Covid and the bureaucracy: India needs modern institutions that are autonomous, accountable and creditworthy

The events of the past month have been so tragic, so unspeakably ugly that the only rational response was to pretend it wasn’t happening. The raging second wave of the virus revealed not only the governmental ineptitude but also exposed India’s soft underbelly – our heavy bureaucratic system, which wasn’t nimble enough to cope with the crisis.

Can Covid shift our politics? It’s a national emergency now. Let it bring to an end our Age of Hatred

The dreaded second wave of the coronavirus has created a national emergency. You’d think it would have united our republic, but India remains hopelessly divided. A straightforward problem of vaccinating our people becomes the subject of political football. While aam admi scrambles helplessly from hospital to hospital in search of oxygen, a bed, a ventilator, our political parties behave like prehistoric tribes, fighting elections as though they are battles for extinction. They don’t even share a common vocabulary to empathise in this Age of Hatred.

A tale of two heroes: An Ashoka University donor on the challenges of doing good in today’s world

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, professor of political science and a passionate critic of the government, resigned from Ashoka University last week because he felt he’d become a ‘political liability’. The media has portrayed it as a morality tale of good versus evil but, in fact, it’s a tragedy.

Let’s change V-Day to Kama Day to remind us that desire isn’t alien to our culture

Happy Valentine’s Day! If I had my way, I’d be wishing you ‘Happy Kama Deva Divas!’ today — an impish suggestion by the irrepressible Shashi Tharoor. Since no one is quite sure about the origins of Valentine’s Day, countries around the world celebrate this festival of love in their own way. The Chinese call it Qixi, remembering a 2,000-year-old story of star-crossed lovers from the Han Dynasty. They look to the heavens at night to watch the stars, as Vega and Altair come close, symbolising the lovers’ annual reunion.

US, India: Stop the uncivil wars: When a nation forgets it’s one people and institutions weaken, we’re at the abyss

Indians didn’t know what to think. They woke up last Thursday in disbelief to shocking scenes of President Donald Trump’s supporters overrunning the US Capitol. The deliberate assault on democracy by a sitting president, attempting to overturn a fair election, was an ominous moment in American history.

US, India: Stop the uncivil wars: When a nation forgets it’s one people and institutions weaken, we’re at the abyss

Indians didn’t know what to think. They woke up last Thursday in disbelief to shocking scenes of President Donald Trump’s supporters overrunning the US Capitol. The deliberate assault on democracy by a sitting president, attempting to overturn a fair election, was an ominous moment in American history.