POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 24, 2015 AT 06:04 IST ,  Edited At: May 24, 2015 06:04 IST

Ireland became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote as crowds cheered in Dublin in a spectacular setback for the once all-powerful Catholic Church.

Thousands across the globe took to social media to show their support and appreciation for the people of Ireland. Fore a country which otheriwise has very strict laws on divorce, abortion and blasphemy, this clearly is a rather bold step.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 24, 2015 AT 06:04 IST, Edited At: May 24, 2015 06:04 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 22, 2015 AT 22:41 IST ,  Edited At: May 22, 2015 22:41 IST

Noted academician and eminent economist, Mrinal Datta Chaudhuri, popularly called MDC by the generations students he taught at the Delhi School of Economics where he a professor died on May 19 at his residence in Pune. He was 81 years old. 

According to his family sources, he died of a cardiac arrest. He had moved to Pune post retirement because he was suffering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the weather is Delhi was not conducive to his health. 

Professor Chaudhuri studied with Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen at Shantiniketan before moving to Presidency College and then the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from where he did his PhD. 

Many of his former students and colleagues have condoled Professor Chaudhuri's death:

Omkar Goswami, a well-known economist himself, who has been both a student and colleague to the late professor wrote an obituary which was published in the Business Standard:

For us students, everything about MDC was larger than life. In a place that enjoyed an abundance of superb teachers, he was an outstanding expositor. Even without his sense of drama in the classroom, I suspect that none who studied growth theory, planning or transport economics under MDC can claim otherwise. Every class was a masterly act. Armed with an English accent that was a perfect cross between Sylhet and Cambridge, Massachusetts, he tickled the intellect of over-achievers, took the rank and file along and regaled his first and second row women's fan club with smiles, witticisms and a bon mot or two.

He also shares an anecdote or two:

In our last term at D'School, Mooli (Vinay Sheel Oberoi) got his hands on a pad with the head of the department's letterhead. We typed a 'To All Concerned' note, imitated MDC's initials and posted it on the main notice board. It read: "After a great deal of consideration and months of soul searching, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that I am a total cat". At first, MDC thought we had written 'total cad'. But when explained otherwise, he was chuffed for days on end. For that's what he was. And how we will remember him as - a total cat.

Many paid their tributes on Twitter:

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FILED IN:  Education|Obituaries
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 22, 2015 AT 22:41 IST, Edited At: May 22, 2015 22:41 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 20, 2015 AT 23:09 IST ,  Edited At: May 20, 2015 23:09 IST

Ellen Barry, the South Asia bureau chief of the New York Times, narrates how she travelled 15 miles through Nepal ravaged by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent after shocks to a remote village, just to deliver a bottle of whiskey. 

It so happened that the nanny to her children who is from Nepal lost her father in the devastating April 25 earthquake leaving behind her ageing mother. Barry and her husband offered to fly her from Nepal to Delhi but it was turned down. There was only one request — could Barry bring her 80 year old mother a bottle of whiskey? 

Thus Barry undertook her 14 hour long journey on a broken-down, treacherous road where she was "whipped around like atoms in a particle accelerator". And this is what happened when she got there:

I found Mrs. Tamang sitting among piles of stones: tiny, her spine curved, missing most of her teeth. I asked her three times whether she would come to Delhi, and three times she refused. Everyone knew that trouble was coming. When the monsoon arrives, the road will become too dangerous for vehicles to pass. And nobody knows how long the food will hold out. Still.

“I will have to die where my husband died,” she said. She thanked me for the whiskey. When I told her she was stubborn, she agreed, clearly pleased. So we headed back — without the lady, without the whiskey. 

Read Ellen Barry full account here.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 20, 2015 AT 23:09 IST, Edited At: May 20, 2015 23:09 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 19, 2015 AT 23:43 IST ,  Edited At: May 19, 2015 23:43 IST

S V Raju. the executive secertary of the Swatantra Party died on May 19. Raju is known for his tireless efforts against Indian Socialism, especially at a time when Indira Gandhi was using the attractive slogans of socialism to consolidate her personal power. 

In an obituary published in the Mint, Niranjan Rajadhyaksha writes:

The Swatantra Party was the second largest party in Parliament after the 1967 elections. It then collapsed in a sorry heap after Indira Gandhi was swept to power in 1971 with the promise of abolishing poverty with socialism, and acrimonious internal battles hastened its end. One part of the party combined with Charan Singh. Another part eventually ended up in the Janata Party.

Raju did not give up. He kept a whole range of institutions going: the Indian Liberal Group, Freedom First magazine, the Forum of Free Enterprise, the Project for Economic Education; that wonderful journal from the culture wars of the 1950s, Quest, unfortunately folded up. He filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court in 1996 that challenged the law that no group can get registered as a political party unless it swears by socialism. He sometimes wistfully wondered whether the Swatantra Party could be revived.

On the party's 40 the anniversary in 2014, Outlook did a piece called 'A Case for Swatantra':

It is unlikely that the Swatantra Party can be revived. Raju tried but he found he couldn’t because of the requirement that political parties must swear allegiance to the principles enshrined in the preamble to the Constitution, one of which is socialism. He challenged this in the Bombay High Court in 1996, but the writ has not been heard till date

 

In the 2014, the Open magazine too carried a piece on Raju's relentless efforts for revival of the party and his undying spirit:

It is 1996. Post-liberalisation, the Maharashtra unit still exists in some fashion—it has an office, a telephone, and holds occasional meetings. But it hardly has any members. Raju and its general secretary, LR Sampat, decide to revive the Swatantra Party. For this, they need to register it again and reclaim the party symbol, the star. They approach the Election Commission for registration papers. But these demand that the party swears that it is ‘Socialist’, in accordance with a 1989 amendment of India’s Representation of People’s Act. They refuse. They cannot vow to uphold an ideology they have been fighting all their lives. They file a writ petition in the High Court challenging this provision.

It is 2014. The party has not been reactivated. The High Court is yet to have even a single hearing on their petition. Sampat has passed away. Raju is 80 now. In a small office in Fort, Mumbai, he sits and says he is still hoping to revive the party. “I am the only member now. I have kept it going because the idea is important. And now I am preparing a case of why we need to continue.”

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 19, 2015 AT 23:43 IST, Edited At: May 19, 2015 23:43 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 19, 2015 AT 22:57 IST ,  Edited At: May 19, 2015 22:57 IST

If you talk too much, you are bound to say things that you will regret eventually. Wise words. The former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh perhaps understood it better than anybody but took it a tad bit too far. But Narendra Modi clearly seems to be learning this invaluable lesson the hard way. 

Modi, in full form, was addressing the Indian community in Shanghai. He has been told that he is a great orator and public speaking is what he is the best at. Hence he was full of confidence. According to a report, this is what he said: "Earlier, you felt ashamed of being born Indian, now you feel proud to represent the country. Indians abroad had all hoped for a change in government last year."

The Twitterati wasn't going to let that one go, would it?

While some people on Twitter were demanding apologies from Modi for his comment, what followed was another piece of news about Modi saying something similar to a massive gathering at a grand reception in Seoul.

Modi said that people used to lament about what sin they had committed in their previous birth that they were born in India. There used to be a point in time when people used to regret being born in India and businessmen wanted to leave the country for better opportunities abroad, he said. But now, he added, those people are saying they are ready to come back even if their incomes are lower than in other places. "The mood has changed," he added, going on to assert that his government had changed sentiments within one year of assuming office.

One can imagine what followed. Complete outrage.

#ModiInsultsIndia was eventually toppled over from its numero uno position by another Modi-related hashtag clearly started by fans, bhakts, supporters, called #ModiIndiasPride.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 19, 2015 AT 22:57 IST, Edited At: May 19, 2015 22:57 IST
     
 
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