had nearly doubled compared to 2007 prices. Food inflation was the key driver of India’s high and persistent inflation. Further, international commodity prices exert an important influence on India’s inflation. The fuel component of the wholesale price index moves with the international commodity prices.
There are several consequences of high inflation. The conventional view was that high inflation affects growth, and persistently high inflation above a certain threshold level can be a drag on economic growth. Economic research has shown that there exists a statistically significant negative long term relationship between inflation and economic growth in India. Significant inflation-growth threshold effects have been observed in cases of inflation rates above 5.5 percent. The average growth is higher in States where the inflation was below 5.5 percent and a statistically significant negative effect of inflation on long term growth was visible where inflation was higher than 5.5 percent.

Rajendra P Misra

Pre-poll promises proving to be Achilles’ heel for Modi government

For the last one week, the national discourse has been hovering around farmers and their plight. The unexpected turn in national discourse, hitherto centred around patriotism and cow protection, caught the Narendra Modi government unawares.
The reason for this shift was the death of 6 farmers in a police firing in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh who were demanding loan waivers and proper prices
for their produces.
While the agitation has shattered the pro-farmers image of MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, it has unsavoury fallout for the Narendra Modi government too. The Modi government was in the midst of celebrations of its three years’ rule at the centre. The BJP’s plans to go to the town with achievements of its government, which was initiated by none other than the Prime Minister himself in Assam on May 26, suddenly disappeared from media limelight. It is a major blow for the Modi government and the BJP.
BJP had planned 15-day long Modi Fest all over the country to highlight the ‘good governance’ of the Modi regime. Although there have been a phenomenal decline in employment generation and GDP taking a major dip, the path ahead for BJP looked very smooth since a demoralized opposition was not in a position to pose any challenge to the persona of the Prime Minister.

Dr MIH Farooqi

Dates: The Fruit Of Quranic Tradition

The date palm is said to have originated in the Middle East and has proven to be such a successful plant and source (fruit) of nourishment that it has become a popular wholesome food across the planet. In many ways, dates may be considered as an almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits. It is because of its food (energy) value, that Dates have special significance for the fasting month of Ramazan. Man can survive for long years with good health if only Date Fruits (Arabic: Tamar; Hindi/Urdu:Khajur) are eaten daily.

Many fruits and fruit-bearing plants have been mentioned in the Qur’an, but it is the date palm that finds maximum references. Under the Quranic names of Nakhland Nakhil , it has been mentioned in 20 Verses of the Quran.  In Surat Al-Nahl, Allah Says: “With it He produces for you corn, olives, date palms, grapes, and every kind of fruit: Verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought” (XVI - Verse 11). The Qur’an also narrates the incidence when Holy Maryam was provided with fresh ripe dates when she was feeling pain during childbirth (Surat Maryam-Mary – XIX - Verse: 23). It is this verse that is supposed to be the reason for considering Dates to be beneficial to pregnant women during labour pains.