Consistency is the key
With the Government cancelling the India-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ meet scheduled at the UN General Assembly, hopes for an engagement with our terror-sponsoring neighbour in the near future appear bleak. It should safely be assumed that no movement on this front will occur till the results of the General Election are in and a Government with a fresh mandate is sworn-in. As citizens, consistency in our Pakistan policy regardless of whose in power is all we can hope for.
Increasing incidents of Indian aircraft running into trouble must ring alarm bells. While flights making emergency landings for a variety of reasons have become a recurring phenomenon, the most recent incident wherein an air pressure mix-up led to Jet Airways passengers’ being left bleeding and panic-stricken must prompt a complete audit of all airlines safety practices.
As usual, cricket fans locked horns on social media after India thrashed Pakistan by eight wickets in Asia Cup. But heated rivalry on the cricket pitch soon turned into the moment of the day when a photo of India’s Yuzvendra Chahal tying the shoelaces of Pakistan’s Usman Khan went viral. This is what we call true sportsmanship.
The Kerala Government’s campaign, making it mandatory for its employees to donate towards flood rehabilitation measures, even though noble, smacks of the paternalistic, daddy-knows-best, statist attitude communists are known for. The voluntary efforts of individuals and organisations, however, have been laudable. The administration needs to find the revenue to do what it wants to in other ways.
Swachch life please!
The death of five manual scavengers in the Capital as also in Odisha, which takes fatalities to 10 in just about a week, makes it amply clear that Swachchata is not for this dispossessed class. While existing laws remain unimplemented, basic workplace infrastructural facilities for them like machinery are either inadequate or non-functional. Our scavengers deserve a life of dignity. Not asphyxiation.
Don’t spew hate
Vile trolling is not new to celebs. But fanatics touched a new low by attacking Shah Rukh Khan for posting son AbRam’s photo in front of a Ganesha idol as part of Chathurthi celebrations. Bigots called the very secular SRK a non-Muslim. Targetting a child in the name of religion and schooling him about ritualistic mores based on his father’s surname are simply disgusting.
Dog’s day out
Hyderabad’s first-ever exclusive pet park has put an end to the hue and cry about cities not being pet-friendly. A dedicated park having a dog pool, play area and an amphitheater is soon to be filled with joyous bow-wows in the tech capital. While most parks have a “No pets” signboard, this comes as a respite to pet owners and allows our furry friends a day in the sun.
Chandni Chowk, today a congested trading and retail hub, will soon have a stab at regaining its glorious past. The effort to pedestrianise and beautify Chandni Chowk is on track with the Capital’s L-G giving the go-ahead to the project recently. The question, of course, is if the grace and charm of erstwhile days can ever be brought back. We live in hope.
The misery is piling up in ‘God’s Own Country’ as the Kerala Tourism’s famous tagline describes the southern State. After being battered by the heaviest rainfall in a 100 years for the month of August which led to massive floods, September has seen a huge shortfall in rain leading to even the Periyar river water-level going down alarmingly and wells drying up in parts of Kerala. If anyone was looking for proof of extreme weather events, they need look no further.
More loyal than the king
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is leading the BJP into a do-or-die electoral battle with a resurgent Congress in the State is being poorly served by his cops. Women police personnel apparently confiscated the black-coloured dupattas which are part of the uniform of local students who were attending a programme addressed by the CM fearing they could be construed as a ‘protest’. Paranoia, pure and simple.
When you get to select who your boss will or will not be, it is a recipe for disaster. Despite his redemption with the bat on the tour of England, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, who couldn’t get along with Anil Kumble when the latter was the coach so pushed for and got Ravi Shastri with whom he hits it off as his boss instead, most discerning observers could see what was coming. Kumble, a cricketing legend, pushed the team but the fragile egos of our overpaid and underperforming cricketers couldn’t take it.
States should step in
High price of fuel has rightly irked many. The Opposition, especially the Congress, seized the opportunity and called for a Bharat bandh blaming the Government for high price. While these could have to do with global happenings beyond our control, States must take the cue from Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and reduce local taxes on petrol and diesel to provide relief.
Save our children
Even before uproar over the Muzaffarpur shelter-home rape cases has settled, media is awash with reports of a squalid property in Jammu & Kashmir’s Kathua district. Almost 20 children given ‘shelter’ there were rescued by police who said the traumatised kids were abused daily. The perverse cruelty of, and official collusion in, child-abuse cases is India’s biggest scandal. We keep failing our children.
Busting every myth, Congress president Rahul Gandhi silenced trolls questioning his Kailash Mansarovar visit. He posted his fitbit data showing he had trekked non-stop 13 hours for about 34 km. If his political agility is as sharp and his determination to fight all odds this serious, then we could have some hope from the grand old party. Or else it’s just a photo-op.
Fighting fake news
It is encouraging that various social media portals including Facebook, Twitter and Google have agreed to work with the Election Commission of India towards achieving a common goal — fighting fake news — in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The prospect, welcome as it is, requires careful handling. Social media giants are more prone to stifling discussion on important issues than even governments are sometimes!