Populism, freedom and democracy

Defending free speech is best done by voting The Indian governments’ second cave-in over Salman Rushdie at Jaipur last week should worry us. The Rajiv Gandhi government’s surrender to Muslim ‘sentiment’ over Satanic Verses triggered the process of competitive intolerance that has created an environment where anyone—citing religious feelings—can have books, movies and art banned, … Continue reading “Populism, freedom and democracy”

The mantra for the alternative

Economic freedom, individual liberty and competent government Longtime readers might recall that this blog has long argued that India’s crisis of governance arises from the UPA government’s institution of entitlement economics, surrender to competitive intolerance and returns to political violence. Corruption and unaccounted money — issues that have captured popular imagination in the last few … Continue reading “The mantra for the alternative”

Garibi Hatao Hatao

The old, failed and corrupt political economy of poverty alleviation fights attempts at reform Jean Dreze, member of the influential, unaccountable and extra-constitutional National Advisory Council, has launched a pre-emptive attack against conditional cash transfers in the pages of today’s Indian Express. It provides an excellent example of how rank paternalism and contempt for the … Continue readingGaribi Hatao Hatao”

Against cash rewards for our world champions

Why we must challenge medieval-style patronage at public expense You’ve heard it in stories. You’ve seen it in plays and movies. The all powerful king is sitting on his throne. A poet, artist or athlete arrives in his court, and impresses the king with his accomplishments. The king then hands out a reward—gold coins, land … Continue reading “Against cash rewards for our world champions”

Pakistan has nothing to do with Indian democracy

And why it’s absurd to ignore the pachyderm in the tent It is not hard to see why there is an enormous amount of pablum in the Western circles when it comes to figuring out what to do about the mess that is Pakistan. [See recent posts by Dhruva Jaishankar & Rohan Joshi fisking one … Continue reading “Pakistan has nothing to do with Indian democracy”

It was wrong to leave Pakistani cricketers out

It is in India’s interests to be the subcontinent’s talent magnet If you have been reading this blog for some time you might have noticed that The Acorn has consistently been against any measure that falsely conveys an impression that Pakistan is no longer a sponsor of international terrorism in general and proxy-war against India … Continue reading “It was wrong to leave Pakistani cricketers out”

Nationalist terrorism is terrorism

And is as abhorrent is any other kind of terrorism Even as we await more details of the plot behind the terrorist attacks in Malegaon, and even as media and political reactions to the affair take on even more grotesque forms, some commentators have argued that there can be no moral equivalence between a form … Continue reading “Nationalist terrorism is terrorism”

Ill-conceived dialogue

…played into the Hurriyat’s hands Praveen Swami’s indictment is damning: “New Delhiā€™s well-meaning but ill-conceived dialogue process communalised Jammu and Kashmir and laid the ground for the ongoing crisis” Experts have been telling New Delhi that the solution to this Islamist upsurge lies in negotiations which will give power—if not independence—to secessionists. Both the premise … Continue reading “Ill-conceived dialogue”

Three thoughts on Independence Day

On socialism, constitutionalism and curbing intolerance For contemplation on Independence Day—on the need to expunge socialism from the Constitution in letter and spirit; on the norms of public activism; and how competitive intolerance might be reined in. Related Links: Three thoughts on Independence Day 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 & on Republic Day 2008, 2007, 2006, … Continue reading “Three thoughts on Independence Day”

Three cheers for the Delhi High Court

Its verdict should halt the tendency to use the law to flaunt competitive intolerance Excerpts from the verdict of a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court (Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul): In a free and democratic society, tolerance is vital. This is true especially in large and complex societies like ours where people with varied … Continue reading “Three cheers for the Delhi High Court”