The omens are not good for PM Narendra Modi’s visit. A scathing indictment in The Guardian (‘The divisive manipulator who charmed the world’) followed a spectacular projection of an image on the wall of British Parliament that showed the PM waving a sword with an ‘Om’ morphing into a swastika. The group behind it even has a campaign (#ModiNotWelcome) on. On the sunny side, the visit is to see the by now standard “rousing rally” in Wembley plus the queuing up of sundry investors.
All For The People?
No Amma-bashing, no negative talk, the ‘Namakku Naame’ campaign of DMK’s M.K. Stalin, the party’s likely CM candidate in 2016’s assembly polls, is raising some ripples in the ruling AIADMK. Rumoured to be the work of the same ‘Team Modi’ of 2014, Stalin has hit the streets, promising a regime free from ‘corruption, commission, collection’. Worry of worries, he’s also talking total prohibition.
The Spouse Factor
The travails of Jashodaben, PM Narendra Modi’s wife, continue. Not only was she absent at his swearing in, the lady’s efforts to obtain details of the security personnel who follow her have been turned down under the RTI. Now, a new ignominy has greeted the teacher—her application for a passport has been rejected purportedly because there was no marriage certificate or a joint affidavit with her spouse, which is a required document. Why the PM’s office or the home ministry couldn’t intervene to prevent such an embarrassment we will never know.
Is That His Sword?
Why would a state celebrate, for the very first time, the birth anniversary of 18th century ruler Tipu Sultan, 215 years after his death? But on the other hand, why not? The explanation that Tipu’s secularism and reforms have a special resonance today haven’t cut much ice with sceptics, who see him as a tyrant and religious bigot. The death of a VHP activist in clashes in Madikeri has proved that Tipu, who ruled for 16 years and died fighting the British aged 49, remains an enigma, loved and hated in equal measure. Sympathetic historians point to the grants to temples, the first church in Mysore, the liquor ban, ending the practice of Shudra women going around topless etc. Critics though say he destroyed temples/churches, killed and converted the upper caste Hindus of north Kerala, Coorg and Catholics of Mangalore.
Pedal On Metal
How long does it take to drive from the country’s eastern-most tip to its western- most tip? Three Assam businessmen, required to follow a specific route and go through specific towns, covered the 3,854 km across seven states from Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh to Koteshwar in Kutch (Gujarat) in 70 hours and 55 minutes, setting a new record. Apparently, there were no night halts.
A Straight Bat
The BCCI’s cosy club, bend-the-rules image is well-earned. So new boss Shashank Manohar’s move to nix conflict of interest among its denizens, is being keenly followed. Out went selector Roger Binny (his son’s an India player), so too Anil Kumble (he’s on the Mumbai Indians rolls). One posting that’s been welcomed is of Justice A.P. Shah as ombudsman. An impartial umpire was long overdue.
Caste The Culprit
So you thought casteism prevails only in Bihar? Think again as an NGO tasked by the Rajasthan high court to find out the status of toilets in schools, discovered that in the state’s government schools, Dalit girls were being made to clean the toilets while Dalit boys were deployed to sweep the schools clean. Gujjar students in the same school were however under no such obligation.