Taiwan, Trump & future

In two years’ time China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic. After a protracted and very bloody civil war Mao Zedong could finally declare victory. The Nationalists of Chiang Kai-shek had been defeated and forced to quit the mainland and establish their last redoubt on the island of Taiwan. At first many believed that it would only be a question of time before the mighty People’s Liberation Army would occupy the island and reunite the whole of China. But history took a different turn.

The curse of burrowing deep

Donald Trump prepares to take over as the the 45th president of US on January 20 and with him will come around 4,000 new appointees in the civil service. Of these, 1,000 odd key positions will be filled with Senate approval. Meanwhile the outgoing President Obama will try and keep as many of his appointees in the government and move them into career federal service positions. Once these political appointees are moved to the career civil services jobs, much like in India, they are difficult to fire.

What’s in a name?

About a month ago, the Maharashtra government changed the name of Mumbai’s central railway terminus and its international airport. Again. To recap, the railway terminus at Bori Bunder, a prime example of the Indo-Saracen style of architecture as well as a UNESCO Heritage site, was commissioned in 1887. For the next 109 years, of which 49 were in independent India, the station was spruced up from the outside and modernised from the inside with no one throwing stones at its ‘Victorian’ name. The reason for that could be one of the following two, or a mix of the two, or neither of the two.

E(I)nsure your health

Definitely, death of a loved one within the family or among our social circle is painful and irrevocable; but it is equally excruciating to see individuals suffering from critical health disorders or physical disabilities but have limited monetary funds to undergo quality medical treatment to ease the pain and worry. As per the latest data available in the public domain, only 15 per cent of the Indian population has health insurance. In spite of all forms of comprehensive health insurance products now available in the market, individual buyers still hestitate to opt for such plans.

Been to Kochi Biennale?

The biennale in Kochi, Kerala, in it’s third viewing now, is an explosion of multiple realities. It defines globalisation in newer and newer ways. The wonderful task that art plays is to share a common world of experience, where hearing, seeing and feeling is something that is mutually comprehensible, a world made tactile and universal.
It’s facets of incomprehensibility are, however, acceptable too, where symbols clash and people are left astounded, not just by the fate of others, but their own implicit reordering of categories forced by the display of the artist’s emotions.

A reality check in UP

It is interesting to watch Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav when the chips are down. In May 1991, he was fighting with his back to the wall in the state elections to stay on in power. As chief minister — he was in the Janata Dal then, and the Samajwadi Party had not been formed — he had little going for him. That was in the aftermath of the confrontation with saffron activists over the Ram Janmabhoomi when 15 kar sewaks were killed in police firing as they headed for the Babri Masjid.

Cut & Thrust:Of fillips and flops

Capricious laws, overzealous officials and bureaucratese flip flops marked the demonetisation journey. A journey replete with more failures than successes, but absorbed exceedingly well by India. No murmurs of public dissent, no unrest, no anarchy, no rebellion; but dislocation and certainly disruption in our daily lives faced as we are an acute paucity of liquidity aka Vitamin C.