TOI2009 (3)

Another Tryst with Destiny

Read full article Abstract: The freedom movement of India is without a parallel in the history of mankind. Lasting for almost a century, the movement produced an unending stream of heroes ready to give their lives to the country. Its reach expanded as it progressed until it had drawn virtually all Indians into its fold. Once freedom had been won, the surviving heroes went on to unify peoples of diverse cultures, languages, religions and castes under a common democratic Constitution. Even excluding the area belonging to Pakistan, this was the first time since Emperor Ashok in the 3rd century BC that such a vast territory in the subcontinent had come to form a single nation with all princely states melting into it.

Continue reading...

Some Questions are Best Buried

Read full article Abstract: Jaswant Singh has done a great service by sensitising us to the importance of a better understanding of India's immediate pre-independence history. His book, and the controversy that surrounded it recently, have led me to undertake a closer scrutiny of this critical period. I have, in turn, reached the conclusion that the key question on which the media has been transfixed who is culpable for the partition is essentially moot. The objectives, philosophies and backgrounds of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammed Ali Jinnah and of the Congress and Muslim League were so fundamentally in conflict that the partition was inevitable.

Continue reading...

More bang for the Buck

Read full article Abstract: Economic reforms that helped produce sustained rapid growth during the last two decades have cut the proportion of the rural population living below the poverty line from 46 per cent in 1983 to 28 per cent in 2004-05. Nevertheless, 4.4 crore households (assuming five members per household) in rural India still live in abject poverty and must be provided relief while the growth process works its way to pull them out of poverty as well. This is the spirit in which the government launched the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in February 2006. The scheme guarantees 100 days of employment to one adult in each rural household at the statutory minimum wage.

Continue reading...