Hinduism and its Culture Wars | by Vamsee Juluri

"There is however one truly strange thing about the supposedly liberal vision of Hinduism that has been offered by writers crusading against the Hindu right. Their worldview seems to have little respect, if not consideration, for how Hindus themselves see their religion"

  • Why do only girls study psychology by Prashansa Taneja

The Dispensations of Dynasty: Kanchan Gupta in The Pioneer

Congress generated "a vast vote-bank of impoverished masses whose ignorance is converted into political capital at the time of elections. And so it was that Congress president Sonia Gandhi chose to address an election rally in a tribal-dominated area of Gujarat on Friday, speaking down to the gathered masses as the patron-in-chief of the underprivileged ... It would seem she wants the people to believe that her personal munshi sends money from the royal treasury, of which she is the keeper, to the States. This is not money to which Gujarat and Gujaratis have a rightful claim but charity doled out at the sweet will of the Dynasty. Where does the money go, she asks tauntingly. If only Sonia Gandhi knew ... that Gujarat contributes more than Rs. 60,000 crore in taxes to the Union Government and gets back a piffling few thousand crores of rupees as its ‘share’, she would have possibly thought twice before making this absurd claim"

Montek Singh Ahluwalia: Decision-making in the Indian administration and government

"I think the silent manner in which government functions -- even the use of the file as an instrument of decision making -- is completely outdated. What happens today is that an issue is first pronounced upon by a very junior person, and then pronounced upon by the next senior person, and the next senior person. And you can easily imagine the same decision taking place around a meeting, where a paper is prepared, everybody discusses it, and then you take a decision. In my view, the latter would be an infinitely better way of doing things. The former essentially forces each individual to express his views in sequence without the option to modify them in the light of the view expressed by someone else later ... The sense of being caught in a logjam, of being constantly under attack by skeptics, is essentially a characteristic of the geographical area defined by a circle with a radius approximately 25 kilometers around Parliament House. Outside of that, there's a tremendous amount of energy. People are seeing a tremendous set of opportunities. Not that they don't have the same problems of rent-seeking and so on, but the dominant impression is that things are changing and the change is good"

Devesh Kapur in the Business Standard | 'Those who cry most hoarsely about Ambedkar and Nehru have flagrantly betrayed their legacies'

"That public administration in India is in a shambles is the country’s worst-kept secret, as is the harsh reality that the failures of public administration most adversely affect the most vulnerable and weak. If the rhetoric of social justice is to translate into even modest improvement in outcomes, enhancing the performance of public administration is fundamental. And that requires numerous changes, be it an overhaul of State Public Service Commissions, developing much better in-house training, limiting politically motivated transfers and linking promotions to job performance. Also, there is little doubt that the constitutional provisions for reservations for SCs and STs in public employment continue to be important, but if those joining from socially marginalised groups need additional skills to be able to perform better, additional rigorous well-resourced bridge training programmes (including overseas training) should be put into place"