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Accepting help

The clearest indication so far that India would turn down offers of financial assistance from foreign governments for relief and rehabilitation work in Kerala came on Wednesday. And yet, it only added to the confusion. The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said that “in line with the existing policy”, the …

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Get over the superpower syndrome

The current debate on whether foreign assistance should be accepted for relief and reconstruction work following the devastating floods in Kerala is an unnecessary distraction for the Central and State governments at a time of a grave crisis. The need now is to use all assistance, Indian and foreign, to …

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Should Article 35A be scrapped?

Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was an integral part of the Dominion of India, according to the Instrument of Accession which was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh on October 26, 1947 and subsequently ratified by the Constituent Assembly of J&K. Article 35A of the Constitution is now being vigorously contested with …

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Why history matters so much

Why is history such an important school subject? And why does it not receive the importance it deserves? These two were among the major questions debated at a conference recently held in Kolkata. A brief answer to the second question is that history cannot compete with science subjects in the …

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Cochin Finances.

The Malayalam State of Cochin, small as it is, has achieved a reputation for being in the ranks of the most advanced and progressive Native States in India. In one respect at least Cochin is distinctly in the leading position and that is in the education of its women, and …

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Questioning Muslims’ loyalty

Reviews of the recently released film, Mulk , remind me of the 1974 classic, Garam Hava , in which the late Balraj Sahni excelled himself in the role of Salim Mirza. Both films deal with the question of the loyalty of Indian Muslims and their place in the country. Garam …

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Contested numbers on overstayers

Britain has long insisted that too many Indians have been overstaying their visas. It has cited this as a reason for not relaxing visa rules for Indians. In 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May had said that Britain would consider giving India an improved visa deal “if, at the same …

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From Ithaca

On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chose Ithaca, home to Odysseus, the protagonist of Homer’s epic, and the place to which he returns after a decade of being lost at sea, to announce the end of Greece’s “modern-day Odyssey”. The country has exited its third and final bailout since …

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Retrograde move

The Punjab Cabinet’s decision to amend the law to make acts of sacrilege against the holy books of major religions punishable with life imprisonment is retrograde and fraught with undesirable consequences. It may also set off a needless flurry of legislation in the rest of India to pander to different …

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A dangerous gamble

Indonesian elections have a history of generating strange bedfellows. Yet, even by Indonesia’s flexible standards, President Joko Widodo’s recent announcement of his running mate for the 2019 general elections is disappointing, if not altogether surprising. His pick, Ma’ruf Amin, is an Islamic cleric with the kind of anti-liberal record that …

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