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India: The World’s Largest Democracy is The Subject of Debate on Various Issues in Two Recent Books

The world's largest democracy is witness to debates on a range of issues across the political spectrum

India is the largest democracy in the world. Pixabay
  • The scholarly, “India Now and In Transition” consists of essays by 37 leading thinkers
  • The book analyses the nation’s way ahead in different fields such as governance, security, and development
  • The world’s largest democracy is witness to debates on a range of issues across the political spectrum(Left, Right and Centre) have shared their thoughts in two recent books

July 22, 2017: The world’s largest democracy is witness to debates on a range of issues and noted public intellectuals from across the political spectrum — Left, Right and Centre — have shared their thoughts in two recent books.

The first, “India Now and in Transition” (Niyogi/Rs 595/448 Pages), has been edited by Atul K. Thakur, a public policy professional who specialises in the interface of politics and economics. This scholarly offering has essays by 37 leading thinkers such as Ramachandra Guha, Shashi Tharoor, Robin Jeffrey, Jayati Ghosh, Vinod Rai and T.S.R. Subramaniam, among others.

The book was launched on Friday evening at India International Centre here amid a power-packed gathering from the world of public policy. The evening also saw a panel discussion featuring Dhruva Jaishankar (Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings India, Delhi); Omair Ahmad (Author, Journalist and Columnist); Pallavi Rebbapragada (Feature writer); T.S.R. Subramanian (Former Cabinet Secretary) and Wajahat Habibullah (First Chief Information Commissioner). The panel was moderated by former Reserve Bank of India Governor Bimal Jalan.

With a foreword by Sunil Khilnani, Professor of Politics and Director of the King’s College London India Institute, the book analyses the way ahead for the country in the fields of politics and governance, economics and development, security and foreign policy, society and culture, and language and literature.

The beauty of India, the book reminds us, is that there are many kinds of Indias within our country. Understanding the fundamentals that have given birth to such multiplicity across various segments is especially imperative in the present day, when the ‘Idea of India’ is keenly contested. This nation has the world’s largest youth population and is undergoing tectonic social and political changes at present; therefore, this book becomes crucial as it helps one understand what direction India may take in the future.

Also Read: Indian democracy facing greatest dangers since Independence: Author Nayantara Sahgal 

Each essay critically analyses a major theme of India’s present, to propose the likely way ahead for this emergent nation. The book notes that while beset with both internal and external challenges on many fronts, India isn’t waiting for its moment. It is making its moment happen. “India Now and in Transition” is an enquiry into possible futures, based on current happenings.

And then there is “Left, Right and Centre: The Idea of India” (Penguin/Rs 599/269 Pages), which has been edited by television journalist Nidhi Razdan.

This is a more organised collection of essays on issues of contemporary interest, in the sense that it brings voices from all the three spectrums of our politics. You have the likes of Chandan Mitra, Derek O’Brien, Sunita Narain and Shabana Azmi sharing their perspectives in this book.


In the introduction, Razdan makes her point — that the idea of India is different for different people. In an apparent reference to the ruling government, Razdan says that it is responsible for fuelling a kind of nationalism where “you’ve to wear your patriotism on your sleeve” and where “to question the government, the courts, the army, is to be anti-national”.

She also takes readers through the many instances of the recent past and succeeds, to a large extent, in establishing that there is indeed a rising tide of nationalism in India. She counters this with the words of Tagore who, despite penning India’s national anthem, was a strong critic of nationalism. The essays in the book focus on history, civilisation, sexualities, the rise of the Indian right and feminism, among other similar issues.

Both books make for excellent additions to your bookshelves and will enrich you with the valuable lessons of their many contributors.

(Saket Suman can be contacted at



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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)